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 ‘Cody Rhodes

Live Reactions – Elimination Chamber 2015 Preshow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who’s Hot

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

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

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

Who’s Not

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

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

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

Payback Preshow Live Reactions

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We started the night of action off with R-Truth taking on Stardust in an unannounced bonus match.  It wasn’t anything special, but both guys did well.  The bit with the bag of spiders on Raw either this week or the week before was hokey as all get out, so it was good to see them avoid going down a similar route tonight and kick the night off with a well executed match that wasn’t hokey at all.  Back and forth until the crowd gets to Stardust and he starts smacking R-Truth around with his glove.  R-Truth hits his finish (not sure what he calls it now that he doesn’t have the Little Jimmy gimmick and Little Jimmy was a god awful stupid name for a wrestling finishing move anyway) as a counter move when Stardust charges him and he picks up the win.

Sheamus interviews with Tom Phillips and it’s the Twitter fan questions interview segment that they did with Kane at Extreme Rules only for Kane to walk out after only 1-2 questions.  Sheamus does a good job with the interview, but the questions are of course lame and pointless.

Next match up is The faux Mega Powers against the Ascension and I could care less.  Like I said all along, once they ended Miz & Mizdow, they would not know what to do with him, they’d keep using him as a joke and the fan support of the character will dwindle, he’ll stop getting pops every time he comes out and unless he turns it around with a normal gimmick, he’ll be gone from the company.  Axelmania and Macho Mandow dominate the early going, but it doesn’t last long and The Ascension beat Sandow with the Fall of Man.  Not that anybody cared about the R-Truth and Stardust match, but it’s a good thing they added it to the preshow so this stinker wasn’t the only thing filling up the second half of the preshow.

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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What is going on with the Intercontinental Championship?

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Over the past several months we have slowly witnessed the Intercontinental Championship once again descend into mediocrity.  Currently held by Wade Barrett, which in and of itself in no way diminishes the title, it has not been defended on WWE Pay Per View since December. I know what you’re thinking – The Miz beat Wade Barrett for the championship at Wrestlemania XXIX last month.  But that’s not all together true since that match was only on the Wrestlemania pre-show.

Barrett, while holding the championship, in succession was eliminated by NXT rookie Bo Dallas in the Royal Rumble, did not appear on the Elimination Chamber Pay Per View at all, and then lost the championship to The Miz during the Wrestlemania pre-show.  And now, after regaining the title the night after Wrestlemania, he is not even scheduled to wrestle at Extreme Rules this Sunday in St. Louis.  Instead, the former champion Miz is scheduled to compete one-on-one against Cody Rhodes on the Extreme Rules pre-show instead of having a title rematch against Barrett.

Furthermore, Barrett has been showcased less and less on Raw and Smackdown.  His only appearance on Raw this week was to do an interview on the WWE App (which I don’t get by the way – one screen is more than enough and I don’t have an iPad or iPhone or any of the tablets that the WWE App is even available on).  Then, he got a rare in-ring appearance of late on Main Event last night and he wasn’t even in the featured match on the company’s third tier show.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, he jobbed to Sin Cara on that show.

I remember a time when winning the Intercontinental Championship almost guaranteed somebody a WWE (WWF at the time) Championship run within a year or two.  Nowadays, the Intercontinental Championship seems to be a place holder for former World Champions who were disappointments at the top level.  The last time somebody went from Intercontinental Champion to WWE Champion in less than a year was Jeff Hardy in 2008 (not including the World Heavyweight Championship, which we all know is not on the same tier as the WWE Championship any more and hasn’t been since Triple H and Evolution’s hold on the title and Raw was broken when the group split up in 2005).  It hasn’t been done in the last five years.

The last three up and comers to hold the championship have been Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston and Wade Barrett, of which Wade Barrett is the only one who has competed in a one-on-one WWE Championship title match (vs. Randy Orton at Survivor Series in 2010).  Barrett is also seemingly the only one of the three with the potential to take the next step any time soon, but even while holding the championship, he’s being treated like a lower-tier mid-carder right now.

Conclusion, the Intercontinental Championship is currently in the pits and assuming Wade Barrett gets on Raw or Smackdown any time soon, it’ll probably be to drop the belt.

