Tag Archives: Cesaro

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Roadblock: End of the Line Predictions

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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.

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Manopera! Episode 28: Hell in a Lukewarm Cell

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Chris and Spaceman Frank review the historic Hell in a Cell 2017 and hope for the best come Survivor Series.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s Hell in a Cell Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

Halloween approaches, and WWE is attempting to scare their fans by putting on some questionable episodes of Raw before their Hell in a Cell Pay-Per-View. The WWE seems to be unable to fill three hours of programming every week for Raw, despite the fact that they have a PPV based on one of their most brutal matches that is supposed to be all about ending feuds.

Three main events means that WWE only has to put in 33-percent of their efforts into what is supposed to be the biggest matches on the red brand. The sad thing is that these matches in a bubble should be fantastic, but weeks of terrible shows (plus tipping their hand and building up Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg at Survivor Series during all of this) have made this an early candidate for dud of the year. Spaceman Frank is here to sort through all the muck and give his predictions for Hell in a Cell 2016.

Cedric Alexander, Lince Dorado and Sin Cara vs. Tony Nese, Drew Gulak and Ariya Daivari (Kickoff)

This match has me mixed up. For one thing, it’s nice that the Cruiserweight Division has multiple matches on a PPV, and this match gives several underutilized guys a chance to make an impression. On the other hand, throwing six guys in the ring with no story is pretty bad booking, and leaving out Rich Swann, who for my money has the most complete character in the division has been left out. Like most pre-show matches, this one has zero stakes, but should at least be fun to watch. The good guys win and get the crowd mild.

Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev (Hell in a Cell Match for the United States Championship)

With the rumors swirling around what match will headline this PPV, I get the feeling WWE will get this one out of the way first. People have been clamoring for Reigns to turn heel, and lo and behold we have Reigns as the cocky heel he is supposed to be. Sure Rusev is supposed to be the “bad guy,” but can anyone actually boo the poor guy? He is a happily married man showing off his family’s photos, only for some jock to ruin his life and steal his title. I want Rusev to succeed, but I know he is going to lose here. Can’t Bulgaria catch a break??

Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Club

In the battle of going-nowhere tag teams, it’s the audiences who lose out the most. At least Enzo continues to be super entertaining, but the fact that neither of these teams seem to be able to win the big one is a big damper on this match. I wish these guys would set aside their differences and team up on The New Day to give them some sort of challenge for the titles. The Club wins to stop their epic slide since they first showed up because Enzo and Cass can lose as much as they want as long as they cut a promo first.

Dana Brooke vs. Bayley

A filler match on Raw becomes a filler match on Hell in a Cell. Matches like this make it really hard to care about this event, even though Bayley is one of my favorite wrestlers. Instead of giving us depth to their characters and crack writing we have these two farting around wasting time until the WWE figures out what to do with the talent that they have. This should have been a number one contenders match to give us some reason to care. Bayley wins because she is the obvious future contender and Dana is destined to be a henchman to the stars.

The New Day (c) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro (WWE Tag Team Championships Match)

Typical WWE booking: give away a PPV match the week before sans title. Instead of trying to reward Sheamus and Cesaro for their better than expected Best of Seven series, the WWE deemed the two potential upper midcarders/main eventers only worthy to job out to The New Day as they continue to march on towards the longest tag team reign in WWE history. I really would like The New Day to piss off Stephanie McMahon so she makes them defend the belts every week to make it seem like their reign is in danger, but instead I’m guessing they will coast to the record books. Meanwhile, Sheamus and Cesaro will form League of Nations 2.0 with Noam Dar and Neville.

TJ Perkins (c) vs. Brian Kendrick (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

Between TJP being Vince McMahon’s approximation of a Millennial (despite him being 32 years old) and Kendrick just asking for the belt from his opponent it’s hard to be bullish on the Cruiserweights right now. TJP can be a big star if they let him wrestle and speak from his heart, but instead it seems like WWE has already given up on him. Granted, he was probably WWE’s third choice to be the first champ, and if either Kota Ibushi or Zack Sabre Jr. had signed with WWE there’s a 99% chance he would not have the title. Kendrick wins and the dark horse Cruiserweight savior gets first crack at the new heel champ.

Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte (Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship)

This is the match I have the highest hope for, and deserves to be the true main event of the PPV for the historical implications alone. This match is the only Hell in a Cell match that feels like an actual feud finisher and deserving of the stipulation. That being said, Foley tried to ruin this match during the go-home Raw by constantly questioning if the two women are prepared for the match when he does not do the same thing for the men. I think these women will be the highlight of the night, though I’ll be worried that Banks ends up getting hurt after every bump. Sasha wins and Charlotte spends some time away from the title to freshen things up a bit.

Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins (Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Universal Championship)

I’m excited for what these two do to each other in the cell, but beyond that WWE has done little to hype up this rematch. Rollins is not the white-hot babyface he could have been due to WWE dragging their feet during his heel turn. In addition, Jericho has overshadowed both men in the build, and it is obvious he is going to be inserted into the main event after this PPV. Owens meanwhile is still being delightful, but the build towards his split with Jericho is again overshadowing the task at hand. Owens wins, possibly due to Jericho, Triple H or both interfering and continues to be the afterthought champion.

Manopera! Episode 26: Clash Of Champions (and then some)

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Our hosts break down Clash of Champions and speculate on where things can go for Cesaro, Sheamus, and the WWE Universal Championship picture.

To donate to Rico Constantino’s GoFundMePage, visit  www.gofundme.com/ricoconstantino.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Clash of Champions 2016 Predictions

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After Smackdown Live got the first crack at a single brand Pay-Per-View, Raw gets its first event with Clash of Champions.

This almost throwback to the NWA/WCW PPV (which was Clash of THE Champions) promises to be interesting at the very least. Sure, we can all wonder what this PPV would have looked like if Finn Balor wasn’t injured, but all things considered, this is a strong card. As usual, the WWE has tempered expectations somewhat with their questionable booking, but I feel like that’s their strategy at this point. I can almost imagine Vince McMahon and Triple H plotting out hours of mediocre television just so when the PPV comes around, it just happens to be both better and shorter than Raw (aka a poor attempt to try to make fans happy). Anywho, here is Spaceman Frank’s Clash of Champions 2016 predictions.

Special note: I totally see WWE putting a Braun Stowman squash match into the Kickoff. Raw PPV pre-shows should be the Nia and Braun show until the Royal Rumble at least. From there they can have a rivalry over who destroys their opponents faster until they get into a yelling match before making out. Greatest love story of 2016.

Alicia Fox vs. Nia Jax

This pre-show match is obviously going to end in Jax winning. The real question is how long this match will last bell to bell (I got three minutes). Jax is doing well squashing people, and Foxy is a good established name to feed to her. Who’s next on the Jax destruction tour? I predict Paige as punishment for her suspension/alleged temper tantrum.

Cesaro vs. Sheamus (Final Match in Best of Seven Series)

Who would’ve thought that Cesaro would have bounced back from 0-3? This feud has not been bad, but at this point the WWE Universe is ready to move on. After these guys have been brutalizing each other for weeks I really hope they get a championship program out of all this. I’d much rather see these guys bounce around the Universal Title picture then farting around the U.S. Championship as fodder for Rusev or Reigns. Cesaro wins to complete his underdog comeback story.

Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho

The last of the non-title matches on the show, this is the one I’m looking forward to the most. The Likable One feuding with his mortal enemy Kevin Owens’ new BFF Jericho makes sense, but it would have made much more sense if it happened at SummerSlam instead of here, but whatever. Jericho the character gets an A in my book, but Jericho the in-ring wrestler is about a C at this point of his career. As much as I like his character work I don’t enjoy his matches that much anymore. That being said, I can see this going at least another PPV, so Jericho gets the win here.

The New Day (c) vs. The Club (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)

The Club is superb since ditching their hand at lowball comedy and just beating people up (Where were these guys this whole time?). Leave comedy to The New Day and Enzo and Cass. I feel like The New Day have nothing left to prove as champs at this point, so dropping the belts to The Club is the right move. From there I would rather see the team members get individual pushes while remaining a faction. This will allow other tag teams to get into the title hunt and we can get some fresh matchups for singles championships. The Club win and start going on a tear.

Rusev (c) vs. Roman Reigns (United States Championship Match)

This one is tricky. On one hand Rusev is an excellent U.S. champ, but too often is the Bulgarian Brute fodder for main eventers and guys like Reigns. On the other hand, pretty much the only scenario I can see Reigns getting over is by winning the U.S. Championship and issuing weekly title challenges like John Cena did in 2015. That way he can slowly but surely build up respect with the audience by putting on good matches every week. It worked wonders for Cena so I can see it working for Reigns as well. Reigns wins and the WWE continues the Rehab Reigns campaign while Rusev goes mega heel and pledges allegiance to Donald Trump’s America (Book it Vince. You know you want to.).

