Let me start this by saying I completely understand the backlash WWE would receive from a large percentage of fans if John Cena won the WWE Championship Sunday at Fastlane. But let me explain why it could work.
I’m on the side that believes Cena will win his record breaking 17th championship. But for him to win this and not get booed out of the building – it needs to happen soon. As he slowly transitions into a part time superstar, fans will not be willing to accept a 17th title win later down the road.
So Cena wins Sunday. Now you have to choices here. Make the WrestleMania match with Shinsuke Nakamura a triple threat and add Styles to it. Or you move Styles to quick US title program to face Orton or Roode at Mania. The latter is the way to go.
Nakamura has not been built to be a serious WWE Champion powerhouse. And I worry that some fans would boo him if he beat Styles at Mania. But if he beat Cena for the Championship he would receive a major ovation.
Then Cena can disappear and do whatever he has next on his busy schedule and we slide Styles back into that WWE Championship picture with Nakamura for the next PPV or build it up for SummerSlam.
Yes, fans would be furious that WWE is taking away Styles versus Nakamura but that doesn’t mean we will never get that inside a WWE ring.
It’s still not clear what Cena will be doing at Mania but we should learn more Tuesday on Smackdown Live.
Cena is now showing a different side of his character. He’s beginning to transition into a part timer leaving him in a weird middle ground right now without any real direction. And that’s exciting. The opportunities are endless. And just because Cena said a match against the Undertaker is impossible, I still wouldn’t count it out. The Deadman could walk out tomorrow night and stun fans.
While not being able to predict what will happen is always fun, it can also be scary. If they add Cena to the A.J. Styles versus Shinsuke Nakamura title match then things could turn ugly and you might see and hear some backlash. Hopefully that’s not the case and Cena has something fun up his sleeves.
Roman Reigns set the table Monday for Wrestlemania 34’s main event that will pit Reigns against Universal Champion Brock Lesnar for the red strap.
The Big Dog cut a solo promo calling out Brock Lesnar for not showing up. He said it wasn’t scripted. I’m not here to debate that. But what I will say is I’m at least no longer 100% against this match.
In my opinion this was one of Reigns’ stronger promos. He did what he needed to do. Reigns is the guy who puts in the work each and every night while Lesnar shows up occasionally and is often viewed as a superstar just mailing it in.
Reigns also pointed out the picture going around of Lesnar and UFC’s Dana White. As much as I do not want to see this match, I am now more open than ever to see how these guys build toward it.
We will see how Lesnar responds in the weeks moving forward.
For the first time ever, seven men will step in the unforgiving Elimination Chamber this weekend. The stakes are high as the winner will go on to face Brock Lesnar in what will likely be the main event at WrestleMania.
Following a memorable gauntlet match on Monday Night Raw that included all seven competitors in Sunday’s match, the hype is real. Too bad this pay-per-view still feels very predictable. So let’s get into the predictions.
Asuka vs. Nia Jax (L): If there’s any match that’s more of a lock than the men’s chamber it has to be this one. There’s no way Asuka takes a pin here. The Empress of Tomorrow has an incredible undefeated streak and this match is just a stepping stone for her toward her WrestleMania match. With that said, Nia has to look strong here. I think she is still in line to face Alexa Bliss at Mania so this will be an important test for her. If Asuka can lock in the Asuka Lock and make Nia pass out without tapping after a hard fought battle then both sides will look good.
Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy (L): This feud seems to be going nowhere anytime soon. At least a loss for Matt Hardy only feeds his current “woken” character and we are hopefully building toward a final deletion at WrestleMania. With Bray winning, I can see this feud wrapping up at Mania. A Hardy win Sunday and I’m not sure where we go unless it’s not a clean finish.
The Bar vs. Titus Worldwide (L) Raw Tag Team Championship: The Bar just reclaimed the titles at the Rumble. And here’s no way anyone backstage is ready to put the strap on the Titus Brand. Plus, who is the baby face here? I understand Apollo is supposed to be but does he actually have any fan support? This is just a bridge until we get The Good Brothers or Revival in the mix.
Alexa Bliss vs. Mickie James (L) vs. Sasha Banks (L) vs. Bayley (L) vs. Mandy Rose (L) vs. Sonya Deville (L) Raw Women’s Championship: It feels as if Bliss has had nothing to do for months. I’m surprised she’s even in this match. But as mentioned earlier, I still think we are building toward Nia Jax versus Alexa Bliss at Mania. I think Sasha is the only other woman who makes sense here but this could be a great spot to pull the trigger on a Bayley and Sasha feud for New Orleans. Another thing to watch here is the Mickie/Alexa dynamic. The two have had some moments lately that were clearly booked with a purpose.
Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor (L) vs. Braun Strowman (L) vs. Elias (L) vs. Seth Rollins (L) vs. John Cena (L) vs. The Miz (L) Number One Contender Match: Since the Raw after Mania last year we have been building toward Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar at WM 34. And it’s been clear that nothing, no matter what, will stop that from happening. Seth Rollins’ historic performance Monday set him up to be next in line for the Universal Championship after Roman wins. This match will be perfect for setting up other potential Mania matches like Cena versus Elias and Braun versus The Miz.
