WWE Draft Commentary

WWE Draft Commentary

The day has finally come! After two months of waiting and speculating, we find out exactly where the WWE Superstars will be ending up. There’s definitely an aura of excitement in the air so because this is a very different episode, I’ll be crafting this article a little differently. Instead of recapping the show itself, I’ll be going through every Draft pick made on the show, including the post show too. I say that, but now I have no idea how long this will be. Wish me luck.

Just quickly, here were the rules for the Draft.

  • Raw has the first overall pick

  • Since SmackDown Live is a two-hour show and Raw is three hours, for every two picks SmackDown Live receives, Raw will receive three picks

  • Tag Teams count as one pick unless a Commissioner/General Manager specifically only wants one member of the team

  • Six draft picks will be made off the NXT roster

So without further ado, let’s get to the the first WWE Draft since 2011.

Round 1 Draft Picks:

Raw: Seth Rollins, Charlotte & Finn Balor

Smackdown: Dean Ambrose & AJ Styles

I don’t think there was any doubt, regardless on whether he is champion or not, that Seth Rollins would be the first overall draft pick and it’s the right decision. Seth is unquestionably the top guy in WWE, his promos have never been better, his ring work is undeniable, he’s just the total package. Dean Ambrose, the current WWE Champion, was selected as Smackdown’s first pick which makes sense. Obviously if Ambrose were not WWE Champion, he probably wouldn’t have been picked until several more people down the line.

The current WWE Women’s Champion, Charlotte is picked second by Raw. Thus the Women’s Championship makes it’s home on Monday nights. This now begs the question of what will the women on Smackdown be doing seeing as there’s no championship for them? AJ Styles becomes the second pick for Smackdown and is Smackdown’s number one heel. I can already see a tonne of matches between Ambrose and Styles once AJ is finished with John Cena.

Which leads to the first shocker of the night, Finn Balor is the third pick for Raw. We’ve been waiting on the former NXT Champion’s call-up for months now and he’ll be making is main roster debut on Raw. The possibilities of what Balor will do when he gets here are endless, I can’t wait.

Round 2 Draft Picks:

Raw: Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar & The New Day

Smackdown: John Cena & Randy Orton

The recently suspended Roman Reigns is picked third by Raw and I can’t help but feel that Roman would’ve been picked first overall if he hadn’t been suspended. Reigns will return at Battleground this weekend and I can’t imagine that the fans in Washington DC will be welcoming him back with open arms. The proverbial face of WWE, John Cena is the third pick for Smackdown and he joins his current arch rival, AJ Styles on Tuesday nights. I was genuinely quite surprised that Cena wasn’t picked sooner. That’s not to say that he should have been selected sooner, but I’m just surprised that they didn’t. Good work, WWE.

Brock Lesnar is picked fifth by Raw and he might acctually show up occasionally, that is of course, if he’s not busy failing multiple drug tests. News broke shortly before Smackdown went to air tonight that Brock Lesnar also failed a drug test prior to UFC 200. Lesnar faces a possible two year ban from UFC, while WWE are just sort of, ignoring it. His opponent (as of now) at SummerSlam, Randy Orton is the fourth pick for Smackdown. Which is okay, I just don’t think WWE realises how much the fans don’t really care about Randy Orton anymore.

Final pick of the round is the current WWE Tag Team Champions, The New Day. All three members will be sticking together and making a permanent home on Raw with the championships. After two rounds of Draft picks, both shows have established their top guys moving forward.

Round 3 Draft Picks

Raw: Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks & Chris Jericho

Smackdown: Bray Wyatt & Becky Lynch

With the top of the card sorted, we move on to filling out the mid-card and starting off this round of draft picks for Raw is Sami Zayn. Sami may be the best pure male babyface in all of WWE, I hope we see him rise through the ranks on Monday nights. Bray Wyatt is picked up by Smackdown which means it will bring The Wyatt Family’s feud with The New Day to a close following their encounter at Battleground.

The women’s division gets some attention now as Sasha Banks is selected for Raw while Becky Lynch is heading to Smackdown. With Smackdown with no championship for the women, I do worry for all the women who are drafted to Smackdown. Unfortunately this will probably result in another championship being created, unless it’s decided later that the Women’s Champion can float between shows.

Chris Jericho is the final draft pick for round three and this is fine. Jericho is the most entertaining he’s been in at least six years, with his ridiculous caricature of himself making me laugh every time he’s on camera. I do hope we see a lot more of Jericho going forward on Raw.

Round 4 Draft Picks:

Raw: Rusev (w/ Lana), Kevin Owens, Enzo & Cass

Smackdown: The Miz (w/ Maryse) & Baron Corbin

Round four now and it’s all about the titles to start it off as the United States Champion, Rusev is selected for Raw. While the Intercontinental Champion, The Miz is chosen by Smackdown and they both will have Lana and Maryse automatically joining them respectively. Pretty standard picks here as both shows need a mid-card title and you knew one was going to be chosen right after the other.

The Kevin Owens Show has now found a home on Raw, which is quite a surprising outcome considering Sami Zayn is also on Raw. Most expected these two to be separated, but I guess WWE had other ideas. I’d like to think that as soon as they found out that they’d be on the same show, they ran up and did that rapid fire punching thing on each other that they do. Baron Corbin is selected for Smackdown and I mean, sure why not. All I ask is that they please stop forcing the “he’s going to be a future WWE Champion someday” tag line? It worked out so well for Kenny Dykstra didn’t it?

Enzo & Cass are still together and they will be on Raw. The first tag team since The New Day to be drafted and they’re still eligible to go for the tag titles.

Round 5 Draft Picks:

Raw: Gallows & Anderson, Big Show & Nia Jax

Smackdown: American Alpha & Dolph Ziggler

Another tag team selection, but it’s also our first break up of the night. Gallows & Anderson have been drafted to Raw, leaving AJ Styles alone on Smackdown. But with Finn Balor now on Raw too and the history Gallows & Anderson have with Balor from their days in Japan, could we see a new club? Ooh, intrigue! Smackdown make their first selection from the allowed NXT picks and they choose American Alpha. The crowd goes absolutely berserk for Jason Jordan and Chad Gable and I’ll be honest, so did I.

WWE do love to kill peoples buzz, so Raw selects Big Show to an audible groan from the audience. Big Show has what, 12 months left, tops? Any excitement left over from the American Alpha pick is definitely gone when Smackdown chooses Dolph Ziggler. Poor Ziggler, it’s not really his fault he hasn’t been relevant in over two years.

The final pick for round five is another from NXT. Raw selects Nia Jax to join their women’s division. I do like Nia Jax, she’s obviously very different to all the other women in the company and she absolutely should have been drafted at some stage. Whether she should have been a selection before Bayley is a whole other can of worms. Still though, happy to see Nia on Raw. She’s also The Rock’s cousin (but then again, who isn’t).

