How I Would Book… AJ Styles’ Road To Wrestlemania 32

After years of speculation, the “Phenomenal One” AJ Styles has signed a WWE contract and is now a part of the WWE universe. After more than a decade as the face of TNA and years of experience in Japan, we finally get to see AJ Styles throw down in the WWE. However, with his arrival comes many questions. This is someone that has made a name for himself in the independent scene, who is now in unfamiliar territory. This was one of the worries Vince Russo had, when he heard AJ was starting up in WWE. How do you treat him? Well, we’ll see if we can make things comfortable for the newcomer. Here’s How I Would Book… AJ Styles’ Road To Wrestlemania 32.

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To say that this is AJ’s first rodeo with WWE would actually be untrue. AJ was actually in the developmental territory for the WWF as he was starting out in wrestling. His initial run is highlighted by a WWF Metal appearance, when he wrestled the Hurricane. Now though, he enters the company as an established wrestling superstar. His reaction at the 2016 Royal Rumble tells you just how much of a hot commodity he is. People want to see AJ Styles and WWE have pulled quite a coup with the signature of AJ Styles.

Signing these top stars is all well in good, but it means nothing he is not booked accordingly. AJ’s actually coming in during an exciting period for the company. He’s too big enough star to be lost in the shuffle for Wrestlemania period. In fact, he helps WWE tackle their issue of having the stars at their disposal. AJ will probably be getting a big match at Wrestlemania.

However, which match is right for AJ? Which match will firmly establish him as a future main-eventer in the company. Well, let’s take a look at the options.

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As hinted by the elimination of AJ at the Royal Rumble and based off reports from Wrestling Observer, it appears that WWE has some kind of plan with AJ and Kevin Owens. That would actually be a good feud going into Wrestlemania for Kevin, after losing his feud to Dean Ambrose. Going up against AJ, who has already got instant overness, will benefit Kevin and maintain his own overness. It makes sure that he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle and has direction, keeping his momentum up at the same time. However, is this the best thing for AJ too? Well, let’s take a look at the other options.

On Monday Night RAW, AJ beat Chris Jericho. This was followed by a resistant handshake by Jericho, who seemed confident that he was going to beat AJ. If this were to lead to a Wrestlemania match, I think this would be a great Wrestlemania debut match for AJ to really shine. Their match on RAW was pretty good and I think it’s just a matter of getting used to each other. Since they’ve already competed on television, there’s no harm in putting it on during the house shows leading into their big match. Then again it would take away from their big Wrestlemania match, if they fought several times before that. Surely AJ’s big Wrestlemania match should be a special one right?

When looking at the active roster at the moment, it would seem that our options for AJ are limited in terms of true star power. However, there are other mouth-watering prospects for AJ at Wrestlemania. Wouldn’t it be truly fantastic to see a triple threat match with fellow high-flyers Kalisto and Neville? You could put the United States Championship on the line if you wanted, but it’s really debatable about if AJ’s first title win should be the US Championship. Alternatively, he could challenge the former US Champion Alberto Del Rio. That would be an unique mix of styles… no pun intended. Dolph Ziggler could be a great opponent for him, as Ziggler would be capable of keeping up with the speed of AJ. Sometimes, Dolph has a tendency of working too quick for a lot of wrestlers. Thankfully, AJ has worked in environments that features a lot of fast-paced action and is very quick himself… even at 38 years old.

When looking at all of those options, it’s a tough call which ever way you slice it. However, I believe the right man to face AJ… is Dean Ambrose.

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This is the perfect way for AJ’s status as an upper midcard/main eventer to be cemented early on. Dean’s just coming off being in the final two of the Royal Rumble and has a lot of momentum at the moment. My scenario would have AJ challenge Dean for the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania… and win the belt.

Here’s what’ll happen.

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Dean’s match at Fastlane is already set. He will face Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar in a triple threat match with the winner going up against Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania. He’s taken care off until then. For AJ, it’s a lot more tricky.

AJ Styles’ only just debuted, so no major feud is already in place. This interests me. We’ve got a great opportunity to throw AJ in with a number of upper midcarders right off the bat. My idea would be for Kevin Owens to start off Monday Night RAW, complaining that he is not in the picture for any championship. He demands a shot at something when Alberto Del Rio comes out. He does the same and demands a rematch for the US Championship. Chris Jericho comes out and throws his name into the hat for a title shot. This results in Stephanie McMahon making two matches for that episode of RAW, claiming that she’ll be watching. It’s Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio… vs AJ Styles.

Owens and Jericho fight to a double DQ and AJ beats Del Rio. This leads to Stephanie claiming that she’ll need one more match to decide who is truly worthy of an opportunity. Jericho, Del Rio and Owens are booked in a triple threat match, which is won by Owens. Stephanie decides to give all these men an opportunity to earn a title match of their choosing at Wrestlemania (except the WWE World Heavyweight Championship of course). If the winner selects the Intercontinental Championship, he will challenge for the title on the night after Wrestlemania if Dean wins at Fastlane. I’m pretty sure that covers that aspect of the storyline. We want to make Stephanie seem that she’s got everything figured out. If Dean ends up winning, she’s got a back-up plan. Whether’s it’s stripping Dean off the title after Fastlane or scheduling the title match for RAW, we want to keep the Intercontinental title in the mix.

