How I Would Book… Who Ran Over Stone Cold?

SPOILER ALERT from fifteen years ago, but I think it’s a safe bet to assume that nearly every wrestling fan on earth knows that Rikishi ran over Stone Cold with a car. Even if you were not watching wrestling during the attitude era, the WWE have referenced the storyline several times on WWE YouTube videos, the WWE Network and even on episodes of RAW and SmackDown! Many fans and wrestling experts over the years have criticised the WWF’s decision to have Rikishi be behind the attempted murder of the top wrestler in the company. With that said, are there many other solutions that would have been better than Rikishi? Could I have booked the “Who Ran Over Stone Cold” storyline better than WWE? Well, let’s find out!

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Before we dive into the analysis of Rikishi as the culprit, let’s run down the storyline itself from Survivor Series 1999 to Survivor Series 2000.

Stone Cold Steve Austin had been embroiled in a triple threat WWF Championship feud with the champion Triple H and The Rock. A triple threat match was promoted for Survivor Series 1999 and a triple threat match was ended up what we got. Unfortunately, it did not include the Texas Rattlesnake. Triple H provoked Austin during a backstage interview before the match. This led Austin towards the parking lot, where he was ran down by an unidentified assailant.

Austin was sidelined for nearly a year, to take care of actually injuries that he was working with at the time. He returned at Backlash 2000 for a one-off appearance to help The Rock against Triple H and made his full return to the WWF at Unforgiven 2000. He was on a quest to track down the man who had ran him over, even not pressing charges as a means to lure the man out. Austin’s methods of tracking down the attempted killer included interfering in several matches, getting on the bad side of Commissioner Mick Foley. Foley suspended Austin, conducting his own investigation into the crime.

After major suspects like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kurt Angle and The Rock were called out, Foley eventually got to the bottom of the case. Stone Cold Steve Austin was actually ran over… by Rikishi.

Rikishi, who had not appeared on WWF television yet when Austin was ran down, admitted to the crime. He claimed that he did it for The Rock, as the WWF had been keeping down Samoans like himself and The Rock for years. Austin was getting in the way of The Rock’s success, leading to Rikishi doing what he did. This led to Austin getting his revenge on Rikishi, destroying the big man in a No Holds Barred match and then trying to hit RIKISHI with a truck.

The plot thickened for the Austin mystery, as it would later be revealed that Triple H was secretly the one that had orchestrated the hit-and-run and put Rikishi up to do it.

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The biggest problem with the official solution is that it almost seemed like the culprit was too random to be a legitimate suspect. Mick Foley even mentioned it during the reveal that Rikishi wasn’t even in the WWF at the time of the hit-and-run. Therefore, it’s likely to assume that the WWF had no idea who the suspect would end up being when they shot the angle. Rikishi’s initial reasoning  for running down Austin seemed very out-of-place, as it didn’t seem enough of a justification to explain Rikishi going after Austin. Rikishi wanting to help out The Rock could be viable but the whole Samoans being held down story had nothing to do with Austin. Yeah, Austin is one of the most successful wrestlers of all time and is a 100% American. However, it’d still seem odd that Rikishi would resort to murder because of this.

Now obviously, Triple H being thrown in as the mastermind behind of the whole thing did sort of write out this explanation a little. Rikishi still could have theoretically felt how he did about The Rock and the Samoan lineage, but Triple H does give Rikishi more of a valid reason for running down Austin. After all, Triple H was the one that led Austin out into the parking lot and hated his guts. Him getting Rikishi to run down Austin makes a lot more sense than Rikishi doing it for his Samoan lineage.

While Triple H being the mastermind does involve someone that was a big part of the story at the time of the attack, Rikishi played no part in the story at all. Rikishi was a joyful babyface that got over with his dance moves more than his ruthless aggression. There seemed to be no hint of Rikishi possibly having a dark side to him, so him all of a sudden being an attempted murder does seem a bit unfathomable. It’s actually funny when watching back Rikishi’s run ins with Triple H and the McMahon-Helmsley regime in 2000. Rikishi feuded with Triple H, and even faced him for the WWF Championship one time, while secretly having conspired with him to commit attempted murder! Then again, Rikishi running down Austin would explain why Triple H would give Rikishi a title shot in the first place. I guess that was Rikishi’s grand reward.

In a way, Rikishi being the culprit was good for attempting to get over the next big star in WWE. Rikishi did get elevated as a main-event heel but ultimately ended up flopping in that role. Sticking your backside in people’s faces doesn’t exactly come off as an evil thing to do. Considering it’s Rikishi’s rear end though, I guess it kind of is! Rikishi really didn’t work as a badass, monster heel and quickly turned back into a babyface just before the Invasion angle kicked off.

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When coming up with an alternative solution, we need to think of people that not only were relevant to the story but were also strong enough to be able to work as a top heel. As much as someone like Kurt Angle being the culprit would make sense, as he would have been someone that would gain from Austin being out of the picture, he would have no real motivation other than that. It’s not like he would have met Austin at the time, as he made his in-ring debut at Survivor Series 1999 itself. As much as fans would believe this to be a fitting irony-pleasing solution, Angle doesn’t work in this role for me.

Then you’ve got to think about the other big culprits that were highlighted as the two prime suspects by Mick Foley. Triple H would have been too obvious of a culprit, even though he wounded up being written into the official solution anyway. Right after Austin was ran down, Vince McMahon immediately accused Triple H and D-Generation X of committing the crime. Him being the culprit would be rather anti-climatic.

The Rock, on the other hand, became the top babyface when Austin wasn’t around. As outlined by Mick Foley, The Rock (as well as Triple H) had the most to gain from Austin being out of the picture. At the time of Austin’s return, The Rock was the WWF Champion. Being the top babyface, his popularity rose to new heights. With The Rock being suspected so heavily leading into the official solution, him also being the suspect would be another anti-climatic reveal. Another reason for the Brahma Bull not being culprit is that the WWF would be passing up on some serious merch sales with The Rock now being viewed as a villain.

Really, we’re looking for someone that you’d least suspect. Someone that had been shown to be sinister enough to pull off devious acts like this in the past. We’re looking for someone that would do something as a means to fulfil a much grander master plan. Who would fill this role? Why it is someone that did feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1999. It is someone that wasn’t actually there at Survivor Series 1999 and was unaccounted for. It was someone that has a history for making his foes rest in peace. The man that should have been the culprit was… the Undertaker.

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This may be a tough pill to swallow. The Undertaker did only come back as a babyface American Badass in May 2000. It would be somewhat of a letdown to see this new babyface run down our beloved Stone Cold. Then again, considering Undertaker would turn heel just a year later anyway, I think we can work a turn into this angle without hurting the Undertaker.

If you think about it, Undertaker is one of the rare people in the Attitude Era that would actually resort to murder so casually. He’s set his brother on fire repeatedly and even hanged Big Boss Man following their WrestleMania 15 Hell in a Cell match. Heck, he’s even faced Steve Austin in a Buried Alive match. I think it’s safe to say that he’d be willing to run over Austin with a corner.

