Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

Vickie Guerrero’s Sloppy Swan Song, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From Raw:

Stephanie McMahon def. Vickie Guerrero, forcing her out of the company.  A Vickie Guerrero babyface turn? A bunch of Eddie Guerrero references? Well damn, there was no way this wasn’t her last night. Some might cry fowl over it being a slop match. But really, what else were they going to do? Neither of them are wrestlers. And in the end, Vickie got her moment in the sun. Incidentally, Layla El gets a lot of crap here, but that splash she made into the slop was awesome!

I give Vickie Guerrero a world of credit for going above and beyond expectations during her WWE tenure. Did anyone ever envision her becoming the heat magnet she became? She was never the best pure promo on the roster, but what she delivered was so over, it really didn’t matter. Once she started with the “Excuse me!” line, and started venturing into that annoying teacher/boss routine, she was made. So kudos to you, Vickie, for living up to the Guerrero family name, and ultimately doing your husband’s memory proud.

Kane is added to the WWE Championship Ladder Match. Um…sure? This makes sense, I suppose. Although I wish they could have added Kane sooner. That way he could’ve taken the place of someone like Cesaro or Bray Wyatt, who might have benefitted from carrying the briefcase around for awhile. But Kane was kind of in that weird limbo space for awhile, due to Daniel Bryan’s injury. So I suppose it is, what it is.

Triple H announces that Dolph Ziggler, Rob Van Dam, Bad News Barrett, Kofi Kingston, and Jack Swagger will join Seth Rollins in second Money in the Bank Ladder Match this Sunday. What really interested me was Hunter’s remark about the audience thinking he doesn’t appreciate Ziggler’s talents. That’s a curious thing to say about someone the office is supposedly trying to “bury.” Even Jim Ross has speculated on The Ross Report that Ziggler “isn’t high on somebody’s list.” But why? And how long do we all have to wait before Ziggler moves up said list?

Also, Rollins had a really focused, effective promo this week. Much better than anything we’ve seen him do on the mic previously. That. combined with the match he put on with Rob Van Dam, gave me a bit more hope for his future as a solo act in WWE.

Dean Ambrose baits Triple H and Rollins into adding him to the ladder match. I always have to roll my eyes a bit when something like this happens. I understand we’re dealing with wrestling logic, but come on. Rollins wants to “keep an eye” on Ambrose, so he gets Hunter to put him in a position to earn a guaranteed title shot any time he wants? Yeah, that makes sense.

Alicia Fox def. Naomi, as Cameron and Paige join the announce position. Cameron’s definitely a heat magnet, I’ll give her that. She’s somewhat reminiscent of Michelle McCool and Layla El back when they were a team, in that her heel mic work is so grating and irritating that it almost prompts one to hit the mute button. Even Cole seemed to be irritated: “Well, I have no idea what you’re talking about, but you just continue to ramble on.” Paige on the other hand, as good as she is in the ring, came off like the stereotypical white meat babyface.

Big E. def. Damien Sandow, who is dressed as Abraham Lincoln. Okay…so the idea behind Sandow doing all the crazy stuff he’s being doing lately is that he wants to be “entertaining.” Alright, I guess that kind of makes sense. But where does it go from here? Also, what the heck was Big E. trying to do in that post-match promo? Was he channeling some kind of overcharged preacher? Either way, I don’t recommend he revisit that idea.

Bo Dallas def. Titus O’Neil. Did they really need to start calling him “The Inspirational” Bo Dallas? I think most of us got the point…

Images from WWE.com.

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Roman Reigns, Kevin Hart, Stardust, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Before we get into Raw, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about all the talent cuts that occurred last week. WWE parted ways with Brodus Clay, Evan Bourne, Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal, Teddy Long, and Aksana, among others.

None of these names were particularly surprising to see, as none of them have contributed to notably to WWE programming lately. The biggest effect this will have on Raw and Smackdown is that 3MB is now forcibly disbanded.

It is sad to see a few of these talents go. Evan Bourne never got to make a return to TV, and he was always a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Seeing Drew McIntyre go is sad, as he was once such a prominent part of WWE TV, and a heck of a talent. But at the end of his run, he was jobbing to El Torito. It’s also a little bit depressing that Aksana’s last TV appearance consisted of her being humiliated by Alicia Fox.

But in the end, that’s just business. And it certainly leaves a lot of open roster spots for the current NXT regime…

Thoughts From Raw:

Roman Reigns won a battle royal to earn a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have already started to go their separate ways, as Reigns hovers close to the main event picture, while Ambrose occupies his time with Seth Rollins. I wasn’t surprised to see Rusev as the runner up, but what did surprise me was that we finally got to see some emotion and intensity out of Rusev. Where has that guy been these past several weeks?

John Cena def. Kane in a stretcher match to earn a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match. This wasn’t a surprise either, as it’s only logical to put Cena in a multi-man pay per view main event. Adding Cena to the mix certainly injects some hefty emotions and opinions into the ladder match. It was also nice to see them pay off the stretcher match stuff, to an extent at least. Cena and Kane didn’t give us anything too extraordinary, but it made for a cool TV main event.

