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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 8/5/2018

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This is another week where we get a couple non-G1 matches in the Top 5, but it’s still mostly New Japan. Still very similar to last week, our number 1 match doesn’t take place in Japan! Speaking of last week, I guess we should find out what the July Pool looks like, so you’ll figure out who won last week.

July Pool:

205 Live No DQ: Buddy Murphy vs Mustafa Ali
G1 Climax 28: Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito
G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa vs Aleister Black (c)

So that means this a week with two votes. For July, I’ll have to go with, G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii.  

Aside from that, let’s see what we’ve got on tap for August.

 

5. Kazuchika Okada vs Michael Elgin

From My Coverage:

Elgin was really the first one to challenge Okada last year during his 6-0 run. Even though Okada came out with the win, a bunch of big moments could’ve had last year’s match go either way. Can Elgin overcome ‘Gone Fishin’ Okada, or does this watered down Rainmaker still have enough for a victory?

This match was kind of the same, but different than their previous encounters. Almost immediately both men went for signatures before the Tombstone ended up being Okada’s Achilles heel. Elgin stops the attempt and counters it into a Delayed Vertical Suplex. This gave Elgin the necessary space to pull off numerous lariats, Powerbomb variations and generally over power Okada.

That’s what I meant by saying it was the same, because it was Elgin’s power against Okada’s athleticism. Especially on display when Okada tried the Scooby Dooby Doo Crossbody only to get caught and slammed down by Big Mike. The landscape changed a bit when Elgin attempts an Avalanche Splash Mountain, but Okada counters it into a Super Wheelbarrow Arm Drag.

Elgin got a little desperate at different points in the match, which is a good story, since a loss to Okada and his G1 hopes are over. So he tries to force the Burning Hammer, but Okada gets out of it. During a lariat exchange, Okada finally gets the best of Big Mike, hitting a Tombstone shortly after, Discus Rainmaker and then the official Rainmaker for the pinfall victory.

Winner: Okada via Rainmaker

Rating: **** 1/2

 

4. G1 Climax 28: Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii

From Mathew’s Coverage:

Kenny Omega is still undefeated and I’m surprised he didn’t lose at the previous night, but he’s still on a roll and adding another victory here could very well secure him a spot in the final if things do in fact go his way here but he would have to now fight one of his rivals from last year, Tomohiro Ishii. These two would have a trilogy of matches and all three of them would be some of their best bouts in the year of 2017 and now they must fight once again and Ishii could be the one to give Omega that first defeat in the G1 Climax and could also increase the chances of Naito and Ibushi to make it instead of Kenny.

The story for this one was rather simple and yet effective and that is you don’t poke a pitbull with a stick because bad things happen to you and they bite…hard which is what he did to Kenny Omega when he kept trying to poke the pitbull and slapping his shiny bald head which is pretty much asking for a death sentence thanks to Kenny getting rather cocky lately since he still hasn’t lost a match yet. Is the match great? Absolutely. Is it my favorite match in G1? Honestly, kinda gonna have to go with no since I will admit that the beginning felt a little bit sloppy at times and while I did love the sequences between the two with the V-Triggers, Lariats, and among various moves, it did feel rather predictable at times and felt like it took away from the match a little bit. These two did go to war and I will not take that away from them despite the little nitpicking I just said and Ishii really is the MVP of this G1 Climax so far as he keeps on delivering in either match quality or storytelling and they just work out so well. Ishii would hit his Vertical Suplex and he would give Kenny Omega his first loss in the tournament! Ishii really needed another big win in his record aside from Goto and this was definitely needed for him, especially since it was a matter of time before he took a loss from his arrogance just like Okada did last year, now Kenny is gonna have to really focus or he could slip-up once again.

Now that Ishii has defeated Omega, he very well could be a future challenger for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship before Wrestle Kingdom since the champion usually defends the belt against people that have defeated him in the tournament to avenge their loss. Wonder what big show it would take place in?

Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster

Rating: **** 1/2

 

3. NOAH GHC Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Akitoshi Saito & Naomichi Marufuji vs Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya (c)

The generational war is in full swing in Pro Wrestling NOAH. The younger generation is rising up to cut their teeth and prove themselves. With things trending upwards for NOAH in the last year or so, it makes sense to solidify the new stars with the beloved veterans.

Nakajima starts off by trying to dissect Marufuji. They had one really good counter exchange, before Nakajima’s aggression started shining in full force. Marufuji’s entire right arm was taped, so it’s safe to say they’ve been trying to work over the older stars the entire tour. Focusing on Marufuji’s left knee, Nakajima utilized stomps, chairs and just torquing on the knee.

Kitamiya got tagged in and continued more of the same. Eventually Naomichi gets away from the slower power guy, to tag in Akitoshi Saito. We get a nice power battle between the two for a while, before Nakajima comes in to work over Saito’s right arm. Even going as far to use a Fujiwara Armbar, which yes is an effective move, but could’ve also been psychological since Akitoshi was trained by Yoshiaki Fujiwara himself.

So the trend in the match was the younger guys trying to isolate and pick apart the older generation, but we did get a rare treat. Knowing there was a level of desperation, Marufuji dumps both Kitamiya and Nakajima to the outside, and wipes them out with a Tope con Hilo.

It was at this point the older generation was putting together better offense, but Nakajima still proved a step ahead. Marufuji went for his combination blitz from the corner, but Nakajima dodged it all, and landed dozens of stiff kicks. At this point, we start remembering why Nakajima is known as the ‘Genius of the Kick’, but then tags in Kitamiya. Sadly for Kitamiya, he doesn’t know Marufuji as well, and gets lit up by the corner blitz.

Saito comes in and has to wrestle the good portion of the rest of the match alone. Numerous Uranagis from Saito start to build momentum. Marufuji does make a nice save when he slides in, jumping off Saito’s back, laying out Nakajima with a Ko-Oh. Kitamiya and Saito exchange lariats and willing themselves through the pain. Death Sickles come in bunches from Akitoshi, as he finishes off the match with Death Brand (vertical suplex piledriver).

So the older generation manages to outsmart the younger guys in this one.

Winner: Saito via Death Brand

Rating: **** 1/2

 

Honorable Mentions:

G1 Climax 28: Jay White vs Hangman Page
Winner: White via Blade Runner
Rating: **** 1/4
G1 Climax 28: Kenny Omega vs Zack Sabre Jr
Winner: Omega via Roll Up
Rating: **** 1/4
G1 Climax 28: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs YOSHI-HASHI
Winner: Tanahashi via Arm Capture Cradle
Rating: **** 1/4
G1 Climax 28: Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: **** 1/4
G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Kota Ibushi
Winner: Ibushi via KamiGoya Knee Strike
Rating: **** 1/4
G1 Climax 28: Kazuchika Okada vs Minoru Suzuki
Winner: Okada via Rainmaker
Rating: **** 1/4
Inaugural WOS Women’s Championship Match: Viper vs Kay Leray vs Bea Priestly
Winner: Leray via Gory Special
Rating: ****
G1 Climax 28: Minoru Suzuki vs EVIL
Winner: Suzuki via Gotch Style Piledriver
Rating: ****
G1 Climax 28: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Michael Elgin
Winner: Tanahashi via Inside Cradle
Rating: ****
205 Live: Kalisto vs Tony Nese
Winner: Kalisto via Salida del Sol
Rating: *** 3/4
Evolve 108 Evolve Tag Team Championships: Chris Dickinson & Jaka (c) vs TK Cooper & Tracey Williams
Winner: Dickinson via Thrust Kick/O’Connor Roll combo
Rating: *** 3/4
G1 Climax 28: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs EVIL
Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow
Rating: *** 3/4
G1 Climax 28: Jay White vs Togi Makabe
Winner: White via Blade Runner
Rating: *** 3/4
WOS: Adam Maxted & Nathan Cruz vs Doug Williams & HT Drake
Winner: Cruz via Springboard Blockbuster
Rating: *** 1/2
G1 Climax 28: Minoru Suzuki vs Hangman Page
Winner: Page via Rite of Passage
Rating: *** 1/2
G1 Climax 28: Juice Robinson vs Zack Sabre Jr
Winner: Sabre via Submission
Rating: *** 1/2
G1 Climax 28: YOSHI-HASHI vs Jay White
Winner: White via Blade Runner
Rating: *** 1/2
WOS Heavyweight Championship Match: Rampage (c) vs Joe Hendry
Winner: Rampage via DDT
Rating: *** 1/4
G1 Climax 28: Hangman Page vs Togi Makabe
Winner: Page via Rite of Passage
Rating: ***