Round 6 Draft Picks:

Raw: Neville, Cesaro & Sheamus

Smackdown: Natalya & Alberto Del Rio

The final televised round of draft picks starts with Neville being drafted to Raw. Neville has been out of action since March with an ankle injury and is set to return any day now. Plus, Raw will now be starting a cruiserweight division which I would imagine is being centered around Neville. Smackdown meanwhile gives Becky Lynch someone to play with as they choose Natalya. Looks like this rivalry will be continuing on well past Battleground.

Finally, somebody selects Cesaro. Cesaro is heading to Raw and was selected 27th overall, which is all kinds of wrong. The fact that Big Show was chosen before Cesaro is probably the most baffling decision of the entire show thus far. What on earth were they thinking? Okay, I should move on but I’m still not happy about it. Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus are drafted to Smackdown and Raw respectively to the excitement of no-one. Because this isn’t 2011 anymore and no-one cares of either of these men.

That’s it for the televised picks. The rest of the draft was revealed on the WWE Network, following Smackdown.

Round 7 Draft Picks:

Raw: Golden Truth, Titus O’Neil & Paige

Smackdown: The Usos & Kane

Now it’s becoming painfully clear that following the televised draft picks, WWE just threw the rest of the names in a hat and drew them at random. However we’re meant to believe that the Commissioners and General Managers personally selected every one of these. This was a pretty nothing round. Only point of interest is that Paige is on Raw with the Women’s Championship, which is a positive thing.

Round 8 Draft Picks:

Raw: Darren Young (w/ Bob Backlund), Sin Cara & Jack Swagger

Smackdown: Kalisto, Naomi & The Ascension

This round was perplexing, not just because Smackdown managed to get an extra pick for some reason. Raw is starting a cruiserweight division, so Kalisto goes to Smackdown. Uhh, okay. Sure, that makes total sense. Naomi has been out with a torn ligament in her ankle since April, but when she returns it’ll be on Smackdown. Still no clue what they’re going to be doing with the women on Smackdown with no championship. Finally, for some reason someone picked Jack Swagger. No-one picks Jack Swagger for anything.

Round 9 Draft Picks:

Raw: The Dudley Boyz, Summer Rae & Mark Henry

Smackdown: Zack Ryder, Apollo Crews & Alexa Bliss

We’re so far deep into the WWE Draft that no-one is paying attention, nor cares, about the rules that were stated at the top because Smackdown somehow scored themselves another extra pick this round. Another draft from NXT with Alexa Bliss heading to Smackdown. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see Alexa Bliss being called up to the main roster. She debuted several years ago looking and acting like Tinkerbell, but she’s manage to transform into this horrible, evil woman who hates everyone who comes near her. A breath of fresh air in the women’s division. Outside of Bliss’ draft, not much to report on here. Mark Henry is still around believe it or not, so that sort of counts and news.

Round 10 Draft Picks:

Raw: Braun Strowman, Bo Dallas & The Shining Stars

Smackdown: Breezango, Eva Marie & The Vaudevillians

Okay fine, screw the rules, apparently Smackdown can now have equal picks as Raw. I hate being a stickler for the rules. The major story of this round is that Braun Strowman is drafted to Raw and now separated from Bray Wyatt. Braun’s on his own for the first time ever and I’m worried for him. Braun is absolute garbage in the ring, so I’m selfishly hoping that he gets put in the comedy role, becomes ‘Dancin’ Stowman’ and is quickly forgotten about.

Round 11 Draft Picks:

Raw: Alicia Fox, Dana Brooke & Curtis Axel

Smackdown: Erick Rowan, Mojo Rawley & Carmella

The final round of the draft and it’s surprisingly newsworthy. Erick Rowan will still be alongside Bray Wyatt on Smackdown and we got ourselves two picks from NXT. Bafflingly, of all the guys down in NXT, Mojo Rawley has been called up to the main roster. Mojo has been teaming with Zack Ryder in NXT as ‘The Hype Bros’ and now they’re both on the same brand. The team is NOT over with the crowd at all, this is a dumb move. In happier news though, ba-da-bing… Hottest chick in the ring, Carmella is now on Smackdown. Seeing as she’s still separated from her former teammates Enzo & Cass, this still allows Carmella the opportunity to stand out on her own.

Final Thoughts:

Wow, this is a lot to process. A total of fifty nine draft picks have been selected and this hasn’t included all of those who are on the long term injured list. Let’s talk about the things that they did right. Mainstays like John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar were picked after the younger guys (and girls) like Seth Rollins, Finn Balor and Charlotte. Five out of the six picks from NXT were nice surprises and I’m really struggling to think of any other positives here.

There’s just so many things that didn’t make sense. Why were Smackdown picking so many women when they know they don’t have a Women’s Championship? Why the hell was someone like Big Show picked BEFORE Cesaro? Did anyone really want The Shining Stars? Honestly Stephanie and Mick, look me in the eye and tell me that you really wanted The Shining Stars.

The rules behind the picks from the NXT roster just made both shows look stupid. You’re given the opportunity to pick any six people from NXT to put in your roster of around thirty, and neither show wanted the likes of Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Bayley or Asuka? I’m not saying that those four should all leave NXT at the same time right now, but logically it doesn’t make any sense.

In order to truly pass judgment on the draft, we must wait and see what Battleground and the first episodes of each show entails. So with that being said, Battleground is this weekend and I’ll see you then.

5 Annoying Things Only A Wrestling Fan In Australia Would Understand

5 Annoying Things Only A Wrestling Fan In Australia Would Understand

Living in Australia has many advantages. Beautiful weather for most of the year. The drinking age is 18. Some of the best tourist destinations in the world. Donald Trump isn’t in line to be our next leader… But if there is one thing it’s hard to be in Australia, it’s being a wrestling fan.

Wrestling is not super prevalent here in Australia. There are plenty of really small wrestling promotions in each major city, I know the names of the local ones simply because I’m a big enough wrestling fan and I research these things.

When it comes to finding official wrestling merchandise here, good luck! The major department stores will have a small section devoted to the DVD’s. But that’s about it. Admittedly in some areas it has improved, action figures, play rings and whatnot have seen an increase. Not so much in variety (Anybody want 14 of the same John Cena figure?) but nevertheless, the stock is there I guess.

Some of the points I will bring up may be applicable to those in other countries… But for the most part, Aussie fans will know what I’m talking about here.

  1. Our Media Treats It As A Joke

Now this could be the case in a number of countries, but in Australia I find it to be pretty bad. Our mainstream media just don’t care, like at all. The mainstream media will never treat WWE seriously (no matter how much WWE is desperately trying to change that). But at least for the most part, they let them have their say when a superstar is on a show promoting the live event in the area and not, y’know, laugh at them.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people refer to it as ‘WWF’ on Australian television. It wasn’t a big deal in the 2000’s when they had only recently changed the name to WWE. But it’s been nearly 15 years since it was last called WWF. Come on guys.

