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Chris Deez’s WWE WrestleMania Weekend Hits & Misses

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Well that was… meh. WrestleMania 34 has passed us by, and with its passing we have had many long standing questions answered with just as many new ones asked. Let’s be realistic here for a second… it wasn’t very good at all. It wasn’t helped by the fact that NXT TakeOver New Orleans was earth shatteringly incredible, but regardless of Saturday nights superior show, ‘Mania once again flattered to deceive. We were presented with the most stacked card in history, but almost every match felt like nothing more than filler for the main event. With that said, post ‘Mania RAW was a blistering success. This was originally due to be a ‘Mania Hits & Misses rundown, but I had to include RAW purely for the fact I could only find 1 or 2 ‘mania Hits which were vastly outweighed by Misses.

Lets crack on shall we?

Hit: Ronda’s Rousing Rendition.

Hands up who expected this? Anybody? No? You at the back there, put your hand down you liar! Far and beyond the best match of the night, Ronda Rousey shocked and impressed the entire world with her performance on the Grandest Stage of Them All. She was far more involved than I ever expected and it was clear to see how much she cared about proving herself. Credit is due for both HHH and Stephanie, who both did everything in their power to put Ronda over in the biggest way possible. What next for Rousey? Well if her appearance on RAW is anything to go by, this feud is far from over and that’s something I’m more than happy to see. She needs at least a couple more months of being built up, plus some more mic work conditioning, before entering the title picture.

Miss: That Fucking Main Event.

Literally the most baffling thing I have ever seen while watching WWE… and I’ve seen ark Henry have a baby hand with Mae Young. Nailed on for an entire year, Roman Reigns was set to finally topple the beast and reward us with a full time champion. What did we get? One of, if not the, worst WrestleMania main events in history. To make matters worse, within 24 hours of Roman’s devastating loss, the instant rematch was announced for the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia. That’s right. The challenger lost and got handed a rematch. Without earning it. Who said WWE favour Roman Reigns and force him down our throats? You? Don’t be absurd! He’s great! He’s earnt it!

The only saving grace here was the return of my life long bae Samoa Joe. His appearance and subsequent berating of Reigns was a thing of beauty, and even led to a challenge for Backlash. This rivalry was fantastic the first time around… here’s hoping it leads to big things for Joe.

WrestleMania

Hit: Opening The Show In A Big Way.

While it wasn’t the best match you’ll ever see, the Intercontinental Championship match between The Miz, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor was the perfect way to open proceedings. It’s always nice seeing the best guys the company has to offer starting the show off the right way. Unfortunately the match itself wasn’t even close to being the monumental 5 star extravaganza we expected. Rollins is a worthy winner however, and should go on to have a fantastic reign as champion especially considering the calibre of talent on RAW. Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Elias, Dean Ambrose on his return, Finn Balor and Jeff Hardy could all result in some outstanding matches.

Miss: Rusev Day is On It’s Last Legs.

Who has Rusev upset? His short time in the company has gone from one extreme to another. Since losing his fantastic 1 year unbeaten streak to Super Cena, we have seen Rusev involved in a romantic storyline with Summer Rae and Dolph Ziggler, being fed to Randy Orton, becoming the most over guy in the business all by himself with the Rusev Day movement… to being pinned by Jinder Mahal at WrestleMania. I’s genuinely shocked he hasn’t walked away from the company yet. He is phenomenally talented, has the merch sales to give Vince a raging semi (he’s old, its difficult) and has reached almost Daniel Bryan levels of over. What’s next for him? More mid card mediocrity? With the Superstar Shake Up only one week away, Ru Ru desperately needs a change of scenery. Oh I almost forgot to mention. Jinder Mahal is our new United States Champion. Kill me now.

Hit: No Celebrities Or OTT Segments.

Thank. God. The. Rock. Wasn’t. There.

Despite the matches on show not being particularly exciting, barring 1 or 2, at least the focus of this Wrestlemania was on the actual wrestling. It was a nice change of pace to not be slapped in the face with celebrity involvement, unless you count Ronda Rousey of course, and it’s always nice when the talent doesn’t get buried by stars of yesteryear. I’m a sucker for nostalgia as much as the next cynical old fool, but seeing The League of Nations embarrassed by Stone Cold, Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 32 was completely unnecessary.

