Sunday, May 15, 2016

Star Wars Snoke & Rey Theory

Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduced us to some interesting new characters. The first being Finn, a runaway storm trooper who does not agree with the tactics used by The New Order. The second being Kylo Ren, estranged son of Han Solo and Leia tempted to the Dark Side of the Force to join The New Order (or something else entirely, which we will discuss). The third being Rey, a young orphan who has untrained (and for the most part, unmatched) ability with The Force. The last character of interest is Snoke, a character who appears only via holographic display but has a mysterious position of power and control.

Before I get started, I want to discuss Finn a little bit. There are plenty of theories based on his apparent lack of use in The Force that he is not at all able to use it, drawing comparisons to Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. There are even theories that he is the son of Lando (entirely possible, but also maybe improbable). I also do not believe that Finn has no power in The Force. In Star Wars literature (canon to the stories), Han Solo was even able to dabble a bit into The Force. 

As the movie is titled "The Force Awakens", we have to consider it is about plenty more. Obviously Kylo Ren has been trained for much of his life in The Force, so it is not as though The Force has not existed this entire time, or that there was much true imbalance (consider that Luke is still alive and meditating). I would not put it past Finn being part of The Force, and perhaps his "awakening" to the wrong of The New Order is what truly Awakened The Force.

Kylo Ren displays powers we have not seen or thought possible in Star Wars. In the very first introduction to Kylo, we see him stop the laser of a blaster (pure light). Light manipulation was thought impossible, yet here is our Dark Side villain able to stop light mid-air and hold it while he focuses elsewhere. This suggests one of two things. Either the Dark Side of the force has grown so strong that it can control light, or Kylo still has enough light in him to control light. It's widely accepted in Star Wars canon that when it is your time to go, you will die, but if it isn't, you will remain alive until you have served your purpose. Perhaps Kylo's purpose is not to be a Sith Lord.

Now I want to discuss Snoke & Rey.

I'm not going to be the first to suggest that Snoke is Anakin. And fan theory and a recent "leaked" script suggest that Rey is Anakin reincarnated. I thought of similar when watching The Force Awakens but wanted to dispel them as, at the time, I did not have a logical theory in mind for how either works. While I'm not the first to suggest either of those theories, I will be the first (as far as I'm aware) to suggest that Snoke AND Rey are Anakin Skywalker.

How?

So I've bought in that Snoke is Anakin pretty much from the beginning. I never thought Snoke could be Palpatine. In order for Anakin to return to the light, he had to kill Palpatine and restore order. Palpatine did not survive that fall, and he was not as strong as people want to believe him to have been, otherwise he would have never failed at wiping the world out. He knew he couldn't surpass Anakin, so he molded him to be the instrument of destruction that he could not be.

Image Courtesy of Ryan Higgins of  Comics Conspiracy taken from Star Wars
So why is it possible that Snoke is Anakin? Let us look at the few theories out there already. Snoke's face is scarred on the forehead and left cheek. Anakin, when unmasked as Vader by Luke, had a huge scar on his forehead and left cheek. These were there during the burns when Anakin "fell" to Obi Wan Kenobi in Episode III. The image above shows a comparison between the two.

How is this possible? Anakin was cremated at the end of Episode VI, and we saw his force spirit appear beside Kenobi and Yoda. I'm not suggesting that Anakin Skywalker did not die. In fact, his death is the premise of this entire theory.
"Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the dark side, he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying."―Palpatine
Palpatine used the knowledge of Anakin's desire to save loved ones from death—based on his Force Visions—to convince Anakin to join the Dark Side. It was with the revelation of Darth Plagueis' power that Palpatine planted the real seeds of Anakin's turn. If one can prevent others from dying or create life, surely they can return someone from death?
"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

—Obi Wan Kenobi
Kenobi uttered those words in his battle with Vader in Episode IV. From what we know about Anakin/Darth Vader, there is no way he did not want to learn of everything he could in The Force, especially if it meant making him even more powerful. Considering that Anakin wanted to reach the power of Plagueis (or beyond) it would make sense that the more powerful he is, the closer he would be to achieving such goals. Many have questioned whether or not Palpatine was telling the truth about Plagueis' abilities, but it is accepted in canon that Plagueis resurrected Venamis in the presence of Darth Sidious (Palpatine).

So what does that have to do with Snoke? Simple. Someone, at some point, knew enough to resurrect Anakin. Since Snoke is with The New Order (or something greater), we can assume that it was a member of The Dark Side who tried to resurrect Anakin. Why? Because it's Anakin Skywalker. In fact, considering Kenobi's words to Vader, perhaps it was even Sidious through death knowing that his pupil did what he was destined to do and hoping a resurrected Vader would not be Anakin at all. Maybe Sidious had another apprentice he trained and instructed to resurrect Vader once he fulfilled his purpose as Anakin? It would not be the first time someone broke the Rule of Two.

So assume with me (even if you think it's a reach) that Snoke is Anakin? Need a further look at how this may be possible? Take a look at the following picture.
Image Taken from MovieWeb.com from Star Wars: The Force Awakens
As you can see from the picture, the eyes are not aligned properly, the left cheek is destroyed, the mouth is off-center (towards the right of the face) and the jaw line is almost a perfect match. The nose is also twisted in the same directions, bent left at the tip, the bridge shifted to the right.

My impression from the films is that Anakin's body was resurrected, but since his Force Spirit was seen in canon to be alongside Yoda and Kenobi, I don't believe The Force was revived with him. This may explain why Snoke took Ben Solo and turned him into Kylo Ren. It may explain his knowledge of the Skywalker clan. It may even explain why Snoke has relied on an apprentice who can use The Force instead of using it himself. Snoke does not actually have the ability to use The Force, because his Force Spirit is no longer connected to him.

And that brings us to Rey.

According to the idea above, Rey is the reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker. While I once believed that Rey may have been a Kenobi, thinking about the fact that she is the reincarnation of Anakin makes a lot of sense the more that I piece together. Perhaps the immortality that was once discussed is strictly about the Force Spirit being able to merge with another host? It would certainly explain how Obi Wan can become more powerful in death. It would definitely be a power that Anakin/Vader would have sought to gain, and there is no reason to believe that he did not achieve such power.

The link above also suggests that the idea was that Anakin (I will say his Force Spirit) is meant to exist for eternity as The Chosen One, and emerge whenever imbalance is thrown into The Force (except when that imbalance is Anakin/Vader, I guess). So the idea isn't too insane.

In Episode VIII, we see Rey with no training at all (to our knowledge, or hers it seems) able to wield a lightsaber and use the force to call it to her. Rey also has Force Visions (in Cloud City among others, as the above article states). Rey was also called to the lightsaber, something even Luke did not experience. This may be that Anakin's Force Spirit recognized the presence of the weapon and sought its own reconciliation (there is plenty discussing the bond between the lightsaber and the host).

There are only few who are strong enough to learn The Force with so little training so late. Even a very young Anakin Skywalker was thought to be too old to train. Luke was also an exception, and Leia to a degree. Rey, however, is not receiving instruction, she is seemingly teaching herself, or recollecting via Anakin's Force Spirit.

