Playing Catch Up – My Thoughts On WWE Battleground 2016

Hey folks, I’m back once again with another wrestling review. As a reminder I’m trying to finally watch all of the WWE PPVs I’ve missed this year, and in turn am reviewing them all. This time around it’s Battleground 2016’s turn. I would give a spoiler warning but this PPV DID happen in July. If you’re like me and still hadn’t seen it yet, you’ve had long enough.

Oh and be warned, I was extremely tired when watching the vast majority of this PPV. So if there’s a spot that happened that I don’t mention, I probably just briefly fell asleep and missed it. So my bad I guess.

Quick Thoughts On The Pre-Show Match

Breezango vs. The Usos

Damn fine match. Both teams came out of this smelling like roses as far as I’m concerned. They really made it look like it could go either way. I like both teams so I didn’t mind The Usos losing. It was also interesting to see Breeze get the win clean. Like damn. I did not expect that. I mean sure it was a small package but he didn’t do any dirty tactics or whatever to set it up is my point.

Match Rating – Solid B-

Main Show

Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Charlotte and Dana Brooke

Fairly solid opening tag match. Thank God the crowd popped the way they did for Bayley or it totally would’ve ruined the whole thing. I mean they were expecting her anyway, but still. There was a botch or two here and there but nothing that really ruined the match. Granted Dana needs to just never attack someone with her hands when they’re on the mat. It just looks kind of awkward. Well, that and she usually misses by a mile and the camera angle doesn’t help. Wrestling punches are pretty much always shit though so I guess I can’t entirely blame her.

I must admit I’m kind of annoyed that Charlotte didn’t defend the title at this PPV considering there wasn’t a title defense at Money In The Bank, but the match was good enough to make up for it I guess. Plus Sasha & Bayley won, so that was also nice.

Match Rating – Solid C+ (Might seem a bit low but eh, as much as I liked it it was still fairly average)

The Wyatt Family vs. The New Day

The Wyatt Family won. The. Wyatt. Family. Won. No see I don’t think you heard me clearly enough. THE! WYATT! FAMILY! WON!

Match Rating – Solid A+ (THE FUCKING WYATT FAMILY ACTUALLY WON HOLY SHIT!)

WWE United States Championship match:
Rusev (champ) vs. Zack Ryder

I must admit, whilst I knew Ryder wasn’t gonna win, the WWE actually almost tricked me. Zack Ryder got to look pretty damn good in this match. Better than Titus got to look I’d argue, which is weird since Titus was more of a physical threat to Rusev. Even the commentators sold how Rusev seemed to be surprised Ryder was putting up this much of a fight. Hell they even had him almost break out of the Accolade, so Rusev had to basically rape the poor bastard just to make him tap out. Damn good stuff.

Match Rating – Solid B-

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

As good as this match was, and it was pretty great, I feel like this match being booked as their “final encounter” would’ve made more sense if one of them was actually drafted to SmackDown. Hell, they’ve even had a RAW match since so they’ve already gone back on the claim. Regardless this match was damn good. I was honestly shocked to see that apron brainbuster spot.

And yes, I did audibly say “BRAAAAAAAAAINBUSTAAAAAAAAH!” because of course I did. Shut up. Don’t judge me. Must admit I was also surprised that Sami actually won the match. But it did seem to take two Helluva Kicks to keep Owens down, so he didn’t really come out of this looking weak, which is nice.

Match Rating – Solid A+

Natalya vs. Becky Lynch

The crowd was kind of dead and damn am I tired so I probably missed certain things in this match, but overall I thought it was ok. Nattie working Becky’s leg for most of the match was cool, though of course there were moments where Becky kinda no sold the leg work to hit some of her moves which kinda bothered me, but not all that much.

Oh also, Natalya fucking won. Holy shit. Honestly didn’t see that coming. To me this legitimised her heel turn. If she’d just lost we would’ve got another tantrum thing post-match and her turning heel wouldn’t have had much of a pay off. So kudos to WWE on that.

Match Rating – Solid C+

WWE Intercontinental Championship match:
The Miz (champ) vs. Darren Young

This match was a lot more technical than I can honestly say I was expecting, which was a nice surprise really. I mean at points certain parts of the crowd tried to get a “boring” chant going, but I was fine with it. The finish was a bit of a mess though. Granted, it was cool to see Darren Young go apeshit for once and just drag Miz to the ground with a Cobra Clutch.

Apparently this was a “Double DQ” finish but I don’t see how. Maryse slaps Bob Backlund then claims Backlund hit her….I’m sorry but how do either of those scenarios result in a DQ for the people in the actual match? Maryse didn’t slap Darren and Bob never touched The Miz. A no contest I could understand since Darren goes apeshit but otherwise it’s just weird.

Match Rating – Solid C

John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Club

Very solid secondary main event, and I’m also very glad to see WWE didn’t waste the second Cena/AJ singles match on a PPV like Battleground, because that would’ve been a dumb move in my opinion. Hell their first encounter being Money In The Bank was weird, but I guess it’s had enough big moments to be a PPV where that could make sense.

Regardless the match was pretty good. Enzo & Cass came out of this looking great, as did pretty much everyone else really. I also appreciated that both major fake-out finishes involved someone breaking up the pinfall, rather than AJ & Cena just kicking out of each others respective finishers. Team Cena winning didn’t bother me at all, but mainly because (as I said earlier), both teams came out of this looking great.

I am surprised the final decision involved both AJ & Cena though. I thought they’d have had AJ pin Enzo or Cass; or Cena pin Gallows or Anderson. Interesting way to go about it I guess.

Match Rating – Solid B+

Triple Threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship:
Dean Ambrose (champ) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns

Fairly solid main event, though I really wish they’d saved this specific triple threat for WrestleMania. That said that might be why, as solid as this match was, they didn’t seem to entirely go all out for it. So that was smart. Giving us a taste now for something they can go all out on later.

Dean & Seth teaming up on Roman was kind of funny considering how much the crowd popped for it. That said it also made sense since he was the biggest guy in the match, so it had that going for it too. Though I feel Roman started to stir from that announce table Powerbomb a bit early.

The finish of Roman spearing Seth only for Dean to hit him with Dirty Deeds was about what I expected, and I’m honestly glad that’s the kind of finish they went with. Though I do wish Roman had either got his foot on the rope or Dean had broke up the pinfall when Seth hit Roman earlier with a Pedigree. Can’t win ’em all I guess.

I also generally liked that Dean retained, but mainly because I hate short title reigns. Shane & Bryan’s reaction to the win was honestly pretty funny too; just running around for a bit, and I think high fiving each other as they ran past each other. Good stuff.

Match Rating – Solid A-

Match Of The Night – Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Overall PPV Rating – Solid B+

Top to bottom this was the best PPV so far this year. And really? That about sums it up right there. Even if some matches were kind of iffy, nothing was really terrible and there was only one finish that kind of bothered me, but not enough to get me riled up. With that said, I have one more PPV left to cover before I can FINALLY get to Backlash.

As of writing this Backlash has indeed happened, but I was probably going to cover it the day after it happened anyway, so this works out. I will try to get my thoughts on SummerSlam done as soon as possible though. And with that, I’ll see you next time folks.

Playing Catch Up – My Thoughts on WWE Extreme Rules 2016

Hey folks, I’m back once again with another wrestling review. As a reminder I’m trying to finally watch all of the WWE PPVs I’ve missed this year, and in turn am reviewing them all. This time around it’s Extreme Rules 2016’s turn. I would give a spoiler warning but…..come on…..this PPV, like Payback, was from May. If you’re like me and still hadn’t seen it yet, you’ve had long enough.

Quick Thoughts On The Pre-Show Match

No DQ match:
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin

Not a bad match, but nothing particularly memorable happened. Also it was No DQ, but the only illegal thing that happened was a low blow right at the end. By Corbin. Ok.

Match Rating – Solid C-

Main Show

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The Usos

Very hard hitting opener, and honestly a pretty solid match. Though of course, The Usos have been hampered by over exposure and now being associated with Roman, so they got booed quite a bit during this match. It kinda bugged me cause I really like The Usos, but I guess I can see where people are coming from.

I also liked that this was a tornado tag match. Holy crap was that refreshing. Gallows & Anderson win but The Usos got in quite a lot of offense so neither team really came out of this looking weak. Best outcome you could hope for and a solid show opener. That said, the match itself was fairly unmemorable, so I can’t rate this too highly.

Match Rating – Solid C+

WWE United States Championship match:
Rusev vs. Kalisto

After Ryback/Kalisto on the Payback pre-show, this match was honestly kind of lame. It wasn’t crap, but it really doesn’t measure up, so I don’t have much to say about. But holy shit, that Accolade though. Kalisto is the only person to really make that move look brutal as hell. It also kinda bugs me that Kalisto dropped the US Title, but ah well, it’s not like WWE were really doing anything with his reign, so I guess it was for the best.

Match Rating – Solid C-

WWE Tag Team Championship match:
The New Day (Xavier Woods & Big E) (champs) vs. The Vaudevillains

I feel bad for The Vaudevillains getting little to no reaction outside of an initial boo. But in any case this match was good. Nothing too memorable but it wasn’t bad. It was also nice to see Xavier defending the belts. One thing I didn’t like about this match though was how The Vaudevillains hit their tag finisher, but Xavier kicked out of it. As far as I’m concerned, tag finishers are something that should have to be broken up.

Sure, within the context of the match Big E & Kofi were down, but the LEAST they could’ve done is have Xavier get hold of the ropes or something rather than kick out. It completely took me out of the match in that sense as, by rights, The Vaudevillains may as well have won then and there. Or at least they could’ve done a false finish where it turns out Xavier wasn’t legal so the pin didn’t count and they restart the match.

Overall the match wasn’t bad, but Xavier kicking out of the Whirling Dervish really bugged the hell out of me. And like most of the show, this match ended up being fairly forgettable in the long run for the most part.

Match Rating – Solid C

Fatal 4-Way For The WWE Intercontinental Championship:
The Miz (champ) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens

I’m honestly gonna keep this very short. This is the match of the night. Everyone brought their A game and it worked out out to be a damn fine match. The Miz even technically went over clean. Hell, the fucker broke out a leg-trap belly-to-belly for this. I think it turned into an exploder or something before he actually hit it due to them combining it with a German suplex from Cesaro, but even that aside it was interesting to see The Miz go for that.

Match Rating – A+ (Seriously don’t remember having any negative opinions of this match)

Asylum match:
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho

Honest to God this match was actually pretty boring. Even the crowd died for most of it and only really picked up again when the thumbtacks were brought out. Which I called, by the way, without trying. I thought to myself it’d be funny if the bucket turned out to have thumbtacks in it but figured there was no way WWE would do that. Lo and behold, WWE proved me wrong. Though visually I think it would’ve been more of an “OH SHIT!” moment if the thumbtacks had just been in the bucket itself rather than a little black back within the bucket.

That said, yeah, whilst this match had it’s moments, it really did drag on way longer than it needed to. The match was a few minutes shy of being a half hour long for fuck’s sake. Had it been more of a brawl or more fast paced near the end then ok. But it wasn’t. I do give WWE credit for also actually letting Jericho use the barbed wire 2×4. I wasn’t expecting it to get used so the fact Jericho actually landed a few hits with it was nice.

Also massive kudos to Jericho for being the one to take the initial thumbtacks spot. I mean I wouldn’t call the Dirty Deeds where Dean basically put himself into them kind of a proper thumbtacks spot but it counts I guess. I fully expected Jericho to not take the spot, but I did like the teasing of “who’s gonna take the bump” before the spot finally happened. But that and Dean’s dive off the cage couldn’t really save the overall match from being fairly mediocre overall.

Match Rating – C- (I could’ve been harsher, but honestly, there was a fucking thumbtacks spot in WWE that Foley was nowhere near. Plus this match wasn’t so much shit as it was just mostly forgettable)

Submission match for the WWE Women’s Championship:
Charlotte (champ) vs. Natalya

I hated the referee during this match. It’s like someone forgot to tell him there were no DQs or count outs because IT’S A FUCKING SUBMISSION MATCH! Also, Dana Brooke comes out as fake Flair and causes a distraction to help Charlotte retain……fucking hell. Two honestly dumb finishes in a row. No wonder why the crowd stopped caring.

For real, those alone are actually bad enough for me to rate this really low. That and the match being fairly forgettable, even if it wasn’t horrible.

Match Rating – Solid D- (FUCK YOU YOU STUPID REF! REMEMBER HOW SUBMISSION MATCHES WORK!)

Extreme Rules match
for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship:
Roman Reigns (champ) vs. AJ Styles

I honestly preferred the Payback match these two had to this one. This wasn’t necessarily anything horrible, but I guess I had slightly higher expectations for an EXTREME RULES match. I mean sure I wasn’t expecting any ECW-ish spots or anything, but come on. Not even a single traditional table spot? Sure they did announce table spots but come on, no normal ones?

We got an announce table spot last time, give me a spot where Roman tries for a splash on AJ through a table or something and maybe misses and goes through it anyway. Like holy christ this was tame as hell. One thing I would like to point out though was one of the Usos pulling AJ off of Roman when AJ went for a pin near the end. I honestly was surprised because that was a fairly heel-ish move for a face team to do.

As I’ve seen someone else say, even the finish is kind of marred by being almost exactly the same as the Payback main event finish. AJ goes for the Phenomenal Elbow, only to get a Spear for his trouble. I do give them credit for Roman catching him mid-air with a Spear this time though. One thing this match has over the Payback match really was just Roman doing the Undertaker dive over the top rope.

Ultimately even though this match wasn’t too bad, it was a very lackluster main event for me, and might as well have just been called a No DQ match or something because God damn it, I just won’t let it go that this was labeled an EXTREME RULES MATCH, but the most hardcore thing that happened was like….AJ Styles unloading on The Usos and Roman with a chair for like a full minute. That’s it.

When the Asylum match was more hardcore than this, something is wrong. Though I guess one thing this match had over it was this one didn’t feel like it dragged too much. Regardless, this was still a very lackluster main event overall so I’m ultimately disappointed in the overall thing.

Match Rating – Solid C- (Could’ve been harsher but hell, this is Extreme Rules not WrestleMania, so it’s a little easier to swallow this not being all that great)

Match Of The Night – Intercontinental Championship match
Overall PPV Rating – Solid C

This show was honestly so forgettable in the long run that it took me several days to write this whole thing. I’m not even kidding. And honestly, that about sums up my thoughts on this PPV overall. Forgettable. Aside from the match of the night I can barely remember anything. I don’t even have much to say here.

The show wasn’t bad enough for me to truly tear into it, but not good enough for me shower it with praise. And really that’s one of the worst kind of PPVs you can have. And I think that’s where I’ll end it. I’ll see you next time folks.

Playing Catch Up – My Thoughts On WWE Payback 2016

Back again with another wrestling review. As a reminder I’m trying to finally watch all of the WWE PPVs I’ve missed this year, and in turn am reviewing them all. First was WrestleMania 32, and now it’s Payback 2016. I would give a spoiler warning but…..come on…..this PPV was from May. If you’re like me and still hadn’t seen it yet, you’ve had long enough.

Quick Thoughts On The Pre-Show Matches

Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin

Not a bad match. Nothing special but it didn’t bore me or anything either, so that’s good. Dolph won with a roll up, which made sense given the whole “working his neck” thing Corbin was doing for most of the match.

Match Rating – Solid C

WWE United States Championship match:
Kalisto (champ) vs. Ryback

Best match Ryback has ever had. Period. Also I found his pre-match antics of mocking both CM Punk and Hulk Hogan to be quite hilarious. But really the match truly was pretty damn great for a match they only allowed to happen on the damn pre-show. This match actually made watching the two pre-show matches worth it. great little guy/big guy dynamic and Kalisto/Ryback honestly was a really good pairing for matches from what I’ve seen. There were a few botches I think, but the overall match quality made them easy to forgive.

Match Rating – Solid A+ (Hey, when you can get me saying good things about Ryback with nothing really negative to add? That shit gets top grades)

Main Show

The Vaudevillains vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass

I mainly wanted to touch on this one because holy fuck, poor Enzo. The match was going so damn well with only maybe one slip up, then bam, Enzo smacks his head on the ropes in a weird spot and ends up being rendered unconscious. Wisely after some EMTs run up the match is pretty quickly thrown out. The whole thing was treated very seriously, which I’m very grateful for. The commentators could barely talk but obviously had to, and I commend them for their efforts and showing just how serious it was.

Not the best start to the night ever but you really can’t blame anyone. Accidents happen and sometimes they have pretty horrible consequences. I’m just glad to know there was no long term damage and that Enzo came back to some capacity fairly quickly. And obviously since the match never really got going, this one won’t get a match rating. But regardless I felt I had to talk about it.

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

Well, from something tragic to something great. I guess if there was any silver lining to Enzo’s injury, it was that this match probably went longer than intended to make up for it. Both guys just completely went for it, and the crowd was obviously very into it as well. I must say I’m glad that Owens won clean. They have had him kinda cheat once or twice but it just doesn’t suit what he’s trying to do with his character, so I’m glad they stopped doing that.

Besides, his sore winner routine works just fine anyway. I also assume the kind-of-awkward interview segment they did post match was also a way to fill time due to what happened in the opener, but luckily it was at least entertaining. In my head I joked that Saxton was kayfabe thinking “Oh God I thought being a commentator on the main shows meant I was done with this crap”. Regardless the match itself was great and looks to be a top contender for match of the night.

Match Rating – Solid A+ (Just to clarify Ryback/Kalisto got a rating but can’t be MOTN so yeah, this is currently the match to beat)

WWE Intercontinental Championship match:
The Miz (champ) vs. Cesaro

This match was pretty good, though in hindsight not too memorable to be honest. Also some parts of the match dragged on a bit. Cesaro almost made me never want to see him do another European Uppercut. No lie. As another negative, Kevin Owens was on commentary……..stay with me here, put the pitchforks down. It was a negative for me because even though Owens was entertaining on commentary, most of his stuff berating Byron Saxton & Michael Cole ultimately took attention away from the match itself.

Hell there were spots I’d end up missing and having to re-watch because of Owens’ antics. Then of course there’s the finish. The finish didn’t entirely bother me, with Sami coming out and brawling with Owens leading to a ref distraction that allowed for Miz to steal a win.

However. What did bug me was how forced it was to see them get in the ring then be out on the apron to brawl. Cesaro getting pissed due to their antics distracting the ref and then knocking them off was a nice touch though. But it just felt too forced. It seems like an easier way would’ve been the ref just ducking out of the ring to try and get Sami & Owens away from the ring area (or break it up entirely). That way you can do basically the same thing; Miz taps out but the ref doesn’t see, so Cesaro breaks the hold.

Cesaro could’ve then tried to get the referee’s attention only for Miz to grab him in a schoolboy. The referee notices, gets back in the ring and makes the count. Miz retains. Alternatively, whilst the referee was outside the ring, Miz could’ve either lowblowed Cesaro or hit him in the back of the head with the title, possibly following up with a second Skull Crushing Finale to cover up the heel tactics and get the ref’s attention for a normal pin.

Either way the match was good, but a few things here and there prevented it from being as good as it could of been. Oh also Cesaro attacking Miz after the loss was a nice touch, even if the Neutralizer was sort of botched.

Match Rating – Solid C+ (Would’ve been a B level rating if not for the issues I
brought up)

Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho

There’s a very easy way to say how much I liked this match. It was far better than BOTH of their respective WrestleMania matches. Jericho looked slow as hell at WrestleMania for some reason, but here he looked a million times better. That said, I’m very, VERY thankful that Dean won. Jericho was still riding off a huge win at Mania, but Dean got destroyed by Lesnar. He needed to be built back up, and they did that with this match.

There were a few iffy moments in this match that knock my overall rating down a tad, but otherwise this was a pretty solid effort from both men. Aside from that I don’t really have much else to say about it to be honest, so I’ll just leave it there.

Match Rating – Solid B+

WWE Women’s Championship match:
Charlotte (champ) vs. Natalya

Holy crap was I excited when I realised Nattie was getting a title shot for some reason. I literally had no idea this match ever happened. Now, was it the best match either woman has ever had? Probably not. It dragged in spots and Nattie had some unfortunate botches, but nothing too huge. The main negative from this match, really, was the crowd itself.

Seriously, fuck the crowd during this match. If I was Nattie I would’ve found it hard not to break character and flip them all off for those “We want Sasha!” chants. Seriously, fuck you Chicago crowd for chanting that bullshit. Nattie might’ve slipped up a bit, but I just joked that she was so used to having to wrestle like a “Diva” that when the opportunity to wrestle how she used to came up, she was out of practice.

Besides, everyone has bad days. It happens. I do think the match went a bit longer than it needed to though, but that’s just me. The “screwjob” finish was bullshit though. Like, really guys? That’s the best you could come up with? “lol Bret Hart’s gonna be there let’s reference the screwjob with another worked one for the one millionth time!”….fuck off. Now, if it turned out Charles Robinson had just made a kayfabe “judgement call” due to Nattie selling a leg injury as part of the match, then that’s fine.

But if it really was Ric “probably broke as fuck now” Flair paying off the ref then like…what? Why? There was no reason to do this and the only way to resolve it would’ve been Nattie winning the belt later or the match starting over cause Robinson “just fucked up”. Once again a perfectly good women’s match screwed up by a dumb finish.

Match Rating – C- (Had the finish not been what it was, and the match not felt like it dragged in parts, this would’ve rated in the Bs probably. Nattie getting a title shot alone stopped me from being too harsh and dropping it to a D rating)

Oh right, then there was that whole segment with the Vince, Shane & Steph McMahon. Honestly the most entertaining parts were Vince acknowledging the Punk chants, and Steph gaining some heat by acting as if the “You’ve still got it” chant was directed at her. Otherwise it was a segment that easily could’ve just opened a RAW or something. Or just generally not have been right before the main event.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship match:
Roman Reigns (champ) vs. AJ Styles

Like the Dean/Jericho match, I felt this match was better than both efforts these guys had at WrestleMania. That said, there were a few bits that fell flat or bugged me. Roman kicking out of the Springboard 450 Splash being one of them. I also just don’t like the Superman Punch as a signature move because……it’s just a fucking punch. Not a very effective looking one either.

One thing this match proved to me is that Roman should, in my opinion, never be allowed to have a match with a pure heavyweight wrestler ever again. I mean look at his feeble attempts to deadlift Triple H at WrestleMania. Now compare that to him lifting AJ Styles up in a similar spot with little to no trouble. For as “strong” as they want Roman to look and that people joke about, Roman himself easily ruins that image when put against bigger guys.

The outside interference didn’t really bother me by the way. Though I was expecting a bit more when the No DQ stipulation was added due to the two fake-out finishes. Speaking of, I knew AJ obviously didn’t win and even if I hadn’t been aware, but I give WWE credit for the fake-outs. In the sense that it allowed people to have hope that AJ might actually win the thing outright. That said, I was also glad AJ lost.

Do I think AJ should win a major title in WWE? Yes. Do I think he should’ve won a top tier belt this soon into his WWE run? No. If WWE are smart (and AJ doesn’t piss anyone off) he’ll get a title run in due time, but for now this was for the best. I mean, the finish itself was pretty stupid, fake-outs aside. Though I do at least like that Roman sold all the crap he’d been through to only just kind of fall on AJ for a pin rather than being able to hook a leg or something.

So yeah, overall the match wasn’t perfect, but it was a damn sight better than the main event of WrestleMania, so overall I’m at least somewhat content with it, despite its flaws. Though I want to know who thought it was a good idea to linger on that shot of Roman just leaning on the ropes and looking up the ramp for so long. That shit felt like it went on forever. It was even more awkward because the commentators had already stopped talking for like a minute. So it’s just holding on Roman……but he’s not doing anything…..so it’s just odd and pointless.

Match Rating – B- (I could’ve been a bastard and rated this lower, but it WAS still far better than the Trips/Roman and Jericho/AJ, so I felt I had to rate it higher than both, despite its flaws)

Match Of The Night – Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Overall PPV Rating – Solid B

The whole PPV overall, despite it’s faults, was FAR better than WrestleMania 32 could ever hope to be. Like, holy shit. I’m honestly kind of conflicted about it too. On one hand I’m glad the PPV wasn’t utter garbage, but I’m also annoyed that THE PPV AFTER MANIA WAS BETTER THAN MANIA! I’d keep going but I’ll just stop now before I go into a long-winded rant. So, Payback 2016? Good stuff. Here’s hoping Extreme Rules is just as good or better. I’ll see you guys next time.

Life In The Carpool Lane (WWE Fastlane 2016 Review)

Hey everyone. It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a wrestling review, and my video “reviews” are usually way too long-winded for their own good. So, here’s the compromise. I’m doing written wrestling PPV reviews again! Thus, these are my thoughts on WWE Fastlane 2016.

As usual my standards were honestly set pretty low going into this one. There was at least one or two matches I was looking forward to that I knew were happening. But that’s about it. Speaking of which.

Kickoff Match
2/3 Falls match for the US Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto (c)

So, I’m just going to go ahead and say this match was great. At least I thought so. The two guys had me on the edge of my seat near the end for some of those near falls. But the main point I want to bring up, and the only thing that bugged me about this match is……WHY WAS THIS THE FUCKING PRE-SHOW MATCH? I mean, are you fucking kidding me? What the hell WWE? ARE YOU HIGH?! This was at the very least a match you open a PPV proper with, NOT A MATCH YOU RELEGATE TO THE PRE-SHOW!

*Ahem* Anyway, I could honestly keep bitching about it but I’d be here for a while. In any case, great match, dumb decision to put it on the pre-show. If I had anything nice to say about that decision, it’s kind of a backhanded compliment. That being I figure the only way this match would’ve had 15 minutes or so would’ve been if it was on the pre-show.

Side note: Who the fuck is that new-ish commentator that was actually calling the action during this match? This is the first time I can remember hearing this guy, and he’s already a better commentator than literally every other commentator WWE has right now. Pair this guy with Regal and fire everyone else. You’ll save a lot of money WWE.

Winner – Kalisto (1st and 3rd falls)
Match Rating – Solid A+ (Mainly to spite WWE for putting this on the FUCKING PRE-SHOW ARGH!)

PPV proper
Opening match: Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs. Tamina Snuka & Naomi

At first I was honestly annoyed that this was the PPV opener, and I still honestly am, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like this match. In fact, this was a pretty good women’s tag match for WWE. Tamina & Naomi actually gel pretty well as a team, which is nice to see. It also helped to sell the “actual team vs. two singles people team” dynamic they were trying to push.

Not much else to say about this match. Damn good effort by all the women involved, especially considering the iffy reputation women’s tag matches in WWE usually have. Though please, give Naomi a new finisher. The Rear View is fucking stupid.

Winners – Sash & Becks (Let’s see if anyone gets that joke)
Match Rating – Solid A-

Intercontinental Championship match – Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens (c)

Like the match before this one, I wasn’t aware this match was happening. That said this did still turn out to be a pretty good match. I would say great, but honestly the first 5-10 minutes were kind of meh. I mean, sure, maybe Owens was doing the Orton technique of “nothing but rest holds” to piss off the crowd intentionally (in fact I’m almost certain that was the case), but it still rang a little hollow because that time frame just ended up being kinda boring.

And of course, as soon as the action picks up and gets interesting, we get a “this is awesome” chant. Which honestly I don’t think was deserved, and the fans in attendance were just easy as fuck to please. Personally my reaction was “Ok now I give a shit” not “WOW AMAZING 10/10!” but hey, that’s just me. Overall the match was pretty good, and even though I thought WWE were gonna make Owens cheat to win. Nope. He won clean. Can honestly say I’m surprised. Guess this feud isn’t going any further.

Winner (and still IC Champ) – Kevin Owens
Match Rating – Solid B+ (Would be higher but the mediocre first half brings the score down)

6-Man Tag Team match – Ryback, Kane & Big Show vs. Luke Harper, Eric Rowan & Braun Strowman

Not a horrible match, but the Wyatt Family lost so, you know what? l don’t give a shit. Fuck you WWE.

Winners – The Team That Should’ve Lost
Rating – Solid Z- (yes that rating doesn’t exist but fuck you I hate WWE that much over this)

Diva’s Championship match – Brie “My Husband’s Retirement Helped My Career” Bella vs. Charlotte (c)

I’m gonna be honest with you. I tried sitting through the video package, then realised they were just using Daniel Bryan’s retirement and Nikki Bella’s injury to emotionally manipulate us into liking Brie. Most people don’t give a shit about either one of the Bella Twins. Me? Nikki has warmed on me since she’s improved so her injury sucks. Bryan retiring also sucks. But what sucks more is trying to make us care about Brie because the other two people in her life with some actual talent are both broken.

Then I tried watching the match itself. Only to give up when they bring up Brie is wearing Bryan’s WrestleMania XXX kickpads. Fuck off. Because I only watched the ending and the match highlights I can’t say whether or not the match was good or bad, so I won’t give this a rating. But fuck you WWE. Fuck you for exploiting this shit to make us like someone. That’d be like if The Rock died and you exploited it to make more people like Roman Reigns. Hell, it’s like when Eddie Guerrero died and you used it to push Rey Mysterio to the World Heavyweight Championship.

Note that I am blaming WWE for this, not Brie herself. But she isn’t exactly an innocent party since she’s going along for the ride without complaint. But still. Fuck WWE for that. If Brie needs this to get over then that really shows how little of a shit people actually give about her.

Winner – Charlotte

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

Not much I can really say about this match without going in circles, so I’ll say this much. This was a damn fine match. Considering the shape he seemed to be in, Jericho put on a good show, and even attempted a Tiger Driver/Tiger Bomb (pending which you prefer) at one point. It got reversed but the point is he broke out a move he doesn’t do anymore. It was either that or he was going for that double under-hook backbreaker thing. But I assume Tiger Driver.

AJ was great and, without trying to sound insulting, carried the match. The Pele kick he hit on Jericho when Jericho was on the top turnbuckle was cool because I honestly didn’t expect him to reach far enough to connect. But he did, thankfully. Overall this was a good match as I said. The fans were dead for the entrances, but they picked up and cheered for both when the match itself started. So that kind of made up for it.

Only issue I have is the match actually seemed a tad too drawn out. Though that may just be me being tired as I write this……also because I’m kinda distracting myself as I write this. It’s definitely one of those things anyway.

Winner – AJ Styles
Match Rating – Solid A-

The “We Realised We Had A Lot Of Time To Fill So Fuck It, Here’s Another Match” match – R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel

So yeah. This was a thing. Not a bad match but extremely short. If nothing else I give them credit for at least continuing the story between Goldust & R-Truth. By doing that the match seemed slightly less like a pre-main event filler match. It still was though.

Winner – Curtis Axel
Match Rating – Solid C+ (Didn’t have time to be anything great, but it was at least decent)

Main Event for the spot at WrestleMania because we made the Rumble match for the title, so now we have to do this even though you know Reigns is winning – Dean “I’m here to take the fall” Ambrose vs. Brock “Why Am I Even Here?” Lesnar vs. Roman “I’m Obviously Winning This Thing” Reigns

As you can tell I didn’t exactly have high hopes for this match. And to a point I was justified in that. Lesnar spammed suplexes as usual, but luckily WWE got that bullshit out of the way early to allow for an actual match to happen when Dean & Reigns would take Lesnar out of the equation. To be honest any time Brock was getting attacked was a highlight for me. That’s how much I fucking hate this run Brock has had.

In a way this match is very reminiscent of the Rollins/Cena/Brock triple threat from the Rumble last year. If only for how Brock gets taken out for most of it so we can have an actual match. Though Dean/Reigns wasn’t as good as Rollins/Cena. That said the stuff with them facing off did hold my interest, so they have that going for them. I already knew thanks to spoilers that Roman was winning but, come on, of course he was gonna win.

One thing I didn’t forsee was how exactly Lesnar would be neutralised. I had expected the Wyatt Family to come out and decimate Lesnar, probably carrying him backstage or something too. But that didn’t happen. Thanks to RAW results I know why, but yeah. Honestly I’m kind of glad about that whole thing cause now Bray doesn’t have to suffer being squashed by Lesnar……….but on the other hand, now Dean does. Well, I guess you can’t win ’em all. Which at this point might as well be Dean or Bray’s motto.

In conclusion, as I said, this match wasn’t exactly bad, and any time Brock was laid out was great, but overall the match was still only just “good”, which isn’t really good enough for a PPV MAIN EVENT! But I digress. They did the best they could with the situation at hand, and we all knew Reigns was gonna win so who even cares?

Winner – Roman Reigns
Match Rating – Solid B+. Would be lower or higher, but the predictability and Lesnar’s inclusion knocked it down a few pegs, and Lesnar getting put through two tables and smashed with a chair brings it back up a bit.

Overall PPV Rating – Solid B+ (Not going by an averages or anything, just going with what I feel it deserves)

Final Thoughts

So. Was this PPV crap? Honestly I’d say no, it wasn’t crap. Was it great? I wouldn’t say that either. The best word I can think of right now is……..decent. This PPV was decent. We’re on the fucking road to WrestleMania and all I can come up with is “decent”. How sad is that?

And honestly I’m gonna leave it at that. I could go on about how I think Triple H should’ve had a title defense on the PPV as a random short match against a midcarder to give a guy some exposure, but I’ll leave it at a mention so I don’t make this any longer. And with that, I’ll see you guys in April for what is shaping up to be a very mediocre WrestleMania. 

Prove me wrong WWE. Prove. Me. Wrong.

Fyreharticles: Hell In A Cell 2013 Review


(Fan poster created by deviantART user sebaz316)

Hello everyone, and welcome to another PPV review by yours truly. This time around, Hell In A Cell. I honestly can’t even feign enthusiasm and I only really just woke up (slept through the PPV) so let’s just get started.

Pre-show match: Kofi Kingston vs. Damien Sandow – Yes, that’s right, Curtis Axel/Big E Langston isn’t the pre-show match. Never fear though, if you cared about that match it did happen on the actual PPV from what they say on commentary, so I’ll get to that later. Pretty meh match in retrospect, though Kofi doing a Hilo off the steps was pretty cool. Sandow wins with a Full Nelson Slam. Ok. I can live with that.

Match Rating: Solid C+ (Figured I’d get a new rating system) – Already forgotten most of what happened and there was only 2 memorable parts of the match anyway, but it was by no means a terrible match.

Writer’s Note: Oh, seems I misheard. Big E’s facing Dean Ambrose for the US Title on the actual PPV, not Axel for the IC Title. My bad.

Cody Rhodes & Goldust (c) vs. The Usos vs. The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) in a Triple Threat Tag Team match for the WWE Tag Team Championships – Wow. Just…wow. This match was AMAZING! AND IT’S ONLY THE SHOW OPENER! Good lord, if this is a sign of things to come, then this PPV may actually be worth it. With this we also get our first “Holy shit!” moment of the night when Cody superplexed Seth to the outside and onto the other men in the match. I honestly didn’t think the spot would happen (as it never seems to for obvious reasons), but damn when it did I legit marked out. I noticed this match actually got a good amount of time to work with; felt like it went for at least 15 minutes. WWE also managed to trick me into thinking The Usos could win, so I tip my hat to them for actually doing that. Cody & Goldust retain after Cody hits Seth with a jumping Cross Rhodes (after almost everyone else had been taken out), and hopefully they get a decent run in before the Usos FINALLY get a run with the belts.

Match Rating: Solid A+++ – THAT is how you open a PPV.

After that match The Miz came out and challenged Bray to a fight, only to get what basically amounted to a “no” from Bray and Luke & Eric show up instead. Kane of all people returns and makes the save, only to Chokeslam Miz anyway. Just goes to show, everybody hates The Miz. Normally I don’t bring up this kind of stuff when talking about PPVs, but this wasn’t an entirely pointless moment so yeah, decided to bother mentioning it.

Writer’s Note: After that we got Fandango & Summer Rae vs. Khali & Natalya. I could NOT be bothered to watch it, so I skipped to the end and noticed that Summer Rae won with a clean roll up. So there you go.

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Big E. Langston for the United States Championship – This match was alright but nothing overly special. Well, except Big E getting busted open.


(rare to see black WWE wrestlers bleed)

Plus Dean Ambrose getting a bit of that blood on him and not giving a fuck, and Big E hitting Dean with a spear through the ropes. Aside from that it was standard stuff. Big E wins via count out and therefore Dean retains, with Big E. laying out Dean anyway afterwards.

Match Rating: Solid B+ – Mainly for the things I mentioned before.

CM Punk vs. Ryback & Paul Heyman in a 2-on-1 Handicap Hell In A Cell match – Not a terrible match, but since Heyman didn’t even get involved the handicap aspect was completely pointless. I will however say that this match was fairly boring despite being mercifully short. Punk wins off a GTS and then sticks a kendo stick through his tights.

Then climbs up on top of the cell (Where Heyman had been the entire match) and beats Heyman up with it. So Punk wins the feud and hopefully both sides can move on to other things.

Match Rating: Solid C- – Still want the “Heyman Guys” thing to go the way of the stable of clients Heyman had back in late 02/early 03 though.

Los Matadores vs. The Real Americans – Well. Cesaro did that Giant Swing. And Los Matadores won with a tag move. I guess that’s cool. Seriously though, not a bad match, but not a memorable one either.

Match Rating: Solid D- – El Torito surprisingly still doesn’t bother me though

Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. John Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship – This was honestly a pretty good match; not great but good. Cena pulling off a decent Tornado DDT and diving crossbody were some highlights of his stuff, as well as rolling through on the Cross Armbreaker into a an STS (What Cena does is rarely an STF). They keep panning back to Sandow watching, but that doesn’t amount to anything; shame really. Cena wins with the only successful AA of the match and I don’t know whether I care or not. Kind of indifferent on him winning to a degree. I wanted Del Rio to retain, but at the same time the WHC may stop being treated like the IC Title for a while with Cena in its title scene. Cena leaves with Sandow not even so much as coming out to tease a cash in….booooooo.

Match Rating: Solid A+ – Mainly because Cena did pretty well in this match, especially coming off an injury. Props to him for breaking out some new moves.

Writer’s Note: AJ vs. Brie up next….ugh, do I have to watch this? I do? God damn it.

AJ Lee (c) w/ Tamina vs. Brie Bella w/ Nikki Bella for the Diva’s Championship – Wow. That wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. Brie definitely seems to be making the effort to improve at least going by how this match started. The crowd was kinda dead for them in parts though; I felt both sorry for and laughed at Nikki for having to try for two or so minutes just to get a decent slow clap from the audience. Just goes to show how little of a shit the fans give about the Bella Twins. AJ wins via submission and keeps the belt. Thank God.

Match Rating: Solid C+ – Brie wasn’t terrible and AJ was AJ. Might’ve gone up to a B- had Brie used a Flying Mare.

Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton in a Hell In A Cell match for the vacant WWE Championship – Well, we finally got what we wanted at least; a WWE Champion was crowned. The match was pretty good, nothing really mind blowing but it wasn’t terrible. Despite accidentally spoiling it for myself (really should’ve avoided Facebook completely) I was content with the finish. Triple H is Shawn’s best friend, they’ve been hammering that in for weeks to remind us. Of course when Bryan attacks Triple H Shawn would retaliate, that’s what friends do. Plus if that was blatantly supposed to be a heel turn, nobody told Shawn, since he basically sold it like he was thinking “Shit! What have I done?” and my guess is that’s how they’ll play it.

As far as I’m concerned though, this should be the end of Bryan’s WWE Title matches for a few months. He should drop down a rung and feud with Triple H now. But that’s just me, I seriously want to see a Team YES vs. Team “Best For Business” match at Survivor Series. Really though I just want them to not bother putting the belt on Bryan again until they want to give him the belt for a few months. Hell, have him win the Rumble and then win the belt at Mania; that could work if done right.

But as far as this match goes, it wasn’t bad. Could’ve been better in spots but I don’t regret watching it or anything.

Match rating: Solid B+ – And no, I didn’t just give this match that rating because Bryan was in the match.

Overall PPV Rating: Solid B- – Well, the PPV wasn’t complete shit, but I didn’t have any expectations for it to meet. Go figure.

Match Of The Night: WWE Tag Team Championship match – I don’t really need to say much else, just go and watch the match for yourself, even if it’s the only match you watch from the PPV.

Closing Thoughts – Filler In A Cell more like it to be honest. I mean, good on WWE for making Los Matadores/Real Americans a PPV match to help give the tag division more exposure, but it felt more like a SmackDown match than a PPV match. Fandango/Rae vs. Khali/Natalya came outta nowhere and I didn’t bother watching it to spare my sanity. Also I have to say, it’s kind of sad when the match of the night is the opener. It gets your hopes up, only for the rest of the show to crush those hopes.

Good points? Well, ummm, Cena did a Tornado DDT, that was cool. We finally have a WWE Champion again, which was the only hope I had going into this PPV. The fans showed why the Bella Twins shouldn’t be pushed so hard, plus AJ retained. The Usos had a strong PPV showing despite not winning, and the titles didn’t change hands after only recently doing so. Yeah I’d say the outcomes were all pretty satisfying aside from Cena winning the World Heavyweight Championship. I mean, I don’t hate Cena, but if this doesn’t help to make the title relevant again then it’s an entirely pointless run in my eyes.

All in all, this PPV could’ve been a lot worse, but it also could’ve been a lot better too. Was it better than Battleground? Yes, I can safely say that it was, though I didn’t think that PPV was entirely irredeemable either. That’s what low standards will get you folks. Expect nothing and you may get some satisfaction. And with that, I bid you adieu until my next article. I leave you with a sign from the PPV that actually got a laugh out of me.