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Recapping Everything That Happened At #NXTTakeOver & The WWE #RoyalRumble

If you’re a wrestling fan, chances are you watched NXT TakeOver and/or the WWE Royal Rumble this weekend. It’s the second best weekend of wrestling behind WrestleMania, and it did not disappoint. Let’s recap all the fun and important things that happened.

NXT TakeOver

TakeOver was Saturday night and featured a five match card.

Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly retained the NXT tag belts over the Authors of Pain. This match featured a lot of leg work and submission holds, which was to be expected if the champs were going to beat their monstrous challengers. The roll up win was a little underwhelming, and the Authors didn’t have the same chemistry in this match that they had with Revival or DIY.

The Velveteen Dream continues to be the best. Earlier in the night Velveteen Dream accepted the Rivalry of the Year award for his great feud with Aleister Black. He also guaranteed a 30 second KO of the knockout artist Kassius Ohno later in the night. Dream came to the ring in boxing trunks and wore a mouth guard, because he understands the little things about his character so well. While he didn’t knock Ohno out, he did pick up his first victory at a TakeOver event. We also got to see his beautiful finisher:

I’m assuming Aleister Black is next in line for an NXT title shot, but Dream should not be far behind.

Shayna Baszler is the truth. She didn’t defeat Ember Moon for the women’s title, but she made quite an impact. I loved the character work in this match. Ember is so easy to root for and sells so well. Shayna is a bully with a legit fighting background who can break you in two. If this was an MMA match, Shayna would have won. It was a pro wrestling match though, and while Shayna dominated and seemingly had Ember finished, Ember used her knowledge to eek out a win. Shayna is skilled enough to beat most wrestlers even though she’s inexperienced, but Ember has been doing this for a long time. After she was unable to escape the submission, she was able to shift her weight and cover Shayna for the three count. Once Shayna’s ring awareness catches up with her fighting skills, she’s going to be a force.

Aleister Black should be the next number one contender. Black took on Adam Cole in an Extreme Rules match with some creative spots. As expected, Cole’s stable mates Fish & O’Reilly interfered in the match but were ran off by Sanity. Black and Cole brutalized each other with Black eventually coming out on top and staying undefeated. He should be the favorite to challenge whoever is holding the NXT title during WrestleMania weekend.

Andrade Almas & Johnny Gargano had one of the best matches in NXT history. It’s easy to say something like that when the match is so fresh in your mind, but it’s the truth. This was the third match between the two, and they delivered on the highest possible level. The match featured a ton of counters and reversals since these two are so familiar with each other. Almas is turning into the best in ring performer champion NXT has had since Balor, and Gargano continues to get better. I’m glad NXT made the call for Ciampa to attack Gargano post match, because that match deserved a clean ending. We were also formally introduced to Candice LeRae, Gargano’s real life wife. After Zelina Vega continued to insert herself into the match, LeRae hopped the barrier and beat her down. Almas was still able to retain in an instant classic.

Tommaso Ciampa is back! Gargano’s former friend tag team partner showed up briefly as TakeOver was going off the air. He’s still sporting a huge knee brace from his injury last May, so it makes sense that he didn’t do anything too physical. He did wallop Gargano with a crutch though, throwing salt in the wounds of Gargano after his hard fought loss. As long as Ciampa is medically cleared, these two should steal the show at TakeOver WrestleMania weekend.

Friendly faces in the crowd at TakeOver included EC3, Ricochet & War Machine.

WWE Royal Rumble

The rumble was last night and featured six matches, including the men’s and women’s rumbles.

Let’s start with the not so good. AJ Styles retained the WWE championship over Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The Usos retained the tag titles over Gable & Benjamin. The Bar defeated Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan for the Raw tag titles. Neither of the three matches were bad, but they certainly weren’t exciting. The best match was probably the Raw tag titles bout, but they put it right after the men’s rumble. The crowd was exhausted and didn’t wake back up until Strowman and Lesnar started beating the crap out of each other. I’m glad The Bar won back the belts, because now Rollins and Jason Jordan can really start hating each other.

Styles/Owens/Zayn was disappointing, especially since the build involved so much of Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. To have the match end with a roll up after 16 minutes of boring wrestling was severely disappointing. I don’t know how you have those three in match and make it lame, but WWE pulled it off.

I predicted the Smackdown tag title match to be the match of the night. Let’s just say I was very wrong. The first fall was a ton of fun with the Usos gaining the 1-0 advantage. Instead of giving us another 10-15 minutes of tag team wrestling, the Usos won the second fall with a roll up and the match was over. It’s a cardinal sin to waste a Chad Gable tag match on a major pay per view.