Miss: SDLive Tag Team Championship Match Placing.

The Uso’s. Tag team of the year 2017. Helped in large by The New Day and their insane rivalry. Surely this match, including the Blugeon Brothers, can only have been 24 carat gold right? Wrong! The match itself was uninspiring and frankly quite dull, but WWE did themselves no favours by placing this one right after Ronda Rousey’s triumphant debut. The crowd didn’t care in the slightest and barely made a sound. Going forward I’m concerned for the division. It was on fire for the longest time, but with Blugeon Brothers being in control for the foreseeable future I can’t see any more 5 star matches like the division was churning out weekly towards the end of 2017.

Hit: Braun Finally Winning Gold.

Strowman was my superstar of the year for 2017, and he won that much coveted award by a country mile. An amazing rivalry with Roman Reigns, months of making Big Show look good, a focal point of the title scene leading into SummerSlam, character development beyond anything we could have expected… he was more than ready to step up and show his potential at the top of a division. The tag team division was a strange place for Strowman to ply his trade, but at the end of the day it was entertaining and it was all we could talk about for weeks leading up to WrestleMania.

WrestleMania

Miss: The Way Braun Won Gold.

The fears I had going into Wrestlemania were somewhat vanquished on last night’s RAW. The Bar in no way deserved to lose their titles after holding the weak division together over the last year, so thankfully Strowman and his unlikely partner 10 year old Nicholas (don’t even…) vacated the titles and handed them over to Kurt Angle. This doesn’t change the fact that winning the titles in the first place was the wrong decision. That’s twice in the last few months that champions have relinquished their titles for no good reason at all and it just reeks of creative not planning for the long term. Braun should have been given an opportunity at a singles title rather than diminishing the value of the tag belts. Sheamus and Cesaro were in danger of looking weak and potentially splitting up, but the announcement of a tag team elimination tournament to determine their opponents in Saudi Arabia has gone a small way to keeping them relevant.

Surprise, Surprise!

Ember Moon. No Way Jose. Bobby Lashley. Jeff Hardy. Samoa Joe. Authors of Pain. Owens & Zayn… now that’s how you book a post ‘Mania RAW! Moon adds legitimacy to a women’s division which was becoming staler and staler by the month and should be a good challenger to Nia Jax’s newly claimed throne. Jose was a fun appearance as he swept aside and unnamed jobber, but hopefully it will turn out to be a one off appearance. Lashley received a great reaction and his interaction with Elias was absolute fire, with him looking more dominating than ever. Jeff’s return was a personal highlight for me, albeit a fairly pointless and confusing one, Unless he is going to be entered into the Intercontinental Championship scene, his appearance achieved nothing.

Samoa Joe has been desperately missed. The best natural heel that RAW has, and his interaction with Reigns was phenomenal. If Reigns wins the title in Saudi Arabia, Joe will be a fantastic first challenger. AOP was a predictable but nonetheless awesome debut. The RAW tag division has desperately needed new blood for a long, long time. Akam and Rezar will certainly bring plenty of blood to the table… other people’s blood. It’ll also be interesting to see the fall out from their dismissal of Paul Ellering… will he take charge of another team? Owens and Zayn was a fun little segment with a great match to boot, and with neither man coming away with a RAW contract it should lead to a few weeks of them invading the show until Kurt Angle eventually gives in and grants them their wish.

An absolutely fantastic episode of RAW.

Miss: The Dream Match Turned Into A Nightmare.

AJ Styles v Shinsuke Nakamura is, on paper, potentially the greatest match ever. So it’s a shame that the end product was completely and utterly average. Horrendous build up for months and months, the lac of interaction between the two and no real intensity really did the match a disservice. The crowd weren’t that into it, it was placed in an unusual slot on the card and was yet another case of WWE flattering to deceive. The saving grace here was Nakamura’s unexpected heel turn, which certainly ignited a little interest for me in an another very standard feud. Face v face never works particularly well in the first place. The Superstar Shake Up is going to have to conjur up something pretty special to make this WWE Championship scene worth watching. Finn Balor anybody?

