We’re on the road to WrestleMania 36 as the “granddaddy of them all” goes down on Sunday, April 5, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. Several matches are confirmed, while others are all but official due to budding feuds on television.
Drew McIntyre won the 2020 Royal Rumble match on Sunday, which emanated from Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX. The big story going in was WWE Champion Brock Lesnar voluntarily entered the rumble match as the number one entrant. Continue reading “Drew McIntyre is a Made Man”
SummerSlam | August 11, 2019, | Scotiabank Arena | Toronto, Ontario | WWE Network
WWE’s biggest party of the summer has a special place in my heart. SummerSlam 88 was my maiden voyage with professional wrestling and I’ve been a diehard enthusiast ever since. No Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, or Drew McIntyre on the lineup. While there are no must-see matches, this is the first pay-per-view of the Paul Heyman era.
Drew Gulak defeated Oney Lorcan to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Good effort by Gulak and Lorcan. It’s hard to get the fans to care about 205 Live when the brand’s biggest matches tend to open up the pre-show.
Buddy Murphy defeated Apollo Crews is Disqualification:
Murphy dropped Crews with a flying knee right out of the gate. Fast-paced action between the two until Rowan came out of nowhere and beat down Murphy. After power bombing Murphy against the ring post, Rowan yelled: “Keep my name out of your mouth” in response to Murphy dropping Rowan’s name to Roman Reigns on SmackDown.
Elias sang a melody scathing the city of Toronto until Edge made a surprise appearance. Edge claimed into the ring drilled Elias with a spear.
It’s the first time Edge has done anything physical since he retired several years ago due to injury.
Is Edge coming back?
Alex Bliss & Nikki Cross defeated The Iiconics to retain the Women’s Tag Team Titles: It was Meleficient versus Toy Story as far as the in-ring attire was concerned. Bliss took advantage of a hissy fit by Peyton Royce and hit Twisted Bliss for the win.
Becky Lynch defeated Natalya to retain the Raw Women’s Championship in a Submission Match:
The Canadian crowd respected Natalya, but they were firmly behind Becky Lynch. Becky went for an armbar early and transitioned into a triangle choke. Natalya went for the ropes, but there are no rope breaks in a submission match.
Natalya threw Becky between the ropes into the post and applied the Sharpshooter from the top rope. This resembled a street fight more than a submission match at times with some brawling outside the ring and Natalya trying to wear down Becky’s leg, which she injured on Raw.
Natalya hit Becky with a top rope superplex. Becky came back and locked Natalya in the Sharpshooter. The pro-Becky crowd booed this one a little bit until Natalya escaped. Natalya returned the favor and applied the Dis-Arm-Her.
Becky broke free but got caught in the Sharpshooter. Becky crawled under the rope and fell to the floor to escape. Natalya went for the Sharpshooter again, but Becky caught her in the disarmed Dis-Arm-Her. Natalya tried to fight it, but she eventually had no choice but to tap out.
I wasn’t sure if this was a good choice to open the show. I was wrong as both ladies set a great pace and told a fun story.
Goldberg pinned Dolph Ziggler:
Ziggler drilled Goldberg with two superkicks out of nowhere, but Goldberg kicked out both times at one. Goldberg came back with a vicious spear and followed up with a Jackhammer for the win in under two minutes.
A beaten Ziggler got the mic and said anyone can get lucky. Goldberg came back and speared Ziggler again. Ziggler said anyone can get lucky twice. Goldberg pretended he wasn’t going to spear Ziggler, only to run off the ropes and leveled him with a final spear.
This match was exactly what it should have been. Gave the fans what they wanted while giving us some post-match action to extend the time the affair without having a long match.
AJ Styles defeated Ricochet to retain the U.S. Title:
Anyone who thought they were going to get a New Japan style wrestling match here was sorely mistaken. Styles worked over Ricochet’s leg with some nice offense between the two. AJ got the win, and a post-match beatdown ensued with Gallows and Andreson hitting Ricochet with the Magic Killer.
Bayley pinned Embar Moon to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship:
This was a good match that was hurt by a severe lack of crowd interest. Ember Moon hit a sweet Stormbreaker/Codebreaker combo for a near fall. Bayley came back with a nice Bayley to Belly off the middle rope for the three count.
