WWE Great Balls of Fire comes to us live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Sunday night. The Kickoff Show starts at 6PM CT with the main card beginning at 7PM CT. The following predictions are the way I would book the show along with how I think WWE will.
Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Universal Championship
I’ve really enjoyed this feud. RAW in general is a much more enjoyable experience for this viewer when Paul Heyman is motivated and fully engaged in the feud he and Lesnar are in. Lesnar has to win here, but I hope Joe is made to lose in a way that keeps him strong.
My Winner: Lesnar
WWE Predicted Winner: Lesnar
Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns in an Ambulance Match
I expect WWE to give Reigns the win here, but I’d rather see Strowman continue to get the better of Reigns leading to their blow off match at Summerslam.
My Winner: Strowman
WWE Predicted Winner: Reigns
Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks for the RAW Women’s Championship
I don’t expect a clean finish in this one. I’m a big fan of Alexa and I don’t want to see her run end here. Somehow either Bayley or Nia, perhaps both get involved and figure into the finish. My hunch is Bayley costs Sasha the win due to her interference backfiring.
My Winner: Bliss
WWE Predicted Winner: Bliss
Dean Ambrose vs. the Miz for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
In no way should they put the title back on Ambrose. In fact, they should end this feud and not go back to it for another 2-3 years.
My Winner: Miz
WWE Predicted Winner: Miz
Seth Rollins vs. Bray Wyatt
I’m as big a Bray Wyatt fan as there is, but unfortunately WWE’s booking of him has beaten me down to the point where I just don’t care about him or this feud. The wrestling in this match should be very good, but as far as who wins, it doesn’t make a difference.
My Winner: Wyatt
WWE Predicted Winner: Rollins
Sheamus & Cesaro vs. the Hardyz in an Iron Man Match for the RAW Tag Team Championship
The tag team division on RAW was just hotter when Matt and Jeff held the titles. In addition, there just aren’t enough top babyface acts to feud with Sheamus and Cesaro. Put the belts back on the Hardyz because they should never have dropped them in the first place.
My Winner: the Hardyz
WWE Predicted Winner: Sheamus & Cesaro
Big Cass vs. Enzo Amore
Cass has to win this match. A loss would seriously jeopardize whatever singles run WWE has in store for him. Nobody expects Enzo to win and sometimes going with what’s most obvious isn’t a bad thing.
My Winner: Big Cass
WWE Predicted Winner: Big Cass
Neville vs. Akira Tozawa for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Neville continues to do stellar work as champion. I’m also a fan of Tozawa and I expect him to win the title, just not here. Neville should retain here while also making Tazawa look good. I expect this feud to continue leading to Tozawa finally winning at Summerslam.
My Winner: Neville
WWE Predicted Winner: Neville
Enjoy the show!
WWE comes to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri for Money in the Bank on Sunday night. The Kickoff Show starts at 6PM CT with the main card beginning at 7PM CT.
The following predictions are the way I would book the show along with how I think WWE will.
Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship
My Winner: Mahal
WWE Predicted Winner: Mahal
Randy Orton should never hold a WWE title again.
The Usos vs. the New Day for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champioship
My Winner: New Day
WWE Predicted Winner: New Day
The Uso’s in chase mode makes more sense to me.
Naomi vs. Lana for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
My Winner: Naomi
WWE Predicted Winner: Lana
Something tells me Vince wants to go back to the pre-women’s revolution era.
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dolpf Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match
My Winner: AJ Styles
WWE Predicted Winner: Baron Corbin
AJ Syles should never have dropped the title to Cena.
Natalya vs. Becky Lynch vs. Carmella vs. Charlotte vs. Tamina Snuka in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match
My Winner: Charlotte
WWE Predicted Winner: Carmella
Like Styles, Charlotte should still be the champion.
The Colons vs. the Hype Bros.
My Winner: Hype Bros
WWE Predicted Winner: Hype Bros
Should be a fun way to kick off the show.
Enjoy the show!
WrestleMania 33 is finally upon us so let’s get right to the predictions!
