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Triple H Will Defend The WWE Title Against Dean Ambrose On 3/12 At The Newly Named WWE Roadblock Event

If you didn’t watch Raw last night, you missed The League of Nations and Triple H beat the ever loving shit out of Dean Ambrose to end the show. The show began with Ambrose challenging HHH for a title shot, claiming he knows deep down that Ambrose would beat him. HHH obliged Ambrose after pedigreeing him and then proceeding to punch him about 1,000 times. When Raw went off the air, we didn’t know when the title match would take place, but thanks to this tweet by WWE, we know it’ll be on March 12th. The event, which will air live on the WWE Network on Saturday March 12th from Toronto, was originally called the ‘March to WrestleMania’. Vince must have been in a bad mood after the Undertaker choked him last night, so he decided to change the event to ‘WWE Roadblock’. Both names are kind of terrible, but at least we’ll be getting a title match at a live event. I don’t know if this is a move to further push Ambrose for his eventual main event run after WrestleMania or if WWE is genuinely interested in making him a part of the main event, but either way, I’m intrigued.

-Ryan

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Shinsuke Nakamura Has Officially Signed With WWE NXT

Lost in all the hoopla and complaining last night was this breaking announcement – Shinsuke Nakamura, the King of Strong Style and one of the most accomplished international wrestlers in the world, is now officially a member of NXT. He already has his first match, which will be against Sami Zayn at Takeover Dallas, but now that he’s officially signed, the sky is truly the limit for this guy. I’m glad he’s going to NXT first, because that is where he has a chance to really thrive at the beginning. From all the videos and articles I’ve seen on this guy, he seems to be as close to a can’t miss megastar as there is today. Jim Ross compared his signing to the signings of Lesnar and Cena, and with WWE in serious need of some international flavor, Nakamura should be a huge boost to their roster.

As far as Fastlane goes, a lot of fans were disappointed, and I think it has a lot to do with how the show flowed. It peaked early with the US/IC title and Divas matches and the crowd died after the New Day/Social Outcasts segments. The main event saved the show and the crowd was hot for it, but then the predictable ending brought everyone back down. If Roman is their guy that’s fine, but they need to figure out a better way for him to connect with the fans or switch up the alignments. Listen to the crowd when Dean Ambrose is doing things in the ring and then listen when Roman is; it’s night and day. Unless WWE’s plan is to have 100,000 people boo the main event of their biggest show, I think they should use the next 42 days to make this a lot more interesting.

-Ryan

WWE Fastlane Preview & Predictions

WWE Fastlane takes place this Sunday live on the WWE Network, and it is the final pay per view before WrestleMania 32 on April 3. Most of the WrestleMania card is still a mystery, but one definite we’ll have after Sunday’s show is the main event. Will Lesnar, Reigns or Ambrose face HHH in the main event of WM32? Let’s find out!

Pre Show : 2 Out of 3 Falls US Title Match: Kalisto (C) vs. Alberto Del Rio

This is a great reason to tune into the pre-show, although I’d much rather have it on the main card. Either way, these two have proven that they have great chemistry, and I think Kalisto needs a really good showing here to prove to the fans and the WWE that he’s the real deal. WWE has been searching for the next Rey Mysterio for a long time, and while there will never be another Mysterio, Kalisto has the ability to fill the spot of the masked fan favorite underdog. Del Rio hasn’t really done much since returning besides winning the US title, but I don’t think putting the belt back on Del Rio is the right call. Kalisto could create so many more opportunities as champion, and I’d like to see some fresh blood inserted into the title picture. This should be a hell of a way to start off the night.

