Sasha Banks Getting Emotional Seeing Herself On The WrestleMania Logo Is My Favorite Video From WrestleMania Week
I think my favorite thing about watching all the men and women come up from NXT and be stars is how relatable it is. When I was a kid, I loved wrestling, but a five year old can’t really relate to Hulk Hogan or Shawn Michaels or The Undertaker. They were mesmerizing, sure, but it’s not like I saw myself as an undead zombie biker man. But with people like Kevin Owens or Sasha Banks it’s different. I’m their age, and while I’ll never be a WWE superstar, the feeling of fighting for a dream and accomplishing it is very relatable. That’s why this video is so great. Sasha busted her ass to get to NXT, buster her ass to become the NXT Women’s Champion and THE BOSS, and now she’s in a Diva’s title match at WrestleMania and her face is plastered on the side of AT&T Stadium. I can’t wait for her, Charlotte and Becky to tear the house down, and then the next night on Raw THE BOSS will be the new Women’s Champion.
SS – As noted, WWE has given Paige, Becky Lynch and Charlotte the “Submission Sorority” name for their stable. WWE did not do proper research and quickly found out that this is the same name of an adult website.
There’s talk of changing the group name to The Submission Sisters. The idea of calling them the Horsewomen was also thrown around but that could be seen as stepping on Ronda Rousey‘s toes.
When they said the name on Raw, I knew I heard the name ‘submission sorority’ before, and now it’s making sense. It’s safe to assume a porno website with sorority girls inserting various objects into each other doesn’t fit into WWE’s PG image, so expect this name to change by next week’s Raw. It’s fun for the internet to make fun of Vince and his writers for being out of touch, but this is a perfect example. Also, can we just have women’s wrestling without all the girly girl stuff? Do they have to be a sorority? Can’t they just be bad asses who will rip your arms and legs off? Let the Bella’s be sorority sisters. I want Charlotte spearing people and Becky Lynch tearing off people’s arms and beating them with it.
The post Battleground Raw was pretty wonderful last night, and Summerslam is stacking up to be a gigantic, beautiful card. The Undertaker was in 2 (!) segments, Brock Lesnar wanted revenge, the NXT women continue to look great and Cesaro main evented Raw again. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw!
1. The Undertaker
The Undertaker could have theoretically sat in the ring and clipped his toe nails and I’d have him for a star of Raw, because The Undertaker on Raw in 2015 is a happening. In lieu of clipping his toe nails, he opened the show and clearly explained why he cost Brock Lesnar the title at Battleground. He’s not some grumpy old man yelling at the clouds because his streak got broken. He understands streaks are created and mythicized because when they are broken, it’s something special. But for 469 days, Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar have not let it go, and continue to tell everyone on national television that they conquered the Undertakers undefeated streak at WrestleMania. Taker might be an undead mortician, but he’s got feelings too. The way he expresses those feelings are utilizing magic and transporting to the ring and choke slamming and tomb stoning mother f’ers. I wasn’t on board for Taker/Lesnar 2 until this promo and the subsequent brawl, but now I’m all in. I was afraid they’d make Lesnar look like a coward who was afraid of the Undertaker, and it just wouldn’t make sense after the year and a half that Brock just had. But when Brock came sprinting down that ramp and threatened to murder the Undertaker, my fears were alleviated. Brock/Taker forever. Speaking of the brawl…
2. Brock Lesnar (and Paul Heyman)
Paul Heyman came out and cut a wonderful promo on the Undertaker, and a fired up Paul Heyman might be the best character WWE has. You give him 5 minutes and a microphone and he has you eating out of the palm of his hand and begging for Summerslam to start right now. It’s not that hard to get people invested in Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker, but this promo was still gold. After The Undertaker politely asked Heyman to stop bringing up that Lesnar conquered his undefeated streak, you kind of knew Taker was going to show up when Heyman KEPT BRINGING UP THAT LESNAR CONQUERED HIS UNDEFEATED STREAK. Gong, darkness, light, Undertaker in the ring, and Heyman looked terrified. I loved him yelling ‘I’m a human being!’, as if that was going to stop someone who calls himself The Undertaker from ripping his head off. THAT brought out The Beast, and if you’ve ever questioned how scary Brock Lesnar is, watch how fast he got from the curtain to the ring. Someone that big should not be able to run that fast, and then the brawl was on. What made this extra special was that brawl’s like this don’t happen that often on WWE TV, and adding almost the entire locker room was a nice touch. I can’t wait to see where this goes from here, and I’m excited if its booked as two animals just trying to out survive each other.
