Night of Champions 2015

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Night of Champions was an overall solid show, but could have been a lot more eventful if not for some peculiar booking.

Below are my feelings on each match and always remember, there are spoilers:

The Cosmic Wasteland vs. Neville/The Lucha Dragons – A solid pre-show match with a lot of high spots from the team of Neville and The Lucha Dragons that got the crowd excited. I am really enjoying the combo of Stardust and The Ascension. The Ascension were a great team during their NXT days and have been wasted on the main roster. Forming The Cosmic Wasteland with Stardust has been just the push they need and is a ridiculous gimmick that simply works and is a ton of fun. The Cosmic Wasteland won which was a smart move to keep this rivalry going which should be nothing but fun to watch develop.

Kevin Owens vs. Ryback for the Intercontinental Championship – The good thing about this match is Kevin Owens won the IC Title from Ryback. I loved Ryback as champion, but Owens has been in the middle of a big push and is extremely talented and will do a lot to elevate the importance of the belt as a great heel champ. What I did not like about this match was the basic nature of it. We did not see many of Owens amazing in-ring moves and the ending almost seemed to come of nowhere. The matched seemed oddly paced. I am hoping they have at least 1 re-match and the chance to put on a much better contest since I feel both men are solid performers.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev – First things first. I love Ziggler. He is one of my favorites and his entrance is my ringtone. He always puts on a great show and this match was no different. My issue is this rivalry has gone nowhere. They are both talented performers, but the booking team seems to have no clue what to do to really make this an interesting rivalry. Lana was a major part of it and I am sure her injury threw things off a bit, but the writers should be better skilled at working around obstacles since injuries are a typical part of professional wrestling. Ziggler won and I look forward to both men being put into different angles.

The Dudley Boyz vs. The New Day for the Tag Team Championship – The Dudley Boyz returning to the WWE after several years has been great for the WWE and the tag team division. They can still get a crowd going and put on terrific matches. The New Day are the hottest thing is wrestling right now. Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods are great wrestlers and amazing on the mic. They are talented athletically and funny as hell. This match should have been one of the top matches of the night. It was not. It seemed too short and oddly paced. The New Day held on to their titles which will lead to a re-match or two and hopefully, both teams will be given more time and the chance to put on more memorable contests which we know they are capable of.

Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship – In a future post I will discuss the Diva’s Revolution and the problems with it and why it may be turning around. In regards to this match, Charlotte winning the title was the smart move. Nikki put on a very traditional mat wrestling type of match which was interesting to see and came off well. My major issue is the WWE’s desire to make Charlotte look weak compared to the other women. She is very athletically gifted and an imposing person and has been involved in some of the best matches in the WWE (men included) while on the NXT roster this year. The booking team has her spend the majority of matches on the main roster selling everyone else. She should not steam roll everyone, but she should be made to look better and more imposing. She spent this match getting in way too little offense until the very end. Better booking and she could become one of the most popular wrestlers on the main roster.

The Wyatt Family vs. Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose/Chris Jericho – Terrific match and great story telling. Jericho was a huge surprise teammate of Reigns and Ambrose and got a huge pop from the crowd (and my household) when he came out. The match was solid with the Wyatt Family getting the big win. The big moment was at the end since Jericho’s surprise tag of Roman cost them the match. Reigns and Ambrose confronted Jericho in the ring after the match and he just gave them a nasty look and did the old ‘shoulder bump’ to Dean when he left the ring. The potential for an Ambrose/Jericho rivalry is very exciting and I hope it happens sooner rather than later.

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins for the United States Championship – Very good match. These two are at the top of their game and they always have a great match. Rollins and Cena are having amazing years and have both become so innovative with their in-ring performances that you never know what they are going to do next. Cena won the US Title and I cannot wait until the Cena Open Challenge starts back up.

Sting vs. Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship – With Sting having only his second match in the WWE I did not know what to expect in terms of the outcome. The majority of the match was solid until Sting got injured towards the end of the match. You could tell something was legitimately wrong with him and it was not part of the storyline when the medical team rushed in. After they cleared him to finish the match it came to a very quick and abrupt end with Rollins getting the pin. Hopefully, this will not be his last match in the WWE and he sounded in good spirits during interviews the past couple of days.

