— WWE (@WWE) January 11, 2016
The first member of the 2016 class of the WWE hall of fame is long overdue. Sting, ‘The Icon’, is going to officially be a WWE Hall of Famer. With only a few WWE matches under his belt, Sting spent the majority of his career in WCW and TNA. He’s undoubtedly one of the greatest performers of all time, and the only shame was that it took Sting so long to get to the WWE. He’s from Texas, so it’s fitting that although he can’t perform, at least he’ll get the chance to shine in his home state during WrestleMania weekend. Congrats to Sting!
The Doctah joins us for our first Podcast in over a month! Needless to say, we picked up right where we left off. We talk fantasy football, wrestling, the price of coffee and so much more.
Night of Champions is this Sunday on the WWE Network, and every title must be defended. Night of Champions is always a sneaky good pay per view, and if the WWE invested more in certain mid card title storylines, it could eventually be one of the best shows of the year. Seth Rollins is pulling double duty and defending both the WWE and US titles, Charlotte looks to win gold for the first team and the New Day is going to be there. Oh, and Cesaro doesn’t have a match :(.
Pre Show – The Cosmic Wasteland vs. Neville & The Lucha Dragons
When it comes to pure character work, there are few better than Stardust. Then you remember he’s the son of Dusty Rhodes and he’s athletic as hell, and you wonder why the hell is he on the pre show. That’s an argument for another time, but for now, I’m glad The Ascension are paired with Stardust. They are the longest reigning tag champs in NXT history, and they deserved a better shot than they got when they debuted on Raw. The announce team immediately shit on them, and then they got beat up by the league of extraordinary grandpas. Why would we take them seriously after that? A pre show match isn’t exactly main eventing WrestleMania, but it’s something, and pairing them with a veteran who takes his character seriously like Stardust can only help them. You have a couple built in feuds with this match, as Stardust and Neville have been battling since before Summerslam, and Lucha Dragons and The Ascension have been rivals since NXT. Should be a fun way to get things started.
Prediction: I’m throwing a bone to Stardust and The Ascension. Cosmic Wasteland FTW.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
I shouldn’t hate a Dolph Ziggler/Rusev feud, but when it’s centered around who’s having sex with which blonde and has been done as poorly as this feuds been done, I’m going to hate it. Wrestling wise, this could be the match of the night, but this storyline is so terrible and dumb it’s going to be tough to enjoy. Plus, Lana is legitimately injured and won’t be at NOC, so I’m guessing Summer is going to flirt with both Rusev and Ziggler because WOMEN. The less said about this the better, but at least you know if they’re given enough time, this is going to be enjoyable from a wrestling aspect. I think Summer Rae eventually double crosses my poor sweet Rusev, but it won’t be while Lana’s on the shelf.
Prediction: Rusev. Bring back the Rusev face Bulgarian flag!
IC Title Match: Ryback (C) vs. Kevin Owens
I’m a little biased on this one, but with no real back story to this feud besides differing opinions on a self help book, I’m leaning heavily on Kevin Owens. You can’t put the entire blame on Ryback, but his IC title run has been terrible. Yes he’s feuded with Big Show and Miz and yes he’ been injured, but your IC champ should ideally be your workhorse. This isn’t a rant about how much better things were back in the day, but the IC title used to be something people got excited over. Who is going to be excited about Ryback vs. Big Show? HBK, Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, HHH, The Rock; all those guys held the IC title and set the bar for in ring work and the psychology of their feuds. I know the writing team is shitty, but if you put the belt on a character as strong as Kevin Owens, great things will happen. Give me NXT champion Kevin Owens with the IC belt and have him feud with Neville, Stardust, Rusev, Cesaro and you have an immediate mid card resurgence. The Ryback IC title experiment didn’t work. It’s time to cut your losses.
