He’s Here…Run.

February 12th saw the very first Smackdown exclusive pay-per-view of the new year, Elimination Chamber. To get to the point, I thought that most of the event was mediocre with a few shining moments and one thing that came right out of left field for me…Bray Wyatt won the WWE championship. Allow me to repeat myself…

BRAY WYATT WON THE TITLE!

I was absolutely floored. Looking at the competitors in the match, I didn’t think that Bray was even considered to hold the title. One would have assumed that it would have been Styles, Miz, or Cena taking it. I’m always the WWE optimist but often times there is a small group of superstars that the titles seem to rotate through. Having Bray win the title, especially in a match with such talented competitors, really raises his stock within the company and demonstrates that there is a consciousness to what fans want. Before people start losing their damn mind, I’m not saying that this awareness is always present but they try so you have to give them credit.

I also think that it gives Bray some legitimacy on the roster, not saying that the title makes the man but Bray sure needed it. Bray was so intriguing but it seemed like every time he was in a major feud, he shit the bed. It all went to hell in a hand basket rather quickly and it left fans feeling deflated. He was like a rising balloon that was popped before it reached the roof (look at me with the analogies!). Bray needs to look strong and like he’s a strong champion, this week’s episode of Smackdown went a long way to prove that.

Bray had to defend his title in a triple threat match, two men who have held multiple titles and had everything going for them. I, in all honesty, was half expecting Styles or Cena to take it because sometimes the WWE just likes to screw with us. I also think that it is very Cena-like to steal the thunder or spotlight from other title holding superstars. He comes in, praises them, and then says something so lame it makes your eyes roll like the Undertaker. When Bray got the victory, my jaw hit the floor. What made Bray look even stronger (in my eyes at least) is that he holds so much power over Randy Orton that he got him to forfeit his title match at Wrestlemania. Wyatt was always a leader but that action by Randy shows how powerful he can actually be.

My hope is that the momentum carries on past Wrestlemania and Bray gets an actual contender for his title. Personally, I’d like this to build to Luke Harper taking on Bray for the title but there is this little monkey on my back that thinks it’ll be one of the usual suspects. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…at least until Tuesday.

Mixed Messages.

Roman Reigns has to defend his title in the Royal Rumble.

Roman Reigns is also entering the Royal Rumble at number one.

I initially thought that he was completely and totally fucked.

This feeling was first brought about when Lesnar was named as a participant. I thought that pretty much guaranteed that Brock would win and Roman would lose. They’ve just been putting all of these road blocks in Roman’s way that it made it seem IMPOSSIBLE that he could walk out of that match with his belt. That’s a little thing that I call ‘Daniel Bryan Syndrome’.

What changed my mind about Roman not winning the belt was the interaction that Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family had with Brock at the end of Raw. I think that Sister Abigail to Brock had more weight to it than just being a wrestling move. There were rumors floating around that a Wyatt Family member would be facing Brock at Wrestlemania and I think that makes perfect sense.

Bray and his followers have feuded with some of the best in the business but always seem to sort of fizzle out after. I don’t care for Lesnar that much (or at all) but the Wyatt’s need something to bring them to the forefront and establish them as a dominant force.

I hate to quote John Cena, but everyone’s time is now.

Wrestlemania XXXI.

Undertaker celebrating his win against Bray Wyatt. Photo courtesy of WWE.

Undertaker celebrating his win against Bray Wyatt.
Photo courtesy of WWE.

Wrestlemania XXXI.

In my personal opinion, this was the best Wrestlemania in recent years.

This year’s Showcase of the Immortals really lived up to the grandeur and prestige that surrounds Wrestlemania. I couldn’t even pick a single moment that stood out in my mind but I suppose I can pick a few!

Undertaker Returns

I could have just written Undertaker and I’m sure that my message would have been conveyed quite well. After what happened at Wrestlemania XXX, I was honestly nervous that was his final walk down the ramp and that we’d never see him again.

