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Author Archives: ryanfoges

RIP Anthony Bourdain (1956-2018)

Anthony Bourdain

Photo: CNN

Anthony Bourdain was found dead today while filming his ‘Parts Unknown’ series in Paris. He was 61. It’s shocking in the sense that all suicides are shocking, and mental health doesn’t usually announce itself to the world before it takes a life. Bourdain had his demons and was a mental health activist, but this is still a very sad day. About an hour before Bourdain’s death was announced, I was watching the trailer for the new Robin Williams documentary. Williams was two years older than Bourdain when he took his own life, but both men brought a lot of joy and understanding to people while struggling with their own happiness.

I started watching No Reservations around 2011. I had graduated college the year before and was in that bittersweet stage where I thought i had the world by the balls but then life slapped the shit out of me and taught me I didn’t know a thing. It was hard not to gravitate towards Bourdain. He was well spoken, confident and fearless. Above all, he was empathetic. He was empathetic towards people’s cultures, whether it was how they lived or what they ate. He taught his viewers, including me, to experience the world as fully as possible. You never felt like you were watching Anthony Bourdain the actor, or Anthony Bourdain the TV host. He was being himself, and it just so happened a TV camera was there. He was real, genuine, flawed and fucked up. But he cared about people, and he cared about helping those who either couldn’t help themselves or were given little chance to do so.

I watch No Reservations or Parts Unknown before any trip I take, because I feel that Bourdain gives the most authentic representation of whichever culture I’m about to explore. I’m going to South Africa in August, and I can’t wait to sit down with an ice cold beer and watch the master at work. RIP.

-Ryan

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The Official #WWE #WrestleMania Monster Blog

Well wrestling fans, the time is finally here. WrestleMania week is always the most exciting week of the year for wrestling fans. WWE’s mega event takes place Sunday night, but promotions from around the world will also take advantage of the influx of fans. If you’re in New Orleans this week, chances are you’ll stumble across some type of wrestling event. Thousands of fans will descend upon the Big Easy for what should be one hell of a week.

On paper, WrestleMania 34 is one of the best cards of the modern era.

Rumored Match

John Cena vs. The Undertaker

WrestleMania Pre-Show Matches

WWE Cruiserweight Title Tournament Finals

Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Women’s Battle Royal

Main Card

WWE Universal Title Match

Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns

WWE Title Match

AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

WWE Intercontinental Title Match

Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz

WWE United States Title Match

Rusev vs. Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton

RAW Women’s Title Match

Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss

SmackDown Women’s Title Match

Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair

RAW Tag Team Title Match

Cesaro and Sheamus (C) vs. Braun Strowman and ??

SmackDown Tag Team Title Match

The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Usos

Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon

Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

That is one hell of a card. The best part is that there’s something for everyone. On the pre-show there’s going to be insane, high flying action with the cruiserweights. Battle royals are always a lot of fun, and will be a good showcase for men and women who wouldn’t have otherwise been on the card. The main card features the return of Daniel Bryan, the debut of Ronda Rousey, AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for a major WWE title; John Cena vs. The Undertaker could happen, plus Braun Strowman has to find a partner if he wants a chance at tag team gold. Even the match I’m not super excited about (US title fatal 4 way) has a chance to be good, especially if the crowd is behind Rusev.

To sum it up, WrestleMania will be two things: very long and very good. Here are five matches that have the most potential to steal the show, as well predictions for each match.

5. Cruiserweight Title Tournament Finals: Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali

WrestleMania

Photo: WWE

After WWE put on the fantastic Cruiserweight Classic, hopes were high for 205 Live. The product didn’t translate well, and it looked especially doomed when Enzo Amore became champion. Instead of focusing on the rare athleticism that the cruiserweights offered, 205 Live tried to make it storyline driven. It didn’t work, so Vince McMahon put HHH in charge to try and freshen things up. The results have been wonderful, and the Cruiserweight Title Tournament brought the product back to the greatness of the Cruiserweight Classic. While it would be great to have the finals on the main card, Mustafa Ali vs. Cedric Alexander is going to be bonkers no matter where it’s placed.