Austin Aries vs. Neville for the Cruiserweight Championship
I think WWE is making a mistake by putting this match on the Preshow. This match deserves to be in a prominent spot on the main show. WWE had a chance to prove to everyone that they are taking the cruiserweight division seriously, but I think by putting it on the preshow it diminishes it. Hopefully WWE gives them time to put on the great match these two can have. Austin Aries just came back and this feud feels like it’s just getting started. Neville should retain and keep Aries in chase mode.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
There are only a few wrestlers that I can see winning this. While the obvious choice is Braun Strowman, I think Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, and Big Show have an outside chance at winning. Sami Zayn needs a big win at some point in the near future, and if WWE wants to the crowd hot to start the show then this is the way to go. However, WWE has put a lot of time and effort into building Braun Strowman. I hope the entire build wasn’t just to feed him to Roman Reigns.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Alexa Bliss vs. the SmackDown Women’s roster
Having Asuka debut here and win the title would be my first choice, but after seeing her retain the belt on last night’s NXT Takeover show I don’t see it happening. Another nice surprise would be the return of Maria Kanellis/Bennet to WWE. But, the more likely scenario would be Tamina Snuka returning. In any case, the Smackdown Women’s Division needs a new direction and focus. While Alexa Bliss has become my favorite wrestler in the division, it’s time to start anew and rebuild the division around Naomi.
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley for the WWE RAW Women’s Championship in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match
Oh how I wish WWE can go back and reintroduce Bayley. This should match should be a one-on-one match with Bayley challenging Charlotte Flair for the title. Instead we have a convoluted fatal four way match between four women with no real direction. Put the belt back on Charlotte and reset the rest of the division. Rebuild Bayley and book her to face Charlotte at SummerSlam in what should have been the blow off match at WrestleMania.
Winner: Charlotte Flair
Baron Corbin vs. Dean Ambrose for WWE Intercontinental Championship
WWE didn’t give this match much build which is surprising given how popular Dean Ambrose is with the crowd. Personally, I’m not a fan of Ambrose’s current character. However, I have been a fan of Baron Corbin’s work over the last several months. His in-ring work has improved greatly, and while he’s still inconsistent on the mic I think he has the ability there too as well. If WWE decides to put the strap on Corbin, I’d like to see Ambrose go away for a while and return as the Dean Ambrose from The Shield.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson for the WWE RAW Tag Team Championship
WWE seems to be finally getting behind Gallows and Anderson. I like the way the duo has been booked recently. While I can see WWE wanting to put the titles on Enzo and Big Cass, I hope they resist that urge. Keep the titles on Anderson and Gallows, continue to build them as strong heels and keep the bayface teams chasing.
Winner: Gallows & Anderson
AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon
While a match against Shawn Michaels or Finn Balor would have been more befitting for a wrestler like AJ Styles, wrestling Shane McMahon at WrestleMania isn’t the worst thing that can happen. The build has pretty strong and they seem invested in the story. This match will certainly have a lot of eyes on it waiting to see what crazy bump Shane takes. Styles has the ability to have a four-star match with a broom and I expect the same here. While I’m not crazy about the match, I do expect it to surprise and be very good. That said, Styles has to win this match.
Winner: AJ Styles
John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. the Miz & Maryse
I’ve actually enjoyed the build to this match. The Miz and Maryse spoofing Cena and Nikki was entertaining, and Cena’s comeback promo on the SmackDown go-home show was perfect. Miz has been at the top of his game over the last year or two both in the ring and on the mic. You know what you’re going to get from Cena so I expect this to be a good match when the two are in the ring together. I think they will keep the two women’s involvement at a minimum. While I think this is the easiest match on the card to predict, wouldn’t it be awesome to see Cena go to propose, turn heel, take his ring back and start one of the greatest heel runs in history?
Winner: John Cena & Nikki Bella with a proposal
Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
Logical booking would be to put Seth Rollins over here. But, we are talking about WWE and more specifically, Triple H. The issue here is the crowd just isn’t 100% behind Seth Rollins. Something is missing. Ever since WWE decided to keep him heel upon his first return from a knee injury, the crowd hasn’t warmed up to him a babyface. The booking sure hasn’t helped either. If Rollins is 100% then these two will put on a fantastic match. Samoa Joe gets involved helping Triple H get the win and afterwards the two beat down Rollins. WWE continues to build sympathy for Rollins leading up to their blow off match at SummerSlam. By then Rollins will be a red hot babyface looking for his revenge.
Winner: Triple H
Roman Reigns vs. the Undertaker
This is the match I’m most looking forward to on the card. If this is the Undertaker’s last ride then the match should go on last with him going over for the final time. However, if the reports are true about WWE already having next year’s WrestleMania main event of Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar as the only two to have ever beaten the Undertaker at WrestleMania, then all this becomes moot. The problem WWE has then, is if Reigns is winning the match can’t go on last because there will be near riots in Orlando. But, if WWE is still on the fence with turning Reigns full heel, then this is the time and place to do it.