Prediction: Kalisto

Edge & Christian Interview The New Day

Normally I wouldn’t want to see an in ring interview segment eat up time on a pay per view, but Edge, Christian & The New Day are as entertaining as it gets. After the necessary schilling of Edge & Christian’s new WWE Network show, this segment should be a lot of fun. If I’m being honest, I’m actually looking forward to this a lot more than another Uso’s/New Day match. These five have interacted once before in the clip above, and it was wonderful. If you can’t enjoy Big E attempting to eat a kazoo you might not have a soul, and now that Edge and Christian are both pretty much retired, you don’t have to worry about either or them getting physical. In a perfect world, this segment should be the debut of Enzo & Cass to the main roster. They were probably next in line for a tag team title run, but now that Gable and Jordan have lit the world on fire, that’s not coming anytime soon. They’re easily the most ‘main roster ready’ team in NXT, and the WWE tag team picture desperately needs some fresh blood. Who wouldn’t want to see a New Day/Enzo & Cass feud? I’d pay all my money just for the promo’s alone. Make it happen, WWE.

Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch vs Tamina Snuka and Naomi

Hopefully this is the last time that Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch are on a pay per view card that doesn’t involve the Diva’s title, because they’re better than this. I understand you need a blow off Team BAD turning their back on Banks, but WrestleMania 32 needs to be the official changing of the guard in the Diva’s division. Nikki Bella may never wrestle again, Brie Bella is retiring soon and the NXT women are clearly the future. Give me a triple threat at WM with Becky, Sasha and Charlotte that has the ability to tear the house down in front of the biggest possible audience. THAT’S how you change the perception of women’s wrestling on the main roster. As far as this match, the outcome isn’t as important as the character work of Banks and Becky. Becky has really come into her own as an easy to cheer baby face, and Banks is a natural heel, so that should be highlighted in this match. I don’t expect Banks to be a good friend much longer, so look for her to turn either after this match or the next night on Raw.

Prediction: for the sake of predicting an outcome, I’ll go with Becky and Sasha. Just let Tamina stand on the apron until it’s time to kick someone in the face.

Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles

How do you debut a can’t miss talent when the main event picture is already overcrowded? Pair him with Chris Jericho and let them work their magic. AJ Styles is wonderful, and putting him with two guys (Jericho and Miz) who can carry segments on the microphone was a great choice. AJ isn’t terrible on the microphone, but it’s not his strongest attribute, so there’s no reason to turn him into Roman Reigns and force him to give these long winded speeches. Heel Jericho has and always will be the best Jericho, which also brings out the best in AJ. I also like the logical storytelling. WWE loves to have guys wrestle each other a million times, but almost every feud should be decided by a best of 3. If you beat a guy two weeks in a row, where’s the drama of the feud continuing? But if AJ wins the first match and Jericho wins the second, a third match is a logical conclusion to the story. Having it at Fastlane is an interesting move, because it sets up a lot of possibilities for AJ’s first WM match. Styles excels at having big time matches on the big stage, so his first WWE singles match on a pay per view should be great, especially since his dancing partner is Jericho.

Prediction: AJ Styles, preferably with the pay per view debut of the Styles Clash.

6 Man Tag Team Match: Ryback, Kane & The Big Show vs. The Wyatt Family

I don’t know which three Wyatt Family members will be wrestling this match, but if I had to bet I’d say Bray sits outs. I can’t imagine this match is going to be good from any standpoint, and it’s the same problem I highlighted above about WWE having the same guys fight over and over. The Wyatt’s have been feuding with Kane since their debut, and Big Show and Ryback since before the Royal Rumble. If they beat them again, who cares? WWE has already neutered the Wyatt Family so much that the outcome of this match doesn’t even matter. While I have a feeling Bray and company will affect the outcome of the main event, this match does nothing for me.

Prediction: Wyatt Family. If they can’t beat these three guys, they should just go home forever.

