First off, what a goddamn segment. For too long Kevin Owens has been screwing around on Smackdown, and even when he was in a feud with someone as great as AJ Styles, it felt like something was missing. After watching this segment, the thing that was missing was the maniacal aggression he showed on the Indies and in NXT. It’s safe to say he’s found that again. Owens will take on Shane McMahon inside Hell in a Cell, which should be his rebirth, but last night he took out a different McMahon, and in doing so joined an exclusive club of all time superstars.
If you’re interacting with Vince McMahon inside a WWE ring, that’s a good thing 99% of the time. If Vince lets you beats him up AND bloody him, you’re on your way to something special. Stone Cold. The Undertaker. Brock Lesnar. CM Punk. Roman Reigns. That’s just a sample of the guys that have been in the ring with Vince and gotten over, and as Vince ages and falls into that beloved, insane grandpa role, beating him up brings out a sinister side in certain guys. That head butt from Owens was legit, and I like the uniqueness of the beat down. He wasn’t whaling on him with chairs or punching him in the head a bunch of times. One punch, one super kick and one frog splash, plus a tense stare down with Stephanie McMahon did the trick. The key will be for Owens to capitalize on this and make his Hell in a Cell match with Shane a match to remember. Shane O Mac is no stranger to making memorable moments, so that match should be something special.
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Lordy mercy, Vince McMahon is getting the story of his life told on the big screen. It was announced today that TriStar Pictures will be backing a biopic about the flamboyant WWE Chairman Of The Board and CEO. Pandemonium, which will be the title of the film written by Craig A. Williams, was first shopped around Hollywood last summer, but studios hesitated to pick the project up. Now, however, TriStar Pictures is giving the biopic the green light.
The studio is in negotiations for the film, with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who direct and executive produce the hit television drama This Is Us, on board to direct the project. The biopic will be produced by screenwriter Williams, Andrew Lazar of American Sniper, Michael Luisi who is the president of WWE Studios, and Adam Goldworm of Aperture Entertainment. Charlie Gogolak of Zaftig Films will executive produce. – Top Rope Press
Raise your hand if you expected a biopic on WWE Chairman Vince McMahon to be directed by the minds behind This Is Us. I’m just going to assume that no hands were raised. The word unexpected has become synonymous with Vince and the WWE for the last 30+ years, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised this is happening. McMahon has lived quite the life, and it’ll be interesting to see how factual this movie ends up being. The world of sports entertainment has always blurred fantasy and reality, so I’d expect the movie to follow that same path. If I’m the casting director, I’m hiring the first actor that can mimic Vince’s famous walk and go from there.
Brock Lesnar Beat Mark Hunt Via Unanimous Decision At #UFC200, Is An Unstoppable Human Wrecking Machine
I’ll be the first to admit that I was wary about Brock Lesnar returning to the octagon after a five year absence. Not only was he returning, but he was facing off against Mark Hunt, the #8 ranked Heavyweight in the UFC. This wasn’t Brock coasting his way back to UFC for a big payday; this was going to be a legitimate battle. What I failed to realize, even though it’s been proven time and time again, is that a 100% healthy Brock Lesnar is unlike anyone else on this planet. Brock exited the UFC in a way that he wasn’t happy with, so when the time came five years later to reconcile some of that defeat, he was ready. Lesnar dominated the 1st and 3rd rounds for a unanimous decision win, and for a man who’s turning 39 tomorrow, he has never looked better. The other winner after this outcome has to be Vince McMahon and the WWE. Letting Lesnar fight in UFC while under contract and advertising him for Summerslam just six weeks after the fight was a huge risk. If Lesnar loses, or gets hurt, not only is his appearance at the pay per view in jeopardy, but the mystique of Lesnar could have been damaged. Instead, Brock goes out and dominates, and now the most legitimate superstar in WWE history somehow got stronger. I’d bet the house that Paul Heyman (and maybe Brock himself) will be on Monday Night Raw ready to reclaim the squared circle.
If you’re a casual wrestling fan, now is the time to watch WWE Raw. Between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, WWE consistently puts on it’s best weekly programming. They’re not all home runs, but they’re remarkably better than most Raw’s during other times of the year. Last night’s Raw was one of those home runs. After last week was extremely heavy on the promo’s, this week’s show focused more on the in ring segments, which is WWE’s strong suit with most of their top stars injured. We got a good promo from Shane and Vince to start the show, and a great back and forth between HHH and Ambrose later in the show, but all the highlights were of the physical variety. Let’s take a look.
