by Jonathan Schorr
Jon and Matt go on the ultimate thrill ride with their WrestleMania 33 and NXT Takeover: Orlando predictions while watching WrestleMania 13 from 1997.
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.
by Jonathan Schorr
Jon and Matt go on the ultimate thrill ride with their WrestleMania 33 and NXT Takeover: Orlando predictions while watching WrestleMania 13 from 1997.
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.
by Frank Lucci
Roadblock: End of the Line may not be the best PPV of 2016, but it will be the last one, so at least it has that going for it. In a year where the WWE saturated their network with live events, Roadblock pretty much sums up what to expect: pretty good, but expect maybe half a storyline to advance forward. Hell, they even already had a Roadblock earlier this year, which granted was not a full blown PPV but at least it was on a Saturday so people could get properly schwifty during it. Despite having a loaded roster and three hours of weekly television, Raw simply cannot get me to care about the live events. Sure i’ll watch, but at this point I am down to watching the top ten moments from Raw on YouTube rather than the full show or even the 90 minute Hulu version of Raw. I’m Spaceman Frank, and here are my predictions for Roadblock: End of the Line.
Big Cass vs. Rusev
This match is what I assume will be the preshow match, unless WWE screws with me and adds another match to the PPV after I write this. Rusev is fighting for his wife Lana’s honor, and Big Cass is fighting for his BFF Enzo’s honor (Aww, they really do love each other!). It is hard to feel bad for Enzo here, as he did try to sleep with another man’s wife. Typical WWE babyface booking reminiscent of Roman Reigns during his feud with Rusev. After watching Rusev on Total Divas I have a massive man-crush on the Bulgarian Brute, so I hope he wins and get an actual victory on PPV. Rusev crushes Big Cass as I swoon in my chair.
Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn (10 Minute Time Limit)
Strowman gets his first real competition (Sin Cara does not count) and Zayn gets a match he can actually win since his fight forever feud with Kevin Owens. Zayn has been drifting around for months, and Strowman has been directionless between snuffing out the life from various jobbers. Adding the time limit means this will be the deciding factor here. Is it too early to give Strowman a loss here, even with the technicality? Probably. I see this ending much like Zayn’s NXT title match with Owens: Strowman gets the TKO victory here just as the time limit is closing in and makes kids cry as Zayn gets pummeled into oblivion.
The New Day (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)
With The New Day officially the longest reigning tag team in history, now the possibility that they lose is much more real. However, at this point I am fine if WWE wants them to pursue the longest combined days as champ or have Kofi try to become the person with the most combined days as a tag team champ. This changes things up a little bit, and in particular trying to keep the titles so Kofi can make history is an interesting twist that would justify their cheating ways. After all, the guy deserves something right? Cesaro and Sheamus are getting better, but Raw needs depth in the tag team scene asap. Maybe focus on the other teams stepping up their game while The New Day take a backseat and brainstorm on how to keep their gimmicks fresh. The New Day retain since them losing immediately after getting the record would be pretty lame and predictable.
Rich Swann (c) vs. TJ Perkins vs The Brian Kendrick (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)
Normally I do not like multi-man Cruiserweight matches, since they give WWE an excuse not to build up the individuals in the division. However since these are three out of the four guys with actual developed characters in the Cruiserweight division (with the other man being the excellent Jack Gallagher, more of him please!), I’ll let it pass. Swann is the type of feel good story that works well in WWE, and it has been told much better than when WWE tried the same thing with TJP. Meanwhile Kendrick just keeps floating around the scene as the only guy in the division that can cut a promo, so at least he has that going for him. I really hope we see some balls out action during this match, as it is about time WWE lets these guys go all out now that we have had several months of main roster cruiserweights. Swann retains until No Way Jose is ready for the main roster and the duo become the new HBK and Diesel…or Jerry Lawler and Isaac Yankem.
Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins
This match should feel like a big deal…but it does not. It is no secret Jericho is coming after the title, and really Seth should be too since he is too good just to fart around in the background. Until Rollins finds his babyface center of gravity he needs to pursue the title since WWE has given us little reason to cheer for him as a good guy. A number one contenders stipulation would have been nice here and add a little extra stakes to this lame duck side feud to the main event. How did Reigns sneak into the main event picture anyway? Who demanded this match (who does not have the last name McMahon)? Should have been a three way dance for the title. Anywho, Jericho gets the win either by sneaking out a victory or Owens helps him win to help repair their relationship.