Kevin Hart joins the announce position during Raw. Kevin Hart got a couple of grins out of me during his segment, which is more than I can say for most of Raw‘s celebrity guest stars. So I’ll give him a passing grade. He did the best he could with what he was given, and what I can only assume was a limited knowledge of the product.

Cody Rhodes wrestles as “Stardust” alongside his brother Goldust. I LOVED the Stardust segment. Cody Rhodes pulled it off wonderfully. Seeing Cody play his own version of the “Bizarre One” may just turn out to be a milestone in this slow burn program between the Rhodes brothers. What’s more, Cody was obviously having fun. Knowing what we know of Cody’s love of comic books and superheroes, it was undoubtedly a blast.

Stephanie McMahon “vomits” on Vickie Guerrero after Roman Reigns spikes her iced coffee. Yeesh, if anything ever had “Vince” written all over it. Incidentally, it’s interesting that Roman Reigns just happened to have…whatever he put in Steph’s coffee on him as he just happens to run into Vickie Guerrero carrying their drinks. But hey, that was the least offensive thing about this bit. On the up side? Vickie gave us a pretty nice outraged scream. Obviously her tenure with WWE is winding down, and her putting Reigns in the battle royal opened the door for The Authority to fire her. I assume we’ll be talking about that as early as next week, or possibly the night after Money in the Bank.

Sheamus def. Bray Wyatt via disqualification. “…comin’ out here and talkin’ and singin’ about how you’ve got the whole world in your hands. Well tonight, how about we change that tune to more like: “How about I shove my whole boot down your throat?” Wow. I’m a Sheamus fan, but wow was that a bad line. Still, the match delivered, as Sheamus’ usually do.

Bad News Barret def. Dean Ambrose via count out. Obviously WWE is now playing up the crazy, unhinged aspect of Ambrose’s character. Hopefully they don’t go too far with it, and toss him into a straightjacket or anything. Ambrose’s mic with is truly unique, and it would be a crying shame if they somehow overplayed their hand by casting him in a cheesy psycho role.

Heath Slater seemingly turns face before losing to Rusev. I’m a Heath Slater fan, and in a perfect world, the departure of his “bandmates” would lead to an opportunity at singles stardom. Based on what we saw this week, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Still, at least he got to have a little moment to shine.

Image 1 from wrestleenigma.com. All other images from WWE.com.

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Picking Up the Pieces, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From WWE Raw:

Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns break their silence after Seth Rollins’ betrayal. Awesome promo by Dean Ambrose this week. Everything from his face to his body language suggested a man who was an just an inch away from snapping. And that bit about rearranging Rollins’ face was excellent. The only downside to the segment was that Roman Reigns had to follow Ambrose. If I’m Reigns, I’d be a man of few words. Reigns is a little bit like Brock Lesnar or Batista, in that he does his talking in the ring. He doesn’t need to actually say very much in order to get his point across. In terms of verbage, less is more for Reigns.

Seth Rollins explains why he turned on The Shield. Aside from Seth talking about “destroying his own creation,” and what not. There really wasn’t much to this promo. It essentially seemed like your standard “He were never really my friend” post heel turn speech. One can definitely argue that Rollins was The Shield’s most gifted in-ring performer. But for my money, he was usually the weakest on the mic. From a delivery standpoint, he’s just not interesting to listen to. So it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of him now that he’s broken off from The Shield, and he’s working as a bad guy.

WWE announces Daniel Bryan will not be able to compete at Money in the Bank, strips him of the title. Championship to be decided in Money in the Bank Ladder Match. It’s good to finally have an answer to the question of whether Daniel Bryan will keep the championship. And in truth, this could be an instance where a negative turns out to be a heck of a positive. Bryan makes for a fantastic underdog. And for him to have his huge Wrestlemania moment, only to have it snatched away by an injury, is a hell of a story at the end of the day. And it’ll make for a hell of a comeback story too. So I say we let Bryan heal up, and come back better than ever. And for God’s sake, no more diving headbutts.

John Cena, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins def. The Wyatt Family. It was no surprise at all to see John Cena join forces with The Shield to take on the Wyatts. I’ll wager Cena and Bray Wyatt end up being the last two guys who qualify for the ladder match. If that does wind up being the case, Bray Wyatt could very well end up walking away with the WWE Championship. He just seems like the best guy for the role, quite frankly. He just seems like the most compelling choice. Of course, they could go the safe route and give it to Randy Orton.

Sheamus def. Bad News Barrett to qualify for Money in the Bank Ladder Match. As often happens, Sheamus had a hell of a match on this week’s Raw. He and Bad News Barrett gave us exactly what we wanted to see. A tough-as-nails Brit and an Irish brawler teeing off on one another. Great victory for the “Celtic Warrior.” Heck, it would have been the match of the night if not for…

Cesaro def. Rob Van Dam to qualify for Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Excellent match between Cesaro and RVD, capped off by Cesaro finishing Van Dam with a neutralizer. To his eternal credit, Paul Heyman has managed to put some heat on the “Swiss Superman,” as we saw this week with his tease of Brock Lesnar. But it’s still tough not to respect the hell out of the guy. Could he take the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank? My gut says no, but stranger things have happened…

Lana compares “girly man” Obama to Vladimir Putin in pre-match promo. The showing of those Obama clips seems like a Vince McMahon-inspired move. Still, their use, combined with Lana’s venomous words provided some nice heat for Rusev before he squashed Zack Ryder yet again. I think his face might have even changed expression this week. He actually looked like a live human being! Imagine that.

