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The Hits and Misses from WWE Backlash 2016


Hey guys, 

I wanted to share with you my thoughts on WWE’s first Smackdown Live! PPV, Backlash. It was a really interesting PPV overall and though I did go into it with low expectations, I came out happy. Here are my hits and misses from the show. 

HITS:

1) Becky Lynch becoming SD’s Women’s Champion. 

I’m a big Becky Lynch fan. Yes, part of that reason is because she’s gorgeous but she is also a really solid in-ring performer. Since the Women’s revolution, and with both Sasha Banks and Charlotte already having shared the spoils of the Raw brand’s women’s championship, I think it is fair to say that Becky’s week in week out work has made her a deserving champion. And let’s face it, it would have been REALLY easy to put the title on Nikki Bella so kudos to the WWE for not. 

2) Carmella

I’m really high on Carmella’s evolution as a WWE superstar. She was always decent in NXT but my recollections of her during her time there weren’t that of someone I’d consider to be main roster material. Her heel turn has done her a lot of good and I like her new attitude. If she works hard and has a decent feud over the next month with Nikki, who’s to say she can’t go all the way to the top of SD Live!

3) Heath Slater and Rhyno

I have to confess I do really love this pairing; they work so well together. And while I very much doubt that they’ll be a long term thing, their comedy injections into the show very much remind of the light hearted duos of the past like Booker T and Goldust and William Regal and Tajiri. Both guys are really good in-ring workers and Heath Slater’s over the top personality does compensate for the Man-beast’s quieter character although he does make some funny quips every now and then himself. I like it and I’m glad to see them both getting gold. I always felt that Rhyno particularly was underused after his big injury during the 2001 Alliance Invasion and I was really sad to see him get jobbed out so soon during the ECW originals versus Wyatt Family feud last year. I’m hoping for much more in the future though I hope they don’t go down the R-Truth/Goldust cringe road. 

4) AJ Styles versus Dean Ambrose

This was a brilliant match to end the PPV and I was so glad to see AJ Styles win the WWE title. This certainly makes up for the horror show of a match Ambrose had against Ziggler at Summerslam and at least gives some credibility to his rather lacklustre WWE title run. AJ meanwhile will be a great champ as he can put on 5 star matches with pretty much anybody. I hope his title run is a decent length and that he doesn’t succumb to John Cena’s inevitable WWE title run too soon.

MISSES

1) Naomi’s underutilisation 

Coming into the PPV, I would never have thought that Naomi was really a legitimate contender for the Women’s Championship but that being said, I did find her showing somewhat disheartening. The girl has changed her gimmick twice in the last two years and has gone from Face to Heel to Face again. She’s extremely athletic too, a natural athlete and a decent women’s wrestler. So I don’t quite get why she doesn’t get more of a look in. With Alexa Bliss, you can argue that her place on the roster is due to her age but Naomi is looking more and more destined for the scrapheap. I hope I’m wrong though. 

2) Bray Wyatt losing again

Bray Wyatt loses on PPV yet again. Shocking! Well, it seems that Bray has become somewhat of an enhancement talent over the past year and not someone who the WWE feels comfortable with putting in the WWE title scene. What’s the reason? At one point it was thought that his weight was the issue but Kevin Owens has shown that even a “big” man can reach the top of the WWE. Unless something changes, the WWE are going to miss out on utilising a really talented and unique character before it becomes stale and inconsequential. 

3) AJ Styles/Ambrose finish. 

I can’t quite wrap my head around this. One month ago, AJ Styles goes clean over the “Face that runs the place” John Cena but then, when he comes to face Dean Ambrose, the only way he can beat him is with a low blow? Come on! Yes, I get AJ is a heel and he has to be bad but hasn’t Styles proven over the past year that he is far more than a snivelling cowering bad guy who can only cheat to win? If that’s the road they are going down, then I think it will totally delegitimise his ability and undervalue the talented superstar that he is. 

4) Lack of roster depth

Let’s face it, Smackdown has a really thin roster. And part of me thinks that the reason behind Chad Gable’s injury, in addition to the fact that they didn’t want American Alpha to lose to Rhyno and Slater, was that it enabled them to beef up the card and make it seems bit meatier than it otherwise would have been with the extra Usos versus Hype Bro’s match. And if it hadn’t been there, then what? If they  had put Corbin versus Crews on the main show instead, that would have really been a big disappointment and failure for a PPV that should aim to be something greater than the average Smackdown Live! SD Live is going to need to bulk up over the next couple of months to properly come across as a legitimate challenger to Raw or it will always remain the B show regardless of it being live. 