Raw Response – 05/28/12

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Big Show knocked out John Cena once again last week and while Cena vs. Big Show is by no means anything new, it comes with Cena in one of the most trying times of his career after losing to The Rock at Wrestlemania, getting dominated by Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules and then losing to John Laurinaitis of all people at Over the Limit (albeit not legitimately).  That is if you buy into the idea that Wrestlemania XXVIII and his match with The Rock really meant everything to him.  I don’t really buy into that, but he said it so many times, so you can’t really buy into his assertions since that his loss to The Rock isn’t going to change his on-screen persona in some way.  Something that big, to say that many times how much it supposedly means, the WWE can’t allow everything that Cena said prior to Wrestlemania to be all hype and still maintain any credibility as a story teller.  Cena’s loss to The Rock has to change him in some way or every part of the story they told for the biggest match they’ve ever promoted becomes worthless.  Just brushing it off won’t hurt the WWE in ratings, in Pay Per View buy rates or in merchandise sales, but for me if Cena remains unchanged after that, it takes WWE one more notch down as a story teller.  And they’ve fallen many notches in the past couple of years and if such a trend continues, we’re never going to see another boom period like the Attitude Era.  If wrestling is ever going to be cool again, the WWE has to be better at telling stories and quit staying safe with the status quo.

But I digress.  Monday Night Raw comes on and Big Show heads to the ring in the opening segment and delivers a very good heel promo.  However, we’ve seen Big Show’s “unstoppable giant” heel persona get stopped many many times in the past.  I don’t see how anybody can buy into what he had to say tonight about nobody in the locker room being in his league.  In the past year alone, we’ve seen Daniel Bryan beat him over and over.  Mark Henry dominated him and put him on the shelf.  He won the Intercontinental Championship, but quickly lost it in his only title match.  And in the past we’ve seen Cena beat him over and over and over, including twice at Wrestlemania (Wrestlemania XX and Wrestlemania XXV).  However, the monster heel is the only character Big Show should ever play.  The problem isn’t that they’re pushing him that way.  The problem is that they’ve let his character become a joke so many times in the past.  At No Way Out, Cena is going to beat Big Show once again and he’s probably going to do it with the STF. However, I do think this is going to end up being my favorite of all the Big Show monster pushes.

The first match of the night would feature the #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship Alberto Del Rio facing the United States Champion Santino Marella.  This match has been set up with Santino poking fun at Ricardo Rodriguez over the past week.  These two have fought several times in the past and I don’t think Santino has ever beaten Del Rio.  He certainly didn’t tonight and Del Rio made short work of the US champion, beating him with the Cross Armbreaker.  Del Rio then took the cobra and shoved it into Santino’s mouth.

In the back, Big Show interrupted Alex Riley as he was hitting on Eve and Eve informs Big Show that he gets to pick his opponent for tonight, which I was thinking is likely to be Brodus Clay after he showed the clip of Brodus dancing just minutes after he was fired and humiliated by GM Johnny two weeks ago on Raw.  Brodus is unbeaten and he’s a big monster character himself, so Big Show knocking him out and beating him in the ring is a good way to put Big Show back over.  Big Show used Riley to send a message to the locker room by throwing him into the wall and stepping over him.

Kofi Kingston and R-Truth squared off with Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger with the WWE Tag Team Championship on the line.  Ziggler and Swagger failed to win the titles for about the 100th time in the past year, which leads to Ziggler finally showing his frustration.  The end could be near for Vickie’s tag team, leading me to think that Ziggler and Vickie will probably drop Swagger, who would then turn face.  I’d rather see Ziggler give being a face a try, but he definitely excels at being a heel and Swagger really doesn’t.

Backstage, Big Show is busy intimidating Santino Marella, but Brodus Clay comes to the rescue and gets into Big Show’s face and we end up with Big Show choosing to face Brodus Clay later on tonight.

GM Johnny then wastes air time as he takes longer than the Del Rio / Santino match to get to the ring along with David Otunga and Eve.  He then opens his mouth and further wastes our time as he butchers the delivery of his lines and tells us that he’s making the Cena / Big Show match at No Way Out a Steel Cage Match.  He then unveils a cover for the new WWE ’13 video game cover that gets released in October with his face on it.  However, I severely doubt that GM Johnny ends up being the cover boy for the video game.  I believe it should be and ultimately will be CM Punk on the cover.  And sure enough, CM Punk comes out to put an end to GM Johnny wasting our time.  Punk then one-ups Johnny as a much bigger photo of the real WWE ’13 cover featuring CM Punk rolls down from the rafters.  Punk then tells GM Johnny to take the “hoeski and Carlton”, meaning Eve and Otung and get out of his ring and he gets ready to go one-on-one with Daniel Bryan.

