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 ‘Kevin Owens

King Bad News and the Wasted Crown

leave a comment »

So, you thought Bad News Barrett winning King of the Ring this year was going to give him that one last big push and one last opportunity to make his character stick in the Main Event picture?  Well, I’m afraid I’ve got some rather BAD NEWS.

Because since winning King of the Ring, Wade Barrett has only made one main card Pay Per View appearance and he was the first one eliminated from the Intercontinental Championship Elimination Chamber match.  Not only that, but he was pinned by R-Truth, who is currently serving as the WWE’s comic relief.  That’s like getting pinned by Santino Marella three years ago or Damien Mizdow six months ago.  In addition to that one Pay Per View main card appearance, Barrett has been the loser in the preshow match at both Payback and Money in the Bank.  And the night after Money in the Bank, after R-Truth beat him, R-Truth shows up wearing a toilet paper crown and carrying a plunger.  Oh, how the might have fallen.

It’s hard to believe now, but back when the Nexus first arrived, Wade Barrett was every bit as over as Kevin Owens is today.  He was the face of a hot new faction that was laying the most devastating beat downs that this generation of wrestling fans have ever seen.  But he got passed over for an opportunity to get pushed to the Wrestlemania 27 Main Event and instead that opportunity was given to The Miz of all people.  Since then, WWE has dropped the ball on capitalizing on Barrett’s popularity with the die hard fans over and over again.  He has carried the Intercontinental Championship into Wrestlemania three separate times in the past five years and not once has he came out with a victory.  Yet, through it all his popularity has remained and reportedly the key decision makers in WWE remain impressed by him.  Hence, he won King of the Ring this year and everything looked like it was trending up for King Bad News.

Despite the corny cliched king gimmick, the character is still over.  People are eating it up.  Yet, Barrett can’t seem to find his way onto the main cards or in any kind of meaningful program.  His last Intercontinental Championship reign was cheated like a joke, with everybody else playing keep away with his belt.  Now, he’s still stuck working with R-Truth and getting made a mockery of.  And it is very entertaining.  But the longer it keeps up and the longer he’s left working preshows and throwaway matches on Raw and Smackdown, the more likely it’s going to be that people stop caring.  Just last summer, insider reports were that it was a three-way race to determine the next guy to get to carry the World Heavyweight Championship between Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns and Bad News Barrett.  If he takes that kind of fall again from this year to next, he might just be done for.  And rumor is that nagging injuries may force him to retire soon anyway.  So, from WWE’s perspective, I can see why they wouldn’t want to put too much of an investment in a guy that might be retired less than a year from now.  And obviously, it means more for somebody to beat the King of the Ring than it means for the King of the Ring to beat some mid-carder.  Same with the holder of the Money in the Bank briefcase.  Because at the end of the day, if they lose, they’ve still got the crown or they’ve still got the briefcase for a guaranteed shot at the big title.  But it’s one thing for the King of the Ring to put somebody over in a match that matters and another thing entirely to lose some throwaway match on the preshow.

Something needs to change or this guy is going to ride his career out on the lowest of notes and if that happens then what was the point of putting the crown on him in the first place?

Advertisements

Live Reactions, Elimination Chamber 2015 – John Cena vs. Kevin Owens

leave a comment »

John Cena vs. Kevin Owens is coming up next, kickstarting the second hour of the show.

