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Five Best WWE Matches Of 2017: #4 AJ Styles vs. John Cena (Royal Rumble)

Looking back at the best matches of the year, one name keeps popping up AJ Styles. He’s been in the WWE less than two years, but he’s already made a tremendous impact. He’s been WWE’s MVP since his debut, and he stole the show at this year’s Royal Rumble. While Cena and Styles fought a few times, their match at the Rumble was their finest one.

#4 WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles vs. John Cena (Royal Rumble)

In my write up for match #5 on this list, I mentioned I don’t like when matches rely on finisher kick outs. I stand by that point, but there are times when it works, and this match was one of them. Velveteen Dream and Aleister Black don’t have the name value of a Cena or Styles, and their finishers are too new not to be protected. On the other hand, Cena and Styles have been around forever. Everyone kicks out of the AA, and the first time Styles hit the Styles Clash in WWE, Jericho kicked out of it.

While false finishes were one part of this match, both guys worked their ass off and gave us a match of the year candidate in January. The match went over 24 minutes but kept a brisk pace, mostly thanks to Styles insane cardio conditioning. Styles can keep you invested in the beginning/middle parts of matches then kick it into high gear for the ending. Cena kept up to, and even though ‘big match John’ is an annoying nickname, it’s true. Cena almost always rises to the occasion in big time matches, and he had the perfect foil in AJ Styles. The historical significance of the match was huge too, as Cena’s win tied him with Ric Flair for the most world title wins in history.

-Ryan

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Five Stars From WWE Raw 12/25/17: Elias, Asuka & New Tag Team Champions!

WWE Raw was live on Christmas day for the first time ever last night. John Cena made his Raw return in the opening segment with the criminally underrated Elias. Plus, Asuka confronted Alexa Bliss, Roman Reigns fought Samoa Joe and The Bar defended their tag team titles. Here are the five stars from the 12/25/17 edition of WWE Raw.

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5. Elias Plus A Little Bit Of John Cena

Before I get into why I love Elias so much, I want to point out the greatness of John Cena the person. His character has always been too inconsistent for my tastes, but he’s clearly a great guy. The latest example of that is last night on Raw, when he gave a kid in the crowd the shirt off his back. It’s a small gesture to Cena but probably meant the world to that kid and his dad. That it happened on live TV on Christmas made it all the more special. Before Cena could get too hokey he was interrupted by Elias, who is becoming my favorite part of Raw.

Elias has his character figured out better than anybody else on the show, and he’s starting to get rewarded for it. While it would have been nice for him to win, beating John Cena on Christmas isn’t going to happen. Elias still got the first 30+ minutes of the show with Cena and lost a highly competitive match. He got to shut down a CM Punk in Chicago, even though Cena’s insistence on blowing the Chicago crowd was infuriating. He continues to improve on the microphone and in the ring, and has risen to the occasion with every big name they’ve put him with. The key moving forward for him is continued momentum, so hopefully he continues to be featured in important segments.

4. Hideo Itami

Hideo Itami made his main roster debut last week and continued to impress against Brian Kendrick last night. It’s only a matter of time before he’s challenging for the cruiserweight title, and I hope it’s against Enzo. Cedric Alexander gets hit title shot next week, but I think the Zo Train will be able to assist Enzo in retaining the title. Itami destroying Enzo would be a lot of fun to watch and Itami might actually knee his head clean off his shoulders. Bonus points to Itami for performing the GTS in Chicago.

3. Samoa Joe

If Samoa Joe is featured on Raw, there’s a solid chance he’s going to make this list. Last night was no exception, as he challenged Roman Reigns for the IC title. Joe had a quick but great pre- match interview with Renee Young where he talked about injuring Dean Ambrose. Dean will be out for nine months, and Joe said at least he’s home enjoying the holiday with the ones he loves. He said this to Renee Young, Dean’s real life wife. That’s a next level dickhead move.

