After Elimination Chamber, I had hopes for WWE. I really did. John Cena was eliminated early, and the match came down to AJ Styles and Bray Wyatt. And for once, I was surprised by an outcome–WWE put the strap on the Eater of Worlds and it felt like there was a definite shift in direction. But last night, as Monday Night Raw put on the most useless pay-per-view of the year a mere four weeks from WrestleMania, Vince McMahon took a gold-plated dump in our collective mouths.
On paper, having Bill Goldberg come back seems like a fairy tale dream. Right up there with Chris Benoit being tossed into the WWE Hall of Fame. But upon closer scrutiny you see the endless laundry list of problems with this sort of thing. Goldberg is 50 years old and he just won the biggest title in the company. And he’s headed to WrestleMania to face Brock Lesnar, whom is almost 40 years old. Why on earth have these two old men hijacked the biggest wrestling event of the year?
The booking at Fastlane was terrible. Owens came in and out of the ring, walked around the apron, talked trash and delayed the bell ring. When the previous match of Bayley and Charlotte was still going on at 10:50, we all knew some sort of bullshit was coming. When Owens finally got in the ring after wasting our time for five minutes, Chris Jericho’s music hit, the bell rung and then one spear and a jackhammer later, Owens had lost his title.
There was no reason for Goldberg to have a title when facing Lesnar. There was no reason why the inevitable Owens vs Jericho match at Mania couldn’t have been for a title. Instead, Owens vs Jericho is a mostly useless fight, and we now have two old-timers fighting for the Universal Title. One thing for certain that Fastlane did set up was leaving no doubt that Smackdown Live is the better brand, hands down.
Granted, maybe ten or eleven years ago, this might have worked. When Goldberg came to WWE from WCW, this might have been the angle they should have used. But he hasn’t wrestled in 12 years. Then he comes back and “beats” the biggest monster in the company in less than two minutes. Then goes on to “beat” Kevin Owens in less than 30 seconds. Professional wrestling constantly asks us to suspend disbelief, but come on. This is getting a little ridiculous now.
It’s the same formula WWE always desperately goes back to. They recruit gladiators from the Attitude Era and Monday Night Wars and neuter them, parading them around on a leash, and continue watering down our memories of days gone by. Let’s bring back The Undertaker for another year to be embarrassed on live TV as he’s carried through a match gasping for air and spending half the match on his back. Let’s bring back Ric Flair to put over his daughter’s opponent while standing in the middle of the ring red-faced and crying. Let’s bring back The Rock to put over his cousin only to have them both get booed out of the Royal Rumble. Rinse and repeat. And let’s not even mention the epic tragedy of Sting’s WWE “career.”
It is utterly baffling why Vince McMahon and the WWE are so terrified of their young talent. They aren’t prepared to take a chance or push younger guys. It has been that way for a very long time. There are guys (and girls) on the roster that other promotions would kill to have as their champion just being squandered and wasting away into obscurity. We could have a fresh, revitalized WrestleMania with amazing young talent. But instead, valuable ring time is going to be stolen by HHH, Goldberg, Lesnar, and The Undertaker. These guys all had their heydays. They’ve been in the spotlight. News flash, Vince: you aren’t “Showcasing Immortals.” You are cramming the same tired crap down our throats, risking the life and limb of the athletes who should have long since retired from active competition.
They used to call WrestleMania “The Granddaddy of Them All” and that’s never been more true than it is now. Most of these guys are old enough to have grandchildren and frankly, it’s getting a little hard to tune in every year to the same old tripe. I mean, Goldberg has a solid white goatee and white chest hair for crying out loud. Sad times.
Jamie Curtis Baker
Our second Smackdown exclusive PPV will be No Mercy on October 9, 2016 in Sacramento, California. The go home episode of Smackdown was absolutely terrible; my husband didn’t hold back in his review of the show, and I struggled to keep my eyes open. Heath Slater and Rhyno’s run in was the best part of the entire two hours, and they didn’t even get to have a match. Even with all this, I feel strangely positive about this PPV. The card for Backlash was pitiful, but the PPV somehow ended up being one of the best WWE has had in months. Let’s take a look at the No Mercy match card and make some predictions.
Curt Hawkins vs TBA – Singles Match
The build towards Hawkins’ television debut has been a play on the Chuck Norris jokes, and has not gone over well with me. He made his in ring return already at a WWE Live event at the beginning of the month, beating Apollo Crews in a singles match in Las Vegas. The last time I saw Hawkins, he was getting squashed by Ryback while teaming with Tyler Reks. He then asked to be released from WWE, went to NXT after a surgery to lose most of his matches, and spent the next couple of years bouncing from company to company. Not surprisingly, I don’t see him as a Chuck Norris level kind of guy after all of that. His opponent is still undetermined at the time of this posting, but I imagine it will be some local jobber. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear “let’s go jobber” chants from the crowd.
F2H Prediction – Curt Hawkins
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt – Singles Match
After getting destroyed by Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton found himself targeted by the Eater of Worlds. Bray Wyatt has been on the world’s worst losing streak, but still insists that he is a God. On this past Smackdown, Orton locked Wyatt in a storage locker, and Wyatt escaped after talking to some mystery figure just off of camera. Prior to that, they have been involved in equally senseless altercations backstage and in the ring. At one point, Orton looked like he was trying to escape one of Jigsaw’s traps. The whole set up has been ridiculous, and not the positive kind. But who knows; maybe these two will surprise us.
