The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up #4

IGR Weekly Wrestling Wrap Up

As the WWE prepares to go to Pay-Per-View, and Total Nonstop Action continues to finalize its plans for Slammiversary, how are the stories that the fans are seeing shaping up? More to the point, is WWE’s Extreme Rules a must-see event? Take a look and find out!

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For those of you that don’t know, this is not a column that focuses on wrestling news. Instead, it is merely a presentation and analysis of the stories (and, in some cases, matches) that the wrestling companies in question see fit to broadcast. Although all attempts will be made to include every possible story shown, some things may slip through the cracks, but I will try to rectify that the following week. Now, let’s get to the news!

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WWE Championship: Ryback won a squash match against a seemingly re-tooled Zack Ryder, and it was a true squash, going maybe a minute. Meanwhile, John Cena was booked in a match against The Shield, with Team Hell No as his partners. Cena was allowed to look strong, or at least unwilling to go down easy, during most of the match, even though all the Shield members managed to get in some offense. Cena actually got the support of fans with really no jeers, and when he got the win over The Shield, the fans started to cheer right up until he ate the three-man power bomb. Ryback, obviously still fresh because he barely had a match, came out to the ring amidst some “Goldberg!” chants, stared down at Cena, acted like he was walking, then came back out and attacked Cena’s hurt ankle with a chair. Matt Striker tried to get an interview with Ryback, but Ryback said that he played by other people’s rules, but it got him nowhere, so now everybody’s going to know that Ryback rules.
My Thoughts: This build should have been incredible. However, with Cena being his usual self, namely completely glib and flippant about everything, it instead is just another title match for him. Ryback went from a man that could take down multiple men, and a man with a legitimate complaint against John Cena, to a man that Cena painted as a gigantic whiner. After that, Ryback’s entire schtick got its legs cut from under it, and instead of a huge threat, he’s forgettable. Of all the matches to sell this pay-per-view, this one seems to be the one that they wanted to catch fire, but decided to stack the hearth with steel wool.

World Heavyweight Championship: WWE had to scramble here, because Dolph Ziggler isn’t medically cleared to compete at Extreme Rules. Teddy Long said he made a decision. Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter came out, demanding that the belt be given to Swagger. Big E Langston come out and say the belt is going nowhere. Former RAW GM AJ Lee says that Swagger should be fired for giving Dolph a concussion. However, Long clarifies, saying that the Extreme Rules match will be an I Quit match to determine the number one contender. Long booked Big E in a match so that fans could vote for his opponent using the WWE App, and his opponent wound up being Swagger, who they showed as dominant and dangerous via previous footage. Langston physically dominated Swagger, but due to Langston being over-zealous, Swagger won via count-out. After the match, Alberto Del Rio came out, attacking Swagger, but Swagger took the advantage right up until Ricardo threw a bucket at him. The bucket allowed Del Rio to hight the Cross Arm Breaker, but Langston broke up the hold and attacked Swagger, only to eat an enzugiri from Del Rio, who then clothesloined Swagger out of the ring. On SmackDown, Swagger and Colter interrupted MizTV, with Colter saying the night will be memorable because of Swagger’s victory, which brought out Del Rio, who claimed that he would be the next Number One Contender, and send Colter home for good. After the fracas on MizTV, Theodore Long booked a six-man tag team match between Swagger, Mark Henry, and Big Show and the team of Del Rio, Sheamus, and Randy Orton. After that, Zeb and Jack had a video that was about extremism, including right-wing propaganda and the typical borderline racism. The six-man tag had all six showing some great capabilities, although none of the men was allowed to be incredibly dominant until the very end, where Del Rio, Orton, and Sheamus took out opponents other than the ones that they are scheduled to face at Extreme Rules.
My Thoughts: This was set to be the barn burner of the show, right up until Swagger decided to be stiff as all get out, giving Ziggler a concussion. Suddenly, this came from one of the best triple threat builds one has ever witnessed to a rehash of the World Heavyweight Championship match from WrestleMania, but with I Quit rules, and without a title. This has still been a very good build, and although Colter is beginning to sound like a broken record, this is still the most interesting match set for the pay-per-view.

