Before we get into it, how amazing does that set look? I can’t wait to see the finished product. WrestleMania 32 is live this Sunday from Dallas, Texas. If you need more hype than that for WrestleMania, you’re in the wrong place. Let’s get to the preview and predictions!
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
This one is kind of a toss up. You’d think if WWE was serious about Braun Strowman, they’d give him a ‘WrestleMania’ moment without having him actually have to wrestle a match. That moment should be right here. Big Show has already won it, and the rest of the guys in this match are literal throw away characters. There are reports of Cesaro returning and entering the battle royal, but he already won the inaugural one, and if Cesaro is coming back. they should put him in a more important spot than a pre-show battle royal.
Prediction: Braun Strowman eliminates everyone and wins.
Natalya, Paige, Brie, Alicia, Eva vs. Lana, Naomi, Tamina, Summer, Emma
The only two people I care about in this match are Paige and Evil Emma. I’d much rather them have had a weeks long feud that ended in a one on one match at WM, but I also understand that you want to get as many people on the card as you can. I have to assume Team Total Divas wins here, because they’re the only team with a team name. As long as Evil Emma gets some good spots, I’ll be happy with either outcome.
Prediction: Team Total Divas
The Dudley Boyz vs. The Uso’s
Give me a flaming table. That’s all I’m asking for in this match. No one has to go through it, but I want it and I need it. Heel Dudley Boyz are far and way the best Dudley Boyz, and they are really only here to put over other tag teams, which is fine. Bubba Ray and Devon helped revolutionize the tag team division 15 years ago at WM17, so I don’t think it’s too much to ask to give them some cool spots this year. Regardless of the outcome of this match, Enzo & Cass are showing up on Raw Monday night and taking over.
The League of Nations vs. The New Day
If you need visual proof that the WWE tag team scene is awful, look no further than the fact that the tag titles aren’t being defended at WM. Thankfully we’re still getting our New Day fix, even though it is against the League of Nations. Personally, I think this would be a perfect spot for The Rock. You want New Day to get over as good guys, so why not bring out the most popular guy in the world and have him even the odds? Chances are Rocky will come up and cut a promo, but this would be a fun and unexpected cameo that would help New Day immensely. League of Nations are bad, and I refuse to pick them to win either way.
Prediction: New. Day Rocks.
Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles
If you can ignore the fact that this feud has been centered around crowd chants, it’s been pretty entertaining. Much like the Dudleyz, Heel Jericho is forever the best Jericho, and he’s been great during his most recent run. Pairing Styles with a veteran like Jericho for his first WM feud and singles match is very smart, and I fully expect these two to put on a show. I think Styles goes over, and has his first big time WM moment with a Styles Clash win.
Prediction: AJ Styles
US Championship Match: Kalisto (C) vs. Ryback
I’m not going to lie, I’ve been digging the simplicity of this feud. Ryback is enormous. Kalisto is not. Kalisto is champion. Ryback is not. And just like that, you have a David & Goliath feud with the good guy champion and the logical heel. The only thing that really makes Ryback a heel is that he wants to beats up the guy we’re rooting for. He has every right to win matches and become the #1 contender, but we like Kalisto better so Ryback is a jerk. It’s refreshing to see WWE build up a feud without having the two competitors wrestle each other every week to see who will eventually win a wrestling match. Also, the less Ryback speaks the better off we all are. As far as the outcome, this one could really go either way, but if they’re serious about Ryback again, they should give him this win.
IC Championship Ladder Match: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, The Miz, Stardust, Sin Cara, Zack Ryder
Picture this: five guys are laid out on the floor, the two remaining guys are slowly ascending up the ladder. They both reach the top at the same time and start trading punches. Who are you picturing? Zack Ryder & Sin Cara, right? HAHAHA. Sorry, I had to do that. But yeah, the only two guys who matter in this match are Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, and if you think otherwise you’re wrong. Much like last year, this match does include seven very talented guys who are all looking to have their WM moment, so I expect some crazy stuff to go down, especially since they know Shane/Taker is going to be insane. I don’t see any other outcome than having the last two standing be Zayn and Owens, and from there I’m happy with any outcome, because these two will be feuding until they’re 100 years old.
Prediction: Kevin Owens. KO Mania lives!
