Royal Rumblings.

The Royal Rumble is the first stop on the road to Wrestlemania and it’s always been one of my favourite events on the WWE calendar. I still count down with that clock with the same level of enthusiasm at age 28 as I did at age 8. I was really excited for this year’s Rumble because I thought that there was really no way to know what was going to happen.

You had the possibility of Kenny Omega, Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor, and/or Samoa Joe being in that match. Excitement was high and I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting, counting down, and trying to contain myself.

I was a tad bit disappointed to put it politely.

I do want to make something clear, I thought that the pay-per-view as a whole was really good. The cruiserweight title match between Rich Swann and Neville was actually my favourite. As I was watching the Royal Rumble match, I could feel my excitement escape me as each entrant came out and it wasn’t who I thought it would be. I expect a few surprise entrants and maybe one or two people that are new to the roster. We didn’t get ANY of that. I had thought that with Shinsuke losing the title to Bobby Roode the night before at Takeover, he would be at the Rumble…NOPE! I thought that Finn Balor would appear as the thirtieth entrant and be dressed as the Demon King and have a stare down with the Undertaker…NOPE! With Samoa Joe being in a suit at Takeover, I thought for sure that he would be in the Rumble…and again I was a little disappointed.

The biggest disappointment for me was that Kenny Omega wasn’t there. Now, I know that he did interviews and stuff saying that he wasn’t coming to WWE but, as fans all know, that means nothing.

What really pissed me off about the Rumble was that Orton won and Roman was entrant number thirty. My heart literally sank. I love Roman but was his entering as the last man really necessary? Short answer is no, it wasn’t. The only thing that was gained from Roman even being in the match was to set up a potential feud with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. And the icing on the cake was Orton winning the entire thing and getting to main event the biggest event of the year. They could have literally given it to anyone else in that Rumble and it wouldn’t have been half as disappointing. I see no value at all in giving it to Randy other than boring the bejesus out of people.

This year was the year that they could have done ANYTHING with the Royal Rumble. There was an air of unpredictability surrounding it and literally nothing happened. There’s less than two months until Wrestlemania, now is not the time to be screwing around trying to figure things out.

In A Flash.

I’ve waited a while to post my thoughts on Survivor Series weekend simply because it was just such a bizarre four days of wrestling. There were title changes, unexpected victories, unexpected losses, and it was glorious. This past weekend also bore witness to some of the best wrestling I’ve seen in a while.

The weekend kicked off with NXT: Takeover in Toronto, I had a friend in attendance and I was DYING with jealousy. Especially after that tag title match between The Revival and #DIY. I’ve always had a soft spot for tag team wrestling and this match struck me right in the heart. Both teams wrestled with so much passion and drive that you couldn’t help but be drawn in. The raw emotion on the face of Tomasso and Johnny was truly a sight to be seen and the crowd felt with them. Emotion like that is what makes wrestling something I’m happy and proud to be a part of. Years of hard work, determination, wins, losses, it’s all worth it for those three seconds leading to victory.

Those three seconds that lead to victory can also lead to defeat, as was the case when Shinsuke Nakamura lost the NXT title to Samoa Joe. That was a victory that left me absolutely floored. I was expecting to have Nakamura as the NXT champ for a few more months and then see him bumped up to the main roster to take on Finn Balor at Wrestlemania. I have lofty dreams my friends but if this weekend of wrestling has taught us anything, it’s that expect the unexpected.

Survivor Series echoed that sentiment the following night. I took a few notes but I had to stop because I was just in awe of what I was watching. The whole event was so wonderfully chaotic, it made me so happy! I thought that the show had good pacing, the matches were all pretty good, and there were some surprises. My favourite traditional Survivor Series match had to be the men’s teams from Raw and Smackdown taking each other on. Granted, the match didn’t have the same emotional tone that the NXT tag match did but it had all of the excitement and then some. The obvious standout moment was that spear that Shane McMahon took from Roman Reigns in mid-air. I thought for sure that he wasn’t going to get up from it, and that’s no fault of Roman’s. Yes, there were actually people freaking out saying that it was Roman’s fault that Shane was injured and had to be eliminated. The whole match was fantastic from start to finish and didn’t seem as long as it was.

As I had suspected, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar main evented the entire show. What I didn’t expect was how the match would end…with a Goldberg victory. The whole match lasted less than a minute and a half and the place erupted. I mentioned in my last post that Goldberg had to win to get them out of the hole that Brock had put them in with his booking. Goldberg’s victory showed that the Beast was NOT unbeatable and definitely isn’t the king of the mountain.

Lame, but let me have my moment.

I found it very curious that people complained that Bill squashed Brock but Brock does that EVERY time he has a match. What was even more curious is that only Goldberg came out to address the results of the match, he also announced that he was officially entering the Royal Rumble in January of 2017. There was no speech by Heyman, no taped interview with Brock, not a single peep. My thoughts are that this is going to result in some sort of rubber match between the two of them at Wrestlemania in Orlando.

By the time Smackdown rolled around this week, I was spent. I wish every week in wrestling was as wonderfully chaotic as this one was but I don’t know if I could handle it.

