Blog Archives

Five Stars From #WWE #RAW (1/15/18): Braun Strowman Destroys Everything

Raw was live from San Antonio, Texas last night. This is the best time of year to be a wrestling fan. We’re less than a week away from the 25th anniversary show and less than two weeks away from the Rumble. WrestleMania is so close you can taste it. It’s wonderful. If you’re going to remember one thing from this show, it’s going to be Braun Strowman. BRAUN STROWMAN in the biggest possible capital letters. There were other segments, including Nia Jax vs. Asuka, The Revival vs. local competitors and Rollins vs. Balor in the main event.  Without further ado, the five stars from the 1/15/18 edition of WWE Raw.

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

5. BRAUN GODDAMN STROWMAN

The start and end of the Braun Strowman story line was pretty silly. Braun opened Raw with a quick, impactful promo about his destruction last week and his desire to win the Universal title. He’s interrupted by Kurt Angle, who fired him for almost murdering Lesnar and Kane. Strowman took this in stride and calmly exited the building. Just kidding, he tried to kill everybody and everything. Throughout multiple segments he tossed around security guards, beat up people in catering, ate a piece of chocolate cake, flipped a production truck and threw Michael Cole off the stage. That was the fun part.

The lame part is that after firing him earlier in the night, Angle rehired Strowman and put him back in the title match at the Rumble after being told to do so by Stephanie McMahon via mysterious phone call. I understand the firing led to all the fun and cool stuff we love about Strowman, but I think they could have come up with something more interesting than “Stephanie called and said you’re rehired”. Also, that’s not a great precedent to set. Next time someone gets fired, they should try to burn the building down until Stephanie agrees to rehire them.

Even though the story was a little lame, that doesn’t change the fact that Strowman is THE MAN. It bums me out that he probably won’t win the title at the Rumble, because there is no one on the roster more ready for a title than Braun Strowman.

4. Cedric Alexander

Cedric Alexander still isn’t getting the crowd reactions, but you can’t deny his ability in the ring. He took on Tony Nese last night in a fun, competitive match with a clean finish. That’s all you can ask for when you’re building up a title challenger. I also love how the Lumbar Check is turning into a finisher opponents should fear. When Cedric hits that move, it’s lights out. He went for it a few times during the match but Nese was able to escape. Once he was softened up enough, Cedric was finally able to hit it and pick up the win.

The Cedric/Enzo story has dragged out due to real illness and fake injuries, and the Rumble result is anyone’s guess. Enzo is the main attraction for 205 Live, and he loses most of his shine without the belt. Cedric has been the main challenger for months now. If you don’t put the title on him at the Rumble, you have to move on. I know he just signed today, but I’m all for Enzo and the Zo Train holding the belt until Ricochet is ready to blow everyone’s minds on the main roster.

3. The Revival

The Revival beat the snot out of local competitors, and it’s impossible to explain how much better the tag team division is when they’re involved. They’re the best TEAM on the roster by a mile, and they somehow make technically sound wrestling exciting. After the match, they issue a warning to all the returning legends coming back for next week’s 25th anniversary show. They also call themselves ‘professional wrestlers’ which could be seen as tacky, but I liked it because it’s true. The Revival wrestle in trunks, elbow and knee pads. They have a simple entrance theme, simple catchphrases and let their in ring work do the talking. The only downside is how often they’ve been injured on the main roster, but hopefully that’s a thing of the past.

With teams like the New Age Outlaws and Dudley Boyz returning next week, I hope The Revival get to shine against a legendary duo. Also, if there is a God, The Bar and the Revival will be feuding over the tag belts in a hoss off very soon.

2. Elias, The Miz & The Miz-Tourage

What Braun Strowman accomplishes with physicality and violence, Elias does with a guitar and words. Elias is one of my favorite parts of the show, and most of the time it has to do with his ballads. You can tell he’s having a blast out there, and I hope he, The Miz and the Miz-Tourage continue to stay together. Elias always gets a reaction out of the crowd, too. Right now it’s loud boos whenever he makes fun of the city he’s in. I wouldn’t be surprised to see those boos turn to cheers once people start to appreciate how entertaining he is.

He pairs perfectly with Miz and the Miz-Tourage, and hopefully he’ll continue to play the Miz to the ring. Miz cut another great promo, and if you want examples of why Elias and Miz are two of the best talkers on Raw, watch this segment, Unfortunately it’s followed by Roman Reigns easily beating Axel and Dallas with Miz helping them, but you can’t have everything.

It does irritate me that WWE is doing the same thing with Reign’s IC title run that they did with Cena and the US belt. Yes, the open challenge is great. It’s also great to see Roman wrestling competitive matches and giving guys a spotlight. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to build up one challenger and have him beat Reigns for the title, though? When Cena was US champ, they had him beat everybody in competitive matches. No singular guy gained any momentum, and he eventually lost the belt to a returning Alberto Del Rio.

