Tag Archives: AJ Styles

Review – Money In The Bank (2017)

Money In The Bank did not disappoint, it was a solid show from start to finish with some excellent wrestling at times and a few surprising moments. Controversy in the first ever Women’s MITB ladder match, a shocking debut and hopefully a few teases of things to come.

It’s vary rare for me to walk away from a WWE main roster PPV with a good overall opinion of it, but I was very happy with what happened. I see potential in all story lines and even though my favourite wrestlers didn’t win. I am content.

Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Winner: Carmella

054_mitb_06182017jg_0611-caa06542d3384264da149ee1e3b35a8cStraight in with the controversy! Oh the internet seems to be massively divided on this on. Some people despise the ending other people love it. I personally loved it.

In case you are unaware the finish of the match saw James Ellsworth tip Becky Lynch from the top of the ladder, proceed to climb the ladder, retrieve the briefcase and then drop it into Carmella’s waiting open arms. It was a complete mockery off a finish, showing complete disrespect to all of the women involved. This was their moment to show the world they could do it just as well as the men and it was ruined.

It was the PERFECT heel move. Absolutely brilliant! I mean, what a disgusting thing to do. To ruin the inaugural Women’s MITB ladder match by having a man decide the finish. The heat Carmella should receive from this is unreal. This is where a lot of people seem to be getting confused again. You didn’t like what the heel did? You aren’t meant to. It’s meant to rile you up!

The only problem I had with it was the confusing referee discussion after the bell rang. It made it seem like Shane McMahon or Daniel Bryan were going to come out and restart the match but never did. It clearly confused the crowd to who just stood there waiting for something to happen.

As for the match itself, I thought it was unfortunately a little sloppy. Certainly not the high standards we know the women can reach on their day. I certainly thought the ‘this is awesome’ chant early on was incredibly generous of the St Louis crowd. Not that anyone is going to remember the match itself its all about the finish.

I’m not entirely sure why the WWE made the creative choice of having all 5 women come out to the ring, then show a 3/4 minute video hyping up the match. Surely it would have made more sense to open the show with that promo package? As for the video itself, even more marketing bullshit promoting the women’s revolution. Stop patting yourselves on the back every chance WWE, it makes everything seem so much more forced and false.

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Predictions: Money In The Bank (2017)

Money in the Bank is actually one of my favourite PPVs of the year. Unofficially its the real fourth member of the ‘big four’ (sorry Survivor Series), so I guess we could make it the big five? At least in my opinion anyway.

It’s actually one of my favourite match types as well. Ladder matches are always fun but then you’ve got such an interesting stipulation to play with as well. Will the winner cash in on the night? Will they bide their time and wait for the perfect time to strike? Or will they announce their chosen time to challenge fairly for the title. Potentially you’ve got a years worth of story lines being created in one match. I love it.

This year Money In The Bank is a Smackdown exclusive, which I really dig. You don’t need both shows having a briefcase each. Make it more exclusive, make in more unique and make it more important.

Having said that this year is the first year that the WWE are doing a women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match. So you can go ahead and scrap that more unique and exclusive nonsense I just spouted. Okay, so first of all I really like that they’re doing a women’s match. It will be really cool to see what they can all do and I love the idea that we’ll get to see them play out all of the possible ‘cash in’ story line options for the first time. It would be fantastic if they’d figured out a new, never seen before twist for this, but even if they do something we’ve seen before it will be with new people and a new spin.

However, I said the same thing when Raw and Smackdown had a Money In The Bank ladder match each or when WWE have three Hell In A Cell matches in one night. Less is more. The main problem is far too often they end up spreading themselves too thin, having to share out moments and spot ideas. After all you can’t have the same table spots two matches in a row, the crowd wont keep on popping for them. So potentially instead of having one brilliant match you get a few good ones, or worse average ones. Hopefully we get two excellent matches though.

