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!

Possible Wrestlemania matchups are starting to come into focus

According to a few sources within WWE, The Phenom vs. The Roman Empire at WM33 is “prettymuch set”. Vince McMahon has reportedly wanted to book them in a match for some time now. This seems to match rumors I heard last year ‘Taker was originally going to be Reigns’ opponent last year.

It ended up not happening as we know for two reasons:

  1. The Reigns/Triple H feud was going unexectedly well even though everyone knew Trips was just putting Reigns over.
  2. The creative team had to scramble to write Shane McMahon’s sudden return to WWE after a nearly 10 year hiatus. Since Vince was personally involved, they had no choice but to book Shane with The Undertaker. The buildup fell flat but the match itself was unexpectedly good.

…This will be a match for the ages. The foundation for their match at Wrestlemania was laid when Reigns eliminated The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble (See above picture). It’s just a matter of when in regards to when the buildup begins.

What would make this matchup real interesting: According to an interview by Roman Reigns himself, he might Heel turn real soon. That would make the buildup believable and his character has been teasing a Heel turn for some time now.

I think it’s a safe bet the match is a done deal. Even though it won’t be a title match, this time we can expect to see a full match between the two titans of destruction =O

…This was obviously being set up to happen but due to Seth Rollins re-injuring his surgically repaired knee (The same one that cost him 9 months from fall 2015 to Spring 2016), he may be out for up to 8 weeks (!) which means he’s definitely missing Wrestlemania. Ouch! He has not been medically cleared to compete in any live events since the injury on RAW.

WWE has promised to provide an update in the upcoming RAW episode. Should Rollins be shelved, WWE’s creative team apparently has a replacement match set to go…

…The match alot of insiders thought was actually going to happen at last year’s Summer Slam believe it or not. For those who don’t know, there is legit…”tension” is the word I’ll use between Triple H and Shane. Triple H and Stephanie feel threatened by Shane’s return to the company after being away for 7 years. While Shane was away,

Triple H and Stephanie worked their way up the corporate ladder both on and off-screen (By the way, Triple H is the Director of Talent Relations and the Principal Owner of NXT). Triple H’s brain child NXT moved WWE out of the PG Era and helped kick off the rebranding of the Women’s Division. The story goes, it was Stephanie who convinced Vince to trust Triple H and cut back on his on-screen appearances, allowing the company to move into The New Era.

Their concern–more specifically The Game’s–is the possability Vince might hand the company over to Shane. Shane wasn’t lying when he said he “never lost his place in line” this time last year on RAW. As far as I know, Shane does not hold any executive positions within the company aside from being the Smackdown GM since his return.

Should Rollins be shelved–and I don’t think WWE will rush him back for the match–then they will start building this instead.

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…We could see what WWE had planned for Seth Rollins and Finn Balor last year: NXT’s best brawler vs. The Face of WWE. Could be crazy but it could also be real interesting. That said, as of right now we still don’t know which roster Samoa Joe will be on yet. I don’t think that’s been set in stone.

That said, I do think it could be an interesting match. They both have crazy stamina and both have impressive mat skills to boot =O

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I only just heard about this possible matchup this morning: Bray Wyatt is apparently the favorite to win the WWE Championship at the Elimination Chamber PPV later this month. He would then go on to face Randy Orton at Wrestlemania for the title.

Orton has been part od the Wyatt Family for the last three months. The Apex Predator is one of a handful of superstars who can be Over with the crowd weather he’s a Face or a Heel. We probably won’t see the buildup until after the Elimination Chamber match though.

 

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Possible Wrestlemania matchups are starting to come into focus

This week demonstrates why Smackdown shouldn’t be underestimated

Important Note: Meant to post publish this three weeks ago. It’s dated but still relevant. Just read this as if you were reading it on September 14.

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…The AJ/Cena feud being randomly restarted this week aside, I almost got goosebumps when I saw the Ambrose/Cena feud being established.

BRILLIANT!

Ambrose and Styles were both talking some SERIOUS shit to Cena during their promo at the start of Smackdown. Cena vs. Ambrose…we’re talking Wrestlemania 33 right there for the WWE Championship. I think Cena will tie Ric Flair’s record by the end of the year but the record-breaking win should happen at Wrestlemania 33. Flair has already given Cena his blessing to break the record so…yeah.

After Cena, Triple H has 13 title wins (most recently at the beginning of 2016). Triple H has plenty of gas left in the tank to catch up to Cena if he really wanted to. I don’t think he will, though. Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns are all clearly being set up for multiple title reigns: They have 7 title runs between the three of them since The Shield split up.

