Total Divas Season One Review – The Main Cast

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Total Divas debuted in 2013 on E!, capitalising on a more realistic age for WWE in terms of social relevance and mainstream media. This was their take on reality television, featuring the top divas from WWE. Your favourites divas from the Bellas to Natalya had their personal lives brought to our television screens.

There were a fair amount of wrestling fans (including wrestlers like Dolph Ziggler) who were against the reality show with the show focusing a lot more on the entertainment than the sports in sports entertainment. It was soap opera storylines that never seemed to sit right with hardcore wrestling fans.

For female viewers however, it was completely new territory. Coming after the Kardashians on E!, they could seize an opportunity to attract casual viewers on E! to their main WWE product. Whether it worked is still up for debate, considering RAW ratings are at their all-time lowest. And no, I’m not blaming Total Divas for the reasons RAW ratings have went down!

I’m just saying that the chances of many E! viewers suddenly becoming interested in RAW and SmackDown! after watching this are extremely unlikely when looking at the numbers.

With that being said, the show is still on the air as of 2017 and even a Total Bellas spin-off has been premiered. So it seems E! are happy with the ratings of this show!

Reality shows aren’t really something I’d ever watch and I’d been hugely disappointed by the reality shows I’ve seen before this. However, could this female-tailored reality show about the women of wrestling turn me around?

I’ve finished watching the full first season of this show and will provide a follow-up in-depth review of the season after this article. In the mean time, I wanted to produce a blog post basically looking at the characters of the show.

There were seven divas cast as the leads for this series – Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Natalya, Naomi, Cameron, Eva Marie and JoJo. One by one, we will break down each female’s involvement on the show, their likeability factor and whether they are actually good television characters for this show. SPOILERS for season 1 of Total Divas are to be expected…

Nikki Bella

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The “star” of the show as well as the then-boyfriend to John Cena. Most of Nikki’s storylines revolve around John Cena as well as certain episodes where she fights with Brie and, to an extent, Eva Marie. Nikki is the centre of the majority of episodes, with the Bella hoping to take things with John to the next level. It’s very easy for me to see how a character like this would be interesting to a female viewer, with typical soap-opera storylines about love and marriage. Everyone has a storyline like this on the show but Nikki’s relationship with John is the biggest.

I, as a man, personally do not connect with Nikki’s storyline. It comes off as an extreme negative with Nikki’s almost dead-pan delivery of subjects that your average dude is not going to be interested in. Visually, she comes off appealing to men which I guess is a fine way to garner some interest from that audience. The issue overall with Nikki is the superficial nature of her character that makes her seem just like any other E! reality show lead like Kim Kardashian. I could see why an E! viewer may find that attractive but from a narrative standpoint, it puts her in a tough writer’s block with her character. Are we just going to keep to doing the same storyline with her and Cena going into the 2018 episodes where Cena actually proposes?

 

Brie Bella 

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I personally really like Brie Bella. Maybe it’s down to Daniel Bryan’s affect on her or how bad Nikki looks in comparison but this is the type of girl that, if I met in real life, I could see myself having a positive conversation with her. Brie is one of the more mature women on the show, even in her “Brie Mode” state. In one particular episode, she has a heart-to-heart with Natalya when they’re all drinking in Vegas and Brie comes off extremely composed.

In the rare times that she comes off unlikable, it mostly feels extremely forced like with Natalya (which I’ll get to later) and therefore, doesn’t strike me as real. I’d like to think that Brie on this show is exactly like Brie would be in real life. Maybe that’s me giving the show the benefit of the doubt but whatever… as long as I have characters that I can find likeable!

 

Natalya

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I mentioned that some of the unlikablity factors on this show feels extremely forced upon. Natalya is the biggest victim of this. Natalya never struck me as an unlikable person whenever I’ve seen her on RAW, SmackDown! or in any other setting, prior to watching this show. Watching this show however, Natalya strikes me as having more “bitchy” storylines than anyone else.

She constantly complains about other women taking her spot on television, not getting enough attention for her husband TJ Wilson (Tyson Kidd) and the work of other women in general. She comes off as irrational in a lot of cases, like when she sees TJ working with Eva Marie and then decides to feel up Fandango to get TJ jealous. TJ and Eva act all professional just training while Natalya overreacts.

Again, it’s hard to believe that Natalya is actually this awful in real life which is an issue. In this show, Natalya is the “veteran” out of everyone and you’d think would be the voice of wisdom to the younger talent. Instead, she outright complains about them. We hardly get to she her in an advisory role which would make for better storylines, particularly for the newbies.

 

Trinity (Naomi) 

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Naomi doesn’t particular strike me as interesting character but at least she comes off somewhat as a fun character. Naomi basically buckles down and works hard, trying to work her way onto television the old fashion way. She is a witness to her partner’s shenanigans on the road while in a relationship with Jonathan Fatu (Jimmy Uso).

Naomi’s specific storylines however are pretty hard to enjoy especially when it’s regarding her relationship with Jon. Naomi has to put up with a demanding boyfriend in Jon, who himself is irrational in a lot of different scenarios. He’s upset that Naomi is not wearing her engagement ring, upset when Naomi allows her dad to stay with them for a little bit and upset that Naomi is set to be in a romantic angle on television. Naomi having to put up with this nonsense rubs off badly on her storylines as you mostly want her in a background role more than having her own storylines with Jon. I guess her stuff with Cameron is somewhat tolerable but there’s not too many storylines of the Funkadactyls actually working together.

