WWE Elimination Chamber 2015 – Ponderings and Predictions

Elimination ChamberBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Hey, didn’t I just do this two weeks ago?

Indeed, 2015 will see a first for WWE: Three pay per views over the course of six weeks. Anybody else remember the days when it was several months between pay per views? Yes, I understand this is strictly being aired on the WWE Network. But it’s still a pay per view quality show that’s being built toward. I still don’t understand why it was scheduled so abruptly. Unless it’s a matter of being at a building that can house the enormous Elimination Chamber. That was why the February pay per view was changed from Elimination Chamber to Fastlane.

Abruptness notwithstanding, they’ve actually put together a pretty good show here. The Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships are being spotlighted inside the chamber, and we’ve got a really intriguing match between the face of the company and one of NXT’s hottest stars. Let’s dive in…

Neville, Bo Dallas, WWE Elimination Chamber 2015Neville vs. Bo Dallas

I’m guessing this is meant to be an enhancement match for Neville. But it’s actually a great opportunity for Bo Dallas. If he can “maximize his minutes,” as they say, he might be able to up his stock on the roster. I’m not as down on the “Bo-lieve” character as a lot of fans are. Bo plays an annoying, high-pitched character who you want to see get his ass kicked by a babyface. There’s value there that goes beyond the comedic throw-away segment. But in any event, Neville picks up the win here.

PREDICTION: Neville

20150517_elimination_EP_LIGHT_HP_matches_divasWWE DIVAS TITLE MATCH:
Nikki Bella (c) vs. Paige vs. Naomi

It’s great to see Paige back, of course. That means there’s a chance we might see a little bit of decent wrestling here. It actually wouldn’t surprise me if Naomi walked away from this match with the title. My distate for all things Bella notwithstanding, the women’s division needs to be freshened up. If they’re not going to pull Charlotte, or Sasha Banks, or any of the NXT girls on to the main roster, then let’s at least change the dynamics up. Naomi cost Paige a shot at the title a few months ago. Having Naomi win the belt, perhaps with Tamina Snuka’s help, creates an organic “you don’t deserve it” angle with Paige. And then Nikki Bella can go…. I’unno, do a reality show somewhere? Do promotional stuff? I really don’t care. Just get her out of the ring and off the mic.

PREDICTION: Naomi

WWE Elimination Chamber 2015, John Cena, Kevin OwensJohn Cena vs. Kevin Owens

You can make an argument that this is the most highly anticipated match on the card. Mainstream WWE fans have officially been introduced to Kevin Owens, and he’s made a hell of an impression. Eyes are also being directed to NXT and the WWE Network, which is a good thing. This feels like a one-off to me, as Owens has a lot of other irons in the fire. I don’t see him going over here, but I don’t see him losing cleanly either. This feels like a chance to show WWE fans what Owens can do in the ring, and then introducing them to another NXT star who ultimately costs him the match. I imagine that’ll either be Finn Balor (the number one contender for Owens’ title) or Samoa Joe. WWE has booked one of those great scenarios where, while this match will have a winner, at the end of the day there really won’t be a loser.

PREDICTION: John Cena

Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose, Elimination Chamber 2015WWE HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose

As much as I love that Ambrose is getting to wrestle Rollins for the title at a big show, I actually wish they’d have saved this match for Money in the Bank. With two Elimination Chamber matches, plus Cena and Owens, plus the fact that this is strictly a WWE Network special, did we really need a WWE Title defense on this show? Why not save it, and give these guys more time to build to a championship match? They still could’ve done something with Rollins and Ambrose. But the title didn’t necessarily have to be on the line. Hell, if you’re just looking for something to do with them, how about Rollins and Kane against Ambrose and Roman Reigns?

Incidentally, are we just dropping the Rollins/Kane feud? They just dropped it after Payback? This network-exclusive show would have been a perfect chance to blow it off.

Rollins goes over here. No big debate over that one. He’s going to make it until Summerslam at least. We’ve got to get him in there with Brock Lesnar.

PREDICTION: Seth Rollins

WWE Elimination Chamber 2015, Tag Title MatchELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH FOR WWE TAG TEAM TITLES:
The New Day (c) vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd vs. The Prime Time Players vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. The Ascension vs. Los Matadores

Question: Why aren’t Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in this match? We’ve got four babyface teams, and two heel teams. Why not even things up? I’ll tell you this much, I wasn’t exactly clamoring to see Los Matadores inside the chamber.

