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.

 

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

Tonight’s RAW makes it obvious: The Hounds of Justice will Reunite!

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Come on, we all know WWE was just waiting for the crowd to get behind Reigns again. It took Reigns being put over by John Cena at No Mercy last week but now things are set and primed. In comparison, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had a more straightforward path to this point:

 

  • Dean Ambrose was the only one of the three who remained a babyface after The Shield split up back in 2014. He is also the only one of the three who didn’t miss time de to injury (Rollins) or suspension (Reigns).  Ambrose teamed with Reigns at first during their feud with Rollins and The Authority through the rest of 2014 before he went solo. He would be involved in the Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 31 (which Daniel Bryan won) for the Intercontinental Championship but would win the title himself later that year. Ambrose would win the Money in the Bank briefcase and cash it in on the same night to become the WWE Champion. He would retain the title before being sent to Smackdown after the brand split later that year. Ambrose, alongside AJ Styles would carry the Blue Brand untii Ambrose was sent to RAW with the Intercontinental Championship earlier this year. Ambrose recently made up with Seth Rollins and the two are now the current RAW Tag Team Champions.
  • Seth Rollins Heel turned after he turned on Ambrose and Rollins, He became the first superstar to be WWE Champion and U.S. Champion at the same time after beating John Cena for the latter title in 2015. He would later defend both championships in the same night a month later, also a first. Rollins was forced to vacate the WWE Championship after suffering a devastating knee injury that sidelined him for 9 months. When he came back, his benefactor–Triple H–turned on him and gave the new Universal Championship to Kevin Owens. This also marked the beginnig of his Face Turn. Brock Lesnar winning the Universal Tile effectively took him out of the title picture for the forseeable future. So, WWE piulled the trigger on having him make amends with Ambrose. The two are now the current RAW Tag Team Champions.

 

…As of this week’s episode of RAW, The Shield is officially back together. All 3 men became WWE Champions after they split. Reigns won gold 3 times, Rollins twice and Ambrose twice, having quite the impressive run on Smackdown Live. On one night, all 3 of them was the WWE Champion: Reigns went in Champion, Rollins won the title and then Ambrose won the title from Rollins by cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase. It was quite the night!

We know the reformed Shield will have their sights set on The Miz, Sheamus and Cesaro going into TLC. Beyond that, we could see The more experienced Shield cut a path of destruction through the RAW roster leading into the Royal Rumble.

 

 

 

Tonight’s RAW makes it obvious: The Hounds of Justice will Reunite!

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

The Undertaker returns for Smackdown’s 900th Episode

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The Phenom returned for the first time since Wrestlemania and the first thing he did was get in the face of the man he faced in a Hell in a Cell Match in April. Shane McMahon, who dove off the top of the cell at the end of the match and came back like nothing happened the following night (LOL!). Speaking of, ‘Taker called the Smackdown Commissioner “The man who has no fear”, referring to their match at Wrestlemania.

Speaking to the WWE Universe, The Deadman said “Wrestlemania would no longer define who I am. I’m here for taking souls and digging holes”. Translation: The Undertaker is now a member of the Smackdown roster. He’s not going to be at Survivor Series but he has promised swift punishment should Team Smackdown’s Mens team lose. It’s worth noting he was looking at the WWE Championship when he gave his warning.

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Noticably absent from the 900th Episode were The Rock and John Cena. The Rock sent out a message via Instagram congratulating the brand based on his catchphrase on its 900th Episode. Hopefully he’ll be able to make it in person to the 1000th episode, which will likely be sometime in 2019.

While there was no explaination for Cena’s absence, he is scheduled to make an appearance next week following Survivor Series. It’s like I said a few months ago: Cena was drafted to Smackdown to help boost ratings. While the brand has been doing fine without him, he should at least be visible. Cena hasn’t appeared since his Triple Threat Match with AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose at No Mercy.

 

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Smackdown’s  Survivor Series Mens team (with team mascot james Ellesworth) invaded RAW when it looked like Shane and D-Bry’s meeting with Steph and Foley was about to end very badly. When all hell broke loose, Team RAW managed to drive off Team Smackdown thanks in no small part to the Monster Heel Braun Strowman.

The following night, RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte showed up during Nikki Bella’s match with Carmella and grabbed a seat at ringside. Things went to hell fast when the team captains started going at it. When the action moved into the ring the rest of Team RAW–Sasha Banks, Baley, Nia Jaxx and Alicia Fox–stormed the ring and attacked Nikki and Carmella, who tried to aid her fellow Smackdown teammate desite being opponents moments earlier. Team Smackdown coach Natalya arrived with the rest of Team Smackdown–Naomi, Alexia Bliss and Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch–but it didn’t look like it would be enough to slow down Nia Jaxx. A missed tackle took her out of comission and evened the playing field for Team Smackdown, which managed to fend off the rest of Team RAW.

This is the first time we’ve seen cross-brand clashes since the buildup for Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton’s match at Summer Slam a few months ago. Of course, it makes sense given Survivor Series is a cross-brand Pay Per View. The next cross-brand Pay Per View will be the Royal Rumble in January.

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Unsurprisingly, The Miz reclaimed the Intercontinental Championship. When Dolph Ziggler hold the title close before the match started, I knew he was booked to lose the title. The Miz will defend the IC title against RAW Superstar Sami Zayn at Survivor Series.

The Miz wasted no time rubbing his victory into D-Bry’s face on Talking Smack after Smackdown went off the air. The Smackdown GM reluctantly said he would be pulling for The Miz to successfully defend the IC Title at Smackdown: If the Miz loses the title, the IC title goes to RAW.

