Tag Archives: John Cena

Spaceman Frank’s Royal Rumble 2017 Predictions

 

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by Frank Lucci

Let’s get mildly prepared to rumble! The Royal Rumble always has the bonus of being one of the few Pay-Per-View’s guaranteed to offer a surprise or two, and despite some stinkers in recent years, last year’s Rumble was my favorite PPV of the 2016. This year is actually very similar to last year’s. There is a possibility that Reigns could walk out as champ, people assume Brock will lose the rumble match due to his probable WrestleMania opponent knocking him out. People are ready to fantasy book New Japan (Kenny Omega, though that looks pretty unlikely) and NXT stars (Samoa Joe) into significant roles into ‘Mania. Getting some major deja vu from the PPV, but can WWE pull off the same magic for a second time? One big factor is the eight (!!!) matches for the Rumble, through three déjà vu are pre-show matches so they do not really count. This could seriously drain the crowd before the Rumble match begins, but the possibility of surprise entrants and the hype surrounding the match should help. And for the first time in ages the winner of the match is in doubt, with many different people in the running to win. I’m Spaceman Frank, and I am here to predict the Royal Rumble 2017.

Cesaro and Sheamus (C) vs. The Club (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match with Two Referees)

Oh boy, talk about an exciting stipulation! Totally do not expect a screwy finish here! The Club keep hovering around and losing to everyone, so why are they getting this shot again? If they are just going to fart around and not win the bets, then can they just go to SmackDown and be AJ’s henchmen again? Cesaro and Sheamus are a much better tag team then they have any right to be, but I still have zero reason to care or cheer for their future success. I predict that The Club will actually win, so that Sheamus and Cesaro can brawl while in the Rumble and we can get the Best of Seven Series: Twice in a Lifetime.

Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya

What to do with the SmackDown women when they got a PPV in around two weeks? Why, throw them into a six women tag match of course! If the ladies actually get an Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber I expect it to be this match but every person for themselves. Really hard to care about this match, but it is better than listening to the pre-show panel spout nonsense. Heel team wins because they have the newcomer in Mickie James and the Champ in Alexa Bliss.

Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks

The only pre-show match I actually am invested in. It is time for Nia Jax to have a real opponent, and having shown up in NXT after the Four Horsewomen (minus Bayley) guarantees she has some interesting matchups. She needs to get more involved in the division to freshen things up, so hopefully she takes advantage here and shows she is worth a push sooner rather than later. My only hangup is Banks’ bumping. If she flies around and gets banged up by Charlotte, imagine what will happen when the much larger Jax starts tossing her around. Jax crushes Banks in dominating fashion.

Rich Swann (C) vs. Neville (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

This match should be plenty exciting, but Swann has fallen into one of the biggest pitfalls for babyfaces in the WWE: he does not talk like a human. He went from giving heartfelt sitdown interviews about his past to making fun of Neville’s ears. He, Reigns, and Rollins need to form Shield 2.0 where they act like Kiefer Sutherland in Stand By Me and expect people to cheer for them. Anyway, both these guys are magic in the ring regardless of the actual built for this match, so this should be a highlight for the division. It seems as though Neville is destined to win the belt, but four champions so soon into the division’s run is too many. Swann retains to stop the hot potatoing between the belt and so WWE can stall until they inevitably just throw eight or ten guys into the ring at WrestleMania to fight for the belt.

Charlotte Flair (C) vs. Bayley

Will Bayley beat Charlotte and hand her the first PPV loss of her career?? No, no she will not. If WWE was going to go all in on Bayley getting the belt, they would have done a better job at hyping the match. As it stands now, all the WWE did was have people make fun of her and then for Bayley to be like “eh whatever.” I really do not see Charlotte losing the belt before WrestleMania to add extra emphasis to her first big PPV loss, and they can draw this out much like they did for Charlotte vs. Banks until the big show. Maybe have Charlotte get the DQ win to taint the streak?  Dana Brooke saves her friend/ boss/ abusive girlfriend and Charlotte keeps the belt.

Kevin Owens (C) vs. Roman Reigns (No DQ match with Chris Jericho suspended in a shark cage above the ring for the WWE Universal Championship)

I just felt dumber after writing the above sentence. We get it WWE. You have a toy with a cage suspended above the WWE ring. Kids are the only people who love Reigns. Why not have Reigns beat up that dastardly Owens as kids imitate it with their playsets? I just do not have words for how stupid I feel this is. This match was effectively ruined the moment Jericho, for reasons completely unknown to me or sanity in general, Loony Tunes-style stepped into the cage when it was first revealed so he could be locked in and suspended above the ring. At least have Reigns push him into the cage rather than him just wander in. WWE has made it clear that they think Owens is nowhere near the level of Reigns, and this match is to get the belt off him so he can feud with Jericho finally. Reigns wins, hopefully after Owens beats the piss out of him so I can at least laugh at Reign’s pain.

AJ Styles (C) vs. John Cena (WWE Championship Match)

My third match between these two promises to be as epic as their previous encounters, with the added bonus of the championship on the line. AJ Styles has knocked it out of the park for his entire run, even when he was dealing with Ellsworth. Cena has come right back to SmackDown and has not lost a step. The promos between the two are the highlights of the week for me, and credit to the two men for making me fine with Cena picking up the belt again. For indeed, I believe Cena will finally get his win and the belt at the Rumble. It is WrestleMania season after all, and WWE is going with the strongest hand that they can. With the constant rumors that Styles and Owens are being pushed aside for Cena and Reigns, it makes sense for Cena to grab the belt here. I am not completely certain that Cena wins here considering there seems to be a new rumored opponent for him every day, but I cannot see the WWE having Styles go into ‘Mania as champ. Big John gets the win and we establish his challenger at Elimination Chamber as Styles hopefully gets a better match at Mania than him versus Shane McMahon.

Royal Rumble Match

I’m going to do something a little different here and rank, from least likely to most likely, the chances of each announced competitor of winning the Royal Rumble match. There are 22 announced entrants for the match, so I predict the match will be rounded out by Samoa Joe (because c’mon, he has to be in this match after missing Takeover), James Ellsworth (to get destroyed by a much larger man), Breezeango (for extra bodies), Kane (because he is a legacy character), AJ Styles (needs more SmackDown stars), TJ Perkins (needs more Cruiserweights), and Nia Jax (because why not?).

22. Big Cass- Tag team people never win.

21. Rusev- Always is out first despite being the best human being on the planet (as seen in Total Divas).

20. Sheamus- Already has one match on the PPV and it’s on the pre-show.

19. Xavier Woods- Here for faction warfare.

18. Kofi Kingston- Here for faction warfare/agility.

17. Big E- Here for faction warfare/sexy dancing.

16. Sami Zayn- Going to last for minimum 45 minutes, only to be thrown out by the real stars.

15. Baron Corbin- Most likely going to throw out a fan favorite to get some heat/acquire new rival.

14. Cesaro- Going to last longer than Sheamus, but still following the rule of people with a previous match having no chance in the Rumble.

13. Mojo Rawley- my roommate Kim loves him, so I give him a slight chance to do something significant here at the Rumble. Plus, he has to do something while Zack Ryder is out with injury.

12. Big Show- Gonna get tossed by someone (Mojo?) to show how strong said person is.

11. Luke Harper- Despite being my boy, he is going to get tossed by the rest of the Wyatts. Perhaps he will turn face here after his treatment, or they will have Randy turn and Luke forgives Bray instantly. Personally, I’d rather see all three get into it and we get a Mani triple threat out of this.

10. Dean Ambrose- Already Intercontinental champ, so he will find a way to lose here. Perhaps he will find a new rival here, or they will have him enter the Elimination Chamber and find his ‘Mania opponent there (or we get the ladder match. Either way he is not winning).

9. Dolph Ziggler- Ziggler is one of those guys that will last until the final five or six people, but get tossed when it is time to clear out the pool. Evil Ziggler is best Ziggler but I see WWE waiting to establish where his ceiling will be for the future.

8. The Miz- Momma Mizanin’s baby boy had a hell of a 2016, but he is not ready to get into the main event just before the biggest show of the year. In the doldrums after SummerSlam? Sure. Springtime quickie run to shake things up? Maybe. But not right now.

7. Randy Orton- This is where the serious contenders start showing up. I can see him throwing out Bray when they are the final two, and I can see Bray doing the same to Orton. I do not think he really needs the win though, and his future feud with Wyatt does not need a belt thrown into the mix too.

6. Bray Wyatt- See the previous entry, with the added bonus of being a creepy cult leader who has henchmen to help him win.

5. Braun Strowman- The massive mountain of a man could pull a 2001 Kane and eliminate a record number of people. Then be the second to last person left and get booted out, again just like 2001 Kane. There are plenty of rumors surrounding the big guy winning, but with so many big stars in the match I do not think he is going to walk out the winner.

4. Chris Jericho- I can see Jericho being a dark horse to win the match, but only if Owens retains the belt. Since I already said Reigns is going to lose, this drops him down a  few pegs in my book.

3. Goldberg- Already has a big feud for ‘Mania almost certainly happening, and with a contract that has even less dates than Lesnar I do not see him challenging for the belt.

2. Brock Lesnar- I wanna say he will not win the Rumble, due to the whole Goldberg deal. But it is still very hard to discount him. I can see WWE having him win, then giving Goldberg a quick reign with the belt so he can drop it to Lesnar. Since Lesnar has dropped off significantly in 2016 a good title reign would boost him (and his value) back up.

1. Undertaker- This seems like the sure bet. Having ‘Taker be the only free agent in the match adds extra intrigue and plot to the build to WrestleMania, as he can go to either show. Throw in retirement rumors and this is the best way to make WrestleMania 33’s main event superior to last year’s.

 

SSEP – Episode 4: NFL Playoffs Picture / This Week in WWE

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Jon talks the NFL Playoffs situation and reveals his thoughts on this week’s WWE programming.

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

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 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 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.

Fantasy Booking The Undertaker vs. Finn Balor at WrestleMania 33

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On the 900th episode of SmackDown, The Undertaker appeared for the first time since WrestleMania 32.

Many speculated it would be to either announce his retirement or to select his WrestleMania 33 opponent. However, the Phenom did none of these things. He simply stated that he’s back to “take souls and dig holes,” and that WrestleMania will no longer define him before giving the SmackDown Survivor Series team a pep-talk from beyond the grave.

As vague as his statement is, it’s safe to assume he will now be appearing sporadically in some type of authority role, almost in a way President Jack Tunney would in the 80’s and early 90’s. ‘Taker will probably end up in the occasional tag match as well as more Pay-Per-Views leading up to ‘Mania 33.

But if the Show of Shows in Orlando is the endgame for The Deadman, he should have an opponent, and it should be a demon. Not Demon Kane, but a Demon King.

The Undertaker’s WrestleMania 33 opponent should be none other than the returning Finn Balor, and unlike his ‘Mania 31 encounter with Bray Wyatt, it should be a passing of the torch.

But how can this feud be built with Balor on Raw and ‘Taker on SmackDown?

After Survivor Series this Sunday, the next inter-brand Pay-Per-View is Royal Rumble.

In the Royal Rumble match, Balor should make his return to the ring as the surprise number 30 entrant to a Road Warrior pop and battle his way into becoming one of the final competitors fighting for a World Championship opportunity alongside John Cena, Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins.

With the way things are heading, it looks as though Rollins and Triple H will meet at either the Rumble or ‘Mania, so we’ll keep it for the latter. Here, The Game screws Rollins out of the title via shenanigans and Rollins is promptly eliminated. We now have our final three Rumble combatants. One from Raw, two from SmackDown. Cena and Wyatt will set their differences aside for the sake of their brand and team up against Balor.

The lights then go out inexplicably and we hear the one sound every WWE Superstar dreads.

GONG!

The lights reactivate as The Undertaker stands in the ring and stares down all three men. As a red herring, he chokeslams Cena. Still setting his sights on being “The New Face of Fear,” Wyatt tries for a Sister Abigail but it’s countered into another chokeslam by the Phenom. Balor has been down the entire time from the Cena/Wyatt smack down (pun intended). As he slowly recovers to his feet he turns to The Deadman, who stares into his eyes and makes his signature throat-cutting gesture before driving Balor into the mat with a Tombstone. He picks up the fallen Irishman and tosses him over the top rope, eliminating him from the match and his chance to reclaim the title he was forced to vacate due to injury.

The stage is set. The Demon of Death Valley vs. The Demon King at the Granddaddy of ’em All, where after putting on a clinic, Balor puts ‘Taker to rest en-route to winning back his WWE Universal Championship from Rollins, who defeats both Triple H and Kevin Owens in the same night.

Since the current Cena angle is his journey to tie Ric Flair for the all-time World Championship record, he goes on to win the Rumble and dethrone A.J. Styles at ‘Mania. As for Wyatt, we could see a match against stablemates Randy Orton, Luke Harper, or both. Regardless of whether or not any of this happens, April 2, 2017 is going to be a hell of a show.

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.

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.