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WWE WrestleMania 31 Reaction

("WM31Poster" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia)

(“WM31Poster” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia)

Say what you want, but after the end of WrestleMania, the internet always seems to break and this year, we got yet another reason why.

Seth Rollins has pretty much had the best year anyone can have so far and now he’s topped it off big time.

Doesn’t get bigger than the main event of WrestleMania for a successful Money In The Bank briefcase cash-in.

This opens up so many possibilities. We’ll get into all of them below, but anybody can agree that this show – while lackluster in build and mild on paper except for the obvious marquee matches – delivered in almost every aspect of entertainment.

 

 

(Aired 3/29/15)

The Breakdown

– The fatal four-way Tag Team Championship match with The Usos (w/Naomi), Los Matadores (w/El Torito), Big E and Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods), and Tyson Kidd/Cesaro (w/Natalya) was predictable in the sense that Kidd/Cesaro were way over, New Day were way not, everyone appreciated The Usos when they weren’t in offense towards Kidd/Cesaro and Los Matadores were just there. The constant switch between control and utter chaos provided a nice pace to the match and set up the finish nicely as Cesaro tagged Uso as he was about to dive off the top and “stole” his pin. They retained and had their moment to shine.

– The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale was the utter expected chaos. Hideo Itami had his brief moment of glory by eliminating Bo Dallas (who just seemed way too happy about being there) but then was boringly KO’d out of the ring by Big Show. Lameness galore. Mizdow finally turning on Miz was excellently done and done in a way that can easily be followed up on post-Mania Raw, but with Show standing around while it all happened, it made you question the logic. Show getting the best of Mizdow was super lame on the big stage, but it gave him bragging rights for future segments if anything, because he needed more? Granted, that shot of him doing Andre’s pose next to the trophy was one to remember.

– The Intercontinental Championship Ladder match between Daniel Bryan, Bad News Barrett, Luke Harper, Dolph Ziggler, Stardust, Dean Ambrose and R-Truth started the show off on a nice note. It was cool to see the nod of acknowledgment on Bryan’s entrance that this year’s Mania started how last year’s ended, with the Yes Movement. That’s one of those little things that people will notice if they ever watch WrestleMania in consecutive marathons. The action wasn’t too extreme, but a few cool spots involving the ladders (powerbomb out of the ring) were enough to get the crowd on their feet. Bryan was the obvious choice from the get-go and can bring the IC Title to new heights, no pun intended.

– The Randy Orton-Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security) match was a solid, though predictable match that brought just the right amount of intensity. That finish with the “possum” RKO was hot and well-executed. Most beautiful RKO ever. The near-falls down the stretch were believable too. Ultimately, Orton got his revenge and taking the end of the night into account, he technically pinned the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Does that put him in line for a Title shot? Raw could be interesting.

– The Sting-Triple H match was preceded by the anticipated elaborate entrances – Triple H’s Terminator-inspired particularly went over well. This match fully lived up to the hype – bringing in an aspect to the match never even considered in the hype, but cool nonetheless in the nostalgia factor with D-Generation X and nWo all coming to blows, which the crowd was hot for. It was a unique sight, especially with memories of the Monday Night Wars in the rearview mirror. Just like WWE beat WCW, Triple H beat Sting, perhaps another metaphorical representation of the war, even though the WWE was led by heels here. Regardless, the “time warp” made this quite entertaining for everybody young and old. The embrace after between Triple H and Sting in the form of a handshake was also great.

– Having Daniel Bryan be congratulated backstage by legends and former IC Title holders like Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Pat Patterson, Roddy Piper and Bret Hart was an excellent rub and showed that he had the backing of everyone – fans and legends. Step one to Operation: Bring-Prestige-To-IC-Title is complete.

– The Paige/AJ Lee-Bellas Divas tag match was short and sweet, making the most of its rather short time. It had the Bellas dominate only to build up to Lee/Paige to grab the momentum and came out with the win. Not much to rave over, but nothing bad either, creatively speaking.

– The John Cena-Rusev match for The United States Championship really went all out with the entrances, especially for Rusev. The match was entertaining for the time it lasted, though it felt just a step behind their FastLane effort. The guys showed their urgency by pulling new moves out – Rusev going to the top rope for the first time and Cena doing a springboard stunner, which appeared better on instant replay – and it spoke to how bad both men wanted it. There were some strange moments – Lana throwing her shoes in the ring comes to mind – but Cena winning the belt was predictable. Lana getting knocked off the apron appeared to have been done for shock value as Cena pinned Rusev immediately after. Rusev not showing concern for Lana while she stumbled up the ramp with officials was an interesting hook for post-Mania Raw. Is there a problem on the Russian Front of the WWE Squared Circle?

