Retro Express – WWE Unforgiven 2006

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Unforgiven 2006 was a pay-per-view which I thought way too highly of when looking back in hindsight. It was not like this was a pay-per-view which was bad or anything. If anything, it was just as good as any other average pay-per-view around the time. However, there was a lot of buzz about this particular pay-per-view which I don’t think WWE were able to live up to at the end of the day. This was a show with a lot of memorable moments but the matches that stood out never really stood out as greatly as it probably should have.

WWE Unforgiven

Date: September 17th 2006

Brand: RAW

City: Toronto, Ontario

Attendance: 16,105

Johnny Nitro (c) vs Jeff Hardy for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
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I honestly couldn’t remember who won this match when I watched this pay-per-view at the time. I remember that Jeff did beat Nitro for the title not long after he returned to the company. However, I couldn’t remember if it was on RAW or if it was at Unforigven. I knew that he was the champion going into RAW’s next pay-per-view Cyber Sunday so he must have won it shortly after this.
This was Jeff’s first pay-per-view match back with WWE and he got a huge pop. Nitro wasn’t particularly bad during this time period but this was around the period where Nitro was only just starting to break out on his own. I don’t want to say that wrestling a tag match is easy but in a tag team situation with MNM, Johnny had the help from Mercury and other tag teams to help break up the matches a little. In this situation, Nitro was on his own and he had to be able to work a long match with Jeff. And this was a LONG match. They gave Jeff and Johnny 17 minutes but it honest to god felt like half an hour.
The match wasn’t particular bad but it was unfit for the styles of Jeff and Johnny. They had Nitro get the heat on Hardy for about 75% of the match which was done in the most dragged out way possible. Johnny was given way too much time to get the heat on Jeff. This was proven to be true, as the match actually started out with the fans getting into it with Jeff taking over with arm drags (by the way, Nitro got some serious air-time on these arm drags!). However, by the end of the match as Jeff was making his “comeback”, the fans in Toronto had been taken completely out of the match and there was little reaction until Jeff went for the Swanton Bomb.
Jeff did a lot of wild selling as usually. Nitro drop-kicked Jeff, while Jeff was on the turnbuckle, which resulted in Jeff landing side first on the ropes. That could have ended really badly. Nitro worked over Jeff’s leg for a really long time. Jeff was leaning on the ropes and Nitro kicked in the leg, which resulted in Jeff doing a huge flip and landing on the mat. The next time I watch UFC, I’ll have to see if any of the kicks to the leg will cause one of the fighters to do a flip. What a moment that would be!
Nitro went for the Corkscrew off the top but Jeff moved out of the way. Ironically, Nitro landed on his leg which looked pretty awkward. Jeff started his comeback but as mentioned earlier, the crowd were never really able to get into it until he went for the Swanton. It seemed like a very awkward comeback, with both wrestlers working at very different speeds it seems. Jeff hit the Swanton but Nitro got his feet on the rope. Nitro was kicked into Melina and Jeff went for the roll-up, which was kicked out of by Nitro. Melina then hit Jeff with her boot and Nitro got the pin to retain the title.
I hated this finish for a number of reasons but the biggest issue is the fact that Nitro simply pinned him off the smack with Melina’s boot. Maybe if Melina were to have hit her with the sole of the boot, it would have been enough to put Jeff away. However, at least Nitro should have been able to put his finishing move over. The commentators did try to put Nitro over on commentary and Nitro was able to stay in the match after the Swanton. However, it’s not like anything Nitro ever did led to him winning the match. It’s not like the ten minutes of Nitro working on the leg of Hardy led to the finish. They could have easily done a finish where Melina hit Jeff in the leg with a shoe and then Nitro hit Jeff with his finisher (which I think was the Super Kick) and won. At least the heat Nitro got on Jeff would have been enough to lead to the finish. However, this finish just struggled to get anyone over greatly.
It’s funny because I actually remember hating the finish of a match between Rusev and Dolph Ziggler last year, because Summer Rae had accidentally hit Rusev with her shoe. At least in that finish, Ziggler hit the Zig Zag after the shoe toss in order to win the match. Nitro wasn’t given any of that which hurt his cause.
It was an alright match but it was just a boring match. The ring psychology was there with Nitro working the leg but it just took me out of the match. He just got a bit too much heat on Jeff before the finish. This match should have been a lot shorter. That’s probably the biggest thing that was wrong with this. Putting this on for 17 minutes was just not the way to go.
Match Rating: **1/4
SmackDown! general manager Teddy Long was in the crowd. He was sat in one of the expensive seats all by himself! He was in attendance as if Cena had lost in the main event, Teddy would have Cena signed to his show.
Jeff Hardy was met in the back by Matt Hardy, who was on SmackDown! at the time. I was going to ask why Matt would have been on the RAW PPV but I guess it does make sense with Matt wanting to cheer his brother on. Lita walked in which resulted in the most awkward stable reunion of all time. If you’ll recall, this took place just over a year after the Matt, Edge and Lita incident happened. However, that was not the main reason about why this angle was awkward. You could tell this was an segment that Lita really didn’t want to do, as she felt so uncomfortable when calling Jeff a “screw-up.” She vowed to beat Trish Stratus and said that Edge would beat John Cena to send him packing to SmackDown!, just like he sent Matt packing when he beat him in a Loser Leaves RAW match. Very uncomfortable segment to sit through.
Umaga vs Kane
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The match wasn’t really that bad until the finish, we’ll get onto later. Armando Estrada cut a great promo before the match started. I truly believe that if Armando was brought back by WWE to manage Braun Strowman tomorrow and Armando was given the same gimmick he was given in 2006, Braun would get so over. Armando’s greatest attribute was that he was able to get the fans invested in his client like a good manager should. He didn’t need to cut greatest promo of all time or anything. The best part of his arsenal was his introduction, which everybody at this pay-per-view joined in with. He was so awesome.
The match started off strangely when these two big monsters decided to start the match by engaging in an angry lock-up. I don’t want to bash this match for actually showcasing some traditional wrestling but this really didn’t fit the styles of Umaga and Kane. These two should be starting off the match by just clobbering each other, going blow for blow. That would have helped portray the intensity of these two big men rather than just doing a simple lock-up.
Umaga got the heat on Kane. Umaga even did the Shining Wizard at one point. Kane made the comeback and the fans got really into his comeback. To add to the point I made earlier, Kane just punching away at Umaga in the turnbuckle really got Kane over as these were some impactful looking hits. Now granted, Umaga was usually a great seller back then. However, the point is that it added a lot more to the match more than if these two were to have a standard match. I also liked how Kane’s comeback was effective that it caused Armando’s hat to come off! I repeat, Armando Estrada was so awesome!
Kane hit a dangerous looking belly-to-belly on Umaga which sent him flying over the top rope. Kane and Umaga went into the crowd which caused both men to get counted out. Count out finishes do suck when you put them on pay-per-views but if you follow them up with either an interesting spot or some new development in the feud, you can get away with doing it. However, WWE didn’t give us any of that. Kane and Umaga simply brawled to the back. You expected something big to happen but nothing did. Up until the finish, this was a fine match though.
Match Rating: **1/4
Mr McMahon and Shane McMahon were hanging out backstage, watching a clip from RAW where Vince beat Triple H. He talked about wanting to be “kicking ass and taking names” in their Hell in a Cell match later. He said he was going to play an active role in the match. He buried Canada and basically vowed to decimate DX.
They plugged the theme song of the show, which was “Run” by Days of Fire. I actually liked this song a lot but I was put off a little when Jerry referred to Days of Fire as his new favourite band. Yes, Jerry Lawler was suddenly transformed into a metal rock fan with this new track by Days of Fire. I don’t think Jerry was telling the truth here!
The Spirit Squad (c) vs The Highlanders for the World Tag Team Championship
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This was the closest the Highlanders ever came to winning the tag titles. It’s a shame because I actually liked the Highlanders in this match! It’s just their mannerisms in the ring. When they kept yelling at each other during the match, at least you could tell that they were actually invested in their own gimmick. At least they would go out of there to have fun with their characters, which a lot of wrestlers these days in WWE don’t. They were so into their character that their tag-ins came in the form of slapping each other in the face!
Rory McAllister was the bald one in the Highlanders, with Robbie being the one with long hair. In fact, Jim Ross actually made this clear as soon as they came out! It’s funny as Jim Ross cleared up which Highlander was which for me right away even though they’ve got two different looks, yet Michael Cole never addresses which Uso is which on RAW until one of them gets tagged in during the match.
Mitch and Kenny were the Spirit Squad members involved in this match. They all held the belt at the same time as part of the freebird rule. Even though he came out with the belt on, Nicky (a.k.a. Dolph Ziggler) wasn’t involved in the match. Nothing really exciting about this one. There was on spot where Robbie tried to do a suicide dive to the outside but he hit the floor. The finish was Johnny doing a jump kick on the apron which was followed up by a facebuster by Mikey for the win.
There was really nothing to this match. There was nothing really about this match that really screamed “pay-per-view quality.” It was just a regular tag team match that you would have seen on RAW every week at the time. I will say that the Highlanders sort of seemed like a Scottish version of the Ascension! It’s like if they took Viktor and Konnor from the Ascension and gave the Highlanders gimmick. The chances are, they would have probably had the same result!
Match Rating: *1/2
 