T.J. Perkins (c) vs. Brian Kendrick (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

Things that have me worried about the cruiserweights after one week:

  1. No TJP on Raw.
  2. No subtitles for Gran Metalik’s spanish promo.
  3. A Fatal Four Way match where the divisions athleticism gets over more than the people involved.

I know that it will take time for a whole division to get over (as we’ve seen with the womens divisions), but this was a major misstep. I would much rather have the cruiserweights sprinkled in throughout the show taking on midcarders than just facing each other. The number one contender stipulation made sense, but everything else was pretty bad. Kendrick is the closest thing the division has to a heel, so he’s a good contender for the very likable T.J Perkins. That being said, the new champ wins here to build up a proper program for later.

Charlotte (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match)

I was fine with the Charlotte vs. Banks rematch, although I’m also fine with Bayley getting but into the title picture. It seems like an 11th hour Hail Mary to get extra attention for this match (or explain the double pin scenario that happened the week before), but I’m not going to complain that my girl Bayley gets into the title picture. I really see each lady having an equal chance here. Charlotte’s been a fine champ, but she’s been champ in some form for close to a year (with a slight gap during Banks’ brief run) and it may be time to freshen up the scene. Banks has the motivation to regain her title, but the WWE may feel as though she is injury prone at this point. Bayley could pretty much win at any point and people would be happy, but the smart money is to build to Bayley vs. Banks III. When Spaceman Frank can’t tell what’s going to happen, he gives it to the champion. Charlotte wins in a good match.

Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Universal Championship Match)

This simply cannot be a bad match. Say what you want about the build or KO’s booking since being champ, but all you need to do to get me excited about this match is say “Owens vs. Rollins for the belt.” The big question here is what Triple H will do, if he’ll do anything at all. Rollins is a great heel, but there’s only so much space at the top and Raw desperately needs a babyface at the top of the card. Can we see Rollins getting a couple of cruiserweights on his side and form a high-flying faction to take on a Kevin Owens lead authority as Mick Foley just tries to eat his feelings away before he is replaced by GM Big Show? Anyway, KO retains and we get more of the Kevin Owens show for the time being.

Spaceman Frank’s SummerSlam 2016 Predictions

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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.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Fantasy Draft

 

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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.

  1. Raw: Brock Lesnar – Since Brock is labeled officially eligible and he is coming off his (controversial) win at UFC 200 over Mark Hunt, Stephanie McMahon comes out and says, “Lesnar duh blah blah blah best for business” while JBL creams his pants yelling random facts about something possibly related to Lesnar that happened at least 30 years ago.
  1. SmackDown!: John Cena – Good guy Shane picks “The Face That Runs the Place.” Although working a lighter schedule, he’s still one of the most popular guys on the roster and can help work with the up and coming guys in a role similar to The Undertaker on the original brand split in 2005.
  1. Raw: Seth Rollins – Steph picks another “best for business” type person so JBL can shoot his load again. Even if he doesn’t win the WWE Championship at Battleground Rollins will most likely be in the running for whatever top title Raw gets heading into SummerSlam.
  1. SmackDown!: Dean Ambrose – The WWE Champion (hopefully) comes in at number four and gives a promo about how with Rollins now on a different show, he’s going to make sure he tears him to pieces at Battleground (because, you know, that’s still happening).
  1. Raw: Roman Reigns – With the other two members of The Shield drafted, Stephanie uses her first of two picks to grab Roman Reigns because the WWE loves symmetry like this; if only so Jerry Lawler has an easy to remember factoid to say between shotgunning cans of Mountain Dew Kickstart. Raw’s evil commissioner does the obvious “Oh nooooo somebody isn’t here, womp, womp” speech that Rollins has been doing before reminding us that Reigns beat her and her husband up at WrestleMania and vows to make his life hell. Or Reigns finally turns heel (but probably the first thing).

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.

