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 ‘Kofi Kingston

Live Reactions – Elimination Chamber 2015 – First ever Tag Team Elimination Chamber Match

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We kick off the main card of tonight’s show with the first ever Tag Team Elimination Chamber match.  The WWE Tag Team Championships are on the line in this one.  The Prime Time Players enter first.  Los Matadores come in next and El Torito is hoisted up and stands on top of their pod.  Apparently, he will be allowed to stay in the chamber as well.  Cesaro & Tyson Kidd come out next.  And New Day are the final entries to be locked in a pod.  This leaves The Ascension and Lucha Dragons as the only two teams left, thus those two teams start the match, assuming that we don’t see Luke Harper & Erick Rowan pull an Edge and steal somebody else’s spot.  Here comes The Ascension.  Only one team left to enter.  And here come the Lucha Dragons.  No surprise entries in this one it seems as the Chamber is locked.

Ascension aggressive early, but Lucha Dragons counter into simultaneous Moonsaults.  Konnor chucks both Lucha Dragons out to the steel grating.  They take turns kicking Konnor in the head.  Kalisto hits a Flying Crossbody, following by a Flying Senton from Sin Cara.  Dragons work over Konnor and Viktor in the corner.  Ascension both turn the tables and beat down the Lucha Dragons in the corner.  Kalisto goes to the top of New Day’s pod while Ascension work over Sin Cara.  New Day pull Kalisto’s legs through the chains and prevent him from helping his partner.  Both Ascension climb to the top rope and try to pull Kaliso off the pod, but Kalisto kicks them both in the head and knocks them down.  Sin Cara goes up to the top of Cesaro & Kidd’s pod.  Sin Cara hits Viktor with a Senton from the top of the pod.  Kalisto is still sitting there on top of New Day’s pod.  Now he stands up and Lucha chants, but New Day trip him again and crotch him on top of their pod’s chains.

Countdown ensues and the next team is released and it’s Cesaro and Kidd.  Cesaro and Kidd work over The Ascension and get a near fall on Konnor with a 3D into a European Upper Cut instead of a Cutter.  Kidd goes up after Kalisto and tries to free him from the top of New Day’s pod.  Kalisto knocks him down and Cesaro leap frogs Kidd and lands on the top rope and then hops up and hits Kalisto with a Flying European Upper Cut.  Cesaro then Superplexes Kalisto from the top of the pod and Kidd hits a Springboard Elbow Drop off the top rope and makes the cover, but Sin Cara breaks it up in time to save his partner from elimination.  Cesaro and Kidd chuck the Lucha Dragons out of the ring.  Now, they go back to beating on Ascension while Lucha Dragons get a breather outside the ring.  Viktor flattens Kidd and covers him, but Cesaro makes the save.  Kidd trips up Viktor and puts him in the Sharpshooter.  Konnor quickly breaks it up.  Cesaro throws Viktor out of the ring.  Sin Cara back in with a whirlybird special and drives Cesaro into the mat.  Kalisto goes for a Hurricanranna on Cesaro outside the ring, but Cesaro catches him.  Kalisto ends up on the chains and climbs up on the PTPs pod.  Lots of near falls and powerslams in the ring while Kalisto stays on top of the pod while we get a new countdown.

Los Matadores come in and El Torito dives off the top of the pod an dhits a Hurricanranna on Cesaro.  Bodies everywhere as Kalisto climbs all the way up the ceiling of the pod and hangs swinging from the top of the pod and lets himself fall down into The Ascension and Cesaro.  Los Matadores go for some covers, but don’t get a three count on anybody.  Now Torito is copying Kalisto.  Torito drops off on Ascension, but is caught and then chuck him into Primo out of the ring and then hit Epico with the Fall of Man and get a three count for the first elimination.  Lucha Dragons dive in and take down both members of The Ascension.  Ascension back on the attack and hit Kalisto with the Fall of Man and cover him for their second elimination of the match.  Ascension work over Kidd and Cesaro as we get a new countdown and the Prime Time Players come in next.  Of course, New Day is last.

PTPs battle Ascension and Titus clobbers Viktor outside the ring and throws him into the chain wall several times.  Darren Young hits his Double Gutbuster finish on Viktor and covers him and The Ascension is gone.  PTPs now work over Cesaro and Kidd.  Kidd counters into a Spinning Fisherman Suplex, only to get steamrolled by Titus.  Cesaro then Clotheslines Titus and puts Darren up on the top turnbuckle and hits a terrific Suplex to Young sitting on the top turnbuckle.  Cesaro with a Gutwrench Superplex on Young while Titus Powerbombs Cesaro.  Can’t have one of these matches without the cliche Tower of Doom spot.  Titus hits Kidd with a huge Spinebuster.  Young covers Kidd for a near fall.  New Day is now clammoring to get into the match with all 4 men down in the ring.

