Could Kalisto Be A Star In WWE?

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Contrary to popular belief, wins and losses are vital to those in WWE. While those in WWE are working in a kayfabe world were wins and losses are predetermined, those predetermined wins and losses make a hell of a difference to a wrestler’s rise to or fall from stardom. One win can make you a star. One loss can be the beginning of the end. However, there was one victory recently that sparked interest from the WWE universe and myself.

There were a number of wrestlers involved in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament which were seemingly brought in just to fill up the bracket. Nobody never believed that Titus O’Neil was going to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. There was no reason to believe that Tyler Breeze would win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship a month after debuting on the roster. There was no chance in hell that Kalisto from the Lucha Dragons would ever beat Ryback in the first round right? However, the whole idea of anything can happen in WWE can strike when you least expect it.

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There’s no way that Kalisto could possibly beat Ryback right? Well as the gods of unpredictability would have it, Kalisto beat Ryback in the first round for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament. Quite the shocker to say the least, but was there a lot more to the victory than just to provide a big upset?

Someone like Tyler Breeze getting a huge upset would make sense as he’s just arrived on the main roster. Someone like Kalisto though is different. Kalisto first arrived on the main roster in March as part of the Lucha Dragons. It’s not like Kalisto was ever built up to be a singles star. It did seem that WWE was trying to promote Kalisto as the star of the team as he usually the one tagged in for the hot tags and he’s got the more flashy moves in him than Sin Cara. However, there seemed to be no real intent of pushing him to challenge for the Intercontinental Championship or anything serious like that. He was just another part of the roster.

On the other hand, Ryback had just been coming off losing his Intercontinental title and has received a number of pushes since he was repackaged as Ryback in 2012. When looking at things like that, there was no real reason for Kalisto to beat Ryback at all unless it meant that there was something  big in store for the high flyer.

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What does WWE want to do with Kalisto? Do they want him to eventually be their top Mexican representative so they can build a bigger audience in that part of the world? Do want him to join a number of high flyers in WWE to build a Cruiserweight Division? What motivation could WWE have had which would have them put Kalisto over Ryback in the first round of the tournament?

On RAW, Kalisto was beaten in the quarter finals by Alberto Del Rio. As much as I love Del Rio, I had a problem with WWE ending this “Cinderella story” before it even began. The unlikely contender defying the odds was the key story going into that match but it was quickly ended by Del Rio. So it was not like Kalisto was going to make it to Survivor Series as pushing Del Rio as a main eventer is a big priority for WWE. However, there’s obviously enough intrigue for WWE to possibly do something with him. In today’s WWE, having something to do is a hell of a lot better than having nothing.

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I’m going to sort of turn this into a “How I Would Book” post for a brief moment as I believe Kalisto losing to Del Rio actually sets things up nicely for if WWE were to ever try to push him. If you’ve ever watched Lucha Underground, AAA or any form of lucha libre, you’ll know that there’s a lot of pride involved. Kalisto should be portrayed as a proud warrior that seeks to be the best wrestling has to offer. Him beating Ryback and losing to Del Rio teaches him that he does have what it takes to become a star but still lacks something (possibly motivation) to truly unlock his full potential.

That’s Kalisto’s motivation as he requests more singles matches. He loses initially but then is able to pick up that one win again against someone like Kevin Owens or Cesaro. He’s starting to learn from his mistakes and looks better and better every time he’s in the ring. Kalisto then gets on a roll from this win and he and Sin Cara team up again and eventually earn a shot at the tag titles at Royal Rumble or Fast Lane. They come close but they eventually get beat. Kalisto is given an opportunity to compete for the United States Championship at Wrestlemania against the champion Del Rio, but only if he and Sin Cara split up. Cara tells him to go for it and Kalisto earns a title shot on RAW. He is finally able to beat Del Rio at Wrestlemania to capture the gold.

That was just a short idea I came up with in my head but it tells you the potential the WWE have now created with this victory that could make a star out of Kalisto.

 

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How I Would Book… Kevin Owens As Intercontinental Champion

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The Intercontinental Championship is supposed to be the second most prestigious championship in WWE. However, it seems that recent years haven’t been kind to those that hold it. The Intercontinental title used to be a stepping stone as a rising star is elevated to main-event status. However, many champions in the last few years have seen themselves float around in the mid card pool of irrelevancy. We’re hoping that this does not happen to Kevin Owens. In order to elevate Kevin Owens and bring prestige to the title, how would we book Kevin Owens as Intercontinental Champion?

Kevin Owens won the Intercontinental Championship at Night Of Champions, beating Ryback with a roll up. Let’s be honest, Ryback’s title reign was never really able to take off. Kevin Owens is quite possibly the perfect man to be able to bring up the prestige of this title once more. This man is a great in-ring worker with incredible mic skills as well. WWE could do no wrong with this man… other than having him lose his first feud on the main roster. -.-

The point is, not much is needed to be said other than… have him beat EVERYONE.

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Kevin Owens considers himself a prizefighter. He said that the Intercontinental Championship made him feel complete. All Kevin should be worried about his keeping his title. Of course, there’s a bit of a balancing act involved. You want him to care about his championship but you don’t want to diminish the championship either. Take Nikki Bella. She cared about shoving her title reign down people’s throats but could care less about ACTUALLY defending it. The clue is in his catchphrase… Fight, Owens, Fight.

