Backlash done, Money in the Bank up next!

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…How shall I put this? When the best match on the card is the opener, it says alot. When the house crowd heads for the exits as soon as Roman Reigns comes out, you know Vince McMahon has no choice but the make some hard decisions he knows he doesn’t want to make about his new top guy.

At this point, one three things will need to happen and it should happen ASAP:

  1. Roman Reigns Heel turns: Fast track to this would be to have Reigns destroy a Top Babyface. Seth Rollins and/or Finn Balor would be sufficient. Taking out Braun Strowman…that would instantly put him Over.
  2. Braun Strowman replaces Reigns as the new Top Guy: Let’s be honest, Strowman could Heel turn and he would STILL be over. He got Over when he destroyed Roman Reigns several times last year as a Heel. Strowman would be a safe bet at this point now that he’s worked with all the top talent on the roster at this point.
  3. Someone Else Replaces Reigns as the new Top Guy: AJ Styles could pull it off as could D-Bry, who are both Over with the WWE Universe already.

 

According to some sources, WWE’s plan for Roman Reigns is to book him like they did Daniel Bryan with a “management is keeping me from the title” angle. The problem is the reason it worked with Daniel Bryan is because originally the plan was for Batista, who won the Royal Rumble in 2014 was originally booked to win the WWE Championship off Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 30.

Orton annd Triple H convinced Vince and Batista putting D-Bry over would be the better storyline so they changed the card that year. Batista’s part-time contract with WWE would be expiring after Wrestlemania 30 and he needed to return to Hollywood to help promote the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. So, the card was changed so D-Bry would both get his revenge on Triple H and win the Title in the same night in two separate matches.

…The rest is history.

I suspected this might have been the plan for Reigns when Vince Kayfable temporarily suspended him for running his mouth. I am willing to see how things turn out but the obvious problem is Reigns can’t cut a good promo for shit. He was destroyed on the mic trying to cut promos with John Cena last summer leading up to their match at Summer Slam as a reminder. His ring skills aren’t the problem. His problem is he lacks the charisma and mic skills to be a Babyface.

I do think “Roman vs. Authority” could work as long as Triple H isn’t involved since he was used already. When Rollins came back from the knee injury that forced him to vacate the WWE Championship two years ago, things were set in motion for his Face turn. It was well executed and was organically done, ending with the Rollins vs. Triple H. Match at Wrestlemania 33.

…On that note. Roman Reigns beat Triple H for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 32 using the “Regins vs. The Authority” angle. Ironically, that was when the house crowd started booing him actually. The WWE Universe realized then that Reigns was going to be the new top guy and felt he hadn’t earned it like the guys before him did.

As I said before, the plan for him could work BUT Triple H can’t be involved this time since he was used before already and it didn’t work. Having him feud with Shane could work, however.

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All the titles defended at Backlash were retained. Neither of the tag team titles were defended, nor was the Universal Title. On that note, Brock Lesnar is not booked to compete at Money in the Bank and that’s probably just as well. It’s no longer a secret Lesnar is in talks with UFC to compete at some point later this year. Since WWE and UFC are on friendly terms between Lesnar, Ronda Rousey (And Bobby Lashley and Shana Baszler), it might be a cross-promotion opportunity if Lesnar has the Universal Title when he competes on UFC.

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Speaking of UFC-WWE crossovers.

Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, who along with Shayna Baszler and Ronda Rousey were known as the Four Horsewomen of UFC reported to the WWE Development Center in Orlando earlier this week. They will presumably follow in Baszler’s footsteps and go through NXT before moving on to the main roster.

The four were involved in an awkwardly cut promo involving three of NXT’s Four Horsewomen Bayley, Charlotte and Becky Lynch (Sasha Banks was the only one who wasn’t there) during the Mae Young Classic last year (which Baszler competed in and is the current NXT Women’s Champion).

Now that Shafir and Duke are both coming to WWE, the challenge Rousey famously threw down could happen. Since all PPVs are now crossbrand, it will no longer matter who’s on which roster either.

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This year’s Money in the Bank PPV happens June 17 and will be crossbrand. Like last year, there will be a match for men and women BUT superstars from both brands will be involved.

The following Men have qualified so far:

  • Braun Strowman
  • Finn Balor
  • The Miz
  • Rusev

 

The following Women have qualified so far:

  • Ember Moon
  • Charlotte Flair
  • Mandy Rose

 

There will presumably be four superstars from each brand involved. Whoever wins the match gets the briefcase for their brand. I predict RAW will get the Women’s Briefcase and Smackdown will get the Men’s Briefcase.