Hit: Charlotte Ending The Streak.

THANKYOU CHARLOTTE. WWE’s best decision of the night by far. Asuka is the most overrated wrestler, male or female, of all time in my eyes. I’ve not seen anything to back up everyone’s claims that she is the best thing since sliced sex, regardless of how much you like to jizz over her time wrestling in Japan, and it would’ve been a crying shame to see her defeat the best female superstar of the last decade. This result went a loooong way to back up my long standing opinion that WWE don’t know how to plan for the long term. An Asuka win would’ve done absolutely nothing for SDLive. Charlotte has struggled to impress on the blue brand at times because of the lack of serious competition… so what the hell would Asuka have done?

We also didn’t see a Carmella cash in, which was strange considering she tries to cash it in every 17 seconds on SDLive. What does it mean for her? She isn’t ready to be a champion, shes barely ready to be a superstar at all.

Miss: The Far From Phenomenal Return Of The Phenom.

What the hell was this? I wasn’t expecting a 30 minute epic, nor did I want one to be honest, but this was essentially a squash match. With some of the worst build I’ve ever seen for an Undertaker match, the first hour of WrestleMania was all about seeing John Cena sat in the crowd like a ‘fan’. He even interrupted Charlotte’s absolutely massive moment en route to the back of the arena. Disrespectful on WWE’s part. The worst part of all this mess is that we will likely see a rematch at next year’s event so Cena can try and achieve some sort of vindication akin to HHH and Shawn Michaels in their encounters with The Deadman. The only positive to this match was that Elias got to be a part of something huge and appear at ‘Mania at the same time.

The match didn’t need to happen, and it may aswell not have done. Was the idea to allow Taker to win and make up for losses to Reigns and Lesnar? If so, it didn’t work. 10 more wins wouldn’t work, because at the end of the day his wins could be 50 but the losses will always be 2. WWE have destroyed the legitimacy of arguably the greatest of all time and his legacy means much less than it used to.

WrestleMania


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Tiffany’s Takes: WWE Monday Night RAW (4/22/2019)

Tiffany offers her real-time takes on WWE Raw, including AJ emerging as #1 contender and Bray Wyatt…emerging…

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WWE Raw Seth Rollins The Miz

Tiffany takes a look back at WWE Raw in the first (official) edition of Tiffany’s takes!

At Greg DeMarco’s suggestion, we’re trying something new, so let’s see how it goes starting with Monday’s edition of WWE Raw!

WWE Universal Championship

The Seth Rollins Era of RAW kicked off with two HUGE triple threats to determine just who would be the first challenger for Seth Rollins’ Universal title. I LOVED the interaction between Triple H and Rollins, it felt KIND of like the old Authority, but they were on more equal terms. Everyone coming out to run their mouths was funny considering that, except for Styles, Rollins had faced and beat all of them either one on one or as part of the Shield.

The first Triple Threat was AMAZING and could’ve easily been the main event. Styles vs Mysterio lived up to the Dream Match hype, so poor Joe felt like a third wheel, and the final sequence was amazing.

After that, the second triple threat was pretty much a ‘meh’ for me. Corbin stealing the win from McIntyre wasn’t surprising and would probably lead to a feud if one of them was a face. Other than that, it was just blah.

I’m honestly surprised that Styles won tonight. Styles vs Rollins is a Big Four level match and I don’t see why it’s being put on a B-PPV, especially Money in the Bank, but we’ll see but it should be a great match.

Naomi vs Billie Kay

I’m not sure what to make of this match. The IIconics running their mouths took longer than the actual match. That said, I’m glad that the Women’s Tag Titles aren’t exclusive to SmackDown after all, but since Naomi doesn’t have a partner, I don’t see what the point was.


