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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.

-Ryan

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5 Stars From Monday’s #RAW

The road to Battleground is in full swing, and Monday’s Raw from Indiana setup a few matches that we’ll see on the card. We already knew about Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but now a IC and US title match will also be on the show. John Cena spoke French, Summer Rae may be aligning with Rusev and Zack Ryder lost again. Let’s get to the five stars from last night’s Raw!

1. Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar started and ended Raw, and that is always a good thing. Most Raw’s start off with long winded promo’s, but when it’s Paul Heyman talking, you know you’re in for a solid 15 minutes. Heyman, as he always does, hyped up the Battleground match while making Brock Lesnar seem like the baddest dude in the world. You may think that’s an easy task, especially with a guy like Brock Lesnar standing there looking like a hungry monster, but Heyman does it so eloquently it’s a joy to watch. Lesnar/Rollins has a chance to be the best pay per view main event this year if it’s done correctly, and we got a little taste of it at the end of Raw. Lesnar suplexed Rollins three times, and if Rollins isn’t the best seller of a German suplex than I would like to know who is. He bounces off the mat and flips over at the same time, making a German suplex look like legitimately the most ferocious move in the world. I’m kind of torn on the end of  Raw, where Mercury, Kane and Rollins beat up Lesnar (Noble would have joined them if Lesnar hadn’t speared him into the barricade, legitimately breaking three of his ribs). It doesn’t necessarily hurt to make Lesnar look human, and if you want the fans to believe in a competitive match at Battleground, you have to do this. If Lesnar just kills everyone leading up to Battleground but then has a back and forth type of match with Rollins, it wouldn’t’ make sense. But if Lesnar can be taken out when the numbers aren’t in his favor, or he has a bum leg going into the match, it makes it that much more interesting. The flip side to this is that we’re talking about Brock Lesnar. He’s the most believable wrestler in WWE history. He has no gimmick, he just walks out with that intense stare and then brutalizes whoever happens to be in front of him. We still have 3 Raw’s before Battleground, so I’ll wait and see what they do with Lesnar before casting too much judgment.

2. Prime Time Players

Hey, look how easy it is to build up a tag team! The Prime Time Players (surprisingly) won the Tag Team belts at MITB, and are now on a little bit of a roll. The New Day are still great, as shown by their backstage food sharing during the PTP’s match and their ringside hijinks during Kofi/Neville. But the PTP have taken the place of Cesaro/Kidd (sadness) and when they’re given some time in the ring put on a solid match.  Besides Kane being a prominent figure on every Raw and pay per view, my biggest complaint with the WWE is making their champions look weak in non title matches. If you’re building to a tag team title match, there are two things you shouldn’t do: 1. have the two teams wrestle BEFORE the tag title match. No matter who wins, it doesn’t make sense. Why would we want to see the same match again? 2. Make sure the champions look good heading into the title match. If the PTP are fighting New Day for the titles and they lose to the Ascension, why would I want to watch them fight New Day? The champions mean you are the best in that division, and should be booked that way unless someone else usurps you as the best. I love the PTP build, and both Darren and Titus look great in the ring. The entertainment was always there, and it looks like their wrestling skill is following suit.

3. Roman Reigns

Another Raw, another really solid Roman Reigns singles match. He’s dropped the long, fairy tale promos and stuck to punching people in the mouth and flying through the air like a god damn gazelle. He’s like a lesser Brock Lesnar: when you see someone like Roman Reigns walk out, you don’t want to see him talk, you want to see him beat the crap out of someone. As luck would have it, it just so happens that Roman is great at beating the crap out of people, and he and Sheamus really laid into each other in this match. That apron dropkick followed up by the leaping clothesline on the table was awesome, and I was hoping for a clean finish, but we can’t always get what we want. I love Wyatt, and I love that he’s this creepy wall writer, but I do wish they saved this for after the match. WWE ends too many matches with distraction finishes, or guys who just leave the ring and run to the back to confront the guy on the big screen. Save this for after the match so at least we have a winner who has some in ring momentum. As far as Wyatt goes, his biggest problem is that he has no one to play off of. Dean Ambrose, John Cena, Roman Reigns; these are all people, not characters. If you want him to be the new Undertaker, create some new Kane and Mankind’s that he can play off of.