A big example of when the media were just disrespectful quite frankly was when Australia’s own Emma was a guest on ‘The Project’ in 2014. This segment was painful to watch (and still is when I re-watch it as I write this). Emma was promoting the upcoming Australian tour, her first time back in Australia as a main roster superstar. What followed was a train wreck of an interview.

They started by referring to her as ‘Diva Emma’. Clearly misunderstanding the press release they had been handed that said ‘WWE Diva, Emma’. They proceeded with generic questions in regards to body slams as a kid. They asked about her relationships for some reason (because she’s a girl I guess…). At one point one of the hosts called her Sarah.

It was awful. Watch it if you like, it’s uncomfortable. Poor Emma.

  1. WWE Only Visits Once A Year

    (At a Live Event in 2012. Daniel Bryan Vs CM Punk)Me at WWE

This just comes with being an international fan. I totally understand why they only come once a year. It’s super far away, there are only so many days in a year and a tonne of other countries around the world also want to see it. That’s fine. This has more to do with what WWE does while they’re here. And by that I mean they do nothing of note.

Since 2003, Australia has been getting annual tours. These consist of 3-5 dates of just generic live events where nothing happens. Everyone knows the way live events go. 6-8 matches of whatever feuds are happening on TV, all champions retain, more faces win than heels and the top babyface will always triumph to close the show. It’s okay to do that, but the amount they charge to see a generic show is ridiculous!

Outside of the 2002 Global Warning Tour (which was later released on video), WWE have not had a televised event from Australia, which is baffling. The 2002 tour had 56,000 people attend a non-televised event! The demand is (or at least, was) here, it’s not too much to ask that we have at least a Raw and Smackdown taping here.

  1. No Australians Have Made It Big (Yet)

If I asked you 3 years ago to name a successful big time Australian wrestler, you most probably would come up with nothing (If you said The Bushwackers I would have hit you, they’re from New Zealand).

The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Roy Heffernan) were a very successful tag team from 1957-1965. They won numerous NWA Tag Team Championships and were posthumously inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003. However in the minds of todays wrestling fans, they aren’t remembered.

Outback Jack wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation in the 80’s. His WWF career was short. He won a handful of matches against some jobbers and left the WWF with little fan fare 2 years into his career. Nathan Jones signed with WWE in late 2002. He left 12 months later. Let us never speak of him again.

In more recent times, the likes of Emma and Buddy Murphy debuted with WWE and are still going strong. Emma is did great things in the NXT Women’s division and has returned to the main roster and Murphy became one half of the NXT Tag Team Champions in January of 2015, making him the first Australian in history to win a WWE branded championship. They are also the first Australian WWE superstars to not be total embarrassments (I’m looking at you Outback Jack and Nathan Jones).

In April, WWE signed Perth born wrestlers Mikey Nichols and Shane Haste, also known as The Mighty Don’t Kneel (TMDK) from Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan and are now in the WWE Performance Center awaiting debut. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are both Sydney natives and competing in NXT as well. Good luck to all of them!

  1. Television Broadcast Delays

This was definitely more of an issue 5-10 years ago, but it still was a major annoyance. In February 2014, Australia finally (and I mean FINALLY) started to receive Raw live on television. Monday night in the United States is about mid Tuesday morning in Australia. Perfect! But like I said, February 2014 that happened, it wasn’t always like this.

I started watching Wrestling in 2000, and at that point Monday Night Raw was broadcast on Tuesdays at 8:30pm, around 12 hours after it airs in the US. By 2003 it had moved channels and aired on Wednesdays at 9:30pm, 36 hours later than America. I was so lucky the internet wasn’t as useful as it is now.

By 2005 it settled on Wednesdays at 3pm. It stayed in that time slot for 9 years.

Smackdown on the other hand, Australia got a good deal with that! Until 2005, the blue brand was broadcast on a Saturday night. It didn’t bother many people, it was like a tape delay of a tape delay, no-one cared. However in 2004, when Smackdown was moved from Thursdays to Fridays in America, we got a super good deal.

Smackdown was moved to Friday 3pm in Australia, which meant we received Smackdown about 12-16 hours before the United States. That was a hell of a deal we got until January of 2016.

Television broadcasts were a bit of a catch-22 for Australians. Raw was super late, but we got Smackdown before anyone else.

  1. Avoiding Spoilers Of Pay Per Views

This is something that will never change because that’s the beauty of time zones. Sunday nights in the United States is mid Monday morning in Australia. This is where being an Australian wrestling fan is at its toughest.

Between March and October, PPV’s would start at 9:30am. Between October and March, 11:30am (Hooray for daylight savings!). This would mean you would be forced to go to school/work and spend the entirety of your day wondering what’s happening on the show that you can’t watch!

This proved even more difficult as the internet got bigger, social media became a thing and access to spoilers became even easier to accidentally stumble across. So the thing that you would usually do to pass the time while bored at work/school you can’t for fear of spoiling yourself!

But I do have to say, the best feeling ever was coming home and dumping all your stuff and run to the TV to watch the PPV. Because wrestling, no matter how much it irritates you, is just the best form of entertainment out there!

R.I.P Chyna 1969-2016

R.I.P Chyna 1969-2016

Don’t treat her like a woman. Don’t treat her like a man. Don’t treat her like you knew her. Treat her for who and what she was.

And what was she? She was a trailblazer, a groundbreaker, an icon in the world of sports entertainment. Chyna was the 9th Wonder of the World. There’s nobody before or after like her and there never will be again. If you wanted woman empowerment in the late 90’s, Chyna was it.

Chyna’s legacy will live on forever. We refer to what happened to the women’s division last year as the ‘Diva’s Revolution’. But in the late 90’s, Chyna was a one woman revolution. She broke gender barriers and changed the way women were viewed in WWE for the better and she can’t be thanked enough for that.

Thank you Chyna, for everything you did in your career. Your impact on the world of sports entertainment will be felt forever and you will never be forgotten.

R.I.P Chyna (1969-2016)

8 Reasons You Should Be Excited For WWE In The Next Year

We’re in Post-WrestleMania season folks and instead of getting all down in the dumps about the hottest period of the year being over, think about it for a second. Look at what’s on the horizon, because things are about to get very interesting.

I’ve taken the liberty to list the 8 things you should be most excited about in WWE in the next year. Ranging from upcoming feuds, character changes, returns and debuts, us fans have a lot to look forward to. So let’s talk it out.
A Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens Feud

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Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens is a feud that could go on until the end of time and no-one would tire of it. Those two just have a chemistry that is so rare that you only get one or two combinations of these in a generation. Like Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels or Steve Austin and The Rock, they’re destined to cross paths forever.

After Owens put Sami on the shelf at NXT Takeover: Unstoppable, Owens moved to the main roster where he would have an incredible series of matches with John Cena, most notably pinning him clean in their first encounter, he would also hold the Intercontinental title twice. But his past would catch up with him.

