Posts Tagged ‘The Rock’

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.


 

Remember the boos at Royal Rumble 2015, as it became apparent that 29 men were being wasted in favour of the future of Roman Reigns – a character that no matter how WWE have tried, will not be adored by wrestling fans. If you didn’t think that their intentions were ridiculous enough then, Wrestlemania 32 buried more beloved talent than one could ever have dreamt that they would.

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You ain’t seen nothing yet. Balee dat.

There is a reason why Wrestlemania 32 is already being referred back to as ‘Vince’s Revenge’, and it is not only down to the fact that Roman Reigns won cleanly against Triple H, with the microphones turned down so to blot out the 100,000 people booing him. No heel turns. No intervention. This was the moment at which (as if we needed any confirmation) that Roman Reigns is *staying* top face whether fans like it or not.

Of course, there were some great matches. It goes without saying that the Women’s Triple Threat was the match of the night, and was treated as incredibly important. And quite rightly so. Also the Intercontinental Championship ladder match, while a bit of a mess, could not have ended any better as fan favourite Zack Ryder won, and Kevin Owens has every reason to be irritated with Sami Zayn. On top of this, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale wasn’t very special, but there are certainly worse ways to be introduced the main roster as Baron Corbin was last night – by winning the trophy. It might have been at the cost of popular low-carders such as Damien Sandow and Tyler Breeze, but it seemed worthwhile in introducing more talent from NXT.

However, the attitude of boosting talent that really did not pushing, as was the case with Reigns’ victory, lasted for the majority of the show, as A-list stars leeched off of fan favourites. These stars are untouchable, and yet those booking had decided to feed various wrestlers to them. It was as though it was a conscious method of making sure everyone watch various favourites be deleted. A fantastic looking Stephanie McMahon attempted to provoke boos from the crowd during Triple H’s entrance by announcing just how evil there were, and how “after tonight, all hope will be gone!”. Fans can be forgiven for feeling that this was the case when certain characters were given a push at the cost of favourites. Here are a few examples of such superstars and their victims:

THE ROCK & JOHN CENA

Victim: The Wyatt Family

This twenty-five minute segment was the ultimate caricature of everything that WWE followers have been irritated by over the course of the last decade. Who needs booking to boost charisma and importance any less than The Rock, and the returning John Cena? Still, WWE felt the need to take the most imposing faction in the WWE not to appear in a match at Wrestlemania 32, with a leader that many have felt was ready to take the creepy role held by The Undertaker for so many years, and reduce them from dominance, to being told how ridiculous they look.

It was sad enough to see the monstrous Erick Rowan be defeated by The Rock in six seconds in an impromptu match. That was the moment at which the Family should have disappeared with Bray Wyatt having an evil grin, as though he had a cunning plan. Unfortunately, just minutes later, both he and the previously highly protected Braun Strowman were squashed by The Rock and John Cena, again in seconds. However beautiful the 100,000 ‘fireflies’ looked, there is no denying that this felt like dreadful closure to the Wyatts’ reign of terror, as they are now taken even less seriously than The Social Outcasts.

And to think that everyone felt sorry for Bo Dallas for not getting nearly as much glory as his brother.

BROCK LESNAR

Victim: Dean Ambrose

Was this not meant to be the match that stole the show, especially after all of the ‘torch passing’ promos with Foley and Funk over the last few weeks? Where Ambrose would be the man to really push Lesnar to his limit? Sadly, it wasn’t to be (and they almost made a mockery of this as Dean Ambrose revealed Barbie only not to use ‘her’), and even at just thirteen-minutes long, Suplex City got very boring. Fans don’t need reminding that Lesnar is a monster, but WWE decided that they would show off Lesnar by saying that he is so dominant that he won’t even let his opponent get to the weaponry, as opposed to showing what he can withstand. Equipped with so many tools to take down Lesnar, and not coming anywhere close, Ambrose looks weak.

