Rousey one month later: I’m in

Ronda Rousey “shocked” the world at Royal Rumble, showing up and sending a message to the entire WWE roster.

It’s now been just over one month since Rousey made her official debut. After a rocky start I was very skeptical. But I’m relieved to say this build to WrestleMania has turned me into a believer.

I was worried she would be booked as another heel but it appears she is being pushed as a mega face and it will only be a matter of time before fans are 100% behind her.

Each week she’s getting better with her promos. She sells her facial expressions better than anyone. All that’s left is her in ring work.

Rousey hit Stephanie McMahon with a Samoan Drop in the opening segment of Monday Night Raw this week. It looked a bit stiff but that’s just me finding things to nit-pick at.

It’s only been a few weeks and she’s gone from boos to cheers. Putting her up against Steph was brilliant and a great way to launch her WWE career.

Uncertain Cena is fun Cena

John Cena came out Monday night and did exactly what everyone predicted — call out The Undertaker.

Cena Sunday night was very down on himself, a sight the WWE Universe is not familiar with. And that’s good. After losing the Elimination Chamber match, Cena said he did not have a Wrestlemania match.

On Monday, Cena swerved everyone. He challenged Undertaker to a match on the grandest stage of them all. But then said that wasn’t possible.

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.


Reigns fires the first shots

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.

Elimination Chamber predictions

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 (W) 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 (W) 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 (W) 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 (W) 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 (W) 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.

Raw 7/10: Five Takeaways

Monday Night Raw came to us live from Houston, Texas on July 10. Here are the major takeaways:

  1. The fireworks didn’t stop after Great Balls of Fire. Samoa Joe and Bock Lesnar are set in delivering one of the best feuds of the year. The intensity Joe brings is unrivaled. But bring in Roman Reigns this week to claim he is next in line for a title shot. All thee men stood in the ring together and Reigns looked like the weakest link. Joe looks determined to take down the beast, while Roman appears to just be there because it’s “his yard”. Paul Heyman said Joe will not get another title shot, but Kurt Angle has set up a number contender match next week between Reigns and Joe. Right now, Joe has all the momentum and it’s his title shot to lose. I can’t imagine WWE wants to pull the plug on this rivalry between Lesnar and Joe with how successful it has been and people are drooling for more. I see Braun Strowman returning next week and getting involved in some manner, possibly setting up a triple threat number on contender match or a Fatal-4-way for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam.
  2. I was shocked that Big Cass beat Enzo Amore clean at Great Balls of Fire because it seemed like a match at SummerSlam in Brooklyn was a for sure money maker. But now, Cass has Big Show to deal with. The two giants had a good little exchange in the ring with Cass backing down as a heel should. It looks like we will get these two at SummerSlam where Cass should go over and launch him into program for his first singles title.
  3. The Hardy’s are about 90% broken. Matt and Jeff were given a mic and although it was quick, their short promo did not disappoint those hoping to see the broken personas arrive in WWE. Team Extreme lost to Gallows and Anderson, giving the Club a solid win to build upon, and then The Revival came out to attack the Hardy’s. A Revival versus Hardy’s match in Brooklyn is a dream. But with Enzo & Cass split up, and the Golden Truth split up, the Hardy’s are really the only baby face team on Raw right now, so I’m not sure what that means for The Club moving forward.
  4. The Miz and Dean Ambrose apparently still have not settled their feud. But now WWE is teasing a Seth Rollins and Ambrose rivalry or possible tag team/Shield reunion. Miz was attacked during his MIZ TV segment, and then he attacked Seth Rollins in the main event against Bray Wyatt. Dean eventually came to Rollins’ aid, likely setting up Rollins & Ambrose versus Miz and Wyatt. And that hopefully gets us one step closer to Wyatt and Miztourage member Bo Dallas teaming up. That won’t happen for awhile, but I can’t see WWE going forward with another Miz and Ambrose Intercontinental title match.
  5. Kurt Angle closed the show backstage on the phone where he told someone to come out with him next week when they will announce whatever Corey Graves has been teasing for weeks. Kurt is worried the announcement could ruin his career. His phone call ended with “I love you.” That makes things even more interesting. I think a Stephanie McMahon return is imminent next week and possibly Triple H also. Rumors are swirling that we could see The Game versus Kurt Angle at SummerSlam.

Great Balls of Fire predictions

For the first time, WWE presents Great Balls of Fire this Sunday from Dallas, Texas. The name of the event drew all kinds of criticism for great reason, but after weeks of build, this is shaping up to be a solid show. If it fails, at least the graphics package is pretty sweet.

Let’s get to the predictions:

Brock Lesnar (W) vs. Samoa Joe (L) Universal Championship: This match has the few of a true main event. The Beast and the Destroyer go face to face after weeks of intense exchanges on Monday Night Raw. While Joe has definitely proven he is Universal Championship material, this is not his moment. The past few weeks building this match has been his moment. For the casual wrestling fan, Samoa Joe has arrived and shown why is a true badass. Lesnar needs to make Joe look strong this match, but squeak by with a win. This program has been a success on all levels and WWE did exactly what it needed to do with Joe. Now he can be looked at as a legitimate threat once Roman Reigns claims the title.