F2H Prediction – Randy Orton
The Miz (c) vs Dolph Ziggler – Intercontinental Championship “Title vs Career” Match
Right now, The Miz is at the top of his game. Since Daniel Bryan can’t compete and fight for his honor after Miz shamed him on Talking Smack, Dolph Ziggler was thrown into the mix. The video package that Miz put together for Ziggler was one of very few highlights on the go home Smackdown. Both men have been underappreciated over the past couple of years, so I’m glad that they have an opportunity now to prove a lot of people wrong. I would like to see Maryse banned from ringside before the match even begins; she tried the hairspray in the face trick one time too many and I don’t care to see her try anything else. That isn’t to say I want to see a fair fight, I simply want to see Miz be tricky all on his own,
F2H Prediction – Dolph Ziggler, via Disqualification; Miz retains the title
Nikki Bella vs Carmella – Singles Match
When Nikki Bella returned to the ring, I fully expected her to get a ridiculous push. Instead, she got her ass handed to her courtesy of the Princess of Staten Island. Carmella was once a hype girl for Enzo Amore and Big Cass when the trio was on NXT together. When her boys were drafted to Raw, she stayed behind and was able to establish herself as a singles competitor before being Smackdown’s final draft pick. She started out as her usual self, but quickly showed us her darker side once she felt that she was being upstaged by Bella. I have been enjoying this new side of Carmella, and I give WWE a lot of credit for not going the predictable route with a big Bella push. Provided they get a decent time slot to compete, this could turn into a really good bout.
F2H Prediction – Carmella
Heath Slater & Rhyno (c) vs The Usos – Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos turned heel and finally ditched their ridiculous wardrobe. Of course, now they look like gangbangers from a 90s after school special, but I’ll take what I can get. The real stars here are our Tag Team champions; Rhyno, Heath Slater, and all of Heath’s kids. Who could have guessed that Slater would be the top guy after he was completely left out of the draft? His journey to get a contract was a bumpy one and began with a lot of his typical jobbing. Thanks to Rhyno, he scored the tag titles, a contract, and has been creating comedy gold every week. Their success is a likely reason American Alpha was pulled from the title picture; no one is cheering for Alpha when Slater and Rhyno are so strong. I’m a bit worried about this match because you know how much WWE loves The Rock’s relatives, but at least Slater has his contract, his doublewide, and his above ground pool.
F2H Prediction – Heath Slater & Rhyno
Becky Lynch (c) vs Alexa Bliss –Women’s Championship Match
You can tell that Becky Lynch is a proud champion; she is incredibly excited to have won the title and is always eager to defend it. Alexa Bliss is as evil as she is small and earned the right to fight for Lynch’s title after beating out the other women on Smackdown’s roster (excluding Eva Marie, whose suspension is over, but she is still out of action). Bliss is quickly becoming one of my favorite female wrestlers, and is definitely my favorite on Smackdown. Nothing against Lynch, but I believe Bliss is much better in promos and has a better handle on her character. Coming off a female title match as the main event of Monday Night Raw, I hope these two really bring it tonight and try to upstage Charlotte and Sasha Banks.
F2H Prediction – Alexa Bliss
AJ Styles (c) vs Dean Ambrose vs John Cena – Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Hey, guys! John Cena is in the title picture again! At least it took him a little while to get there this time around. I keep forgetting that Styles is our Smackdown World champion, and that’s through no fault of his own. For some reason, this title fight has failed to hold my interest since the brand split. Styles has gotten one hell of a push to the top ever since his debut at the Royal Rumble. In less than a year, he dethroned Cena as “the face that runs the place,” plus won the top title in his brand. Dean Ambrose was an odd choice for champion; I was happy he won, but I’m also secretly happy he doesn’t hold the gold anymore. We all know that Cena is going to get at least one more title run. The question is, does it happen at just any PPV or is it saved for WrestleMania?
F2H Prediction – AJ Styles
The preshow will begin at 7pm EST on the WWE Network, with the main event beginning at 8pm EST. There are no preshow matches set at the time of this posting, but we suspect that Jack Swagger vs Baron Corbin will be a last minute addition. Follow us on Twitter (FaceToHeel, OhhhTweener, MrNotWell) as we live tweet the event and provide feedback after the show concludes.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Nia Jax was drafted to Raw and made her debut on July 25, 2016. The people I noticed on Twitter didn’t seem too impressed with her, content to mock her “ill-fitting” ring attire or the fact that she was fighting local talent. My husband isn’t a fan as well, and can’t stand her entrance theme music. I feel that my fondness for Jax is the unpopular opinion.
Jax is a former college basketball player and model, signed to NXT in 2014. She debuted in May 2015 at a house show under the name Zada where she was victorious in a tag match against Bayley and Carmella. Her on-screen debut came in October of the same year, where she embarked on a winning streak, squashing local talent and targeting Carmella. She formed a brief and unnecessary alliance with the talentless Eva Marie that led to her first rivalry with Bayley. Jax went after Bayley’s Women’s Title and challenged her at NXT Takeover: London in December, but failed to win.
In May of 2016, Jax won a triple threat match, defeating Carmella and Alexa Bliss to become the number one contender to the Women’s Title, now held by Asuka. She challenged for the title at NXT Takeover: The End in June, but again failed to score a win. Her last NXT match was against Bayley; she lost to Bayley who was battling her on the road to her own redemption.
