Retro Express – Summerslam 2008

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Previously on the Retro Express, I talked about Summerslam 2007. I questioned whether this PPV was able to live up to the high standards that fans expect from the second biggest show of the year. Now it’s time to do it again. At Summerslam 2008, we got two world title matches as well as two major grudge matches from RAW and SmackDown! Batista faced John Cena for the first time ever while Undertaker and Edge settled their year-long feud in a Hell in a Cell battle. Did this show deliver?

 

 

WWE SummerSlam

Date: August 17th 2008

Brand: RAW, SmackDown! and ECW

City: Indianapolis, Indiana

Attendance: 15,900

 

Jeff Hardy vs MVP

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One of the biggest criticisms of WWE commentary of the last five years is that the announcers are portrayed as less intelligent than the audience they are supposed to explain things to. Jim Ross was not like these modern-day announcers. He did his research and was on the ball, especially during this pay-per-view. Small stats like Jeff Hardy’s Summerslam record up until his match with MVP can make it seem like there’s a lot more on the line, even if there isn’t. There was a lot of little things like JR thanking the UK fans for staying up to watch the event. Being aware of the struggles of international audiences and rewarding them with little facts that would make the commentary seem worthwhile.

MVP kicked it off with a bell-to-belly on Jeff into the turnbuckle. We got pretty big “MVP” chants actually. Jeff hit the neckbreaker to try and turn the match around. There was a good counter when MVP countered a wheel kick with a simple kick to the gut. No flashy counter. He kept it as simple as possible by simply kicking the man in the gut. I don’t know why I’m giving this a lot of credit but even the simplest of moves can add to a match.

MVP went for the boot but Jeff countered it into a sleeper drop. Jeff hit the Whisper In The Wind. Jeff went to the top rope but Shelton Benjamin ran out. Jeff jumped on Shelton, which gave MVP the chance to recover in the ring. Jeff went for the Swanton Bomb but MVP moved out off the way and hit the Drive-By for the win. I thought this was fine for an opener. It’s just funny looking back in hindsight, because Jeff would go on to be a major part of the world title scene on SmackDown! for the next year.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

The lovely looking Maria interviewed Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix backstage. They were set to challenge for the Intercontinental and Women’s titles in a tag team match. Early on in the year, Santino and Maria were an on-screen couple. They had broken up since then, with Santino commenting that Maria had let herself go. Maria made fun of Santino’s unibrow, to which Santino claimed that he’d grown it for Beth. Awwww.

 

We then got the first mention of this pay-per-view WWE poll, asking whether Edge and Vickie Guerrero would get a divorce. This was a very hard period for the couple’s marriage. Edge had cheated on Vickie and Vickie’s revenge was to put Edge in Hell in a Cell. Edge went nuts and messed with Vickie on SmackDown! This vote ended up with 78% of the crowd voting that they would.

 

Mickie James (c) and Kofi Kingston (c) vs Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella for the Women’s Championship and Intercontinental Championship

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Let me start off by saying that Mickie James looked absolutely lovely here, as did Beth for that matter. There was a sign in the crowd that said “Santino stole my unibrow,” which I giggled to. Unlike modern-day WWE, the men could actually wrestle the women during inter-gender tag team matches at this point. It wasn’t like nowadays, when a female being tagged in forced the opposing man to tag out.

Kofi got the hot tag and ran wild. Kofi Kingston faked a dive, which saw Santino diving into Beth’s arms. Santino had some great trash talk during this match! Mickie James then ran wild and hit the Mickie-DT on Santino. Beth hit her with the Glam Slam out of nowhere to win the match and win herself the Women’s title and win Santino the Intercontinental title.

This was an OK match but it was really the moment of Beth and Santino both becoming champions that stood out. Beth had effectively fought Santino’s own battles for him and won him the Intercontinental title. The celebrations were great as Beth piggy-backed Santino to the back! Just great post-match celebrations from the heels!

Match Rating: *3/4

 

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We got Shawn Michaels coming out with his wife Rebecca. The storyline going into this segment was that Chris Jericho really messed up Michaels’ eye during their match at The Great American Bash 2008. Shawn came out to address the fans and thanked them for their support. He told the fans that the doctor had recommended that he walked away. He admitted that it was finally time to heed the doctor’s advice and walk away from the WWE. Rebecca’s acting during this was pretty damn great as she was brought to tears in the ring. I actually looked it up and it turns out that Rebecca was actually one of the old WCW Nitro Girls, where she performed as Whisper. With her experience in wrestling, it’s kind of understandable about why Rebecca was so good… other than watching Shawn that is.