If John Cena were not already doing his US Title Open Challenge, then that would be the first option for Kevin. However, Kevin should not want to give title shots to anyone. Kevin can run down Cena by stating that shots at the IC title should be earned rather than given. Kevin says that he wants to prove himself as the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. He therefore says that only former champions can compete and Kevin himself will decide his own opponents.

Kevin’s first few challengers on RAW would be folks like Heath Slater and Curtis Axel. These would be former champions but considered jobbers to the WWE Universe. This concept gives these wrestlers TV time and an actual chance to shine. However, Kevin simply wins. At the end of every match, Kevin writes down the name of his opponent on a piece of paper. After writing it down, he reads off the list of former champions he has beaten to retain his title. It’d be kind of like what Chris Jericho used to do.

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Obviously, the list would start off being kind of short. Over time however, it suddenly starts to build up. Heath Slater, Damien Sandow, Curtis Axel, Titus O’Neil, Jack Swagger, Fernando etc. It suddenly becomes a case of quantity over quality, which actually does make Kevin look quality coming out of it. More is more when it comes to a heel. The more things he can brag about, the more content he can work with. The more people Kevin beats, the more names he can brag about beating. I named a few jobbers but these are actual former champions. These aren’t exactly complete jokes!

What would be interesting is that Kevin Owens would try to duck lads like Neville, that have never won titles on the main roster, which would actually be funny to watch! It also makes these lads look great before they finally get the shot, as Kevin already fears them.

He goes through everyone until the Royal Rumble. He wins his match, reads his list and stops half-way through. He says that merely beating everyone is not enough anymore. He’s a prizefighter and he only has one prize to his name. Now he wants more. He wants to challenge the US Champion for a title vs title match at Wrestlemania 32. The US Champion turns out to be John Cena, who walks out of Fast Lane with the title. In this big match, Kevin beats Cena clean once again to win the US Championship. He dubs himself as the International Champion, having conquered the entire world of wrestling. As soon as he drops these titles, he’s in a great spot to go after his next prize… the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

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A lot of this includes a lot of wishful thinking, but this would do wonders to Kevin. Beating everyone en route to beating John Cena on the biggest stage of them all would be something spectacular that could make Kevin a legitimate star in WWE.

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!

Wrestling Flashback – WWE Hell in a Cell 2012 Review

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When I first started with blogging, I was really first experimenting with a bunch of other websites. Among these efforts, I started a Tumblr account featuring wrestling, football and music among other things. It was during this time when I started doing wrestling reviews and viewing wrestling from a critical standpoint. Anyway, I figured I’d upload this because it’s always nice to go back and look at how I did business back then.

To give a bit of background, Hell in a Cell was a PPV WWE had six weeks to build. There was an ongoing saga on RAW about who’d face CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Ryback eventually was chosen (as John Cena had gotten injured) and there was a lot of pressure on this match to perform. Also, the finish of the match was really up in the air. Would the WWE sacrifice the historic championship reign of CM Punk or the undefeated streak of Ryback?

NOTES: The paragraphs in italics are what was written at the time, back in 2012.

Anyway, so I started things off by talking about my expectations of the main event…

  • “Well, Hell In A Cell 2012 – an event which I stayed up to watch last night. In the UK, Hell In A Cell started at Midnight, and didn’t finish until 3:00am. It was a risk I was going to take, because I thought it’d be better than I expected it to be. I thought that Ryback vs CM Punk would be a hell of a main event, and I thought some of the lower card matches would have been really good.”

It’s kind of weird going back to this review and talking about watching this PPV live. I honestly stayed up to watch it live because there was a lot of anticipation about how this match was going to go. Also, Skip Sheffield had been working mostly short matches since he returned repackaged as “Ryback” in 2012. It was interesting to see if he could deliver a top main event match with someone like CM Punk. The reasons all this is funny is because I watched RAW live THIS WEEK with high expectations and being a bit let down! By the way, you can check out this week’s RAW review at this link. You can read all about what I felt about Seth Rollins, Sting and everything.

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  • “It was sort of a card of two halves if you will. A really good first half, and a really bad second half. That’s not good news, because the 2nd half should really be the better half, considering them matches are supposed to be the big draws of a PPV. Considering they had six weeks to build up an Hell In A Cell Pay-Per-View, surely they could have done a better job at doing it. I understand why hyping up the WWE Title Match would have been awkward considering the circumstances, but the rest of the card should have had a lot more advertisement. A quarter of the matches showcased were unadvertised matches. For me, that’s not on.”

To be fair, WWE has improved a bit in terms of the promotion of its PPVs. Back then though, it was really lackluster. There were a few instances where a completely random match would be shot on the card to make up time. The reason this annoyed me is because these were usually matches we might have wanted to see. This PPV in particular featured the likes of Rey Mysterio and US Champion Antonio Cesaro wrestling in “bonus matches”. However, I think there’s been a lot more effort put in towards PPV promotions nowadays. With this year’s Night of Champions, the majority of the matches have been announced with weeks to spare. The only title match that hasn’t been announced so far has been the Intercontinental Championship. However, they’ve been hyping up the program on that title match to a degree anyway. They’ll probably just announce that match on RAW.

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  • “Now on the PPV itself. We kicked things off with Randy Orton defeating Alberto Del Rio after Orton countered an enziguri by Del Rio into an RKO for the win. While that was a pretty cool finish to the match, it is also the 2ND PPV in a row that saw Randy Orton defeat an up-and-coming heel. Orton should have let Del Rio beat him on the PPV, especially if they want the feud to continue. The match was a lot more quicker paced than I expected, but there were a few botches during the match that dampened it’s quality. I think this match should have been slightly longer, but it was good for the amount of time it was on. I hope this feud continues, and Del Rio wins the next round.”

