Wade Barrett And Damien Sandow Among Several WWE Releases

How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express. Big news coming from the WWE on Friday as eight releases were announced with the departures of Wade Barrett and Damien Sandow being the biggest ones of the lot.

With that said, there were a number of surprise releases among the group of superstars. The full list of wrestlers released were….

  • Wade Barrett
  • Damien Sandow
  • El Torito
  • Hornswoggle
  • Alex Riley
  • Cameron
  • Santino Marrella
  • Zeb Colter

What we’ll do with this post is run down everyone that was released and I will give my thoughts in the latest mass exodus of WWE talent.

 

Wade Barrett

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Barrett’s departure has been well-known for a while. He’s discussed it in the past and it appeared that he was done following his excommunication from the League of Nations. Throughout the years, for the Armbar Express, NoDQ.com, SLTD Wrestling and even WhatCulture, I’ve talked about Wade Barrett passionately. This man had everything that the WWE could want in a top heel and they really dropped the ball on him. Now granted, there were a number of times where Barrett was picking up momentum but unfortunately picked up injuries that stopped him. However, there’s also been a fair share of disregard for Barrett by the WWE writers in the past few years.

He’s been a King of the Ring winner and a multi-time Intercontinental Champion, but it still feels like Barrett was never able to accomplish any of significant value since he debuted on RAW as a part of Nexus. That angle could have made Barrett a star but whether it was down to “backstage politicking” or lack of confidence in the Nexus as a whole, Barrett was never really given a great main-event run. Despite this, Barrett’s had some great periods of getting over to a high level. As Bad News Barrett in 2014, Barrett was one of the most over acts in the entire company. It’s sad to see him go but the pressure is now on for Neville to waive the flag for England in the WWE.

 

Damien Sandow

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The fact that WWE had nothing creatively for Damien Sandow to do in the last 12 months just goes to show how badly WWE screwed up the booking of this man. The fact that Damien Sandow has now been released after holding the Money In The Bank contract and being one of the most over acts of 2014 and 2015 is just an unfortunate fall from grace for the man that has received endorsements from legends such as Mick Foley.

For a company that claims to embody “sports entertainment,” it’s astonishing that they wouldn’t push Damien Sandow to the level that he could get to. After all, Damien Sandow has been entertaining with every gimmick he’s been given. Whether it’s just being the intellectual saviour of the masses or just parodying other superstars, Damien took the ball and ran as hard as he could with it. He’s like Eric Young in the sense that he could make any gimmick work. It boggles my mind how WWE never gave him a legitimate run as a main-eventer considering how over Damien got.

 

El Torito

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El Torito was a surprise release. I actually liked El Torito and he actually had a lot of value as a little fella that children could get invested in. Not only that but he could actually work in the ring as a luchador. As a suitable replacement for Hornswoggle as the top… little man in the company, El Torito was the right man. I know that his character didn’t get over to a tremendous degree but he was good enough to be a great little lower mid-card character that could keep the crowds happy. I guess the WWE didn’t really have a lot of future plans for him but you could tell that anyway as soon as he broke up with Los Matadores in an angle which went… nowhere.

Torito, much like a lot of these guys, just didn’t seem to have a place in the company anymore. Especially with Los Matadores being repackaged back to Primo and Epico, there was not much else for Torito to do.

 

Hornswoggle

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Hornswoggle had already been on the company’s bad books ever since his suspension last year. Taking his inactivity afterwards into account, this was the least surprising release for me. After ten years of goofy angles, which include being Vince McMahon’s illegitimate son and being the anonymous general manager of RAW, what else could Hornswoggle offer in terms of storylines? He did pretty much all he could with WWE and now’s the time for him to move on. You gave us some of the most unique and bizarre wrestling angles of all time and even reigned as the final Cruiserweight champion but this is the end of the road unfortunately.

NOTE: It’s actually already been confirmed that Hornswoggle is starting up with Global Force Wrestling as… Swoggle.

 

Alex Riley

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Again, this was an inevitability. Alex Riley had been in NXT for years in hopes of revitalising his wrestling career. He feuded with Kevin Owens and then really just floated around in the NXT roster after that. Riley had also been very outspoken on Twitter about how WWE was using him on the main roster and on NXT.  Really, there was little chance of anything major happening for Riley in the near future.

There was a time where it really felt that WWE were going to get behind him after he broke up with The Miz in 2011. He got some big pops as he feuded with him and even BEAT him at Capitol Punishment 2011. Considering that he beat Miz, right after he dropped the WWE title to John Cena, that shows you just how much stock they had in him. He had segments with Cena and Steve Austin and it looked for all the world like they were really going to push him to be the next top babyface. He had the charisma for it anyway.

However, for whatever reason, Riley’s push was dropped and he was really never able to recover again. The big reason about why Riley’s push was ended was reportedly due to a confrontation he had with John Cena backstage. It was probably in Riley’s best interests to not get on the bad side of these top guys in the company, but it was a shame that his full potential was never realised before he parted ways with WWE.

 

Santino Marella

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Santino had been retired as an in-ring competitor for a number of years. Santino’s gave us many years of laughs and entertainment but it was very difficult for Santino to make a significant contribution to the company strictly as an ambassador and in a non-wrestling position. With several big legends on the pay-roll in the same role as Santino, there was little need for him anymore.

You’ll be missed Santino!

