29/08/16 RAW Review – Kevin Owens Wins The Universal Championship, Triple H Turns On Seth Rollins

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express. Guess what? We’ve got a lot to talk about regarding the August 28th 2016 edition of Monday Night RAW. Indeed this will go down as an historic edition of the “flagship” WWE show, as a new Universal Champion was crowned in a shocking manner.

We had the fatal four way elimination match involving Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Big Cass and Kevin Owens. Big Cass was eliminated after several moves to put the big man down, followed by a big frog splash from Kevin Owens for the clean pin over Cass. Then we had the finish, with an awesome three way battle between Rollins, Reigns and Owens. Reigns had the upper-hand and hit the spear on Seth on the outside, when TRIPLE H came from out of nowhere to give the Big Dog a pedigree on the floor. Triple H rolled Rollins and Reigns into the ring, and Rollins pinned Reigns to eliminate him.

This came down to the two heels in Rollins and Owens. So Triple H rolls Owens into the ring, picks up both men and hits ROLLINS with the pedigree. Owens, with a shocked look on his face, scurries over to pin Seth Rollins and become the champion. Triple H raises Owens’ hand as the fans chant “you deserve it” after Rollins and Reigns were both screwed! Kevin Owens is the new Universal Champion.

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Suffice to say that I was extremely shocked at this outcome. Literally the day before RAW, I told everyone that would listen on Twitter that Kevin Owens would not win and that Seth Rollins would become the champion. I ignored all of the reports of future plans and all that jazz, and stuck to my gut feeling. I thought to myself that there was no way they’d put the belt on Kevin Owens right now. Well low and behold, Kevin Owens is the champion and Seth Rollins was turned into a babyface due to the betrayal of Triple H.

What’s funny about all of this is that WWE posted an interview with Kevin Owens on social media, and Owens seemed so out of character when talking about this being the biggest night of his life. It was not like he was the boastful Kevin Owens character. He was calm and relaxed. During the opening talking segment with all four contenders on RAW, Owens seemed like the only one that was not his usual self. It made me think that possibly something was going to happen, but I still was going with Rollins.

As it turns out, I was wrong. Apologises to everyone on Twitter for me getting this one wrong, although this is one of the situations where I was kind of glad that I was wrong. They did pull off the title victory and the Rollins babyface turn really well. I was so shocked at what I was seeing and the fans were really into the main-event match. As far as the presentation of the whole thing, WWE knocked it out of the park.

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Now let’s ask the million dollar question… was this the right move? Somebody asked on me on Twitter last night about who I thought was going to win. I looked at every one of the challengers and I thought that nobody was really IN a good position to win the title at all!

Big Cass is clearly not ready to be wrestling at that level, although he did fit in and get pretty over last night. No complaints on how he was used and he didn’t seem out of place to me at all. I really didn’t want to see a Roman Reigns title reign right now, as I still feel that he should be as far away as possible from the world title at the moment so he can build himself up again. The Rusev stuff did help him out and to put the title back on him would be unwise at this point, so I ruled him out. As for Kevin Owens, I really didn’t think he was in a good position either. Considering that he’d been doing comedy segments with Chris Jericho for the last month, the idea that he’s suddenly supposed to be the top man in the company is a little far-fetched. Of course, Finn Balor’s injury did change plans for WWE. However, with the knowledge of hindsight, WWE should have used Owens better leading up to the title win. He didn’t even beat Neville clean last week!

Finally, Seth Rollins was also not in a good position either. Seth won the WWE World title at Money In The Bank but was quickly robbed of the title by Dean Ambrose following a cash-in. In Rollins’ title match on the RAW before Battleground, it ended in a draw. In Rollins’ title match on the SmackDown! before Battleground, he got beat clean. At Battleground itself, he was unsuccessful again. At SummerSlam, he got beat clean by Finn Balor. Him winning the title right now would not have made a lot of sense to me.

Then a report came through, before the show, suggesting that Seth was going to turn into a babyface. I thought about it and, with the exception of Money In The Bank and Battleground (where he wasn’t the one pinned), there was no real reason to want to feel sympathy for Seth up until this point. The injury that Finn Balor sustained during Seth’s powerbomb to the barricade spot also didn’t help out. Trying to get across the idea that Seth is now somebody to root seemed strange to me, considering everything that happened.

I still think that Seth will make a really good babyface, but I think that they really should have done this turn sooner rather than later. All the buzz about Seth following his return has came and went to be honest, and it’s hard to find sympathy for Seth according to the story.

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Regardless of this, the fans loved the show last night as well as the conclusion. I would assume that it’ll be Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins at Clash Of Champions. I’m not sure where Triple H and Chris Jericho will stand during all of this. Maybe Owens and Jericho will go their separate ways, although there was nothing last night that would suggest such a thing. Triple H and Seth Rollins could be a match down the road at WrestleMania possibly. I’m not sure that Triple H will be a regular on-screen figure on RAW, as that would lead to three authority figures on RAW. Unless Foley is fired and Triple H replaces him as general manager or something, I’m not particularly sure how this will work.

I will mention one more concern I have for Kevin Owens. I couldn’t help but make this comparison but this title win reminded me of Sheamus’ title win last year. Owens just came off as the right guy, in the right place and at the right time, as opposed to a legitimate champion. Not to mention that Triple H was the one that essentially gave Kevin Owens the championship, according to the storyline. HHH pedigreed Roman and Seth, so it was HHH’s move that beat the two men and not Kevin. Kevin’s only claim to fame was that he pinned Big Cass clean. That doesn’t bode well for his future, I think. At least if he’d hit the pop-up powerbomb, you’d be putting over Kevin’s finisher.

The impression I got from this was that Triple H was viewed as SO superior to everyone in this match, as it was his move that beat the two favourites going in. It’s not necessarily the end of the world for Kevin, but I feel that big wins on RAW and in pay-per-views are needed for Owens to legitimatise himself.

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I’m not sure what the plan is for RAW at the moment, although there’s rumours going around that Lesnar will be challenging for the Universal title at the Royal Rumble. Whether Owens makes it that long as champion remains to be seen but if there’s a chance he’s going up against Lesnar at the Rumble, he needs to get some serious victories under his belt.

Overall, I think this was a shocking start to a brand new storyline for the RAW main-event scene. I’m very thankfully that there’s some new blood in the title picture now, as we’ve really seen enough of Roman vs Seth for the time being. Maybe Roman can challenge Owens down the line but it looks like they’ve got some kind of plan for Owens, Rollins and HHH. I know Balor did get injured but in the week since last week’s RAW, surely they’ve got something in the works.

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Let me know by tweeting me @TomRobinson5199, @ArmbarExpress or by leaving a comment of what you think about the new Universal Champion. Is it the right time for Kevin to be champion? Should Seth’s babyface turn have been done sooner? What do you think will happen in the next few months! Let me know and let me just say this… RAW put on quite the show for SmackDown! to compete with this week!

How I Would Book… The Rock vs Dean Ambrose

The Rock has encountered some strange characters over the years in WWE. From throwing Shawn Stasiak over the top rope over and over again to losing to the Hurricane on Raw, a lot has happened in the career of the Great One. Wacky and unique characters bring out the best out of The Rock, so how about a lunatic fringe for a future program for the Brahma Bull? How about The Rock… vs Dean Ambrose?

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This is actually a very unique clash of styles. We’ve got the big hollywood movie star with an incredible physique against a lunatic with a hardcore mindset. There’s quite a difference in the two styles, although you could argue that Dean Ambrose would be very similar to Rock’s former tag team partner Mick Foley. However, Dean is much leaner than Mick but not as well built as The Rock.

In past How I Would Books, I’ve usually put Rock up against big men like John Cena and Roman Reigns. Dean Ambrose is not like them. Much like The Rock however, he is charismatic and talented in the ring. If The Rock wanted to throw down verbally and physically, Dean would be more than up for the challenge.

How to get to Dean Ambrose vs The Rock from this point on is very tricky. How do you give The Rock or Dean a reason to want to beat the tar out of each other? Do you have The Rock challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship that Dean currently holds as of August 2016? Do you have Dean call out The Rock, feeling the need to face a megastar of the past to see if he’s as good as he thinks he is? No. What’s the one factor that could draw both these two into battle? Family.

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The one person that connects both Dean Ambrose and The Rock is Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns is related by blood to The Rock, with the People’s Champion saving the Big Dog on WWE television before. However, according to the storyline, Dean is probably closer to Roman than anyone else on the roster. They both refer to each other as brothers. It’s the connection between both men which could draw these two charismatic superstars together.

The bigger issue at the moment, when it comes to these two and Roman Reigns, is the WWE Draft. Roman Reigns is on RAW, Dean Ambrose is on SmackDown! and The Rock is currently undrafted. How are we going to develop a storyline involving all three men, while trying to preserve the idea of separate brands? I always preferred the idea of keeping RAW and SmackDown! as distant as possible. Therefore, with this in mind, let’s see if we can write a storyline without breaking those barriers TOO MUCH.

With that being said, we need to plant the seeds for a confrontation between Dean and Rock with Roman. Where’s the best place to start? The one pay-per-view coming up that will see the integration of the rosters… Survivor Series 2016.

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The whole idea behind this pay-per-view is to allow these rosters to interact after months away from each other. The whole idea behind the brand split is for these brands to compete with one another. My idea is after several months of taking shots at each other and the rise in competition, Stephanie and Foley would flat out call out Shane and Bryan for a inter-promotional five-on-five elimination match for Survivor Series. Team RAW would be consisted of Roman Reigns, Rusev, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Team SmackDown! would be consisted of Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Chad Gable and Jason Jordan. These teams are interchangeable so it’s up to you who you want in the match. The two essentials for this storyline though are Dean and Roman.

Due to the competitive nature of the brand split, it would be difficult for the commissioners and general managers to agree on a referee to call it down the middle. Remember what happened when RAW and SmackDown! feuded in 2005. In a couple of matches (notably at Taboo Tuesday and Survivor Series), the RAW and SmackDown! referees would officiate the same match and prevent each other from making decisions. If WWE want to acknowledge the previous brand split, then this could make way for a special referee that would supposedly be impartial. Enter The Rock.

While I’m currently unaware of what The Rock’s filming schedule will be like in November, surely it’s possible for The Rock to appear as a referee. Not to mention that his inclusion will give the WWE the mainstream boost they need for one of the biggest pay-per-views involving both brands.

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The match comes down to Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins for RAW and Dean Ambrose for SmackDown!. Seth and Dean are the legal men. Roman accidentally clocks Seth with a spear when going for Dean. Dean hits Dirty Deeds on Roman as Seth comes to. Seth gets frustrated at his point, grabbing a chair. Seth goes to hit Roman but Rock stops him. He pushes Seth into Dean, who hits Dirty Deeds and eliminates him. Dean and Roman battle until Dean hits Dirty Deeds once again. As this happens, Seth gets to his feet on the outside and re-arms himself with the chair. The Rock sees this and goes after Seth, with Dean waiting in the ring for Rock to count Roman down. Rock eventually makes his way back into the ring but Roman kicks out at the last minute. Believing that Rock screwed him, Dean gets in his face. Rock hits a Rock Bottom on Dean, with Roman still out and oblivious to this. Roman gets to his feet, hits one more spear on Dean and pins him. Team RAW wins.

Now the seeds are starting to be planted. Rock screwed Dean but Dean can’t do anything about it… at least contractually. The Rock does make one more appearance on the night after Survivor Series, congratulating Roman and giving him his endorsement. This obviously gets boos as the fans didn’t like Roman and Rock screwing Dean. The Rock and Roman are cut off by Byron Saxton, who is told to go backstage as there are reports of wrestlers being taken out. He goes to the back but is launched right back onto the entrance ramp. Dean comes out and stares right at Rock. Dean comes down to the ring but Roman steps in between his “brother” and his blood. Roman tries to push Dean away but Dean retaliates with Dirty Deeds. Dean and Rock come to blows, drawing the attention of the security. Stephanie and Foley can’t afford for one of SmackDown!’s stars to cause havoc on RAW. Dean and Rock are pulled apart by security but Dean gets out. As he’s about to charge The Rock, Roman spears Dean out of his boots. This isn’t exactly a heel turn, but this does get negative reactions from the crowd.