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At Fastlane, it’ll be a fatal four way match. It’ll be Chris Jericho vs Alberto Del Rio vs Kevin Owens… vs AJ Styles. At Fastlane, AJ picks up the win. On RAW, we get an all-champions tag team match. It’s United States Champion Kalisto and Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs the WWE Tag Team Champions the New Day. The New Day cause a DQ and do a three-on-two beatdown, when AJ comes down to the ring to even things up. When the New Day flee, AJ decks Dean with the Pele. He holds up the Intercontinental Championship and declares that he will challenge for that title.

In the weeks leading up to the event, AJ talks about how he’s no rookie when it comes to professional wrestling. He’s been wrestling for nearly two decades and has been successful everywhere he’s been. He’s says WWE will be no different. AJ talks about hearing “stories” and “myths” of how those that love professional wrestling are treated like dirt in WWE. AJ says that he doesn’t care about those stories and the “backstage politics” won’t stop him from being the best in the world. He vows to win the Intercontinental Championship and surpass the title reigns of every other great that’s ever held the belt.

It’s not a heel turn but it’s AJ showing ambition. AJ’s letting off some of the cockiness and arrogance in him without becoming a full-blown heel. AJ will also NOT hit the Styles Clash on anyone during this road to Wrestlemania. He can win matches by heel locks or corkscrew splashes, but he’ll never win with the Styles Clash. He’ll never use it. The anticipation builds to Wrestlemania, where AJ and Dean meet. The people are starting to think “will this be the day he hits it?”

NOTE: On this week’s edition of SmackDown!, AJ Styles actually did hit the Styles Clash on Curtis Axel. This does annoy me because you had a great opportunity to really put over the move. It should be a move which you should build anticipation for, like when Hideo Itami kept teasing the GTS on NXT. Make the fans wait and wait. Make them wonder whether WWE are not allowing AJ actually hit the move because of how dangerous it can be if something goes wrong. WWE spent the entire Royal Rumble having AJ try to hit the Styles Clash, only to be stopped by someone in the match. Why not continue that until at least Wrestlemania? Why throw it away for an episode of SmackDown!, which does not have an audience like RAW or Wrestlemania? 

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If we’re lucky, these two are given 20 minutes to wrestle on that show. AJ and Dean give each other anything but they both keep kicking out. AJ goes for the Pele on Dean but Dean moves out of the way. AJ ends up hitting the ref somehow. Dean hits Dirty Deeds on AJ but the ref is down. As Dean wakes up the ref, AJ low blows Dean. The ref is still not up and Dean gets back up slightly from the low blow. AJ goes to the outside, picks up the title and hits Dean with it. The referee finally wakes up and makes the count but Dean kicks out. AJ brings up Dean and yells in his face, which leads to Dean spitting at AJ. AJ gets mad and finally hits the Styles Clash to pick up the win and win the championship.

That is how I’d do it. I feel the Intercontinental Championship is the right belt for AJ to have and I feel he should have it sooner rather than later. After he’s done with Dean, it actually sets up a nice little feud with one of NXT’s top stars. Someone that is reportedly on his way to the main roster soon. That man… is Samoa Joe.

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That about does it for this edition of “How I Would Book.” I’m pretty sure a lot of people would have wanted somebody other Dean. A lot of people probably want AJ to go up against a true star like Brock Lesnar or Triple H. Others might want to have AJ go up against someone like Daniel Bryan or Kevin Owens. I’m sure there’s TNA fans that would want to see AJ going up against a debuting Samoa Joe AT Wrestlemania. I’m positive that NJPW fans will want to see AJ in some incarnation of the Bullet Club. However, I feel this is the right way to throw AJ into WWE as a serious player. Dean Ambrose is currently a main-eventer in WWE, which makes the timing perfect for AJ and Dean to tear the house down in Dallas. Whether WWE does it my way or a different way, I just hope that the road to Wrestlemania for AJ Styles is a phenomenal one.

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!

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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.

TNA Bound For Glory 2015 Review – New Champion Crowned In Charlotte

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Prologue

In the prologue, I talked about the history of TNA and my connection to the company. However, this PPV was really just a sad occasion in general. With the issues TNA have been dealing with, I might have just watched my last TNA PPV. But the event itself just seemed sad. It was not that the PPV itself was bad. It just seemed that a lot of the wrestlers had given up. A lot of the matches just weren’t that exciting. The Ultimate X match was great but it was just hard to care when watching this. It was also hard to care about the outcome of the main event when just a few days later… the TNA World Heavyweight Championship was vacated.

Matt Hardy won the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in the main event. For those of you that don’t consider the ECW Championship to be a world championship, this would have been Matt’s first World title. Even if you do count the ECW title reign he had in 2008 as an actual world title reign, this is the first time where Matt was “the man” in a company. He became the leader of the locker room. The TNA superstars started tweeting about what a great leader Matt Hardy was in the locker room. What a moment. But then, on Monday it was announced that Ethan Carter III filed an injunction. Since TNA’s hands were apparently tied, Matt Hardy gave up the belt.

Therefore, this potential last TNA PPV finish just seemed so meaningless. Reports suggest that they’ve been planning this since they found out that Impact Wrestling was being cancelled. All I kept thinking was “You’ve been planning this for so many months and you couldn’t think of a legitimate a finish that could have lead to the title being held up?” You couldn’t have Matt and Drew pin each other while EC3 was out on the floor? I understand that TNA might have wanted to give Matt Hardy his moment in front of the Charlotte crowd. However, it was just such a miserable way for the match to finish.

Ethan Carter III’s title reign couldn’t even with, I don’t know, THE CHAMPION BEING BEATEN? Surely, this would have been the best time for the “undefeated streak” to end? No, of course not. Matt Hardy had to pin Drew McIntyre. Another thing to point out is that if you were still planning on vacating the belt after the show, then what was the point in the Bound For Gold gauntlet? The winner of the match now can’t possibly get his title shot unless they waited until after the TNA World Title tournament concludes. Just amazing…

Anyway, let’s get onto the show.