This match presents a really unique opportunity, but it also seems like there’s a big risk involved. There’ll be a total of 12 bodies in the structure when this match begins, and a total of 14 at play if you count El Torito, and whatever third member of The New Day is hanging around (probably Xavier Woods). So there’s the potential to do a lot of stuff, but it could also become a big mess if things get too crowded. Are people actually going to be tagging in and out during this match? Or is it just going to be a free-for-all?

I imagine we’ll probably see a lot of aerial stuff happening here. There’ll almost certainly be some sort of Kofi Kingston Spider-Man spot, with him clinging to the chamber or something. I imagine they’ll use Kalisto and El Torito for similar things, and that Cesaro will having a strongman spot.

Looking at all the teams in this match, it seems like WWE has a lot more creative options with The New Day, especially given the new life their heel turn has breathed into them. They can work with Kidd & Cesaro and have a great match any night of the week. I’d be interested to see if they have a similar chemistry with The Lucha Dragons. And they might do some nice mic work with the Prime Time Players. So I say let’s give it to The New Day and see where it takes us.

PREDICTION: The New Day

WWE Elimination Chamber 2015, Intercontinental TItleELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH FOR VACANT WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE:
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. King Barrett vs. Ryback vs. ?

Apparently Rusev is out with some sort of ankle injury. This likely nixes their plans do some sort of angle with he, Ziggler, and Lana. Rusev was actually my pick to win here, so the injury screwed up my plans too…

The next in line for a victory is likely Sheamus. They just announced he’s been cast as Rocksteady in the sequel to that abysmal Ninja Turtles movie (I’m a TMNT fan, but that thing sucked.). So there’s some nice publicity value there. Sheamus is also perfectly capable of putting on great matches, which is hopefully what they’re trying to make synonymous with the Intercontinental Title again.

There’s also the chance they could pull a surprise out of their hats and make Rusev’s replacement the champion. But who? The Solomonster pitched NXT star Tyler Breeze, which is interesting. Online reports have pegged Bray Wyatt as a potential replacement, which would be a cool tie-in to Ryback being in the match. The Miz is doing a MizTV segment with Daniel Bryan on the pre-show, so theoretically they could have him suit up for it.

But without knowing who that sixth man is, I’m going with the safe pick. There are certainly worse guys to put the title on than Sheamus. So I’m content with him having it.

PREDICTION: Sheamus

Image 1 from onlineworldofwrestling.com. All other images courtesy of WWE.com.

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Samoa Joe’s Debut, TNA’s Troubles, and Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

A few things to get to before we talk about Raw

Samoa Joe, Kevin Owens, NXT TakeoverSamoa Joe appears at NXT Takeover. Samoa Joe in a WWE ring. I honestly never thought I’d see the day. Not because Joe doesn’t have the talent, but because he clearly doesn’t fit the traditional WWE musclehead mold. The fact that he was signed speaks volumes about the way WWE recruits talent now as opposed to, say, five years ago. He even got to keep his name! He wasn’t renamed or repackaged, which probably has something to do with the nature of the deal he signed. Joe still has some indy dates booked, so perhaps he’ll be repackaged if/when he becomes exclusive to WWE.

If Joe does indeed have a run with NXT, I don’t doubt he’ll be successful. Judging by how quickly Kevin Owens became NXT Champion, it’s not at all unreasonable to imagine similar success for Joe. My question is, how successful would Joe be on the main roster, with Vince McMahon micromanaging his every move? His matches would be good, of course. But would Vince brush him off because of his body type? Actually, I imagine the same question could be posed about Kevin Owens.

Either way, Joe’s arrival in NXT was a huge moment. So many fans, myself included, thought it simply wasn’t in the cards. Congratulations, Joe. You deserve it.

TNA, Destination AmericaDave Meltzer reports that Destination America is planning to cancel all TNA programming affective this September. Lots of controversy over this one, and rightfully so. Supposedly, TNA hasn’t delivered ratings high enough to justify the production costs, and most of Destination America’s advertisers want nothing to do with TNA.

Neither TNA President Dixie Carter, nor Destination America have made any sort of statements regarding potential cancellations, most likely because things haven’t been finalized. Thus, theoretically, TNA could stay on the network if plans change.