Diva’s Championship Match: Charlotte (c) vs. Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks
This is the match I’m the most excited for. The three main events will all be wonderful, but I started really getting into NXT during the Paige/Emma/Charlotte/Becky/Sasha/Bayley era and I feel emotionally invested in all three of these women. I’ve seen them start as NXT Divas and transform into the cream of the crop not only in NXT, but throughout the world. Now they’re in a Diva’s title match at WrestleMania and have a chance to tear the house down in front of 90,000 people. That’s pretty surreal. As much as I like Charlotte and Becky, this is Sasha’s time. They’re supposedly debuting the Women’s title on Raw the night after Mania, and there is no better pick than Sasha to be the champion. She is the rare combination of the most over female on the roster and also the best wrestler. Have Ric Flair interfere only to be taken out by Snoop Dogg. GIVE THAT TO ME, WWE.
Prediction: Sasha Banks
Street Fight: Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose
Just typing ‘street fight’ followed by ‘Brock Lesnar’ makes me nervous. I don’t know what’s going to happen in this match, but I know it’s going to be brutal. I honestly think the right call is having Lesnar win, and having Ambrose get stretchered out only to walk out under his own power. Give him all the crazy spots in the world, but one mortal man should not be able to defeat Brock Lesnar. Ambrose is going to come with his wagon of weapons, which I’d bet my life on Brock Lesnar picking up and heaving at him at one point during the match. This should be a spotlight for Ambrose, who has been a shining star during this insane stretch of injuries, but I don’t see him beating Lesnar. Between this and Shane/Taker, I really hope no one gets seriously hurt.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar
Hell in a Cell Match: Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker
This is hands down the oddest match on the card, and if you told me 10 years ago that WM 32 would be semi main evented by The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon I’d say I like you, but you’re crazy. But here we are, and to be honest, I am scared. Shane McMahon gave The Undertaker a flying elbow drop through a table during the opening segment of RAW, so what the hell are these two going to do at WrestleMania? I sincerely think Shane is jumping off the cell. I won’t be mad if he doesn’t, because that is very dangerous, but he’s jumping off something really high that’s going to make me watch through a hand over my eyes. Besides the insane spots, I want this to be like HHH vs. Sting last year. There’s no reason to make these two carry a 25 minute one on one match. Get the Mean Street Posse out there. Give me Stone Cold, HBK, Vince, Mick Foley. Let’s just go bananas. This is going to be as fun as it will be scary, and I cannot god damn wait. The added stipulations of Shane winning and taking control of Raw and Undertaker losing making it his final WM are intriguing, but this is definitely not the last year for Undertaker at WM.
Prediction: The Undertaker
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: HHH (C) vs. Roman Reigns
WWE really likes this Roman Reigns guy, eh? For the second year in a row, Reigns is in the main event of WM, and for the second year in a row, the majority of fans are not having it. Last year WWE made the last second change to have Seth Rollins cash in his MITB briefcase and it was executed perfectly. This year, they don’t have Seth Rollins or the MITB briefcase to fall back on. They can’t just have Reigns win clean, especially if he overcomes the odds of interference, but having him lose the main event title match two years in a row isn’t great either. You can’t really pull off a double turn either, because HHH is also the evil authority figure that is integral to so many storylines on Raw. Apparently there has been discussion about putting on Taker/Shane last, which might be the better call, especially if they have some insane stuff planned. Even if this isn’t the main event, the goal cannot be to have the crowd mercilessly boo your new champion. I have no idea what’s going to happen. Maybe Cena shows up, but then what? Maybe the Dudleyz interfere, but then what? Don’t sleep on Bray Wyatt either, who could cause a DQ finish or take one or the other out. He doesn’t have a match on the card, and if he’s not featured at all that would be a huge mistake.
Prediction: if I’m forced to pick, I’m going to go with Reigns. I just don’t know how.
