If you missed last week’s RAW review, Finn Balor was injured at SummerSlam and was forced to vacate the Universal Championship less than 24 hours later. Tonight, we crown a new champ in a Fatal-4-Way.
The show kicks off with Corey Graves in the ring with the four competitors fighting for the title. Seth Rollins interrupts him early and tells everyone to thank him for injuring Finn Balor at SummerSlam. Rollins says he is feeling nice and wants to donate his talking time to Kevin Owens. Crowd starts a “Fight, Owens, Fight!” chant. He says Rollins talks big but he (Owens) delivers big. He insults Reigns and Big Cass as well. Cass then talks and actually does incredibly well. He insults Owens and Rollins, who then becomes infuriated and starts yelling at everyone. Rollins orders Graves to ask Reigns how he is going to win tonight. Reigns stands up and Owens laughs at him. Then Reigns punches him out of his chair. Rollins attacks Cass and Reigns pulls him off. Cass and Reigns square off. But before anything can happen Rollins attacks from behind. Reigns throws Cass out and then Superman Punches Rollins. Crowd vocally unhappy, booing Reigns as he eyes the Universal Championship. Nice opener for once.
Chris Jericho comes down to take on Neville. Y2J rolls out of the ring at the start of the match and yells at the crowd. Neville comes up behind him and kicks him in the gut. He rolls Jericho back in the ring, climbs the top rope and leaps off into a cross body cover. Jericho kicks out at two and then crawls to the corner and wraps his arms around the ref. Jericho rakes Neville’s eyes and clotheslines Neville to the mat. Commercial. Neville is in control when we return. Standing Shooting Star Press and Neville covers. Kick out at two. Jericho rolls out of the ring, Neville comes around and kicks him off the apron and moonsaults off the second rope, taking Jericho down. Back in the ring, Neville can’t keep Jericho down. Jericho goes for a Code Breaker, but Neville kicks him in the face. Red Arrow off the top rope. Jericho moves and catches Neville in the Walls of Jericho. Neville taps. This whole Y2J on top thing is getting old. He is beating too many young guys. This does absolutely nothing for Neville. And really does nothing for Jericho either. Neville recently returned and is getting tapped out. Didn’t like this booking at all.
Nia Jax up next. Probably another squash match so not really sure why I should even bother covering it. Shortly after typing this she wins. Yawn. Where’s Sasha Banks? Jinder Mahal and Sami Zayn have a match that nobody wants to see, honestly. The crowd chants for Slater throughout. Zayn wins. Boring match. Not sure what this does for Zayn. Just a lot of odd booking choices tonight.
Bayley and The New Day take on Dana Brooke and The Club next with Charlotte on commentary. Starting to see more of these mixed tag matches which is a big positive for WWE. This match is okay. Sort of a goofball spotfest instead of a fun wrestling match. Bayley and New Day are a little clumsy. The Club and Dana do a nice job. The big go home is Bayley to Belly on Dana for the pinfall victory. Raw has sort of lost me since the opening segment. They haven’t really set up any feuds or rivalries outside of the Universal Championship.
Sheamus comes out to fight Cesaro in a match that probably won’t pick up the momentum of the show. This is match #2 of their best of 7 series. Oh goodie. And lucky for us they let Byron Saxton interview Sheamus before the match. That’s just cringe-worthy. The match itself is decent. But what else is there for these two to do? They are just going to have seven straight up matches? That isn’t exciting at all. Cesaro lands a pretty vicious European uppercut off the ropes. Crowd not bothering to get up for this one. Can’t really blame them. This series is definitely going to 7 so we are just going to watch them go through the motions 6 times prior. In a surprise twist, Sheamus wins the second match with a submission tap out. Sheamus goes up 2-0. Mr. Fuji video package after the match. Sad. Rest in Peace to the Hall of Famer.
Big announcement after the break that the Cruiserweights are coming to Raw in 3 weeks! Finally! Stephanie McMahon comes down to the ring. Paul Heyman interrupts her. Stephanie cuts him off and tells him to get in the ring and apologize. Instead, Heyman says Raw won SummerSlam when Lesnar defeated Orton. Heyman says he is here tonight to pay Lesnar’s $500 fine. He pulls out a huge stack of bills. He starts counting to five hundred using single dollar bills. HaHaHa. At six, Stephanie slaps the money out of his hand. Heyman sweet talks Stephanie and apologizes. She accepts and walks out. Weird segment.
Titus O’Neal comes to the ring, smiling at the replay from last week. Darren Young comes out with Bob Backlund. Weirdly, this is one of the better matches of the night. The two tell a good story and put some emotion into their fight. Titus looks like a beast and although Young has yet to embody this so-called greatness Backlund claims, he looks solid tonight. Darren Young gets the pinfall victory and then tosses Titus out of the ring. He and Backlund celebrate in the ring. Titus spoils the fun, running in and attacking them both from behind. Clash of the Titus on Young. Crowd boo’s as Titus walks out and up the ramp.
Main event time. Big Cass comes out with Enzo Amore which I find an odd decision. Makes Cass look like he can’t stand on his own, something Owens alluded to earlier in the broadcast. This is a big moment for Cass, and Enzo kind of hijacked it. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Certified G, but he really has no business here. Oh well, what’s done is done. The bell rings and Owens rolls out and leans against the barricade, letting the other three beat each other up. Eventually Cass and Reigns square off alone in the ring. They trade blows, but Reigns knocks Cass down. Reigns misses with a Superman Punch. Cass off the ropes and he kicks Reigns out of the ring, as both men go tumbling out of the ring. Cass and Owens are fighting and Reigns dives out to take them both down. Commercial break.
As we come back from the break, Owens drops an elbow off the apron onto Cass. Rollins clobbers him, rolls Cass in the ring, and manages a two count. All four guys take turns running the show. It’s a well choreographed match for having four guys at once. Frog Splash by Owens and he eliminates Big Cass. Good showing for the big man. And then there were three….and another commercial break. Owens hits two cannonballs on Reigns and Rollins in separate corners. Superman Punch by Reigns, but Owens kicks out. Crowd in a frenzy. Stephanie and Mick ringside, practically drooling. Reigns hits all his moves on the outside to both guys. Triple H runs in and Pedigrees Reigns out of no where! He throws Reigns into the ring, gets Rollins up and tells him to cover him. He does and Rollins eliminates Reigns. HHH walks over to Owens and rolls him in the ring. HHH turns and hits Rollins with a Pedigree. Owens covers and wins the title! Holy shit! HHH walks out. Owens celebrates and holds the belt up. And despite the heel-ness, crowd starts a “You Deserve It!” chant. Wow. Talk about making a big impact. Everybody is going to be talking anout this all week long.
Great beginning, great ending. The rest of Raw was pretty much garbage for the most part. But if Creative burned all their juice on making Owens the champion, we have to take it. What a fantastic new direction for the company. Congrats to the NEW Universal Champion, Kevin Owens. See you tomorrow for Smackdown Live.
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Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
The Barclays center in New York City will be hosting this year’s Summerslam, starting at 7pm with a two hour preshow beginning at 5pm. Former Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, will be the special celebrity guest and will likely provide comic relief and at least one awkward run-in with Seth Rollins. This is the first PPV since the brand split, but the matches are nearly all Raw vs Raw or Smackdown vs Smackdown. Every title is on the line, and we will finally get to see the brand new Universal Title. Let’s take a look at the massive card and make some predictions.
Cesaro vs Sheamus – First Match in the Best of Seven Series (Preshow Kickoff)
On the go-home Raw on Monday, Mick Foley announced that these two enemies would have a best of seven series to finally bury their beef. I still have yet to decide how I feel about this series. Seven matches ahead, when we have already seen two, will have the potential to get real stale really fast. I hope that we get stipulated matches in the future, as the Summerslam match is a straight singles match. The first win in a series will give the victor bragging rights and a slight edge on their competitor, which both men obviously will be battling for. Cesaro and Sheamus are both extremely talented, so I hope they are on their A game.
F2H Prediction – Sheamus
Sami Zayn and Neville vs The Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Match (Preshow Kickoff)
Since returning to action after an injury, Neville has yet to find himself in a decent storyline or feud. Sami Zayn is done with Kevin Owens, at least for now, and is looking to move on. The Dudley Boyz are veteran wrestlers who have no problem taking a backseat to the younger talent in order to give them a push or help them along in a current storyline. They have lost more matches than they’ve won since their heel turn, and their once sure thing for the tag titles has become a very distant memory. This match will be all about Zayn and Neville, and I hope they take full advantage.
F2H Prediction – Sami Zayn and Neville
American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable), The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder), The Usos vs Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango), The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor), The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) – 12 Man Tag Team Match (Preshow Kickoff)
We already saw this match on Smackdown, which makes this addition a little disappointing. We’re throwing too many tag teams together into one mess of a match, where certain people will struggle for the spotlight and others will be forgotten in the background. WWE has not done its job in introducing American Alpha and The Hype Bros to the main roster audience. Those who don’t watch NXT are missing out on knowing Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, and don’t fully appreciate the pairing of Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder. It’s a shame, but I hope they rectify it.
F2H Prediction – American Alpha, The Hype Bros, The Usos
Carmella, Becky Lynch, Naomi vs Natalya, Alexa Bliss – Six Woman Tag Match
This match was put together on the go home episode of Smackdown. Eva Marie was meant to compete with Natalya and Bliss, but was suspended for 30 days on August 18th after violating the WWE’s wellness policy. This is a great opportunity for Alexa Bliss and Carmella to introduce themselves to the large chunk of the audience who isn’t familiar with NXT and don’t know their characters. Bliss and Carmella went back to their roots on Wednesday to complete in another six woman tag on NXT, which I hope the main roster audience had a chance to see. We have five incredible athletes (and a sixth still unnamed as of the time of this writing) that are capable of doing a lot more than we’ve had the chance to see on the main roster. I hope tonight is their night.