4. Ryback

This was as good as a Ryback/Mark Henry match is going to be, but once again, the champion won and looks great heading into a title match, so no complaints from me. I also love that Ryback took out Big show backstage AFTER Show initiated the confrontation. Ryback was the good guy giving an interview after a win and Big Show was the bad guy being an asshole and trying to start something. Wrestling is fun when the characters know and accept their roles, and Ryback should be able to toss around Big Show. He’s got arms the size of small cars. Now let’s get Miz back in here and have ourselves a nice little triple threat feud.

5. Seth Rollins

This goes with my Lesnar blurb above, but Rollins getting the best of the beast and possibly injuring him can only accentuate their title match at Background. As much as I loved seeing Lesnar murder Cena at last year’s Summerslam, Rollins is too good and too athletic for that to happen. That’s not saying Lesnar couldn’t do it, but I’d rather see a match where both guys get in their shots. If Lesnar is at 100%, that just can’t happen. If Rollins comes out on Monday and brags about how he hurt Lesnar and does general asshole-ish things, how bad are you going to be rooting for Lesnar to rip him apart? I already want Lesnar to get revenge for WM 31, but Rollins can really get under your skin, so I expect him to be at his weasel-ish beast in the coming weeks. When Lesnar finally gets his hands on him, it will all be worth it.

– Ryan

Paul Heyman Interrupted Roman Reigns On ESPN’s SportsNation Last Night & I Wish Every Week Was WrestleMania Week

First Brock Lesnar announces he’s staying with the WWE on Sportscenter and then Roman Reigns goes on SportsNation to punch a speed bag with Lesnar’s head on it only to be interrupted by Paul Heyman. Is it possible for every week to be WrestleMania week? Because this is wonderful. The handsome prince Roman Reigns was looking extra handsome and Paul Heyman was looking extra dapper, and I’m just pretty sure Michelle Beadle had the best day of her life.

– Ryan

5 Stars From Last Night’s #RAW & The Unnecessary Hole The WWE Has Dug Themselves For The Main Event of WrestleMania

The final Raw before WrestleMania aired last night from Los Angeles, and for the most part was a pretty solid show. Every WrestleMania match has been made, so Raw served as a platform to tie up any loose ends and get the final fight/promo out of the way before WWE’s biggest show of the year. Just like last week, all hands were on deck, including Sting and Brock Lesnar, and one of them was utilized correctly while the other one still has me puzzled. I’m going to make this a joint article with the regular five star setup followed by what happened to close Raw.

1. This IS Sting

Sting opened up Monday Night Raw last night and it was a breath of fresh air. I can’t remember the last time someone other than a member of The Authority started Raw, so not only was Sting a sight for sore eyes, but he had a lot of energy and finally explained why he was in the WWE. Stephanie McMahon is so evil and played her role pitch perfectly, including the damsel in distress after her slap backfired. It’s clear by it’s use both as Fast Lane and last night’s Raw that the sledgehammer and the baseball bat will come into play for Sting and HHH’s match at Mania, but how that will happen is anyone’s guess at this point. Not only is Sting in great shape, but he really seems to be enjoying himself. He’s at the stage in his career where he’s going to get a huge pop no matter what arena he walks into, and I fully expect Levi’s Stadium in San Fran to blow the imaginary roof off the stadium on Sunday. If he can, I’d love for Sting to stick around for one more year and finish his career off in Dallas for next year’s Mania, but for now I’m going to enjoy him Stinger Splashing HHH on Sunday.

