Jack Swagger’s Win/Loss Record Against Rusev

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There have been many one-sided rivalries in WWE history. I’ve seen a number of fans complain about certain wrestlers being completed dominated in feuds. 50% of John Cena’s feuds have been met with criticism about how one-sided the booking of those feuds was. However, I feel that there may not be a feud as one-sided as the feud between Jack Swagger and Rusev.

In case you missed it, WWE have decided to put Jack Swagger into the United States title picture along with Rusev and Titus O’Neil. To put this into perspective, somebody has repeatedly complained to me in the last few weeks about the continuation of the Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin feud. That feud has been going for a few months. This program between Rusev and Jack Swagger has been going on… FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS!

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Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter first confronted Rusev and Lana and turned babyface on the June 30th 2014 edition of RAW. I did the research and more than 40 matches (including house shows) have taken place between Rusev and Jack Swagger in the two years since this confrontation.

Not only that but I was driving in my car one day and I was thinking about this Rusev/Jack Swagger feud. Then the question popped into my head… has Jack Swagger ever beaten Rusev?

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It’s usually hyperbole to say that this guy can never beat this guy, but I couldn’t remember a time where Swagger actually got a victory over Rusev. I even thought of DQ finishes and other potential screwjob finishes, but I couldn’t think of one. So I did the research and down below are 42 matches that have seen Rusev going up against Jack Swagger. Included in this list are house show matches, dark matches, TV shows as well as PPVs. With the help of the awesome Internet Wrestling Database, I was able to compile this list. How many times had Jack Swagger defeated Rusev? Well this list, going from earliest match to latest match, will give us the answer…

NOTE: I didn’t include Royal Rumbles and other multi-man matches, as those matches never really saw one of these men stand victorious.

List of Rusev vs. Jack Swagger matches

  1. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on July 12th 2014 (WWE Summer Heatwave tour)
  2. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on July 13th 2014 (WWE Live)
  3. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on July 18th 2014 (WWE Live)
  4. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on July 19th 2014 (WWE Live)
  5. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via count out on July 20th 2014 (Battleground 2014)
  6. Jack Swagger def. Rusev via DQ on July 22nd 2014 (WWE Main Event)
  7. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on July 25th 2014 (WWE Live)
  8. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on July 26th 2014 (WWE Live)
  9. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on July 27th 2014 (WWE Live)
  10. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on August 2nd 2014 (WWE Live)
  11. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on August 3rd 2014 (WWE Live)
  12. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on August 16th 2014 (WWE Summer Heatwave tour)
  13. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission in a Flag Match  on August 17th 2014 (Summerslam 2014)
  14. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on August 23rd 2014 (WWE Live)
  15. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on August 24th 2014 (WWE Live Bakersfield Show)
  16. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via pinfall on August 25th 2014 (Monday Night RAW)
  17. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission in a Submission match on August 26th 2014 (SmackDown! taping)
  18. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on September 13th 2014 (WWE Live)
  19. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on September 14th 2014 (WWE Live)
  20. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on September 25th 2014 (NXT TV Taping – Dark Match)
  21. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on October 11th 2014 (WWE Live)
  22. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on October 12th 2014 (WWE Live)
  23. Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger, Justin Gabriel, Sin Cara, Curtis Axel, Heath Slater, Diego, Fernando, Big Show, Erick Rowan, Adam Rose, The Miz, Damien Mizdow, Goldust, Stardust, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Titus O’Neil, Tyson Kidd, and Cesaro in a battle royal for the United States Championship on November 25th 2014 (SmackDown! taping)
  24. Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger via submission to retain the United States Championship on December 6th 2014 (WWE Live)
  25. Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger via submission to retain the United States Championship on December 13th 2014 (WWE Live)
  26. Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger via submission to retain the United States Championship on December 14th 2014 (TLC 2014)
  27. Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger via submission to retain the United States Championship on December 20th 2014 (WWE Live)
  28. Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger via submission to retain the United States Championship on January 16th 2015 (WWE Live)
  29. Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger via submision to retain the United States Championship on February 14th 2015 (WWE in Abu Dhabi – Day Three)
  30. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission in a non-title match on March 3rd 2015 (SmackDown! taping)
  31. Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger and Ryback via submission in a Triple Threat Match to retain the United States Championship on March 14th 2015 (WWE Live – Road To WrestleMania)
  32. Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger and Ryback via submission in a Triple Threat Match to retain the United States Championship on March 14th 2015 (WWE Live – Road To WrestleMania)
  33. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission in a non-title match on March 23rd 2015 (Monday Night RAW)
  34. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on July 25th 2015 (WWE Summer Heatwave tour)
  35. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on July 26th 2015 (WWE Summer Heatwave tour)
  36. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on July 28th 2015 (SmackDown! taping)
  37. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via submission on September 15th 2015 (WWE Main Event taping)
  38. Jack Swagger def. Rusev via submission on December 8th 2015 (WWE Tribute To The Troops 2015 Taping)
  39. Rusev and Alberto Del Rio def. Jack Swagger and Ryback via pinfall on December 14th 2015 (Monday Night RAW)
  40. Jack Swagger def. Rusev via submission on February 7th 2016 (WWE Live – Road To WrestleMania)
  41. Rusev (c) def. Jack Swagger via disqualification to retain the United States Championship on May 31st 2016 (SmackDown! taping)
  42. Rusev def. Jack Swagger via count out in a non-title match on June 6th 2016 (Monday Night RAW)

THREE VICTORIES IN TWO YEARS!

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Jack Swagger has defeated Rusev THREE TIMES in two years. He defeated him via disqualification in July 2014 and beat him at Tribute To The Troops last year, making those two matches Jack’s only televised victories against Rusev.

In order to push Rusev as the United States Champion right now, WWE’s grand plan is to put Rusev against Titus O’Neil (who has never won a singles title) and a man that is essentially a loser. The numbers down lie and they spell disaster for Jack so WHY is Jack Swagger a contender for the United States Championship?

 

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2015 Armbar Express Awards

 

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again. It’s where we reflect on everything that went right or wrong in the world of professional wrestling during the year. We reward excellence and we condemn ignorance. We decide once and for all which stars are worthy as it is time for the 2015 Armbar Express… AWARDS!

So we’ve made our list, we checked it twice. It’s time to see which wrestling personalities raked in the rewards for a solid year and which wrestlers get the short end of the stick. Let’s kick things off with…

 

TV Show Of The Year

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This is a new one for us in the awards. We celebrate just which wrestling promotion put on the best TV show of the year and our nominations are…

  • Monday Night RAW (WWE) – As it much as it can drive a man insane, I’ll give credit to the writers for being able to write and dish out a three hour wrestling show every week. A lot of RAWs have been well below par but there’s been a few hidden gems that almost makes up for that.
  • NXT (WWE) – The developmental territory goes from strength to strength as NXT has really had the world talking with some incredible talent on display. We’ve had some great matches, some great storylines and great special events to make all the episodes seem worth it.
  • Lucha Underground (Lucha Underground) – Lucha Underground is an incredible alternative from WWE which has really made a name for itself. Every episode is unmissable as it delivered with its first season in 2015. Considering the success of season one, season two in 2016 can be a huge success.