Nervous actually isn’t even the right word to describe how I was feeling. I think ‘damn near shitting my pants’ about covers it. People laugh all the time when I tell them that but very few people know what the Undertaker actually means both to me and professional wrestling as a whole. Not meaning to sound cliché here but they call him ‘Phenom’ for a reason.

The gong hit and his music started, I had goosebumps. He walked out from behind that screen in his trademark hat and jacket, he commanded that arena. Watching him walk down to the ring just made my heart swell and I just watched in awe. Every time he graces us with his presence it is a breathtaking moment. He looked fantastic and I hope that he’s got a few more Mania’s left in him

Sting Wrestles at Wrestlemania

This was something that I (among millions of others) had been waiting over a decade for, Sting FINALLY had a match in a WWE ring. Sting showed incredible loyalty to WCW throughout the Monday Night Wars and that’s a feat. I just think that the WWE would have provided a better platform for him but I wouldn’t be writing this if he jumped the ship to WWE all those years ago.

I really liked the way that his match was built, shrouded in mystery and suspense (much like Sting himself). The match may not have turned out how I would have preferred, I still was entertained from beginning to end. Hopefully, the Icon will return for that ever elusive Undertaker/Sting match.

Seth Rollins Cashes in…FINALLY!

I was beginning to think that he would NEVER cash that damn thing in.

I will have to admit that during the main event, I was so nervous that Roman wouldn’t take the victory. As his match progressed, it didn’t seem like he could take much more of Brock’s abuse. Sure, he got a few great superman punches in but Brock kept killing any momentum that he had. It wasn’t looking good for Roman and then it got worse…Seth’s music hit and he brought the briefcase to the ring. He FINALLY cashed that in.

At first I was angry about it (a ginger kid angry…imagine that!) because of how badly I wanted Roman to win. One thing that didn’t make sense to me was how it was declared a triple threat match, I can’t recall a time when that was ever done. I didn’t really think it was fair to do that to Roman, as he wasn’t the champion and had been under so much criticism since he had won the Royal Rumble in January.

With all that being said, I still thought the outcome of the match was great.

Roman got to have his Wrestlemania match, Seth finally cashed in that damn briefcase, and (most importantly) Brock didn’t walk out with the belt.

Everything about it was just fantastic. The matches may not have all turned out how I would have liked (I was legitimately PRAYING for a Sting victory) but I was 100% satisfied with the show. How many times do I say that? I even enjoyed the women’s match for god sakes.

Wrestlemania 31 brought out the best parts of being a wrestling fan. My dad and I laughed, gasped, and lost our breath at the amazing moments that the superstars gave us. I could thank the WWE all I want for giving us such a great event but it will NEVER be enough.

I’m already looking forward to Wrestlemania 32!

Free Falling.

The WWE made a bold choice at this year’s Hell in a Cell event. Brace yourselves…

JOHN CENA WASN’T IN A MAIN EVENT!

I was just as shocked as everyone else when Cena and Orton didn’t close out the pay-per-view. My dad and I immediately knew that something big and/or unusual was planned for the second Hell in a Cell match and that it was going to be one that we would enjoy thoroughly. As with all HIAC matches, I was hoping for a little bit of destruction and chaos. I was not disappointed in the slightest.

After the shock of Cena and Orton not being in the main event wore off, I started to think that this was a bold choice that went against what some fans may have expected from the WWE. I also thought that the company showed a lot of faith in its newer/younger superstars to let them main event. It was so refreshing to not have to sit through the typical main event. What Seth and Dean did was as outside of the box as they are, it was so invigorating. The match was started on top of the cage for god sakes! I was literally on the edge of my seat as thoughts of people falling through the top of the cage ran through my mind.

Not going to lie, I was secretly hoping that something epic was going to happen. Something in the same line as when the Undertaker sent Mick Foley flying off of the top and onto the announce tables. I got my wish, both Seth and Dean fell into the announce tables from the side of the cage. My dad and I were legitimately concerned about the health and well-being of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.

