Armchair Booking: WWE Night of Champions 2015

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

For those who have read my articles in the past, I am a huge WWE fan. For practically my entire life, I have followed wrestling in some capacity and paid attention to most of the feuds. In addition, I have also followed independent wrestling for the past few years and on occasion converse with various wrestlers including the “Handicapped Heroes” Gregory Iron and Zach Gowen.

Night of Champions

Later this month at WWE’s Night of Champions event — which will be broadcast on Pay-Per-View and the WWE Network — Seth Rollins will defend his newly won United States Championship against former champion John Cena, while also defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against “The Icon” Sting. Rollins has already proven himself as a main eventer since winning the championship, but the upcoming Pay-Per-View event has the potential to make him an even bigger star. With that being said, I will give my opinion on what can and should be done to ensure the best outcome for all involved—and the one that can keep everybody happy.

First, Rollins will defend his United States Championship against John Cena. This will be a difficult match to book. Rollins has been booked very strong as a champion, and the WWE officials behind the scenes have avoided booking him as the typical “cowardly heel.” While he has his shortcomings, Rollins has overall been able to talk the talk and walk the walk.

Cena, on the other hand, has been booked stronger than any other wrestler in WWE history. He has far more wins than losses, and on the rare occasion that he does lose a match it is almost always due to some form of outside interference. With Rollins starting to come out as a star on his own without The Authority interfering on his behalf, it could be difficult to book Rollins in a way that makes him the victor while keeping Vince McMahon’s hand picked star strong.

What could happen is something that is incredibly rare — have Cena put Rollins over clean. A victory by Rollins without cheating or a disqualification finish would further establish him as a top face of the company for years to come, while also warming Cena up to his detractors. In recent months, Cena seems to be more willing to put over the younger stars. In the past, Cena would obliterate the young guys in the ring in order to make himself look good. A guy like Rollins would have never lasted five minutes in the ring with John Cena, but at the Summerslam event last month their match went nearly 20 minutes. Cena is an established star whether or not he holds a championship, he does not need another title reign.

Next, Sting will face off against Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. In storyline, Rollins would be exhausted from facing Cena making it entirely believable that an older veteran like Sting could defeat the younger Seth Rollins one-on-one. I would continue to book Rollins strong, adding plenty of near falls and false finishes. One of the great things about WWE in recent years is that they have been bringing in stars that can electrify when given a chance to shine. At the end of the matchup, Sting should come out victorious. He can win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, exciting the many fans who never thought they would see Sting wrestle in a WWE sanctioned main event or win their world title.

But that wouldn’t be the end of the night for Sting. WWE Superstar Sheamus has the Money in the Bank contract, which grants him a championship match anytime and anywhere. Sheamus should cash in the contract and challenge the exhausted Sting. He teased it on RAW and for him to cash in would make a lot of sense. Sting would be WWE Champion for a brief time, Sheamus would win the championship and become the new poster boy for The Authority, and having Triple H begin to favor Sheamus as a champion over the former champion Seth Rollins could set the stage for the inevitable Triple H and Seth Rollins match that has been teased over the course of the past few months.

Let me know what you think of these ideas on Twitter @TimmySimko

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RAW Results and Review 06/30/15

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

Last week on RAW, fans saw the unthinkable as WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins took out the returning Brock Lesnar with the help of The Authority. Kevin Owens and John Cena further promoted the third match in their feud for the United States Championship. In the aftermath of these events, and with the next WWE Pay-Per-View taking place in a few short weeks what other feuds will be furthered? Will Seth Rollins continue to have the upper hand on Brock Lesnar? Will Owens becoming the United States Champion become more of a possibility? And is there still tension within The Authority despite the collaboration last week?

WWE RAW

Once again, it is time to get RAW.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins walked down to the ring with J&J Security to open the show. He said that last week he conquered the conqueror, Brock Lesnar.

AUTHORITY (2)

Rollins said that Lesnar is not here tonight. He said that Lesnar is boarding a plane to Japan for the upcoming Beast in the East WWE Network special and he hopes that Lesnar is thinking about what happened last week.