This was the second time in a PPV that Randy Orton had beaten a heel clean. He beat “Mr Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler at Night of Champions 2012 and followed it up by defeating Del Rio. This match I think was the second best match of the night, looking back now. There’s one botch which I never mentioned which I think took away from the match itself. Del Rio tried to jump off the top rope and ended up landed in front of Orton and then just started punching him. With that botch in mind though, this was a great match. At least JBL actually mentioned the botched, calling out Del Rio’s decision to jump off the top. Great recovery by JBL.

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  • “Next on the agenda is the WWE Tag Team Championship match, which saw Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow defeat Kane and Daniel Bryan by disqualification after Kane wouldn’t stop hitting Cody Rhodes (I think it was Cody anyway). Seriously, a DQ FINISH on a PAY PER VIEW? That was definitely not necessary for this match. On RAW or SmackDown! YES, but not a Pay Per View. It devalues the tournament beforehand, considering Rhodes and Sandow, who went through 3 tag teams just to get the title shot, won the match but not the titles, because the other team got themselves DQ’d. It kinda gives you the feeling that Sandow and Rhodes got screwed. Nevertheless, the match was pretty good. I’ve been noticing improvements in tag team match qualities as of late, which is definitely a good sign. They played off Kane and Daniel Bryan not working together, with Daniel Bryan accidentally hitting Kane with the high knee, and stuff like that. I think it was a good match, other than the finish.”

I totally stand by what I said here. The thing about this match was that this was around the time where the Team Hell-No team were at their peak. They won the tag titles on the PPV before and were having great segments on RAW and SmackDown! The feud itself between the two teams was really good. I like how Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes had to win a tag team tournament in order to get this title shot. However, their title shot ended in a DQ. It wasn’t really like a legitimate DQ either. Kane was, to quote Vinny from the Bryan and Vinny show, disqualified for kicking too much ass. Considering all of the build with the Team Hell-No segments and the tag team tournament, the finish was pretty much a let down. However, I do remember it being a good match despite the finish.

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  • “Match of the night goes to the Intercontinental Championship match, where Kofi Kingston defeated The Miz to retain the title. This was really fast paced match, and the two put on a hell of a show. These two really work well together, and given more time, that match could have been one of the matches of the year (no kidding).  I thought it was good when Miz started focusing on Kofi’s leg. Miz targeting a body part and attacking it, actually brought a bit of realism into play. Miz started ripping of Kofi’s boots and did leg DDTs and really showed off the amount of pain Kofi was supposed to be in. Really good. The match has done wonders for the title’s prestige as this was a really good back-and-forth match, and this match will only benefit both guys. One minor complaint – DON’T GIVE KOFI THE MIC. He was interviewed after the match, and I swear, he can not cut a good enough promo, which is a shame because it has held him back in the past, just like it held John Morrison back in the pass. Miz could move on to bigger and better things following this loss, if utilized correctly.

I think, looking back, I gave this match a lot more credit than I should have. I think, compared to everything else on the show, it was probably decent. However, it was certainly not the best match of this show. It was above average at best. I said that given more time, this could have been a contender for match of the year. I realize now I was wrong. I don’t think this match was as good as I said it would be. Kofi’s not as bad on the mic as I made him out to be. If the New Day is any proof, Kofi can be great on the mic if given the chance.

  •  “Also, there was a funny segment with Kane and Daniel Bryan arguing. Good humor. What I think they are missing is Dr Shelby. Whatever happened to him? He need to be brought back.”

I think what happened to Dr Shelby was that WWE didn’t feel the need to use him. To be fair, Daniel and Kane were awesome by themselves. However, I just loved Dr Shelby’s role in their entire storyline. He was the peacemaker in this funny and he was just amazing every time I saw him. I wish there were something for him to do in WWE right now, because I miss him dearly!

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  • “Next, in the first non-advertised match of the night, Antonio Cesaro defeated Justin Gabriel to retain the US Championship. Essentially a squash match. The fans kept chanting “We Want Ryder” during the match (which shows how well they were into the match). For what it, was the match was OK. The spot with Gabriel diving to the outside only to fly into a shoryuken from Cesaro was pretty cool. However, the ending of the match was predictable. Cesaro needs some serious competition for the US Championship, in order to bump up it’s credibility. Maybe R-Truth, or Christian when he comes back. Cesaro and the US Championship needs to be built up better. He can’t be beating up these jobbers all time.”

This was actually a lot better of a match than I made it out to be. It was just infuriating seeing Cesaro’s competition at the time. In hindsight, it was a rare chance to see Justin Gabriel get a chance to shine on PPV. However, Cesaro’s title reign was not helped with who he was going up against. It was very difficult for Cesaro to ascend into stardom at the time.

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  • “Non-Advertised Match Number Two – Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeated the Prime Time Players in a tag team match. Another good tag team match. I thought they did well considering there differences in style. The match was decently paced. Sin Cara performed really well (NO BOTCHES!) and the match was given a good amount of time to showcase all the talent available. I think both tag teams will benefit from this match. Maybe if they did a Fatal Four Way Tag Team Match, with Team Hell-No, Rhodes-Scholars, Prime Time Players and Mysterio and Sin Cara at Survivor Series, then the tag team division would be given a really good boost. However, during the match, Sin Cara attempted an Asai DDT (the move Ultimo Dragon used to do) on Titus O’Neil but he landed on his head (ouch). He’s apparently doing fine now though, so good news coming off that. It’s nice that Sin Cara’s finally getting some momentum in WWE. It’d be a shame for it to end like that.”