The winner… is Lucha Underground.

More than any other wrestling show from any other promotion, Lucha Underground knows what type of product they are putting on every week. It is a television show which is really what a lot of promotions fail to remember. It might upset a lot of NXT fans for it to lose out to Lucha Underground, but NXT is a show you could miss and it wouldn’t hugely effect your knowledge of events. Lucha Underground has made it’s a product a show you have to see every week. Every little detail is vital as you are gearing up for a huge episode with major implications. The segments and non-wrestling parts of the show are put together very well with more time given to wrestling to really tell the story for them. It’s the perfect balance which creates a incredible product at the end. If you’re not watching Lucha Underground, you’re missing out on an unique opportunity.

 

Feud/Rivalry Of The Year

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Storytelling is a huge aspect of wrestling and more intense rivalries are, the better. Our nominations are…

  • Kevin Owens vs John Cena – This feud made for compelling television on RAW which made it a huge incentive for people to watch the flagship show. Kevin Owens debuted in an emphatic way, attacking John Cena on RAW and then cleanly beating him at Elimination Chamber. Cena levelled things up at Money In The Bank until Cena settled the score with Owens at Battleground. While the ending with Cena winning the feud still winds me up to this day, you can’t deny that there were some great moments that accompanied this feud and really make it stand out.
  • Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker – Fifteen months after the events of Wrestlemania XXX, the Dead Man finally got around to getting his revenge on the man that conquered the streak. After costing him the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground, Undertaker began an incredible intense and powerful feud with Brock Lesnar which was really must-see television. Most notable during this feud was the post-Battleground brawl between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar which was arguably one of the greatest moments of RAW all year. Along with getting the Undertaker booed for the first time in a decade, this feud provided a whole new dynamic which really developed the characters of both men and it was not like this was a traditional face vs heel rivalry. These just two men that wanted to murder each other! The matches at Summerslam and Hell in a Cell also hugely surpassed my expectations too!
  • Fenix vs Mil Muetrues – This was one of the rare times where a romance angle was actually done right and it shockingly happened at a promotion that is not as heavy on “sports entertainment” than WWE. It made stars out of Fenix and Mil with great matches including their Grave Consequences match which we’ll get to later. Catrina’s role in the storyline was also well played.
  • Sasha Banks vs Bayley – There’s been a number of great NXT programs this year but Bayley and Sasha Banks gave us a rivalry which was truly phenomenal. This was story-telling at it’s simplest and finest and Sasha was the perfect foil for Bayley, as the hugger hoped to finally win the NXT Women’s Championship. Two great matches at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and Respect showed why NXT’s women were leagues ahead of WWE’s divas.

The winner… is Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker.

To me, the intensity of Brock vs Taker was what really made it stand out. I appreciate the clear face-heel dynamic of Bayley and Sasha, I liked the way the romance angle with Fenix and Mil was presented and I loved the matches between Owens and Cena. However, what separated Brock and Taker from the rest was their ability to be unique. There’s no face and no heel. There’s just two badasses just beating the crap out of each other which gave the whole thing such a great atmosphere and what really made Brock Lesnar must-see television this year!

 

Tag Team Of The Year

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There’s been a number of teams that have really impressed this year and let’s celebrate these tremendous tag teams as the nominations are…

  • The New Day – What can be said about the New Day other than they took the ball and they ran so far with it that it’s incredible to think that they were getting booed at the start of the year. Now, they are just the most entertaining tag team in wrestling today and they’ve got a lot of diversity between the three of them in terms of movesets which works tremendously in the tag team scenario.
  • Lucha Dragons – This team has been very fun to watch in the ring and have been a welcome addition to the main roster. Sin Cara’s obviously been on the main roster before but Kalisto is a newcomer that has really shined in the time that he’s given. Hopeful we can see these two with a tag title run.
  • Jason Jordan and Chad Gable – A true stand out team in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, these two just worked so well together as a tag team. The weakness of one man was filled by the other as they put on some incredible matches against the likes of Baron Corbin and Rhyno. Many NXT fans were disappointed that the duo never won the tournament but 2016 may end up being their year.
  • Cesaro and Tyson Kidd – I was originally going to leave this team out of this award considering they were only together for around six months until Tyson Kidd went down with an injury. However, the duo put together some great matches as a duo with the two styles just complimented each other beautifully. Fact.

The winner is… the New Day!

Kofi, Big E and Xaiver have done tremendous work as a trio and it might be unfair to give them award considering they’re more of a stable then a tag team. However, you can’t deny that they’ve given the tag team division a boost as a whole and they are finally getting the results that the three of them deserve.

 

PPV Of The Year

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The WWE Network might have actually been worth subscribing to this year with a number of top quality PPVs to acknowledge. The nominations are…

  • Wrestlemania 31 – In what is usually a given in terms of top PPVs of the year, Wrestlemania 31 sure didn’t disappoint. Rarely has a Wrestlemania been as well timed as this year’s event. With the exception of the Rock/Rousey/HHH/Stephanie angle (which I thought went too long) all the matches/segments were given enough time to truly stand out in it’s own right. While it was not like Wrestlemania 28 where all the time went to the three big matches and it was not like any of the matches from this card were match of the year candidates, it featured some darn great matches nevertheless. From Sting vs Triple H to Brock Lesnar taking Roman Reigns to Suplex City, there was little wrong with this year’s edition of Wrestlemania.
  • Summerslam – August 22nd, August 23rd and August 24th made for a great three days for WWE and the feature presentation was the four hour long Summerslam. The top matches including a great WWE World title match with Seth Rollins defending against John Cena as well as the long-awaited rematch between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar which really surpassed my expectations.
  • Hell in a Cell – I have to give Hell in a Cell a thumbs up for a number of reasons. Both Hell in a Cell matches delivered in their own right, (which is of course a big part of the PPV itself) and there were a number of surprises including the return of Alberto Del Rio.
  • Night of Champions – This was another good PPV for WWE in the autumn of 2015, with Seth Rollins being the focal point and main reason for it’s success! Seth Rollins put on two great matches in a row with John Cena and Sting, proving that he indeed was the man in WWE around this time. There were other great aspects of the show as well including the returning of Chris Jericho which made for a worthwhile event.

The winner is… Wrestlemania 31.

This was another solid Wrestlemania for WWE as whoever was responsible for the timing of the show was right on the money. That event will legitimately go down as one of the best Wrestlemanias the company have ever produced.

