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The Book Club: What To Do With Roman Reigns

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Hello! This is my series called The Book Club where I take current talent and storylines and try to book the most interesting paths for them going forward.  To get a better idea, you can read my plans for Dakota Kai and Kofi Kingston.  This installment of The Book Club revolves around our guy, Roman Reigns.

As you all know, Roman Reigns is supposed to clash with Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship again at SummerSlam.  I know it feels monotonous but something amazing happened last Monday.  They’ve finally managed to make Brock so unlikable that we heard “We want Roman” chants near the end of the show.  It felt like watching a child birth.  You may not have wanted to look but it was kind of beautiful in a way.  Also, throughout the show there were plenty of seeds planted that hinted at a split between Lesnar and Paul Heyman.  This led to social media giving their input on who should be the next client for Paul.  We’ll get to that in a second.

SummerSlam

There’s a good chance Roman is finally going to take the belt off of Brock.  The fans are tired of the belt being held hostage and Brock wants to go to the UFC.  It would actually be ridiculous if it doesn’t happen.  If it happens then Paul needs to cost Brock the match.  Heyman is tired of his client being uncooperative and decides to take action.  Brock doesn’t lose cleanly which is probably what Vince wants anyway and it gives them a reason to separate.  After the loss, Brock will have a look of anger and disbelief as Paul exits with a sinister smile down the ramp.  This will lead everyone to believe that Roman  is Heyman’s new guy.  Well, not exactly…

Monday Night Raw

It would be the first thing on everyone’s mind so the show needs to open with the clip of the Summerslam main event and what transpired.  The clip fades out then Roman’s music hits to a mixed reaction like it always does.  Reigns comes out alone and cuts a promo on what happened.  He’ll explain that he didn’t ask for Heyman’s help and that Brock brought it upon himself.  In fact, he should have been declared the new champion back in Saudi Arabia anyway.  He clearly has a chip on his shoulder but still wants to be the champion that shows up every week.  Reigns finishes talking then leaves.  No sign of Heyman.  Before Raw cuts to a commercial, a graphic pops up advertising the main event: the Seth Rollins Intercontinental Open Challenge is back.  Of course that means that Seth would have to beat Dolph for the belt the night before.  Ads for the main event will surface throughout the next 2.5 hours like they normally do.

The Main Event of Raw

Seth’s music hits to a big pop. “Burn it down” is in full effect.  Women are screaming.  Men are crying. Their crossfit messiah is back.  Seth opens with an uplifting promo and issues the challenge.  Drew McIntyre’s music hits.  McIntyre appears at the ramp but then Dolph Ziggler attacks Seth from behind.  Drew runs down the ramp and helps Ziggler with the assault.   The beatdown starts to get serious so Roman Reigns comes to Seth’s aide.  Seth is knocked out so it’s still a two-on-one fight.  Drew and Dolph have the upper hand on Roman.  Things are looking bleak but then Dean Ambrose’s music hits as he makes his long-awaited return from injury.  He has a chair in hand and he’s ready to fight.  The fans in the front row have broken into hot flashes.  This is the best day of their lives.  The Shield is BACK.  Dean’s run-in turns the tide and him and Roman are able to fight off McIntyre and Ziggler.  The three Shield brothers are now all back on their feet as Drew and Dolph make their way back up the entrance ramp.

It looks like the show is over but as Seth has his attention fixed at the entrance ramp, Dean Ambrose uses the chair he brought to the ring and hits Seth in the back with it.  He hands Roman the chair and he takes a swing of his own.  Sound familiar? Seth finally feels the weight of his actions from 4 years ago.  Roman and Dean take turns with their shots on Seth.  Rollins is motionless in the middle of the ring as Roman and Dean stand above him.  The crowd is silent.  It’s at this moment we hear a voice on an unseen microphone.  “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN”, the voice rings out.  “My name is Paul Heyman.  And I am the new advocate for Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.”  Paul makes his way to the ring and the three of them stand over the unconscious body of Seth Rollins.  A new faction is born.  Raw fades to black.  A new episode of Chrisley Knows Best appears.

The Aftermath

Molding three storylines into a single overarching one was difficult to think about but that’s also something I like about it.  This was mostly supposed to revolve around Seth as a babyface but Dolph and Drew also have beef with Roman and Dean now so the story could go in a variety of directions.  Dean could take the IC title off of Seth, they could have their rematch for the belt inside Hell in a Cell in September.  It’ll be like their HIAC match from 4 years ago except the roles will now be reversed.  While that is going on, Drew could feud with Roman for the Universal Title.  The opposite could also work.  Dean wins the IC belt, Seth moves onto Roman, then Drew turns his attention to Dean.

