Saturday, 28 March 2015

WWE Superstars TV Report 3-27-15: The New Day vs The Ascension; Emma still dancing, still losing.

Superstars was a fairly meagre offering as a go-home show for WrestleMania this week. If anyone is in the Bay Area, I’ll be at the show Sunday and Raw on Monday. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Summer Rae (w/ Cameron) beat Emma with a schoolgirl in 4:48

We start off with some early comedy between Summer and Emma, as Rae mimics and mocks the dance – quite right too, it isn’t over. Emma gets annoyed and slaps Rae, uses a drop toe hold and smacks her head into the mat. Off a distraction by Cameron outside, Rae drop kicks and covers Emma and then applies a rear chin lock.

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Thursday, 26 March 2015

WWE WrestleMania 31 Predictions

Brock Lesnar (c) v Roman Reigns WWE World Heavyweight Championship

I’m more excited for this now that Lesnar has resigned. It removes the inevitability of it: the feeling of if Lesnar wasn’t losing it on Sunday, he’d have to be dropping it the following night on Raw. I still expect them to make Reigns sell for 25 minutes before coming back - but I think Lesnar wins. We can only expect him to get a giant reaction from the crowd now that he’s staying with the company.

What happens after? Rollins could cash, though I doubt it – too obvious. Reigns is reportedly feuding with Rollins going forward, so maybe he costs him his title. Rock could be involved but would he really be in favour of hijacking his relative’s moment? I think Lesnar wins, Rock comes out to stop a post-match beat down and next year’s main event is set up.

Make no mistake, though, Paul Heyman is key here. And I’ll also note that having the title off TV for all these months hasn’t really been a popular move…

Pick: Brock Lesnar

The Undertaker v Bray Wyatt

Not interested in this and that’s sad. The Undertaker match last year broke the streak but also broke his run of having the outstanding match at the last 7 or so WrestleManias. I know he got his bell rung early on in the match, but the match was such a disappointment and I wonder whether we can expect much more out of this match.

Wyatt has been booked strong to get him ready for this but has barely worked on TV of late. I hope they’ve rehearsed it to death and I really want it to be good - but other than it being the Undertaker match at WrestleMania that we thought we wouldn’t get after the streak was broken, what purpose is it really serving?

Pick: The Undertaker

Sting v Triple H

Although Sting probably should win and Triple H has quite a poor win ratio at WresltMania, I still think Triple H is going over here. Three reasons: 1) The killing of WCW still seems to actually matter in 2015. 2) It won’t matter if Sting wins a match at SummerSlam. 3) There need to be some heel wins on this show and the way it’s looking, we’re not going to get too many.

They will have run this over again and again and Triple H is such a safe pair of hands - a ring general - that they’ll have a good match I’m sure. Sting hasn’t been great in the ring for some time, however, and he’s really far too old to be doing this anymore. It kind of has a ceiling to how good it can be, going in.

Expect sledge hammers, baseball bats and Steph to play into this,

Pick: Triple H

Rusev (c) v John Cena for the WWE United States Championship

I don’t know why you need to beat Rusev at all, other than to take the title off him. Cena will be a huge babyface here (as will Lana) but this is kind of why they’ve done this – it gives Cena a good reaction, for once, in a feud that fans can really get behind him. An international crowd, however, may block that, but I don’t think Rusev is the kind of heel that fans want to cheer ironically in that hijacking fashion of someone like Lesnar, say.

Maybe they’re hoping to rebuild Cena to some extent here by taking him out of the main event, giving him an All-American feel (a la Hogan in the mask c.2004?), but they can still use him to headline house shows that will be packed with kids clambering to see their hero. It actually makes a lot of sense.

After Mania, they’re rumoured to continue the feud which I’m fine with – what’s next for Rusev is important, though. Lesnar? Wyatt?

Pick: John Cena

Wade Barratt (c) v Daniel Bryan v Luke Harper v Dolph Ziggler v R-Truth v Stardust v Dean Ambrose in a ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

This could be the match everyone remembers, because you’ve got some great talent in here along with some insane talent in here. Ziggler and Ambrose are really quite nuts when they want to be. Ambrose showed that more prior to signing with WWE but Ziggler is just stupid at times – though, entertaining as hell.