 

Cameron

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As strange as this may sound, Cameron was the most shocking release of all. The reason I say this is because I truly believed that Cameron was making a serious effort to contribute more to the company. Whether it was going back to NXT to develop her wrestling skills or taking part in outside projects, I think Cameron was trying really hard to make the WWE realise that she wanted a place in her company and that she could deliver. Despite all of this, with the sudden increased demand of women’s wrestling, Cameron was going to have a difficult time attempting to live up to that standard set by the likes of Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Paige and Bayley.

Cameron did have a number of off-screen incidents while in WWE, including her infamous DUI where she reportedly tried to bribe a policeman and didn’t tell WWE about it. She also had the incident on RAW where she tried to pin Naomi on her stomach. Despite her recent efforts, I guess it’s time for Cameron to say girl bye.

 

Zeb Colter

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Colter was sailing in the same boat as nearly everyone else that was released, in the sense that there was not a lot for him to do within the company anymore. He came in as the effective manager for Jack Swagger and delivered tremendously on the mic. The issue with Zeb was that he was one gimmick hit. He was really only able to deliver well with the Real American gimmick and whenever he was with Jack Swagger. When they tried to put him with Alberto Del Rio, it was a momentous disaster to the point where Del Rio has never really been able to recover.

 

What do you think of these releases? Who are you going to miss the most? Is there anyway that you’re glad to see leave? Tweet us your response @ArmbarExpress or leave a comment below.

How I Would Book… CM Punk As Nexus Leader [Part Two]

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Welcome to Part TWO of my newest “How I Would Book” series. This follows CM Punk’s reign as Nexus leader and where I think the angle should have been heading.
Last time, we established the new Nexus under Punk’s rule and we’ve seen Punk set his sights on the Royal Rumble. In an eventful Rumble event, CM Punk emerged as the winner and will headline Wrestlemania.
The road to Wrestlemania is now starting to become a little more clear but there’s still more business to take care of before we get there. If CM Punk will be going to Wrestlemania, who will be the champion that he’ll be facing?
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I’ll just state for the record right now that CM Punk will not be challenging for SmackDown!’s World title. He’ll challenge for the WWE Championship on RAW but who’ll be the champion? Will it be The Miz? Will it be Randy Orton? Will it be Sheamus? We’ll settle this with an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship that will feature the following…
  • The Miz (the WWE Champion)
  • Randy Orton
  • Sheamus
  • John Morrison
  • Heath Slater
  • John Cena