Mick Foley Showed Up On #RAW To Gift Dean Ambrose An Old Friend For His Street Fight Vs. Brock Lesnar
Dean Ambrose is in for the literal fight of his life at WrestleMania. He’ll be fighting Brock Lesnar, but not just in any old wrestling match; he’ll be fighting Brock Lesnar in a no holds barred street fight. If that sounds psychotic, that’s because it is. A street fight evens the odds for a lot of guys, or in someone like Mick Foley’s case, turns the odds in his favor. When he met then WWE Champion HHH in a street fight at Royal Rumble 2000 as Cactus Jack, it seemed to help Foley more than HHH. Hunter was the champ and was beating everyone in his path, but throwing the rules out the window adds a certain instability to a match that could really affect the outcome. Unfortunately for Ambrose, adding this stipulation might do him more harm than good. The only thing scarier than fighting Brock Lesnar is fighting Brock Lesnar with a chair, or stairs, or a kendo stick, or whatever other deranged weapon he can find and LEGALLY use. While Lesnar is getting ready to maul Ambrose, Mick Foley showed up with some words of advice and a late Christmas present last night on Raw: a barb wired baseball bat. Will this even the odds for Ambrose, or will Lesnar rip the bats from his hands and perform a live version of Negan and Glenn in Dallas? WM is the same night as The Walking Dead finale, so don’t rule anything out.
There are two WrestleMania main events that could be in serious jeopardy heading into Saturday’s Roadblock live event, and depending on the outcome, that could be great news for the WWE. On paper, WWE Champion HHH vs. Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar in a street fight are both solid matches. There’s only one problem: nobody wants to believe in Roman Reigns. After WWE dropped the ball and had Reigns lose the Rumble to a returning Batista over two years ago, Roman hasn’t had the same momentum with the crowd. Daniel Bryan became their crown jewel, and even after he was sidelined numerous times with injuries, the WWE Universe just wasn’t ready to coronate Reigns as their next leader. Roman has been absent the last few weeks, recovering from real life nasal surgery after the beat down from HHH, where the crowd cheered as the heel champ bloodied the baby face challenger. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that that isn’t the reaction the WWE wants going into WrestleMania.
While Reigns has been MIA the last few weeks, Dean Ambrose has been alive and well. His feud with Brock Lesnar has brought a necessary physicality to WWE storylines, and win or lose this Saturday, Ambrose is going to be in one of the main events of WrestleMania. Where things get interesting is the recent reaction to Ambrose/HHH, which will culminate this Saturday at Roadblock. While fans cheered Reigns’ beat down, they reacted negatively to HHH beating down Ambrose a few weeks ago, and erupted when he hit a Dirty Deeds out of nowhere and grabbed the WWE title. It’s easy to see why fans resonate with Ambrose over Reigns: one is organic, natural and more of a ‘common man’; the other is The Juggernaut, The Big Dog and every other nickname that continues to distance himself from the fans that he is supposed to represent. Microphone work has always been a big part of what makes a WWE star, but it’s more than that with Reigns. The way he is presented and the way he continually is given odds to overcome is tiring. Why should I care that Reigns has ANOTHER title shot at WrestleMania. He’s already been given so many shots, and even won one, that at this point it’s already old news. I’m not saying Ambrose has to win Saturday, although that would be crazy and welcome, but something needs to happen outside of the status quo. As of now Reigns isn’t advertised for Roadblock, so let’s go over a few scenarios whether he ends showing up or not.
Worse Case Scenario: HHH wins, Reigns saves Ambrose from a beat down
This is the most likely scenario, especially if you go off of WWE’s recent booking of Reigns, but it’s the absolute worst case scenario. As I mentioned above, this isn’t a ‘Ambrose loses or we riot’ situation, but they should not portray Ambrose as the little brother who needs big brother Roman’s help. The build up over the last few weeks for HHH/Ambrose has been so perfect, that it’d be a shame to neuter Ambrose by having Roman rescue him. I understand Roman wants his revenge on HHH, but save it for another night. There are a few factors in our favor that suggest this scenario might not happen. HHH has used heel factions, The Wyatt’s and the League of Nations, to beat down Ambrose the last few weeks. WWE is running a live event in Atlantic City opposite Roadblock, and Del Rio, Harper and Strowman are all advertised in matches. With Bray and possibly Erik Rowan tied up with Lesnar earlier in the evening, that only leaves a few member of the League of Nations available for a possible run-in post match. While that still leaves the possibility open for Sheamus, Barrett and Rusev to interfere, I really hope it doesn’t happen.
Middle of the Road Scenario: HHH wins
This is the second most likely scenario. I don’t really see Ambrose winning this match straight up (although it would be amazing) and I’m willing to accept any outcome except the one outlined above. I really do think this will be a great, hard fought match that will continue to put over Ambrose as a top star, but I just don’t think they’ll give him a World title win yet. I could see the League of Nations possibly interfering in this match, giving HHH the win by default, or interfering with a knocked down referee to build the suspense & have HHH win anyway. This could possibly bring out the slowly turning baby face New Day to assist. This is a live event after all, so don’t rule out something like that to close the show.
