Welcome to the Silverdome

Welcome to the Silverdome. A place where one man looks at the wonderful and intricate world of Professional Wrestling.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Royal Rumble Fiasco

I am going to preface this by saying, I have watched professional wrestling for 12 years now and watched 15 Royal Rumble matches in that time.  In all my years watching, I have never seen a Royal Rumble as poorly booked as last night's match in Philly.  It's not just the fact that Roman Reigns won or Daniel Bryan was eliminated too earlier.  It's the pacing of the match, the handling of major eliminations and the need for a run-in by The Rock to "save" the match.

The match started out fine with a surprise entry of Bubba Ray Dudley and the Wyatt Family squaring off, but slowly lost its momentum when Bray Wyatt started dispatching people left and right.  While things got better when Daniel Bryan made his entrance, that only lasted 10 minutes as the moment Bryan was eliminated, the crowd and many fans at home turned on the match itself.  The atmosphere felt exactly the same as the end of last year's Rumble, but it lasted the majority of the match instead of 15 minutes.  The volatile atmosphere only got worse when Reigns came out as everybody knew he was hand-picked to win the match.  It didn't help that any of the guys people were invested in and should have been part of the final four (Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler) were nonchalantly dumped over the top rope by Kane and the Big Show.  No exciting eliminations or set-up for a WrestleMania feud, just dumped like a piece of trash by two guys that should be putting them over.  Weeks of build wasted in a matter of moments didn't help this match.

When the odds were stacked against Reigns, The Rock made a run-in to help his little cousin.  Something done to clearly win back the crowd did exactly the opposite as it made Reigns look inferior to The Rock.  Why should the audience believe in a babyface like Reigns to beat the indestructible Brock Lesnar when he needs help to eliminate Kane and the Big Show?  It's not that I'm against Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble at some point in his career.  Looking at his current in-ring ability and mic skills, Reigns isn't anywhere close to being the successor to John Cena at this point in time.  Reigns needs more time to learn, mature and organically come into the role.  Forcing him down people's throats much like WWE did with Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and The Miz will only damage Reigns in the end.

A series of unforgivable creative decisions made the 2015 Royal Rumble the worst of all-time.  WWE understood exactly what they were getting into when they booked the Royal Rumble for Philadelphia, a city filled with hardcore wrestling fans.  It baffles my mind that WWE didn't learn from last year's debacle with Batista.  Yes, the product may be targeted for younger audience, but that isn't going to get buys for the WWE Network.  The people who will buy the Network are the passionate, hardcore, "Internet" fans that WWE despises and the target audience will eventually grow into.  As seen by the CancelWWENetwork hash tag running rampant on Twitter, it isn't smart to alienate the fans which are the lifeblood of your business going forward.  Guess we're in for an interesting WrestleMania season once again.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Brock Lesnar, The Conquerer

If you thought breaking The Streak made Brock Lesnar the most dominant force in the WWE, well I guess literally breaking John Cena last night at Summerslam made him a mythical titan in that ring.  While the quality of the match did not even come close to the extremely high expectations we all had for it, everyone can agree you could not keep your eyes off that massacre of a match.  Apart from a couple flurries of punches and an Attitude Adjustment, Brock Lesnar beat John Cena for 15 minutes straight.  Even after getting hit with the Attitude Adjustment (John Cena's finishing move), Brock Lesnar sat up in a very similar manner to the Undertaker and laughed like the move did nothing to him.  Much like when Brock Lesnar broke The Streak, Brock Lesnar's complete dominance over John Cena was surreal to watch.  Personally, I wanted the match to be a knock-out drag-out fight with both Lesnar and Cena soaked in blood and sweat due to the ferocity of their blows, but looking back Lesnar's dominance was the right call.  With this one match, Brock Lesnar has become way more than a dominant monster; Brock Lesnar is a god among the mere mortals that step through the ropes of a wrestling ring.  Now whoever manages to beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, be it Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt or Cesaro, will easily be made as a bona fide main eventer in the WWE.