Mr McMahon, Shane McMahon and Big Show vs Shawn Michaels and Triple H in a handicap Hell in a Cell match
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I’ve seen a lot of people online call this the worst Hell in a Cell match of all time which I totally disagree with. I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent here. The whole point of a Hell in a Cell match is for people to use the cell as an offensive ally. The match usually acts as the finale to an intense rivalry, which was the purpose of this cell match. This feud has gotten to a point where all the McMahons, Big Show and DX wanted to do was beat the hell out of each other. If they were to have just had a regular match in that cell, it would have come off so badly. Also if they were to have a simple match, what would be the point of the cell?
This is a huge reason why I do not think highly of the Undertaker/Triple H Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania 28. Those two hardly ever used the cell in their match which took away from the intensity of it. Triple H and Undertaker had built their careers around the Cell so them not using it seemed to ignore the significance of the stipulation. They needed to batter each other just like the McMahons, Show and DX all battered each other.
To summarise this in the best way possible, this was the best you could have done with people like Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon and Big Show having to work a 20 minute Hell in a Cell match. There were some things that did take me out the match which I’ll get to later.
The highlight of the introductions though was Jim Ross calling Vince “Satan’s role model.” DX low-blowed Big Show which does actually tie in to one of the issues of the match. A lot of DX’s attacks on the McMahons and Big Show were very comedic, which took away from the intensity of the storyline. After Vince had beaten DX with a pipe on RAW a few weeks beforehand and everything Vince had done to them in this storyline, Triple H and Shawn Michaels should want cold-blooded revenge. Instead, they would have moments like Vince McMahon kissing Big Show’s backside which was absurd when considering that this was in fact a Hell in a Cell match.
Shawn and Vince both got “You Screwed Bret” chants. DX low-blowed Big Show a second time. I did like some of the ways DX were beating on the McMahons though. Shawn used the ropes to launch Shane into the cell wall. Vince and Shane bled early. Triple H used a screwdriver on Mr McMahon. This was a case of deja vu for me as one of the last old WWE pay-per-views I watched before this was Survivor Series 2005, where Triple H did the exact same thing to Ric Flair!
Big Show got back into the mix and the heels took over. Shane hit Triple H with the coast to coast which involved a trashcan. DX tried a comeback but the heels cut them off. Shane looked like he was trying either an Angle Slam or a backbreaker but he was struggling to keep Triple H up for the move. I don’t know if Triple H was sand-bagging him (which seems very unlikely) or if Shane was just struggling to get him up.
Vince tried to induct DX into the “Kiss My Ass” club but DX avoided it. Big Show tried to do a big splash to Shawn but Shawn pulled Vince in the way. DX did the comeback. Shane was taken out after Shawn did an elbow to him, with a chair wrapped around Shane’s neck. They took out Big Show and left him hanging on the ropes. They then proceeded to shove Vince’s face in Big Show’s backside. DX won with a Super Kick by Shawn and then a sledgehammer shot by Triple H which actually broke the hammer.
This was an OK match. This was not the worst Hell in a Cell match I ever saw but I did feel that the heel heat was a bit too long in this match as well. Big Show, Vince and Shane getting the heat on DX was quite boring a lot of the time. However, the match accomplished what it was supposed to. The good guys got their revenge on the heels and finished them once and for all, which was a fine way to end the rivalry. This was probably the highlight of the DX/McMahons rivalry as a whole.
Match Rating: ***1/2
Lita (c) vs Trish Stratus for the WWE Women’s Championship
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This match was very much a treat at the time considering the state of the women’s division for the next decade. Unfortunately, this was also Trish’s retirement match. This was a very fitting end to her career, being able to go out in style by winning the Women’s title in Montreal. This crowd loved Trish and this was all fine to watch.
I cannot say that this was the greatest match between Trish and Lita, as I remember them having a fantastic match on RAW in 2004. However, these two worked very hard. Trish worked a  lot harder than she probably should have, considering this was supposed to be her last match. This was evident as she would take bad bumps to the apron and onto the floor.
The finish was great. Throughout the match, Trish kept going for the Stratusfaction, but Lita kept countering it. In her third attempt, Trish reversed into a sunset flip. This was an awesome spot as from a storytelling perspective, it was clear that Trish knew that Lita was just going to keep countering the bulldog. Trish had to think of something new and she did. There’s so many matches nowadays where the babyfaces would try to do the same move over and over again until it worked. Good improvisation.
Lita countered it into a pin but the ref saw Lita’s hands on the rope. Trish countered that into a sharpshooter, which got an incredible pop from the crowd. Lita tapped out and Trish won the belt on her way out. Lillian Garcia was actually in tears when Trish celebrated.
This was a great women’s match and the two women worked very hard. The crowd was really into it so thumbs up from me.
Match Rating: ***
Randy Orton was being interview by Todd Grisham. A little off-topic but does anyone remember the interview Todd did with John Cena around this time where he turned heel and hoped that Cena would lose the title? That was fantastic stuff!
The promo Orton cut seemed a bit odd. Orton claimed that nobody cared about Trish except Canadians. He called Trish a bitch and said that he would make Carlito his in their match later. Orton did a good job in gaining the heel heat but something just felt off about the whole promo.
Randy Orton vs Carlito
 
