Developing Story: Ronda Rousey stepping away from WWE after Wrestlemania 35

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Reports flooded the internet late this morning of what I consider to be a MAJOR info WWE might not have wanted to be released on the eve of the 2019 Royal Rumble. A short time ago, WWE confirmed Ronda Rousey’s contract with the company is through 2021. The clarification is clearly meant to head off speculation of her possibly returning to UFC or signing with another promotion (AEW).

Anyone who knows about Rousey’s status with WWE knows the only reason she would consider leaving WWE after only her first year is to start a family. It sounds like that is likely why she will be stepping away from WWE after Wrestlemania 35. This also means WWE is in a position where it will have to make Rousey vs. Becky Lynch in the main event a done deal for Wrestlemania 35. For those who might not be aware, WWE plans to have a women’s match main event Wrestlemania 35. The larger question is who will be involved at this point and hopefully it won’t be a Triple Threat match.

The original plan was for Rousey and Lynch to have their match at Survivor Series but Lynch was forced to miss it since she was put in the Concussion Protocol after getting decked by Nia Jax. Had Lynch and Rousey had their match at Survivor Series as planned, we would be talking about Rousey vs. Flair at Wrestlemania. Charlotte faced Rousey instead so having their rematch at Wrestlemania 35 doesn’t make sense even with a title on the line. Their match definitely should happen before Rousey leaves so it could happen at the Elimination Chamber Pay Per View or the one to take place in March. Charlotte can remain a Heel to make it work.

As a reminder: The Royal Rumble winner gets a guaranteed title shot at Wrestlemania. Back at Wrestlemania 30, they had to add Daniel Bryan to the match and make it a Triple Threat Match since Batista won the Royal Rumble that year and it was the main event on the card that year.

So, assuming Charlotte wins the Royal Rumble Match (as has been reported months in advance) she could potentially challenge either Lynch or Rousey. Rousey would have to turn Heel if she faces Lynch at Wrestlemania for it to work but hey, we have a three months to build!

All that said, Rousey will be back. My guess is she’ll be written off TV either at Wrestlemania or the RAW after it. She’ll be gone for at least 18 months, maybe two years and then make her return in 2021 in time to negotiate a new contract with WWE. That’s what is most likely to happen in my book anyway.

 

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Developing Story: Ronda Rousey stepping away from WWE after Wrestlemania 35

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

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

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]

The Wyatt Family/Brothers of Destruction Feud has been a real treat

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The significance of this feud can’t be understated enough, either.

In one corner you have The Undertaker and Kane, the personification of destruction. In the other you have the Wyatt Family, which feeds on madness and chaos.

It’s the perfect storm =O

Kane and The Undertaker are on the card in Survivor Series against two members of The Wyatt Family of Bray Wyatt’s choosing. The feud, which actually started at Wrestlemania 32 when The Deadman and The Eater of Worlds face off was revived at Hell in a Cell last month: After The Undertaker’s match with Brock Lesnar, The Wyatt Family attacked The Deadman and carried him backstage. They did the same thing to Kane the following night on RAW as well.

Bray claimed to have successfully harvested the souls of The Brothers of Destruction but when the brothers returned last week to settle the score, it was cleaar they had one thing on their minds: Vengeance. Things got interesting last week when Bray asserted his power was now greater than The Deadman’s: Flanked by his Druids, Bray made the lights turn off and when they came back on, the Druids were all wearing white sheep masks and tried to attack The Brothers of Destruction. Of course, they were quickly dispatched. The Undertaker then said “You can’t kill what refuses to die.”

On Smackdown The Druids–now loyal to The Wyatt Family and wearing sheep masks–flanked the entrance ramp to the ring. The Brothers of Destruction appeared via Titantron and said that at Survivor Series, they would reclaim what was theirs. When the lights turned back on, all of the Driuds were laid out outside the ring, having been slain by Kane’s Hellfire.

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…This is a passing of the torch to say the least as the aging Brothers of Destruction have apparently chosen their successors. The Wyatt Family stand poised to dominate the WWE landscape for years like The Undertaker and Kane have. There’s no greater honor than to chosen by two of the most decorated Superstars in WWE History.

The Wyatt Family/Brothers of Destruction Feud has been a real treat

Hell in a Cell 2015 Results

 

 

The Kickoff Show started at 7PM on WWE Network.

  • Much of the hour was spent promting the HIAC matches.
  • The kickoff match involved Ceasaro, Dolph Ziggler and Neville, who defeated  King Barret, Sheamus and Rusev in 6-man Tag action.

