Tag Archives: Dean Ambrose

Spaceman Frank’s Elimination Chamber Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

The first SmackDown! Live solo live special feels like a nice little Pay-Per-View. It does not feel like a huge deal, but considering this is a stepping stone to WrestleMania WWE has done a good job in two weeks to make this a worthy watch. WWE has noticeably focused on having multiple women matches, which is smart because the Smackdown women’s division is one of their biggest strengths. Throw in MY BOY LUKE HARPER getting a shot at Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton and this event has Spaceman Frank salivating. Here are my Elimination Chamber 2017 predictions!

Mojo Rawley vs. Curt Hawkins (Kickoff Time-Filler Spectacular)

This match came about in about 40 seconds when Hawkins made fun of Patriots tight end/Buffalo native Rob Gronkowski, who is buddies with Mojo. WWE put about 87 seconds of thought into this, so I will do the same. Unless Gronk shows up, I do not care. Mojo wins because Hawkins has the heat of ice cream at this point.

Nikki Bella vs. Natalya

These ladies have done a good job of imitating Nikki’s last feud with Carmella, with the two ladies just brawling 24/7 to protect Nikki’s allegedly hurt neck. With the Bella sister rumored for a tag match with her man John Cena for WrestleMania as well as time off/retirement rumors, it is likely Natalya will be eating the pin here. While Nattie Ice has been better as a heel, I really want her to cart out Tyson Kidd to give him something to do as well as coach her on how to do his NXT gimmick so she can actually succeed.

Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James

Another grudge match sees Lynch stepping away from the title picture to take on the returning veteran Mickie James. James looks amazing and is a much needed shot in the arm for the division, and Raw needs a similar vet to come back to mix up the division and get some new matchups on television. However, I do not see James as SmackDown! Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss’ henchwomen for long, and I would like to see her in the title picture sooner rather than later. Mickie wins in what is essentially a toss-up for The Spaceman.

American Alpha (Chad Gable and Jason Jordan) (c) vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) vs. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) Tag Team Turmoil Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships

Well that is a busy headline, isn’t it? The SmackDown! Live tag team scene has been a hot mess, and the fact that we do not get a PPV American Alpha vs. Wyatt Family match speaks volumes on where the WWE sees the division currently. Not that I don’t think this will be fun, but besides when new champs are crowned, there has been little to latch onto between all these teams. American Alpha is the best team out of all of these guys, and I do not think there is any reason for them to lose anytime soon. Can we get a champ vs. champ tag team match between Raw and SmackDown! at ‘Mania to give these guys something significant to do? Alpha wins because AMERICA.

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Naomi (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Naomi gets another shot at the belt after her previous push was halted due to injury. I appreciate the continuity, and her split-legged moonsault is a thousand times better than the bum to the face. Naomi is not bad by any means, but she does not scream “champion” to me. If it wasn’t for my obsession with Total Divas I would have a zero read on her personality. Bliss is simply too good to lose the belt now, and should carry the belt to Mania. Bliss wins and gives us even more gifs of resting Bliss face for the internet to enjoy.

Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton

IT’S WESTERN NEW YORK’S MAIN EVENT! Seriously it is crazy to me that a guy I use to live ten minutes away from is wrestling the Royal Rumble winner in a PPV match before WrestleMania. Harper has been on fire since Orton joined the Wyatts, and I really, really hope he does well here. The crowd seems to be buying into his babyface push too, which has me hoping he can get to the next level and sneak into the Intercontinental title scene or even further. After all, the best way to get him to show true babyface colors is to get him a real shirt and trim his facial hair. As much as I am incredibly bias towards Harper…he is here to lose. Furthermore, he is here to do an abbreviated blow off towards his feud with Randy so Orton can move on to ‘Mania mode. Much like my house show experience when Harper would get his 15 minutes of hero worship in Rochester, he will take on a big name, get an incredible near fall, and then eat the pin.

John Cena (c) vs. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz vs. Baron Corbin vs. Bray Wyatt (Elimination Chamber Match for WWE Championship)

There’s lots to break down here, so I’ll just go from who I think has the least chance to win to the most chance to win. To start, Dean Ambrose is already Intercontinental champ (I was really hoping Harper would get the nod here to add a bit more drama to the match, but the above singles match works also). Ambrose is here to start the match first, provide several hardcore spots for the crowd and then get eliminated 40 minutes in.