Alexander and Ali both thrive when they’re able to focus on their athletic talent, and that’s exactly what the title tournament has allowed them to do. Each of their three matches in the tournament have been exciting, and with the final match culminating at WrestleMania, these two should be going all out. From an athletic standpoint, there’s no reason this match shouldn’t be the match of the night. The one benefit of being on the two pre-show is that these two should get plenty of time. Fingers crossed for a returning Neville to show up post match and tear both of them apart.

Prediction: Mustafa Ali

Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. HHH & Stephanie McMahon

WrestleMania

Photo: WWE

People love to hate, but they don’t love to love. That’s the easiest way to sum up Ronda Rousey’s first 2+ months in the WWE. She has the potential to be a huge signing for WWE, and brings a legitimacy that few other performers have. I’m hopeful that the majority of the WWE Universe will give Rousey a shot, and a lot of that will have to do with her performance Sunday night. She’s been put in a great position: teaming with a fan favorite Olympic gold medalist against two long time, hated authority figures. If WWE keeps the storytelling simple and lets Kurt Angle do most of the leg work, this match could be epic.

Regardless of how the match plays out, there is only one clear outcome: Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle victorious.

IC Title Match: The Miz (C) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

WrestleMania

Photo: WWE

There are multiple matches on the Mania card that have a chance to be excellent in ring bouts. Near the top of that list is the triple threat for the IC title. Rollins and Balor are two of, if not the two best in ring performers on Raw. They had a hell of a match on Monday, and I can only see it getting better when you add in Miz. The Miz is enjoying easily the best run of his career, and while his in ring work can’t match up with Rollins/Balor, his character work is fantastic.

While guys on Miz’s level don’t always need a championship, Miz having the belt makes all his talking points click. His character would seem hollow with the strap not on his shoulder, which is what makes this match so hard to predict. WWE loves moments, especially at WrestleMania, and if there’s one guy in need of a big moment, it’s Finn Balor. Miz and Rollins have had their moments, but Balor has been stuck in a rut since relinquishing the Universal title one night after winning it.

I’m going with Balor to win and carry on the workhorse legacy the IC title deserves.

Smackdown Women’s Title Match: Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Asuka

WrestleMania

Photo: WWE

While Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax has the emotional weight behind it, Charlotte vs. Asuka is the biggest dream match in the women’s division. Asuka has never been defeated in NXT/WWE, dating back to October 2015. Charlotte has been the standard bearer for the Women’s Revolution. Sasha/Bayley might have had better matches and more personal stories, but Charlotte has always been portrayed as the alpha. She won the old Divas championship. She won the Raw women’s title four times and will be the reigning, defending Smackdown women’s champion heading into this year’s Mania.

Asuka will easily be Charlotte’s toughest challenge, and you also have the added intrigue of Asuka’s incredible winning streak. I’m a fan of keeping Asuka undefeated forever, but how do you have her win the Smackdown title while still on Raw? Both women’s divisions are paper thin, and I don’t think having Asuka switch to Smackdown is the right call. If there’s any current main roster star that should defeat Asuka, it’s Charlotte. I have very little confidence in this prediction, but I’m going with Charlotte to retain.

WWE Title Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

WrestleMania

Photo: WWE

AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura were the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 10 in ’06. While they probably won’t be the main event of WrestleMania 34, they’re my pick to have the match of the night. Styles has been the best wrestler in WWE for awhile now, and Nakamura is a guy who rises to the skill level of his opponent. I’m so glad WWE kept this match one on one, as Styles and Nakamura deserve this spotlight. There has been speculation that Styles is injured, but it doesn’t seem serious enough to limit the match. With the WWE Network replacing the old pay per view format, match times are no longer an issue. That’s great news for these two, as they should have enough time to tell a great story and put on the match of the night.

