Posts Tagged ‘The Miz’

If at the end of 2015, somebody were to show you this image, and told you that it would be happening in 2016, odds are that you almost definitely wouldn’t believe then.

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SmackDown is live? AJ Styles is WWE Champ? And OH MY GOD James Ellsworth is… who’s James Ellsworth?

Looping best-of-three-PPVs feuds are so formulaic that it is easy for some to shrug proceedings off as boring. Has booking really been that uninteresting though? Of course not.

2016 sought to prove otherwise, and for better or for worse, did a great job. Over the last twelve months, WWE have dreamt up things that comedy sites like Kayfabe News wouldn’t have done. This is less about just devestating moments (for example, the retirement of Daniel Bryan caused massive upset), and more about the surprises. Here are some 100% true headlines surrounding booking choices that would have seriously confused any wrestling fan just one year ago.

CHRIS JERICHO (AT PEAK OF HIS CAREER) DEFEATS A.J. STYLES
(WrestleMania 32, April 3rd) 

Fans have been drinking in the Gift of Jericho. 2016 has been incredible for him, and he has been revered for his role in the top-tier, alongside Kevin Owens. He has been incredibly in touch with fans’ desires, even if it is wearing a scarf, growing a moustache and calling everyone “stupid idiots”. With such popularity, a victory for him might forgiven on most days. But this wasn’t ‘most days’. His opponent was A.J. Styles, who had arrived in Royal Rumble 2016.

The match itself was great, but the result angered many. Jericho had stated that he would be leaving WWE (liar!), and did not need this win. Regardless of the result, a lot of spectacular rare signature moves by Styles were wasted (such as Styles’ 450 Splash) and weakened in reputation by the 45-year-old Jericho kicking out. Looking back now, the result did no harm, and Styles is WWE Champion.

 THE ROCK DEFEATS ERICK ROWAN AT WRESTLEMANIA 32, TO MIXED RECEPTION
(WrestleMania 32, April 3rd)

This would have caused a lot of confusion, and disappointment when actually explained. This, for me, was the most infuriating part of WrestleMania – The Rock’s surprise appearance. It turned out that the disaster of his appearance at Royal Rumble ’15 was a one-off. Rocky came out to address the crowd for over twenty-minutes, reeling off (disproved) info on the record-breaking attendance, and the standard checklist of catchphrases.

The Wyatt Family arrived to face-off with The Rock. The Wyatts got a far more positive reaction than WWE had probably hoped, considering how The Rock insulted absolutely everything about their demeanour, rendering them obsolete. The last nail came when The Rock challenged Erick Rowan to a match, which lasted for six-seconds. Then a still injured John Cena helped take out the rest of The Wyatts.

Fans have wanted The Wyatts to catch their break forever. This segment was the epitome of booking stupidity.

SHANE MCMAHON’S WWE OWNERSHIP DREAMS REVIVED, AFTER HIS HIAC LOSS AGAINST THE UNDERTAKER, AT WRESTLEMANIA
(Raw, April 4th)

Where on earth does one begin with this one? How about at the end of the story. Shane McMahon was shockingly back and Vince McMahon welcomed him on the Raw after WrestleMania. However, the second half of the above statement shows that the journey to this point had been a ridiculous and messy one. Under what circumstance would Shane-o-Mac be booked to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania, in a Hell in a Cell match? As it turned out, according to his statement live on Raw, to give Shane “another fucking beating”. There really was little-to-no substance to Shane’s presence. Although this match started the road to the brand split, there is nothing to add to that headline, and nothing else to say.

The match itself was nothing to write home about. It was a show of Shane’s signature moves, leading to him throwing himself off of the cell, onto Taker. Fans had joked for a long time about one last jump, and said that it would never happened. Well now we’ve seen it. Sadly, too much of it, as the producers backstage screwed up and we got a full look at the airbag that he really landed on. And hilariously, you can also see Michael Cole reading his big “as God is my witness, he is broken in half speech” directly from a clipboard.

Looking back now, the end result was OK, but was a waste of a year for Taker, whose days are clearly numbered, and has a few dream opponents left who will never get their Taker at WM match.

AFTER CLEANLY DEFEATING ROLLINS AND REIGNS, FINN BALOR IS FORCED TO VACATE WWE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP DUE TO INJURY
(SummerSlam, August 21st)

This really was a moment that took some people a while to comprehend. Finn Balor had been drafted to RAW, having graduated from NXT. On his first match on the main roster, Balor became the first man to cleanly pin the overly protected Roman Reigns, in four years. And what on earth is this WWE Universal Championship? It might sound like a really daft writing idea, belonging in the same canon as Broken Matt Hardy, but is (luckily) just RAW’s humourously desperate attempt at one-upping SmackDown’s World Championship. Hopefully neither brand will create a Galactic Championship, but it wouldn’t be of any surprise.

