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 ‘Sin Cara

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.

Real American Top 10 – Rising Stars of the WWE

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10) Heath Slater – Personally, I don’t think much of Slater’s talent, but he’s been a fixture on Monday Night Raw for several weeks now and he’s been in the ring with some of the biggest stars in the history of the WWE.  He’s picked up the rub from several WWE Legends and continued to run with it.  With the 1,000th Raw in the rear view mirror, that likely spells the end of his weekly appearances on Raw, but he could parlay that experience into a bigger on screen role than what he’s had in the past and maybe even a few wins here and there.

9) Tyson Kidd – Formerly a mainstay on WWE Pay Per Views as part of the Hart Dynasty during their reign as WWE Tag Team Champions a couple of years ago, Kidd’s spotlight has since faded, but his involvement in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match and victory over Tensai last month shows that he could be getting the opportunity to reclaim some of the limelight in the near future.

8) Brodus Clay – In 7 months, we’ve only once seen Brodus step in the ring with somebody that was allowed to be a significant threat to his size and dominance when he got dispatched rather easily by Big Show.  However, he continues to pile up wins against former World Champions like The Miz and Jack Swagger, but it appears questionable whether or not he’s going to be used for more than that.

7) Darren Young & Titus O’Neill – The Prime Time Players have staying power in my opinion and the tag team division is desperately in need of some consistency.  Through their manager / promoter A.W., they’ve already shown themselves to be underhanded and wily and should be carrying the WWE Tag Titles sometime soon.

6) Damien Sandow – The guy simply has a way with words.  He tends to greatly overstate his significance, like at Raw 1,000 when he called himself a “martyr”, but when has overstating your own significance ever been a bad thing for a heel character?  He got the rub from DX on the most historic episode of Monday Night Raw to date and not much signifies that somebody is on the rise more than that.

5) Antonio Cessaro – He stands out from the rest of the WWE locker room due to his unique look and the European Style similar to those of popular and underrated wrestlers like Fit Finlay and William Regal.  He handily defeated the United States Champion Santino Marella on Smackdown this week and his own title run could be in the near future.

4) Ryback – He’s finally getting put in the ring with enhancement talent like Jinder Mahal, Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins rather than the 2-on-1 Handicap matches against the slew of unknown jobbers that had many die-hard fans exasperated.  He frequently draws Goldberg chants from the crowd due to the perceived similarity in their two gimmicks, but we could be experiencing a meteoric rise similar to the one Goldberg received in 1998.

3) Sin Cara – He still hasn’t quite gotten the necessary repertoire with the rest of the talent to pull off his style of matches without a few botches here and there, but eventually he’ll smooth all of that out.  I was concerned that WWE would give up on him after his suspension last summer due to violation of the wellness policy and then sustaining an injury at Survivor Series last year only a few months after the end of that suspension, an injury that kept him out of action until June.  With Rey Mysterio likely on his final run with the company, expect him to pass the masked luchadore torch to Sin Cara sometime in the not so distant future.

2) Wade Barrett – The Barrett Barrage has been halted temporarily due to the injury he suffered back in February, but don’t expect the winner of NXT Season One to miss a step when he makes his return.  Instead, expect him to win his first World Championship sometime in 2013.

1) Dolph Ziggler – Easily tops the list by virtue of his holding the Money in the Bank briefcase.  There is also the intense level of respect that the internet wrestling community has gained for him (from my experience anyway) over the past year and a half since his rivalry with Edge and since he started calling himself the Show Off late last year.  He was wrestling 1-2 matches on multiple Pay Per Views late last year and the last guy I can recall doing that was Chris Benoit during his tremendous reign as World Heavyweight Champion in 2004.  In my opinion, he’s frequently the best performer on the roster and his over the top antics are always entertaining.

Raw Response – 06/11/12 – The End of People Power?

