First Day Jitters.

Like the millions of wrestling fans around the world, I was super anxious to see how the first episodes of Raw and Smackdown would go after the draft. What made me even more anxious was that there was a pay per view on the Sunday before, titles and superstars were scattered all over the place. A lot of things could have gone wrong on the first episodes after the draft, and I mean a LOT of things. Sure, Smackdown got a few stars but their roster looked much weaker on paper. Raw got a better looking roster but they didn’t have a major title to anchor the show.

The atmosphere was just different on Raw and Smackdown this week.

We’re finally getting a shake-up of the title landscape after the same people getting chance after chance. While Raw currently doesn’t have a major title, Finn Balor is getting the chance to compete against Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship. He wasn’t placed in that match, he had to fight in two matches that night to earn that spot. He gave us two world-class matches in one night, that’s something that some wrestlers fail to do in two weeks. I’m not praising Finn because he’s the new kid on the block, he’s just that good. Finn Balor versus Seth Rollins is definitely a feud that I can get behind.

Another title change that we got to see was Sasha Banks defeating Charlotte for the Women’s Championship. To be totally honest, I figured Dana would interfere and allow Charlotte another ill-gotten victory. I had tears in my eyes when she hoisted that title above her head. It sounds silly but Sasha makes me feel like I can do anything that I set my mind to. When she made Charlotte tap, I just had flashbacks of her matches, specifically the Iron Man Match that she had with Bayley. It just makes me so proud to see her doing what she loves and representing what women are truly capable of in that ring. Even Charlotte gave a top-notch performance and I never really care for her matches that much anymore.

Raw really had a different feeling to it with their new roster, logo, and music. I’ve always enjoyed it before but it was still so refreshing. I even enjoyed Smackdown more than I normally do, I don’t always get to catch it during the week but I was glued to my tv set.

Initially, I was a little upset that Mauro Ranallo wasn’t placed on Raw. The man has talent out the wazoo but he’s what keeps Smackdown fresh and entertaining. He’s the reason I was starting to make the effort to actually catch the show. The moment that I want to talk about is Dolph Ziggler winning the chance to face Dean Ambrose for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. The main event of Smackdown could have gone any way. I initially had my money on AJ Styles or John Cena.

Because god knows that John Cena needs another damn title shot…

When Dolph won, I thought I was going to fall off the couch. I wasn’t expecting him to win but now I’m even more excited for Smackdown each week and Summerslam at the end of August. Dolph is just so fantastic and I felt like he was stuck in some mid-card hell that he would never escape. He really is that damn good, all you have to is watch a few of his matches to know that.

Smackdown just felt like new life was breathed into it. I used to not care if I ever got to watch Smackdown because I just didn’t feel as though it was as ‘important’ as Raw, for lack of a better term. This past week changed all of that. The two shows can now actually compete against each other in all aspects; on television, in social media, and on pay per views. There’s also much more potential for talents to develop their current or new gimmicks, this is literally their time to shine. Just think of the potential for Twitter feuds…

I won’t be able to cover both programs every week but I will try my best and just enjoy this new era of wrestling. Not to rip off Big E but it’s a new day, yes it is!

 

 

Roadblock.

Tonight was the last major stop on the proverbial ‘Road to Wrestlemania’. What was originally just a house show changed into a WWE Network special, and it was AWESOME!

I’ve been to a few house shows and they always have this special feel to them. The crowd is wild, the unexpected can happen, and you can really see that the wrestlers are having fun with what they’re doing. I had a friend that was in attendance and I was SO jealous. The matches were fun and, for the most part, pretty damn good. Now let’s talk about my most/least favorite moments…

I thought that the tag match of Enzo and Big Cass versus the Revival was the match of the night, and that’s not just because I love Enzo. Including an NXT match in this special allowed the participants to show that they are just as good (and sometimes better) as their main roster counterparts. This match was riveting and totally had me drawn right in. I was jumping off my couch, yelling, screaming, and basically acting like a crazy person. Enzo and Cass used this match to prove why they deserve the NXT tag titles and that they are two of the baddest guys on the planet.