This was the biggest disappointment staged by WWE in a very long time. This is not to say that everyone was expecting a brutal and bloody match, but one still couldn’t help but feel that the ‘No Holds Barred Street Fight’ stipulation was completely redundant. There was a low blow, a quick spot with a fire extinguisher, an F5 on some chairs, and that’s it. Ambrose lost, clean as a whistle, and Lesnar is now due to disappear for a while. This served no purpose but to remind viewers that Brock Lesnar is good at German Suplexes, and that the people of Dallas know how to count, at the expense of babyface Ambrose’s time to shine.

Instead, Ambrose lost, and has nowhere to go.

SHAWN MICHAELS, MICK FOLEY & STEVE AUSTIN

Victims: The League of Nations, and to a lesser extent, The New Day

This was another match that was good, but didn’t feel quite as energetic and electric as some other The New Day segments, but a victory for the League of Nations was a good idea to grind The New Day’s gears and pursue the tag team title over the next few weeks.

But no. It had been disappointing enough to have to see King Barrett at ringside, his role clearly reserved to being the man to intervene and help his team to get the win. However, there was a glimmer of hope for him when he got the microphone post-match so to boast about had brilliant his ‘lads’ are. As it turns out, this match seemed nothing more than a set up for what was a humorous segment but yet another waste of the only active heel faction that are (or were) in pursuit of the Tag Team title. It’s always fun to see Austin, Michaels and Foley return, but did it have to be on the representatives of the world outside the USA?

Sure, the legends needed their targets, but the League are (or should be) too potentially valuable to throw around like that. The New Day’s silliness is insulting enough (in a good way) to the League of Nations in their matches, so neither tag team (let alone both) needed to be wiped out in seconds by three long retired men.

CHRIS JERICHO

Victim: AJ Styles

The majority of this match was actually great, but slightly tired considering that this is the fourth time that Jericho and Styles have faced each other in a short amount of time. It also goes without saying that Styles would naturally be the winner of this match, on the grounds that as such a popular face, it was inevitable, and that Jericho being upset about not being the most popular is flexible enough to drop him into a feud with anyone popular. One might expect him to get upset with Nakamura fever at a WWE Network event.

In spite of this being laid out for WWE, they chose was Jericho to win. This serves no purpose, especially considering that Jericho is only semi-active with nothing to gain, and that in spite of AJ Styles being ‘The Phenomenal One’ AJ Styles, he again has nowhere to go. Even more infuriating were the closing minutes of the match where some highly protected spots such as the Styles Clash and the Superman 450 Splash were kicked out of. It might have been Wrestlemania, so it could have been the right stage for that to happen, but those spots have now been thrown away and wasted against the wrong man.

THE USOS

Victims: The Dudley Boyz

Speaking of the tag team division and poor choices of targets, this was another example of a match that was assumed to be what the audience were so desperate to see, but could not have been more wrong. This led to the worst match of the night, besides Rock vs Rowan.

Is ‘victim’ an overly strong term to use for such legends at The Dudley Boyz? Maybe, but due to their defeat in just five minutes, this was completely unnecessary. The Usos’ were popular enough, and could have naturally had a nice return on Raw, but instead WWE felt the need to mark the occasion with what they hoped that fans would appreciate as a finale of their feud and poetic justice – the Dudleyz were put through tables.

Needless to say, the audience made it known that this was not the way they wanted The Usos to return, and it would have been far more successful had they been dropped straight into a feud with The League of Nations.

THE UNDERTAKER

Victim: Shane McMahon

The big one. It was relatively obvious that Shane McMahon would not be hanging around for too long, but that is not to say that whatever happened at Wrestlemania 32 wouldn’t leave a mark, so a match which decided the kayfabe owner of Raw was bound to grab attention. The entire segment for this match was fifty-minutes long, from the opening promo, to the fade-to-black as McMahon was taken away on a stretcher. The match itself was over half an hour long, and was more like a street fight than the street fight.

This was a match that could actually have done with an intervention to help McMahon win, or continue. I had expected The Wyatt Family to get involved considering their lack of involvement on the card, as there would be a great antihero force to start screwing with Raw, with The Authority not able to keep them under control. Instead, McMahon lost and in spite of an awesome jump spot from the top of the cell, the match was completely pointless and redundant.

