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Top Five Modern Rivalries That Will Go Down in WWE History

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Rivalries go hand and hand with the WWE. From Hogan and Andre, to Hart and Michaels, to Austin and McMahon, rivalries can define an era, make a career, and provide entertainment like the world has never seen. While most great feuds took place in the past, there are a few modern rivalries that will likely go down in WWE history.

Honorable Mention – The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

The rivalry between the A-lister and the Showoff in late 2016 was the peak of SmackdownLive’s “golden age.” Battle after battle was fought, and it elevated the Intercontinental Championship to a level it has not seen since. The mix between the Miz’s promo and heel work and Ziggler’s story and character meshed so perfectly. Unfortunately, it is likely to be forgotten as both the Miz and Ziggler have gone on to do less exciting things. Not to mention the two have feuded over the Intercontinental Title before, and that wasn’t as entertaining.

5. Ember Moon vs. Asuka

Perhaps another rivalry would be more fitting for this spot such as Styles vs. Cena or Ziggler vs. Miz, but when looking at the women of WWE only one rivalry makes sense at the moment. Bayley and Sasha Banks may give it a run for its money if their rivalry is reignited, but for now Asuka and Ember hold the crown. From the hype surrounding Ember Moon on her way in, to Asuka’s final match at TakeOver Brooklyn III, to Asuka handing Ember the NXT Women’s Championship, to their most recent encounter at the Royal Rumble. A friendly rivalry can be just as intriguing as a blood feud, and this should be a great example going forward.

4. The Usos vs. New Day

The feud between the Usos and New Day can be summed up with the fact that the two teams had to settle their differences inside Hell in a Cell. It is one of the few cell matches in recent memory that actually called for the stipulation. Even before that the two teams were putting on memorable bouts on otherwise disappointing cards. One of the genuine highlights for SmackdownLive coming out of WresleMania, the Usos have established themselves as one of, if not the best, tag team on the planet, and the New Day rejuvenated their gimmick the way only they can do. As of this writing, they look to do battle again at Fastlane, and write another chapter in what is certain to be a best seller.

3. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

While KO and Zayn have made amends while on their current Smackdown Live run, it is only a matter of time before they are at each other’s throats once again. The life long friends have put on fan favorite matches before, but it seems they have a little more they could pull out for a big time match. A championship match between them is almost destined to happen at some point, and a resilient Zayn capturing his first world title from his rival would be a fitting story. No matter what either man does in his career, he will always be tied to the other man, be it a positive or a negative.

2. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns

Braun is the perfect opponent for Reigns, or perhaps it’s vice versa. Either way, these two are destined to fight forever. Their most recent encounter saw the two battle inside the elimination chamber, and while Roman was able to get the victory there, Braun has come away the winner in a lot of contests between the two. Roman is more than likely going to capture the Universal Championship at WrestleMania, but his opponents going forward is anyone’s guess. A rekindling of his battle with Strowman could elevate the title in the eyes of the fans after the poorly received Lesnar reign. It could also provide Strowman with a well deserved world title run.

1. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa

This is a bold prediction as the former DIY partners haven’t even had a match against each other since their break up. However, seeing as how Gargano’s story since NXT TakeOver Chicago has been trying to overcome the destruction of DIY, it seems likely the two will enter a war.  A war that will be driven by story and elevated by the in ring work of two great performers. While Gargano’s NXT career is over at the moment, we’re sure to see him continue his feud with Ciampa in some way. Hopefully when the two make the leap to the main roster, they continue their rivalry. If the cards are dealt right, this could end up being the rivalry of a generation.


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NXT: Don’t Call Them Up, Vince

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Velveteen Dream NXT

“Call me up Vince.” Those the words scrawled across the back of the Velveteen Dream’s gear last night at NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4. Obviously a not so subtle message that the Dream feels he’s ready for the call up to the main roster. Mauro Ranallo even made mention of it.

You can see why Velveteen Dream would want them to call him up at this point. Despite still only being 22 years old he’s already mastered his character which is over with the fans as well as being phenomenal in the ring. Having said that I don’t think he or anyone on NXT should be called up come RAW or SmackDown.

Now I know that post WrestleMania and post SummerSlam are when a number of NXT talents are called up because this are when they start to tell new stories and they can slide these new people into these new stories. The reason I don’t think anyone should be called up yet is because the main roster is struggling with the call ups they have at the moment.