F2H Prediction – Carmella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi
The Miz (c) vs Apollo Crews – Intercontinental Championship Match
I absolutely love The Miz as champ. He’s shady, underhanded, and conceited. He weasels his way into victories and isn’t bothered at all if he isn’t winning clean. Apollo Crews is the exact opposite of his opponent. He is honest, positive, and a team player through and through. Maryse will no doubt be ringside, giving Miz the edge, as Crews will be going it solo. I don’t expect a fair fight whatsoever. You simply don’t get that with The Miz, so Crews is going to have to play it safe and keep his eyes open. He will have to watch Maryse while also fighting his opponent, and he’ll have to ensure Miz doesn’t try to cause a DQ by throwing him into the ref or placing a weapon in his vicinity. Apollo Crews will shine, regardless of the outcome; he definitely earned and deserves this title shot.
F2H Prediction – The Miz
Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens – Tag Team Match
I’m not a fan of Chris Jericho (go easy on me, hardcore fans) but I appreciate the person he is and the work that he does. That said, I am really enjoying him when paired with Kevin Owens. Owens and Enzo are two of the best trash talkers on the roster, so a war of words between the two is gold no matter what. Jericho and Owens have adjusted their style to act slightly more comedic, making them a better match for Enzo and Cass. This feud has been entertaining since the moment it started and will make for a fantastic tag match tonight. I hope we eventually get to see Enzo and Cass put into the Tag Title picture where they belong. How you doin?
F2H Prediction – Enzo and Big Cass
The New Day (c) vs The Club – Tag Team Championship Match
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods will be fighting Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows without Big E, as he is nursing an injury to his man bits. I do hope that Big E will be present, but he has only been with us via Twitter lately. Anderson and Gallows have been utilizing a brilliant doctor gimmick, complete with every testicle pun you can possibly think of. They have Big E’s manhood in a jar, and have two smaller jars ready for Kingston and Woods. The New Day are the longest reigning WWE Tag Team champions as of July 20th and show no signs of giving up the titles. Their biggest competition on Raw, other than The Club, would be Enzo and Cass or Jeri-KO (if their tag team stays together). Golden Truth are more comic relief than anything else, and The Shining Stars are yet another failed gimmick for Primo and Epico. I am worried about New Day’s situation without Big E, and eager to see what this means for their title match.
F2H Prediction – The Club
John Cena vs AJ Styles – Singles Match
My favorite thing is to watch Styles BEAT UP JOHN CENA! It’s nice to see Cena out of the title picture and involved with someone who is a serious veteran in the business instead of a new talent who is still trying to find their footing. This absolutely must be a clean match for Styles with no assistance whatsoever from The Club. Win or lose, he needs to ensure he keeps this one-on-one. John Cena is one of my least favorite people; I get that he does a lot of good in the world and kids love him, but he’s just not my cup of tea, guys. I’m beyond ready to see “the face that runs the place” go part time and let someone else take the reins. I don’t know if Styles is that guy or not, but it’s a good place to start.
F2H Prediction – AJ Styles
Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte – Women’s Championship Match
Finally, The Boss holds the gold! Sasha Banks has had one hell of a journey from NXT to the main roster to finally becoming WWE Women’s Champion. Even Charlotte had to briefly break character on Raw and smile when she saw her friend holding the title high above her head. Dana Brooke is banned from ringside tonight, so Charlotte won’t have her lackey to go to for help in winning back the title. Unless she has some other tricks in mind or another person waiting in the wings, she is going to have to win or lose this match all on her own. These two women are huge talents and deserve every bit of success. They will ensure that you don’t use this match as the “beer run/bathroom break;” this will be a must see.
F2H Prediction – Sasha Banks
Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton – Singles Match
Lesnar and Orton were the first to overstep their boundaries and show up on the shows that they were not drafted to. Orton snuck onto Raw to deliver an RKO to the beast, and Lesnar invaded Smackdown to seek his revenge. I wish they had saved that for much later, but what’s done is done. This is Viperville versus Suplex City, a match fifteen years in the making. The promos leading up to this match have been fantastic and portray both men as unstoppable forces. I’m always excited to see Lesnar fight, and very happy that Orton is finally back from injury. I would like to see Lesnar turn an RKO attempt into an F5, and for Orton to get creative with his RKOs outta nowhere. This should be a brutal match; I hope both men bring it.
F2H Prediction – Brock Lesnar
Rusev (c) vs Roman Reigns – United States Championship Match
Roman Reigns failed a drug test, got himself suspended for 30 days, became the butt of Seth Rollins’ jokes during his suspension, and got himself removed from the WWE Heavyweight title picture. His push isn’t completely in the can though, since he has a chance to win the United States title off of Rusev. Our current champion recently married the lovely Lana in a ceremony that was filmed for Total Divas. They will have a separate ceremony overseas next month. Rusev has been an unstoppable champion, but unfortunately, most of his feuds devolve into USA vs Russia when they have the potential to be so much more. I’m not big on Reigns as he is right now; I miss the strong and silent, less showy wrestler he was with The Shield. Whatever happens during this match, I hope Lana avoids being caught in the crossfire.
F2H Prediction – Rusev
Dean Ambrose (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – WWE World Championship Match
I can’t believe that Dolph Ziggler is actually in this match! He once held the World Heavyweight title after one of the greatest Money In The Bank cash-ins in history, but fell down quite a few notches thanks to his criticism of the company and disapproval from the powers that be. Ziggler delivered an amazing promo on the go home episode of Raw; it was the best he has sounded in quite some time. Dean Ambrose is a very unconventional champion, but you can’t help but like the guy. He’s unpredictable, but has been getting more in touch with his serious side ever since winning the gold. I’m a big fan of both of these men, so this is a win-win situation for me; regardless of the outcome, I’m happy with the champion.
F2H Prediction – Dolph Ziggler
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins – WWE Universal Championship Match
I am fangirling all over the place over this match! A lot of people are upset that the Demon King reveal was “wasted” on Raw, but we’ve already seen how unfamiliar the main roster audience is with most of the NXT roster and gimmicks, so this was a way of introducing everyone to him and getting them hyped for what is to come at Summerslam. Yes, it would have been better to save the reveal, but I see the logic behind the decision. Seth Rollins is a fantastic champ, but so is Finn Balor. This is another win-win for me because I love both guys and would enjoy seeing either as champion. It’s so exciting to see Balor on the main roster, plus in the title picture so soon, plus facing Rollins! This match alone is worth you signing up for the Network immediately. I’m so happy for Balor for his call up to the main roster and am thrilled to see him battle such a great competitor in Rollins.
F2H Prediction – Finn Balor
Be sure to follow us on Twitter, as we will be providing live coverage and will be posting instant feedback immediately following the PPV. F2H writers, @MrNotWell and myself will also be live tweeting during the show. Weigh in with your own predictions for this massive event, and let us know your thoughts on the yet to be revealed Universal Championship. And, if you’d be so kind, check out our Go Fund Me page.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
It’s time for Monday Night Raw! This is the go home show before the Summerslam PPV; WWE’s second largest event of the year. We start off with a look back earlier today, where Seth Rollins lets us know why he is the man and why he will be the first WWE Universal Champion. He addresses Finn Balor, calling out the Demon King, then feigning surprise when no one shows up. If the Demon King is too scared to find The Man, then The Man will find the Demon King.
Back in the arena, Rusev and Lana are in the ring and both look enraged. Rusev accuses Roman Reigns of ruining a historic event, so he is cancelling Raw tonight. All is on hold until Reigns apologizes. These stand-offs always go so well, don’t they? The crowd starts a USA chant, because they aren’t creative. Thankfully, Mick Foley breaks things up, wearing an amazing “Have A Nice Raw” shirt. Rusev demands respect as Foley pleads with him to leave the ring. After an awkward few seconds, Stephanie McMahon comes out to the ring, at Rusev’s request. McMahon calls Rusev’s behavior unacceptable, especially the disrespect of Foley. Rusev threatens to call up Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon, which is when Reigns decides to make an appearance and offer an apology.
Reigns makes a terrible joke about mail order brides, then says that their future babies will be ugly. He has a hell of a black eye, which I can’t say doesn’t make me a tiny bit happy. The crowd again starts chanting USA, and Reigns launches into his best impression of Ghetto Cena, and challenges Rusev to a title match right now. Foley decides that they will have a match tonight, but the title will not be on the line. Instead, this match will be all about Lana’a honor.
We return from commercial to find Sheamus in the ring with Byron Saxton. Sheamus says he is more dominant than Cesaro and shouldn’t have lost the match last week. He proved that he is the better athlete when he interfered in Cesaro’s title match later in the night. Sheamus promises to kick Zayn’s head off, and the two literally trip over the referee trying to beat each other up before the bell even rings. As the match begins, Cesaro joins the commentary table, which is always awkward; Cesaro needs to work on his public speaking and interview skills. Zayn throws Sheamus from the ring and tries to go to the top rope, but Sheamus ducks out of the way and then knocks him into the ringpost and to the ground. During the commercial, the two get back into the ring where Sheamus tries for the first pinfall. Zayn is able to send Sheamus over the top rope, then dives over the rope to knock him down. He gets Sheamus back in the ring and goes to the top rope again, but Sheamus hits White Noise (and Michael Cole calls it the wrong move) and tries for another pinfall. As Sheamus sets up the Brogue Kick, Cesaro leaves commentary and heads to the ring. His distractions allows Zayn to hit a Helluva Kick and win the match.
Backstage, Tom Phillips is interviewing Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, who have recently formed an alliance. Owens will face Big Cass tonight, but it won’t be a one on one match because Jericho has Owens’ back. They mock Enzo and Cass, saying they are closer than their Summerslam opponents will ever be, and that Cass can’t spell to save his life. Cass better watch IT. And by IT, they mean watch Owens beat Cass tonight and watch them humiliate the team at Summerslam.
It’s time for some positivity, as New Day (minus Big E) come to the ring. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, our resident MDs, deliver a message regarding Big E’s ringpostitis. The ball jokes are amazing. And the microwave has a NADS button! Kingston and Woods face The Dudley Boyz, and D-Von is in complete control of Woods as Bubba yells from ringside. Using quick tags, they keep Woods down, but a misstep sends the Dudleys into each other. Kingston tags in and hits Trouble in Paradise for a quick win. Confusing squash match. Anderson and Gallows appear on the screen again, for more testicle jokes at poor Big E’s expense. They produce more jars as a warning that Woods and Kingston are next on their hit list. Kingston gets serious and says that this isn’t a game to them; this is serious business. Patchy-haired human plalluses have no chance of beating them at Summerslam.
