Randy Orton had the long weekend off to spend some time at home by the pool with his family. But just because The Viper isn’t inside a WWE ring, doesn’t mean he won’t attack at any moment. That kid never saw the RKO coming. I’m also glad Randy loves the RKO Outta Nowhere just as much as the rest of us.
— Bray Wyatt (@WWEBrayWyatt) February 13, 2017
If you didn’t catch last night’s Elimination Chamber pay per view, you missed out on a landmark moment for one of WWE’s rising star and in my opinion, it’s greatest character. Bray Wyatt outlasted The Miz, Baron Corbin, Dean Ambrose, John Cena and AJ Styles to become the WWE Champion in the main event, pinning Cena and Styles to pickup the win. This is inexplicably Wyatt’s first singles title in the WWE, and it’s hard to think of someone more deserving. While guys like Reigns, Rollins, Ambrose, Owens & Styles have won titles during their brief singles careers, Wyatt has been relegated to a frustrating pattern of stop and start pushes. He’s carried WrestleMania season feuds with John Cena and The Undertaker, only to lose on the big stage and be sent back to the mid card. Last night he finally grabbed the brass ring, and he did it by himself. There was no assistance from Luke Harper or Randy Orton or a surprise return from Erick Rowan; it was just Wyatt, in his all glory, Sister Abigailing himself to championship gold. While anything could happen between now and WM, the smart and logical story is going to be Orton/Wyatt for the title in one of the main events, so Bray Wyatt should go into WrestleMania as the defending WWE Champion.
The biggest party of the summer is once again emanating from Brooklyn, New York, as the WWE holds their annual Summerslam pay per view this Sunday night. This year’s card is pretty incredible, and that shouldn’t surprise WWE fans, as more times than not in the recent past, Summerslam has been a very good show. Summerslam 2013 featured Daniel Bryan winning the WWE Championship, only to have special guest referee HHH take him out and allow Randy Orton to cash in his MITB briefcase. That kicked off one of the more memorable Road to WrestleMania’s, which culminated in Daniel Bryan putting on the best one man show in WM history and winning back the WWE Championship in the main event. Summerslam 2014 featured one of my favorite matches, as Brock Lesnar surprisingly decimated John Cena on his way to winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. While last year’s Undertaker/Lesnar main event fell flat, the overall card was solid, and it officially brought Seth Rollins to the big boys table after he defeated John Cena. What will this year’s event bring? Let’s get to the preview and predictions!
Eva Marie, Natalya and Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella, Naomi and Becky Lynch
So Sami Zayn doesn’t have a match at Summerslam but Eva Marie does. Nothing against Eva Marie, but that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Anyway, this match was made after last night’s Smackdown, and it’s should serve as a nice showcase for the six women who will eventually be fighting for the Smackdown’s Women’s title (if that ever becomes a thing). The positive side of not having a bunch of titles on each show is that it forces the creative team to come up with storylines that don’t revolve around two people vying for a championship. This should create more personal feuds, and whether it does or not will depend on the Smackdown writing team. As far as this match goes, it will be Carmella and Alexa Bliss’s first WWE pay per view, so it’d be cool to see them involved in the finish in some way. With Ms. All Red Everything involved though, I can see Alexa or Natalya landing a knockout blow during a fracas and Eva Marie sneaking in for a pin to claim the victory.
Prediction: Eva Marie, Natalya & Alexa Bliss
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens
These four guys have been given the opening segment for the two out of three Raw’s, and have given us a thoroughly entertaining feud. 2016 Jericho continues to be great, and somehow gets better when you pair him with Kevin Owens. I love that Owens has hated Enzo and Cass since NXT, and that hatred has only gotten stronger now that they’re all on the main roster. The dynamic of Enzo and Cass works well too, as Enzo runs his mouth and clearly isn’t afraid of anybody, but doesn’t pose much of a physical threat until Big Cass gets involved. While I’d like Enzo & Cass to be in the tag title hunt, I’m perfectly OK with them mixing it up with two guys who know how to bring out the best in them. I have to assume that this Jericho/Owens tag team won’t last long, but I’m ok with it either way. Jericho is a tag team chameleon, so if they do stay together, why not let them make a run at the titles? If they don’t stay together, I’m all in for a Jericho/Owens feud, especially in the promo department.
Prediction: Enzo & Cass pick up a big win at a marque pay per view, continuing their rise to the top of the tag team division
IC Title Match: The Miz (C) vs. Apollo Crews
Now that the Miz’s fantastic feud with Darren Young is over, it’s time to give Apollo Crews something to work with. He came into NXT as a big new signee, but was never given much of a character and stalled out. He came onto the main roster as a fresh new thing, but was never given a character and is starting to stall out again. I’m a huge fan of the Miz, and he’s one of the best characters WWE has (especially with Maryse), but it’s time to get Crews going. He’s got a million dollar smile and for his build, he does some pretty amazing things. I have complete confidence that Miz can bring out the best in Crews, and put him over big time for what is hopefully a semi long title run.