I can’t really remember this match too well but I do remember the spot with Sin Cara’s Asai DDT. It looked naughty at the time and thankfully, he was OK after it happened. I did like the Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara tag team they had going on. I feel that it was a shame that WWE didn’t do the Lucha dream match of Mysterio vs Sin Cara. At least AAA did it recently…

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What followed this was Big Show defeating Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship. At the time, I thought this match was boring. I loved the finish but I just was not into this program. I thought the promotion they did for this program on SmackDown! was lame and I didn’t think it lived up to the build. Looking back… I was wrong.

I was amazed by how wrong I was when I first wrote it. The reason this match was so good is because I was going into this match not expecting a great deal with regards to the in-ring action. However, these two big guys put on a clinic. The near falls for the Brogue Kicks and WMDs were amazing. I got a chance to rewatch it before this review and it was a quality match. It was probably one of, if not the, greatest matches Sheamus has ever had in WWE. It was probably one of the greatest matches Big Show has ever had in WWE.

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  • “Next, a backstage segment involving Eve Torres and Teddy Long arguing, before Zack Ryder came in, dressed as a witch, and effectively calling Eve a bitch, before she stormed off for her title match (more on that later on). Santino Marrella then showed, dressed like Lady Gaga. And then one of the most WTF moments of the year happened with Santino singing some Lady Gaga song. Ron Simmons then came in to deliver the verdict, which all of us were probably thinking… DAMN.”

I remember this! It was a REALLY whacky segment! I was however hyped that Ron Simmons was there!

  • “Divas Title match next. Eve defeated Layla and Kaitlyn to retain the title in a triple threat match. Kaitlyn stood out from the crowd. Good signs of improvement from her. But other than that, it was a pretty sloppy match. Didn’t care a lot about this match.”

Yeah, the Divas Division WAS NOT strong during this period. This was a part of the “Who Attacked Kaitlyn?” angle which was one of the worst divas angles of all time. This match was very hard to enjoy for me. I think I was probably justified with my analogy of this match.

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  • “NOW it’s time for the MAIN EVENT! Ryback vs CM Punk for the WWE Championship inside Hell In A Cell. Right, they started off the match with a little game of cat and mouse – Ryback chasing Punk inside the cell. Ryback would proceed to get some attacks in, and Punk ended up getting some digs in as well, which included CM moving out of the way to allow Ryback to run in the steps which I thought was pretty good. It was pretty evenly matched, and Ryback then got some momentum which would lead to Ryback quoting Shao Kahn, and saying “FINISH HIM”. Shell-Shocked was about to delivered, before the referee Bard Maddox, stopped Ryback in his tracks, low-blowed him, and did a fast count as Punk rolled up Ryback for the win. Wow.”
  • “Not happy with the match being as short as it was. The match was ended way to early, and not a lot happened during that match. Ryback did show us a bit more to him than usual, and he did use the cell as a weapon. However, that ending was terrible. It was an abrupt end, and it was a cheap way for Ryback to lose his streak. A roll-up? It didn’t make look CM Punk look good and it doesn’t make Ryback look good either. Neither did the post-match beatdown on CM Punk and the referee, which was slow paced, and the only noticeable incident was when Ryback threw the ref into a side of the cell. Also, the anti-climatic ending with Ryback performing Shell-Shock to CM Punk on top of the cell didn’t help things. Really? I was hoping for something really big to happen, but no. A Shell-shock on top of the cell really? A really disappointing main event, with a really disappointing finish. I don’t think that Ryback and CM Punk are done either. Urgghh.”

Yes. This really was a bad match. Considering the six week build up to this match and what was at stake for both gentlemen, WWE really dropped the ball. Ryback was white-hot in this period of his career and the WWE just threw his undefeated streak away like it was nothing. Ryback was just never able to recover after he lost that streak. I remembering arguing just before this PPV that it was more important for WWE to preserve CM Punk’s title reign than Ryback’s undefeated streak. I was wrong.

Looking back in hindsight, WWE’s plan with CM Punk was to have him hold onto the title until Royal Rumble. At the Royal Rumble, he was going to lose it to The Rock. If that was the plan anyway, then he should have just dropped the title to Ryback here. If Punk was going to drop the title anyway AND lose to the Undertaker, it was going to hurt all the momentum Punk had built. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for him to face Rock and Undertaker, since it WAS Rock and Undertaker. However, they could have made a star out of Ryback. He could have beaten Punk and then dropped the title back to him in the triple threat match at Survivor Series. Cena would have been pinned, so Ryback’s undefeated streak could still continue since he wasn’t pinned.

This match in general was just a REALLY bad main event. I think in the history of Hell in a Cell matches, this was probably one of the worst. I think that’s mostly due to all the hype they put into this and everything that was on the line. This match had a big impact on future programming and they ended match like that?

This sucked.

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  • “Like I said earlier, this was a PPV of two halves, the matches like the IC Title matches, and the tag team matches were really good, but the World Title matches and the divas match were really bad.  Really disappointed. Expected a lot more of the event. Survivor Series had better be an improvement. Because WWE are starting to get some competition from Impact Wrestling. TNA have been on fire lately, while WWE have been stinking up the place recently. WWE really has to impress, otherwise they are going to lose a lot of fans to the other show. There only a few things in WWE that are making the show tolerable these days.”