 

Ariane (Cameron)

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The Cameron character on Total Divas is a very much welcome part of season one of Total Divas. Why’s that? Well Cameron is the only character on the show who actually strikes me as unique. In professional wrestling itself, you need a wide variety of characters that make people stand out and be recognised. On television, this is even more important. All the other girls are almost interchangeable and similar in terms of their storylines which really kills interest in them.

While Cameron does have similar storylines, her mannerisms on the show are a one-on-a-kind. It’s a person that you’d never believe would actually exist in the real world and that’s what reality television shows should be about. Her casual drops of catchphrases like “thebomb.com” and “girl bye” as well as the outlandish ideas she has for the likes of her boyfriend Vinny just makes her “must-see” TV. She’s so crazy that it’s a change in pace from everyone else and she’s one of those people that you look at and would honestly want to hang out with for a day to see the world from their eyes. She’s tremendous!

 

Eva Marie

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The most hated woman on this show for many viewers but NOT as unlikable as you’d think. In fact, there’s actually not a lot wrong that Eva does. Her most “unlikable” traits are just being stupid… that’s it. I don’t know if Eva is actually like this in real life and I’d like to think that she isn’t but her unlikeness comes from just the plain ignorance and laziness she portrays on this show.

Things like pretending to be an experienced dancer so she can be on television and not being able to pronounce future WWE World Champion Jinder Mahal’s name (she, in fact, called him “Ginger Mahal”) doesn’t strike me as things I want to see but I guess, as a rookie, Eva needs to do these things from a narrative standpoint. A “learn from your mistakes” character if you will. Other than that, she actually doesn’t do anything wrong to other people. She does brag a lot about several opportunities but it mostly leads to characters like JoJo getting all jealous and it’s really not Eva’s fault that they get jealous of it. If you consider being an idiot the same as being unlikable, then Eva probably wouldn’t sit well. Otherwise, not TOO much wrong with Eva at this point.

 

JoJo Offerman

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JoJo was clearly a character they gave up on in the middle of the season or possibly early on during the production of the series. JoJo wasn’t particular an interesting character and her particular storyline is mostly an extension’s of Eva’s. They’re both the rookies so either JoJo is watching Eva during these shenanigans or she becomes jealous of Eva’s success. JoJo’s deadpan reactions to Eva’s success with the likes of Maxim does not make JoJo come off well. In fact, she comes off WORSE than Eva in a lot of these episodes.

JoJo seems like a girl that treats these issues by stropping around like a teenager (which she technically is during this season… she was 19) and not being mature enough around the adults. JoJo is essentially every young girl that wanted to hang out with her older sister’s friends but was told she wasn’t old enough. Even during the Vegas episode, she clearly just seemed more of a burden to Eva in particular while being unable to drink. With all this in mind, it’s pretty clear why she would be dropped from the main cast in the next season.

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Overall, the casting of women for the show is somewhat disappointing. There’s nothing particularly wrong with these women but there’s not lot of interest for the actual character’s unless you’re REALLY into the Nikki Bella storyline with John Cena for example. If you are, more power to you. These girls don’t really stand out as fun and interesting, giving you hardly any interest in them in the sense that you’re not going to bend over backwards to find out what happens to them next. Cameron is the only character so unique and out-of-this-world that gives you that feeling.

The show’s attempt to make the girls bicker constantly about petty things don’t really strike me as massive selling points for the show, which makes one refuse to rally behind a character like Natalya as she complains about the work of the other women. The Bellas seem the most INTO the show in terms of their “performances” but Nikki’s constant troubles over John Cena and Brie being witness to this isn’t a particular healthy relationship from a narrative storyline. Why should I care about Brie if the show is just to be centred around her sister? Brie’s engagement to Daniel Bryan was suddenly into an arc in the season finale where Nikki wants Cena to marry her.

Then there’s the newbies, who are a little hit and miss in a lot of ways. Eva, I guess, is the closest to Cameron in terms of having a unique character… not a likeable one, but still unique. JoJo, on the other hand, became more of a burden on the show in terms of scrambling to put together storylines for her. This, of course, leads to her removal from the show all together. Nice try JoJo, but it didn’t seem to work.

If you’re watching this show, I guess it’s mostly not for the individual character’s themselves. The writers’ biggest issue is making each of these women stand out in their own right. Each of them have similar storylines with their men, their work in the ring and with each other as spats spill out between the girls. I guess each of them provide at least something to meet all three of those things but it’s gonna take a lot more for me to personal be invested into the storylines of them individually.

Stay tuned to the Armbar Express as a I give you the full review of season one of Total Divas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

19/10/2015 RAW PREVIEW – Can WWE Turn Ratings Around With Top Stars In Texas?

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here once again to talk about RAW. The pressure is on for the writers of WWE as they are coming off record-low ratings for their flagship show. With ratings at their lowest since 1997, Vince is reportedly “freaking out” over ratings which has not done them any favours leading up to Hell in a Cell. It’s also not doing them any favours that they’ve not been able to promote the main event of that show due to availability issues for both Undertaker and Brock Lesnar.

Have no fear though, both men are here for tonight’s edition of RAW in Texas. This RAW is crucial for the writers as it is the go-home show for the PPV. They certainly don’t want to go into Hell in a Cell with low ratings so they’ve brought out a number of big guns tonight. Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels are advertised alongside Undertaker and Brock Lesnar for RAW. Whether Stone Cold Steve Austin will be appearing tonight is still up in the air as it seems that not even Stone Cold knows what he’s doing tonight!