Triple H vs Brock Lesnar: They used a lot of footage on RAW to display the history between the two, including footage that had Johnny “Ace” Laurinitis. It was basically a recap of everything that was happening from the start of this rivalry, including their match at WrestleMania last month. Triple H came out with the steel cage around the ring, and gave a speech in the ring, saying that he thrived in the ring because he learned to hate, and learned well, especially when steel surrounded the ring. He called Lesnar to the arena, and Lesnar came out with Paul Heyman. Triple H tried to stop Heyman from talking, but Heyman made a speech, glorying in the fact that Triple H used the word “hate”, even though WWE wasn’t supposed to do so. Heyman eventually said that Lesnar wasn’t going down to the ring because Brock Lesnar doesn’t fight for free. Triple H replied that Lesnar refusing to fight isn’t because Lesnar doesn’t want to fight, it’s because Paul Heyman can’t afford for that to happen, since every time Triple H beats Lesnar, Lesnar becomes worthless as a client. Triple H used that fact to try and goad Lesnar to come down to the ring, and it worked, leading to a brawl, which Triple H technically won by throwing Lesnar through the door directly in to Heyman, leading to a measured retreat.
My Thoughts: Brock Lesnar’s ignominious exit from the UFC meant that he was never going to be a huge attraction to me, and I was actually glad, if a little confused, that he lost to John Cena in his return match. When he took out Triple H, it made him seem brutal, but he proceeded to do nothing until WrestleMania that was worth remembering. The build has been decent, but the pacing has been off, and it’s between two workers that we barely see.

Big Show vs Randy Orton: So Randy Orton is the star of the second Twelve Rounds because he wasn’t able to star in the latest Marine film. However, similar to the latest Marine movie, it’s direct to DVD and Blu-ray. In a brief match on RAW, Orton took on and defeated Antonio Cesaro, albeit Cesaro did get some decent offense before Orton hit his finishing sequence. Big Show was conspicuously absent from Monday night, albeit they did mention the match. However, come SmackDown, Miz had Show and Orton out together on MizTV. Show says that the only way that Orton has managed to best him is sneak attacks. However, Show is going to be able to rip Orton apart without anybody stopping him, punning “RKO” with “TKO”. However, Orton talked about home field advantage, telling Show to be careful. Following a bunch of interruptions on MizTV, and the six-man tag match, Orton was left standing tall.
My Thoughts: This has been a decent build that directly stems from previous events without being a direct retread of them. Orton and Show have both been shown to be extremely dangerous at an instant’s notice. They have shown to have some sort of parity with one another. And most importantly, they have reasons to dislike one another. This is one match towards which I am looking, and until I started writing this column, I still wasn’t sure what the stipulation is.

Mark Henry vs Sheamus: Mark Henry came out and we got a recap of his actions last week (whipping Sheamus brutally with a trainer’s strap on RAW and pulling two semi-trucks with trailers attached on SmackDown), with him using these as examples of his dominance. Josh Matthews, also in the ring, asked him how he would win, which resulted in Henry bullying Matthews and having a mini strap match with Matthews before setting him free. He then called Sheamus to the ring, the two jawed back and forth, and Sheamus came down to the ring after Henry called him a coward. However, Sheamus grabbed a strap that he had hidden underneath the ring before racing to fight Henry, resulting in Henry bailing from the ring. After Del Rio came out for MizTV on SmackDown, Mark Henry came out to claim that he would be what people would remember – well, him and the beating that he’s going to give Sheamus at Extreme Rules. That brought out Sheamus, who said that Henry would remember everything with the welts that would be on Henry’s body. But why wait? Sheamus charged the ring with a strap, clearing out Swagger, Show, and Henry, and then held the strap triumphantly. He was the third man standing tall at the end of SmackDown.
My Thoughts: I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around which one of these guys is the hero and which is the villain. Sure, we saw Mark Henry bully Josh Matthews, but Sheamus has done his fair share of dirty tricks. Come to that, save for the initial assault that Henry did on Sheamus to prove a point, the Celtic Warrior has been the main aggressor for most of this, with Henry reacting. This past week did a lot to re-establish that Henry is the one fans are supposed to boo, but fans tend to have a longer memory than the Creative staff.