The match was very good, as are all Reigns/Joe matches. The DQ finish is always frustrating, but I’ll take that over Joe losing clean. Reigns defending the IC title on a regular basis is always great, especially when it’s against true threats like Joe. With Rollins & Jordan winning the tag titles, Reigns will continue to be a singles star. The Reigns/Lesnar showdown should begin after the Rumble, so it’ll be interesting to see if Roman keeps the IC belt. There are no shortage of guys who could run with the title if Reign loses it, and Joe is near the top of that list.

2. Asuka

Asuka officially entered the women’s Royal Rumble last night, and her winning should be the biggest no brainer of 2018. She’s been running in place since debuting on Raw, but Rumble/WrestleMania season is the time to let her loose. The most dominant woman on the roster should be the one to win the first ever women’s Rumble. From there you can have her stalk Alexa Bliss, who still has Nia Jax in her corner. Nia would be able to shift the odds in Alexa’s favor just enough to make the feud competitive. If the women’s division goes any other route but Asuka winning the Rumble and the title at WrestleMania they’re out of their goddamn minds.

1. New Tag Team Champions

With the length of Dean Ambrose’s injury confirmed, WWE pulled their favorite audible. Whenever someone is injured and gets replaced by someone else, there’s a good chance the new person is winning. Zack Ryder won the IC title as a last minute fill in at WrestleMania 32. More recently, Cedric Alexander won the #1 contender spot after Rich Swann was arrested. While those decisions have good shock value, they’re not always the best move for the story. In this case, I think Jordan and Rollins winning the tag titles could work.

Jason Jordan keeps getting opportunities, and although Kurt Angle insists it’s not because he’s his son, it’s getting harder to believe that. Jordan is consistently put in high profile matches and is being rewarded for being a complainer. He finally came through last night, and now he and Rollins are the tag team champions. I’m on board for this IF Jordan continues to perfect his character of a freak in the ring who doesn’t necessarily deserve all the chances he’s getting. I think the best story to tell moving forward would be for Jordan to get a big head from finally winning, which causes issues with Rollins. If WWE is committed to turning Jordan bad, back stabbing Rollins would be the best way to get there.

-Ryan

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Fans Surprising John Cena Is The Best Video You’ll Watch Today

Talk about a punch to the feelings bone. I feel like Michael Scott during the ‘Grief Counseling’ episode of The Office, except much happier. Whether you love or hate John Cena the wrestler, it’s become abundantly clear that John Cena the person is a pretty great guy. While my generation might not be the target audience for Cena and his message, it’s clear that his Never Give Up catchphrase has a positive effect on a lot of people. If you didn’t tear up when Tyler started telling his story then you have no soul.

-Ryan

John Cena’s Shoulder Injury Could Be Just What The WWE Needs To Break Them Out Of Their Funk

Before I get started, Cena’s injury, combined with the injuries of Rollins, Orton, Daniel Bryan & (to a lesser degree) Cesaro, Barrett etc. is the worst possible news for the WWE heading into WrestleMania season. To make matters worse, WWE is trying to sell out Cowboys Stadium, which means somehow getting 100,000+ people to buy tickets to an event without a plethora of top stars. Barring any other awful news, The Rock, Undertaker, Lesnar and active top stars will be in Dallas, but not having the others is going to hurt. With that said, just as Rollins and Orton’s injuries opened the door for top superstars to step up, Cena’s injury might do more than that. It’s no secret that the WWE is in both a creative and ratings slump, and most of the blame is falling on the shoulders of Vince McMahon. Luckily for McMahon, this is not unchartered territory.

The WWE went through a similar lull in the mid 90s, the only difference that time being the emergence of true competition in the form of WCW. McMahon, sick of falling behind in the ratings, gave his performers more control of their characters and allowed them to be edgier, and thus the most successful period in wrestling history was born. In 2016, there is no viable competition to the WWE. Companies like ROH, Lucha Underground and NJPW, while popular, cannot compete with the advertising and TV deals that WWE has. While competition might not force McMahon to make changes, injuries could. I’m not saying the WWE needs another Attitude Era, because while that was successful, the in ring product is far superior now. Guys getting hit in the head with chairs and girls walking around in bikinis worked in the 90s, but that time has come and passed. Now more than ever, the WWE needs major characters, whether baby face or villain, that fans can relate to. No more 50/50 booking. No more safety net. The WWE roster has never been deeper or more talented, and now is the time for McMahon to let the performers, the ones who have always bailed him out in the past, do their job. Monday’s Raw was a good start, with Del Rio and Rusev forming a solid tag team and the Social Outcasts (Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel & Adam Rose) getting a win AND some microphone time. McMahon doesn’t like to admit when things are going bad, but he’s done it before and adjusted, and a serious injury to the face of the WWE might just be exactly what needed to happen to shake things up.