I am well aware that some things are predetermined and whatever but I was drawn right in with what happened. A wave of panic fell over me as I watched two guys lay there with minimal movement. It was damn entertaining but terrifying. That moment was made even scarier when they called for the medical personnel to come out with stretchers and everything. My dad and I called the match as being over at that point. We saw no possible way of them coming back from that. I also just need to take a moment to say that the people who were booing the EMT’s and other medical personnel were just awful. Okay, everyone takes jabs at wrestlers and whatever at a show, but you NEVER make comedic light of a situation where two people could be seriously injured. You don’t know the severity of their injuries or if they are even injured at all. It was in extremely bad taste and something that I did not appreciate. Anyways…

In true WWE fashion, the show did go on and we had one hell of a finish. A very confusing finish, but a great one. I’m still trying to figure out what went on in that ring. It was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen as a wrestling fan and that’s saying a lot in the world of wrestling. I was hoping that they were going to explain a bit more of it on Monday Night Raw but we didn’t get very much of a statement about that weird smoky hologram that we saw in the ring. I wonder how Bray Wyatt and his disciples will figure into this whole menagerie with Cena, Seth, Dean, and the Authority? I sincerely hope that we get more answers than questions.

 

Rising Star.

Money In The Bank always feels like a surprise party to me. What does that mean? Allow me to explain!

You never quite know who will show up (okay, so you kind of do) and you know that not everybody is going to leave in the same shape they arrived in. Some crawl away, some need to be carried out, and some shit is going to get broken.

This particular MITB ladder match has a lot of significance behind it. It won’t just be seen guys clamouring to get to the top of the ladder to get a guaranteed title shot that can be used at anytime. The person who climbs that ladder is guaranteed champion status. For three of the competitors in that match, this will elevate their profile with the company and fans in a huge way. As sad as I am to have Daniel Bryan stripped of the title, this opens up the door for the three guys who have never competed in a Money In The Bank match before. Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, and Cesaro, are being handed a monster opportunity and it is up to them to take full advantage of it. I’m not saying that those three aren’t already over big with the fans but a win in a match with this much significance in sports entertainment will solidify their ‘superstar’ status.

Initially, I had a hard time picking who I thought should win. I love Roman, Bray, and Cesaro. After some thinking, I am really rooting for Cesaro. There is just a quality within him that I love, I think it’s his style of wrestling to be honest. He flawlessly integrates old school moves, like the neutralizer, with a new school type of flair. Even as I’m posting this, I can’t pinpoint it. Whoever wins this match will be bringing in a new era for fans and the company as a whole. There will no longer be a constant repeating cycle of the same guys getting the belts. The fans won’t be getting tired of seeing the same gimmicks over and over again. I’m very excited for this match because I honestly think that this will help to revitalize and refresh the superstars and the fans, especially those who constantly complain about the product being stale. I don’t think that but it definitely could use a shot in the arm, but that’s with anything that has been around as long as World Wrestling Entertainment has.

The WWE provides opportunity to everyone who walks through those ropes, it is up to the individual to capitalize on it and make the most of it. This also has potential to have the winner written into a feud with Daniel Bryan when he returns. It pretty much writes itself.

The face of wrestling may very well change on Sunday. Bring. It. On.

Going To The Extreme.

Tonight the superstars of the WWE will face some of their toughest matches and opponents, tonight is Extreme Rules.

Every match has some sort of crazy stipulation attached that is going to make it harder to gain a victory. No pain, no gain. Let’s take a look at the card…

El Torito vs. Hornswoggle (Kick-off Match)

Stipulation: WeeLC match

I could care less who wins this match. I have ZERO invested in it but it will be a fun match to get the crowd going before the actual event starts. It’ll get a reaction, no guarantee that it will be a good one.

Winner: El Torito

R-Truth and Xavier Woods vs. Alexander Rusev

Stipulation: 2 on 1 Handicap match

I still see this as an obvious squash match. Sure, Woods and Truth got a leg up on Rusev on Raw but it stops there. Why would they have spent all that time and effort building him up as a ‘super athlete’ just to have him lose to two guys with crazy hair?