The Shield’s Shenanigans: They announced on RAW that since Dean Ambrose gained a victory against United States champion Kofi Kingston last week, he would get a shot at the United States title come Extreme Rules. Meanwhile, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns got scheduled in a Tornado match against Team Hell No for the Tag Team titles. While there was no interaction with Kofi on RAW, the Shield has definitely been messing with Team Hell No as of late, and participated in the aforementioned three-on-three tag team match. Kane got himself eliminated, and Daniel Bryan went down in the three-on-two situation due to a blind tag. When that advantage disappeared, they resigned to the loss via disqualification, proving their unity as a team. On Main Event, Seth Rollins took on Kane as a way to preview at least part of the tag team match at Extreme Rules, and Kane was allowed to basically dominate. However, as with previous encounters, the numbers game was against the Big Red Monster. This let The Shield take him down in spite of the fact that Rollins lost. Strangely, The Usos came out to make the save, which led to a match on SmackDown that served as a warm-up for Rollins and Reigns. The Usos actually got some early offense, but Roman Reigns’ spear (which is more comparable to Rhino’s Gore than to Edge’s Spear) got the victory, and led to a beat-down just before Kofi Kingston came out to make the save, swinging a chair like a maniac and standing tall as The Shield retreated.
My Thoughts: The Shield has been a force with which to be reckoned ever since they came in to the company. They work best as a unit, although recently Dean Ambrose has seemed to be the leader, Rollins has been the mysterious and talented star, and Roman Reigns has been the muscle. The feud with Team Hell No has been built perfectly, starting with a confrontation with The Undertaker and culminating here. The tag team match was a foregone conclusion. But the addition of the United States championship begs the question – is The Shield going to have specific champions, with Ambrose being a singles champion and Rollins and Reigns being the Tag Team champions, or are they going to remain as a unit, with title defenses occurring with whichever member of The Shield feels like it?

Chris Jericho vs Fandango: RAW opened with a dance-off between the two. Fandango came out with recent partner Summer Rae, while Jericho one-upped him by bringing out DWTS vet Edyta Sliwenska. The two exchanged words, saying they were better than the other. Fandango said his name “properly”, and Jericho pulled out the “never ever be the same again” line. When it came time to dance, Fandango got to go first, and started after demanding silence following a false start. Summer Rae appeared to go down with an ankle sprain. Fandango berated her, Edyta checked on Summer Rae, Jericho watched as Fandango walked off, and the fans were all really unhappy. When Jericho went to check on Summer, Fandango came back in and gave Jericho a huge beating, which ended outside the ring. The final bit of the attack had Fandango smashing a piece of floor paneling in to Jericho. After that, he went to Summer, who stood up with a conspiratorial smirk, did a few dance moves with Jericho, and walked off, making it obvious that Summer Rae’s “injury” was a ruse. Later on RAW, Jericho gave an interview where he said something similar to Ryback – no more playing by people’s rules or joking around. He knows who Fandango is, and how to pronounce his name, but he is a six time World Champion, he has seen it all, done it all, and his name is pronounced Chris Jericho. Come Sunday, Fandango would see how to dance Chris Jericho style. On SmackDown, Jericho took on Antonio Cesaro, who looked very competent against the Ayatollah of Rock-n-Roll-a. However, Y2J did pick up the win, only for Fandango to come out, using Summer as a distraction in a failed ambush attempt. Jericho fought off both Fandango and Cesaro’s attempts at cheap shots, but was left with a bloody mouth.
My Thoughts: I loved the dance floor paneling in the ring. It was definitely a nice touch that was missing from the Khali/Fandango dance-off, and it allowed for a great final spot. As far as advancing the feud goes, they really made this go from some sort of side-show to a must-see match between two people that legitimately do not like one another. Jericho’s promo definitely sold it, as well as him getting the better of the sneaky heel.

