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.

WrestleMania 32 – What If Triple H Beats Roman Reigns?

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It seems that Roman Reigns is the overwhelming favourite to win the WWE World Heavyweight title in the main event of WrestleMania 32. It is the story of a man that has been screwed out of the WWE World title over and over again, finally getting his revenge against the evil authority figure and walking out with the championship in Texas. It doesn’t seem that plans are changing this year. There’s no Money in the Bank holder around and there’s very little reason to think that there will be a different solution to this story. Roman Reigns is expected to win the WWE title.
With that being said, this article will look to see the potential consequences for WWE programming should WWE end the show with Roman Reigns NOT winning the title. We’re asking the question of what if Triple H DEFEATS Roman Reigns and retains the title.
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Again, the possibility of this happening seems very slim and it would very much catch me off-guard if it actually happened. As much as people don’t like Roman Reigns, the whole idea of WrestleMania ending with Triple H retaining the title just doesn’t seem like an idea that WWE would want to go with. You also have to take into account that a heel walked out with the championship at last year’s WrestleMania. Deja vu wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing but the whole point of WrestleMania is for the babyface to emerge victorious on the grandest stage of them all.
Also if they were to have Roman Reigns beaten in the main event, then it would basically be WWE’s way of admitting defeat in this quest to get Roman Reigns over as the top babyface in the company. I don’t think that the powers-that-be want to do that as they’ve put so much effort into Roman ahd it would be such a blow if they were forced to put Roman’s big WrestleMania win on hold for a second year in a row.
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On the other hand, it might be best to hold of the “WrestleMania win” until after the pay-per-view where a new babyface can come in and beat Triple H. Whether it’s Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles or whoever, there are other options around IF BUILT RIGHT. You don’t HAVE to put Roman over if you suddenly change their mind. If WWE are fearful about the potential extreme reaction that would follow the big Roman Reigns win, they can hold off if they want to. After all, WWE have made quite a habit of making decisions on the day of the show. They ended THE UNDERTAKER’S STREAK on the day of a WrestleMania so they could easily do the same for Roman.
If Triple H were to retain the championship at WrestleMania, what effects would it have on future programming? Well for starters, it makes things much more difficult for Roman unless WWE turned them heel. That would be my way to go as I’ve discussed a number of times, but WWE might not be up for that. If Roman doesn’t win at WrestleMania, it doesn’t mean that it’s all gloom and doom for him. They’d still be people pushing for him to win the title back EVENTUALLY. However, it’s a huge setback in the sense that he’s missed out on this big WrestleMania opportunity twice. Whether he’ll get a third chance is hard to predict.
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As mentioned, WWE should surely have someone else lined up. Dean Ambrose would be the next top babyface after Roman, so he would probably be next in line. However, it really depends on what happens in his WrestleMania match with Brock Lesnar. If Brock defeats Dean, how do you get Dean in the position to be WWE World Champion? Especially if he loses clean to Brock, it’d be difficult for Dean to get over as a major star.
Brock Lesnar would probably be your next bet but then you’d have to think about his schedule and how many dates he’s got left for the second year of his contract. If Brock wound up beating Triple H, then I doubt he’d be champion for long.
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It would be a risky decision to have Triple H beat Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 32 unless WWE had something REALLY REALLY good up their sleeves. It would make life difficult for Roman but it does open the door for other new top babyfaces.

Is Dean Ambrose A Better WrestleMania 32 Opponent For Brock Lesnar Than Bray Wyatt?