Sami Zayn is back! He eliminated Kevin Owens from the Royal Rumble and then a month later would attack him on Raw. After the ladder match at WrestleMania where neither man were able to get their hands on the IC title, both moved onto to bigger things and made their intentions for the WWE World Heavyweight Title known. KO is not pleased with Sami’s intentions.

KO put Zayn through a table backstage to put him out of the main event on this past weeks Raw. It looks as if the next chapter of the Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn saga is ready to be told over the next few months. Buckle up, because it’s going to get real good and I don’t think WWE is able to stuff this one up, it’s too simple!

The Revival of the Women’s Championship

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This is something everybody from the fans to the women of the WWE themselves have been wanting for years. Back in 2010, WWE decided they didn’t need two championships for the women, so they ditched one. Which was a fair decision, the brand split was coming to an apparent end and this had already occurred with the tag team division.
Downside though, they retired the women’s title, the one with the lineage of over 50 years in favour of the Diva’s title, the one that had been around for 2 years and had a design like it had taken from a pre-school sticker sheet. The decision was widely panned by fans and former champions alike, because no s**t, it was dumb.

Fast forward some dark times for the “Divas Division” and NXT is giving their women stories, characters and time in the ring… You know, as if they were actually wrestlers or something. The main roster began to take notice, but not after being dragged kicking and screaming into change because of social media reactions and opinions of their own employees were widely like “why are we not doing this too!?”

This past week at WrestleMania, before Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Charlotte were scheduled for their triple threat title match, Lita came to the ring and announced that change was here and the Divas Championship would be retired and the winner of the triple threat would be crowned the first WWE Women’s Champion (following a brand new lineage, almost like a blank slate).

They aren’t ‘Divas’ anymore, they’re all superstars. They have a brand new championship, they have the talent pool and it looks like (FINALLY) the company is behind them. The future is bright for women’s wrestling, it’s now time to enjoy what we’ve asked for.

Cesaro Is Back!

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Cesaro has always been one those guys on the cusp of greatness, but for one reason or another, the trigger is never pulled on him. He won the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and we thought that this was it… It wasn’t.

Vince McMahon while on the Steve Austin podcast was asked what Cesaro was missing and he said that he “wasn’t connecting as much as we’d have hoped” and then added “maybe it’s because he’s Swiss, I don’t know.” Suffice to say the majority of viewers at home threw their hands in the air in utter frustration.

Cesaro suffered a shoulder injury and required surgery this past November and shockingly made his return the night after WrestleMania to a HUGE reaction. Is he connecting yet Vince?

Now Cesaro is back in the mix, what will he do first? Is he in the main event picture now? Does he need a US or IC title reign first? But I know I’ll be tuning in to find out what’s next for the Swiss Superman.

A Potential Roman Reigns Turn

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If I was to say Roman Reigns has been welcomed warmly to the top of the mountain in WWE, I would be flat out lying and nobody likes a dirty liar. When Reigns debuted in The Shield everyone had that inkling that he was going to be big in the future, we just didn’t think WWE were going try and force it to happen so soon rather than let it happen organically.

Once The Shield split, Ambrose and Rollins went off and got new gear, new music and found their new character. Roman kept the music, the gear, the entrance through the crowd and his character didn’t change. That’s already not a great start. The WWE Universe had just been on a decade long run with John Cena playing superman, and with what WWE had been doing with Roman since he went solo, it was looking like we were heading into another 10 years, but with Roman Reigns.

Many, like myself, don’t have an issue with Roman Reigns the person. But it’s clear that everyone wants to boo him. He’s been booked as this guy who has struggled and has had to overcome all odds and ‘The Authority’ don’t want a guy like him as champion. Uhh, okay. So we’re supposed to believe, in storyline, that WWE don’t want a good looking, long haired Samoan with a massive physique and an incredibly rich family heritage to be champion. Sure.

Anyway, so as WWE does, they persisted with it despite it just being a bad idea. Reigns won the title at WrestleMania in a nothing match to a frosty reception. He then came out on Raw the next night (to an even worse reception) but this time he appeared to show a new attitude. “I’m not a bad guy. I’m not a good guy. I’m the guy.” He looked down on challengers like Sami Zayn and AJ Styles, treating them condescendingly.

It looks like they’re changing up Roman Reigns attitude a bit. Could it morph into a full fledged heel turn? Who knows, but the next few months will be interesting to see.

Global Cruiserweight Series

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WWE doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to the Cruiserweight division. Hornswoggle was the last Cruiserweight champion for christ sake. But earlier this year some exciting news was announced, the WWE Network will air a Global Cruiserweight Series.

A 32 man single elimination tournament over 10 weeks starting on July 13th from Full Sail University, all to determine the best Cruiserweight in the world. WWE have yet to formally state what the winner of the tournament will receive or how many of the talents they recruit will be signed to WWE deals.

However Triple H has announced a few names that will participate. Johnny Gargano, Tomasso Ciampa, Zack Sabre Jr and Rich Swann just to name a few. It was also revealed that independent promotions Evolve, Revolution Pro Wrestling and PROGRESS Wrestling will all host qualifying matches for the tournament.

Are you excited for this now? Because you better be, it’s going to be amazing.

Seth Rollins Return

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Seth Rollins had an amazing 2015, if you ignore that whole nude photo leak thing. He held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for seven months and in the process had PPV main events with the likes of Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, John Cena and Sting. Seth Rollins was unstoppable… We thought.

Sadly it all came to a crashing halt in November when wrestling at a house show with Kane, Seth Rollins blew his knee out, tearing his ACL, forcing him to relinquish the WWE Championship. He was expected to be out 6-9 months. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. Mainly because we got Sheamus as champion afterwards. That was not a fun period.

This was 5 months ago, which means Seth Rollins’ return is somewhere on the horizon. Get excited because think about what’s changed since Seth was last on TV. Chris Jericho’s back, Sami Zayn is on Raw, Kevin Owens has been elevated past the Intercontinental title, Cesaro’s back, AJ Styles is here.

Plus with a fresh attitude change for new champion Roman Reigns, could Seth Rollins be ready to make a long awaited face turn? Or is WWE in desperate need of any convincing heels they can get their hands on? That’s the point, stay tuned.

Future NXT Call Ups

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Between WrestleMania 31 and 32, the following superstars were called up to the main roster. Neville, Kalisto, Kevin Owens, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Sami Zayn, Eva Marie, Braun Strowman, Emma (again) and Tyler Breeze. That’s quite an impressive list… And Eva Marie.

That also sounds like NXT would’ve suffered because of it, but they haven’t! They still have the likes of Finn Balor, Bayley, Samoa Joe, Asuka, Shinsuke Nakamura, Austin Aries, Hideo Itami, American Alpha all hanging around there.

