It’s A New Day.

(Just a short note…this post was written last night during commercial breaks on Monday Night Raw. The draft has already happened but I wasn’t able to catch it live, I still wanted to express my opinion on what happened during Monday Night Raw.)

Tonight was the first step to changing the landscape of the WWE for the better. Brand extensions have been done before and it was always pretty entertaining but tonight just seemed to breathe new life into the WWE. The draft doesn’t even take place until tomorrow night on the first episode of Smackdown LIVE but I feel like a kid on Christmas eve.

I have to admit that I was finding it a little difficult to get through the last few weeks of wrestling, especially being evacuated from my home and not being able to properly keep up with it all.

This brand extension is going to be much different from those of the past and that has me very excited. The new general managers weren’t from the line up of usual suspects one would pick, Triple H wasn’t involved in any way and that’s step one to me. Having such unusual choices is the turning point, both men chosen as GM for the respective shows were told that they didn’t fit the mould. Neither Daniel Bryan, nor Mick Foley, have ANY ties to the Authority or anything corporate. Actually, both of these guys seem the least likely to be ‘corporate’ in nature.

The rosters that they could both potentially end up with also have me fascinated because I can’t recall a brand extension where the rules were so unique. Teams could be split up as each brand has the option to take one or all members of a tag team. Could you imagine if Enzo and Cass got split up? Or the New Day? I would personally consider it a crime against humanity if either one of those things happened.

Nobody is going to be one hundred percent happy with what happens tomorrow night on Smackdown LIVE. Let’s face reality here, having a ‘passionate discussion’ with fellow wrestling fans is one of the best parts of being a wrestling fan. What I want to happen out of this draft is that both brands get a kick in the ass and are revitalized, they’re fresh, and we get a level of competition not seen since the Attitude Era.

I won’t be able to cover the draft live and in-person but I’ll be glued to my Twitter feed with you guys tomorrow night!

Shane-O-Mac Attack.

I’ve taken a while to write this post because I’m just blown away at the fact that Shane McMahon is taking on the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

I never usually read any kind of dirt sheet or give in to rumors, I try not to believe anything until the WWE has it on television or reports it themselves. However, I broke my little rule and saw that the Undertaker’s opponent at Wrestlemania 32 would be someone who was from outside the company, but was once with the company. My mind RACED with who it could be but I came up with absolutely nothing.

Zilch. Zip. Zero. Nada.

When Shane McMahon’s music hit on Monday Night Raw, I choked on my own saliva and my dad’s jaw hit the floor. He was the last person that I ever expected to see in a WWE ring again, let alone facing one of the greatest of all time. Aside from the match (which is going to be awesome!), I really enjoyed the premise that brought back Shane’s return. He didn’t just show up, talk, and leave. He was there with a purpose and a real story was laid out in a matter of minutes, he was there to tell his loving sister that she was not next in line. I went bat shit crazy.

All three of the McMahon’s are great on television, one of my favorite moments was watching Vince try to stifle his smiles as he watched his children.

The actual match is what really perplexes me because I have no idea how it will go. I think that both men are capable but they’re no spring chickens, Hell in a Cell is one of the most grueling types of matches one could be involved in. Some people are saying that Shane isn’t actually going to compete and he’ll have someone do it for him or that there will be more stipulations added before Wrestlemania.

I literally have no idea what to keep tying about because I don’t know what is going to happen in the match, the weeks leading up to it, or the weeks following. All I know is that this is one of the most exciting stories that they’ve had in months and it’s something that can keep going for a long time if it’s executed properly. I know that I’m not the only one who wants to see Stephanie have to take orders from her brother, payback sure will be a bitch.

My only gripe is that I wish Wrestlemania was closer because I’m ready!

Turning On A Dime.

Three huge things happened in the wrestling world this week. Three things that could change the outcome of two of the WWE’s biggest events of the year, Wrestlemania and the Royal Rumble.

