The first Roadblock PPV was just last year in Canada, featuring eleven matches total, with the main event of Triple H vs Dean Ambrose, where Triple H retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This year, it has been rebranded as a Raw exclusive PPV and renamed Roadblock: End Of The Line. It will take place in Pittsburg, PA at the PPG Paints Arena. Let’s take a look at the match card and make some predictions.
Big Cass vs Rusev – Preshow Singles Match
This feud all started when Lana accidentally saw Enzo Amore’s twig and berries while he was locked out of the locker room. Rusev caught Enzo attempting to hit on Lana, which resulted in Lana pretending to leave Rusev so she could lure Enzo to her hotel room where her husband beat the living daylights out of him. Cass isn’t one to let things slide when it comes to his best friend and tag partner, so he now has it out for Rusev. I’m glad it was a ruse and WWE wasn’t honestly trying to make a mockery of a real life marriage, plus it eased us into an easy feud. I don’t believe either of these men belong on the preshow, but let’s hope they give us a good match.
F2H Prediction: Rusev
Rich Swann (c) vs T.J. Perkins vs Brian Kendrick – Triple Threat Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
The Cruiserweight Division is still struggling to find its place on Raw, and it doesn’t help that they now have their own show after Smackdown on the Network; that’s just too much wrestling to pack into one night. T.J. Perkins was a great pick as our inaugural champion and had a good run before losing the title to Brian Kendrick. Our resident pirate then lost his title on 205 Live, exclusively on the Network, to Rich Swann. Swann is an incredibly charismatic guy and a fantastic wrestler, so he will bring a lot of prestige and interest to the Cruiserweight division.
F2H Prediction: Rich Swann
Seth Rollins vs Chris Jericho – Singles Match
Kevin Owens saved Jericho from a Pedigree on the go home episode of Raw, so the friendship is back on… I think? Rocky, but they definitely will have each other’s backs. This doesn’t sit well for Rollins, who has been trying his best to get back on top of the Raw brand where he belongs. Rollins wants Owens’ title, but Jericho has been blocking him at every turn, so now they have their own issues to squash before Rollins can move on. If Owens interferes, I want it to happen after we get a clean win. Owens can beat the hell out of Rollins if he wants, but not until the bell has rung.
F2H Prediction: Seth Rollins
The New Day (c) vs Sheamus & Cesaro – Tag Team Match for the Raw Tag Team Titles
At the WWE Tribute To The Troops, Cesaro and Sheamus won a Fatal 4 Way match, beating Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, The Shining Stars, and The Golden Truth to earn a chance to challenge New Day for their titles. The New Day are now the longest reigning tag team champions in WWE history, which is huge. At this point, their titles are fair game. They broke the record, made history, and can now give up the titles without really losing. Cesaro and Sheamus are such an odd couple, but they are both fantastic athletes and ended up teaming well together, eventually. It’ll be interesting to see if they are able to keep it together and capture those titles.
F2H Prediction: New Day
Sami Zayn vs Braun Strowman – Singles Match with a 10 Minute Time Limit
Braun Strowman has been crushing everybody in his path, but he did manage to make time to make James Ellsworth famous and get him a WWE contract, so he’s not all bad. Mick Foley has stopped matches between these two because Zayn is so outgunned, which is where the time limit comes into play. Granted, Strowman can probably end the match in 60 seconds, so perhaps 10 minutes is being a bit generous. Zayn is a great competitor, but I feel that WWE is still working on building Strowman into an unstoppable monster, and he needs to keep that going for a little while longer.
F2H Prediction: Braun Strowman
Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte – 30 Minute Iron Man Match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship
These women are just taking it to the extreme more and more, and it’s going to get to the point that someone gets seriously injured if they aren’t careful. I’m glad they keep trying to top themselves, but I’m more worried about their health and possible long absences due to injury (miss you, Finn Balor). Their cage match left a lot to be desired, thanks to a drawn out “injury” that nearly kept Banks from competing, but they made up for it during their next match where Banks tangled Charlotte in the stadium railing to lock in the Banks Statement and force a tap. We’ve already seen Banks compete in an Iron Man match on NXT, so I’m expecting main event material here.
F2H Prediction: Sasha Banks
Kevin Owens (c) vs Roman Reigns – Singles Match for the WWE Universal Championship
I’m so annoyed with this match. I hate it. Why does Roman Reigns, a guy already holding a title, get a title match on this PPV? I hate it. Have I mentioned that I’m not too fond of this main event? I hope Chris Jericho interferes in every shady way possible without causing a disqualification. I hope Owens beats his ass into the mat, and then powerbombs him into the apron a few dozen times. I hope Reigns can’t walk by the end of this match. Listen, I used to be a fan of Reigns, believe it or not. I just can’t buy into this fist-cocking, show-boating nonsense he insists on doing. I don’t want another John Cena. Give me quiet, brooding Roman Reigns back and I’ll be on board.
F2H Prediction: Kevin Owens
Roadblock: End Of The Line will begin at 8pm EST, with the preshow starting at 7pm, exclusively on the WWE Network. Unfortunately for fans, Lita will not be present, as new reports have stated that she has left the company. Jerry Lawler has also been removed from on air events. Live tweet with @FaceToHeel and writers @MrNotWell and @OhhhTweener, and be on the lookout for our next giveaway!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Be sure to check out our Twitter page to enter our contest for a chance to win a copy of WWE’s Greatest Stars of the 90’s on DVD! Contest runs now through midnight this Thursday. Check out our gallery at the end of this post for our live photos from last’s Clash of Champions! For more photos, check out our Instagram page. And now, our Monday Night Raw coverage.
After spending a few hours at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Clash of Champions, my voice is nearly non-existent from cheering and I’m ready for Raw to resolve some issues that weren’t put to rest last night. Raw kicks off in Cincinatti, Ohio with our new United States Champion, Roman Reigns. Right off the bat, he will be defending his title against Rusev. Rusev gets Reigns down on the mat early on, but Reigns is able to counter and get Rusev in a headlock. This crowd is definitely more behind Reigns than we were in Indianapolis. Rusev targets Reigns’ back with kicks before hitting a suplex into an unsuccessful pin. Reigns is able to get Rusev in the corner and hit chops to the chest, and Rusev counters by hitting a fallaway slam that sends Reigns out of the ring. After the break, Rusev has Reigns on his back in the ring as Lana looks on. Reigns fakes his injuries about as well as John Cena, if not somewhat worse. Reigns hits a few punches, but Rusev counters with a dropkick. As Rusev lands kicks, Reigns starts to do that mini headbang to get himself psyched up. He hits Rusev with a clothesline, then cocks his fist and goes for a Superman Punch, but Rusev catches him and both men go flying out of the ring.
They break for a second time for commercials, and we return to Rusev in control. Reigns is placed on the ropes, and Rusev tries for a suplex but Reigns is able to hit punches and knock Rusev away. He dives off the ropes and hits a clothesline, then hits a Samoan drop into a cover. I really wish Corey Graves would quit calling Reigns the “big dog.” Rusev tries pin after pin, but can’t keep Reigns down for the three count. This match started off a bit slow, but it’s really picked up the pace. Rusev calls for the Accolade, but Reigns catches him by the foot, then hits a Superman Punch into the cover, and nearly wins. Lana jumps on the apron as a distraction, allowing Rusev to roll out of the ring. Reigns follows, throwing Rusev into the steel stairs and then into the crowd. The referee counts both men out and calls the match, but the two are still fighting in the crowd. Rusev throws Reigns back into the ring area, then slams him into the barricade and ring apron. A “this is awesome” chant starts right before Reigns throws Rusev into the barricade. Rusev grabs a steel chair and takes Reigns down, nearly finishing him off, but Reigns is able to hit a spear and takes Rusev out. We’re a little over thirty minutes into Raw at this point; I’m surprised they gave these two that much time. Reigns grabs the steel chair and sits by Rusev, who is out cold, while holding his belt and talking trash. Once Rusev gets up, Reigns gets one good chair shot in before continuing his celebration. Not the match I would have booked, but they both did a good job. Compared to last night, this was a better match.