  • Roman and Dean finally get their change of character
  • Seth is already a strong babyface so the roles can be easily switched
  • McIntyre and Rollins get a main event push
  • Heyman gets to lead a faction rather than having a lone client
  • It tells a story with continuity
  • It gives Raw that change of pace we can finally sink our teeth into

At this point, I’ll let the reader use their imagination for what’s best.  Perhaps I’m missing something and you guys see an opportunity for something more.  A triple threat match with Roman, Seth and Drew for the Universal belt could also work.  That would allow Dolph to go after Dean’s new IC belt.  The options are endless with six of the top guys at the center of the show.


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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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What if Brock Lesnar Beats Roman Reigns at WWE SummerSlam?

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Brock Lesnar’s upcoming SummerSlam match against Roman Reigns has been the talk of the pro wrestling world. That’s largely due to the controversy surrounding The Beast Incarnate’s lack of WWE appearances. But it’s also due to Reigns’ ascension to the top of the company, which seems to still be happening.

For many of his critics, nothing will justify Roman’s reign over WWE. However the overall success of his run at the top also seems predicated on his ability to defeat Brock Lesnar, which he has been unable to do. Roman Reigns, for whatever reason, cannot get past Lesnar. Of course SummerSlam is believed to be the night when Roman finally conquers The Conqueror. But what if he doesn’t?

What are the chances that WWE will keep the Universal Championship around the waist of Brock Lesnar? It seems like an insane notion but when it comes to this rivalry, fans have learned to expect the unexpected. Of course, many of those fans feel that Roman’s win is a foregone conclusion and recent events on Monday Night Raw seem to reinforce that notion.

When Brock put his hands on Paul Heyman, he crossed a line that many thought spelled doom for The Beast’s title run. The idea of Heyman advocating for Reigns and leading him to the Universal title is one that will not go away. Long before WWE teased the possibility on Raw, fans were debating it online.

When Paul stood in the middle of the ring and publicly offered his services to Roman, fans knew the transition was near. Even as Heyman doused Roman with what appeared to be mace, the shocked crowd likely left knowing that Reigns would soon have Paul in his corner. After all, when the company seems to go left, fans automatically expect a sudden turn right.

It seems like the right time to make the move. Brock is headed back to the UFC and WWE needs the Universal Championship back on TV full-time. Roman may not be the popular choice to be champion but at least if he has it, he can drop it to someone else at any moment. Lesnar is not in love with the pro wrestling business and WWE has gone out its way to remind the world of that every week on Raw.

All signs indeed point to Roman Reigns beating Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. That’s how the company has crafted this storyline and that’s what fans believe to be true. But what is the alternative if Lesnar actually wins on August 19?

Fans know that if Brock does go over on Roman, then the Universal Championship will be no closer to getting back on the red brand than it was before. Lesnar is in the drug testing phase of his UFC return. So he’s likely getting in fight shape in anticipation of his upcoming match against Daniel Cormier.

That means after SummerSlam, Lesnar is gone once again and the title goes with him. He may not even appear on the August 20 edition of Raw. Fans will return to debating his title reign and continuing to hate Roman even though he’s the guy working hard to entertain them.

There are six pay-per-views between SummerSlam on August 20 and WrestleMania 35 on April 7, 2019. That means WWE will have at least six opportunities to book Lesnar to lose the Universal title. But the more time passes, the less likely that Brock will drop the championship. Lesnar will be in the middle of training, with his focus set on January, or possibly February, of 2019.

Lesnar will probably be unavailable. He could always show up for a random promo on Raw or a pre-taped interview alongside Paul Heyman. But for the most part, Brock will likely not be around. WWE will talk about him. Other Superstars will mention him. Fans will complain about him. But Brock Lesnar will continue to be the absentee champion. That is, of course, if Brock does not lose the Universal title in his match.

Lesnar doesn’t have to drop the pin to Reigns in order to lose the championship. He could still beat Roman and leave The Big Dog in the middle of the ring as he’s done so many times before. But as The Beast Incarnate hoists the championship above his head, The Monster Among Men could tear it away from him.

Braun Strowman is the x-factor in this match. He is the one unpredictable element that throws a wrench into the machine and causes fans to completely rethink the outcome. Surely WWE gave Braun the Money in the Bank briefcase for a reason. The company knows what it has with Braun. He has earned the responsibility of being champion. He is the most athletic and most talented big man the company has seen in quite some time.

He’s entertaining without the championship and doesn’t really need it to get over. But when WWE considers who should be on the short list to become Universal champion, Strowman’s name has to be on it. Otherwise, why does he have the briefcase?

Of course Kevin Owens could find a way to beat Strowman at SummerSlam. If he does, then he could cash in on Roman Reigns if The Big Dog does indeed beat Brock Lesnar. But that is a big “if.”

