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Five Stars From #WWE #RAW (2/19/18): Next Stop, Elimination Chamber

WWE Raw was live last night for their final stop before Sunday’s Elimination Chamber pay per view. Two hours of the three hour show featured a 7 man gauntlet match with the members of the men’s Elimination Chamber match. Hour three consisted of poor Asuka trying to cut a WWE style promo, The Bar vs. Titus Worldwide AGAIN and a 6 women tag match. Needless to say, hours one and two were much better than hour three. Let’s get to the five stars, including a historic night for Seth Rollins.

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.

5-2 The Gauntlet Match

Seth Rollins

Raw started off with Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns in the first of six consecutive matches. Over an hour later, Rollins was still wrestling. His performance went from enjoyable to engrossing to record setting. Rollins is one of the best wrestlers/athletes on either roster, so watching him shine last night was wonderful. You know you’re having a great night when you pin both Reigns and Cena and that’s the last thing people are talking about. Rollins and Reigns have great chemistry, and they set the pace with last night’s show opener.

Cena/Rollins started a little bit slower, but once the near falls started popping up the crowd was super into it. I loved the roll through AA spot from Rollins, and this was one of the most human performances from Cena in a long time. John tends to still try to wrestle like super human Cena, but he’s much more enjoyable when he’s wrestling vulnerable.

The night belonged to Rollins though, who showed the best character work of his career. Imagine if THIS was the Seth Rollins we got when he was the champion instead of relying on J & J Security and Kane to win matches? I wasn’t sure if he could pull off the gutsy baby face role, but if you have doubts after last night you’re a crazy person. He gets compared to HBK from time to time, but this is the first time I saw some similarities in their character and in ring work. Fantastic stuff from Rollins.

Finn Balor & Miz

After Rollins was finally eliminated by Elias, Finn Balor entered the gauntlet. Balor and Elias are two of the best mid card guys in WWE, so it wasn’t a surprise that they had a solid match. Balor picked up the win, as he should have, and then was sneak attacked by Miz. I’m glad that Elias and Miz solidified themselves as the heels in the gauntlet match. After Rollins beat Cena, Elias rushed the ring and immediately attacked Rollins. It was a heel move, but also a logical one, because by that point Rollins was running on fumes. After Balor won a hard fought match against Elias,

Miz had Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel distract Balor while Miz attacked him from behind. Miz and Balor would be my dream IC title match at WM, and I was a little surprised Gallows and Anderson weren’t out there to help Balor. If they do fight again at Mania, Balor Club vs. Miz-Tourage would be a fun secondary story.

Once the match got going it was a lot of fun, and Balor fires up better than most guys. I loved the spot when he took out Dallas and Axel with a flip to the outside, and he was seconds away from beating Miz. Ultimately the numbers game was too much, as Axel and Dallas stopped Finn from hitting the Coup De Grace. That allowed Miz to recover and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. I liked that decision for two reasons. 1. Miz won, but needed the help of the Miz-Tourage to do it. That could/should lead to Balor getting a shot at the IC title after the Elimination Chamber. 2. It set up Miz vs. Strowman, with everyone in the universe wanting to see Strowman destroy some human beings. It also produced this great GIF of Miz realizing his fate:

BRAUNNNNN

The final gauntlet match of Strowman vs. Miz was another great showcase for Braun. It began with Braun chasing down the Miz in a legitimately disturbing feat of quickness and ended with numerous power slams. If that’s the way every Strowman match ended from now until the end of time, I’d be OK with that. I thought having Braun enter the gauntlet last was perfect, as it allowed Rollins, Elias, Balor and Miz to do their thing without compromising the monster among men. Plus, the crowd knew he was coming eventually, and when he finally did appear, they were hot as hell for it. Braun also got to cut a quick, precise promo on the Elimination Chamber and Lesnar. It was perfect, and he followed it up with a few more power slams to the delight of the crowd.

If you needed more proof that Braun is ready for the title, watch his segment last night. There is no one even close to him right now, and if WWE pulls the trigger and puts him vs. Lesnar at Mania, they’re going to have a lot of happy fans. Unfortunately, I think having Reigns and Cena be the only two to not win a match in the gauntlet was done by design. I’ll get into this more in my Elimination Chamber preview, but I’ll be shocked if the final two in the chamber aren’t Roman and Cena.