A lot of the fans were literally brought to tears. This was how well this was all performed because the fans were legitimately thinking that this was the end for Shawn. There were even “please don’t retire” signs brought to the arena. This was all interrupted by Chris Jericho…

Chris Jericho said that Shawn was leaving because of what Jericho did to him and wanted Shawn to admit it. Jericho refused to leave the ring before he did it. He said that he wanted the last moment of Michaels’ career being to admit that Jericho put him out for good. Michaels said that he would but gave Jericho some advice. Michaels told Jericho to sit his family down and tell them that “daddy would never ever be Shawn Michaels.” Shawn and Rebecca were about to leave when Jericho pulled Michaels’ arm. He went to punch Shawn and inadvertently punched Rebecca.

Michaels was shaken by what just happened. This was one of those moments that showed just how great Shawn was. Shawn was initially filled with rage as the crowd is encouraging him to attack Jericho. After about 30 seconds of pure rage, Michaels couldn’t bring himself to do anything and just went back to consoling his wife. These were all true emotions as a lot of times, when something awful happens to your loved ones, your first instincts is to unleash hell on the culprit. At the same time, you can’t help but do nothing as you are fearing for the safety of your family. This was all incredible stuff.

The fans were all into this, which helped. The funny thing is that it was later revealed that Jericho ACTUALLY punched Rebecca during the segment. He accidentally legitimately punched her and Jericho has talked about how he and Shawn were both mortified after it all happened. They both told a story on Jericho’s podcast about it as they were both backstage with Rebecca. Shawn was walking her back up the entrance ramp and asking if Rebecca was OK, and Rebecca responded by saying that at least her teeth were still in! It gets better as when the three of them were backstage as Rebecca is getting looked at, she turns to Chris and says: “Is that all you got?”

Rebecca being a total trooper about the whole thing made it so much better in hindsight! This segment was so great and it leads to a great match at Unforgiven (which will be the next PPV I review on the Retro Express) and their No Mercy match. These two just knew what to do from that point on. Michaels’ promos were all on point. Jericho’s promos were all on point. Their contract signing on RAW that followed was great. This was all amazing television and thank god that this was eventually elevated to being a title feud, as it was the best thing going in all of WWE at the time.

 

Mark Henry (c) w/Tony Atlas vs Matt Hardy for the ECW Championship

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So right after one of the best PPV talking segments of all time, we got THIS wrestling match – if you even want to call it that. This was technically a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP match as Mark Henry defended the title against Matt Hardy. What happened was that Matt Hardy hits the Twist of Fate on Mark Henry. As Matt is about to win, Tony Atlas pulls Matt out of the ring and throws him into the steel steps which causes a disqualification. This match lasted 26 seconds and ended with a disqualification.

This sort of stuff wasn’t rare with the ECW title, as Kane actually won the title in 8 seconds from Chavo Guerrero earlier on in that year. However, this benefited absolutely nobody. You hurt Mark Henry, who was apparently already beaten in 26 seconds. You hurt Matt Hardy, who was taken out by a semi-retired former wrestler in Tony Atlas. 26 seconds for supposedly the biggest program for ECW. Unbelievable.

So Jeff Hardy made the save and hit a Swanton Bomb on Tony. The Hardyz then double-teamed Mark Henry and hit him with the double suplex on the outside. This actually got a big reaction.

Match Rating: N/A (Didn’t last long enough)

 

CM Punk (c) vs JBL for the World Heavyweight Championship

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Punk kicked off the match with the control. He unloaded with suicide dives and cross bodies. The commentators mentioned that CM Punk had watched Batman five times. I don’t know if they meant the original Batman film from the 1990s or the Dark Knight film that came out shortly before this, but I approve whatever film he watched.

JBL hit a fallaway slam from the top rope in order to take control of the match. JBL was very wobbly on the ropes which could have ended badly. Punk then made the comeback. Punk hit the running knee and bulldog, which JBL went down too early for. Punk went for the GTS but JBL countered it with a simple but effective clothesline. CM Punk’s springboard attempt was countered into a powerslam. CM Punk kicked JBL in the head, which saw them both crash down to the mat and clashed heads. JBL somehow landed on top of Punk, which led to Punk’s head being busted open.

In the end, CM Punk picked up the victory with the GTS. There was a fair amount of miscommunication during this match, including the clash of the heads from earlier on. These two worked at vastly different paces. They tried hard but it was just not to be.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

The Great Khali was warming up backstage, ahead of his big WWE Championship showdown with Triple H.

