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
Summerslam weekend officially begins with NXT Takeover in Brooklyn. We have a very highly anticipated title match, a chance at redemption, two in-ring debuts, and some good old fashioned revenge on tonight’s horizon. The preshow kicks off at the Barclays Center with Renee Young, Mauro Ranallo, and Lita. We get a look at Shinsuke Nakamura’s arrival, which he makes alone, and then go to Samoa Joe who is flanked by security due to his out of control temper. Afterwards, Bayley takes us back to look at her journey through NXT leading up to this rematch against Asuka.
Discussing the match between No Way Jose and Austin Aries, Ranallo believes that both men need to win tonight. We then move backstage to see Bobby Roode’s arrival; he calls Brooklyn the “armpit of New York” and says that tonight, he will take NXT to the next level and will make it glorious! Billie Kay gets interviewed afterwards, promising to make Ember Moon suffer a loss during her debut. After a look at the growing crowd, we get a look at The Revival and their opponents for the titles tonight; Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Finally, we get a fantastic look at Nakamura and Joe; I cannot WAIT for this match!
NXT Takeover officially begins with the competitors for tonight conducting separate interviews about where they were one year ago and what they hope to accomplish tonight. It’s an incredibly cool video package. Tom Phillips and Corey Graves are on commentary for a sold out crowd, of course. Over 15,000 fans are in attendance tonight for what is sure to be a fantastic evening.
First off, it’s party time! No Way Jose comes out and the crowd is screaming his name! Jose circles the ring with a conga line of lucky fans following behind. Austin Aries gets a fantastic pop himself as he enters the arena. This match has been two months in the making, and Aries looks confident and cocky as hell. Aries gets Jose down on the mat quick, angering Jose who better control his temper if he’s going to win. The crowd is chanting Aries’ name as Jose slaps him across the face. He slams him to the mat and hits Aries across the back, then delivers chops to the chest. Aries uses his ring awareness to avoid more attacks, exiting the ring and baiting Jose in to deliver a serious kick. Aries waves off the match and tries to retreat up the ramp, but Jose won’t allow it. He tries to go into the crowd, but Jose drags him back.
Aries regains control and smashes Jose’s throat into the ropes before hitting him with some hard knees. Aries tries for a cover, but Jose isn’t ready to give up. The rowdy crowd is cheering for Jose, who regains his footing and sends Aries over the top rope. Aries locks in the Last Chancery in the middle of the ring, and the crowd loses it, but Jose makes it to the bottom rope to break the submission hold. Aries dives from the ring to knock Jose into the barricade, then throws him back into the ring, using the ropes to hurt Jose even more. Jose is getting fired up, but Aries is determined to break him down. He locks in the Last Chancery one last time, and it’s enough to make Jose tap. This was a great match and one hell of a way to kick off our evening!
Aries has won the match but he isn’t done with Jose yet. He locks in the Last Chancery yet again, adding insult to injury. As he’s torturing Jose, Hideo Itami’s music hits! This is awesome! Itami goes to the ring, and Aries hits him with a cheap shot. Itami isn’t having it, he hits Aries with some fast flying hits and takes Aries down with ease. A great match just got even better with this ending it. Itami is fantastic!
Billie Kay heads to the ring now, followed by the debuting Ember Moon! She walks out shrouded in darkness, then rips off her hood and mask and becomes a ball of energy! I like her already, and I love the red contacts! Moon has got some amazing moves, but Kay is holding her own. Kay hits Moon hard in the chest and goes for a cover, but Moon kicks free. Moon hits a flying crossbody into a cover, but Kay kicks out at two. Kay gets moon on her shoulder to lock her in a submission hold that doesn’t look comfortable for either woman. Moon regains control, doing a flip to hit Kay in the corner. She goes to the top rope and hits a spinning stunner to pin Kay for the win! A couple speedbumps in this match, but overall a very solid debut for Moon. I’m eager to see what else she has in her arsenal.
Andrade “Cien” Almas is undefeated, and Roode is just now making his on-screen debut, so this is a must win for both men. Roode’s music hits and the crowd loses it! He is on top of a giant pillar of awesomeness, arms outstretched, slowly lowering him to the ground as he looks up at the lights. His entrance is GLORIOUS! Almas sadly does not get the warm welcome that Roode received. The match begins as the crowd starts a “This is GLORIOUS” chant for Roode. Brooklyn is all about Bobby Roode tonight. Roode tries to throw Cien from the ring, but he catches himself in the ropes and poses, then hits a serious chop followed by a dropkick. Still, very little fan support for our high flier. He finally fakes out Roode and gets a good reaction from the audience. Roode knocks Cien from the ropes, then the two men begin trading chops.
Roode lifts Cien straight up in the air, then hits a vertical suplex into a cover. He gets Cien in a chinlock in the center of the ring, but Cien breaks free, kicks Roode from the ring, and delivers a springboard corkscrew onto Roode. He then hits a crossbody for the win, but Roode kicks out. Cien tries to build momentum but Roode hits a rough clothesline and tries for a pin. Roode tries for a suplex, but Cien counters and rolls him into a pin. A lot of close calls during this match. Roode hits a spinebuster and looks ready to end this match. He hits the Glorious Bomb and pins Cien for the win. Questionable finisher, but great match for both men. It was, dare I say… GLORIOUS!
Time for some tag team action; Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa are challenging The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championships. The Brooklyn crowd is very much behind Gargano and Ciampa, so we’ll see if luck will be on their side or if the fans are in for a letdown. Dawson and Ciampa start things off, with Dawson rolling out of the ring to break Ciampa’s momentum. Dawson is nearly counted out, getting back in the ring at the last second. Gargano is tagged in and the two team up against Dawson, with Gargano going for a pin. The “Johnny Wrestling” chants begin as Gargano tries to keep control and Wilder tries to drag his partner back to his corner. Wilder tags in and Gargano is able to get him into an arm bar, but Wilder lifts him and slams him into the mat, tagging Dawson back in. The Revival try to double team Gargano, but he sees it coming a mile away, slides to safety, but then all four get in the ring and start fighting. The Revival quickly move out of the ring, but Gargano dives out to take down Wilder, and his tag partner follows to destroy Dawson. The Revival soon begin using quick tags to keep their opponent down and isolated in the wrong corner of the ring.
The Revival try and steal a victory, but Ciampa isn’t done fighting. He tries tagging in Gargano, but Wilder won’t let him reach. To Ciampa’s credit, he is kicking out of everything they throw his way. Wilder fakes a fall into the ring, distracting the ref. Ciampa tags in Gargano, but the referee didn’t see it and throws Gargano back out to the apron. Dawson knocks Gargano off of the apron and tries to attack Ciampa, but he dodges. Gargano finally gets the legal tag in and hits a kick to the side of Dawson’s face, but he kicks out! He pins him AGAIN for another nearfall, and this is intense at this point. They have got to be trying to give us heart attacks with all these hear falls. Ciampa locks Dawson in a painful looking submission, but Wilder is able to break it up. Ciampa and Dawson look ANGRY at this point, and begin trading punches. Wilder and Gargano and legal; Ciampa and Gargano hit a double kick to Wilder’s face and he is pinned, but he gets his foot on the rope. HOLY SHIT, GUYS. Dawson is attacking Ciampa outside of the ring, then Wilder hits Gargano’s knee hard; he looks injured. Dawson locks in a submission, targeting Gargano’s injured knee, and he finally taps. I’ve gotta say, I’m let down at a tap out victory after such an epic tag team match. Even with a shaky finish, this was incredible. What a show. Gargano and Ciampa receive a standing ovation from the crowd after the champs leave the arena.
