Reviews, WWE NXT

NXT 2/3/17 Review.

Hey guys, it’s the Viking Bastard here stepping in for Mr. MacMainMan today to review last night’s episode of NXT. Let’s get into it shall we.

Match 1: Johnny Gargano vs Raul Mendoza.

This is Gargano’s return match and Mendoza’s NXT debut. You might recognise him from the CWC. Crowd are firmly behind Gargano as both men lock up. Nice bit of chain wrestling into a facelock, gator roll combo for a 1. Some lovely stuff from both men including a reverse leapfrog from Mendoza and a rolling enzuigiri from Gargano. Gargano works the arm but Mendoza fires off a wicked forearm and a dropkick for two. Mendoza keeps control with a nasty chop but gets caught with Johnny’s torpedo spear. Gargano fires up with running forearms and a big lariat. Mendoza reverses a second into a gamengiri. He tries a standing 450 but gets caught in the Gargano Escape for the tap out victory. As short as this was this match ruled! Great stuff from both men. 4/5.

We then get a promo for Bobby Roode and Asuka appearing tonight.

After the break there is a recap of Sanity and AOP’s fight last week and Ellering cuts a promo saying that his team accepts the match at Takeover.

Asuka’s out next (sadly not in action.) She talks about Takeover and her match with Ember Moon saying she beat Ember before and will do it again and that Moon is not ready for her, Moon comes out then looking like she’s ready to kill someone. She says that she’s been doing everything to get a rematch and knows that she’s ready to fight.  She then says that Asuka is not ready for her. Asuka offers her hand but psychs her out and slaps her across the face, Ember responds and takes Asuka down but Asuka fights back and dumps Moon out of the ring and stands tall with the belt but turns straight into the Eclipse! Holy shit the buildup to this match is awesome! I love Asuka being the untouchable, cocky champion and Ember being the only person to see through it and not back down.

We then go to Bobby Roode in a backstage area who talks about beating Roderick Strong. He then is asked about Drew McIntyre and says that next week he and  Drew will have a sit down. He goes to leave but is acosted by Roderick Strong. Roode escapes and Roddy is confronted by William Regal. Strong wants Roode but Regal can’t give it to him because he Takeover match is already set. I’m guessing this will become a Triple Threat down the line then.

Next up is a promo for the Street Profits who make their debut next week.

Match 2: Sonya Deville vs Jenna Van Bemmel.

So this was just a straight up squash to showcase Deville. Sonya uses her speed to outpace Van Bemmel and mocks her by putting her hands behind her back and daring her to hit her. Jenna goes off the ropes but is nailed with a lariat and a combination of knees and forearm strikes. Van Bemmel fights back though with an avalanche in the corner but gets caught with a triangle armbar for the instant tap out win. Not very impressed to be honest. 2/5.

Hideo Itami is being interviewed and he takes the microphone and comes to the ring demanding respect. He then goes on a rant in Japanese but gets interrupted by Aleister Black. Hideo refuses to back down though. He tries to sneak attack Black but is leveled by Black Mass!

Next week we will see Andrade Cien Almas vs No Way Jose.

Main Event: Aleister Black vs ?.

Holy fuck it’s Kyle O’Reilly! Red Dragon are both in NXT! O’Reilly and Black start with a fist bump (nice to see the code of honor upheld by the two former ROH stars.) Striking exchange by both men that leads to a clean break. Black gets a front facelock but O’Reilly quickly switches and locks in a triangle armbar but Black reverses into a Fujiwara Armbar. Snapmare headlock but Black goes straight into a hammerlock. O’Reilly tries for an O’Connor Roll but Black rockets off a forearm and a legsweep and goes into the Indian Sit pose. O’Reilly kips up but is met with a knee from Black. Back from the break and Black misses a double stomp only to catch O’Reilly with a sick roundhouse to the chest for two. O’Reilly takes control with a series of kicks, knees and slaps. Followed by a flying forearm into the Achilles lock. Both men slap each other in the face but O’Reilly is able to switch into the ankle lock followed by an arm wrench for a one. Black tries to guard but O’Reilly does a cartwheel into an attempt at the Arm-Ageddon. Black folds him up for two but O’Reilly stays in control with palm strikes. Both men get to their feet and exchange roundhouse kicks. Kyle takes back control with a kick to the arm and focuses his attack there. Back into it and O’Reilly is raining in forearms as Black shouts “Hit me.” Black fights back into it with a roundhouse, snap suplex and a knee to the shoulder for two. O’Reilly counters Black and continues to work on the arm. Black tries to fight out with knees and starts to mount a comeback ending in a jumping snap Hurricanrana! (Holy shit!) Black tries for Black Mass but is stopped with a standing Ankle Lock. O’Reilly hits an axe kick and a forearm and nearly gets the win after a long two count. O’Reilly keeps control with a front facelock. Both men trade boots and Black hits the unholy combo but O’Reilly hits another axe kick but Black pops up with Black Mass for the win. What a fucking match! Both men battered each other and this felt like a big fight. Neither man has anything to be ashamed of coming out of this. Welcome to NXT KO’R! 5/5.

So that was NXT for another week, overall a decent show with an amazing main event, nice to see more promos and people getting chances to talk to the crowd. Interested to see what they will do now with Itami.

Overall rating 7.5/10.

That has been the NXT review folks, I have been The Viking Bastard, Gary should be back next week until then, take it easy – VB.

Uncategorized

WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE REVIEW – 1/8/17

Welcome to Indie Wrestling Podcast’s review of this week’s edition of Smackdown Live. Two huge matches are set for this week: Kevin Owens has invoked his rematch clause for an opportunity against AJ Styles for the United States championship, and a dream match in the form of Shinsuke Nakamura versus John Cena headlines the show in a WWE championship number one contendership match.

What will come of these matches? What’s in store for the ladies of Smackdown Live? Will we get more insight as to who attacked Breezango? Read on to find out!

Match #1: AJ Styles def. Kevin Owens to retain the United States championship (10:20)

We kick off the show straight with a match, which is a nice change of pace. Allows the matches on the card more room to breathe.

The initial in-ring portion of this match was well paced – started slow, before moving up a gear. Styles went for a phenomenal forearm, but avoided it as the action spilled to the outside, with Owens ramming Styles into the barricade. Back in the ring, and Styles locked in the Calf Crusher several times. It appeared Owens would tap out, but he made it out every time.

The big talking point of this match will once again be the ending. There was a ref bump in this match that was badly botched. With the ref positioned behind Styles, Owens was to swing for the Phenomenal One, who would duck, leading to Owens striking the ref. Most of this went perfect, but due to the ref being slightly out of position, there was absolutely no contact between Owens and the ref, making for quite the ugly botch. Following this, Owens went for a pop-up powerbomb which Styles reversed into a pin. The dazed ref counted 3, despite KO’s right shoulder being up for the entire count. They packed a lot into a not-so-long match.

Backstage, and Daniel Bryan and Shane O’Mac are tending to ref Mike Chioda, whilst also stating he made a bad call. KO walks in and is losing it with Shane McMahon about the finish to his earlier match. Shane agrees he has a valid claim to another match for the US title. Owens complains about wanting a competent referee for the match. Daniel Bryan butts in, and says he has a ref, and that it will be Shane. Owens goes even crazier. Shane then decides that Owens will only get his rematch, if Shane is the guest referee. Owens agrees and storms off. Infuriated Owens is the best kind of Owens.

Back in the arena, and we hear Big E’s pre-match mic shtick, but it’s very off, saying “clap your hands for your buster up tag champs”. It turns out it was the Uso’s mocking the New Day. The cut a promo, beginning “What did you expect?”, running down the New Day. They claim they’ll take their catchphrases and their titles, then end with an “Uso’s Rock” chant. Uso’s have been on fire of late.