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Bray Wyatt’s Promos

Well, we’ve finally gotten an answer to who was behind the creepy puppet promos and it was resident creep Bray Wyatt. This was just super fucking creepy and the fact that they were spoofing PBS children’s programming was just…ugh. This is another ‘wait and see’ but honestly, I’d burn the tape and forget that promo ever happened.

Sami Zayn

With Owens being a babyface now, apparently Zayn feels he needs to be an extra obnoxious heel and nothing is more obnoxious than forcing people to sit through your vacation photos. That said, this new gimmick seems to be a clapback about all the ‘Unhappy Wrestler’ reports that the dirt sheets are so fond of reporting. The most intriguing part of the segment was the staredown between Cedric Alexander and Zayn because that’s a match I’d love to see.

Cedric Alexander vs Cesaro

Well, either the Bar is no more or Sheamus will be joining Cesaro on RAW as soon as he’s back from injury. Either way, we got a FANTASTIC match between Cesaro and Cedric Alexander. I’m very disappointed that Alexander lost, but he definitely showed that he can hang with the vets.

The Usos and The Revival

Jimmy and Jey didn’t have a match this week, but we got another tease of a feud with the Revival along with a bangingly funny promo that managed to be a little self-deprecating, but still fun.

Viking Raiders vs Lucha House Party

What’s Viking for ‘squash’? Seriously, that was a brutal as hell non-match (bell never rang). Sadly, the crowd was either worn out from all the good matches thus far, or they had no idea what to make of the Viking Raiders, which is a more interesting name than ‘Viking Experience’.

Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins

Talk about success going to your head! Ryder and Hawkins have only won two matches as a re-formed team, but the way they talk, you’d think they’ve been hugely successful and relevant for the ten years they’ve been in WWE, or Ryder has, anyway. I honestly want Viking Experience to squash the hell out of them because they are annoying me.

Becky Lynch vs Alicia Fox

So the Becky Lynch vs Lacey Evans feud has barely started and I’m already over it. I don’t like Lacey Evans and don’t like what she claims to represent. I’m also confused as to why Alicia Fox, who supposedly went AWOL after showing up to a house show drunk in an incident that cost Arn Anderson his job, was give a match against the RAW Women’s Champion on her first night back. I’m glad that Becky won, but WWE is risking making her look bad by letting Evans get the jump on her with that horrible finisher of hers. Hopefully, this will end at Money in the Bank.

Robert Roode vs Ricochet

With Aleister Black sadly gone to Smackdown, Ricochet was left on his own on RAW against Robert Roode and his porn-stache. The match was really good, and I’m glad to see Roode regain his edge, but I just couldn’t get into it and I’m mad Ricochet lost, but I don’t think it’ll hurt him long term, but we’ll have to see.

Overall Thoughts

The Rollins Era kicked off with a bang and did a pretty good job of delivering on the potential of the Shakeup with the two Triple Threats. I’m not really sure giving us Styles vs Rollins so soon is a great idea, but it’ll definitely be a huge match.

I think Rollins will be fine as THE Man on RAW, even without the Shield, he’s come a long way from where he was in 2015 and it shows in his confidence in speaking to Triple H. Gone is the whiny, over-confident, eager-to-please, Seth Rollins of 2015. 2019 Seth has hit rock bottom and found his way back to the top with the help and support of the fans and his Shield brothers and became a better person for it. He doesn’t NEED Triple H’s approval anymore and that made their interaction much more interesting.

Click in tomorrow for SmackDown coverage and Use your head!


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WWE Week in Review April 15-April 21, 2019, Non-Shake Up Edition

Aside from all the Superstar Shakeup action, what happened on the non-main roster WWE shows? Tiffany breaks it down!

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Chairshot WWE Week In Review

Aside from all the Superstar Shakeup action, what happened on the non-main roster WWE shows? Tiffany breaks it down!

205 Live

Gran Metalik vs Ariya Daivari vs Mike Kanellis vs Akira Tozawa: I have no idea why this match happened since it wasn’t an official #1 Contender’s match, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great match and Daivari winning it was a HUGE surprise to me, and I can’t wait to see if he can back up his mouth.