– The Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Rock and Ronda Rousey segment delivered in terms of entertainment and did just enough to get everyone talking. Rock appearing on another WrestleMania was no shock and it closed the door on his Rumble appearance and what questions that had left unanswered. Though Triple H was great in his gloating of beating Sting and Rock did his schtick well, much kudos has to go to Stephanie here. She stole this segment with her toughness and facial expressions. She truly owned her words here and the eventual physical confrontation was a nice little payoff, but it makes us wonder just what the consequences will be, if any.

– The Bray Wyatt-Undertaker match lived up to all the hype and got better as it went on. The big moments came in the emphasizing of similarities in both characters with Taker sitting up as Wyatt was in mid-crawl and the trade of finishers was great. Taker winning by the Tombstone Piledriver was a fitting end for what could be his last two-step at the Mania dance.

– The Roman Reigns-Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)-Seth Rollins match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was everything built up to be and more. Just when we thought we knew what would happen – WWE changes the rules completely. Rollins cashing in with the most eyes on the product on the biggest stage in the biggest match of the year and coming out the winner was perfect. With the crowd’s pro-Lesnar reaction, Reigns could definitely not win this. Even the story of Reigns-Lesnar in the ring was well done, with an inhumane total of F5’s, Spears and Superman Punches as it looked like another Lesnar domination for much of the match. Reigns took a beating and a half and yet at the end was the one pinned and even then, it didn’t feel like he lost too much, besides obviously getting “robbed.” People could argue this moment will lead to a Rollins face turn, but his very actions were quite heelish and you can see it on his smirk with the photo of him, the belt and J & J Security going around online. This does however, set the road for a proper face turn with Lesnar/Heyman, as it also created perfect anticipation for the fallout, as Lesnar would probably be angry and can contest he was never pinned while Reigns had his match and lost.

 

 

 

 

Results

– Tag Team Championships – Tyson Kidd/Cesaro (Champions) (w/Natalya) def. Kofi Kingston/Big E (w/Xavier Woods), Los Matadores (w/El Torito) and The Usos (w/Naomi) via pinfall to retain

– Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale – The Big Show eliminates Damien Mizdow to win 

– Intercontinental Championship – Ladder Match – Daniel Bryan def. Bad News Barrett (Champion), Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper, R-Truth, Dolph Ziggler and Stardust to become new Champion 

– Randy Orton def. Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security) via pinfall

– Triple H def. Sting via pinfall

– Paige/AJ Lee def. Nikki/Brie Bella via pinfall

– United States Championship – John Cena def. Rusev (Champion) (w/Lana) via pinfall to become new Champion

– The Undertaker def. Bray Wyatt via pinfall

– WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Seth Rollins def. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar to become new Champion via Money in the Bank Briefcase Cash-In 

WWE Royal Rumble 2015 Reaction

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Mistakes.

Everybody makes them, even WWE Creative.

There were some bright spots on the show: The John Cena/Brock Lesnar/Seth Rollins three-way WWE World Heavyweight Championship match was possibly the best WWE Title match in a long time. The Royal Rumble match had touches of glory – returns by Bubba Ray Dudley, The Boogeyman, Zack Ryder and the former Wyatt Family having a cool standoff provided fun.

That’s where it stopped.

It was a clear mistake to eliminate favorite Daniel Bryan in the Rumble early. WWE knew this would potentially backfire in the crowd reaction and have them take it out on Roman Reigns, who WWE sees as this year’s “man” to do it all.

The crowd in Philadelphia did something: they made sure they were heard and that Reigns going over – even with help from The Rock, was not going to salvage this moment.

 

 

 

The Breakdown

– The New Day-Cesaro/Tyson Kidd/Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) match was even better thanks to the Philly crowd that Cesaro/Kidd were much over with. Adam Rose was just kind of there. It seemed the crowd would have rioted if The New Day had won. Luckily, that didn’t happen and WWE was smart to do that. Perhaps a double tag team turn is in order? The New Day will not catch fire anytime soon as they are currently.

– The Ascension-New Age Outlaws match went down exactly like it should’ve. It wasn’t too long nor too short and while The Ascension used heel tactics to win, the result was what counted. They’re heels. They should cheat. The question though is where do they go from here? Beating The New Age Outlaws in 2015 doesn’t give a team that many bragging rights. Will they continue to take on legends and beat them?

– Say what you want: Triple H on Steve Austin’s podcast is worth checking out. There’s no telling just where things will go there.

– The Triple H-Stephanie McMahon backstage segment where they bashed Sting, dismissing him as a “WCW person” was interesting. When Paul Heyman entered, it was obvious he would be greeted lovingly by the Philly faithful. His proposal of Brock Lesnar as a solution to Sting was also interesting, especially if you consider things by the end of the night where Lesnar appeared to emerge a fan favorite.