The Fashion Files

This week’s edition of the Fashion Files has a Twin Peaks theme. We cut to Breeze in his office, as he makes a voice recording while looking at his notice board. He asks 2 questions: “Who kidnapped Fandango?”, and “Why didn’t I just call you instead of recording this?”. Breeze reached for a coffee, but it’s thick and lumpy. As he looks up, Fandango appears as an illusion. Konnor and Victor also emerge, as Konnor pours syrup onto a log, and Victor gives Fandango a rose. An evil laugh bellows throughout the room, as Breeze can no longer take the metaphors. He wakes up dazed, and records another message saying he knows who kidnapped Fandango. Not the best Fashion Files segment, but entertaining nonetheless.

Match #2: Aidan English def. Sami Zayn (1:58)

Pre-match, The Mozart of Mayhem “wowed” the audience with another of his attempts at singing. There wasn’t much meat to the match, as English defeated Zayn with a roll-up in under 2 minutes.

Yes, you read that right. English appears to be getting a bit of a push, which isn’t necessarily the worst thing. It’s hard to see him being a big draw, but could fit well into a solid mid-card heel role. He’s been getting quite good heat of late. He could do with new music, however. On the other hand, plenty of people will be unhappy with Zayn losing these types of matches, especially in these circumstances. This writer feels it’s all part of the bigger picture for Zayn, though.

After the match, Mike and Maria Kannelis emerged, stating they are in love and that they love that Zayn just lost. Pointless isn’t a strong enough word.

Match #3: Naomi and Becky Lynch def. Carmella and Natalya (4:52)

Ms. Money in the Bank, and the number one contender to the Smackdown Women’s championship get the jobber’s entrance, to this writer’s utter bemusement.

This match underwhelmed, as it never really got into a high gear. Shame, given the level of talent involved. Towards the end, The Queen of Harts had Naomi locked into a sharpshooter, but Naomi made a rope break. While in the corner, to Natalya’s surprise and dismay, Carmella tagged herself in. After transitioning Carmella’s Code of Silence into a Rings of Saturn, Carmella was forced to tap out.

Backstage segment with Jinder Mahal. He claims he doesn’t care who wins tonight’s number one contendership match, as he will watch Cena vs. Nakamura from his personal skybox. The only thing he feels is xenophobia whenever he walks down the street. He believes no one can end his reign, as he always takes down our heroes. The skybox move should be used slightly more frequently, but not too much more frequently. It’s very different, and feels like a big deal when someone employs it.

Match #4: Rusev def. Chad Gable (6:15)

Gable was allowed to show off his technical prowess and incredible strength in a way that we haven’t yet seen from him on the main roster. Despite the big storyline Jason Jordan has been thrown into, Gable has all the potential to be a big star on his own. It was interesting to note that Gable is now using a version Eddie Guerrero’s “Three Amigos”, but he uses overhead no-release belly-to-belly suplexes. That should prove to be a popular weapon in his arsenal. During the match, Gable pulled out a moonsault and an ankle lock. Coincidence?

Gable was all over Rusev for the majority of the match, but Rusev had an answer for everything thrown at him. Rusev broke an ankle lock, forcing Gable out of the ring. When he re-entered, he was met with a kick to the jaw, and an Accolade, leading to a submission victory for Rusev.

This match was a perfect example of how to make 2 superstars look good coming out of a match, even with one winning clean. It was highly competitive, with either superstar looking like they could come out on top throughout.

Post-match, Rusev complains about a lack of competition, stating Cena didn’t beat him in the ring. Orton comes out, and despite people calling him bland or boring, he is extremely popular with the crowd. Randy strolls down to the announce tables, and says if he were Rusev, he wouldn’t want for Orton to get into the ring either. As Orton gets into the ring, Rusev begins trash-talking in Bulgarian, when he goes to attack Orton, who avoids the attempt and lays him out with an RKO.

We’re getting Orton vs Rusev at Summerslam, which should be fantastic. This is the level of competition Rusev should be facing if he wants to propel himself up the card. Let’s hope Randy does the honours at Summerslam.

It’s announced that next week on Smackdown, Carmella will take on Naomi in non-title action, as per a request of hers following her tap out earlier in the show.

Match #5: Shinsuke Nakamura def. John Cena (10:16)

As the match opens, we get shots of Mahal from his skybox. The crowd is electric as the bell rings. Some mind games played by both at the beginning, appropriate given those involved. Nakamura displays some athleticism, he escapes some wristlocks. The mind games transition to chain wrestling, as we head into the break.

As we come back from the break, Nakamura does a kip-up followed by some stiff kicks to Cena’s chest, which riles up the crowd. Cena takes the advantage. He goes for the 5 knuckle shuffle, but Nakamura counters into a cross armbreaker. Cena counters by powering up Nakamura from the ground, hitting an AA but failed to put his opponent away. Nakamura went for a Kinshaha, but Cena hit a take down and put Nakamura into an STF, but he forced a break.

At the end, Cena hit an AA, then rolled through to hit another. This was countered by a Nakamura reverse suplex. Cena took a nasty bump here, landing on the back of his neck. A Kinshasa ended the match, to set up Jinder Mahal vs. Shinsuka Nakamura for the WWE championship at Summerslam. If you said that would be the Summerslam WWE title match one week before Wrestlemania, you’d be called crazy.

This edition of Smackdown was much better than in past weeks. Gable, Nakamura, and Owens all got chances to shine, as Smackdown presented a good mixture of in-ring action and storyline development towards Summerslam. Long may it continue

Thanks for reading my review!

Conor Doran

Lucha Underground, Reviews

Lucha Underground – 27/7/17 review.

Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this weeks Lucha Underground review, as always I am the Viking Bastard here for Indie Wrestling Pod, let’s get straight into it as the Cueto Cup rolls on and we also have a huge main event.

We start with a recap of the Cup and the feuds between Drago and Aerostar,  Rey Mysterio and Johnny Mundo and Son of Havoc vs Son of Madness, I thought this was a good way to explain the big feuds and goings on for people that might have missed a few episodes. Striker and Vampiro introduce us to the show and off we go.

Match 1: The Mack vs Texano.

Texano has his own fan section a la Cesaro in the WWE. They start with a handshake which I like to see. Chain wrestling and both men trade shoulder blocks,  a nice display of athleticism ending in a lovely armdrag from the Mack. Both men trade pins and have a standoff. Another handshake and off we go again. The Mack runs off the ropes and hits a massive dropkick sending Texano to the outside and follows it up with a huge dive to the outside. Mack keeps control working on Texano’s back with knees and a huge dropkick for a two count. Mack hits a series of stinging chops in the corner but Texano reverses Mack with an elbow and a crossbody from the corner for two. Texano hits some chops of his own but his attempt at a springboard is met with a uppercut but Mack is dragged out of the ring, he reverses and hits a sick backbreaker on the outside. Texano gets in the ring at 8 but the referee breaks the count to allow the match to continue. Texano’s lariat attempt is countered with a t-bone suplex followed by a belly to belly for another near fall. Famous B gets in the ring and hits Mack with a water pistol, Mack hits B with a stunner but eats a powerbomb from Texano for the win and the advancement to the finals. This was a good match until the end, wasn’t a big fan of the interference to end it but ah well, Texano moves to the quarter finals 3/5.

We then get a video in a biker bar with Son of Madness and Son of Havoc. Madness wants Havoc to rejoin the biker gang but he refuses saying he left for a reason. Madness leaves and Havoc smashes a glass off of the wall.

Next is a weird promo for the Rabbit Tribe and Mascarita Sagrada, Sagrada leaves them a present that they rip into and London laughs like a maniac.  What the fuck was this?

Match 2: Drago (With Kobra Moon) vs Pentagon Dark.