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After nearly being fired by Triple H the night after the Royal Rumble and then having his job dangled over the abyss during the Main Event of Over the Limit, John Laurinaitis faced a job performance review from Vince McMahon himself and I for one have dared to get my hopes up that the bumbling buffoon I call GM Johnny is finally removed from any on-air duties.

To begin the show, Johnny came out to make his case, but was immediately interrupted by Vince McMahon.  The opening segment was full of Fire Johnny chants and Johnny bumbles along through his delivery as always and then Sheamus comes out to sarcastically make a case for Johnny to keep his job.  Johnny then goes to the back to pick out Sheamus’ opponent and Vince informs Johnny that he’d better pick a very good opponent for Sheamus and the entire show had better be impressive or at the end of the night, he would be fired.  Vince then added insult to injury as on top of the stress he put Johnny under, the Chairman drove Johnny’s “People Power” scooter over the edge of the entrance ramp.

After the commercial break, Johnny comes out and announces that Sheamus’ opponent would be Lord Tensai and Tensai stormed out to the ring and knocked his manager Sakamoto flat.  Tensai wasn’t wearing his komono or helmet and he didn’t waddle slowly out to the ring like usual, so that might be a good sign that he’s going to last somehow because the scuttlebutt I’ve been hearing has indicated that Tensai (formerly Prince Albert and A-Train) would once again be repackaged just 2 months after the debut of his Tensai character.  Regardless of what Tensai’s future might hold, this was a match I suggested was one that needed to happen at some point this year (which you can read about in my Real American Top 10 posts).  The two men put on a very physical match, leaving marks all over each other, which shouldn’t really be that hard considering both of them look like they have spent most of the year avoiding sunlight.  I very much enjoyed this first match of the night and Sheamus ultimately won via the Brogue Kick.  After the match, Tensai beat down his own manager, which got zero reaction from the crowd.

After news broke this weekend that Alberto Del Rio would not be able to challenge Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship this Sunday at No Way Out as was advertised and on the air they explained it as a concussion that Del Rio suffered at the hands of The Great Khali on last week’s Smackdown.  Backstage, Vince asked Johnny what he planned to do to determine a new challenger for Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out.  Johnny then asked Teddy for an idea and Teddy suggested Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. The Great Khali in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match and Johnny crappily tried to pass off the idea as his own.  Johnny then tried to fist bump Vince, but Vince would have none of it, responding simply “You’ve got small hands,” which of course implies that Johnny has a small penis.

In other backstage action, one-half of the Tag Team Champions R-Truth commented about being okay after Big Show physically dominated the champions and Brodus Clay two weeks ago on Raw and Big Show interrupted by knocking R-Truth out with the WMD.

For the second match of the night, United States Champion Santino Marella teamed with Diva’s Champion Layla against Beth Phoenix and Ricardo Rodriguez and I assumed that Santino was obviously going to beat Ricardo with the Cobra and some other sort of hijinks, but Santino ended up juking Ricardo into running head first into the ring post and while the men were outside, Beth beat Layla with the Glam Slam. After the match, Santino tore Ricardo’s dress shirt off, revealing a Justin Bieber T-Shirt that looked like it was a women’s medium crammed over Ricardo’s men’s XL torso.

Kofi Kingston then stormed in on GM Johnny’s office where David Otunga is taking the opportunity to suck up to Mr. McMahon.  GM Johnny then returns from checking on R-Truth, who “isn’t doing well” after being knocked out by Big Show’s WMD.  Kofi then demands a match with Big Show, which Johnny agrees to, but then Johnny gives another horrible delivery of his line (but at least he got the words right) as he makes it a Steel Cage match.  Johnny cannot sell drama worth a damn.  He’s a terrible public speaker and his verbal delivery is as dull and flat as they come and he does not deserve to have an on-screen job.  He never did.  You could go to the Special Olympics and find that 90% of the kids there have better public speaking chops than GM Johnny.  His existence as an on-air talent just goes to show you that WWE fails to recognize the difference between legitimate heat on a character and people booing them simply because they are not good at their job.  GM Johnny wouldn’t be a good enough actor to be cast in the movie Thankskilling (go look it up on Netflix, it’s possibly the worst acted movie of all time).