-Ryan

5 Stars From Last Night’s #RAW

Monday Night Raw hung around in Texas last night after Sunday’s NOC show in Houston. A few titles changed hands, including Charlotte winning her first ever Diva’s championship on the main roster. Last night’s Raw saw Cesaro lose to the Big Show (BOO), John Cena pin the WWE champ clean again (BOOOOO) & New Day tagged with Rusev (*insert heart eyes here*). Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw.

This Wyatt’s vs. Reigns, Ambrose & Everyone Else Feud

99% of the time, Raw kicks off with a promo. Out of that 99%, I’d say 98% of the time it’s either Rollins, The Authority or John Cena doing the promo-ing. So when someone else comes out, whether it be Paul Heyman & Lesnar or in this case, the Wyatt Family, it’s a breath of fresh air. Bray kicks things off with a promo about how stupid it is for Roman Reigns to keep fighting this losing battle, and that brings out Reigns, who I have to point out has been pretty awesome throughout this entire thing. Roman is the total package, and he’s a good promo when he’s allowed to just speak his mind instead of the over scripted bullshit WWE feeds to him. Also, he’s a badass. With Reigns and Ambrose holding up their end of the feud, it allows the Wyatt’s to be strong, menacing villains. The John Cena era of the WWE has basically made it impossible for a villain to last. If I gave you five seconds, name me a good villain that was created between 2005 and now. You can’t think of any, because any time a guy got some momentum, Cena squashed him. Pro wrestling 101 is you build up a villain so when the good guy triumphs, it means something. With Cena, the villain builds up, wins a match, and then Cena wins until he’s ready to move onto someone else. When you build a villain like they’re doing with Strowman and the Wyatt Family, it suspends that belief that the good guy is automatically going to win. I’m not saying the villain has to always win, but throw them a bone once in awhile. Also, a supplemental best for Strowman’s promo later in the night where he casually mentions skinning a snake alive and drinking it’s blood.

Paige

Charlotte won the Diva’s championship from Nikki Bella at NOC and as a reward got her own little championship ceremony on Raw. It was a little much, and if the WWE wants us to take this Diva’s Revolution seriously, having your top NXT Diva win a title should be business as usual. I understand it’s Charlotte’s first title on the main roster, but I’m glad Paige ruined it. Paige got her own version of a ‘pipe bomb’ and pretty much ripped apart the entire ‘Diva’s Revolution’, and it was a necessary occurrence. The WWE is obsessed with trying to go from point A to point B without doing any of the leg work. You can’t go from what the Diva’s were with the Bella’s on top to ‘NXT Women’s Division’ just by calling something a revolution. The reason the women’s division in NXT is so great is because the writers, performers and HHH are all invested in it, and they do the leg work. They create characters, put thought into the storylines and trust the performers to fill in the gaps. On Raw, yes you have Sasha and Becky and Charlotte, but you just threw them into groups of three and extended the matches by 10 minutes and hoped for the best. Nikki Bella is still going months in between title defenses and wins and losses don’t matter. This Paige promo was a step in the right direction, and I hope that there’s more storylines besides ‘everyone wants to win the Diva’s title’.