Mick Foley gets in the ring to address the Best of 7 series that concluded last night at Clash of Champions in a draw; medical staff decided that neither man was able to finish the match. This was very confusing to me as a fan who was present, as our seats didn’t allow us to see the move that “injured” the pair, and Cesaro hopped back into the ring to try and continue the fight. Foley invites Sheamus and Cesaro to the ring, and Sheamus is angry because he wants his title opportunity that Foley promised either he or Cesaro. Both men consider themselves the winner even though the series ended in a tie. Foley decides that both men get a championship opportunity, but it will be as a team for the Tag Team titles. What? This was seriously unexpected! I like it!
Speaking of our tag titles, our champions come to the ring to compete again against The Club. Kofi Kingston gets control of the match early, as Woods cheers him on via trombone. He starts using quick tags with Big E to keep Anderson down, but Gallows attacks Big E outside of the ring, then hits Kingston with a clothesline that flips him completely over. As Kingston gets back to his feet, Anderson hits him with a dropkick, then rolls him back into the ring for a cover. Gallows hits Kingston with a chokeslam after an unsuccessful attempt by Kingston to knock him down. Anderson tags in during the break and will not allow Kingston to tag in Big E. After a miss by Anderson, Big E finally tags in and hits him with a Belly to Belly. Outside the ring, Kingston takes down Gallows. Anderson dodges Big E, sending him into the ringpost hard, and trying for another pin. This is essentially the same match we were given last night. It isn’t bad, but having just seen it 24 hours ago, I could do with something different. New Day nearly win after hitting The Midnight Hour, but Gallows breaks the pin. Anderson and Gallows hit the Magic Killer on Big E and almost win it, but Kingston saves the match. He is able to get the pin on Anderson for the win, but has blood gushing out of his head! What the heck happened?
Bayley makes her way to the ring now, facing a local soccer mom named Anna Fields. Fields pins Bayley on the rope early, hits her with her forearms, pins her in the corner with her foot, and then goes for a pin. The crowd starts chanting for Bayley, who is in a headlock. She finally breaks away from Fields, slamming her head into the turnbuckle. She hits Fields in the back, then with a running clothesline. Bayley picks up a quick win after hitting the Bayley to Belly. I’m confused. It strikes me as odd to give Bayley a random squash match at this point in time. After the match, Tom Phillips asks Bayley how she feels about her match last night. She calls Charlotte and Sasha Banks the top two women in this industry, but promises that she’ll be back in the title picture soon.
Backstage, Foley accuses Stephanie McMahon of playing favorites when it comes to Kevin Owens. Because last night, Chris Jericho interfered with the match and was not disciplined and because McMahon “took her time” getting a new referee for the title match, she was helping Owens. McMahon snaps back at Foley, telling him that she was picking up his slack and he isn’t doing his job. He needs to stop letting his ego get in the way and stop accusing her of not properly doing her job. Foley admits that he was out of line, and walks away like a hurt puppy dog.
It’s Cruiserweight time! Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann versus Lince Dorado and Drew Gulak. Swann and Dorado start the match off, and both men are so acrobatic that neither can land a move. This is awesome. Dorado gets the first pin but Alexander saves his partner. Dorado sends Swann outside of the ring and into Gulak and Alexander. He then moonsaults off the top rope and takes down all three men. After the commercial break, Gulak is in the ring with Swann and has him down on the mat in a chinlock. He tags in Dorado who tries to get Swann down for the three count. Swann dodges a dropkick, sending Dorado into the ring post. Gulak and Alexander tag in, and Alexander dominates immediately. It’s amazing watching the cruiserweights fly around the ring. Alexander flies off the top rope into a pin, but Dorado breaks it up. Gulak suplexes Alexander back into his corner where he tags in Swann. He hits Gulak with a hard kick into a bridge cover for the win! These guys should hbe given the thirty minutes allotted to Sheamus and Cesaro; they are truly amazing athletes.
Cesaro and Sheamus awkwardly walk to the ring together to battle Nick Cutler and Willis Williams. Cesaro and Cutler stat things off, and Sheamus is already refusing to tag in. Cesaro gets him tagged in when he is playing to the crowd, and Sheamus proceeds to show off at the expense of Cutler. Cutler tags in partner Williams, who is immediately taken down by Sheamus. Cesaro tags himself back in and hits Williams with an uppercut. The crowd starts a “let’s go jobbers” chant, which isn’t a good sign for our new tag team. Cutler tags back in and targets Cesaro’s shoulder. Cesaro hits an uppercut to Williams, then goes for the neutralizer on Cutler. Sheamus jumps in and Brogue kicks both Williams and Cutler, allowing Cesaro to get the pin and win the match. This was… different.
TJ Perkins joins Tom Phillips backstage, saying that winning the Cruiserweight title is a dream come true, and debuting on Raw is a dream come true. He is interrupted by our resident pirate, Brian Kendrick. Kendrick is still very bitter about losing the CWC and losing his match last night at Clash of Champions. Kendrick says that Perkins owes him for his entire career. I personally am very glad that Perkins is champion over Kendrick.
Our women’s champion, Charlotte, is on now with Dana Brooke. She calls Clash of Champions “her night” thanks to her win; she is now 12-0 at PPVs when defending her title. Charlotte admits she isn’t huggable like Bayley, isn’t an internet sweetheart like Banks, but she is the face of the division. Sasha Banks interrupts, saying that last night may have gone her way, but that is still her title. Bayley was pinned, not her, and she is still owed her one-on-one rematch. Charlotte says she is “just as much better” than Banks, but admits that Banks has earned a title shot. She agrees to fight Banks next week because if she doesn’t, Banks will just whine until she gets her way. Banks delivers a hard slap across Charlotte’s face, then attacks Brooke. Charlotte gets back up and Banks throws her and Brooke from the ring. I was hoping they would have the rematch tonight, but next week works just fine.
Backstage, Seth Rollins runs into Mick Foley. Rollins is currently not medically cleared for competition, but is determined to go out to the ring during Chris Jericho’s segment with Kevin Owens. He knows McMahon is sabotaging him and wants to confront Owens instead of just let him brag. But first, TJ Perkins comes to the ring! He will be facing Tony Neese, who is a bad ass. Neese tries to lock Perkins’ wrist, but our champ flips around too much for him to lock it in. Perkins locks in a knee bar, but Neese grabs the rope. Neese lands a superkick, then dives from the ring to take Perkins down. They break for commercial only a couple of minutes into the match, which is frustrating. THIS IS HIS DEBUT RAW MATCH. As we return, Neese is in control. The crowd starts an obnoxious CM PUNK chant as Perkins goes for another pin. Perkins tries for a tornado DDT, but Neese blocks it and nearly gets the win. This crowd is filled with a bunch of dicks, chanting names of other wrestlers as these two put on a clinic. Perkins gets the tap out victory via knee bar. This was an awesome match. A shame some idiot fans have to ruin it.
Jericho’s Highlight Reel is up now, and Jericho is adding more stupid idiots to his list. Sorry, unnamed cameraman. His BFF, Kevin Owens, is his guest for this evening. Jericho says that Owens proved what excellence was last night during his match. Owens says that he proved that he is the man, he is the main event, and he is better than Seth Rollins. He then calls out Rollins for injuring John Cena, Sting, and Finn Balor. Cue Rollins! Every security guard in existence rushes out to stop Rollins before he can get down the ramp. Foley and the security team manage to get Rollins backstage, but now Enzo and Cass are here! The crowd loses it; I wish they had been at the PPV last night. This is funny, and Jericho’s threat to go sit on their lap was fantastic. YES! I have never laughed this hard at Jericho ever. Our main event is set; Enzo and Cass versus Jericho and Owens, right after the break.