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My plan is for at least one member of the Nexus to be in the Chamber match while CM Punk will take on Justin Gabriel. Now I’m sure the big question is why Gabriel is fighting Punk and not taking on his traitor friend Slater? I’ve done this for three reasons…
  1. The bigger picture is CM Punk’s road to WrestleMania. For CM Punk, it’s best for him to take on someone that is relevant and a part of the story. Punk orchestrated and took part in the beating of Gabriel as the South African was kicked out of Nexus. Gabriel would want revenge on Punk as well as Slater.
  2. It’s better for Gabriel to be involved in a high-profile match after being in the final two of the Royal Rumble. Taking on the guy that eliminated him is a logic step and it can help get Gabriel over to an upper-midcard level… possibly as a main eventer.
  3. You need at least one member of the Nexus to be in the Elimination Chamber. You could make arguments for Michael McGillicutty, David Otunga or Husky Harris but none of those men have played a major part of the “New Nexus” so far. Mason Ryan getting a shot at the title after a month in the company is a bit extreme, especially after he LOST to John Cena at the Royal Rumble. The best way to go is for Slater to be in the match. After his performance in the Rumble, there’s also a fair amount of reasons to back up his claim for a title shot.
I would have Punk beat Gabriel after interference from the Nexus. If it were to be presented in a way where Slater is orchestrating the attack when Punk is down, that would be better. A means to switch gears to Slater vs Gabriel for a match at Mania. He could set Mason Ryan on Gabriel if you want to keep pushing Ryan. Either way, Punk is the winner.
The chamber match won’t need a lot of notes, except for the finish. The final four men are Miz, Orton, Cena and Slater. The Miz is able to eliminate Orton after Alex Riley throws Miz a lead pipe or something to take him down. Randy responds with an RKO before he leaves. Slater gets the pin, eliminating the champion. This gives Slater some serious cred and also leads towards a potential match between Orton and Miz at Mania while you’re at it. In the final two between Cena and Slater, Cena wins the title and it’s set for Wrestlemania. CM Punk vs John Cena for the WWE Championship.
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There’s one elephant in the room that we haven’t addressed yet and that is The Rock. Remember, The Rock was at Wrestlemania 27 as the guest host of the show. How do we incorporate that into Cena vs Punk?
Vince McMahon would return on RAW to tell CM Punk that a special referee will be assigned to make sure that the Nexus won’t be getting involved. It is revealed to be The Rock as Rock stares down Punk and cuts a promo to end the show. He rips on CM Punk as well as John Cena, revealing his disdain for both men. The Rock guarantees that he will not only let these two beat each other up but declared that he was getting his hands dirty as well.
CM Punk believes that The Rock is going to screw him at Wrestlemania and orders the Nexus to take him out. All of the members (except Slater, who’ll be feuding with Gabriel) will be sent to take out The Rock in the weeks building up to the event. Since they can’t have The Rock appearing every week, it’s just to case of filming each member of Nexus going to Miami, Florida or on the set of one his movies with the intention of taking him out. Punk will have the beatings live streamed for the crowd but each time, the camera is down with a member of Nexus attacked and their armband taken off.
This happens every week with everyone except Slater and Mason Ryan. CM Punk vows to have Ryan beat up Rock on the RAW before Wrestlemania (since The Rock is there). On the go-home segment of the show, we have Rock, Cena, Punk and Ryan all there. Mason tries his attack on The Rock but the Rock takes him out. Cena hits Rock with an AA and Punk hits Cena with the GTS. This sets things up nicely for Mania.
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The Wrestlemania 27 card looks like this…
  • Cody Rhodes (c) vs Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental title
  • Daniel Bryan (c) vs Sheamus vs John Morrison for the US title
  • Kozlov (c) and Santino (c) vs Otunga and McGillicutty for the Tag Titles
  • Edge (c) vs Alberto Del Rio for the World Title
  • Undertaker vs Triple H (vs Mason Ryan if you want to have Taker get revenge on Nexus for beating him down at Bragging Rights)
  • The Miz vs Randy Orton
  • Heath Slater vs Justin Gabriel
  • John Cena (c) vs CM Punk for the WWE Championship with The Rock as special guest referee
Looks something like that. The main match we’re interested in though is Cena vs Punk. With The Rock as the referee, he makes it No DQ because he wants to see Cena and Punk beat each other up big time. The Nexus are not there to help Punk due to the attacks throughout the month. If the Nexus are in matches at Mania, have them get beaten down. Trust me, there is a point to these attacks!
The match gets a bit of time and ends pretty much the same way that the Miz vs Cena match in real life ended at Wrestlemania 27. Cena would have the upper-hand when Rock hits The Rock Bottom. Punk wins the title and then the Rock beats down Punk. Gotta let Rock get his post-match beat down in.
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The Rock stuff is pretty much done now anyway. Cena and Rock make their match for Mania 28 and that’s taken care off. The WWE is all about making money too for god’s sake so let Cena and Rock have their program for next year’s Mania.
The bottom line is that Punk is the champion coming out of Wrestlemania. Hopefully, the members of the Nexus win the tag titles either at Mania or Extreme Rules. I would also have Heath follow suit and win the US title. My thing about building up a faction is giving them the credibility to alongside of it. Why do you think Evolution was as successful as they were? The night where all four members of Evolution all held championships showed just where the power lied on RAW. Nexus needs to be the same.
Therefore, The Rock taking over the main event of Wrestlemania doesn’t seem as big of a deal anymore as the Nexus has the power and gold anyway to run the show. I would not have The Rock appear on the show again until after July (which is when this storyline will end). Let the Nexus run the show.
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There will be a thorn or two in their sides. In the final segment of the RAW after Wrestlemania where Rock vs Cena is made, CM Punk interrupts on the stage. He brags about winning and says that their match at Wrestlemania is nothing compared to him. Punk is then dropped from behind… by WADE BARRETT.
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!
Barrett grabs the mic, looks at Cena and Rock and says “the only one you can trust is yourself.”
Barrett elaborates the next week, saying that he was the one that was taking out the Nexus members to help Cena retain against Punk. Barrett protected The Rock, thinking that The Rock would screw Punk. Barrett admits that he misjudged The Rock’s ego and didn’t think that Rock would attack Cena. Barrett is back to kill his own creation and said that he needed to kill Nexus by cutting off the head of the snake. He vows to take out Punk.
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The RAW GM announces that Cena will get his rematch for the title at Extreme Rules. Barrett must beat three members of the Nexus in order to get in the match. He beats Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris. He finishes the gauntlet by knocking out David Otunga to have him look incredibly strong going into Extreme Rules. In a triple threat steel cage match, Punk retains after escaping the cage. That’s kind of the beauty of the cage match. Neither Cena or Barrett need to get beaten in the ring so you can protect them both.
Cena’s pleas for a rematch are turned down in similar fashion to how Miz’s request for a rematch was turned down in real life after Over The Limit. This leaves Barrett and Punk to feud one-on-one. They have their match at Over The Limit and Barrett knocks out Punk. Barrett is declared the winner. However, the RAW GM buzzes in and rules that you can only win the title by pinfall or submission. Therefore, Punk would retain the title.
To make it so that Barrett could win the title by knocking out Punk, a Last Man Standing match is made for Capitol Punishment. But once again, Punk retains after interference from Nexus. I feel kind of bad with how Barrett’s storyline arc has played out. However, I’ve not actually beaten Barrett by pinfall or anything in this storyline. If I were to keep booking this past Money In The Bank, Barrett would have won the briefcase and cashed in at Summerslam or something. But for now, the focus is on Punk.
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The storyline ends in the same way that the “Summer of Punk” began. Punk declares that the Nexus is done and announces that his contract is coming to an end. He vows to leave with the title, cuts the infamous shoot promo and goes on to beat Cena at Money In The Bank to leave with the title.
I could keep going and book the “Summer of Punk” but I’ll save that for another time. That’s about it for this storyline. I’ll admit that the Post-Wrestlemania booking wasn’t as detailed as the earlier months of the storyline but the fact is, there’s not a lot that I needed to do. Having Punk win the title at Mania and having him leave the company with the belt is the ultimate way to put Punk over. The Nexus can also go their separate ways as the group would have run its course. I’d like to think I left them in good shape as a number of them are champions.
That’s a wrap from us and we do hope you enjoyed this edition of How I Would Book. Have any suggestions for a future 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 gameExtreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

How I Would Book… CM Punk As Nexus Leader [Part One]

Leaders joining and leaving a major group in professional wrestling are not rare. Even in major groups like the Bullet Club, the leaders of these groups have changed on multiple occasions. Today, we explore the change in leadership in the Nexus group in 2010 with CM Punk taking over the reins from Wade Barrett. The group needed freshening up a bit after John Cena took out all the members of Nexus and destroyed Wade Barrett at TLC to conclude his warpath. What we want to do though is write about how we would have picked things up when CM Punk took over. Here’s How I Would Book… CM Punk as the leader of Nexus.