Ryback & Curtis Axel def. Goldust & R-Truth. So this week, Cody picks R-Truth as his brother’s partner, after picking Sin Cara last week, and Kofi Kingston on Main Event. What better way to build up for a heel turn than to team your brother with a bunch of jobbers?

Images from WWE.com. 

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Seth Rollins, Bluetista, Crowd Control, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From Raw:

Seth Rollins turns heel on The Shield. I’ll say this much: I didn’t see that coming. I was expecting Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to turn on Roman Reigns. But obviously, the decision was made to go with Rollins alone. I think that’s a wise move. Ambrose is such an awesome talker, it would likely be difficult to get a good portion of the fans to boo him. And of course, WWE is grooming Reigns to be a big babyface. In turns of turning just one member of the group heel, Rollins was the best choice.

So I suppose that’s it. That’s the end of The Shield. WWE breaks the group up at the height of their popularity, which is exactly the way it should be done. Break it off when the fans are most invested. I imagine this will lead to Rollins & Orton vs. Ambrose & Reigns at Money in the Bank.

Bryan to defend at Money in the Bank, or the title will be decided in the ladder match. Wow. So it really is touch and go with WWE and Daniel Bryan. I’ll give them credit. At least they’re trying to keep the belt on him. But I’m ready to have a WWE Heavyweight Champion, even if it isn’t Daniel Bryan.

Alberto Del Rio def. Dolph Ziggler to qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Hm. I wonder who the fans would have rather seen in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match…

Stephanie McMahon strikes back at Chicago crowd chanting for CM Punk during PaybackI’ve got to applaud Stephanie McMahon, and whoever came up with that line about the fans wanting Daniel Bryan to quit “just like CM Punk.” That was not only an effective way to strike at the heart of those same fans who wanted to hijack Raw before Wrestlemania XXX, but an interesting way for WWE to say: “Hey, it’s not us. It’s him.” And that’s not exactly a false notion, is it? Punk walked out on WWE. I’m not bashing him for that. But, at least to the public’s knowledge, that is what happened. He did what he felt he had to do. And thus, it seems WWE is doing what it feels it needs to do in terms of the public’s desire to see CM Punk. It’s a sad situation, but it is what it is.

Bray Wyatt absent after losing to John Cena at Payback. If I may be so bold: Fans who think Bray Wyatt got “buried” in his match against John Cena at Payback seem to be unable to see the forest for the trees. Bray Wyatt is a villain (at least in theory). Villains can lose and come back quite easily. How many times has The Joker lost to Batman? The Green Goblin to Spider-Man? Lex Luthor to Superman? Bray Wyatt is coming off a lengthy program with the WWE’s biggest star, and has upped his game in the process. There are great things in store for Bray Wyatt. Heck, he might even be carrying around a Money in the Bank briefcase before long…

Batista “Quits” WWE. This was expected, as Batista is apparently set to start the publicity tour for Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s certainly sad we didn’t get to see a big pay per view match between Batista and Daniel Bryan. With luck, that’s still in the cards for later this year. For as much crap as I, and other fans gave Batista when he came back earlier this year, I now give him a lot of credit. He helped save Wrestemania XXX by contributing to an awesome main event that revived the crowd after Brock ended The Undertaker’s streak. Then he proceeded to lose on three consecutive pay per views.  Considering what he was likely told he’d get when he came in, that’s a pretty rotten deal. So kudos to Batista on being a professional. Or is it Bluetista now?

Luke Harper and Erick Rowan def. The Usos. The Usos had a nice little promo before this match, which helped showcase their personalities a bit more. The match that followed was solid, and set up a title match between the two teams at Money in the Bank, which the Wyatts could very well win. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Wyatts walk out with the tag straps, and a Money in the Bank Ladder match victory in the same night.

Bo Dallas def. Kofi Kingston. Bad camera angle on that “Running Bo-Dog.” Kofi’s head didn’t even come close to the mat. Still, I’m definitely a fan of the whole “Bolieve” character.

Ryback & Curtis Axel def. Goldust & Sin Cara. So Cody wants his brother to have a “better tag team partner,” and yet he picks a guy who can’t win a match unless Scooby Doo is with him at ringside. Yeah, way to not be transparent, Cody…

Images from WWE.com 

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Delaying the Inevitable? Plus, Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From Raw:

Daniel Bryan hangs on to the WWE Championship…at least until PaybackAfter this week’s show, I suspect Daniel Bryan will indeed be hanging on to the WWE Championship. They’re weaving the will he/won’t he stuff into the underdog fabric of his character. I think if they’d gotten bad news back from his surgery, they would have gone ahead and taken the title off him by now. I think he just won’t wrestle at Payback, but we’ll get the Kane rematch/blow off at Money in the Bank.