Prediction: Apollo Crews
US Championship Match: Rusev (C) vs. Roman Reigns
This is a classic heart vs. brain match for me. My heart is, and will forever always be, with Rusev. He’s the most underrated guy on the roster and every time they’ve given him something to work with he’s knocked it out of the park. HE RODE A TANK TO THE RING AT WRESTLEMANIA. While I understand having Cena beat Rusev for the US title, they backed themselves into a corner by giving Rusev a long undefeated streak. Undefeated streaks in pro wrestling are the worst thing in the world because there is no good way to end them. The best example of this is Goldberg. The guy was the hottest thing in wrestling, held both the US and Heavyweight titles at the same time, and eventually lost because Scott Hall tazored him. Now Rusev finally has some momentum again and I have that feeling I had before WrestleMania 31 where WWE is going to have the hero come in and defeat the evil Russian, even though Rusev has been the good guy during every single moment of this feud. Remember last week when Rusev and Lana were innocently reenacting their wedding and Roman Reigns came out, unprovoked, and called Lana a mail order bride and made fun of Rusev because he couldn’t please his wife sexually on their wedding night? Remember when Roman Reigns complained and was just handed another title match? How does that make Reigns the hero in this feud? Add in the fact that Reigns is so goddamn boring, and I see no reason why Rusev should lose. Which brings me to my prediction…
Prediction: Roman Reigns. Let’s just move on.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus: Best of 7 Series Kickoff Match
While I love this move by GM Mick Foley, I do wish this had been set up prior to Cesaro and Sheamus already fighting twice on Raw. If Cesaro loses this series, shouldn’t he be furious that Foley basically ignored two hard fought, clean victories? I understand you can’t start a best of 7 series 2-0, but why not start this up a few weeks ago when Foley said he wanted to see who the better man was? If you make the best of 7 series then, you could make the Summerslam match number 3 or 4 in the series, and possibly continue it through the fall. Instead, WWE hits the reset button and we’re just supposed to forget that Cesaro has already beaten Sheamus twice. With that said, we should get a great match at Summerslam with a decent story behind it, so I’m all for it. While Sheamus is very good in the ring, his character is so bland it’s tough to care about him either way. Cesaro has all the talent in the world, but WWE just won’t let him get any continued momentum, so it’s tough for the casual fan to root for him. Hopefully this is the start of an extended showcase for both wrestlers with Cesaro eventually coming out on top.
John Cena vs. AJ Styles
Since coming to the WWE, AJ Styles has been one of their best performers. He had a great feud with Jericho, then slid into the #1 contenders spot and put on a few classic matches with Roman Reigns. Now he’s going up against Mr. Superman and even though he’s already beat him once (CLEAN) they’re having a rematch. I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen here. It’s almost the same thing as Rusev/Reigns, except on a much bigger scale. Styles has a chance to be one of if not THE top guy in WWE, but he has to go through John Cena to get there. Kevin Owens tried, and failed. Rusev tried, and failed. Bray Wyatt tried, and failed. Why would Styles be any different? A classic John Cena feud has him lose at a B pay per view, then get his win back at a bigger show. Guess what? AJ Styles beat John Cena at MITB, and now they’re fighting at Summerslam, a much bigger show. History tells us John Cena is going to win, and there’s a reason I use that picture above for every Cena match I preview. While I’d love to happily be proved wrong, I’m going with Superman.
Prediction: John Cena
Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
If you held this match before UFC 200, Brock Lesnar would eat Randy Orton for lunch. Lesnar was as unstoppable as anyone in recent memory until he decided to go back to the UFC and fail a few drug tests. While WWE doesn’t have the power to suspend him, they have to be embarrassed and upset at Brock to act as carelessly as he did, especially given the circumstances of WWE suspending Reigns shortly afterwards. Regardless of UFC fights and drug test failures, Lesnar steps back into the ring for the first time since WrestleMania as he takes on Randy Orton at Summerslam. While Lesnar hasn’t fought since WM, Orton is coming off of an almost year long hiatus due to injury, and although he’s fought a few matches on Smackdown since coming back, nothing can really prepare you for The Beast Incarnate. As much as I’d love to see Brock destroy Orton a la John Cena at Summerslam 2014, I just don’t see it happening. The WWE loves that ‘RKO Outta Nowhere’ talking point, and it really fits into this storyline perfectly. Whether Lesnar wins or loses, he should dominate the match, until an RKO Outta Nowhere surprises him and gives Orton the win. As I said before, I bet the original plan for this match was for Brock to return and destroy a worthy competitor in Orton, but now I’m not so sure. Vince McMahon was kind enough to let Lesnar fight in the UFC while under contract with the WWE, and Lesnar basically spit in his face. The Beast is going to have to pay for that.
Prediction: Randy Orton
Tag Team Championship Match: New Day (Kofi & Xavier) vs. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
This is an interesting match, and it has rematch written all over it. As much I love Xavier Woods, the best in-ring version of New Day is Kofi & Big E. Now that Big E has suffered a ‘contusion to his groin area’ at the hands of Anderson & Gallows, New Day is forced to defend the tag titles with the team of Xavier and Kofi. Does Big E make a surprise comeback and help New Day retain? Or do Gallows and Anderson take advantage of the weakened unit and win tag team gold? New Day has done a lot of good as tag team champions, but they are way overdue for a loss. Similar to having Styles beat Cena, having Gallows and Anderson go over the longest reigning tag team champions of the modern era at Summerslam would be huge for them. Why bring these guys in from Japan if you’re not going to do something with them? Plus, you have a built in excuse for a rematch with the Big E injury, so why not give your new tag team a big win at a major event? Give Karl Anderson and his hot Asian wife a reason to celebrate.