Rollins told the crowd to show Jamie Noble of J&J Security respect for breaking his ribs last week. Rollins revealed a plethora of gifts for his Authority comrades for their help on last week’s RAW. After showing off their new gifts, including a brand new car for J&J Security, The Big Show made his entrance for his upcoming match as RAW went to commercial.

This was a good opening segment. Most people don’t care for the promos opening the show, but I think a promo makes a better opener than just a match. After all, a huge part of professional wrestling is telling a story.

As RAW came back from commercial, The Big Show prepared for a match against Mark Henry as The Miz sat at ringside on commentary.

The two exchanged punches before Henry hit a shoulder tackle and then a splash for two count. Big Show made a comeback and hit Henry twice with his knockout punch finisher and pinned Henry for the win.

This match was confusing as it didn’t last long at all. Both men were promoted as quality world champions just a few years ago, but their match tonight was incredibly short. It was definitely a head scratcher.

After the match, Ryback ran down to the ring and they started to brawl. Miz ran in and hit Ryback with a big boot before running to the stage. Ryback grabbed a microphone and demanded that his match with Miz scheduled for later tonight start right now.

Miz ran around the ring as Ryback chased him down. Ryback beat down Miz repeatedly. The Miz tried to escape through the crowd, but he was caught and sent shoulder first into the barricade.

The Miz managed to hit a DDT on Ryback for a two count. Ryback hit a spinebuster on Miz but Miz ran to the back and was counted out, therefore Ryback won the match.

Having a powerhouse like Ryback as the Intercontinental Champion is an interesting change, but I wish his opponents were just as believable as unstoppable forces. The Miz has become more of a comedy act with his “Hollywood” gimmick, and The Big Show is a superstar that has a lot more losses than wins.

After a commercial break, Paige and Alicia came out for a Divas matchup. Fox got the upper hand on Paige and followed it up with some punches. Paige reversed an Irish whip attempt by Fox and hit the Thesz press. Fox rolled to the floor and The Bella Twins distracted Paige while Fox hit her from behind as RAW went to commercial.

Fox hit a suplex on Paige for a two count. She then put a headlock on Paige, but when Paige fought out of it, Fox hit her with a backbreaker for a near fall. Paige reversed another Irish whip attempt and hit a series of knees to the face of Fox in the corner.

Paige hit a superkick for a close two count. Nikki Bella distracted Paige and Fox tried to take advantage and roll up Paige for a quick pin, but Paige ended up pinning Fox instead to win the match.

These divas matches have been lacking the “it” factor to draw in fans, however there are rumors that some of NXT’s best Divas will be called up to the roster. In addition, some of the names that have been rumored on the dirtsheets aren’t just models that are taught to wrestle but are legitimately passionate about wrestling. If these rumors come to fruition, it will only lead to more success for the ailing Divas division.

John Cena came out for his weekly United States Championship challenge and Cesaro answered the challenge. WWE NXT Champion Kevin Owens sat at ringside on commentary during this match.

The two men hit back and forth offense in the early part of the match. Cesaro hit a series of uppercuts, but Cena fought back with a drop kick. Cena missed a splash in the corner and Cesaro hit a stomp to the chest of Cena. Cesaro with an elbow drop off the rope for a two count as RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back from commercial, Cesaro went for a leg submission, but Cena blocked it and hit a sidewalk slam. Cena went for the five knuckle shuffle, but Cesaro dodged it and hit a clothesline for a two count

Cesaro went for the giant swing, but Cena blocked it and hit the Springboard Stunner for a close two count. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Cesaro fought out of it and hit an uppercut for a two count. Cena locked in his STF submission hold, but Cesaro reversed it and locked in the sharpshooter. Cena made it to the ropes to break the hold.

The two men continued to hit back and forth offense as Kevin Owens began to get up from the commentary table at ringside. Owens sat back down as Cesaro hit a running uppercut on Cena.

Cena went for the AA, but Cesaro blocked it and hit the neutralizer for a close two count.

Cesaro locked in another sharpshooter, but Kevin Owens ran in and attacked Cena and Cesaro.

OWENS CENA CESARO (2)

This was an excellent match, and even the commentators said it could easily be a match of the year candidate. Owens has easily become one of the best bad guys in the business today, perhaps only second to WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins. I also appreciated Cesaro’s tribute to his injured tag team partner Tyson Kidd through his pink and black trunks and the use of the sharpshooter. Class act.

The Prime Time Players and Lucha Dragons took on The New Day and Bo Dallas in an right man tag team match.

Kalisto and Xavier Woods started the match off, Kalisto hit an arm drag then tagged in Sin Cara, who hit a springboard senton on Woods. Woods tripped Sin Cara and then tagged in Bo Dallas. Cara tripped him, and then focused on Dallas’ left arm and tagged in Darren Young. Young hit a splash on Dallas then tagged in Titus O’Neil, who hit a slam on Dallas. Kalisto tagged in, and continued the offense on Dallas.

Dallas began to fight back and hit a clothesline for a two count. Kalisto tagged in Young, who hit a clothesline on Dallas. Young hits a back breaker on Dallas as RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back from commercial, Sin Cara hit a series of high flying moves on Big E. Young got the tag and hit a splash on Big E for a two count. Big E sent Young to the floor and Dallas hit him with a clothesline then sent him back into the ring. O’Neil got the tag and hit a clothesline on Kofi Kingston.

The New Day made the save, and it became chaotic in the ring as both teams began to clash. After the commotion, Titus caught Kofi Kingston and hit a powerbomb for the win.

PRIME TIME LUCHA (2)

The tag team division has many teams with a lot of potential, but the crowd was dead for most of this match. Between the creative team and the talent themselves, they need to find out what makes the audience tick and apply it to these tag team matches. WWE has the talent pool for this division, they just need to find a way to utilize it to the best of their ability.

Dolph Ziggler walked down to the ring with Lana and cut a promo about how he and Lana are now a couple. Lana said that Rusev told her everything to do, but now she is her own person. Rusev walked to the ring with Summer Rae. Rusev and Ziggler traded insults back and forth. Summer Rae told Lana that she is a two-faced phony, and then slapped Lana.

Lana proceeded to attack her and a cat fight broke out. Summer Rae and Rusev walked to the back while Lana and Ziggler stood in the ring.

There have been rumors that Ziggler may not renew his WWE contract when it expires in a few months. With a storyline like this, it seems more likely that Ziggler may take the opportunity to leave and work for other wrestling promotions. Love triangle stories only seem to work when there is an element of realism to it, such as Matt Hardy’s feud with Edge 11 years ago.

Also, I hate when people say wrestling is fake, but that catfight was fake. I love when a fight looks genuine, there are so many ways that the talent can throw punches or slaps without connecting. Perhaps it is the old soul in me, but watching this made me miss the days of true catfights in ECW between Francine and Beulah McGillicutty,

Neville and Sheamus came out for their match. Sheamus hit a series of right hands to take control. Neville ducked a clothesline attempt and sent Sheamus out to the floor as RAW went to commercial.

As RAW came back from commercial, Sheamus hit a suplex for a two count. Sheamus and Neville continued to hit back and forth offense.

Neville went for his Red Arrow finisher, but Sheamus kicked him off the ropes. Sheamus missed the Brogue kick and Neville rolled up Sheamus for a two count. Sheamus then hit the Brogue kick for the win.

The match overall was a good match, and it was one that was worth watching. It wasn’t a match of the year candidate by any means, but watching an unstoppable brute go up against a speedy athlete like Neville makes for an interesting bout.

The team of Seth Rollins and Kane came out followed by the team of Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns for their no disqualification tag team main event match.

The match began with an all out brawl between the two teams. Amid the chaos, Rollins sent Ambrose into the barricade as RAW went to commercial.

The chaos calmed down as RAW came back from commercial. Rollins missed a splash in the corner, but ended up tagging in Kane. Reigns hit a big boot to Kane then a clothesline off the middle rope. Ambrose got the tag and beat up Rollins. Ambrose hit a bulldog on Rollins then drop kicked Kane off the apron. Ambrose sent Rollins to the floor, and hit Rollins and Kane with an elbow drop.

Ambrose grabbed a table from under the ring, but Rollins hit Ambrose with a super kick. Reigns attacked Rollins and then hit a powerbomb.

Reigns hit Kane with a clothesline. Mercury tried to hit Reigns with a kendo stick, but Reigns stopped him and hit him with it. He also started hitting Kane with it. Reigns hit the Superman Punch to Kane then Rollins.

Reigns called for the spear, but then Bray Wyatt showed up and started attacking Reigns. Wyatt threw Reigns into the steel steps, then chokeslammed him on the announce table.

Kane went for a chokeslam on Ambrose, but Ambrose blocked it and hit a clothesline. Rollins attacked him from behind, Kane hit a chokeslam on Ambrose and then Rollins hit a pedigree for the pin and the win.

After the match, Rollins was about to put Ambrose through a table, but Roman Reigns ran into the ring to make the save. Kane caught him and hit a chokeslam to Reigns.

Reigns tried to make a comeback, but the numbers game caught up to him. The Authority beat down Reigns and then Rollins powerbombed him through a table. Rollins hit another pedigree. Bray Wyatt then re-entered the ring to hit Sister Abgail on Reigns to end the show.

Notes

  • I am excited for the WWE Network special, Beast in the East. However, I will likely not do a review of it as it takes place at 5:30 a.m. and I have work this weekend. I still encourage any and all wrestling fans to watch replays of it on the WWE Network.
  • With The Authority back together, it is only a matter of time before they start to show the cracks once again. Despite the reunion, a break up is inevitable and the tension has already been teased multiple times.
  • Dolph Ziggler is one of the best performers on the roster, yet he is involved in a love triangle angle that fans can’t really connect with. This is a man who was the sole survivor of the traditional Survivor Series tag team match a year ago, and now he is feuding with a man who can barely walk at the moment.
  • Kevin Owens is so good at being bad. He defends his NXT Championship against Finn Balor at the upcoming Beast in the East special, and I believe that if he loses that match he will end up beating Cena for the United States Championship. He is supported by the powers that be, the fans connect to his character, and he even has endorsements from the likes of Mick Foley.
  • Brock Lesnar against Seth Rollins will be an interesting contest to watch. We saw them compete in a triple threat match at the Royal Rumble where Rollins held his own, however in a one-on-one match I am curious to see how their two styles will meld. WWE likes to promote “cowardly heels” that weasel their way to a victory, however, Rollins can use dirty tactics to win without looking like a coward.

WWE RAW 06/15/15 Results and Review

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

I apologize to anyone who is looking for a WWE Money in the Bank review. I was invited to a Cleveland Cavaliers viewing party at the Quicken Loans Arena to watch game 5 of the NBA finals and had to miss watching the Pay-Per-View. Ironically, RAW was held in Cleveland tonight.

At WWE Money in the Bank, fans saw the newest generation of stars clash. After beating the United States Champion at Elimination Chamber, NXT champion Kevin Owens saw defeat in his rematch. In a wave of unpredictability, Sheamus managed to win the Money in the Bank contract — guaranteeing him a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at any time in any place over the course of the next year. Fans also saw Seth Rollins defeat Dean Ambrose in a ladder match to determine once and for all who is the true WWE World Heavyweight Champion. When will Sheamus cash in his championship opportunity? Will we see Owens face Cena in third match to determine who is the better competitor? And who will be next in line to face off against WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins?

Once again, it is time to get RAW.

WWE RAW

RAW began with a recap of the tribute at the Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View to “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, who passed away last Thursday.

Following the tribute, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins came out with the championship around his waist for the first time in weeks. He highlighted the ladder match from the Pay-Per-View and put over Ambrose, but also touted how far has come in the wrestling business. He repeatedly thanked himself for all of his success.

Rollins Champion

Rollins touted that he won his championship match all by himself, and that he didn’t need The Authority because he’s that good. He said they should look at his championship and that LeBron James and Johnny Manziel will never bring a championship to Cleveland.

With the NBA Finals series 3-2 in favor of Golden State, this was an easy way for Rollins to get instant boos. The easiest way to get jeered by the crowd is always to insult the hometown hero. [editor’s note: i’m not into sports, but even i felt the heel energy from that one]

Dean Ambrose came out and started to attack Rollins. Rollins began to attack the injured knee of Ambrose, but Ambrose fought back until Rollins retreated to the back. Ambrose set up a chair in the ring, and refused to leave until Rollins came back out.

Backstage, The Authority talked to Rollins about everything he said in the ring. They mentioned how Rollins said he doesn’t need The Authority, but Rollins was in denial. The Authority announced that they will determine the number one contender for Rollins’ title by the end of the night.

Ambrose Chair

Back in the ring, Ambrose continued to sit in the ring. Sheamus’ music hit and he came out with a microphone and his Money in the Bank briefcase.

Sheamus said that they’re both alike and made bold predictions for Money in the Bank. However, Sheamus won his match and Ambrose lost his match. Sheamus touted that he has a guaranteed championship match whenever he wants. He said that The Authority sent him out for a match with Ambrose.

Sheamus proceeded to beat down Ambrose and work on his injured knee. Ambrose tried to fight back but Sheamus continued to work on the left leg of Ambrose. Ambrose began to make a comeback, but Sheamus continued to fight back with more offense.

Sheamus repeatedly applied his Cloverleaf submission, putting pressure on the legs of Ambrose. He crawled to the ropes, which forced Sheamus to break the hold.

Ambrose began to fight back and hit a diving elbow off of the top rope for the two count. Ambrose hit a clothesline on Sheamus and went for dirty deeds but Sheamus got out of it and grabbed his Money in the Bank briefcase and tried to leave the ring. However, Randy Orton came out and distracted Sheamus and Ambrose rolled up Sheamus for the pin and the win.

Immediately after Ambrose’s victory, Orton attacked Sheamus and continued to beat him down. He hit his signature DDT off of the ropes and went for the RKO but Sheamus got out of it and ran to the back.

Sheamus runs

This match and segment was a good way to establish Sheamus as Mr. Money in the Bank, a feud between Sheamus and Randy Orton, and a possible third match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

Backstage, J&J Security confronted Seth Rollins. They reminded Rollins that J&J Security beat Rollins in a match last week on RAW. They told Rollins that it is not a question of “if” he will lose his WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but “when.”

R-Truth came out dressed as a king, with a bed sheet as a cape, a plunger as a scepter and a crown that looked like it was made of tin foil.

King Barrett came out as Truth sat at commentary. The commentators told Truth that he was scheduled to be in the match, not at commentary. Barrett began to beat down R-Truth and began to set up for his Bullhammer finisher but Truth rolled him up for the win. Barrett immediately hit Truth with the Bullhammer after his loss and tore up Truth’s king costume.

NXT Champion Kevin Owens came out to the ring. He said that Cena isn’t at RAW tonight, and that despite his loss at the Pay-Per-View he took Cena out at Money in the Bank. Owens said that Cena tried to hog the spotlight because he always has to be the hero. Owens said that he wants Cena’s United States Championship and emphasized that Cena won’t be here tonight, so he’s holding an Open Challenge.

Dolph Ziggler came out to answer the challenge. He talked about sacrifice, and promoted his hometown of Cleveland as a city that scratches and claws for a championship. He told Owens that he will give Owens the championship that he deserves and challenged him for the championship.

Owens interrupted Ziggler and told him that it is an open challenge, but it will be a nontitle match. Owens quickly gained control of the match as RAW went to commercial.

The NXT champion continued his onslaught as RAW came back from commercial. Ziggler began to fight back but Owens regained control of the match. Owens repeatedly attacked Ziggler as Ziggler writhed in pain. Owens began to trash talk and taunt Ziggler as he threw him around like a rag doll.

Ziggler made a comeback and managed to knock Owens out of the ring. Owens began attacking Ziggler outside of the ring, but Ziggler fought back with a series of punches. Owens proceeded to throw Ziggler over the barricade and roll back into the ring. Ziggler made it back into the ring at the count of nine and hit a DDT on Owens as RAW went to another commercial.

Owens continued to wear Ziggler down in the ring as RAW came back from commercial. Ziggler managed to hit a super kick out of nowhere for a two count. Ziggler went for the famouser for another two count. Owens hit a cannonball in the corner on Ziggler for another two count. Owens went for the pop up powerbomb but Ziggler countered with the Zig Zag for a two count.

Owens managed to hit the pop up powerbomb on Ziggler to win the match.

Refusing to defend his championship was a great way to get the crowd to boo Owens, but the fact that he won the match anyway and can back up everything he said builds him as a strong competitor.

Backstage, the divas had a meeting about taking a stand against The Bella Twins. She promoted the idea of standing together against The Bellas. However, the divas pointed out that Paige has turned on every partner she ever had.

Paige promoted the idea of togetherness and proving they are just as good as The Bella Twins. Paige announced that she will face both Bella Twins tonight and asked for the divas to join her. The divas walked out on Paige one by one as The Bella Twins looked on.

This was different than most divas segments, however, that isn’t a bad thing. The fans are not buying what the Bellas are selling, and haven’t been for quite some time. The idea of all of the divas ganging up on WWE’s resident Mean Girls is something that I wouldn’t mind.

Randy Orton fought against Kane in a one-on-one matchup. After some back and forth, Sheamus came out and walked down to the ring. Kane grabbed a microphone and used his power as Director of Operations to make the match a no holds barred match. Sheamus attacked Orton with a Brogue kick and Kane pinned Orton to win the match.

Backstage, Seth Rollins walked up to and said that Kane was the biggest doubter of them all. Kane said that Rollins has to win every match he’s in to be the man.

These segments are a great way to build towards Rollins’ inevitable break up from The Authority, and it also helps show how he can shine on his own.

The Miz came out for a match with The Big Show as WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback sat at commentary.

Early in the match, Big Show seemed to show signs of a leg injury, but he revealed it as a ruse as he began to attack Miz. Miz tried to hold his own, but the much larger Big Show used his strength to overpower The Miz. Big Show proceeded to throw The Miz at Ryback and Miz managed to crawl back into the ring as Ryback and Big Show argued before the 10 count to win the match.

Ryback went for a meat hook clothesline on The Big Show but Big Show slid out of the ring.

Roman Reigns made his way to the ring to address Bray Wyatt interfering in his match at Money in the Bank as the commentators announced that he would face Wyatt at WWE’s next Pay-Per-View, Battleground.

Wyatt appeared on the titantron and said that he is the yin to Reigns’ yang. He said that they need each other. Wyatt said that he will haunt Reigns and ultimately destroy him. He held a photo of Reigns and his daughter while singing “I’m a little teapot” in a maniacal way before warning Reigns to run.

WyattReigns

This was a great segment, as it was just the right amount of creepy and bizarre. Wyatt is arguably one of the best talkers in the modern era, and can work a great program with anyone on the roster. My only issue with this matchup is the fact that they just faced off in a match two weeks ago for free on RAW. Why should fans pay for something they saw for free on RAW? It is a tough sell for me.

Paige made her way out to the ring for a two-on-one handicap match against The Bella Twins. The Bellas made their way to the ring and the match started with Brie and Paige locking up. Brie tagged in Nikki and Paige and Nikki fought back and forth. Paige got the advantage, but Brie hit a cheap shot on Paige while the referee was turned. Nikki tagged in Brie, and Brie began to attack Paige. Paige began to regain momentum, but Brie fought back and got a two count on Paige.

Brie tagged in Nikki and they double teamed Paige. Nikki held Paige in a submission hold, but Paige managed to get out of it. Brie tagged herself in and went for a clothesline, but Paige dodged it and The Bella Twins bumped into each other. Paige began to fight Brie one on one as she regained momentum. Paige threw Brie into Nikki and hit Rampaige on Brie for a close two count before Nikki broke it up. Nikki tagged in and hit an elbow followed by the Rack Attack for the pin and the win.

WWE needs to find a way to reenergize the divas division, as The Bella Twins are not believable as credible wrestlers. With the potential of such divas as Naomi, Tamina, Natalya, and countless NXT stars, there can be so much done to make things better. This isn’t one of those situations where you love to hate the bad guy; this is a situation where you’re so sick of seeing the same shtick that they need to mix it up.

Machine Gun Kelly came out next for a musical performance that lasted a few minutes.

While musical acts blend in well during halftime shows at sporting events, on an episode of WWE RAW it feels out of place and contributes nothing to the show. WWE did this with Wiz Khalifa a while ago and it just didn’t feel right. It’s like if you watched an episode of Breaking Bad and suddenly Skrillex held a five minute concert. Instead of showcasing their talent or promoting their events, WWE wasted an entire segment that did nothing for their show.

After the performance, Kevin Owens came out and attacked MGK as the fans cheered. He power bombed MGK on the stage as the fans roared. This is probably the one and only time a musical act has ever contributed to a WWE storyline. While the entire mini concert did nothing for the WWE, Owens attacking MGK is something that could get into the mainstream media. Owens has been red hot as the next big thing, and news of a mainstream star taking a wrestling bump completely out of the blue is something that could trend on social media.

Powerbomb MGK

Former WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day were in the ring as RAW came back from a commercial break. Neville came to the ring along with the new WWE Tag Team Champions, The Prime Time Players.

Xavier Woods of The New Day and Darren Young of The Prime Time Players started off the match with some back and forth action. Young began to hit a series of offense before Woods managed to tag in Kofi Kingston. Kingston hit some offense before tagging Woods back into the match. Young hit some offense before tagging in Titus O’ Neil. O’Neil began to hit a series of offense, throwing all three members out of the ring before Neville dove out onto all three of them as RAW went to commercial.

New Day regained control as Xavier Woods hit offense on Darren Young. The New Day hit frequent tags and began to isolate Darren Young. Young struggled to regain momentum as Woods knocked Titus O’Neil off of the ropes. Young was able to tag in Neville who took out The New Day, and began to hit a series of offense on Woods. After some chaos between the teams, Neville tagged in Young who hit Kingston with knees to the ribs followed by Neville hitting The Red Arrow for the pin. The Prime Time Players and Neville won the match.

This was a good exhibition match, as the tag team division continues to show promise. Neville has also been a sensation since joining the main roster, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he became a main event player within the next few years.

The Authority leaders Triple H and Stephanie McMahon made their way to the ring to announce a number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. After Triple H assured fans that it won’t be Joey Mercury of J&J Security, Director of Operations Kane, or Dean Ambrose, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins came to the ring. The Authority touted how Rollins won his match against Dean Ambrose without any help, but that he continues to test The Authority.

Triple H said that they invested a lot in Rollins, but they have to take a look at their investment. He told Rollins that the pressure is on as Brock Lesnar came out. Lesnar stared down Rollins as Rollins took a few steps back.

Rollins began to leave the ring as Lesnar stared him down from the ring. Lesnar’s music hit and Rollins began to walk towards the back as RAW went off the air.

That was completely unexpected and made me wish I was in “The Q” watching it live.

Lesnar Returns (2)

Notes

  • I love that Seth Rollins is getting a chance to prove himself without The Authority. Villainous characters don’t have to be cowardly or rely on outside interference every time.
  • Sheamus was one of the last people I ever expected to hold the Money in the Bank contract, which makes him a great Money in the Bank holder. It is not often that a powerhouse wins the contract, which makes him a deadly force to be reckoned with in the coming weeks.
  • While Wyatt and Reigns are both becoming established stars within the WWE, it will be hard to sell a Pay-Per-View match that we saw for free on RAW two weeks ago. It is understandable that WWE only has a certain amount of stars to work with each other, but why start this feud so soon after they fought in a similar match up.
  • I loathe any concert segment that is held on RAW, because I feel that the music acts often benefit way more than the WWE. However, it was refreshing to see Kevin Owens come out and for an artist to contribute to a storyline. I’m sure this will trend on social media.
  • Brock’s unannounced appearance caught me completely off guard. I expected Triple H to say he’d fight Rollins himself or something similar. It was bittersweet as I love Lesnar but was sad that I didn’t buy a ticket to the show. I didn’t expect a Lesnar comeback until Summerslam. I guess this proves that you can’t miss Raw, because you never know what will happen.

Why WWE Should Drop Cody Rhodes’ ‘Stardust’ Gimmick

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

stardust (2)

On June 16, 2014, WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes reinvented himself when he started wearing face paint and emulating his brother Goldust with his new “Stardust” persona. However, with the recent passing of their father WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, I believe that the Stardust gimmick will be dropped as soon as next week’s RAW.

Since reinventing himself, Stardust enjoyed a meager amount of success. Along with his brother Goldust, he captured the WWE Tag Team Championships last year as well as competing in a show-stealing ladder match at Wrestlemania 31. However, in the past year of being Stardust, not much else has been memorable.

Less than two years ago, Rhodes enjoyed resurgence along with his brother as they battled The Authority head on. Accompanied by their father Dusty Rhodes, the two brothers withstood countless assaults from the WWE superpower. The duo also managed to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship from the muscle of The Authority, The Shield.

In 2015, Stardust has seen more losses than wins. He has gone from competing in top billed matches on Pay-Per-Views, to competing unannounced on the pre-show. In less than two years, Rhodes has gone from a memorable feud with The Authority to a forgettable feud with Arrow star Stephen Amell. At one time, he was involved in feuds that genuinely engaged the fans, but now his feuds as Stardust feel forced. While the Stardust character showed promise at first, within a year it has brought him to an all time low.

This would be the most opportune time to bring back Cody Rhodes. No one would question it, as deaths within the world of wrestling always bring out the realism in wrestling.

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In 2005, former WWE Superstar Chavo Guerrero reinvented himself when his character denounced his Hispanic heritage in favor of being an Anglo-American character. Guerrero dyed his hair blond and began to refer to himself as “Kerwin White,” behaving as a stereotypical white man and driving a golf cart to the ring during his ring entrance.

Following the death of his uncle Eddie Guerrero, Chavo immediately dropped his Kerwin White act and immediately began wrestling as Chavo Guerrero once more. This led to a resurgence of his career, which saw him in a memorable wrestling feud against Rey Mysterio.

While some may see this as exploitation, I see this as a way for Rhodes to carry on his father’s legacy. He doesn’t have to come out to his father’s ring music, or use the bionic elbow, but the reality is that this Monday the fans will be cheering louder for both him and his brother Goldust as a way of sending their love and support for their family.

Goldust is 46 years old, nearing retirement age in the wrestling industry, and is more well known and popular within the wrestling business as his Goldust persona. However, Cody is 29 years old and has been able to work well under many of the various gimmicks WWE has given to him over the years.

The WWE’s best idea right now would be to let Cody Rhodes be Cody Rhodes. Fans have clamored to see him in high marquee matches, and this would be the perfect time to take that chance. He will have the backing of all of the fans, and if he can grab the brass ring that WWE could offer him, Rhodes can ride that wave of momentum and take his career to an entirely new level.

He wouldn’t just be getting more coverage within WWE, he would be living The American Dream.

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Remembering The American Dream

By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko

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WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes passed away on June 10 at the age of 69.

Known as “The American Dream,” Rhodes broke out as a superstar in the mid-to-late 1970s portraying the character of a working class hero. This gimmick won over the fans, as Rhodes became a top star in various wrestling territories.

Notably, Rhodes competed in the main event of two World Wide Wrestling Entertainment’s events in 1977, competing for their World Heavyweight Championship against then champion “Superstar” Billy Graham.

Rhodes built his brand as a wrestler through the National Wrestling Alliance, feuding with wrestling legends such as Harley Race, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Terry Funk.

Later in his career, Rhodes became a wrestling booker and was credited for many of the Pay-Per-View names and gimmicks in World Championship Wrestling. One wrestling gimmick, The Dusty Finish, is named after Rhodes. In a Dusty Finish, a match ends in controversy after a referee is knocked unconscious.

On March 31, 2007, his sons Cody and Dustin “Goldust” Runnels inducted Rhodes into the WWE Hall of Fame. Since then, Rhodes had made occasional appearances on various episodes of RAW while working with the developmental talents in NXT.

Various talent within the wrestling world offered their condolences through Twitter.

“I was ever so fortunate to be a friend to this man, to learn from him as a performer and as a human being. #RIPDusty,” said WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins.

In the photograph that accompanied his tweet, Rollins stood with the NXT Championship around his waist while Rhodes and WWE COO Triple H held his arms up.

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According to various reports, Rhodes loved working with up and coming talent and he was considered a mentor and a beloved friend of the developmental stars.

Another notable Tweet was a tribute by WWE Superstar Kevin Owens. In the tweet, Owens added polka dots—which were part of Rhodes’ gimmick during his tenure in WWE—to his T-Shirt that he wears during his matches.

“This one’s for you, Dream…#NXTPittsburgh,” said Owens.

“The American Dream” will be forever remembered as a pioneer in the wrestling business, a mentor to wrestlers and managers alike, and as a beloved friend.