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Jack Swagger being shipped to Smackdown from RAW was clearly done to replace Alberto Del Rio, who was released by WWE last week. Swagger was immediated positioned to feud with Baron Corbin, which could be interesting. The midcard needs a vet who can help put new talent over and with Swagger there, now the Miz has some help.

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Speaking of The Miz: It’s clear his feud with D-Bry from a few weeks ago is being capitalized on and escalated. This week, it was suggested The Miz’s contract with Smackdown is due to be renegotiated soon. Given his new partnership with new WWE Champion AJ Styles, it goes without saying the IC title stays on Smackdown. The Miz needs someone to feud with since it’s clear the feud with Dolph Ziggler isn’t working. Apollo Crews or Baron Corbin should be pushed to feud with The Miz instead.

If the Miz does go to RAW, the fair question to ask is “who is going to Smackdown”? I’m looking at another vet being sent over. I’m looking at Mark Henry or The Big Show. The Big Show announced he will be retiring after Wrestlemania 33 so it would make better sense for Mark Henry to go to Smackdown.

 

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This week demonstrates why Smackdown shouldn’t be underestimated

WWE Draft 2016: Smackdown Results [UPDATED]

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Here are the first 30 draft choices in the order they were announced by brand on the first live edition of Smackdown. In parantheses are is the overall draft order. These rosters should be assumed set in stone after Battleground though as of right now, there is one cross-brand match on the card for Summer Slam next month (Lesnar vs. Orton).

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The Raw Commissioner is Stephanie McMahon. The GM is Mick Foley.

Superstars:

  • Seth Rollins (1st)
  • Women’s Champion Charlotte (3rd)
  • Finn Balor* (5th)
  • Roman Reigns (6th)
  • Brock Lesnar (8th)
  • Tag Team Champions The New Day# (10th)
  • Sami Zayn (11th)
  • Sasha Banks (13th)
  • Chris Jericho (15th)
  • US Champion Rusev w/ Lana (16th)
  • Kevin Owens (18th)
  • Enzo and Cass# (20th)
  • Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (21st)
  • The Big Show (23rd)
  • Nia Jax* (25th)
  • Neville (26th)
  • Cesaro (28th)
  • Sheamus (30th)
  • The Golden Truth# (31st)
  • Titus O’Neil (33rd)
  • Paige (35th)
  • Darren Young (36th)
  • Sin Carra (38th)
  • Jack Swagger (40th)
  • The Dudley Boyz# (42nd)
  • Summer Rae (44th)
  • Mark Henry (46th)
  • Braun Stroman (48th)
  • Bo Dallas (50th)
  • The Shining Stars# (52nd)
  • Alicia Fox (54th)
  • Dana Brooke (56th)
  • Curtis Axel (58th)

 

Announcers

  • Michael Cole
  • Corey Graves
  • Byron Saxton

* Drafted from NXT

# All existing members of the group were drafted together

 

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The Smackdown Commissioner is Shane McMahon. The GM is Daniel Bryan.

 

Superstars:

  • WWE Champion Dean Ambrose (2nd)
  • AJ Styles (4th)
  • John Cena (7th)
  • Randy Orton (9th)
  • Bray Wyatt (12th)
  • Becky Lynch (14th)
  • Intercontinental Champion The Miz w/ Maurice (17th)
  • Baron Corbin (19th)
  • American Alpha* (22nd)
  • Dolph Ziggler (24th)
  • Natalya (27th)
  • Alberto Del Rio (29th)
  • The Usos# (32nd)
  • Kane (34th)
  • Kalisto (37th)
  • Naomi (39th)
  • The Ascension (41st)
  • Zack Ryder (43rd)
  • Apollo Crews (45th)
  • Alexa Blizz* (47th)
  • Breezango (49th)
  • Eva Marie (51st)
  • The Vaudevillains (53rd)
  • Eric Rowan (55th)
  • Mojo Rawley* (57th)
  • Carmella* (59th)

 

Announcers:

  • Mauro Ranollo
  • JBL
  • David Otunga

 

* Drafted from NXT

# All existing members of the group were drafted together

 

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…There you have it. As I expected earlier, only the top talent were drafted first. Mid-Tier and Lower-Tier picks will be made on WWE Network after Smackdown. I don’t plan to say up for those picks so I’ll give you those 30 picks sometime tomorrow. This weekend, I will make a page with the full list of who is on which roster.

…You will notice Jerry Lawler’s name is not on either announcers’ list. According to a few sources, he was quietly released last week due to the legal trouble he got into a few weeks ago. There are two notable omissions to both rosters: Heath Slater, Luke Harper and Tamina Snuka. You can’t help but wonder a few things given Slater’s there to be fed to other superstars and the lawsuit Tamina’s father is a part of that was filed on Monday. Harper–the 4th member of the Wyatt Family is wrapping up production with a WWE Movie.

