Nikki Bella vs Carmella No Disqualification Match (WINNER - Carmella)
The one point everyone seems to have overlooked about the interlude in this feud is Nikki's assailant at Survivor Series (i.e. Natalya), which has yet to be resolved on-screen. I see Nikki perhaps taking things "too far" during the No-DQ match in the eyes of the self-proclaimed "Smackdown Coach" Nattie and she comes out to put a stop to it, only to lay Nikki out so that Carmella picks up the pinfall and moves on to face Becky as the next title challenger.
Heath Slater & Rhyno vs New Wyatts Smackdown Tag Team Championship (WINNER - New Wyatts)
Not afraid to admit I'd been dead wrong about Survivor Series, where I thought Orton would pull the trigger on Bray. It's clear we're getting the slow-burn for Orton here that WWE intended for Bryan and the Wyatts in 2014 before his overwhelming fan support and Punk's walkout completely washed it out.
I COULD go with a DQ win for Slater & Rhyno, but I've been partial to the idea of Bray FINALLY holding some gold (i.e. silver) in WWE for a long time. It simply feels like the Rhyn0-Slater pairing's starting to lose gas as the top team on Smackdown, not to mention there's already a surefire feud for the Wyatts in the form of American Alpha, who have been far overdue for a run at the tag titles since their draft to the blue brand.
Smackdown's got a good "evil" thing going with Randy seemingly having bought into Bray's doctrine and going above and beyond to prove his loyalty and mettle, so why pull the plug now when it's getting good?
Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss Smackdown Women's Championship Tables Match (WINNER - Becky Lynch)
Normally, with a no-pin-required stip like a table match, it wouldn't be entirely unfounded to have Alexa pull off an upset, or even unprecedented since the same happened with Sheamus' first WWE Title win over Cena in '09.
That being said, though, it's still too soon in Becky's maiden voyage with the blue strap to drop it to Alexa. However, I do applaud the Smackdown writing team for putting emphasis behind their personal feud and the importance of the championship rather than over-hype the "historical first" of a one-on-one Women's Tables Match.
Baron Corbin vs Kalisto Chairs Match (WINNER - Baron Corbin)
Kalisto more or less got his pound of flesh from Corbin already, injuring him enough to cost him a spot and a payday from a high-profile match at Surivor Series. More of a gut feeling than anything, but I feel Corbin should dominate here and remain on a tear going into the 2017 Rumble so that he'll look like a considerable threat.
The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match (WINNER - The Miz)
Said it in episodes past and I'll say it again; there's far more upside to Miz as the unbearable primadonna titleholder in a constant tit-for-tat feud with GM Daniel Bryan, using absolutely any, ANY means to hold onto the championship and bring its "prestige" to an all-time high. Meanwhile, I'd be even more fascinated to see how Ziggler's character progresses after going full-tilt against Miz and coming up just short.
As for the match itself, I actually think that Maryse (and possibly the Spirit Squad) will get involved early too often and get the boot, but it'll ultimately come down to Ziggler making the crucial mistake of being the ultimate showman to get one last big move in on Miz, only to miss, allowing Miz to retain.
AJ Styles vs Dean Ambrose WWE World Championship TLC Match (WINNER - AJ Styles)
Much in the same vein as Ziggler having a possible breakdown following his match, I see the same happening for Ambrose when Ellsworth triumphantly returns and not-so-triumphantly costs Ambrose the match by accident. This leads to Ambrose's heel turn and subsequent unhinged beatdown of Ellsworth, who's such a pitiable, sympathetic character by this point that the crowd will turn on Ambrose the moment he decks Ellsworth in the not-chin.
Aside from that, I see Styles' celebration being cut short by a certain Phenom...or perhaps we'll see Taker make the save on Ellsworth to set up a program with a deranged Ambrose. Either scenario (Taker vs. Styles, Taker vs. Ambrose) would work well for me, as a Styles feud could stem from Taker taking offense to Styles' words that he runs the blue brand, where as its been Taker's "yard" for many years.
As far as Ambrose goes, it could simply be that Taker is protecting Ellsworth, who exemplifies the "heart and soul" that the Phenom and Smackdown are all about, or they could take it a step further with Shane McMahon, who's grown tired of Ambrose's cornball antics and wanton disrespect and looks to his WM 32 rival to get the Lunatic Fringe in line.
Keep Your Minds Open! Mine is closed, for now...
"Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success." - Swami Sivananda
Owens and Jericho celebrating during one of the not-so-highlights of Clash of Champions
My Second Thoughts on Clash of Champions...
To say I was underwhelmed by RAW's inaugural solo PPV last night might be a stretch, but I wasn't blown away by it either.
There were some matches (Cesaro-Sheamus, Perkins-Kendrick) I found to be quite riveting and exciting, others just kind of there (Reigns-Rusev, Jericho-Zayn), and the rest, which would've seemed better suited for short and/or screwy TV matches. Overall, it was a middle-of-the-road installment for WWE RAW, much like Smackdown and Backlash.
A happy belated Father's day to my pappy David Hill and step-pappy Bobby Pespisa!
The fallout from Money in the Bank 2016 has produced a number of shocking highs and lows, none higher than a surprising new champion in Dean Ambrose and none lower than the surreal 30-day Wellness "vacation" handed down to WWE's poster boy Roman Reigns...
2007: A special "Draft Lottery" edition of RAW was broadcast from the Wachovia Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. While the Draft Lottery had its surprising moments, including the draft of ECW Champion Bobby Lashely to RAW, the big story was the surreal, shocking end to the show...
The show that night was also "Mr. McMahon Appreciation Night." In an effort to pick up his spirits following his ECW Championship loss, Vince invited guests and stars from WWE's past and present to give their "fondest" memories of the Chairman. Safe to say it didn't go so well. After being harangued and roasted by WWE's finest, a depressed, despondent McMahon trudged to his limo and closed the door, only for the limo and himself to be engulfed in a fiery explosion, seemingly "killing" Vince McMahon.
In reality, it was a shock-factor wrestling angle that would've led into a "Whodunit?" storyline, which in turn would've led to a meteoric push for then-WWE Superstar Mr. Kennedy. The angle itself seemed to play out perfectly; fans were reporting the incident to local police, news outlets were covering the story, and WWE.com even acknowledged the explosion and McMahon's subsequent demise as "legitimate."
However, details concerning the angle had been kept far too close to the vest by those within the company; business partners were confused by the "incident", WWE's stock took a surprisingly large drop, and wrestling pundits drove up a public outcry against the angle, particularly following a WWE press release, in which WWE essentially used its owner's "death" as a vehicle to push the next, "exciting" episode of RAW.
While those were criticial factors in sweeping the angle under the rug, it was ultimately nixed two weeks later following the tragedy of Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their son Daniel.
"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." - Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)
Considered the greatest boxer ever to step between the ropes, Muhammad Ali will be missed dearly, not only for the legend he built as a pugilist or being one of the most quotable athletes of his generation, but the indelible mark he left on the world of professional wrestling.
Ali faced Japanese wrestling legend Antonio Inoki in a cross-promotion match on June 26, 1976. While the match itself is mired in confusion and controversy and remains much-debated to this day, it paved the way for Inoki and Ali's fire-forged friendship and efforts towards peace through sportsmanship and athleticism.
Ali would also take part in the very first WrestleMania in WWE's history, acting as the special referee for the historical show's main event, a tag team grudge match with Hulk Hogan and Mr. T facing off against "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Mr, Wonderful" Paul Orndorff.
To Muhammad Ali, may he forever float and sting, until the end of time...
2005: The first man drafted in WWE's newly-formatted Draft Lottery (5 picks for RAW, 5 for SmackDown) was none other than then-WWE Champion John Cena coming over to RAW, fresh off his feud with JBL. It would also be the first time since the initial brand split that both the WWE (Cena) and World Heavyweight (Batista) champions were on the same show, before Batista was moved over to SmackDown. Cena's remained a staple of RAW to this day, going on 11 years!
1998: Wrestlepalooza '97, presented by ECW, was headlined by the ECW Heavyweight champion Terry Funk retaining his title against Chris Candido, a surprise appearance by Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Tommy Dreamer picking up his first (televised) victory over longtime nemesis Raven in a "Loser Leaves ECW" match.
1993: At a WWF live event in Albany, New York, Shawn Michaels defeated Marty Jannetty to win the Intercontinental Championship in what would be the 2nd in a series of three matches for the IC Title between the former Rockers. This would also be the match where Kevin Nash made his official WWF debut as HBK's bodyguard, Diesel.
Credit to cagesideseat.com for the history lesson!
Goldberg has "hatched!"...Is A Return to the ring "Next?"
In all honestly, I really should've known. I even said in the previous post the #Hatch hints would probably lead to something stupid like a WWE Films trailer piece, but even then I was only half right. Isaac Asimov once said, "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them every once in a while, or the light won't come in"...or in more layman's terms, makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me."
That being said, Goldberg's trailer would probably imply that he's, in some shape or form, returning to the WWE fold. We're looking at either a simple Hall of Fame induction, or Vince may try to entice him further into making an actual in-ring return. Given Goldberg's past remarks about Vince as a person and a businessman, I'm not too keen on the latter, but it would be a fascinating prospect.
Speculation has run rampant in the IWC about the cryptic images (seen above) posted on WWE's Twitter account in the last few days, implying that something or someone "big" is about to "hatch" on to the 'New Era' of WWE.
Rumors of who or what the "hatchling" could be have run the gamut of obvious to shocking to downright ridiculous, although given the WWE and Vince's propensity for screwing with fans' minds, it could very well just be an overblown premise for the latest WWE Films straight-to-DVD disaster....
Joking aside, with the upcoming draft and Smackdown going live on Tuesdays in July, whatever is "hatching" could very well prove to be the on-screen catalyst for the brand split, such as whatever it was in the "strongbox" Shane hinted at. It could be a brand new superstar, the return of a long-lost performer like Bray Wyatt or Randy Orton, or even a certain relic from Smackdown's past brought back to symbolize the resurgence of the blue brand's separate identity from RAW...
No one truly knows. Having looked across several wrestling news sites and scanning through hundreds of comments from speculative fans, I've compiled a small list of the most-heavily rumored people/objects of focus that could be the ones to be #Hatched tomorrow night on Raw...
2014: The very first NXT: Takeover special was broadcasted from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. It featured the Ascension (Viktor & Konnor) in the midst of their record-setting reign as NXT Tag Team Champions. Also, there was Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) overcoming Natalya (w/Bret Hart) in the finals to determine a new NXT Women's Champion, after then-champion Paige had relinquished it to focus on her recently-won Divas Championship. Finally, in the main event, Adrian Neville successfully retained his NXT Championship in a grueling match-up against Tyson Kidd.
2008: The late Chris Benoit's personal physician, Dr. Phil Astin, wound up with a 175-count indictment, having allegedly written thousands of illegal subscriptions to seventeen different patients (many of them on the then-current WWE roster, like William Regal, Rey Mysterio, and Edge). Coupled with an earlier seven-count indictment on over-prescribing painkillers/drugs, Astin faced a cumulative 300 years in prison and up to $175 million in fines. He would plead guilty to all charges in January 2009, and was sentenced four months later to 10 years in prison.
2000: On a episode of WCW Nitro emanating from Salt Lake City, Utah, Kevin Nash relinquished his recently-won WCW Championship and awarded it to Ric Flair, who'd been stripped of the title a week prior. Nash stated on-air that Flair shouldn't have been stripped of it to begin with and was the rightful champion. This notion would ring hollow later in the night, though, when Flair defended his newly-won title against Jeff Jarrett and lost, marking it not only as the shortest of Flair's record 16 championship reigns, but also his last.
Thanks goes out to cagesideseats.com for today's history lesson!