By the way, Sin Cara returns on Smackdown this week, which we found out last Friday on Smackdown in case you missed it.  Can he last more than a couple of months without getting suspended or injured again?

Punk and Bryan put on a good show as always and then AJ comes out to the ring wearing a CM Punk shirt, continuing this love triangle ordeal they have going with AJ supposedly developing some sort of feelings for Punk, possibly just because Punk is locked in a program with Daniel Bryan, her ex.  Bryan ends up beating Punk as a result of an exposed ring post.  Kane then comes out to attack Bryan, continuing their bi-weekly tradition of beating the hell out of each other with chairs.  Kane then turns his attention to Punk, but AJ throws a chair in to Punk and Punk uses it to fight off Kane and the Big Red Machine retreats.

Intercontinental Champion Christian then faces off against Miz and Christian continues his winning streak since returning from injury and turning face.  Miz of course continues to be jobbed out.  How long is he going to stay in the dog house over the botched spot with R-Truth 3 months ago and supposedly being blamed for the low Survivor Series buy rate?  Christian overcame the distraction of Cody Rhodes, who was at commentary for part of the match and beats Miz with the Killswitch and a Frog Splash.  Miz then stays in the ring and complains about a lot of different things and then Randy Orton comes out and Miz starts threatening him, but Orton just goes straight to Miz and shuts him up with an RKO.

Earlier in the night, David Otunga asked for a match with Sheamus and he got it.  Unfortunately for him, it ended with him getting his head kicked off via a Brogue Kick.  Nothing unexpected there, although it was somewhat surprising that Del Rio didn’t make any kind of appearance and Johnny didn’t do anything to give Otunga any kind of help.

Brodus and Big Show then make their way to the ring for the Main Event and there is only about 5 minutes left until the show goes over time, so you know this match isn’t going to last more than a couple of minutes and they’d still have to leave time after for Cena to make some kind of appearance.  Big Show uses some more time taunting Brodus before the match and then Brodus comes out to face him on the floor and Big Show barrels his way down the rampway and Spears Brodus.  The two then fight outside the ring and of course Big Show gets the upper hand since he’s the one facing Cena in what projects as the Main Event of the next Pay Per View, No Way Out.  Kofi Kingston and R-Truth then come out to help Brodus, but he knocks them both flat and breaks apart the announce table and smashes Brodus with a piece of it.  He then continues to beat up Kingston and R-Truth and surprisingly Cena doesn’t make an appearance.  I think they chickened out by not having the match start and put Big Show over cleanly.  It was still an impressive showing to put over Big Show, beating up an undefeated monster and the Tag Team Champions and I think Brodus may have even suffered a legitimate back injury as a result of the second shot he took from the table.  His back spasmed in an awkward way after that shot and they had to censor him cursing as a result.  I still think Cena goes over Big Show at No Way Out, but of course WWE is going to put Big Show over everybody in a dominant fashion up until No Way Out so that Cena is once again the “underdog” and so he can “overcome the odds” on Pay Per View for the billionth time.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Attitude Era, Big Show, Brock Lesnar, Brodus Clay, CM Punk, CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, Extreme Rules, Friday Night Smackdown, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Monday Night Raw, No Way Out, Over the Limit, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Raw Response, RKO, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Steel Cage Match, The Rock, The Rock vs. John Cena, United States Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 28, Wrestlemania XXVIII, WWE, WWE '13, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship

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Raw Response – 05/14/12

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After two weeks of waiting to see what was really going to be next for Triple H and Brock Lesnar after Lesnar “broke Triple H’s arm” two weeks ago on Raw, Triple H his return at the top of the show with his arm in a sling to sell his arm injury.

Triple H essentially ran down Brock Lesnar for being a flake and not living up to his potential and said that Brock Lesnar and John Laurinaitis thought the WWE needs to be “legitimized” was an insult to all of the greats who made this business what it is today – such as himself, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, and Ric Flair.  This provoked a response from Paul Heyman, who came out with law suit papers and served them to Triple H, claiming that Brock Lesnar would sue the WWE to get the money that was promised him in the deal he forced John Laurinaitis into three weeks ago.  Heyman would go on to say that Triple H was just saying bad things about Brock Lesnar because that’s what every team or company does when they lose their franchise player.  Triple H then angrily threw the papers at Heyman and left, claiming Brock Lesnar would get everything he deserves.  The question is, how soon are we going to see Triple H and Brock Lesnar face off in the ring.  Recent speculation on Wrestlezone.com has it that the match could take place sooner than expected.  There are still three more Pay Per Views to go through before SummerSlam.  Perhaps Triple H vs. Lesnar will be highlighting one of them.

