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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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EOTR Tag Team Tuesdays: The Corre

By @MeenHendrix 

In my opinion and I think a lot of people would agree, 2011 was an underrated year for WWE's blue brand. We saw an amazing rivalry between Randy Orton and Christian and the emergence of Daniel Bryan as a World Title contender after winning the Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match. My favorite part in all of this was The Corre.

When Wade Barrett was kicked out of CM Punk's version of the Nexus, I thought to myself "Finally! Wade Barrett can become the star he is destined to be." Alas that did not happen. Barrett would begin to find his footing on the blue brand by attacking the Big Show. His former Nexus mates Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel would join him in the attack. Refusing to fight each other to stay in Punk's New Nexus, Slater and Gabriel would then reunite with Barrett to create The Corre with Ezekiel Jackson. Barrett made it a priority to note that this new stable would not be like the Nexus, adding that all four men are equals and there is no leader.

Working together as a unit, The Corre made a habit out of attacking other stars, mainly the Big Show. Gabriel and Slater would go on to defeat Santino Marrella and Vladamir Kozlov for the WWE Tag Team Championship. They followed this up with Wade Barrett defeating Kofi Kingston to win the Intercontinental Championship, leaving the group one World Heavyweight Championship short of matching Evolution's dominance.

However, as we all know, all good things must come to an end. After losing at Wrestlemania 27, the group tried to make a statement by attacking The Rock and John Cena. It didn't end well for The Corre, as Cena and Rock would overcome the attack and further damage the group's momentum. Soon after, Slater and Gabriel would lose the Tag Team Titles to Big Show and Kane. As the losses begin to pile up the frustration and cracks began to show with Jackson walking out on the group after defeating the Big Show. This act of defiance led to Barrett, Slater and Gabriel attacking Jackson and removing him from the group. Shortly thereafter the focus shifted from the stable to strictly Barrett vs Jackson, effectively ending the group.

What I liked most about The Corre is the potential it had to build at least 2 legitimate stars in Jackson and Barrett. At first I didn't like the idea of Wade joining another group. He had the it factor and he should have been booked to be more focused on his own goals as opposed to a group. All though they claimed they were all equals, it was clear that Wade Barrett was the star of this group. Jackson in the role of group enforcer was solid but I felt he could be more. There never seemed to be much character development for him. He was the jacked bodyguard for the group and that was pretty much it.

Slater and Gabriel basically had the same role as they did in the Nexus which really seemed pointless to place them in another stable similar to the one they had left. The group only lasted about 5-6 months and they spent all of it feuding with the Big Show which sucked. They were entertaining because they reminded me of the Nexus which isn't exactly a good thing but they were better than what CM Punk tried to do with the New Nexus. The Corre should have been a launching point for Barrett into superstardom but sadly it was not meant to be. You may not remember them as one of the best stables in the history of the company, but I remember how fun it was hearing "End of Days" and watching these guys take care of business before they fell apart.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

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EOTR Retrospective: Edge's Breakout Year In 2005

By @MeenHendrix 

When I hear Edge's nickname, The Ultimate Opportunist, the first thing I immediately think of is the year 2005. He had been running in place for all of 2004 until he became obssessed with becoming the World Heavyweight Champion. So much so that he abandoned Chris Benoit in a match for the World Tag Team Championships because he lost the fan vote to Shawn Michaels for a WHC match with Triple H.

When 2005 spun around, Edge was slowly becoming a main event player. He started the year competing in the Elimination Chamber at New Year's Revolution and would defeat Shawn Michaels at the Royal Rumble. He would go on to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 21 and continued his winning ways defeating Chris Benoit in a Last Man Standing match at Backlash. Then he was paired up with Lita when she helped him defeat Kane in a number one contenders match.

He would feud with Kane in a fun rivalry in my opinion, which included Kane crashing Edge and Lita's wedding and Tombstoning her. In the end, Edge would come out victorious before jumping into a rivalry with former bestfriend Matt Hardy. Feeling misunderstood by fans because of his relationship with Lita, Edge turned on a whole new level of attitude. He became 10x more cocky than ever and whenever he had the chance, he'd rub his relationship in the faces of fans week in and week out. His rivalry with Hardy would turn into one of, if not the best things about Raw that year.

At Summerslam, Edge defeated Hardy by referee stoppage when Hardy hit his head on the steel ringpost causing him to bleed excessively. They would next face off in a street fight where Hardy did his memorable Side Effect to Edge off the entrance ramp. Next was a Steel Cage match at Unforgiven, where Hardy finally gained retribution and defeated Edge. Edge would beat Hardy in a Loser Leaves Raw Ladder Match, sending Matt over to Smackdown. Edge would end the year feuding with Ric Flair which continued shortly into the new year.

I like this year in particular because Edge was basically untouchable. He defeated Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit, Kane and Matt Hardy all in the same year in some pretty entertaining matches. The Last Man Standing match with Benoit and the Singles match at SummerSlam with Hardy, were my two favorites in particular. The Last Man Standing match was great and the fact that Edge hid a brick in his MITB briefcase and used it on Benoit just made me think to myself, "Holy shit, what wouldn't this guy do to win??"

The ref stoppage at SummerSlam was also a great moment for Edge because once he saw Hardy's split open forehead, he pounced on him and brutally beat him to within an inch of his life. The entire year he knocked down every barrier placed in front of him. His promos became filled with rage as fans viciously booed him. He turned his obsession with the World Heavyweight Championship into an obsession with making his biggest critics eat their own words and it paid off with him cashing in that MITB contract at New Year's Revolution 2006 to become the WWE Champion. Well deserved.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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EOTR Tag Team Tuesdays: Samoa Joe As TNA Tag Team Champions

By @MeenHendrix

This week I want to step outside of the box and focus on a singular wrestler representing a team by himself. We've seen it done many of times by Chris Benoit, Matt Morgan and Kurt Angle. However, there are none I've enjoyed more than Samoa Joe going all lone wolf like over the Impact Zone.

This phase of Joe's obsession with becoming king of the 6 Sides started with a losing effort in the King of the Mountain match for the TNA World Title. Shortly thereafter a Match Of Champions match was announced for Victory Road. It would involve the X Division Champion and TNA World Heavyweight Champion teaming up against the TNA World Tag Team Champions.

Whoever scored a pinfall would become dual Title holders. Joe qualified the match by taking down Jay Lethal and Chris Sabin in a match for the X Division Championship. At Victory Road, Joe would team up with bitter rival and then TNA World Champion Kurt Angle against Team 3D, which ended with Joe pinning Brother Ray. By scoring the winning pinfall, Joe would become the TNA World Tag Team Champions by himself because he didn't want Angle to be his partner. This made him the first man in TNA history to hold two titles at once. He would then put up his X Division and World Tag Team Championships on the line against Angle for the TNA World Championship and IWGP World Championship at Hard Justice. He would lose both titles to Angle.

It's weird that I picked Joe for this week's article because he technically wasn't a team. His reign as "Champions" lasted only 28 days. However, what we did get from it was a superb main event to Hard Justice, which would have been much better if it hadn't ended with Joe being screwed over by the Angles.

Although it holds no historical significance, Joe's reign did serve as another reminder that he deserved to be a World Champion and that TNA couldn't seem to catch on for at least another year. It would have been nice to see Joe actually go on a tear as a double champion. They could have built him up as an unstoppable force with him defending the Tag Titles in multiple Handicap matches. Joe would go on to become Tag Team Champion once again with Magnus, but that's another Tag Team for another Tuesday.