1. Main Event

The 6 women tag main event featuring the participants in the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber was a good prequel for Sunday’s match. I thought Sasha, Bayley, Mandy and Sonya looked the best, and I’m glad there are multiple story lines that will exist within the chamber match. Everyone knows the chamber is every women for themselves, but it’s good to have to friendships and alliances that exist between the competitors. Sonya and Mandy are apart of Absolution; Bayley and Sasha are long time friends; Mickie and Alexa have struck up an unlikely friendship over the past few weeks.

That’s three different storylines within the match. I don’t foresee Mandy and Sonya having a chance to turn on each other, but I cant’ say for same for the other two alliances. Bayley and Sasha are friends now, but they were heated rivals in NXT. Mickie and Alexa are new found friends, but it’s clear Alexa is using Mickie so she has some type of backup in the chamber. Plus, Mickie has a history of ulterior motives, especially when it comes to winning championship gold.

The women didn’t have a ton of time with the men’s gauntlet match going two hours, but I enjoyed the tag match as a build towards the chamber match.

-Ryan

 

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Five Stars From #WWE #Raw (2/5/18): Asuka, Miz, Elias & More!

WWE Raw was live last night from Des Moines, Iowa. John Cena vs. Elias vs. Braun Strowman was the main event. Asuka took on Bayley in an NXT women’s championship rematch, plus there were two more Elimination Chamber qualifying bouts. 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. No One Is Ready For Asuka

WWE LOVES to give wrestlers catchphrases. John Cena says ‘you can’t see me’. Roman Reigns says the ring is ‘his yard’. Asuka’s most famous one is ‘no one is ready for Asuka’ and it’s probably the most accurate catchphrase in WWE history. Asuka retired as the undefeated NXT women’s champion, and she’s kept that streak going while on Raw. She literally hasn’t lost a match since debuting, which was in OCTOBER OF 2015. Last week she had a sensational match against Sasha Banks and followed it up with another strong win over Bayley.

This is the best Bayley has looked in awhile, and I’m glad Asuka took Bayley seriously in this match. Bayley has never defeated Asuka, but she’s come close twice, so Asuka was not messing around here. There were a ton of hard kicks and strikes, but Bayley hung around and put in a valiant effort. Asuka won in the end, because no one is ready for Asuka.

After the match Asuka shook Bayley’s hand, bringing their feud full circle. Fantastic character work.

4. The Miz vs. Apollo Crews

The second elimination chamber qualifying match (the first being Reigns vs. Wyatt which we will not speak of) saw Miz take on Apollo Crews. Before the match Miz cut a great promo, because at this point he’s incapable of doing anything else. Miz is the master of bringing up something factual but twisting it just enough to make him look like a jerk.

For example, he talked about how Raw 25 had the best ratings in three years (true) and the sole reason for that was him (not true). It’s part factual part braggadocios, and he tip toes that line wonderfully. He also talked about his daughter being born right around WrestleMania (true) while making sure the focus is still on him by saying his daughter will be born just in time to see him become the dual IC/Universal champ.

The match that followed was a great example of how Miz’s in ring skills have caught up with his mic skills. Miz understands that he only looks good beating Apollo Crews if Crews looks good in defeat. Apollo is stronger and faster than Miz, and he used those attributes to his advantage to score a few near falls on the IC champ. Miz’s main advantage is his experience, so when Crews went for one high risk move too many, Miz hung him up on the ropes. One Skull Crushing Finale later and Miz is in the Elimination Chamber match while Crews looked legit in defeat.

3. Jason Jordan Ruins Everything

Before Raw went on the air, Kurt Angle announced Jordan & Rollins would challenge The Bar for the tag titles. The stipulation was that if Jordan/Rollins lose, they’ll never get another shot at the titles as long as The Bar are champs. While Jordan reassured Rollins he’d be OK to wrestle, he backed out last minute (he is actually injured). Luckily for Rollins, Roman Reigns was able to step in and replace Jordan.

Reigns and Rollins had a good match going with The Bar until Jordan showed up at ringside. Reigns shooed him away to the back, but Jordan stuck around to temporarily block The Bar from bailing on the match. Unfortunately for Reigns and Rollins, Jordan took Cesaro’s bait and punched him, causing a DQ and allowing The Bar to retain.