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte (30 Minute Iron Man Match for WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
This will probably be the best pure wrestling match on the card, as Banks has proven she can work the long match and Charlotte can probably go super saiyan if she yells long enough or watches Krillin die. This promises to be the end of the feud, which has been a long time coming. Charlotte is undefeated on PPV, but since the WWE has not made a big deal about this until recently I do not think they will have Charlotte win back the belt just to keep the streak alive. Rather, I see Banks keeping the belt. She needs to have a PPV win at some point, and just switching back the belt to Charlotte yet again would be pretty weak at this point. With the stipulation you can have Charlotte get a couple pinfalls and look strong but have Sasha have her own Bayley moment and beat a submission out of Charlotte as time expires.
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Universal Championship Match)
Again, why is Roman Reigns in this match? Shouldn’t he be ruining some up and comer’s career by squashing him for several months? It seems like every time WWE does not have a hot feud for a heel they throw in Reigns, which is exactly why the fans have turned on him as they have. Instead of letting him work with people on a midcard level we get to see him jerk his fist off and delay the inevitable Jericho/Owens match. In addition, Reigns is still the cocky jock he has always been, and his character is even more insufferable because of it (I expect him to show up in his letterman jacket and talk about how his dad owns a dealership any week now). Owens wins because I refuse to believe 2016 will hit true rock bottom with Reigns being double champion.
In a mega-sized episode for a mega-sized show and fallout, Chris and the Spaceman discuss SummerSlam 2016.
Check out Chris’s post on the WWE Universal Championship here.
by Frank Lucci
According to wrestling, SummerSlam is the biggest party of the Summer…or at least it was until NXT showed up and stole their thunder last year. With the WWE’s main roster shows now split up, this year’s SummerSlam is the first of the New Era, but it still feels the same as before due to it featuring members of both brands wrestling. With a staggering 13 matches scheduled for the event, there are bound to be a few duds in the mix, but this is still a pretty solid if unspectacular card. Spaceman Frank is here to predict who will walk out of SummerSlam the victors and who will be the sad sacks.
Kickoff: Sami Zayn & Neville vs. The Dudley Boyz
In a match where the pairing of the former NXT champs just kind of happened at the last minute, Zayn and Neville should pull off a decent showing. While Neville hasn’t had much direction since returning from injury, this is a huge demotion for Zayn as he’s been featured in higher profile matches since debuting on the main roster. Seeing as The Dudleys are basically the Chris Jericho of tag teams, they will take the loss in a somewhat entertaining match that will not have the time it deserves.
Kickoff: American Alpha, The Hype Bros & The Usos vs. Breezango, The Ascension & The Vaudevillains
The SmackDown tag teams, while abundant have, no champions. Seeing as there were no rules in the draft about champions floating between brands, this is a problem for the blue brand. Where Raw has picked up the pieces in crowing a new heavyweight champion (more on that later), SmackDown has instead waited to pull the trigger on that for both their tag and women’s divisions, putting every egg in each division in separate but similar baskets (match and storyline-wise). Seeing as American Alpha is the hot new team, they will probably pick up the win for their allegiance against someone in Breezango.
Kickoff: Cesaro vs. Sheamus (Best of Seven Series: Round One)
It feels like these guys have already been in a best of seven series considering how often they go against each other. This will be a decent match, but much like Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens from last year’s SummerSlam this is going to be swallowed up by the other matches on the card. I hope the WWE treats this like a big deal and dangles a title shot or something for the men to fight for rather than it being WWE’s way of having two guys tread water for awhile. Perhaps we can get different stipulations sprinkled in as well? Anyway, I see heel Sheamus getting the win to go up 1-0 on Cesaro to give him some extra motivation to win going forward.
Natalya, Alexa Bliss (and formerly Eva Marie) vs. Naomi, Carmella, and Becky Lynch
The All Red Elephant in the room for this match is the suspension of Eva Marie for her first wellness policy violation. Her husband/manager Jonathan Coyle is calling it unjust, flashing me back to Adam Rose’s suspension drama earlier in the year. That being said, the WWE has an easy out considering Eva’s whole actually avoiding wrestling gimmick, but then that leaves the heels with the rare disadvantage. I honestly don’t think SmackDown has any more women left, so the WWE may be stuck here. I hope this will be a good showcase for Alexa Bliss, but I think she will be losing along with Nattie Ice to the faces here.
The Miz vs. Apollo Crews (Intercontinental Championship Match)
I honestly forgot this was happening.
Crews has been getting a solid push lately, but I have not been terribly impressed with him thus far. I know he can potentially do great things, but it seems like WWE has but a governor on the poor guy. It doesn’t help that his paper thin character has been exposed compared to Miz’s usual excellent character work (Can we please get Crews and Kalisto to go balls out for twenty minutes on each other to show everyone what they can do?). The Miz wins because he is the Miz and if the Miz does not have a title he usually ends up being pretty awful.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Dads on a Mission (Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho)
The WWE has put two of their biggest trolls together. Smart. They face off against Enzo and Cass, who I was sure were going to end up against The New Day, if only for the epic promos we would get. This should be an interesting encounter, especially if both teams get a chance to talk beforehand. The problem is I cannot see Y2KO lasting long, as Owens needs to be a singles wrestler at this point eyeing the main event picture rather than just in a throwaway tag match. Enzo and Cass win and move on to the title scene while Jericho and KO continue to be spectacular assholes.