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Even weeks before WrestleMania, WWE has a tendency to change plans for their biggest show of the year. We saw it in 2014, with Daniel Bryan being asserted into the main event of WrestleMania 30 and we’ve seen it again this year. It seemed that WWE were planning on having Brock Lesnar go up against Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 32, following the Wyatt Family’s attack on Lesnar during the 2016 Royal Rumble. However, now Brock’s WrestleMania opponent has been switched from the Eater of Worlds to the Lunatic Fringe. It’s been announced that Dean Ambrose will take on Brock in a No Holds Barred match at WrestleMania, with Bray Wyatt seemingly having no planned opponent at this point.
It’s worrying for Bray that after his feud with Brock was nixed (for now), there are no plans in place for the character or any indications about who his opponent is. However, is Dean Ambrose a better suit for a big match with Brock at WrestleMania then Bray Wyatt?
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As much as plans changing all the time has been as a result of forces beyond WWE’s control, I don’t think booking the Wyatts to attack Brock was a smart decision in the first place. If there was a single doubt in their mind that Bray would end up in the Mania match with Brock, they should have had Brock eliminated from the Royal Rumble in a different way. They could have found a way to have Brock eliminated and kept strong, without hinting at a potential match down the road.
If they were going all the way with Bray, then having the Wyatt Family eliminate Brock was the better way to lead to Brock and Bray. I’d argue that it’d be better for Bray to eliminate Brock personally but that’s left open for discussion.
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Dean coming in at a last minute does hurt Bray in the long run, with WWE having to book Brock vs Bray for the WWE Network “Roadblock” special instead. Now that match ended up changing as Luke Harper was brought in, but it did really make Bray seem insignificant in the long run as Bray was put in the same boat as every other heel that got beat by Brock in the house shows.
Brock’s house show matches with the like of Big Show, Rusev, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus and all of those guys are all strange, as it sort of reminds me of Goldberg’s streak at WCW. Everybody that lost to Goldberg never really lost overness as it was against Goldberg of all people. Goldberg ended up beating everyone he faced. It didn’t make the losers look worse in the long run.
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When Bray took on Brock, with Luke Harper, Bray was beaten just like all of those other guys. The likes of Del Rio, Rusev and Big Show never really lost much from it as they were all lost in the mid-card wilderness of WWE but now Bray Wyatt is in the same realm. In a way it hurts Bray, as he was booked as one of the strongest contenders in the Royal Rumble match, but he’s now just like everybody else.
It’ll be difficult for Bray to bounce back from this, considering that Roadblock was aired on the WWE Network. Now granted, it was not a great night for Dean Ambrose either. Dean was essentially beaten cleanly at Roadblock, which wouldn’t put him in a good position to fight Brock Lesnar either.
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The question to ask is really who is in a better shape to fight Brock, a guy that really is in a league of his own in terms of star power and storyline power. Who looks the bigger threat? Dean or Bray? At the moment, I’d go with Dean. After the Royal Rumble, I’d go with Dean. In fact at any time after Survivor Series, I would have went with Dean.
The only time that Bray was booked that strongly in the last couple of months was the Royal Rumble, but he was still dominated by Brock in that match. Then again, so was Dean but Dean did make it to the end of the Rumble match AFTER being in a Last Man Standing match earlier on in the night.
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When making the argument about who should fight Brock, you must consider who would have the better match with the Beast Incarnate. With the exception of his match with Daniel Bryan in the 2014 Royal Rumble, there’s been few big matches that Bray’s had which have been really good. He’s had good Last Man Standing matches and Hell in a Cell matches with John Cena and Roman Reigns respectively, but a lot of that involved mostly weapons and brawling rather than standard wrestling. The chances were that Bray vs Brock would have been No Holds Barred like Dean vs Brock is currently scheduled to be, but Dean has a much better proven track record in those matches. Dean’s had a lot of really good gimmick matches in WWE, which helps his case.
Finally, there’s the question of who is over enough to fight Brock. Unfortunately for Bray Wyatt fans, Dean takes this category as well. Dean has been such a huge star since WWE really started getting behind him again at Survivor Series. On the other hand, Bray’s not really amounted to much in that same time period.
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I feel kind of bad for Bray, as I am a big fan of the Eater of Worlds. I wanted to see Bray get a big match at WrestleMania but I don’t think it should be with Brock. He’s just not over to a great enough level to be a worthy opponent and a credible threat to Brock. That’s mostly on WWE and not Bray. I have no doubt that Bray is now being planned for Brock in some program after WrestleMania but I just don’t see Bray vs Brock being a better choice than Dean vs Brock.