3. Charlotte & Sasha Banks
I’m lumping these two together because they are the future of the Divas division. If you want to see what women’s wrestling can be in the WWE, look no further than Charlotte vs. Brie Bella and Sasha Banks/Naomi vs. Paige/Becky Lynch. Becky, Paige & Naomi looked great last night as well, but it was clear that Sasha Banks was the star of that match. Same goes for Charlotte and Brie. You see them in the ring, and you think ‘That one. That one is going to be special.’ Charlotte has the pedigree and Ric god damn Flair’s DNA, but she’s so great it doesn’t matter. Sasha can bring up how she doesn’t have a famous daddy yet look how far she’s come, and it simultaneously works for her but doesn’t sound like a detriment to Charlotte. Yes Charlotte is a Flair, but she’s also pretty damn great in the ring, and she’s earned her way to the top. Charlotte, Sasha and Nikki circling the top of the Diva’s division with the rest of the women developing strong secondary storylines is so awesome. Whens the last time there were two Diva’s matches on Raw? When’s the last time they were both great? This obviously has to go beyond the actual wrestling, but the future of the Diva’s division looks very bright.
One of my favorite parts of the show was Rusev’s backstage interaction with Lana. I don’t want to sound like a huge asshole, but Lana kind of deserves everything she’s getting. Dating Dolph Ziggler and expecting him not to get hurt which leaves you to fight your Bulgarian ex boyfriend and his new version of you is like going for a swim and expecting not to get wet. Not the best comparison, but you catch my drift. Nobody gets hurt like Dolph Ziggler. So Lana attaching herself to him was pretty dumb. Secondly, she did screw Rusev over multiple times. Whether it was for his safety or not, you can’t throw in the towel on a guy who is fighting for Vladimir Putin’s honor. That’s how people die, Lana. So to see Rusev and his Summer Lana was not only satisfying, it was kind of hysterical. Rusev kissing Summer Lana while staring directly in Lana’s eyes was some HEEL shit. Following that up by telling Lana she doesn’t look so good was downright mean, but I loved it. Rusev has been one of the best characters on WWE TV for about 9 months now. Get this man a title shot!
“How ’bout that, huh?”. That is my new favorite phrase, and Cesaro main evented (and won) on Raw, so for now, all is well with the world. Orton got the hot tag and the pin, but Cesaro was my favorite part of the match, including the end with the giant swing/catapult into an RKO. Tell me you wouldn’t want to see Orton and Cesaro tag up and start catapult RKO’ing everybody in the world. Another really solid Raw with a bunch of good matches, and they set up the main event for Summerslam. Call WWE butter, because they’re on a roll.
The first Raw after WrestleMania is always one of WWE’s best shows, and while we didn’t get any major surprises like year’s past, there was still enough solid wrestling and returns/debuts to keep us satisfied. A few NXT superstars made a big impact, and a returning Irishman put his boot back to work. Let’s get to it!