The time has come for Brock Lesnar to lose the Universal Championship. He’s on his way out of WWE and everyone knows it. Roman Reigns is the top guy in WWE and everyone knows that as well. But there is a chance that the company could put Brock over at SummerSlam and send him to the UFC with the Universal Championship. When it comes to WWE, anything is indeed possible. 


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Official Chairshot Picks: WWE SummerSlam 2018

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Alright, so now we get to the main course of the weekend, SummerSlam! Will it out perform most of the other main roster Pay-per-Views, or will this become the (superman)punch line of numerous jokes for the next few months?

Before we get to the breakdown, now I can go over our standings, not including last night’s Takeover.

So Extreme Rules best record was: Steve Cook

 

Thanks to Steve’s performance last PPV, he’s closed the gap a little on the man who’s been leading this game since Day 1-ish. It is him, it doth be, D.P.P.

 

 

And as the site grows, so does our game, so for our newer players, let’s see who’s setting the pace: Francesca Scopelliti

 

Well now that we’ve covered the Pick Standings, let’s get to our thoughts for the 7 hour monster that is SummerSlam.

 

Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas & Zelina Vega vs Rusev & Lana

Well the Kickoff Show is treated as an extension of SummerSlam nowadays, so we’ve got a little undercard feud hopefully ending today. Rusev Day has slowly been falling apart since Aiden English consistently tries to help, but makes things worse. Doing his best impression of Caboose from Red vs Blue, Aiden and his ‘help’ will be a big factor in this match

Mathew: Andrade & Vega
Andrew: Rusev & Lana
Tiffany: Rusev & Lana
Deez: Rusev & Lana
Eric: Rusev & Lana
Weigell: Andrade & Zelina
Francesca: Andrade & Zelina
Steve: Rusev & Lana
David: Double Count Out
McLeod: Andrade & Zelina
Abe: Rusev & Lana
Big Rick: Andrade & Zelina
Korey: Andrade & Zelina
Platt: Rusev & Lana
Jimi: Andrade & Zelina
Kirstin: Andrade & Zelina
DPP: Andrade & Zelina
Cook: Andrade & Zelina
PC: Andrade & Zelina
Big Dave: Rusev & Lana
Greg: Rusev & Lana
Patrick: Andrade & Zelina
Denise: Andrade & Zelina
Harry: Andrade & Zelina
Tony: Rusev & Lana

Official Chairshot Pick: Andrade & Zelina 14-10-1

Andrade Cien Almas Zelina Vega WWE Smackdown

 

 

Cruiserweight Championship Match: Cedric Alexander (c) vs Drew Gulak

With no main show support and still trying to rebuild their damaged image, 205 Live has been relegated to the pre-show all year. With two conflicting styles, this match has potential to be really good. Gulak’s mat based submissions against Cedric’s combination of brawling and high flying leave a lot of room to work. Aside from that, I don’t expect a lot. This won’t suddenly have the fans clamoring for the Cruisers to be back on Raw, but a good match will continue to rebuild the brand.

Mathew: Cedric Alexander
Andrew: Drew Gulak
Tiffany: Cedric Alexander
Deez: Cedric Alexander
Eric: Cedric Alexander
Weigell: Cedric Alexander
Francesca: Drew Gulak
Steve: Cedric Alexander
David: Drew Gulak
McLeod: Drew Gulak
Abe: Cedric Alexander
Big Rick: Cedric Alexander
Korey: Cedric Alexander
Platt: Cedric Alexander
Jimi: Drew Gylak
Kirstin: Drew Gulak
DPP: Cedric Alexander
Cook: Drew Gulak
PC: Cedric Alexander
Big Dave: Cedric Alexander
Greg: Cedric Alexander
Patrick: Cedric Alexander
Denise: Cedric Alexander
Harry: Drew Gulak
Tony: Cedric Alexander

Official Chairshot Pick: Cedric Alexander 17-8

WWE Cedric Alexander

 

Raw Tag Team Title Match: B-Team (c) vs The Revival

The flukey team of jobbers turned undefeated idiot savants, against the only real tag team on the brand.  It’s gonna be hard for me to accept The Revival losing when this should be exactly the type of match, “old school tag team specialist”. should thrive in. But who knows, the WWE likes to milk comedy bits that seem well received, so I can definitely see a few more months of B-Team as champions.

Mathew: The Revival
Andrew: The Revival
Tiffany: The Revival
Deez: The Revival
Eric: B-Team
Weigell: The Revival
Francesca: B-Team
Steve: The Revival
David: B-Team
McLeod: The Revival
Abe: The Revival
Big Rick: The Revival
Korey: B-Team
Platt: B-Team
Jimi: B-Team
Kirstin: The Revival
DPP: The Revival
Cook: B-Team
PC: B-Team
Big Dave: The Revival
Greg: The Revival
Patrick: B-Team
Denise: B-Team
Harry: The Revival
Tony: B-Team

Official Chairshot Pick: The Revival 14-11

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