The Undertaker retires at Wrestlemania 33

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…The rumors turned out to be true: Wrestlemania 33 would be Mark Calloway aka The Undertaker’s last match of his career. The 52 year old Superstar was clearly given full control for what would be his final match on the stage that made him a legend. When it was announced Thursday that Jim Ross would be coming back to call one match, we knew it would likely be for one of three matches. It turned out it was ‘Taker vs. Reigns, which itself turned out to be the main event on the card (The other two possabilities being Lesnar vs. Goldberg and Orton vs. Wyatt). The clincher was when the match was made the main event over the 3 title matches before them in which a new Champion was crowned. (Lesnar, Orton and Naomi).

Anyone who’s followed The Undertaker’s career knows the laundry list of accomplishments credited to him name, most of which involve Wrestlemania. I won’t go over all of them but of course. ‘Taker holds two records that will probably never be approached: Most Wrestlemania matches (25) and longest Wrestlemania streak (21). His only losses were at WM30 vs. Brock Lesnar, who ended The Streak and this year at WM33 vs. Roman Reigns, who comes from a family of Wrestling Legends (Rikishi, The Rock and so on).

It would probably be accurate to say Vince McMahon allowed The Undertaker to choose his final opponent and where. He did pick Lesnar to be the one to end The Streak, after all. The Deadman had expressed a strong interest in working with Daniel Bryan a few years ago but due to a career-ending neck injury after Wrestlemania 31, D-Bry was off the table. Choosing The Big Dog was very symbolic.

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As was the promo for their match, ‘Taker chose Roman Reigns to be the new cornerstone of Wrestlemania. While I don’t see Reigns donnning ‘Taker’s gear and coming out to his music, he will become the new standard of greatness at Wrestlemania.

Simply having competed against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania would raise his profile but actually winning the match? The Roman Empire will now rule Wrestlemania for years to come barring the unforseeable. While it’s doubtful Reigns will compete in 20 more Wrestlemania matches, he will have alot of big ones. Last year’s match vs. Triple Hfelt stale compared to his singles debut at Wrestlemania 31 vs. Brock Lesnar.

Speaking of: Alot of folks were apparently expecting Roman Reigns to Heel turn during this match just like last year vs. The Game. I don’t see him becoming another John Cena but I think he will Heel turn before the year is over.

Undertaker Retires WrestleMania

The Undertaker had his last match  but I doubt we’ve seen the last of him. I would not be surprised at all if he is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next year. It would be fitting. The WWE allowed him to go out in style and to retire with dignity. Who can forget how The Deadman had to be carted out of the ring after Wrestlemania 28? That was perhaps when The Deadman truly realized he was running out of time.

There were rumors his match with Shane was supposed to be his final match but due to post-show rumors about him, it’s likely WWE Officials wanted things to be more definite this time. Man, what a send off. The picture above says it all. The Undertaker is now free to disappear into the sunset.

…I will talk about other Wrestlemania news and results in two separate posts throughout today and tomorrow by brand. Later today, I will do one for RAW. Tomorrow, I will do one for Smackdown.

 

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The Undertaker retires at Wrestlemania 33

This time, RAW and Smackdown are taking their time filling the card for Wrestlemania

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The Show of Shows is less than four weeks away and there’s been some pretty great buildups for the most part.

Here are the confirmed matches so far:

  • Brock Lesnar vs. Universal Champion Goldberg (Title Match): I doubt even WWE could have imagined 6 months ago this would be happening. A title being on the line just made this more interesting. Goldberg going in as the Universal Champion was likely set two weeks before Fastlane. That said, the title changing hands was long overdue. That said, this is going to be one hell of a match and the pressure is on to make it last more than a few minutes. The winner doesn’t matter as long as the match lasts longer than Goldberg’s last two matches did.
  • Kevin Owens vs. U.S. Champion Chris Jericho (Title Match): I’m glad KO finally dropped the belt and Jericho as not much was being done with him. He never defended the title cleanly (expected since he’s a Heel) but when Triple H stepped in last month, you knew change was (finally) coming. This match makes no sense but given the Universal Championship is now out of KO’s reach, he’ll have to wait for his opportunity to get it again.
  • Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. RAW Women’s Champion Bayley (Title Match): I get the feeling this will becoming a fatal four-way including Nia Jaxx before long. It would only make sense.
  • The Big Show vs. ????: The original plan was for the The Big Show to fight Shaquille O’Neal at Wrestlemania but according to Shaq, the match might not happen after all and it’s “out of his hands”. That usually means the problem is on WWE’s end. My guess is WWE probably wants The Big Show to put someone over at Wrestlemania. Either that or The Big Show might not be able to carry a full match at Wrestlemania.
  • Seth Rollins vs. Triple H: This is one of those feuds in which the line between Kayfabe and Reality is blurred. This match has been built since Triple H handed KO the Universal Championship 8 months ago. We won’t even known if Rollins will be healthy enough to compete at Wrestlemania until then. That’s how touch and go it is with him right now. It’s good to see they’re using the same strategy they used when Wade Barrett was recovering from a shoulder injury a few years ago and keeping Rollins visible.
  • Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (23-1): We knew it was a done deal a few weeks ago. The match is now being built as of this week’s episode of RAW. This is a good opportunity for Reigns to Heel turn for the first time since The Shield break up, which I think this match is being built for.
  • Andre the Giant Battle Royale: We know it’s happening. That’s basically it so far. Smackdown’s Baron Corbin won the match last year.
  • Randy Orton vs. WWE Champion Bray Wyatt (Title Match): One of the three confirmed matches so far from Smackdown. Orton suddenly allying with Bray Wyatt after feuding with him was definitely strange. As everyone thought, it was all part of a bigger plan to book the two in a match for Wrestlemania only this time, it’s for the WWE Championship. Should Orton win the title, he will pass Triple H (also 12 title reigns) and be 3 wins behind Ric Flair and John Cena (tied at 16).
  • Smackdown Women’s Champion Alexia Bliss vs. All (Title Match): Shane and D-Bry announced on the latest episode of Smackdown The Wicked Witch will face “All available Female Superstars from Smackdown”. The only person who won’t be there is Naomi, who was forced to give up the title due to injury two weeks ago.
  • Baron Corbin vs. Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose (Title Match): What happens when The Unstoppable Force meets The Unmovable Object? You get one hell of a match that’s what.

…Those are the confirmed matches so far. We could see Cena and Nikki team up to face The Miz and Maryse at Wrestlemania. I think that could be a real good match if it happens. I also think we will see AJ Styles make it to Wrestlemania. We’ll know in the next two weeks who his opponent will be.Save

This time, RAW and Smackdown are taking their time filling the card for 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

Former 1996 Olympic Athlete Kurt Angle to be inducted into the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame

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This is easily the biggest surprise entrant in the history of the WWE Hall of Fame so far. Not because of who it is but why he left and where he went after he left WWE.

Kurt Angle.

Before Brock Lensar, John Cena and Randy Orton, there was The Gold Medalist. Kurt Angle, who wrestled for the Team USA at the 1996 Olympics and won Gold (“Where are YOUR Gold Medals?”) came to WWE in 1998. Angle came at just the right time: Shortly after his arrival, WCW’s Finger Poke of Doom happened (Their commentators announced in advance Mick Foley was going to win the WWE Championship, which ultimately cost them The Monday Night Wars). With their biggest competition beginning to tank and WWE asserting itself as the winner of The Monday Night Wars, Kurt Angle led the charge.

He did everything: Put over new talent, had title runs and took on all challengers. Folks need to be reminded of John Cena’s first match in WWE:

…if not for this match, John Cena would not have become a 15-time Champion. It can easily be argued John Cena owes alot to Kurt Angle on a professional level. You can easily see glimpses of the superstar Cena would go on to become not long after being put over by Angle this match and after it.

Angle spent most of his WWE career as a Babyface Heel. Unlike most of the other Heels who came before and after him, Angle was an athlete and he was so damn good both in the ring and selling a promo almost all of his wins as a Heel were clean wins.

By 2006 John Cena, Randy Orton, Dave Bautista and Brock Lesnar (before the latter two left) were major draws for the company and WWE was finding it harder to work The Olympic Athele in new storylines. After being sidelined with many injuries during the latter part of his career, he was quietly released from WWE in 2006.

His arrival on TNA later that year would prove to be the second wind he needed as a wrestler. Angle would go on to become the biggest superstar in TNA and would later be joined by other former WWE Superstars in Matt Hardy, Bubba Ray Dudley and more recently Cody Rhodes, Stu Bennett (Wade Barrett in WWE), Ryback and Aron Rex (Damien Sandow in WWE). The story goes AJ Styles and Samoa Joe both left TNA for WWE after talking to Angle.