WWE Battleground comes to us from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Sunday. It is the final PPV before a highly anticipated SummerSlam in August.
Let’s get to the predictions:
Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton WWE Championship: The Punjabi Prison makes its return one more time and hopefully brings this feud to an end. The Singh Brothers did not exactly do the best job explaining how this match will work but we are used to that at this point. It’s time for both of these men to move on. The Modern Day Maharaja is giving 110 percent each week, but it’s just not good enough. While I think Mahal loses the belt at SummerSlam, it will not be to Orton. Mahal picks up with win thanks to help from the Bollywood Boyz.
A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens United States Championship: I love what Owens is doing off air. He has blacked out his social media until he reclaims the Championship he believes is rightfully his. It’s great stuff. But I don’t see another title change so soon after Styles just won. The Phenomenal One also just started the “open challenge” so it seems silly to move on already, but who knows, considering I said the same once the “New Face of America” gimmick began and Owens dropped the title right away. Styles wins clean with a Phenomenal forearm.
John Cena vs. Rusev: If we are building toward another WWE Championship for John Cena, he can’t lose here. Rusev can lose and still look strong considering this is a flag match and neither man will have to be pinned. Hopefully this match will unleash the Bulgarian Brute and force him to wreak havoc on the Smackdown roster. Cena wins and then gets a beating from Rusev.
The Usos vs. New Day Smackdown Tag Team Championship: This has potential to be the show stealer. Both teams can work and have proven they have great chemistry in the ring and on the mic. The Usos are one of the hottest acts on the blue brand right now. I think New Day will be the team to win the straps from them, but it’s not the right time.
Lana vs. Charlotte vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Becky Lynch: It’s time to put the belt back on a heel and I think we are building toward a Lana championship run with the help of Tamina. They are already building the perfect heel story. Lana has lost several times to Naomi but it appears her and Tamina are starting to work together and I think she helps put Lana over this match and then will be the one to help the Ravishing Russian claim the gold at SummerSlam.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin: Corbin is Mr. Money in the Bank. He does not need to win another match until he cashes in. Nakamura still has not been able to show what he can do. This is a great opportunity for him to embrace the strong style and take down a giant. I think Nakamura wins clean in a tough fought battle so he can then set his sights on Mahal or Styles for SummerSlam.
Mike Kanellis vs. Sami Zayn: Kanellis just had his first match on Smackdown since debuting at Money in the Bank. He defeated Zayn thanks to his wife Maria. That’s what should happen again. Zayn loses matches. That’s what he does. And when you can add shenanigans thanks to Maria, it doesn’t hurt anyone. Kanellis needs this win so people can believe in the true power of love.
John Cena makes a surprise appearance and no one cares about the WWE Championship.
Here are the major takeaways from Smackdown Live for July 11 in San Antonio, Texas:
A.J. Styles is bringing back to United States Championship open challenge. His first challenger this week was non other than the originator of the open challenge – John Cena. But of course we didn’t get this match for free, it led to a tag team match with Styles and Cena teaming up to take on Kevin Owens and Rusev. It’s incredible that these four men are all in a story that has nothing to do with the WWE Championship. Styles made it clear in his opening promo that he wants the U.S. title to feel just as big as any other championship. Any if you’ve been watching Smackdown since the superstar shakeup, it’s clear that’s what creative is going for. It wants two top level titles. The open challenge will hopefully be fun and a nice way to get some other competitors in the ring with Styles but if we are going to continue with Kevin Owens as the “New Face of America” it seems like it will still be Styles and Owens going at it at least for the near future.
Then it’s time to get the main event guys in the WWE Championship picture. Because it is getting extremely stale. Jinder Mahal defeated Tye Dillinger but I’m not sure what that proves. We have the WWE Champion fighting meaningless matches and cutting the same exact promo each week while all the top stars of Smackdown Live are off doing there own things. It’s time for Mahal and Orton to wrap up their feud at Battleground so everyone can move on.
Speaking of top stars – Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin decided tonight was not going to be the night we saw the two collide for the first time in singles action. Which is good. I was curious to see how this would be booked, and I think they did a great job. Nakamura did not give Corbin a chance to even get in the ring before he attacked him on the ramp. Officials came out to break the two apart with Nakamura returning to the ring where he challenged the Lone Wolf to get in the ring. Corbin decided to back down and head backstage. It seems likely that we will get Nakamura versus Corbin at Battleground which will be a crucial match for Shinsuke who has not really had the chance to show off what he can do on the main roster.
Tamina picked up another pinfall tonight in a tag match in which she teamed up with Natalya to take on Becky Lynch and Charlotte. Tamina has been booked strong and appears to have some sort of partnership building up with Lana. Despite the booking however, Tamina is falling flat with the live crowds. I’m not alone with saying I just do not care about her one bit and she has not given me a reason to care. She will be part of a number one contender match involving the other women on Smackdown at Battleground but I can only hope she helps Lana secure the victory.