The Miz Comes Back: After being away because he was off filming a movie, The Miz came back on RAW to take on Heath Slater one-on-one. Although 3MB was out in full force, and Slater definitely looked competitive, Miz was the one that walked away victorious. Following that, on Main Event, he was on color commentary, and did just as well there as he did when he was a guest commentator on Saturday Morning SLAM. Then, he had MizTV make its return on SmackDown. Teddy welcomed Miz to SmackDown, but Damien Sandow thought everyone was better off if Miz had never returned, and proposed the Damien Sandow Show, but got put in a match against Miz. Cody Rhodes tried to help Damien Sandow, but the distraction failed, letting Miz get the figure four on Sandow for the win. Of course, as a return to Pay-Per-View, he was also given the pre-show at Extreme Rules against Cody Rhodes.
My Thoughts: While the fact that he’s on a pre-show for the pay-per-view might make people think he’s an after-thought, the fact that they actually tried to do a decent build for his match, even though they only had a week to do so, means that the WWE is definitely behind the man. Whether or not this will lead to anything worthwhile, or if it’s just a way to keep Miz in the fans’ vision, is up in the air, but it’s a decent way to bring back a guy without having him overshadow the major stories.

The Divas: On RAW, the Bellas and Kaitlyn joined the announcer’s team during a match between AJ Lee and Natalya. Natalya had Khali and Hornswoggle in her corner. Natalya was actually allowed to wrestle somewhat, proving that she deserved to be more than Khali’s girlfriend. Meanwhile, Kaitlyn got another present, and the Bellas and Kaitlyn jawed with one another. AJ got to take over with some dirty moves, then blew a kiss at AJ. AJ’s taunt let Natalya take out AJ. Similar to how AJ won the battle royal a while back, she played possum right up until she could steal the win with a standing reverse arm bar called the Black Widow. Kaitlyn came to help Natalya out of the ring after the match. On SmackDown, we had Aksana taking on Diva’s champion Kaitlyn, and the two were actually allowed to go for a bit, with Kaitlyn playing the hero in peril but eventually getting the win. They also built up the “secret admirer” that Kaitlyn has.
My Thoughts: The women are getting matches on the show. They’re actually getting story lines. Why do I get the feeling that Dutch Mantell is actually doing more with the WWE than just backing Jack Swagger? While they aren’t at Extreme Rules – the last women’s hardcore match of which I can immediately think that has happened in a nationally televised promotion (sorry, fans of LuFisto, Mickie Knuckles, and joshi hardcore) was a Knockouts bout – it’s nice that we’re getting something on regular broadcasts.

Other Stuff: Tons of Funk took on the Prime Time Players on RAW in a tag match on RAW. Said match was shorter than the one that the Players had against Randy Orton and Sheamus on SLAM, albeit the Players got the cheap win. They repeated the match on SmackDown, but Tons of Funk got the clean win on Friday. Damien Sandow was allowed to have some mic time and a bit of offense against Kofi Kingston on RAW, proving that he deserves better than he’s getting. Sin Cara took on Wade Barrett on Main Event, and we got the weird ring lighting that happens during every Sin Cara match, as well as the surprise roll-up victory. Justin Gabriel is on something of a tear on Main Event. The WWE really was pushing their app on RAW. With SLAM apparently being on a regular season schedule like everything else on the CW, we won’t get Saturday morning wrestling until this Autumn.
My Thoughts: SLAM going off the air means that we’ll be seeing the people that frequented that show more often on the other shows, and I can’t help but be happy. I will miss having Mick Foley on my screen every week, however. The Intercontinental champion losing to a fluke roll-up really makes the title look like a nothing belt. Also, the WWE App promotion was incredibly obnoxious, and it really made some of the matches on both shows seem like they didn’t matter, as if the WWE wanted to reverse what was on TV with what was on the app, but they had no logical way to do it.

