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
Editor’s Note: Last Friday, I had a very interesting day-long conversation with @THEmtg3drinks on Twitter which spurred some fascinating off the cuff ideas. Using that convo led me to write this article. Many thanks, friend.
Dean Ambrose was a poor WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy. He’s entertaining. He’s good for a laugh. But his workrate is lousy and if his opponent isn’t really good and pushing him, he just doesn’t come through like a champion should. His mic work is questionable and there are several other guys on the Smackdown Live roster who are more deserving and better suited for carrying the title. Enter A.J. Styles.
No one can argue that Styles has had a memorable year. He made his debut at the Royal Rumble, foregoing NXT and jumping straight to the main roster. He got a title shot, he beat John Cena, and now he has won the championship faster than any person before him. It’s been an incredible journey. Unfortunately, John Cena is still breathing air. And now that Ambrose has dropped the belt to Styles, it’s inevitable that he collides with Cena.
Despite Cena’s polarizing effect on the WWE Universe, for better or worse, he is destined to be a 16-time champion. In fact, he will be at least a 17-time champion before his career is over. Not because he’s better than Ric Flair, but most likely because Vince McMahon will always consider Flair to be a WCW guy, and Vince is too petty to let the record holder be any one other than a tried-and-true WWE Superstar. All that has been said to say this: AJ Styles is probably going to drop the title to John Cena at some point in the near future.
Whether this happens sooner or later remains to be seen. But the safe bet is that, at the very least, John Cena walks into the Smackdown side of WrestleMania 33 as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Wait, put your cackles down and don’t throw that rotten tomato at me. Hear me out. I have a plan.
The Undertaker is running on fumes. He’s past his expiration date and seriously needs to retire. But he’s been The Man in Black for so many years, that he can’t just up and quit. As the premiere (and most eclectic) storyteller in the business of professional wrestling, he needs a grand exit. Fast forward to Royal Rumble next year. They do one for Raw, they do one for Smackdown. (Hold your grumbles until the end, please.) Undertaker comes out of nowhere as the #30 entrant to the Smackdown side. And wins. Cena vs The Undertaker at WrestleMania. The caveat: if Cena wins, Undertaker has to retire; if Taker wins, he gets the championship. At this point everyone thinks this is Undertaker’s retirement match. But in a surprise twist, Undertaker wins the title!
The next Tuesday on Smackdown, Undertaker comes out and says he beat the man, won the belt, and has nothing else to prove. He says he is retiring. Shane McMahon interrupts and demands he give the belt back. Instead, Undertaker Tombstones Shane and then walks out with the belt, retiring this current version of it. Smackdown gets a new shiny title, Undertaker goes out as a champion, and Cena actually gets a boost in fan love because he did the job for Undertaker on his final go home match.
This current version of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was introduced by an old school, Attitude Era guy. So it makes sense to retire it with an old, old, old school and Attitude Era guy. Think about it. The Rock brought in and held this title, Triple H held this title (and was the “gateway” for the new up and comers to go through to get it: Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose) and, finally, The Undertaker walks into the twilight with this title. It’s a fantastic story and will make a killer DVD. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship is reintroduced in a new format with a new Smackdown themed look, and everybody wins. Cena looks like a hero, Undertaker leaves after firing all the bullets in his gun, and people are talking about Smackdown Live and their title for months to come.
The aftermath is The Undertaker is put into the Hall of Fame at WrestleMania 34, John Cena will get his 17th title reign with an authentic, new title, and everyone will be tuning in to see Cena take on The Undertaker to make WrestleMania 33 one of the most watched pay-per-views in history. It makes sense for John Cena to retire The Undertaker as on Cena’s debut night, he shockingly was encouraged by and even shook hands with The Undertaker on live television. This will be the last hurrah of Taker, and the last final mega push for Cena. He will get one more title reign, but nothing as extravagant as this. He can slide over into a part-time role; heck, maybe even turn heel. Or possibly become a Raw or Smackdown GM after the next roster draft lottery.
I hate John Cena and even I like this idea. It’s a win-win for everybody, especially Vince who will just laugh maniacally as he collects huge fat checks. The Raw side of WrestleMania next year is going to be just fine with all the best stars climbing over each other for that Universal Championship. This is a fun and unique way to give Smackdown a giant moment and keep both brands at the top of their game. And since Cena has never taken on Undertaker at WrestleMania, it seems fair for him to get That Moment. I mean, c’mon, Triple H has done it three times. What do you think? Wishful thinking, great idea, or obnoxious pipedream? Please let us know in the comments below!
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
After watching Smackdown’s Backlash PPV last night, Raw has a lot to live up to. General Manager Mick Foley starts off the night, acknowledging Becky Lynch’s victory in winning the Smackdown Women’s Championship, but insists that Raw still has the best female wrestlers in the business. He invites out Charlotte, who is accompanied by Dana Brooke. Charlotte makes it clear that she is fed up with Dana Brooke, then Sasha Banks comes out to tell Charlotte that she’s taking back the Women’s title at Clash of Champions. Bayley is out next, saying that she also deserves a title shot for beating Charlotte last week. Sasha takes off her jacket and hits Charlotte square in the face with it, which just cracked me up. Mick Foley decides that Sasha and Bayley will face off, with the winner facing Charlotte at Clash of Champions. Out of nowhere, Dana slaps Charlotte across the face, which has been a long time coming. With that, Mick adds Dana to the match, making it a Triple Threat to decide Charlotte’s next opponent.
