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WWE RAW Review (7/17/17): Kurt Angle’s Secret

Photo: WWE

Welcome back to the best late Tuesday morning Raw review in all of the internet. If you’d like to check out last week’s review, you find it here.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

Sierra Hotel India Echo Lima Delta

IF (and this is a big, capitalized if) The Miz & Dean Ambrose are going to continue to feud and we’re going to forget that any other male mid card wrestler exists, then at least we have the Miz-tourage and Seth Rollins to make things more interesting. I’d still rather see The Miz move on to someone who the crowds actually care about (cough Finn Balor cough) but the Miz-tourage is legitimately entertaining and I’m never going to complain about seeing any type of Shield reunion. This was also a nice bit of character work from Seth Rollins, and while it’s about 3 years too late, it was a big step for him to apologize face to face to Ambrose, and offer him a free chair shot.

Ambrose refusing to hit him brought back all those fleeting Shield memories too, and it’s nice to see good guys in the WWE actually be good guys once in awhile. Now if Rollins and Ambrose could just have a talk with their former partner Reigns and stop him from trying to vehicular manslaughter wrestlers we’d be in good shape. Corey Graves was also great here, pointing out that Ambrose announced earlier in the day that he’d be opening the show, so why wouldn’t The Miz create a steel chair themed plan to take him out? The Miz-tourage stands tall to end the segment, which sets up a 3 on 2 handicap match for next week. How big of an FU would it be for the WWE to put The Shield back together only to have them fight the Miz-tourage on a random RAW in July?

Heyy We Don’t Want Any Bayleyy

If you want to know how important this match was, head on over to the official WWE website and try to find a write up of it in the results section of last nights show. HINT: it’s not there. It’s becoming borderline sad to watch main roster Bayley. She’s lost her way from a character standpoint, and rarely gets a chance to wrestle longer than a few minutes, so we’re not seeing any in ring progression either. Her feud with Alexa Bliss was not only one sided, it was awful. Instead of starting over and having her work her way back into the title scene, she pins Alexa Bliss two weeks in a row and now is in a number one contender’s match next week. It’s very poor storytelling, and strips away any consequences of being a shitty character and losing title matches. Can we not throw Emma or Mickie James in there for a month? I understand holding off on the Nia/Alexa feud, but forcing Bayley into the title mix again is a bad move.

Cruiserweights Part 1

There’s not much to say about these two minute Cruiserweight matches. Mustafa Ali is literally inside of the ring for three seconds during this match, and while his inverted 450 splash is a thing of beauty, all I can think of is how underutilized all these Cruiserweights are. Ali should use Jack Gallagher as a human white flag and signal for help.

Enzo & The Giants

When I was thinking of a title for this segment, the first thing I thought of was Enzo & The Giants, and know all I want is for Enzo, Cass & Big Show to start an Alt Rock band and tour the country. I really enjoyed the Enzo/Cass storyline heading into GBOF, and I thought the actual match played out exactly as it should have, but it’s clear WWE has no idea what to do now. All the sympathy Enzo built up was eroded last night, as he lured Big Cass out only to have Big Show fight the battle for him. Isn’t that exactly what Cass was complaining about? That Enzo ran his mouth and couldn’t finish the job? I can buy Enzo as this scrappy underdog who yaps a little to much but doesn’t know any better than to fight until he collapses. That’s a character I can get behind. But why would I root for a guy who needs other people to fight his battles? I understand Cass is 7 feet tall and Enzo’s not, but this segment moved the story backwards for me.

The Demon Drifter

This is another story where WWE hit a brick wall and doesn’t know how to move forward. I’m not going to complain about a Finn Balor/Elias Samson match, because these two have shown great chemistry and have consistently the best in ring wrestling part of the show, but Finn beat Samson clean last week. Why are they fighting again? So Samson can smash Finn in the head with a guitar and set up a No DQ match for next week? WWE loves to get in these holding patterns during the build up to big pay per views, and that’s exactly what’s’ happening here. After GBOF, Enzo and Cass should’ve moved on, Ambrose & Miz should’ve moved on and after last week, Balor and Samson should’ve moved on. Instead, they’re all still feuding, and will most likely continue feuding in some form or another until Summerslam, which is still four RAW’s away. As a side note – hey Elias, please take care of sweet baby Finn better than this:

Bray Wyatt showed up on the big screen to say spooky things to Finn Balor after the guitar attack, and it’s literally more interesting staring at a gash on Finn Balor’s head than it is to listen to Bray Wyatt give another dark room promo.

Cruiserweights Part 2

If you enjoyed the two minute Cruiserweight match earlier in the night, then you probably loved Titus O’Neil stopping the match between Tozawa and Daivari because Daivari was performing wrestling moves on Tozawa’s shoulder. I’m assuming Tozawa is still the #1 contender for Neville’s title since WWE loves doing pointless rematches, so if they fight for the title again and Neville hurts Tozawa’s shoulder, is Titus going to stop that match too? I’m definitely putting more thought into this than WWE creative put into the actual segment, which is not something I should be saying about WWE TV.