There were also a few more matches than I thought. Here are some highlights:

  • Darren Young unveiled the Chicken Wing submisssion maneuver on The Miz. It’s a move he obviously learned from his life coach, WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund.
  • Aj Styles showed off a Smackdown T-Shirt as he made his way to the ring with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in the first match of the night. AJ had been drafted to Smackdown but Gallows and Anderson were undrafted at that point.
  • Kane’s match with Kevin Owens never happened due to Sami Zayn’s interference. After getting double chokeslammed by Kane, Owens and Zayn were both drafted to RAW.
  • Unlike the night before, Dean Ambrose cleanly retained the WWE Championship vs. Seth Rollins heading into Battleground.

I will provide a more in depth analysis of what the new rosters could mean in a separate post.

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WWE Draft 2016: Smackdown Results [UPDATED]

For those who missed it: AJ Styles turning Heel was teased in Club/Family Feud

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…He was just being built as credible to feud with John Cena is all. The first clue was the introduction of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. The second was the formation of the club opposite Roman Reigns and The Usos.

Styles is going to be an amazing babyface heel. It also helps Seth Rollins is transitioning into a Face now that he’s back. He’s gonna get another title shot by the end of the year and thanks to the brand split, it may come soon. Count on it.

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This week’s RAW has seen the return of Teddie Long, who was released during last year’s roster purge. He cut a promo on the brand split and suggested a match for the upcoming Money in the Bank PPV. It’s not hard to figure out if he’s not the Smackdown GM, he will be working with whoever the Smackdown GM is. Personally, I think it’ll be Shane of Steph while the other heads up RAW. His return also brings a bit of hope we may see the return of other superstars who were recently released by the company.

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Getting back to Lesnar’s ESPN appearance earlier today. I’m sure that for those who’ve only seen him in WWE, it was their first time hearing him talk so much. It’s as he said on the Stone Cold Podcast a few months ago: He has his role to play and Heyman has his with their working relationship in WWE. No one in the business can cut a promo better than Paul Heyman so…yeah.

One thing that would be really cool if WWE and UFC made it happen: Paul Heyman promoting Lesnar’s UFC fight. THAT would be epic and it’s no secret UFC’s Dana White has tremendous respect for the former ECW owner. I doubt Vince McMahon would mind if Heyman expressed an interest in taking that on.

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Seth Rollins’ return has renewed speculation The Shield will reunite.  Given Dean Ambrose is involved in the Money in the Bank Ladder match, it’s certainly possible: Whoever wins that match will likely have to cash it in before the brand split. If Ambrose wins the briefcase, he can be expected to cash it in on Roman Reigns on Seth Rollins by or on July 19, which is when the brand split happens.

If The Shield reunites, they will regain their standing as the most dangerous group on the roster: They’ve had every title at some point between the three of them. When they were together, The Shield held the Tag team Titles until just before they disbanded. Same with Dean Ambrose’s US Title run. Seth Rollins never actually lost the WWE Championship and Reigns is a 3-time Champion. Ambrose also held the Intercontinental Champion.

If the Shield was to reunite…well, it’s doubtful anyone could stop them.

For those who missed it: AJ Styles turning Heel was teased in Club/Family Feud

Seth Rollins’ sudden return at Extreme Rules renews The Shield Storyline

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That’s the most obvious. Unlike before, Rollins is coming back as a Face:

…I believe I talked about this before: The crowd booed Reigns starting at Wrestlemania even though everyone knew he was gonna win the WWE Championship. The question to be asked is how Rollins’ return effects The Family vs. The Club Rivalry. While I was finding the above video, some vbloggers speculate The Shield will reunite when Rollins returns. At this point, anything can happen.

There’s also the fact Enzo Amore (Concussion), Randy Orton (broken wrist) and John Cena (took time off but Kayfabe had shoulder Surgery) are scheduled to return between today and May 30 according to Mr. McMahon.

The question to be asked: What does this mean for AJ Styles? Will WWE do the right thing and involve him in the renewed Reigns/Rollins/Ambrose feud? Or will they do what I think they’re gonna do and just feed Styles to Rollins? At the very least, Rollins didn’t get involved until AFTER the match was decided: It’ll take some creativity to make a Styles/Rollins feud work but I think it can be done.

…RAW just started and it sounds like for now, Rollins wants to be back as a Heel. Or rather thats what it sounds like. It sounds like they’re gonna take their time turning Rollins into a proper Face now that he’s back. It’s sure to be fun to watch.