Post WrestleMania 34 alone we got Authors Of Pain, Ember Moon, No Way Jose and Drew McIntyre called up to RAW and Sanity, the IIconics, Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega to SmackDown. That’s too many call ups in my opinion.

Drew is doing well in his alliance with Dolph Ziggler and Almas is slowly building momentum but the others barely appear on TV at the moment. The IIconics started out good beating down Charlotte so Carmella could cash in but what have they done since?

Ember Moon had a great showing in the Women’s Money in the Bank match but then we didn’t see her until this past week’s RAW. I think the tables match with the New Day is the only match Sanity have won since they got called up. And this is before we get into past call ups who are doing nothing right now such as Tye Dillinger, Bobby Roode, the Riott Squad, the Revival the list goes on.

The problem is there’s too many people on the roster at the minute and not enough TV time to go around. You can understand that on SmackDown but RAW’s three hours. How can there be nothing for you on a three hour show?

WWE seems so desperate to call people up regardless if they have anything for them creatively. If that’s the case then why not just leave in NXT for a while longer where they can continue to be used effectively. I don’t want a well rounded character like Velveteen Dream called up to just be another guy who’s lost in the shuffle.

This is a rare point where I think no one really needs called up. Undisputed Era are clearly not done as they still hold the tag titles. Johnny Gargano might be legitimately injured so he’s not going up. Aleister Black won’t go up at least until he gets his rematch.

EC3 could go up because I actually think he’s wasted in NXT. After last night I think his style suits the main roster more than it does NXT. Shayna could be called up if the 4 Horsewomen vs 4 Horsewomen rumors are true.

For now I’m hoping WWE just leave people in NXT if they don’t have anything for them. Don’t screw up anyone else please.


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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 8/19/2018

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Oh my god, plans on Saturday meant I had to watch TakeOver and SummerSlam back to back, so I’m soo tired. Also I didn’t have the time to watch any outside stuff, so for everyone who was mad about all the G1 Climax matches, this will be all NXT/WWE.

So before we get into the Top 5 this week, we need to address the winner from last week. G1 Climax 28 Finals Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi, won by a decent margin, but Kota Ibushi vs Kenny Omega had the lead for a portion of the week.

Anyway, let’s see what we got to work with this week.

 

5. WWE SummerSlam: Daniel Bryan vs The Miz

From My Coverage:

Another really good match, with solid ring work and an overall story that you can sink your teeth into. Daniel kept wanting to make Miz pay for the verbal harassment last few years and to prove he’s a joke of a wrestler. The Miz just wanted to prove that his style is the best style for professional wrestling, and that he was superior because of it.

Both men pulled off the signature Roundhouse Kicks, Bryan doing his best Strong Style impression as he kept pushing forward into Miz’s kicks. Daniel kicks out of a Skull Crushing Finale, Miz fights to the ropes while in the Yes Lock, just a lot of good spots and moments where you weren’t sure who was going to win, Daniel hits a big Avalanche Belly to Back Suplex, and Miz moves out of the way to make sure Daniel kicks the ring post.  A lot of good back and forth.

The finish comes when the match spills to the outside in front of Maryse in the crowd with the baby, and it looks like she hands Miz something. So Miz absorbs some more punishment to shield the foreign object from the referee, and as Bryan goes for a Suicide Dive, Miz just cold cocks him with the Loaded Fist. He gives the item back to Maryse and slides into the ring for the pinfall victory.

Winner: The Miz via Loaded Left Hand

Rating: **** 1/2

 

4.  WWE SummerSlam Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins vs Dolph Ziggler (c)

WWE SummerSlam Rollins vs Ziggler

From My Coverage:

Well it looks like they have Ambrose’s return being a reunion tour of sorts. Return from the injury and be a deciding factor in the match, it makes sense.

When it comes down to the match, it was pretty damn good. The dynamic between McIntyre and Ambrose on the outside for most of the match was tenuous and added a different air to the match. It started off very deliberately paced and didn’t really feel like it sped up until Rollins hit a Reverse Superplex into a Sidewalk Slam for a near fall.

McIntyre gets involved by taking out Ambrose, allowing Ziggler to hit a Zig Zag for 2. Ambrose then nullifies McIntyre with Dirty Deeds, Seth hits a Super Kick before Ziggler can, and wins with a Curb Stomp, Blackout, The Stomp…whatever they call it anymore. Match told a solid story, so I guess we’re gonna see different iterations of tag matches and maybe even McIntyre getting a shot at the title by Hell in the Cell.