The two guys stare each other down and take turns hoisting up their respective titles.  Cliche, but people are into it.  They lock up as the match starts.  Headlock from Owens on Cena.  Cena audibly calls for the move and says “I’ll give you one.”  He then shoves Owens off into the ropes and Leapfrogs him and does the low bridge and Owens jumps over him and Cena pops back up and flattens Owens with a Shoulder Block, but Owens is right back up.  They square off again and Owens beats Cena down in the corner.  Cena counters a whip into the corner and follows up with a Running Bulldog.  Owens hits a Big Boot and roughs up Cena over in the ropes and out on the ring apron.  Owens kicks Cena and whips him into the corner and Cena drops in a heap, doing his best to put Owens over and sell his moves.  Owens knocks Cena down again with a jab and kicks him some more.  Owens with the cover, easy kick out.  Owens with a Reverse Chinlock, but Cena fights back up of course.  Oh, but he’s gonna sell it some more and drops back down to one knee and then to his ass while they rest some more.  Cena fights back up again and forces the elbow up off his throat and separates his hands.  Cena goes for the AA, but Owens counters and connects with a DDT.  Owens covers Cena for a near fall.  Owens gets in a few more punches and now calls for Cena to get up and knocks him back down with a Big Boot.  Owens plays to the crowd.  Then he knocks Cena down with another big right hand.  Cena with a Schoolboy for a near fall, but Owens knocks him back on his ass with a Clothesline.  Owens pummels Cena and then bounces off the ropes with a Back Splash and gets another near fall.  Owens is dominating the offense in the match to this point.  That doesn’t happen very much with Cena against a guy that isn’t like the Big Show or Great Khali.  Cena now battles back with Shoulder Tackles and goes for a Flying Crossbody, but Owens catches him into a Spinning Crucifix Slam.  Owens with the Rollout Cannonball move in the corner and covers Cena for another near fall.  Owens tells Cena it’s time to give up and punches him in the mouth, but Cena fires back an they trade punches back and forth.  Owens goes for the Pop-up Powerbomb, but it’s blocked and Cena connects with the Flying Shoulder Block, then the Spinning German Suplex and the Five Knuckle Shuffle.  Cena goes for the AA, but Owens counters and shoves Cena into the ropes and hits the Pop-up Powerbomb and covers him, but Cena again kicks out for a near fall.  Owens goes to the top rope, but Cena crotches him.  They fight on the middle rope and Owens Headbutts Cena and knocks him down.  Owens goes fora  Moonsault, but Cena moves out of the way and Owens crashes.  Cena hits the AA, but Owens kicks out for a near fall.  I thought that was the end of this one, but it continues.  Great match so far.  Outstanding work.  Both guys are catching their breath.  Owens deserves a breather after that breathtaking Moonsault attempt.  He showcased phenomenal agility on that one.  Nobody else his size could do that.  Owens hits a Superkick, but doesn’t go for the cover.  Owens mocks Cena and goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Cena grabs him by the leg and trips him up and locks in the STF.  Owens drags himself to the ropes, but Cena drags him back to the middle.  Owens blocks Cena trying to put the STF back on.  Back up to his feet and Owens hits Cena with the AA and covers him for a near fall.  Owens is having easily the best match of his WWE career so far.  Cena counters Owens charging him in the corner and hits a Tornado DDT, diving off the middle rope.  Cena heads up top and hits the Guillotine Leg Drop to the back of the neck with Owens bent over and covers him, but Owens kicks out for a near fall.    Cena drags Owens back up and goes for the AA, but Owens blocks it. Owens with a Package PIledriver set up, but remembers Piledrivers are banned in WWE and changes course with it into a Side Slam variation.  Owens covers Cena for a near fall.  Owens says it’s over and clobbers Cena with another big right hand and yells at him to stay down.  Cena on one knee, pops up with a rapid right hand.  Trading big right hands.  Owens with a Knee to the gut, whips Cena into the ropes.  Cena ducks a Clothesline and springboards off the ropes into the Springboard Stunner and covers him for a near fall.  Cena puts Owens up on the top turnbuckle and climbs up after him.  Cena sets up for a Superplex, but Owens counters into another phenomenal unique Suplex counter, Angle Slam style with a spin.  Cover for a near fall.  Owens heads up to the top rope and hits a Senton Bomb and covers for another very close near fall.  Off the breather, Cena flattens Owens with a huge Clothesline and takes a rest.  Cena stumbles around and hugs the ropes before charging back at Owens again and Owens catches him with the Pop-up Powerbomb and covers him for the three count.

Phenomenal Match and Kevin Owens is getting pushed to the stratosphere with a debut win over John Cena and he beat him clean in maybe the match of the year!  Outstanding work.  This is shaping up like the best Pay Per View of the year potentially.

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

leave a comment »

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.

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

leave a comment »

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

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

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

Real American Live Reactions – NXT Takeover: Unstoppable #1 Contender’s Match and Ladies Tag Team Action

leave a comment »

We kick off the main show with a bunch of female models on a runway modeling some Tyler Breeze style fur clothing.  Breeze then comes out, but instead of his usual fur jacket, he’s wearing a cape.  I am surprised that they just turned this into a one-on-one match instead of adding a new third man to replace Itami and keep it a Triple Threat Match.  I had assumed that Itami would win as the logical next challenger for Kevin Owens should he retain against Sami Zayn or if things went the other way, Zayn vs. Itami would be a great new headline matchup.  Plus, Breeze and Balor have already been in title matches and Itami hadn’t.  Now, it looks like Itami will probably get a shot at Owens in the future anyway should Owens retain, which I’m thinking he probably will.  To Breeze’s credit, he remains self-obsessed and ignores Balor’s demon entrance.  It was really cool the first time seeing it, less so when he does it for every TakeOver special.  Balor and Breeze are both very good, but I’m just not as impressed by them as everybody else is.