Kevin Owens defeated Shane McMahon – Owens Quits if he Loses:
This match had all of the bells and whistles of a high stakes affair involving a McMahon. Elias was announced as the special guest enforcer by Shane. They teased Owens getting disqualified and counted out throughout the match. It was stated that Owens could not hit Elias because he was an officially licensed referee for the evening. Later on, Owens had enough and whipped out Elias and the referee with a cannonball off the apron. The finish came when Owens hit Shane with a top rope senton followed by a top rope frog splash for the pin.
Charlotte beat Trish Stratus vis submission:
This was much better than I anticipated. Trish more than held up her end. Trish tried to beat Charlotte with the figure four leg lock and figure eight. Charlotte ended up making Trish tap out to the figure eight and left the ring for Trish to get the ovation from the crowd in her final outing.
Bret Hart made a cameo appearance wishing Seth Rollins good luck in his match against Lesnar. This got a nice pop from the Canadian crowd. I thought it was funny since Hart has been critical of Rollins’ in-ring work over the years for injuring people.
WWE Championship – Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton went to a Double Count Out:
This match was worked at a deliberate pace that failed to draw heat from the crowd. There were dueling chants of “Kofi’s Stupid” and “Randy Sucks,” which was surprising. Orton tends to work slower-paced matches these days. In wrestling, the faster wrestler always works to the speed of the slower wrestler. Orton caught Kofi coming off the top rope for an RKO, which popped the crowd.
Orton, however, didn’t go for the pin and Kofi rolled out to the floor. Orton went outside the ring and started taunting Kofi’s family who was sitting in the front row. Both men were counted out as this unfolded. The commentary team ultimately failed this match because they didn’t mention and identify who it was Orton was mocking until after the fact.
Kofi snapped and beat Orton down with a Kendo stick repeatedly and finished him off with Trouble in Paradise. This was one of the more lackluster WWE Championship matches in recent history. It looks like the feud will continue, and hopefully do better next time.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defeated Finn Balor:
They say you only have one chance to make a first impression. Well, Bray Wyatt proved them wrong as the spectacle of his new character was top notch. He came out with an eerie severed Bray Wyatt head lantern along with a new version of his theme music. The match was quick. Wyatt dominated. Balor missed the Coup de Grace and got caught in the mandible claw. The fans absolutely loved this.
Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar to regain the Universal Championship:
I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. I had no interest in this match, but they won me over. It was all action with big moves. Lot’s of near falls with Lesnar working over Rollins’s injured ribs with seven German suplexes. Lesnar swung Rollins around by the medical tape around his ribs, which made for a great visual. Rollins made a herculean comeback with a top rope splash onto Lesnar through a table. Rollins hit three curb stomps for the win. I didn’t believe putting the Superman cape on Rollins would, however, I was wrong. It came off well, and the crowd loved it.
Final Thoughts: Overall, SummerSlam 2019 was a thumbs in the middle show. Some of the matches that over-promised, under-delivered. On the flip side, some of the matches that under-promised, over-delivered. Rollins ended the show as the hero of the day, and hopefully, WWE can sustain this sentiment long term. Trish Stratus deserves props for the match she put on after being out of the ring (in singles action) for eight years. Bray Wyatt came off like a superstar. This was not the best SummerSlam show, but it was far from the worst.
Summer Slam invades Brooklyn this evening, and all eyes are on the Universal Championship encounter between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. The match itself is a non-starter but the implications of its result are what’s driving interest in the main event. While this is pure speculation on my part, I have a sneaking suspicion Paul Heyman is leaving the Barclays Center with the champion.
Notice I didn’t say Brock Lesnar. I said champion. I believe Lesnar’s time is up. It makes no sense for him to hold the title while preparing for a UFC fight. The fans have spoken, and they want to see a champion defending the title on a regular basis. Summer Slam closing with a babyface Roman Reigns celebrating his title win would leave things on a flat note. There is no drama or true happy ending in that scenario.
Roman Reigns could turn heel. However, I don’t see that happening. More people, albeit slowly are starting to get behind Roman Reigns. For all the static he gets from the audience, he’s not a bad wrestler. The fact that WWE didn’t let Reigns’ ascension happen organically and decided to shove him down everyone’s throat is the reason coronation after coronation has been virtually crownless. The audience is not booing Reigns but rather WWE’s insistence that we get behind him whether we like it or not.
If they turn Reigns heel now, who takes his place as the number one babyface? Possibly Seth Rollins, but I believe the company doesn’t see him in that light despite arguably being the best in-ring performer in WWE. Reigns is our resident squared circle Superman for the time being, however, once Summer Slam is over and Lesnar is gone, who takes the Lex Luthor role?
