Rusev Out, Chris Jericho In and now Rusev is back in at The Greatest Royal Rumble in a Casket Match [Updated 4/16/2018]

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In a developing story that may go one of three ways, Chris Jericho will replace Rusev in the Casket Match also involving The Undertaker at The Greatest Royal Rumble.

Shortly after the match was originally announced yesterday, Rusev Tweeted “Bury my softly, mt brother.” It was a thinly veiled reference to how he felt he was being treated by WWE and reportedly asked to be released just before Wrestlemania. Rusev was originally going to be a part of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale but was added to the Fatal Four Way match for the U.S. Title. Rusev was involved in the decision of that match, which Jinder Mahal won.

This morning on TMZ, Rusev and Lana made disparaging remarks about The Undertaker that his wife Michelle McCool took exception to. It’s not clear if they were in character when the comments were made but likely not. Lana reportedly told WWE she did not want her husband to be involved in the casket match and to find (The Undertaker) another opponent so they obviously did. Personally, I think it would have been better if they someone newer as win or lose, you’re a made man when you’re in a match with The Undertaker.

As for Rusev (and Lana), I see things going one of three ways:

  1. Rusev is released: It’s certainly possible but doubtful. Rusev is booked to get a second shot at the U.S. Title to boot, which likely means he won’t be getting traded to RAW.
  2. Rusev gets a title run: He’s obviously got a tag team partner in Aiden English so they could make a legit run at the tag team titles. Rusev could also be pushed to get a WWE Championship run as well.
  3. Rusev and Lana Feud with The Undertaker and Michelle McCool: I mean in the ring. Michelle McCool showed at the Women’s Royal Rumble in January she’s still got it. I kinda get the feeling WWE might actually push for this to happen, too.

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Even though fans obviously know they’re married, WWE could have a Lana vs. McCool feud separately from Rusev vs. ‘Taker. a Mixed Tag Match would be the “Safe” route but who doesn’t wasnt to see Michelle McCool get it on with Lana?

We’ll just have to wait and see if WWE sees the potential in bringing back McCool to feud with Lana ^_^

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Update 4/13/2018:

In a move that renewed speculation from last year Rusev may be leaving WWE, Rusev removed all mentions of WWE from his social media accounts and unfollowed everyone from WWE as well Friday morning. His Twitter account now promotes a movie Lana is starring in called Other Versions of You (as CJ Perry) as well.

WWE confirmed this afternoon Rusev has not be released and will now be in the 50-Man Royal Rumble at The Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia. WWE added Rusev to the Wrestlemania match for the US Title admid rumors he was considering asking for his release. While it’s easy to see the changes on his Social Media accounts as indicators he is either planning to or is in the process of asking for his release, let’s not forget the yearly Superstar Shakeup happens next week. His cryptic tweet talking about making a change could certainly be in reference to that.

Let’s be real: If WWE wanted to release him, the would have done so already. They certainly wouldn’t have put him on the card for either Wrestlemania 34 or The Greatest Royal Rumble so…yeah. I do think think folks are reading into things a little too much in this case.

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Rusev Out, Chris Jericho In and now Rusev is back in at The Greatest Royal Rumble in a Casket Match [Updated 4/16/2018]

Naomi puts racist comments directed at her on blast on Twitter

Websites are only now commenting on this twitter post Naomi shared yesterday afternoon. While this is obviously nothing new for either Naomi or other superstars of color, they usually wait until they retire or move on before opening up about it.

Naomi is a 2-time Smackdown Women’s Champion and also the wife of Jimmy Uso. She made her return after recovering from an injury she suffered in November at Wrestlemania where she won the Battle Royale. She has certainly come a long way from where she started almost 10 years ago.

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I was actually going to talk about this in a separate post but it would be fair to call Naomi the 5th Horsewoman of WWE. She didn’t through NXT like Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch (as well as Alexa Bliss, pictured) but neither did Tamina, Ronda Rousey or Mickie James. Naomi has proven she can hang with the NXT Alums who dominate the Women’s Division so…yeah.

Haters you ignore. Racists, you do not.

Why?

Because they are our teachers, police officers, doctors, plumbers, waiters/waitresses, attorneys and yes, journalists. I’m not trying to discuss politics in detail on the blog–I do that on my main blog, after all–but my point is the internet’s made it easier for them to spread their hate wherever they can.