While Brock Lesnar is a part-timer and has been a part of two of the most polarizing matches in terms of quality and result in years, he is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and the star of WWE television for the next four to eight months.  With the right booking and creative use of talent, Brock does not need to be on every show to build feuds, hype matches and bring prestige for to the WWE Title.  There is no problem with part-timers holding the WWE Title as long as WWE Creative does not solely use video packages and solo promos as a replacement for actual interactions between wrestlers.  Although it did take destroying the old guard in The Streak and John Cena to do so, Brock Lesnar is the first legitimate monster heel the WWE has built in well over a decade and his position as such is important to the WWE and professional wrestling's foreseeable future.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Streak is Over

WrestleMania XXX has come and gone.  It was much better than yours truly initially expected following the results of Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber.  More so than in years prior, WrestleMania as an overall show was fun and thoroughly enjoyable.  There were a good number of great moments from Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock all in the same ring and Daniel Bryan's winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship after having the odds stacked against him to Cesaro slamming Big Show over the top rope and The Shield's triple powerbomb on both members of the New Age Outlaws.  While a couple matches did not live up to this writer's expectations namely John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt and Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and Daniel Bryan vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton exceed my low expectations.  Out of everything that happened at WrestleMania XXX, one moment in particular clearly defined this event and cemented its spot in wrestling history.  That moment was the end of The Streak at the hands of Brock Lesnar.

Over the course of the Undertaker's illustrious career, no accomplishment has been greater than his winning streak at WrestleMania.  As countless wrestlers fell to the Deadman at WrestleMania year-in and year-out, The Streak grew in prestige and importance.  One could easily argue that The Streak was the most prestigious and important accomplishment in the WWE and professional wrestling as a whole.  To break such an unprecedented streak would be greater than winning any match or championship in wrestling.  Considering the lacklustre events leading up to the match between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, no one could have imagined The Streak would end in that very match.  You would expect the WWE to pull out all the stops and put together some epic build for a result this monumental and polarizing to even considered.  Wrestling fans have been so invested in The Streak that it is understandable to see such a wide array of emotions come from it ending.  Being of the camp that never wanted The Streak to be broken, I am personally surprised at how well I have received it.  Even though Brock Lesnar is a part-timer and has already established himself as a premier athlete, I am perfectly fine with him ending The Streak.  Actually, having Lesnar end The Streak gives the Beast nuclear heat that will never wear off and establishes him as THE dominant force in the WWE.  Also it sets up whoever beats Lesnar next, which better be Bryan, as a bona fide superstar in the WWE.  Personally, I am bummed out that Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar could not develop into a great match.  While it was still a pretty good match at best, they could never take the match to the next level and really get our blood pumping like all of the recent Undertaker matches at WrestleMania.  Not putting on an excellent match to rival the moment of The Streak ending just made things feel surreal and uncomfortable.  The match did show that it is definitely time for Undertaker to hang up the boots for good.  People may be concerned about how WWE will book a possible Sting vs. Undertaker match for next year, but this writer would rather not see that smoke-and-mirrors show become a reality especially since neither Sting or Undertaker can perform anywhere close to the level they use to.

WWE could not rely on The Streak to solely sell WrestleMania forever; now is the time to let it go and make new selling points for WrestleMania.  To launch the WWE into a new era, it is beneficial to honour both the Undertaker and The Streak as an important part of WrestleMania and wrestling history with Raw tonight and the 2015 Hall of Fame at WrestleMania 31.  As hard as it may seem for some, the unthinkable has happened.  The Streak is over and we all have to come to accept it one way or another.  WWE took an incredible risk with ending The Streak, but the only way to know if it was truly the right call or not is to see what happens next.  Tonight's Raw is the first page of this next chapter.  Will you be watching?

Monday, February 17, 2014

End of The Silverdome?