 

2. G1 Climax 28: Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito

From Mathew’s Coverage:

It is time for our main event as it is between the other top contenders in the tournament, Kota Ibushi, and Tetsuya Naito. Last year, the two would fight on the very first night of A Block and Naito was the one that came out the victor in that match. Now they will fight again, as Ibushi needs to defeat Naito here if he wants to stay alive in this tournament or he will be considered eliminated and we’ll only have Naito and Omega as our top 2 contestants in the B Block. Can Naito tie it up with Omega or will Ibushi find a way to stay in the race?

This match was just as good as their match last year and probably slightly better in my opinion since the story in this one made it a lot more emotional since both of them really need a win here, but you, unfortunately, can’t give it to them and especially this late in the game no less so this was crucial for both of these men here. How does Naito still have a neck? I ask because it’s not just this match but in most of his big matches he would just land on his neck and he somehow appears to be fine and still going, I don’t know if it’s just how he lands to make it safe or if he’s just a madman but he makes any neck bump spot look so deadly in these. Both of these men performed at the top of their game had the right amount of pacing, and again it was the story that made it so much better to give it that little bit extra of an edge. Ibushi pulled all of the stops on this one when he did a backflip when Naito attempted a Reverserana off the top rope and looked much better than when you do it with a Sunset Flip, also did his German Suplex from the other side of the ropes and even hitting the Bomaye to get a two count. Naito would hit the Destino for a two count and would attempt to go for another one but Ibushi catches him to drop him down on his head for a two count and would end it with the Kamigoye to secure the victory and stay alive in the race!

Now that Kota Ibushi has defeated Tetsuya Naito, he’s still in the race and has a chance to advance if he wins his next two matches. While Naito could’ve used a win, this one loss won’t hurt him too bad but he cannot afford to take another loss or he will be out himself and there should be a clear idea on how it would go once the next day happens.

Winner: Ibushi via KamiGoye Knee Strike

Rating: **** 3/4

 

1. Evolve 108 Evolve Heavyweight Championship Hardcore Match: Matt Riddle (c) vs Shane Strickland

This whole rivalry got extremely personal. In their previous 2 meetings Strickland won via DQ and then there was a no contest. Which lead to the stipulation and explains the lengths these two are willing to go to.

Riddle starts off immediately lighting up Shane’s chest with Open Hand Chops that visibly take the breath out of his chest. Riddle then keeps it up in and outside of the ring. The crowd is pretty hot for this early on, and Riddle goes to get the ceremonial table that all crowds always want nowadays. However, getting the table allows Shane to find a chair and hit Matt with it when he comes around the corner. Riddle does manage to send Swerve through the table after a Broton (senton) from the apron.

Strickland has an awesome heel moment here by taking Riddle up the ramp to where his 3 kids and wife are sitting, and proceed to beat the hell out of him. Shane sits him down on a chair and goes for what was probably supposed to be a Swerve Stomp, but looked more like a Seated Senton. Either way, you can see the concern on the faces of the children, and Shane just continues to berate the crowd and Riddle’s family.

By the time they get back into the ring, we can see that Riddle’s hand is cut open, as Shane goes for submissions holds and joint manipulation focusing there.  Strickland starts to introduce a few more chairs and jaws at the crowd that keeps asking for tables by saying, “What’s that? You want more chairs? Okay”. After setting up six chairs, Shane gave Riddle far too much time to recover, and Riddle pops up, catching him in a Tombstone position and forward slamming him through the chairs for a near fall.