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This was a decent match between Orton and Carlito. I was not expecting much from this but I did remember the finish of the match which was incredibly executed. The thing about Carlito is that I’ve listened to a number of old Bryan and Vinny Shows as of late going as far back as 2005. The common trend I noticed when listening back to 2005-2006 editions of the show is that Bryan Alvarez was hugely critical of Carlito. It’s funny because I’ve done a few Retro Express reviews from within that period. In the matches Carlito wrestled in, Carlito was fine.
He was not the greatest worker of the night or anything but there was not a lot of things he messed up. He did mess up one of his springboard moonsaults, where he landed with his elbow slamming into Orton’s face. Orton was actually busted open from the mouth with that botch, with Orton seemingly very annoyed at Carlito.
They continued on for a while. Carlito was still busting out all of these springboards to very little reaction. The finish saw Carlito going for another springboard move with Randy catching him with an RKO in mid-air. Orton made the cover to get the win.
This gets a thumbs up for me. It didn’t blow my mind but these two men worked hard. You have to give them credit for that as Carlito was often flacked for not trying hard enough in the ring. The finish was also tremendously pulled off by both men and it really did add to the match as the finish was be the big thing that a lot of fans remember.
Match Rating: **3/4
Edge (c) vs John Cena in a TLC match for the WWE Championship
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I mentioned that Teddy Long was in attendance earlier. He was there because if Cena lost, Cena would be signed to SmackDown! I actually want to break down the logic of this. Teddy was ecstatic because he may be about to get John Cena from RAW as long as Cena LOST his match. From a storyline perspective, wouldn’t it hurt the SmackDown! brand if Cena had lost before coming into the roster?
This TLC match was a great thing to end the pay-per-view with. After months of this feud between Edge and John Cena, Cena finally defied all the odds to win the WWE title in Edge’s hometown and in Edge’s signature match. This was great and simple storytelling, with an appropriate finish to the feud.
John Cena was heavily booed by this Montreal crowd. Both men took some hard bumps. What’s funny after watching this match is the balancing act from WWE to protect John Cena from getting badly hurt but also having him take big bumps himself. If John Cena were to have taken little to no bumps during the match, it would have not gotten Cena over that greatly by the end of the match. However, they did have Cena take some huge spots including getting pushed off a big ladder by Lita and going through the table on the outside. That’s important as the crowd was never going to get behind a babyface that never “paid their dues” by taking a lot of punishment. The fact that Cena did though just made Cena look like a proper badass. Those fans in Montreal ended the night thinking “I hate Cena but he took a hell of a beating.” That’s what gets babyfaces over in modern day professional wrestling. That’s how Roman Reigns eventually got over when he won the WWE World title on RAW. Sadly that period of overness didn’t last long for poor old Roman.
Both men took some nasty hits during this. Edge hit the reverse DDT on Cena onto the chair, which I believe is a lot more painfully than it looks. Edge was innovative as usually in this TLC match, coming off the barricade and dropkicking the ladder in John Cena’s face. There was one bad botch where Edge was going for the sunset flip powerbomb on Cena but Cena held onto the ropes for too long. It was not as bad as the sunset flip spot that Kurt Angle and Scott Steiner once tried in TNA, which ended up being the finish off that match! That was actually followed up by “that was weak” chants from the Impact Zone! The TLC botch was followed up by Edge powerslamming Cena through the table!
Edge ran up the ladder to jump at Cena which seemed like a bit too much effort, when he could have just gotten on the apron or the turnbuckle which would have had the same effect as him running up the ladder. Cena hit the Throwback on the chair. Cena did a ladder guillotine on Edge which also looks way more painful than it seems. Cena followed it up with the STFU with Edge wedged in the ladder.
There was one really stupid looking spot which did take away from the seriousness and intensity of the match. Cena decided that he should give the ladder a FU onto Edge, which was one of the daftest looking things I’ve seen in a TLC match. Why did Cena have to do a move on the ladder when he could have just hit Edge with the ladder? It was more done for comedic purposes, which didn’t fit the intensity of the match and the storyline for that matter. Cena shouldn’t be messing around by giving Edge this move.
Edge responded with a hard, and I mean HARD, chair shot onto Cena. If you guys ever wondered why they banned chair shots to the head, this is why! I commend Cena for taking such a hard chair shot as it looked proper nasty. Edge hit the spear from one ladder to Cena on another ladder which was a much milder version of the Edge/Jeff Hardy spot from Wrestlemania 17. Cena powerbombed Edge onto the ladder. Cena looked like he was going to win when Lita showed up, who pushed Cena off the big ladder which saw him go through the table. That was the spot mentioned earlier.
Cena got back into the ring and Lita hit Cena with the chair. The only problem was that Lita’s chair shot caused Cena to stumble into a ladder that Edge was climbing, and Cena pushed Edge off it and through another table. Cena FUd Lita to take her out of the equation. It was down to a spot where two tables were stacked on top of each other. Edge and Cena battled on the top of a ladder and Cena hit the FU off the ladder and through the two tables. Cena took down the title and won the match.
This was a home run for WWE in terms of ending the feud on a high. There was a lot of issues with this match like the botch mentioned earlier. However, it was as good of a TLC match as you would have gotten out of Edge and Cena at the time. It actually exceeded my expectations at the time and it really did just work so well.
Match Rating: ****1/4
Overall, the pay-per-view was saved by a very eventful second half. The first few matches were very forgettable but it really did pick up with the Hell in a Cell match. There were very memorable aspects about the final four matches, even with Randy hitting the RKO counter on Carlito. This will go down as the show where Vince McMahon competed in a Hell in a Cell match and got his arse kicked. This will go down as the show where Trish Stratus retired after one of her greatest matches ever. This will go down as the show where John Cena hit the FU on Edge and put him through two tables. As a memorable show, this was successful as the most important matches were memorable. It’s not such a tragedy that the Highlanders vs the Spirit Squad wasn’t.
I will not be as bold as to say that this was the best pay-per-view of 2006. There were a number of pay-per-views that surpassed it. However, it’s very plausible to suggest that this was possibly one of the best RAW exclusive shows of the year. RAW came off looking really strong following this pay-per-view, which was really important going into new storylines. Now granted, not all of the storylines that followed were too great. However, fans in 2006 would have been filled with buzz knowing that there would be new storylines to dig into. If you can get your fans excited like that with a pay-per-view, you did a damn good job.
THUMBS UP FROM ME!
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How Survivor Series Is Becoming A Major WWE Event Once More