So my theory is that when Vader's body was resurrected, he was absent his Force Spirit, which sought a suitable host for many years. Someone who loved and craved the idea of family as much as Anakin. Someone who was pure light to combat the evil that the body would teach. So Snoke was born from the rebuilt remains of Vader, and has physical memory, but no power (that we're aware of) to use The Force. After years of searching, Anakin's Force Spirit found Rey and attached to her in order to be the good.

It also makes sense when you consider that Snoke was able to sense a great awakening. Perhaps he realized his Force Spirit had returned, and that is why he is so enamored with and desiring to meet Rey?

Also consider that Kylo prays to Vader's helmet. Maybe it's his only connection. It would make sense he would adore his grandfather, but maybe he adores Anakin and Vader equally. It may also explain why Snoke told Kylo this is the greatest battle he has faced. Perhaps Snoke knows that Kylo worships Anakin and Vader, and knows that he is going to be torn no matter how committed he acts.

Finally, consider Rey's meeting with Luke. It's brief, but powerful. She goes to hand the lightsaber to Luke, who stares at her as though he knows exactly who she is but just can not believe it. Luke also does not reach out to grab the lightsaber, and according to the "leaked" information, he may end up revealing to Rey that the lightsaber belongs to her, not him.

Let me know in the comments what you think of my speculation, if you agree, disagree, have anything to add or dispute. We will find out the truth in Star Wars Episode VIII in December 2017.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Booking The Shield Triple Threat At WrestleMania 33

So I saw an idea of how to kickstart a Roman face turn recently, and I liked the premise of where it starts. I also laughed at the notion of a Roman Reigns face turn.

So basically their idea was to turn Ambrose heel before Money in the Bank. The idea being that a heel Ambrose could help turn Reigns face if executed correctly. I agree slightly, but I want to book long-term for something bigger and meaningful. Faces and heels don't exist in WWE anymore, that's clear as day, but you can still trigger reactions.

Build to Money in the Bank

So a few weeks before Money in the Bank, Ambrose gets put into a qualifying match in place of Sami Zayn against Jericho after Zayn is attacked. The heat is on Owens (who is seen near Zayn being loaded into an ambulance), because why wouldn't it be Owens who attacks Zayn? Owens is adamant that it wasn't him. Ambrose beats Jericho and is in the MITB match.

Also, a returned Seth Rollins is now a face (because that's just how it works for Crossfit Jesus) and he is on a quest to get HIS title back, from Roman Reigns. Rollins is granted his match by the Authority (who will be back in power by this point) and Shane actually agrees (splitting 50/50 on the power trip) after Rollins and Reigns team to defeat Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.

Money in the Bank

At MITB, Dean Ambrose is climbing the ladder, and is cut off by AJ Styles. Dean slips as AJ gains the advangtage climbing the same side. Ambrose hits AJ with a low blow and climbs to grab the briefcase.

In the main event, Seth Rollins has to pull out all the stops to beat Reigns. He hits a Pedigree, Roman kicks out. He hits a Scorpion Death Drop, Roman kicks out. Rollins takes a comeback series of Superman punches and a Spear, but rolls out of the ring. Roman goes for the Spear through the barricade but Rollins dodges him and Reigns collides hard. Rollins throws Reigns back in the ring, climbs the turnbuckle, and hits a Phoenix Splash for the three count. Your NEW WWE World Heavyweigh Ch...

Ambrose makes his way down to the ring. He hands the ref the briefcase and as he's handing it over to the timekeeper, Ambrose hits Rollins with a low-blow. Reigns sees this and confronts Dean, and gets hit with Dirty Deeds. Rollins grabs Ambrose, goes for the Scorpion Death Drop, but Dean twists and shoves Rollins back, kicks him and hits Dirty Deeds for the three count. Ambrose leaves MITB as your new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Build to Battleground

The next night on RAW, Ambrose comes out to pops (as will be expected), but he starts running Rollins down. He runs Reigns down and the crowd cheers a bit and then Reigns' music hits. He comes out and Dean doesn't even let him make it to the ramp before saying "I've got word that you won't be getting a title shot tonight." Rollins' music hits and the crowd goes crazy... Ambrose tells him, "Hey, same goes for you!" Rollins and Reigns start heading towards the ring when Anderson and Gallows run out to attack Reigns and Rollins. Dean is laughing and AJ attacks him from behind.

The next couple weeks see Reigns and Rollins attacked constantly by Anderson and Gallows. AJ is trying to get a title match but Ambrose is dodging. Finally Shane decides he's going to grant AJ the title shot if he can defeat Ambrose in a non-title match. AJ has the upper hand, but Ambrose shoves the referee and gets disqualified. Because AJ won by DQ, he gets his title shot at Battleground.

Battleground

Dean has to defend the WWE WHC against AJ Styles. Reigns and Rollins have a tag team match with Anderson/Gallows after weeks of being attacked from behind. Reigns and Rollins win their match, but Anderson and Gallows still attack after the match and stand strong. In the main event, Dean is close to losing to AJ who is getting ready to go for the Styles Clash. Ambrose drops to his knees and low-blows AJ to get disqualified and keep his title.

Build to Summer Slam

On RAW, AJ demands a rematch, but he is cut off by Sami Zayn. Zayn comes out and says that while he was out, he watched Dean slip out of multiple predicaments with the help of dirty tactics. He says he was attacked before his qualifier for the MITB match, and it was not Kevin Owens who attacked him, but Ambrose. Shane comes out and makes Zayn vs. AJ for a #1 contender match to face Dean at Summer Slam for the WWE WHC. In the match, Ambrose sneaks out from under the ring while the ref is preoccupied checking on AJ Styles following a collision. Ambrose slides in the ring and low blows Zayn and slides out and hides. AJ takes advantage and hits Styles Clash for the pin and win.

The following week, Shane corrects the situation by adding Zayn to the match at SummerSlam to make it a triple threat. Reigns and Rollins are still battling BC.

Summer Slam

At Summer Slam, Reigns and Rollins start to get the upper hand when the lights go out. They come back on and Anderson and Gallows are standing over them wearing Demon bandanas over their mouths. They beat Reigns and Rollins down and use chairs. The match is a DQ.

In the main event, Ambrose is constantly thrown out of the ring and AJ/Zayn fight it out. Ambrose finally gets in the ring and AJ is going for Styles Clash on him, but he again drops to his knees and goes for a low blow. Realizing that he can't be disqualified, he low blows Zayn, goes outside to grab a chair, hits both men, then hits Dirty Deeds on AJ for the pin.

Build to Night of Champions

Heading into Night of Champions, AJ is still cool with Bullet Club, which offends Reigns and Rollins. They're confronting him in the back about it when Anderson and Gallows attack from behind. They turn their backs to the camera, tie the bandanas around their face, and walk off with AJ looking confused.

Dean is ready to move on, but Shane grants Zayn a 1-on-1 opportunity at Night of Champions. He is attacked by Dean and again loaded into an ambulance and it's unclear whether he's going to make it to the show. Kevin Owens gets in Dean's face after Dean is waving off Zayn in the ambulance. Owens tells Dean he'll see him at Night of Champions.