Daniel Bryan comes out at the top of the second hour and he cuts a promo about his former girlfriend AJ and her flirting with his opponents in the Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship at No Way Out.  CM Punk then interrupts as he makes his way to the ring for the match and cuts a promo on Daniel Bryan and tells him that AJ is out of his league, just like Daniel Bryan is nowhere close to being in Punk’s league in the ring.  Punk went on to insult “goat faced moron” Daniel Bryan for another few minutes, prompting chants of “Goat Face” directed at Bryan.  Kane then finally interrupts and gives his take on things and reminds everybody of some of his past antics including lighting Jim Ross on fire, electrocuting Shane McMahon’s testicles and Piledriving a priest and Kane says that his “pipe bombs” unlike Punk’s actually do damage.  AJ then comes out and this love rectangle continues as she claims she saw that Kane has a heart when she looked into his eyes last week.  The bottom line is, AJ says she knows the best man will win at No Way Out, but leaves it hanging as to who she thinks the best man is.  GM Johnny then appears on the Tron to announce that CM Punk will have to team with AJ to take on Kane and Daniel Bryan, but that match won’t be until later.

Next up was the Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match to determine the challenger for Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out this Sunday.  My pick going in was Dolph Ziggler with Jack Swagger as a dark horse pick depending on how they wanted to work around the current growing rift storyline involving Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and their manager Vickie Guerrero.  Going into the match, I in no way saw The Great Khali potentially winning, mostly because his time in the World Title picture was never popular and Khali’s lack of athleticism is always criticized.  All four of these men were former World Heavyweight Champions, including Ziggler even though his World Championship reign lasted for less than an entire episode of Smackdown a year and a half ago.  Khali would be the first one eliminated after a Frog Splash from Christian and all three men pinning him at the same time.  Christian then overcame the numbers disadvantage and hit Swagger with the Killswitch and Ziggler covered Swagger and eliminated him, much to Vickie’s dismay.  Ziggler would go on to survive pretty much everything in Christian’s arsenal save for the Killswitch and then Ziggler hit the ZigZag, but Christian surprisingly kicked out.  Christian then countered a second ZigZag and hit a Reverse DDT, but Ziggler again survived.  Ziggler then avoiding some top rope offense from Christian and finally hit another ZigZag, this time for the win and Ziggler advanced to face Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship this Sunday.

The Goldberg chants came next as Ryback (formerly Skip Sheffield) faced two more jobbers in yet another 2-on-1 Handicap Match, who called themselves the “Commanders in Chief”, named Willard Fillmore and Rutherford “P.S.” Hayes.  Apparently, these dinks didn’t know that President Fillmore’s name was Millard and not Willard.  Either way, Ryback destroyed them as per usual.

John Cena made his first appearance of the night, making a case for GM Johnny to be fired.  Vince responded by bringing up Cena’s loss to The Rock at Wrestlemania.  Cena then brought up Vince’s Wrestlemania losses against Shane McMahon (Wrestlemania XVII), Hulk Hogan (Wrestlamania XIX), Shawn Michaels (Wrestlemania 22) and Bret Hart (Wrestlemania XXVI) and even joked “and didn’t you lose to Snooki too, or was that somebody else.”  In the end, Vince simply warned John Cena not to go out to save Kofi Kingston in his Steel Cage Match against Big Show.

Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston in a Steel Cage Match was next and of course Big Show was going to dominate this match due to his ginormous monster heel push and the fact that his Steel Cage Match with John Cena is obviously being promoted as the Main Event at No Way Out this Sunday.  Kingston was surprisingly able to land Trouble in Paradise, but Big Show put himself way over by launching Kofi clear across the ring to kick out of the pinfall seconds later.  Big Show then knocked Kofi out and spent a couple of minutes walking around the ring and taunting the crowd before finally leaving the cage and winning the match.

