Fastlane is the last PPV on the road to WrestleMania, and is meant to play a huge part in setting up what we will see at WWE’s biggest event of the year. Being a fairly new PPV, it has seen its share of hiccups in the past, but with Triple H our reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champ, I expect to see a big improvement from last year. Let’s take a look at the match card and make some predictions.
Kickoff Show: US Title 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match – Kalisto (c) vs Alberto Del Rio
A two out of three falls match for the US title is exactly what we need to see. Del Rio has the obvious size advantage, plus the rest of the League Of Nations on his side. Kalisto has speed and agility in his corner, but is still the clear underdog in this fight. If Kalisto is to win this time, he is going to have to beat Del Rio twice, which will greatly work to prove that his victories weren’t flukes or strokes of luck.
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho
Styles was so well received into the WWE that the Royal Rumble match was rewritten at the last minute to keep him from being eliminated by another fan favorite. Styles was immediately thrown into competition with veteran, Chris Jericho, and their short feud has featured constant reminders that Styles is a “rookie” as far as the WWE is concerned. If the WWE is to have their way, us fans would forget that Styles ever had a career before January 2016. This will likely be the last match between these two men for a long while, and will prove whether or not Styles is cut out for the “big leagues” as they keep saying.
WINNER: AJ Styles
Divas Title Match – Charlotte (c) vs Brie Bella
I hate to say it, but I suspect that the only reason Brie is getting a title shot right now Is because Daniel Bryan retired and Creative is trying to use that to put her over and make Charlotte into the ultimate villain. She hasn’t been a part of the title scene and has shown no interest in the title until a few days ago. I’m disappointed in this decision, and even moreso in the decision to have Ric Flair present at Charlotte’s side for every step.
Intercontinental Title Match – Kevin Owens (c) vs Dolph Ziggler
I was thrilled to see Owens win back the IC title. I love Dean Ambrose, but he obviously has other things on his plate, so losing the title actually works to help him right now. Owens and Ziggler are two of the best the WWE currently has, and Owens is the greatest, most well-rounded heel we’ve seen in a long time. This match will say a lot about what we will see at WrestleMania, so I’m curious to see whether or not we have other IC title hopefuls come out to the ring during the fight.
WINNER: Kevin Owens
Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs Naomi and Tamina
If we’re being honest, we all have to admit that Sasha Banks deserved the title shot tonight. She’s dominant, fearless, confident, and the crowd loves her. She can carry any match single handedly and has busted her ass to get where she is. I am glad to see her and Lynch teaming up, and I hope putting them against Naomi and Tamina puts this childish feud to rest. Having the divas fight like middle school girls isn’t doing them any favors.
WINNERS: Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch
The Wyatt Family vs Kane, Big Show & Ryback
This marks Big Show’s 85,674,275th heel/face turn, if my math is correct. This is basically giants versus giants for no other reason than it looks fantastic to see men pushing seven feet tall flying around the ring. Ryback has recently gotten a bit of a makeover, which unfortunately resulted in the Goldberg chants making a comeback. To be honest, I’m not sure what this match has to do with what is coming at WrestleMania, but I’m eager to find out.
WINNERS: The Wyatt Family
WWE World Heavyweight Title #1 Contender’s Match – Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose
Three fan favorites in one match. I know WWE wants us all to back Roman Reigns 110% and to back him over all others, but that isn’t reality. Ambrose and Lesnar are equally, if not more, popular than Cena 2.0 and have even more to gain with a victory tonight. Ambrose has been teasing a turn lately, so I definitely expect to see Reigns and Ambrose turn on each other and break up the brotherhood. Reigns would have more to gain as a heel, especially if he has a mouthpiece to help him out with his promos. Lesnar is obviously going to dominate this match, so the main focus will be about what happens with Reigns and Ambrose. The two definitely need to square off, and it would be a perfect WrestleMania match. Having them broken will make Rollins’ return even more interesting.
WINNER: Brock Lesnar
Last night’s WrestleMania definitely had its ups and downs. Check out the best and worst the show had to offer, via FaceToHeel.com.
I skipped watching the season finale of The Walking Dead last night, because German Suplexes trump zombies nearly every time. We tuned into the network around 3pm to refresh on the Royal Rumble and watch a bit of last year’s WrestleMania. The preshow began at 5pm, with WM kicking off at 7. A total of nine matches were scheduled for this six hour event, with two taking place in the second hour of the preshow. Let’s take a look at the best and the worst that Wrestle Mania XXXI had to offer.