Night of Champions

Reigns and Rollins are once again facing Bullet Club. Rollins is fighting for the hot tag, and as he finally makes it, the lights cut out and a red flashing heartbeat fills the arena. 10 men walk out onto the stage wearing Demon bandanas over their faces and point guns at Reigns and Rollins. The lights go out, the men disappear, Anderson and Gallows attack Reigns and Rollins and get disqualified.

In the main event, Kevin Owens makes his way to the ring. Dean comes out. Cole plays up the uncertainty of Zayn being able to make the match, but Sami's music hits and out he comes. Zayn hits the ring fast and goes straight after Dean. Owens lets them fight. Sami hits Blue Thunder Bomb on Ambrose, but Owens breaks it up. Dean throws Sami into the ropes and goes for the Pop Up Powerbomb, but Zayn flies overhead and hits a dropkick on Ambrose. Owens throws Sami into the corner and beats him down. He's going for the Cannonball, but Zayn moves, hits the other turnbuckle, runs back and hits Helluva Kick. Ambrose rolls into the ring and low blows Zayn before he can get his leg off the top rope. Dean covers Owens for the pin and the win.

Build to Hell in a Cell

Reigns and Rollins bitch about Balor Club and that they're fed up of the mindgames. They call out Finn. The lights go out, 12 men (Anderson and Gallows among them) hit the stage. The lights go out again, the 10 extras drop into the smoke, pop back up randomly wearing demon masks with the red flashing heartbeat lights. The lights cut out, the breathing kicks in, fans are ready for Balor. The lights come on, and nobody is there.

Zayn is backstage furious. He asks for a 1 on 1 match with Dean. Triple H refuses to give him the match. He says Zayn and Owens must team up and if they beat Reigns and Rollins, they will both be put in the Cell title match. In the main event, Ambrose is on commentary. Reigns and Rollins vs Zayn and Owens. As Reigns gets the hot tag, the lights go out. The lights come back on and all 4 men are laid out on the outside of the ring with Demon bandanas draped over their faces. Ambrose laughs on from commentary as the ref calls the match off.

The following week, Shane announces there will be a rematch, but this time if there is any interference, all four men will be added to the Cell match for the title. Dean, furious with the stipulation, seeks out Anderson and Gallows backstage and begs them not to attack. They threaten Dean to get out of their face and he'll have his answer later in the night. As the match is underway, Dean is back on commentary. Rollins is tossed outside in front of Dean who talks trash. Fans get excited when Rollins gets in Dean's face. The lights cut out. We hear a crash through the announce table. The lights come on and Dean is laying in the wreckage as Rollins and Reigns look on from in the ring. Reigns bursts out of the daze with a Spear on Zayn. Owens throws Reigns out of the ring and Rollins kicks Owens and goes for a Pedigree. Owens reverses and throws Rollins into the ropes for the Pop Up Powerbomb. Zayn manages to hold Reigns just out of reach of breaking the pin.

As Owens and Zayn leave the arena, the breathing and heartbeat starts up again. The lights come on and a Balor Club flag is placed over Dean on the outside and Reigns is missing.

The next week, there's a black and white video stream on the tron Shield style, but it's Anderson and Gallows. In the background, Finn is dressed as the demon with the Balor Club flag draped over his shoulders but he doesn't show his face. Anderson and Gallows cut a promo about how The Club is taking over WWE and they show Reigns tied to a chair. They say they have a price on him if WWE wants him spared. They tell Triple H he will add Finn to the WWE WHC Cell match or they break Reigns.

Triple H comes out at the end of the show and calls out Balor Club. He tells them to bring Reigns and release him, they have their way. The arena turns red, Reigns is dragged out and the crowd is chanting for Finn. Finn shows up on the tron as the Demon, and he tells Triple H he made the right choice. The lights go out, they come back on and Balor Club are surrounding Triple H in the ring. There are Yes chants as Finn stares Triple H down. Dean's music hits and he runs down to the ring and goes after Finn but Anderson and Gallows don't let him. They beat him down and Finn climbs the ropes to hit Dean with the Coup de Grace and the show goes off the air with Balor Club placing the flag over Dean.

The next week, it's announced that Reigns & Rollins will once again face Balor Club, but this time in the Cell.

Hell in a Cell

In the first Cell match, Reigns & Rollins face Balor Club and it's a brutal match. Balor Club get the advantage and beat down Reigns while Rollins recovers, then switch their focus. Any time Reigns and Rollins can get any sort of momentum, Balor Club beats them down. When Reigns and Rollins finally get the upper hand, Reigns hits a Spear. The lights go out and the referee is knocked out when the lights come back on. Rollins tries to wake the ref, Anderson is rushing, Reigns goes for a Spear but Anderson moves and Reigns hits Rollins. Balor Club take out Reigns and pin him in the middle of the ring for a three count.

In the main event fatal 4 way Hell in a Cell match for the WWE WHC, the demon makes his main roster debut. He is targeted by all three men for much of the match but continues to get the upper hand as Sami is also determined to get his hands on Ambrose. Finn dropkicks Owens through the wall of the Cell and the fight spills outside. Dean however, keeps Zayn in the ring. He hits Dirty Deeds on the stairs as Finn and Owens battle on the outside. Dean gets the win and Finn snaps. He runs in and attacks Zayn. Owens goes in to help but the lights cut out, Balor Club attacks Zayn and Owens and leave them covered in Balor Club flags.

Build to Survivor Series

Now it's time to start getting into the real tease of the build. Balor Club has made their statement, but they've made enemies of everyone. So they open RAW already in the middle of the ring in red light surrounded by darkness. The Demon speaks a-la Ministry Taker without a mic in his hands, and tells the world his sights are set on the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and he will not stop until he gets a hold of it. He brings up Anderson & Gallows beating Reigns and Rollins at which point they make their way onto the stage. They start heading down to the ring when the lights go out. When they cut back on, Rollins and Reigns are face-to-face in the ring. Rollins shoved Reigns and things are boiling over from the Spear at HIAC. Reigns shoves Rollins back and Triple H comes out.

Triple H tells Reigns and Rollins they have to work together at Survivor Series in order to get what they want. They both look confused. Triple H tells Reigns and Rollins that if they can win their match against Balor Club at Survivor Series, they will get a #1 contenders match at TLC.

Over the next few weeks, Balor Club repeatedly attacks Reigns and Rollins, who are teaming up but having trouble staying on the same page. They bump each other, tag themselves in, and the final RAW before Survivor Series, Reigns once again Spears Rollins by accident. In the main event of that RAW, Sami Zayn is facing Finn Balor in a #1 contender match to face Dean Ambrose at Survivor Series. Finn hits Sami with the Shotgun Dropkick and begins climbing the turnbuckle. The lights go out, they come on, and Ambrose is beating Zayn. Dean runs through the crowd to get away from Balor Club, and it's announced that Sami Zayn won by disqualification. Finn snaps and Balor Club chase Dean out of the building.

On SmackDown, Rollins has had enough. They win their match against the Vaudevillians and in the celebration, Rollins uses the Scorpion Death Drop on Reigns and walks out disappointed. In the back, Reigns is looking for Rollins and Dean is spotted laughing. Reigns tells Dean he hasn't forgot what happened, and on Sunday his journey back to the title begins. The Vaudevillians attack Reigns from behind and Dean watches. Rollins runs up to make the save and referees break up the fight. Reigns shoves Rollins and Dean walks between them both and says "Looks like neither one of you is starting your journey back to this anytime soon."