Jericho and Enzo are in the ring after the break, but Owens is quickly tagged in. Owens demands “the big one,” so Cass tags in and is immediately targeted. Cass slams Owens in the corner, then tags in Enzo who dives into Owens. With Jericho and Owens outside of the ring, Cass lifts Enzo over his head and throws him on top of both opponents. Cass throws Owens back into the ring, gets a knee in his midsection, and then gets hit with chops from Jericho. Cass counters with a sidewalk slam to both opponents, then tries to hit Jericho with a kick, but Jericho grabs the ropes and sends Cass flying. After the break, Owens is thrown to the mat by Cass who then tags in Enzo. Owens tags in Jericho, and he is hit over and over by Enzo. He goes to the top rope and hits a crossbody on Jericho, then kicks Owens off the apron. Jericho tries a quick roll up but Enzo kicks out. Owens grabs Enzo by the legs, assisting Jericho in knocking Enzo out. Owens then throws Enzo into the barricade and showboats for the crowd, then does a fantastic impression of Enzo’s dance. Enzo is stuck on the top rope thanks to Jericho, but he is able to counter and knock Jericho off the ropes. He dives off, but Jericho hits a kick and knocks him out. Owens tags in and nearly gets the win on Enzo, then argues with the referee. Jericho goes for a lionsault, but Enzo gets his knees up. Owens and Cass get tagged in, and Cass starts hitting shoulder tackles. He hits a fallaway slam, then kicks Jericho right in his face as he tries to interfere. Cass hits the Empire Elbow, takes out Jericho again, and tries to finish Owens, but he ducks away. Cass manages to regain control with a well timed kick, then tags in Enzo. Jericho slams Cass across the face, so Cass gives him another kick to the head. Meanwhile, Enzo hits a DDT on Owens, but can’t win the match. This is a great main event, guys. Owens hits the Pop Up Powerbomb and wins the match.
Next Monday, Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson will be guests on Raw to confront Jericho and Owens. Brian Kendrick will get his rematch against TJ Perkins to try to win the Cruiserweight title, and Sasha Banks also gets a rematch against Charlotte for the Women’s title. Let us know what you thought of tonight’s Raw in the comments below, and give us a follow on Twitter at @facetoheel. We’ll see you tomorrow for Smackdown.
Face To Heel at CLASH OF CHAMPIONS!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
On the last day of August, Finn Balor called in to The Ross Report podcast with Jim Ross. Just one week removed from his surgery, Balor was upbeat when talking to Good Ol’ JR. He did have some discouraging news for fans, however.
The night Finn Balor’s injury occurred at SummerSlam, he first suspected it was dislocated after Seth Rollins threw him into the barricade. The gutsy performer popped it back into place and kept wrestling. The next day, as the pain grew progressively worse, Balor would check in with WWE doctors. About three hours before Monday Night Raw was scheduled to happen, Balor was told he would need surgery as he had a tear in his labrum according to scans. A few hours later, he would relinquish the Universal Championship to Mick Foley and <span two days later he would have surgery.
Unfortunately, when the doctors finally opened Balor up, they found more damage than expected. Instead of a linear labrum tear, the tear went a full 180 degrees around his arm, twice as big as originally expected. Additionally, he had damage to his bicep and pectoral muscles, as well as a few minor broken bones. The surgery was a success and Balor joked that the doctors were kind enough to give him the bone fragments in a jar which he decided to keep.
The original prognosis before surgery was 4-6months to heal, leaving many to speculate a possible 4 or 5 month return if rehab went well. Now the doctors are saying it will be a "hard six months" and that Balor will most likely need every single day to recover, rehab, and get back to full mobility. Balor says he will use the full six months and then some if necessary as he wants to come back better than ever. So fans shouldn't expect him back any earlier.
As it stands now, Balor is forced to sleep upright in a La-Z-Boy recliner for the next six weeks as he is not allowed to sleep on his back due to the sling his arm is in. As the interview goes on, Balor praised WWE for how they handled the situation and took care of him. He said it blew him away how fantastic everything had gone down. They got him in for surgery with some of the best doctors on the planet without delay.
The good news here is that although he won't be back as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble, he will return and have plenty of time to get the ring rust out long before WrestleMania rolls around. But that's the future, for now Balor says he is doing rehab twice a day and that's all he is focused on. As for all the hate Seth Rollins is getting? Balor says it's unwarranted and that he thinks Seth Rollins is one of the best workers in the company and it was just a fluke accident.
It's a shame that Finn Balor's title reign ended so abruptly. But The Demon King will return and reclaim his place at the top. With Kevin Owens wearing the Universal Championship, the title is in good hands for the time being. We wish Balor a speedy recovery and wait patiently for his triumphant return.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
(Editor’s Note: Before we begin this article, please check out our Go Fund Me page. My wife and I try to keep things positive and light here at Face to Heel, but we really are struggling in our personal lives. We’re having a hard time paying our bills. If you can assist in any way, we would be forever grateful. If you are unable to donate, please share our link on social media and try to get our message out there. We’re trying to keep a roof over our kid’s head and prevent our cars from being repossessed. Thank you so much for the support you’ve shown us over the years. Now back to the wrestling!)
Finn Balor is out six months with a shoulder injury. I actually grimaced when I typed that. The shock reverberated through the WWE Universe and we were all left deflated after he relinquished the title to Mick Foley on Monday Night RAW. In the wake of his injury, WWE hastily threw together a tournament to determine a new Universal Champion next week in a Fatal-4-Way match. After several matches, the final field was determined to be Big Cass, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Kevin Owens. Each competitor is different than the last and any winner in the field brings both pros and cons to the table. Let’s break it down and see what might happen next, after each individual guy wins.
Big Cass — As crazy as it sounds to say this, he’s probably the underdog in this matchup. He has the size, but he does not have the experience. Reigns and Rollins have been here before. This is nothing new to them. And Owens has held the Intercontinental Championship and NXT Championship. Cass has never held singles or tag team gold in the company. He lacks depth and is still very green on the mic. On the flip side of all that, he’s seven foot tall (a slight exaggeration, but you can’t teach that) which Vince obviously loves. The Chairman has a weird fetish with giant human beings. So regardless of whether or not he’s ready or if he can carry the load, Vince would push him, fates be damned! His learning curve would be steep and he’d have to either put up or shut up rather quickly. The positives for him carrying the Universal Championship are giving the belt to someone who is crazy over. He would be a fresh face, and a crowd pleaser. It would be a smooth transition from the beloved Finn Balor to Colin Cassady. However, Big Cass is not great on the mic so would Enzo Amore have to be his hype man, essentially becoming a manager for him? And if that happened, how long before we grew tired of that? Within a short period of time it would shine a glaring spotlight on one of Big Cass’s biggest weaknesses. And if a champ can’t talk, a champ can’t stay on top for long. On the other hand, having Cass stand on his own means that tension is created between he and Enzo. Are we all prepared for that breakup? I for one think it would be somewhat of a tragedy if Enzo and Big Cass never won a tag team championship, especially considering the huge pop they get when they come out. Being the greenest in this match makes me think Cass has a very low percentage chance of winning this.
But let’s say Big Cass does win, what then? A crash course in cutting promos would be a must. Having a bigger guy with the belt opens the door to many competitors. And Vince gets to have the cream-in-his-pants hoss matches he loves so much. Cass could go on a long title reign if he wrestles smaller guys. He is big and strong and could just beat opponents and get to the point where he has beaten everyone and he can say nobody can take him down. Boom, Finn Balor returns to break that theory. The inevitable breakup and betrayal by Cass to Enzo Amore would honestly be fun to watch, but his lack of experience makes me skeptical that we would put up with Cass for very long. Don’t get me wrong, he has potential and could one day be a mega-superstar, but now is not his time. This match for him needs to be a career booster. He needs to look good and impress us, but ultimately lose so we can nurture him and strap him up when he’s ready.
Seth Rollins — This is the obvious choice winner, the safest call. Give the belt to someone who knows what to do with it, a great worker and is fluent on the mic. And the ultimate comeback story is cocky, heel Rollins running his mouth with the title for the next six months until we’re all so sick of him that our heads explode when Finn Balor comes back to take what is rightfully his. Rollins is the least worrisome of these four competitors. If he wins, we’re off and running with no prep time, no hiccups, no confusion. Just put the gold on him and move forward immediately. He can be a place holder until Balor returns. It’s not a great idea, but it’s the easiest one for all of us to digest in a short amount of time. The other side of it, though, is we’ve been there, we’ve done that. Seth Rollins has been the guy for the better part of two years now, longer if you count him leading The Shield. Do we want to turn him into another John Cena in terms of title shots and victories? Rollins does have a proven track record. He can wrestle any opponent and cut amazing promos. Having him win wouldn’t be a total waste, especially if the Cruiserweight Division is coming in as soon as they have teased. Any guy in the CWC tournament against Rollins will put butts in seats. And As Rollins is the smaller, most athletically versatile in this matchup, it makes him an easy pick to become the second Universal Champion. He has the most pros and the least cons for winning and so it’s likely WWE is putting the belt on him for the foreseeable future.