This is a first time ever match. Both men take time to size each other up before beginning with a nice bit of chain wrestling. Both men hit quick pins and have a standoff, crowd are firmly behind Pentagon who takes Drago to the mat with a huge kick. Pentagon goes to the floor and Drago follows him out with a huge twisting plancha and tosses Dark into the chain wall. Both men enter the ring again and the crowd come alive with the Cero Miedo chants. Pentagon reverses Drago and hits a huge lariat into the corner followed by a massive corner belly to belly for a two. Drago hits a standing Frankensteiner but only gets a two. We see that Drago’s right arm is taped as Pentagon takes him down with a dropkick to the stomach but only garners a two count. Kobra Moon begins to shout orders at Drago. Dark goes for the Pentagon Driver but Drago reverses it with an armdrag and hits a blockbuster but again is unable to put Pentagon away. Drago springs off the rope but gets caught and hit with a nasty No Fear Driver for two. Pentagon hits a nasty sounding chop in the corner but gets caught and hit with a arm trapped DDT for another two. Drago seats Pentagon up top and hits a super Frankensteiner followed by a big splash but again Pentagon kicks out. Pentagon hits a Canadian Destroyer by jumping off of the second rope onto Drago but can’t keep him down for three. Pentagon then hits the Fear Factor Package Piledriver and finally gets the win to move on to the quarter finals. After the match Pentagon goes for the arm breaker on Drago but is distracted by Moon who he nails with an incredible superkick. Aerostar saves Drago but is attacked and planted by Drago and gets his arm broken by Pentagon.  This match ruled, pure Lucha action from two veterans of the sport, I enjoyed every minute of it. Really enjoyed the chaotic afters to. 4/5.

Then we see Katrina and Pentagon, Katrina says that Pentagon took something from Mil Muertes and if Pentagon advances Mil will be waiting to end him.

Main Event: PJ Black vs Rey Mysterio Jr.

This is Rey’s first match back from injury following Ultima Lucha. Both men start off quick with exchanges and fast pins followed by a standoff. Rey sends PJ to the outside but dodges Rey’s dive and catches him in a Torture Rack and dumps him on the floor. PJ hits a top rope punch but only gets a two. He then locks Rey in a double chickenwing submission working on Rey’s shoulders but Rey fights out. PJ blocks the 619 and hits a sick superkick for two. Rey counters PJ with a big dropkick as the crowd come alive for Mysterio. Both men exchange strikes on their knees, fighting back to a standing position and using kicks. Black takes advantage but decides to taunt, Rey takes advantage with kicks and dumps PJ to the floor following him with a splash. Rey hits the West Coast Pop and a dropkick for another two. Rey hits a tilt a whirl headscissors to the corner but PJ catches him on the top and hangs his leg in the turnbuckle followed by a kick to the knee but Rey gets out at 1. PJ takes Rey down and goes to the top. Rey gets up and crotches Black followed by an attempted Frankensteiner that PJ reverses into a Styles Clash for two. PJ gives the crowd the double middle finger but Rey hits a spinning DDT inadvertently taking out Marty Elias. Johnny Mundo enters the ring and attacks Rey. Mundo and Black lift Rey for a suplex and Jack Evans hits a combination superkick. Dragon Azteca comes out and chases down Mundo but is pulled from the ring by Taya. Mundo places PJ over Rey but Rey kicks out after a long 2. The crowd chant “this is awesome” as Black tries the Razor’s Edge but is reversed and Rey hits the 619 and a Frog Splash for the win. This match started off pretty slow but once it got going it was really good. I liked how all the parties and allies got involved. Rey really had to fight to win and he is still awesome. 4.5/5.

Afterwards Rey cuts a Spanglish promo on Mundo saying that he can’t run all the time and in 4 weeks Rey will see him in the ring and make history with his people when he becomes champion. He says Mundo will be leaving with a 619 and celebrates with the fans.

So that’s it for another week of Lucha action, overall it was another good episode with an incredibly good main event, I can’t wait for next week and the final semi-final match in the Cueto Cup. My overall rating for this show would be 7.5/10.

I have been the Viking Bastard this has been the Lucha Underground review for IWP and I shall see you in the Temple next week.

 

Uncategorized, WWE NXT

NXT 27-7-17

Hello and welcome to another NXT review big main event coming up so lets get straight into it shall we.

 

Ember Moon def Lei’d Tapa

So I did some research on this Lei’d Tapa and she worked for GFW and had a short TNA run. Never really heard of her to be honest and She is the niece of The Barbarian which is nice for her. Tapa attacks with a lariat at the bell and tosses Moon across the ring. Headbutts by Tapa follow and she takes some time to celebrate. Moon battles back, hits the tornado suplex and followed with the dropkick, superkick and forearm smash. The eclipse followed Moon picks up the win. N/A

Short and sweet in this one moon wins keeps her going for Brooklyn and as for Lei’d not much she could do with the time. 

 

After the match Moon demands a rematch with Asuka at Takeover: Back to Brooklyn again, for the third time. She will give Asuka all the competition she desires. She is ready to defeat the undefeated.

 

Sanity interrupts the Authors of Pain’s scheduled We are going to kick your fucking ass match. They briefly brawl and the Authors get the upper hand, and Nikki Cross as to hold Kilian Dane back because the big nasty bastard wanted more of the AOP.

 

No Way Jose arrived at the NXT Arena and was confronted by Zelina She informs Jose that he made a mistake and got into something he has no business being involved in. Zelina proclaims that Jose lit a fire under Almas’ ass and that Jose won’t be dancing out of it.

The Velveteen Dream def Cezar Bononi 

Dream attacks with knees and strikes to begin. He beats down Bononi in the corner, but Bononi fires back with kicks and rights. The atomic drop and drop kick follow. The Michinoku driver follows for 2. Dream escapes a pop up powerslam, and hits the Finlay roll and finishes Bononi with the top rope elbow drop and that is all she wrote. N/A

Again a very short match I would like to see The Velveteen Dream get more time in the ring to see what he is like besides 2 or 3 minute squashes. He looks good but he needs more time in the ring. 

 

After the match The Velveteen Dream is interviewed, but is not impressed with the interviewer. He will not give an interview in front of the “ugly NXT universe.”

William Regal announces that Ember Moon will in fact get her rematch with Asuka at Takeover: Back to Brooklyn.

Here’s Drew He thanks those who have supported him since the beginning, and knows that nothing is owed to him and that he has to earn what he wants. He was once the chosen one, and he expected things to be given to him but he was blinded and entitled. He failed by not working hard. But now he feels he’s the hardest working man in the world now, and hates Roode’ entitled attitude. This isn’t Roode’s NXT, because “you aren’t NXT… WE ARE NXT!” good old babyface DRew bless.

 

Kassius Ohno def Hideo Itami via DQ

They lock up and Ohno looks to work the arm and ground Itami. Itami rolls out, and then attacks with kicks and they trade forearms. Ohno lays in chops, but fires away with kicks again. Ohno takes him down, hitting the basement dropkick and covering for 2. Ohno then kicks Itami on the face, but Itami cuts him off in the ropes, works him over and hits the guillotine leg drop as Ohno was trapped in the ropes. Post break, and Itami takes control with kicks and a knee drop, covering for 2. More kicks by Itami follow, the neck breaker connects and Itami covers for 2. He then grounds Ohno with a chinlock. Itami then lays in more kicks, controlling with ease. Ohno fights to his feet, lays in some chops. Itami hits the tornado neck snap, but then jumps off the top into chops by Ohno. Ohno runs through a kick, hitting kicks, knees and a shining wizard. Ohno hits the cyclone kick and that gets 2. The senton follows for another 2. Itami avoids the corner attack, hits the fisherman’s suplex and hits the corner dropkick to a downed Ohno. Itami looks for the GTS, Ohno escapes and as he goes for the rolling elbow, Itami kicked him square in the BALLS bad boy Hideo bad boy. 2.5/5

This was a fine tv match setting up a bigger payoff at Brooklyn which is fine with me this and finally we get heel Hideo hopefully this can lift towards the title maybe. 

After the match Itami beats down Ohno in the corner.  Itami then hits a GTS, and then another and Ohno is down. Itami teases leaving, but returns, hitting Ohno with the GTS on the steps.

Overall thoughts

Decent show building up towards Brooklyn which is good the show is looking good as always highlights were the main event and the heel turn of Hideo and you could say the promo by Drew as well. 

