Breaking News: James Ellesworth released by WWE

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WWE.com announced a short time ago Smackdown’s James Ellesworth has been released by the company. Ellesworth had only been signed to a 1-year contract. WWE’s decision to not renew should be no surprise given how fast how was buried at the end of his feud with Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles last year. That was literally it with him.

Many questioned the wisdom in giving him a WWE contract at all but keeping it to one year was the smart decision. He was fed to Braun Strowman during the latter’s rise in singles competition not once but twice in Squash Matches. Later, he was brought back by WWE to help with the Ambrose/Styles Feud.

it didn’t take long for him to get Over with the WWE Universe as the ultimate underdog due to his scrawny stature. When Ellesworth Hell turned and attacked Ambrose, that was the end of his run. He was paired with Carmella earlier this year to help put her over prettymuch but did nothing else. WWE had no reason to renew his contract so…yeah.

Ellesworth will obviously return to indie wrestling. This time he has his visability from his WWE run that will ensure he will be able to find work elsewhere. I don’t see him returning to WWE unless WWE reaches out first though.

 

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Breaking News: James Ellesworth released by WWE

WWE 24: Goldberg Chronicles an important Wrestlemania Redemption Story

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March 14. 2004: Wrestlemania XX.

Brock Lesnar and Goldberg’s first Wrestlemania match.

By this time The WWE Universe knew both Lesnar and Goldberg would be leaving the company after Wrestlemania. For this reason, the two biggest up and coming superstars at the time–the WCW Veteran Goldberg and The Next Big Thing Brock Lesnar–were booked in a match with each other. The house crowd made it clear how they felt about both superstars leaving as they made their way down to the ring.

Stone Cold Steve Austin, who had his retirement match against The Rock at theĀ  Wrestlemania was the guest referee. He would later say he was beside himself to not react to the rage and anger from house crowd, who made their feelings known to Lesnar and Goldberg about both superstars leaving. Lesnar, whose contract disputes with WWE were already widely known got it the loudest. This was likely why after the match, he was dropped by Stone Cold to appease the crowd. Austin would share a beer with Goldberg before dropping him in kind as well to appease the crowd.

Lesnar would later go on to have a run in UFC while Goldberg disappeared from the public completely. Lesnar would make his return to WWE in 2012. Now older, wiser and more experienced, it didn’t take long for him to quickly erase the memories of how his first WWE tenure ended. Goldberg would make his return four years later in 2016.

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As was revealed in WWE 24: Goldberg, Goldberg tweaked his shoulder during the promo he did with Rusev a few weeks before Survivor Series. This plus the short time he had to prepare for Survivor Series confirmed why the Survivor Series match was a squash match.

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…It’s fitting that Goldberg and Lesnar would meet at Wrestlemania 33 given they both left WWE on bad terms 13 years earlier at Wrestlemania XX. Obviously, it was important to Goldberg to erase the memories of his last Wrestlemania appearance not just for himself and his son but for the fans as well.

How fitting that his opponent would once again be Brock Lensar, who was keenly aware of their shared history. The story goes, Lesnar made the call for their Survivor Series match to be a squash match to build towards their rematch at Wrestlemania. Goldberg needed to be Over with the fans so…yeah.

His standing with the WWE Universe restored, Goldberg left the door open for future returns to the ring. Being 50 years old, obviously any future matches he has would have to keep this in mind: His WWE 24 showed the spirit is willing but the ring rust and how long he’s been away will be major factors.

 

WWE 24: Goldberg Chronicles an important Wrestlemania Redemption Story

Emma, Summer Rae and Darren Young released by WWE

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WWE.com broke the news this past Sunday 28 year-old Tenille Dashwood, known in WWE as Emma has been released from her contract. She last worked with Asuka at TLC and RAW last week, losing to her in both matches.

I’m assuming the decision was made in advance, mostly because she put Asuka over on her way out. WWE tried alot of things to get her Over but nothing seemed to work. She also had the bad luck of getting de-pushed or putting someone else over.