We do know that he’ll be doing his podcast with Brock Lesnar as his guest after RAW which could very well be great to watch. What Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will do tonight is interesting. If Brock is scheduled for the podcast, it’d be strange if Brock and Taker got into a huge brawl or something on RAW. It’s not like Brock will be walking into the podcast and selling an attack from Taker. But you never know…

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What we don’t know is what John Cena will be doing at Hell in a Cell. So far, he is not advertised for the PPV. He’s not currently scheduled for a match but his match could easily be announced tonight. With his current feud with Dolph Ziggler, it’s likely that Cena vs Ziggler for the US Championship will be announced for the PPV. Cena could still do his US Open challenge tonight but he’ll likely retain to lead into the PPV.

There’s a few more matches that will no doubt be built up for Hell in a Cell. Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt is a match I’m looking forward to. The build-up so far has been a bit comme ci comme ca and it’s had it’s ups and downs. I hope there’s some kind of brawl tonight because I feel that’s the only way this rivalry should have been built up. Their strongest segments during their program has been because of the fans’ desire to see these two just beat the hell out of each other. If they fight tonight, that’s going to build up Sunday’s fight up very well.

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There’s a number of title matches lined up for the PPV too. There needs to be some serious work done for the Intercontinental Championship match. Ryback and Kevin Owens have barely done anything with each other since Kevin won the title. There’s got to be some kind of confrontation. Charlotte vs Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship will also need a bit of work done. I’ve not really thought highly of the Divas Revolution storyline since Paige cut her worked shoot on the RAW after Night of Champions. Charlotte’s not really been that impressive as champion yet and Nikki Bella has just annoyed me with her lack of emotion after losing her title. There’s not a lot going for this feud so unless they add Paige to the title match (which I highly doubt they’ll do), I think the interest into this match will quickly dissipate.

There’s also the true highlight of the show in the New Day. I can’t wait to see what antics those three will be up to tonight! So far, their tag title defence against the Dudleyz is currently just a regular match. However, the tables stipulation could easily be added tonight. Then there’s the final week of the Kane vs Seth Rollins feud. I had a entire article prepared on Seth but I should mention it now just before RAW… Seth NEEDS to win a match tonight. Seth’s record since Night of Champions has been so shameful that it’s incredible that their champion is being booked this way. I know with the other two Hell in a Cell matches, there’s not a lot of pressure on Kane and Seth. However, Seth needs to look credible. If Kane completely dominates this week, Seth’s credibility would be crippled. If Seth is going to be as featured as prominently as he usually is on RAW, he needs to do something of value to justify all of this time he’s given. He needs a pin over “Demon Kane” to lead into the PPV.

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I think this RAW could EASILY be one of the strongest RAWs of the year. I know that’s not saying much considering the quality of RAWs this year hasn’t been all that great, but it needs to be. With Lesnar, Taker, Flair, Austin and Michaels all under the same roof in Dallas, something’s got to give. This could be the ratings boost WWE needs but only if they capitalise on the stars that have come together in Texas. The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. If the WWE allows these stars to shine big and bright tonight, it could be just the boost they need….

Should WWE Do John Cena Vs Dolph Ziggler?

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One of the rumoured future storylines that’s apparently on the horizon for WWE is as a result of the events of the season finale of Total Divas. This storyline has actually been endorsed by WWE legend Mick Foley and might actually do a decent job of making a start out of one of the wrestlers involved. That’s mostly due to the fact that he’s feuding with the man that has consistently been the WWE’s franchise star for the last 10 years. The rumour is that WWE are discussing plans to begin a feud between John Cena and Dolph Ziggler with the storyline being centred about someone that has dated both men… Nikki Bella.

It’s started off as just small rumours. I haven’t seen Total Divas (yet, but that’s a venture for another time!) but what I can gather from it was that Dolph Ziggler admitted that he was still interested in ex-girlfriend Nikki Bella. My first reaction was… “Wait… Dolph Ziggler dated Nikki Bella?” I did some research and it turns out… they did! According to former WWE diva Maria, there was an incident involving her and Nikki which resulted in heat between the Bellas after she was caught hanging out with Ziggler.

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Mick Foley is convinced that this sort of angle is the kind of thing that Dolph Ziggler needs. Here’s what he posted on Facebook:

“Properly executed, a Dolph Ziggler/John Cena feud could be HUGE! The MOMENT I saw the teaser for the ‪#‎TotalDivas‬ finale – with Dolph, the very real-life former boyfriend of Nicki Bella, telling his former flame he could be a husband and a father – I literally yelled “THAT’S THE ANGLE! THIS IS WHAT ZIGGLER NEEDS!” into my living room. There’s no doubt in my mind that a vicious (as opposed to cool) Ziggler with Nicki Bella by his side could be THE man in ‪#‎WWE‬. Tell me what you think. Will this dream scenario see the light of day?”

It’s interesting because WWE have done a number of storylines in the past to tie-in to the events of Total Divas. However, those storylines really just involved the women involved in the program. Few male wrestlers are effected. However, now it’s different. I mean now we are talking about Dolph Ziggler and JOHN CENA of all people. Surely Dolph would have turn heel in order to make this storyline work. It’d also be strange to see John Cena’s WWE storylines being centred around a reality show.

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Dolph Ziggler would caught in a very sticky situation. Dolph Ziggler is currently in a storyline where he is “dating” Lana but also “flirting” with Rusev’s “girlfriend” Summer Rae. Personally, I would be OVER THE MOON if they dropped this storyline tomorrow. Rusev’s career is slowly being crippled by that storyline and it would be great to just see Lana return to her position by Rusev’s side. I’m sure they’ll be much better things for Summer Rae to do to as well. She could join up with Sasha Banks again! However, if they dropped this storyline and Ziggler enters the love traingle with Cena and Nikki, how confusing would this be to the fans?

