Monthly Archives: January 2017

Review: Royal Rumble 2017

The Royal Rumble 2017 is in the books and the road to Wrestlemania has officially begun. I’ve got mixed emotions about this event. On the one hand I had a lot of fun watching it with my friends in London. On the other, despite an excellent WWE World Title match between John Cena and AJ Styles, with the added bonus of Kevin Owens retaining his Universal Title too, I still have a bad taste in my mouth.

Main events make and break PPVs, they can drag them down and they can pull them up to greatness. This years Rumble match, while nowhere near as disastrous at 2014 and 2015 proved that WWE still haven’t learnt lessons from the past. With all the rumours of potential surprise entrants, most of whom would clearly never happen, do we have any right to be disappointed? Well yeah kinda. WWE hype the hell out of surprise returns and debuts every year and if they don’t happen it does fall a little flat. Especially if they enter the realms of ultimate fantasy booking such as, Kurt Angle, Kenny Omega, Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Balor. Granted having Dillinger come out at number ten was nice, but other than that the only other surprise was Roman Reigns. No one wants that surprise.

At least the production crew managed to focus on the action better this year. We didn’t miss any eliminations or a repeat of watching Roman Reigns face while AJ Styles makes his big debut. So that is nice.

Pre-Show

058_rr_01292017ej_0659-50e043f088223938d385781452e2839dI didn’t watch the pre-show, I never do actually. If it’s not on the main card, WWE clearly don’t consider it that important. So I don’t bother. I’m delighted that The Club finally won the Raw Tag Team Championships though. It was almost make or break for them having failed so many other times, where could they have gone if they failed? In the other two matches the faces were victorious in the 6 women tag match and Nia Jaz defeated Sasha Banks, both as I expected.  I don’t see why one of these matches, specifically the tag team title match, couldn’t have been on the main card though to be honest. The PPV ended early, so there was definitely time.

Undercard

202_rr_01292017cc_2701-e10cb4227d2244c4b4ff261daeb6154eMoving onto the main show, I thought both the Raw Women’s Title and Cruiserweight Title matches were solid. I’ll admit to not focusing too much attention to either if I’m honest, but I enjoyed them for what they were. Charlotte remains the dominate heel Champion and remains on her undefeated PPV streak.

Meanwhile Neville is the new Cruiserweight Champion which is great. He’s by far the best cruiserweight and I don’t really like Rich Swann anyway. Thought that could be down to me not watching 205 Live.

Universal Championship

It’s no secret that I don’t like Roman Reigns and I’ll admit that it makes it difficult for me to enjoy his matches. So have been admittedly quite good butt there is always the under lying feeling of ‘oh for Gods sake its Roman Reigns, watch him look overly strong for no reason’ that blocks my vision. I can’t get the feeling of Cena 2.0 out of my head. I suffered 10 years of SuperCena, I don’t need a new one. It’s one of the reasons I prefer Smackdown if I’m honest.

2d8eb3c198b84b68-600x400I mean must he kick out of everything? Head thrown into a chair set up in the ropes? Kicks out. Brass knuckled Superman Punch? Kicks out? Put through a table, doesn’t affect him. Why does it always seem like Reigns is far more willing to dish out horrible bumps than to take them himself? Owen’s falling on those chairs looked horrible and the bumps AJ Styles took for him were nuts.

WWE seem content or obsessed with showing that Kevin Owens is completely outclassed by Roman Reigns at every turn and is a totally undeserving champion. I can’t actually remember the last time he won a match clean.

Chris Jericho didn’t really get involved in the match that much when you think about it. Yes he gave Kevin Owens the brass knuckles (which would have been legal from the start) but considering it didn’t do any damage what was the point? In a surprise twist though, instead of Jericho being the difference maker for the match it turned out to be Braun Strowman. Strowman, I assume was getting revenge for those spears from Reigns over recent weeks. Making it a No DQ match kind of nullified that previous gimmicks importance really. Gotta make sure Reigns looks strong though!

I’m assuming we will be getting Jericho versus Owens at Wrestlemania, which will be awesome. Whether or not it’s for the Universal Championship I’m not sure. It will probably be for the US Title I imagine, which would be a step down. They’ve been the best thing on Raw since the brand split and they deserve to fight at Wrestlemania in a main event.

WWE World Title Match

239_rr_01292017cc_2863-4d5e8362ec55fde017437b255f27b877This was a really good match. Match of the night by far and yet more proof that AJ Styles and John Cena are both really good. Could you imagine people cheering John Cena tying Ric Flairs record 5 years ago? Not a chance. Over the last two years though he’s been putting on great matches with a lot of people and has won me and other fans over.

Couple of little points that frustrate me about this feud. While AJ looked really strong having to be beaten by four AAs I’m not sure why WWE had Cena talk so much shit about Styles pre-Rumble. It made him look small time and a bit of a chump. Styles however, is amazing, but not only that he’s been carrying Smackdown since the brand split. So it just seems uncalled for and necessarily damaging.