Survivor Series

Rollins and Reigns in a handicap match against Balor Club is a struggle. They seem like they're on the same page early on, but things start to break down as Rollins struggles to make it to the corner for the tag. Reigns at one point even backs down off of the apron out of frustration, but returns once he's thought about the fact he needs to win for a chance to get back in the title picture. He makes it in, makes the hot tag, and clears house. He's hitting huge clotheslines from corner to corner, and catches Finn with a Superman Punch to take him out of the ring. Rollins gets back in to help even the numbers. Reigns is whipped towards Gallows by Anderson and Gallows moves. Reigns stops himself from Spearing Rollins, but Gallows clubs Reigns into Rollins who tumbles through the ropes to the outside.

Finn tags himself in and is headed to the top, but Rollins gets onto the apron and crotches Balor. Rollins hits the springboard knee to Gallows who is holding Reigns on his shoulder. Reigns pops up and hits Anderson with a Superman Punch. Finn jumps from the top rope into a Spear by Reigns mid-air. He goes to Spear Gallows who once again moves, and Reigns again stops himself from connecting with Rollins. Rollins shoves Reigns out of the way and gets kicked by Gallows. Reigns off the ropes and Spears Gallows as he turns. Reigns pins Gallows for 3 and he's being stomped by Finn and Anderson right away. Rollins enters the ring with a chair, and Balor Club leaves.

In the main event, Dean collides with the referee on the rebound lariat. Sami with Blue Thunder Bomb, but there's no ref to pin Dean's shoulders down. Sami is frustrated and attempts to wake the ref when he's hit from behind by Dean with a low blow. Dean goes for the roll-up but the ref is still out. Dean rolls out of the ring and grabs the title and goes to hit Sami. Sami ducks and hits the exploder suplex into the turnbuckle. Sami is pumped up waiting for Dean to stand for the Helluva Kick when the referee wakes up and sees the title on the floor and Dean knocked out. Sami pleads his case, the referee decides to let the match carry on, and hands the title to the timekeeper. As he's handing the title over, Dean hits a low blow on Sami and then hits Dirty Deeds to pin him, but Sami kicks out at 2.

Dean is pleading with the ref for the 3 count, and Sami is getting to his feet. Dean is still preoccupied with the ref as Sami rushes him into the corner with the ref caught between them. As the ref is attempting to break them up, Dean rakes Sami's eyes and clotheslines Zayn from behind. Dean picks up Sami and hits another Dirty Deeds for the 3 count. Instead of celebrating, Dean starts attacking Sami. Multiple referees attempt to pull Dean away when the lights go out. When they come on, Balor Club are on the apron a-la The Shield. Dean is telling them to bring it, and the lights go out again. When they come back on, Dean is gone but Balor Club is standing in the ring around Zayn. They attack Zayn and drag him out of the ring to close the show.

Building to TLC

It's announced that because of their win, Reigns and Rollins will face one another at TLC in a ladder match to grab a contract to face Ambrose for the WWE WHC at Royal Rumble. But in a major twist, the loser of the match will enter the Royal Rumble at #1. Shane and Triple H seem to be working together at this point to make these decisions w/ Shane acting as a buffer for the ideas. Balor Club appear on the screen and say they will see anyone who stands in their way to the same fate as Zayn. Anderson and Gallows hold Zayn up so he can be shotgun dropkicked into a bay door. Triple H sends security back.

Zayn is once again loaded into an ambulance (all too familiar sight in this booking, eh?). Triple H demands security find Balor Club and have them removed from the arena.

Owens challenges Dean to a match on RAW and Dean accepts. They're on to close the show. They lock up and have a good match, but Dean starts raking the eyes and attacking Owens' knee. Just as he's calling his spot for Owens to get up, the lights cut out.

'Beta-Alfa-Lima-Omega-Romeo'

Balor Club start coming down the stairs in the crowd towards the ring. Ambrose is defiant and watches as Balor Club start knocking out security. Balor Club get on the apron, stare Dean down, the lights go out, come back on, and Dean is once again gone, with Balor Club in the ring surrounding Owens. Owens starts to fight back, but the numbers game takes its toll and they drag him out of the ring.

The following week, Balor Club are shown on the tron to start the show. Finn tells Triple H "I told you anyone who stands in our way is going to be treated like Zayn. Finn turns and runs at Owens being held up by Gallows and Anderson and hits a Shotgun Dropkick through a dressing room door. Owens is being loaded into an ambulance following the break.

Dean is paranoid in the back. He encounters Reigns who shakes his head and walks away. He encounters Rollins who does the same. He finds Triple H and asks him for the night off. Triple H says they don't answer to demands of anyone and books Dean in the main event, against himself.

They get going, Dean is distracted and can't focus on the match. Triple H starts working his spots and hits the spinebuster. The lights go out.

'Beta-Alfa-Lima-Omega-Romeo'

Balor Club once again come through the crowd and Triple H orders security to cut them off. They start fighting security. Dean low blows Triple H and Balor Club hit the apron. The lights go out, they come back on, and this time it's Triple H surrounded, beat down, and dragged out of the ring.

The week after, Balor Club open the show in the back on a grainy camera and say "Another stands in our way, and another falls." Finn turns and runs at Triple H for the shotgun dropkick into a stacked pile of tables, ladders, and chairs. Finn turns back to the camera and tells Dean "Believe in Balor Club!"

Shane takes Dean off the show. In the final segment they are doing the Reigns vs. Rollins contract signing. Shane is overseeing. Reigns signs, Rollins signs, and then:

'Beta-Alfa-Lima-Omega-Romeo'

Balor Club once again make their way to the ring. Security scatters. Shane is pissed. Reigns and Rollins flip the table and get ready to fight. Balor Club hit the apron, lights go out, and when they come back on, Shane is surrounded with Reigns & Rollins nowhere in sight. Shane stands and fights to no avail. He's beat down and dragged out of the ring.

The next week, we start with Vince on RAW. He's pissed off. He demands Balor Club spare Shane. Balor Club on the grainy camera on screen. Vince yells at them to cut the feed, but Finn laughs and says "I can't be cut off. I've possessed this company. And I told you anyone who stands in my way will fall." He gets ready to turn and Vince asks "What is it that you want!?" Finn tells him, "The brass ring isn't worth enough. I want the gold title." Vince says Finn has a TLC match at TLC with Dean, he just has to spare Shane." Finn laughs, turns, and hits the shotgun dropkick on Shane against the grill of an 18-wheeler. Vince calls police to find them but Balor Club are gone when they get to the loading bay.

In the back, Vince is yelling that Balor ruined his own opportunity. All he had to do was spare Shane and he could have had his match. Vince calls the cops off and looks into the camera and tells Balor "I'll be out there at the end of the show."

Reigns & Rollins team to fight the Social Outcasts, and beat them with relative ease. Reigns and Rollins one-up each other with finishers and stand face-to-face. 

At the end of the show, Vince makes his way to the ring. He calls out Balor Club, but they don't respond. Vince says if they don't get out there, they're fired. Nothing happens, Vince is getting ready to fire Balor Club and the lights go off. They come back on and Dean is in the ring standing over Vince. 

