Kofi-2
WWE

Raw Recap: The road to Money in the Bank concludes with a pair of “Chef Currys”

Leave a comment

The four week build to Money in the Bank is officially over and apparently we’re getting Wrestlemania 33 this weekend!

Mike Cole, JBL and Byron “Coach” Saxton have been promoting MITB as a PPV that’s equivalent to the company’s biggest show of the year and there’s a good chance that the show this Sunday in Las Vegas will be a better show than the six plus hour mess that took place in Dallas.

Just look at these top four matches:

Money in the Bank ladder match: Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio, Dean Ambrose.

WWE world title match: Roman Reigns (C) vs. Seth Rollins

The “Wrestlemania” worthy dream match: AJ Styles vs. John Cena

Fatal 4-Way tag team title match: The New Day (C) vs. The Vaudevillians vs. Enzo and Big Cass vs. Gallows and Anderson

giphy (1)

But sadly like most things said by the Raw commentary team every week, this point has been driven into the ground.

We get it. We’re lucky to be getting these matches in June, but what about the fact that this is going to be the last WWE Network special before the brand extension and draft?

It’s a key point that has been barely discussed on WWE programming that hasn’t been discussed outside of the cringe worthy segments between Shane and Stephanie.

Would it have been so bad to have Reigns or Rollins drop a line about wanting to lead either Raw or Smackdown into the future as the champion?

Same goes for the tag titles.

Why couldn’t Styles tell Cena that he was going to beat the best and prove why he should be the first overall pick?

What about the MITB bank winner? Can he show up on either show and create chaos whenever he wants?

I’m not complaining about the excellent card that’s going to be presented on Sunday, but there’s a huge event that’s going to change the direction of the entire company in a month that needs to be addressed on television outside of comedy skits with former authority figures.

In fairness, Corporate Glenn was hilarious on Monday night. the talent needs to get his brand extension over, so plant some seeds now that blossom when the draft takes place (Heavily rumored for July 18th).

Now it’s time to review the “go home” episode of Raw from New Orleans.

Let’s have a talk

Since Wrestlemania 32, the amount of wrestling time on Raw was much higher than it was during The Authority’s run, but this episode of Raw was full of one segment matches, which meant extended promo time for quite a few guys.

And you know what; it was actually pretty good.

The show opened with The New Day ripping on the new “Chef Curry” shoes that Kofi was wearing.

In case you haven’t been paying attention to the world of NBA or sneakers; a new pair of Stephen Curry’s shoes released last week and they were absolutely crushed on social media:

CkjQ07XWYAAisGd

Even though New Day go off on random tangents that maybe 10-15% of the crowd knows about, it’s awesome because it’s relevant to what’s happening in the actual world and not the WWE Universe.

When Enzo and Cass interrupted New Day things things got weird. Cass insinuated that Enzo spent the night with Francesca 2 and did some things that are too explicit for me to write about on this website.

Listening to this very odd exchange got me thinking, I wonder how much of this opening bit between the two teams was scripted. The New Day appear to have the blessing of Vince to go out there and talk about whatever they want during their allotted time and Enzo is obviously coming up with his own material.

It was strange to hear dialog like this on the PG version of Raw, which is probably why the crowd got really into this bit.

Screenshot_NormalAppImage(1)

If you were to take Dean Ambrose out of the Ambrose Asylum segment at the top of the second hour, it would have been the best 15 minutes on the show.

All week the WWE has been promoting the three members of The Shield being back together in the ring, but man this was just not a time for Ambrose to keep on with his bad late night talk show host gimmick, especially when Rollins cuts a wonderful promo about not needing anyone but himself to win back the title and Roman actually delivers a solid comeback line.

Rollins came off like a major tweener here (somewhere Randy Orton is jealous). His speech about not needing anyone to get the title and eventually get it back just oozed babyface and the crowd responded appropriately. The roster is very thin on heels at the moment, but the crowd desperately wants to cheer for Rollins, so creative needs to be careful about what Rollins is going to say if he’s going to continue to bring passion like this on the stick.

But seriously though, Ambrose almost killed this segment and not in a good way.

His line at the end about winning the briefcase and potentially cashing it in after the title match was solid, but it felt like he just kept getting in the way of Rollins and Reigns and stopped the natural momentum they were building in the ring. We didn’t need a narrator here to further the conversation.

The physicality to end the segment did come across very well and it was nice to see Ambrose foreshadow what could happen on Sunday by hitting a Dirty Deeds to Reigns.

AJ-Styles-Tetsuya-Naito-NJPW-gifs-001

AJ Styles and John Cena had themselves a contract segment for their “WrestleMania-worthy dream match”, but this time two contracts were on the table. One read John Cena vs. AJ Styles and the other read John Cena vs. AJ Styles (w/ The Club).

Cena “baited” Styles into signing the contract without The Club’s help all because Cena wanted to give the fans a fair fight that is 15-years in the making.

Cena also made sure to get as many bullet jokes in as he possibly could. Apparently he’s going to send Styles “back on a bullet train to Japan” after he beats him on Sunday.

Styles has been using Cena’s catchphrases throughout this feud and his last line about Cena’s time being up and his time being now was solid as was his line about “not just being some other indy guy.”

Even though The Club isn’t supposed to show up on Sunday, you know they’ll interfere at some point, the question is, will we see a fourth member join the group on Sunday?

Zayn and Cesaro get cut short

Sami Zayn and Cesaro’s battles in NXT are legendary, so when the two faced off on Raw, we were all in for a treat, but like most snacks, it left you wanting more.

It felt like Zayn and Cesaro were just kicking it into fourth gear when all of a sudden Sami hit a sunset flip Code Red and pinned Cesaro clean in the middle.

(Fast Forward to 1:50)

The move is simply incredible to watch, but man, if Cesaro would have kicked out the crowd would have been hotter than the Chef Currys.

OK I’m done.

Hopefully these two spin off into a program coming out of MITB, which is totally possible considering the heelish way Cesaro treated Zayn during their backstage interview.

Match results

Gallows, Anderson & The Vaudevillains beat The New Day and Enzo & Big Cass after The Club hit the Magic Killer on Kofi Kingston and pinned him clean.

Paige defeated Charlotte with the Rampage after Dana Brooke tossed Charlotte back into the ring…

Sheamus defeated Zack Ryder clean in two minutes. #Poorbroski

Alberto Del Rio and Kevin Owens beat Lucha Dragons after Owens hit Sin Cara with the pop-up powerbomb. ADR and KO kept their spot in the MITB match with the win.

Dean Ambrose pinned Chris Jericho clean in the middle after hitting the Dirty Deeds.

giphy

Time to “go home”

Why did Charlotte need to eat a pin to Paige? Why not reverse roles and have Dana Brooke take the fall after Charlotte throws her back into the ring? The backstage promo afterwards between Dana and Charlotte would have still made perfect sense if it would have been booked this way.

– Crazy Rusev is the best kind of Rusev:

Rusev

– When Glenn presented Shane with a letter of recommendation from The Undertaker, I actually laughed out loud.

– I would imagine Sheamus said something to Ryder about the Broski boot that caught Sheamus right in the head.

– Jericho finally got the briefcase, you know this means he isn’t winning on Sunday.

– Cesaro should become the next ring announcer of Smackdown.

– Kudos to Xavier Woods for the deep cut Mean Street Posse reference.

– Who will wrestle next: Darren Young or the Shining Stars?

– New Orleans has an underrated wrestling crowd.

– Kevin Owens on commentary = gold, Jerry, gold.

– Ambrose and Jericho actually had a pretty good match to close the show.

– Shame that the actual main event segment just doesn’t mean anything anymore.

– Del Rio has been booked pretty strong lately, so don’t be surprised if he walks out with the briefcase on Sunday. Owens deserves to win MITB and would benefit the most, but it feels like we could be in for a swerve.

Twitter: @ScottDargis

Kurt Angle to be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame

ORANGE, CA - MAY 08:  Wrestler Kurt Angle arrives at the Lions Gate Premiere of "See No Evil" at the Century Stadium Promenade 25 on May 8, 2006 in Orange, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Oh it’s true, it’s true.

WWE announced today that Kurt Angle will be going into their Hall of Fame on March 31st at the Amway Center in Orlando as part of WrestleMania week.

The 1996 Olympic gold medalist is a five-time WWE world champion and regarded as one of the best in-ring talents to ever grace the squared circle. Angle last appeared in a WWE ring way back in August of 2006.

In a press release, WWE’s Executive Vice President Paul “HHH” Levesque said, “Kurt Angle’s accomplishments both in the Olympics and WWE were extraordinary. He was one of the most gifted athletes to ever enter the ring, and we are honored to welcome him into the WWE Hall of Fame.”

WrestleMania 33 will be held Sunday, April 2nd from the Orlando Citrus Bowl live on WWE Network.

WWE Weekly Recap: 2017 Royal Rumble Odds

corbin
WWE
Leave a comment

For the first time in many years, the favorite to win the Royal Rumble isn’t obvious. In fact, this feels like one of the more unpredictable Rumble matches in WWE history.

Five guys who would be considered a favorite to win the match (Seth Rollins, The Undertaker, Braun Strowman, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar) are rumored to have their WrestleMania programs locked in and none are scheduled to be for either of the company’s main championships.

Instead of being a device that’s used to give an established star a main event spot at Mania, the Rumble might actually be used as a launching pad for a future world champion.

trampoline

With that in mind, here’s how I would rank the field:

Baron Corbin 6/1 (+600)

The odds may surprise you, but Corbin has been booked very strong ever since his better-than-expected chairs match with Kalisto at the TLC Pay-Per-View. He was given a lot of offense in the triple threat match for the WWE title on the “Wild Card Finals” episode of SmackDown and “controlled” 80 percent of his match against John Cena this past Tuesday.

Corbin is ascending into the world title picture and it’s totally logical to picture “The Lone Wolf” ending the first PPV of WrestleMania season by pointing at the giant WM sign.

With Goldberg-Lesnar, Undertaker-Strowman, and HHH-Rollins penciled in for Mania, Corbin vs. Styles, Cena or both, is a perfectly fine match (with entrances) to fill 20-25 minutes of the show. Corbin has shown enough in the ring lately for me to buy that he’s ready for a high level match.

Finn Balor 8/1 (+800)

If either Owens or Reigns walk out of the Universal Championship match in San Antonio with the red strap, Balor has a built-in story with either guy.

Balor beat Reigns clean in the middle of the ring during his first night on Raw and after the match Roman said he would love another crack at Balor.

Owens was handed the championship by Triple H, but HHH also has a connection with Balor that could easily be worked up with one or two backstage interactions if creative wanted to go that route.

If not, Balor and Owens could hearken back to their feud in NXT, which produced a set of extremely good matches in the Summer of 2015. Their NXT title match at “Beast in the East” was one of my favorites that year and 30 percent of that was thanks to the streamers that were thrown at the end of Balor’s entrance.

jim

No matter who Balor works with, he’s going to put on a great performance and if WWE wants to have a NJPW style match at Mania, the Demon King would be the perfect person to insert into it.

Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura 9/1 (+900)

A debuting superstar has never won the Royal Rumble, but if there was ever a time to do it, this is it.

Joe is the more likely option out of the two, considering that he just dropped the NXT title to Nakamura and failed to beat him in the rematch, but if Nakamura loses the title to Bobby Roode at Takeover: San Antonio (unlikely, but you never know), he instantly becomes a favorite.

If either guy won, it would make sense for them to face Styles for the world title at the company’s biggest show of the year. Joe is one of Styles’ best friends in the business. They’ve made magic in the ring together and understand how to put on a clinic in front of a massive crowd.

Nakamura wrestled Styles in the second to last match at Wrestle Kingdom 10, which is New Japan Pro Wrestling’s version of WrestleMania. It was predictably awesome and if you haven’t seen it yet, set aside a half hour and watch it:

Chris Jericho 10/1 (+1000)

As much as I want to see Team Chris and Kevin face off for the Universal title in Orlando. I just don’t think it’s going to happen. If Owens does somehow hold onto the title at the Alamodome, Jericho would instantly become one of the three favorites to win the Rumble.

Owens and Jericho are the hottest act on the company’s flagship show. Roman Reigns may get a bigger reaction in some cities, but he’s still not ready to be a main event promo, which is exactly what Y2KO have been since September, which is why I’m still holding out hope that this match will be for the title.

If Chris and Kevin are going to feud with each other, someone is going to have to turn and it makes sense for K.O. to beat the crap out of Y2J.

Imagine the verbal jabs between a heel Owens and a sympathetic babyface version Jericho who keeps the same character tone, but plays into the cheers.

wow

Now imagine Reigns cutting a 5-10 minute promo about defending the title.

cena

Randy Orton/Bray Wyatt 12/1 (+1200)

It’s easy to see a scenario in which Orton and Wyatt square off at Mania, but what if creative actually has long-term plans for the group?

If Wyatt or Orton were to win the Rumble and wrestle for the world title at WrestleMania, it could set up a title program between the two for the May-July period.

The Miz 14/1 (+1400)

Even though he’s currently in a feud with Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Title, Miz has been one of the best acts on SmackDown since the draft and deserves a main event run.

He and AJ teased a feud during a Miz TV segment a few weeks back, but I think the pair should be saved for a SmackDown exclusive PPV later on in the year.

Miz will eventually climb up the card, but sadly, he’s going to be left out of a high profile match at WrestleMania.

John Cena, Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens 17/1 (+1700)

I’m expecting the losers of both title matches to enter the Rumble later on in the night. If I had to rank the four in terms of most likely winners I’d go: Styles, Cena, Reigns, Owens. It would be an interesting swerve to the Cena-Styles storyline if Cena won the title from AJ earlier in the night and then Styles responded by winning the rumble.

Owens is likely locked for a Mania match with Jericho and it would be a major letdown if Reigns won the most unpredictable Rumble in years.

Sami Zayn 25/1 (+2500)

If the Owens-Zayn storyline had any heat left, Zayn would be a logical choice. It would be a genuinely shocking moment and Zayn could use a boost after doing the job for Strowman.

With Owens likely taking on Jericho at Mania and Zayn’s current placement on the card, I don’t expect the taxi driver to make any real impact in the Rumble.

Rusev 25/1 (+2500)

The Bulgarian George Clooney deserves a featured spot in WrestleMania season because he’s one of the most entertaining full-time performers on the roster, but there are only so many spots to go around.

rusev

Big Cass 25/1 (+2500)

I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if Big Cass ends up as one of the “Final Four” participants in the Rumble match. Either that or he’s going to have a spot midway through where he runs through a couple dudes before going out quickly.

Any member of The New Day 28/1 (+2800)

Big E is the only legitimate option here. This would be an ideal moment to begin the inevitable breakup between the three, but it needs to be a slow burn.

Dean Ambrose 40/1 (+4000)

He’s headed for another multi-man match for the IC title at WrestleMania.

Seth Rollins 50/1 (+5000)

Rollins is obviously penciled in to face Triple H in Orlando, so there’s no need for him to be near the title picture until after Mania.

Braun Strowman 50/1 (+5000)

He’s most likely facing The Undertaker. While it may seem like Strowman isn’t ready for the level of a match, if the company is serious about pushing him, he needs to be in this spot.

The split rosters have created a need for new stars, which means a clean win for Strowman over the Undertaker could be in the cards.

The Undertaker 50/1 (+5000)

As noted above, Taker most likely has a date with Adam from Tinder at Mania.

Yes, I know I used that line last week, but why not bring it back for round two?

Goldberg and Brock Lesnar 50/1 (+5000)

I’d love to see Brock and Goldberg “draw” the first two numbers and beat the hell out of guys until Braun Strowman eventually comes out.

Kane 70/1 (+7000)

Kane has shockingly been protected since the draft, so don’t be surprised if he has a strong showing in the Rumble. Who knows, maybe he makes it all of the way to the “Final Four.”

Shelton Benjamin 75/1 (+7500)

Benjamin was scheduled to return to the SmackDown brand after the draft, but needed surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. He had a six-month recovery time frame and the Rumble falls perfectly in line with his rehab, so don’t be surprised if “ain’t no stoppin me now” blares over the speakers in San Antonio.

American Alpha 75/1 (+7500)

Enjoy the SmackDown tag team titles. Jordan has a chance to win this in a few years.

Apollo Crews 100/1 (+10000)

He should still be in NXT.

Any cruiserweight 100/1 (+10000)

Nope.

Dolph Ziggler 100/1 (+10000)

The guy’s gimmick is that he loses, so there’s no way he’s going to win.

James Ellsworth 1000/1 (+100000)

Any man with two fists has a chance to be eliminated.

Holy Schnikes moment of the week:

Take it away Becky Lynch.

If you don’t know what see you next Tuesday means, Google it.

Time to “Go Home”

– Stephanie was harder to listen to than Otunga this week. Was it necessary for her to talk down to Sasha and Bayley like that? As a fan, how am I supposed to cheer either of the babyfaces if they don’t have a snarky retort ready to counter Steph’s heelish lines.

– So Nia Jax pins Bayley essentially clean in the middle of the ring just two weeks before Bayley faces Charlotte for the women’s title. Makes sense.

– Has anyone else noticed that Karl Anderson’s pants say #BC on them? I find it a bit strange that no one backstage has said anything to him about this.

– Everything about Neville’s heel turn is great, including the variety of moves he’s displaying in the ring. This week he worked a mat wrestling/submission style that resulted in him using the Rings of Saturn to get the victory over Lince Dorado.

– I like the fire Rich Swann showed when he attacked Neville after the match.

– I thought Natalya and Nikki Bella had an excellent brawl on SmackDown. Nattie caught Nikki with a kick right to the face.

So Seth Rollins is supposedly getting new music after all. Once I heard this version by Downstrait, I got bummed out every time I heard Rollins’ actual music:

– Please WWE, no more Big Cass vs. Jinder Mahal matches.

– I like that Ziggler’s heel turn accelerated this week. The worst thing for his character would have been to come out this week and apologize for his actions. Instead, he beat the crap out of Kalisto after their match and then waffled Apollo Crews with a chair when AC came out to help his “friend” Kalisto.

– This was American Alpha’s best showing since their call-up to the main roster. Gable used his hot tag effectively and Jordan had a very nice amateur wrestling sequence with Bray to begin the match.

– I LOVED Cena’s backstage promo this week. It felt a bit like a Doctor of Thuganomics promo, just all grown up.

The Twitter Machine: @ScottDargis