Of course, this closes on the sadder note as straight after Balor vs Rollins at SummerSlam, Balor was forced to vacate the title, due to a shoulder injury. One noteworthy moment of the match was Rollins unleashing the very dangerous God’s Last Gift move on Balor, which Rollins hasn’t performed since actually being ‘Seth Rollins’. It’s a pity that it was done so unceremoniously, and kicked out of afterwards. Speaking of which…

KOTA IBUSHI KICKS OUT OF BURNING HAMMER IN MATCH AGAINST BRIAN KENDRICK, FOR THE WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE
(Cruiserweight Classic Quarterfinals, August 26th)

Impressed by the new WWE Universal Championship? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Absolutely everything about the sentence above is completely mind-boggling. To start with there are the wrestlers – the presence of Japanese legend Kota Ibushi in a WWE tournament, and the return of The Brian Kendrick (who would later become the WWE Cruiserweight World Champion). Oh, and there is the fact that there is even such a thing as a WWE Cruiserweight World Championship – brilliant news, however purple the belt is.

The cherry on the cake here though is the use of a ‘Burning Hammer’, commonly considered one of, if not the most dangerous manoeuvres in wrestling. Considering the dark cloud surrounding the dreaded and forbidden piledriver, this was stunning. Sadly, Ibushi was booked to kick out of the move – a bigger waste than Jericho kicking out of Styles’ 450 Splash, and Finn Balor kicking out of Seth Rollins’ God’s Last Gift. It’s a disappointing ongoing policy of WWE – ever match that ends with a pin, can’t end with anything that isn’t a finishing move.

AFTER THE SPIRIT SQUAD ARE REMOVED FROM RINGSIDE, THE MIZ LOSES WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN A TITLE VS CAREER MATCH, AGAINST DOLPH ZIGGLER
(No Mercy, October 9th)

Welcome to probably the best feud of 2016 – The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler. Considering Ziggler’s reputation as a fan favourite who is booked mostly as filler in the mid-card, it would have been baffling to even see Ziggler on the brink of becoming a champion once again. The fact that it would be booked as important enough to warrant a stipulation like ‘Title vs Career’ brings the highest degree of importance to the mid-card title. Oh, and who could ever expected the appearance of The Spirit Squad?

This feud was absolutely incredible, as it acknowledged the on-off history of Ziggler’s booking, and made The Miz the most horrid villain in the WWE. As top-tier heels have been misguidedly booked and perhaps been too likeable (for example, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho are too entertaining that nobody wants to see defeated. And AJ Styles is… AJ Styles). However, The Miz has been the most incredible man on the mic this year (peaking during his shocking segment in Talking Smack). The feud took the best possible route, as Ziggler won in a massive feel good moment at No Mercy, and lost the title weeks later in a brilliant ladder match with The Miz. With The Miz champion again, he is destined for another amazing feud in 2017.

CHARLOTTE DEFEATS SASHA BANKS TO BECOME THREE TIMES RAW WOMEN’S DIVISION CHAMPION, HEADLINING HELL IN A CELL
(Hell in a Cell, October 30th)

There is a RAW Women’s Championship? Charlotte has won the title three times already? And the women have finally been allowed into the cell? And they headlined the event? It sounds like a dream come true, although some have since argued that this was not the monumental occasion that it should have been. To a point, I agree.

To start with, is the number of times that the title has changed hands. While there is no reason why it couldn’t happen, it probably shouldn’t have happened for two reasons: 1. Too much attention had been drawn to these two women over anybody else in the division, and 2. Having held the title three times in less than a year, somewhat dilutes its importance. As for the match, it was definitely styled to look like an important event – for example Sasha Banks being stretchered off having been put through a table, styled like a lighter version of Mankind’s famous fall from the cell in 1998. It wasn’t perfect, and as of December 2016, the title still seems to be fought for by only these two wrestlers. Hopefully, with the list of matches happening for the first time in the Women’s Division, is shrinking, more wrestlers will become involved.

ASUKA DEFEATS MICKIE JAMES, TO RETAIN THE NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP AT NXT TAKEOVER: TORONTO
(NXT TakeOver: Toronto, November 19th)

On the other end of the scale, NXT really have opened up when it has come to opportunities. Look no further than the decision to bring Mickie James in for her first WWE match in six years, to take on Asuka – new champion in 2016. This could have been a very poor decision, and considering how one of the primary talking points of her career was when she grabbed Trish Stratus’ crotch at WrestleMania, one could be forgiven for being pessimistic. However, there was no need. While NXT has seen a few superior women’s matches, Mickie did not disappoint, delivering what some have called the greatest match of her career.

Looking back on this, I am in two minds about this event. I’m very positive due to the quality of the match itself, however I was admittedly quite disappointed when this match was first announced. This was the first women’s TakeOver match to be more novel that a standard singles match, since TakeOver: Respect (headlined by Sasha Banks and Bayley’s Iron Man match), and NXT decided that the twist would be from bringing in another veteran. This to me indicates the confirmation that NXT has well and truly lost the agenda of being developmental territory, and has grown to a scale that it can never step back from. Fingers crossed that this doesn’t jeopardise the progress of talent such as Peyton Royce and Liv Morgan.

