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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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ROH TV Review: 3/28/15

Ring Of Honor Wrestling Review 3/28/15
By Nathan Neumann
Twitter @Headliner5

Hello Eyes On The Ring readers, Nathan here once again with another weekly dose of Honor and your weekly ROH TV review. Supercard Of Honor IX took place live last weekend, but sadly we wont get to see any matches from it for another two weeks, so until then we got a few matches from ROH’s recent Conquest tour.

The show started out with a Samoa Joe hype video focusing on the fact that the match he has tonight with Kyle O’Reilly is his first match in ROH in seven years.  From this video, we go to the intro to the TV show and then head straight into the arena where we are greeted by commentators Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino, who are at ringside to call all of the action. Kelly and Corino welcome us to the show and send it down for the first match.

Match 1
Moose vs. Caprice Coleman

Thoughts: The match starts with the two men getting a feel for one another. Moose attempts the first bit of offense in the match when he goes for a dropkick which misses Caprice.  Caprice goes for a dropkick of his own, which connects on the big man but doesn’t take him down. Moose staggers over to the ropes and Caprice runs and latches his legs on to the shoulders of Moose hitting a hurricanrana, which sends Moose to the outside of the ring. Caprice attempts a dive to the outside of the ring on to Moose, but Moose catches him in his arms and throws him into the ring post.  From there, Moose grabs Caprice by the legs and giant swings him into the barricade.  From here, Moose rolls Caprice into the ring and covers him for a 2 count.  Later on in the match Caprice recovers and hits a cutter for a near fall. Moose recovers and runs full steam at Caprice, cutting him in half with a flipping spear to score the win via pinfall.

Result: Moose defeats Caprice Coleman via Pinfall with a flipping spear.
Match Rating: *1/2

This match should have been better than it was. I’ve stated before that Moose has potential, but he’s taking a while to progress the way I feel he should be.  I’m patient so I’m willing to give it some time, but for now he’s not really doing much of anything for me. Caprice Coleman on the other hand has really suffered ever since he broke off from Cedric Alexander and ROH hasn’t really done anything with him as of late to get me invested in him.  The crowd in this match wasn’t really a factor sadly because they were quite during most of the match, and if the crowd isn’t into it, it’s hard for me to get into it as well.

From here we move to the second match of the night.

Match 2
BJ Whitmer and Adam Page vs. Leon St. Giovani and Shaheem Ali

Thoughts: There was really nothing to this match to be honest.  I’ve seen Ali before but Giovani was new.  These two guys were obviously brought in to enhance both Whitmer and Page, who went on to win the match in about two minutes after hitting the All Seeing Eye on Shaheem Ali to pick up the pinfall victory.

Result: BJ Whitmer and Adam Page defeat Leon St. Giovani and Shaheem Ali via Pinfall with the All Seeing Eye.
Match Rating: N/A

Note: This match was too short to rate and rather than give it the one star treatment, I’m just going to not bother to rate it.

After the match, BJ Whitmer introduces everyone to the Decades new “Young Boy”, which turns out to be Steve Corino’s son Colby Corino.  This brings Steve Corino off of commentary, who is so upset he leaves his position at the announcers’ table and heads up the ramp and through the curtain.

From there we get a recap of what happened one week ago between Jay Lethal and Dalton Castle which resulted in Donovan Dijak joining the House Of Truth.
From here, we head to the third match of the night.  Before the match, Truth Martini made his way out to the ring and took Steve Corino’s seat on commentary.

Match 3
Donovan Dijak and J Diesel vs. Bob Evans and Cheeseburger

Thoughts: Cheeseburger starts the match and immediately goes after the much bigger Dijak.  Cheeseburger runs at Dijak who catches him by the throat and hits a chokeslam backbreaker that gets a near fall.  Dijak picks Cheeseburger up in a suplex position and hurls him halfway across the ring.  Cheeseburger gets a flurry of offense in and hits desperation DDT to Dijak while the big man is on one knee.  From here Cheeseburger tags in Brutal Bob Evans, but Evans doesn’t do much and has to tag in Cheeseburger.  The match breaks down with all four guys in the ring and once and in the middle of all of the commotion, Dijak hits Cheeseburger with Feast Your Eyes to score the pinfall victory for himself and J. Diesel.

Result: Donovan Dijak and J Diesel defeat Brutal Burgers via pinfall after Dijak hits Cheeseburger with the Feast Your Eyes.
Match Rating: **

After the match, Bob Evans gets in the ring as the House Of Truth members leave to the back.  Evans goes to check on Cheeseburger,  helps him up to his feet, but then knocks him back down with a shoulder block which officially brings Brutal Burgers to an end.  It was kind of anticlimactic in a way, but it is what it is.

From there, Truth Martini leaves the announcers booth to go celebrate the win with his guys, which brings Steve Corino back to the broadcast booth right before the main event.

Main Event – Match 4
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Samoa Joe

Thoughts: The bell rings and the match starts out very slow and technical, the two men trade holds and strikes and each exchange with their own respective flurries of offense.  Samoa Joe takes control and attempts a rear naked choke on O’Reilly, but O’Reilly is able to slip out of it and grab Joe’s ankle to lock on an Ankle Lock, which Joe counters into the first pinning predicament and near fall of the match. Both men make it back up to their feet and Joe works O’Reilly over in the corner with punches.  Joe whips O’Reilly into the opposite corner and follows him in with a back splash.

