Seth Rollins Threw Out The First Pitch At The Orioles Game Yesterday & Made Me Feel Pretty Good About Myself
Seth Rollins is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He’s the present and future of the WWE, an incredible athlete and pretty much living his dream. WWE Payback was in Baltimore last night, so Rollins threw out the first pitch at the Orioles game yesterday afternoon. It wasn’t the worst pitch I’ve ever seen, but I now know that I can do something better than Seth Rollins, and it feels pretty damn good. I’m not a major league pitcher, but I can throw a baseball pretty well. Seth Rollins, on the other hand, doesn’t seem like he has the skill set to make a throw from the pitcher’s mound to home plate. He can do a standing backflip and a 450 splash from the top rope, but he can’t throw a baseball as good as me. Which one is more impressive? On second thought, don’t answer that question.
WWE Payback is this Sunday, and thanks to back to back solid Raw’s, there’s a decent amount of hype for the show. The Diva’s title won’t be defended, but four guys cos-playing 80’s wrestlers are on the kickoff show! The main event is a Fatal Four Way for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and John Cena is in a match where the only way he can lose is if he says ‘I Quit’. I wonder how that’s going to end? Let’s get to the preview and predictions!
Pre Show Match: Curtis Axel & Macho ‘Damien’ Mandow vs. The Ascension
If there’s one NXT call up that I’m willing to give WWE a pass on for screwing them up, it’s The Ascension. I never really enjoyed them in NXT, and the only reason they were the longest reigning NXT Tag champs is because they were the biggest guys in the division. The other tag teams that dominated during that timeframe either split up so one could become a star (British Ambition, Neville & Graves) or got called up to the main roster (Harper & Rowan). I don’t know if it’s just me, but face paint just doesn’t work in this era. Unless you’re grandfathered in like Goldust or turning yourself into a demon like Finn Balor, the blotchy face paint look isn’t going to get you anywhere. Combine that with the fact that they’re not great in the ring, and although they’re big in stature, they’re not really defined. If you’re going to wear face paint, you better be monsters like the Road Warriors or no one is going to take you seriously. Speaking of no one taking a team seriously, Sandow and Axel are recreating the Mega Powers on about 1/1,000,000th of a scale. Time will tell if this act will work, but I’d rather see Sandow and Axel given a chance to be a tag team as themselves, rather than playing characters from 30 years ago.
Prediction: Mandow & Axel by default.
Divas Tag Team Match: Naomi & Tamina Snuka vs. The Bella Twins
Naomi got sick of losing because the Bella’s outnumbered her, so she enlisted the help of her enormous relative by marriage Tamina Snuka, which automatically makes Naomi the smartest Diva in history. The Bella twins won’t outwrestle you, or out tough you, but there’s two of them and one of you, so if you don’t do anything to change that, they’ll most likely beat you. Now that Naomi has evened the odds, the WWE gives her a tag team match, which I don’t like. Why not make Naomi and Tamina the female version of HBK and Diesel and get the Bella twins into something fresh? Don’t they hate each other? Was all that forgotten? Since we’re stuck with this tag team match, I hope Naomi and Tamina win, and that HBK/Diesel thing I mentioned happens soon. I’m also going to keep predicting the Bella’s breakup until it finally happens.
Prediction: Naomi & Tamina after Tamina kicks Brie’s head off and they surgically replace her healthy neck onto Daniel Bryan’s body.
Bray Wyatt vs. Ryback
I can’t remember the last time I was as frustrated with a character as I am with the way WWE has booked Bray Wyatt. For the past two years, he’s been great from June-March, and then WrestleMania comes along and he loses clean, which pretty much kills everything he had done before that. Losing to Cena last year was bad enough, but after calling out the Undertaker and single handedly carrying their feud into WrestleMania, having him lose clean again, rather easily might I add, now makes him look like a fraud. If you’re going to build a guy as primarily a talker, you can’t have him lose the few matches he actually wrestles, or else all that talking means nothing. The only glimmer of hope I see for Wyatt is that the Wyatt Family looks to be reforming, and with Harper & Rowan left without a match Sunday, I hope they help Wyatt out or at least tease a reunion. What’s a preacher without people to preach to? What’s a shepherd without his flock? Wyatt needs the Wyatt Family, and all three of these guys deserve to be relevant again. As far as Ryback goes, he’s lost in mid card land, and if I had to choose which guy gets elevated between he and Wyatt, I’m choosing Wyatt every day.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt wins, and the Wyatt Family restarts their reign of terror with the addition of Bo Dallas. Why not?