Coolest If Not Best Case Scenario: Dean Ambrose Wins
How crazy would this be? The hands down best thing about the Attitude Era was the fact that at any given moment, four or five people were vying for the title. Stone Cold, The Rock, Undertaker, Big Show, HHH, Mick Foley; it was never just a basic one on one feud, and it made things a whole lot more interesting. IF Ambrose wins, you now have Ambrose as the champion, HHH as the former champion, Lesnar who already has a match with Ambrose scheduled for WM and Reigns who is the rightful #1 contender. That gives you so many options. Fatal four way at WM, make Lesnar/Ambrose for the title and make Reigns have to defeat HHH to become #1 contender or any other scenario with those four guys. It’s a long shot at best, but I’m glad WWE has built the feud to where this is even a possibility. Saturday should be a blast, unless Roman comes back and superman punches everyone and I light myself on fire.
If you’re a casual wrestling fan, now is the time to watch WWE Raw. Between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, WWE consistently puts on it’s best weekly programming. They’re not all home runs, but they’re remarkably better than most Raw’s during other times of the year. Last night’s Raw was one of those home runs. After last week was extremely heavy on the promo’s, this week’s show focused more on the in ring segments, which is WWE’s strong suit with most of their top stars injured. We got a good promo from Shane and Vince to start the show, and a great back and forth between HHH and Ambrose later in the show, but all the highlights were of the physical variety. Let’s take a look.
After Shane and Vince verbally sparred back and forth and Vince stepped on a childhood photo of him and his son, Vince summoned security to take Shane out of the building. The only problem with that is that Shane O’ Mac was having none of it. He quickly dispatched security with rabbit punches and knee strikes, and the segment was made all the better because the Chicago crowd was hot for it. As a side note, Chicago crowds have a tendency to be self serving (CM Punk chants, I’m looking at you) but last night’s crowd was awesome, especially during this segment, the tag match and the closing angle. This segment did a lot better than last week’s, where Undertaker walked out, said a sentence and left. We still have three more Raw’s until WM, and while I don’t think it’s necessary for Taker and Shane to get physical, I would still like more of an explanation as to why Undertaker is actually competing in this match.
The WWE Divas Championship match is already set, so we’re probably in for segments where each Diva looks strong going into the biggest match in all three of these women’s careers. Of any match that’s already on the card or could be added, I’m most excited for this one. This is their chance to prove on the biggest stage that women’s wrestling matters on the main roster. I can’t wait.
As much as I’d rather get stabbed in both eyes instead of watching another distraction rollup win, at least Lana has something to do now. While a Brie Bella feud is almost always awful, the crowd obviously loves Lana, and she’s very athletic, so why not give her a chance and see what she can do. Plus, Brie’s entire family is falling apart, so why not give her one more WrestleMania moment before she retires.
They’re destined to do this forever. Kevin Owens beat Neville in a very good match, and it looked like Neville was going to fall victim to another pop up power bomb on the apron until SAMI ZAYN comes out for the save. Zayn and Owens feud in NXT was cut critically short due to the injury of Zayn and the fact that Owens was just too good to keep off the main roster, so if they’re going to get a WM feud right now I am all the way in. I don’t know if they’d do a 1 on 1 match or a multi-man match like last year, but either way, any version of Owens and Zayn is gold. Throw Neville in there and make it an IC Title/’Who’s the best NXT Champion on the main roster’ match. Either way, I am all the way in.
If I could pin point why this Raw was a gift from the Gods, it would be because Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio finally stopped feuding. Kalisto got a clean win over Tyler Breeze (who got a full entrance for the first time in forever) and Ryback continued to maul the Social Outcasts. Ryback and Kalisto even got promo time backstage where Ryback inexplicably name dropped every superhero movie he’s ever seen. As much as I love Kalisto, if he fights Ryback at WM their match should end when Ryback literally pulls him apart limb by limb.