This wasn’t ‘burying’ Shane McMahon, as this moment will not be forgotten any time soon, but in essence, this was a moment that made many feel as though was a conscious booking decision to point out that tonight is for confirming who will stay and who will go, especially since Shane even acknowledged things that fans disliked during promotional segments, as if to say “we are not out of touch, we know what you’re thinking, but we don’t care.” The final nail, so to speak.

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This really does pose the question of whether this truly was a case, as some are very quick to refer to the spectacular ego of Vince McMahon, as well as the possibility that the night was written all around Roman Reigns. After all, the only other babyface to win, and not be completely drained was Zack Ryder, right at the beginning of the show. Of course there was also the easily noticeable attempts to blot out the crowd who were booing him, with ‘Ole’ and even ‘Hey Bayley’ chants happening throughout the match. This point of view suggests that WWE had deliberately removed all reason for fans to be happy up until HHH/Reigns – the match that everybody was hoped to be happy about.

We will never know the full truth of the logic, but it goes without saying that WWE failed miserably at pleasing the crowd. This was not because heroes weren’t winning, but because those who actually *need* attention (whether good or evil) are just peripherals both for those who don’t need support, and WWE will stop at nothing, even breaking the fourth wall, to ram their intentions at viewers. THESE are who we have chosen as our present and future, and THOSE will never come close. Where better to confirm it than on the grandest stage of all? It’s a real pity.

My predictions of this year’s event were very poor, as I only got four out of the eight correct. Only three of my predicted matches, guessed a month before Wrestlemania even happened. That said, considering the result of one particularly shocking match (I wonder which one…), not many people would have scored any better than seven-out-of-eight.

So, what hope would I have, predicting the card and the winners, a year in advance? Well, it’s worth a try. This is my stab at the line-up for Wrestlemania 31.

Just to get the inevitable matches out of the way, I’m thinking that Sheamus will win the ANDRE THE GIANT BATTLE ROYAL as he’s a superstar with nothing to do, and that an NXT starlet will acquire the championship in (number)-DIVA MATCH. I’m guessing Charlotte just because of her connections due to being the spawn of Ric Flair.

 

THE ROCK vs BROCK LESNAR

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Winner: The Rock

Why?: There will be hell to pay is WWE doesn’t make the man who took down The Undertaker a full-timer from today, until April 2015. A part time wrestler getting that honour would be horrifying. If so, Brock will be once again in a worthy position to face The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment. Paul Heyman could have a field day picking who Lesnar’s next megastar that his ‘Heyman guy’ will squash next. Next on the list that lives up to The Phenom’s level of fame, and then some? The Rock.

I, like many, think that The Rock is done, after a sub-par performance at Wrestlemania 29. However, this has been hinted for quite a while. The People’s Champion versus the currently most despised man in the WWE would be great… were it a decade ago. It will probably still happen though. It will be sadly unconvincing, but as of April 2014 for the time being, it will be at least what the fans want. In fact, for anyone to destroy Brock Lesnar would be a crowd pleaser.

The Rock has stated that a match with Brock Lesnar was planned for Wrestlemania 30, but an injury prevented The Rock from wrestling this year. Finally, The Rock may come back to put the currently rather unpopular Brock Lesnar away. If a fued with Lesnar, aside from The Undertaker can begin, I am quite sure of this one.

The biggest flaw in this prediction, I think is rising star Cesaro. By this point, he will possibly be the crowd favourite after turning his back on Paul Heyman himself (though I imagine that such a feud would be over by then). Cesaro is actually a big flaw for all of the predictions, aside from the Diva match. It seems that he might require his own singles match, but I don’t yet know where to put him. If Cesaro vs Lesnar happens at Wrestlemania 31, then I can still envision Rock vs Brock at Wrestlemania 32.

I would actually prefer this to happen at Summerslam 2014, as in a year’s time, the current villainy of Lesnar will have word off too much, but I’m not convinced that we will see The Rock wrestle anywhere aside from Wrestlemania, and giving the odd heel a Rock Bottom on Raw every so often to please fans.