We see a little strong style back and forth striking, before Riddle hits the Bro to Sleep, but Swerve kicks out. Riddle gets even more chairs (I hope they got a wholesale deal or something) and piles them into the middle, slamming Swerve onto them. Then he goes to the top rope, but Shane manages to intercept him and Superplex him on the afore mentioned chairs.

Strickland gets this look in his eye and you know he’s just trying to hurt Riddle. He literally hits 3 Swerve Stomps but Riddle shows his resiliency. Strickland goes out for a ladder and another table. Riddle absorbs a few more shots before falling on the table as Swerve climbs the ladder. The referee holds the ladder as Matt finds some surge to climb up and try to muster up some fight. They go back and forth at the top of the ladder, before Shane steps over and rocks Riddle to the point where he’s hanging on by just one arm.

Swerve Stomp from the ladder through the table is a massive spot, but Riddle finds a way to kick out. At this point Shane is apoplectic, and removes the padding from his knee. Riddle slowly sits up and eggs on Shane. After multiple running knee strikes, Riddle keeps asking for more as Shane grows more frustrated. When Shane turns for another strike, Riddle pop up with a Bicycle Knee Strike of his own. Riddle looks to finish the match, but Swerve catches him with his Killshot finisher, the JML Driver, for the pinfall victory.

Winner: Strickland via JML Driver

Rating: *****

 

Shane Strickland and Matt Riddle work wonderfully together. This is actually the second time this year I’ve given them 5, the first being their MLW Championship Match. With all that and the fact the Riddle is a few months away from debuting in NXT, I’ll give my vote to the Evolve 108 match. Great storytelling, fantastic action in the ring, just all in all very enjoyable.


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My Favorite SummerSlam Matches Over the Years

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SummerSlam

This was inspired by a topic by another wrestling fansite that I saw yesterday. The topic was: What is your all-time favorite SummerSlam match. Anyone who has ever asked me what my all-time favorite anything will tell you, my answers are always a little complicated because it’s hard for me to pin down one single favorite anything because my favorites change depending on the day, my mood, and what pops into my head. However, I do have several SummerSlam matches that I would consider my favorites.

1. Intercontinental Championship Match: Bret vs The British Bulldog – SummerSlam 1992

This is still considered the greatest Intercontinental Championship Match of All Time, and with good reason. This was an amazing match by both men. The story of their conflict affecting their personal relationship (Davey Boy was Bret’s RL brother-in-law at the time) was a little ‘eh’ but pretty interesting at the time. Watching Davey Boy win the Intercontinental Championship in London, with a HUGE home country crowd cheering for him was amazing. The pop must’ve been deafening LIVE because it was loud on video and Wembley Stadium was open air, so it must’ve been loud.

Where I was: I was nine when this match happened, my parents weren’t into wrestling so I never got to watch PPVs live, but I remember a guy my dad worked with loaning me his taped copy of the PPV and I just remembered being enthralled. The storyline didn’t really interest me, but I remember loving the match.

2. Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Triple H vs The Rock – SummerSlam 1998

This is an underrated classic, in my opinion. When people think of Triple H and Rock now, they don’t think ‘ladder match’, which is a shame because this was a really good match. Triple H and Rock were just coming into their own as main event players and were leading feuding factions Degeneration X and Nation of Domination. The ladder match was, admittedly, not as good as the TLC matches that would become legendary a couple of years later, but it was still very good and is definitely worth a watch.

Where I was: I was fifteen when this match happened and saw it later on video. It’s crazy to think of a time when Triple H and the Rock weren’t in the main event scene, let alone being in a ladder match together.