If he did lose, Rusev would lose all credibility as a competitor and the fans would probably laugh him out of the ring. A victory over two people at the same time would certainly establish him further as the Bulgarian Brute. I am still undecided on Rusev so this match will help me figure out if I even like the guy or not.

Winner: Alexander Rusev

Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger

Stipulation: Elimination Triple Threat match

I have to admit that initially, Rob Van Dam seemed a little out-of-place in this particular match up. I was rooting for Cesaro and Swagger to go at it but the addition of Rob Van Dam makes this match all the more intriguing.

Rob Van Dam is the only guy in this entire thing with nothing to lose but everything to gain.

There are so many elements of this match that are going to work in his favor. Cesaro and Swagger will be at each other’s throats, especially for Swagger costing Cesaro the number one contender spot for the Intercontinental title. In addition to that, Zeb and Heyman will also be at each others throats. All Van Dam has to do it sit back, relax, and watch shit hit the fan.

Cesaro will be at Swagger’s throat and Zeb will be at Heyman’s throat (probably for pulling his moustache), the seeds are being laid for future feuds. That is something that the WWE does very well, planting the seeds for the future. It will be interesting to see if the other two superstars in this match can focus enough to go for a victory against their opponent.

Winner: Rob Van Dam

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

Stipulation: Steel Cage match

On the go-home show this past week, Cena seemed to have his confidence shaken after that opening segment. Bray had a children’s choir singing his signature tune and donning sheep masks. That, ladies and gentlemen, are the things nightmares are made of.

I actually liked seeing that side of Cena, his vulnerability came out and for once you didn’t feel like he was a superhero. Until he gave Renee Young that interview towards the end of the show, he was his usual peppy self. That just destroyed it for me. If I was facing Bray Wyatt in a steel cage, I don’t think that I would be all happy go-lucky. In all reality, I’d probably be peeing my pants.

By non-selling his fear at the match that is happening tonight, Cena made the WWE Universe turn on him even more than they already have. Bray has the fans behind him 1000000%. The fans are tired of seeing Cena win every damn match that he is in. They are sick of seeing him kick out at the two count. They are sick of seeing him as this superhero. What they WANT to see is him lose. They want to see him get beat up. They want to see him be defeated so that he can build himself back up.

I love Cena but even I’m tired of his superhero act. I’m a realist. I know there is a very miniscule chance that he will ever turn heel but they need to make him seem more human to the fans. Not every superstar wins every single match.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Big E. vs. Wade Barrett

Stipulation: none as of this posting

When Wade Barrett won the finals of the Intercontinental tournament on Monday Night Raw, I was over the moon with joy. That may seem like an overreaction to some, but for wrestling fans, it’s a normal reaction.

I’m so happy that this match is happening for two reasons. One, I get to see Bad News Barrett in action. Two, he is going to add the much-needed spice the Intercontinental title landscape needs. I like Big E a lot, I think he’s fun in the ring and maybe needs a little more work on the microphone but I like him overall. The problem is that he has no formidable opponents to go against. He’s stronger than all of them and he’s more powerful. No one he’s faced in the last little while has a style that contrasts his. Well, Wade Barrett has certainly changed that!

I can’t wait to see the bare knuckle brawler go against the pure power of Big E. All Barrett has to do is kill his momentum once and then Big E is done for. Hopefully we end up with a new champion! Barrett is so over that it would be ridiculous to NOT give him the belt.

Winner: Bad News Barrett

Paige vs. Tamina Snuka

Stipulation: none as of this posting

Everyone and their mom knows how I feel about the women’s division.

I like the fact that they are integrating the female wrestlers from the developmental territory and everything but I think that giving Paige the title on the night she debuted was a bit much. The new divas are providing competition and variety in a division that many see as stagnant and repetitive. What I think should have happened was that an already established diva should have taken the title off of Aj Lee and the NXT divas should have done an invasion angle. They could have come in, challenged the current divas and we would have had something that was as shocking as the invasion angle done years ago. It will definitely be interesting to see how this goes tonight and if they will integrate more of the developmental divas. I’m still pulling for the veteran.