If this storyline actually happens, then Ziggler will have had two romance storylines in a row. In fact, Cena and Ziggler were both in a romance angle storyline together three years ago! That’s not great for Dolph. His character has been mostly interested with getting with every chick on the roster rather than actually competing for championships! If the US Championship were also involved, that’d be fine. However, why include Nikki Bella if that’s the case? Having Ziggler and Cena fight for a title and a woman could hurt the image of the title if those two think it’s better to fight for the affection of Nikki. A great example of this was during Kurt Angle’s feud with Triple H over Stephanie McMahon. At Summerslam 2000, The Rock defended the WWF title against both men. However, the story of the match was centred around Stephanie, Kurt and HHH. Therefore, The Rock’s championship was taking a back seat to the love traingle storyline which hurt the main event of the show. I don’t want John Cena’s US Championship to take a back seat a love traingle involving himself, Nikki and Ziggler.

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I would much rather Cena simply drop the title before getting involved in a storyline like this but he provides so much to the product with his US title Open Challenge. I wouldn’t want his title taking a back seat to this love traingle but I wouldn’t want him to drop the belt. I think with that in mind, this feud really shouldn’t be happening.

I’m sure that Dolph Ziggler could become a big star off of this storyline. However, WWE RAW is not a show centred around soap operas. It’s centred around competition and entertainment. If people wanted to watch soap opera storylines, they are not going to watch RAW. They’d watch something like Scandal or anything else with that kind of storyline. They would not watch three wrestlers involved in that situation. They want those wrestlers… to fight.

The Divas Revolution Post-WWE Night Of Champions Report

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How’s it going everyone? Thomas Robinson here again, to bring you another blog post on the “Divas Revolution” of WWE. A lot’s happened since I last wrote about it. Last time I wrote about it, it was about why I felt Charlotte should not have won the Divas Championship at Night of Champions. A lot has happened since then with regards to the storyline in the divas division.

There’s three women which I want to talk about in-depth. I’ll be talking about the likes of Natalya and Team B.A.D, but my main focus will be on the new Divas Champion Charlotte, the former Divas Champion Nikki Bella and Paige, who recently turned heel. These three will also likely be the focus point of the storyline in the next month so it’s important to look at their roles since Night of Champions.

The biggest thing coming from this storyline since Charlotte won the Divas Championship has been Paige’s heel turn. My intentions were to do a piece on her “PaigeBomb” in a separate blog post. However, the piece I wrote up for it got lost on WordPress somehow. It was incredibly unfortunate but I’ll run it down what I wrote for you briefly. That promo breathed life back into this storyline.

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The main reason why it was so effective was that it finally addressed the elephant in the room with regards to this storyline. This storyline was failing because the fans were not able to connect with these characters as a result of WWE’s attempts to promote all the divas at the same time. With this promo, Paige finally turned the attention away from the teams and onto the actual women involved in the storyline. Paige and Charlotte were the first two women to actually gain exposure as individual characters (well other than Nikki Bella, which we’ll get onto later).

Paige was already an established diva before this storyline began, but Charlotte wasn’t. When the whole team scenario was first introduced, the women were reduced to “tag lines” which took away from their actually personality. Charlotte was Ric Flair’s daughter and Paige was “the English one.” Now, they’re starting to break out on their own. The only one that hasn’t yet is Becky Lynch and we’ll get to her later on too.

The point is, when Paige called out Charlotte for only being in WWE because of her father, it suddenly started to come together. Charlotte now must prove to Paige and all the other doubters that she is her because she’s actually good. She might have the blood of a Hall-Of-Famer but she has the heart of the champion. Charlotte must now evolve to being a fighting champion and a freshly heel Paige is the perfect foil for Charlotte to properly evolve as a character.

Therefore, her championship win suddenly starts to make sense. The reason for this is because the face Charlotte must now prove herself to the critics and that she is not just a placeholder champion. Thumbs up to Paige on this front as she’s now giving Charlotte a much greater meaning.

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The best way to deal with your problems is to address them head on. Through Paige, WWE has addressed the issues with the Divas Revolution. It’s kind of like they’re mocking their own attempts at the storyline, as no-one is really caring about it. The best way to deal with your own mistakes is to make fun of it. I was taught as a student of Multimedia Journalism at Teesside University that if you mess up during a live broadcast, just make fun of it! Frantically trying to change the subject or making people forget about it is not the answer. Laugh at yourself and people will appreciate you for not trying to run away from it. That’s what WWE sort of did through Paige.

They’ve laid all the issues out there, giving Paige and the rest of the divas more content to work with. Paige called out Natalya for not showing up. Hell, Natalya mentioned during an interview that she was not sure why she was not involved in the Divas Revolution. Paige wanted Natalya to appear and she did. She’s also playing a role in this storyline and helps the character development of Paige at the same time.

There’s still a few issues with the storyline that do need to be addressed. Sure, Paige and Charlotte are doing fine right now but how about everyone else?

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Becky Lynch has been reduced to being the third wheel of Team PCB, caught in the middle of this conflict between Paige and Charlotte. To be fair to Becky, her delivery during the MizTV segment on this week’s RAW was actually really good. She was awesome when throwing away the Miz’s microphone and talking trash to Alicia Fox. However, she still plays a very small role compared to Paige and Charlotte.