Kurt Angle’s Secret

So. Kurt Angle & Corey Graves have been involved in whispery text message secret conversation for months, and it all centered around something that had the potential to destroy Kurt’s personal and professional life. If you’ve ever watched pro wrestling in the past, your wrestling senses should have gone in one of two directions: Kurt has a mistress or Kurt has a secret kid. I honestly thought they were going to go the mistress route, and it would turn out to be either Stephanie McMahon or Dixie Carter. I’m glad they didn’t do that, and I also didn’t hate this segment as much as a lot of people on the internet did.

Any long running mysterious storyline is always going to fall a little flat, because people are always going to jump to the biggest/least realistic solution and then be mad when that doesn’t happen. Also, WWE has a track record for letting us down in these type of situations. Stone Cold gets run over at Survivor Series. After months of speculation, it was Rikishi. Mr. McMahon has a secret son. After months of speculation, it was Hornswoggle. In the grand scheme of things, Kurt Angle’s secret being that his bastard son is Jason Jordan, a legitimately exciting athlete who can now separate himself from the pack as Kurt Freaking Angle’s son, is pretty dope. Is it the greatest thing in the world? No. Is WWE going insane by separating literally every baby face tag team? Seems that way. But Jason Jordan wrestling like a 6’3 athletic freak version of Kurt Angle is not something I’m going to be upset about.

Broken Brilliance

Depending on what website you read and who you believe, the Hardy’s either have the right to their Broken characters or they don’t. The way things have played out over the last two weeks on RAW, it sure seems like they’re on the path to Broken Brilliance, and that was reinforced slightly again last night. First of all, how wonderful was it to see The Revival wrestling again? They seem incapable of having bad tag team matches, evidenced by last night’s random ass tag with the Hardy’s that they turned into a tag team clinic. What separates them from other teams is their timing and their selling. They’re always in the right spot, and they execute the last minute hope spot better than anyone. They’re also not afraid to sell for the team they’re facing, which is why a Matt Hardy forearm can look like a death blow. The Hardy’s lose for the second straight week, and it’s definitely looking they will need to delete themselves in order to be reborn as something broken.

The Main Event

The last 45 minutes of RAW featured some terrific wrestling, which is always a welcome sight. After the Revival/Hardy’s tag match, Roman Reigns took on Samoa Joe in a #1 contender’s match in the main event. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but Reigns and Joe have terrific chemistry, and they both excel when they’re facing someone who doesn’t mind getting knocked around. It was a physical battle, and as much as I didn’t like a #1 contender’s match for the most important title ending in a no decision, it’s always fun watching Braun Strowman throw guys around. It also made more sense in context, and continued to showcase Strowman as this otherworldly monster who can’t be kept down by someone trying to literally murder him. Do I smell a fatal four way championship match for Summerslam? A triple threat #1 contender’s match before that? I’m in either way.

-Ryan

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#WWENXT Review (7/12/17): Mammoth Tag Team Showdown

Photo: WWE

Welcome to the inaugural WWE NXT review post, which if all goes according to plan, will be here for you every Thursday morning. After watching three hours of Great Ball of Fire and three hours of Raw, a hour one wrestling show is just what the doctor ordered. Let’s get to the review!

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

Fish out of water

If you’re reading this article, I’m going to assume you follow NXT and aren’t just tuning in to consume my beautiful prose. NXT did have a debut last night though, as former Pro Wrestling NOAH, ROH & NJPW star Bobby Fish wrestled his first match for the brand. Fish has been wrestling back and forth between Japan and the US for over a decade, and had a very impressive debut match against Aleister Black. The only problem I can see NXT running into is something I noticed on commentary, as Mauro Ranallo called Fish ‘Roderick Strong’. It’s tough to blame him, because they might as well be one in the same (add in Johnny Gargano too). While it’s great NXT can bring these veterans from other promotions into the mix, they need to make sure they’re given deep enough characters so they don’t all start meshing together.

One of my favorite parts about Aleister Black’s rise in NXT is that almost each match has showcased a different strength of his. A squash match is a squash match, but his match against Kassius Ohno showed his striking power, while last night’s match against Fish showed his resiliency. I don’t think he underestimated Fish, but he definitely thought it wasn’t going to be as tough a matchup as it turned out to be. Fish had a good game plan working on Black’s legs, which Black utilizes for almost all of his big time moves, but once Black got some momentum going, it was lights out. The Black Mass he hit on Fish was one of his more impressive ones to date, and he continues to climb the NXT ladder. WWE still hasn’t uploaded the match to their YouTube page yet, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

Mae Young Qualifier

The Mae Young Classic tapings begin today, so it made sense to give us a quick qualifying match, even if it was an uneventful match between two women we’ve never seen before. Vanessa Borne defeated Jayme Hachey, and the highlight of the entire segment for me was Vanessa Borne’s entrance theme. I can’t find it anywhere online, so if somebody has the scoop, comment on the post or reach out to me on Twitter.

#1 Contender Battle

After last week’s NXT, fan footage captured Killian Dain & Alexander Wolfe attacking Drew McIntyre in the parking lot. I think my favorite part of the beat down is that this confirms that Killian Dain is always wearing his wrestling clothes, no matter the situation. Now all I can picture is him going to a restaurant dressed in oversized underwear and his leather chain vest and the staff refusing to say anything because he looks like he could eat them whole. McIntyre and Dain are both undefeated in NXT, so that stat combined with this attack prompted GM William Regal to make a #1 contender’s match between the two for next week, with the winner facing Bobby Roode for the NXT title at TakeOver Brooklyn III.