The Miz is here to set up his ‘Mania match with John Cena (if the rumors are true), probably by pinning the champ in a shocking twist. I’m fine with main event Miz at this point, but he’s not getting the belt. I just said Cena will get pinned by Miz, and it would be insanity for him to face Orton at Mania considering they just had their 21st match against each other on SmackDown! last Tuesday.

A.J. Styles is a wild card as he has history with lots of these dudes but no solid direction going forward. He and Baron Corbin seem like runners up for this match, and it would actually be kind of cool to see these guys face off. I am not completely sold on the rumored ‘Mania match between Styles and Shane McMahon, and Corbin deserves better than getting dumped into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, so why not have these dudes beat the piss out of each other at the Grandaddy of ’em All?

That leaves Bray Wyatt, who is the obvious and smartest choice to win. Sometimes the best choice is the clear choice, and Orton vs. Bray for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania feels right. It’s about time Wyatt gets singles gold, and after years of being the guy main eventers beat up between title shots, he deserves a chance to be the head honcho. Wyatt wins and we get some good television for the next few weeks.

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Spaceman Frank Ranks WWE’s 2016 PPV’s

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by Frank Lucci

2016 was a very up and down year for WWE live specials. While the company has one of the most talented rosters they have ever had, but oftentimes the booking and build makes PPV matches transparent and predictable. So while many matches are of high quality, the endings sour the overall match. Call it the Lost effect. Another big factor in the up and down year for WWE is the sheer amount of events the company put on, which can be intimidating to people trying to catch of or find highlights from the year. Fortunately, Spaceman Frank is here to rank every single main roster WWE live specials (no Takeovers here cause they would pretty much fill up all the top spots) and give his highs and lows from the events.

Royal Rumble

This was one of the best events of the year, and since it came first it gave me plenty of hope for the upcoming year. Sure, it would have been difficult to match the dumpster fires of the previous two years. But with Reigns walking in as champ the doubt was there. Between the stellar Ambrose vs. Owens last man standing match to Alberto Del Rio’s best match of his second WWE versus Kalisto the undercard delivered. Then the Rumble was full of amazing moments from AJ Styles debuting to Zayn charging in to take out Owens to Triple H hoofing out Reigns as I screamed profanities at sad sack Reigns, this is an easy PPV to rewatch.

Highlights: Owens vs. Ambrose, Del Rio vs. Kalisto, Rumble Match

Lowlights: League of Nations failing to eliminate Reigns, Reigns acting tough in returning while Dean and Owens entered after a Last Man Standing Match

Extreme Rules

Building on the previous event Payback, this live special had many fantastic matches. The fatal four way for the IC title was amazing and began The Miz’s epic run as IC champ. Kalisto and Rusev had a nice little match as well. The New Day had one of their more memorable promos before their match which was better than their actual match. And the main event actually delivered with AJ Styles pulling the best match out of Reign with their extreme rules match. However, The Asylum match was pretty lame and Charlotte again failed to impress against Nattie.

Highlights: Zayn vs. Owens vs. Miz vs. Cesaro, AJ vs. Reigns, New Day promo.

Lowlights: Jericho vs. Ambrose, Flair vs. Nattie

Summerslam

On one hand you have my match of the year match with Cena vs. Styles II on this card. Throw in a great considering one member of the match had to pop his shoulder back in place bout between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins and a pure spectacle match between Brock and Orton and this was a very solid PPV. What was suppose to great was great and even the stuff that could have been better was at least memorable. Throw in Nikki Bella returning and a solid Women’s title match and there is a lot to like here. Mostly makes up for the long run time, though Miz vs Crews did nobody any favors and The New Day vs. The Club match being when the latter team officially went off the rails. Easy enough to skip the filler however especially if you ignore the pre-show.

Highlights: Cena vs. Styles II, Rollins vs. Balor, Banks vs. Charlotte, Orton vs. Lesnar

Lowlights: Miz vs. Crews, The Club vs. The New Day, Ambrose vs. Ziggler

Backlash

The first SmackDown exclusive PPV was memorable, which is why it is high on this list. When the WWE crams as many live specials as possible into the calendar many PPVs just do not feel like they are significant. Yet this one had the crowning of multiple new champions, and in matches that were fantastic to boot. Sure the Wyatt vs. Orton match got cancelled last minute and we had to sit through Bray westling Kane instead, but that was the only blemish on the PPV. Good stuff that set the standard that SmackDown Live would dominate Raw.