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In a way, Punk’s involvement with the Nexus unknowingly set the table for the “Summer of Punk” angle and Punk’s rise to stardom. If it weren’t for the Nexus, Punk might not have even been in the main-event scene for RAW when June 2011 rolled around. Due to the Nexus being the biggest group on RAW, Punk’s affiliation with them saw him becoming a top heel once Cena’s feuds with The Miz and R-Truth wrapped up.
However, Punk’s time at the Nexus was nowhere near over to the level that the group was when Wade Barrett was in charge. To pin-point where things went wrong, let’s go through the storyline.
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The Nexus had been tearing up RAW until Summerslam 2010, when Team WWE defeated the Nexus in a 7-on-7 elimination match. The group did get some small victories but John Cena and WWE eventually won the war when Cena defeated Wade Barrett at Nexus after taking out all the other members of the group.
Those things are events that we can’t and won’t change for this particular “How I Would Book” piece. We can change what comes next, as CM Punk took over.
Punk initially feuded with Cena after pointing out Cena’s brutality and humiliating of Wade Barrett, Batista and Vickie Guerrero. He talked about Cena not being the man of his word when he was forced to leave the WWE and promised to expose Cena and his “hustle, loyalty and respect.” Cena took it upon himself to call out Punk but was instead confronted by the Nexus – without Wade Barrett. David Otunga declared that Nexus is under “new management” and initially called for a truce between Nexus and Cena. Cena refused which lead to the group beating down Cena. CM Punk came out to pick up the scraps and hit a GTS. He then picked up a Nexus armband and put it on, revealing himself to be the new leader of Nexus.
Wade Barrett still insisted that he was the real leader of Nexus but Punk stated that it was time for a change. Barrett was booked in a number one contendership steel cage match for the WWE Championship against Randy Orton and Sheamus. Punk said that if Barrett won, Barrett would be the leader and Punk would work for him. If Barrett lost, he would be out of the group. Barrett agreed but it was Punk that cost Barrett his leadership. CM Punk was now officially in charge and he had one clear goal he wanted to accomplish.
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With the help of the “New Nexus”, CM Punk vowed to win the Royal Rumble and re-assert the Nexus’ dominance. Punk was the #1 entrant in the Rumble match and lasted until half way through, where he and the Nexus were mostly eliminated by John Cena. Punk’s attentions turned to Randy Orton as he cost him in the WWE title match earlier that night. Punk’s motivation was revenge for Randy Orton costing Punk the World title in 2008. Did Punk really have to wait three years to get his revenge?
Orton’s response was to take out each of the members of New Nexus and defeated Punk in a stellar match at Wrestlemania 27. The New Nexus floated around with not a lot to do until June 2011, when Punk won a number one contendership match and declared that his contract was coming to an end. The rest, as they say, is history.
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An issue with the New Nexus was that it was simply seen as one of two things. It was either a “poor man’s Nexus” or basically a second incarnation of Punk’s “Straight Edge Society.” Another issue, and probably the biggest of all, was similar to the original incarnation of the group. New Nexus were dominated just as badly as the old group was. John Cena and Randy Orton, who were thorns in both groups’ sides, dominated all the members of the group which made the Nexus look like embarrassments. By affiliation, Punk also looked bad.
Punk was not as badly booked as his followers, but that doesn’t mean that he was booked greatly either. He was basically on the same level as a number of RAW main event heels, which was another problem. With the likes of The Miz, R-Truth and Alberto Del Rio also on the show, there was simply too many heels for Punk to compete with. Punk needed to stand out on his own two feet.
Hopefully, my scenario could fix all of these issues that hurt the rise of the New Nexus.
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I’d keep the lead up to CM Punk taking reins of Nexus mostly the same. There’s not a lot wrong with it as it actually gives CM Punk legitimate reasons to want to go after John Cena. Initially, Punk announced his intentions to deal with someone that had “wronged him” on the 2010 Slammys. That’s fine as it build’s up to the events of next week, where CM Punk takes out John Cena with a chair.

