WWE’s Night Of Champions is tonight! Head over to FaceToHeel.com (link below) for a full rundown of the match card and to see my predictions.
I wrote the following article for FaceToHeel.com prior to finding out that Daniel Bryan was out. He was unfortunately not medically cleared for competition due to a shoulder injury. Bryan overcame all odds at WrestleMania XXX to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat match. His WrestleMania moment was without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience. WWE tried to replicate it in a smaller fashion this year by having him win the Intercontinental Title, but it didn’t come close.
Now, thanks to Bryan pushing himself past his limits, his career may be over. We don’t know the extent of the original injuries and we don’t know if he was truly ready to come back. Once he was back, he acted recklessly and obviously put his body on the line just so we were entertained. I hope that this new injury is just a minor setback, but my gut tells me that our days of Bryan as our hero are over and done with.
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 am a senior writer for FaceToHeel.com, a newly launched site that covers all things wrestling. Over the past couple months, we’ve covered some amazing topics, met some great people via Twitter at @facetoheel, and learned a hell of a lot along the way. We’ve live tweeted PPVs, posted instant feedback after matches, and have found new ways of looking at the business of wrestling entertainment. Little by little, we are growing and expanding in our efforts to cover and discuss more about what is going on currently, what’s happened in the past, and what the future might bring.
In an effort to get to know our readers better, I have a challenge for all of you. When a wrestler debuts, there are a couple of things that can immediately determine their success; what they are wearing and what music they walk out to. I’m not all that interested in fashion at the moment, but I have always been fascinated at how a song can influence the way the audience views a wrestler. Just like we tend to judge people based on the music they listen to, we judge a wrestler by the music they enter the arena to. WWE’s Dean Ambrose becomes even more unstable and manic, Jack Swagger turns into the ultimate patriot, Adam Rose is a wacky joke, and The Miz is a conceited prick. TNA’s Angelina Love and Velvet Sky are the ultimate drama queens, Mr. Anderson is a man on a mission, and Chris Melendez is an American hero.
Eventually, certain songs become iconic. The car crash before Mick Foley’s song hits, the breaking glass signaling the entrance of Stone Cold, the ringing of the bells welcoming Undertaker; we all instantly and almost uncontrollably react. When Real American starts to play, thousands of fans promise to take their vitamins as they cheer for Hulk Hogan. If CM Punk’s opening riff ever rings out again, half of the world will entirely lose their minds. We may not always realize it, but entrance music is vital to a wrestler’s success and their lasting power.
On that note, have you ever thought about what your entrance music would be? Imagine you’re about to debut on Impact Wrestling or on Monday Night Raw. You’re in your full gear and ready to go. You stretch a bit, staring ahead at the curtain, just waiting to break through into that massive arena filled with screaming fans. Finally, you hear your music hit. What song would it be?
If you have a great answer and you would like to be featured in a FaceToHeel.com article, please contact me immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @_CutePoison. Your answer will be used in an upcoming article and you will be credited by your Twitter handle, your Facebook page, or another social media outlet of your choosing. Depending on the response, there is an opportunity for the best answer to get their own feature article. Please reach out as soon as possible for details and questions. We at F2H have been doing a lot of talking lately; now it’s your turn to speak!
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.
For the second time, WWE is partnering with Susan G Komen to raise funds for breast cancer research and community outreach programs.
Any purchase in the WWE Shop of Rise Above Cancer gear from now until November 4th will help. 20% of the retail price is donated. WWE raised over one million last year. This year, the gear selection has expanded beyond John Cena, so I had to participate!
This is fun for WWE fans AND it goes to a great cause! You can get more information here. This is one of the easiest ways to help those in need, plus you look fantastic while doing it. Get involved!
Wrestlemania 29 came and went on Sunday, April 7th. We shelled out $70 to watch the four hour event in HD, plus tuned into WWE’s YouTube channel to catch the hour long preshow event. Wrestlemania started out with a roar but ended with a whimper when John Cena defeated The Rock to become the new WWE Champion. If I could, I would request a refund of $35, as half of the event simply wasn’t worth it, especially not with that kind of ending. Even the crowd seemed frustrated, going very quiet and remaining in their seats during this so-called anticipated and exciting main event.
The Rock promised the WWE Universe last year that he would be back and that he would be champion. He kept his promise in January, winning the title from CM Punk and ending his long reign on top. This was followed by Cena winning the Royal Rumble and choosing to chase the WWE Championship belt instead of the Heavyweight belt, making the “Once In A Lifetime” match between Rock and Cena into a twice in a lifetime event. The Rock’s triumphant return and reign as champion featured three actual matches; the match that won him the title, the rematch between him and Punk, and the match with Cena where the belt was lost. It leaves me wondering exactly what the point was to his return. I went from excited to see him back in the ring to annoyed that he would only come to Raw and Smackdown to talk, not to get in the ring and give the fans what they wanted and deserved.