On the subject of injuries, I’ve never been a fan of wrestling moves being banned outright. But as long as WWE is banning certain manuevers (i.e. the piledriver), I say ban the flying headbutt. I was watching Hard Knocks: The Chris Benoit Story this weekend, and it really became clear just how little sense that move makes. A guy takes a front bump off the top rope, and in theory, butts heads with his opponent. That would take just as much out of the wrestler performing the move as the one receiving it, if not more. Why Bryan felt the need to incorporate that into his arsenal is beyond me. But let’s just get rid of it.

Randy Orton & Batista def. Cody Rhodes & Goldust. I had a good feeling about the Batista & Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes & Goldust match when that pre-tape aired, in that this match would likely further the budding animosity between the Rhodes brothers. We didn’t really get much in terms of Cody being angry with his brother. But what we did do is build up some good sympathy for Goldust. I’m wondering if next week, we’ll see Cody say mouth off to him about this match.

The Shield and Evolution’s contract signing erupts into chaos. Triple H’s portion of this week’s finale was pretty good. The talk about how he watched the ink dry on The Shield’s original contracts gave us a nice perspective on how new the “Hounds of Justice” are, compared to Evolution. It put the match in a compelling new light. As for the match this Sunday, I expect it’ll be an interesting night for Roman Reigns. Whatever happens to him at Payback may go a long way toward building to a big singles match at Summerslam.

Bray Wyatt attempts to attack Jerry Lawler. It’s nice to see Bray Wyatt actually act like a heel this week, and pick on Jerry Lawler,  who as far as WWE is concerned, is weaker than he is. They obviously played up the whole heart attack thing, which I’d like to think will be the catalyst for Lawler returning to the ring some time soon (assuming he’s healthy, of course). All in all, it was a good segment. At least Bray didn’t do quite as much singing…

Triple H and Stephanie fire Brad Maddox. Were we supposed to feel bad about Brad Maddox getting beat up and fired? He’s still a heel, right? Well, I suppose we saw him so seldomly, it doesn’t really matter. So does he become a babyface now? Or perhaps he takes over as the general manager of Smackdown once Vickie Guerrero leaves the company (as she’s been rumored to do for some time now).

Alicia Fox throws another tantrum after losing to Emma. So Alicia Fox’s thing these days is that she’s ripping men’s clothes off and pouring soda all over herself? Yeesh, she might be a babyface before long.

Rusev def. Zack Ryder. They’re letting Rusev talk now? Why? His mic work doesn’t exactly bring anything new to his character. He’s as bland as he’s ever been.

Eva Marie def. Summer Rae. Good lord, is this Eva Marie push going to cross over on to Raw and Smackdown? Why do they insist on making this woman wrestle? As we saw this week, and countless times in the past, she leaves MUCH to be desired in terms of her in-ring ability. So why keep trying to force a square peg into a round hole? Just let her be someone’s valet for the time being. Let the suffering end!

Hornswoggle def. El Torito. To the Jim Rosses and the Jim Cornettes of the industry who are always talking about how “bad comedy for the sake of bad comedy” is never a wise decision, I give you Drew McIntyre vs. El Torito. And with it, I say: Congrats on being right.

Images from WWE.com. 

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Live vs. Memorex, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From Raw:

Raw is recorded in the UK. Thus, pre-recorded show airs in the states. Weeks like this really make it clear just how important it is that Raw is a live show. They broadcast from the UK this week, and because of the time difference, the results were made available to us in the states before the show actually hit the air. Practically speaking, there’s really no difference between a live show and a taped show if you’re not part of the internet wrestling community. But for die-hard fans like yours truly, it’s a vital element to that “anything can happen on Raw” mentality that was created back in the late ’90s. As all taped editions of Raw do, this week’s show felt really watered down.

Stephanie McMahon encourages Daniel Bryan to “do the right thing” next week. So it seems WWE don’t be stripping Daniel Bryan of the WWE Championship…yet. They announced him for Raw next week, and teased him “doing the right thing.” Ultimately, this could mean anything. Either way, I suspect WWE didn’t want to resolve this issue without Bryan being there for drama’s sake. Also, giving us the big answer on a taped show would have been a big no-no.

Bray Wyatt prompts more singing and cheers. Over on The Ross Report at PodcastOne.com, Jim Ross has said that Bray Wyatt’s presentation has been rather confusing in terms of whether we should be booing or cheering him. At the risk of being a bandwagon jumper, it’s tough not to agree with him. I’ve reached the point where I no longer classify Bray Wyatt as a bad guy. If The Wyatt Family are supposed to be bad guys, then why does Bray keep prompting the fans to sing along with him? I don’t fault the fans for doing it. But as a performer, he’s eliciting that reaction.

Batista def. Seth RollinsWas it just me, or is Batista ready to be done? When he was on his way to the ring, he just looked like he was tired and out of it. Maybe that’s just how it is on those overseas tours sometimes…

By the by, WWE.com did a story last week, asking different WWE stars who their favorite wrestlers of all time were, and Seth Rollins actually picked Necro Butcher. There’s a name I never thought I’d see mentioned on a WWE web site. He also put over Samoa Joe in the process.