Nia Jax has only been wrestling for about two years. She is The Rock’s cousin, but that isn’t a fact that is shoved in our faces in the way it is with The Usos or Roman Reigns. Compared to her colleagues, Jax is still very green. Her journey through NXT, squashing locals, is something we’ve seen other wrestlers do throughout the years and something fellow Raw competitor Braun Strowman did later in the same night. It’s a simple way of portraying someone as unstoppable without damaging the reputations of anyone else on the roster.
You can say that she “sucks” and make fun of her weight, but Jax is exactly what the Women’s division needs. She isn’t cut from the same cloth as the majority of other female wrestlers, in any company. Jax is a powerhouse that forces her competitors to really get creative if they want to defeat her. She presents a new challenge and gives us something different than any other female currently on the roster. She can accomplish what Tamina Snuka tried and failed to; to be a true monster heel.
I am a huge fan of Nia Jax, and I urge you to stop the harsh judgments and give her a chance. She’s had two years in the ring and in training at WWE’s Developmental Center, and still has a long road ahead of her. Jax has the potential for greatness; with more practice and by taking advice from veterans, she can conquer the Women’s division and could eventually win the Women’s title. She is different, she is dangerous, and she is perfect for the new era in WWE.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
Smackdown is going live. WWE is doing a brand split. There’s got to be more to it then just the basic facts. So what can fans hope to see during the July 19th live premiere? Check out our list of some surprises we might get below.
The Rock — This is, after all, The Rock’s show. He took off after The Nation of Domination, where he started to “layeth the smacketh down” on some roody-poo candy asses. To have the show go live and split the brand up, it would seem obvious to have The Rock show up. There aren’t a whole lot of spoilers online for this event, and we are still over a week out. WWE could release statements about what may happen or who might show up, but currently there is no information regarding whether The Rock will be there. Having the show kickoff with his music hitting would really help set the pace for the evening and kick things off to an exciting start. Dwayne Johnson (The Rock’s real life name) is currently busy filming Ballers so this might be a pipe dream. But what could be better than the king of laying the smackdown showing up on Smackdown?
Vince McMahon — We have to assume this big idea was mostly Vince’s. Even if it wasn’t, he’ll claim credit for its success or pass the buck for its failure. This is a big move for WWE, so the chairman will more than likely make an appearance. In fact, it’s a safe bet that he will come out and pander to the crowd, only to be interrupted by his children or the annoying general managers that have been making cameos the past few weeks. Followed up by a backstage segment with Vince, Steph, and Shane inevitably arguing about something.
An New Debut — There are a lot of exciting guys and gals on the NXT roster. A live Smackdown premiere is a great time for an NXT main roster debut. Someone like Bayley, or maybe even Finn Balor, would really set the stage going forward. Keeping it a secret would be key. Just let their music hit and the crowd go ape shit. Use them to interrupt somebody to set up a future feud. Or maybe have surprise draft lottery picks with an NXT star going to Raw and Smackdown both. Another possibility is a new group comes out featuring three or four underutilized wrestlers looking to make a name on Smackdown. If they hadn’t already done it, now would be a good time for something like The League of Nations. A unique trick might be to have a new member join The Wyatt Family….perhaps a female new signee who goes by the name Sister Abigail?
A New Title — No, not a world heavyweight title. We do not need that sort of champion with each brand. But bringing back an old classic, maybe like the Hardcore Championship, or inventing a new belt would give us something to look forward to. WWE Network is making a big deal out of this Cruiserweight Classic, so perhaps a Cruiserweight Championship could be introduced. That could also help explain why in the hell we had Kalisto as the United States Champion for an absurd amount of time. WWE might have been testing the water for smaller guys with titles. This also would have been a great venue to introduce the Women’s Championship, but they already wasted that opportunity at the Never-ending WrestleMania. Speaking of the women’s division, it’s getting pretty stacked. Maybe a female tag division could be something fun to try out as well. With potentially two brands and two distinct rosters, an additional belt might be necessary to keep things flowing.
Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton — They announced this past week on Smackdown who Brock Lesnar’s SummerSlam opponent will be. None other than The Viper, Randy Orton. This is a weird thing to just announce, considering the two have not interacted in a really long time and we haven’t seen either for quite some time. Just throwing them together with no backstory is strange, but we’ll roll with it because this should actually be an exciting matchup. Saving this announcement for Smackdown is a little hint that maybe the two will come out on the live premiere and go at each other, enticing the fans for the August pay-per-view.
Whether or not the live Smackdown and brand split fails is yet to be determined. But one thing is for sure, WWE definitely has some tricks up their sleeves for the live premiere. If you are a fan of professional wrestling, you better not miss this one. It might not pan out in the long run, but the premiere episode should be entertaining at the very least for the novelty of it. Tune in July 19th and let us know in the comments below what you expect or hope to see on the live Smackdown.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
After last night’s WrestleMania, I may be ready for another vacation from wrestling; if Raw doesn’t bring the house down tonight, I’m taking a break until the Payback PPV. We started the night off with a two hour preshow that began with the US Title match. Kalisto defended his title against Ryback at 5:45pm while most of the fans weren’t even in the building, and before the preshow was on USA Network for those fans without the WWE Network. It was a terrible way to treat the title and the two men competing for it. If WWE doesn’t treat the title as something important, why should the fans care about it?