Similar to Finn Balor, Nakamura hasn’t had his big moment on the main roster yet. Winning the Royal Rumble was huge, but a WrestleMania moment is on a totally different level. Styles has carried the torch valiantly, but I think this is Nakamura’s time. I’m picking Shinsuke to become the new WWE champion.

Predictions for the rest of the card

Becky Lynch wins the Fabolous Moolah oh please god no Women’s Battle Royal

Samoa Joe returns and wins the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and kicks ass for the rest of 2018

Roman Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar for the Universal title. Some people might get mad, but this is the logical ending for this story. Hopefully Lesnar goes to UFC and we can get the champ on Raw full time.

Rusev wins the US title fatal four way. This one is a no brainer for me. Rusev is one of the most popular guys on the roster, even though he’s used idiotically. RUSEV DAY is one of those simple, classic catchphrases that the crowd loves, and Rusev is a skilled and charismatic performer. You can’t have Rusev lose on RUSEV DAY.

Nia Jax defeats Alexa Bliss for the Raw women’s title. Bliss has been great in her role, but she needs to get rag dolled here. Nia should win in dominant fashion.

Braun Strowman and his mystery partner defeat The Bar for the Raw tag titles. I have no clue who Strowman’s partner is, but I’m excited to find out. If I had to guess, I would pick Elias or a reincarnated Bray Wyatt. A mystery team won the tag titles last year (Hardy’s) and I think it happens again this year. The Raw tag division is not in good shape, and at the very least Braun Strowman and his mysterious friend can make it more exciting.

The Usos retain over Bludgeon Brothers and New Day. I love The Usos and never want them to lose, hence my pick.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeat Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. Firstly, how great is it that Daniel Bryan is back wrestling in a wrestling ring? I’m so happy for him. Secondly, never trust a McMahon. I hope the story they tell is that Shane, Kevin and Sami have been in cahoots this whole time. They went through all this trouble to get Daniel Bryan back into the ring so they could take him out 3 on 1. I can’t think of a better way to get crowds to turn on Zayn and Owens than to have them ruin Daniel Bryan’s WrestleMania comeback.

Rumored Match

John Cena has been on Raw for the past month calling out The Undertaker. Taker has been killing Cena with silence and has yet to accept Cena’s WrestleMania challenge. Will The Deadman show up in New Orleans? Will the two titans of WWE have an actual match? Your guess is as good as mine. What I do know is that this segment will get a ton of time, most of which will be a John Cena promo. WrestleMania has become a spectacle on it’s own, so it wasn’t necessary for The Undertaker to show up on Raw and officially accept Cena’s challenge. Fans are going to tune in regardless, but this has still be an odd storyline.

I picked Samoa Joe to win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, but I don’t think his night ends there. I think Joe either comes out instead of Taker, or comes out after Taker appears and takes both guys out. Samoa Joe is the real deal, and although he’s been hurt, giving him a big WrestleMania moment with John Cena and The Undertaker would be awesome.

-Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

#MusicMonday: Anderson East – Always Be My Baby (Mariah Carey Cover)

I’m a firm believer that cover songs should have an original spin to them. It’s tough to get better than the original, but if you can create your own version it’s almost always better than a straight up remake. In the spirit of that thought, I present to you the uber talented Anderson East. I dare you not to fall in love with his cover of Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby. I dare you!

Anderson East – Always Be My Baby

At first I thought the jazz infused opening was going to my favorite part, but then Anderson East starts singing. His raspy voice is the exact opposite of Carey’s angelic pipes, but he makes it work. This is a live, raw cover that I will listen to at least 45 times today. Have a great day on purpose everybody.