The moves that these four men were pulling off were unbelievable.

My only disappointing moment in that match was when the Revival retained the belts. Don’t get me wrong, Dash and Dawson are talented but they don’t have the personality that Enzo and Cass have. I like that little bit of pizzazz sometimes, and Enzo and Cass ooze pizzazz. What I’m looking forward to is how this will all play out on NXT and leading into Takeover: Dallas.

Another match that I really enjoyed was the Divas title match between Charlotte and Natalya, there was also a moment during this match that I didn’t like so much but we’ll get to that later. These women put on a clinic tonight, with each individual trying to best the other. It’s a damn shame that Nattie doesn’t get more of a chance to show off her in-ring skills because she really is fantastic. She is one of the most athletic and talented women on that roster and I was so disappointed that she didn’t get a victory. There is this secret hope I have that the women’s match will get turned into a fatal four-way so she can have some time in the spotlight but I feel pretty confident that her time will come. I would LOVE to watch her run a storyline with Sasha.

What I didn’t like about this match was that Ric was ringside. Sure, this guy is a two-time hall of famer but he had ZERO fucking business being there. He didn’t do anything except cause a lot of fans a headache and not in the way someone at ringside should. He’s no Bobby Heenan!

Now on to my least favorite moment of the night, Dean’s loss to Triple H.

I went a little bold with my prediction for this match and called a Dean victory. When that referee counted to three and rang the bell, I jumped off my couch and was screaming at the top of my lungs. I haven’t been that into a title match since Daniel Bryan won the belt at Wrestlemania XXX. I never cared for Triple H having the belt and thought that Dean versus Roman would make for a very interesting match at Wrestlemania.

I wasn’t disappointed in any other aspect of the match but Triple H’s victory was total horse shit. The C.O.O has no business holding a title belt when there are so many guys on the roster that deserve it. The only way that I will be even remotely okay with his victory is if the main event of Wrestlemania is turned into a triple threat match. Dean was so incredibly good in this match that it would be an injustice (Yes, I used the word ‘injustice’) to him and his fans if he wasn’t recognized for his performance.

Even though Wrestlemania isn’t that far away (21 days away on Sunday!), there is still plenty of time to change the card. It just had to make sense and give a chance to those that deserve it.

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.

Time Is Ticking.

Monday Night Raw was a unique show this week, with a house show happening at the exact same time as the television broadcast. A lot of talent was missing but I thought that it gave others time to shine and further some storylines leading into the Royal Rumble at the end of January.

What was most exciting (to me) was that we got a second appearance from Vince McMahon, something that always means shit is going to hit the proverbial fan. It’s always interesting to see him on television because the reaction is always insane. People love seeing him and they love watching him be an asshole, playing up his billionaire status. In my opinion, he’s probably one of the best heels in the business.

As I’ve mentioned before, he’s also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

In the opening segment, Roman Reigns was supposed to be the one who was going to be arrested for brutalizing Vince. Stephanie came out, screaming as only she can, with officers in tow. I may not be sure of much in life but I know that when cops show up on a wrestling show, it’s usually never going to end well. Much like weddings and contract signings, something will go awry.

However, the tables turned and Vince ended up going to jail for putting his hands on a detective. That whole deal, and what happened as a result, were actually my favorite moments of the show. So many people complained about it (as they always do) but I thought it added a lot of humor to the show and it allowed Roman to improve his skills on the microphone a little more.

After he was bailed out of jail, Vince came back after Roman with a vengeance. He made the main event for the upcoming Raw and treated us to yet another appearance. Roman has to defend his title against Sheamus with McMahon as the referee. My jaw almost dropped to the floor because I was so excited. With that set of circumstances there is bound to be some sort of fuckery afoot, I couldn’t even begin to think of what it could be. Vince is involved so I like to say that the impossible is possible with that guy, you couldn’t predict what he would do. Sure he may be 70 years old but he is as sharp as a tack.