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TNA World Heavyweight Title: Hogan’s show opener included the fact that there would be a contract signing between Sting and Bully Ray. Bully Ray intercepted Brooke Hogan in the hallway, and acted like their marriage was totally fine, stating that the “signing” would be more of a negotiation. He also refused to give Brooke a divorce. When the contract signing started, Bully Ray shoved Jeremy Borash out of the ring, asked fans if they knew who he was, and clarified exactly who he is to the last detail. He then called out Sting, saying he was all ears for what Sting had to say. Bully stopped Sting from coming to the ring until Hulk Hogan came out to make things completely official, without discrepancies. Hogan came out, and then Bully said that this is the first time that he’s faced Sting since Bully did a bunch of screwing. Sting told Bully that the champion should deliberately attempt to injure him, which confuses Bully. Sting said that that’s because Bully should do it, because otherwise Sting would do it first. Sting said he wants a No Holds Barred match, to which Bully responded with derision, but gave Sting the match anyway. However, if Bully beats Sting, Sting doesn’t wrestle for the World Heavyweight championship again, because Bully didn’t want Sting to retire, he wanted Sting to keep his career knowing full well that he can’t hold the title ever again. Hogan warned him, but Bully shouted him down. Sting accepted the stipulations, and the two began to brawl, without any resolution to close out the night.
My Thoughts: This felt like something of a stand-still moment, since there wasn’t much going on. It was good that they still acknowledged the uncomfortable relationship between Brooke Hogan and Bully. Bully Ray’s emotional abuse is definitely grounds for an uncontested divorce, but contested divorces are definitely a long, drawn-out legal battle, so Brooke requesting a mutual divorce is actually smart. However, the confrontation at the end of the show was somewhat predictable. More to the point, since no contract is signed, the championship match is up in the air, even though Sting did agree to the stipulations. I have a terrible feeling that Sting is going to win the title.

Kurt Angle vs AJ Styles: Hogan actually opened the show talking about the confrontation between Angle and Styles. Styles is dealing with issues, but hey, let’s just applaud a guy for attacking him anyway by giving him a match at Slammiversary. Angle came out and said that AJ Styles continually walked away in spite of the Aces and Eights problems. Unlike AJ, Kurt Angle didn’t walk away from a fight. He didn’t want to wait until Slammiversary, though, he wanted to fight now. That brought out Mister Anderson, who called Angle a woman, and said that AJ wasn’t Angle’s “boy”. Anderson said that next Thursday, everybody will witness AJ Styles joining Aces and Eights. Anderson dares Angle to show up, because if he does, he’ll be destroyed. Angle said he didn’t want to wait next week to fight, starts sucker punching Anderson. That brings out AJ from the audience, and Styles shakes his head repeatedly, then hits an enzugiri on Angle, KO’ing him before flipping up his hood and walking up the ramp – visibly away from both Angle and Anderson. Anderson was certain that Styles was join the Dead Man’s Hand after that happened.
My Thoughts: This has me going back and forth with this. Sting pointed out exactly what the writers are doing with this one. However, I can see AJ Styles actually refusing to join Aces and Eights – and then proceeding to make his own group, just for kicks. I don’t know who would join him, but it would be ironic if it turned out to be disgruntled Aces and Eights members, since Aces and Eights is pretty much all disgruntled TNA workers. As for the match with Angle, well, there is definitely a barn burner in store, but as Angle said, it’s something we’ve seen before.

Abyss or Abyssn’t?: Hulk Hogan tried to get Abyss to come out at the start of the show, but instead, Joseph Park came out to the ring. He said he was shocked and amazed at Abyss’ return, since he couldn’t believe it, because he could have been there, but he was resting up. After Hogan begged for Park to tell him where Abyss was, Aces and Eights members Devon and D’Lo Brown came out, and Devon demanded that Abyss come out so he could attack him. Joseph confronted Devon, and after some back-and-forth, Joseph Park said that he was fed up with Aces and Eights, since he wouldn’t have had to try to find Abyss if not for them, so he wanted to have a match. Hogan booked the match between Park and D’Lo. Devon reiterated his threat to Abyss, but Hogan said that if Joseph won, Park had free reign. For most of the match, D’Lo managed to own Park, but he made the mistake of drawing blood. Suddenly, Park began to act a little crazed, and dominated the match. He even hit a Black Hole Slam and got the win over D’Lo, getting a match with Devon when he wants it. He seems to snap out of his trance after the match, unsure of what happened.
My Thoughts: Well, it would seem that we are actually getting a Television Championship match in the near future (most likely at Slammiversary). Devon holding the belt and the never actually putting it on the line really devalues the belt. As for the whole Abyss/Joseph Park bit, with Park always going crazy at the sight of his own blood, it’s getting fairly obvious that at some point, they’re going to pull the trigger and make it clear that Joseph is suffering from a dissociative identity disorder. If that ends up with Abyss, Wrestling Lawyer, it could be awesome.