16 out of 19 cash-in attempts were successful. Who were the three failed cash-ins? Let’s revisit that:

  • John Cena: Cena became the first person to fail to cash in the Money in the Bank Briecase in 2012: He famously announced a week in advance he would be cashing it on then current WWE Champion CM Punk at RAW 1000. Thanks to The Big Show running interference, the attempt ended in failure.
  • Damien Sandow: Won the briefcase in 2013 and failed to cash it in vs. John Cena, who was the current WWE Champion at the time.
  •  Baron Corbin: Tried to cash in vs. then WWE Champion  Jinder Mahal last year when they were both on Smackdown but failed due to interference from Randy Orton. In truth, Corbin was booked for the failed cash-in as punishment for some backstage comments to a guest speaker he took issue with.

O

 

 

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Backlash done, Money in the Bank up next!

Superstar Shakeup Reveals

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Now that the dust has settled, let’s talk about who changed rosters.

Here are the Superstars who debuted on RAW from Smackdown or NXT:

  • Jinder Mahal
  • Suni Singh
  • Samil Singh
  • Liv Morgan
  • Sarah Logan
  • Ruby Riott*
  • Fandango
  • Tyler Breeze
  • Natalya*
  • Dolph Ziggler*
  • Drew McIntyre* (from NXT)
  • Baron Corbin*
  • Bobby Roode*
  • Viktor
  • Konnor
  • Zack Ryder
  • Mojo Rowley
  • Chad Gable
  • Mike Kanellis
  • Maria Kanellis (When she returns from Maternity Leave)

* Denotes I predicted this Superstar would be moving in my previous post

Jinder Mahal was revealed as the first Superstar from Smackdown coming to RAW. He dropped the U.S. title his brought with him to Jeff Hardy. The Singh Brothers–one of whom is still recovering from injury–are presumed to be moving to RAW as well. Backstage, Jinder Mahal had a run-in with No Way Jose (from NXT), who debuted last week.

Bayley and Sasha Banks had their match interrupted by The Riott Squad–all of them.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were introduced by The Miz as part of the RAW roster despite the events of last week. Kurt Angle came out to point this out but was rebuffed by Sami Zayn, who revealed Stephanie McMahon reversed the decision and gave both KO and Zayn a RAW contract. That’s when Kurt Angle decided to drop a surprise of his own when he revealed The Miz would be going to Smackdown. Not Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas, mind you but just The Miz (and presumably Maryse when she returns from Maternity Leave).

Backstage, Breezango and Natalya were revealed as coming to RAW. Dolph Ziggler came down the the ring but was interrupted by Titus Worldwide. That’s when Dolph revealed he didn’t come alone: Drew McIntyre (cue “HOLY SHIT!” chant) came out of nowhere and together they destroyed Titus and Apollo.

After the match involving Natalya and Mandy Rose, Baron Corbin was revealed to be coming to RAW offscreen. Bobby Roode was also revealed be the Mystery Superstar Kurt Angle mentioned earlier to be involved in the main even 5 on 5 main event tag match.

The Ascension, Mojo Rowley, Zack Ryder, Chad Gable and Mike Kanellis were revealed to be moving to RAW overnight. It’s presumed Maria Kanelis will join her husband on RAW when she returns from Maternity Leave.

 

Here are the Superstars who debuted on Smackdown from RAW or NXT:

  • Chris Jericho (Presumed)
  • The Miz
  • Maryse (When she returns for Maternity Leave)
  • Jeff Hardy*
  • Sonya Deville
  • Mandy Rose
  • Samoa Joe*
  • Big Cass*
  • Asuka*
  • Luke Gallows*
  • Karl Anderson*
  • Sheamus*
  • Caesao*
  • R-Truth
  • Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega (from NXT)
  • Eric Young (From NXT)
  • Alexander Wolfe (From NXT)
  • Killian Dain (From NXT)

* Denotes I predicted this Superstar would be moving in my previous post

Due to drama over The Undertaker’s Casket Match over the weekend, it was revealed Chris Jericho will likely be on Smackdown Live the next time we see him.