I think that all the talk of Goldust and Cody not wrestling at the show might be a swerve and Goldust may cost Cody here.

R-Truth will do some comedy scared-of-heights spots. Harper will annihilate people. Bryan should win and would get such a huge reaction if he does. But, I’ll just temper that with the fact that a lot of babyfaces would seem to be winning here and plans always change.

Pick: Daniel Bryan

Randy Orton v Seth Rollins

Seth doesn’t need to win this and Orton is trying to get his revenge. If Seth is featuring later, he looks more chicken-shit if he loses here and then weasels his way to the title after the main event. If not, you could have Seth win but then keep Orton strong by having it a win because of interference from J&J or Kane/Big Show.

This could be a really good match, but possibly won’t get the time to be much more than good.

Pick: Randy Orton

Andre the Giant Battle Royal

This is anyone’s. Sheamus might be returning the night after Mania but that information might be changed or out there to put us off the scent.

If they put Finn Balor in, I’d love to see him win.

Miz and Mizdow will probably use this as a platform to showcase the climax of their on-off-on again relationship. People would love to see Mizdow win but where they go with him after he and Miz split is beyond me – does he just change his name back and go back to being a nobody? They need to keep the momentum but I hope they give him a mic if that’s where they go – because he’s nothing special in the ring yet can really talk.

For me, Sheamus returns, destroys a ring full of nobodies and gets the win.

Pick: Sheamus

Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (c) v The Usos v The New Day v Los Matadores WWE Tag Team Championships

Too many title changes seem likely on the show, so I see that they’ll probably make this fast, entertaining and full of comedy as a warm up for the stadium as it fills up and people take their seats, but the champs retain. Los Matadores are great in that role, ditto The Usos. I wonder if they’ll look to the New Year’s New Japan show match for inspiration. Kidd and Cesaro can retain because none of the other teams are over enough to need the title. Kidd and Cesaro have something and they need to give them some more time to work at it.

Pick: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro

I actually think that this will be a really good show. There’s so much negativity out there about the build up to this year’s ppv (and rightly so), but when you start to look at how much time the bigger matches should get and who is involved, you see that there’s every chance that we’ll see some good wrestling on show. And hey, it’s WrestleMania, everyone should raise their game. Well, I hope so… I’m going to be there.

Booking WWE WrestleMania 31 - The Results

So while last year, I tried booking Mania in October, this year I felt that last year’s fairly poor predictions where something that needed work. So instead, I sat down on the eve of the Royal Rumble and tried to pick a path through to WrestleMania 31. I wanted to predict the card, not the outcomes.

I should note: as with all predictions, I enjoyed being utterly, unreservedly wrong as much as I am pleased at being even remotely right.

John Cena v Rusev – ding!

What I said then - “I think this one is the easy build. Cena comes off looking like a huge all-American hero against the Soviet threat – Rusev is one of those heels who doesn’t get ironic support or respect from the marks because his gimmick is so hateful to American fans. Lana is the key to that. Unfortunately, there’s a far less partisan crowd at Mania but I still think Cena is less likely to get booed out the building here.”

First one right, but an easy one by anyone’s standards. In fact, you’d have to be pretty blind to have missed this one.

Sting v Triple H – ding!

What I said then - “Pretty much a definite, wouldn’t you think? I don’t think it will be much of a match but god knows if you’re going to have Sting work with anyone, the ring general HHH is the man for him to work with. It books itself and I have to say that WWE have done a great job with Sting so far. As long as they don’t use him too much in the run up, and keep his appearances surprises and sparse, this will at least have a great build – even if the match doesn’t live up to much.

Everyone knew this was the deal. Another safe bet.

Randy Orton v Kane in a loser leaves the company/career match – WRONG!