Summer Rae makes her return. I’m a little confused about Summer Rae stomping down to the ring in a fury, only to lay a big wet one of Fandango, before getting into an old fashioned catfight with Layla. You’d think Summer would want to get her revenge on the man who dumped her via Twitter. So is this going to be a thing where they’re competing for Fandango’s affection? That could work for a short time, I suppose. But in the end, Summer will have to turn on Fandango. Otherwise she looks pretty damn weak. And considering they gave her a Total Divas spotlight, they cast her in The Marine 4, and she even has her own theme music now, I’m pretty sure weakness isn’t what they’re going for.

Alicia Fox def. Paige, continues to act bizarre. Supposedly Triple H has become high on Alicia Fox, thus her getting the spotlight these past two weeks, and after this week, I can only assume she’s got a title shot coming at Payback. It’s been a long time since I actually sat down and studied an Alicia Fox match. But I did this week. She’s still not the greatest actress in the world. But she’s got some nice intensity. It’s always cool to see wrestlers get rewarded after putting a lot of work in, and Fox has been with the company since 2006. I don’t know if she’ll win the title, but it’s cool to see her get a push.

Bo Dallas to debut on Smackdown this week. I’m actually anxious to see what all these “Bolieve” vignettes have been leading up to on Smackdown this Friday. Bo popped up on Raw awhile back and got a win over Wade Barrett (oddly enough, he was the IC Champ then too), but was clearly too white meat to have any real star power, at least as a babyface. Now let’s see what he can bring to the table with a little more experience under his belt.

Images from WWE.com.

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Daniel Bryan’s Neck Surgery, Roman Reigns, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From WWE Raw:

Daniel Bryan to undergo neck surgery this Thursday. What’s frustrating about this Daniel Bryan situation, other than Bryan potentially being out of commission so soon after winning the WWE Championship, is just how little we know. Long time wrestling fans are no stranger to hearing about neck injuries, and we have a decent knowledge of how serious they can be for the performers we love to watch. So hearing that Bryan is having problems with his neck is alarming to say the least. Hopefully we’ll have more info once Thursday rolls around. In any event, WWE seems to be preparing fans for a potential title vacation by Bryan, but at the same time keeping the door open for a match with Kane at Payback.

The Shield set for a rematch with Evolution at PaybackThis was pretty anti-climactic for my tastes. I was hoping we’d either see them break the trios off into singles matches, or add some sort of gimmick to the match. Hell in a Cell, perhaps? But no…just another, regular ol’ six-man tag. It was nice to hear Triple H call out Roman Reigns, though. Threatening to make him the one who “doesn’t come back” from Payback obviously puts a special spotlight on him. We may have just started down a road to Triple H vs. Roman Reigns at Summerslam.

In the meantime, The Shield looked awesome at the close of this week’s show. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: They may be the best babyface faction we’ve seen in wrestling since Degeneration X turned face in 1998.

Bray Wyatt apparently challenges John Cena to an “I Quit” Match at PaybackI LOVE this idea. It’s the ultimate way to place John Cena’s ideals against Bray Wyatt’s. If it is indeed an “I Quit” Match they’re going for, I see Cena coming out on top. And that’s fine. The way I see it, a heel can lose a submission match and then come back and gripe about it the following night. That just makes him look like more of a slime ball. But if Cena taps, he loses an important moral victory. Then again, Bray could somehow threaten or blackmail Cena into quitting. I think at one point that was how The Rock and Mick Foley’s famous “I Quit Match” in 1999 was supposed to end. Foley would have looked at his wife crying at ringside, and then simply given up to end her agony. It’d be really interesting if WWE could find a way to pull that finish off.

Dolph Ziggler def. Fandango. So we’re obviously preparing for a feud between Fandango & Layla and Summer Rae & The Miz, which will of course tie into The Marine 4. If it gives Fandango a little more exposure, I’m alright with that. Considering his on-screen persona, this might sound odd to some, but I think Fandango might fare better if he acted a little less goofy with his dancing. The character could really draw some heat if they changes his music so the fans couldn’t sing along, and acted a bit more like an elitist snob who happens to have a flair for dancing.

Paige def. Alicia Fox. So Alicia Fox ends her big “tantrum” by stealing JBL’s hat and doing a sexy prance up the ramp? Uhhh…pwned?

Sheamus beats Curtis Axel and Ryback in back-to-back matches. So….Sheamus is still a babyface, then? I mean, he beat Dean Ambrose on Smackdown, which was supposedly the beginning of his heel turn. But then he’s clearly positioned as the hero on Raw against “Rybaxel.” Either way, I think a turn to the dark side is clearly in order for the big Irishman. Either way, he put on a great performance tonight, as usual.

Rob Van Dam def. Jack Swagger, after Adam Rose brings his “Exotic Express” to ringside. Ugh. What a way to waste a Rob Van Dam match. I like Adam Rose and all, but man oh man…

Brodus Clay is one of the interfering heels during the main event. So I know Brodus was a bodyguard for Snoop Dogg at one point, but is he actually trying to look like him now? How much bronser did that man use?

Images from WWE.com.

