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.

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.

NEWS – Nikki Bella To Defend Divas Championship, Beat The Clock Challenge Set For RAW

NEWS coming from WWE, who’ve announced that Nikki Bella will INDEED be defending her Divas Championship at Night of Champions. She’ll be defending the Divas title against the winner of a Beat The Clock challenge on RAW featuring all three members of PCB – Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch. This comes after the hashtag #ThingsBetterThanNikkisReign began trending on Twitter in the last few days.

Nikki Bella has currently been champion for 285 days and if she holds onto the Divas title until Night Of Champions, she will have not only surpassed the record title reign of AJ Lee but she will have went 300 days as champion as well. Nikki’s title reign has been heavily criticized, especially considering that she has not defended the title in the last 50 days. However, AJ Lee once went 70 days without defending her championship during her Divas title reign. With that being said, there’s no real excuse for Nikki not defending her title considering she’s actually been active wrestler in the last 50 days.

They probably announced it ahead of time as a response to the #ThingsBetterThanNikkisReign hashtag and overall criticism of the Divas Revolution storyline.

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Thankfully, it seems Nikki will finally have to put the title on the line at Night Of Champions. The question is, who should be the one to go up against Nikki for the belt. Charlotte is the name that’s been rumoured for Night Of Champions, but Becky Lynch did get the match-winning pinfall at Summerslam. Paige has had numerous title shots since Nikki’s title reign began so I wouldn’t put my money on her winning the title her. Sasha Banks, Naomi or Tamina are apparently not in the mix for a title shot. However, they may appear next week as the opponents for the PCB. It’ll be interesting to see.

It’s still a nice change of pace, giving the “Divas Revolution” storyline a much needed shift from the constant tag team matches that we’ve seen in the last month to actually competitive action with championship implications.