Roman Reigns vs. Rusev
This feud is deader than the steak in my burrito.
I guess Reign’s punishment for failing the wellness policy test is to bury Rusev farther down the card? At least he got married to Lana during this feud, so we know Rusev is the real winner in life. Reigns wins. Rusev, America, and Hope lose.
The New Day vs. The Club (WWE Tag Team Championship Match)
The booking choices for this feud have been…odd. Not bad, but I mean everything surrounds Big E’s penis. I am sure it is a fine penis (as Natalya and her sister discussed on Total Divas), but I feel like it shouldn’t trump the tag titles in importance. I’ve been ready to take The Club seriously for a while, but I guess that’ll have to wait. At this point The New Day are bigger than the championships and made history, so now is the time to drop the belts to The Club so they can begin going on a tear and New Day can continue to be goofballs.
Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte (WWE Women’s Championship Match)
Can these women top their match on Raw? Obviously. What about when they’re smashed between twelve other bouts (Ehhhhhhhh maybe)? I don’t think this will be bad by any stretch, but I really hope they get time to tell their story. Maybe putting the ladies first will help it get buried under all the other matches.
Sasha has been great as the underdog champ, and Charlotte has pretty much been doing to Dana Brooke what she did to Ric Flair earlier in the year (WHY DO YOU PUSH AWAY THE PEOPLE THAT LOVE YOU CHARLOTTE???). Champion Banks retains, Bayley comes to the main roster after SummerSlam and we get the slow build to Bayley vs. Sasha at WrestleMania 33.
John Cena vs. AJ Styles
What will probably be the end of this feud will surely be an instant classic. I wish this had a stipulation attached, as we are pretty light on those this Pay-Per-View. Plus with Cena rumored to be going on hiatus again they could have easily had Styles punish Cena enough to have him kayfabe on the shelf for awhile. Unfortunately this is a big fight match being dragged down by the other big marquee matches on the card, plus the fact that we already saw this match takes away some luster. As stated on Manopera, I really want AJ and The Revival to become a thing, so perhaps this is the time to bring them up. With or without help, Styles wins since he’ll be the one working every Tuesday and probably in the title hunt sooner rather than later.
Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE Championship Match)
After what feels like forever, Ziggler finally gets his shot at redemption, but will WWE pull the trigger on him being a top guy in the company (for reals this time)?
Ambrose has really found his groove as champ, as he is less “LOOK AT HIM MAGGLE, HE DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HE DOING!!! LUNATIC FRINGE!!!!” and more just a badass dude who doesn’t care if he dips his toes into heelish territory. This feels a lot like Neville vs. Zayn from 2014, but I see the champ retaining here. The company could easily milk this for a few more PPV’s as Dean plays dirtier to keep the belt and Dolph gets unhinged trying to win.
Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Universal Championship Match)
Balor came in and had an amazing first week, and then for some reason WWE decided that was enough and have coasted up until now. Rollins no-selling the appearance of The Demon King was particularly bad. Build aside, these two could be forced to eat ten “Death Wings” from Duff’s (Buffalo reference) and still put on one hell of a match.
Much like the WWE Championship match, the big question is if WWE will put the title on Balor. After all, Rollins seems to be the golden boy for WWE, and it’s not their style to just give a top belt to a guy so soon. Finn will get a run, but not at Summerslam. Rollins wins to become Raw’s first-ever Universal Champion and keep the status quo going strong in the New Era.
Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
Have we ever gotten a better version of babyface Randy Orton than now? I’m guessing going on the shelf and putting on jeans really helped the dude out. Lesnar and Paul Heyman have been their usual great selves to build this up, and what could have been a mediocre match has me intrigued. They’ve set up the match well, with Orton just needing one chance to hit the RKO to win while Brock can just beat Orton to a pulp whenever he wants.
Orton is the best choice to face Lesnar right now, because A) he is one of the few stars big enough to realistically take on The Beast, and B) is not a big enough star to actually take him down. Lesnar wins and disappears while Orton remembers he is supposed to be on SmackDown and feuds with the mysteriously SummerSlam absentee Bray Wyatt.
by Frank Lucci
WWE Battleground 2016 is the first Pay-Per-View in the brand split 2.0 and the event promises to be…interesting, to say the least.