Let’s start with Monday Night Raw and the fact that Roman actually retained the title. The match wasn’t what I thought it would be in that it wasn’t riddled with ridiculous stipulations that would virtually guarantee a loss, but just had the right amount of fuckery attached to keep it ridiculous. Vince was the guest referee and pulled the typical tricks like not seeing things and slower than usual counts. It came to a point where Vince was incapacitated, Scott Armstrong came and went, and another official came out to properly count Roman to victory. The match was good but that wasn’t what was most interesting, the shocker came at the end.

As he and Stephanie were retreating to the back, Vince announced that Roman would have to defend his title in the Royal Rumble match against 29 other superstars. That was only done one other time in the history of the event, and my jaw dropped when it was announced. Intrigue for that event shot up 1000% for that reason and a few others…

If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few days, some of the biggest names in New Japan have given their notice after Wrestlekingdom 10.

Excuse me for a moment…AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I will admit that I haven’t been following NJPW for long but I instantly loved Nakamura, among others in the promotion. Of course, as soon as that report came out, the wrestling universe exploded. It was literal insanity. There were people already confirming that those who gave their notice signed and that the launch of the WWE Network in Japan was to coincide with the announcement. The dirt sheets went insane and it was the number one talked about item on my news feed that night.

Like could you imagine Finn Balor and the Bullet Club in the WWE?

I used to keep tabs on certain wrestling news sites but I haven’t really paid attention to much in the last couple of years unless I feel like it’s something super important. I am very much a ‘believe it when I see it’ type of person but this is just too good to not pay attention to. Even the WWE itself has acknowledged it in an article on their own website, that NEVER happens…EVER! Finn Balor even made reference to the Bullet Club on his Instagram and people went even more wild. This could change the face of wrestling from here on out, my dream would be that they debut some of the NJPW at the Royal Rumble and that would result in one of the craziest Mania’s ever.

Lofty goals but Shinsuke Nakamura did an interview in which he said he was going to the WWE after he is done with New Japan. The practical side of me doesn’t want to believe it until I see it but the crazy wrestling fan side of me lost its damn mind.

Another piece of wrestling news that caught me by surprise is that John Cena is undergoing shoulder surgery and will miss the Royal Rumble and, possibly, Wrestlemania. I had to calm myself down because that news also completely changed what I thought the possible stories would be for Mania season. There’s no possibility of him swooping in to win the Rumble and being in the main event of Mania. I wish no ill will on anyone but these last few months, and going forward, will be very interesting for fans all over the world.

Seth is still out, Cesaro is still out, Cena will be out, the Rumble is a title match, huge stars of NJPW are leaving and possibly coming to WWE…I literally can’t even right now.

As cliché as it sounds, I’m ready for the road to Wrestlemania.

Power Play.

Photo Courtesy of WWE

Photo Courtesy of WWE

Monday Night Raw was one of the final stops on the road to Wrestlemania XXXI.

This was the last major chance that the superstars had to show themselves off and make their mark before the Showcase of the Immortals. I personally think that they did a fantastic job.

Sting kicked off the broadcast by calling out Triple H in the middle of the ring. He spoke about the conniving and manipulative nature of the Cerebral Assassin and his words almost earned him a patented Stephanie McMahon slap. Triple H came down to confront the Vigilante and we got one epic standoff. Well, it would have been epic had Hunter not chickened out and left ringside. He had his sledgehammer but Sting had that bat. There is no guarantee who will win this fight but I think it speaks volumes that Hunter back away like he did. Will he get Sting when his guard is down? Is this all just a double-cross?

I am still in shock that I get to see Sting in a WWE ring after waiting over a decade. There is no bad outcome for this match for me. I’m just happy that I get to see him wrestle on a platform truly worthy of his ability.

(On a historic note, it was 14 years ago this Monday that Vince purchased WCW and won the Monday Night Wars.)