 

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…I also wanted to follow up on what’s been a developing story in recent weeks. WWE announced this morning WWE Superstar Adam Rose has been released following the end of his 60-day suspension. Adam Rose was initially suspended for violating the company’s Wellness Policy. Earlier this month, he was arrested on domestic violence charges involving his girlfriend. The release is likely in response to that.

Adam Rose, who debuted in NXT came to the main roster in 2013. His character was pretty entertaining when he made his WWE debut. Transitioning his character to Heel ended up killing the momentum he had up to that point. He never made it out of mid-tier when he was a face and was low-tier as a heel as well as his time with The Social Outcasts.

He wasn’t a major part of any storylines when he was suspended so his departure won’t really change much. He was teamed with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas to join Health Slater, whose former group members were released during last year’s mass releases (Joey McIntyre and Jinder Mahal). The Social Outcasts are prettymuch fed to midcards so…yeah.

 

Seth Rollins’ sudden return at Extreme Rules renews The Shield Storyline

Payback done; Extreme Rules next!

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I’m gonna take a break from the usual recap bulletins I usually do for Pay Per View this time around. Yes, I saw it in its entirety on WWE Network as usual. It was EPIC.

There were five events from tonight that stood out for me more than the rest:

  1. Enzo Amore suffered a concussion in the opening minutes of the match to determine the number one contenders for the Tag Team Championship. I will be very surprised if Enzo is cleared to wrestle tomorrow. Some might not agree with WWE’s decision to hold off deciding The New Day’s next opponent but it’s the smart decision given the circumstances even if it’s another week.
  2. Shane and Steph working together: Pure genius! The move kills two birds with one stone: It helps boost revenue first and keeps the product from feeling stale for a while second. It also allows Vince to return to working behind the scenes again for the time being. As everyone who’s ever known him have attested to, he is an egomaniac but he’s not gonna look a gifted horse in the mouth if you know what I mean!
  3. Going with the above, the main event went exactly as I expected up until after it finally ended. I looked at my clock when Reigns was counted out and knew that wasn’t it. When the restarted match with no countouts ended in DQ, I knew it was gonna be restarted again with no DQ. That opened the door to outside interference, which happened a few minutes later. Despite the interference, Reigns succeeded in his first title defense.
  4. Dean is SO over now. His in-ring performance at Payback was amazing. I can’t help but wonder when he and Mick Foley will convince the powers that be it’s time to bring back the Hardcore Championship. If not that then he should be given a title shot by the end of the year.
  5. The “CM Punk!” chants got old 3 years ago. Seriously. He’s not coming back anytime soon and contrary to rumors spread over the internet, he was NOT released by UFC. Folks need to accept reality in that regard. They also need to accept the fact WWE has no say in weather he comes back or not. He chose to left of his own volition.

…For the first time since Wrestlemania 32, the house crowd was left speechless after the main event ended. As I said in my post-WM32 post, the Roman Reigns hate is undue. In my opinion, it would have been terrible booking for him to drop the title at Payback. More so given he didn’t cleanly lose the title the last two times he had it. Folks forget Reigns is not a heel–not right now, anyways–he needed to cleanly win at Payback, which he did after the match was restarted twice.

The house crowd’s muted reaction was certainly better than the boos he’s been greeted with since WM32. AJ Stiles was given another title shot by Vince, Shane and Steph for Extreme Rules right after Payback’s main event. Extreme Rules is in three weeks. I think Stiles will definitely win the title before Summer Slam. If he doesn’t get it in 3 weeks, he’ll get it then.

It’s obvious his buddies are there to make the feud work. In-ring, they’ve got the skills. Selling a promo with Reigns vs. selling a promo with Jericho are two different things. Jericho knows how to sell cut a good promo on his own. Reigns doesn’t have alot of experience doing it on his own. Ambrose is clearly focused on his solo career and has obviously been improving his in-ring skills compared to this time last year.

Switching gears, I’m wondering if WWE would be open to setting up a Women’s Tag Team division with Women’s Tag Team Belts. The Bella Twins were the last consistent women’s tag team but with Nikki likely being forced into retirement due to injury and Brie going on maternity leave, that leaves other female superstars.

It certainly would be interesting. I’d also like to see WWE step up and allow a woman to win the IC or US Title. I think Chyna was the only woman ever to win the IC title so…yeah. Now that I’m thinking about it, it HAS been a few years since there’s been a tag match featuring male and female superstars. Not since the brands merged, anyway.

GASP!

Could this be the OTHER reason Shane and Steph are working together?! The plot thickens!

Before I forget:

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A certain WWE Superstar is confirmed to be returning to WWE from TNA =O

Hint: It’s not Kurt Angle.

Hint #2: His last name is Hardy.

…You may commence hype NOW.

Payback done; Extreme Rules next!