Naomi puts racist comments directed at her on blast on Twitter

A look at Giant WWE Superstars who came after Andre the Giant

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Andre Roussimoff (1946-1993) aka Andre the Giant was called the 8th Wonder of the World for a reason (Fun Fact: Chyna was the 9th Wonder of the World). There never was and never will be anyone like him ever. Now, Andre actually suffered from Giantism, an actual medical condition that caused him to grow continuously. His massive frame was both a blessing and a curse. He died in his sleep from congestive heart failure in 1993.

It’s now been 25 years since the death of the original giant but since then, others have stepped over the ropes in WWE. Here’s a look at some of them.

Image result for The Big Show Paul WhitePaul White aka The Big Show is 7’0″ and 385 lbs. but he weighed over 400 lbs until very recently.

The Big Show was in some regards The Second Coming of Andre The Giant when he first came to WWE in the late 90s. He was on the new defunct WCW before signing with WWE at the close of the Monday Night Wars. The World’s Largest Athlete is a Grand Slam Champion, holding all of the current titles at some point during his 20+ year career as well as the WCW, ECW and Hardcore Championships.

WWE took lessons learned from Andre the Giant’s condition to help The Big Show have a long career. Like Andre, The Big Show grew very fast from a young age and has some of the same challenges as well. Fortunately in his case it’s not life-threatening and he is clearly going to retire soon.

Despite his size, there are a handful of superstars who can deadlift him. The Big Show candidly revealed on an episode of Table for 3 (On WWE Network) John Cena, Kane and Mark Henry are 3  of the 4 Superstars he feels 100% comfortable being lifted by (The 4th now being Braun Strowman). To lift someone as big as he is, you have to have not just the strength but the stamina to do it.

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The World’s Strongest Man was a part of the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame Class. He stands at 6’4″ and weighs 360 lbs but weighed a little over 400 lbs. 10 years ago. Mark Henry spent most of his year putting over other superstars but his years of dedication was rewarded in 2011 when he won the WWE Championship at Night of Champions.

Before he signed with WWE in 1996, Mark Henry was a professional bodybuilder and competed in Strong Man competitions. That’s where he earned the title “World’s Strongest Man”. One of his favorite party tricks: Crushing an apple with one hand. You can see him do it on two episodes of Ride Along (On WWE Network).

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Dalip Singh Rana, known in WWE as The Great Khali stands at 7″1″ and weighs 347 lbs. His tenure with WWE was repeatedly stalled due to injuries and other health problems that are actually pretty common in tall people. His appearance at Battleground last year fueled speculation he was going to make another WWE appearance but that appeared to be a one-time thing.

The Great Khali, along with Jinder Mahal have helped open Pro Wrestling in India. They are the most accomplished Indian-born wrestlers and while Mahal is an active superstar, Khali has been working for indie promotions since he left WWE a few years ago. He also runs a wrestling school in India.

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Glenn Jacobs aka Kane stands at 7’0″ and weighs 323 lbs. Kane has wreaked a path of destruction eclipsed only by his brother The Undertaker. Kane has held almost every title there is and has had several Championship runs.

I kept getting this wrong but Glenn Jacobs is expected to retire from wrestling should he win the mayoral election in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. The election will be next month and he is the favorite to win. He obviously learned lessons from Linda McMahon’s failed attempts to run for a Senate seat in Connecticuit and has used his fame and recognition from WWE to push his campaign. Jacobs is a Republican and is actually well spoken and smart as was demonstrated by his Corporate Kane Persona.

Kane’s absences in the last two years have been due to his focus on the mayoral election in his hometown. If he wins the election–and he is leading in the polls–he will likely announce his retirement. It was pretty cool some superstars have been helping him with his campaign from time to time as well.

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As you can see, Adam Scherr aka Braun Strowman isn’t the only giant in his family. He’s 6’8″ and weighs 385 lbs. Here he is pictured with his younger sister Hannah. His father Rick Scherr is actually in the Softball Hall of Fame. Mark Henry recruited him after seeing him at a Strong Man Competition.

I’ve been talking about The Monster Among Men alot lately but he is one of the top guys along with Roman Reigns. He technically won the Tag Team Championships by himself at Wrestlemania 34 but was forced to vacate the titles the following night on RAW since his partner was still in grade school.