Winner: Tamina Snuka

The Shield vs. Evolution

Stipulation: 6 man tag team match

I can’t wait for The Shield to shut Evolution up.

Basically this match is just a giant pissing contest and I’m 100% okay with that. Evolution used to be cutting edge and cool, challenging the established order of things, and asserting their dominance over the rest of the roster. Now that isn’t the case, The Shield are the ones who are kicking ass and taking names. Triple H and his buddies can’t be having that!

The Shield are younger, faster, more powerful, and they don’t need to gang up on people to get the job done. Evolution is strong together but weak individually, The Shield doesn’t have that problem. All I want to see is Roman deliver a superman punch to Batista, rendering him speechless on his media tour for Guardians of the Galaxy. That would be a real treat to fans everywhere.

Winner: The Shield

Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

Stipulation: Extreme Rules match

Daniel Bryan is the definition of a trooper.

This guy gets beat down week after week, even after winning the biggest title that the sport has to offer, gets married, loses his father tragically, and still comes out and entertains the thousands of fans who paid money to see him. His fans are relentless. They cheer when he is up or down, showing him that they are behind him 100%.

Tonight he is going to be facing the devils favorite demon in a match that doesn’t really suit his style of wrestling. This style of match as a victory for Kane written all over it. Daniel doesn’t back down. He won’t give up. Even if he loses, he will still walk out of that match with his head held high. He gives everything he has in the ring and he won’t let Kane walk out of there without suffering just a little bit for almost harming his wife.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

All of the superstars involved in the matches tonight have been through a lot in the last few weeks, I fully expect more than a few of them to need help out of the arena tonight.

Kicking It Old School.

Let me start off by saying how much I really do enjoy themed episodes of Raw. They’re so much fun and allow the superstars and fans to enjoy something a little special, everyone just has a good time with them. This past Monday, the theme was Old School (probably my favourite out of all the themed episodes). We got to see legend upon legend and it was just a fun show, not just for the fans but for the superstars as well.

The show opened with Mr. Woooo himself, Ric Flair. In typical Ric style, he came out to have fun and Randy Orton interrupted him and ruined it for the rest of us. He went on his typical rant about how he is the greatest superstar of this generation or any other and how everyone should respect him (blah, blah, blah). I laughed so hard when the camera panned to Flair because he looked like he had a few and trying to stifle some laughter. Orton tried to assert his dominance as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and was promptly stopped by John Cena, who gave the legend the respect that he deserved for his accomplishments in pro wrestling. Then the usual happened, Randy Orton received a challenge and he bitched out. He rolled right out of that ring and walked away with his two belts, with that same smug look on his face that he always has. There is one thing that Orton is very good at and that is playing the role of the asshole. One hundred and ten percent brilliant.

The one thing that he said that I did agree with is that the Authority should reverse their decision on the main event match at the Royal Rumble, Randy Orton versus John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Royal Rumble is the very first step in the Road to Wrestlemania. It is the first pay-per-view of the year and it is of the utmost importance. The match will be good and all but I’m hungry for someone new to take the championship helm. I’m not saying that Randy Orton and John Cena can never be champions again, I’m just saying that they can’t be the champions all the time. There is enough time between now and Wrestlemania to bring someone new into the title race. It just has to be the right person and done properly. Nobody messes around when it comes to anything to do with Wrestlemania.

What we also got to see was Daniel Bryan as a member of the Wyatt Family. It’s still kind of weird to imagine him involved with that faction but I still love it. The Wyatt’s took on Rey Mysterio and The Usos in a three on three tag team match. The difference in Daniel’s demeanor was quite noticeable and I actually kind of liked this aggressive version of the flying goat. The match itself was fantastic, with The Usos and Rey picking up the win via pinfall. You could see the struggle that Daniel Bryan was facing. He disappointed some of the WWE Universe and disappointed some of his fellow superstars. When someone is disappointed in someone, it isn’t hard to tell. Being with the Wyatt Family is going to show everyone just how resilient and adaptable Daniel Bryan really is.