2. Have Yourselves A Match Nikki & Paige

Raise your hand if heading into Raw you thought Nikki Bella and Paige would have the match of the night. Raise your hand if halfway through Raw you thought Nikki Bella and Paige would have the match of the night on the same show that included Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler. I’m assuming no one has their hands raised. This isn’t a knock on Nikki or Paige or any of the Divas, but the WWE hasn’t exactly inspired us with confidence when it comes to the Divas division. Nikki and Paige were given enough time to tell a story and have a solid match, and look what happened: they told a story and had a solid match! I’m hoping this will lead to a Fatal Four Way or Triple Threat match for the Diva’s title at Mania, because not having the championship defended at your biggest show isn’t right. If the match stays as is, they should have enough time to at least have a good match (it is a 4 hour show), and I expect Paige and AJ to feud shortly after Mania.

3. RUSEV

Besides the Diva’s match, my other personal highlight was Rusev killing Jack Swagger and John Cena. Props to Michael Cole for pointing out that Lana is usually the one who stops Rusev from going too far post match, but since she’s not here, he’s basically a monster without a leash. I fully expected Cena to come down to the ring and toss Rusev around and leave him running up the ramp, but NOPE. Rusev just forearmed him in the face, threw him into the barricade and camel clutched him until he passed out. My only complaint was that he didn’t drape the Russian flag over Cena’s lifeless body afterwards. The pessimist in wrestling fans came out last night when people started tweeting that now Cena is definitely going to win at Mania. How about we enjoy the show guys? Maybe Cena wins, maybe he doesn’t. The key to Rusev will be how he responds to his match at Mania, and while a loss will definitely hurt him, if he comes back strong he’ll be fine in the long run. I really hope he is fine in the long run, because he is far and away my favorite character on the show right now.

4. Bray Wyatt

Welp, there’s a new face of fear. This was SO GOOD. SO GOOD CAPTIAL LETTERS EXCLAMATION POINT. When the thunder and lightning effects kicked in I thought we’d get another Undertaker voice over, but it looks like Wyatt has literally usurped The Undertaker as the WWE’s resident poltergeist. He now has The Undertaker’s powers, and as good as Heyman has been hyping up Lesnar/Reigns, Wyatt has been even better. Heyman at least has someone beside him in Lesnar and someone to play off of in Reigns. Bray Wyatt has stood in the middle of that ring and single handedly sold us on a WrestleMania match with The Undertaker. The most mythical and holy match in the history of wrestling, and Wyatt’s done it on his own. If you still doubt Wyatt after that promo, you’re an idiot and don’t under pro wrestling.

5. Paul Heyman

Heyman started off his promo saying there’s nothing more he can say to sell us on the WrestleMania main event, then he went ahead and did it anyway. Without Heyman, this main event build would have been terrible, but I’m assuming the WWE knows that, and wouldn’t have set this match up without Heyman in the picture to begin with. He is wrestling’s best hype man, and his client is wrestling’s greatest beast. I don’t think Lesnar is going to lose at Mania, and I don’t think he should lose at Mania, which brings me to my next point…

What the hell was that ending? The WWE has done a great job lately in rallying the fans together to have the same opinion on a segment or a match, and that is the farthest thing from a compliment. At the Royal Rumble, the WWE booked the Rumble match so foolishly they screwed up their own coronation ceremony of Roman Reigns. I have no beef with Reigns winning the Rumble, or him main-eventing Mania, but what did you expect the crowd to do when Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt were all dumped out of the ring by KANE AND THE BIG SHOW? You had the show in Philly! One of the smarkiest crowds in wrestling, and you end a show like that. The fans lashed out, rightfully so, and now the WWE was forced to promote the main event on their biggest show of the year from deep within a hole they dug themselves. They trotted Roman Reigns out to the middle of a ring with a microphone, his main weakness, and sat there baffled when people shit all over it. Paul Heyman became their saving grace, but come bell time Sunday night, Paul Heyman won’t be in that ring. It will be up to Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to put on a match that is worthy of the main event spot of a WrestleMania. The preview we got for that match last night was mind blowingly bad. You have the most dominant champion of this century and his equally as alpha male opponent tussle over the belt? I understand you don’t want a large scale brawl, but they needed to do something more than that. Unless WrestleMania opens up with Lesnar and Reigns still in the middle of the ring in LA fighting over the belt, I’m not satisfied, and once again, neither is the entire WWE Universe. The excuse of “it’s three hours of TV and it’s hard to get everything right” does not apply here. This what the WWE does: they put on shows that the audience pays for and we expect to be entertained. Maybe our favorite guy isn’t in the main event, maybe their best wrestlers don’t get enough ring time, but the audience puts blind faith in Vince, HHH and the writers and we are continually disappointed. I’m going to watch and enjoy WrestleMania and I expect most of the card to be great, but it won’t be because of anything that happened in the final minutes of last night’s Raw. The WWE will once again operating out of a hole they dug themselves in, and depending how Mania ends on Sunday, they might not be able to dig themselves out.