King Barrett vs. Neville
If you’ve read any of my Raw Recaps or PPV prediction blogs, you know I love Neville. He’s the most unique guy on the roster, and he brings a level of excitement to each show that is unmatched. He’s consistently gotten the upper hand on Barrett in the past, so I think that changes here. Barrett is the king (literally) of losing pay per view matches, but if WWE really wants to run with this King Barrett gimmick he needs to start beating people outside of tag team matches. He’s too good in the ring and on the microphone to be misused, and a hard fought loss here doesn’t hurt Neville at all.
Prediction: King Barrett. I’m still patiently waiting for him to smash somebody in the head with his scepter.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
This should be a can’t miss feud, and while the matches have been great, the start of it had way too many ass kissing implications. What should have been over at Extreme Rules has trickled all the way to Payback, and any time either of them is on commentary or in the ring the announce team can’t stop talking about how Sheamus needs to kiss Ziggler’s ass. How about, I don’t know, focusing the feud on wrestling, or the fact that Sheamus thinks guy’s like Ziggler aren’t big and strong enough to be in the ring with him? If the match plays on that plot point, it has the ability to steal the show. If the match features a bunch of false ass kissing moments, it will not.
Prediction: Sheamus. He has to win right? All he’s done since coming back is lose, and nobody loses important pay per view matches quite like Dolph Ziggler.
2 out of 3 Falls Match For The Tag Team Championship Match: New (C) vs. Cesaro & Kidd
If Ziggler/Sheamus goes the ass kissing route, then this is my pick for match of the night. The last time Cesaro was in a 2 out of 3 falls match, he lost the first two falls to Ziggler, which goes against everything WWE usually does in this kind of match. I expect this match to go all three falls, with one of the first two ending quickly. Cesaro and Big E had a great hoss fight on Raw, and these two teams are clearly the best in the division. While they may not be saying much, both teams are fun to watch, and I expect some New Day shenanigans to go on during this match. I can’t think of a reason why New Day would make this 2 out of 3 falls except to be able to sub in and out guys in each fall. Big E and Kofi might fight the first fall, but then Xavier Woods could sub in for the second, and then whoever rested for the second could sub in for the third. I’m assuming that’s why Booker T yelled ‘FREEBIRD RULES’ for three straight hours a couple weeks ago on Raw. As far as the finish, I’m kind of torn. Both teams have looked good lately, and I can see both teams winning.
Prediction: Picking with my heart, I’m going with Cesaro/Kidd. New Day retaining makes more sense, but I want Cesaro to have all the titles all the time.
I Quit Match For The US Championship: John Cena (C) vs. Rusev
Remember when Rusev was the best guy on the roster? Yeah, me too, but that’s what happens when a cool young heel feuds with Superman. Superman kills him. Since Fast Lane, Rusev has lost to Cena twice, done irreparable damage to his angelic manager and got himself into the WORST possible situation when it comes to John Cena: fighting him in an I Quit match. John Cena’s catchphrase is Never Give Up. That’s literally his catchphrase. He says it in every promo, it’s on every one of his shirts and it’s his life motto. Trying to defeat John Cena in an I Quit match is like trying to defeat a dragon in a flying contest. It ain’t gonna happen. As much as I love the US title open challenge contest Cena’s got going, this is the second year in a row he’s basically ruined a great heel. He did it to Wyatt, who still hasn’t recovered because he lost AGAIN at this year’s WrestleMania, and now he’s doing it to Rusev. If the rumors of Rusev and Lana’s split are true and Rusev loses this match by quitting, where he does he go from here? The WWE have backed themselves into a corner here and I don’t like where this is going for Rusev.