Seth Rollins is walking around backstage, searching for the Demon King. He finds Neville, who tells Rollins that he isn’t ready for the Summerslam match against Balor. Back in the ring, Nia Jax is facing Rachel Levy, who has been watching the Olympics nonstop, so she can do anything she sets her mind to. Okay, Rachel. Jax throws Levy across the ring, then sets her on the top rope before shoving her hard off the rope and to the floor. The ref begins the count as Jax retrieves her opponent. She slams her to the mat and gets the pin for the win. I love Nia Jax, but we have got to give her longer matches.
Paul Heyman goes into Brock Lesnar’s dressing room to speak with The Beast before they go to the ring. The crowd is cheering like crazy and chanting Suplex City. Heath Slater interrupts at Heyman begins his speech, and says that he is the hottest free agent in sports entertainment. He proposes becoming a Heyman guy, and Heyman just laughs. Slater clarifies, saying that what he wants is a match with Lesnar to earn a contract. What? The crowd is into it, but Heyman goes back to his speech. Slater screams an interruption, saying do NOT disrespect him! I love Heath Slater. He doesn’t want to face Lesnar, he HAS to. Heyman is trying to save him from a beat down, but Slater’s ass can’t be saved! Lesnar gets on the mic and tells Slater he has guts. He invites Slater in the ring to talk about his kids. Lesnar gets right in his face and says “I don’t give a shit about your kids. You’ve got two choices right here. One, you walk out of here on your own two feet. Two, you can stand there and keep pissing me off.” Lesnar is a scary dude. Slater fakes him out and tries to attack him, but Lesnar hits a clothesline and then takes him to Suplex City! He hits an F5 and kicks Slater out of his ring. Heyman puts on Slater’s sunglasses and gives Slater credit for stepping up to Lesnar, something Randy Orton doesn’t have the guts to do. The beast is in heat, which is an uncomfortable thought.
Up next, Big Cass will face Kevin Owens. I dare you not to smile when Enzo is in the ring. He addresses the Summerslam match, or Summerslam BBQ as he calls it. If Jericho and Owens want beef, they’re bringing it straight to their grill. Cass hits a shoulder tackle and pins Owens in the corner, but he rolls to safety before Cass can get a kick in. He hits Cass on the rope and throws his opponent from the ring where Jericho delivers a cheap shot while the ref is distracted. Owens has controlled the match during the commercial break, and continues as we return until Cass hits a side slam. Owens finally gets a kick to his face from Cass, who then hits a splash in the corner and tries to throw Owens from the ring. Owens grabs the rope to send Cass flying. He tries for a powerbomb, but Cass counters. Jericho and Enzo are fighting outside of the ring, then Jericho begins fighting Cass and the match is called for disqualification. Owens and Jericho don’t mind the loss; they continue to attack Cass. Jericho hits a Code Breaker to take Cass down for good.
Roman Reigns is backstage, promising a bunch of nonsense, when Rusev comes out of nowhere to attack him. He throws him around like a rag doll as Lana watches on from a safe distance. Eventually, the referees and security are able to break things up as we go to commercial. I love seeing Reigns get his ass kicked.
Titus O’Neil’s music hits, but Bob Backlund comes out. He is followed by Darren Young and O’Neil, who all attempt to do the Millions of Dollars dance. On the Raw preshow, Young and O’Neil buried their beef and reunited as a tag team with Backlund’s blessing for one night only. They are facing the Shining Stars. Watching the two together makes me miss them as a tag team; they are great as a duo. Primo manages to get O’Neil pinned in the corner, and Epico tries (and fails) to get the crowd behind them. O’Neil gets back to his feet and easily tosses his opponent aside. Young inadvertently knocks O’Neil off the ring, so he retaliates by hitting Clash Of The Titus and abandoning the match, allowing the Shining Stars to get the win. What?
Now it’s time for the return of Jinder Mahal! Is it weird that I am excited for this? He’s facing off against Neville, who trips in the ring as he tries to go to the top rope to pose. Neville gets an early pin, but Mahal kicks out. He’s controlling this match, hitting the Red Arrow from the top rope to take down Mahal outside of the ring. Mahal begs Neville to stop, using it to bait Neville in and try for a pin. Neville goes to the top rope again and hits the Red Arrow, beating Mahal in his return match. I see we’re still not done shitting on 3MB. Shame.
Meanwhile, Seth Rollins is still searching for the Demon King. Foley and McMahon haven’t seen him either, and Rollins says he’s looked everywhere and has to change his focus to his title match. He asks for the night off, and McMahon doesn’t have anything for him. Foley says that before he takes the night off, go out to the ring and try to get him to come out… unless he’s scared.
Foley calls for his music and Rollins heads to the ring. Rollins is insulted; Balor talked about the Demon King last week, and for what? Rollins says there is nothing and no one that can stop him from winning on Sunday. He calls out the Demon King and is greeted with silence. Finn Balor is only trying to intimidate Rollins because he is scared. Our former champ says that no one can touch him; even he would be afraid of himself if he was someone else. The Demon King is just another chapter in the book of Rollins. He suddenly stops talking, focused on something in the ring that we don’t get to see. The lights start going wonky and the sound is messing up, but Rollins continues to yell.
Finally, out of the smoke, comes Finn Balor! I have chills all over! I will say, they definitely should have saved this moment for Summerslam, but damn if this isn’t amazing to watch. I don’t understand the logic of this decision, but I’m enjoying the moment. As is the crowd! The two men stare each other down as the crowd chants HOLY SHIT and THIS IS AWESOME! The two begin fighting, and Balor takes Rollins down quick. This is the first part of Raw that has gotten me hyped for Summerslam, so maybe there was a logic behind this bizarre decision. We’ll see.
We return to the ring to the Golden Truth, who are facing Anderson and Gallows. Anderson and Truth start off this tag match, with Anderson quickly gaining control and tagging in Gallows. Truth hits an amazing kick to break The Club’s momentum and tag in Goldust. Unfortunately, The Club hits the Magic Killer on Goldust and wins the match. Another quick squash for our go home Raw. Out of nowhere, Kingston and Woods come out to attack The Club. New Day has their game faces on. They take out The Club and make their intentions for Sunday clear.
Dana Brooke is backstage, apologizing for losing last week to Charlotte. Charlotte isn’t having it though; she wanted the handicap match on Sunday to happen. She calls Brooke an epic failure and walks away to prepare for her match against Alicia Fox. Sasha Banks is on commentary and isn’t buying into any of Charlotte’s big talk. Fox goes for an early pin, but Charlotte kicks free. Charlotte pins Fox on the ropes as the crowd chants for Banks. Fox is hit with Natural Selection and pinned for the loss as Charlotte turns her attention to Banks. Banks walks to the ring and Brooke runs out to distract Banks so that Charlotte can lock in the Figure Eight. The refs are unable to break the hold, thanks to Dana Brooke, and Banks looks hurt. Charlotte is playing the villain to perfection.
Moving on, Braun Strowman has a video package showing the way he has evolved since being separated from The Wyatt Family. Back in the ring, Lana addresses the altercation between Rusev and Reigns before welcoming her husband to the ring. Reigns comes out and the two go at it immediately. This match should not be happening. We’re getting a match at Summerslam; I don’t want to see this beforehand. The bell has not rung as Reigns dominates Rusev while the ref pleads for him to stop. During the commercial, Rusev injured Reigns’ arm, and as we return, Rusev is still working it. Maybe he’ll be “injured” and unable to compete Sunday? Reigns is getting back in the match, screaming and making faces, but Rusev throws him into the ringpost and out of the ring. Our US Champ throws Reigns into the steps once again, then targets it as the crowd chants RUSEV MATCHKA!
As we return from hopefully our last commercial break, Rusev has a mic and demands that the crowd cheer for him. Reigns is looking rough, and Rusev doesn’t let up, hitting him with knees and still targeting the arm. The two men go to the top rope, but Reigns blocks Rusev’s attempts and hits a clothesline. Reigns starts doing his best John Cena impression, cocks his fist and goes for the Superman Punch, but Rusev counters. Rusev hits flying headbutt after headbutt on Cena/Reigns, but he kicks out at two. Reigns manages to hit a clothesline and send Rusev out of the ring. He tries for another Superman Punch, but Rusev kicks him in the ribs. Please end this match. Cena/Reigns finally hits the AA/Superman Punch and pins Rusev for a nearfall. Rusev goes for the Accolade but can’t get the right arm locked in. He finally lands a kick that allows him to get the Accolade locked in. Reigns manages to grab the rope to force a break. Reigns hits a spear and wins the match. That was exhausting.
Overall, this wasn’t a great Raw, especially for our go home episode for Summerslam. The main event was godawful and most of the matches were mediocre at best. There was only one moment tonight that got me hyped for Sunday, and that was a moment that ended up angering a lot of other fans. Please leave your thoughts below, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at facetoheel. We will have predictions coming for NXT Takeover and for Summerslam; you don’t want to miss out.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
It’s nice to be excited about Raw again. The debuts and brand split have given us one solid week, and I’m hoping this week is equally as successful. With the exception of the ridiculous name, it’s fantastic to know that a new title is being introduced. The introduction of the “Last Week On Raw” graphic before the recap is a nice touch. Raw kicks off with Sasha Banks, and damn does that belt look great around her waist. The crowd starts a “You Deserve It” chant, as Banks discusses her epic match with Bayley back at NXT Takeover. Charlotte interrupts, walking to the ring alone. She promises to beat Banks at their title match at Summerslam, and brings up her long title reign. Charlotte calls Banks a “one night stand.” Banks retorts by saying that if it wasn’t for a one night stand, Charlotte wouldn’t be standing there.
The gift of Jericho interrupts, because he wants to fight Sasha Banks for the title? He calls Banks an ungrateful, disrespectful little punk. Charlotte is royalty and doesn’t deserve the verbal abuse. Jericho says that Charlotte has outdone her father already with her accomplishments. He then calls Banks the boss of purple hair and stupid idiots, and ends by calling her a brat.