1. Kid Ink and Skyler Gray – There isn’t much to say about this musical performance, which is the problem. Last year, we saw two bands play Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton’s entrance themes. It was a fantastic way to incorporate musical performances into the event. This year’s performance felt awkward. Skyler has a great voice, so…
View original post 1,272 more words
My husband and I were lucky enough to not only score great seats for the June 2nd Raw in our hometown, but to also get tickets to Payback the night before in Chicago, IL. One of the perks of being in the live audience is the opportunity to get yourself noticed on TV by either geeking out to the point that the cameras can’t stay away from you or by creating a good enough sign to grab attention. I like to keep my fangirling as private as possible, but I do tend to go a bit overboard with my sign preparation. For Payback, I went with the Wyatt Family.
Not my best work, but I was proud of it. I don’t know if it made it onto the Payback PPV at all, as we have yet to hop on the network and check it out, but I hope I got a second or two of screen time. For Raw the next evening, I decided to go with Dolph Ziggler after this happened:
Had no choice but to do it after getting a nod from the man himself. I went in search of the loudest colored markers I could find and got to work:
My arms were about to fall off at this point.
This one I was damn proud of. It could not be more obnoxious looking. Sadly, it decided to rain before Raw, and my trash bag didn’t quite keep it completely dry, so the ink ran a bit. My husband and I spent the better part of Raw glued to our seats, just waiting for Ziggler’s music to hit. And finally, he comes out, we lose our minds, and he POINTS RIGHT AT US! Excited doesn’t begin to describe it. The first thing we did when we got home afterwards was check the DVR to see if that brilliant moment was captured on TV.
My husband is pointing at Ziggler there. Immediately afterwards, the camera cuts back to Ziggler and you can see him pointing back at us. We have the gif at home; I’ll try to add it later on. It was such a cool moment!
Three rows in front of us, we had a guy with a “BLUETISTA” sign and one that said “DANIEL BRYAN SUCKS.” They spent the majority of Raw holding their poorly made creations up and blocking the view of myself and quite a few others. Eventually, security intervened and ended up ripping the Bryan sign out of the guy’s hands. Those two are the perfect examples of what not to do. The people around you don’t want to have to spend their evening leaning left and right and left again to see around you because you’re only worried about getting on TV as much as possible. The cameras aren’t going to focus on you for more than a moment or two, so it’s pointless to be obnoxious. The audience at home is going to get more and more bored seeing you if you insist on trying to get on-screen during every single match. It’s beyond annoying.
What you should do is put some effort into what you decide to make. Hold it up when it’s relevant, throw it up a time or two when it’s not just in case, and then sit back to enjoy the show. Trust me, actually getting the direct attention of one of our favorite superstars was INFINITELY cooler than seeing my sign pop up here and there during a match. That is a moment that we’ll keep with us forever. (Also, the Team Foley sign I made for the 2012 Survivor Series will live forever on the DVD, which is another awesome moment) Aim for that. Plus, I don’t want to be the only one with arm cramps after spending far too much of my weekends making WWE signs.
Last Sunday brought us the WWE Extreme Rules Pay Per View, the second PPV to be shown on the WWE Network. I signed up for the network with little hesitation. At $9.99 a month, I get every single PPV for the year, which cost $55 a piece through U-Verse. I also get a ton of exclusive programming and enough historic events to keep me busy for a lifetime. While the issues with lag and choppy images seemed more notable on Sunday than they were for Wrestlemania, I’m happy with my purchase and definitely appreciate the amount of cash I’m saving.
I have recently started writing for FaceToHeel.com, a wrestling site that has dreams of becoming bigger than Bleacher Report. Since I am writing there, most (if not all) of my WWE nonsense will be off of this site and onto that one. Please go visit and read my Extreme Rules predictions! I’m quite happy to say that I was nearly 100% accurate in my guesses, meaning I am either partially psychic or the WWE is getting more predictable. There are a ton of great articles hanging around there for you, so I hope you not only indulge my attempt to pimp myself out, but you look at the other amazing contributions from our writers.
Happy reading, WWE fans!!
I am very excited to announce that I have recently signed on to be a writer for a collaborative blog covering all things wrestling! This will include WWE, TNA, past and present Superstars, future predictions, and much more. It will feature reports on events, editorial pieces, and will cover every topic you can imagine. The site, Face To Heel, currently has four contributors including myself, but hope to add more once we begin posting articles. We seek to showcase writers who have different opinions, are fans of different people, and have different experiences with wrestling. There will be plenty of information in our first article, so please visit the site now and sign up to follow so you can be among the first to know when things start rolling out. You can follow on Twitter as well at @FaceToHeel.