I felt so bad for Brie Bella and Alicia Fox during the MizTV segment on RAW. In fact, I’ve felt bad for them both during this entire storyline. This storyline was meant to promote all the divas and yet the only purpose Brie and Alicia have is to support Nikki. When Nikki Bella was talking about how great she was on RAW, Brie and Alicia just stood their with zero reaction. Nikki’s not even talking about Brie and Alicia. From a storyline perspective, shouldn’t Brie and Alicia be a little annoyed at Nikki’s total disregard for them? I know that’s an important part of Nikki’s character, to be as selfish as possible. However, all Brie and Alicia are there for is to support to Nikki’s character. This means that they are just outsiders that really don’t matter at all to the storyline. That’s not good. Only Brie is getting a mention or two and that’s only because of who she’s dating. Brie’s not had a chance to retort but Nikki has (on interviews and stuff). It makes Brie and Alicia seem so insignificant.

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Team B.A.D. really don’t add much to the storylines themselves anymore. Small SmackDown! Spoiler coming… they actually do beat the Bellas in a six man tag team match this week! All they are doing though is chalking up small victories over these feuding teams. Surely that’d contribute to the storyline, if the Team B.A.D. weren’t held in such low regard by the WWE. Sasha Banks started off hot in this storyline but now they’ve killed her momentum. She and the rest of Team B.A.D. didn’t show up on RAW this week. Really, it’s not great news in the WWE if you’re anyone but a member of PCB or Team Bella. This actually brings me to Natalya, who is not affiliated with any groups in the Divas Revolution.

I personally love the fact that Natalya is back on television. Not only that, but she’s actually involved in the storyline. They didn’t do her much justice by having Naomi pin her in her first match back. However, she’s got a place in the storyline which is totally independent from any group. She’s friends with the PCB and she was friends with Paige, but she’s not there as part of a team. However, Natalya’s role is exactly the same role as all the other divas play in this storyline.

Their role is to basically support the stories of Paige, Charlotte and Nikki Bella. The only stars are Paige, Charlotte and Nikki Bella and everyone else is meaningless. That’s probably my biggest criticism of this storyline, other than Nikki Bella. We’ll get to Nikki after this. Natalya is there to give Paige words of wisdom. Becky is there to be the third wheel of PCB, watching on as her two best friends feud. Brie and Alicia are there to support Nikki. Team B.A.D. is there to have matches with the two other teams. They play supporting roles in this storyline which is really centred around the three women fighting over the Divas title. That’s not healthy for this division, which is not healthy for this storyline. What’s also not healthy for this storyline is the role played by Nikki Bella, the former Divas Champion.

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Think about this. At Night Of Champions, the longest Divas Championship reign ever came to an end after Nikki Bella tapped out to Charlotte. It’s a heartbreaking experience for any champion to lose the title they’ve worked so hard to defend. Any UFC fighter will tell you how disappointing it is to lose the title. On the last two editions of RAW, Nikki seemed unmoved by the fact that she was no longer champion.

This really annoyed me for a number of reasons. Leading into Night of Champions, Nikki Bella made it incredibly clear that wins and losses don’t matter and it was all about the Divas title. Her biggest argument for being “on top” of the Divas division is that she had the gold. JBL mentioned this argument OVER AND OVER again on commentary. That was her biggest claim to fame. However when it was taken away from her, she brushed it aside like it meant nothing. She even said on RAW that all reigns come to an end. That’s what really damaged this storyline.

Nikki basically diminished the importance of the championship that a month ago, she could not help but talk about. She’s doing a great job as a heel, but what she said was so hurtful to the division. What Nikki is saying is hurting the title reign of Charlotte. Sure, Nikki should knock Charlotte. She should be claiming things like Charlotte pulled off a fluke. However, she should not be suggesting that the title is not important unless Nikki is the one holding it. That’s just wrong.

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Nikki’s reactions to dropping the title is also bad for another reason. When you think about the long title reigns that have occurred in that past five years, how many times are those champions shown to being angry at losing the title? When CM Punk’s 434 day title reign came to an end, he was irate the next night on RAW. He even went through a phrase of claiming that he was still the champion for god’s sake. He couldn’t accept the fact that he was no longer champion. That’s how much the championship meant to Punk.

When Brock Lesnar lost the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, he responded by destroying everyone the next night on RAW. That’s how champion should feel… angry that his/her title reign is over. However, Nikki Bella was just smiling like nothing happened in the last two editions of RAW. She was acting like it meant nothing as she’s just got her rematch. I don’t care if she does have a rematch. She should be upset that she lost the championship but she isn’t.

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It’s insane how much Nikki Bella was freaking out when no-one went to her “Bellabration” on SmackDown! a few weeks ago. When she lost the title, that’s how she should have been reacting. Instead, she was smiling and making fun of Charlotte and taking credit for the Divas Revolution. How is taking credit for the “Divas Revolution” more important to these women than you know… BEING DIVAS CHAMPION?

You know who Nikki reminds me off, when it comes to no-selling her title loss? John Cena. John Cena hardly ever cares whenever he loses. When he lost the US title at Summerslam, he was more mad at Jon Stewart. To give him credit, he actually was wanting revenge on the new champion Seth Rollins too. However, his priority was beating up a talk show host rather than getting back his title. I don’t know if John Cena is telling her to do this or not, however I pray that she stops. By completely no-selling her title loss, she’s basically saying that Charlotte’s title win was meaningless.