Roman Reigns (W) vs. Braun Strowman (L): This one is tough to call, but at the same time seems obvious. The Big Dog has already claimed he is next in line for a title shot. Therefore, he should win this match to setup his next feud with Brock Lesnar. I don’t think a loss here for Strowman hurts him that much. He is coming off injury and he won’t be pinned in this match. These guys will leave it all out there and that will keep Strowman from losing any momentum.

The Miz (W) vs. Dean Ambrose (L) Intercontinental Championship: For what seems like the 100th match between these two in the past year, it’s time for them to move on from each other. The Miz is a great champion and makes the belt feel important. Plus, he has a new “Miztourage” to help him ringside. Ambrose should lose due to shenanigans and then begin feuding with Bo Dallas, one of the Miztourage members, so Bo can be built up before joining Bray Wyatt.

Alexa Bliss (W) vs. Sasha Banks (L) Raw Women’s Championship: It hurts me to admit, but it feels like Alexa Bliss has lost some of that momentum she brought with her to Raw. She was one of the most over superstars when she arrived on the red brand but her feud with Bayley seemed to slow her down, mainly because of the hugger and terrible creative storytelling. I don’t really feel the heat between Bliss and Banks yet. That’s why I think Bliss wins tonight with the help of Nia Jax before losing in a SummerSlam rematch.

Cesaro & Sheamus (W) vs. Team Extreme (L) Raw Tag Team Championship: This could be match of the night. An iron man match between these two should be brutal but I hate seeing a championship hot potato. Cesaro & Sheamus are one of the best teams in the business right now and need to hold that belt to prove it. The Hardy’s do not need the championship to get over. There are also those rumors that a deal with Anthem is close that would allow Matt and Jeff to use their “broken” gimmicks in WWE. That’s when the Hardy’s should get their next big push. But after tonight, how great would a feud between the Hardy’s and The Revival be for SummerSlam?

Seth Rollins (W) vs. Bray Wyatt (L): This seems like it’s a match because we have nothing else at the moment for these two. But with Seth on the cover of 2K18, I think he is the next major push this year. WWE does not have many truly over baby faces right now, but Rollins could be that guy. He needs to keep winning and this match is a great starting point to begin building his Wrestlemania resume. I think Bray can afford to lose again because I do see a future where he tags with Bo Dallas in the near future or takes down Miz for the IC title.

Enzo Amore (W) vs. Big Cass (L): Enzo gets the win here but only because he is going to get a beating like he’s never experienced. I think Cass beats him to a pulp and is DQ’d or counted out. this feud wraps up at SummerSlam with Cass going over and beginning his run toward the top of the card. Enzo has shown he is one of the best on the mic, and this is a big chance for him to prove he can also be competent as a singles performer in the ring.

Neville (W) vs. Akira Tozawa (L) Cruiserweight Championship: This is the first time since Neville won the purple strap that I could care less. If Aries, one of the few cruiserweights who was actually over with the crowd, could not defeat the king in three attempts, then there is no way Tozawa should be that guy to take down Neville. I like the whole “Titus Brand” thing that he’s got going for him, but Neville is one of the best both in the ring and on the mic right now.



Raw 7/03: Joe and Lesnar are for real

Seriously, every week since Samoa Joe became number one contender, he has hit his promos out of the ball park.

Again, Joe ramped up the intensity this Monday bringing the fight to Brock Lesnar. During a satellite interview, Joe stormed off to find Lesnar, only to be held back by security when he finally found the beast.

Let’s also give some credit here to Lesnar, who actually talked for himself and didn’t rely on Heyman to do all of his talking. It was exciting to watch, and made me even more invested in the match this weekend at Great Balls of Fire.

It’s clear the Lesnar truly cares and for this reason alone, this weekend should be fun. The WWE Universe misses the Universal belt on weekly episodes and it’s possible WWE changes up some plans to get that red strap back on Raw sooner rather than later.

When this match was first set up, I thought there was no chance Samoa Joe could walk away winner. While I still don’t think he does, there is definitely a chance.

Best of the Rest:

Enzo Amore also cut the promo of his life. After Big Cass turned on him, Enzo has been made this break up feel authentic. Not many guys have that skill on the mic. I’m still skeptical about his future as a solo star, but his mic work alone might be able to pull him along.

As for Cass, I think he has a bright future ahead. I can see him being one of Vince McMahon’s favorites, considering he is 7-foot-tall. Once these two wrap up this feud, I see Cass launching into a program involving the Intercontinental Championship.

Speaking of the IC title, The Miz continues to prove why he is one of the greatest champions of all time. He and Maryse killed it Monday in their all white gear. And what a pleasant surprise seeing Miz take on Heath Slater. It feels like he has been wrestling Dean Ambrose for more than a year now and any change at this point is good change.

And saving possibly the best for last. Braun Strowman made another statement Monday. But this week’s rampage not only boosted him as the monster among men, it also helped build Apollo Crews, or maybe more importantly, the Titus Brand.

While Crews became just another victim of Braun’s, he also gained some much-needed attention in this main event. Titus is the best thing to happen to Crews since he was called up to the main roster. It finally feels like he has a character. Combine that with a very talented wrestler, and Crews has some potential.

As for Strowman, who was speared off the entrance ramp and through a table by Roman Reigns to close out the show, the build to their Great Balls of Fire match this weekend has been intriguing. Both superstars have looked strong, but if Reigns is the next opponent for Lesnar, than he has to walk away winner Sunday, leaving Strowman in an odd situation.