This story is just sad. After all that drama last year about TNA finding a new network, this happens. One might even argue that being on Destination America was a detriment to TNA from the start. So many fans simply don’t have access to it. I’m one of those fans, and as such I haven’t seen a new episode of Impact since they left Spike. And just when they’d finally cut ties with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, and the show was becoming watchable again.

Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, TNAIncidentally, Eric Bischoff, Jason Hervey, and Garrett Bischoff suing TNA for unpaid wages certainly isn’t going to help matters.

I want to have hope for TNA. I really do. But things just keep piling on…

Hulk Hogan says he may play a villain in The Expendables 4. I don’t buy it. Not as the main villain, anyway. His contributions to wrestling notwithstanding, Hogan is a notorious liar and BS’er. I’ll believe it when I hear it from someone other than him.

Thoughts From Raw:

Zack Ryder accepts John Cena’s open challenge in his hometown of Long Island. This almost felt like justice for Zack Ryder. This poor guy got buried by the system simply because he got himself over. But at least he got to have a career moment tonight with John Cena. Not that it will matter in the long run, of course. Much like Stardust did, he’ll go right back to jobbing next week. But kudos to Ryder, Cena, and WWE for giving Long Island something special.

As for the cast of  Entourage…meh, whatever. I find it funny that they made a tron video that specifically said “The Cast of Entourage.” I’m just happy we didn’t have to see Jeremy Piven on Raw again. I admired his enthusiasm when he was a guest host. But I still cringe when I think of that “Summerfest” flub.

Dean Ambrose, Raw, May 26, 2015The Authority, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns open and close the show. I fast-forwarded through the first 13 minutes of Raw, simply because I’ve seen this promo time after time, week after week. I pressed play when Dean Ambrose came out, but fast-forwarded again when he didn’t say anything interesting. Ditto for the lead-in to the tag match. I’m begging them to change up the format here.

Ambrose being arrested, taken to jail, and then returning in a police van (I’m not calling it a paddy wagon…) was pretty Stone Cold-esque. But oddly enough, having Ambrose actually wear the police hat and jacket put a pretty cool spin on it. It made it amusing in a way that’s very synonymous with the “Lunatic Fringe” character.

Roman Reigns was a decent supporting player here, but it’s curious that he isn’t involved in Elimination Chamber at all. Isn’t he supposed to be one of their big stars on the rise? I don’t get it.

Lana, Rusev, Raw, May 25, 2015Rusev calls Lana to the ring for an attempt at reconciliation. Jeez, this was a long segment. Rusev’s acting skills have improved immensely since we first saw him, and I suppose he did alright here. But it was ill advised to have him carry an entire talking segment based on things like love, emotional manipulation, etc. I’m wondering if they’ll wind up putting them back together at Elimination Chamber, pulling the ol’ swerve on Dolph Ziggler. Lana and Rusev’s involvement in Ziggler’s match with Sheamus did nothing to dissuade that.

Neville def. Stardust, will face Bo Dallas at Elimination Chamber. This match with Neville is a huge opportunity for Dallas to prove he can be a relevant commodity on the WWE roster. Because let’s be honest: Right now he’s not.

On the subject of relevance, I’m happy he got to interact with Stephen Amell at ringside, as that at least gave him something to do. But he’s worth so much more. The crowds still chant “Cody!” at him, so clearly he’s still over. This seems like another case of WWE not knowing what to do with a character, so a talent goes to waste.

The New Day, Raw, May 25, 2015The New Day compete in a 10-on-3 handicap match. So the idea of a match like this is to make the audience happy that The New Day are getting beat up. I understand that. I just don’t think it’s a good idea. As a fan, it makes me feel sympathy for the guys I’m supposed to dislike. Yes, they walked away with the win. But at least they walked away! They were essentially booked in a mugging! I expect they’ll walk out of Elimination Chamber with the belts as well.

Tamina Snuka def. Paige. It would have been nice to have heard the commentary for this match. But as always, the Bellas at the announce table means instant mute button.

Images 1, 4, 5, and 6 from WWE.com. Image 2 from impactwrestling.com. Image 3 from prowrestling24.com.