The biggest issue with this is simple, and it’s actually what Kurt Angle mentioned on an edition of SmackDown! when HE was accused of running over Austin. One of the biggest parts of a murder mystery is motive. What’s the Undertaker’s motive? Why would he turn his attentions to Steve Austin? Well I have a question for you in response… why does the culprit’s motivation have to necessarily be focused at the victim? Obviously, some sort of disdain has to be present in order to consider attempting murder and Taker did feud with Austin that same year. However, what if Undertaker’s motivation was not to solely eliminate AUSTIN from the equation. While taking out Steve Austin was an added bonus, Undertaker’s real end-game was to mess with the man that had forced him to leave the WWF. Undertaker’s real end-game was in fact to remove Mr McMahon from power.

In September 1999, Undertaker “left” the WWF after refusing to take part in a Casket match with Triple H. Mr McMahon threatened to take away Undertaker’s spot in the WWF title match at Unforgiven, leading to the Undertaker walking out of the company. Jim Ross specifically stated when Undertaker made his return at Judgement Day 2000 that he was “going after McMahon” when challenging the Faction. Clearly, some hostility still exists between the two men. After all, McMahon losing power in the WWF in 1999 led to the Undertaker losing the WWF Championship and never gaining an opportunity to get it back. This could have been Undertaker’s ultimate revenge, especially after blindly following Vince’s orders when he was the “higher power” of the Corporate Ministry.

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Picture it like this. Mr McMahon was the first one shown to be outraged after Austin was run over… other than Jim Ross I guess. McMahon lashes out at DX following the incident. Knowing how much McMahon hated Triple H at the time and with Triple H’s title match with two other men coming up later that night, obviously Vince would come to the conclusion that DX was behind it. This is the Undertaker being the puppet-master, pulling McMahon’s strings by taking out one of the competitors in the running to dethrone Triple H as WWF Champion. In response, McMahon inserts the Big Show into the WWF Championship match and Big Show wins the title because of Vince. Just prior to his departure from the WWF, Undertaker had been teaming with the Big Show as part of an unholy alliance. It makes perfect sense that Taker would reward Big Show by manipulating events in order to get the title on the big man.

From behind the scenes, Undertaker is causing dysfunction within the McMahon family. Let’s start of with Stephanie, who turned on her dad and aligned with Triple H at Armageddon. Undertaker was the one that had abducted Stephanie, following the orders of Mr McMahon. Little work needed to be done on Taker’s end, with Mr McMahon having pushed Triple H’s buttons by costing him the championship at Survivor Series. McMahon made things personal with Triple H, so Triple H retaliated. Of course, Triple H hatches a master plan with Stephanie. Stephanie wanted to get revenge at her father for the abduction plan from before so she went with the man that Mr McMahon hated the most. Vince is being torn apart as daddy’s little girl has been taken away from him by the enemy.

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Shane and Linda would also get involved, leading to the WrestleMania 2000 fatal four way match with the McMahons in every corner. McMahon would be emotionally torn by having to compete with three members of his family. Not a lot can be said about the Undertaker during this period as he really can’t do much else to mess with McMahon until he comes back. Why not have McMahon regain control with Triple H and Stephanie? If he’s in charge by the time Undertaker comes back, Undertaker can be there to personally remove him from power again. At Judgement Day, his crusade with McMahon begins. He attacks him and the McMahon-Helmsley regime during the big Triple H/Rock Iron Man match. His main intentions when he comes back is to fight the regime, oust McMahon from power and win the WWF Championship. At King Of The Ring, The Rock wins the WWF Championship instead of him during a big six man tag team match but it’s not too much of a loss as at least the regime didn’t win. Undertaker will get back at The Rock, which I will get to later.

Following King Of The Ring, Vince left to become a “genetic jackhammer” while Mick Foley took over. It would have been better to say that the beatings from Undertaker, Rock etc. would force him to leave but as long as McMahon is gone. Now Undertaker can try to win back some gold. He does this initially by going after the tag team titles with Kane and then feuding with his brother. Not a lot happens for the Undertaker at this point, but he does get involved in the WWF title picture at Unforgiven 2000. How ironic, considering that he was initially barred by Mr McMahon from getting a title shot at Unforgiven last year. Here’s where I would change things up. Instead of Undertaker failing to win the championship, he wins the title in a fatal four way match also involving the champion Rock, Kane and Chris Benoit. On the very same night that Taker wins the title, Austin makes his return to WWF.

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Austin coming back is an unexpected and unwanted situation for the Undertaker. With his title reign only just getting started, Mick Foley and Austin beginning their investigations, and The Rock getting his rematch at No Mercy, how does the Undertaker turn the attention and suspicion away from himself? Why simple. Turn The Rock and Austin against each other. It is suddenly played up by Undertaker and a number of other wrestlers about how The Rock had to most to gain from Austin being ran over. This builds up all the way to No Mercy, where The Rock challenges Undertaker for the WWF Championship. Austin was initially suspended by Mick Foley, but Foley reinstates Austin after getting an anonymous tip that the culprit would reveal himself at the pay-per-view.

Up until the main event, we get no word from the culprit. Nobody comes clean. Ausitn doesn’t hear anything. Then the main-event comes around, with Austin coming down and going crazy. He pulls the referee out of the ring and grabs a chair. He sees and targets Taker, going for a chair shot but accidentally nailing The Rock. Undertaker then hits Austin with a chokeslam. Undertaker takes advantages and retains the title when the referee awakes. Undertaker then picks up a chair and unleashes hell on Austin and The Rock. Undertaker grabs the mic and laughs. He then asks the question of who had the most to gain from Austin being run over. He simply replies by saying “me” and that Austin’s search was over. Undertaker was the one that ran over Austin.

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Austin initially challenges Taker for the title at Survivor Series 2000, with it ending in a no contest after Austin takes out Taker in a similar fashion to Triple H in real life. Undertaker retains the title at Armageddon 2000. Then Mick Foley resigns as Commissioner which changes everything. Undertaker would have mentioned in an explanation that he did what he did to remove Austin and McMahon out of the equation and win the WWF title. Now Vince is back and in charge. Therefore, McMahon is going to make Undertaker pay. Undertaker vs The Rock is booked for Royal Rumble, with Vince’s reasoning being to make amends with The Rock after Vince turned on him at WrestleMania 2000. Sure. Whatever works. Undertaker loses the championship following interference from Stone Cold. Stone Cold wins the Royal Rumble itself, leading to No Way Out. Instead of Triple H, Undertaker is the one that faces and beats Stone Cold in a three stages of hell match.

That effectively is when the storyline ends. However, with Steve Austin and Mr McMahon’s alliance after WrestleMania 17, there is a lot more potential with the dynamic of Undertaker, McMahon and Austin. Imagine Stone Cold Steve Austin working with the boss to take out the man that tried to kill him. You could do the Power Trip angle if you’d like, having Undertaker and Kane battle Austin and Triple H. This could also add a lot to the Invasion angle, especially when it comes to Austin and Taker. You could have Austin and Taker initially not trust each and then eventually bury the hatchet (well bury the hatchet as much as you could, considering Taker tried to kill the man). Alternatively, you could have Austin join the Alliance and led the group against the WWF led by the Undertaker. The possibilities are endless.

Or if you’d prefer for the storyline to finish at WrestleMania 17, simply have Undertaker hold the championship all the way to WrestleMania. Austin wins the Rumble and Undertaker is the WWF Champion. This leads to the ultimate showdown in Texas between Austin and the man that ran him over more than a year ago. In the ultimate act of revenge for Undertaker running him over, Austin makes a deal with the devil himself Vince McMahon. McMahon was manipulated by Undertaker for so long, so Vince helped Austin DEFEAT the Undertaker at WrestleMania. The streak and Undertaker’s title reign is ended by Stone Cold Steve Austin.