How I Would Book… WrestleMania 32

WrestleMania is the most important wrestling event of the year and this year is no exception. At a place like Dallas, the pressure is on for WWE to perform. With the WWE talent pool reduced significantly due to injuries and other circumstances, WWE have been pushed into a corner with this year’s event. A lot of people have actually given WWE a lot of credit with how they’ve handled it. I’m actually one of those people. However, things can always get better in WWE and here’s my thoughts on how WWE Should Book… WrestleMania 32.

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Let me just state that what we are doing is putting together our own “fantasy card” without going over the top. I must be able to put a show together with the same conditions that WWE have to deal with. We’re not going to throw around absurd ideas like Goldberg vs Undertaker or Sting vs Undertaker for this show. We deal with the stars we’ve got at the moment and use the people that we know for a fact will be able to show up. Therefore, the likes of John Cena and Seth Rollins are ruled out of the equation. We can’t be assuming that certain stars will be able to turn up.

This is merely just a fun way at looking at how we would tackle the event and how we would have planned out WrestleMania. Anyone with “dream cards” of there own should post in the comments. However, here’s how I’m booking it.

 

The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

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We might as well keep up this tradition as it is a great way to use the stars that’ll just miss the cut for the big matches. With that being said, there should also be a winner that could actually get a lot out of winning the thing. Cesaro and Big Show never really amounted to much after winning the battle royal but hopefully we’ll pick someone that should be able to use this win to their advantage. I have two names in mind for the winner of this one. The first name is Sheamus, who can build himself right back up with a win in the battle royal. The second name is Samoa Joe, who is actually rumoured to be appearing on the main roster some time after Wrestlemania. However, there is always the possibility of having the NXT star debuting on the main roster in a big way. WWE will want to have an NXT star in the battle royal, so the best way to do it is to feature someone that would genuinely get something out of being in it. Nothing against Hideo Itami, but he was never really able to stand out when he was in the battle royal last year.

Winner: Either Sheamus or Samoa Joe

 

The Wyatt Family (Braun Strowman, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper vs The League Of Nations (Rusev, Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett)

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I enjoy six man tag team matches greatly and it’d make sense to give these two stables a much great purpose at WrestleMania. Why can’t these two teams just battle each other? A part of me really didn’t want to reduce Alberto Del Rio to a multi-man match but at least he can stand out as the stand-out of his team. If he takes it to these three giants and fights his ass off, he can get over tremendously. We’ve seen it time after time. If you’re up against the odds and you fight and fight and fight, you can get over big time. Look at Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13. Del Rio would get the hot tag and run wild but in the end, the Wyatts would overwhelm him. Braun Strowman could also choke out Del Rio in the end if you really wanted to get Braun over. At least Del Rio wouldn’t have tapped out.

Winners: The Wyatt Family

 

Kalisto (c) vs Neville vs Sami Zayn for the United States Championship

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Zayn, Neville and Kalisto could put on a tremendous display in a match for the US title. If Sami does get hurt a bit the night before (wrestling Shinesuke Nakamura at NXT TakeOver: Dallas), at least Kalisto and Neville can do some of the heavy lifting during the bulk of the match. Kalisto would be my winner of this match and this could be a very fun Wrestlemania match that would see Kalisto get over. If Sami is too much of an issue, then there’s always Sin Cara.

Winner: Kalisto

 

Dean Ambrose (c) vs AJ Styles for the Intercontinental Championship

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I’ve actually already covered this match before in a past “How I Would Book”, so there’s not much that needs to be said about how this one. This would have been a great way for AJ to break out on his own as a singles star. The stuff they’re doing with Chris Jericho just doesn’t sit right with me and I feel facing Dean Ambrose would be a much better fit for AJ than facing Jericho once again. AJ wins in what would be one corker of a match.