The triple threat match starts right after the break, with Brooke looking strong right away. Banks’s lower half of her midsection is completely taped up, but she gets the upper hand on Brooke and tries for the first pinfall. Brooke throws Banks from the ring, then Bayley sneaks in to try for a pin. She quickly gets control of the match, locking Brooke in an arm bar that she is unable to break free from. She throws Brooke against the ropes, where Banks drags her out of the ring. The two team up briefly against Brooke to keep her out of the match. Brooke isn’t out for long; she targets Banks’ injured back and then sets her sights on Bayley. Banks gets back in, stacking Brooke and Bayley in the corner to hit them with her knees, but Bayley rolls away and goes to the ropes to hit a cross body. Brooke hits Bayley and Banks with a double clothesline, then tries pinning both women to win the match. Sasha hits both women with a superplex, but can’t finish this. She hits a backstabber into the Banks Statement, but Bayley breaks the submission hold. Bayley hits Brooke with a Bayley to Belly, but now it’s Sasha breaking things up. She rolls up Bayley and secures the win and her match at Clash of Champions!
Backstage, Dana Brooke tries to apologize to Charlotte, but is shut down as our champion demands Brooke grab her bags, then walks away. We move on to a dreadful Shining Stars promo. Primo and Epico are trying to sell a timeshare to R-Truth in Puerto Rico. Not even R-Truth can make these two interesting. Before Truth can waste his money and more of his time, Goldust saves him and takes him away. Enzo and Cass step in next to shut down the not-so-Shining Stars. Enzo challenges the pair to a tag match for later tonight. Next, Tom “Tyler” Phillips interviews Kevin Owens, who is fed up with both Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Owens promises to leave Clash of Champions with his Universal Title. Jericho pops in next, announcing to Tom “Felipe” Phillips that Sami Zayn will be on the Highlight Reel tonight.
Back in the arena, Bo Dallas makes his way to the ring. He says some Dr Seuss rhyme to his opponent, Brandon Scott, and to the audience about Bo-Lieving in Bo. Scott is able to drive Dallas fro the ring, but is caught in the corner, allowing Dallas to slam him to the mat. The crowd is chanting “Let’s Go Jobber” as Dallas hits a clothesline. He quickly pins Scott for the win in a fast squash match.
The Highlight Reel is up now, and Jericho is upset that Kevin Owens was not allowed to be on the reel tonight. He gets down on the mat to demonstrate how low he thinks of Sami Zayn before inviting him out. Jericho rubs in the fact that Owens and he are no longer friends, then Zayn asks why he’s even here. Jericho wants to know why Zayn ruined his friendship with Owens, but Zayn doesn’t want to talk about him anymore. He does want to talk about the Universal Championship, which he plans on winning one day. He also points out that if Jericho honestly believes that Owens is his true friend, he is the stupid idiot in this equation. Jericho gets fed up and hits Zayn with a cheap shot into a Code Breaker.
Sheamus and Cesaro are facing off in the 5th match in the Best of 7 series. This is a No Disqualification Match! Just kidding; they haven’t given us anything interesting to vary these matches whatsoever. Just regular ol’ matches, first to pinfall or submission. Sigh. Cesaro tries for a submission hold, but Sheamus slips outside of the ring. He hits some uppercuts before rolling Sheamus back into the ring for a pin attempt. Sheamus is up 3 victories to 1 right now, so Cesaro can’t lose tonight. The two go up to the top rope, but Cesaro knocks Sheamus away and starts again with the punches to the face. He hits a crossbody and goes for a pin on Sheamus. Cesaro is on his back, while Sheamus tries for the Cloverleaf. The nearfalls are starting now as Cesaro locks in the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus gets to the ropes. Cesaro is able to roll Sheamus up and use the ropes to secure the pin and get the win, moving this series to 3-2.
Backstage, Seth Rollins addresses Foley; he’s grateful for the save from suspension but unhappy with Roman Reigns getting yet another title shot. Foley says that Reigns was just as wronged as Rollins was. Rollins wants to bring Stephanie McMahon into this conversation, especially considering what Triple H did, but she’s away in Singapore. Foley gets heated when Rollins questions his integrity, and Rollins ends the conversation by calling him a fool if he continues to support McMahon.
Nia Jax faces off with Alicia Fox next, which is her first match against a regular member of the Raw roster. Jax quickly throws Fox into the corner, flinging her around like a rag doll. She fights back, but is knocked out of the ring. Jax follows her out and gets a kick to the face before Fox jumps on her back. Jax quickly regains control, throwing Fox into the barricade over and over. Jax drives Fox through the barricade, getting a brief “Holy Shit” chant for her efforts. Love it! As the referees attend to Fox, Jax stands by, glaring at her opponent before walking away to cheers from the crowd. I’m so glad to see the fans getting behind her!
The New Day come out to brighten the mood, promising us that we will NEVER have to see that godawful “Old Day” nonsense ever again. Thank you, New Day. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson come out to break up the fun, getting some cheap heat by calling the crowd stupid. They promise to win the tag titles at Clash of Champions, and head to the ring to face Woods and Kingston. Woods and Anderson start things off, with Woods delivering elbows to the rhythm of the New Day Rocks chant. Kingston tags in and goes to the top rope to deliver a boot to the face. Anderson pins Kingston in their corner, then tags in Gallows who throws Kingston from the ring, allowing Anderson to tag in and take Kingston to the mat. Gallows kicks Kingston in the face once he’s back in the ring, then hits elbows. Kingston is able to knocks Gallows off the apron, but is hit with a Spine Buster by Anderson. The Club start using quick tags to isolate Kingston and keep Woods out of this match. Woods is finally back in the match and he knocks Anderson into the ropes, takes out Gallows, and nearly wins the match. The two trade punches, with Anderson ending it with a rough uppercut. Woods is able to hit a DDT, then dives off the top rope to hit an elbow. The Club gang up on Woods, hitting the Magic Killer for the win.