After Shane and Vince verbally sparred back and forth and Vince stepped on a childhood photo of him and his son, Vince summoned security to take Shane out of the building. The only problem with that is that Shane O’ Mac was having none of it. He quickly dispatched security with rabbit punches and knee strikes, and the segment was made all the better because the Chicago crowd was hot for it. As a side note, Chicago crowds have a tendency to be self serving (CM Punk chants, I’m looking at you) but last night’s crowd was awesome, especially during this segment, the tag match and the closing angle. This segment did a lot better than last week’s, where Undertaker walked out, said a sentence and left. We still have three more Raw’s until WM, and while I don’t think it’s necessary for Taker and Shane to get physical, I would still like more of an explanation as to why Undertaker is actually competing in this match.
The WWE Divas Championship match is already set, so we’re probably in for segments where each Diva looks strong going into the biggest match in all three of these women’s careers. Of any match that’s already on the card or could be added, I’m most excited for this one. This is their chance to prove on the biggest stage that women’s wrestling matters on the main roster. I can’t wait.
As much as I’d rather get stabbed in both eyes instead of watching another distraction rollup win, at least Lana has something to do now. While a Brie Bella feud is almost always awful, the crowd obviously loves Lana, and she’s very athletic, so why not give her a chance and see what she can do. Plus, Brie’s entire family is falling apart, so why not give her one more WrestleMania moment before she retires.
They’re destined to do this forever. Kevin Owens beat Neville in a very good match, and it looked like Neville was going to fall victim to another pop up power bomb on the apron until SAMI ZAYN comes out for the save. Zayn and Owens feud in NXT was cut critically short due to the injury of Zayn and the fact that Owens was just too good to keep off the main roster, so if they’re going to get a WM feud right now I am all the way in. I don’t know if they’d do a 1 on 1 match or a multi-man match like last year, but either way, any version of Owens and Zayn is gold. Throw Neville in there and make it an IC Title/’Who’s the best NXT Champion on the main roster’ match. Either way, I am all the way in.
If I could pin point why this Raw was a gift from the Gods, it would be because Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio finally stopped feuding. Kalisto got a clean win over Tyler Breeze (who got a full entrance for the first time in forever) and Ryback continued to maul the Social Outcasts. Ryback and Kalisto even got promo time backstage where Ryback inexplicably name dropped every superhero movie he’s ever seen. As much as I love Kalisto, if he fights Ryback at WM their match should end when Ryback literally pulls him apart limb by limb.
This match was important for a number of reasons. The New Day, at least on the microphone, has kind of grown stale. They’re still kind of funny, but it seems more scripted than it used to be and that is always a bad thing. What this match proved though is that The New Day in the ring, specifically Big E and Kofi, are bananas. Big E catching human beings out of thin air and slamming them to the mat will never not be awesome and Kofi has eclipsed Dolph as the best seller on the roster. I could watch that AJ Styles backflip into a reverse DDT all day every day. Speaking of AJ Styles, anyone who had any doubts about how amazing he is should watch this match. He’s flying around the ring, looks great on offense and takes a believable beat down. The old veteran Jericho was also fantastic in this match, and this is his best run with the WWE since ‘Best in the World’ Jericho. Speaking of THAT Jericho, he’s back, baby. You sensed it was coming, but heel Jericho is so great that I didn’t care. Give me Chris Jericho stuffing shirts into people’s mouths and calling them sons of bitches and I’m a happy man. Great match and a great post match angle.
The difference between a good Raw and a great Raw is the stuff that happens after a fantastic match like the Tag Titles match. WWE’s roster is stacked with talent, so even on a bad show, they’re going to put on some fantastic matches. The problem is that the writing is inconsistent, so while some performers can overcome the writing and put on a great match, others can’t and the show goes downhill. That did not happen last night, and the main reason for that is Dean Ambrose. It’s hard to believe that a Raw in March without three of the top guys in three of the main event matches of WM (Reigns, Lesnar & Taker) could be this good, but that’s what happens when you let a guy like Ambrose connect with the crowd. Wyatt deserves some credit too, and as a Bray Wyatt super fan that interaction with HHH and the World Title at the end was INCREDIBLE, but Dean Ambrose is the shit right now. Not only does he out duel HHH in a promo earlier in the night, but he puts on a great match with Wyatt, gets beat down, and then summons enough energy to turn the tables on HHH and end the night with the belt in his hands. Also, don’t sleep on HHH selling Dirty Deeds like a goddamn champion. I saw a few people on Twitter complain about it, but they’re missing the point. With HHH selling it like a knockout blow, you just showed your audience that any given moment, Ambrose can pop up and hit that move and HHH will be forced to lay there like he got hit with a shovel. So now if HHH is murdering Ambrose on Saturday, we can revert back to that image and remember that at any moment, Ambrose could strike. I don’t know what’s going to happen Saturday night, but I know I’ll be watching, and that’s half the battle.