– The Miz/Damien Mizdow and The Usos Tag Team Championship match was entertaining because the fans were so much into Mizdow. The Uso botch on the outside was hard to ignore as the crowd let them know, despite WWE not showing it on replay. Mizdow didn’t exactly factor into the finish and The Usos still retained. Good match.

– The J & J Security/Seth Rollins backstage segment was good in that it established Rollins as a threat and the real chance of him becoming Champion and shedding his “future” nickname was upon us.

– The Paige/Natalya-Bella Twins match was lame in terms of the finish, with Natalya not getting the chance to make the hot tag to Paige, who never entered the match. This will probably cause a rift in their friendship on the following Raw. Never have seen a tag match end before a hot tag. It can never be good.

– The Rumble match hype promos from Roman Reigns, Gold and Star Dust, The Big Show, Miz, Mizdow, Fandango and Daniel Bryan were pretty straightforward. Reigns actually sounded convincing and it was also hard to ignore Bryan. Seeing how the match turned out, this was ironic.

– The WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Cena, Rollins and Lesnar started off strong with no signs of stoppage. The crowd was very pro-Lesnar, very anti-Cena and somewhere in the middle for Rollins. Lesnar was an absolute machine – kicking out at one of the first Attitude Adjustment by Cena, getting up after three more, enduring a Curb stomp, a spear through the barricade, Rollins’ elbow drop through the announce table and shots to the face with the MITB briefcase. This was without a doubt the best WWE match in a long time. Lesnar’s comeback with a broken rib was almost insane and the crowd bought into it. How could you root against Lesnar in a comeback like that? That’s the kind of performance that wins fans over. Lesnar has been a pseudo-face as of late, attacking The Authority, but where do things go now?

– Rusev and Bray Wyatt put in good performances in the Rumble, but the match should be looked at in two halves: the first was fun and entertaining with returns and the second was boring and predictable, with the crowd boos prolonged. So, what happened? It’s obvious the early elimination of Bryan supplied this turning point. The worst part about it: Bryan can’t even blame The Authority. They had no storyline hand in his elimination. Bryan could only blame himself for getting eliminated. With Bryan gone, WWE hoped fans would rally behind Reigns, but just like Batista last year, they rejected him. While WWE turned Batista heel last year in acknowledgment of the crowd reaction, they likely won’t do the same with Reigns – seeing as how The Rock is now aligned with him. The lone bright spot out of this is that Rock will somehow be involved this WrestleMania season in an angle with The Authority. Where will it go? Who knows. There is one thing we do know: people don’t give a damn about Reigns as a Rumble winner.

 

 

 

 

Results

– Kick-Off Match – Tyson Kidd/Cesaro/Adam Rose (w/The Exotic Express) def. The New Day via pinfall

– The Ascension def. The New Age Outlaws via pinfall

– Tag Team Championships – The Usos (Champions) def. The Miz/Damien Mizdow via pinfall to retain

– The Bella Twins def. Paige/Natalya via pinfall

– WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Brock Lesnar (Champion) (w/Paul Heyman) def. Seth Rollins, John Cena to retain

– Rumble Match – Roman Reigns eliminates Rusev to win

 

Original Predictions Correct: 3/6

WWE Royal Rumble 2015 Preview/Predictions

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

(Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Ladies and gents, it’s that time again.

There’s no doubt that the Royal Rumble ensures that WWE kicks things off with a bang every year and gives us a glimpse into what WrestleMania season could bring.

From the last few weeks of WWE TV, we’ve seen the revival of The Authority, the recycled angle of their power abuse, the firings and rehiring of Ryback, Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan, lukewarm Divas conflicts, The Big Show knocking people out and not much cooking in the tag team department other than the rising popularity of Damien Mizdow.

Spearheading this all is the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match with John Cena against Brock Lesnar, with Seth Rollins added in not long after.

Below, you’ll find a run-through of the card as it is currently and a brief prediction of that match.

 

 

 

 

Preview/Predictions

Kickoff Match – 7 PM – YouTube – Six-Man Elimination Tag Match – The New Day vs. Tyson Kidd/Cesaro/Adam Rose: Kidd/Cesaro have been solid lately, showing off brains (disguising as Exotic Express members to attack the New Day on Raw) and great in-ring skills (Have you seen the Toss/Dropkick combo? Deadly.) Adam Rose has also benefited somewhat from hanging with them, but his character still remains in a holding position. For whatever reason, WWE sees money in The New Day. Yes, a team of three positive Black men who mainly just shout, “New Day!” and as we see with crowd reactions, they haven’t been a hot act despite how much WWE pushes them. To this point, they’ve only had one impressive showing on a Main Event episode and what they can really do to the tag division remains to be seen. However, with The New Day still on a push, expect them to come out with a hard-fought win.