'Beta-Alfa-Lima-Omega-Romeo'

Balor Club make their way down through the crowd, security scatters once again, and Balor Club hit the apron. The lights go out, but Triple H's music hits. He makes his way to the ring with the sledgehammer and Balor Club stay on the apron as Triple H gets in the ring and Vince gets up showing that it was a trap. The lights go out, and when they come on, Balor Club are in the ring standing over Vince with Dean gone and Triple H standing with them with a Demon bandana tied around the sledgehammer. Balor Club drags Vince out of the ring and Triple H declares that Finn will receive a title shot at TLC in a TLC match.

TLC

Reigns vs Rollins in a ladder match w/ a contract suspended for a shot at the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. The loser enters the Royal Rumble at #1. Typical ladder match with high spots and strikes with the ladder. Rollins does some stunts. He's going to the top but Reigns manages to knock him off. Rollins bounces off the ropes, shoves the ladder, Reigns falls and bounces back then connects with a Superman Punch. He Spears Rollins and climbs the ladder to take the briefcase.

Before the main event, Balor Club show up on the screen and they're holding Vince up. Triple H is there. Finn says, "the last man to stand in my way falls tonight." He turns, but Steph gets in the way to save Vince. She looks at Trips and asks "why are you doing this!?" Trips looks at her and before he can say anything, Steph turns and slaps Vince. She orders Finn to go for the shotgun dropkick, but Sami, Owens, and Shane rush the room. Triple H hits Shane with the sledgehammer, but Sami and KO clear the room and cover Vince and Shane.

Dean makes his way to the ring, and then Triple H & Steph come to ringside. Balor Club enters through the crowd and Demon Finn makes his entrance. They go through the match, and as Dean starts getting the upper hand, Balor Club attack. They position a table and put Dean on it and hold him down as Finn climbs a ladder. Finn hits Coup de Grace off the ladder through Dean and the table. The lights go out. They come on and Sami & KO are in the ring clearing house. Triple H gets in and they take out Sami & Owens. Then the lights cut out with Bray's cue and The Wyatt Family make their way to the ring, slowly. Triple H and Bray stare each other down as The Wyatt Family hit the apron circling the ring. They let the tension build, then hit the ring and get the upper-hand. Bray hits Sister Abigail on Finn and pulls Dean over him. After the ref pins Finn down, Wyatt grabs Triple H and hits Sister Abigail on him. Strowman, Harper, and Rowan beat down Anderson and Gallows and then the lights go out. When they come back on, the Wyatt Fam is gone and Finn is missing.

Building to Royal Rumble

Roman opens RAW and says it's time to set his sights on the only thing that matters. And that's the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He says he hasn't forgiven Dean for what he did, and they will settle that at the Rumble. Dean's music hits and he comes out and says he's survived bigger and badder obstacles than Reigns. Reigns invites him to the ring, but Dean just walks away to boos.

Rollins in the back is asked about having to enter at #1. Rollins says "Shawn Michaels is one of my heroes, and he set a mark for all to follow, so if I have to go from #1 to get back into the title picture at Mania, that's what I'm going to do." Trips walks up and Rollins looks uneasy. Trips says, "relax. We don't have any problems... do we?" Rollins doesn't answer and Trips raises the sledgehammer as Balor Club walks up behind him. "Don't worry, we've got bigger and badder problems to deal with than you." Before he walks off, he tells Rollins, "oh, and good luck at the Royal Rumble."

The following week, Balor Club are put into the Rumble. Bray shows up on screen after the announcement with Finn wearing a burlap sack on his head. Bray tells Triple H if he wants his Demon back, The Wyatt Fam will be placed in the Rumble at spots 26-30. Triple H tells them they can be in the Rumble, but they will get spots 20-24. Bray laughs and accepts and the feed cuts. Triple H is furious and is demanding to know where they're at.

Roman has a match with AJ Styles and Dean comes down to ringside. When things get chippy in the ring, Dean trips Roman and pulls him outside. They brawl to close the show and AJ is furious at the DQ and gets into the fight as well.

On Smackdown, Bray teases Triple H more saying he will release Finn if Triple H inserts himself into the Rumble at #25. Triple H accepts.

The following RAW, AJ Styles walks in to confront Triple H about not having a spot in the Rumble. AJ demands in, and Anderson & Gallows get in his face. AJ backs off but tells Triple H he better make this right.

The RAW before Royal Rumble, The Wyatt Family carry Finn to the ring, still wearing a burlap sack on his head. They tie him to the ropes and Bray tells Triple H his little scarecrow is right there waiting. Bray says crows may run from Finn, but the Buzzards will devour. The lights cut and the Wyatt's vanish and Finn is left tied up as Balor Club comes to his rescue.

AJ finds Triple H and demands again to be put into the Rumble. Triple H tells AJ if he can beat Strowman, he will get spot #30. If he loses, Finn gets entry #30 and Styles has to watch on a monitor from the back. AJ accepts, and Anderson & Gallows attack him from behind. In the main event, AJ is beat up and Strowman just looks at him. Bray calls Strowman and whispers in his ear. The lights cut, and when they come back on, The Wyatt Fam is gone and AJ is left standing alone in the ring to beat the 10-count.

Royal Rumble

Reigns vs. Ambrose goes on right before the Rumble. Dean is resorting to any tactic he can to win, but it's not enough to stop Reigns. He tries to low blow Reigns, but Reigns manages to block him and mounts a comeback. Dean hits a rebound lariat and rolls out of the ring and grabs the title. The referee goes to block Ambrose and take the title, and Reigns runs in for the Spear. Dean pulls the ref into the way. Dean turns Reigns around while he's checking on the ref, drops and low blows him and hits Dirty Deeds. He shakes the ref, covers Reigns, but Reigns kicks out after a long 2. Dean is furious and slaps the ref. The ref is getting ready to signal for the bell, but Reigns grabs Dean, punches him, and tells the ref to let it go. Dean shoves Reigns into the referee and low blows Roman again. The ref doesn't know what happened as Dean hits Dirty Deeds again for the win.

Rollins enters the Rumble at #1 and Sami Zayn at #2. They both survive as the ring begins to fill even more at entry #17 when Kane hits the ring. Anderson & Gallows enter the Rumble at spots 18 & 19 and start clearing some of the weight. The Wyatt Fam hit the ring at 20-24 and go after Anderson & Gallows. They brawl under the ropes to the outside. Triple H's music hits at #25 and he marches to ringside instructing Balor Club decimating the Wyatt's. Bray gets an upper hand and gets in Triple H's face in front of the announce table and the crowd goes insane. Balor Club attack from behind. At #26 is Finn Balor and he runs out and helps beat down The Wyatts. Inside the ring, Seth is starting to clear house. #27 is Jericho, #28 is Kevin Owens, #29 is John Cena, and #30 is AJ Styles. Owens, Zayn, and the Wyatt Fam start taking out Balor Club. Cena, Styles, Rollins, and Jericho clear house and are the last 4 standing in the ring while the rest battle outside. As they begin to grapple, everyone runs in and mayhem ensues.