Shelton Benjamin (Still a Heel), whose tag team partner Chad Gable was sent to RAW overnight demanded competition and so Randy Orton came out. Orton walked halfway to the ring before he awkwardly stopped and waited for a few moments for the new U.S. Champion Jeff Hardy’s music to hit. Jeff Hardy, who made his return from injury and took the U.S. Title from Jinder Mahal the night before on RAW was revealed to be the second Superstar coming to Smackdown from RAW. He competed with Shelton Benjamin in a non-title match on the spot.

The remaining members of Absolution–Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose–were revealed to be coming to Smackdown offscreen. After the commercial break, Samoa Joe came down to the ring where he made SinCara tap out but not before putting him to sleep. After the match, he reminded everyone in the arena he’s a Heel by calling out Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles. He also promo’d his matches with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at The Greatest Royal Rumble and Backlash.

Backstage, Big Cass interrupted an interview Daniel Bryan was having with Renee Young, sizing him up before walking away. He and Shinsuke Nakamura would interrupt the main event match when they separately attacked AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan.

After Charlotte and Becky Lynch got tied up with Carmella, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay (from NXT, debuted last week), Asuka came out to give them some back up. It was revealed going into commercial break that Anderson and Gallows will be coming to Smackdown to join their old friend AJ Styles.

The Bar announced they were coming to Smackdown, which they asked for in the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania 34. Backstage, R-Truth was revealed was revealed to now be on Smackdown from RAW after taking some time off. The ominous faction from NXT known as SAnity was revealed to be coming to Smackdown offscreen going into the commercial break as well.

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…There you have it.

It would be fair to say Smackdown won this year by Subtraction. Most of who were sent to RAW wasn’t being used much on Smackdown. Most notably The Miz, Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy and Andrade Almas are either top tier-level or could be worked toward it.

In the Tag Division, The Bar, Gallows + Anderson and SAnity will work great opposite The Usos, The New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers. Smackdown’s Tag Team division was must-see before and who they picked up made it even better.

In the Women’s Division, clearly things are being set up for the Women’s Tag Team titles to come. The Iconic Duo and Absolution are obviously a team each already so that means pairing at least two more teams.

As for RAW, most of who they dropped was to make room for who they gained since Wrestlemania. As an aside, RAW no longer carries 205 Live matches so that’s more time for the actual RAW roster. It’s now truly a separate brand like NXT is.

RAW’s biggest gains were in the singles midcard obviously. Baron Corbin, Jindar Mahal, Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode can all be pushed into the main event so we’ll see. The other additions weren’t as noteworthy because of Ember Moon and The Authors of Pain arriving from NXT last week and Drew McIntyre coming this week.

So, Smackdown won by Subtraction like I said before. They became much stronger as a brand overall. RAW’s biggest gains were all NXT callups + The Riott Squad + Natalya. Time will tell if everyone else will get much use on either brand.

Overall, 60% of my predictions from my previous post changed brands and I am impressed, more so given I expected to get far less right.

Superstar Shakeup Reveals

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

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

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

The card for Wrestlemania 34 appears to be prettymuch set

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The only thing we won’t know until April 8 is the order of the matches. For those who haven’t been keeping up since the Royal Rumble, I got you covered.

Here is list of confirmed matches in the order I think it will be. Red is for RAW, Blue is for Smackdown and Black is for the Battle Royale Matches, 205 Live and cross-brand match on the card.

  • Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royale
  • The New Day vs. The Bludgeon Brothers vs. The Usos Triple Threat Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
  • Cedric Alexander vs. Mustafa Ali for Cruiserweight Championship
  • Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan
  • Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship
  • Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale
  • Nia Jaxx vs. Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship
  • Bobby Roode vs. Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton for the US Championship
  • Braun Strowman and “Mystery Partner” vs. Sheamus and Ceasaro for the RAW Tag Team Championship
  • Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship
  • John Cena vs. The Undertaker
  • Triple H and Stephanie McMahon vs. Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey
  • Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship
  • Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

…We’re talking 14 matches so far and at least four hours worth of content. It starts at 7PM EST and will definitely go until at least 11PM.

I’m fairly confident this ordering will be the flow of how the card plays out. Ever since I started watching Wrestlemania consecutively starting with WM31, I’ve started to predict the ordering of the matches.

The ordering of the last four matches on my list may change but I am fairly sure those will be the last four matches on the card. If WWE is smart, they will save both Cena vs. Taker and Triple H + Steph vs. Angle + Rousey until close to the end. We already know the Universal Title is gonna change hands and it’s a rematch so it makes sense for Asuka vs. Charlotte to close out Wrestlemania 34 if it’s not Reigns vs. Lesnar.

