Brace yourselves, the amount of times you’ll have to hear about tonight’s show being “The Ultimate Thrill Ride” is about to skyrocket because it’s WrestleMania Sunday! A mammoth 13-match, 5+ hour evening awaits you from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL, LIVE on the WWE Network! In addition to this preview, be sure to listen to Big Shooter, Goat & Brock give their thoughts on WrestleMania from this week’s show. Let’s run down the card for the Showcase of the Immortals.
WWE World Championship: Bray Wyatt (C) vs. Randy Orton
For nearly a quarter of 2016, The Eater of Worlds has been embroiled in conflict and partnership with The Viper, Randy Orton. After battling each other at No Mercy, Orton bent the knee to Wyatt, joining Harper & Wyatt’s Family in October. At first, it was a match made in
heaven hell: sole survivors of the Raw vs. SmackDown singles match at Survivor Series, a tag team championship victory, a Royal Rumble win by Orton, and a WWE Championship win by Wyatt.
However, The Viper was merely laying in wait. First, causing a rift between Harper and Wyatt, then betraying Wyatt by burning Sister Abigail’s remains and the Wyatt Compound to the ground. A series of supernatural back and forth exchanges have consumed the pair since, with Wyatt bathing in Abigail’s ashes and proclaiming himself all-powerful, and Orton returning to the compound driving Wyatt’s Crusix into Abigail’s charred remains in an attempt to end her powers.
Now the duo square off in the main event at WrestleMania to presumably end the story.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt. The introduction of the Crusix and the army of masked acolytes two weeks ago on SmackDown has my spider sense tingling for a return or new members being introduced to Wyatt’s flock, aiding the champion in retaining his championship.
Continue reading →
Payback airs tonight on the WWE Network, and is being billed as the first major event of the “New Era.”
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. AJ Styles
The main event perhaps best epitomizes what the “New Era” may entail – establishment versus independents. Reigns has been finding his way as the official face of the company for about a month, while embracing the jeers of the WWE Universe with a slightly smug swagger. An outside observer might view Reigns as a champion grown in a sterile environment – the bloodline, professional football player, has only ever wrestled in a WWE/developmental ring. Combine this with the swoonworthy looks and the marketing department of a publicly traded company, and you have a relatively young guy (not yet 31) who can parade around on talk shows in a suit and ponytail, carrying the belt with the giant company logo.
Compare and contrast to beloved Internet darling and independent “journeyman” AJ Styles. This list of indy titles, awards, and 5-star matches he’s accumulated in a 14-year career has made him one of the most respected wrestlers alive. However, he’s a 38-year old who has gotten called “rookie” on an uncomfortably regular basis. And, there will be ~18,000 people in attendance whose emotions would range from “not that upset” to “over-the-moon ecstatic” if he finds a way to win the strap tonight.
That dichotomy is only half the bout. Lurking ringside will undoubtedly be the Gallows and Machine Gun, fresh off demolishing the Usos in a fashion not often seen since the APA vs. Public Enemy. I think it’s widely expected that some form of “Club” will result from this match – Gallows, Anderson, and AJ Styles? Or, Gallows, Anderson, and Finn Balor? Or, Gallows, Anderson… and Roman Reigns? The “New Era” will almost certainly commence with the dawning of a new super stable.
Prediction: Roman Reigns retains, and Gallows and Gun align with the Roman Empire. Continue reading →
Happy Monday, marks! WWE Payback is this weekend, which means Raw is going to be hotter than ever! Live from Hartford, CT, here are some pre-show notes:
- Bullet Club in Action: WWE gets its first taste of the Bullet Club in a sanctioned matched, as they go two-on-two against the Usos. While they’ve been established as buddies of New Japan refugee AJ Styles, original Bullet Club founder Finn Balor quietly dropped the NXT Title to Samoa Joe last week at a house show, possibly freeing him up to ascend to the main roster. Lots to keep an eye on here.
- League Disbanding: Mere weeks after dumping Wade Barrett, Alberto del Rio confirmed over the weekend that the remaining League of Nations members will be going their separate ways. For a faction with such decorated members, the LoN never amounted to much. Hopefully Barrett, del Rio, Rusev, and Sheamus will re-establish themselves as credible threats to faces everywhere.
- Payback Go-Home Show: The build to WWE Payback has been one of the better in recent memory, and hopefully the trend continues tonight with a solid go-home show!
That’s it! Enjoy the show, and be sure to check back in with CDW for all your wrestling needs.
Welcome to Monday Night Raw: the Preview! WWE keeps the smark-crowd train rolling as Raw sets up shop in sunny Los Angeles. Some pre-show notes:
- Here Comes More of the Money: Due to overwhelming positive feedback on social media, Shane McMahon is running Monday Night Raw for the second week in a row! Will there be even more debuts? More fun matches? What the hell ever happened to the Undertaker? Answers tonight.
- No. 1 Contender AJ Styles: With Styles’ surprise win last week on Raw, the main event for Payback is presumably set. As Styles is an over babyface, it looks like WWE will continue to tweak Roman Reigns into “a guy” who’s neither good nor bad. Also, shoutout to Styles for dressing like a total hick on SmackDown. It did this Texas boy proud.
- NXT Tag Teams: After a fire-hot debut last week, Enzo Amore and Big Cass will surely continue their feud with the Dudley Boys. While the Vaudevillians’ debut was a little quieter, the response was positive, so perhaps they will get a shot on the red show. Also it will be interesting to see just where Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews fit in on Raw.
- Bad News Barrett: With King Barrett getting kicked out of the League of Nations last week, it remains to be seen if he will re-emerge anywhere else. Rumors of his contract expiring soon, might mean this is the last we’ve seen of Wade Barrett on WWE TV.
- Dr. Phil: Dr. Phil is guest starring on tonight’s episode.
That’s it! Enjoy the show and check back here at CDW for all your wrestling needs!
Whew! NXT Takeover and Wrestlemania might be over, but don’t let your stomach settle just yet – it’s time for the Raw After Wrestlemania! Dallas, TX is the place and here are your pre-show notes (Wrestlemania 32 and NXT Takeover: Dallas spoilers, obviously):
- New Champs: Roman Reigns and Zack Ryder are your new champions heading into the new season. While Roman is likely to hold the belt for a while, it remains to be seen if Ryder’s first IC strap is the start of a legit push or if it’s more of a career achievement award.
- The Future of the Authority: Kind of a split decision for the Authority last night. The Undertaker defeated Shane McMahon to keep the prodigal son from taking over Raw, but Triple H emphatically lost the belt to Roman Reigns in the main event. Let’s hope Shane O’Mac stays around and maybe the Authority takes a quieter role going forward.
- Monday Night Debuts: The Raw After Wrestlemania has been a hotspot for debuting talent over the past few years. Names to keep an eye on this year are Samoa Joe (lost twice to Finn Balor), Baron Corbin (still seems to have unfinished business with Austin Aries, but he did just win the Andre), Bayley (lost her belt to Asuka), Enzo Amore, Big Cass, Carmella, as well as longshots Apollo Crews, Mojo Rawley, and TMDK. Okay, maybe not TMDK.
- Monday Night Returns: In addition to any NXT call-ups, injured WWE Superstars that could make a return tonight are John Cena (already back, kind of), Cesaro, and Randy Orton. Also, where the hell is Hideo Itami?
- New Feuds: Hopefully we get a proper Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens singles program, plus there should be new directions for Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, AJ Styles, and hopefully the League of Nations.
That’s it! Enjoy what should be one of the hottest shows of the year!