  1. SmackDown!: A.J. Styles – I’m tempted to say at this point that Shane panics and picks another champion for his show, but since he already has the WWE Champ (and no heels so far) he goes with Styles. We see him celebrating with The Club backstage as all three are like, “Woo, we’re going to Smackdown!”
  1. Raw: Randy Orton – The last of the “God Tier” people on the roster, Stephanie picks her old champ from The Authority days (hopefully The Draft doesn’t bring this angle back and lets it die the quick death it deserves). This leaves Orton on the same roster as Lesnar, his SummerSlam opponent.
  1. SmackDown!: Rusev  Shane locks up his second singles champion to give The Blue Brand their championships. Rusev seems more like a SmackDown! guy over the flashier Miz and would be a good workhorse for Tuesday nights. Also, Lana goes to SmackDown! in the non-televised portion of the draft because the WWE already learned their lesson on splitting them up.
  1. Raw: The Miz – The Miz comes out and starts lashing out about what a travesty it is that he fell to number ten. He thinks he should have been number one and gives a big shouty promo about Hollywood A-List yadda yadda yadda.

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).

Spaceman Frank’s Money in the Bank 2016 Predictions

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Official Money in the Bank 2016 poster. Credit: WWE.com

by Frank Lucci

Oh Money in the Bank. Considered to be on the level or just below the Big Four Pay-Per-Views (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series), oftentimes the event is one big tease.

We get excited over who gets the Money in the Bank contract and will most likely get a run with the WWE World Heavyweight title, but considering how recent winners have fared when they’ve actually cashed in (Sheamus, Rollins, etc.) it’s been either a blessing or a curse depending on the Superstar. With a whopping ten matches scheduled for this year’s event, this could be a down year for the PPV. Nonetheless, Spaceman Frank is here to predict what will happen at Money in the Bank 2016.

MITB Kickoff: The Lucha Dragons vs. The Dudley Boyz

A recent edition to the pre-show will feature the Dudleys again being wasted on another meaningless and directionless feud with a team that frankly should have broken up once Kalisto won the United States Championship. Neither team has done much and with a sudden influx of tag teams (none of whom seem to be doing anything significant other than The New Day and Enzo and Cass) there is no reason to care about this match. Can we get a continued singles run for Kalisto please? The Dudley Boyz will pick up the win because they are the veteran team and are due for a victory.

The Golden Truth vs. Breezango

For whatever reason this feud is still a thing. While I’m all for lower card guys getting storylines to work with, this has been stretching out two weeks of plot devices in what has felt like three years. Fandango should replace the recently released Adam Rose in the Social Outcasts and Tyler Breeze might as well join The New Day since he is a regular on Xavier Woods’ UpUpDownDown YouTube channel. Meanwhile, The Golden Truth has some potential as a veteran tag team with oddball personalities, but they can’t even get into the Fatal Four Way for the tag belts because of this atrocious angle. Breezango wins because somebody has to win and it might as well be the super handsome guys.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin

On the plus side these guys have managed to get off the pre-show. On the negative side these guys are still stuck feuding. Either man could have spiced up the Money in the Bank ladder match, but instead we have to see the same match we’ve been watching since WrestleMania ended. Ziggler wins to finally end this and make him look strong in time for the brand split.

Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus

Yet another match featuring wrestlers thrown together with minimal story (at least this is a fresh pairing) because both men need something to do until the brand split. Crews has been getting the Breeze treatment since joining the main roster and Sheamus has done nothing even though he has a major role in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. Rocksteady-err Sheamus wins because of said movie while Crews continues to just be happy he was invited to the party.

Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs. Natalya and Becky Lynch

Instead of having Charlotte defend her Womens Championship, she’s dealing with her new BFF Dana Brooke being a klutz of a partner while Nattie and Becky are just kind of there. Despite having a wide range of competitors to challenge for the title, this match exists as an extension of the never ending Charlotte vs. Nattie feud.

The WWE is currently very, very guilty of beating dead-horse storylines (see Ziggler and Corbin), maybe because the upcoming brand split but also probably due to laziness. Anyway, the Spaceman thinks Charlotte and Brooke pick up the win because Nattie can never have nice things.

The New Day (C) vs. The Club vs. Enzo and Cass vs. The Vaudevillians (Tag Team Championships Match)

This match should be pretty exciting based on the promos alone and each team can deliver in the ring. It would be nice if The New Day won out and carried the belts for a full year, but I don’t see that happening. Instead, The Club will walk away with the gold. For one, they’re the only tag team in the match without a fun side, making them a wildcard in this match. Second, with The New Day now as faces and the two recent NXT callups still finding their footing The Club is prime for a championship win. They need the titles to help make their group more legit and the epic New Day vs. Enzo and Cass feud that will eventually happen can take place without the championships being on the line.