As stacked as the Wrestlemania card is this year, I think that the Intercontinental Championship ladder match is going to be the one to steal the show. The entire situation seems a little chaotic and comedic at times but these competitors have put on some of the most consistently entertaining matches and segments. The person who I want to win is Wade Barrett but the realist part of me is thinking that it will be Dolph Ziggler. Some may see it as a ‘downgrade’ for Dolph but I think that it doesn’t matter what belt a superstar carries, it’s all in how he carries it.

We also got treated to a divas match and some tag team matches, I may not have agreed with who won but I was still entertained. One point of contention that I have is with this whole #GiveDivasAChance movement. I think that it’s great that people want women’s wrestling to be given more exposure within the company because they do have some extremely talented women on that roster. However, it can’t just be AJ, Paige, and the Bellas; everyone needs to get a chance at the belt. AJ isn’t the saviour of the women’s division, I’d hate to break it to some people. There are women who are more talented and more athletic. If you want women to get a fair shake, they all have to be treated as equals in the division and on the roster. Maybe I’m reaching for that rainbow but that’s how I see it. They all work hard so they should all have a shot, there really isn’t that many women on the main roster to begin with. I don’t think the women’s division should be all sunshine and rainbows but you can’t just apply the movement to a small group of them.

Now that I’ve ranted, I think the biggest moment of the night was when Roman grabbed the title out of Lesnar’s hand and held it up. I was rendered speechless and I realize how hard that is to believe coming from someone like me. People will always bitch and moan about Roman and I could give two shits. Like I said in a previous post, no one is ever truly ready to be in that main event spot at an event with the grandeur of Wrestlemania (if you say you are, you’re lying through your teeth). Taking Brock’s title was a major power play by Reigns and I think that it sent a VERY strong message to Lesnar.

I also wanted to address the fact that Lesnar resigned with the WWE, inking a multi-year deal. Yeah, I’m not happy about it but I have heard rumors of what they plan to do with him and I don’t think that he’ll continue on as champ. To me, it doesn’t make sense to put that much steam behind Roman and then just take it all away because some block headed dope can write his name on a line. Before anyone loses their mind, I don’t think Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan are or were in the same type of situation so get out of here with that nonsense. I think that this signing was a strategic move on the part of Vince and WWE to keep Brock away from UFC. Did Brock honestly think that they would let him fight for both companies at once? There’s guys that work a lot harder than he does but I do understand why that decision was made from a business standpoint. I don’t like it in the least but I respect it. Since I’m such a curious cat, I want to know the terms of his deal. We all know that he can’t handle the work and he doesn’t like to travel so it will be interesting to see how often we will actually see him and what he will be doing. I’ve heard the rumors but I tend to not believe something until WWE releases an official statement or I see it for myself.

These people can change their minds like people change their underwear.

Out With The Old.

Photo courtesy of WWE

Photo courtesy of WWE

Stephanie McMahon brought up something tonight that really caught my attention.

This Wrestlemania could be Cena-less.

Hold the phone. This cannot be!

Oh but it can!

Cena has been a staple at the event for the last decade. He’s fought some of the biggest and baddest in the business and has achieved incredible accolades in his career. I don’t know how I’ll manage but I’m pretty sure that I can survive a Wrestlemania without John Cena.

I rip on John Cena constantly but I think he’s a great superstar and a great personality. I still love to wear my Cena merchandise and I wear that stuff with pride. He will always be a major presence in the company, on television, on pay-per-views, and will always be one of the most dedicated superstars to ever step through the ropes. However, I don’t think that all of those things necessarily warrant his presence for this event. There really isn’t that much left for him to accomplish in his career, this man has literally done it all. Stepping out of the spotlight for one event won’t kill him. John Cena won’t fade away into oblivion, even though some wish that he would.

By not appearing this year, I personally think that he’d show some support to the younger talent and the talent that seems to be stuck in some kind of mid-card purgatory. He isn’t exactly a spring chicken any more. Cena has lasted longer than many of his counterparts and has had quite the illustrious career. Everyone needs to calm down because I am not saying he needs to retire or anything like that, just step back a bit. Give the future of this company a chance to be truly recognized and have their moment in the sun.

After that, he can go right back to being Super Cena and the guy that we all love to heckle.