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On SmackDown!, Dean makes weekly challenges to The Rock to fight him on Dean’s home turf in the blue brand. He says that he’ll forgive Roman for the spear from RAW, provided that he gets to fight Rock. Nothing happens up until the week before SmackDown!’s PPV in December. Let’s just say for now that this pay-per-view is TLC. Dean gets no word but Foley confronts him. Foley tells Dean that The Rock is a lot more dangerous than he lets on. He tells him to drop it but Dean is unwilling to listen. Dean tells Foley that HE has no idea how dangerous DEAN is, claiming to be just as extreme as any of your “ECW boys” from back in the day. Mick tells Dean to prove it and makes a challenge. While Foley can’t force The Rock to come out of hiding, he can organise a match with Dean and Roman for Royal Rumble. He will only do this if Dean defeats a free agent that is willing to make a one-off appearance in a tables match on SmackDown!’s pay-per-view. Dean agrees when the lights go out. The lights come back on and it’s Rob Van Dam. He takes out Dean with a chair and hits the frog splash. It’s ON now.

The reason I went with the lights out for RVD’s appearance is that it’s a callback to Jerry Lawler’s invasion of ECW at Wrestleaplooza 1997, when the lights went out and Jerry appeared with an alliance INVOLVING Rob Van Dam of all people. RVD might seem a random choice for an opponent for Dean, but he works with the hardcore style of the lunatic fringe. Dean wins the match, allowing him to fight Roman at the next inter-promotional pay-per-view in the Royal Rumble.

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What’s in it for Roman Reigns to  wrestle this match? How can Foley bargain with Roman? Simple. The promise of a Universal Championship match at FAST LANE if he wins. Him winning the title at Fast Lane means that Roman can main-event WrestleMania for a third year in a row… assuming a RAW wrestler wins the Royal Rumble that is. Dean is hungry for revenge but Roman is not exactly blood-thirsty himself. He only speared Dean on RAW as Dean attacked him first. He’s interested in winning the title and that’s that. Dean and Roman have choice words, with Roman having very LIMITED choice words. Dean’s deal is telling Roman that he should want to stop living in the Rock’s show. Rock bailed him out at Survivor Series, but he won’t be able to do it at Royal Rumble. Roman simply states that Dean is in his way for a title shot and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to beat his brother and main event WrestleMania again, something Dean’s never done.

At the Royal Rumble, it’s a close encounter. As Dean has Roman beat with Dirty Deeds, the lights go out. Trust me, there’s a purpose behind this one too! The lights come back on and there’s a jacked man in all-black, wearing a black mask. He lights up Dean with a huge clothesline. He takes the mask off and reveals himself to be… The Rock. He hits Dean with a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow. Roman comes to and hits a spear to beat Dean again. The Rock officially accepts Dean Ambrose’s challenge and tells him to meet him at WrestleMania.

The finish can be what you desire, although a victory for Dean over The Rock would definitely get him super stardom.

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Roman could have some confrontation with The Rock, getting involved in his matches twice now but ultimately, there’s some sort of idea about how The Rock and Dean could come together. This was a very difficult one to write and maybe it seems like a simple storyline. However, on Rock’s side, not a lot is needed and not a lot can be done. His scheduling does provide issues but Dean can surely help spice things up on television for SmackDown! every week.

Have any suggestions for a How I Would Book? Simply tweet me at either @ArmbarExpress or @TomRobinson5199 on Twitter with your suggestions. Do also check out the rest of the content on my blog. I do a lot of other cool fantasy booking blog posts with my playthroughs of fantasy booking game Extreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

 

 

Lucha Underground: Ultima Lucha Dos Review

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Following the successful first season of Lucha Underground, anticipation for the second chapter of this arc certainly ran wild. With the ending of season one tying up loose ends but also preparing the show for a future season, you could tell that something big was on the horizon for these stars.

So far this season, we had our fair share of big moments. The reign of Mil Muetres and Catrina followed by the return of Dario Cueto and the debut of Matanza showed the struggle for power between wrestlers. Rey Mysterio making his way to the promotion also provided the star power that the lucha libre promotion was looking for while new stars like El Dragon Azteca quickly became prominent figures.

For me, the storyline aspect of the show was the most compelling thing about it. However, there were a lot of matches that really stood out during the course of season two. Matanza and Cage had one of the best big man matches I’ve seen in a long time, Rey Mysterio was still able to hang with even the greatest of wrestlers at the promotion while Aztec Warfare II was an incredible episode to sit through as well.

However, this four hour extravaganza would be the culmination of another season of storylines and drama. Pentagon Jr would challenge the monster Matanza, hoping to get revenge for Matanza almost breaking his back in their last match. Prince Puma wanted to prove that he was even better than arguably the greatest luchador of all time. There were a lot of matches that was very much looked forward to by the fans, but could the three part show deliver?

 

Part One

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The first episode in this trilogy saw Dario Cueto’s “Tournament 4 A Unique Opportunity” which saw a four man tournament take place. In the first round, Cage faced The Mack in a rematch from last year’s Ultima Lucha while Son Of Havoc took on Texano. Both matches were hardcore matches, with Cage and Mack having a falls count anywhere match as well as Son Of Havoc and Texano having a bar room brawl. I thought the Cage and Mack match was really good, which was expected when considering how great their match from last year was. I don’t think this match was better than last year’s but it was still good. The Son Of Havoc/Texano match was also not bad but I can’t help but think that it would have been a much better match without the hardcore stipulation.

Let me get the big criticism out of the way. I’m sure that hardcore fans loved all of this innovation with weapons but these stipulations took away from the lucha libre style of wrestling that lucha fans tuned in to see. Not to mention that having so many hardcore matches on the first show left the fans feeling less excited for hardcore angles down the line, like the Death match with Mil Muetres and King Cuerno. Regardless, The Mack and Son Of Havoc won. They faced off in a short falls count anywhere match, which Son Of Havoc won.

Dario Cueto came out with two briefcases and gave Son Of Havoc one of two options. Son Of Havoc could choose between $250,000 or a Lucha Underground title shot at Ultima Lucha Tres. Son Of Havoc then claimed that it wouldn’t matter if there were $250 MILLION in that briefcase, he would want the title shot. Now, I understand putting the title over as if this was the most important thing in the world to a wrestler. However, would anyone really pass up on $250 MILLION just for a title shot? It seemed like a ludicrous claim to me, that the Lucha Underground title was worth more than $250 million. That’s probably more than what Lucha Underground is worth. Heck, I’m sure you could start a very strong wrestling promotion with $250 million and make YOURSELF a champion!

Havoc takes the title shot, which of course sprung a trap. Dario revealed that Havoc would only get the title shot if he won one more match. If his opponent won, that opponent would get the $250,000. Famous B then came out to reveal the opponent, who was his new client. It was a pretty big client for Famous B as it was revealed that Son Of Havoc’s opponent was Dr Wagner Jr.

This was a pretty big reveal. Dr Wagner Jr won in about two minutes, much to the delight of Famous B and his girl Brenda. I liked the whole culmination of Famous B’s quest to find the right client and in the end, he found a client that was already famous. I was kind of let down by the fact that I was expecting him to actually show up with a lesser-known name. I get the reveal that he found a client that was already famous, but Famous B’s whole service was about GETTING people famous. Dr Wagner Jr contradicting that was a little disappointing. I guess that’s a heel for you!

 

Part Two

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The “main attraction” of part two was the Gift of the Gods championship match, which was a seven person elimination match. Cage cashed in his title shot a few weeks before so a new champion had to be crowned. Sexy Star, Marty the Moth, Mariposa, Killshot, Night Claw, Daga and Sinestro de la Muerte were the seven entrants. The one thing which really got to me about the match was that the very best wrestlers in this match were eliminated the earliest. Killshot, Night Claw and Daga are all tremendous workers, so seeing them eliminated before the likes of Sexy Star and Marty the Moth felt like a slap in the face to those talents. Night Claw, who was debuting, looked awesome in this match. He eliminated two men and probably was the most over out of the bunch, before being eliminated.

It was down to Marty The Moth, Mariposa and Sexy Star, with the heels ganging up on Sexy Star. Mariposa was eliminated after Marty accidentally punched her in the face. I love how Mariposa’s origin story, according to Marty, was that she was part of a tribe of great warriors, yet she was eliminated her from a mere punch from her brother. Unless Marty has a punch that is equal in power to the Big Show’s WMD, I find it very hard to believe that Mariposa would be done after just one punch.

Sexy beat Marty to win the Gift of the Gods title. I know Lucha Underground wants to promote the idea of the women being just as good as the men, with two of the final three of this match being women. I’m also not totally against the idea of inter-gender wrestling, although I would go forward with extreme caution when booking such a program. If a woman is over enough and talented enough, she can wrestle the very best male athletes for all I care. That’s if the woman IS over enough and talented enough. Sexy Star wasn’t over enough, I don’t think. Sexy Star is not talented enough either. She’s an OK female wrestler but there’s only a handful of male wrestlers on the roster worse than Sexy Star. Every one else is miles ahead, so the idea that Sexy is supposed to be on par with these men is pretty unbelievable… even for Lucha Underground.

Next up was a “death match” between Mil Muertes and King Cuerno, which was essentially a no disqualification match. There was no murdering going on, but Mil sure did destroy King Cuerno. They brawled, with the heel Cuerno being more of a showboater while Mil was all about bringing the power game. Cuerno took a lot of punishment in this match, including rolling down the stairs. Their fight led them to the stage where the band that was playing were hanging out. Mil no-sold his head being thrown into a window. Cuerno put his hands on Catrina, which was the beginning of the end for Cuerno. Muertes put Cuerno through three tables with powerbombs, hit him with a crowbar, hit a tombstone and won. This was a fun no disqualification match, which did a great job with the two characters. Muertes was allowed to be a big, badass heavy hitter and Cuerno sold like crazy during the onslaught.

During the show, Mr Cisco was wired by Cortez Castro and Joey Ryan to meet with Dario Cueto. Cortez re-assued him by telling Cisco that Dario wasn’t going to kill… all the motivation one needs to meet with an sociopath! Cisco was doing this in order to clear himself of all charges. So Cisco meets with Dario, with Joey and Cortez listening in. Cisco claimed that he wanted to be in on whatever Dario was planning. It almost kind of worked with the storyline, as Cisco was so bad when acting here that Dario saw right through him. He asked if Cisco was wearing a wire and it was revealed. He grabs the mic and asks the cops to come get him. He asks if the cops wanted him for murder, quickly following up by saying if they weren’t before they would now. He grabbed the red bull from his office and killed Cisco with it by bashing him in the head. A very good scene which I’ll get more into later when I discuss the final scene of the season.

 

Part Three

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At the start of part three, Vampiro gave Pentagon Jr some last minute training before his match with Matanza. In a scene similar to the Empire Strikes Back moment where Luke goes into the cave, Pentagon Jr went into a similar cave and fought his own demons. He eventually bested Vampiro, who told him that he was ready.

The two-hour final part began with Drago, Fenix and Aero Star challenging Johnny Mundo, PJ Black and Jack Evans for the Trios Championship. A very fun and action-packed trios match as usual. When you put six wrestlers as good as these six together, a lot of great stuff will happen. I would argue that it was a bit too much, especially with Angelico’s return to get revenge on Mundo, but it didn’t bother me too much. Everyone worked well with each other and Drago, Fenix and Aero Star ended up winning the belts. Fenix became the first person to achieve the Lucha Underground Grand Slam, winning the Lucha Underground, Trios and Gift Of The Gods titles. I think that Fenix accomplishing the feat in two seasons, as well as winning all of the belts in the same season for that matter, hurts the prestige of the titles a little. However, at least there were good stories told in the build up to each of his title reigns. Therefore, I don’t really have a problem with it. It wasn’t like complete title hot-shots or anything. A great opener to the show.