This match was important for a number of reasons. The New Day, at least on the microphone, has kind of grown stale. They’re still kind of funny, but it seems more scripted than it used to be and that is always a bad thing. What this match proved though is that The New Day in the ring, specifically Big E and Kofi, are bananas. Big E catching human beings out of thin air and slamming them to the mat will never not be awesome and Kofi has eclipsed Dolph as the best seller on the roster. I could watch that AJ Styles backflip into a reverse DDT all day every day. Speaking of AJ Styles, anyone who had any doubts about how amazing he is should watch this match. He’s flying around the ring, looks great on offense and takes a believable beat down. The old veteran Jericho was also fantastic in this match, and this is his best run with the WWE since ‘Best in the World’ Jericho. Speaking of THAT Jericho, he’s back, baby. You sensed it was coming, but heel Jericho is so great that I didn’t care. Give me Chris Jericho stuffing shirts into people’s mouths and calling them sons of bitches and I’m a happy man. Great match and a great post match angle.
The difference between a good Raw and a great Raw is the stuff that happens after a fantastic match like the Tag Titles match. WWE’s roster is stacked with talent, so even on a bad show, they’re going to put on some fantastic matches. The problem is that the writing is inconsistent, so while some performers can overcome the writing and put on a great match, others can’t and the show goes downhill. That did not happen last night, and the main reason for that is Dean Ambrose. It’s hard to believe that a Raw in March without three of the top guys in three of the main event matches of WM (Reigns, Lesnar & Taker) could be this good, but that’s what happens when you let a guy like Ambrose connect with the crowd. Wyatt deserves some credit too, and as a Bray Wyatt super fan that interaction with HHH and the World Title at the end was INCREDIBLE, but Dean Ambrose is the shit right now. Not only does he out duel HHH in a promo earlier in the night, but he puts on a great match with Wyatt, gets beat down, and then summons enough energy to turn the tables on HHH and end the night with the belt in his hands. Also, don’t sleep on HHH selling Dirty Deeds like a goddamn champion. I saw a few people on Twitter complain about it, but they’re missing the point. With HHH selling it like a knockout blow, you just showed your audience that any given moment, Ambrose can pop up and hit that move and HHH will be forced to lay there like he got hit with a shovel. So now if HHH is murdering Ambrose on Saturday, we can revert back to that image and remember that at any moment, Ambrose could strike. I don’t know what’s going to happen Saturday night, but I know I’ll be watching, and that’s half the battle.
Triple H Will Defend The WWE Title Against Dean Ambrose On 3/12 At The Newly Named WWE Roadblock Event
— WWE (@WWE) March 1, 2016
If you didn’t watch Raw last night, you missed The League of Nations and Triple H beat the ever loving shit out of Dean Ambrose to end the show. The show began with Ambrose challenging HHH for a title shot, claiming he knows deep down that Ambrose would beat him. HHH obliged Ambrose after pedigreeing him and then proceeding to punch him about 1,000 times. When Raw went off the air, we didn’t know when the title match would take place, but thanks to this tweet by WWE, we know it’ll be on March 12th. The event, which will air live on the WWE Network on Saturday March 12th from Toronto, was originally called the ‘March to WrestleMania’. Vince must have been in a bad mood after the Undertaker choked him last night, so he decided to change the event to ‘WWE Roadblock’. Both names are kind of terrible, but at least we’ll be getting a title match at a live event. I don’t know if this is a move to further push Ambrose for his eventual main event run after WrestleMania or if WWE is genuinely interested in making him a part of the main event, but either way, I’m intrigued.
WWE Fastlane takes place this Sunday live on the WWE Network, and it is the final pay per view before WrestleMania 32 on April 3. Most of the WrestleMania card is still a mystery, but one definite we’ll have after Sunday’s show is the main event. Will Lesnar, Reigns or Ambrose face HHH in the main event of WM32? Let’s find out!
Pre Show : 2 Out of 3 Falls US Title Match: Kalisto (C) vs. Alberto Del Rio
This is a great reason to tune into the pre-show, although I’d much rather have it on the main card. Either way, these two have proven that they have great chemistry, and I think Kalisto needs a really good showing here to prove to the fans and the WWE that he’s the real deal. WWE has been searching for the next Rey Mysterio for a long time, and while there will never be another Mysterio, Kalisto has the ability to fill the spot of the masked fan favorite underdog. Del Rio hasn’t really done much since returning besides winning the US title, but I don’t think putting the belt back on Del Rio is the right call. Kalisto could create so many more opportunities as champion, and I’d like to see some fresh blood inserted into the title picture. This should be a hell of a way to start off the night.