Personally, I think The Miz will retain. My reason for saying that is because of what D-Bry said after The Miz left the set. He said he’d been looking into trading The Miz to RAW for Sami Zayn or Caesaro. Of course, that was before he won back the IC title. There’s also the fact Stephanie McMahon said Sami Zayn will likely be off the roser if he fails to bring the IC title to RAW two weeks ago. So yeah, it makes more sense for Zayn to lose at Survivor Series, get released and sign with Smackdown. Dude kinda needs space to come into his own. He hasn’t really been used well on RAW.

…Plus RAW needs to make room for the eventual return of Finn Balor ala Seth Rollins.

The Undertaker returns for Smackdown’s 900th Episode

Smackdown Superstar Randy Orton invades Raw; Mixed Tag Matches Return

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…I knew when Lesnar’s promo was saved for last something BIG was going to happen. I knew from the last brand split cross-brand invasions were an inevitability. Even so, I never considered the possability it would happen so early. The only reason I can see it working is because of who’s involved: Orton, Lesnar and Heyman. Retaliation should be expected sooner if not later. LOL.

A man of few words, Orton RKO’d Lesnar and made his escaoe through the crowd before RAW Officials could touch him.

RAW kicked off with a mixed tag match–the first such match in a few years–involving Enzo Amore and WWE Women’s Champion Sasha Banks vs. Chris Jericho and Charlotte. It was pretty obvious Sasha and Charlotte just wanted in on Enzo’s promo–How you doin’?

For many in the house crowd, it was probably their first time seeing a match between male and female superstars. As per the rules, competators compete against the same-sex opponents. When a tag is made it counts for both sides prettymuch. Chyna and Lita were two exceptions to this rule that I’m aware of: They could hold their own against male superstars in the ring.

I think we might see male vs. female matchups moving forward due to the talent available on both rosters. From the promo being set up, I thought we were gonna see Banks vs, Jericho until Enzo’s music hit. Now that Big Cass and Kevin Owens are involved in the rivalry, things could be very interesting on RAW next week.

…Roman Reigns’ next opponent has been chosen: U.S. Champion Rusev.

In doing this, you remove him from the Universal Championship hunt, allow the Rollins/Balor feud to build and keep Reigns a Face. Well played, WWE. The two have clashed in the past but this time, the U.S. Title wil be on the line.

An interesting fun fact: Roman Reigns will be the last member of The Shield to win the U.S. Championship. Dean Ambrose won the title shortly after the Shield came to WWE and Seth Rollins became the first superstart to ever hold both the U.S. Title and the WWE Championship at the same time last year (he dropped the U.S. Title to Cena at Summer Slam and vacated the WWE Championship due to injury a few weeks later).

…This isn’t a tag match: D. Young and Titus are facing off in singles competition. The former longtime tag team partners came close to winning the Tag Team Championship during their second run as a team a few years ago as the Prime Time Players.

The new rivalry between the former friends is a clear message their days are partners are now over. Since becoming a singles competator, Titus O’Neil has gotten close to winning the U.S. Title and the WWE Championship but came up short. D. Young also came up short in his recent failed bid to get the IC Championship at Battleground. Titus also turned Heel. Here’s hoping it isn’t just for their feud.

Speaking of, it will be very important for WWE to have their next opponent(s) lined up before their feud reaches its end. More for D. Young’s sake than Titus.

…Ah, the return of Squash Matches. A Squash Match is basically what you’ve been seeing Strowman and Jaxx do two weeks in a row now: A match against a local competator who has no chance against them. Said local competator is fed to their opponent but it does give them publicity for smaller promotions that might want to sign them.

It’s more handy for Jaxx than Strowman in my book: Everyone already knows what Strowman is capable of. I assume WWE’s building him for a feud with another big man. The Big Show, Mark Henry, Rusev, Titus O’Neil or possibly even Brock Lesnar. It could be fun.

Nia Jaxx will definitely be in the title hunt soon. It could be as soon as the Sasha Banks/Charlotte Rivalry runs its course or shortly before: Sasha Banks certainly will want to have someone handy to deal with Dana Brook. LOL.

 

Smackdown Superstar Randy Orton invades Raw; Mixed Tag Matches Return

No titles change hands at Battleground 2016

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…The WWE Championship will remain with Smackdown. After a battle that lasted nearly 18 minutes, Dean Ambrose (Smackdown) hit Roman Reigns (RAW) with Dirty Deeds to pick up the victory. The question that was at the back of everyone’s minds was weather or not Ambrose and Reigns, who remains close friends after The Shield broke up would hold back on each other. The answer was an umemphatic no when Ambrose and Rollins (RAW) powerbombed Reigns through the Spanish Announcers’ table.

With Ambrose gaving retained the WWE Championship for Smackdown, this means RAW’s new top title should be announced Monday night. This also allows the Rollins/Reigns rivalry to continue right were it left off before the latter’s suspension.

The Miz (Smackdown) and Darren Young’s (RAW) match for the IC Championship ended in a no contest and the Miz retained the title for Smackdown. Rusev (RAW) also defeated Zack Ryder (Smackdown) to retain the US Title for RAW. The Women’s title (Charlotte, RAW) and the Tag Ream titles (The New Day, RAW) were not contested.

This leaves Smackdown with one mid-tier title (IC Title, The Miz) and the WWE Championship (Ambrose) while RAW has one mid-tier title (US Title Rusev), the Women’s Championship (Charlotte), the Tag Team titles (The New Day) and a vacancy in the brand’s yet to be announced top title.

New rivalries are sure to be introduced this week on RAW and Smackdown. You can believe that!

No titles change hands at Battleground 2016

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]