El Dragon Azteca faced Black Lotus. Initially, this was a really weird match. It started off as a normal match and then El Dragon Azteca took control. He was the aggressor in this inter-gender match and the fans died down a little. Trying to promote the idea of a babyface male against a heel female in a match is really hard to do, as how are the fans supposed to root for the heroes in that situation? Heck, El Dragon Azteca was shown to be vastly superior to Black Lotus. Then Pentagon came into beat up both wrestlers, causing a no contest. He broke both their arms, and that was the end of this grudge match between Black Lotus and El Dragon Azteca. No satisfying conclusion to their entire program AT ALL. Ended in four minutes by a man that hadn’t had any interaction with either character up until this point. This led to Vampiro announcing that this was not Pentagon Jr, but now Pentagon Dark.

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Pentagon Dark cut an awesome promo in Spanish, which was thankfully subtitled. Even if it wasn’t, you can tell that Pentagon always shows some serious passion in his promos and the fans hang on to every word he says. He told the crowd that he was Pentagon Dark and wanted to fight Matanza now. Matanza came out, meaning that the Lucha Underground title match was the third match on the five-match card for this final part. I personally would have put this in the main-event although at least the position of the match made more sense with the ending of the show in mind.

This was a really great match to watch and I’ll explain why. The whole idea behind this transformation of Pentagon Dark was to show that this was not the same man as before. After training from Vampiro, he has become a totally different person to the man that fought Matanza and got destroyed. Therefore, the rematch was structured much differently than the first match. It’s not like when John Cena gets angry and the announcers say that this was a new John Cena, even though he wrestles exactly the same. Pentagon destroyed Matanza this time around as the training of Vampiro paid off. He destroyed Matanza, had the match won until Vampiro whipped out a bat wrapped in barbed-wire. This barbed wire bat would end up being Pentagon’s undoing as Dario’s involvement caused Matanza to grab the bat and use it on Pentagon. He hit him in the back with the bat, hit his finishing powerslam and just pinned him. I will criticise the ending just a little, as the series had previously shown Pentagon being able to take Negan-like barbed-wire bat shots TO THE HEAD from Vampiro. He took a hit from the back, was hit with Matanza’s finisher and beaten. I thought, after taking 90% of the match, that Pentagon getting beat like that was rather underwhelming. Other than that, it was a great match. Vampiro, who stopped taking his meds after part two to train Pentagon a little more, went back on them after this match.

Taya wrestled Ivelisse. A decent women’s match which saw Taya win and Catrina attack Ivelisse with a jawbreaker of some type. It appears that Catrina will be wrestling during season three, which I’m a little worried about. Catrina, as Maxine in WWE, was still a part of the worst women’s match I’ve ever seen in NXT along with Kaitlyn in 2010. How far Maxine has progressed in more than five years is unknown, but I do pray to all the Aztec gods that she’s good enough to be able to do decent work with the likes of Ivelisse.

The main-event was Rey Mysterio vs Prince Puma. This was an incredible match, with magnificent chemistry and great story-telling aspects to it. It was the up-and-comer Prince Puma needing to do whatever he could to beat the legend Mysterio. The crowd was into every move and the drama was there. This is a legitimate contender for the best Lucha Underground match of all time. There’s just one small complaint I have and it’s Matt Striker on commentary. He was not suited to call a match like this. Firstly, there were a lot of times when he was calling the match more like a fan than a legitimate commentator. Him calling a particular spot the “I’m sorry, I love you” moment felt so tacky and almost unprofessional if you will. Did you really need to tell the audience what was going on between Mysterio and Puma, when Puma found it hard to find the strength to put away this legend? Secondly, after Mysterio won, Matt Striker made an absurd claim about this being the future of Lucha Libre. If Prince Puma won the match, I could buy that line. However, the veteran Mysterio beat the future in Prince Puma! If Rey Mysterio is the future of Lucha Libre, then Lucha Libre is not going to be great shape should Rey retire in the next few years!

At the end of the show, Pentagon Dark attacked Vampiro. Vampiro was off his meds, so Pentagon just simply beat him up effortlessly. It was a pretty bloody beatdown. He did this because Vampiro introduced the barbed-wire bat in his match when he didn’t need to. Along with that, after telling Pentagon that he was ready, Vampiro introducing the bat proved that he still didn’t have enough faith in him so Pentagon was angry. Pentagon came off as such a star after Ultima Lucha Dos was finished.

The big ending saw Dario Cueto arrested and taken away in a police van. While in the back of the van, Dario simply smiled. And that was that…

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Overall, it was a good four hour event. We didn’t get any really good stuff until the Death Match but we did get some really great matches following that. The Pentagon Dark/Matanza match was great and the Rey Mysterio/Prince Puma match was a wondrous match. I thought the ending of the season fell flat to me, considering how great the finale of last season was as it tied up the loose ends. Following this, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions and a lot of stuff that needs explaining. Let’s hope that we get some answers in season three, which begins in September.

How I Would Book… Who Ran Over Stone Cold?

SPOILER ALERT from fifteen years ago, but I think it’s a safe bet to assume that nearly every wrestling fan on earth knows that Rikishi ran over Stone Cold with a car. Even if you were not watching wrestling during the attitude era, the WWE have referenced the storyline several times on WWE YouTube videos, the WWE Network and even on episodes of RAW and SmackDown! Many fans and wrestling experts over the years have criticised the WWF’s decision to have Rikishi be behind the attempted murder of the top wrestler in the company. With that said, are there many other solutions that would have been better than Rikishi? Could I have booked the “Who Ran Over Stone Cold” storyline better than WWE? Well, let’s find out!

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Before we dive into the analysis of Rikishi as the culprit, let’s run down the storyline itself from Survivor Series 1999 to Survivor Series 2000.

Stone Cold Steve Austin had been embroiled in a triple threat WWF Championship feud with the champion Triple H and The Rock. A triple threat match was promoted for Survivor Series 1999 and a triple threat match was ended up what we got. Unfortunately, it did not include the Texas Rattlesnake. Triple H provoked Austin during a backstage interview before the match. This led Austin towards the parking lot, where he was ran down by an unidentified assailant.

Austin was sidelined for nearly a year, to take care of actually injuries that he was working with at the time. He returned at Backlash 2000 for a one-off appearance to help The Rock against Triple H and made his full return to the WWF at Unforgiven 2000. He was on a quest to track down the man who had ran him over, even not pressing charges as a means to lure the man out. Austin’s methods of tracking down the attempted killer included interfering in several matches, getting on the bad side of Commissioner Mick Foley. Foley suspended Austin, conducting his own investigation into the crime.

After major suspects like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kurt Angle and The Rock were called out, Foley eventually got to the bottom of the case. Stone Cold Steve Austin was actually ran over… by Rikishi.

Rikishi, who had not appeared on WWF television yet when Austin was ran down, admitted to the crime. He claimed that he did it for The Rock, as the WWF had been keeping down Samoans like himself and The Rock for years. Austin was getting in the way of The Rock’s success, leading to Rikishi doing what he did. This led to Austin getting his revenge on Rikishi, destroying the big man in a No Holds Barred match and then trying to hit RIKISHI with a truck.

The plot thickened for the Austin mystery, as it would later be revealed that Triple H was secretly the one that had orchestrated the hit-and-run and put Rikishi up to do it.

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The biggest problem with the official solution is that it almost seemed like the culprit was too random to be a legitimate suspect. Mick Foley even mentioned it during the reveal that Rikishi wasn’t even in the WWF at the time of the hit-and-run. Therefore, it’s likely to assume that the WWF had no idea who the suspect would end up being when they shot the angle. Rikishi’s initial reasoning  for running down Austin seemed very out-of-place, as it didn’t seem enough of a justification to explain Rikishi going after Austin. Rikishi wanting to help out The Rock could be viable but the whole Samoans being held down story had nothing to do with Austin. Yeah, Austin is one of the most successful wrestlers of all time and is a 100% American. However, it’d still seem odd that Rikishi would resort to murder because of this.

Now obviously, Triple H being thrown in as the mastermind behind of the whole thing did sort of write out this explanation a little. Rikishi still could have theoretically felt how he did about The Rock and the Samoan lineage, but Triple H does give Rikishi more of a valid reason for running down Austin. After all, Triple H was the one that led Austin out into the parking lot and hated his guts. Him getting Rikishi to run down Austin makes a lot more sense than Rikishi doing it for his Samoan lineage.

While Triple H being the mastermind does involve someone that was a big part of the story at the time of the attack, Rikishi played no part in the story at all. Rikishi was a joyful babyface that got over with his dance moves more than his ruthless aggression. There seemed to be no hint of Rikishi possibly having a dark side to him, so him all of a sudden being an attempted murder does seem a bit unfathomable. It’s actually funny when watching back Rikishi’s run ins with Triple H and the McMahon-Helmsley regime in 2000. Rikishi feuded with Triple H, and even faced him for the WWF Championship one time, while secretly having conspired with him to commit attempted murder! Then again, Rikishi running down Austin would explain why Triple H would give Rikishi a title shot in the first place. I guess that was Rikishi’s grand reward.

In a way, Rikishi being the culprit was good for attempting to get over the next big star in WWE. Rikishi did get elevated as a main-event heel but ultimately ended up flopping in that role. Sticking your backside in people’s faces doesn’t exactly come off as an evil thing to do. Considering it’s Rikishi’s rear end though, I guess it kind of is! Rikishi really didn’t work as a badass, monster heel and quickly turned back into a babyface just before the Invasion angle kicked off.

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When coming up with an alternative solution, we need to think of people that not only were relevant to the story but were also strong enough to be able to work as a top heel. As much as someone like Kurt Angle being the culprit would make sense, as he would have been someone that would gain from Austin being out of the picture, he would have no real motivation other than that. It’s not like he would have met Austin at the time, as he made his in-ring debut at Survivor Series 1999 itself. As much as fans would believe this to be a fitting irony-pleasing solution, Angle doesn’t work in this role for me.

Then you’ve got to think about the other big culprits that were highlighted as the two prime suspects by Mick Foley. Triple H would have been too obvious of a culprit, even though he wounded up being written into the official solution anyway. Right after Austin was ran down, Vince McMahon immediately accused Triple H and D-Generation X of committing the crime. Him being the culprit would be rather anti-climatic.

The Rock, on the other hand, became the top babyface when Austin wasn’t around. As outlined by Mick Foley, The Rock (as well as Triple H) had the most to gain from Austin being out of the picture. At the time of Austin’s return, The Rock was the WWF Champion. Being the top babyface, his popularity rose to new heights. With The Rock being suspected so heavily leading into the official solution, him also being the suspect would be another anti-climatic reveal. Another reason for the Brahma Bull not being culprit is that the WWF would be passing up on some serious merch sales with The Rock now being viewed as a villain.

Really, we’re looking for someone that you’d least suspect. Someone that had been shown to be sinister enough to pull off devious acts like this in the past. We’re looking for someone that would do something as a means to fulfil a much grander master plan. Who would fill this role? Why it is someone that did feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1999. It is someone that wasn’t actually there at Survivor Series 1999 and was unaccounted for. It was someone that has a history for making his foes rest in peace. The man that should have been the culprit was… the Undertaker.

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This may be a tough pill to swallow. The Undertaker did only come back as a babyface American Badass in May 2000. It would be somewhat of a letdown to see this new babyface run down our beloved Stone Cold. Then again, considering Undertaker would turn heel just a year later anyway, I think we can work a turn into this angle without hurting the Undertaker.