This begs the question, who’s next? Just this past week The Vaudevillians, Baron Corbin, Enzo & Cass and Apollo Crews have all made their main roster debuts so it’s more than likely we won’t see another main roster debut for a while.

With every debut, more hope is brought to the main roster that we’re going to see fresh match ups and providing us with can’t miss TV. So who do you think is coming up next? We shall watch and find out.

Shinsuke Nakamura Is In WWE

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Shortly after Wrestle Kingdom 10 it was announced that WWE had offered contracts to 4 of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest stars. AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows and most shockingly, Shinsuke Nakamura.

If you hadn’t heard of Nakamura before, he’s a rockstar who will knee you in the head over and over again… And you’ll still want to see him do it again, after all he is the King of Strong Style.

Once Nakamura completed his contractual obligations with New Japan he made his way to Orlando. He had his debut match at NXT Takeover Dallas against Sami Zayn and it was good. Really good. Chants of “Fight Forever!” happened it was that good.

Shinsuke Nakamura is here in WWE. We don’t know who long he’ll be in NXT, what his first rivalry will be. It’s all so new it’s up in the air at the moment. In my opinion, Nakamura’s future is the most intriguing thing in WWE at the moment.
So, let me know. What are you most excited for in WWE in the next year? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @MichaelFarrer92

I’ll catch you next time.

Let’s Get To Know Each Other

Hello again!

So, seeing as this blog is just getting started and before I get too far into these posts, I figured now would be an appropriate time for you to get to know me, how I became a fan and other fun questions. So like the first day of summer camp, lets have a get to know you game!
Shall we get started!?

Name: Michael

City/Country: Adelaide, Australia.

Age & year you started watching wrestling:
7 years old, year 2000

First Wrestling Memory:

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I’m sitting in the lounge room with my Dad and sister. Dad is in control of the remote, flicking through channels when he lands on an edition of Smackdown. He landed on it at the perfect moment, Lita was climbing to the top rope and she delivered a picture perfect Litacanrana to a member of Right to Censor I believe.
That was all it took, one high risk move and I haven’t looked back since.

Favourite Male Wrestler (top 3):

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Edge, Shawn Michaels & Cesaro

Favourite Female Wrestler (top 3):

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Lita, Victoria & AJ Lee

Favourite Wrestler Overall:

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Lita

Guilty Pleasure Wrestler:

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Paul Burchill

I’m not sure why I liked him as much as I did. Was it the pirate thing? That rope swing entrance was wicked, but it didn’t last long. Then his run with “sister” Katie Lea Burchill I was really into! He didn’t have much personality, but his matches were usually good.
I don’t know, all I know is when I’m bored and on YouTube I sometimes watch some Paul Burchill matches.

Favourite matches (top 3):

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TLC II – WrestleMania X-Seven
Trish Stratus Vs Lita – RAW, December 6 2004
Sami Zayn Vs Shinsuke Nakamura – NXT Takeover Dallas

Yep, that last match only happened a week ago and it’s already one of my all time favourites. Does it get bonus points because I was in attendance live for it? Yes. But even so, it’s just too good to look past. It’s going to go down in history as the best match of 2016, calling it now.

Most Hated Match:
Wow, there is so many to list. The likes of “Donald Trump” Vs “Rosie O’Donnell” comes to mind. But I’m gonna choose a match that actually contained proper superstars.

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Here’s a fun fact; A man has won every Battle Royal in WrestleMania history, including an all-female Battle Royal. And for that reason, the Miss WrestleMania Battle Royal gets the “honour” here.
WWE’s view on women’s wrestling in 2009 was basically “lol, who cares.” So when they announced a 25 Diva Battle Royal at WrestleMania 25, I was cautiously optimistic. However WWE decided to ruin it all by having Santina Marella (Santino Marella dressed as a woman) win the Battle Royal. That was the plan the whole time. WWE reached out to the likes of Trish Stratus and Lita but when they were told the creative plans they declined. Good call.

Favourite PPV (top 3):

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WrestleMania X-Seven, WrestleMania 30 & Money In The Bank 2011

Favourite finishing manoeuvre (top 3):

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Widow’s Peak, Stone Cold Stunner, Moonsault

Have you cheered John Cena at an event:

Yes, at my first ever WWE event in Melbourne in August 2004.

Have you booed John Cena at an event:

Yes, at pretty much every event since then.

When was your first “Mark Out Moment”:

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Edge cashing in Money in the Bank for the first time at New Years Revolution 2006. I was getting quite tired of John Cena at the time, it was Edge’s first title and it was won in a surprising, innovative way. I was jumping around my lounge room.

How do you handle it when someone calls wrestling “fake” and/or dumb:

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This is a hard one as it depends on the tone in which it’s said. If they’re being a total douche and trying to tell you like “it’s all fake, you know that right?” as if they’re the one with the big scoop or something. In that instance, I treat them with the same respect they just showed me.

If someone asks in a genuine way such as “I know it’s fake, so what is it that you like about it?” Well that’s easy to answer. I just tell them that’s like any other TV show out there. You don’t have to tell someone “you know Game of Thrones is fake right?” It’s like what Max Landis said in ‘Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling’ “It’s a TV show about a wrestling show”. And honestly, that’s the easiest way to describe it.

If all else fails just show them Edge or Randy Orton going into thumb tacks. That’s always fun to see their reactions.

 

Someone who has never watched wrestling before asks you to show them a match, which do you choose:

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NXT Takeover Brooklyn: Sasha Banks Vs Bayley.

It’s just as close to a perfect match that you can get. Build up, characters, length of match, quality of match, excited crowd and the correct result with a story well told. It’s pretty much a masterpiece.

I had a squeamish friend want to see something so I showed her Edge vs Mick Foley from WrestleMania 22. That was fun.

Has wrestling made you cry? If so, when:

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Wrestling has made me cry like a baby on so many occasions. Eddie Guerrero’s Tribute Show was the first time. More tears flowed for Randy Savage, Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Pipers ‘In Memoriam’ packages. The retirements of Edge, Shawn Michaels, Daniel Bryan and Lita. Though I mainly cried at Lita’s retirement because of how awful and disrespectful it was. Seriously, f*** WWE in 2006.

My most recent emotional moment was this past week at Axxess when WWE unveiled Dusty Rhodes’ statue. Cody went up to it, kissed the statue’s finger and started to bawl. As did I.

Have you cancelled plans with people because wrestling is on:
This question is asked assuming I ever have plans. I’m desperately lonely. Honestly though, yes. Multiple times.

Your Dream Match:

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Male: Sami Zayn Vs Shawn Michaels

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Female: Sasha Banks Vs Lita
I think that’s enough for today! Please, let me know your answers too! Answer in as much or as little detail as you wish. I’ll provide an easy copy + paste question list below.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon.