Also, I feel like Cena winning his 16th title was a little rushed. I would have had Styles win for a 3rd time, really knocking Cena’s over confidence (which, now isn’t over confidence) before having him tie Ric Flair’s record at Wrestlemania. Huge ‘Mania moment. I guess you can’t save everything for Wrestlemania though otherwise the other shows matter even less than they do now. Still, it felt rushed since his return.

Overall, great match though. Really enjoyed it. Cena once again proving he can go with the best of them. Question; why hasn’t this Cena been allowed to exist for all of his run?

Royal Rumble Match

It is really difficult to review a Royal Rumble match, you don’t want to end up just listing what happened spot by spot. So I’ll just list a few highlights before moving onto the analyses:

  • Chris Jericho as a chicken shit heel, constantly getting out of the ring to avoid people.
  • Braun dominating early on, I didn’t expect Baron Corbin to be the one to eliminate him. I thought that Reigns would return to get revenge from earlier.
  • Tye Dillinger entering at number 10 was both awesome and smart. The only thing WWE could have done other than him entering would have been having The Miz come out. Instead we got a really cool moment and the crowd were very happy.

This years Royal Rumble was very tail heavy. Far too many big stars back loaded. Brock Lesnar 26, Goldberg 28, The Undertaker 29, Roman Reigns 30. The balance was off and the big names should have been spaced out more.

The Lesnar/Goldberg confrontation was even shorter than at Survivor Series. I was hoping for slightly more but I guess it moves the story forward. Michael Cole drove the point home that “Goldberg has Lesnar’s number!”. It’s the second year in a row though that this untamable beast just gets eliminated and just walks to the back. I was expecting repercussions!

Okay here’s the thing. Up until this point the Rumble match has been fine. It hasn’t been amazing, but it’s had a few cool moments and it’s ticking along nicely. WWE has trained its fans to believe that the number 30 spot is a big deal. It’s normally a big return, a debut or just big name in general. So when The Undertaker comes out at number 29, you automatically assume the next person out has to be even more important. Otherwise, it will be an anti-climax. So when Roman Reigns comes out, the mood in the arena and in the pub I was in absolutely tanked. It died. Suddenly it’s the 2015 Royal Rumble all over again. Last nights #30 entry just goes to show that one important mistake can ‘ruin’ an entire event. It went from an okay show with a great WWE Title match to “Not this crap again!” event. Roman Reigns was the exact opposite of what people wanted.

Why does Reigns even get a spot in the Royal Rumble when he lost? Why doesn’t Styles get a second chance? The character of Reigns is so spoiled, he gets everything on a plate which is why fans reject him so entirely when he gets pushed constantly as the most important thing in the world.

Suddenly there is a slew of eliminations with next to zero fanfare. Other than Goldberg, The Undertaker and Roman Reigns did the commentary team bat an eyelid about any of them? They even ignored Jericho and Zayn who had been in since numbers 2 and 8 respectively. It’s a recurring problem that important moments aren’t mentioned in recent years.

9b2fb107ff382baa-600x400The crowd went absolutely crazy when Randy Orton won, but that’s mostly because he isn’t Roman Reigns. It’s just like last year when Triple H won, we didn’t really want to see another victory. We just didn’t want Reigns. Not that it mattered in the end, as he still main evented Wrestlemania in a really boring and depressing match.

Did Orton need this win though? It seems like a really ‘safe’ and boring choice. He’s actually been doing some of his most interesting work in years as part of the Wyatt Family and unless this is going to continue that story arc it’s really dumb. Of course, if this does end up with Bray Wyatt as champion in the main event of Wrestlemania then I am fine with everything. Still though, couldn’t we have put someone new over? Like Bray himself? If the plan is for Orton/Wyatt it gets to the same destination but…better.

282_rr_01292017jg_2469-8a94685de1011e73d22d909760556729Orton winning is better than Reigns winning but it still left me feeling deflated. Just when you think WWE are going to start pushing the younger and newer talent. They make the entire rumble about three or four old part timers and give Orton his second Rumble victory instead of putting over someone knew. It’s not a disaster it’s just a missed opportunity.

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Review: NXT Takeover: San Antonio

I said in my predictions that this was the first NXT Takeover that I wasn’t really looking forward too. Yet the second I turned it on and the hype package stared rolling I couldn’t help it I got excited. NXT is its own world and I love it, even if it’s not firing on all cylinders at the moment.

Overall I do think that the show was a little flat, but it had some big moments. The NXT Championship match is a no brainer and the surprise appearance of Seth Rollins was awesome. The NXT Tag Team Championship match was good too but predictable. Meanwhile Strong versus Almas was alright but uninspired but the Women’s Championship match was worse.