It’s time to see if Bayley can recapture the NXT Women’s title! She comes out first to a huge pop; everyone loves Bayley! I love the addition of the Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Men at ringside. Asuka is out next, and she’s added a bit to the face paint; she looks intimidating as hell and ready for a fight. The “Asuka’s gonna kill you” chants start as Referee Eyebrows holds the title above his head. This is a different Bayley we’re seeing tonight; she knows what to expect now from Asuka and she is better prepared. Asuka hits Bayley hard in the nose with her knee, and Bayley looks legitimately hurt as Asuka laughs. Bayley isn’t giving up; she gets back in the ring and Asuka continues her assault. She slams Bayley in the corner, pounding her into the ringpost. Bayley tries to get a hit in, but Asuka dodges and gets Bayley caught up on the ropes. She lands a vicious kick to Bayley’s head, then tries for a cover. Bayley finally gets control, slamming Asuka’s face into the ringpost and hitting a suplex to take her down. She hits a knee to Asuka’s face as she lays on the mat and goes for a pin. Asuka gets herself caught in the ropes, and Bayley takes advantage to land some punches. She hits a crossbody into a pin, but Asuka kicks out.
The “Bayley’s gonna hug you” chant starts as she goes to the top rope, but Asuka dodges the effort and retaliates with a Shining Wizard. The two women are on the top rope, Asuka trying for a superplex, but Bayley slips away. She hits Asuka with an elbow drop, but can’t get her down for the three count. Asuka gets Bayley in an ankle lock, then starts hitting her with kicks to the chest. Bayley finally catches her leg, but Asuka starts punching her in the face. Bayley tries for a backslide into a pin, but it doesn’t work. Asuka tries for the Asuka Lock, finally getting it in; Bayley is in trouble. She yells, flipping herself over and managing to get to her feet to fight the champ off. She hits a Bayley to Belly into a pin, but Asuka kicks out. Bayley gets caught in the Asuka Lock yet again, but Bayley breaks loose and pins the champ, but she kicks free. She slaps Asuka across the face, angering the champ who kicks her in the face. As Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch look on, Asuka pins Bayley in the middle of the ring for the win. This was an excellent match, and I’m glad Bayley has Banks and Lynch there for support. Bayley is looking broken in the middle of the ring. Asuka learn down and pulls Bayley up, and the two embrace in the middle of the ring. It’s really nice to see the match end in this way; a show of mutual respect. As the crowd chants “Thank You Bayley,” she exits the ring and goes to hug Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and some of her adoring fans. Thank you, Bayley.
It’s time for our main event! Samoa Joe leaves the locker room flanked by security while Shinsuke Nakamura sits alone in his locker room to prepare quietly. I probably won’t cover this match in too much detail because I want to watch as much as possible. HOLY SHIT THEY HAVE SOMEONE PLAYING VIOLIN LIVE FOR SHINSUKE! This entrance!!!! Fifteen thousand people singing Nakamura’s theme as he walks to the ring. Magical, is the only word to describe it. Samoa Joe comes out without all the bells and whistles, but the crowd is still chanting his name. Joe shows Nakamura no respect, shoving him as soon as he gets into the ring. The bell rings as Brooklyn sings Nakamura’s entrance song. This is epic. The two go down to the mat, and neither is able to gain the advantage.
Joe locks Nakamura’s wrist and takes him to his knees, but Nakamura breaks out. Joe gets his arms around Nakamura’s head; the two go to the corner and Nakamura starts taunting his opponent before laying in some hard knees to Joe’s midsection. The two move outside of the ring and just barely beat the count back into the ring. Joe hits an insugiri but doesn’t even bother going for a cover. Nakamura gains control back and hits a knee on Joe’s face, but Joe quickly counters and sends Nakamura to the mat outside of the ring. Joe dives from the ring to take his challenger down, then rolls him back into the ring for a cover. Joe has the clear strength advantage here, but Nakamura refuses to lay down. He gets Nakamura’s arm locked behind his body, but he gets to the bottom rope to break Joe’s hold. Every time Nakamura gets the edge, Joe knocks him down. Nakamura lifts Joe to the top rope and delivers a knee to the midsection. Is this match going to go until 11pm? Because it should. It should go on forever.
The King of Strong Style is in control, but Joe is able to hit a counter; not full strength but enough to stop his momentum for the moment. Joe hits Nakamura HARD and send him spinning. Nakamura tries for a cross armbreaker, but Joe has his hands locked in and won’t allow it. Joe locks in a Cloverleaf to try and get Nakamura to tap, but he makes it to the bottom rope. I lied when I said I wouldn’t cover in detail; there is too much going on to skip over anything! Joe locks in the Coquina Clutch, but Nakamura gets his foot on the bottom rope. Nakamura hits a German Suplex to send Joe flying! The crowd is losing it! But Joe hits a powerslam and pins Nakamura, nearly getting the victory. The nearfalls are coming now; this is getting tense. I am now cussing in my living room. Nakamura hits two kinshasas and HE WINS THE TITLE! More f-bombs are dropped; I can’t believe it! What an amazing moment! This is quite honestly the best ending to a PPV. I love Nakamura and I am so happy right now, there are no words. Nakamura goes undefeated still, taking down the beast that is Samoa Joe. Top this, Summerslam. I dare you.
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Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Lita, Booker T, Renee Young, and Corey Graves kick off the pre-show. They discuss the nights upcoming matches. Then we join Mauro Ranallo and Byron Saxton as they commentate the pre-show matches. The Golden Truth (Goldust and R-Truth) come down to another ridiculous rap by Truth. Then a very sunburned Tyler Breeze and Fandango come out. Prior to the match there was a big, long segment involving the two peeling each other’s skin off. Starting to think that maybe Ryback was on to something. And I imagine Goldust is wishing he left with his brother. At any rate, the match is pretty one sided as every move by Breeze and Fandango makes them scream in pain, even tagging in and out. The crowd is pretty flat and it’s not a strong one to start the action. After a cringe-worthy few minutes, Goldust and R-Truth finally defeat Breezango. Yep. They actually made Mauro Ranallo say that team name on commentary.
More tag action up next, featuring The Lucha Dragons taking on The Dudley Boyz. This match is awful to watch. Dragons are far too fast for the slow, aging, and out-of-shape Dudley’s. The action is rough going with Dragons having to slow down just to make the Dudley’s look even minutely decent. Mauro and Byron do their best to sell this one, but it’s just not that entertaining. Lucha Dragons pull off a couple of nice moves towards the end to take it home and get the pinfall on Bubba. It feels like with the Fatal-4-Way Tag Team Championship match that we have coming later tonight that both pre-show bouts were mostly a giant waste of time. Even the pre-show panel looks bored. Except Corey Graves whose face is frozen, emotionless which could be because he appears to have gotten botox recently. That’s just my viewing opinion, WWE, so please don’t sue me.
So here we go, time for the pay-per-view. This has been sold for weeks as “the greatest Money in the Bank ever” so it better not fail to live up to the hype. To be fair to WWE, since WrestleMania they have had two really nice pay-per-views and Monday Night Raw as been strong as well. I’m really hopeful for this one as well. As long as Chris Jericho doesn’t leave with the MITB Briefcase, I will be satisfied with any other match outcome.