Roman Reigns — Damnit, just kill me now. Look, I’ve tried to like the guy. I have. But me (and many other wrestling fans) just can’t get behind him. Reigns has experience in this department, but in some instances he’s just as green behind the ears as Big Cass. He’s a wishy-washy in-betweener, who can’t buy love from the crowd unless it’s small children and desperate women. He just isn’t likable as a face, and he’s never really tried to be a heel but all signs point to him sucking at the ultra-douchebag persona heel-like mask he has worn at times. His in-ring skillset is pretty limited and he is horrendous on a mic, whether off the cuff or scripted. Of the three members from The Shield, he is the least evolved. He never grew and his flaws are glaring. If he wins, the WWE Universe is just going to hate Vince and resent the champ. And we’ll be forced to cringe through several pay-per-views with Reigns in the main event but never really becoming a draw. He is not now nor will he ever be “the guy” in WWE, as he puts it. He just doesn’t have the charisma, the ring work, or the demeanor to be a long term champion. Now, there are some positives for this move, though. Reigns recently beat the brakes off of Rusev at SummerSlam and Big Cass added insult to injury when he forced Rusev to walk out of their qualifying match on Raw this past week. So if Reigns getting the title leads to Rusev getting the title, that is an exciting proposition. As it stands, at least in my humble opinion, Roman Reigns isn’t even in the top 5 of the current Raw roster. He doesn’t even deserve a shot at the Universal Championship, because what has he done lately to deserve it? Put cake on Lana, skirt a match with Rusev, and get suspended for failing a drug test? To hell with Reigns at this point. This is my least favorite competitor in this Fatal-4-Way to win the belt, and I will be extremely disappointed with WWE if they go in this direction.
Kevin Owens — I saved the best for last. Owens is the dark horse in this match. He is the heel you love to hate. He’s great on the mic (whether cutting a promo, guesting on commentary, or joking around with Y2J), he can go in the ring, and he is beloved by that fabled 18-35 male demographic WWE strives for. With his strength and quickness, Owens can go against anybody, big or small. He isn’t clean cut, but how is he any different than Dean Ambrose? He has star power, he can draw, and if he wants to be liked or hated, he has the ability to manipulate a crowd. His recent feuds with various people leave his title defenses wide open with a range of wrestlers to challenge him including Sami Zayn and Cesaro. Despite his awesomeness, Seth Rollins has always been a WWE guy. Although originally from NXT, he was The Authority’s favorite and got pushed towards the top pretty early. For all intents and purposes WWE’s main roster laid the red carpet out for him. With Owens, he came on to the main roster with the NXT Championship and did not give a shit about his fellow competitors. He made a statement beating John Cena and had to put up with months of backhanded comments about his weight. He has a chip on his shoulder, and he’s not a “company guy.” So if NXT is really the future, why not put the strap on a guy who clearly liked being there. Move away from the ass kissers and brown nosers. Give the belt to a guy that does what he wants, says what he wants, and doesn’t care about the opinions of others. Who does that remind you of? Stone Cold Steve Austin, maybe? Pulling the trigger on Owens means WWE is finally ready to go the unconventional route and try something new. I mean, this is the “new era” isn’t it? Rollins and Reigns have both held big titles. And no offense to Big Cass, but we’ve all seen what happens when a physically gifted specimen is pushed with no other discernable skills to speak of (looking at you, Great Kahli). Shake things up. The indie guys are all the rage now, especially on the NXT side of things. Take a chance and see what happens. Worst case scenario, it doesn’t pan out and we swap champions at the next pay-per-view. Owens has held world or tag titles with 11 different companies, including WWE’s Intercontinental Championship and the NXT title. The guy can do it, so let him. Give us something unexpected, because we all have to be going into this Fatal-4-Way assuming that either Rollins or Reigns wins.
Put the Universal Championship on a former NXT champ and let him spend a year facing former NXT champs. Rollins, Neville, Samoa Joe (if he moves up, god what a dream match), Finn Balor, when he returns. There’s not really a scenario where this is a terrible idea. I’m even on board with having a pay-per-view match where Owens defends the title against his current BFF Chris Jericho out of jealous envy. And all this cultivates with moving Shinsuke Nakamura up at the Royal Rumble. He wins it and next year’s WrestleMania is Owens vs Nakamura for the Universal Championship. Imagine that! A WrestleMania where Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, or Dean Ambrose aren’t in the main event picture going for the world title, something we haven’t had on a pay-per-view since SummerSlam 2014 where it was John Cena vs Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. No really, don’t just take our word for it. Go fact check that absurd piece of trivia. It’s 100% accurate. The following pay-per-view, Night of Champions, Seth Rollins interfered giving Cena a victory via disqualification. Since then, a member of The Shield has either been in the main event of every pay-per-view show or has wrestled on the card for the world title or something towards the world title (MITB, #1 Contender, etc.). Don’t believe me? Check Wikipedia’s list of WWE pay-per-views page and look at the main events starting September 21, 2014. The only time a Shield member was not involved was if Brock Lesnar or The Undertaker were on the card.
Now, I love The Shield as much as the next man, but haven’t we seen enough? Let’s get some fresh blood wearing that blood-red Universal Championship! You know why The Attitude Era was successful and harked as one of the greatest times in professional wrestling? Because they took risks! Whether it worked or not, they weren’t afraid to think outside of the box and try something new. That’s what WWE needs right now. The draft lottery pissed off a lot of wrestlers, and the general vibe is Smackdown really wants to beat Raw in everything. What could be more shocking to the entire industry then Kevin Owens being Universal Championship simultaneously as AJ Styles (if he wins at Backlash) holding the World Heavyweight Championship? Talk about a Clash of Champions! That’s a match I’d pay hard earned money for! No more of this cookie cutter bullshit, WWE. Time to play some Russian roulette. Put a round in the chamber, spin it and pull the trigger. Fire some wrestlers out of their cannons and see where they land. Let them prove to you what they can do. Let them off the leash and your product will begin to buzz again. What have you got to lose? It’s not like your ratings are doing any better now than they were prior to the brand split. Gamble big, win big. Continue not taking risks, and you will keep seeing Dixie Carter out-innovate you at every turn.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
We recently brought you news on the rumored Wellness Violation that hung over Sasha Banks’ head. Fans will be happy to know that there was no truth to that rumor, but unfortunately our former women’s champion is dealing with a back injury. Banks is scheduled for an evaluation with doctors due to the pain she is dealing with in the lower lumbar area of her back. The official word is still out, but we hear that she will not require surgery and should be back in action within the next few weeks.
Not so lucky is our first Universal Champion, Finn Balor. His shoulder was injured during his Summerslam match against Seth Rollins when Balor absorbed a running power bomb to the barricade. His shoulder dislocated, and Balor popped it right back in and continued the match. The MRI that followed showed a possible labrum tear, which will require surgery and have Balor out of action for 4 to 6 months. This truly could not have come at a worse time for Balor, who was really taking off on the main roster.
Speaking of Summerslam, Brock Lesnar treated us to an ending worthy of the octagon, as he wailed on Randy Orton, hitting him with hard punches and elbows that resulted in Orton being left in a puddle of his own blood. Orton required ten staples to close the laceration on his forehead. There is a lot of speculation on whether or not Lesnar went too far with his attack, but we’ll leave that to you to decide.
NXT’s Samoa Joe suffered a dislocated jaw during his title match with our new NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. Joe was hit with two Kinshasa knee strikes, causing the dislocation of his mandible. Joe tweeted out that his jaw was dislocated, relocated, and he looks forward to being cleared soon. The severity of the injury is still unknown, so we’re not sure when we’ll see him back in action.
Also still out of action is Luke Harper, who suffered a knee injury and underwent successful surgery, Sting, who suffered a neck injury, Emma, who underwent back surgery, and Tyson Kidd who suffered a neck injury and underwent successful surgery. There is no timetable for any of their returns. Paige is also suffering neck and back injuries that she is personally working to strengthen. She is currently suspended due to a Wellness Policy Violation, so we may or may not see her back in the ring when the suspension lifts. We wish everyone a speedy recovery and will bring you updates as they become available.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
I’m in desperate need of a pick me up tonight after yesterday’s depressing situation with Finn Balor, who relinquished the Universal Title due to injury. Nikki Bella is set to make her official Smackdown debut this evening, coming after her surprise return at Summerslam. On the Smackdown Live preshow, it was announced that Stephanie McMahon fined Brock Lesnar only $500 for his attack on her brother, Shane, so it’ll be interesting to see if that is addressed tonight.
