Chris and Spaceman Frank discuss a crazy amount of news that has recently happened within the pro wrestling world.
Jon addresses the unluckiest Fantasy Football season ever and also argues with the Jewharaja on Eli’s consecutive start streak and the WWE women’s division.
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After a long Thanksgiving weekend, Chris and Spaceman Frank review NXT TakeOver: War Games (with enthusiasm) and Survivor Series 2017 (with less enthusiasm).
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.
Jon and the Jewharaja review NXT TakeOver: War Games and preview WWE Survivor Series.
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.
by Frank Lucci
It’s time for the last Big Four PPV of the year for the WWE, and the company has gone all-out making people get hyped for this event.
Even though they announced many of the matches weeks in advance the constant shift in participants has left audiences guessing both who would be involved in the marquee matches and if WWE actually had a plan. This has benefited some wrestlers such as AJ Styles while leaving others (Jinder Mahal, Natalya, KO and Sami Zayn, etc) in the cold.
Mostly though things have worked out for the best for the audience, and really isn’t that what matters the most (if you work for WWE please don’t ask Vince or Triple H that, they will probably fire and/or Pedigree you)? Now, hopefully, WWE can translate these dream matches from the booking sheet to the ring, or this PV could start dragging like a modern day ‘Mania.
One thing I will say is while I appreciate the excitement the brand wars has brought to weekly TV, it does not make sense (YOU WORK ON TUESDAYS YOU SON OF A BITCH!!! DIE!!!!!!). I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Survivor Series 2017 predictions.
Enzo Amore (c) vs. Kalisto (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
This sole match on the two-hour preshow (unless they just throw together something else to kill time) sees these two go at it yet again. Really, they have not done much to make people care about this rematch, and my main thought during their encounters is wondering what other cruiserweights are doing currently. At least we got Drew Gulak and his Powerpoints.
I do not see a reason why WWE would choose Kalisto over Amore to be the face of the division (besides the fact that he is, you know, an excellent wrestler) so Amore will win here after doing some standup to kill some minutes.
The Miz (IC Champ) vs. Baron Corbin (US Champ)
This feud has mostly taken place on social media, which is a shame because it has been pretty spectacular.
The Miz has brought some real deal fire to Corbin, and it really makes me hope Miz gets a real feud to sink his teeth into at some point instead of jerking the curtain.
Meanwhile, Corbin has just kind of existed as champ, farting around with the likes of Sin Cara instead of getting embarrassed in promo contests with his Raw counterpart. Corbin seems like management’s boy, but really I see this as another SummerSlam situation where Corbin gets stomped on by a vet to teach him some manners IRL. Miz gets a rare win on the main card before meandering around the preshows some more.
The Bar vs. The Usos (Tag Team Champs vs. Champs match)
Two teams doing their best work are clashing, and this should a barnburner of a match.
The Usos have gone steadily towards tweener territory with fans recognizing their hard work plus the scary chop block Chad Gable gave over in England. Meanwhile, Cesaro and Sheamus has anchored many a Raw half hour with their work, and despite the whole attempted murder of Stroman thing The Bar has had a strong year.
So who wins here? I see Raw’s team getting the win here since they have been consistently the better team and they have held the belts longer. Now, hopefully, something goes wrong and we get more of Cesaro shrugs memes.
The Shield vs. The New Day
A “holy cow I need this in my life even though this was not in a card a week ago” match if I’ve ever seen one sees perhaps the most popular three-person teams of the decade square off.
What adds to this match is the fact that Roman Reigns has been out with whatever disease he had, so this is their first reunited PPV match. It almost makes us forget that he is going to headline WrestleMania 34 and ruin things for everyone all over again.
The New Day will probably get their promo time in as well, which makes me concerned just how long this PPV will be. Since The Shield are all former world champions they seem to be the choice to win, but honestly I wouldn’t be that surprised if The New Day sneak in a win due to all the merch money they sell.