Highlights: Six Women Elimination Match for Smackdown Women’s Championship, Slater & Rhyno vs. The Usos for Smackdown Tag Team Belt, Miz vs. Ziggler I

Lowlights: Kane vs. Wyatt

TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs

While this was a pretty high quality PPV, there was many matches that were repeats. Smackdown can get away with it a little bit because of the quality of the matches, but it is a systemic problem in WWE. Miz vs. Ziggler III was great as a ladder match, and Ambrose took Styles to the limit in their TLC match that was probably the best Ambrose match of the year. The rest of the card was pretty tight as well, even if Nikki Bella could not figure out how to use a kendo stick the right way.

Highlights: Ambrose vs. Styles, Miz vs. Ziggler III, Kalisto vs. Corbin, Bliss vs. Lynch

Lowlights: Ten Man Tag Team Pre-show Match

Survivor Series

The big story out of Survivor Series was Goldberg destroying Lesnar, which is memorable sure but did screw over fans looking to see these guys actually face off in an actual match. Definitely something you do not need to re-watch again. One the plus side the men’s Survivor Series match was excellent and delivered on all fronts. The other elimination matches were also fun to watch as well and help reestablish why the gimmick match has worked over the years. Zayn vs. Miz was pretty lame though and WWE blew it by not having Kalisto win the Cruiserweight belt. Good for the gimmick matches but this will always be remembered for Goldberg’s return.

Highlights: Survivor Series Elimination Matches

Lowlights: Zayn vs. Miz, Kane vs. Harper

Money in the Bank

The obvious emotional highlight was Dean Ambrose cashing in and winning the WWE Championship on Seth Rollins less than two hours after winning the Money in the Bank briefcase. WWE finally put a bow on their epic rivalry and had an actual fan favorite win the belt and get a positive response from the crowd. We also got Cena vs. AJ Styles I, starting perhaps the best rivalry of the year. While there was many good matches there was also too much filler at 11 total matches on the PPV. Almost great but not quite there.

Highlights: Cena vs. AJ I, MITB Ladder Match, Ambrose’s Cash-In

Lowlights: Pre-show, Fatal Four Way Tag Team Match, Corbin vs. Ziggler III, Crews vs. Sheamus

Payback

This was a very good PPV marred by the usual questionable booking. Nattie vs. Flair was a joke that nobody laughed at. We got the beginning of the endless Ziggler vs. Corbin match that did nobody any favors. Plus we got one of the scariest scenes of the year when Enzo Amore got knocked out during his match.Yet this is a solid PPV that set up much of the live special content for the next few months. We got the first of the Zayn vs. Owens Fight Forever matches along with the best Ryback match ever vs. Kalisto (sensing a pattern with Kalisto here). Not bad but not the best.

Highlights: Zayn vs. Owens I, Kalisto vs. Ryback

Lowlights: Natalya vs. Flair, Ziggler vs. Corbin

No Mercy

Similar to Payback, WWE put on another event with weird booking. Putting the WWE championship match first was odd, and when it turned out to be the one of the best match on the card it definitely hurt the PPV. We also got the amazing Miz vs. Ziggler match with Ziggler’s career on the line, which again is hindered slightly in retrospect when they just reset this feud later on. Other than that not much here to get invested in or re-watch.

Highlights: Miz vs Ziggler II, Styles vs. Ambrose vs. Cena

Lowlights: Corbin vs. Swagger, Wyatt vs. Orton

Fastlane

I’m sure Fastlane was a decent show, but I honestly do not remember a single match from this PPV outside of the main event. Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth happened on this show for Christ’s sake. This was also during peak botching Charlotte time, and having Brie Bella as an opponet was not a good look for the Divas at the time. The main event was pretty fun though, and triple threat Brock is probably my favorite Brock. The Edge and Christian segment was also pretty fun, but too long. Very skippable and an obvious stepping stone to Mania.

Highlights: Brock vs. Ambrose vs. Reigns

Lowlights: Pretty much everything else

Hell in a Cell

We did some history here with the first women’s Hell in a Cell match. And Owens vs. Rollins was decent, and Reigns vs. Rusev can get a pass too. However all the Hell in a Cell matches diluted the quality of them all, and the rest of the card was just kind of there. More of the same from Raw in a pattern that continues with the red brand to this day. The best matches were things we have seen before.