Johnny Wrestling Returns

As perfectly executed as Tommaso Ciampa’s heel turn was, it’s tough luck that he’s actually hurt and out for awhile. This Johnny Gargano promo was passable, but knowing that Ciampa is out hurts the drama surrounding it. Gargano is fantastic inside the ring, but I’m much more interested in seeing him get revenge on Ciampa than I am seeing him move on to something else. He obviously has no choice, but I wish Ciampa and Gargano were going to be doing battle in Brooklyn instead of whatever else they have planned.

Battle of the Heavyweights

Full disclosure: Heavy Machinery are the apples of my eye. I love Dozovic and Knight, and while they weren’t winning the straps tonight under any circumstance, this was still a great showing. Last week’s NXT main event featured Bobby Roode vs. Roderick Strong for the NXT title, and while you knew Roode was going to win the whole time, it was still executed well. The same goes for last night’s main event; the AOP are the undefeated tag champs, so they’re not going to lose on a random NXT to first time challengers. But the match could still be used to make Heavy Machinery look like threats, which is exactly what happened. Dozovic was easily the star of the match, and his clothesline standoff spot at the beginning of the match and hottest of hot tags towards the end were the two highlights. AOP ended up winning with the Last Chapter, and my heart broke just a tiny bit.

After the match Dain, Wolfe & Nikki Cross, representing Sanity, stared down Paul Ellering & the AOP while book pages fell from the ceiling. The announce team seemed to think it was pages from Ellering’s Book of Dominance, and if that’s true, Sanity went through a lot of trouble to do that. They would’ve had to find and steal the book, then find some type of machine to store up in the rafters and disperse the pages throughout Full Sail. Also, that would mean that Paul Ellering wrote an actual book of dominance, which is something I’d like to read immediately.

The floating pages was a nice trick, but I would’ve preferred if Sanity and Heavy Machinery’s roles were reversed here. Dain has a #1 contender’s match next week and Nikki Cross just fought Asuka for the Women’s title, so I don’t know if they also needed to be thrown into the tag title scene. I think feeding Sanity to AOP to setup Heavy Machinery would’ve worked better, but I’m also the world’s biggest Heavy Machinery fan.

-Ryan

 

#WWERAW Results (7/10/17): A Big Dog, A Beast & A Samoan Badass

Photo: WWE

Welcome to the first Raw recap post in quite some time. WWE Great Balls Of Fire has come and gone, and while it was a solid show from a wrestling standpoint, not much has changed on the Red team. All the champions retained and Roman Reigns tried to literally murder Braun Strowman. You know, just another night. Let’s get to the recap!

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

The Battle of the Bigs

Raw kicked off with a great Big Cass promo, and apparently by defeating Enzo Amore Sunday night he absorbed some of his passionate promo powers. This was just as good as his heel turn promo a few weeks ago, and while he’s got a long way to go before he’s going to be challenging Brock Lesnar or whoever happens to be holding the Universal title, there’s no harm in having 7 feet worth of confidence.

It seems like Enzo Amore is only capable of befriending people over 7 feet tall, because Big Show comes out to cut Cass’s promo short and they engage in a physical takedown battle. Big Show was really laying into Cass with knees and strikes, and although the brawl was quick, you got the sense that these two really hated each other. I’m torn on whether it was a smart move to have Big Show gain the upper hand, but I’m willing to let this play out and see how Cass responds. Big Show did a hell of a job putting over Braun Strowman in the past, so hopefully he can do the same for Cass.

The Drifter vs. The Ab King

The first match of the night saw Finn Balor take on Elias Samson. I’m not sure why these two weren’t featured on the GBOF card, but they had a solid match to open the show. Finn Balor is the best pure baby face that WWE has right now, and he’s the perfect mix of being cool as hell but also fighting like an underdog. With his size he’s almost always going to be fighting from underneath, like he did here against Samson, but his aura and charisma makes him impossible to look away from. He’s got a great entrance, he’s in phenomenal shape, and he’s single handedly inspired me to start wearing leather jackets with the collar popped and no shirt underneath (unrelated note – I was immediately fired from my job).

Samson continues to thrive on the main roster as well, and even though he takes the clean loss here, losing clean to Finn Balor is not the worst thing in the world.

Broken Brilliance Time?

With Enzo/Cass & Goldust/R-Truth officially done, The Hardy’s are not only the best baby face tag team on Raw, they’re the only one. It’s no secret that the fans (& The Hardy’s) prefer to be their Broken counterparts, and the pre match promo from Matt and Jeff was the closest they’ve come to that since joining the WWE. The follow up match against Gallows & Anderson might’ve pushed them even farther into Broken territory, and the post match beat down by The Revival sped things up even more.

The Hardy’s have no shortage of heel teams to feud with, especially when you add The Revival into the mix, and I’m glad Gallows & Anderson picked up the win here. The Hardy’s were banged up and clearly not 100%, so they can justify the loss, but it’s safe to say no team needed a clean win more than Gallows & Anderson.

The Mizzies

Any Miz TV that doesn’t feature Dean Ambrose is good to great, which is why the first part of this segment was exactly that. Miz hands out the first ever ‘Mizzies’, which is definitely a name they came up with a 858PM, and it’s entertaining until Ambrose shows up to ruin everything. I loved Bo Dallas’s closing line of his acceptance speech (“let’s change the world”) and I think it should be a requirement that Bo Dallas get at least a few minutes of promo time every week. I’m a big time Bo-Liever, and IRS must’ve put something in his kid’s cereal to make them both so great on the microphone.