WWE Divas Title Match: Charlotte (C) vs. Brie Bella

Regardless of your opinion of Brie Bella, she’s been an important part of the Diva’s division for almost a decade. This is an out of the blue title opportunity for her, and it’s possible they’re throwing her this bone because her sister and her husband are falling apart and she’s retiring soon. Regardless of Brie’s situation, Charlotte needs a dominant win here. As much fun as it is to see crazy old man Ric Flair throwing his jacket at people and trying to kick Alicia Fox in the head, the WWE Diva’s division needs a clear cut leader. WWE did the same thing with Seth Rollins. They gave him the belt, and then went overboard with the ‘needing to cheat to win’ shtick. I understand what they’re going for with Charlotte, and it was necessary for her to transform from bad to good, but now she needs to start kicking ass. On paper, Charlotte vs. Brie is a slaughter. Brie is one of the worst wrestlers on the roster and she couldn’t be less intimidating if she was missing both her legs. Charlotte is the alpha female, and while having Flair as a safety valve in case she gets into trouble is fine, she shouldn’t rely on him every match. Plus, when the title does come off of Charlotte, it should be coming off an unbeatable physical machine, not a grab the tights to win opportunist.

Prediction: Charlotte. And we never saw Brie Bella ever again.

WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Kevin Owens (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler

Speaking of guys who wrestle each other all the time…This match will be great, just like all their other ones have been, but I can’t help but think about how much better it would be if they hadn’t already fought each other 25 times. When the New Day fight the Uso’s every week, it’s frustrating but I understand it, because there really aren’t any other decent tag teams. But when it comes to singles titles, there is no excuse for repetitive matches. Just look at the other guys in the IC title match from Raw. Why can’t Stardust or Tyler Breeze get an IC title feud? What about Rusev or Neville? WWE has so much talent, but refuses to use them. I don’t the see the point of having Owens drop the belt six days after winning it, but then again I don’t see the point of a lot of WWE storytelling. Owens should be the champ heading into WM, where we can get another one of those multi-man ladder matches again, except this time the winner won’t have to retire forever.

Prediction: KO

Triple Threat Match : Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose (Winner is #1 Contender)

When Brock Lesnar is involved in any kind of matchup, he’s the automatic favorite. The man has a giant sword tattooed on his chest, so excuse me if I don’t ever pick against him, but this match is his kryptonite (that and getting punched in the dick). If the rules of a match state that you can lose said match without being pinned or submitted, Brock Lesnar is probably going to lose. Honestly, it’s the only match he should lose. It happened at the 2015 Royal Rumble. It happened at WrestleMania 31. It’s probably going to happen Sunday. I like the build up of drama between Reigns and Ambrose, because it hopefully saves us from a match where most of it is spent beating up Brock Lesnar. Whether it makes sense for the story or not, nobody wants to see that. People want to see Brock Lesnar rip off car doors and suplex and F-5 human beings until they can’t move. I suspect we’ll get a lot of that here, but I don’t think Brock will win. The Wyatt’s have been suspiciously MIA around Brock Lesnar since the Royal Rumble, but I believe that changes here. I think Lesnar dominates most of the match, until the Wyatt’s take him out, which leaves us with Reigns and Ambrose. WWE has done a great job recently of turning Ambrose into a motivated, refusing to stay down type of  crazy. Yes he’s a lunatic, but he’s not a wacky, joke spewing lunatic. He’s a guy that will take your best shot but keep getting up, because that’s all he knows. Reigns is Reigns, and whether you love him or hate him, he’s here to stay. It’s just too bad that WWE refuses to give him any semblance of a character, because I do think he can be great. The surprise beat down from the Dudleyz Monday night is also something to keep an eye on, as we still don’t know why they did it. Are they associating with Heyman? The Authority? I wouldn’t be shocked if they come out during this match as well. In the end, it will come down to Reigns and Ambrose, and I think WWE is going to shock us a bit.

Prediction: Dean Ambrose.