Prediction: Gallows & Anderson
Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks (C) vs. Charlotte
‘Women’s Championship’ has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? After suffering through the Diva’s division for so long, its nice to see the women slowly but surely making headway on the main roster. If there’s any two women the WWE Universe can thank for that, it’s Sasha Banks & Charlotte. They (along with Bayley and Becky Lynch) tore it up in NXT and forced WWE to start recognizing women for their in ring talent and not just because they looked good in a bikini. Sasha & Charlotte had the best one on one main roster women’s singles match on Raw a few weeks back, so if this match is anything close to that, it’ll be fantastic. Dana Brooke being banned from ringside is an interesting twist, and I can see either Ric Flair coming out or Dana dressed as Ric to try and cause some interference. Regardless of outside interference, the title has to stay on The Boss here. Sasha is not only the best in the ring, but she has a strong connection with the fans which goes back to her time in NXT and her look and personality give her a strong mainstream appeal. If the rumors of Charlotte taking time off are true, that’s just another reason to keep Sasha as the champion and to develop a new round of challengers for The Boss to dispatch. Don’t be surprised if Nia Jax makes a post match appearance as well to set up the next Women’s championship feud.
Prediction: Sasha Banks
WWE World Championship Match: Dean Ambrose (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler
This has been one of the more enjoyable feuds on the card, and it’s safe to say no one is enjoying the brand split more than Dolph Ziggler. He’s looked like a star since the first Smackdown Live and hasn’t looked back. I really like Ambrose as the figure head for Smackdown as well, because he’s a great talker and while he might not be the greatest threat in the ring, he figures out a way to get the job done. When Ziggler became #1 contender, it was an interesting dynamic because both wrestlers were baby faces, but Ambrose has slowly been turning heel over the last few weeks. While I doubt he goes full heel, it does give this match a little more suspense than before. Will Ambrose cheat to win? Ziggler is a good guy based on fan reactions, but is he above cheating to finally stand alone at the top? I expect this to be an expertly wrestled match, and as much as I’ll be rooting for Ziggler, I think Ambrose deserves a longer title reign.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose
WWE Universal Championship Match: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
While I’m pretty sure Orton/Lesnar will go on last, I think that’s a mistake. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor to crown the first ever Universal Champion should absolutely be the main event, and the WWE is crazy if they do anything else. Balor is the MAN. He’s got the entrance, the charisma, the look, the in ring skills; whatever you’re looking for, Finn Balor has it. He’s made every promotion he’s ever worked for better just by being in it, whether it be NJPW or NXT. If WWE gives him a real shot, he’ll do the same thing for Monday Night Raw. Balor had one of the best in ring debuts ever a few weeks ago, and he can’t ask for a better dance partner than Rollins at Summerslam. Since separating from The Shield and cashing in his MITB briefcase at WrestleMania 31, Rollins has been the standard bearer for the WWE. While they wasted his talent by turning him into a cry baby champion, Rollins still made the best of it and turned into a heel who was impossible to boo. His injury came at an inopportune time, but he busted his butt to get back, and now finds himself right back where he belongs: fighting for a title. If this was Rollins vs. Balor, I’d give the edge to Rollins and have him be the first Universal Champion. Unfortunately for Seth, Finn Balor is bringing The Demon with him to Summerslam. While The Demon has lost in NXT, it’d be a mistake to have him lose his first appearance at a major pay per view. The fact that Rollins is focusing so heavily on The Demon gives me hope that Rollins will unleash a demon side of his own at Summerslam, but either way, I’m going with Finn.
Prediction: Finn Balor
Watch Richard Sherman Try To Give Clay Matthews An RKO In The Only Intersting Moment Of The Pro Bowl
The Pro Bowl was terrible and boring just like it always is, but thanks to Richard Sherman, we did get a few seconds of fun. After a play which saw Sherman line up as a wide receiver, he moseyed on over to the middle of the field and tried to hit an unsuspecting Clay Matthews with an RKO. For those of you who are not wrestling fans, an RKO is exactly what you just saw, except Clay Matthews would have laid flat out on his stomach and probably broke his neck since he was wearing a helmet. I still don’t understand how the NFL can mess up the Pro Bowl this badly, and it looked especially bad with the insanely fun NHL all star game going on at the same time. Damn you Roger Goodell. Damn you.
WWE Payback is this Sunday, and thanks to back to back solid Raw’s, there’s a decent amount of hype for the show. The Diva’s title won’t be defended, but four guys cos-playing 80’s wrestlers are on the kickoff show! The main event is a Fatal Four Way for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and John Cena is in a match where the only way he can lose is if he says ‘I Quit’. I wonder how that’s going to end? Let’s get to the preview and predictions!