By booking every matchup before the draft, what was once considered a dream card is now a jumbled mess. With many opponents now on different brands, the WWE has given off the impression that they don’t know what they’re doing with the new rosters – which is definitely not where they want to be going into SummerSlam. There are no bad matches on the card, per se, but the company has given fans little reason to care. Spaceman Frank is here to sort out the mess and predict the results of Battleground 2016.
The Miz (c) w/ Maryse vs. Darren Young w/ Bob Backlund (Intercontinental Championship match)
Darren Young has finally returned to television with the ageless Bob Backlund as his manager by winning a battle royal in baffling fashion to earn his shot at The Miz’ Intercontinental Championship and if he wins, the title will be moving from SmackDown Live to Raw.
After a series of great title defenses from The Miz featuring some of WWE’s top talent, Young is a step down by default. Unless the WWE plans on swapping the Intercontinental and United States Championships to different shows, there’s no reason for The Miz to cut short his great run as a d-bag champ.
Rusev (c) w/ Lana vs. Zack Ryder (United States Championship match)
The build has been slightly better for this match than the Intercontinental Championship match, with Rusev being a bully by accepting Ryders challenge after a sneak attack on the Long Island native. But once again, unless the titles are switching shows there is no way Rusev loses to the guy he has squashed repeatedly.
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
The two new SmackDown! Divas are set to settle their differences at Battleground and the booking has mirrored the Zayn/Owens feud sans the massive amount of history and several match of the year candidates to back them up.
Build aside, if these two operate at their full potential they should be able to pull of a great match; although it’s bittersweet to settle a feud like this without a title involved. Natalya wins because she is overdue to win a feud after her series with Charlotte and can now cheat to go full-heel on the loveable Lass Kicker.
The New Day (c) vs. The Wyatt Family
This match (which is not for the Tag Team Championships) has been all about The Wyatts scaring Xavier Woods as well as the audience with their Final Deletion ripoff. The New Day survived the draft intact, while The Wyatts will split with Bray and Erick Rowan on Smackdown and powerhouse Braun Strowman on Raw (no word on my boy Luke Harper).
Since The New Day are still champs, they will win this match so they can stay strong while the WWE finds them a new team for them to feud with but not face for the titles.
Sasha Banks and TBD vs. Charlotte (c) and Dana Brooke
This showcase for the Raw women’s division has some buzz around it as people speculate who will be the mystery partner for Banks. Many are clamoring for Bailey to make her long awaited jump to the main roster, but it wouldn’t make sense for her to make her debut without being drafted beforehand.
I see the recently called up Nia Jax forming a team with Banks to give the newcomer a big boost right out the gate. Indeed, Banks and Jax will win the match so both can be contenders for Charlotte’s championship – whenever she gets around to defending it, that is.
John Cena, Enzo and Cass vs. The Club
The battle of divided teams sees Cena giving the rub to Enzo and Cass before he retreats to Smackdown Live versus The Club, who will be without A.J. Styles on Raw (although their New Japan pal and original Bullet Club leader Finn Balor will be waiting in the wings for them on Monday nights).
I see this match as a way to set up two different matches for SummerSlam: the most likely rematch between Cena and Styles and the logical Enzo and Cass vs.The Club. Since this is a tag match featuring Cena, I see him getting the win for his team by jobbing out one of the members of the Club (looking at you, Anderson) before a big beatdown to set up the future matches.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
The alleged “final match” between these bitter rivals is set to be one of the best matches of the night and is easily one of the best built matches on the card as well. However, the WWE still managed to throw a few wrenches into this feud by having both men on the same show post-draft, meaning it is highly unlikely this is the actual “last match” for these two.
On a minor note, having this be a plain old singles match like the one they had at Payback instead of a No-DQ stipulation means this lacks the finality required for this feud. Since Zayn was drafted much higher than Owens and he has generally been on the losing end of the feud he will win out in the (so-called) end.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship match)
The dream match that has been derailed by poor booking and suspensions has an extra wrinkle with the brand split. Ambrose is the sole SmackDown! competitor and as the champ, he seems to have an advantage over the other two wrestlers. Rollins meanwhile, has been doing fantastic in his role of the scorned former champion who resents the so-called cheater Ambrose. In addition, he successfully navigated the Reigns dilemma by addressing it and trashing Reigns as only Rollins can.
The big problem here is the rumors that Rollins will win the title and feud with Reigns, who fans have turned against even more due to his suspension. Ambrose deserves a real shot with the belt and with Raw in need of a top championship this match will end with a screwball finish that leaves Ambrose as champ for the blue brand so Rollins and Reigns can have a separate feud for a new heavyweight championship on Raw.
by Frank Lucci
The WWE has finally released the rules for the WWE draft scheduled for the first edition of SmackDown! Live on July 19th, 2016. Long story short: Raw gets the first pick, Raw gets three picks for every two SmackDown! gets (due to the Monday show being an hour longer), tag teams count as one unit unless a GM wants just one member and each show gets 3 NXT picks.