In the third week of this angle, CM Punk explains his reasons for attacking Cena. I thought he did a great job with this promo in real-life. Punk explained that Cena was a dishonest man that mislead the WWE universe with his “retirement speech” as he would come back to take out the Nexus. He brought up Cena’s “barbaric” actions against Barrett and Batista and declaring that he was gonna “call Cena out” later on in the show. The finish of the show ends exactly as it did in real-life. Nexus attacks Cena, Punk takes advantage and puts on the Nexus armband. Now let’s move onto the next week, where Wade Barrett comes into the fold.
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CM Punk cuts a promo on RAW where he talks about his plans with the Nexus. He brags about beating up John Cena and vowed to win the Royal Rumble match with the help of Nexus. He mentions Wade Barrett and states that Barrett will find out about his future in the Nexus later tonight. Punk talks about not being a “power-hungry” dictator like Barrett. He will allow his group the chance to vote on who should be the leader and if Barrett will be allowed to remain in the group. Each member has until the end of the night to make their decision.
The Nexus are all in the ring when Barrett comes out in a hooded jacket with trunks on under neath. CM Punk talks about how he will give everyone in the group a chance to speak their minds and give their votes. Before they do, Barrett grabs the mic. He talks about having a epiphany after his match with Cena at TLC. He realised that it is not in his interests to be looking for a group to bail him out every week. Barrett mentions his bare-knuckle boxing background and that he needed to go back to his roots before making his next move. Barrett resigns from the group and tells Punk that he will see him soon. Before he leaves, Barrett lays out David Otunga with the Bullhammer.
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The next week, CM Punk is in the ring with the Nexus. Punk wishes Barrett well with his exile and tells Barrett that he’ll make the Englishman realise that there is always strength in numbers. Punk turns to the group and tells them all that each member of the group will reveal the honest-to-god truth about how they were going to vote the week before. Punk demands that they tell him the truth as there will be major consequences for lairs, like there was for John Cena two weeks ago. Husky Harris, Michael McGillicutty and David Otunga all say that they would have voted for Barrett to be out and for Punk to take over. Punk believes the three men and then he turns to Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel. Heath uncomfortably reveals that he was going to suggest that Barrett stays while Justin flat out says that he was going to vote for Barrett to be leader.
Punk announces the initiations for the group tonight with David and Husky’s punishments being the same as it was in real life. Otunga took a beating from the Big Show while Husky Harris was hit in the back with a kendo stick repeatedly. Michael’s initiation is to remained locked into the Anaconda Vice for a full minute. I prefer this one as this actually puts Michael over as a hard case that was able to take a full minute of this move.
Punk tells Heath and Justin that he appreciates their honesty and reveals that they will be rewarded for it. He tells them that he was able to strike a deal with the anonymous RAW general manager to have Slater and Gabriel have a rematch for the Tag Team titles against Santino Marrella and Vladimir Kozlov. However, he whispers in both men’s ear with a specific instruction. Punk is at ringside to watch the match. As the champions are making their entrance, Slater and Gabriel attack them both with chairs. They bring them in the ring and they keep it up. Gabriel yells at Punk “Are you happy with that?” which leads to Slater smacking Gabriel with the chair. The beat down sees each member of Nexus hit Gabriel with this chair, which will be Gabriel’s exit from the group.
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In the weeks building up to the Royal Rumble, we see John Cena come back and vow to do whatever it took to make sure that CM Punk would not win the Royal Rumble. This leads to a no disqualification Royal Rumble qualifying match between CM Punk and John Cena on RAW. Punk wins when Mason Ryan appears to take out John Cena. The RAW GM gives Cena one last chance to enter the Royal Rumble. John Cena will have one last qualifying match at the Royal Rumble event against Mason Ryan. Since Barrett will not be around at this time, the Corre will not be a thing and the Rumble match will not be built around the Nexus vs the Corre. It’s built around the Nexus.
Cena wins his match with Mason Ryan and he is in. The Royal Rumble match sees Heath Slater as the #1 entrant and he does really well. He makes to the #21 entrant and is the lone man in the ring after eliminating the likes of Rey Mysterio and John Morrison. Number #21 is revealed to be Justin Gabriel. This is Justin’s first appearance since his beat down from the Nexus. He eliminates Slater and number #22 is revealed to be CM Punk. Punk berates Gabriel in the ring when Slater runs in with the chair. Justin takes out Heath when CM Punk capitalises with the GTS. He is about to eliminate Justin when he changes his mind and decides to keep Justin in the match just to beat him up more. McGillicutty, Otunga and Husky all come out and Nexus pretty much dominates the match with Punk. Before number #40 comes out, Nexus eliminates Kane and Sheamus. The only men in the ring at the moment are Punk, Husky, Otunga, McGillicutty, Orton and Gabriel. Cena is number #40 and runs wild. He eliminates Husky, McGillicutty and Otunga. The final four is Cena, Orton, Punk and Gabriel. Maybe I should be giving SmackDown! more of a major part in the Rumble but for this particular storyline, we’re just going to keep it like this for now.
Orton is laying out everyone with RKOs when WWE Champion The Miz comes out to eliminate Randy from the match and dash his dreams of main-eventing Wrestlemania. This actually plays into the WWE Championship match from earlier (Randy Orton vs Miz). Cena is laying in a beating on Punk when the four fallen Nexus members from the Rumble enter. They attack Cena and Gabriel when Mason Ryan comes out to deliver his finishers on both men. Punk dumps out Cena and commands that Nexus take Cena to the back when Gabriel clotheslines Punk over the top rope but Punk has NOT landed on the floor. Punk is shocked as the final two begins. Punk goes for the GTS but Gabriel catches the knee. He goes to throw Punk out but Punk counters to eliminate the South African. CM Punk is your winner of the 2011 Royal Rumble.
That’s it for part one. Tune in to the second part of this series where we explore the road to WrestleMania for the Nexus and we wrap this angle up!

The Woeful Booking Of Wade Barrett

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On June 7th 2010, Wade Barrett debuted on RAW as the leader of the Nexus. Going into his debut, he had won the first season of NXT with Chris Jericho as his mentor. When that first season of NXT first started, Chris Jericho was the World Heavyweight Champion. Think about that and think about the importance of that win when you consider how much the brand of NXT has developed. OK, NXT was not acting as WWE’s developmental at the time. However, it was still a huge deal for Barrett to effectively be the first champion of this revolutionary scheme by WWE. That’s huge.

What did WWE do with that? Surprisingly, they initially followed it up tremendously. Barrett debuted on RAW with his fellow NXT competitors and they destroyed the show. It was incredible. It promoted new stars. Once more, Barrett was the leader of this new rebellious group who were attacking the WWE. He had a great character which suited his position. He had a great voice, he was good in the ring and he had the means to be the next great villain in WWE. So the idea that Barrett is floating around in the middle of nowhere five years after that happened is just mind-boggling.