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Mark Calloway aka The Undertaker rounds out my list of giants in WWE. He’s 6’8″ and weighs 309 lbs. Everyone knows his many accomplishments over his nearly 30 year career so…yeah. The Legend of The Phenom is headlined by his 24-2 Wrestlemania Record and his 21-0 Wrestlemania Streak  before it was broken by Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 30. He beat Bray Wyatt (WM31) and Shane McMahon (WM32) before losing for the second time at Wrestlemania 33 vs. Roman Reigns. After being called out for weeks, he returned to beat John Cena in a squash match at Wrestlemania 34.

Wrestlemania aside, ‘Taker introduced Casket Matches to WWE and it is his speciality (despite having lost two big ones for storyline reasons). ‘Taker was involved in the first two Hell in a Cell Matches (against Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley respectively) before the Pay Per View of the same name was introduced.

WWE is VERY protective of The Undertaker’s character and more than anyone else including Brock Lesnar or John Cena. The Deadman is intentionally kept out of sight during emotional moments involving the whole locker room (such as honoring someone who passed away or moments of silence). The two exceptions was when ‘Taker broke character and came out for Ric Flair’s farewell the RAW after he was retired by Shawn Michaels at WM24 (‘Taker won the WWE title the same night). The other instance was after his match last year at WM33, he went over the to barricade to hug and kiss his wife before exiting. By the way his wife is former WWE Superstar Michelle McCool.

Images and footage of ‘Taker both out of gear and out of character are pretty rare though WWE has started including video footage of him talking in his normal voice (not as The Undertaker but as Mark Calloway) in backstage footage taken behind the scenes at big events. Images of him looking 10 to 20 years older (he’s 52 years old now) posing with fans can be found online.
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‘Taker obviously dyed his hair, which has turned white in recent years. Unlike Shane McMahon (has gray hair despite being in his mid-40s), he has to dye his hair to stay in character. As you can see in the above photograph, he’s started just going to public places as The Undertaker because of how recognizable he is.

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…Come on, did you think I wasn’t gonna mention women?

Savelina “Lina” Fanene aka Nia Jax stands at 6’0″ (The weight of Female Superstars is not shown on WWE.’com’s website), putting her three inches above her cousin and fellow WWE Superstar Tamina Snuka. Nia won her first title since coming to WWE at Wrestlemania 34 when she beat Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship.

Nia was a Heel during most of her WWE career but after she name-dropped her cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a closed door meeting, her Face Turn on The Road to Wrestlemania was set up. Speaking of her famous cousin, she decided to try out for NXT after watching her cousin live at Wrestlemania 28.

In her inclusion in the latest season of Total Divas, Nia opened up about her insecurity because of her size. Like I mentioned earlier the only other superstar who is as big as she is also happens to be her cousin, Tamina. The body shaming storyline WWE ran with leading up to her match at Wrestlemania 34 was an important one as well as powerful. Nevermind the fact Nia and Alexa are actually friends in real life (Alexa clearly broke character when she went backstage to console Nia, who’d just lost to Asuka for a spot at Wrestlemania).

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Sarona Snuka aka Tamina Snuka stands at 5’9″ and is of course, the daughter of the late WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. She is also the only one of The Rock’s cousins on the active roster–the others being Roman Reigns, The Usos and Nia Jax–who hasn’t won a title yet but that could change between the Superstar Shakeup and the Women’s Tag Team titles to come later this year.

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In closing, it would be fair to say Andre The Giant left a lasting legacy and responsability for WWE. A responsability WWE has taken on in earnest. I’m talking about making sure their larger Superstars are treated with respect and dignity. They are more than their gait. They’re someone’s son, daughter, father, uncle, brother, sister, aunt, cousin or uncle.

Hopefully they will all be around long after they retire for good.

A look at Giant WWE Superstars who came after Andre the Giant

Paige announced as the new General Manager headlines Smackdown Live

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…One door closes, another opens.

Just 24 hours after Paige emotionally announced her retirement as an in-ring competator on RAW, Shane McMahon introduced her as the new Smackdown General Manager. Her firsr order of business: Book her predecessor in the main event against AJ Styles. Said match ended in No Contest when Shinsuke Nakamura came out and attacked both of them. As was revealerd by D-Bry a few years back, he and Nakamura were actually roomates at one time. In other words, they know each other personally. When you take that into consideration, a feud between them would be real interesting.