 

Name:

City/Country:

Age & year you started watching wrestling:

First Wrestling Memory:

Favourite Male Wrestler (top 3):

Favourite Female Wrestler (top 3):

Favourite Wrestler Overall:

Guilty Pleasure Wrestler:

Favourite matches (top 3):

Most Hated Match:

Favourite PPV (top 3):

Favourite finishing manoeuvre (top 3):

Have you cheered John Cena at an event:

Have you booed John Cena at an event:

When was your first “Mark Out Moment”:

How do you handle it when someone calls wresting “fake” and/or dumb:

Someone who has never watched wrestling before asks you to show them a match, which do you choose:
Has wrestling made you cry? If so, when:

Have you cancelled plans with people because wrestling is on:

Your idea of a Dream Match:
Male:
Female:

 

An Aussie’s First WrestleMania

An Aussie’s First WrestleMania

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WrestleMania is something special. It’s the place where legends are made and some of the most unforgettable moments in WWE history occur. For over 15 years as a fan in Australia, it was always told to me over the TV that WrestleMania is the best fan experience you can ever do in your life.
It took until 2016, at the age of 23, that I finally took the plunge and booked a trip to my very first WrestleMania.

I’m going to go through some of my experiences, my initial observations as a ‘Mania virgin, the atmosphere of being in a rabid crowd and how I’d do things differently if given the opportunity.

Ticket Purchasing and Booking:

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Once I had decided that 2016 was the year to go, naturally the research begins. Well and truly before any announcement of ticket sales, travel packages or even venue location is announced, I began to delve into other people’s previous WrestleMania experiences.

If there was one thing that intimidated me about the booking process, it was the idea of purchasing every ticket separately. As a newbie, I made the decision that the travel package would be the easiest choice. I was correct.

If you’re planning to go to all the events WWE have up for offer, then the travel package is for you. I knew full well that there was a lot more to WrestleMania weekend than just WWE, but I figured if I was attending ‘Mania weekend for the first time I might as well do it properly and go to everything.

The only downside of booking it that way is that you have to pay for it all upfront. If you’re in the financial position to do so, then it’s just the best way to guarantee yourself a ticket to everything with comfortable accommodation.

Also, they sell out in an hour usually, get on them quick.

Axxess:

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Axxess is a mess. A confusing, frustrating mess. If you’re going into Axxess expecting to meet all your favourite people that you’ve watched on TV for years, throw that plan out the window because that isn’t happening.

Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. You may meet some people but you’re gonna have to work for it. But do you love queuing and paying $55 to do it? Then WrestleMania Axxess is for you.

The way it works is there are about 8 or so signing stages. Axxess runs in 4 hour sessions, superstars only sign for 2 hour shifts. So, once 2 hours is up they tag out and a new superstar starts. That’s all well and good, however it is never announced who is replacing who and which stage any superstar will be at. “Oh what’s that? You’ve been lining up for 2 hours for Sami Zayn? Well too bad, times up, you get Primo & Epico.” Luck of the draw folks!

I made the decision to attend 4 Axxess sessions. Mistake. My thought process was that I should go to everything and experience as much as I could, but in reality you don’t experience all that much standing in a queue for 80% of the time. That’s not to say all my experiences were bad, I managed to meet Becky Lynch, Molly Holly and a host of others. But 4 sessions again? I’d go to WrestleCon instead.

NXT Takeover Dallas:

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This was when I knew I chose the right year to attend ‘Mania, when it was announced that NXT would be holding one of their Takeover specials the Friday before and those who had Travel Packages would be getting tickets.
NXT had been absolutely on fire over the previous 2 years. Every special better than the last with outstanding matches, nonstop excitement and passionate crowds. What’s not to like?

As we got closer to the event, matches were announced. Balor/Joe II, wicked. Bayley/Asuka, wow! Sami Zayn/Shinsuke Nakamura, HOLY S***! And with that I was almost more excited for this than WrestleMania!

Takeover was held in the same building as Axxess, so after a relatively uneventful evening there (okay, I saw Kofi Kingston twerk like his life depended on it, I have footage, so it’s not all bad) we moved over to NXT. You could feel the anticipation levels rising in the people as they started to congregate around the doors and eventually let in.
This was a kind of crowd that I had never been a part of before. Australian WWE house show crowds are dead, they sit on their hands and react to nothing. I’m sorry fellow Aussies, but we suck. By proven track record, NXT crowds are loud. Add that with a WrestleMania weekend crowd and you’ve got some magic there.

My first NXT show turned out to be sensational, not that I ever expect led it to be bad. The debuting Shinsuke Nakamura got a reaction one can only dream of. If I had to make the choice of feeling the pain of being hit by a truck or a knee from Nakamura, I’m taking the bus!
Everyone around me were shocked, standing up with hands over mouths when Bayley lost the women’s championship. Also, the Balor/Joe match with constant referee stoppage due to a cut near Joe’s eye proved quite distracting. The crowd were not happy one bit at the constant pauses to the match. Chants such as “PG SUCKS!” and “F*** PG!” were super audible to the fans watching at home.

NXT proved once again that they are the hottest thing going in wresting today, and the people up at the main roster are simply playing catch up.

Hall of Fame:

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I love the Hall of Fame ceremonies. The stories told are entertaining and it’s always great to be able to pay respect to some legends. Some guys almost have an open mic for their speeches, which is always great to listen to.

The 2016 class had mixed reviews as to who WWE inducted this year. A lot of people either sold their Hall of Fame ticket or just simply didn’t go. I always have enjoyed the shows and still being my first time I definitely was going. I even went to the effort to get dressed up.

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Scrub up okay don’t I? Okay, don’t answer that.

Was it going to compare to previous all-star classes like 2013/14? No. But you could still expect a fun night out and it was. Speech of the night obviously went to The Freebirds. Although the whole building was a thoroughly confused by Kevin Von Erich’s unfortunate “New Gay Guys” stuff up. He didn’t mean any malice, so it’s all good.

Snoop Dogg was inducted into the celebrity wing of the Hall of Fame, and it was a controversial choice as the crowd were not on board whenever he was shown on screen. But props to the D-O-Double-G, he won the crowd over with an honest and a truly grateful speech.

Then of course Sting announcing his retirement to the live crowd was a sad moment. Everyone knew it was coming, but once people accepted it, they gave him a well deserved standing ovation. An enjoyable night out at the Hall of Fame and I would definitely go to another.

WrestleMania:

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This is the big guns. WrestleMania. Legitimately the largest one in history, and honestly was the deciding factor in choosing Dallas to be the ‘Mania I travel to. Simply so I could say I went and I was at the biggest one.

The day started off with an 8am Axxess session. I met Alundra Blayze and Tye Dillenger, but we left early to go get ready for the big day or ‘Mania ahead. With kick-off plus the main show, that’s like a 6-7 hour show! That’s a long day!