Divas Championship Match: Nikki Bella (C) vs. Charlotte
This should be the ‘Shane Douglas’ dropping the NWA title belt moment of the Diva’s division. Charlotte beats Nikki Bella, drops the Divas Championship and proclaims that this is the Women’s division. It probably won’t happen, so I’ll take Charlotte winning the belt as a substitute. There’s really no reason to have Nikki Bella win here besides ‘she’s John Cena’s girlfriend’. She’s the longest reigning Diva’s champion; she’s the star of a reality show and she can take credit for the Diva’s Revolution. It’s time to move on to Charlotte and Sasha and Becky and whoever else wants to throw their hat in the ring. Get the belt on a legitimate athlete who can dominate opponents and have everyone try and take the title away from her. Get rid of the factions and let some of these ladies sink or swim on their own. Similar to the IC title, you need a champion who can defend against all different styles of wrestlers. While it’s not her fault, Nikki Bella has rarely been defending the title, which just makes things that much worse. It’s one thing to win a bunch of title matches and be the longest reigning Diva’s champion. It’s another to go months between title matches and then brag about how you’re the best. If the Raw before NOC is the season premiere, make NOC an event where title changes happen and it feels like a new season is beginning.
Tag Team Championship Match: New Day (C) vs. Dudley Boyz
Disregard everything I just said about NOC being a place where things change, because I want this version of the New Day to last forever and ever. They’ve been the best part of WWE TV for a few months now, and the only reason they should ever lose the tag belts is to win them back again so they can announce themselves as the ‘3x tag champs’ during their entrance. There’s honestly just so much to love about this group. When’s the last time you saw guys enjoy themselves THIS much? I know it’s an act and they’re playing characters, but they’re having some genuine fun out there. Big E dancing, Xavier on the trombone, and the severely underrated in ring skills of both Big E and Kofi make them so much fun to watch. The Dudleyz are great, and they’ve never been the most athletic guys in the ring, so even though they’re older, their in ring style has matured like a fine wine. The Dudleyz are on a multi year deal, so it’s a possibility they win the titles here, as they haven’t lost since coming back. While I’ll be in a deep depression if that happens, WWE knows New Day is the best thing going right now and they wouldn’t dare take them out of the title picture.
Prediction: Dudleyz. A lot of trees are going to be sad Sunday night.
Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & ? vs. The Wyatt Family
There’s two storylines going into this match. One is Braun Strowman being this unbeatable monster, and two is who will Ambrose & Reigns find to even the odds. If Seth Rollins pulls triple duty and reunites The Shield for one night I’m going to lose my mind (there’s a negative 1,000% chance of that happening, but whenever it’s a possibility you have to mention it). I hope hope hope hope hope it’s someone new, but my money is on Kane. It wouldn’t make much sense besides digging up the old storyline where Bray beat Kane and dragged him to the back in his debut match, and the WWE loves bringing back old guys instead of using the spot to elevate a young guy. It would have to be a guy who can match power with Strowman, and I can’t think of anyone in NXT who would fit that bill. Baron Corbin’s picture was thrown in a fake graphic by fans, but I don’t think this spot works for him. While I don’t want it to be Kane, I also don’t have a great pick for anyone else. If you go back and look at Wyatt’s feuds besides Kane, you have Jericho, Daniel Bryan, The Undertaker, John Cena, Ambrose and Reigns. Two of those guys are already in the match, and the other four are impossible. Jericho has the best chance, but that’s basically the same thing as bringing Kane back. Does Jericho need to add a notch in his belt by helping Reigns and Ambrose beat the monstrous Strowman? No matter who they bring back, I hope the Wyatt Family wins here. It’s ok if Strowman shows a little weakness or gets knocked down a few times, but he shouldn’t be conquered yet. If the WWE is really going to make Reigns the new Cena, he’ll probably be the guy to eventually take out Strowman, but for now, let me enjoy Bray Wyatt winning matches.
US & WWE Championship Matches: John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (C) & Sting vs. Seth Rollins (C)
I’m lumping these two together because I already know what’s going to happen. If you don’t think Cena is beating Rollins and Rollins is beating Sting so Cena can challenge and win both belts from Rollins I don’t know what to tell ya. You obviously haven’t been paying attention the last decade. Rule #1 about facing John Cena is that if you lose, it’s over, but if you win, you’re only setting yourself up for a loss down the road. Rollins won at Summerslam AND took the US belt off Cena, so Cena is going to get his revenge in grand fashion. He’s going to beat Rollins Sunday night. It will probably be clean, hell he might even make him tap out. Then Rollins will beat Sting in the main event, and the next night on Raw Cena will cut a promo about how he beat the WWE Champion and deserves to fight him again, this time with belts on the line (again). Rollins will come out and say no, but The Authority, who let me remind you, are on Seth Rollins’ side, will grant the match anyway. My only hope is that the match is at Hell in a Cell or any other smaller pay per view so when Rollins loses it’s not that bad. I could be completely wrong, or just like every other time, John Cena will come out on top and I’ll cry myself to sleep.