Countdown ensues and here they come, using their numbers advantage and clobbering everyone.  Cesaro blocks a Triple Suplex and both Cesaro & Kidd and the PTPs Suplex all 3 members of New Day and the numbers are reversed as it’s 4 on 3 now.  Cesaro and Kidd lock Woods back in the New Day’s pod.  Cesaro and Kidd dominate in the ring and execute the Giant Swing into a Dropkick on Kingston.  Darren Young rolls up Cesaro from behind in a Schoolboy and gets the surprise three count and Cesaro and Kidd are eliminated.

It’s down to New Day against the Prime Time Players and now Big E has let Xavier back out of the pod and it’s a 3-on-2 beatdown.  Big E and Xavier whip Titus into a Double Knee Blast to the face from Kofi in the corner.  They choke Titus on the chains and kick the crap out of him outside the ring 3-on-1.  Titus is now out of commission for the moment while they triple team Young.  They set up for a move off the top rope, but Young counters and knocks everybody down and hurls Big E through the ropes in the corner where he crashes into the ring post and bangs his head off the pod.  Everybody catches a breather.

Titus back up and knocks out Xavier with a Big Boot.  Young drops Kofi onto the top rope and Titus slams Big E against the chains a few times.  Kofi throws Young over the turnbuckle in the corner and sends him crashing to the steal.  Titus catches Kofi and slings him into the chains a few times.  Titus flattens Big E with a Clothesline in the ring.  Darren catches Kofi off the ropes on his shoulders and does the Double Gutbuster finish into the cover, but Kingston kicks out for a near fall.  Titus whips Big E into the ropes, but Big E catches him with an Elbow to the face.  Big E with a Belly-to-Belly on Young on the steel.  Big E charges Titus and is caught in a Powerslam for a cover and a near fall.  Titus catches Xavier going for a Flying Crossbody and slams him down onto his knee.  Kofi charges out of the corner and hits Titus with Trouble in Paradise, knocking him over with Woods landing on top of him.  Big E and Kofi pile on in a three man cover and get the three count.

New Day celebrates as they retain the championships.  Outstanding action in this one.  It was hard to keep up at times.  I’m not sure exactly what they thought they would accomplish by sending Kalisto up to dangle from the ceiling, but the move was very bland and they made him hang up there for a long time and he looked like he almost feel three or four different times.  The match was anything but boring, even though it ate up the first 40 minutes or so of the Pay Per View.  There was all kinds of moves that I’ve never seen before in decades of watching professional wrestling.

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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.

Payback Live Reactions – Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler, Tag Team Championship and Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt

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Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler is the first match of the Main card and I was not expecting much out of this match.  These two wrestled several times for the World Heavyweight Championship during Sheamus’ reign back in 2012, but I wasn’t impressed by their work together.  Their match at Extreme Rules certainly wasn’t impressive.  However, tonight was in my opinion the best match the two of them have worked together.  Both guys put in a max effort whereas it seemed to me like they kind of coasted at Extreme Rules.  I didn’t catch the moves that caused the wounds, but Dolph was busted open and Sheamus had a big welt forming on his right shoulder / chest area.  I feel like Ziggler put on his best performance since losing the Intercontinental Championship back in January tonight, even in defeat as Sheamus wins with a Brogue Kick.

Backstage, Kane and Seth Rollins have a standoff where they rehash what they’ve had to say on Raw and Smackdown every week since Extreme Rules and the bottom line is of course that Kane isn’t sure what he’s going to do tonight.  The storyline has itself been great, but this segment was just a rehash that WWE apparently felt they needed for the people that don’t watch Raw and Smackdown.  If Rollins does not win, Kane loses his job.