Winner: AJ Styles

 

“The New Day” Big E (c) and Kofi Kingston (c) w/Xaiver Woods vs Enzo Amore and Big Cass for the WWE Tag Team Championship

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The way I see it, WWE Roadblock is WWE’s way of testing how over Enzo and Big Cass can get on a WWE main roster show. It’s all well and good when they get over in NXT but they want to test and see how they do on the main roster and that’s fine. However, I have no doubt that Enzo and Big Cass winning the tag titles would get an incredible pop in Texas. If anyone should beat the New Day for the tag titles, it should probably be these guys.

Winners: Enzo Amore and Big Cass

 

Charlotte (c) vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch for the Divas Championship

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I’m actually very happy with WWE doing this match as it actually makes the whole “divas revolution” angle seem worthwhile. The three women that were brought up from NXT are now fighting for the Divas title at WrestleMania 32. It’s the perfect way for this whole storyline to come full circle. The only winner of this should really be Sasha Banks as she is the most over out of the three women.

Winner: Sasha Banks

 

Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler

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To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t thought of an ideal match for either of these gentlemen. However, it would still be a very decent match to watch. The storyline could revolve around Jericho mocking Ziggler for not living up to his full potential since the last time they feuded. Dolph Ziggler would win this one with Jericho being the heel. Might as well give Ziggler a big WrestleMania win.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

 

Triple H vs Bray Wyatt

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Of course, you’d have to re-work some of the events of the last few months in order for this match to happen. Unless you were to have Bray Wyatt cost Triple H the title at Roadblock, it’d be difficult to get this match to happen this far into the Road to WrestleMania. The funny thing about this one is that it does tie into the events of the Royal Rumble. At that event, Bray went after Triple H after an intense stare down which saw Triple H eliminate Bray. Bray feuding with Triple H would be an exhilarating feud for him and something different for Triple H to work with. There’s a lot of potential to be had with this one. I would personally put Bray over as it’s about time that Bray gets a big win over a top star.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

 

Undertaker w/Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens w/Mr McMahon. If Undertaker wins, Shane McMahon wins control. If Kevin Owens wins, Shane will be banned from the WWE forever

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I feel that the idea of Shane McMahon battling the Undertaker for control of WWE is quite bonkers! I do want to involve that stipulation in a match but the idea of Shane fighting himself doesn’t sound very appealing to me. Also, it would make a lot more sense for Undertaker to fight for Shane rather than for Vince. He should be up against a top heel, who’d be given the chance to be involved in a match with huge implications for WWE programming. Enter Kevin Owens. Owens has often mentioned his desire to wrestle the Undertaker at WrestleMania so why not let him do it? Kevin Owens’ motivation to get involved would be a guaranteed WWE World Title shot in the near future. This is not like Money In The Bank. It’d be more like “Gift of the Gods” from Lucha Underground, with Owens having to announce it beforehand. I feel that prize would be enough to entice Owens to fight Vince’s battles.

Winner: Undertaker

 

Brock Lesnar (c) vs Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

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I believe that this is the only way WrestleMania this year should have ended, with Roman Reigns challenging Brock Lesnar once again in a rematch from last year’s fantastic main event. Lesnar vs Reigns II is easy enough promotion for this match and it would be a main event that the fans would more invested in then Triple H vs Reigns. No matter who the winner is, this would be a fantastic way to end the show.

Winner: Either Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns

 

That’s about it. A lot of the storylines would need tweaking in order to make this work but at the end of the day, I feel that this could be a great way for WWE to prepare itself for the remainder of the year. In my opinion, that should really be the point of WrestleMania.

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!