If you think about it, Undertaker is one of the rare people in the Attitude Era that would actually resort to murder so casually. He’s set his brother on fire repeatedly and even hanged Big Boss Man following their WrestleMania 15 Hell in a Cell match. Heck, he’s even faced Steve Austin in a Buried Alive match. I think it’s safe to say that he’d be willing to run over Austin with a corner.

The biggest issue with this is simple, and it’s actually what Kurt Angle mentioned on an edition of SmackDown! when HE was accused of running over Austin. One of the biggest parts of a murder mystery is motive. What’s the Undertaker’s motive? Why would he turn his attentions to Steve Austin? Well I have a question for you in response… why does the culprit’s motivation have to necessarily be focused at the victim? Obviously, some sort of disdain has to be present in order to consider attempting murder and Taker did feud with Austin that same year. However, what if Undertaker’s motivation was not to solely eliminate AUSTIN from the equation. While taking out Steve Austin was an added bonus, Undertaker’s real end-game was to mess with the man that had forced him to leave the WWF. Undertaker’s real end-game was in fact to remove Mr McMahon from power.

In September 1999, Undertaker “left” the WWF after refusing to take part in a Casket match with Triple H. Mr McMahon threatened to take away Undertaker’s spot in the WWF title match at Unforgiven, leading to the Undertaker walking out of the company. Jim Ross specifically stated when Undertaker made his return at Judgement Day 2000 that he was “going after McMahon” when challenging the Faction. Clearly, some hostility still exists between the two men. After all, McMahon losing power in the WWF in 1999 led to the Undertaker losing the WWF Championship and never gaining an opportunity to get it back. This could have been Undertaker’s ultimate revenge, especially after blindly following Vince’s orders when he was the “higher power” of the Corporate Ministry.

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Picture it like this. Mr McMahon was the first one shown to be outraged after Austin was run over… other than Jim Ross I guess. McMahon lashes out at DX following the incident. Knowing how much McMahon hated Triple H at the time and with Triple H’s title match with two other men coming up later that night, obviously Vince would come to the conclusion that DX was behind it. This is the Undertaker being the puppet-master, pulling McMahon’s strings by taking out one of the competitors in the running to dethrone Triple H as WWF Champion. In response, McMahon inserts the Big Show into the WWF Championship match and Big Show wins the title because of Vince. Just prior to his departure from the WWF, Undertaker had been teaming with the Big Show as part of an unholy alliance. It makes perfect sense that Taker would reward Big Show by manipulating events in order to get the title on the big man.

From behind the scenes, Undertaker is causing dysfunction within the McMahon family. Let’s start of with Stephanie, who turned on her dad and aligned with Triple H at Armageddon. Undertaker was the one that had abducted Stephanie, following the orders of Mr McMahon. Little work needed to be done on Taker’s end, with Mr McMahon having pushed Triple H’s buttons by costing him the championship at Survivor Series. McMahon made things personal with Triple H, so Triple H retaliated. Of course, Triple H hatches a master plan with Stephanie. Stephanie wanted to get revenge at her father for the abduction plan from before so she went with the man that Mr McMahon hated the most. Vince is being torn apart as daddy’s little girl has been taken away from him by the enemy.

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Shane and Linda would also get involved, leading to the WrestleMania 2000 fatal four way match with the McMahons in every corner. McMahon would be emotionally torn by having to compete with three members of his family. Not a lot can be said about the Undertaker during this period as he really can’t do much else to mess with McMahon until he comes back. Why not have McMahon regain control with Triple H and Stephanie? If he’s in charge by the time Undertaker comes back, Undertaker can be there to personally remove him from power again. At Judgement Day, his crusade with McMahon begins. He attacks him and the McMahon-Helmsley regime during the big Triple H/Rock Iron Man match. His main intentions when he comes back is to fight the regime, oust McMahon from power and win the WWF Championship. At King Of The Ring, The Rock wins the WWF Championship instead of him during a big six man tag team match but it’s not too much of a loss as at least the regime didn’t win. Undertaker will get back at The Rock, which I will get to later.

Following King Of The Ring, Vince left to become a “genetic jackhammer” while Mick Foley took over. It would have been better to say that the beatings from Undertaker, Rock etc. would force him to leave but as long as McMahon is gone. Now Undertaker can try to win back some gold. He does this initially by going after the tag team titles with Kane and then feuding with his brother. Not a lot happens for the Undertaker at this point, but he does get involved in the WWF title picture at Unforgiven 2000. How ironic, considering that he was initially barred by Mr McMahon from getting a title shot at Unforgiven last year. Here’s where I would change things up. Instead of Undertaker failing to win the championship, he wins the title in a fatal four way match also involving the champion Rock, Kane and Chris Benoit. On the very same night that Taker wins the title, Austin makes his return to WWF.

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Austin coming back is an unexpected and unwanted situation for the Undertaker. With his title reign only just getting started, Mick Foley and Austin beginning their investigations, and The Rock getting his rematch at No Mercy, how does the Undertaker turn the attention and suspicion away from himself? Why simple. Turn The Rock and Austin against each other. It is suddenly played up by Undertaker and a number of other wrestlers about how The Rock had to most to gain from Austin being ran over. This builds up all the way to No Mercy, where The Rock challenges Undertaker for the WWF Championship. Austin was initially suspended by Mick Foley, but Foley reinstates Austin after getting an anonymous tip that the culprit would reveal himself at the pay-per-view.

Up until the main event, we get no word from the culprit. Nobody comes clean. Ausitn doesn’t hear anything. Then the main-event comes around, with Austin coming down and going crazy. He pulls the referee out of the ring and grabs a chair. He sees and targets Taker, going for a chair shot but accidentally nailing The Rock. Undertaker then hits Austin with a chokeslam. Undertaker takes advantages and retains the title when the referee awakes. Undertaker then picks up a chair and unleashes hell on Austin and The Rock. Undertaker grabs the mic and laughs. He then asks the question of who had the most to gain from Austin being run over. He simply replies by saying “me” and that Austin’s search was over. Undertaker was the one that ran over Austin.

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Austin initially challenges Taker for the title at Survivor Series 2000, with it ending in a no contest after Austin takes out Taker in a similar fashion to Triple H in real life. Undertaker retains the title at Armageddon 2000. Then Mick Foley resigns as Commissioner which changes everything. Undertaker would have mentioned in an explanation that he did what he did to remove Austin and McMahon out of the equation and win the WWF title. Now Vince is back and in charge. Therefore, McMahon is going to make Undertaker pay. Undertaker vs The Rock is booked for Royal Rumble, with Vince’s reasoning being to make amends with The Rock after Vince turned on him at WrestleMania 2000. Sure. Whatever works. Undertaker loses the championship following interference from Stone Cold. Stone Cold wins the Royal Rumble itself, leading to No Way Out. Instead of Triple H, Undertaker is the one that faces and beats Stone Cold in a three stages of hell match.

That effectively is when the storyline ends. However, with Steve Austin and Mr McMahon’s alliance after WrestleMania 17, there is a lot more potential with the dynamic of Undertaker, McMahon and Austin. Imagine Stone Cold Steve Austin working with the boss to take out the man that tried to kill him. You could do the Power Trip angle if you’d like, having Undertaker and Kane battle Austin and Triple H. This could also add a lot to the Invasion angle, especially when it comes to Austin and Taker. You could have Austin and Taker initially not trust each and then eventually bury the hatchet (well bury the hatchet as much as you could, considering Taker tried to kill the man). Alternatively, you could have Austin join the Alliance and led the group against the WWF led by the Undertaker. The possibilities are endless.

Or if you’d prefer for the storyline to finish at WrestleMania 17, simply have Undertaker hold the championship all the way to WrestleMania. Austin wins the Rumble and Undertaker is the WWF Champion. This leads to the ultimate showdown in Texas between Austin and the man that ran him over more than a year ago. In the ultimate act of revenge for Undertaker running him over, Austin makes a deal with the devil himself Vince McMahon. McMahon was manipulated by Undertaker for so long, so Vince helped Austin DEFEAT the Undertaker at WrestleMania. The streak and Undertaker’s title reign is ended by Stone Cold Steve Austin.

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That about wraps up this edition of How I Would Book. I have to admit, this one was rather fun to write. I’d seen many different solutions but after thinking of a number of different options, Undertaker being the mastermind actually fits in with the storyline well. I’d love to hear of any other alternative solutions from fans so feel free to leave a comment or tweet me @TomRobinson5199. Don’t just do it for me. Do it… for The Rock. Thanks for reading everyone.

Have any suggestions for a How I Would Book? Simply tweet me at either @ArmbarExpress or @TomRobinson5199 on Twitter with your suggestions. Do also check out the rest of the content on my blog. I do a lot of other cool fantasy booking blog posts with my playthroughs of fantasy booking game Extreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

 

WWE 2K16 FaM Survival Review

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One of the many great things about WWE games is that it allows gamers the opportunity to get as creative as they want. I’ve personally enjoyed the universe mode side of recent games, creating your own rivalries and having fun with a huge cast of wrestlers. Many gamers enjoy the community creation side of things or simply playing through the WWE 2K showcase modes. In either case, there’s something for everyone. While it provides you with the tools to put together decent content, FaM decided to take its WWE Games content to a new level.

The storyline aspect and the quality of the production has always been something that impresses me. There’s a huge gap between major shows at times, but the end product for each show is well worth the wait. The amount of time and effort spent on the littlest of details must be admired. For Survival, it was FaM’s first crack at a major event with the most recent WWE game – WWE 2K16.

With the new game at their disposal, FaM gave us a new chapter in the ever-intensifying struggle for power in the storyline. Rom Buster would take a team of five into battle with the team of the anonymous general manager. The captain of the winning team would be in charge of the show as the general manager’s identity would finally be revealed. Did FaM deliver with the show and with the reveal of the new authority figure?

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The show opened with the Diamonds Debut match with Elle taking on Eve, who I believe is a member of Betrayal and BlackHeron’s girlfriend. There are two things I want to talk about before I dig into the match itself. One, thank you @RevELLEution for the follow on Twitter! Two, I had no idea that Elle was actually from MIDDLESBROUGH! As a Boro lad myself, that was actually an awesome revelation for me. There’s an FaM member that is living in the same town as me!

The match was actually very good. There was a surprising use of the announce table in the opening match. Elle did the Shane McMahon elbow drop spot through the announce table, which was actually very well sold by the commentators. It then led to a very funny running gag in the show, where the announce table or something would break in every match of the show! They actually had angles with Rom setting up the ring or the announce table, in a clever way to explain how the broken announce tables were suddenly fixed in time for the next match! That was pretty innovative!

I thought the finish was very good and simple. Eve went for the pop-up powerbomb which Elle reversed into the hurricanrana roll-up for the pin. A great match that got things up and running for FaM Survival…

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TubbyEmu wrestled Grim’s Toy Show in a grudge match. This had followed an attack by Tubby to Grim from Cyber FaMday. I was not really as invested in this one as I’m really not someone that is a fan of all the YouTuber vs YouTuber matches on FaM. In a perfect world, I’d much rather keep my CAW league as original as possible with its characters. I understand why they do it in order to get exposure but it’s just not something that really interests me about FaM. With that said, I like the FaM vs YouTuber match later and I did like this match as well…

It was a nice big man match. It started off exciting as Tubby attempted a cheap shot, but Grim reversed which led to a big dive to the outside. There was a nice back-and-forth battle, with a big finish… literally. Grim gave Tubby a superplex which caused the ring to implode much like the legendary Brock Lesnar/Big Show spot from 2003. The OMG moment of having two super heavyweights break the ring has been a feature on the game since WWE 13 I believe. I’m surprised that the clan has not used this spot for a FaM match up until this point! If I’m forgetting a time when they did it, please leave a comment below.