 

THE USOS vs GOLDUST & CODY RHODES vs LUKE HARPER & ERICK ROWAN

Winner: Goldust & Cody Rhodes

Why?: A muddle of tag teams seems to be a popular opener, and these are the three that I think will be facing off. The Usos are popular, and I imagine that they will stay that way, and ‘the other two Wyatts’ actually need more to do than support Bray. I think that my later prediction about Bray Wyatt is enough that the Wyatts don’t win.

So why the Rhodes boys? Simply because it’s been a while, and considering the recent success of The New Age Outlaws, Goldust’s age is no reason for them not to win.

 

BRAY WYATT vs RANDY ORTON

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Winner: Bray Wyatt

Why?: Sadly, at the moment, it appears that the Wyatts’, especially Bray Wyatt, will for the time being follow the format of ‘select Superstar to creep out’ until defeated. However, in this instance, I think that in this time, the monster will already have been released, and Orton’s reasoning will be something along the lines of “you are just a weirdo. I am the true badass.”

Orton probably won’t be particularly likable during this period, meaning that this could be a rousing, brutal success, or a miserable failure as two heels face one another. After a loss this year, I am handing this one to Bray Wyatt. This will probably be WWE’s attempt at setting up a match where the unlikable heel wins, so that SOMETHING goes wrong. However, I think everyone will be cheering for Wyatt anyway.

 

TRIPLE H vs ROMAN REIGNS

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Winner: Triple H

Why? In my predictions, I stated that against odds, I wanted Kane & The New Age Outlaws to win against The Shield. This could have created a more intense and vengeful connection with ‘Corporate Kane’, and then to The Authority. I felt that The Shield’s attitude could create what a battle with the company akin to Daniel Bryan this year, and Stone Cold Steve Austin during the ‘Attitude Era’.

I think that during the next twelve months, The Shield will dissolve, and Wrestlemania 31 will result in the surprise reunion, perhaps beating the hell out of Triple H, after the match. Triple H’s repeated losses over the last few years say that he is due a win.

This seems more likely, as there have been a lot of mentions of a ‘new era’ unfolding, especially when discussing the power of Roman Reigns and the current rise of Cesaro. The Shield is made up of three men, and the other two are just as worthy of A listing in the coming years, and I don’t think that the talent will be wasted by treating them as one unit.

However, for this reason I am slightly unsure of this match. If all three men are ‘used’ separately, even within the same story, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this process were stretched out longer and we saw this in two years time, with a Triple Threat match between The Shield at Wrestlemania 31, and a Triple H fight at Wrestlemania 32. Considering that they are currently babyfaces, and it’s anybody’s guess how long this will last, such a string of events could take over a year.

I’m not convinced that this match would be particularly amazing, as the acclaimed collision between Bryan and Triple H was heavily led by Bryan. His technical skills added complexity and strategy. Triple H wouldn’t have used so many holds were he against anybody else. He would just have tried to beat the hell out of them, and as HHH vs Reigns is two bulky powerhouses colliding, it might not be nearly as interesting as Bryan’s match. Just punch, kick and throw until the opponent gets worn out.

We know that awesome matches can take place outside of Wrestlemania, with The Shield having a great reputation against The Wyatts since Elimination Chamber, but I kind of want The Shield’s split to be in good time for a spectacular Triple Threat Match at Wrestlemania. No more three-minute matches against Kane and friends. However, I’m standing by the Triple H match next year, as Roman Reigns should be well on top of his game by then (no pun intended), with a rivalry well built.

Besides, I think that the Triple Threat match slot will be used by…

 

JOHN CENA vs DANIEL BRYAN vs CM PUNK (for the World Heavyweight Championship)

Image from DailyDDT

Image from DailyDDT

Winner: John Cena

Why?: We have learned this year that Triple Threats can be fantastic headliner events. It would be a real shame for another not to happen. I think that it should. Cena vs Bryan WILL happen sooner or later.

So why Punk? The likelihood of Punk’s return is anyone’s guess, but a RAW filmed in Chicago in early 2015 could be an ideal lead for this to happen.To really throw a spanner in the works that could intensify the rivalry. It happened this year by dropping in Bryan. How about “Hey, I’m back, and if you want to keep me on board, I want in on that match.”? 