Monday, January 23, 2017

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EOTR Match Of The Week: Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho, Royal Rumble 2001

By @Phranchize19 

During the year 2000, Chris Jericho was the third most over guy in the company (trailing only Rock and Austin) and Benoit was arguably the third best heel (behind Kurt Angle and Triple H). Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho embarked on what I feel is one of the greatest feuds in WWE/WWF history. This all started back in 2000 after WrestleMania 2000 in a triple threat match involving Kurt Angle. After Jericho lost his European Title, he had his sights set on Benoit and the IC title. After a few unsuccessful attempts at defeating Benoit in 2000, they decided the best way to end this feud was at The Royal Rumble in an ladder match for the Intercontinental Title.

The Match:
For almost 20 minutes, these great Canadians put on what could possibly be seen as the best match on the stacked card. The innovation from these men was extraordinary (more so Jericho, who I feel is one of the better ladder match performers in history). Benoit isn't known for his stunts in these types of matches, but proved he could handle this match on this type of stage with a competitor like Y2J. Jericho executing a Walls of Jericho on Benoit while they were on the ladder and Benoit suicide diving into a chair shot are two of the best spots in the history of the ladder match. Jericho would have his hand raised in victory and win the Intercontinental Title. A match like this brought great prestige to one of the greatest championships in the history of wrestling.

Fun Fact:
This was the only ladder match in Royal Rumble history. Also, Jericho and Benoit would be involved in another ladder match down the line following this one, but this time as a tag team.

This match is an absolute classic. One of the top 10 best matches in both of these men's catalog. Two of the best technicians in the history of wrestling crafted a masterpiece at the second biggest PPV WWF had to offer. This match cemented these two as top notch competitors and showed that even in the most strenuous of circumstances, they could still steal the show.

-C. Yates

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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WIRTB Review: Ryback

Photo Credit: Miguel Discart on Flickr

Over the past few years since EOTR has been a thing, I’ve probably said my fair share of…not-so-nice things about Ryback. I mean, unless my CM Punk interests are the reasons he’s got me blocked, I’m sure I’ve been one of many folks to call him Goldberg-lite or something. But, was I wr-wr-wrong in my assertions about The Big Guy? Was The Big Guy really underrated even during his tenure with WWE? This is where I, Speed on the Beat, come in, once again, to analyze like the rest of the so-called neckbeards (are some of us wrestling analysts still called that by those "in the know" or nah) and ask “was he really that bad?”

Looking back, Ryback, like many before—and after—him, was subject to some crappy booking. He was a muscular bald dude who was booked as a monster babyface that’d mow through anyone and everyone (hence the Ryback/Goldberg comparisons). That’s fine and dandy. We need those types in wrestling as much as we need the undersized underdogs who still go out and kick all sorts of ass. I’ve come to learn and appreciate that in the field. But…

You know what?

I started this piece to try and answer the question of whether Ryback was really that “bad.” Truth be told, he kind of just existed in WWE for his post-Nexus tenure. Yeah, he had his feud(s) with CM Punk. But, be honest. Unless you were a superfan of the guy, most of us kind of just watched him meander through four years on the main roster. And, I’ll be real with you. The guy, while not the best in-ring, had charisma. His tweets, before I noticed he blocked me, were pretty funny and uplifting at points. So, it sucked to watch them waste his talent.

RybAxel was a thing, and the comedic element of it was cool. It reminds me of JeriKO looking back at it, even down to the borderline bromance-y overtones. But, they never got over to the point where WWE, I guess, felt comfortable putting the Tag Team Titles on them (wasted opportunity). He was put in the Authority storyline, but shrug to that because he was, even when “fired,” an afterthought to Seth Rollins, John Cena, Sting, Triple H—hell, Dolph Ziggler had more of a reason for people to watch than Ryback. When he won the Intercontinental Championship, he ended up in a feud with Big Show. No offense to Big Show, but when you’re feuding with Big Show, you’re usually an afterthought (mainly because of the way Big Show’s been booked over the years, but that’s another WIRTB entirely).

Let’s look at his feud with Kalisto (yet another wasted talent by WWE, but again…another story for another time). He was portrayed as “a big meanie” who was beating the crap out of the small little guy (a rehash of a similar storyline). The thing is that Kalisto kept beating his ass. I get that the underdog is supposed to win sometimes. I cheered when Daniel Bryan won in 2014. But here? It sucked any sort of buzz out of Ryback’s last moments with WWE.

Honestly, though? Pair that with the equal pay thing and it’s no wonder he took his ball and went home. Most of us would’ve done the same if, after years of towing the line, we’re given a crap storyline and crap outcomes day in and day out. 

Now, I get that WWE can’t put everyone over. And, hell, I get that Ryback was pushed to the moon in his early days. But, for Pete’s sake! Was the man underutilized and booked wackily as hell to the point no one could take him seriously? Yeah, he was. Do I think he was that bad? To be honest, no. I really don’t. Do I think he was a GAWD in-ring and on the mic? Eh, no. I don’t. But, I don’t think he was as bad as the “RyBerg” chants warranted.

My God. My first WIRTB in months and I find myself championing a guy I probably shat all over when he was with WWE. Is this what WIRTB will become? Maybe, I don’t know. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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EOTR Tag Team Tuesdays: Killer Elite Squad

By @MeenHendrix 

If there's anything I love about tag team wrestling, pairing up two random guys who have instant chemistry together is near the top of the list. That's kind of what you get with these guys. Some may remember when Ted DiBiase Jr. made his debut in WWE, he challenged then World Tag Team Champions Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes to a match for their titles. The fun part is that Teddy refused to name his tag team partner for a month. When he did he and new partner Cody Rhodes stole the Tag Team Titles. The reason I mentioned Cody and Ted coming together is because they remind me exactly of Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr.

In July of 2012, Lance Archer challenged Tencozy (One of the most successful teams in the history of New Japan Pro Wrestling made up of Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima) to a match for their IWGP Tag Team titles. Like DiBiase, Archer refused to name his partner for a month. His partner would be revealed as none other than fellow former WWE competitor David Hart Smith (known as Harry Smith in NJPW before changing it to Davey Boy Smith Jr.). At the King of Pro-Wrestling PPV, Archer and Smith would go on to defeat Tencozy to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. Now dubbed the Killer Elite Squad, Archer and Smith would go on to defeat Tencozy in a rematch for the tag team titles and finish as the runner up in the 2012 World Tag League to Sword & Guns (Hirooki Goto and Karl Anderson).

After defeating Sword & Guns at Wrestle Kingdom 7, K.E.S. joined their fellow Suzuki-gun stablemates in a rivalry with the Chaos stable (led by current NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura), which really was one sided for the most part. K.E.S. was able to defeat Nakamura and Tomohiro Ishii to retain their IWGP Tag Titles, but that was about it. On April 20, 2013, Archer and Smith became double champions, winning the NWA World Tag Team Championship from Ryan Genesis and Scot Summers. However they would drop their IWGP Tag Team Championships to Tencozy, ending their lengthy reign at 207 Days. They would go on to win back their IWGP Tag Titles from Tencozy in a two-fall three way match with The IronGodz (Jax Dane and former WWE superstar Rob Conway), but dropped the NWA World Tag Team titles in the first fall to Dane and Conway. They then entered the 2013 World Tag League, this time losing in the semifinals by Tencozy. At Wrestle Kingdom 8, they lost their titles to Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows aka The Bullet Club.

The reason I picked these guys this week is because it seems as if these guys don't exist to even the die hard wrestling fans and that makes me like them even more. These guys have been together 5 years now and have made their mark across four notable promotions in Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Noah, Global Force Wrestling and New Japan. They have won the NWA World, IWGP, and GHC Tag Team Championships twice each. They are a combination of power and athleticism, both being strong as an ox and very mobile for two big men. Their Killer Bomb finisher is pretty sick. They also have been a near perfect match for each other with Archer's douchebag attitude bringing out the asshole in Smith.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. has also proven himself to be one of the best tag team wrestlers in the world today being able to adjust to the style of multiple partners. I'm also very thankful I don't have to see the cancer known as The Rock 'n Rave Infection. The team has been dead for 8 years, but I am still very blessed that I don't have to go through that again. One more thing I like about these guys is that they didn't let the WWE hype machine hold them back from being one of the World's best tag teams. WWE randomly broke up The Hart Dynasty, a team I loved by the way, and sent Smith packing. Meanwhile, Archer briefly made an impact in ECW going unpinned for 2 months, but then again they were handing those kinds of streaks to anyone who debuted for ECW (Kofi, Sheamus, hell even Ricky Ortiz... yeah haha). If the Killer Elite Squad isn't on your radar, this is your reminder to take notice.


Monday, January 16, 2017

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EOTR Match Of The Week: The Rock vs Kurt Angle- No Way Out 2001

By @Phranchize19

It's very hard to follow matches that feature Stone Cold Steve Austin but the Rock and Kurt Angle had the unruly task and they did not disappoint. They simply put on a classic and crafted a great story at the event before the biggest show in WWF history, Wrestlemania X-Seven.

Kurt Angle had become WWF Champion by defeating The Rock in October of 2000. Since that time, Kurt Angle managed to escape with the title in every possible way in matches against Undertaker, Austin, Triple H, The Rock, Rikishi, and more. Kurt was still a relative newcomer at the time and with WrestleMania needing a marquee main event, I'm only assuming Vince McMahon didn't feel that Kurt Angle was ready to main event WrestleMania so he eventually pulled the title from him. Rock on the other hand had been involved in the “Who ran over Austin” storyline for a little while. A lot of people felt Rock had most to gain seeing as he was the number 2 guy in the company at the time. In order to be number 1, Austin had to be out of the way and that's exactly what happened. Rock would unsuccessfully compete in the 2001 Royal Rumble, but won the right to battle Kurt Angle for the WWF title by defeating Big Show. Many automatically assumed Rock was going to win the match and Kurt Angle used that to fuel one of his best performances to date.

The Match
This was by far one of the best stories told in a match that I had ever seen. This match went back and forth. Even the Big Show interference felt right. They tore the house down and showed that Rock could hang with a technician the caliber of Kurt Angle. Kurt Angle would work on the legs of Rock setting him up for an ankle lock. The story being crafted in this match is based around the fact that Rock was heavily favored which motivated Kurt, but at that point Rock had never actually defeated Angle in a big time match so the two storylines made for an excellent match. Kurt showed a viciousness he had lacked during his run as champion and you can see at times Angle carried Rock during this match.

Fun Fact
Earl Hebner would botch the three count in the match after Rock landed the Rock Bottom. Rock was said to be highly upset afterwards because he felt it took down the quality of the match (I for one, disagree).

If you want to see a great match that has traditional technical  wrestling but is also high impact, this is the match for you. The Rock’s smash mouth style and Angle’s technical style blended so well together. Angle proved he belonged in the main event and Rock did what legends do, and that is put on a great performance.

-C. Yates

Thursday, January 12, 2017

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EOTR Royal Rumble Talk: 5 Surprise Entrants We Want

By @TrueGodImmortal 

The Royal Rumble is just a few weeks away at the time of this article and many of us wonder what will occur at the big event. While the card itself is a bit underwhelming, the Royal Rumble seems to be stacked. Oddly enough, with names like Goldberg, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, and more names announced, it doesn't seem like enough. The Rumble has always been known for surprise entrants and this year is perfect for big entrants, being that it's in the Alamo Dome holding over 60,000 people. With names like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Shawn Michaels likely off the table for surprise entrants, we wanted to focus on more current, debuting and possibly returning stars who could bring fans to their feet. With that being said, we look at 5 surprise entrants that would make the Royal Rumble match even better.

5. Tye Dillinger

-He's likely not going to get a big opportunity on the main roster anyways, but why not give Tye a big moment by adding him to this match. His "10" chant is extremely over and his appearance in the Rumble would make the crowd go crazy more than likely and allow him to have a payoff for being so over. Tye deserves a moment like that.

4. Shinsuke Nakamura 

-It's time for the biggest NXT star to ascend upon the throne on the main roster, preferably on Smackdown (we need Nakamura vs Styles on PPV for the culture). I'd love to see Nakamura enter in the Rumble the night after losing the NXT Title to Bobby Roode and if we're being honest, I'd love for him to actually win the Rumble and go to Smackdown. It might be a bit too premature for him to get a victory that big, but if anyone is ready for that, it is certainly Nakamura.

3. Samoa Joe 

-Another NXT star who is obviously gearing up for his main roster debut is Samoa Joe. Rumor has it he will have a big role heading into Wrestlemania 33 and what better way to have that kick off the right way than with Samoa Joe winning the Rumble or at least having a great showing that leads him into a big storyline at WrestleMania. I personally would love to see Samoa Joe vs Cena at Mania, but who knows what will occur then, I just know a Rumble appearance for Samoa Joe is a must or WWE will have dropped the ball again.

2. Finn Balor 

-Given a 4 to 6 month recovery time, one wonders if Finn is almost ready to go. After going down in August, we just crossed that 4 month mark and the rumor has it his progress was ahead of schedule, which could see him return in the Rumble. In the event he does return, this is the place to do it and anything less than a win would be slightly disappointing honestly. I think he will end up as the 30th entrant as a big surprise, not taking too many bumps and marking his big return just in time for Wrestlemania 33.

1. Kurt Angle

-He's been running his mouth to indie promoters and telling them that he's going back to WWE, but who knows if he's headed back or not? However, if there's one person missing from the WWE roster, it's Kurt Angle. The sound of his music hitting at the Rumble would make the entire world go crazy. I mean, he has a few indie dates left, but so does Chris Hero and we saw what happened with him. Hit Angle's music, let him get into it with someone like Dolph Ziggler and it leads to a big Wrestlemania 33 match. While Ziggler isn't the ideal opponent (Nakamura, Styles, or a healthy Daniel Bryan would be ideal), an Angle return versus a veteran like Ziggler would probably result in a great match if given enough time. Regardless, for me, the no. 1 person I want to see in this year's Rumble is hands down Angle. I can't wait until he returns and the crowd goes absolutely berserk for his music.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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EOTR Match Of The Week: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho

By @Phranchize19

The Monday Night Wars officially came to an end on March 26th of 2001 with the purchase of WCW. Vince would use a lot of the left over talent and begin a storyline of their invasion of his company (remember this as you will need this information to tie into this match later). Austin, who recently turned heel at WrestleMania, aligned himself with Vince McMahon and Triple H. Austin and HHH would hold the WWE, Intercontinental and Tag Team Titles at the same time. At Judgment Day, Austin successfully defended his WWE Title against Taker while HHH lost the IC title against Kane. On this same night, Benoit and Jericho, who were former bitter rivals, put their differences aside and won a tag team turmoil earning a shot at the tag titles that Austin and HHH held.

Austin and HHH would drop the titles to the makeshift team with HHH injuring himself in the process. In the following weeks, Austin would give both Jericho and Benoit their own title shots, only see those two come up short (Benoit in particular got screwed out of the title), which set up our match of the week.

The Match
What do you get when you take an established superstar and two of the best workers in the history of wrestling? Magic. Austin came into the match banged up, but put on one of his best performances in the ring matching hold for hold with two great technicians. Benoit came in with a damaged neck, but wrestled as if his life depended on it. This match was hard hitting, but had some of the best wrestling you'll see as well. Booker T’s WWE debut would be made during this match (remember that info I told you to keep in mind) and attacked Austin (this attack would break Austin’s hand and damaged his back), but Austin overcame that  to retain his championship.

Fun Fact
Originally, Benoit and Jericho were set to wrestle Austin and HHH in two main event matches on this night (there is no word on who was supposed to face whom), but HHH’s injury caused WWE to call an audible. Another fun fact is that in some sort of strange poetic justice, months later, Jericho would defeat Austin to become WWF Undisputed Champion with interference from the same man who made his WWF debut in this match.

Benoit would be out of action after this match for almost a year due to a neck injury. Austin would go on and join the Alliance as its leader and feud with Vince McMahon and WWE. Jericho gained more from this match than anyone in my opinion due the fact that he soon elevated to the main event and he was one of the most known and used talents in the Invasion Angle. Jericho’s star would be made after this match 100% IMO.

-C. Yates

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

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EOTR Tag Team Tuesdays: Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns

By @MeenHendrix

Everyone remembers The Shield as this unstoppable force who wrecked havoc on the entire company. I mean these guys wiped out every single star set in front of them. They were so unstoppable as a unit, that their undoing came from within as opposed to being buried by a single star (like John Cena vs The Nexus). However, one of their most underrated aspects in my opinion was that these guys could wrestle any kind of match without any limitations. One on One, Tag Team, 6 Man Tag, Handicap. They thrived in all of them. Which brings me to the tag team run of Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.

Often the forgotten man at the peak of the Shield's run, Seth Rollins really broke from his shell on the main roster when 2013 rolled around. I always believed him to be the best and although the trio was showcased as equals, at times Dean and Roman shined brighter than their fellow Hound of Justice. Nightly he delivered some pretty good performances including a match with Daniel Bryan from the June 10th episode of Raw. However, let's start this journey at Extreme Rules 2013. The Shield get their "Evolution" moment. All three leave with gold, Ambrose with the United States Championship and Rollins/Reigns as the WWE Tag Team Champions. As Tag Team Champions, Rollins and Reigns seemingly single handedly revived Tag Team Wrestling in the WWE.

They started off their reign beating Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan at Payback. Next, a great match with The Usos at Money in the Bank took place, but it was put on the Preshow. It should have made the main card, but they wanted Ryback vs Chris Jericho more than actual quality wrestling. Then they had another solid match, this time with The Prime Time Players at Night of Champions. Next, they faced The Brotherhood (Cody Rhodes and Goldust) in what turned out to be the first in a trilogy of outstanding tag team matches. With their careers on the line at Battleground, Cody and Goldust were able to defeat Roman and Seth. A week later the two teams one upped themselves in a Tag Team Title match won by the Brotherhood after the Big Show interfered. They failed to regain the belts in a Triple Threat with the Usos and The Brotherhood at Hell in a Cell.

As Tag Team Champions, Reigns and Rollins held the gold for nearly 5 months. In each Tag Team Title match, they excelled and they only posted a star rating under 3.5 stars just once and that was against The Prime Time Players, in which I felt a 2.5 star rating was too low for that match. Another underrated aspect in their run as champions is that they elevated other teams, The Usos in particular. The Usos were the perfect babyfaces the crowd could get behind against The Shield. They were young, exciting and when these two teams stepped into the ring, it was like instant magic. If you haven't seen it, just watch their match at Money in the Bank. They put on a great match on the preshow. The Prime Time Players didn't receive as big a boost, but I did notice their Millions of Dollars dance did catch on with the crowd at this time and I honestly believed them to be ready to be champions then.

Last but not least, The Brotherhood received a tremendous boost from their matches with Roman and Seth. They were already nailing a great storyline against the Authority, but stepping into the ring with Roman and Seth and delivering 3 straight great matches together only confirmed that these guys were as good as advertised. Not to mention their styles complimented each other perfectly. It didn't matter who started the match because when the hot tag came, Roman would flat out crush opponents and Seth would fly across the ring with grace, delivering the perfect knee to the side of an opponent's head. I hoped they had regained the titles again because they looked great with that gold and their gear, but alas it was not to be. This team helped to establish these guys as big stars, because not only could they deliver on the big stages, but they could also bring the guys they fought against up with them and that's an impressive feat in itself.