From here, Joe gets O’Reilly down in the corner, runs to the opposite end of the ring and runs full steam at O’Reilly kicking him in the face with the face wash.  O’Reilly recovers and grabs Joe’s arm that he was working on earlier in the match and drives him down to the mat.  Joe manages to break free and make his way back up to his feet. Next, Joe whips O’Reilly into the ropes and catches him as O’Reilly is coming towards him with a snap power slam to pick up a near fall.  From here, O’Reilly attempts a hurricanrana, but gets powerbombed by Joe who turns it into a pinning attempt, but instead of letting O’Reilly kick out Joe turns the pinning attempt into a submission attempt.  The two recover and Joe gets O’Reilly in the corner to set him up on the top rope to attempt a muscle buster.  However, O’Reilly turns the move into a guillotine for the submission attempt.  Joe rolls to the outside of the ring and O’Reilly follows him out hitting a dropkick to Joe’s already injured arm.  Back in the ring and the two exchange strikes in the ring for about a minute, until Joe gets the upper hand and is able to hit the Muscle Buster on Kyle O’Reilly to pick up the win via pinfall.

Result: Samoa Joe defeats Kyle O’Reilly via pinfall after a Muscle Buster.
Match Rating: ***

After the match, the two men shake hands in the middle of the ring as the show goes off of the air for the week.  If you can seek this match out, I would highly recommend doing so because it may just in fact be the only televised Samoa Joe match that we see from him in Ring Of Honor.

That as always will do it for me and another one of my weekly Ring Of Honor Wrestling TV Reviews for EyesOnTheRing.com.  This show was pretty solid all around, the main event more than delivered and the Tag match that lasted longer than a minute was pretty good.

Be sure to follow me on twitter @Headliner5 as well as the official Eyes On The Ring account @EyesOnTheRing.  Also be sure to check out the site for more ROH reviews as well as other great content from the entire EOTR team.

Finally don’t forget to like us on facebook at Facebook.com/EyesOnTheRing.  For now,  I am Nathan saying so long and I will see you right here next week for another Ring Of Honor TV Review.  Same Eyes On The Ring time, same Eyes On The Ring website.
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Living in the Attitude Era: Intro

The WWE landscape has changed a lot since its heyday. If you're of a certain age, you'll remember a time when watching WWF/E was can't miss and must-see, instead of might watch. Of course, we're talking about the Attitude Era.

Fans like me get a lot of shit because we keep talking about the Attitude Era like it was the greatest thing ever. Here's the thing though - it wasn't...but it felt like it was.

We're talking about a time from the mid-to-late 1990's where two big wrestling companies went toe-to-toe in a ratings battle the like of which we'll never see again. WWF and WCW went at it every Monday with both companies trying to outdo the other. Both companies needed to be at the top of their game and were driven to shake things up because of one thing - competition.

In the 1990s, there wasn't TIVO or DVR's. If you wanted to watch a show, you either had to tune in to the broadcast, or tape it on VHS to watch it later. Yup. VHS. THAT'S how long ago we're talking!
It was also a time when the internet was in its infancy, and there wasn't anywhere near the coverage that wrestling has today. Fans today are spoiled with the number of websites who report on the sport that we love, or loved in my case.

I've been around a bit and written for a lot of sites, but you won't have read a lot from me lately. It's because of one thing - the current WWE (RAW/SmackDown) product.

I can't stand to watch something that's presented as caviar, when the reality is that most of it is horseshit. Of course, there's nuggets of brilliance in there - Daniel Bryan, Paul Heyman, Dolph Ziggler, Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar etc, but there's only so many times we can watch HHH being a prick heel or Kane and Big Show turning heel/face every five weeks before it gets stale and repetitive.

That's why the Attitude Era was brilliant. It was unpredictable. You never knew what could happen. Both companies took ACTUAL risks by blurring the lines between fiction and reality.

True's asked me to turn this into a series of articles because he knows it's the only way to get anything positive out of me!

Before we get into the series, which will start properly next week, I just wanted to talk about the things that are sorely missing from Raw and SmackDown these days.

The biggest difference between today's WWE and the Attitude Era for me comes down to one thing, and one thing alone - the lack of depth across the card.

These days, you'd struggle to name 10 top-class acts on WWE TV. But back in the Attitude Era (at one time or another) all of these men - Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, HHH, Kane, Undertaker, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley - could easily have main-evented a PPV.

You could also include Angle and Jericho in the mid-upper card too, along with others like Guerrero, Venis, Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, Rikishi, X-Pac.
The tag-team division was the best it's ever been too - Edge & Christian, The Hardys, The Dudleys, APA, The New Age Outlaws, Too Cool were all teams who could interchange and either work the title match, or duke it out to see who got a title shot. There are probably others that I've missed, but you get the point.

Vince McMahon had an embarrassment of riches in his hands back then, whereas now...
All of those guys I've just mentioned were also over. Like crazy. People weren't indifferent to them, like they are with some guys now. Wins and losses meant something and their characters were well defined. Being the champion meant you were the best performer, not just the flavour of the month like it is now. These days you'll get a month, maybe two tops before Vince gets distracted by his new shiny toy - see Fandango, Ryback, Cesaro, Los Matadores, Big E etc.

It's frustrating as hell right now because no matter who you get behind - Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are just three examples off the top of my head - if WWE don't want you to get there, you won't.

Back in the Attitude Era, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley and The Rock got over with the fans and Vince went with them because he knew he could make money with them. We WANTED those guys to be champion, or at the top of the card at least. 

Others got there over the years too, like Jericho, Angle, Lesnar, Jeff Hardy and Guerrero. But it didn't really feel like Vince wanted them to be the guy. He never really got behind them the way he did with Austin, Rock and obviously, with his daughter's main squeeze, The Game-Ah.

In today's world, Vince McMahon has become lazy and even more stubborn than he's been in the past. He doesn't have anything to push him - like he did in the Attitude Era.

Vince can kid himself by thinking that WWE can compete with "entertainment" brands. WWE isn't an entertainment brand. It's a wrestling brand. His company is called World WRESTLING Entertainment. It should be a wrestling show that's on TV, not a TV show about wrestling.

At times, it seems like the wrestling actually gets in the way of whatever ridiculous guest host or "musician" (and I use that term VERY loosely) is on shilling their latest project. And because the wrestling is almost presented as an afterthought, that's why people don't really care what happens one way or the other. When they do, WWE decides to fuck us off and patronise us by punishing the guys we like just because they get over without the machine. It's a fucking farce and it's no surprise interest in the product has waned ever since WCW went out of business.

And why did WCW go out of business? Because Vince McMahon took risks. He took chances. Now, he just plays it safe. Those grapefruits he went on about oh-so-much in the Attitude Era have properly shrivelled up haven't they? They're more like orange pips now.

Back to the task at hand then. The Attitude Era will be fondly remembered by wrestling fans of a certain age because it reminds us of a time when we LOVED watching Raw. At that time, WWE only really had 2 hours of network TV to fill and it had to be good because WCW were around, and could take advantage at any given moment (except towards the end). It forced WWE to be good and make sure they did EVERYTHING to force fans to watch their show.
I'm not ashamed to say that I loved the Attitude Era, but I'm not fucking delusional either. 

Some of it was awful. Just awful. I mean Mae Young giving birth to a hand? Seriously. Who in their right fucking mind thought that was funny/entertaining. Oh...

Next time, we'll discuss the events that really kicked off the Attitude Era, including DX, Stone Cold and the creation of the Mr McMahon character, borne out of circumstance but who can arguably be considered amongst the greatest pro-wrestling antagonists of all-time.

Keep your eyes here and support True and the team.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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The Significance Of The Beast

Brock Lesnar has resigned to the WWE for a multi-year deal. This is the second time in a row that Brock has signed a multi-year deal with the company, and who could blame him? Vince drops millions of dollars in his bank account, Brock works 25-30 days a year, wrestles 4 times a year, and gets to be home with his family 90% of the year. Who wouldn't take that deal? To be fair, having Brock back in WWE hasn't seemed to provide the huge ratings or merch sales boost that WWE expected, but I think Vince sees Brock as a worthy investment regardless. Brock has never been a big media guy, and that doesn't seem likely to change, but his announcement on ESPN that he has closed the door on a MMA return, and would be staying with WWE for multiple years rocked all social media and delighted wrestling fans all over.

The question remains, what does this mean for WWE going forward? Who are some potential opponents for Brock? How many years is included in this particular multi year deal? With regards to the amount of years in Brock's resigned contract, I'm going to guess 2-3 years, with 2 years being the logical option as WrestleMania 33 is rumored to be in Minneapolis, Brock's hometown.

As far as what's next? And potential opponents? Here's my view:

There is no reason for Brock to lose to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 31. The most bland main event in WWE history, in terms of excitement for the match and build, should end with Brock victorious. Last year, Brock ended the Undertaker's streak and I cannot imagine throwing that away just to put Reigns in a title picture that he obviously isn't ready for. However, knowing WWE, Reigns will win, Rollins will cash in, and we get Rollins vs Reigns for the title afterwards as Brock takes his normal three-month vacation with great pay. This does nothing for the company in essence, if Brock is going to stay in WWE for another two years. I would like to see Brock vs Daniel Bryan at Summerslam for the WWE Title, and Brock even said himself that he looks forward to working with Bryan in the future, getting us closer to the reality of seeing the match we all really wanted at WrestleMania 31.

Now, we don't know if Brock's contract calls for a few more dates than before, but if I'm WWE, I'm making sure that this investment is 100% worth it, and using him as much as we can within the 2 years. Unlike The Rock, Brock's part time schedule isn't because he's busy doing 45 other things, its because he just doesn't want to work that much. Now, at 25 dates a year, that's no way to really build a huge feud, so if I'm WWE, I'm asking for 35-40 dates along with 5-6 matches per year.

Vince is backing up the money truck, the least Brock can do is add 5-10 more dates to the contract and 1-2 extra matches. I would say that its more than necessary at this moment. Brock returning initially made him a special attraction, but now that effect has wore off some. He is still a huge attraction, but the wrestle once, disappear for months, wrestle once, repeat disappearance shit has gotten old after three years.

Brock has committed to WWE for multiple years and canceled out MMA, so I believe that he should give the WWE a bit more as far as appearances go. Brock wrestling at Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Extreme Rules (or Money In The Bank), Summerslam, Night of Champions (or Hell In A Cell), and Survivor Series is what's best for business. It gives the fans more Brock Lesnar, which they want, while not over saturating his appearances/matches. A strategy that if utilized correctly, will be perfect. Now, the final question, and most important question would have to be, who can Brock face over the course of these next few years?

