Tag Archives: Wrestling

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.

 

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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.

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

Manopera! Episode 45: Great Balls of Battleground

by Chris Butera and Frank Lucci

After a month of adulting, Chris and Spaceman Frank are back to talk WWE Great Balls of Fire, WWE Battleground, and all the madness in between.

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

 

 

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Battleground Predictions

by Frank Lucci

It’s almost time for SummerSlam, which means WWE is preparing for the second biggest show of the year, B-PPV’s be damned!

After Great Balls of Fire shone brightly upon the WWE Universe like an actual great ball of fire, WWE has seemingly put about three minutes of effort in per show. Immediately after one of the best PPV’s of the year, WWE has decided to have three foreigner heels on one show, John Cena brought up 9/11 to hype a Flag Match, and decided to run a bastard son angle.

As a reminder to readers, it is 2017. We have not traveled backwards in time, Vince McMahon is just having one of his senior moments. With not a whole lot to look forward to in Battleground, we can at least take comfort in the fact that NXT has been consistently excellent and 205 Live is the second most watchable show WWE puts on during the week. I’m Spaceman Frank and here is my Battleground 2017 predictions.

Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English

I feel like they began this feud roughly seven weeks ago with a single segment on SmackDown and now we get this match on the preshow. I suppose I should be happy that both men are doing something that vaguely seems important, but really I think they only reason they got this match is because somebody felt sorry for them.

English can be a good heel and Tye can be a good babyface, but WWE seems to think they can just coast on their NXT highlights until they get the random shot to the moon push WWE loves to dole out. Tye wins because he is so unpopular, Google Drive wants to change his name to “Toe.”

Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis

I wish Mike went by his original name Bennett because it is a lot easier to spell. This came about because Zayn kept accidentally interrupting the Kanellis’, before Mike beat Zayn on the SmackDown before Battleground. Both men can probably do better, but in the current state of SmackDown this is about as good as it gets (at least they are not on the preshow). Miracle Mike is the…well not hot but lukewarm newbie and Zayn can make anyone look good so I think Mike gets the win here.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin

Shinsuke continues to go through all the low tier main event types on SmackDown, setting his sights on the man that almost took him out of the Money in the Bank match. We all know that WWE is gearing up for a match between Nakamura and AJ Styles, which makes me wonder why they decided to throw this match in here. Corbin needs some decent wins to justify his Money in the Bank winner status, but Nakamura also needs some high profile wins if people are going to care about his match with Styles. Perhaps a non finish will happen here, but just for the sake of picking a winner I see Corbin DQ’s himself beating up Shinsuke, giving the King of Strong Style the disqualification win.

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

After the excellent rap battle between these two groups a few weeks ago, WWE decided “eh, that will do” and given absolutely nothing for these guys to work with after. I want to be excited for this, but after the lame finish at Money in the Bank all I want is for somebody to pin somebody else this time. With no other obvious contenders for the belts besides maybe Breezeango I don’t think this will be the end of this feud. Maybe we get a best of seven rap battle series with the epic conclusion at SummerSlam (beats these guys filling time on the SummerSlam preshow). Usos retain because laziness.

AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens (US Championship Match)

I remember being super excited for the first encounter between these two men, before a meh match and a long delay in a rematch made me forget this was even happening.

Styles won the belt at a Madison Square Garden house show, so whatever payoff I expected to see here has gone up in smoke (maybe WWE is fast tracking the title change to wrap up this feud and have Nakamura challenge for the belt at SummerSlam?).

Anyway, with zero drama to play off of I still got some hope these men deliver a fine match, but until they get in the ring and start wowing me I simply do not have much to go on. AJ Styles wins because babyface champs in WWE are rare these days and WWE needs somebody fans can rally behind.

John Cena vs. Rusev (Flag Match)

Both Rusev and Cena return to restart their “classic” feud from 2015 which saw Rusev lose almost every single match in increasingly sad ways. This cuts right to the stupid gimmick portion of the feud, meaning we do not get Rusev hiring two smaller Bulgarian dudes to act as his Singh Brothers (I wonder what a popular Bulgarian last name is….(looks on Google).

With no Ivanov Brothers to help him, I do not expect Rusev to win here, especially because there are FLAGS and AMERICA and EAGLES AT STAKE, MAGGLE. Cena smashes Rusev and moves on to face another evil heel in Jinder Mahal before the Bulgarian’s body’s even cold, just in time for SummerSlam (mild shock there).

Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Lana vs. Natalya vs. Tamina (Fatal Five Way for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Number One Contendership)

Is there a rule that says Naomi cannot defend her belt on consecutive PPV’s?

For the second SmackDown PPV in a row WWE has all the women on the show (minus one or two) all get in the ring and butt heads to see how is getting the next “big” push for the next several weeks. While I think the booking for the ladies is pretty weak, this will probably be the best match on the card if done right. Everyone has a defined role going in, and if not for the fact that we have seen every single one of these women fight every single other women in the division for what seems like a decade I might actually be excited. If anyone has the best chance of winning I would have to say Charlotte, and her vs Naomi would be a good match for the belt in the future.

Please send Asuka to SmackDown ASAP.

Jinder Mahal (c) vs Randy Orton (Punjabi Prison Match for the WWE Championship)

The feud nobody wants yet continues to be sees these two face of in a stupid gimmick match that makes other stupid gimmick matches feel better about themselves. At least the Kennel from Hell match can say to itself “hey, at least people could see what was happening inside me.”

While I do not have the time nor the patience to properly purge myself of the vile I have for this match, I will say this: Mahal looks like a moron for taking away his biggest advantage (interference from the Singh Brothers) by making this a Punjabi Prison match, and Randy looks stupid period.

My best case scenario is that this becomes a comedy of errors.

First House of Horrors, and now a Punjabi Prison. You seem determined to ruin people’s first WWE Championship runs, Mr. Orton.

Jinder wins because I genuinely feel bad for how crappy his title run has been.

 

Spaceman Frank’s Great Balls of Fire Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

It’s happening. It’s actually happening. WWE has named a Pay Per View Great Balls of Fire.

Despite the terribly lame name, WWE has built themselves a heck of a card for this Raw exclusive show, with the main focus being the much hyped Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe match. Sure, there are some duds that look to be on the horizon, but WWE has actually made many of these feuds compelling, even if some of these matches we did not even want initially.

Furthermore, it has been a wild few weeks in the world of wrestling what with New Japan putting on their first US shows, Austin Aries being released, and AJ Styles winning the United States Championship at a Madison Square Garden house show, yet at the end of the day, deep in my heart of hearts, Brock vs Joe is all the comfort and joy I could possibly want. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my predictions for (sigh) Great Balls of Fire.

Neville (C) vs. Akira Tozawa (With Titus O’Neil) (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

The latest challenger in a long line of “Hey, what has this guy been doing on 205 Live?” to the King of the Cruiserweights sees Tozawa trying to make a splash.

I really love Tozawa and having him be part of the goofy Titus Brand is pretty fun, but he has the skill set to be a damn good vicious killer in the ring. I would love to see WWE treat this match with some importance, but I see it as the typical cruiserweight preshow match on the card. Neville wins this and every title defense ever until WWE throws all the cruiserweights in the ring and have a hodge podge flipathon where Ho Ho Lun sneaks in and wins because his name is a tasty treat and Vince McMahon loves that kind of branding!!

The Miz (C) (With Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, and Maryse) vs. Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship Match)

When the biggest news from this feud coming from Lavar “The Sum Total of All of Our Instagram Sins” Bell, you can be sure that WWE is out of ideas to make this feud interesting.

Sure, these two had a pretty solid match before, but after a screwy finish that made little sense it is hard to get pumped for a straight up rematch. These guys used to be exciting, then they went to Raw (strike one), then Axel and Dallas got involved (all the rest of the strikes needed to finish a baseball game). When WWE thinks to add those two to the mix, you know you´re having some trouble. Even The Miz can´t help you. Miz wins because he has three people in his corner how do you screw up and lose?

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

What should be a dream match has fallen on deaf or apathetic ears as The Boss takes on Five Feet of Fury for the Women’s Championship.

Now, I think this match will be a killer encounter featuring two of the best females on the roster, so I will be hyped for this contest. I am not sure why it´s being treated like an afterthought, even though Banks won her right to challenge for the belt on the main event of an episode of Raw.

Perhaps it has been the way WWE has treated Bayley lately that has turned off people to the division, but until I see a stinker from these two I will be expecting magic. Or at least somebody to take a scary bump and leave me petrified.

I could make a argument that Banks takes the belt back here, but I think Bliss falls into the same category as Neville as the champ who is too good to randomly lose the belt. Perhaps we shall get some real storylines for the women and cruiserweights leading to SummerSlam, but for now, the champs are not going anywhere.

Cesaro and Sheamus (C) vs. The Hardy Boyz (30 Minute Iron Man Match for WWE Raw Tag Team Championship)

The feud that will not die goes to the next level when both teams face off in an Iron Man match because….reasons. With very little else to do besides milk their nostalgia, the Hardys seek to regain the championships they won at WrestleMania. I trust Cesaro and Sheamus to work for 30 minutes, but the Hardys? No thank you.

That being said, these four men have managed to put on fine matches with the occasionally clunky finish, so this will be fine. I think the champs will retain so they can finally move on.  Because the length of this match, I expect some other matches to be severely cut for time (gee, I wonder which match will get the shaft…)

Enzo vs. Big Cass

Big Cass boot to Medium Enzo for a three count.

I don’t see this match lasting any sort of time, and honestly, I can see Cass interrupting Fun Sized Enzo’s regular promo for some heat and just wrecking him. While I think it’s pretty dumb that the tag team broke up with the lack of depth currently in the tag scene, both men have cut some great promos that helped get me invested in this feud. I don’t think it will see another PPV bout as this has SummerSlam preshow written all over it. At least we can get more fire promos from Regular Person Enzo before Vince throws him in 205 jail and goes back to messaging Big Cass’ leg muscles while making disturbing sounds.

Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt

Another match people seem to have dismissed because of the lack of build (besides Bray’s nonsense promos) sees two great in ring workers facing off in what should be a killer match.

Both dudes needs a barnburner to regain momentum with fans, and I think since they both know they are treading water, I believe they will go all out.

Is this a filler feud for both men? Yes. Are they pro enough to tell a great story and make you care about the match anyway? Yes. As for a winner, I think this could go either way but I am leaning towards Seth Rollins since he has a win against Samoa Joe in his back pocket and would be a good foil for the Miz down the road.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman (Ambulance Match)

Confession Time: I’m actually excited for a Roman Reigns match.

Braun throwing The Big Dog around like a gassy beagle has provided me with Gif after Gif of gold, and knowing there will be more live has me salivating.

Besides the sin of booking Braun like a stupid person on the go home show (because we gotta make Reigns look strong by acting like there is a gas leak directly under his opponent) this has been an entertaining feud. Big moves, big men, Big Dog, and big beards. This feuds feels the most “pro wrestling” out of any so far this year, as how else can two rampaging monsters settle their beef besides comically dragging each other to a waiting ambulance? Vegas is banking hard on Strowman being the winner, and since they predicted Joe becoming number one contender, I am going to trust them.

Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Samoa Joe (WWE Universal Championship Match)

This match…oh boy, this match….(takes a cold shower).

Anyway, the Spaceman’s dream match is happening and I can’t wait to see these two square off like Godzilla and Voltron.

Joe looks like he is on par with The Beast, and he proved deserving of this shot when he put on must see segments that showed why WWE should give him a chance to be champion. He killed it on the mic, he kills it when brutalizing Brock, and he would be fantastic as the right hand of The Authority.

Brock to his credit has sold for Joe well when being physical, but his side by side interview on the go home show where he adopted a “too cool for school” attitude was a bad look (He choked out Heyman and you and you wanna act like  you are trying to impress the head cheerleader by making fun of the fat kid? Shame).

This small gripe aside, I almost contemplated taking the day after off of work so I could stay up late and fully immerse myself in the experience of Brock vs. Joe, that’s how freaking excited I am.

The obvious winner seems to be Brock, and as much as I want to believe Joe could walk out as champ, I think Brock will move forward to SummerSlam as champ for a big headlining match. What that match is I don’t know, but in the meantime, I plan to spend Sunday chanting “FIGHT FOREVER” at everything and everyone.

 

Manopera! Episode 44: Whose Briefcase is it Anyway?

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by Chris Butera and Frank Lucci

Chris and Frank talk WWE Money in the Bank 2017 – and they’ve got a lot to get off their chests about both MITB matches, the pay-per-view and what to expect from Great Balls of Fire next Sunday.

Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on the now former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

For more awesome content, check out www.bonesawzine.com.
Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s Money in the Bank 2017 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

The world is focused on “Money” Mayweather announcing that his fight with Conor Mcgregor, but wrestling fans have Money in the Bank to look forward to instead.

Overall the card will be better than anything those two can put on, but WWE has been pushing fan’s patience with some terrible TV. It is like the closer the company gets to a live special the more they fall apart creatively. Throw in the massive hype for Brock Lesnar vs Samoa Joe and fans are looking past this PPV hard. Despite everything though WWE PPV’s are better watches than Raw or Smackdown Live, and there is going to be some (JBL three beers in voice) “HISTORY MADE HERE TONIGHT, TOM” as we get our first women’s Money in the Bank match. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Money in the Bank 2017 predictions!

The Hype Bros vs. The Colons (Preshow Box Social Funtime Hoopla Tag Team Doritios Pizza Rolls Match)

Zack Ryder is back in the most Zack Ryder way possible: coming back one week before the PPV for a preshow tag team match.

While he seemed to have some sort of push planned with his comeback videos on Youtube, instead he gets a nothing match with his buddy Mojo “ All Gojo” (feel free to send me a check for that one WWE) Rawley who can be seen taking sad selfies with his Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy on Instagram (Hey kids remember when he beat our current champ Jinder Mahal with the help of Gronk?! WWE doesn’t!).

The Colons have somehow even less momentum, so I predict a whole bunch of nothing. Hype Bros win because somebody has to win and it might as well be those spunky lads.

The Usos (C) vs. The New Day (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship)

Everything on the main card is for a title or a Money in the Bank briefcase, which helps make every match feel important. However, it has been awhile since The New Day have had a major PPV match that mattered, as they seem to fart along in promo segments when the chips are truly down (IE Wrestlemania). Meanwhile The Usos are doing fine as champs, but have been overshadowed by Breezango’s (where are they anyway?) pretaped segments. I think WWE will give The New Day a run with the belt eventually, but that feels more like a match for a bigger show like Summerslam. Plus, the Usos should get the initial win via shenanigans to preserve their heel status and look more credible against all the jokey tag teams that dominate Smackdown.

Naomi (C) vs. Lana (WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship)

The only active women on Smackdown not in the Money in the Bank match (where are you Nikki Bella?) sees Naomi being challenged versus longtime manager/ master of maybe one move Lana. I think the time for Lana to transition into a wrestler has come and gone, and to immediately give her a title show sends off red flags for me. Rumor is this came about due to WWE wanting to have the Eva Marie push sans the (probably) gone redhead, so Lana gets the spot. She is not the one to pull it off, since she is way more popular than Eva Marie ever was, while at the same time Naomi is not the person to face off against her. If you want the Eva Marie stuff to work you need somebody the snarkier fans will rally behind like Bayley rather than the middle of the road Namoi. Namoi really has not done much since winning the belt back, but there is no way WWE has Lana take her out in her first match unless she secretly is a fantastic wrestler. Naomi wins in a five minute nothing match.

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Carmella (Money in the Bank Ladder Match)

Fan booking for this match has been more interesting than the build for this, along with many of the other recent news coming out of the women’s division. Between the first official (and rumored) entrants into the Mae Young Classic, plus the potential new Smackdown signings and NXT matches happening  and this has been overshadowed quickly despite the history being made. Here are my rankings for who will win the briefcase on Sunday, from least likely to most likely.

Tamina- Has very little momentum, and while I think heels have more of a shot in these things she barely qualifies as a heel with the poor reaction she garners. I think she has a role to play on Smackdown, but she needs to get some wins to look like any sort of threat.

Becky Lynch- While she somehow has retained most of her popularity despite being booked like she has been hit in the head with an air conditioner unit moments before wrestling, it does not fit her character to cash in on someone. Thankfully Bayley has firmly taken the idiot ball from Lynch since Extreme Rules. Becky could be a good heel, but with a thin roster of women WWE needs a babyface they can depend on. She will do some cool spots, but if she does a disarmer on top of the ladder I will give out on her on Manopera. Submissions on ladders is one of my major kayfabe breaking spots in wrestling.

Carmella- The Princess of Staten Island has been gaining some steam online from those who think WWE will give her the briefcase, so that they can begin building her up as a major player in the division. While I do not mind if she wins the briefcase, paints it with leopard spots, and makes Ellsworth carry it around for her, I still think she is not ready to be anywhere near the title.

Charlotte-While being a decorated champion and probably better than 3/5ths of the women in this match combined, WWE seems determined to make her a face. It would not make sense for her to be able to cash in anytime, especially since we all know she could just declare herself number one contender and Shane Mcmahon would agree. Plus, the chances of Flair hitting a crazy moonsault off the ladder and crashing through the table to take herself out of the match is roughly at 90%.

Natalya- While there is no chatter about Nattie Ice winning, I think it makes the most sense here. Nattie has been away from the title scene for ages despite carrying the division through some dark times, and it is time for her to get a push. She still cannot cut a promo without sounding like an extra from a church production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat she can put on a good match. Bitter Natalya getting the briefcase and cashing in to remind the WWE who is the best there is would be a good move.

Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Money in the Bank Ladder Match)

Not much to say about the build to this match, other than WWE has tried to get the crowds to have equal amounts of apathy towards everyone involved. Here is the power rankings for winners of this match, from least to most likely.

Dolph Ziggler-Ziggler is here because it would be weird if he was not, but I would believe I was winning Money in the Bank over Dolph.

AJ Styles- Similar to Charlotte Flair, I think AJ is going to get title opportunities regardless if he wins here or not. He already is very established and the crowd is quite taken with him, so he does not need the briefcase to add to his appeal. He also has a feud with Owens on the backburner that he can go back to once this PPV is over. I will laugh if he continues to get his foot stuck in things just when he is starting to get close to winning.

Shinsuke Nakamura- Not sure what WWE is trying to do with Shinsuke on Smackdown. He is still wildly over with crowds, but portraying him as just some weird Japanese man who struggled to put away Ziggler last PPV is not what anybody expected. He could win the briefcase to add some actual mystery to “The Artist,” but I cannot see WWE pulling the trigger on him so soon when he has not had any sort of big moment since his debut. Dream match with Cena at Summerslam please.

Sami Zayn- People seem to think that Zayn may win the belt, be a goody two shoes and announce he will cash in well in advance. I do not buy it. A Sami push would be lots of fun, but I see him having to climb the ranks and grab the US title well before WWE considers putting him into the main event. Plus I can 100% seen Owens reminding us of their fight forever feud and destroying Zayn just for the lulz

Baron Corbin- It seems as though everyone is banking on Corbin to win here, and it would be a fine way to show that WWE has faith in the Lone Wolf. It would fit his character, and WWE has given him enough big moments that fans will buy him invading the main event scene at some point. I do not think he is quite a main eventer yet, but he could be very soon. I just wish he would cut his rapidly retreating hair and go for a more skinhead look.

Kevin Owens- Take everything I said about Corbin cashing in Money in the Bank and double it for Owens. Sure, he has already been champ, but just imagine Owens with the briefcase stalking the champ and being on commentary every time the champ has a match. He would be a perfect Mr. Money in the Bank, and WWE knows they can rely on him if a main eventer gets hurt or if Jinder starts to struggle.

Jinder Mahal (C) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship Match)

The rematch you did not know you wanted but WWE is giving to you anyway!

While I think Rusev should have gotten in this match back when he called for a shot at the belt at Money in the Bank, Jinder is doing far better as champ than anyone predicted. WWE somehow is pulling off booking him well, as the individual fans can easily decide if they want to cheer or boo him depending on their own thoughts.

This nuance has been missing in WWE for so long, and his popularity in social media and Youtube definitely helps him out. Meanwhile Orton continues to act like he is on horse tranquilizers, and I think his lack of effort has given Mahal some fans. I think Mahal will win, and I think he has put in enough work to warrant it (something I would have never predicted I would say).

My big fear is Cena returns (on July 4th no less), declares himself number one contender because something something AMERICA and Jinder turns into a caticure. Then he beats Jinder and ruins him forever while become a record breaking 17 time champ because “BALD EAGLES AND PURPLE MOUNTAINS MAJESTY, MAGGLE!”