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!

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No titles change hands at Battleground 2016

Pre-Draft Updates and News

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…With the way RAW ended, among other things buzz is high going into tonight’s WWE Draft on the first Live edition of Smackdown, which will also be on Tuesdays starting tonight. Stephanie McMahon will be the Commissioner of RAW while Mick Foley will be the GM. Shane McMahon will be the Commissioner of Smackdown while Daniel Bryan will be the GM. Vince McMahon drew the battle lines last week on RAW.

Both shows will compete against each other and already RAW has two big advantages over Smackdown: Raw is one extra hour and it was announced last night RAW will host the Cruiserweight division. Assuming the Cruiserweight Championship is brought back (which I am here), it looks like both shows will have three titles.

Shane announced Smackdown, which has always been “The B-Show” embrace its current position of being The Underdog. RAW, which has always been the flagship show will now have some competition. As a reminder, WWE announced last month each brand will have its own PPV each month so there will be two PPVs a month after Summer Slam. Speaking of, I think we can expect the big four PPVs each year–Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Survivor Series and Summer Slam–to be cross-brand like they were during the first split.

…One other thing that hasn’t been said that I think might be in the works is a third show. WWE could certainly pull it off.

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A week removed from the shocking revelation Brock Lesnar failed UFC’s PED Drug Test a few weeks before his match a UFC 200, what this could mean for his return to WWE has been all the buzz in regards to the brand split. Bleacher Report announced this morning WWE has apparently decided to cut him from a scheduled appearance tonight on Smackdown for no apparent reason. He will be drafted to a roster either way, though.

Lesnar failing a drug test last month and apparently a second test taken a few weeks later has ramifications that’s become a PR nightmare for UFC. WWE will likely suspend Lesnar for failing the drug test as well. Remember: Roman Reigns is currently serving a 30-day suspension for violating WWE’s Health and Wellness policy.

At the very least, Lesnar is expected to suspended by WWE as well. If they decide to pull a Roman Reigns he would still be able to compete at Summer Slam. Reigns’ suspension is over as of today. As long as Lesnar’s suspension begins by Friday, he can still compete at Summer Slam against Randy Orton, which will be on August 21. Paul Heyman alone can promo the match so…yeah.

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…I think it’s safe to say last night’s match between Ambrose and Rollins ended in a no-contest. We will see an encore tonight on Smackdown. As a reminder, it doesn’t really matter who leaves with the belt tomorrow. It will be defended in a Triple Threat Match involving all three members of The Shield at Battleground on Sunday.

Speaking of the WWE Championship, that has become the belt’s name in recent weeks and WWE Champion for the title holder. That isn’t shorthand, mind you. As a reminder, when the brand split ended the belt was renamed the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That likjely means the other belt will be the World Heavyweight Championship.

It’s also become a bit obvious the Shield Feud and the brand split are connected: Whoever wins at Battleground wins the existing top title for their show. My prediction is Dean Ambrose retains and goes to Smackdown with Reigns while Rollins goes to RAW. They can immediately build the new top title on RAW the following night.

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…Before I list who I think will be the top Draft Picks, I want to say something I meant to say since I took over this blog last year. For those who missed it,  the PG Era died after the first brand split ended and while Triple H was building the Authority. WWE has been pretty overt about that fact in the last two years in particular–Assylum Match anyone? So for everyone who keeps saying “Get rid of the PG Era!” on Social Media, WWE got rid of it a long time ago.

We can expect things to get more wild and crazy after tonight ^_^

Now, here are my picks for who the top draft prospects will likely be:

  • John Cena
  • Brock Lesnar*
  • Roman Reigns
  • Seth Rollins
  • Dean Ambrose
  • AJ Styles
  • The New Day (3 People)
  • The Wyatt Family (4 people)
  • Sasha Banks
  • Becky Lynch
  • Charlotte
  • Paige
  • Nikki Bella (assuming she returns)
  • Brie Bella (assuming she returns)
  • Darren Young
  • The Miz
  • Sami Zahn
  • Kevin Owens
  • Cesaro
  • Titus O’Neil
  • Enzo Amore
  • Big Cass
  • Apollo Crews
  • Big Show
  • Kane
  • The Undertaker*

 

* Has a part-time contract and only competes in a few matches a year max

The Draft itself will likely take up most of the airtime. The only match I’m aware of on the card for tonight is the Ambrose/Rollins rematch. In addition, Steph announced RAW will get 3 picks for evey pick Smackdown gets. RAW will have a bigger by default. Some tag teams will be broken up–The Lucha Dragons actually split up ahead of the draft. The New Day and The Wyatt Family will likely stay together though.

Pre-Draft Updates and News

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Payback done; Extreme Rules next!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GASP!

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

Before I forget:

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

Hint: It’s not Kurt Angle.

Hint #2: His last name is Hardy.

…You may commence hype NOW.

Payback done; Extreme Rules next!

Breaking News: WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan retiring from in-ring action

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Daniel Bryan announced his decision a short time ago via Twitter. His retirement is effective immediately and is for in-ring action only. Thanks to the internet, we know what led to what was clearly a difficult decision for him. Sidelined with what can now be called a career ending neck injury in 2013, Bryan had two successful Wrestlemania runs, capturing a title both times–the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 30 and the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania 31. In both cases however, he was forced to vacate the title because of his neck injury which he suffered in 2013 during a storyline involving Kane and the breakup of Team Hell No.

It goes without saying this was the best-case outcome WWE wanted from the beginning in regards to Bryan, who married WWE Diva Brie Bella in 2014 (incidentally, her sister Nikki is dating John Cena and their mother is engaged to John Laurenitis): They took a huge risk booking Bryan to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 30 and got burned when he went on the injured list shortly afterward. The same thing happened last year when he won the IC Title in a ladder match at Wrestlemania 31. The only reason Bryan got both title shots was because of his cult following.

Vince will likely be hated for this in the short term by fans but in the long term, it was the right decision. Vince made it no secret he didn’t want Bryan to have either of his recent title shots at all because of his neck injury. He would have been crazy to allow him to wrestle at all after that despite Bryan getting medically cleared by his doctors. If WWE’s medical team doesn’t clear you–and it’s doubtful they needed Vince to tell them not to–you don’t wrestle. It’s that simple.

Contrary to the haters, the WWE’s been doing well in recent years. Roman Reigns is being pushed and will likely win the WWE title at Wrestlemania 32 next month. It also looks like John Cena’s getting ready to hang it up to pursue other things as well. With Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins (when he returns), Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, AJ Stiles and other superstars, WWE can absorb the blowback from this and keep rolling.

That said, let’s talk about what could be next for the bearded one: Bryan said he is retiring from in-ring action. This will likely be for the remainder of his contract with WWE. It’s very likely he will look to wrestle for another promotion.

The question to be asked is where?

This will be a lot harder than folks think: WWE has connections to ALOT of promotions worldwide because of where so many Superstars came from. For example Paige was literally born in a ring. Her family runs a promotion in the UK. Same for Anoa’i Family (Roman Reigns and The Usos’ family), Goldust and Stardust and Randy Orton. Bryan’s got his work cut out for him finding a promotion WWE doesn’t have strong ties with that isn’t TNA. TNA’s likely gonna get bought out by WWE soon so…yeah.

 

Breaking News: WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan retiring from in-ring action

…And thus, the Main Event for Wrestlemania 32 has been set

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…The road to Wrestlemania 32 began at the Royal Rumble.

While my predictions for the main event’s outcome didn’t happen at all, I’m thoroughly impressed with how it ended. Triple H went off script a bit with is speech (as usual) on the post-Rumble RAW: I think it’s a safe bet he won’t defend the title at Fast Lane later this month.

Given this is the first time The Game will be competing against a non-Attitude Era Super Star who isn’t Brock Lesnar or Sting at Wrestlemania, Triple H is just holding the title for now. It was a dick move on his part and very predictable but storyline wise, it’s brilliant. For those keeping count, he is one win away from tying with John Cena, who himself is one WWE Title win away from tying Ric Flair’s 16-time record. As an aside, Cena’s taking some time off to focus on other things (kayfabe, he’s injured).

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Getting back to Wrestlemania 32, it will likely be Triple H vs. Roman Reigns. It’s no secret Trips has wanted to get in the ring with Reigns for a while at a PPV event. The table has been set. Let’s be honest: Dean Ambrose is the Intercontinental Champion and can be expected to defend said title at Wrestlemania.

Of course, Lesnar has also been booked for a match at Wrestlemania. The question is who will his opponent be. It’ll likely be made clear at Fast Lane but I’m guessing it will be against the Wyatt Family. There’s no DQ in Triple Threat matches so what’s likely to happen is the Wyatts get involved and cost Lesnar the win. Of course, Kane clearly has some unfinished business with the Wyatt family but I don’t see them teaming up. Lesnar fights Strowman while Kane fights Bray Wyatt.

We also know Sting has been booked to appear at Wrestlemania. The question is who will he face. All signs point to the REAL dream match fans want to see: Sting vs. The Undertaker. It would be interesting to say the least. Speaking of The Deadman: he’s said he’s got enough in the tank to compete at Wrestlemania so…yeah.