Going with the assumed format of Raw/Smackdown/Raw/Smackdown/Raw/Raw for the order, here is Spaceman Frank’s mock WWE Draft with some explanations/fantasy booking to boot.
Author’s Note: I wrote this before the edition of Raw before the draft, so i’m assuming Dean Ambrose is still champ because please don’t take that away from us WWE I beg you! Also i’m assuming that the televised portion of the draft will be around 15 picks for Smackdown and 20 for Raw, but depending on how thing go it may be much shorter. Here’s to hoping they do a Network Special after Smackdown continuing the draft.
6. Raw: Charlotte – In order to push the Divas Revolution, Stephanie IMMEDIATELY does a 180 and turns face for a good minute or so. With her so-called “free pick,” she drafts Women’s Champion Charlotte. This would A) make the women look as important than the men, seeing as she is drafted before the Intercontinental, United States and Tag Team Champions, B) keep the whole Stephanie as women’s division advocate thing going and C) give much needed variety and content for the three-hour Raw so that they, you know, actually make those three hours entertaining.
11. Raw: The New Day – Stephanie figures she might as well lock up the last champions and picks The New Day. However, The Tag Titles will be defended on both shows, but the current champs will call Raw their home base. Similar thoughts to having the women on Raw for The New Day: they can eat up part of the three hours while making it actually worth watching.
12. SmackDown!: Samoa Joe – With all the champions and upper tier people chosen, Shane chooses at this time to continue his whole “New Era” schtick and makes the first NXT selection in Joe to a huge pop. Cut to the locker room and everyone has crapped their pants over potentially being a victim of Joe’s wrath. The camera lingers on A.J. Styles’ reaction because of their history (that WWE kinda-sorta acknowledges).
13. Raw: Bray Wyatt – Steph goes monster for monster with her brother and (rather nervously) picks Bray Wyatt. The Eater of Worlds comes out and creepily smiles at her to further freak her out as Triple H steps up to Wyatt, playing on their Royal Rumble interaction and maybe teasing a match in the future?
14. SmackDown!: Kevin Owens – KO gets drafted, does his KO thing by insulting everyone, tells Shane he’s glad all his daredevil antics left at least a few of his brain cells working and leaves.
15. Raw: Sasha Banks – Somebody reminds Steph that Charlotte needs somebody to wrestle on Raw and picks The Boss, because we all know the inevitable match between the two is coming at SummerSlam.
16. Raw: Finn Balor – Balor goes to Raw to another big pop to the crowd. Steph makes fun of Shane for stealing what would (presumably) be one of the cornerstones of his “New Era.” Backstace, The Club is happy for their boy finally being called up to the main roster.
17. SmackDown!: Cesaro – The Swiss Superman goes here because something, something, SmackDown! will be a wrestling show while JBL shrieks, “UPPERCUT PARTY MAGGLE” for no reason.
18. Raw: Sheamus – “Oh yeah, Sheamus is still a thing.”- Stephanie McMahon moments before drafting The Celtic Warrior.
19. SmackDown!: Sami Zayn – KO comes back out to flip out on Shane. He demands to be traded to Raw rather than have to deal with Zayn after their Battleground match. Things get heated and eventually an army of referees have to hold back KO from Zayn and Shane (I’m so excited for their match I have to stand in front of the fridge to cool down).
20. Raw: The Big Show – The Big Show literally eats a pick here before shuffling off to the back.
21. Raw: Chris Jericho – I’m tempted to put Jericho on SmackDown! as he seems more focused on working with younger guys, but given his part-time status and the fact that Cena already can fill that role more regularly he will be on Raw.
22. SmackDown!: Enzo and Cass – These two are constantly rumored for being split up in the draft, but considering people only take about four of the WWE tag teams seriously they need to stick together. The two act much like The New Day do on Raw: delivering fun promos and eating up time.
23. Raw: The Usos – At this point I see a run on tag teams to help fill in the rosters. The Usos stay on the show with their cousin because family and such.
24. Smackdown: Kalisto – I’m not sure if this counts as a tag team split, since Kalisto and Sin Cara are listed as singles competitors instead of the team they usually are. Nonetheless, Kalisto goes to Tuesdays just in case they start the Cruiserweight division up again.
25. Raw: Becky Lynch – I see Raw using these extra picks as a way to emphasize the women’s division while still making them feel tacked on. The Lass Kicker (side note: please give her a new nickname. I love Lynch, but there ‘s no way I go out in public with “Lass Kicker” written on my chest. Don’t need people thinking I hit women) goes to Raw to continue her role as “early 90’s Sting” to the ladies.