This decision is a hard one to make, but it is time to hang up my wrestling boots for the time being.  Ever since I have gone back to school, I have severely cut back my wrestling consumption.  Before going back, I can watched Raw, Smackdown, Impact Wrestling, ROH and NXT on a weekly basis.  I consumed enough professional wrestling in a week to easily fuel this blog.  That is no longer the case.  Now I only watch Raw on Mondays, casually check the results for Smackdown every other week and read the stories from Lords of Pain that pop up on my Facebook News Feed.  Sometimes with my job, I don't even get a chance to watch all of Raw.  The WWE Network would make it easier to follow all the wrestling I want, but my family doesn't have the internet plan to support that large amount of streaming.  So that option is quite a few years away from being a reality for yours truly.  

On top of my cutbacks, I just don't have the drive anymore to write about wrestling.  In no way am I losing my love for professional wrestling.  I am just very disenchanted with the WWE's current direction.  With such a monumental event like WrestleMania XXX, I had such huge expectations for WWE to take things to the next level (say CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan in the main event).  Disappointingly enough, the WWE has resorted to bringing in the part-timers yet again to build WrestleMania around.  While it was a novel idea the first time around, that doesn't mean people will keep eating up year after year.  We need new talent and fast!  There are glimmers of hope with Daniel Bryan, The Shield, the Wyatt Family and Cesaro.  Due to the WWE's current state of pushing established stars and holding down the rising stars, it is extremely hard not to be pessimistic.  

So is this the end of The Silverdome?  Yes and no.  It is the end of The Silverdome as we currently know it.  No longer will there be any sort of regularity to this blog.  I may go back to weekly or monthly posts, but that will be in the far distant future if it ever happens.  If there is something in professional wrestling I feel compelled to write about, I will post it up here.  It may be in a weeks time or may be months from now.  Thank you to everybody for following, reading, sharing and anything else you did to support The Silverdome.  Until next time, I bid you all farewell.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Year in Review: The Best of 2013

Been a long time since yours truly last posted here on The Silverdome.  Between school and work, it has been hard to follow, more or less, write about anything in the wonderful world of wrestling.  With 2013 coming to a close, there is not much to talk about concerning major wrestling programming (Raw, Smackdown, Impact Wrestling) as big developments stall until the new year and are replaced with an unnecessary amount of holiday shenanigans.  What a better time to reflect on the year that just past both the good and the bad.

As a whole, 2013 was a very mixed year quality-wise.  While nothing is perfect, most of the great stuff about professional wrestling in 2013 came during the first eight months of the year.  Things after September could not compare to the eight months before it, but this writer will elaborate more on this point in The Worst of 2013.  The Best of 2013 did not come from the John Cena's and Randy Orton's of professional wrestling, it came from the up-and-coming stars such as the Shield and Dolph Ziggler and the true main eventers like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.  The Best of 2013 encompasses this writer's favourite matches, moments and angles of the year.  Enjoy the trip down memory lane and happy New Year!

Believe in the Shield
While the Shield debuted at the very end of 2012, 2013 was where this group made their impact.  There has not been a faction as dominant as the Shield in the WWE since the Attitude Era.  In all due respect to Evolution, the WWE's version of the Four Horsemen could never live up to their true potential due to injuries and a severely short reign of dominance.  During this full calendar year, the Shield has remained as one of the top of forces in the WWE even after dropping the Tag Titles to the Rhodes Brothers.  Aside from this faction's dominance, these three young guns have been putting on the most consistently strong performances of anyone on the WWE roster.  Any match the Shield is involved in can easily be considered the highlight of the night.  With or without championship gold around their waists, the Shield has the highest stock among any team or singles wrestler in WWE, which is incredibly impressive for three young wrestlers.