Finally, where does this leave The Rock? We know he’s not hosting and it’s not yet known if he will be in a match or if he’ll just do a skit like last year. I’m thinking he’ll appear in a skit but be ringside for The Usos or Roman Reigns’ match–they ARE his cousins, after all.

Charlotte’s Heel turn and Sasha Banks’ Face turn appears to be complete as of the Royal Rumble. We knew there was no way in hell Charlotte was gonna be able to feud with Becky Lynch as a Face so…yeah. What’s likely is Charlotte will drop the title to Sasha or Becky at Wrestlemania. It feels like that’s how things are being set up to be.

Moving on to the Injured list:

  • WWE.com is reporting Nikki Bella will be out indefinitely due to injury. We know this is a work and she’s just fine. It’s likely she’s just taking time off to be PR work for the company in other capacities.
  • As a reminder, Seth Rollins is gone until July the earliest.
  • Randy Orton is scheduled to return from injury after Wrestlemania.

The big news on Daniel Bryan…that’s getting a separate blog post =O

…And thus, the Main Event for Wrestlemania 32 has been set

Don’t listen to the Internet, Vince knows what he’s doing

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Triple H said on the Stone Cold Podcast last year Paul Heyman rides the line between Sanity and Insanity like a razor. It’s fair to say Vince McMahon wrote the book on it. Now, the internet armchair quarterbacks would have you thinking “Vince McMahon’s back? LOL the Brand’s in trouble!”

…Not true. Vince is just an egolomaniac.

Trips being out of action is a work. Everyone knows that. Since The Authority is supposed to be Heel, naturally Vince had to come back as a Heel. A Mary Sue Heel yes but a damned good one. Vince put the”S” on to win the Monday Night Wars during the Attitude Era 20 years ago. WWE’s a global powerhouse again and thanks to NXT,  new talent is coming in with in-ring and experience they the WWE knows of in detail.

Some–ok, many–will say the One VS. All gimmick for the Royal Rumble is a bad idea because it shows “WWE’s writers are grasping for ideas”. 10 years ago I might have agreed but this year, it works because both of these guys are in it:

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Wrestlemania’s Main Event is wide open and even better, we know at least one of them is guaranteed to be in it. Let’s be honest, Lesnar being forced to compete in the Royal Rumble match wasn’t just some arm-twisting on Stephanie McMahon’s part: One of them will definitely Main Event Wrestlemania.

If Lesnar wins, it’s doubtful he will rematch Reigns this time. Yeah, I know we’ve been seeing Wrestlemania rematches alot in recent years (Undertaker vs. Triple H/Shawn Michaels and John Cena vs. The Rock) but as we were reminded on the 1/18 RAW, Reigns is the only guy other than The Undertaker who doesn’t seem to mind fighting The Beast. If Lesnar doesn’t fight Reigns in the main event…well, we know for sure John Cena won’t be available for Wrestlemania!

Reigns’ storyline post-Royal Rumble could go one of two ways:

  • If he wins, he faces Triple H at the Main Event. The storyline would go Reigns is forced to defend his title at Fastlane after winning the Royal Rumble against Lesnar. Whoever wins goes on to Main Event Wrestlemania while the other faces a “mystery opponent” at Wrestlemania. Reigns retains while Lesnar goes on to face Braun Strowman of the Wyatt Family. After the Fastlane Match, Triple H comes down to the ring and destroys Reigns, saying he’ll be taking the WWE Title come Wrestlemania.
  • If he loses, he will likely be booked in a tag team match alongside The Rock against Triple H and Vince McMahon. For those who haven’t yet heard, The Rock has been booked for a match in Wrestlemania. Putting him in a tag team match with his cousin against The Cerebral Assassin and The WWE Chairman? After Lesnar Wins, Vince McMahon comes down to ring and tells Reigns not to worry, he’s still going to have a match at Wrestlemania. Triple H comes down to the ring and destroys Reigns. McMahon then says he forgot to mention it will be a tag team match: He will team with Triple H against Reigns and a partner of his choice. We find out the next day on RAW The Rock will be Reigns’ partner from The Rock himself.

I’ll be genuinely surprised if things do play out as I predicted: Randy Orton won’t be back until after Royal Rumble, Seth Rollins is out until at least July and John Cena is taking some long needed time off–the “injury” is a work, they needed to give a reason for his long absence–to do other things. Who does that leave? No one else.

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‘Taker vs. Sting is definitely possible. Fans have wanted it forever. We just don’t yet know if ‘Taker is on board. He’s definitely gotten healthier as his feud with Lesnar indicated. Sting has been doing promotional work since Wrestlemania 31 and hasn’t competed since.

 

Yes indeed. 2016 is sure to be one to remember!

 

Don’t listen to the Internet, Vince knows what he’s doing