Peyton Royce and Billie Kay from NXT debuted on Smackdown Live. After they attacked Charlotte Flair, Carmella finally cashed in her Money in the Bank briefcase to become the new Smackdown Women’s Champion. The referee taking his damned time with the briefcase was annoying as hell and I hope Vince or Shane chews him out for it.

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A new match at The Greatest Royal Rumble announced Wednesday morning will be a casket march involving The Undertaker and Rusev. Shortly after the announcement, Rusev Tweeted “Bury my gently, my brother.” in reaction to the match being announced. Will ‘Taker make appearances to build the match? It’s certainly possible but not necessary. As it happens, ‘Taker figuratively buried John Cena at Wrestlemania 34 on Sunday.

 

 

Paige announced as the new General Manager headlines Smackdown Live

Debuts and Returns highlight the Raw after Wrestlemania

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…But it would be remiss to not acknowledge Paige officially retiring in the same building she both made her RAW debut and won the now retired Divas Championship in her first match on the main roster. As I thought, WWE decided to wait before her retirement was officially announced. The biggest reasons being she was needed to help push the other members of her stable.

As a reminder, Paige suffered the same type of neck injury as Edge. She was on the main roster for four years but missed nearly half of her run due to her suspension. At least when Edge was forced into retirement, he was a first ballot Hall of Famer. He is also under no illusion there is no coming back from his neck injury. The same is true for Paige unfortunately and it’s why the two have apparently been meeting since Paige suffered her career-ending injury.

As for what she will do now, her stepping away now would seem to confirm one or both remaining members of Absolution are going to Smackdown next week. Paige could certainly be brought on as a commentator or manager as she has been up to now. That aside, her immediate plans will likely be to find a new passion outside wrestling. It certainly won’t be easy given she literally born into the business (her family runs a promotion in the UK).

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As I predicted, Ember Moon made her debut on RAW. The former NXT Women’s Champion dropped the title to Shayna Braszler at NXT Takeover: New Orleans. The Authors of Pain and No Way Jose (the new Adam Rose/Brotus Clay prettymuch) also made their debut on RAW.

Jeff Hardy and Samoa Joe both also made their return from injury. Bray Wyatt, who hadn’t been seen since his match with “Woken” Matt Hardy returned at the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale where he helped Matt win the match. Apparently, “the succubus that is Sister Abigail has been exorcised” by Matt Hardy. Meaning, Bray Wyatt’s gonna have a new persona. Weather or not it will be temporary like Orton was when he was paired with Bray or not remains to be seen.

As expected, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn wasted no time begging Kurt Angle–because Steph got her arm broken by Rousey again at the start of the show–for a spot on the RAW roster. The problem: There’s only one open slot and they have to have a match for it. Said match happens and they draw so neither gets that slot. Shades of Heath Slater after the draft, yes?

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The biggest news was of course, the return of Bobby Lashley to WWE after being away for 10 years. He is clearly being set up to feud with Brock Lesnar. Given The Beast just renewed his contract with WWE for another year yesterday morning, Roman Reigns being pissed makes alot more sense. LOL. Speaking of Reigns and Samoa Joe, they will clash at Backlash next month.

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…Before Backlash, there will be The Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia. This event will be carried by WWE Network and takes place Friday, April 27. It starts at 12PM EST (TIme Zone difference) and four matches have been announced so far:

  • 50-Man Royal Rumble (obviously)
  • Seth Rollins vs. FInn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Samoa Joe Fatal Four-Way Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
  • John Cena vs. Triple H
  • Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar Steel Cage Match for the Universal Championship

…As of Monday Daniel Bryan, Kane, The Big Show, Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman have been announced as participants in the 50-man Royal Rumble. It will feature Superstars from both RAW and Smackdown obviously with no word yet if the winner will get anything.

If Nia Jaxx’s new body suit is any indication, some Women’s Matches should be expected. If I had to guess, it will be a Battle Royale featuring women from RAW and Smackdown as well as NXT obviously. WWE is pushing hard for Women’s Matches in Saudi Arabia so…yeah.

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As an aside: It was leaked Charlotte will challenge Carmella for the Smackdown Women’s Championship next week in a TV ad for next week’s show in Providence, RI. The only reason I saw it is because I happen to be staying in a motel in Dartmouth right until Wednesday morning. This confirms Carmella cashes in tonight so…yeah.