– Ryan

5 Stars From Last Night’s #RAW – The Divas, Paul Heyman & The Vigilantes

WrestleMania 31 is now less than two weeks away, and everyone was on hand for last night’s Raw ahead of WWE’s biggest event. WrestleMania is far and away the hardest event for the WWE to promote, as not only is it a four hour show, but there are more superstars performing at WrestleMania than any other pay per view. Including HHH and Sting, Fast Lane had 22 superstars and Divas on the show. There are 17 superstars alone in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania, with more sure to be announced closer to the show. The WWE tries to get everyone they can on the show, which leads to a lot of short segments on the Raw’s and Smackdown’s leading up to the pay per view, which takes away from the build to some of the matches. Last night’s Raw had some peaks and some valleys, but ended on a high note that should have fans not only excited for next week, but also WrestleMania 31.

1. The Divas Division, Finally

Do you see what happens when the Divas are given a little time to work? This wasn’t a five star match, but it was solid, and most importantly, it furthered the storyline heading into Mania. The Bella Twins almost play two roles here: they are what Vince wants as a Diva, with super model looks and a culture crossing appeal, but to the hardcore fans, they are the anti Divas. Post Attitude Era fans are wrestling centric, and that goes for both the guys and the girls. Divas like Paige and AJ Lee resonate as ‘baby faces’ because they’re portrayed as focusing on wrestling first and everything else second. The Bella Twins, while they’ve improved in the ring, are the stars of Total Divas and the faces of the Divas division, but are still seen as models trying their hand at wrestling. The Bella’s vs. Paige and AJ is a perfect mix of styles and should be a fun match at Mania, and I’m glad they’re getting some time to not only tell a story but show that they can hang in the ring.

2. John Cena, Minus The ‘Balls’ Joke & Rusev, Of Course

Here’s my main beef with John Cena: he is not authentic. For all his Make-A-Wish sightings and t-shirt sales, he is the most inauthentic person on the WWE roster. He stands for hustle, loyalty and respect and wants kids to emulate him yet on back to back to Raw’s he has choked out a guy who didn’t give him what he wanted and then told that same guy that his manager/maybe girlfriend is the one who has the balls in their relationship. John Cena is supposed to be TV PG, and more than that, he’s supposed to the face of WWE’s TV PG movement. He is not The Rock, he is not Stone Cold, he is not HBK and he is not HHH. He is supposed to be a clean cut, Hulk Hogan esque superhero, yet when it benefits him, he can pull shit like he did on Rusev for the past two weeks. Do you ever remember Hulk Hogan asking someone if their girlfriend was the one with the balls in their relationship? No you do not, because that wasn’t what his character was all about. It was about being a role model to kids, taking your vitamins and saying your prayers. It’s supposed to be everything to the kids and lame to the adults, but Cena insists on trying to pander to both. His promo on Raw was great, fiery stuff, and as much as the USA vs. Russia angle is kind of burned out, at least Cena is showing some passion. Then Rusev got in the ring and Cena turned on the charm, asked him if his balls were with his girlfriend and all was lost. I still liked it because Rusev is great, and his written statement was so wonderful. I’ve mentioned it before, but speaking in broken English gives you leeway in your promos, and Rusev knows that, and executes it perfectly. What he’s saying doesn’t really have to make sense. What matters is that his message gets across, and that message is Russia>USA. When John Cena wins at Mania I’m going to cry for a thousand years.

3. Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman & Roman Reigns

This is more Paul Heyman and Lesnar than Reigns, but Reigns kept his promo short and sweet, and I’m glad he’s added something to the ‘Believe That’ line. ‘I can and I will’ is still kind of lame, but it’s progress, and his promos should be kept under two minutes at a maximum. Paul Heyman, on the other hand, should be given free REIGN over the show. He and Bray Wyatt are single handedly selling WrestleMania matches, and Heyman is at the absolute top of his game, which is saying something. He is simultaneously building up Reigns as a worthy competitor and Brock as an unbeatable champion. That may sound easy, but it’s something few other managers or superstars have mastered. I also love how Brock and Heyman have brought Lesnar’s real life contract dispute into the fray, because ignoring it would be silly in the internet age. We all know Lesnar walked out of Raw a few weeks ago, and we all know he’s undecided on his future. The WWE is the only company in the world that can use real life backstage details to enhance storylines, and I’m glad they’re doing that here. Also, Brock getting bleeped out because he threatened to ‘fuck up Roman Reigns’ was wonderful stuff.

4. Holy Hell, That IC Title Tag Match

If you’re taking bets at home, my money is on the IC Title ladder match to steal the show at Mania. I know that’s like saying Elizabeth Banks is pretty, but sometimes you need to get the obvious out of the way. It was clear from the beginning of this angle that this match would be the one that everyone would be talking about, and I’m glad the guys involved in last night’s tag match showed so much emotion and passion. The IC Title used to mean something, and it was a major building block on the road to the major championships. That prestige has been lost in recent years, but now you have six guys who are scratching and clawing their way back to the main event scene, and a major WrestleMania moment awaits them. The WWE needs to keep this momentum going after Mania if they want the IC title to be relevant again, but at the very least, they have right superstars in place to make that happen. Last night’s match was great, and if there’s one thing the WWE does well, it’s put on fantastic 6 man tag matches. It started a few years ago with The Shield and continued no matter what combination of guys are in the match. I liked the tease of fan favorites Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler, as well as the in sync outfits of Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose. This match will steal the show, and I have no clue who’s going to win at Mania. What I do know is that it won’t be R-Truth.

5. Randy Orton & Sting – The Vigilantes

When Seth Rollins unveiled his genius plan, you knew Sting was coming out, but that’s the best thing about Sting in 2015: you can see him coming from a mile away, but it’s still awesome. When the lights went out and the crow squawk echoed throughout the arena, the place ERUPTED for Sting. Also, how great does Sting look? He looks in better shape than most of his TNA run, and I’m glad the WWE is progressively upping his physicality. He got to whip a couple people with a bat last night, as well as deliver a double Stinger Splash and a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting/HHH isn’t going to wow anybody technically, but the storytelling and psychology of that match will be excellent. Another smart move by the WWE is lumping in Rollins/Orton with HHH/Sting as well as not having Rollins and Orton get any more physical than they did last week. You don’t want to show your hand before a big time Mania match, and although the brawl last week was a little much, I’m glad they scaled it back this week and let the rest of The Authority take the beat down. If Sting decides to stick around after WrestleMania, he and Randy Orton need to team up as The Vigilantes. I will not rest until that happens.

– Ryan

 

 

5 Stars From Last Night’s #RAW

What a difference a week makes. While Raw was again short on the wrestling, the majority of the promos were excellent, and the matches we did get, especially Harper/Bryan and Reigns/Rollins, were very good. Jon Stewart showed up to confront Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt lit a casket on fire and AJ Lee returned to help out the enemies of her enemy. Just another Monday night in the WWE Universe. Now, let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw.