Prediction: Rollins loses to THE CHAMP and beats Sting.
Raw was live last night from Tampa, Florida, and compared to the last four or five shows, this wasn’t WWE’s best effort. It’s hard to put on an entertaining shows every week, but when you retread all the matches or feuds from your last pay per view two weeks ago, you shouldn’t be surprised when people think it’s crap. Seth Rollins is pulling double duty at Night of Champions, Nikki Bella has a new #1 contender for her Diva’s title and Xavier Woods has a beautiful head of hair. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last nights Raw!
Sting opened Raw with a promo, and it worked for one main reason: he got right to the point. He doesn’t necessarily have a beef with Seth Rollins, but he wants the WWE title, the one major championship that not only has eluded him, but that he’s never gotten the chance to fight for. Sting isn’t some guy looking for his 20th title shot before he retires; he’s looking to add another notch to his belt, and if he’s going to finally debut in the WWE, why not get a title shot too? The Authority continue to make no sense, as not only do they grant Sting a title shot at Night of Champions, but they also grant John Cena a rematch for his US title as well. Cena’s argument is that ‘all the titles must be on the line at NOC’ but they’re THE AUTHORITY. They make all the rules. Stephanie McMahon could have easily just said ‘actually John, no. You’re not getting a shot’, but instead, Seth Rollins has to pull double duty. Logically it makes zero sense, but I’m assuming Cena wins and Rollins beats Sting so Cena can prove he’s better than the WWE Champion and Sting in one night.
2. Kevin Owens & Cesaro
These two had a great match at Summerslam, and they continued to show their in ring chemistry last night as well. My only problem with the match was what the point of it? It was a great back and forth match with a logical ending, but what was the point? Did Cesaro really have to lose to Owens again? I’m all for pushing Kevin Owens to the moon, but it wouldn’t hurt to build up multiple guys at the same time. Summerslam happened and Cesaro lost, so that’s done, but don’t throw him out there again and again just to lose. Pretty soon we’ll be back at square one again with Cesaro, and all that momentum he had after the Cena matches will be gone. You don’t want every match to end in a distraction or count out or DQ, but throw my man Cesaro a bone once in awhile. As for Owens, he’s looked great on the main roster lately, and he’s getting decisive wins without looking like a cool bad guy. He’s an opportunist with a mean streak, and as long as he stays 1,000 miles away from John Cena I’m ok with it.
3. Braun Strowman
Speaking of guys getting solid pushes, Braun Strowman had his debut match against Dean Ambrose, and while he doesn’t get a clean win, he comes off looking like a superhuman powerhouse. My eternal hope is that Wyatt uses Strowman to strong arm his way to a title match (any title. I’m not picky) but for now it’s not a bad idea to show just how monstrous Strowman is. I wouldn’t mind a little variety here, as you don’t want him to beat up Ambrose and Reigns every week, but this segment accomplished what it set out to, which is to showcase Braun. He’s a little shaky in the ring and he overdid it a little bit with the monster voice, but when you’re his size and you have Wyatt and Harper by your side, you’re pretty protected. The WWE doesn’t need Strowman to have 25 minute classics, they need him to be the monster that he is. It’s an old school kind of build, especially the no sell of the chair shot, but I love it. There’s an absence of supernatural in today’s WWE, so here’s hoping the Wyatt Family gets to run with this for awhile.
4. New Day
— Riz. (@johncenaAm) September 1, 2015
That hair deserves its own bronze statue. It’s no trombone version of ‘New York, New York’, but it’s still beautiful, and my favorite part of the New Day grouping is that they switch things up every time out. Sometimes they skip and clap, sometimes they sing cover version of songs with a trombone, and now they’re trying to preserve tables in bubble wrap. They are the E in WWE because they’re entertaining as hell, and they’re also great in the ring. You can argue that the Dudleyz getting a non title win is kind of silly, but it does set up an interesting triple threat possibility at Night of Champions. The PTP still have a rematch coming their way, and the Dudleyz have done nothing but win since their re-debut. I wouldn’t hate an old school TLC match at Night of Champions, but I’ll settle for any variation of a triple threat at this point. As long as Big E gets to dance I’m in.
5. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins, from a character and wrestling standpoint, is holding the WWE together right now. Whenever he wrestles, he has without a doubt the best match on the card, and his promos lately have been getting much better. He still takes too long to prove his point, but I have a feeling that’s half Rollins and half WWE telling him he has 20 minutes for a promo. The Rock couldn’t make a 20 minute promo good, never mind Seth Rollins. I’m also starting to root for him in this whole Authority storyline. They continue to tell him to prove himself, and while he doesn’t win every match clean, he’s still the champion, which is really all that matters. Yet The Authority continues to put him in situations like Battleground, where he had to fight Lesnar, and now Night of Champions, where he has to wrestle twice and defend both titles. The guy is getting the short end of the stick, and I’m assuming all this HHH talk is leading to a HHH/Rollins match down the line, which is fine, because if there’s one guy HHH is putting over 100%, it’s Rollins. Seth is at the top of his game right now, and the only guy he should lose the WWE championship to is Lesnar, which I’m going to assume is what’s happening at Hell in a Cell. Have Rollins lose the strap, redeem himself against HHH and then embark on his own so we see what he can do.
The Raw after Summerslam was last night from Brooklyn, and it had a ‘Raw after WrestleMania’ feel to it. There were a few MAJOR surprises, and we even got our main event for next month’s Night of Champions pay per view. Let’s get to the five stars from last night’s Raw!
1. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar
It’s kind of a given that these two were one of the best parts of Raw, but as much as I hate to see Lesnar lose, the night after promos by Heyman are a thing of beauty. To say Lesnar lost in controversial fashion at Summerslam would be an understatement, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen a match end like that in all my years of watching wrestling. Yes it protects both guys and yes it sets up some interesting scenarios in the future, but I do have a problem with that being your main event, especially when Seth Rollins beat John Cena to become the first ever WWE and US Champion earlier in the night. I would have rather Summerslam gone off the air with Rollins celebrating with both belts instead of Lesnar death staring a referee. With that said, Heyman’s promo here was great, and if they’re setting up a winner take all third match where Lesnar officially retires Taker in Dallas then I’m all in. Supplementary best to Bo Dallas, who I’m pretty sure is buried under the ring in Brooklyn right now. Those German suplexes looked brutal as hell.
2. New Day
Is New Day a real thing anymore or are the best parts of my brain coming together to make me hallucinate this wonderfulness?First we got this amazing dance after they won the tag titles at Summerslam:
I could do the Big E dance, that’s how awake I am pic.twitter.com/xuAwTdltN6
— Sahpy (@sahpy4) August 24, 2015
Then they came to the ring last night to sing a cover version of ‘New York, New York’ with Xavier Woods on the trombone. I really don’t think they can get any more entertaining than they are now, but I know they’ll one up themselves. With Rusev wasting away in a stupid jealously angle with Ziggler, New Day are now far and away my favorite part of every wrestling show. The best part is they can also back up their shenanigans with solid tag team wrestling. Xavier Woods as the obnoxious, trombone playing mouth piece followed up by the speed and power of Kofi and Big E should be what the tag team division is built around. I can’t think of one team I wouldn’t want to see feud/fight with New Day, which brings me to my next point…
3. The Mother Fucking Dudley Boyz Are Back
After New Day disposed of the Lucha Dragons, they began celebrating in the ring again, which brought out BUBBA RAY & DEVON DUDLEY. If you told me I could somehow be happier while watching New Day celebrate a victory, I’d call you a liar, but then the Dudley Boyz came out and my heart and brain simultaneously exploded. The thing about tag team wrestling is that a team like the Dudley’s, who were never built around great technical wrestling, can realistically wrestle forever. They’re money on the microphone and they can put over any team in the tag team division because they’re legitimately the most decorated team of all time. Just listen to the pop from the crowd last night. It was deafening, and you know Bubba Ray has been dying to come in and reignite the tag team division, and you can have confidence that the Dudley Boyz will do it with no ego attached. They’re not the New Age Outlaws coming back to prove how much better their era was; they’re just a great tag team who wants to work with the young guys and put on some great matches. Awesome move by WWE bringing Bubba Ray and Devon back.