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Ever since that big push upon his debut, it’s hard to imagine that Barrett is where he is right now. There’s a number of reasons why he is where he is right now. The biggest thing was the Nexus having to lose to Team WWE at Summerslam 2010, with Barrett submitting to Cena. According to Jericho and Edge, it was Cena’s decision for the finish to go down like it did. Even the best of wrestlers can still win and keep the losing party over but Cena’s reported way of doing it forced the whole Nexus angle back to square on as it basically meant that after only two months, you’ve had this group lose clean to the good guys.

If the nWo were to have jobbed out to Randy Savage, Lex Luger and Sting at the Great American Bash 1996, do you really think the storyline would have gotten over like it did? No. Say what you will about WCW, they at least made the nWo a legitimate powerhouse. Here in 2010, they made the Nexus look like a joke after two months. How on earth was Wade Barrett going to recover from that? His next big wins were a win over John Cena at Hell in a Cell due to interference and Randy Orton at Bragging Rights when Cena attacked Barrett for the DQ.

I don’t mind the heels losing once in a while but if you don’t have a recovery plan so the group doesn’t get hugely effected, they’re doomed to fail. When a big heel loses, you have to protect them afterwards. It’s a recurring problem with WWE. Look at where Wade Barrett is now, having not received a legitimate main event push since he was exiled from the Nexus. This was infuriating.

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Barrett’s had his moments where you thought he was going to break out and be the next top heel. He was expected to receive a push for the title in 2012 before he got injured and his Bad News Barrett gimmick got really over. However, Barrett’s just never been able to get to that next level. You can blame bad luck due to injuries. I call it negligence by the WWE.

Sure, Barrett’s been injured a few times and his momentum has been killed a few times because of it. However, if you’re really cautious, you can get him over when he returns. However, WWE seem to be incapable of doing that. Either that or they simply don’t have a lot of faith in him to be the next big star. Well if that’s the case, why is he still employed?

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Why bother having him around if you know that you’re never going to give this great talker and great wrestler a decent push or a possible title run? You can put the Intercontinental title on him 20 times if you want. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many title runs he’s got to his name. Look at Chris Jericho. He’s held the Intercontinental title nine times but hardly anyone talks about those title reigns. They talk about the former multiple time World Heavyweight Champion. They talk about the guy that beat The Rock and Steve Austin in the same night to be Undisputed Champion. They talk about the guy that main-evented Wrestlemania for god’s sake!

Does Wade Barrett have any claim of fame that even comes close to those accomplishments? Of course not. The King of the Ring never did him any favours. A month after winning it he got into a feud with R-Truth for the crown. WWE treated this tournament like a joke. Barrett is one of only a few King of the Ring holders that have never truly become main event stars and it’s sickening.

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It’s not like Barrett can’t be a star, the WWE just won’t let him. What does it take for you to give Barrett a chance? Heck, Barrett has had a great opportunity to become a star with this European tag team with Sheamus. This European tag team might have actually been a great way to get these two over (would have been better had Rusev not got injured). What happens? You don’t even try to protect them as they get beat by the Lucha Dragons on RAW. Listen, I like the Lucha Dragons. However, they’re not going to be like a main event star in WWE. Barrett might. Sheamus MUST be booked as a main event star as he got the Money in the Bank. However, you’re booking them so poorly that not a single soul is going to take them seriously.

I asked the question earlier on about why Barrett is still employed if WWE aren’t going to do anything with him. Let me make something clear. I want Wade Barrett to be employed. However, I don’t want him employed to do nothing. That’s not going to help his morale if he is sitting on the sidelines or stuck in half-hearted storylines. If his purpose is to act as a top UK star for when the WWE comes to the UK, I’d get that. However, the UK fans aren’t going to care about Wade if you’re just going to have him there to get a big reaction once in a while. As a UK fan, I will root for Barrett as much as I can because I truly believe he deserves better. I’m sure nearly all of the WWE UK fans feel the same way. We can root for him all we want but it’s not going to help if someone writing the show doesn’t do the same.

Assessing The Impact Of NXT

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NXT has definitely had a huge affect on the WWE with a number of NXT stars over the years becoming stars in the WWE. In my beloved “Robinson Rumble” NoDQ.com column, I look back at the stars of NXT that have become stars and assessing just how big a role NXT has had on the WWE.

Down here below is a sneak peak of the column and the link to the rest of the column is down below enjoy. Also while we’re on the subject of NXT, please read my review of NXT Arrival which the link for is here at THIS LINK! So what are you waiting for?

“NXT’s inception was intended to be WWE’s way of giving us a glimpse into the future of sports entertainment. We saw 8 “rookies” put through their paces in WWE with a chance to shine when the lights were on bright. Those 8 rookies became part of the Nexus group but the success of these stars didn’t stop there. We saw stars ascend to WWE stardom and many of those wrestlers are stars today.”

Read On…

 

WWE Money In The Bank 2013 Predictions – Who’s Getting The Briefcases In Philideplhia?

I don’t care what every says. I love this theme!

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Hey wrestling fans, I’m “Mr Money In The Bank” himself Tom Robinson. It’s time for Money In The Bank!

MONEY! MONEY MONEY MONEY!

A grand total of 14 superstars competing in two money in the bank ladder matches this year. The objective is simple – climb the ladder, get the briefcase and earn a title opportunity that you can cash in at any time until Money In The Bank 2014. Two vastly different money in the bank ladder matches with All Stars and Rising Stars all wanting them briefcases with plenty of fireworks expected. Also we have title matches after title matches with the WWE Title, World Title, Intercontinental Title, Tag Titles and the Divas titles all being on the line. And we have a one on one clash between “Big Hungry” Ryback and “Y2J” Chris Jericho. Let’s get down to THE PREDICTIONS!