Her last two matches were clearly WWE’s way of helping her find work in another promotion. They certainly weren’t squash matches and were perhaps her best matches outsude NXT. She could certainly make a name for herself on the indie circuit or even return to her native Australia and do something else.

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Darren Young will always be remembered from his days alongside Titus O’Neil as the Tag Team PrimeTime Players. D-Young made news two years ago when he came out on Social Media, making him the first openly Gay Wrestler. WWE took took the high road and did what they could to support him then and since.

Injuries denied him Tag Team gold and likely at least one Intercontinental Championship run as a singles competator. When he re-debuted as a singles competator alongside WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund, things looked good. An injury sidelined him right when he was getting pushed and that was likely whas cost him his WWE run. Young also spent a large chunk of the last few years doing promotional work for WWE, likely in part because he is wrestling’s first openly Gay wrestler.

Young probably will join Emma on the indie circuit but I can see him returning to WWE at some point in the future.

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Summer Rae is perhaps the only release no one is surprised by. She was kept around only because she’s eye candy. Cj Perry–Lana in WWE–has the same problem but WWE knows how to use her. WWE tried with Summer what they tried with Emma and Lana: Everything.

…Unlike Lana, she didn’t have another Superstar she could be paired with after she split with Fandango. Shane’s dig on Lana last week in reference to her lack of in-ring skills could be said about Summer as well. Plus it didn’t help she hasn’t been around in over a year. I don’t remember seeing her after the brand split actually.

 

Emma, Summer Rae and Darren Young released by WWE

The Bella Twins give a timeline for their in-ring return

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Total Bellas’ season finale this week took viewers into the delivery room as Brie and D-Bry welcomed their daughter Birdie Joe Danielson (reminder: Daniel Bryan’s real name is Bryan Danielson so his on-screen name is basically his name reversed) into the world. Of course, she was actually born several months earlier. In addition, Brie chronicled her pregnancy via Social Media.

With fans clamoring and wonderng when and if Brie and her sister Nikki would return to the Squared Circle, they briefly addressed the subject while discussing the season premeire of Total Divas. Nikki announced earlier this year when asked she would only return when her sister was ready. She also hinted her wedding plans will be “small and moved up”, hinting she wants to make sure both she and her sister are ready to go at the same time.

The twins have tenatively set their return for “sometime” in 2018. In addition they hinted they may make a cameo appearance at Wrestlemania 34. Brie revealed she has already starting working out and is preparing for her return to in-ring action. She also stated she and D-Bry are going to try to have another baby in the near future, possibly as soon as this time next year or early 2019. So, her in-ring return will last until then at least.

Finally, this bring us to the question of which brand they would be on. Brie would be fine on either brand but we could see her put on RAW to work with Asuka and Ronda Rousey when the latter officially signs with WWE. Or we could see her put on Smackdown where her husband is General Manager so they can travel together. This feels like the more likely outcome to me personally. Nikki was on Smackdown before she left after Wrestlemania 33 and would presumably return to the Smackdown roster. Assuming both Bellas are on the same roster, they would definitelty be reintroduced as a Face.

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…In related news, there is renewed speculation D-Bry may leave for Ring of Honor Wrestling (ROH) when his contract with WWE expires next year. For those who need a refresher, D-Bry’s in-ring career in WWE came to an end after he reinjured his neck next two years ago during a spot with Kane. WWE understandably refuses to allow him to wrestle for liability reasons but he is being paid a Superstar salary despite the “no compete” clause. Mind you, at the time the career-ending injury happened, he’d just married Brie.

In the unscripted promo he did with The Miz on Talking Smack last year he flatly said “They [WWE] won’t clear me wrestle.” to which The Miz suggested he go to another ptomotion. On that note, ROH seemed to hint when asked in an interview earlier this month they think D-Bry will return to indie promotions when his WWE contract expires and “they will be happy to have him”.