Big E. Langston also continued his Intercontinental Title run and his dominance over Curtis Axel. I really like this combination of superstars, they work really well together and that is something nice to see. There is a nice balance of pure power and calculated athleticism between the two that just makes for great matches. What I didn’t like is that they had Ryback on commentary, this man is even more boring on the microphone than he is in the ring. I could go on a rant about how much I don’t like him but I will spare everyone that 85747585 words that I will inevitably write.

One guy that could teach someone a lesson is Roddy Piper, The Shield learned that the hard way on Piper’s Pit. If someone reading this has NEVER seen a Piper’s Pit segment, you truly haven’t lived. Roddy Piper is the most talented superstar that I’ve ever seen on the microphone, with Punk being his modern-day equivalent. I’ve never seen someone so quick on his toes and have such snappy lines. The Shield, especially Dean Ambrose, thought that they had one up on Piper but he ran out of bubblegum (If no one gets that reference, please watch They Live.). What Roddy expertly did was drive an even further wedge in between The Shield. He did that by asking Roman if he beats Punk, does that make him better than his teammates? My only response to that was ‘Oh snap!’, there is no other logical retort to something like that. When they challenged the kilted one, Punk and the New Age Outlaws came to his aid. I was kind of hoping that we would get a match out of that with Piper as the referee or something crazy like that but it didn’t happen and I wasn’t upset. Just a little sad that no one got a coconut cracked over their skull…I’m kidding…maybe.

We did get a little advancement in terms of story and rivalries, nice to see since the Royal Rumble is just a few short weeks away. Alberto Del Rio started to spark a feud with Batista (I don’t really care for Batista that much but he would crush Del Rio), the Rhodes Brothers took on the Real Americans, Damien Sandow continued his losing streak against Khali, and we had a divas tag team match. Hell, we even got to see 3MB take on Too Cool and Rikishi! We also were witnesses to Big Show challenging Brock Lesnar and Lesnar running away like the little bitch that he is. I just do not understand this guy at all. Heyman and himself claim he is the beast incarnate, yet, he can’t even take on a challenge from an opponent? This all started with yet another confrontation with Henry, resulting in Henry being put in the Kimora lock by Lesnar. I don’t think in an all out brawl that Lesnar could beat either one of these men. That being said, I do like the idea of Lesnar taking on one of the big guys in the WWE but I think a triple threat match would provide a unique angle for this story. In all honesty, I just want to see Lesnar get the crap beat out of him. I’ve always said that Lesnar couldn’t wrestle his way out of a wet paper bag and he keeps proving me right with every single match he has.

My favourite match of the entire broadcast was watching CM Punk take on Roman Reigns.

This match had everything going for it. It had Mean Gene bring out the New Age Outlaws, they did the introduction for CM Punk, and we had some world-class wrestling. In the beginning, there was a definite power struggle and Roman was trying to show Punk that he wasn’t someone to mess with. The two turning points in this match were when Roman missed his flying superman punch, causing him to receive a boot from Punk, and when he could not make the superplex. I was one of those people who thought Punk had it in the bag after that mixed superplex, I was sure he was going to pick up the victory rather quickly. Boy, was I wrong.

Roman missed his first spear but connected on the second. Watching that spear is just as deadly as feeling the move first hand. You can actually feel the impact while you’re watching the broadcast from the comfort of your own couch. The moment that sealed the deal to make this the best match of the night was the appearance of Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. Everyone knows that Jake has had his share of ups and downs throughout his entire life and wrestling career, he was in bad shape until Diamond Dallas Page took him in and helped him turn it all around. He looked absolutely fantastic and the fans lost their mind when he walked out carrying that snake in a bag. Dean was laid out in the ring, with Damien slithering all over him, Jake also used his ‘partner’ of sorts to scare away Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. The only thing that could have made this any better would have been if he had one of them tangled in the ropes like he had Randy Savage all those years ago. You could tell by the smile on Dean’s face that this moment was just as much for him as it was for wrestling fans all over the WWE Universe.

Apparently, there will now be an annual Old School Raw episode airing every January. This wrestling fan could not be any happier about that!