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A series of unfortunate events has caused the whole Survivor Series scene this year to be changed. Initially, it was business as usual for Seth Rollins as he was scheduled to defend the WWE World title against Roman Reigns. However, Rollins with struck with an injury which will sideline him for at least six months. This obviously put WWE in a VERY VERY sticky situation. Of all the times that a champion could have been injured, now was not really the most convenient with John Cena, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan all out of commotion too. As soon as the news was broke by Jonathan Coachman, we got word that the new WWE World Champion would decided in a tournament. While it’s unfortunate for Seth, this could actually work in WWE’s favour in terms of turning Survivor Series into a true mega event once more.

Once, it was part of the “big four” of WWE PPVs. Summerslam, Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania still continue to be crucial events for WWE but Survivor Series had slipped in the background. In 2009, WWE were even considering slipping Survivor Series out of it’s PPV schedule for good. The PPV was saved but it was still not really able to get even close to the significance of the other three PPVs. That was until Survivor Series 2014…

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With no really major stars and no WWE World title match, the PPV was hurt to a degree. However, what was missing was made up for by the five-on-five survivor series elimination match. The five-on-five was the PPV’s trademark match so it was only fitting that it was the main event of this particular show. The Authority going up against Team Cena with the Authority out of power if they lost. This was the biggest Survivor Series match that they’d done in years and it had major implications for the WWE storylines. Triple H and Stephanie’s power in the company was in danger. This match performed in more ways than one. It gave Dolph Ziggler a truly historical moment to savour and it even debuted WCW Legend Sting. This was a special PPV in 2014.

One match can really make the difference in terms of how great or memorable a PPV is. The Royal Rumble is a prime example of this. One match would be enough to peak your interest and if it delivers, you rake in the rewards. Now, there’s no big five on five elimination match as of yet. However, WWE did introduce something which once again made the PPV out to be a special attraction. The WWE World Title tournament.

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What I think this does is give it a special niche that can help the PPV go down in the history books. This was the one with the big tournament final for the WWE World title. Everyone likes a good tournament and it’s not like they’re just doing it on a show like Payback. The timing was right for this sort of tournament to take place as it can help build the prestige and importance of the Survivor Series show.

It does annoy to a degree that they didn’t do a one-night tournament but I could see why they went with just having the final at Survivor Series. They can ill-afford to have their champion risk an injury by wrestling three or four matches in one night! Not after the recent injury to Rollins! Even WWE has to have limits. The tournament final is also backed up by the appearance and 25th anniversary of the Undertaker which also helps make the event feel special. It’s true that Undertaker is going through a particularly healthy stage right now, but any Undertaker appearance at all is rare. If it’s on RAW, Survivor Series or the Jimmy Fallon show…

All of these weird set-backs and swerves have actually led to an opportunity for Survivor Series close the gap on the Rumble, Summerslam and Mania to truly becoming a major show once again. The question now remains… can WWE take advantage?

How I Would Book… Kevin Owens As Intercontinental Champion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roman Reigns To Surpass CM Punk’s WWE Title Reign?

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One of the biggest things to take away from RAW was the fact that Nikki Bella surpassed AJ Lee’s record for the longest ever Divas Championship reign. Many people weren’t happy with this decision and many felt that Nikki didn’t deserve. I personally don’t agree with the notion that Nikki didn’t deserve it, because she’s had to work really hard to get to where she is right now. She has certainly improved a lot from when she first started out in WWE and has been able to withstand the test of time. However, I really just had an issue with the way her Divas title match with Charlotte ended. You can read all about that on my RAW review at this link.

However, rumours are going around that WWE are planning to break another championship record. It’s not really a record, but Bryan Alvarez believes that CM Punk’s 434 day title reign as WWE Champion could possibly be surpassed very soon. Bryan believes that with WWE and CM Punk currently at odds (the latest development being a WWE doctor suing CM Punk), the WWE doesn’t want to recognize him as the longest reigning WWE Champion of the “modern era”. Bryan believes that WWE is planning on having Roman Reigns’ future WWE Championship win be the start of an even longer run as champion.

Now it’s important to remember everybody that this is merely just speculation. It’s coming from a well-respected wrestling journalist in Bryan Alvarez, but it’s just speculation on what could happen. However, it’s no secret that WWE have been working their ass of push Roman Reigns as the next top guy in WWE. From pushing him as the standout of the Shield to having him win the Royal Rumble, the WWE want Roman Reigns as their next top guy. Considering the physical appearance of Roman Reigns and his portrayal as this legitimate badass, why wouldn’t you want to push him?

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With how CM Punk left the company and the current legal issues with Punk and the WWE doctor, WWE are not that obligated to maintain his title record. If Punk’s not going to be a part of your company for the foreseeable future, then there’s no need to really protect him when you can spend your efforts on building your future talent. This is part of the reason why I sort of agree with WWE having Nikki Bella break AJ Lee’s Divas Championship record. AJ, for whatever reason, is retired as an in-ring performer. AJ’s probably not going to have any working relationship with WWE in the next few years. That’s not to say that AJ has a bad relationship with WWE herself. However, there’s no need to protect AJ when they might as well promote Nikki Bella as the face of the Divas Division. As I mentioned in my piece on Charlotte from a few weeks ago, this will help the other divas going up against Nikki too. The longer that Nikki is champion, the more it well help top faces in the Divas Divison get over as they’re going up against someone with as much heat as Nikki.

However, there’s a big difference between Nikki beating AJ’s record than Roman Reigns breaking CM Punk’s WWE Championship record. There’s a HUGE difference in terms of the prestige of these two belts. I mean we’re talking about Roman Reigns holding the WWE Championship. It’s a risky endevour to take considering that Roman Reigns has never held the WWE Championship before. The original plans for him to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 31 was changed due to fan reactions and how WWE had booked Roman previously. If the whole idea is to have Roman stay out of the title picture for a year and then have him win it at next year’s Wrestlemania, then it will not work nearly as well as WWE thinks it will. In my opinion, this won’t work because Roman won’t be nearly in as good a position to be considered a true title contender.