I think I was a bit TOO critical of WWE around this time! WWE was bad but it wasn’t “stinking up the place”!

I was wrong about the World title match being “really bad”. However, this really was a PPV of two halves. There was a lot of good action but there was a lot of bad action too including a horrible main event. I was right about one thing… TNA really was stepping up its game around this time. This was really a great period to be a TNA fan, as they were putting on some quality shows. They had some great storylines in place. Meanwhile, WWE were really off their game. I think as soon as The Shield debuted and they hit 2013, WWE started to gain some momentum. However, this Hell in a Cell was really not good enough.

Why Cesaro And Kevin Owens’ Feud Has Hurt Both Of Them

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Kevin Owens and Cesaro are truly phenomenal in-ring performers and have had a nice little feud in the last month. They’ve had some great matches with each other, stemming from Kevin Owens’ program with John Cena which saw Cesaro getting some main event spotlight. On paper, that would seem like the perfect way to build up this feud. Cesaro would become next in line to face Kevin after getting involved with the angle involving Cena, and that would elevate HIS position on the roster. Everything should be rainbows and sunshine for these two. Except, it isn’t.

Let me explain the issues with this feud. The first issue I have with this feud was down to something that wasn’t Cesaro or Kevin Owens’ fault. This issue comes before the feud even began. It comes from Battleground, where Kevin Owens TAPPED OUT to John Cena.

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I went on a tirade about this decision on my Battleground review back in July, so I’ll keep this short. If the plan all along was for Owens to go on to face Cesaro, surely WWE could have came up with a storyline which could switch Owens’ target from Cena to Cesaro in such a way that it could have protected Owens. Cesaro and Owens had been messing with each other in their pursuits for John Cena’s US Championship in the weeks before Battleground. Owens has cost Cesaro the title before so it would only be fitting that Cesaro pays Owens back. Paying him back would be costing Owens the match with Cena and getting Cesaro over by having him interfere in the second biggest match of Battleground. However, the Battleground ending with Cena tapping out Owens already damaged Owens’ upcoming feud before it even began.

When Owens debuted on the main roster, he became a star in a matter of weeks. He beat John Cena in his first match. He’s done some incredible things in the ring and on the mic. In a perfect world, Owens would have taken the US Championship at Battleground and his stock as a main event heel would have risen tremendously. Therefore, when Cesaro begins his feud with Owens, the feud means a lot more with the title being on the line. However, considering that Owens beating Cena reportedly “hurt” Cena’s merchandise sales, WWE probably wanted to protect Cena by having him win the feud. FINE! However, the feud ending was done in such a way that Owens seemed to receive no protection and there was no way for him to save face.

Owens could have simply passed out and the next night on RAW, Owens cuts a promo on how “Cena was never able to beat him”. That didn’t happen and Owens didn’t even say anything about his loss. Owens’ promo skills is one of his key attributes and he was not able showcase it by addressing his loss the night before. He could have also began his storyline with Cesaro THAT NIGHT rather than starting it on SmackDown!, a show which is vastly inferior to RAW in terms of viewership. That didn’t happen either. There were so many little things which the WWE could have done to get this feud over quickly and they didn’t do it. If the WWE were truly interested in getting this program off on the right tracks, they wouldn’t have booked it for Summerslam.

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Let me explain why. At Summerslam, Owens vs Cesaro was considering an afterthought by WWE. With so many stars on the show that night as well as the co-main events of Rollins vs Cena and Lesnar vs Undertaker, Cesaro and Owens seemed lost in the shuffle. Therefore, their match went on in the middle of BOTH of those main events basically as a cool-off match before the big main event. This hurt their match as the majority of fans were really just waiting for Undertaker vs Lesnar. Only the hardcorest of hardcore fans would have been hugely pumped for this match (even though “hardcorest” is not a real word). That’s a problem because, to be fair, Cesaro and Owens had a decent match. However, the fans weren’t paying attention nearly enough for it to be a huge hit. These two men were victims of the timing of this show, which basically meant that their match served as a filler match just before the main event.

Therefore, the momentum that Owens had built up with Cena beforehand and the momentum Cesaro had built up with the “Cesaro Section” were effectively meaningless in the end, as all eyes were on Taker vs Lesnar. Building up this match for Summerslam was going to be problematic itself, with the amount of stars and big matches they had been planning. However, a star could have been made with the finish…

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Cesaro has been in WWE since 2012. He’s had a lot of ups and downs. Cesaro’s been so close to breaking into the main event scene. Hell, Cesaro was actually IN the main event of 2014 PPVs like Elimination Chamber and Money In The Bank. He was a part of multi-man matches, but he was still one of the stars of the shows in both those main events. With the Cesaro Section and how well Cesaro was “connecting” with the audience, WWE had a great opportunity to build on that. All they had to do… was have him beat Kevin Owens.