This is the first time I’ve listened to the new 3 man commentary booth. I don’t have anything necessarily against Percy Watson (even if at times he did remind me of Otunga) but I did enjoy the fact that NXT still used the more traditional 2 man booth. It was just another little thing that made it different from the main roster. plus Tom Phillips and Corey Graves work really well together. Also, I tend to find that at least one of the commentators always ends up taking a back seat and inputs less anyway. All the while unsettling the natural back and forth a two-man team can have. I suppose it doesn’t really matter as this was Graves’ last show. He’s being replaced by Nigel McGuiness and moving to the main roster permanently.

Tye Dillinger Vs Eric Young

008_nxt_01282017ca_1311-9f35051698ae29c287f8b6711cf559feTye Dillinger has got his ridiculous big collared light up 10 jacket on again and the crowd were as hot as ever for the Perfect 10. Expect ’10’ chants to be a constant throughout the entirety of the Royal Rumble weekend. Eric Young comes out with Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe as Graves continues to insult Dillinger for his terrible decision making.

This match is all about the impending numbers game from Sanity with Dillinger having to constantly watch his back and avoid attacks. Tye puts in a very good showing against Eric Young here, at one point even having him down for a 3 count but Wolfe moved his foot onto the bottom rope.

Towards the end of the match Dillinger has to constantly stave off interference and attacks from the outside. He hits Wolfe with a Tye Breaker and Dain with a Superkick. Just as it looks like Young will take advantage Dillinger gets a surprise roll up, I thought that was it if I’m honest.

Eventually the numbers game is too much though and Young wins. It was a solid match and a good opener to start the show. Dillinger loses again, but fear not he’s still as over as ever. There is no dishonour in defeat either and surely a rematch is imminent? No matter what, this story is all leading somewhere and eventually he’ll start picking up the big wins. I honestly believe he’ll have an NXT Title run later this year.

More immediately though, will we see him at the Royal Rumble tonight?

Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas Vs Roderick Strong

This is a match very much like how Corey Graves. It’s too very talented guys trying to prove they are the best. Not just to each other in story, but to the NXT crowds as well. It’s fair to say that neither, through one way or another, have had the best starts to their NXT careers. Strong has just existed while Almas’ initial face run was a flop. He’s doing better since his heel turn though.

The crowd was noticeably quieter for the start of this match but both men worked well to try to win them over. I swear I heard a very faint ‘This is awesome’ chant for a second, I’m not sure about that. It didn’t catch on to be fair.

Overall it was a solid match that made both men look good, but was unremarkable. Almas probably got slightly more offense in on Strong, but it’s Strong who picks up the win after a huge running bit boot. Roderick also had the move of the match with a top rope back breaker onto the turnbuckle, I though Graves and Watson did well to put that move over as well.

Side note: I’m really not a fan of the nickname ‘Rody’ from the commentators for Strong, makes him seem like a child.

#DIY Vs The Authors of Pain

022_nxt_01282017ca_2181-8545f925db01cd122104b1eb8250f4bbLet’s be honest it was never going to be as previous NXT tag team matches was it? In the early stages of the match we had the inevitable, slow-paced big men versus little men beat down. Making the Authors of Pain look incredibly dominant. It was exactly what I expected and I even understand the logic of doing it. But it just wasn’t very interesting or fun and was a little bit boring in parts.

I’m sure I actually heard some ‘boring’ chants very briefly but they got drowned out y ‘Johnny Wrestling’ chants instead. Good for you crowd, don’t be negative. Cheer for the good guys! The crowd so far have been a little odd tonight, they’ve been quite quiet for sections but then suddenly start chanting ‘this is awesome’ (the 2nd worst chant in history) seemingly out of nowhere.

The crowd finally get into this match when Ciampa hits two massive German suplexs as #DIY look to build momentum. It’s from this point though that the match picks up and the crowd really started getting involved. Out of nowhere we get the dull submissions spot from Takeover Toronto. The crowd, by this point, were going crazy now, standing room only, but the Authors of Pain break out of them.

In the end though, as predicted, the Authors of Pain do win and quiet convincingly too. However, it turned out to be a much better match than I thought it would be and it got better the longer it lasted.

Seth Rollins Takes Over!

Holy hell! I didn’t actually expect this to happen! Seth Rollins interrupts the show and calls out Triple H. Triple H comes down the ramp, but brings security with him. The crowd was not happy but it’s all within the kayfabe of the moment. It was really cool.

An awesome cross-platform storyline and finally, finally! Seth Rollins shows some fire and passion. For months now he has been forever forgetting that he was feuding with Triple H. Coming out one week to call him out and then not mentioning it at all the next.