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In my opinion, Roman’s storylines since Wrestlemania 31 have been very lackluster. For someone that WWE wants to push as their next top star, Roman’s not been helped with the storylines he’s been given. He feuded with the Big Show in a feud that few people cared about. The feud was so badly received that Big Show got a chant of “Please Retire”. He was briefly in the title picture for Payback, but was one of a number of wrestlers going after the gold. He was then reduced to being Dean Ambrose’s sidekick as Dean went for the title at Elimination Chamber and Money In The Bank. He’s then feuded with Bray Wyatt in a feud which has been above average at best. Really, WWE’s not had the best storylines to get him over as a singles star. In fact, most of his feuds have featured him teaming with his buddy Dean Ambrose. Unless either Dean or Roman was to turn heel to set up a program between those two, I don’t see Roman getting a storyline which will get him ready for that push to the WWE World title once more.

If WWE continue to push him like they are, Reigns is not going to get anywhere near that title in 2016. If you’re not a fan of Roman Reigns, then that’s good news for you. Roman’s got all of the credentials needed to ACTUALLY be their next top star. However, WWE’s booking of Reigns in 2015 has been so poor that I don’t think it’s possible that Reigns could get anywhere near to the level where WWE want him to be at.

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After Wrestlemania 31, I posted an article talking about why Wrestlemania 31 could have been the beginning of the end for Roman Reigns. You can find it at this link. A lot of times I will write up an article and when reading it back a few months later or so, I would realise that I was talking all sorts of rubbish. In one of my recent Wrestling Flashbacks, I was very critical of MY OWN review of Hell in a Cell 2012! However, I think I might have been right on this one. The reason I think this is because since then, Roman Reigns has not been booked in such a way that could possibly convince me that he could possibly be WWE World Champion. He’s not had any major storylines which has really made Roman main event material. His feud with Big Show was lame. He did not come off well from the Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose storyline. His feud with Bray Wyatt has been… passable. However, none of these feuds are going to get Roman ready for that big title push.

What’s funny about all of this is that there is somebody that is actually in a great position to surpass CM Punk’s WWE Championship record. What’s funny is that I wrote an article for SLTD Wrestling about this person potentially holding this title until Wrestlemania 32. It’s the person that has all the tools to be a main-eventer for years to come and has been booked really well by WWE in order to do that. His name…. is Seth Rollins.

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I really do encourage everyone reading this to check out my latest article for SLTD Wrestling at this link. In that article, I responded to Jim Ross’ comments from a few months ago about how Seth should be champion until Wrestlemania 32. In most of my article, I agreed with him. If you’re going to have CM Punk’s WWE title reign be beaten by anyone, why not have it be beaten by Seth Rollins? He’s an incredible worker and is incredibly over as the top heel in the company. His mic skills are improving but he’s already got people to help him out if needed. He’s already got the credentials to be the one that surpasses CM Punk and he’s ALREADY champion! Seth’s been champion for six months or so, has been in great programs with Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Sting, and is still rolling on nicely as champion. His reign has been great so far. Look at the people he’s beaten and now he can help elevate others… INCLUDING ROMAN REIGNS!

If WWE truly want to have CM Punk’s title reign surpassed and if they want Roman Reigns to be pushed as their next top guy, they don’t need to have Reigns be the one that surpasses Punk. If they took the time to re-evaluate Roman’s character and figure out what he needs to be pushed that next level, then maybe there’s hope for him. However, WWE have a golden opportunity to help everyone out by simply keeping the belt on one man. By keeping the title on Seth Rollins and by taking considerable care of Roman Reigns’ character, you’ve got a great main event title scene for years to come.

Wrestling Flashback – WWE Hell in a Cell 2012 Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This sucked.

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

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

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

WWE Summerslam 2015 Review – Main Events Ruined By Badly Booked Endings

(NOTE: This review will include some spoilers for RAW.)

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Brooklyn was packed for the second biggest PPV of the year. We had scores to settle, title for title matches to take place and quite the card for Summerslam. Let’s get into it.

Randy Orton vs Sheamus

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Orton almost scored an RKO right away but Sheamus moved out of the way. We got “You Look Stupid” chants to which Sheamus got on the mic, replying with “I don’t look stupid”. Sheamus saying stuff like this on the mic takes away the seriousness of this lad. And that’s not good, considering that Sheamus has the Money In The Bank briefcase. Considering he’s probably going to be our next WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus looked a bit of a joke. However, it could have been a lot worse.

To be honest, after he said it, I thought as soon as he returned to the ring, Randy was gonna drop Sheamus with a successful RKO to win the match. That didn’t happen and the match went on. However, the fans interest in this match began to disappear at the start. Among the chants we got was a very loud “Ole” chant! However, the match did pick up shortly afterward, which got the fans into it again. Randy delivered a T-Bone Suplex to Sheamus over the top rope which I thought looked pretty cool. Sheamus put on a modified Clover Leaf and kept saying “ASK HIM!” as heels normally do when they’ve got a submission locked on. Chris Jericho use to do it quite a bit. What I realized though, when Sheamus had it on, was that the referee’s rarely ever actually go on ask the wrestlers if they quick! They usually just stand over them!

There was a great little spot where Sheamus lifted himself up up onto the top turnbuckle but Randy countered it into a DDT. Randy hit Sheamus with a RKO when Sheamus catapulted in him which looked awesome. Sheamus beat Orton CLEAN with two Brogue Kicks in a row. This is exactly the type of win that Sheamus needed after losing to Orton clean at Battleground. I thought this match was really good. At the start it looked a bit slow-paced but then it picked up in a big way.It was a great opener. I think this would have been better than their Battleground, had it been given a bit more time. However, considering the card, you could see why the time of this match was cut down a little.

This match seemed to go to the finishing spots rather quickly. It’s almost as if they cut a huge section of the match and then just went to the closing moments. However, despite that, it was still a good match and a great way to open the show. If there’s a rubber match at Night of Champions, Sheamus has to go over I think. However, if this is the end of the feud, at least Sheamus goes out with a win.

Prime Time Players (c) vs New Day vs Lucha Dragons vs Los Matadores for the WWE Tag Team Championship

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The fans were really into the New Day for this one as Big E was doing his intro speech for their entrance. They were on fire tonight with their promo and general antics in the ring. Everybody loved them here in Brooklyn! I loved Kofi’s boots during this match, by the way

This match was a very fast-paced tag team match. There was one spot at the start of the match which I thought was pretty clever. Big E and Titus O’Neil were the legal men in the ring. However, Kofi tagged himself in… by tagging Titus. So as he tagged himself in, Big E went for the cover on Kofi in an attempt to steal the tag titles! I’m not entirely certain if that works! I thought it was clever but… not quite sure it was allowed! I mean you didn’t have to pin the champions in order to win the title. Since you can tag anyone else in order to get into the match, I guess Kofi could have tagged Titus… giving us TWO LEGAL MEN! I guess the New Day just created a new precedent in WWE!