Uncategorized

Smackdown Live Review 25/07/17

Welcome to Indie Wrestling Podcast’s review of this week’s edition of Smackdown Live. Tonight we expect fallout from an underwhelming and disappointing Battleground, as WWE builds the Smackdown side of the upcoming Summerslam card. After a controversial finish at Battleground, what will be the fate of the United States championship? Will we find out who has been attacking Breezango? Who will step up to challenge Jinder Mahal? Read on to find out all.

Opening Segment

Newly crowned US champion Kevin Owens makes his entrance in formal wear to a mixed but mostly negative reaction from the crowd. He talks about being a 3-time champion now, and brags about being the best. He mentions the US open challenge, and claims it will be held “Nnnnnext week”, to a chorus of boos after teasing the fans. Owens says the “hicks” in Richmond, Virginia don’t deserve to see him defend his title. AJ Styles emerges, claiming he wants his rematch and wants it tonight. The crowd is really good tonight. Owens reiterates that he won’t be defending his title tonight. They fail to mention the finish to the Battleground match, suggesting it may well have been botched.

Holy Sh*t! Chris Jericho has returned! The crowd goes absolutely nuts for Y2J!

“It’s the return of Jericho. Welcome back mannnnn!” KO questions why Y2J is here, and Jericho does the “quiet” shitck. Jericho claims he is back for his mandatory rematch, but AJ states he’s next in line for a title shot. Jericho explains how he once “punched [a guy] in the face and put him in a walls of Jericho in aisle 7 in front of the canned corn” for cutting in line in a supermarket. Jericho adds Styles to the list, and as KO scurries off Jericho calls him a stupid idiot.

Shane O’Mac emerges, announcing that tonight’s main event will be a triple threat for the US title! Great opening segment.

Match #1: Shinsuke Nakamura def. Baron Corbin

This was far superior to their match at Battleground. Corbin worked a particularly nasty style. Slow, methodical, and cunning. Corbin attempted to hit the reverse kick low blow as he did at Battleground, but in a nice spot of continuity and awareness, Nakamura avoided it. After hitting Corbin with a nasty knee to the back of the head, he finished off Corbin with a Kinshasa for the win. As this feud now appears to be over, where this leaves Corbin going forward, and in particular for Summerslam, remains to be seen.

Backstage segment between Naomi and Natalya

Natalya claims Naomi is a bad champion, and has made a mockery of the title by making it look like a toy. Naomi claims Nattie will be “blinded by the glow”. Carmella drops by to remind Naomi to her and her Money in the Bank contract are just “looking to the future”.

Match #2: Charlotte and Becky Lynch def. Tamina and Lana

They really need to do some character work with Tamina, she gets an absolutely dead reaction every night. Change her music, at least.

The heels got the early advantage of Becky. Lana again looked very out of her depth here, she really needed more seasoning before getting in the ring.

The ending came as Charlotte was legal and Lana made a blind tag to Tamina. The Queen ducked a Lana clothesline, cleared Tamina from the ring and hit the Ravishing Russian with a big boot for the win. Post-match, Tamina was furious with Lana, her kayfabe inexperience proving to be their downfall in this match.

Jinder Mahal demands a Summerslam opponent

Jinder enters to unreal heel heat. He’s getting better reactions every single week.

Mahal claims he destroyed Ortons legacy, and that Orton underestimated him. He demands to find out his Summerslam opponent, and begins speaking to “his people in his language”, which gets a lot of heat.

Who emerges only the face that runs the place, John Cena, to a thunderous ovation. We can’t say this wasn’t expected. Jinder claims he knows what Cena was going to say, such as his amount of title reigns and that Mahal doesn’t deserve to be champion. Cena contradicts this, as he congratulates Mahal. He respects Mahal for being in such good shape, and the WWE title means so much to him that he’ll do anything to keep it.

Cena gives Jinder a heads up, saying that at Summerslam he is facing “Supercena”. He claims he will walk out a 17-time champion, to a mixed reaction. Short, sweet and to the point.

General manager Daniel Bryan enters the fray, saying that Cena doesn’t make the matches, he and Shane do. So, he decides that next week, John Cena will face Shinsuke Nakamura for the number one contendership at Summerslam. Wow! Are ratings really that bad, or are they just trying to improve the product in general?

Backstage segment with Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon

KO complains about how the title match tonight is unfair, and claims he dislikes the commissioner. Shane expresses similar feelings towards Owens, and says he doesn’t care who is US champion, as long as it is defended on Smackdown Live.

Sami Zayn & Tye Dillinger def. Mike Kanellis & Aidan English

English serenades the crowd prior to the match, as he introduces his partner. The Maestro of Mayhem is actually getting very good heat lately. It could be because he is feuding with Dillinger, but much credit must go to himself. He could prove to be a solid mid-card heel for years to come.

Sidenote: The Kanellis’s theme is absolutely awesome. They are so self-consumed within their own bubble of affection.\

The heels isolated Zayn in the early going, as the fans in attendance were firmly behind the babyfaces. Dillinger got the hot tag and went to work on Kanellis. After a brief exchange, Zayn tagged himself in and scored the win off a Helluva Kick. “Love is dead”, proclaimed JBL after the bell rang.

New Day make an appearance

Well, they did, albeit brief and unrewarding. Big E was doing his voiceover to introduce his team, when it was cut mid-way through. Fans were confused for a moment, until we saw the Uso’s Clobbering Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston. They tossed Kofi into the edge of one of the LED boards, as they laid waste to the New Day. A segement doesn’t need to be long to be effective, and this was a perfect example of that.

AJ Styles def. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens to become new the United States champion

It was billed as one of the biggest main events in Smackdown history, and didn’t disappoint.

Jericho and Styles jointly targeted Owens right out of the gate, after which Jericho and Styles went through a series of quick pin attempts. Styles was cleared from the ring, which left just Owens and Y2J to tear into each other. At one point, in a great spot, Styles had Owens trapped in the Calf Crusher and it appeared he would tap, but Jericho managed to break it up with a Lionsault. The Phenomenal One hit Y2J with a springboard 450 splash, but KO cleared him from the ring for the pin attempt, but Jericho kicked out.

Y2J got Styles into a Walls of Jericho, but broke it as KO was oncoming. He got Owens in position for one also, but instead flung him into Styles. He got Owens into the Walls, with with some savy ring awareness, broke it to hit Styles with a Codebreaker. After an exchange which left all 3 men were grounded, the fans went crazy.

Styles set u for a springboard move, but Jericho knocked him off in a nasty-looking spot with a springboard kick of his own, after which he walked directly into a Superkick from Owens. KO then hit a Pop-up Powerbomb, but Y2J kicked out.

The ending came when KO hit a Frog Splash on Jericho, got to a 2-count, but Styles reappeared, pulled Owens off, and got the pin himself.

After the match, Owens complained that this match wasn’t fair in the first place, and that he’ll get his rematch on Smackdown next week.

This exactly the kind of show Smackdown needed to rebound after a poor edition of Battleground. Good storyline development, great in-ring action, big announcements and surprise returns was the injection of energy needed into the brand. Cena versus Nakamura next week will be absolutely huge, and will surely be one of the best TV matches this year.

Thanks for reading my review!

Conor Doran

 

Blog, News, Uncategorized

WWE and the future of UK PPVs

SS92SummerSlam 1992 was hosted by none other than Wembley Stadium in London. In front of 80,000 onlookers, WWE had produced a brilliant show with a huge card and a very strong roster on show.

Since then UK fans haven’t been lucky enough to get a PPV on the land. However we have had many RAW and Smackdown’s on show as well as many Live shows throughout the years. As well as the weekly and house shows, WWE produced the WWE UK tournament which was presented in Blackpool, England. The show had’t let anyone down with the top talents from the British and Irish aisles. Since the UK tournament and the defence of the title where Pete Dunne beat Tyler Bate, more questions have been brewing regarding the UK hosting another PPV.

Triple H has before stated the following:

I think that is a goal of WWE to be here in that way. It’s a very difficult process with PPV schedules and coming to the UK or globally to perform live with a live TV component, following that up with RAW and SmackDown. It’s a massive undertaking, trying to co-ordinate all that. There were 5 shows going on tonight under WWE. We have somewhere between 18 to 21 trailer trucks that come to our events, it’s tough to get them over the ocean. Is it a goal? Yes and I think tonight was one step closer to that goal becoming a reality.

Stephanie Mcmahon was asked about the possibility of bringing a PPV back to England:

The UK fans are pretty loud, pretty rowdy in a great way, and you know we are constantly evaluating that. Personally I would love to see it. I know it would be incredible.

 

So, there is hope, but the question will always remain until the UK get another show.

Thanks for reading

Richard McCarthy

News, Potential Spoilers

Rumour Mill: The Great Khali

As you’ve more than likely seen, The Great Khali made his return to WWE television this past Sunday on the Battleground PPV. As a result of the giants return, he helped Jinder Mahal retain the WWE Championship in the Punjabi Prison match. Khali stopped the challenger (Randy Orton) from escaping the outer cage.

Many rumours are floating around regarding The Great Khali and this stint within the WWE. However it seems that he’ll not be here for the long haul. Apparently, WWE aren’t too happy with the reaction regarding Jinder in India. Therefor they had Khali to side with him due to the respect that he hold in his native country. It seems that WWE have a lot of trust with Jinder with him beating Orton numerous times now and keeping the prestigious gold belt.

Only time will tell regarding both The Great Khali’s time in WWE and Jinders championship reign.

 

Richard McCarthy

Reviews, WWE Raw

RAW Review 25/07/17

Tonight the Drifter is in action and he might break another guitar so nothing else matters. Oh, we’ve also Seth and Dean vs The Miztourage, Bayley vs Sasha and an inevitable triple threat announcement for Braun, Joe and Roman. Let’s do this.

Video recap of Joe/Roman with the Braun Strowman interference from last week.

Commentators welcome us to the show and Kurt Angle comes out. Talks about revealing Jason Jordan as his son last week and says that JJ is making his in-ring debut tonight but won’t be getting any special treatment. Kurt goes to reveal who the #1 contender for Brock at SummerSlam but Braun interrupts him and rightly points out that he won at GBOF and says he doesn’t fear Brock Lesnar, Brock Lesnar fears him.

Joe interrupts and says he should be #1 contender citing the only reason he’s not kicking Braun’s teeth out is the only thing Braun did last week was delay him beating Roman for the third time straight. Joe says Braun and Roman have a lot to settle and he should be #1 contender.

Roman’s music hits and he walks down to the ring. Does he think he should be #1 contender? Shockingly yes. Roman runs down his list of accomplishments and goes for Braun Strowman but Angle gets in between them.

Kurt announces a Fatal-4-Way for the Universal title at SummerSlam. It’s True.

Joe stops his music and screams that it should be one-on-one him vs Brock. Strowman says he doesn’t care how many people are in the match “He just cares about piling bodies.” Awesome. Roman says “Man, shut up” and punches Braun in the face, also cool. The brawl starts and Joe and Roman manage to throw Braun over the guard rail but Braun comes back and beats them both down. Strowman murders all of the rent-a-cops including hip-tossing one out of the ring to the floor completely by-passing the ropes. Joe tries to lock Braun in the Coquina Clutch but the locker room empties and tries to break them up. Roman spears Braun in the confusion and starts throwing wrestlers out. Joe is held back by about 6 guys outside as Strowman hits Roman with the Running Powerslam to end things.

Commentators hype all the matches announced last week as well as Big Cass vs Enzo. Drifter vs Balor No-DQ is next.

Elias sings his song and can barely contain his delight as the crow caterwaul in disapproval Balor’s music interrupts him. Finn looks murderous but still does his full entrance.

Match #1) Elias Samson def. Finn Balor in a no-DQ match (18:26)

Balor and Elias have a basic lightly boring brawl. Samson works Balor’s bad shoulder for a long time including a very dodgy looking shoulder breaker. Balor makes his comeback and pastes Elias on the apron before hitting an apron kick laying him out with chair shots and hitting the Coup de Grace. Before Balor can make the cover Bray Wyatt appears and hits him with Sister Abigail. Samson crawls over to get the pin.

At no point was it even teased that Elias might hit Balor with the guitar again and that is a damn waste. Jason Jordan is up next.

Recap of the big reveal last week and Renee is in a backstage interview with Kurt. Kurt is confident in Jason and Emma interrupts the interview asks what she has to do to get noticed. Says maybe she should start dating Jason. Kurt makes Emma vs Nia Jax for later tonight. Big Show and Enzo backstage Enzo says he doesn’t have a plan and doesn’t need one. And now suddenly Enzo/Cass is next instead of the JJ match.

Enzo cuts a promo says he’s fuelled by passion and ignited by the people. Mixes his metaphors something fierce and calls Cass SAWFT.

Match #2) Big Cass def. Enzo Amore (03:36)

Enzo has a couple little flurries to start but Cass murders him with throws and wears him down in the corners. Cass pins him after the Big Boot.

Cass wants to continue the beatdown after the match but Big Show comes out. Cass catches Show with a Big Boot as he comes in and hits 4 Empire Elbows. Cass stomps on Show for a while before raising his hand and leaving.

Hype for Seth/Dean vs The Miztourage and Sasha vs Bayley. Renee interviews Alexa Bliss. Bliss isn’t worried about SummerSlam says tonight “Team Gag Reflex” will explode. Sasha wouldn’t be able handle losing to Bayley and Bayley won’t be able to handle losing to Sasha tonight the only winner is Alexa Bliss. Good promo.

Match #3) Nia Jax def. Emma (01:23)

Nia destroys Emma and pins her following a running flip senton.

Interview with Akira Tozawa. Recap of RAW and 205 Live last week. Titus interrupts and says he’s had Ariya Daivari vs Tozawa cancelled. Tozawa blows up and says he’s going to the ring. Tozawa marches down with Titus in tow trying to dissuade him. Tozawa pushes Titus away. Tozawa demands Daivari come out and face him like a man. Neville comes out. Says Tozawa’s injured shoulder and shattered confidence are all down to him. Calls Tozawa pathetic, a joke and nothing more than a shell of his former- Before getting smacked in the face. Tozawa hits the Senton on Neville and Daivari comes out and attacks him and Neville. Daivari stands tall and makes the belt motion.

Bayley and Sasha say nothing’s going to ruin their friendship but both make it clear they want to be Women’s champion.

Renee interviews Jason Jordan. Jordan will wrestle Curt Hawkins tonight, he knows all eyes are on him. Says his hero is his father and that his dream has come true.

Seth and Dean backstage. They squabble about making a gameplan for tonight’s match. Dean says Seth has to worry about 3 guys, he has to worry about 4.

Alexa comes out to do commentary.

Match #4) Bayley def. Sasha Banks to determine the #1 contender for the RAW Women’s Championship (12:11)

Bayley and Sasha had the best TV match I’ve seen in weeks, nothing on their Takeover matches but still a really fun back-and-forth. Bayley verses Sasha’s pin off the frog splash to pick up the 1-2-3.

Alexa and Bayley stare down in the ring to send us to break.

Renee interviews Curt Hawkins. He says he doesn’t care about JJ, he’s going to beat him and ruin his debut, the everyone will be talking about Curt Hawkins.

Another very sweet Special Olympics video package.

Jordan keeps the American Alpha theme with new American flag ‘Tron graphics. Crowd is silent.

Match #5) Jason Jordan vs Curt Hawkins (01:43)

Curt Hawkins didn’t know Jordan’s shoulder block into belly-to-belly move. JJ throws Hawkins around and then pins him with a lifting neckbreaker.

Crowd reacted a bit when Jordan was in the ring but nothing special.

Recap of Revival beating the Hardys. In-ring Charly interview with the Revival. Revival excuse Charly and conduct their own interview. They’re the best tag team on the planet. The Club interrupt, say DC is a good brother town.They did everything the Revival did first including being bald. All they see is a couple of top NEEEEERDS.

Match #6) The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) def. The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) (08:35)

Okay exchange between the two teams, wrestled at half speed though. Hardys come out halfway through the match and The Revival get the distraction win with a shatter Machine on Karl Anderson.

Hardys attack Revival after the match but Dash and Dawson escape before Jeff can hit a Swanton.

Backstage with Miz and the Miztourage. Miz delivers a motivational speech where he calls Seth & Dean a bad reboot and box-office-bombs. Lovely stuff.

Commentators hype a Table for 3 after RAW tonight as well as Miz TV with Jason Jordan and Braun vs Joe vs Roman in a triple threat for next week’s RAW.

Match #7) Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose def. The Miztourage (The Miz, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) w/Maryse in a Handicap match (17:20)

A quality TV main event. Well-heated when Seth, Dean or Miz were in there crowd not quite ready for main event Bo and Curtis yet. Seth and Dean worked together like they’d never been apart. Last few minutes were fast fun with a great near-fall when Seth broke up Miz’s pin on Dean following the Skull-Crushing Finale. Dean pins Miz with Dirty Deeds following Seth’s Springboard Knee.

Seth offers Dean the Shield fist bump, but Dean just rolls out of the ring and leaves Seth hanging. Goodnight everybody.

A good episode of RAW. Dipped massively between Sasha/Bayley and the main event and the in-ring quality was low barring those two aforementioned matches but RAW delivered in other departments. We had sensible progression for almost every storyline and nothing about the show was cringe-worthy. Jason Jordan isn’t even slightly over yet but give him time. Maybe I’m in a good mood lately but I’ve enjoyed RAW two weeks in a row now and I’m actually looking forward to next week, I can’t say how appreciative I am that they’ve started announcing things for the show a week in advance again.

See you next week where I’m bound to be slightly disappointed because my boy Curtis Axel won’t be in the main event.

Written with love by Mr Ross

Blog

Fantasy Booking: Rey’s Reign

Rey Mysterio’s first ever world title reign is inarguably one of the worst in WWE history.

The reign was built on the back of Eddie Guerrero’s sudden death at the age of 38 in late 2005 and WWE’s attempt to monetise this tragedy. Rey’s tributes to Eddie at first felt organic and sincere but quickly turned into something that veered between mawkish and ghoulish week by week. After dedicating his Royal Rumble win to Eddie, Rey went on to feud with Randy Orton over Orton’s infamous “Eddie’s in hell” promo. It was at this point that the use of Eddie Guerrero’s name became entirely uncomfortable to watch on WWE television, with both the disparaging comments and loving tributes feeling like nothing more than a way to hype Rey Mysterio matches.

The exploitation of Eddie Guerrero’s death is by far the worst thing about Rey’s title reign and one of the most unpleasant promoting strategies the WWE has ever tried.

That being said, Rey’s title reign was also incredibly poorly booked. After beating Kurt Angle and Randy Orton in a triple threat match at Wrestlemania 22 to win the title, Rey failed to win 8 of his next 11 televised matches. He was put in the ring with giants like Mark Henry, Kane & The Great Khali in an effort to make him an underdog champion but there is nothing special about an underdog who can’t buy a victory. During his 3 and a half month reign Rey defended the belt 4 times. Beating Randy Orton and JBL, going to a draw with Sabu in by far the best match of his entire reign and finally losing to King Booker at the Great American Bash. Which ended up being the arguable highlight of one of the most-maligned PPVs in wrestling history. Rey followed this disaster of a reign with an un-edifying programme with Chavo Guerrero where Eddie’s name was again used as a promotional device before being written off so he could receive some much-needed knee surgery.

So what did all this amount to? Did using Eddie Guerrero’s death to promote matches and having a weak-looking champion on Smackdown help WWE’s PPV numbers? Shockingly no.

Every single WWE Pay-Per-View that featured Rey Mysterio as World Heavyweight Champion drew less buys than the one from the previous year. Smackdown started the year with ratings between 2.6 and 3.0 and dipped after Wrestlemania to between 1.9 and 2.8. Ratings only began to recover towards the end of the year when Batista was challenging for and winning the title. These numbers were part of a general decline in WWE at the time but nothing about the sad débâcle of Rey’s title reign could have helped move them up.

The booking of Rey Mysterio during this period was bafflingly bad. Having witnessed it as it happened back in ’06 and looking back to write this piece I cannot explain why the people booking the show at the time thought having Rey consistently fail made him an exciting, engaging champion to watch. What I can explain is how I would have tried to make him an engaging and exciting champion to watch.

The general conceit of my plan for Rey is that we move entirely away from the Eddie “tribute.” Rey still wears the arm band but doesn’t reference Eddie or do his mannerisms or moves. The Three Amigos, Frog Splash, etc. are reserved for if and when Chavo uses them. Rey is best as the incorruptible “doin’ it for the kids” white meat babyface. We portray Rey as an intelligent athlete who can’t be bigger or stronger than his challengers so he has to be faster and smarter. He studies his opponents and adapts his style to theirs. He doesn’t refer to himself as an underdog because Rey believes in himself like all good babyfaces do. Oh and quite importantly we don’t have him LOSE ON TV THREE WEEKS IN A ROW.

Let’s assume that I am brought into the WWE Booking Office immediately after WM22, let’s also assume that in this fantasy scenario I am slightly older because in 2006 I was 14. I can’t change anything that has happened before and including ‘Mania. So, on the RAW after Wrestlemania Vince McMahon comes out to make two announcements. Firstly Vince announces that next week will be the WWE Draft Lottery, which often helps pop a rating and allows me to move some people around. Secondly PPVs are no longer brand exclusive except for one each every year (King of the Ring for Smackdown which is replacing Judgment Day and Unforgiven for RAW). Because the single-brand PPVs and their generally poor buy-rates were another factor working against poor Rey-Rey and everybody else at this time. Vince puts over how each show has to put it’s best and brightest on the PPVs “You only make it onto a WWE Pay-Per-View by being a champion, or a star.” The single show PPVs are huge opportunities for wrestlers on that show to prove themselves at the highest level.

On the 6th of April Smackdown we open the show with a Rey promo. Rey talks about how he achieved his dream at Wrestlemania and now he wants to thank the fans that supported him on his way to the championship by defending his title with everything he has. He says “You’re going to see a new and improved, tougher Rey Mysterio.” Big babyface stuff. Orton comes out to tear Mysterio down, calls him “the weakest champion of all time” talks about Rey having a target on his back, all your standard heel stuff. Angle enters and stares down Orton for a moment before giving him a big auld Angle Slam. Kurt is seemingly very calm about what went down last night and points out that while Rey was better than Orton at Wrestlemania he wasn’t better than him.

Our main event is Angle and Mysterio vs Orton and JBL which Angle wins by tapping out Orton. Afterwards Orton jumps Angle and Mysterio and knocks Rey out of the ring. Angle counters an RKO into an Ankle Lock, refuses to let go of the hold and ends up breaking Orton’s ankle while Mysterio watches on. Essentially we do an angle where Angle breaks Orton’s ankle. This is almost exactly the same way they wrote Orton off of TV back in 2006 so he could serve his suspension, a suspension he got by openly smoking a joint backstage. Matt Sydal would be proud.

At the draft lottery on the 10/04 RAW we keep things very simple. The only real big moves are Randy Orton going back to RAW (Which is where Randy returned anyway) and crucially for my purposes Shawn Michaels going to Smackdown.

Shawn begins the 13/04 Smackdown by talking about how this is a new opportunity for him and how that doesn’t happen a lot when you’ve been around as long as he has. He vows to start from the bottom on Smackdown so he can prove himself on a new show. We’ll come back to him when he gets to the top.

It’s announced that Rey’s first title defence will be against Kurt Angle at Backlash. Rey Mysterio does commentary over Kurt Angle beating Finlay and reveals that he’s doing a lot of preparation and scouting for his first defence. He also mentions that he’s training and sparring with Chavo.

I’m making an effort as we go along here to treat Rey like a champion, if he’s in a match on free TV it’s for a reason. It’s one of my firmly held beliefs that the top champion on your show shouldn’t wrestle every night, it’s important to make their matches seem like events and try and lend them some mystique. Or in this case Mysterique. Rey not wrestling every night also has the added bonus of putting less strain on his poor peanut cracknel knees.

On the next three Smackdown shows leading up to Backlash we show the following things:

1) We establish that Kurt is becoming more violent as he very nearly breaks the ankles of Psicosis and Chavo in tune-up matches for Rey.

2) Chavo has officially become Rey’s trainer, sparring partner and corner man possibly leading to him getting a sweet “Team Mysterio” hoodie down the line.

3) Rey has a match against Charlie Haas where we try to get across that Rey is figuring out counters to someone whose style is very similar to Angle’s.

4) We announce the first round of King of the Ring matches taking places on the Smackdown after Backlash, with the loser of Rey/Angle facing Booker T in the first round of the tournament. The semis and final will take place at the King of the Ring PPV and whoever becomes King of the Ring will be #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Title at Vengeance.

At Backlash Rey comes out accompanied by Chavo and wearing a new outfit similar to the one he would wear at One Night Stand, commentary explains that this is to avoid any baggy material that Angle can grab onto. He’ll continue wearing this gear from now on, because it’s so much cooler than his standard gear. The story of the match is that Rey cannot afford to be caught by Angle and dragged into an amateur match, he also can’t have his leg worked. Rey is going for a hit and run strategy and Angle spends the initial portion of the match frustrated because Rey seems to be too quick for him. When Angle does finally catch Rey it’s ugly. Lots of slams, suplexes and throws but he doesn’t work over the leg, he’s having too much fun asserting his massive strength advantage. He also cheap-shots Chavo at ringside which leads to Chavo going for Angle but being sent to the back by the referee. Every time Angle goes for the ankle lock Rey counters to a roll-up and our commentators explain that some of the leverage for Rey’s pin comes from Angle’s grip on Rey’s ankle, meaning Angle has to release. Eventually Angle counters the 619 into a grape-vined ankle lock Rey gets to the ropes and as Angle argues with the referee Rey crawls onto the apron and hits the surprise springboard hurricanrana for the win. Angle sits outside the ring completely stunned by his loss as Rey celebrates.

Our first Smackdown back on 04/05 Rey and Chavo come out to cut a promo and talk about how last night’s match taught Rey a lot about intensity and just how debilitating submission wrestling can be. Psicosis interrupts them and takes issue with Rey for being victimised by Kurt Angle a couple weeks a go. As he tries to blindside Rey for some retribution Rey side-steps hm and locks him in his new submission hold. It’s Low-Ki’s Dragon Clutch Sleeper but we reveal later in the show that Rey calls it the Apretón del Dragón which loosely translates to “grip of the dragon” or “dragon squeeze.” Matt Hardy, JBL and Bobby Lashley all advance in the KOTR as does Booker T when Kurt Angle, still upset about his loss to Rey and apparent lack of rematch gets himself intentionally DQ-ed by hitting Booker with a steel chair.

Our main event on the show is Mark Henry vs Chris Benoit for the #1 contendership which Angle interrupts leading to a huge three-way brawl. Teddy Long comes out to try and get them to “hold on a minute playa” but they won’t hold on a second playa! So Teddy snaps and announces that none of them are the #1 contender and there will be a battle royal next week to decide who is.

The 11/05 Smackdown is main-evented by an 18-man battle royal to decide the #1 contender to Rey’s World Heavyweight Title. Our participants are: Kurt Angle, Mark Henry, Chris Benoit, Matt Hardy, JBL, Chavo Guerrero, Bobby Lashley, Fit Finlay, William Regal, Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro, Shawn Michaels, Mr. Kennedy, Booker T, Gregory Helms, Paul London, Brian Kendrick, and The Great Khali.

Rey’s on commentary for the match and is genuinely disappointed when Chavo gets eliminated. Khali is eliminated by an interfering Undertaker. The last 6 are Angle, Henry, Benoit, Matt Hardy, Michaels and Kennedy. Kennedy is eliminated by Michaels, and then he unfairly eliminates HBK from the outside. Benoit gets the headlock in on Henry and starts to drag him over the top rope like he did to the Big Sow at the ’04 Royal Rumble. Kurt Angle spots this and manages to eliminate Henry and Benoit at the same time. After Angle mouths off to Henry and Benoit at ringside, he turns around only to be clotheslined over the ropes by Matt Hardy. Matt wildly celebrates what is effectively the biggest win of his career at this point. The commentators put over the shock win and how Hardy is just one step away from achieving his dream and note the parallels with Rey’s Rumble win. Rey says he’s happy for him but thinks that he won’t be able to take that one step against Rey Mysterio. Angle, Henry and Benoit brawl again after the match, this rivalry is how we take Kurt out of the title picture of the time being.

I understand a lot of you must be thinking right now that Rey vs Matt Hardy in the main event of a PPV in 2006 is a weird move and it very much is. But before he was the picture of Broken brilliance he is today, before he was feuding with EC3, before he was on the indies getting drunk in waffle houses and making weird videos, before he burned Jeff’s dog down, Matt Hardy was an ever-present figure on Smackdown who always got a big reaction. No matter how small a role he was playing Matt Hardy was always over. At this time he wasn’t too far removed from the Edge feud that had turned him into one of the biggest babyfaces on the planet. Fans loved him and as I said before, the brand exclusive PPVs are now all about people getting a chance and at this time Matt definitely deserved one.

The intervening shows are all about hyping the first King of the Ring in 4 years and video packages dedicated to showing Matt Hardy as a man coming so far and finally getting what he deserves after years of struggle and putting his body on the line for the fans. It’s also announced that Booker T will be getting a bye to the KOTR Final because Teddy Long refuses to let Matt Hardy wrestle more than once on the show. Teddy won’t endanger his title match.

At the King of the Ring PPV Bobby Lashley defeats JBL to get to the finals where Booker T wins thanks to interference from William Regal and Sharmell. There was absolutely no chance I was going to live in a world, even a fantasy world where King BookAH never happened. The only change is that Finlay is not a member of the court.

Matt & Rey have a fast-paced back and forth match, pulling out everything they can. Rey trots out the Springboard Leg Drop, Matt gives Rey a massive Roman-Reigns-style Niagara Driver, if possible we go for the big top rope Super Hurricanrana. Rey kicks out of the Twist of Fate and Matt becomes the first person to reach the ropes before tapping out to the Apretón del Dragón. The finish comes when Matt sits Rey on the top rope and tries to give him a Twist of Fate out of the corner but Rey hangs on and slides down into the Apretón del Dragón to get the tap out win. Matt and Rey shake hands post match to close the show.

Now, this year we had the second ECW: One Night Stand leading to the new ECW (Which is for another time and another armchair). I think very little needs to be changed about the Rey and Sabu match from that show because it was undoubtedly the high point of Mysterio’s reign. So I’ve just applied some minor tweaks to make it fit in with the fantasy and to make sure Rey still looks like a capable, competent champion.

Paul Heyman shows up on the 25/05 Smackdown to challenge Rey to face Sabu in a dream match at One Night Stand, Rey agrees. Between then and O.N.S we show that Chavo is concerned about the Sabu match because Sabu is an unpredictable wild man and there’s no way to plan for him. Heyman stirs the pot, saying Rey left ECW because he was scared of Sabu, says he wanted to book this match 10 years ago but couldn’t because Rey’s a coward. Rey responds to this accusation by offering to put his World Heavyweight Title on the line. Heyman gladly accepts.

On the 29/05 RAW it’s announced that the main event of the WCW vs ECW special in 8 days will be the WWE champions (Rey Mysterio & John Cena) vs their ECW challengers (RVD & Sabu) in a tag team match. That match ends in a DQ when there is a gigantic, locker-room-emptying brawl between WWE and ECW wrestlers.

This leads to Sabu ambushing Rey and Chavo on the following Smackdown. Rey wins a tune-up no-DQ match against Super Crazy. Mid-celebration the lights go out and when they come back up Sabu lays out Rey and Chavo with a chair and does his pose with the World Heavyweight title.

(The idea of that visual makes me go all tingly)

The match at One Night Stand plays out exactly the same until the springboard DDT through the table. Sabu gets up first while the doctors are still trying to attend to both men, he then knocks the doctors out of the way before rolling Rey into the ring for an incredibly close near-fall. Sabu peppers Mysterio with chairs and springboards until Rey blocks Sabu’s Frankensteiner and jumps onto his shoulders into a victory roll for the somewhat fortunate victory. Rey never managed to get Sabu in the Apretón del Dragón.

The build to Rey vs King BookAH is based around WCW. Booker points out that he held that title on Rey’s shoulder 6 years ago, before he was a king. He’s always been better than Rey and always will be. Not to mention that Rey is still hurt after his encounter with “that scruffy peasant” Sabu. Rey points out that he has seen more of King Booker’s matches than he had done for any of his other challengers. Rey’s got Booker completely scouted, but Booker has his court. On the last Smackdown before Vengeance Rey and Chavo face Booker and Regal in a tag match with Sharmell at ringside. Thanks to shenanigans and Sharmell’s interference, the numbers game gets the better of Rey & Chavo and King Booker becomes the first man to pin Rey Mysterio since before Wrestlemania.

Sabu is seen on ECW TV during this time fuming about the fact that he didn’t beat Rey, beating up jobbers and forcing Mysterio masks on them. Joey Styles elaborates, saying Sabu is angry because he did all the damage to Rey but King Booker will pick up the scraps and win the World title.

At Vengeance Chavo does an interview where he reveals that he has something up his sleeve for tonight. King Booker vs Rey is interference heavy, Sharmell and Regal accompany Booker and Chavo and Chavo Classic (Both wearing sweet “Team Mysterio” hoodies) accompany Rey. That’s right I’m bringing back Chavo Guerrero Sr. and not just because The Mountain Goats told me to. We have Booker’s foot being put on the ropes by Sharmell, Rey’s foot being put on the ropes by Chavo Classic, Rey just managing to kick out from a Regal brass knuckle shot, Booker kicking out of a Frog Splash from Chavo. Our finish comes when Chavo Classic does a cross body to the outside onto Chavo Jr., Regal and Sharmell. (Classic’ll be fine he’s got his son and Regal to catch him and Sharmell doesn’t have to actually take much of a bump.) Booker, distracted by this sight winds up in the Apretón del Dragón and submits.

On the first Smackdown after Vengeance Sabu again lays out Rey, Chavo Jr. with a chair. Before injuring Chavo Classic by putting him in the camel clutch. The next week Chavo comes out on his own and calls out Sabu only to be met with Paul Heyman. Heyman, who is representing Sabu, says that Chavo will get his match but only if when Sabu wins he becomes #1 contender to Rey’s title. Rey gives Chavo his blessing and even says that if Chavo wins he’ll give him the title shot. The next week we have Sabu vs Chavo in an Extreme Rules match. Chavo, wearing jeans and cowboy boots puts up a decent fight but is eventually beaten by Sabu. Meaning we have Rey vs Sabu II at the Great American Bash. Sabu then jabs Chavo in the throat with a chair after the match, injuring him and we end the show with Rey chasing off Sabu and checking on Chavo.

During the final Smackdown before the Bash, Rey is furious and spends the whole night looking for Sabu and we end the night with Rey smacking Sabu in the back with a chair and staring him down as Sabu escapes into the crowd. We also reveal on the show that their match will be Falls Count Anywhere.

The Great American Bash has 2 major matches on it for Smackdown, Rey/Sabu II and Shawn Michaels vs Kurt Angle to determine the #1 contender for SummerSlam. Shawn Michaels wins what would’ve been another classic match and we allow Kurt Angle to either leave the WWE or give him some time off to recover from his nagging injuries.

Rey/Sabu 2 is even more brutal than the One Night Stand match. We still have all the hardcore/extreme elements from the first match but Rey is more heavily involved with the weaponry and violence because he’s fighting for Chavo and Chavo’s father. Rey’s mask gets torn by Sabu and Rey bleeds from the exposed part of his forehead. In the end Rey finally manages to lock the Apretón del Dragón on Sabu and even though Sabu manages to drag himself to the ropes and even out of the ring, Rey won’t let go and Sabu passes out in the hold. Rey wins by K.O.

Chavo returns on the following Smackdown and he and Rey begin scouting Shawn Michaels. It’s pointed out that these two men have only ever met twice with Shawn pinning Rey in a Survivor Series match and Rey beating Michaels one-on-one on a RAW. In the build up to SummerSlam Michaels gets under Rey’s skin by saying that while he respects Rey, Rey has gotten boring since he won the title. He spends too much time devising tactics and analysing opponents and not enough time entertaining the fans. Rey responds by saying that he’s more athletic than Michaels ever was and that he can do things in this ring that Michaels never could’ve done.

Come SummerSlam in a match that goes at least 20 minutes, Rey finally drops the title to Shawn Michaels. Rey goes a little more high-flying in this match and eventually after HBK breaks out of the Apretón del Dragón twice, he gives up trying to make Shawn tap out (Which Chavo advises against.) As Rey tries to hit Shawn with a springboard he’s caught with a surprise Sweet Chin Music and pinned. Shawn is the champ, Rey, Shawn and Chavo all shake hands afterwards.

So that is it for Rey’s first title reign. On the post SummerSlam Smackdown Chavo will attack Rey Mysterio to start their rivalry. But this time instead of being an extension of the exploitation of Eddie Guerrero, Chavo’s reasons are much more simple. He did all of the grunt work and put himself in danger for Rey, he and his father were hurt in the process and the only reason he ever helped Rey was to try and get him to give him a title shot. He could’ve given Chavo the opportunity anytime and because Rey didn’t listen to him, now Chavo’s lost his chance. Shawn will go on to lose the belt to Batista at Survivor Series (In a match we’ve only seen once and not for 3 years and never in a main event, for a title.), so Batista can have his programme with Undertaker and Shawn can have his with Cena. Also this way we still get the amazing end to ’07 Rumble with Taker and Shawn.

This reign does everything that Rey’s actual one failed to do. It ensures his status as a main-eventer, gives him some memorable matches and distances him from WWE’s grotesque use of Eddie Guerrero’s name. Rey is one of the most popular wrestlers WWE has had in the last 20 years and he was absolutely worth giving a title run at the time but he also warranted a run that didn’t make him look like a complete loser.

If nothing else a Rey Mysterio who overcomes odds, battles past rivals, put his career on the line in dangerous matches and only loses when he faces one of the most legendary figures in WWE history, will at the end, look like a champion.

PPV Predictions

Battleground predictions 

IWP Presents WWE’s Battleground Predictions 

TheGame93 – Jinder, The Uso’s, Nakamura, Mike Kanellis, Rusev, Aj Styles, Aiden English and Charlotte 

MrMcMainMan – Dillinger, Jinder, Usos, Cena, Nattie, Nakamura, Styles and Kanellis

Viking Bastard – Jinder (followed by a Corbin cash in), Lana, New Day, Breezango, Sami, Nakamura, AJ Styles, Cena and Aiden English.

TooSweet – Tye, Jinder, Usos, Cena, Charlotte, Shinsuke, Aj and Mike

Paco Del Rio – Dillinger, Cena, Jinder, Charlotte, New Day,  Sami Zayn, AJ Styles and Corbin

CD Punk – Tye, Jinder, Uso’s, Cena, Charlotte, Nakamura, Styles and Kanellis

Big D  – Jinder, Cena, Styles, Nakamura, Charlotte, Uso’s Kanellis, Dillinger

MrRoss –  Dillinger, Jinder, Usos, Cena, Charlotte, Nakamura, Styles and Kanellis

Do you agree with our choices? Who would you pick let us know in the comments section. 

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