Unexpectedly, Enzo and Cass’s music hits! Enzo comes out solo, takes Sasha’s hand, and very smoothly asks “how you doin” before kissing her hand. Charlotte interrupts by saying “when it comes to Enzo’s love life, there’s only one word to describe him.” Good one. Enzo says that listening to Jericho speak makes time pass like a kidney stone, and watching him try to process words is like having a conversation on an iPhone, watching those little 3 dots, but the person never hits send. He calls Jericho Bon Jovi, mocks the Direct TV commercials, and destroys his stupid scarf. Mick Foley decides now is the time to break this up, setting a match for after the break; a mixed tag match with Charlotte and Jericho versus Sasha Banks and Enzo Amore. My husband called this the minute Jericho set foot in the ring.
After the break, Kevin Owens has joined the announce team and has stolen Corey Graves’ tie. Owens says that after hearing Enzo and Sasha flirt for 15 minutes, the fans might need something enjoyable, so he is here to provide it. In the ring, Jericho embraces Charlotte as an odd way of tagging her in after going against Enzo. Banks tries to pin Charlotte with a backslide, but Charlotte kicks out and delivers chops while yelling “I’m the boss!” Enzo and Jericho get back in the ring, and Sasha and Enzo team up to knock both competitors out of the ring. After the break, Jericho is in control of the match as Owens calls Byron Saxton “unbearable.” Jericho tries for a Running Bulldog, but Enzo counters and is able to take Jericho to the mat for a pin. Jericho tries for the Walls, and is able to lock it in, but Enzo manages to grab the bottom rope. Enzo goes to the top rope, but Jericho counters his move with a Dropkick that may have ended up injuring his own knee. The women are in the ring now, and The Boss is in control. Banks hits a Backstabber, but Dana Brooke runs out and distracts her. Charlotte is able to hit Natural Selection and get the pin for the victory. As Enzo checks on Sasha, Jericho hits a Neckbreaker. Thankfully, Big Cass picks this moment to come out and Jericho runs away with his tail between his legs.
Braun Strowman is out now, and I’ve gotta say, his entrance theme makes me laugh hysterically and I love it. He is in another squash match with a local named Evan, who says he gets $1,000 for fighting and $5,000 if he wins. The bell rings and Evan tries to run before Strowman throws him clear across the ring. He knocks him down with his shoulder, then throws him into the turnbuckle. He hits a reverse chokeslam and pins poor Evan for the win.
Backstage, Mark Henry is speaking to Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley about his involvement in the Olympics and to discuss reopening the Hall of Pain. Henry wants one more run before he steps away from the ring and goes into another role. Foley puts Henry in a match tonight with our United States champion, the newlywed Rusev. We then move to R-Truth and Goldust, who are still catching Pokemon; they run off before we cut to another break.
Time for your bathroom break match of the night; Golden Truth are facing the failed Shining Stars. Primo has Goldust pinned on the rope as R-Truth chases Pokemon (or Poke-MAN if you’re talking to Michael Cole). Goldust is able to hit a Powerslam and is trying to make it to Truth for the tag, but his partner is still looking for virtual creatures to catch. The Shining Stars are able to pick up the win, and the entire arena comes together in a show of not caring whatsoever.
Michael Cole invites Finn Balor to the ring now for an exclusive interview. Cole states that his draft pick was a shock, and his win last week proved that the pick wasn’t a fluke. Balor says that he knows he needs to make an impact on Raw, but Seth Rollins decides he’s had enough and steps out. Rollins kicks Cole out of the ring (thank you, Rollins), and tells us that Balor is a former NXT champ, but surely wasn’t the first; that honor goes to Rollins. Everything Balor has done, Rollins has not only done first, he’s done it better. The crowd starts doing the Tomahawk chant, likely confusing any wrestling fans that haven’t ever been to a Braves game. The two trade insults, and it’s 100% effective at getting me excited to see them at Summerslam. The two briefly trade punches before Balor drives Rollins from the ring with a well placed kick.
The lovely Lana is in the ring, looking like she just came from her wedding with Rusev. She introduces her husband, and I’m wondering now if it was a legit wedding because Cole says that it was filmed for Total Divas and a second wedding will be held in September. Mark Henry comes out wearing his patriotic gear, and I feel sad because I like Henry but am pretty confident he won’t be winning this title match. Henry comes out strong, effortlessly lifting Rusev before powering him to the mat. Rusev tries to gain momentum, but Henry hits a shoulder tackle before jumping THROUGH the bottom and middle ropes to squash Rusev. Mary Henry jumped through the ropes, you guys. I love it! Rusev tries for the Accolade, but Henry fights out and hits some strong clotheslines before trying for a kick, but Rusev counters with kicks of his own. Rusev goes for a second Accolade and Henry reluctantly taps out. Rusev then tells the crowd that no American deserves to win a medal in the Summer Olympics and that no American will take his title.
Roman Reigns decides to come out and try to intimidate Rusev, wearing a shiny new vest with bright red trim. He looks absolutely ridiculous. Easy way to get the crowd to cheer for him though; put him against the guy that just insulted America while in Georgia with countless rednecks in the audience. I get to say this; I lived there for a good nine years. Rusev starts hitting Reigns with punch after punch, but Reigns knocks him down and lands a Superman Punch outside of the ring. Please don’t let Reigns win the US Title, you guys. I’m not emotionally strong enough for that.
Nia Jax has a solid video package after Cole does an uncomfortable job talking her up, and then we move on to Darren Young who will face former tag team partner, Titus O’Neil. O’Neil gets Young down early, then tries to be friendly and help his former partner up, but Young slaps his hand away. O’Neil has the size and strength advantage, and hits a backbreaker before sending Young across the ring. He goes for a lazy pin that Young rolls out of. O’Neil locks in an arm bar, then lands a deafening hit that grounds Young. He lifts Young up and violently drops him to the mat, going for another pin. Young manages to briefly lift O’Neil onto his shoulders, but he can’t keep him there. He rolls up Young and is able to pin him for the win. Bob Backlund is furious, likely because O’Neil had a good grip on Young’s trunks to secure that pin.
Sheamus and Cesaro are backstage, arguing with each other and Steph and Mick about their positions in the draft and the fact that Henry got a title shot that they deserved more. Foley says that whoever can impress them the most this evening will be the one to get a title shot. In another area, the unstable basketcase that is Backlund is screaming at O’Neil, which gives Young a chance to knock him down. This fell flat, no pun intended.
Back in the ring, Nia Jax is facing another local talent, Ariel Monroe, who looks unimpressed with Jax. She’s able to get in a solid kick before Jax clotheslines her and takes her down. Jax is dominating the poor girl, whose punches have zero effect. Jax is getting some decent reactions from the crowd thanks to her strength and pins Monroe with her boot; not even bothering to go down to the mat. A very short squash match; we need to get Jax in longer matches if we’re going to build her up properly. After the match, Saxton asks Jax how it feels to compete on Raw. Jax responds by attacking Monroe one last time and instructing Saxton to ask Monroe how it feels.
Sami Zayn is speaking to Tom Phillips about his upcoming match with Rollins, whose weakness is his big mouth according to Zayn. Speaking of big mouths, he takes this time to call out Owens again, calling that chapter of his life closed, and promising to shut Rollins down later tonight. But now, it’s time for New Day to bring us into our final hour. They are facing Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, but thanks to a complaint by The Club, Xavier Woods will be banned from ringside. Big E and Anderson start things off; Anderson starts strong but E breaks his momentum with a Belly to Belly. While Gallows and Anderson are busy showing off, Big E gets the win. They have no time to celebrate; The Club immediately attacks New Day, with Big E taking the brunt of the punishment. Woods comes out to help his teammates, but he’s defenseless against The Club. They may have blown their shot at the titles, but they definitely made a statement.
Cesaro and Sheamus are up now, trying to impress the Raw General Manager, Mick Foley. The two trade blows and uppercuts; Cesaro eventually takes control, prompting Sheamus to roll outside of the ring for a breather. Cesaro goes after him, where Sheamus targets the taped shoulder before hitting the Beats of the Bodhrán. He pins Cesaro after a shoulder tackle, but Cesaro kicks out. The most impressive thing about this match thus far is how bushy Sheamus’ beard is right now. He yells “RESPECT THE HAWK” before spitting gross yellow garbage into said bushy beard. Cesaro picks up the win, but I don’t think either man was impressive enough tonight to earn anything. It wasn’t a bad match, just painfully average. Apparently, during the commercial break, the two men started brawling and security had to come break it up.
But the real action is back in the ring! Not only is Heath Slater out there, but Jinder Mahal is there too! 2MB baybay! Foley comes out to address the situation, since neither man is a part of the Raw roster. Foley decides to hold a battle between both men to decide who should be part of Raw. Slater refuses to let the band get broken up, but Mahal is all about it and the bell rings. Mahal kicks Slater in the face and pins him to win the match and a Raw contract! Dude. This is hilarious. Welcome back, Jinder!
Chris Jericho and Tom Phillips are speaking backstage about the match with Enzo earlier and the fact that Enzo has Big Cass to help him while Jericho has no one. According to Jericho, he has someone to watch his back as well. When Phillips asks who it is, he spouts off with some nonsense. In steps Kevin Owens to save this bit. Surprisingly, he tells Jericho that he will have his back. Also, Tom’s new name is Tim.
I’m ready for the main event; Seth Rollins versus Sami Zayn. I’m curious to see if Balor makes an appearance, given the confrontation earlier. Rollins quickly rolls out of the ring and to safety once Zayn starts gaining momentum, but Zayn follows him out and takes him down with a moonsault from the barrier. Some overzealous fan yells “JESUS, that had to hurt!” as Zayn is thrown into the barricade. Zayn tries to go to the top rope, but Rollins knocks him down and out of the ring. We return from commercial to hear that Rollins has been in control during the entire break. Rollins is unable to hit the Pedigree, so he throws Zayn into the turnbuckle instead. Zayn retaliates with a clotheslins, and is able to hit a DDT but Rollins again rolls out of the ring. This is a great match, but I’m slightly distracted because I’m trying to figure out what Brock Lesnar will be doing when he eventually comes out. After two failed attempts, Rollins hits the Pedigree and pins Zayn for the victory.