First match of the night was tag team action featuring three of WWE’s singles champions with WWE Champion CM Punk teaming with United States Champion Santino Marella to take on Punk’s challenger at Over the Limit, Daniel Bryan, and the Intercontinental Champion, Cody Rhodes.  The match would take up over a full segment with Santino humorously trying for a Suicide Dive, but bouncing off the ropes back into the ring instead leading into the commercial break.  Santino woud go on to make a few more miscues on purpose throughout the match before Punk got a hot tag.  Bryan then retreated to the back, and Punk beat Rhodes with the GTS.  Punk then stared daggers at Bryan while Bryan backed away up the rampway with a smirk on his face.  Unless Punk makes his way to Friday Night Smackdown this week, this will be their final encounter before meeting in the WWE Championship match at Over the Limit on Sunday.  Punk would later be seen talking with Alex Riley, linking them together once again with Punk having used Riley a few weeks ago to dupe Chris Jericho into thinking Punk was drunk on the final Raw before their Chicago Street Fight at Extreme Rules.   Something kind of partnership could be in the future for Punk and Riley.  Daniel Bryan’s former girlfriend AJ then approached Punk, but he wanted nothing to do with her.  I don’t really see Daniel Bryan leaving Over the Limit with the WWE Championship and Punk has been nearly unbeatable since capturing the title from Alberto Del Rio back at Survivor Series last year.  He’s had a very long run as champion in this era of constant title changes, so he’s ripe for the picking, but I’m still going to predict that Punk retains the title over Daniel Bryan on Sunday.

Beth Phoenix would then face Alicia Fox one-on-one in a match with no doubt that Beth Phoenix would emerge victorious to go over in the final Raw before she faces Layla for the Diva’s Championship at Over the Limit on Sunday.  The Diva’s Champion Layla came out on the rampway to watch as Phoenix overpowered Fox and beat her soundly in a matter of minutes with the Glam Slam.  Phoenix then tried to take advantage of Fox with another Glam Slam, but Layla intervened and ran into the ring and took Phoenix down and Phoenix retreated to the back as Layla go in the last laugh, but while leaving Beth promised that Layla would never beat her.  I disagree as I feel Layla will emerge from Over the Limit still the champion and continuing to ride the wave of momentum she’s been on since her return last month at Extreme Rules.

Big Show would be placed in a match with Kane by way of punishment for making fun of John Laurinaitis last week on Raw, which he was forced to apologize for, but then got caught again joking about it with the stars of the new USA show Common Law.  Going into the match, Big Show had it looming over his head that he would have to apologize to John Laurinaitis or he would be fired.  After a slow and methodical match typical of two big men facing each other, Laurinaitis would distract Big Show by demanding an apology in the middle of the match, causing Big Show to suffer a Chokeslam from Kane and be defeated.  Laurinaitis then mocked Big Show and berated him and Big Show made a very passionate apology and talked about how he loved his job.  But that wouldn’t be good enough for Laurinaitis, who demanded that Big Show get on his knees and beg to keep his job.  Big Show would beg for his job, but refused to get down on his knees and pleaded with Laurinaitis not to make him do that.  Laurinaitis then promised to reconsider and started to walk away, but when he reached the top of the ramp, he said he’d already reconsidered and started to fire Big Show, but Big Show stopped him and reluctantly gave Laurinaitis what he wanted on got down on his knees to apologize.  However, Laurinaitis fired him anyway.  It was a pretty heart-wrenching segment, but I doubt it will last.  We have not seen the last of the Big Show in the WWE.

In the next match, the WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth teamed up with Brodus Clay to take on The Miz and their challengers for the tag titles at Over the Limit, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger.  The face team rolled over the bad guys at the beginning of the match, forcing the heels to regroup out on the floor during a commercial break.  Return from the break and as usual in such situations, the heels have taken the advantage and isolated one of the faces, in this instance R-Truth.  Pretty much a cookie cutter tag match, complete with some of Kofi’s usual high spots when he finally got the hot tag from Truth.  Kofi then hit Miz with the S.O.S., but Ziggler and Swagger broke it up, leading to Truth and Clay dispatching of Ziggler and Swagger, allowing Kingston to knock Miz out with Trouble in Paradise after Clay tagged himself in and Clay then finished Miz with a big splash for the win.