GOLDBERG CLEANLY DEFEATS BROCK LESNAR AT SURVIVOR SERIES, IN EIGHTY-SIX SECONDS
(Survivor Series, November 20th)

For the most part when writing these, it has been a matter of shoehorning as much unlikely information into the space of one sentence. In this instance, there is no point. Bill Goldberg showed up, was signed up for a match against the unstoppable Brock Lesnar, and he won. This is perfectly representative of WWE being so painfully formulaic that something so barmy as a 49-year-old wrestler, turning up for his first match in twelve years and defeating Lesnar in eighty-six seconds, is accepted.

Fans even surprised themselves, pondering “why am I so happy about this?”. Venturing a guess, this was the opposite of the upset surround The Rock and The Wyatts at WrestleMania – neither side needed a victory, so the most ridiculous enjoyable result was allowed to happen. If Lesnar had done the same thing, groans would resume about the pointlessness of the match.

While it’s confirmed that Lesnar and Goldberg will be in the 2017 Royal Rumble, we can’t be entirely sure what comes next. The novelty might wear off quickly, but for the time being? Wow.

SHINSUKE NAKAMURA BECOMES FIRST TWO-TIME NXT CHAMPION IN MATCH WITH SAMOA JOE, AT OSAKA HOUSE SHOW (NXT, December 3rd)

The NXT singles championship has changed hands at a house show before – Samoa Joe won his title at a house show Lowell, Massachusetts in April 2016. However, this is not what makes the matter especially shocking. It is the fact that the title was taken by SHINSUKE NAKAMURA!

His shocking arrival in 2016 was great, debuting in-person (having challenged Sami Zayn to a match on the screen in the Full Sail studio) at NXT TakeOver: Dallas, in what might be my favourite match of 2016 – Nakamura vs. Zayn. NXT promoted his arrival as though it was the most important moment in the history of NXT. If the promotion has decided that it isn’t developmental any more, it may as well do things properly, and man they are.

And most surprising of all? Considering how the company have changed names to mononyms, such as (Adrian) Neville, Big E (Langston) and (Alexander) Rusev, Shinsuke Nakamura is at least as of December 2016, still called Shinsuke Nakamura. Will it last?

Which other WWE moments of 2016 would have sounded outrageous in 2015, and what is the most outrageous thing that you think is actually possible in 2017? Post below.


 

Well, that’s it. All programming on the Road to Wrestlemania is over. We have all the proceeding evidence available. Therefore, it is time for predicting how Wrestlemania 32 will unfold on Sunday – aka procrastination season. Here is my shot.

Team Total Divas vs Team B.A.D. & Blonde (5 vs 5 Divas Match)

Who should win: Team Total Divas

Who will win: Team Total Divas

Big spot: Brie Bella will get the winning pin, considering her promotional pulling power, due to her Bryan connections.

So Paige is a ‘total diva’ now? Whatever happened to her being the revolutionary ‘anti-Diva’? Oh well. This is a pre-show throwaway match that will probably be shorter than The Undertaker’s entrance. The name of the team alone suggests that WWE wouldn’t dare let them lose on the grandest stage that they have to offer.

Kalisto vs Ryback (US Title Match)

Who should win?: Kalisto

Who will win?: Kalisto

Big spot: Due to size difference, there will be a rather unconvincing Salida del Sol from atop a turnbuckle.

This is another match that won’t get much attention, not helped by the fact that it is demoted to the pre-show, and will quite possibly be slated for some unconvincing spots by Kalisto on Ryback. The title was not long ago held by John Cena, so for it to change hands in the pre-show is highly unlikely. It would be a spectacular demotion for the title if this happens in the pre-show, even at Wrestlemania. I imagine that Kalisto will soon lose the title to a heel figure, and that Cena will return to briefly feud with them (with viewers expected to consider ‘justice’, even if the heel’s win is entirely within the rules).

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale

Who should win?: Curtis Axel

Who will win?: Braun Strowman

Big spot: All but one of the Social Outcasts, will be eliminated in the first minute, leaving one fighting his way through to the final minute.

The Social Outcasts faction needs a big crowd-pleasing win. Sure, it won’t be as big a pleaser as a The New Day victory, but being the fun that they are, means that this requires that they win. On top of this, this win will be a good thing for them to be booked to bicker about over the next few weeks. However, I am guessing that it will be Strowman. This booking has indeed happened already, with Strowman being responsible for the elimination of the most combatants in Royal Rumble 2016 (tied with Roman Reigns, with five), as well as being the man to eliminate both Big Show and Kane. It is not especially thrilling to see yet another giant win (after Big Show won last year), but if any meaning is to be milked from this generic battle royale, Strowman comes across as one of very few men that this can come from. Unless the Wyatts invade later in the night, this will sadly be their primary appearance.