I still think that waiting this long to pull the trigger was a mistake. We’ve all known that they wanted to have Triple H versus Seth Rollins for sometime, but the stop start nature of the feud hasn’t helped it. However, it looks like we’re finally getting started properly so things are looking up.

NXT Women’s Championship

Other than an incredibly contrived double german suplex and table spot, I can’t remember anything much about this match. It was short and Asuka won, obviously, but spent most of the match on the outside.

Nikki Cross looked good and was protected from the finish by being put through a conveniently placed table next to the announce table. It was hard to get into this though, it wasn’t bad per se. It was just nothing. After all, the undefeated Askua was never going to lose her first match in a fatal 4-way full of jobbers. When you think about it, is Asuka’s title run that impressive? It’s not hard to be Champion when you’re the only fish in the pond.

Basically it was short, uninspiring and most importantly once again exposes a real lack of depth in the NXT Women’s division at the moment. I can’t say I’m disappointed though, because I didn’t expect anything.

NXT Championship

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New Champion! New Champion! New Champion!

This was a really good match and the crowd were hot from the outset. Bobby Roode’s entrance was of course fantastic as was Nakamura’s, although I think it gave me epilepsy. Roughly 5 minutes go by after the bell rings and we’ve only had a few lock ups because the crowd keep singing and chanting.

One of the reasons I wasn’t really feeling this Takeover was because I thought it was predictable that Nakamura would retain. Boy was I wrong! We’ve got a new Champion again! NXT you’ve done it again, just when I think I’ve got all figured out you switch it up. I love it. I don’t know why I ever doubted you.

The final stages of the match see Nakamura with a (kayfabe) knee injury. He insist he can continue and then the commentators, mostly Watson, give Bobby Roode grief for focusing on the injured knee. Which is madness, of course you would do that! Two big DDTs later and we’ve got a new champion, in a completely clean win. Despite what the commentary team try to tell you.

Good match, really interested to see what happens with Nakamura now. Is he moving up to the main roster tonight or will he come back for the title once more? It’s interesting though that he isn’t untouchable in the same way that Asuka is. He looked strong while losing yes, but he did also lose again. He’s human after all.

Royal Rumble: Predictions

It’s almost time for the 2017 Royal Rumble! For a lot of people, myself included, this is the WWE PPV they most look forward too each year. Why? Because it’s exciting and it (as cheesey as it sounds) is the beginning of the road to Wrestlemania. This is the show that shapes Wrestlemania. By the end of the Royal Rumble, you’re either looking forward to Wrestlemania or…well you’re not.

For the past few years, ’14, ’15 and ’16 though I’ve finished the show with a sense of dread about what was to come. Granted ‘Mania’s 30 and 31 were amazing despite bumpy starts. You can’t say the same for Wrestlemania 32 though, but it all started from the Royal Rumble.

What makes this year special is that it is one of the more unpredictable Royal Rumble events. Multiple people could realistically win and I love that. I’m a bit concerned  about the WWE and Universal Title matches and potentially rather bland and predictable winners, but I remain mildly hopefully.

Let’s get to the predictions!

Only 5 matches on the main show have been announced as I write this (Friday) and 3 on the pre-show. Not much love for Smackdown it has to be said, only 2 matches in total. 1 being the WWE Title match and the other a completely throw away 6 women tag team match.

Pre-Show

There are two women’s matches on the pre-show, Sasha Banks versus Nia Jax and then the aforementioned Smackdown’s 6 women’s tag. I don’t have much interest in either of these, especially the 6 women tag. It’s the definition of lazy, don’t know what to do with you all booking. Also it immediately makes the Raw Women’s Title look more important. Oh well, I expect Nia to beat Sasha and I expect the faces (Becky, Nikki and Naomi to win.

20170123_kickoff_cesarosheamus_karlluke-ff2659d03e9a2c68ff356f6247855160

The booking of The Club has been bizarre. It’s making me feel sorry for them, but I’m supposed to boo them…

The other match on the pre-show is the Raw Tag Team Title match. Cesaro and Sheamus versus The Club (Gallows and Anderson). The gimmick for this particular match is that a few weeks ago on Raw the referees did an excellent job in screwing The Club out of a clean victory over the champs. Sheamus accidentally hit the referee, The Club pinned Cesaro which was counted by a new referee. Easy, happens all the time. BUT NO! Original referee is a spotlight whore and reverses the decision to disqualify Cesaro and Sheamus.

Useless. You screwed the ‘bad guys’, that makes me feel sorry for the ‘bad guys’. Great job everyone.

So now we get a rematch, with two referees. Because why not. It definitely won’t feature in the finish at all, honest.

I’d like to think The Club will finally win the titles that they’ve deserved for months, but I doubt it. The faces (who I like by the way, I’m not just a heel loving asshole) will win and that will make the entire thing worthwhile and somehow ‘fair’. In WWE’s eyes at least.