Winner: Rollins via Stomp

Rating: **** 1/2

 

3. NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4 NXT Tag Team Title Match: Undisputed Era (c) vs Moustache Mountain

From My Coverage:

NXT really likes the tag teams to go on early, but this match lived up to the story. The third match in about 5 weeks, with both teams getting one win, the rubber match was damn good.

Numerous callbacks to their previous matches, including the towel spot. Tyler Bate still did that stupid Fireman’s Carry/Giant Swing move, with makes no sense, but the match still flowed well. Trent Seven pulled off a move I’ve never seen him do, which looked like a Vertical Suplex lift, into a Flowsion, But the pace was so fast it felt a little too much, there were even times it looked like Kyle O’Reilly wasn’t quite ready when Strong was calling for tags.

Aside from nit picks, this was the best match I’ve seen between the two, I just wish it was paced slower. Undisputed Era came out the gates hot, and aside from one moment where O’Reilly had Tyler Bate in a Heel Hook submission, the frantic pace never seemed to change.

After Kyle kicks out of a Burning Hammer/Knee Drop tandem move, Strong slides in to cut off Bate and they land Total Elimination out of nowhere. The ending seemed a little abrupt, but with how the match was paced, it seemed very fitting.

Winner: Undisputed Era via Total Elimination

Rating: **** 3/4

 

Honorable Mentions:

WWE SummerSlam WWE Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs Samoa Joe
Winner: Samoa Joe via DQ
Rating: **** 1/4
NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4 NXT Women’s Championship Match: Kairi Sane vs Shayna Baszler (c)
Winner: Sane via Submission Reversal Roll
Rating: **** 1/4
WWE SummerSlam SmackDown Women’s Title Match: Charlotte Flair vs Carmella (c) vs Becky Lynch
Winner: Charlotte via Natural Selection
Rating: ****
NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4: EC3 vs Velveteen Dream
Winner: Dream via Purple Rainmaker Elbow
Rating: *** 3/4
WWE SummerSlam Cruiserweight Championship Match: Cedric Alexander (c) vs Drew Gulak
Winner: Cedric via Cradle
Rating: *** 3/4
Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Championship Match: Dragon Azteca Jr (c) vs Killshot
Winner: Dragon Azteca Jr via Tornado DDT
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE SummerSlam SmackDown Tag Team Titles: Bludgeon Brothers (c) vs The New Day
Winner: New Day via DQ
Rating: *** 1/2
Lucha Underground Trios Championship Match: The Snake Tribe vs Son of Havoc, Killshot & The Mack
Winner: Snake Tribe via Shoulder Breaker
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE SummerSlam United States Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs Jeff Hardy
Winner: Nakamura via Kinshasa
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE SummerSlam Universal Championship Match: Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar (c)
Winner: Reigns via Spear
Rating: ***
WWE SummerSlam Raw Tag Team Championship Match: B-Team (c) vs The Revival
Winner: B-Team via Inside Cradle
Rating: ***

 

2. NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4 NXT North American Championship Match: Adam Cole (c) vs Ricochet

From My Coverage:

Ricochet’s talent versus Adam Cole’s ego. Not sure if the battle is which is better or which is bigger, but it should be fun to watch.

Adam Cole talked smack most of this match, but the exchanges were pretty impressive. Cole showed a lot of spots of being the clever heel, but Ricochet threw haymakers and Cole ran out of answers. Tiger Feint in the corner ropes, Fosbury Flop, Inside Out Frankensteiner off the apron, all big impressive moves. But Cole had fantastic moments from timing a Thrust Kick perfectly to dodge the Asai Moonsault and kick Ricochet in the face as well as a nice Backstabber catching Ricochet mid Back Handspring.

The climax moment had to be the strike exchange that ended in a random near fall. Going back and forth and then Adam Cole falling on top of Ricochet made you wonder if the match was gonna end in a fluke way, or if Ricochet would realize what was going on. As you can see, Ricochet realized, overcame and picked up his first WWE championship.

All in all, the selling was solid, the story it was telling was great and amplified by Adam Cole running his mouth in the ring. It’s just one of those special moments and this was the first glance the WWE Universe got to see at a really great Ricochet match.