The two USA Network preshow matches were The Usos vs The Dudleys and Team BAD & Blonde vs Team Total Divas. The women’s match was all about Lana, at least in the buildup. When it came down to the match though, we barely got any Lana and instead got Brie acting like Daniel Bryan. If she’s retiring and needs to go out with a great match, fine. But how is stealing her husband’s moveset a positive way to go out? It was frustrating to watch. The Usos vs The Dudleys was the one match I assumed would be a throwaway, but it ended up being confusing. The Dudleys are meant to be the heels here, but were playing to the crowd, getting cheered, and it was the Usos who closed out the match with a questionable heel-like ending by putting Bubba and D-Von through two tables. The best part of the preshow kickoff was when Lita unveiled the new Women’s Title; that thing is a masterpiece.
WrestleMania began with the ladder match for the IC Title, which was phenomenal. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens looked like they honestly hated each other; both men were intense and focused on getting the win. There were some pretty scary spots, especially Sin Cara diving off a ladder and onto Stardust, who lay on a ladder outside of the ring. The tribute to Dusty Rhodes with Stardust’s gear and the polka dotted ladder was such a heartwarming gesture. We were teased with Miz stealing a victory, but ultimately Zack Ryder won the title. Zack Ryder. Who saw that one coming? I was incredibly happy with this entire match and pumped for the rest of the night. Every single competitor brought their A game and put everything on the line. There was not a single moment of downtime, and that ending was nothing short of genius; no one seriously thought that Ryder would walk away as champ. I loved it.
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho was basically the same thing we’ve already seen. Jericho keeps kicking out of the Styles Clash, which is frustrating, and then he beat Styles, which is confusing. You would think we’d be protecting the talent that is going to stick around and be here week after week, not handing the veteran a win so he can go off and tour with Fozzy. Outside of a confusing win, the match itself was stale and slow, and the crowd was not feeling it. Styles has been over as hell since his debut, but he keeps getting stuck in matches with Jericho. When do we get to see something else? I swear, if we get Styles vs Jericho, Take 5 at Payback, I’m cancelling my Network subscription.
New Day’s entrance was fantastic, coming out of a massive box of Booty-O’s, but the actual match with League Of Nations was very boring. The crowd looked as if they had fallen asleep at one point. I still can’t understand why the titles weren’t on the line here; every title should be up for grabs at WrestleMania. The whole competition for who is the stronger faction would be fine if that actually meant anything. Remember when Rusev came out in a tank? Where was that showmanship and fanfare this year? The best part of this match involved three men who had nothing to do with the match; Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin. Sweet Chin Music, Mandible Claw, and Stunners for everyone! It was an awesome moment that made me hopeful that the night would be picking up.
Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar was next, and this one had to be good considering it was No Holds Barred. Unfortunately, it was Kendo Stick city with an odd and abrupt ending. It felt like someone backstage ordered the ref to cut the match short. I had been looking forward to this ever since they announced it, and this is what we got? Ambrose and Lesnar could have gone to the extreme, but instead all they did was hit each other with sticks and play with a fire extinguisher. There were some good moments, of course, but overall this was confusing, short and not extreme at all. Lesnar can obviously beat the shit out of people with ease, and Ambrose can take a beating like no other, so why didn’t we get a bloody all-out brawl? Why was Ambrose suddenly unable to continue after we’ve seen him get up and come back after going through worse? I went into this match thinking it would be one of the best of the entire night, and instead was left shaking my head, wondering what the hell I just watched.
The Women’s Title was on the line next, and Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Charlotte did a great job here. They absolutely killed it and showed us what the female division should look like, and hopefully what it will look like from here on out. My complaint is that Charlotte won with the help of her daddy. Again. Ric Flair prevented Sasha from returning to the ring, which allowed Charlotte time to get Becky to tap. Why in the holy hell are we pushing the strength of a new Women’s Division and still having the champ rely on a man to help her win? Flair should have stayed the hell out of it. This made Charlotte look weak, like if it were not for daddy, she wouldn’t be champ. I don’t want Daddy’s Girl heading the Women’s Division, I want someone who doesn’t need a man standing behind her because she can stand strongly on her own.
Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker was up next, and this match looked exactly how you would expect. A fight between two old men who probably shouldn’t be doing half the things they are trying to do. This was slow and tedious. The highlight was Shane diving off of the top of the cage and onto the announce table, resulting in Taker able to pick up the win and Shane getting carried off on a stretcher. The two broke out of the cell at one point, so an interference would have been awesome, but we didn’t get that. We didn’t really get anything. This was terrible.
The Andre The Giant Battle Royal was interesting with the addition of Shaq as a competitor, but overall it was nothing special. The highlight was seeing NXT star Baron Corbin pick up the win. I hope this means we’ll’ be getting him on the main roster; the guy is seriously on fire. With the Battle Royal moved off the preshow and onto the main card at the last minute, I was expecting to see a hell of a lot of action and surprises. Shaq is gimmicky, not something main-event worthy. I don’t get why this match was moved because other than Corbin’s victory, there was nothing special about this at all. Unremarkable and forgettable. I honestly can’t remember anything about this other than being confused that Shaq showed up and Corbin being the last man standing.