Rusev (C) vs. Titus O’Neil (United States Championship Match)

An epic hoss fight, these two are capable of having a fun match that will probably be around seven minutes long. Many feared that O’Neil would be punished after his suspension, while others feared Rusev would be buried by a returning John Cena after his newfound title win.

Thankfully neither scenario seems to be the case. Rusev will keep the gold here, as I see this as a way for the WWE to test the waters on a Titus title run to see if he can take his awesome hot-tag fire and ignite a singles push. 

Then again, MITB takes place on Father’s Day. Would it not be a wonderful swerve if the WWE gave the 2015 Celebrity Dad of the Year award winner his first singles title instead of another tie?

Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens vs. Alberto Del Rio (Money in the Bank Ladder Match)

The marquee matchup of this event has been hampered somewhat by the fact that one: we’ve seen all the competitors (especially Zayn, Owens and Cesaro) have matches against each other on every single Raw and SmackDown! in the past few weeks and two: it seems unrealistic that anybody besides Ambrose or Owens will win the match.

Ambrose has flirted with the main event scene since The Shield broke up and winning the briefcase could help him finally ascend to the next level. Owens fits the bill of the classic sneaky heel Money in the Bank winner who can cash in on a wounded babyface. Overall, Ambrose fits the bill best and needs the briefcase more than anyone else.

John Cena vs. AJ Styles

The WWE is fast-tracking this dream match, which I honestly thought would be a big-money SummerSlam encounter rather than a B PPV headliner. The battle between the two faces of two very different companies finally happens and people have been quick to assume that Cena will be the victor.

Both men have managed to sell this matchup solely on mic work and even more important we have not seen Cena job out The Club on Raw or SmackDown! (as he is known to do), thus preserving their status as game changers. Since this is the first encounter between the two icons, I see Styles taking this match for the OMG IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED pop (just like Owens’ clean win over the Cenation leader last year), leading to a bitter grudge match at SummerSlam.

Roman Reigns (C) vs Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)
This match is heavily overshadowed by rumors that the top championship in the company will become two world titles due to the brand split. This is especially poignant considering that Rollins has been pretty justified in his rage towards Reigns, who he sees as an unworthy champion considering he never beat Rollins (who was forced to relinquish his title upon injury last year).

With the WWE continuously in a bind with Reigns as champ, having shenanigans occur during this match offers the company the chance to have their cake and eat it too. Some sort of DQ/non-finish will occur, giving WWE an excuse to split the titles and allow them to have Reigns be one champ while Rollins can hold the gold for the smark crowd on the secondary brand.

Manopera! Episode 18: Extreme Rules 2016 Ups, Downs and Brand Splits

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“Spaceman” Frank reveals his new “Dudley” inspired gimmick before he and Chris divulge into WWE Extreme Rules, the brand split returning and Money in the Bank possibilities.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Extreme Rules 2016 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

It’s the time of the year where WWE gets as extreme as the PG rating will allow, and the company is trying to carry some momentum into the critical Summer season.

The second Pay-Per-View of May, Extreme Rules is wedged between Payback and Money in the Bank (which has essentially become the Royal Rumble of the Summer). Throw an NXT TakeOver special into the mix and it would have been understandable for the WWE to sit on their laurels and phone it in for Extreme Rules (TakeOver won’t be happening until June 8). However, the influx of new talent has made the WWE and Raw in particular much better since WrestleMania. While there have been some hiccups, Extreme Rules has the potential to be a very good show.

Kickoff: Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin (No Disqualification Match)

At Payback, Ziggler managed to get the sneaky pin on The Lone Wolf, but all signs point to Corbin getting the win here. While falling short in their previous pre-show match, Corbin has been very aggressive since his debut and needs a decisive win  to help put him over with casual fans who missed his NXT work and his ‘Mania victory in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Ziggler can make anybody look like a million bucks, but after doing the favors for Corbin he can hopefully go back to being main event cannon fodder.

The New Day (c) vs. The Vaudevillians (WWE Tag Team Championships Match)

The New Day remains one of the most entertaining elements of WWE, but they’ve lost a step since becoming full-blown babyfaces. For one thing, losing at ‘Mania to a faction that no longer exists and not having a match at the following Pay-Per-View doesn’t help. Secondly, not being squirrely jerks anymore means they can’t fully commit to being the perfect trolls we fell in love with.

While The Vaudevillians are doing far better than most expected on the main roster, they’re potentially tag team filler while Enzo Amore recovers from his scary concussion at Payback. The New Day retains in a good match.