3. WWF Tag Team Championship Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match: Edge and Christian vs the Dudley Boys vs the Hardy Boys – SummerSlam 2000

The match that launched a hundred careers. This is a legendary match for a very good reason, not only was it great on its own, but it launched six careers outright, spawned several sequels, and would eventually get its own PPV. It was one of those matches where no one really remembers who won (Edge and Christian, BTW), they just remember how crazy the match was. All six guys tore the house down and well-deserve the legendary status the match gave them.

Where I was: I was seventeen in 2000 and would see the highlights on RAW later and when I saw the full match, I was amazed and intrigued by TLC. Ladder matches are still some of my favorite kinds of matches, in part because of TLC.

4. WWF Championship Match: The Rock vs Triple H vs Kurt Angle – SummerSlam 2000

This match is one of my favorites because it was not only a really good match on its own, but I was enamored with the Triple H/Stephanie/Kurt Angle storyline going into it. For those who weren’t watching WWF back then, the storyline revolved around Triple H becoming convinced (with good reason) that Kurt Angle was trying to move in on Stephanie McMahon, who was Triple H’s on-screen wife at the time (they would get married in RL a few years later) while they were both being managed by Stephanie and challenging Rock for the WWF Championship. This was one of the more intriguing storylines of the Attitude Era, which had primarily relied on sex and shock for ratings, rather than interesting storylines, or good wrestling. This was one of those matches where the storyline overshadowed the title, which I normally hate as an adult, but teenage!me was enthralled by the love triangle.

Where I was: As stated above, I was seventeen and getting ready to enter my senior year of high school.

5. Hell in a Cell Match: Edge vs The Undertaker – SummerSlam 2008

This was the culmination of the Edge/Undertaker feud that had been going on since 2007. Edge had done everything imaginable to screw Taker out of the World Heavyweight Championship, thank in large part to his onscreen relationship with SmackDown GM, Vicki Guerrero. Unfortunately, Edge made the HUGE mistake of thinking with the brain between his legs instead of the one between his ears. When Vicki found out that Edge had cheated on her with their ‘wedding planner’, Alicia Fox, she was NOT happy and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. As the ultimate act of vengeance against her faithless husband, Vicki not only brought back Undertaker, who had been ‘fired’ after Extreme Rules, but put his return match inside Hell in a Cell against Edge.

This match was brutal, even for a Hell in a Cell match. Taker and Edge hit each other with everything but the kitchen sink, though that may have been because no one had thought to put one under the ring. Even the commentators weren’t safe as a spot by Taker actually knocked out a section of the Cell and narrowly missed hitting JR and Tazz, who were doing commentary. Taker would emerge victorious, and would give the WWE Universe one of the most memorable moments in SummerSlam history, when Taker chokeslammed Edge through the ring and flames burst out of the hole.

Where was I: I was 25 when this match happened and watched it on DVD later. I cheered when Edge was chokeslammed to Hell and that Taker was back.

6. Lumberjack Match: Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins – SummerSlam 2014

I love this match just because it was fun and crazy. Seth Rollins had just turned heel on Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns and Dean was out for revenge. So, after beating Rollins in the Beat the Clock challenge, Dean was allowed to choose the stipulation for their SummerSlam match and he chose a Lumberjack Match, but not just any old Lumberjacks would do. In a display of maniacal brilliance, Dean decided that the Lumberjacks would consist of the people the Shield had attacked during their run, which would ensure that neither he nor Seth would have allies in the match and that they would tear each other apart. The Lumberjacks were hilariously bad at keeping Ambrose and Rollins IN the ring, but it made for some great spots. Seth would emerge the victor, but not without some help and after Dean used Seth’s own finisher, the Curb Stomp, against him.

Where was I: I was just getting back into watching wrestling full time when this match happened and I was livid that Dean lost, but looking back, I really enjoyed the match.

7. RAW Tag Team Championship: The Bar vs Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose – SummerSlam 2017

Did you honestly think this Dean Ambrose/Shield fangirl was going to leave out Rollins and Ambrose reuniting after three years of feuding to take on the Bar? The story of Rollins and Ambrose mending their fences and beating the Bar at SummerSlam was such a big deal last year, The New York Post actually dubbed it the most interesting storyline of the SummerSlam build. It was a slow build but to finally see Ambrose and Rollins united and champions was great storytelling and had me running around my house like a nut when they won.

Where was I: I was on my sofa, watching this live and screamed and cried when they won.

So there are the my all time favorite SummerSlam matches…at least right now. I know that there are sometimes gaps of several years between them, but these are the ones that I love to rewatch, sometimes repeatedly. What are your favorites?

 


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Roman Reigns: He Deserves It

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WWE Roman Reigns SummerSlam 2018

Let me start off by saying that I normally hate the ‘You Deserve It!’ chant, because it’s normally done for people who’s long journey is deemed worthy of praise by a group of gatekeeping fans.  For example, Daniel Bryan’s journey through the indies and Japan and then to WrestleMania 30 gets held in high regard but Jinder Mahal working his way back to the company after getting fired is constantly ignored.  If you’re one the designated cool kids by so called hardcore fans then your struggle is respected but if you aren’t then it’s disregarded.

I’ve said before that the main title in a wrestling company is not a merit badge, it’s an indicator that the company believes you will draw money as champion.  That is all.  Yes there are wrestlers who have done good work for a long time and whose efforts warrant some kind of thank you from they work for.  Instead of tweeting or chanting about that you think they deserve a title, push for them to get a raise, or an opportunity to get in an angle that might help them make more for their company, or to get a nice cushy office or agent gig when they retire.   Don’t spend the next five years complaining about them not getting a world title belt.

OK now that I got that out of the way, I’m going to contradict what I just said and tell you why Roman Reigns deserves to win the Universal Championship at SummerSlam.

First up, the money question has already been answered with him.  He sells a lot of merchandise, his show segments routinely get over a million views on YouTube and with him being their primary main event guy they’ve been successful enough to secure over 2 billion in TV rights fees.  Hell yes that matters, because you know good and well that if all those numbers were at the other end of the spectrum you’d use them to campaign for him to be demoted from his position on the roster.

But that’s not it.  For the last two years they’ve used him to heat up everyone from Finn Balor to Braun Strowman to Bobby Lashley to Seth Rollins (don’t forget Seth pinned him in the gauntlet match earlier this year) to the Revival.  He also lost the US and Intercontinental Titles, respectively, to Chris Jericho and The Miz to help them get the ball rolling on the angles for their next WrestleMania matches.  I haven’t seen anything like that other than when Ric Flair used to do jobs in tag matches back when he was NWA World Champion to give an upcoming opponent some shine and put a little more heat on the title match that would soon follow.

That you can send him out there to that and he still stay popular enough with his supporters to remain a moneymaker for the company is pretty damn remarkable.  And there comes a point where if you have a guy who is the man to beat for that long, that you should go ahead and cement it by putting your top title on him.  No top guy has put this many people over and gone without the top title for this long.  It’s time to end the charade and do what is the tradition in this business.

(Side Note: If you’re that damned intent on Brock keeping the Universal Title to take to his UFC fight then just send Roman over to Smackdown and crown him World Champion).

And for those of you ready to fire off those tweets after reading the last paragraph……..just stop it already.  If you never were a fan, that’s fine.  Just accept that they’re not going to put someone else in his spot as long as the numbers are what they are and either take the show as is or move on.  But for those of you who keep running lame explanation after lame explanation up the flagpole and who keep moving the goalposts every time one of your ‘facts’ is debunked, I got nothing for you and I hope Vince gets that way soon.

Because no matter how they’ve moved Roman around the card you haven’t been satisfied.  When they’ve put him in less significant matches, specifically midcard matches where no title is even involved you still claim that he’s being shoved down your throat. If he’s in a big match where he does the job and puts over someone else like Braun or Finn or Lashley you complain that Vince is trying to make him a more sympathetic figure.  So what’s the point in trying to please you if you’re never going to be satisfied?