Daniel Bryan

This is the match that everyone wants. Bryan vs Brock. David vs Goliath. This is the money match. Bryan vs Brock could end up as an all time classic and if anyone should hand Brock his first loss since WrestleMania 29, it should be Bryan.

Randy Orton

In all seriousness, this match needs to happen. It should have happened at the Royal Rumble instead of Cena getting a shot at the title. But, WWE and their usual bullshit comes to mind. However, I fully expect a Brock vs RKO match, and I can't wait to see it. It will be extreme and intense.

Rusev

In the future, after say the Orton and Bryan matches (Ed. Note: and potentially barring Rusev losing to Cena at WrestleMania), a big match between a face Brock and mega heel Rusev could provide a great showdown.

The Rock

This match needs to happen as well. A lot of people are saying "this isn't 2002," and you're right. It isn't. Brock Lesnar is a mainstream household name, The Rock is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and both are considered legends in this business. Yes, we saw Brock vs Rock in 2002. We also saw Undertaker vs Brock in 2002 and 2003. We saw Brock vs Cena in 2003 as well. The Rock was the one who helped get Brock over the top by losing cleanly to him, some 13 years ago at Summerslam 2002. Their careers since have both taken an interesting turn, and with all those years passed, I think it'd be perfect for one last match between the two in front of 100,000 plus at WrestleMania 32.

Dean Ambrose

Dean is one of the most over guys in the company period and he's positioned as a lunatic character wise. He's also selling merch considerably well, and has the vocal chops to spar with Brock's advocate Paul Heyman. The match between the two would be physical, brutal and I would love to see these two go at it.

Bray Wyatt

This might be the most exciting potential feud here. Heyman vs Wyatt on the mic? The New Face of Fear versus The Beast? This is MONEY. I'M SOLD!

Seth Rollins


I rather enjoyed the interactions with Brock and Seth Rollins leading up to the Rumble and would love to see him go one on one with Brock. That match would be great.

Cesaro

The ship hasn't sailed on this. With proper booking, decent build up, and more, I think Brock vs Cesaro could be a classic.

Closing thoughts:I'd keep Brock away from Cena, HHH, Taker, Sting, Ryback, Big Show, Kane, Mark Henry, and even Sheamus, to be honest. Let him work with the majority of the new blood, the quicker guys, the more sound wrestlers, with one huge attraction match against The Rock and call it a career. Brock is best with booked with great in ring performers, as this was evident in 2002-2003. Brock excelled against the Benoits, Edges, Rocks, Takers, Guerreros, and of course Angles of that era, but bored against the bigger men or older wrestlers. It is vital to keep Brock with fresher talent and let the magic happen.

Where does Brock go from here? Only he and the WWE know, but the whole world is intrigued. And that is special in its own right. Long Live The Beast.

@TrueGodImmortal
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Jon and Nathan's WrestleMania 31 Predictions

Hello Ringers! WrestleMania is this Sunday night and Jon and myself are here to run down the card and give you our monthly dose of pay-per-view predictions as it pertains to the 31st annual show of shows. WrestleMania is always the be all, end all when it comes to the WWE season, so to speak. 
We could see some career-defining moments at this show and it could prove to be a very interesting one. However, the build has been terrible--and that’s being nice. So if you’re like me (in other words, not that excited about this show’s prospects), hopefully, we’ll get you as ready as you can be. With that said le’ts get down to business and the predictions of the show.


Kickoff: Fatal 4 Way for the WWE Tag Team Titles
The Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (C)

Jon: This match has been thrown together in recent weeks for WrestleMania and its very apparent that it is rushed. There hasn't been a focus on the tag division in a long time. Hopefully, this changes immediately after WrestleMania. There are some good teams in the division that if given can a chance and some consistent direction would bring the titles back to promise.
Kidd & Cesaro are a good pairing even with Natalya as their manager. Los Matadores have yet to convert me into a fan but they are solid in ring. New Day should be heels, WWE dropped the ball and really need to correct this misjudgment. The Usos are without a doubt the best team in the division, but with one of the twins being hurt their chances of recapturing gold seems slim. Kidd and Cesaro could use an extended run with the titles and will retain in the pre-show.

Jon’s Prediction: Winners and still WWE World Tag Team Champions Tyson Kidd and Cesaro

Nathan: This match is a match which gives everyone some airtime because let’s face it: we have not only this match, we have a ladder match and a 30-Man Battle Royal. That means that everyone and their mother is on this show.
The match itself was thrown together as Jon said. The tag team division needs a serious overhaul and this is not the way to do it. I understand the argument that they are at least doing something with the tag team division but just because it’s something doesn’t mean it’s the best thing they could be doing. With Cesaro and Kidd winning the tag team titles just last month, there is absolutely no way that they do not retain the titles here.

Nathan’s Prediction: Winners and still WWE World Tag Team Champions Tyson Kidd and Cesaro

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Konnor, Viktor, Kane, Big Show, Darren Young, Titus O'Neil, Jack Swagger, The Miz, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Fandango, Adam Rose, Zack Ryder, Erick Rowan, Sin Cara, Damien Sandow, Goldust, Mark Henry, Heath Slater, a NXT Superstar TBD, others TBA

Jon: Last year when this match was announced, there was a lot of hope that this would be used as a way to launch someone’s career like the Money in the bank has done in the past. That failed to happen last year when Cesaro won the Battle Royal. This year, of all the wrestlers who deserve a Mania moment, it would be Ryback. Ryback has yet to win any title or match of significance. This could be the first accolade that gets the big man on a very good roll in 2015.