Dolph Ziggler Cashes In
Everybody was hoping to see Dolph Ziggler cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania to win the World Heavyweight Championship because it would have been an insane WrestleMania moment.  Leaving that moment until the next night on Raw, where a much bigger audience than WrestleMania is watching, was even better.  Pitting Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter against Alberto Del Rio in a Handicap Match, it seemed like the opportune time for the Show-off to cash in the briefcase.  Jack worked over Del Rio’s ankle before Alberto hooked in the Cross Arm Breaker to win the match.  Immediately following the Handicap Match, Ziggler would make his entrance to the cheers of the crowd and many fans sitting at home.  It was a short match that saw Dolph and Del Rio go back-and-forth.  There was one point where Del Rio hooked Ziggler in the Cross Arm Breaker that made this writer yell at the top of his lungs, “Don’t you dare tap, Dolph!”  Ziggler escaped the hold by twisting Del Rio’s injured ankle, which set up Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag for the win.  The crowd at the Izod Center exploded in cheers while this writer jumped out of his seat in pure excitement.  It was easily one of the best Money in the Bank cash-ins in WWE history.  In the span of two minutes, the emotions everybody watching this match went from excitement to frustration to ultimately happiness.  It was emotionally draining to say the least, but the best moments in professional wrestling are.  This cash-in was the defining moment of Dolph Ziggler's career and the moment many, including yours truly, believed Dolph had truly received the main event push he has deserved for so long.  Sadly, all great moments have to come to an end.

The Double Turn
A double turn is an extremely rare occurrence in professional wrestling due to the high level of difficulty to correctly pull off.  A successful double turn has a crowd immediately flip their allegiance between the two wrestlers in the match, while an unsuccessful double turn leaves everybody in a state of confusion.  The most successful double turn in wrestling history happened at WrestleMania 13 when Bret Hart would not relinquish the Sharpshooter he had locked on an unconscious Stone Cold Steve Austin.  The most successful double turn in recent memory occurred at WWE's first Payback PPV this past year in Chicago during Dolph Ziggler's first World Title defense against Alberto Del Rio.  Ziggler had been out of action with a concussion caused by a stiff kick from Jack Swagger.  Dolph was still suffering from the lingering effects of this concussion so Del Rio targeted the World Champion's head.  Throughout the match, Del Rio would relentlessly attack Ziggler with kicks to the head.  Ziggler tried to fight through Del Rio's debilitating punishment, but to no avail.  Despite Ziggler's heroic effort, the Show-off fell to the villainous assault of Alberto Del Rio.  Del Rio may have left Payback with the World Heavyweight Championship around his waist, but to the fans all around the world Dolph Ziggler was the real winner.  While Ziggler's title run was cut short, wrestling history was made on Father's Day in Chicago.

The World's Strongest Double Cross
News came the Monday following Payback that Mark Henry would be retiring from the squared-circle.  Henry’s hiatus from the ring during the Spring of 2013 to rest from injuries was sign enough that the World’s Strongest Man would hang up his boots.  Speaking of boots, Henry even placed his boots at the top of the stage during that edition of Monday Night Raw and came out in a bright pink blazer to give his retirement speech.  Henry’s speech induced tears, smiles and even chants as he had the audience wrapped around his finger.  John Cena, who Henry interrupted, came in to give Mark some time with the WWE Championship, a title that Henry has never held according to JBL’s commentary.  It would have been a sweet end for Mark Henry’s career, but the World’s Strongest Man does not go out with a whimper, the World’s Strongest Man goes out with a bang.  Mark Henry drew John Cena in for one last handshake and hit the World’s Strongest Slam instead.  Once Cena plummeted to the mat, the realization hit that Mark Henry was not retiring.  It was all a ploy to lure in the WWE Champion and what a great ploy it was.  In one fell swoop, WWE Creative built a credible threat to John Cena’s WWE Championship and made Mark Henry a devious heel that will sink to the lowest of lows to get his way.  Truly one of the highlights of an incredible summer for the WWE.