 

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The last time I reviewed a World Championship match that involved the Great Khali, I was critical to put it nicely. At Summerslam 2007, Khali and Batista had a REALLY bad match. This match involving Khali and Triple H was much better than that match. I don’t want that to suggest that Batista is a bad worker or anything. In fact, his match with John Cena would very much dispute that. However, it’s at least good to know that he somewhat improved in the year between world title matches at Summerslam.

There was insightful commentary from Jim Ross and Tazz, as JR was talking about the size difference between Triple H and Khali. He said something along the lines of “7’3 and 6’3 – you do the math.” Tazz’s response to JR’s height analysis was “I don’t like math.” Quite the banter from Tazz and Jim Ross…

The story of the match was that Triple H kept trying to do the Pedigree on Khali, but Khali was simply too big. Khali hit the two-handed chokeslam right off the bat. Khali tried a vice grip on Triple H to “you can’t wrestle” chants. Khali did the big chop. Khali elbowed Triple H in the face and Triple H dropped to the floor Ric Flair style. I don’t want to keep comparing this match to the Batista match mentioned earlier, but Triple H’s selling was much better than Batista’s. HHH’s selling actually did make Khali come as effective with his attack. Khali elbowed him and Hunter went down immediately. Whenever Batista sold something, he would stumble and THEN fall down. Interesting to think about. 

We got more “you can’t wrestle” chants, with Khali responding by putting Triple H in a nerve hold. Triple H fought out of it and hit his signature facebuster, which sent Khali into the ropes. Khali was tangled in the ropes but was still able to backdrop Triple H to the floor. Khali went for the Vice Grip. After Hunter fought out of it, Khali just went back to the grip. Triple H eventually successfully hit the pedigree to a big pop and he got the pin to retain the title. 

Obviously, the two world title matches on card were never meant to mean much. When you’ve got Batista vs John Cena for the first time as well as a Hell in a Cell, there wasn’t gonna be much pressure on these two matches to perform. They were two matches that featured a clash of styles, with the big man fighting the little man. The World title match was better than the WWE title match but  HHH/Khali was not terrible or anything. At least you can say that the match had a story to it, with Triple H trying to hit the pedigree on this big man. After fighting and fighting, Triple H eventually hit it and got a big reaction for it. There were “you can’t wrestle” chants to Khali but this match did a fine build-up to the big finisher spot in the end. They put over the Pedigree and the crowd were into the finish so in that sense, a thumbs up.

Match Rating: *3/4

 

John Cena vs Batista

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Anyone that has ever been a WWE fan will know that WWE are prone to hyperbole and for good reason. The WWE, in theory, have to try and convince you that the next big match coming up is an important match. In a lot of cases, to achieve this goal, they have to go completely over-board with putting the two men involved over. Even if you know that it won’t be the greatest match of all time, they will always claim that these matches will be historical matches. They did a tremendous job in trying to convince the fans that this match between John Cena and Batista would be an all-time classic. I would not go as far as to say that it was one of the best matches of all time but, after it was over, it ended up feeling like a very special match.

There was a mixed reaction for John Cena as usual. Cole and Lawler tried very hard to put this match over. The video package tried to promote the idea that these two were going to explode in their match but yet they started the match by doing a lock-up. This rivalry wasn’t that intense but a pet peeve of mine is when two guys, that supposedly hate each other, begin their big match with a regular lock-up.

Batista tried a Batista Bomb but Cena got out of it, which was followed by a big clothesline. Batista then started to work on the leg on Cena, with chop blocks, shinbreakers and Figure Four Leg Locks. It’s very strange for the big man to focus on the leg of the little man. Cena went for the FU but ended up launching Dave over the top rope. Cena did his comeback while selling his leg. Cena tried the FU again but Batista got out of it and hit a big boot. Batista unloaded with a series of shoulder blocks, followed by a clothesline. Batista hit the spinebuster. Cena got out of a Batista Bomb attempt with a simple leg DDT, following it up with an STFU. Jerry Lawler, with a rare glimpse of insight, noticed that he locked on the STFU in the same part of the ring where he made Triple H tap out at WrestleMania 22.

Batista reversed a FU attempt into a rear-naked choke, somehow giving us a foreshadowing of Batista doing MMA just before he returned to WWE in 2014! Batista hit the spear but Cena kicked out. We got an awesome spot where Cena reversed an Oklahoma Slam into a FU for a near fall. They battled on the top rope, getting the boo/yeah treatment. In a memorable moment, Cena went for the leg drop but Batista countered this into a Batista Bomb. This was the move that left Cena with a herniated disc and sidelined him for a while. Cena certainly looked in a lot of pain after the match.