Winner: Ricochet via 630 Senton

Rating: *****

 

1. NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4 NXT Championship Last Man Standing Match: Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa (c)

From My Coverage:

Best friends turned bitter rivals, who love gimmick matches. I’m fully aware this is only a match because Aleister Black got legitimately injured, but I also can’t stop myself from being burnt out by this story. Hopefully whatever happens in this rubber match, puts some space between these two.

Well this match starts off slowly, but that’s necessary since there’s so much to unpack in this rivalry. After the Spanish Announce Table destruction, the match starts to really pick up. No amount of me talking about moves or spots will do this justice.

Going through tables, but propping himself up on a crutch is a layered moment for Ciampa. The handcuffs, the exposed ring, ripping the padding apart on the outside and even the end. Johnny has a tendency to let his emotions get the best of himself. All the way back to when Zelina Vega distracted him with a DIY shirt, to Chicago II when he knocked down the ref so when he had Ciampa beat there was no one to count his victory and then he literally walked into a DDT. So I’ve seen some complaints about the ending, but it makes so much sense that Gargano would do something to screw himself over.

There’s probably some layered comment about Cleveland and shooting himself in the foot, but damn, this was the best of their trilogy…and now I’m not completely sure what I said earlier holds up. Even if I’m sick of the story, these matches are tremendous.

Winner: Ciampa

Rating: ***** 1/4

 

Thoughts:

Well ya it’s all WWE, and it’s not even a bad thing honestly. SummerSlam and NXT were both pretty great, and when it comes down to match choice from this Top 5, that’s not easy. Honestly, I liked, The Miz vs Daniel Bryan, the best of all these matches. Ciampa and Gargano always kinda show up and add new wrinkles, but The Miz isn’t known to always put on quality matches.

Daniel even managed to express the overall story in a backstage segment later on. That being, Miz has always said his style was better than Daniel’s, and Miz winning means he was technically correct. So it’s nice to see where the story is going, but all in all, I just really enjoyed the whole thing. Any of these are always a good choice, cause damn, WWE really brought some quality wrestling this weekend.


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Andrew’s NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4 & SummerSlam: Ratings & Review

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Well everyone, this is what happens when you have plans on a Saturday. So I didn’t get to watch NXT live, so now I get to power through 84 hours of programming at the same time.

Everything I’ve heard said the show was a good one, which is always nice to hear. Especially since I said during the picks article, that this was one of the shows with a very low amount of buzz. Time to find out what went on, before SummerSlam goes into full swing.

 

NXT Takeover Brooklyn 4:

 

NXT Tag Team Title Match: Undisputed Era (c) vs Moustache Mountain

NXT really likes the tag teams to go on early, but this match lived up to the story. The third match in about 5 weeks, with both teams getting one win, the rubber match was damn good.

Numerous callbacks to their previous matches, including the towel spot. Tyler Bate still did that stupid Fireman’s Carry/Giant Swing move, with makes no sense, but the match still flowed well. Trent Seven pulled off a move I’ve never seen him do, which looked like a Vertical Suplex lift, into a Flowsion, But the pace was so fast it felt a little too much, there were even times it looked like Kyle O’Reilly wasn’t quite ready when Strong was calling for tags.

Aside from nit picks, this was the best match I’ve seen between the two, I just wish it was paced slower. Undisputed Era came out the gates hot, and aside from one moment where O’Reilly had Tyler Bate in a Heel Hook submission, the frantic pace never seemed to change.

After Kyle kicks out of a Burning Hammer/Knee Drop tandem move, Strong slides in to cut off Bate and they land Total Elimination out of nowhere. The ending seemed a little abrupt, but with how the match was paced, it seemed very fitting.

Winner: Undisputed Era via Total Elimination

Rating: **** 3/4

 

Velveteen Dream vs EC3

This match was pretty awkwardly paced honestly. Dream with the HBK/Hogan over selling being kicked in the corner and then getting crotched on the rope. But I’m not really sure what they were trying to get across. EC3 controlled the pace until Velveteen Dream hit a Twisting DDT on the ramp.

I suppose if I need to say something, it’s that this was basically a main roster match on NXT. There were a lot of entertainment spots, that didn’t make a ton of sense or just looked awkward, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it. A rolling Dream Valley Driver on the apron gave Dream the idea to hit the Purple Rainmaker on the apron, roll EC3 back in and squeak out with a Takeover victory.