26. Raw: The Club – A.J. is super upset his boys are leaving and they have a big bro hug. It’s a touching moment…interrupted by Finn Balor. The Club and Balor immediately partake in an even bigger bro hug and start “Too Sweet-ing” each other and go away laughing. This leaves Styles with a bit of sympathy for his inevitable babyface return and plants the seeds of a Balor heel turn with The Club.
27. SmackDown!: The Wyatt Family – I know all the Wyatts are listed as individual competitors but hear me out. Shane, realizing Raw has way more superstars than SmackDown!, makes a bold move and drafts Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman and Luke Harper. Rowan and Strowman come out followed by Harper, who at this point should be healed up enough from his knee injury to at least make an appearance. Harper goes on a tear and declares they don’t need Bray Wyatt and the three of them can take on anybody in the WWE. Honestly, I feel like the Wyatt Family is toxic for everyone involved due to their horrendous booking. Bray has his family eat loses for him on free TV while he loses nearly every Pay Per View feud he has. Time to split them up and let Bray run wild on Raw while Harper guides Rowan and Strowman in the tag team division. Everyone wins…hopefully.
28. Raw: Dolph Ziggler– My how Ziggler has fallen. Hopefully with the split roster he can get back on track.
29. Smackdown: Alberto Del Rio– See Dolph Ziggler.
30. Raw: Nikki Bella – With the show running out of top picks, Stephanie picks the former Divas Champion, who comes out looking classy with or without a neck brace. She reminds everyone that she is now officially the longest running Diva’s champ of all time thanks to the title being retired and that the only reason Charlotte beat her was because her neck wasn’t 100 percent. Even if Nikki does not return immediately they should address her status during the draft.
31. Raw: Darren Young – I would have had Young getting drafted off camera, but since he’s challenging for the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground he will probably show up here with Bob Backlund screaming inaudibly behind him.
32. SmackDown!: Zack Ryder – Same story as Darren Young, only for the United States title.
33. Raw: Nia Jax – With her second NXT pick Steph strengthens her women’s division with Jax, who (along with Balor) is frequently rumored for a call up.
34. SmackDown!: American Alpha – Shane uses his final (televised) pick on the hot NXT tag team, just in case you forgot that Shane and GM Daniel Bryan love you and want you to be happy.
35. Raw: Paige – Just to hammer home the Divas, here is Paige going to Raw.
As for the rest of the roster, here is where I see them going; along with the final NXT picks.
Raw: Baron Corbin, Demon Kane, Jack Swagger, Sin Cara, Titus O’Neil, Golden Truth, Shining Stars, The Vaudevillians, the rest of the women and Mojo Rawley (NXT call up).
SmackDown!: Apollo Crews, Mark Henry, Neville, Breezango, The Social Outcasts, The Ascension, The Dudley Boyz, Hideo Itami (NXT call up).
What went down at WWE Payback? Chris and Frank have the answers (or at least they think they do). Find out what the boys have to say as they mull over Payback’s strong points, weak points and everything in between.
by Frank Lucci
With WrestleMania 32 in the books, the WWE has wisely decided to switch Payback and Extreme Rules around on the Pay-Per-View calendar; or at least it would have been if WWE had booked more WrestleMania rematches instead going with fresh feuds (with only two feuds receiving a continuation from previous events).
Semantics aside, this Pay-Per-View has an exciting vibe to it due to those new rivalries and Payback could make up for a lackluster ‘Mania if done right. Here is Spaceman Frank’s Payback 2016 predictions.
Side note: Vince Mcmahon will be at the event to decide if either Shane or Stephanie gets control of WWE. Since this isn’t an actual match I won’t do a full prediction for it, but if I had to take a guess I’d say Stephanie gets Raw and Shane gets SmackDown! so the WWE can have their cake and eat it too.
Kickoff Match: Kalisto vs. Ryback (United States Championship Match)
One of the few ongoing rivalries from ‘Mania where both men had a surprisingly good match. WWE rewarded Kalisto and Ryback by giving them even less build for this match and another pre-show time slot.
It’s unclear what plans WWE has for the U.S. title, as it seems pushed down the card in favor of trying to rebuild the tag team division. Why we can’t have both I have no idea. With all the new talent coming in and taking up TV time, this is hurting not only both men involved, but the U.S. Championship as well (Open challenge anyone?). Kalisto wins because he is bright, colorful and will pop the crowd.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
Corbin finally made the leap to the main roster at ‘Mania 32 with his shocking Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal victory and so far his build mirrors that of his NXT booking.