Tag Team Titles: Somebody asked James Storm about his actions the previous week, and he told people to watch. Meanwhile, we saw some one-on-one action for the champions and challengers. Chavo Guerrero took on Bobby Roode in the typical style, with Chavo out-wrestling Roode, and Roode over-powering and out-cheating Guerrero for the most part. However, James Storm came out to the ring and spit beer in Roode’s face to cause the DQ. Hogan apparently chastised James Storm, but Storm was unhappy that he couldn’t retaliate. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian were talking about James Storm, and Daniels’ match with Hernandez. Daniels was getting a little liquored up with some sort of martini. During the match between Daniels and Hernandez, Kaz got involved whenever he could. James Storm came out to the ring, beer bottle still in hand, and the distraction allowed Hernandez to win legitimately. Storm got on the microphone, and said that the Tag Team championship match was going to be a four-way match, and Storm was going to get a tag team partner to compete.
My Thoughts: Out of all of the rivalries that are going on in the company, this one has got to be the most interesting. You’ve got three tag teams, all of which have talented individuals that are also very good as team players, and all of which are definitely not cookie cutter characters. Then you toss in James Storm, who has a beef with two out of the three teams, and we’ve got a guy who could have been a ringer for Chavo and Hernandez just because of sharing mutual enemies. Instead of going that obvious route, the company has decided to go the other obvious route – James Storm is now part of the chase for the titles, and I love it. If it means the return of Chris Harris, I’m a little ambivalent, given Harris’ lackluster run as Braden Walker in WWE. Part of me wants Storm to select a partner out of nowhere, like Knockouts Tag Team Champion Eric Young (who hasn’t been seen since Lockdown).

X-Division Title: They had some interviews with Chris Sabin and Kenny King, talking about one another. They re-played part of the segment from last week. Petey Williams also gave an interview before the match. King basically let Sabin and Williams go at it while he just walked around the outside of the ring. There were some high-speed spots to which X-Division fans have become accustomed. King mostly took advantage of situations when his opponents’ backs were turned. However, Sabin managed to out-maneuver King, making the title retention look lucky. It’s difficult to build a three-way feud, but the match itself was something that any fan of quick-paced contests should try to find.
My Thoughts: King pinning Williams instead of Sabin definitely means this rivalry will continue, but at some point, the company really needs to figure out how to effectively make a three-way contest where all three men don’t like the other two opponents. This one felt like Sabin and Williams both hated King, but faced each other because they had to. That kind of killed the drama, no matter the match quality.

The Knockouts: Gail Kim took on Knockouts champion Velvet Sky, and Kim has had a vicious streak lately. Before we actually saw the match, Brooke Hogan was talking with Mickie James about the Knockouts Slammiversary match being between Tara and Gail. This resulted in a title match between Velvet and Mickie next week. Match was joined in progress. Velvet’s weak knee was still taken in to account, and yet somehow, she got the win over Gail Kim. Gail attacked Velvet after the match, and went for the ring post figure four. ODB tried to make the save, but Gail managed to hook it in for a few seconds before ODB ejected her out of the arena.
My Thoughts: ODB as the referee is still a little odd for me, especially when she gets physical with the rest of the Knockouts roster. Interrupting the match with a backstage segment, even if it was mostly Knockouts related, was a little jarring. However, I did like the continuity that they had with Velvet having a bad knee. If it means that Velvet can’t compete next week, leading to Mickie James going after Gail Kim for screwing up her title shot, I’m all for it.