Jinder Mahal, AKA “The Man Who Comes In Peace,” comes out to the ring next. Who made up that nickname? He says something in foreign, then lets us know that he has learned to let hate go and has found inner peace. I miss 3MB. Cue Jack Swagger, our representation of America, who is apparently going to beat up the evil peace-loving Mahal. Mahal immediately goes to his knees, saying he comes in peace, then hits Swagger with some forearms before pinning his neck on the ropes. Swagger regains control outside of the ring, but Mahal kills his momentum as soon as the two reenter the ring. He tries pin after pin, but Swagger won’t stay down. He hits a belly to belly suplex, followed by a kick to the face. Mahal counters the Swagger Bomb and gets the pin on Swagger! That one was a surprise. Good for him.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass come out now; the crowd goes wild when these two enter an arena. The Shining Stars come out next, and get the exact opposite reaction from the crowd. Literally no one cares. They are terrible. Enzo faces off against Epico, who lifts Enzo into a vertical suplex. He asks if he should do it again as the crowd chants for Enzo. Epico tries for a quick roll up but can’t get it done. Enzo starts landing punches, then dances around the ring before going to the top rope. Primo distracts him before he can dive off the rope, but Cass steps in and takes Primo down. Enzo dives off the top rope to take down the Shining Stars, and the referee begins the count. Enzo is about to suplex Epico, but Primo grabs his leg, allowing Epico to get the pin for the victory. What?
Backstage, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins square off. Owens confronts Rollins about his lack of momentum since returning, but Mick Foley breaks things up before it can come to blows. Foley then warns Rollins again to stay out of tonight’s main event. Back in the arena, Roman Reigns walks out to a chorus of boos as we get ready for the last match of the evening. As the bell rings, Owens immediately rolls out of the ring. Reigns goes on the chase, delivering punches and knocking Owens down. He rolls Owens back into the ring, where our champ gets Reigns down to his knees and delivers kick after kick. Owens starts in with the trash talk, allowing Reigns to get the upper hand, which earns boos from the crowd. Owens takes control back (after an obnoxious fan WOOOOS right in his face), going for a pin. He gets Reigns in a chin lock while mocking his “I’m not a good guy, I’m not a bad guy” speech. Owens is gold. Reigns is finally able to fight out, delivering clotheslines and yelling about something while the crowd hates on him. After the commercial break, Owens has Reigns back in a chin lock, telling him he sucks and to stay down. Reigns gets to his feet, but throws himself into the ringpost thanks to quick thinking by Owens. He throws Reigns into the stairs, but Rollins runs down the ramp and begins attacking Owens, causing Owens to win via DQ. Does this mean I don’t have to see Reigns at Clash of Champions? Or is Foley about to kill Rollins’ title chances?
Foley gets in Rollins’ face and the two stat yelling at each other. Foley demands that Rollins go backstage so they can talk, then restarts the match. The bell rings and Owens immediately throws Reigns into the stairs again. Reigns starts to gain his Cena-strength and hits Owens with punches before hitting a clothesline that Owens made look awesome. He starts hitting Owens in the chest, then lifts him up and into a Samoan Drop. Please don’t let Reigns win. Owens goes full Matt Hardy and bites Reigns on his side to block a move on the ropes, but sadly Reigns gets back in position. Owens counters at the last second, but John Cena — I mean Roman Reigns, kicks out at two. He hits a frog splash but long-haired Cena kicks out at two again. Owens shoves Reigns in the back of the head, telling him to stay down. Owens hits a superkick, mocks Reigns’ battle cry, and tries for a Cannonball, but Reigns ducks away. Reigns hits a Superman Punch, but Owens thankfully kicks out. Owens hits two solid kicks to the face, then connects with the Cannonball. Twice! Reigns lifts Owens up into a powerbomb, but he kicks free. Man. I do not want a Triple Threat match, you guys. Come on. Out of nowhere, Rusev shows up! His distraction allows Owens to hit the Pop Up Powerbomb and win the match! Thank you, Rusev, for saving us from Reigns in a main event. Bless you.
Owens makes his way up the ramp, but Rusev isn’t done. He attacks Reigns, who is now lying helpless in the middle of the ring. Rusev lands punch after punch to a helpless Reigns, who is “out” according to our announce team. Lana stands at the top of the ramp, holding Rusev’s title and looking gorgeous. In the ring, Rusev locks in the Accolade, screaming as Reigns is twisted and unable to counter. Give me more Raws that end with Reigns getting his ass kicked!
I went into this Raw expecting the worst, partially because I was exhausted from grocery shopping and dealing with pharmacies and a sick kid, and partially because Backlash last night was so good. I’m glad that they surprised me tonight with a great show that had minimal lulls. The main event was fantastic, thanks to Rollins, Foley, and a surprise return by Rusev. Next week on Raw, the Cruiserweight Division will make their debuts, and I cannot wait! Be sure to follow @facetoheel on Twitter for updates throughout the week.
Article by Mrs. Jamie Baker
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
–Monday Night Raw kicked off with the shocking news that Finn Balor had gotten injured at SummerSlam and would be vacating the title. Balor had to relinquish the title to Raw General Manager, Mick Foley. He had successful surgery on Wednesday and started Day 1 of his comeback on Thursday. We wish him a speedy recovery. Meanwhile, Mick and Stephanie McMahon had a tournament to come up with four competitors next week for a Fatal-4-Way to crown a new Universal Champion. The four participants will be Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Big Cass, and Kevin Owens. After some okay matches, and some pretty weak programming, Vince gave us yet another disappointing Raw to start the week. Read our full review and all match results HERE. We’ll find out who the second all time Universal Champion is next week. Face To Heel has all their money bet on Kevin Owens.