Prediction: John Cena. Bet your house on it.
Fatal Four Way Match For The WWE World Heavyweight Title: Seth Rollins (C) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose
This is the battle of wrestlers with first and last names, and up until Monday night, I had a crazy, unfounded feeling that The Shield might reunite here. But then everyone kicked Rollin’s ass to close Raw and there’s no way it happens Sunday night. Now that the possibility of one of the best factions ever reuniting is off the table, it’s time to figure out who’s going to win this match. The easy answer is Rollins. He’s the best guy WWE has right now and he’s the perfect type of champion to have after Lesnar. Lesnar was an unbeatable monster, Rollins needs the help of his personal security just to retain against Neville. It adds a layer of excitement to every championship match because there’s always a chance Rollins could lose. With Kane’s Director of Operations job on the line, and WWE’s obsessiveness with dragging out story lines, I’d say Rollins is the favorite here. Next up I’d say is Orton. If he doesn’t win here, he kind of has to move on to something else. Reigns should stay in the main event picture because he still hasn’t gotten a one on one title shot since Rollins cashed in at Mania, and we’re only a few months away from the Big Bad Beast known as Brock Lesnar coming back. Ambrose and Reigns have pretty much the same shot at winning, which isn’t saying much, because I don’t think the time is right for either of them. Ambrose isn’t ready yet and hyping Reigns up and having him main event Mania only to have him win the title at Payback wouldn’t make sense either.
Prediction: Rollins retains, and holds the title until Lesnar returns and The Shield reunites at Summerslam to save their old comrade. Book it now, WWE!
As always, we’ll be tweeting live Sunday night @averagenobodies. Come check us out and enjoy the show.
The final Raw before Payback was last night, and for the second week in a row, it was a solid show. The opening talking segment ran a little too long, but Cesaro got to do Cesaro things, Dean Ambrose performed in front of his hometown crowd and Damien Sandow is now the Macho Man. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Raw!
1. Dean Ambrose
I’ve written about this before, but billing WWE Superstars and Divas from their actual hometowns is always a plus. It worked for Barrett and Paige in the UK, it worked for Ryback once upon a time in Vegas, and it worked last night for Ambrose. Throughout the entire opening talking segment, the crowd was consistently chanting ‘We Want Ambrose’, and thankfully HHH pulled a Donny Donowitz and obliged them. Ambrose got to toss around J and J Security and get a clean win in front of his hometown crowd, but the best moment for him came at the end of the show, as for the second week in a row on Raw, he was the lone man standing tall to close out the show. For a split second I really thought The Shield might reunite when Ambrose and Reigns were behind Rollins, but alas, it is not meant to be yet. I don’t know if Ambrose has any real chance of winning the title Sunday, but throwing him in the main event mix accomplishes two things. 1. Ambrose is now being viewed as a main eventer, which is something he was lacking after his Rollin’s feud ended and 2. Ambrose brings a little bit of unpredictably to the main event scene that has been dominated by Rollins, Orton and Reigns, who aren’t exactly Mr. Personality’s. With Lesnar out until close to Summerslam, the WWE title picture needed a bit of a shakeup, and that’s exactly what Ambrose has brought to the table.
2. Harper & Rowan
Two things I’ll never forgive WWE for is breaking up The Shield and breaking up The Wyatt Family. The Shield I understand more, because they were three guys with unlimited potential who needed to be on their own to truly flourish. The Wyatt Family I’ll never understand. From day one on the main roster Harper & Rowan should have been the tag team champs who dismantle every team in their path, and Bray Wyatt should have been their psychological leader who preys on whoever gets in their way. Instead, Harper & Rowan lost every tag team title match they were in and Bray Wyatt got fed to Superman wearing a John Cena shirt. Now Wyatt is in a feud with Ryback and Harper & Rowan are taking turns mauling Fandango. With that said, I’m glad Harper & Rowan are back together. While Harper could easily survive on his own, I like them better as a team. You have two guys who look and act like monsters, so why not make them a monster tag team? Throw them in the mix with New Day and Cesaro/Kidd and you automatically have three solid tag teams that can fight over the titles. I hope this is the plan, and if it’s not, I hope Fandango joins them but it is ultimately kicked out because he can’t grow a beard.