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Daniel Bryan Repeats History, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Daniel Bryan, WWE Raw, May 11, 2015Thoughts From WWE Raw:

Daniel Bryan relinquishes the Intercontinental Championship roughly a year after he relinquished the WWE Heavyweight Championship. This sucked. It really sucked. It sucked beyond anything that has sucked in recent memory…

It sucks because Bryan had to surrender a championship for the second year in a row. Moreso, it sucks he’s injured again. But what sucks more than anything is that surrendering these two championships tarnishes a portion of his legacy. Perhaps even the fans’ faith in him, and most definitely the company’s willingness to put their faith in him for larger things.

Is Bryan finished in the ring? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, one thing nobody can ever take away from him is the fact that he became a star in WWE. He main evented Wrestlemania XXX, and solidified his status as a bonafide superstar. That will be Daniel Bryan’s enduring legacy as far as WWE is concerned.

John Cena vs. Neville, Raw, April 11, 2015John Cena def. Neville. It was fun to see Neville accept Cena’s challenge one week after Sami Zayn did. Like him or not, John Cena’s been involved in the best match on Raw two weeks in a row. Granted, that might have something to do with the quality of his opponents…

Wrestling pundits seem to be concerned about the direction of Rusev after Payback. I can’t say I blame them. There’s obviously a lot of interest in a babyface turn for Lana. But where does that leave Rusev? High and dry, most likely. And once you turn Lana, what do you do with her? To the best of my knowledge, she’s not training to become a wrestler. So once she’s a fan-favorite, does she find a babyface to manage? Does she sell t-shirts on TV the way Sable used to do? It just seems like a hill that doesn’t need to be climbed. Especially when she’s so good at being a villain.

WWE Announces Elimination Chamber pay per view for May 31, exclusively on the network. This seems extremely abrupt. Why not bring the chamber back at, say…Battleground? It’s still the most bland pay per view WWE puts on all year. Why not spice it up with a chamber match?

Still, apparently the tag team titles will be defended inside the chamber for the first time. Considering how the tag team division looks right now, that might be fun.

Dean Ambrose, Raw 05/11/2015Dean Ambrose def. J & J Security in an handicap match. This felt like a waste of a good hometown pop, especially given the match Ambrose had with Seth Rollins last week. Why not have Rollins and Ambrose main event this week’s show, and have Orton in the main event with Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury? Seems like we’d have gotten just as good an opener, and an even better main event.

Bray Wyatt cuts a promo on Ryback. The best part of this whole segment? Bray says something to the effect of: “Ryback must be so inspiring to you all!” And about 90% of the crowd goes: “Ehhhh, not really.” It’s curious that there’s no match between these two at Payback. Did they opt to save it as a special attraction for this sudden Elimination Chamber event? If so, that seems like an odd choice. It’s not like we’ve all been clamoring for Bray vs. Ryback for months.

King Barrett def. Dolph Ziggler after a distraction from Sheamus. WWE is in the market for some new upper mid-card heels right now. Barrett and Sheamus are seemingly in the front of the line for those spots. I can only assume WWE is moving forward with a Seth Rollins/Kane program in the near future. That means Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, and John Cena are all going to need new dance partners in the near future. These two are in a great position to step up and prove themselves.

Raw, May 11, 2015Damien Sandow debuts “Macho Mandow” character. Hey, remember when Sandow cut that babyface promo a few weeks ago? He was gimmick-free, and cut a promo from the heart, seemingly as himself. It seemed like that was the direction they were going to go with him…

Never mind! It’s back to comedy and parody for him, apparently. It makes sense on paper. Sandow got over more than he ever has doing this Mizdow thing. So now they’ve got him in a similar role, apparently to form a parody Mega Powers team alongside Curtis Axel. (It should be noted The Solomonster talked about this premise a few weeks ago. He’s got a great podcast.)

There’s definitely a degree of sadness to this. Sandow has the talent to be taken seriously as a star. But it just doesn’t seem like WWE sees that in him. As a fan, it continues to frustrate me.

Erick Rowan and Luke Harper reunite as a tag team. This left a sour taste in my mouth. Bad memories of The Wyatt Family breaking up. And all these months later, where has it gotten them? Clearly nowhere, as they’ve simply ended up getting back together.

Images from WWE.com.