1

We started off with the Ultimate X match for the TNA X-Division Championship. The competitors in this match were the champion Tigre Uno, DJ Z, Manik and Andrew Everett. This was nothing more than a spot-fest which I was totally fine with. If this ends up being the final TNA PPV, then it’s pretty symbolic to have a Ultimate X match on the card. The match itself was actually a good opener. I’ve seen better Ultimate X matches over the years but this was by no means bad. Tigre Uno looked like he hurt his arm during the match. As it turns out, Dixie Carter confirmed that he actually separated his shoulder. I thought he did it earlier but it seems he might have done it when he hit the 450 on the outside onto DJ Z. Whenever he did it, credit to him for continuing the match. Takes a lot of courage, especially in a high risk match like this.

Speaking of high risk, Andrew Everett really took a lot of nasty bumps in this match. DJ Z did a cool dive, in which he jumped over the turnbuckle and onto the men outside. Tigre kicked Andrew off the top of the structure, which looked nasty, in order to retain the title. Gregory Helms came out in order to congratulate Tigre and shake his hands. It seemed a bit random as you’d expect a former X-Division Champion to come out, not just a former cruiserweight. I think he was working as an agent for TNA but it was still strange. Gregory didn’t look like a cruiserweight though, as he TOWERED over Tigre. He looked massive. Anyway, good opener to the show. I don’t have a lot of issue with this.

Ethan Carter III cut a decent promo where he hyped up the main event. He did the most unimpressive woo of all time before his departure. Maybe this was to waste a bit of time, I dunno.

2

Then we had the… urrghh. The Bound For Gold gauntlet match. I really tried my hardest to care but there wasn’t a great deal to this match. Considering this match was also the longest match of the night, it was hardly worth all the time it was given. It’s not like this was a hugely stacked match in terms of the wrestlers. A few of these were just there to fill the numbers. That’s not a great thing, considering this match was for a shot at a championship!

Initially it was promoted as a match for a shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Then it was revealed that the winner could fight for any title they wanted. I guess that made sense with the post-match angle they did but it was still annoying that they just changed up the stipulation on the fly. This wouldn’t be the only time they’d do this either…

Mr Anderson was #1 and the microphone wouldn’t come down at the top of the ramp for Anderson’s entrance. Even before the match started, there was already a botch!

#2 was Jessie. #3 came out, who was Eli Drake! I never heard of this dude, but apparently he was in Drew McIntyre’s group “the rising.” Anyway, he was in for a while until Al Snow came out as #4. Despite being 52 years old, Al Snow looked in way better shape then nearly everyone in this match! He was probably one of the better wrestlers in this match in terms of his in-ring work. Al eliminated Eli when he smacked him in the head with… head. Eli did this huge oversell where he tumbled back and then jumped over the top rope. This almost topped Carlito’s oversell of his eliminated by Rob Van Dam in the 2006 Royal Rumble! That was something else!

#5 was Aiden O’Shea. I never realised this until afterwards, but Aiden O’Shea was actually the former Gut Check winner Jay Bradley! I thought it was just some random independent dude. I find it funny that this Chicago fella was supposed to be playing this Irish hard-man character. It’s also funny because of what happens later on in the match.

#6 was Robbie E. No mention of Robbie’s rivalry with Jessie from earlier on in the year. That was disappointing. Then came out #7, Mahabali Shera. Now, I had heard of the Shera Shuffle before but I had never actually seen the dance move before. When I saw him to this cross-armed shuffle, I never got. I don’t watch TNA regularly so I initially gave it the benefit of the doubt. Maybe regular TNA viewers “got it” but I just couldn’t see what was so great about it. So I gave it the benefit of the doubt when I saw him use it. However, I was left aghast after I watched him seemingly hypnotize everyone else in the ring with this dance. Then suddenly six men in the ring, including the “hard-man” Aiden O’Shea, were doing this damn shuffle in a gauntlet…. for a shot at a championship! These men were all stood there slowly dancing! The winner had an opportunity at the TNA World title if they won and they’re all there DANCING! I just… why?

Shera then eliminated O’Shea until Tyrus came out at #8. Josh Matthews then quickly stated that no one is going to make Tyrus dance! Good one Josh. Tyrus came in and cleared house. He eliminated Al Snow, #9 entry Chris Melendez and Shera. He was dominant. I guess now is as good a time as any to mention this but I got so sick at the constant mentions of tweets from Dixie Carter. Actually, they weren’t even mentioning her tweets. They just told fans that you could follow her @TNADixie. What on earth does Dixie Carter have to do with this match? I know that’s a small thing to be mad at but it drove me up the wall.

Tommy Dreamer came out at #10 in polka dots, to pay tribute to Dusty Rhodes. He got a big pop when he came out. Jessie then delivered a high, and I mean HIGH, dropkick onto Tommy. It looked incredible! Abyss came out as #11 and this lead into a big staredown with Tyrus. As they stared down, Pope declared from the announce table that he was in this match. So he was the #12 entrant apparently. I don’t know how Pope had the power to put himself in this match. You could say that him and Dixie had agreed to put him in this match before hand but this was never mentioned or implied! So it just came off like Pope had just declared himself in the match! He got a big pop though but then eliminated himself rather than fight Tyrus and Abyss.