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship
As a fan, I’ve enjoyed Goldberg’s latest run with the company. I think WWE booked him perfectly. He did this for his son and in the process became a real life super hero for kids. WWE made more money than they ever though they would when they decided to bring him in so this run of Goldberg’s couldn’t have gone better if they tried. But, it’s time for it to end. My hope is that they can prove the naysayers wrong and have a decent wrestling match and not one that ends in less than a minute or two. However it plays out you can expect a spear, jackhammer, cover and a Lesnar kick out. Two to three F5s and a Lesnar victory.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship
The heel and babyface roles in this feud puzzled me. Bray Wyatt has already lost too many big, important matches. He can’t afford to lose another one. Also, putting the belt on Randy Orton just feels old and tired. WWE talks a big game about wanting to build new starts, but they never follow through with it. This is their opportunity to make good on that statement. There’s rumor of Erick Rowan returning so perhaps he figures into the finish, but either way Wyatt needs to go back to the character he had when he debuted. If WWE plans on keeping him heel then he needs to have a “family.” Obviously, Rowan will be one member, and hopefully we see WWE call up a few wrestlers from NXT to debut as Wyatt Family members or followers.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE United States Championship
The obvious decision would be to have Owens go over. But is the obvious direction always the best direction? I think WWE is going to throw us a curve ball, especially if Jericho is sticking around a bit longer. If he is sticking around a little longer I would give him the win here and drop it either on RAW or at the next PPV. There’s just something about KO carrying the U.S. Title that doesn’t sit right with me.
Winner: Chris Jericho
Enjoy the show!
WWE Fastlane comes to us live at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on the WWE Network. The event starts at 6 PM CT with the Kickoff Show, with the main card starting at 7 PM CT.
Fastlane is the final stop before WrestleMania and while some of the matches on the card hold little importance, others will have major ramifications heading into the big show.
The following predictions are how I would book the finishes, which will make the PPV and the product most enjoyable for me going forward.
Kevin Owens vs. Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship
I just can’t see Kevin Owens defending the Universal Championship against Chris Jericho at WrestleMania. I do see that match taking place, just without the title on the line. As much as I like the idea of Owens retaining, I like the idea of Goldberg going into his match against Brock Lesnar as champion better. While Goldberg vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania doesn’t need the title, the title needs them fighting over it.
I don’t think it’s wise to give Owens more offense against Goldberg than Lesnar. I do expect him to get some offense in, but not much. Any interference in this match would be a big mistake. There are plenty of scenarios I can see that happening lower on the card.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
It would be a big mistake to have Strowman lose here. I think a lot depends on the health of the Undertaker. He didn’t look good the last time we saw him in the ring. If WWE is dead set on Reigns vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania then Reigns has to turn heel. A face Undertaker vs. a face Reigns has absolutely zero juice behind it.
This is a great spot for a double turn. Strowman wins in a wonky way and afterwards Reigns destroys Braun. Undertaker comes out to make the save and Reigns destroys him too giving the Dead Man an out for losing at WrestleMania. Strowman has the potential to be a great baby face, and well we all know what should be done with Roman.
Neville vs. Jack Gallagher for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
This might be the easiest match on the card to book. Heel Neville has been the best part of the Cruiserweight division and there’s no reason to change course here. Neville retains and we get Austin Aries vs. Neville at WrestleMania.
Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair for the WWE Women’s Championship
WWE made a huge mistake by not having Bayley overcome the odds by beating Charlotte at WrestleMania. The company has done the Women’s division no favors with their story telling and booking recently. Nia Jax beats everyone in the division but doesn’t get a title shot. The hot potato passing around of the women’s championship has done serious damage to the belt after Charlotte did such an amazing job of building it up. Worst of all, the Bayley character is so damaged that I fear it’s close to impossible to rebuild her back to the character that was so successful in NXT.
If it’s me, I’m giving Bayley the clean win she so desperately needs over Charlotte. Unfortunately, I can see this being one of the matches that has outside interference.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass for the WWE Tag Team Championship
The handling of the tag team division is as bad, if not worse than the women’s division. The one thing I do like about the division is the team holding the titles. WWE needs to keep the belts on Anderson and Gallows while reestablishing the rest of the division. I won’t hold my breath while waiting for this to happen.
Winner: Gallows & Anderson
Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn
This is the match I’m looking forward to most. These two are very familiar with each other so hopefully they are given time to put on a good show. The addition of Joe to the HHH mix is one of the best things going on RAW and Zayn will make him look like a million bucks in their match together. I’m looking forward to what WWE has planned for Joe leading up to WrestleMania.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
While I’m looking forward to Bank’s eventual heel turn, I hope it happens after WrestleMania. She’ll continue treading water while WWE builds to a Fatal-4-Way at WrestleMania with the focus more on the other women in the match. I like what WWE is doing with Nia and I think they should continue doing it. I understand the need to give Banks a win in order to make it seem like she has a chance at winning at WrestleMania, but I’d like see her get squashed here.