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Sami Zayn’s Big Break? Plus, Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Sami Zayn, John Cena, Raw, April 4, 2015Ponderings From WWE Raw:

Sami Zayn answers John Cena’s US Title open challenge after being introduced by Bret Hart. Firstly, I have to give John Cena credit for his ability to ad-lib. That crowd was all over him, but he went with the flow. Like him or not, he’s great at it.

What a career moment for Sami Zayn. He pops up on Raw, in his home town no less, introduced by Bret Hart no less, facing John Cena no less! I was actually a little irritated they started this match during the commercial break. I didn’t want to miss any of this one.

So was Zayn’s shoulder injury a work? Were they setting up a weakness for his title match against Kevin Owens? I’ve got to believe that’s the case, considering how obvious they made everything from the trainer looking at him to the referee throwing up the X sign. Either that, or it wasn’t that serious an injury. In any event, Zayn gave the casual fans more than enough to want to see him on the main roster. It’s simply a question of when. Needless to say, this segment stole the show.

John Cena, Sami Zayn, Raw, April 4, 2015Cena was obviously great here too. But after seeing him do it a few times, I’m not a fan of the “springboard stunner.” The obvious Steve Austin factor aside, the move doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, especially for a guy like John Cena.

Kane: “I don’t believe I can allow the WWE World Heavyweight Champion to do nothing while his opponents are in action.” Um, that’s exactly what WWE did when Brock Lesnar was the champion. I’m just sayin’.

Seth Rollins has been the champion for a little while now, and back in the rhythm of having a WWE Champion who defends the title every month. I can’t say I particularly miss having a no-show champion for months at a time. But I do miss that special big fight feel that surrounded Brock’s title defenses, and part of that did indeed have to do with the title not being defended every month. With the WWE Network being free for new subscribers in May, just as it was in April, and we’re basically giving another big show away for free, maybe now is the time to experiment with these pay per views. For instance, the King of the Ring concept could have been a great way to save Rollins’ next title defense until June. But that opportunity is gone. Maybe find some sort of special attraction?

Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, WWE Raw, 05/04/2015Incidentally, is it time to find something else to call these pay per views? After all, they’re obviously trying as hard as they can to ween us off pay per view, and on to the network.

Dean Ambrose added to Payback main event after defeating Seth Rollins. Love it. Ambrose deserves to be in the main event scene as much as anybody. Rollins is obviously going to retain at Payback anyway, so there’s really no harm in adding Ambrose to the mix. Especially if he isn’t pinned. Hell, a Rollins vs. Ambrose PPV main event would be much more intriguing than seeing him against Orton or Reigns at this point. They consistently have great matches, case in point, the match we saw on Raw.

Cesaro shines in tag match against The Ascension. In case you weren’t counting, that was 10 consecutive uppercuts to Konner, and the crowd was obviously loving it. And of course, the giant swing is always over. If you’re wondering why Tyson Kidd and Cesaro are babyfaces now, look no further than what we saw in this match.

King Barrett, Raw, 05/04/2015Bad News Barrett returns to Raw as King of the Ring. Yup. Called that one. So here we go. Barrett has some new life breathed into him, and I like the pairing with Neville. That makes it easy for Barrett to play the bully. Now the question becomes: Can Barrett stay healthy, and remain hot as a heel long enough to break through to the next level?

Tamina Snuka returns to Raw, attacks the Bella Twins alongside Naomi. The sad thing is Tamina and Naomi were supposed to be the heels here. But if you’re a couple of dominant chicks who beat the crap out of the Bellas, you’re babyfaces as far as I’m concerned. The “family” aspect of Naomi and Tamina’s connection is interesting, and makes me wonder what will happen to the Usos when they make it back to TV. Could we see a heel Samoan faction? That’d be something to watch…

Tensions continue to mount between Rusev and Lana. I’m really hoping they don’t break these two up. They’re such a great act, and while Rusev has improved tremendously from a personality standpoint, taking Lana away from him would be a big negative. I’m hoping this all turns out to be a ruse, and she ends up staying with Rusev at Payback.

Ryback, Raw, 05042015Fans chant “Goldberg!” at Ryback during his in-ring promo. I respect Ryback for calling the Montreal fans out on this, as it’s long since gotten old. I’m sure Bray Wyatt will end up beating Ryback whenever they end up clashing. But still, a program with Bray looks good for Ryback, who’s obviously looking to get that next tier. Whether the fans will ever take him serious enough for that to happen is another story.