-Ryan

#MusicMonday – Arcade Fire: Creature Comfort (Live on #SNL)

Arcade Fire were the musical guests for Saturday’s SNL. Bill Hader was the host and it was easily one of the best episodes of the season. This was their fifth appearance as musical guests, and they played two tracks from their newest album, Everything Now.

Arcade Fire – Creature Comfort

My favorite of the two was their futuristic performance of Creature Comfort. Arcade Fire always brings the funk with them to SNL, and this performance was no different. They even got in on the sketch comedy with a cameo in CBC Report.

-Ryan

Five Stars From #WWE #RAW (3/12/18): It’s WrestleMania Season

Welcome back, wrestling fans. Now that Fastlane has come and gone, WWE is officially on the fast track to WrestleMania. Counting last night’s show, there are only four Raw’s left until WrestleMania. The biggest show of the year will be here before we know it, and the good news is the early card looks great. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar is a rematch of one of the more intense and stiff Mania main event’s in recent memory.

Ronda Rousey/Kurt Angle vs. HHH/Stephanie is a great idea for Rousey’s first match. The match will have a main event feel thanks to the other three who are involved but it keeps Rousey away from the Women’s title until she’s earned it. MIz/Rollins/Balor should be fantastic with the IC title on the line. Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax is becoming a very emotional storyline with Bliss playing her heel role perfectly, which is going to lead to a groundswell of support for Nia. Braun Strowman might be challenging for the tag titles solo which is just preposterous enough to work.

All in all, WrestleMania is looking good on paper. Now, let’s get to the five stars from last night’s Raw!

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

5. Roman Reigns

I’ve really enjoyed the build to Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar II. Instead of going the traditional route with Reigns and Lesnar going face to face or brawling for weeks in a row, they’ve kept it one sided. If they tried to build this like a normal title match, the crowd would continue to shit on Reigns. By keeping Lesnar away and allowing Reigns to finally sound like a normal guy, they’ve started to bring some fans to Roman’s side. Roman cut a fantastic promo on Lesnar two weeks ago and followed it up with another strong speech last night. When WWE allows Reigns to talk tough and keep it short he’s a much more believable character. While Reigns has held up his end of the build so far, WWE used their trump card last night.

While it’s easy to think of Vince as this super popular legend, the facts are that he’s one of best heels in pro wrestling history. He makes it so easy to hate him, and if you’re looking to build sympathy or support for a character, you pit them against Vince. Remember Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus from three years ago? The crowd rooted for Reigns almost by default because Vince was on the other side.

Last night Reigns called out Vince in the ring then confronted him backstage. That led to Vince temporarily suspending Reigns while also mentioning Brock Lesnar does enjoy special privileges, but he’s earned them. Brock Lesnar was always cheered because of his freakish skills and unmatched intensity, but it’s much harder to cheer for him when he’s aligned with or supported by Vince. This will almost certainly lead to a Vince/Reigns confrontation, which should enhance an already great build.

4. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

Miz vs. Rollins vs. Balor could have zero build and i’d still be psyched for their match at Mania. They’re three of the best workers on Raw, and they’re fighting for what should be the workhorse championship. Since Raw is a 3 hour show every week, they’re obviously going to feature some type of segment with those three, and I’d prefer it to be more wrestling than promos. Miz TV is always enjoyable, but Miz is so far and above both Rollins and Balor on the microphone and this match doesn’t need a lot of talking up to get people excited.

Rollins vs. Balor was a fun match, and I particularly enjoyed the ending. Rollins and Balor are evenly matched, so if you’re going to have someone go over clean, it shouldn’t be a dominant victory. They also know each other well and have a shared history. I don’t think either should win with their finisher either, which is why I liked this so much. Rollins loves to hit the top rope suplex/falcon arrow combo to soften guys up for his finisher. While he executed the suplex perfectly, Balor knew he was going to roll over into the falcon arrow. He was able to use that knowledge to his advantage and reverse the falcon arrow into a roll up for the win.