To those who would rather he suffer a life-threatening injury just to see him wrestle again, think about this: D-Bry fought WWE’s findings and searched for a doctor who could help him get back in the ring. What he found instead was the injury was alot more serious than he thought and no amount of time will change that. More so now that he is a father. He is alot of things but he won’t do that to his family.

His wrestling career may have ended early but it’s the fans, not D-Bry who need to accept that reality. Sure, another promotion would clear him to wrestle. Clearly both ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) would. The more important question is “Should he?” The answer is obviously no or he would have asked WWE to release him two years ago.

It makes more sense for him to stay on as a personality in WWE than go elsewhere. He’s got financial security and could easily transition into another role within WWE. He will be given that option if he renews his WWE contract. More so since his wife and sister in-law will be back by then.

 

The Bella Twins give a timeline for their in-ring return

Champion vs. Champion matches are the theme of this year’s Survivor Series PPV

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RAW GM Kurt Angle announced on this week’s episode of RAW what 6 of the matches will be at Survivor Series:

  • RAW Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos
  • RAW Womens’ Champion Alexia Bliss vs. Smackdown Womens’ Champion Natalya
  • Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. United States Champion Baron Corbin
  • Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. WWE Champion Jinder Mahal
  • Womens’ Team RAW vs. Womens’ Team Smackdown Survivor Series Match
  • Mens’ Team RAW vs. Mens’ Team Smackdown Survivor Series Match

 

…What’s crazy: There WILL be more matches added to the card. It’s unlikely any of the titles will change hands leading up to or at Survivor Series with one possible exception: It IS worth keeping in mind Carmella still has her Money in the Bank Briefcase. Could we see her cash in during Survivor Series? Imagine Carmella cashing in on Alexa and not Natalya!

Survivor Series will likely be as long as Wrestlemania or Survivor Series is what I’m saying. I see at least 4 more matches being added to the card.

Anyway, these are the likely the additional matches I think we could see:

  • Kane vs. Braun Strowman vs. “The Demon King” Finn Balor vs. “Sister Abigail” Bray Wyatt Fatal 4-Way: Let’s be honest, this is likely what is being set up between TLC and this week’s RAW. More so given Kane is only booked to be back “For a short time”. Balor and Wyatt have unfinished business with each other while Strowman will obviously be seeking revenge against Kane.
  • Jason Jordan and Apollo Crews vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin: Let’s be honest, this HAS to happen. Gable and Jordan were partners as American Alpha on Smackdown so…yeah. It would be a missed opportunity to not do this match at Survivor Series.
  • Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles: It could see this match being built with a mini reunion of AJ Styles with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson opposite The Shield in their corners.
  • RAW General Manager Kurt Angle vs. Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon in a No Holds Barred Falls Count Anywhere Match: At TLC, Kurt Angle showed he’s still got it. Shane being back two weeks after Hell in a Cell seems to prove he REALLY is indestructable. It is worth remembering IF this match happens…well, let’s just say they have a history in the ring. After Shane led a dozen Smackdown Superstars in an invasion of RAW this week, I will be shocked if this match doesn’t happen.

 

Those matches took into account the 20 Superstars who probably will be involved in the Mens and Womens 5 on 5 Survivor Series matches. Of course, that can change.

AJ Styles’ RAW appearance was a nice surprise but as I mentioned before, it turns out he wasn’t the only Smackdown Superstar who made the trip back in time for this week’s episode of RAW. THAT is how you hype cross-brand Pay Per Views. Team Blue laid waste to everything in their path backstage though aside from Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (both 2-time WWE Champions), the top tier talent were “spared”.

The brand invasion promo hasn’t been seen since Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton did last year to build their match at Battleground. I look forward to seeing how Kurt Angle responds Tuesday night on Smackdown!

 

 

 

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Champion vs. Champion matches are the theme of this year’s Survivor Series PPV

Breaking News for TLC 2017!

…If you thought Kane’s surprise return was out of left field, a viral Meningitis outbreak just changed TLC’s Main Event: WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle will step into a WWE Ring for the first time in 11 Years.