Heat Wave.

The biggest party of the summer is upon us, and some people are going to leave a wee bit disappointed and it won’t be because they got pushed into the pool. Let’s take a look at the card, it’s going to be a good one…

John Cena (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)

Initially, I could not have been more unenthusiastic towards this match. It’s something that we’ve seen before and I just don’t like Brock at all. I’m not Cena’s biggest fan right now but I dislike Brock Lesnar a hell of a lot more.

Cena has been working to build up this match pretty much by himself, he’s appeared every week and delivers fantastic work. Even if it’s the same thing that we’ve seen a thousand times, the man knows how to get a crowd going and nobody can deny that. What does Brock do? Comes out and hops around on the top of the ramp, throws out a cuss word or two, and we’re expected to shiver in our booties? I don’t think so. Nothing about him scares me, except for the fact that he has no eyebrows. What’s going to happen is Brock will dominate for a bit, see his own blood, start to panic, and then he will scream like a little girl. Happens every time. The man couldn’t wrestle his way out of a paper bag. It also doesn’t help his case when he doesn’t show up all the time to promote what he’s in. Sure, he’ll show up this coming Raw but where was he last week? This whole video promo/via satellite business doesn’t make me want to be more invested in this match.

The plus side of this whole thing is that whoever walks out of Summerslam as the champion is essentially just a place holder for the next guy, who I am hoping is Roman Reigns or Cesaro. Cena has nothing to really gain by having the belt any longer and nobody is buying Lesnar as a full-time champion. If you do then you clearly put too much booze in your coffee.

Winner: John Cena

Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz (c) (Intercontinental Championship Match)

A movie star versus one of the most talented guys on the roster today. I don’t see a competition here at all.

The Miz does absolutely nothing for me as a wrestling fan. He has no charisma, no spunk, and does a figure four that would make your grandma weep (and not in a good way). I’m not going to say that a wrestler isn’t a hard worker (unless you’re a part timer like Lesnar or Batista) because I know it isn’t easy. Miz just bugs the shit out of me. He just seems like a guy who wants to be famous for anything and thinks it’s cool to be a wrestler.

Then you have Dolph Ziggler, a guy who is just a treat to watch in the ring. Every time he wrestles it is like a ballet. Many see him as mid-card right now, but every single time that he goes out there he wrestles like he is in a title bout. That is what wrestling is about and that is how each guy on the roster should treat every single match they are in. It is about giving your best for yourself and the fans who come out to see a show. Miz can’t hold a candle to Dolph.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt

What will make this match interesting is that neither Harper or Rowan will be allowed at ringside to assist Bray, due to victories scored on both Raw and Smackdown by Chris Jericho. Not that Bray can’t hold his own in the ring but his two followers make it a lot easier to secure a victory.

No matter who wins this match, Bray will walk out of it a bigger superstar than he was before he walked down that ramp. If anyone in the WWE can do that, it’s Jericho. He put over Fandango at Wrestlemania for god sakes!

Winner: Chris Jericho

Paige vs. AJ Lee (c) (Divas Championship Match)

I actually was starting to like the whole frenimies angle. I thought it was inventive and interesting, now it’s kind of worn out to me and I could give a shit. It makes me sad because I really thought that the divas division was making a turn around.

Winner: AJ Lee

Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton

For weeks Randy Orton has been after ROman Reigns for costing him his rematch for the WWE title. I’ve never seen such a grudge held by anyone in my life. I’d say out of all the matches on the card, this is the one I’m the most eager for. Mostly because I will get to see Roman beat the holy hell out of Randy Orton.