The Rise of the American Dragon
After the phenomenal year that Daniel Bryan had in 2012, there was no doubt that the American Dragon would be a bona-fide main eventer someday.  Bryan may not have the unrealistic build that WWE executives love, but he has something even more important-- the unanimous support of the WWE Universe.  Ever since Daniel Bryan turned face as a part of Team Hell No, the fans have flocked to him.  Just listen to the huge pop Bryan gets when he explodes into his signature offensive flurry of kicks and running clotheslines.  Just like in 2012, Daniel Bryan was the most popular superstar in 2013, even winning Superstar of the Year.  Despite being held down by Triple H and WWE Creative, Daniel Bryan won the WWE Championship not once but twice.  2013 was no doubt Daniel Bryan's year.  Bryan consistently put on quality matches no matter his position on the card, made major improvements in his promo delivery and continually received the loudest reactions of anyone on the WWE roster.  While WWE tirelessly tries to push big muscular men such as John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar and Batista, Daniel Bryan showed this past year that small athletic men are just as or even more entertaining to watch than the stereotypical muscular body that dominates professional wrestling.

CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar
Sitting in a theatre of thirty people, this writer laid witness to the Match of the Year, the Best vs. the Beast, CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar.  The build for this match was nuclear from the very moment Brock Lesnar hit the F5 on CM Punk on the Raw following Payback.  In all honesty, I was ready to pay money to watch these two duke it out from that very moment.  As time moved closer to their meeting at Summerslam, this feud just kept on getting better and better.  The verbal duels between Punk and Heyman and the physical brawls between Punk and Lesnar were both sights to behold, but those appetizers could not hold a candle to the main course.  From the opening bell to the finishing splat of Punk's head being F5ed onto a steel chair, Punk vs. Lesnar was both physically and mentally exhausting.  Even though the major difference in size between Punk and Lesnar, the match was incredibly even.  The match could have gone either way as both men hit each other with their most devastating moves.  One of the most intense moments in the entire match came when Punk finally struck Lesnar with the GTS.  I vividly remember everyone in the theatre erupting from their seats once Punk hit the move, counting along with the referee's count and simultaneously crying out in shock when Lesnar kicked out.  CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar was the first match since CM Punk vs. John Cena from Money in the Bank 2011 to get this writer so passionately engrossed in the action happening in the ring.  For that reason, CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar is the Match of 2013.

The Brothers Rhodes
Fall was not so kind to the WWE.  The high that the hot summer months brought slowly but surely dwindled under a slew of missed opportunities.  While the fall was a long slog, there was one thing that made the slog bearable.  That thing was the formation of a tag team between the Rhodes Brothers, Cody Rhodes and Goldust.  The sons of the great Dusty Rhodes first joined forces to fight the Authority for their jobs after Triple H wrongly fired Cody Rhodes for losing a match to Randy Orton.  This feud led to an emotionally charged tag team match against the Shield at Battleground.  With the jobs of the entire Rhodes Family on the line, Cody and Goldust with some help from their father defeated the Hounds of Justice to regain their jobs in the WWE.  The good fortunes of Cody and Goldust did not end at Battleground as the brothers would defeat the Shield for the WWE Tag Team Titles in an incredible tag team main event a week later on Raw.  As Tag Team Champions, Cody Rhodes and Goldust have rejuvenated the WWE's Tag Team Division.  While other divisions in the WWE left a lot to be desired during the last half of 2013, the Tag Team Division was stealing the show.  Be it Raw, Smackdown or the monthly PPV, the tag team matches have consistently been the best part of WWE programming.  Speaking of rejuvenation, this Tag Team Title push has rejuvenated the careers of both Cody Rhodes and Goldust.  Cody has been stuck in the lower mid card limbo since losing the Intercontinental Championship back in 2012.  This push has highly improved Cody's status in the eyes of the WWE Universe and WWE Creative.  On the other hand, this push has given Goldust one final chance to prove to the wrestling world how great a wrestler he is.  Over the past five months, Goldust has made the best of this opportunity and has been the most impressive veteran wrestler on the WWE roster.  As we move into 2014, it will be interesting to see if the spike in quality brought on by the Rhodes Brothers will continue.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Straight to Hell... in a Cell: Preview of WWE Hell in a Cell 2013