-Ryan

 

 

NXT Takeover Dallas Has Their Top Matches & Good Lord Does It Look Fantastic

NXT “Takeover: Dallas” event during WrestleMania 32 weekend:

WWE NXT Title Match
Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor

WWE NXT Women’s Title Match
Asuka vs. Bayley

WWE NXT Tag Team Title Match
Chad Gable and Jason Jordan vs. Dash and Dawson

Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

My favorite thing about NXT is their ability to not only put down four matches like that on paper, but the trust fans have in the product to build up these matches to make them even better. NXT had their final tapings before WrestleMania weekend last night, and these are the four major matches for the April 1st event. The only surprise for me was that Joe and Balor will square off again, and that Zayn will take on Nakamura in his debut. I want to see Zayn vs. Balor badly, but if Balor isn’t turning heel between now and April, it makes sense to put him up against someone like Joe. From everything I’ve seen and read about Nakamura, he is a complete game changer, and I fully expect him and Zayn to tear the house down. Gable and Jordan are my favorite part of NXT, so seeing them get their tag title shot is going to be insane. Asuka vs. Bayley is so wonderful, as they’re two VERY different kind of baby faces, and this will be the ultimate test for Bayley. When you combine this card with the fact that more matches will be added with the likes of Apollo Crews, Corbin, Austin Aries, the women’s division and the tag team division, you have an event that will rival WrestleMania. What a weekend that will be.

-Ryan

Here’s The Undertaker Tombstoning Brad Maddox Dressed As A Turkey On The Tonight Show Because Life Is Wonderful

In 10 days, The Undertaker will celebrate his 25th anniversary with the WWE, as he debuted at the 1990 edition of Survivor Series. It’s an unprecedented run that will most likely never be matched, and Taker’s legacy in the WWE is arguably the greatest character in wrestling history. To celebrate this milestone, WWE is having Undertaker week on the WWE Network, and Taker has already appeared on Raw and Smackdown overseas this week. Well as if this couldn’t get any better, The Undertaker made a surprise appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and tombstoned Brad Maddox, who was dressed as a turkey. If this two minute video didn’t make you smile then you may not have a pulse. Long live the dead man.

-Ryan

Stone Cold Steve Austin Kicked Off Last Night’s #RAW In Dallas & Raised Some Old School Hell

The go home Raw before Hell in a Cell Sunday was live last night in Dallas, and ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’ himself Stone Cold Steve Austin opened the show. He half promoted his post Raw podcast with Lesnar and Lesnar’s match with the Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell, and started a trend of cameos by WWE Hall of Famers that included HBK and Ric Flair. WWE tends to overuse it’s stars from the past, but I thought all three were used effectively last night. They hyped up whichever match they were supposed to hype and you believed what they said because they have built-in credibility. This was a better Raw than the past few weeks, and it was certainly helped by the presence of Austin, HBK and Flair.

-Ryan

ESPN Will Now Run A Weekly WWE Recap Segment On Sportscenter & I Guess I’m Watching Sportscenter Again

chris pratt animated GIF

I’m sure sports fans/assholes around the world will be OUTRAGED that ESPN is going to start airing WWE recaps on Sportscenter, but as a wrestling fan, I am overjoyed. Jonathan Coachman is our man on the inside and he’s been pushing for a collaboration between ESPN and the WWE for awhile now, so I’m glad it’s finally happening. WWE being ‘PG TV’ helps in situations like this, as you know young kids aren’t going to be tuning in and watching Val Venis get his penis chopped off or Sable with black hand paint as a bra. WrestleMania 31 was a huge success and WM 32 taking place in Dallas has a chance to be the biggest WrestleMania ever, so I’m glad this partnership is starting now. Now, if the main roster writers and Vince can get their heads out their asses and start writing good TV shows we’ll be golden.

-Ryan

5 Stars From Last Night’s #RAW

Raw was live from Buffalo last night. We’re four days away from the live MSG special on the WWE Network and less than four weeks away from Hell in a Cell. Kane is suffering from a personality disorder, The New Day are still wonderful and two young guys tore it up in the main event. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw!