 

Worst Match Of The Year

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Not all awards are for the greater good. This award celebrates the worst matches put together in 2015. The nominations are…

  • Sheamus vs Ryback vs Dolph Ziggler vs Mark Henry vs R-Truth vs King Barrett in an Elimination Chamber match for the Intercontinental Championhship (WWE) – Maybe WWE should have given Elimination Chamber a rest this year because this chamber match really wasn’t up to par. As soon as Mark Henry’s chamber pod was broken, the match seemed to completely fall apart to such agree that it was amazing how all of these men (EACH with at least ten years experience wrestling in the “biggest” wrestling promotion in the world) couldn’t put this match back on track. When Sheamus’ chamber pod got stuck, all of these men stood around not knowing what to do as Ziggler was calling spots for everyone. It was not a great return for the Elimination Chamber.
  • 2015 Royal Rumble Match (WWE) – WWE’s streak of failing Royal Rumble matches continued with this atrocity which ended up with Roman Reigns standing tall. It’s not even the fact that Roman won it. It’s the fact that the match itself was put together in such a miserable fashion that it’s no wonder that Roman was booed out of the building. Those fans weren’t booing Roman Reigns. They were booing Roman Reigns having to conquer two twenty year veterans that had no business being on par with the current crop of young talent as WWE struggle to develop new stars.
  • Los Villanos vs Los Psycho Circus at TripleMania XXIII (AAA) – When I heard that Dave Meltzer had given this match from TripleMania minus five stars, I figured I had to go watch it. I had heard that TripleMania was bad and the bits I had watched of it weren’t all impressive. However, this match was something special. This was supposed to be Villano III’s retirement match and imagine having a retirement match that was this much of a train wreck. This was hardly Ric Flair retiring against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 24. This is one to watch but for the wrong reasons!
  • Paige and Emma vs The Bella Twins on RAW: February 23rd 2015 (WWE) – This was an utterly atrocious use of these women on WWE’s flagship show, to give them a grand total of 30 seconds of in-ring action. What happened was Emma and Brie started the match, Paige was shouting at Nikki when Brie took her off the apron, Emma looked outside to check on Paige and then Brie hit Emma with the X-Factor and won. This was a complete and utter disgrace considering these talented women were given 30 seconds during a 3 HOUR SHOW of RAW. The neglect to these divas by WWE was simply revolting which ended up creating the “Divas Revolution” which we’ll get onto later. It’s one thing when you try something and it fails. It’s a slap in the face when you don’t even try to make the women look credible.
  • Kurt Angle vs Eric Young in a No Disqualification match at Bound For Glory 2015 (TNA) – This match was probably the highlight of my TNA Bound For Glory PPV review as two men that are usually great workers were put in this illogical no disqualification match. The biggest highlight to this match was, despite Eric Young piledriving Kurt Angle, the referee waving off the match, KURT ANGLE even telling Eric it’s over, the match still went on for another ten minutes or so as Kurt was selling a broken neck. You really should read my Bound For Glory review (at this link) to get the full detail of my problems with this match. I’ll just say this… thumbs down.

The winner (or in this case, the loser) is…. the Elimination Chamber match.

Now keep in mind when we give out these awards for Best or Worst match of the year, it’s not strictly down to the in-ring side of things. If that was the case, then the Villanos/Psycho Circus match would probably win hands down. We’re looking at so many more aspects of the match that made it worthy of a nomination. Angle/Young was bad because of the illogical storytelling going on. The Royal Rumble match was a disaster mostly because of the crowd reactions and the finish. Emma and Paige vs the Bella Twins was on the list because of how disrespectful it was to women’s wrestling and the Villanos/Psycho Circus was in for a number of reasons. The reason for the Elimination Chamber being the winner was down to one thing. In AAA and TNA, the expectations and standards aren’t as high as WWE’s. Considering the physical well-being of both the Villanos and the Psycho Circus and considering that TNA’s booking was just vintage TNA, you can sort of expect that. For WWE, you expect top quality action. It’d be wrong to punish the divas for WWE’s decision to give them 30 seconds. For the Elimination Chamber and the Royal Rumble, there’s no excuse. At least the first half of the Royal Rumble was actually not that bad with some cool surprise entrants and stuff, so it has at least got a few redeeming qualities to it. The Elimination Chamber was just a bad match that fell apart because of the chamber pod spots and then going on for way too long. Their improvisation made them all look like fools and it was just a retched return of the elimination chamber. Congratulations you six for being apart of the worst match of the year.

 

Turn Of The Year

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There’s been a number of effective turns which have either been executed well or has lead to even greater things just by doing it. The nominations are…

  • The New Day: Heel (WWE) – It’s amazing to think that the WWE Creative team had the New Day be good guys for five months before realising that they needed to be heels. Responding to the “New Day Sucks” chant, the men finally embraced the hate and it’s the greatest decision the WWE have made throughout the entire year. The New Day have excelled as heels and it’ll be hard to see how they can top it in 2016.
  • Undertaker: Heel? (WWE) – In hindsight, it probably wasn’t a full-on heel turn from the Dead Man. However, to explore the idea of the Lord of Darkness legitimately turning to the dark side was intriguing enough when Undertaker cost Brock Lesnar the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground. Undertaker acting as a heel is very unique and I still believe that him spending the last few years of his career as a heel is what’s best for business before he rides off into the sunset.
  • Paige: Heel (WWE) – The initial turn for Paige was executed very well coming off a rather bleak program between Charlotte and Nikki Bella. Paige cut a scathing promo slating all of the divas, Charlotte and even Charlotte’s dad Ric Flair. What’s followed for Paige since then has been very flawed but the initial turn was pulled off very well.
  • Cesaro: Face (WWE) – Cesaro was already a face before this point but a true babyface moment for him this year was his program with John Cena and Kevin Owens for the United States Championship. Cesaro is a very excitable face wrestler which gives this turn a thumbs up. However, him going up against Cena in the main event of RAW was a moment which I thought was legitimately going to make him a new main event star for WWE to get behind. They showed respect to each other and the fans really did accept that Cesaro should be a main event star. Cena endorsing Cesaro among other things made this feel like a special RAW moment for Cesaro.

The winner is… the New Day!

This is the New Day’s second award and I was honestly going to give this to the Undertaker, despite that heel turn being more of a tweener turn then anything. However, the New Day’s turn was probably the most needed in the entire year and the group shined as the villains. Well done to the New Day!

 

Worst Storyline Of The Year

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This was not a great year for the writers of professional wrestling this year (with the exception of Lucha Underground). The nominations are….