Other Stuff: They had promo videos for two Gut Check winners (Jay Bradley and Christian York) talking about their goals in TNA. They were a lead-in to a match at Slammiversary that could get one of them in to the Bound for Glory Series. Bradley got the win with his Boom Stick lariat, and then made a brief statement that earned the fans’ ire. Apparently Suicide is coming back to Impact.

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This week was a Border Wars recap episode, so there was nothing new on which to report.

The WWE logo and the Extreme Rules logo © 2013 WWE. Used under fair use rules.

The WWE logo and the Extreme Rules logo © 2013 WWE. Used under fair use rules.

Please Note: These are only predictions, and do not reflect in any way the author’s ability to definitively know what WWE Creative and WWE Inc. have planned for this show.

WWE Championship – Last Man Standing
John Cena {C} vs The Ryback

Rumors abound that the original plan for this was to have Mark Henry take on John Cena, but somebody was unable to do this show, so Henry was slotted in to a feud with Sheamus. Thus, instead of the curator of the House of Pain, we get Ryback, who has an axe to grind because he feels that Cena promised to have the man’s back, only to abandon him to The Shield’s schemes. As far as the match goes, this is probably going to be fairly brutal, albeit the psychology is going to be pretty obvious here. Cena is going to continually go for the KO, while Ryback is going to try and make it so that Cena simply can’t stand. If Cena really is hurt, they may eventually force him to take time off, but I’m not sure that they want to put the belt on a guy that’s as inconsistent in the ring as Ryback. More to the point, remember the last time we saw an absolute beast take on John Cena in a Last Man Standing match? Ryback had better make sure there isn’t any duct tape lying around.
Winner: John Cena to retain the WWE Championship

Steel Cage Match
Triple H vs Brock Lesnar

The final segment on RAW put it best – Brock Lesnar has to win this match. He fought in cages successfully in UFC, walking away with a winning record (albeit losing his final two fights). He’s supposed to be a special attraction. But of the matches he’s had, he’s lost two of them, and in both cases, he had free reign to demolish his opponent. The match he won, he won via submission. Lesnar proving himself as a badass is all about whether or not he can go back in to a cage and take the win. Triple H being booked to win this makes absolutely no sense, because if that’s the case, why the hell did the WWE pay the man so much money? Making Lesnar look like a joke just doesn’t make business sense here, even if it would be nice for Paul Heyman’s antics to end – at least until CM Punk comes back. That being said, I think Lesnar will still be playing the villain here instead of just a badass.
Winner: Brock Lesnar, via cage escape

Number One Contender’s I Quit Match
World Heavyweight Championship
Jack Swagger vs Alberto Del Rio

And in what has become yet another rehash of a WrestleMania match, what should have been an incredible ladder match between these two and World Heavyweight champion Dolph Ziggler had to be changed because Swagger gave Ziggler a concussion. This probably should have been turned in to something like an Ultimate Submission match, considering Del Rio’s Cross Arm Breaker and Swagger’s Patriot Lock, but this stipulation works well enough. That being said, there is no way that the WWE is going to reward such sloppy work on the part of Swagger, decent heel gimmick or not.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio to become the number one contender

United States Championship
Kofi Kingston {C} vs Dean Ambrose

Kofi Kingston was given this belt after Antonio Cesaro had pretty much everything that was unique about Cesaro’s gimmick as champion taken away because Jack Swagger returned. Well, that’s the supposition, at least. Since then, Kofi has been mostly on an upward swing, only taking a week off so that he could be with his wife and newborn child. Meanwhile, Dean Ambrose has become something of a de facto front man for The Shield, albeit not the group’s leader. They have built this rivalry somewhat well, although the reasoning behind giving Ambrose the match is a little bit specious. While it isn’t last-minute booking by any means, it is one of the matches that was only announced a week before the show. Still, with it being The Shield, chances are the entire group is going to get gold. Part of me wants to see this belt defended under Freebird Rules, so that Ambrose claims the belt not for himself, but The Shield. One must note that his allies will have gone through a grueling tag team match, and this match has no gimmicks, so Ambrose may just steal this one.
Winner: Dean Ambrose to become the NEW United States champion.