Pretty cool Vegas promo package to start off the show. Enzo Amore and Big Cass kick off the show, as if there was any other way to do it! Enzo is wearing the most insane outfit ever and only he could pull it off. Enzo gets the crowd hyped and then The Vaudevillians enter. The Club enter third, followed by the WWE Tag Team Champions, The New Day. The promos New Day and Enzo cut were both better than either pre-show match. Anderson and Kofi start the match. Enzo soon gets in and he and Kofi put on a nice few minutes of action. Big E tags in, clears the ring and the apron and gets Kofi back in. All eight men jump in the ring and all hell breaks loose. Enzo and Cass square off against Big E and Kofi. Crowd starts a “How You Doin?!” chant. Cass and Gallows sort of botched the ending but Big E and Kofi retain. Fun match that really got the crowd into it and breathed a lot of life into the pay-per-view. Now it’s up to the rest of the roster to build on the momentum. New Day retains and will probably hold the belts until SummerSlam or the Raw after. The timing was off a little bit during this one, with the ref counting to three at one point which should have made Enzo and Cass the winners, but Gallows was slow to pull Enzo off the pinfall. The ref ignored it, but the crowd can be heard distinctly counting to three along with three hand slaps by the ref. Oh well.
Backstage segment with Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Alberto Del Rio. Y2J is actually funny here and gets the whole crowd cracking up. I cannot wait for that match. Baron Corbin comes down to face Dolph Ziggler. This match is exciting, but I can’t tell if it’s because it is actually good or if Ziggler is just selling Corbin like mad crazy. Match ends abruptly when Baron Corbin hits his End of Days finisher. Shitty finish for what felt like a decent match. Seems like both men are stuck in limbo at the moment. And I’m assuming that limbo is somewhere inside that weird, vertical belly button of Baron Corbin.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke come down. No title on the line tonight. Just women’s tag action. The champ and her stooge are set to take on Natalya and Becky Lynch. Because if there’s one thing a pay-per-view needs, it’s women’s tag team matches. I went to the bathroom before this match started then played with my dog. Charlotte and Dana Brooke won. But I could care less about this type of match so if you really care to judge it, go put it on. After the match Natalya assaults Becky Lynch adding a least a small redemption to an otherwise flat segment.
Sheamus comes down after a drawn out Dean Ambrose segment backstage. Apollo Crews comes down to a decent crowd pop. No loved lost between these two, going right after one another as soon as the bell rings. Both men go into beast mode and this turns into a brutal hoss match. Evenly matched throughout, this match doesn’t do anything crazy, but each man is on point. There are no missed spots. Sheamus hits a nice White Noise off the second rope, but Crews kicks out and then rolls up Sheamus for the pinfall. I enjoyed that one and I’m excited for Apollo’s future.
John Cena vs AJ Styles up next. The Phenomenal One comes out first followed by John Cena. Crowd is pretty fired up before the bell rings. This one gets off to a great start and Styles looks amazing. At one point he looks at the camera and says, “Is this all he’s got? Shiiiit.” Styles makes Cena look like a rookie. Throughout the match you can audible hear Cena calling spots as if he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Styles is just too good. There is no realistic ending where Styles should lose, barring Cena turning mega-heel. Cena keeps trying to go to the second and third ropes but Styles counters each time. STF is locked in, Calf Crusher is locked in, both men get out. Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment and Styles kicks out at two. Styles Clash. Super Cena kicks out at two. Cena goes for another AA and hits the ref, then The Club comes out and takes Cena down. They throw Styles on Cena. The ref crawls into the ring and counts three. I fucking hate this ending so much. Cena had to protect his stupid ego and refused to take a pin cleanly. Get out of my face, WWE.
Time for the MITB Briefcase match. All I ask if that they don’t have The Miz run down and interfere. Let us have an excellent match without Y2J winning. That’s all I ask. Chris Jericho comes out first, followed by Cesaro, Sami Zayn, Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens (huge crowd pop), and Dean Ambrose rounds up the field. Excitement abounds to start this one. Ladder matches are always a good time. Sami Zayn is the first to attempt to grab the briefcase, but Del Rio stops him. Del Rio then takes down everybody with some devastating offense. He attempts to climb the ladder and Y2J tries to stop him, but gets beat down. Del Rio climbs up and touches the briefcase. Del Rio locks in a cross arm breaker on Cesaro on TOP of the ladder (which looks painful) but then Owens kicks Del Rio in the face. Cesaro tries to climb and gets stopped by Ambrose. Ambrose takes a Code Breaker from Y2J. Jericho climbs the ladder. Jericho almost gets it, but Zayn blocks him. They trade punches on top of the ladder and then Owens dumps the ladder over. Owens sets the ladder back up and tries to climb, but Del Rio hits him hard. Cesaro hits a swing on Del Rio, then on Y2j, throwing Jericho into a ladder. Owens nails a frog splash on Ambrose while he lays on a ladder. It all comes down to Owens and Zayn. Owens powerbombs Zayn into a ladder, scrambles up and nearly gets the briefcase, but Ambrose slams his head into the ladder multiple times, climbs and secures the briefcase. Dean Ambrose is 2016 Mr. Money in the Bank. Good stuff.
Rusev vs Titus O’Neal for the United States Championship up next. Looks like the pay-per-view is going to run long. Match starts with Rusev yelling at O’Neal’s children at ringside. Titus snaps and beats down the Bulgarian Brute. Rusev recovers and goes to work. Grueling battle throughout. Surprised WWE gave this one so much time. Maybe to let Ambrose grab a Gatorade? Rusev locks in the Accolade and Titus taps. Rusev gets on a mic and goes to address Titus’s kids. He calls their dad a loser and then screams, “Happy Father’s Day!” Classic heel work. Ha!
Time for our main event. Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Rollins comes down to the ring first, followed by the champ. Reigns gets booed pretty heavily as he poses on in the corner. Missed the first couple of minutes of this one as our Network crapped out right as the match started. We had to switch XBOXes. When it finally came back up, Reigns is pummeling Rollins in the corner. Reigns gets Rollins outside the ring, tosses him over the Spanish announce table. Rollins throws Reigns into the steel steps. Seth counters a Superman Punch, both men down. The match drags on, going really slow and lagging at times. Not sure about the booking, this isn’t too exciting for a main event title match. It’s now 11:10. The pay-per-view should have ended twenty-five minutes ago. It’s starting to feel like WrestleMania in length. I actually got bored during this one. It was like if two 60 year old wrestlers were having a retirement match. I don’t know what I’m watching. Reigns tries to spear Rollins by the timekeeper area. Rollins moves and Reigns hits the barricade hard, and medical doctors come out. Reigns knocks down the ref, spears Rollins and covers him. Ref comes to and counts two but Rollins kicks out. Rollins counters another spear into a Pedigree, in the first exciting moment of the match. Rollins hits another Pedigree and gets the pinfall. Rollins wins! Ambrose’s music hits. He hits Rollins from behind with the briefcase, cashes in, hits Dirty Deeds and wins. Ambrose is champion. Great ending, but a real shitstorm of a match. This might be the worst main event match so far this year. Happy for Ambrose. Now all three Shield brothers have held the title. Overall grade for this pay-per-view is a C+. A couple of great matches, but it came up short where it counted. The main event was dull, the women’s match was useless, and the tag matches was poorly executed. While not as bad as Mania, this pay-per-view is a low spot, and with Battleground looming, we may not have anything worthwhile until SummerSlam.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Anybody who regularly follows this site knows how unhappy I was with WrestleMania. I’m actually looking forward to Monday Night Raw tonight to try and right the ship and do things properly. Mania did not at all deliver for my money. Let’s see if Vince and Company are capable of putting on a good show and dropping a few surprises along the way.