Wyatt's and Balor Club start taking each other out until we're left w/ a final 7 of Seth, Owens, Sami, Cena, Balor, AJ, and Triple H. Owens and Sami go after Balor and Triple H. Seth and AJ are going after each other and Cena is assisting anywhere he can. Sami is thrown out by Triple H, who then ducks and uses Owens' momentum against him to eliminate Owens. AJ turns his attention to Finn. Triple H rushes at AJ and clotheslines Finn over the ropes. Finn is pissed and Trips is apologizing. AJ throws Triple H out, and gets thrown out by Cena. Rollins and Cena go toe-to-toe for about 7 minutes, Rollins skins the cat, and tries to throw Cena over. Cena is holding on and Rollins is running the ropes. Cena throws a punch but Rollins with a baseball slide through Cena's legs to the outside. Rollins pulls Cena off of the apron for the elimination. Rollins is heading to Mania to face Dean for the WWE WHC.

Build to Fastlane

The next night on RAW, Rollins is talking about going from #1 to win the Rumble. He's insanely over with the crowd. Cena comes out and applauds him for his effort and clever strategy. Then comes Dean. Dean says Rollins got lucky everyone else in the match was more worried about others than themselves. He's running down Rollins and Cena says "at least Rollins didn't have to cheat to win." Dean says, "but that's the stuff Hall of Famers are made of! There's Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels/DX, Macho King Randy Savage, even Eddie Guerrero." Cena cuts Dean off and says all those men deserve more respect than being called cheaters. Shane comes out and announces that Dean will defend against Cena at Fastlane. Roman Reigns comes out and asks why he doesn't get another shot considering Dean cheated to win. Shane says that's a good point, but Reigns had his opportunities as well. Shane says if Roman can beat Styles in the main event, he will add him to the title match at Fastlane.

Balor Club are now preoccupied with The Wyatt Fam and tension is building between Finn & Triple H. Triple H and Shane also have problems now and are building toward a match at Mania.

AJ vs. Roman in the main event is a long-fought match. AJ goes for a Phenomenal Forearm but catches a Spear mid-air. Dean's music hits. Reigns looks around waiting, and AJ rolls him up, but it's only a 2-count. Reigns starts to get the upperhand and Dean's music hits again. Reigns is focused on the ramp when Ambrose slides into the ring from the crowd and starts beating on AJ Styles. Styles wins by DQ, Roman doesn't get added to Fastlane's WWE WHC match.

The next week, Reigns confronts Triple H and Shane who are nearly hostile in the back towards each other. Reigns says he's going to be added to the title picture one way or another, and one of them is going to make it happen. They tell him he has to earn his shot by beating the winner of Dean vs. Cena the next night on RAW.

Fastlane

At Fastlane, Dean puts the title on the line against Cena. Cena is beating Dean senseless all over the ring. Dean starts to get the upper hand and is controlling the match. As Cena starts getting his comeback, Dean ducks the flying shoulder. Cena rolls out of the ring and Dean hits the suicide dive. Dean rolls Cena back into the ring and goes for Dirty Deeds but Cena reverses and hits an AA. Cena can't cover Dean and there's a gong and the lights go out. The arena is dark and filling with smoke. Undertaker's music hits and he makes his way out to the stage. He has a mic and tells Cena, "The time is up... your time is now!" He crosses his throat, Dean hits Dirty Deeds and pins Cena for the win.

Build to WrestleMania 33

The following night on RAW, Cena/Taker becomes official. Balor Club vs. Wyatt Fam becomes official. Shane vs. Triple H for control of the company becomes official. Reigns faces Dean in the main event in a non-title match. If Reigns wins, he's in the WWE WHC match at WM33.

Reigns is getting the upper hand, and they redo the Spear on the ref spot. Reigns doesn't hesitate, he Superman Punches Dean who falls out of the ring. Reigns breaks down the announce table and is going to go for a powerbomb but Dean drops and hits a low blow. Dean pulls Reigns up and gets him back in the ring. He's trying to pick Reigns up, but Reigns with a low blow. Reigns hits Dean with a haymaker, hits the ropes, and Spears Dean. The ref crawls over and makes the count. Roman wins and is added to the title match at Mania 33.

Over the next few weeks, all three men have problems with each other. Rollins is attacked by Dean one night. The following week, Dean attacks Rollins and Reigns comes to make the save. Rollins shoves Reigns and it's clear all three men are in it for themselves.

WrestleMania 33

For an overview of how I would have things play out...

Taker loses to Cena in a long, physical match. It takes more than one AA to put the Deadman down. They show their respect after the match and it's clear Taker's retirement will be celebrated the following night on RAW.

Triple H uses the sledgehammer to beat Shane and gain full control of the WWE.

The Wyatt Fam take on Balor Club who have added a 4th member... The Not-So-Lone Wolf Baron Corbin. Balor Club get the win but it's evident this feud is not yet over.

The Shield Triple Threat kicks off in the main event. Reigns is dominating most of the match. Then he and Rollins put Ambrose through the announce table with the powerbomb. Rollins and Reigns go at it in the ring, Rollins is getting the upper hand and gets his spots in. Dean crawls in and low blows Rollins and then starts attacking Reigns. Reigns manages to gain momentum, and he's hitting Superman Punches on Ambrose. Ambrose ducks a third one and kicks Reigns with a low blow. Ambrose locks the arms to go for Dirty Deeds, Rollins grabs Dean and hits a Scorpion Death Drop in unison with Dirty Deeds. Reigns is out, Rollins heads up top and hits a Phoenix Splash on Dean and pins him for the win to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Monday, April 4, 2016

WrestleMania 32 Review

WrestleMania 32 has come, and gone. I’m certain that many walked away feeling as though they saw some great things, as well as some stupid things. Probably leaning more towards the latter, but we will discuss that as we go along.

Ignoring the pre-show, we will discuss the very first match of the main show. We kicked off with the 7-man ladder match for Kevin Owens’ Intercontinental Championship vs. Sami Zayn, Stardust, The Miz, Zack Ryder, Dolph Ziggler, and Sin Cara. It was a match filled with spots, but each one executed perfectly. Every single spot was timed and performed to tell a greater story. There were multiple falls off of the ladders. We saw Ryder & Ziggler get crotched and guillotined respectively. We saw Sin Cara land on the ropes and springboard into a flipping senton onto the competition on the outside, as well as adjust mid-air to splash through Stardust who was prone on a ladder draped across the ring and barricade. Then we saw the two falls most important to the story as Zayn was guillotined and Miz was shoved off.

Kevin Owens With A Five-Star To Sami Zayn 
The match also had a bunch of great feats of athleticism. The two that stand out most were Sami Zayn’s rope flip through the ladder and Kevin Owens’ perfect springboard onto the turnbuckle leading to a Five-Star Frog Splash onto Sami Zayn on a ladder.

Zack Ryder Celebrates With His New Intercontinental Championship
Walking away from this match as your new Intercontinental Champion is Zack Ryder – a man very few of us thought would walk out the winner.


Then we went into Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles. This match told a great story. There were high spots. The two worked their knowledge of each other brilliantly. Granted they recycled the finish, it was still executed perfectly, and while Styles could have benefited from the win, he was not hurt in this defeat.