Kalisto (c) vs. Rusev (United States Championship Match)

With Ryback seemingly on his way to being “future endeavored,” Kalisto has found a new massive monster trying to capture his title.

The better half of the Lucha Dragons has become the master of making something out of nothing, as his U.S. championship run has consisted of him pulling off great matches with little build. He pushed Ryback to new heights with his downright amazing moves and Rusev’s own freak athleticism has me almost thinking this could be the sleeper hit of the night (if only we could get a real effort from the WWE to promote the U.S. title again like last year).

Kalisto gets the win:  50% based on Rusev being a recent lame duck and 50% is me holding out for Sin Cara to betray Kalisto and challenge for the title before he sinks too far into the Jannetty realm.

The Usos vs. The Club (Tornado Tag Team Match)

First off: THE CLUB??? THAT’S THE BEST WWE CAN DO??? A million different options and the WWE decide to make Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson sound like they go to AJ Styles’ basement and drink mojitos while playing Team Fortress 2.

Since their debut, the two have been losing a disturbing amount to Roman Reigns (which is understandable given that he’s champ) and The Usos (who have not done shit all year) all well acting as pawns to the larger Styles/Reigns feud. That being said, they have been putting on good matches (albeit mostly reruns) and I see them winning at Extreme Rules to add more intrigue to the main event. 

Charlotte (c) vs. Natalya (Women’s Championship Submission Match – Ric Flair is banned from ringside)

After the frankly downright embarrassing ending to their Payback match, these two women are facing off again with the added stipulation that Charlotte’s father Ric Flair is banned from ringside (presumably Nattie’s uncle Bret Hart does not need to be banned from ringside since he openly didn’t want to be at Payback and therefore wouldn’t be caught dead at ringside for the rematch).

It’s easy to forget that this is the third PPV match between the two (if you count Roadblock) and WWE has made some questionable moves such as Ric saying he doesn’t think his daughter can win without him (watch out Titus we got a new father of the year here) and THE FUCKING SCREWJOB FINISH IN 2016. I will scream if Charles “Little Naitch” Robinson is again the referee for this match. Charlotte wins because we all know her versus Sasha Banks is going to happen.

Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose (First-Ever Asylum Match)

Strait out of WCW it’s the debut of the Asylum Match! This twisted match (that can only be won by pinfall or submission) features weapons lined all along the top of the cage, giving it a unique flavor beyond typical vanilla cage matches. The problem is that a) this is the PG era and b) Jericho is unlikely to take big bumps this late in his career. Add in WWE’s desperate attempt to show how “ka-raaay-zee” Dean Ambrose is and this will be a well worked match that is instantly forgettable.

The Miz (c) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens (Fatal Four-Way Intercontinental Championship Match)

While many are disappointed the Owens vs. Zayn feud is not getting a true Extreme Rules continuation, the addition of Cesaro and The Miz has been done very well. Merging the two separate feuds makes sure this will get the proper time on the PPV and lead to a stellar match.

Everyone has played their parts well and special mention goes to The Miz for being the perfect smarmy Hollywood champion (along with his equally perfect real-life wife Maryse) who has shown his ability to hang with three of the biggest indy darlings in the WWE.

The only wrinkle in the buildup is the WWE insisting that we see these four go at it over and over again – meaning this actual match between the four already feels like it has been going on for several months rather than weeks. This is a toss up, so I will say The Miz retains due to some type of Maryse related shenanigans.

Roman Reigns (c) vs. AJ Styles (Extreme Rules Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

Since Payback the WWE has continued to play it smart with these two. Styles has been pushed into acting more aggressive and gelling with Gallows and Anderson, but only after several beatdowns from Reigns and The Usos. This is essentially the match we should have gotten at Payback, seeing as that one eventually became a “No DQ” anyway.

Styles is more of a natural underdog here, but if The Club takes out The Usos earlier I see a situation where he is given a chance to go full heel but refuses, leading to his defeat once again. Seeing this, The Club then turns on their friend for being weak – instantly making Styles the white-meat babyface the company desperately needs.

As for Finn Balor, it seems like talk of him jumping to the main roster has cooled, so I doubt he will be much of a factor here. On top of that, Balor is scheduled to face Samoa Joe inside a steel cage at the next NXT TakeOver event (making his arrival at Extreme Rules even more unlikely).

With Reigns vs. John Cena rumored for SummerSlam and Styles a prime candidate for a Money in the Bank win I see Reigns keeping his championship in a big brawl.