  • The Rusev/Ziggler/Lana saga (WWE) – I’ll give this storyline credit in the fact that my analysis of this storyline is still one of my most viewed blog posts of the year! From the get-go, you knew this storyline couldn’t work. Trying to twist real-life relationships into a romance wrestling storyline really never works as well as it’s expected to and a lot of the time, it just came off as a really cheap soap opera rip-off. Ziggler and Lana couldn’t be accepted as a legitimate couple and Rusev ended up being the biggest loser out of everyone involved. Think about that. The man that WWE had pushed so hard in 2014 and up until Wrestlemania 31 suffered the most during this storyline. I would seriously give my article on this storyline a read at this link to get the full scoop of why this was such a failure.
  • The Divas Revolution (WWE) – I feel that the last six months in the divas roster has been nothing short of a failure with the exception of NXT. It’s very hard to believe that the same company that have put on some of the great women’s matches of all time put this storyline together in the same year. WWE’s attempts at replicating the success of the NXT women really did give women’s wrestling a bad name this year, as these women were unfortunately subjected to the terrible booking by the powers-that-be of WWE. Charlotte, Paige and the rest of the women really do need gold medals for the stuff they’ve had to put up with this year.
  • James Storm “kills” Mickie James (TNA) – Wrestlers being “killed” in storylines aren’t exactly new. Undertaker used to die every other year in WWE while Lucha Underground has ran a number of murder angles in the course of its first season. However, none where as painful to watch as Storm nudging Mickie James onto a train track. As part of a storyline where Storm tried to form a wedge between Magnus and Mickie (a real life engaged couple), the culmination of months of manipulation by Storm was TNA taking a page out of House Of Cards’ books and “killing” off Mickie James in such an anti-climactic manner (except the House of Cards scene was actually a lot more shocking than this one). It’s very hard to pull off a death storyline (unless you’re Lucha Underground) in the social media generation, but TNA’s attempt was just absurd especially when their official website referred to James Storm’s actions as “borderline criminal.” Honest to god, did not make that last part up.
  • The Battle Of The Crown (WWE) – This was hardly the “War of the five Kings” from Game of Thrones. This was WWE making a pure mockery of the value of the King of the Ring tournament. A tournament which has elevated the likes of Steve Austin, Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar to stardom. With this storyline, Barrett’s win was treated as a joke as R-Truth also decided to be a king. As I’ve discussed in the past, Barrett has been subjected to some serious woeful booking by WWE in his career but this really takes the cake.

The winner is… The Rusev/Lana/Ziggler storyline.

There’s no doubt in my mind. As infuriating as the Divas Revolution is, as stupid as the James Storm angle was and as much of a joke as the King storyline was made, this romance angle was by far the worst storyline of the year. This takes it by a HUGE MILE. There’s never been a bigger failure of a romance angle than the Rusev, Lana and Ziggler angle. What started with Lana getting some of the best reactions in the entire company and Rusev being a top heel monster, turned into both of them being degraded to such a degree that I find it very hard to believe that either person can be elevated back to the level that they were before they were struck with this horrible storyline.

 

Match of the Year

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Here’s one of the big ones. There’s been a great deal of tremendous matches over the year and these five have been among the elite. The nominations are…

    • John Cena vs Kevin Owens at Elimination Chamber 2015 – It’s very hard to separate all three of the Cena/Owens matches this year as all stand out in their own way. The Money In The Bank match and the Battleground rubber match were both well put together. However, Elimination Chamber only just takes it just for the pure shock of Owens beating Cena so convincingly.
    • Bayley vs Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Respect – It’s very hard to separate this match and one other match I’ve seen in the past over which was the greatest womens match I’ve ever seen. I feel given the background to it and the expectation, I feel this surely has to take it. These women were able to put on an incredible performance for 30 minutes, with great in-ring story-telling as Bayley had to prove that her win at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn was no joke.
    • Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar at Summerslam 2015 – This was filled with pure intensity and drama from bell to bell as it even began with Brock Lesnar attacking Undertaker during his entrance. It was a brawl like no one had ever seen before as the Beast and the Dead Man slugged it out. Many complained about the finish but I really didn’t mind it as it was a necessary evil for the third match to happen.
    • Mil Muetrues vs Fenix in a Grave Consequences match on Lucha Underground – This rivalry, as mentioned earlier, was a very powerful one. This match in particular was the ultimate David vs Goliath match as the underdog was beaten to a pulp. This match is a must see for those not familiar with Lucha Underground!
    • Brock Lesnar (c) vs Seth Rollins vs John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble – There’s little reason needed for why this match is a nominee. Other than being the only redeeming quality of the Royal Rumble PPV that saved it from being a complete disaster, this was the perfect mix for a triple threat match. You had John Cena (who had really improved in terms of match quality this year), Seth Rollins (who has the speed and generally all-around skill) and Brock Lesnar (who ranks high in pretty much every department you can think off!). It just made for a great triple threat which made all of them look incredible.

The winner is… Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar.

I feel kind of bad having all the match of the year candidates being related to the feud of the year candidates. However, those were the big instances where the matches made the rivalry. Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar was no exception as the two put together an incredible match at Summerslam.

 

Female of the Year

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This has been a year for ups and downs for womens wrestling in WWE, but lets give credit to these women as the nominations for female of the year are…

  • Paige – The winner of last year’s award is back into the mix as Paige has had a number of great moments, even with some of the questionable decisions by the powers-that-be. She’s been a little over-exposed and over-used in the divas title picture but the lovely Englishman has given us a lot of top performances.
  • Sasha Banks – It wouldn’t be a legitimate award without at least throwing the Boss into the fray. She had a great run as NXT Womens Champion in the start of the year and she’s been a delight to see whenever she appears on the main roster. That and having one of the best matches of the year surely makes the Boss a contender.
  • Bayley – The hugger is surprisingly the only one out of the four NXT horse-women that wasn’t called up to the main roster, which is probably for the better when you consider just how well she’s performed on NXT.
  • Nikki Bella – The #1 ranked women on the PWI Womens Top 50, Nikki is also in the running for this award as her improving in-ring skill and having to lead the womens roster as champion is something you have to give her credit for.

The winner is… Sasha Banks.

I feel all the others have valid reasons for winning but Sasha has been on top of her game for all of 2015. Congratulations to the Boss!

 

Promo of the Year

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Last year, we saw some tremendous promos cut by the likes of Dean Ambrose, Paul Heyman and Bray Wyatt. Our nominations for this year’s award are…

  • Paige’s PaigeBomb On The Night After Night Of Champions (September 21st 2015) – One of the brightest moments in the Divas Revolution was Paige cut a scathing promo on all the divas which addressed the problems present with the storyline. She buried Charlotte, Becky Lynch and all the other divas as she took credit for the whole Divas Revolution. This could have been the catalyst for a true divas revolution had WWE not squandered this opportunity.
  • Paul Heyman On The Night After Wrestlemania 31 (March 30th 2015) – Last year’s winner Paul Heyman is again featured prominently this year as his angry promo following Wrestlemania was delivered tremendously. Never has a rematch clause ever been invoked in such a manner!
  • Stephanie McMahon On John Cena Missing Out Wrestlemania 31 (March 2nd 2015) – I’m a huge fan of Stephanie McMahon and this promo was a prime example of why. Stephanie’s cut a lot of passionate promos during the year but this one involving Cena was one that really caught my attention. It’s one of those reassurances to the WWE Universe that Cena does not define WWE and is not as dominant as people realise. Stephanie is one of the few people that could have gotten this point across as she did.
  • Paul Heyman On The Future Of Brock Lesnar (March 9th 2015) – Surprisingly, two of these promos come within two weeks of each other! Not going to lie, the road to Wrestlemania can bring about some beauties. Paul Heyman discussing what Brock Lesnar’s plans are after Brock’s falling out with Vince McMahon was so intense that it almost seemed that Brock was actually legitimately holding the company up over the WWE World title. It was as intense as Paul could have made it as he discussed the potential of Brock becoming WWE World and UFC Champion and “smacking around Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao” in a heated promo which really aided the promotion of Lesnar’s match with Roman Reigns tremendously.