Following that was New Day vs. the League of Nations. New Day entered in a 20-foot box of BootyO’s and got pops. The match itself was okay, but nothing to really brag about. Big E almost killed himself again with the dive through the ropes. Xavier Woods looked strong until the numbers game gave “the Lads” the advantage and ultimately the win. Following the match, the LoN talked trash about how no three-men in history could stand up to the numbers game. Full-blast on HBK’s music in full gear, followed by Mick Foley dressed as Cactus Jack, and then bring out the face of professional wrestling, Stone Cold Steve Austin. A can of whoop ass was opened. New Day got the three to dance, but Austin quickly dropped Xavier Woods on that stack of dimes he calls a neck with a Stone Cold Stunner and enjoyed some Steveweisers (the real ones).


After that we got Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a No-DQ street fight. In a match that had a build to go extreme, we did not see very much of that. In fact, much of the match was Brock Lesnar doing everything he could to keep weapons out of the equation. Thirteen suplexes (a few on chairs) and an F-5 later, the match was over. No blood. Few weapons. Very quick. It did not live up to the hype we, and the WWE, built.

The New WWE Women's Championship
In the pre-show, WWE HOF Woman Lita introduced the WWE Women’s Championship and the rebranding of the Diva’s Division as the Women’s Division. So now it was time for the Women’s triple threat match to crown the “first ever” WWE Women’s Champion. This was the match of the night, and it was not close at all. The match was presented as a big deal from the entrances on. Becky Lynch’s was the least spectacular but still a bigger deal than most of the women who have worked for the company as she had a massive smoke pyro all the way down. Sasha Banks was escorted by her cousin—WWE Hall of Famer—Snoop Dogg after he performed a mashup of his own lyrics to her entrance theme. Then Charlotte was escorted to the ring by her father—the Nature Boy Ric Flair—wearing a modified robe from the robe that Ric wore during his retirement match entrance at WrestleMania XXIV.

These three women gave everything they had in this match. Even the one major botch (Sasha Banks’ sunset flip tower of doom spot) was fine because it came off as a spot of aggressive determination with a miscalculation. Sasha also botched on a suicide dive—which was almost disastrous—but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Sasha was flipped as her foot caught the rope, and Charlotte did her job as a competitor and a friend and caught Banks. This turned a botched suicide dive and potential disaster into an amazing between-the-ropes-flip attack which connected. Becky Lynch tried repeatedly to lock in the DisArmer on Charlotte, who tried repeatedly to lock in the Figure 8, and Sasha tried repeatedly to lock in the Bank Statement.


Sasha, who as wearing gear resembling and honoring the late Eddie Guerrero even pulled out an incredible Frog Splash off the top rope to break a Figure 4 that Charlotte had locked in on Becky. Becky took the competition to SuBecks City. Charlotte even put it all on the line by throwing caution to the wind with a moonsault off the top rope to the outside. In the end, Charlotte got the upper hand, locking in the Figure 8 on Lynch and Ric Flair held Sasha Banks out of the ring so she couldn’t break the hold while Becky tapped out in the middle of the ring.

While I felt that Charlotte easily could have cheated on her own for the heel heat to win, I understand Ric’s involvement. And in the end, it establishes Sasha getting a shot at the new Women’s Championship where Ric Flair will probably be banned from ringside. Or even better—hopefully it leads to a Women’s Championship cage match.


After that, we got the Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon Hell in a Cell match. There were spots galore. Weapons used. A toolbox. A laptop. A TV monitor. The cage. Steel steps. A Sharpshooter to escape Hell's Gates. A trash can for Coast to Coast (which didn’t hit clean but in the context of the story, it made sense). Shane had to pull out all the stops to try and defeat The Undertaker, and that was as true as ever when Shane incapacitated Undertaker on the announce table. Shane then went climbing all the way to the top of the Cell. He prayed twice. 


Shane leapt off for an elbow drop. Undertaker moved. Shane McMahon should be dead. Taker carried Shane back into the Cell and ring, and Shane taunted Taker into giving him a Tombstone. Taker delivered and pinned Shane. Taker was seen looking at Shane after the match as if he respected him more than anyone else. Undertaker even had tears in his eyes. We’re not talking about the 18-foot Cell that Undertaker dumped Foley from… we’re talking about a 20+ foot Cell that Shane jumped from. Shane was carted to the back after the match beating his chest and putting his hand in the air to signal to the crowd that he wasn’t dead.

Baron Corbin - The Third Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal Winner

After this was the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal featuring Social Outcasts, Ascension, Tatanka, DDP, Mark Henry, Big Show, Shaq, and the eventual winner from NXT—Baron Corbin. Great boost to this kid’s career.

Bray Wyatt's Fireflies Light The Pitch-Black Stadium

Following that was The Rock. Rock came out, touted the record-breaking crowd, and then was interrupted by Bray Wyatt who entered the arena was more fireflies than you ever could have seen. Rock was even shown during Bray’s entrance looking into the crowd fascinated by the view. Rock began making jokes about the Wyatt Family and then made it clear he wanted a match, taking off his clothes and revealing his gear. Rock beat Erick Rowan in 6 seconds… a record for a WrestleMania match. 


Afterwards, the Wyatt Family were ready to attack when Cena’s music hit and he came out to make the save. The Rock and Cena cleared the Wyatt Fam out of the ring and likely right out of relevance in the WWE. One of the few decisions where Vince gave us the guy we believed should have won, and it was the one I was most disappointed in. It would have done something major if the Wyatt’s would have been able to decimate The Rock on WrestleMania in front of 100,000 live and the millions watching at home.

Roman Reigns Holds His Third WWE World Heavyweight Championship High
The main event was everything we thought it was going to be. A few spots. Roman Reigns drowning in deafening boos. Triple H’s theatrical entrance. Stephanie McMahon was speared. Triple H went for the sledgehammer and it never paid off for appearing. There was no blood despite all the talk and the hype of those blood packs leading up to Mania. Roman Reigns got the win and was booed relentlessly as the show went off the air.

I will probably go further in depth with my own personal feelings later, but for now, this is my in-the-moment review.

All Photos Above Courtesy of WWE and WWE.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How WWE Should Book Until WrestleMania 32

I'm no contracted member of any wrestling creative team. I'm not a freelance member of creative for any wrestling company. Never have been, probably never will be. But I am a lifelong fan, perhaps more hardcore than many, so I know a good product in wrestling when I see one, and a bad product.

But before we spend countless paragraphs talking about smart fans and marks, let's just agree on one thing in particular – wrestling needs us far more than we need wrestling. And judging by live crowd reactions, social media reactions, and the responses from wrestlers sports entertainers themselves on Tuesday radio interviews, it's fair to say the opinions I have don't sway too far from the rest of the pack.

WrestleMania 32, billed when the location in Dallas was secured as the "Biggest WrestleMania Ever" by those idiots in creative (thanks, Hunter), is shaping up to be very underwhelming. Not because of the card—see below—but because of the way the entire product is being booked. Now we can also spend essay after essay discussing why so many talents are so unappealing (I see you, Bray Wyatt’s Win/Loss record), but I’ll discuss how and why I would make WrestleMania 32 better from this Saturday’s March 12 Roadblock special event forward.