Overall, a solid show with some bizarre booking decisions and an unfortunate injury.

Looking forward to Hell in a Cell in October and what is being hyped as the final match between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker! Should be mind blowing!

Wrestlemania 29

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The 29th installment of Wrestlemania was a solid show with many highlights and was one of the very few I had not seen. It was held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ and was billed as a co-location event between New York and New Jersey. It was the fifth Wrestlemania held outdoors which added a Super Bowl-type atmosphere to the proceedings. WWE has held to this new tradition of holding the biggest wrestling event of the year in big stadiums and it really adds to the atmosphere.

The highlights of the night are as follows:

Randy Orton/Big Show/Sheamus vs. The Shield – This was the first Wrestlemania for all three members of The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns) and was a solid start to the show. The highlight of the match was when Rollins attempted a top rope maneuver and Randy Orton caught him with an RKO. The match ended with a spear from Reigns to Orton and the pinfall was secured by Ambrose. Great match and The Shield were very over with the crowd.

Mark Henry vs. Ryback – A little underwhelming since the match featured two big, slower guys and the crowd was not very interested in this match. It was not horrible, just kind of a throw away match. Henry secured the win after a failed Shell Shock attempt from Ryback.

Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler/Big E – A solid match that featured a very fun team in Daniel Bryan and Kane that I miss since they not only had solid matches, but their vignettes were hysterical with the two of them always being at odds. Ziggler and Big E (with AJ Lee in tow) were a very solid team as well. The match was fairly quick, but exciting with Team Hell No retaining their Tag Team Titles.

Fandango vs. Chris Jericho – This was Fandango’s debut match and the fact that it was against Jericho made it appear that Fandango was set for a big push. It was a fairly good match with Jericho having to carry the night since Fandango was more than a bit green. I could not help but feel that a debut match should not be held at the biggest event of the year. Not fair for a talent to have that kind of pressure put on them. Amazingly enough Fandango got the win, but surprisingly he was not really pushed that much after Wrestlemania. Seems a waste of such a notable victory.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger – This was was kind of an ironic match since both men are known to be very reckless in the ring and have both caused multiple real life injuries to their opponents. The match itself was fine with Alberto retaining his World Title, but I had one HUGE issue with the entire storyline, the racist aspect of it. During this time Swagger came out with Zeb Colter (formerly known as Dirty Dutch Mantel) with Zeb constantly attacking immigrants and mentioning how ‘those people’ should not be in our country. I have loved wrestling since I was a kid and even though I have seen my fair share of embarrassing moments on the screen most of it was fairly benign. This particular angle went too far in my opinion and with racism being a big issue in our country this was one area the WWE should have stayed out of. It got uncomfortable hearing the things that were spewing from Colter’s mouth and made the match less enjoyable.

The Undertaker vs. CM Punk -Once again, another great match from The Undertaker with CM Punk being that year’s victim of the streak. They both worked a solid, hard fought match with plenty of moments that made you think Punk could have been the one to end the streak. After a lot of back and forth The Undertaker hit Punk with a Tombstone Piledriver for the win.

Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar – This match was brutal with both men beating the hell out of each other. Triple H has always been and always will be a solid in-ring performer and he and Lesnar really worked well together with H Securing the victory via his patented Pedigree.

John Cena vs. The Rock – The big rematch from the previous year’s Wrestlemania. Both men had legitimate animosity towards each other and were able to channel that heat into an excellent match with plenty of action and false finishes. John Cena won the WWE Title with the AA and both men embraced after the end of the match showing true respect for each other.

Overall, a good show that was fun to watch for the first time even though I already knew the outcomes of some of the matches.

Next week I will be watching Wrestlemania 30 again and even though I already reviewed it last year, I am looking forward to a second viewing and seeing if my opinion has changed on any of the matches knowing some of the real life stories behind them, especially The Undertaker/Brock Lesnar match which I was not thrilled with a year ago.

Remember, you can watch all of these shows yourself and so much more by subscribing to the WWE Network for only $9.99 a month!