Other Assorted Ponderings:

Floyd Mayweather defeats Manny Pacquiao in massive boxing main event. For the first time in a long time, boxing was culturally relevant again this past Sunday. The sheer amount of buzz for this fight was astounding, even if the fight itself wasn’t the greatest. It drew so many people who would otherwise have been entirely indifferent to boxing, myself included. It actually made me jealous that pro wrestling hasn’t had a moment like that in so long. The last one I can think of was probably when Mike Tyson (another boxer, obviously) was involved with Wrestlemania XIV, and that was more than 15 years ago. I can’t even imagine what it would take to carry wrestling to that point…

Global Force Wrestling to begin revealing their roster at press conference Wednesday. I’m very interested to see who Jeff Jarrett has been able to attract to GFW. There have to be some notable names on there for drawing power. It’ll definitely be worth checking out.

Images courtesy of WWE.com.

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Billy Corgan, Roman Reigns vs. Big Show, and Other Mid-Week Wrestling Ponderings

Billy CorganBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Smashing Pumpkins founder Billy Corgan joins TNA as a “Senior Producer.” Yet another baffling choice made by the higher-ups in TNA. Corgan may be a star in the music industry, but what sort of track record does he have that merits him being brought into the creative end of a wrestling company? Yes, he’s been involved in some indie promotions, and is apparently a life-long fan. That’s great. But why would TNA invest in him of all people? What great success of Corgan’s can we point to and say, “He made that happen. Imagine what he could do for TNA!” Is he going to produce an A&E reality show about Impact that gets scrapped and never airs?

This just seems like yet another attempt by TNA to hitch their wagon to a star and grab headlines in a feeble attempt to seem relevant. I have no desire to see TNA fail, nor should any wrestling fan in their right mind. But Billy Corgan? Come on…

Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, TNAI hate to beat a dead horse here, but it bears repeating. To me, TNA sold its soul in 2009 and 2010 when they brought in Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and that whole crew. If you look back at the company between 2004 and that early 2009 period, there was no shortage of established stars (Jeff Jarrett, Sting, Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash, etc.). But TNA was also the place you’d see these newer, fresh talents like AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Jay Lethal, James Storm, Robert (now Bobby) Roode, etc. You could also see some of the best women’s wrestling in the United States. The creative wasn’t fantastic, but the performances of these awesome wrestlers were sufficient to put eyes on the product. TNA, despite its flaws, was a cool place to be.

But Dixie Carter and the TNA higher ups were seemingly so fixated on reaching WWE’s level of popularity that they sold their soul in a feeble attempt to re-create the Monday Night Wars and boost ratings. Guys like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Eric Bischoff wound up drawing attention away from the new stars, which left us with an awkwardly focused product.

TNA, Destination AmericaAnd now, five years later, where are they? TNA’s deal with Spike is gone, and many fans now have to fight to even find them on Destination America. Hogan, Bischoff, and Flair are all gone, as are many of the talents that helped build the company in the first place. Styles, Christopher Daniels, Joe, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne. Gone, gone, all gone.

That’s not to say TNA is incapable of producing good television. In fact, during their last several weeks on Spike, and thus far on Destination America, they’ve produced some pretty good shows. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. But God knows it’s better than most of what they’ve been giving us over the last five years.

As for Corgan, I’ll now direct you to an interview he did with Josh Matthews (via Skype) a few days ago…

Whether Corgan is this creative genius or not, people need to remember that one person can’t single-handedly change the course of a wrestling promotion. As an organization, you’ve got to have a a vision and a direction you want to go in, and you’ve got to have talents on and off camera that can put make that vision a reality. One man isn’t going to change that, no matter how many records he’s sold…

WWE Extreme Rules 2015, The Big Show, Roman ReignsRoman Reigns and The Big Show earn praise for their Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules. After hearing all the buzz about this match, I went back and re-watched it on the WWE Network. It was easily the best match the two have ever had, which granted isn’t saying much. At times it was, as expected, slow. But the psychology early on was interesting, with Show drawing heat from the crowd by breaking all the weapons. Also, I’ll always give credit to show for taking a lot of big bumps that he really doesn’t have to. Reigns throwing him off the top rope to the canvas was one example. But think about all the superplexes he’s taken over the years.