There were two Towers of Dooms at the same time. I hate how overused the Tower of Doom spots are in wrestling. It’s almost like WWE or TNA always do this because they know it’ll get a cheap pop. Here, it got a pop but it wasn’t that great. They also never looked good either. Tyrus eliminated Abyss, Jessie eliminated Robbie with a nice elimination actually. Very cool to see Jessie do the head-scissors to tip Robbie over the top. Anderson eliminated Tommy Dreamer and Jessie to set up the singles match between him and Tyrus at the end of the match. Mr Anderson did an impressive rolling fireman’s carry onto Tyrus which was quite a feat of strength. This got a near fall. Tyrus eventually won… WITH A CLOTHESLINE! So after all of this, it ended with Tyrus clotheslining Mr Anderson and pinning him.

Bryan Alvarez said that this match was worse than Los Villanos vs Los Psycho Clowns from Triplemania this year. For the record, Dave Meltzer gave the Villanos match a minus five star rating. I disagree with Bryan. In the ring, that Triplemania match was a total train-wreck. This Bound For Gold match was not a train-wreck. Nobody really messed anything up. It was just a very boring 24 minute bus journey which just felt like eight hours. It was very uneventful, it had a horrible segment in the middle with the Shera Shuffle and nobody cared. I’d still put this in the minus range in terms of ratings but it was not as bad as the Villanos match!

Tyrus declared that he would be challenging for the “heavyweight world championship of the world.” I’m not joking, that was what Tyrus called it! This actually would have been an awesome way to build up to EC3 vs Tyrus for the title, if the main event had not completely undone those plans. We’ll get onto to that later.

Next was a good promo from Drew Galloway. However, he claimed that he was willing to KILL HIMSELF to win the TNA World title. That’s… dark.

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I have no idea why I haven’t got any notes for the Wolves vs Trevor Lee and Brian Myers match. I remember it being an OK match. Nothing special but it was fine.I can’t remember why, but I’ve got Tesco written on my notes here for this show! I can’t for the life of me remember why! Anyway, next up was Bobby Roode vs Lashley for the TNA King Of The Mountain title match. I was kinda distracted a bit while I was watching this but this was a good match. I liked it. I also found it odd that Lashley is bald but was still wearing a headband. Am I the only one that found that weird?

Next up was Awesome Kong challening Gail Kim for the TNA Knockouts title. God this was bad but to be fair, this was by no means Gail Kim’s fault. She was a true trooper in this match and was just killing herself to try and get a good match out of Awesome Kong. Kong was great at… being Kong. However, this did not help her and Kim pull off a good match. Awesome Kong wasn’t even trying to sell things from time to time. I was very disappointed with her performance in this match. While Gail was just going all out to get a good match, Kong looked like she just didn’t care. When the referee was distracted with Gail Kim’s husband at ringside, Awesome Kong hit the Implant Buster on multiple chairs on the outside. Gail hit the Eat Defeat off the top rope and then rolled up Awesome Kong for the win. I didn’t like the finish much and I thought it looked kind of weak. That sort of finish looked like it hurt Gail more than it hurt Kong, as Gail landed on her back. This was a very disappointing match considering Kong and Gail are capable of having great matches together. This was just not their day.

6

Kurt Angle vs Eric Young. Eric and Angle did their entrances and Eric got on the mic saying that he knew that Kurt was hurt. Eric proclaimed himself as god during his pre-match promo. Kurt responded by saying that Dixie Carter and him made this match NO DISQUALIFICATION. Kurt said that he wanted a fight. Despite saying that, Kurt then proceeded to start the match by German suplexing Eric Young! Pope kept calling Kurt’s suplexes “Souffles!” He was desperate to get this phrase over!

Eric then hit Kurt with the piledriver, which brought the match to a halt. Kurt’s obviously got a history with neck issues and the doctor at ringside effectively waved off the match. Eric Young won the match. However, the referee never rang the bell. Brian Hebner just stood there arguing with the doctors at ringside! Keep this in mind. Eric Young then attacked the referees and doctors and ringside and continued the match. As Eric was choking Kurt on the ropes, Kurt kept telling him “”it’s off” and “it’s over.” So now, Kurt has VERBALLY submitted several times! Eric’s win count over Kurt was growing but the ref AGAIN never called for the bell! WHAT? Why was this match still going on if both Kurt and the doctor called the match off? Josh later said that if Kurt Angle had his doctor at ringside, he would have thrown in the towel. Ermm, hello? KURT DID HAVE A DOCTOR AT RINGSIDE! This was infuriating!

So Eric still continued to beat up Kurt at ringside. Josh described this as assault and criminal. I hate it when wrestling commentators calls beatdowns “assaults.” Other than the fact that it’s a wrestling match, this was not assault. Having studied quite a bit of law at both college and university, I’m confident in saying that this would have been more like battery than assault! Anyway Kurt got back into it, by having no difficulty in pulling off multiple German suplexes! Kurt got a near fall for the Angle Slam but he eventually countered a top rope piledriver into an ankle lock. After a while, Eric tapped out and Angle won.

Here’s the thing… what Kurt and Eric did in there was fine. But the match itself and how it was booked was simply mind-boggling. There were so many things that happened that didn’t make sense. The match was called off twice but the ref never stopped it. Pope and Josh Matthews was unable to bring any justice to it either. Kurt continued to work the match fine after supposedly breaking his neck! It was just so illogical of the match but it had nothing to do with Eric and Angle. Whoever put this together clearly threw logic out of the window with the story of this match.