#CancelWWENetwork Trends After Fastlane 2016 – Thoughts and Reactions

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NOTE: The following post was written before the Monday Night RAW after Fastlane.
How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with an initial post-Fastlane reaction to #CancelWWENetwork trending on Twitter following the main event of the show. For those of you that want to know what happened, Roman Reigns won the triple threat match to earn a WWE World title shot at Wrestlemania 32 against Triple H. This caused major upset among the WWE universe as the #CancelWWENetwork hashtag trended.
This is not the first time that the hashtag has trended on Twitter. If you’ll recall, last year’s Royal Rumble ended with Roman Reigns going over and the hashtag causing the subscription cancellation page for the network to crash. I don’t think the hashtag will cause a backlash of that degree in this case. It did cause WWE to change plans for the finish of Wrestlemania 31 before, but I don’t think it’ll make a bit of difference this year. As it turned out, the amount of people that actually went through with unsubscribing to the network was very small. On Twitter, people have been posting pictures of themselves actually cancelling their subscriptions. However, I don’t think the amount will actually make a lot of difference to WWE as the subscription numbers will rise for Wrestlemania anyway.
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I’ll admit that I haven’t watched Fastlane yet and I probably won’t until later on in the week. The thing about Fastlane was that it’s gotten very mixed reviews. On Twitter, I’ve seen a lot of negativity about the pay-per-view. However, I’ve spoken to a lot of fans that have said the pay-per-view was actually “solid” and that the main event was actually great until the finish.
Again, I haven’t seen the pay-per-view yet. The thing is if the pay-per-view was bad and then they went with the finish they did with Roman going over, I could understand the frustrations of the fans. They want to see a good product and if they don’t get it, they’re not going to let their frustrations build inside of them. I remember being furious at WWE for the 2015 Royal Rumble, mostly because of how it was booked. That’s one of those moments where I truly believe that the backlash received was justified because of how bad the show was. For Fastlane though, it seems that the backlash is mostly because of Roman going over and the finish which I think is a bit extreme.
If the main event was good, AJ vs Jericho was good and the rest of the pay-per-view was fine, to call the pay-per-view bad because of who won the main event seems a bit much. It seems a bit much because what exactly did you think was going to happen at Fastlane? Did anyone honestly think that Brock Lesnar was going to win last night? No. Brock Lesnar vs Triple H for the title at Mania was just not going to happen. There’s a lot of people who were probably thinking that Dean might win the match, but I didn’t think so. Brock Lesnar laid him out over and over again on RAW and SmackDown! and Dean dropped the Intercontinental title on RAW. Dean was nowhere near booked well enough for a Wrestlemania main-event push. The expectation was that Dean was going to be the one that got pinned or submitted to protect Roman and Brock, and that’s exactly what happened. Did anyone really think that the finish of the Fastlane main event WASN’T going to be Roman Reigns pinning Dean Ambrose to win the match?
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WWE being predictable is not my cup of tea. However, the company also has a clear vision of what they want the main event of Wrestlemania to look like. It was always going to be Roman Reigns vs Triple H. If they have a plan, it’s better that they stick with it and promote that match to the best of their ability rather than come up with a new plan at the last minute. If they put Dean in there with little personal animosity with Triple H beforehand, it wouldn’t make any sense when taking every other storyline in the last year into account. If you start it off with Roman Reigns, you might as well end it with Roman Reigns.
The issue last year with Roman is that the guy wasn’t over to the level of his push. This year, he is nearly over to that level. He is not in Stone Cold Steve Austin territory or anything crazy like that. However, he’s at least making a lot more progress than last year. That tells you something. It has not been that great for Roman since this year’s Royal Rumble but that’s the problem with booking Roman against two of the most popular wrestlers on the roster for a title match at Wrestlemania.
I’ve written about this for SLTD Wrestling a few times now. I was disapproving of the main event of Fastlane because of the reason mentioned earlier. I was disapproving of the main event of Triple H vs Roman Reigns for Wrestlemania because I didn’t think it should have been for the WWE World title. However, I at least admire WWE’s attempts of having a plan and sticking to it. It was better than throwing Dean Ambrose into the mix all of a sudden or throwing Brock Lesnar into the mix. I wish they had went a different way for a main event of Wrestlemania. For what they’re doing though, they’re not doing a too terrible job at promoting up the match.
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I just don’t see what the fans were expecting from Fastlane. They gave you a seemingly good show but it’s still deemed a failure over how the main event played out?
It’s an interesting situation. I don’t see any plans for Wrestlemania changing because of this but it is bad news for Roman in terms of how he’s perceived by the fans. It’ll be interesting to see how WWE will try to turn this around.

AJ Styles Vs Chris Jericho II On SmackDown!

