WWE Ride Along

wwe-ride-alongThe WWE Network has done a great job of adding original content in the past few months and one of the newest shows is called ‘Ride Along’.

Each episode features two groups of wrestlers traveling by car from one show to another one and gives the viewers the experience of seeing these performers out of character and just acting normal.

There are only a couple of episodes so far, but some of the early highlights are The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Big E) traveling together and being almost as silly out of the ring as they are in it, and Renee Young, Summer Rae and R-Truth traveling together and cracking each other up. Getting to see another side of a performer like Summer Rae, that we normally do not get to experience during typical WWE programming, is refreshing.

The WWE Network is great for die hard wrestling fans like myself to have access to 1000’s of hours of WWE, WCW, and ECW programming like weekly shows, PPV’s, etc… What keeps the network growing in subscribers is original programming with shows like this one that will convince people who have been on the fence about subscribing to give it a shot.

There are many new shows coming to the WWE Network in the next several months that I am looking forward to and I will feature them on my blog between opinions on PPV’s, Raw, Smackdown, etc…

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The Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness

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Whew! That was the longest title I have typed into a blog post yet and it is perfect for a show as wonderfully ridiculous as this one.

The WWE Network not only contains 1000’s of hours of wrestling content, but also many original shows that feature some of their past performers. Edge and Christian were two of the biggest stars to come out of what is known as ‘The Attitude Era” in the WWE (late 1990’s to early 2000’s) and they were both known as two of the funniest guys on the roster. With their slapstick humor and the ‘5 second pose’ (look it up on YouTube, some genuinely funny stuff) they showed that not only were they great athletes, but overall tremendous performers which is key to a successful career in professional wrestling.

Both men are retired from wrestling, but when the WWE announced they would have their own show on the Network you knew this would be something brilliantly absurd and 2 episodes in the show has not disappointed.

Their humor is mostly wrestling based which works for the platform their show is on. Their brand of humor is simply goofy, but not irritatingly soon and the in-jokes are great. The show primarily consists of various skits, funny appearances from other wrestlers and other celebrities, and Edge and Christian simply seem to enjoy hanging out and cracking jokes.

The highlight so far is during the first episode when they talk to Fred Ottman (known as Tugboat and Typhoon in the WWE, and infamously as the Shockmaster in WCW). The Shockmaster gimmick is notorious because his debut was marked by him ‘bursting’ through a wall, accidentally falling down, and his bizarre glittered Star Wars Stormtrooper mask falling off his head. The fact that Ottman was so open to mocking himself was a blast to see and showed that he really has a good sense of humor.

It airs on the WWE Network following Raw every Monday Night.

You can sign up for only $9.99 a month with the first month being free so you can check out this show and many others and enjoy the absurdity of it all.

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

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Wrestlemania is almost here and as a huge wrestling fan I cannot wait!

The card is shaping up quite well with Sting vs. Triple H, an Intercontinental Title ladder match with multiple superstars, Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker, and Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar being confirmed. Plus others that will more than likely happen, but are not official, including Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton, are making this year’s big event look like it may be better than last years.

Over the next few weeks I will be watching various Wrestlemania’s leading up to number 31. I am going to watch from 2000 on due to time constraints. I will give short opinions and discuss highlights on about 5 shows a week.

I still highly recommend subscribing to the WWE Network and watching the shows themselves to get the full experience. Especially with no long term commitment you could sign up to get a sampling of what the Network has to offer, cap it off with this year’s Wrestlemania live, and then cancel the subscription if is not for you.

Either way, I cannot wait to watch these modern shows and to cap it all off with what could be the best Wrestlemania in years!

NXT Takeover: Rival

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NXT Takeover: Rival was simply amazing. Yet again WWE’s version of a ‘d-league’ has outshone the main roster. I will not go into great detail nor give match results since I really feel you have to watch this show. If you are not a subscriber to the WWE Network you can get it for free this month only and at least watch this show to understand what I keep going on and on about.

A few highlights:

The show started with Hideo Itami vs. Tyler Breeze. Two great workers that fed off of each perfectly, put on a great match, and got the crown going.

Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch in a four way for the NXT Women’s Championship…WOW! Amazingly good with some incredible spots.

Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville was one of the best worked matches I have seen in a while. They paced the match perfectly and both came off great. Both men deserve to be on the main roster headlining PPV’s. This may be the match of the year in the WWE.

The main event was Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT title. After Balor vs. Neville this main event had the potential to be forgotten, but both men put on an exciting and brutal match that will be remembered.

If you are a long time wrestling fan or just want to check it out, sign up for the WWE Network for the remainder of this month at no charge and give NXT a shot.

If this is the future of the WWE, then the future has never been brighter.

NXT Takeover: Rival

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This Wednesday is the new NXT special Takeover: Rival. The buildup to this event over the past few weeks has been phenomenal.  NXT has really shown how to properly build up to special events week in and week out and alone makes the $9.99 a month for the WWE Network worthwhile.

All the matches on the show have great potential, but there are 2 that really stand out:

1) Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship – The build up to this match has been excellent. It started a couple of months back when Zayn won the belt and Owens came to congratulate him and then suddenly turned on Sami and attacked him.  The weeks following have featured great confrontations, excellent promos, and a fun contract signing that makes this match must see. This has been an excellent example of how to properly build up a feud that the fans will care about.

2) Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville for an NXT Championship shot – Oh boy…beyond a doubt two of the best wrestlers and greatest athletes not only on NXT, but also all of the WWE. The potential for this match to become the best match of the year is high. This has ‘must-see’ written all over it.

Overall, this show has a good shot of being one of the best of the year and next week I will give my review of it.

In the past year NXT has not disappointed and I really hope they don’t start anytime soon.

NXT

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If you are a fan of pro-wrestling, the type that watches at least a few PPV’s a year and views the weekly programs as well, then you are doing yourself a disservice if you have not yet subscribed to the WWE Network.

One of the big reasons to subscribe is NXT. Even if you used to watch the WWE regularly, but have lost interest of late, NXT will make you fall in love with wrestling all over again.

Basically, NXT is sort of a farm league for the main WWE roster. A place where men and women can develop gimmicks and overall wrestling skills before being sent to the WWE. The way things have gone though is that NXT is most often putting on better weekly shows and special events than the main roster is.

The overall talent is amazing. With guys like Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and Hideo Itami (to name just a few) putting on great match after great match it is impossible to get bored.

The female talent is equally incredible with Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and others leading the charge in proving that women can put on great, athletic wrestling matches as well as the men and not just be reality show participants or regulated to escorting the male wrestlers to the ring.

I highly recommend searching for NXT on YouTube and getting yourself a sampling of some of the matches. There is rarely a stinker and you will start realizing that if Raw and Smackdown were booked this way wrestling would be the most popular form of entertainment out there today.