The New Day & Rusev

I don’t know who’s idea it was to pair New Day and Rusev, but that person deserves a gold fucking star. New Day & Rusev are the most entertaining parts of Raw, and seeing them interact was a thing of beauty. I loved everything about this, mostly the beginning when Big E was trying to imitate Rusev’s pre match ritual and Xavier Woods playing Rusev’s theme on the trombone while he’s kicking Dolph Ziggler’s ass. Give me Rusev and The New Day for 3 hours every week and I’m a happy man. The match was solid too, and Rusev won with a secondary move, which I love so much. WWE’s new favorite thing is to have guys kick out of finishers, and while it adds suspense to the match, it’s so dumb for the long run. As much as I loved watching Cesaro kicking out of Cena’s AA, it takes away the move’s effectiveness. Kicking out of a guys finisher should be a rare occurrence so you can maximize the effect of it. It shouldn’t happen every match. On the flip side, beating someone with a secondary move, like Rusev’s super kick, is great. It legitimizes the move and now Rusev doesn’t have to slap on the Accolade to beat you. He can also kick you as hard as he can in the face. Entertaining, smart match.

Big Show’s Promo

As foolish as it was for the Big Show to squash Cesaro (what, was Heath Slater busy?), his post match promo was really good. There’s a negative infinity chance that Big Show beats Lesnar, but you might as well give him some momentum heading into the show. Big Show did an interview a few weeks back and talked about how everyone who wrestles today is overexposed, and he couldn’t be more right. The reason a guy like Andre the Giant was so special was because he was never overexposed in a certain territory. They’d bring him in for a few shows, and then he wouldn’t be back for awhile, so when he did come back, it was special again. It’s the same thing WWE is doing with Brock Lesnar. I don’t care how great you are, if you’re on TV every week people are eventually going to get tired of you. Big Show definitely suffers from that, as he’s been a fixture on TV for almost 20 years. Even if you’re a giant, the act still gets stale. It’s nice to see Show get a chance to talk, as he’s a very underrated promo, and we should enjoy Big Show while he lasts, because after MSG, he’s going to be a shell of a man.

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (minus the finish)

Cena & Rollins work so well together, and 2015 continues to be the best in ring year of Cena’s career. You can say it’s because of guys like Cesaro, Owens, Neville and Rollins, but any really good match takes two guys working together, and that’s exactly what Cena’s done. The match was good, and I’m glad Cena’s US Champ again. Rollins holding both belts was fine from a storyline point of view, and he can always bring up how he held both, but whenever one guy holds both belts, one of them is going to suffer. Obviously the WWE championship was going to get more of the spotlight, so the longer Rollins had the US belt, the less prestigious it would have been. Now Cena can bring back his US open title challenge and drop the belt to someone who can use it to elevate themselves and the division. As much as I liked the match and that Cena is champ again, does he really need to pin the world champ clean on back to back nights? If I’m an agent or anyone else backstage in the WWE, I’m telling any guy young guy who has to work with Cena to just lose right away. Winning once only to lose four times is not the way to go.

-Ryan

Your Average WWE Night of Champions Preview & Predictions

Night of Champions is this Sunday on the WWE Network, and every title must be defended. Night of Champions is always a sneaky good pay per view, and if the WWE invested more in certain mid card title storylines, it could eventually be one of the best shows of the year. Seth Rollins is pulling double duty and defending both the WWE and US titles, Charlotte looks to win gold for the first team and the New Day is going to be there. Oh, and Cesaro doesn’t have a match :(.

Pre Show – The Cosmic Wasteland vs. Neville & The Lucha Dragons

When it comes to pure character work, there are few better than Stardust. Then you remember he’s the son of Dusty Rhodes and he’s athletic as hell, and you wonder why the hell is he on the pre show. That’s an argument for another time, but for now, I’m glad The Ascension are paired with Stardust. They are the longest reigning tag champs in NXT history, and they deserved a better shot than they got when they debuted on Raw. The announce team immediately shit on them, and then they got beat up by the league of extraordinary grandpas. Why would we take them seriously after that? A pre show match isn’t exactly main eventing WrestleMania, but it’s something, and pairing them with a veteran who takes his character seriously like Stardust can only help them. You have a couple built in feuds with this match, as Stardust and Neville have been battling since before Summerslam, and Lucha Dragons and The Ascension have been rivals since NXT. Should be a fun way to get things started.