Maybe Reigns loses it to Miz next week, or maybe he loses it to a random challenger between now and WM, Either way, that’s not as effective as building a story with a challenger people want to see win the belt. They’re being predictable by not being predictable, if that makes any sense. It’s cool because literally anyone could dethrone Reigns. On the other hand, WWE is having surprise challengers instead of building someone who can keep the momentum Reigns is generating. If the plan is still Reigns/Lesnar at WM, put the IC belt on Miz, and turn Elias face to challenge him.

1. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

Finn Balor took on Seth Rollins in the main event. It was a rematch from their Universal title match at Summerslam that Balor was unfortunately injured in. Before I get to the match, I need to mention something. The Extraordinary Man Who Can Do Extraordinary Things is the worst nickname of all time. Balor is electric and basically markets himself, but that’s the best WWE could come up with? It makes him sound like a circus performer. Anyway, Balor, Gallows & Anderson finally have some purpose now that they’re paired together, which is a great thing. Balor and Rollins have great chemistry together as well, and WWE is out of their minds if both guys don’t get ample time in the Rumble.

Balor loses, but only after Jason Jordan trips him up which allows Rollins to finish him off with the Curb Stomp. I can’t explain how much of an upgrade the Curb Stomp is to Rollins’ B version of the V-Trigger. It’s a true knock out blow, especially when guys sell it like Balor did last night. With Balor leading the Balor Club and Rollins getting the Curb Stomp back, they should be two of the top guys to win the Rumble. Ambrose is out for awhile and Jordan is reportedly hurt too, which could open up Rollins for a single’s run.

If I’m settings things up for WM season, here’s how I’d set up the title pictures. Reigns, Miz and Elias focusing on the IC belt. The Bar, The Revival, Gallows/Anderson focusing on the tag belts. Everyone chasing Asuka for the women’s belt. Balor, Rollins & Strowman trying to dethrone Lesnar.

-Ryan

Advertisements

Five Stars Of WWE Raw 12/11/17

WWE Raw was live from Cleveland, Ohio last night. The main event featured Kane vs. Braun Strowman in a Universal title #1 contender’s match. Samoa Joe, Cesaro & Sheamus were all in singles action against members of The Shield while WWE had to pull a 180 with the cruiserweight division due to Rich Swann’s arrest. As usual, I’ll be spotlighting the five best things from last night’s show.

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.

And now, the five stars from the 12/11/17 edition of WWE Raw.

5. Samoa Joe

Joe vs. Ambrose was my least favorite of the three Shield matches, but I’d be a stupid idiot if I didn’t give Joe the praise he deserves. Raw opened with Joe in the ring berating Roman Reigns and talking about how he’s beaten and/or injured each member of The Shield. Joe always talks with a purpose and shy’s away from the cookie cutter language that a lot of other guys use. When Joe speaks, it sounds like something he would say rather than something that was written for him. That’s as high of a compliment you can give a WWE promo nowadays. I also love the pairing of Joe and The Bar, and the 6 man with The Shield sometime down the line is going to be off the charts.

The Joe/Ambrose match was OK, but fell short compared to Rollins/Sheamus & Reigns/Cesaro. Jason Jordan continuing to stick his nose in everyone’s business is a nice addition to the story, and gives the crowd an actual reason to boo him. I could’ve went without the ref distraction being the reason Ambrose lost, because his top rope offense couldn’t do maximum damage to a newborn baby. I will take the Joe choke out win though, because Samoa Joe should always win.

4. Finn Balor

Finn Balor picked up another win against the Miz-tourage, this time defeating folk hero Curtis Axel. It’s far from the best use of Balor, but I’ll take this over losing clean to Kane any day. It’s a little mind boggling that WWE doesn’t know how to use Balor, especially since he debuted and immediately won the Universal title. If these matches against Dallas & Axel lead to a Balor/Miz feud, I will be very happy. The Miz is WWE’s miracle worker and it’d be as pure of a baby face/heel matchup WWE has had in a while.

3. Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus

My second favorite Shield match last night was Rollins vs. Sheamus. These two have great chemistry whether it’s a singles or tag match, and I loved Sheamus’ strategy. Rollins is quicker and can take Sheamus out with high flying moves. How does Sheamus counter that? Brutalize Rollins knee, which is the same body part Seth uses for his finisher. It’s a simple story but it works, and Rollins is always better when he’s fighting from underneath as a fan favorite. His move set caters to the live crowd, specifically the top rope Suplex into the falcon arrow, which should be a finisher. Fun, competitive match with a clean finish. You can’t ask for much more than that.

2. Cesaro vs. Roman Reigns

Speaking of fun, competitive matches with a clean ending, Cesaro vs. Reigns was the best match of the night. Every time Cesaro is given time he shines, and I can’t explain why he’s not consistently in a main event spot. Similar to Sheamus working Rollins’ knee, Cesaro worked Reigns right arm, which is the key to his Superman punch and almost all of his offense. Once again Reigns was stellar as well, and his run as IC champ has been successful so far. You know he’s not losing the title on a random Raw, but his title defenses have all been great, and he’s elevating everyone he’s in the ring with.