Winner: Velveteen Dream via Purple Rainmaker Elbow

Rating: *** 3/4

 

NXT North American Championship Match: Adam Cole (c) vs Ricochet

Ricochet’s talent versus Adam Cole’s ego. Not sure if the battle is which is better or which is bigger, but it should be fun to watch.

Adam Cole talked smack most of this match, but the exchanges were pretty impressive. Cole showed a lot of spots of being the clever heel, but Ricochet threw haymakers and Cole ran out of answers. Tiger Feint in the corner ropes, Fosbury Flop, Inside Out Frankensteiner off the apron, all big impressive moves. But Cole had fantastic moments from timing a Thrust Kick perfectly to dodge the Asai Moonsault and kick Ricochet in the face as well as a nice Backstabber catching Ricochet mid Back Handspring.

The climax moment had to be the strike exchange that ended in a random near fall. Going back and forth and then Adam Cole falling on top of Ricochet made you wonder if the match was gonna end in a fluke way, or if Ricochet would realize what was going on. As you can see, Ricochet realized, overcame and picked up his first WWE championship.

All in all, the selling was solid, the story it was telling was great and amplified by Adam Cole running his mouth in the ring. It’s just one of those special moments and this was the first glance the WWE Universe got to see at a really great Ricochet match.

Winner: Ricochet via 630 Senton

Rating: *****

 

NXT Women’s Championship Match: Kairi Sane vs Shayna Baszler (c)

The second of three rubber matches tonight. Kairi beat Shayna to win the first Mae Young Classic, but Baszler got her win back after they were both in NXT. Which wrestler has grown the most in the past year?

Kairi immediately starts off with going for submission holds, which gets into Shayna’s head. A Heel Hook followed up with a Stretch Muffler attempt get under Shayna’s skin and we see both women pulling out different things. Shayna’s striking has evolved, even pulling out an interesting Hesitation Bicycle Knee Strike.

Since Kairi was seen as the underdog the entire build, it was definitely driven home through the match. Kairi paced out the match much like Hiroshi Tanahashi, working through the pain to hit signature top rope moves and capturing the hearts of the audience while she just wouldn’t quit. Numerous close calls with the Kirafuda Clutch made it look like Kairi was as good as dead, hell, Shayna even kicked out of an Insane Elbow.

The finish really made you feel like Shayna was going to win this when she got her feet up to counter the Insane Elbow and went for the Kirafuda Clutch, but shades of Ember Moon, Kairi just floats backwards and manages to reverse the submission into a pin. So where Kairi has shown more heart and a bevy of submission moves, Shayna lost the same way she did when she first joined NXT.

Curious how this will all play into the story moving forward.

Winner: Kairi Sane via Submission Reversal Roll

Rating: **** 1/4

 

NXT Championship Last Man Standing Match: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Johnny Gargano

Best friends turned bitter rivals, who love gimmick matches. I’m fully aware this is only a match because Aleister Black got legitimately injured, but I also can’t stop myself from being burnt out by this story. Hopefully whatever happens in this rubber match, puts some space between these two.

Well this match starts off slowly, but that’s necessary since there’s so much to unpack in this rivalry. After the Spanish Announce Table destruction, the match starts to really pick up. No amount of me talking about moves or spots will do this justice.

Going through tables, but propping himself up on a crutch is a layered moment for Ciampa. The handcuffs, the exposed ring, ripping the padding apart on the outside and even the end. Johnny has a tendency to let his emotions get the best of himself. All the way back to when Zelina Vega distracted him with a DIY shirt, to Chicago II when he knocked down the ref so when he had Ciampa beat there was no one to count his victory and then he literally walked into a DDT. So I’ve seen some complaints about the ending, but it makes so much sense that Gargano would do something to screw himself over.

There’s probably some layered comment about Cleveland and shooting himself in the foot, but damn, this was the best of their trilogy…and now I’m not completely sure what I said earlier holds up. Even if I’m sick of the story, these matches are tremendous.

Winner: Ciampa

Rating: ***** 1/4

 

Thoughts:

Well this definitely ranks up there with the previous Brooklyn shows. Ricochet vs Cole, Ciampa vs Gargano, those will be matches people remember for a few years. Hell Kairi and Shayna was surprisingly gritty and tough, not quite as good as Sasha vs Bayley or Ember vs Asuka, but damn good.

Takeover brought it and even if most people see NXT in an odd transitional period, it’s hard to argue with the quality of the last few shows. SummerSlam will have it’s work cut out for it.

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