Next up is the 2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the Tag Team Championship and this match had a lot of great spots in it.  Tyson Kidd and Kofi were all over the place in this one and it was a rare quality match on Big E’s part.  Kidd and Cesaro win the first fall and Woods starts calling for the Freebird Rule and wants to replace Kofi for the second fall, but is blocked by Natalya and Kidd takes him out with a dive to the floor.  Kidd ends up hurt somehow, and a blind tag finish leads to the Big Ending as a double team and New Day takes the second fall.  Cesaro throws a ton of upper cuts.  The match ends with Xavier Woods sneaking in twin magic style to replace Kingston and covering Kidd for the win and New Day retains in a steal.  I was expecting New Day to retain in some way because I’m pretty sure that WWE wants the title to change hands in two weeks when the titles are on the line in the Elimination Chamber for the first time in history.  So, putting the titles back on Cesaro and Kidd only to take them away again in two weeks didn’t seem very productive to me when you could have New Day steal another win and get the comeuppance at the Elimination Chamber.  New Day is not leaving the Elimination Chamber as the tag team champions though.

Bray Wyatt takes on Ryback next and I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t paying much attention to this one as it was taking place in the final moments of the People’s Champion challenge on WWE Supercard.  I intend to go back and rewatch this match after the end of the show.  In the meantime, Bray beats Ryback after Ryback hits an exposed turnbuckle and Wyatt finishes him off with Sister Abigail.

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 Live Reactions – Extreme Rules 2015 – Tag Team Championship

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Cesaro & Tyson Kidd defend the Tag Team Championship against New Day’s Big E and Kofi Kingston.  Does Xavier Woods ever wrestle?  Natalya and Xavier Woods are at ringside for this one.  After Woods interfered in the #1 Contenders match to help Kingston & Big E beat the Lucha Dragons, this is the first of two heel vs. semi-heel matches of the night along with the Divas Championship match to come later.  That makes things interesting.  I wouldn’t rule out a potential face turn for Cesaro & Kidd soon.  They are super over and with Jey Uso out of action, there is an opening for the top face tag team on the roster.

Kidd and Kingston start things off and exchange some tie-ups before tagging out to both Big E and Cesaro and it shifts to a power vs. power match.  Cesaro ends up running the ropes and Big E goes for a Leap Frog, but Cesaro catches him and Powerslams him.  Is there anybody that Cesaro can’t catch or toss in any given situation?  I have yet to see him miss a catch or fail to lift somebody yet.  They switch back to Kingston and Kidd and Kingston knocks Kidd out of the ring and then cheap shots Cesaro, Drop Kicking him off the ring apron and Kidd is playing it up as a potential face turn as he dives out to the floor, taking out Kingston only to then get flattened by Big E.  Woods antagonizes the crowd during the New Day Sucks chants – “What did we do?  We’re winning!”  Kinda funny.  Kingston & Big E are allowed to double team Kidd in the ring for whatever reason.  Crowd gets behind Kidd as he tries to battle back, but Kingston gets a Dropkick and a near fall.  Tag to Big E.

Big E starts clapping.  Guess he thought there weren’t enough New Day chants.  He goes for a Big Splash, but Kidd rolls out of the way.  Kidd goes out to the ring apron and Big E tries to run him over, but Kidd drops out of the way and Big E crashes out to the floor.  Tags are made to Cesaro and Kingston now and Cesaro runs Kingston back and forth across the ring, delivering multiple Clotheslines in multiple corners.  Big Clothesline for a near fall and then goes for the Cesaro Swing.  Instead he catapults Kofi into the corner.  Kofi springs back at him, but Cesaro makes another incredible catch look easy and slams Kofi.  Tags Kidd and hits a Superplex and Kidd comes off the top with a Diving Elbow Drop for a near fall.

Kingston battles back and tags Big E.  Big E with a dive out to the floor, flattening Kidd.  Puts Kidd back in the ring.  Back Body Drop from Big E on Cesaro.  Big E back in, tag to Kingston, double team maneuver for a near fall as Cesaro breaks up the cover with a Junkyard Dog style Headbutt.  Kidd puts Kingston in the Sharpshoter, but Big E breaks it up.  Kidd with a Double Footstomp on Kingston in the corner, tag to Cesaro.  Cesaro knocks Big E off the apron.  Cesaro Swing into a Dropkick for the double team.  Cover, but Woods distracts the referee.  Natalya pulls Woods off the apron and slaps him silly.  Series of run ins and people are knocked out of the ring, leaving Kingston with Cesaro and Kingston Schoolboy with a Handful of tights on Cesaro for the three count.  New Champions.  New Day steals the titles and the crowd gives them some more New Day Sucks chants.  If it hadn’t been for those chants every week after Wrestlemania, New Day wouldn’t be the champions.  The fans did that one to themselves.  WWE views any reaction as a good reaction, so when you respond with New Day Sucks chants, WWE sees that as a plus and sees the angle as working and as a result, they are now the champions.

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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