Big E was during this match. He did a splash onto Darren Young on the ring apron which I thought looked good and then Big E began slapping Darren to the New Day clap rhythm as he had the abdominal stretch locked on! To be honest, there were a lot of good spots by everyone during this. Darren Young and Kalisto had a sequence at the start which looked incredible. People on Twitter were comparing them moves to Tekken and Mortal Kombat, which I thought was hilarious!

Titus O’Neil came in off the hot tag and was awesome during it, taking out everyone. He was incredibly over with the crowd as they rallied him on. Xaiver Woods taking out El Torito was a highlight! There were two little botches that should really be mentioned. Sin Cara botched a hurracanrana. One of the Los Matadores members was supposed to take the Tower of Doom spot near the end of the match, but he fell off the top rope. However, they were able to recover well as the other member of Los Matadores simply took the spot also involving Titus.

But other than those small minor botches, this was a sound tag team match. The New Day’s celebrations were amazing. Totally the right call by having the New Day go over. They were so over tonight and are the most over stable in the company. WWE teased the New Day defending the tag titles against Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose next. I really hope that happens! It’d be a great way to get the group into the main event picture!

Rusev vs Dolph Ziggler

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I hated the commentary for this match. It was basically JBL, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole arguing about Lana’s role in Rusev’s success so far. It was one of the times where the commentators never pay attention, that winds me right up. Firstly, because I don’t like this storyline. I don’t like the storytelling aspects of the match, and I’m really watching this because I want to see a good match between Rusev and Ziggler. The announcers weren’t paying attention to this match as they were too busy talking about Lana, not even given Rusev and Ziggler enough respect to talk about them. I can’t speak for everyone watching this but I don’t care about the storyline aspect of it because this is a bad storyline. Anyway, to the match itself.

The match wasn’t really that exciting. Ziggler’s facebuster to Rusev. off the top looked sloppy. I thought Rusev got in a few good spots, such as the  flip senton onto Ziggler which looked awesome when it connected. A good ending might have improved this match slightly, but the finish here had a negative impact. It was a double count out finish meaning that this match was basically just a waste of time. They had the brawl at the end with Lana and Summer Rae also involved but it didn’t solve anything. No new developments happened during this match that changed the fans outlook into this storyline. This ending was shameful for a PPV like Summerslam. JBL actually pointed out “Nothing was solved.” JBL basically confirmed that this match was pointless and we just wasted your time. The thing is, this storyline is now going to keep GOING. It’s not doing anything for Dolph Ziggler and Rusev. Why is WWE keeping this going? After this match, why would people possibly care about a rematch at Night of Champions?

Stephen Amell and Neville vs Stardust and King Barrett

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I want to point before we get into the match that the WWE production crew missed quite a lot of important stuff during this match! They missed Stephen Amell tagging himself in for the first time, which is kind of important considering he’s the celebrity in this match! They missed Stephen’s kip up, which is supposed to make Stephen look good! I was just shocked by how much they missed during this show!

To be honest, when this match was first announced, I thought they had brought in Neville to do the “heavy lifting” for the team since he was the actual wrestler of team. However, Amell was tagged in the majority of the time. He took a lot of the bumps. He didn’t deliver a great deal of offense but you wouldn’t really expect him to. I loved during the match, when King Barrett kicked Amell in the stomach. His sell to that kick was just hilarious.

Neville actually got the hot tag for his team and scored the pin. For what it was, Amell didn’t really mess anything up. I wish that Neville had a lot more time in the ring as it meant that there was a lot of pressure on Amell to take the spots in the ring. Granted, he was able to take them well. But I think with these matches were celebrities get involved, they really should be in the ring as little as possible.

Ryback (c) vs Big Show vs The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship

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This was a very short triple threat match, which I think was a good thing. I think it needed to be a short and sweet triple threat and this match wasn’t actually that bad. However, there’s a few things I need to point out.

Now if you’re a 7 foot, 450lb giant, why on earth would you need to jump off the top rope? Big Show started to do diving elbow drops off the top in a number of matches. In this match, Big Show did a rolling senton off the top! This senton completely missed Ryback! I admire the effort but since when does Big Show need to do a rolling senton off the top rope?

Michael Cole mentioned that last time the Intercontinental Championship changed hands in New York City was when Albert won the title. JBL’s response was… “Albert won a title?” I love how JBL completely buried Albert’s title reign when years ago, he was praising “Tensai” like he was a Japanese wrestling legend! Great job JBL!

I almost thought Miz was going to win when he hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Ryback but Ryback kicked out at the last minute. Miz then made like six covers on both Ryback and Big Show which was pretty funny. That was actually a pretty fun spot.

I didn’t like the ending. Ryback stole the victory after Big Show had knocked out The Miz, which is what heels do. A big, tough face shouldn’t need to be sneaky in this type of match. With that in mind tough, this match was much better than I thought it was going to be. Thankfully, it didn’t go on for too long. It was short and simple and it told the storyline well. The ending kind of ruined it for me but I’m glad Ryback got the win.

Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper vs Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose

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Roman Reigns got heavily booed during this match. This was a pretty fun tag team match with a lot of cool spots for everybody to get involved in. Roman Reigns got took out early on in the match, leaving Dean Ambrose on his own in the ring. Roman Reigns was out of action for so long that the fans started chanting “Roman’s Sleeping!” But as soon as he got tagged into the match, the fans started booing him! Roman just can’t get a break, can he?

I thought that the end of the match was pretty lame. All it mostly consisted of was Reigns and Ambrose dominating. There was nothing about that match that made Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper look strong at all. There was no moment where I was convinced that Bray and Luke were going to win. This match made them look really bad. However, this tag team match was still OK though. Nothing really special about it but it was a pretty fun one.

Seth Rollins (c) vs John Cena (c) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the United States Championship

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John Cena was overwhelming booed. Seth Rollins got a massive pop when he came out. Early on in the match, Seth Rollins did a spot where he did three dives to the outside. However, it looked like Cena was supposed to catch him for a spot the first time he did it. Were they planning another spot? It kind of looked like it to me. Despite this, Rollins looked awesome anyway and the crowds loved it. This was a pretty great match but the fans were chanting “You can’t Wrestle” at Cena. It’s one thing if you don’t like somebody. It’s another thing to watch a wrestler when he’s having a blinder of a match and still chant, “You can’t wrestle”. Cena wasn’t having the greatest match of his life, but he was doing fine. Also, when you’re in the ring with somebody as talented as Seth Rollins that can help you along, there’s little that can go wrong. The only thing I remember Cena botching was his top rope leg drop, which didn’t really connect.