–Meanwhile on Smackdown Live, they kicked Raw’s teeth in. To start the show Smackdown General Manager, Daniel Bryan, and Shane McMahon had all the tag teams in the ring along with all the women. They unveiled Smackdown Tag Team Championships and a Smackdown Women’s Championship that people can’t stop bitching about. Heath Slater got a tag teammate and another opportunity to try and earn a contract. The Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose, got a new opponent at the Backlash pay-per-view. The show was lit and got us pretty excited for the Smackdown exclusive show on the WWE Network in a few weeks. Read our full review HERE. After the show, The Miz was on Talking Smack and ripped Daniel Bryan a new one. D-Bry called him soft and said he wrestled weak, even going so far as to call Miz a coward. What happened next, set Miz up for a career booster.
–Wednesday night gave us a pretty hollow episode of NXT. It piggy-backed off the Takeover Brooklyn show so there was a lot of recaps and only two matches. The matches themselves were decent. Here’s our full review. After NXT, however, we got yet another fantastic episode of the Cruiserweight Classic. Rich Swann fought Lince Dorado, Zack Sabre Jr took on Drew Gulak, and T.J. Perkins took on Johnny Gargano. All three matches wrapped up the quarter-finals. It was a great broadcast. You can read all about it HERE.
–Dixie Carter did it again this past Thursday with another entertaining TNA Impact Wrestling episode. We had a battle royal to get an opponent for Lashley next week, Broken Jeff Hardy fought Abyss (and Broken Matt bit somebody, naturally), we crowned a new Knockouts Champion, and Ethan Carter III took on Drew Galloway in the main event to determine the #1 Contender for the world title at Bound For Glory. Aron Rex was the special guest referee. Read all bout this great show HERE.
–And AXSTV rounded out the week with a new broadcast of NJPW. Only two matches on the card but they were terrific to watch. Karl Anderson challenged Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. Later, Tomohiro Ishii and Tomoaki Honma battled for the NEVER Openweight Championship. It was a fun show and Jim Ross and Josh Barnett did wonderful on commentary, as per usual. Read all about the epic title matches HERE.
That’s all for this week. See you all tomorrow night for RAW! If you have a moment, please check out a Go Fund Me page for a woman suffering from fibromyalgia. She could use your help, donations, and a share on social media to spread the word.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
Look, I get it. New can be scary. You don’t want to accept anything Vince McMahon does without your explicit consent. But it’s time to let it go. The Universal Champion exists. The blue Smackdown Tag Team Championships exist. The blue Smackdown Women’s Championship exists. I promise it will all be okay. WWE stayed with what’s working, not to piss you off, but because it actually makes sense from a business standpoint.
They use designs they already have, meaning it keeps the production cost down for replica belts. So all you smarky-smarks out there that want to buy every single champion belt (while at the same time pretending this “offend” you) don’t have to sell a kidney in order to afford one. They used the same designs with different colors also to indicate that no one brand is better than the other. The major titles on both Raw and Smackdown are equal and the colors are changed only to indicate brand. In the long run, it quells jealousy. And it makes WWE a unified company, despite the brand split.
Yes, we all love the Million Dollar Championship. We love the Smoking Skulls Championship. We definitely love the Hardcore Championship. Diversity is wonderful. But the appearance of the titles doesn’t matter. It’s what they represent, the sacrifices of the wrestlers holding them, that really matters. It’s a reward for being the best. Just like a pair of ugly Air Jordans, it’s the name not the look that makes it valuable. This is the pinnacle of WWE and it doesn’t matter if it’s red, blue, green, purple or shit colored. It’s the prestige of wearing the belt that makes it important. So get over yourselves and stop complaining. That goes double for you, Brooklyn.
As Seth Rollins summed it up so perfectly on Twitter, “More important than a title’s appearance is what it represents for the men fighting over it.”
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
(Editor’s Note: Before we begin this article, please check out our Go Fund Me page. My wife and I try to keep things positive and light here at Face to Heel, but we really are struggling in our personal lives. We’re having a hard time paying our bills. If you can assist in any way, we would be forever grateful. If you are unable to donate, please share our link on social media and try to get our message out there. We’re trying to keep a roof over our kid’s head and prevent our cars from being repossessed. Thank you so much for the support you’ve shown us over the years. Now back to the wrestling!)
Finn Balor is out six months with a shoulder injury. I actually grimaced when I typed that. The shock reverberated through the WWE Universe and we were all left deflated after he relinquished the title to Mick Foley on Monday Night RAW. In the wake of his injury, WWE hastily threw together a tournament to determine a new Universal Champion next week in a Fatal-4-Way match. After several matches, the final field was determined to be Big Cass, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Kevin Owens. Each competitor is different than the last and any winner in the field brings both pros and cons to the table. Let’s break it down and see what might happen next, after each individual guy wins.