The last two days of WWE action have been the best two days the company has given the fans in a long time. Wrestlemania XXX and Raw on the following night both took place in the rowdy city of New Orleans. The crowd definitely brought their spirit and enthusiasm, especially for Monday night, leading me to promise myself that my husband and I WILL be at the Raw following Wrestlemania next year. Now, let’s address the elephant in the room that is The Streak.
I did not see this one coming. Not in a million years did I expect Brock Lesnar to break the Undertaker’s 21-0 streak and put that ghastly 1 loss on his record. Never once did I expect Lesnar to walk away with a smile on his face while the Dead Man lay broken and battered in the ring. At no point was I not confident that we would see 22-0 on the big screen when the match concluded. It wasn’t the most energetic match I’ve seen, but the Undertaker did suffer a concussion which could have happened early on in the bout and hindered his performance. Regardless, it is always impressing seeing these two athletes in the ring, especially together.
In hindsight, the streak did have to eventually end, as Taker has a wife and family to worry about and certainly can’t be doing this forever. As sad as I am to see the streak end, I am amazed by the production that went into it and impressed with the insane reaction it received. The arena went quiet for what felt like an eternity after the three count. Lesnar’s music didn’t play immediately as it usually does with a victory; we were given uncomfortable silence while Taker lay still and Lesnar raised his arm victoriously. To say the world was shocked would be a huge understatement. This will be one we talk about for a long time.
The WWE’s golden boy, John Cena, seemed like a natural choice for a big match for such a historic Wrestlemania. Instead, Cena was given a very standard match against his new nemesis, Bray Wyatt. Cena always becomes unbearable near Wrestlemania season in preparation for a main event or other big deal match, but this time around, we saw a more subdued Superstar. Clearly, Bray Wyatt and his creepy backwoods family were the stars of the matches on both evenings. Wyatt took a loss to Cena at Wrestlemania, but the crowd swaying and singing along with him showed that he was the true winner.
On Raw the next evening, the entire Wyatt family entered into a tag match against Cena, Sheamus, and Big E. The three faces were booed while the Wyatts were cheered. Almost overnight, the entire WWE Universe has rallied behind the genius Bray Wyatt and his creepy clan. It’s amazing to see the pops he’s now getting and I hope it continues to grow stronger. The trio is going again The Shield tonight on Main Event, who turned away from The Authority on Raw last night, and it is bound to be a crazy match.
One of my favorite Superstars, AJ Lee, defended her Divas championship at Wrestlemania against thirteen other women. The first to get a submission or pinfall would win the title. I’m sorry, but this match was a ridiculous thing to throw on Wrestlemania, especially when it immediately followed the fall of the Undertaker. The odds were pitted against AJ in such an unfair manner, it was hard not to wonder if this was payback for her engagement to former Superstar CM Punk (whose early exit no doubt angered the powers that be).
Luckily for AJ, she retained her title by forcing Naomi to tap out. I was ecstatic! AJ is the self proclaimed saving grace of the WWE Divas division. She brings personality, a sharp tongue, and serious in-ring skills; the girl packs a punch for such a tiny person. On Raw the following evening, AJ came out to celebrate her victory, only to be interrupted by NXT star and women’s champion, Paige. AJ ended up challenging Paige to a match, LOST the match, and LOST HER TITLE. Are you kidding me?!? To have AJ drop her title to who most fans were seeing as a nobody (we don’t all tune in to NXT, guys, come on…) was the ultimate punch in the face. For me, AJ is and always will be the Divas Champ. I hate that this happened to her.
One pleasant surprise at Wrestlemania was the victory of Cesaro in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal. We all expected Big Show to win; the giant winning the giant trophy just made sense. Little by little, 30 men became two and Big Show was left in the ring with Cesaro. And then, as if the seven foot Superstar was made of feathers, Cesaro plucked him up into the air and heaved him out of the ring, earning the victory, a handshake from Show, and the trophy. On Raw, we were treated to Cesaro’s final separation from Jack Swagger and Zeb Coltier as he became a Heyman Guy! It was a smart move; Cesaro needs a push and pairing him with Heyman is not only good for his career, it made the audience forget their anger towards Heyman due to the broken streak.
What we all came to see though was the continuing saga of Daniel Bryan. Screwed out of the title by Triple H again and again, the WWE Universe has rallied behind Bryan with a passion that cannot be contained. Entire arenas erupt with Yes! Yes! Yes! chants upon his entrance; arms raised high and voices on blast. YES! signs are seen everywhere, shirts worn proudly, and fans seen hanging on every word Bryan has to say. In a short time, he has worked his ass off and become one of the top Superstars in the company, if not the #1 guy. Sorry, Cena.