Team Raw (Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Asuka, Sasha Banks, and Bayley) vs. Team SmackDown (Becky Lynch, Carmella, Naomi, Tamina, and TBA)
First off: Who is the mystery member of Team Smackdown? Is it the obvious choice of Natalya? The obvious choice of Paige? The less obvious choice but still not surprising Nikki Bella? We shall see.
The next big question is who will actually win this match?
On one hand, I would say that SmackDown’s team unity (minus TBA person) would seem to give them an advantage.
On the other hand, we have Asuka on team Raw, and if she loses in this match I will throw something out the window. Now is not the time to have her lose, but rather dominate and seal the win for Team Raw.
Hopefully, they also have her beat the piss out of Team Raw along with everyone backstage before locking eyes with Braun and forming an epic romance. I’d pay money to see that.
Charlotte vs. Alexa Bliss (Champion vs. Champion)
Another dream match out of nowhere sees tiny but spunky taking on an Amazon for bragging rights.
Really, the build for this match was Bliss giving Charlotte a forearm, but who cares when we got two excellent workers getting ready to go to war.
Charlotte is the one on a hot streak right now with her dad’s doc getting some attention and winning the title on the last SmackDown before Survivor Series. Meanwhile, Bliss has been on Total Divas having a ball with her BFF Nia Jax, which consistently has been entertaining when the boys on the show troll everything.
With Charlotte being the hot commodity right now, I see her winning and getting a win in the column for Team Blue.
Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles (Champion vs. Champion)
While Jinder vs. Brock would have been an interesting thought experiment/fever dream/WWE 2K18 Sim, having AJ Styles win the belt and face The Beast is fantastic.
His victory is the highlight of SmackDown weekly TV for the year, and he is a natural challenger to Lesnar. I cannot stress how excited I am for this match, and every minute Styles hangs in the ring with the Universal champ is a victory for people who believe being the best worker in the company should warrant you a shot on top of the card. With Jinder, I thought a Brock win would be more secure, but I honestly give Styles more leeway to potentially win than Mahal (especially because the India tour has been downsized).
That being said, this is the one cross-promotion match that will end in a DQ/no contest. It would be weird to have one champ pin another, and Styles really deserves the non-finish over just jobbing to Brock. He has shoulders bigger than my television, he looks strong enough let AJ get the count-out or shenanigans happen so he can hold his head high.
Team Raw (Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, and Triple H) vs. Team SmackDown (Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, and John Cena)
This traditional Survivor Series match sees an all -tar jamboree throwdown to various degrees of hype.
While guys like John Cena and Triple H have just kind snuck into this match it is hard to argue that they add to this more as stills on the graphic than dudes like Rusev or Jason “happy to be here” Jordan.
My low-key person I hope does well here: Bobby Roode. He has not been very prominent in this build, and I really hope he gets to pin somebody and look good to establish him to newer fans.
I think in the end, this match will come down to what team gets sabotaged by interference worse. I can see Jordan trying to avenge himself against Triple H to impress his dad Kurt Angle. But at the same time, I do not know how you have this PPV with no KO and Sami Zayn, and I think they will cost SmackDown the match.
Sure, that gives Raw many of the victories for this PPV, but really do you expect WWE to make SmackDown look better than Raw?
by Frank Lucci
Houston’s Takeover seemed to be on a pretty clear path, until somebody in WWE (Triple H) got a huge nostalgia trip for classic WCW and decided to make this into a War Games-themed event. That combined with NXT having a future taping in the same building as one of WCW’s shows and the resurrection of Starcade as a live event proves that The H man really, really, reallyyyyyy wants to turn back the clock to the early 90’s.
This has been met with some mixed results (see my live reading of the revamped War Games rules and Chris’ reaction on the latest episode of Manopera!), but it is a TakeOver, so it should be pretty rad. Now if only WWE would put Gargano vs. Dunne for the UK Championship on the main show because WHY WOULDN’T YOU DO THAT WE ALL WANT IT WHY ARE YOU MAKING US WAIT A WEEK YOU MONSTERS??? I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my NXT Takeover: War Games predictions.