The Usos vs The Dudley Boyz

Who should win?: The Dudley Boyz

Who will win?: The Usos

Big spot: D-Von will get the tables…

The Dudley Boyz are fantastic, strong heel figures, and really should remain that way. However, at some point or another, The Usos will climb their way to the top of the tag team division, and WWE will make use of Wrestlemania to start that climb. It’s a bad idea, especially considering just how popular The New Day are (adding another face tag team into the title picture just wouldn’t work), but the event will presumably be exploited none the less.

Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles

Who should win?: AJ Styles

Who will win?: AJ Styles

Big spot: AJ Styles will deliver his first Superman 450 Splash in WWE.

This has been a solid and entertaining (albeit repetitive) enough mid-card rivalry that their matches have been numbered over in Reddit /r/SquaredCircle (this is Jericho vs Styles IV for anyone curious). While not all matches at Wrestlemania have to be a finale, this has to be the moment at which these two go their separate ways. This feud will end with a Styles win (en route to a title picture), and with such a great heel turn by Jericho that is built around being so irritated by the lack of audience respect, it will be simple in the eyes of WWE writers to find the next man that he will be annoyed by for the same reason. Expect this to end cleanly with a phenomenal flying elbow from Styles, followed by a post-match diva tantrum by Jericho.

Charlotte vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks

(Triple Threat Match for the WWE Divas Championship)

Who should win?: Becky Lynch

Who will win?: Sasha Banks

Big spot: Sasha Banks will lock a winning Bank Statement on Charlotte, when Charlotte is distracted by her father being evicted from ringside.

This match should be monumental to the degree of changing the name of the title to be the Women’s Championship. After all, one only has to look at the Wrestlemania card to see that there is a Diva half and a Women’s half in booking. It is a fair compromise that WWE should stick with – but one can presumably only dream.

Becky Lynch should be the winner due to the fact that she is the person most in the need of the big win. Charlotte is a Flair, and Sasha Banks is, well… Sasha Banks. Becky doesn’t have such support, and only has so long before fading away. If a point is to be made for the women, it should be made sooner rather than later, and Becky is ideal. Unfortunately however, I presume that Becky will be victimized at Wrestlemania and that it will be Bayley who will make a statement with a Banks vs Bayley III in the months to come.

The New Day vs The League of Nations

Who should win?: The League of Nations

Who should win?: The League of Nations

Big spot: Rusev will hit Xavier Woods with Francesca II, and Xavier will spend the next few weeks complaining about her betrayal.

It is incredible how far The New Day have come. Who would have thought that they could have been the most beloved babyfaces in the roster, but it’s happened. It has actually happened – unicorn horns, cereal, trombones and all. That said, note that this match does not have any titles up for offer, therefore making it look highly likely that The League of Nations will get a win out of it. The New Day can get enough great fun in an opening segment and during the match that their loss, even at Wrestlemania would not be a waste. I expect that Xavier Woods will be pinned by Sheamus.

Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn vs Dolph Ziggler vs Zack Ryder vs Sin Cara vs The Miz vs Stardust (Ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship)

Who should win?: Kevin Owens

Who will win?: Sami Zayn

Big spot: Zack Ryder will hang off of the belt.

Sami Zayn is now in the main roster, but what is WWE’s priority, and what should it be? Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens should be a highly anticipated match-up. During the duration of their NXT feud, it was dreamt of being the feud that should have topped the main roster. However, I assume that WWE will rush this feud into fruition in the mid-card far too quickly. Considering how good Kevin Owens is at tantrums, him losing the title might not be that terrible, as he can rant his way into a title match in no time, aided by Authority connections. Unfortunately, WWE are remorseless when it comes to throwing the Intercontinental Title around at a quick rate, and Wrestlemania 32 will be a textbook example.

The Undertaker vs Shane McMahon (Hell in a Cell Match)

Who should win?: Shane McMahon

Who will win?: Shane McMahon

Big spot: The lights will go out due to an interruption by the Wyatt Family to attack The Undertaker (magically appearing in the cell), who will function as Shane McMahon’s minions in a similar vein to The Undertaker for Vince, leading to Shane’s win.

There are plenty of reasons why one should be unsure of this result. To start with, this match is not the last match of the night. With such an important stipulation as control of Raw, it seems highly unlikely that the hands will change earlier in the night, making an Undertaker win likely. Similarly, we have yet to see a Cena/Taker match at Wrestlemania, which seems inevitable, and therefore this not being The Undertaker’s final Wrestlemania.

Oh, and there is the fact that one of the combatants is Shane McMahon. There is no way that this match will be ‘clean’, and I refuse to believe that such a strange choice of match could happen without there being a big pay-off. WWE have a habit of going back on decisions very quickly. Just look at how quickly The Authority regained power after losing it at Survivor Series 2014. For this reason, bizarrely, a win for Shane is not a bad choice.

Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar (No Holds Barred Street Fight)

Who should win?: Dean Ambrose

Who will win?: Dean Ambrose

Big spot: Dean Ambrose, in continuing the matter of ‘the torch’ being passed to him, will bring Mr Socko with him.