Brock Lesnar pinned Kane to retain the Universal championship. Everyone knew that result was happening, but the match was still a blast. Lesnar and Strowman apparently didn’t the ‘this is fake’ memo and legitimately beat the shit of each other. Here’s an example:

This match had an incredibly frenetic pace thanks to the urgency between Lesnar and Strowman. At 11 minutes it was also the perfect length with zero dead or rest time. I would have loved for Strowman to pin Kane and then have Brock challenge him for the title at Mania, but this was still excellent.

Men & Women’s Rumble

The men’s rumble match was the best one since 2010 or 2011. The last six have not been great, and the crowds have consistently booed the winners. Last night’s match was a ton of fun and featured some great performances AND a fresh, worthy winner. The match started off with Finn Balor and Rusev, who was massively over with the Philly crowd. Both guys had great showings, with Rusev lasting 30:27 and Balor lasting almost 58 minutes. In less than excellent news, my friends and I did a rumble pool and I picked numbers 3, 19 and 29. For those who didn’t watch, that means I picked Rhino, Matt Hardy and Goldust.

The best surprise entrants were Andrade Almas, The Hurricane & Rey Mysterio. Almas had a hell of a weekend, and capped it off by lasting almost 30 minutes in the rumble. The Hurricane was a fun surprise, even if he only lasted 24 seconds. Mysterio was the biggest surprise of the night, and somehow is in the best shape of his career at 43. Kofi Kingston had one of his best Rumble saves with the help of his New Day mates and a plate of pancakes.

It wasn’t a particularly heavy elimination year, as Balor and Reigns lead the charge with 4 each. The main story was who was going to win, and this was one of the more intense final 5 minutes in rumble history. The final four were Balor, Nakamura, Cena and Reigns. It was a fantastic dynamic, as the crowd loved everything Balor and Nak did while shitting on everything Cena and Reigns did. Nak and Reigns were the final two, which was a genius move by the WWE. Nobody in that building wanted Reigns to win, so even if you don’t like Nak, you were rooting for him by default. Nak was able to overcome the Big Dog with an impressive 44:25 rumble time. If all goes right, Nakamura and AJ Styles will be fighting for the WWE title at WrestleMania.

The women’s rumble went exactly as it should have. I thought the women exceeded expectations in their first ever rumble. There are so many moving pieces in a rumble match that it’s easy to get thrown off, but the match had a great flow to it. It was also a perfect mix of current stars, NXT up and comers and former wrestlers. Similar to Finn Balor in the men’s match, Sasha Banks needed a statement making performance. With 4 eliminations and a 54:46 ring time, consider that statement made. She even tossed out Bayley late in the match, which could reignite one of the best rivalries in NXT history. Ember Moon & Kairi Sane were cool additions, and we got to see a few top rope elbow drops from the pirate princess.

As for old school entrants, my personal favorites were Lita and Trish. Vickie Guerrero was a cool surprise and we got to see some great stare downs. Beth Phoenix/Nia Jax was a great moment, and Trish and Mickie James firing it up one last time was awesome. The match belonged to Asuka though, and I’m so happy that the right person won the inaugural women’s rumble. Kudos to WWE for realizing what they have with Asuka, ESPECIALLY since it turns out someone was waiting backstage the whole time.

That’s right, Ronda Rousey officially joined the WWE last night. It would have been easy for WWE to put her at #30 and have her win, but that wouldn’t have worked for the fans. You don’t want to debut Rousey and immediately put her behind the 8 ball, so I’m glad they waited until after the match to bring her out. She didn’t say a word, but she clearly knows what to do when you’re in a WWE ring this time of year. One point at the WrestleMania sign is all it takes. For the first time in a few years, the road to WrestleMania is off to a perfect start.

-Ryan

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Your Average Preview & Predictions For The #WWE #RoyalRumble

Wrestling fans, rejoice! All the hard work put in from post WrestleMania to now will soon be rewarded, because the 2018 Royal Rumble is this Sunday from Philadelphia. In addition to the men’s rumble, this year will feature the first ever women’s rumble. The best part? It’s the same rules as the men. 30 women, over the top rope eliminations only with the winner earning a title shot at WrestleMania.

Four title matches will round out the 4 hour event, with both rumble matches probably taking up over two hours. Without further ado, the preview and predictions for the 2018 Royal Rumble

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.