Paul Heyman is in the ring as we return from break, introducing The Beast of the Brock-tagon, The Viper Slayer; Brock Lesnar. Heyman promises that Lesnar will entertain us at Summerslam, but his form of entertainment is politically incorrect and violent. Lesnar isn’t here to put his stamp on this new era, nor is he here to court favor with Foley or McMahon or anyone else in the locker room. Heyman is gold on the microphone. As he goes on about how Randy Orton will never hit Lesnar with an RKO, Orton appears from thin air and hits it! Orton walks into the crowd as McMahon and Foley call out every single security guard they have hidden in the back. Orton rips off his shirt as the crowd chants “R-K-O!” and that concludes our Raw for this evening.
The brand split is definitely agreeing with Raw; this was a very enjoyable night. Next week, Sean Combs will be part of Raw, which I couldn’t care less about. American Alpha will be debuting on Smackdown tomorrow night, which I am thrilled to see. Let us know your thoughts on tonight, and follow us on Twitter at @facetoheel.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
I went with Shocking Title Changes for the review on this one as it had a picture of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman on it which has to mean good things. The premise of this show is basically a sort of top ten gimmick. The production value on List is way over the top, with words and images constant on the screen, featuring a giant scrolling bar at the bottom with Tweets from the WWE Universe. The guy doing the voice over isn’t great, sounding campy and a little bit of a goofball.
First on the list is Lesnar taking the titles from John Cena after suplexing him sixteen times into hell. Next up is Goldberg’s insane winning streak, cemented by winning the title from Hollywood Hulk Hogan. The fans actually threw trash in the ring after this one. Then they show Jeff Hardy taking the Intercontinental Championship title from Triple H, after Hardy attacked Stephanie McMahon. With a run-in chair shot from Matt Hardy, Hardy takes the gold. A surprise entrant on this list is The Ninth Wonder of the World, Chyna, taking the IC title from Jeff Jarrett, becoming the first and only woman in history to do so. The list is topped off with The Miz cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Randy Orton.
Final Verdict: In typical WWE fashion, they took a decent concept and presented it in such a convuluted way that you can’t really get behind it (glares at Roman Reigns.) This show had potential, but the production and host just makes it less interesting. It’s almost as if they don’t want us to take it seriously. Fun is fun, but being silly throughout kills the enjoyment of seeing old footage of wrestling matches. You can probably find better top ten lists on YouTube. Skip this one.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Billed as “X-Seven”, there are many in the pro wrestling community who say that WrestleMania 17 is one of, if not the, best Mania of all time. Today we’ll be giving it a play-by-play to see if they’re right and to get excitement building for WrestleMania 32 in Texas next weekend. Ironically enough, X-Seven also took place in Texas, down in Houston at the Astrodome.
First and foremost, we must address that Limp Bizkit did the theme song, which is hilarious to look back on and see that was ever a thing. The company was still WWF back in 2001, and being sponsored by Snickers Cruncher. Jim Ross and Paul Heyman are rocking the commentary. Chris Jericho kicks off the show and he gets a huge pop. One forgets how big he was back in the day when he first debuted in the company. Y2J was the Intercontinental Champion then and he’s putting the title on the line against William Regal. For the younger crowd, that’s the old British guy who makes decisions on camera with NXT. But at one point he wrestled and was a damn fine in-ring performer. In 2001, he wrestled but was also the WWE Commissioner, similar to his role now.
The match gets underway in fast paced action, with Y2J going on the offensive, leaving Regal reeling. It doesn’t take long for Jericho to jump over the top rope and hit Regal outside the ring. Top rope shortly after again and Jericho hits him with an elbow. Regal gets some slow grinding ground work in and tries for a pin. The top turnbuckle is exposed and Y2J takes a few hits against it. The crowd is lively, chanting for Jericho. Regal suplexes Jericho off the top rope, which looks awkward with Regal taking the lead but he manages to pull it off. Jericho recovers and tries for the Walls of Jericho. Regal reverses it into a Regal Stretch submission. Jericho reaches the ropes and the ref breaks the hold. Now it’s Regal’s turn to be thrown into the exposed turnbuckle. Jericho hits a suplex, a lionsault and the one-two-three pinfall to retain. A really exciting match with two great competitors, but had it gone on any longer they would have overstayed their welcome.
Shane McMahon arrives in a limo. APA is shown playing cards, with JBL getting them fired up. Right To Censor comes out to heated boos. I remember these guys back in the day. They were the worst. They always came out and covered up the female wrestlers when they were stripping their clothes. They have one of the most annoying entrance themes of all time. They try to speak on the mic, but Taz’s music cuts them off and he walks out, followed shortly by APA. The fight starts at the bottom of the ramp and all hell breaks loose. All the men fight before finally getting in the ring and the ref rings the bell. JBL gets a hot tag because he’s from Texas, crowd goes wild. The amazing thing to see in this match is the fast pace. These guys don’t stop moving. There’s no dead air, there’s no showboating. They just wrestle. The difference between old school and now is easily seen. JBL hits Godfather with a clothesline and APA with Taz pick up the victory.
Raven, the Hardcore Champion, comes out with a shopping cart full of foreign objects. His competitors are Kane and Big Show. JR calls it a “three-way gut check.” Kane and Raven start fighting before Show comes out. Kane throws Raven at Big Show, then Kane jumps off the top rope and takes both men out. The match spills out into the crowd as Big Show and Kane beat the hell out of each other as those in attendance scream in excitement. Raven comes in with a street sign and hits Kane over the head. Kane throws Raven into a wall but is stopped by Big Show and gets slammed onto a stack of shipping pallets. Show throws Raven into a fenced in area, Kane quickly recovers and the two big men go at it. Raven wraps a hose around Kane’s neck and tries to choke him out. Kane throws him through the fence and then through a pane of glass. Big Show throws Kane through a door! This is amazing! Kane and Big Show throw each other through a wall. Raven is waiting on the other side with a card table. He hits them both, hops on a golf cart and drives off. Big Show hops on the back and wrecks the cart. Kane and the ref get on their own cart and speed towards Big Show and Raven. Kane runs Raven over! Raven is bleeding. Big Show throws Raven through a concession stand. It’s obvious all three men are tired. The fight bursts out from the entrance ramp and they are finally back in front of the crowd. Big Show tries to throw Raven, but Kane kicks him and both men fall through a wooden box at the side of the ring. Kane drops a leg on Big Show and wins the Hardcore title! What a match. Wow. Really exciting stuff. Makes me wish the Hardcore Championship still existed. People forget that Kane has been doing his thing for years.
Latino Heat comes out, lead by the late, great Eddie Guerrero. Guerrero is set to take on Test (c) for the European Championship. Both these guys are dead now, which is sad, especially for Eddie as he was one of the best guys to ever lace up wrestling boots. Good action in this one. Test gets his foot caught in the rope and Saturn takes some cheap shots as the ref is distracted by Guerrero. Eddie goes to work on Test’s knee. Test hits a devastating tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Eddie hits a low blow, Saturn comes in and suplexes Test. Eddie goes for the pinfall but Test kicks out. Eddie hits a brain buster. Test hops up and blocks a frog splash. Dean Melenko comes down and pulls Test off when he is about to win via pinfall. The ref gets distracted and Guerrero hits Test with the title. Eddie Guerrero is the new European Champion. Good match with clever interference.
Kurt Angle is set to take on Chris Benoit. I will say that sentence again, because it’s like dropping a nuclear bomb. Kurt Angle is set to take on Christ Benoit. Face to Heel will have an article about Chris Benoit coming next weekend. Right now, we’re going to sit back and enjoy this one. It starts violently fast, going to the mat and each man trying to gain a hold on the other. They trade takedowns. This is pure wrestling. And the crowd is showing respect to both men, knowing the weight of this match. Neither man has the upper hand, as both are submission and reversal experts. They fight for leverage. Benoit nearly locks the Crippler Crossface on, but Angle smartly gets to the rope before the move can be fully applied. Benoit tries again, and again Angle gets to the rope. Angle rolls out to catch his breath. Once back in the ring, Benoit tries again but once again Angle rope breaks. They both spill out of the ring and start doing more traditional “American wrestling.” Angle slams Benoit into the announce table and then the steel steps. Back in the ring, Angle suplexes Benoit and then gets a heated reaction from the crowd as he shows how impressed he is with himself. The story being told in this mach is wonderful. Both men have good in-ring psychology. Benoit hits a superplex off the top rope and both men are down. Benoit locks his arms around Angle and hits him with two suplexes. Angle reverses the third and hits the ankle lock submission. Benoit reverses it and locks in Angle’s ankle! He hits the Crippler Crossface and Angle counters into his own Crossface! The ground game in this match is out of this world exceptional. Benoit puts the Crippler Crossface on and Angle taps, but the ref has been hurt and is no where to be seen. Angle hits the Olympic Slam but Benoit kicks out at two. The crowd is in a frenzy. Angle claims to the top rope and tries a moonsault but hits nothing but Benoit’s knees. Benoit pops up, climbs the top rope and pummels Angle with a flying headbutt. Angle quickly rolls up Benoit, cheats by holding his trunks, and gets the pinfall win. Really the only acceptable outcome for this match is somebody had to cheat. These guys were way too evenly matched.
Later, Angle is being interviewed backstage and Benoit attacks him from behind, locking in the Crossface and Angle taps and squeals. Holy shit. Next up is Ivory vs Chyna for the Women’s Championship. Outstanding. The promo package leading up this is fantastic. The champion, Ivory, comes out first to the annoying Right To Censor music. Chyna’s music hits and the crowd erupts. She is one of the best female competitors of all time. Chyna looks amazing. She is holding a pyrotechnic gun and she shoots fireworks into the air. She is wearing purple and pink, instead of her usually black. Before the match begins, Ivory clocks her with the title. Ivory goes after Chyna’s neck immediately, a spot where she recently had surgery. Chyna regains the upperhand and tosses Ivory across the ring. Chyna hits a strong powerbomb and goes for the pinfall. At the two count, Chyna lets her up so she can keep beating her. Chyna lifts Ivory above her head and lets her fall to the mat. Chyna lays on Ivory and gets the pinfall. Chyna is the new champ. Short match, but well sold and well told. No complaints.