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That about wraps up this edition of How I Would Book. I have to admit, this one was rather fun to write. I’d seen many different solutions but after thinking of a number of different options, Undertaker being the mastermind actually fits in with the storyline well. I’d love to hear of any other alternative solutions from fans so feel free to leave a comment or tweet me @TomRobinson5199. Don’t just do it for me. Do it… for The Rock. Thanks for reading everyone.

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!

 

WWE Not Banking On Sasha?

 

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“We want Sasha.”

How many times have we heard that chant in WWE since July 2015? Almost every segment  involving a woman. When Charlotte comes out? We want Sasha. When Becky Lynch wrestles? We want Sasha. When there’s a segment involving the Total Divas? We want Sasha. It’s the same process for almost every women’s segment not involving Sasha. What does that tell you? What’s the secret behind this chant? Why are the WWE fans chanting this and not chanting for Charlotte? The answer is quite simple… THEY WANT SASHA!

The WWE is a very weird company in the sense they expect you to get over, only if you have a specific look or a specific set of skills that others lack. Zack Ryder was never meant to get as over as he did, which forced WWE’s hand. After having him win the United States Championship in 2011, they did everything in their power to send his career in a huge downward spiral and they succeeded. With the exception of his big WrestleMania 32 victory, Zack’s never been in the same realm of popularity that he was in 2011. And funnily enough, there was a “we want Ryder” chant which was prominent throughout the shows in the same way that “we want Sasha” is prominent in 2016.

Sasha’s chants are not like the whole Daniel Bryan deal, which completely hijacked shows. However, these chants have been hijacking nearly every segment on RAW involving women. They’ve been pretty powerful chants and even after WrestleMania 32, where they got Sasha Banks in the Women’s Championship match, Sasha is still the woman the fans want to see. I’m pretty sure that if any one of the women are huge draws in terms of merchandise, it’s Sasha. She is a marketing company’s fantasy. She’s got the look, the fashion sense and the personality of an entertainment superstar. In fact, she’s actually related to an entertainment superstar in Snoop Dogg!

Despite all of this, the WWE are still banking on Charlotte to be their top woman in the women’s roster and the big guy calling the shots is now reportedly putting Sasha on the back-burner. According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Sasha is getting a reputation from WWE management for being injury-prone. Vince McMahon has reportedly told officials that Sasha only knows one speed in the ring and that is to go all out.

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Now there were reports in the past of Vince comparing Sasha to Daniel Bryan in the injury-prone and work-rate categories, which are actually pretty absurd comparisons to make. Long before his run in WWE, Daniel Bryan tore his body apart while wrestling around the world. Daniel’s even admitted that he and several independent guys like CM Punk had that old-school mentality of leaving it all in the ring no matter what. Whether Sasha has that much of a similar mentality of Bryan and Punk is up for debate, but I don’t see Sasha going all out THAT much. She does perform well but it’s really the big matches were she actually goes all out there. I don’t remember seeing a lot of RAW matches where Sasha went all out. Maybe it’s a different story on the house shows.

Not to mention that her most recent injury was actually just a legitimate freak accident involving a referee at a house show, who accidentally kneed her in the face and gave her a concussion.  It’s not like it’s a recurring injury for Sasha and this is the first time which I’ve seen Sasha out of action with injuries this often. I don’t think that makes her injury-prone. I would hardly call any of the WWE superstars injury-prone, with the exception of a small few. For those that are deemed “injury-prone,” I feel that it’s mostly due to the intense WWE schedule that sees the talent on the road for 300 days a year. Not to mention that outside projects with the WWE Network as well as other endevours will also not doubt be taking their toll. The wear and tear they get from the ring as well as other things will all build up, leading to them striking out eventually.

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Let’s take Nikki Bella for example. I know there’s not a great sense of respect for Nikki from a lot of fans, but I do respect a lot of aspects about her record-breaking Divas title reign. Think about it. She was working for months with an injury, which all lead up to neck surgery once she dropped the belt. During those months, she’d been working out like crazy (as her Instagram will prove) and taking bumps for nearly a year as the heel champion. Imagine how much strain every one of the Rack Attacks that Nikki did as she hoisted woman after woman onto her shoulders, only to drop them down. Not all of these women are easy to move either. Think about tall women like Charlotte or muscular women like Natalya. All of those strains eventually built and built to the point where Nikki’s career is looking in serious doubt.

It’s an essential part of professional wrestling for injuries to occur. After all, you’re putting on shows where the aim of the competitors is to hurt each other as much as they can. That’s the kayfabe goal of these workers and that involves people taking hits and taking punishment. It’s all part of the gig.

I kind of understand WWE’s mentality for not pushing the wrestlers that they think are “injury prone” as guys like Wade Barrett were hardly pushed again when they kept picking up injury after injury. However, this is Sasha Banks. She is still a brand new face in the company, particular as the top female on the roster. Guys like Wade Barrett, Rey Mysterio and Mark Henry have had opportunities in the past, making these decisions make a lot of sense. For Sasha though, it is upsetting to see her black-balled like this.

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Despite this, I believe that there is a lot more to this story than “injury-prone” concerns. I actually think RAW this week actually confirmed my suspicions. Remember on RAW two weeks ago, when they had the segment with Stephanie McMahon slapping Ric Flair? If you don’t, then no worries as I did write a review of the entire episode (that you can see at this link). There was a shot of Charlotte getting angry at Stephanie as she was supposedly about to charge her until Natalya cut her off. This was a tease of a confrontation between Stephanie and Charlotte.

Following this RAW, I mentioned that I believed that we are more likely to get Charlotte vs Stephanie at Summerslam than Charlotte vs Sasha (which was the reported plan for Summerslam for weeks). Then they did a segment on this week’s edition of RAW. In a backstage segment, Stephanie berated Charlotte in a babyface manner in order to add fuel to the fire. If this segment didn’t show that they are looking at other options, think again.

I don’t think that Charlotte vs Stephanie is the right move for Summerslam, but I’m still convinced that WWE would put more effort in promoting  that match as opposed to a potential Charlotte/Sasha match. Stephanie is doing her memoirs and her public perception is a big factor. Stephanie wrestling for the women’s championship one more time is a more appealing option to WWE than for Sasha to get her big title victory. Unfortunately for fans of The Boss, I don’t see a title reign for her in the near future.

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It’s a shame because Charlotte is not the woman that the WWE Universe want to see as the champion right now. The months and months of chants have given the WWE a fresh insight into the mindset of the fans. Sadly, it’s not strong enough to convince Vince to change his mind. My advice for wrestling fans that are hoping for a Sasha title reign to just keep up the “we want Sasha” chants. Just keep it up. At the end of the day, they’ll EVENTUALLY listen if things get crazy. If they did another main event women’s segment and these fans are chanting for Sasha, maybe that could be the deciding factor. The WWE will eventually listen… and you can take that to the bank.