1. Brock Lesnar is the best wrestler going right now
If you missed WrestleMania last night, you missed one of, if not the hardest hitting main event in the show’s history. Lesnar took on Roman Reigns, and they literally beat the shit out of each other. For most of the match, Lesnar suplex, clotheslined and F-5’d Reigns like he was playing with a toddler. Reigns mounted a comeback, but just as the tide was turning, Seth Rollins snuck in and stole the WWE Championship from both of them, leaving WrestleMania as the new champion. Needless to say, Brock Lesnar was not happy. He came out to start Raw still in his wrestling gear, and Heyman announced he would like his rematch right now. Seth Rollins initially agreed, then backed out, and Lesnar snapped. The reason Lesnar is the best wrestler going right now is because he is the most believable guy in the ring at all times. Back in the day the monster heels used to legitimately scare audiences because even though they thought it the show itself was fake, THIS guy was real. That’s how I feel about Lesnar, which is something I never thought I’d say about a guy in 2015. Even guys like Kane and Big Show, who are larger than life, don’t put the fear of God in me when they get all bug eyed like Lesnar does. Brock just wrecked any living creature that was on his side of the barricade, including F-5ing Michael Cole right out of his loafers. They needed to write Lesnar off TV until his next appearance, and now that he’s clearly over with the fans, this is better than the usual “I’m a prize fighter” excuse. In the interest of my affection for this beast, I hope he’s not away for long.
2. The Intercontinental Championship
It hasn’t even been 48 hours, but the IC and US titles already feel important again. It’s amazing what happens when you give the belts to two established guys and let them have enough time in the ring to have great matches. That’s what the mid card used to be about. Before HBK and Bret Hart were in the main event, they were having the best matches on the card as tag teams or mid card champions while guys like Hogan and Warrior were holding down the main event. Then when HBK and Bret made it to the main event, guys like HHH and the Rock took over the mid card roles. WWE lost it’s way somewhere along the journey, but a Ziggler/Bryan feud is the spark that could reignite the division. As silly as he looked, it was good to see Sheamus back as a heel, which is where he belongs. Bryan defending against Sheamus, Ziggler and a motivated Barrett not only makes for great matches, but they’re all talented enough to create great storylines as well. And please for the love of God be careful with Daniel Bryan’s precious neck.
If you’ve watched NXT, you know that Kalisto is at his worst a poor man’s Rey Mysterio and at his best an actual Rey Mysterio. He tags with the new Sin Cara and like most Lucha Libre wrestlers they rely on high flying moves and the selling abilities of their opponents. Most of the time they’re good, but they do have some stinker matches in them as well. Last night, Kalisto was ON. He was flying around the ring, and everyone from Cesaro to Viktor was selling their ass off for him. The crowd was eating it up, too. The post Mania crowds are great, but sometimes they can get a little carried away, which is what happened in the main event. There’s never a need for a crowd to chant ‘we are awesome’. Watch the show and chant all you want, but as someone watching on TV, that chant’s a little much. Anyway, the crowd was great for this match, and I’m glad Kalisto got the pin but didn’t beat either of the tag team champs. A Lucha Dragons/Swinging Cats feud is definitely something I could get on board with.
4. The United States Championship
I can pretty much copy and paste what I wrote about the IC title and put it here, because it’s pretty much the same, glorious thing. If John Cena turns into a mid card super worker and elevates the US title I will forgive a lot of things he’s done in the past. This SHOULD lead to a new and improved Rusev eventually beating Cena, but for now, I want Cena having matches like last night’s match with Ambrose. Cena’s reputation automatically makes it believable when he beats guys like Ambrose, but it’s much more effective when they have a match like this and both guys end up looking great. Ambrose doesn’t really have any knockout blows, so he’s stuck trading punches and secondary moves with a guy like Cena, and that’s a battle Cena is going to win every time. Ambrose is a little nuts, which helps him kick out of the AA and power out of the STF, but ultimately he just doesn’t have enough in the tank to win. This is how guys SHOULD be fighting over a title, and I hope Cena becomes a fighting champion, because there are guys like Ambrose, Harper and possibly Neville waiting for a shot.
5. The Divas
Their match was a little short at Mania, but it seemed like AJ, Paige and the Bella’s were really enjoying themselves out there, and same goes for last night. They were given more time and a few additions in Natalya and Naomi, and they put on a solid match. I liked the story, too, as the tease pre-Mania was AJ and Paige fighting, but now it looks like the Bella’s are no longer on the same page. As good as the Bella’s are as heels, it is time for them to split again. Nikki especially has grown into her own character, and she could benefit from a run with the title without the assistance of her sister. The Diva’s as a whole seem like their enjoying themselves more out there, and there’s a noticeable difference in the in ring product. The Give Diva’s a Chance hash tag should help the Diva’s, and it goes beyond just giving them more time in the ring. The storylines should be more wrestling centric, and the announce team should treat their matches as seriously as any other match on the card. If not, get Brock Lesnar back out there and have him take out the announce team again.