Quick Pre-Show Prediction…. The Shield defeats The Usos to retain the Tag Team Titles.

 

World Heavyweight Championship Money In The Bank Ladder Match (a.k.a. The Heel Money In The Bank)

Wade Barrett vs Fandango vs Cody Rhodes vs Damien Sandow vs Antonio Cesaro vs Jack Swagger vs Dean Ambrose

Background: Announced by Teddy Long on an episode of SmackDown!, the World Title Money In The Bank ladder match features up-and-coming heel superstars who are hoping that the World Title MITB Briefcase can help catapult their career. We have Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro – two of Zeb Colter’s recruits in his attempts to have “Real Americanism” spread across the country. We have partners and best friends Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes, with the latter entering his FOURTH World Title Money In The Bank ladder match in a row. Is it finally time for son of the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes to enter the main event scene? We have United States Champion and member of the Shield, Dean Ambrose looking to win even more power for the “Hounds Of Justice”. We have Wade Barrett, Britain’s own who looked set to win the Money In The Bank last year until an injury got in his way. And finally, there’s…..

What I Think Should Happen?: As far as I’m concerned, all of these guys have a legitimately good claim to the briefcase (except Fandango). Swagger would be right back where he began a year ago if he didn’t win it which is a little bit of a shame. Damien Sandow would be a good pick considering he’s starting to feud with the big faces like Sheamus. Cody Rhodes is a deserving candidate considering he should have won it last year, or the year before that. Antonio Cesaro has some incredible in-ring skills and with Zeb Colter has a manager that can help him be a big star and solve the “boring” problem Cesaro apparently has. Dean Ambrose winning would be great for The Shield’s quest for domination. But someone is in SERIOUS need to win it this year…. Wade Barrett. The Brit has some great mic skills and good in-ring abilities to back up what he says. And since he came back in September he’s been the victim of poor writing which has provided nothing for the “Barrett Barrage”. If he wins, he automatically enters the World Title frame where he rightfully belongs. I want Barrett to win because he needs it. And also because of this…

What I Think will happen?: It’s tough. Cody Rhodes could easily be the dark horse that wins the thing like Jack Swagger was a few years back. Sandow and Cesaro are slowly climbing the WWE ladder and the briefcase could elevate them further. Ambrose is even a good bet with his affiliation of The Shield. Barrett’s another dark horse. You can’t count out Swagger either. And yes…. Fandango has a chance too because apparently getting one great reaction from the crowd from the night after Wrestlemania purely because of your theme song makes you suddenly championship material. WWE Logic for you. I’m going to have to pick Barrett. He’s being booked in a similar way Dolph Ziggler was booked before he won it last year. And I think this is finally Barrett’s time.

 

Divas Championship

AJ Lee (c) vs Kaitlyn

Background: Great story behind this feud. AJ and Kaitlyn finally hooked it up for the title at WWE’s last Pay-Per-View “Payback”. It was probably the best WWE women’s match I’ve seen in the last few years and despite taking one hell of a beating, AJ was able to take advantage of Kaitlyn’s aggression to take the championship. After the loss of her title, Kaitlyn became an emotional wreck lashing out at divas and going as far as interuppting Stephanie McMahon (which she got a stern warning for). AJ had manipulated her way towards the title and continued to pile on the mental attacks on Kaitlyn, going as far as dressing up as Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn returned the favour with crappy slut jokes and dressing up as AJ. The rematch will finally happen at Money In The Bank, with these two emotional wrecks battling for the title.

What I think should happen?: AJ retains, but I hope this feud continues to AT LEAST Summerslam. These two have had a great feud going on and it will be good for the women’s division if they continued to lock up.

What I think will happen?: AJ retains. I don’t think they’ll continue the feud but I can see AJ being in a storyline with boyfriend Dolph Ziggler. Speaking of which…

 

World Heavyweight Championship

Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Dolph Ziggler

Background: Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase on Alberto Del Rio the night after Wrestlemania 29 to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Del Rio waited and waited until finally he got his rematch at the Payback PPV. Coming off a concussion at the hands of Jack Swagger, Ziggler defended the title against Del Rio in a rather one-sided affair. Del Rio ruthlessly targeted the champion’s head due to Dolph’s concussion problems. Despite been given the option to cancel the match, Ziggler refused and put up a valiant effort. But Del Rio’s ruthlessness eventually paid off and saw him win the World Title back. Since then, Ziggler has sought revenge. Ziggler attacked Del Rio a number of times during matches and even crashed his fiesta on SmackDown! Ziggler cashed in his rematch clause for the Money In The Bank PPV. Can Ziggler reclaim to gold from Del Rio?

What I think should happen?: I’d like to see Ziggler win, not because of whether I like Ziggler better but because it’d be cool to see the title constantly change hands. Yes, I’m a big fan of huge, long title reigns. BUT, the World Title is still second to the WWE Title and WWE should experiment with the belt a little and changing it back and forth between Del Rio and Ziggler could be interesting to see. Also, I’d love to see the Philadelphia crowd reaction to Ziggler winning the belt back.

What I think will happen?: Del Rio wins. I think Ziggler will have to break away from AJ and Big E before getting the World Title back. Del Rio will just keep the belt warm for him.

Will there be a cash in?: Nah. I don’t see it. If the title is gonna change tonight, I don’t think it’ll be down to a cash in. I see another Ziggler reign as Mr. MITB on the horizon.

 

Chris Jericho vs Ryback

Background: Both Chris Jericho and Ryback were irate over themselves not being included in the WWE Championship Money In The Bank ladder match. Then-Managing-Supervisor Vickie Guerrero put the two in a match with one an other on the PPV. In the weeks building up to the PPV, Jericho would get a lot of momentum over Ryback. Firstly, Ryback asked the ref for his own match with The Miz to be called off mid-match 2 weeks ago. In response, Jericho hit a codebreaker on Ryback. The next week, Jericho became the first person in WWE to beat Curtis Axel since he redebuted, giving Jericho the momentum he needed.

What I think should happen?: Ryback wins. He needs a PPV win, big time.

What I think will happen?: Ryback wins. He needs a PPV win, big time. And Jericho would be more than willing to put Ryback over since he’s back on the road with Fozzy soon (best of luck to him).

 

Intercontinental Championship

Curtis Axel (c) w/Paul Heyman vs The Miz

Background: At Payback, Paul Heyman’s newest client Curtis Axel took advantage of opportunity as he won the IC title from Wade Barrett in a triple threat match also involving The Miz. While Miz had Barrett in the figure-four, Axel covered Barrett for the 1, 2, 3. After successfully defending the IC Title against the former champion Barrett, The Miz was announced as the number one contender for Axel’s Championship at Money In The Bank?

What I Think Should Happen?: Axel wins and some other face other than The Miz goes after the championship.

What I Think will happen?: Axel wins. I’m fairly certain Axel will get in the mix with Punk and Lesnar. Miz? Well… there’s always commentating on Main Event….

 

WWE Championship Money In The Bank Ladder Match (a.k.a. The “All-Star” Money In The Bank)

CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus vs Randy Orton vs Christian vs Rob Van Dam vs A Mystery Entrant

Background: 8 days after Payback, Stephanie McMahon announced the entrants for the RAW Money In The Bank ladder match. We’d have “The Celtic Warrior” SHEAMUS, former World Champion who’s only ever been in one Money In The Bank Ladder match before (and was Chokeslammed on a ladder for his troubles). We’d have “The Viper” RANDY ORTON, former World Champion who’s not held a World Title since September 2011. We’d have CHRISTIAN, former World Champion who’s riding off a load of momentum since he returned with big wins of Wade Barrett and The Shield. We’d have DANIEL BRYAN, former World Champion determined to prove that he is not a weak link by winning the MITB briefcase. We’d have CM PUNK, former World Champion who’s put his problems with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman on the back-burner in the pursuit of a unprecedented THIRD Money In The Bank briefcase. We’d have ROB VAN DAM, former World Champion who’s return in Philadelphia on Sunday has been the hottest of topics in the wrestling world. And We’d have KANE, former World Champion which was scheduled to be in the Money In The Bank ladder match until he got taken out by the Wyatt Family (see my post about their debut by clicking on this link). This means there is still one spot in the match up for grabs. Will it be Bray Wyatt? R-Truth? Brock Lesnar? Iron Sheik? “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner? The Shockmaster? Only time will tell as 7 warriors will do battle for a briefcase that can revamp the career of one of these 7 all-stars.

What I think should happen?: Daniel Bryan should get this briefcase. After all this momentum he’s had, for him not to win it now would be so illogical. As much as I’d like to see Punk, RVD, Orton, Sheamo or Christian win the briefcase, this is Daniel Bryan’s time.

What I think will happen?: Daniel Bryan wins. And hopefully “The American Dragon” will ascend to WWE immortality with a clean victory over John Cena at Summerslam starting off the “Daniel Bryan Era”.

 

WWE Championship

John Cena (c) vs Mark Henry

Background: The night after Payback, WWE Champion John Cena addressed the WWE Universe about the Money In The Bank PPV. He welcomed whoever won the WWE Championship briefcase and vowed to be ready for anyone who dared to cash in on him as champion. At the end of the promo, Mark Henry came down to the ring in a rather dashing suit. After rumours all day about Mark Henry retirement, it seemed as if Henry was saying goodbye to us after heart-felt retirement speech. However, it all turned out to be a bluff as Henry deliereved a “World’s Strongest Slam” to John Cena. Henry declared he still had a “lot more left in the tank” and challenged Cena for the WWE Championship at Money In The Bank. Vickie Guerrero made the match official that same night. The next week, Henry showed zero guilt over his actions and said that Cena was now scared off him. This notion seemed to be true as Cena startled everytime Henry moved towards him teasing an attack. Henry might have gotten into the head of the WWE Champion, but can he get the job done on Sunday and win the WWE Championship for the first time?

What I think should happen?: Mark Henry winning the WWE Championship for the first time would be a great moment especially in front of the Philly crowd. However, Cena should really be the one holding the title when the holder cashes in (assuming Daniel Bryan wins it). Cena wins.

What I think will happen?: Cena wins. I think Henry’s time as champion came a couple of years ago. I don’t see another world title reign for the “World’s Strongest Man”.

Will there be a cash in?: No. I don’t see anyone cashing in on Cena the dick-ish way. Whoever wins will cash it in the legit way I think.

Anyway. It’s been good doing this blog post guys. It’ll be great watching Money In The Bank live. I’ll be up on Facebook and Twitter talking about the PPV as it happens. Like the Armbar Express on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at the new Armbar Express Twitter account @ArmbarExpress. Hoping to get the Armbar Express on the map through Social Networking but I need you guys to help me out and I’ll continue to provide the wrestling talk here on blog and Twitter and Facebook. I’m Tom Robinson, and I’ll leave you with the Random YouTube Video Of The Post. Because You’re Looking At The Real Deal Now!