With both Cena and Bryan both overcoming their rivals this year, the victor is anybody’s guess. However, as the ‘underdog’ story is now obsolete, there is no indication as of yet of who is most likely to win. Will the massive support of Daniel Bryan and the ‘Yes Movement’ continue until 2015? Neither have any chance of becoming a heel. I can imagine a relatively friendly challenge between the two, with a third man thrown in for good measure.

I think that considering the ridiculous push that Bryan has received, and the repeated failures trying to make everyone support Cena, that this will be exploited yet again, handing a win to Cena. I can also imagine Punk returning and being dismayed by Bryan snatching the spotlight, continuing to belittle him, and build a rivalry between the too, adding more reason to put him in as the third man of a previously planned Cena vs Bryan match. I can envision Punk feuding with Bryan, until the match under the guise of “so this thing is now the superstar? I’m much better!”, only for Cena to ‘shockingly’ snatch the win. Cue the return of a feud between Cena and Punk, and sending Bryan on his way into another rivalry, presumably either Cesaro, or tangled with the company again.

Still, nobody is sure how genuine Punk (sorry, Phil Brookes)’s sabbatical is.

The only thing that really flaws this idea, is that no matter how horrid WWE try and make Punk look, everyone will just be really happy that he is back. Three faces against one another would be a rarity, and really interesting. There’s no reason that it shouldn’t happen. It would be more like a sport for once! But there is a reason that it possibly wouldn’t happen – the WWE might not fancy their headlining match not to have a ‘villain’.

 

 

THE UNDERTAKER vs STING

Image from What Culture

Image from What Culture

Winner: The Undertaker

Why?: Crazy? Of course. Some will say this shouldn’t happen, or like the aforementioned Rock vs Brock, should have happened long ago. A few years ago, such a match would have been great. A clash of WWE and WCWs premier stupid make-up models. Calls for The Undertaker to retire have been flying in left, right and centre, especially since an ideal closure at Wrestlemania 28. There is no way that this match could live up to the hype, especially after loads of “but the match people really want to see is The Undertaker vs Sting” in wrestling articles, even though I’m not convinced that that is what people want to see at all. Odds are that a match between two men aged over 50, will not be very spectacular. Nobody is even convinced that we will see The Undertaker wrestle again.

Just a few months ago, it was speculated that The Undertaker had a few more opponents get through before a final match against John Cena. As a final match, whatever anyone has to say about Cena, could have been unpredictable and nail-biting. In fact, this is another reason that I am slightly unsure about the aforementioned Triple Threat match – that Cena v Taker will be set up as Taker’s final match. Would WWE hand Cena victory again? But now that the streak is over, would anybody care? Maybe a reason to save it for Wrestlemania 32 if Taker is still around, so that fuss about the streak has had a couple of years to be brushed aside slightly. No more “last Wrestlemania there was an upset when… etc.”

Rumours that plans have had to being turned on their head, and that a planned appearance by Sting on RAW was cancelled due to Undertaker’s injury, add yet more juice to these speculations.

Right now, with no reasoning, beyond a ‘retirement’ stipulation, it’s not very convincing that Taker will return. However, assuming that they are up for it, this could be a very interesting match, as rumours say that Sting may only stay at the WWE for a single match before retiring. Something doesn’t sound right about that though – a 0% win record for such a legend? If this DOES happen, I think this will be a venture by Taker to redeem himself by wanting to take down a legend and an icon, amidst teasing from Sting that Undertaker is past it, but after a lengthy career himself, that he is as good as ever. Undertaker could accuse Sting of avoiding the WWF/WWE for all of these years only to avoid him. With that kind of inspiration, THEN this match could be justified.

However, I still don’t really want to see this happen.

As Brock is already facing the Rock here, I unusually considered Cesaro. Why? Because he is a ‘Paul Heyman Guy’, a slight connection for some kind of revenge, while continuing to push Cesaro into the high ranks. However, as has been considered for a long time, Sting is on the way to the WWE, and The Undertaker, whatever state he is in, seems to be the oddity to begin a feud with.

So, what are your thoughts?