Highlights: Banks vs. Charlotte II, Owens vs. Rollins II, Rusev vs. Reign II

Lowlights: Brooke vs. Bayley, The Club vs. Enzo & Cass

Battleground

Simply put, Zayn vs. Owens II saved this PPV from being a complete disaster. So many unmemorable matches or just flat out bad matches that were a product of the upcoming brand split. Cena and Enzo & Cass vs. The Club was ok, and the Shield triple threat was decent but nearly as epic as it should have been. Really this is a very skippable PPV that was screwed by the brand split and made relevant almost as soon as it was over.

Highlights: Owens vs. Zayn II

Lowlights: Miz vs. Young, Rusev vs. Ryder, Wyatts vs. New Day

Roadblock: End of the Line

The last PPV of the year was also one of the worse. Raw continued to just stall for time, this time to make to the Royal Rumble in 2017. Many of these matches just did not matter, and very little changed. Banks vs Charlotte had their best PPV match, but the Iron Man Match was structured weirdly. Cesaro & Sheamus vs. The New Day was also a solid match which ended The New Day’s reign, but these two things don’t make up for the blandness of the PPV. Like a steamed carrot this was as meh as it gets.

Highlights: Cesaro & Sheamus vs. The New Day, Banks vs. Charlotte III

Lowlights: Rusev vs. Big Cass, TJP vs. Swann vs. Kendrick, Reigns vs. Owens, Jericho vs. Rollins

Clash of Champions

Remember how Backlash set up SmackDown Live as the standard bearer for WWE? Well that notion was solidified when Raw dropped Clash of Champions on us. Owens vs. Rollins should have been better than it was, though Rollins did crack a rib so that is forgivable. Meanwhile most of the other matches seem to feature people sleepwalking through them or just meandering their way through the event so we could get to the next event. Cesaro vs. Sheamus was good though, and now that the best of seven actually paid off it is better in retrospect. Still would have liked to see a definite winner (Cesaro) who got into the main event picture.

Highlights: Cesaro vs. Sheamus

Lowlights: Jericho vs. Zayn, Reigns vs. Lana, TYP vs. Kendrick, Jax vs. Fox

WrestleMania 32

Mania 32 highlighted everything wrong with WWE 2016. The event was seven hours long, had too many matches, and a super predictable main event that should have killed the Roman push dead. Throw in The Rock to set things on fire and waste half an hour to let us know the attendance and murder Erick Rowan’s career and it is easy to see how this was one of the worse events of the year. I cannot imagine how disappointing this must have been to someone who finally got the chance to attend WrestleMania only to see this show. However, the young and hungry talent came through on the big stage, and the ladder match and the women’s triple threat match were great.

Highlights: IC Title Ladder Match, Lynch vs. Banks vs. Flair

Lowlights: The other 6 hours

Manopera! Episode 30: Tables, Ladders and Chairs (Now With Selling!)

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Our hosts review WWE TLC 2016, talk Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 33 predictions, praise Cody Rhodes, and more.

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

Manopera! Episode 29: Survivor Series Takes Over Toronto

Our hosts serve up a mega combo attack of NXT TakeOver: Toronto and WWE Survivor Series with some cool pro wrestling news thrown in for good measure!

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

Spaceman Frank’s Survivor Series 2016 Predictions

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Much like Hell in A Cell, WWE is going all out by having three of Survivor Series’s gimmick matches on display. WWE is trying to hype up these matches at a big event to try and get bragging rights between the brands, which would work better if the brand split was less than six months old. That being said we do get an extreme case of “fantasy warfare” and cramming this much talent into one Pay-Per-View must make it good right? Right???? I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my predictions for Survivor Series 2016.

Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Kalisto (Cruiserweight Championship Match – If Kalisto wins, the Cruiserweight Division moves to SmackDown Live)

WWE pretty much shot themselves in the foot by announcing 205 Live before this match. I think Brian Kendrick could be a fine champ, but the way he was booked before and after being crowned is pretty pathetic. As saw in the CWC, he can still put on amazing matches, but WWE would rather have him fart around and beg his opponents to let him win.

