Tag Archives: Wrestling

Manopera! Episode 52: Survivor Series 2017 / NXT War Games Supershow

After a long Thanksgiving weekend, Chris and Spaceman Frank review NXT TakeOver: War Games (with enthusiasm) and Survivor Series 2017 (with less enthusiasm).
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

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SSEP: Episode 28 – NXT WAR GAMES Review / WWE Survivor Series Preview

Jon and the Jewharaja review NXT TakeOver: War Games and preview WWE Survivor Series.

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

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: War Games Predictions

by Frank Lucci

Houston’s Takeover seemed to be on a pretty clear path, until somebody in WWE (Triple H) got a huge nostalgia trip for classic WCW and decided to make this into a War Games-themed event. That combined with NXT having a future taping in the same building as one of WCW’s shows and the resurrection of Starcade as a live event proves that The H man really, really, reallyyyyyy wants to turn back the clock to the early 90’s.

This has been met with some mixed results (see my live reading of the revamped War Games rules and Chris’ reaction on the latest episode of Manopera!), but it is a TakeOver, so it should be pretty rad. Now if only WWE would put Gargano vs. Dunne for the UK Championship on the main show because WHY WOULDN’T YOU DO THAT WE ALL WANT IT WHY ARE YOU MAKING US WAIT A WEEK YOU MONSTERS???  I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my NXT Takeover: War Games predictions.

Kassius Ohno vs. Lars Sullivan

Kassius “Player Coach” Ohno gets his first singles match on a Takeover, taking on the suddenly ascendant Lars “Human Gargoyle” Sullivan. Granted, much of the people on this card can be considered “suddenly ascendent” but Sullivan, in particular, seems destined for something bigger. He is very much NXT’s Braun Stroman, and I can see Vince getting one look at him and penciling him into a main roster run before he is truly ready. But hey Stroman was not day one ready, and look where he is now.

Meanwhile, Ohno is putting his undefeated streak on the line, but really he is here to make himself look good while losing to the newest NXT freak. I just wish we got a more substantial feud for this along with Ohno getting more chances to show his stuff.  A good little match that isn’t as good as Gargano vs Dunne BECAUSE NOTHING WILL BE EVER that sees Sullivan getting the win.

Aleister Black vs. The Velveteen Dream

Before this feud began I would have thought there would be no way this could have pushed my interest at all. However young Patrick Clark has made the most of a gimmick that could have gone very poorly very quickly. He commits to the character and adds just the right amount of uncomfortable to keep it PG. Meanwhile Black is the perfect foil for him, as the zen-like guy who refuses to give attention to the Dream. One minor flaw I see in this is that Back obviously craves attention too, since he is covered in tattoos, rises from the smoke during his entrance, and sits in the ring with spotlights on him. Do not tell me you’d not like attention seekers and do that stuff. Anyway, Aleister is the vet and Clark was born in 1995, so Black will defeat The Velveteen Dream like he was The Velveteen Rabbit and Black was Scarlet Fever.

Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross vs. Kairi Sane (Fatal Four Way for the Vacant NXT Women’s Championship)

How mad must Sane be? She wins this epic Mae Young Classic, beating some of the best in the world, and gets to be 25% of the match for Asuka’s forfeited championship. I would have made this a one on one match with Kairi facing the winner of an NXT only tournament to make things a little more even. That being said, this is a pretty good field of women who represent the future of the women’s division in NXT and beyond.

It is easy to write Royce right off the gate here, and while I think she has the least chance of winning I am curious to see if we see a serious Peyton make a run during the match. Moon would be an obvious choice as next champ since she has frequently been in the title picture, but honestly, I think Cross has eclipsed her (see what I did there?) in popularity. But all in all, I do not see the Sane Train being derailed despite the gap from the Mae Young Classic to now. She is too good, too adorable, and too badass to not get a chance to carry the belt.

Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega (NXT Championship Match)

Perhaps the match most screwed over by the inclusion of War Games sees McIntyre bypass most other logical challengers and face the out of nowhere Almas for the belt.

This is a big high risk/high reward match for both, and they really need a strong showing to not make this a dud.

To be fair, Drew has been putting on some very solid matches during NXT’s weekly show, and Almas has been doing much better character work as a heel. Vega has also been a revelation as the female manager who not only mixes it up on the mic and (gasp) gets involved in matches in the same way a man would. She is perhaps the most complete person involved into the match, and if she gets into the women’s division I am all for it.

Since Almas is pretty much filler since every other main eventer is busy I do not see him  winning. I just hope D-Mac gets a proper program before his main roster jump back to WWE.

Authors of Pain with Roderick Strong vs. Undisputed Era vs. Sanity (War Games Match)

The rules for this match…suck. Shark cages, wildly unfair rules, and way too much complications make this simple match into a Mario Party minigame. How could they decide this is the best way to what could be an old-school formulaic match (heels get numbers advantage, face shows up to save the day, repeat until all people are in the ring) into a big old cluster?

I can see Strong being the one guy being left along valiantly trying to hold his own until AOP shows up and has a weird Big Damn Hero moment. Meanwhile, I’ll bet my excellent Scary Jesus Rock Star beer that Undisputed Era gets the early numbers advantage.

I cannot say I am super excited for this match, but I should not be bad. My pick for a winner would be Sanity, since I see Strong and the Era’s feud building from here and the tag champions sneaking in a win.

Manopera! Episode 51: What is Going On???

Chris and a slightly less salty Seaman Frank discuss major news in the world of professional wrestling.

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

Seaman Frank’s TLC 2017 Predictions

by frank Lucci

Friday before WWE’s latest PPV I was preparing a very depressing intro where I talked about how many shots of black rum I would need to get through even writing the preview for TLC, let alone how much booze would be needed to watch the show. I was thoroughly in Seaman Frank mode, especially when Mayoral Candidate Kane burst through the ring on Raw. At that point I was so salty I was thinking about another gimmick change to Salt Man Frank, the worst Mega Man boss of all time. I was truly a broken and beaten man.

“BAH GAWD THAT’S VIRAL INFECTIONS MUSIC! WHAT’S HE DOING HERE ON RAW???!!!”

Yes, it is very tragic and sad that many WWE Superstars are sick enough to warrant keeping them home and isolated from the rest of the roster, but I do not think anyone can pretend for a second that this has made TLC about 1000% more watchable (Sure they are pretty much throwing many prominent storylines out the window, but c’mon would you rather have bad but logical storylines or Kurt Freakin’ Angle?). Plus throw in Asuka’s debut (which was going to be the sole highlight before all this) and this has a chance to make everyone forget, just for a little while, all the doom and gloom surrounding the WWE these past few weeks. And if things get boring, well, you can always watch Rusev play Madden.  I’m Seaman Frank and here are my TLC 2017 Predictions!

Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox (Honey BBQ KFC DLC Scrappy Doo Slugfest)

This match comes after Fox got her first t-shirt after almost a decade of employment in the WWE, and it is great if you are a furry and crap for everyone else. She is coming out of nowhere to take on Banks, who seems to be doing important things (winning, losing, and then challenging for the women’s belt since SummerSlam) and nothing at all (losing or disappearing from television frequently).

Really, there is no reason for this match to happen, but hey there are only six matches on the main show so maybe this will get bumped up and we will have three women’s matches on a PPV. If people are sick you might as well take advantage of the moment and give the ladies and cruiserweights a shot. Sasha wins and Foxy disappears again until she is needed to act crazy at someone.

Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher vs. Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann

This match promises to be pretty exciting, especially if they get a decent amount of ring time to tell a story. With Nevile most likely gone from the company and rumors swirling that many superstars are unhappy, some have put two and two together to say that this is WWE’s attempt to pacify the cruiserweights.

It remains to be seen if this is just people piggybacking on Neville’s departure or legit gripes talent has, but at least for this PPV the division has a chance to shine. All four men are unique talents and can potentially steal the show, though it remains to see seen if the audience cares about this battle. Side note: can Alexander and Swann be a proper team outside the cruiserweights? That would be awesome. Team Swaxander wins in a cool little bout.

Kalisto (C) vs. Enzo Amore (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

I am not sure what the WWE is trying to do with the cruiserweight title, as they brought in Enzo and got people talking. Then Neville quit and Enzo lost the title to colder than Antarctica Kalisto who is about as boring of a choice for champ as asking for towels for Christmas. I mean we should be happy for Kalisto, but shoving him straight to the top was misguided at best. Enzo’s momentum is gone, and whatever they wanted to do creatively with him is out the window.

So where does the cruiserweights go from here? I am guessing they swap the title back to Enzo like they did with Tozawa and Neville and then thrust a random person into the title picture. Gentleman Jack, maybe?

Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Mickie James (WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match)

I am excited for this match, besides the fact the build centers around Bliss calling James old. Seriously, Mickie James is 38 and looks amazing. I do not know anyone who says differently (STOP THIS NONSENSE WWE).

Anyway, it is about time they do something with James. She is very talented and could definitely be a boon to the division that needs some fresher faces in it. Plus she has already faced the debuting Asuka before down in NXT, so it is a good time to build her up so they can have a killer rematch. I get the feeling that Bliss is in a holding pattern until Nia Jax comes back from her sabbatical, so I am guessing she retains here and we get that feud soon after. Hopefully that feud does not fall into the same trap and WWE has Bliss call Jax fat…unless they bring in Scott Steiner as Bliss’ manager.  

Asuka vs. Emma

Emma won the right to be murdered …err… face off against Asuka in the latter’s PPV debut.

This should be a doozy of a match, as before all the Shield hype this seemed to be the match getting the most hype. I truly hope WWE does not drop the ball here, and if Asuka loses her streak to a random person on Raw in three weeks I will drop kick my TV. These two had a superb match back in NXT, so I imagine this will be an exciting squash. The question will be when Asuka gets into the title picture and if mainstream audiences take to the Empress of Tomorrow. Asuka wins and continues the streak until ‘Mania where she squashes Goldberg and challenges Lesnar in the ultimate Kaiju Big Battle.

Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles

What was going to be the disaster between a pumpkin and a cross dresser has immediately been updated to The Demon vs. one of the best wrestlers in the world.

This has a ton of potential, and I think this could be the sneaky match of the night. Just let these guys work a Japanese-style match for thirty minutes and give the audience something to sink their teeth into (just don’t have Finn use the pumpkin facepaint. Just…no).

Also, I am praying that it does not turn out that Styles was Sister Abigail all along. I mean, that would be a hell of twist, but I would be terrified to hear AJ’s creepy lady voice. With Finn rumored to eventually face Lesnar and AJ facing the immediate opponent for The Beast I think Finn will go over here. AJ can survive the loss, and Finn needs some solid wins for people to care about his eventual push towards the Universal Championship.

Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Kurt Angle vs. Cesaro, Sheamus, Kane, The Miz, and Braun Strowman (5 on 3 Handicap TLC Match)

Getting rid of Roman Reigns and replacing him with Kurt Freaking Angle is a godsend.

While before this was all just a way to drag seven different men into a situation to get people to cheer Reigns now is the return of a legend and a buffet of talented men ready to throw themselves into the mouth of madness. Still, there is some lingering problems here, such as why this is still a handicap match? I hope Braun is just like “nah I’m good” and leaves and Mayoral Candidate Kane just disappears forever.

At this point the match has changed so much they might as well just be like “our bad here is a regular match” and have Kane put over Braun. Since it seemed like a lock The Shield would win here before I am tempted to say they will win here, but I am going a different route. I think the numbers game will catch up to Team Sh-Angle, especially with the No-DQ setting. Braun or Miz get the pin on old man Angle and team Five Bar Miz-assic wn.

 

Spaceman Frank’s No Mercy 2017 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

The wrestling world has No Mercy for fans, as in the several weeks since Summerslam The WWE and others seem to create a major news story every day. The Mae Young Classic Concludes! The Four Horsewomen of MMA may be invading! Paige may be coming back! Shelton Benjamin is back! Lio Rush made his debut at NXT tapings! Global Force Wrestling may become Impact again due to their usual incompetence! Flo and WWN are starting a legal battle over streaming data! Nikki Bella is on Dancing With the Stars! Konnor from The Ascension is a new dad! Daniel Bryan may head to Ring of Honor! VInce bleeds on television! And Jesus Christ the worked shoots! Every week with the worked shoots! No Mercy should be an interesting show, but will it stand out among all the news that has come down the pipeline? My gut says maybe. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my No Mercy 2017 predictions!

Elias Sampson vs. Apollo Crews (Preshow Time Filler Spectacular)

Somebody (Vince Mcmahon) demanded this happen, so here we go. Titus Worldwide is dominating the preshow lately, and hopefully Akira Tozawa shows up here to remind everyone that he walked into the last PPV as Cruiserweight Champion. Is there a reason Titus cannot wrestle himself? Why is just being a manager? With the thin roster of tag teams on Raw Titus and Crews (with Tozawa doing a freebird gimmick?) could be a positive. Instead they face Elias, who hopefully will sing one of his strange songs to make sure we get less commentary on the preshow. Anything that prevents the preshow panel from talking more I am all for. Anyway Sampson wins because The Titus Brand loses every time. Maybe they should recruit Curt Hawkins…

Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt

I guess this is happening again, because reasons. I like the idea that Bray is calling out Finn the man instead of The Demon, and that could have been an interesting way to built this match up…if that was the built to their original match and not the sequel. Wyatt couldn’t beat him before, so Finn agrees to depower himself like Thanatos in the original Infinity Gauntlet storyline. Sure, you do that Finn. Grab that idiot ball with both hands. I did not care before and I do not care this time around. With all the worked shoots going around this story sticks out like a sore thumb. Balor wins despite the lack of demon powers because Wyatt cannot win anything and will be joining Titus Worldwide with Curt Hawkins.

Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus and Cesaro (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship match)

These four men put on a hell of a show at SummerSlam, and I have high hopes for this match. This is a good way to keep these guys relevent and be in a title picture while keeping them all out of sneakily crowded Universal title picture. I hope Seth and Dean taunt Cesaro with two beach balls, causing him to hulk out, rip both at once, then flip the ring over. I am roughly 65% certain Cesaro could pull it off. While I am hyped for this match I am concerned what comes after? Do The Club get involved after essentially jobbing out in the built to this match? Do we get more thrown together teams? Do you elevate The Miztourage or the dream team of Bray Wyatt and Curt Hawkins? We shall see. Dean and Seth win so we have a strong babyface team on Raw people can get behind.

Alexa Bliss (C) vs. Emma vs. Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks vs. Bayley (Fatal Five Way for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship)

Bliss vs. Banks rematch? Cool Beans. Teasing adding Jax? Even better. Adding Jax and then also Emma for some reason? Ummmmm. Throwing Bayley in their the Raw before because it was in her hometown and people would actually cheer her? Sigh. We got a big old multi person match, so here are my rankings, from least to most likely, to win the match.

Emma- LOL NOPE PULLING A HAWKINS HERE

Bayley-She was just put in this match for reasons unknown, and it would be a strange to just give her the belt. Although WWE is hot potatoing the belt around anyway, so I at least see it being possible.

Sasha Banks- Considering this started off being about her seeking revenge for her loss was immediately pivoted to focus on others, I do not see her having much chance here. If they tease a heel turn for her by having her wrestle Bayley or take advantage of the no DQ setting that would be cool.

Nia Jax- If anyone has a chance to unseat the champ it is Jax. Usually in situations like this she gets ganged up on and taken out quick, and I would love for her to be a proper monster and wreck everybody here. But I see everyone hitting a parade of finishers on her towards the end of the match so she can roll out of the ring and not take the pin.

Alexa Bliss- I see the champ sneaking in and grabbing a pin to keep her belt. Bliss is super talented but they keep pulling the rug out from underneath her by having her drop the belt so I would like her to be a bit more dominate and have a lengthy run.

The Miz (C) vs. Jason Jordan (Intercontinental Title Match)

I almost care about this match. Almost. On one side Jordan has proven he can work a singles match with the best workers in the company, but the spectre of Baby Daddy Kurt Angle haunts him wherever he goes. The Miz is losing his wife Maryse from her television role due to her pregnancy, but he will recover so long as he just work shoots on everyone in the company. Meanwhile Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas are just hanging out in the background, and they really need to step up to fill the role Maryse will leave behind. I think The Miz will retain, continue to burn people with hot fire on the mic, adopt Curt Hawkins (thus inheriting Bray Wyatt and Titus Worldwide), and get that number one spot for longest combined reigns for the IC title.

Neville (C) vs. Enzo Amore (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

WWE for the first time built a feud involving the Cruiserweights that actually has the main WWE audience invested. Neville has always been super consistent and oftentimes is the best champion WWE has, and adding the uber popular Enzo has people talking. And, despite the rumors of Zo’s backstage heat, the challenger has been booked in very interesting ways. Sure they have the main roster stomp on him every chance he gets, but he uses shortcuts to compete with the 205 Live regulars and thus hang with the best pure wrestlers in WWE. Will the same tactics work against Nevill, who is known for using nasty tricks himself? Special props for both men for their promo on the go home 205 Live that added a huge spike of interest for this match. I could one day see Enzo win the belt, but he needs the chase more than he needs the belt. Neville wins by getting shady on Amore who becomes the more popular version of Curt Hawkins.

John Cena vs. Roman Reigns

Oh boy. During their first promo battle Cena slayed Reigns like he was Curt Hawkins and pretty much won over most of the smart crowd to his side. Not that I thought they would need much to side with Cena, but whatever. Meanwhile Reigns needed several weeks to recover and deliver anything close to what Cena pulled off, and I find it telling that his best promo of their feud was when he was alone without John there to offer rebuttals. Hell, even Reign’s match with Jason Jordan was not as good as Cena’s match with the same opponent the week before. Roman has been exposed as the lame corporate Cena clone he is, and while some fans seem on his side I just do not see how this helped him at all besides to try to shame him into getting better. Sadly all signs point to Reigns winning, so he is my pick here.

Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Braun Stroman (WWE Universal Championship Match)

For once, Vince’s wet dream is the same as the IWC’s wet dream. The WWE has allowed these two just enough physical contact to make this match feel like the Wrestlemania worthy match it is. My only complaint was the go home segment where they had the talking head interviews. This did not work well with Samoa Joe, and having two massive hosses just sit and talk is really lame. Just have the traditional pull apart brawl that allows them to look terrifying while decimating the roster and maybe ripping Curt Hawkin’s spine out. I really, really, reallyyyyyyyy want my boy Braun to win…and I am going out on a limb and say he will. For one, he is one of the hottest things in WWE right now, and he is one of the very few people on the roster that is must see. Having a more consistent champion presence would benefit Raw as well. Then you can save Brock for the Royal Rumble or Survivor Series when he is freaking out and terrifying trying to get his title back. Lastly, if WWE is willing to experiment with Jinder Mahal as champ, why not pull the trigger on Braun? The reign of Stroman begins at No Mercy.

 

Manopera! Episode 46: NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III

Chris and Spaceman Frank review and discuss the mighty NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, part one of a two part SummerSlam podcast.

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

Spaceman Frank’s SummerSlam 2017 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

SummerSlam 2017 promises to be a similar event to WrestleMania 33, meaning that while there will be plenty to like in this PPV, everyone will agree that the card would be better if they cut several of the 13 matches announced.

That many matches is just too damn many. At least throw in a Miz segment instead of the throwaway six man tag to break things up and act as a palate cleanser during the show.

I just hope the bad matches or potentially dead crowd during the show do not detract from the quality matches on the show, since there is a really solid three hour show in this marathon. I’m Spaceman Frank and these are my SummerSlam 2017 predictions.

Akira Tozawa (c) vs. Neville (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

This match was looking to be a dud until Tozawa won the title on the Raw before the show. While the decision to switch the title unto the challenger so close to the main show baffled many it did serve it’s purpose to get people to care about this feud.

Tozawa can be a great champ (especially flanked by his boys in the Titus Brand), but it is hard to see him topping Neville’s run. One big advantage for the champ is, despite getting little reaction coming out he always gets the crowd into his matches. However I do not think it will be enough for Akira to retain. The King gets back his title in a good opener.

The New Day (c) vs. The Usos (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match)

Why this is on the preshow instead of Big Show vs. Big Cass is a complete mystery to me (cursed shark cages).

Anyway, this match has plenty of goodwill from fans based on the popularity of the teams involved, and I think this could be a showstealer. It will be early enough so the crowd will not be burned out, and if there rad match at Battleground is any indication this should be epic. The New Day continue to be super hot fire no matter what they do, and considering they are all over the promotion for the show I think they retain the belts here.

The Hardy Boyz and Jason Jordan vs. The Miztourage

I would be behind Jason Jordan as Kurt Angle’s son if he changed his name to Jason Angle-Jordan and just tried to recreate Kurt’s biggest moments. Or if he wrestled Brock Lesnar and broke his neck just like his poppa.

Jordan’s new direction appears to already be dead in the water, and just about everyone else in this match is drifting along as well. I’m glad Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel have something to do at least. Miz vs. either Hardy Boy (can you still be considered a boy in your early 40’s?) would be a pretty fun feud for the IC belt, and WWE could keep teasing the Broken/Woken Hardys with the singles feud.

Miz needs the traction since his IC title run has been nothing on his epic Smackdown run and adding a bit of weirdness from Matt and Jeff would be fun. However here Hardyz and Jordan win because it is the preshow and any team with Dallas and Axel is doomed.

Big Show vs. Big Cass (Enzo Amore in a Shark Cage Match)

Starting off the main card we see WWE needing to remind kids about their shark cage playset. The only reason I see this match being watchable is if Enzo gets a mike in the cage so he can provide running commentary during the match. Big Show allegedly has a broken hand for this match, but I do not see Big Cass being able to hang with the giant.

Some people seem to think Enzo is going to turn heel and rejoin Cass, but I cannot see that working at all. Enzo is to entertaining to throw away, backstage heat or no. Enzo provides a distraction and costs Cass the win, thus getting the closest thing he can get to a win against Cass.

Naomi (c) vs. Natalya (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match)

I really hope WWE does not continue to use the SmackDown Women’s championship as the bathroom break before main events. Naomi is a fine champ when the WWE actually has her defend the belt, but hindering her with infrequent title defenses and lousy segments do not help her. Plus, that whole Lana situation was misguided at best.

On the other hand I am glad Nattie Ice is getting a shot for the belt, and I would not mind if she got a crack as the top lady of SmackDown. I just wish she could cut a promo without sounding like she was reading off cue cards. With a good amount of time I see this match being decent but unmemorable, and I think Naomi retains.

Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt

I could see this match starting off the show, as Finn’s demon entrance would be a great way to pop the crowd to start things off. Both these men have lost so much momentum that it is crazy to think they were even champions since the previous SummerSlam. Both these guys need to enter the main event picture again ASAP or they will continue their freefall.

Out of the two I see Bray taking the loss here, unless he has a spectacular entrance planned as well. Go with the man with the paint when the chips are down. Now if only WWE could get me to care about this match beyond the entrances…

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

I hate everything about this match. From the lazy booking to the fact that it is going to suck the momentum right out of the show just like every Orton match this year has. I just cannot muster up anything but pity for Rusev.

I don’t mean to be a downer, but considering recent events in America can we get one foreigner character who does not play on xenophobia?

I think Rusev will lose here, and I wish he would come out on SmackDown, say he realized he simply does not have the hate for America he once did and that conflict in his soul caused his career to hit the skids. Now he is fully embracing his new country and can be the big goof he is on Total Divas and at Nashville Predator games. That would be much better than being just an ornery Bulgarian feuding with charisma vacuum Orton.

Cesaro and Sheamus (c) vs. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match)

For all the talk of the tag team scene in WWE being lackluster, WWE does have three former world champs in this match. This has been the sneakily best built match on the card, and having Dean and Seth act like real people instead of the babyface caricatures they were before is very much appreciated.

Rumors and fantasy booking are flying concerning a Shield reunion, and I think WWE may be moving in that direction. Seth and Dean as tag team champs and Roman being Universal Champ as part of a heel Shield is a hell of a way to end the show, although I doubt people would boo Reigns if he finally turned. Seth and Dean win in a potential barn burner of a match.

John Cena vs. Baron Corbin

This match between Cena and his favorite dumpster fire has people talking to say the least.

Corbin’s epic fail on the go home SmackDown has people talking about WWE losing faith in the big man, but I am choosing to see the cash in attempt in a different light. There are only so many ways to tell a Money in the Bank cash in story, and Corbin failing and then going on a rampage on SmackDown before organically earning a title shot may be better in the long term than just randomly handing him the belt. Here, I see Corbin attacking Cena before the match starts and just beating him down instead of having a proper match. Or, if the match gets underway, Corbin DQ’s himself to give Cena the technical victory. Either would be much better than Corbin storming to the ring and…having a regular match with the man that cost him his big break.

AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens (WWE United States Championship Match With Shane Mcmahon as Special Referee)

I keep waiting for these two to have a match of the year candidate, but so far this feud has been built on disappointment and potential botches.

I guess their snafu at Battleground served as the excuse to get Shane involved, but so far he has proven unable to prevent these men from attacking each other. With all signs pointing towards a Shane and Kevin match down the line I am thinking AJ keeps the belt here. We do not need more hot potatoing of the belt and AJ Styles can serve to elevate the belt while playing a proud country boy for the company.

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)

It may be a good thing Bayley got hurt when she did, as she was tanking hard beforehand.

Bliss and Banks had a damn good match before, and the rematch feels much more natural than Bayley getting the shot again after the kendo stick on a poll debacle. Both these women have proven to be worthy of the top spot, but it is hard t take Sasha’s chances seriously when she is second choice for this match. Sure, it worked out better in the end, but I have to think Bliss will retain here over the Boss.

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

Jinder Mahal: heel in the ring, face in the gym.

With the possibility of Corbin cashing in out of the picture we can now focus on this very intriguing match. This may be one of the first, if not the first match for a main WWE title between two people of Asian descent, and both men deserve credit for making it so far in the company.

Both men’s standing and characters also depend individual crowd reactions. Jinder can either be a complex villain or a foreigner cartoon character, and Shinsuke can ether be The King of Strong Style or the goofy loose limbed guy. I imagine Brooklyn will have a stellar reaction for both, and I can see these guys working well together.

Jinder’s style is pretty snug, which will compliment Nakamura and the story they want to tell. Plus I am curious to see Mahal work against anyone other than Orton. I can see this going either way, but I’ll give the champ a slight edge here.

Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns (Fatal Four Way for WWE Universal Championship)

I am looking forward to this match the most out of any in the card, and honestly I will most likely be satisfied with whoever walks away with the belt.

With Reigns I would be happy if we get an evil Shield reunion, but if he just wins and keeps being the Big Dog in the Yard I will be peeved. Samoa Joe could sneak in and win the belt like when he one the number one contendership a few months ago, and considering how amazing he has been since I would love to see him be the top guy on Raw. Braun continues to impress, and he seems to make giant strides the more WWE leans on him to be a future cornerstone of the company. Plus, he seems like a lovely guy in real life who is not above stuff like this. And then we have the champ, whose resume speaks for itself.

While I can see each man having a significant shot to win the belt, I give Braun and Joe the least chance of victory, as Strowman may not quite be ready for a title run and Joe being the indy darling of the match. That leaves Brock and Reigns, with the champ threatening to leave if he loses. With that kind of statement I think Brock will win to keep him front and center in case he really does fight Jon Jones in UFC.

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III Predictions

It is time… for bringing The Defenders to Netflix (oh, and  about a dozen hours of wrestling in between).

NXT Brooklyn 3 is like many threequels: the franchise may have lost some luster, but you still hope for a worthy chapter that can stand on it’s own. This could be a very good show that is more pleasing than big brother Summerslam (since it won’t be a punishing five plus hours), but there has been weirdness to the build that has left Brooklyn 3 feeling somewhat flat.

Granted, Takeovers have yet to disappoint, but considering what could have been I feel like this is a missed chance for a Return of the King level threequel rather than Saw 3. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 3 predictions.

Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas (with Zelina Vega)

The build to this match (much like SummerSlam match Rusev vs. Orton contest) consisted of Gargano wishing for an opponent, seeing Almas, and muttering “you’ll do” like a sad drunk at a dive bar looking for a date. Despite the minimalist build I am excited for this match.

For one thing, I do not think these two will have a bad match, and each are properly motivated to deliver. Gargano needs to prove he can be a singles star, and Andrade needs to show his new pairing with Zelina has legs. But what really interests me is the possibilities after this match.

I see Andrade getting a much needed win, most likely with help from Vega. This leads to Gargano looking for someone to even the odds against the pair, aka real life Mrs. Johnny Wrestling herself Candice Lerae. This leads to a mixed tag match down the road and a perfect filler match while Tommaso Ciampa recovers from knee surgery. Then Tommaso can fued by proxy with Johnny until he is ready to return.

Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami

Heads are going to roll during this match, and I am pretty sure these two are just going to batter each other until the crowd legitimately worries someone is going to die.

Black is the hot new community in NXT, and I think he is going to earn a title shot before the year is out. Hideo already had his big comeback match for the championship, and I really think if he stays with WWE he will be on the main roster soon. There is no point in keeping him in developmental at this point, and he could be a valuable addition to 205 Live or Raw.

Since Hideo seems on his way out either way, I think Black will be winning in an epic match.

Authors of Pain (c) vs. Sanity (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)

With very little competition to be had for the Authors of Pain, NXT is throwing half of Sanity at the big boys with the gold.

The build to this match has been fine, but my most memorable moment was Nikki Cross taunting and calling out AOP rather than anything either of these tag teams have done.

There is plenty of potential in the ring, and I am waiting for a star making match for these four guys. The Authors had the best match of their career at NXT Chicago, but that was against the over as hell Team DIY who carried them immensely and made them look like monsters.

In a hoss vs. hoss match with a much less experienced team I think this may be a dud. Authors of Pain retain until Steaks and Weights themselves Heavy Machinery get another crack at the titles.

Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

I am very conflicted about this match.

When these two first  had their match at Takeover: Orlando I was all for Moon beating Asuka for the belt and ending her undefeated streak. Now, I would rather Moon lose. She has been derailed, partially due to injury and partially due to the fact that she just not have the chops to hang with Asuka, let alone beat her.

When the highlight of their build is the Full Sail crowd chanting for Asuka while recreating the Goldberg theme, you know that the challenger is done.

Am I saying Moon is bad? No, and I think in an NXT sans Asuka there is no question she could be a stellar champ. But not now.

What I predict is Asuka retaining, then the next TakeOver sees her defend against whoever wins the Mae Young classic. Have that women top Asuka, while at the same time calling Asuka up to Raw/SmackDown after SummerSlam. Asuka has done everything she can in NXT, and at this point she should be a main roster ambassador for the brand while the rest of the women get themselves sorted out.

Bobby Roode (c) vs. Drew McIntyre (NXT Championship Match)

It is a bad sign for NXT’s main event scene when I have to remind people I know who McIntyre is ever time he appears onscreen. I get he is a former champion and really salvaged his career in the indies/TNA, but I just do not have much invested in his journey to Brooklyn 3.

I know he is good, with his match against Roderick Strong the show before Takeover being a highlight, but his NXT Cheerleader/redemption arc is pretty weak. Hideo’s redemption arc last Takeover was much more believable, and there are plenty of opponents I would rather see here.

Roddy Strong got the shaft in his feud with Roode (who despite barely wrestling manages make up for it with his interview segments), and would be a much more logical fit here. Hideo could have also gotten the shot here with a stipulation after snapping in a tweener role. Aleister Black would be a fun opponent for Roode, as would poor Kassius Ohno who is left off the card. Hell, Johnny Wrestling getting his big break would have been better watching than Drew.

I am not saying that I expect this to be bad, I just think, like the Asuka match that things could have been done differently. As for the outcome I think Roode has proven he can carry a program with anyone and wrestle a nice safe style for the main roster so he will lose here. I could see McIntyre losing then jumping back to the main roster, but I think he is more suited to gauging newer talent in NXT while Roode could tag team with The Miz and make Raw 150% more watchable. Roode loses and puts over Strong at the next taping before moving on up.

SSEP: Episode 21: SummerSlam 2017 Preview

by Jon and Matt Schorr

Jon and Matt “the Jewharaja” preview WWE SummerSlam 2017.

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