First, Bryan was forced to battle Triple H at Wrestlemania to earn a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Title. The match was high energy and exciting, keeping fans on the edge of their seats as the upper hand was rapidly traded back and forth. Against all odds, Bryan scored a victory over the intimidating Triple H. Sadly for him, Triple H didn’t lose gracefully and attacked Bryan with a chair before leaving the ring, setting up a possible loss for him later due to injury.
The main event featured current champion Randy Orton versus Batista and Bryan in a triple threat match for the title. The original match was to feature only Batista and Orton, and it was apparent very quickly that the addition of Bryan was absolutely necessary to make this match a success; the underdog facing these two powerhouses kept the audience’s full attention and added an element of excitement that Orton and Batista alone could not have created.
In a very tense moment, after partially disassembling the announce table, Batista stood on the table with Bryan in his arms to set up the Batista Bomb. Orton, teaming with Batista for the moment, grabbed Bryan out of the bomb to RKO him on the table. Both stars were injured during this move, but damn was it impressive. Sadly, it did result in Bryan being loaded onto a stretcher and taken out of the match.
No injury could keep Bryan down though, as he wasn’t on the stretcher for long. No interference could keep him from winning, as he turned Triple H’s sledgehammer back on him when the man in charge attempted to sabotage the main event. After months of Bryan getting screwed over in the worst possible ways by The Authority, he finally locked Batista in the Yes Lock, making the big man tap and winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship! FINALLY! Damn, was it an exciting moment.
Raw the following evening was tense, as the chance of Triple H going postal and taking the titles away (again) was ever present, but instead, Triple H decided that Bryan would defend the newly won titles that evening again him. To the surprise of nobody, Triple H did attempt to sabotage the match to secure his victory. To the surprise of many, The Shield rallied to Bryan’s defense, entering the arena during a “Hounds Of Justice” crowd chant. It was a brilliant moment; Bryan retaining his titles with The Shield at his side.
Two seriously solid days of wrestling have passed. I’m both excited and nervous about what is coming next, especially when it comes to AJ Lee, but I am so happy for Daniel Bryan, who finally got his moment and then some. No one deserved it more than he did. Congrats, Bryan… I hope your reign is a long one!
Hell In A Cell aired last night, WWE’s second Pay Per View of the month of October. After two previous lackluster events, I had high hopes for this PPV and expected to be blown away. WWE owed the fans that much after giving us two of the worst PPV events that I’ve ever seen. The scheduled preshow was going to be Big E Langston against Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship, but was changed due to an injury suffered by Axel; unsure if this is legit or storyline. Instead, we got Damien Sandow versus Kofi Kingston. The match was about ten minutes long and was pretty solid, giving fans high hopes for a great PPV. Sandow won over Kofi and made me expect to see him cash in his Money In The Bank contract later on in the night. (All photos are courtesy of Bleacher Report)
The PPV began with a triple threat match for the Tag Team Championship. Reigning champs Cody Rhodes and Goldust went up against The Usos and two members of the Shield, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. As a triple threat match, I had expected to see three men in the ring at all times. Instead, it was one on one with competitors able to tag in members of other teams if they so chose. I was let down by that, but the six men put on a hell of a show. I was jumping off the couch at some points when it looked like the Shield and the Usos were close to victory. At the end, Cody hit Rollins with a beautiful Cross Rhodes and scored a victory. This was without a doubt my favorite match of the evening.
Next up, The Miz came out to run a promo regarding the attack on him by the Wyatt Family. Miz dared Bray Wyatt to come at him and Wyatt responded by sending Luke Harper and Eric Rowan out into the ring. I was a bit confused as to why this made the PPV until Kane’s music hit, fire flared, and the big red monster made his return. Kane threw the two Wyatt family giants out of the ring to save Miz, but then surprised Miz with a chokeslam. Kane is back with a vengeance and it seems that he is returning to his heel status. Very happy to see him back.
Following Kane’s return, we get a tag team match between The Great Khali and Natalya versus Fandango and Summer Rae. On a PPV. Fantastic. This match belongs on Smackdown, or as a preshow match; it is ridiculous to put this on a PPV, although it is great for Summer to have her in-ring debut on Hell In A Cell. Other than the silver lining for Summer, this match was garbage. Natalya was the only redeeming part of this, as she is an incredible talent and put Summer through the ringer. However, in spite of her efforts, the scrawny Summer pinned her for the win. What. A. Waste. I’m incredibly tired of seeing these kind of matches, where a tiny girl does the impossible for a win. It takes credibility out of an already weak Diva’s division.