So I don’t hear anyone talking about how the WWE is burying Neville anymore. Weird. Neville has consistently been the best part of Raw since his debut, and last night was his best night by far. Neville challenged John Cena for the US title, and he had the match won before that mother f&*^er Rusev came in and kicked the shit out of him and Cena. I love Rusev, but I was FURIOUS when he caused this DQ. Thinking back on it, I’d rather he cause the DQ than Cena kick out of the Red Arrow, which is 1000% what I thought was going to happen, but still. The second rope corkscrew splash, the backflip/corkscrew moon sault and the general energy Neville brings to the ring is impossible not to love. Neville looked awesome here, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.
4. John Cena
As great as Neville looked, you have to give credit to John Cena. For the second week in a row he’s faced an NXT superstar or alumni and made them look like a million bucks. Win, lose or draw, putting guys like Sami Zayn and Neville in a championship match with John Cena is such a great move, and the fact that Cena is giving these guys 10-15 minutes to beat his ass makes it that much better. I still don’t like everyone kicking out of the AA, but when you’ve been around as long as Cena has, I guess it’s going to happen eventually. I really think he should find a new finishing move outside of the AA and STFU and start beating guys with that, as it will add an element of surprise to his matches that you usually don’t get. Other than that, it was a great match, and John Cena has as good a chance of losing to Rusev as I have with becoming best friends with George Clooney.
Cesaro got a couple minutes to wrestle in a singles match last night and predictably dominated like the absolute animal that he is. My only complaint with this match is that if Big E wants to go head to head with Cesaro, he better work on his conditioning, because Cesaro doesn’t mess around. Cesaro was suplexing and upper cutting Big E into oblivion, and at one point it looked like Big E might die in the ring. The two Germans into a belly to belly almost killed Big E because he couldn’t even jump off the ground, but thankfully Cesaro is superhuman and just tossed him over his head anyway. I will never get tired of seeing Cesaro throw guys around, and I will never understand why WWE doesn’t let him do it more often. Also, how about that rollup pin? I just want to find Cesaro and hug him for being so goddamn good.
Last night’s Raw emanated from Green Bay and saw the return of the King of the Ring! WWE had four opening round matches last night, and will conclude the tournament with the semifinals and finals tonight on the WWE Network. In other news, Kane and Rollins are still not on the same page, Rosa Mendes got to make out with Adam Rose and we know now the main event of Payback. Let’s get to the five stars from last night’s Raw.
1. The King of the Ring
During Extreme Rules on Sunday, the WWE announced that the King of the Ring tournament would return, with the opening round airing on Raw and the semifinals and finals airing Tuesday night on the WWE Network. I love the King of the Ring, and it gives mid card guys a chance to have spotlight matches on WWE’s most important weekly show. Besides it giving guys an opportunity to wrestle on Raw, I hope the WWE rewards the winner with something of value. In Lucha Underground, the Authority/GM figure Dario Cueto gives out ‘unique opportunities’ to wrestlers looking for a leg up on the competition. Why not have the winner of the King of the Ring become the de facto #1 contender for any belt. It doesn’t have to be the WWE championship, but at least give the viewers a reason to root for a certain guy besides having to watch them wear a robe and a crown. WWE is the land of no consequences, but it’d be nice if they used this mini tournament as a way to start a fresh championship feud. I won’t be holding breath though.