Ever since Triple H pedigreed Daniel Bryan and handed Randy Orton the WWE Championship at Summerslam, we were firmly placed upon this road straight to Hell in a Cell.  The journey has had its peaks and valleys, but it has all led to this one climactic match-- Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton in Hell in a Cell.  The result of this one match will heavily influence the Authority storyline from this point forward as well as the directions for Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Big Show and Triple H leading to WrestleMania XXX.

Considering how Battleground felt less like a PPV and more like an episode of Raw, the storylines surrounding Hell in a Cell have been cooking for well over a month now.  Even though there are only five matches announced for this show, Hell in a Cell hits all the major feuds taking place in the WWE right now.  Creative will definitely add a match and/or segment to pad out time for the PPV and create buffers between big matches as it is very rare to see a five match card from WWE nowadays.  Personally, I cannot fully articulate my feelings about this PPV.  I am cautiously optimistic as Hell in a Cell feels like the climax of many ongoing storylines.  At the same time due to this PPV being such a pivot point in all these feuds, this writer is worried that WWE in their infinite wisdom will find a way to screw it up.  It is a very interesting predicament as in actuality Hell in a Cell can either make or break the rest of the year for WWE. 

Cody Rhodes & Goldust (c) vs. The Shield vs. The Usos in a Triple Threat Tag Team Match for WWE Tag Team Championship

The trials and tribulations of the Rhodes Family has been the most enthralling program in WWE today.  WWE has legitimately made the audience care so much for Cody and Goldust that they were able to take the tag titles from the Shield, something this writer did not think we would see for a long while.  While this writer does not want to get hopes up for the resurrection of WWE's Tag Team division, putting the Rhodes Brothers as the champions of this division seems to have given the tag team division a much needed shot of adrenaline.  Quality tag team matches have been main eventing Raw for the last two weeks and there are a good number of heel tag teams to challenge for the titles (The Shield, Wyatt Family and Real Americans to name a few).  If there is more variety needed, WWE can easily bring a few tag teams up from NXT to fill the void such as Kidd & Gabriel and the Ascension.  This Triple Threat Tag Team Match can be the first step in putting the spotlight firmly on tag teams once again as it could easily steal the show.  WWE needs to figure out fast that this push cannot be sporadic.  It has to be a major focus of WWE programming going forward in order for this push to truly work.

Prediction:  Cody Rhodes & Goldust retain

AJ Lee (c) vs. Brie Bella for the Diva's Championship

No matter how hard WWE tries the Bellas will not magically garner support when there has been no official face turn on WWE programming whatsoever.  Other than comfort Daniel Bryan after beatings, they have done nothing to categorize them as face.  Handing the Diva's Title over to Brie will not automatically correct the crowd's view of the Bellas either.  Just get us out of this lame program and move AJ and the Diva's Title onto something worthwhile.

Prediction:  AJ Lee retains

CM Punk vs. Ryback & Paul Heyman in a Hell in a Cell Match

While this writer does love both CM Punk and Paul Heyman, this feud has gone on long enough.  One can only go so long seeing Punk almost get his hands on Heyman just to be cut off by Curtis Axel or Ryback at the last minute.  At first, it was entertaining; now it is boring.  It is time for Punk to get his revenge on Heyman and move onto the WWE Championship.  Considering this is a handicap match taking place in the confines of Hell in a Cell, do not expect a spectacular wrestling showcase.  This match will be a brutal manhandling of both Ryback and Heyman and nothing more.