Pretty basic back and forth match until Balor gets a roll-up for a near fall and then Breeze shoves him into the corner and hits the Beauty Shot, but Balor kicks out.  Balor goes out to the floor while Breeze rests.  Funny bit with the crowd chanting “You’re Not Counting at the referee while he should be counting Balor out.  Breeze finally goes out after Balor and Balor ambushes him on the rampway and heads up to the top of the top of the stage video boards and dives off with a pretty basic dive attack.  Beats him up some more and puts him back in the ring and finishes it with the Coup de grace for the win.  Not an elite 5 star match by any means, but a very solid entertaining match from two of NXT’s biggest darlings with the crowd (even though Breeze is a heel, the crowd loves him).

The Divas tag team match is up next as Charlotte and Bayley unite forces to take on Emma and Dana Brooke.  Charlotte schools Dana in the early going and tags in Bayley with a thunderous chop to Dana’s chest.  Tag to Emma and Emma runs around the ring, trying to avoid a fight, even hiding behind Dana out on the floor, but Bayley knocks them both down and puts Emma back in the ring.  Bayley goes up to the top, but Dana climbs up on the apron and grabs at her.  Bayley nails Dana with a big right hanbs and shoves her away, but it allows Emma to knock Bayley down and turn the tide.  Emma roughs up Bayley with some punches and clubbing blows and throws her into the corner and tags in Dana.  Dana and Emma take turns tagging in and out and kicking Bayley in the mid-section.  Emma takes Bayley back to the middle of the ring and flings her across the ring.  Bayley sits up in the neutral corner and Emma hits the Emmamite Sandwich, though Graves says she doesn’t call it that any more, but fails to provide a new name for it.  Emma plays to the crowd while Charlotte begs for the hot tag.  Bayley catches Emma with a Belly-to-Belly Throw and makes the hot tag to Charlotte as Emma tags in Dana.  Charlotte comes in on fire, knocking Dana down with Chops and then a big boot to the chest.  Emma with a distraction, lets Dana club Charlotte from behind and once again turn the tables toward the heels favor.  Charlotte counters a double team attempt into a Double DDT and covers Emma for a near fall.  Charlotte rolls through a Flying Crosssbody from Emma and puts her in the Figure Four.  Bayley and Dana into the ring.  Charlotte breaks the hold for some reason as Bayley Suplexes Dana out of the ring.  Charlotte hits Natural Selection on Emma for the win.  Very good match.  Charlotte and Bayley are maybe the best two female wrestlers to come along in the WWE in a long time, though you have to consider Paige in that conversation.  Tonight was up to their usual standard.  Creative bit with Charlotte bridging up on the Figure Four and Bayley sliding underneath her to stop Dana from breaking it up.  It didn’t work out quite like they wanted and it made Dana look a little stupid standing there waiting for Bayley instead of breaking up the Figure Four.  But I respect them for trying.

Real American Live Reactions – NXT Takeover: Unstoppable Preshow

leave a comment »

Right away, looking at the preshow panel I’m a little disappointed.  In the past, we’ve had guys like Paul Heyman and current or former Main Roster wrestlers join the NXT preshow panels just like they used to do with the PPV preshow panels.  Tonight, unless there is a surprise or two, it’s just Renee Young with Byron Saxton and Corey Graves.  And unless I’m mistaken, that’s the entire Main Roster PPV preshow team save for Booker T.  I miss having Heyman and the bigger name wrestlers on the preshow because they were usually the most entertaining.  I don’t have anything against Renee Young, I think she’s a fairly decent interviewer, but really the interview segments that WWE puts together have been as bland as plain yogurt for several years now.  She was actually a lot better working with William Regal on commentary for NXT than these guys they have doing it now.  And Byron Saxton gets on the mic and is just so bland and insightful.  As much as I criticize Michael Cole, he’s at least excitable.  Cole at least reacts to what’s going on, even if the result is usually ignorant.  Corey Graves is just Mr. Cool on the panels.  He’s always calm, cool and collected and like Saxton he’s not very excitable, but he’s not bland.  He puts his personality out there on full display and while you don’t usually hear his reactions in his voice, you see them on his face.  And he usually says things that make sense and don’t bore you to death.  For a guy that’s mostly there because his in-ring career got cut short due to injuries and WWE is doing right by him, he’s pretty decent at what he does.

It’s been reported for a while now that Hideo Itami had a shoulder injury that was going to keep him out of action for 6-8 weeks and news broke earlier this week that he was officially being pulled from the Triple Threat #1 Contender’s Match.  On the preshow tonight, they sold his injury as a parking lot attack perpetrated by Kevin Owens.

Greg Hamilton interview with Stephanie McMahon, basically just a back-patting interview over the success of NXT.  Nothing she’s saying is wrong, but a lot of it doesn’t really need to be said.  The people who are watching NXT already know how awesome it’s been to this point.

Payback, Unstoppable and the Elimination Chamber, Oh My!

leave a comment »

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

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,