Ziggler is also being booked much like Corbin was in NXT, acting as the gatekeeper to the main event for new people trying to break the glass ceiling. The Lone Wolf has a good shot at impressing fans in his first proper Pay-Per-View match, but I see Ziggler getting the sneaky win so Corbin can beat him up some more so the two can have a match at Extreme Rules with a wacky stipulation (kiss my arse match anyone???)
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
Cool dad Jericho is still around trying to hang out with all the hip young people in the WWE. Ambrose is a decent opponent for the part timer, but beating Jericho won’t make up for his weak showing at ‘Mania.
Rather than build off of their incident at last year’s Night of Champions, WWE decided that this feud should play out over increasingly bland talk show segments. Considering that last month Jericho beat the WWE Championship’s number one contender A.J. Styles and Ambrose was taking on Brock Lesnar, it’s hard to get excited for this. Ambrose wins and Jericho threatens to bury more people on Raw.
The Miz vs. Cesaro (Intercontinental Championship Match)
The WWE finally get an injured wrestler back and Cesaro has been killing it as stripper James Bond despite the one-liner contest he had with The Miz on the go-home Raw.
The Miz has also been fantastic since winning the Intercontnental title and having his real-life wife Maryse on television with him. I didn’t think it was possible to want to punch The Miz in the face any more than I wanted to before, but believe it or not I actually do. Even more shocking, I see The Miz cheating to keep the championship from Cesaro as The Miz needs a legit IC title reign and at this point Cesaro doesn’t because he’s still fresh off of his triumphant return.
Charlotte vs. Natalya (Women’s Championship Match)
This match has been overshadowed in recent weeks by the behavior of the two men in each women’s corner. Ric Flair made headlines when it was rumored he was drunk at an airport, though it appears he merely injured his hand and went to an airport bar to kill time. Bret Hart on the other hand (pun intended), has openly criticized the WWE, stating that he has no interest in appearing at Payback (Way to sell the feud, fellas!).
Charlotte has hit her stride as champ, but WWE could easily give Nattie a title reign to help build the the championship’s lineage. With outside drama overshadowing the in-ring story, I see Charlotte retaining in a good match.
Enzo & Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillians (Number One Contenders match for the WWE World Tag Team Championships)
While the Vaudevillains have quietly been a solid addition to the main roster, Enzo and Cass have absolutely crushed it since appearing on the post-‘Mania Raw.
It still seems crazy that these two teams are facing off for the number one contendership and both teams will make great foils to The New Day (who again are not defending their titles on Pay-Per-View).
The Vaudevillians will win this match for two simple reasons: First, The Vaudevillians are the only heels between the three tag teams, leading to a more natural feud. Second, if the Dudley Boyz do not interfere in this match and cost Enzo and Cass their title shot then they will be the biggest putz’s in Dudleyville for letting the rookies walk all over them.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
The epic rivalry between these two is fully reignited after several teases and they are going to have an absolute slobberknocker of an encounter. For many fans, this match alone is the big reason to watch Payback.
If Owens and Zayn get a good amount of time this is 100 percent stealing the show. The only negative I can think of is that it seems obvious that this rivalry is continuing into Extreme Rules. Zayn gets a surprise victory followed by Owens beating The Underdog From the Underground into a pulp afterwards.
Roman Reigns vs. A.J. Styles (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)
Roman Reigns in a feud we care about (GASP!)?
With so many moving parts at play, WWE has built up a lot of potential for this match and fans are eager to see what twists and turns will play out. It seems obvious that the Good Brothers and the Usos will be factors. There’s also been subtle hints former NXT Champion Finn Balor and possibly Nakamura could also be at play here (Bullet Club debut anyone?). Throw in the potential for many different heel/face turns from everyone involved and this may be the best feud Reigns has had since becoming a main-eventer.
The only slight criticisms I have for the build is Reigns constantly repeating his “I’m the man” schtick (Even his attempts at being nonchalant seem incredibly forced. Reigns reminds me of people who constantly claim that they are “for real” and “don’t have time for fake ass people.”) and the hype surrounding this match is all about what will happen at either the end or after rather than match itself (which will be excellent). Reigns wins, Balor debuts and takes control of the Bullet Club who then lay waste to Reigns and Styles.
After the breaking news of WWE Superstar Joanie “Chyna” Laurer’s passing, Chris and Frank pay their respects to the Ninth Wonder of the World before getting into TNA’s possible new partners, WWE Payback’s build so far and fantasy booking the Bullet Club’s official WWE arrival.
by Frank Lucci
After a delay due to a WrestleMania weekend induced wrestling coma, Spaceman Frank is here to once again recap Breaking Ground. With several NXT wrestlers from the show now on the main roster, it will be especially poignant to see them trying to make their mark down in Florida.