After that nonsense match, Big E Langston got a match against United States Champion Dean Ambrose in a championship match. This was a pretty solid match and I’m really starting to get behind Big E. The competitors got very physical and Big E suffered a cut underneath his eye. Ambrose definitely made him work during this match, but it was clear that there was no way he could cleanly defeat the big man. Unfortunately, in what is becoming a typical Shield move, Ambrose allowed himself to be counted out and Big E picked up the victory, but not the title. I would like to see this revisited and have Big E get a second swing at the title. He’d make a great champ, especially with his recent face turn, and it’s high time that Ambrose drops the title to someone else.
Finally, it is time for our first Hell In A Cell match; CM Punk versus Ryback and Paul Heyman. Heyman was carried to the ring on a left, driven by someone who must have never driven a left in his life. Heyman was placed on top of the cell, making the handicap match into a one on one between Ryback and Punk. The match started out strong, but quickly became very tedious and almost boring, which is unusual for a match involving Punk. We had tables, we had kendo sticks, and we had an abrupt ending with Punk picking up the victory. Punk then got on top of the cage to seek revenge on Heyman. My husband and I were waiting for Heyman to be slammed through the cage (wishful thinking), but it was a solid beat down even without that little extra. Overall, it was weak and very disappointing.
Next up we have Los Matadores versus The Real Americans; Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro with Zeb Colter. The second match in the PPV that belonged on Raw, Smackdown, or in the preshow. The Matadores and their little Torito are a cute gimmick, but I hardly see how they are PPV worthy. I found it very difficult to get into this match at all because I was so annoyed that creative decided to put this in the PPV. The Matadores picked up a win and no one really cared either way. I’m glad that Primo and Epico have found success in their new bullfighting characters, but this was just a silly match to have. No one cares about this rivalry and the most interesting thing is seeing how racist Colter can get. At least the Matadores finally got rid of those horrible bright pink masks.
Following the bullfighters, we have the return of John Cena in a match against Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. To borrow words from my husband, these are the two most boring people in the WWE right now. Del Rio’s character has become stale and Cena is… well, it’s Cena. This match was exactly what you would expect; Del Rio attacked Cena’s recently healed arm and Cena did the five moves of doom while acting like a child. And yes, Cena won and got the title, because the WWE loves to hand things over to their golden boy. I expected Cena to win, but I had hoped that Sandow would swoop in on an exhausted Cena and steal the title from him. Of course, that did not happen.
After Cena cleared out, AJ Lee arrived to defend her title against Brie Bella. I adore AJ and I love that she is now paired with the powerhouse Tamina Snuka. It was clear that Brie didn’t have a chance in this match, but it was still fun to watch. With both Tamina and Nikki ringside, there was a lot going on and quite a few distractions for the competitors. Brie dominated early on, but having to keep an eye on Tamina proved to be her downfall. She attempted to attack her but ended up hitting her sister instead, allowing AJ to get her in the Black Widow submission and forcing a tap. AJ has proven to be unstoppable as of late and I’m eager to see who she goes up against next, as the feud with Brie should end now.
The final match is our second Hell In A Cell match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. The title has belonged to no one because of very questionable creative choices. Triple H wants Orton as champ, the fans want Bryan. With Shawn Michaels as special guest referee, it’s hard to tell how this match will go. The pair got very physical, using the cage to their advantage and pushing each other to their limits. Triple H made an appearance to argue the Heartbreak Kid’s techniques, possibly because he feared that HBK would favor Bryan. This resulted in Michaels accidentally getting knocked out by the competitors as he was distracted. When HBK came to, he hit Bryan with Sweet Chin Music and basically handed the title back to Orton. Yes it was a good match, but they failed with the ending. When the fans know what is coming weeks before it happens, you have failed.
I haven’t a clue what WWE creative is thinking right now, or if they’re thinking at all. This PPV should have been about redemption and should have been phenomenal to make up for two very lackluster PPVs previously. It wasn’t. Cody Rhodes and Goldust were once again the only redeeming part of a very expensive three hour event. I could not be more annoyed with Cena and Orton winning the titles; we saw this coming from miles away and we all know that there were better ways to do this. Stale doesn’t being to describe what the WWE has become, and it boggles my mind that they aren’t even trying to fix things anymore. I hope tonight’s Raw does something dramatic to put a positive spin on last night’s disastrous PPV, but given what has been going on lately, I am a fan without hope.
Finally…. The Rock HAS COME BACK…. home. Last night, the Royal Rumble Pay Per View dominated our television screen and kept my husband and I on the edge of our seats. The preshow, which aired on WWE’s Youtube channel, was a bit of a let down. The site experienced a bit of lag which may have been from the amount of people tuning in, but thankfully all we seemed to have missed was The Big Show going on a rant about losing the Heavyweight title to the much smaller Alberto Del Rio. The preshow featured Antonio Cesaro versus Mike “The Miz” in a match for the United States Championship. While I appreciate the WWE’s attempt to give something to those who can’t afford or are otherwise unable to watch the Pay Per View, I don’t think championship matches should be thrown to the preshow. They deserve better.
Much to my dismay, Cesaro held onto the belt and remained champion. He is a solid wrestler and has a nice set of moves that set him apart from the competition, but he annoys me. I’m not a fan of the type of heel that he is. I feel that there are better ways to be hated than going for the easy route of insulting whatever city you are in and calling Americans fat and lazy. He’s also gotten a bit obnoxious with waving the American flag around during his entrances. The Miz has definitely grown on me, especially lately. He’s gone from being that dude from the Real World to being someone I can get behind. I enjoy him on the mic and in the ring, so it was a let down to see the title slip away from him.
The Pay Per View opened with the Heavyweight Title match; the champion Alberto Del Rio had to again take on The Big Show in a last man standing match. Since Show turned heel, he has been an unstoppable force. Del Rio was only able to win the title from him by pinning him underneath the announce table, so his chances weren’t exactly looking good for this match. This was a hell of a way to open the Royal Rumble; Del Rio was thrown through a table from atop the light fixtures at the entrance and later countered with a fire extinguisher and some chairs. The victory came when Del Rio was able to get Show in a cross armbreaker, allowing his ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez to duct tape Show’s ankles to the ring’s rope so he couldn’t get to his feet. Since there were no disqualifications, Del Rio retained his title. I’m not always a fan of sneaky ways to obtain a victory, but what else can you do when faced with an opponent who is seven feet tall and weighing in at almost 450 pounds?
Following that brutal match, we had the battle for the Tag Team titles. The champions going in were Daniel Bryan and Kane of Team Hell No. They were set to face Team Rhodes Scholars, the pairing of Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. I was excited for this match, but didn’t expect the titles to change hands due to the popularity of Team Hell No. The pairing of Bryan and Kane makes absolutely no sense and that is why it works. Their anger management issues and their inability to see eye to eye gives them a very unique chemistry. Unfortunately, this was a match we have seen a few times before; they didn’t add enough to it to make it special for the Pay Per View. Team Hell No was able to retain their titles after Bryan put Sandow in the No Lock and caused him to tap out.
Oddly enough, the Royal Rumble match was next. Typically this match is the final event of the Pay Per View, but I suspect they moved it up in order to be able to close out with The Rock. Dolph Ziggler was the first in the ring, followed by Chris Jericho and his lite brite jacket. Jericho, in storyline, lost his contract after losing a match to Ziggler a few months back, so it made sense to start with these two who definitely still have bad blood between them. The only real surprise entrant was Golddust, who was eventually eliminated by his brother, Cody Rhodes. It was great to see him, but I was hoping for the return of Mark Henry and was obviously let down. Kofi Kingston topped last year’s handstand by using a chair to get back into the ring without allowing his feet to hit the floor. The coveted last entry was saved for Ryback, who managed to eliminate five people and leave himself alone with John Cena. I was pulling for a Ryback win but unfortunately he was eliminated and Cena stole the victory. Now, I like Cena but I’m beyond exhausted with him constantly getting title shot after title shot. I understand that he is the bread and butter of the company, but he’s not the only superstar they’ve got at their disposal. Perhaps Ryback isn’t ready for another title shot at a big event, but he would have been a better choice for a winner than Cena. Sorry, John.
After Cena left the stage, it was finally time for CM Punk to defend his title against the returning Rock. My husband’s wish was for Punk to take the victory, not because he’s a fan, but because it’s too soon for The Rock to grab the title and because it would be nice to see The Rock chase after Punk for a few months. Since Punk was under watch due to his shady actions in the past, he was in danger of being stripped of his title if The Shield interfered with the match to allow Punk to again cheat his way to a victory. It was a great match, but as soon as it looked like The Rock was going to take it, the arena went dark for a few moments, only to have the lights come back up to show a beaten and battered Rock lying on the broken announce table. Punk rolled him into the ring to secure a win, but it was taken away by Vince McMahon. McMahon attempted to strip Punk of the title, but The Rock would not allow it and instead requested the match be restarted. McMahon agreed and The Rock was able to elbow his way to a victory, taking the title from Punk. It was a great match, but is it too soon? Is it right for The Rock to come back and win it all in his first match? Will he stick around and be the champ we deserve or will he only wrestle part time due to his demanding film schedule? There are a lot of questions, some of which I hope will be answered tonight on Raw. I do hope that this title victory means that The Rock will be back full time for a while and will be at the Raw event in Indianapolis that we have very good tickets to.
