Tag Archives: Sting

Re-Booking WrestleMania 32 With Injured Superstars

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by Frank Lucci

Injuries have been the biggest story of WWE this past year, with the company suffering so many setbacks they might have inducted the Godfather into the Hall of Fame in hopes he turns back into Papa Shango and reverses whatever curse the company has over them.

It’s no doubt that with the exception of last-minute star power from yesteryear, WrestleMania 32 lost some luster. Considering the state of the active roster, many fans wonder what the biggest show of the year would have looked like with the WWE at full strength.

Spaceman Frank is here to do one better and fantasy book ‘Mania 32 with only injured WWE and NXT wrestlers.

Here are the rules:

  1. Only wrestlers who are confirmed or rumored to be injured at the time of this writing (March 31, 2016) will be included in the card with two exceptions: The Undertaker (because it would not be WrestleMania without him) and Titus O’Neil (because he is suspended through WrestleMania for bullshit reasons).
  2. No Daniel Bryan because his injury forced him into retirement, however Sting is still eligible due to the fact that he had refused to say he is calling it a career at the time of this writing.
  3. Champions will be the same as WrestleMania 31 (because they are all on the inactive list) with the obvious exception of Daniel Bryan as Intercontinental Champion. To recap: that means Seth Rollins is WWE World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena is United States Champion, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd are Tag Team Champions, and Nikki Bella is Divas Champion.

Kickoff Pre-show Match: Hideo Itami vs. Neville

After his showing at the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31, Itami jumps to the main roster and finds a niche among NXT fans and those who appreciate his hard-hitting style. Neville follows suit after a series of vignettes (instead of just one roughly 45 minutes before his debut).

The two smaller yet talented superstars manage to avoid a clash for some time, until the two begin a friendly rivalry after a confrontation during the Royal Rumble. They warm up the crowd with their fast-paced styles until Neville hits the Red Arrow to pick up the victory. Itami then attacks Neville and begins an epic post-Mania rivalry.

Titus O’Neil vs. Randy Orton

Orton bounces around in his generic babyface role until he snaps and becomes his slightly less generic heel role. Meanwhile, “Big Deal” Titus O’Neil has gradually won over the WWE Universe due to being an all around nice guy, legit athlete, 2015 Celebrity Dad of the Year and having a fiery comeback that rivals Hulk Hogan (I may be a big Titus fan).

O’neil finally gets a big singles push against The Viper when he eliminates him from the Royal Rumble. This causes Orton to snap, injuring O’neil’s tag team partner Darren Young and several attempts to make Titus look like a terrible family man.

With his status as Celebrity Dad of the Year hanging in the balance, O’neil brings it to Orton until the voices in Orton’s head tell him to DQ himself by hitting the mega-dad with a steel chair; setting up a hardcore rematch between the two at Payback and finally the first-ever “Celebrity Dad of the Year Award on a Pole” match at Extreme Rules.

Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (C) vs. Alberto Del Rio and William Regal (Tag Team Championship Match)

The “Brass Ring Club” (as dubbed by fans of Kidd and Cesaro) are the highly talented tag team with a bone to pick with The Authority. Cesaro is still resentful over Vince Mcmahon’s harsh assessment of him on Stone Cold’s podcast while Kidd is angry he had to claw his way back to the main roster from NXT.

They wage war with WWE management until Triple H brings in some ringers to stop the duo. Those ringers turn out to be Del Rio (who may or may not be hurt, but since he is not working live shows I’m including him here) and NXT commissioner William Regal (who recently had neck surgery and for storyline purposes comes back for one last shot at glory). The League of Nations cannot beat the Swiss-Canadian connection, who eventually convince the League to join them as the much more diplomatically efficient United Nations.

Nikki Bella (C) vs. Dana Brooke (Divas Championship Match)

Nikki Bella, the longest reigning Divas champ of all time runs through the roster searching for a worthy adversary. Eventually one of her rivals, Emma, brings in her protege’ Dana Brooke to try and take on Nikki.

Brooke claims to be a younger, fitter and most importantly prettier Diva, but falls victim to twin magic at Fastlane. Brooke demands a rematch between the two with a special stipulation: to avoid the Bellas potentially cheating again, the two Total Divas meet inside a steel cage. To further the drama and cross pollination with the Total Divas reality show, Rosa Mendes (who is out with maternity leave) is the special guest referee.

Brooke uses her strength to throw Nikki around, but Brie climbs the cage to dive on Dana. This being Brie, she accidentally takes down Mendes and Nikki instead. Brooke sprints out the cage door to win the belt, giving Nikki an excuse for a rematch (due to Brooke winning the title via the lamest way possible).

John Cena (C) vs. Luke Harper (United States Championship match)

Cena dominates everyone during his reign as US champ because America.

After weeks of seeing every up and coming Superstar lose the US Open Challenge, fans are ready for something new. Harper steps up to the plate with Bray Wyatt giving his blessing for his disciple to take on his former rival.

The two have an epic match, with Harper showing why Cena himself calls him the most underutilized wrestler on the roster. While Harper doesn’t walk away with gold, he does turn face through a hearty American-sized handshake from Cena. This leads to a feud with Wyatt for Harper and more open challenges for Cena.

Bray Wyatt (C) vs. Sting (Intercontinental Championship Match)

Wyatt wins the Intercontinental Championship at Elimination Chamber after Daniel Bryan is forced to give it up in a match rather than the depressing way things happened in real life. Bray uses the Wyatt Family to help him keep the title as he cuts promos promising to hold the belt indefinitely to deprive the WWE Universe of one of it’s most sacred prizes.

The vicious gang attacks draw the ire of Sting, who goes old-school on the family by descending from the rafters to beat them down with a baseball bat. This leads to weeks of spooky guy videos from the two with no actual encounters between Sting and Wyatt.hisAt WrestleMania Bray and Sting fight for the gold and also to avoid being known as the guy who always loses his feuds. Sting looks to have everything locked up, but Wyatt reverses a Stinger Splash into a Ura-Nage slam and gets the win. Sting decides to hang up with boots as an active competitor and instead becomes Commissioner of the WWE to continue to fight injustice.

Seth Rollins (C) vs. The Undertaker (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match – if The Undertaker loses he must retire)

Rollins is the slimy champ you can’t help but respect in the ring.

With The Authority backing him he beats each and every challenger one way or another. He feels invincible until Undertaker wins the Royal Rumble. Rollins’ usual tricks to injure his opponents fail due to Taker’s veteran instincts (and, you know, magic). However, at Fastlane Rollins wins a match that lets him choose the stipulation for his WrestleMania dance with the Deadman. He decides that the main event of WrestleMania will be Title vs. Career, with ‘Taker being forced to retire if he loses.

In front of tens of thousands of fellow Texans Undertaker pushes Rollins to his crossfit limits, but Rollins wins in the end with a ridiculous Pedigree/Curbstomp combo. WrestleMania ends with the massive crowd cheering Taker and the roster lining the entrance ramp to show their respect to the Deadman. The last shot is Vince Mcmahon  holding up Undertaker’s arm as pyro goes off behind them.

 

Manopera! Episode 12: Roadblock and a Half Shell

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After a brief hiatus, Manopera is back with a vengeance. Chris and the Spaceman talk WWE Roadblock, WrestleMania and more in a podcast sure to knock you’re New Day socks off (we know you bought them).

WWE 24 – WrestleMania: Silicon Valley

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by Frank Lucci

WWE 24 is a great concept for original programming on the WWE Network, but so far only a few episodes have been produced. Immediately following the Royal Rumble however, the WWE released a new episode following several superstars in the immediate lead up to WrestleMania 31.

How does it stack up to previous entries that chronicled WrestleMania 30 and NXT Takeover: Brooklyn? Spaceman Frank has the answers.

Authors note: Don’ t know why they subtitled this Silicon Valley. Is Santa Clara copyrighted? Why not just call it WWE 24: WrestleMania 31?

Sting is first, and as he arrives at his hotel there are dozens of fans waiting for him. Good guy Sting signs autographs and takes photos. Sting runs into Ricky Steamboat and they share some dad humor. Sting looks like a CEO of a tech conglomerate that always shows up to the office late because his morning workout went long.

We then see various WWE personnel doing press for a wide variety of outlets until we settle on Roman Reigns. Reigns talks about how he feels it is fate to headline WrestleMania in his favorite football teams (49’ers) stadium. One of the many production members Jason Robinson talks about the several week setup for the WrestleMania set. This is a huge production which is cool to see. In addition, we see how having a WrestleMania in the daylight affected the design of the stage.

Cue the Axxess montage. Several wrestlers are interviewed, but the highlight is Zack Ryder confronting a fan for buying Seth Rollins merch instead of his. The Ultimate Warrior statue is unveiled as we see the late legend’s ex-wife and daughters tear up.

Don’t blink because here comes the Hall of Fame montage. Although nothing too exciting initially as it is all footage from the ceremony with small bits of candid backstage talk. The highlight again being Ultimate Warrior’s and Connor the Crusher’s family being honored with a hard shift in emotion from the previous fun and excitement vibe from before.

We get to the big day and (shocker) everyone is nervous, particularly Seth Rollins (working his first singles match at ‘Mania) and Paige (wrestling in front of her mom). Cool guy Reigns drops an F bomb before we cut to the crew trying to get everything together hours before the event. My biggest question is how they got the tank for Rusev into the stadium, where the biggest disappointment of the show is that it ignores this completely. Good guy Sting continues to be super grateful to be there and Paige refers to Kid Ink and Travis Barker as “superstars” (right….).

Paige tries to knock out an interview only for Scott Hall, X-Pac, Kevin Nash (wearing a gold helmet of all things) and Shawn Michaels to drive into the shot on a golf cart.

Can we get a show featuring these guys just causing shenanigans?

We spend a long time seeing how the Triple H/Terminator entrance came together. This tidbit is fairly cool, but I thought his entrance was just OK when I saw it live (It ain’t no tank!).  Several NXT guys are interviewed being super stoked that they get to wear masks and stand in the middle of the fog during the entrance.

Showtime! Paige continues to be nervous as we see the participants of the opening ladder match warming up (I guess pre-show match people didn’t warrant being shown). Luke Harper is briefly seen before they actually go into the match (Another missed opportunity: seeing how Stardust’s ridiculous outfit and bedazzled ladder came into being). We then get more focus on Paige being nervous, so much so you forget that three other women are in her match.

Next are some quick highlights of Rollins vs. Orton before we see Sting preparing for his WWE debut. Easily the highlight of the show, Sting is getting pumped for his match while trying to come to grips with the scale of it all. Vince McMahon gives him a hug and some words of encouragement as good guy Sting is just happy for the opportunity to be there. This is great stuff and really makes you fall in love with Sting as a person and not just a character. It’s also nice to see Stephanie McMahon yell “Get ’em, Sting” as the NXT guys cheer him on before his entrance to get him psyched ( The poor guy probably needed that based on his blank expression as the ‘Mania crowd is easily his biggest audience in a long time if not ever).  Triple H enters and the match goes well. Wrestlers watch backstage looking like excited kids, especially John Cena with a big grin on his face (cue Hulk Hogan alert!).

Montage of random moments from the show are then dragged down by having to hear the lackluster live performance of the WrestleMania 31 theme song. We skip over  Cena and Rusev’s US Championship match (why all the tank hate, guys?) and The Rock’s segment to get to Paige’s match. Paige is so nervous that she has to be told by the cameraman to keep moving down the ramp (dawwwww). Afterward the match she has a touching moment with her mom as A Day to Remember guitarist and boyfriend Kevin Skaff just stands there awkwardly.

Undertaker is here.

This is followed by some quick footage of him backstage with Brock Lesnar exchanging words of advice. It’s funny to see ‘Taker being human before he gets in the zone. Footage of his match with Wyatt plays as Rollins talks about how Reigns is “like, such a cool dude” (really sick of WWE getting Reign’s much more talented friends to try and convince us of how great he is).

Reigns is awkwardly trying to get pumped up for his entrance in front of a bunch of fans as Lesnar looks like he is ready to murder someone. More montage of in-ring action where the best part is seeing Reign’s laugh followed by a fan yelling “Stop laughing Roman, it’s not funny.” Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase and we get a cool shot of him sprinting out from backstage. Rollins wins and he is understandably blown away. Cue the montage of people hugging Rollins even though he looks pretty gross (how much do wrestlers spend on dry cleaning?) followed by the ending montage and we are out.

Overall, this is a decent way to kill 40 minutes. Sting steals the show as the dude is just so humble and comes off really well. While not as good as the Takeover: Brooklyn show, WrestleMania 31: Silicon Valley still shows some pretty candid moments behind the scenes. There are a little too many montages of footage we’ve seen before but this is the WWE and we know how much they like recapping things.

Manopera – Episode 3: Night of Champions (and Part Timers)

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Mr. Bonesaw and Spaceman Frank go over WWE Night of Champions.

Topics include, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker’s upcoming Hell in a Cell match, Charlotte’s Divas Championship victory, the Tag Team division, Sting’s injury, and their thoughts on Seth Rollins next opponent – Kane. Frank gives his account of WWE’s Rochester live event.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Night of Champions Predictions

By Frank Lucci

The WWE has managed to sneakily put together a pretty stacked card for Night of Champions, and on paper this pay-per-view has the potential to be one of the best of 2015. However, the key words in the previous sentence is “on paper,” and the company could ruin any of these exciting matchups faster than you can say exploding monitors (seriously, did we ever see that thing ever again?). Anyway, on to Spaceman Frank’s Night of Champions 2015 predictions.

Preshow match: The Lucha Dragons and Neville vs. Cosmic Wasteland (Stardust and the Ascension)

Can Stardust, Neville, R-Truth and King Barrett form a group called The Protectors of the Preshow and just be done with it? The WWE does not seem willing to push these wrestlers higher up the card despite the four doing the best with the scraps they are given. WIth Neville winning at Summerslam I see Stardust and his new henchmen getting the win in what can be a very exciting match. Hopefully then all those involved can find a more worthy spot on the card (Cosmic Wasteland harassing Rybak and Neville challenging for the US Championship with an actual storyline attached would be grand).

Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev (with Summer Rae)

So Rusev is a heel because he dumped his girlfriend, shacked up with a new girl (who looks suspiciously like the old girl, least we know he has a type), and then acts like a pig. Ziggler on the other hand is clearly the face cause he…um…makes out with a dude’s ex in front of him and and dresses like a bully from any 80’s movie ever? Sure why not. With Lana hurt and a mixed tag match seemly not gonna happen, hopefully this feud between Eskimo brothers dies after this and everyone can move on. My prediction: Damien Sandow shows up, gets both girls, and struts out of the building like a boss. Real Prediction: Rusev wins and starts regaining some of the momentum he had as US Champ.

Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and TBA vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Braun Strowman)

The last of the matches at Night of Champions to not have a title involved, this match largely depends on the mystery man joining Ambrose and Reigns. With names such as Randy Orton, Jimmy Uso,  and a returning Erik Rowan being thrown out along with surprises such as Chris Jericho and The Rock(!!!), this is the match that could be a dark horse or a flop. If the sixth man lives up to the hype and everyone does their part this could be a very good match. On the other hand, if the live crowd turns on the mystery man and the shenanigans that seem to follow Wyatt leak into this match this could be a major disappointment. Look for the Wyatt Family to sneak out a win after the Summerslam loss (barring a major surprise return) and perhaps a six man tag Hell in a Cell match?

The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E, and/or Xavier Woods) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley) (WWE Tag Team Championship Match

The New Day simply are the best reason to watch WWE’s weekly programming, but the Dudley’s have been red hot since they returned the Raw after Summerslam. The champs deserve to retain based on their stellar work, and with Woods most likely waiting on the outside to cause a distraction or perhaps use the trombone as a foreign object to cause the DQ it is probable they will. That being said, the WWE might want to strike while the iron is hot with the boys from Dudleyville, and either outcome will be welcome to me. With all the talent involved this may sneak in as best match of the night.

P.S TRICEP MEAT YO

Ryback vs. Kevin Owens (Intercontinental Championship Match)

With the WWE giving the least amount of hype out of the four championship matches to this match, it is hard to feel as much excitement for Owen’s chase of the IC belt as the US belt.  The sad part is that Ryback has been doing well as champ, and it will be interesting to see if Ryback can build upon his momentum with an opponent that will force him to step up as oppose to an opponent that is largely immobile and sweats gallons after five minutes (cough). Bet on Ryback retaining in a decent match that will most likely be the best match for Ryback as champ and Owen’s worst pay-per-view match since joining the main roster.

Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte (Divas Championship match)

With the DIva’s Revolution stalling, this match needs to deliver. Now that all the drama surrounding if Nikki Bella would become the longest reigning Divas Champ of all time is in the books, it seems likely the WWE legitimizes the revolution with Charlotte winning. However, despite the Bella’s not being able to retain via DQ Team Bad may interfere or a member of PCB (cough Paige cough) could cost Charlotte her chance at the title. At this point i would be happy to see the three teams disband to pursue the title individually to keep things fresh, as there is only so many times the teams can face each other with nothing on the line and keep things interesting.

Seth Rollins vs. John Cena (US Championship match)

Keeping with the theme of “this could be good unless the WWE writers screw this up” this match could be good…unless the WWE writers screw this up. With Jon Stewart out of the picture these two could have a stellar match with a much cleaner finish, especially if my pick to win John Cena walks away with the belt. WIth Rollins having to work two matches the quality could be down somewhat, but with Captain Crossfit and his bag of tricks nobody will notice if he saves some energy for later. Cena winning is almost guaranteed considering Rollins seemingly giving two shits about the secondary title and Cena being who he is, but the journey should be fun.

Seth Rollins vs. Sting (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)

Will Sting become the oldest champ in WWE history? Will Sheamus cash in? If he does, who will be champ? Will Ric Flair betray Sting after hitting his head and waking up thinking it is 1995 again? Will Triple H slap Sting with a bill for the destroyed statue? All these questions could be answered Sunday night. Rollins winning seems likely, but if the WWE decided to either A) give Sting a win and put him in the history books as one of their champs or B) have Sheamus cash in and walk out champ to try and drum up interest in the product during football season could very well happen. The crowd will certainly be into this match to start, but if Sting shows his age or if Rollins is fatigued from working two matches this could be a Taker vs. Lesnar situation. Expect decent but underwhelming work with most of the interest with what happens post-match rather than what happens during the match.  

Manopera – Ep. 1: WWE SummerSlam 2015 Extravaganza

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Welcome to Manopera – A Wrestling Symposium. Join hosts Chris “Mr. Bonesaw” Butera and “Spaceman” Frank Hickey (aka Frank Lucci) as they discuss professional wrestling with brutal honesty.

In this premiere episode, the boys lay the SmackDown on WWE’s epic SummerSlam weekend in Brooklyn, NY. Witness Butera’s first-hand accounts of NXT Takeover and last week’s Monday Night Raw as well as Lucci’s commentarial thrills, spills and chills.

Bonesaw Podcast Episode 6: Chris and Frank Shoot on Wrestlemania 31

Episode 6 goes off with a bang as Chris Butera is joined by Frank Lucci once again to talk smack about the ‘wrasslin. Listen in as the boys go off on their favorite (and least favorite) Wrestlemania 31 and post-‘Mania Raw moments. New Jersey thrashers Condition Critical are featured.

Help Chris and friends out with their Thrash Metal Barbecue: www.kickstarter.com/projects/206782…ash-bash-bbq-iv

Like Condition Critical here: www.facebook.com/ConditionCriticalNJ

Thoughts on Wrestlemania 31

Sunday we saw a plethora of a Wrestlemania moments including Triple H defeating Sting, The Undertaker’s redemption, and Seth Rollins make history by being the first Money in the Bank winner to not only cash in his contract at the show of shows, but during the championship match as well.

Long story short, pretty much all of the right people won with the exception of Sting. While the match itself was alright for two legendary competitors, there were too many theatrics involved with the finish (and the entrances to boot) and this tainted Sting vs. Triple H instead of it being the clinic it could have been. With all this buildup, Sting should have received the victory but it was not to be by way of the sledgehammer.

The Undertaker’s victory over Bray Wyatt was one of his better ‘Mania matches due to the innate psychology that the match was built around. The exorcist/sit up spot was something fans must have been dreaming about for some time as there were definitely chills up the spines of those watching.

Daniel Bryan is going to boost the prestige of the Intercontinental Championship and deserved the win. The headbutt war with Dolph Ziggler was questionable and probably looked better on paper, but overall it was a very good ladder match. All competitors did a great job especially Luke Harper and Dean Ambrose who put their bodies on the line.

Paige and AJ winning without any issues between the two was good but it was interesting that there was no animosity involved in the match.

Like Bryan with the Intercontinental Championship, John Cena is going to boost the United States Championship like never before. Cena’s “Rocky Balboa” got the story book ending against Rusev’s “Ivan Drago” which was much needed and doesn’t taint the Bulgarian Brute at all. We’ll just have to see how his character is handled from here on to see where he goes but the man can work. His omega-Russian entrance was one of the highlights of the night.

The Rock and Triple H’s segment started off well but dragged for far too long. After awhile it became obvious that they were waiting for Santa Clara to get darker for The Undertaker’s arrival. If you’re watching on the network it’s best to just skip to the end where Ronda Rousey gets involved. This should have been saved for Raw with a match or two being inserted in its place.

Who chooses Wrestlemania’s musical guests and why do they have them perform at all? It’s clear that WWE’s demographic does not care when there is minimal participation in the act and maximum participation at the concession stands and/or restrooms.

Big Show wining the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal was surprising from a storyline standpoint but not from a logical one. Show is after all, a giant and it would have been a shame if he didn’t win one of these. Miz vs. Mizdow is still happening and that’s all anybody wanted out of this match anyway.

Randy Orton’s victory over Seth Rollins moves the feud nicely especially with the events that unfolded later on. WWE is striking this feud while the iron is still hot with greater stakes and kudos to them. Check the height on that RKO again, Rollin’s must be at least eight feet in the air before he hits the mat for the three count.

Last but not least Brock Lesnar looked as dominant as ever and Roman Reigns looked decent as well. This was the most believable match WWE could have had with the outcome being the only realistic scenario to get the title off the champion. Reign’s comeback was a nice touch and Lesnar’s bloodshed is proof that WWE needs more of it (but not too much) in there product. Save the non-PG stuff for the Pay-Per-Views and it’ll be all right. Rollins is already going to be one of the best heel champions ala Ric Flair’s weasel tactics.

We can’t wait for next year.

Wrestlemania 31 Predictions

Tonight in Santa Clara, California’s Levy’s Stadium WWE will answer all of the questions that have been building in the minds of the WWE Universe for nearly a year at Wrestlemania 31.

Will Roman Reigns begin his first World Heavyweight Championship reign upon conquering Brock Lesnar?

Will Bray Wyatt defeat a broken Undertaker to become the new face of fear?

Will Sting dethrone Triple H?

Will John Cena break Rusev’s undefeated streak and become the United States Champion once again?

When is Seth Rollins going to cash in his Money in the Bank contract?

Here’s what we think might occur on the grandest stage of them all.

Fatal Four Way for the Tag Team Championships – Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (c) vs. The New Day vs. Los Matadores vs. The Usos: Cesaro and Kidd have become the unlikely duo to hold gold lately and deserve a strong run to finally break through the glass ceiling. However, The Usos are looking to regain their titles as well. The New Day and Los Matadores are clearly the filler teams and unfortunately round out the Tag Team division for the most part. Since The Usos’s father Rikishi is being inducted into this years WWE Hall of Fame Class, it is a pretty safe bet that they will get the Wrestlemania “feel good” moment; thus retaining their Tag Team Championships.

Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match – “Bad News” Barrett (c) vs. R-Truth vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust: Every man, woman and child in the WWE Universe is rooting for Bryan to walk out of Wrestlemania with gold, but it is probably not what is going to happen. With so many competitors, WWE is sure to throw a swerve in this match. Stardust will be the dark horse victor, becoming the new Intercontinental Champion to raise the stakes in his continuing feud with Golddust.

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton: This is a match that has been building for quite some time. Rollins and Orton will tear down the house in a solid 20 minute match. Orton will get the upper hand many times, but due to outside interference from Rollin’s Authority buddies, The Viper is going to get Curb Stomped into oblivion.

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal: There are a bunch of neat mini-feuds bubbling in this cauldron of a match with The Miz vs. Mizdow being the proverbial nail sticking out the most. Our money is on either The Miz or Ryback.

Divas Tag Team Match – AJ Lee and Paige vs. The Bella Twins: While AJ and Paige have become “frienemies” again, the magic is going to have to end sometime due to the common goal of taking the Divas Championship from Nikki Bella’s waist. This match should be a Fatal Four Way for the Divas Championship, but unfortunately it isn’t. The Bellas will win due to their chemistry defeating Lee and Paige’s dissension.

United States Championship Match – Rusev (c) vs. John Cena: Rusev will be pushed to the limit, but he will not be enough for Cena in WWE’s retelling of “Rocky IV”. Cena will emerge victorious, bringing the United States Championship back to the good ol’ U. S. of A.

Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker: Wyatt and ‘Taker will tell a great story in the ring. This tale of redemption needs The Undertaker to come out on top, avenge his broken Wrestlemania streak and hopefully face Sting in what should be their swansong at Wrestlemania 32.

Sting vs. Triple H: This should have happened years ago but the fact that we are getting it at all is well worth the wait. The match will be slowly paced, but will be a highlight in both men’s storied careers. The Vigilante Sting will come out on top before challenging The Undertaker the following night on Raw.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match – Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns: It all seemed like WWE was going forward with the “original plan” and have Reigns slay Paul Heyman’s beast, but that all changed Wednesday when Lesnar announced that he had signed a multi-year deal with WWE. Now that it is confirmed that Lesnar will stay with his current employer, does that mean that he will be adding Reigns’ list to his World Heavyweight Championship reign of terror? It will be interesting to see where this goes, but we feel that it’s now or never for Reigns to shine and Vince McMahon knows that. This is why we feel that the “original plan” will stick and Reigns will walk out of Wrestlemania as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion with Rollins waiting in the wings to unsuccessfully cash in his Money in the Bank contract.

Thoughts on WWE Fastlane

Sunday night, the WWE Universe saw Roman Reigns defeat Daniel Bryan in a clinic, Bray Wyatt call out The Undertaker, Stng and Triple H confirming a Wrestlemania match and Rusev dominating John Cena. Here are our thoughts on Fastlane overall.

The event for the most part was solid although some of the finishes were awkward (Goldust vs. Stardust, Dean Ambrose vs. Wade Barrett) due to some clumsy officiating.

Randy Orton’s return was much needed as it gave Fastlane the much needed jump start to pump the crowd for the rest of the evening. Orton RKOing everyone in sight was a great touch that people sorely missed. Ziggler and Rollins told a great story in the ring with all the big men playing their babyface and hell personas well, ending with a clever heel finish no one saw coming.

Cesaro and Tyson Kidd taking the Tag Team titles from The Usos was a pleasant surprise as the story was built to look like The Usos would come out on top as they usually do. Hopefully a promising run will follow for the new team as they delivered some solid in-ring action with the flying Samoans. With the way things went on Raw, this angle is definitely not over.

Nikki Bella succeeded in defending her Divas Championship against Paige which was the right way to go. Paige needs to pull off the big win at Wrestlemania for the true payoff.

Goldust and Stardust put on a solid encounter relying heavily on psychology. The match had an old look to it as it was slow paced with short bursts of action thrown in. The finish however, was very awkward as the referee not only hesitated the final count but may not have actually hit the three before he called the match. If Fastlane was the warm-up, Wrestlemania had better contain round two for the Dust brothers.

Dean Ambrose and Wade Barrett also had a decent showdown built around psychology, but it too suffered an odd finish due to officiating. While the disqualification rule was accurate, no five count was given by the referee which may have had many scratching their heads. Ambrose stealing the Intercontinental title was a nice touch and a slick reference to Stone Cold and The Rock’s 1997/1998 feud over the coveted championship. The Fatal Four Way (teased on Raw) would be a great addition to the title hunt scenario.

Rusev asserted dominance and brute force in his victory over John Cena in his United States Championship defense. Cena sold well for Rusev and made him look like a million bucks. The two told a great story though it was slightly soured with the low blow. It looked like there would be more to Lana’s involvement but the right man went over in this case. Cena defeating Rusev at Wrestlemania would not damage the Bulgarian Brute because its purpose would be to give the crowd one of the many “feel good moments” Wrestlemania is known for.

Before we get to Bryan and Reigns, there were two excellent segments between Bray Wyatt, Sting and Triple H.

Wyatt mimicking The Undertaker’s classic entrance was perfect and completely unexpected. Having The Eater of Worlds deliver the best promo of his career in the casket was one of the smartest things WWE could have done to build this angle. Wyatt is on the road to a bright future with WWE if they continue to push him as a supernatural monster. Having said that, Wyatt should not defeat Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Leave the one in 21-1 alone.

Triple H cut a scathing promo on Sting, shooting on how WCW did because of people like him. This needed to be a worked shoot and it definitely was as H dug his proverbial claws into the soul of Sting, who watched with fire in his eyes. Just as it looked that the Cerebral Assassin would annihilate Sting with his trusty sledgehammer, The Vigilante had him dead to rights with the baseball bat. Utilizing his master’s degree in (in-ring) psychology, Sting issued his challenge without words in what was surely one of the finest moments in WWE history.

Finally, the main event.

Reigns and Bryan delivered a stunning performance that had the WWE Universe on the edge of their seats for the entire ride. The finish was unpredictable as the tide could have turned either way on the contenders. Bryan looks more and more like Shawn Michaels every time he laces up those boots. Reigns was pushed to the limit and looked great in what was easily the best match of his career so far. The right man won the battle with a good, clean win. Reigns will challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 31, and we can’t wait.