I don’t know how long The Bar will be a thing, but WWE could do a lot worse than to make Cesaro IC champ. His physicality in this match was great, which always brings out the best in Roman. Cesaro deserved to win the match, but the time isn’t right for a title change. Hopefully he’s in the conversation when it’s time for Roman to move on to the Universal title again.

1. Cedric Alexander (and the rest of the cruiserweights)

So. A few weeks Kurt Angle set up a multi week storyline to find a new #1 contender for Enzo Amore. It consisted of two fatal 4 way matches, with the winner from each match facing each other. The winner of that match would be the new #1 contender. Rich Swann won one fatal 4 way and Drew Gulak won the other, so they would be one of two guys to fight for the cruiserweight title. The only problem with that is Rich Swann was arrested over the weekend for kidnapping and false imprisonment. Slight hiccup. Swann has been indefinitely suspended, so a second chance fatal 4 way took place on last night’s show with the winner of that match moving on to face Gulak. Got it?

The match was once again a standout moment for the cruiserweight division. They’ve proved for three weeks in a row that if you give them time, they will shine™. While Mustafa Ali is a personal favorite of mine, it’s hard to argue that Cedric Alexander doesn’t deserve to be a star in the cruiserweight division. He’s so dynamic and every move he executes has a beautiful crispness to it. I think he and Gulak will be put on a good match as well, and I like that they’re teasing some dissension within the Zo Train. It’s also nice to have the cruiserweights be an important part of Raw. There is way too much talent for them to be an afterthought.

Supplementary Stars

In case you missed it, I wrote about the potential the Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt feud has. Hopefully they move beyond dueling backstage promos soon, because both guys are too good to be boring.

-Ryan

WWE Raw 12/4/17: Five Stars

WWE Raw was live from Los Angeles California last night. The show featured Roman Reigns defending his IC title and The Bar defending their tag titles. Asuka & Braun Strowman murdered their opponents and we also got a great fatal 4 way cruiserweight match. As a reminder, this won’t be a traditional review of Raw. Instead, I pick out the five best things from the show (could be a match, promo or a specific wrestler) and explain why it was one of the best parts of Raw.

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.

And now, the five stars from the December 4th, 2017 edition of WWE Raw.

5. Roman Reigns vs. Jason Jordan

Anyone who complained about Roman Reigns winning the IC belt has watched his matches the last two weeks. I never understood the Reigns hate, especially from an in ring standpoint, but I love what he’s done for the IC title already. The only things you can ask of a mid card champion is to defend the title consistently and put on good matches. Reigns checked both of those boxes off for two weeks in a row, and I hope this trend continues.

As solid as Reigns has been, Jason Jordan has proved to be every bit his equal inside the ropes. His character still needs SOMETHING, but you cannot deny how great he is at the actual wrestling part. He’s quick, strong and is learning to sell on offense, which is something too few people do. His rolling northern lights Suplex into a pin that he tried to pull off with one leg was phenomenal, and I’m glad he’s getting a chance to wrestle these kind of matches. Similar to the match with Elias last week you knew Reigns was going to win, but that shouldn’t have affected how much you enjoyed the match.

I’m glad we didn’t get the Reigns/Joe match last night, because that’s a match where both guys deserve to be fresh. I’d prefer those two fight one on one, but adding Jordan into the mix isn’t the worst thing in the world either.

4. Cruiserweights

It’s crazy how much more enjoyable the cruiserweight division has been now that they have a little direction and are given time to perform. I enjoyed this week’s fatal 4 way more than last week’s match, and if you needed proof that Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali deserve to be stars, watch this match. They were both tremendous here and there’s no reason the cruiserweights shouldn’t be given this amount of time every week. WWE is at it’s best when they give us a show with variety. Spotlighting guys like Alexander & Ali, who can do things few other people can do, is a no brainer. It also separates the cruiserweights from the rest of the show, which in turn makes them seem more special.

Tony Nese and Drew Gulak were great complementary players in this match as well, and I’m glad Gulak picked up the win. Gulak vs. Swann has more of a story than Swann vs. Cedric or Ali, and it sets up two interesting possibilities. If Swann wins next week, Enzo has a legit exciting challenger who could beat him for the title any day of the week. If Gulak wins, maybe he gains enough confidence to try and take Enzo’s title from him. All in all this was an awesome match that sets up two more matches that fans should be excited to see.

3. Braun Strowman

Raw went off the air last week with Braun Strowman trying to murder Kane’s throat. Kane has had a great career but he doesn’t need to be heavily featured in 2017. Braun has so many more compelling matchup’s on the roster, and he’s more enjoyable against smaller guys who know how to sell. Case in point: Braun vs. Elias. Braun destroys everybody, so it makes sense that he would stomp on Elias, but he still got some good shots in on the monster. I like Braun versus someone like Elias over Kane because he can utilize his full arsenal in those type of matches. When he’s fighting Kane he can show off his strength, but when he fights a smaller guy he can show off his strength AND speed.