The Rock finally showed up next and faced off with The Wyatt’s which got me hyped up. Rock was in his ring gear, but we didn’t get Bray in the ring; Erick Rowan stepped up to compete and got his ass handed to him in 6 seconds. What is the point? Then, the Family gangs up on Rock and John Fucking Cena comes to his rescue. Honestly, guys, could we have gone one WrestleMania without him? I’m so tired of Cena getting shoved in our faces at every opportunity, especially when he is constantly greeted by a chorus of boos because everyone over the age of 8 is fed up with his cartoonish antics. The Rock would have been better utilized in the Roman vs Triple H fight by interfering and having Reigns turn on him. It would also have been better if we weren’t informed that he would be a part of Mania months ago. We suspected that Stone Cold would be there, but we didn’t see promo after promo advertising the fact, so we got hyped up when his music hit. With The Rock, we were waiting for it all night because WWE has been telling us week after week to expect it.
Our main event was next. Triple H had an awesome entrance as usual, though the whole speech by Stephanie McMahon was a bit odd, and Roman Reigns came out looking all broody as the crowd booed him. The high point was seeing Steph get speared, and the low point was everything else. Predictably, Reigns won. I knew Reigns would win, so that isn’t my issue here. My issue is this entire match was lazy and uneventful and unworthy of a WrestleMania main event. This is the biggest match on the biggest show of the entire year, and it felt like a throwaway Raw moment. Reigns won for the third time, and no one cared.
WrestleMania went over their allotted time by almost an hour, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why it was necessary. I’ve already seen the “this is setting things up for Payback” arguments, and quite honestly, I think that is bullshit. WrestleMania is the event of the year; it should not be mediocre in order to set up things for an upcoming PPV. There is no excuse for not putting every title on the line. There is no excuse for lazy booking and shoddy performances. I shouldn’t be so bored during your main event that I mute the PPV and move to a second TV so I can watch the Walking Dead finale.
NXT TakeOver was what WrestleMania should have been. Compelling matches, lots of action and memorable moments, exciting debuts, and match endings that make you cheer even if it wasn’t the outcome you wanted. WWE’s so-called developmental division did the better job this weekend in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the people. Once TakeOver was over, we immediately went back to rewatch some of the matches. When Mania ended, we happily turned off the Xbox and almost instantly forgot about half the matches we watched. I haven’t seen as many Manias as the typical WWE fan, but this was undoubtedly the worst.
Tonight’s Raw is their chance to make things right, and the WWE has a lot of work to do. We still have The Authority in charge since Shane McMahon failed, but Triple H isn’t champion anymore, so I’m curious to see how they address it. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch should get a rematch tonight; the title should have changed hands last night. The tag titles should also be on the line tonight; not defending them last night was a mistake that needs to be righted. We should get a surprise debut tonight as well; seeing Bayley or Finn Balor on Raw would go a long way in righting some of the wrongs we saw last night. Creative needs to pull their heads out of their asses and put their all into tonight’s show. So many fans are jaded after watching a mind-numbing seven hours of wrestling last night; we need something big to pull us back in and make us want to keep watching. As it stands now, I have one foot out the door and won’t have any regrets about taking a few weeks off from Raw and Smackdown.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
The Undertaker certainly has his work cut out for him tonight against Shane McMahon. Over the years, Shane McMahon has risked life and limb, pulling off death defying feats in big time matches. He has been a fearless competitor. Here is a brief list of some of his crazy moments.
WrestleMania 32 won’t be the first time Shane ‘o’ Mac and The Undertaker have faced off. At the 2000 King of the Ring event, there was a six man match for the WWF Championship. Involved were The Rock, Kane, The Undertaker, Vince McMahon, Triple H, and Shane McMahon. During the match, Shane climbed the top rope to most likely do a frog splash onto a downed Rock in the middle of the ring. Instead, Undertaker climbed onto the apron, wrapped his hand around Shane’s neck and chokeslammed him off the top rope and into the announce table.
The previous year at King of the Ring, Stone Cold Steve Austin took on Vince and Shane McMahon in a 2-on-1 handicap match for control of the company. This match featured dozens of ladders. The high spot for Shane came when Austin threw Shane off of a ladder onto a table. In a surprise twist, the table didn’t break. So Austin leaped off the ladder, dropped an elbow on Shane and smashed him right through the wood. The McMahons would, of course, go on to win the match and keep control of the company. But it was another feather in the hardcore cap of Shane McMahon.
At WrestleMania X-Seven, Shane would take on his father, Vince after a failed WCW Invasion storyline where Vince in real life bought WCW. The match featured a sedated Linda McMahon, a curly haired Stephanie McMahon and the Hardcore Legend Mick Foley as the special guest referee. Shane took quite the beating at the hands of his father, but after Linda McMahon came back to life, low blowing Vince, Shane set his father up sitting in the corner with a steel garbage can pressed against him. Shane crossed the ring to the adjacent corner, climbed to the top rope, and jumped across the ring to kick the garbage can into his dad. It was a great feat of agility and cemented Shane as a main event player.
Shane’s biggest jaw-dropping moment came during SummerSlam 2000 against the “Lethal Weapon” Steve Blackman. This match was for the now defunct WWF Hardcore Championship. Shane got the brakes beat off him by Blackman throughout the match. Shane ran for his life, just trying to escape the wrath of his opponent. His flight from the ring took him up the ramp where he then climbed a steel support beam for the Titantron. Steve Blackman followed him up the pole, carrying a kendo stick with him. When he caught up with Shane, he clocked him multiple times in the legs and back. Shane McMahon went limp and fell straight down a good 40 feet (at least) to his fate below. The crowd went bananas and Jim Ross scream, “My god! Is there anything left of Shane McMahon?! Where did he land?!”