Kassius Ohno vs. Lars Sullivan
Kassius “Player Coach” Ohno gets his first singles match on a Takeover, taking on the suddenly ascendant Lars “Human Gargoyle” Sullivan. Granted, much of the people on this card can be considered “suddenly ascendent” but Sullivan, in particular, seems destined for something bigger. He is very much NXT’s Braun Stroman, and I can see Vince getting one look at him and penciling him into a main roster run before he is truly ready. But hey Stroman was not day one ready, and look where he is now.
Meanwhile, Ohno is putting his undefeated streak on the line, but really he is here to make himself look good while losing to the newest NXT freak. I just wish we got a more substantial feud for this along with Ohno getting more chances to show his stuff. A good little match that isn’t as good as Gargano vs Dunne BECAUSE NOTHING WILL BE EVER that sees Sullivan getting the win.
Aleister Black vs. The Velveteen Dream
Before this feud began I would have thought there would be no way this could have pushed my interest at all. However young Patrick Clark has made the most of a gimmick that could have gone very poorly very quickly. He commits to the character and adds just the right amount of uncomfortable to keep it PG. Meanwhile Black is the perfect foil for him, as the zen-like guy who refuses to give attention to the Dream. One minor flaw I see in this is that Back obviously craves attention too, since he is covered in tattoos, rises from the smoke during his entrance, and sits in the ring with spotlights on him. Do not tell me you’d not like attention seekers and do that stuff. Anyway, Aleister is the vet and Clark was born in 1995, so Black will defeat The Velveteen Dream like he was The Velveteen Rabbit and Black was Scarlet Fever.
Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross vs. Kairi Sane (Fatal Four Way for the Vacant NXT Women’s Championship)
How mad must Sane be? She wins this epic Mae Young Classic, beating some of the best in the world, and gets to be 25% of the match for Asuka’s forfeited championship. I would have made this a one on one match with Kairi facing the winner of an NXT only tournament to make things a little more even. That being said, this is a pretty good field of women who represent the future of the women’s division in NXT and beyond.
It is easy to write Royce right off the gate here, and while I think she has the least chance of winning I am curious to see if we see a serious Peyton make a run during the match. Moon would be an obvious choice as next champ since she has frequently been in the title picture, but honestly, I think Cross has eclipsed her (see what I did there?) in popularity. But all in all, I do not see the Sane Train being derailed despite the gap from the Mae Young Classic to now. She is too good, too adorable, and too badass to not get a chance to carry the belt.
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega (NXT Championship Match)
Perhaps the match most screwed over by the inclusion of War Games sees McIntyre bypass most other logical challengers and face the out of nowhere Almas for the belt.
This is a big high risk/high reward match for both, and they really need a strong showing to not make this a dud.
To be fair, Drew has been putting on some very solid matches during NXT’s weekly show, and Almas has been doing much better character work as a heel. Vega has also been a revelation as the female manager who not only mixes it up on the mic and (gasp) gets involved in matches in the same way a man would. She is perhaps the most complete person involved into the match, and if she gets into the women’s division I am all for it.
Since Almas is pretty much filler since every other main eventer is busy I do not see him winning. I just hope D-Mac gets a proper program before his main roster jump back to WWE.
Authors of Pain with Roderick Strong vs. Undisputed Era vs. Sanity (War Games Match)
The rules for this match…suck. Shark cages, wildly unfair rules, and way too much complications make this simple match into a Mario Party minigame. How could they decide this is the best way to what could be an old-school formulaic match (heels get numbers advantage, face shows up to save the day, repeat until all people are in the ring) into a big old cluster?
I can see Strong being the one guy being left along valiantly trying to hold his own until AOP shows up and has a weird Big Damn Hero moment. Meanwhile, I’ll bet my excellent Scary Jesus Rock Star beer that Undisputed Era gets the early numbers advantage.
I cannot say I am super excited for this match, but I should not be bad. My pick for a winner would be Sanity, since I see Strong and the Era’s feud building from here and the tag champions sneaking in a win.
Chris and a slightly less salty Seaman Frank discuss major news in the world of professional wrestling.