There’s one issue I have about this match. It was a great match but I had an issue with Cena and Rollins using the finishing moves of so many different wrestlers. John Cena did Ric Flair’s figure four leg lock and he did the Springboard Stunner again (paying home to Stone Cold). Seth Rollins did Triple H’s Pedigree, Eddie Guerrero’s Frog Splash and Cena’s own Attitude Adjustment. When people steal other wrestler’s moves, usually it’s cool. However, Rollins and Cena were losing their own sense of identity by obviously paying homage to other wrestlers. Now Seth Rollins’ Frog Splash has probably been one of Rollins’ signature moves for years and Cena’s Springboard Stunner is now one of Cena’s signature moves. But it’s taking away from the uniqueness of Cena and Rollins if they have to use other people’s moves so blatantly to get over. With that being said though, Seth Rollins rolling Attitude Adjustment onto Cena was just incredible. He pulled it off really well and I kind of wish that was the finish of the match. It would have been a lot better than the actual finish of the match..

Summerslam guest host Jon Stewart ran down into the ring with a steel chair. After teasing a chair shot onto Rollins, he hit Cena in the gut with the chair, allowing Seth Rollins the opportunity to pin Cena with a Pedigree onto the steel chair. I HATED this ending. I mean, if this was an ending to a title match on RAW or something, maybe it’d be OK. But Jon Stewart’s interference played into the CO-MAIN EVENT of the SECOND BIGGEST PPV OF THE YEAR! That’s why this infuriates me. It was not like Jon Stewart was going to play into future WWE programming. And on RAW, WWE basically confirmed this with Cena giving an AA to Stewart. It was atrocious. It ruined such a great match between Cena and Rollins. After all the build, it ended like that.

Team Bella vs PCB vs Team B.A.D.

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The fans weren’t really into this three team elimination match. I think after Team B.A.D. were eliminated, the fans’ interest just dropped. Sasha Banks was really over at Summerslam and the next night on RAW. There were “We Want Sasha” chants on RAW and I don’t think WWE really see any potential in Sasha. Considering what happened the next night on RAW with Sasha Banks nowhere to be seen, I think the attention is now focused on the Bellas and PCB. After all, Team B.A.D. were eliminated first in this match!

Brie Bella’s facebuster off the top on Tamina to eliminate her was better than Ziggler’s in his match with Rusev. The match itself was an OK divas match.

Cesaro vs Kevin Owens

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Credit to Kevin Owens this weekend. He wrestled the ladder match with Finn Balor on the night before at NXT TakeOver and followed it up with this 15 minute match with Cesaro on Summerslam. He’s had to put in a lot of work over the weekend and he put in the work in this match. It was a good match between these two. I’m not sure about killing Cesaro’s momentum by having Kevin beat him clean but I guess they had to preserve Kevin.

Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker

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This match was special. It was an incredible match to watch with some great story-telling on display. Undertaker and Lesnar seemed to be taking this match slow and steady which was the right call I think for this match. The fans were into it from bell to bell. There were a lot of amazing spots to take in and it was definitely better than their last match. However, the finish is what got the fans talking.

Brock Lesnar had Undertaker locked in the Kimura Lock but Undertaker was able to force Lesnar’s shoulders on the mat, causing referee Charles Robinson to come over and make the count. But as he was watching Lesnar’s shoulders, Undertaker tapped out. Charles didn’t see the tap out but the time keeper rang the bell anywhere. Charles was arguing with the time keeper and everybody was distracted when Undertaker low blowed Lesnar. Undertaker then locked in the Hell’s Gate and he made Lesnar pass out for the “official” victory.

I guess like the Cena/Rollins ending, it’s a give or take ending. I HATED the Cena/Rollins ending. The ending for Lesnar/Taker was not really what I had hoped. However, it did preserve both Undertaker and Brock Lesnar as they both won the match in their own right.

How I Would Book… The End Of The Streak – Randy Orton [Part Four]

Part One – Introduction

Part Two – John Cena

Part Three – CM Punk

I’ve recapped who others believed should have broken the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. We’ve discussed men of controversy and men of the people as the top runners to have broken the most coveted streak in wrestling history. As good as these picks may seem, I believe I have two candidates that would have been great choices to end the Undertaker’s streak. My first choice is a man who’s once faced Undertaker before at a Wrestlemania event. In my opinion, if the result of the match had been altered, then it would have had even greater implications for the conqueror.

However, let me ask you guys a question. Out of all the victims of the streak, who is the one person that was the right man, in the right place and in the right time to break that streak? Who is one person that needed the win over the Undertaker to become the WWE’s next mega star? More importantly, who is the one person with the special credentials and natural ability to justify being given such an honor? That’s right. The streak should have been broken… by Randy Orton.

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OK, maybe around Wrestlemania XXX time, Randy Orton didn’t exactly need to break the Undertaker’s streak. However, when he did challenge the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 21, then it would have been perfect for Randy Orton to do the seemingly impossible. Think about it. Randy Orton was around 24-25 years old when he took on the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 21. He’s at the right age to beat the Undertaker, break his streak and elevate himself to being the very next mega star in WWE a lot sooner. He had so many years ahead of him. Now obviously, Randy does end up becoming an all-time great in WWE. However, how incredibly over would Randy have become if he had beaten the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 21? Plus, he’s got all the special credentials needed to support his claim to break the streak. Let’s look at Randy Orton’s character.

He is the son of Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton. He has the bloodline of a great WWE legend running through his veins. He was born to be in this business and born to be a star. It also didn’t take long for Randy Orton to make WWE officials realize that he was something special. He was one of the most naturally gifted wrestlers in the WWE and got his first big break as part of Triple H’s Evolution stable. Randy forged his own legacy as the “Legend Killer”, beating legends every week on RAW. He was shown to be tough too. Look no further than his brutal hardcore match with Cactus Jack at Backlash 2004. Randy Orton’s Intercontinental title reign was the longest in seven years and after dropping the title to Edge, he shockingly won the World Heavyweight Championship at Summerslam just a few months later. And he did ALL of this, at the age of 24.

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Now obviously WWE hyping Orton this way and putting him over to this degree is not just enough to make a star. It also doesn’t mean that Orton should be the right man to break the streak… which was only at 12-0 before Taker took on Orton. Anyone can be booked to look like a million dollars and can be “given the ball”, but it’s up to the wrestler to run with it. Even though the momentum of the initial Randy Orton face turn after Summerslam couldn’t be maintained, Orton was still able to maintain his position and look of a main eventer. He was still probably the top face on RAW at the start of January. However, with Batista now getting the chance to be the top face, Orton had to take a step back out of the top guy role. With that, Orton was turned back heel, which was perfect for his next challenge.