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Sheamus Strikes Gold, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From Raw:

Sheamus wins the United States Championship in a battle royal. It’s nice to see Sheamus get a big win, as he’s better than people seem to give him credit for. His big comeback against Ryback and Curtis Axel was great. I’m not sure how he’s going to fare as a babyface in the near future, but a heel turn might be a nice change of pace for him. And given what we saw with he and The Shield, that may be just what we’re in store for.

WWE may be touting Dean Ambrose’s 351 day reign as champion, but lets be honest here: He wasn’t much of a champion. I don’t say that to slam Ambrose, as he’s one of my favorites. But he was just too busy in Shield angles to really give the title the attention it deserves. It has been nice to see that title getting some attention these past few weeks.

I was actually rooting for Fandango to take the title home. He’s got the potential to be a great bad guy, and is extremely underrated, in my opinion.

By the way…Dolph Ziggler gets eliminated by Santino and the goddamn Cobra? Gimmie a break.

Kane goes through a flaming table at Extreme Rules, seeks retribution on RawI was really surprised to see Kane take a flaming table bump at Extreme Rules. Considering how much of Kane’s back and arms were exposed, he took a hell of a risk. To say the least, that provided a memorable finish to a title match that, with due respect to he and Daniel Bryan, might have been less than main event-worthy.

As it seems WWE is going to tack another month on to this program, I’d like to see Daniel Bryan try to appeal to Kane on a personal level, as an old friend from their Team Hell No days. As a former ally, Bryan can try to convince Kane that he’s being maniulated by The Authority. Why not? So long as they don’t go too corny with it, it could be compelling to try and dive into the psychological aspects of the Kane character.

And while we’re on the subject of character, Brie Bella still can’t act. That fake wailing she was doing during Kane’s attack on Bryan was the single worst part of the show. Seriously, cut her out of the story and just let it be about Bryan and Kane. She doesn’t have the performance chops to be involved in a high drama storyline.

Amid rumors of Batista’s departure, Evolution decimates The Shield. Rumor has it Batista wasn’t keen on losing to Daniel Bryan at Payback before taking time away to promote Guardians of the Galaxy. I can’t say I blame him, considering he tapped out in the main event of Wrestlemania XXX, and then took the fall at Extreme Rules. So I imagine Batista will wind up on the winning end of whatever happens between Evolution and The Shield at Payback. I can only hope we’ll see Batista vs. Daniel Bryan at some point in the future…

Bad News Barret def. Big E. Really explosive Intercontinental Title match between these two this week, thanks largely to the athleticism of Big E. Here’s hoping he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle now that he’s without the belt. As for Barrett, I wouldn’t be surprised if, like a lot of the midcard heels in WWE these days, a babyface turn was on the way for him. The fans are into his “Bad News” promos, as was evidenced by the chants he received this week.

Adam Rose makes his first Raw appearance. I haven’t seen any of Adam Rose’s work in the ring. But I’m liking the character so far. He’s quirky. I only wish we’d heard him say more than one line. Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger certainly complimented him well. But is he going to need 25 people for his entrance each week?

Cesaro hits Rob Van Dam with a triple gut wrench, in his take on the “Three Amigos.” It’s pretty damn hard to boo somebody who can pull that off, even if he’s standing next to Paul Heyman. But on the other hand, Cesaro showed us he’s willing to be an old school rule-breaking heel, as he defied the referee’s five count and got disqualified. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a singles match between RVD and Cesaro at Payback.

Daniel Bryan def. Alberto Del Rio. I rag on Alberto Del Rio a lot for having a one-dimensional character that has never really evolved at all. But let’s give credit where credit is due. He had a really good match with Daniel Bryan on Raw. He and Bryan were incredibly smooth, and their timing was fantastic. Well done, gentlemen. Well done.

Alexander Rusev def. Kofi Kingston. So wait, is he just Rusev now? Kind of like Antonio Cesaro became just Cesaro? Either way, I still don’t buy him. The best part of his segments are Lana’s introductions. Still, that big stomp he gave to Kofi’s back before applying the camel clutch was a nice touch.

Images from WWE.com.

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A WWE Extreme Rules Preview (UPDATED w/ RESULTS) – A Dream Match, A Cage Match, A Title Match

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

This is not the Extreme Rules card I expected to see following Wrestlemania XXX. For some, like The Shield, that’s a good thing. For others, like Daniel Bryan, that’s not so good. Bryan finds himself in, for my money, the third most important match on this pay per view. The main event of this show really should have been Bryan vs. Batista, in my estimation. Granted, maybe this all was meant to be. Bryan took a week off for his honeymoon, and then had a very reduced role on a Raw a few weeks back due to his father’s passing. So in essence, he hasn’t been around for much of the build up. Still, after all we saw at Wrestlemania, Bryan, not to mention the WWE Championship, deserve a better match than what they have at Extreme Rules.

But more on that in a bit…

PRE-SHOW “WheeLC” MATCH:
El Torito vs. Hornswoggle

Hey, at least it’s not on the actual pay per view.

Supposedly, this match is going to have “mini” tables, ladders, and chairs. That’s…kind of interesting, I guess. I assume Los Matadores and 3MB will be out there as well to up the action quotient. El Torito is obviously the winner here, as he’s the more marketable, kid-friendly character.