Shuttle busses picked us up at the Sheraton at 2pm. Now, when you purchased a travel package it included shuttle bus transportation as AT&T Stadium is about a 30 minute drive away. The way you get on the bus is you put on the band they give you in the package. When the package arrived to my house and I went through it all, I made the unfortunate decision to snap the bands together not knowing that you can’t unsnap them!
Ripping them apart and super glue followed and everything was fine. That was close.

So we arrived at the stadium by 2:45pm, but we had to wait over an hour to be let in. It was hot, uncomfortable, chants of “LET US IN!” started. Apparently many people had trouble getting into the stadium, I didn’t experience any of that thank goodness so I was able to find our seats about 30 minutes before the first match started.

I know for a fact I look far more favourably upon the show because I was there live for it. I’m not sure I would have if I was at home. But as far as being there in person? Well, sitting in a stadium with the better part of 100,000 people was certainly mind blowing. I can’t describe it other than it’s like seeing the wrestling Grand Canyon. You just can’t prepare yourself for it.

Experiencing entrances from The Undertaker, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and especially Stone Cold in Texas was too cool for words. Yes the way the show ended was incredibly lacklustre and was quite formulaic. But I’ll be happy to watch back 90% of the show. It’s true what they say though, if you’re a wrestling fan you must attend a WrestleMania before you die.

Monday Night Raw:

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Another first for me, Monday Night Raw. As I was going through this weekend I kept thinking to myself “how have I not done any of these things before now!?”

If you’ve only attended house shows or PPV’s before never attended an edition of Raw, it’s very different. And when I say different I mainly just mean A LOT OF ADS. But I have to talk about one of the notorious parts of this show, that’s the crowd, obviously.

The Raw After Mania is almost of mythic proportions at this point. Everyone expects it to be the best show of the year. Debuts, returns, title changes, face/heel turns, they all go down on this show. And the crowd is always super hot from the night before and this time they were out for blood… Roman Reigns’ blood.

Every time Roman’s image came up on the screen, no matter how short, deafening boo’s. However the time came when Roman (and to be fair, WWE) had to face the music. Like a child coming out of their hiding spot to admit they’ve done the wrong thing and accept their punishment.

Poor Roman, it’s nothing personal honestly. He got it bad on Monday night. However to WWE’s credit they kept his mic time very short and managed to find a way to only have him out there for about 5 minutes, so to not over expose him and let the crowd ruin him… Because they would have.

This edition of Raw was odd. It started strong, slowed down to almost a complete stop in the 2nd hour and then in the 3rd hour it really picked up. Debuts of Enzo & Cass plus the return of Cesaro were insane. I get goosebumps looking back at the footage.
Quick note, when Cesaro’s music hit I screamed so loud I used up all the oxygen in my body and legitimately nearly passed out. That’s not one word of a lie, I really love Cesaro that much.

Final Thoughts:

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From start to finish my first ever WrestleMania weekend was an overwhelming success. Take away some of the disappointing results, I did everything that I expected to do. I saw and did all aspects of Axxess. NXT, WrestleMania and RAW all lived up to the expectations of having a rowdy crowd that would cause me to lose my voice. So I can’t really complain can I!?

If I were to go again (and I plan to at some stage) I would make some alterations. I would definitely diversify the things I do during the week. Make the effort to go see more independent shows and take one of the Axxess sessions and instead go to WrestleCon.

After almost a year of planning the trip, for the WrestleMania weekend to be over is heartbreaking. Post-WrestleMania Blues is absolutely real and it’s a serious thing. I’m not fully out of it yet.
Honestly the coolest thing about it was meeting and making friends with so many people from all over the world, all coming together to celebrate the one thing we all love so much. Wrestling. It doesn’t get better than that.

5 Times Where The Following Raw Was Better Than The PPV

5 Times Where The Following Raw Was Better Than The PPV

Not all Pay Per Views can be winners and WWE proves this to us time and time again. But sometimes all is not lost as WWE occasionally are able to rectify mistakes made the very next night. That’s the advantage of making a live show with the schedule WWE has, if they discover things didn’t go as planned they can change things on the fly and create some shocking, unpredictable moments.

These 5 episodes of Raw all follow a Pay Per View where critics and fans alike were left with a slightly bitter taste in their mouths. WWE had to make things right in order for viewers to continue to tune in, and WWE did.

Did the wrong person win? Were the matches just plain awful? Did the story not progress? Well don’t judge until you’ve seen the whole show they have to offer, because sometimes they have something up their sleeves. As these 5 editions of Monday Night Raw can attest to.

 

5. Fastlane 2016

 

Let’s start off with the most recent addition to the list. This past week at Fastlane the show was headlined by Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat match to determine who will face Triple H for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 32. Match result aside as I could write a whole article on that, and many already have… It was a solid main event, and it was a quality match, however that was the show’s only selling point.

The under card of Y2J Vs AJ Styles, Kevin Owens Vs Dolph Ziggler and Naomi/Tamina Vs Becky Lynch/Sasha Banks were all commendable matches but they all lacked an importance about them. Also, the less said about the Wyatt Family Vs Big Show/Kane/Ryback and R-Truth Vs Curtis Axel the better. WWE literally placed a bunch of filler matches in a filler PPV. It was like WWE had set the car on cruise control on the Road to WrestleMania (Quality car analogy, I know, thank you).

Or so that’s what we thought as we fast forward 24 hours to Monday Night Raw. The show opened with Mr. McMahon awarding the ‘Vincent J McMahon Legacy of Excellence’ award to a very worthy recipient… It was Stephanie. Now, I think most people had an idea how this segment was going to go down when it was announced the week before. Vince awards it to Triple H, winner of the Fastlane main event Roman Reigns would come down, ruin everything and destroy the trophy and such. Thankfully this did not happen, something much more, well, confusing happened.

As Stephanie was about to read her prepared speech suddenly HERE COMES THE MONEY, MONEY TALKS! The prodigal son and the missing McMahon of 7 years, Shane McMahon makes his return to say that he kind of still runs WWE. Another 15 minutes go by and suddenly we have another WrestleMania match. Shane McMahon Vs Undertaker, Hell in a Cell for control of WWE. Uhh, that was unexpected. A lot of unanswered questions, but that’s what you want!

On top of that, Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose No Holds Barred is confirmed for ‘Mania, solid story progression for Charlotte, Becky and Sasha as well as the post main event fight between Roman Reigns and Triple H helped us all forget how incredibly dull the previous nights PPV really was.

 
4. Royal Rumble 2012

 

Outside of the WWE Championship match between CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler, this show was just not good. So in reality, almost any episode of Raw could top it but nevertheless let’s keep going.

Daniel Bryan successfully defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Big Show and Mark Henry which could only be described as okay. There was a Brodus Clay squash match and an 8 Diva Tag clustermuck which are always hard to pull off successfully. John Cena and Kane were starting their painful ‘Embrace The Hate’ feud, yuck.