Winner: Nia Jax
Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar
My picks are a bit heel heavy so I’ll go with the team of Swann and Tozawa to get the night started on a positive note.
Winner: Swann & Tozawa
Enjoy the show!
WWE Royal Rumble is live from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Sunday night. Unlike recent past years WWE has done a great job of keeping this year’s Rumble unpredictable. Do they attempt to make a new star with Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt or perhaps Sami Zayn (gasp)? Or do they rely on nostalgia by having Brock Lesnar, Undertaker or Goldberg win?
Whichever direction they decide to go in, I’m really looking forward to the show. The Road to WrestleMania looks like it’s going to be a fun ride.
The Kickoff Show gets things off running beginning at 4 p.m. CT on the WWE Network with the main card starting at 6 p.m. CT.
30 Man Royal Rumble Match for the opportunity to main event WrestleMania
I can see a few winners here: Orton, Strowman, Samoa Joe, or Nakamura.
Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship
It’s unfortunate, but…
AJ Styles vs. John Cena for the WWE World Championship
I think Styles drops the title at the Elimination Chamber.
Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley for the WWE Women’s RAW Championship
This one is easy.
Rich Swann vs. Neville for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
It’s just too obvious to put the belt on Neville.
Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Natalya
This should start the Mickie James vs. Becky Lynch feud.
Winner: Bliss, James & Natalya
Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Gallows & Anderson for the WWE RAW Tag Team Championship
I think we’ll see this match again.
Winner: Cesaro & Sheamus
Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
This is the easiest match to predict.
Winner: Nia Jax
DECEMBER 4, 2016
DALLAS TEXAS AT AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER
LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
WWE TLC Random Thoughts and Opinions
Randy Orton & Bray Wyatt (with Luke Harper) vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
JBL called Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt a once in a generation tag team. Really?
Orton with the RKO out of nowhere!
That was a short match. It was basically a glorified squash match. A title change seemed obvious considering WWE has kept Rhyno and Slater off of TV lately. Who did they piss off?
I like Bray and Orton holding the tag team belts, I'd like to see WWE get creative and use singles, babyface wrestlers to team against the Wyatts. Have the Wyatts go on a run by beating every team Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon put in front of them, then when the time is right WWE can give the rub to a hot young up and coming team. I’m curious how Luke Harper fits into all of this. Will we see Luke Harper turn?
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella in a no DQ Match
Good psychology with Carmella working the left leg of Nikki. Carmella with a kendo stick and a, “you can't see me” taunt. Nice.
Nice make-up work covering up Carmella’s black eye.
I never understood the fire extinguisher bit.
This wasn’t a very good match. The end of the match with Nikki Bella spraying Carmella with the fire extinguisher was flat.
WWE continues to tease Miz vs. Daniel Bryan.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz (with Maryse) in a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
They keep stressing this is the final chapter in the feud. Do they really expect us to believe that?
Nice spot with Ziggler hitting an elbow off the ladder.
One of my pet peeves with ladder matches is when a wrestler has his hand on the belt but has to wait for the other wrestler to knock him off the ladder.
Miz mocks Daniel Bryan with the Yes chant.
A Miz chant from the crowd. Funny.
Nice slingshot powerbomb onto the ladder from Miz.
Two kicks to the groin from Miz while both guys are on the ladder, Ziggler falls to the mat and that's it.
I might be in the minority, but I didn’t care for this match. They definitely played it safe, probably saving the big bumps for the main event. The match wasn’t terrible, I just expected more considering this was the final chapter in the feud.
Miz grabs the mic and dedicates the win to Daniel Bryan, and then buries Ziggler.
Baron Corbin vs. Kalisto in a Chairs Match
Just as the Ziggler/Miz feud needed to end, this one needs to as well.
Deep Six after catching Kalisto’s dive through the ropes was great. Kalisto is taking a pretty good beating in this match.
Great near fall after the moonsault from Kalisto. There's a huge welt on Kalisto’s back.
Corbin blasts Kalisto in the face as Kalisto jumps off the top rope and follows with End of Days on a stack of chairs to get the pin.
I really enjoyed this match. Kalisto bumped around like crazy for Corbin. Baron Corbin plays his role so damn well. I enjoy his work. Once again JBL calls Corbin a future champion.
Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss in a Tables Match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
Lynch is having a really hard time setting up a table and the cameraman stayed with it the whole time.
Alexa Bliss is tiny; I'm not so sure a table would even break if she lands on one.
They're losing the crowd. I love that Bliss has to rest the table on her foot before she can pick it up.
Bliss with an eye rake and a powerbomb off the ring apron to put Becky through a table. And new…..
