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Five Stars From #WWE #RAW (3/12/18): It’s WrestleMania Season

Welcome back, wrestling fans. Now that Fastlane has come and gone, WWE is officially on the fast track to WrestleMania. Counting last night’s show, there are only four Raw’s left until WrestleMania. The biggest show of the year will be here before we know it, and the good news is the early card looks great. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar is a rematch of one of the more intense and stiff Mania main event’s in recent memory.

Ronda Rousey/Kurt Angle vs. HHH/Stephanie is a great idea for Rousey’s first match. The match will have a main event feel thanks to the other three who are involved but it keeps Rousey away from the Women’s title until she’s earned it. MIz/Rollins/Balor should be fantastic with the IC title on the line. Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax is becoming a very emotional storyline with Bliss playing her heel role perfectly, which is going to lead to a groundswell of support for Nia. Braun Strowman might be challenging for the tag titles solo which is just preposterous enough to work.

All in all, WrestleMania is looking good on paper. Now, let’s get to the five stars from last night’s Raw!

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – 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. Roman Reigns

I’ve really enjoyed the build to Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar II. Instead of going the traditional route with Reigns and Lesnar going face to face or brawling for weeks in a row, they’ve kept it one sided. If they tried to build this like a normal title match, the crowd would continue to shit on Reigns. By keeping Lesnar away and allowing Reigns to finally sound like a normal guy, they’ve started to bring some fans to Roman’s side. Roman cut a fantastic promo on Lesnar two weeks ago and followed it up with another strong speech last night. When WWE allows Reigns to talk tough and keep it short he’s a much more believable character. While Reigns has held up his end of the build so far, WWE used their trump card last night.

While it’s easy to think of Vince as this super popular legend, the facts are that he’s one of best heels in pro wrestling history. He makes it so easy to hate him, and if you’re looking to build sympathy or support for a character, you pit them against Vince. Remember Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus from three years ago? The crowd rooted for Reigns almost by default because Vince was on the other side.

Last night Reigns called out Vince in the ring then confronted him backstage. That led to Vince temporarily suspending Reigns while also mentioning Brock Lesnar does enjoy special privileges, but he’s earned them. Brock Lesnar was always cheered because of his freakish skills and unmatched intensity, but it’s much harder to cheer for him when he’s aligned with or supported by Vince. This will almost certainly lead to a Vince/Reigns confrontation, which should enhance an already great build.

4. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor

Miz vs. Rollins vs. Balor could have zero build and i’d still be psyched for their match at Mania. They’re three of the best workers on Raw, and they’re fighting for what should be the workhorse championship. Since Raw is a 3 hour show every week, they’re obviously going to feature some type of segment with those three, and I’d prefer it to be more wrestling than promos. Miz TV is always enjoyable, but Miz is so far and above both Rollins and Balor on the microphone and this match doesn’t need a lot of talking up to get people excited.

Rollins vs. Balor was a fun match, and I particularly enjoyed the ending. Rollins and Balor are evenly matched, so if you’re going to have someone go over clean, it shouldn’t be a dominant victory. They also know each other well and have a shared history. I don’t think either should win with their finisher either, which is why I liked this so much. Rollins loves to hit the top rope suplex/falcon arrow combo to soften guys up for his finisher. While he executed the suplex perfectly, Balor knew he was going to roll over into the falcon arrow. He was able to use that knowledge to his advantage and reverse the falcon arrow into a roll up for the win.

It wasn’t a dominant victory, but it showed you how quickly someone can pickup a win, which if it happens at Mania, means there will be a new IC champ.

3. Asuka vs. Mickie James

Asuka finally made her WrestleMania decision Sunday at Fastlane. Asuka vs. Charlotte is a dream match any way you look at it, and it’s a much better title match than Asuka vs. Bliss would have been. As great of a character as Alexa is, there is no realistic way for her to beat Asuka without a metric ton of shenanigans. That shouldn’t be the route they take for Asuka at Mania, so I’m glad she’s challenging Charlotte. Asuka even threw some shade at Bliss by saying she wants to face the best women’s champion at Mania. To add insult to injury Alexa’s backup plan Nia Jax was a no show. forcing MIckie James to be the poor sacrificial lamb.