The Royal Rumble match itself was fine, it had its surprise entrants and was for the most part adequately booked… But Sheamus won. Chris Jericho had just returned with his ‘End of the world as you know it’ stuff. It didn’t really make a hell of a lot of sense, but it was fun speculating. But many were expecting Jericho to finally win a Rumble but alas, no. Sheamus would go on to only be in the opening match of WrestleMania anyway, so it was all pointless in the end.

The next night on Raw was about whether Triple H would fire John Laurinaitis. CM Punk came out and had some fun leading the crowd in singing “Nah nah nah nah, Hey hey hey, Goodbye” at Big Johnny. CM Punk wrestled Daniel Bryan one on one for the first time in WWE, which was ruined by Jericho attacking Punk which started up their WrestleMania program.

At the end of the night it was time to find out whether Triple H was going to fire Laurinaitis, and as it looked like Hunter was going to wish John best of luck in his future endeavors… GONG! The Undertaker, who hadn’t been seen since the previous WrestleMania where he defeated Triple H and left on a stretcher, made his return. He challenged Triple H to another match at WrestleMania but Hunter walked away. An intriguing story was about to be told, one that definitely topped the Royal Rumble.

 

 

3. TLC 2015

 

Lets talk about TLC 2015 because it was more circumstantial as to why is wasn’t great and it can mainly be boiled to the same theme… SO. MANY. INJURIES. At this time, here is the injured list. John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan (hadn’t yet retired), Cesaro, Sting, King Barrett, Tyson Kidd, Nikki Bella. Plus Brock Lesnar is still having his time out period. With all these people out you can see why Sheamus was WWE Champion going into this show.

The show itself had one or two bright spots but it ultimately just showed how depleted the roster was at this point. Jack Swagger had a US Title match on PPV! This is a man who has, no exaggeration, done NOTHING in the last 2 and a half years. TLC 2015 is probably going to be best remembered for Kalisto’s death defying Selida Del Sol off the ladder through a ladder. Absolutely insane, and definitely why he became US champion not long after.

The show was filled with clunky, just plain bad matches from Ryback Vs Rusev and The Wyatt Family Vs ECW Originals. Roman Reigns and Sheamus main evented in a TLC match that can only be summarised in ‘Meh’. However the post match beat down Reigns gave to Triple H was tasty. However it was the night that followed that truly made the previous show all worth it.

The next night Stephanie confronted Reigns and delivered the stiffest slaps I’ve ever seen and announced that Mr. McMahon would be making his return to take care of Roman Reigns. Vince hadn’t been seen in over a year so this was incredibly significant. Vince announced Reigns vs Sheamus for the WWE Championship and if Reigns loses, he’s fired. High stakes (finally) in the main event of Raw!

Sheamus and Reigns would go on to have a match with all the shenanigans you would expect with the stakes this high. With interference from the League of Nations and Vince himself, Reigns managed to beat Sheamus to win the title. The first time the title had changed hands on Raw in over 4 years. Roman would receive a thunderous ovation for his win in the same city where he was booed out of the building at the Royal Rumble.

 

 

2. Breakdown 1998

 

Time to go back to the Attitude Era for this one, and the reason the Raw that followed topped this show? One incredible and fondly remembered moment. We’ll get to that, but first the actual show itself.
Now you have to remember that this was the hottest period of the Monday Night Wars. WWE and WCW were trading wins each week so each company were pouring most of their shocking moments on TV to garner ratings rather than have them on Pay Per View.

In Your House: Breakdown was a passable show. The Attitude Era was not known for its in ring material as much as it is in today’s era, so a lot of Breakdown was just there. It wasn’t particularly bad, just not, you know, good. The exception of this was the opener between Edge and Owen Hart. Looking back on it, it’s amazing that we were lucky enough to see this match and Edge and Owen put on quite a contest and it’s certainly a hidden gem on the WWE Network, go check it out.

Breakdown’s main event was a Triple Threat between Kane, Undertaker and Stone Cold for the WWE Championship and as per Mr. McMahon’s orders, Kane and Undertaker could not pin each other to win the championship. Austin was backed into a corner, how was he gonna make it out with his title… Well, he didn’t.
The finish came when Kane and Undertaker double chokeslammed Austin and they both pinned him at the same time. Breakdown went off the air in confusion as to who had won the championship, looks like we’d have to find out the next night on Raw.

On Raw Vince McMahon called Kane and Undertaker to the ring to announce who was the WWE champion, but before he could go too much further Steve Austin was shown on the titantron driving into the arena on a Zamboni. He drove it all the way in and crashed into the ring before attacking McMahon as police officers restrained him, Austin was then arrested. It was one of the defining images of the Attitude Era.

Later that night Mr. McMahon admonished Kane and Undertaker for not defending him and instead of naming one of them champion, he set up a match between the two at Judgment Day with Austin as the referee. He flipped them the bird when their backs were turned, got caught and the Brothers of Destruction obliterated McMahon, injuring his ankle. What an eventful Monday Night Raw!
1. WrestleMania 29

 

What else would be here? It’s probably the biggest instance of Raw outshining the Pay Per View and it did, on many levels. Arguably the reason this edition of Raw is so acclaimed was the passionate fans in attendance that night, but we’ll get to that.

WrestleMania 29 in a word? Underwhelming. Not to mention the fact it was headlined by The Rock and John Cena which was originally billed last year as ‘Once in a Lifetime’. So not only was build to the show just not engaging, it was a repeat on top of that. The under card was filled with forgettable matches, to the point I had to look them up to remember what was on the show. Also, Jack Swagger hilariously didn’t even get a proper entrance for his World Heavyweight Championship match. OUCH!

The other main events were Triple H defeating Brock Lesnar (why?) in a violent brawl and The Undertaker claimed his final victim of The Streak at WrestleMania by defeating CM Punk in what was by far match of the night and saved the show from being irredeemable. John Cena then beat Rock in what was almost a copy/paste job from last year. It was pretty stock standard.

Let’s fast forward 24 hours and the crowd is rabid in New Jersey! John Cena opened the show with a promo and he had a lot of fun with the partisan crowd. The crowd was all over Cena chanting “Boring!” and even “Same Old S**t!” It was a sign of things to come.
The Shield interrupted The Undertaker, Fandangoing was born and a sleeper match between Sheamus and Randy Orton ended up being one of the most entertaining matches simply because of the raucous crowd chanting everything under the sun! Also, Wade Barrett regained the Intercontinental Championship he lost the night before to a massive reaction, a lot of Brits go to WrestleMania!

Speaking of massive reactions, NOTHING compared to the reaction that occurred when Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank opportunity and won the World Heavyweight Championship. Deafening! I had goosebumps watching just on TV, can’t imagine what it was like in the arena. With all of those developments, it’s no wonder this is often times heralded as one of the greatest episodes of Raw ever and it totally overshadowed WrestleMania.