Prediction: The New Day

 

The New Age Outlaws vs. The Ascension: So far, The Ascension has looked like a joke. Perhaps that was by design, but this team shows no heart or compassion in anything they do, as they are limited to being overconfident “poser” heels. Their only victorious moments came over numerous squash matches against local jobbers. It hasn’t proved much and even the broadcast team – namely JBL – has torn them down. This all culminated in a Raw angle where The Ascension got their asses kicked by The New Age Outlaws, The APA and the nWo. The New Age Outlaws can still go at their age and deliver a good match, if you remember their run a couple years back. This should be the key in finally giving The Ascension their moment to shine. It would be a wrong turn if The New Age Outlaws go over here. Look to the future.

Prediction: The Ascension

 

Paige/Natalya vs. The Bella Twins: The main storyline here has been focused on the recent pairing of the emotional Paige and snarky Natalya. They were painted as “besties,” though now it’s not the case, as they just have a common enemy. Natalya’s character has taken a face turn, with her and her husband Tyson Kidd going through some rough relationship patches. Natalya smiled when Paige slapped Kidd, but most recently stood by him, defending him on commentary. Their breakup is imminent, though it won’t happen here. The Bella Twins remain the top WWE Divas and for whatever reason instead of a Divas Title match, we get a tag team match. This probably won’t be pretty, but look to Paige/Natalya going over here to keep their strange friendship going.

Prediction: Paige/Natalya

 

WWE Tag Team Championship – The Usos (Champions) vs. The Miz/Damien Mizdow: Recently, Mizdow’s character has spiked in popularity. Okay – he’s not getting Daniel Bryan reactions, but it’s still noteworthy. It’s obvious that this will be what breaks him and Miz apart, but the moment should come when Mizdow gets the best of Miz, but not in a heel-ish way. WWE could make things interesting if they break up Miz/Mizdow and have them win the Tag Titles, but we’ve seen the “Enemies As Tag Team Champions” angle done to death and The Usos have been good Champions, so it’s hard to not see them go over here. However, don’t write out the breakup of Miz/Mizdow, though it’s more likely to happen in the Rumble. More on that below.

Prediction: The Usos

 

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match – Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins: Now, who has had a better month than Rollins? The only lone spot in The Authority return angle has been that Rollins has been built up tremendously a top company heel and is arguably the best current act to watch right now. Ignore all that other Authority nonsense – Rollins is the star of it. He managed to help bring back The Authority, found himself put into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match and even has a second chance at things with a Money In The Bank briefcase. Lesnar has made a few appearances this month, but when he has showed up, he’s been a thorn in The Authority’s side. His attacks on them have somewhat turned him face, though he’s more likely a tweener with Cena currently in the picture. Also, rumors of him going back to MMA makes it hard to think he’ll retain here. Cena has been painted as having a rough month – getting his friends fired and losing several chances to bring them back. It’s the same “Can Cena Live Up To The Hype?” angle again. Keep in mind that the stipulation to bring back the fired men happened on Raw and wasn’t added to this match, which would’ve made Cena the sure victor. Now that he had his moment of glory, the chance is up for Rollins to go over the first time with help from The Authority, or more likely – Cena wins pinning Lesnar, then Rollins cashes in and with The Authority’s help, pins Cena and becomes new Champion. The time to push that button is now.

Prediction: John Cena, Followed By A Rollins Cash-In, Who Beats Cena To Become New Champion

 

The Royal Rumble Match: There’ve been many chances to guys to shine here, as they all claim to be the one who will win. Notorious names have been The Big Show – who knocked out almost anyone, Roman Reigns – just because he’s Roman Reigns, Kane – the man with the second-most Rumble eliminations who turns it up a notch this time of year, Daniel Bryan – who fought so hard to get his spot to get the chance to again be on his way to being WWE Champion, and others. It seems that Bryan’s the favorite, but Reigns will likely get the push this year to WrestleMania. Reigns has been too much of a joker on the mic and hasn’t connected well with fans. What saves him however, is his fierce in-ring demeanor and aggressiveness. That’ll be the key to get him over if Creative just focuses on that. WWE made a mistake last year shoving a tight jeans-wearing Batista to the top with a Rumble win, even with apparent fan backlash beforehand. If Reigns wins, that could be a mistake, but WWE never usually goes against set WrestleMania plans and as they are right now, they likely involve Reigns. Look for Reigns to come out victorious here, probably eliminating Kane or The Big Show to win the match, with Bryan being eliminated by one of them beforehand. Look for some fun Rumble moments, like surprise entrants – Randy Orton is a likely possibility – and this is where Mizdow will probably eliminate Miz. At the end of it though, Reigns will stand victorious.

Prediction: Roman Reigns