James/Asuka was a lot of fun, mainly because Mickie understands the value of fighting different styles of matches against different opponents. She was super aggressive against Asuka, and even got a few near falls. Asuka has been undefeated for 55 years for a reason though, and eventually adjusted to pick up the tap out win.

2. Alexa & Nia

While Asuka/Charlotte has a leg up from an in ring standpoint, Alexa vs. Nia Jax has all the emotional weight behind it. Alexa and Nia have been “friends” for awhile now, with Alexa using Nia for her size and strength while Nia has been getting the extreme short end of the stick. Nia continues to persevere, but it’s starting to take a toll. Last week’s interaction between Bliss and Nia was heartbreaking, and it’s a credit to how strong both of these characters are. Bliss is the absolute worst, while Nia has been manipulated for so long that it’s starting to break her down. She keeps going though, because at the root of it all is her friendship with Bliss.

Yeah…about that friendship. After Nia murders a poor local competitor, a hot boom mic picks up Alexa talking some major hurtful shit about Nia. Nia is in the ring listening the entire time and eventually storms to the back and destroys the women’s locker room that Bliss and Mickie James were in. Alexa tip toed the line with NIa for so long, but she finally went too far when Nia was within earshot. If you have even a tiny piece of a heart you’re going to be rooting for Nia to rip Alexa to shreds as soon as possible.

1. Braun Strowman

Braun Strowman winning the tag team battle royal by himself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but stay with me here. 1. Watching Braun Strowman destroy ten other guys is always fun. 2. The Raw tag division is useless, and there’s no point in trying to turn one of the current teams into believable contenders. I’m not saying one or multiple teams can’t be revamped, but four weeks prior to WrestleMania is not the time to do that. 3. If this win stands, I think Kurt Angle should force Braun to find a partner. How fun would it be watching this unstoppable monster try to find someone who he hasn’t already tried to murder to be his tag team partner?

Strowman isn’t the most trustworthy guy, but having an automatic tag team title shot at WrestleMania could convince someone to join forces with Braun. I’m interested to see who that could be.




Average Nobodies Podcast – THE XFL IS OFFICIALLY BACK

for January 25, 2018.

On today’s show we’re chatting about the 2018 Oscar nominations, this Sunday’s Royal Rumble, Larry Nassar and the shocking return of the XFL. You can chat with us on Twitter @AverageNobodies, toss us a like on Facebook @AverageNobodies and heart all our pictures on instagram, @AverageNobodies. Don’t forget, this podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and YouTube.

Five Stars From WWE #RAW25 (1/22/18): Stone Cold, DX & More!

WWE held it’s 25th anniversary celebration for it’s flagship show last night. I wouldn’t say it was a bad show, but filming in two different locations proved challenging. This was also the go home WWE Raw for the Rumble, so WWE was mixing nostalgia with also trying to build to it’s second biggest pay per view. The actual 25th anniversary was January 11th and I think doing this show last week would have been more beneficial. The returns of Austin, Undertaker and DX took up a ton of time, which made segments with the tag champs and Universal title picture seem rushed. There were some bright spots though, so let’s get to the five stars!

Average Nobodies note: make sure to follow us on Twitter – @averagenobodies and like us on Facebook – 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. Austin Got McMahon!

WWE Raw started in the best possible way. Stephanie, Shane and Vince opened with a promo celebrating Raw’s historic feat. Vince then dove into his Mr. McMahon character and instantly got the crowd to turn on him. The crowd chanted ASSHOLE while Vince took sole credit for the success of Raw while claiming he didn’t need anyone else’s help to make the show such a success. That cued the best sound in the world: glass shattering followed by Stone Cold Steve Austin death marching to the ring swearing up a storm.

If you’re a younger fan that didn’t watch Austin on a weekly basis during the Attitude Era, you got a small sense of how much crowds love him last night. Austin didn’t speak a single word, yet had the crowd on the edge of their seats for the entire first segment. He stunned Shane (twice) and Vince, and even had a few Steveweisers along the way. Also, this picture belongs in a museum somewhere:

4. No One Is Ready For Asuka

The 8 women tag wasn’t anything special, but I did like the post match angle. If Asuka is in a match, whether it’s singles, tag or a battle royal, she should be the favorite to win. Her NXT run was done so perfectly and no other women on Raw has been built to even be in the same ballpark as her. I love Sasha Banks and Nia Jax, but Asuka is on a different level, and she should be portrayed that way. I’m glad she was the one to make the statement last night by tossing Mickie, Sasha and Bayley over the top rope. The match would’ve benefited from being on a regular Raw as it needed more than a few minutes, but that wasn’t happening last night. Asuka should go into the first ever women’s Rumble as the odds on favorite. I’ll be shocked if she doesn’t win.