The winner is… Paul Heyman with his angry promo on the night after Wrestlemania!

Paul is a true master of the microphone and it was evident with this promo. A deserving two-time winner of this award and there was few that could touch him this year. I always thought this promo grabbed my attention more than the one earlier on in the month, but both were amazing nevertheless. Congratulations Paul!

 

Wrestler Of The Year

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THIS IS IT. This is the big one as we determine who was the best wrestler all year long. The nominations are….

  • Seth Rollins – Last year’s winner has gone from strength to strength, having mostly reigned as WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the locker room leader. He put on great performance after great performance and was really transformed into a true main event star which is exactly what WWE are lacking in. His injury was a huge blow but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Rollins had an incredible year under him that he should really be proud of.
  • John Cena – Big Match John really upped his game in terms of his in-ring skills. John’s had match after match with the US Championship Open Challenge to demonstrate his abilities and help a fellow challenger along the way. Cena’s had great matches with the likes of Rollins, Kevin Owens, Cesaro and Dean Ambrose to make this a top year for the franchise player of WWE.
  • Kevin Owens – Despite being HUGELY under-utilised in the majority of the second half of 2015, Owens shined when given the proper mic and wrestling time. He started of the year by smashing Sami Zayn and moved onto his tremendous trilogy with John Cena. He reigned as Intercontinental Champion and in a time of need in terms of top heel stars, Kevin Owens needs to be one to push in 2016.
  • Cesaro – Cesaro gets a spot because HE FREAKING DESERVES IT. Despite not being in a lot of major programs during the year, Cesaro shined whenever he was given the ball. Even when he was under-utilised, he still did his best to make sure he had one of the best matches of the night and to prove just how great he was.
  • Brock Lesnar – Some of you may question my decision to put in a man that rarely wrestles but when he does, it’s must-see television. Brock had some of the best matches of the whole year and can captivate the audience in one way or another.

The winner is… Seth Rollins.

Congrats to Seth Rollins for winning this award for a second year in a row. While John Cena was really on top of his game this year, Seth takes this by a huge mile. He worked his ass off and his performances against some of the top names in the business shows that he belongs in the main event scene for years to come. Seth is the closest WWE’s come to creating a new legitimate star in professional wrestling.

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That will wrap it up for the award. There were a few more awards that I wanted to dish out in this post and I will do a follow-up piece some time in January to reveal some of the bonus awards including the likes of “Hidden Gem of the Year.”  Thank you all so much for making this an incredible year for the Armbar Express. Thanks to the world of wrestling for giving me the motivation to write about the good and bad of wrestling this year. Cheers!

 

How I Would Book… Undertaker vs Roman Reigns (Wrestlemania 32)

How I Would Book… Undertaker vs Roman Reigns (2014)

Undertaker vs Roman Reigns is a How I Would Book match that we have done before. We’ve discussed how these two could have had a corker of a match at Wrestlemania 30, with Roman Reigns’ elevation to the top taking a huge step forward. Now though we are on the road to Wrestlemania 32 with no clear indication about what the Wrestlemania card is going to look like. With that in mind, then there’s no harm in throwing out a number of ideas. Roman Reigns is still in a position where he needs that extra push towards being a true star. Why not give him a top Wrestlemania match with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32?

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Before we begin, let me just get this out of the way right now. The Undertaker MUST win this match considering that Wrestlemania 32 is being held in Dallas, Texas and having Reigns beat the home town hero Undertaker could cause an even bigger backlash then when Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble. Unless you were to turn Reigns heel before or during the match, there’s little chance of you being able to pull of a Reigns victory without upsetting the masses too much.

Although it’s seemingly like a weird tradition in WWE for the home town hero to lose, you cannot possibly get away with it when it comes to the Undertaker. Wrestlemania has been held in Texas twice before. In those two matches, Undertaker defeated Triple H in a really good match at Wrestlemania X7 and Undertaker defeated Shawn Michaels in their Wrestlemania 25 classic. To go from Undertaker beating those men in classics to losing to Roman Reigns is quite a step down, whether Roman would be doing it as a face or a heel. This is not like if they had John Cena beat The Rock at Wrestlemania 28 in Miami where there’s a slight possibility that WWE could have gotten away with it. Many fans are wondering if Wrestlemania 32 will be the Undertaker’s last hurrah. If Taker loses to someone the fans are against before riding off into the sunset, what a huge backlash that would cause.

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If this match was to go down, who should be the face and heel? For the record, I would be hugely against both men being faces going into this match as I’d prefer to have the good vs evil dynamic. If Undertaker had not “turned face” again to go up against the Wyatt Family, I would have liked to have seen him be the heel in the situation. Think about it. Undertaker helped the Authority out (whether intentional or not) when Seth Rollins went up against the Brock Lesnar. Roman Reigns is currently the Authority’s biggest enemy. So the logical solution would be to have Taker bail the Authority out again by costing Roman the title either at TLC, Royal Rumble or Fastlane. Nice and easy.

However, the fact that Taker did go face again really does change things. Having Taker use dirty tactics to go up against Lesnar, then having him turning face and then to turn him again would be a little too much considering that Taker had been a face for 12 years before Battleground. I’m sure you know what I’m hinting towards and this is something which I feel WWE should have done a long time ago. If anyone needs to be the heel, it’s got to be Roman.

I would have preferred the face Reigns vs heel Taker dynamic but to play it safe, Roman’s got to be the one that turns. Because of Taker’s program with the Wyatt Family, Reigns turning is the only turn which sort of makes sense. He’s been the subject to a great deal of heat from the WWE Universe and has been constantly screwed out of the WWE World title over and over. Let that be the catalyst for the program. Here’s how I’d get it done.

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Currently, the main event of TLC is Sheamus defending the WWE World title against Roman Reigns in a TLC match. For this scenario, that works perfectly. In a match where the League of Nations and Roman’s crew all get into a huge brawl during the match (like when the Wyatts and the Usos beat each other up during Cena’s Last Man Standing match with Bray Wyatt at Payback 2014) which ends up with Roman standing on top of the ladder. Suddenly, a bolt of lighting strikes at the top of the stage. This catches Roman off guard, giving Sheamus the opening he needed to take out Roman and retain the title.

Now the question arises over who was responsible. I personally believe that the lightning bolt itself is not going to give away anything. The Dudley Boyz has a firework like that for their intro so it could easily be anyone that has access to pyro. Roman questions both the League of Nations and the Authority but both of them deny having anything to do this. They tell Roman to focus on the Royal Rumble while a new challenger has emerged for Sheamus’ WWE World title. That man is the Undertaker.

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Undertaker vs Sheamus is a match I’ve always wanted to see and I feel the two styles could click if given the opportunity. Undertaker takes on Sheamus while Roman is scheduled to be in the Royal Rumble until the RAW before the event where he is taken out with a chair lying next to him. He’s out of the Rumble match as Taker goes up against Sheamus. Taker is about to close the deal when the ref is knocked down. The League of Nations come out when Roman comes out. He takes out Barrett, Del Rio and Rusev and then stares at Sheamus. As Taker is going up for, Roman hits the spear on the Dead Man. Roman yells “I know it was you,” before hitting two more spears. This is enough as Sheamus picks up the win when the ref gets back up.

So now Roman has already came to his own conclusion about who was responsible for the TLC incident and the attack on RAW. Undertaker is known for his usage of lightning in the past, which was the first clue. If Roman was taken out of the WWE World title picture, this would have given Undertaker a chance to get into the mix. According to Roman, Undertaker knew that Roman presented the greatest threat to him in the WWE. If Roman would have won the Rumble and if Taker would have won the title, Taker’s title reign would have ended at Wrestlemania in Roman’s mind. He believes that Taker was afraid that Roman was going to put an end to his plans to leave Wrestlemania as WWE World champion.

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These accusations eventually wind up the Undertaker, who turns it into a major brawl at Fastlane. These two come to blows with the rest of the locker room struggling to break up a ten minute brawl around the arena. The anticipation for these two to get it on at Wrestlemania has risen as the match is officially made by the Authority.

At Wrestlemania, Taker wins. Roman kicks out of everything, including a tombstone piledriver. However, a second piledriver is enough for Taker to pick up the win. As Undertaker does his kneeling celebration at the end of the match, Roman smacks Taker in the head with a sledgehammer. During a segment which is considered sacred, Roman attacks the Undertaker giving him so much heat. This also the catalyst and a foreshadowing for Roman becoming a member of the Authority, which I would have done the next night on RAW. I believe that would be what’s best for business.

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However, that wraps it up for us with this edition of the How I Would Book series. I was very hesitant to put Taker over as I’ve made a big deal over how WWE needs to make new stars rather than putting over the older ones. However, I think I’ve had him get beat in such a way that he could actually gain more from defeat then if he won. Let me know what you guys think but I think I’ve found a great solution to the Roman Reigns problem and you can believe that.

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!

NOTE: If I was to keep Roman’s storyline in this scenario going, it would be revealed that the Authority was responsible for the attacks on Roman along! However, I think I’ll leave Roman Reigns joining the Authority for another time!

TNA Announces New TV Deal With Pop.TV

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A bit of news regarding TNA and the future of the company. TNA’s social media accounts as well as TNA President Dixie Carter’s all went dark as a timer started on their website counting down to a big announcement of some sort. For TNA fans, it’s the announcement that they’ve been hoping for. It was announced today that TNA have managed to seal a new television deal with Pop.TV which will begin on January 5th 2016.

Down below is the full press release from TNA with more details of the news…

“POP AND IMPACT WRESTLING PARTNER TO BRING FANS RINGSIDE FOR WEEKLY EVENT BROADCAST PREMIERING ON TUESDAY, JAN. 5, 2016

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – Nov. 19, 2015 – Get ready for #ImpactOnPop. Pop, a network that celebrates the excitement of being a fan, will soon become the exclusive U.S. television home of IMPACT WRESTLING, the hard-hitting, high-flying global sports sensation enjoyed by millions of fans around the world.

Pop will premiere IMPACT WRESTLING with a live two-hour, action-packed broadcast on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, and the show will continue to air every Tuesday night at 9:00 PM, ET/PT. The show features some of the biggest stars in professional wrestling, including Jeff and Matt Hardy, EC3, Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley, The Wolves, Eric Young, Tigre Uno and Gail Kim.

“Wrestling has been a fan-fueled staple since the ‘50s, and continues to be some of the most-watched appointment television today. The die-hard fandom and extraordinary passion surrounding IMPACT WRESTLING captures the spirit of Pop as a network that celebrates fan-driven entertainment and excitement,” said Brad Schwartz, President of Pop. “We’re committed to this new partnership and psyched to bring the show’s loyal fans a dedicated night to watch their favorite show on Pop every week.”

IMPACT WRESTLING is a strong global brand seen on networks in more than 120 countries around the world and broadcast in 17 languages. Its fans are some of the most devoted and socially active in sports, with more than 15 million aggregated social media followers and nearly 700 million video views on YouTube, making it the seventh-most-viewed sports channel, ahead of MLB®, NHL®, MLS® and FIFATV®.

“Pop’s enthusiasm for our partnership and the network’s fan focus is a perfect fit for our company,” said TNA President Dixie Carter. “Wresting has always been at the forefront of pop culture with the most passionate, loyal fan base. We’re thrilled to be in business with Pop and to bring IMPACT WRESTLING to more than 80 million homes.”

To find IMPACT WRESTLING on Pop, go to http://poptv.com.”

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This is obviously such a huge boost for TNA as they’ve managed to secure a new deal with their time at Destination America coming to an end. It was wondered whether TNA could survive without the TV deal but as it turns out, they were able to get a deal together.

The new day for TNA is Tuesday which I actually think works out for the best as there’s no other wrestling on TV that day I think. On Wednesday, they had competition from ROH and NXT. At least here, they don’t have to worry about needing to counter-program. I do question the decision for TNA to be two hours long as I’m more of a fan of one hour wrestling shows than two. Three hours of RAW is an even greater struggle!

It’s good news for the wrestling industry in general as it gives wrestlers more of an incentive to stay in TNA and for more sponsors and partners to get involved. I would never wish for a wrestling company to go out of business at all and I am all for this deal going down.

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A lot of people will say that it’s just prolonging the inevitable but this does give TNA a lot of opportunities to seriously go through the roster and having a serious revamp to make sure that they’re at least more prepared if a similar deal of losing a TV contract happens again. It may keep them going for a while but Dixie and the rest of those running the company cannot rest easy. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine just yet.

It’s funny that TNA’s deal was spoiled an hour before the countdown hit zero as the video was suddenly changed from “private” to “unlisted” which meant that a YouTuber was able to save the video before TNA changed it in time! Bit of a blunder but at least the deal is out there now!

I do have a problem with a lot of the criticism given to Dave Meltzer over his reporting of the whole deal as he was the first to initially report that Destination America was not renewing Impact. Eric Young came out and tweeted on previous reports about Impact not being renewed by Destination America.

I really don’t think this was the right route for Eric to take. As a former Multimedia Journalism student in my own right, I don’t think there was anything fishy about the report Dave wrote about TNA. Dave was actually the first to report about TNA getting the deal with Destination America and he’s an esteemed reporter with many years of experience and knowledge on wrestling.

Eric going out on Twitter, trying to rub it all in and taking shots at reporters is just not going to make the company look good in the eyes of the public. A lot of the wrestlers are taking the high road and just talking about how great the deal is and how big a breakthrough it is for TNA. Rockstar Spud actually came out in defence of Dave on Twitter.

So big news for TNA and this I think would at least keep the company going for a bit longer and give them time to come back stronger than ever. I’m all for this and I wish that they use this new deal wisely.

How Survivor Series Is Becoming A Major WWE Event Once More

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A series of unfortunate events has caused the whole Survivor Series scene this year to be changed. Initially, it was business as usual for Seth Rollins as he was scheduled to defend the WWE World title against Roman Reigns. However, Rollins with struck with an injury which will sideline him for at least six months. This obviously put WWE in a VERY VERY sticky situation. Of all the times that a champion could have been injured, now was not really the most convenient with John Cena, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan all out of commotion too. As soon as the news was broke by Jonathan Coachman, we got word that the new WWE World Champion would decided in a tournament. While it’s unfortunate for Seth, this could actually work in WWE’s favour in terms of turning Survivor Series into a true mega event once more.

Once, it was part of the “big four” of WWE PPVs. Summerslam, Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania still continue to be crucial events for WWE but Survivor Series had slipped in the background. In 2009, WWE were even considering slipping Survivor Series out of it’s PPV schedule for good. The PPV was saved but it was still not really able to get even close to the significance of the other three PPVs. That was until Survivor Series 2014…

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With no really major stars and no WWE World title match, the PPV was hurt to a degree. However, what was missing was made up for by the five-on-five survivor series elimination match. The five-on-five was the PPV’s trademark match so it was only fitting that it was the main event of this particular show. The Authority going up against Team Cena with the Authority out of power if they lost. This was the biggest Survivor Series match that they’d done in years and it had major implications for the WWE storylines. Triple H and Stephanie’s power in the company was in danger. This match performed in more ways than one. It gave Dolph Ziggler a truly historical moment to savour and it even debuted WCW Legend Sting. This was a special PPV in 2014.

One match can really make the difference in terms of how great or memorable a PPV is. The Royal Rumble is a prime example of this. One match would be enough to peak your interest and if it delivers, you rake in the rewards. Now, there’s no big five on five elimination match as of yet. However, WWE did introduce something which once again made the PPV out to be a special attraction. The WWE World Title tournament.

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What I think this does is give it a special niche that can help the PPV go down in the history books. This was the one with the big tournament final for the WWE World title. Everyone likes a good tournament and it’s not like they’re just doing it on a show like Payback. The timing was right for this sort of tournament to take place as it can help build the prestige and importance of the Survivor Series show.

It does annoy to a degree that they didn’t do a one-night tournament but I could see why they went with just having the final at Survivor Series. They can ill-afford to have their champion risk an injury by wrestling three or four matches in one night! Not after the recent injury to Rollins! Even WWE has to have limits. The tournament final is also backed up by the appearance and 25th anniversary of the Undertaker which also helps make the event feel special. It’s true that Undertaker is going through a particularly healthy stage right now, but any Undertaker appearance at all is rare. If it’s on RAW, Survivor Series or the Jimmy Fallon show…

All of these weird set-backs and swerves have actually led to an opportunity for Survivor Series close the gap on the Rumble, Summerslam and Mania to truly becoming a major show once again. The question now remains… can WWE take advantage?

Do Triple H And Stephanie McMahon As Heels Make Sense?

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I love a good old heel dictatorship being in charge. It gives the heroes an authority to rebel against. For every ying, there’s a yang. For every hero, there’s a villain. Stacking the deck against the good guys is supposed to help the careers of those put against the bad guys. Every win for the good guy is meaningful and every win is a win for the fans. However, does the Authority truly make sense as a heel faction and have they actually hindered the rise of babyfaces more than it’s helped?

The whole dynamic of Triple H and Stephanie as heels is very confusing in itself. Sometimes, this leads to the Authority being more balanced in it’s decisions therefore damaging the image of them as a evil dictatorship. When Randy Orton and Seth Rollins were both the hand-picked champions of the Authority, little was done to actually help them remain champion. The only time Triple H ever got physically involved to try and help Randy was at Wrestlemania 30 and he failed. Triple H and Stephanie never did anything to help Seth Rollins, even when he was against Sting who they clearly didn’t want as champion… or did they?

That’s the whole issue. On the night after Summerslam when Sting returned to WWE to challenge Rollins, Triple H was very angry over it. He was so mad that he gave Sting a WWE World title shot. As amazing as it sounds, that’s not the big thing as this could be passed off as Triple H making the decision in the heat of the moment. However, Hunter and Steph don’t seem to lift a finger to help Seth in his fight against Sting. In fact, they actually helped the good guy Sting at Night of Champions by putting their chosen champion Seth in a second match that night with somebody else!

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The Seth Rollins stuff is sort of passable if you want to go with the storyline that Triple H was just testing Seth the whole time. However, look at Seth’s opponents when he was champion. Randy Orton betrayed the Authority’s trust and attacked their golden child Seth several times. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns have been constant enemies of the Authority since they attacked Triple H on the night after Wrestlemania 30. Brock Lesnar defied the Authority several times and violated Stephanie’s orders when he attacked EVERYONE on the night after Wrestlemania 31. John Cena helped to get the Authority out of power! Sting played a pivotal role in getting the Authority out of power as well and has feuded with Triple H. Kane was trying to work the Authority and Seth Rollins with the split personality deal. Everyone of these men would give the Authority reasons to help Seth, but neither Triple H or Stephanie made any effort to do so. It just creates a lot of plot-holes as the Authority shouldn’t want any of these men to be champion.

The reason for that is Triple H and Stephanie are trying to portray a two-faced authority figure that plays a corporate good guy but are heels deep down. That balancing act is detrimental to their character and the product itself. For example, on RAW the Authority teased a WWE World title match. They swerved the paying crowd by saying they’re going to get that match, but not that night. Lance Storm made a great point on Wrestling Observer when he pointed out that when the Authority teases the crowd for not getting more than they paid for, they go home disappointed. It’s almost like a giant middle finger to the paying audience that made the effort to come to your television show and it’s telling them to save up their money and go to bigger shows in the future where they might get more then they paid for. That’s detrimental to your live television show ticket sales as it turns a live audience off from ever coming back.

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A lot of you might be thinking “But Tom, they only say that to get some heat from the audience.” However, Triple H and Stephanie are both very active in making public appearances. They have to go to schools, conferences and sporting events and these promotional events are important in keeping up the image of the company. They are on the RAW segments talking about Susan G. Komen and talking about inspirational fans which is also confusing. Alright, I understand that there are certain times when the fans are supposed to tell the difference between kayfabe and reality. However, if these fans that you’ve told no to in kayfabe are the same people you have to encourage to donate to charity, it’s just going to send off the wrong message.

In the public eye, Triple H and Stephanie are well received and have a good reputation. On RAW, they are both going out of their way in segments to convince wrestling fans that they are assholes. However, in order to portray the two-faced gimmick mentioned earlier they still stack the deck against the heels. All of this makes their characters very difficult to understand. One week, they are mocking the fans and their favourites like Daniel Bryan. The next week, they are putting heels like Seth Rollins in tough situations. It’s almost like a guessing game every week over whether they’re faces or heels, which is not what they should be doing.

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That’s not even the worst part of Triple H and Stephanie acting as “heel” authority figures. The reason Vince McMahon worked so well as the foil for Stone Cold Steve Austin is because in the end, you knew Stone Cold was going to win. He was the ultimate hero that rebelled against the tyrant Vince McMahon and Austin would always win. The fans knew that either Austin was going to get his hands on or outsmart the evil boss that everyone hates.

On the other hand, the Authority doesn’t work as strongly as Vince did because they rarely actually lose. When the Authority has been in a feud, how many times have they won the war? Who has actually flat out won a feud with the Authority? Daniel Bryan? Sure, he beat the Authority at Wrestlemania 30 to win the WWE World title. However at the end of the day, Daniel got hurt and the Authority got what they wanted. Dolph Ziggler and the rest of Team Cena at Survivor Series? Nope. A month later, the Authority was brought back into power making those victories seem meaningless. He who laughs last laugh the loudest.

It’s detrimental as you’ll struggle to make stars out of these babyfaces because you’re sending the message out to the fans that these good guys will never beat the Authority. You wonder why the WWE’s top three babyfaces right now are Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Kane? You wonder why the top three babyfaces are two men that have never won a world championship and a 20 year veteran? You wonder why it’s three babyfaces that have already lost feuds with the Authority? Because the good guys hardly ever win against the bad guys. Good promoters shouldn’t be beating the good guys that are making money for them through merchandise.

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What’s weird about all of this is that this whole issue could be easily dealt with if they were babyfaces. That way, Triple H and Stephanie can be promoted as strong as they are and it wouldn’t hurt the product as they are making the popular decisions for the fans. It’d make it easier for Triple H and Stephanie to cut these promos on how great Be A Star and Susan G. Koeman are as they’re the good guys. They can give fans more than they bargained for and it’d make sense. They can stack the deck against the heel champions and it’d make sense. I’d prefer Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as heels I believe they are better in that role, but it’d make a lot more sense if they are babyfaces considering how obsessive WWE are at maintaining their image. It’s just interesting when you look at it.

Nikki Bella Tops PWI’s Female 50 List – Thoughts and Reactions

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here again to talk about the PWI Female 50 list. The 2015 edition has just came out as Pro Wrestling Illustrated ranked the women of wrestling to see which one reigns supreme. Recently, Seth Rollins won the men’s PWI 500 list and rightfully so in my opinion. Seth’s been probably the hardest worker of the year in the wrestling industry, with a few close challengers. However, the winner of the PWI Female list has been very controversial as a lot of people feel she doesn’t deserve it. The #1 diva is not Paige, Sasha Banks, Bayley or Charlotte. The #1 diva is Nikki Bella.

I went on Twitter and wrestling websites with many fans arguing that Nikki doesn’t deserve this honour. For the record, I totally disagree with a lot of the criticism Nikki gets. It does kind of annoy me considering Nikki has come a long way since she first started in WWE. Watch her and Brie’s matches when they started at the company. She’s come a long way since those days and has certainly worked hard!

A lot of the fans wanted women like Sasha Banks and Paige to be the top diva on the list. Being huge fans of both those women, I can see why they’d believe that. Sasha’s had some of the best matches of the year and those matches even surpass a lot of the men’s top PPV matches! However, I can see why Nikki was chosen instead of those women. Allow me to play the devil’s advocate for those of you unsure about Nikki.

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Nikki’s actually probably been the most active in WWE throughout the year, which I think is the first reason for Nikki winning it. Any former WWE wrestler will tell you the struggles of working 300 days a year, travelling around the world. Nikki’s not really had long lengths of time out of WWE being involved in the Divas title picture for the majority of the last 12 months. That factors into her ranking because she’s had to work in high profile divas matches throughout the year, which plays a big role. Especially during a time where more time and attention is given to the women and there’s a lot more pressure on Nikki to perform with these other NXT stars that were just putting on great match after great match. Despite that, Nikki’s matches with the likes of Charlotte actually haven’t been that bad.

Sasha, Bayley, Charlotte and Becky Lynch have all had a lot of great matches during the year. However, keep in mind a lot of those matches happened in NXT. For the majority of the year, these women have wrestled at Full Sail University. Sasha, Charlotte and Becky are only just adjusting to a busy time on the road. Nikki’s had to just do it week in and week out for the last year, travelling around the world. That must come into play when making this list.

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With that being said, I know a lot of you will be thinking “How about Paige?” Paige has also been on the road throughout the year. Paige was off for a few weeks following Wrestlemania but she has been there throughout the year. As much as I love Paige, what gives Nikki the edge is that she knows exactly what her character is and is able to portray it. She is someone you are supposed to hate and she gets the heat she requires. For Paige, her character has been somewhat confusing during the year and it’s been difficult for her to maintain a substantial character.

It’s started off with Paige becoming a fan favourite again after helping Natalya but somewhat portraying an untrustworthy diva. Then she started becoming more like an agent of change, standing up against the supposed tyranny of the Bellas and being OK with doing it on her own. It then led to Team PCB being formed and Paige suddenly forming pinky swears with two women that didn’t really come off as believable friends. This then lead to the eventual break up, where Paige suddenly became that untrustworthy, selfish heel again.

On the other hand, Nikki’s character and portrayal has been pretty consistent… with the exception of that one month where she was a face. She’s clearly showcased as an egotistical heel with an apparent god-complex. Her kayfabe character is someone that is really not willing to work hard in order to achieve her goals and is reliant from the help of her sister and Alicia Fox. It’s very apparent that she’s a villain and the crowd reaction shows that she’s playing her character.

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Now obviously her crowd reaction being the closest to what it should be doesn’t mean that she should be #1 on this list. It’s about the total package. If it were me, I might have went a different way but I can still she why Nikki topped this list. She’s been one of the hardest workers for the WWE all year, forced to step up her game after seeing the bar being raised by the women of NXT. She’s doing her best. I may not have liked her matches with Charlotte at the last two PPVs but she’s still trying. Not only is she raising her game but she’s also been doing it while actually waiving the flag for the division as their Divas Champion. It’s a tall order to be a champion, particularly for how long Nikki held onto the belt. She may not have been the ultimate worker but this was quite a year for Nikki Bella.