Smackdown begins in the locker room where AJ Styles names himself as The New Face That Runs The Place, thanks to his victory over John Cena at Summerslam. He puts on Cena’s “Never Give Up” armband that Cena left in the ring on Sunday, then calls out Dolph Ziggler for being a loser. After a brief brawl, Styles leaves the locker room. New feud?
The two new titles are in the ring as we begin; the new tag titles are the same design as the originals, but are colored silver on a blue leather belt. The new women’s title is also an exact replica of the original, but with a blue background behind the “W.” Before you start bitching, they could have gone off the wall with all of this, but they kept it simple. Let’s not let it ruin the entire show, okay? Daniel Bryan tells the six women of Smackdown that any one of them could potentially be champion, and the crowd start chanting for Nattie. The new Smackdown women’s champion will be crowned at Backlash, the first Smackdown exclusive PPV, and the contenders will be decided with a Six Pack Challenge. This will also be where the Smackdown tag team champions will be crowned, with a Tag Team Title Tournament that will start tonight and crown a winner at Backlash.
Slater’s Gonna Slate! Heath Slater interrupts regarding his lack of contract. Slater proposes to Bryan and McMahon that they allow him to compete for the tag titles. Slater is hilarious; I love this. Bryan says that if Slater can find a partner by the end of the night, they will turn this into an eight team tournament. But Slater will only get a contract if he wins the ENTIRE tournament. Poor Heath Slater and his fifteen children.
AJ Styles picks this time to come out, tells Slater to get lost, and says that they need to talk about The New Face That Runs The Place! It seems like Styles is letting this new title (that he has given himself) go to his head. Out of nowhere, Ziggler comes out and clocks Styles in the back of the head! Bryan and McMahon send the entire tag division out of the ring to break it up! Damn, this was a great start to the night. Kudos.
Our first match will be Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss, with Naomi and Natalya ringside at commentary. The match is pretty back and forth in the beginning, with Lynch looking for the Disarmer and Bliss able to block every attempt. Bliss is the smallest on the Smackdown roster, but quite possibly the most vicious. Bliss gets Lynch caught up on the ropes and is able to get a pin attempt, but Lynch counters with clotheslines that takes Bliss down. Bliss slams Lynch to the mat into a pin via flip from the middle rope, but Lynch kicks out at two. Lynch is able to lock in the Disarmer and Bliss has no choice but to tap. Natalya is on commentary with an attitude, going back and forth with Naomi in an awkward exchange as Lynch celebrates her win.
Backstage, Slater approaches The Miz and asks if he will be his Tag Team partner. Slater thinks that Miz is agreeing to do it, but it turns out that Miz is on his bluetooth talking a movie deal and didn’t hear a single word that Slater said. Poor Heath Slater and his twenty-five hungry children.
Our next match is a first round Tag Team Tournament Match; The Ascension versus The Usos. The Ascension attack The Usos as soon as the bell rings, taking them down and going for an early pin. Using quick tags, they are keeping their opponent isolated and unable to tag in his brother. The crowd starts a small Uso chant, but it fades quickly as Konnor goes for another pin attempt. Uso finally tags in his brother and hits a Cross Body, then a super kick on Viktor. He hits a Samoan Drop and goes for the finish, but Konnor jumps in to save his partner. Jimmy hits a splash and gets the pin for the win. JBL keeps telling us that The Usos are the favorites for this tournament, but I’m not buying it.
The New Face That Runs The Place is going to try to make his entrance uninterrupted; AJ Styles comes to the ring, still holding Cena’s arm band. Styles says he sees lots of angry faces in the crowd (not to mention jealous faces in the locker room) because of his win at Summerslam. Styles wants the Cena fans to convert over to Styles fans so they don’t have to cry into their cereal. As Styles is yelling, Ziggler comes out again to go on the attack, but security and Bryan stop it from happening. Bryan says that Styles does indeed deserve to be the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but since Ziggler and Styles want to fight so bad, they will have a match tonight. If Styles wins, he gets a title match at Backlash. If Ziggler wins, he gets added to the match and it becomes a Triple Threat. Second option please!!
Up now, Carmella will be facing the returning Nikki Bella. Before the match, Renee Young enters the ring to interview Nikki. Carmella isn’t having any of it though and attacks Nikki mid-sentence. She lays Nikki out and the crowd cheers! Eventually, another referee jumps in to break it up, but Carmella is yelling insults and refusing to back off. She leaves the ring, only to jump back in and attack Nikki once more as she cradles her neck. I’ve gotta say, I like this side of Carmella. It was also nice not to see the predictable Bella win upon her return.
At the top of the second hour, Randy Orton comes out, obviously not dressed to compete give the ten staples in his skull. He gets a great welcome from the crowd, and admits that he was in one hell of a fight against Brock Lesnar. Orton says he is unhappy with the match being called as a TKO. Suddenly, Bray Wyatt’s music hits! The man steps out alone, slowly walking to the ring with his lantern in hand. He sits in his rocker, asking Orton how his head is feeling. Wyatt saw Orton’s eyes go blank after Lesnar busted him open, and says it is a reminder that Orton is just a man. A man who hurts, suffers, and dies. But Wyatt is not just a man, he is a God. (Sidenote: this only works if you guys start booking him better!!) He promises that Orton will find out more “in time.” And just like that, he vanishes.
Backstage, Slater asks Arn Anderson if he will be his tag team partner. He tells Anderson that he is his last and final hope! He’s running out of time. Anderson declines, but Rhyno steps in and volunteers himself to be Heath’s partner! I’m so glad that Slater’s thirty-seven children won’t have to go hungry!
Our next Tag Team Tournament Match is American Alpha versus Breezango. Gable and Fandango start things off, with Fandango immediately going to the ropes for a break. Breeze and Jordan tag in, and American Alpha take out both of their opponents before the legal men get back in the ring. Jordan and Gable are so good, but the main roster audience still isn’t behind them as they should be. A USA chant gets going, which means… what exactly in this match? Gable gets Breeze locked in an arm bar in the middle of the ring, targeting the shoulder. Alpha is using quick tags to keep Breeze isolated, but he is able to shove Gable into Fandango and nearly win the match.
During the commercial, Breeze and Fandango have controlled the match, but when we return, Jordan comes in and dominates both Breeze and Fandango, delivering fantastic suplexes before tagging in Gable. Jordan attacks Fandango outside of the ring to keep him from interfering, then tags himself in. The near falls are starting now, and things are getting tense. This is a fantastic match! These four are bringing their best tonight, and it’s a shame they both can’t advance. Breeze and Jordan are going back and forth with pins, and both looks frustrated beyond belief. Jordan hits a suplex into a spear, then tags in Gable who pins Breeze for the win! This was awesome, but I’m glad my boys won. And I’m glad they didn’t awkwardly caress the tag titles like The Usos did.
After a relaxing night of gambling, Dean Ambrose comes out to join the commentary team to watch our main event from ringside. Ziggler and Styles will battle, and hopefully we don’t see John Cena. I’m probably asking for too much. The crowd is split on who to support, and Styles is quick to leave the ring to get a breather. To remind you, a Styles victory guarantees him a match at Backlash against Ambrose, but a Ziggler victory makes that match a Triple Threat. As we return from commercial, Styles is in control and Ziggler is stuck in the corner, but he’s able to dodge and get some relief. Ziggler is thrown hard against the turnbuckle, then hit with a backbreaker into a pin. Ziggler tries for a very sloppy, and obviously unsuccessful roll up before Styles retaliates and knocks him to the mat once again. Ziggler is finally able to land a few punches, but Styles catches him on the ropes with a neckbreaker.
Styles is not holding anything back in this, throwing Ziggler into the stairs and all but ignoring the referee’s instructions. Ziggler finally hits a beautiful dropkick on Styles! Both men are briefly down, then Ziggler tries for a pin after an elbow drop. Ziggler hits the Famouser but Styles kicks out just barely in time. I want a Triple Threat; come on! Near fall after near fall, and neither man will give up. Ziggler hits an amazing DDT, but damn it, Styles kicks out. I’m stressed out at this point. Just make it a Triple Threat because you know it’ll be awesome. Styles hits Ziggler with a cheap shot while he is hung up on the ropes, then hits the Styles Clash for the win. Damn it.