Since the break-up of The Shield, Roman has been in some pretty high-profile matches but this will be his time to prove himself truly worthy of being a top guy. The fans love him and that is fantastic but he needs to do something that will one hundred percent assert his dominance over Randy, the Authority, and send a message to every single person on that roster that it is his time to shine. You either move out-of-the-way or get ran over. The victory that Roman gains in this match will propel him to be next in line for a shot at the title belt probably by the next pay-per-view event.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella

I have an extremely hard time buying that Brie Bella has a single mean bone in her body, that explains why I have such a hard time with her ‘tough girl’ act. I really want to like her going into this but there is no way that she can take Stephanie, hell I’d be scared to take on Stephanie. The only thing that will save Brie from defeat will be Nikki, something that I hope doesn’t happen because it will cheapen any chance she has at victory. Nikki may have gotten the shitty end of the stick since Brie peaced out, but if she’s such a tough cookie she wouldn’t need the ‘assistance’. I’d like to see a good, clean fight. I think that this match will surprise a lot of people in how good it will actually be, I’m hoping for a lot of big surprises and shocking moments.

Winner: Stephanie McMahon

Rusev vs. Jack Swagger

This match is going to do great things for both of the mean involved in it.

It will establish Rusev as the villain that he should have been from the beginning and it will make people somewhat give a shit about Jack Swagger. He’s never been my favorite but he needs to do something to make people care, he can’t solely rely on Zeb’s fantastic work on the microphone each and every week. He also needs to make sure that his work is clean so nobody else gets injured while working with him. This also works in Rusev’s favor as the anti-American sentiment that he projects establishes him as a bad guy. You can beat up anyone you want but when you’ve got an entire arena of people hating your guts, you’ve made it as a heel.

It’s very Slaughter/Sheik and I’m not upset about it.

Winner: Jack Swagger

There’s No ‘I’ In Team.

In a recent string of not so great pay-per-view finishes and questionable decisions, Survivor Series was a welcomed change. The matches were intriguing and enthralling, filled with a lot of things that people weren’t expecting. I actually did fairly well with my Survivor Series predictions, the only match that threw me off was the five on five traditional elimination match. The whole event was absolutely wonderful, with the main event and what happened after that starting a little bit of a debate (and by little bit, I mean a lot) amongst wrestling fans.

The kick-off show let us see the Miz take on Kofi Kingston, furthering their feud that started on Raw. I thought that this match was fantastic from Kofi’s side, Miz wasn’t doing so well. I find his work very sloppy and not enjoyable in the least. To further Miz’s heel turn, they had him pick up a win over Kofi. The best part of the match was when Kofi slapped him in the face, a little payback for Miz ditching him in their match on Raw. Like I said on Twitter, if I were Miz I would be kissing Kofi’s feet for giving him such a good match. I just don’t get what his deal is! I do not understand him at all so we’ll just move right along to the main card.

Like a small child tearing through presents on Christmas morning, I almost wept when the pay-per-view started with the traditional Survivor Series five on five elimination match. That may seem like an overreaction but those elimination matches are one of the simple pleasures of life. If you’ve never watched one, you need to because it is awesome. What makes it so awesome and exciting is that you don’t know who the sole survivor will be or how many of them there will be. It’s a numbers game that the WWE plays very well. Speaking of numbers, it was the one year anniversary of The Shield’s debut in the WWE and they celebrated in a big way. Roman Reigns was a beast during the match and carried his entire team, consisted of Ambrose, Rollins, Cesaro, and Swagger. WIth the very recent return of Rey Mysterio it seemed like a sure thing that his team would win and they would emerge the survivors. Boy, was I wrong…

Roman destroyed them.

He barreled through his competitors in such rapid succession that if you blinked, you missed it. He took out four members of the opposing team as swift as most people change their socks, it was unreal. Eventually, I think that The Shield will break up and that the three men will go their separate ways. What that traditional Survivor Series elimination match did on Sunday was cement Roman’s spot as a future star and top contender. That’s not to say that the other men in that match aren’t good or they can’t go to the top but Roman was ONE guy who single-handedly eliminated eighty percent of the other team. Mind = blown.