Big Cass — As crazy as it sounds to say this, he’s probably the underdog in this matchup. He has the size, but he does not have the experience. Reigns and Rollins have been here before. This is nothing new to them. And Owens has held the Intercontinental Championship and NXT Championship. Cass has never held singles or tag team gold in the company. He lacks depth and is still very green on the mic. On the flip side of all that, he’s seven foot tall (a slight exaggeration, but you can’t teach that) which Vince obviously loves. The Chairman has a weird fetish with giant human beings. So regardless of whether or not he’s ready or if he can carry the load, Vince would push him, fates be damned! His learning curve would be steep and he’d have to either put up or shut up rather quickly. The positives for him carrying the Universal Championship are giving the belt to someone who is crazy over. He would be a fresh face, and a crowd pleaser. It would be a smooth transition from the beloved Finn Balor to Colin Cassady. However, Big Cass is not great on the mic so would Enzo Amore have to be his hype man, essentially becoming a manager for him? And if that happened, how long before we grew tired of that? Within a short period of time it would shine a glaring spotlight on one of Big Cass’s biggest weaknesses. And if a champ can’t talk, a champ can’t stay on top for long. On the other hand, having Cass stand on his own means that tension is created between he and Enzo. Are we all prepared for that breakup? I for one think it would be somewhat of a tragedy if Enzo and Big Cass never won a tag team championship, especially considering the huge pop they get when they come out. Being the greenest in this match makes me think Cass has a very low percentage chance of winning this.
But let’s say Big Cass does win, what then? A crash course in cutting promos would be a must. Having a bigger guy with the belt opens the door to many competitors. And Vince gets to have the cream-in-his-pants hoss matches he loves so much. Cass could go on a long title reign if he wrestles smaller guys. He is big and strong and could just beat opponents and get to the point where he has beaten everyone and he can say nobody can take him down. Boom, Finn Balor returns to break that theory. The inevitable breakup and betrayal by Cass to Enzo Amore would honestly be fun to watch, but his lack of experience makes me skeptical that we would put up with Cass for very long. Don’t get me wrong, he has potential and could one day be a mega-superstar, but now is not his time. This match for him needs to be a career booster. He needs to look good and impress us, but ultimately lose so we can nurture him and strap him up when he’s ready.
Seth Rollins — This is the obvious choice winner, the safest call. Give the belt to someone who knows what to do with it, a great worker and is fluent on the mic. And the ultimate comeback story is cocky, heel Rollins running his mouth with the title for the next six months until we’re all so sick of him that our heads explode when Finn Balor comes back to take what is rightfully his. Rollins is the least worrisome of these four competitors. If he wins, we’re off and running with no prep time, no hiccups, no confusion. Just put the gold on him and move forward immediately. He can be a place holder until Balor returns. It’s not a great idea, but it’s the easiest one for all of us to digest in a short amount of time. The other side of it, though, is we’ve been there, we’ve done that. Seth Rollins has been the guy for the better part of two years now, longer if you count him leading The Shield. Do we want to turn him into another John Cena in terms of title shots and victories? Rollins does have a proven track record. He can wrestle any opponent and cut amazing promos. Having him win wouldn’t be a total waste, especially if the Cruiserweight Division is coming in as soon as they have teased. Any guy in the CWC tournament against Rollins will put butts in seats. And As Rollins is the smaller, most athletically versatile in this matchup, it makes him an easy pick to become the second Universal Champion. He has the most pros and the least cons for winning and so it’s likely WWE is putting the belt on him for the foreseeable future.
Roman Reigns — Damnit, just kill me now. Look, I’ve tried to like the guy. I have. But me (and many other wrestling fans) just can’t get behind him. Reigns has experience in this department, but in some instances he’s just as green behind the ears as Big Cass. He’s a wishy-washy in-betweener, who can’t buy love from the crowd unless it’s small children and desperate women. He just isn’t likable as a face, and he’s never really tried to be a heel but all signs point to him sucking at the ultra-douchebag persona heel-like mask he has worn at times. His in-ring skillset is pretty limited and he is horrendous on a mic, whether off the cuff or scripted. Of the three members from The Shield, he is the least evolved. He never grew and his flaws are glaring. If he wins, the WWE Universe is just going to hate Vince and resent the champ. And we’ll be forced to cringe through several pay-per-views with Reigns in the main event but never really becoming a draw. He is not now nor will he ever be “the guy” in WWE, as he puts it. He just doesn’t have the charisma, the ring work, or the demeanor to be a long term champion. Now, there are some positives for this move, though. Reigns recently beat the brakes off of Rusev at SummerSlam and Big Cass added insult to injury when he forced Rusev to walk out of their qualifying match on Raw this past week. So if Reigns getting the title leads to Rusev getting the title, that is an exciting proposition. As it stands, at least in my humble opinion, Roman Reigns isn’t even in the top 5 of the current Raw roster. He doesn’t even deserve a shot at the Universal Championship, because what has he done lately to deserve it? Put cake on Lana, skirt a match with Rusev, and get suspended for failing a drug test? To hell with Reigns at this point. This is my least favorite competitor in this Fatal-4-Way to win the belt, and I will be extremely disappointed with WWE if they go in this direction.