Kalisto was always the odd man out as the cruiserweight on SmackDown, but maybe WWE was smart (or insane) enough to put him on SmackDown for this scenario. Seeing as Raw has epically botched the Cruiserweights, I’m ready for SmackDown to get their hands on the super talented division. Kalisto wins and becomes the first respectable champ the brand has had.

10 vs. 10 Tag Team Raw vs. SmackDown Survivor Series Elimination Match

This hodge-podge of a match has the teams fighting because…reasons. For all the segments featuring the teams trying to get me to care about this match, clearly this is the redheaded stepchild of the Raw vs. SmackDown matches (and no, I’m not just saying that because Heath Slater is involved). I realize now how many joke tag teams WWE has on the main roster.

Really, this breaks down (for me at least) as American Alpha vs. The New Day and Enzo & Cass, and I see American Alpha snagging a win for SmackDown because it’s about damn time Chad Gable becomes the megastar he could be.

The Miz ((c) with Maryse) vs. Sami Zayn (Intercontinental Championship Match)

I would love to see a proper feud between these two. Sadly, I feel as though this is going to be a one-off match for them, especially because it seemed like everyone expected the IC champ to still be Dolph Ziggler. With SmackDown almost certainly getting the Cruiserweight belt, I see Raw grabbing the IC belt to even things out. This gives SmackDown a unique flavor, while giving all the traditional titles a home on the flagship show. Obviously this means Sami Zayn will win, and since he did, you know, beat Kevin Owens in their last match of the “Fight Forever” feud, this gives him a better spot to launch from. Perhaps hey could even book The Likeable One semi-decent if he’s champ.

5 vs. 5 Raw vs. SmackDown Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match

Which team will pull it together after weeks of fighting? Who cares! I was kind of into this match until the go-home SmackDown where the Raw ladies beat down Becky Lynch. This included Sasha Banks and mega babyface Bayley doing a five-on-one beatdown (BAYLEY JOINED IN ON A GROUP MUGGING OF HER FRIEND!!! THAT IS VERY HEELISH!!!). Poor writing all around sucked me completely out of this match. SmackDown has more potential dissension moments between the teams, so I think Raw will win. Plus, they have Nia Jax who is due for a main roster statement match and eliminating most of SmackDown will do just that.

5 vs. 5 Raw vs. SmackDown Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match

This match has been heavily hyped, with Stephanie McMahon threatening to fire people if they lose on Raw and SmackDown’s men having The Undertaker threaten to bury people alive (sounds like Raw has the better deal since they, you know, don’t have somebody threatening to murder them). There are many interesting angles that can play out here, from champ Owens vs. champ Styles to Roman Reigns vs. the crowd to Braun Strowman versus everyone.

This can be the match of the night if booked properly, or it can be a disaster if they decide to push certain people (cough, Reigns, cough) over everyone else. Honestly, I think the biggest mystery is how Strowman will be booked, and how they preserve the new monster on the block. Raw wins, with Owens and Reigns being the last two standing so they can hype Roadblock in December.

Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. Goldberg

I really want to hate on this match but I won’t. There will be plenty of fine technical wrestling this weekend, but sometimes you need some sizzle and this match has sizzle in spades. I was at the go-home Raw for Survivor Series and it was palpable how badly people wanted to see these two fight. I’m not saying this will be a five-star classic or even a serviceable match, but this figures to be one hell of a moment. I think we’ll see a match similar to Lesnar’s match with Orton at Summerslam where it builds to Brock beating Goldberg until the bell is called. Or they both get themselves disqualified and they just bloody each other up. Either way Brock stays strong and Goldberg can have his superhero moment before getting the Hall of Fame nod.

Manopera! Episode 27: What the Hell, No Mercy?

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Did anyone else not see the point in switching the match order at WWE’s No Mercy Pay-Per-View? Chris and Spaceman Frank talk abut the show, TNA’s latest financial troubles, multiple upcoming Hell in a Cell matches and more.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE No Mercy Predictions

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SmackDown Live continues to bring back old Pay-Per-View titles with their October PPV, No Mercy. An appropriate title considering that WWE is showing no mercy in their onslaught of content they put out every week. SmackDown is the clear winner so far in the brand split, as they have outshone Raw in every aspect (except the women’s division, but it’s close even there). With less time than Raw and a smaller roster, the blue brand has put out consistently better content, to the point where even the post-show interviews have become important.