What I said then – “I’ve been wondering what they do with Orton when he comes back. The strong feeling is that he’s coming back as a babyface. If that’s the case you’d have to assume that they have to address his time under Authority rule and that might lead to him facing Kane. Ordinarily, I’d say that this would suck. And it still probably would. But if you look at how old Kane is (47) and think that they could work in an angle whereby Randy has to face him with something on the line that is as definitive as Kane’s career then they could deliver a really interesting match. Or at least give us something to give two hoots about.

Well. Lunacy? Maybe. I still think Kane is probably nearing the end of his time in the ring with WWE and there’s only so much more that you can do with him. He’s been neutered so often, he’s no longer the monster he once was and, let’s be frank, looks really quite old on TV – and heaven knows Vince doesn’t like old people being on his TV show.

Anyway, Kane is in the Battle Royal and Randy has Seth.

Brock Lesnar v Roman Reigns – ding!

What I said then - “If you look at history with this company it generally teaches you that they change plans a lot. But what it also teaches you is that if they have a direction for WrestleMania they tend to stick to it, regardless. Last year no one wanted to see Dave Batista win the Rumble and main event WrestleMania against Randy Orton, but he did and they did. Thankfully, the company listened to what we were saying and they put Daniel Bryan in there too.

Now this one was a bigger call than it probably reads right now. When I predicted this, there was a genuine feeling amongst the wrestling writing community that WWE were going to have  to let Daniel Bryan into this match and wait on Reigns. It was a case of Reigns not being ready and I suppose that was why The Rock had to put him over at the culmination of the Rumble and Bryan had to lose to him at Fast Lane. Of course, now that Lesnar has resigned, this match just got infinitely better. 

Daniel Bryan v Seth Rollins – WRONG!

What I said then – “Has anyone else seen how much media Bryan has done since his return pushing how much he’d love to fight Lesnar? I think it may be all in vain. But this would make me very happy. Not to mention a lot of others. This could be the title match, who knows. I think it could form the dénouement of a year-long Daniel Bryan v The Authority story. Seth fights for The Authority and Bryan fights to overcome his injuries and injustices for everyone else. They’d tear the house down.

I guess you can always dream book and that’s certainly what I did here. I picked two missing pieces and put them together. Instead, inexplicably, they have completely demoted Bryan to mid-card hell and have placed Seth with Orton who was always going to return and needed a big match.

Dean Ambrose v Cesaro – WRONG!

What I said then – “You could interchange Cesaro for Barratt and it would still work. After all, Barratt is the IC champion. But Ambrose and Cesaro would have a great match.”

Still wrong, but maybe slightly less wrong than above? Cesaro of course finds himself in a title match elsewhere and Ambrose and Barratt are part of a much bigger match that should probably steal the show.

Undertaker v Bray Wyatt – ding!

What I said then – “I don’t think this is a) going to happen; is b) going to be very good; and c) would be a match the people would care about. But there’s some talk of it that I can’t ignore. Selfishly, I’d like to see The Undertaker wrestle. I actually think Wyatt will be the last one in ring with Reigns at the end of the Rumble but I don’t know who he’d go against this year if this one doesn’t come off. There aren’t many spare parts if you look at the above. He’s faced Cena. He’s beaten Ambrose. Orton? Bryan?”

Easy to say now but as you can see I wasn’t sold on the match, nor am I still. Wyatt did also go on to dominate in the Rumble – as predicted – playing Steve Austin in 1999. For what It’s worth, this isn’t going to be very good. Retirement match for Taker in Texas next year?

A MUCH better showing than last year on my part, but it just shows you that two months out from the show, so much was still up in the air. Why is that? Partly the change in WWE’s mentality, partly due to the Network and the slow death of ppv.

Monday, 23 March 2015

WWE Superstars TV Report 3-20-15: The Lucha Dragons v The Ascension rematch, Adam Rose loses again

Jack Swagger beat Adam Rose with the Patriot Lock in 3:47

They started the show with a big push on the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania next weekend. After Adam Rose’s entrance, the break the usual format and cut to a promo video looking at Andre the Giant’s career which included talking heads from  the likes of William Regal, John Cena and Chris Jericho. As a result, whenever there was a pause for some posturing in this match, instead of looking up and pointing at the WrestleMania sing, there was lots of pointing down at the trophy at ringside.

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