So long as this match is spectacular, this is the one match tonight that fans will enjoy without a care for its result. However, strangely for his reputation, Dean Ambrose’s eventual Wrestlemania win must be booked as monumental. Yes, this will be a massive match against Brock Lesnar, but the sentimentality of the fabled Shield Triple Threat one day is where Ambrose finally gets his Wrestlemania ‘eureka’ moment.

However, considering that Lesnar is due to go on a hiatus after Wrestlemania, one can’t help but feel that this stipulation is reason enough for Lesnar to lose, and the vengeful method by which he will return later in the year, getting back at Ambrose.

Roman Reigns vs Triple H (World Heavyweight Championship)

Who should win?: Triple H

Who will win?: Roman Reigns

Big spot: Triple H will bring in his sledgehammer, and Reigns will retaliate with Barbie, which (or who?) has been left at ringside from the Street Fight. The final shot will be Seth Rollins at the entrance with Reigns taunting him from the ring.

WWE are clearly desperate for Reigns to have a big moment, and as a result of all that confetti not being enough at Survivor Series 2015, and no one really caring about injustice at Royal Rumble 2016 (except the fact that Reigns cheated), means that they are just going to make things bigger until it works. WWE are clearly desperate for Reigns to have a big moment, and as a result of all that confetti not being enough at Survivor Series 2015, and no one really caring about injustice at Royal Rumble 2016 (except the fact that Reigns cheated), means that they are just going to make things bigger until it works.

For that reason, Reigns will finally do it. This will presumably require a big crowd-pleasing pop for somebody else, as I seriously doubt that WWE would risk such a massive backlash as the closing shot. I guess for this reason, that the show will end with an appearance by Seth Rollins.

Well, that’s it. What are your predictions?

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Well, that’s it! Everything that there is to know on The Road to Wrestlemania is known. Of course that must mean that it is time to spend far too long churning out overly-long and too in-depth predictions of the results. Despite Wrestlemania 31 already being slated due to the pessimism surrounding the main event, WWE have actually done a respectable job of making many of the night’s matches sound important. On paper, half of them could headline a PPV.

So without further ado, here are some predictions, on how the matches will unfold, who their winners will be, and whether the matches will actually be any good.

Tyson Kidd and Cesaro VS. Los Matadores VS. The New Day VS. The Usos (Fatal Four Way for the WWE Tag Team Championship)

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Who should win?: Tyson Kidd and Cesaro

Who will win?: The Usos

Length: 13 minutes

Quality: B-

There is not a lot to discuss during this match. However, the fact that all four participating tag teams are bringing with them a cheerleader says that more than the eight men in the match, will be involved, leading the match to be a battle royale in itself. In short, a mess – stuck between massive brawl and a solid match. Still, it could be fun.

It is for this reason that I predict that the additional presence will result in all participants dragged out of match, conveniently leaving behind the defendants, and the winners, presumably The Usos, to unleash their signature double splash. As half of the combatants are comedic, such moves will pass without incident, rather than there being much in the way of great counters (such as the brilliant two-out-of-three falls match between The Usos and The Wyatt Family). I maintain that Kidd and Cesaro should win, if only due to the title not being thrown away too quickly, and to give the heavily demoted Cesaro something to be champion of. On that subject…

The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale

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Who should win?: Damien Mizdow

Who will win?: Sheamus

Length: 11 minutes (Excluding corny trophy presentation)

Quality: C

This was the alleged confirmation of Cesaro being the incredible next big thing. That sadly didn’t work out. Also, there is only really one feud that appears within this same match. A comedic one – The Miz and Damien Mizdow. And to add insult to injury, this poor match has been demoted to the Wrestlemania pre-show. Considering how the hype around it involved John Cena trying to induct himself into it and failing when even The Authority got involved, this has been managed rather poorly.

I predict that this will simply be ten minutes of chaos with very few memorable spots until the very end. At one miraculous point a couple of minutes from the end, the remaining few combatants will be simultaneously puffed out, aside from The Miz and Damien Mizdow, provoking a crowd-pleasing staredown and quick brawl. Ideally Mizdow would be the man to eliminate The Miz with all attention drawn to it. It is the only feud across the entire roster that everybody is cheering the desired face and booing the desired heel, and WWE should take this opportunity for a great show-opening moment. The prestige of the match has sunk so low that it wouldn’t be the end of the world were Mizdow to win.

However, I believe The Miz will eliminate Mizdow, having been on the receiving end of a Skull-Crushing Finale, followed then by providing for Sheamus what had been attempted at the Royal Rumble for Roman Reigns – a show of strength, eliminating everyone left (dragging the tired wrestlers off the floor and over the rope), to avenge fan favourites and win. While a backlash won’t be quite as monstrous as the Royal Rumble’s, it’ll be a disappointing ending, and the most underwhelming match of the night.

Randy Orton VS Seth Rollins

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Who should win?: Seth Rollins

Who will win?: Randy Orton (by DQ)

Length: 20 minutes

Quality: A-

This is one of the most intriguing matches on the card, as considering the history of both men, this certainly has the capacity to the best match of the show. If given time and permission, this could steal the show. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems that have me believe that this will not happen.