After the victory, Styles gets in Ambrose’s face and snatches off his headset. I always forget how tall Ambrose is until we have moments like this. Styles backs off with a smile on his face, and we end our broadcast. This was a fantastic Smackdown! After a couple of weeks thinking that the brand split wasn’t agreeing with WWE anymore, we get a much needed night like this. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and we’ll see you all tomorrow for NXT and CWC coverage!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
After a long weekend of wrestling, we are back for another episode of Monday Night Raw. NXT gave us Takeover: Brooklyn 2 on Saturday, and last night saw the conclusion of the summer with the 2016 SummerSlam pay-per-view. Let’s see what Vince and Co have in store for us tonight.
The show starts with breaking news that Finn Balor injured his shoulder in the match against Seth Rollins to capture the Universal Championship. He has a torn shoulder and will be out of action six months. Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley are in the ring and they bring out Balor. This guy showed guts finishing the match last night. Damn fine champ. He will be missed the next few months. Balor gets on the mic and says the title represents a lifetime of sacrifices. Balor thanks WWE, the wrestlers, and Seth Rollins. He then thanks the crowd, which starts a “Thank you, Finn!” chant. He assures the fans that when he returns, the title is the first thing he is coming for. Balor relinquishes the title to Foley and then walks out of the ring. As Balor gets to the top of the ramp, Seth Rollins comes out strutting and laughing. He strolls right by Balor, chomping his gum and heads to the ring. Balor stares daggers into Rollins’ back.
Rollins gets in the ring and hugs Stephanie. He gets on the mic and says what a shame, what a pity, let’s not live in the past. “At least now we know who the REAL winner was at SummerSlam last night, right?” Rollins says let’s have a celebration for the true Universal Champion. Sami Zayn interrupts. Zayn doesn’t say anything. Just points at the title. And then Chris Jericho comes down. He also says nothing. Kevin Owens comes down. Enzo Amore and Big Cass come down, and for once Enzo is not on the mic. The ring is quickly filling up. Rollins stands off to one side, leaning against the ropes and looking annoyed as the other men argue. Then Roman Reigns comes down. Still nobody says anything. Crowd starts a “We want Slater!” chant. Foley finally speaks. He says everyone in the ring is deserving, so WWE is doing a series of matches with the crowning of a new champion next week. Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins are the first competitors and it happens next, right after the first commercial break.
Rollins takes quick control and after a few moments, Zayn crumples under a bad left leg. Seems to have gotten legit injured. Zayn launches himself out of the ring, flips, and knocks Rollins down. Zayn screams and grabs his ankle. Rollins throws him in the ring, knee to the face, cover, but Zayn kicks out at two. Commercial break. When we return, Zayn hits Rollins with a big clothesline. He still can’t put any weight on his leg. The two trade blows until Rollins kicks him on the side of the head. Rollins gets a leg submission on, but Zayn rolls to the bottom rope. Pedigree by Rollins for the pinfall victory. Shocking start to Raw. Not even sure what to make of it. Balor out at least six months, and now Sami Zayn injured. Tough day to be a wrestling fan.
Kevin Owens comes down to take on Neville, who is in the tournament for the Universal title apparently. Winner advances. Neville drops Owens outside the ring as soon as the match starts, then hits him with a 450 splash. Jericho comes down to distract, allowing Owens to attack Neville from behind and take the upper-hand. Commercial break. After, both men trade offense, topped off by Neville hitting a suplex. Owens misses a frog splash. Neville hits a corkscrew moonsault off the top rope and covers, but Owens kicks out at two. Neville lifts Owens up and suplexes him into a bridge cover. Kick out at two. Impressive match so far for Neville. Neville tries a Red Arrow, misses, Owens super kick. Neville kicks him, climbs up for the Red Arrow again, and Jericho distracts. Neville kicks him off the apron but Owens recovers and puts Neville into a torture rack into a neckbreaker. Cover and that’s it. Owens wins and advances. After the match, Michael Cole says the match for the title next week will be a Fatal-4-Way.
The New Day comes down after the break. New Day celebrating 365 days as champions. Incredible. The Club interrupts, calling New Day and the crowd stupid. Big E vs Anderson in singles competition. Big E dominating to start the match, until he takes a shot to his knee and falls down, clutching it. Anderson immediately attacks it. Big E tosses him out of the ring. Gallows tries to interfere, but Xavier and Kofi stop him. Big Ending in the ring and Big E covers Anderson for the pinfall victory. Okay match, short and not really all that entertaining.
Titus O’Neal is in the ring. He fumbles for his words and can’t seem to form a coherent sentence. He complains about The New Day and Brooklyn. He then insults Darren Young and Bob Backlund. He calls out Young, but instead Backlund runs down. He puts the crossface chickenwing on Titus, but he gets out of it and slams Backlund to the mat. Darren Young runs down to check on Backlund. Titus picks up Young and hits the Clash of the Titus. That was a cringe-worthy segment.
Tom Phillips interviews Stephanie about actions against her brother by Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. She says there will be consequences. Lana is in the ring and brings out Rusev. His opponent will be Big Cass who comes out with Enzo on the mic. Cass goes to work on Rusev’s taped up ribs. He clotheslines him out of the ring as we go to commercial break. Rusev has taken control when we return, and strikes Cass in the back. Outside the ring, Rusev kicks Enzo to the floor. Cass rolls out and gets him in the ring. Splash in the corner and some punches to the ribs. Rusev rolls out of the ring, avoiding an Empire Elbow. Cass follows him out and throws the US champ into the steel steps. Rusev walks up the ramp and allows himself to get counted out. Cass wins and advances.
Charlotte comes to the ring with Dana Brooke. She insults Sasha, calls herself the queen, and goes to leave. As she is getting out of the ring, Mick Foley comes out. Charlotte asks for the night off and says there is no one else to challenge her. Mick says not so fast, please meet the newest member of the Monday Night Raw roster….Bayley! Crowd goes wild! Bayley comes out and this moment has been a long time coming. Yay! You cannot help but to love Bayley. Crowd starts chants for her before anybody can speak. Bayley thanks Foley and asks if they can seal the deal with none other than a hug. Bayley challenges Charlotte for the title. Charlotte isn’t dressed to compete, but Dana Brooke is. That match is next!
Bayley has fun to start and then gets to work against Brooke. Dana recovers and slams here into the corner. Bayley returns the favor and pounds her head in the corner and then bounces her off the turnbuckle. Cover, but Brooke kicks out at two. Charlotte distracts and Brooke knocks Bayley off the apron. Brooke throws her against the barricade. Back in the ring, Brooke clobbers Bayley and tries a cover. Bayley fights back and drops an elbow off the second rope. Bayley to Belly suplex and Bayley wins her Raw debut! Charlotte looks on in anger.
Braun Strowman roars his way down to the ring, set to take on yet another jobber. Should be short and sweet. Few powerful moves and then a cover. Strowman wins. Meh. This just doesn’t interest me. And if this is leading to Strowman facing Kane, Big Show, or Mark Henry, you can count me out.
The Dudley Boyz come out, set to say farewell to the WWE. Bubba Ray and Devon will be sorely missed and are well on their way to a Hall of Fame bid. Hometown crowd goes wild for them. The Boyz give a heartfelt speech, thanking the crowd, the WWE, Edge and Christian, and even The Hardy Boys. As The Dudley’s go to leave, they are interrupted by The Shining Stars. Crowd starts a “We want tables!” chant. Primo and Epico offer them two tickets to Puerto Rico. Devon and Bubb Ray shut this shit down, clobbering both men. Bubba holds up 3D. They hit it! Then they hit WAZZUP from the corner! Bubba Ray shoves his brother and the crowd screams get the tables, and I swear to god I got tears in my eyes. Devon gets a table out. Bubba sets it up, and Primo is about to go for a ride. But Anderson and Gallows interrupts! Devon is thrown into the steel steps! Magic Killer on Bubba Ray on the floor. Crowd boo’s. My goodness, this segment took a turn. Devon tries to fight back, but he is double teamed and thrown back into the ring. They set Devon up for Magic Killer and hit it, sending him through the table. Wow! That was easily my favorite segment of the whole night. Hope this sets up a feud! Maybe The Dudleyz have one more match in them!