Prediction: I’m throwing a bone to Stardust and The Ascension. Cosmic Wasteland FTW.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev

I shouldn’t hate a Dolph Ziggler/Rusev feud, but when it’s centered around who’s having sex with which blonde and has been done as poorly as this feuds been done, I’m going to hate it. Wrestling wise, this could be the match of the night, but this storyline is so terrible and dumb it’s going to be tough to enjoy. Plus, Lana is legitimately injured and won’t be at NOC, so I’m guessing Summer is going to flirt with both Rusev and Ziggler because WOMEN. The less said about this the better, but at least you know if they’re given enough time, this is going to be enjoyable from a wrestling aspect. I think Summer Rae eventually double crosses my poor sweet Rusev, but it won’t be while Lana’s on the shelf.

Prediction: Rusev. Bring back the Rusev face Bulgarian flag!

IC Title Match: Ryback (C) vs. Kevin Owens

I’m a little biased on this one, but with no real back story to this feud besides differing opinions on a self help book, I’m leaning heavily on Kevin Owens. You can’t put the entire blame on Ryback, but his IC title run has been terrible. Yes he’s feuded with Big Show and Miz and yes he’ been injured, but your IC champ should ideally be your workhorse. This isn’t a rant about how much better things were back in the day, but the IC title used to be something people got excited over. Who is going to be excited about Ryback vs. Big Show? HBK, Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, HHH, The Rock; all those guys held the IC title and set the bar for in ring work and the psychology of their feuds. I know the writing team is shitty, but if you put the belt on a character as strong as Kevin Owens, great things will happen. Give me NXT champion Kevin Owens with the IC belt and have him feud with Neville, Stardust, Rusev, Cesaro and you have an immediate mid card resurgence. The Ryback IC title experiment didn’t work. It’s time to cut your losses.

Prediction: KO

Divas Championship Match: Nikki Bella (C) vs. Charlotte

This should be the ‘Shane Douglas’ dropping the NWA title belt moment of the Diva’s division. Charlotte beats Nikki Bella, drops the Divas Championship and proclaims that this is the Women’s division. It probably won’t happen, so I’ll take Charlotte winning the belt as a substitute. There’s really no reason to have Nikki Bella win here besides ‘she’s John Cena’s girlfriend’. She’s the longest reigning Diva’s champion; she’s the star of a reality show and she can take credit for the Diva’s Revolution. It’s time to move on to Charlotte and Sasha and Becky and whoever else wants to throw their hat in the ring. Get the belt on a legitimate athlete who can dominate opponents and have everyone try and take the title away from her. Get rid of the factions and let some of these ladies sink or swim on their own. Similar to the IC title, you need a champion who can defend against all different styles of wrestlers. While it’s not her fault, Nikki Bella has rarely been defending the title, which just makes things that much worse. It’s one thing to win a bunch of title matches and be the longest reigning Diva’s champion. It’s another to go months between title matches and then brag about how you’re the best. If the Raw before NOC is the season premiere, make NOC an event where title changes happen and it feels like a new season is beginning.

Prediction: Charlotte

Tag Team Championship Match: New Day (C) vs. Dudley Boyz

Disregard everything I just said about NOC being a place where things change, because I want this version of the New Day to last forever and ever. They’ve been the best part of WWE TV for a few months now, and the only reason they should ever lose the tag belts is to win them back again so they can announce themselves as the ‘3x tag champs’ during their entrance. There’s honestly just so much to love about this group. When’s the last time you saw guys enjoy themselves THIS much? I know it’s an act and they’re playing characters, but they’re having some genuine fun out there. Big E dancing, Xavier on the trombone, and the severely underrated in ring skills of both Big E and Kofi make them so much fun to watch. The Dudleyz are great, and they’ve never been the most athletic guys in the ring, so even though they’re older, their in ring style has matured like a fine wine. The Dudleyz are on a multi year deal, so it’s a possibility they win the titles here, as they haven’t lost since coming back. While I’ll be in a deep depression if that happens, WWE knows New Day is the best thing going right now and they wouldn’t dare take them out of the title picture.

Prediction: Dudleyz. A lot of trees are going to be sad Sunday night.

Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & ? vs. The Wyatt Family

There’s two storylines going into this match. One is Braun Strowman being this unbeatable monster, and two is who will Ambrose & Reigns find to even the odds. If Seth Rollins pulls triple duty and reunites The Shield for one night I’m going to lose my mind (there’s a negative 1,000% chance of that happening, but whenever it’s a possibility you have to mention it). I hope hope hope hope hope it’s someone new, but my money is on Kane. It wouldn’t make much sense besides digging up the old storyline where Bray beat Kane and dragged him to the back in his debut match, and the WWE loves bringing back old guys instead of using the spot to elevate a young guy. It would have to be a guy who can match power with Strowman, and I can’t think of anyone in NXT who would fit that bill. Baron Corbin’s picture was thrown in a fake graphic by fans, but I don’t think this spot works for him. While I don’t want it to be Kane, I also don’t have a great pick for anyone else. If you go back and look at Wyatt’s feuds besides Kane, you have Jericho, Daniel Bryan, The Undertaker, John Cena, Ambrose and Reigns. Two of those guys are already in the match, and the other four are impossible. Jericho has the best chance, but that’s basically the same thing as bringing Kane back. Does Jericho need to add a notch in his belt by helping Reigns and Ambrose beat the monstrous Strowman? No matter who they bring back, I hope the Wyatt Family wins here. It’s ok if Strowman shows a little weakness or gets knocked down a few times, but he shouldn’t be conquered yet. If the WWE is really going to make Reigns the new Cena, he’ll probably be the guy to eventually take out Strowman, but for now, let me enjoy Bray Wyatt winning matches.

Prediction: Wyatts

US & WWE Championship Matches: John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (C) & Sting vs. Seth Rollins (C)

image

I’m lumping these two together because I already know what’s going to happen. If you don’t think Cena is beating Rollins and Rollins is beating Sting so Cena can challenge and win both belts from Rollins I don’t know what to tell ya. You obviously haven’t been paying attention the last decade. Rule #1 about facing John Cena is that if you lose, it’s over, but if you win, you’re only setting yourself up for a loss down the road. Rollins won at Summerslam AND took the US belt off Cena, so Cena is going to get his revenge in grand fashion. He’s going to beat Rollins Sunday night. It will probably be clean, hell he might even make him tap out. Then Rollins will beat Sting in the main event, and the next night on Raw Cena will cut a promo about how he beat the WWE Champion and deserves to fight him again, this time with belts on the line (again). Rollins will come out and say no, but The Authority, who let me remind you, are on Seth Rollins’ side, will grant the match anyway. My only hope is that the match is at Hell in a Cell or any other smaller pay per view so when Rollins loses it’s not that bad. I could be completely wrong, or just like every other time, John Cena will come out on top and I’ll cry myself to sleep.

Prediction: Rollins loses to THE CHAMP and beats Sting.

-Ryan

 

5 Stars From Last Nights #RAW

Raw was live last night from Tampa, Florida, and compared to the last four or five shows, this wasn’t WWE’s best effort. It’s hard to put on an entertaining shows every week, but when you retread all the matches or feuds from your last pay per view two weeks ago, you shouldn’t be surprised when people think it’s crap. Seth Rollins is pulling double duty at Night of Champions, Nikki Bella has a new #1 contender for her Diva’s title and Xavier Woods has a beautiful head of hair. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last nights Raw!

1. Sting

Sting opened Raw with a promo, and it worked for one main reason: he got right to the point. He doesn’t necessarily have a beef with Seth Rollins, but he wants the WWE title, the one major championship that not only has eluded him, but that he’s never gotten the chance to fight for. Sting isn’t some guy looking for his 20th title shot before he retires; he’s looking to add another notch to his belt, and if he’s going to finally debut in the WWE, why not get a title shot too? The Authority continue to make no sense, as not only do they grant Sting a title shot at Night of Champions, but they also grant John Cena a rematch for his US title as well. Cena’s argument is that ‘all the titles must be on the line at NOC’ but they’re THE AUTHORITY. They make all the rules. Stephanie McMahon could have easily just said ‘actually John, no. You’re not getting a shot’, but instead, Seth Rollins has to pull double duty. Logically it makes zero sense, but I’m assuming Cena wins and Rollins beats Sting so Cena can prove he’s better than the WWE Champion and Sting in one night.

2. Kevin Owens & Cesaro

These two had a great match at Summerslam, and they continued to show their in ring chemistry last night as well. My only problem with the match was what the point of it? It was a great back and forth match with a logical ending, but what was the point? Did Cesaro really have to lose to Owens again? I’m all for pushing Kevin Owens to the moon, but it wouldn’t hurt to build up multiple guys at the same time. Summerslam happened and Cesaro lost, so that’s done, but don’t throw him out there again and again just to lose. Pretty soon we’ll be back at square one again with Cesaro, and all that momentum he had after the Cena matches will be gone. You don’t want every match to end in a distraction or count out or DQ, but throw my man Cesaro a bone once in awhile. As for Owens, he’s looked great on the main roster lately, and he’s getting decisive wins without looking like a cool bad guy. He’s an opportunist with a mean streak, and as long as he stays 1,000 miles away from John Cena I’m ok with it.

3. Braun Strowman

Speaking of guys getting solid pushes, Braun Strowman had his debut match against Dean Ambrose, and while he doesn’t get a clean win, he comes off looking like a superhuman powerhouse. My eternal hope is that Wyatt uses Strowman to strong arm his way to a title match (any title. I’m not picky) but for now it’s not a bad idea to show just how monstrous Strowman is. I wouldn’t mind a little variety here, as you don’t want him to beat up Ambrose and Reigns every week, but this segment accomplished what it set out to, which is to showcase Braun. He’s a little shaky in the ring and he overdid it a little bit with the monster voice, but when you’re his size and you have Wyatt and Harper by your side, you’re pretty protected. The WWE doesn’t need Strowman to have 25 minute classics, they need him to be the monster that he is. It’s an old school kind of build, especially the no sell of the chair shot, but I love it. There’s an absence of supernatural in today’s WWE, so here’s hoping the Wyatt Family gets to run with this for awhile.

4. New Day

First off:

That hair deserves its own bronze statue. It’s no trombone version of ‘New York, New York’, but it’s still beautiful, and my favorite part of the New Day grouping is that they switch things up every time out. Sometimes they skip and clap, sometimes they sing cover version of songs with a trombone, and now they’re trying to preserve tables in bubble wrap. They are the E in WWE because they’re entertaining as hell, and they’re also great in the ring. You can argue that the Dudleyz getting a non title win is kind of silly, but it does set up an interesting triple threat possibility at Night of Champions. The PTP still have a rematch coming their way, and the Dudleyz have done nothing but win since their re-debut. I wouldn’t hate an old school TLC match at Night of Champions, but I’ll settle for any variation of a triple threat at this point. As long as Big E gets to dance I’m in.

5. Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins, from a character and wrestling standpoint, is holding the WWE together right now. Whenever he wrestles, he has without a doubt the best match on the card, and his promos lately have been getting much better. He still takes too long to prove his point, but I have a feeling that’s half Rollins and half WWE telling him he has 20 minutes for a promo. The Rock couldn’t make a 20 minute promo good, never mind Seth Rollins. I’m also starting to root for him in this whole Authority storyline. They continue to tell him to prove himself, and while he doesn’t win every match clean, he’s still the champion, which is really all that matters. Yet The Authority continues to put him in situations like Battleground, where he had to fight Lesnar, and now Night of Champions, where he has to wrestle twice and defend both titles. The guy is getting the short end of the stick, and I’m assuming all this HHH talk is leading to a HHH/Rollins match down the line, which is fine, because if there’s one guy HHH is putting over 100%, it’s Rollins. Seth is at the top of his game right now, and the only guy he should lose the WWE championship to is Lesnar, which I’m going to assume is what’s happening at Hell in a Cell. Have Rollins lose the strap, redeem himself against HHH and then embark on his own so we see what he can do.

-Ryan

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