Amazingly, that wasn’t the finish as Cena kicked out. Batista eventually hit one more Batista Bomb and won. A very good match between these two men. On paper, Batista and Cena really shouldn’t have been expected to have a match this good. However, they really did give it their A game. The catch powerbomb spot was pretty dangerous and led to an injury, which would be my biggest criticism. However, Cena soon came back from this and thank god that the injury wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

I don’t think the injury should take anything away from the match though and these two performed really well. A BIG THUMBS UP FROM ME! Second best match on the show by far…

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Undertaker vs Edge in a Hell in a Cell match

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I mentioned that Cena vs Batista was the second best match on the show – this was undisputed best thing on the show. Undertaker and Edge had the final match in their really good feud from 2007 to 2008. They recapped all of this in the video package beforehand.

Undertaker took control at the start. Edge’s stable La Familia was watching backstage. Undertaker got the steel steps and leaned them on the corner, which set him up to do a snake eyes drop to Edge onto the steel steps. Very innovative stuff here. Edge then dropkicked and speared Undertaker into these steel steps. Edge got out two tables and then hit Undertaker with the steel steps. Edge stacked the tables on top of each other and tried to suplex Undertaker into them. Undertaker tried a chokeslam but Edge saved himself with a jawbreaker. Edge used a chair and got out a third table, setting it up in the ring. The stacked tables were still outside of the ring. Edge grounded Undertaker with two chair shots to the face and one to the back, which allowed him time to go get a big ladder.

The next spot was a callback to a segment on SmackDown! a few weeks before this. In the segment, Mick Foley tried to motivate Edge so he could face Undertaker in the Cell. Edge said “I understand” and then kicked Mick Foley’s arse. He ended the beating by jumping off a ladder with a chair into Foley, who was on a table. In a callback to that moment, Edge did the same spot and yelled “I understand” before crashing onto the Undertaker.

Edge tried a conchairto, but Undertaker stopped him by grabbing his throat. The two battled outside of the ring, where Edge speared Undertaker through the cell wall. That was an awesome spot as Undertaker was bleeding from the arm. They fought outside of the cell.

Undertaker took apart the announce table when Edge intervened, hitting Undertaker with the television monitors. I’ve seen the next spot several times but I always loved this. There were three announce tables for this show, for the three separate RAW, SmackDown! and ECW brands. Edge stood on one announce table, ran across to the second announce table and hit Undertaker with a spear, which sent them crashing into the third table. I thought this was a really well executed spot.

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After some brawling, they went back into the cell which got some boos. I guess a lot of fans were expecting Edge and Undertaker to go to the top off the cell after they got out of it. The funny thing is that Edge actually mentioned on Chris Jericho’s podcast that he wanted to end this match with a Tombstone on the top of the cell! What a scary spot that would have been!

Edge hit Undertaker with the ladder in the ring. Edge then hit Undertaker with a camera, which was a callback to when Edge cost Undertaker the world title during a Hell in a Cell match at Survivor Series 2007. Edge tried a spear but ran into a chokeslam. Edge hit the Edgecution for a near fall.

Undertaker tried a Last Ride into the tables on the outside but Edge got out of it and hit a spear. This got a near fall as well. Edge tried the ten punches spot in the corner, which almost never ends well when you’re facing the Undertaker! Undertaker hit the Last Ride. Undertaker tried to do some serious damage with a tombstone onto the steel steps but Edge countered. Edge tried the Undertaker’s Old School but Undertaker countered this with a chokeslam into the tables on the outside.

Then we got a bit of poetic justice, as Undertaker started using all of Edge’s own moves against him. He hit Edge with an awesome looking spear. Undertaker then hit Edge with the camera, which was revenge from earlier. Undertaker then did a conchairto of his own. Edge’s back was all cut open as Undertaker hit the tombstone and won.

Then Undertaker ended the night, when he chokeslammed Edge through the ring and into HELL! We got a weird graphic from this, as Undertaker was setting up the chokeslam from the top of the ladder which supposedly sent Edge to hell.

An absolutely incredible Hell in a Cell match. I think this will probably go down as one of my favourites. These two left it all out there and there was some great booking for this feud-ending match. I loved the callbacks to old angles featuring these two men. Undertaker got his revenge by giving Edge a bit of his own medicine. A lot of nasty spots were taken as these two ended their feud in a big way. Bravo to both men. I loved this match.