Chris Jericho comes out ready to take on Roman Reigns for the final spot in next week’s Fatal-4-Way to determine the new Universal Champion. Jericho controls the flow to start the match. Crowd is starting to lose interest in the show, starting chants and doing the wave. This Brooklyn crowd has been pretty rude the past few days, to be honest. Headbutt by Reigns, followed by some punches but Jericho answers with a dropkick. Headlock by Y2J and he screams for Reigns to give up. Reigns is favoring is left eye. He clotheslines Jericho to the mat. Reigns misses with a Superman Punch but blocks Jericho’s submission. Kick to the head and Reigns is down. Kick out at two. Y2J off the top rope but Reigns catches him with a punch. Y2J on the apron and Reigns kicks him. Jericho tries a lionsault, but Reigns gets his knee up. Superman Punch and a cover, but Jericho kicks out on a long two. Y2J attempts a Code Breaker, but Reigns catches him and powerbombs him. Jericho kicks out at two. Kevin Owens runs in to distract, Jericho rolls Reigns up, but kick out at two. Superman Punch and instead of covering, Reigns goes to the corner. He runs for a Spear, but Jericho drops him and locks in the Walls of Jericho. Reigns crawls to the rope and forces the break. With the refs back turned, Owens punches him in the face. Jericho hits Code Breaker, covers but Reigns kicks out at two! That was an unexpected false finish. Nicely done! The match continues. Owens screams at Jericho to do it already. Y2J slaps Reigns in the back of the head over and over. Owens gets up on the apron, Superman Punch on him, Reigns turns, off the ropes, and Spears Y2J into a pin for the win. He joins Owens, Rollins, and Big Cass in the Fatal-4-Way next week.
Hard to get into the show with such a depressing opener. Sort of took the wind out of the sails right out of the gate. Hats off to all the guys, they did their best in the ring. But WWE programming just isn’t getting better, and now yet another setback with Balor’s injury. WWE just can’t catch a break. I won’t judge too harshly as Raw was interesting to watch and I didn’t really complain much. But we needed more. Overall, though, this wasn’t a terrible Raw. And we have to give WWE a fair shake whenever we can because they make a lot of mistakes. The booking tonight was mainly out of their hands. What do you guys think about Finn Balor’s injury and the future of Monday Night Raw? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for Smackdown Live!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Brace yourself, sports fans. This one might go as long as this year’s WrestleMania. It’s supposed to be a stacked matchcard with virtually every Superstar in action tonight. Vince McMahon really has his work cut out for him tonight because NXT tore the roof off the Barclay Center last night. So without further ado, let’s dissect this pay-per-view.
The preshow kicks off with a 12-man tag match, which is a ridiculous thing to have on a pay-per-view. The Vaudevillians team with The Ascension and Breezango to take on The Hype Bros, The Usos, and American Alpha. Chad Gable and Tyler Breeze start the match and Gable shows off a little bit, looking solid. Jay Uso tags in and the crowd boo’s. It’s hard to get excited about this one. We have twelve guys, all fighting for essentially nothing. There is no tag title on Smackdown. Why was American Alpha even drafted there? For that matter, why are there even tag teams on Smackdown? It’s an odd thing, and just another example of why the brand split isn’t the best idea. It’s a shame because Chad and Gable deserve better. Everyone in this match puts on a good show. But the attendance is full of empty seats, and not even Mauro Ranallo can get anything going.
Zack Ryder continues to do a good job and it’s no wonder they gave him a push earlier this year. Jimmy Uso and Tyler Breeze are the last men standing, as Jimmy Samoan Drops him to the mat. Konnor tries to block him but Jimmy kicks him. Jordan tags in and suplexes both Fandango and Breeze. Suplex on Gotch, but English breaks up the pinfall. Powerbomb by English on Gable. Hats off to these guys for avoiding the doomed “spot-fest” that many of these matches become. Everyone gets their stuff in, but it feels organic; going with the flow of the match. Breeze and Viktor get slammed by Mojo Rawley. The action is quick and exciting. Crowd gets a little more lively as things progress. Gable and Jordan drop Viktor and Jay Uso steals the win for the tagfall. Baron Corbin interrupts the pre-show panel to cut a quick promo on Kalisto who was injured and couldn’t compete in their match tonight.
The Dudley Boyz come out to take on Neville and Sami Zayn. Neville and Devon kick things off. Neville and Zayn work well together as a team. Dudleys are still as good as ever. This one is pretty fun. Crowd into it. Some near falls throughout. A miscommunication by Devon and Bubba Ray allows Neville to hit the Red Arrow for the pinfall. Good match, not too long and not too short. It will be interesting to see if this Neville and Zayn team continues and whether a rift will start to grow between The Dudley Boyz.
The final match of the preshow is Sheamus taking on Cesaro in the first match of their Best of 7 Series. This one is brutal from the start, with both men using a bit of stiff, strong style. Sheamus takes control as we head into a little commercial break. Sheamus puts some strong moves on Cesaro, and gets a couple of near falls. Cesaro Swing on Sheamus into a figure four leglock. Sheamus breaks it up. Cesaro tries again, gets blocked and Sheamus Brogue Kicks him into a pinfall victory. Sheamus is up 1-0. A mostly entertaining trio of matches to kick off the preshow, but I find myself scratching my head trying to determine if there was a point to any of them. A 12-man tag? The Dudley Boyz in 2016? Sheamus and Cesaro six more times after this? Eek.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass kick off the show, crowd sets the roof on fire. Brilliant way to start the show and get the crowd into it. Enzo does his usual thing, ripping up the mic and getting everybody up on their feet. He calls New York the greatest city in the world. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho come down. The match starts and Owens and Y2J knock Cass off the apron and double team Enzo. Enzo and Jericho are the official legal men, and Jericho goes to work chopping the smaller guy. Enzo is as good a seller as Dolph Ziggler and he always makes his opponents shine. Enzo takes a beating for awhile, including a hard frog-splash by Kevin Owens. Big Cass gets the hot tag and takes down both Owens and Jericho. He drops an Empire Elbow on Y2J. Followed by a big boot as Jericho leaps off the top rope. Owens saves the match, attacking Enzo and Cass both. Owens throws Enzo to Jericho, who hits a Code Breaker and he covers for the pinfall win. The hometown boys lose, and the crowd is unhappy about it. Good match to kick things off. After the match, Owens and Jericho walk up the ramp screaming “I Love You!” at each other. Backstage segment with Jon Stewart and The New Day, adding really nothing to the show.
Sasha Banks defends her WWE Women’s Championship next against Charlotte. It seems a really bizarre booking choice to do this match so early, and also doing it prior to this shit-storm 6-woman tag match that is happening later. Both ladies came to play, and they trade physical attacks to start. Charlotte botches several moves in a row and looks like an amateur out there. She may have legit injured Sasha with a terrible fail off the top rope. Charlotte tries a Figure Four leglock, but Sasha kicks her off. Moments later, Sasha is thrown into the corner. Sasha counters a Razor’s Edge off the top rope and both women hit the mat hard. This is brutal to watch. Sasha locks in a nice Boston Crab using the ropes as leverage, but she has to break it as the ref counts to five. A double knee slam into Charlotte’s back, leaves both ladies holding their lower backs and grimacing. Sasha jumps off the apron and drops both knees on Charlotte’s face, dropping her down to the ground outside. Ref starts a ten count. Charlotte goes for Natural Selection, but Sasha counters into the Bank Statement. Charlotte worms her way out of it. Neck breaker by Charlotte, then hits Natural Selection. Sasha kicks out at two. Charlotte tries a tilt-a-whirl but Sasha reverses it into another Bank Statement. Charlotte rolls her over onto her shoulders and three seconds later, Charlotte regains the Women’s Championship. This seems like a terrible finish and should definitely lead into something. They cleaned it up towards the end, but that one got off to a rocky start. Not the best outing these two have had against each other. Backstage segment with The Club, AJ Styles, and Finn Balor teasing the Bullet Club.
The Miz comes down, accompanied by Maryse. Apollo Crews is challenging for the Intercontinental Championship. Miz attacks in the corner early, and Crews is reeling. Things slow way down, and the match hits a lull. Crews hits him with a boot and both men are down. Standing moonsault by Crews is the highlight so far, but he fails to cover. Miz hits Skull Crushing Finale for the win. Another mediocre match that just comes across as a waste of air time. So far the show has just been okay. Still waiting for a big wow moment.