WrestleMania 31 is now less than two weeks away, and everyone was on hand for last night’s Raw ahead of WWE’s biggest event. WrestleMania is far and away the hardest event for the WWE to promote, as not only is it a four hour show, but there are more superstars performing at WrestleMania than any other pay per view. Including HHH and Sting, Fast Lane had 22 superstars and Divas on the show. There are 17 superstars alone in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania, with more sure to be announced closer to the show. The WWE tries to get everyone they can on the show, which leads to a lot of short segments on the Raw’s and Smackdown’s leading up to the pay per view, which takes away from the build to some of the matches. Last night’s Raw had some peaks and some valleys, but ended on a high note that should have fans not only excited for next week, but also WrestleMania 31.
1. The Divas Division, Finally
Do you see what happens when the Divas are given a little time to work? This wasn’t a five star match, but it was solid, and most importantly, it furthered the storyline heading into Mania. The Bella Twins almost play two roles here: they are what Vince wants as a Diva, with super model looks and a culture crossing appeal, but to the hardcore fans, they are the anti Divas. Post Attitude Era fans are wrestling centric, and that goes for both the guys and the girls. Divas like Paige and AJ Lee resonate as ‘baby faces’ because they’re portrayed as focusing on wrestling first and everything else second. The Bella Twins, while they’ve improved in the ring, are the stars of Total Divas and the faces of the Divas division, but are still seen as models trying their hand at wrestling. The Bella’s vs. Paige and AJ is a perfect mix of styles and should be a fun match at Mania, and I’m glad they’re getting some time to not only tell a story but show that they can hang in the ring.
2. John Cena, Minus The ‘Balls’ Joke & Rusev, Of Course
Here’s my main beef with John Cena: he is not authentic. For all his Make-A-Wish sightings and t-shirt sales, he is the most inauthentic person on the WWE roster. He stands for hustle, loyalty and respect and wants kids to emulate him yet on back to back to Raw’s he has choked out a guy who didn’t give him what he wanted and then told that same guy that his manager/maybe girlfriend is the one who has the balls in their relationship. John Cena is supposed to be TV PG, and more than that, he’s supposed to the face of WWE’s TV PG movement. He is not The Rock, he is not Stone Cold, he is not HBK and he is not HHH. He is supposed to be a clean cut, Hulk Hogan esque superhero, yet when it benefits him, he can pull shit like he did on Rusev for the past two weeks. Do you ever remember Hulk Hogan asking someone if their girlfriend was the one with the balls in their relationship? No you do not, because that wasn’t what his character was all about. It was about being a role model to kids, taking your vitamins and saying your prayers. It’s supposed to be everything to the kids and lame to the adults, but Cena insists on trying to pander to both. His promo on Raw was great, fiery stuff, and as much as the USA vs. Russia angle is kind of burned out, at least Cena is showing some passion. Then Rusev got in the ring and Cena turned on the charm, asked him if his balls were with his girlfriend and all was lost. I still liked it because Rusev is great, and his written statement was so wonderful. I’ve mentioned it before, but speaking in broken English gives you leeway in your promos, and Rusev knows that, and executes it perfectly. What he’s saying doesn’t really have to make sense. What matters is that his message gets across, and that message is Russia>USA. When John Cena wins at Mania I’m going to cry for a thousand years.
3. Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman & Roman Reigns
This is more Paul Heyman and Lesnar than Reigns, but Reigns kept his promo short and sweet, and I’m glad he’s added something to the ‘Believe That’ line. ‘I can and I will’ is still kind of lame, but it’s progress, and his promos should be kept under two minutes at a maximum. Paul Heyman, on the other hand, should be given free REIGN over the show. He and Bray Wyatt are single handedly selling WrestleMania matches, and Heyman is at the absolute top of his game, which is saying something. He is simultaneously building up Reigns as a worthy competitor and Brock as an unbeatable champion. That may sound easy, but it’s something few other managers or superstars have mastered. I also love how Brock and Heyman have brought Lesnar’s real life contract dispute into the fray, because ignoring it would be silly in the internet age. We all know Lesnar walked out of Raw a few weeks ago, and we all know he’s undecided on his future. The WWE is the only company in the world that can use real life backstage details to enhance storylines, and I’m glad they’re doing that here. Also, Brock getting bleeped out because he threatened to ‘fuck up Roman Reigns’ was wonderful stuff.
4. Holy Hell, That IC Title Tag Match
If you’re taking bets at home, my money is on the IC Title ladder match to steal the show at Mania. I know that’s like saying Elizabeth Banks is pretty, but sometimes you need to get the obvious out of the way. It was clear from the beginning of this angle that this match would be the one that everyone would be talking about, and I’m glad the guys involved in last night’s tag match showed so much emotion and passion. The IC Title used to mean something, and it was a major building block on the road to the major championships. That prestige has been lost in recent years, but now you have six guys who are scratching and clawing their way back to the main event scene, and a major WrestleMania moment awaits them. The WWE needs to keep this momentum going after Mania if they want the IC title to be relevant again, but at the very least, they have right superstars in place to make that happen. Last night’s match was great, and if there’s one thing the WWE does well, it’s put on fantastic 6 man tag matches. It started a few years ago with The Shield and continued no matter what combination of guys are in the match. I liked the tease of fan favorites Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler, as well as the in sync outfits of Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose. This match will steal the show, and I have no clue who’s going to win at Mania. What I do know is that it won’t be R-Truth.
5. Randy Orton & Sting – The Vigilantes
When Seth Rollins unveiled his genius plan, you knew Sting was coming out, but that’s the best thing about Sting in 2015: you can see him coming from a mile away, but it’s still awesome. When the lights went out and the crow squawk echoed throughout the arena, the place ERUPTED for Sting. Also, how great does Sting look? He looks in better shape than most of his TNA run, and I’m glad the WWE is progressively upping his physicality. He got to whip a couple people with a bat last night, as well as deliver a double Stinger Splash and a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting/HHH isn’t going to wow anybody technically, but the storytelling and psychology of that match will be excellent. Another smart move by the WWE is lumping in Rollins/Orton with HHH/Sting as well as not having Rollins and Orton get any more physical than they did last week. You don’t want to show your hand before a big time Mania match, and although the brawl last week was a little much, I’m glad they scaled it back this week and let the rest of The Authority take the beat down. If Sting decides to stick around after WrestleMania, he and Randy Orton need to team up as The Vigilantes. I will not rest until that happens.
Jo Jo Offerman Is Singing The National Anthem At Summerslam, Which Reminds Me: Isn’t Her Dad Insane?
Jo Jo Offerman, a WWE developmental Diva and star of the E! show Total Divas, is singing the national anthem this Sunday at WWE Summerslam. She’s beautiful, a great singer and very talented in the ring.
Pretty normal news story right? Except for the fact that her father, former MLB player Jose Offerman, is insane. In 2007, he was arrested for assault after hitting a pitcher and catcher IN THE HEAD WITH A BAT.
Now I’m sure after somebody does that, they’re never allowed to play the game again. Wrong. Three years later, Offerman punched an umpire while disputing a call.
Those of you who are going to say “well he didn’t actually connect with the punch” are really missing the point. Following this incident, Jose was banned for life by the Dominican Winter League, which apparently means nothing, considering the ban was lifted in February of this year.
Let’s hope Jo Jo does the national anthem justice this Sunday, and pray to God she leaves her dad at home.
Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett w/ guest ref Brad Maddox
Orton vs. Sandow
Really good match. I wouldn’t mind these two feuding, as Sandow could carry the feud on the mic and Orton Is still super over with the crowd. Orton wins after Cody provides the distraction and Sandow gets RKO’d.
