Tag Archives: Wrestlemania

Spaceman Frank’s Royal Rumble 2016 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

The Royal Rumble is once again upon us, this time with the special twist that Roman Reigns will defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the Royal Rumble match.

As discussed on the Manopera podcast, the WWE has actually put in an effort to make this year’s Rumble match seem more unpredictable, which should help make the Pay-Per-View better than last year. Throw in a solid undercard and this could be the year the Rumble gets back on track. And with that here are Spaceman Frank’s Royal Rumble 2016 predictions.

Kickoff Match: Darren Young and Damien Sandow vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) vs. Mark Henry and Jack Swagger (Winning team gets into the Royal Rumble Match)

This is pretty much a throwaway match as none of these guys have a shot of doing anything significant in the Rumble. Does Darren Young teaming with Damien Sandow mean Titus O’neil is in the Rumble already? Hopefully we get Sandow doing his stunt double stuff again otherwise this will be an even bigger waste of time. Also, the Dudley Boyz have really fallen off the map after coming in hot as hell this summer. Honestly, I see Mark Henry (who I thought was already confirmed for the Rumble) and Jack Swagger winning as they are both veterans and can operate separately once the Rumble match actually starts.

Alberto Del Rio (C) vs. Kalisto (US Championship Match)

Boy has the WWE screwed this one up. After a meaningful title change to Kalisto that was immediately followed up with Del Rio winning the championship back I could not care less about this match. I would rather have John Cena show up in a sling to defend the belt over this match. While both men are talented, this has “filler” written all over it as Del Rio also has the Rumble later and Kalisto is killing time until Sin Cara comes back. What a wasted opportunity to elevate Kalisto, who could be the next Rey Mysterio if given the chance. Del Rio wins and everyone else loses.

The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and/or Xavier Woods) (c) vs. The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) (Tag Title Match)

Despite having a war of words with Chris Jericho for several weeks, it looks like the New Day will be facing off against The Usos at the PPV. My guess is “cool dad Jericho” couldn’t find a partner to tolerate his bumbling ways and will instead focus on ruining the Rumble instead of The New Day. While this matchup has potential, the WWE has not given fans much to buy into this storyline besides The Usos being the choice of the people while The New Day is the choice of the IWC (who don’t count as people). The New Day need to refocus after a few on and off weeks and while this should be a fun match, the trio also has the Rumble later on. I see them winning via DQ and this feud dragging for months on end.

Charlotte (c) (with Ric Flair) vs. Becky Lynch (Divas Title Match)

Simply put, this is the best feud going on in the WWE right now. An easy to follow storyline with Charlotte embracing her inner Flair (minus the part where she elbow drops sport coats and starts bleeding during the match) and turning on her friend. Becky Lynch, once an afterthought of the Divas Revolution, has nailed everything given to her by the WWE and has shown why she was called up over other NXT divas. In particular, she plays the fiery babyface very well in promos, and acts very much like Ricky Steamboat, another famous Flair rival. Hopefully these two women get a shot at delivering in the ring after a solid build. With Charlotte having her dad in the corner I expect her to cheat to win, or perhaps Sasha Banks and Team Bad will reintroduce themselves by interrupting the match to set up future storylines.

Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose (c) (Last Man Standing Match for the Intercontinental Championship)

Another feud with a good storyline. These two outstanding grapplers have a chance to steal the show (as always), especially if the Royal Rumble match fails to deliver. Owens has gotten back on track after some lackluster feuds as with Ambrose breaking away from just being Reigns super rad friend and coming into his own as champ. Last Man Standing fits these two so well and I expect an epic brawl  between them. While I see Ambrose retaining, I also see Owens keeping his vicious streak alive by taking out Ambrose afterwards and preventing him from helping his buddy Reigns in the Rumble. This will also keep Owens’ status as the Authority’s off the books boy (as he always seems to be going along with their plans but has yet to join them) and make him look strong despite the loss.

Royal Rumble Match (Winner is WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

This match was discussed at great length on the Manopera podcast, so I will hit the main bullet points here. In essence, this match boils down to a handful of wrestlers and what sort of surprises the WWE has in store. I joked that Reigns will win if given the number one spot in the Rumble and lo and behold they did it. This makes me think that Reigns is walking out as champ, but WWE has been overdue for a real swerve.

The only other outcome I can see is Triple H entering himself at number 30 and winning the championship due to the rumored Reigns vs Triple H main event for Wrestlemania. Brock Lesnar figures to be a big factor as well, but I feel as though he will end up being eliminated by Bray Wyatt to set up a match between the two. As for AJ Styles and the other New Japan wrestlers who may be heading to the WWE, I can only see Styles debuting at the Rumble (as he is the most well known) and doing fairly well. In addition, I hope to see at least one NXT wrestler show up as well as a couple of cool legends (but we will probably get Kevin Nash since he always seems to show up at the Rumble).

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Manopera! Episode 9: Chris & Frank Predict the 2016 Royal Rumble Winner

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Chris and Frank make their bold predictions for the 2016 Royal Rumble winner and possible WrestleMania storylines that could (and should) follow as well as discussing their top five favorite (and least favorite) Rumble matches of all time.

 

Solving the Bray Wyatt Problem

 

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The story of WWE’s Bray Wyatt is troubling.

When he debuted on the main roster in 2013, he was considered the next big star. His promos were incredible, his wrestling abilities were above average for men of his size and his faction carried a following. Wyatt was very over initially because he was very into his character.  While his first feud with Kane was mediocre at best, fans looked past it and have mostly forgotten it as the flash-in-the-pan as it was because of confusion surrounding the booking and at least Wyatt defeated The Demon.

Over the next eight months, The Eater of Worlds was sparingly used while his family did the dirty work for him, cutting electric promos in the wake of destruction. His feuds with Daniel Bryan and The Shield were amazing and elevated The Wyatt Family to the degree everyone hoped. It seemed Wyatt was poised to become the top heel by the end of 2014.

Until his horrendous feud with John Cena reared its ugly head.

Wyatt cut weeks of brilliant promos only to once again become another obstacle for “Big Match John” to shrug off and overcome like he always does. Wyatts matches with Cena were very one-sided and did not elevate either talent. The only match Wyatt wound up winning was a cage match at Extreme Rules 2014 thanks to the help of a questionably possessed child.

You read that right.

While Cena went on to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the rest of Wyatt’s 2014 resulted in very meaningless midcard feuds with Chris Jericho, Ryback and R-Truth (this isn’t a jab at the talents Wyatt was working with, the problem is that WWE has made it very clear over the past few years that these are the “we have nothing for you” feuds with the exception of Jericho; who returns simply to put others over – which is a very nice but overused gesture). He also dissolved his stable for unknown and illogical reasons. It looked as if Wyatt was on the rise when he feuded with fan favorite Dean Ambrose, but sadly creative dropped the ball yet again when Wyatt became victorious thanks to a TV that exploded at random in an otherwise good match.

2015 was no different. Wyatt feuded with The Undertaker and Roman Reigns on multiple occasions but sadly never went over and wound up looking like a false prophet rather than “The New Face of Fear” he claims himself to be. Even after reforming his faction and adding a powerhouse in Braun Strowman, Wyatt continued to look like a joke due to poor booking. Although Wyatt did round out the year by defeating the ECW Originals team consisting of The Dudley Boyz, Rhyno and Tommy Dreamer, no one seemed to care because all of these men were in their 40’s and it would have not been believable otherwise (which is the main reason why Wyatt’s Undertaker feud may have done Wyatt more harm than good).

Not only did Wyatt lose most of his big matches in 2015, but he was booked into a horrific routine. Wyatt would come out, cut a cryptic promo, send his family out to attack whoever he was feuding with, lose the big match and then act as if nothing happened the following night. The few times he did win, it was made obvious. Wyatt has been booked so badly into oblivion that it seems that he may wind up as a comedic face in the near future.

The 2016 Royal Rumble has the potential to 180 Wyatt’s problematic situation.

Being that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is on the line, WWE would be wise to have Wyatt hold the gold at the end of the 30 man Battle Royal.

Have Wyatt enter at some point in the middle but not officially enter the ring until all four members are in the match at the same time. Wyatt moves along with his pawns and the entire faction lays waste to the entire locker room. The final eight participants should look like Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, a returning Triple H (or Jericho), Ambrose and the Wyatt Family. Have everyone go to town for a good 10 minutes before the only participants left are Reigns and the Wyatts. Have Reigns try as hard as he can to build sympathy but unable to leave with his championship due to the Wyatts numbers. Once Wyatt (and ONLY Wyatt) eliminates Reigns, Wyatts cronies Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Strowman sacrifice themselves for their leader and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

While the downside would rekindle a feud we’ve already seen, the upshot could be fantastic if Wyatt were booked and treated as a legitimate threat going into WrestleMania.

Enter Lesnar, who is furious at his Rumble loss. Have him challenge Wyatt at Fastlane and have Wyatt go over convincingly (clean or not). Lesnar has been booked so well since his return to WWE that anyone beating him who’s name isn’t John Cena will look like a monster. Wyatt can also use the fact the he’s beaten the man who beat The Streak in his promos against Reigns to increase credibility.

When ‘Mania does indeed come Reigns should go over because he should legitimately be over with the fans. Wyatt’s defeat of Lesnar should be enough to suspend even the smarkiest fans disbelief long enough for his match with Reigns to have that “big fight” feel. During this match, it is essential that Wyatt defends his championship alone. Keep the remaining members of the Wyatt Family out.

Let the two heavyweights go at it in an epic war and Wyatt will stay over.

With a talent so charismatic, it’s a shock that WWE has stunted Wyatt’s growth as a main event player as much as it has in such a short while. With a literal golden opportunity on their hands, it’d be a shame if Wyatt isn’t utilized to his full potential in the coming weeks.

Wyatt is not only on the Road to WrestleMania, but redemption as well.

 

 

Manopera! Episode 5: Harry Potter Does Not Suck & The Return of the Deadly Game Tournament

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Chris and Frank discuss the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament, missed booking opportunities for The Undertaker and Bray Wyatt, Rhonda Rousey vs. Holly Holm and speculate WrestleMania 32.

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.