3. The Miz

The best match by a mile was Miz vs. Roman Reigns for the IC title. Miz is coming off a landmark 2017, and in his first match in 2018, he won the IC title for the 8th time. This outcome could mean that Reigns wins the Rumble and main event’s WrestleMania again, but I’m focusing on the positives for now. This was a really good match that I think benefited from time constraints. Reigns’ best matches are always in the 10-15 minute range. When they go longer than that there’s usually a lot of stalling. When they don’t you get matches like last night where everything matters.

Miz had a game plan that obviously featured Axel and Dallas causing as many distractions as they could. While Reigns was seemingly able to overcome them, he turned his back on Miz one too many times. Miz was able to uncover the middle turnbuckle and use Reigns’ habit of constantly running at you to his advantage. He knows that Reigns loves the spear and the Superman punch. Miz positioned himself perfectly in front of the exposed turnbuckle, moved out of the way and let Roman knock himself out. One skull crushing finale later and Miz is your new IC champ. Reigns doesn’t look bad because he lost a 3 on 1 battle and knocked himself out. Miz looks great because he used his surroundings and stable mates to his advantage. Great stuff.

2. Walk With Elias

On Christmas day Elias and John Cena had a really good match. Elias has been one of the better parts of Raw for awhile now, so it was cool to see him interact with John. Unfortunately Elias lost, but he proved he could hang with big match John. Last night Elias got put on The List by Chris Jericho and hit John Cena with a guitar. Not too shabby. The Jericho bit was a lot of fun and I wish those two would be interacting more. I’d honestly watch them argue about the perfect amount of scarves all day. When Cena first came out I was worried he was going to shoulder block and AA Elias and that’d be it. That ALMOST happened, but Elias got out of the AA and hit a mean low blow. He followed that up with a guitar shot to the back and then hit the Drift Away.

Now, this is obviously going to set up Elias vs. Cena at Elimination Chamber and/or Mania. Does that make me nervous for Elias? Yes, yes it does. I’ve seen Cena take the L on a random Raw or B level PPV too many times. I’ve also seen him win the match with the biggest possible audience watching too many times as well. Rusev and Bray Wyatt, I’m looking your way. Could that happen with Elias? Of course. Best case scenario is Cena eliminates Elias in the Rumble. That costs Elias a title shot at WrestleMania and Cena gets revenge for last night. If they do fight at WrestleMania, Elias should go over, whether it’s clean or not. Or Cena wins LOL.

1. DX + Balor Club = Too Sweet

The final segment & match from the Manhattan Center was a lot of fun. If you’re a a fan of The Revival you weren’t thrilled they got beat up. The Manhattan Center audience was there for D-X though, so you knew it was coming. The only thing I would have changed is the finish of the match. While Gallows & Anderson aren’t a bad team, they’ve never been consistently built up on Raw. The Revival are the best tag team on the roster and should very rarely lose normal tag matches. I enjoyed the post match stuff, and The Revival can do much worse than getting beat up by D-X, Scott Hall and the Balor Club.

I’m glad they’re finally doing something meaningful with Balor, and this struck me as a passing the torch moment for he and the Club. While the moment was cool, it won’t mean a thing if they don’t keep building him up moving forward. I doubt Finn wins the Rumble, but he should be entering very early and stay in for awhile. If Gallows & Anderson are also in the Rumble, they can help him fight off elimination. The Revival can dump them out somehow, and Finn is eventually eliminated after a historic showing. Win win for everybody.


Kevin Owens Joined An Exclusive Club By Beating The Crap Out Of Vince McMahon Last Night #SDLive

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.


029 NFL Draft, Facebook Sorcery and McMahon Biopic

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Can You Believe It? A Vince McMahon Biopic Is Officially In The Works #WWE

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.


WWE Kicked Things Into High Gear Last Night With A Fantastic #RAW

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.


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