Pre Show Match: Curtis Axel & Macho ‘Damien’ Mandow vs. The Ascension
If there’s one NXT call up that I’m willing to give WWE a pass on for screwing them up, it’s The Ascension. I never really enjoyed them in NXT, and the only reason they were the longest reigning NXT Tag champs is because they were the biggest guys in the division. The other tag teams that dominated during that timeframe either split up so one could become a star (British Ambition, Neville & Graves) or got called up to the main roster (Harper & Rowan). I don’t know if it’s just me, but face paint just doesn’t work in this era. Unless you’re grandfathered in like Goldust or turning yourself into a demon like Finn Balor, the blotchy face paint look isn’t going to get you anywhere. Combine that with the fact that they’re not great in the ring, and although they’re big in stature, they’re not really defined. If you’re going to wear face paint, you better be monsters like the Road Warriors or no one is going to take you seriously. Speaking of no one taking a team seriously, Sandow and Axel are recreating the Mega Powers on about 1/1,000,000th of a scale. Time will tell if this act will work, but I’d rather see Sandow and Axel given a chance to be a tag team as themselves, rather than playing characters from 30 years ago.
Prediction: Mandow & Axel by default.
Divas Tag Team Match: Naomi & Tamina Snuka vs. The Bella Twins
Naomi got sick of losing because the Bella’s outnumbered her, so she enlisted the help of her enormous relative by marriage Tamina Snuka, which automatically makes Naomi the smartest Diva in history. The Bella twins won’t outwrestle you, or out tough you, but there’s two of them and one of you, so if you don’t do anything to change that, they’ll most likely beat you. Now that Naomi has evened the odds, the WWE gives her a tag team match, which I don’t like. Why not make Naomi and Tamina the female version of HBK and Diesel and get the Bella twins into something fresh? Don’t they hate each other? Was all that forgotten? Since we’re stuck with this tag team match, I hope Naomi and Tamina win, and that HBK/Diesel thing I mentioned happens soon. I’m also going to keep predicting the Bella’s breakup until it finally happens.
Prediction: Naomi & Tamina after Tamina kicks Brie’s head off and they surgically replace her healthy neck onto Daniel Bryan’s body.
Bray Wyatt vs. Ryback
I can’t remember the last time I was as frustrated with a character as I am with the way WWE has booked Bray Wyatt. For the past two years, he’s been great from June-March, and then WrestleMania comes along and he loses clean, which pretty much kills everything he had done before that. Losing to Cena last year was bad enough, but after calling out the Undertaker and single handedly carrying their feud into WrestleMania, having him lose clean again, rather easily might I add, now makes him look like a fraud. If you’re going to build a guy as primarily a talker, you can’t have him lose the few matches he actually wrestles, or else all that talking means nothing. The only glimmer of hope I see for Wyatt is that the Wyatt Family looks to be reforming, and with Harper & Rowan left without a match Sunday, I hope they help Wyatt out or at least tease a reunion. What’s a preacher without people to preach to? What’s a shepherd without his flock? Wyatt needs the Wyatt Family, and all three of these guys deserve to be relevant again. As far as Ryback goes, he’s lost in mid card land, and if I had to choose which guy gets elevated between he and Wyatt, I’m choosing Wyatt every day.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt wins, and the Wyatt Family restarts their reign of terror with the addition of Bo Dallas. Why not?
King Barrett vs. Neville
If you’ve read any of my Raw Recaps or PPV prediction blogs, you know I love Neville. He’s the most unique guy on the roster, and he brings a level of excitement to each show that is unmatched. He’s consistently gotten the upper hand on Barrett in the past, so I think that changes here. Barrett is the king (literally) of losing pay per view matches, but if WWE really wants to run with this King Barrett gimmick he needs to start beating people outside of tag team matches. He’s too good in the ring and on the microphone to be misused, and a hard fought loss here doesn’t hurt Neville at all.
Prediction: King Barrett. I’m still patiently waiting for him to smash somebody in the head with his scepter.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
This should be a can’t miss feud, and while the matches have been great, the start of it had way too many ass kissing implications. What should have been over at Extreme Rules has trickled all the way to Payback, and any time either of them is on commentary or in the ring the announce team can’t stop talking about how Sheamus needs to kiss Ziggler’s ass. How about, I don’t know, focusing the feud on wrestling, or the fact that Sheamus thinks guy’s like Ziggler aren’t big and strong enough to be in the ring with him? If the match plays on that plot point, it has the ability to steal the show. If the match features a bunch of false ass kissing moments, it will not.
Prediction: Sheamus. He has to win right? All he’s done since coming back is lose, and nobody loses important pay per view matches quite like Dolph Ziggler.
2 out of 3 Falls Match For The Tag Team Championship Match: New (C) vs. Cesaro & Kidd
If Ziggler/Sheamus goes the ass kissing route, then this is my pick for match of the night. The last time Cesaro was in a 2 out of 3 falls match, he lost the first two falls to Ziggler, which goes against everything WWE usually does in this kind of match. I expect this match to go all three falls, with one of the first two ending quickly. Cesaro and Big E had a great hoss fight on Raw, and these two teams are clearly the best in the division. While they may not be saying much, both teams are fun to watch, and I expect some New Day shenanigans to go on during this match. I can’t think of a reason why New Day would make this 2 out of 3 falls except to be able to sub in and out guys in each fall. Big E and Kofi might fight the first fall, but then Xavier Woods could sub in for the second, and then whoever rested for the second could sub in for the third. I’m assuming that’s why Booker T yelled ‘FREEBIRD RULES’ for three straight hours a couple weeks ago on Raw. As far as the finish, I’m kind of torn. Both teams have looked good lately, and I can see both teams winning.