Vince McMahon kicks off the show, riding the high of his son’s defeat at the hands of The Undertaker. Vince says he has Shane’s lockbox and that he now has total control and nobody has any dirt on him. Shane McMahon comes out to a huge pop and has a giant bruise on the side of his face. Shane thanks the crowd and says goodbye. His music hits, but Vince cuts it off. Vince allows Shane to run the show just for tonight! Crowd goes ballistic.
The New Day enters and the crowd starts a “New Day Rocks!” chant, as they dance to their music. The Tag Team Championships are on the line! This is great, but why didn’t they do it last night? The League of Nations come down after a hilarious promo by New Day. Decent match. A better outing than last night by far. Barrett on his back to take the pinfall. New Day retains! Sheamus cuts on the mic and says, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” Rusev and Del Rio grab Wade Barrett and he gets Brogue Kicked in the face. Bray Wyatt’s music hits and all hell breaks loose. What the hell? Sister Abigail on Sheamus. Crowd starts a “Thank You, Wyatt!” chant as he screams to follow the buzzards.
Summer Rae in the ring after the break. She insults Sasha Banks. The Boss comes out. Sasha slaps the hell out of Summer. Ref rings the bell. Bank Statement submission after a brief, sloppy match. Summer taps. Not much to report here.
Prince Pretty, Tyler Breeze, comes out with his selfie-stick and gets in the ring. Apollo Crews’ music hits! He’s having his Raw debut match. Breeze tries to steal the show, but Crews is too big, too fast, too strong. Spin Out Powerbomb ends this one in a couple minutes. Big win for the NXT call up!
Roman Reigns comes out, gets heavily booed. He says, “I’m not a bad guy. I’m not a good guy. I’m THE guy.” Which does not go over and he doesn’t sell it well. He says if anybody wants the title to come out. Jericho’s music hits. Y2J looks either high or really tired. He’s dressed like a hipster college kid with tight pants, a leather jacket and a shiny scarf. His voice is hoarse and he can barely be heard. This is a flat, cold, dead, boring segment. Jericho demands a title shot. AJ Styles interrupts. The crowd is not reacting to any of these three guys. But then Kevin Owens comes out and everybody loses their mind. Now business is picking up. Sami Zayn enters next. I guess Oprah is giving out title shots tonight. Owens/Zayn and Y2J/Styles all attack one another. Reigns makes some dumb face. Then he spears Jericho. After the break, Shane tells Reigns backstage all four men have a fatal four way for the main event. The winner gets #1 Contender to the world title.
Baron Corbin comes out. The announce team recaps the Battle Royal from Mania. He stands next to the Andre the Giant trophy. Hops on the mic. Says his arrival signals the end of days for anyone that stands in his way. Dolph Ziggler’s music hits. Ziggler gets destroyed for ten minutes. Ref stops the match after both men are counted out. Corbin continues beating Ziggler around the barricade and storms out.
Zack Ryder, the Intercontinental Champion, comes out. He thanks his dad. The Miz interrupts. Miz demands a shot at the title to prove last night wasn’t a fluke. Ref comes down and we have a match. Pretty solid match from both guys, Ryder puts on a good show in front of his pops. Miz starts shit with Ryder’s dad. He gets slapped. Miz’s wife jumps the barricade and slaps Ryder’s dad. Miz hits the skull crushing finale and it’s over. Miz wins the title!
Lita in the ring to formally present the WWE Women’s Championship to Charlotte. The champ comes out with Daddy Flair. Charlotte tries to give a sincere speech, but the crowd is not having it. They chant for Bayley. Charlotte tries to be a good heel but she fails. She certainly didn’t learn how to work a promo from her father. The women all walk out on Charlotte. All except Natalya who gets on a mic. She asks for a title shot. Charlotte says the title proves her family will always be better than the Hart family. Nattie attacks and Ric Flair saves his daughter. I doubt the title will be around Charlotte’s waste for too much longer.
The Usos and Dudleys go at it in a tables match. Dudleys are the first to get a table out, but The Usos take them out, jumping through the ropes. Crowd gets bored early, starts chanting for NXT wrestlers. Two tables get set up in the ring. Dudleys attempt a double powerbomb but the Usos counter. Usos try the same spot they did last night, but the Dudleys move and the Usos crash themselves through the tables, giving the Dudleys the win. Owens attacks Sami backstage and puts him through a table. Zayn is now out of the fatal four way.
Dudleys are still out in the arena. Enzo and Cass’s music hits. Finally. We’ve been waiting for these guys to move up for awhile. Crowd goes nuts. Enzo works the mic elegantly. Calls the Dudleys haters. Enzo kills the Dudleys on the mic, laying out insults to the crowd’s delight. Cass calls them out and the Dudleys fake getting into the ring, but cut tail and run. Crowd boos them. There’s only one word to describe them, and Cass is going to spell it out. S-A-W-F-T….SWAFTTTTTTT!
Main event time. Styles comes out, followed by Jericho and Kevin Owens. Instead of Sami Zayn, Cesaro is the 4th competitor. Good match. The crowd heavily into this one. All four men bring their a-game. Cesaro certainly hasn’t missed a step. Cesaro hits the Cesaro Swing and then locks the Sharp Shooter on Y2J, in honor of his former tag partner. AJ hits the Stles Clash and pins Jericho to become #1 Contender. What a strange, strange choice.
This Raw had a few bright spots, but it felt like it ran too long like WrestleMania did. Without the crowd, this would have just been another basic Raw. Styles vs Reigns does not set up anything very exciting. Ryder vs The Miz for the IC Title isn’t worth watching. Triple H wasn’t even there. After wasting seven hours yesterday, it felt like I just wasted three more hours tonight. I might have to DVR Raw next week so I can fast forward through it. Watching live just doesn’t have much appeal right now.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
After last night’s WrestleMania, I may be ready for another vacation from wrestling; if Raw doesn’t bring the house down tonight, I’m taking a break until the Payback PPV. We started the night off with a two hour preshow that began with the US Title match. Kalisto defended his title against Ryback at 5:45pm while most of the fans weren’t even in the building, and before the preshow was on USA Network for those fans without the WWE Network. It was a terrible way to treat the title and the two men competing for it. If WWE doesn’t treat the title as something important, why should the fans care about it?
The two USA Network preshow matches were The Usos vs The Dudleys and Team BAD & Blonde vs Team Total Divas. The women’s match was all about Lana, at least in the buildup. When it came down to the match though, we barely got any Lana and instead got Brie acting like Daniel Bryan. If she’s retiring and needs to go out with a great match, fine. But how is stealing her husband’s moveset a positive way to go out? It was frustrating to watch. The Usos vs The Dudleys was the one match I assumed would be a throwaway, but it ended up being confusing. The Dudleys are meant to be the heels here, but were playing to the crowd, getting cheered, and it was the Usos who closed out the match with a questionable heel-like ending by putting Bubba and D-Von through two tables. The best part of the preshow kickoff was when Lita unveiled the new Women’s Title; that thing is a masterpiece.