Much like his father, Shane McMahon has given his all to the business when it mattered. He never blinked and he never backed down, leaving us with many unforgettable moments in the ring. Tonight Shane takes on The Undertaker in the dreaded Hell in a Cell. You better believe he has some wild stunt planned that will leave a lasting impression long after AT&T Stadium clears out.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
WWE is no stranger to bringing in celebrity guest stars on Raw or pay-per-view events. Just last night, Snoop Dogg was inducted into the Hall of Fame Class of 2016. We know he’ll be at WrestleMania tonight, and we also know Stone Cold Steve Austin, a Texas native, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will be in attendance. But what other celebrity surprises has WWE kept secret for tonight?
Last year, UFC wonder woman Ronda Rousey made a big splash when The Rock brought her in from the crowd to have a little square off with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. Having recently lost her first UFC fight and losing her title, she may show up at WrestleMania to have a brief interaction with someone.
Also at last years big event, Triple H had Arnold Schwarzenegger usher him out to the ring with the use of Terminators. This past year, the rock ‘n’ roll world was shocked to learn of the passing of Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, a close personal friend of Triple H’s and the front man for rock group Motörhead. Many times throughout his career, Triple H has used Motörhead’s music for his entrance themes, even having the band play live to bring him to the ring. It wouldn’t be surprising if they had the remaining members of Motörhead show up or played a tribute to Lemmy. Especially since Triple H is in the main event with his title on the line.
The Rock has a future movie coming out called Central Intelligence. His costar for that movie is Kevin Hart. Together, the pair are hosting the upcoming MTV Movie Awards. It’s very likely Kevin Hart will be ringside or pop out for an appearance on a backstage segment, maybe even with The Rock. It can be used to bring some humor to the crowd after a high intensity match finishes.
And let’s not forget that Stardust is in a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. Last year, Stardust teamed with Wade Barrett to take on Neville and Arrow’s Stephen Amell. Amell put on quite the match, impressing WWE fans and pulling out a great victory on Barrett and Stardust. Although probably out of the question, it would be hilarious to see Amell run-in and screw Stardust out of winning the belt.
This year’s main WrestleMania theme song is “My House” by Grammy nominated artist Flo Rida. He has been used previously at WrestleMania 28, performing for The Rock to bring him out to the ring to face John Cena. WWE has a good history with Flo Rida and he will probably be in attendance and possibly performing his song live.
WrestleMania is always full of little surprises, so any one can show up at any time to bring a smile or a look of shock to fans faces. With an audience of over 100,000 we can guarantee that WWE has a few tricks up their sleeves.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
We are only a few hours away from another attendance record setting WrestleMania. But before we reach the mountain top, let’s take a look back at where we were this time last year.
WrestleMania 31 took place in California, a fact that would be a bane to WWE all night as the early start time resulted in the entire broadcast being pretty much in broad daylight. But it wasn’t all bad, and actually there were some pretty impressive moments.
— The show started with a Fatal 4-Way match for the Tag Team Championships. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro were hitting their stride and defeated The New Day, Los Matadores, and The Usos. What a difference a year makes. In 2016, the tag division is on fire.
— Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal after tossing out Damien Mizdow. But the real story of the match was Mizdow finally turning on The Miz and ending their abusive partnership.
— In a last ditch effort to revitalize Daniel Bryan, WWE put him in an Intercontinental Championship ladder match. The match was good throughout but featured a weird finish involving a headbutt exchange on a ladder. Bryan would win, but as of 2016 he is retired from wrestling because of ailing neck injuries.
— Randy Orton defeated Seth Rollins after blowing everyone’s minds when he reversed a Curb Stomp into an RKO. It was quite amazing. Orton’s absence due to injury has pained us all.
— Triple H came out dressed as a Terminator King to face The Icon Sting. This match wasn’t great but featured so many old school wrestler run-ins that we loved it anyway. Triple H picked up the win.
— AJ Lee teamed with Paige to defeat The Bella Twins. Not much to say here. It was what it was.
— John Cena defeated Rusev, who drove out in a tank with Lana, to win the United States Championship.
— One of the hightlights of the night featured The Rock bringing Ronda Rousey into the ring to take down Triple H and Stephanie.
— Bray Wyatt took yet another big loss as he went up against The Undertaker. The New Face of Fear did the job, and a year later he still isn’t being booked right or pushed strongly. Both competitors’ entrances were ruined by the bright atmosphere.
— The main event was Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns for the World Heavyweight Championship. Reigns took a massive ass whooping throughout this one and Lesnar served him first class tickets to Suplex City. The match would end historically when Seth Rollins became the first person to cash-in the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania to become the new champion.
This year’s WrestleMania should hopefully be something special. The match card looks strong and mostly everyone is healthy. With control of Monday Night Raw at stake, Roman Reigns’ attempt at revenge, and KO-mania ready to run wild, WrestleMania 32 should be locked and loaded.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
WrestleMania. The word is infused with magic. The descriptions surrounding it give credence to something not of this world. “The Showcase of the Immortals”, “The Grandest Stage of Them all”, “The Show of Shows”; phrases that sound like they belong more on a magician’s Las Vegas show than to pro wrestling. In twenty-four hours, the 32nd annual WrestleMania will air on the WWE Network.