Rob’s Prediction: El Torito
WINNER: El Torito 

HANDICAP MATCH:
Alexander Rusev vs. R-Truth & Xavier Woods

Kind of a tough break for Xavier Woods, huh? It’s his first pay per view match, and he’s jobbing in a 2-on-1 handicap match. What’s more, the guy he’s jobbing too kind of sucks. Alexander Rusev’s gimmick is about as old as the business itself. He’s the evil foreigner. But, despite what appear to be some good in-ring skills, his face just kills the entire presentation. He doesn’t look menacing. He appears to be either apathetic or tired, depending on the day. So yes, Rusev will get the win here. But unless something changes, I just don’t see him going very far.

Rob’s Prediction: Alexander Rusev
WINNER: Alexander Rusev 

WWE DIVAS TITLE MATCH:
Paige (c) vs. Tamina Snuka

I like this match, and a like what’s been done with Paige so far. Supposedly WWE has been booking her against undercard heels (Aksana, Alicia Fox, etc.) so that the fans can get to know her. I definitely like what I see, though I stand by what I said about her winning the title in her first match not being a good move. On paper, this match is really interesting. I think Tamina has about 30 pounds on Paige, and is significantly more muscled, not to mention more experienced. So watching what I expect will be a cat and mouse game between the two could prove compelling. But you never know. Either way, Paige walks out with the title.

Rob’s Prediction: Paige
WINNER:
Paige 

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
Big E. (c) vs. Bad New Barrett

While Barrett is no stranger to the Intercontinental Title, holding the belt a fourth time could prove very valuable for him, as he’s been in the process of reinventing himself for the past six months or so. Becoming the Intercontinental Champion again could solidify the idea that he’s still a big name player, and not just a bad comedy act. Big E. has had a nice run with the title, and actually been more successful that I ever thought he’d be with it. But now I think it’s time to knock him down a peg and see if he can stay afloat. A rematch next month between he and Barrett might be interesting to see once the tides have been turned. Either way, Barrett is on the rise yet again.

Rob’s Prediction: Bad News Barrett
WINNER:
Bad News Barrett 

Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger

This is actually the toughest match on the card to predict. All three of these guys are are proven commodities, and you can make an argument for all three of them going over. A win for Swagger would prove that, despite perception, he wasn’t the weak link in the Real Americans. A win for Cesaro would further solidify his status as a player in the making. A win for Rob Van Dam could serve as a springboard into a higher profile program. It’s a tough choice, but at the end of the day it’ll probably be Cesaro. I’m not sure what WWE is trying to do with him, as the fans clearly want to cheer for him. But he’s aligned with Paul Heyman, who’s about as much a bad guy as you can be. But they definitely seem to have something in mind for him, so I’ll say he pins RVD and gets the victory.

Rob’s Prediction: Cesaro
WINNER: Cesaro 

EXTREME RULES MATCH FOR WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kane

This match seems like a time killer until we’re ready to put the Evolution/Shield feud aside. Kane is a convenient dragon to through in Bryan’s path until a larger threat comes along. Bryan, the WWE Championship, and frankly Kane, all deserve better than that. Still, I’m sure they’ll give us something that’s decent at the very least. It’s interesting how WWE has played with imagery in terms of Kane’s mask. It would be cool if that were somehow involved, i.e. Bryan rips off the mask, and somehow turns Kane back into the corporate underling. In any event, hopefully Bryan will put Kane behind him, and move on to bigger things.

Rob’s Prediction: Daniel Bryan
WINNER:
 Daniel Bryan 

STEEL CAGE MATCH:
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

I’m not as in love with Bray Wyatt as a lot of fans are. I certainly like the idea of Bray Wyatt, and am intrigued for what it could become. But it’s still fairly new. While Bray Wyatt has given us some really good promos, and an interesting segment involving a youth choir, I’m not blown away by his work. Very much intrigued, but not yet blown away. A victory for Bray in this cage match seems likely, and from there, another match with Cena at Payback. I see Bray worming his way into the WWE Championship picture eventually. I don’t know if he’ll win it on his first try, but he’s definitely on his way.

Rob’s Prediction: Bray Wyatt
WINNER: Bray Wyatt 

Evolution vs. The Shield

I certainly didn’t expect a babyface turn from The Shield, but it’s turned out very well. These are big words, but The Shield could turn out to be the most bad ass babyface tandem since Degeneration X circa 1998. There’s a certain irony to that, considering Triple H is across the ring from them here.

This bout definitely has a nice dream match feel to it. Two mega factions from two different eras colliding in what I can only assume will be the final match on this show. I maintain that the eventual plan here will be to turn Rollins and Ambrose against Reigns, so that he can break out as a singles star. I see some sort of high-level match for him at Summerslam, possibly against Triple H. But we shouldn’t rule out Batista, either. Roman Reigns definitely has star power. In the aftermath of this year’s Royal Rumble, we certainly can’t deny that. But here’s hoping Ambrose and Rollins don’t end up simply being relegated to henchmen for The Authority. They’re too damn talented for that.