WrestleMania began with the ladder match for the IC Title, which was phenomenal. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens looked like they honestly hated each other; both men were intense and focused on getting the win. There were some pretty scary spots, especially Sin Cara diving off a ladder and onto Stardust, who lay on a ladder outside of the ring. The tribute to Dusty Rhodes with Stardust’s gear and the polka dotted ladder was such a heartwarming gesture. We were teased with Miz stealing a victory, but ultimately Zack Ryder won the title. Zack Ryder. Who saw that one coming? I was incredibly happy with this entire match and pumped for the rest of the night. Every single competitor brought their A game and put everything on the line. There was not a single moment of downtime, and that ending was nothing short of genius; no one seriously thought that Ryder would walk away as champ. I loved it.
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho was basically the same thing we’ve already seen. Jericho keeps kicking out of the Styles Clash, which is frustrating, and then he beat Styles, which is confusing. You would think we’d be protecting the talent that is going to stick around and be here week after week, not handing the veteran a win so he can go off and tour with Fozzy. Outside of a confusing win, the match itself was stale and slow, and the crowd was not feeling it. Styles has been over as hell since his debut, but he keeps getting stuck in matches with Jericho. When do we get to see something else? I swear, if we get Styles vs Jericho, Take 5 at Payback, I’m cancelling my Network subscription.
New Day’s entrance was fantastic, coming out of a massive box of Booty-O’s, but the actual match with League Of Nations was very boring. The crowd looked as if they had fallen asleep at one point. I still can’t understand why the titles weren’t on the line here; every title should be up for grabs at WrestleMania. The whole competition for who is the stronger faction would be fine if that actually meant anything. Remember when Rusev came out in a tank? Where was that showmanship and fanfare this year? The best part of this match involved three men who had nothing to do with the match; Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin. Sweet Chin Music, Mandible Claw, and Stunners for everyone! It was an awesome moment that made me hopeful that the night would be picking up.
Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar was next, and this one had to be good considering it was No Holds Barred. Unfortunately, it was Kendo Stick city with an odd and abrupt ending. It felt like someone backstage ordered the ref to cut the match short. I had been looking forward to this ever since they announced it, and this is what we got? Ambrose and Lesnar could have gone to the extreme, but instead all they did was hit each other with sticks and play with a fire extinguisher. There were some good moments, of course, but overall this was confusing, short and not extreme at all. Lesnar can obviously beat the shit out of people with ease, and Ambrose can take a beating like no other, so why didn’t we get a bloody all-out brawl? Why was Ambrose suddenly unable to continue after we’ve seen him get up and come back after going through worse? I went into this match thinking it would be one of the best of the entire night, and instead was left shaking my head, wondering what the hell I just watched.
The Women’s Title was on the line next, and Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Charlotte did a great job here. They absolutely killed it and showed us what the female division should look like, and hopefully what it will look like from here on out. My complaint is that Charlotte won with the help of her daddy. Again. Ric Flair prevented Sasha from returning to the ring, which allowed Charlotte time to get Becky to tap. Why in the holy hell are we pushing the strength of a new Women’s Division and still having the champ rely on a man to help her win? Flair should have stayed the hell out of it. This made Charlotte look weak, like if it were not for daddy, she wouldn’t be champ. I don’t want Daddy’s Girl heading the Women’s Division, I want someone who doesn’t need a man standing behind her because she can stand strongly on her own.
Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker was up next, and this match looked exactly how you would expect. A fight between two old men who probably shouldn’t be doing half the things they are trying to do. This was slow and tedious. The highlight was Shane diving off of the top of the cage and onto the announce table, resulting in Taker able to pick up the win and Shane getting carried off on a stretcher. The two broke out of the cell at one point, so an interference would have been awesome, but we didn’t get that. We didn’t really get anything. This was terrible.
The Andre The Giant Battle Royal was interesting with the addition of Shaq as a competitor, but overall it was nothing special. The highlight was seeing NXT star Baron Corbin pick up the win. I hope this means we’ll’ be getting him on the main roster; the guy is seriously on fire. With the Battle Royal moved off the preshow and onto the main card at the last minute, I was expecting to see a hell of a lot of action and surprises. Shaq is gimmicky, not something main-event worthy. I don’t get why this match was moved because other than Corbin’s victory, there was nothing special about this at all. Unremarkable and forgettable. I honestly can’t remember anything about this other than being confused that Shaq showed up and Corbin being the last man standing.
The Rock finally showed up next and faced off with The Wyatt’s which got me hyped up. Rock was in his ring gear, but we didn’t get Bray in the ring; Erick Rowan stepped up to compete and got his ass handed to him in 6 seconds. What is the point? Then, the Family gangs up on Rock and John Fucking Cena comes to his rescue. Honestly, guys, could we have gone one WrestleMania without him? I’m so tired of Cena getting shoved in our faces at every opportunity, especially when he is constantly greeted by a chorus of boos because everyone over the age of 8 is fed up with his cartoonish antics. The Rock would have been better utilized in the Roman vs Triple H fight by interfering and having Reigns turn on him. It would also have been better if we weren’t informed that he would be a part of Mania months ago. We suspected that Stone Cold would be there, but we didn’t see promo after promo advertising the fact, so we got hyped up when his music hit. With The Rock, we were waiting for it all night because WWE has been telling us week after week to expect it.
Our main event was next. Triple H had an awesome entrance as usual, though the whole speech by Stephanie McMahon was a bit odd, and Roman Reigns came out looking all broody as the crowd booed him. The high point was seeing Steph get speared, and the low point was everything else. Predictably, Reigns won. I knew Reigns would win, so that isn’t my issue here. My issue is this entire match was lazy and uneventful and unworthy of a WrestleMania main event. This is the biggest match on the biggest show of the entire year, and it felt like a throwaway Raw moment. Reigns won for the third time, and no one cared.
WrestleMania went over their allotted time by almost an hour, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why it was necessary. I’ve already seen the “this is setting things up for Payback” arguments, and quite honestly, I think that is bullshit. WrestleMania is the event of the year; it should not be mediocre in order to set up things for an upcoming PPV. There is no excuse for not putting every title on the line. There is no excuse for lazy booking and shoddy performances. I shouldn’t be so bored during your main event that I mute the PPV and move to a second TV so I can watch the Walking Dead finale.
NXT TakeOver was what WrestleMania should have been. Compelling matches, lots of action and memorable moments, exciting debuts, and match endings that make you cheer even if it wasn’t the outcome you wanted. WWE’s so-called developmental division did the better job this weekend in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the people. Once TakeOver was over, we immediately went back to rewatch some of the matches. When Mania ended, we happily turned off the Xbox and almost instantly forgot about half the matches we watched. I haven’t seen as many Manias as the typical WWE fan, but this was undoubtedly the worst.