We got to see some nice stuff from Roman Reigns here. He had some nice ferocity with those hose chair shots he gave to Show, and of course, that spear through the table. Plus, hopefully that bump through the table got him some respect from the smarks.

All in all, it was a good match. Not a classic by any means, but a much better match than what I expected from those two.

Mick FoleyMick Foley’s Cheap Pops special airs on the WWE Network. The network seems to be hitting its stride these days. Specials like this one, the Chris Jericho interviews, and Renee Young’s new Unfiltered series are enough to keep me subscribed for at least another month.

Foley is such a great wordsmith. Even though he’s not really doing stand-up comedy anymore, when you put a mic in his hands he always manages to be entertaining. I’d certainly be open to another Foley special. Heck, with talents like Jim Ross and Shawn Michaels doing one-man shows of sorts, I’d say give them the platform as well. This is the sort of thing devout wrestling fans want to see, and will keep people watching the network.

Image 1 from riffyou.com. Image 2 from wrestlingforum.com. Image 3 from miamiherald.com. Images 4 and 5 from wwe.com.

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King of the Ring, Justin Bieber, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

King of the Ring logo, WWEBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Ponderings From WWE Raw:

The King of the Ring tournament returns, will take place throughout the week. For the past decade or so, the King of the Ring tournament has always returned on a whim when WWE remembers, “Oh yeah! This was a thing! Let’s make it a thing again!” And then the next year it goes away just as quickly as it returned. I’ve always been of the opinion that if we’re going to do this, let’s build it up and make it a yearly event like it used to be, especially now that the WWE Network exists. With fans having easier access to pay per view events, it be less of a risk to replace a show like Payback with a King of the Ring show. We could still have a WWE Championship match, but the show could also host a one-night tournament and put somebody over big time.

As for the tournament this year, Bad News Barrett seems like the favorite. WWE seems to like the snobby European King persona. They did it with Sheamus and William Regal. Hell, they even did it with Booker T! Plus, the guy is a big star waiting to happen. It’s just a matter of WWE pulling the trigger. Granted, it could be Neville. But for my money, Barrett is the more likely candidate.

Seth Rollins, WWE Extreme Rules 2015WWE lets the fans pick the main event of Payback. Seth Rollins to defend against both Randy Orton and Roman Reigns. I can’t exactly fault WWE for this. When in doubt, just let the fans choose. Though if we’re being honest, the triple-threat match was the obvious choice. That being said, I was hoping to see Reigns get an opportunity to face Rollins one-on-one. There’s certainly enough backstory between the two at this point. Perhaps that’s coming down the line.

Kane gets the line of the night by calling Seth Rollins the WWE equivalent of Justin Bieber. In the aftermath of Wrestlemania, Kane has become relevant again. Does he always deliver great matches? No. But he’s still an amazing actor, and can do great things on the mic.

WWE Extreme Rules 2015, Roman ReignsRoman Reigns def. The Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules. This match was better than I think anyone expected it to be. Reigns seems to be in the process of doing something he should have done before they had him win the damn Royal Rumble match: Paying his dues as a main eventer. He’s showing the more hardcore fans that he’s not just a good looking guy, but a tough S.O.B. who deserves respect. I always liked the nickname Paul Heyman gave him: The Samoan Bad Ass.

Tension is built between Rusev and Lana, as the Bulgarian Brute loses to John Cena again at Extreme Rules. The two will face yet again at Payback in an I-Quit match. Lana has proved herself worthy of the adulation she’s getting from the fans. Plus, she’s drop dead gorgeous. So there’s that.

So it’s looks like after Payback is over, Rusev will have lost to John Cena on three straight pay per views. I don’t expect Rusev to go away after Payback, but he’ll definitely need to re-establish himself as a dominant monster. But against who…?

Bray Wyatt, Ryback, Raw, 04/27/15Ryback def. Bo Dallas, is then attacked by Bray Wyatt. For those not in the know, Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas are actually real-life brothers. It’s actually pretty obvious if you look at them side-by-side. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that they were involved in this segment together. But it does make you wonder how they could work Bo into some sort of story with Bray.

As cool as it would have been to have Roman Reigns be Bray’s next opponent, Ryback is a good choice for him. He’s someone Bray can beat to build himself back up following the Wrestlemania loss to The Undertaker. Plus, Ryback’s pretty weird in his own right. I’m interested to see how he reacts to the Bray Wyatt mind games.

