Samoa Joe Is The #1 Contender To Brock Lesnar’s Universal Title & Their Feud Is Off To A Great Start #WWE
Samoa Joe won the Fatal Five Way at Extreme Rules, and it was the best possible outcome coming out of that match. I was hoping Joe would win because he vs. Lesnar was the most intriguing match up, and I got my wish. Monday night on RAW, Samoa Joe wasted no time in putting Brock Lesnar on notice. After a great promo by Joe, Paul Heyman came out as he always does to advocate for Brock Lesnar, hype up Lesnar’s opponent while also explaining why that opponent has no chance against his Beast. Joe took everything in stride until Heyman tried to leave the ring. That’s when Joe calmly and sadistically explained to Paul what was about to happen to him and that he wants Paul to explain to Brock how it feels to get choked out. I loved that Joe did this without the use of a microphone, as this was something intimate he only wanted Heyman to hear.
Later in the episode Heyman is getting checked on by trainers when Brock Lesnar calls, and we find out that Brock will be at RAW next week to meet Joe head on. Joe knew what he was doing when he choked out Heyman, but it takes a special type of man to willingly call out Brock Lesnar like that. We haven’t seen Brock since the RAW after Mania, and I hope he comes back next week and we get some fireworks before…Greats Balls of Fire. Still don’t understand how they landed on that name, but if it’s being headlined by a fresh, ready to murder Brock Lesnar versus Samoa Joe, I’m in.
Extreme Rules was last night and the first post WM pay per view was a solid show overall. Daniel Bryan’s precious bunny neck caused him to miss the show, but rising star Neville took his place. In a shocking twist, John Cena retained his US title and Sheamus made an unconscious Dolph Ziggler kiss his ass. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Extreme Rules show.
At this point, if I’m reviewing a show or pay per view that Neville is apart of, there’s a 100% chance he’s going to be one of my stars. I don’t want to jinx it, but I can’t compliment WWE enough for how they’ve booked Neville since his debut. After a quick first squash, he was put into a match with the WWE Champion, then Dolph Ziggler, and now Bad News Barrett. Although he lost to Rollins and Ziggler, he proved he can hang with them immediately, which I believe does more good than having him squash a bunch of low card guys. I also love that the mid card titles are now something guys of value are trying to attain. The WWE has this weird theory that whoever loses a title automatically becomes the new #1 contender. It’s fine, but my problem with that is that it delays the start of new feuds. Neville beating Barrett twice in the same week automatically puts him in either the #1 contender spot or somewhere close, so when Bryan returns there are going to be at least two people gunning for his title. Also, this was Neville’s first pay per view win since joining the main roster, and he won clean.
One of the things I wasn’t looking forward to last night was seeing either Sheamus’s or Dolph Ziggler’s ass, and luckily we didn’t see too much. Ziggler won the match, but Sheamus was the one who got the upper hand (cheek) on Ziggler. Dolph is not the brightest bulb in the world, and for some reason he thought the guy who returned from injury with a Mohawk and a newfound sense of hurting people was just going to pucker up and kiss his butt. Instead, he got a low blow and a boot to the face, and then had his unconscious face rubbed against Sheamus’s ass cheek. Not Ziggler’s finest moment, but bad guy Sheamus is a guy I can get behind. You’re not going to root for him because he’s an asshole, but I’m all for him having hoss fights with the likes of Ziggler and Bryan and Neville. Also, his new music is awesome and I’ll never get tired of typing that.
New Day won the tag titles, but Cesaro, per usual, was the star of the match. Slowly transitioning Cesaro and Kidd to good guys while simultaneously turning New Day heel is not as easy as WWE is making it look, but it’s working perfectly. They knew the Chicago crowd would be cheering for Cesaro and Kidd and they knew that the same crowd would be chanting ‘New Day Sucks’, so why not feed into that? Cesaro and Kidd haven’t been together long but they’re both excellent in the ring and have created some fun to watch tag team moves. The over the rope suplex followed by a top rope elbow drop and the swing into the dropkick are crowd pleasers, and just make a tag team match better. Cesaro snatching Big E and Kofi out of the air and throwing them around will always be impressive, and I’d be fine with watching him do that for every match until the end of time. The end of the match makes sense, too, as New Day is using their 3 on 2 advantage to distract teams and win matches. That’s what smart heel teams do, but I do hope that Cesaro and Kidd stay in the tag title hunt.
4. The Last Man Standing Match
I went into the Last Man Standing match last night with zero expectations, but Big Show deserves an ice cream cone or something for his performance. He and Reigns just basically beat the crap out of each other, and while the crowd was clamoring for tables throughout the night, I’m glad they saved it for this match. The WWE and it’s superstars/divas are over saturated because we see them so much. On a week that includes a pay per view, the WWE puts on 8 hours of television, plus Main Event, Superstars, Backstage Fallout videos and whatever else they have planned for that week. With so much TV time to produce, certain shows can feel monotonous and employ the same kind of matches. If Ambrose/Harper had put themselves through tables in the opening match, the Show and Reigns table spots wouldn’t have been as effective. Reigns looked great, and Big Show looked like a worthy adversary, which also helps out Reigns. The table spots were also really well done, especially Big Show choke slamming Reigns from the ring to the outside through two tables and Reigns spearing Show from on top of one table and through the next one.
5. Seth Rollins
What a slimy piece of shit Seth Rollins is. The ending of the main event cage match between Orton and Rollins for the WWE Championship saw Seth Rollins use the RKO on Randy Orton then weasel his way out of the cage. As Extreme Rules was going off the air, the announce team was arguing about whether or not that was legal, since Rollin’s own stipulation for the match was banning the RKO. I’m sure there will be a 20-200 minute talking session to open up Raw dissecting whether this was legal or not, but either way I loved it. How much of a dick do you have to be to ban a guy’s finishing move, then not only use that move during the match, but use it to beat him and retain your title? That’s next level heel work, and Rollins is the most exciting part of the show. One of the friends I was watching this with brought up a great point about the main event scene right now without John Cena – you don’t automatically know who’s going to win. With Rollins as the champion, there’s always that chance that he’s going to lose the title, and that makes for exciting, unpredictable TV.
While I don’t usually watch Smackdown on Thursday nights, I made an exception this week. Smackdown was taped in my hometown of Providence, RI, so obviously the Average Nobodies attended and as always, the WWE put on a great live show. The usual script for Raw reviews is 5 stars, but since Smackdown is only 2 hours, I decided to limit it to 3 stars. Smackdown featured a couple solid tag team matches, and I sat close enough to Roman Reigns to brush his soaking wet hair.
Neville has been extremely impressive since joining the main roster, and anyone who had concerns that he wouldn’t be utilized correctly should be breathing a sigh of relief so far. This was the first time I’ve seen him live, and holy hell is he quick. Neville is that rare superstar who can flip and jump with the best of them, but also understands the psychology of wrestling as well. He knows how to wrestle the bigger guys like Sheamus and he knows how to wrestle guys his size like Rollins and Ziggler. I love that he pinned Barrett, too, and I mentioned in my Extreme Rules preview that if Daniel Bryan can’t compete, I’d love to see Neville and Barrett take place and Neville secure another victory. If Neville can beat the #1 contender for the IC belt twice in the same week, he’d definitely be in the discussion for challengers to the title once Bryan returns. The highlight of the entire show was seeing Neville hit the Red Arrow live. If WWE is coming to a city near you and Neville is advertised, you owe it to yourself to go see him.
2. Prime Time Players
I’d be ok if the PTP never wrestled another match again, as long as I could get a Titus ‘OORAH’ once in awhile and as long as they keep doing these backstage promos every week. The tag team division is filled with entertaining and exciting teams, who are normally given about 2-3 minutes to have a match and tell a story. While the WWE is doing their best to elevate the US and IC belts, they’ve continually let the tag team division fall by the wayside. My suggestion would be to have the writing team ignore them, but give them at least 15-20 minutes per Raw to get themselves over. You’re telling me guys like Titus, Darren Young, Cesaro, Tyson Kidd, New Day and Lucha Dragons can’t have solid matches and entertaining promos on their own if given enough time? The tag team division should be a lot more exciting, especially considering the teams that are in it. While I’ll never condone anyone making fun of Cesaro, Titus’s satchel and paper boy hat were a nice touch. Hopefully the PTP challenge for the tag titles soon, and hopefully the WWE realizes the diamonds they have in the tag division just waiting for their time to shine.
3. The Main Event
The main event of Smackdown was a tag team match featuring Ambrose and Reigns vs. Harper and Rollins, and it was fantastic. Ambrose and especially Reigns were incredibly over with the Providence crowd, and all four guys worked their tail off to close out the show. While you’d want to keep the champion getting pinned in non title matches to a minimum, I did like Reigns getting the clean pin here. He deserves much better than a Last Man Standing match with Big show at Extreme Rules, so hopefully after Sunday he’s back closer to the main event. I think Harper and Ambrose are going to have the best match Sunday, so I’m glad they got to give us a little preview of what to expect. The Authority continues to tease tension with it’s champion, and that was escalated last night with Kane throwing Rollins back in the ring just in time to eat a spear from Reigns. All in all it was a fun show with a really good main event to send the crowd home happy.
WWE Extreme Rules takes place live this Sunday FOR FREE on the WWE Network in Rosemont, Illinois. For a filler pay per view, it’s a pretty stacked card with 8 matches, including a few with Extreme Rules stipulations. Every major title (for now*) is being defended, so let’s get to the preview and predictions!
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (C) vs. New Day
New Day has been on a roll lately (words I never thought I’d write) thanks to their new found strategy of winning by any means necessary. They are on the slow build to becoming a very good heel tag team, and I’m glad they’re finally taking advantage of having three guys at ringside at all times. They’re not ‘bad guys’ as much as they’re opportunists, and they’re using the crowds disdain for them as an advantage. If the crowd keeps telling you that you suck, you can either pack your shit up and never be heard from again or you can use that hate to motivate you. New Day is employing the latter strategy, and I’m glad, because Big E and Kofi have always been fun to watch in the WWE. Cesaro and Kidd have zero momentum going into Extreme Rules, but it looks like they’ll be working as the good guys in this match. I don’t know if a title change is in order, but the tag team division is clearly an afterthought in the WWE right now, so unless a Give Tag Teams A Chance hash tag starts trending, the winners of this match don’t really matter.
Prediction: I’m going with Cesaro and Kidd, because they’re wonderful together and should be Tag Team Champs forever.
WWE Divas Championship Match: Nikki Bella (C) vs. Naomi
AJ Lee retired, Paige is filming a movie and the rest of the Divas that aren’t the Bella’s are in limbo, so Naomi has been boosted up to the #1 contender slot, and she’s doing a great job with it. Similar to the New Day, Naomi isn’t your classic heel. She’s proven herself over and over again, yet opportunities and title shots have consistently been given to other Divas. Instead of sitting back and waiting her turn, she created an opportunity for herself, and now she’s one pinfall or submission away from being the Diva’s champion. The WWE creative team is ass backwards most of the time, so why not call them out on it? It makes storyline sense, and it gives a Diva more personality than she’s had for her entire career. I think a Bella Twins split is long overdue, so hopefully some seeds are planted for that here and Naomi walks out the champ.
Prediction: Naomi, who becomes the first former dinosaur woman to ever hold the Divas title.
Last Man Standing Match: Big Show vs. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns wins the Royal Rumble to become the #1 contender for Brock Lesnar’s title. He beats Daniel Bryan in the main event at Fast Lane to maintain that #1 contender’s spot. He co-main events WrestleMania with Brock Lesnar, only to lose when Seth Rollins cashes in his MITB briefcase. How does he get rewarded for his four month reign of dominance, featuring the best two matches of his career? A Last Man Standing Match with the Big Show. I don’t know if the WWE is intentionally trying to cool off Reigns, but going from wrestling in the main event of WrestleMania for the WWE Championship to wrestling the Big Show in a mid card gimmick match is not the progression you want from the future of your company. The WWE did the same thing last year with Daniel Bryan. Instead of giving him a fresh feud after he won the belt at Mania, he got attacked by Kane and thrown into a pointless angle that STILL hasn’t been resolved. Big Show and Roman Reigns feuded late last year, Roman won, end of story. Why is he fighting Big Show again less than a month after main eventing WrestleMania? I don’t get it, and I fully expect this match to be a stinker.
Prediction: Roman Reigns buries the Big Show alive even though that’s not the stipulation. He just needs this feud to end.
Chicago Street Fight: Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose
This is my pick for the match of the night. Two guys with nothing to lose, wearing the same clothes, just going out there and beating the shit out of each other. No zany hot dog stand antics from Ambrose; I want steel chairs, barb wired baseball bats, whatever else he can find. You can’t nickname someone the Lunatic Fringe then have him act like your drunk uncle. He needs to be a legit maniac, which doesn’t seem too far off from the actual Dean Ambrose’s personality. Harper is just trooping along, and continues to have great matches with everyone he’s put in the ring with. The story here is that Harper put Ambrose through a ladder at Mania then a table on Smackdown, and Ambrose wants revenge. I hope these two go out all here, and the Rosemont crowd should eat it up.
Prediction: Ambrose really needs to get going, so I’ll go with him here.
Kiss Me Arse Match: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
When I hear the words ‘Extreme Rules’, I don’t think of one man kissing another man’s ass, but maybe that’s just me. Sheamus returned after months away from the ring with a badass theme song, a silly haircut, twisty tied beard hair and a chip on his shoulder. He doesn’t think guys like Ziggler and Neville belong in the same ring as him, and he’s going to prove it. By…making Ziggler kiss his ass? Stipulation aside, this should be a great match. I’m not looking forward to either guy kissing the other guy’s ass, but Sheamus works best when guys are willing to take a beating, and nobody takes a beating like Dolph Ziggler. Between this match and Ambrose/Harper, I’m more invested in the mid card non title matches than I am the US or WWE Championships, and that is 100% due to the performers involved. You know they’re going to give you all they have, and they’re proving you don’t need a title to get people invested in a feud.
Prediction: Sheamus’s first pay per view match since returning should result in a win. With that said, If I see his bare white ass, I will not be happy.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (C) vs. Bad News Barrett
How I feel every time I read a Daniel Bryan health update.
*I highly doubt this match will happen, since the latest report is that Bryan will be out for up to 5 weeks. I doubt they’ll strip him of the title since Bryan should only miss Extreme Rules and possibly Payback, so maybe Barrett issues an open challenge in the name of wanting to fight someone. My pick would be for a solid Neville vs. Barrett match with Neville picking up the win, thus making him a legit challenger for the IC title which should be his logical progression in my opinion. Neville already pinned Barrett on Smackdown in a tag match, so two wins over a #1 contender should get him a shot sooner rather than later. Also, Bryan vs. Neville is something I’d love to see before Bryan’s head falls off.
Russian Chain Match For The US Title: John Cena (C) vs. Rusev
Everything leading up to Extreme Rules seems like it should end with a Cena win Sunday. Rusev attacked him from behind twice with a Russian chain, the second time putting him in the Accolade with said chain. Cena beat Rusev at Mania, but ever since, Rusev has had the upper hand. USUALLY when that happens, the hero, in this case Cena, will get his revenge and win. The only problem with that theory is that if John Cena is going to lose a match, it’s going to be because someone cheated or because of a fluky stipulation. While a normal Russian Chain Match is just a match were you’re allowed to use the chain, this specific match also included the stipulation where you can win by touching all four corners while chained to your opponent. My Spidey senses are tingling with this added stipulation, because this is a perfect scenario for Cena to lose without being pinned or forced to submit. On the other hand, this is also a way for Cena to retain the title without Rusev losing clean on back to back pay per views. Lana played a key role in their Mania match, so will she do the same here?
Prediction: Death, Taxes and John Cena successfully defending a WWE title belt. Those are the three certainties in life.
Steel Cage Match For The WWE Championship (RKO Is Banned): Seth Rollins (C) vs. Randy Orton
The logical next step in the Seth Rollins title reign would be to face Randy Orton, and I’m glad WWE went this route. Orton beat Rollins clean at Mania, so now that Rollins is the champion, why shouldn’t Orton get a chance to prove that he can do it again? Rollins is excelling in his role as the weasel champion, and it’s funny that the two guys left to defend him are smaller than he is. The power of stealing the show and winning the title during the main event of WrestleMania is clearly going to his head, and the people who helped put him there (HHH and Kane) don’t seem as keen on the Future of the WWE as they once were. Orton is sliding into the #1 contender’s slot at the perfect time, because Rollins has never been so vulnerable. With Kane as the Gate Keeper or whatever the hell it’s called, it’s almost a certainty that he’ll influence the end of the match. Rollins win was such a triumph at Mania that I can’t imagine he’d lose the belt already, and I think Kane will come to his senses Sunday and help the champ retain.
Prediction: Seth Rollins. The only way I want to see his title reign end is in a puddle of blood and urine at the hands of Brock Lesnar.
As always, we’ll be live tweeting Extreme Rules over @averagenobodies. Join us Sunday night!
Last night’s Raw was back in the United States and LIVE from Albany, New York. It was a solid show overall and built to all the matches that will be taking place at Extreme Rules this Sunday. Randy Orton was on an RKO spree, The New Day won over my heart and Kane lost to John Cena. Some things never change. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw!
1. New Day
I will give the WWE credit when credit is due, even though the entire New Day was their fault from the beginning. The original New Day concept was never going to work. They came out clapping and smiling and the fans immediately shit all over them. Thankfully the WWE recognized that and not only embraced the ‘New Day Sucks’ chant, but turned them into the bad guys they should’ve been since the beginning. Kofi and Big E have proven they can go, and while Xavier Woods might get lost in the shuffle, he can be effective as the third cog in the wheel that helps them win matches. The Lucha Dragons continue to look great, and last night’s match was a step in the right direction for the tag team division. I especially enjoyed the end of the match, which had the Lucha Dragons do a double moon sault onto Big E and Kofi. When all four struggled to get back into the ring to beat the ten count, Xavier Woods grabbed Sin Cara’s legs from under the ring, allowing New Day to pickup the win and challenge Cesaro/Kidd for the Tag Titles at Extreme Rules. Heels being heels. Sometimes it’s that simple.
I wrote last week about how giving Naomi a character other than a Funkadactyl or being one of the Uso’s wives would be beneficial for her and the Diva’s division, and she proved that last night. She had a good match with Brie Bella and besides Nikki Bella’s phone sex operator commentary style the segment was really well done. With AJ retired, Paige filming a movie and WWE being hesitant to bring up any of the NXT Diva’s, this is Naomi’s chance to shine. While Nikki has improved immensely in the ring, I think it’s time to split the Bella’s up and put the title on Naomi. The Bella’s working together are really boring, but when Brie is the face and Nikki is the heel, they have a much better dynamic. The only thing I’d change in this buildup is Naomi’s entrance music. It no longer fits her personality, and she should be as far away from a Funkadactyl as humanly possible.
3. Randy Orton
With the RKO banned this Sunday, you knew that the move would be a focal point on Raw. Orton started off the show with a good promo and followed that up with an RKO to everyone who takes it well. The Randy Orton who has no friends is my favorite Orton. He shouldn’t be shaking hands with other wrestlers or chumming it up with the baby faces. He’s The Viper. He should be RKO’ing guys into plates of food and be the only man in history to intimidate you while not wearing pants. The first victims of the RKO were Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, then it was Heath Slater in catering and to cap it off, he hit Seth Rollins with a rope assisted RKO inside the steel cage. I understand Orton not being able to use the RKO from a storyline standpoint, but as a fan, it’s disappointing Orton isn’t going to use it this Sunday. The curb stomp/RKO at WrestleMania was one of the most beautiful wrestling moves you’ll ever see, and last night’s RKO was no different. These two work extremely (see what I did there) well together and can fight any style of match they want, so I’m looking forward to their match on Sunday. With Kane now involved, and some escalating tension between Rollins and HHH, I wouldn’t rule out an Orton title win on Sunday.
Speaking of Kane, he had himself one hell of a night. He gave an impassioned promo on Seth Rollins, officially putting him in his place and reminding him why he not only became Mr. Money in the Bank, but also the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. His El Torito line was funny, but the gist of the promo was that Seth Rollins has become so accustomed to The Authority having his back that he’s forgotten who got him to the promised land in the first place. While I think Kane should step away from in ring competition, if he’s going to be on TV, I’m glad they’re at least using him in an important role. I don’t know what his role will be this Sunday, but it’s almost a certainty that he’ll influence the outcome of the main event. Kane also decided to answer Cena’s open challenge for the US title, and that ended how literally ever single Kane/John Cena match has ever ended, but I’ll give him points for trying.
5. Seth Rollins
Rollins was in about 5 segments on Raw, and he nailed every single one of them. He has the weasel villain down to a science, and I loved his interactions with Orton, Kane and HHH. My favorite segment, besides the match with Ziggler, was when he asked HHH for more backup. He’s alienated everyone who helped him get where he is, and with a hungry viper on the loose, he’s finally realized J and J Security aren’t going to stop anyone. As much as Orton has all the momentum going into Sunday, I hope they keep the title on Rollins. Lesnar dominated the title scene from August to Mania, and with Rollins as the champ, that dynamic has taken a complete 180. While Lesnar never lost, Rollins hasn’t had a match as champion yet where he wasn’t in jeopardy of losing. That makes the title picture that much better, and gives every WWE superstar on the roster a legitimate chance at the gold. His match with Ziggler was good, too. I can’t wait until the day that WWE just lets these two loose and they put on a 25 minute classic, but Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler on Raw will always be a good thing.
Honorable Mention: Rusev
Like I’m not going to love Rusev giving John Cena The Accolade with a Russian chain.