Tonight’s Raw is their chance to make things right, and the WWE has a lot of work to do. We still have The Authority in charge since Shane McMahon failed, but Triple H isn’t champion anymore, so I’m curious to see how they address it. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch should get a rematch tonight; the title should have changed hands last night. The tag titles should also be on the line tonight; not defending them last night was a mistake that needs to be righted. We should get a surprise debut tonight as well; seeing Bayley or Finn Balor on Raw would go a long way in righting some of the wrongs we saw last night. Creative needs to pull their heads out of their asses and put their all into tonight’s show. So many fans are jaded after watching a mind-numbing seven hours of wrestling last night; we need something big to pull us back in and make us want to keep watching. As it stands now, I have one foot out the door and won’t have any regrets about taking a few weeks off from Raw and Smackdown.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
The Mtn Dew Kickstart WrestleMania 32 Kickoff Show started promptly at 5PM on the WWE Network. Renee Young, and Hall of Famers Booker T and Lita led the charge with Corey Graves hanging around outside among the lines as the crowd files into the arena.
Kevin Owens is interviewed by JoJo backstage. He says he deserves a high profile match but he didn’t ask for all these opponents. He says just a few weeks ago, Zack Ryder was buying tickets to attend the show and now he gets to be in it. Owens slanders all his opponents. Later, Paul Heyman is interviewed with his usual spiel. Brock Lesnar is going to take Ambrose to Suplex City, hold him down, and pin him. Heyman gets some simple questions from the interview team and laughs in their faces.
Ringside Byron Saxton, Jerry Lawler, and the amazing Mauro Ranallo get set to do the commentary for Kalisto against Ryback, with the United States Championship on the line. Ryback comes out getting booed by the thin crowd. People are still filing into AT&T Stadium. Most of the seats ringside are full though, so that’s good. Goldberg chants start early. Ryback gets off to a quick start, slamming the littler Kalisto to the mat. Not much offense in the first minutes for Kalisto. He takes a beating. Network goes to a commercial. When we return, it’s more of the same. It looks like a cat playing with a wounded mouse. Ryback tries a suplex off the top rope and Kalisto reverses it into a cover. Ryback kicks out at two and then clobbers Kalisto. The Lucha Dragon comes alive with a DDT. A few moments later, Kalisto hits a Salida del Sol and pins Ryback cleanly in the ring.
For hour two, we switch over to the USA Network. Corey Graves joins the preshow table. Ten woman Divas tag match up next featuring Total Divas vs Team BAD and BLONDE. Eva Marie, Alicia Fox, Natalya, Paige, Brie Bella, Lana, Summer Rae, Naomi, Emma, and Tamina are all competitors. Nothing much matters throughout this match. That is until Lana gets tagged in. She takes down Paige and looks dominant with a vicious kick, and then tags out. Brie Bella of course capitalizes off her husband with his kicks and wins via submission with the YES! Lock. The Bellas have nothing to offer and it shows here. Brie has never done anything but piggy back off Daniel Bryan. The balls of Creative to give Eva Marie a WrestleMania victory. The ones who can actually wrestle did good in this one. But a big throwaway match worth nothing, not even bragging rights.
Lita is down in the middle of the ring addressing the crowd. She discusses the female wrestlers that came before her and how no one could ever tell them no. They could never be stopped. And a big surprise for Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch, Lita says the winner of the triple threat Divas championship match will win a new fancy WWE Women’s Championship!
Absolutely beautiful. Could not be more excited for this. It’s time for WWE to take the women’s division seriously. Thank you to Triple H for leading us to this moment with his NXT ladies. Next up is The Usos versus The Dudley Boyz. I can’t stop thinking about that talent, though. This one starts off with all four guys brawling. Bubba Ray is fired up, yelling throughout. A few super kicks later, and The Usos win. Short match with nothing much to offer. Afterwards, The Dudleys attack The Usos and then get two tables from under the ring. But The Usos again super kick The Dudleys and then place them on the tables. Double splash through the tables. Crowd boos this booking and I can’t blame them. Not a good outing for the preshow.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
If Saturday’s Network viewing for Roadblock taught us anything, it’s that people will watch one-off, random shows that are more than Raw episodes but lacking the oomph of a full pay-per-view. The show was less than stellar, but it still packed the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto and featured some solid, albeit bizarre, match lineups. In the spirit of Saturday Network broadcasts, and in appreciation of National Women’s Month, Face to Heel came up with a pretty novel idea for another Saturday night show: the first ever Queen of the Ring tournament.
Similar to the King of the Ring tournament (that at one time was its own pay-per-view), the Queen version would feature only female wrestlers. Imagine it… an entire show dedicated to the lovely ladies of wrestling. The main roster Divas and NXT females are really a very vast, talented pool of athletic chicks. Why not showcase what they can actually do? Instead of wasting segments on Raw to fill ten minutes or promote Total Divas, actually take them seriously for once and make the ladies the focal point of an entire broadcast.
Throughout the night, the show can feature cameos from all the favorites of The Attitude Era and other alumni: Trish Stratus, Lita, Eve Torres, Chyna (no? anyone? Just me? Ok…), Layla, Vickie Guerrero, Stacy Keibler, Mickie James. The list could go on and on. With further tributes to The Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Miss Elizabeth, Luna Vachon and others. Just look at the list of names there. And we haven’t even gotten to the wrestling portion yet!
The actual tournament can feature main roster and NXT ladies battling it out for undisputed dominance with the winner getting a title shot. There are only so many slots available, but here is the talent pool WWE can pick from to include in this tournament: Alicia Fox, Bayley, Asuka, Becky Lynch, Brie Bella, Cameron, Charlotte, Emma, Naomi, Natalya, Carmella, Dana Brooke, Paige, Sasha Banks, Summer Raw, Tamina, Nia Jax, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce. This would be a perfect opportunity to finally debut Lana as a wrestler, something they have been teasing us with for a few weeks.
Eden Stiles, JoJo, and Lillian Garcia can fill their usual roles. Put Stephanie McMahon and Renee Young on commentary with Jerry Lawler playing the sexist heel. And there you have it, an all-female show (Jerry counts as female because he bedazzles his shirts). You can finally get over the hump Kevin Dunn has stayed on for his Raw “eye candy” concepts. If WWE wants people to actually take the females seriously this is the best way to do it. The female product sponsors could really expand WWE’s market. Maybe a crossover with Victoria’s Secret or Bath and Body Works. WWE can even invite Ronda Rousey to make an appearance or to be in attendance at ring-side. Or have an entire celebrity female section sitting ring-side.
The repercussions of this tournament can be a catapult for new feuds and rematches, literally a couple months’ worth of storylines. Not to mention if it does well it could set the stage for future all female shows and segments. Perhaps an all-female TLC match for the Divas Title, or an all-female NXT Takeover show where the women “takeover” a city or broadcast. Hell, at the very least it could set up an interesting all-female traditional Survivor Series match later in the year. The potential is damn near limitless.
If done properly, which with WWE’s Creative is a big IF, this could be one of the best events of the whole year. A female battle royal has been seen multiple times before. Rushed matches have been done for years to placate women. With Ric Flair’s daughter as champion and all the amazing talent we have now in the WWE, there is no good reason to not put on a showcase for these ladies. Harking back to when Trish and Lita main-evented Raw in 2004, females can and will steal the spotlight when given the opportunity. So why not let them?
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
The time has come. The showcase of the immortals is upon us once again. Vince McMahon’s dream that started thirty-one years ago comes a little early this year, dropping in March instead of the usual April. But that won’t stop it from being another memorable night of big moments and jaw-dropping matches. Face To Heel’s editor and head writer, Jamie Curtis Baker, will be with you every step up the way with a rapid reaction of every moment, every match, recapping and reviewing each superstar and match outcome.
5:00 PM – The kick off show started right on time. Renee Young, Booker T, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves recap first Rusev vs Cena. Rusev is shown backstage with the ever intoxicating Lana. She swears to never show compassion again. Rusev says, “Crush John Cena and America dies!” A bit extreme, but it should be a pretty good match regardless. Cut to a video segment of Cena on Jimmy Kimmel this week really milking the American angle. It’s over the top, it’s a badly scripted promo that comes off very forced. Cena stands up and salutes the crowd after. If that sort of thing gets you fired up, well okay then.
5:18 PM – Eden is backstage knocking on Triple H’s door trying to get a comment about his match with Sting. Kane tells her to leave because it’s off limits. This is followed by a HHH/Sting video package which, to be honest, is pretty damn awesome. This match has amazing written all over it. Can’t wait.
5:26 PM – J&J Security shown backstage, getting coffee. Brisco and Patterson are shown, passing the torch from one set of stooges to another. This is really for the more hardcore fans who will get this segment. The casual fan won’t understand. Kid Ink and Skylar Grey revealed to be performing live tonight. WWE hits us with that Seth Rollins and Randy Orton video package, the actually covers Rollins all the way back to The Shield. Very cool. If Roman Reigns is the next John Cena, then Seth Rollins is clearly the next Randy Orton. This match will be epic.
5:38 PM – After a video package showing various news outlets with WWE superstars stopping by all week and some behind the scene looks at fans at WWE Axxess, the Divas tag match is recapped. This will feature the Bella Twins vs Paige and AJ Lee. This was all punctuated with flashbacks of Raw and Smackdown footage. No video montage for this match.
5:43 PM – Bray Wyatt vs Undertaker video package set to Johnny Cash. If you aren’t excited for this one, you might want to dig a hole and just live underground in a cave. I personally predicted that this match would steal the show tonight. On one side you have the mysterious Undertaker, shrouded in shadow after being crushed by Brock Lesnar last year. We don’t know his status. We don’t know how he will look or perform. We only know he is in the building. In the opposite corner you have the self-proclaimed “New Face of Fear” Bray Wyatt who is looking to not only solidify himself as the new creepy, dark enigma of the WWE but establish himself right here and now, building the foundation of his future in professional wrestling.
5:50 PM – The main event is previewed, with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. The interview with Lesnar on ESPN is shown of him revealing he is remaining with the WWE, having signed a new three year deal. Barring outside influence, Brock Lesnar will win this match. The key factors in this match aren’t even Lesnar and Reigns. The two people to consider during this bout is Paul Heyman and Seth Rollins. Heyman has a history of betraying Lesnar. And Rollins has the MITB briefcase. Cue video package of BABYface Reigns and Lesnar. Chances are good tonight, if both stars bring their a-game, we get a double turn by the time the bell rings and Lesnar continues running rampant through the summer.
6:02 PM – Hour two of the kickoff show begins. The crowd is still filing in as JBL, Jerry Lawler, and Michael Cole are shown right before The Usos come to the ring with Naomi. Los Matadores and El Torito come out next. A New Day comes out to a chorus of boos. This gimmick is so terrible. Please disband it and let Big E be a solo act. He is too good for this. The tag team champions, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd come out to a pretty decent pop. Cesaro and Kofi Kingston start the match. The sun is out super bright and it has to be hard for the competitors. Jay Uso gets taken out with an injury, leaving the match. Cesaro and Kidd pretty much in control for most of the start of this match. Nattie puts the Sharpshooter on El Torito. That’s what this has devolved to. Then Nattie and Naomi get into it outside the ring. This match is pretty fast paced and is honestly not too shabby for a preshow in broad daylight. The match gets punctuated with a six man double suplex off the top rope. Cesaro pins Big E and retains the titles.
6:19 PM – #AskLita segment with none other than WWE Hall of Famer Lita. She answers questions via Twitter. Nothing too enthralling here so we’ll just leave it at that.
6:27 PM – Jon Gruden shown reviewing film for the upcoming Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The match begins with so many sweaty bodies in the ring. Curtis Axel rips his shirt open and then everybody picks him up and throws him out of the ring. First eliminated. Axelmania has died. Hideo Itami of NXT takes some vicious chops from Big Show. I predicted Sheamus would be in this match, but he’s not even there so look for him to ruin the IC Title match later on. Itami takes a hard punch from Show and gets eliminated. Sort of a crappy moment for a guy who earned a shot to be here on NXT. Ryback eliminates both members of The Ascension, then quickly throws out Darren Young, Heath Slater, and Titus O’Neal. Kane hits a double chokeslam on Mix and Mizdow. Cesaro lifts Kane and throws him out. Wow. Five competitors left. Big Show picks up Cesaro and tosses him out. Ryback, Show, Miz, and Mizdow are the final four. Big Show eliminates Ryback. Big Show is clearly exhausted. He has really done a lot in this match, looking extremely tough. Miz tries to get Mizdow to help, Mizdow shakes his head. The crowd starts a YES! chant. Miz: “It’s always been us! I need you! This is for us! We take him out for us!” Mizdow grabs Miz and tosses him out, crowd goes wild! Mizdow and Big Show are the final two. Mizdow gives his all, but Big Show is too, well, big. Big Show wins second annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal.
6:50 PM – That about does it for the preshow. More panel yapping. The big event is right around the corner!
7:00 PM – WRESTLEMANIA!!!!!!!!!!! Aloe Blacc comes out and sings America the Beautiful, a really smooth rendition. Pyrotechnics go off, crowd goes wild. LL Cool J has a video package introducing everyone to WrestleMania. Unnecessary, but still cool. Ladders surround the ring, the IC Belt is hanging above the center and the first music to pop is Daniel Bryan. Crowd goes ape shit, of course. YES! chant starts immediately. The champ, BNB, enters second donning a cape. Dolph Ziggler, Stardust, Luke Harper, R-Truth, and Dean Ambrose round out the competitors. R-Truth is the first to set a ladder up in the ring, but his fear of heights keeps him from climbing towards the belt. The ladder immediately becomes a weapon and painful antics ensue. Stardust takes over, knocking everyone down. Crowd starts a CODY! chant. He then proceeds to pull a bedazzled ladder out from under the ring! HaHa!Ambrose and Harper go at it in the ring. Ziggler takes a a hard punch from Harper, then gets smashed into a ladder. Ladder matches are never pretty. Wrestling is not all fake, folks. Barrett suplexes Stardust from the top of the tallest ladder. Wow. Gets a HOLY SHIT! chant from the crowd. Ambrose, Ziggler, and Bryan battle on a ladder. Luke Harper just powerbombed Ambrose THROUGH a ladder! Ziggler and Bryan go to war at the top of a ladder, pawing at the title. They trade headbutts. Ziggler falls, Bryan reaches up and collects the IC Title!
7:32 PM – Seth Rollins comes to the ring with J&J Security. The Viper, Randy Orton comes out to a big pop. The Future of the Company vs The Face of the Company. Orton sports red trucks, Rollins wearing a rejected outfit prop from the X-Men movies. Orton hits a clothes from hell and then outside the ring Rollins smashes Orton into the table. J&J Security receive a double DDT off the ring apron. It should be noted at this point I’ve had three cocktails and a beer, things might get sloppy in an hour or so. Orton gets taken out by a very clean moonsault from Rollins. So far, though, this match isn’t all that great considering who is in it. Orton hits an RKO, Rollins kicks out at two. Orton teases the punt, but J&J interferes. Rollins hits a Curb Stomp, a very sloppy Curb Stomp. Orton kicks out at two. Oh my god, Rollins goes for a Curb Stomp and Orton turns it into an RkO! Randy Orton wins! So far, a fantastic WrestleMania.
7:56 PM – A drum band performs for Sting. It’s weird but sort of cool. The sun still hasn’t gone down and it’s very strange to watch WrestleMania without the spotlights and bright lights. Stinger comes out. There is a Terminator vignette and then the stage fills with actual terminators! Triple H comes out dressed in a terminator skull outfit. Arnold: “WrestleMania is here. It’s time to play the game.” That was such a great entrance that would have been better in the dark. Sting dominates to start the match. YOU STILL GOT IT! chant from the crowd. Sting throws Triple H over the top rope. HHH can’t seem to gain much ground and the amped up Sting. HHH whips Sting into the corner, then hits him with a SUCK IT gesture. Sting gets HHH in a figure four and DX comes out! Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and XPAC come out to save HHH. Sting takes them out. Triple H hits Pedigree, Sting kicks out at two. Triple H takes a Sledgehammer out. NWO’s music hits! NWO takes out DX. Sting hits Scorpion Deathdrop and HHH kicks out! Sting locks in Scorpion Deathlock. HHH crawls to his sledgehammer, but Hollywood Hogan takes it away! Sting keeps the lock in. XPAC takes out Hogan, Nash takes out XPAC, all hell breaks loose. Shawn Michaels hits Sting with Sweet Chin Music! Triple H goes for the pin and Sting barely kicks out at two and a half! Scott Hall gives Sting his bat. Triple H has his sledgehammer. Triple H’s sledgehammer is broken in half with a baseball bat hit. Sting goes to work. This is epic. TRIPLE H WINS!
8:30 PM – Daniel Bryan backstage gets nods from Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Ron Simmons, Patterson, and they all start a YES! chant. Travis Barker is on stage playing drums, Skyler Gray sings the WrestleMania theme song.
8:40 PM – Paige’s music hits. The beautiful AJ Lee comes out, skipping to the ring. The Bellas enter. The sun still hasn’t set, so I hope Paige doesn’t get a sunburn. Nikki immediately takes control of this match, throwing Paige around the ring and delivering a cheap shot to AJ. Both Nikki and Brie try to pin Paige, but she is able to consistently kick out at two while AJ lays comatose outside of the ring. AJ continues to try to get into this match, but the Bellas won’t allow her to get close. Nikki delivers the Rack Attack, which Paige also narrowly escapes. Paige quickly takes control of this match, taking out both Bella twins while AJ finally gets back on the apron. Finally we see our Geek Goddess enter this match. She takes down Nikki, and with the assist from Paige, gets a pin on Nikki, who kicks out at two. AJ gets Nikki locked in the Black Widow, but Brie breaks it up. AJ manages to lock it in again and makes Nikki tap out! Next up is highlights from the Hall of Fame ceremony.
9:00 PM – Cena/Rusev video package. Lana comes out carrying the US title. Rusev comes out…in a tank. LOL! Cena gets an All American white bread video package. This is some Hacksaw Jim Duggan shit. Crowd boos Cena very loudly and sings JOHN CENA SUUUUUUUUUUCKS. Rusev forces Eden to introduce him first. Cena hits a clothesline and goes for a pin. Rusev kicks out at one. The sun still hasn’t set, but has gone down enough that most of the stadium is in shadows. Crowd is very anti-Cena. Crowd starts a LET’S GO LANA chant. Cena hits an STF. Lana throws her shoe at the ref. Michael Cole sells it as the most bizarre thing he’s ever seen. And WWE had a guy called Boogeyman that ate worms in the ring. BUT OKAY. Rusev hits a flying headbutt, Cena kicks out at two. Rusev tries to lock in Accolade, but Cena counters before it gets locked in. Rusev kicks out at two. Cena hits AA, Rusev kicks out and lands a super kick. Rusev locks in the Accolade. Super Cena picks him up and slams him into the corner. Then Cena locks in the STF. Rusev takes out Lana by accident, Cena hits the AA and gets a pinfall. The preshow panels recaps most of the show.
9:36 PM – Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in the ring. They inform the crowd they set a new attendance record. Triple H destroys Sting on the mic. Says he owns Sting and the superstars and all the WWE Universe. “The Authority always wins.” The Rock’s music hits! 76,000 chant ROCKY! Rock calls out HHH. Triple H takes his jacket off. Steph and Rock trade barbs, Steph slaps Rock. The Rock exits the ring. The Rock finds Ronda Rousey ringside! The Rock attacks Triple H! Ronda Rousey slams him down! Steph grabs her. Big mistake! Ronda grabs Steph by the arm and throws her out of the ring. The Rock: “That is called being owned.”
10:01 PM – Bray Wyatt enters the arena surrounded by a bunch of creepy ass scarecrows that all stutter around behind him. The sun is still up so Undertaker’s entrance is going to fall a little flat. BONG. Fog hits, music hits, the deadman comes around. Just in the face, Taker looks years younger than he did last year. This is his 23rd WrestleMania appearance. Still, by far, the best entrance in the business. I don’t know how he looks ten years younger, but somehow he does. Taker starts the match with a huge boot and gets Bray in the corner. This is what Sting should have looked like. Taker hits Old School and crowd goes nuts. Start a YOU STILL GOT IT! chant. Bray Wyatt takes control for a little while, keeping Taker down on his back. Taker locks in Hell’s Gate submission! Wyatt fights out. Wyatt goes for Sister Abigail and Taker reverses it into a chokeslam. Taker hits a tombstone pile driver! Wyatt kicks out at two! Taker runs a thumb across his neck….goes for a second tombstone pile driver. Bray counters, hits Sister Abigail. Taker barely kicks out! Wyatt mocks Taker. Taker reverse a Sister Abigail into a tombstone piledriver. ONE TWO THREE! UNDERTAKER WINS!!!
10:34 PM – Roman Reigns comes out, going through the crowd which has to be absolutely frightening. Lesnar comes out, looking like an absolute animal. Lillian introduces Reigns. Heyman takes the mic and introduces Brock Lesnar which makes him all the more intimidating. This turns into a quick brawl. Lesnar hits a suplex and an F5! Doesn’t even go for a pin, just wipes the blood from his face. Lesnar appears genuinely pissed off at having his face busted open. Hits a couple more suplexes. “Suplex city, bitch!” – Brock Lesnar. Another suplex by Lesnar. Lesnar hits an eighth suplex. This is just an ass whooping at this point. Reigns kicks out of an F5 and Lesnar takes his gloves off, literally. He slaps Reigns with a bare open palm over and over. Nine suplexes. Ten. A third F5. Reigns kicks out at two. Lesnar gets busted open on the ring post, takes two Superman punches but doesn’t go down. After a third punch Lesnar goes down but hops up. Reigns hits a spear and Lesnar gets up. HE TAKES A SECOND SPEAR AND KICKS OUT AT TWO!!! Lesnar hits an F5 and both men are down! Seth Rollins comes out! He has the ref cash in! IT IS NOW A TRIPLE THREAT MATCH!!!!!!! Rollins hits a curb stomp on Reigns, goes to Lesnar for a curb stomp and gets it blocked, Reigns hits a spear, Rollins hits Reigns with a curb stomp and pins him for the title!!!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker