Tag Archives: Dolph Ziggler

Manopera! Episode 35: A Friendship Dies, the Era of Wyatt Begins

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This past week was full of surprises in the world of WWE. Chris and Spaceman Frank tackle Jeri-KO’s tragic split on Raw, Elimination Chamber and the Chamber fallout on Smackdown Live! This episode is dedicated to the memory of George “The Animal” Steele.

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Manopera! Episode 32: The Best and Worst Wrestling of 2016

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Joined by special guest Nicholas Jason Lopez of Pro Wrestling Opinion, our hosts break down the best and worst in pro wrestling for 2016.

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

For the best in professional wrestling coverage, visit www.prowrestlingopinion.com.

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.

Spaceman Frank’s TLC 2016 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

The end of the year is closing in fast, and the last SmackDown exclusive PPV of 2016, TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, seeks to end things on a high note for the blue brand.

SmackDown Live has had the best weekly programming the WWE has to offer, which granted is not saying much. Each match on the card has been built up in enjoyable fashion, and even some minor feuds got some spotlight time in during Survivor Series. It definitely helps make this event stand out over the general sameness that prevaids over Raw, and throwing in stipulations galore also spices things up nicely. As long as WWE refrains from throwing in a stairs match (or another exploding TV monitor), this should be another solid event that overshadows its Raw counterpart Roadblock: End of the Line later in the month. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my predictions for TLC 2016.

Heath Slater and Rhyno (c) vs. Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships Match)

This is the only match on the card that does not have a stipulation (so far), which is probably a good thing. For one, this match was made official on the go-home SmackDown. And two: I imagine if WWE had a stipulation for this match Slater would spend 90 percent of the match getting murdered.

Slater and Rhyno continue to be entertaining, but they clearly are not the focus of the tag team scene. At this point they’re just a stepping stone for the inevitable Orton vs. Wyatt feud. The X-factor here is Luke Harper, who might try to break up Wyatt and Orton out of jealousy. The (Quasi) Wyatt Family wins and sooner rather than later, both these teams will break up.

Kalisto vs. Baron Corbin (Chairs Match)

This match has been building for some time, which is amazing considering these guys were begging for time before and after the brand split. Co-General Manager Daniel Bryan promised Corbin retribution for costing SmackDown the Cruiserweight Division, and his punishment is…facing the guy he previously beat so bad he got legit hurt? Sure.

If Bryan really wanted to punish Corbin he would trade him to Raw or have him team with Apollo Crews. I’m pretty sure this whole match is just building up to Corbin hitting the End of Days on a steel chair, which is something I swear already happened on NXT. Corbin wins and then is one of those guys in the middle of the Rumble who lasts for ten minutes before Brock or Goldberg tosses him out.

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella (No Disqualifications Match)

Who knew these two had big enough vicious streaks to beat the holy hell out of each other enough for people to excited to see these two go No-DQ? The crazy part is Nikki legitimately had a tooth knocked loose a few weeks ago and now Carmella has a black eye (Hopefully WWE incorporates that into the video package for this match). Carmella has won a fair number of their matches, but Nikki is the bigger star here. However, I ‘m guessing we get Nattie Ice as Nikki’s mystery attacker at Survivor Series who also takes her down here. Carmella wins and sneaks into the title picture in a sink or swim feud.

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

I hate tables matches. Unless you have a James Ellsworth type who manages to shove somebody through a table to win, I do not see the appeal. Lynch is probably the most well-rounded woman on SmackDown, but Bliss is the second best heel on SmackDown period. Plus, it is easier to see Bliss hitting a Sparkle Splash through a table to win the belt than Lynch awkwardly hitting a pump handle slam through one. Bliss wins to test the waters on her being the top dog and Lynch gets her shot with Carmella at the Rumble.

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

After about a three week break for Survivor Series, these two are back at it again. Their first go around was amazing, but do we really want to see Ziggler chase The Miz again? We already had the payoff, and the unceremonious way Ziggler lost the belt took most of the wind out of his sails. In addition, The Miz’s only good ladder spot throughout the years is cockily sitting on top on a ladder before getting knocked off of it. Some fresh faces are needed for these guys, but I have a feeling they’ll end up in the Rumble and this angle gets drawn out even further. At least The Miz has Total Divas to make him much more likable outside the ring. The Awesome One wins after Maryse throws a newly adopted dog at Ziggler.

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

It is about time Ambrose gets to throw down in an extreme match with Styles, and for the first time it seems as though he might have an advantage as the champion. This figures to be the blow off match between the two, and I expect these guys to beat each other like Cookie beating Hakeem with a broom. Ambrose is fired up after Ellsworth was murdered to death by a Styles Clash off the stairs, so I think these guys might have enough leeway to get crazier than usual. That being said, Styles is keeping the belt until John Cena comes back. Maybe Ellsworth returns and turns heel on Uncle Deano? We shall see.

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.

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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.

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.

 

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.