This has helped my interest in No Mercy, but it’ll take a stellar effort from WWE to make it stand out over the deluge of content they produce. Spaceman Frank is here to short out the card and bring you my predictions for No Mercy 2016 (sponsored by the anti-euthanasia lobby).

Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin (Kickoff)

Both these guys do not have much momentum, leading them to fight for the new pre-show  Time Waster Championship for SmackDown (Raw has Neville and Bo Dallas). Swagger got traded to SmackDown in the first draft of the New Era and has…existed on the show ever since. Corbin is not terrible and can keep his end of the bargain when it comes to feuds and wrestling, but he’s constantly had to deal with go-nowhere feuds. It would seem weird that Swagger would switch shows and lose, but Corbin’s the one who needs the win here. Corbin wins and goes on being a Lone Wolf character and career-wise.

Curt Hawkins vs. TBD

Hawkins has come back to the WWE to be make filler vignettes for SmackDown, but now it’s time for the veteran to get into the ring (on television anyway; he already lost a match at a live show). No clue what WWE’s plan is for the former Edge doppelganger, so I’m going out on a limb and saying Apollo Crews squashes him to give him something to do.

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella

Two women’s matches on a show?? And neither on the main event (LE GASP!)!!! Anywho, Carmella is a surprisingly good heel and has taken down Nikki Bella in convincing fashion. However, since this is so one-sided and Nikki Bella is Nikki Bella, Carmella is going to take the loss here. After all, it’s not like it’s called Total Carmella and we can see Big Cass obsessively keep his giant house clean as Enzo keeps walking around in his dirty Jordans (but maybe someday).

Heath Slater and Rhyno (c) vs. The Usos (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match)

Speaking of surprisingly good heels, The Usos have been fantastic as vicious bad guys (perhaps a certain cousin of theirs should copy them so he could finally get over). This has deadened Slater and Rhyno’s momentum, as their feel-good story has stalled. Sure, they’re still entertaining, but it seems unlikely that the team will beat the Usos and their mean streak. Plus American Alpha is waiting in the wings to take a shot at the Usos again with the titles on the line this time. Then Rhyno betrays Slater leading to “Broken” Heath Slater.

Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt

Randy Orton got hit on the head, taking him to Spookytown and making him able to counter Wyatt’s madness with his own! Who will win this epic battle? Find out on the next episode of Goosebumps!

This match is finally happening, and while the build has not been terrible, it stands out among the more serious feuds on SmackDown. Erick Rowan is also out with a torn rotator cuff and with rumors pointing to Luke Harper heading to Raw, it will be telling to see how much faith the WWE has in a solo Bray Wyatt if he beats the Viper. However, an Orton win makes more sense since he would naturally slide into the main event scene that is red hot right now and could feud with any of the top three guys.

Becky Lynch (c) vs. Alexa Bliss (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Bliss is finally getting the proper championship push she never really got in NXT, and so far she has done a very good job. Sure, both her and Camella have been written to just beat down their foes every week, but Bliss has the better mic skills and has built this feud up right. I’m high on Bliss’ potential, but this is not her moment. She will get a shot to carry the belt and division, but now it’s Lynch’s time to establish the new belt with a solid run. Lynch wins and runs the gauntlet of new opponents every PPV to prove her mettle.

The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler (Title vs. Career Intercontinental Championship Match)

This build to this feud has been perfect. SmackDown has two hot feuds going on surrounding their top belts, which is a testament to how well the show is doing post-brand split. The Miz is on a whole ‘nother level compared to his peers on the microphone and Ziggler has stepped up to make him the sympathetic babyface we saw flashes of (such as the conclusion of Survivor Series 2014). Do I think his in-ring career is over if he loses? Hell no. Do I think The Miz is going to lose? Hell no. The Awesome One wins and continues his never ending title reign.

AJ Styles (c) vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE Championship Match)

Oh Boy. This match has plenty of layers and with all three men firing on all cylinders it’s guaranteed this match will be the highlight of the show. Ambrose seemed to be sleeping through half his title reign, but he’s awake now and playing the tweener to a fantastic degree we haven’t seen since the PG era started. Cena has played his boy scout self, but this time he has his merit badge in Knifework as he cuts his opponents down with lethal precision on the mic. Styles has been in third place in terms of selling this feud with words, but since he’s the villainous champ he can coast on his amazing ring work instead. Much like Charlotte vs. Banks vs. Bayley at Clash of Champions, I think this is pretty even on who has the best chance to win. Therefore, I’m going with the champ AJ Styles to retain in what should be a stellar match.

Manopera! Episode 25: CWC Finale, Delete or Decay and Backlash 2016 Review

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Chris and Spaceman Frank discuss the Cruiserweight Classic finale, TNA’s Delete or Decay and the revived WWE Backlash pay-per-view.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Backlash Predictions

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Several months after the brand split we get our first official WWE brand exclusive Pay-Per-View, the revived Backlash.

It’s interesting to see how WWE presents these new types of PPVs and if they decide to shorten the length of brand exclusive events, or keep on steamrolling fans with three plus hour shows (not including the pre-show).

Despite splitting the roster, the WWE still seems to have trouble focusing on building up storylines properly (at least the video editing department will always be there to salvage the build and make us care about the matches right before they actually start). With the usual mix of trepidation and vague hope as most Pay-Per-Views, Spaceman Frank is here to predict Backlash 2016.

The Usos vs. The Hype Bros (Qualifying match for SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals)

While the WWE Universe may not have Roman Reigns turning heel, at least we finally get The Usos turning into bad guys and attacking American Alpha. The tag team tournament may be the best booked part of Smackdown, and the WWE has made sure that the fans have a reason to care about three out of the four teams that were in the semifinals of the tournament. The lone exception being The Hype Bros, who will be losing to the hot Usos team so they can advance to the obvious finale of them vs. Slater and Rhyno. Speaking of that match…

Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. The Usos (SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match)

Heath Slater may be the 2016 version of Damien Sandow in that he turned crap into gold. His “free agent” gimmick has worked well, and the crowd is actually behind his antics with his perfect foil Rhyno. I went from having zero confidence WWE could pull this off to rooting for Slater to actually get the belts with his new buddy. It would be amazing if all of the Slater clan is at ringside for this match (please do this WWE). That being said, I see The Usos winning the tournament to set up the obvious Usos vs. American Alpha rematch for the belts down the line.

The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental Championship Match)

The Miz is an interesting case in the WWE. The guy has nailed his character and has recently been pure fire on the mic. However, WWE has dropped the ball with giving him feuds people actually care about. After Apollo Crews lost at SummerSlam, we have another big disappointment from the show in Ziggler as his next opponent. I like Ziggler (I even named my Fantasy Football team Team Zigglypuff), but his big chance to break out on SmackDown has fallen flat. The Miz needs somebody he can actually play off of who can carry his half of the build (Heath Slater vs. The Miz anyone???) Anyway, The Miz wins because that seems to be the default option for The Miz in these types of feuds.

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi vs. Natalya vs. Becky Lynch (Six-Pack Challenge for SmackDown Women’s Championship)

This match is interesting in that it will reveal who the WWE brass has faith in going forward. Carmella has been targeting Nikki Bella, which makes me think the former champ takes down the rookie quickly. Alexa Bliss and Naomi have been background characters, and while they are decent in the ring it seems as though they’re there just to make up the numbers. Natalya may be the dark horse here, but she and Becky Lynch will take each other out because of their history. That leaves Nikki Bella as the last women standing, as she can help establish the belt and give the veteran something to do moving forward.

Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt

Another month, another meaningless Bray Wyatt feud. The poor guy cannot get any traction, and now he gets fed yet again to somebody coming off a major match. At this point I’m desperate for him to actually go for the title, because this gateway to the main event place he is in for years is wasting a great talent (maybe we’ll get Luke Harper making his return?). Orton wins to regain his momentum and Wyatt just farts around as he does.

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. AJ Styles (WWE Championship Match)

This is the saving grace of Backlash. I can’t see this match being poor in any way. Sure the build has been pretty bad, especially with Dean Ambrose acting like an apathetic teenager the whole time (We saw you cry when you won the title at Money in the Bank Dean, we know you care!). AJ Styles on the other hand is having one of the best years anyone has had in wrestling, and considering how hot he is I see him winning the championship in an awesome match. This will setup both rematches with Ambrose as well as John Cena, as I see him and Styles going at it again, but with gold on the line.

Manopera! Episode 24: SummerSlam 2016 Spectacular Part 2 – SummerSlam Results and Feedback

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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.