It wasn’t a dominant victory, but it showed you how quickly someone can pickup a win, which if it happens at Mania, means there will be a new IC champ.

3. Asuka vs. Mickie James

Asuka finally made her WrestleMania decision Sunday at Fastlane. Asuka vs. Charlotte is a dream match any way you look at it, and it’s a much better title match than Asuka vs. Bliss would have been. As great of a character as Alexa is, there is no realistic way for her to beat Asuka without a metric ton of shenanigans. That shouldn’t be the route they take for Asuka at Mania, so I’m glad she’s challenging Charlotte. Asuka even threw some shade at Bliss by saying she wants to face the best women’s champion at Mania. To add insult to injury Alexa’s backup plan Nia Jax was a no show. forcing MIckie James to be the poor sacrificial lamb.

James/Asuka was a lot of fun, mainly because Mickie understands the value of fighting different styles of matches against different opponents. She was super aggressive against Asuka, and even got a few near falls. Asuka has been undefeated for 55 years for a reason though, and eventually adjusted to pick up the tap out win.

2. Alexa & Nia

While Asuka/Charlotte has a leg up from an in ring standpoint, Alexa vs. Nia Jax has all the emotional weight behind it. Alexa and Nia have been “friends” for awhile now, with Alexa using Nia for her size and strength while Nia has been getting the extreme short end of the stick. Nia continues to persevere, but it’s starting to take a toll. Last week’s interaction between Bliss and Nia was heartbreaking, and it’s a credit to how strong both of these characters are. Bliss is the absolute worst, while Nia has been manipulated for so long that it’s starting to break her down. She keeps going though, because at the root of it all is her friendship with Bliss.

Yeah…about that friendship. After Nia murders a poor local competitor, a hot boom mic picks up Alexa talking some major hurtful shit about Nia. Nia is in the ring listening the entire time and eventually storms to the back and destroys the women’s locker room that Bliss and Mickie James were in. Alexa tip toed the line with NIa for so long, but she finally went too far when Nia was within earshot. If you have even a tiny piece of a heart you’re going to be rooting for Nia to rip Alexa to shreds as soon as possible.

1. Braun Strowman

Braun Strowman winning the tag team battle royal by himself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but stay with me here. 1. Watching Braun Strowman destroy ten other guys is always fun. 2. The Raw tag division is useless, and there’s no point in trying to turn one of the current teams into believable contenders. I’m not saying one or multiple teams can’t be revamped, but four weeks prior to WrestleMania is not the time to do that. 3. If this win stands, I think Kurt Angle should force Braun to find a partner. How fun would it be watching this unstoppable monster try to find someone who he hasn’t already tried to murder to be his tag team partner?

Strowman isn’t the most trustworthy guy, but having an automatic tag team title shot at WrestleMania could convince someone to join forces with Braun. I’m interested to see who that could be.

-Ryan

#MusicMonday: Tracy Chapman – Fast Car

I think it’s safe to say we live in an argumentative society. If you have an opinion, chances are someone else will have the exact opposite stance. Luckily this isn’t an opinion, but rather a statement of fact. ‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman is the best song in the history of recorded music.

Tracy Chapman – Fast Car

The song was released in 1988, which is coincidentally the year I was born. I’m not saying this was meant to be my favorite song, but I’m also not NOT saying that. I recently emailed the preferred playlist to the band that is playing at my wedding. This song was not on the band’s website, but it was one of my special requests. The lead singer replied back asking to confirm that Fast Car is performed by Tracy Chapman. You are goddamn right it is. Have a great week on purpose everybody.

-Ryan

Five Stars From @WWE #RAW (2/26/18): Roman Reigns, Miz, Asuka & More!

WWE Raw was live from Anaheim, California last night. Most of the show centered around fall out from Sunday night’s Elimination Chamber. I wrote a short post about Ronda Rousey’s contract signing yesterday, but the main takeaway from the Chamber is that we’re inching our way towards WrestleMania. Alexa Bliss is still the women’s champ, The Bar are still tag champs and Roman Reigns is the new #1 contender for the Universal title. Let’s get to the five stars!