I do wonder in what order they will lay out the match card though. Will they have the Money In The Bank matches before the Women’s and WWE Championship bouts allowing for cash in opportunities. Will they have one on the night at all? Would they have two?! That would be crazy and I bet few people would see it coming. I think its more likely that the winner of the women’s will cash in than the men’s though as I see Jinder holding the title for a while. Whoops, prediction spoilers…

Money In The Bank Ladder Match

20170602_mitb_womenladder-3c948664588094cfa324b23beefeafd1The first ever women’s Money In The Bank Ladder match. Will it be great or will it be a flop? I mean, hopefully it won’t be a flop…why would anyone hope for that? Weirdos.

I joke but in all seriousness this match, just like the Hell In A Cell match, the tables match and the Iron Man match has to deliver. Not just to shut up that section in the audience who just love to see things fail but to continue to show Vince McMahon that yes, the women in his company can be just as good as the men. I have complete faith that they have all the ability in the world to knock it out of the park, they just have to do it right on the night.

But who is going to win? Well, I think it’s between three ladies. Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Carmella.

Carmella?! I hear you cry. If there was ever a dark horse in this match it would be Carmella and I can just imagine James Ellsowrth following Carmella down to the ring each week carrying her briefcase for her. That image alone would be fantastic! I think I can rule out Natalya and Tamina without any second thought but Carmella (who I know a lot of people will say is the weakest of the group) could be a brilliant heel with that Money in the Bank contract up her sleeve.

Which leaves Charlotte, who is an obvious contender simply for being Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Now with Charlotte you have to think about who she would feud with, if Naomi is still champion I think it will be unlikely for Charlotte to win. That is of course unless WWE a thinking very long-term.

With Becky however, she has fallen from number one babyface on Smackdown AND Women’s Champion, to neither the champion or number one babyface. With Charlotte arguably taking over the role of face and Naomi obviously champion. Becky kind of needs the briefcase to stay relevant in the topper half of the division. Plus, you can go a few ways with her as Ms Money In The Bank, either as a face or perhaps with a heel turn. Which again, Charlotte probably wouldn’t do as she’s only just turned face.

My pick here is Carmella, thanks obviously to a massive assist from James Ellsworth.

Winner: Carmella

Review: WWE Backlash 2017

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Your opinion of how good/bad this PPV was might heavily rely on your opinion of the above.

 

Backlash was always going to have a hard time out doing NXT Takeover Chicago, even though it had the potential too. Saturday night we got the outstanding Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne match and unfortunately nothing came close to it here on the Smackdown exclusive PPV. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad show. It just wasn’t particularly amazing, everyone more or less just seemed to be going through the motions.

Now I know a lot of people are going to have a negative opinion on this PPV for the main event and that’s fine. But is Jinder winning really that bad? I can’t decide.

 

I’m going to skip past Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan, Naomi, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs. The Welcoming Committee and Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn. The first two I just do not care about and Corin vs. Zayn was an okay match but unremarkable. I will say this though, either Sami Zayn is the best actor in the WWE or he worked the majority of the match with a bad back. Props to him either way!

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

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An underwhelming debut for Nakamura.

A little underwhelmed by Shinsuke’s main roster debut if I’m honest. Weeks off nothing and then this match with Dolph Ziggler. It had the potential to be really good, but honestly it felt like both guys were going through the motions.

 

Is it just be or has Nakamura peaked already in the WWE? His best match by far is still his debut at NXT Takeover Dallas against Sami Zayn, but has anything else even come close? From my perspective it feels like he’s been heavily watered down.

A disappointing start to the show I will admit, I was hoping for so much more. Nakamura has the ability to set the world on fire, we’ve seen it before inside and outside of this company but something isn’t clicking right now.

Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. Breezango (The Fashion Police)

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Master of disguise Tyler Breeze and Fandango were over with the crowd and deserved their spotlight.