Overall, almost everyone on both RAW and Smackdown will be involved in a Wrestlemania match between the Battle Royales and the multi-person matches. That includes both GMs and both Commissioners.

It looks like the Bray Wyatt vs. “Woken” Matt Hardy feud was wrapped up last week but we may see one or both of them in the Battle Royale. Both but especially Bray Wyatt needs someone new to feud with. Between the horribly done Sister Abigail promo and the needlessly drawn out feud with Matt hardy, he needs to but put set up to win a title when he returns. Not put over someone but win a title. Reigns or Rollins (both expected to win Gold) would work so…yeah.

Of course, the RAW and Smackdown after Wrestlemania will give us an idea of when the expected Roster Shakeup will happen, let alone if there will be a change in regards to the GMs and Commissioners of both brands.

The card for Wrestlemania 34 appears to be prettymuch set

Two RAW Superstars cleared to return, two Wrestlemania Spoilers and Summer Slam

…Whew. I opened Bleacher Report to verify one thing and got a ton of other info I wasn’t aware of instead. LOL.

Fair warning: I’m gonna start with the two Wrestlemania Spoilers. Scroll down to the picture of Big Cass if you do not want to be spoiled.

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A venue hosting a WWE house show later this year apparently spoiled the outcome of the Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship at WM34 in their advertisement of a match involving Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. The Miz is obviously going to drop the title so he can take time off since his wife is due to give birth to their daughter soon. Everyone knows that. My prediction was actually that Rollins would win the title but this leak prettymuch confirms he will.

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…We already know Charlotte is booked to drop the Smackdown Women’s Championship to Asuka. What’s REAL interesting is apparently, there are talks for Asuka to defend the title against Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania 35 next year (WM35 will be at the MetLife Arena in New Jersey). This would mean Asuka would hold the Women’s Championship for 12 months and it’s also assuming she isn’t forced to vacate the title due to injury like Finn Balor, Seth Rollins and D-Bry have in recent years. The precident was set this year: Rousey will win the 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble and challenge Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

I’m not sure if this is a good idea personally, more so given it appears Carmella is being set up to cash in her Money in the Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania ala Seth Rollins. Of course, Carmella COULD cash it in on Alexa Bliss but as well but that would kill the emotional buildup for Alexa’s title match with Nia Jaxx. That means Carmella either has a failed cash-in (I don’t think WWE will do this personally) or she will cash in for the RAW Women’s Championship, which I think might be the plan after all.

It could be set up for Carmella to cash in the briefcase right after the title changes hands at Wrestlemania or the following night on RAW. That way, they can build a 3-way feud involving Nia, Carmella and Alexa for the RAW Women’s Championship.

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It was recently announced both Samoa Joe and Big Cass have been cleared by WWE to return to RAW. Big Cass suffered a knee injury last summer after splitting from his former tag team partner Enzo Amore (fired by WWE in January). He was a Heel when he left but that could change, more so if he’s moved to Smackdown when he returns. Samoa Joe has been out since suffering a shoulder injury after his Summer Slam match with Brock Lesnar last year. Both men could make their return in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale as well.

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According to various sources, WWE plans to introduce Women’s Tag Team Championships titles–a pair for both RAW and Smackdown–“around the time of Summer Slam”. This tells me one thing for sure: The Bella Twins will likely be back either at Wrestlemania or right after. No question they will be back to help promote the new Women’s Tag Team Division.

Assuming they’re not broken up, The Riot Squad could become the second stable after The New Day to use The Freebirds Rule and THAT can be milked indefinitely just like The New Day has been. How The Freebirds Rule works is basically, any two members of the 3-person stable can be involved in title defenses and all 3 members are considered the Tag Team Champions.

…Moving on. There’s enough women on both rosters, nevermind potential NXT callups to form two or three tag teams on both RAW and Smackdown. Some teams that come to mind:

  • Alexa Bliss and Mickie James (RAW)
  • Torrie Wilson and Eve (Smackdown)
  • Lita and Trish Stratus (RAW)
  • The Bella Twins (Smackdown)
  • Becky Lynch and Naomi (RAW)
  • Tamina Snuka and Lana (Smackdown)
  • Absolution (RAW)
  • The Riot Squad (Smackdown)

…Looking ahead, I do see a few legends being brought back to help promote the RAW Women’s Tag Team Division like was done for the Women’s Royal Rumble. The four names I dropped all proved they still got it in January so…yeah. I do see Becky Lynch and Naomi being moved to RAW after Smackdown on that note with Asuka moving to Smackdown as the new Smackdown Women’s Champion. The named pairings don’t account for expected NXT callups post-Wrestlemania. Naomi being moved would also coincide with her husband Jimmy Uso and his brother Jey being moved to RAW to keep their marriage healthy.