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

5. Alexa Bliss

Raw opened with women’s champ Alexa Bliss and her best friend (?) Mickie James gloating about her win in the first ever women’s elimination chamber. Bliss cut a masterful promo after her win on Sunday, playing the crowd like a fiddle and eventually stomping on their dreams. I think Sunday night was Bliss’s best overall performance on the main roster. She won the match with a combination of resourcefulness and true wrestling skill, and then finished it off with a great promo.

Her promo last night wasn’t as good as Sunday’s, but it was effective. It worked so well because everything she said was true. She did win the first ever women’s elimination chamber, and she did win it on her own. Mickie James is apparently her best friend now, but she was already out of the match by the time Alexa entered. Alexa moved on to talk about breaking Asuka’s streak at WrestleMania, which brought out the Empress. Thankfully WWE didn’t have Asuka try to match Bliss on the mic, and hopefully they realized Asuka’s facial expressions and body language have more impact than any promo.

Bliss turned full heel once Asuka got into the ring. She made fun of Asuka’s poor English skills, which is not as easy as it sounds. Alexa could have easily crossed the line from arrogant and conceited to offensive and insensitive. I personally don’t think it went too far, and it got the crowd firmly on the side of Asuka. Alexa also laid the perfect trap, as Nia Jax came out to attack Asuka 3 on 1. Alexa Bliss continues to be a smart, sophisticated heel.

4. Multiple Stories For The Women’s Division!

Bayley and Sasha Banks ran down to help out Asuka which gave us our first match of the night, playa. It wasn’t the most exciting match in the world, but I appreciate them advancing multiple stories. Bayley and Sasha are destined to blow the roof off of the Super Dome as WrestleMania. After Sasha eliminated Bayley from the Rumble and Lion King’d her at Elimination Chamber, Bayley bailed on her last night. The back and forth betrayal could get monotonous for the next five weeks, but you know the pay off match will be awesome.

Even though Alexa is champ, Nia and Asuka are the two most dangerous women on the roster. They proved that again in this match, with Nia bull dozing people and Asuka picking up the win. Alexa/Nia/Asuka vying for the women’s title and Sasha/Bayley in a grudge match feud are two very good stories for the women on the Road to WrestleMania.

3. Seth Rollins & The Miz

Before the Rollins/Miz match, Miz was given a microphone. 99 out of 100 times that’s a good thing, and last night was no exception. Miz is forcing the IC title to be relevant through his performance, which makes guys like Rollins and Balor wanting the belt feel like a real thing. It’s not just a guy wanting a championship because that’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s a guy wanting a championship because it’s an important part of your most important show.

Onto the match. Has anyone had a better 7 day in ring stretch than Seth Rollins? He wrestled for 60+ minutes last Monday, killed it in the Elimination Chamber and then had a fantastic match last night against Miz. The Miz is such a great bad guy that he gives almost every match he’s in an old school heel/face dynamic. Rollins has had a hell of a week and is super easy to root for, but when you add in the fact that you want to see The Miz get his ass kicked, it makes the match that much more enjoyable.

Rollins is aces in the ring right now, and watching him fly around taking out Miz, Axel and Dallas was a delight. As happy as I am that the curb stomp is back, he should start getting some pins with the top rope suplex into the falcon arrow. That’s such a crowd pleasing move, but it loses a little bit of it’s luster when you know the guy is going to always kick out.

This was a great match though, and I only have one minor complaint. Having challengers beat the champion so the challenger can face the champion again is a weird trope. The roster is too deep for that to consistently happen. Miz/Rollins was great, but I’d rather see Seth beat other guys to earn a title shot instead of beating the champ in a non title match. It’s a weirder story, and takes away from the eventual title match.

2. Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns is almost the perfect wrestler. He’s consistently good to great in the ring, has a believable look and CAN be good on the microphone. Every good Roman Reigns promo has a natural feel to it. His best one to date was a five word promo on the Raw after WrestleMania last year. Last night’s was a close second. If you look at Reigns, you know right off the bat that everything he says should be quick and impactful. He doesn’t need clever writers. He’s a 6’3 bad ass Samoan with wrestling royalty in his blood. If he’s going to speak, there should be a point to it. Last night he had a point to make, and he made it well.

WWE was advertising a face-off between Lesnar and Reigns all day. Lesnar was scheduled to be there and the face-off was in the script, but Lesnar never appeared. I’ll leave the speculation to the internet, but this worked out perfectly for Reigns. For the first time in a long time, he felt like an actual person instead of a first draft of a character.

He spoke with intent and purpose and whether this was a heavily scripted promo or not, there was some absolute truth behind it. It’s not secret Lesnar is an asshole, and that he only works for the money, and that he only cares about himself. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say Reigns doesn’t respect Lesnar, but I would not be surprised if he doesn’t like him.

Reigns speaking with a fiery passion is such an easy guy to root for. He’s already great in the ring and has a bad ass look. If you remind people that he actually loves what he does and cares about the business and fans once in awhile, the fans will respond. When’s the last time you heard more cheers than boos during a Reigns promo? Well it happened last night, and the best part about it was that it was earned. If WWE sticks with Reigns vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania, I guarantee you Reigns enters as the fan favorite.

1. Ronda Rousey, Slow Burn

The main event of last night’s show was Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle explaining their actions from Sunday night. The whole Kurt Angle/pneumonia/hallucinating story is silly, but I thought Rousey was very good here. She was much more confident on the mic, and that’s because her material was better. Ronda Rousey isn’t a character. She’s an actual real life bad ass. I understand having her explain this is her dream and she’s happy to be in the WWE. But I’m much more interested in the ‘I will rip your arm out of your socket’ Ronda Rousey.

The good news is that this will definitely lead to Angle and Rousey vs. HHH/Stephanie. HHH and Stephanie are experts at being dick bags, so it won’t be hard for the crowd to get behind Rousey. Let’s just hope Kurt Angle remembers not to blankly stare at the ceiling when HHH is around:

-Ryan

Ronda Rousey Kicked Some Ass At #WWEChamber

The Raw brand had their final stop on the road to WrestleMania last night. WWE Elimination Chamber was a really enjoyable show featuring both a men’s and women’s chamber match. Alexa Bliss successfully defended the Women’s championship while Roman Reigns outlasted Braun Strowman to become the #1 contender for the Universal title. We predicted both of those things. My favorite part of the show wasn’t a match, though. It was Ronda Rousey being a bad ass.

Ronda Rousey Contract Signing

Kurt Angle, HHH and Stephanie McMahon were all in the ring to welcome Rousey aboard. After a Rousey promo, business immediately picked up. Kurt Angle was ushered out of the ring, Rousey and Steph went to nose nose, HHH was thrown through a table and Stephanie slapped the hell out of Rousey. The crowd loved it, because Rousey should always be kicking ass instead of cutting promos. I enjoyed it for that reason, as well as WWE remembering their history. Rousey, Steph, HHH and The Rock had an altercation at WrestleMania 31. There’s obviously still some unfinished business there, and I’m glad WWE is keeping that story line going. Also, it’s a smart move to have Rousey work with Steph and HHH instead of immediately inserting her into the women’s title picture. You want the crowd to be on Rousey’s side, and it’d be too easy for them to turn on her if she’s forced into something.

This was a great ‘official’ introduction for Rousey, and perfectly planted the seeds for a mixed tag WrestleMania match. Kurt Angle is the most likely partner for Rousey, which should be a lot of fun.

-Ryan

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