It’s a title match but I don’t think that the belt would actually change hands this close to the Rumble. It’s less than a month away and the fans react to Sheamus in a way that is less than favorable. They don’t boo him because he’s a heel, they boo him because they don’t like him. What I’m interested in most is to see if any stipulations will be added to the match next week to make it even harder for Roman to retain. I was thinking of what they could be and I came up with the usual no disqualifications and whatever but it would have to be something that wouldn’t allow for any friend of Roman’s to be a part of the match and lead him to victory. Knowing the Authority and Vince, it will probably be a stipulation that is equal parts entertaining and ridiculous.

The Royal Rumble will also have an effect on this match because, if Sheamus loses, he goes to the back of the line. A few of the entrants into the Royal Rumble were revealed and anyone of those guy could be a potential opponent for Reigns leading into Wrestlemania.

I’m just hoping it isn’t the Big Show…

Roman Has Risen.

He finally did it.

Roman Reigns finally won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

For months it was commonplace that he would get in the main event spot and then something would happen. Someone would interfere, there would be some bullshit call, or some other shenanigans would happen. It kind of became the carrot dangled in front of our faces, or the Christmas cookie, whatever you’re into. It really started to affect the fans too because they’d be behind him one second and then the next they’d be booing the hell out of him. Everytime he had a main event match I’d think that he would win but then I’d quickly realize I knew better.

It’s not that I didn’t think it would happen but, with all of the disappointment, it seemed like it would be the (almost) impossible dream.

Things really turned a corner after his match with Sheamus at the TLC event in Boston and in the best kind of way. Roman went wild and took out the League of Nations but Triple H was the one who caught the worst of the ass kicking he administered. I sat with my dad, our mouths wide open because we didn’t think that would EVER happen with Roman. I honestly thought he’d continue to take garbage from the Authority in the same way that Daniel Bryan did with the huge payoff coming at a Wrestlemania. Sheamus seemed like the way that they were going to go for a champion so we just had to deal with it until that moment came along.

Out of everything that came from what happened after the main event, I think that it was most important that Roman was fully established as a force. I really feel that’s something that was kind of creating a roadblock to his success, that he hadn’t really had that big moment to prove what he was made of. That same sentiment I will also extend to the main event of Raw. Reigns had two choices; win the belt or get fired by Vince. He chose the former.

That superman punch to Vince McMahon was a symphony in storytelling. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic here but I felt that’s another moment that truly got Roman over with the fans. The reaction that he got was electric, you could tell that he won over the naysayers but there will always be doubters. I don’t feel like Roman is a placeholder champion. He isn’t just there until someone else gets back, which is how I felt about Sheamus. Roman still has a lot of work to do to build his championship legacy but I think that he will work hard to do the belt justice.

Hopefully the odds of the inevitable rematch with Sheamus at the Rumble will be ever in his favor…

Roman Remains.

On the bottom rung of the ladder apparently.

Roman finally got a brief glimpse of being a champion, until Sheamus came down and ruined it. A part of me was secretly (or not so secretly) hoping that he wouldn’t get the pinfall and Sheamus would have blown his shot. In all honesty, I was not expecting him to attempt a cash in and wouldn’t have picked him to be a member of the Authority. The man braids his beard for god sakes, that doesn’t exactly scream corporate to me.

However, they NEEDED to do something with Sheamus to make fans take notice. I had all but forgotten that he even had that case with him until he came out at Survivor Series. Sheamus wouldn’t really be my first choice as a champion but we’ve got to live with it until Seth is cleared to come back to the ring. His injury put an immediate stop to anything that he had going with Roman and hopefully that’s something that can be picked up in the future.

I was also thinking of the idea that they had Sheamus cash in because they didn’t feel that Roman was really ready but I 100% think that it was just to fill the void until Seth came back.