Wrestlemania 23 and 24

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Wrestlemania 23 was a good show, but not quite as memorable as the year before.

We got another entertaining MITB match with Mr. Kennedy defeating CM Punk, Randy Orton, Finlay, Matt Hardy, King Booker, Jeff Hardy, and Edge. All performers did a great job and filled the match with a lot of high spots.

The worst match was The Great Khali going over Kane. Khali is not a good performer and it always unfortunate when a top notch wrestler like Kane is stuck putting over someone with no talent.

The Undertaker beat Batista for the World Heavyweight Title in a great, well worked match. Both guys did a terrific job and the match was paced very well which is very important when putting together a good match.

The main event was John Cena beating Shawn Michaels via submission in a solid main event that really helped elevate Cena.

There were some good matches but overall, this was a fairly lackluster event.

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Wrestlemania 24 was a major improvement from the year’s previous show and was highlighted by another excellent MITB match, Edge vs. The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship, and Ric Flair’s retirement match.

 

The MITB ladder match between Chris Jericho, Mr. Kennedy, Carlito, M.V.P., CM Punk, Shelton Benjamin and John Morrison was incredible. Every performer put their all into the match with CM Punk winning the title shot. Morrison is an incredible athlete and did some crazy maneuvers and Shelton took some bumps that were the craziest ever seen.

The final match on the card featured The Undertaker defeating Edge for the title in a great match that showed Edge was truly a main event wrestler and could help carry the biggest show of the year.

The best bout on the card though was the career ending match between Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels. Shawn Michaels was amazing as always and Ric Flair proved he is the greatest professional wrestler of all time. What he did during this match at 60 years old is amazing and proved he is a legend. It was a very emotional match with an amazing amount of back and forth action with no dead spots and Michaels winning with a superkick to Ric Flair. Flair was very emotional at the end of the match and this bout was a great way to end his active wrestling career.

Well, this will be the last Wrestlemania review for the week since the 31st installment is only a few days away and I have run out of time! I will be watching Wrestlemania 31 specials Thursday and Friday night, followed by the Hall of Fame on Saturday and of course Wrestlemania 31 on Sunday!

I will let you know how it all turns out next week!

 

Wrestlemania’s 21 and 22

 

 

 

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Wrestlemania 21 was a terrific show from start to finish. When a show begins with a match featuring Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero (in what would be his last Wrestlemania before his untimely passing), which was simply amazing, you know it will be a good night for wrestling.

We also had the first Money in the Bank ladder match, which Edge won, which was an incredible match for something we were seeing for the first time. The other participants were Chris Jericho, Christian, Chris Benoit, Edge, Shelton Benjamin, and Kane who all did a great job with Shelton really standing out. He is an amazing athlete that I wish was still part of the WWE today.

Other notable matches were John Cena winning the WWE Title over JBL and Batista winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H. A nice passing of the torch from these two legends to the young guys who would become legends in their own rights.

The best match of the night was Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels. Holy s@$t was this a great match! Two of the best performers in the history of professional wrestling who had an amazing chenistry in the ring and turned in a classic. If you are a wrestling fan or wonder how could someone be a wrestling fan, then watch this match and you will understand.

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Wrestlemania 22 the following year was another great show.

Edge beat Mick Foley in a hardcore match which ended with a spectacular finish of Edge spearing Foley through a burning table. This is a match that is not for the faint of heart with a lot of extreme violence and blood which is a stark contrast from the WWE today.

A surprisingly good match was Mickie James defeating Trish Stratus fro the Women’s Championship. Both women worked hard and put on a very solid match.

The second MITB ladder match was won by Rob Van Dam and was amazing just like the year before.

The highlight though was Vince McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels in a no-holds-barred match. There is a reason Michaels was known as ‘Mr. Wrestlemania’ since he had a tendency to steal the show with his incredible athleticism. McMahon always amazes me due to the fact that he will put his body on the line and make himself look as bad as needed to entertain the fans. The abuse he took during this match was crazy and the final spot with Michaels jumping down on McMahon, who was lying prone on a table with a garbage can over his head and upper body, from a large ladder was mind blowing.

Overall, another great show that makes me anticipate the 31st installment this Sunday even more!