When I wrote my Summerslam predictions, I was undecided on a finish. However, after Summerslam itself, I had a realisation. Kevin Owens would have lost a huge amount of stock by losing in his third PPV in a row. However, Kevin Owens was only just starting on the main roster. In the future, they’ll probably will be other ways in which they could get Kevin over as a big star. However, this was CESARO’S big chance to be elevated to a main eventer. What’s hurt Cesaro in the past is the fact that WWE rarely had Cesaro beat anyone big which hurts him, because he needs to look strong by getting wins once in a while. The Cesaro Section and the support of the WWE Univerise leading to Cesaro pinning Kevin Owens, would be the moment that could make Cesaro a main event star for years to come. This could have kept the momentum up and would help him develop a streak that could possibly lead to a main event title program with Seth Rollins. If Cesaro beat Owens, Cesaro would have been made. It was so crucial for Cesaro to win that much… but he lost.

Kevin Owens had lost a great deal by losing his feud to John Cena. His win over Cesaro did claw back some credibility for Owens. However, what it also did was CRUSH the momentum Cesaro had worked so hard to build. While Kevin Owens has now moved onto a feud with Ryback for the Intercontinental Championship, Cesaro is stuck. He is floating around in that mid-card to upper mid-card sea of irrelevancy, waiting for a break. Look what happened on RAW, when he was basically an extra in the feud between Big Show and The Miz. The WWE didn’t even give Cesaro a win over The Miz in their match on Monday. It was ruled a double count out and the Big Show KO’d Cesaro. What a missed opportunity, just so Kevin Owens could save face.

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If the WWE wanted Kevin Owens to save face, they didn’t need to have him beat Cesaro CLEAN. Why not have Cesaro BEAT Owens first and continue to develop the feud? If Owens was supposed to go after Ryback and the Intercontinental Championship, no problem. Why not throw Cesaro into the mix as well, since he did beat the guy that’s challenging the “Big Guy” for the title? Therefore in a triple threat match at Night of Champions, Owens sneaks away with the Intercontinental Championship by pinning Ryback. What this would do was get Cesaro over as a big star and get Kevin Owens over as a champion. It’s simple. You can elevate both these guys.

Now though, Kevin has just been shot in this feud with Ryback with little promotion. Hell, they had one little backstage confrontation on RAW and that was that. Cesaro is in the middle of nowhere and it’s all because of the lack of planning which has led to both these men being in a worse of position than they should be.

People can go on about what a great program this was between Cesaro and Owens. However, this storyline has done little to help the careers of both of these gentlemen. Kevin MIGHT be able to develop a fantastic run as Intercontinental champion. That’s a big might, because I don’t think WWE will put enough effort into Owens’ feud for it to really stand out. Cesaro, on the other hand, is back to square one with all of his momentum being squash because of one fateful night in Brooklyn. Maybe I’ll be wrong about WWE’s treatment of Cesaro and Owens. Maybe, this will lead to both of them being main-eventers in a few months. However, in order for that to happen, WWE have a lot of work to do to make main-eventers out of these top talents?

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A bit of an announcement as well. I’ve begun writing for an awesome wrestling website called SLTD Wrestling. You can check out their website at http://www.sltdwrestling.com and truly appreciate some of the other writers involved with that site. Down below are links to the two articles I’ve done for them so far as part of the “Armbar Analysis” and I’ll be contributing for them every week. So be sure to follow them on Twitter at @SLTDWrestling as well for updates and follow @ArmbarExpress as well for updates on content from this blog!

Should WWE Forget About Sting vs Undertaker?

The New Day – From No Reaction To Biggest Reaction

NEWS – Ryback and Nikki Bella in violation of WWE’s 30 day title defense rule

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A bit of news regarding a few of WWE’s champions. This week on RAW, WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella and the WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback both became in violation of the WWE’s 30 day title defense rule in which a champion is supposed to defend his/her respective title within 30 days of their last title defense.

Ryback, who returned to WWE Television on RAW during MizTV, hasn’t defended the Intercontinental title since a house show match on July 12th against the Big Show. Ryback’s been sidelined with a staph infection in his knee which ruled him out of his scheduled title defense against the Big Show and The Miz at Battleground. However, he is expected to defend the championship in the re-scheduled triple threat match at Summerslam.

Nikki Bella hasn’t defended the Divas Championship since July 12th either, with her last defense being on the same house show in a triple threat match with Paige and Naomi. Nikki hasn’t had a televised title defense since the Beast in the East event in Japan on July 4th, where she retained her title match against Paige and Tamina Snuka. Nikki’s not been injured like Ryback, but the Divas Champion has mostly been working tag team matches ever since the “Divas Revolution” storyline began and the battle lines were drawn.

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But you’d think the WWE would at least have Nikki defend the belt once in a while? At least Ryback had a legitimate excuse, having been sidelined with an injury and will at least defend it at last at Summerslam. Nikki Bella, however, has been an active champion throughout her title reign. I’ve enjoyed this “Divas Revolution” storyline, but you’ve got to take tradition and established rules into account with regards to the storylines. It’s this kind of negligence that really devalues these titles and these extensive title reigns that they’ve been prone to do.

Of course, it is not the first time that WWE has done this. Brock Lesnar went 127 days without the defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship during his title reign last year. Trish Stratus once went a number of months without defending the Womens championship, having been sidelined with an injury from May 2005 until September 2005. However, Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett have both recently had their championships stripped from them due to the 30 day title defense rule, with both of them being injured.

It does get a bit frustrating seeing WWE’s enforcement of the rule. It can be argued that the title defense rule is not an actual thing anymore, but Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett have both lost titles recently because of it. So you can’t really pretend that it’s not real when it’s been enforced so recently.

Thanks to the Internet Wrestling Database for their stats and facts regarding the match histories of both Ryback and Nikki Bella. It’s a pretty useful website giving you the stats about the world of professional wrestling. http://www.profightdb.com/

How I Would Book… Undertaker vs Roman Reigns

The debate over who should have really ended the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania could go on forever. Hell, the debate over whether the streak should have even been broken at all could go on forever. It’s like the Superman vs Goku of WWE debates. As many great bouts we’ve seen, there’s been a number of top talents that never got a chance to go toe-to-toe with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. In fact, some have never once went one-on-one with Undertaker in their entire careers. With that, we’ve missed out on interesting matches that could have very well been one of the matches of the night. From Sheamus and Seth Rollins to Alberto Del Rio, a number of fantasy matches have missed the cut over the years. However, there was one person who I think could have potentially been hugely elevated after a match with the Deadman. Someone who the WWE is desperate to make a star and could deliver a pretty physical match with the Phenom. What I would have liked to see is Undertaker… vs Roman Reigns.

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This has been a match that has always intrigued me. It’s the up-and-coming bad ass Samoan doing battle with the old supernatural Deadman in a true battle of old school vs new school. If we looking for an up-and-comer to take on Undertaker at Wrestlemania that can be truly elevated from the showdown, we really should be throwing Roman Reigns’ name in the mix. After the Undertaker’s streak was broken by Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns WAS one of the names that fans were claiming should have given this honor. Why’s that? Because he a rising star that WWE valued and whose true ascension to stardom would begin by having him slay the Undertaker. If anyone would, why not have be someone like Reigns? Why not have it be Roman Reigns vs Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30 and give Lesnar the streak the next year?

It’s not like Roman hasn’t got the build or that bad-ass feel to him either. One of the reasons Chris Jericho gave on his podcast for Lesnar breaking the streak is that Lesnar was legitimately someone that could beat up Undertaker in a real-life fight. While Roman Reigns doesn’t have the MMA and amateur wrestling background of Lesnar, you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t have Roman Reigns by your side if you had gotten yourself in a scrap with a bunch of guys!

Roman Reigns also is someone with a sporting background. He’s a natural athlete that began his time in sports in Canadian Football. He’s everything Vince McMahon could ever want in a superstar. So why not have his ascension to the top begin with a battle with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania?

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Now let’s be clear that I’M not suggesting that Roman Reigns ACTUALLY break the streak. He doesn’t need an accomplishment like that in order to get himself over. Despite popular belief, you don’t need to win every match you have in order to look strong. All you have to do… is look strong.

That last sentence might have seemed like a deliberate reference to the CM Punk/Colt Cabana podcast where CM Punk shoots on Roman Reigns, but there’s actually a bit of point. Look at how Roman Reigns was booked against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31. Brock DESTROYED Roman in this fight and the only momentum Reigns was able to garner was as a result of a lucky push into the ring post. To have Roman Reigns actually beat up Brock Lesnar to a significant degree is not believable. Whether Roman could take Undertaker in a legit fight is a debate for another time, but the two year rookie conquering the legendary Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania is a pretty ridiculous notion. Up until Wrestlemania XXX, other than record eliminations in Survivor Series and Royal Rumble matches, Roman hadn’t had a lot of singles success in the WWE. So Roman doesn’t really have the credentials to make people think that he could possibly be a threat to the Undertaker. But a true beating by Undertaker could elevate Roman even more than if he were to break the streak.

Here’s how I’d play it out…

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Up until Elimination Chamber 2014, I’d have everything played out the same for Roman Reigns. He give tremendous performances at Survivor Series and Royal Rumble and now his crew are up against the Wyatts at Elimination Chamber. The match plays out pretty much the same as it did in real-life with a few changes. Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt fight into the crowd. However, the camera pans to Ambrose and Wyatt beating each other up backstage. Bray hides behind a wall of some kind but then we hear some sort of commotion. We hear a chair shot and Bray looks up to find Dean laid out and chair broken next to him.

Now I’m sure some of you are asking “Wouldn’t the chair shot have resulted in a disqualification?” Even though they’re not in the ring, you’d think what was going on would have been shown on the titantron or something. However, I think it’s possible to have the referee not notice the pinfall in one way or another. Do you remember at the end of Backlash 1999 when Vince McMahon wasn’t aware of his daughter been taken, ironically by the Undertaker, despite the fact that it was shown on our screens? With all the action in the ring, the referee might not have had the chance to look back at the titantron. I know this sounds a bit iffy and we’re making it sound like the referee is completely incompetent, but he can be let off just a little considering it’s a wild six man tag team match between these two dangerous factions. Either that or you could just have Luke Harper and Erick Rowan distract the referee while that was going on.

Seth Rollins is then taken out like he was in real-life and we have the Wyatts surround Roman Reigns in the ring. Also, the referee would get taken out somehow. Roman clears the ring and looks like he is about to hit Bray with the spear. But then we hear the Undertaker’s dong. Undertaker pops up in the ring and hits the chokeslam on Roman Reigns. It’s followed up by Bray Wyatt hitting Sister Abigail and the ref comes over and makes the pin.