I see Evolution taking this one home. Considering Hunter, Orton, and Batista all lost at Wrestlemania, and The Shield had a decisive victory that night, the villains are due for a win. How things break down from here is anybody’s guess. With luck, we’ll see Bryan face Batista for the title next month, and possibly Orton facing off against Reigns in a one-on-one match. But at this point, the card seems to be wide open.

Rob’s Prediction: Evolution
WINNERS:
The Shield 

Front page image from whatculture.com. All other images from WWE.com.

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Sing Along With the Wyatts, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From WWE Raw:

Bray Wyatt and a large group of children serenade John Cena. I love the idea behind the opening segment to this week’s Raw. Bray Wyatt using children to get inside the head of John Cena is a wonderful concept to advance the storyline. But there were some issues with the execution that took me out of the moment. First of all, the kids were obviously singing along to a track being fed into the arena. From a practical standpoint, that makes sense, as you can’t necessarily mic all those kids. But notion that they were all singing along with a pre-recorded track took some of the magic out of the moment. Also, why were they all wearing black robes? Why not dress them all up in John Cena gear, or something? For my money, that would drive the message home even further. “They’re not yours, John. They’re coming with me.” Still, one can’t deny that the sight of all the kids wearing sheep masks was a great visual.

On the subject of Bray Wyatt, Jim Ross brought up an interesting topic on a recent edition of The Ross Report: As a heel, does it behoove Wyatt as a heel to get the crowd to sing along with him like they do? If you’re a heel, your job is to get fans to hate you, isn’t it? But as time goes in, the fans seem to be getting more and more into Bray’s act. So is he truly a heel at this point? Or by virtue of facing John Cena, does he find himself in that same in-between category that Cena typically finds himself in?

Ric Flair returns to endorse The Shield. Not at all surprised to see Flair return to give the ol’ verbal rub to Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns. To have Flair lend his support to Evolution really does nothing for either party. But to endorse The Shield creates some nice buzz, and adds a little bit to the anticipation for Extreme Rules. I see Evolution vs. The Shield main eventing the pay per view, as it’s the bout that ultimately has the most star power. It’s also got a nice “dream match” vibe to it.

WWE.com posts story on Dean Ambrose holding the United States Championship for 344 days and counting. This accolade would be much more impressive if Ambrose actually had any memorable title defenses during that 44-day reign. Sadly, he’s simply been too caught up in The Shield’s storylines to do anything meaningful with the belt. There are plenty of folks who maintain that WWE should unify the Intercontinental and United States Championships. I still maintain WWE can make the belts different by letting the upper mid-card guys wrestle for the IC belt, and the lower-card guys fight for the US belt. In any event, Ambrose may not have the title for much longer, what with this 3-on-1 handicap match on Smackdown.

Kane tries to drag Brie Bella to “Hell.” Look, if we’re going to start acknowledging Brie and Brian’s relationship on television more often, this girl needs to take some acting lessons or something. Still, from my end Kane’s attack on the couple created some cool suspense, and contributed significantly to the build-up for this match at Extreme Rules. But it doesn’t change the fact that this isn’t a main event match. This isn’t where Bryan should be following his momentous wins at Wrestlemania XXX.

Hugh Jackman knocks out Damien Sandow, who happens to be dressed as Magneto. I think one of the things that endears Hugh Jackman to wrestling fans is that it’s obvious he’s actually having fun out there. It was obvious in 2011, and it was obvious this week. As fans, we appreciate it, Hugh. We appreciate you too, Damien, despite what they’re making you do…

Bad News Barrett def. Rob Van Dam to earn Intercontinental Title Match at Extreme Rules. Another guy who seems to be having fun out there is Bad News Barrett, who this week on the number one contender tournament to earn a shot at the Intercontinental Championship. Another run with the Intercontinental Championship certainly wouldn’t hurt Barrett. At this point, it would mean more than any of his previous runs with the gold, and it might just elevate him to that next tier on the card. I’m entirely in favor of a BNB win at Extreme Rules. Whether WWE will pull the trigger on it is another story entirely.

- The Usos def. Ryback and Curtis Axel. Nice outing for the Usos this week against Ryback and Curtis Axel. A pretty cool “overcoming the odds” story for our top babyface tag team.

- Sheamus def. Titus O’Neil after Titus surprises him during his entrance. I still miss the Prime Time Players. Hey Titus, have you still got Darren Young’s number in your phone?

Alexander Rusev mixes it up with R-Truth and Xaiver Woods. Rusev set to face the duo at Extreme RulesListened to a clip of radio personalities Don Tony and Kevin Castle talking about how Alexander Rusev is, in their minds, an attempt by WWE to create a homegrown version of Samoa Joe. While I don’t necessarily believe that, I will agree with Tony and Castle on another point they made: That Lana will eventually overshadow Rusev. At this rate, it’s only a matter of time.

Hornswoggle and El Torito to compete in “WeeLC” match at Extreme RulesAnd yet, Dolph Ziggler still isn’t booked. But hey, did you see Los Matadores lost to 3MB? That’s almost as humiliating as their gimmick…

Images from WWE.com.

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