First of all, with so little faith by many in the main event due to universal hatred of Reigns, WWE Creative will be very careful not to pack this single match with spectacular moments, so not to upstage the WHC match. I hope that if any match has to have moments that take it through the barricade and into the crowd, it’ll be this one., though sadly it won’t. Secondly, at least one of these men is going to reappear during the closure of the show, justifying (at least in the eyes of WWE), this being one of the shorter of the big matches. After all, Rollins is still holding onto his Money in the Bank contract, and it would be surprising if WWE’s plans were so anti-climactic. But more on that a bit later.

Considering moments, I am expecting a tease of a massive elbow drop or phoenix splash, though pulled off as a ‘flying nothing’ and caught in an RKO. Also expecting the incredibly irritating J&J to invade and pull Orton off of the pin during the closing couple of minutes. The signature cinder blocks will be unveiled, and after failed attempts to curb stomp Orton into them, Rollins will attempt to throw one, causing a disqualification and one very aggravated Rollins. A disqualification means that he needn’t be too beaten up before his cash-in attempt (making the cash-in more convincing).

The match will most likely end with a post-match brawl, although it would be better if Rollins wins brutally and cleanly (for once). This match will also be early on, as it’s a big opener despite not being especially important. And to distance Rollins from the last match as much as possible.

Bad News Barrett vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan (Ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship)

WWE.com

WWE.com

Who should win?: Dolph Ziggler

Who will win?: Daniel Bryan

Length: 15 minutes

Quality: B+

Wow. Try saying that match line-up in one breath. With so many massive segments throughout the night, and everyone hoping for something incredible, I think that this might be disappointingly cut a few minutes short of what fans would like. However, considering its acclaim, it’s easy to forget that the legendary TLC II was only sixteen-minutes long. Also, like the Orton/Rollins situation, Ambrose, whether he wins or not, will probably appear in the closing segment, apparently justifying a shorter match, and make the involvement of the ladder match’s cast seem longer than it was. Of course, fans aren’t that stupid not to notice, but it’s the sort of stupidity that WWE would try.

Due to being total chaos, this is simply a checklist of predicted moments.

  • Bad News Barrett attempting a Bullhammer, but is prevented from doing so by an opponent, even though the opponent needn’t have bothered, as fans notice instantly that there would have been ladders and six men preventing room. As a result of total injustice, he’ll get little to no time to show off, although will hopefully be the last man left standing as Bryan heads for the belt. (Spoiler: He won’t be.)
  • Dean Ambrose successfully doing his daft rebound clothesline (on his second attempt), but even though facing the same problem as Barrett, will have a very unconvincing success. He also will not successfully unleash Dirty Deeds, saving it for his reappearance at the end of the show.
  • R-Truth in a comedic moment arrogantly punching the air as he begins his climb, it turns into a grimace as he notices as he begins he climb that he is staring at Luke Harper’s backside.
  • Luke Harper will do an awesome powerbomb, and the IWC will sigh in unison, wishing that he was further up the card.
  • Stardust will come near to victory, only to be sabotaged by Goldust.
  • Daniel Bryan will do a crossbody to the outside of the ring, knocking over everyone at the same time, whether he actually hits them or not.
  • Dolph Ziggler, the only man still in the ring, will make an outrageously slow, pained crawl and climb of the ladder, only to be prevented by an aggravated heel Stardust.

I am good with Bryan winning if the final blow is to Ziggler, provoking a short feud between the two, teasing a heel turn for one of them, and slowing Bryan’s climb back to the top. However, the imminent return of Sheamus says that Ziggler will be brushed aside quickly. Again.

AJ Lee and Paige VS. The Bella Twins (Tag Team Match)

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Who should win: Paige and AJ Lee

Who will win: Paige and AJ Lee

Length: 11 minutes.

Quality: B-

This match was fantastically set up during the final Raw before Wrestlemania, in a brilliant match. It showed off their skill, especially for Nikki Bella (who has been doubted by crowds for far too long). It also added some genuine tension that could go anywhere, by reigniting a poor relationship between teammates AJ Lee and Paige. Will their relationship break during the match and lead to their loss? Will they brawl after the match? Bizarrely, this is the only match across the entire card to really have multiple unpredictable components beyond win/lose. Who would have expected that from the Diva division?

I predict that AJ Lee and Paige will win, as a direct attempt is made to bring a solid closure to the match, not only due to distractions. At least by a ‘tag team’ standard, which is based almost entirely on such rule-twisting. I predict the infamous slow crawl of Brie Bella and Paige to their teammates will happen, with Nikki Bella tagged, but for AJ Lee not waiting for Paige. Paige will be held in a mocking PTO. Cue Lee finally returning to action for the win with speedy energy, starting with an instant climb to the top turnbuckle, delivering an aerial move, a DDT to finish off Nikki. A shattered Paige will give a death stare from the ring to AJ Lee who arrogantly skips away and mockingly looks back at her.