The ending was fitting considering the men involved. The match ended in a no contest. My only complaint about the finish is that with the way it went down, it became apparent that this feud was not over between the two men since there was no winner. This would all but confirm a rematch of some sort for FaM Pandora. The issue with this though is that there’s a lot of time in between FaM mega events. I’d seen this match once and personally, I would prefer that these two did something different if they were to appear at Pandora. Unless the next match is compelling enough for me to want to watch a rematch, I’d not want to wait six months or so for the next show just to see the same match. I complain all the time about getting the same matches on RAW and SmackDown! every week. If I give WWE a hard time, then I have point out similar flaws with FaM. It’s not a major issue for me and a lot of people in the WWE games community probably do want to see the rematch. I personally would just prefer that the two men moved onto different projects as opposed to dragging out this feud for another six months or something.

With that said, it was a fun match. It kept the momentum rolling for Survival which was fine.

Then they showed a video which talked about the upcoming FaM Review Competition. For those of you that are unaware, this competition allows YouTubers to send FaM video reviews or live reactions of FaM shows. You can send FaM these reactions/reviews via YouTube Inbox, Twitter or Facebook. If you go on their YouTube page, they’ll have links to all of those social media accounts. The winner will get an opportunity to have themselves involved in a FaM show as an active wrestler and possibly as a permanent member of the roster.

I had not seen this video before FaM Survival actually happened, so when I watched the video during the show it was for the first time. They ran down the people that had sent video reviews and live reactions. Then, history was made….

…as the Armbar Express made an appearance on one of the biggest events in the WWE Games Community history! They did give this blog a cheeky shout out with this competition video for my review of Cyber FaMday, which is very much appreciated. I got to say that this was a surprise to see the shout out. Even though my review was not a part of the review competition and was never really designed to do so, I am glad that the dudes at FaM were able to give it a read and feature it on the video. It does make my day to get people commentating about these posts and when it is featured on a video which has already got 100,000+ views as of me writing this, it does put me in high spirits.

Thanks again for the shout out FaM and thanks again for the content for me to write about, as well as making my decision of whether to do THIS review that much simpler.

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As mentioned, Rom fixed the ring after what Tubby and Grim did. D.N.A. ordered Rom to put his back into it as Rom was annoyed at having to rebuild the whole thing himself. Some good comedy with the commentators. They did this scene with WWE 2K14 by the way.

Devil cut a pre-match promo, just before his Cyber FaM Championship match with Cameron Bash. He berated Maslingster for not helping him at Cyber FaMday. He revealed that he had used the pink slip he’d won at FaMniversary III, to fire Maslingster.

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Devil faced Cameron Bash for the Cyber FaM Championship, with the stipulation being decided by the fans. They chose for it to be an extreme rules match. Devil tried an attack on the entrance ramp before the match started, but Bash was ready for it. Devil hit Bash in the gut with a chair, which Rom reacted to as if he’d witnessed a murder! Out of all the spots, this was one of the biggest reactions from the play-by-play commentator!

I’m actually going to tie this into Dragon Ball Super, believe it or not. If you don’t want to be spoiled for Dragon Ball Super, I’d advise you read on. In a recent episode of Dragon Ball Super, the villain “Black Goku” was feeling his chest after being punched in the stomach by Goku. A lot of fans theorised that this character was suffering from a heart virus as he was in a body resembling Goku, who had died in a past timeline from a heart virus. Complicated theory, but the point is that these fans were throwing around all of these crazy ideas about why this villain was feeling his stomach after the punch. They were over-thinking this one punch when the answer to why the villain reacted like he did was because he was just PUNCHED IN THE STOMACH. If any person punches you in the gut, you are going to have the wind knocked out of you. When a MMA fighter delivers these punches to the gut of his opponent, he’s trying to take the wind out of this fighter and slow him down. When Devil hit Bash with the chair and Rom made it seem like it was the most painful thing he ever saw, it actually makes sense as a chair driven into your gut would probably be the most painful thing anyone can endure if it digs right into the rib cage!

It was a pretty extreme match. We got another awesome announce table spot. Devil tried a dive to the outside onto Bash, who was next to the announce table. Bash caught him, lifted him up on his shoulders and hit an Attitude Adjustment on Devil through the announce table. Assisted with some cheeky editing, a very well put together spot. Devil got a near-fall after a low blow and a tombstone piledriver. The finish saw Devil going for Old School, with Bash countering into the Bash Bottom for the victory via pin fall. Three matches with three great finishes in a row. FaM really do a great job with the finishes of their matches! Very innovative and well-thought out.

The general manager’s right hand man Darin buzzed in, who berated Devil for not getting the job done. In an ironic twist of fate, Devil was then fired fifteen minutes after firing somebody else.

Seeing two former world title contenders (in Devil’s case, a former world champion) being fired on the same show is very interesting to me. It’s easily possible that this could merely just be an angle that will see them both rehired somehow at Pandora or something, but it is thought-provoking. There’s a lot of new FaM wrestlers on the scene at the moment, so it is possible that Devil and Maslingster may actually be done in FaM for the time being. As FaM demonstrated several times on this show, it’s possible for wrestlers to be brought back after many years. While Devil and Dude may both be gone for now, the chances are that it’s not going to be for good.

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BlackHeron confronted Darin backstage, being unhappy about the general manager firing one of BlackHeron’s Betrayal members in Devil. Darin said that he makes these decisions for a reason and called Devil expendable. He questioned BH’s judgement and basically told BH to fall in line. He said that BH had every reason to fear the general manager as BH apparently did something to the general manager on “that day”, which was referred to during the hype promos for Survival.

Haroon from the Skilled Foundation tried to make a deal with the Don, looking to gain his assistance during the Skilled Foundation’s tag title match against the Resurgence.

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The Skilled Foundation were scheduled to fight the Resurgence for the FaM Tag Team Championship. The tag champions came out but then Mr Siko’s music hit. Bhaccilo did his ring introduction for Mr Siko but it was actually Bhaccilo that appeared on the entrance ramp. As this happened, Mr Siko attacked both members of the Resurgence with a chair. He laid out the Resurgence’s Maxi on the table as the Mafia came out. Big Tony planned to have Tiny Tony jump off the top and put Maxi through the table. However, Tiny Tony revealed that he was actually afraid of heights. Big Tony still demanded that Tiny jump off the top. Tiny jumped and missed the table completely, landing on the apron instead. If someone actually did this spot in real life, it would actually hurt like hell!

Maxi got up and beat up Big Tony in the ring. The Skilled Foundation then jumped Maxi in the ring. One of the Skilled Foundation members put Maxi through a table with a 450 splash. Darin buzzed in and demanded that the match take place anyway. The Skilled Foundation hit the Hart Attack to win the tag team titles.

This was not really intended to be a proper match but it did do a great job in conveying the message about how evil this dictatorship is being. It got the general manager’s team heat for the main event, which is very important to try and get people to root for Rom Buster’s team.

I get that you’d like to get the Mafia and Mr Siko involved in the show somehow, as they are both entertaining acts. However, they could have easily done this entire angle much more smoothly if they had just cut out the Mafia and Mr Siko. In hindsight, the two of them didn’t really add much to the segment as Maxi eventually ended up fighting back anyway. It was funny to see Tiny Tony miss the splash but you could have just done the Skilled Foundation attacking the Resurgence before the match, putting Maxi through a table and then have Darin start the match. I didn’t get why the Mafia and Siko needed to be there, other than for the sole purpose of having them involved.

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Next up was Team FaM vs Team YouTubers in a seven-on-seven elimination match. Representing FaM as their first entrant was the “legendary sheriff” Sledder  while the YouTubers started off with their captain Tom Cushnie. Cushnie was eliminated right away after Sledder hit him with a big boot. Delzinski was next for Team YouTubers. There was a brief back-and-forth between the two men. Delzinski went for a curb stomp, which was somehow countered into a Samoan drop. It was pretty amazing how they were able to pull off that transition. Sledder hit the big boot to eliminate Delzinski. The third entrant for Team YouTuber was ItsMyYard. Two dummies came out instead, mimicking the New Day entrance. The one in light blue was the one scheduled to be in the match but a third dummy appeared at ringside to distract the referee. As this was going on, the real ItsMyYard low blowed Sledder. Assisted with the dummy he originally came out with, ItsMyYard hit a splash onto Sledder to eliminate him. Quite difficult to put all of this into writing! Long story short… many dummies.

“The Kangaroo Killer” Luke Monet came out but he was jumped by a fourth dummy. Monet was thrown into the ring and the real ItsMyYard hit a shining wizard, pinning Monet to eliminate him. Think about this for a minute. In order to eliminate Sledder, one of the dummies distracted the referee so Yard could low blow Sledder. When Monet came out, one of the dummies just attacked him as he was coming down to the ring. The referee saw the attack, so shouldn’t have Yard been disqualified as ONE OF HIS OWN DUMMIES attacked Monet? There was a bit of inconsistency with the rules of the match but the pace of the match was all smooth. Yard cheats and pins Sledder right away. Yard cheats and pins Monet right away. No need to do near falls or anything like that. Simply eliminating the FaM wrestlers right after the injustices from Yard adds to the belief that this all unfair for Team FaM. Simple wrestling psychology!

Rafazo was the third man for Team FaM. He won Cyber FaMday review competition mentioned earlier. He took out one of the dummies right away by diving to the outside and hitting a DDT. The two other dummies apparently ran away as ItsMyYard was on his own with Rafazo. Rafazo hit the Sister Abigail to pin Yard. A great way to debut Rafazo by having him eliminate Yard right away and in an impressive fashion. Up next for Team YouTuber was SmackTalks.

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Rafazo and Smack Talks easily had the best mini-match within this seven-on-seven match. There was some tremendous athletic lucha-libre style wrestling between the two. Rafazo took control early on with arm drags and a dropkick to the outside. SmackTalks hit a red arrow for a near fall. Rafazo caught SmackTalks jumping off the top rope and hit him with the Sister Abigail for a near fall. Rafazo went for a coup de grace but SmackTalks moved out of the way. SmackTalks hit a reverse frankensteiner and a second red arrow to eliminate Rafazo. An exceptional few minutes with Rafazo and SmackTalks. They did a hell of a job in putting Rafazo over and it was all great. This was probably the best sequence in the entire show! Kudos to FaM for that little match-up.

“The Australian Brawler” William Kingdom was up next for Team FaM. They brawled for a little bit when SmackTalks went for a Red Arrow to Kingdom on the outside. Kingdom countered with a cutter on the outside in an insane spot. SmackTalks kicked out which angered Kingdom. Kingdom grabbed a chair from underneath the ring and hit SmackTalks with it, causing a disqualification. He beat up SmackTalks with the chair some more. Kingdom then cut a promo to call out Cyber FaM Champion Cameron Bash and left.

Muffy E was next for Team FaM. Muffy E did push ups in front of SmackTalks, with the announcers playing up how Muffy E couldn’t possibly screw this up for Team FaM after Kingdom’s attack. Somehow, Muffy E doing push ups got a slow motion replay! That was awesome! Muffy E was flexing  and turned his back to SmackTalks. As he was flexing, SmackTalks rolled him up with a crucifix and pinned him.

At this point, it was four vs two in favour of Team YouTubers. The returning Lance Frisco was the 6th entrant for Team FaM. He had been in FaM in 2011 under a different name. Lance and SmackTalks wrestled for a while until Lance pinned him with the Truth Or Consequences that R-Truth uses. 101Gaming was the 5th entrant for Team YouTubers. They traded comebacks until 101Gaming pinned him with the World’s Strongest Slam. Anarchymus was the final entrant for Team FaM and he was on the receiving end of a three-on-one disadvantage.

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101 jumped Anarchymus during his entrance. 101 worked on his arm for a while and even locked on a kimura lock. 101 went for the clothesline but Anarchymus ducked and hit the double under-hook piledriver for the pin fall. Gore was the sixth entrant for Team YouTubers. They battled for a while, which included a spot where an attempted spear through the ropes was evaded by Anarchymus. Gore went for the Gore, which was countered into an Emerald Fusion for the pin fall. Perkins was the last man for Team YouTubers, as it came down to Anarchymus and Perkins from each team. There was a very nice back-and-forth between both men. Anarchymus locked Perkins in the calf crusher when Gore came back out. This distracted Anarchymus, which allowed Perkins to hit the 619. Perkins then hit a springboard 450 splash and a brainbuster onto Anarchymus for the victory. Team YouTubers won.