The fact that Mike Kanellis had the match won and it was stolen by Daivari revives my hope that Mike Kanellis will be turning babyface, especially since Cedric Alexander has been drafted to RAW. I think Kanellis has what it takes to be a great underdog babyface, he just needs the right opportunity to do it and 205 being without its other TOP babyface is the perfect opening.

Oney Lorcan vs Cedric Alexander: One thing I hated about this match is that the feud leading up to it wasn’t given more time. This could’ve been a blockbuster non-title feud if WWE had left Cedric on 205 Live, where he belongs.

All that said, it was a fantastic match and it gave Cedric the send off from the fans that he deserved, I just wish it hadn’t happened because I think the cruiserweight guys are going to get lost on RAW and SmackDown, which is what 205 was supposed to keep from happening.

NXT UK

Gallus vs Humberto Carrillo and Raul Mendoza: This week’s shows were done at WrestleMania AXXESS, which is why 205 Live’s own Humberto Carrillo got to team up with his sometime partner, Raul Mendoza, to take on Gallus in a fantastic match that actually went better than expected, in my opinion. Matches with wildly different styles can be a slow going trainwreck, but this was a wonderful match to watch and drives home that Gallus aren’t just big blowhards, they’re also great athletes. I was a little disappointed that Carrillo and Mendoza lost, but it’s clear that NXT UK has big plans for Gallus, which I’m thrilled to see unfold.

Kassius Ohno: As someone who HATES it when people mispronounce things, I applaud Ohno for his pronunciation correction. Other than that, I wasn’t impressed by the promo. Ohno’s playing the role of arrogant heel very well, especially discounting Ligero because someone who has a crazy schedule can’t possibly put on a quality match every night, is just silly for an indie guy to say. Guess we’ll see what the Leeds Luchador has to say.

Dunne vs Walter: I think I’ve been pretty clear about the fact that I’m a big Jordan Devlin fan, so I was thrilled with his promo on Dunne vs WALTER. I’m still hopeful that he’ll get another title shot, whoever has the title.

Dave Mastiff vs Kona Reeves: This was an odd one because Kona Reeves hasn’t exactly been a NXT mainstay since his debut and his job this week seemed to be becoming Dave Mastiff’s dinner. To give the Keanu Reeves wannabe his due, he did try to compete, but the Black Country Bomber was a little too big for him. Mastiff winning wasn’t a shock, but it needs to lead to something bigger sooner or later.

That said, I’m intrigued by the possible Mastiff/Wolfgang feud being teased. A brawl between two huge men, who can move like cruiserweights sounds like a lot of fun.

Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster: So, the challenge has been accepted and we’ll get The Flying Welshmen vs Moustache Mountain next week!

Rhea Ripley vs Kacy Cantanzaro: This should’ve been a great rematch from the Mae Young Classic, instead Kacy got squashed like a bug by Ripley, who seems to have a bigger chip on her shoulder than normal. At least Kacy has a…friend, of sorts, in Piper Niven, who scared Ripley off.

Grizzled Young Veterans vs Amir Jordan and Kenny Williams: Did that just happen?! Did I just watch Jordan and Williams, the most unlikely to succeed tag team get a win, even on a technicality, over the NXT UK Tag Champs? Did that just happen?! It did and it was FANTASTIC! I’ve become a big fan of Jordan and Williams, and while they didn’t get a pinfall victory over the champs, the fact that GYV took the loss rather than be pinned is enough for me! Go Lucky Bad Boys!

NXT

Velveteen Dream vs Buddy Murphy: I think I’ve said before that I’m not a Velveteen Dream fan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s talented and he definitely showed it against Buddy Murphy. I was a little puzzled by Murphy going back to NXT and I still am, but it was a great match by both guys and that’s really all that matters.

Street Profits vs War Raiders (or whatever they’re called): This is another ‘What’s going on here’ moments because the Street Profits haven’t been on NXT all that much, but they’re getting a title shot next week. I guess the Undisputed Era is going to have to wait for another go.