 

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In an interview with Renee Young last year, D-Bry and Angle both said they would love to have a match with each other. The invterview happened before D-Bry was medically cleared to wrestle last week. Now that he is cleared to return to the ring, the match can actually happen. I don’t see WWE waiting until WM35 to make it happen so it’s certainly possible we will see it happen at Summer Slam later this year.

For storyline reasons, it makes sense for Kurt Angle to be moved to Smackdown after having a match with his bosses Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at WM34 and for related storyline reasons, Jason Jordan would likely go with him. Assuming D-Bry steps down as Smackdown GM and Stephanie vacates being the RAW Commissioner, all four leadership posts on both brands will be vacated after WM34. Could be interesting to see how that’s handled.

Image result for WWE Sasha Banks and Bayley

This is a bit off topic but as most of you know, some Superstars discuss their family and some do not. I don’t mean Charlotte (Ashley) Flair and Ric Flair or The Usos + Rikishi (Father and Sons), Jimmy Uso + Naomi (Husband and Wife), The Usos + Roman Reigns + The Rock + Nia Jaxx + Tamina Snuka (Cousins) or even Dean Ambrose + Renee Young (Husband and Wife).

I’m talking about Superstars and WWE Personalities who have family but don’t talk about them publicly, usually for privacy reasons. When asked in an interview a few years ago, Sasha Banks stated she doesn’t want to publicly talk about her husband (who works for WWE as a costume designer) as part of her character. I mean she doesn’t want to make mention of the fact to the WWE Universe she’s married even though most clearly know she is. She said this shortly after they married when her character’s popularity on the main roster started to take off. He is quiet and reserved and prefers to work behnd the scenes (he’s well aware of his wife’s popularity on that note and doesn’t mind). Sasha is very protective of him and this is also why I did not show you a picture of them together. As it happens, Bayley is engaged herself to a wrestler who is with an indie promotion. No wedding date has been set yet though.

Another example is Roman Reigns, who “disappeared” last year twice. Once was because of the Menningitis Outbreak that took him out of the TLC PPV Main Event. Everyone was aware of that. The other reason was for the birth of twins he and his wife welcomed earlier in the year (they also have a daughter together). This absence was never explained publicly though it was assumed he was taking a rest break.

Another example is Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas, who are actually brothers in real life. The Menningitis Outbreak that sidelined Reigns also sidelined the brothers but at different times. AJ Styles was called in to replace Bray Wyatt at TLC where he faced Finn Balor. It ended up being the best match on the card that night and was a welcome break from the horribly built feud between Balor and Wyatt more or less. Bo Dallas’ absence was explained as illness prior to TLC but in the case of Bray (and Reigns), he hadn’t shown the sympthoms yet. Their relationship isn’t part of their characters’ storylines obviously but when Bo got sick, his older brother getting sick wasn’t much of a surprise.

I could go on. One thing the last year and a half showed is there are unique challenges female superstars face when they start a family. Not everyone is Maryse and Brie Bella, who were very public with their pregnancies. In Brie’s case, she was already away from the ring when she became pregnant and in Maryse’s case she wasn’t part of a feud with another female superstar. Neither was Maria Kannelis (Also currently on Maternity Leave) on that note.

I won’t pretend to know what Naomi, Lana, Sasha, Nikki Bella or Bayley’s family plans are but four of the five are huge draws. No one knows what the future holds but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if WWE has a plan in place for if two or more top-tier female superstars are away for a year or more due to pregnancy. Brie taking time off to have a baby was both known and expected when she and D-Bry first got engaged. It was just a matter of when more or less after WM32.

Finally: I’ve mentioned The Bella Twins a few times but it looks like they’ll make an appearance in the Women’s Battle Royale at WM34, then officially return to the main roster shortly afterward. The reason they’re not back yet is mostly because of storylines for other talent leading up to Wrestlemania has priority. They’re both vets as well so…yeah.

Two RAW Superstars cleared to return, two Wrestlemania Spoilers and Summer Slam