WWE RAW Wrap Up 3/29/16: Shaker Tane

Eamon Paton, Mad Mike, Bobbyfjtown, and Sorgatron talk about the hot kick off with Shane McMahon and Undertaker squaring off, Dean Ambrose and his little red wagon and toys he may use in his No Holds Barred match, The Total Divas crazy 5 way match with Eva Marie and Emma joining the fun, women’s wrestling with Becky Lynch and Charlotte, Buh Buh Ray Dudley going into Bully Ray mode lately, and does Roman Reigns and Triple H end WrestleMania?


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What’s At Stake: Hell In A Cell 2015

As we head into yet another special event on the WWE Network, I’ll try to answer one simple question: What are these guys and girls fighting over? As always, we welcome your feedback. Send an email to [email protected].

Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar (Hell In A Cell Match)
What’s At Stake: Final bragging rights in a rivalry that began more than a decade ago. Potentially, Undertaker’s career.
This is it. The final chapter. The final battle. WWE wants to make sure you get the message. This is the last match between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. The Beast Incarnate dominated this rivalry for more than a decade. That includes a victory inside Hell In A Cell at No Mercy 2002. Looking back, the athleticism of Lesnar during his rookie year is still ridiculous. So is Paul Heyman’s ponytail.

I remember a lot of the fans at the time were disappointed by the first Undertaker/Lesnar Hell In A Cell match. It was only the 8th in WWE history, and the bar had been set very high. This was a departure from what had become the standard formula for a Cell match. In fact, it’s the first to not involve anyone on the roof.

On Raw Monday night, JBL said “a legacy is at stake”, but whose? Lesnar secured his place in history for all time when he conquered The Streak at WrestleMania XXX. Undertaker’s seems more tenuous. He defeated Lesnar in a televised, one-on-one match for the first time at SummerSlam in August, but it wasn’t pretty. In fact, Taker cheated. It’s a tainted victory. Can Undertaker beat Lesnar without resorting to such tactics, and how would fans react if he uses them again?

One more thing about this match. Last month, at Night Of Champions, we were reminded of a harsh reality. The legends of professional wrestling who choose to repeatedly pursue that “one last match” risk suffering a career-ending injury in the ring at almost any moment. Can Undertaker avoid the misfortune that befell Sting? Can he survive in what is clearly a more dangerous environment against a far more physical opponent?

Seth Rollins vs. Demon Kane
What’s At Stake: WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Corporate Kane’s job as Director Of Operations. Seth Rollins’ credibility as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
It’s hard to say who has momentum going into this match, because both versions of Kane were absent from last Monday’s Raw. Kane’s split personality has been fun, but it also feels like it’s fallen short of its full potential. Meantime, it’s been a rough stretch for Rollins. He has a losing record in televised singles matches over the past several months. He’s also been challenging John Cena for the United States Championship on house shows instead of defending his own title. It’s bizarre, but Rollins endures and survives as the champion. To me, this looks like the safest bet on a WWE special event in a long time, but Rollins isn’t the biggest favorite heading into Hell In A Cell according to one sports book.

Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt (Hell In A Cell Match)
What’s At Stake: A path back into contention for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
While it’s nowhere near the epic history between Undertaker and Lesnar, this is another long feud WWE wants you to believe will come to a decisive and final conclusion inside Hell In A Cell. These two have been at it for months, but it’s hard to define what they’re fighting over. Wyatt appears to be blocking Reigns’ road back to world title contention, but the Wyatt Family itself has momentum of its own. That’s not just because of the addition of Braun Strowman and the return of Erick Rowan. Bray Wyatt hasn’t lost a televised singles match since June 1, and has lost just 2 since WrestleMania. So, why does it feel like he needs a win here more than Reigns?

John Cena vs. ???
What’s At Stake: WWE United States Championship. Cena’s U.S. Open Challenge. WWE’s mystery opponent/partner stipulation.
Last week, I laid out the case for John Cena in 2015 being North America’s best wrestler in a decade, but he’s going away for a while after Hell In A Cell. That’s no secret. That’s also why it seems inevitable that whoever answers what could be Cena’s last U.S. Open Challenge will win the title, finally delivering a payoff to Cena’s string of successful title defenses that started the night after WrestleMania 31.

Who will answer the challenge? If you follow Total Divas, Dolph Ziggler appears to have a ready-made story line with Cena that could be incredibly compelling. The favorite may be Dean Ambrose, who went from the pre-show to having no scheduled match on Sunday. Those sound good, but some fans may be hoping for something even bigger. Daniel Bryan? Samoa Joe? Those who are dreaming big could be setting themselves up for a big disappointment.

Managing fan expectations is not a new problem for WWE. Last month, it promoted a mystery partner for Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. It ended up being Chris Jericho, which was cool. But in the end, it meant nothing. WWE would be wise not to repeat that mistake, and deliver something big in this spot.

The New Day vs. Dudley Boyz
What’s At Stake: WWE Tag Team Championship. What could be the Dudley Boyz’ last shot at a major championship.
The Dudley Boyz’ return to WWE has been fun, and their rivalry with The New Days has been entertaining. Now, it’s time to find out if WWE considers the Dudleys mere nostalgia or championship material. Kofi Kingston and Big E have twice escaped major title matches against the Dudleys. In both, Xavier Woods was the deciding factor, causing a disqualification. Monday on Raw, the Dudleys set out to eliminate Woods from the equation.

Is Woods really out of the picture for Hell In A Cell? The Dudleys appear confident he won’t be there on Sunday, and Kingston and Big E were paying tribute to their fallen partner on SmackDown with very tasteful “XW” armbands.

If Woods is truly out of the mix, the pressure is squarely on the Dudley Boyz. The excuse for twice coming up short is gone. Plus, there’s the very real possibility this could be Bubba Ray and D-Von’s last shot at a major championship after nearly 20 years as a team and at least 25 championship reigns.

Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella
What’s At Stake: WWE Divas Championship. Nikki Bella’s spot in the title picture.
Speaking of last shots, this could be it for Nikki Bella. No matter how ugly the process can be at times, WWE is turning the page on its Divas division. Fresh challengers like Sasha Banks, Paige and Becky Lynch are waiting in the wings. Nikki’s improvement in the ring over the past couple years is remarkable, but if she drops this rematch she may find herself pushed out of title picture once and for all.

Kevin Owens vs. Ryback
What’s At Stake: WWE Intercontinental Champion
Owens flat-out cheated to win the Intercontinental Title from Ryback last month, but this match still feels more like an obligation than an opportunity for the Big Guy to get revenge. Owens doesn’t look complete without championship gold, and he’s already having one of the better runs as IC Champ in recent memory.

Dolph Ziggler & Cesaro & Neville vs. King Barrett & Sheamus & Rusev
What’s At Stake: A fresh start.
None of these guys had much going on when this match was announced Monday night. The seemingly endless love rectangle story line involving Ziggler, Rusev, Lana and Summer Rae is apparently over, but the Show-Off didn’t idle for long. On SmackDown, Summer introduced new opposition, in the form of Tyler Breeze.

So, Ziggler’s course coming out of Hell In A Cell appears to be set. What about the rest of these guys? Sheamus could use some momentum if you believe he’ll cash in his Money In The Bank anytime soon. King Barrett is focused on Neville. Cesaro appears to be back in a holding pattern, and what’s next for Rusev is anybody’s guess. On the first WWE special event since Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s arrival from the year 1985, perhaps these men can find wisdom in the words of the great scientist and inventor.

What’s At Stake: Night Of Champions 2015

As we head into yet another special event on the WWE Network, I’ll try to answer one simple question: What are these guys and girls fighting over? As always, we welcome your feedback. Send an email to [email protected].

Seth Rollins vs. Sting
What’s At Stake: WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Sting’s legacy in WWE.
Thanks to a couple wins Monday on Raw, Sting’s record in WWE is now 2-1. Not overwhelmingly impressive, but at least we no longer have to hear about him getting a title shot without ever winning a match in WWE. While this is a championship match, the weeks leading up to it have been focused on that statue of Seth Rollins, which Sting callously and gleefully destroyed for no reason a couple weeks ago.

Perhaps this is meant to distract us from the bigger story line, which is the pressure that’s on Sting. This could be his one and only shot at winning the “one title that’s eluded him” over his long, storied career. He’s presumably in a pay-per-view main event against the best professional wrestler on the planet. Can Sting deliver at the age of 56? Will there be a last-minute stipulation added to mask any perceived deficiencies? Perhaps most importantly, if Sting loses, will WWE fans still view him as one of the iconic, legendary figures of professional wrestling’s past quarter-century? The last time Sting competed for a major championship isn’t as long ago as you may think (He faced Magnus for the TNA Heavyweight Championship on his last night with that company back in January 2014). Still, questions surround him heading into Night of Champions.

Seth Rollins vs. John Cena
What’s At Stake: WWE United States Championship. Revival of John Cena’s U.S. Title Open Challenge.
It’s double duty for Seth Rollins at Night of Champions. This rematch from SummerSlam will be a tall order for him. Rollins needed help from Jon Stewart to win the U.S. Title, but I doubt the former host of “The Daily Show” will show up this time, mainly because his stated motivation for interfering at SummerSlam was to protect Ric Flair’s record as the 16-time world champion. Behind the scenes, Raw ratings are in a slump, and a crucial television ratings period is on the horizon. WWE management may think it’s time to bring back John Cena’s U.S. Title Open Challenge.

Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte
What’s At Stake: WWE Divas Championship. Sanity of every WWE fan with access to social media. The Diva Revolution.
The Bella Twins used “twin magic” last Monday night on Raw, and it barely worked. Charlotte won by disqualification, but Nikki escaped with her title and became the longest reigning Divas Champion in WWE history.

It was a really good match, but the end result set off a firestorm on social media, as fans clashed over Nikki’s worthiness as champion. Things have cooled down a little since then. In fact, I really enjoyed the #BellaBration on SmackDown, which turned into a disaster for Team Bella.

Of course, All this drama will be forgotten after Charlotte finally gets her crowning moment and ushers in the true beginning of the Diva Revolution at Night of Champions. She is winning, right? Right?

The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz
What’s At Stake: WWE Tag Team Championship. The New Day’s #SaveTheTables movement.
The Dudley Boyz made their return to a thunderous ovation on Raw the night after SummerSlam, and they’ve had the tag team champions in their crosshairs ever since. I was becoming a little concerned that Xavier Woods’ trombone had upstaged the awesome “last table” The New Day was hauling around, but that changed on Wednesday, when The New Day launched a Save The Tables petition.

The movement is as strong as ever, but I couldn’t help but wonder if breaking the “last table” will become a consolation prize for the Dudley Boyz…until I saw this. The Dudleys may have a secret weapon in their corner to even the odds at Night of Champions. Would you believe…Tommy Dreamer?

Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and a mystery partner vs. The Wyatt Family
What’s At Stake: The Wyatt Family’s newfound momentum.
Who will step forward to team with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns? That’s the big question, but I’m wondering if even they know the answer.

All kidding aside, you have to hope WWE has something big planned here. Some are dreaming of a bombshell return for Daniel Bryan, or the main roster debut of Baron Corbin or Samoa Joe, but the rumors about Kane sound a lot more plausible. As for the Wyatt Family, the addition of newcomer Braun Strowman has brought fresh credibility and momentum to the group. You’d hate to see it thrown away here, but the happy bromance between Ambrose and Reigns is one of the most reliable things WWE has right now, and Shield Lite has a knack for avoiding decisive losses.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
What’s At Stake: Personal pride.
Girls. Can’t live with ’em, can’t- Well, you can make up your own joke. I’ve been a fan of Rusev’s “broken up, but not over her” routine regarding Lana, but it looks like that’s over now that she’s out with a wrist injury. That brings us to Summer Rae, who may or may not have eyes for Dolph Ziggler. There’s a lot of different directions this can go, and it may be the toughest match on this card to predict.

Ryback vs. Kevin Owens
What’s At Stake: WWE Intercontinental Championship. Kevin Owens’ “upper mid-card” status.
When you start out by handing John Cena one of the few clean, pay-per-view losses of his entire career, there’s nowhere to go but down. So, Kevin Owens finds himself with a chance to win the much-maligned Intercontinental Championship. Ryback is finally past a long, underwhelming feud involving The Miz and Big Show. Fans of Owens live in constant fear that WWE management could cut bait on him at any moment, but this match could turn out to be a big vote of confidence. Or, it could…well, let’s try not to think about that.

Neville & The Lucha Dragons vs. The Cosmic Wasteland
What’s At Stake: The Ascension’s latest shot at relevance.
WWE is billing this match as the forces of good taking on the forces of evil. How can the stakes get any higher than that? I’m really hoping this new pairing with Stardust works out for The Ascension. It feels like the perfect fit. Now, they need to start winning some matches.

Yep. It’s getting weird. Remember, evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.

Wrestling Mayhem Show 360: Wrestling Is Mayhem

Wrestling Mayhem Show 360: Andrew Palace, TNA Uprising, Paul Bearer, and Wrestling IsThis week Sorg, Lunchbox, Wrestlefan, and Rizz  talk about whether the various Wrestling Is promotions are having a rocky beginning, and what is the goal?  Look back on Paul Bearer and WWE’s tremendous send off, and decide whether TNA has finally arrived.

We also have a chance to catch up with up and comer Andrew Palace just before the start of IWC Uncivil War as we talk about coming through wrestling school and his history leading into it, the chance to wrestle guys like Zema Ion in the few short months since debuting, and that classic question…

You can get this episode here on TalkshoeBlip.tv, subscribe to the audio or video versions on iTunes, look us up on YoutubeRoku, or Boxee, and as always, stay tuned to www.wrestlingmayhemshow.com for the latest! The Wrestling Mayhem Show is recorded live and can be heard/viewed from 8:30 PM to 10 PM Eastern on live.sorgatronmedia.com. Let us know what you think of the show, and your thoughts on the wrestling world by emailing us at [email protected]!

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