Sheamus joined the announce team for the next match between Randy Orton and Chris Jericho with Orton and Jericho preparing to challenge Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship at Over the Limit in a Fatal 4-Way Match along with Alberto Del Rio.  Michael Cole gave Sheamus crap the entire match, but Sheamus gave it right back, repeatedly calling Cole worthless, which is an opinion I tend to agree with.  I’ve not seen a play-by-play announcer for WWE be that consistently wrong with the facts he spews during matches since Bobby Heenan, but when Heenan did it, it was on purpose.  It was part of his schtick.  When Cole does it, it’s just because he’s an idiot and has a terrible memory for what has actually taken place in WWE history.  Jericho would go over and provoke Sheamus and when he got back into the ring, Orton hit him with his signature DDT off the ropes.  However, when Orton went for the RKO, Sheamus very predictably pulled Jericho out to the floor, leading to a disqualification.  Orton took exception and challenged Sheamus to a match on the spot and they got in the ring and got ready to fight, but were overrun by officials, who kept them separate.  Meanwhile, Del Rio was nowhere to be seen after suffering the Codebreaker, the RKO and the Brogue Kick in succession on Smackdown last week.  Del Rio is seemingly the low man on the totem pole in the lead-up to Over the Limit, but I’m picking Del Rio to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time at Over the Limit, adding to the two WWE Championship wins already on his resume from last year.

In the final segment, we were promised a face to face confrontation between John Cena and John Laurinaitis.  Being that this is the final segment on the final Raw before Over the Limit, it would appear that Cena vs. Lauinaitis is going to be the Main Event of Over the Limit, which feels like a small tragedy.  Laurinaitis would come out first and apologize to all of John Cena’s fans for the fact that they’re losers.  Cena then came out and shook his arm a couple of times before pronouncing that he was a little dinged up, but good to go after Laurinaitis along with Lord Tensai and Sakamoto attacked his injured arm two weeks ago on Raw.  Cena then made fun of Laurinaitis’ voice and called him a scumbag for firing big show.  Cena then proclaimed Laurinaitis the Undisputed King of Douche Bags.  Cena then went over Johnny’s track record, calling him a loser after going 1-for-4 in his agenda since taking over as GM and then comically made funny noises any time Johnny tried to speak.  His antics were very childish, but funny.  Cena’s promo made me actually care about this match now, which I previously didn’t at all, so very good work for Cena tonight in my opinion.  However, the segment quickly went downhill though as Cena dragged on a bit too long.  Eve Torres then came out, carrying a slip of paper from the Board of Directors, which Cena stole from Johnny and read.  The notice essentially stated that the match would be one-on-one and Laurinaitis would not be allowed to add a Guest Referee or change the stipulation in any other kind of way.  The notice also stated that no superstars would be allowed at ringside and any superstars who interfered in the match would be terminated.  There will also be no disqualifications and no countouts and if John Laurinaitis does not beat John Cena, he will be fired.  I only have one thing to say about how all of this has turned out.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!  Yes!  Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!  Yes!  Yes! Yes! Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes! Yes!

I’m very hopeful that  this is the end of John Laurinaitis reign of  constant verbal assault on my eardrums and brain.  However, I’m prepared to be disappointed and expect Johnny to find a loophole somewhere, potentially through a run in from Brock Lesnar, who wouldn’t fear being fired because he already “quit” and still has a score to settle with Cena after his loss at Extreme Rules.  Anything can happen in the WWE, but I will be eternally thankful if this is the end of John Laurinaitis’ on-screen career with the WWE.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Posted in A-Train, Albert, Alex Riley, Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix, Big Show, Big Show Fired, Brock Lesnar, Brock Lesnar Return, Brodus Clay, Chicago Street Fight, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Common Law, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Fatal 4-Way, Friday Night Smackdown, Handicap Match, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Lord Tensai, Macho Man Randy Savage, Michael Cole, Monday Night Raw, Over the Limit, Paul Heyman, Paul Heyman Return, Pro Wrestling, Punk vs. Jericho, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Raw Response, S.O.S., Sakamoto, Sheamus, SummerSlam, Tag Team, The Miz, Triple H, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, Trouble in Paradise, United States Championship, Vickie Guerrero, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship

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