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by frank Lucci
Friday before WWE’s latest PPV I was preparing a very depressing intro where I talked about how many shots of black rum I would need to get through even writing the preview for TLC, let alone how much booze would be needed to watch the show. I was thoroughly in Seaman Frank mode, especially when Mayoral Candidate Kane burst through the ring on Raw. At that point I was so salty I was thinking about another gimmick change to Salt Man Frank, the worst Mega Man boss of all time. I was truly a broken and beaten man.
“BAH GAWD THAT’S VIRAL INFECTIONS MUSIC! WHAT’S HE DOING HERE ON RAW???!!!”
Yes, it is very tragic and sad that many WWE Superstars are sick enough to warrant keeping them home and isolated from the rest of the roster, but I do not think anyone can pretend for a second that this has made TLC about 1000% more watchable (Sure they are pretty much throwing many prominent storylines out the window, but c’mon would you rather have bad but logical storylines or Kurt Freakin’ Angle?). Plus throw in Asuka’s debut (which was going to be the sole highlight before all this) and this has a chance to make everyone forget, just for a little while, all the doom and gloom surrounding the WWE these past few weeks. And if things get boring, well, you can always watch Rusev play Madden. I’m Seaman Frank and here are my TLC 2017 Predictions!
Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox (Honey BBQ KFC DLC Scrappy Doo Slugfest)
This match comes after Fox got her first t-shirt after almost a decade of employment in the WWE, and it is great if you are a furry and crap for everyone else. She is coming out of nowhere to take on Banks, who seems to be doing important things (winning, losing, and then challenging for the women’s belt since SummerSlam) and nothing at all (losing or disappearing from television frequently).
Really, there is no reason for this match to happen, but hey there are only six matches on the main show so maybe this will get bumped up and we will have three women’s matches on a PPV. If people are sick you might as well take advantage of the moment and give the ladies and cruiserweights a shot. Sasha wins and Foxy disappears again until she is needed to act crazy at someone.
Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher vs. Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann
This match promises to be pretty exciting, especially if they get a decent amount of ring time to tell a story. With Nevile most likely gone from the company and rumors swirling that many superstars are unhappy, some have put two and two together to say that this is WWE’s attempt to pacify the cruiserweights.
It remains to be seen if this is just people piggybacking on Neville’s departure or legit gripes talent has, but at least for this PPV the division has a chance to shine. All four men are unique talents and can potentially steal the show, though it remains to see seen if the audience cares about this battle. Side note: can Alexander and Swann be a proper team outside the cruiserweights? That would be awesome. Team Swaxander wins in a cool little bout.
Kalisto (C) vs. Enzo Amore (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
I am not sure what the WWE is trying to do with the cruiserweight title, as they brought in Enzo and got people talking. Then Neville quit and Enzo lost the title to colder than Antarctica Kalisto who is about as boring of a choice for champ as asking for towels for Christmas. I mean we should be happy for Kalisto, but shoving him straight to the top was misguided at best. Enzo’s momentum is gone, and whatever they wanted to do creatively with him is out the window.
So where does the cruiserweights go from here? I am guessing they swap the title back to Enzo like they did with Tozawa and Neville and then thrust a random person into the title picture. Gentleman Jack, maybe?
Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Mickie James (WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match)
I am excited for this match, besides the fact the build centers around Bliss calling James old. Seriously, Mickie James is 38 and looks amazing. I do not know anyone who says differently (STOP THIS NONSENSE WWE).
Anyway, it is about time they do something with James. She is very talented and could definitely be a boon to the division that needs some fresher faces in it. Plus she has already faced the debuting Asuka before down in NXT, so it is a good time to build her up so they can have a killer rematch. I get the feeling that Bliss is in a holding pattern until Nia Jax comes back from her sabbatical, so I am guessing she retains here and we get that feud soon after. Hopefully that feud does not fall into the same trap and WWE has Bliss call Jax fat…unless they bring in Scott Steiner as Bliss’ manager.
Asuka vs. Emma
Emma won the right to be murdered …err… face off against Asuka in the latter’s PPV debut.