PS- Love Sandow’s briefcase.
Sneaky good Ambrose/Shield promo I can’t see Ambrose losing the US Title anytime soon
Great Lesnar promo! Need more of those. Followed by a CM Punk promo where he quotes one of my favorite TV characters of all time, Omar from the The Wire: “you come at the king, you best not miss”.
Khali and Natalya beat Big E Langston & AJ Lee Filler match, with the ref missing the original submission finish. Probably the last time you see that ref.
VKM/Maddox/HHH promo Maddox as the special guest ref at SS? Or is it HHH? Judging from the pedigree, looks it’s going to be the three H’s.
P.S. Vince’s suit. Male Woof.
— Mattchew (@MattyV1989) August 13, 2013
Kane vs. Titus O’Neil Kane wins a short match with a choke slam. Here comes the Wyatt’s! Usual entrance, with Bray Wyatt sitting in the rocking chair, while Rowan and Harper enter the ring and stalk their prey. Swerve! Kane sneaks out of the ring, and with the flick of his wrists makes fire come out of the ring posts! Quick, effective segment. Can’t wait for the ring of fire match at Summerslam.
P.S. The goat mask that Erick Rowan rocks is going to be a fashion staple for the Fall of 2013. You can either jump on board or be left in the dust.
Alberto Del Rio def. Kofi Kingston
So glad Kofi is back. Another really good match. Del Rio makes Kofi tap out, but Kofi looked really good in this match. I’m also glad he now wears pants to the ring.
Christian Promo Could it really be his last match? I really hope not.
Zeb Colter and The Real Americans I don’t think there is anyone in the WWE who is better than Zeb on the mic right now. “Letting immigrants cross our boarders like a hoard of rats.”…”if California floats into the Pacific Ocean that is 2.5 million reasons why America is a better place to live.” He could turn any crowd on himself.
Also, can we talk about Cesaro’s flag cape? Pure power moves all-around for the Real Americans.
The Real Americans vs. The Usos
Decent match, with The Uso’s picking up the win with a roll up. I’m not sure where they’re going with this storyline, but as much as I like the Uso’s, I’d love to see Cesaro and Swagger got a shot at the tag titles.
Miz TV featuring Cena and Daniel Bryan
Great back and forth. Bryan is slowly becoming a great promo guy and Cena always has an awesome rebuttal. I don’t think HHH needs to be involved, which goes to show how good the lead up has been. They’ve done a great job hyping this match and I think it’ll be the best match of the night on Sunday.
Fandango vs. R-Truth (kind of)
20 Man Battle Royal – Winner faces US Champion Dean Ambrose at Summerslam
Normal battle royal match. Cool spot with Kofi, Cesaro and Swagger towards the end of the match as Kofi got thrown over the top rope but held onto Cesaro and his feet dangled but never touched the ground ala HBK at the Royal Rumble. RVD and Mark Henry are your final two participants, with RVD picking up the win. The Shield’s music hits, but before they can take out Henry and RVD, the Big Show returns! Could setup a Big Show/Henry vs. Reigns/Rollins match.
Paul Heyman vs. CM Punk
Heyman comes out and runs down Punk on the mic, eventually bringing out Brock Lesnar. He tells Punk he has two choices, either be the “smart coward” and stay backstage and live to fight another day (Summerslam), or be the “stupid hero” and get his ass kicked tonight. Punk’s music hits, but there is no sign of Punk on the entrance ramp. He comes out through the crowd, grabs a camera and bashes Brock over the head. Lesnar takes head shots better than anybody. He beats Brock down with a chair, then chases Heyman up the ramp, where is greeted by Curtis Axel, who gets a GTS on the ramp for his troubles. RAW ends with Punk standing tall and Lesnar licking his wounds outside of the ring.
Overall a really good RAW, with several solid matches and an unbelievable back and forth promo between Cena and Bryan. If you weren’t excited for Summerslam before RAW, you should certainly be excited now.