This time of year is always a reflection. We look back on what happened over the last year, where we’ve come, and where we are going. I’ve seen a lot of WrestleManias in my lifetime. It’s tradition. In the spirit of that, my co-writer and wife will join me in discussing our favorite matches in WrestleMania history. I’ll begin.
The year was 1997. The place was Rosemont, IL at WrestleMania 13. Stone Cold Steve Austin was hot off his King of the Ring victory the previous year. Austin 3:16 was catching fire, but one obstacle in his path was Bret “The Hitman” Hart. A few months earlier, Austin had cost Hart a shot to win the then WWF World Heavyweight Championship. This feud was exploding and the tension leading up to this match was thicker than deep dish pizza.
Both men fed the hype machine leading up to this match. Bret Hart believed he was, “Screwed by the WWF, screwed by Steve Austin,” and it would leave him an angry, disgruntled man. Bret Hart’s fans began to turn on him. “Bret Hart on his best day can’t lace my boots. And I’m gonna prove that to the world.” That was the pissed off Austin going into this brawl. The peak of their verbal sparring came when Austin told Bret, “If you put an S in front of the Hitman, you have my exact opinion of Bret Hart.” It was a no DQ, no count out, submission match. And both men would be tested.
Ken Shamrock was the special guest referee to ensure things were fair and even. Stone Cold comes out first and even back then he had signs and t-shirts in the crowd, with a pretty decent pop. The rocket was on and he was shooting straight for the moon. Austin gets in Shamrocks face and the two yell at each other. Bret Hart comes out to a mixed reaction from the crowd. Austin’s eyes never leave Hart as he makes his way into the ring. Hart walks towards Austin and the Rattlesnake explodes out of the corner and takes him down. The bell rings and they go to war. It leads to trading punches outside of the ring.
Austin picks him up and drops him right on his testicles on the steel barricade, then clotheslines him over. They start fighting through the crowd. Austin takes a fan’s Coke, takes a sip and then slams it into Hart. They continue fighting deeper into the crowd. Once they get back outside the ring, Austin throws Hart hard into the steel steps, then waits for him to get up, flips him the bird and drops on him. Austin picks up the steel steps but Hart catches him in the stomach with a boot and he collapses. Austin pulls Hart face first into the corner post. And finally they roll back into the ring.
Hart hits a devastating spinning neck breaker and takes control of the match. He goes to work on Austin’s left knee. Austin writhes in pain. Shamrock asks if he wants to quit and Austin flips him off. Austin hits Hart with a Stunner. Hart locks in a figure four leglock using the ringpost for leverage. Austin refuses to give up. Hart picks up the ring bell and a steel chair. He puts the chair on Austin’s left ankle. He climbs the top rope but Austin pops up with the chair and decks him with it. Hart falls to the mat. Austin hits him with another chair shot and the crowd erupts. Austin whips Hart into the corner, then hits a suplex. Austin climbs to the second rope, flips off Bret and then drops an elbow on him. Austin stomps him in the groin. Bret Hart’s daughter is shown ringside covering her eyes.
Austin suplexes Hart and locks his arm into a submission hold. Austin breaks the hold, only to put Hart in a Boston crab submission. Hart reaches the ropes and Shamrock breaks them apart. Austin goes to put Hart in a Sharpshooter, but Hart rakes his eyes. Austin tosses Hart out of the ring. Hart whips Austin into the timekeeper area onto some chairs. Austin is now busted open after colliding with the security railing. His forehead is open and blood starts going everywhere, running down his arms and pooling on the floor. Hart throws Austin’s head into the turn post. Back in the ring, Hart pounces on Austin with kicks and punches to his bleeding head. The ring mat is smeared with blood, but Hart doesn’t let up.
He goes after Austin’s left knee again with chair shot after chair shot. Austin stops a Sharpshooter submission and kicks Hart in the junk. Austin whips him chest first into the corner. Then proceeds to stomp a mud hole into Hart. Austin’s face is a mask of blood. He lifts Hart onto the top rope. He climbs up and suplexes him onto his back. Austin leaves the ring and grabs a long extension cord. He wraps it around Hart’s neck. Hart gropes the ring and finds the ring bell. He smashes it right into Austin’s bleeding head wound. Hart locks in the Sharpshooter. Austin screams but continues shaking his head when Shamrock asks if he wants to quit. Blood drips from his head onto the mat. Austin visibly begins to fade. He struggles one last time to fight out of the hold. He nearly breaks it, but Hart keeps it locked in and Austin reaches for the ropes. Ken Shamrock yells, “Steve, do you give up!” Austin is unable to respond because he is unconscious. Shamrock stops the fight.
The history books record this one as a Bret Hart victory, but truth be told Stone Cold Steve Austin never tapped out, he never said I quit. He embraced the pain until it consumed him. After the match, Hart attacks Austin’s knee. Shamrock puts a stop to that and the crowd goes bananas. Hart leaves among boos from the crowd. Someone holds a sign up towards him that says CRY BABY. A ref comes out and tries to help Austin up. In typical Stone Cold fashion, Austin hits the ref with a Stunner and walks out under his own volition, solidifying himself as the toughest son of a bitch on the planet. Crowd starts chanting “Austin! Austin! Austin!” as he limps up the ramp into the back.