I didn't expect a title change. I have to admit, I'm a bigger fan of Alexa Bliss than I ever expected to be. The match was clunky at times, but Becky did her best to carry Bliss in this one. I don’t expect Bliss to be a long term champion. I love the way she carries herself, I just hope she improves in the ring.
Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match for the WWE Championship
They're pulling out all the bells and whistles for this one. These two are going to feel it tomorrow. Nice bump into the ladder from Styles.
An AJ Styles chant breaks out and he flippantly waves the crowd off. Excellent.
A great spot where Ambrose puts Styles through a row of chairs. Damn! Styles’ work is on another level, the guy’s an amazing wrestler.
An AJ Styles vs. Shawn Michaels match would be a dream come true.
Styles’ tights are ripped in the ass.
Out comes Ellsworth.
He just turned on Dean Ambrose and helped Styles retain the title.
This was a splendid TLC match. I didn’t care for the Ellsworth interference though. The narrative just doesn’t make any sense. I know Ellsworth will say he helped Styles win because he has already beat him and thinks he can win the title. Then why push Styles off the ladder in the first place? If he wanted Styles to win, then all he had to do was let the finish play out. Terrible storytelling.
By the way, what was with Dean Ambrose just staring into the ring after going through the table at the end? The staring just looked…odd.
Best Match: Styles vs. Ambrose
Runner Up: Corbin vs. Kalisto
Worst Match: Bella vs. Carmella
Overall Grade: C+
New Day opens the show with their usual shtick.
New Day vs. Gallows & Anderson
Gallows and Anderson start the match aggressively showing good fire.
A really nice pace to this match that has the crowd into it. Nice near fall after the Big Ending. But minutes later New Day goes over clean to retain the titles.
Gallows & Anderson are damaged beyond repair. At this point WWE might as well split them up. It's an absolute joke the way WWE has booked them. It's sad when an act’s peak was when they debuted.
TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick
Perkins offers Kendrick a handshake, he refuses. Nice!
Nice heel work from Kendrick. They're working a much slower pace than the opening match.
The hurricanrana over the top rope by Perkins was impressive.
Some nice submission mat work from both men. Perkins retains by submission. The two hug it out after match, then Kendrick blasts Perkins with a head butt. Apparently this feud isn't over, which is a good thing in my opinion.
The match started out slow, but the second half of was very good. Some real nice submission reversals down the stretch from both guys. Overall a good match.
WWE2K17 commercial. Huh, surprised to see Alberto Del Rio in it.
Holy hell, what is Cesaro wearing?!? As good as his in ring work is, he just doesn't have the overall package a main eventer needs to have. It's unfortunate too because I like Cesaro.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus
If nothing else, this is a hard hitting match so far.
Cesaro pulls out a 619!
Nice Celtic Cross into a backbreaker lead to a good near fall.
Sheamus has been working over Cesaro’s back the entire match, yet he's able to execute the Cesaro Swing. Awful psychology.
Oh crap! Cesaro just gave himself a self inflicted Piledriver after diving onto Sheamus through the ropes. Jeez, that was scary!
Nice near fall after The Neutralizer. The crowd thought it was over. This is awesome chants.
This was by far the best match of the series until the end. These two delivered in a big way to the point Cesaro nearly broke his neck. I'm disappointed with the end of the match. There should've been a payoff after seven matches against each other. The official result is a No Contest.
No Mercy commercial
A backstage segment with Charlotte and Baylee
Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho
The crowd doesn't seem into this match. Although, it's been the equivalent of a basic RAW match.
Jericho and Zayn are exchanging...slaps.
The match picked up towards the end leading to some decent near falls. I think the Codebreaker out of nowhere for the clean pin surprised the crowd because of the previous near falls. I thought it was a good match, but I was expecting more between these two. Hopefully this isn't the end of their feud.
A KFC promo.
Hispanic Heritage Month commercial.
A backstage segment with Kevin Owens, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley.
Charlotte vs. Baylee vs. Sasha Banks
Of course there's friction between Baylee and Sasha.
That was an awkward triple drop kick that didn't land on anyone.
Damn, Charlotte is impressive. She's been dominate the first part of the match.
For the record, I really dislike Triple Threat matches. If there's no DQ then why doesn't Dana Brooke just help Charlotte win?
Dana Brooke isn't very good yet at this point in her career.
Just because a match is long, it doesn't automatically make it good. I'm not not saying this was a bad match. I think it went too long and there were a few sloppy spots. While I expected Charlotte to retain, I'm disappointed Baylee took the pin.
Cut to the Kickoff Show panel for a recap of what we’ve seen so far tonight.
Rusev vs. Roman Reigns
Let's go Roman, Roman sucks chants.
A good back and forth match so far.
Reigns is taking it to Rusev outside the ring.
Rusev kicks out of the Superman Punch in a nice near fall.
With the Lana distraction I thought that was it. Good near fall. Reigns with the Spear, and there's Lana who pulls the referee out of the ring. She's sent to the back.
Reigns powers out of the accolade. Spears Rusev and gets the clean pin. And new…
I don't like the finish. The match was excellent. Both guys brought it tonight and there were some fantastic near falls. After Reigns powered out of the Accolade, I knew he was going over. The crowd did pop for the title change.
No Mercy commercial
WWE Ride Along commercial
Backstage segment with Rollins, Foley and Stephanie.
Hell in a Cell commercial
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins’ surgically repaired knee is the focal point of the match.
The Spanish announce table is exposed, that'll play a role later in the match.
Good back and forth match to start.
Botched gut buster by Owens. Rollins selling his ribs well.
And there's the table spot as Owens misses a Swanton crashing through it.
Here comes Jericho to distract Rollins. Nice near fall by Owens.
Rollins had the match won but Jericho put Owen’s leg on the bottom rope.
Ref bump. Rollins has KO pinned but the ref is out. Enter Jericho, who puts the boots to Rollins.
Nice suicide dives from Rollins. Stephanie sends another ref to the ring. Seth walks into a pop-up powerbomb, and still…
This was an OK match. A bit overbooked for my liking with the Jericho interference, the ref bump and Stephanie sending in another official. The fact that Triple H was nowhere to be found was a big disappointment.
This show wasn't as good as Backlash. I didn't agree with some of the booking decisions, especially the tag team match, and some of the matches didn't deliver the way I thought they would.
Overall Grade: C
WWE Clash of Champions is live from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN on Sunday night. The stakes are for many WWE Superstars as titles are on the line in five matches on the card.
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship
There's no doubt this will be the match of the night. Owens and Rollins are two of the best in the business. The big question coming into this match is what role does Triple H play. He hasn't been on TV since he helped Owens win the title, so it will interesting to see if there's more story development. In my opinion this is the the easiest match to predict because there's no way WWE is taking the belt off of Owens this soon. The only question is whether Triple H shows up or not.
Roman Reigns vs. Rusev for the WWE U.S. Championship
I've enjoyed this feud. Rusev and Reigns are both solid in the ring so I expect these two to deliver in a big way in what should be the blowoff to their feud. This is a tough match to predict. The U.S. Championship seems below Reigns, but a win could be the start of a slow rebuild back to the main event. Rusev has been excellent as the U.S. Champion. I think a loss by Rusev hurts him more than a Regins loss.
Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Baylee for the RAW Women's Championship
The RAW Women's Division is a mess. Baylee is already an afterthought. Sasha Banks needs rebuilding and Dana Brooke just isn't very good. Expect there to be friction between Banks and Baylee while Brooke interferes in the match.
New Day vs. Gallows & Anderson for the RAW Tag Team Championship
I'm going to spare you the rant about how WWE completely mishandled the booking of Gallows and Anderson. It's unfortunate that WWE has put Gallows and Anderson in a position to where they need the belts to get them over. It's a true indictment on WWE’s inability to plan and tell compelling stories. Such a waste. Anyway, I'll go with a meaningless title change here.
Winner: Gallows & Anderson
Cesaro vs. Sheamus to decide their Best of Seven Series
This feud has been better than I expected. The matches in their best of seven series have been entertaining. The winner of this will earn a shot at a Champioship in the future. I expect a hard hitting, quality match between these two. We’ve seen Sheamus at the top of the card and we all know how well that went, so I'm going with Cesaro to finally get his shot at the top.
Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho
I wish this match had more build up. I'm looking forward to this match as much as any match on the card simply because of the talent in the ring. I'm hoping this feud continues well past Clash of Champions so we can see two can do with more time to build their feud. Look for Jericho to score a tainted victory and the feud to continue.
TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Formerly as Manik in TNA, now TJ Perkins became the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion since 2007. He’ll take on veteran, Brian Kendrick. I couldn't be happier for Kendrick, a talented and well respected wrestler getting one last run with the company. He’ll serve as an excellent mentor to the young talent on the roster, but this is all about Perkins and showcasing him as the man in the Cruiserweight Division.
Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox
The Kickoff Match features RAW’s force of nature, Nia Jax as she takes on Alicia Fox. The former champion, Fox will look to stop the path of destruction caused by Jax. Unfortunately for her, it's not going to happen.
Enjoy the show!
WWE Backlash - September 11, 2016
Random Thoughts and Opinions
Naomi vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Bella vs. Natalya vs.Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss
I'm digging Alexa Bliss’ ode to The Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn.
Crickets for Carmella when playing to the crowd.
Can't help but notice Nikki Bella has to keep adjusting her bikini-bottom.
That was a quick tap by Naomi.
If you read my WWE Backlash Preview & Predictions column you know how I would've liked for this match to play out. That being said, I'm happy for Becky Lynch as I think she’ll be a great women's champion. Good post-match interview with a strong crowd reaction. This crowd was definitely ready for Becky to win the title.
Order of elimination: Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Carmella.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Bray Wyatt was shown backstage slamming a door into Randy Orton’s knee. Word leaked earlier in the day that Orton was dealing with lingering concussion symptoms so this looks like how they're getting out of his match against Wyatt tonight.
The Usos vs. The Hype Bros
I like the swagger the Usos have now as heels.
While the Hype Bros aren't my cup of tea, they work well together and make a good team. They have good, high energy matches.
That was a good match, but the obvious finish was the Usos winning so there wasn't much suspense. The right team won, which sets up a fun finals match between the Usos and Heath Slater & Rhyno.
Winner: The Usos
Renee Young interviewed Slater and Rhyno backstage.
Slater says he feels like $100,000 instead of a million dollars. Funny.
Apparently Slater has an upset stomach and has the runs. Please tell that doesn't play into the finish of their match against the Usos.
Commercial for Connor's Cure.
Commercial for the Cruiserweight Classic Finale.
Video package hyping Ziggler vs. Miz.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz
Before the match MIz is shown backstage telling Daniel Bryan the Smackdown brand needs him and the Intercontinental Championship so he is demanding a raise after he retains his title. I hope they're not foreshadowing a title change here.
Dolph starts the match hot with some good mat wrestling.
Good back and forth match so far. Miz showing a mean streak.
Miz mocks Daniel Bryan with the Yes gesture.
Miz selling a shoulder and Ziggler a knee. Great near fall after a DDT by Dolph. Another great near fall after a superkick from Dolph.
Maryse sprays something in Ziggler's eyes allowing Miz to deliver the Skull Crushing Finale and get the pin. That was an excellent match. Both guys worked hard and delivered their best match against each other to date. Dolph continues his losing streak but saves face due to the interference from Maryse.
Winner: The Miz
We now go to the Kickoff Show crew of Booker T, Jerry Lawler and Renee Young as they recap Corbin Baron's victory over Apollo Crews.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt comes out for his match against Randy Orton who doesn't make the ten count and is disqualified.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
As Bray is leaving the ring the ring announcer comes back on and announces Wyatt in a No-DQ Match against Kane.
Kane? Come on WWE at least give us someone new. (Yawn)
Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a No Disqualification Match
Bray strikes the Viper Pose on top of the announce table and delivers a Swanton onto Kane crashing through the table.
Kane counters Sister Abigail into a Chokeslam for a good near fall.
Both men are down in the ring and here comes Randy Orton limping to the ring. A RKO to Wyatt, then Kane follows with another Chokeslam and Bray loses yet again.
As disappointing as it is, I understand the Bray Wyatt loss.
No prediction made.
AJ Styles is shown backstage dressing down two jobbers.
A WWE Network commercial.
A No Mercy commercial.
The Usos vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
Let's go Slater chants as the match starts.
The Usos in control midway through the match by mostly working over Slater who continues looking for the hot-tag.
We want Rhyno chants.
There's the hot-tag. Rhyno gets the upper hand until he's thrown into the ring post, enter Slater who delivers a neck breaker and has the pin until he's dragged outside of the ring.
Once back in the ring Jimmy Uso delivers sweet chin music to Slater who then turns around and eats a Gore from Rhyno while the ref’s back is turned. Heath Slater covers for the 1-2-3. Big pop from the crowd.
Very enjoyable match with an excellent finishing sequence. I was expecting a run-in from Jordan, but I'll take what we got as I feel the right team went over.
After the match Slater says this is probably one of the biggest moments of his life, except for a couple of his kids being born. He finishes with,”Yo Buela, we’re getting a double wide baby!” Good stuff.
Winner: Heath Slater & Rhyno
Clash of Champions commercial.
A Styles vs.Ambrose video package.
AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Championship
A methodical pace to start the match.
AJ Styles, Let's go Ambrose chants.
Stat: the WWE World Championship has been defended on Backlash nine times, with the title changing hands four times.
The pace of the match picks up at the midway point.
Good match thus far.
Ambrose survives two Calf Crushers.
Nice catapult into the ring post by Ambrose, and a nice bump by Styles.
Dean Ambrose is kicking out of everything Styles throws at him.
This is awesome chants.
Ambrose fires up, ref bump, Styles with a low blow into the Styles Clash and new WWE World Champion...AJ Styles.
Winner: AJ Styles
The match wasn't on the level of Styles vs. Cena at SummerSlam, but it was good. The tainted victory means this isn't the end of the feud. Although Ambrose lost the match he can justify it by the low blow. I like the decision to put the belt on Styles.
I'd like see AJ get an extended run with the title. The problem is, because the Smackdown roster is so thin they're going to run out of contenders to compete for the belt. I'd like to see Styles hold the belt through all of 2017, but what I see happening is Styles dropping the belt to John Cena at WrestleMania. Hopefully I'm wrong because I'd rather see Cena face the Undertaker at WrestleMania.
Overall Grade: B
The Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, VA hosts WWE Backlash live on PPV and WWE Network on Sunday night. Backlash is the first Smackdown Live only PPV/Network Special since the roster extension, and the first Backlash event since 2009.
With only six advertised matches and three hours of TV time to fill I hope WWE gives each match time to develop and tell a compelling story. Instead, I fear we’re going to get a glorified edition of Smackdown Live. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add Baron Corbin vs. Kane and Apollo Crews against someone like Tyler Breeze.
Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles for the WWE World Championship
In my opinion AJ Styles is the best act, not only in WWE, but all of professional wrestling. Is WWE crazy enough to risk losing all the momentum Styles has going for himself after beating John Cena clean in the middle of the ring in the best match of the night at SummerSlam? Styles can have four-star matches with a broom stick he’s that damn good.
I don't know about you, but I just don't think Dean Ambrose’s character is WWE Champion material. No matter how hard I try, I can't get the image of Brock Lesnar throwing him around like a rag doll at WrestleMania out of my head. His feud and match with Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam left a lot to be desired as well. I’d like to see Dean go back to the no-nonsense character he had during his run with the Shield.
Winner: AJ Styles
The Usos vs. Hype Bros in a Smackdown Tag Team Finals Qualifying Match
With the Usos turning heel and taking out American Alpha by injuring Chad Gable’s knee makes this is an easy one to predict. The Usos executed their turn flawlessly and in doing so breathed new life into their act. Now, the Usos become the top heel tag team on the show. If only WWE would make the same decision with Roman Reigns….
Winner: The Usos
Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. the winners of the Qualifying Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos should be the team taking on the unlikely duo of Heath Slater and Rhyno. WWE is doing a fantastic job of laying this story out. A loss by Slater and Rhyno halts their momentum, but a loss by the newly turned Usos doesn't; especially if that loss is due to a Jason Jordan run-in. The crowds are behind Slater and Rhyno so they will win the tag team titles assuring Slater gets a contract. Meanwhile, the Usos will move on to a feud with American Alpha.
Winner: Heath Slater & Rhyno
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
This is a hard match to predict because both men are in desperate need of a win. After the brutal beating Orton suffered against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam he needs a strong win here in order to stay relevant in the fan’s eyes. On the other hand, with the rosters now split and thin on talent it would make sense for WWE to finally go all in on Wyatt. The problem is I've thought this way for the past two years when it comes to WWE and Bray. In fact, Wyatt’s last PPV win was in 2015 at Battleground. I don't think the story ends after Backlash so I'm going with Orton by DQ due to interference from Luke Harper, but ultimately Wyatt wins the feud.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship
The Miz turned in the promo of his career on Talking Smack; which like the Usos turning heel, breathed new life into his character. I'm not sold on this elevating Miz back to main event status, but I also don't see WWE taking the belt off of him while he rides the buzz generated from Talking Smack. Besides, I like the story WWE is telling with Ziggler. A loss here by Ziggler makes sense in continuing his downward spiral until he snaps and turns heel. Although these two have faced each other numerous times in the past, I expect them to have their best match yet.
Winner: The Miz
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi vs Becky Lynch vs. Natalya in a Six-Pack Match for the Smackdown Women's Championship
Becky Lynch is the most over woman on the Smackdown Live roster which will make her the popular pick, but she will she finally get over the hump and win the big one? Nikki Bella and Carmella will continue their feud after Backlash so I don’t see either of them winning. Alexa Bliss could be the dark horse, but she’s not ready yet. That leaves Natalya. I'd love to see Natalya win the title at Backlash, hold it until WrestleMania where she drops it to Becky Lynch. Will WWE go this route? I highly doubt it. Although I think it’s a mistake, I fully expect them to put the title on Becky.
My Winner: Natalya
Enjoy the show!
The Fighting Champion
Blogging about mixed martial arts, sports betting and providing winning sports picks.