2. Bray Wyatt, If This Ryback Feud Is Going Where I Hope It Goes
1. I will never get tired of Wyatt teleporting to the ring to deliver a Sister Abigail and 2. I will only like this feud if it’s going where I hope it goes. For the last two years, Bray Wyatt has dominated May-March and then lost the two biggest matches of his career. While I’m not too keen on basing a guy’s success on wins and losses, Wyatt kind of lives and dies by them. In the case of The Undertaker, he spent the entire winter beating Dean Ambrose, then the entire Road to WrestleMania calling out The Undertaker. Then Taker shows up for one night, beats him, and Wyatt just starts his cryptic promo feud all over again. As a fan, why should I even be paying attention to Wyatt? The casual fans are tuning him out because he seems like a fraud. The hardcore fans who like him no matter what will stand by him, but that’s now where you make your money. Wyatt needs to be seen as a man of his word, not a guy who makes threats and then can’t cash in on them. I have to assume WWE is having Ryback dispatch Bo Dallas for a reason, and I hope that reason is so that Dallas and Wyatt, who are real life brothers, can join together. Wyatt was at his peak when he had loyal followers, and who better to follow him than his disillusioned brother? Dallas has grown out his facial hair and his promo’s the past few nights have been considerably less happy go lucky and a lot more stern. The WWE has been in business for a long time, so I know they can create a feud with these three that makes everyone look better when it’s over.
Coming off a night where he had another man kiss his ass, Sheamus turned up on Raw and moved on to the semifinals of the King of the Ring tournament. Since embarrassing Ziggler wasn’t enough, Sheamus decided to come out on the microphone and interrupt Ziggler’s match with Barrett to show the still photos of Ziggler kissing Sheamus’s ass from Extreme Rules. Sheamus and Rollins are the best bad guys in the company right now, and it’s solely because they’re great at being assholes. Forcing someone to kiss your ass is bad enough, but coming out the next night to show them pictures of the ass kissing is next level dick head-ness. My only complaint with the King of the Ring tournament setup was having Sheamus face Ambrose. Couldn’t Sheamus face Stardust and Ambrose face R-Truth so they both could advance? Why have Ambrose look so good at Extreme Rules then the next night have him lose via DQ? Isn’t the goal to have your best guys in the top spots? Rosa Mendes will become Divas champ before R-Truth wins this King of the Ring tournament, so why prolong the inevitable? Anyway, I’m glad Sheamus advanced, but I think he loses to Neville tonight.
This shouldn’t’ come as a surprise, but of the four opening round matches on Raw, Neville had the best one. Luke Harper is the best, and he’s mastered the style of making it look like he’s literally pulverizing the guys he’s in the ring with. I’ve also made it a personal goal to include Neville on every write up I do if he hits and wins with the Red Arrow. No one else on the main roster has a move that’s close to it, and seeing it live last week gives me a new found appreciation for his athleticism. Neville’s win sets up a match with Sheamus which I really think should be the finals match. Hopefully Ziggler costs Sheamus the match tonight and Neville gets a chance to beat Barrett again, which HAS to solidify him as the #1 contender for Daniel Bryan’s IC belt. If that’s the story WWE is going to tell, I’m all for it, and it continues Neville’s excellent main roster push. Minor complaint: WWE is obsessed with giving guys a million nicknames. Reigns is the juggernaut, superman, monster, yada, yada. Neville is the Man That Gravity Forgot and now they’re calling him the New Sensation. Just stick to one nickname and let it work itself out.
5. A House Show Main Event
Calling last night’s main event a ‘house show main event’ is not an insult. Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins all looked pretty into this match, and it had a house show kind of feel to it. Wrestling on live television limits what the performers are able to do because everything is timed out so meticulously. The Kane/Rollins feud is king of dragging, but a tweet after Raw might clue us into the future of the Authority/Seth Rollins storyline:
— Finn Bálor (@wwebalor) April 28, 2015
Give me Finn Balor as the new demon for The Authority. Give me Finn Balor against Rollins. Just give me Finn Balor on the main roster right god damn now. If this is the payoff to the current feud, I’m willing to stick it out. I also love the main event of Payback being a triple threat, as Reigns should be in the main event after his performance at Fast Lane, WM and Extreme Rules.