This should be a doozy of a match, as before all the Shield hype this seemed to be the match getting the most hype. I truly hope WWE does not drop the ball here, and if Asuka loses her streak to a random person on Raw in three weeks I will drop kick my TV. These two had a superb match back in NXT, so I imagine this will be an exciting squash. The question will be when Asuka gets into the title picture and if mainstream audiences take to the Empress of Tomorrow. Asuka wins and continues the streak until ‘Mania where she squashes Goldberg and challenges Lesnar in the ultimate Kaiju Big Battle.
Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles
What was going to be the disaster between a pumpkin and a cross dresser has immediately been updated to The Demon vs. one of the best wrestlers in the world.
This has a ton of potential, and I think this could be the sneaky match of the night. Just let these guys work a Japanese-style match for thirty minutes and give the audience something to sink their teeth into (just don’t have Finn use the pumpkin facepaint. Just…no).
Also, I am praying that it does not turn out that Styles was Sister Abigail all along. I mean, that would be a hell of twist, but I would be terrified to hear AJ’s creepy lady voice. With Finn rumored to eventually face Lesnar and AJ facing the immediate opponent for The Beast I think Finn will go over here. AJ can survive the loss, and Finn needs some solid wins for people to care about his eventual push towards the Universal Championship.
Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Kurt Angle vs. Cesaro, Sheamus, Kane, The Miz, and Braun Strowman (5 on 3 Handicap TLC Match)
Getting rid of Roman Reigns and replacing him with Kurt Freaking Angle is a godsend.
While before this was all just a way to drag seven different men into a situation to get people to cheer Reigns now is the return of a legend and a buffet of talented men ready to throw themselves into the mouth of madness. Still, there is some lingering problems here, such as why this is still a handicap match? I hope Braun is just like “nah I’m good” and leaves and Mayoral Candidate Kane just disappears forever.
At this point the match has changed so much they might as well just be like “our bad here is a regular match” and have Kane put over Braun. Since it seemed like a lock The Shield would win here before I am tempted to say they will win here, but I am going a different route. I think the numbers game will catch up to Team Sh-Angle, especially with the No-DQ setting. Braun or Miz get the pin on old man Angle and team Five Bar Miz-assic wn.
by Frank Lucci
Hell in a Cell – It’s happening, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.
Despite having a larger amount of time to build to this show than Raw the SmackDown Live, the creative team have done nothing to really make this interesting. Sure, Shane McMahon got beat up, but that happens before every Shane match. Other than that we have a bunch of rematches and and throwaway feuds that are meant to kill time until Survivor Series (I honestly got this event confused with TLC and I am amazed WWE has the balls to put two gimmick Pay-Per-Views in one month).
At least we got The New Day and the Usos, a match that everyone cares about…except for the creative team since their previous matches have all been on preshows and curtain jerkers. But hey, now it’s a big deal! I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Hell in a Cell 2017 predictions.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros (Preshow Slapfest Spectacular)
Do we have name for the team of Gable and Benjamin yet? Is American Beta too obvious? What about Cha-jamin? Anyway they face The Hype Bros, that team that looked to be breaking up, may still do that, but nobody cares either way. Fun fact: in 2017 Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and Zack Ryder was starring in comeback hype videos on YouTube. How the mighty have fallen.
Gable really had a chance to be a breakout star with his impressive singles matches, but instead he teams with a veteran to keep him hemmed into the tag team scene. Cha-jamin win here because they are the newer team and still have potential unlike the shambling remains of The Hype Bros.
Randy Orton vs. Rusev
Why? Just Why? Why throw this on PPV again instead of giving Sami Zayn a match? Or Tye Dillinger? Nope, gotta put Orton on PPV to continue his streak of ruining everything for everyone in 2017.
Poor, poor Rusev. Poor, poor WWE. Poor, poor humanity. Orton wins because of course he going to win he won in like 30 seconds at SummerSlam WHY DO WE NEED TO SEE THIS AGAIN??? WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE THIS???
Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler
The battle between the guy with a cool entrance and his jealous coworker.
Ziggler is the guy that feuds with whoever showed up last, and while objectively I should care about this match, I just can’t find a reason why this needs to be a PPV match rather than a random match on SmackDown. Hopefully this match will surprise me and be really good, but I see this as being a way to kill about ten minutes with entrances and 15 minutes in the ring. Roode wins as the new guy who will probably move into the main event scene sooner rather than later.
AJ Styles (C) vs. Baron Corbin (US Title Match)
Baron Corbin couldn’t beat Mahal, couldn’t beat Cena, and couldn’t beat Dillinger (somebody give that man a title shot!).
I get that WWE has to do something to rehab his character, but constantly losing and getting rewarded for it is not the answer. Shouldn’t this be Styles vs. Dillinger as a way to crown The Perfect 10 as the hot new babyface? Instead we get Baron’s weird belly and receding hairline that is disappearing faster than management’s faith in him.
Despite my gripes about Baron I think he will win here. Sure AJ is better in every conceivable way, but I think they need him in the main event picture now. The WWE Championship is in a weird place where it is clearly not the focus of the show and fans know the best wrestlers do not challenge for it, so having Styles chase the belt will help rebuild it and Mahal as well. So Corbin will become champ and try to get some momentum going again after a rocky summer.
Natalya (C) vs. Charlotte (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match)
Nattie’s title reign has been..a thing that has happened, and she has been a massive afterthought despite SmackDown having very little going on. It is sad really as this will probably be a good match that is going to set several records.
According to the champ herself, she will break Trish Stratus’ record of most PPV matches by a women in WWE and her and Charlotte will be the first pair of women to fight for the NXT, Divas, Raw and SmackDown Women’s titles. So why isn’t that the main focus of their feud???
For all of WWE’s talk about focusing more on women and treating them as equal to the men they sure messed up this historic match. It looks like a slam dunk for Charlotte to win her sixth (Sixth??? Really??!!!) women’s championship and go on to be the face of SmackDown’s women’s division.
The New Day (C) vs. The Usos (Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
The Savior of this PPV sees these two white hot teams square off in Hell in a Cell.
While WWE has not done the best to keep this feud seem important enough to warrant a match in the demonic structure, the fans know these guys will deliver in the ring. I expect some exciting yet PG spots and some crazy bumps to take place, and with the added drama of everyone in the ring at once I see this being a hoot.
The big question is if Xavier Woods will be able to get into the cell as well, or if he will hold off getting involved. With the other Hell in a Cell match guaranteed to have some sort of big stunt it is good to have this here to be the excellent wrestling match to balance it out. The Usos could sneak away with the belts here, but I think The New Day retain since they are such huge ambassadors for the company.
Jinder Mahal (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)
WWE has a tour of India in December, so guess who’s winning this match?
WWE has left it wide open for the Singh Brothers to interfere yet again, so that seems like the most obvious route to a finish here since we have seen that in literally every Mahal match. Nakamura is in a weird place where he is getting a huge push, but it seems like creative have no idea how to capitalize on the unique superstar. Meanwhile, WWE has flushed any nuance and subtly with Mahal’s character down the drain when they decided to have him tell racist jokes.
When the crowd chants “That’s Too Far,” it’s easy to see why attendance is hitting record lows. Mahal wins again and hopefully we get Styles in the title picture to see if Mahal can step up and have a decent match for once.
Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens (Hell in a Cell match)
This Hell in a Cell match will probably lead to some memorable moment WWE puts into video packages for years.
I’ve heard rumors that WWE is filming something with a stunt Shane so he does not hurt himself, which is good for protecting his health but lessens the excitement factor. This is the only match WWE has thought to put some effort in, because Shane is the coolest dad on the roster and it’s a big deal when he decides to let someone beat him up (sorry, Titus).
I hope Shane brings his kids to the match and Owens throws them off the cell one at a time.
Owens wins and possibly moves into the title picture at some point, though he has appeared on advertisements for Raw brand live events. Because Raw definitely needs more wrestlers they can ignore.