Edge & Christian Interview The New Day
Normally I wouldn’t want to see an in ring interview segment eat up time on a pay per view, but Edge, Christian & The New Day are as entertaining as it gets. After the necessary schilling of Edge & Christian’s new WWE Network show, this segment should be a lot of fun. If I’m being honest, I’m actually looking forward to this a lot more than another Uso’s/New Day match. These five have interacted once before in the clip above, and it was wonderful. If you can’t enjoy Big E attempting to eat a kazoo you might not have a soul, and now that Edge and Christian are both pretty much retired, you don’t have to worry about either or them getting physical. In a perfect world, this segment should be the debut of Enzo & Cass to the main roster. They were probably next in line for a tag team title run, but now that Gable and Jordan have lit the world on fire, that’s not coming anytime soon. They’re easily the most ‘main roster ready’ team in NXT, and the WWE tag team picture desperately needs some fresh blood. Who wouldn’t want to see a New Day/Enzo & Cass feud? I’d pay all my money just for the promo’s alone. Make it happen, WWE.
Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch vs Tamina Snuka and Naomi
Hopefully this is the last time that Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch are on a pay per view card that doesn’t involve the Diva’s title, because they’re better than this. I understand you need a blow off Team BAD turning their back on Banks, but WrestleMania 32 needs to be the official changing of the guard in the Diva’s division. Nikki Bella may never wrestle again, Brie Bella is retiring soon and the NXT women are clearly the future. Give me a triple threat at WM with Becky, Sasha and Charlotte that has the ability to tear the house down in front of the biggest possible audience. THAT’S how you change the perception of women’s wrestling on the main roster. As far as this match, the outcome isn’t as important as the character work of Banks and Becky. Becky has really come into her own as an easy to cheer baby face, and Banks is a natural heel, so that should be highlighted in this match. I don’t expect Banks to be a good friend much longer, so look for her to turn either after this match or the next night on Raw.
Prediction: for the sake of predicting an outcome, I’ll go with Becky and Sasha. Just let Tamina stand on the apron until it’s time to kick someone in the face.
Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles
How do you debut a can’t miss talent when the main event picture is already overcrowded? Pair him with Chris Jericho and let them work their magic. AJ Styles is wonderful, and putting him with two guys (Jericho and Miz) who can carry segments on the microphone was a great choice. AJ isn’t terrible on the microphone, but it’s not his strongest attribute, so there’s no reason to turn him into Roman Reigns and force him to give these long winded speeches. Heel Jericho has and always will be the best Jericho, which also brings out the best in AJ. I also like the logical storytelling. WWE loves to have guys wrestle each other a million times, but almost every feud should be decided by a best of 3. If you beat a guy two weeks in a row, where’s the drama of the feud continuing? But if AJ wins the first match and Jericho wins the second, a third match is a logical conclusion to the story. Having it at Fastlane is an interesting move, because it sets up a lot of possibilities for AJ’s first WM match. Styles excels at having big time matches on the big stage, so his first WWE singles match on a pay per view should be great, especially since his dancing partner is Jericho.
Prediction: AJ Styles, preferably with the pay per view debut of the Styles Clash.
6 Man Tag Team Match: Ryback, Kane & The Big Show vs. The Wyatt Family
I don’t know which three Wyatt Family members will be wrestling this match, but if I had to bet I’d say Bray sits outs. I can’t imagine this match is going to be good from any standpoint, and it’s the same problem I highlighted above about WWE having the same guys fight over and over. The Wyatt’s have been feuding with Kane since their debut, and Big Show and Ryback since before the Royal Rumble. If they beat them again, who cares? WWE has already neutered the Wyatt Family so much that the outcome of this match doesn’t even matter. While I have a feeling Bray and company will affect the outcome of the main event, this match does nothing for me.
Prediction: Wyatt Family. If they can’t beat these three guys, they should just go home forever.