I also really did enjoy the Intercontinental title match that saw the newly minted champ, Big E. Langston, take on the former champ, Curtis Axel. These two wrestled a fantastic match and I really think that the power that they each possess really plays well with one another. Langston has brute strength and is pretty much a brick wall with legs, Axel has the power of perfection on his side (how can you not with a dad like Curt and a grampa like Larry?). Axel made a great champion but he just had the title and didn’t really defend it, I chalk that up to not really knowing who to pair him with. I thought that they complimented other really well in the ring and I hope that the feud carries on for a little longer. The Intercontinental title always seems to be in the background and it is exciting to see the belt and its champion getting some recognition.

Another match that I was psyched for was the seven on seven diva elimination match but I was left a little disappointed. The divas division has so much momentum from the success of the Total Divas reality show and it made them exciting again. They were so stagnant and boring for so long, this sort of resurgence was refreshing. The Total DIvas obviously won and it was a great win for them but the match lacked a little something. I think the problem was all the rapid fire eliminations, that boils down to time constraints. I thought that they all did a great job and it is so nice to see the women’s division being recognized.

We also got treated to an impromptu match between Ryback and Mark Henry. I’d like to personally thank Mark Henry for shutting Ryback up. When Ryback speaks all I hear is bitch, bitch, bitch. I also like Henry and I still think that his fake retirement angle from his last run was some of the best work I’ve ever seen in the history of WWE.

Speaking of hilarious, I find it kind of hilarious that John Cena couldn’t even get a solid ovation in his hometown. Contrary to things I’ve said recently, I actually really like John Cena but he needs to diversify himself. He needs to diversify his personality and his move set. That being said, I thought he did really well in this match and I’m glad that he retained the title, Del Rio’s high point of the match was when he nailed Cena with a beautiful DDT. Another moment that I really liked was when Alberto broke John’s submission hold, the STFU, with a single finger on the bottom rope. I give credit where credit is due and both men put on a great match. My final critique is that I am sick of this whole ‘SuperCena’ thing that always happens each and every match. I know why people don’t like him and I completely understand. They don’t like him for the same reasons that they don’t like Hogan that much.

Whoa, someone doesn’t like Hulk Hogan? Calm yourself and allow me to explain fellow wrestling fans.

Even as a child, I found Hogan very boring and bland. I think a lot of that has to do with me watching wrestling with my dad and he doesn’t care for him that much either. Before someone complains, I am not denying that Hogan was an integral figure in wrestling or that he didn’t have some fantastic moments in and out of the ring. He was just always Hulk Hogan, the same way that Cena is always Cena. Sure, Hogan turned heel and whatever in WCW but that still didn’t make me like him. What I also didn’t like is that Hogan (among others during that time) spoke so negatively of the WWE and some of his fellow superstars. I believe that if it wasn’t for the WWE, Hogan wouldn’t have been half the recognizable figure that he is today. For him to speak in not so nice terms about his former employer and coworkers speaks to his character. Cena loves the WWE and I highly doubt that you would EVER hear him speak the way that Hogan does. But I digress…

I also really enjoyed CM Punk and Daniel Bryan taking on Luke Harper and Erick Rowan from the Wyatt Family. I don’t even need to praise these guys for giving the audience more than their ticket price worth of entertainment. This tag team match was the classic David versus Goliath story and the crowd just ate up every second of it. With Bray being his crazy and intriguing self, a lot was really added to the feud in terms of story and intrigue. Nobody really understand what the Wyatt Family says but it drives you crazy when you try to figure it out. I mean crazy in the best possible way.

Now on to the screwjob, I meant to say main event.

In true Survivor Series fashion, Show got screwed over. He was killing Orton throughout most of the match and then the Authority comes out and distracts him. In that split second Randy gets the pinfall and retains his title. It was a blemish on an otherwise fantastic pay-per-view. I half expected it but I was also holding on to hope that it would be a clean win. But hey, why should Orton ever earn anything based on ability? That feat would probably be a lot easier if he actually had any.

And then Cena came out to the ring and we got treated to the biggest pissing match ever, and that screamed that a unification was amongst us. I’ve written almost 1500 words so far so I will save my rant about the possible unification of the WWE title and the World Heavyweight title for another day.

Trust me.