7

Ethan Carter III defended the TNA World Title against Matt Hardy and Drew Galloway. I know the finish didn’t mean a thing anyway, but let’s just got through the match. The match itself was shockingly not that bad. It was a bit slow paced but it was fine. There were a few cool moments. There were two things I want to point out first. Firstly, Tyrus was thrown out of the match by special referee Jeff Hardy. Now I know Jeff had the power in the match but this match was NO DISQUALIFICATION! What was the point in Tyrus being thrown out when he could have just came back out if he wanted to? Now I know that the storyline going in was that Tyrus didn’t bother to help out EC3 because he was after the title himself. However, there was nothing that Tyrus did wrong that warranted him being thrown out!

The second thing I wanted to point out was the ref bump that Jeff Hardy took. I love it when special referees that are actually wrestlers take ref bumps. The reason I love it is because those wrestlers usually sell these bumps like referees sell the bumps. They lay on the ground forever! Jeff was down for a while, but at least he was down for long. Just enough so he couldn’t count Matt’s pin.

There were a few nasty bumps. EC3 got the table. As he did this, the fans immediately started chanting “Save The Tables!” That made me laugh! Drew did the Irish Curse on EC3 onto the steel steps. That look painful considering Ethan caught the edge of the steps. In probably the spot of the night, EC3 suplexed Matt Hardy from the apron onto Drew Galloway who was laying on the table. I was thinking when I saw it that this spot would have been cool and they did it anyway. I thought it looked cool but EC3 seemed to take the brunt of it. He landed on the floor when suplexing Hardy and was screaming out loud. They did another good spot when they did a variation of the Tower of Doom where Drew did the spider German suplex which catapulted both men. I was about to be upset that they did ANOTHER Tower of Doom on the PPV, but at least they changed it up a bit. Matt, Drew and EC3 did a chop-fest in front of the Charlotte crowd. I hated how much the Pope was referring to Drew as the Leonidas of TNA. This put Michael Cole to shame in terms of repeating nicknames over and over again.

The match finished with Jeff Hardy teasing a turn on Matt but instead hitting EC3 and hitting the Twist of Fate. Matt then hit the Twist of Fate on Drew for the win and to become the champion. Despite it seeming like a sad and irrelevant win in the end, this meant a lot to Matt Hardy. That’s kind of cool that this win went so much to Matt, despite the circumstances. He was a World Champion and this was his moment. Whether I agreed with it or not is really irrelevant. To Matt, this was special.

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So that was that for TNA Bound For Glory. At the end, it was NOT a bad PPV overall. There were a few bright spots with a few bad matches as well. I’ve certainly seen worse PPVs this year and I did like the Ultimate X match. Now we just wait and see what happens in the future of Impact Wrestling….

TNA Bound For Glory 2015 Review – Prologue

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I’m going to tell everybody a story which begins all the way in 2006. In 2006, I was a wrestling fan that had started watching WWE programming just a few years earlier. However, this was a year in which I was really starting to lose interest in WWE. There were a lot of failed storylines and projects that was slowly sucking the enjoyment from watching RAW, SmackDown! and ECW. RAW was particular dominated by John Cena and the reunited DX, SmackDown! was ruled by King Booker, the “Animal” Batista and the underdog champion Rey Mysterio, and ECW was ruled by the Big Show. It was a very testing time to being a WWE fan. Have no fear though. On the Wrestling Channel in the UK, they were starting to show episodes of a wrestling show called TNA IMPACT.

I was interested, because it featured former WWE stars and even WCW legend Sting. I also noticed these new talents that were so exiting to watch that it was baffling why they weren’t signed with someone like WWE. This was the show I needed to regain my passion for wrestling. TNA was a hit. It was unique, it featured six sided rings and unbelievable talent. For me, this was a nice alternative from the “sports entertainment” of WWE.

TNA spread like wild-fire, even resulting in “TNA” being chanted during episodes of RAW. In a weird case of deja vu from the 1995 King Of The Ring, where ECW chants were bellowed out in Philadelphia, the fans were more interested in chanting the name of a “rival” wrestling company than the actual product in front of them. They might have good reason to do it. After all they chanted this during a miserable, and I mean MISERABLE, “Donald Trump” vs “Rosie O’Donnell” match.

What’s funny about this incident is that TNA and ECW are VERY similar in a lot of other aspects too. They were both innovative companies that brought a unique style of wrestling to the US. However, they both also had their issues that prevented them from reaching their full potential. ECW’s problem was a lack of funds which resulted in talent being stolen from WWF and WCW, which led to the company’s bankruptcy in 2001. The issues for TNA were more than just money…

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While I loved the company when I first started watching it and then for years after, this company was running itself into the ground. TNA initially had a simple but effective product which was really taking off like a rocket. While they signed high-profile wrestlers like Kurt Angle from time to time, the main attraction which really made it different from the WWE was the X-Division. They were the stars. Hell, they were the main-event in a few instances. However, TNA soon seemed to completely neglect what brought them to the dance to make room for… “sports entertainment.”

They had great wrestlers but the powers-that-be of TNA ultimately decided that the only way to beat WWE… was to BE WWE. It was not about being an alternative WRESTLING company. It was about purely booking from an “entertainment” standpoint. Therefore, a lot of product was heavily reliant on angles in order to advance the stories. It was a product heavily reliant on swerves which really didn’t need to be there. The use of storylines in wrestling is fine, as that’s one of the most important aspects of the wrestling business. It’s about telling a story, whether you do it in the ring or in an angle. However, the use of storylines OVER wrestling is what really damaged the product.