Prediction: Picking with my heart, I’m going with Cesaro/Kidd. New Day retaining makes more sense, but I want Cesaro to have all the titles all the time.
I Quit Match For The US Championship: John Cena (C) vs. Rusev
Remember when Rusev was the best guy on the roster? Yeah, me too, but that’s what happens when a cool young heel feuds with Superman. Superman kills him. Since Fast Lane, Rusev has lost to Cena twice, done irreparable damage to his angelic manager and got himself into the WORST possible situation when it comes to John Cena: fighting him in an I Quit match. John Cena’s catchphrase is Never Give Up. That’s literally his catchphrase. He says it in every promo, it’s on every one of his shirts and it’s his life motto. Trying to defeat John Cena in an I Quit match is like trying to defeat a dragon in a flying contest. It ain’t gonna happen. As much as I love the US title open challenge contest Cena’s got going, this is the second year in a row he’s basically ruined a great heel. He did it to Wyatt, who still hasn’t recovered because he lost AGAIN at this year’s WrestleMania, and now he’s doing it to Rusev. If the rumors of Rusev and Lana’s split are true and Rusev loses this match by quitting, where he does he go from here? The WWE have backed themselves into a corner here and I don’t like where this is going for Rusev.
Prediction: John Cena. Bet your house on it.
Fatal Four Way Match For The WWE World Heavyweight Title: Seth Rollins (C) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose
This is the battle of wrestlers with first and last names, and up until Monday night, I had a crazy, unfounded feeling that The Shield might reunite here. But then everyone kicked Rollin’s ass to close Raw and there’s no way it happens Sunday night. Now that the possibility of one of the best factions ever reuniting is off the table, it’s time to figure out who’s going to win this match. The easy answer is Rollins. He’s the best guy WWE has right now and he’s the perfect type of champion to have after Lesnar. Lesnar was an unbeatable monster, Rollins needs the help of his personal security just to retain against Neville. It adds a layer of excitement to every championship match because there’s always a chance Rollins could lose. With Kane’s Director of Operations job on the line, and WWE’s obsessiveness with dragging out story lines, I’d say Rollins is the favorite here. Next up I’d say is Orton. If he doesn’t win here, he kind of has to move on to something else. Reigns should stay in the main event picture because he still hasn’t gotten a one on one title shot since Rollins cashed in at Mania, and we’re only a few months away from the Big Bad Beast known as Brock Lesnar coming back. Ambrose and Reigns have pretty much the same shot at winning, which isn’t saying much, because I don’t think the time is right for either of them. Ambrose isn’t ready yet and hyping Reigns up and having him main event Mania only to have him win the title at Payback wouldn’t make sense either.
Prediction: Rollins retains, and holds the title until Lesnar returns and The Shield reunites at Summerslam to save their old comrade. Book it now, WWE!
As always, we’ll be tweeting live Sunday night @averagenobodies. Come check us out and enjoy the show.
Extreme Rules was last night and the first post WM pay per view was a solid show overall. Daniel Bryan’s precious bunny neck caused him to miss the show, but rising star Neville took his place. In a shocking twist, John Cena retained his US title and Sheamus made an unconscious Dolph Ziggler kiss his ass. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Extreme Rules show.
At this point, if I’m reviewing a show or pay per view that Neville is apart of, there’s a 100% chance he’s going to be one of my stars. I don’t want to jinx it, but I can’t compliment WWE enough for how they’ve booked Neville since his debut. After a quick first squash, he was put into a match with the WWE Champion, then Dolph Ziggler, and now Bad News Barrett. Although he lost to Rollins and Ziggler, he proved he can hang with them immediately, which I believe does more good than having him squash a bunch of low card guys. I also love that the mid card titles are now something guys of value are trying to attain. The WWE has this weird theory that whoever loses a title automatically becomes the new #1 contender. It’s fine, but my problem with that is that it delays the start of new feuds. Neville beating Barrett twice in the same week automatically puts him in either the #1 contender spot or somewhere close, so when Bryan returns there are going to be at least two people gunning for his title. Also, this was Neville’s first pay per view win since joining the main roster, and he won clean.
One of the things I wasn’t looking forward to last night was seeing either Sheamus’s or Dolph Ziggler’s ass, and luckily we didn’t see too much. Ziggler won the match, but Sheamus was the one who got the upper hand (cheek) on Ziggler. Dolph is not the brightest bulb in the world, and for some reason he thought the guy who returned from injury with a Mohawk and a newfound sense of hurting people was just going to pucker up and kiss his butt. Instead, he got a low blow and a boot to the face, and then had his unconscious face rubbed against Sheamus’s ass cheek. Not Ziggler’s finest moment, but bad guy Sheamus is a guy I can get behind. You’re not going to root for him because he’s an asshole, but I’m all for him having hoss fights with the likes of Ziggler and Bryan and Neville. Also, his new music is awesome and I’ll never get tired of typing that.