WWE Divas Title Match: Charlotte (C) vs. Brie Bella
Regardless of your opinion of Brie Bella, she’s been an important part of the Diva’s division for almost a decade. This is an out of the blue title opportunity for her, and it’s possible they’re throwing her this bone because her sister and her husband are falling apart and she’s retiring soon. Regardless of Brie’s situation, Charlotte needs a dominant win here. As much fun as it is to see crazy old man Ric Flair throwing his jacket at people and trying to kick Alicia Fox in the head, the WWE Diva’s division needs a clear cut leader. WWE did the same thing with Seth Rollins. They gave him the belt, and then went overboard with the ‘needing to cheat to win’ shtick. I understand what they’re going for with Charlotte, and it was necessary for her to transform from bad to good, but now she needs to start kicking ass. On paper, Charlotte vs. Brie is a slaughter. Brie is one of the worst wrestlers on the roster and she couldn’t be less intimidating if she was missing both her legs. Charlotte is the alpha female, and while having Flair as a safety valve in case she gets into trouble is fine, she shouldn’t rely on him every match. Plus, when the title does come off of Charlotte, it should be coming off an unbeatable physical machine, not a grab the tights to win opportunist.
Prediction: Charlotte. And we never saw Brie Bella ever again.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Kevin Owens (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler
Speaking of guys who wrestle each other all the time…This match will be great, just like all their other ones have been, but I can’t help but think about how much better it would be if they hadn’t already fought each other 25 times. When the New Day fight the Uso’s every week, it’s frustrating but I understand it, because there really aren’t any other decent tag teams. But when it comes to singles titles, there is no excuse for repetitive matches. Just look at the other guys in the IC title match from Raw. Why can’t Stardust or Tyler Breeze get an IC title feud? What about Rusev or Neville? WWE has so much talent, but refuses to use them. I don’t the see the point of having Owens drop the belt six days after winning it, but then again I don’t see the point of a lot of WWE storytelling. Owens should be the champ heading into WM, where we can get another one of those multi-man ladder matches again, except this time the winner won’t have to retire forever.
Triple Threat Match : Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose (Winner is #1 Contender)
When Brock Lesnar is involved in any kind of matchup, he’s the automatic favorite. The man has a giant sword tattooed on his chest, so excuse me if I don’t ever pick against him, but this match is his kryptonite (that and getting punched in the dick). If the rules of a match state that you can lose said match without being pinned or submitted, Brock Lesnar is probably going to lose. Honestly, it’s the only match he should lose. It happened at the 2015 Royal Rumble. It happened at WrestleMania 31. It’s probably going to happen Sunday. I like the build up of drama between Reigns and Ambrose, because it hopefully saves us from a match where most of it is spent beating up Brock Lesnar. Whether it makes sense for the story or not, nobody wants to see that. People want to see Brock Lesnar rip off car doors and suplex and F-5 human beings until they can’t move. I suspect we’ll get a lot of that here, but I don’t think Brock will win. The Wyatt’s have been suspiciously MIA around Brock Lesnar since the Royal Rumble, but I believe that changes here. I think Lesnar dominates most of the match, until the Wyatt’s take him out, which leaves us with Reigns and Ambrose. WWE has done a great job recently of turning Ambrose into a motivated, refusing to stay down type of crazy. Yes he’s a lunatic, but he’s not a wacky, joke spewing lunatic. He’s a guy that will take your best shot but keep getting up, because that’s all he knows. Reigns is Reigns, and whether you love him or hate him, he’s here to stay. It’s just too bad that WWE refuses to give him any semblance of a character, because I do think he can be great. The surprise beat down from the Dudleyz Monday night is also something to keep an eye on, as we still don’t know why they did it. Are they associating with Heyman? The Authority? I wouldn’t be shocked if they come out during this match as well. In the end, it will come down to Reigns and Ambrose, and I think WWE is going to shock us a bit.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins main evented another WWE pay per view, and they delivered in every aspect of the word. It was a great, hard fought match that Rollins ended up winning. This most likely sets up a returning Lesnar feud over the summer for Rollins, but where does Ambrose go from here? He’s clearly one of the more popular guys on the roster, but he’s starting to develop a knack of losing big time matches. Rollins continues to best him when the stakes are high, so maybe it’s time for Dean to take a step back and figure out how to reach that next step. Ambrose addresses the disappointment of losing the match and where he’s going from here in an emotional post MITB promo. Thankfully WWE.com has already posted it, and if you like heartfelt promos, this one is for you.
Raw was live from New Orleans last night, and just like pretty much every other Raw over the last month, it was a go-home show before a pay per view. Money in the Bank is this Sunday, so most of the matches and storylines centered around the matches you’re going to see Sunday. Dean Ambrose went on a tour of New Orleans, R-Truth stole the show and the WWE champion got pinned by a member of his security team. Let’s get to the five stars from last night’s Raw!’
1. Kevin Owens
I guess I can just copy and paste what I’ve been saying for the past month or so – Kevin Owens is the best character in the WWE. The points he makes are true but he’s just enough of an asshole for you to still hate him. He’s got this cocky confidence mixed with an ‘I don’t give a shit about any of you’ vibe that is just so easy to play off of. Cena opens Raw with an impassioned promo about how he’s still the standard bearer and if you want to make it in this company you have to go through him. Owens saunters out to the ring and just continually calls Cena delusional, offers an open challenge for his NXT title, denies Cena the chance to enter it, then forces Cena to watch on from commentary as he almost power bombs Neville through the ring. This is the third week in a row Owens has had both the best promo and the best match on the show, and I’m genuinely intrigued to see how they handle his match this Sunday against Cena. I don’t know if Owens wins clean again, but they haven’t had a character as good as Owens in a long time, so I hope they tread carefully. Neville also deserves a supplementary best here as well, as he and Owens opened the show with a great match and no one was really able to follow it all night. He should be fun as hell to watch in the MITB match this Sunday.
If you didn’t laugh when R-Truth came out and talked about how he’s going to win the MITB match Sunday only to be told he is not actually in the match, then I don’t know what to tell you. That’s as funny as WWE is going to get, and the crowd and everyone in the ring ate it up. The best part is that I can actually believe that R-Truth the character/actual human being never really knows when or who he’s wrestling. He just kind of wanders out when he hears his entrance music and either loudly yells ‘what’s up’ or raps in gibberish until he reaches the ring. I want R-Truth to come out ahead of the main event and tell the crowd why he thinks he’s going to win the WWE title this Sunday and then wrestle Hornswoggle because that’s who he thinks is the champion. Give me more R-Truth is basically what I’m saying.
3. Rowan & Harper 2.0
Usually when the WWE tries to restart someone or something, it’s a bad sign. But if the plan is to bring back Rowan and Harper and correctly push them to the top of the tag team division like they should’ve done from the beginning then I’m all for it. Rowan and Harper dominated the NXT tag team division before the call up, and should’ve done the same thing once they hit the main roster. Unlike the Ascension, Rowan and Harper’s characters translate to the main roster because of their look. They’re not wearing weird leather shoulder pads or face paint, they are two enormous guys with huge beards who will beat and scare the shit out of you simultaneously. For whatever reason, the WWE had the Uso’s continually beat them until they finally broke them up completely, and while Harper always had great matches, it was clear WWE didn’t have anything for either Rowan or Harper as singles stars. Now that they’re back together, giving them a tag team finisher is a step in the right direction, no matter how many ‘legends’ it pisses off. Get Wyatt back as their leader and have them start to pick apart the roster like they should’ve been doing since the beginning. Just keep John Cena at least 1,000 feet away from them at all times.
4. New Day
As good as Kevin Owens has been over the last month or so, New Day has almost been his equal. Every segment they’re in has been wildly entertaining, and they all look great in the ring. Big E had about as good a match as you’re going to get with Titus O’Neil, but Kofi Kingston had a really good match with Roman Reigns. Xavier Woods was great on the outside too, yelling at the announce team to tell viewers at home what hash tags to start using and then getting walloped by a flying Roman Reigns later in the night. I can’t see Kofi winning MITB this Sunday, but New Day should retain against the PTP. With Tyson Kidd hurt, there’s really no other tag team on New Day’s level other than Rowan & Harper, but they need to be built back up again. As long as they continue to be fun to watch, I hope New Day stays on my TV for a long time.
5. Roman Reigns
This was one of the best Raw matches Reigns has had since becoming a singles star, and he’s starting to find his groove again in the ring. I think he’s the favorite to win MITB this Sunday, and while there are no such things as ‘must win’ matches in scripted wrestling, Reigns does need a big win. It would also be poetic justice to get the same briefcase that robbed him of his WrestleMania moment just over two months ago. Reigns and Ambrose have been a little too chummy lately, and it has to eat away at Reigns that Ambrose is getting all these opportunities while he’s still trying to earn his way back to the top. I don’t know if a heel turn is the right move at this time, especially with an impending Brock Lesnar return, but things are looking up again for the handsome prince.