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So there you go everybody. A very extensive look into the Divas Revolution coming off Night of Champions. Paige has definitely brought a bit of life into the storyline which was starting to sink further and further into the sea of failures. There’s still issues to take care of like Nikki Bella’s actions since losing the title. However, I think once we get past Nikki’s rematch and onto Charlotte vs Paige in a singles feud, things will start to pick up. I know I just complained about  Nikki quite a bit, but I actually don’t mind her at all! Nikki’s probably the best legitimate heel in WWE right now. She’s actually someone that the majority of the WWE Universe hates and is getting legitimate heat from it. That can be used to the storyline’s advantage. However, Nikki’s character showing ignorance to the rest of the divas will hurt them to a great degree.

To read more about my past thoughts on the Divas Revolution, click on the articles below…

Is The Divas Revolution Hurting Nikki Bella’s Championship Reign?

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

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

WWE Night Of Champions 2015 Predictions

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Welcome to the Armbar Express’ Night of Champions 2015 predictions. This is very important PPV for WWE. Coming off Summerslam, the pressure is on for WWE to deliver. It’s not that they’re lacking in star power either. Usually, it’s the case where the WWE programming takes a hit as all the stars are off television. While WWE are without the likes of Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, they’ve got the talent to put together a quality show. The Dudley Boyz have returned to take on the tag team champions and they’ve got a legend in the running for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Many questions will be answered in Houston on Sunday. Will Nikki Bella’s historic title reign come to an end? Will the Dudleyz end the glorious title reign of the New Day? Will Kevin Owens capture his first title as part of the main roster? Will the Rusev and Dolph Ziggler rivalry finally come to an end? Who will Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose’s partner be for their six man tag team match against the Wyatts? And lastly… how many titles will Seth Rollins have by the end of the night? Will Sting make history at Night of Champions?

Rusev w/Summer Rae vs Dolph Ziggler

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Background: Dolph Ziggler returned on RAW to challenge Rusev for a match at Summerslam. The match ended in a double disqualification as a brawl developed between Summer Rae and Lana. Their rematch on RAW eight days later ended pretty much the same way, except that Dolph Ziggler won by disqualification. After the match on RAW, Summer Rae would go into Dolph Ziggler’s locker room and come out screaming as Dolph Ziggler had his towel on. Summer claimed that Dolph had come onto her but Dolph denied it. This led to a MizTV segment on SmackDown! where Lana and Summer brawled once again. Lana ended up getting a legitimate injury as Rusev forgave Summer Rae and blamed Ziggler on television. This would lead to a rematch being announced for Night of Champions.

What Should Happen?: I’ve talked about this angle so many times. I’m not a fan of it AT ALL. If you want to read my thoughts on it, click on this link. The biggest issue is that it’s not helping the careers of Ziggler or Rusev. Therefore, there’s not good reason for having it on television anymore as no one is benefiting from it (well except Summer Rae I guess). I’d pick Rusev to win this match and I hope this storyline is wrapped up. If it were me, I’d have it somehow revealed that Ziggler and Summer didn’t do anything. If Lana will be at the PPV, I hope it’s revealed that LANA actually had an affair… with RUSEV! That way, Rusev and Lana are back together and Lana gets a load of heat off the turn.

What Will Happen?: I don’t think this storyline will end at Night of Champions… sadly. I heard that WWE are planning to keep this storyline going until Lana comes back. I REALLY hope that’s not the case. If that’s the case, then WWE would have to try and keep this storyline going for an additional FOUR MONTHS (which is how long Lana is expected to be out for). I have no idea how WWE could possibly be able to keep this storyline interesting for four months until Lana returns. After all, the storyline started… BECAUSE OF LANA! I think Rusev will win but I think it will be by cheating of some sort.

Ryback (c) vs Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championship

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Background: Ryback retained the Intercontinental Championship at Summerslam while Kevin Owens defeated Cesaro. Kevin would then begin to target Ryback on an episode of SmackDown! Following a few confrontations and an actually decent segment last week on RAW, Kevin Owens vs Ryback for the title was announced for the PPV.

What Should Happen?: Ryback’s title reign has been hurt for a few reasons. He started feuding with the same people for three months when he first became champion. He was also injured in the middle of that program so Ryback’s really not had a chance to really establish himself as a top champion as he’s not had many challengers. I’d like to keep the belt on Ryback but Kevin Owens is going to look so bad if he loses clean to Ryback at Night of Champions. If it were up to me, I’d have Ryback pin Kevin but with Kevin’s foot on the ropes. This could lead to a nice little No Holds Barred match at Hell in a Cell where Kevin could win the title. If Kevin were to win, I’d like to see him actually chase the title. I think it’d make Ryback look crap if he were to lose to Kevin in his first title defense against him. Ryback wins, but due to a bad referee call.

What Will Happen?: Kevin Owens wins. I think that’s what WWE’s plans are for him in Houston.

The New Day (c) vs The Dudley Boyz for the WWE Tag Team Championship

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Background: The Dudleyz returned on the RAW after Summerslam and took out the new WWE Tag Team Champions New Day. The New Day would begin a campaign to “Save The Tables”! The Dudleyz would beat the New Day in a non-title match and would tell the group that they’d defend the titles at Night of Champions against them… if they retained the titles against the Prime Time Players on RAW. The New Day retained, meaning that the Dudleyz vs the New Day was set for the PPV.

What Should Happen?: THE NEW DAY WIN! I don’t care if it is the Dudleyz they are up against. The New Day are the hottest thing going in WWE right now and it would be a shame to see that title reign end at Night of Champions. I love the Dudleyz but they really came back at the wrong time to be in line for a tag title run.

What Will Happen?: The New Day retain. I sense a DQ finish in the works, because I don’t think the WWE want the Dudleyz beaten clean in their first PPV match back.

Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and ??????? vs Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Braun Strowman

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Background: Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns beat Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper at Summerslam. However, Bray brought in the Wyatt Family’s “Black Sheep” in order to turn the tide in their favour. Braun Strowman was introduced and attacked Reigns and Ambrose. A six man tag team match was made for Night of Champions with Dean and Roman needing to look for a partner. On RAW, Roman confirmed that they’ve found their partner and that they were going to kick their asses.

What Should Happen?: It’s been rumoured that WWE are planning on rushing Erick Rowan back so he can be the mystery partner. I hope that’s not the case. Firstly, I’d rather Erick come back when he’s 100% rather than him coming back and working hurt. Secondly, it wouldn’t make any sense for Dean and Roman to pick Erick as their partner. The last time Erick was on TV, he was teaming with Luke Harper. Wouldn’t Dean and Roman suspect that Erick could turn on them if he was the partner? If I had to pick who I think should be the third man, I think it should be someone from NXT like Finn Balor, Samoa Joe or Sami Zayn if he’s ready. Sami would be a great pick.

Regarding the result, I think the Wyatt Family need to pick up the win. They lost at Summerslam and it wouldn’t make them so weak if they were to lose two PPVs in a row.

What Will Happen?: I don’t see the Wyatts picking up the win with this mystery partner business. Roman and Dean’s team win.

Nikki Bella (c) vs Charlotte for the Divas Championship

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Background: Stephanie McMahon called for a Divas Revolution in July, as the NXT women Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks were called onto the main roster. Charlotte and Becky teamed up with Paige to form the PCB and won a three team elimination match at Summerslam. According to Michael Cole, Stephanie McMahon said that the winners of the three team elimination match would get a chance at the Divas title. I can confirm that Stephanie never said anything like that. However, all three members of the PCB took part in a Beat The Clock challenge on RAW. Charlotte won the match to earn a title shot. She was given a title shot on RAW but lost via DQ. The Bella Twins had tried Twin Magic which ended up with Charlotte pinning Brie. However, Steph reversed the decision and Nikki retained the title. This meant that Nikki Bella would break the record for the longest Divas title reign of all time. However, Charlotte still has a title match at Night of Champions. If Nikki Bella gets counted out or disqualified, she will lose the title.

What Should Happen?: Nikki Bella retains and read my article on Charlotte at this link to see why.

What Will Happen?: Charlotte wins the title. From what I can gather from online reports, I think the plan still is for Charlotte to win the title. If that’s the case then WWE should have Nikki retain and make Charlotte chase for the title. However, I don’t see WWE doing that. I don’t think they have the patience to do that.

Seth Rollins (c) vs John Cena for the United States Championship

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Background: Alright, here we go. Match #1 for Seth Rollins. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth beat John Cena for the United States Championship after interference from Jon Stewart… which still annoys me to this day. John Cena would come out two weeks later on RAW to invoke his rematch clause for the US title. This announcement meant that Seth would have to defend both the WWE World and US titles at Night of Champions.

What Should Happen?: John Cena wins. I left a comment on an article for SLTD Wrestling about this. John Cena is best served reigning as US Champion. If he regains the title and the John Cena invitational begins again on RAW, then it’s going to benefit everyone that challenges him for the belt. Cena needs the US title a lot more than Rollins.

What Will Happen?: Cena wins. No doubt in my mind that if Seth’s going to lose a championship, it’s going to be the US title.

Seth Rollins (c) vs Sting for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

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Background: Sting returned on the RAW after Summerslam, declaring his intention of winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Almost immediately, Triple H announced Seth vs Sting for Night of Champions. Sting talked about the WWE World title being the one title that has he’s never won. Sting also stole a statue dedicated to Seth Rollins and ended up breaking the statue. On last week’s RAW, Sting would make Seth tap out in a tag team match and gets all the momentum heading into Night of Champions.

What Should Happen?: Sting wins… via disqualification. Seth Rollins retains the title. I think Seth should be champion for a long time. It’s not going to hurt Seth that much if he loses. However, I think WWE have to build to the moment of Sting winning the WWE World title if that’s what is going to happen.

What Will Happen?: If Seth retains the US Championship, Sting wins the title. If Cena wins the US Championship, Seth retains the title.

That wraps things up for the Night of Champions prediction. I expect this to be a big PPV for WWE. I really hope this does well as it has all the ingredients needed to being one of the best PPVs of the year if done right. If not, Houston… WWE might have a problem.

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Roman Reigns To Surpass CM Punk’s WWE Title Reign?

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One of the biggest things to take away from RAW was the fact that Nikki Bella surpassed AJ Lee’s record for the longest ever Divas Championship reign. Many people weren’t happy with this decision and many felt that Nikki didn’t deserve. I personally don’t agree with the notion that Nikki didn’t deserve it, because she’s had to work really hard to get to where she is right now. She has certainly improved a lot from when she first started out in WWE and has been able to withstand the test of time. However, I really just had an issue with the way her Divas title match with Charlotte ended. You can read all about that on my RAW review at this link.

However, rumours are going around that WWE are planning to break another championship record. It’s not really a record, but Bryan Alvarez believes that CM Punk’s 434 day title reign as WWE Champion could possibly be surpassed very soon. Bryan believes that with WWE and CM Punk currently at odds (the latest development being a WWE doctor suing CM Punk), the WWE doesn’t want to recognize him as the longest reigning WWE Champion of the “modern era”. Bryan believes that WWE is planning on having Roman Reigns’ future WWE Championship win be the start of an even longer run as champion.

Now it’s important to remember everybody that this is merely just speculation. It’s coming from a well-respected wrestling journalist in Bryan Alvarez, but it’s just speculation on what could happen. However, it’s no secret that WWE have been working their ass of push Roman Reigns as the next top guy in WWE. From pushing him as the standout of the Shield to having him win the Royal Rumble, the WWE want Roman Reigns as their next top guy. Considering the physical appearance of Roman Reigns and his portrayal as this legitimate badass, why wouldn’t you want to push him?

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With how CM Punk left the company and the current legal issues with Punk and the WWE doctor, WWE are not that obligated to maintain his title record. If Punk’s not going to be a part of your company for the foreseeable future, then there’s no need to really protect him when you can spend your efforts on building your future talent. This is part of the reason why I sort of agree with WWE having Nikki Bella break AJ Lee’s Divas Championship record. AJ, for whatever reason, is retired as an in-ring performer. AJ’s probably not going to have any working relationship with WWE in the next few years. That’s not to say that AJ has a bad relationship with WWE herself. However, there’s no need to protect AJ when they might as well promote Nikki Bella as the face of the Divas Division. As I mentioned in my piece on Charlotte from a few weeks ago, this will help the other divas going up against Nikki too. The longer that Nikki is champion, the more it well help top faces in the Divas Divison get over as they’re going up against someone with as much heat as Nikki.

However, there’s a big difference between Nikki beating AJ’s record than Roman Reigns breaking CM Punk’s WWE Championship record. There’s a HUGE difference in terms of the prestige of these two belts. I mean we’re talking about Roman Reigns holding the WWE Championship. It’s a risky endevour to take considering that Roman Reigns has never held the WWE Championship before. The original plans for him to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 31 was changed due to fan reactions and how WWE had booked Roman previously. If the whole idea is to have Roman stay out of the title picture for a year and then have him win it at next year’s Wrestlemania, then it will not work nearly as well as WWE thinks it will. In my opinion, this won’t work because Roman won’t be nearly in as good a position to be considered a true title contender.

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In my opinion, Roman’s storylines since Wrestlemania 31 have been very lackluster. For someone that WWE wants to push as their next top star, Roman’s not been helped with the storylines he’s been given. He feuded with the Big Show in a feud that few people cared about. The feud was so badly received that Big Show got a chant of “Please Retire”. He was briefly in the title picture for Payback, but was one of a number of wrestlers going after the gold. He was then reduced to being Dean Ambrose’s sidekick as Dean went for the title at Elimination Chamber and Money In The Bank. He’s then feuded with Bray Wyatt in a feud which has been above average at best. Really, WWE’s not had the best storylines to get him over as a singles star. In fact, most of his feuds have featured him teaming with his buddy Dean Ambrose. Unless either Dean or Roman was to turn heel to set up a program between those two, I don’t see Roman getting a storyline which will get him ready for that push to the WWE World title once more.

If WWE continue to push him like they are, Reigns is not going to get anywhere near that title in 2016. If you’re not a fan of Roman Reigns, then that’s good news for you. Roman’s got all of the credentials needed to ACTUALLY be their next top star. However, WWE’s booking of Reigns in 2015 has been so poor that I don’t think it’s possible that Reigns could get anywhere near to the level where WWE want him to be at.

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After Wrestlemania 31, I posted an article talking about why Wrestlemania 31 could have been the beginning of the end for Roman Reigns. You can find it at this link. A lot of times I will write up an article and when reading it back a few months later or so, I would realise that I was talking all sorts of rubbish. In one of my recent Wrestling Flashbacks, I was very critical of MY OWN review of Hell in a Cell 2012! However, I think I might have been right on this one. The reason I think this is because since then, Roman Reigns has not been booked in such a way that could possibly convince me that he could possibly be WWE World Champion. He’s not had any major storylines which has really made Roman main event material. His feud with Big Show was lame. He did not come off well from the Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose storyline. His feud with Bray Wyatt has been… passable. However, none of these feuds are going to get Roman ready for that big title push.

What’s funny about all of this is that there is somebody that is actually in a great position to surpass CM Punk’s WWE Championship record. What’s funny is that I wrote an article for SLTD Wrestling about this person potentially holding this title until Wrestlemania 32. It’s the person that has all the tools to be a main-eventer for years to come and has been booked really well by WWE in order to do that. His name…. is Seth Rollins.

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I really do encourage everyone reading this to check out my latest article for SLTD Wrestling at this link. In that article, I responded to Jim Ross’ comments from a few months ago about how Seth should be champion until Wrestlemania 32. In most of my article, I agreed with him. If you’re going to have CM Punk’s WWE title reign be beaten by anyone, why not have it be beaten by Seth Rollins? He’s an incredible worker and is incredibly over as the top heel in the company. His mic skills are improving but he’s already got people to help him out if needed. He’s already got the credentials to be the one that surpasses CM Punk and he’s ALREADY champion! Seth’s been champion for six months or so, has been in great programs with Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Sting, and is still rolling on nicely as champion. His reign has been great so far. Look at the people he’s beaten and now he can help elevate others… INCLUDING ROMAN REIGNS!

If WWE truly want to have CM Punk’s title reign surpassed and if they want Roman Reigns to be pushed as their next top guy, they don’t need to have Reigns be the one that surpasses Punk. If they took the time to re-evaluate Roman’s character and figure out what he needs to be pushed that next level, then maybe there’s hope for him. However, WWE have a golden opportunity to help everyone out by simply keeping the belt on one man. By keeping the title on Seth Rollins and by taking considerable care of Roman Reigns’ character, you’ve got a great main event title scene for years to come.