Rather upside down start to 2016 as tomorrow I will head to Birmingham for shoulder surgery. Life’s full of set backs but #nevergiveup
— John Cena (@JohnCena) January 7, 2016
Before I get started, Cena’s injury, combined with the injuries of Rollins, Orton, Daniel Bryan & (to a lesser degree) Cesaro, Barrett etc. is the worst possible news for the WWE heading into WrestleMania season. To make matters worse, WWE is trying to sell out Cowboys Stadium, which means somehow getting 100,000+ people to buy tickets to an event without a plethora of top stars. Barring any other awful news, The Rock, Undertaker, Lesnar and active top stars will be in Dallas, but not having the others is going to hurt. With that said, just as Rollins and Orton’s injuries opened the door for top superstars to step up, Cena’s injury might do more than that. It’s no secret that the WWE is in both a creative and ratings slump, and most of the blame is falling on the shoulders of Vince McMahon. Luckily for McMahon, this is not unchartered territory.
The WWE went through a similar lull in the mid 90s, the only difference that time being the emergence of true competition in the form of WCW. McMahon, sick of falling behind in the ratings, gave his performers more control of their characters and allowed them to be edgier, and thus the most successful period in wrestling history was born. In 2016, there is no viable competition to the WWE. Companies like ROH, Lucha Underground and NJPW, while popular, cannot compete with the advertising and TV deals that WWE has. While competition might not force McMahon to make changes, injuries could. I’m not saying the WWE needs another Attitude Era, because while that was successful, the in ring product is far superior now. Guys getting hit in the head with chairs and girls walking around in bikinis worked in the 90s, but that time has come and passed. Now more than ever, the WWE needs major characters, whether baby face or villain, that fans can relate to. No more 50/50 booking. No more safety net. The WWE roster has never been deeper or more talented, and now is the time for McMahon to let the performers, the ones who have always bailed him out in the past, do their job. Monday’s Raw was a good start, with Del Rio and Rusev forming a solid tag team and the Social Outcasts (Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel & Adam Rose) getting a win AND some microphone time. McMahon doesn’t like to admit when things are going bad, but he’s done it before and adjusted, and a serious injury to the face of the WWE might just be exactly what needed to happen to shake things up.
For The First Time In History, The WWE Champion Will Defend His Title As An Entrant In The Royal Rumble Match #WWE
Title was vacant, no one has defended title in Rumble https://t.co/koo8Krai5M
— Lance Storm (@LanceStorm) January 5, 2016
I figured putting that tweet by Lance Storm would clear up any confusion people had with the headline, since yes, this is technically the first time the reigning WWE Champion is entering the Royal Rumble match with his title on the line. Ric Flair won the ’92 Rumble and the title, but as Mr. Serious Lance Storm points out, the title was vacant at the time. The development is part of the ongoing Authority/Roman Reigns angle, and I like it a lot. The WWE roster has been decimated by injuries at the worst possible time, so how do you make the Royal Rumble match more interesting? Make it for the WWE Championship. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next few weeks we find out that Reigns has drawn the #1 entry (or another very low number) which would stack the odds even higher against him. So now that we know the stipulation, who will be the winner? I think if WWE is serious about pushing Reigns (which come on, they are) they have him lose the Rumble and earn a shot back at the title at WrestleMania. The only two people I can think of that WWE is willing to put in the main event of Mania against Reigns would be HHH and Brock Lesnar. They both have their reasons; HHH could return to avenge his beat down and Reigns terrorizing his family over the last few weeks & Lesnar could return to get back his title, which he never really lost. We’ll know after next week if Lesnar is going to enter the Rumble (which I’m 100% sure he will now that it’s for the title) and then the pieces will start to fall together. Either way, this year’s Royal Rumble and the next few weeks of WWE TV should be great.
WM – Harbaugh was so fired up about the possibility of WrestleMania coming back to Detroit that he called back into the radio show a few minutes after his original interview. He had an idea for a host.
“Why not the Big House?” he said. “Why not? 140,000 – I bet we could get in there for Wrestlemania. They’re trying to break the attendance record at Jerry Jones’ stadium in Dallas. (There’s) a great Canadian presence in wrestling. Why not Michigan and the Big House?”
Now that Minneapolis is just about officially off the board for WM 33 hosting duties, Michigan’s Big House sounds like a pretty appetizing option. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see 140,000 wrestling fans pack Michigan’s stadium plus a cameo from legitimate crazy man Jim Harbaugh. My life has been missing Harbaugh since he my left my 49ers for college football, but this might be the move to bring him back in. WWE is bold enough to make this happen, and now they have new face of Michigan on their side. Harbaugh/Dean Ambrose in a Japanese Death Match or we riot.