 

Debuts and Returns highlight the Raw after Wrestlemania

Wrestlemania 34 Results

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…I missed half of the preshow, which started at 5PM EST but tuned in at 6PM when I saw a tweet revealing the winner of a match I assumed would be on the main card. Here’s the winners of the matches that made up the pre-show:

  • Matt Hardy wins Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale
  • Cedric Alexander def. Mustafa Ali to win Cruiserweight Championship
  • Naomi wins Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royale

There were so many matches, WWE decided to just put both Battle Royales and the Cruiserweight Championship match in the pre-show. I was clearly surprised by that and missed the Men’s Battle Royale.

…John Cena was shown sitting in the audience with a clear view of the ring. He was shown sitting on the end of the aisle with little between him in and the barricade so…yeah. It’s obvious he’s gonna be a part of the card contrary to what’s being said.

Now, here is the winners of the matches that were on the card in the order they happened:

  • Seth Rollins def. Finn Balor and The Miz in Triple Threat Match to become the NEW Intercontinental Champion
  • Charlotte Flair def. Asuka to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
  • Jinder Mahal def. Bobby Roode, Rusev and Randy Orton in Fatal Four Way Match to become the NEW US Champion
  • Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey def. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
  • The Bludgeon Brothers def. The New Day and The Usos in a Tag Team Triple Threat Match to become the NEW Smackdown Tag Team Champions
  • The Undertaker def. John Cena (24-2)
  • Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan def. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
  • Nia Jaxx def. Alexa Bliss to become the NEW RAW Women’s Champion
  • AJ Styles def. Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the WWE Championship
  • Braun Strowman and “Mystery Partner” vs. Sheamus and Ceasaro for the RAW Tag Team Championship
  • Brock Lesnar def. Roman Reigns to retain the WWE Universal Championship

Rollins winning, as mentioned before was leaked so…yeah. It was still one hell of a match to watch though.

Charlotte Flair ending Asuka’s Undefeated Streak at Wrestlemania…holy shit. This is easily the most shocking end to a streak in WWE since Brock Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak at Wrestlemania 30. I’m assuming WWE decided to change the match outcome because of two leaks: First Rollins winning the IC Title and Reigns vs. Lesnar being the main event.

Mahal winning the U.S. Title makes sense given the other three participants were all a Face while he was the sole Heel. I don’t see him feuding with Orton for most of the year like he did last year as the WWE Champion. It would make more sense for him to feud with Rusev, Roode and other folks while Orton is positioned to win the WWE Championship.

As expected, Triple H and Rousey carried the match. Stephanie McMahon clearly trained in advance knowing she would have to sell the hell out of everything Rousey did with her in the ring. We knew Rousey was gonna dominate and she did, even getting Triple H on her shoulders with ease.

Even though it was a Triple Threat Match, unsurprisingly The Usos and The New Day (Kofi and Big E were involved in the match) teamed up to take on Harper and Rowan. Xavier Woods playing the Dragonzord tune on Franchesca-2 during their entrance was a real nice touch. That said, The Bludgeon Brothers picked up their first titles with their Wrestlemania win by pinning Kofi to end the match.

Cena came down to the ring expecting The Undertaker to follow when the lights went out for several moments. Instead he was greeted by Elias. After Cena quickly dispatched Elias,  he started to go up the ramp but then the lights went out again. The Deadman came out, curb-stomped Cena and then left. It’s been over 25 years since ‘Taker had a march THAT short, improving to 24-2 (lost to Roman Reigns at WM33 and Brock Lesnar at WM30).

After the match, the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018 was showcased.

Four years ago, Daniel Bryan won the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans. It’s poetic he would make his in-ring return to the ring at Wrestlemania 34, which also happened to be in New Orleans. Shane McMahon, who clearly wasn’t 100% was forced to start the match after he and D-Bry were ambushed by KO and Zayn at the beginning. In the end, the leaders of Smackdown Live win ensure KO and Zayn stay fired…from Smackdown Live. There is certainly still the liklihood they’ll be picked up by RAW.

It’s worth noting Nia Jaxx name-dropped her cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson last Fall when she threatened to walk out due to her being denied a title shot since she came to the main roster the year before. It looked like her chance at the RAW title had been lost when she lost to Asuka at the Elimination Chamber PPV. Then, the feud with Alexia Bliss happened after Asuka chose to challenge Charlotte. Their Wrestlemania match appeared to be a squash match but I was wrong. Nia Jaxx thoroughly destroyed Alexia Bliss.