We immediately start where episode six left off with Carmella getting a concussion due to Eva Marie being the worst and just straight-up kicking her head off. Carmella is escorted back and head NXT trainer Matt Bloom makes sure she’s OK and reminds her that it is imperative that she protects herself in the ring and lets people know if she’s hurt mid-match. Bloom sympathizes with Carmella but sees this as a chance for her to show how tough she can be.
To help Carmella feel better after her match her boyfriend Big Cass, her BFF Bayley, and ENZO FREAKING AMORE go out to a suspiciously deserted restaurant. Suddenly this has turned into Table for 3…errr 4. Bayley gets a side of beans which leads to Amore making fart jokes (100% approval rating from Spaceman Frank). The group then makes fun of Cass for snoring and being so tall that his piss goes everywhere when using the bathroom and sounds like a waterfall (I love this show. Follow Enzo for season two please). Eventually they reveal that Carmella isn’t concussed, which is good.
Once the gang gets back to Florida, we see Bloom arriving before dawn where he works out in the Performance Center along with coach Amato. He manages to pinch his nipple ring (dude you are in your forties get that shit removed). Baron Corbin rides his motorcycle to the PC (again without his helmet!) and does a shitty parking job because that’s what a good heel would do. Bloom farts around keeping the NXT wrestlers focused, which pretty much boils down to keeping Mojo Rawley and ZZ on point. For whatever reason a giant cardboard cutout of Tyler Breeze adorns the trainer’s area of the building.
Lovepreet returns, training with Robbie Brookside for an upcoming battle royal. Lovepreet gives a dick punch to a dude he’s trying to hoof out of the ring, which Brookside obviously isn’t thrilled about. Nhooph is practicing her entrance with William Regal, who gives great tidbits concerning how to work both the crowd and camera during the entrance. Her entrance is pretty bland and feels like a generic “create-an-entrance” from WWE video games.
Next we see the NXT women going to a makeup/skincare class. Seems pretty sexist that the women have to do this, yet the men – who also have to worry about the same problems of looking presentable on TV are not shown doing makeup tutorials. Bayley admits she needed these classes when she first arrived, which is why we love her so much.
In a cool behind the scenes bit we see that NXT rookies put on mini shows at the Performance Center in front of more established wrestlers and coaches to get more in-ring experience. This also includes rookie announcers and proper entrances. Lovepreet works a tag match, but we don’t see much of what happened. Nhooph does her entrance, which does not go well with the crowd. She tries to cut a promo, which she also bombs as the wrestlers boo her mercilessly (hilariously booing even when she announces she is from “Toronto…that’s in Canada!”). Tino Sabatelli “main events” the show against Tucker Knight, which goes decently.
It’s Halloween and Carmella and Cass are carving pumpkins. Carmella is worried about getting cleared to compete again the next day and Cass plays the supportive boyfriend role. Next we see Bayley at home with her boyfriend (aka the most hated man in the world for dating the internet’s favorite girl). Bayley talks about her match with Sasha Banks at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn as her boyfriend has a man-bun and is the worst. They bring up how Bayley is the last of the Four Horsewomen in NXT, which drives her to get to the main roster soon.
ZZ drives a car he can’t possibly afford to go volunteer at an alligator park (yes, those exist). He wrangles a giant snapping turtle and helps move a gator to a bigger pen. It’s amazing that ZZ is more comfortable doing this rather than eating right and exercising. That being said, it’s great to see ZZ in his element and looking confident for once.
Carmella passes her in-ring physical with flying colors, which is no surprise at this point. Bayley has a meeting with coach Amato, who puts over how Bayley’s fan base has diversified the NXT audience. Amato wants Bayley to focus on grooming the next generation of NXT women wrestlers, which explains why she has worked programs with Nia Jax and Carmella.
Lovepreet hosts Robbie Brookside to an Indian meal, which is petty adorable. Meanwhile, Bayley drives Carmella and Tough Enough winner Sara Lee to a show (shouldn’t Lee, the rookie be driving the vets?). Lovepreet and a few other Indian wrestlers are driving to the show as well and Lovepreet is nervous about his upcoming match. He’s in a Battle Royal and Braun Strowman makes a cameo as one of the other competitors and stands out with his Wyatt Family ring gear. Lovepreet actually eliminates someone before getting tossed out. Carmella makes her in-ring return as well.
THE BOSS IS HERE! Not Sasha Banks but Triple H, who requests a meeting with Banks and Bayley. The two divas reunite and immediately go into bestie mode until Hunter shows up for their meeting. Strangely, this meeting takes place in the bleachers of Full Sail (which makes me think this meeting was shot specifically for the show). The ladies are nervous about the meeting and the episode ends on a cliffhanger.
Long story short, Breaking Ground’s seventh installment is a decent episode featuring a lot of feel-good segments with the highlight being Amore making his first big appearance on the show.