WWE Tag Team Championship – Tornado Rules
Team Hell No {C} vs The Shield (Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns)

This is the match to start what could be the part of the show where The Shield absolutely dominates. This match would seem to actually favor Bryan and Kane, since the tactics that the Shield uses in tag matches – isolating an opponent and letting the guy on the apron stew – can’t come in to play here. On the other hand, this also allows Rollins and Reigns to immediately go in to the match without needing to tag one another in, using their numbers game tactics without fear of disqualification. Kane and Bryan have been champions for a long time, and honestly, this is probably the best way to go about things. They’ve already slotted in a potential feud with The Usos against Rollins and Reigns, so this one seems to be a foregone conclusion, even if the United States championship isn’t. As above, I would love to see these two claim the belts for The Shield, and have all three defend them under Freebird rules.
Winners: The Shield to become the NEW WWE Tag Team champions

Strap Match
Mark Henry vs Sheamus

This match is one that has been built in a fairly confusing manner. Sheamus has actually been playing the sneaky, cocky individual while Henry has been the straight forward tough man. Sure, they’ve tried to make it look like Henry’s pride is what cost him all those embarrassments, but Sheamus has still been the one delivering cheap shots. They had Henry pull two trailer trucks – with the trailers attached. It’s like they really want Henry to be the hero in this one, but since Sheamus is the hero here, WWE is acting like what Sheamus is doing is debasing a bully. As far as the strap match goes, if the tug of war and the whipping that Henry gave Sheamus are any indication, the World’s Strongest Man definitely has the advantage. But Sheamus doesn’t need much room to hit the Brogue Kick – twelve feet is plenty of room to get one.
Winner: Toss-up, though I personally want to see Henry take it

Extreme Rules Match
Randy Orton vs Big Show

Randy has never felt more extreme. The Big Show considers himself to be a living weapon. Ergo, we’ve got something of a barn burner on our hands here. One must consider a few things. First off, Big Show was part of the Hardcore Title scene back when that was a thing, and fought for it numerous times in legitimate matches instead of 24/7 affairs. Secondly, Show is able to take a lot of damage. And thirdly, Show has actually punched a chair directly in to another man’s face to get a win. This puts Randy Orton at a severe disadvantage in the match. Of course, with weapons being available for normal use, even if the match does have to end in the ring (a la ECW’s rules), this is going to be insane. All things considered, though, they’re really making it look like Randy Orton could take the victory here, so I’m going to go with what makes sense.
Winner: Randy Orton

Chris Jericho vs Fandango

Yet another WrestleMania rehash, but this time, Jericho has decided to cut out the nonsense and simply be the man that has been the World champion six times, traveled the globe, and done everything in and out of the business that a professional wrestler has ever done, save for running for office. Meanwhile, Fandango has matured from just a preening and pretentious dancer in to something of a crafty heel that still preens and has pretentions about his dancing. Opening the show with a regular contest is an interesting start, but it’s definitely a way to warm up the fans. Jericho has shown himself as more than willing to put the other guy over, but part of me thinks he may take the win to set up a rubber match.
Winner: Chris Jericho

Pre-Show: The Miz vs Cody Rhodes

The Rhodes Scholars have basically been everybody’s favorite tag team to abuse lately, even on Saturday Morning SLAM (before that show’s season ended). Damien Sandow has repeatedly lost on screen, even though his character seems to survive anyway, since he’s the Intellectual Savior of the Masses, not some sort of wrestling machine. Rhodes getting manhandled is a similar situation, since he’s the man you love to hate. If The Miz is going to once again become a major part of the shows, chances are he’s going to win yet another “free on the internet and via Xbox stream” match.
Winner: The Miz

Overall: This is a completely stacked card, and although two of the three co-main events are rematches from WrestleMania, and the third has a challenger that doesn’t do much to excite, the show should be exciting enough because of the matches involved. However, the price point is $45. Personally, I’ll be skipping the live broadcast, reading results, and watching RAW for the rest, but I may buy the DVD or Blu-ray.

Nicholas Villarreal

Game Review/News Editor at iGame Responsibly
Nicholas Villarreal is a seasoned writer on the staff of iGame Responsibly, covering breaking news, as well as game reviews.

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