New Day won the tag titles, but Cesaro, per usual, was the star of the match. Slowly transitioning Cesaro and Kidd to good guys while simultaneously turning New Day heel is not as easy as WWE is making it look, but it’s working perfectly. They knew the Chicago crowd would be cheering for Cesaro and Kidd and they knew that the same crowd would be chanting ‘New Day Sucks’, so why not feed into that? Cesaro and Kidd haven’t been together long but they’re both excellent in the ring and have created some fun to watch tag team moves. The over the rope suplex followed by a top rope elbow drop and the swing into the dropkick are crowd pleasers, and just make a tag team match better. Cesaro snatching Big E and Kofi out of the air and throwing them around will always be impressive, and I’d be fine with watching him do that for every match until the end of time. The end of the match makes sense, too, as New Day is using their 3 on 2 advantage to distract teams and win matches. That’s what smart heel teams do, but I do hope that Cesaro and Kidd stay in the tag title hunt.
4. The Last Man Standing Match
I went into the Last Man Standing match last night with zero expectations, but Big Show deserves an ice cream cone or something for his performance. He and Reigns just basically beat the crap out of each other, and while the crowd was clamoring for tables throughout the night, I’m glad they saved it for this match. The WWE and it’s superstars/divas are over saturated because we see them so much. On a week that includes a pay per view, the WWE puts on 8 hours of television, plus Main Event, Superstars, Backstage Fallout videos and whatever else they have planned for that week. With so much TV time to produce, certain shows can feel monotonous and employ the same kind of matches. If Ambrose/Harper had put themselves through tables in the opening match, the Show and Reigns table spots wouldn’t have been as effective. Reigns looked great, and Big Show looked like a worthy adversary, which also helps out Reigns. The table spots were also really well done, especially Big Show choke slamming Reigns from the ring to the outside through two tables and Reigns spearing Show from on top of one table and through the next one.
5. Seth Rollins
What a slimy piece of shit Seth Rollins is. The ending of the main event cage match between Orton and Rollins for the WWE Championship saw Seth Rollins use the RKO on Randy Orton then weasel his way out of the cage. As Extreme Rules was going off the air, the announce team was arguing about whether or not that was legal, since Rollin’s own stipulation for the match was banning the RKO. I’m sure there will be a 20-200 minute talking session to open up Raw dissecting whether this was legal or not, but either way I loved it. How much of a dick do you have to be to ban a guy’s finishing move, then not only use that move during the match, but use it to beat him and retain your title? That’s next level heel work, and Rollins is the most exciting part of the show. One of the friends I was watching this with brought up a great point about the main event scene right now without John Cena – you don’t automatically know who’s going to win. With Rollins as the champion, there’s always that chance that he’s going to lose the title, and that makes for exciting, unpredictable TV.
WWE Extreme Rules takes place live this Sunday FOR FREE on the WWE Network in Rosemont, Illinois. For a filler pay per view, it’s a pretty stacked card with 8 matches, including a few with Extreme Rules stipulations. Every major title (for now*) is being defended, so let’s get to the preview and predictions!
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (C) vs. New Day
New Day has been on a roll lately (words I never thought I’d write) thanks to their new found strategy of winning by any means necessary. They are on the slow build to becoming a very good heel tag team, and I’m glad they’re finally taking advantage of having three guys at ringside at all times. They’re not ‘bad guys’ as much as they’re opportunists, and they’re using the crowds disdain for them as an advantage. If the crowd keeps telling you that you suck, you can either pack your shit up and never be heard from again or you can use that hate to motivate you. New Day is employing the latter strategy, and I’m glad, because Big E and Kofi have always been fun to watch in the WWE. Cesaro and Kidd have zero momentum going into Extreme Rules, but it looks like they’ll be working as the good guys in this match. I don’t know if a title change is in order, but the tag team division is clearly an afterthought in the WWE right now, so unless a Give Tag Teams A Chance hash tag starts trending, the winners of this match don’t really matter.
Prediction: I’m going with Cesaro and Kidd, because they’re wonderful together and should be Tag Team Champs forever.
WWE Divas Championship Match: Nikki Bella (C) vs. Naomi
AJ Lee retired, Paige is filming a movie and the rest of the Divas that aren’t the Bella’s are in limbo, so Naomi has been boosted up to the #1 contender slot, and she’s doing a great job with it. Similar to the New Day, Naomi isn’t your classic heel. She’s proven herself over and over again, yet opportunities and title shots have consistently been given to other Divas. Instead of sitting back and waiting her turn, she created an opportunity for herself, and now she’s one pinfall or submission away from being the Diva’s champion. The WWE creative team is ass backwards most of the time, so why not call them out on it? It makes storyline sense, and it gives a Diva more personality than she’s had for her entire career. I think a Bella Twins split is long overdue, so hopefully some seeds are planted for that here and Naomi walks out the champ.
Prediction: Naomi, who becomes the first former dinosaur woman to ever hold the Divas title.
Last Man Standing Match: Big Show vs. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns wins the Royal Rumble to become the #1 contender for Brock Lesnar’s title. He beats Daniel Bryan in the main event at Fast Lane to maintain that #1 contender’s spot. He co-main events WrestleMania with Brock Lesnar, only to lose when Seth Rollins cashes in his MITB briefcase. How does he get rewarded for his four month reign of dominance, featuring the best two matches of his career? A Last Man Standing Match with the Big Show. I don’t know if the WWE is intentionally trying to cool off Reigns, but going from wrestling in the main event of WrestleMania for the WWE Championship to wrestling the Big Show in a mid card gimmick match is not the progression you want from the future of your company. The WWE did the same thing last year with Daniel Bryan. Instead of giving him a fresh feud after he won the belt at Mania, he got attacked by Kane and thrown into a pointless angle that STILL hasn’t been resolved. Big Show and Roman Reigns feuded late last year, Roman won, end of story. Why is he fighting Big Show again less than a month after main eventing WrestleMania? I don’t get it, and I fully expect this match to be a stinker.
Prediction: Roman Reigns buries the Big Show alive even though that’s not the stipulation. He just needs this feud to end.
Chicago Street Fight: Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose
This is my pick for the match of the night. Two guys with nothing to lose, wearing the same clothes, just going out there and beating the shit out of each other. No zany hot dog stand antics from Ambrose; I want steel chairs, barb wired baseball bats, whatever else he can find. You can’t nickname someone the Lunatic Fringe then have him act like your drunk uncle. He needs to be a legit maniac, which doesn’t seem too far off from the actual Dean Ambrose’s personality. Harper is just trooping along, and continues to have great matches with everyone he’s put in the ring with. The story here is that Harper put Ambrose through a ladder at Mania then a table on Smackdown, and Ambrose wants revenge. I hope these two go out all here, and the Rosemont crowd should eat it up.
Prediction: Ambrose really needs to get going, so I’ll go with him here.
Kiss Me Arse Match: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
When I hear the words ‘Extreme Rules’, I don’t think of one man kissing another man’s ass, but maybe that’s just me. Sheamus returned after months away from the ring with a badass theme song, a silly haircut, twisty tied beard hair and a chip on his shoulder. He doesn’t think guys like Ziggler and Neville belong in the same ring as him, and he’s going to prove it. By…making Ziggler kiss his ass? Stipulation aside, this should be a great match. I’m not looking forward to either guy kissing the other guy’s ass, but Sheamus works best when guys are willing to take a beating, and nobody takes a beating like Dolph Ziggler. Between this match and Ambrose/Harper, I’m more invested in the mid card non title matches than I am the US or WWE Championships, and that is 100% due to the performers involved. You know they’re going to give you all they have, and they’re proving you don’t need a title to get people invested in a feud.
Prediction: Sheamus’s first pay per view match since returning should result in a win. With that said, If I see his bare white ass, I will not be happy.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (C) vs. Bad News Barrett
How I feel every time I read a Daniel Bryan health update.
*I highly doubt this match will happen, since the latest report is that Bryan will be out for up to 5 weeks. I doubt they’ll strip him of the title since Bryan should only miss Extreme Rules and possibly Payback, so maybe Barrett issues an open challenge in the name of wanting to fight someone. My pick would be for a solid Neville vs. Barrett match with Neville picking up the win, thus making him a legit challenger for the IC title which should be his logical progression in my opinion. Neville already pinned Barrett on Smackdown in a tag match, so two wins over a #1 contender should get him a shot sooner rather than later. Also, Bryan vs. Neville is something I’d love to see before Bryan’s head falls off.
Russian Chain Match For The US Title: John Cena (C) vs. Rusev
Everything leading up to Extreme Rules seems like it should end with a Cena win Sunday. Rusev attacked him from behind twice with a Russian chain, the second time putting him in the Accolade with said chain. Cena beat Rusev at Mania, but ever since, Rusev has had the upper hand. USUALLY when that happens, the hero, in this case Cena, will get his revenge and win. The only problem with that theory is that if John Cena is going to lose a match, it’s going to be because someone cheated or because of a fluky stipulation. While a normal Russian Chain Match is just a match were you’re allowed to use the chain, this specific match also included the stipulation where you can win by touching all four corners while chained to your opponent. My Spidey senses are tingling with this added stipulation, because this is a perfect scenario for Cena to lose without being pinned or forced to submit. On the other hand, this is also a way for Cena to retain the title without Rusev losing clean on back to back pay per views. Lana played a key role in their Mania match, so will she do the same here?
Prediction: Death, Taxes and John Cena successfully defending a WWE title belt. Those are the three certainties in life.
Steel Cage Match For The WWE Championship (RKO Is Banned): Seth Rollins (C) vs. Randy Orton
The logical next step in the Seth Rollins title reign would be to face Randy Orton, and I’m glad WWE went this route. Orton beat Rollins clean at Mania, so now that Rollins is the champion, why shouldn’t Orton get a chance to prove that he can do it again? Rollins is excelling in his role as the weasel champion, and it’s funny that the two guys left to defend him are smaller than he is. The power of stealing the show and winning the title during the main event of WrestleMania is clearly going to his head, and the people who helped put him there (HHH and Kane) don’t seem as keen on the Future of the WWE as they once were. Orton is sliding into the #1 contender’s slot at the perfect time, because Rollins has never been so vulnerable. With Kane as the Gate Keeper or whatever the hell it’s called, it’s almost a certainty that he’ll influence the end of the match. Rollins win was such a triumph at Mania that I can’t imagine he’d lose the belt already, and I think Kane will come to his senses Sunday and help the champ retain.