 

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AJ Styles was a phenomenal signing for WWE. He was so phenomenal that WWE decided to put AJ on the main roster as soon as he arrived. Think of all the stars that have wrestled on NXT before appearing on the main roster. Kevin Owens, Hideo Itami, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe and even Jushin Thunder Liger have all appeared on NXT instead of first debuting on the main roster. Imagine that you’ve got a star like AJ in your ranks.

You’ve got a man that was a major part of the development of TNA, which had been the second top wrestling promotion in the world for years. You’ve got a man that was the IWGP Champion just before he left. It’s the same title held by the likes of Brock Lesnar, who is considered a very special attraction for WWE. You’ve got a man with phenomenal skills in the ring and could give you a new legitimate star in your ranks. Less than a month into his career, AJ’s promising career in WWE has already been ruined in the exact same way that so many new stars could have been created. 50/50 booking.

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In case you missed SmackDown!, AJ Styles lost his first WWE match and he did it clean. He lost his big rematch against Chris Jericho to a simple codebreaker. How does this do either man ANY favours? How does it do Chris Jericho any favours? He’s not exactly going to have a big part in the future of WWE. He’s coming towards the end of his career. He should not be beating guys like AJ Styles so cleanly. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Jericho to lose to AJ again and have him keep losing until the end of the feud? Each time Jericho loses, he gets more and more annoyed with himself. It’s a simple feud which will elevate AJ whether he loses the final match or not. It doesn’t do too much damage to Jericho as he still would likely win the final match.

I really don’t understand the logic of having Jericho suddenly being booked as one of the best wrestlers in the company again. Jericho is 45 years old and has not won a championship since 2010. The idea that he is on par with the top stars in the company in 2016 is just absurd. He even lasted 50 minutes in the Royal Rumble match. How bad does that make the rest of the wrestlers look when Jericho is leaving them in the dust?

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I get that Chris Jericho has historically been a top star in WWE but you can’t be booking him so great right now. My idea earlier about having Jericho getting more and more angry at himself for not being able to put AJ away would actually be a great bit of character development for Jericho, as it would be Jericho questioning whether he could still hang with the best any more. You can’t go from having Jericho putting over guys like Fandango to beating AJ Styles in an instant as it just seems unbelievable. You’ve had Jericho putting over younger stars for years, so it’s going to be hard to convince the casual viewer that Jericho is as good as everyone else after not accomplishing a great deal in the last five years.

WWE’s sudden insistence on putting Jericho over as a top star in 2016 is just infuriating to me. It was like the Highlight Reel segment a month ago, when Jericho said that he, Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar were the three favourites to win the Royal Rumble. Again, it makes everyone else look bad.

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I’ve been talking about Jericho for a while but the one that will likely ne most effected by this match is AJ. Now AJ Styles is in the same position as everyone else on the roster. He is beatable after just a few weeks. I’ve seen everyone get beaten eventually. There’s never been a professional wrestler that has never lost a match. That’s just how wrestling works. They beat Goldberg. They beat Brock Lesnar. They even beat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. However, a new star should always be protected when he/she enters your company. AJ Styles, in particular, should be promoted as one of the best you have to offer. He should be one of the wrestlers that you should be protecting as he’s just arrived in an emphatic way. Now though, he’s been subjected to the same detrimental booking as everyone else on the roster.

WWE’s idea of “50/50 booking”, to make sure that they don’t upset any particular fan bases, is just going to kill any attempts at creating new stars. That will result in the fans only showing a great deal of interest in the likes of Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and John Cena. Therefore, the fans will only be invested in those characters.

In a time where stars need to be made, there has to be a lot more wrestlers exempt from this booking and AJ Styles is someone that should have been spared this. This was a poor decision by WWE to have him lose to Jericho and to have him lose this early into his WWE career.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have any suggestions for a How I Would Book? Simply tweet me at either @ArmbarExpress or @TomRobinson5199 on Twitter with your suggestions. Do also check out the rest of the content on my blog. I do a lot of other cool fantasy booking blog posts with my playthroughs of fantasy booking game Extreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

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