Seth and Sheamus are just such different champions. Sure, they’re both heel but Seth is dynamic and captivating and I have to struggle sometimes to get through a Sheamus promo. The Celtic Warrior just does nothing for me. When he came out on Raw, I was seriously waiting for him to fight Randy Orton or Alberta Del Rio. Sheamus is about as exciting as drying paint, many are countering me and saying that Roman is the exact same. They say that he’s just a Cena clone, and that makes my head spin faster than Linda Blair in the Exorcist.

I personally find Roman much more intriguing than John. I also have to say that it is not just because the man is gorgeous but his being easy on the eyes doesn’t hurt either. When he speaks he has real emotion in his voice and I hear something genuine. I have never once felt as though he was pandering to the audience or being generic.

Sure, his mic skills may not be the sharpest but he wasn’t really a big talker when he was teamed up with Seth and Dean either.

Bitch about him all you want but no one can deny that the guy hasn’t been trying after being screwed over on (now) three occasions. His matches have been steadily improving and he’s changing up his move set, unlike a certain former champ I may have been a fan of. I’d like to also see Cesaro get the belt but he’s out with a shoulder injury, so Roman is the guy that makes the most sense.

Roman did win the title so he will get his rematch at TLC in December and I hope that he beats the beads right out of Sheamus’ beard. I already have a feeling that he won’t win the title in a few weeks but it sure is fun to hope.

I just hope that they aren’t dangling the carrot of hope in front of his face.

 

Double Trouble.

Night of Champions is a pay-per-view event where every single title is on the line.

Seth Rollins is the lucky guy who gets to defend two titles that night, the US title and the WWE World Heavyweight title. That’s a tall order for any superstar to fill on a night where you have to fight harder to keep your top spot, but to have to do that twice? I don’t think so.

Seth will have to defend his US title against John Cena and his WWE World Heavyweight title against Sting. I’m looking forward to Seth’s match with Sting much more than his one with Cena, especially since he owned Cena at Summerslam. He’s just so good at being heel it’s ridiculous. As much as I like Seth (okay, LOVE!), I feel like he has a better chance at retaining his United States belt than his World Heavyweight belt.

*GASP*

Nothing against Seth’s abilities, everyone already knows how good he is. He has WAY more to worry about in his match against Sting than his match against Cena.

Cena is one guy who Seth has beaten before. It’s not like Cena is a master of the mat, his strategy is pretty easy to figure out and plan for on the fly. He’s got the five moves of doom and that’s it, and that springboard stunner he busts out every once in a while. Another thing that Seth has going for him in this match is that he only has one opponent to take on, as opposed to two in his match with Sting.

That’s right. I said two.

Seth will have to worry more about his match with Sting because Sheamus still has that MITB briefcase. I had almost completely forgotten he had the damn thing because I didn’t want to think of him ever becoming World Heavyweight Champion. Everyone is going to be on edge to see if Sheamus shows up to interrupt a highly anticipated match. Knowing him, he won’t disappoint. I see this match playing out with Sting winning that belt, hoisting it above his head, and Sheamus spoiling the moment because that’s what he does best!

Another situation that I was throwing around in my wrestling loving brain was that Sheamus would cash in on Seth in the middle of the match and suffer a scorpion death drop but that seemed less exciting.

There seems to be a miniscule rift in Seth’s relationship with the Authority and that may also factor into the outcome of the main event on Sunday and raises a few questions. If he loses will he still be the man? Will he still have a good working relationship with Trips and Stephanie? Is Sheamus working in cahoots with the Authority to test Seth? Is Seth going to crack under pressure and stress from his statue?

I felt ridiculous typing that last one but I think that he will still have that on his mind, you don’t come between a man and his statue!

I like Seth as dual champion a lot, he’s great on the mic and even better in the ring. A little part of me is hoping that he can retain both belts but realistically, he’s leaving that event with one less than he went in with.