Best match of the show, if you can call it a match. It was more of a 10 minute comedy show. I loved every second of it.

 

Tyler Breeze as we all know by now is a master of disguise, came to the ring disguised as the janitor and used his mop for multi comedy moments. Although surely referee, that was a disqualification? Later in the match he came back out from under the ring disguised as an old lady. The commentators were fully on board with the gag, JBL playing fully along ‘not knowing’ who these people were. At one point he even criticised the referee for allow a 4 on 2 handicap match to happen.

The crowd loved every minute of it, I loved every minute of it. It was great. The Fashion Police have been doing great work as of late now that they’ve had a little bit of a spot light. They’re over with the fans and I would love to see them win the titles!

United States Championship
Kevin Owens (c) vs. AJ Styles

151_back_05212017ej_2375-b4655206da7f8a8e084f55c5553205d5A good match between two very talented wrestlers. Kevin Owens won via count out after AJ Styles’ leg got stuck in the announce table leaving this feud wide opener for a rematch. I’m happy with that, I want both of these men to be in the WWE Title picture but if they keep putting on good matches then I’m fine.

I feel like they left a lot for a rematch if I’m honest though, which is good. As I mentioned earlier I feel like the majority of wrestlers didn’t get out of second gear. Hopefully next time we see these two go at it they go all out and truly steal the show as we know they can. For now though, solid and enjoyable match with much more potential to come in this feud. Thumbs up!

WWE Championship
Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal

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He only bloody well did it!

Well I’ll be damned, they actually did it. They actually bloody did it! Jinder Mahal is the new WWE Champion. Interesting side note, Mahal is the 50th different WWE Champion ever, quite the name forever etched in the history books.

I honestly can not decide if I love this or hate this.

This entire angle has come out of nowhere since Wrestlemania. When he was on Raw he couldn’t buy a victory and now suddenly he is WWE Champion. It makes Smackdown seem a bit rubbish doesn’t it?

I think that’s my main problem with this whole thing, how sudden it is. I get that the shock value will have people talking but whatever happened to a solid build, an Intercontinental title run and a hot angle to push you up the card.

At the end of the day I’m not totally against this but…it’s a bit weird isn’t it! Still, anything is better than yet another boring Randy Orton title run. Although I’m sure he’ll win it back sooner rather than later.

WWE now need to go all in on Jinder, this is not the time for half-baked plans. He’s your WWE Champion, treat him like one and maybe you’ll get a good return for your investment. It’s going to be an uphill battle though because the fan reaction to this from what I’ve seen hasn’t been good. The question is, is it good heel heat or change the channel heat?

Predictions: WWE Backlash 2017

Simply put there is no way that Backlash 2017 can follow NXT Takeover Chicago. That Tyler Bate versus Pete Dunne match will be a match of the year contender for sure. Maybe the show is doomed from the start though, after all the main event is Randy Orton against JINDER MAHAL for the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP. Let that settle in for a moment, you might need to take a seat.

Bizarre times we live in for sure. However, there should be at least two good matches. Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles in all sorts of a dream match and I’m expecting big things from Nakamura’s main roster debut against Dolph Ziggler.

The rest of the show though, oh dear. It’s not exactly gripping stuff is it? Actually I tell a lie, this show has The Fashion Police on it. So automatically its going to be a five-star show.

Enough ramble, let’s do some predictions!

Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan

I mean, does anyone actually care? Either man could win or lose and it will make absolutely zero different in the long or short-term. Prove me wrong WWE!

Winner: Luke Harper

Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn

20170509_1920x1080_bl_zayncorbin-a90bc9dcd9038c1fc9a708a744bdf274I imagine that Big Banter Baron Corbin will pick up the victory over Sami Zayn. I’d prefer Zayn to win, but considering his gimmick is ‘wrestler who tries real hard but always loses’ there doesn’t seem to be all that much hope. Potentially a good match though in fairness!