Winners: Cesaro and Sheamus

Main Show

Cruiserweight Title: Rich Swann (c) vs. Neville

I’m going to be completely honest with you. I don’t care.

Winner: Neville

Raw Women’s Title: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Bayley

20170102_royalrumble_charlottebayley-e61d90cd20c215a735e1a8ea1cf74352It’s a PPV, of course Charlotte wins!

The problem I have with the Charlotte PPV winning streak thing is that she keeps losing the Title on Raw (or at least did to Sasha Banks) so it never felt that impressive. For example, if Manchester United won every home game in the Premier League all season, but lost every away game, they would only end the season on 57 points. That isn’t winning them anything. It’s almost a mute point.

That said I think at this point we’re in for Charlotte holding onto the Raw Women’s Title for a little while as WWE build towards Wrestlemania. I’m assuming that match will be Charlotte versus Bayley and Bayley will win. But to get as much emotion out of the story and the match, she has to lose a few times and I’m fine with that.

Winner: Charlotte Flair

Universal Title: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns

20170109_royalrumble_owensroman-bc77331e13a3a047e23e11d8042adcffBoy oh boy, WWE are obsessed with selling that shark cage play set aren’t they? First it was an NXT stipulation, now it’s a main roster stipulation. In the mean time it’s been on every episode of Raw for the past (what feels like a) decade.

So let me get this right, it’s a No Disqualification match, with Chris Jericho in a shark cage. I thought the reason for Jericho being in the cage was for a fair fight? Now there is a blatant opportunity for cheating shenanigans!

An opportunity for cheating shenanigans means one of two things. 1. Seth Rollins interferes to save his best buddy Roman Reigns (I still don’t understand why they are friends again, he betrayed you Roman you idiot!). 2. Chris Jericho interferes to help Kevin Owens retain.

I really want to believe that Kevin Owens can win and he won’t just be the worst transitional champion in recent memory. If you work with the regular pattern of ‘whoever stands tall on the go home show will probably lose’ theory, then that means he has a chance. But, it’s Roman Reigns isn’t it. So, sigh, Roman wins. FFS.

It’s not just my dislike for Roman Reigns that I want Owens to win though, I think it’s the better story. More on that, later.

Winner: Roman Reigns

WWE Title: AJ Styles (c) vs. John Cena

20170117_royalrumble_ajcena-a2b47e1293bb49dd5314e30d4599a961Will John Cena win his 16th title and equally Ric Flair’s record at the rumble? I don’t think so, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did. Much like with Roman Reigns, it almost feels inevitable.

I think equally the record is a massive moment and I don’t think the WWE have done enough to build into it for the Royal Rumble. If he did come back and win just like that, it would be a massive anti-climax. This 16th title chase needs to last a while. Cena needs to come close a few times and not quite make it. It needs to be a massive deal, it needs to be a Wrestlemania moment.

Plus if Cena just came back, talked Styles down in the way that he has. It would be just awful for Styles. It would make him look like a chump. It would also be classic ‘John Cena always gets his win back lol’. Which I’m fine with him doing as long as the story is told in the right way.

Which means, AJ Styles wins again. It doesn’t have to be clean, but I think it would be better for the story if he did.

Winner: AJ Styles

Royal Rumble Match

20170112_rr2017_card-f4ebec253e0e33b5278bddeb11e0bb46You know what? I’m going for it. Finn Balor will return and win the Royal Rumble!

I say this for 2 reasons. The first being that it would be an undeniably awesome moment but also it could set up a match with Kevin Owens for the Universal Title. Which would be an excellent story to tell. The first ever champion who had to relinquish the title due to injury comes back to fight for the belt he never lost! It works even better if the champion is Kevin Owens, a heel, who story line wise can’t win matches on his own and is unjustified in holding the championship.

Granted WWE could decide that it would be a ‘bigger match’ if it was Balor vs Reigns. But then you have the awkward face vs face (even though Reigns would definitely be heel in the eyes of the crowd).

Now, if Balor isn’t actually ready to compete again all I ask is that it isn’t Roman Reigns or The Undertaker. I’d accept Strowman but I know that would lead to Reigns vs Strowman at ‘Mania and I don’t want that.

Ideally if Balor can’t win, I’d like it to be Chris Jericho. Again to set up a feud with Kevin Owens. That story has been building for so long and I’d love to see the blow off at Wrestlemania.

Winner: Finn Balor

NXT Takeover: San Antonio – Predictions

This might be the first Takeover that I’m not excited for. No let me rephrase that. It’s not that I’m not excited for it, because I know it will be an awesome show. The quality of the wrestling will no doubt be stellar. They always are. I’m just not hyped to the moon about it, like I have been for previous shows.

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No Revival! Disaster! Will they be getting a call up at the Royal Rumble though?