Note: Carmella, who was the first woman to be eliminated from the Women’s Battle Royale did not cash in her Money in the Bank Briefcase on either Women’s Championship matches.

It goes without saying AJ Styles was simply PHENOMINAL in his successful title defense at Wrestlemania. They put on a classic in front of the sold-out crowd. After the match, fans were treated to Nakamura’s Heel turn out of nowhere. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Smackdown Live’s top talent are mostly Faces including Styles so making Nakamura a Heel makes sense in that regard. We can certainly expect them to rematch for the title at the next PPV as well.

The one mystery no one could figure out was who Braun Strowman’s Mystery Partner could possibly be. Everyone including The Bar was stunned when Strowman literally walked into the crowd and picked out a random kid named Nicholas. No, really. No question Vince damn-near had a heart attack when Strowman tagged his partner into the match for a moment! Of course, Strowman tagged himself back in and won the match. Sure, it was a pretty cool thing to have happen but the obvious question now is did that just happen?!

After the match, it was announced Wrestlemania 35 will be in New York City.

The crowd chanting “BORING!” and “THIS IS AWEFUL!” is enough for you to know even though Reigns carried the match, the outcome being spoiled took the crowd out of it. This is probably why Vince made the call for Lesnar to retain the title at Wrestlemania 34. It would also seem to confirm Lesnar will not cleanly lose the title. Remember: When he lost the title 3 years ago, he wasn’t involved in the decision. I feel bad for Reigns as this was his fourth straight time in the main event of Wrestlemania and this time, he was destroyed in the ring to appease the crowd. It was a lose-lose situation either way so…yeah.

 

…Overall, WWE went out of its way to give fans a swerve on matches that seemed like they would go the other way. Dana White’s face being shown after Team Rousey vs. Team McMahon reminded me of the rumors Lesnar is looking at returning to UFC full time as well but we went through this a few year ago. WWE learned from past mistakes. Lesnar wouldn’t have been allowed to retain if he was legit leaving for UFC full time.

Overall Charlotte, Lesnar and AJ Styles retained their titles while the others changed hands, one of which is obviously questionable (Strowman). RAW’s Mens and Men’s Tag Team divisions are a hot mess now. Smackdown’s Men’s Tag Team Division is a hot mess now as well.

The first RAW and Smackdown after a PPV is always interesting and especially the one right after Wrestlemania. I look forward to seeing what happens!

Wrestlemania 34 Results

Shayna Baszler takes Ember Moon to school at NXT Takeover: New Orleans

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…Not since Brock Lesnar founded Suplex City at John Cena’s expense four years ago at Summer Slam have I seen a top title holder prettymuch get DESTROYED so completely.

The defending champion got off to a good start and when Baszler dislocated her left shoulder, it looked like Moon would retain. Baszler wasted no time reminding everyone why they call her The Queen of Spades and of her UFC background: She used the ringpost to pop her shoulder back in and continued the match.

Even more impressive than that was the finish: Unable to fully use her left arm after popping her shoulder back into place, she wrapped her right arm around and grabbed her own hair to complete the submission hold, using her left arm to block Moon’s attempts to break the hold. Moon pulled a Stone Cold and did not tap out and instead passed out, losing the match by Technical Knock Out.

It goes without saying Ember Moon will be moving on to the main roster. Many will question the wisdom in having a “newcomer” who isn’t Over with the crowd carrying the title but I wouldn’t be so quick to write her off. Clearly she’ll be put in a feud with someone to help build up her mic and mat skills. She’s a Submission Specialist mostly because of her UFC days so…yeah.

As for Ember Moon, obviously she will be moving on to the main roster. My guess is she will be going to RAW since Asuka is obviously going to Smackdown when she beats Charlottoe for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. I would be very surprised if she is put on the same show as Asuka to start off personally.

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…I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the main event from NXT Takeover: New Orleans, which was the Unsanctioned Match between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. The horrors these two men unleashed upon each other…I haven’t seen anything like it outside the early Hell in a Cell Matches.

To paraphrase Ron Simmons: DAMN!

This match exemplifies why NXT Fans love it so much. Both men clearly went full power throughout the match. The crowd chanting “Fuck you Ciampa!” was well-earned given the history between both men involved.

…I look forward to seeing some of this on the main roster soon!

Shayna Baszler takes Ember Moon to school at NXT Takeover: New Orleans