Next Sunday, Shane McMahon is set to take on The Undertaker thanks to his father, Vince. However, this is not the first time the two have butted heads. Back in 2001, there was a storyline of Shane buying WCW and going head to head with his father. At WrestleMania 17, the whole thing would be decided with Shane McMahon taking on Vince McMahon in a Street Fight. WCW wrestlers are shown in a skybox cheering on Shane. Shane introduces the special guest referee, hardcore legend, Mick Foley. Vince comes out, slaps his son and Mick rings the bell. He chokes Shane in the corner, screaming in his face. Stephanie is ringside, cheering on her father. Doesn’t take long for her to interfere, jumping into the ring and slapping Shane. The fight heads up the ramp. Shane clocks Vince with a metal sign. They make their way over to the announce tables and Shane begins a vicious attack with a kendo stick. Shane hits Vince with a TV from the Spanish announce table. He lays Vince on the table and climbs to the top rope. He tries to land on Vince but Stephanie pulls him away and Shane sends himself through the table. Trish Stratus brings a “sedated” Linda McMahon to the ring in a wheelchair. Trish slaps Vince, Stephanie attacks Trish, and Trish beats the brakes off of Stephanie in the ring. The crowd is crazed, on their feet screaming. Mick pulls Stephanie away from Trish, and gets a slap in the face for his effort. Stephanie runs away and Trish and Mick chase after her. Vince notices Linda and goes to attack her, but Foley returns and stops him, rolling her away. Vince attacks Mick from behind with a steel chair. Vince puts Linda into the ring. He sits Linda in a chair in the corner and rolls out to go get Shane. Vince throws his son in front of his wife and then pulls garbage cans from beneath the apron. He throws four into the ring and goes to work denting them on Shane. Linda stands up and kicks Vince in the junk. Mick jumps into the ring and begins clobbering Vince. Vince is down in the corner. Shane gets up, holding a trash can. The crowd is absolutely going ape shit. Shane puts the trash can on Vince’s chest. Shane crosses to the adjacent corner, climbs to the top rope and jumps across the ring and kicks the can into his father’s face. Amazing! Shane covers Vince and Mick counts to three. Shane McMahon wins. What. A. Match.
TLC 2 is up next. The Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz (c), Edge and Christian. When these three teams got in a ring together, it was insanity. Tables. Ladders. Chairs. It doesn’t get any better than this. All three teams come out, the titles are hanging above the ring, and the ref starts the match. Let’s do this. Edge and Christian take a ladder into the ring and take down everybody. Matt Hardy tries to climb up to the titles but Edge clotheslines him off. Now it’s Edge’s turn to climb up. Jeff Hardy dropkicks him off. The Hardyz each climb a ladder and drop in unison on Christian. Devon is ordered to get the tables. Crowd goes wild. Two tables are brought into the ring. Bubba Ray powerbombs Jeff into Edge through a table. Three ladders stand in the ring and a table leans in one corner. All six men climb the ladders and start trading punches. All six go down in a missed spot that doesn’t come off well. Spike Dudley runs out and puts Christian through a table. Rhyno runs in. Lita runs in. Rhyno goes to slam Lita, but Spike hits him with a crotch shot. Lita takes Rhyno down, Spike hits him with a chair and he collides with a ladder sending Edge to the floor. The Dudleyz double team Rhyno. Then Lita hits Spike with a chair. She turns around and The Dudleyz hit her with a 3D! Edge and Christian take The Dudleyz out with chairs and set up some ladders. This match is too exciting, I can’t even type fast enough. Jeff Hardy jumps off a ladder doing a back flip into Rhyno and Spike through a table. There are now four ladders set up in the ring. Christian and Devon climb up to try and retrieve the belts. Matt takes the ladder away and both men hang from the belts. Devon goes down. Christian hangs on for a brief moment but then falls. Jeff Hardy walks across the tops of the ladders. He sets one up and reaches for the belts. Jeff hangs on for dear life and Edge spears him out of the air. Amazing. Bubba Ray and Matt Hardy fight at the top the ladder for the belts, but Rhyno dumps the ladder and both men go through a huge setup of tables outside the ring, garnering a “HOLY SHIT!” chant from the crowd. Christian makes his way up and grabs the belts. Edge and Christian are the new tag champs.
Next up is a Gimmick Battle Royal, which might be one of the most hilarious things WWE has ever done. It’s a nice way to cleanse the pallet. After Vince/Shane and TLC2, people need to have some laughs and let their resting heart rate go down. Mean Gene Okerlund comes out, along with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan to work commentary. The Bushwhackers, Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, The Iron Sheik, Earthquake, The Goon, Doink the Clown, Kamala, Repo Man, Jim Cornette, Nikolai Volkoff, Michael P.S. Hayes, One Man Gang, The Gobbly Gooker, Tugboat, Hillbilly Jim, Brother Love, and Sgt. Slaughter are the competitors. The Repo Man is out first. This one goes pretty fast because they spent twenty minutes bringing everyone out. The Iron Sheik wins a very dysfunctional, albeit funny, match. Sgt Slaughter keeps in the ring and puts the Cobra Clutch on Sheik.
Motorhead plays Triple H out. He’s set to take on The Undertaker. The promo package leading up to this is brilliant. The Undertaker comes out on a motorcycle to Limp Bizkit theme music. The American Badass was easily one of the strangest gimmicks Undertaker ever did. It was cool for what it was, but it was weird as shit. Both men are in their prime and this match delivers. Triple H gets his sledgehammer out (not a euphemism) and brings it into the ring. He throws the ref aside and goes to hit Taker, but the ref pulls the sledgehammer away. Triple H goes for a Pedigree but Undertaker reverses it and throws Triple H into the ref. Chokeslam on Triple H, the ref starts counting but he kicks out at two. Then The Undertaker assaults the ref. They fight out to the sound booth and Taker goes on the offense, beating HHH down. HHH gets his hands on a steel chair and goes to work on Taker, landing multiple shots. HHH tries one more shot but Undertaker grabs him for a chokeslam and he throws HHH off the platform, earning a second “HOLY SHIT!” chant of the night. Undertaker jumps off landing an elbow on HHH. They fight through the crowd. Undertaker gets the sledgehammer, goes to hit HHH, but takes a desperate low blow. The ref has been down this entire time in the greatest sell job of all time. The two men trade blows in the ring. Triple H picks Taker up for a Tombstone, but Taker counters it and hits his own Tombstone. Taker covers him but the ref is still out. Undertaker lifts Triple H for a powerbomb, but he’s holding the sledgehammer. Taker gets clocked and HHH falls on top of him. Ref wakes up and starts counting, but Taker kicks out at two. Undertaker is bleeding from his scalp now. HHH smells blood and starts punching him in the corner. Undertaker hits him with a Last Ride out of nowhere and the triple count. The American Badass prevails. Crowd explodes.
Now just look at the matchcard so far. So many talented wrestlers and matches. But we haven’t even reached the main event yet which is the extraordinary rivalry between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. The Rock comes in as champion in a match that many view as the touchstone to The Attitude Era. A perfect finality to wrap the Monday Night Wars up and end the feud between the two hottest stars ever in the company. Austin comes out to maybe one of the biggest pops in WrestleMania history. JR has to scream on commentary to be heard. The Rock comes out as the bad guy, being mostly booed. As soon as the bell rings, Austin explodes at Rock and it’s on. Rock goes for a Rock Bottom early, blocked. Austin tries a Stunner, blocked. Austin dumps Rock out of the ring. This match is no DQ. Rock topples over the railing and Austin follows, as they fight into the crowd. Security struggles to keep the crowd at bay. They return to the announce tables and Rock smashes Austin’s head into the table. Austin knocks Rock down and knees him in the face. They get back in the ring. Austin tries a couple pins but Rock keeps kicking out at two. The crowd is eating right out of their hands. There’s absolutely no doubt these are two of the biggest superstars ever. Austin hits Rock in the face with the ring bell. Rock is busted open. Austin beats his ass for several minutes. Rock finally gets some offense and the crowd boos him. Rock gets the ring bell and busts Austin open. Goes for the pin and Austin barely kicks out. Both men bleeding. Austin barely makes it to his feet and Rock keeps punching him down. They go back outside the ring and Austin hits Rock with an announce table monitor. Everything here is destroyed and it’s carnage.
Back in the ring, Rock locks in a Sharp Shooter and Austin screams and bleeds all over the ring. He tries for the ropes but The Rock drags him back to the middle. Austin claws to the ropes and gets the hold broken by the ref. (Even though this is supposed to be no DQ…) Austin locks in his own Sharp Shooter but The Rock manages to kick out of it. Austin goes to work on Rock’s knee. Another Sharp Shooter by Austin. The Rock breaks it by getting to the ropes. Austin locks in an old school move called the Million Dollar Dream. Rock starts fading, but rallies. He throws Austin on his back and almost gets a three count. The Rock hits a Stunner on Austin, crowd infuriated. Rock goes for a cover and Austin narrowly kicks out. Vince McMahon comes out, crowd calls him an asshole in a colorful chant. Austin hits Rock with a spine buster, but Rock kicks out at two. Rock hits his own spine buster and sets up for the People’s Elbow. He lands it and covers Austin. Vince runs in and pulls Rock off him. The Rock chases Vince around and back into the ring. Austin hits Rock with a Rock Bottom but the champ kicks out at two and a half. The ref gets knocked out of the ring. Austin low blows Rock. Austin asks for Vince to bring a chair into the ring. Austin holds Rock as Vince whacks him with the chair. Austin covers, but no ref. Vince throws the ref in the ring and he starts a slow count. Rock kicks out again! Rock hits a Rock Bottom, but Vince distracts the ref. Rock pulls Vince in the ring and lays the smackdown on him. He turns around, Austin hits a Stunner, but again Rock kicks out at two! Crowd is about to set the whole building on fire! McMahon gives Austin a steel chair. Austin knocks Rock down, but another kick out at two. Austin flips off the ref and goes to work stamping Rock in the midsection with a steel chair. Then he beats him in the back with chair shots. Austin covers and finally….The Rock has been beaten in Texas! Stone Cold is the champion.