Winner: Baron Corbin

Naomi, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs. The Welcoming Committee

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I’ve always been a big fan of the Women’s Champion being lost in the shuffle of a multi-women tag team match on PPVs. Not.

What would be the point of The Welcoming committee existing if they don’t pick up the victory here? Then again, what a terrible world it would be if a team consisting of the Women’s Champion, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch can’t defeat Natalya, Carmella and Tamina Snuka.

Expect a screwy finish for certain here is all I can think of and either Becky or Naomi to take the fall.

Winners: The Welcoming Committee

Elimination Chamber Predictions

Wrestling isn’t exactly setting my world on fire right now. It’s not that it’s ‘bad’ per se. In fact there’s a lot of little things that are, in fact, really good. AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. Even the whole Goldberg/Brock Lesnar angle is interesting  and I never thought I’d say that! Yet as a whole, the shows (and boy there sure are a lot of them and a lot of hours to watch, too many in fact) all just seem so uninspiring.

The terrible booking of Roman Reigns has (potentially permanently) ruined him for me. Randy Orton winning the Royal Rumble seemed like a boring and ‘safe’ bet instead of taking the opportunity to do something new and exciting. On a smaller note, what the hell have WWE done with Enzo and Cass? They are so bad these days.

So like I say, wrestling and I might not be best friends right now, but it is Wrestlemania season so I’m going to keep watching. Hoping it will all pick up as the ball starts rolling. Will this happen at the Elimination Chamber? Hmmmm, judging by the card all hopes are pinned to the main event. Which will in turn set the stage for my early thoughts on Smackdown’s half of Wrestlemania. It can’t actually be Cena/Orton can it?!

I’m not going to go into much detail for the under-card as in honesty, it’s rather bland. So here we go, quick fire predictions!

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Elimination Chamber

The main event is the only match on the card that has any long-term meaning and relevance. Everything else can be repeated and re-matched to death but this is a one time deal. Which makes it special.

Elimination Chamber matches have had a hit and miss history. It fell into the same trap that still plights Hell In A Cell PPV’s, too many matches on one card. Thankfully we only get the one so that’s nice. It’s good for 2 reasons. Firstly, all the eggs into one basket instead of having to share out spots. Secondly, over saturation is killing wrestling in every other way so this is actually a nice change from the norm. I honestly believe that if they could, WWE would have 2 Royal Rumbles one for each show.

There’s a couple of people I would love to see win this match. AJ Styles being the main one. Wouldn’t it be great if he just leapt straight back up to the top of the Smackdown mountain? I would be so very, very happy. Unfortunately it isn’t going to happen. Neither will it happen for The Miz. Miz has been undoubtedly one of the best things post brand split era but he’s getting lost in the shuffle a little bit since losing his title to Dean Ambrose. That makes me sad.

The third option is by far the most likely, in fact he has to be the heavy favourite to win. Which means we might actually get to see Bray Wyatt win the World Title. Which means Bray Wyatt might actually win at Wrestlemania while defending his title! Okay I got carried away, Orton wins lol.

I’ve got to say, this Randy Orton joins the Wyatt family storyline has actually been really good. Odd, eye glowing effects and other magic nonsense aside. However, I still think it would have been far better to have Bray win the Royal Rumble match! Putting someone new over instead of the same 5 guys. How great could that have been?

You could still get to a Wrestlemania match between Bray and Orton, just have Randy in the Elimination Chamber match instead, have him win and create friction between the duo that way. It’s so close yet feels so far.

Still, won’t complain too much as like I’ve said, this feud has been pretty interesting. I would have liked it to go on for a lot longer though.

Watch me say all of this and then Baron Corbin picks up the surprise victory or something. What an idiot I’ll look like.

Whatever happens at and after the Elimination Chamber, just don’t give me AJ Styles versus Shane O’Mac at Wrestlemania for gods sake. What a waste of one of the best wrestlers in the world.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

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.

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.

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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