Prediction:  CM Punk wins

Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. John Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship

When John Cena announced he needed to take time off for surgery, nobody expected him back before Royal Rumble.  Correction, nobody wanted him back before Royal Rumble.  It is not very often that wrestling fans get a reprieve from John Cena's endlessly tiresome antics that when it does happen, we cherish it.  John Cena may be able to compete, but just two months after leaving for surgery seems too soon to risk possible re-injury of WWE's top star.  While Raw ratings might be down, there is no need for WWE to bring back John Cena to be an unnecessary addition to storylines already in motion.  Also the incredible lack of hype for the announcement of Cena's return makes this entire situation seem very shortsighted on WWE's end.  Placing Alberto Del Rio in the middle of this return is just a waste for the World Heavyweight Champion, which should be taking on actual contenders instead of being fed to the wolves.  Maybe Cena's pairing with Del Rio at Hell in a Cell will introduce a new storyline about Cena returning to action too soon as his elbow has not properly healed yet.  One can dream.

Prediction:  Alberto Del Rio retains

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for the vacant WWE Championship in a Hell in a Cell Match with Shawn Michaels as the Special Guest Referee

If there is one match to watch this Sunday, it is Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan in Hell in a Cell.  The ultimate showdown between Bryan and Orton has been building for two months and it is finally time to close the curtain on this chapter in their rivalry.  Although the intensity of this feud has not built to the point that Hell in a Cell is particularly needed in this writer's opinion, the Cell adds a sense of finality to the match.  Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton are trapped in an impenetrable cage with any sort of weapon at their disposal.  If you thought their No Disqualification match from Raw a few months back was brutal, expect this Hell in a Cell match to turn the brutality up to eleven.  Two men will enter the Cell, but only one will emerge with the WWE Championship around their waist.  Do not forget that Shawn Michaels is officiating this match and has a history with both men.  The Heartbreak Kid will definitely be a factor in the finish for this match.  While Michaels trained Bryan, there is a possibility for HBK to turn on his pupil as Triple H hinted at on Monday with his comment that HBK will do what is "best for business".  Big Show may also play a factor in the result of this match for better or worse.  Nonetheless, this match has high expectations to live up to.  Hopefully, WWE can pull it off and successfully start a new chapter of the Authority storyline.

Prediction:  Randy Orton wins the WWE Championship

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Frontline of the WWE: Preview of WWE Battleground 2013

It seems that WWE never learns.  One pay-per view a month is plenty.  Adding these unnecessary PPVs in no way helps the product; in fact, it dilutes the product because you break the focus from building entertaining and engrossing storylines to promote a PPV that does not seem anywhere close to important.  Especially with Hell in a Cell set for later this month, WWE's newest PPV Battleground feels like a generic throwaway PPV.  Personally, this writer never hopes for any show to be a throwaway, but that is the nature of things.  When establishing a new PPV, WWE needs to really make a strong first impression or risk going the ways of December to Dismember, Breaking Point or Capitol Punishment.  There are some interesting storylines heading into Battleground; the one caveat being that Battleground feels more in lines with a big episode of Raw than a major PPV event as it is stuck in the middle of two pivotal PPVs (Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell).  Well the wait will not be that long to see if this new PPV sinks or swims as Battleground originates from the First Niagara Center in Buffalo this Sunday evening.

Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt

Bray Wyatt has not had much to do since WWE Creative wrote Kane off of TV at Summerslam.  Given the incredibly unique talent of the Wyatt Family, this writer would have thought WWE would spring at the opportunity to put together a little feud to keep them busy for the time being.  No, all viewers got were more cryptic messages and squash matches.  It seems WWE is stalling until they decide to bring Kane back into the fray.  Speaking of the Big Red Monster, this match would be an excellent opportunity to bring Kane back into his feud with Bray Wyatt in some capacity.  Be it an opponent or follower, Kane is desperately needed to give the Wyatt Family some much needed direction.

