Tag Archives: Hell in a Cell

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Predictions

After a brief post-Summerslam pause the WWE is going all out in with a barrage of PPV’s in the next couple months. We have the upcoming Hell in a Cell, but nobody cares about that gimmicky PPV, especially the WWE. Instead the company has looked completely past this PPV to a pair of HISTORY MAKING EVENTS in October. We have the traditional but set in a massive cricket stadium in Australia Super Show-Down and the all women Evolution PPV soon after. And then of course we have the often overlooked big four PPV Survivor Series to feel mediocre about in November. Hell in a Cell is just the tip of the iceberg, and it feels very much like the company just does not care about this. Probably because this event won’t make them as much money as tens of thousands of Aussies or generate tons of headlines. At least we can look forward to the slow heat death of the universe and Braun Stroman’s push. I’m Spaceman Frank and this is my Hell in a Cell 2018 predictions!

 

The New Day (C) vs Aiden English and Rusev (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match)

 

The New Day have gained the tag titles from The Bludgeon Brothers after Erick Rowan did what he usually does in high pressure situations: get injured for several months. This has left MY BOY Luke adrift to randomly show up at NXT shows in Buffalo to put on barnburners in Ricochet and The New Day with the belts for the fifth time. Now Rusev and his young ward Aiden have won the right to face the modern day legends in their first defense. It seemed as though Rusev and English we destined to fight, but they seem to have pulled a Bayley and Sasha and made up unexpectedly. Maybe it will happen at Hell in a Cell, but I doubt it. The New Day will be front and center for the SUper Show-Down, so they will retain as Rusev continues his streak of losing big matches.

 

Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre (C) vs Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)

 

Speaking of sudden tag belt switches we have gone from The Deleter of Worlds to The B Team to now…um…Dolphintyre? Sure let’s go with that. They face a pair of old foes in the good 66 percent of The Shield, who at least are not being roped into making Roman look credible for at least one night. Dolph is getting somewhat a decent push with his Scottish man servant, and I am not sure it is time for them to drop the belts even to a pair of workhorses like Dean and Seth. Plus eventually Dean does need to turn evil at some point to justify getting swole and cutting off all his hair. Zigggles and Scots keep the belts.

 

Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton (Hell in a Cell Match)

 

Why is this in a Hell in a Cell cage? Cause 40 something Jeff Hardy is looking for some workman’s comp that’s why. The only logical explanation I have for this stip is that Jeff is will to throw himself off the cage (cause lord knows Randy is gonna do that stuff. He hates dives after all), so here comes WWE’s resident non-Mcmahon stuntman. Lord knows I can’t be bothered to care about this match if WWE won’t and I’ll be cooking dinner during this. Randy wins because he is allegedly a super star and we need those for a Super Show-Down.

 

Ronda Rousey (C) vs Alexa Bliss (WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match)

 

While these two’s first match was pretty swell, it did not exactly leave me wanting more. Ronda killed Alexa dead at Summerslam, and that beating was very one sided. Bliss thinks she has a chance against the former UFC champion because…reasons? Look I am all for the WWE showing the multi-time champ Bliss as a credible threat, but considering she was treated like a gnat by Ronda makes me think we will get more of the ame this go around. Ronda wins and moves on to break Nikki Bella’s neck at Evolution.

 

Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella vs The Miz and Maryse

 

After some shenanigans at Summerslam the ladies are getting involved in this feud. And it makes sense given that Maryse played a big part in getting her man a win over his hated rival. Props for Maryse and Brie returning to the ring soon after giving birth to their respective daughters, but really I hope they avoid getting in the ring as much as possible. Brie was a mixed bag at best in the ring, and her repeated failures at pulling off a suicide dive are worrying. Meanwhile was Maryse ever a good wrestler? I honestly do not know. It would make sense that Bryan would get some measure of revenge against his foe, but considering there is plenty of opportunities for further rematches this is far from over. I predict Brie pins Maryse to set up a rematch of their own at Evolution while their men have a Dad-off in Aussie Land.

 

Charlotte Flair (C) vs Becky Lynch (WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship)

 

Let’s be real: everyone was super stoked seeing Becky quit acting like a doofus and attacking Charlotte after she stole away her victory at Summerslam. And yeah they tried to initially lean into the heel turn, but now they have actually made it pretty easy to chose what dynamic you want to feel towards this conflict. Becky is justifiably pissed at her former friend, and Charlotte has not exactly come off as a sympathetic good guy. After all, she is now only behind Trish Stratus in terms of championship reigns and and def has put on shades of a spoiled jock. Personally I like both women, but I think we have had good guy Charlotte for too long. Time for her to be a baddie and Becky to be like SEE I TOLD YA SHE WAS A MEANIE! Charlotte has had plenty of short title reigns lately, and I think maybe having her lose immediately, so I think maybe she will cheat to win to further muddy the waters between the two women.

 

AJ Styles (C) vs Samoa Joe (WWE Championship Match)

 

I am guessing this is not a Hell in a Cell match because then Joe would have trouble creeping on Wendy Styles. While these two have very little to work with to further this feud, they have managed to turn chicken poop into something more edible. Not quite chicken salad, but like lukewarm Mcnuggets with no sauce. Still the first match between the two was pretty freaking awesome, but since that ended in a DQ having a plain jane rematch between the two is a pretty vanilla option. Hell, we already know a rematch is going to happen, so it is hard to truly care about this match. Still should be fun though. I can see Joe winning and getting a well deserved title reign before dropping it back to AJ soon afterwards, but I have burned way to many times by fantasies of Joe being WWE champion to believe it will actually happen. AJ retains probably by DQ again.

 

Roman Reigns (C) vs Braun Strowman (Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Universal Championship w/ Mick Foley as Special Guest Referee)

 

I was entirely apathetic towards this match once Braun used his Money in the Bank Briefcase to get it. It’s obvious that they did this to make it so they could get rid of all those pesky Braun fans clamoring for him to be the man instead of The Big Dog. Now they are cutting their nose off to spite their face, and turning Braun back into a cartoon ogre rather than the badass giant is just plain dumb. It’s the same thing they did to Nia Jax when she faced Ronda Rousey. It’s very transparent who WWE thinks are the real stars on the roster, and everyone else is there to prop them up. Roman for all his flaws needs to have an actual run with the belt instead of ust losing the belt immediately, so he will win and Braun will huff and puff and flip over a house.

 

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Spaceman Frank’s WWE Hell in a Cell 2107 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

Hell in a Cell – It’s happening, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

Despite having a larger amount of time to build to this show than Raw the SmackDown Live, the creative team have done nothing to really make this interesting. Sure, Shane McMahon got beat up, but that happens before every Shane match. Other than that we have a bunch of rematches and and throwaway feuds that are meant to kill time until Survivor Series (I honestly got this event confused with TLC and I am amazed WWE has the balls to put two gimmick Pay-Per-Views in one month).

At least we got The New Day and the Usos, a match that everyone cares about…except for the creative team since their previous matches have all been on preshows and curtain jerkers. But hey, now it’s a big deal! I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Hell in a Cell 2017 predictions.

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros (Preshow Slapfest Spectacular)

Do we have name for the team of Gable and Benjamin yet? Is American Beta too obvious? What about Cha-jamin? Anyway they face The Hype Bros, that team that looked to be breaking up, may still do that, but nobody cares either way. Fun fact: in 2017 Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and Zack Ryder was starring in comeback hype videos on YouTube. How the mighty have fallen.

Gable really had a chance to be a breakout star with his impressive singles matches, but instead he teams with a veteran to keep him hemmed into the tag team scene. Cha-jamin win here because they are the newer team and still have potential unlike the shambling remains of The Hype Bros.

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

Why? Just Why? Why throw this on PPV again instead of giving Sami Zayn a match? Or Tye Dillinger? Nope, gotta put Orton on PPV to continue his streak of ruining everything for everyone in 2017.

Poor, poor Rusev. Poor, poor WWE. Poor, poor humanity. Orton wins because of course he going to win he won in like 30 seconds at SummerSlam WHY DO WE NEED TO SEE THIS AGAIN??? WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE THIS???

Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler

The battle between the guy with a cool entrance and his jealous coworker.

Ziggler is the guy that feuds with whoever showed up last, and while objectively I should care about this match, I just can’t find a reason why this needs to be a PPV match rather than a random match on SmackDown. Hopefully this match will surprise me and be really good, but I see this as being a way to kill about ten minutes with entrances and 15 minutes in the ring. Roode wins as the new guy who will probably move into the main event scene sooner rather than later.

AJ Styles (C) vs. Baron Corbin (US Title Match)

Baron Corbin couldn’t beat Mahal, couldn’t beat Cena, and couldn’t beat Dillinger (somebody give that man a title shot!).

I get that WWE has to do something to rehab his character, but constantly losing and getting rewarded for it is not the answer. Shouldn’t this be Styles vs. Dillinger as a way to crown The Perfect 10 as the hot new babyface? Instead we get Baron’s weird belly and receding hairline that is disappearing faster than management’s faith in him.

Despite my gripes about Baron I think he will win here. Sure AJ is better in every conceivable way, but I think they need him in the main event picture now. The WWE Championship is in a weird place where it is clearly not the focus of the show and fans know the best wrestlers do not challenge for it, so having Styles chase the belt will help rebuild it and Mahal as well. So Corbin will become champ and try to get some momentum going again after a rocky summer.

Natalya (C) vs. Charlotte (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match)

Nattie’s title reign has been..a thing that has happened, and she has been a massive afterthought despite SmackDown having very little going on. It is sad really as this will probably be a good match that is going to set several records.

According to the champ herself, she will break Trish Stratus’ record of most PPV matches by a women in WWE and her and Charlotte will be the first pair of women to fight for the NXT, Divas, Raw and SmackDown Women’s titles. So why isn’t that the main focus of their feud???

For all of WWE’s talk about focusing more on women and treating them as equal to the men they sure messed up this historic match. It looks like a slam dunk for Charlotte to win her sixth (Sixth??? Really??!!!) women’s championship and go on to be the face of SmackDown’s women’s division.

The New Day (C) vs. The Usos (Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)

The Savior of this PPV sees these two white hot teams square off in Hell in a Cell.

While WWE has not done the best to keep this feud seem important enough to warrant a match in the demonic structure, the fans know these guys will deliver in the ring. I expect some exciting yet PG spots and some crazy bumps to take place, and with the added drama of everyone in the ring at once I see this being a hoot.

The big question is if Xavier Woods will be able to get into the cell as well, or if he will hold off getting involved. With the other Hell in a Cell match guaranteed to have some sort of big stunt it is good to have this here to be the excellent wrestling match to balance it out. The Usos could sneak away with the belts here, but I think The New Day retain since they are such huge ambassadors for the company.

Jinder Mahal (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)

WWE has a tour of India in December, so guess who’s winning this match?

WWE has left it wide open for the Singh Brothers to interfere yet again, so that seems like the most obvious route to a finish here since we have seen that in literally every Mahal match. Nakamura is in a weird place where he is getting a huge push, but it seems like creative have no idea how to capitalize on the unique superstar. Meanwhile, WWE has flushed any nuance and subtly with Mahal’s character down the drain when they decided to have him tell racist jokes.

When the crowd chants “That’s Too Far,” it’s easy to see why attendance is hitting record lows. Mahal wins again and hopefully we get Styles in the title picture to see if Mahal can step up and have a decent match for once.

Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens (Hell in a Cell match)

This Hell in a Cell match will probably lead to some memorable moment WWE puts into video packages for years.

I’ve heard rumors that WWE is filming something with a stunt Shane so he does not hurt himself, which is good for protecting his health but lessens the excitement factor. This is the only match WWE has thought to put some effort in, because Shane is the coolest dad on the roster and it’s a big deal when he decides to let someone beat him up (sorry, Titus).

I hope Shane brings his kids to the match and Owens throws them off the cell one at a time. 

Owens wins and possibly moves into the title picture at some point, though he has appeared on advertisements for Raw brand live events. Because Raw definitely needs more wrestlers they can ignore.

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #4 – The End of an Era (Almost)

by Frank Lucci

Welcome to Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania moments! Rather than just create another generic Top 10 list, I will be discussing the greatest moments from WWE’s biggest show of the year and explaining why I consider them the cream of the crop. This is based on in-ring quality, storyline quality, meta quality, as well as my own unique bias. Be prepared to read about triumph, heartbreak, and above all else, some truly unique moments in this unique form of entertainment.

The Moment: The Undertaker vs. Triple H – Hell in a Cell (Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels), WrestleMania XXVIII

WrestleMania 28 was the very first wrestling event I ever watched. The Bonesaw’s very own Chris Butera knew of a showing that was happening on campus at SUNY Oswego and told me to show up. I had zero context for what was happening, and I picked my favorites based on appearance and who had better entrance music. Sure, I knew who The Rock was and he’d be appearing, but beyond that I was going in blind. Most of the event was fairly unmemorable, and I honestly get this PPV confused with WrestleMania 27 frequently. However, one match stuck with me that I can still recall: Triple H vs The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee.

What I remember from watching this match live was several random details. The Hell in a Cell structure looks like something from a video game, there was licensed music during the entrances, which in today’s WWE is nearly impossible to get the company to spring for, and yet I remember thinking “The guy with the Motörhead theme song is cool, but this other guy got Johnny Cash so I’m not sure who to root for.” Hell, even the cell got a Metallica theme song!

Imagine how much more legitimate WWE Superstars would look if the company got a couple of popular bands to make up themes for them? Call up Snoop and have him make a theme for his cousin Sasha Banks, or get metalcore bands from Warped Tour to give Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins proper music instead of the generic dribble they get. Just a thought, but it would probably make all the difference in how the WWE Superstars are presented.

This was head and shoulders the best match on the card, even as somebody with no clue about the story behind it. Re-watching it now as a smarmy internet fan, it’s gotten better with age. Easily one of Undertaker’s and Triple H’s  best ‘Mania matches, there is so much drama in the build and during the match itself it almost feels like a theater production rather than a wrestling match.

To start we get Jim Ross coming out to announce this match, because we cannot have Booker T ruining this moment (side note: RIP Jan Ross). This match is billed as the End of an Era, which has been diminished slightly due to the  fact that neither man has retired nearly five years after this match. Shawn Michaels is then out in his referee shirt and actual pants, which is oddly disconcerting. I am so used to HBK dressing like a stripper who bought his sexy outfit at Dick’s Sporting Goods that seeing him in professional attire is strange. His best buddy Triple H is out next, being barfed out of a weird warrior’s mouth. Triple H has his scary dad bode out, but I wish he cut his hair short much earlier, as he looks older here than he does now. Undertaker has a pretty plain entrance that just has a bunch of pyro shooting out behind him. JR claims they are 50 feet tall, but that seems a little suspect, unless the man in front of them is a whopping 30 feet, which would mean the cell is at least 150 feet high and 75 feet wide (spoiler: they aren’t).

The announcers do a good job of highlighting the story of the match: Triple H lost last year, but he walked out and Taker did not, so here we are with the rematch. Triple H, being the bastard boss, makes his buddy and fellow streak victim Michaels the ref to ensure, in his mind, that he will be the one to give Undertaker his first loss at WrestleMania. Undertaker has short hair, a stubble goatee, and eyeliner on, making him look like an old crossdressing goth that just took off his wig.

The match starts and both men just start slugging it out, and Jim Ross calls Triple H’s punches “carcinogenic,” which is perhaps not the best word to use. The Hell in a Cell cage is closer to the ring here, but that leads to a bunch of cool shaky cam style close ups of the action as the cameraman tries to dodge the two behemoths. ‘Taker shoves Michaels out of his way, and we get the first sign that perhaps HBK might pull something shady out of his playbook for his friend later. I couldn’t understand it back then, but the spectre of Triple H, COO and glory hog looms large here. If anyone was going to end the streak, it was going to be the one who runs the place in real life (who’s been known to use his pull to get what he wants). Going into WrestleMania 30 I distinctly thought that since Hunter didn’t end the streak, nobody ever will (Oops…).

Undertaker moves at a pace that can generously be called glacial, but unlike more recent years he moves well when doing moves and throwing strikes. The match mostly takes place outside the ring, but things pick up soon. We get a cool back body drop off the steps, followed by Triple H giving Taker a sickening spinebuster on the steps. ‘Taker tries to counter with the Hell’s Gate, but Triple H hoofs up the massive man and slams him down. Everything here is downright painful looking, and that’s before Triple H just goes on the warpath and beats Undertaker with a chair for what seems like five minutes. Triple H wrestles like someone trying to win a match in a WWE video game, and it just adds to the high drama on display.

HBK starts panicking, and he begs his buddy to end it by covering The Undertaker. HBK does some great acting here as he’s torn between his friend and the man he respects for retiring him. Shawn literally pleads with ‘Taker to stay down, but The Dead Man speaks and simply says “do not stop.” We need more matches like this, and seeing Triple H bleeding from the head yelling that he will end Undertaker and almost squash his opponent’s head like a watermelon with the hammer is an arresting visual. I still jump when it happens, even though three seconds later I realize there is no way Triple H is going to murder someone on live television.

The amazing moments just keep happening. HBK gets put in the Hell’s Gate to prevent him from stopping the match, but Triple H uses the sledgehammer again when he is down. The Undertaker pays for his hubris when Triple H passes out, but Shawn is still knocked out from before. Finishers start flying as Undertaker hits R1 to Chokeslam Triple H and replacement ref Little Naitch, and when he tries to Tombstone Triple H HBK nails him with the Sweet Chin Music.

This is perhaps Shawn’s greatest piece of work in the world of wrestling. Everything comes together here so well it is re-watchable again and again. He nails the kick to Undertaker, who immediately gets hit with the Pedigree. Watching this five years later, I am convinced every time that the streak is done. The Pedigree is so well protected, and the combo between that and Shawn’s kick would take down an elephant under normal circumstances. HBK goes to count the pinfall, and when Undertaker kicks out Shawn completely breaks down. HBK let out the Shawn Michaels of old, the primadonna who held down and bullied people, and for just one second he let that bastard out to show ‘Taker that he is not someone to get pushed around. He then pulls a 180 and we return to Shawn Michaels the God fearing man, who huddles in the corner and cries knowing that his anger and pettiness almost destroyed one of the most hallowed institutions in WWE. He has changed so much since the days of his wild youth, but underneath the piousness he is just as dangerous and reckless as ever. ‘Taker brought that out before when they tussled at WrestleMania, and whatever leftover angst powered that kick after being disrespected repeatedly by Undertaker, the man he is only trying to look out for.

This is, in my mind, one of the best sixty seconds of wrestling I have ever seen, and one of the moments that drew me into the world of wrestling. The drama, the action, the crowd, the announcers, it all comes together in one perfect moment. I can watch this over and over again, constantly rewinding and hearing Michael Cole yell “Streak’s over! Streak’s over!” again and again and again.

But of course, this is not the end of the streak, and now Triple H is abusing his buddy for showing weakness. Big Daddy ‘Taker sits up and Hunter nearly pees his pants as he begins his rally. A Tombstone Piledriver is not enough to stop Triple H, but the real victim is Shawn. Repeatedly we see him crouched in the corner with tears running down his face as ‘Taker and Triple H slug it out despite being too tired to stand. This match is shortening both men’s lives physically, but HBK must take on the emotional toll for both men as he witnesses the two men he respects the most destroy each other like two massive stars caught in each other’s orbit. Finally, after an exhausting half an hour Undertaker proves he is tougher than The Game by beating him senseless as Shawn cannot even look at the carcass of his friend. Triple H manages to stand one last time and give a crotch chop, but it’s curtains for him. All three men truly have gone to hell and back, and they fittingly leave supporting each other up the ramp as the crowd gives them the standing ovation they deserve.

This match is half an hour long, but it both feels longer and shorter than this. It does not drag like many longer matches, but the journey you go on during this bout feels like the series finale of your favorite hour long drama. This is Undertaker’s best WrestleMania match, period; and most likely the best Triple H match at ‘Mania as well.

Usually when I try to get people to start watching wrestling, I either go for extreme violence (to show how tough and legitimate the wrestlers are), or pure comedy (to show how goofy wrestlers can be). This is the best match to show people how engrossing wrestling can be on an emotional level, and it takes three master craftsmen to show just how special an incredible wrestling match can be. Get a stadium full of crazy fans and plenty of atmosphere to boot and you have plenty of lasting images that sink their hooks into a potential fan’s brain, leading them down the path to becoming a lifelong mark. It worked on me, and I’m sure it worked on many other people as well.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

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 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 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.

Manopera! Episode 15: ‘Mania Week Part 2 – WrestleMania 32 SuperShow

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What did Chris and “Spaceman” Frank think of ‘Mania 32 and the aftermath on Raw? Find out in the second and final part of this leviathan podcast as they are joined by Nicholas Jason Lopez of ProWrestlingOpinion.com.

 

Spaceman Frank’s WrestleMania 32 Predictions

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By Frank Lucci

Spring is here and the WWE is gearing up for their biggest event of the year, WrestleMania.

While ‘Mania 32 has had many setbacks, from injuries to….more injuries, the McMahons are soldiering on with who they have available. Despite many fans and critics ready to write the Pay-Per-View off, over 84,000  tickets have been sold for the event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. This means that the WWE universe will at least make WrestleMania 32 a big financial win for the company and a memorable spectacle to behold regardless as to whether the event itself is a hit or miss. Here is Spaceman Frank’s ‘Mania 32 predictions.

Kalisto (C) vs. Ryback (United States Championship match)

It’s funny how without John Cena the U.S. championship has gone from respected belt to jerking the curtain on the pre-show. Kalisto is a great wrestler and fine champion who deserves a properly built match at ‘Mania. Instead he gets a newly turned heel in Ryback and nonexistent booking heading into the event. This could have been a promising feud, with Ryback really hammering home his “I hate small people” gimmick by taking out Kalisto’s tag partner Sin Cara and El Torito so the masked luchador has a personal stake in beating Ryback. At the end of the day, it’s  better than nothing. Kalisto wins to pop the crowd early.

The Total Divas (Brie Bella, Paige, Natalya, Alicia Fox and Eva Marie) vs. B.A.D. & Blonde (Lana, Summer Rae,Naomi, Emma and Tamina)

It’s the cast of Total Divas versus the female wrestlers not good enough to have a title match. With three good wrestlers out of ten (four if you merge Naomi and Alicia Fox into one person), this will not be a five star classic. Throw in Lana having her first match ever and the always controversial Eva Marie making the card and this could be a Botchamania highlight reel. Hopefully things will be kept short and fast paced so the women have a chance to put on a good match. Total Divas win because they have a show and the others don’t.

The Usos vs The Dudley Boyz

Last Summer the Dudley Boyz came back to the WWE and proceed to do fuck-all for several months. Last Fall the Usos also came back from injury and proceed to do fuck-all for several months as well (TIME FOR A ‘MANIA FEUD BROTHER!). Having the Dudleys turn heel and renounce using tables is a good idea, but this feud means very little with nothing at stake. This contest should have been for a title shot or at least a tables match to give fans something to look forward to. At least the match itself should be fun to watch. The Dudleys win because they are the veteran team  and The Usos can take the loss and still be cheered by the kids who miss Cena.

Kevin Owens (C) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz vs. Stardust (Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match)

Why the WWE decided this match needed to be a seven man ladder match and not the U.S. Championship match I have no idea. The WWE have an obvious money feud with Owens vs. Zayn, but apparently last year’s ladder match warranted a repeat. It also speaks volumes about the current roster depth that Zack Ryder and Sin Cara are rounding out the participants of this match. That being said, this could be a show stealer as there is loads of talent in the match who will be willing to put their bodies on the line for the belt. Owens has been a great heel and deserves to keep his title, so I see him taking advantage of his main rival Sami Zayn having wrestled Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas two days earlier to win the match and retain his championship.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

On paper this match is nothing special. However, the rumors for the last few spots in the match make the third annual battle royal intriguing. The Wyatts are not booked for WrestleMania, leaving many to expect Bray or Braun Strowman to win the match and comically oversized trophy. However, none other than Cesaro has been spotted in Dallas without an arm sling, leading many to assume he will be making an appearance after several months on the shelf with a shoulder injury. Bray, Braun and Cesaro are all potential winners as long as they actually get in the match, but if not i’m going with Heath Slater since the Social Outcasts were among the first participants announced and the surprise alone would spark a great reaction.

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

It would be much more important if this was not the fourth match between the two grapplers.

Jericho is best as a heel and Styles is a perfect foil for him, but the two should have been kept apart more before ‘Mania. Considering that pretty much every Styles match with a popular WWE wrestler has dream match potential it would be better if the former “Mr. TNA” had a big name rival to take on instead of WWE’s most frequent part timer. This feud has not been bad, but at this point I expect Styles to win and move on asap.

The New Day vs. The League of Nations (3 on 4 handicap match)

Another curious booking decision by the WWE is to have the tag team championship not defended at WrestleMania. Even weirder is the fact that I feel like The New Day have beaten every member of the League repeatedly for the past few months. The New Day are one of the best things going in the WWE, but they need some real rivals stat or they could quickly fade into the background. This will be remembered more for whatever entrance and promo The New Day has beforehand than what happens in the ring, and there is no reason to believe the tag champs lose here.

Charlotte (C) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (Triple Threat match for WWE Divas Championship)

This feud has quietly been one of the better put together matches heading into WrestleMania. Charlotte has been great as the heel champ, Becky is the scorned friend and challenger with a score to settle and Sasha is the wildcard who can swing either way if push comes to shove. Throw in Ric Flair, Snoop Dogg and a potential return to the Women’s Championship the following night on Raw and this easily could top the men’s matches on the card. While Charlotte has been a worthy champ, Banks will beat Becky to win the belt, setting up Charlotte vs. Banks for a later date.

Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker (Hell in a Cell match: If Shane wins he controls Raw and Undertaker cannot compete at ‘Mania again if he loses)

Shane O’Mac coming back was great…until he started talking…and trying to throw punches…and they threw in too many stipulations into the match. Shane coming back should be great, but in 2016 there’s no reason he should be facing The Undertaker in one of his final matches. Blaming injuries is too easy, the WWE should’ve had someone available for one of their most legendary performers then the boss’ 46-year-old son. The WWE has been desperately trying to show Shane as a threat to Taker but I’d believe my dog is the queen of Neptune before I’d believe “The Money” beats The Phenom. Taker wins, everyone cheers and Shane probably bleeds a bunch.

Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose (Street Fight)

The street fight to end all street fights. Ambrose may have found a perfect opponent in Lesnar as he can go all out against The Beast while getting thrown around like a ragdoll. I can see the two going at it in the crowd as tens of thousands of people swarm the two men. Having WWE legends Terry Funk and Mick Foley giving Ambrose pep talks and lethal weapons (that couldn’t possibly be used in the match) is a nice touch. The only downside is that Ambrose is most likely taking the loss here, even though he’s been overdue for a big win for some time. This match will be physical and most likely the best worked match of all the big main events at ‘Mania and I see Lesnar taking home the victory after suplexing everything and everyone in sight.

Triple H (C) vs. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)

The WWE has backed themselves into a corner here.

With crowds refusing to cheer Reigns and slyly behind Triple H, this could end very, very poorly for WWE. While the crowd at last year’s ‘Mania were treated to a surprise Money in the Bank cash in, this appears to be Reign’s time to take home the gold. Reigns has done himself no favors in interviews, with condescending remarks towards adult fans who boo him. It’s no wonder that Triple H has the crowd behind him considering shite comments like that. The hottest mess in what is a hot mess of a card, Reigns wins the belt after the crowd loses their voices from booing so the WWE has an easier time piping in cheers on replays of the event.

Manopera! Episode 4: Hell in a Cell 2015 Supershow

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Chris Butera and “Spaceman” Frank Lucci return for another round of Manopera to discuss Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series possibilities. Also discussed are NXT Takeover and Chikara Pro Wrestling. Chris and Frank cut promos on pet goldfish and Burger King’s Black Bun Halloween Whopper.