Jon’s Prediction: Ryback

Nathan: I’m actually surprised that this match is on the show due to the fact that when it was made last year, I wasn’t sure if they would continue the trend of doing it year to year. I’m glad to see that they have continued to honor Andre The Giant’s memory by continuing with the tradition.
But, having said that I hope that they handle the winner better this year than they did last year. If I had to pick a winner here it has to be Damien Sandow/Mizdow. I feel this is his way of getting out of this gimmick that has been going on way too long. It’s been great for what it has been but it’s time for it to end.  
There is the caveat that Sheamus could return and win because it’s the worst-kept-secret probably of the entire weekend. But, even with that aspect of it I feel this is Damien Sandow’s match to win. This will hopefully allow Sandow to finally recover from losing the Money In The Bank briefcase back in 2013 because ever since then he’s been stuck in midcard hell. However, now is a chance to seriously rebuild him and a win here will do that.

Nathan’s Prediction: Damien Sandow

AJ Lee and Paige vs. The Bella Twins


Jon: Looks like the very fragile team of Paige and AJ lee has fallen apart after this weeks Monday Night Raw. That friction will make it hard for them to overcome the Bella Twins.The mean girl twins have been making Paige's life very difficult for months, attempting to bully her or humiliating her in anyway possible, going as far as stealing her clothes in hopes she would have to wrestle nude. A Nikki Bella win would show the world that she and Brie are over their little rift that they had before she became champion.

Jon’s Prediction: The Bella Twins

Nathan: I could care less about this match. We had a Diva’s Title match on the go home RAW to WrestleMania between challenger Paige and champion Nikki Bella and it wasn’t a great match but it wasn’t that good either. The match that took place between Nikki and Paige should be the one that is taking place at WrestleMania however we are getting a pointless tag tam match on the biggest show of the year and I’m not sure why.
I’m going to go against Jon on my prediction for this match though and go with AJ Lee and Paige to pick up the win. I have a feeling that whoever picks up the pinfall between AJ and Paige will pin Nikki Bella in order to set up a Divas title match at Extreme Rules.
That’s the logical thing to do anyway to make this match sort of mean something. But...we’re talking about a company with no logic so I don’t know what to tell you.

Nathan’s Prediction: AJ Lee and Paige

Sting vs. Triple H

Jon: So many questions surround this match. Sting has thwarted The Authority’s plans on several occasion since showing up in WWE at Survivor Series. He still has great presence about him and the crowd is in a frenzy when he is at Raw. But, on Sunday, we need answers!
Can he still wrestle to the standard that he set back in WCW? Can Sting defeat The Game at the grandest stage of them all? Is Triple H still the Cerebral Assassin or has the suit and tie put him in early retirement? While Sting hasn’t had a match in WWE, Triple H hasn’t had a match since Payback 2014. If you’ll recall, Evolution lost to The Shield, which set up for The Authority adding the future of the WWE, Seth Rollins, to their ranks. I’m going with Sting.  

Jon’s Prediction: Sting

Nathan: This match has some intrigue to it. I’m interested in seeing how this match plays out and whether or not it ends up being any good. Everything in this match all depends on Triple H as far as whether it’s seen as good or bad in the end. Sting just turned 56 years old and this match will be a true test of how good a worker Triple H really is.
I just hope that the match exceeds my expectations. This match received the best build of this Mania Season and I’m really excited to watch Sting in a WWE ring for the first time. But, I would be lying if I said I was a bit nervous going in because I feel this match is either going to be really good or really bad with no in-between. I’m looking for Sting to win this match because since this is Sting’s first-ever match in a company that he waited fourteen years to be a part of. That and it’d be a complete waste to have Triple H win here.

Nathan’s Prediction: Sting

Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker

Jon: A year later it’s still hard to come to terms with the fact that Taker's streak came to an end last year. Furthermore Taker hasn’t returned to the ring since last year, what kind of physical condition is he in after the physical beating he took from Brock Lesnar? Regardless of his condition The Phenom always shines at Mania.
Bray has done a great job at providing the fuel to make this match interesting without Taker being on any Monday Night Raw leading up to mania. Bray claims to be the new face of fear, and its a claim that he has every right to. There’s no character like him in the WWE; his promos are lined with cryptic messages and his actions are explainable. Defeating The Undertaker would firmly cement himself in that role, yet, also send Taker into retirement, that is a task easier sad than done.

Jon’s Prediction: The Undertaker

Nathan: Does anyone honestly care about this match? I don’t. This match makes me question the decision to end The Streak last year. I figured that since The Streak did in fact end that we were seeing the last of the Undertaker inside of the ring. But now, they are bringing him back for some reason I still can’t put my finger on.
We are in a weird situation going into this match because both of these men lost their respective matches at WrestleMania 30.  Bray lost against Cena last year and is now 0-1 at the Show of Shows and we all know that after Taker lost to Lesnar, he is now 21-1. This match has no streak in it so either guy could win. The idea of a Sting vs. Taker match at WrestleMania has been rumored for next year at 32. But if Taker loses again (which I feel he will), that match should not happen.  Bray Wyatt can easily be put into the role of the “New Face Of Fear.” But, regardless who wins, from a booking standpoint, it’s a lose-lose situation for WWE.

Nathan’s Prediction: Bray Wyatt

Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett (C)

Jon: This ladder match has all the ingredients to steal the show if done correctly. The right mix of brawlers, technical wrestlers and risk takers. When title first was getting stolen every week I thought what another waste of a Wade Barrett title run. As it progressed and all the participants were getting involved the shenanigans were hilarious especially R-Truth. Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler have great chemistry with one another a storyline between the two after this seems only logical. Dean Ambrose would be the most unpredictable component of this match. He is on a mission to bring the IC title back to its prestigious air it should be.

Jon’s Prediction: Winner and NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion: Daniel Bryan

Nathan: This match can (and will) steal the show, I’m not happy with how this match was built up. Everyone in this match stole the title during RAW or SD! or a house show, which, in my eyes, makes it look meaningless. People keep telling me that this match is a way to build prestige to the title. But, I honestly don’t see it that way.
What this match is in reality is a replacement for the Money In The Bank Ladder match that used to take place at this show. Ever since the Money In The Bank Ladder match received its own self-titled PPV and was removed from WrestleMania, it has created a hole in the card at WrestleMania itself. While I’m looking forward to this match, I really hope this is a one time thing.
If it is made a yearly thing, it could damage this title’s prestige even further. They may be doing something with the title but just because it’s something doesn’t mean it’s good. Daniel Bryan will win this match but I honestly question WWE putting him in this match given the fact that he just came back from a career-threatening injury.

Nathan’s Prediction: Winner and NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan

John Cena vs. Rusev (C)
WWE United States Championship Match

Jon: The most exciting and unpredictable not on this match up will be their entrances. It’s almost a forgone conclusion that Cena will win the United States Championship. This feud hasn’t been all that bad though, Rusev has shined in his role and has delivered some great beat downs to Cena. While he will receive his first loss by pinfall or submission I’m sure, he can recover from it.

Jon’s Prediction: Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion John Cena

Nathan: I’m really excited for this match. Their last match was really good and I have a feeling that this match will be one that we will talk about around the water cooler the next day. Rusev has been built up as an unstoppable monster ever since he made his debut on the main roster and now he comes face to face with the face of the company. I really would like to see Rusev get the win here in convincing fashion but that already happened at Fast Lane so it won’t happen.
I like John Cena, don’t get me wrong, but I do not want him winning this. However, he will in fact win this match because if Cena doesn’t overcome the unstoppable monster, who else will? Rusev will take his first pinfall or submission loss in this match but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid for his future. Remember Goldberg? Well he lost in very shady fashion via Taser to Kevin Nash. So, I hope if Rusev has to lose it’s handled better than that and that Rusev is able to recover from Cena.

Nathan’s Prediction: Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion John Cena

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton

Jon: This match up has been almost a year in the making. Once Seth became the authorities favorite turncoat, there has been nothing but friction between the two. Things only got worst after Rollins took Randy Orton out of action for a several months. Once Orton came back it didn’t take long for him to get a measure of revenge on The Authority and Seth Rollins. One of the best moments on the road to WrestleMania was seeing the Viper fight side by side with The Icon Sting.  At Mania Orton will avoid a curb stomp and hit a RKO out of nowhere in spectacular fashion for the victory.

Jon’s Prediction: Randy Orton

Nathan: This match is going to be good, this past Monday we had Rollins and J and J security take on Randy Orton in a three on one handicap match and this Sunday they finally go one on one.  It’s been building for a while and actually received a decent build as part of a lackluster WrestleMania season.
Since I have a feeling Seth Rollins will be doing something later on in the evening normally I would say that he would be winning this. However, this is WWE and they don’t think with real, legitimate, logical logic. Instead they use WWE Logic and using that logic, it tells me that Randy Orton will win this match. But, I have a feeling Seth Rollins will come out of the night as the real winner once it is all said and done.

Nathan’s Prediction: Randy Orton

Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar (C)
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match

Jon: If Paul Heyman hasn’t sold you on why you should want to see this match, I assume you have had your head stuck in the mud for the past month. Paul has perfectly conveyed why Roman Reigns have a legitimate chance, all the while showcasing why his beast Brock Lesnar will destroy Roman like every other Challenger in recent months.
The tug of war at the end of RAW was definitely a waste of time and a lost chance to have a meaningful physical encounter against between champion and challenger. With Brock recently re-signing with the WWE the outcome of this match is less obvious than it was just a week ago. The crowd has changed its opinion on Reigns. Once the darling of the WWE Universe he is now a stain on a favorite t-shirt, believe that.  There are still fresh matches for Brock to have in WWE that would be great television and even better matches.

Jon’s Prediction: Winner and Still WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar

Jon’s Prediction, continued: No matter who wins the Brock vs. Reigns match, Seth Rollins will cash in and become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

Jon’s Prediction: Winner and NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins.

Nathan: Has there ever been a more underwhelming main event than this one? If you were to ask me who was going to win this match yesterday, I would have told you that there is no way that Roman Reigns doesn’t win. However, with what happened yesterday evening, with Brock Lesnar announcing that he’s re-signed with the WWE on a multi-year deal? It makes the match a little less predictable.  I’ll be looking for Brock Lesnar to win the match and retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship but that’s not all folks…

Nathan’s Prediction: Winner and Still WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar

Nathan’s Prediction, continued: WWE has a chance to do a first at a WrestleMania and I think they will do it here. After this match between Reigns and Lesnar is over, look for Seth Rollins to come down to the ring and cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase on a vulnerable Brock Lesnar. The bell will ring they may do a few things in the match itself. But, I feel that the match will end with a curb stomp and we will have a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania via the first-ever Money In The Bank Briefcase cash in at the showcase of the immortals.

Nathan’s Prediction: Winner and NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins.

There you have it ladies and gentleman. You now know where Jon and myself stand when it comes to the Showcase Of The Immortals known only as WrestleMania. This is what we see happening at the show and although I’ve been unenthused with the build itself towards this event, I hope the event itself delivers.  This is the end of the line when it comes to the Road To WrestleMania and it will go a long way in letting us know where this company is headed in the future.

Until Sunday be sure to follow Jon on Twitter at @BigJonDaLegend and myself at @Headliner5.  Also be sure to follow the EOTR master page at @EyesOnTheRing and stay tuned to www.EyesOnTheRing.com. If you have any additional thoughts be sure to hit us up on Twitter by tweeting Jon, the main Eyes On The Ring account, or myself. Also be sure to go to Facebook.com/EyesOnTheRing hit that like button and share your thoughts on WrestleMania there as well.  

Finally don’t forget to tune into the post WrestleMania edition of Eyes On The Ring radio via Elite Podcast Network located right here at 11:30PM EST.  So long ringers we will see you at the show.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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So, I watched a Lucha Underground Match

By Speed on the Beat (Find SOTB!!! on Twitter)

On a whim, I took the plunge. I went to YouTube, went to El Rey's channel (since I don't have the actual network on my provider at home) and loaded up a match. The match, Johnny Mundo (John Morrison) versus King Cuerno, was a cage match that seems like it was part of a blood feud between the two. From the moment they locked up, there was something different about this match versus a WWE or a TNA.



It felt real. It felt like these two guys hated the holy bejeweled beejeebus out of each other and wanted to kick their respective heads in. It isn't a spots-only affair, something people tend to expect from gimmick matches these days. Each attack, each connect, each miss, it carried weight. And as the match drew to a close, the audience swelled with anticipation and I legitimately marked out over Mundo's finisher done off of a cage. Hell, the announcers even put over the "holy shit!" chants, something that doesn't happen anywhere these days.

Now, LU isn't perfect. Their camera angles are a bit dizzying, for starters. Also, the promotion features some--but not all--of the better talents from Mexico and beyond. So, you're still missing out on wrestlers. Finally, the announcing crew is just "meh," for me at least. However, if you're looking for a reason to watch LU, maybe this match will give you one.


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The Reigning, Defending...Tug O'War Champion?!

By Peagle (Follow Peagle on Twitter)

What...IN THE BLUE HELL was that??! In case you missed it, last night's Monday Night Raw; The Go-Home show for the Show of Shows, The Showcase of the Immortals, The Grandaddy of... (wait, Vince doesn't want to use that name), WrestleMania was ended with The Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar and Samoan Cena Roman Reigns playing Tug o' War with the WWE Championship.



If there was a more disappointing ending that could have occurred, I can't think of it. This entire build has been based around Paul “The Gawd of Loquaciousness” Heyman (I'm an English major, don't judge me) talking up Brock Lesnar in his usual fashion and telling Roman Reigns that he can't handle The Beast. Roman on the other hand went from wanting to make Lesnar respect him to the more Cena-like “I can and I will.” I haven't been too interested in the build to this point outside of listening to Heyman talk, but I just KNEW something had to go down on Monday. I just KNEW Lesnar and Reigns were gonna brawl it out. And it started good, Lesnar taunts Reigns with the title, so Reigns snatches it from him and holds it in Lesnar's face. Nice show of disrespect mixed with a lack of fear. Then Lesnar gets his hands on it but Reigns doesn't give it back. If you're watching the above video, PAUSE IT THERE!

I want to run through what I thought would happen next:


  1. Reigns pulls the title away, goes to hit Lesnar, Brock ducks and the brawl begins (Ed. Note: Kind of like how they managed for Bryan/Reigns, but wilder because, well...Daniel Bryan is no Brock Lesnar)
  2. Lesnar pulling Reigns in for an F5
  3. Reigns laughing confidently, letting the title go then hitting Lesnar with the Superman Punch

Those are just the first 3 examples off the top of my head. But what did we get? Lesnar and Reigns pulling at the title like two 4-year-olds fighting over a stuffed bunny rabbit and...fade to black. THAT'S IT. 

The man who has run through the WWE and the man Vince wants as the next big face played a quick game of Tug O'War to close out the show that's leading into the biggest event in the company. WWE spent a week hyping up the Lesnar/Reigns face -to-face only to give us that. I don't care if Lesnar has or hasn't re-signed, that's not how you go into WrestleMania. You don't impress upon us how physical both of these guys are then when they finally get face to face, they have a “MOM HE WON'T LET ME PLAY” moment. I just...don't have any more words for this. 

Follow us at @EyesOnTheRing
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WIRTB Review: Wrestling Video Games

Hello and welcome to a bonus episode (cam we call them episodes really?) of WIRTB Review, the column on EyesontheRing.com where I, SOTB!!!, review the crap so you don't have to determine in order to answer the now-month-old question: was it really that bad? My God, that was one mammoth run-on. To avoid jumping out of the 13th floor, I'm taking a break from Souled Out to dust off the titty box and play some shittastic wrasslin' video games to determine if they've really gotten a bad rap over time, because on top of wrestling and hip-hop, I'm a gamer. Games like MicroLeague Wrestling are skipped over because, well, I'm looking at more so games where it's about the action in-ring, not the WWE Supercard, 1980s Edition craziness.

First up? 2001's Betrayal. So, Betrayal is like River City Ransom...if you took every ounce of what made RCR a classic game, loaded it with WWF licenses (that still couldn't be fully used because this was a Game Boy Color game), and removed any sort of rhyme, reason, logic, etc. from the game. It's loosely based on the "who kidnapped Stephanie?" storyline (from 1999). And when I say loosely, I mean "Vince promises a title shot to whomever finds Steph, who's been kidnapped by The Powers that Be (or someone), which leads you--as either SCSA, American Badass Taker, The Rock, or Trips--to beat up announcers, refs, corporate suits who shoot people with briefcases, and everyone in between to find Stephanie."

You, after beating the beejeebus out of everything in sight, beat your rival on top of, I guess, Titan Towers, for the WWF Championship and save Steph. In the playthrough below, SCSA faces off against Triple H. Once you win, you get a static image of the Eagle Belt and a MIDI version of your theme plays. This game is fun...if your idea of fun is not using your brain and beating Undertaker with a glass dick--I mean a metal pipe (even still, not helping). It's pretty bad. But, I'm still alive and well.


Next, we travel back to the 1990s (I got my wish from Souled Out 1997's WIRTB Review) to play WWF: In Your House. Have you ever wondered what'd happened if Vince, in his "I'm still hip and cool goddamit!" mindset, bought the Mortal Kombat franchise, slapped John Cena on the--oh...yeah...


Well, for IYH, imagine Immortals, take out the swipey-swipe fighting and replace it with a broken combat engine which was already older to begin with (see, this is why people laugh at Acclaim these days looking back on their franchises). It features Taker throwing fireballs, Ahmed Johnson throwing energy balls like Black Goku, Owen Hart throwing energy discs made of playing cards (?) and Goldust doing his self-molesting thing.


I can think of better ways to waste an hour. Such as playing the original Mortal Kombat or, I don't know, drinking bleach for breakfast. 

2011's WWE All-Stars is what happens when WWE does the Def Jam: Icon thing (kinda), tries to do it better, and still fails miserably. Why? Well, for starters, let's talk about DJI.


It's a flawed game, almost as flawed as can be. Hell, you have Lil' Jon fighting Muay Thai (kinda) against Fat Joe. There's no reasoning behind any of this, aside from street politics (which, in the Def Jam world, that's all you need) and some Empire-meets-Final Fantasy-on-coke-level storywriting. It sounds amazing, but it's really not. At all. At least Empire, as godawfully soap opera-like as it can be, knows it can be corny. DJI legitimately tries to be serious, at all times, with everything--including treating Melyssa Ford as your digital plaything (as far as EA and Def Jam'd let it go, by the way).

But, as flawed as DJI was/is, it was at least fun beating the fuck out of a fake Lil' Wayne with Ludacris or using the living, breathing environment to stomp out your opponent by throwing speakers and gas pumps on some telekinetic insanity (called "switching" and "scratching"). That and we got some hackneyed social commentary. Besides, at least the Def Jam series originated from the same people who did some of the old-school WCW/WWF games, AKI. So, they kind of knew what they were doing (even with Icon).

But, back to All-Stars. 


All-Stars is like the bareknuckles DLC for Fight Night Champion, expanded to a whole game with just bareknuckle fighting and absolutely nothing else, sold at full-price, and made so everyone looks and plays the same. Aside from finishers, literally everyone plays the same or close to the same. It's like passing off the original Street Fighter as the new, new shit today. I'm not even talking the Street Fighter with Chun-Li's first appearance (II, by the way). I'm talking the one with Retsu and Adon and shit. 

TNA doesn't escape the (Barrett) barrage of fuckery, by the way.


2008's TNA iMPACT! was supposed to be the game that made people say "oh, hey, TNA is better than WWE." It had better graphics, it had more wrestlers people'd want to play as, it was the better promotion at the time. Yeah, I said it. In 2007, 2008, TNA was better than WWE. But, this game, was crap. First of all, it was in development for two years, but still floundered where it counted (physics, depth, etc.), just like last year's WWE 2K15.  However, at least 2K15 had a semblance of a story mode (as shallow as it was). All iMPACT! has is a dated system, talent that isn't even with the company anymore (and not just on some CM Punk/Alberto El Patron shit), glitches out the ass (some even more laughable than 2K15) and an overall infinite sadness. But at least Low Ki got into a video game, amirite?

The Backyard Wrestling series gets a lot of flack from gamers and wrestling fans alike.


But, it had everything that late-90s/early-2000s wrestling fans could want. Swearing, blood, ECW alumni, titties! There was no way this game could've failed, right? Well, the games sucked more dick than a dick-sucking sandwich sandwiched between two chicks who live to suck dick. Sexism aside, just no. It was glitchtastic, the graphics were horrid, just everything about it screamed "we ran out of ideas. Quick, let's go bend over a cash cow, milk it for that last curdled drop, and put something out." At least we got John Zandig in a video game.

Finally, let's just agree that most of the WCW games were trash. I don't think we need to run down the list of horrible games because fuck that, I still need to save room for Souled Out 1998, 1999, and 2000.