Firstly, the WrestleMania 32 card as it is written today:

Triple H defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Roman Reigns
Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell for Shane’s control of WWE RAW
Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a No Holds Barred Street Fight
Kevin Owens presumably defending his Intercontinental Championship against Sami Zayn
Charlotte presumably defending her Diva’s Championship against Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch
Kalisto presumably defending his United States Championship in a multi-man ladder match
New Day presumably defending their WWE Tag Team Championships against League of Nations
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Lana vs. Brie Bella

Allow me to work from the bottom of the card up.

I have no issues at all with a Lana vs. Brie Bella match. It is a decent way to get Lana involved in a physical aspect where she will not be so far outclassed by ring presence and skill. No disrespect intended to Brie, but she’s not exactly good in the ring. I like how they have built this feud so far, from absolutely nothing into a mediocre explanation for why Lana wants to get involved. It’s fine for what it is and the pacing of this feud so far has been among the best on the entire card.

As for the Andre Battle Royal, I’ve got my doubts about this match as it has not really done anything to progress any characters so far in its 2-year existence. I would begin putting emphasis on this match by having a few more toss-over spots in the coming weeks and pushing a guy like, say Dolph Ziggler, by allowing him to consistently skin the cat on RAW and declare that he’s going to make his mark this year by winning the Battle Royal. Then have him do it by surviving Braun Strowman, who WWE reportedly wants to win the match but doesn’t deserve it and he can feud with Dolph for a couple months after Mania to really test his mettle.

New Day defending against the League of Nations does absolutely nothing for me. New Day are faces by crowd reaction, heels by action, and it makes no sense to have them work Mania against the fun vacuum faction of Eurasico. If I’m to care for this feud, New Day have to become decisive babyfaces in the next 3 weeks which counteracts everything they’ve done recently with the braggadocios taunting. I’d much prefer this weekend’s Roadblock NXT Tag Team Championship match to result in a disqualification win for Cass & Enzo who then appear on RAW to challenge the trash-talking New Day for the titles at Mania, dispose of the League of Nations to earn that shot, then go on to win the titles as the 1B of the greatest thing going in WWE today behind New Day themselves.

This would for certain free up a second member of the League of Nations to participate in the United States Championship ladder royal, giving us Del Rio AND Sheamus. As the two of them get in each other’s way and play the true heel, they take each other out. It’s at this point we get Sin Cara telling Kalisto to take out Ryback, and ascending the ladder to take his tag team partner’s single’s title leading to a feud which culminates in WWE’s upcoming Cruiserweight tournament quarterfinals.

Charlotte is almost certainly defending against BOTH Sasha and Becky in a triple threat match. The first thing I would change about all of this is to have Charlotte toss the Diva’s Championship into the trash and unveil the new (old) Women’s Championship and mark the end of the disparaging misogyny in that division. While I want Sasha to win the title more than I can express, something tells me what is best for business is Becky walking away with the title just so we get the swerve of the night as the whole world probably feels she’s the only one who will not walk out with the title. Leading up for the next few weeks, Charlotte needs to continue to not compete, and they need to let her get away with it. Sasha and Becky should also have one more match to determine who goes to Mania, where Ric AND Charlotte both trip each girl up and get caught by refs and tension mounts between Charlotte and Ric.

Then I move to a match I’m adding myself between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. Orton makes a return, only to be caught in the swirling lights of the fireflies as Bray attacks. Randy doesn’t even get to say a word going into Mania. There’s a contract signed from home and Bray signs on RAW and they get their match at Mania. Orton does everything he can to win, only to fall to Bray who starts his rise.

So as we saw on RAW this week, Sami Zayn re-re-re-debuted on WWE television to save Neville from an apron-bomb by Kevin Owens. Chances are, you are familiar with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (or Kevin Steen and El Generico). If you aren’t, you have their names and you should smarten up very fast, as these two have told the same story for years in different promotions and executed it so brilliantly that you don’t care that you’ve seen the two of them do it all before. Owens and Zayn have the kind of chemistry that Bret and Owen had… it just works and is great television. They display emotion better against each other than anyone else in the WWE today. Let them tell their story. Let Owens walk with the title after having to go to the extreme to keep Sami down so that their feud can run through the summer to Summer Slam.

Before I get to Brock & Dean, I’m going to focus on Shane and Undertaker, for good reason which I will get to in a few.

Shane and Undertaker still makes very little sense. Undertaker is a zombie, dead-burying, prostitute from what I can gather. He is going to do Vince’s bidding at Mania to hurt Shane and ensure the survival of Vince’s company. Kayfabe, it makes no sense, because Vince and Taker have never seen eye-to-eye on screen. But we know when breaking kayfabe that Undertaker is Vince’s hand-picked king of the locker room, and Undertaker is as loyal to Vince McMahon’s WWE as nobody else has ever been. I’m certain over the next few weeks we get swerves and finally a face-off between the two on the RAW before Mania where Shane’s attacks don’t really phase the Deadman who hits him with a chokeslam only to spare him going in to Mania from a Tombstone. At Mania, Shane will probably break his own neck trying to keep Taker down for a 2-count, but Shane will probably kick out from a Tombstone himself. At this point, Vince tries to enter the Cell only for Taker to dispatch of him, only to turn into an attack by Shane’s buddies (God please be Titus O’Neil, but I’ll settle for Kurt Angle, but if it’s not him, Mean Street Posse will do). We need something fresh, and Shane McMahon has been the most over on the entire roster, and crowds (some of whom should not know him) have been absolutely electrifying since his return.

Now to the main event(s).

This Saturday at Roadblock, Triple H defends his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Dean Ambrose. Now, the realist in all of us knows for a fact that Triple H doesn’t lose this match… but the idealist (and really, the realist in everyone, including Vince) would take the title off of Triple H at Roadblock and put it on Dean Ambrose. Hell, if you’re so worried about Triple H looking weak, you let Brock Lesnar do the smart thing, help Dean win the title so he has a shot at it at Mania, and we create more tension between Brock and Hunter (which is best for business when the Triple H and Shane war breaks out leading up to Summer Slam). Dean holds the title high to end the show only for Brock to F-5 him repeatedly and declare he’s going to leave WrestleMania as Champion.

Now this leads to Mania, where Triple H no longer holds the title. He goes on second to last against Roman Reigns in a grudge match how it should have been from the moment Roman Speared Triple H into a kayfabe break at NXT Takeover: London. Triple H and Roman Reigns have a bloody fight to settle the score, where Roman Reigns gets the big victory and much of the heat is taken off of him because it’s not predictably for the title to put Reigns over.


Then we hit the main event. Dean Ambrose defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Brock Lesnar in a bloody war. Dean retains after enduring a brutal beating but dishing out one of his own and getting the best of Lesnar after repeatedly hitting Dirty Deeds on a chair. Dean stands tall to close out Mania, holding his title high above his head as the crowd pops a deafening roar. His brother in arms Roman Reigns comes out to celebrate with him, congratulating him. It’s a special moment. Dean hits the rope to celebrate as Roman exits the ring. Dean drops down, turns, Roman is back and Spears him out of his boots and beats the Hell out of him. Roman takes a bloody Dean and makes him leak more, taking him outside of the ring and powerbombing him through the announce table and standing with his heel upon Dean’s throat holding the title over his face and bitching incessantly about how another of his brothers stole his WrestleMania moment. It’s obvious how you book from here.