Image Credit: WWE.com
Last night’s Raw was a conundrum for me. It’s not that it wasn’t entertaining (it was for me)…I guess uneventful is the word? Especially for an Extreme Rules go-home show. The strange part was the majority of the plot development tonight seemed to be about the Seth Rollins-Kane beef, a matchup that must be headlining Payback with all the attention it’s gotten the last few weeks.
(As a side note, what is up with Kane being an early opponent for all newly minted World Champions? It happened with Daniel Bryan, it happened with he who shall not be named, it appears to be happening with Seth Rollins.)
Alongside the Rollins-Kane tensions was the plot thread of Randy Orton RKOing his way through the roster to get it out of his system before Sunday, where the RKO is banned. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Heath Slater, The Miz all suffered the move leading up to tonight’s climax.
After defeating Dolph Ziggler, the arrogant Rollins started to sing his own praises even interrupting the COO and invoke the name of Kane. This caused J&J and the Game to head the Big Red Corporate Machine off at the pass while the cage slowly lowered around the Champ. With Rollins preoccupied, the Viper slid in unnoticed leaving Orton with Rollins. Trapped in the Steel Cage.
Another highlight reel worthy RKO later, Orton headed into Extreme Rules with momentum and Rollins headed into the PPV with problems with his opponent AND his stablemate/cage door gatekeeper.
No disrespect to Orton or Kane, but I would love it if these spring and summer month PPVs, while we await the return of Lesnar, were headlined by Rollins defending the championship against some fresh blood to the title scene. Reigns, Ziggler, or his longtime nemesis Ambrose to name a few. If the title defenses are going to be “filler” for lack of a better word make them spectacular filler.
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What an absolute bonkers 5 hours of WrestleMania yesterday, one of the best ever IMO. From Luke Harper killing Dean Ambrose (only figuratively I hope) to the shocking conclusion, for a show that everyone complained about its build…it overdelivered. Let’s get right to the results.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase MID MATCH turning Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns into Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins. Rollins went on to pin Roman Reigns and become the NEWWW World Heavyweight Champion.
Let’s start with Reigns-Lesnar. One of the most bemoaned WrestleMania main events in history prior to the event, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns were telling a great in-ring story of Reigns refusing to quit/trying not to die at the hands of the man who has rag dolled everything in his path in the last calendar year. A violent, violent affair from the get go with Lesnar being busted open under the eye moments into the contest. Suplex City and three F-5’s and the Samoan would not be put down, smiling through his punishment. Finally before the moment that shocked us all, Reigns was able to rally by reversing Lesnar into the steel ring post, opening another cut on Lesnar’s head, his third of the match, and finally staggering the Beast with Superman punches and spears. And it still wasn’t enough.
Enter Seth Rollins. Rollins changed the whole paradigm of what we think the Money in the Bank briefcase is by calling his shot when both of the potential champions were down rather than picking the corpse over after a match. After turning in his briefcase, Rollins attempts to curb stomp, Lesnar, who reverses it into an F5, who is then speared by Reigns. With all three men down, Seth Rollins recovered enough to nail the curb stomp on Roman Reigns to win the title. What a sequence.
Brilliant, brilliant ending to a fantastic night that sets up so many WWE Championship main event scenarios for the next year. Orton vs. Rollins, Reigns vs. Rollins, Lesnar vs. Rollins, Lesnar vs. Reigns vs. Rollins, hell you even have the possibility of Ambrose vs. Rollins (to make up for the fact that were he not broken in half in the opening match, Ambrose surely would have tried to break up the cash-in as promised). The timing of Rollins finally cashing in…perfect. Plus all three men come out smelling like roses, you can’t ask for more from the close of WrestleMania.
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It’s here, it’s here! WrestleMania Sunday. Time to run through the card and get the Chad Dukes Wrestling show & staff picks, including Dukes’ & Thommy’s picks from Wednesday Night’s WrestleMania Preview Show.
Don’t forget! WrestleMania starts at 5PM on the WWE Network with the Kickoff show & with TWO matches on this year’s kickoff I’d expect matches to start around 6PM, so you’re looking at 5 hours of WrestleMania!
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns
In one corner, the reigning, defending, newly re-signed WWE World Heavyweight Champion for the past 223 days: Brock Lesnar. In the other, the 2015 Royal Rumble winner, public enemy #1 of the bitter (sigh) “internet wrestling community”, and the Samoan Dreamboat, Roman Reigns.
The complexion of this match changed greatly just this past Tuesday with the announcement of Brock Lesnar’s re-signing to a multi-year deal with WWE. Prior to that, those critical of Reigns’ readiness bemoaned the “obvious” coronation of Reigns, but now… all bets are off.
A number of finishes are now on the table. Does the mainstream coverage of Brock Lesnar on Sports Center turn him face? Does Reigns turn heel and join up with Heyman? Does Lesnar retain straight up and continue his “prize-fighter” reign? Does Reigns still prevail as the Chosen One? Does Seth Rollins cash-in?
Whatever the eventual outcome, I think this match, and did before the re-signing, will surprise a lot of people as being a really good, big man, HOSS fight.
- Dukes- Brock Lesnar, Rollins attempts to cash-in, but Lesnar leaves Santa Clara as Champion.
- Thom- Roman Reigns, Rollins cashes in Money In The Bank.
- Goat- Brock Lesnar then Rollins cashes in with an outside shot that Reigns interferes with the cash-in after it’s official, giving Reigns and Rollins beef over the Summer over who gets the shot at Lesnar at SummerSlam.
- Frogman- Brock Lesnar
- Louis Tully – Reigns takes Lesnar to the limit but ultimately Brock Lesnar retains, no Rollins shenanigans.
- Alex Wright- Brock Lesnar
- Richard Martel- Brock Lesnar
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Image Credit: WWE.com
Three new matches were confirmed, two more hinted towards as we travel down a somewhat low-key road to WrestleMania. A middling episode of the flagship last night to be sure (the show is still WAY long) but by no means the worst thing to ever happen in sports entertainment like I’ve read this morning.
Admittedly the build to this year’s show has been down from past years. I think where people are having a hard time getting excited this year lies in the fact that three of the players in the top three matches making sporadic or no appearances at all. While there’s no doubt Bray Wyatt has done a yeoman’s job selling me on Taker vs. Wyatt being one of the top matches on the card, the lack of face to face confrontations from Lesnar/Reigns & Sting/HHH might be hurting the interest for some. Wyatt’s build with the Undertaker works where those two have not because Bray has been trying to lure Undertaker back, so his absence from TV makes sense to the viewer.
For some it could be the dreamy blue-eyed Samoan in the room, Roman Reigns. There is a portion of the fan base that have stayed steadfast in their refusal to accept the Rumble winner. They’ve ignored the weeks he does get a great pop from the crowd or the strides he’s made in the ring with and without Daniel Bryan. While Paul Heyman always does a fantastic job getting his client’s point across for him on the microphone as he did in another masterful performance tonight, we need more Reigns-Lesnar physicality. Staredowns, sneak attacks, etc. to create more anticipation for their match, something to take people’s minds off of internet negativity. Talking about Roman Reigns isn’t going to do that. Seeing Roman Reigns do cool stuff, now you’ve got a chance.
For others it could also be the (seemingly) eternal gripe that Daniel Bryan should be facing Daniel Bryan for the Daniel Bryan Championship and Daniel Bryan should cash in his Daniel Bryan briefcase afterwards because…Daniel Bryan. Okay I got carried away there but I hope you follow my meaning. I love the guy as much as the next but there is a difference between being a “main event guy” and being in the Main Event. Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Triple H, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, and the Undertaker are all “main event guys” not in this year’s “main event” because there are only two (sometimes three) spots a year.
If the build hasn’t spoken to you speak with your time and energy by avoiding the show. It’s entertainment. I’m not entertained by everything you are I’m sure but come WrestleMania when you’re seeing Bray Wyatt and the Undertaker face to face, or Sting WRESTLING in a WWE ring, you may not care how the build was if the spectacle delivers on your $9.99.
With that out-of-the-way let’s hit the major happenings.
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DDP on the Mend – Facebook
Diamond Dallas Page was hospitalized over the weekend for a rare breathing issue called subglottic stenosis. He’s posted lengthy updates on his social media accounts detailing what went on. As of yesterday, he’s been released from the hospital but will still need surgery to clear up some issues in his throat. All the best on a speedy recovery.
Second NXT Live Event in Ohio Announced – Lords of Pain
In addition to their date in Columbus, Ohio on March 5th, NXT will run a second live event on Friday March 6th in Cleveland, OH.
Orton & Dallas Return to Live Events – WrestlingINC
Randy Orton and Bo Dallas both returned to action at this weekend’s live event in Salt Lake City, UT. With any luck we’ll be back BOLieving in no time!