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It wasn’t just the decisions of creative that really dented the company. Many decisions by those actually RUNNING the company were very questionable. It’s almost that the company never realised the importance of the younger stars and put all their faith in the likes of Jeff Hardy in order to bring in the ratings. True, it wouldn’t hurt to have a bit of star power in their ranks. However, a BIT would do just fine. In 2010, with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff coming in, so did dozens of new wrestlers. When I say new, I mean old. Old former WWE, WCW or ECW stars that are now part of the NEW vision of TNA!

Trust me, I’m not knocking those stars that came in. They’re stars for a reason but a lot of these stars served zero purpose in the future of TNA. What sort of contribution were the Nasty Boys supposed to bring to TNA’s future? What was the point in bringing Orlando Jordan to TNA? Why were all the ECW originals hired, other than to set up a ECW reunion show? Just… why?

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Of course, the old dudes were not why I was still watching TNA in 2012 and 2013. During those times, the shows were actually great to watch. In the early days of this blog, TNA reviews were a common feature. The storylines improved following the implosion of Immortal but a new sense of attention to younger stars was finally introduced. Finally, stars like Bobby Roode and James Storm were able to properly develop. Those two produced quite possibly the greatest feud in TNA history. Austin Aries became a star and even became TNA World Heavyweight Champion. Bully Ray had been in wrestling for decades but at least he became a singles star in his own right. They weren’t just dependent on the older main event stars to advance the shows.

The point is, the potential was ALWAYS there for TNA to succeed. We’ll get onto the financial troubles later on but from a creative standpoint, the potential was there. They had all the means to create stars easily that didn’t need to break the bank. However, they didn’t. Not only didn’t they make the stars that they could have, they also broke the bank while they were at it. Which leads me to their financial troubles…

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As mentioned earlier, TNA have splashed a fair amount of cash during their existence. As mentioned earlier, they hired a ton of wrestlers in 2010 believing that the driving force of TNA would be the stars… from TEN YEARS AGO! However, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff’s plans with these stars was always going to fail. Not only were the stars just going to hold back the younger talent, TNA didn’t have the sufficient financial structure that could allow Bischoff, Hogan and Dixie Carter to just pluck these guys like plucking apples from a tree. According to Vince Russo he frequently warned Eric and Hogan that this was not like the days of WCW, where they could easily sign whoever they wanted. TNA’s financial structure was clearly not as great as they believed it to be.

We compared TNA to ECW, but at least Paul Heyman knew that ECW was not a great position to snap up the true stars of wrestling. He had to develop them, because there was not way that he could snap up the likes of Sting, Steve Austin and The Rock from WCW and the WWF. He was as realistic as possible, because he did not have seemingly unlimited funds like WCW. You know what’s funny, is that TNA was similar to WCW in its mindset with money. They didn’t think money would be an issue but really… it was.

There’s also the foolish decisions made by TNA which they believed would turn the product. We’re not talking about the expensive contracts. We’re talking about decisions like deciding to move TNA to Monday nights and go head-to-head with RAW. They decided to start a “Monday Night War” when they were never in a million years going to beat RAW in the ratings. It’d be like if Malta ever declared war on Germany. They would also never force Vince McMahon to change up his writing in order to beat TNA. The gap was just too big for Vince to care.

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Ultimately, TNA’s failures backstage has lead to the company’s own demise. Quite honestly, this saddens me a lot. Even though I’ve not really watched the product in a few years, I still have a strong connection and appreciation for a lot of things TNA has brought to wrestling. The X-Division, at its prime, was sublime. The likes of Bobby Roode, AJ Styles, James Storm, Samoa Joe and others have provided great match after great match. We even got one of the greatest segments of all time, with Jay Lethal confronting Ric Flair in a woo-off! I’ll have so many fond memories of TNA, which is why it is sad that I might have just watched it’s final ever PPV.

So… did TNA go out with a bang or a whimper? Join me for the TRUE review of TNA Bound For Glory, and whether there were any glorious moments to be had during TNA’s possibly final hurrah!

TNA Lockdown 2014 Review – Lockdown Provides A Lethal Dose Of All-Out Carnage!

2014 Lockdown Review. No Time For Intro! Review Now!

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TNA vs Wrestle-1

So if TNA wanted to provide an advertisement of their new partners Wrestle-1 and to showcase some of the best X-Division stars around… THEY SURE AS HELL DID! A very slick six man tag team between Wrestle-1 and TNA. The six man duo of Christopher Daniels, Kazarian and Chris Sabin just ooze chemistry between themselves. The three-man moves that were pulling out in this match were quality to see. The only complaint that I’d have is that it kinda overshadowed the Wrestle-1 guys, who TNA were supposed to showcase in this match! Speaking of Wrestle-1, I loved watching the Wrestle-1 guys. Yasu looked decent in there. Sanada looked amazing in this match. He was able to keep up with the pace of the X-Divsion stars if not surpass it, and he looks to be a great fit for the X-Division. It’s always great to see The Great Muta in action and the fans were so hyped for him. And he’s hardly lost a step. When he entered the fans just ate it up. You’ve got love this appreciation of wrestling legends like the Great Muta. What I loved at the end of the match was Sanada getting the win for hs team rather than Muta. It kinda felt that Muta was kinda putting Sanada over by having him being able to get the pin was a great way to “pass the torch” if you will and introduce Sanada to the TNA scene.

 

Sam Shaw vs Mr Anderson

A nice match to put Sam Shaw over. This guy’s got a real good thing going right now. I was half expecting a heel turn from Christy Hemme mind you to bring some kind of dignity to Christy after all the ridiculous screaming and cheer-leading she was providing. It was a slow-paced match but it was still an entertaining match. Obviously a lot of drama with Earl Hebner being knocked down and Samuel Shaw dragging Christy into the cage. Nevertheless, the right man won and I think Sam will get a lot out of this victory.