4. The Wyatt Family
Bray and Luke Harper lost clean as a whistle to Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose at Summerslam, so when they announced a rematch on Raw I was hoping for something different to happen. Braun Stowman was that something different. Stowman is a legitimate former tough man competitor, and even without seeing him wrestle, his size brings instant credibility and fear to the Wyatt Family. This is the Bray Wyatt I wanted all along. He didn’t have to be like the NWO and recruit every guy under the sun, but if you’re billing him as this cult leader who can persuade people with his words, shouldn’t he have some followers? Harper and Rowan were a good start, but then they disbanded them, and now it looks like the WWE is ready to take Wyatt seriously again. I don’t know if this means Reigns and Ambrose get a third guy as well or if Reigns just overcomes the odds Cena style, but I like where this is headed. Let Stowman wreak havoc on the WWE until Bray Wyatt get’s that long deserved WWE title shot.
The main event of Raw was Seth Rollins well deserved statue ceremony, and wrestling 101 tells you that anytime there is a structure in the ring that everyone tells you is going to be one thing, it will most certainly be something different. We already knew Rollins was going to be in the main event scene for the next decade, but his match against Cena just cemented that mindset. He was amazing, and hey, a heel cheated to win a match. What a peculiar concept. Out of that win came the statue ceremony last night, and instead of Rollins’ new bronze statue, he was greeted by Sting. Obviously there was a lot of online complaining about this, particularly about the fact that they used that big spot on Sting and not a young guy, but fans who complain about that don’t understand what’s happening. Say the WWE put Cesaro behind that curtain. From a story telling standpoint, would the reaction and subsequent match at Night of Champions have been better or worse? The answer is worse, and I’m saying that as a Cesaro fan. The WWE’s goal is to make Seth Rollins THE MAN, and you do that by beating established guys, not by beating guys who need a big push of their own. I have complete faith that Rollins and Sting will have a great match at Night of Champions, and the mind games leading up to it will be even better. Sometimes you just need to sit back and enjoy the show, and let a grown man in face paint beat the crap out of somebody.
This year’s WrestleMania 31 was one of the biggest yet, and SummerSlam looks to build on the hype that was reaching fever pitch at the end of July’s WWE Battleground. So far, 2015 has been a massive success for the sports entertainment juggernaut that many had begun to count out amid drops in TV ratings and waning popularity. However, the success of the online-enabled WWE Network and increased focus on top-notch pay-per-view events has paid off in spades for Vince McMahon and company.
While TV ratings may have dropped to a near-all time low for the industry, more of this can be contributed to the decline of network and cable television rather than the WWE itself. Despite the dip in ratings, the company is doing just fine and announced the highest quarterly revenue in company history for the first quarter of 2015.
A new crop of bankable stars along with a concerted effort to shift to a more interactive and on-demand model with fans has helped the company stay ahead of the curve and remain afloat in a business that sees many others continuing to flounder. One thing that continues to pique interest among fans and casual sports enthusiasts alike is the increased ubiquity of gambling on professional wrestling events. It’s totally legit and, you know, a thing that you can actually do. While you can’t place a wager on regular events like “RAW,” for example, many bookmakers offer odds on the larger events like WrestleMania and SummerSlam with tons of fun side bets.
For us, if you’re going to do some sports betting, you need to do it right and that means Vegas (if you can swing it, of course). We think the best place to sit down and watch it all go down is definitely the MGM Grand with its plush leather seats, plenty of space and veritable ton of TVs. The casino’s sports booking service has 36 different 60-inch screens and 24 different 42-inch screens. You’ll never watch wrestling the same way again and there’s no better way to make sure you catch every inch of the action. Read the rest of this entry
SHAME – According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio, former WCW Champion Sting is set to appear at WWE Summerslam. This comes on the heels of news that The Undertaker is set to return as well.
Meltzer said that Sting’s return has been a plan for a while, and isn’t due to the ratings dropping. In addition to this, it was noted that it won’t be a surprise appearance at the event, and that it’ll be built up over several weeks. Apparently WWE had a plan set for Sting’s return, but those plans changed due to an undisclosed injury to one of the parties involved, and a new plan was made.
Sting was last seen at WrestleMania, when he made his WWE in-ring debut in a losing effort against Triple H. It is now expected that he’ll also be participating in next year’s WrestleMania.