Having booked Anarchymus the way they did, I truly felt that he should have at least won the match. I thought Anarchymus looked really good and a victory at the end would have really made him out to be a true star for FaM. With that said, Perkins did hit a lot of big moves to eliminate Anarchymus in the end. In that sense, at least FaM did everything they could to protect Anarchymus before they beat him. I’m a little disappointed that the YouTubers won, as I think that FaM should spend more time in putting their own original talent over. With that said, I thought this was a really good elimination match. I thought the match ran smoothly. There was not a lot of instances where I thought things were being dragged on, as they clearly achieved their goal for each elimination. Each mini-match told the story. I thought a few FaM dudes looked really good in this, including Sledder, Rafazo and Anarchymus. I personally thought the FaM vs YouTubers match was better than the main event match, which I’ll get onto later. A big thumbs up from me!

By the way, Gore and Perkins took out Tom Cushnie in the end after Tom tried to take all the glory.

Rom Buster and Ben MacKenzie were talking backstage. MacKenzie told Rom that he had his back. Rom cut a passionate promo about tearing the general manager apart piece by piece. MacKenzie pointed out that this was all deja vu, as Rom cut a similar promo at Survivor Series 2013 when he was battling Betrayal. Rom responded that tonight, he would be fighting for everyone at FaM this time around.

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2TM defended the FaM World Championship against Death’s Angel The match was fine but the finish was kinda complex. Death’s Angel. initially won the match with a catapult super kick. Death’s Angel. made the cover but 2TM got his hand on the rope. They showed a replay of this and Rom, who is supposed to be the babyface and the voice of reason, is trying to look past the replay and proclaiming that it’s done. His justification of two wrongs making a right, from a neutral standpoint, should not justify the title changing hands when 2TM wasn’t actually beaten. 2TM got the ropes so the match should continue.

The ring announcer Luis had declared that the referee informed him that 2TM grabbed the bottom rope. He said that the referee decided to wait for the decision of the FaM general manager. Right after this, Rom then bashes the general manager for being biased towards 2TM!

So the FaM general manager restarts the match and makes it no disqualification. From a babyface standpoint, it’s clear that the FaM general manager is making it no disqualification so Betrayal can make a run in and help 2TM. However, if this were real, the general manager restarting the match is the morally right move to make!  The match kept going and obviously Betrayal made an interference. The Skilled Foundation came out and they hit their finisher. 2TM hits the uranage, which led to the pin fall as he retained the title. A decent match with more Betrayal shenanigans.

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CMPuLs3 defended the FaM Global Championship against Element in a tables match. CMPuLs3 was with TonyPizzaGuy and Element was with Big Red. Big Red immediately did a dive to Tony on the outside, to make sure that he wasn’t a factor. PuLs3 and Element did their match. I did love the trolling spot from CMPuLs3 when Element was on the table and PuLs3 looked to do a dive. Instead, he ran to the turnbuckle and decided to do a shooting star press from there instead! That was pretty clever! He missed with the shooting star press and the match continued. PuLs3 went for the knee of justice, which was countered into a catapult shellshocked. Tony came out as Element was about to jump through the table and beat PuLs3. Big Red came out to take out Tony. The finish was really awesome in my eyes. Pulse got up and was able to hit a Falcon Arrow from the top rope and through the table. I thought that was a pretty great spot! The one thing I really have to give FaM credit for is that they are able to write good finishes to their matches, and this was another beauty. I know I said that earlier, but this was another good one to help my point of view. Element put PuLs3 through the announce table after the match.

BrendenPlayz dropped a bombshell as the general manager allowed him to decide who would wrestle for the Global Championship. He decided that there would be a six man battle royal at FaM’s next mega event Pandora, with the winner facing CMPuLs3 later that night. He backed the general manager and claimed that he saw who the general manager was. He predicted that the general manager’s team was going to win.

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Then it was time for the main event. Team Rom Buster vs Team General Manager for control of FaM. This one was a five-on-five elimination match, structured just like the FaM/YouTuber one.

The first man out for Team General Manager was BlackHeron and the first man out for Team Rom Buster was Nic Virtue. To be honest, I had no idea who this dude was when I first saw him come out. Following the show, with FaM uploading a video about him and having been on his YouTube page, it looks like this fellow was going to fit right in. It was just funny that he’s already been booked to be at least on par, if not superior, to BlackHeron. Maybe he’s the FaM equivalent to AJ Styles, as Rom did talk about Nic being the hottest free agent in the WWE games community or something like that. He did have Light Em Up by Fall Out Boy as his theme song, so he gets a thumbs up for that! Nic looked good in there with BH.

BlackHeron got disqualified for kicking too much arse. I know that if Vinny from the Bryan and Vinny show had seen this disqualification, he probably would have had a fit! I’m not too great a fan of the idea of someone being disqualified because he didn’t break on five. Surely BH should have known what the rules were, unless he did it just to try and screw over the general manager. He did have a stare down with Darin after he was eliminated.

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Technically, BH continuing to attack Nic should lead into the disqualification of the next legal man on his team. If this was a normal Survivor Series match, the ref would have DQ’d the next legal man on BH’s team. I will defend this rule-breaking though as the company is ran by the heels so OF COURSE they are going to give themselves the advantage. Then again, going by this logic, the referee probably shouldn’t have DQ’d BH in the first place!

Here’s where the problems began with this match. So BH got DQ’d and then attacked Nic after he was disqualified. He hits his powerbomb finisher and then Darin was #2 for Team General Manager. Surely, to make it seem as if Rom’s team got screwed, Darin would have either hit a move or just got a pin fall on Nic to eliminate him. Instead, he misses a running knee and the match just continued as normal. What was the point of BH attacking Nic after he was disqualified, if it wasn’t even going to tie into Nic’s elimination? If you were going to have Darin simply beat him, just let him beat him.

Darin smashed Nic’s head into the exposed turnbuckle. There was an awesome spot where Nic’s dive was countered into a belly-to-belly on the outside. So Nic and Darin had a back-and-forth match, even after a beat down where the heel had hit his finisher. Darin hit the running knee and pinned Nic after putting his feet on the rope. Gunnz was #2 for Team Rom Buster.

Gunnz hit the spear right away but Darin kicked out. These two had a regular match from that point on, until Gunnz hit Darin with the spear to the outside. Darin got in the ring just before the ten count and then Gunnz just rolled him up to eliminate him. Again, I don’t understand why Darin couldn’t have just been counted out as opposed to getting back in the ring just to be pinned.

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Roberto was number #3 for Team GM. Gunnz did a dive to the outside and was caught by Roberto, who hit a chokeslam on the outside. Roberto rolls him back into the ring, covers Gunnz and Gunnz kicks out. Once again, couldn’t it have been much simpler to have Roberto simply pin him off of this awesome spot. Is it that difficult to simply put a FINISHER over by having someone BEAT SOMESONE ELSE with their finisher? If someone kicks out every time that it is hit, then it’s not a good finisher! Roberto ended up eliminating Gunnz anyway with a double-handed chokeslam, so you might as well have just finished it with Roberto pinning him off the chokeslam from earlier.

Cameron Bash was entrant #3 for Team Rom Buster. Bash and Roberto had a nice big man back-and-forth. Bash hit the Bash Bottom to eliminate Roberto. A tired Darin then cut a promo backstage, talking about Team GM’s mystery partner. This was not the GM that he was referring to. This was a mystery partner that Team GM had, with the GM also happening to be unknown at this point. He said that this partner believed in the GM’s philosophy and had a bone to pick with Rom Buster. Shockingly, the partner was revealed to be Killswitch!

I was actually psyched about this reveal, as I was expecting Killswitch to either be the general manager or Rom’s mystery partner (as opposed to Nic Virtue). Him being a part of the heel’s team going up against his former tag team partner Rom is a nice little twist.

Roberto jumped Bash and hit a double-handed chokeslam before Killswitch even got in the ring. Killswitch jumped in the ring, made a cover and BASH KICKED OUT. This was where I really started getting annoyed about this match. I get wanting to build suspense by having many kick-outs but come on. It’s not like anyone watching was seriously thinking that Bash was going to eliminate Killswitch and face the GM. Why not just have Killswitch beat him quickly? All of these attacks and shenanigans against the babyfaces were undone by the fact that they still continued the matches as normal by kicking out. Where’s the heat for the heels? When the match goes on as normal, the sense of injustice against the good guys dissipates. Killswitch did pin Bash shortly after the kick out though, so I guess it wasn’t as bad as the incident with Roberto earlier on for example.

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Andy Badwool was entrant #4 for Team Rom Buster. Andy and Killswitch battled. It was a nice exchange with Andy looking like he was going to finish Killswitch when Darin buzzed in. The GM and Darin announced that the rest of the match was going to be no disqualification. Right after this announcement, Killswitch hits Andy in the face with a chair. Killswitch goes for the cover but Andy kicks out. I didn’t have as much of a problem with this near fall as much as I did with the others mentioned earlier. At least Andy’s kick out only led to Killswitch further beating him up with the chair. It’s not like Andy ran wild or anything. Killswitch beat him up and hit the Switchback on the chair, which saw the back of Andy’s head hit the chair. That was actually a cool spot as Killswitch pinned Andy.

Rom Buster was obviously the last member of his team. This did feel like a really big battle between the two former S.E.S. members. Rom hit the Maltese elbow and the Sleeping Pill to beat Killswitch. Then the general manager came out as the final member of his team.

Remember all of my complaints earlier about all the near falls and the almost no-selling of all the finishers. Suffice to say that this final battle between Rom and the General Manager was NOT like any of those mini-matches. This was where things got insanely awesome.

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The General Manager came out with a Darth Vader-like mask on. Both men sized each other up. Rom tried to attack him and the GM started just beating on Rom. I could not believe how one-sided this was. He lifted Rom up by his FACE (or his sunglasses!) and just threw him across the ring! The GM was chilling on the ropes as Rom got to his feet. Rom got up and ran right into a spinebuster from the GM. As pointed out by Rom at commentary, this was Andy’s signature spinebuster. He then hit Rom with the stunner, which is obviously from Rom Buster’s arsenal. He hit BH’s meat-hook clothesline. Rom Buster did a comeback and went for a GTS, which the GM countered into a GTS of his own. Rom fired back with kicks and punches and then hit an X-Ray (which was actually Chris Jericho’s codebreaker), which barely phased the GM. Rom ran at the GM but the GM catapulted him and hit a sleeping pill.

The GM then did a Tongan Death Grip to Rom Buster and hit the End Of Days, simply standing on Rom in order to pin him. This final segment of the match was so perfectly booked. The GM SQUASHED Rom and had him beat in every turn. He had an answer for everything Rom threw at him and this all makes sense, especially considering the reveal of who he was. SPEAKING OF WHICH…

The General Manager grabbed a microphone and called out Andy Badwool. He asked him to come out and tell everyone what happened on “that day” and to tell the truth, threatening to hurt Rom even more. He then unmasked and initially, the camera just cut to the crowd and shots of the GM’s body. As this was going on, Rom at commentary was freaking out while D.N.A. was confused. Rom at commentary then revealed that this man was FaM’s dark secret, the forgotten fourth founder and the original sin.

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Andy ran out and the original sin took him out with a pedigree. Then the camera cut to black and a video started playing and THANK GOD that they showed this video right after the ending. It was explained that this man was called Ranik and that he was Rom Buster’s older brother. He explained that seven years ago, he founded FaM alongside BlackHeron, Gunnz and Andy Badwool. They showed a clip of FaM Episode 0, which revealed that Andy was actually Ranik’s disciple. Ranik revealed that he was the creator of S.E.S. and had taught Andy all he knew, which explained why he was able to dominate Andy and Rom at the end of the show.