As you probably have noticed, a Divas match was absent from this Pay Per View. I would say noticeably absent, but did anyone really notice? The Diva matches have sadly become the time when it’s safe to take a bathroom break. With the loss of Beth Phoenix, the Bella Twins, and Eve, there isn’t much left to play with. The talent is there, but the storylines aren’t. There is little to no real effort put into the Diva division and that is a real shame. These ladies should be allowed to tangle, not just be expected to shake their booties and be eye candy for the audience.
Overall, this was a great Pay Per View and I’m happy with the results. I’m very excited to see the aftermath tonight on Raw, especially with Punk and The Rock. I expect Big Show will be furious and that Team Hell No will argue about the Royal Rumble match results and anything else that crosses their minds. I definitely want some reassurance that The Rock did not come back just to give us part-time attention. Punk can definitely get on your nerves, but he was a very present champion. He was there, he was loud, and he ensured that all eyes were on him. The Rock can definitely get the attention, but will he be present or will we be forced to settle for video promos from afar? I’m hoping for the former. The last thing our new champion needs to do is fade away right after getting this moment in the sun.
For my husband’s 28th birthday, we scored floor tickets to WWE’s Survivor Series. Having only been to Smackdown before, we were both beyond thrilled to be able to go to a Pay Per View event and an event that is the second longest running PPV in the history of the WWE, second only to Wrestlemania. As soon as we received our tickets in the mail, I decided I was going on a mission to get my sign on TV. There are some seriously crappy signs that get on the air, possibly in part because many fans like the ones below wait until they’re in the parking lot to put ink to paper:
The crazy side of me wanted to dive in right away and make a sign immediately, but I managed to have some self-control and waited until the week prior. Self control and the fact that none of the matches were set in stone until then. My idea was to make a Team Foley sign in support of the face team for the traditional Survivor Series match. Each letter of “TEAM” represented a different member (Kofi Kingston, Daniel Bryan and Kane of Team Hell No, Randy Orton, and The Miz), with “FOLEY” obviously representing the hard-core legend:
Nearly eight hours of my life spent on this sign. That’s either dedication or lunacy, but either way, it was done and I was pretty pleased with the results. It paid off before we even entered the arena, with two people stopping me outside to take photos of it and two people inside asking as well. When the match was set to begin, this damn thing went in the air and stayed there until the final wrestler had entered the ring and my arms were burning from holding them up. Thankfully, it paid off! I got this thing on camera!
I’m a midget, so you can only tell it’s me by the tattoo (and the fact that it’s my sign) but the goal wasn’t ME on TV, it was the sign. They zoomed in on it and stayed there for a few seconds. Later on, after the unfortunate fall of Team Foley, you can see me again behind a very sad Randy Orton:
Double win! I know it’s a small accomplishment, if you can even call it one, but it was awesome nonetheless. I had my little goal in sight and I reached it. Something I did is on that PPV tape forever, will hopefully also be on the DVD, and is on a few random fan’s cameras. Not too shabby.
*Pats self on back*
I DID IT!!!!!
April 1, 2012, Wrestlemania 28, the main event live on Pay Per View was finally here! My husband and I made the purchase and set the show to record just in case, watching 50/50 and anxiously waiting for our clocks to hit 7pm and the show to begin. It’s been hyped up like crazy, adding more matches and controversy on each Raw and Smackdown throughout the week. I wish we could have been there, but being able to watch live is definitely the next best thing to it.
The first match of the night was between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan stole that title from The Big Show after he had it for maybe 30 seconds. As Bryan entered the ring and proceeded to yell YES about 50 times, he paused to give his girlfriend, AJ, a kiss. As he turned back to face Sheamus, he received a boot to the face, went down, and was counted out. The match lasted 18 seconds and Sheamus walked away the new Heavyweight Champion. YES! YES! YES!
Up next was Kane and Randy Orton. For some reason, Kane decided to start a feud with Orton. Not sure why, possibly out of boredom, maybe he was feeling lonely, but the two have been going at it since Orton returned from his injury. Kane started out strong, pinning Orton a dozen times to the two count. Orton eventually began to retaliate and it was looking good for him, but Kane delivered a powerful choke slam from the top rope and the poor Apex Predator was down.
The Big Show versus Cody Rhodes was also hyped up quite a bit in the weeks prior to Wrestlemania and I was really looking forward to it. Rhodes had been mocking Show, mainly because he has never had a victory at any Wrestlemania. Rhodes is my favorite heel; he’s amazingly good at being hateful without being obnoxious and making you actually hate him. The match began with Show throwing Rhodes around the ring like a rag doll; I started to feel bad for Rhodes for taking such a beating. Rhodes finally got the upper hand after knocking Show to the ground, starting to work on his leg and take the big man out. Sadly for him it wasn’t enough; Show knocked him out and won the Intercontinental Championship!
Finally, it was time for Hell In A Cell; Triple H versus The Undertaker, the end of an era. I was worried about this match because there’s no good outcome. If Triple H wins, we’ll continue to see him in the ring which is great, but it means the Undertaker ends his career with a 19-1 streak at Wrestlemania instead of 20-0. If Undertaker wins, his streak finishes strong, but he also finishes Triple H. This match spanned nearly an hour and was as brutal as you can imagine; both men were bloody and the Undertaker’s back was badly bruised from a severe beating with a metal chair. Shawn Michaels, the guest referee, looked as if he was about to cry near the end of the match, watching his friend suffer as both competitors struggled to finish the other one. My heart jumped at least half a dozen times when it looked like one would be counted out, only to see them roll their shoulder up just in time. It was honestly hard to watch at some points. Undertaker managed to find the will and energy to finish Triple H, stretching his streak to 20-0 and was able to walk out of the ring this time around, unlike last year when he couldn’t stand. Triple H, however, couldn’t get up. Michaels and Undertaker stood on either side of him, lifted him up, and all three walked out of the arena together. It was an amazing end.
At some point there was a Diva’s match. Beth Phoenix and Eve versus Kelly Kelly and a freaking talk show host, Maria Menounos. It was idiotic and insulting to someone like Phoenix, who is built the way a wrestler should be, to have to go up against these two little twigs. She was also the only competitor in that match that didn’t do some lame booty shake as one of her moves. It’s not a stripping competition people, come on now. The match ended with something that would never happen in the real world; teeny Maria pinning Phoenix. Really? REALLY?
Anyway, back to the real events: Team Johnny versus Team Teddy was up next, the winning team would determine the new general manager for both Raw and Smackdown. Team Johnny consisted of my favorite, Mark Henry, and 5 other guys I can’t stand, including Dolph Ziggler and the shaved gorilla Jack Swagger. I was pulling for Team Teddy and their captain, Santino. The tag team match had competitors quickly entering and leaving the ring, very high energy. Finally, Team Teddy knocked most of Team Johnny to the ground outside of the ring and Zack Ryder of Team Teddy was close to victory but stopped to do his Woo Woo Woo with hoeski, Eve. The Miz took advantage of the distraction and won the match for Team Johnny. It was a let down for sure, but my husband says it makes business sense. I still don’t like it.
The match I probably cared the least about, other than the divas, was next; CM Punk against Chris Jericho and his lite brite jacket. Jericho had been attacking Punk’s family for weeks, saying his sister is a drug addict and his father a drunk, that Punk is a bastard because he was conceived out of wedlock. It was a set of arguments you would expect from a group of 5th graders out on the playground. A rule was set that if CM Punk was disqualified, he would lose his title to Jericho, so naturally the taunts got worse. Jericho started out dominant, but Punk gained the upper hand and Jericho was forced to tap out. I was glad he won only because Jericho annoys the hell out of me.
Then this happened:
Finally, The Rock has come back to Wrestlemania! The once in a lifetime match between two of the most charismatic men in the business. After their tag team match against The Miz and R-Truth, the tension has been rising and the feud between these two Superstars has been heating up. Cena mocked The Rock for leaving the WWE to become a movie star, Rock called Cena a bowl of fruity pebbles, which resulted in him ended up on a box of cereal. The Rock won the war of words many times over but the feud continued strong in preparation for Wrestlemania. The match was very 50/50; one would gain the upper hand but the other would soon turn it around. This was the match that Cena said he couldn’t lose, as once it’s over, he’ll still be here and he’ll lost credibility with a loss. The Rock also couldn’t lose; how can he come back and say things haven’t changed and then choke at Wrestlemania? There was so much riding on each of their shoulders, both determined to pull a victory out and show the world that all their words have been truthful. Unfortunately for Cena, he was wrestling The Rock. When The Rock wants something, it’s his, and this match was his with an amazing victory to end the night.
This was actually my first Wrestlemania and I loved it. I’m planning to get there next year, somehow, because I want to be a part of the excitement first hand. We’ll be saving this on our DVR for quite a while. On a sidenote, the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards aired on March 31st and at the end, Santino referees a match between The Big Show and The Miz. Check it out if you get a chance.