 

Bobby Lashley Returns To TNA

Ethan Carter III made his way to the ring to challenge any member of the TNA roster to a match a Lockdown since his scheduled opponent Kurt Angle was obviously out of the picture. And the man who answered the call was a real shocker… BOBBY LASHLEY! Yes, Bobby Lashley returned to TNA and basically kicked Ethan Carter’s ass. The man never took place, but it was an impressive beatdown regardless. I don’t know what TNA’s plans are with Bobby considering his MMA career, but it might be real nice to see Lashley in mainstream wrestling again. I doubt he’ll be going after the title due to his other commitments but he can provide a lot of star power for TNA that can still go in the ring – at least that’s what I’d like to believe is the case.

 

Tigre Uno vs Manik

Damn, these two put on a show. The star attraction of this match was obviously the debuting Tigre Uno, but Manik looked impressive as ever and the two were able to match each other very well with pace. Especially with the fast paced chain wrestling at the start of the match. Really well coordinated. A lot of cool moments from both athletes. Tigre Uno looked really good in this match and I just love his finisher the Sabretooth which got the win on Manik. I really hope that Tigre Uno does well in TNA because he honestly has the skills to have a fantastic career in the impact zone!

 

Gunner vs James Storm in a Steel Cage Last Man Standing Match!

I love a good old fight with a lot of intensity involved and this certainly provided that intensity. Hell it started outside the cage when Storm and Gunner came to blows during Gunner’s entrance. They did a bit of damage outside the cage including a suplex to the floor by Gunner. With a low blow and a steel cage door slam to the head, Storm takes advantage and the match begins. A lot of hard-hitting shots involved…. instead of that one bit where I think Gunner hit Storm with the side part of the steel steps and Storm sold it as if he got hit by bulldozer. I think Gunner actually did a F5 during this match. A sloppy one mind you, but I appreciate the effort. It had a bit of a lame ending with the superplex to the chairs which didn’t look that effective of a finish to me. It was Gunner that hit it and was able to beat the 10 count while Storm was down for the count… literally.

 

Madison Rayne (c) vs Gail Kim for the Knockouts Championship

Better than average women’s match is all I can about this match. It was much better than anything that WWE could deliver even on their best day these days. But of all the gimmick women’s matches TNA has done over the years, this doesn’t stack high in them matches. Other than the neckbreaker off the ropes, I don’t remember much special moments from the match. Kinda disappointed Gail didn’t pick up a win but Madison rolls on.

 

Magnus (c) vs Samoa Joe for the TNA World Championship

I’m sorry but when I was watching this match back, I had so many difficulties watching it. I could barely watch it in sync that much and it was proper annoying sitting through it. Regardless, it was an OK match which the fans ate up. A lot of brutality from both men but a lame ass ending with Abyss getting involved and helping Magnus. I would have liked it if Magnus got a clean victory once in a while. I mean for Abyss to come and bail Magnus out was so annoying to me because it happens over and over again. Abyss being the corporate tool – like I haven’t seen that a dozen times already in TNA.

 

Lethal Lockdown: Team MVP vs Team Dixie for Control of TNA Operations

I’m not going to lie… does NOT stack up to previous Lethal Lockdowns at all. I mean the Wolves, Aries and MVP did their best but there wasn’t much exciting points to the match. And the Bully Ray twist as the special referee and the double cross was not exactly surprising once we saw him come out. I prefer Bully Ray as a heel to be honest. It’ll be interesting to see Bully go up against Dixie, but after that I don’t know how affective he’ll be as a face.

 

Not a lot of words from me, but it was a decent Lockdown event. Definitely a watch. I’m sorry I didn’t go into much depth with this. As of publishing date, I’ve haven’t had any sleep at all (And trust me. That’s NOT an exaggeration)! Also Uni work has proper limited my work rate for wrestling stuff. I haven’t been able to do columns for NoDQ.com as frequently as I hoped and I do apologize to any readers of the Robinson Rumble. I don’t think I’ll be able to do much more any time soon. Fortunately I’m off in April, so expect a lot of content during that month. 🙂

TNA Lockdown 2014 Predictions

Wooooaaaaaahhhhhhh Ooooooooooooo! Making predictions on Saturday! Woooooooaaaaaahhhhh Oooooooooooo! Making predictions on Saturday TONIGHT!

With every match taking place inside a steel cage, a lot of carnage is to be expected. Who will walk away with the TNA World Championship? Which promotions will get the bragging rights? Who’ll be the last man standing? And who’ll have control of TNA after tonight?

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Ethan Carter III vs ??????

Background: The history between Ethan Carter and ?????? has been brewing for quite some time. But for last month or two, EC3 has been targeting the Olympic Gold medalist Kurt Angle, attacked Angle and injuring his leg. At Kurt Angle’s Hall Of Fame ceremony, Angle challenged EC3 to a match at Lockdown which was booked for Lockdown. However, there was a slight change of plans when Angle suffered a torn MCL once again at the hands of EC3. However, EC3 was still on the Lockdown with opponent being the mighty ??????? this sunday!

What Should Happen?: Well why not give Ethan Carter III the big win on the PPV he was likely due in the first place.

What Will Happen?: I personally believer that whoever TNA put in Ethan Carter III’s way will get beaten because of the fact they’re still putting him in a match on the card. If Angle was fit and healthy, I assume EC3 would have won so unless they have something out of the blue lined up for him, I don’t see the outcome being any different. Ethan Carter III beats ??????? 😉

 

Tigre Uno vs Manik

Background: No real background to this match other than the fact that it’s Tigre Uno’s debut in TNA.