So WWE’s summer programming just got A LOT more interesting. While this a rumor for now, Wrestling Observer Radio is as close as it gets to a sure thing in the world of internet wrestling rumors. This opens up a world of possibilities, as Sting and Taker could fight each other at Summerslam and then have a rematch at Mania, or they could enter separate feuds for Summerslam but still end up crossing paths for Mania. Undertaker looked about a decade younger at this year’s WrestleMania compared to WrestleMania 30, and Sting proved he can still go with his insane match against HHH. What does all of this mean? I have no idea, but Battleground, Summerslam and the next month of WWE programming just got a whole lot better.
Well, the day is finally upon us. WrestleMania 31 is this Sunday from Levi’s Stadium in California, and we have four hours of wrestling/sports entertainment to look forward to. Kings vs. Icons, Beasts vs. Juggernauts, Adam Rose and Zack Ryder in a Battle Royal; WrestleMania 31 pretty much has something for everyone. Like I’ve been doing before every pay per view, I’ll be previewing each match on the Mania card then giving my expert* opinion on who I think will win. Let’s get to it!
Fatal 4 Way Tag Team Title Match: Cesaro/Kidd (C) vs. Los Matadores vs. New Day vs. The Usos
Preview: Cesaro and Kidd have been the lone bright spot on the tag team scene recently, but it’s clear WWE thinks of the division as a wasteland of sorts. Los Matadores and The New Day spent the last few months losing to everyone under the sun, but are in a tag team title match at WrestleMania because…? I really can’t answer that question, and as bad as Los Matadores and New Day have been, The Uso’s aren’t that much better. You can’t have a solid tag team division with one good team, so unless the WWE revamps it’s current teams or inserts new ones, the tag team matches will be relegated to the pre show match on pay per views for the foreseeable future. In a perfect world the bell would ring and Natalya would power bomb El Torito through a table, then Cesaro and Kidd would massacre all three teams with a combination of swings, dropkicks and uppercuts. While that probably won’t happen, Cesaro and Kidd are the only hope of a tag team renaissance, so I’m going with them.
Prediction: Kidd & Cesaro, maybe pinning the other six guys at the same time. The only benefit of having a shitty tag team division is that it’s impossible for anyone to look worse by taking a loss in this match.
AJ Lee & Paige vs. Nikki & Brie Bella
Preview: Paige and Nikki Bella had the match of the night on Raw (don’t adjust your computer screens, you read that correctly) and I was hoping the teased tension between AJ and Paige would lead to a Divas Title match at Mania instead of the tag team bout, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen. Ever since Give Diva’s A Chance started trending, it was clear that the WWE would be making the Diva’s division a priority, similar to how they are portrayed in NXT. It’s jarring sometimes to remember that NXT and WWE are pretty much the same company, and its sad that it took a worldwide hash tag for the higher ups to realize that women’s wrestling should be an important part of their show. This match is pretty much a battle of the internet’s darlings vs. WWE’s vision of women wrestlers. The Bella’s are pretty much models that have been trained to wrestle, while AJ and Paige are wrestling first Diva’s who most of the audience can get behind because the genuinely love what they do. While the Bella’s have made great strides (Nikki especially) in the last half year or so, they’ll never get the smart fans support over a Paige or AJ.
Prediction: I think AJ and Paige will continue to bicker which leads to a Bella’s WrestleMania win, and most likely a triple threat title scenario post Mania depending on NXT call ups.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Preview: While last year’s Battle Royal became a welcome surprise with Cesaro’s impressive win, this year’s build was lacking in a lot of ways. The only storylines going into the match is the tension between Miz and Mizdow and the Twitter feud between Adam Rose and Zack Ryder. The rest of the match is filled up by teams who didn’t make it into the tag team pre show match and big guys that WWE loves to use in Battle Royal scenarios like Ryback, Mark Henry, Big Show and Kane. WWE also hurt themselves by not pushing the winner of last year’s match, thus making it seem like nothing really changes if you win the Battle Royal. If Cesaro had been pushed and made into an important player following his win, then the winner of this match would be looking forward to something more than just a trophy. It’ll be interesting to see which NXT star gets a slot in this match, as whoever wins the battle royal at tonight’s live event will be awarded the spot. My money is on Adrian Neville, and if it is him, I hope they give him a mini showcase because his athleticism is unmatched. Sheamus is definitely returning at Mania, and I think it’s in this match, and that he may appear later in the show as well (hopefully not), so at least we have that to look forward to.
Prediction: Sheamus returns and wins, and hopefully we get some kind of payoff between Miz and Mizdow, which leads to a pay per view match(s) down the line.
Ladder Match For The IC Title: Wade Barrett (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Stardust vs. Luke Harper vs. R-Truth
Preview: Up until Monday’s Raw, this was the match with the best lead up. I think WWE played all their cards before Monday’s Raw, including the gauntlet match and 6 man tag, so by the time Monday rolled around they didn’t really have anything new to do. With that said, this match seems like its can’t miss. You have seven of the best young guys on the roster with something to prove going for a mid card title that desperately needs validation. You have perennial show stealers in Daniel Bryan and Ziggler, incredibly underrated workhorse Luke Harper, crazy man Dean Ambrose and two solid yet under appreciated guys in Stardust and Barrett. R-Truth is R-Truth, but he’s surrounded by the seven other guys, so I imagine they’ll be able to cover for him. If the WWE is serious about elevating the mid card belts, then Bryan has to win here. Of the guys with an actual chance of winning, he’s the only one who hasn’t had a long reign with a mid card title. Ziggler and Barrett have had the IC belts before and couldn’t elevate, and Ambrose had the US belt FOREVER and couldn’t elevate that. Give the strap to Bryan, and use the next 6 months to a year feuding him with any of the other guys in this match and you’ll have a revitalized IC division.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan, as long as WWE conceals it’s hard on to feud Sheamus with DB and have him cost Bryan the match.
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
Previw: This is the only match on the card where I’m 100% certain the young up and comer will win against the veteran. With Cena/Rusev, Wyatt/Undertaker and Lesnar/Reigns, it’s not certain if any of the young guys will actually win their match, but I think Rollins does here. Orton already got his revenge on Rollins a few weeks ago with that long brawl to end Raw, but now he wants to ends ‘the future of the WWE’ for good. I just think Rollins has too many weapons at his disposal. He’s a superb wrestler, and all it takes is one distraction from J & J Security or any other member of The Authority and Orton will be eating a curb stomp. Rollins and Orton are pretty evenly matched, and I know this match is going to deliver, and it might not be the last time you see Seth Rollins make an appearance on the show.
Prediction: Rollins wins via some kind of distraction from The Authority.
United States Championship Match: Rusev (C) vs. John Cena
Preview: The internet is just waiting to explode after this match, but the way WWE has set it up, it’s almost impossible for John Cena to lose. I disagree with the build, and the result of their match at Fast Lane, but it’s time to face the facts: John Cena is winning the US title at WrestleMania. Before I get into whether this loss will crush Rusev, let’s look at the positives here. John Cena is not in the main event or the WWE championship picture, which is always a breath of fresh air. If he wins, Cena becomes the US Champ, and he elevates the title more than anyone else has in the recent past. Depending on how good Rusev looks, Cena beats an unbeatable villain, which is pretty much what his character has been about since he won his first title from JBL at WrestleMania 21. Cena got choked out at Fast Lane, choked out on Raw and has let down America while Rusev has continued to stand tall. In the world of pro wrestling, this feud has to culminate with the good guy winning on the biggest stage. Unfortunately for us, the good guy here is John Cena because America and little kids says so. As for Rusev, a loss here to the pretty much unbeatable Cena isn’t the worst thing IF the WWE handles it properly. If Rusev loses, he should destroy everyone in his path post Mania and beat Cena clean somewhere down the road to regain the title. If they handle Rusev like they did Wyatt last year, having him only settle the score with Cena by outside interference and children singing then he’s in trouble. I’ll wait and see what happens with Rusev before I judge this match, but I’d bet my house on Cena leaving Mania with the US title
Prediction: John Cena wins, the American flag is somehow involved and Rusev retreats to the back a broken man.
Sting vs. HHH
Preview: This is one of those weird matches that I can’t wait to see but at the same time don’t care about the outcome. Neither guy at this point in their career is going to be affected by a win or a loss, but it’s still going to be cool to see Sting have his WrestleMania moment. Besides Wyatt and The Undertaker, Sting’s entrance is the one I’m most looking forward to. The WWE is the king of revisionist history, and since they won the Monday Night Wars, what they say happened, happened. Sting was the franchise guy in WCW, but by the time the company was bought out in 2001, the ship had been sinking for a long time. HHH is pretty much the last guy standing from the Attitude Era guys of the mid to late 90s, so it makes sense to have him be the one to confront the outsider Sting. We know HHH can still go, as he had one of his best matches ever last year vs. Daniel Bryan, and from the little we’ve seen of Sting in a WWE ring, it looks like he’ll be just fine Sunday too. I can’t imagine this feud lasts longer than Sunday night, which makes it a little more interesting considering how serious WWE takes itself when it comes to beating WCW.