Angle will join Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, replacing Roman Reigns. When I first heard the news I assumed he violated the Wellness Policy again (LOL!). Turns out the reason is much more serious: There is a viral outbreak of Meningitis in the RAW locker room. Reigns was showing the sympthoms so he was pulled from the match.

Angle replacing Reigns is BRILLIANT since he already was involved in a feud with The Miz leading up to TLC. Kane’s surprise return on RAW is expected to be short since Glenn Jacobs–the man who plays Kane in WWE–is running for mayor in his hometown.

His return is being treated as a one-off and likely could be his last WWE run should he win the election. According to the latest polls, he is the favorite to win.

Speaking of one-offs:
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Smackdown’s AJ Styles will replace Bray Wyatt and face “The Demon King” Finn Balor at TLC on Sunday. This will be a one-off matchup but one many have been looking forward to seeing for some time now: Styles and Balor were both part of The Bullet Club in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) along with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. So, yeah there is history.

Bray Wyatt’s real-life brother Bo Dallas has been out for the last few weeks. According to the latest reports, both Bray and his girlfriend have come down with Meningitis. WWE is obviously taking the outbreak very seriously and it’s probably another reason why they both granted Nia Jax a Personal Leave of Absence and booked Alicia Fox vs. Sasha Banks. One can’t help but wonder if WWE was trying to head things off in case more talent got taken down due to illness.

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In the shadow of TLC is an intriguing Champion vs. Champion match being set up for Survivor Series involving RAW’s Brock Lesnar and Smackdown’s Jinder Mahal. Obviously this will be a non-title match but you can’t help but ask certain questions. LOL.

 

 

 

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Breaking News for TLC 2017!

Nia Jax’s taking a leave of absence but is expected to return

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…What makes Nia Jax’s sudden leave of absence so interesting is the reason:

According to several confirmed reports, Nia was unhappy with the direction of her character as well as her pay grade. Her leave of absence is because of that. What’s REALLY interesting is she has invoked name of her cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in her closed-door talks with WWE, leading many to be rightfully believe she WILL get whatever she’s asking for.

As a reminder all of the following current WWE Superstars are related to The Rock:

  • Roman Reigns
  • The Usos
  • Nia Jax
  • Tamina Snuka
  • Samoa Joe

Of course, Rikishi is the father of the Usos which makes him the uncle of everyone on this list prettymuch. Jimmy Snuka was a cousin of Rikishi’s if I remember right so that’s why Tamina is basically a 2nd cousin. Same with Samoa Joe. I didn’t list them all just because they’re Samoan. On that note, the late Umaga was Roman Reigns’ older brother while Yokozuna was Rikishi’s uncle.

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Anyway back on topic.

In an interview earlier this week, current RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss flatly stated Nia will be back. Their on-screen work aside, the two are actually friends in reality. So, if Alexa says Nia will return then it’s likely going to be before the Royal Rumble the latest, in time for Survivor Series the earliest.

While her explaination for Nia’s absence was obviously a cover story (She stated Nia was taking time off to give her body a break), I don’t think she was prepped by WWE ahead of the interview. She definitely knows what’s really going on and just knew not to confirm or deny the reports. This is aside from the phone stalking she got from Byron Saxton, which was eluded to in an episode of Road Trip. That was clearly why Saxton was moved from RAW to Smackdown.

Jax has put over everyone else in the RAW Women’s Division since she joined the roster after the Draft last year. The one thing that’s constantly been out of reach is winning the RAW Women’s Championship. Braun Strowman has the same kind of problem and it comes with being so physically dominant, not the fact they are both Monster Heels.

Let’s say Nia wins the Women’s Championship. Excluding Ronda Rousey. The only woman who can match her is Tamina but she’s on Smackdown. The two are on separate rosters to be fair to everyone else (LOL!). Everyone else, she would have to take a clean loss to lose the belt after winning it. Clearly WWE’s Creative Team has been keeping the title away from her for this reason. I look forward to seeing how they resolve this problem.

 

Nia Jax’s taking a leave of absence but is expected to return