Prediction: Seth Rollins. The only way I want to see his title reign end is in a puddle of blood and urine at the hands of Brock Lesnar.
As always, we’ll be live tweeting Extreme Rules over @averagenobodies. Join us Sunday night!
Last night’s Raw was back in the United States and LIVE from Albany, New York. It was a solid show overall and built to all the matches that will be taking place at Extreme Rules this Sunday. Randy Orton was on an RKO spree, The New Day won over my heart and Kane lost to John Cena. Some things never change. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw!
1. New Day
I will give the WWE credit when credit is due, even though the entire New Day was their fault from the beginning. The original New Day concept was never going to work. They came out clapping and smiling and the fans immediately shit all over them. Thankfully the WWE recognized that and not only embraced the ‘New Day Sucks’ chant, but turned them into the bad guys they should’ve been since the beginning. Kofi and Big E have proven they can go, and while Xavier Woods might get lost in the shuffle, he can be effective as the third cog in the wheel that helps them win matches. The Lucha Dragons continue to look great, and last night’s match was a step in the right direction for the tag team division. I especially enjoyed the end of the match, which had the Lucha Dragons do a double moon sault onto Big E and Kofi. When all four struggled to get back into the ring to beat the ten count, Xavier Woods grabbed Sin Cara’s legs from under the ring, allowing New Day to pickup the win and challenge Cesaro/Kidd for the Tag Titles at Extreme Rules. Heels being heels. Sometimes it’s that simple.
I wrote last week about how giving Naomi a character other than a Funkadactyl or being one of the Uso’s wives would be beneficial for her and the Diva’s division, and she proved that last night. She had a good match with Brie Bella and besides Nikki Bella’s phone sex operator commentary style the segment was really well done. With AJ retired, Paige filming a movie and WWE being hesitant to bring up any of the NXT Diva’s, this is Naomi’s chance to shine. While Nikki has improved immensely in the ring, I think it’s time to split the Bella’s up and put the title on Naomi. The Bella’s working together are really boring, but when Brie is the face and Nikki is the heel, they have a much better dynamic. The only thing I’d change in this buildup is Naomi’s entrance music. It no longer fits her personality, and she should be as far away from a Funkadactyl as humanly possible.
3. Randy Orton
With the RKO banned this Sunday, you knew that the move would be a focal point on Raw. Orton started off the show with a good promo and followed that up with an RKO to everyone who takes it well. The Randy Orton who has no friends is my favorite Orton. He shouldn’t be shaking hands with other wrestlers or chumming it up with the baby faces. He’s The Viper. He should be RKO’ing guys into plates of food and be the only man in history to intimidate you while not wearing pants. The first victims of the RKO were Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, then it was Heath Slater in catering and to cap it off, he hit Seth Rollins with a rope assisted RKO inside the steel cage. I understand Orton not being able to use the RKO from a storyline standpoint, but as a fan, it’s disappointing Orton isn’t going to use it this Sunday. The curb stomp/RKO at WrestleMania was one of the most beautiful wrestling moves you’ll ever see, and last night’s RKO was no different. These two work extremely (see what I did there) well together and can fight any style of match they want, so I’m looking forward to their match on Sunday. With Kane now involved, and some escalating tension between Rollins and HHH, I wouldn’t rule out an Orton title win on Sunday.
Speaking of Kane, he had himself one hell of a night. He gave an impassioned promo on Seth Rollins, officially putting him in his place and reminding him why he not only became Mr. Money in the Bank, but also the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. His El Torito line was funny, but the gist of the promo was that Seth Rollins has become so accustomed to The Authority having his back that he’s forgotten who got him to the promised land in the first place. While I think Kane should step away from in ring competition, if he’s going to be on TV, I’m glad they’re at least using him in an important role. I don’t know what his role will be this Sunday, but it’s almost a certainty that he’ll influence the outcome of the main event. Kane also decided to answer Cena’s open challenge for the US title, and that ended how literally ever single Kane/John Cena match has ever ended, but I’ll give him points for trying.
5. Seth Rollins
Rollins was in about 5 segments on Raw, and he nailed every single one of them. He has the weasel villain down to a science, and I loved his interactions with Orton, Kane and HHH. My favorite segment, besides the match with Ziggler, was when he asked HHH for more backup. He’s alienated everyone who helped him get where he is, and with a hungry viper on the loose, he’s finally realized J and J Security aren’t going to stop anyone. As much as Orton has all the momentum going into Sunday, I hope they keep the title on Rollins. Lesnar dominated the title scene from August to Mania, and with Rollins as the champ, that dynamic has taken a complete 180. While Lesnar never lost, Rollins hasn’t had a match as champion yet where he wasn’t in jeopardy of losing. That makes the title picture that much better, and gives every WWE superstar on the roster a legitimate chance at the gold. His match with Ziggler was good, too. I can’t wait until the day that WWE just lets these two loose and they put on a 25 minute classic, but Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler on Raw will always be a good thing.
Honorable Mention: Rusev
Like I’m not going to love Rusev giving John Cena The Accolade with a Russian chain.