Smackdown Tag Team Championship (2 Out Of Falls): The Usos (C) vs. Gable & Benjamin

Royal Rumble

Photo: WWE

From a pure wrestling standpoint, the two tag title matches should absolutely steal the show. The one with less shenanigans will probably be the better of the two, so I’m picking that one to be the Smackdown match. The Usos have been as good as it gets for almost a year now, and their transition to the ‘day one’ characters has really paid off. They put on a slew of classic matches with New Day, and now they’re matched up against Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin. While Gable & Benjamin haven’t been teaming long, they’re both tag team specialists. American Alpha were one of my favorite teams in NXT, while The World’s Greatest Tag Team had that name that for a reason.

The last time these two teams met there was some controversy, so hopefully WWE lets them have a 3 fall classic this time. I’m going to start with an upset pick.

Prediction: Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin

Raw Tag Team Championship: Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan vs. The Bar

Royal Rumble

Photo: WWE

The team of Rollins and Jordan has been an odd one. It’s not often that a team wins the tag titles on the first night they’re paired together, but that’s exactly what happened Christmas Day. With Dean Ambrose on the shelf for awhile, The Shield has dissolved for the time being. Reigns was doing his own thing as IC champ (before losing on Raw) while Rollins and Jordan have formed an uneasy partnership. I’ve really enjoyed the Jordan character during this run. He’s dorky and annoying and obnoxious, but he doesn’t quite know it yet. Combine that with his skill level in the ring and you have a character with some promise.

On the other side you have The Bar, a team forged out of toughness and competitiveness. They’re a much better team than Rollins/Jordan, but they haven’t figured out how to beat them yet. I don’t know how long Rollins and Jordan will be partners, but I do want to see The Bar feud with The Revival. If that feud happens over the tag belts, that would be even better.

Prediction: The Bar.

WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Royal Rumble

Photo: WWE

Under any other circumstance, if you put Styles, Owens & Zayn in a WWE title match, it’s aces. Unfortunately the build for this has been lackluster, mostly because Shane McMahon & Daniel Bryan have been heavily involved. When you have three guys with this much talent, you don’t need to add in an authority figure angle too.

If they stick with Owens/Zayn as the heels, they should definitely win. From there you could have them be co-champions and continue to sarcastically piss off the fans and Shane. The only problem with that is the fans don’t want to hate Sami and Kevin when they’re together. They don’t want to hate Styles either, but it wouldn’t be too hard to turn him into an overconfident dick. Add in Shane helping Styles win, and you have a new “corporate champion”. Plus, Owens aligned with two of the easiest to root for good guys would be a great foe for Styles.

This isn’t the worst situation to be in, especially with the talent involved. But sometimes less is more, and I think people would be much more excited for a classic triple threat match.

Prediction: AJ Styles

WWE Universal Title Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane

Photo: WWE

Raise your hand if you’re excited for a Kane title match in 2018? No hands? Good. I’ll be the first to admit that Strowman vs. Lesnar was not great at No Mercy. If you think adding Kane to that match is going to make it better, you deserve to be tarred and feathered.

Braun is as ready as anyone to be Universal champion. He’s been ready since he flipped Roman Reigns’ ambulance. In a perfect world, he would pin Kane here and WWE would spend the next 2+ months building the third and final match between he and Lesnar at Mania. Also in this perfect world, Roman Reigns doesn’t exist. As great as Lesnar is, his time as champ should be coming to a close. Raw is a three hour show every week, and the champ needs to be there more consistently. Unfortunately, I don’t think his reign ends here.

Prediction: Kane. LOL. Just kidding, Lesnar retains, hopefully by beating Kane so badly he becomes mayor of Knox County, Tennessee.

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

Royal Rumble

Photo: WWE

This a huge and overdue accomplishment for the women of the WWE. I don’t think I’m alone in saying the division is not where it needs to be, but it absolutely deserves some of these spotlight matches. There are 18 participants listed for the match, which leaves 12 spots open for legends/NXT women. If I had to split that 6/6, here are the 12 I’d choose.

NXT – The Iconic Duo (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce), Nikki Cross, Ember Moon, Shayna Baszler & Kairi Sane

Legends/Surprises – Trish Stratus, Michelle McCool, Torrie Wilson, Kelly Kelly with my two dream spots going to AJ Lee and Ronda Rousey

The NXT picks speak for themselves. The Iconic Duo are the best pure characters in NXT and should have been on the main roster months ago. Nikki Cross is the most exciting/unpredictable woman in NXT, which is perfect for a Rumble match. Ember Moon is the NXT women’s champ, while Shayna Baszler is the #1 contender. Kairi Sane is the exciting new recruit who has a championship reign in her near future.

Trish, Michelle, Torrie and Kelly were all at Raw 25. It would make sense to have all of them in the rumble, although I won’t be upset/surprised if they pick other women from the Attitude Era and beyond. Same goes for AJ and Rousey. AJ is more of a long shot than Ronda, but Rousey is the only surprise that could be brought in and win the match.

I love Asuka and think she should enter at 1 and eliminate the other 29 women, but Ronda Rousey is a worldwide attraction. It’ll definitely piss off the die hard fans if she wins over Asuka, but I’d understand it from a business perspective. She’s also different from your average celebrity, as she has the real life fighting credentials to back up any win(s) she picks up. On the other hand, Asuka is the most unique performer they have, and should be fighting for or defending the women’s title at WrestleMania.

Prediction: Asuka.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

Royal Rumble

Photo: WWE

There are 17 participants listed for the men’s rumble match. That leaves 13 spots open for current roster members, NXT guys and legends.

There will be definitely be more main roster guys added. The first three names that come to mind are Roman Reigns, US champ Bobby Roode and a returning Dolph Ziggler. With Enzo Amore fired and the Cruiserweight title up in the air, you could add guys like Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali and Drew Gulak. Other fillers could be Curt Hawkins, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows.  Hopefully NXT guys like Lars Sullivan and Kassius Ohno are given a shot, too. I don’t know if WWE will bring back any legends for this, but I don’t think they’re needed. If you add the names I listed you’d have 28 and there are always guys who fight earlier in the night who end up pulling double duty.

Regardless of how WWE rounds out the 30, there are only a handful of guys who could win. My list would be Finn Balor, Roman Reigns, Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler. Dolph is definitely the longest shot, but hopefully they’ve been keeping him off TV this long for a reason. Roman is the most obvious choice, especially after dropping the IC belt on Raw. The most intriguing choices are Balor and Nakamura. They’re so close to being breakout stars, and a rumble win plus being in a major title match at Mania could be exactly what they need.

Prediction: Head – Roman Reigns. Heart – Finn Balor.

-Ryan

 

 

WWE Has Released Enzo Amore Following Rape Accusations

Less than 24 hours after their huge Raw 25 show, WWE has released Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore. Enzo, real name Eric Arndt, had been accused of rape by a woman from October. WWE originally suspended him yesterday, but now has full out released him. Here’s the story from Wrestling Inc.

Enzo Amore Released By WWE

 Enzo Amore released – WWE has come to terms on the release of Eric Arndt (Enzo Amore).

The release comes after Enzo was accused of rape earlier this week. WWE suspended him on Monday, noting that they have zero tolerance for matters involving sexual harassment or sexual assault. Things must have changed between that announcement and today as he has been released.

As noted, a woman filed a police report with Phoenix Police, alleging that Enzo raped her on October 19th, 2017 at 401 West Clarendon Avenue, which is The Clarendon Hotel & Spa. You can read our report on the accuser at this link.

First of all, this is a disturbing story on every front. It’s also unfortunately not that surprising. If you’re an avid wrestling fan and have followed Enzo lately, you’ve noticed a huge character shift. Some of that could be just for TV cameras but some of it was clearly fame getting to his head. In an ideal world a man could live his life without pressuring women via sexual assault or rape, but apparently that’s too much to ask of a lot of guys. I’m glad WWE stepped this up from suspension to a release, because you can’t just ‘say’ you have zero tolerance. You have to prove it. There are too many bad guys in this world to keep letting them get away with this shit.

In much less important news, Enzo was the Cruiserweight champion. He was scheduled to defend the title against Cedric Alexander this Sunday at the Rumble. That obviously won’t be happening, so it’ll be interesting to see what plan WWE comes up with. I also think we should look into Neville being able to predict the future. He knew Enzo was a piece of shit from the get go.

-Ryan

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

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

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. Elias Plus A Little Bit Of John Cena

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

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

4. Hideo Itami

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

3. Samoa Joe

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

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

2. Asuka

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

1. New Tag Team Champions

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

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

-Ryan

“Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt Are A Match Made In Wrestling Heaven

From Matt Hardy To Broken Brilliance

Matt Hardy has been a household name in pro wrestling since the late 90s. He and his brother Jeff first rose to fame in the WWE Attitude Era as the Hardy Boyz. They had classic matches with Edge & Christian/Dudleyz and revolutionized the tag team division with their TLC matches. When Matt and Jeff split, Jeff was the one who attained singles glory and championship gold. Matt had a great, personal feud with Edge and his Version 1 character was entertaining, but something was missing. After he left WWE, Hardy wrestled all over the map, including ROH and Impact Wrestling. It would be in Impact where he would find his next great gimmick: Broken Matt Hardy.

In May 2016 Hardy turned on his brother Jeff and revealed himself to be ‘Broken’. He looked, talked and acted differently, but it was impossible to look away from him. The Broken character would become the focal point of Impact, and with Hardy given total creative control of his character, it flourished. Broken Matt, Brother Nero, Senor Benjamin & King Maxel were the highlight of almost every episode of Impact. Whether it was in ring promos, the reincarnation lake or the insane Final Deletion, the Broken Universe was the hottest thing in wrestling.

He Is Woken

When The Hardy’s made their shocking return to WWE at WrestleMania 33, fans wondered if we’d ever see the Broken Universe invade the WWE. It’s taken some time, but thanks to the end of a frivolous legal battle, it looks like Matt Hardy has finally transformed into his new, “woken” self. After Bray Wyatt beat Hardy on Raw two weeks ago, Hardy snapped. He was talking to himself and performed his trademark DELETE hand gesture, and it was magical. Hardy was transforming all over again, and his tweets signaled the dawn of a woken man. All that was left for Hardy was to find a new victim to delete. Enter, Bray Wyatt.

Bray Wyatt

On Monday’s Raw, the trademark sounds of a Bray Wyatt dark room promo bummed me out. I’ve loved Wyatt since his debut and will forever believe that he should be the modern day Undertaker. He’s the perfect mix of an engaging promo and in ring ability, but unfortunately WWE has booked him like a bum for years. He ALWAYS loses the big matches, and even if he does win, it’s because of children singing or a exploding TV’s. Wins and losses aren’t the only measuring stick for a wrestler, but it’s tough to take someone seriously who loses all the time.

Another big issue he’s had are his opponents. The Undertaker had Mankind and Kane, two psychological and demented wrestlers, to play off of. Wyatt has had John Cena and Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. While those three are great in the ring, they’re just normal guys from a character standpoint. Wyatt needs someone as weird as he is to keep things interesting, and a new ‘woken’ superstar is the perfect fit.

Woken Matt Hardy is the opposite of a normal guy, and has the perfect personality to feed off of Wyatt. He is the ideal dancing partner for Bray, and this is a feud I’ve wanted to see since July 2016 when they first started tweeting each other.

A Perfect Match

While we got a small preview of Hardy’s character two weeks ago, he showed up in all his woken glory on Monday. If the dueling promos and the laugh off are any indication, this feud will be a ton of a fun. Hardy’s new persona can give new life to Wyatt’s words and I want to see more from these two. This will also give Wyatt someone weird and wonderful to work with, which is something he’s never had. I hope these two feud and then join forces, because a woken Bray Wyatt could be something special. Here’s the full promo from Monday, including that maniacal Hardy laugh.

-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 Could Be Setting Up A Much Anticipated Match For Survivor Series

Brock and Jinder

Photo: 411 Mania

The match card for WWE Survivor Series will feature a slew of champion versus champion matches, including Brock Lesnar versus Jinder Mahal. The main issue with that match is LOL it’s Jinder Mahal versus Brock Lesnar, which should end in 5 seconds with an actual murder. Here’s the feud so far in video form:

Paul Heyman has put over Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman but even he knows that Jinder vs. Brock is a joke. While this is only one man’s far out opinion, Shane McMahon’s tweet last night has me feeling hopeful that the match could change.

WWE was in a similar situation a few years ago when they had HHH defend his title against Dean Ambrose a month before WrestleMania at Roadblock. While HHH ended up winning that match and faced Reigns at Mania instead of the much more interesting Ambrose/Reigns match, I think Styles winning on Tuesday makes a lot of sense. The rules for Survivor Series are champion vs. champion, so if Styles wins the title Tuesday he would take Mahal’s place as Lesnar’s opponent. Plus, if the rumored Lesnar/Reigns match at Mania is still on, why not add Styles to the list of guys Brock has beaten this year to get to Reigns?

Jinder Mahal’s title reign has been a rousing disappointment, so hopefully WWE pulls the trigger on Tuesday. That would give Styles a title win he very much deserves while also giving WWE fans a dream match at Survivor Series.

-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

 

 

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