Undertaker vs Shane McMahon Announced For WrestleMania 32

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express to talk about a huge match announced for WrestleMania 32. It came from the big angle from RAW a few weeks ago that has generated a lot of buzz. Shane McMahon returned to the WWE and declared that he never lost his place as next-in-line for control of WWE. Shane revealed that he bailed Vince out a few years back which resulted in an agreement which meant that Shane would remain as the heir to WWE over Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Shane said that he wanted control of Monday Night RAW. Vince agreed to these terms on one condition. Vince said that Shane would win control if he won a match at WrestleMania 32. It was revealed that his match would be a Hell in a Cell match and that his opponent would be the Undertaker.
Rather shocking developments on RAW a few weeks ago. I don’t think a lot of people would have guessed that WWE’s reported “secret” opponent for the Undertaker would turn out to be Shane McMahon. It was reported by Dave Meltzer that WWE had been planning to have a secret opponent for the Dead Man who had not been a part of the main roster. The thing is, I still expected it to be somebody from the main roster and that’s mostly because I couldn’t think of anyone outside of WWE that they could use. I thought about people like Batista, but I don’t think Batista would want to come back to the company at this time. Batista seems to be at odds with WWE, especially when he suggested on Twitter that Titus O’Neil should ask for his release. It’s very difficult to think of anyone that could have been in that role.
All I’ll say at this moment is that Shane would not have been high on my list of people that should have faced the Undertaker. I could think of a lot of guys that would have benefited more from wrestling Undertaker than Shane. I don’t know what kind of contract Shane signed when he came back but the thing is, Shane’s not an active member of the roster. His main profession in life is not professional wrestling. He’s a business man that has not wrestled in the company since 2009. He is 46 years old. The idea that he could put on a high quality match with the Undertaker seems absurd to me.
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With the match being Hell in a Cell, there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors that WWE could have thrown in to help the match. Even if you did though, I just don’t think it would be a match that could have a great deal of impact. You’re pitting the 50-year-old Undertaker up against the 46-year-old Shane McMahon. None of these men are active members of the roster.
However, maybe I’m jumping the gun here. Undertaker has a certain amount of “creative control” when it comes to Wrestlemania. I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t have announced this match without Undertaker’s input, so it seems that Taker would have been OK with it and would have known how to get a good match out of Shane. Right now, I’m not convinced that this would be a great spectacle in 2016 but I do wish that I was proven wrong.
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The thing about Shane is that for whatever reason, he got an insane pop on Monday Night RAW. People have been talking about him since he came back and it’s really caught me off guard just the amount of attention Shane’s getting. I think it’s awesome for WWE that he is generating that interest and it may actually help when it comes to bringing up ratings for Wrestlemania. RAW actually had a big increase in viewership on the RAW where he came back, so they’re on the right track. I think that was going to happen anyway, since there was the intrigue about what happened at Fastlane. However, Shane could provide a lot moving forward in that department.
It’s interesting to speculate about Shane’s role in the company. While a WWE spokesman has come out recently to state that Shane’s involvement at the company is currently just as an on-screen character, people in business have talked about Shane taking an executive role in the company. It’d be interesting if that happened, but I would be really surprised that it did. I figured if it were, he would have gotten involved with the company a lot sooner in a business position.
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Back to the match, there’s a lot of rumours running wild about what this means for WWE going forth. There’s a LOT of people thinking that Shane is going to take over as the new authority figure in the company with this storyline. Bryan Alvarez actually speculated that Shane might actually BEAT the Undertaker and gain control. I would be INCREDIBLY shocked if this were to happen. Then again, there were reports recently of WWE vs RAW events being plugged for house shows for after Wrestlemania. Whether that was an error or whether that relates to the storyline is questionable, but it is interesting. I think Shane would be a breath of fresh air as the new storyline authority figure but it’ll be interesting to see if it’d last long. Again, we don’t know much about Shane’s contract so it’s all up in the air.
The thing that does hurt the match is the motivation of the Undertaker. On this week’s episode of RAW, WWE had a great opportunity to have Undertaker explain his stake in this. However, Undertaker never really did. Therefore, the match suddenly becomes all about the McMahon family and Undertaker is there playing a supporting role which is really not what an Undertaker match should be like.
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Shane McMahon is expected to be on RAW next week, and both Shane and Undertaker are currently scheduled for RAW in two weeks. At least WWE does have four or five weeks to better develop the storyline and interest in the match. I just hope they do and I hope they can pull off something great in Texas.

Comparing The Kayfabe Of WWE And Lucha Underground

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Kayfabe is a very interesting concept, especially in 2016 where the fans are more knowledgeable of the scripted side of professional wrestling. In the age of social media, there’s not going to be a great deal wrestling promotions can do to convince everyone that the things you see on their television shows are 100% legitimate. Therefore, it would surely be OK to suggest that kayfabe is dead in professional wrestling right? Well, not exactly.

Whenever someone asks me why I enjoy wrestling, I usually respond by stating that I enjoy wrestling for the same reason that someone would enjoy Game of Thrones or Walking Dead. For whatever reason, it’s entertaining. Calling out wrestling fans for liking a product that’s “fake” is the equivalent to calling out Game of Thrones for liking a show that’s unrealistic. We are wrestling fans not for the realistic nature of the content but for the story-telling and in-ring action. We don’t care about how ridiculous of a concept the “Canadian Destroyer” move is. Whenever Petey Williams hits it, it will cause a reaction every time.

However, what does interest me was one article I came across which hyped up the second season of Lucha Underground. It came from Cageside Seats and it made this point:

“The WWE doesn’t expect you to buy into the reality any more, but it sort of does. It is clear why they don’t seem to know who is getting cheers or boos or have any way of influencing it. They are strangely aware of their predicament but powerless to stop it.”

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This line got me thinking about the kayfabe of both WWE and Lucha Underground. Lucha Underground obviously has a less intense schedule than WWE. They only have to put out one show per week which lasts about an hour. WWE have to put out content for RAW, SmackDown!, NXT, Main Event and even content for the WWE Network. Lucha’s advantage is that, with a much more relaxed schedule, they can better prepare in advance. The fact is WWE has a much harder time with writing its product than Lucha Underground. Let’s just be honest.

So in some ways, you can forgive WWE’s method of booking and writing. The one thing which it needs to be pulled up on is the consistency of their kayfabe. For the reasons stated above, Lucha has been pretty consistent with establishing that their content is scripted with the action in the ring being real. WWE is not as consistent.

It’s a very strange dynamic where, as mentioned earlier on in the Cageside Seats article, WWE goes back and forth on how they treat kayfabe. WWE doesn’t really expect its fans to accept their storylines as but if anyone in the company gets in the way of that, you are the enemy.

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For example, the WWE insisted on continuing a failed love rectangle angle with Rusev, Lana, Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae. However, TMZ reported that Rusev and Lana had just become engaged. The WWE got so mad at this news coming out that Rusev and Lana were both punished for “breaking kayfabe.”

In a strange way, WWE understand that the fans know better but still insist on maintaining aspects of the storylines which the fans know for a fact is not true. Dolph did try to suggest to fans on Instagram that he was legitimately with Lana but not a lot of fans were buying it. I believe WWE’s issue with Rusev and Lana is that they made WWE look like liars, which the WWE doesn’t want. They understand that the fans can tell fiction from reality but they hate being accused of lying to the general public, despite promoting a product which is based around fiction.

I actually don’t think a lot of people outside of WWE had an issue with the Rusev and Lana engagement, as it actually got the mainstream attention from TMZ. It’s also not like they couldn’t have worked this in the angle as Rusev and Lana were both part of the storyline. If it emerged that Lana was cheating on Rusev with John Cena for example, I would totally understand why that would cause a stir as John Cena is portrayed as a hero. I can also totally understand why WWE were so upset in 2005 at Matt Hardy for revealing Edge and Lita’s affair on the internet. Edge and Lita were the ones that were having the affair in that situation but Matt was the one that got fired because he got in the way of the Kane and Lita angle, which they had been building for around a year. To get mad at Rusev and Lana for something like this just doesn’t seem right.