I think in honesty the fact that my boys The Revival aren’t on the show is the main reason I’m not feeling the love. For the past 5 Takeover’s I would argue that they either stole the show, or came within inches of doing so. The NXT tag team division has been a wrestling highlight for me over the last few years and while #DIY are amazing too, I can’t help but feel slightly underwhelmed by the idea of them versus The Authors of Pain. When The Revival move up to the main roster, they’re absence will be noticed even stronger.

 

It’s the same with how since a lot of the women moved up, I haven’t been able to get excited about the NXT Women’s division. Asuka is great, but where is the competition?

Roderick Strong versus Andrade Almas should be good and I’m curious to see where Tye Dillinger’s story goes next. Yet even in the main event I’m not that interested. Well, again that’s not really fair. It’ll be a top match, but there is no way Nakamura loses the title right? That’s kind of my problem with the whole show, for an NXT event, the big matches feel very predictable. Now granted they could swerve everything and I’d look like a right fool but I don’t think that will happen.

Enough grumbling, let’s get to the predictions!

Roderick Strong vs. Andrade Almas

20170118_nxttakeover_sanantonio_match_strongalmas_logo-eb018df52c3fd7eaff6672c36fe7226aHonestly this match is the toughest to predicted. I could see either man winning. Almas has been doing so much better since turning heel and this would be a big win to have under his belt to cement that turn.

Meanwhile Roderick Strong has yet to get properly going in NXT, so this could be what kick starts his push. After all, with Samoa Joe looking to be moving to the main roster there is a gap at the top of the card.

I think his push can wait a little bit longer, until after Wrestlemania prehaps once another shuffle is done. So I think for now, it makes sense having Almas go over. Especially if he can do it in a really smug way.

Winner: Andrade Almas

Tye Dillinger vs. Eric Young

20170117_nxttakeover_sanantonio_match_dillingeryoung-ad825f40ecd53031880205ab6622354aFor all I said earlier about not being particularly excited for this Takeover I have to say I am so curious to see what happens next with Tye Dillinger. He’s been working a fantastic crisis of confidence story, coming so close multiple times to winning the big match that could make his career. Yet he always loses.

Eric Young seems pretty keen on the idea of him joining Sanity, if he loses will he be forced to join in a similar way to when Daniel Bryan joined The Wyatt’s?

The thing about Tye is that he’s so over with the crowd as well and his popularity has been growing for quite sometime. Dillinger is someone you want to see succeed. I physically want to see him win. Will it happen at this Takeover? I don’t think so, which will frustrate a few people. Look at the bigger picture though, this is all going somewhere. At Takeover: Orlando I expect him to get his big win.

Sometimes the best stories take a while to be told and I’m happy to see it play out. Yet, at the same time I would be so delighted if he won on Saturday night.

No matter what happens at Takeover though, surely he’ll be entering the Royal Rumble at number 10. To what I hope, will be an amazing ovation. Just imagine it. It would be perfect.

Winner: Eric Young

NXT Women’s Championship Fatal 4-Way

20170111_nxttakeover_sanantonio_match_women_logo-6527cb1abc60684b325b023689e6ef8bAs I mentioned earlier the NXT’s Women’s Division isn’t the strongest right now. It’s basically Asuka, who is admittedly great, sitting alone on a mountain top wondering where all the competition went.

Last Takeover WWE brought back Mickie James to provided a bit of competition. It was a fun match but no one really thought James had a chance of winning. For this Takeover they seemed to have realised that they still don’t have any real contenders so have just thrown some people together. Unfortunately I still don’t think any of them have a chance. It effectively looks like Asuka versus three jobbers.

There is one scenario, unlikely as I believe it to be, that I could see happening. Nikki Cross pins either Billie Kay or Peyton Royce to effectively steal the title from under Asuka’s nose without her actually losing. I’m effectively ruling our Kay and Royce from winning the title because despite going in as allies. They will fall out mid match when one of them tries to actually win.

I don’t think it’s likely that Asuka will lose though. It would, in my opinion, be a massive waste of her undefeated streak.

Winner: Asuka

Tag Team Titles: #DIY (c) vs. The Authors of Pain

20170111_nxttakeover_sanantonio_match_diypain_logo-856168132210e3d33a0d53274e2a7080I just can’t help be slightly disappointed with this one. I have no problem with a monster tag team ruining rough shot over the division for a while. Which is what I assume The Authors of Pain will do. I just miss The Revival alright! In honesty I would prefer a slightly longer run for #DIY too but what can you do.

Now I assume it won’t be up to the calibre of the last two title matches involving #DIY, but I’m sure Gargano and Ciampa will make The Authors of Pain (who are apparently called Rezar and Akam, who knew) look like a million bucks. I do expect #DIY to put in a decent showing for themselves as well of course, but this has defeat written all over it.