On to the next event…

Where Do We Go From Here.

Photo Courtesy of WWE

Photo Courtesy of WWE

Seth Rollins is our new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

And, as we all know, every champion needs a number one contender. Seth has one in Randy Orton, but is that the right way to go?

On the Raw after Mania, Brock Lesnar managed to get himself suspended by going full on beast mode on a camera man and the announcers. I have to admit that even I was taken aback and a little shocked by it, something like that hadn’t really been seen since the Nexus invaded Raw in 2010 (correct me if I’m wrong). Sheer brutality at it’s finest.

However, I was overjoyed when his disobedience resulted in Stephanie suspending his ass. My heart almost burst in a fit of joy. Sure, he has a rematch clause but who know when he will choose to use it or if Seth will still be champion. Another point of joy for me was that John Cena was in no way involved in the title match at Mania or in any of the events that came the next night. I thought that Roman should be the one that got the first crack at Seth and that title belt.

Boy, was I ever off.

The week after, Orton won the number one contender spot for the World Heavyweight Championship. Granted, he won it fair and square but having him in that spot just doesn’t feel right. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Roman was built up so much and then took such a shit kicking from fans that wanted Daniel Bryan in the title spot. Fact of the matter is that if fans don’t accept someone new into the WWE title landscape, nothing is ever going to change. You can’t have the same three or four guys going for that top prize (one of the three can’t even fucking show up for more than a handful of dates a year). In order to keep things fresh and keep fans on their toes, you need to toss someone in there who will (as my dad says) ‘fuck shit up’. He doesn’t have to be the edgiest, do crazy acrobatics, be the strongest, be the meanest, or knock promos out of the park every time he takes the microphone. Roman is that guy to me, he has the passion and the drive to do this but so many people are still so pissed that Daniel wasn’t in the position that Roman was. Roman isn’t some jobber, he has drive and determination and I think that he can be that top guy. Argue with me all you want, I don’t really care.

I love Daniel Bryan but he didn’t fit into the story at the time Roman won the Rumble. Randy and John have both proven themselves more than worthy of being the champ ad have been over a dozen times each. That’s all well and good but they need to inject someone who brings something new to the title race and Roman was a breath of fresh air to me. I think he has a lot of untapped potential and it just pisses me off so much that people shit all over him because he earned an opportunity.

My mind is blown that people scream for change and then get pissy when it happens.

With Extreme Rules this Sunday, it will be interesting to see what the outcome of the title match and what direction they take the title in.

I think that Roman’s time in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship race is far from over.

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.

A New Hope.

Raw was in Chicago. But was CM Punk?

No, he wasn’t.

The crowd was rowdy and then his music hit, but he was nowhere to be found. Instead, we got treated to Paul Heyman and another villainous promo. Heyman sat in the ring, Punk style, and blamed the fans for stealing him and even went as far to blame the Undertaker. The inability of Punk to stop Taker at Wrestlemania last year was apparently the catalyst in the destruction of their relationship. I personally think that their match was the best match of the entire event last year. For the destruction of their relationship, Heyman wants the streak ended and Taker defeated by Brock Lesnar. Lesnar is the only capable superstar to do this in his mind.

Lesnar hit his cue and came out to wow us with his verbal acuity. He babbled about how the Undertaker is scared of him, I saw Raw last week and it looked like he pissed his pants at the sight of Taker. I don’t blame him because I would have done the exact same thing. Mark Henry came out to face Brock and Lesnar did his typical ‘I’m going to huff and puff to look really badass but everyone will see what a terrible wrestler I really am’ act and then he peaced out. I find Lesnar good for a cheap pop and reaction from people (not me, unless you count dislike) but he can’t wrestle for shit. Now, let’s talk about a couple of guys who can wrestle…

The Usos.

These two guys are probably the hottest tag team that the WWE has seen in a long time. I figured that they’d get screwed over, yet again, when they were set to face the New Age Outlaws. I figured that Hunter’s buddies were going to get to keep the titles that they didn’t really earn or deserve. Boy, was I ever wrong.

The Uso brothers wrestled a beautiful match, watching them is literally like watching a ballet in the ring. When Jimmy got the winning fall, I screamed ‘YES!’ at the top of my lungs and actually fist pumped. Not even joking, I actually held back tears. There is no better feeling than seeing someone get a title belt when they truly deserve it. Everyone in attendance that night could read it across the faces of Jimmy and Jey when they got to hold the belts that they fought so hard for. Moments like that make me truly happy and proud that I am a wrestling fan.

As fans, we really did get spoiled rotten on Raw this week. The WWE did all that they could to divert attention away from #HijackRAW and I think that they did a really good job of it. We got to see the beginning of the break up of Cesaro and Swagger. I am so happy about that because Cesaro is WAY too good to be saddled with such a mediocre partner. Jack was simply jealous that Cesaro was becoming so accepted by the fans and he wanted to stop that. When he interrupted Cesaro’s match with Big E, I thought Cesaro was going to flip his shit and knock him out. Cesaro did the same thing to Jack later that night, when Swagger faced Big E, just so he knew how it felt. We all knew the break up of that team was coming but watching the seeds of that split being planted was the best part.