Someone as big as Braun should not be as fast he is, but I’ll never get tired of watching him run guys down and mow them over. Kane appeared on the big screen post match and set up a match against Braun for next week. Hopefully that’s the blow off to this feud so Braun can focus and gain as much momentum as possible heading into Royal Rumble season.

2. Asuka

Similar to Braun Strowman in the men’s division, Asuka has been a one woman wrecking crew for her entire NXT/WWE tenure. She beat Dana Brooke last week in literally three seconds, and while Alicia Fox got in a little offense last night, Asuka still won easily. I’m glad WWE is going this route with Asuka, especially when it comes to Absolution. I wrote last week about how the way Asuka is portrayed in the ring and the way Absolution treads lightly with her separates Asuka from the pack. While the post match segment was pretty identical to last week, I liked that Absolution did take out Alicia Fox. Asuka should be treated differently from an Alicia Fox or a Dana Brooke, so I’m glad WWE is going out of their way to show that to their audience.

I’m sure Absolution will pounce on Asuka one day when the time is right but the slow burn of that attack is the right move for now.

1. The Bar vs. Rollins & Ambrose

The Los Angeles crowd was hot all night, and I’m glad they saved some energy for the tag title main event. The Bar/Rollins & Ambrose have already proven they have great chemistry and that was on full display here. The DQ/restart never does much for me, but it’s a good move to pull for a live crowd who clearly wanted to see these two teams fight all night. Besides the actual match, my favorite part of this segment was how it tied into the opener. Reigns and Samoa Joe still have unfinished business, so what’s the best way for Joe to get back at Reigns? Take out his Shield buddies and cost them the tag titles. Joe’s interference brought out Reigns and caused just enough chaos for Sheamus to Brogue Kick Ambrose and steal a victory for The Bar.

This finish leaves the door open for another tag title match down the road. It could also give us a 6 man tag in the near future, which sounds like the best possible thing.

-Ryan

Five Matches That’ll Steal The Show at WWE Survivor Series

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

WWE will hold it’s 31st annual Survivor Series pay per view on Sunday night, and they have put together quite a card. Since the launch of the WWE Network most of the big 4 PPV’s haven’t had an issue going 4+ hours, and Sunday’s show will not be an exception. There are 8 matches announced, but I decided to look at five of those matches that have the potential to blow the roof (figuratively) of the Toyota Center and steal the show.

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.

Alexa Bliss vs. Charlotte

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

While the Alexa Bliss/Natalya match would’ve probably been good, the Bliss/Charlotte bout is a huge upgrade. That’s not a knock on Natalya, either. Charlotte is an upgrade over anybody on the Smackdown women’s roster, and she and Bliss have the two best characters in the women’s division at the moment. The odd thing about these champion versus champion matches is that their isn’t much of a feud to base it on, but when you have two great characters, it really doesn’t matter. Both of these women are supremely confident and skilled, and neither one will want to give an inch.

One very cool twist heading into this match is Carmella and her MITB briefcase. While she no longer has her lackey James Ellsworth to do her dirty work, she could take advantage of a tired Charlotte after this match and finally cash in. My prediction is for Charlotte to defeat Alexa and have Carmella cash in post match.

Cesaro & Sheamus vs. The Uso’s

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

There are a few matches on this card that were changed last minute, and this might be the only that wasn’t changed for the better. The Uso’s vs. Ambrose & Rollins would have been a great face/heel matchup, but with the title change last week they’ll now face Cesaro and Sheamus. While this is a heel vs. heel match, I think the skill set of both teams will outweigh any alignment concerns. The only question is who will the crowd root for? My bet is for Cesaro and Sheamus, who can easily switch between heel and face depending on the style of match they wrestle. The Uso’s are way too good at being bad guys to switch anything up, so I can see the crowd getting behind Cesaro and Sheamus.

These are two of the best tag teams in the WWE and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of match they put together. My prediction is for a no decision due to some outside interference by a new team. Authors of Pain perhaps?

The Shield vs. The New Day

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

Cesaro & Sheamus winning the Raw tag titles might have diminished the champion vs. champion tag match, but it gave us The Shield vs. The New Day, so I’ll consider that a win. This will be The Shield’s first match together in over three years, and while Reigns illness forced WWE to call an audible at TLC, this matchup is more exciting. My favorite thing about this is how improved Xavier Woods has been thanks to the Uso’s feud. The Shield are a solid three man team with no weak links, while New Day was always looked at as Kofi and Big E being the A team while Xavier Woods played the trombone on the outside. After the New Day/Uso’s feud, Woods has come into his own and makes the New Day more dangerous than ever.

It wouldn’t make much sense to have The Shield lose their first match back together, so I’m going with Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins.

Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown (Men)

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

I think Robbie Fox put it best on Twitter when he said this match is basically the same as hitting randomize teams on WWE 2K18. The allure of having Asuka beat Team Smackdown by herself almost made me put the women’s match on this list, but then I remembered Tamina was in the match and just couldn’t do it. This match is insanely unpredictable, and encompasses so many different feuds.