1. Xavier Woods

New Day showed up, entertained my pants off AND beat John Cena and the Dudley Boyz, so you know they’re getting a star, but Xavier Woods earned his own one as well. Woods gets overlooked as the trumpet playing cheerleader on the outside while Big E and Kofi do most of the ring work, and although this match wasn’t as long I’d like it to be, it was easily Woods’ best singles bout on the main roster. Cena is in between feuds right now, as Rollins is preoccupied with Kane and there hasn’t been a new #1 contender to emerge yet, so the first installment of the ‘second round’ of the US Title Open challenge features none other than Xavier Woods. The X-man got in some nice offense, and as usual, his character work was amazing. That character work carried into the six man tag too, as he was constantly yelling about how he should be the new US champ even though it was his New Day partners who caused the DQ finish. I love The New Day so much it hurts my heart.

2. New Day

New Day was once again the most entertaining part of the show, and until the main event went bonkers was also my favorite part of the show. One of my favorite parts of certain Raw’s are when people you don’t expect to show up come out and answer a promo, and that’s exactly what happened here. Cena opened Raw, which was fine, because the US Open challenge is one of the best parts of the show, but then Big E started screaming from backstage and the segment got infinitely better. It’s hysterical to hear Cena talk about how there’s a time to be serious and a time to be entertaining, because this is the same guy who used to rap his promos. Not even Cena’s best Lance Storm impression could stop me from enjoying New Day, AND they won the match. I have a feeling the Dudleyz are going to win the titles Saturday night in MSG, and I’m ok with that, because ultimately they will elevate New Day and make them better than ever. Plus, characters like New Day are always better when they have something to complain about.

3. Braun Stroman & Luke Harper

You know what I’m into? Braun Stroman and Luke Harper turning into Harper & Rowan 2.0 and making a serious run at the tag titles. If Bray is going to be the main singles guy in the group, which he should be, why not pair your monster Stroman with an already ace tag team guy like Harper? Realistically, who is going to beat those two? I know New Day are technically heels, but say you have The Dudleyz win the titles Saturday and then feud with Stroman and Harper who eventually win the belts. New Day going against those two would be instantly turned into good guys. Also yes, most of my fantasy booking involves the New Day one way or another. Back to Stroman and Harper; they dominated PTP here, which I don’t love, but Stroman is unstoppable right now, so it’s doesn’t demean PTP too much. This was a solid episode for the Wyatt Family, who have really looked great lately.

4. Bray Wyatt

So the main event deserves it’s own section, but I’m going to highlight both guys here, because this match and post segment brawl were awesome. As great a job as Seth Rollins has done this year, it’s nice to see someone else in the main event of Raw, and Wyatt and Reigns did not disappoint last night. Wyatt and Reigns have great in ring chemistry, and they really bring out the best in each other. Barring any serious injuries, these are going to be two of the main guys who bring WWE to the next level, and when you put them together, they’re a guarantee for a great feud. The way the match and the show ended definitely made it seem like this feud would continue, and I’m glad that neither man got a clean victory. When utilized correctly, a double count out or DQ can be great. In this case, both guys looked STRONG and WWE created a logical way of continuing the story. Wyatt is known more for his promos, but his move set is severely underrated. He punishes guys, and has one of the best clotheslines on the roster. I also love his version of the Rock Bottom and his throwaway standing suplex. Every move he does has a purpose, and last night was one of the best performances of his career.

5. Roman Reigns

It’d be tough to find someone in the WWE who’s having a better year than Roman Reigns. He’s had his ups and downs, but ever since February he’s been one of the best things on WWE TV. He was booed out the building at the Rumble, but that was more WWE’s booking of the match than Reigns himself. He had a hell of a match against Daniel Bryan at Fast Lane and a brutal bout with Lesnar at WrestleMania, and ever since then he’s been on a nice little roll. You know he’s going to be back in the title picture sooner rather than later, but for now he’s tearing it up with Bray Wyatt. Both these guys aren’t afraid to work a little stiff, and they both sell so well for each other. Reigns takes a couple hellacious clotheslines in this match, but also gives it as good as he takes it. No outside interference made this entire segment special, and Reigns has that ability to recover from a beating but make it seem believable, a trait that John Cena never mastered. Raw ends with Reigns and Wyatt both physically spent, and it was executed perfectly.

-Ryan

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