Kevin Owens — I saved the best for last. Owens is the dark horse in this match. He is the heel you love to hate. He’s great on the mic (whether cutting a promo, guesting on commentary, or joking around with Y2J), he can go in the ring, and he is beloved by that fabled 18-35 male demographic WWE strives for. With his strength and quickness, Owens can go against anybody, big or small. He isn’t clean cut, but how is he any different than Dean Ambrose? He has star power, he can draw, and if he wants to be liked or hated, he has the ability to manipulate a crowd. His recent feuds with various people leave his title defenses wide open with a range of wrestlers to challenge him including Sami Zayn and Cesaro. Despite his awesomeness, Seth Rollins has always been a WWE guy. Although originally from NXT, he was The Authority’s favorite and got pushed towards the top pretty early. For all intents and purposes WWE’s main roster laid the red carpet out for him. With Owens, he came on to the main roster with the NXT Championship and did not give a shit about his fellow competitors. He made a statement beating John Cena and had to put up with months of backhanded comments about his weight. He has a chip on his shoulder, and he’s not a “company guy.” So if NXT is really the future, why not put the strap on a guy who clearly liked being there. Move away from the ass kissers and brown nosers. Give the belt to a guy that does what he wants, says what he wants, and doesn’t care about the opinions of others. Who does that remind you of? Stone Cold Steve Austin, maybe? Pulling the trigger on Owens means WWE is finally ready to go the unconventional route and try something new. I mean, this is the “new era” isn’t it? Rollins and Reigns have both held big titles. And no offense to Big Cass, but we’ve all seen what happens when a physically gifted specimen is pushed with no other discernable skills to speak of (looking at you, Great Kahli). Shake things up. The indie guys are all the rage now, especially on the NXT side of things. Take a chance and see what happens. Worst case scenario, it doesn’t pan out and we swap champions at the next pay-per-view. Owens has held world or tag titles with 11 different companies, including WWE’s Intercontinental Championship and the NXT title. The guy can do it, so let him. Give us something unexpected, because we all have to be going into this Fatal-4-Way assuming that either Rollins or Reigns wins.
Put the Universal Championship on a former NXT champ and let him spend a year facing former NXT champs. Rollins, Neville, Samoa Joe (if he moves up, god what a dream match), Finn Balor, when he returns. There’s not really a scenario where this is a terrible idea. I’m even on board with having a pay-per-view match where Owens defends the title against his current BFF Chris Jericho out of jealous envy. And all this cultivates with moving Shinsuke Nakamura up at the Royal Rumble. He wins it and next year’s WrestleMania is Owens vs Nakamura for the Universal Championship. Imagine that! A WrestleMania where Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, or Dean Ambrose aren’t in the main event picture going for the world title, something we haven’t had on a pay-per-view since SummerSlam 2014 where it was John Cena vs Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. No really, don’t just take our word for it. Go fact check that absurd piece of trivia. It’s 100% accurate. The following pay-per-view, Night of Champions, Seth Rollins interfered giving Cena a victory via disqualification. Since then, a member of The Shield has either been in the main event of every pay-per-view show or has wrestled on the card for the world title or something towards the world title (MITB, #1 Contender, etc.). Don’t believe me? Check Wikipedia’s list of WWE pay-per-views page and look at the main events starting September 21, 2014. The only time a Shield member was not involved was if Brock Lesnar or The Undertaker were on the card.
Now, I love The Shield as much as the next man, but haven’t we seen enough? Let’s get some fresh blood wearing that blood-red Universal Championship! You know why The Attitude Era was successful and harked as one of the greatest times in professional wrestling? Because they took risks! Whether it worked or not, they weren’t afraid to think outside of the box and try something new. That’s what WWE needs right now. The draft lottery pissed off a lot of wrestlers, and the general vibe is Smackdown really wants to beat Raw in everything. What could be more shocking to the entire industry then Kevin Owens being Universal Championship simultaneously as AJ Styles (if he wins at Backlash) holding the World Heavyweight Championship? Talk about a Clash of Champions! That’s a match I’d pay hard earned money for! No more of this cookie cutter bullshit, WWE. Time to play some Russian roulette. Put a round in the chamber, spin it and pull the trigger. Fire some wrestlers out of their cannons and see where they land. Let them prove to you what they can do. Let them off the leash and your product will begin to buzz again. What have you got to lose? It’s not like your ratings are doing any better now than they were prior to the brand split. Gamble big, win big. Continue not taking risks, and you will keep seeing Dixie Carter out-innovate you at every turn.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
We recently brought you news on the rumored Wellness Violation that hung over Sasha Banks’ head. Fans will be happy to know that there was no truth to that rumor, but unfortunately our former women’s champion is dealing with a back injury. Banks is scheduled for an evaluation with doctors due to the pain she is dealing with in the lower lumbar area of her back. The official word is still out, but we hear that she will not require surgery and should be back in action within the next few weeks.
Not so lucky is our first Universal Champion, Finn Balor. His shoulder was injured during his Summerslam match against Seth Rollins when Balor absorbed a running power bomb to the barricade. His shoulder dislocated, and Balor popped it right back in and continued the match. The MRI that followed showed a possible labrum tear, which will require surgery and have Balor out of action for 4 to 6 months. This truly could not have come at a worse time for Balor, who was really taking off on the main roster.
Speaking of Summerslam, Brock Lesnar treated us to an ending worthy of the octagon, as he wailed on Randy Orton, hitting him with hard punches and elbows that resulted in Orton being left in a puddle of his own blood. Orton required ten staples to close the laceration on his forehead. There is a lot of speculation on whether or not Lesnar went too far with his attack, but we’ll leave that to you to decide.
NXT’s Samoa Joe suffered a dislocated jaw during his title match with our new NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. Joe was hit with two Kinshasa knee strikes, causing the dislocation of his mandible. Joe tweeted out that his jaw was dislocated, relocated, and he looks forward to being cleared soon. The severity of the injury is still unknown, so we’re not sure when we’ll see him back in action.
Also still out of action is Luke Harper, who suffered a knee injury and underwent successful surgery, Sting, who suffered a neck injury, Emma, who underwent back surgery, and Tyson Kidd who suffered a neck injury and underwent successful surgery. There is no timetable for any of their returns. Paige is also suffering neck and back injuries that she is personally working to strengthen. She is currently suspended due to a Wellness Policy Violation, so we may or may not see her back in the ring when the suspension lifts. We wish everyone a speedy recovery and will bring you updates as they become available.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
I’m in desperate need of a pick me up tonight after yesterday’s depressing situation with Finn Balor, who relinquished the Universal Title due to injury. Nikki Bella is set to make her official Smackdown debut this evening, coming after her surprise return at Summerslam. On the Smackdown Live preshow, it was announced that Stephanie McMahon fined Brock Lesnar only $500 for his attack on her brother, Shane, so it’ll be interesting to see if that is addressed tonight.