On Episode 0, Ranik attacked BlackHeron and talked about everyone at FaM being weak at the time. He explained that the other founders considered him a threat to FaM, and the other three voted to have Ranik removed from history. He accepted their terms as long as Andy took care of his brother Rom. This lead to Rom showing up with Andy at Episode 1 of FaM RAW. Ranik said that everything he saw from that point tore him apart, including when Andy broke his vow about Rom and attacked him. Ranik then made his move, storming into BH’s office at Famniversay III and taking his leadership from him. BH gave his power to Ranik with “no questions asked” as Ranik explained that he respected BH’s business attitude and willingness to follow his orders. Ranik was on good terms with Betrayal, as long as they recognised that Ranik ran FaM.

He said that he was here to take what was rightfully his. He said that he was going to take everything away from everyone at FaM and that nobody could stop him.

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That was that. It was an incredible ending to a great show from FaM. Any fans of hidden lore should have been thrilled with this ending and the reveal of a forgotten fourth member. With the reveal being of the fourth founder of FaM, then perhaps Gunnz and BlackHeron should have had more of a role in this particular match. Andy did come back out to challenge Ranik at the end, but it’s almost like Gunnz and BlackHeron were completely under-utilised in this match. BH did get himself disqualified, which could lead to some kind of confrontation in the future. However, what about Gunnz? Where does he stand in all of this? Perhaps, he may play a bigger role in the future as the “three founders of FaM” being in the match was hyped up quite a bit.

I thought this was a very good show and although it was four and a half hours long, there was a lot of content there to keep me invested throughout. The women’s match was good. TubbyEmu vs Grim’s Toy Show was good. The Cyber FaM title match was good. FaM vs YouTubers was the best match on the night and a really well structured match. The World title match was fine. The Global Title match was good. The main event was good, despite the annoying almost no-sells of every finisher in the match. The reveal and the ending was really worth all of the hype and the build and it brought a great finish and a lot of intrigue going forward. The direction of FaM  from a writing aspect will be very interesting.

 

See also…

Cyber FaMday 2015 Review

TNA Review: Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy Final Deletion Match LIVE REACTION

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express, giving you a rare TNA post. This TNA post is actually rather justified in the fact that we’re talking about the match that is on everybody’s lips as of me writing this…

The highly-anticipated Jeff Hardy vs Matt Hardy ‘Final Deletion’ match took place on this week’s edition of Impact Wrestling. The match took place in a backyard arena designed by Matt, which is actually a callback to the start of the Hardy Boyz’ careers. The two of them started out as backyard wrestlers and in a way, they still wrestle with that same mentality. The match could only be won by pin fall or if a submission was “recorded” by the referee! This was for the ownership of the Hardy name.

Let me just state that I thought this match was incredibly entertaining, which is the whole point of professional wrestling as a whole. As a wrestling fan, it can sometimes be really frustrating to watch Monday Night RAW. The reason for this is because a lot of their content is repetitive and a lot of their content is incredibly micro-managed. When I watched TNA this week, I just sat back and relaxed. When I saw RAW’s line-up for the July 4th show, there was nothing there that stood out as must-see television. For TNA, I just knew that this match was going to be nutty and unpredictable. As expected, I was right. The Final Deletion match was nutty and unpredictable. That makes for HUGELY must-see television.

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Only a match like this involving the Hardyz could feature a spot, where Matt is shooting fireworks and Jeff is shielding himself with a trash can lid! It was like a superhero movie, like if Ironman was shooting laser beams at Captain America!

As a technical wrestling match, there was nothing really to it. It wasn’t like they spent the first few minutes chain wrestling or anything. However, they did a tremendous job at telling a story. Both men were having fun as they did all they could to end this blood feud once and for all. There was an amazing amount of suspense to this match as they delivered false finish after false finish. The music, while seemingly cheesy, added to the suspense and the direction of the match. It was a wrestling match that was put together like it was a movie.

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I encourage anyone reading this, whether you’re a wrestling fan or not, to watch this match on YouTube. There are a lot of times, as a wrestling fan, where I’m praying that a family member or a friend doesn’t walk in as I’m watching a goofy segment. With this match with Matt and Jeff, I would encourage those family members and friends to grab some popcorn and watch it with me. These are two kids that let their imagination run wild, with the assistance of a production crew from one of the top wrestling companies in the world!

I had such high expectation for this match that I just felt the need to record my own reaction upon watching it for the first time. The earlier segments of the show, where Matt unleashed his drone holograms, were not recorded but they were pretty incredible stuff. However, down below is the recording of my reaction to the match. I’ve not done a lot of these reactions in the past, so this is rare territory. Please comment with your opinions on the recording of the audio and things like that. Who knows? Maybe this could lead to more live reactions in the future!

Have fun in watching and/or re-watching this unforgettable match between two brothers, which included fireworks, trees, tasers and fire!

Money In The Bank 2016 Review – The Shield’s Main Event Dominance

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Money In The Bank was a pretty important and monumental pay-per-view for WWE. Not only would a new Money In The Bank holder be decided, but we had two of the biggest and most anticipated matches in recent memory. John Cena and AJ Styles finally had their dream match and Roman Reigns finally defended the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Seth Rollins – the man that was never beaten for the title.

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“The New Day” Big E (c) and Kofi Kingston (c) vs Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs “The Vaudevillains” Simon Gotch and Aiden English vs Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows in a fatal four way tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship  

This may have been the match that has changed my perception of the idea of a fatal four way tag team match. Despite seeing them too often, at least these tag team matches will give you a lot of action and chaos which could see anyone fight each other. In one fatal four way tag team match, the New Day tried winning the match by having Big E pin Kofi! This tag team match at Money In The Bank made me realise something… this type of match is hard for the viewers to keep up with.

It was hard when trying to keep track of who were the legal men. There were moments that I got confused, as I questioned several times who the “legal men” of the match were. There was a lot of chaos and complication with this match, with a lot of badly screwed up spots. The huge spot that was messed up was when Enzo and Cass hit their finisher. They went for the pin and the referee counted one, two, three and then Luke Gallows broke it up. Yes. Luke Gallows failed to break up the pin in time as the fans all believed that Enzo and Cass won the match. The announcers didn’t mention this as the crowd chanted “that was three” as the match rolled on.

So this match was already a mess by this point and then it got worse. Gallows and Anderson hit the Magic Killer and Anderson made the cover. In an impressive feat of strength, Big E picked up Anderson and was able to get him up from that position into the set-up for the Big Ending. This would have been an awesome finish, if it were not for what happened next. Gallows is leaning on the ropes and watches as his partner is in peril as Big E is about to drop him. Gallows stares at him and does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The reason he does nothing is because supposedly, Big Cass missed his cue for whatever came next. So for a good ten seconds, Gallows stares at Big E as he’s got Gallows’ partner Anderson up for the Big Ending. THIS WAS… EMBARRASSING.

The New Day picked up the win but I just completed hated this match. I thought that the New Day should have won as Anderson and Gallows winning the belt should be in a normal tag team match with the New Day.

 

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Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler

I was so incensed when I heard that this match was happening again at Money In The Bank and I actually have to a respond to a comment I saw on Facebook. Somebody on Facebook made a joke about Corbin and Ziggler fighting forever and some fool replied by mocking the fans who are now “complaining” after getting more feuds with slow burns. He talked about the fans wanting more lengthy storylines and then completely burying programs like this.

Let me explain something to this “fan” who made this comment. Here’s the issue with this theory. The fans do want detailed feuds that go on for months, provided that they are good. That’s all well and good. However, this feud is not good. This feud is not interesting. The WWE has not given us any new reasons for wanting to see these two fight again. The whole feud is based around one man winning a match, an attack from the loser which leads to another match. This is a cycle that is going on for some many feuds in WWE. This mindset does not give fans reasons to want to keep watching these matches. Instead, they zone out unless the match happens to be between wrestlers like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

I actually remembered back to a feud between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels in 2008. I thought about this as I was writing up my Retro Express piece on Unforgiven 2008, which featured their unsactioned fight. You know what was so great about that feud? Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and the WWE gave us a reason to want to keep watching these two go at it and their feud lasted from April 2008 to November 2008. That’s a really long period of time but they were able to keep the audience invested into that feud as they gave us something different each month. The feud stared with the question being asked of whether Jericho could trust Shawn. Then it became a blood feud, with Jericho turning on Shawn for lying to him. Then it became a personal feud, as Jericho punched Shawn’s wife at Summerslam. After Shawn destroyed Jericho and after Jericho won the World title at Unforgiven, it became a world title feud. The story of the feud changed each month as the WWE realised that the fans didn’t want to see these two wrestlers do the EXACT same thing each month. They wanted something different.

Ziggler and Corbin don’t give us anything like that. Not to mention that these two already did several blow-off matches, with Corbin beating up Ziggler at Extreme Rules and then Ziggler kicking Corbin in the nuts on RAW. There’s no other reason to keep the feud going, other than to waste the audience’s time. The audience felt that their time was wasted in this match. There were large chants of “boring” and “let’s go Ziggler, Ziggler sucks” among with others. With chants like that, it’s pretty obvious that the fans don’t want to see this match again.

With that said, this was an OK match. I was not blown away by it and it was boring in places but the right man won and HOPEFULLY both men can move onto different things.

 

 

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Becky Lynch and Natalya vs Charlotte and Dana Brooke

This was an OK women’s tag team match. Natalya, Becky and Charlotte are all good workers and Dana was doing fine when in the ring with these three talented wrestlers. The finish saw Dana throw Becky into Natalya, with the babyfaces clashing heads, leading to the heels picking up the win. The aftermath was the really important part.

Natalya is in tears in the ring as Becky tries to console her. Becky lifts her up as the fans start to applaud, which leads to Natalya turning on her friend Becky and attacking her. Natalya did in fact turn heel.

I don’t have a problem with Natalya turning heel and a potential feud between Becky and Natalya. Those two are really good workers and it’ll keep Natalya’s character fresh by having her be a full-blown heel for the first time in a number of years. However, the issue for me is what it took to get there.

Think about this for a moment. Natalya got beat in her last three pay-per-view matches against Charlotte and takes her anger out on Becky. Why did she attack Becky? The obvious explanation is that she was taking out her pent-up frustration but why was Becky the target? After getting beat by the heels, it did no favours for Becky and Natalya to do that angle. After losing to Charlotte and Dana, now these two losers are going to face each other in a feud. Other than personal interest in the careers of Becky and Natalya as well as the potential their matches could have, I have no other reason to see these two girls wrestle. If they had won this tag match and then they did the feud, then at least the two girls would be more interesting to the viewers. If they had the two beat the Women’s champion in a pay-per-view tag team match, fans might start to wonder whether that will lead to a title match for one of these women down the road.

Let’s say that they went with this. Natalya lost her two matches with Charlotte at Payback and Extreme Rules. She is very much disappointed with herself and is going into this match looking to at least get some redemption against her bitter rival Charlotte. So Natalya gets the hot tag and runs wild. She has Charlotte on the verge of tapping when Dana breaks it up. As Natalya is brawling with Dana, Becky makes a blind tag. Becky hits an exploder suplex and gets the pin or makes Charlotte tap out with the “dis-arm-her” finisher. However, Natalya is still annoyed at Becky for stealing this victory from her so she turns on Becky.

Natalya’s claim is that Becky was being selfish in stealing the victory from Natalya, when Becky knew how much a victory over Charlotte meant to her. Becky can lash back by claiming that all she did was try to win the match for her team. Natalya was in trouble with Dana, so Becky made the blind tag to make sure that she could capitalise on a weakened Charlotte. Both these women would have legitimate motivations for a feud and both of these women would be WINNERS after beating the heel tag team at a pay-per-view.

Maybe if the writers would stop going out of there way to elevate Charlotte and think about the rest of the women, maybe you could have an actually dandy women’s division. Instead, we’ve only got one women in the entire division that is even booked as a winner. Really does annoy me.

 

 

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Apollo Crews vs Sheamus

There was a lot of brawling between Apollo and Sheamus. It was very hard to get interested into this match but there was a lot of big hits with Sheamo and Crews. Crews won. The right man won in this match as the newcomer beat the veteran. I’m under the impression that this feud will lead to a rematch at Battleground, which is probably not the best route to take with these two. Keep Apollo fresh by squaring him off with other wrestlers. Him wrestling the same old mid-card talent is not going to do him any favours.

 

 

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John Cena vs AJ Styles

This match actually told a really good story. This was John Cena’s first match since December 2015 and he was up against a very active AJ Styles in this dream match. With Cena showing ring rust, AJ completely wrestled circles around the dude. Cena was constantly outmatched and out-thought by AJ as he had beaten him in every turn. This even led to Cena looking visually tired, which I’ll get onto later. AJ had all the tools to out-do him but he couldn’t put him away. When the referee was down, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson showed up and hit the Magic Killer, giving AJ the victory.

I will say that I will give the announcers credit in the fact that they played up how this was a big dream match that was ruined by the Club. This was exactly what the finish of the match demanded. I know there are a lot of people upset with the finish, believing that AJ should have won cleanly. However, I have no problem with this finish as AJ IS THE HEEL. He is supposed to cheat every once in a while and this match demanded a screwy finish. Anyone that has any clue about who the Bullet Club was should know that the Club were such good heels as they went against Japanese wrestling tradition. Interference and shenanigans were all part of the US adaptation of wrestling, which some will argue hurt wrestling as a whole. If a match like Kenny Omega vs Hiroshi Tanahashi ended with interference from the Bullet Club, that would lead to the Japanese being annoyed that they didn’t get a proper finish because of the dastardly Bullet Club. Gallows and Anderson ruined the match and JBL went on about how much of a disgrace that this finish was. Why do people feel that all the heels should win every match clean? Wouldn’t that defy the logic of what being a heel is all about?

Those were the positives of the match. Let me move onto the negatives. Firstly, Big Match John returned back to his glory days in terms of calling spots really loud in the ring. I wouldn’t have so much of a problem with calling spots in a match, if everything Cena said was not picked up on the referee’s hidden mic. Cena talked A LOT during this match which is not good. I have a feeling that this will decrease over time with the next few matches these two have but it is worrying for a fifteen year veteran to feel the need to call spots this loudly.

My next complaint is actually of the announcers. I did give them credit earlier but here’s the negatives. I mentioned that John Cena could have been suffering from ring rust, which would have explained why Cena looked slow in the ring. Bryan Alvarez from Wrestling Observer came up with a much better explanation, which is probably the best sounding theory. A day or two before Money In The Bank, John Cena traveled to China for that big conference where he was talking fluently in Mandarin. A short time after this trip to China, he is out there wrestling AJ STYLES of all people in a big match and looked slow and not himself. Hopefully you all are figuring out what I’m hinting towards, so I may as well just spill it out… JOHN CENA WAS SUFFERING FROM JET LAG.

These announcers, having mentioned Cena’s trip to China during that match, failed to make the link between Cena looking slow and his trip to China. The announcers didn’t bring it up. Jet lag would have been a great way to explain it so you also protect Cena even more. They could have even claimed that AJ was staying in Las Vegas for a few days before the event, to get used to the humidity. Having been to Las Vegas myself, I can tell you for a fact that the conditions at this desert were certainly hard to get used to. I’m from England and I was going to Las Vegas so OF COURSE I would not feel like myself. John Cena had made the trip from CHINA to LAS VEGAS. Of course he was going to be knackered.

With that said, it was a very well structured match. If only these writers did a better job at explaining a lot of this booking, perhaps my opinion of this match would have dramatically rose.

 

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Dean Ambrose vs Cesaro vs Kevin Owens vs Alberto Del Rio vs Chris Jericho vs Sami Zayn in a Money In The Bank ladder match

This was a really good Money In The Bank ladder match. These six have all been able to work well against each other and when you throw them together, you’re going to be in for a treat. My only major criticism, and it’s not really a big one, is the fact that this will not go down as one of the most memorable Money In The Bank matches of all time. There weren’t really a lot of memorable high-risk spots that I’ll remember in a few years time. The spot with Sami Zayn launching Kevin Owens onto the edge of the ladder was probably the closest one you’ll get, and it really was a sick bump for Owens to take. He was leaning on the ladder and the first thing that popped into my mind was a scene in the Simpsons where Homer was punched, landing on a fire hydrant and his back was arched on that hydrant. What Homer said after that punch was “this is more painful than it looks”, which was probably what Kevin Owens was thinking!

Everyone was able to get involved in the spots, including those not usually associated with this kind of match like Alberto Del Rio. We got an awesome spot from Cesaro, where he jumped off the ladder onto the ropes and then uppercutted Kevin Owens. That was one of Cesaro’s greatest uppercuts of all time and Cesaro throws some of the best uppercuts in the world. That basically means that this was one of the best uppercuts in wrestling history.

We had the usual spots of all six man battling on the ladders to reach the briefcase. They then had the ladders set up in a weird way, which allowed all six of them to do battle on the ladders. That spot might actually be one of those moments that people will remember. The end of the match saw Dean knock down Owens and win the briefcase.

I guess the reason why I don’t think that this ladder match will be that memorable is because of what happened at the end of the night being far more memorable. I sort of remembered Kane’s Money In The Bank match in 2010 when he won it, but his cash-in later that night sticks out even more. This was probably the same with Dean.

 

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Rusev (c) vs Titus O’Neil for the United States Championship

There was a great start to this match where Rusev and Titus O’Neil were outside on opposite ends to the ring. These two big bulls locked eyes, ran around the ring and clashed into each other with a massive double clothesline spot. A great big man spot to start the match.

Rusev won with the Accolade. Following the victory, we got an awesome post-match promo from Rusev. Being the absolute best heel he possibly could be, Rusev was out of the ring and stood next to Titus’ kids. He teased them about their father and told them that Titus was a loser. Then he left feeling triumphant.

I’ve got to say that Rusev will be one of the most over wrestlers in this company by the end of the year if the WWE keep going in this direction. The WWE are now well aware how great a talker Rusev is. He is tremendous at being an evil Russian and being a complete dick to his opponents and even THEIR FAMILY! He beats up these foolish mid-carders, reminds us that these mid-carders are failures and then leaves with Lana. Right now, it must be great to be Rusev! Easily my favourite thing going in all of WWE.

 

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Roman Reigns (c) vs Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship

I would not put this in the same realm as the last two pay-per-view main events, featuring Roman Reigns’ battles with AJ Styles. However, this was a good match between the two former Shield members. The match structure was very unique in the sense that Rollins worked the majority of the match as a babyface and Roman worked a lot of the match as a heel. There were even times when Roman mocked Seth, with Seth responding defiantly. Roman and Seth were both great in their roles for this match, which is another reason for why WWE should be pushing for a Roman Reigns heel turn. The dude is a natural big bad guy and Seth has the speed and the moveset of a babyface. Some great stuff here.

Seth was really going all out to try and test his knee, with a number of flips and dangerous moves. They even did a spot where Seth was thinking about doing the same powerbomb that he tried against Kane, which saw him blow his knee out. He hesitated but eventually did it and he seemed to have found his confidence. Not really sure whether it was wise for Seth to go all out in terms of testing out his knee.

There were some cool spots, including Seth countering Roman’s spear with a mid-air pedigree. The more I think about this spot, the more impressed I am by it. Seth was not able to hook the hands of Roman in mid-air, but the fact that he caught Roman’s head with his legs in mid-air and drove Roman head-first into the mat is an incredible feat. In hindsight, this should have been the finish.

Seth eventually hit another pedigree and defeated Roman CLEAN IN THE MIDDLE to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. With the news of Roman’s suspension, it does make a bit more sense about why Seth beat Roman clean here. I wouldn’t have booked a clean finish in this match due to what happened in the post-match, but I’ll dive into that in a bit. Overall, a good match with a surprising finish upon first viewing.

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Once the match was over and Seth Rollins hoisted the championship up high, Dean Ambrose’s music hits. Seth valiantly stood his ground, ready for Dean to fight him. He does not run, he does not hide and he is ready for a fight. Despite this, Dean Ambrose hits him with the briefcase from behind. Dean had an emotionless look on his face as he turned to the referee and gave him the briefcase. Dean then hits the Dirty Deeds and pins Seth Rollins. As soon as he wins, the fans go crazy. Meanwhile, the announcers are playing up the idea that Dean had finally won the big one after years of struggling. What they failed to mention however, is the fact that it was unfair for Seth to win the title fairly only to be cheapshotted and beaten for the title.

This is NOT going to be a popular opinion… but I was not a fan of this cash-in. Don’t get me wrong. The cash-in worked in getting Dean Ambrose over. Seth’s victory worked in keeping Seth looking strong. The idea of all three Shield members holding the WWE title on the same night is pretty cool when you think about it. However, this cash-in flies in the face of the idea of story-telling. For you see, the only one acting like a babyface at Money In The Bank was Seth Rollins… who is SUPPOSED to be a heel.

Seth wrestled the entire match with Roman Reigns as a full-blown babyface and WON the match as a babyface. He beat the man clean in the middle. You know what would have been really great? If you really wanted to make it seem like this was poetic justice when Dean cashed in on Seth, why not have Seth CHEAT to win? Why doesn’t he just act like a heel should and beat Roman either by hitting him with the belt or grabbing his tights? All this finish did was make Roman look bad, which was probably the idea considering Roman’s suspension. However, let’s just pretend for a second that Roman wasn’t suspend. The WWE are still promoting Roman for the main event at Battleground against Seth and Dean. Shouldn’t you do whatever you could to protect Roman before that match? By beating Roman clean, the only wrestlers that have credible claims to be in the WWE Championship match at Battleground is Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

Seth even said on RAW that Roman had no claim to a rematch as Seth beat him legitimately and cleanly. If Seth cheated to beat Roman, then Dean cashed in, then you can actually lead the audience to believing that Seth had this coming. Dean’s actions seem justified in the fact that Seth screwed over his best friend, so Dean might as well screw over Seth. Seth still has a legitimate claim for a rematch and it’s not like you hurt Seth, and Roman still has a legitimate claim for a rematch and it’s not like you hurt Roman. That way, a triple threat match at Battleground is more justified and all three combatants seem on par with each other.

I made the argument on SLTD Wrestling that it was in the company’s best interest to turn Seth into a babyface at Money In The Bank. You don’t necessarily have to turn Roman or Dean, although one of them turning would probably be best. However, there’s no reason to keep Seth as a heel but have him wrestle as a face. If Seth’s going to wrestle like that, then he should have just came back as a babyface. Now though, the chances of an eventual Rollins babyface turn in the future having the big impact that it should have are just rapidly decreasing. The reason for this is because you’re dragging it out. It’s watered down as Seth is facing the wrath of two babyfaces (one for the next 30 days) who are screwing him out of the title. At the end of the day, you are wasting everyone’s time who are losing investment into Seth’s character. The fans are quickly losing interest in Seth as Dean Ambrose is now the face that runs the place and is the most over man in the company. There’s a chance that a turn at Summerslam might be good, depending on how you execute it. However, I’m just not that confident about the future of Seth if he doesn’t turn soon.

With that said, this cash-in was a successful one with regards to the fan reactions and how over Dean Ambrose is. He’ll be a top champion and the viewership for the RAW after Money In The Bank went up significantly from last week. I can’t argue with the numbers but the storyline aspects of this is just very detrimental. That’s actually part of a bigger issue with the company, which is the lack of definition for the characters of ALL of their talent. The fans can cheer and boo for whoever they want. That’s all fine. The bigger issue is the fact that if you don’t make it clear about the motivations and alignments of all of your talent, the fans aren’t going to care at all.