Now on to the event itself:

  • United States Championship Open Challenge: Talk about kicking off HIAC with a BANG! Alberto Del Rio, who was fired last year for reportedly mistreating a WWE employee was introduced by another surprise returning personality: Zeb Coulter, who hasn’t been seen in some time.  It was an impressive match but it was obvious Cena was meant to drop the title tonight. Del Rio’s a great choice, more so given his first match back: He’s a vet, after all. No hints were dropped as to weather he’s back as a Face or a Heel but based on Coulter being in his corner and the crowd’ reaction, I assume it’s as a Face for now. We’ll certainly know for sure tomorrow on RAW.
  • After the match, Triple H and Steph did a Promo with Seth Rollins and Kane about the latter two’s match.
  • Roman Reigns def. Bray Wyatt (Hell in a Cell Match): The first of the two Hell in a Cell matches on the card. Shades of the first HIAC match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker were in the air as they put on a classic match in The Devil’s Playground. Only differences being no surprise interruption (Kane) and no blood. Reigns tapped into the same tenacity he showed at Wrestlemania, showing The Eater of Worlds how he stood toe to toe with Brock Lesnar at the Show Shows.
  • WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. The Dudley Boyz: Down the wire, I got the feeling the Dudleys weren’t gonna get a clean win. This was confirmed after Kofi Kingston nearly got the Dudleys disqualified by feigning injury by a foreign object. They’re heels so…yeah. I doubt the feud is over though I’m sure The Primetime Players will get involved now that The New Day has retained the titles.
  • Divas Champion Charlotte def. Nikki Bella: This was one hell of a match the current and former Divas Champion put on. They certainly didn’t disappoint and it was a pretty physical match. In the end, Charlotte picked up the win by making Nikki tap out to the Figure 8. It’s now a question of who her next opponent may be. It looks like it could be Paige given her Heel turn but we’ll probably know for sure come tomorrow’s RAW.
  • After the match, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose did a promo backstage, hinting Reigns might be back in the title picture come tomorrow’s RAW. It’s a question of weather or not it will be against Seth Rollins…or Kane. Speaking of said match…
  • WWE Champion Seth Rollins def. Kane: Had to admit I was surprised Rollins won cleanly given his track record. Nevermind the fact we now have confirmation the Lesnar/Taker HIAC Match is the card’s main event. Not the first time of course so…yeah.
  • Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens def. Ryback: For some reason, this match immediately followed the WWE Title Match. Regardless, everyone except John Cena retained tonight.
  • Brock Lesnar def. The Undertaker (Hell in a Cell Match): Unsurprisingly, both superstars started bleeding not long after the match began. The ring was literally torn apart as they fought to the finish. In the end, Lesnar emerged victorious but not before ending the match the same way ‘Taker ended their previous match. As Michael Cole said after the match, Lesnar’s definitely learned how to sell matches better while fighting The Undertaker. Taker was about to salue the crowd when–
  • After the match, The Wyatt Family came out to the ring and took out The Deadman. In a perverse display, The Wyatt family ceremoniously carried The Undertaker out of the ring backstage to who knows where.

And there you have it.

Post-PPV RAW is always big. I mean there’s so much stuff that needs covering:

  • Del Rio’s Back!: Easily the biggest moment of the night. It’ll be interesting to see how his return is explained.
  • Seth Rollins’ Next Opponent: Will it be Cesaro, Reigns, Lesnar or someone out of left field?
  • ‘Taker/Wyatt Feud Renewed?: I assume that’s what’s going on for now. Of course, the Wyatts getting involved is also meant to set things up for Survivor Series, which is a celebration of ‘Taker’s first appearance 25 years ago. I assume it will be a traditional Survivor Series match but who will step up and fight alongside The Deadman? My guesses are Kane, Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton.

 

Hell in a Cell 2015 Results

The Post-Pay Per View RAW never disappoints

 

 

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…And tonight was no exception. As he promised after the Royal Rumble, Bubba Ray Dudley returned on tonight’s RAW only this time he brought his brother D-Von with him. WWE’s most decorated Tag Team Champions are back and they wasted no time destroying the Tag Team Champions The New Day. They wasted no time making their intentions known to The Prime Time Players clear: They’ve returned to show the current Tag Team division how it’s done.

In other News:

  • Braun Strowman made his WWE debut as a member of the Wyatt Family. He’s slightly smaller than the Big Show. Oh and of course he’s a monster heel, completely destroying Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. Obviously they’re gonna need to get someone who can match Strowman. There’s only two guys who come to mind who might be willing to step in: Mark Henry is the obvious choice and he likes Reigns. The other guy–and this is all based on good booking–would be Kane. Assuming of course Kane comes back as a Face.
  • John Cena got even with Jon Stewart, delivering an emphatic Attitude Adjustment to the former Daily Show host. The work was clearly rehearsed, as Stewart left the ring with a little assistance from WWE Security. Oh and this probably won’t be the last time we see Stewart in a WWE ring XD
  • The first two matches for Night of Champions seem to be set: Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker: Act III and Sting vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship. It is not yet known if Rollins will also have the U.S. Championship goint into Night of Champions but he won’t drop the WWE Championship til then at least.

Whew…I thought I posted this last week >.>;

Well, it’s a good thing I got it up before the next edition of RAW, which is tonight.

One thing worth noting is Hulk Hogan has been on his hands a knees on social media apologizing for racially inflammatory remarks he said that were made public last month. His contract with WWE was terminated within hours of the comments being made public. Comments that were said years ago from what I’ve researched. Ah, well. Like I said on Facebook, Hulk Hogan is obviously trying to get WWE to rehire him. I’m pretty sure they will after a bit more time passes.

 

The Post-Pay Per View RAW never disappoints