Maybe you don’t go with a Luthor type evildoer but perhaps a Doomsday esque briefcase wielding Monster Among Men, Bruan Strowman. Strowman is a popular babyface, but he was more compelling as a heel. While he still wrecks things, it’s done in a more comedic tone as opposed to the sheer devastation of his heel persona. Being a heel is what got Strowman over with the audience, and it’s time for him to return to those roots with an upgrade.
Prediction: It’s WrestleMania 31 all over again. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar are engaged in a heated battle. Just when the end is near, Strowman comes out and cashes in the Money in the Bank contract. Strowman pins Lesnar, with help from Paul Heyman. That’s right, Heyman trades in his beast for a monster.
Bruan Stowman with Paul Heyman as his manager become the new two-man power trip of Monday Night Raw. Heyman and Strowman not only cost Reigns the glory of being champion, they took away something he can never get back due to Lesnar’s departure from WWE. From there, Regins hunts down Strowman in pursuit of the belt because after all, the money is in the chase.
Brock Lesnar is once again the life of the party when it comes to professional wrestling and mixed martial arts. Following Daniel Cormier’s heavyweight title victory at UFC 226 in Las Vegas this past Saturday, Lesnar entered the octagon, and the fireworks ensued.
Cormier called out Lesnar to enter the cage, Lesnar entered, shoved Cormier, cut a promo burying the UFC’s heavyweight division, and warned the new champion “I’m coming for you, motherfucker.” Cormier replied saying “Push me now; you’ll go to sleep later.”
The min-scuffle had everyone inside the T-Mobile Arena on their feet, and everyone else abuzz as the UFC’s next big money fight was virtually announced in grandiose fashion. MMA purists and pro wrestling aficionados hate the idea of Brock Lesnar being the center of attention for very different reasons.
In the realm of real fighting, Brock Lesnar tested positive for steroids in his last fight. He still has six months left on his suspension and hasn’t won a fight since 2010. This attacks the sport’s reputation because legit contenders are waiting in the wings.
In the realm of fake fighting, Brock Lesnar is the WWE Universal Champion. He’s the epitome of a part-time wrestler, which diehard fans loathe. The champ hasn’t appeared since April and has one match left on his contract, which expires in August.
This week on Raw, there was zero mention of Lesnar or the Universal Title. This was weird because the main event feud between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley is supposed to decide the next contender for the title.
WWE’s evasion of the subject could mean they were unaware of Lesnar’s UFC plans. Also, Lesnar officially entered the USADA drug testing pool, which means his suspension has resumed and is eligible to fight Cormier in early January 2019.
In the UFC, Cormier vs. Lesnar is a fight that is going to rain money. This means Lesnar will most likely not work a pro wrestling match until the bout takes place. Even if he makes another WWE appearance between now and the fight, it will probably be a lackluster affair.
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania 33 promised to be an epic encounter, but it was the complete opposite. Months later, it was revealed that Lesnar was in the midst of an MMA training camp at the time and didn’t want to risk injury by going all out in a worked match.
IThe last appearance on his WWE deal is worth six hundred thousand dollars. That number irks fans and insiders because current wrestlers are not even close to making that amount of money for one match. While WWE might be upset with Brock Lesnar in the short-term, the two parties will end up finding common ground like they always do. There is, however, a couple of options at WWE’s disposal.
They could always strip Lesnar of the title. However, that could kill any credibility needed to make a new champion since Lesnar was never beaten for the belt. Then again, the integrity of the championship might not be an issue. Many fans don’t consider Lesnar to be a “real” world champion because he barely defends the title.
Plus, the current storyline on television has Roman Reigns claiming to be the rightful champion due to referee error in his last match with Lesnar. If WWE decided to strip Lesnar of the title, it would perfectly fall in line with the ongoing story. The belt is taken off of Lesnar, and the company can push the narrative that Roman was right.
If Vince McMahon is going to allow Lesnar to hold the championship indefinitely, there is the unique option of making his UFC fight against Cormier for the WWE Universal Title. Daniel Cormier is a big pro wrestling fan and would relish the opportunity to be featured in a big-time role on Monday Night Raw if he beats Lesnar in the octagon.
Cormier is a major favorite to topple Lesnar, and his fandom of WWE would make it easy enough to do business with him. Cormier wins the title, has a brief stint inside the ropes and drops the belt, ensuring the legacy of the title is intact. There is always the chance Lesnar could beat Cormier. If that happens, doing business with him will be even more difficult than it is now because he will be worth more money.