Sin Cara continued his return from injury tour with another victory over the job squad, which this time was represented by Curt Hawkins.  Guys like Sin Cara, Ryback and Brodus Clay are long overdue for some actual plot lines instead of the meaningless put over matches they’ve been having.  Admittedly it has only been two weeks since Sin Cara came back and he has had actual programs in the past before his injury.  Brodus and Ryback do not have that same track record and people are soon going to get bored with them (if they aren’t already) if they don’t start doing something meaningful soon.

Vader returned on special invitation from GM Johnny in honor of Raw’s upcoming 1000th Episode.  This could definitely be a trend that continues leading up to July 23.  Vader looked incredibly out of shape for this match and had to use all fours to climb the ring steps and get into the ring.  The crowd chanted “you’ve still got it,” which doesn’t say much for them because he obviously didn’t still have “it”.  However, he did beat Heath Slater.  Slater, much like GM Johnny should just keep his mouth closed.  When he picks up a mic, it makes me want to stab out my eardrums until I can find the remote control and mute his red-headed squeaky-scratchy-voice having ass.

CM Punk & AJ against Kane and Daniel Bryan would be the Main Event of the night in what basically amounts to a Handicap Match against Punk with a useless partner, who if the match holds true to form will get tagged into that match at some random juncture in which the action will stop and something screwy, silly, stupid or weird will happen leading to the finish.  And indeed, something silly happened when AJ got in the ring and skipped around Kane.  She then jumped onto Kane, wrapped her legs around him and commenced to make out with the Big Red Machine until Punk could regroup.  Kane then tagged out to Daniel Bryan and left and AJ tagged Punk back in and Punk beat Bryan with the Macho Man Elbow Drop while Kane looked on in confusion.

Then it was finally time for the real Main Event of the night – the potential firing of John Laurinaitis to end this three hour edition of Monday Night Raw.  Vince comes out and has security around the ring and when Johnny arrives, Vince informs him that the security is there to escort a certain somebody out of the ring, out of the building and out of the business.  Johnny then stumbles through some kind of dialogue where he asks to be left in charge of the Era of People Power.  Vince then prepares to fire Johnny, but is interrupted by the arrival of Big Show.  Big Show then hypes his “Ironclad contract” and shoots on Vince for all of the embarrassing stuff he had to do over the years like going down against Shaquille O’Neal, Floyd Mayweather and Ben Roethlisberger to get the WWE on SportsCenter.  Cena then came out to the ring to join in on the festivities.  Vince then promises to fire GM Johnny if Big Show loses at No Way Out and Big Show and Cena try to get at each other and security gets involved and Big Show throws them out of the ring.  Cena then jumps on Big Show and Vince tries to break it up and catches a WMD from Big Show by mistake.  Johnny then coaxes Big Show to the back and Cena stands in the ring shocked with Vince laid out to end the show.

Written by I Am a Real American

June 11, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Posted in A-Train, Albert, Alberto Del Rio, Beth Phoenix, Big Show, Brodus Clay, Cena vs. Laurinaitis, CM Punk, CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, Daniel Bryan, Diva's Championship, Dolph Ziggler, Fatal 4-Way, Friday Night Smackdown, Handicap Match, Hulk Hogan, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Layla El, Lord Tensai, Macho Man, Monday Night Raw, No Way Out, Over the Limit, Pro Wrestling, R-Truth, Raw Response, Real American Top Ten, Sakamoto, Santino Marella, Shane McMahon, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Steel Cage Match, Tag Team, The Great Khali, United States Championship, Vader, Vader Bomb, Vickie Guerrero, Vince McMahon, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 28, Wrestlemania XXVIII, WWE, WWE Tag Team Championship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by I Am a Real American

May 6, 2012 at 5:54 am

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

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