In the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania, I felt confident that The Rock would crush Cena into the mat, raise the belt high, and walk off while Cena pouted. His promos made him sound determined to leave Wrestlemania victorious and as champ, clearly showcasing a dislike for Cena and a desire to win. Fan reaction supported this; the majority of the support was behind The Rock, with Cena viciously booed and mocked. When the main event rolled around, we were given a half assed match at best. I couldn’t help but feel that The Rock was not allowed to go all out due to fear of him messing up his movie star looks and causing problems with promotions for the movies he has coming out this year. It was boring, repetitive, and the victory was handed to Cena when The Rock simply laid down as he was told. The Rock did not look beaten, he looked like he was following orders, and that is not what I want to see for a main event.
According to The Rock, he suffered an abdominal injury in the match which will keep him out of the ring for an undetermined amount of time, delaying the rematch for the title. Having watched that match, I am very reluctant to believe that any injury occurred and feel that this is simply a way for The Rock to take time off to promote his films. I understand he has to juggle multiple things, but it still leaves me wondering why he bothered coming back. CM Punk could be very irritating as our champ, but he was present and he was in the ring. The Rock gave us three measly matches in three short months, and is now gone once again, leaving us with Cena. Other than people with an age in the single digits and a few handfuls of adult fans, no one is happy about this. No one wants Cena, already a ten time champion, to be the face of the company right now.
Cena has been grating on the nerves of the fans, and not in a positive way like Punk or Jack Swagger. Cena is a Face who could have flourished with a Heel turn, but instead mocked the turn as he held onto his Face status and held his new belt high. What was once a 50/50 fan reaction has now become a 90/10 reaction, with 90% of the fans screaming for Cena to leave the ring and shut his mouth. He debuted a new t-shirt to go along with his new belt and it looks like it was designed by five year olds, probably because the majority of his fans are at or around that age. We are now stuck with a mediocre champ with five moves to his name, all because the man in charge wrongly assumes that this is good for business.
John Cena is great for the WWE, don’t get me wrong. The work he does for the Make A Wish Foundation is amazing and easily surpasses the work his fellow Superstars have done. He’s a great pull for the younger fans as well; I’d be hard pressed to find a young fan who doesn’t adore Cena and who doesn’t hang on his every word. When we took our son to Smackdown, his concern was seeing Cena and he flipped his lid when he finally came out for a post-show non-televised match. Cena definitely has an important place in the company and is vital to the success of the WWE. That said, his place is definitely not as champion and should not be at the tip top of the company. With shows like Saturday Morning Slam and Main Event, Cena has other places where he can shine that are more appropriate and better suited to what he has to offer.
I have quite a few friends who are into wrestling, and it seems as though they are all crying out for a return of the Attitude Era. We are given reason for hope with The Shield, Brock Lesnar and Triple H, Punk feuding with The Undertaker, John Laurinaitis making a return, and all the wishing and speculating we did about Cena’s Heel turn. Wrestlemania shattered that hope by missing a lot of marks, then missing the biggest one with Cena and The Rock. My husband had dozens of theories that would have made this a night to remember, but WWE went the easy route and gifted the title to Cena with a big bow and a congratulatory cake.
I like John Cena, so this isn’t the rant of an angry fan who thinks Cena is a piece of trash. It’s difficult not to get excited when his entrance music hits and he hops out from backstage. At Raw in March, I was screaming “Let’s Go Cena” right along with “Cena Sucks” because I was thrilled to see him. His dedication is amazing; he’s at nearly every Raw and also attends Smackdown to participate in dark matches so the fans can have their dose of hustle, loyalty, and respect. Unfortunately, Cena has been put in the wrong place and is being used in the wrong way. He could have flourished as a Heel without compromising his beliefs that are written all over his t-shirts. He could have changed his image and targeted other superstars without alienating his younger fans. He could have done great things.
My hope is that The Rock returns quickly for his rematch so we can move on to better things. Whatever happens, Cena does not need to hold the belt for very long. He needs to lose and he needs to get angry about it. He needs to go after other stars on the roster and pursue the other belts rather than act as though he’s too good for the United States or the Intercontinental Championship. Throw him in a tag team and have him battle Kane and Daniel Bryan. Take him away from Raw main events and feature him on Smackdown for a few weeks. Have him be a guest referee on Saturday Morning Slam, or make him the General Manager of that show. Something needs to happen that allows Cena to be present without being on top of the mountain at all times. We’re tired of it, we’re bored, we’re frustrated, and we deserve a hell of a lot better.