Paying Brock Lesnar even more money than he is already getting for one single match in WWE seems outrageous on some levels. However, there is the possibility that Vince McMahon is secretly salivating at the idea of his champion winning the UFC title. It’s an unlikely scenario. Yet, stranger things have happened in the world of wrestling.
The angle inside the Octagon was designed to get people talking, and it worked. UFC has their next big money fight, and WWE has their next big money angle, if they choose to act on it. And it’s all thanks to Brock Lesnar, who from a business perspective, is the belle of the ball with multiple suitors to fit his Benjamin Franklin lined glass slipper.
Four champions and fifteen matches over three hundred and sixty-five days encompassed the first year of existence for the WWE Universal Championship. The big red belt has become WWE’s top prize after stumbling out of the gate upon its arrival.
WWE reached out to me today via my inbox and wanted to know who are my favorite WWE Superstars, NXT Superstars, and WWE Legends. I’m flattered that the E values my opinion. So, I moved my cursor towards the lovely “click here” button and gave them my two cents. Continue reading “WWE Asked for My Opinion”
Samoa Joe is the number one contender for the WWE Universal Championship and will challenge Brock Lesnar on 7/9 at Great Balls of Fire. Joe defeated Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Fin Balor in the Fatal 5-Way main event, last night, at Extreme Rules.
The finish saw Finn Balor hit Roman Reigns with the Coupe de Grace, only for Joe to pull him away from the cover and apply the Coquina Clutch. Balor passed and out and the referee called for the bell.
Finn Balor was the favorite to win the match from a booking perspective since it was teased on Raw a couple of weeks ago that Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar are watching Balor with a vested interest. The match would have made sense being that Balor never lost the Universal Title.
As someone who has watched, practiced and promoted professional wrestling for almost 30 years, I’m accustomed to the ridiculousness that the genre has to offer. Weird and zany names come with the territory.
So, when I heard that WWE’s July pay-per-view is titled Great Balls of Fire, I thought it was a rib and no sold it. Then, my podcast partner in crime Frank D ensured me that this was no ruse. The name of the show is legitimately called Great Balls of Fire.
When it’s all said and done, the seven-hour spectacular that was WrestleMania 33 will go down as a newsworthy event that was better than it had any business being. Thirteen matches, a restroom break in the form of a Pitbull concert, one marriage proposal, the triumphant return of a popular duo, and the end of a legendary career encapsulates a roller-coaster of emotions for a show aptly named, the ultimate thrill ride.
WWE took over their home away from home this past weekend as Orlando, FL played host to the Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday along with an action packed NXT TakeOver card on Saturday. Then, the show of shows captivated a worldwide audience inside of the Camping World Stadium along with millions watching along on the WWE Network.
Neville pinned Austin Aries to retain the Cruiserweight Championship:
Neville’s defense of the Cruiserweight title against Austin Aries was a well worked matched that was given an ample amount of time. Unfortunately, the crowd was still filing into the building, which made the match come off less than it was. Neville retained with the Red Arrow, which the Brit hasn’t used since turning heel. Fans had pegged Aries to go over, but Neville winning here will give Aries a chance to get over with the audience a little more while chasing the belt.
Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal:
New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski sitting in the front row was a bright neon spoiler alert. Gronk’s friendship with MoJo Rawley has been mentioned over the past several weeks. Rawley was the first wrestler to declare his entry into the battle royal, so his win was a nice way to tie it all together. Plus, as a Pats fan, seeing Gronk hitting Jinder Mahal with a running tackle was a cool moment.
Surprisingly, Bruan Strowman didn’t do much in this match. Right now, he’s at the point where no one wants to see him lose. He was eliminated around the two-minute mark by ten wrestlers, which protected his character. NXT’s Killian Dain made it to the final three, which means WWE has plans for the big guy.
Dean Ambrose pinned Baron Corbin to retain the Intercontinental Championship:
When a fan-driven social media campaign got the SmackDown Women’s Title match promoted to the main card, no one expected the Intercontinental Championship match to take its place on the kickoff show. Many thought Corbin was going to win the title, but having him win it on the kickoff show won’t have the desired effect of making him stand out as a threat to be taken seriously. Smart money says Corbin wins it down the line. It was a TV match with nothing to complain about.
Now, let the main card commence.