Winners: The Authors of Pain

NXT Title: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Bobby Roode

20161221_nxttakeover_sanantonio_match_nakamuraroode_logo-b22f1d6066bae1a2bfa0e2ea817c1c0aI love Bobby Roode and I very much enjoy Nakamura’s wrestling. So this should be an excellent match up. Again though, like the rest of the card I can only see one outcome. Nakamura wins.

Why do I say that so confidently? Well, after the multiple quick title changes in his feud with Samoa Joe (which made them both x2 champions, the only 2 in NXT history) I have to assume that they will try to solidify this reign.

So with the result (in my head) guaranteed, what am I expecting from this match? I’m expecting it to be very good. With plenty of back and forth and I expect both men to come out from it looking better. Especially Roode, who I think will use this as a chance to elevate his standings even in defeat.

Winner: Nakamura

Passengers (Movie Review)

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.

Travelling through space to the colony planet, Homestead II, two passengers awaken from induced hibernation when their ship malfunctions… 90 years too soon. Jim (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) are left to face the reality of living rest of their lives on board with only bartender android Author (Martin Sheen) for company. They soon realise that the ship is in grave danger and with the lives of over 5,000 sleeping passengers and crew at stake, only Jim and Aurora can save them all.

Well, this film was a lot better than I expected!

I’m not sure why, but the entire vibe I got from the trailers kind of put me off. I think it might mostly stem from the fact that I’m not Jennifer Lawrence’s biggest fan, that’s right I’m still salty about her refusing to wear the make up for Mystique enough in X-Men: Apocalypse.

Another reason might be that the vibe the trailer gives off, isn’t necessarily the same one the film itself has. If you’re expecting the film to be space disaster flick and nothing more, like the trailers suggest then you might be disappointed. Or like me, pleasantly surprised. I mean sure the final third is them trying to save the ship, but the rest of the movie is a character driven story and I really enjoyed it.

There’s a big moral dilemma at the centre of this film, that isn’t even hinted at in the advertising campaign. Yet it makes the entire film so much more interesting. I do wish that they’d delved slightly deeper with the whole thing both before and after ‘the decision’. I think they could have gone for something really tense and complex. Even if it was just showing me more of how lonely the characters were. In the end though Passengers is still for the most part a romance story, in space, and everything get’s swept under the rug when push comes to shove.

The film is also absolutely gorgeous. Everything about it is so crisp and the exterior shots are fantastic. The sound track is great too, subtle but atmospheric.

I thought that Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt did really well here. They had an excellent chemistry between each other and are a very stable foundation for the film. The star of the show though is Martin Sheen, the aforementioned android bartender. He is simply brilliant and steals, I’m not joking, every scene he is in. It was great.

I would highly recommend this film to anyone, it’s really quite good.

Verdict: Thumbs Up

5 People I’d love to see win the Royal Rumble this year, but won’t.

 

I find that the Royal Rumble match has been telegraphed far too much over the last… 5 years? Triple H, Roman Reigns, Batista, John Cena were all but guaranteed to win and guess what? Yeah, they did. Now at the time of writing this there does seem to be a slightly wider pool of potential winners this year, which is nice. Now I recently wrote an article about 5 people who ‘could’ win the Royal Rumble, but shouldn’t. Now it’s time for 5 people who I would love to see win the Royal Rumble, but probably won’t.

If I was the lead booker. I would try to make it as unpredictable as possible. So much so that I would take say 6-8 names, excluding the likes of John Cena, Roman Reigns and The Undertaker etc. 6-8 names of upper mid-carders who we could push to the next level. Select one randomly from a hat and just go with it.

The reason I say to do this is to have it almost completely unpredictable. Make the decision on the day so that the dirt sheets don’t have time to report it. Have it as a complete surprise. You can still have a basic plan of a story to move into for whoever is selected, so it’s not like WWE would be completely blind until Wrestlemania. Also let’s be honest. Its been far to long since WWE tried to properly create new stars. Make winning the Royal Rumble the catalyst again and make it random so people don’t have time to moan before hand.

Anyway, enough of that. Here are 5 people I would love to see win the Royal Rumble, but won’t. Honourable mentions to Seth Rollins and Chris Jericho. Who I would be delighted to see win (especially Jericho) but they are already big enough stars without the Rumble victory. So that kind of goes against everything I’ve just said. Also, if either AJ Styles or Kevin Owens lost their titles earlier in the night only to come out and win later on. I would be completely fine with that too.

#5 Cesaro

cesaro_final-25db9fea30874012764fd8c21eca6324In at number 5 it’s everyone’s favourite Swiss-Superman, it’s Cesaro!

I remember a few years back at Wrestlemania 30 when we all thought Cesaro was ready for the push of a life time. He certainly proved it to me during the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Good lord that’s a mouthful.