I truly believe Jason Jordan is hitting his role out of the park. It sucks that he’s injured and we can’t watch him wrestle every week, but his character has continued to improve. He plays the entitled do gooder so well, and the writers continue to find unique ways for him to get involved while continuing to piss of Rollins and Reigns. Plus, The Bar holds on to the tag belts, and hopefully they’ll now move onto a fresh team.

2. Nia Jax

Nia Jax had herself quite a night. First, Kurt Angle announced that she would take on Asuka at Elimination Chamber. If Nia defeats Asuka, she will be added to the match of whichever title Asuka decides to go after at WM. She also got a nice squash win over poor Vanessa Floyd. I’m not sure why WWE doesn’t utilize these squash wins more often, but they always seem to work. Nia is a monster with a big match coming up at Elimination Chamber, so why not feed her a few easy wins and make her look like a star? They’re already doing that with Asuka beating Sasha and Bayley back to back weeks, so hopefully Nia continues to look good so their match at Elimination Chamber has the ‘either women can win’ type feel.

1. The Main Event

The main event was a ‘winner enters Elimination Chamber last’ match which I really enjoyed. The WWE has three weeks until the Chamber, so having these type of matches with a consequence attached to it is great for the build up. Too often they’ll just have the guys who will be in the chamber fight each other for no reason other than they’ll be in the same match at the PPV. Putting together this match gives each guy a reason to fight with a game plan and a sense of urgency. That’s why Cena and Elias teamed up to take out Strowman early on. They knew if they didn’t, chances are Strowman would take them both out and win the match.

I thought the finish was good too, because it gives Elias the technical advantage of entering last while reinforcing that Braun is still the most dangerous guy regardless of when he enters. I don’t know how many times WWE can give Strowman these title opportunities and not pull the trigger, but he’s ready to be the top guy. The crowd loves him, he’s turning into a super worker and has a different vibe than almost anyone else. While it’s great that he continues to dominate, eventually it’s not going to be enough that he dominates and loses. If Reigns is still the guy they want to dethrone Lesnar, Strowman needs to be the first guy up after that.

-Ryan

Five Stars From #WWE #RAW (1/29/18): Road To The Elimination Chamber

WWE Raw was live from Philly last night, the same site of NXT TakeOver & the Royal Rumble. WWE LOVES to talk about the ‘E’ in their name standing for entertainment. It’s true, and entertaining the fans is a major part of their success. Last night they focused on the second ‘W’, which stands for wrestling, and turned in one of their best shows in awhile. They have such a strong roster from a wrestling standpoint that I’m surprised they don’t do more shows like this. There were seven matches last night and almost all of them served a purpose, which is all you can ask for on a three hour wrestling show. 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.

Braun Strowman, Forever & Ever

I feel like I type Braun Strowman’s name a lot in these posts, but it’s for a good reason. Braun and Lesnar duked it out for real at the Rumble and he was ready to cause more destruction last night. He fought Kane in a Last Man Standing match, which is pretty self explanatory. The only rule is that you win by beating your opponent so badly they stay down for a 10 count. Braun understands the rules of the match (which doubled as an Elimination Chamber qualifier) and beat the shit out of Kane. To ensure Kane wouldn’t get up, Braun flipped the entire announcing stage, table and all, on top of Kane. Braun flipping large objects continues to be one of my favorite things, and we even got this hysterical image out of it:

There was an was odd exchange backstage where Kurt Angle was yelling at Braun for trying to kill Kane. Even though Angle is the one who put them in a LAST MAN STANDING match. What was he supposed to do? Sit on his chest for 10 seconds and hope he doesn’t get up? If you put Braun in that kind of match, two things are going to happen. 1. Something large is going to get flipped and 2. Braun will be the one walking away.

2. Women’s Elimination Chamber

One night after the amazing inaugural women’s Rumble, Stephanie McMahon announced the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber. That’s great news for everyone except Alexa Bliss, who will have to defend her title inside the structure. The announcement opened Raw, and also gave Asuka a spotlight to enjoy her Rumble victory. I doubt she’ll be in the chamber match since she’s already the #1 contender, but I’m excited to see who earns a spot.

Reigns vs. Miz

Roman Reigns and Miz had a rematch of their very good IC title match at Raw 25. The rematch was very good, but the finish wasn’t as creative. I did like that they played off their match last week, with Miz trying to remove the middle turnbuckle again. The ref caught him this time, but Miz was still able to retain thanks to distractions from the Miz-tourage. While the distraction finish is stale as hell, I do enjoy Miz winning by pitting his strengths against Reigns’ weaknesses.

Miz’s greatest strength is the numbers game, while Reigns is the prototypical lone wolf. Technically he’s in The Shield, but he and Rollins haven’t been together in a while. Plus, he just eliminated Rollins in the rumble. While Reigns can get by on his own most of the time, Miz is just good and crafty enough to eek out a win. The crowd was super into this match as well, which always helps. Now that Reigns has lost two weeks in a row and failed to win the rumble, he’ll probably win every match for the rest of the year (not kidding).

Asuka vs. Sasha – Match of the Night

In a night full of great pro wrestling, Sasha Banks and Asuka stood above everyone. This was easily Asuka’s best main roster match, and Sasha’s best match in a long time. This really had everything. Submissions, counters, cringe worthy strikes, near falls and Sasha Banks trying to murder herself:

The move itself got saved because Asuka was countering the dive with a kick, but Jesus Christ, Sasha. She very rarely hits that move clean and she’s either overshooting it and folding herself in half or getting her foot caught in the ropes and almost decapitating herself. Sasha is way too good a performer to keep trying that move, and I’m sure she can come up something safer. I really loved this match and it put Sasha and Asuka on another level as in ring performers. I know Bliss is the champ and she’s a great character, but nobody tells a story in the ring like these two. It came down to Asuka being too talented and too resilient for Sasha, which is a lethal combination. No one is ready for Asuka.

Cena vs. Balor

John Cena took on Finn Balor in the main event. It was an elimination chamber qualifying match, and these two capped off a great night of in ring work. Balor is so solid, and he tows the line perfectly of delivering believable offense while making Cena’s moves look great. Balor put up a hell of a fight, and was only defeated when Cena hit his top rope AA. If you factor in Balor going almost an hour in the rumble last night and that he fought JOHN CENA, it makes a little bit of sense. That’s the glass half full theory.

Now, let’s talk the logical theory. I don’t like Cena beating Balor at all. I honestly don’t know what this accomplishes, especially if Cena isn’t winning the chamber match. Balor just had a memorable night in the rumble, so they follow that up by having John Cena beat him clean? It’s the same illogical booking as having Balor beat Styles in a MOTY candidate at TLC and then losing to Kane the next night on Raw. ESPECIALLY since he and the Balor Club had their ‘pass the torch’ moment with DX last week.

There’s still three Raw’s to go before Elimination Chamber, so maybe Balor still gets in, and I say that because who else would take his spot? There are three slots left, with one presumably going to Reigns. Who takes the final two? Samoa Joe is hurt. Dean Ambrose is hurt. Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan weren’t even on Raw. Kane? Apollo Crews? If you want Cena in the match, fine. Throw big match John in there. But to put him in there at the expense of Balor is insane. I hate it and it stinks.

Other notes

Elias beat Matt Hardy to earn a spot in the Elimination Chamber. Yay for Elias and silent indifference for the dead in the water Hardy/Wyatt feud.

The Coach (Jonathan Coachman) replaced Booker T on commentary. A piece of wood would have been better than Booker, but Coach was great last night. I’m excited for him moving forward.

The Revival beat Heath Slater & Rhyno. Let’s hope Raw 25 was just a tiny bump in the road for the best tag team on the main roster.

The Bar retained the tag belts in fun match against Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews. Apollo got a chance to shine and took advantage of it. His move set is so dynamic that I’m not sure he isn’t spotlighted more often, but it was great to see last night.

The Dudley Boyz are the newest inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame. Congrats to Bubba Ray & Devon.