Match Rating: ****1/2

 

Overall, I thought the show was fine. If it were not for the Hell in a Cell match and Batista/Cena, I don’t think this PPV would live long in the memories of a lot of fans. There was nothing really special about the undercard, other than the Shawn Michaels segment and Santino and Beth’s double celebration. Other than that, there was not much to it. However, the final two matches of the show really bumped up the show. At the end of the day, it was a forgettable show up until the final two matches which could go down as two of the most memorable matches in Summerslam history.

How I Would Book… Undertaker vs Roman Reigns (Wrestlemania 32)

How I Would Book… Undertaker vs Roman Reigns (2014)

Undertaker vs Roman Reigns is a How I Would Book match that we have done before. We’ve discussed how these two could have had a corker of a match at Wrestlemania 30, with Roman Reigns’ elevation to the top taking a huge step forward. Now though we are on the road to Wrestlemania 32 with no clear indication about what the Wrestlemania card is going to look like. With that in mind, then there’s no harm in throwing out a number of ideas. Roman Reigns is still in a position where he needs that extra push towards being a true star. Why not give him a top Wrestlemania match with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32?

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Before we begin, let me just get this out of the way right now. The Undertaker MUST win this match considering that Wrestlemania 32 is being held in Dallas, Texas and having Reigns beat the home town hero Undertaker could cause an even bigger backlash then when Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble. Unless you were to turn Reigns heel before or during the match, there’s little chance of you being able to pull of a Reigns victory without upsetting the masses too much.

Although it’s seemingly like a weird tradition in WWE for the home town hero to lose, you cannot possibly get away with it when it comes to the Undertaker. Wrestlemania has been held in Texas twice before. In those two matches, Undertaker defeated Triple H in a really good match at Wrestlemania X7 and Undertaker defeated Shawn Michaels in their Wrestlemania 25 classic. To go from Undertaker beating those men in classics to losing to Roman Reigns is quite a step down, whether Roman would be doing it as a face or a heel. This is not like if they had John Cena beat The Rock at Wrestlemania 28 in Miami where there’s a slight possibility that WWE could have gotten away with it. Many fans are wondering if Wrestlemania 32 will be the Undertaker’s last hurrah. If Taker loses to someone the fans are against before riding off into the sunset, what a huge backlash that would cause.

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If this match was to go down, who should be the face and heel? For the record, I would be hugely against both men being faces going into this match as I’d prefer to have the good vs evil dynamic. If Undertaker had not “turned face” again to go up against the Wyatt Family, I would have liked to have seen him be the heel in the situation. Think about it. Undertaker helped the Authority out (whether intentional or not) when Seth Rollins went up against the Brock Lesnar. Roman Reigns is currently the Authority’s biggest enemy. So the logical solution would be to have Taker bail the Authority out again by costing Roman the title either at TLC, Royal Rumble or Fastlane. Nice and easy.

However, the fact that Taker did go face again really does change things. Having Taker use dirty tactics to go up against Lesnar, then having him turning face and then to turn him again would be a little too much considering that Taker had been a face for 12 years before Battleground. I’m sure you know what I’m hinting towards and this is something which I feel WWE should have done a long time ago. If anyone needs to be the heel, it’s got to be Roman.

I would have preferred the face Reigns vs heel Taker dynamic but to play it safe, Roman’s got to be the one that turns. Because of Taker’s program with the Wyatt Family, Reigns turning is the only turn which sort of makes sense. He’s been the subject to a great deal of heat from the WWE Universe and has been constantly screwed out of the WWE World title over and over. Let that be the catalyst for the program. Here’s how I’d get it done.

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Currently, the main event of TLC is Sheamus defending the WWE World title against Roman Reigns in a TLC match. For this scenario, that works perfectly. In a match where the League of Nations and Roman’s crew all get into a huge brawl during the match (like when the Wyatts and the Usos beat each other up during Cena’s Last Man Standing match with Bray Wyatt at Payback 2014) which ends up with Roman standing on top of the ladder. Suddenly, a bolt of lighting strikes at the top of the stage. This catches Roman off guard, giving Sheamus the opening he needed to take out Roman and retain the title.

Now the question arises over who was responsible. I personally believe that the lightning bolt itself is not going to give away anything. The Dudley Boyz has a firework like that for their intro so it could easily be anyone that has access to pyro. Roman questions both the League of Nations and the Authority but both of them deny having anything to do this. They tell Roman to focus on the Royal Rumble while a new challenger has emerged for Sheamus’ WWE World title. That man is the Undertaker.