Prediction: As I said before, the outcome of this match should be an after thought; Sting is getting his WrestleMania moment, which he deserves. I think Sting wins, and HHH continues his losing streak at WrestleMania.
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
Preview: First off, holy hell what a promo video by the WWE. Even when they’re at their worst, they are the absolute best at hype videos. Now, onto the match. Win or lose, I think this is the feud that keeps Wyatt in the main event scene for years to come, which is funny because The Undertaker hasn’t even shown up yet. Wyatt has literally carried this feud with his promos, and capped it off Monday night on Raw with one of his best promos ever, seemingly summoning The Undertaker’s supernatural powers and once and for all declaring himself the New Face of Fear. I’ve written about this before, but this is unchartered territory for The Undertaker. He’s never re appeared in the WWE after a WrestleMania loss, so it almost makes this match impossible to predict. It’s anyone guess as to how he’ll look, and even though we’ve seen pictures of him training, it still remains to be seen how much he’ll be able to do in the ring. It says a lot about how the WWE views Wyatt that they’re putting him in a marquee matchup with ‘Taker, and I think this is where Wyatt gets the WrestleMania moment he should have gotten last year. I understand Cena winning this year, as you’ve got the built in storyline of America vs. Russia, and his win could actually do a lot of good for the mid card division, where as last year’s win vs. Wyatt did nothing for him. I think Wyatt becomes the modern day Undertaker, and his coronation ceremony will be Sunday night.
Prediction: The Undertaker passes the torch to Bray Wyatt, and we officially have a new face of fear.
WWE Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Roman Reigns
Preview: Ever since Brock announced on Sportscenter Tuesday night that he’d be staying with the WWE, I’ve been tossing this match around in my head. If Brock left, Reigns would win, and the WWE would be in a big mess. Reigns is a future star, but I don’t think the future is this Sunday. Now that Brock has re signed and actually come off as a likeable guy, he’s going to be immensely cheered on Sunday, which leaves only a swarm of boos to greet Roman Reigns as he enters from the crowd (or a helicopter, fingers crossed). There’s a few ways this could go down, and I’ll start with the least likely and end with the most likely. Brock eviscerating Reigns a la Cena at Summerslam, continuing to be the most dominant champion in modern history. I can’t see this happening because it wastes the build up of Reigns, and immediately knocks him way down the card. Same goes for Reigns murdering Lesnar. Having him cake walk through your most dominant champion of the modern era will not only make the fans turn on Reigns, but it discredits all those who Lesnar beat as well. Heyman turns on Brock to help Reigns win. As cool as that would be, with Brock sticking around for a few more years, I can’t see Heyman swerving Brock this early into his new contract, but it’s definitely a possibility. Brock wins clean, and Seth Rollins cashes in his MITB briefcase. Rollins has had his briefcase long enough, and unless they’re planning a Ziggler type cash in the next night on Raw, I think he does it Sunday night, which leads me to my prediction for the main event of WrestleMania 31:
Prediction: Reigns takes a beating, but ultimately beats Brock for the WWE Championship. Rollins cashes in and you have the built in feud of former Shield buddy’s duking it out for the world title. The loss sends Brock on a war path and creates new and exciting feuds for the Beast Incarnate. I think Rollins cashes in to end the show, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened to either Brock or Reigns, but for the sake of making a pick, I’m going with Reigns.
Every WrestleMania, our friend creates a special WrestleMania sheet that makes things a little more interesting. The gist of it is everyone puts in $5, and you pick who you think is going to win each match and how that person is going to win. 1 point is awarded for each correct answer, with two possible points available for each match (For the Battle Royal and Ladder match, you get 2 points for picking the winner, since there’s only one way to win). For example, if you pick Sting to win via pinfall, and Sting wins via pinfall, you get two points. At the end of the show you tally up the points and the person with the most points wins the money. If you’d like to play along, you can check out the sheet at this link: http://bit.ly/1EYx3sa
We’ll be tweeting along with all the action this Sunday @averagenobodies. Give us a follow and enjoy the best night of the year.