If you’re looking for a reason why The Miz has been so good lately, just listen to the end of his promo last night. He calls out all the frauds – Seth Rollins, Akira Tozawa, The Hardy’s – all of whom said they would win at GBOF but fell short. The Miz said he would retain his title and Dean Ambrose would cave under the pressure, and he was right. Granted he got some help from Bo Dallas, but a win’s a win. He also puts over Ambrose as one of the toughest guys in the WWE, which is always the best talking point. If Ambrose is one of the toughest guys in the WWE, that makes Miz even better for defeating him.

Speaking of Ambrose, he’s ‘crazy’ and a ‘lunatic’ so he charges the ring and gets the shit kicked out of him because he’s outnumbered 3 on 1. That brings out Seth Rollins for the save, and I’m sure that the Miz-tourage won’t try and retaliate on Rollins in the main event.

Raw Women’s Merry Go Round

The Raw Women’s division was not prominently featured last night, as they got only this tag team match. The match was really of no consequence, which is the worst thing wrestling can be. Sasha Banks lost to Alexa at GBOF after Alexa intentionally got herself counted out. She wants a rematch because of it, but now Bayley has a pin fall victory over Alexa too. Nia Jax was also promised a title shot by Bliss, so it looks like we’ll get a four way match at Summerslam. While that match could rule, I’m not interested in the Bayley or Sasha characters at all right now. Nia Jax is the best and Alexa is a wonderful heel, but in order for the match to be special Sasha and Bayley need to be characters that someone who’s not a little girl will root for.

The Golden Truth

Goldust turned on R-Truth on the May 15th episode Raw. That was almost two months ago. If they had done this match the following week, or even the week after that, I think the crowd might’ve been more invested. Instead the match was delayed to last night, and the crowd couldn’t have been less interested if Goldust and Truth were taking a nap in the ring. Raw is three hours every week, so there’s no excuse for running months worth of pre taped promos and then expecting anyone to give a shit when they fight 8 weeks later. If Balor is done with Samson and Goldust is done with Truth, I need a Balor/Goldust program like I need air to breathe.

Fireworks Factory

If I had to recommend one segment from last night’s show, it would be this one. Kurt Angle & Brock Lesnar in a WWE ring is always great to see, but things really heat up when Samoa Joe confronts Lesnar. Look at Lesnar and Heyman’s faces when Joe’s music hits. They are SHOOK, and they should be, because Joe beat up Brock Lesnar more than anyone has since the mid 2000s. Goldberg might’ve pinned Brock, but that was a two move, one minute match. Joe beat Brock’s ass last night, and Joe put it perfectly: Brock didn’t win, he escaped. The intensity between Joe and Lesnar was off the charts, and it’s always great to see Lesnar step up his game when his opponent can match his intensity. I loved Brock getting some mic time too, and it also reinforced my belief that Lesnar can’t say 10 consecutive words without one of them being a swear.

You know who was the odd man out here? Roman Reigns, who was supposed to have a title shot at Summerslam because…he wants one? Reigns laid back promo style stuck out like a sore thumb here, and he looked out of place. I’m sure WWE wants Reigns/Lesnar, but they’d be foolish to pass up on Joe/Lesnar again. Joe and Reigns will fight in a #1 contender’s match next week, and I’ll be rooting for Joe all the way.

The (Kurt Angle) Secret

So Kurt Angle has a secret. He’s going to come clean next week, and during the closing segment of Raw, he was telling whoever was on the other end of the phone that he loved them. The consensus is that WWE is bringing Dixie Carter into the mix, and that fire was only fueled when she appeared in the WWE 24 special on Angle after last night’s Raw. It could also be Stephanie McMahon, which could lead to the rumored Angle/HHH match. It could also be Hornswoggle. Let the speculation begin!

Cruiserweight Division

Similar to the Women’s division, the cruiserweight’s only segment was a tag match between Neville/Noam Dar & Akira Tozawa/Cedric Alexander. Neville & Noam Dar were representing the very best and the very worst of the division, while Tozawa and Alexander were representing Neville’s title challengers. The match was fine, but nothing really happens outside of a reversal of fortunes from GBOF. Apparently there weren’t enough testicle related finishes at the pay per view, so Neville got straddled on the top rope for a comically long length of time. Tozawa won with his beautiful Senton splash, and around and around we go.

The Main Event

The main event was a GBOF rematch between Bray Wyatt & Seth Rollins. I enjoyed this match more than the PPV bout, and it mostly had to do with the finish. The story was that Rollins only lost last night because Bray Wyatt poked him in the eye, because even when Bray Wyatt wins it has to be something due to something ridiculous. They play off the eye injury here, but instead of a thumb glove being the deciding blow, it’s a head butt. The head butt not only makes Wyatt looks smart for taking advantage of Rollins’ injury, but it’s a more vicious move that sets up Sister Abigail. +1 to Rollins for his sell of Sister Abigail, because it looked brutal:

I always tell myself I’m not going to get sucked into rooting for Bray Wyatt, but two wins in a row is an improvement. If he starts winning matches at pay per views that don’t have the word balls in the title, I’ll get interested again.

The Miz and his -tourage show up after the match to pick the bones of Seth Rollins, but Dean Ambrose runs them off after a few chair shots. Hey, at least he brought a weapon this time!

That’s it for this week’s show. Join us next week to learn Kurt Angle’s secret and who will challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal title at Summerslam.

-Ryan

#MusicMonday: Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls Of Fire

During the build to the pay per view and throughout last night’s 3 hour show, I’ve probably heard Great Balls Of Fire 100 times. That is too many times. In the hopes that I never hear it again, I’m sending it off as our latest Music Monday entry. Also, if you thought that the comments section would be normal for a song with ‘balls’ in it, you would be very, very wrong:

-Ryan

WWE Great Balls Of Fire Results #WWEGBOF

Welcome to the inaugural Great Balls Of Fire results post. If you have the WWE Network, you can watch this show anytime, and I would recommend it ten times over. I’m looking to create a fresh approach to wrestling review posts, so I’m going to compare my prediction for each match with the actual end result, and add in some analysis as well.

If you haven’t read my predictions post, you can find that here.

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – Facebook.com/AverageNobodies. We love talking pro wrestling, so you can comment on this post or reach out to us on social media if you want to join the discussion. You can also find all of our wrestling content by clicking the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our home page.

Cruiserweight Championship – Neville (C) vs. Akira Tozawa

Prediction: All hail King Neville

Result: Neville is still your Cruiserweight champion. Neville has been dominating the Cruiserweight division for the entire calendar year, and he wasn’t going to lose his title on the pre show of a show called Great Balls Of Fire. These two got around 13 minutes and had a really fun match, which is something we should always be saying about the cruiserweights. I’ll never understand why they’re only given a few minutes of time on certain Raw’s, especially when they always deliver in spots like this.

Neville winning with a transition move was an interesting choice, and makes me think these two will square off again soon. Best parts of the match for me were Neville kicking Tozawa in the head to the ‘AH’ chants by the crowd, as well as former NXT champion Neville studying current NXT champion Bobby Roode and rolling out of the ring after Tozawa hit his Senton finish. Solid show opener.

Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Result: Here was my reaction to Bray Wyatt defeating Seth Rollins:

There was a meme circulating on Twitter prior to last night’s show, and it was a sobering graphic of the Bray Wyatt character. His career win loss record was 182-424-10 heading into last night’s match, which tells you everything you need to know about Bray. I don’t care how good of a character he is, you can’t lose 70% of your matches and expect fans to take anything you say seriously. While it was nice to see him win last night, it’s hard not to think that this was a ‘win the battle, lose the war’ situation. Bray’s wins always come with a disclaimer, because we’ve seen him lose so many big matches in the past. These two clearly have great chemistry in the ring, but if this feud is continuing, they’re going to need to create a more compelling build.

Enzo vs. Cass

Prediction: Double DQ brawl

Result: Cass wins. I was hoping for a double DQ brawl for this match so the feud would extend to Summerslam in Brooklyn, but that might’ve been asking too much. Cass should always maul Enzo, especially in his current role, and I thought this was a nice progression for heel Cass. Enzo cut another amazing, impassioned promo before the match, and his character work over the last three weeks should not go unnoticed. He knew he had no shot going into this match, but he wasn’t going to give up until Cass literally knocked him out. I don’t know where Enzo goes from here, but I hope the people in charge are paying to attention to how crowds have been responding to him.

Tag Team Title Match: Cesaro/Sheamus vs. The Hardy’s

Prediction: Time limit draw

Result: Cesaro/Sheamus successfully defend their titles. I thought this match was executed perfectly within the stipulations, especially when you have one of the best baby face teams of all time in The Hardy’s. They’ve always thrived when fighting from underneath, so having Cesaro & Sheamus got up 2-0 10 minutes in was a smart choice. The Hardy’s weren’t able to tie it up until very late in the match, and by that time they had pretty much expended all of their energy.

I loved that Cesaro won the deciding fall by outsmarting the Hardy’s with a bling tag and a quick pin on Jeff after he hit Sheamus with the Swanton. Cole explaining that Cesaro/Sheamus would win the tag titles if the falls were tied after 30 minutes took the wind out of my sails a little bit, because if came to it there definitely should’ve been a sudden death fall, but that’s a minor complaint for an otherwise entertaining half hour match. Now if we could just do this match again with The Revival subbed in for The Hardy’s my life would be complete.

Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Sasha Banks

Prediction: Alexa Bliss

Result: Sasha Banks via count out. This was the only decision of the night that I wasn’t a big fan of. I don’t mind heel champions utilizing the DQ/count-out finish to retain their title, but it always feels a little cheap when it happens on a pay per view. I didn’t like it when the Uso’s did it at Money in the Bank and I didn’t like it here. The match itself was decent, and we learned that Sasha Banks doesn’t watch Smackdown as she fell for the Alexa Bliss double jointed stunt that she pulled on Becky Lynch. Before the match could really get going Bliss got herself counted out, which caused Sasha Banks to whoop some ass after the match. I have to imagine these two will continue to feud, possibly with a no DQ match on an upcoming Raw or at Summerslam. Hopefully Nia Jax gets added to the story too, because everything is better when Nia Jax is throwing women around.

IC Title Match: The Miz (C) vs. Dean Ambrose

Prediction: Miz

Result: Miz, with a little help from the Miz-tourage. First of all – I love the Miz-tourage. Curtis Axel decided to wear his finest vest, while Bo Dallas dressed up as a mix of Stevie Van Zandt & The One Man Gang. LOOK AT HIM:

Photo: WWE

The match was OK, but these two needed to stop wrestling each other months ago. There are no more stories to tell. Also, I understand Ambrose is this lunatic character, but when Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas and Maryse are all at ringside, you should probably expect some outside interference. The two things I wanted from this match were The Miz to leave with the title and for the match to have an ending that would finally finish this feud. I guess 1 of 2 things aren’t bad, but I am not looking forward to watching these two continue to interact and wrestle until the end of time.

Ambulance Match: Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

Prediction: Braun Strowman

Result: Braun Strowman, although not as definitive as I would’ve liked. It’s probably too much to ask to have Braun continue to physically dominate Roman Reigns, but I liked how Braun won this match with his brain instead of his brawn. Braun hurt himself running at Reigns and taking off an ambulance door, so when Reigns was sizing him up for a match clinching spear, he turned the tables on Roman and dodged it, causing Roman to dive into the ambulance and lose the match. Watching these two continue to battle has been a ton of fun, and goes to show you that certain guys can wrestle each other for a long time but still keep it entertaining. Braun and Roman are the opposite of Miz/Ambrose, and I wouldn’t mind watching these two do battle over and over again.

My favorite spot from the match was Roman hammering Braun with steel chairs, Braun eating those chair shots while simultaneously screaming “hit me you son of a bitch!”. That’s some star making stuff right there. The real story happens after the match, as Roman escapes the ambulance and beats up Braun, shoves him into the ambulance and drives him backstage. While Curt Hawkins & Heath Slater have an impromptu match, Roman literally commits attempted murder, as he backs the ambulance into a trailer with Braun Strowman inside. I loved everything about the post match attack, and it had an Attitude era unpredictable feel to it, and once again made Braun Strowman look like an unstoppable monster. Reigns is also kind of justified in his actions, because Braun did try to murder him via ambulance tipping, so he’s just returning the favor. The lasting image of this match will be Braun, beaten and battered, still standing and still ready to tear Roman Reigns apart. Fantastic moment.

Photo: WWE

Universal Title Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Samoa Joe

Prediction: As great as Joe has been, 100% healthy Brock Lesnar isn’t mortal. Lesnar retains in a brutal fight.

Result: All you could ask for, as Samoa Joe looked like a star but Brock Lesnar ultimately won.

How cool is it that Samoa Joe has been on the main roster for 6 months and was fighting in the main event against Brock Lesnar for the top title on Raw? Not only that, but Joe was situated as a legitimate threat against one of the most fierce competitors in WWE history, and he not only held his own last night, but he kicked Brock Lesnar’s ass for almost the entire match. I loved everything about this match, and while it would’ve been cool and shocking to have Joe win, I think Lesnar winning was the right call. Similar to Joe’s wonderful run in NXT, he came into the match with a plan and executed it perfectly.

He attacked Lesnar pre match to weaken him, and never wavered in his assault on the champ. The only problem is that Brock Lesnar is not a mortal man, and Joe was never able to lock in the Coquina Clutch. This was a simply laid out match that forced Lesnar to actually wrestle and work for the first time in forever, and I liked how the match ended on one finisher. If Joe was able to lock in the Clutch before Lesnar was able to hoist him up for the F-5, he would’ve been the new champ. Lesnar was able to nail his finisher first, so he won, but not before he took a beating. Great main event.

-Ryan

Your Average WWE Great Balls Of Fire Preview & Predictions #WWEGBOF

Photo: WWE

If it seems like WWE has been running a lot of pay per views lately, that’s because they are. Since April 30th (including this Sunday’s show) WWE has had five pay per views. Add that onto the 5 hours of live programming that Raw and Smackdown Live bring to the table every week, and you have a metric shit ton of wrestling.

That brings us to the latest Raw pay per view, the hilariously named Great Balls of Fire. Nothing is going to get that precious 18-35 demographic ready for a pro wrestling show like a 53 year old rock and roll song. As silly as the name of the show is, the match card is anything but silly. 5 titles will be on the line, including Brock Lesnar defending his Universal championship against Samoa Joe. Let’s get to the preview and predictions!

Quick note: we’re going to start featuring more wrestling content on the blog, and hopefully that will include pay per view previews/reviews plus Raw & NXT reviews and any other newsworthy items. You can click the ‘wrestling’ tab under the banner on our homepage to find all of our wrestling related posts. Also make sure to follow us on Twitter (@averagenobodies) & Facebook (www.facebook.com/AverageNobodies) and talk to us about how much you love pro wrestling. Or literal great balls of fire.

Photo: WWE

Cruiserweight Championship Match – Neville (C) vs. Akira Tozawa

Ever since he returned to the WWE at Roadblock in December 2016, Neville has been the literal and figurative King of the Cruiserweights. He won the Cruiserweight title a month later at the Royal Rumble, and has been dominant ever since. After Austin Aries was unable to dethrone Neville, the newest challenger to face the King will be Akira Tozawa. Akira was a CWC standout and a veteran of the Dragon Gate promotion who is finally getting his shot on the WWE main roster.

Tozawa has been paired up with Titus O’Neil and the Titus Brand recently, which takes the pressure off of him to deliver some of the over scripted dialogue that would be written for him. Tozawa and Neville match up pretty well, and both possess an explosive style that is hopefully highlighted during this pre show match. While it’s nice to see a fresh matchup for Neville, his reign has been too impressive to end on a challenger’s first title shot. If WWE is smart, they’ll keep building Neville until a worthy challenger (Mustafa Ali?) will finally take his title.

Prediction: All hail King Neville

Photo: WWE

Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass

The Enzo Amore character has been a tale of highs and lows. He doesn’t look like a professional wrestler, but thanks to his unending charisma and self proclaimed gift of gab, he’s made a name for himself both in NXT and on Raw. He and Big Cass were one of the most popular teams in NXT, and while they never did win the NXT tag titles, their overall run was a resounding success. During their early run on Raw, that success translated to the main roster, but as the weeks and months went on, it was becoming clear that seeing Enzo’s shtick every Monday night was starting to get old. Enzo & Cass lost match after match as the Raw tag team division struggled to find it’s identity, and then the mystery attacker angle started.

By the time Cass revealed he was the one attacking Enzo, I understood Cass’s vantage point more than Enzo’s, because everything Cass was saying was rooted in truth. Enzo was holding the team (and Cass) back and he continued to run his mouth with no sign of ever being able to back it up. Enzo’s performance during the initial reveal and his promo’s over the last two weeks have reminded me why I loved NXT Enzo so much, and now all I want to see is Enzo duke it out with his former best friend & partner. Enzo has always been a better character when he’s allowed to mix in the funny catchphrases with his very real passion for pro wrestling, and that’s exactly what he’s done during the build to this match. I don’t know how well these two will mesh in the ring, but the build up has been terrific. These two have to have fight again in Brooklyn where the crowd will be on fire, so I’m expecting some sort of double DQ here.

Prediction: Double DQ brawl

Photo: WWE

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt is the anti Enzo vs. Cass. There’s been no buildup outside of Rollins asking if Wyatt is a God or a coward, and the two have barely been in the same arena together. The character of Bray Wyatt is a wrestling tragedy, and the main reason for that is the monotonous build to all of his matches. He’ll sneak attack someone via spooky teleportation, cut dark room promos on them for weeks, and then lose the match at a pay per view. Rollins called Wyatt a false prophet, Wyatt attacked Rollins and has now spent the last two weeks talking about his god-like powers, including a bizarre, sweaty rant in the desert on Monday night. If you think this is going to end with anything besides Bray Wyatt losing clean to Seth Rollins, you haven’t been paying attention.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Photo: WWE

Ambulance Match: Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

The Braun Strowman/Roman Reigns rivalry has been one of the highlights of many 2017 Raw’s, and outside of the bizarre booking of Strowman during WrestleMania season, Braun has looked like a legitimate monster against WWE’s new top dog. Whenever I’m trying to analyze a Reigns match, I look at it the same way I would a John Cena match. Reigns isn’t your prototypical wrestler, and there’s always a chance he’s going to power up and win the match, but his odds always decrease when there’s a wacky stipulation involved.

Enter the AMBULANCE MATCH, where you can only win by stuffing your opponent in the back of an ambulance where he’s presumably driven to the hospital (or just left in there for all eternity). The stipulation definitely favors Strowman because 1. he’s consistently gotten the better of Reigns and laid him out and 2. he doesn’t have to pin Roman to win. With this being Braun’s first PPV match since his return from injury, I think he has to pickup a victory and regain his momentum heading into Summerslam.

Prediction: Braun Strowman

Photo: WWE

30 Minute Iron Man Raw Tag Team Title Match: Cesaro & Sheamus (C) vs. The Hardy’s

Cesaro/Sheamus & The Hardy’s have been feuding since WrestleMania, and this 30 minute iron man match can go one of two ways. 1. Cesaro/Sheamus outlast The Hardy’s, defend their titles and move onto some Top Guys or 2. the match ends in a draw and we stretch this feud out until Summerslam where we’ll hopefully get a match with a definitive ending. I think a lot of this hinges on how soon Matt Hardy gets the rights to his broken gimmick, and judging from his Twitter account, it could be very soon:

Matt is very active on social media and has been using his broken character almost exclusively since this tweet on Sunday. As good as the Hardy’s still are as a team, I think there’s more legs in singles runs for both guys, especially if Matt is given the creative freedom to be his insane alter ego. The only thing that could delay the broken transformation is the lack of depth in the Raw tag division. Enzo/Cass & Goldust/R-Truth split up, so that literally leaves Revival, Gallows/Anderson & Cesaro/Sheamus as the only teams on Raw if the Hardy’s go their separate ways. With such a severe lack of depth, my pick is for this match to end in a draw and culminate at Summerslam.

Prediction: Time limit draw

Photo: WWE

IC Title Match: The Miz (C) vs. Dean Ambrose

Watching paint dry. Driving in traffic. Lighting all my worldly possessions on fire. Sorry, I was just listing all the things I enjoy more than watching another Miz/Dean Ambrose match. The most frustrating thing about this feud is how GREAT Miz has been since being paired back up with Maryse, which shows you how awful the Dean Ambrose character is. Miz tore Ambrose down on Raw with a great promo about how he can’t handle pressure and can never win the big match, and Ambrose responded by slouching in the announce chair and pretty much agreeing with him.

The only looney thing about his character is that people still care about him, and all I can think about his how much better a Miz/Elias Samson or Miz/Finn Balor program would be. Hopefully the plan is for whoever comes out on top of the Balor/Samson feud to pair up with Miz next, and Dean Ambrose can move onto literally anything else.

Prediction: Miz

Photo: WWE

Raw Women’s Title Match: Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Sasha Banks

Alexa Bliss has been the best women’s wrestler on the main roster for 2017, but unfortunately she’s been paired with the neutered versions of both Bayley and Sasha Banks for the last few months. Bayley is out of the title picture for what should be the foreseeable future, but Sasha Banks is currently the #1 contender to Bliss’s Women’s title. As much as I love Bliss, it’s tough to get into this match when there’s been negative momentum on Raw lately. The gauntlet match was pretty great, but there’s no character progression from anyone outside of Nia or Bliss, and every time you hear that Sasha is already a 3 time Women’s champ, it reminds how often the title has been switched around.

The best story in the women’s division is still Bliss/Nia Jax, so I hope she retains here and Sasha and Bayley can be paired up as something other than insufferable friends and hopefully get some of their NXT magic back in their characters.

Prediction: Alexa Bliss

Photo: WWE

Universal Title Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Samoa Joe

When Samoa Joe became the #1 contender at Extreme Rules, it seemed like a bittersweet moment. Joe has been incredible in both NXT and on Raw, but the majority thought was that he’d be a minor speed bump for Brock Lesnar on his way to facing Reigns or Strowman at Summerslam. The booking leading up to this match has changed my mind dramatically, and Samoa Joe now looks like a valid threat to Lesnar.

The best part is that Lesnar hasn’t lost any of his shine either, because he can dismiss all of Joe’s actions as sneak attacks. And while he’s technically correct, Joe has still not backed down from Lesnar, and he still choked him out on the entrance ramp, and he still has outsmarted Brock at every turn. There’s still a chance that Lesnar destroys Joe, but it wouldn’t make sense when you look at how this feud has progressed. This is one of the most well built main events for a ‘B’ PPV in a long time, and I can’t wait to see these two destroy each other.

Prediction: As great as Joe has been, 100% healthy Brock Lesnar isn’t mortal. Lesnar retains in a brutal fight.

 

Carmella Is Officially The First Ever Ms. Money In The Bank #WWE #SmackdownLive

10 days ago, Carmella won the first ever women’s money in the bank ladder match. Not only was it a crappy match that seemed to end right when things were starting to happen, but Carmella only won when her sidekick/lackey James Ellsworth climbed the ladder for her, pulled down the briefcase and dropped it into her lap. Pro wrestling should not be the medium we gravitate towards when we’re looking for progressive storylines featuring their female wrestlers, and while times have changed, this is still the same company that had women wrestling in their underwear, or in pillow fights, or in kiddie pools full of pudding.

That still doesn’t excuse the fact that the WWE promoted this match every chance they got as a historic ‘first ever’ match for the five women involved, and that good, bad or indifferent, people would be talking about this match for a long time. When Ellsworth casually climbed the ladder and pulled down the briefcase, it was a slap in the face to every women on the roster and to all the fans. In what should’ve been a defining moment for Carmella, all anyone could talk about was how bogus it was that Ellsworth had to climb the ladder and get the briefcase for her. That wasn’t the right time to drag out a storyline; it was the time to back up all their ‘historic’ talk and let the women go out and make actual history.

WWE righted the ship a bit last night, but I’ll never understand why this wasn’t the finish booked for the first match. James Ellsworth climbed the ladder, almost had the briefcase, but Becky Lynch saved the day and pushed him off the ladder, crotch chopping himself on the top rope. That allowed Carmella enough time to knock Becky off the ladder, hit her a few times with a chair, and grab the briefcase. Storyline wise, that’s a smart heel using the match stipulations to her advantage to pickup a win. Reality wise, a woman is the one at the top of the ladder grabbing the briefcase, which is a mind boggling thing to have to be specific about in your inaugural women’s money in the bank match. I’m glad that Carmella still won, because that saves us from the ‘I’m the REAL money in the bank winner’ storyline between her and whoever else could’ve won last night, but this should’ve been the finish from the get go. Either way, congrats to Carmella, the first ever Ms. Money in the Bank.

-Ryan

Maura Ranallo Will Be The New Voice Of #WWENXT

Although there were rumors that Mauro Ranallo and WWE were going to part ways in August when his contract expires, it looks like he’ll be the voice of NXT going forward. Ranallo’s personal battles along with the bullying culture of WWE were an immediate bad fit, and coupled with the release of former ring announcer Justin Roberts’ book that put WWE on blast, it looked like Mauro and WWE weren’t meant to be. I’m extremely happy to see that they came to terms, and the NXT atmosphere might be exactly what Mauro needs. He’ll start tonight where NXT is taping at Full Sail for the next four shows or so, and his enthusiastic style is going to mix perfectly with the NXT brand. Mauro was scheduled to call the Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor mega fight in August for Showtime Sports, and I have to imagine he’s still in line to do that. Another bonus of working for NXT is the much lighter schedule with it being taped, especially for announcers. Mauro’s debut will most likely be on next Wednesday’s show.

-Ryan

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