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The difference between WWE and Lucha Underground though is that Lucha doesn’t go out of its way to convince you that their product is real. The product is promoted and presented as fiction. That’s how Lucha Underground establishes itself as a television program rather than just a pure wrestling program. On the other hand, WWE presents itself as a three hour long television program with huge attention paid to being socially relevant. Therefore, WWE cannot properly present itself as fiction. This was made especially clear on Monday Night RAW a few weeks ago when The Rock decided to “go off script.”

It’s a very complex relationship between WWE and kayfabe. To be fair to WWE, there have been more bizarre uses of kayfabe in the world of wrestling! Remember when WCW decided to do a scripted angle on Goldberg refusing to follow the script? We can throw around several definitions of what we think kayfabe is but in the end, I don’t think EVEN Vince McMahon will ever have a definitive definition for kayfabe. The fact is, he probably doesn’t need to come up with one. For WWE, kayfabe is interchangeable. Kayfabe is whatever the company wants it to be, which is not exactly a bad thing. People will argue that inconsistent kayfabe is detrimental but tell that to those in charge of the finances of the company.

Why Reports Of NJPW Signings Will Help WWE

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Reports of the signings of New Japan Pro Wrestling stars AJ Styles, Shinesuke Nakamura, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson really did shock the wrestling world. Despite the WWE’s best attempts at keeping the signings a secret, the news was eventually broken. Plans were reportedly in place for the likes of AJ Styles to actually compete in the 2016 Royal Rumble match. However, I fear that those plans may now be changed, considering that the cat is now out of the bag. WWE may want to go out of their way to shock us but I say continue with Plan A.

WWE’s been very short on long-term planning in the last few years, with the likes of the Undertaker’s streak ending being decided four hours before the event. In some cases I totally disagree with it, but in some cases it’s not always a bad thing. With the likes of Seth Rollins and John Cena suffering long term injuries, you can’t really afford to make long term plans if things go wrong.

Changing plans because of injuries is fine, as these things are just something you can’t prepare for. Changing plans because storylines were leaked however aren’t the appropriate measures to take. It’s certainly not appropriate to go out of your way to swerve the audience, when you’ve got something great in place for them already. Whether the news of AJ Styles came out or not, him entering the Royal Rumble would have gotten an incredible pop. If anything, I would argue that it would actually help the pop for AJ if the news had gotten out.

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I want to just state before I go on that wrestling fans are not idiots. A lot of them have the internet and a lot of them are well aware about other wrestling promotions. It’s possible that AJ would get a strong reaction if he showed up unannounced but I’m highly doubtful that it would get an extremely big reaction without the news. The Royal Rumble is one of the WWE’s biggest events. There could be a lot of casual viewers tuning into the Royal Rumble and I’m sure I’m right when I say that these viewers would have no idea who AJ Styles is.

Without that leak, there was always going to be a portion of the crowd that is sat there silently thinking “Who is AJ Styles?” If AJ wasn’t announced beforehand, those fans wouldn’t have had a clue. With the news though, it actually aids WWE in their bid to build anticipation for the likes of Styles, Nakamura, Gallows and Anderson. Those casual fans now have the time to do a bit of digging about who these people are. That builds anticipation a lot more than if WWE would have tried to make this a surprise.

 

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I also mean no disrespect when I say that AJ Styles is no Sting. When Sting signed for WWE, the WWE already had the WCW content on the WWE Network and other means for their younger WWE fans to find out just who he is. It’s not like WWE can just grab some TNA footage of AJ and shot it on the network. WWE have hardly ever hinted or mentioned TNA in any form of media, and it’s not like they’re willing to go out of their way to discuss wrestlers that aren’t even with the company.

That’s not on WWE as that’s not their job. Their job is to promote the talent that they’ve got. To say that they’ve completely neglected other wrestling companies would be an out-right lie. They’ve worked with other wrestling promotions in the past and have mentioned independent wrestlers like AJ and Samoa Joe in articles about Ring of Honor before they signed. The point is, you can’t expect casual and young wrestling fans to automatically figure out who these men are before they enter the WWE ring for the first time. That’s what vignettes are for. That’s what WWE.com is for. That’s what WWE games are for. Sting was announced for WWE 2K15 a few months before he debuted on WWE television.

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Wrestling fans must be aware that WWE are trying to appeal to the majority of THEIR fan base. In order to make these fans aware about who these men are, the leaks have played to their advantage. They can know take control of the narrative and build anticipation for the eventual arrival of these men. What have they been having Finn Balor and John Cena do on Twitter and Instagram? They posted a number of Bullet Club/AJ Styles related messages which get people excited. Finn had an interview with WWE.com, talking about the rumours. The hardcore wrestling fans, that know who the Bullet Club is, will go nuts. The casual wrestling fans, that don’t know who they are, can find out and get excited. It works so well for WWE.

If they were to change their plans just because word got out about their arrival, that would be detrimental. Some times, it works for the best if we know ahead of time that something’s going to happen. If WWE keep building up and building up these signings only for nothing to happen at the Royal Rumble, the fans that have gotten so excited are going to feel let down.

It was like at Extreme Rules 2012, when Kharma was supposed to come back and win the Divas title. Word got out and they decided against it. They went with the returning Layla to come back and win the title, and the crowd just didn’t care in the slightest. Remember when Matt Hardy turned on Jeff Hardy in 2009 and revealed himself as the mastermind behind his attacks from the last few months? Originally, the plan was for the returning Christian to reveal himself as the mastermind. When word got out what WWE were planning to do, WWE changed their minds.

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WWE going out of their way to shock us sometimes isn’t the best way to go, especially if you don’t have a good enough back-up plan. I enjoy unpredictability as much as the next guy but I’d prefer the best storyline WWE can give me. If they’ve got a plan for AJ, Shinsuke, Doc and Karl, I would much rather they stick with it. I want a storyline that truly is too sweet.

Wrestling Flashback – January 4th 1999: RAW IS WAR vs Nitro

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To say that this was the day that the wrestling world turned upside down would be an understatement. The Monday Night Wars, that had been going back and forth for years, had its winner seemingly decided on this day as both the WWF and WCW put on two huge shows together in an effort to win the ratings battle.

In one corner, we had the WWF. Mankind had been feuding with the “Corporate Champion” The Rock and this lead to a no disqualification title match taking place in the main event of Monday Night RAW after Mankind threatened to break Vince’s son Shane’s arm. This was a taped show but the anticipation was building.

In the other corner, we had WCW. Kevin Nash shocked the world at Starrcade by ending the undefeated streak of Goldberg and winning the WCW World title. Eight days later, the Wolfpack leader would defend the title against Goldberg in a rematch at Goldberg’s hometown in Atlanta. These two would collide LIVE on WCW Monday Nitro. Indeed, history would be made tonight.

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January 4th 1999 would see RAW and Nitro go head to head once again as WCW looked to regain the lead as the top dogs of professional wrestling. Eric Bischoff pulled out all of the big guns. Nitro was live and up against a pre-taped RAW. He knew the results and he knew he had to counter-book. He had to bring it tonight and he thought he had the perfect main event with a huge development in the long storyline between the two nWos and Goldberg. With what he was about to put on, there was no way he could lose to something like Mick Foley fighting for the championship right?

Mick Foley actually was a former WCW wrestler but was never really the top man in the company. Why would he? He made his name as a sucker for pain. He took risks that no man should ever take, including getting launched off the top of the “Hell in a Cell.” There was no chance in hell of this guy being a ratings draw right?

He went over the plan for the night with everyone. A number of top stars were notorious for backstage politicking, and the finish to this match showed the type of pull one Hollywood Hogan had as WCW’s top star.

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Bischoff let WCW announcer Tony Schiavone know what happened on Monday Night RAW. It’d become a new feature on Nitro for Tony to reveal the results of these pre-tapings for RAW which would theoretically make sure that the viewers wouldn’t change the channel to find out what happened on RAW.

Bischoff thought this would turn the tide. He thought that this whole night could get Nitro back on form as they went back to basics and to the one force that made wrestling fans tune in…

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On Nitro, Goldberg’s title rematch was in jeopardy as he was arrested by the Atlanta police. This was a rematch from Starrcade of all events and it looks like those plans were changing. Kevin Nash suspected that nWo Hollywood leader Hollywood Hogan was responsible.

This lead to the main event of the WCW World Title match being changed to Kevin Nash defending the WCW Title againsy Hollywood Hogan. Meanwhile on RAW, they are setting up the Mankind/Rock main event.

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Before the main events happened, Tony Schiavone was ready to reveal the results for that night’s edition for RAW IS WAR and who walked out of that WWF title match as the champion. Tony said:

“Fans, if you’re even thinking about changing the channel to our competition, fans, do not. We understand that Mick Foley, who wrestled here one time as Cactus Jack, is going to win their world title. Ha! That’s gonna put some butts in the seats.”

Don’t worry folks. We got you covered. You don’t need to watch that old taped show now. You don’t need to watch Mick Foley win the WWF title. Stick around for WCW Monday Nitro as we’ve got a WCW title match later tonight LIVE.

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Bischoff truly believed that this was HIS night. Then all of a sudden, Bischoff got very quiet on commentary. After Tony revealed what was going to happen on the other show, 600,000+ people changed the channels from the live edition of Nitro to this pre-taped edition of RAW.

The WCW fans couldn’t believe what they had heard. Is this true? Did Mick Foley really win the WWF title? I have to go watch RAW to see.

Rather than stick around for Kevin Nash’s WCW title defense, these fans tuned into RAW as the stage was set for Mankind vs The Rock.

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Mankind had in fact won the title in what will forever go down as one of the most important title changes in WWF/E history. Vince McMahon looked devasted in this segment. He watched on as Mankind had beaten his handpicked champion in this angle that was taped a few days before. Wherever Vince was watching this on the day it aired, there’s no doubt that he was watching the ratings come in with a huge smile on his face.

The same can’t be said for Eric Bischoff. He must have been dejected as he heard about what happened. However, the show must go on as the fans would no doubt come back for the WCW World title match.

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For those that did, they watched on as this Atlanta crowd was ready for a fight. It didn’t feature Goldberg but it did feature Nash and Hogan. This confrontation had been building for months. Nash pushed Hogan to hype up the Hulkster. Hogan was ready to go. He was about to throw a punch when suddenly, he stopped. The clenched fist turned into a pointing motion. He fingerpoked Kevin Nash who fell down in a comical fashion. Hogan made the cover and a new champion was crowned.

It was all a ruse! The Wolfpack and nWo Hollywood were working together! What a shocker! Goldberg got screwed! The fans were irate. The nWo, the stable which had led WCW to the top of the wrestling world, was back in full swing.

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Sadly, the ratings didn’t result in the return to status quo for WCW. Up until Tony’s announcement, WCW had managed to take the lead in that week’s battle with RAW. At the end of the night though, RAW won by 5.7 to 5.0.

Never again would Nitro beat RAW in the ratings. It was not the end of the Monday Night Wars but WCW should have prayed that it was. Not only were they only able to crack a 5.0 rating just a few times afterwards, RAW’s audience began to DOUBLE Nitro’s during the year 2000.

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When I think of WCW, I think of a company that had the potential to blitz the WWF with the backing of Ted Turner. Sadly, this night only proved the theory that the key to WCW’s failures came from within.

WWE Hell In A Cell 2015 Review – Lesnar vs Undertaker III Delivers On Really Good Show

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Hell in a Cell brought a lot to Los Angeles, California. It featured hard-hitting matches, shocking moments and a hell of a main event with Brock Lesnar and Undertaker squaring off inside the demonic structure. However, did they bring all they could to the state of California? Could the WWE make up for a poor month of RAW ratings with a quality event on the WWE Network? Could this be the turning point the WWE need to get back on the right tracks? Well, let’s run down the card with this review.

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The night started off with the US Title Open Challenge. Cena cut his usual promo and opened the challenge up to the roster. Zeb Colter of all people came out on some kind of scooter.He called John a divider and said that it was time for people to come together. He introduced the man that he claimed would become the United States Heavyweight champion. That man was Alberto Del Rio! No words can describe how much joy I had at that moment. I truly never believed that Del Rio would be the one to answer to call for a few reasons. I was talking with a few writers from SLTD Wrestling about who would take up the challenge. Someone actually threw Del Rio’s name into the mix but I shot it down. A reason for that is I had no idea if Del Rio was still under contract with Lucha Underground or not. I heard that Del Rio could have gotten out of that contract any time he wanted but I figured it would taken a lot of time to get the paperwork through in time for Hell in a Cell. Alberto Del Rio is also still the AAA Mega Champion too which is a huge missed opportunity for WWE! After the PPV, I looked onto NoDQ.com and this how Del Rio was able to sign with WWE so easily:

“Regarding his contract with the company, Del Rio’s deal was a lot easier to put together than most. Del Rio’s deal calls for less dates, and he will also be allowed to work through his remainder indie dates that he has previously agreed on. Money played a major factor in Del Rio’s return to the company. Lucha Underground was his main source of income, but both parties had a falling out because Del Rio couldn’t agree with creative and returning to WWE was his only option to making any kind of real money again.”

I did not believe it was going to be Daniel Bryan. I did not believe it was going to Tyler Breeze. I didn’t really know who I thought was going to challenge Cena but I didn’t think it would be Alberto Del Rio. Putting Del Rio with Colter is an interesting mix. I’m not sure if it’s going to work but then again, I was critical when Colter was put with Cesaro and Cesaro ended up benefiting from it in the end. So you never know.

John Cena (c) vs Alberto Del Rio for the WWE United States Championship

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When I was doing the predictions for this on SLTD Wrestling, I really didn’t know what to think. I’d changed my mind over and over regarding whether the mystery challenger was going to win. On the predictions, I predicted that Cena would retain. When I saw Del Rio, my predictions were in a constant state of flux! I thought right away that to bring Del Rio back just to beat him on his first match back would be preposterous unless this was a one-off appearance. However, John Cena is John Cena. Having anyone beat Cena is very hard for the writers to do. They have to protect Cena. So I was thinking of all of these ways that would protect both Cena and Del Rio regardless of who win. I thought either Del Rio would win due to Zeb or Cena would just go over. Again, I was wrong. Low and behold, Del Rio pinned Cena after seven minutes… clean.

It was mind-blowing! The whole world went nuts when Kevin Owens pinned John Cena clean at Elimination Chamber. Not only did Del Rio beat Cena clean here, he did it seven minutes. He won off a backstabber and a super kick. The super kick is done by every other wrestler on the roster and is Del Rio’s signature move. It’s not even his proper finisher and Del Rio won clean. CLEAN!

Now I’ve seen a lot of fans on Twitter tweet about the logic of Cena beating the WWE World Champion Rollins clean but losing here clean to Del Rio. Let me just point something out. When John Cena beat Seth Rollins clean at Night of Champions, Seth was preparing for two opponents that night. It was not as clean a finish as you would have thought as Seth was preparing for two opponents. On the other hand, Del Rio had not been in WWE for over a year. Del Rio’s schedule in the last year has been a lot lighter than Cena’s. Cena’s been on the road with WWE nearly all year long. Del Rio’s worked for the likes of AAA, Lucha Underground and ROH but has not been wrestling as much as Cena in 2015. Cena’s body, in terms of the storyline, is hurt after putting up his US title every week. Del Rio is a lot fresher and simply took advantage of a wounded champion. It makes perfect sense as Cena was more prepared than Rollins at Night of Champions but not as prepared as Del Rio for Hell in a Cell. This is alright with me.

The only thing that took away from this moment with Del Rio coming back was Jerry Lawler down-playing Del Rio’s return like it was nothing. He criticised Cole and JBL for making it seem like he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. As someone on Twitter pointed out, he was aghast at the thought that Cole knew so much about Del Rio. I don’t know if Jerry Lawler is aware of this or not but MICHAEL COLE IS A JOURNALIST! It’s his business to know all of this stuff. You’re mad that he knew so much about a wrestler that you bury him for it? You can be a good guy all you want and you can bury the heels when you need to but not when he’s just made his return. Cole and JBL were making Del Rio out to be a star and Lawler thought it was no big deal. This was the start to a horrible night on the commentary table for Jerry Lawler. However, Del Rio’s return was still lovely despite Jerry Lawler on commentary. The pressure is now on WWE to make sure they don’t drop the ball with him.

There was a backstage segments that followed with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Seth Rollins and Corporate Kane all taking about the WWE World Heavyweight title match. Seth vowed to retain the title but Kane just wished Seth good luck as he would need it. Scary.

Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt in a Hell in a Cell match

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Initially, I thought it was kind of strange that there was no cool-off match between Del Rio winning the US title and the first Hell in a Cell match. Having thought about it, I understand now that it was probably WWE not wanting the Cell matches to be too close together so I kind of get it. I’m going to actually give Michael Cole credit for bringing up the statistic of only 35 men or so ever competing in a Hell in a Cell match. That actually helped make the match itself a bit more sacred and special as if it’s not competed in a lot. It may be a small thing, but I think that added to the Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt match with two competitors that were in this match for the first time.

It was a decent Hell in a Cell match. Early on, Roman did his drive-by kick to Bray which caused Bray to tumble a few steps and then slam himself into a cell wall. Other than that, I thought Bray was great during this match. Bray was just innovative in general when it came to using the weapons inside the cell. I remember he was like this when he was feuding with Dean Ambrose. When he and Dean had that TLC match last year, they had a WHOLE lot of fun with the weapons. Bray grabbed the chair and was about to hit Roman with it. Bray stopped himself, sat down on the chair, picked up the Kendo stick that was used earlier on in the match and then smacked Roman over and over in the chair while sitting down. I thought that was awesome. Bray was great during this.

The crowd loved Roman hitting Bray with double kendo sticks. The match was very slow paced sometimes to a point where it seemed that they didn’t know what was going on. They were stalling for time quite a bit. What I can say is that both men looked really good coming off this match. Bray and Roman both kicked out of a lot of big moves. Roman did a big powerbomb on Bray through the table but Bray immediately kicked out. There was an awesome sequence with Roman reversing Sister Abigail with a roll up and then hitting the Superman punch. Three tables broke during this. Roman hit a spear from the apron onto the table on the outside which looked really good but Bray kicked out. There was a fan that told Roman to “take his soul.” That made me laugh. Bray had planned to throw Roman into a kendo stick that was wedged into the turnbuckle but Roman threw Wyatt into it and hit the spear for the win.

This was a darn good Hell in a Cell match which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was every bit as fun as I hoped it would be. It was a suitable finish to the feud with Roman getting Wyatt in the cell by himself. It was a great story told with the right man going over. I believe this is a great way to get Roman back into the main event picture if that’s what’s going to happen. At the end of the day, this feud was actually a worthwhile. There’s been times which I’ve been annoyed at the feud but it gave us a quality finish. Judging by the end of the PPV, it seems that both men are going to get a lot out of it. Very satisfied with this one.

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

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Xaiver Woods was not a ringside for this one. The announcers claimed it was because of Xaiver being put through the table on Monday Night RAW. I actually think Xaiver Woods was away because he was being married or something. I think that was the reason if anyone was wondering. Big E and Kofi dedicated this match to him. Kofi said he was going to play the bongo drums on D-Von’s head. Big E said he would slap Bubba’s belly like it were a drum. They told everyone to show off their “unicorn horns” which is really just putting your finger on your head. What this lead to was JBL telling Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler to “get their horns out!” I was critical of Jerry Lawler earlier but JBL was great during this show. There was a lot of stuff he threw in which I don’t think were planned. When he just goes off on his own, JBL is so awesome. It’s such a shame that Vince usually limits what JBL can say. Here, he was great somehow. Great promo as usual even without Xaiver Woods!

The match itself was much worse then the stuff they’ve done at Night of Champions and Madison Square Garden. The Dudleyz have been together for twenty years and messed up a tag team spot so bad in this match. Let me cut to the chase. Bubba had Kofi up for a side slam. D-Von came off the rope and it appeared that he was going for a leg drop onto Kofi. However, D-Von instead while running decided to switch legs at the last minute. So he got to his spot, jumped up to do the leg drop on one leg, then went for the other, but Bubba didn’t go down at the same time and didn’t drop Kofi either. It was such a bad mess up and it came from the Dudleys. Unbelievable.

Kofi tried the old Eddie tribute spot where he got the trombone, threw it to Bubba and went down. The ref didn’t buy it and the match continued. What was funny actually was that Bubba was begging the referee to not DQ them and told them to listen to the fans. However, not only were the fans mostly behind the New Day during the match, when Eddie usually did this spot, he would be cheered! Big E would then hit Bubba with the instrument behind the ref’s back and Kofi hit Trouble in Paradise for the win. I thought this match was very underwhelming as I expected more considering the amount of months this feud has went on. However, all I can say is the right team went over. With that being said and the botched spot earlier in mind, it was still a pretty average tag team match. Not the best pay-off to months of build though.

Charlotte (c) vs Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship

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It was announced on the pre-show that no divas were allowed at ringside for this match, which completely derailed my prediction of Paige screwing over Charlotte! However, I was still convinced that Nikki was somehow going to win the title. I predicted this on SLTD Wrestling. However, it appeared that I was wrong all along!

There’s something about how Charlotte throws her punches that was really off-putting to me. She doesn’t do like a jab, an uppercut or a hook or anything like that. What she does is make a fist and pokes Nikki with her fist. I think Charlotte needs to work on her striking game in the future because it came off so bad in this match.

There were “We Want Sasha” chants. There was a German suplex spot which I thought was so badly screwed up. Nikki was going for a German suplex from the top rope but she had hardly any grip. So what happens is that looked like she was going to try and suplex Charlotte by wrapping her arms around Charlotte’s waist rather than her stomach. It was the most ludicrous looking German suplex I’ve ever seen. The only redeeming quality of it was that Charlotte was able to land on her feet after Nikki tried this “German suplex” which actually made it look sort of cool. Nikki hit the Alabama slam on Charlotte onto the ring apron which looked like it sucked for Charlotte. This went along well with the story of the match, with Nikki targeting the back. Nikki went for the Rack Attack but Charlotte countered it into a botchy looking figure-eight leg lock for the win.

I didn’t like this match. It was certainly not the worst women’s match I’ve seen on PPV. However, it just didn’t come off looking good. I like the idea of wrestlers working over body-parts during the match and it worked well during their match at Night of Champions. However, it did not look good when they did it in this match. This match just seemed like a desperate attempt from WWE to turn this Divas Revolution thing around with Charlotte and Nikki pulling out all the stops and put on a very good match. The only problem with that is you’re asking Charlotte and NIKKI BELLA to put on this “great” match. Nikki is not good enough to put on this type of match and Charlotte is not THAT experienced in the ring. It just came off a cheap rip-off of the stuff Bayley and Sasha were doing on NXT. Nikki and Charlotte were going for all of these great spots in theory but a lot of them were just messed up. The only one which kind of looked cool and was pulled off great was Nikki’s Alabama slam. It was not worth giving the ten minutes they gave them on this show. This match was longer than the Tag Team title and US title matches and it just never justified the amount of time they were given. Sorry girls. You need to do more to impress me. I also don’t think Charlotte was ready for this title run in the first place and this match has not really done a lot to help the cause. Let’s see what they do on RAW anyway.

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

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This match wasn’t really that great. It was certainly not that great considering all of the weeks of hype this feud has been given. The issue is that Seth wrestled this match with Kane like it was just another guy, with the exception of the spot where Seth tried to knock Kane down but he wouldn’t budge. For weeks, the storyline was that Seth was trash-talking Kane when he was in a suit but was scared of him when he had his ring-gear on. However, he treated this match like it was nothing and pinned Kane clean in the middle. The storyline they had built up for so long didn’t even play into the match itself and the finish. All I can think at this point is that it’s going to continue on into RAW where Kane is fired or somehow spared from being fired. We shall see.

Bryan Alvarez thinks that Kane got injured when he took the powerbomb from Seth onto the table. It actually makes sense as Kane didn’t really do a lot after the spot happened and the doctor came to check on him. I hope that’s not the case but it’s really not good news for Seth if he is hurting all of these lads in high-profile matches, whether it was a mistake or not. He broke John Cena’s nose, we have no idea what the future is of Sting after what happened at Night of Champions and he might have injured Kane too. Maybe he has to tone down a lot of his hard-hitting moves because it’s getting people hurt.

Kevin Owens (c) vs Ryback for the Intercontinental Championship

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This was a pretty bad short match. Usually when a match is a short, the wrestlers try to get in as much good spots as they can. However, it just played out like a normal match which had an abrupt finish after five minutes. Ryback got hardly any reaction when he came out which was worrying. I’m shocked that people are still chanting “Goldberg” at him after all of these years. It’s amazing.

Ryback did a powerbomb on his own to Kevin Owens and the announcers just completely no-sold it. He did his opponent’s finisher and the announcers didn’t even think to mention this. Some stuff happened and Kevin raked the eyes and hit the pop-up Powerbomb on Ryback for the win. It wasn’t a very good powerbomb but at least it played into what happened on RAW with the announcers suggesting that Kevin could do the powerbomb to Ryback as well. Hopefully, Kevin gets a much different opponent than Ryback. When Kevin has to work with a fellow big man, it just doesn’t seem like it works. It certainly didn’t work with poor Ryback.

Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match

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This was it. The biggest rubber match in recent memory. Brock got busted open very early into the match by going into the ring post. What’s funny is that the announcers mentioned that Brock stopped himself from hitting the post by using his arm but he was bloody anyway. Undertaker was also bloodied in the match too. According to Bryan Alvarez, “Vince freaked the fuck out” after there was blood in the match. That’s what Bryan said on the Bryan and Vinny show but here’s a bit more from the report I read earlier:

“Bryan Alvarez mentioned on the latest instalment of Wrestling Observer Radio that he received texts from someone that was backstage and the event and witnessed Vince McMahon’s reaction to the blood. Alvarez said that Vince and Kevin Dunn were freaking out over the incident because the company has a no blood policy. Dunn was seen screaming for a doctor to get out there. However sending the doctor out there didn’t do much, as Lesnar shoved the doctor down and after that, the doctor did not return.”

I will never say that wrestlers should blade for a sake of making the match better. I was especially not at ease by the “we want blood” chants that were going on during the match. However, blood just seemed to work for this match in a weird way. They showed a shot of Undertaker busted open and he looked very scary! You could tell it was a scary and serious situation which did add to the match.

Undertaker did the chair guillotine which he hardly ever does but it always looks cool whenever he does it. Brock hit a F5 but Undertaker kicked out. As mentioned earlier, a doctor was sent down to the cell. Brock threw the doctor out the ring and just hit another F5 on the Undertaker but he kicked out again. Lesnar hit Taker with the steel steps and Michael Cole was just like “this is it” as if this was going to be the finish. I know he did that to hype up the kick out but there’s no way that it was believable that Cole thought the match was over after that! Brock went to break Taker’s leg with the steel steps. If you’ll recall, Brock did the exact same thing to Kane a few months ago to take him out. In fact, Michael Cole referenced that on commentary. A nice little bit of story-telling there. Michael Cole was actually pretty good himself tonight on commentary.

Taker locked on Hells Gate and Brock was clenching his fist as he was considering tapping. All I kept thinking was “JUST PUNCH HIM!” He eventually took my advice and he beat the crap out of Taker as if this was the end of a UFC fight and if he was just waiting for the ref to pull him away. I liked this. It played to his time in UFC as a legitimate fighter. Brock then ripped up the ring mat but Undertaker used that to his advantage. He chokeslammed and tombstoned Lesnar onto the hard floor but Lesnar kicked out. Brock won the match with a low blow and a F5 to pick up the win. The right man won this one. I don’t think it was as good as their Summerslam match but it was a good Hell in a Cell match. It finished as it should have and it was a fitting end to the feud.

At the end of the night, Undertaker was stood alone in the ring as the crowd applauded him. The Wyatt Family came out. They came out and simply beat up the Undertaker. JBL was well into this angle and even called the Wyatts “sick bastards.” They then carried him out to end the show. I’m guessing this will lead into Survivor Series, as it appears that Undertaker is promoted for that event. I think it’ll be a four on four with Undertaker, Kane, Sting if he’s healthy and somebody else against the Wyatts. I’d like to see that as Undertaker wouldn’t have to do a lot physically but we’ll see where it goes.

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Hell in a Cell was a very good show. It was a great showing by WWE with a lot of good matches to talk about. The Hell in a Cell matches were the best matches of the night which is great as it’s the marquee match of the night. There was a lot of shocking moments and I really hope the WWE can capitalize on them as they hope to turn their RAW ratings around.