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – he’s not getting fired and he’s not going to be relegated to some kind of off camera, curtain jerking on house shows kinda role, so get over yourselves already.  You’re never going to get anything in regards to him that will stop your keyboard driven bellyaching so there’s no point in trying to appease you.  And turning him heel so that you can start cheering him is the most ass backwards, stupid logic out there.  Just because it sounds good when 100 of you type it at the same time doesn’t mean it makes sense.

This is a rare case where someone has both earned a win by what they’ve done in the ring and how they’ve helped the company succeed financially so it’s time to go forward with it.  I’m tired of dealing with you jerks thinking that you own the show because you bought one ticket or signed up for one network subscription.  The rest of our money is just as green as yours so if we either want him to win or just don’t have a problem with it, what we think matters just as much as what you think.  And no we’re not all women and children but even if that was the case it wouldn’t make our stance any less valid.

Got a problem with that?  Well, just remember that there is no pathway to any of your supposed favorites getting a shot at winning the Universal Championship as long as Brock as champion.  Seth is not going to be booked to beat him and neither is Finn.  So you got Roman, Braun, or Bobby Lashley.  Bobby isn’t happening and after their match last year I’m not really trying to see Braun labor for 10 minutes with Brock in mail it in mode again.  And look, Braun (or Kevin Owens if he gets the briefcase in their match) may very well cash in and win it either immediately or soon afterwards.  And furthermore….forget it, I’m done.  Roman should win Sunday because he’s earned it.  Go argue with your grandma.


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Where WWE Can Take The New Dean Ambrose

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Dean Ambrose WWE Raw Return

RAW needed a big moment to end their go-home show for SummerSlam, and boy did they get it! The Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose, returned from a nearly year long recover from a nasty triceps injury back in December. For months, the Ambrose Asylum had been teased and tormented by rumors of his impending return, only to be disappointed when he didn’t materialize, to the point where most of us stopped listening. Monday, our prayers were answered when Dean was revealed be the man in Seth Rollins’ corner when Rollins takes on Dolph Zigger for the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam. That surprise was big enough, but Dean’s new appearence: Shaved head, more muscles, and a seemingly new attitude, was another surprise altogether, but not an entirely unwelcome one.

It’s clear from the audience’s reactions to Rollins’ promo leading up to Ambrose’s return that Ambrose is still as popular with the WWE Universe as he was back in December when he got hurt, which is always a relief to a performer who has lost nearly a year of their career. However, Ambrose showed a more hard-nosed attitude and hard hitting style than he’d shown before his injury, which can lead to all sorts of fun possibilities.

1. Heel Turn on Rollins. Okay, fellow Asylumers, hear me out. I’m not saying he should turn heel right away, but his new look doesn’t lend itself well to the funny, goofy Lunatic of pre-December 18, 2017. The original plan WWE had for Ambrose and Rollins was to have Ambrose turn on Rollins at the Royal Rumble, but with Ambrose getting hurt, that plan was scrapped. However, WWE could revive it now that Ambrose has been cleared.

2. Stay Face, New Attitude. Given the response to Ambrose’s return, WWE might decide to keep him as a face, but make the new look and attitude work in a babyface capacity, maybe have him be more like how Austin’s character was.

3. Heel Turn a la Mojo Rawley. While I get what Rawley’s new gimmick is supposed to be, I don’t think Rawley, who has had a mediocre run at times, is the right person for it. With Ambrose’s track record and popularity, he could probably fill that role better than Rawley. Having him call out guys for being ‘lazy’ o

4. Shield Reunion. I know even a lot of Shield fans have mixed feelings about this since the last Shield reunion was hampered by bad luck with both Reigns and Ambrose getting hit by illness and injury. However, with Survivor Series a few months away, finding a way to reunite the Shield, even if it’s just for Survivor Series, would be nice.

There’s no telling what WWE is going to do with Ambrose now that he’s back. The fact that he’s been brought in as part of a big storyline, and the audience’s reaction to his return shows that the Lunatic Fringe is still as over with the WWE Universe as he was before he got hurt. Given his new look and seeming new attitude, there’s many possibilities for the Lunatic Fringe to semi-reinvent himself.


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