Tag Archives: Nakamura

Manopera! Episode 39: WrestleMania 33 Part 2 – DayShiftAMania Runs Wild

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Chris and Spaceman Frank are joined by www.ProWrestlingOpinion.com‘s Nicholas Jason Lopez to review WrestleMania 33, it’s aftermath, and speculate on the “Superstar Shakeup” angle. Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on the JBL/Mauro Ranallo situation.

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Manopera! Episode 23: SummerSlam 2016 Spectacular Part 1 – NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2

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Chris and Spaceman Frank sound off on the “glorious” NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II in part 1 of their SummerSlam 2016 Spectacular.

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2 Predictions

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It’s that time of the year where the weather is hot and the wrestling action is hotter (that’s right, I went there). The wrestling world has been abuzz after the WWE’s brand split and SummerSlam, the first Pay-Per-View of this new era.

Meanwhile, things continue to chug along on NXT. Despite losing some top talent (along with Mojo Rawley and the now suspended Eva Marie) in the Brand Split,  buzz is high for the company’s return to the Barclays Center. Spaceman Frank is here to hopefully follow up on his perfect predictions for NXT TakeOver: The End with predictions for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2.

Ember Moon vs. Billie Kay

Do I even need to say who will win this? I have been waiting for Ember Moon (formerly Athena on the independent circuit) to debut for some time, and am subsequently predicting big things for her. Kay seems to be the frontrunner of the new crop of unheralded women the WWE has debuted on NXT, but there is no way she’s coming up the winner here. At least Kay can take comfort in the fact that she has some sort of personality a.k.a. she is allowed to talk on air.

No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries

While some may see this as a demotion for Aries (having faced the number one contender Nakamura at TakeOver: The End), NXT has played this feud fairly well. Aries finally initiated his heel turn to give Jose something meaningful. I had the feeling that if NXT did not give Jose something to sink his teeth into the fans would have turned on him, but giving him The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived prevents that.

Jose could have been a joke, but showing fire and initiative against the veteran has helped him develop what could have been a one-note character. That being said, Aries is going to win this one to humble the newcomer and help keep himself in line for title contendership.

Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Bobby Roode

Roode has been killing it on the microphone, and has already made chicken salad out of chicken shit considering he alone built this feud with an opponent who’s apparently not allowed to talk in one week. Almas has quickly transitioned from the hot newcomer to just another guy in NXT, and now he’ll be the one jobbing to the next big newcomer. I have a feeling that the WWE sees money in Roode, and one day I hope to see him face off against Triple H. Until then perhaps an NXT title run is in store? Possibly even a quick call up?

The Revival vs. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)

After getting some sneaky wins over the champs, the longtime tag team finally get a shot at being them on a TakeOver program. The champions have been doing their thing for a while now, and this matchup seems natural considering there are few face tag teams in NXT these days. Many have been calling for Ciampa to turn on Johnny Wrestling after losing to him in the Cruiserweight Classic, which will likely happen at some point. I don’t see it happening at TakeOver, but instead on NXT TV (like Aries’ heel turn after The End). The Revival just got their titles back, and I don’t seem them losing them so soon after making history as the first-ever two time champs.

Asuka vs. Bayley (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

One of the most hyped matches of this TakeOver sees Bayley trying to recapture the magic of her previous NXT: Brooklyn match against the mighty Asuka. Asuka still remains undefeated, and I don’t see that changing in Booklyn. Bayley is well overdue for a callup, and her tease at Battleground hints that it’s coming sooner rather than later (like the night after SummerSlam, maybe?).

Asuka needs more time to adjust and fine tune her character to become either a face or heel, as right now it seems as though audiences don’t know whether to cheer or boo her. This may be because she is going after the top babyface in NXT’s history, but it makes more sense that Asuka wins and gives Bayley her big curtain call.

Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT Championship Match)

Joe has been on fire since winning the title, and he’s played against Nakamura’s swagger and craziness well. In particular, his reaction to the “got your nose” segment had me on the floor then praying Nakamura makes it out of Brooklyn with all his limbs. It’s tempting to say that Joe will keep his belt here to build to a rematch. It’s also likely the red-hot Nakamura wins the championship triumphantly to help Joe get to the main roster sooner as he continues to work on his English speaking skills. When push comes to shove, I believe Nakamura will win here after a brutal match that makes me wince several times in sympathy agony  (great band name).