Since then however, he’s had a rough couple of years. Injuries and stop-start pushes. He’s still very popular with crowds though. The only problem is that he isn’t the best promo, but he’s amazing in the ring and I would love to see him elevated.

With Cesaro now in a tag team with Sheamus this seems very unlikely. Yet I’d be very happy to see him get the victory and maybe feud with Sheamus during the break up of that tag team.

#4 Rusev

rusev_pro-7d6c6cae6ad87787571849ee898d712aRusev has been continuously one of the most entertaining aspects of WWE television over the past few years. I truly think he is good enough to take the step up into the top of the card. There’s only so many times he can be the dominate foreign heel holding the US Title, even though he’s amazing in that role.

Since losing the US Title to Roman Reigns however, he’s entered a very confusing feud with Enzo and Big Cass. It’s been a bit rubbish to be honest. So let’s stop wasting the talent of the Bulgarian and let’s put a World Title on him!

He deserves it. He’s good enough and believable enough to be champion. Plus, he’s starting to turn face anyway through sheer force of how entertaining he is. SO you might as well do it all at once and go for it. I’d cheer a Rusev victory for sure!

#3 Finn Balor

finn_balor_pro-15aadde550436a9f4d6931c6809be14cI went back and forth on whether or not to include Finn Balor on my list at all. Simply put, if he is in the Royal Rumble match I think he would have to be considered the favourite. The story is there ready to be told. He was the first ever Universal Champion but he never lost and now has unfinished business. It writes itself!

The big question of course however is will he actually be back in time for the Road to Wrestlemania? I haven’t heard much either way on his chances of returning, yet he remains in the top 5 choices for the bookies favourites.

The reason I’ve decided to include Finn on the list is that, if he is ready to compete, WWE have to get back behind him. Full steam ahead! Otherwise, it will just feel wrong. They were ready to make him the new face on Raw (at least for a little while as they punished Reigns) so don’t let his untimely injury put you off Vince! Get back on the Balor bandwagon!

#2 Samoa Joe

samoa_joe_pro-2b022326302fd797bbb3390ef67b7806What a way to make an entrance onto the main roster this would be. I know, I know it’s basically implausible to even consider it but that’s why it makes the list! How awesome would it be to have Samoa Joe turn up out of nowhere and just dominate the Royal Rumble.

Consider this, a good Royal Rumble event always has a few surprise entrants, normally legends returning for a good crowd pop. This though, would be a fantastic way to announce a new main eventer. It would be a great way for WWE to push a ‘new’ talent to the moon as well.

WWE might be considering it of course. After the response AJ Styles got last year entering at number three, they might be thinking that these old TNA boys might have something more to offer than previously thought.

#1 Sami Zayn

sami_zayn_pro-2142cad85933db37deb777d67ccdc0b2Imagine this. Sami Zayn enters early, he has to put on an Ironman-esque performance to stay in. Fighting and overcoming every single odd thrown at him. Towards the end Braun Strowman enters and eliminates people left right and centre. It comes down to the final two, Zayn and Strowman. The man who has thrown Sami around like a rag doll for months. Sami wins! It’s the perfect underdog story told in one match. Fans would be delighted, which these days sending fans home happy from the Royal Rumble is the most important thing.

Then if you’ll allow me to fantasy book for just a little longer. Turn Kevin Owens back into his old heel persona, rather than the jokey coward he is currently, and let them go one on one for the Universal Title at Wrestlemania. Perfect.

 

You Me At Six – Night People (Review)

Night People – Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Night People is the fifth studio album by English rock band You Me At Six. I’ve always disliked that name. For one its You ‘Meat’ Six, which makes no sense. Secondly, it just doesn’t flow off the tongue… Anyway! Before I get distracted, let’s talk about the new record.

Night People is the follow-up to 2014’s Cavalier Youth, an album that received positive reviews from fans and critics. I for one loved it. It was the bands first UK number one in the album charts as well. So I had high hopes for this new album.

Unfortunately I feel like Night People is missing something. Immediately you can feel that it doesn’t have the same drive that Cavalier Youth had. It’s not necessarily the slower songs themselves, it just lacks energy and a lot of it is ultimately forgettable and I find myself skipping tracks.

Style wise, it’s more of the same. Just not as good really. Another problem I have is with the flow of the album. Songs next to each other don’t gel together and in many ways clash with what came before it. It’s almost as if the band weren’t quite sure what kind of record they wanted to make.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some good songs here. Heavy Soul, Give and Brand New would be my personal favourites. Most of the songs do have the traditionally catchy sing along elements we’ve come to expect and I’m sure they’d be great in a live situation. The production is slick too. It’s a lovely sounding record without a doubt.

Ultimately it’s not a bad album, it’s just average. There are some enjoyable songs for sure but they almost feel hidden. Still, it does enough to earn a thumbs up from me. Even if it’s not all to my liking.

Thumbs Up: Thumbs Up