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…It is worth noting, however Kurt Angle didn’t leave WWE on bad terms. In fact, he never spoke negatively about the company during his time with TNA. He still has alot of respect and class to say the least. Angle left TNA in 2015, announcing he was taking a year off from Wrestling but was prettymuch done with TNA. It goes without saying he’s trying to position himself for a possible return to the WWE. Angle was inducted into TNA’s Hall of Fame in 2013.

In an interview he gave last year, Angle said “it’s not a question of if he will return to WWE but when”. His induction into the WWE Hall of Fame being an olive branch aside, Angle did say he was very interested in having a match with Daniel Bryan. He also said he would like to have his final match with fellow TNA Alumn AJ Styles. I think it’s fair to say he will likely compete on Smackdown in that case (which he did during the first brand split).

Now that the way has been paved to make it happen, it’s a question now of when Angle himself will make his first WWE appearance in 10 years. I suspect it won’t be until after the Royal Rumble given he’s clearly looking to come back and perform. Me personally, he needs to be booked for a match John Cena. it would truly be an epic match to watch. Hell, book it for Summer Slam if not Wrestlemania =O

Former 1996 Olympic Athlete Kurt Angle to be inducted into the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame

More Op-Eds urge Ronda Rousey to pursue a WWE Career

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…At this point, I think it’s only a matter of time.

After losing in her redebut match in 48 seconds at UFC 207, it’s become painfully clear to everyone–most importantly Rousey herself–her MMA days are over. Her best bet is to take her talents to WWE, which she is already on very good terms with. She has said in the past she’d like to compete in the WWE several times before. It’s not a matter of IF but WHEN at this point. She is a huge WWE fan after all.

Rousey famously appeared alongside The Rock, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a promo at Wrestlemania 31. If WWE isn’t on the phone with Rousey right now, they should be. Getting Rousey would probably kill TNA and bring in more UFC fans at the same time just to watch her.

Maybe even have her introduced as a Free Agent at Wrestlemania.  Steph and Shane come out and introduce her. Rousey comes out, crowd goes nuts. Rousey says she came for one purpose and that was to win the Women’s Championship. The current RAW and Smackdown Women’s Champions come out to size her up. Shane speaks up saying Rousey may have signed a WWE contract but she hasn’t signed with either brand yet.

The months leading up to Summer Slam, Rousey appears on both shows. Then she’s booked in a match against both Women’s Champions. She will join the show of whichever Champion she beats. However, she will go to opposite show of whichever Champion beats her.  THAT would be good booking.

Make it happen, WWE!

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More Op-Eds urge Ronda Rousey to pursue a WWE Career

On second thought, let’s revisit the Roman Reigns hate

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During the 2 minutes I spent getting the results of AJ Styles and Chris Jericho’s match at a particular forum last night, I was reminded of why I stopped posting on said forum I won’t name: Folks bitch and complain about anything and everything. The funny thing is they don’t hate Roman Reigns per se. Just the company he works for. Why? Because Kayfabe is mostly dead and Reigns has been getting pushed since The Shield broke up two years ago.

Roman Reigns is the epitome of the term you can’t please everyone. He is the WWE’s next marquee headliner like it or not. He is not Seth Rollins’ stand-in. He EARNED his place just like Rollins did.

When The Shield first came to the WWE four years ago, everyone knew that Reigns would have a solid solo career. The Shield breaking up was done to give the fans just that. The plan wasn’t as well-received as hoped as folks chose to rally around Seth Rollins instead. I don’t have a problem with Rollins on that note. He’s easily the second-best main event Heel after Bray Wyatt in my opinion. Even so, I expect Rollins to Face turn upon his return in a few months.

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The house crowd’s reaction to Reigns when he came out…I’m sure it shocked all of the McMahons who were there. None more than Reigns if I had to guess. More so given Triple H ended up carrying the match. It was obviously a message not for Reigns but WWE’s Creative Team, who are likely still freaking out over the crowd reaction.

This was clearly not the reaction anyone backstage anticipated. Was it because of poor booking? The experience gap? Missteps with the buildup? All three will be re-examined in the days and weeks to come behind the scenes. Me, I see it as just plain hate.

This isn’t the first time the main event’s clear winner was booed the whole match. As I mentioned in my previous post, the other guy was John Cena at WM 29. This despite The Rock extending an olive branch after the match. Of course, in that case the hate was legit: The match was booked the RAW after WM28. A mistake WWE will not repeat. LOL.

You look around the internet today and all you see is negative reactions to Reigns winning the WWE Championship and WM32 in general. It’s a constant reminder of why I decided to take over this blog last year. Filter out the crap and draw your own conclusions. Everyone has an opinion and thinks theirs is the only one that should matter.

To those who get off bashing WWE, you’re wasting your time. FInd something more productive to do with your time like watching paint dry.

On second thought, let’s revisit the Roman Reigns hate

The WM32 card’s almost a carbon copy of WM31’s now

…Minus Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan.

I’m even having second thoughts on weather I should bother watching at all–I already know Roman Reigns is booked to win the WWE Title.It’s just about seeing how the match ends and what happens immediately afterward.

Vince prettymuch turning the Shane vs. ‘Taker Hell in a Cell Match into a Retirement Match was predictable and killed the hype I had for it at the same time. Turning it into a retirement match for ‘Taker was overkill and not necessary.

The boys and girls over at Gamefaqs’ WWE Board called it right: Vince suddenly returning after being offscreen for almost 4 years was for WM32. We just didn’t know what role he would play…until Shane returned. Reigns’ feud with Triple H turned out to be a Red Herring–he was really brought back to make the ‘Taker vs. Shane WM match.

That said, I now agree with those who’ve said from the beginning this was terrible booking. I waited to see how the match would be promo’d before I drew any conclusions, This latest move was an obvious marketing effort to get new WWE Network Subscriptions and on that note, I re-subbed for WM32 last week. I get they needed to find an opponent for both Shane and ‘Taker for WM32 but each other? It’s a one-sided mismatch ‘Taker won’t cleanly lose.

A look at some of his recently workout videos are a good indication of why: The guy’s pushing 60 and he can lift 1000 lbs. The footage of Shane’s insane training is impressive but vs. ‘Taker, it won’t be enough as ‘Taker said to him last week. It’s all about who’s been booked to win. I’ll be fine with the popular wish for Shane to win but the match itself was unnecessary.

Given the more likely opponents for ‘Taker–D-Bry or Sting–were off the table due to career-ending neck injuries, they had to find SOMEONE. Renewing the Brothers of Destruction vs. Wyatt Family feud would have been much better booking in my opinion. As for Shane, having him face Sheamus or The Miz would’ve made Shane look credible even with the same stipulations placed on the ‘Taker/Shane match. While it is true The League of Nations is booked to fight The New Day at WM, taking one away would still make it a 3 on 3 match.

 

Speaking of, here’s where the headline for this article comes into play: As we all know, there was a ladder match for the IC Title at WM31. That match involved King Barrett (title holder), D-Bry (who won the match), Ambrose, R-Truth, Luke Harper, Dolph Zliggler and Stardust.

If those last two names sound familiar, they should: Ziggler and Stardust were both involved in what turned out to be D-Bry’s final Wrestlemania match. If KO doesn’t retain, I’m sure Ziggler or Sami Zahn will win, If not one of them then The Miz. I’ll have to check but I think this might be Zack Ryder and Sin Carra’s first WM appearances. Pretty impressive if it is.

This may be for the Divas Championship–and on that note, I expect the title to change hands–but it certainly won’t be the only Divas match on the card. It’s obvious Lana vs. Brie Bella is being set up. Possibly even a third match involving Paige and Natalya vs. Naomi and Tamina during the pre-show.

Speaking of the Pre Show–

…The USOs vs. The Dudley Boyz.

Making the Dudleys heels for this match was a pretty bold but predictable move. It could be made even more interesting if it becomes a Table Match.

…Let’s be honest, we know it’s gonna happen. It just hasn’t been announced yet.

AJ Styles is so over with the WWE universe. Folks will just need to be patient for a little bit longer but AJ will definitely be put in the hunt for the WWE Championship. Just not anytime soon.

…Besides, Orton and Cena are both expected to return shortly after Wrestlemania.

I predict Cena getting one, maybe two more title runs. Whoever isn’t placed in the title picture shortly after their return will be used to make Reigns’ title run look credible. The other will be used to help other other superstars.

We know Cena’s a company guy and after the last year and a half it’s obvious WWE’doesn’t want him to hold the title for a least a little while longer. That means Orton will be working with Reigns while Cena joins The Big Show by working with the midcards who need a little more help getting over.

…Whew. Somewhere along the way this post lost its way XD

At some point I’ll put a few lists together. After all, WWE’s got all of the right pieces it needs to bring in new fans and more revenue through Merchandise and WWE Network. It’s all about how said pieces are used.

 

The WM32 card’s almost a carbon copy of WM31’s now