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As for why The Undertaker cost the Shield the match is pretty straight-forward. Do you remember the Shield taking out Undertaker in 2013 on SmackDown!? This would have been Undertaker’s first appearance since then. I will admit, I’ve never quite gotten how the Shield attack was never addressed and followed up on by WWE. I mean with Undertaker getting revenge on Lesnar right now in real-life, why did he never get revenge on The Shield and the Nexus for their attacks a while ago. At least this way, you are also wrapping up old storylines and integrating them into the Wrestlemania build up. The next night on RAW, Undertaker would simply state that he’d wish to get his revenge on The Shield for their SmackDown! attack, by challenging one of its members to a match at Wrestlemania. Roman would step up and challenge the Undertaker. After quite a battle which is mostly Undertaker dominated, Taker goes 22-0. Roman gets the respect from the crowd and becomes a true single star with the match of his life against the Undertaker.

And that’s pretty much that. I’ll admit there are a few issues with booking this match at Wresltemania 30. Firstly, I realize how hilariously unfair this would be to Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose if Roman were to get the big match. If Roman were to fight Undertaker, then where would that leave those two? They could fight Kane and The New Ages Outlaws still I suppose and just beat them three on two. Or they could enter the Andre The Giant memorial battle royal or something. Either way, I think it’s safe to say that Ambrose and Rollins would get the short end of the stick on this one. Sorry lads!

However, what this does is sky-rocket Roman’s singles career despite still being a part of the Shield. The Shield storyline with Evolution can still happen after Undertaker departs again. Now with Roman’s singles push already getting a huge boost, you can direct your attention to Seth and Dean in the matches with Evolution. At least when they do break up, they’ll all be able to stand out on their own merit. They were able to do so in real-life, don’t get me wrong. But if Roman was truly the WWE’s golden boy, then this is one of the rare chances they’d have at making a true star out of Reigns. Besides, if you were wanting to do either Undertaker vs Rollins or Undertaker vs Ambrose… then just take out Reigns and insert either Rollins or Ambrose. Hopefully with this storyline, you can push the Shield member of your choice to be a top singles star in WWE!

That’s it for this edition of How I Would Book. Be sure to check out all the past blogs in this series, including the on-going series on the WWE’s incarnation of the nWo. Coming up will be part five of that series and to be honest, I’m really proud of the storyline I’ve came up with so far!

See you guys really soon and keep up to date with all the blog’s newest posts by following us on WordPress or @ArmbarExpress on Twitter.

Other editions

How I Would Book… Wrestlemania 29 [Part 3] – The Rock vs Ryback

In the last two parts, I discussed two potential replacements for the Rock vs Cena II Main Event of Wrestlemania 29 which I believed would have been better with regards to in-ring ability or storytelling. The two we came up with were….

Now let’s do it again. What other main events could have been a good replacement for Cena vs Rock II?

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It’s clear that the WWE had their hearts set on having The Rock in the main event of Wrestlemania 29, dropping the belt to John Cena. While that’s great that The Rock was putting someone over on the way out, my main issue with this was that it was Cena. Not jumping on any Cena-Hating bandwagon, but if The Rock was going to put over an active member of the roster on the way out… why did he put over somebody that was already an established star? If we’re looking for Rock to put someone over, why not have it be an up-and-coming star beating a huge mega star for the title? Or better yet, why not take advantage of the incredible momentum of a star who became one of the breakout stars of 2012?

Why not The Rock… vs Ryback?

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Now I know what a lot of you a thinking. Wrestling-wise, this match… would suck. I’m talking about putting someone like Ryback up against The Rock, who’s hardly in his prime anymore as a wrestler. Considering how quickly The Rock was getting blown-up against Cena and CM Punk, and Ryback not having a lot of experience working long matches, this could be a snooze-fest of a match. However when you’re thinking about a rising star which could really benefit from beating a bonafide superstar, Ryback is the only-one that would have made sense at this point. Daniel Bryan would be a good choice, but he was busy with Team Hell-No at the time and Dolph Ziggler was holding the World Heavyweight Championship Money In The Bank contract. Ryback really was the right man to defeat the People’s Champion.

Now let’s see how this would go down…

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To be honest, not a lot needs to be said about how this would be booked. Ryback wins the Royal Rumble and The Rock beats CM Punk for the championship that same night. The Elimination Chamber would stay pretty much the same with Ryback losing in the six man tag against The Shield (I would have Cena be the one to get pinned btw to keep Ryback looking strong) and Rock retains over Punk. Bada bing, bada boom. The Wrestlemania 29 Main Event is set. Ryback beats The Rock, Ryback wins the title.

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That’s pretty straight forward but this leaves a bit of a problem. If Ryback challenged The Rock for the championship, then what match would John Cena be in for Wrestlemania?

Mark Henry would make sense since he would be left without an opponent, but who honestly wants to see that? You could take either Randy Orton or Sheamus out of the six man tag team match with The Shield at Mania to take on Cena, but I can’t say I’d be looking forward to seeing Cena vs Orton once again. Sheamus might be a bit of an improvement, but I would only have that if he won. Somebody like Sheamus or Orton could be seen as future stars they’re looking to push so having Cena beat them would do them no favors. If Cena had to go over, we’re looking for somebody that is NOT a major part of WWE’s future plans. My pick… would be Chris Jericho.

Chris Jericho is a part-timer and has been willing to “job” to upcoming stars in order to elevate them. Hell, he put over Fandango at Wrestlemania 29 in real-life! Cena vs Jericho might actually be an interesting feud if booked right. Jericho also wouldn’t need to turn for this I think and it could be a lot better than you think.

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So there you have it. Part 3 of my Wrestlemania 29 How To Book Series. The link to part four is down below:

  • Part Four – CM Punk (c) vs Undertaker for the WWE Championship