Johnny Gargano vs Undisupted Era: At least Gargano got the hero’s welcome he deserved as NXT Champion. I do like Cole’s whining that Gargano got lucky, completely ignoring the fact that he and Gargano knew that they would have to beat the other man twice to win, it was funny, as was Gargano’s pointing out that Cole was being an idiot for the same reason. It’s nice to have a smart face that can rile up the heel once in a while.

I also liked that we got more signs of unrest in UE with Gargano and Regal stirring the pot. I’m stoked for Gargano vs Strong, especially to watch Cole seethe.

Dominik Dijakovic vs Aaron Frye: There’s not much to say about this since Dijakovic hit one move and it was done. The promo was much more interesting given that Dijakovic has Velveteen Dream in his sights.

Aliyah and Vanessa Borne: I love these two because they’re so obnoxious, but not in the annoying way the IIconics are and I loved their excuses for Aliyah’s loss last week. I can’t wait for next week’s tag team match since it seems like Candice LeRae seems to finally be being treated as more than Gargano’s perpetually worried wife.

Shayna Baszler vs Kairi Sane: This was such a good match and allows Sane to be written out of NXT to got to SmackDown, while maintaining Baszler as a heel. It also paves the way for Baszler vs Shirai by having Shirai by having Shirai save her friend, even if it meant Sane lost any more chances at the title. It was the perfect way to end the Baszler/Sane feud while creating a new feud, so no complaints.

Shield’s Last Ride

After six and a half years, two reunions, two betrayal, and twenty-three cumulative championship reigns, the Shield has come to the end of the road…at least for now. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are heading to different shows, while Dean Ambrose has chosen to walk away from WWE and find a new path. In honor of the moment, WWE chose to air Ambrose’s last WWE match and let the WWE Universe say goodbye to one of the greatest factions in the history of Professional Wrestling.

Advanced Warning: If you haven’t figured out that I’m a huge Shield and Dean Ambrose fan, I’m not sure where you’ve been, but I will be a blubbering mess and this might not be very coherent, but I will not apologize for that.

Elias: Gotta love Elias’ never say die attitude towards performing. He managed to throw PLENTY of shade at the Shield and everyone else. Him being a primadonna to Balor about the interruption was fun and we found out Balor can wrestle in a leather jacket, but he still needs a more supportive jock strap. Balor getting the win wasn’t a surprise but it was a really great, if odd match due to some spots.

Riott Squad vs Bayley and Ember Moon: God, I’m going to miss the Riott Squad together! Why did WWE have to split them up?! Them ‘singing’ with Elias was hilarious! The match against Ember and Bayley was great, but I missed what Liv did to get expelled from the match, and costing her team the win. Still, great match and we get to see a great potential team in Bayley and Ember.

Shield Promo: For old time’s sake, we got a vintage Shield promo. It doesn’t matter what they said, because it was just nice to get that promo.

The Shield vs Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, and Baron Corbin: Well, it’s come down to this. After six and a half years, the Shield rode into battle together one more time.

To be honest, this match was too hard to watch. The Shield renewed my active interest in WWE, rather than just half-heartedly watching it when I remembered or not at all. Dean Ambrose has been my hero since I laid eyes on him because he wasn’t what I expected a WWE Superstar to look or sound like. I was intrigued and then I fell in love, in a platonic, non-creepy, sense, with him. My online friends will attest to my cheering, ranting, raving, and screaming for Dean when it looked like he was getting gypped by WWE. That renewed interest lead me to becoming a writer about wrestling, something I never thought anyone would ask me to do. The idea that the man that reactivated my interest and love in wrestling is leaving, even if it’s just for now, has been hard to take and accept.

That said, it was a great match, with everyone hitting their best moves. The fact that it was about the Shield as team, rather than Ambrose, which lead him to letting Seth get the pin and making the final speech about Roman, Seth, and the Shield, rather than himself, makes me respect Jonathan Good all that much more.

I wish Dean all the best, he’s come a long way from his days of nearly bleeding to death for $20 and it looks like he’ll have a great future ahead of himself, whatever happens, but I fervently hope that I will see him again in a WWE ring. Thanks for the memories, Dean, and ALWAYS believe in the Shield!

 


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