1. The Intercontinental Championship

The best thing about titles in wrestling is that they can justify any storyline. The IC belt hasn’t been relevant in quite awhile, but it’s still the second most important title in the WWE, so six different guys going to extreme lengths to obtain it makes sense. The championship is scheduled to be defended at WrestleMania in a ladder match, but the only two participants that have been announced are actual champion Bad News Barrett and R-Truth. As much as I’d LOVE to see a one on one match for the IC title between Barrett and Truth at Mania, it seems as if the WWE has other plans. Last night, we had two matches that centered around the belt: Dean Ambrose vs. Barrett and Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper. During both matches there were outside shenanigans with various people sneaking in and stealing the belt, but in the ring, both matches were pretty good. While Barrett has taken a slide in the wrong direction since winning the belt, he and Ambrose can still put on a good match, and Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper is incapable of being bad. Ziggler sneaking in at the end to super kick Harper and take the belt was just the icing on the cake, and it looks like a MITB style ladder match is going to determine the new IC champ at Mania. If the WWE is trying to solidify the secondary titles heading into Mania, then they’re doing a great job. With Cena most likely challenging for the US title and a bunch of stars headlined by Daniel Bryan going for the IC gold, the WWE could have some seriously interesting mid card feuds post Mania.

2. Stephanie McMahon & #Axelmania

This was all one segment, so I’m lumping them together. Cena came out and cut the same old promo (more on that in a second) and entered himself into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but was thankfully interrupted by Stephanie McMahon, who absolutely annihilated him. If this was any other wrestler I’d feel bad, but it’s Cena, and he deserves to be put in his place from time to time. Stephanie told Cena he can’t just enter himself into a WrestleMania match, and that maybe WrestleMania would be better off without John Cena this year (this is when the world’s biggest YES chant should have erupted). After Steph runs down Cena for not getting the job done against Rusev, Curtis Axel comes out, and I’m all in on Axelmania. It’s probably not going anywhere, but it should. What’s the difference between what Curtis Axel is doing and what Damien Sandow is doing? They’re both talented guys who were given throw away gimmicks who are making it work, and the crowd is taking notice. I know he got fed to the Cena monster last night, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the crowd is eating this Axelmania thing up. The best part is that Axel is consistently changing things up. When he first came out after the Rumble, he started the hash tag Axelmania. The next time, he had a hash tag Axelmania shirt. Now he comes out with a clock on the Titantron of how long he’s been in the Royal Rumble, and announces himself as the longest entrant in Rumble history. That’s great, and it’s a simple change that not enough wrestlers do. You want to know why people really hate John Cena? Because when his music hits and he’s going to the ring, whether it’s for a promo or a match, you know what you’re going to get. He never changes things up, or adds a new dimension to his character. If it’s a match, you know he’s going to do his five moves of doom, maybe throw a dropkick or a bad Frankesteiner, and that’s that. If he’s cutting a promo, he starts it off by saying the crowd is LIVE tonight, then depending on his mood or current feud, he’ll either make fun of his opponent or put on his super serious face and say this is the most important fight of his life. When Curtis Axel is more organic and over than your top guy, I think it’s time to switch some things up.

3. Paul Heyman

Paul Heyman makes every show he’s on better. Paul Heyman when he’s ON makes a good show great, and a great show must see. Last night, without his Beast, Heyman cut one of his best promos in years. He quickly addressed the elephant in the room of Lesnar walking out of Raw last Monday and then appearing at UFC the following Saturday by simply telling everyone that Brock Lesnar will do whatever the hell he wants. Then he turned his attention to Roman Reigns, and it was a different message then the one a week ago where he basically gave Reigns a verbal blow job. This time, Heyman sent out a warning to Reigns: if he shows up to fight Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, one of two things will happen: Brock will systematically dissect Reigns and beat him or Brock will ‘Ronda Rousey’ his ass and beat him quickly. I’m glad that when Reigns’ music hit, Heyman left the ring and we didn’t have a one on showdown between the two, because last night Paul Heyman had the ability to clip Reigns’ wings with just a few words. As great as Heyman is, the lack of good managers in the WWE is being exposed with this feud. If Reigns had a mouth piece to counter Heyman, and Roman could just beat the crap out of people in the ring, this feud would be significantly better. He’s probably not the answer, but Jon Stewart did cut a hell of a promo on Seth Rollins last night. I’ve seen crazier things happen in the WWE.

4. Bray Wyatt

Speaking of doing something different every time you’re out there, how great has Bray Wyatt been? Ever since the beginning of his Ambrose feud, Wyatt has been money both in the ring and on the microphone, and he’s single handedly carried a WrestleMania feud with The Undertaker. Has anyone ever done that? Taker hasn’t been on TV consistently for the last couple years, but he’s always shown up on Raw before Mania to address his challenger. This year, the burden has been put squarely on the shoulders of Bray Wyatt, and he’s more than delivered. I’m glad he’s getting some freedom to do different things, because his promo at Fast Lane and his promo last night were great both verbally and visually. I’ve heard and read a lot of talk about what the outcome of Wyatt and Taker’s match at Mania will be, but I think we need to appreciate the journey Wyatt is taking in this case, and watch a future main eventer spring to life right before our eyes.

5. AJ Lee

I’m hoping this ends up being a Fatal Four Way match for the Diva’s Title, but even if it ends up being a tag match, I’m glad AJ Lee is back for the WrestleMania build. She’s cuts the best promo of any Diva, and she has a different in ring style that I believe is heightened when you haven’t seen it in a while. One of the toughest things for a WWE superstar or Diva to accomplish is to avoid becoming stale. Unlike every other professional sport, the WWE has no offseason, and unless you’re injured or filming a movie, you’re going to be on every show. Everyone is forced to keep reinventing themselves, but even if they’re successful at that, certain stars can get complacent (see Cena, John). The best thing that could’ve happened to AJ was her time off, because now not only is she coming back recharged, but she’s in a main event Divas storyline with a worldwide hash tag that she can get on the microphone and promote. Nobody wants the Divas to get a chance to shine more than AJ Lee, and I’m glad she’s back.

– Ryan

The End of an Era, The End of The Streak

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Year in and year out the WWE goes through changes, but one thing has stayed constant for over 2 decades, the streak. Last night the most impressive streak in sports entertainment history came to an end. Undertakers perfect Wrestlemania run was ended by the hands of Brock Lesnar and his devastating F-5. To say the entire Super Dome was in shock is an understatement. This is one of those matches you watch knowing two things: 1. It’s going to be awesome and 2. Undertaker is going to walk out the winner. Maybe it was that fact that we didn’t want it to end or maybe it was the fact that we knew deep down that it had to eventually end, either way, this was something the WWE universe was not ready for. How do you say goodbye to someone who changed the face of the WWE for good. I was brought up on Undertaker, so to see him laying their defeated in the ring was a true hit of reality. The only person who knew when this day would come was Undertaker. He calls the shots and when he says it’s over, it’s over. The Deadman knew another year of rehab and training couldn’t be accomplished, at least not for a match he could be proud of. HBK was the logical choice to snap Undertaker’s streak, but Taker’ just wasn’t ready at that point. Just bad timing

With Undertaker probably calling it a career I can safely say that he is the greatest of all time. He has nothing left to accomplish and nothing left to prove. Isn’t that what a successful career should feel like? Shouldn’t a successful career look exactly like the picture above?  While clearly in pain from the brawl he just had with Lesnar he also looks at peace. At peace with his wrestling career and at peace with himself. His life’s work was to entertain us in which he successfully accomplished time and time again. Here’s to you, Undertaker, may your legacy Rest In Peace.

-Matt

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