Team captains Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon have an almost 20 year rivalry. Roode and Nakamura feuded together in NXT and are on the same team. Same goes for Samoa Joe and Finn Balor. Orton, Cena and HHH have been each other’s throats for over a decade. Braun Strowman wants to destroy every living creature on planet Earth. There’s so much happening in this match it’s almost impossible to analyze.

The one thing I keep coming back to is HHH. He inserted himself into this match and pedigreed Angle’s son Jason Jordan on Monday. Unless WWE doesn’t care about Jordan and wants him to look like a chump, he has to do something to disrupt this match. I’m not really sure why HHH is even in the match, but I can see Jordan getting involved. If WWE really wants to make things interesting, they would have Jordan side with HHH (and chalk up Monday to a misdirect between HHH/Jordan) and have JJ cost his papa the match. That sounds so good I’m going to make that my prediction.

Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles

Survivor Series

Photo: WWE

Of all the matches that were changed at the last minute, this is the most improved one. No amount of Paul Heyman promo time could have gotten me excited for Brock Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal, but I’d watch Lesnar vs. AJ Styles even if you told me it’d result in you chopping off my feet. This is one of the dream matches pretty much every wrestling fan has wanted to see, and I can picture it going one of two ways.

Version 1 sees Lesnar bring his working boots and put on a classic Brock Lesnar vs. a smaller guy match. Styles hasn’t had a bad match during his 10 month run since joining WWE, so you’ll know he’ll bring it, but the question mark is always Lesnar. Version 2 is Lesnar sleep walking through this match, and even though Styles could still put together something great, it won’t be as good as it should’ve been.

I hope we get a good to great one on one match, but if WWE wants to make a legit heel, they would have Mahal screw this match up somehow. I can’t imagine anyone was going to tune into this show to watch Mahal fight, but if he robs us of AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar, I will hunt him down and rob him of everything he loves. The only prediction I have for this match is that Styles won’t win clean. Either a Lesnar victory or a Mahal distraction/DQ seems like the way to go.

-Ryan

 

Monster Blog: The Best WWE Survivor Series Matches Of All Time

WWE Survivor Series

Photo: Daily Wrestling News

Survivor Series is the second longest running WWE pay per view behind WrestleMania, and the 31st annual show will take place this Sunday in Houston. Survivor Series brings together a lot of different pro wrestling elements, from the 5 on 5 traditional Survivor Series matches to dream matches like last year’s Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar bout.

With a history spanning 30+ years, there are bound to be at least a few memorable matches, and that’s where the Average Nobodies come in. We each named our favorite Survivor Series match of all time below, along with a little blurb about why we loved it so much. Enjoy!

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.

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart

When it comes to rivalries within WWE/F, especially in the mid 90s, there are few better than Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart. The crown jewel of that feud is inarguably their submission match at WrestleMania 13, but if you’re looking for an almost perfect wrestling match with a great story that also motivates both guys moving forward, their match at Survivor Series ’96 should be your jam. Austin and Hart had a pretty chaotic feud, as this was the beginning of Austin’s “Texas Rattlesnake” character, but oddly enough, this was the first televised singles match between the two.

This match really kick started their feud, and launched one of the best angles of the 90s, especially when you factor in their match at WM13. The Survivor Series match was a technical masterpiece and featured a tremendous ending, with Hart outsmarting Austin by using the turnbuckle as leverage and pinning Austin while still in a submission hold. The ending visual of Austin giving Bret the death stare while disappearing up the ramp is as good as wrestling storytelling gets.

-Ryan

The Shield’s Debut

My favorite Survivor Series match isn’t a match at all, it’s a moment and the ripple effect that moment would would have on the WWE from then on. The debut of The Shield during the triple threat between CM Punk, John Cena and Ryback at the 2012 Survivor Series PPV is arguably the greatest debut in the history of the WWE. Three guys who would later become, and stay, THE marquee guys in the company. Even with The Shield stealing the show (although it might not have seen like it at the time) this match isn’t something to sweep under the rug. Cena and Punk were magic in the ring and Ryback got put out of commission by the fabled triple power bomb!

What more could you ask for?

-Matt

WWE RAW Review (10/9/17): The Hounds Of Justice

Photo: WWE

WWE Raw was live from Indianapolis, Indiana last night, the same city that saw the debut and demise of The Shield. I wonder if any other Shield related things happened last night? Even though No Mercy just happened (and Hell in a Cell was literally two days ago) we’re already less than two weeks away from TLC, so most of this Raw and next week’s show will be setting up that card.

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.

And now, the Raw Review for October 9, 2017.

The Mizzies

Last week’s show ended with the silent, intense stare reunion of one of WWE’s greatest factions, The Shield. That reunion was prompted by the show long beat down that Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns suffered at the hands of The Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus. Miz had his second annual Mizzies (?) award show to open last night’s Raw, with Curtis Axel, Sheamus, Cesaro & The Miz all winning awards. They bragged and bragged and bragged about beating down The Shield, which naturally brought out Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

The crowd ate this up, and it was very cool to see all three guys reunited and beating people down again, although I will admit I was a little worried that Rollins was going to hit Reigns and Ambrose in the back with a chair when he entered the ramp last. The Shield dominated their way through their first run, so they’re obviously going to be cocky as hell, although there were a few things they did that could come back to bite them in their asses. The first was saying that they could beat any three, four or five man team, which The Miz, because he’s the smartest guy on the show, used against them later on during a conversation with GM Kurt Angle.

The second was attacking Braun Strowman. Don’t get me wrong, it makes complete sense. All three guys have had issues with Strowman, and you definitely want to take out the biggest, baddest guy on night one of your reformation to prove to everyone else that you’re not fucking around, but if there’s one guy I don’t want zeroing in on me, it’s Braun Strowman. Maybe don’t pick on the guy who flips ambulances and single handedly caused Brock Lesnar to get stretchered out of a match? Either way, the 4 on 3 TLC match at TLC is going to be BONKERS.

Jason Jordan, Strap-less Wonder

Much like last week, the stuff featuring The Shield was awesome while the rest of the show was meh. With that said, I did appreciate almost all of the matches having a clean finish. The first of those matches was Jason Jordan against Karl Anderson, and while it wasn’t anything special, Jordan picked up a clean win. My main complaint about this match is Jordan now wrestles in only trunks. One of the defining traits of a Kurt Angle match, and something that Jason Jordan adopted, was pulling down the straps of his singlet when he’s kicking it into high gear. If he wrestles in only trunks he can’t do that, and at this point Jordan needs as much character help as he can get, so sticking him with shitty music and lime green trunks isn’t doing him any favors. I still love him inside the ring, but he’s going to get lost in shuffle if he doesn’t start showing some personality.

R.I.P. Titus Worldwide

Usually a situation like the Elias/Apollo Crews is frustrating because of 50/50 booking, but in this case Elias just keeps beating Apollo clean. This is the third win a row for Elias, and as much as I love him, I’m not sure what beating the same guy over and over proves. The amount of thought WWE puts into some of these mid card feuds is depressing.

BRAUN

Braun Strowman took on Matt Hardy in a lovely little match that continued Braun’s rebuilding after the baffling booking at No Mercy. My favorite spot was Matt Hardy surprisingly getting some offense in, hitting a twist of fate only for Braun to kick out at 1. Squash matches can be effective, but there are a lot of different ways to build up a guy like Braun. He doesn’t have to dominate the offense 100-0 in every single match, and I think it’s more effective to see him take moves and recover rather than just steamroll through everybody. As I mentioned earlier, The Shield confronting/triple power bombing him through the announce table made sense from a character standpoint, but I don’t envy them having to deal with Braun in a TLC match in less than two weeks.

The Asuka Holding Pattern

The women’s division got three segments last night including one match, and TLC can’t come soon enough for everyone involved. The first segment was Bayley, Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox, Dana Brooke & Emma inexplicably trying to convince Kurt Angle they should each be the favorite to face Asuka at TLC. Umm do you all remember what Asuka did in NXT? The only thing stupider than enticing Braun Strowman might be enticing Asuka. That leads to a five way elimination match that wasn’t the crispest match in the world. The final three ended up being Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox & Emma. Banks had Fox in the Banks Statement, and Fox kind of half tapped out, so the ref wasn’t sure if he should make the call or not. Banks kept the Banks Statement in until finally JoJo made the announcement that Fox was eliminated. Once Banks let go of the hold, Emma clumsily rolled her up and will now most likely get her head kicked off again by Asuka.

Mickie James and Alexa Bliss traded barbs again, and while I enjoyed Mickie’s promo, WWE going with an age feud for the women’s division is another sign of how little they care about anything outside the main event scene. Mickie James is 38 years old. While she and Bliss do have a 12 year age difference, that speaks more to Bliss’s youth than James being older. Nia Jax is 33. Asuka is 36. It’s just a lazy storyline that doesn’t even make sense. If Mickie was in her 50s or 60s maybe you can run that storyline, but trying to make it a big deal that a 38 year old woman is wrestling is just dumb.

Sister Abigail

Bray Wyatt the wrestling character has been in a rut for what feels like forever. I’ve written about it a million times, so I shouldn’t be shocked that WWE once again went the stupidest route when it comes to decisions for his character, but here I am, sighing dramatically. Bray Wyatt has beaten Finn Balor once on a random Raw and then lost to him as The Demon at Summerslam and then as regular old Finn Balor at No Mercy. Instead of ending the feud and doing literally anything else, Bray continues to challenge Finn Balor, except now he’s doing it as Sister Abigail, which is literally Bray with a black sheet over his face.

Finn Balor tries to sell it like he just saw his parents getting murdered but between Finn’s awful acting and the silliness of it all, it just doesn’t work. If WWE really isn’t going to make Sister Abigail her own separate character then this might be the final nail in the coffin of the Bray Wyatt character.

Cruiserweights

The cruiserweights got two matches last night. The first was Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali vs. Jack Gallagher & Brian Kendrick. Alexander and Ali are two of the most exciting guys in the division, so naturally they lost when Kendrick pinned Alexander. All four guys were back out for the main event, which was Enzo vs. Kalisto for the cruiserweight title in a lumberjack match. Enzo ran his mouth a little too long earlier in the night, so GM Angle moved up the proposed title match from TLC to last night. This was easily Enzo’s best singles match, and I like how the ending made sense. Enzo, being the douche that he is, kicked Mustafa Ali during the match, so when Enzo hit his finisher and had the match won, Ali returned the favor broke up the pin. That allowed Kalisto gain the upper hand and a hit beautiful top rope Salida Del Sol for the win. While Kalisto as champion will improve the quality of cruiserweight title matches, it would have made sense to keep Enzo as champ longer, as the longer he was champ the more the crowd would have wanted to see him lose.

-Ryan

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

The Updated #WWE #Summerslam Card & Previews For Every Match

Photo: WWE

Summerslam is only 10 days away, and things are heating up as we inch closer towards WWE’s Biggest Party of the Summer. While the match card hasn’t been finalized yet, there are 10 bouts already on the show, so let’s take a look at the confirmed matches and speculate on what else could be added.

Make sure to check back on the site next Friday for our official preview & predictions post for both Summerslam and TakeOver Brooklyn III.

Confirmed Matches

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

Photo: WWE

I’m not as well versed on Smackdown feuds as I am with Raw, but WWE aren’t exactly the Coen Brothers when it comes to telling stories so I’m pretty sure I can figure things out. 2017 has been a frustrating year for Rusev. He missed WrestleMania due to a shoulder injury, got separated from Lana and when he finally debuted on Smackdown, he got thrown into a USA themed feud with John Cena that he obviously lost.

You’d think that’d be enough awfulness for one year, but now he’s slotted against Randy Orton, the man with less momentum than a nailed down piece of wood. Orton started the year off strong with a Royal Rumble win and a World title win at WrestleMania, but everything post Mania has been awful. He was in the House of Horrors match & has lost to Jinder Mahal three pay per views in a row. Even though he inexplicably got a clean non title win over Mahal on Tuesday, he’s still tanking.

In a perfect world, this would be a spot to give Rusev a win at a major pay per view over someone with name value, but we do not live in a perfect world. RKO out of somewhere will win it for Orton.

Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt

If you’ve been following the story of Bray Wyatt, you know all his storylines have three acts. Act 1. Start a feud by teleporting in and costing someone a match. Act 2. build up that feud with teleportation/spooky dark room promos. Act 3. Lose the match at a pay per view. We’re all the way though act 1 and almost through act 2, so the only thing left for Wyatt to do is lose to Balor at Summerslam. I really hope I’m wrong, but Balor hasn’t done much since returning from injury, and he wasn’t even on the GBOF card. Wyatt beat Rollins at that show, which was nice, but his track record causes me to believe he’s going to lose to Balor at the more important PPV.

This one could go either way, but I’m leaning towards Balor.

Big Cass vs. Big Show (Enzo Amore will be suspended in a shark cage above the ring)

Dear lord please let this be the blow off match. The Enzo & Cass feud has been going in circles for what feels like forever, and adding Big Show into the mix hasn’t exactly been refreshing. I’ve read a few articles that think this has been a long con between Enzo & Cass and they’ll turn on the Big Show, but that’d be a hell of a lot of work for a mediocre result. I wouldn’t mind Enzo/Cass teaming back up as heels to add some depth to the tag division, but there’s no way WWE is doing that. Enzo in a shark cage means there’s a 1,000% chance he’s dropping something into the ring that’s meant for Big Show, but will end up Big Cass’s hands when the referee is knocked out or sleeping or trying to hang himself from boredom.

Big Cass by default.

John Cena vs. Baron Corbin

With Cena presumably fading into the Hollywood sunset this fall, this should be a spotlight win for Baron Corbin. I know this argument comes up every time Cena fights a younger guy in a big match, but John literally gains nothing with a win here, while Corbin could gain so much. He already has the MITB briefcase, and assuming Nakamura wins the title (which I’ll get to later) giving Corbin a win over Cena would make him that much more dangerous as he chases Nak.

It doesn’t even need to be a clean win. Have him kick Cena in the dick, set him on fire, whatever. WWE baby faces will never be as popular as they want them to be unless they have a legitimate heel to oppose them. If Corbin beats Cena at Summerslam, he’ll be on his way to being a true threat to whoever is holding the title.

Baron Corbin, NO RAGRETS

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

In my Raw review’s I’ve said that I’d be interested in pretty much anyone else challenging Neville for the Cruiserweight title. I don’t understand the appeal of having guys like Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Gran Metalik & Mustafa Ali waste away on 205 Live & Main Event while Tozawa is given a title shot. At the least this should be a multi man match, but since it’s one on one, all I want is for Neville to rip Tozawa’s arm off and beat Titus O’Neil with it.

Neville should win convincingly.

Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: New Day (C) vs. The Uso’s

New Day & The Uso’s have been having a very under the radar feud on Smackdown, and this is one of the matches I’m most excited for. As solid as Xavier Woods was at Battleground, the best wrestling version of New Day is always Big E & Kofi, so I’m glad to see they’ll be defending the straps. The Uso’s picked up a decisive win on Tuesday over Sami Zayn & Tye Dillinger, and New Day also showed some much needed aggression in their post match attack. You get the sense that these two teams really dislike each other, which is an element that’s missing from a lot of modern day feuds. If they’re given as much time as they were at Battleground, this could turn into a classic.

This is a toss up for me, but if I HAD to choose, I’m going Uso’s.

Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi (C) vs. Natalya

It’s refreshing to see the Women’s title defended in a one on one match at a major pay per view. I understand the mindset of wanting to get as much people on the card as possible, but the title feels more important when there’s a standout challenger. It’s also nice to see Natalya given a title match at a major pay per view, and as the senior member of the Women’s division I think she and Naomi are going to put on a hell of a match. Summerslam is slated for 4 hours (plus a 2 hour pre show) so there’s no reason to not give each match the time it needs to tell a story. Similar to Mahal/Nakamura, the result of this match may not matter as Carmella should be lurking in the background with her MITB briefcase.

Naomi retains after a hard fought match, and Carmella capitalizes and cashes in.

WWE United States Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Kevin Owens (Shane McMahon as special guest referee)

Whenever you put AJ Styles and Kevin Owens together they have a chance to do something special, so my only request for this match is to let them do what they do best, which is wrestle and tell a story. I know that’s a lot to ask when Shane McMahon is the special guest referee, but this is a different Shane O Mac than the one we saw ref matches in the late 90s & early 2000s.

The general consensus is that this will lead to KO vs. Shane somewhere down the line (since we’ve already seen Shane vs. AJ) but again, all I want is for these two to wrestle their asses off. Leave the shenanigans for another day. This match doesn’t need AJ getting his foot stuck in the announce table or a confusing ending based on shoulder placement. You have two of the best wrestlers in the world in a title match at your second biggest pay per view. Let them work their magic.

I’m very into workhorse mid card champion AJ Styles, so I’m going with AJ.

WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

This is the match I’m most nervous about. While it’s great to see a fresh face as champion, Jinder Mahal’s title reign hasn’t been great. While a lot of that has to do with him only fighting Randy Orton, you also have to remember who Jinder Mahal was before this run. He was the third best member in 3MB during his former run and his most noteworthy moment during his last run on Raw was hitting Finn Balor too hard in the head. Just because he’s champion doesn’t mean he’s magically going to turn into AJ Styles in the ring.

Nakamura has also had some growing pains since debuting on the main roster. He’s had subpar matches with Ziggler, KO & Corbin, all of whom are capable of much more, especially against Nak. If Nakamura can’t have good to great matches with those three, is he capable of doing it with Jinder Mahal? Are we in for another bad match with Singh Brother interference? I always skew positive when it comes to pro wrestling, but this match doesn’t have a lot going for it.

Nakamura should win this match. Even if you have the Singh Brothers interfere, Nakamura is clearly the star of this match, and he should be able to overcome the odds and Kinshasa Jinder to win the belt. While Corbin could always cash in his MITB briefcase post match, don’t forget about John Cena. I can picture a scenario where Corbin beats Cena, and then Cena stops a possible cash in on new champion Nakamura, someone who Cena has already shown has earned his respect.

Fatal 4 Way Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe

The biggest compliment I can give this match is that no result would surprise me. If Lesnar wins and retains the title somehow, it would make sense because he’s Brock Lesnar. If Samoa Joe or Strowman win, you’re giving them their first major title win at your second biggest pay per view. If Rollins & Ambrose win the tag titles earlier in the night and help Reigns win the Universal title in the main event I’ll probably lose consciousness.

The biggest stipulation is the announcement that if Lesnar loses, he’ll leave WWE. It’s no secret that he wants back in the UFC, and it’s tough to train for that and appear for WWE at the same time. As awesome as Brock is, he’s always better in small doses, and he doesn’t need the title. He can show up and murder everyone every 6 months or so until he’s 60. If his heart is set on returning to the UFC, let him do it and then welcome him back with open arms if he wants to return.

My heart is set on Samoa Joe winning here, so that’s who I’m going with. Lesnar leaves temporarily, Strowman & Reigns become de facto number one contenders and Joe gets a title he almost over deserves.

Additional Matches

There are already 10 confirmed matches, but that will immediately change to 12 after Monday’s Raw. Alexa Bliss will defend her Women’s title against the winner of Sasha Banks/Nia Jax & I’d expect Rollins & Ambrose vs. Cesaro & Sheamus for the Raw tag belts to be announced as well. Goldust teased ‘an unveiling’ last Monday, so he should be on the card in some capacity. Miz vs. Jason Jordan? Hardy’s vs. The Club? Fashion Files? The sky is the limit for a 6 hour wrestling show, so make sure to check back next week for our official preview post.

-Ryan

 

 

%d bloggers like this: