April 4, 2017 was a night that the WWE Universe won’t soon forget. Vince McMahon revealed a new Raw General Manager in Kurt Angle, and Finn Balor made his return from injury. But for many hardcore wrestling fans, this edition of Raw After Mania will be remembered for something much different. It was the night The Revival made their WWE main roster debuts.
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder burst onto the scene on WWE Raw, garnering early wins against The New Day before Big E, Xavier Woods, and ofi Kingston made their way to WWE Smackdown Live. But then injuries hit The Revival, keeping them out of action for a better portion of the remainder of 2017.
Prior to debuting on WWE Raw, Dash and Dawson had an improbable rise to the top of WWE NXT, capturing the NXT Tag Team Championships on two separate occasions. But much like their run on WWE Raw, they didn’t always seem to have the cards in their favor.
Starting out as a team seemingly dressed as Mechanics (capitalized on purpose), Dash and Dawson were long this team tearing it up at NXT house shows, this mythical power fans spoke highly of. The rare sniff they’d get on NXT television wouldn’t amount to much. They had two televised matches in 2014, both losses, before returning in 2015 to defeat Enzo and Cass. This would launch then through the first Dusty Rhodes Classic, leading to their Takeover debut–a loss to eventual Dusty Classic winners Samoa Joe and Finn Balor.
They picked up steam with a non-title win against The Vaudevillians, gained some notoriety by taking out Enzo and Cass, and had their first real moment in the sun when they defeated the floundering Vaudevillians once more. This time that win was for the NXT Tag Team Championships. they successfully defeated Enzo and Cass in their first Takeover win (Takeover: London), and were eventually christened “The Revival.”
The name seemed to hold extra meaning, as for so many the duo signified a renaissance–or perhaps a revival–to tag team wrestling in WWE. Tag team wrestling hadn’t disappeared, but Dash and Dawson signaled a return to tag team wrestling “done right.” They employed old school tactics like isolating a body part and cutting the ring in half. They mastered the art of the quick tag, of knowing their partner’s every move, and always being in the right place at the right time.
They would spark a small feud with American Alpha, that would see the teams trade the tag team titles. But it was their feud with #DIY, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano, that solidified them not as one of the best tag teams in WWE/NXT, but the entire world.
They would eventually fall to DIY in a two-out-of-three falls match to end their feud, and that match would be named 2016’s Match Of The Year for all of WWE. Takeover: Orlando would see their final NXT televised appearance, failing to regain the championships for a third time in a triple threat elimination match with DIY and NXT’s newest dominant force, The Authors Of Pain.
Two nights later, their debut on Raw happened, and it seemed primed to see their roll continue.
Things don’t always go as planned, and when you fast forward to today, the Revival is coming off of an ass-kicking at the hands of both D-Generation X and The Balor Club on the 25th Anniversary Edition of Raw. But that #Raw25 loss notwithstanding, the Revival is in position to make their way to the top.
However, most fans on the internet don’t see it that way.
— BreakingDownTheRing (@BDRcast) January 23, 2018
However, I feel horrible for the Revival #ProtectTheRevival
— Win Column Sports (@WCSportsCA) January 23, 2018
The frustration is not unfounded, but I honestly believe The Revival will be just fine. It’s all about timing.
Take a look at The New Day. The now Iconic Trio were plastered all over the Kickoff at WrestleMania 31, got promoted to lose to The League Of Nations (Remember them? Me neither!) at WrestleMania 32, followed by a hosting gig at WrestleMania 33. They’re one of the top merchandise sellers on WWE Shop as well. No one saw this coming when they debuted as an evangelical church choir (even though they pulled that act off with brilliance, too).
The New Day’s best work in 2017 was against The Usos, who are currently regarded by most as the best tag team in the world (and they’re the first ever Chairshot Team Of The Year, too!). It wasn’t always this way for Jimmy and Jey, as the brothers have yet to crack a WrestleMania main card. This looks to change in 2018 with WrestleMania 34.
Where does The Revival fit in with all this?
They are a talented tag team who can talk with the best of ’em, and given the way WWE treats tag teams, a dependable pairing of workhorses that can get in and get out, or can work a long TV match, can be quite valuable for quite some time. But can they “recover” from a #Raw25 “burial?”
Don’t be silly…of course they can! The precedent here is set by Jinder Mahal, now dubbed “The Maharaja” and 2017’s biggest surprise with his reign as WWE Champion.
Jinder wasn’t always at this level, which was actually the biggest criticism of his push. But Jinder Mahal had a similar moment to what The Revival experienced on Monday, his being in the WrestleMania 33 Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Jinder was used as the antagonist for Rob Gronkowski, bringing the New England Patriots Super Bowl winning tight end out of the crowd and into the ring. Jinder did his job, making Gronk look like a million bucks and putting over Mojo Rawley in the process.
His reward? A move to Smackdown and a reign as WWE Champion!
The Revival were used at #Raw25 as cannon fodder for D-Generation X and The Balor Club, but in WWE’s eyes this can only help them. They will actually be in a position to climb, likely finding themselves in the Raw Tag Team Championship picture by WrestleMania 34. And after? well I fully expect The Usos to move to Raw in a shake-up this year, and when they do we’ll all be treated to the magic made Jimmy, Jey, Dash, and Dawson.
Don’t worry about The Revival, they’ll be just fine!
Elisa: Women Are Headlining WWE WrestleMania, And Will Deliver
The women are headlining, will they deliver?
Elisa Maria shares in the joy that women are headlining WrestleMania, and why the women will deliver.
Even though wrestling fans kind of heard the rumors a few months ago, it became reality today when WWE announced that the main event of WrestleMania will be the triple threat match between Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch. For me as a fan growing up, I would have never thought this would be even remotely possible. It was a long time coming but this women’s evolution, these group of women deserve it. They fought and proved that women can wrestle with the men, put on a show just like the men but have been doing it better than all the main roster combined. On a personal note, I am even more excited that I will be there to witness this spectacle. It’s exciting!
There have been many things that have influenced me to open up my blog, but I must say a good chunk of it has been watching the whole women’s revolution develop and flourish to become such a necessity that even ratings depend on it. If we were to look at this from the outside, WWE has survived the past year due to what the women on the roster has brought to the table not necessary the men. The chances and risks that these women have taken, it is unbelievable. They are taking chair shots, kendo stick shots, elimination chambers, and iron man matches, I mean – what haven’t they done? Even their promos are way more interesting than what they men have put out there in recent months. One name to prove this is – Becky Lynch. She is just constantly dominating the promo and “talking shit” game that it reminds me of legends such as the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin during the attitude era, where “talking shit” was at it’s finest. In the past, where it was damn near impossible to believe that a woman in wrestling can take the same force of a chair shot straight to her back like a male wrestler can – these group of women are doing it like nothing and I am proud.
Can these three extremely talented and gifted women put on a show worthy of a main event to close out this year’s WrestleMania in the biggest city of them all, New York? Hell yeah they can! Let me explain why…
Let’s get the stats going shall we. Ronda Rousey, the current WWE Raw women’s champion, joined WWE in January 2018 after a groundbreaking career in the UFC, where she was the first UFC women’s bantamweight champion. Not only was Rousey the first women’s champion in UFC history, she also main-evented two of the top 10 UFC pay-per-view events (by buy rate) in that company’s history. Next, Charlotte Flair, a seven-time WWE women’s champion, and Lynch, a two-time SmackDown women’s champion, helped foster dramatic changes in the WWE’s women’s division over the past six years. As part of a group that called itself the “Four Horsewomen” — a callback to Flair’s father, Ric Flair, and his rotating quartet of industry-defining compatriots in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s -Charlotte Flair and Lynch, along with Bayley and Sasha Banks, promoted a more physical style of performance.
The Four Horsewomen reshaped and built up NXT, WWE’s training ground for upcoming superstars that has become a global brand of its own, through a series of “TakeOver” specials that redefined the style of women’s wrestling on display in WWE. At WrestleMania 32, the women’s championship belt was created to replace the existing Divas championship belt that was a huge symbolism for the direction of women’s wrestling in the company.
If that is not proof enough that these women can outright perform, then re-watch last year’s first women’s pay per view Evolution and Survivor Series. For the Evolution pay per view, Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair, considered as a brutal, violent and nearly perfect match performance. It was a memorable feud between two of WWE’s most important members of its current “women’s revolution,” former best friends Lynch and Flair took things to an entirely new level. The duo set new standards in terms of high spots, physicality and outright carnage for a main roster women’s match in what is undoubtedly in the conversation for best WWE match of 2018, regardless of gender.
Survivor Series saw Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair in another grade A+ match that had a great heel turn and one of the most brutal post-match beat downs I have ever seen. Flair looked like a woman possessed as she unleashed on Rousey, pummeling her with weapons and assaulting her on a level unlike anything she has ever experienced before. In the process, she set in motion the storyline in which Rousey, Flair and Lynch would clash in the biggest show in wrestling’s history.
What Can We Expect During The Main Event At WrestleMania in MetLife Stadium?
I’ll tell you what I expect: I expect that these three amazing women will go all out to not only entertain the fans but to show that women’s wrestling is the REAL DEAL on the same stage and in the same building last occupied by The Rock and John Cena–think about that! This match will be a match to remember and probably in contention to be the match of the year for 2019. Whether you’re a wrestling fan or not, you have to admit this is intriguing and exciting. Non- wrestling fans will probably tune into WrestleMania just to view this match and I would not blame them. I personally am appreciative of what all women in the WWE roster has brought to the table and for all women of sports. This could be the main event to rival all main events. In short, I am proud to be a woman, in a generation where we have Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.
Until then Fans, farewell.
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Chairshot Classics: The Streak Part 13 – Riding Into The Sunset (2017-2018)
The end of The Deadman’s run at WrestleMania…?
Tiffany takes a look back at The Undertaker competing at the last two WrestleMania events, against Roman Reigns and John Cena.
As 2017 dawned, it became clear to many WWE fans that the Undertaker’s 30 year ride in the WWE seemed to be coming to a close. The Deadman was visibly slowing down, but his drive to remain the Big Dog in the Yard was as strong as ever. However, there were new and older dogs in the Deadman’s yard now and they each wanted to stake their own claims on the Yard…and the WrestleMania Streak.
Roman Reigns, the controversial Guy of WWE, staked his claim when he eliminated the Undertaker at the 2017 Royal Rumble and refused to back down, even spearing the dreaded Deadman, vowing to be only the second man in history to beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania.
In 2018, John Cena, the long-time face of WWE, found himself on the Road to WrestleMania without an opponent after failing to capture the WWE Championship from AJ Styles. Determined to NOT miss the Show of Shows, he set his sights on getting the match that had always eluded him: The Streak.
WrestleMania 33 – Battle of the Big Dogs
The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns
This battle for the yard started at the 2017 Royal Rumble. Taker and Reigns were entered when Reigns eliminated the Deadman, mouthing to the stunned Phenom that ‘It’s my yard now’. That seemed to be the end of until Taker attacked Roman a month later. The stage was set for a National Geographic level fight to see who would run the yard, Undertaker or Roman Reigns.
As a special surprise, this match was called by Good Ol’ JR! Jim Ross hadn’t been part of WrestleMania for a few years and it’s great to see him back, especially since he’d just lost his beloved wife, Jan, a few weeks before. Ross got such a huge pop, you almost couldn’t hear Jojo’s announcing. JR was greeted by Cole and JBL with hugs and a good wishes from the the crowd.
Reigns came out to a LOUD chorus of boos, but didn’t seem that concerned about it. He punched the ground and flames shot down the ramp and ignited the fireworks set up for him. It was announced that the match would be No Holds Barred. Reigns was the picture of cool confidence, seemingly unaffected by the huge match or the reaction of the crowd. However, as his music ends and we wait, the nerves began to set in.
The Deadman Cometh. There’s been a little dispute about where Taker appeared from in his entrance, but it LOOKED to me like he rose from about halfway down the ramp, but didn’t really matter, the entrance was still all the Undertaker in his creepy glory. Reigns had his ‘Oh shit, here he comes moment’ but was still stoic in the ring. It was time to decide who really owns this yard.
I’m going to be honest, this was the hardest match of the Streak for me, as a life-long Taker fan, to watch. WWE had been able to really disguise how limited Taker was becoming in the last couple of WrestleMania matches, especially the one with Shane, but there was no hiding it in this match. Taker could barely move, none of his signature moves, outside of a few moves were in this match. This was a fight, pure and simple. It was a fight straight out of a National Geographic documentary about lions fighting for dominance.
Roman Reigns took a LOT of heat from smarks about his performance, but watching it back after two years’ time, it’s clear that Roman was doing everything he possibly could to hide Taker’s limited ability, but there’s only so much you can do with a 52 year old man who needs a hip replacement.
Roman really got into this match after he speared Taker through the Spanish announce table. After Taker sat up, Reigns got MAD and just beat the shit out of Taker. Taker would turn it around with a Last Ride, but Reigns kicked out.
One of the things the smarks most complained about was a botched spot where Reigns tried to Tombstone the Undertaker, the ultimate act of disrespect that has been performed by almost every major rival of Taker’s since Kane in 1998. However, watching that spot back a few times, I think I’ve figured out what went wrong: Reigns was exhausted and had taken quite a beating from Taker and couldn’t quite get a grip on Taker and Taker couldn’t help him as much as he normally would have.
Towards the end, Reigns begged Taker to stay down, but the old lion refused, forcing Reigns to beat Taker into submission with a steel chair and countless Superman Punches before finishing the match with a spear and becoming only the second man in WWE history to defeat the Undertaker at WrestleMania.
Roman Reigns vacated the ring, and the significance of what had just happened began to hit the audience. Undertaker was seemingly done. It took several minutes, but Taker got to his feet and put on his coat and hat, then slowly took them off, folding his coat and leaving it in the middle of the ring, along with his iconic hat and his gloves. The crowd chanted ‘Thank you, Taker’ as the Deadman made what seemed to be his final walk away from a WWE ring, pausing to kiss his wife, Michelle McCool, and taking one last look at the crowd that he’d entertained for nearly thirty years before disappearing in a wave of smoke.
Rating: 8/10 This match wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but it told a great story.
Hightlight: Taker sitting up. Reigns begging Taker to stay down. Taker’s final farewell.
WrestleMania 34 – Be Careful What You Wish For
The Undertaker vs. John Cena
As the Road to WrestleMania 34 got underway, John Cena, the once untouchable face of WWE found himself sitting on the sidelines after failing to capture the WWE title from rival AJ Styles. Determined to not miss WrestleMania, Cena set his eyes on the one WrestleMania opponent that had always eluded him: The Undertaker. When Taker seemed deaf to Cena’s pleading, the leader of Cenation resorted to taunting Taker like a petulant child who wasn’t getting his way.
Finally frustrated that he didn’t seem to be getting his way, Cena ‘bought’ a ticket to WrestleMania and sat in the audience, oohing and awing over the superstars of WWE pulling out all the stops. As Charlotte vs Asuka was finishing, one of the WWE refs approached and told Cena something and Cena went into the back. Mr. Cena was about to learn why it is always wise to be careful what you wish for, especially when dealing with the Undertaker.
Cena comes back to the ring later in the show, and unlike most people in the Streak, Cena seemed extremely excited by the prospect of facing the Undertaker. Then another ref comes and says something like Taker’s NOT there or he changed his mind. Poor Cena is dejected, but the crowd isn’t giving up. As Cena leaves, the lights go out.
The Deadman Cometh. Wait, that’s Elias. The crowd is FURIOUS over the trick, but Elias doesn’t care, claiming that he’s better than the person everyone wanted to see. The crowd gets even angrier and I can’t repeats some of what they seemed to be saying. Enraged, Cena leaves while Elias mocks him in song. Finally sick of this, Cena beat Elias like he owed him money. Kudos to the kid smack talking Elias.
The crowd won’t give up, even when Cena’s music hits again. Frustrated, Cena prepares to take his leave, but then…the music stops and it takes Cena a moment to realize it and now…
The Deadman FINALLY Cometh. A spotlight hits the ring, revealing the folded hat and coat Taker left in the ring the year before and lightning strikes and the items are gone. It finally, FINALLY hits Cena just what he’s getting himself into and it’s too late to change his mind.
Out of the gates of Hell comes the Undertaker. Back to the arena where the Streak ended four years before. Cena’s ‘Oh Shit!’ hits and it is time.
For all the anticipation, the years of waiting, and having to sit through Elias, this match was kind of an ‘eh’. It was the shortest match of the Streak and I can’t say it was a shining moment for either man. To give Cena his due, he sold the return of Undertaker like he should have. He LEGIT looked scared out of his wits to FINALLY be getting this match.
As if to exorcise the previous loss in New Orleans, and pay Cena back for his remarks, Taker dominated the match from the start. Taker did hit most of the greatest hits of his arsenal, almost like he’d never had a bad hip, including Old School. Still, this wasn’t a great match by any stretch of the imagination, sadly. Though Cena tripping and falling when Taker sat up was hilarious. One tombstone later, and it was over. The dream match finally happened, but it could’ve been so much more.
Rating: 6/10 This match could’ve been so much more if it had happened a few years earlier, but it was an okay match for what it was.
Highlight: Elias getting cussed out by the crowd. Taker’s entrance. Cena falling on his ass when Taker sat up.
Post-Script: As of 10pm, March 25, 2019, while I’m writing this final part to the Streak rewatch, Undertaker has not been scheduled for a match of any kind at WrestleMania. As of now, the match against Cena was the final match of the Streak and the Deadman walked off with his head held high. Thanks for the memories, Taker.
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