Damien Sandow reintroduces himself to the WWE audience. One of my favorite internet wrestling podcasters, The Solomonster, has joked about the possibility of Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow forming a tag team akin to the Mega Powers. Obviously it would be Axel in the role of Hulk Hogan, and Sandow playing “Macho Mandow.” Not going to lie, I was almost hoping for that during this segment.

Damien Sandow, Curtis Axel, Raw, 04/27/15The WWE fans seemed more into Sandow as a person than they were the comedic stuff on display here. On the plus side, Sandow’s new theme is pretty cool.

The New Day wins the WWE Tag Team Titles at Extreme Rules. Big E. defeats Tyson Kidd on Raw. Part of me wonders if a New Day heel turn was part of WWE’s plan all along. But then I chuckle. As much of a WWE fan as I am, they just don’t think that way. Still, all three of these guys are talented. They deserve credit for really selling this crappy gimmick and making it into something the fans love to hate. This is also a great opportunity for Xavier Woods to prove his worth as the mouthpiece of this group.

R-Truth def. Stardust. I’m an R-Truth fan, but this sucked. Cody Rhodes is so damn talented, and he deserves to be featured more prominently than he is. For that matter, he deserves to pick up where he left off in his feud with Goldust. That program wasn’t even half of what it should have been.

Raw, 04/27/2015, Adam Rose, Rosa MendesAdam Rose def. Fandango after a Rosa Mendes distraction. Rosa Mendes can’t dance. At least not on her own. That seemed like more of a “What the hell is she doing?” distraction than an “Oh my God, she’s so hot!” distraction.

Jerry Springer hosts WWE “Too Hot For TV” show on the WWE Network. Springer said in a recent interview that his audience and the WWE audience cross over. I really wish he hadn’t said that. I don’t doubt that it’s true. But do you have to remind me?

Images courtesy of WWE.com.

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Into the Cage, Laying Down For Rollins, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Randy Orton, Raw, 04/13/15Ponderings From WWE Raw

The WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules becomes a steel cage match where the RKO is banned. A steel cage match main event is tough to beat. I’m not sure we needed the RKO to be banned, though. The idea that Randy Orton can be disqualified in a steel cage match is pretty lame. But Rollins and Orton will make it work. The main event of Extreme Rules is most definitely in good hands.

Seth Rollins def. Kane, when Kane lays down. This was fairly entertaining. It was fun to see the crowd get riled up for the potential return of “The Demon” Kane. I can only assume Kane’s days in The Authority are numbered. Who needs a director of operations anyway?

Dolph Ziggler def. Neville. AWESOME match. And while some may disagree, the right guy won. Not every new guy on the main roster needs to have a big undefeated streak. Neville was in there with arguably the best performer on the roster, and he knocked it out of the park. That’s what counts.

Neville, Dolph Ziggler, Raw, May 13, 2015Naomi turns heel after Paige wins a #1 contender battle royal. I’m all for giving the girls a chance. And hey, they did get more time tonight. But as soon as Cole said the Bellas were coming to the announce position, I hit the mute button. I’M SORRY! I can’t help it that they sound like the Kardashians…

But what I’m wondering is…are the Bellas still heels? I know they tend to go in between. But if Naomi ends up challenging for the title eventually, it seems like they’ll either have to put it on Paige or turn the Bellas face. The former seems more likely. And I’m totally okay with that. Just sayin’.

John Cena def. Wade Barrett in his US Open. Yeesh, Barrett just can’t get a break. He got totally squashed in the weeks leading up to the big ladder match at Wrestlemania, and tonight he loses a US Title match to Cena. And don’t kid yourself, he’s not getting the IC belt back at Extreme Rules.

John Cena, Bad News Barrett, Raw, April 13, 2015Incidentally, where was Daniel Bryan tonight? He had that backstage segment with Kane, but that was it. What the hell?

The Big Show chokeslams Roman Reigns on top of a taxi cab on the Raw set. I’m slowly but surely becoming a Roman Reigns fan. His smooth swagger, combined with the really good pay per view matches he’s had in the last two months have endeared him to me. It’s just a shame he keeps getting stuck with The Big Show. Those matches are always slow as molasses, and aren’t going to do him any favors.

Images from WWE.com.

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