He squares up eye to eye with Vince McMahon and shakes his hand. Austin calls for a couple cold ones. He and Vince cheers and chug ’em down. They cheers another round. Austin collects his belt and makes his way to the corners to flip off the crowd. Heyman says Austin has sold out his fans. Rock gets up and Austin hits him with the title. McMahon holds out a beer and the belt to Austin and they walk up the ramp together. JR ends the broadcast yelling, “Why did Stone Cold Steve Austin sell his soul to Satan himself?!”
Commentary Review: An excellent job by both men. Heyman feeds beautifully off of JR. The fact that neither Michael Cole or Jerry Lawler are there or talking just goes to remind me of how much I hate Cole and Lawler on commentary. Heyman and JR sold every move and put their mark distinctly on each match. You can see a stark difference in the flow of commentary then and now. Something has been lost and WWE needs to seriously work to get back the magic of match play by play.
Venue Review: The Astrodome was made for wrestling. The crowd is huge and involved. They cheer, they boo, they react. In fact, they spent most of the pay-per-view on their feet screaming. The sound and lighting is well done. The pyrotechnics all go off perfectly timed with no issues. Having Texas heroes JBL and later Stone Cold in the main event really helped get the crowd into their hometown boys. Production all the way around has everyone at the top of their game. 67,925 people in attendance, and they were heard.
Match Review: This one is just exciting throughout. Fast paced action, very few flat moments. Every guy earned their right to be there. The booking on this event is outstanding. It just builds into a fever pitch and never takes the foot off the accelerator. You never get a chance to catch your breath. It’s one amazing moment after another. At the height of The Attitude Era, WWE was swinging for the fences and hitting everything out of the park. The roster was stacked, beyond belief. The matches were on fire. This is the peak of badass wrestling.
Final Verdict: It’s hard to find many flaws with this broadcast. Even the Gimmick Battle Royal had nostalgia and comedy. Without watching every single WrestleMania and then judging them all, it’s also hard to say that X-Seven was the best Mania ever. However, the arguments are there. Those who say it is, have all the validity they need as you can read above. It is definitely one of the most entertaining, jaw-dropping pay-per-views WWE has ever put on. The atmosphere was electricity. This is 3 hours and 57 minutes of pure wrestling gold.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
The Pittsburgh show kicks off with The New Day coming out to cut a promo, which isn’t exactly a great opener considering we saw basically the same promo on Saturday. The New Day is great and all, but too much is going to kill their comedy. The music for the League of Nations hits and Rusev and Alberto Del Rio come out to take on New Day in a title match. Crowd already mildly disinterested right off the bat, starting a “We-Want-Lana!” chant. WWE has definitely overextended their hand with this matchup. If they don’t get some new competitive teams to fight for the titles, the tag division is going to lose the moment it has gained over the past year. Not to say that all four guys in this match aren’t great, it just starts to get a little stale seeing the same matches over and over.
Rusev and Big E matched up really well in this one. Xavier Woods gets a big handful of tights to cheat for the three count pinfall. Afterwards, the League attacks New Day, leaving them on their backs in the middle of the ring. They finish the attack off with a Brogue Kick on Big E.
Dean Ambrose comes out. Ambrose cuts into HHH, but is quickly interrupted by Brock Lesnar. Paul Heyman does his usual spiel. Ambrose tries to goad Lesnar to the ring. Nothing new. Heyman leaves, Lesnar walks to the ring. Then Ambrose pulls a crowbar out of his jacket. Lesnar walks around the ring and then fakes jumping in the ring and Ambrose takes a swing, missing him with the bar. Very anti-climatic. Hopefully their street fight at Mania will deliver.
When we get back from commercial, Ryback is in the ring. He is taking on one of the Lucha Dragons. No, not the one with the title. The other one. Sin Cara. For those keeping score, WWE has delivered a fairly mediocre Raw thus far. Ryback wins via Shell Shocked in an unremarkable match for both superstars. It’s difficult for a monstrous strongman to put on a convincing bout with a tiny Lucha. After the match, Ryback demands a US Title match at WrestleMania.
Stephanie McMahon high-steps it to the ring, smiling, which can’t be good. She welcomes us to Monday Night Raw, 54 minutes after we’ve already been here. She brings out Triple H. Behold the King. Triple H insults the crowd, using the same material he’s used for the past three weeks. Rinse and repeat. HHH is interrupted by Dolph Ziggler, of all people. WWE is grasping at straws here. Ziggler gets a match against Triple H, if he wins he gets a match at Mania. Yep. Definitely grasping at straws here. And I’m a Ziggler fan.
Kevin Owens is on commentary as Sami Zayn takes on The Miz. Sami is a little too hyper, but he means well. KO is great on the mic as always making fun of his “former” best friend. Sami wins despite interference from Kevin Owens. A bit of a sloppy match but one of the more energized segments of the night.
Brie Bella and Alicia Fox vs Team BAD. Sorry, we have no control over this shit. Lana interrupts the match before the bell rings. Team BAD wins. Nothing much to report here. The Usos defeat the Social Outcasts with Dudleyz on commentary. Womp womp.
The Hardcore Legend, Mick Foley has a locker room segment with Dean Ambrose. He gives Ambrose a present, which he unwraps to reveal a barb wire wrapped baseball bat. Hopefully that will make an appearance at Mania and not just be a useless prop.
Ziggler vs HHH up next. Decent match. A Pedigree ends it all and The Game wins one, two, three. Roman Reigns music hits and he comes out on the ramp. Reigns goes to work on HHH, being very careful to keep his face away from the champ. The fight goes backstage. HHH gets busted open and other superstars come to break up the brawl. This segment did not end the show which seems like a huge mistake.
R-Truth and Goldust have a funny backstage segment. Y2J comes out to take on Neville. Jericho gets disqualified after putting his hands on the ref and then AJ Styles comes out to beat him down.
No chance! Here comes the chairman, Mr. Vincent Kennedy McMahon. He introduced his creature, his instrument of destruction, The Undertaker. Shane comes out. So far this segment is flat. Shane calls Undertaker a bitch and they have a really terrible fight.
Twenty days away from WrestleMania and really nothing is exciting yet. There’s not much to look forward to except the Shane vs Taker match and even that got an embarrassing lifeline tonight.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
WWE Roadblock premiered tonight on the WWE Network. No, not The Roadblock, Joe D’Acquisto, from WCW. We’re talking about WWE’s newly christened Saturday pay-per-view. This review will not be kind, because this so called pay-per-view wasn’t anything special and was mainly a glorified SmackDown episode.
The show kicked off with The New Day coming to the ring to cut a really forced, unfunny segment about Booty-O’s cereal. Why WWE chose to kick off the show in such a manner is beyond me. Wade Barrett and Sheamus come out to battle for the Tag Team Championship gold. It was nice to see Barrett back in competitive action, but the match was fairly stale. New Day retained with some interference from Xavier Woods. Not much to be said on this one except that New Day retaining is a smart decision. Until The Golden Truth is legitimized as a real tag team and Enzo and Cass come up to the main roster, the tag titles are on the right team.
Immediately after that short match, Paul Heyman cuts a backstage promo that really only served to hype up the crowd. It seemed like an advertisement to sell the show we were already watching, all bracketed around saying Brock Lesnar’s name a bunch. Heyman got the crowd fired up, but didn’t really give us anything new.
Y2J, aka Chris Jericho, aka a Canadian hero in his own town, comes out and insults everybody, including his native country. Another talking segment. That makes three promos and only two matches about forty minutes in. Y2J comes across as not really a good heel, but just giving off a real Donald Trump vibe. It’s awkward and the crowd seems a little confused. Jack Swagger interrupts. They put on a good match, with Michael Cole, dare I say, actually selling the play-by-play beautifully. Perhaps he has been feeling the pressure from Mauro Ranallo? In a surprise move, Y2J makes Swagger tap out. So in the same week, Jericho, a part-timer, takes out AJ Styles and then pins Jack Swagger in his return debut? Terrible booking from WWE, even if Jericho is about to go on hiatus for his shitty band again.
And what’s more… WWE booked a Canadian hero to be the heel in a match against an American babyface while in Canada. Very, very confusing. NXT was up next. Dash and Dawson, the NXT Tag Team Champions, took on Enzo Amore and Big Cass. This was extremely exciting as it introduced Enzo and Cass to the main roster fans. Rumor has it they’ll move up to Raw and Smackdown in the near future. Really great match that showed the gaping holes in the main roster tag division. Dash and Dawson, or The Revival as their known, retain. Good outing for these four. Crowd was really into it. Best thing to happen thus far in the evening.
Natalya takes on Charlotte for the Divas Championship, in what was basically a Canadian fanboy match. As female wrestling goes, it was really good. But Nattie lost, as was expected. Not sure what the point of this match was except to let Natalya, the Canadian face, take a loss in front of her home crowd. I guess Vince still hates Canada.
Next up is Brock Lesnar vs….. Luke Harper? Bray comes out without his usual lantern but instead he’s holding a microphone. (More promos? Yes. More promos.) Wyatt verbal dissects Lesnar. His music hits, crowd goes wild. You know the deal. Lesnar destroys Harper, gaining a pinfall victory after hitting an F5. Bray Wyatt spends most of the time standing on the ramp. 90 minutes into this waste of time, and we’re still not sure what the point of all this is. This match was meaningless and amounted to nothing in terms of story. It was supposed to be the comeuppance of Bray Wyatt and he didn’t even wrestle. Brilliant.