What Should Happen?: Give the new guy the victory. Tigre Uno wins.

What Will Happen?: Tigre Uno wins. NEXT!

 

Interpromotional Six Man Tag Team Match: Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Kazarian) and Chris Sabin vs The Great Muta, Sanada and Nakanoue

Background: A talent exchange between TNA and Japanense promotion Wrestle-1 is underway, and Lockdown will be able to showcase some this talent in action. Among these in action in a six man tag team match include Nakanoue and Wrestle-1 Owner and legendary wrestler The Great Muta. Teaming up with them is Sanada, who defeated Austin Aries at the interpromotional Kaisen: Outbreak event to win the X-Division Championship. The next day, Sanada was confirmed to be a mainstay in TNA. However, he still represents Wrestle-1 in a six man steel cage match  against “Bad Influence” Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, and former X-Division Champion Chris Sabin. Can the Wrestle-1 stars topple TNA’s top X-Division stars?

What Should Happen?: It’d be a REAL dick move for TNA to invite Wrestle-1 over for them to kick their asses. Give the new X-Division and his teammates the victory to get this partnership off on a bang.

What Will Happen?: The Wrestle-1 guys win.

 

Gunner vs James Storm in a Steel Cage Last Man Standing match

Background

What should happen?: I’d like to see Gunner get the win, considering it would be cool for him to look strong despite failing to win the title.

What Will Happen?: I’ve got a gut feeling that James Storm will win because I see this feud PROPERLY starting off with Storm getting a cheap victory over Gunner. I know you’re asking “How can you get a cheap victory in a last man standing match?” and my only answer is interference from Bobby Roode, which I think could happen.

 

Madison Rayne (c) vs Gail Kim for the TNA Knockouts Championship

Background

What Should Happen?: I’m not gonna lie, Madison Rayne has never really been a girl that impressed me that much. I’m a huge Gail Kim mark and it does seem weird to have her without that title. However, the new champion should be the one who wins this. I think a month long title reign will not do the Knockouts title much justice.

What Will Happen?: Normally, I’d say the new champion would win. However, with all the title changes with the X-Division title it’s not that clear-cut for me to say. I’ve got a gut feeling that Gail Kim is going to regain the gold somehow, so I’m going with my gut. Gail Kim wins.

 

Samuel Shaw vs Mr Anderson

Background

What Should Happen?: Damn, this thing with Samuel Shaw has been good. It definitely makes sense for Samuel Shaw to win. They’ve got something… beautiful – with a character like his.

What Will Happen?: Sorry Ken. I don’t see anything else happening other than Samuel Shaw picking up the win.

 

Lethal Lockdown: Team MVP (MVP, Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards and Jeff Hardy… or is it Willow?) vs Team Dixie Carter (Bobby Roode, Robbie E, Jessie and Austin Aries) – Winning Team Gets Control Of TNA Operations

Rules: Two men from each team will start off the Lethal Lockdown match locked in the cage. Then, after every 5 minutes, each team will take turns in having a member enter the cage. This will continue until all 8 men have entered the cage. Once all 8 guys have entered, the first team to get a pinfall or submission wins. Team Dixie will have the “man advantage”, meaning that they will gain an advantage on Team MVP by having their men enter the match before the MVP guys do. Basically, the entrant order will be – Team Dixie, Team MVP, Team Dixie, Team MVP, Team Dixie, Team MVP, Team Dixie, Team MVP.

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What Should Happen?: Team MVP wins.

What Will Happen?: It’d be awful strange for TNA to bring MVP in and not have his team win.

 

Magnus (c) vs Samoa Joe for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship

Background

What Should Happen?: I’m a bit torn. I’m fans of both guys. It’s been too long since Samoa Joe last won the TNA World Title, but Magnus’ reign has been really good so far. I’d like to see that continue, so I’m going to have to go with Magnus. But if anyone’s going to dethrone Magnus, it has to be Samoa Joe.

What Will Happen?: Magnus retains I think.

 

 

2013 NoDQ.com Awards – My Vote For… Feud of the Year

Continuing on the NoDQ.com awards posts! Sorry I haven’t posted in a couple of days. I’m a bit behind… FEUD OF THE YEAR!

NOMINATIONS ARE…

 

CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman

The Shield vs. Team Hell No

Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton

The Rock vs. CM Punk

AJ Styles vs. Bully Ray

Rhodes Family vs. The Authority

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A problem with a lot of these feuds that they were either good but very short or boring and far too long. Punk/Heyman went on for way too long and just began to get boring as Ryback got brought into the fold. Rock vs Punk was an alright feud with some great verbal exchanges between the two, but their matches were awful. Bryan vs Orton was brought down badly by the staleness of their matches and the involvement of the Big Show which quite frankly was uncalled for. AJ vs Bully Ray was ruined by Dixie Carter’s involvement, The Shield and Team Hell-No’s feud was something which was carried on from the year before and although the matches were good, the feud just became all about Daniel Bryan which affected the other members of the feud. The Rhodes Family vs The Authority were really good but it was ended too early and I wish this had continued further.

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The feud which I prefered the most and will give the award to was the Rhodes vs Authority but it doesn’t really seem to be a proper Feud of the Year if you know what I mean. There were no real feuds this year that really stood out and these were all very short feuds except for Punk vs Heyman. WWE and TNA seriously need to improve in this area.

Winner: Rhodes Family vs The Shield