Smackdown begins in the locker room where AJ Styles names himself as The New Face That Runs The Place, thanks to his victory over John Cena at Summerslam. He puts on Cena’s “Never Give Up” armband that Cena left in the ring on Sunday, then calls out Dolph Ziggler for being a loser. After a brief brawl, Styles leaves the locker room. New feud?
The two new titles are in the ring as we begin; the new tag titles are the same design as the originals, but are colored silver on a blue leather belt. The new women’s title is also an exact replica of the original, but with a blue background behind the “W.” Before you start bitching, they could have gone off the wall with all of this, but they kept it simple. Let’s not let it ruin the entire show, okay? Daniel Bryan tells the six women of Smackdown that any one of them could potentially be champion, and the crowd start chanting for Nattie. The new Smackdown women’s champion will be crowned at Backlash, the first Smackdown exclusive PPV, and the contenders will be decided with a Six Pack Challenge. This will also be where the Smackdown tag team champions will be crowned, with a Tag Team Title Tournament that will start tonight and crown a winner at Backlash.
Slater’s Gonna Slate! Heath Slater interrupts regarding his lack of contract. Slater proposes to Bryan and McMahon that they allow him to compete for the tag titles. Slater is hilarious; I love this. Bryan says that if Slater can find a partner by the end of the night, they will turn this into an eight team tournament. But Slater will only get a contract if he wins the ENTIRE tournament. Poor Heath Slater and his fifteen children.
AJ Styles picks this time to come out, tells Slater to get lost, and says that they need to talk about The New Face That Runs The Place! It seems like Styles is letting this new title (that he has given himself) go to his head. Out of nowhere, Ziggler comes out and clocks Styles in the back of the head! Bryan and McMahon send the entire tag division out of the ring to break it up! Damn, this was a great start to the night. Kudos.
Our first match will be Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss, with Naomi and Natalya ringside at commentary. The match is pretty back and forth in the beginning, with Lynch looking for the Disarmer and Bliss able to block every attempt. Bliss is the smallest on the Smackdown roster, but quite possibly the most vicious. Bliss gets Lynch caught up on the ropes and is able to get a pin attempt, but Lynch counters with clotheslines that takes Bliss down. Bliss slams Lynch to the mat into a pin via flip from the middle rope, but Lynch kicks out at two. Lynch is able to lock in the Disarmer and Bliss has no choice but to tap. Natalya is on commentary with an attitude, going back and forth with Naomi in an awkward exchange as Lynch celebrates her win.
Backstage, Slater approaches The Miz and asks if he will be his Tag Team partner. Slater thinks that Miz is agreeing to do it, but it turns out that Miz is on his bluetooth talking a movie deal and didn’t hear a single word that Slater said. Poor Heath Slater and his twenty-five hungry children.
Our next match is a first round Tag Team Tournament Match; The Ascension versus The Usos. The Ascension attack The Usos as soon as the bell rings, taking them down and going for an early pin. Using quick tags, they are keeping their opponent isolated and unable to tag in his brother. The crowd starts a small Uso chant, but it fades quickly as Konnor goes for another pin attempt. Uso finally tags in his brother and hits a Cross Body, then a super kick on Viktor. He hits a Samoan Drop and goes for the finish, but Konnor jumps in to save his partner. Jimmy hits a splash and gets the pin for the win. JBL keeps telling us that The Usos are the favorites for this tournament, but I’m not buying it.
The New Face That Runs The Place is going to try to make his entrance uninterrupted; AJ Styles comes to the ring, still holding Cena’s arm band. Styles says he sees lots of angry faces in the crowd (not to mention jealous faces in the locker room) because of his win at Summerslam. Styles wants the Cena fans to convert over to Styles fans so they don’t have to cry into their cereal. As Styles is yelling, Ziggler comes out again to go on the attack, but security and Bryan stop it from happening. Bryan says that Styles does indeed deserve to be the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but since Ziggler and Styles want to fight so bad, they will have a match tonight. If Styles wins, he gets a title match at Backlash. If Ziggler wins, he gets added to the match and it becomes a Triple Threat. Second option please!!
Up now, Carmella will be facing the returning Nikki Bella. Before the match, Renee Young enters the ring to interview Nikki. Carmella isn’t having any of it though and attacks Nikki mid-sentence. She lays Nikki out and the crowd cheers! Eventually, another referee jumps in to break it up, but Carmella is yelling insults and refusing to back off. She leaves the ring, only to jump back in and attack Nikki once more as she cradles her neck. I’ve gotta say, I like this side of Carmella. It was also nice not to see the predictable Bella win upon her return.
At the top of the second hour, Randy Orton comes out, obviously not dressed to compete give the ten staples in his skull. He gets a great welcome from the crowd, and admits that he was in one hell of a fight against Brock Lesnar. Orton says he is unhappy with the match being called as a TKO. Suddenly, Bray Wyatt’s music hits! The man steps out alone, slowly walking to the ring with his lantern in hand. He sits in his rocker, asking Orton how his head is feeling. Wyatt saw Orton’s eyes go blank after Lesnar busted him open, and says it is a reminder that Orton is just a man. A man who hurts, suffers, and dies. But Wyatt is not just a man, he is a God. (Sidenote: this only works if you guys start booking him better!!) He promises that Orton will find out more “in time.” And just like that, he vanishes.