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Undertaker vs Sheamus is a match I’ve always wanted to see and I feel the two styles could click if given the opportunity. Undertaker takes on Sheamus while Roman is scheduled to be in the Royal Rumble until the RAW before the event where he is taken out with a chair lying next to him. He’s out of the Rumble match as Taker goes up against Sheamus. Taker is about to close the deal when the ref is knocked down. The League of Nations come out when Roman comes out. He takes out Barrett, Del Rio and Rusev and then stares at Sheamus. As Taker is going up for, Roman hits the spear on the Dead Man. Roman yells “I know it was you,” before hitting two more spears. This is enough as Sheamus picks up the win when the ref gets back up.

So now Roman has already came to his own conclusion about who was responsible for the TLC incident and the attack on RAW. Undertaker is known for his usage of lightning in the past, which was the first clue. If Roman was taken out of the WWE World title picture, this would have given Undertaker a chance to get into the mix. According to Roman, Undertaker knew that Roman presented the greatest threat to him in the WWE. If Roman would have won the Rumble and if Taker would have won the title, Taker’s title reign would have ended at Wrestlemania in Roman’s mind. He believes that Taker was afraid that Roman was going to put an end to his plans to leave Wrestlemania as WWE World champion.

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These accusations eventually wind up the Undertaker, who turns it into a major brawl at Fastlane. These two come to blows with the rest of the locker room struggling to break up a ten minute brawl around the arena. The anticipation for these two to get it on at Wrestlemania has risen as the match is officially made by the Authority.

At Wrestlemania, Taker wins. Roman kicks out of everything, including a tombstone piledriver. However, a second piledriver is enough for Taker to pick up the win. As Undertaker does his kneeling celebration at the end of the match, Roman smacks Taker in the head with a sledgehammer. During a segment which is considered sacred, Roman attacks the Undertaker giving him so much heat. This also the catalyst and a foreshadowing for Roman becoming a member of the Authority, which I would have done the next night on RAW. I believe that would be what’s best for business.

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However, that wraps it up for us with this edition of the How I Would Book series. I was very hesitant to put Taker over as I’ve made a big deal over how WWE needs to make new stars rather than putting over the older ones. However, I think I’ve had him get beat in such a way that he could actually gain more from defeat then if he won. Let me know what you guys think but I think I’ve found a great solution to the Roman Reigns problem and you can believe that.

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!

NOTE: If I was to keep Roman’s storyline in this scenario going, it would be revealed that the Authority was responsible for the attacks on Roman along! However, I think I’ll leave Roman Reigns joining the Authority for another time!

TOP FIVE MOMENTS FROM WWE RAW (28/09/15)

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How’s it going everyone? We’re back with another top five moments from a RAW that really wasn’t that great. I can’t say it was TOO bad either because there wasn’t a segment on this show which I thought was really bad. However, little was done that made think that this was a worthwhile show. The MizTV segment with the Divas was infuriating but I’m hoping to touch upon that segment in a separate blog post later on this week. However, there were a few high spots. Let’s pick out the top five moments from RAW.

1. John Cena vs Xaiver Woods

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John Cena came out to bring back the John Cena US Championship Open Challenge. The New Day came out and delivered some comedy. John Cena got mad and said there’s a time for comedy and a time to be serious. He basically told them to shut up and one of them to get in the ring. He came off as such a heel for saying that in my eyes as everyone was happy with the New Day! Xaiver Woods answered the call.

It’s kind of sad that we didn’t hear the trombone in action during Woods’ match! I think he played it once during the six man tag match that followed up. The match itself was actually really fun. It was good to see Xaiver in a singles match for once, because he’s usually either in six man tags or acting as a manager. You rarely see just how good Xaiver is in the ring. He put on a great match with Cena. There’s just one little issue that I have.

The match ended in a disqualification, when Big E and Kofi came down to attack Cena. I understand that they wanted to save Xaiver from Cena. However, they still cost Xaiver a chance at the US title! I always thought it made little sense when teams do this whenever one of their partners is challenging for a singles title.

Despite that, good match. The six man tag team match also involving the Dudleyz was OK. The New Day went over which largely hints that the Dudley Boyz will win the tag team titles at Madison Square Garden this Saturday. I understand why they’d do it, because it’s an important event for the Dudleyz. Them coming back to MSG and winning the titles is a great story. I think as long as the New Day win it back at Hell in a Cell, I’d be OK with this. Let the Dudleyz have their moment but it’s really the day for the New Day to shine and win this feud.

2. Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns

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This went on last for RAW. I’ll admit it. It was very hard to care at the end of the show. RAW itself was a very exhausting show. I know RAW is usually like that, being on for three hours each week. However, this week just seemed even worse.

It was actually a decent match between Bray and Roman. The fans didn’t really care about it until the finish. I think that was largely due to someone getting kicked out of the arena near the end because I think there was a “Let Him Stay” chant. They got right back into it during the finish.

Initially, the double count out finish was kind of a lame way for your RAW main event to end. However, it did play into the finish. Therefore, I don’t have that big of a beef with it.

Bray and Roman brawled into the crowd. It was quite a decent brawl. Bray actually threw someone from the tech area into Roman, which was pretty awesome to watch! It actually made Bray look like a legitimate monster. This was followed up by Bray tackling Roman through the barricade. That would have been the spot of the night, had it not been for what Roman followed it up with. Roman got up as Bray was posing, and speared Bray through the announce table. The crowd went nuts for this!

This finish helped both these men. I thought it helped the story along, especially with the brawl at the end. These two just beating the hell out of each other is exactly the kind of intensity and atmosphere you need for a feud like this. It also made Roman look like a star. It was exactly the kind of thing that Roman needs to do. They were going nuts for him here.

A little spoiler for SmackDown!, but it was announced that Bray and Roman will be having a Hell in a Cell match at the PPV. I think this match can take this feud from strength to strength. I think it’s strange that none of the Hell in a Cell matches are featuring a WWE World Heavyweight title match, but these two are still strong matches anyway.

3. Paul Heyman

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Heyman gets a spot on this list PURELY because he was on the show! Heyman was there to actually promote the Madison Square Garden show and Brock Lesnar vs The Big Show. The only problem with that is simple. Heyman had to make Big Show seem as a threat to Brock Lesnar. Anyone that has knowledge about who Brock Lesnar is would realize that Big Show was NOT a threat to Brock Lesnar. Therefore when Heyman was acting scared at the prospect that Big Show was going to end Brock Lesnar’s career, NOBODY bought it. Paul Heyman tried all he could but there’s little reason to believe that Big Show is a threat to Brock Lesnar. During Heyman’s segment with Big Show, Big Show made it seem like it was a big deal that Big Show beat Brock Lesnar one time in their match in 2002 at Madison Square Garden on Survivor Series…. which was nearly 13 years ago! There’s were two problems with Big Show’s claim…

  1. I had to double check on this one on the Internet Wrestling Database, because I was pretty sure that Big Show’s win at Survivor Series was the only time that Big Show had ever beaten Brock Lesnar. Turns out… I was right! Big Show has only ever beaten Brock Lesnar ONCE in his career. So why would Paul Heyman be afraid of the Big Show potentially ending his client’s career?
  2. Big Show’s win at Survivor Series was because of one man… PAUL HEYMAN! There was no mention of Heyman turning on Brock during Big Show’s win. On the video package of Big Show that was shown, it skipped the interference and just fast-forwarded to Big Show chokeslamming Brock onto the chair. Again, Paul knows full well that Big Show was only able to beat Brock Lesnar because of… him. Again, why would Paul Heyman think that Big Show would be able to beat Brock Lesnar?

I wish that Brock Lesnar was fighting someone else, but he’s not. I don’t actually have an issue with the Big Show himself. I have an issue with how the WWE is somehow convinced that they would be able to convince everyone that Big Show is ON PAR with Brock Lesnar. One last thing… NO MENTION OF HELL IN A CELL! WWE again failed to mention the PPV that they should be trying their hardest to promote.

Well… Heyman did his best anyway.

4. Kane’s Performance Evaluation

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Kane’s performance evaluation segments were actually not that bad to me! I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were a few issues with it however. I thought Kane and Seth Rollins’ last segment together went WAY too long. I just thought they done a lot of angles in one week for this program that could have easily stretched out for a few weeks. Couldn’t this week’s angle have ended with Seth Rollins breaking Kane’s ankle and then next week, Demon Kane gets his revenge? I thought Kane’s delivery as Corporate Kane was excellent. I’m very happy with Kane’s acting during this program. That’s one of the things that I liked about this feud because at least Kane’s having some fun with his character. I didn’t like Seth’s comments about meeting the Pope. It just seemed a bit off. Despite those little things, I thought this segment overall was fine.

5. King Barrett Returns

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The return itself was pretty miserable. Barrett simply came out, interrupted the Neville vs Stardust match and gave the Bullhammer to both men. He got on the mic and said “All hail the return of the King,” and then left. It was pretty bland but to be fair, at least Barrett came back looking strong by laying out both men. This really gets an entry only because I have huge respect for Barrett and I’m personally glad that he’s back. I don’t believe that they’ll do anything big with him which will be a real shame.

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So there you go. There were my five top moments from RAW this week. There were reports of Vince flipping out backstage over ratings. If this was Vince’s serious attempt to get the ratings back up, then he failed miserably. The RAW viewership numbers actually showed that the ratings for this week’s RAW have fallen from last week. So WWE is really going to have to pull something out of the bag to get things rolling.

WWE Elimination Chamber Review: Big E Langston (c) vs Jack Swagger For The Intercontinental Championship

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We kicked things off on the actual show with the Intercontinental title on the line as the All-American Real American Jack Swagger challenges the man who thinks 3 ain’t enough, Big E Langston.

A quality match to kick off the show with the Intercontinental title certainty not done any injustice with the performance these two put on.

Big E and Jack have both been wrestlers with both the athletic ability and the impressive strength to put fans on the edge of their seats. Thing is, none of these two have really had a chance to prove their in-ring potential…. until Elimination Chamber.

A lot of hard-hitting moments brought a lot of intensity into the match. There were also a lot of unique spots to the match that made it worthwhile. For example, when Big E speared Swagger into the steps. It looked a tiny bit shoddy like, but I admired the two for trying something different. And the fans were buzzing after it was well.

When Swagger took control of the match, the match pace slowed as you’d expect. However, things picked up again after Big E pulled of an impressive counter of the front facelock.

A very nice spot I liked was Swagger’s body splash being caught by Big E who nearly hit the Big Ending. Swagger got out of it and wriggled out to the apron. And then the  “Oh Shit!” moment of the match happened…

Big E Langston was somehow able to “pull an Edge” and was able to spear Jack Swagger through the apron and onto the floor! The fans were ecstatic, I was ecstatic! This was just an insane moments that I hope to get the chance to replay over and over. Especially with two big guys like Big E and Swagger, you’d just never see it coming amazing!

We had a nice little exchange between the two afterwards, with Swagger attempting to slap the ankle lock onto Big E. It looked painfully as hell for some reason. I don’t know why but it looked really well applied. Anyway, Big E was selling the injured leg well but was able to pull of a really unorthodox move for someone his size. He got up from the ankle lock while Jack was holding onto his leg and delivered an enziguri. It was still good to see it. The match ended with Big E hitting the Big Ending for the win.

A very nice opener to Elimination Chamber. The title was really helped by this match, because of how well it was executed. These two big guys, but athletic enough to deliever such an awesome match. I think both these men will benefit greatly from this match. What a performance by both men.

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The rest of the Elimination Chamber PPV Review is coming up tonight. Do stay tuned. This was just a really good match which I wanted to give its own blog post. Stay tuned for the rest!

2013 NoDQ.com Awards – My Vote For… Finisher Of The Year

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The third one of these blog posts I’ve done for the Armbar Express blog. I’ve done the blog posts declaring my votes of the awards for Superstar Of The Year and Tag Team Of The Year. Now here’s my vote for finisher of the year. There have been a lot of devastating finishes in WWE and TNA this year. But which finisher has been the best out of the bunch?

Austin Aries’ Brainbuster

Roman Reign’s Spear

Big Show’s Knockout Punch

CM Punk’s GTS

Daniel Bryan’s LeBell Lock

Daniel Bryan’s Running Knee

6 very impactful finishers there but only one can win! Which one do I think personally think is the best out of the bunch – Roman Reign’s spear!

Now, I normally I’m the biggest detester of the Spear. It’s the most overused finisher in WWE. Kaitlyn, Edge, Rhino, Goldberg, Batista, Bobby Lashley, Big Show, Christian. I could keep going on and on. But the way Roman Reigns delivers his spears always seems to amaze me. Hell, Reigns dominated Survivor Series with that move. Honestly, I think only Goldberg and possibly Rhino could deliver better spears than Reigns.

I mean the GTS is highly overrated as a finisher. The Big Show’s knockout punch is just ridiculous and shouldn’t even be on this list. The running knee just seems like a lazy finisher for WWE to give Daniel. He runs up and knees him in the face. It’s not exactly something that is hard to copy. The Brainbuster and LeBell Lock are both fine finishers, but none of them as impactful and are amazingly delivered as Reign’s spear.

My vote goes to… Roman Reigns’ spear!

To vote on the NoDQ.com awards, click on the link below for all the polls available so far, among others.

http://nodq.com/polls/

Also, stayed tuned to the columns section of the website. Because I have a column for the site that I’m going to upload tonight or tomorrow night on TLC. Stayed tuned and thanks for reading the Armbar Express!