Up next AJ Styles looks to beat up John Cena. Crowd starts a very vocal John Cena Sucks sing-along. It’s a decent match to start, but the problem with this matchup is Styles is way more talented than Cena, and Cena just goes through his usual run-of-the-mill Five Moves of Doom. Styles hits the Styles Clash and Cena kicks out. Attitude Adjustment by Cena, but Styles kicks out. The pair do their best, but what else is there to milk out of this rivalry? They burned this one months ago. Now we are just going through all the familiar motions. Attitude Adjustment by Styles this time, but Cena kicks out. Styles attempts a springboard 450 splash, but Cena moves out of the way. Styles locks in the Calf Crusher submission. Cena gets out and climbs the top rope. Leg drop on Styles, hitting him in the back of the head. Kick out at two. Some exciting false finishes in this one, but again nothing really new. John Cena looks stunned that Styles just keeps kicking out. Styles Clash again on Cena, but no cover. Phenomenal Forearm off the top rope and Styles covers Cena for the win. This one didn’t really have a pay-per-view feel. Mauro Ranallo really helped to make that match more than it was, so hats off to him.
BREAKING: News just came through the wire that Sasha Banks dropped the title because she violated the wellness policy. Official suspension coming tomorrow. Damn, if that rumor is true what a shame! We’ll cover it more later this week when more official word comes out from the WWE camp.
Jon Stewart comes out, making me wonder what is on TV right now that I might be able to watch to curb my boredom. He sports a New Day t-shirt and unicorn horn and brings the group out, sans Big E Langston. They are set to defend their Tag Team Championship titles against The Club. Xavier Woods does a great job throughout this one, especially for someone we don’t really get to see go very often. Gallows and Anderson are such a great tag team. They hit Magic Killer on Xavier and then Jon Stewart distracts. The Club goes to put Stewart crotch first on the ring post. Crowd starts a YES! chant. Before they can hurt him, Big E runs in and attacks Gallows and Anderson. Ref calls for the bell. Big E slams Anderson into the barricade. Match ends in DQ finish, which is weird because Big E is a member of New Day. But it’s whatever. Fun segment and New Day will have the tag titles going into tomorrow.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are in the ring as Dolph Ziggler comes out to challenge Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Fast start to this as it spills out of the ring. Spinning neckbreaker by Ziggler after slamming Ambrose into the barricade. Ambrose pounds Ziggler’s head on the steel steps twice before they get back in the ring. Ziggler pulls out all the stops, by Ambrose manages to kick out every time. Elbow off the top rope by Dean but Ziggler kicks out. Simple back and forth here, letting both guys trade momentum. Ambrose kicks out of a Zig Zag. Is it just me or were finishers just completely burned all night tonight? Been a long time since WWE protected finishers. Sleeper hold by Ziggler. Ambrose gets out of it and blocks a Super Kick. Huge clothesline sends Ziggler to the match. Dirty Deeds by Ambrose to retain. Exciting match. Might be my favorite so far tonight. But again, nothing spectacular has happened. This is supposed to be the big event of the summer and it is falling short of delivering in my opinion.
Tag action up next with six women going at it. I have not been looking forward to this at all. Let’s get it over with. Naomi comes out first, looking like a forensic crime scene under a black light. But her entrance is definitely memorable. She is tagging with Carmella and Becky Lynch, two of my favorites. Their opponents are Alexa Bliss, Natalya, and Nikki Bella. Lynch and Bliss start the match. Another match that honestly means nothing. Why? Because these are six women that can never compete for the Women’s Championship because it’s on Raw and they are Smackdown competitors. Putting this on the actual pay-per-view card and not the preshow is questionable. Also, let’s just put this out there: Nikki Bella is not a good wrestler. There, I said it. An okay outing from these ladies. Carmella and Bliss have one of their best matches so far since coming up to the main roster. Nikki Bella gets the win by pinning Carmella. Eh. Still have yet to be blown away by anything tonight. So far, HHH has won the weekend.
They show the Universal Championship and it’s terrible. Looks just like the world title only red. It looks like it was designed by Eva Marie. What a piece of trash, both the name and the physical belt. Shame. Seth Rollins comes out, with Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley ringside. The Demon King, Finn Balor, makes an incredible entrance. Crowd. Goes. Ape. Shit. The bell rings and Balor doesn’t hesitate. He dropkicks Rollins. Balor goes to work aggressively attacking Rollins left leg. Outside the ring, Rollins tosses Balor into the timekeeper’s area. Rollins very methodical for this match, being aggressive and not letting up on Balor. Running kick off the apron for Balor to regain control. He hits a Slingblade on Rollins in the ring. Rollins recovers and tries a Pedigree but it gets blocked and Balor kicks him. Both men down. 1916 by Balor, but Rollins kicks out. The match is pretty exciting, but the crowd is giving a shit response, trying to hijack it with chants unrelated to the match. Foot stomp off the corner and Finn Balor is the first WWE Universal Champion. How cool is that? First WWE wrestler to win a title on their first pay-per-view match as well. The future is bright with these two in the driver’s seat. Nice match, but again, same complaint as all night: nothing amazing has happened yet. And with Orton and Lesnar as the go home, I think SummerSlam came up short on its goals for the evening.
Rusev versus Roman Reigns for the United States Championship up next. As it’s 10:30 already, I don’t see this one going very long. Reigns throws Rusev into the timekeeper area. Same spot as the last match. SMH. They are brawling and a bunch of refs try to break them up. Match hasn’t even officially started yet. Reigns goes after Rusev with a steel chair. Reigns continues to beat him down a few more minutes and then walks out. Crowd boos him heavily. Rusev struggles to get up as crowd starts chanting, “We Want Slater!” and then a “CM Punk!” chant. Ringside doctor says Rusev is unable to compete tonight. Reigns comes back down the ramp and Spears him. Reigns seemingly ruins the whole segment by pumping his arms at the crowd and then smiling at the top of the ramp. Empty segment for my money.
Main event time. Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton, a match that really isn’t going to do much to pep up this pay-per-view. And ultimately another match on the card that means little to nothing, a label that has been woven into every fiber of this show so far tonight. The bell rings and we’re off. Lesnar slams Orton in the corner and tries for a suplex. But Orton dropkicks him. Orton tries an RKO and Lesnar shoves him off and slams him down to the mat. German suplex by Lesnar. And a second. Orton scrambling. A third German suplex as Paul Heyman laughs at ringside. Beatdown in the corner, then another suplex. Orton hasn’t been on his feet for a few minutes. A sixth suplex and this one is getting out of control. Outside of the ring, Orton tries to fight back but Lesnar picks him up and slams him on the announce table. The table doesn’t break, but Lesnar fixes that. He tosses Orton off the barricade into the table and it smashes apart. Lesnar picks apart a second announce table and puts Orton on it. Orton pops up and hits an RKO on the table. It doesn’t break. As they get back in the ring, Orton DDT’s Lesnar off the second rope. As Lesnar gets up, Orton hits an RKO. Lesnar kicks out at two. Orton goes for his old school punt kick, but Lesnar pops up and F5’s him. Orton kicks out at two. Lesnar punches Orton over and over again and the ref separates them and calls for a doctor as Orton is busted wide open, bleeding all over the ring. Lesnar pushes the doctor aside and keeps punching Orton’s head. The ref calls for the bell and this is over. Lesnar wins by TKO. Lesnar goes after Orton again. Shane McMahon runs in to check on Orton and Lesnar cuts him off. Lesnar F5’s Shane. Heyman starts screaming, “What did you do!?” And that’s the end of the show. I love seeing Lesnar destroy someone, so this was fun.
The theme of tonight will be “At least it wasn’t WrestleMania.” It wasn’t terrible, but it just didn’t have a SummerSlam feel to it. If this had been Battleground or Payback, it would be been great. But I don’t think any segment tonight really came across as successful. Everything missed the mark and was off by just a little bit. The booking leading into the show was rushed, there were too many matches, and the order of the matches themselves was confusing. Whether or not this is just the final hiccup of the brand split before the new pay-per-views take off remains to be seen. Judging this right out of the gate, though, it just wasn’t all that it could have been. At the end of the day, what did any of it mean or accomplish? The honest answer is not a whole lot. We are right back in the same rut we were in prior to the brand split. What did you all think about WWE’s 2016 SummerSlam? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for Monday Night Raw.
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Article by Jamie Curtis Baker