That same logic also applies to The Shield. They had another epic match with the Wyatt Family on Monday and you could cut the tension between Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose with a knife. Seth was left hanging and then he left his group members hanging. He was always the one who was holding them together, fixing what was broken and he just could not deal with it anymore. As sad as I would be to see such an amazing and dominating group split up, they would be so strong as singles competitors.

The final moments of Raw were the same as they’ve been for the last few months, Daniel Bryan got fucked.

He had to face Bootista, I mean, Batista. Randy Orton was ringside as well, how could this match have possibly ended well for Daniel? Hunter pulled his usual shit to get his buddy over and the fans voiced their opinions about it quite loudly. Batista just looks so tired in the ring, he can’t keep up with someone who works at the speed that Daniel Bryan does. Fans notice that and it reflects in their reaction towards what they are seeing in the ring. He’s just boring to watch, I’m not hating on him but he’s not what people want to watch anymore. When Daniel was attacking his knee, I was secretly hoping that something would happen and he would be out of the Wrestlemania main event. Harsh? Not really.

I would also like to add that I thoroughly enjoyed Aaron Paul as the special guest. Not only is he beautiful, but he seemed to genuinely be enjoying himself and what was happening in the ring. I hope that the WWE has him back again soon. Mostly so I can oogle him.

Another special moment was the announcement that WIlliam Moody, a.k.a Percy Pringle, a.k.a Paul Bearer, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame Class of 2014. I truly hope that the Undertaker is the one who inducts him, along with Kane, because he was the man who made both of them into the superstars they are today. I think that they would have been popular without him but he moulded them and shaped their in-ring characters, making them that much more special to the fans. Rest in peace Mr. Moody.

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!

And Your NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion Is…

RANDY ORTON!

Yes. You heard me correct, Randy freaking Orton is now the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. That was not the ending that the WWE Universe was hoping for and I was 110% shocked. I honestly didn’t think that Randy was capable of even beating Cena in a match like this. The one thing that I didn’t like from their match up was that he handcuffed Cena to the bottom rope and took advantage of his position. He should have just beat him clean, even in a match with a stipulation like a TLC match. With him handcuffing John to the ropes, it just proved that he can’t win without some kind of help. I feel like it sort of diminished the historic aspect of the match a little bit.

When he opened Monday Night Raw, he strutted past Cena like he was a king and Cena was a lowly peasant. It was beautiful.

He blabbed on about how he is the most powerful superstar and the best wrestler on the roster, the usual speech that he gives. Cena, ever so brilliantly, interrupted him and Daniel Bryan ended up with a main event match against Randy Orton. It wasn’t a title match but it was the match that fans wanted to see. Yet again, Orton proved that he can’t compete against someone with an advanced skill set like Daniel Bryan. Randy plays the heel brilliantly and has had some great matches but he couldn’t hold a candle to Daniel Bryan in terms of technical ability. That’s one of the beauties of being a wrestling fan though, you can go from cheering to booing someone in a span of ten seconds.

What we also got treated to was a bunch of great matches on Raw, some of which were rematches from TLC. They were so great that I didn’t even mind seeing them twice! I especially enjoyed the rematch that took place between Fandango and Dolph Ziggler, these two men are tremendous talents and I hope that the WWE keeps these two feuding with each other. There are two huge egos going against each other here and it could make for some fantastic television. We all know that Ziggler is a fantastic athlete and can sell a move like nobody else can in the ring.

The Rhodes Brothers took on Rey Mysterio and the Big Show, half of the teams that participated in the fatal four-way match the previous night. I liked it but I’ve never been a big Rey fan, the best moment of the match was the sportsmanship shown at the end. Seeing that wrestlers respect each other and their respective in-ring work is something that fans aren’t privy to, it makes the sport that much better (You don’t see that very often anywhere else!). We also got treated to a newer tag team, Big E. Langston and Mark Henry. Holy…

I just love these two guys and I love it even more when they are paired together in a tag team match. They took on the Real Americans, and when I say take on what I actually mean is completely destroyed! Another team that got decimated by their opponent was The Shield, who took on CM Punk and The Usos. I was so happy to see that Jimmy and Jey got a chance to showcase their talents after they got shut out of the tag team championship race. That doesn’t matter right now as they are using each and every opportunity they are given to showcase their talent and ability. They may not have been on the winning team but they certainly won over the fans. The Shield showed a stronger bond on Raw, especially after Roman accidentally spearing Dean at the TLC event. I still think that there will be an inevitable break up of The Shield that will probably coincide with a major pay-per-view, with Roman emerging as the budding star of the group. Like I’ve said before, they are all talented but Roman really wowed everyone with his performance at Survivor Series. The quality of wrestling that we got treated to on both the TLC pay-per-view and Monday Night Raw was like an early christmas present from the wrestling gods.

I hope that trend continues heading into the Royal Rumble at the end of January, and EVERYONE knows what that means! The road to Wrestlemania will have officially begun and this wrestling fan couldn’t be more happy about it.