Prediction:  Bray Wyatt wins

Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Shield

The feud between the Corporation and the Rhodes Family has been the most entertaining television on any current WWE programming.  All starting with Triple H prematurely firing Cody Rhodes for losing a match to Randy Orton, this feud has slowly escalated over the past month to involve the entire Rhodes Family (Cody, Goldust and Dusty).  In a last ditch effort to eradicate the Rhodes threat, Triple H gave them a proposition they could not refuse-- beat The Shield and Cody and Goldust get their jobs back, lose and the entire Rhodes Family is banned from the WWE.  These huge stakes along with the great set-up make this match worth paying attention to this Sunday.  With the right intensity, environment and direction, this simple tag team match could steal the show.

Prediction:  Cody Rhodes & Goldust win

AJ Lee (c) vs. Brie Bella for the Diva's Championship

Well, it was wishful thinking that mixing the Diva's Title scene with the cast of Total Divas was just a one shot deal.  WWE is back at it again this month.  Now WWE will be cycling through the cast to individually challenge AJ.  Outside of Natalya, this writer does not see any of the other divas taking the title away from WWE's resident crazy chick.

Prediction:  AJ Lee retains

Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Rob Van Dam in a Battleground Hardcore Match for the World Heavyweight Championship

With such a short period between Night of Champions and Battleground, it would not have been the best choice to build up a brand new challenger for Alberto Del Rio.  The easiest and smartest choice was to continue this decent feud with Rob Van Dam and Ricardo Rodriguez especially after the disqualification ending to their match at Night of Champions.  Given RVD's history of excellent hardcore matches and Del Rio's developing mean streak, this match should be an exciting bout to say the least.  With RVD set to be taking a break after Battleground, this writer has a feeling Rodriguez will once again be joining forces with Alberto Del Rio.

Prediction:  Alberto Del Rio retains

Curtis Axel (c) vs. R-Truth for the Intercontinental Championship

It really is hard to preview this match as there is absolutely no story or real significance for it.  R-Truth beat Curtis Axel in a non-title match on Raw so guess that win warrants him a title opportunity.  The only purpose for this match serves is being the buffer between the bigger matches on the card.  Being the buffer is just what this match is going to be as it should be an average bout at best.

Prediction:  Curtis Axel retains

CM Punk vs. Ryback

Placing Ryback into the hands of Paul Heyman was ingenious.  There was no real direction for his character other than the obligatory Ryback bullying segment that appeared on every episode of Raw and Smackdown for the past few months.  After Curtis Axel and Brock Lesnar, it was hard to think of somebody to keep CM Punk busy with Paul Heyman.  Ryback fits the bill perfectly as there is history and chemistry between the two and he has nothing else to do.  As it is only the first match between Punk and Ryback, expect the newest Paul Heyman guy to get the win in some underhanded way.  Heyman needs to keep winning in order for this feud to continue.  If Punk wins, he can finally exact his revenge against Heyman thus end of story and end of keeping Punk away for the WWE Title picture.

Prediction:  Ryback wins

Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton for the vacant WWE Championship

Speaking of the WWE Title picture, it has been an interesting three weeks.  At Night of Champions, Daniel Bryan reclaimed the WWE Championship from Randy Orton, but things were not right in the world.  When Scott Armstrong went to count the winning pinfall, he made an obviously quick count.  This fast count was used by Triple H to strip Daniel Bryan of the WWE Championship the next night on Raw.  While it was obvious Triple H orchestrated the entire fast count fiasco, you do have to applaud WWE for thinking of a neat way to extend this feud between Bryan and Orton without damaging the standing of either superstar.  The Corporation storyline has made considerable strides in making the faces look on even footing with the heels, but all paths lead to a climactic multi-man match at Survivor Series.  In order to get to that climax, there needs to be some adversity for the new leader of the locker room, Daniel Bryan.  In some way, shape or form, Randy Orton has to leave Battleground as WWE Champion to keep this major storyline on course for Survivor Series.

Prediction:  Randy Orton wins the WWE Championship