Randy Orton was the first person to properly acknowledge the streak of the Undertaker and vowed to beat it. Undertaker himself had referenced to it before but this was the first time where the storyline of the match was about somebody trying to break the streak. It became a Wrestlemania tradition. In my opinion, it was the exact right moment for Orton to do what no man had ever done.

Considering Randy Orton was the “legend killer”, there’s no bigger legend for him to beat than the Undertaker. Up until that point in his career, he had beaten the likes of Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair and Mick Foley in matches. However, getting a simple win is one thing. However, beating somebody and effectively “killing” one of the things that made him so great is another. It would be the ultimate kill for Orton and it would be an appropriate means to pass the torch not from the Undertaker, but from Triple H.

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Up until that point in WWE, Triple H had been the king of heels in the WWE universe. There was no man more hated than Triple H from both RAW and SmackDown! Fans were sick of the Game being on top, running the show. So with Triple H beaten by Batista, it would make all the sense in the world for Randy Orton to take over as the top heel in the company. And there’s no better way for Orton to garner the heel heat than to beat the Undertaker.

Now obviously at the time, the streak itself wasn’t as beloved by the fans than it would eventually become. However, Randy was the type of character that could shove his win over the Undertaker down your throat every single week. He’s a cocky and arrogant young gun whose ego would be elevated so highly by beating the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

With Randy’s constant bragging, he could wind the fans right up. However, it’ll also make the fans realize just how great a streak Undertaker had developed. Over time, after noticing that nobody is ever gonna duplicate it, the fans would have missed the streak and wanting Undertaker to be undefeated still. You don’t realize how much you miss something until it is taken away from you. And the streak is no exception…

I’ve spent quite a while going through the reasons for Orton’s big win, but now it’s time to discuss the execution. How does he break the streak? What happens next? And what is the ultimate end-game of all of this?

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The Wrestlemania match these two originally had would play out exactly as it did in real life up until Orton countering Undertaker’s chokeslam into the RKO. That spot would be the finish of the match. I must admit, when Taker kicked out of the RKO in real life and went onto win the match, it took away from what was an incredible spot at the time. Yeah we see Orton pull off these “Outta Nowhere” RKOs so frequently nowadays, but this RKO was one of the original instances of Randy pulling off a cool variation of the move. Why couldn’t this be the move that ended the streak? To see Taker simply kick out of the RKO took away from the finisher’s credibility. Especially considering we had never seen a counter like this with the RKO before. If Orton got the pin off the RKO, it would make the moment seem a lot more impactful considering who he beat with it.

The win also gives Orton something else to brag about, as I mentioned before. Nothing helps give a heel credibility than when he has the wins to back it up. Therefore, the next time Orton loses a big match, it helps the victor get over tremendously.

I’m going to try and stick with some of the original incidents in real-life WWE at this time. Therefore, Orton would get sidelined with his injury through his match with World Heavyweight Champion Batista the next night on RAW. Batista does not beat Orton, of course. Triple H could do the run in to cause the DQ, leading into THEIR match at Backlash.

It’s important to note that Undertaker would still be on television around this time, like he was in real-life. Undertaker would just try to put the defeat at Wrestlemania behind him. The draft would play out the same. Randy Orton WOULD still be drafted onto SmackDown! like he was in real life, but he would not appear on WWE television until The Great American Bash. After Batista beats JBL clean to retain the World Championship, Randy drops Batista with the RKO upon his return and holds the World title over him to end the PPV.

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Randy would challenge Batista to a title match at Summerslam, but Undertaker would have his own claim at a title shot too. His match with Muhammad Hassan at the Great American Bash was to determine the number one contender for the World Title. So Teddy Long would book himself a tag team match on SmackDown! Randy Orton and JBL would take on Batista and Undertaker. JBL would also be crying and demanding for another title shot himself, so Teddy states that Orton or JBL would get added to the match at Summerslam if anyone of them got the pin or submission. Of course, Orton gets the pin on Batista. This leads to the triple threat World Heavyweight Championship match at Summerslam which Randy Orton wins and becomes World Heavyweight Champion. This also gives Summerslam 2005 a world title match of significant value. That’s not to say the original WWE and world title matches at that PPV were bad, but they were easily over-shadowed by almost every other match on the card. Not to mention none of them could possibly compete with Hulk Hogan vs Shawn Michaels.

Orton’s title reign would continue on and he would face Undertaker in the casket match he and Cowboy Bob Orton faced him in at No Mercy. He would be apart of Team SmackDown! in their Survivor Series match up with RAW. Randy would be the sole survivor for his team and the Undertaker would come out like he did in real-life. Undertaker would challenge Randy Orton one last time at Armageddon for the World title in a Hell in a Cell match. Undertaker… would win.

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Keep in mind, when considering the end of the streak, you must also consider how it’ll effect Undertaker. Especially considering that we’re breaking the Undertaker’s streak in 2005. The Dead Man’s still got many years left in the tank. So having him completely white-washed by Randy Orton following his big loss would make Undertaker look like a complete joke. At least if Undertaker beat Randy Orton at Armageddon and won the title off him, it would be a satisfying end to a near year-long program between the two with Undertaker finally getting the win over the man that conquered his streak. It’s a good old Rocky Balboa comeback story which fans love to see but you’re not COMPLETELY burying your future talent at the same time. Randy’s title loss at Armageddon will also play into later events…

The hell Taker would put Randy through would deter the legend killer from invoking his rematch. While this may make him look weak in the short-run, it has great long term implications. Sometimes the toughest of heels has to play the coward once in a while. Orton would then decide to enter the Royal Rumble and vowed to challenge for RAW’s WWE Championship if he won. Coming in at #30, Orton wins the Rumble. He would spitefully eliminate #2 entrant Rey Mysterio last, who was fighting for the memory of Eddie Guerrero. Orton strolls into RAW with a great deal of heel heat and will eventually beat John Cena for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 22.

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And that’s about it for the first year since Orton broke the streak. His big win at Wrestlemania has led to him accomplishing more and more, even winning both brands’ titles in the span of a couple of months. This is exactly the kind of thing that someone breaking the streak needs to do. He needs to look untouchable and have the credentials to back up his hype. He’s the youngest World Champion in history. In fact, he’s held the World title twice because of this storyline. He’s now a WWE Champion. He’s now a Royal Rumble winner. He’s accomplished all of this… and he’s not even 26 years old yet! It’s how you build your next big star and Orton can use all of these accomplishment to brag about each week like Triple H used to brag about everybody he beat back in the day.

That’s about it for Randy Orton. However, I do have ONE MORE person who I think is a decent pick to have break the streak too. Stay tuned for the final part of the series, where we look at this candidate and see what he’s got.