OVERALL SHOW RATING: B-

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Top Ten: The top 10 foreign WWE superstars of the last 15 years


In today’s top ten, I am going to name my top ten top foreign superstars in the WWE over the last 15 years. But get involved. Give me your thoughts! Who would you include?

10. Tajiri


Born in Tokyo, Japan, Tajiri made his WWE debut in May, 2001 originally as then commission William Regal’s assistant. His career spanned four years in which he won the United States Championship, 2 tag team titles, the now defunct Light Heavyweight championship as well as the Cruiserweight title. Tajiri was equally adept and playing both heel and face. One of his trademarks was the green mist which he would spray into the faces of opponents temporarily blinding them. 

9. Finn Balor


Finn Balor, originally from Ireland has not been a WWE superstar for that long. Yet he has made some substantial impact. After plying his trade in Japan, Balor journeyed to the United States where he became part of the NXT roster. During that time, despite his small stature, he rose to the top of the mountain and won the NXT championship. After holding that belt for some months and being the face of the company, he dropped the title in order to move over to the main roster. On his first night, he won a no.1 contenders match for the new Universal Championship before going on to win it at his first pay per view, Summerslam. 

8. Wade Barrett


Born in Preston, England, Wade Barrett came into the public eye as a contestant on the first series of the previous version of NXT. Wade Barrett won the competition before then leading the super stable, the Nexus onto the main roster. Barrett’s involvement with the Nexus led to high profile storylines including facing John Cena. Unfortunately Barrett never won a the big title yet he won the Intercontinental title 5 times as well as winning the King of the Ring tournament. 

7. Alberto Del Rio


While I am not Del Rio’s biggest fan, there is no doubts over his impact. Heralding from Mexico, ADR’s impact was immediately felt through his opening WWE feud with Rey Mysterio. Del Rio’s gimmick, that of a Mexican aristocrat provided him the foundation to win four WWE world titles, the US title in addition to winning both Money in the Bank and the first ever 40 man Royal Rumble. ADR had a recent unsuccessful second run with the WWE before his release in August 2016. 

6. William Regal


Billed from Blackpool, England, William Regal is a long standing member of the WWE roster having worked for the company since the turn of the millennium. Regal is a former King of the Ring winner in addition to winning the Intercontinental, European, Hardcore and World Tag championships. And while Regal has sadly never been a WWE world champion, Regal has been involved in some of the best storylines over the past 15 years including a memorable feud with Chris Jericho back in 2001 which all started when Y2J besmirched the commissioning by soiling his tea!!

5. Sheamus


Another WWE superstar from Ireland! Sheamus is a multi WWE world champion (4 time), a King of the Ring winner, Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank winner. He is also a former United States Champion. Basically, tag team titles aside, Sheamus has won it all. Unfortunately for Sheamus, the last few years have been rockier with no real momentum being seen despite some attempts to repackage him. Who knows what the future holds for Sheamus?

4. Christian


Christian is a Canadian. He is a former two time WWE champion and part of arguably the greatest WWE tag team of all time Edge and Christian. Christian has a glittering career which includes multiple tag championships, intercontinental championships and even the ECW championship. Christian is surely going to be a future WWE hall of famer. 

3. Trish Stratus


To many, Trish may be the greatest Women’s wrestler of all time. A native of Toronto Canada, Trish started her career off as a piece of eye candy for WWE audiences. She was a glorified valet. But she went on from there to train hard and became an all round top performer and pioneer for the women’s division. She is a 7 time Women’s champion and WWE hall of famer. 

2. Edge


The rated R superstar has been one of the most dominant performers in the WWE over the past 15 years. If you even ignored his Intercontinental championships (5 times), he is also an 11 time World Champion and 14 time world tag team champion. He is also a former King of the Ring and Royal Rumble winner and is famous for the first ever kayfabe live sex scene in WWE history. It’s no surprise this guy is a WWE hall of famer!

1. Chris Jericho


This Canadian is as cool as the come and is my pick for the greatest foreign WWE superstar if the past 15 years. Y2J is special. He is a 6 time World Champion, a 7 time tag team champion, a 9 time intercontinental champion and only the fourth grand slam champion in WWE history. Y2J has successfully managed to evolve as a wrestler and performer over the past 15 years from being the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla to the Rockstar to the height maintenance pretentious guy that he is today and he does it all perfectly. In 2003, he arguably stole the show in one of the greatest WrestleMania’s of all time with HBK, he was a contestant in the first ever Elimination Chamber match and not to mention was the first ever Undisputed WWE champion defeating both The Rock and Stone Cold in the same night. Y2J is a legend and without a doubt a future hall of famer. He also has a pretty awesome band!

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Remember That Time When WWE Trolled William Regal?

I had to share this with you guys as this is totally priceless

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Will Kurt Angle return to the WWE? 

According to the International Business Times, Kurt Angle recently appeared on the Ric Flair podcast and spoke positively about recent discussions he and Triple H had over his possible return to the WWE. 

“If I go back to WWE it would most likely be the year or year after. I did talk with Triple H a few months ago, very loose conversation. They have interest, I have interest. They don’t know what to do with me yet” – Kurt Angle

A WWE in-ring return by Kurt Angle would certainly prove popular with the fans but as Angle is not getting any younger, a return in two years time could indicate that his return would solely be to induct him into the WWE Hall of Fame. Either way, Kurt Angle is looking at it very stoically. 

“Put it this way, I wouldn’t be surprised if I go back next year and I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t go back at all”

As far as I am concerned, Kurt Angle needs to come back for one last hurrah. His time in the WWE was special and he was both entertaining in and out of the ring. Not to mention, he won an Olympic gold medal with a “broken freaking neck”. 

Come on WWE, after boring us with the returns of Jinder Mahal and Curt Hawkins, give us back our Olympic Hero. It’s what the fans want. It’s True. It’s True!

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Holy Foley on the WWE Network: A Review


So the show that the Internet wrestling community were intrigued about is finally on air and it’s RIGHT HERE on the WWE network. And I’ll be honest; as much as I love Mick Foley, my interest in this show was not as much down to Mrs Foley’s baby boy but his daughter Noelle Foley who has been somewhat of an internet darling for the past couple of years. The show itself is a pretty simple set up. It effectively gives you an insight into all things Foley though, in truth, it focuses most of its efforts on Mick and Noelle. But what’s it like?

Holy Foley very much follows the trend of your standard celebrity reality show. Many of the scenes feel staged (which they are) and the conversations between the adults do seem unnatural.  It doesn’t do the reality as well as some other shows and the dramatic scenes really don’t feel quite right. That being said, the Mick Foley household is quirky. Collette Foley, Mick’s wife has an obsession with dolls while Noelle is currently dating a guy that likes to dress up as a clown. I know, right? Noelle also wants to become a WWE superstar so a lot of the show centres on her training with the ocasional appearance of past and present WWE superstars including DDP, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks AND the Nature Boy (Woo!).  

The show undoubtedly exists to cover the relationship of Mick and Noelle and how she fairs in her pursuit of a WWE contract and it is easy to watch. However, the show will only last as long as Noelle is interested in being a WWE superstar. Does this mean she is now solely committed to being in the WWE and if she doesn’t succeed, will she be allowed to look for another company while she is on contract as a reality TV star? Only time will tell but it was interesting seeing Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks offer advice as she is beginning. 
Anyway, in a nutshell, if you are a fan of the WWE and in particular the attitude era, you probably will get a kick out of Holy Foley. You would too if you are looking for a bit of eye candy as Noelle is certainly a good looking girl. The family are close knit and sweet and it is very inoffensive.  My current grading….B-

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THOUGHTS: Alberto Del Rio gone from the WWE


So news broke today on LordsofPain.net that Alberto Del Rio (ADR) is likely done with the WWE. This news breaks as ADR serves his 30 day suspension for violating WWE’s wellness policy and it seems to have divided opinion amongst the Internet wrestling community (IWC). 

Here are my thoughts. 

When ADR originally debuted back in the WWE by interrupting Rey Mysterio, his character, that of a wealthy Mexican flaunting himself in the US, caught the attention of the IWC. And while his first run was far from perfect, he held himself well as a top end superstar in the WWE universe. Unfortunately for him, his run came to an end following an incident behind the scenes where he allegedly aggressively confronted a co-worker who was spouting off racial slurs, which in turn led to him departing. Fans were disappointed to see him leave. 

Following his departure, ADR appeared with various promotions, although not TNA before making a deal to return to the WWE at the end of 2015 where he immediately came in with a bang defeating John Cena for the United States Title. For ADR, this was probably the pinacle as he failed to come close to the success of his first run. It seemed as if he was part of poor storyline after poor storyline. The League of Nations was a bust. He lost his US title to Kalisto and ADR failed monumentally to make any sort of splash in the WWE pond besides causing some displeasure to fans via dating WWE women’s wrestler Paige. 

As I look back on the last 12 months, I can’t say I’m surprised or disappointed that ADR has left. His run in the company was far from exhilarating this time around and his character was often reduced to him calling his opponents a perro or “dog” and his matches were not exactly fantastic either. Some fans will argue that ADR was misused within the company but was he? The WWE roster is full of talented individuals and ADR never really seemed as if he was too enthusiastic to be there. Pro wrestling is a business for the hungry and if he was expecting it all on a plate for him, then he was sorely disappointed. Actually the impression I get from ADR is that he has a bad attitude. He doesn’t come across a team player. There are guys out there like Cesaro that bust their chops to stay relevant but he has an escape clause in his contract to run off. Maybe this is simply is a misconception but he seems like the sort of guy who is very into himself.

 There is also a question as to whether he has been a bad influence on Paige as it seems interesting that both superstars failed their drug tests at the wellness checks (although maybe it could also be the other way around). Either way, it seems that her career has come to a standstill since they were dating and it is curious that the WWE had to split them both on the brand split. Either way, it doesn’t seem like their relationship has done either of them any favours as they have been inconsequential over the last few months. 

In terms of going forward, I think it is best for business for ADR and the WWE to part ways. Neither party were doing much good for the other and I don’t think he will be sorely missed either. If he feels like he is above working hard like the Cesaro’s and Zayn’s off this world, then maybe he also is with the wrong company. I’m sure TNA will push him for zero effort. I hope he doesn’t drag Paige along with him though as she does have a bright future ahead of her if she stays on the straight and narrow. My worry is that she will bow out like AJ Lee out of loyalty. She’s too young to throw her career away. As for the WWE, I don’t think anyone will notice too much if ADR does not ever step foot in a WWE ring again. 

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Kevin Owens reaches the top of the mountain. 

Many years ago I came across Kevin Steen / Kevin Owens when he was part of Ring of Honor and was intrigued at the hype surrounding him. And while I never saw him wrestle, it was hard to ignore the fact that the fans really liked him.
When he debuted on NXT, I quickly understood why.

Unlike Sami Zayn who I must admit took some time to really get behind, Kevin Owens had an immediate impact on me. Owens is a big guy physically albeit not particularly tall. In that regard, he didn’t quite fit the hoss like stature that Vince McMahon loves. But he was remarkably agile for a chunkier guy and has a character that follows no one. He is the perfect angry heel and his ring repertoire is very entertaining.  He made a splash when he turned on Zayn and won the NXT title. He then made an even bigger monumental splash when he turned up to challenge (and beat) John Cena. Owens screamed star potential.

After his initial impact, many wondered IF KO would then take the step up to a championship contender. And things looked good albeit a relatively average Royal Rumble performance and a long feud with Sami Zayn really set him as an upper mid card Intercontinental / US championship challenger/holder. While I really wanted to see him in the World Title scene, his losses again AJ Styles for the contendership and then Finn Balor made me think he wasn’t quite ready in the companies eyes. So you could imagine my surprise at this most recent Raw.

Kevin Owens’s Universal Title win on Raw was a major swerve and although he didn’t win it cleanly, no one can argue that his stellar work and team playing makes him any less deserving. Owens this year has put over other stars including Sami Zayn and put on great matches in the process. His mic work is exceptional. His character is on the money. He’s pretty much the complete package. In fact, I would have wagered a guess that if he was a few inches taller and a few pounds lighter, then he’d have already been champion. But don’t take that away from him. His look suits his style perfectly and it is possible that him not being your standard oiled up superstar is what makes him in part so appealing to the audience. He’s also a good role model outside the ring – a dedicated family fan who loves his kids and who aappreciates where he comes from, KO is a grounded and noteworthy individual who proves that hard work and dedication can lead you to exactly where you want to be.

So a big congratulations to Kevin for his latest achievement and for being one of the most appealing WWE superstars in many recent years.