This match will be the solidifying moment of AJ Lee atop the podium once again and next in line for the title, as a plot of a building direct Lee/Paige feud bubbles beneath. Yes. Again. However, desirable or not, I think that this is the most likely result. On top of this, while the chaos of four Divas in the ring can be brilliant (look no further than the Women’s Fatal Four Way at NXT Rival), this will not be nearly as clean and brilliant as the match on Raw. As far as Creative are concerned the ‘Give the Divas a Chance’ campaign has already been fulfilled, and forgotten.

The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt

WWE.com

WWE.com

Who should win?: The Undertaker

Who will win?: The Undertaker

Length: 23 minutes

Quality: B

Obviously, this is the biggest stab in the dark with regards to quality and length. We haven’t seen either of these men wrestle (sorry, ‘sports entertain’) in a long time, and haven’t got a clue of Taker’s state at the moment. It’s another match that has to be twenty-minutes-plus, whether they are capable or not. And even though their match will be disappointingly in daylight, expect two outrageously long entrance sequences for these two.

Undertaker’s character is an interesting thought too, as we can’t yet be sure how he will be portrayed. Despite the ridiculous aspects such as the lightning on Raw, the defeat by Lesnar at Wrestlemania XXX meant that he plummeted back to humanity – something we really hadn’t seen since the Big Evil days.

I predict this to be full of ridiculous dramatic moments and taunts. There’s always one match to do so, and this will be it. It’s normally the case with Wrestlemania Undertaker matches. Just look at Triple H screaming “STAY DOWN!” at WM27, and Shawn Michaels almost crying at WM28. Expect Wyatt to taunt The Undertaker by doing his signature ‘sit up’, as well as a mocking kickover of Wyatt’s spider walk before he can roll over to his knees.

A few months ago, when signs pointed for this match to be against Sting, I was predicting that we would see The Undertaker attempting to claim back his legacy (which he never truly lost) from an icon. However, if we are to see Sting and Undertaker face each other another day, The Undertaker needs to, and probably will use this opportunity to show off his strength.

I predict a relatively equal match throughout with a relatively respectful closure between the two men, at least by The Undertaker, with a far more reluctant Wyatt. Not quite a handshake, but more a tip of the fedora from a limping Undertaker. In his usual grinning way, Wyatt can appear not too shaken by his defeat. It might not be the best of endings for quick changes and progression for Wyatt, but if managed properly (the hopefully more human Undertaker can leave Wyatt the most mystical figure in WWE), it won’t be too damaging to Wyatt.

John Cena VS. Rusev (United States Championship)

WWE.com

WWE.com

Who should win?: Rusev

Who will win?: John Cena

Length: 19 minutes

Quality: B+

We saw a full length Cena/Rusev match so recently, that it seems a little impractical, and that there may not be enough in their inventory to justify a lengthy match without being a repeat of what we saw just a month ago. I am also expecting a massive entrance sequence for these two as well. It was recently made public that there was a casting call for an ‘army’ for Rusev. Cena being Cena, I don’t imagine that he will enter without a degree of retaliation. After all, he’s there to save America. Apparently.

I am hoping for a win for Rusev, yet with a slight humiliation at the hands of Cena, After all, WWE have hyped up no end that Cena is fighting not for himself, but for America – enough so that Cena has even acknowledged in promos that he isn’t popular to some, and that he heroically selfless. Cena can lose, and should lose to give Rusev a continued push. However, the drop of an American flag on his exit is another to anger him and look slightly victimized as he is ridiculed by 90,000 Americans.

However, it is an option that I don’t think WWE will take. Now that the situation is about America, it being the United States Championship will not be ignored until an American wrestler takes it back, and who better for the job that The Marine, in front of the biggest audience of the year. Rusev’s entrance will be spectacular, however it will be sabotaged by a smug-looking Cena, as an American flag falls from above. Expect a very close battle to begin with, a five-minute beatdown, followed by Cena’s revival with inevitable shows of strength as Cena refuses to tap from any holds. I predict that the ending won’t be as explosive as it should be, as Cena escapes the Accolade to counters with the STF, which a now weak Rusev looks. This is the match that will be most conditioned to be a crowd-pleaser, just as a wimpy Batista tapped out to Bryan’s Yes Lock last year.

The match has the capacity to be great, but the ending will make the world, at least outside of the USA, wince. Expect Cena to salute on turnbuckle, and during the match as a taunt. He’ll hold his hand to his heart after the match and conduct a 90,000-piece orchestra singing an off-key karaoke version of Star-Spangled Banner. It sounds like a mockery, but none of it will surprise me.

Triple H VS. Sting

WWE.com

WWE.com

Who should win?: Sting

Who will win?: Sting

Length: 25 minutes

Quality: B

This is a match that can never get away with being an anti-climax. If this match doesn’t turn out very well, it is more likely due to tedium from being too long to match their ability, making it the longest match of the night, albeit not the longest segment as a whole. Triple H’s matches have often been very long, and in recent years, they have had their reasons to. Against Daniel Bryan, moves were used against him in a very creative match, at least by WWE’s standards, heightening the excitement all the way through. Wrestemanias 27 and 28 against The Undertaker had brilliant drama surrounding them, that led to the latter match being the longest one-on-one match (aside from Hart/Michaels’ Iron Man Match) in Wrestlemania history.

However, I don’t think that there is enough to be dwelt upon beyond generic moves and signature spots. On top of this, the match while hyped up for months, doesn’t have a whole lot of history behind it beyond ‘just because’. I don’t expect the match to be especially spectacular, but then, matches don’t need massive spots to be great. Expect to see a lot of staring between the two, clocking in about five minutes worth of the match, as well as the main talking point afterwards being Sting’s entrance rather than the match.

They each have their signature weapons, that to use would be against the rules, but I predict that they will be used creatively, closing the match with an arrogant Pedigree by Sting (in response to an earlier attempt by HHH of the Scorpion Death Drop), driving HHH’s head onto his own sledgehammer. And for additional dominance, an unnecessary Scorpion Death Drop onto the baseball bat.

Brock Lesnar VS. Roman Reigns (World Heavyweight Championship)

Picture 61

Who should win?: Brock Lesnar

Who will win?: Roman Reigns

Length: 17 minutes

Quality: B

This is a very peculiar situation. For a match that everyone is so miserable about, it’s getting a lot of attention, if only for all of the wrong reasons – primarily how loud the booing will be for Roman Reigns. Everybody was so sure of how this match would end, and have been for months. Just take a look back to the Royal Rumble, as Reigns won, and Lesnar “breaking a rib” (yeah, right) earlier in the night, meant that a victory for new boy Reigns would be a bit more convincing. It was that obviousness that led to fun fury at the end of the night, and ever since. However, just a few days ago, WWE and Lesnar announced that the latter would be staying with the former for the next three years, opening up the option that Lesnar could win. While I don’t want to come across as one of the IWC smarks, my expectations remain disappointingly low, still predicting that Reigns will be the winner.

As for the match itself, this doesn’t offer anything particularly marvelous. Lesnar’s party trick is beating the hell out of his opponents. Reigns’ is to jump and punch simultaneously for the win. Neither are terrible, however there is little open in the way of creativity. It is highly unlikely that Lesnar will be giving the Shooting Star Press another go. Unlike Bryan’s match at Fastlane, this won’t be helped along with submission holds and much in the way of creativity. This will be ten minutes of an equal(ish) match, leading to the usual circuit of the ring, and in a Seth Rollins-lite sort of way, as it is the final match of the night, will finally destroy the announcers’ table. Lesnar will first tease a jump from the apron onto Reigns, who is lying on the table (having been suplexed at least once onto the metal stairs, and bleeding from him mouth again), but in a magically surge of strength, Reigns will get up, pull at Lesnar’s legs, causing him to fall, leading to the positions switching in time for Reigns to deliver a splash off the apron and finally break the table. Finally, a shattered Brock Lesnar will pluck up the strength to F5 Reigns, although it won’t so much damage, as a spear and a Superman Punch will end the match with Reigns’ victory.

It will get away with being shorter during this match due to inevitable post-match drama, outrageously long promo tapes and possible cash-in. Speaking of a cash-in…

Rollins’ Cash-In Attempt
Picture 55

Who should win?: Nobody

Who will win?: Nobody

Length: N/A

Quality: D

It doesn’t matter how much McMahon wants Reigns at the top of the company. He won’t just win and pose for the cameras beneath a storm of confetti. No matter what the result is of the main event, Rollins is going to attempt to cash-in his Money In the Bank contract.

The best way to end the night for the sake of entertainment would be for Rollins to successfully cash-in on Brock Lesnar. Reigns can look strong having worn out Lesnar without winning. Lesnar can still be a monster, as it has required two men to knock him down, especially if the cash-in takes substantially longer than the standard two minutes. Wouldn’t it be great if Reigns is out cold within fifteen minutes, and Rollins got fifteen-minutes of his own against Lesnar? Of course, this will almost definitely remain a dream.

In the longer term, and therefore more practical, it would be better for Rollins not to get to cash it in, and in being sabotaged, saves it for another event – hopefully Extreme Rules. However, only Brock Lesnar as the champion can bring that to its full potential. However, as the decision of the main event winner is allegedly still not been decided upon (according to Dave Meltzer), there may not be much time for creativity, with everything being based around the directions that Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns end up.

So, what if Reigns wins? I expect for Dean Ambrose to prevent the cash-in after a Dirty Deeds on the path to the ring, to steal the case, though before Ambrose can do so, is knocked down ready to be Curb Stomped. Just before Rollins does so, Orton will return to give him an RKO outta nowhere. For the sake of doing so, J&J will be attempting to pin down Reigns and weakening him further before Rollins can reach the ring, only to be knocked out by Reigns, who will Superman Punch Rollins. Have you ever watched the ending of an episode of Raw? Then you have seen how Wrestlemania will probably end.

While this seems overly pessimistic, it’s irritatingly probable. I hope that I am proven wrong.

That’s it. So, what are your predictions? Comment below.