Manopera! Episode 20: MITB 2016 – Suspensions and Speculations

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In light of Roman Reigns’ shocking suspension, our hosts break down the former WWE Champion’s possible return scenarios, review Money in the Bank 2016 and continue to speculate on the upcoming brand split.

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: The End Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

Despite the ominous title, the newest NXT TakeOver live event special is not the end of the highly praised series – but it does have some finality hanging over it.

With many of the top NXT talent already on the main roster and several more possibly leaving NXT for Raw or SmackDown! when the brand split occurs in July, this may be the last TakeOver event with some of the classic NXT talents people first latched onto when WWE first began having live specials for the developmental brand.

Here are Spaceman Frank’s predictions for NXT Takeover: The End.

Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Tye Dillinger

Poor Tye Dillinger. Despite having lots of crowd support and a marketable gimmick, the poor guy lives just to put over new talent. With so many of the old NXT guard on the main roster, would a push for “The Perfect Ten” be too much to ask?

His opponent, the former La Sombra, has been working NXT live events (as well as a dark match at NXT Takeover: Dallas) and has received rave reviews from live audiences. Random side note: I like that Andrade has “Cien” as a nickname instead of being “Cien Almas. ” As much fun as No Way Jose is, it’s hard to take him seriously with no real name. In addition, it’s rumored that Almas is going to be heavily featured in the Cruiserweight Classic this summer, so it’s pretty clear that he’s going to beat Dillinger.

America Alpha (C) vs. The Revival (NXT Tag Team Championships match)

This matchup is a big toss-up. For one, champs American Alpha are super over with the crowd and have routinely handled The Revival at live events. However, the champions are frequently discussed as the next tag team to jump to the main roster, so they could easily lose the titles and then move on. The Revival are a better version of the now broken up Blake and Murphy and shine as the talented yet generic heel tag team that make good diabolical champs. It’s time for a two time champion in NXT and The Revival will reclaim their belts so Jordan and Gable can make their leap forward.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Austin Aries

The big new dream match for The End sees the two men who debuted at NXT Takeover: Dallas clash and have an unofficial number one contenders match for the NXT Championship.

Nakamura can do no wrong at Full Sail as the crowd pops big time whenever his theme song hits. Meanwhile, Aries has the crowd begging for his heel turn; as A Double would be the perfect bad guy to slide into the main event picture. The big question here is if Aries turns on the live special or if he saves it for NXT’s weekly programming. I’m predicting Nakamura wins clean here, causing Aries to descend into madness later – making Swagsuke look good while the cameras are live.

Asuka (C) vs. Nia Jax (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

First teased at Takeover: London, this match is brimming with potential.

Asuka was able to take down Bayley, but can she handle a motivated Jax who’s been taking down every other woman on the NXT roster? Conspicuous in her absence is former champ Bayley, who (kayfabe) was injured by Jax and thus unable to get her rematch. It seems blasphemous to leave Bayley out of a TakeOver, as NXT could have easily added more drama or intrigue by having this be a triple threat or having Bayley be the guest referee. By having her out it seems plain as day that Asuka hangs on to her title so the two can have their big rematch in front of the much larger NXT Takeover: Brooklyn crowd while Jax gets valuable reps so she can be NXT’s next big heel.

Samoa Joe (C) vs Finn Balor (Steel Cage Match for the NXT Championship)

The fourth and (probably) final match  between these former friends is sure to be memorable. When it was assumed this feud was played out, NXT pulled a shocker when Joe won the NXT Championship at an untelevised show. Instead of having Balor immediately jump to the main roster to join his mates in The Club, he’s been showing more fire than ever in trying to reclaim the gold.

Joe has been perfect on the microphone as champ and I’m sure WWE wishes they could give their main roster champion Roman Reign’s half the ability this Samoan has. Throw in not only a rare stipulation but the first-ever NXT cage match at Full Sail and this could be a classic feud finisher that has been sorely lacking in this age of 50/50 WWE booking.

Both men deserve to make it to the main roster ASAP, but I see Joe retaining so WWE can begin hyping Balor coming to the main roster and Joe can lay down the groundwork for a match with Nakamura that will be so heavy Iron Maiden will write a concept album about it.

Manopera! Episode 17: WWE Payback 2016 Feedback

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What went down at WWE Payback? Chris and Frank have the answers (or at least they think they do). Find out what the boys have to say as they mull over Payback’s strong points, weak points and everything in between.

Bullet Club Must Debut at Extreme Rules

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For months WWE has been teasing the debut of the Bullet Club.

Rather than deliver the goods at what appeared to have been gift wrapped by booking, WWE continued to play mind games with the WWE Universe at both last Sunday’s WWE Payback and this past Monday Night Raw.

It now seems very obvious that possibly the hottest stable since the NWO will make their debut at WWE Extreme Rules on Sunday, May 22 in New Jersey’s Prudential Center.

Unfortunately, due to the near perfect setup at Payback it looks as though the debut will come out of necessity.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns and A.J. Styles had a phenomenal match until the (initial) finish, when Styles defeated Reigns via countout. Unsatisfied with this decision, Shane McMahon decided to restart the match and added a no countout stipulation.

This was fine until Reigns hit an accidental low blow on the challenger, resulting in a disqualification. Equal parts unhappy with the outcome and wanting to upstage her brother, Stephanie McMahon re-restarted the match with no countouts and no disqualifications to determine a clear winner.

Out came Styles buddies the Good Brothers, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson followed by Reigns’s cousins the Usos.

Things just got interesting.

The match went on with minor distractions for each competitor and their feuding cohorts as they all began brawling. It seemed as if any moment Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura would make their main roster debuts and give the WWE Universe the notorious Bullet Club.

Nope.

Instead Reigns defeated Styles with a Spear, who was given an Extreme Rules rematch at (you guessed it) Extreme Rules almost immediately by the McMahons due to his incredible performance (which is fine).

With a six man tag match main event between Styles, the Good Brothers, Reigns and the Usos set for the following Raw, it almost seemed as if the Bullet Club would surely debut the next night.

Nope.

With Extreme Rules coming up at the end of the month, the fans are getting restless and the surprise factor is fading. WWE must strike while the iron is hot or they run the risk of shooting the Bullet Club down before it has a chance to fire its first round.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Payback 2016 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

With WrestleMania 32 in the books, the WWE has wisely decided to switch Payback and Extreme Rules around on the Pay-Per-View calendar; or at least it would have been if WWE had booked more WrestleMania rematches instead going with fresh feuds (with only two feuds receiving a continuation from previous events).

Semantics aside, this Pay-Per-View has an exciting vibe to it due to those new rivalries and Payback could make up for a lackluster ‘Mania if done right. Here is Spaceman Frank’s Payback 2016 predictions.

Side note: Vince Mcmahon will be at the event to decide if either Shane or Stephanie gets control of WWE. Since this isn’t an actual match I won’t do a full prediction for it, but if I had to take a guess I’d say Stephanie gets Raw and Shane gets SmackDown! so the WWE can have their cake and eat it too.

Kickoff Match: Kalisto vs. Ryback (United States Championship Match)

One of the few ongoing rivalries from ‘Mania where both men had a surprisingly good match. WWE rewarded Kalisto and Ryback by giving them even less build for this match and another pre-show time slot.

It’s unclear what plans WWE has for the U.S. title, as it seems pushed down the card in favor of trying to rebuild the tag team division. Why we can’t have both I have no idea. With all the new talent coming in and taking up TV time, this is hurting not only both men involved, but the U.S. Championship as well (Open challenge anyone?). Kalisto wins because he is bright, colorful and will pop the crowd.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin

Corbin finally made the leap to the main roster at ‘Mania 32 with his shocking Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal victory and so far his build mirrors that of his NXT booking.

Ziggler is also being booked much like Corbin was in NXT, acting as the gatekeeper to the main event for new people trying to break the glass ceiling. The Lone Wolf has a good shot at impressing fans in his first proper Pay-Per-View match, but I see Ziggler getting the sneaky win so Corbin can beat him up some more so the two can have a match at Extreme Rules with a wacky stipulation (kiss my arse match anyone???)

Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho

Cool dad Jericho is still around trying to hang out with all the hip young people in the WWE. Ambrose is a decent opponent for the part timer, but beating Jericho won’t make up for his weak showing at ‘Mania.

Rather than build off of their incident at last year’s Night of Champions, WWE decided that this feud should play out over increasingly bland talk show segments. Considering that last month Jericho beat the WWE Championship’s number one contender A.J. Styles and Ambrose was taking on Brock Lesnar, it’s hard to get excited for this. Ambrose wins and Jericho threatens to bury more people on Raw.

The Miz vs. Cesaro (Intercontinental Championship Match)

The WWE finally get an injured wrestler back and Cesaro has been killing it as stripper James Bond despite the one-liner contest he had with The Miz on the go-home Raw.

The Miz has also been fantastic since winning the Intercontnental title and having his real-life wife Maryse on television with him. I didn’t think it was possible to want to punch The Miz in the face any more than I wanted to before, but believe it or not I actually do. Even more shocking, I see The Miz cheating to keep the championship from Cesaro as The Miz needs a legit IC title reign and at this point Cesaro doesn’t because he’s still fresh off of his triumphant return.

Charlotte vs. Natalya (Women’s Championship Match)

This match has been overshadowed in recent weeks by the behavior of the two men in each women’s corner. Ric Flair made headlines when it was rumored he was drunk at an airport, though it appears he merely injured his hand and went to an airport bar to kill time. Bret Hart on the other hand (pun intended), has openly criticized the WWE, stating that he has no interest in appearing at Payback (Way to sell the feud, fellas!).

Charlotte has hit her stride as champ, but WWE could easily give Nattie a title reign  to help build the the championship’s lineage. With outside drama overshadowing the in-ring story, I see Charlotte retaining in a good match.

Enzo & Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillians (Number One Contenders match for the WWE World Tag Team Championships)

While the Vaudevillains have quietly been a solid addition to the main roster, Enzo and Cass have absolutely crushed it since appearing on the post-‘Mania Raw.

It still seems crazy that these two teams are facing off for the number one contendership and both teams will make great foils to The New Day (who again are not defending their titles on Pay-Per-View).

The Vaudevillians will win this match for two simple reasons: First, The Vaudevillians are the only heels between the three tag teams, leading to a more natural feud. Second, if the Dudley Boyz do not interfere in this match and cost Enzo and Cass their title shot then they will be the biggest putz’s in Dudleyville for letting the rookies walk all over them.

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

The epic rivalry between these two is fully reignited after several teases and they are going to have an absolute slobberknocker of an encounter. For many fans, this match alone is the big reason to watch Payback.

If Owens and Zayn get a good amount of time this is 100 percent stealing the show. The only negative I can think of is that it seems obvious that this rivalry is continuing into Extreme Rules. Zayn gets a surprise victory followed by Owens beating The Underdog From the Underground into a pulp afterwards.

Roman Reigns vs. A.J. Styles (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)

Roman Reigns in a feud we care about (GASP!)?

With so many moving parts at play, WWE has built up a lot of potential for this match and fans are eager to see what twists and turns will play out. It seems obvious that the Good Brothers and the Usos will be factors. There’s also been subtle hints former NXT Champion Finn Balor and possibly Nakamura could also be at play here (Bullet Club debut anyone?). Throw in the potential for many different heel/face turns from everyone involved and this may be the best feud Reigns has had since becoming a main-eventer.

The only slight criticisms I have for the build is Reigns constantly repeating his “I’m the man” schtick (Even his attempts at being nonchalant seem incredibly forced. Reigns reminds me of people who constantly claim that they are “for real” and “don’t have time for fake ass people.”) and the hype surrounding this match is all about what will happen at either the end or after rather than match itself (which will be excellent). Reigns wins, Balor debuts and takes control of the Bullet Club who then lay waste to Reigns and Styles.

Manopera! Episode 16: Remembering Chyna with Bullet Club Dreams

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After the breaking news of WWE Superstar Joanie “Chyna” Laurer’s passing, Chris and Frank pay their respects to the Ninth Wonder of the World before getting into TNA’s possible new partners, WWE Payback’s build so far and fantasy booking the Bullet Club’s official WWE arrival.

Manopera! Episode 14: ‘Mania Week Part 1 – NXT TakeOver: Dallas

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As expected, WrestleMania 32 was huge – so huge that one episode alone cannot cover the events surrounding “The Granddaddy of ‘Em All.” In part one, Chris and Frank discuss NXT TakeOver: Dallas in vivid detail.