-Ryan

Bray Wyatt Won The Elimination Chamber & Is Your New WWE Champion #WWEChamber

If you didn’t catch last night’s Elimination Chamber pay per view, you missed out on a landmark moment for one of WWE’s rising star and in my opinion, it’s greatest character. Bray Wyatt outlasted The Miz, Baron Corbin, Dean Ambrose, John Cena and AJ Styles to become the WWE Champion in the main event, pinning Cena and Styles to pickup the win. This is inexplicably Wyatt’s first singles title in the WWE, and it’s hard to think of someone more deserving. While guys like Reigns, Rollins, Ambrose, Owens & Styles have won titles during their brief singles careers, Wyatt has been relegated to a frustrating pattern of stop and start pushes. He’s carried WrestleMania season feuds with John Cena and The Undertaker, only to lose on the big stage and be sent back to the mid card. Last night he finally grabbed the brass ring, and he did it by himself. There was no assistance from Luke Harper or Randy Orton or a surprise return from Erick Rowan; it was just Wyatt, in his all glory, Sister Abigailing himself to championship gold. While anything could happen between now and WM, the smart and logical story is going to be Orton/Wyatt for the title in one of the main events, so Bray Wyatt should go into WrestleMania as the defending WWE Champion.

-Ryan

5 Stars From Last Night’s #RAW

The Raw after Elimination Chamber aired last night from San Antonio, and it was pretty good. The Raw’s after pay per views are usually some of the best ones, and luckily for us, WWE seems to be putting on pay per views every couple of weeks now. We have a new IC champion, Twin Magic returned & John Cena yelled things. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw.

1. Roman Reigns

At this point, I don’t understand anyone who hates on Roman Reigns. If you wanted to hate on him for his John Cena-esque rise to the main event at WrestleMania, fine. If you wanted to hate on him for winning the Royal Rumble over YOUR favorite wrestler, that’s dumb, but fine. But at this point, all the guy has done is work his ass off on the microphone and in the ring, so you’re petty hate is unwarranted. During last night’s show opening promo, Reigns looked as comfortable as I’ve ever seen him on the microphone, and it was the first time that I can remember him speaking without sounding like he was reading a script. He got right to the point, and actually made a lot of sense, and bonus points for getting his best buddy a title match at MITB. After the talking was over and Reigns sufficiently pissed off the Authority, he was put in 3 separate matches, all of which came with the stipulation that if he lost, he’d be out of the MITB ladder match. He won all 3, beating King Barrett, Mark Henry & Bray Wyatt. His match with Wyatt was the main event and my favorite match of the 3, but Reigns just looked great all around last night. At this point, I’d have to assume he’s going to be the frontrunner to win the MITB ladder match, and then we’ll have a 3 way feud for the title with Lesnar and Rollins heading into Summerslam.

2. Kevin Owens

Let’s have a little talk about Kevin Owens. He’s the best character in the WWE right now and he’s fresh off a couple month span where he won the NXT title and beat John Cena clean with a power bomb in his main roster debut. He wrestled a hell of a match against Cena at Elimination Chamber, easily the match of the night, and followed it up with a short but great promo on Raw. Owens is slowly breaking down the John Cena façade, and even though Cena followed it up with a promo inexplicably calling Owens “less than a man”, KO came off looking better than Cena once again. As a side point, if Owens is less than a man, and he beat Cena fair and square last night, what does that make Cena? The tricky thing with Cena is that we’ve been programmed to believe that Cena always wins in the end. You might beat him initially, like Rusev and Bray Wyatt before him, but he will come out on top so decisively that the initial loss doesn’t end up mattering. I think Owens is different. He’s not a character. He’s a guy with a wife and a son. His son, much like other kids, loves John Cena, and instead of asking him how daddy was feeling after his match Sunday night, his son asked how John Cena was doing. If that’s not the best motivation to beat somebody up then I don’t know what is. I hate that they announced the rematch for MITB right after Owens won Sunday night, but for the first time in a long time, I’m not worried about a guy in a John Cena feud.

3. Titus O’Neil

During the 6 man tag match, Titus O’Neil got the hot tag and just started catching and tossing guys around like rag dolls. WWE has decided to push the PTP, and that 2 minute stretch during the tag match last night shows how easy it is for fans to get behind a person or team. Titus O’Neil is bigger and scarier than most of the guys on the roster, so put him in matches where he can be big and scary. I was amped up watching him toss guys around and scream like an animal, and I bet other fans were too. The tag team division is so boring at times because WWE is afraid to let teams show some emotion and get fired up. The talent is there, just like it’s always been, but the match quality has to be there too if the division is ever going to get back on track. Putting teams like Cesaro/Kidd, PTP & New Day together is a step in the right direction.

4. Neville

As much as I love Bo Dallas, this was great. Neville beat Bo clean Sunday night at Elimination Chamber, and now Bo is done with the inspirational talk and just wants to hurt Neville. 2 minutes later Bo is flat on his back and Neville is twisting through the air like a god damn gymnast on his way to another win. Neville might not win MITB, but I can’t think of anyone else in the match I’m more excited to watch.

5. Bray Wyatt

This is more a pity star, as one guy (Reigns) was in half the matches on the show. When Bray Wyatt is on my TV I’m happy, and since he wasn’t on the card for Elimination Chamber and is in limbo again, I was just happy to see him. Now let’s put the Wyatt family back together and have him win some important matches.

– Ryan

Your Average #WWE Elimination Chamber Preview & Predictions

I’m in a little bit of unchartered territory here, as I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the last two Raw’s, but luckily for me the WWE loves to run the same feuds and storylines for six months straight, so I still have a good grasp on what’s going on. Also, this is the second pay per event in the last two weeks, so most of the matches from Payback are staying the same or adding a few participants. WWE Elimination Chamber is live from Corpus Christi, TX this Sunday ONLY on the WWE Network, so if you haven’t signed up for it yet, what exactly are you waiting for? Let’s get to the preview and predictions.

WWE Divas Championship Match – Nikki Bella (C) vs. Paige vs. Naomi

Nikki Bella has more or less dominated the Diva’s division since winning the title at Survivor Series (over 6 months!).  She is who the WWE wants to be the face of their Diva’s division and Total Divas, so I can’t see her losing Sunday. There have been reports that HHH/Steph want to change the way Diva’s are portrayed on television, but Vince McMahon is still in charge, and at 70 years old, I doubt he’s going to change the way he feels about how Diva’s fit into his company now. Paige is better than both Naomi and Nikki on the microphone and in the ring, but she doesn’t look like a supermodel, so until the status quo changes, the title won’t change hands. Paige has always been a fan favorite, and I like Naomi’s semi heel turn, but the Diva’s just don’t get enough time in the ring or a chance to build their characters to make anybody interested in this match.

Winner: Nikki Bella. And the Bella Twin split lives to see another day.

Neville vs. Bo Dallas

I think this should have been Neville’s first feud on the main roster, as he and Bo Dallas have history from NXT and work wonderfully together. The ‘inspirational’ Bo Dallas is one of the best characters WWE has. I can’t remember a time he came out to cut a promo or wrestle a match and I wasn’t entertained. He’s so insincere, and so self loathing, and matching him up with a guy who is clearly more confident and physically superior makes him so much better. You can see the insecurities seeping out of Bo Dallas when he works with Neville, and it’s great. As much as I’d love to see a red arrow, Neville is working with a bum leg, and Bo Dallas could use a big pay per view win, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins here. I expect this feud to continue over the summer, and I hope it exists in it’s own little bubble where the story gets to progress instead of stay stagnant like most other WWE stories. If WWE is serious about Dallas, then he’ll win here and keep fighting Neville. If they’re not, then Neville will hit the red arrow and Bo will head back to obscurity.

Winner: Bo-Lieve!

Champion vs. Champion Match: John Cena (US Champion) vs. Kevin Owens (NXT Champion)

image

This one is a tougher pick than it should be. Kevin Owens is the best thing going in the WWE right now. He’s the first reigning NXT champion they’ve featured on WWE TV, and not only is he on WWE TV, he’s getting promo time with Superman. He’s out talked and power bombed Cena two weeks in a row, which is John Cena lingo for ‘I’m beating you at the pay per view’, but I still have some reservations. I’m going to pick Cena to win, but I’m not 100% confident about it. NXT is a real thing now. It’s not developmental. It’s not some show on the WWE Network. It’s an organization that attracts everyone from Rhyno to Tommy Dreamer to Samoa Joe because people want to be apart of it. It’s special, and Kevin Owens is it’s crown jewel at the moment. During this US Championship open tournament Cena’s got going on, he’s given guys like Sami Zayn and Neville showcase matches on Raw, and everyone has said that even in defeat, those guys looked better. The difference here is those guys were baby faces. Cena could beat them and raise their hand and have the crowd cheer for them. I don’t think that’s the case here. Losing does not fit Kevin Owens character, and if he loses clean to Cena here then what happens next? He just goes back to NXT like nothing ever happened? Kevin Owens needs this win. It fits his character to have a showcase win against JOHN CENA. He can brag about it in promo’s until the end of time and it will make him even more insufferable/wonderful. It doesn’t hurt Cena either (because nothing does) and Cena keeps the US title because it’s a non title match. I just convinced myself to pick a guy who’s never fought a pay per view match for the WWE to beat John Cena at a pay per view.

Winner: Kevin Owens.

Tag Team Title Elimination Chamber Match: New Day (C) vs. Every Tag Team

You can eliminate (get it) the Prime Time Players, Ascension, Lucha Dragons & Los Matadores from this match, so it comes down to ‘will the New Day retain’ or ‘will Tyson Kidd & Cesaro win’. Both teams are great, but Cesaro is my guy, so I’m rooting for the Swinging Cats. I’ll be happy if either team wins, and I only have one request: give Cesaro enough time in the Chamber. He has the deepest bag of tricks on the WWE roster, and with the possibility of 10 other guys in the ring, I know he’ll put out some incredible moves. If Cesaro looks like a king and the Swinging Cats lose, I’m ok with that, because New Day is finally finding their footing and should remain a thing forever. If Los Matadores wins, I’ll probably set myself on fire.

Winner: heart > head: Cesaro & Kidd.

IC Title Elimination Chamber Match: King Barrett vs. Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Rusev* vs. Ryback

I personally think this is the easiest match on the card to predict. You can automatically eliminate Barrett, Ziggler, Ryback and R-Truth from winning. Ryback and Truth are irrelevant, and Barrett and Ziggler lose. That’s their thing. I saw it coming down to Rusev and Sheamus, but now with Rusev possibly out, it could come down Sheamus and Wyatt. Either way, Sheamus has to win here. He debuted with a new look and an awesome entrance song and was finally a bad guy again, yet nothing has happened since he returned. He forced a guy to kiss his ass, then got forced to kiss that guy’s ass. That’s about it. If Daniel Bryan needs a new neck or head or whatever, and John Cena is going to hold the US title until the end of time, put the belt on a tough looking guy and have him matter. As great as most of the matches on this card will be, they’ll only be great because the individuals are so talented. If WWE actually let characters develop and had interesting mini feuds in these matches, they’d be amazing. The only semblance of a mini feud was Ziggler/Rusev, but now that’s not even a thing because my poor Russian hero is hurt. Sheamus wins, and the only other outcome I’ll accept is Wyatt murdering everyone one by one and burning the IC title in the middle of the ring.

Winner: Shay-moose.

WWE Championship Match: Seth Rollins (C) vs. Dean Ambrose

I’m so mad I didn’t think of this, but I hope it happens. If The Shield isn’t going to fully unite, other than that awesome triple bomb moment at Payback, then what’s the next best thing? Reuniting two of them. Ambrose is a lone wolf and honestly has too much personality to be part of a trio. He was great in the Shield, but he thrives on his own, and it actually works. Roman Reigns, on the other hand, was made to be apart of a group. He’s like an Arn Anderson if Arn Anderson never used a microphone before. I don’t think he should be the guy, but being the guy’s best friend and enforcer? That fits him perfectly. My friend predicted a Reigns heel turn, joining Rollins and the Authority and being their new enforcer figure. It makes sense on a couple levels. Reigns and Ambrose are buddies, but ever since Mania, Ambrose has gotten the opportunities while Reigns has played second fiddle. Reigns still hasn’t gotten his one on one match with Rollins but Ambrose has one? That wouldn’t sit well with me. The Authority needs a new ‘Kane’ because this version of Kane sucks and he should not be the focus of anything, especially not the main event. How long are you going to tease tension with Rollins and Kane before there’s a payoff? Wouldn’t the best possible payoff be Rollins reuniting with his SWAT team brother and Kane literally burning in hell? Ambrose and Reigns have been very buddy buddy lately, and Reigns even bailed him out of jail Monday night. It all makes too much sense and it might not happen, but I hope it does. As far as the match, these guys are great in the ring together, and while Ambrose’s character has been headed to wacky land again, there’s no doubt they’ll have a great match in the main event.

Winner: and still WWE Champion, Seth Rollins.

– Ryan

 

 

If This Fan Photo Is To Be Believed, Rusev May Be Hurt & Out Of His IC Title Match At Elimination Chamber #WWE

Reaction GIF: tired, Michael Cera, George-Michael Bluth, Arrested Development

So Rusev hasn’t had the best couple of months. He’s lost to John Cena at three straight pay per views, his Ravishing Russian Lana has left him for Dolph Ziggler, and now he’s probably hurt and won’t be able to fight for the IC title at Elimination Chamber. For a guy who was once one of the best guys on the roster and who rode to the ring at WrestleMania on a god damn tank, this is just a series of bad things happening that I hope he can recover from. WWE has this terrible habit of building someone up so high that the inevitable fall is just as bad, and that’s what happened with Rusev. Losing to Cena three pay per views in a row doesn’t help, but that’s the norm nowadays. If he’s hurt, I wish him a speedy recovery, and if its just a precaution, I hope he crushes everyone and wins the IC title this Sunday.

– Ryan

WWE Is Bringing Back The Elimination Chamber Event & The Suspected Card Might Already Be Better Than #WWEPayback

WrestlingThe anticipated, must-see WWE Elimination Chamber event will emanate from Corpus Christi, Texas, where the WWE Tag Team Championships and the newly vacant Intercontinental Championship will be defended inside the infamous structure. Plus, U.S. Champion John Cena will compete and the WWE World Heavyweight Title will be defended, all live on WWE Network.

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Vince McMahon is just an entertainment machine. When news broke last year that the annual Elimination Chamber event would be replaced by Fast Lane, my heart was broken. Not only was the Elimination Chamber itself an awesome structure, but the pay per view was consistently one of the best shows for the WWE, and marked the final stop before WrestleMania. Fast Lane was headlined by a great Daniel Bryan/Roman Reigns match, but other than that, it was just OK. Well a few months later, we get the announcement that the Elimination Chamber is indeed coming back, and it’s coming back sooner rather than later. Two weeks after Payback, Elimination Chamber will take place, which is important for one very big reason. WWE made the month of May free for new subscribers, and that free trial ends on May 31st. With Elimination Chamber now on the 31st, I bet a lot more fans will keep the Network to watch the show and thus WWE has them locked in for June. At this point, if you don’t have the Network and you’re paying $45-55 for pay per views, you’re an idiot, but that’s your prerogative. Now, onto the show.

According to WWE.com, the Tag Team and newly vacated IC title’s will be defended inside the Elimination Chamber, while the US title and WWE titles will be defended in more traditional matches. It’s interesting the way they worded it, and it may just be that way to get Cena’s name in there, but both the US and WWE World Heavyweight Championships are being defended at Payback. The write up for the Elimination Chamber says “US Champion John Cena” while the write up for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship doesn’t mention anyone specifically. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion Cena is going to win Sunday, but this write up pretty much confirms it. Looking past the WWE. com write up, the Elimination Chamber presents a couple unique opportunities for the WWE superstars. The IC and Tag Team belts have never been defended inside the Chamber, and while an IC match will probably be structured similar to the WWE and World Heavyweight title matches, I’m interested to see how they’ll set up the Tag Team match. If they’re going to still use the pods, they’ll probably start it off with one member of each team in the ring, while the other member of the team waits in a pod. Luck of the draw will determine which teams gains an advantage first, and if the New Day are involved, booking this match in a Chamber  takes away their 3 on 2 advantage. Here are my predictions for the two Chamber matches, as well who will be involved in the US and WWE World Heavyweight title matches.

Tag Team Chamber Match: Cesaro/Kidd vs. New Day vs. Harper/Rowan vs. Lucha Dragons vs. The Ascension

IC Title Chamber Match: Ziggler vs. Barrett vs. Neville vs. Sheamus vs. Ambrose

US Title Match: John Cena vs. anyone but Rusev. Maybe Finn Balor gets the call up?

WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns

I think Harper and Rowan win the tag belts, Neville wins the IC belt, Cena retains over whoever he faces, and Rollins does the same. There’s still a couple weeks to clear everything up and set up an actual card, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up looking like this.

– Ryan

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