Backstage, Slater asks Arn Anderson if he will be his tag team partner. He tells Anderson that he is his last and final hope! He’s running out of time. Anderson declines, but Rhyno steps in and volunteers himself to be Heath’s partner! I’m so glad that Slater’s thirty-seven children won’t have to go hungry!
Our next Tag Team Tournament Match is American Alpha versus Breezango. Gable and Fandango start things off, with Fandango immediately going to the ropes for a break. Breeze and Jordan tag in, and American Alpha take out both of their opponents before the legal men get back in the ring. Jordan and Gable are so good, but the main roster audience still isn’t behind them as they should be. A USA chant gets going, which means… what exactly in this match? Gable gets Breeze locked in an arm bar in the middle of the ring, targeting the shoulder. Alpha is using quick tags to keep Breeze isolated, but he is able to shove Gable into Fandango and nearly win the match.
During the commercial, Breeze and Fandango have controlled the match, but when we return, Jordan comes in and dominates both Breeze and Fandango, delivering fantastic suplexes before tagging in Gable. Jordan attacks Fandango outside of the ring to keep him from interfering, then tags himself in. The near falls are starting now, and things are getting tense. This is a fantastic match! These four are bringing their best tonight, and it’s a shame they both can’t advance. Breeze and Jordan are going back and forth with pins, and both looks frustrated beyond belief. Jordan hits a suplex into a spear, then tags in Gable who pins Breeze for the win! This was awesome, but I’m glad my boys won. And I’m glad they didn’t awkwardly caress the tag titles like The Usos did.
After a relaxing night of gambling, Dean Ambrose comes out to join the commentary team to watch our main event from ringside. Ziggler and Styles will battle, and hopefully we don’t see John Cena. I’m probably asking for too much. The crowd is split on who to support, and Styles is quick to leave the ring to get a breather. To remind you, a Styles victory guarantees him a match at Backlash against Ambrose, but a Ziggler victory makes that match a Triple Threat. As we return from commercial, Styles is in control and Ziggler is stuck in the corner, but he’s able to dodge and get some relief. Ziggler is thrown hard against the turnbuckle, then hit with a backbreaker into a pin. Ziggler tries for a very sloppy, and obviously unsuccessful roll up before Styles retaliates and knocks him to the mat once again. Ziggler is finally able to land a few punches, but Styles catches him on the ropes with a neckbreaker.
Styles is not holding anything back in this, throwing Ziggler into the stairs and all but ignoring the referee’s instructions. Ziggler finally hits a beautiful dropkick on Styles! Both men are briefly down, then Ziggler tries for a pin after an elbow drop. Ziggler hits the Famouser but Styles kicks out just barely in time. I want a Triple Threat; come on! Near fall after near fall, and neither man will give up. Ziggler hits an amazing DDT, but damn it, Styles kicks out. I’m stressed out at this point. Just make it a Triple Threat because you know it’ll be awesome. Styles hits Ziggler with a cheap shot while he is hung up on the ropes, then hits the Styles Clash for the win. Damn it.
After the victory, Styles gets in Ambrose’s face and snatches off his headset. I always forget how tall Ambrose is until we have moments like this. Styles backs off with a smile on his face, and we end our broadcast. This was a fantastic Smackdown! After a couple of weeks thinking that the brand split wasn’t agreeing with WWE anymore, we get a much needed night like this. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and we’ll see you all tomorrow for NXT and CWC coverage!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
After Seth Rollins and Finn Balor fought it out at Summerslam to become the first ever Universal Champion, Rollins tweeted out “More important than a title’s appearance is what it represents for the men fighting over it. You really let me down tonight, Brooklyn.” This was in response to the Brooklyn crowd booing the belt during their match and chanting things like “Hey… we want a new belt,” and “that looks stupid” among other things.
Mick Foley also put in his two cents on Facebook. He titled his statement “WHEN SMART FANS TURN DUMB” and said that Balor and Rollins had a great match; a match he was honored to watch from ringside, but “instead of that element of magic necessary to turn that great match into a classic, what Finn and Seth got instead was the stench of self-congratulatory snarkiness from a very vocal minority.” He tore apart the “couple thousand self-important fans who cared more about the cleverness of their own chants” and how distracting they are to the rest of the fans who wanted to watch a brilliant match.
Wrestling fans can make or break an experience. When the crowd isn’t into a match, you feel it. When they try to make the show about them and ignore what is going on in the ring, it hurts. These are athletes who are giving their all thanks to years of training and hard work, and here us fans are doing the wave or chanting for Michael Cole in order to be funny. I don’t care if the Universal Title was held together by duct tape and spray painted by kindergarteners; there was no reason for the Brooklyn audience to ruin an amazing match with their nonsense.
The Universal title design may not be what you wanted, but it doesn’t matter because you’re not the one who gets to carry it. It makes sense for Stephanie McMahon to want a design that is equal to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the Women’s Championship; picking the same overall design makes them all equal across the board. Having the title be predominantly red also makes sense, as the primary color for Raw is red. Hell, they even changed the color of the ropes.
No one is watching wrestling or going to events to see the fans. We’re going for the wrestlers and for the experience. Fans definitely need to get involved; bring signs, dress up, chant and cheer, and be a part of the show. Fans do not need to hijack the show. Don’t bounce around a beach ball, don’t hold up some nonsense sign for an hour straight just so you can get on TV for two seconds, don’t chant for people who aren’t there, and don’t be an asshole. It’s easy to have a blast at a live event while still being respectful to the talent, those around you, and the audience at home (for taped events). Do everyone, including yourselves a favor, and have some decency and some tact.
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker