SPOILERS: WWE RAW 07/11/16 Results – RAW Survivor Series Teams Announced

WARNING: The following post contains spoilers for the November 7th edition of Monday Night RAW, held in Glasgow.

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The show opened with Stephanie McMahon coming out to reveal the fifth member of Team RAW. The team so far had been United States Champion Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Chris Jericho and Universal Champion Kevin Owens. These all came out for a segment (Roman got a lot of boos) when Stephanie revealed that the fifth man was Seth Rollins.

Now, Seth does add to the match quality of Survivor Series and he is a big star added as part of this “big” match. However, please keep in mind that this match probably isn’t going to be the main event. Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg will likely be closing the show, meaning this match can be your experiment match. SmackDown! threw in Baron Corbin as part of their team to try and get him over as a top guy, as did RAW with Braun Strowman. So why not continue the pattern by having a rising star like Sami Zayn come into the team while Seth feuds with a heel like Rusev? Seth vs. Rusev is different and you’d be building up more people in the long run. Why does Seth Rollins need to be in this match?

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Also, from a storyline perspective, why is Stephanie going with Seth Rollins to be apart of this big match for brand supremacy? Owens, Strowman and Reigns are all winners, which is why Stephanie picked them. Jericho came as a package deal for Owens, which explains him being in the match. SETH ROLLINS has lost in every major match he’s been in on pay-per-view since Dean Ambrose cashed in on him at Money In The Bank. He lost in the triple threat match at Battleground, he lost against Finn Balor at SummerSlam, he’s lost twice against Owens at Clash of Champions and Hell in a Cell. Not to mention, he’s lost a number of high-profile matches on RAW as well. WHO could possibly take Seth seriously as a top guy on RAW and a threat to Team SmackDown!?

Not to mention, this is the guy that is supposedly going to fight Triple H at WrestleMania. If they continue to go down this road with him, Seth’s got hardly any chance of getting over to the level that he should be going into one of the biggest matches for the big show.

What followed on from this announcement was another announcement that in the main event, THESE FIVE MEN that are representing Team RAW would all face EACH OTHER in the fatal five way main event on RAW.

THESE FIVE MEN, who are supposed to team together for Team RAW, are beating the hell out of each other in the main event of the show in a match with nothing on the line. It’s not like this was a Universal Title match, which actually would have been an interesting stipulation for this match. They’re all just fighting each other for no reason, which actually risks Stephanie’s chances of winning as one of these men could get injured. THIS was a stupid idea.

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Rich Swann and Sin Cara defeated Cruiserweight Champion Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar. Noam apparently got a huge reaction from the crowd, leading to ICW chants from this crowd on an episode of RAW. I’d be VERY shocked if they didn’t edit this out. I do also find it funny that Sin Cara was on the winning team on the same day that news broke out about Sin Cara reportedly in a actual fight with Chris Jericho. It’s funny because when Bo Dallas got arrested in the airport incident from a few months ago, they also put him on the next RAW and had him squash a guy. It’s funny how that works.

They announced Sami Zayn vs. Rusev with the winner facing Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series. So to recap, RAW gave Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson dozens of tag team title shots at the New Day for no reason, Roman Reigns was given United States title shots for no reason, Seth gets a thousand title shots despite losing all time BUT FOR THE SMACKDOWN! MID-CARD TITLE, they get the idea of having two men actually FIGHT for the right to EARN a title shot and try to build up Ziggler’s opponent properly? RAW is better at hyping up SmackDown! title matches than their own title matches! They also showed a video package for Brock vs Goldberg at Survivor Series.

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The New Day did a Scottish comedy segment featuring bagpipes. For the RAW vs SmackDown! TAG TEAM SURVIVOR SERIES match, Team RAW was confirmed to be the New Day, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Golden Truth and Cesaro and Sheamus. A pretty solid collection of tag teams. It’s amazing to me that Golden Truth is considered among the top five RAW tag teams at the moment, and yet the Shining Stars, who actually win their fair share of matches on RAW, are nowhere to be seen. They put in Gallows and Anderson as well as Enzo and Cass, despite the fact that all these tag teams are doing are trading wins back and forth. Taking away all of that logic, this was actually a pretty good team even though I’m not a fan of the concept of a ten on ten elimination Survivor Series match.

FOLLOWING this match was a match between tag team match team-mates with THE NEW DAY facing LUKE GALLOWS AND KARL ANDERSON. I don’t even.. WHO COULD POSSIBLY CARE ABOUT THIS MATCH? We saw this match over and over and over and over and over again during the summer and going into September. WHY ARE WE WATCHING THEM AGAIN? WHY are the tag teams, that are supposed to be getting along, fighting each other? Not to mention that they had Gallows and Anderson BEAT The New Day in this match, meaning that the most dominant tag team on RAW were beaten by the team that were beaten by Enzo and Cass LAST WEEK. If this insanely baffling tag team booking is tearing apart your mind, there’s more to come.

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THE SHINING STARS, who were NOT on Team RAW for Survivor Series, beat the Golden Truth. If you’ll recall, GOLDEN TRUTH ARE ON THE SURVIVOR SERIES TEAM. Why aren’t they winning this match, if the aim is to convince the fans that this will be a good tag team for Team RAW? Are the Shinning Stars going to replace them? I hope so, so at least there’s SOME sense to this booking.

I’ve been told that it doesn’t matter who wins or who loses, which is an irritating analogy. If I’m going into this big RAW vs SmackDown! pay-per-view and wanting to know which brand is better, I would expect these brands to pitch their best stars for the biggest matches. I don’t want to see losers put into important matches. I want teams to get along for the Survivor Series elimination matches and I DON’T WANT TO SEE TAG TEAM DYSFUNCTION STORYLINES THIS OFTEN. WE’VE GOT THE SAME STORYLINE GOING ON RIGHT NOW WITH CESARO AND SHEAMUS? WHY ARE WE SEEING IT AGAIN?

Man, this is… infuriating.

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We had the women’s segment, with Charlotte leading Team RAW. They were bringing these girls out, with Charlotte on the mic. They introduced Nia Jax, Bayley and ALICIA FOX as well. Alicia Fox somehow made this Team RAW team. I’m STUNNED. Bayley comes out and this crowd loves Bayley. Charlotte is trying to cut this promo and the fans for a solid few minutes are singing  “I WANNA KNOW IF YOU’LL BE MY GIRL” to Bayley. Charlotte tries to get on with the promo but she is completely derailed by these fans and Bayley is just laughing along with Alicia Fox. I don’t think Charlotte was expecting this as when she kept trying to get this promo on track, the fans steam-rolled her every time and she had no idea what to do. There was a video of this on Twitter, that’s how I know about this. They introduce Sasha Banks as the fifth member for this team.

THEN, we had Bayley, Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox vs Charlotte, Nia Jax and Dana Brooke. WHY CAN’T THESE TEAMS GET ALONG? Why are they all fighting each other? Why did Stephanie BOOK THIS if she wanted her team to win? Bayley pinned Charlotte AGAIN, which probably means that its Bayley vs Charlotte at Roadblock for the title. If nothing else, it’s someone different in the women’s division. I am still angry at Sasha Banks not being the champion but at least its not Sasha vs Charlotte once again. I’ve seen enough of that for a while. Bayley’s somebody new so… fine.

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Sami Zayn BEAT Rusev and will be going on to fight Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental title at Survivor Series. I would not beat Rusev again like this, especially against Sami who is NOT a strong superstar at the moment in terms of his booking. HOWEVER, I would prefer Sami Zayn than seeing the return of the worst rivalry in 2015 with Rusev fighting Dolph Ziggler. Sami vs Dolph actually sounds like it will be a killer match, which is why I’m ALMOST all for it. I’d still wouldn’t beat Rusev like this, especially if there’s a big opponent for him going into Roadblock.

Kevin Owens won the fatal five way after Roman hit him with the Superman Punch, which saw Owens land on Jericho and pin him.

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Maybe it is unfair to review this RAW by simply going off the spoilers. Actually, this isn’t really a review of the show. I’m reviewing the direction of the booking of the show and the build towards Survivor Series. I’m sure the fatal five way was awesome and I’m sure Sami Zayn vs Rusev was awesome. HOWEVER, the idea that they’re promoting this pay-per-view by having each brand’s teams fight one another is incredibly ridiculous. AT LEAST when they did this for Survivor Series 2005, the teams were united all in the name of their brands. ALL THESE TEAMS are not united. They are tearing each other apart in regular matches BOOKED by the authority figure, who apparently wants to win this match so bad.

THIS SURVIVOR SERIES BUILD… SUCKS. WHERE’S GOLDBERG AND BROCK LESNAR? That, at least, will be a build-up and a match to look forward to…

…at least this crowd actually had fun tonight it seems.

 

 

WWE 2K17 – John Cena, Sasha Banks and Ultimate Warrior Confirmed For 2K17 Roster

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with WWE 2K17 news. As we’re in the middle of E3 right now, featuring the top names in gaming, it’s only fitting that we talk about some new developments for the WWE 2K17 game. We’ve finally got some news on wrestlers confirmed for the game. Goldberg was announced as the WWE 2K17 pre-order bonus and Bray Wyatt was one of a few wrestlers shown getting scanned for the game. However, we got some announcements by 2K for a few more characters that will be playable in the game.

The three characters that have been confirmed are….

These three wrestlers were confirmed by the painter Rob Schamberger, who was specifically tasked with creating paintings of these three stars for the reveal. Down below is a gallery of the paintings that he produced. If you want to see more of his work, you should follow him on Twitter @robschamberger as he does have paintings on many more superstars that you can snap up on WWE’s auction website.

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These first few reveals are interesting. With the exception of the pre-order character reveals, these first batch of announced wrestlers usually give you an indicator of the theme and the direction of the game itself. For WWE 2K14, they first announced wrestlers like Andre The Giant and Hollywood Hogan for their 30 Years Of WrestleMania mode. For WWE 2K15, they announced Cena, CM Punk, Triple H and Shawn Michaels for the showcase mode featuring their rivalries. I think Steve Austin was announced early too, ahead of his Austin 3:16 showcase mode for WWE 2K16.

It’s very difficult, judging from these three superstars, to predict just what the showcase modes of the game will be revolved around. It’s possible that they could do another character-centred showcase mode, similar to Austin’s deal last year. They could easily do a John Cena showcase mode, which could be fairly simple to do. His feud with CM Punk would almost certainly not make the cut, with Punk’s strained relationship with WWE and 2K as well as Cena and Punk’s previous showcase mode. A lot of Cena’s big feuds have been with wrestlers that WWE still continue to have good relations with, which could make it simple. I even think that his first match with Kurt Angle could be covered and we could even get Kurt Angle in the game, provided that Kurt could strike a deal with 2K. It would have to be approved by Vince McMahon, similar to Goldberg’s inclusion, but they could do it.

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The Ultimate Warrior has already had a showcase mode before, having the “Path of the Warrior” DLC showcase mode in WWE 2K15. That appearing again would be highly unlikely. Having thought about the possibility of a showcase mode involving Cena, it could be possible that Warrior is part of somebody else’s showcase. You could do showcases for wrestlers like Undertaker and Randy Savage, who both probably could be well known enough to carry the main showcase for the game. Another one that popped into my head was Triple H. Starting from his WrestleMania 12 match with the Warrior, it could go on from there.

I personally would not want a showcase mode that is based on the experiences of one wrestler. Steve Austin was fun and very in-depth but I’d much prefer a showcase mode where I could play as many wrestlers as possible. I don’t want to be limited to Steve Austin and a few others.

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John Cena was a guarantee to be included in the game and the Ultimate Warrior has been in a number of games ever since WWE 2K14. The most interesting name announced was Sasha Banks. I know a lot of people were upset with the four horsewomen of NXT not getting in the game last year. With the Divas Revolution being heavily promoted by the time that the game was released, for the likes of Sasha and Charlotte to not get in seemed preposterous. Now though, Sasha’s inclusion will probably mean that the rest of these women will be in too.

I think Sasha will be a very fun character to play as on this game, and it’ll boost up the quality of women’s wrestling on this particular game. What I mean is that now you’ve got the women that actually have unique and innovative movesets that will be fun to play with. There was only ever a few wrestlers like Paige and Natalya that had previously stood out in the past. If Asuka and Nia Jax are able to get into the mix as well, you could be having a lot of fun.

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There are my initial thoughts. What do you all think of these announcements? Hopefully we’ll get more information real soon. Who knows? There may be more wrestlers announced for the game before E3 comes to an end…

WWE Not Banking On Sasha?

 

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“We want Sasha.”

How many times have we heard that chant in WWE since July 2015? Almost every segment  involving a woman. When Charlotte comes out? We want Sasha. When Becky Lynch wrestles? We want Sasha. When there’s a segment involving the Total Divas? We want Sasha. It’s the same process for almost every women’s segment not involving Sasha. What does that tell you? What’s the secret behind this chant? Why are the WWE fans chanting this and not chanting for Charlotte? The answer is quite simple… THEY WANT SASHA!

The WWE is a very weird company in the sense they expect you to get over, only if you have a specific look or a specific set of skills that others lack. Zack Ryder was never meant to get as over as he did, which forced WWE’s hand. After having him win the United States Championship in 2011, they did everything in their power to send his career in a huge downward spiral and they succeeded. With the exception of his big WrestleMania 32 victory, Zack’s never been in the same realm of popularity that he was in 2011. And funnily enough, there was a “we want Ryder” chant which was prominent throughout the shows in the same way that “we want Sasha” is prominent in 2016.

Sasha’s chants are not like the whole Daniel Bryan deal, which completely hijacked shows. However, these chants have been hijacking nearly every segment on RAW involving women. They’ve been pretty powerful chants and even after WrestleMania 32, where they got Sasha Banks in the Women’s Championship match, Sasha is still the woman the fans want to see. I’m pretty sure that if any one of the women are huge draws in terms of merchandise, it’s Sasha. She is a marketing company’s fantasy. She’s got the look, the fashion sense and the personality of an entertainment superstar. In fact, she’s actually related to an entertainment superstar in Snoop Dogg!

Despite all of this, the WWE are still banking on Charlotte to be their top woman in the women’s roster and the big guy calling the shots is now reportedly putting Sasha on the back-burner. According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Sasha is getting a reputation from WWE management for being injury-prone. Vince McMahon has reportedly told officials that Sasha only knows one speed in the ring and that is to go all out.

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Now there were reports in the past of Vince comparing Sasha to Daniel Bryan in the injury-prone and work-rate categories, which are actually pretty absurd comparisons to make. Long before his run in WWE, Daniel Bryan tore his body apart while wrestling around the world. Daniel’s even admitted that he and several independent guys like CM Punk had that old-school mentality of leaving it all in the ring no matter what. Whether Sasha has that much of a similar mentality of Bryan and Punk is up for debate, but I don’t see Sasha going all out THAT much. She does perform well but it’s really the big matches were she actually goes all out there. I don’t remember seeing a lot of RAW matches where Sasha went all out. Maybe it’s a different story on the house shows.

Not to mention that her most recent injury was actually just a legitimate freak accident involving a referee at a house show, who accidentally kneed her in the face and gave her a concussion.  It’s not like it’s a recurring injury for Sasha and this is the first time which I’ve seen Sasha out of action with injuries this often. I don’t think that makes her injury-prone. I would hardly call any of the WWE superstars injury-prone, with the exception of a small few. For those that are deemed “injury-prone,” I feel that it’s mostly due to the intense WWE schedule that sees the talent on the road for 300 days a year. Not to mention that outside projects with the WWE Network as well as other endevours will also not doubt be taking their toll. The wear and tear they get from the ring as well as other things will all build up, leading to them striking out eventually.

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Let’s take Nikki Bella for example. I know there’s not a great sense of respect for Nikki from a lot of fans, but I do respect a lot of aspects about her record-breaking Divas title reign. Think about it. She was working for months with an injury, which all lead up to neck surgery once she dropped the belt. During those months, she’d been working out like crazy (as her Instagram will prove) and taking bumps for nearly a year as the heel champion. Imagine how much strain every one of the Rack Attacks that Nikki did as she hoisted woman after woman onto her shoulders, only to drop them down. Not all of these women are easy to move either. Think about tall women like Charlotte or muscular women like Natalya. All of those strains eventually built and built to the point where Nikki’s career is looking in serious doubt.

It’s an essential part of professional wrestling for injuries to occur. After all, you’re putting on shows where the aim of the competitors is to hurt each other as much as they can. That’s the kayfabe goal of these workers and that involves people taking hits and taking punishment. It’s all part of the gig.

I kind of understand WWE’s mentality for not pushing the wrestlers that they think are “injury prone” as guys like Wade Barrett were hardly pushed again when they kept picking up injury after injury. However, this is Sasha Banks. She is still a brand new face in the company, particular as the top female on the roster. Guys like Wade Barrett, Rey Mysterio and Mark Henry have had opportunities in the past, making these decisions make a lot of sense. For Sasha though, it is upsetting to see her black-balled like this.

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Despite this, I believe that there is a lot more to this story than “injury-prone” concerns. I actually think RAW this week actually confirmed my suspicions. Remember on RAW two weeks ago, when they had the segment with Stephanie McMahon slapping Ric Flair? If you don’t, then no worries as I did write a review of the entire episode (that you can see at this link). There was a shot of Charlotte getting angry at Stephanie as she was supposedly about to charge her until Natalya cut her off. This was a tease of a confrontation between Stephanie and Charlotte.

Following this RAW, I mentioned that I believed that we are more likely to get Charlotte vs Stephanie at Summerslam than Charlotte vs Sasha (which was the reported plan for Summerslam for weeks). Then they did a segment on this week’s edition of RAW. In a backstage segment, Stephanie berated Charlotte in a babyface manner in order to add fuel to the fire. If this segment didn’t show that they are looking at other options, think again.

I don’t think that Charlotte vs Stephanie is the right move for Summerslam, but I’m still convinced that WWE would put more effort in promoting  that match as opposed to a potential Charlotte/Sasha match. Stephanie is doing her memoirs and her public perception is a big factor. Stephanie wrestling for the women’s championship one more time is a more appealing option to WWE than for Sasha to get her big title victory. Unfortunately for fans of The Boss, I don’t see a title reign for her in the near future.

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It’s a shame because Charlotte is not the woman that the WWE Universe want to see as the champion right now. The months and months of chants have given the WWE a fresh insight into the mindset of the fans. Sadly, it’s not strong enough to convince Vince to change his mind. My advice for wrestling fans that are hoping for a Sasha title reign to just keep up the “we want Sasha” chants. Just keep it up. At the end of the day, they’ll EVENTUALLY listen if things get crazy. If they did another main event women’s segment and these fans are chanting for Sasha, maybe that could be the deciding factor. The WWE will eventually listen… and you can take that to the bank.

NXT TakeOver: Respect Review – A Thing Of Beauty

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I’ve been asked a few times over the last month about why I’m a wrestling fan, even at 21 years old. I always get annoyed at the question but I answer it as I’ve always answered. I enjoy wrestling like you’d enjoy a television show like Game Of Thrones, Walking Dead or Breaking Bad. These stellar shows are successful due to incredible story-telling and how emotionally attached to the characters you can get. Even though it’s not real, you’re still on the edge of your seat with your eyes glued to the television. It’s that encapsulating of a programme that you don’t care if it’s fiction. You certainly aren’t going to watch Game Of Thrones and complain about it not being realistic enough!

It’s scripted entertainment just like WWE is scripted entertainment. It’s scripted entertainment just like Lucha Underground is scripted entertainment. It’s scripted entertainment just like ROH is scripted entertainment. It may be scripted, but it’s still entertaining. The only difference between WWE and Game Of Thrones is simple. When the battle scenes go down in Game Of Thrones, it’s usually choreographed and played out by stunt doubles. When battle scenes go down in WWE, it’s choreographed and played out by the characters themselves. They take the bumps in the ring. They put on a show for the viewers. They are that night’s entertainment. They tell their story in the ring. That’s why I’ll always have respect and love for wrestling when it’s all set and done. If you want a good reason for why I watch wrestling… watch last night’s NXT TakeOver main event with Bayley and Sasha Banks…

These two women demonstrated the main reason why I love wrestling, even with the knowledge that it’s scripted. The storyline between Bayley and Sasha has been very well told on television and in segments, but the stories they tell in the ring is on a completely different level. With call-backs to their match at Brooklyn, Sasha Banks just being awesome as a heel and the fans being true stars themselves, everything about that match just came together to produce an atmosphere and a premise like no other. Even if you’ve never seen NXT before, you could tell how monumental this match was. Everybody played their part. The commentators played their part. Stephanie McMahon and Lita at ringside played their part. Charlotte and Becky Lynch played their part. The fans played their part. The wrestlers in the ring played their part. Rarely does a match have the level of expectation that this match had and completely surpassed those expectations exponentially.

It was just everything about this match that just made it so special. I think just because of the background behind the match, the roles of everyone involved, just the sheer athleticism and skill shown by both of these women and the story itself… if I were Dave Meltzer, I’d give it a five star rating.

Dave Meltzer is one of the most respected journalists in wrestling. If a match ever gets a five star rating from him, it’s rare. He has incredibly high standards for matches and for good reason. He’s been watching wrestling for years. He’s watched so many matches in his life that for a match to truly standout to Dave, that’s an incredible feat.

I’ve watched wrestling for more than ten years. There’s a lot of times where I’ve just completed hated the product, there’s a lot of times where I’ve liked the product but only a few matches have ever existed which have surpassed such high expectations that it blows me away. Bayley vs Sasha was one of them.

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Anyway, let’s run down the card. We kicked things off with the Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Team Tournament, where Finn Balor and Samoa Joe took on Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson. Dash and Dawson were a great heel tag team during this. As it was pointed out during the Bryan and Vinny Show, they weren’t lazy heels that just tried to waste time. They were constantly on the attack, especially when Finn Balor’s knee got hurt. It was a good tag team match. Samoa Joe got the hot tag and ran wild. He went for the Muscle Buster but Finn demanded that Joe tag him in. Joe tagged him in, hit the Muscle Buster and then Finn hit the Kudagra for the win. However, he hit the move and furthered knackered his knee. This was a great set up for the finals of the match, with the commentators teasing whether Finn Balor would be able to compete.

This also was a great advancement in the Finn Balor/Samoa Joe storyline, which may be the next NXT title feud. I haven’t read the NXT spoilers, so I don’t know who won the #1 contender battle royal. I know one thing, but only because WWE announced it on social media which we’ll get to later. Anyway, Joe had the match won but his partner demanded the tag so he could get the glory. To me, it was a little hint towards dissension as Finn wanted the glory but could have easily cost himself and Joe the tag team the tournament in the process. As Vinny pointed out in the Bryan and Vinny show, either guy could turn on the other and it could have made sense. Finn could have thought that Joe was dead weight and felt that he, as the champion, needed to carry the load. Joe could have thought that Finn was a glory hound and turn on him, wanting to take away his NXT title to PROVE that he was better than Finn. Great and simple story-telling.

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The second semi-final of the Dusty Classic took place, with the winner taking on Samoa Joe and Finn Balor. Baron Corbin and Rhyno took on Chad Gable and Jason Jordan. I thought this match was better than the opener. Not to take away anything from Joe or Balor, but we have come to expect a great performance from them every time they’re in the ring. We don’t expect guys like Baron Corbin to pull off great matches. These four had a great match which the crowd just loved. The star of the match though was Chad Gable. He was awesome in this match and the crowd were SO into him. Chad hit the rolling suplex on BARON CORBIN which was an incredible feat of strength. The finish was that Chad was going for some tilt-a-whirl move but Corbin countered it into the End Of Days for the win. Hell of a finish! I don’t think the fans really wanted Gable and Jordan to lose but that got the heat on Rhyno and Corbin for the main-event. Again, a great match.

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Dana Brooke vs Asuka. Asuka was GREAT in this match. I haven’t seen a lot of Dana Brooke, so I can’t really say for sure whether she’s good or not. However, she and Asuka had a great match. Maybe that was down to the effect of Asuka, but Dana held her own and actually looked decent against her. Having said that though, Asuka was such a star. This was my first time seeing her and she was just incredible. This was an awesome debut for Asuka and an awesome way to introduce her to the NXT audience. Loved it.

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Apollo Crews vs Tyler Breeze. This was a GREAT back and forth match. With Apollo only starting out, this sort of match is usually for just putting Crews over and showing the fans how great he is. However, Tyler looked great in his own right. This was a damn good match in which Tyler was shown to be on par with Apollo. There was a lot of great near-falls until Apollo got the win.

Then we got to the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Classic final. Finn Balor and Samoa Joe vs Rhyno and Baron Corbin. I don’t think this was as good as the two matches earlier. However, this was still a darn good final. Joe and Balor won in the same way they won the first one. It was a lovely finish to the tournament, with Dusty’s family all coming out. Cody Rhodes delivered a great speech and it was just a lovely finish to this tournament. I know a lot of people were expecting a turn but I’m very happy that it finished like it did.

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The main event may have been my favourite match in all of 2015. Brock vs Taker from Summerslam was one of my favourites for a lot of reasons. Sasha being the greatest heel of time was one of them. A lot of the action on the outside was done right in front off Bayley’s biggest fan Izzy! Therefore when Sasha was just beating on Bayley and slamming her into the steep steps, Izzy had the best (or in her case, the worst) seat in the house as her favourite wrestler was in trouble. Sasha didn’t care. After Bayley was counted out, Sasha grabbed Izzy’s headband and danced around in the ring! The fans were just gasping at what she did, just in unbelievable shock. Izzy was reduced to tears on the outside but Sasha just kept going on and on! That only fuelled the fire for Sasha. Do you remember when Triple H made a kid cry at a WWE event a while ago? Triple H immediately apologised and tried to console. NOT SASHA!

As it turned out, Sasha ended up apologising to Izzy after the match. However, her in-ring antics shifted the crowd support which had mostly been even until that point. Now, everybody was rooting for the champion to retain. The finish was incredible. People have told me that Bayley shouldn’t have been in the Bank Statement for as long as she was locked in it at the end. However, I think it was just the right amount of time. It was too long that it seemed that they were just wasting time but long enough to show off just how tough Bayley was. I thought this was probably the best finish to a match all year.

Ultimately a quality match to end an incredible NXT TakeOver event. Sasha broke down after the match as it was a sad moment for her. With this being her title rematch, this would be her last night in NXT. She might make a few appearances in the future but now, she’s ascended to the main roster. Sasha’s been in NXT for years and has developed bonds with the rest of the roster. But now, she must take to the road on the main show. It would have been an emotional night for the boss. However, her last night in NXT ended with a bang. These two put on a stellar match.

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Before we finish, I do want to mention the news that James Storm debuted in NXT this week. This came during the NXT tapings that took place the night after TakeOver I believe. This may seem as a spoiler alert but WWE already announced Storm’s arrival via social media. I won’t mention much about what he did but I’d like to say that it’s awesome to see him on NXT. If it’s a permanent deal for Storm, it’s a great coup for the company. Sorry about your damn luck…

Why Charlotte Should Not Win The Divas Championship At Night Of Champions

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Charlotte is undoubtedly one of the most gifted women in the WWE. She has the blood of one of the greatest wrestlers of all time running through her veins. When I saw her compete in NXT, I thought she was exceptional. She’s had some brilliant matches with Sasha Banks, Bayley and the rest of the women in the NXT roster. When I saw her debut on RAW in July, I was ecstatic. She’s got all the tools needed to be a huge star. With that being said… I don’t think Charlotte should win the Divas Championship in her title match against champion Nikki Bella at Night of Champions.

Pitchforks down please! I’m not entirely endorsing Nikki Bella’s reign as Divas Champion to continue either. However if you’re going to build up a new top face in the Divas Division, then the build up to their title victory is crucial. Look at Bayley’s title win at NXT TakeOver. Bayley had been struggling for a year or so to capture the NXT Women’s Championship. Bayley mentioned that her family was at everyone of her title matches. Her family has been through thick and thin with Bayley en route to her glorious moment in Brooklyn. When Sasha Banks injured her arm during TakeOver and the odds were stacked against her again, you really wanted to see Bayley finally get her moment at the top of the NXT mountain. When Daniel Bryan was taken out so many times at Wrestlemania XXX, you were rooting for this underdog to defy all the odds and win the championship. Charlotte needs that same journey.

Let me explain why Charlotte needs this journey so much. When Charlotte won the NXT Women’s Championship, she was a heel. She had Ric Flair in her corner. The NXT Championship was vacated by Paige and Charlotte seized the moment to capture the belt. She then turned face to engage in a heated rivalry with Sasha for the belt. She came onto the main roster as a babyface. She won her first match at Battleground and her record since has been pretty great compared to the rest of the divas in this “Divas Revolution”. Therefore, Charlotte has missed out on this opportunity to have her “struggle to reach the top” storyline which can make a top babyface… particularly in the divas division.

If you’re picking the babyface that will end the record-breaking title reign of Nikki Bella (it will be record-breaking longest title reign come Night of Champions) it has to be a worthwhile moment. Look at when Paige beat AJ Lee for the Divas Championship in 2014. AJ Lee had beaten everybody in her path. At Wrestlemania XXX, AJ beat everybody else on the main roster to successfully retain her championship. She had legitimately beaten everyone there was to beat on the main roster. That was when NXT Women’s Champion Paige arrived onto the scene. After being forced into a title match she initially didn’t want to be in, Paige overcame the odds to shockingly beat AJ for the title. She’s done something no other woman has done in 295 days. That MADE Paige an instant star from the moment she got onto the roster.

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Paige’s background wrote the story well for her. During her efforts to break into the wrestling industry in England, Paige was the only one out of her family selected from try-outs to be apart of the WWE. She struggled to fit into WWE as she was the outcast. She was not like any other diva. She really was the “Anti-Diva” and used that to shoot right to the top of NXT. This led to her winning the Divas Championship, being the youngest woman in the history of the company to do so. That is a phenomenal story.

Charlotte has a great story in the fact that she is Ric Flair’s daughter. There’s a great burden on her to succeed due to her bloodline. However, there was no real struggle for her to capture the NXT Women’s title. She won the belt after the previous champion Paige had vacated the belt. She won it in her first ever title match, so the climatic rise to her title win was seemingly non-existent. If she wins the Divas Championship on the first time of asking, then it would kill her rise to being the top babyface. There’s not been enough reason to get fans to rally behind Charlotte. The biggest reason for people wanting Charlotte to win the title is because they DON’T want Nikki Bella being the champion.

Nikki Bella is the type of heel champion who generates heat every time she goes down to the ring. People are sick of seeing her. WWE uses this to their advantage as Nikki is the perfect foil for Paige, Becky Lynch and Charlotte to rise up against. That would make anyone of these women worthy of winning the title, if it had not been for the WWE writers and how they’ve booked this women. As I went to great detail in during my End of the Revolution blog post, these women have suffered due to the way to writers have booked them. Out of everyone in the PCB, Charlotte has suffered the most.

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In what I think has been quite degrading, WWE has labelled Charlotte simply as the daughter of Ric Flair. That’s factually correct but it’s one thing to pay homage to her own family. It’s another thing to have Charlotte mimicking her father ALL THE TIME. Her theme music is a remix of Ric Flair’s entrance music. She shouts WOO every time she’s in a match. She shouts WOO every time she cuts a promo. She does the strut of Ric Flair. Her finisher is a variation of her father’s finisher. This means that Charlotte cannot stand out on her own as she needs to channel Flair in order to get a reaction. That’s not Charlotte’s fault. It’s the writers.

Chavo Guerrero was perhaps the worst victim of this type of booking. Every time he appeared on WWE or TNA following the death of Eddie Guerrero, they would have Chavo reference Eddie in literally every other promo he cut. He started using the three amigos and the Frog Splash and those became his permanent signature moves. Chavo couldn’t develop as a character or get over as the booking resulted in him needing to pay homage to somebody else in order to get over. Charlotte shouldn’t need to do this but now… she has too.

WWE is making Charlotte channel Flair to the point where she is now simply a tag line. In the casual audience’s eyes, she is Ric Flair’s daughter and nothing more. It’s sad. It sucks. But for this reason, Charlotte cannot be the one to win the Divas title if you want to develop this Divas Revolution. Unless Charlotte were to turn heel after this, which I don’t see happening, she is going to be stuck in this character purgatory. This means Charlotte cannot develop her character which means the fans’ interest in this champion will quickly vanish. Why do you think Natalya struggled so hard to get over as Divas Champion?

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Natalya was a great wrestler but it’s very difficult for her to develop a personality. Charlotte is going to do the same thing unless WWE gives the fans a reason to rally behind her. Have Charlotte lose this round at Night Of Champions. Have her make a mistake or have Paige accidentally cost her the match. That way, fans will begin to feel for her as she just had the title in her grasps only to come up short. Rematch after rematch on RAW until Charlotte says “Right. If I don’t beat Nikki at Survivor Series (or whatever), I don’t deserve to be on the main roster. If I lose, I will leave the main roster and never return.” That character development and self-motivation will get the fans to get behind Charlotte as she has a family legacy to uphold. When she wins the title, it will be a big moment. After struggling, she finally wins the Divas title on her last try. Therefore, you’re able to get Charlotte over enough to make Nikki losing her championship mean something.

If I had to pick right now who I believe should be the Divas Champion, I wouldn’t pick Charlotte. I’d pick Sasha Banks because she’s the most over person in the Divas Revolution storyline. But if WWE are going to go with Charlotte, then WWE have to do a lot more to develop this woman’s character. They have to build up the moment of Nikki losing her title a lot better. If Charlotte just beats her at Night Of Champions, then you make all these calls for change in the divas division seem anti-climactic. If you’re going to bring up all of these top quality NXT stars, then build them up as stars. Build up their moments of glory as truly big moments. If you’re going to take inspiration from the women from NXT, then do it properly.

The End Of The Revolution?: Are The WWE Divas Doomed?

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Previously on this blog, I did a blog post on the Divas Revolution and how it was affecting the Divas Championship reign of Nikki Bella. I argued that the Divas Revolution was really hurting Nikki Bella’s title reign, as Nikki had not defended the Divas title in over 30 days. As of me writing this post, it will have been 50 days I believe. The commentators were suggesting that “Team Bella” having the championship meant that they were the ones dominating this feud. But if she wasn’t defending the championship, than the commentators’ argument doesn’t really have any validation. Still, at least the audience still cared enough about these women for the storyline to be a bit of a success. That was until WWE’s three nights in Brooklyn at NXT TakeOver, Summerslam and RAW.

Things got off to a promising start. I never blogged about this, but the NXT Women’s Championship match between Sasha Banks and Bayley completely stole the show at NXT TakeOver. It was the end to an incredible journey for Bayley and the ending segment involving the Four Horsewomen was an incredible celebration of how much women’s wrestling had come in NXT. However, things started to go south for the Divas Revolution. Then came along Summerslam

The Three Team Elimination match between PCB, Team Bella and Team B.A.D. was not a bad match. At least, it was not bad compared to your average divas match. There were a few moments that were off. For example, every diva forget how to catch each other apparently during the diving frenzy spot. However, the fans’ interest in this match really disappeared after Team B.A.D. was eliminated. Sasha Banks was the most over person in the match and they eliminated her first, leading the fans to just completely lose interest when it was down to PCB and Team B.A.D. On RAW, things got worse…

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In a segment of MizTV, The Miz interviewed Paige, Becky Lynch and Charlotte which was interrupted by Nikki Bella, Brie Bella and Alicia Fox. The Team Bella promo was not good and the only person in the ring that got cheered, was The Miz. The heel movie star wannabe character was cheered the most out of the seven people in this segment. This crowd didn’t care at all for PCB or Team Bella. They didn’t care when PCB was about to beat up The Miz. And then there was a six man tag team match between PCB and Team Bella which really tarnished the entire Divas Revolution…

The match itself was not bad. It was just pretty boring. So the fans, in order to get themselves hyped up for the show again, completely hijacked this match. The fans chanted for JBL, the fans chanted for Sasha Banks (who was not on RAW at all), they did the wave and chanted for everything expect anyone in this match!

I don’t really endorse the fans hijacking the show just to put themselves over and to go into business for themselves BUT these are the same fans that likely got #GiveDivasAChance trending on Twitter in the first place. They are most likely the fans that wanted to see women given a chance to put on a show for the fans that might have paid to see them. MOST IMPORTANTLY, most of these fans are the SAME FANS and in the SAME ARENA that popped big time for Bayely and Sasha Banks tearing the house down two days before! Two days after Bayley and Sasha Banks, the fans would rather chant “JBL” than watch this match. So you cannot blame the same fans that wanted change in the divas division for it’s failures at the moment. Especially you cannot blame them, if you are one of the divas involved in the storyline…

Paige sent out a tweet after the RAW match, which was quickly deleted. Thankfully, somebody screenshotted it so I’m going to post it below.

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Nikki Bella also went onto Instagram and sent out this…

Brie Bella also went onto Instagram to tell Brooklyn to “kiss her ass”. I’m sure these women were frustrated with the chants they were getting as they were putting their bodies on the line in the ring. I understand all of that. But I will say this again… this was the SAME FANS in the SAME ARENA that was going nuts for Bayley vs Sasha Banks at TakeOver! Nikki talked about the fans disrespecting women. Well that’s obviously not the case if it’s the same fans that watched Bayley vs Sasha Banks. Now of course, that does beg the question… WHY did these fans care more about Bayley vs Sasha Banks than the Divas Revolution?

WHY did fans care more about a NXT Women’s title match which needed little promotion going into it than a heavily promoted storyline involving the nine top divas on the roster which was endorsed by Stephanie McMahon? It’s very simple…. the differences in storylines.

The storyline for Bayley vs Sasha Banks has been something which has been building for months, much like the Divas Revolution. Bayley has came close time and time again, but has fallen at the final hurdle time and time again. The promo video they played before that match emphasized this tremendously. Especially when Bayley was talking about her family being there at everyone one of her title shots beforehand. You could get invested into her story because she was treated like a star. Sasha Banks, the NXT Womens Champion, was treat like a star. The divas in the Divas Revolution storyline were not treat like stars.

What happened to divas was they had a promising segment on RAW where Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte all debuted at the same time. While that was cool to see and the fans were going nuts for it, it gave WWE a huge problem. Chris Jericho said it best on his podcast – WWE were trying to promote three new divas all that the same time. Not only that, but they have to promote the six other divas involved in this storyline too. Therefore, there’s not enough time for the WWE to work on the storylines for these specific characters.

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I’m going to begin paraphrasing Vinny from the Bryan and Vinny show on Wrestler Observer, because he made an excellent point regarding the potential storylines this women ALREADY have but the WWE are not picking up on.

  • Charlotte, being the daughter of arguably the greatest wrestler in WWE history, has huge pressure on her to succeed and she’s doing that. That’s a great story. When she was talking about wanting to main event Wrestlemania a few weeks ago, that was a great line because at least Charlotte made it sound like she was passionate about wanting to accomplish things that no woman has ever done before.
  • Becky Lynch has been through a lot, having started from Ireland and worked around the world just to make it to the WWE. That’s a great story.
  • Paige‘s entire family wrestles and she is the only one that is currently in the WWE, waving the flag for her family. That’s a great story.
  • The Bella Twins get heat all the time. They are often accused of being protected because of who their boyfriends are. They MUST prove that they aren’t just here because of them, and that they are hard-working divas that are on top of the division for a reason. That’s a great story.
  • Alicia Fox. She mentioned on RAW that she had been at WWE for NINE YEARS. She’s been there for nine years and she’s mostly been just an afterthought in the division. Her goal is to prove that after all of these years, she is still among the elite in the division. That’s a great story.
  • Naomi‘s never won the Divas Championship before and has changed her attitude in order to accomplish that goal, after failing time after time. That’s a great story.
  • Tamina Snuka has her own family story, being the daughter of the legendary Jimmy Snuka. She’s been at the company since 2009 and has never won the divas title. That’s a great story.
  • Sasha Banks has been a wrestling fan for years. She’s dominated the NXT Women’s division and has now set her sights on the main roster to do the same. That’s a great story.

The storylines are already there for these women and for WWE to build on. WWE should be building on these storylines that are already written for them and they’re not doing it! It’s mind-boggling. The divas are trying their hearts out. The Bellas are stepping up their game in the ring. Everybody is getting their chance to shine. This is why these divas got so passionate when the fans of Brooklyn “disrespected” them. However, what’s wrong with the Divas Revolution is something they cannot control. It’s the writing for this story. They are victims of the laziness from the writers and the “powers-that-be” telling these divas go out there and take part in the same matches every single week.

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Yesterday, I posted an article on the SmackDown! Six. This was Paul Heyman’s idea to build Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Edge and Rey Mysterio up as singles stars by grouping them together as tag teams in the second half of 2002. It worked so well because it was simple booking and there was so much talent to work with. One week you could have Chris Benoit vs Chavo Guerrero. The next week it could be Rey Mysterio vs Kurt Angle. Then it could be Edge vs Eddie Guerrero, or Angle vs Chavo, or Rey vs Benoit. The possibilities were endless. It was featuring the same six wrestlers but no match was ever the same. With Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit being the team that didn’t get along, those two even had matches with each other!

The reason I bring that up is because it looks like WWE are trying the exact same thing. That could POSSIBLY be OK, but these matches are not progressing the storyline along and that is making these matches see, unimportant. Every single women’s match that happens on NXT has a purpose that is centered around the main storyline in the women’s division. Bayley’s matches leading up to TakeOver were important. The tag matches leading into Summerslam were not important. One thing has to lead to another, which is exactly what was going on with Benoit, Angle, Eddie, Chavo, Edge and Mysterio. For the Divas Revolution, we’re given a few matches to enjoy each week and that’s that.

As I wrote about on the Armbar Express, the WWE announced that there will be a Beat The Clock challenge featuring the PCB on RAW for the right to face Nikki Bella at Night of Champions. At least now, the storyline is starting to get freshened up a bit with the focus now being the Divas title. At least now, there’s a bit of a in-group rivalry going on between Paige, Charlotte and Becky over who’s going to fight for the Divas title. It’s interesting. However, there’s a problem with this. On RAW, Team Bella BEAT the PCB in a six person tag team match! Therefore, it is difficult to promote any of the PCB as potential challengers when they lost to Team Bella just a week ago. Therefore, the Team Bella vs PCB match meant absolutely nothing if they now have an opportunity to win the Divas Championship!

Furthermore, this storyline is being promoted as a “Revolution”. Technically, that’s incorrect. If this is a revolution, then why was it endorsed by the heel authority figure Stephanie McMahon? It’s not a revolution. That’s like Prime Minister David Cameron telling the MPs of England to step up. It doesn’t mean that the MPs are going to revolt and take down Cameron! Stephanie was inspiring the women to put in more effort.

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I am ALL for the promotion of women’s success in sports. I’ve written stories for newspapers about the England women’s rugby team, that won the World Cup last year. I watched the majority of the women’s football World Cup this year. But you never hear the commentators going “This is a revolution in women’s sports,” whenever they see a great match. You never hear Joe Rogan going “This is a revolution in women’s sports,” whenever Ronda Rousey beats somebody up in UFC. That’s because they never need to. In TNA, quality women’s wrestling has been around for years. From Gail Kim and Awesome Kong to Taryn Terrell and the Doll House. Mike Tenay never needed to say, “This is a revolution in women’s wrestling,” as the action was always great. It’s going to take more than a tagline to convince WWE fans that we are in the midst of a changes on the main roster.