WrestleMania 13 isn’t the greatest Mania of all time. The match card was weird, featuring a couple of odd tag team matches. But Austin vs Hart has been my favorite WrestleMania match for almost two decades. Nothing has ever topped it for me. It was a crowning achievement that featured a rare double turn, with The Texas Rattlesnake turning from heel to babyface, and The Hitman turning from face to heel. This would ultimately lead to Bret Hart escaping to WCW via The Montreal Screwjob and Stone Cold ushering in The Attitude Era, forever changing the landscape of wrestling forever.
My husband challenged me to write about my all-time favorite WrestleMania match, and I quickly realized that it was going to be near impossible for me to do. I only started watching wrestling on a regular basis during CM Punk’s championship reign when we learned that The Rock was coming back to compete, and prior to that had only seen highlights of past Manias. I went from being a very casual and sporadic viewer to tuning in every single week, but there was still a lot that I missed. Even now, with a handful of Mania’s under my belt thanks to the Network, picking one single match is impossible. Instead, I want to take a look at my all-time favorite WrestleMania; the 30th annual event in New Orleans, Louisiana.
This was the first Mania to be broadcast on the Network and via PPV simultaneously. CM Punk, having walked out of the company after the Royal Rumble, was sadly not present in any of the matches. The preshow match, a fatal 4-way tag elimination match, was all about Cesaro. Even though he failed to win, his team was responsible for eliminating two of the four teams present, plus he got the final moment in the match after turning on his partner, Jack Swagger, and putting him into the Cesaro Swing. He came back later in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and won via huge upset by eliminating Big Show. It was a major show of strength and such a huge honor to think so highly of Cesaro that you would give him the first ever win in this new tournament.
Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker was a match I will never forget. The two went at it for nearly half an hour, with Lesnar dominating Taker from the second the bell rang. The Undertaker looked worn down and outgunned, but he would not give up. Submission holds, F5s, chokeslams, and powerbombs didn’t seem to be quite enough to put either man down, but we all watched with the knowledge and expectation that Taker would somehow find a way to win. When Taker attempted a Tombstone Piledriver, Lesnar managed to counter and hit an F5 that put Taker down. The second that the ref’s hand hit that mat for the third time, I was frozen. Everything was silent; the arena did not immediately hit Lesnar’s music, the crowd didn’t say a word, and no one in my house could even take a breath. Eventually, the “21-1” graphic was displayed as Lesnar exited the arena to a chorus of boos. The Undertaker received a standing ovation and I was pretty damn sure that we would never see him wrestle again. It was such a shockingly good ending to the match, and part of me still wishes that it was the last we saw of Undertaker, because what a way to go out.
I truly felt for the Divas to have to follow that; they not only had the job of putting on a fantastic match, but they had the job of getting the crowd back in the right mindset. At the time, AJ Lee was our reigning Divas champ, and in my opinion, the best we’ve had in recent history. She was paired with Tamina Snuka as her bodyguard, but was forced to defend her title in a 14-Diva match where the first fall or submission won the title. Not every Diva involved brought their best, but AJ always did. She was the first female to ever defend this title at WrestleMania, and she did so successfully via the Black Widow submission hold. While she didn’t compete at the two previous Mania’s, she was important enough to be present at both and have an impact on the matches. AJ broke us out of our sorrow over the fall of Undertaker and got us cheering again with her historic and successful title defense.
We can’t talk about WM30 without talking about Daniel Bryan, who competed twice. The first match on the main card saw he and Triple H face off for a spot in the main event match for the WWE World Heavyweight title. We had been hearing Bryan get called a B+ player for months, told he wasn’t good enough and didn’t look the part by Steph and her husband, something you know for a fact was the honest feelings of Vince and/or Creative. He was short and scruffy, lacking in defined abs or a chiseled jaw, but he was capable of doing amazing things and us fans couldn’t care less about whether or not he looked like a clone of Randy Orton or the guy who changes our oil at Walmart. Bryan was our guy, and watching him get screwed over time and time again made us insanely excited to see Triple H get beaten. After Daniel Bryan won his match against Triple H and qualified for the main event, he suffered a beating that looked as if it would put him out of the main event. We were certain that we just saw Bryan get screwed one last time.
The main event was a triple threat match between Batista, Bryan, and then-champion Randy Orton. This was the WWE’s day of fixing their mistake of having Batista win the Royal Rumble, a choice that the fans revolted against so strongly that it resulted in this rewrite. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Batista, but it was a kick in the face to see him win the Rumble almost immediately after returning while Bryan continued to get passed over. This match was intense and Bryan did not stop for one second. He destroyed Orton and Batista, took out Triple H and Steph, and even managed to get rid of referee, Scott Armstrong (who was sent in by Triple H). At one point, Bryan was loaded onto a stretcher and carried from the ring, but he was able to quickly return to action. We had a moment where it looked as if Batista was going to steal a victory, but Bryan took the win with his YES! Lock, forcing Batista to tap and beginning one of the most phenomenal YES! chants in history. Watching the confetti rain down as Bryan held the two belts above his head, seeing him embrace his family, and watching every single person in that arena raise their arms in the air alongside him was such a fantastic sight.
This is the WrestleMania I want to watch over and over again. The moments that were great the first time around are still just as great the 20th time I see them. For someone who only got serious about wrestling a few years ago, I connect a lot more strongly with the current (and recently retired/departed) roster than I do with some of the older lates and greats. There are countless legendary WrestleMania moments out there that I have yet to lay eyes on, but for me at this moment, nothing comes close to beating WrestleMania 30.
Article by Mr and Mrs Jamie Baker