Sami Zayn’s music hits, crowd goes ape shit for the Canadian hero. As far as the night’s going, things don’t bode well for this NXT allstar. Fresh back from his injury, Zayn takes on…. Stardust??? What in the holy hell is going on? This has been one of the most bizarre matchcards in recent memory. Is WWE trying to get everyone to turn off the Network? Sami wrestles a little soft, and appears winded at times. Sami Zayn gets the pinfall victory. There is no Kevin Owens run-in during this match and it was pretty much a snoozefest.
Triple H’s music hits. The heel champion comes out first. What’s up with this booking tonight? So many poor decisions being made. Fairly mediocre match as far as World Championships go. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds and picks of a pinfall victory! But the ref restarts the match because Ambrose had his feet under the ropes. This match shows that HHH still clearly has the it factor. Ambrose is still shaky when it comes to telling a story in the ring (ie: the in-ring psychology) in my opinion. Crowd starts an unwarranted “THIS IS AWESOME” chant. This match was anything but that if we’re judging it fairly. Definitely not one of HHH’s best. Ambrose pulls out a Figure Four, a Sharpshooter, and puts himself through the announce table. HHH tries to get a count-out victory, but Ambrose rolls in. He takes a Pedigree and HHH retains. This sets up HHH vs Reigns at WrestleMania.
Face To Heel’s advice on this “Network Speacial”? Can it, erase it, cancel it for next year. Wipe it off the Network completely. It was as pointless as Fastlane. All we need is Royal Rumble then WrestleMania. Nothing in between is needed. Everything that transpired tonight could have just been slowly put out on Raw the next few weeks. If you are reading this article prior to going in to watch Roadblock for the first time, I strongly advise you just skip it. They’ll show the highlights five times during Raw in a couple days. Let us know what you thought if you ended up watching the whole thing in the comments below.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Our reality is that Paul Heyman, aka Paul E Dangerously, aka The Voice of the Voice of the Voiceless, aka The One Behind the One in Twenty-One and One (now 22-1), is arguably one of if not the greatest wrestling managers of all time. He smooth talked his way into professional wrestling and used his silver tongue to hypnotize so many along his path to where he is today. The King of Hardcore ran ECW with fearlessness and had seen one successful WWE Champion after another reach the pinnacle of their career because they were a Paul Heyman Guy. Heyman now runs a very profitable agency called Looking4Larry while still managing The Beast Incarnate and dropping epic pipe bombs on the WWE Universe. Manager, creative talent, actor, businessman; Paul Heyman is the total package. But what if this son of a prominent injury attorney had taken a different direction? Enter our new reality.
Paul Heyman follows in his father’s footsteps and becomes a wickedly smooth lawyer, fast-tracking his way into riches. He defends his clients with an almost insatiable desire to be right at all cost. Guilty or innocent, Paul Heyman will get you off. Think of Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad only if Saul was defending guys like OJ Simpson. But very much like the real life Paul Heyman we know and love, he isn’t satisfied with just one career. He begins dabbling in politics. He doesn’t start off small, either. Paul Heyman doesn’t do things by halves. He runs for the District Attorney’s Office of New York County. And of course he wins by a hefty margin. The only person who calls it a landslide victory is Heyman, but he might not be far off.
You might think you know where this is going, but you’d be wrong. Most might consider that at this point Heyman runs for Mayor of New York City. Although this seems like a logical choice, you have to remember who we’re talking about here. Paul Heyman rubs everyone the wrong way. He’s the guy you want going into the courtroom trenches with you, but not someone you’d invite over for Thanksgiving dinner. He’s not a douchebag per say, but he has douchebag qualities and can easily get under your skin. All that being said, Heyman continues to rise in this new reality. New York is small potatoes. Heyman Hustle is looking at the bigger picture. Why settle for state level politics when you can go Federal?
Heyman’s ambition knows no limit. The sky is a glass ceiling meant only for admiring the reflection of your three thousand dollar suit as you pass right through it. Fast-forward a few long years of being a workaholic and Heyman is appointed Attorney General under 42nd President Bill Clinton. The “hip” president has a man of the people in his pocket. When the Monica Lewinsky scandal hits, Heyman is one of few people standing by the President calling the demand of impeachment to be an overreaction. When we finally get George W. Bush in office, Heyman takes a step back from the spotlight to become a very outspoken pundit against the Bush Presidency. He goes on CNN and MSNBC and debates anyone and everyone stupid enough to open their mouth against him. Then he starts to hear a buzz from this black gentlemen in Chicago who is considering running for President of the United States of America. Heyman begins endorsing Obama without being asked, and eventually he is so boisterous about his support that Obama calls him and asks if he wants to run his campaign. (Not sure of Heyman’s real life political opinions, so we’re just spit-balling here that he actually would support Obama.) Next thing you know, Barack Obama is elected the 44th man to sit in the White House. John McCain concedes to Obama and Heyman is in the room to hear this on speakerphone. A press photographer snaps a photo that will become famous within days of Heyman gleefully standing behind the President looking like a child on Christmas.
The night McCain concedes, Paul Heyman gives an animated victory speech at Obama’s election party. It is supposed to be a private affair, but someone sneaks in a camera. The entire speech is recorded and within a few hours it goes viral and becomes the most watched YouTube video of all time. And now, for your reading pleasure, I give you Paul Heyman’s Presidential Election Victory Speech. Or, if you prefer, he can give this speech at the swearing-in ceremony as Obama’s introduction. Either way, please enjoy.
“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman. [applause break as crowd goes wild]
And I am the campaign manager and advocate for my client BARAAAAAAAAACK OBAMAAAAAAAAA. A man who put the ONE in 43-1 by becoming the first ever African-American president. EAT. SLEEP. CONQUER THE COUNTRY. REPEAT! My client, BARAAAAAAAAACK OBAMAAAAAAAAA is the Black Incarnate. He eats racial barriers for breakfast. John McCain, bless his heart, was just foolish enough to believe he could stop my client from winning the Presidency. But at 9:07 PM, on the night of November 4th, in the year of our Lord 2008 A.D., Old Man Maverick conceded the White House. We’d like to thank Senator McCain for staying up over an hour past his usual bedtime to throw in the towel. [applause break, everybody laughs]
I was going to come out here and build up my client, selling you on his greatness, but I don’t need to bother. My client, BARAAAAAAAAACK OBAMAAAAAAAAA, doesn’t need adjectives and descriptions, he doesn’t require taglines and catchphrases. My client, BARAAAAAAAAACK OBAMAAAAAAAAA, needed just three little words: YES. WE. CAN. Three little words that echo core values across the expanse of time. ‘You can never give freedom to slaves.’ YES. WE. CAN. ‘You can never get the government to consider black Americans more than three-fifths a man.’ YES. WE. CAN. ‘You can never have black and white children learning, loving, drinking, eating, or riding the bus together in the same seat.’ YES. WE. CAN. [crowd starts to cheer, but Heyman gets louder cutting off the applause interruption]
‘YOU CAN NEVER SELL THIS LOUD, RHYTHMIC MUSIC CALLED HIP HOP AND RAP TO THE MASSES!’ YES! WE! CAN! And ladies and gentlemen, when they told my client, BARAAAAAAAAACK OBAMAAAAAAAAA, that he could never be elected to the White House, when they said we can never have a black man running the free world, when they shouted from the rooftops a man of color could never sit at the throne of America, could never eat at the head of the table, could never lead this nation, we looked back at the naysayers, without flinching and said, ‘YES. WE. CAN.’ [crowd chants the words along with him, huge applause break] Hillary Clinton couldn’t beat my client. John McCain couldn’t beat my client. Sarah Palin…. [crowd boo’s] ….is just misguided enough to want to LITERALLY beat my client. [boo’s grow louder] But the time for racial inequality is over. The time for holding the black man or the black woman down has come to an end. My client, BARAAAAAAAAACK OBAMAAAAAAAAA, took the east coast vote, he took the west coast vote, and now he takes the best seat in the best job in the best country on this planet. [crowd cheers, starts ‘USA!’ chant, Heyman smiles and lets it fade out]
United States of America. United. It’s that little word at the front. There are two types down the aisle. Elephants and Donkeys, Reps or Dems. We’ve been divided for so long. There has to be a changing of the guard. There has to be a rewash of the status quo. Quite frankly, things need to change. We are not the Divided States of America. We are not the Divided States of Republicans and Democrats. We are not the Divided States of Whites and Minorities. We are the UNITED States of Red, White and Blue. We are the UNITED States of Freedom. We are the UNITED States of AMERICA. And there is nothing more American than something new, something different, something bold. [applause break]
You see, ladies and gentlemen, my client, BARAAAAAAAAACK OBAMAAAAAAAAA, is a step forward; into progress, into prosperity, into the future of this great nation. The time has come to put old grudges aside. The time has come to lay down our differences and bridge the divide, paving new roads into real, measurable change. The time has come to wash the dirt off of Old Glory and bring NEW glory to this beautiful land of ours. From sea to shining sea, from mountain top to valley low, from the poor house to the White House, let everyone man, woman and child stand up and cheer! Rejoice, be you black white, brown, yellow, orange, red, purple, green, gay, straight, old, young, saved or sinner, rejoice and be grateful for the winds of change! The Presidency Machine has stopped churning out the same product you’ve seen since the 1700’s. We aren’t going through the motions of rinse and repeat any longer. When they said, ‘You can’t break the mold,’ we uttered, ‘YES. WE. CAN.’ [polite applause break]
Until now there has never been a black man in the White House. Until now there has never been a blip on the radar. Until now there has never been a spike on the timeline. My fellow Americans, there have been Lincolns and there have been Fords but up until now there has never been a Rolls-Royce in the White House. Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman and it is my privilege, no, my honor, to introduce the future of America, the ONE to lead us into a new era of greatness, please put your hands together for my client, the first African-American President, BARAAAAAAAAACK OBAMAAAAAAAAA!”
P.S. Sorry, sports fans, but with this new alternate reality CM Punk does not become WWE Champion and we miss his epic pipe bomb. Without Paul Heyman, he remains in WWE’s development division until such time as he gets frustrated and quits. But, all of Punk’s work with Ring of Honor still exists and is more than worth its weight in gold. Brock Lesnar is still pretty much Brock Lesnar except maybe he doesn’t face Big Show or go on to face CM Punk in a cage.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker