NXT War Games and WWE Survivor Series Review

NXT War Games from Los Angles went about as expected, except for a surprise appearance from new comer Matt Riddle. He had an impromptu match that lasted about 10 seconds. He is as over as over gets and I like his personality. The slippers, long hair and bro talk is going to be a great addition to the brand. Kassius Ohio had the unfortunate task of jobbing for Riddle. Riddle will be NXT champion before the end of 2019.

Shayna Baszler victorious

Shayna Baszler went one on one in a two out of three falls match against long time rival Kairi Sane. The match was good but quick for a two out of three match. Baszler received help from her friends to pick up the first fall. Not to be out done, Sane was given help from her friends so she could focus on Baszler. Sane was able to pick up the second fall. The third fall appeared to look as if Sane was going to win after she hit her elbow drop. But Baszler was able to roll her up after the move and pick up the win. Seemingly ending the rivalry.

gohomepwb.com pick: Shayna Baszler Winner: Shayna Baszler (overall PPV record 18-11)

Johnny Gargano vs Aleister Black

New heel Gargano went one on one with Aleister Black in probably the match of the night. Gargano and Black have very good chemistry in the ring and the build of the story in the match was excellent. Black was able to pick up the win in a dramatic fashion that took two black mass kicks to get the job done. I’m not sure this rivalry is over just yet, and I would be ok with that. I think before the next Takeover Gargano and Ciampa will be teaming up again

gohomepwb.com pick: Aleister Black Winner: Aleister Black (overall PPV record 19-11)

NXT Championship match

NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa took on the eccentric Velveteen Dream in an instant classic match on Saturday night. Ciampa is a great heel and played to it Saturday night. Velveteen Dream came to the ring paying homage to Hollywood Hogan wearing tights, bandana, weightlifting belt and even using his mannerisms while in the ring. The L.A. crowd was eating it up. The match went back and forth and was very entertaining. Both wrestlers pulled out all the stops last night, but it was a hangman’s DDT on the steel patrician that did Velveteen in. Ciampa pulled him in the ring and was able to get the pin. “Goldy” was back in the hands of his rightful owner.

gohomepwb.com pick: Tommaso Ciampa Winner: Tommaso Ciampa (overall PPV record 20-11)

War Games

For the second year in a row the Undisputed Era was involved in the war Games match. Their opponents Ricochet, Pete Dunne and the War Raiders Hanson and Rowe. These eight men went all out last night. All kinds of high spots that was highlighted by Ricochets double back flip off the top of the cage. That was preceded by a seven man super plex that saw Adam Cole Bay Bay, take a bump from the top of the cage. Tables, chairs and trash cans were also involved. Hanson of the War Raiders impressed me the most moving around both rings with incredible agility. He was doing things that some 205 Live guys can’t do. The match was a good thirty minutes long and ended after both Pete Dunne and Ricochet pinned Adam Cole.

gohomepwb.com pick: Undisputed Era Winner: Ricochet, Pete Dunne and the War Raiders (overall PPV record 20-12)

War Games was actually better than I anticipated, but I am never disappointed with a Takeover event. Now let’s take a look at Survivor Series.

Survivor Series

For the second night in a row WWE took over Los Angeles. This time it was the main rosters turn to excite the crowd. And to my surprise, they didn’t disappoint. I was shocked at the outcome of several of the matches and I think that’s why I was pleasantly surprised. The first match of the night was the tag team version of the Survivor Series match. It was for the most part a sloppy match, but it did have some pretty awesome spots. In particular, the German suplex from the top rope to the wrestles on the floor. As predicted it was a forgettable match that didn’t even count toward the overall total of the night. But it counts toward my overall PPV record and I picked this match correctly.

gohomepwb.com pick: Smackdown Winner: Smackdown (overall PPV record 21-12)

Women’s Survivor Series match

The women’s match started the actual PPV and because Natalya and Ruby Riott got into a fight prior to the PPV, they were replaced by Sasha Banks and Bayley on team RAW. It didn’t matter who they put on the team, Nia Jax is not losing right now. She was nearly booed out of the building last night, and for good reason. She took out the most popular wrestler on the roster last Monday and it looks as if Nia and Becky may be a feud for Wrestlemania. I would have thought Becky and Ronda, but after last night my thoughts have changed on that. Nonetheless RAW won the women’s match as predicted.

gohomepwb.com pick: RAW Winner: RAW (overall PPV record 22-12)

Seth Rollins vs Shinsuke Nakamura

In what I was calling the show stealer of the night Intercontinental champion Seth Rollins took on United States champion Shinsuke Nakamura. The match did not disappoint, however I was wrong on the show stealer part. That match came a little later in the night. I thought Dean Ambrose would intervene in the match helping Nakamura win, but that was not the case. And after a lengthy, grueling match Rollins was able to get the win using the curb stomp finisher.

gohomepwb.com pick: Shinsuke Nakamura Winner: Seth Rollins (overall PPV record 22-13)

A.O.P. vs The Bar

This match went exactly as I predicted, with the exception of Drake Maverick pissing his pants. It was an awkward spot in the match, but also pretty funny. A.O.P. Picked up the win shortly after, in an ok match.

gohomepwb.com pick: A.O.P. Winner: A.O.P. (Overall PPV record 23-13)

Cruiserweight Championship

Buddy Murphy and Mustafa Ali went one on one for the cruiserweight championship last night. The match was incredible and we even heard a 205 Live chant from the L.A. crowd. Mustafa Ali has been chasing that championship for a long time, and he has come close on several occasions of winning it. However, last night was not his night either and the chase continues. He will be champion someday sooner than later, but the winner as predicted, Buddy Murphy.

gohomepwb.com pick: Buddy Murphy Winner: Buddy Murphy (overall PPV record 24-13)

Men’s Survivor Series match

Team Smackdown vs Team RAW men’s edition, was better than the women’s edition in my opinion. On paper RAW should have easily won this match, and at Survivor Series that’s exactly what happened. Only Finn Balor and Dolph Ziggler were eliminated from the RAW side. There were some great spots mostly by Shane McMahon. I initially took RAW in this match and switched my pick last-minute, and that was the wrong thing to do. RAW won and after the match Corbin hit Strowman from behind. This will probably be a TLC match before Strowman takes on Lesnar at Royal Rumble.

gohomepwb.com pick: Smackdown Winner: RAW (overall PPV record 24-14)

Ronda Rousey vs Charlotte

Holy crap! If you didn’t see this match, or better yet the end of the match, stop what you are doing at once, and go watch it. I’ve been calling for a Charlotte heel turn, for months and I finally got it. And let me tell you it was a brutal beating. Charlotte beat the ever-living out of Rousey. This will eventually be a Wrestlemania match and Charlotte will be The Rock to Becky’s Stone Cold. Oh by the way Rousey won the match via disqualification, but who cares? I’ve never seen Ronda beat up this bad, even in her UFC days. Charlotte will probably be cheered for a while, but being the great heel that she is, she will be getting those boos soon.  This match for me was the show stealer and what everyone will be talking about today.

gohomepwb.com pick: Ronda Rousey Winner: Ronda Rousey (overall PPV record 25-14)

Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Bryan

I was legitimately scared for Daniel Bryan in this match. I know he has been medically cleared, but it’s a rough night when you face Brock Lesnar. Bryan took a few hellacious bumps last night. But he made it interesting and for a brief second, I thought he might actually win this. However, reality sunk in when I realized its freaking Brock Lesnar and he hit Bryan with a F5. I thought that AJ Styles would play part in the match or perhaps a double count out, but Lesnar won clean.

gohomepwb.com pick: No contest Winner: Brock Lesnar (overall PPV record 25-15)

Overall a fun weekend of wrestling, that will lead to multiple storyline options headed into the new year. I always enjoy the RAW and Smackdowns after a PPV.  I was honestly shocked to see RAW sweep the night.  It really makes Smackdown look bad. It will be interesting to see what happens going forward.

Check out gohomepwb.com on Wednesday for my weekly top ten!

I hope you enjoyed the read and as always thanks for checking out gohomepwb.com.

NXT War Games and Survivor Series predictions

Another NXT war games is upon us and hopefully it’s not overkill. It was nice last year, because we had not seen a War Games match in decades. Although the cage was altered, it was still cool to see two rings side by side and a ginormous cage surrounding it. Who can forget the super-plex from the top of the cage last year. I feel like they will need to top it somehow, and though I wouldn’t put it past NXT to deliver, I’m concerned it may fall flat. There are only four matches on the card so let’s take a look and make some picks.

NXT Women’s Championship match 2 out of 3 falls

Kairi Sane will once again take on Shayna Baszler for the NXT women’s championship. This time in a two out of three falls match. I believe this will be the last match between these two for a while. I know I’m ready to see new challengers for the title and I believe the fans do as well. So with me firmly believing this is the last match between these two, that makes me think Baszler will retain. I do think it will take three falls, but I think Baszler wins clean in three and ends he feud.

gohomepwb.com pick: Shayna Baszler

Johnny Gargano vs Aleister Black

Much like Daniel Bryan Tuesday night, Gargano has gone from beloved to hated almost instantly. Gargano as a heel is interesting, and I think he will play part in the championship match between Ciampa and Velveteen. As far as his match goes, I think Black will pick up the win. I think both men will look strong in the match, but I believe Black will pick up the win in surprise fashion. Then Gargano will probably beat up Black after the match.

gohomepwb.com pick: Aleister Black

War Games Match

Four on four with two rings side by side surrounded by a cage. I loved these matches when I was a kid, and was pleasantly surprised with last year’s match. Though I doubt they can recreate the magic from last year’s match, you know the wrestlers will put it all on the line. I like the Undisputed Era in this one and will make them my official pick.

gohomepwb.com pick: Undisputed Era

NXT Championship

Tomasso Ciampa will take on Velveteen Dream for the NXT championship. Both wrestlers are great, but I don’t think Ciampa will be dropping the belt anytime soon. He is doing great work and although I think Velveteen will be champion someday, I don’t think it will be this tomorrow night. As a matter of fact I think we see a reunion of Ciampa and Gargano. I have a suspicion that Gargano will somehow help Ciampa win.

gohomepwb.com pick: Tomasso Ciampa

Survivor Series

Survivor Series is more of a WWE all-star game. The matches have very little significance and are typically more for fun than anything else. I think they need to revamp this pay per view to make it more interesting. Nonetheless, I will be watching on Sunday. So the following are my picks for Survivor Series.

RAW tag teams vs Smackdown tag teams

Ugh. What a waste of time this match will be. Probably a kick off match that will be forgotten about within seconds of the ending of the match. RAW will be represented by Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, The Revival, B-Team, The Ascension and Lucha House Party. Smackdown will be represented by The Uso’s, the NEW DAY!, SaniTy, The Good Brothers and The Colons. If team Smackdown doesn’t win it will be a crime as they have the better tag team division. I wouldn’t put it past WWE to put RAW over in this one, but I am taking Smackdown.

gohomepwb.com pick: Team Smackdown

RAW Women’s division vs Smackdown Women’s division

Mickie James, Ruby Riott, Nia Jax, Tamina and Natalya will represent RAW with Alexa Bliss as their team captain. Smackdown will be represented by Carmella, Naomi, Sonya Deville, Asuka and a woman to be named. It would be cool to see a surprise entrant or a return of a legend. I don’t think that will be the case however, since we just had Evolution. I would bet it will be either Mandy Rose or Lana. But wouldn’t be surprised to see a call up like Nikki Cross or the loser of Baszler vs Sane. As far as my pick, I like RAW in this one because of the roll Nia Jax is on. I think by the end of the match she will be the sole survivor. Natalya and Riott will probably eliminate each other, and I can see Mickie and Tamina being pinned early. Thus leaving Nia to run through the Smackdown roster making her look very strong, headed into TLC next month.

gohomepwb.com pick: Team RAW

Team RAW vs Team Smackdown Men’s match

Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre will reunite temporarily to represent team RAW. Bobby Lashley and Finn Balor are also on the team. Shane McMahon, Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio, The Miz and Samoa Joe will represent Smackdown in the match. I could see a lot of different story’s taking place in this match. I look for Smackdown team captain The Miz to be eliminated early by a surprise roll up or inside cradle. I can see Shane McMahon and Dolph Ziggler going at it and Ziggler getting a little bit of revenge by eliminating McMahon. I wonder if Strowman and McIntyre can coexist and what role Baron Corbin will play in the match. Smart money will be on Team RAW, but I have a feeling Smackdown will somehow win this one.

gohomepwb.com pick: Team Smackdown

A.O.P. vs The Bar

I want to pick The Bar in this one, but I honestly don’t think they are going to win. Even with The Big Show in their corner, I don’t see any circumstance that has the veterans winning. The Bar is established enough to take the L and move on. A.O.P. is in the very early stages of a major push and a loss would only hinder them. So look for A.O.P. to get the win.

gohomepwb.com pick: A.O.P.

Cruiserweight Championship

Champion Buddy Murphy will defend his title against Mustafa Ali. Murphy has been champion for a little over a month when he won it at Super Show-Down in his home town of Melbourne. Mustafa Ali has been chasing the title all year long and there is a part of me that thinks that chase will continue after Survivor Series. I think Buddy Murphy may hang onto the title a little longer.

gohomepwb.com pick: Buddy Murphy

Seth Rollins vs Shinsuke Nakamura

I am calling for this match to be the gohomepwb.com show stealer. Odds are this will be the first match of the night, after the kick off show. I think that will be a mistake, because I don’t see any other match following it. Maybe…maybe Charlotte and Rousey but I doubt it. As for the ending of the match, I think we will either see a no contest or a Nakamura win. I don’t think there is anyone that believes Dean Ambrose doesn’t intervene. He will for sure play some type a role in the match. So if a gun was to my head and I had to pick an outcome…Nakamura.

gohomepwb.com pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Charlotte vs Ronda Rousey

Anyone else a little disappointed that we are not getting Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey? I question the legitimacy of the severity of Lynch’s injury. Yes, it looked nasty and yes, it was a very stiff shot by Nia Jax, but usually someone with a concussion isn’t allowed anywhere near the ring. Especially a severe concussion and a broken face. We will know for sure if she plays part in this match on Sunday. Personally, I think this is WWE’s way of telling us wait until Wrestlemania for Lynch vs Rousey. As for Charlotte vs Rousey, no way Charlotte wins. They wouldn’t have a non champion on Smackdown beat the RAW women’s champion. Even if it wasn’t Ronda Rousey, I don’t think a non champ from a different brand would go over in this match. I think it will be a great match, up there with Rollins and Nakamura. But I foresee Charlotte tapping to the arm bar.

gohomepwb.com pick: Ronda Rousey

Daniel Bryan vs Brock Lesnar

Newly crowned WWE champion Daniel Bryan will go one on one with Brock Lesnar for the right to be called the champion of champions. A heel Daniel Bryan is something we haven’t seen for years and I have to say I like it. I think the YES! movement has seen its better days and I am glad it’s over. I am curious as to how this match will go. I think it will be tough to have new heel Daniel Bryan and heel Brock Lesnar to have a good match. I along with a lot of fans, am confused on who to root for. I think it’s easy to root for Bryan because he’s the clear underdog, but I think a lot of fans are upset with Bryan for turning his back on them. So Lesnar could end up being the fan favorite in this one. Odds are it will be a split crowd and as for the winner of the match…the fans. There is no way this match will end with a clean finish. The only decisive finish I could see would be a sleazy move from Bryan or a quick surprise pin. No way Lesnar taps to the YES! lock. AJ Styles will probably be involved somehow. I could also see Bryan just walking out on the match playing to the heel character. My call on this one will be no contest.

gohomepwb.com pick: No Contest

My overall PPV prediction record is 17-11. Survivor Series is a tough one because of the brands fighting each other. I look for RAW to take the night for bragging rights. Watch out for Nakamura/Rollins, that will be the match of the night.

Check out gohomepwb.com on Monday morning for my review and as always thanks for reading!

GoHomePWB.com weekly top ten

What the heck did we see last night?  Daniel Bryan turns heel and wins the WWE championship.  Obviously I have to give the better show award to Smackdown Live.  Smackdown was full of surprises last night.  I was a little surprised that there was not a RAW invasion, but it honestly was not needed.  The last top ten before Survivor Series.  So, let’s get to it.

10. Tamina

img_0200

Tamina has aligned herself with Nia Jax and it has worked.  Monday night she picked up a win against Ember Moon and finally is starting to look as if she is starting to pick up some momentum.

9. The Bar

img_0211

The Bar took on the NEW DAY! in six man tag team action last night.  A fairly good match that ended with The Big Show getting the pin over Kofi Kingston after a knockout punch.  I look for The Bar’s momentum to continue at Survivor Series, but you will have to check out gohomepwb.com Friday for my predictions.

8. Braun Strowman

img_0165

Strowman didn’t have a match Monday night, but he looked very strong right out the gate.  Eliminating nearly everyone in the tag team battle royal, which had to be resumed later in the night.  Strowman will eventually be Universal champion, either at Royal Rumble, or at the latest WrestleMania.

7. Rey Mysterio

img_0212

Rey Mysterio was able to get a little bit of revenge on The Miz last night on Smackdown Live.  At Crown Jewel, The Miz was victorious over Rey giving him his first loss since returning to WWE.  Rey continues to look great and hasn’t lost a step.  I would like to see him in more significant matches soon.

6. Jeff Hardy

img_0188

Jeff Hardy was able to pick up a win last night against Cien Almas.  Probably one of the best matches this week.  I would put it up there with Finn Balor/Dolph Ziggler and AJ Styles/Daniel Bryan.  Hardy continues to have great matches and I think he will be a contender for the WWE title soon.

5. Brock Lesnar

img_0218

Brock Lesnar made a rare RAW appearance Monday night and obliterated Jinder Mahal and the Singh brothers.  Anytime Brock shows up, it’s a big deal.  I think we may actually see more of Brock over the next few months.

4. Finn Balor

img_5107

Finn Balor went one on one with Dolph Ziggler in a match Monday night that outside of AJ/Bryan was probably the best match this week.  Finn has been on a role recently and I look for him to be in a title picture soon.

3. Dean Ambrose

img_5115

Another man who didn’t have a match Monday night, but it didn’t matter.  His promo was enough to crack the top three this week.  Burning the shield vest was a clear answer to all of Seth’s questions.  Dean is done playing second fiddle and wants the spotlight.  You sir, now have it.

2. Becky Lynch

img_5021

Becky had a bigger impact on RAW than she did Smackdown Live this week.  A big time bummer that she won’t be wrestling Rousey at Survivor Series, but I am looking forward to Charlotte and Rousey.  Becky is by far the most popular wrestler in the industry right now, and I hope she heals quickly.

1. Daniel Bryan

img_5136

Daniel frickin Bryan!  A heel move that I have to be honest, I saw coming.  I knew when they announced the title match, that Daniel Bryan was going to win.  I was hoping to see AJ/Brock one more time, but Daniel Bryan vs Brock Lesnar should be a good one.  The title change was needed, although I didn’t want to happen last night.  AJ is a work horse and he will be champion again soon, but Smackdown Live did need a top heel.  I would have thought it would have been Randy Orton, but the great writing on Smackdown, keeps event the smartest marks guessing.  Congratulations to Daniel Bryan, your new WWE champion.

Check out gohomepwb.com Friday for my Takeover and Survivor series predictions and as always thanks for reading.

 

Edge

Last Friday I talked about The Rock. Number six of eight in my favorite wrestler series. As I inch closer to my current favorite wrestler, today I write about number seven. The Rated R Superstar Edge.

Just a quick recap, my favorite wrestlers in chronological order are Brian Pillman, Lex Luger, Ultimate Warrior, Crush and The Rock. The Rock may be my all time favorite, but it’s Edge who was my first favorite as an adult. The Rock was my favorite from 1998 to about 2003. It was probably 2005, when I started rooting for Edge. John Cena was the new Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold of the WWE, but I have never really been a big fan of the “mega baby face”.

I can remember Edge’s first match way back in 1998 against Savio Vega and if I remember correctly Savio broke his neck in that match. Edge portrayed a mysterious vampire like character when he first came to WWE. He was in The Brood faction with Christian and Gangrel and that was the first of many great entrance themes for Edge.

After The Brood he found success as a tag team wrestler with Christian. Edge and Christian had great chemistry as they had been friends since grade school. They dropped the vampire stuff and started more of a comedy type team. Still heels, they started doing a “five second pose, for the benefit of those with flash photography.” I thought it was hilarious and so did a lot of WWE fans.

Along with The Dudley’s and The Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian went on to make history in several ladder matches. The three teams have had some of the most memorable matches in WWE history with the TLC tag matches. These matches were brutal and if you haven’t watched them yet, check it out on the WWE network.

After his tag team run with Christian, he had a singles run as a baby face and won the King of the Ring. He was able to capture the intercontinental title and the U.S. title. He then suffered a serious neck injury and had to leave for nearly a year. Upon his return, he noticed he was getting booed as a baby face. And so, he turned heel and The Rated R Superstar was created.

In 2005 the WWE was transitioning from a risqué attitude era product to a more family friendly PG product. However, Edge was the exception. He was able to be rated R on PG rated show. As for me, now an adult and a product of the attitude era, I did not want the PG stuff. So with Edge being the guy to go against the grain it caught my eye and I started rooting for him.

Edge, Matt Hardy and Lita had a very personal issue in real life play out on RAW. Lita and Matt Hardy were an item, but Edge and Lita began a relationship behind Hardy’s back. This set up an incredible rivalry between the two. And let me just say, Lita with Edge was great. Lita added so much to the Rated R character. She was with Edge when he won his first WWE championship. After he won, the next night he and Lita had a live sex scene on Monday night RAW. All adding to the Rated R persona.

Edge spent many years play a sleazy scum bag heel that would take the low road to get what he wanted. And although he was a great heel, he was my favorite wrestler. For me it was his character, look, Lita and his entrance music. Metallingus by Alter Bridge is by far the best entrance music in history. Edge’s entrance was one of the best, if not THE best.

Unfortunately, Edge has had as many injuries as he had titles. I think he wrestled through most of them, but it was only a matter of time before all those bumps in the TLC matches caught up with him. He won the 2010 Royal Rumble and was starting to earn the respect of the WWE universe. He spent the next year as a baby face and had his last match at Wrestlemania in 2011.

I remember the Monday night RAW when he came out to the ring and told everyone he had to retire due to his neck injury. I was bummed that I wasn’t going to see him wrestle anymore. It was a relatively short career in the grand scheme of things, but what a career it was. I have his farewell shirt and on the back it says “done it all, won it all!” There is no denying Edge is one of the most decorated wrestlers in WWE history. He has won every title, a king of the ring and a royal rumble. And in 2012 he was inducted into the WWE hall of fame.

Edge still makes appearances on WWE television every now and then. Usually hosting the Cutting Edge, a Pipers Pit like talk show on Smackdown or RAW. I remember he always had long hair and he cut it all off shortly after retiring. I hated it, because I always thought he looked so cool. He is the inspiration behind the long hair that I sport today. Anytime I play WWE 2k games and create my wrestler, I always pick an Edge type look and his entrance music.

If I had been able to be a pro wrestler, I would have chosen a look very similar to Edge. He will always be one of my favorites, and he’s a very very close second to The Rock for my all time favorite.

The next wrestler on my favorites list is my current favorite and has been since Edge retired in 2011. It will probably be next week before I get to it, but if you followed this blog, you probably have a pretty good idea who it is.

I am only writing three days a week for a while. On Wednesday I will have my RAW and Smackdown top ten. On Friday I will have my Take Over and Survivor Series predictions. I hope you enjoyed the read today and as always thanks for checking out gohomepwb.com

The Rock

img_0162

Welcome back to the my favorite wrestler series.  After taking a few weeks off due to all the pay per views, I was waiting for a slow week to resume the series.  As you may or may not know for the past month or so I have been talking about my favorite wrestlers in chronological order.  It started with Brian Pillman, then Lex Luger, Ultimate Warrior, Crush and now, probably my all time favorite, The Rock.

It was probably late 1997 or 1998 I started taking notice of The Rock.  Not Rocky Miavia, but The Rock.  I, like just about everyone else, was not a fan of the Rocky Miavia character.  I would say by Summer of ’98 I was fully invested with The Rock as my favorite.

In 1998 I was sixteen years old, and was back into wrestling for about a year at this point.  All my previous wrestlers were not cool to me anymore, except for Pillman but he had passed away in October of ’97.  Stone Cold Steve Austin was all the talk in WWF at the time, and although I thought he was cool, he was no Rock in my opinion.  You were supposed to cheer for Stone Cold, but you weren’t supposed to cheer for The Rock.  And I think that is why I liked him more.  He was a cool bad guy, the first cool bad guy since Ric Flair.  Yes, there was the N.W.O. but by ’98 I was over it.

If memory serves me correct, The Rock lost an intercontinental title ladder match to Triple H, and then started a brief baby face run.  I also started my junior year of high school that fall and I was acting a lot like The Rock.  Calling myself the people’s champ and raising my eyebrow.  But, at the 1998 Survivor Series, The Rock turned heel again.  Calling himself the corporate champion, instead of the people’s champion.  That did not stop me from rooting for The Rock.  I liked him before his brief good guy run, and I wasn’t going to quit rooting for him.

The 1999 Royal Rumble was probably the closest I came to not liking him.  His “I Quit” match with Mankind was absolutely brutal.  I believe Mankind took well over a dozen chair shots to the head that night.  More than a violent scene, but a great match.  Mankind took so many hard bumps that night, including one where he fell off a balcony and onto some electric wires that cut the lights to the arena and caused sparks to fly everywhere.  An incredible scene and I think it really added to the match.  The Rock won that night when a recording of Mankind saying “I Quit” played as he lay on the entrance ramp unconscious.

At the end of WrestleMania 15 in 1999, the Rock was starting to turn baby face again.  Once he did he never looked back.  He was a good guy for the next four years.  He went on to star in movies, write books and host shows like Saturday night live.  Most everyone in the world has heard of The Rock by now.

In wrestling he went on to become a multi time world champion.  He had so many great lines and promo’s during his baby face run.  His matches were great too.  He would stand over a lying opponent and look at the crowd, pull his elbow pad off, hit the ropes and drop the most electrifying move in sports entertainment, the people’s elbow.  He received reactions like I have never heard before.  I remember one of the funniest segments on RAW was in the fall of 1999 with the “this is your life” skit with him and Mankind.  Mankind brought back “significant” figures from his past.  YouTube it and watch it, it is worth your time.

The Rock left wrestling in late 2002 and would only be back on a part-time basis.  He came back around Wrestlemania in 2003, this time as a heel.  It was nice to see him play the bad guy one more time.  He went on to beat Stone Cold at Wrestlemania that year which ended up being Stone Cold’s last match.  The Rock would only appear sparingly in WWE over the next few years, before leaving for several years.  He eventually returned to take on John Cena at a couple of Wrestlemania’s and even won the world title one more time.  The Rock is rarely involved in WWE anymore, but he is quite the ambassador for the company.

Ryan Kessell aka The Rock

For Christmas in ’98 all I asked for were clothes like The Rock.  I cut my hair as close as I could to his and if I could have grown sideburns at the time, I would have sported those as well.  I was obsessed with everything The Rock.  My friends at school would call me The Rock, as well as some of my teachers and coaches.  I worked for a grocery store and even my associates and a few supervisors would call me The Rock, and I loved it.  I would walk like the Rock, talk like him, dress like him and act like him.  This went on well through my senior year in high school. When I would pull in the parking lot at school I would turn my c.d. player to the Rock’s entrance music as if it were my own entrance music for school.  I would walk through the hallway’s and get small chants of “Rocky, Rocky, Rocky.”  Or a lot of the time it would be “Rocky sucks, Rocky Sucks.”  Either way I would give a flex of the eyebrow and tell them to “know their role and shut their mouth!”

I can remember specifically my senior year speech class, was an opportunity for me to talk about wrestling.  I was never more comfortable speaking in front of people than I was that day.  I was able to get some great Rock quotes and ask for volunteers, or victims, now that I look back on it.  I would ask people for help and then I would ask “what is your name?” Of course when they started to talk, I would cut them off yelling “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!” It always gets a reaction. I still, nearly twenty years later, use that line on my kids.

My career aspirations at that time was of course, to be a pro wrestler. I had the drive, I had the knowledge, I knew more about ring psychology than I should have, for never being in a ring. But I studied wrestling, I mean really studied wrestling. There was absolutely nothing else I wanted to do. The problem was, I was 145 pounds soak and wet. I had a baby face and would not be taken seriously as a wrestler. So, I went to college and dropped out, then eventually started dating a woman who would become my wife. So, time to get a real job and give up on those hopes and dreams of being a pro wrestler. And that’s exactly what I did. You start buying cars and houses, then kids come along and you realize the dream you had as a kid is just that… a dream. Your priorities change, your responsibilities change and what was once you love and passion, is now just a hobby.

It’s kind of sad when you think about it. To love something so much, only to put it on the back burner for fifteen years. Thank God for my kids. I have been blessed with two great kids, who love their daddy. And they watch my every move. They say what I say, do what I do, act like I act. My son wants to grow his hair out like mine and beat up his stuffed animals much like I did as a kid. My daughter and I have been to several WWE events and though she is a teenager now and doesn’t care about anything, I like to think she will look back fondly on those trips with her dad. For probably the past five years my kids and I have an annual Kessellmania match. We put on a match either in our living room or on the trampoline in the back yard. This is quite a production, and the kids and I look forward to it, even more than Wrestlemania itself now.

I may have given up on my dream of being a pro wrestler, but I hope I never take for granted the blessing of my wife and kids.

This could have probably been a completely separate read. It sounds crazy, but in a small way, The Rock helped shape me into the person I am today. I can’t go to a high school reunion without raising my eyebrow. I look back on those years with a smile and wouldn’t have changed a thing.

I was able to dig up some footage of me as a teenager acting like The Rock. I actually forgot, but I walked across the stage at my high school graduation and gave one last people’s eyebrow. A fun way to put a period on that chapter of my life.

Enjoy the videos and thanks for reading. On Monday I will jump right back into my favorite wrestler series. As I discuss my sixth favorite wrestler.

GoHomePWB.com Weekly top ten

Now that RAW and Smackdown Live are in the books this week, I can say with confidence that I have a great top ten. As far as which show was better this week, I give a slight edge to RAW. I really liked the Ziggler, Elias match and the main event of RAW was kind of tough to watch. But Kurt Angle putting over Drew McIntyre has absolutely catapulted him into the Universal title picture. Smackdowns best match was probably the opening match involving the NEW DAY! And the Uso’s.

Now that I am back to work full time, I am putting my RAW and Smackdown Live reviews on the back burner. I think I can get most the highlights in the top ten. So, let’s take a look at this weeks quintessential top ten.

10. Nikki Cross

Nikki Cross cracked the top ten this week even with a loss. She made a surprise appearance on Smackdown Live last night to take on the Champ, Becky Lynch. Nikki received a great ovation from the Manchester, England crowd and put on a great match. Let’s hope it leads to her being a main stay on the main roster.

9. Bobby Lashley

Bobby Lashley picked up a much needed win Monday night against Finn Balor. He had been on a losing streak lately, but the cane to a definitive end on RAW. I look for Lashley to go on a bit of a run over the next couple of months. I think it will shape up to a Lesnar vs Lashley match at Wrestlemania.

8. Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio has been in the top ten every week since his return. He has yet to taste defeat on Smackdown Live and had a really good match with Andrade Almas. Had it not been for the opening tag match, this one would have been match of the night. Rey looks great, and I think he and Randy Orton will be starting a lengthy feud after Survivor Series.

7. Nia Jax

Yes! Yes! Yes! A heel Nia Jax is exactly what I was asking for a week ago. She will be a great rival for Rousey after Survivor Series. Especially if Tamina will be in her corner. I hope she drops the smile, quits talking and just starts whooping people.

6. Samoa Joe

Samoa Joe bounced back after a weak outing at Crown Jewel. He was able to make Jeff Hardy tap out to the coquina clutch. The win earned him a spot on the Smackdown Live men’s Survivor Series team.

5. A.O.P.

Even though it was a handicapped match against Seth Rollins, it’s still a title victory. A.O.P. are the new RAW tag team champions and I for one am glad. I love tag team wrestling, and I love that a traditional tag team has the titles. I look for A.O.P. to hang onto the titles for quite a while.

4. Elias

Elias is totally embracing his baby face turn. I just wish they hadn’t had Ziggler put him over. Ziggler had a great showing at Crown Jewel, and I thought they could have had a different story with him considering the controversy surrounding the World Cup finals match. But I digress. Elias came out with guitar in hand and that is where he is at his best. His in ring work doesn’t scream baby face, but he is over with the crowd via his mic skills. I wish WWE would pit him against somebody like Lashley to get him over. But nonetheless a big win for Elias and an important step for his baby face run.

3. The Uso’s

The Uso’s and the NEW DAY! had a great match once again last night. Probably my favorite match of the week. I look for the Uso’s to get a tag team title shot after Survivor Series. They have been on a roll in recent weeks and are without question, the best tag team on the main roster in my opinion.

2. Becky Lynch

Surprise, surprise Becky Lynch is in the top ten again. She had a great promo last night and even picked up a hard fought win against Nikki Cross. I don’t think there is much Becky can do to get booed right now. She will be the clear fan favorite at Survivor Series, especially with the hardcore fans. I know I will be rooting for her.

1. Drew McIntyre

Number one this week is who Mark Henry calls the “grown ass man” Drew McIntyre. If he didn’t come off as the biggest heel on RAW Monday night, I’m not sure what a heel is anymore? McIntyre embarrassed WWE Hall of Farmer Kurt Angle. Defeating him with his own finishing move. In the past few weeks he has been the only man to get the better of Braun Strowman, with the exception of Brock Lesnar. I know he was Vince McMahons personal pick a decade ago, but I think he is everyone’s pick now.

That’s the top ten for this week. Let me know what you think. Who did I snub? Who did I overrate? Or am I spot on?

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out gohomepwb.com on Friday when I return to my favorite wrestler list. Number five is a big one, I have a lot to write about and can’t wait to tell the story!

Crown Jewel Review

img_0221

Crown Jewel took place from Saudi Arabia, much to the shagrin of a lot of fans.  I was able to watch it live at the noon start time.  Most of my predictions went as planned but I was unpleasantly surprised with the world cup.  Another controversial figure is the Babe Ruth of WWE, Hulk Hogan.  I don’t care for his choice of words a few years ago, but I will admit it was great to see the Hulkster in a WWE ring.

U.S. Title Defense

In the kick off show, Rusev went one on one with Shinsuke Nakamura.  I didn’t even know this match was going to be on the kickoff show, so I didn’t make a prediction on it.  But had I known, I would have predicted correctly.  A great match though, that went back and forth. And for a second, I thought Rusev may win this.  But in typical heel Nakamura style he connected with a low blow, followed by a kinshasa to win the match.  I wouldn’t mind seeing these two go into a rivalry after survivor series.

World Cup Tournament

The world cup tournament was actually something I was looking forward to.  I don’t think many fans expected the outcome, much like myself, but we were able to see some great matches.

The first match of the tournament was Randy Orton vs Rey Mysterio.  After Shane McMahon said on Smackdown Live last week that if the winner of the Smackdown side losses in the finals they will be fired, I thought for sure Randy Orton would win the tournament.  Orton and Rey had a good match that ended with a surprise roll up pin by Mysterio.  Immediatly my pick was eliminated from the tournament, but he didn’t leave without doing some damage.  He beat up on Rey, weakening him for his second round match.

gohomepwb.com pick: Randy Orton  Winner: Rey Mysterio (PPV prediction record (11-7)

The second match of the tournament was Jeff Hardy vs The Miz.  A pretty good match with The Miz picking up the victory, clean…yes clean.  I was right in the injury angle but I was wrong on the matches and participants.  I expected Hardy to win, and then be beat up, but it happened to Mysterio in the prior match.  Nonetheless The Miz won the match, and took a nasty kick to the throat that caused his voice to be strained.

gohomepwb.com pick: Jeff Hardy  Winner: The Miz (PPV prediction record 11-8)

Now we go to the RAW side of the tournament.  The first match was Seth Rollins vs Bobby Lashley.  This match was much like the Lashley, Finn Balor matches on Raw, Lashley dominates, but ends up losing in the end.  What shocked me was how he lost.  A curb stomp finsher to Lashley and a clean win for Rollins.  This puts Lashley on a little bit of a losing streak, but I think he will rebound in a big way on RAW Monday night.  I did expect Rollins to win however, just not with a clean finish.

gohomepwb.com pick: Seth Rollins  Winner: Seth Rollins (PPV prediction record 12-8)

The last first round match was Kurt Angle vs Dolph Ziggler.  Ziggler and Angle put on a really good match, but I had a feeling that Ziggler would win this match.  Probably most people would think this would be an upset, as most of us expect Ziggler to be enhancement talent again soon.  I certainly hope not, he is a great heel especially with his insurance policy Drew McIntyre.  As predicted Ziggler picked up the win with a clean finish.

gohomepwb.com pick: Dolph Ziggler Winner: Dolph Ziggler (PPV prediction record 13-8)

The finals of the Smackdown side was The Miz vs the injured Rey Mysterio.  I really expected Rey to win this, but I was wrong.  The Miz picked up a clean win against Mysterio putting him in the finals of the World Cup tournament.

gohomepwb.com pick: Randy Orton  Winner: The Miz (PPV prediction record 13-9)

The finals of the RAW side was once again a match between Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler.  I could watch these two wrestle every night.  This was the best match of the night in my opinion.  A classic Rollins, Ziggler match with a lot of false finishes.  I picked Seth Rollins to win this match and after The Miz won his match, I fully expected to see him win.  However, as many of you know by now, I am a Ziggler guy and was pulling for him to win the match.  And after a back and forth match, and a slight involvement from Drew McIntyre, Ziggler was able to hit his superkick and get the win putting him in the finals.

gohomepwb.com pick: Seth Rollins  Winner: Dolph Ziggler (PPV prediction record 13-10)

The World Cup finals, The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler.  What a swerve we got in this one.  Shane McMahon and Baron Corbin were at ringside for the finals match.  The match started out with Drew McIntyre being kicked out of the ringside area, then The Miz playing the part as the heel, in the heel vs heel match, attached Ziggler from behind.  Ziggler was thrown out of the ring, and when The Miz jumped down from the ring apron fell to the ground clutching his leg.  As we would find out this was kayfabe, but bravo to The Miz, for selling this like nothing I have ever seen.  I, along with just about everyone else thought this was a legitimate injury.  Ziggler was back in the ring and the referee was going to award him the match, when Shane McMahon said that he was filling in for The Miz…so, enter McMahon.  A very fresh McMahon went after the surprised Dolph Ziggler and beat him up pretty quick.  McMahon hit a slingshot into the turnbuckles, and then a patent coast to coast finisher to beat Ziggler and be crowned the best in the world.

It will be interesting to see how this story goes, it looked to me as if Shane McMahon may be turning heel soon.  The way he acted after beating a worn out Ziggler was very Daniel Bryanesk at the start of the YES! chants.  I also believe this will catapault Ziggler into a Universal title picture soon.  He put on a great show at Crown Jewel.  I was not crazy about the finish to the World Cup tournament.  I think they kind of made a mockery of it having Shane come in at the last minute to win it.  But like I said, I believe this is the start of a heel turn for Shane.

gohomepwb.com pick:  Randy Orton  Winner: Shane McMahon (PPV prediction record 13-11)

The Bar Retain

The Bar took on the NEW DAY! in a Smackdown Live tag team title match.  The match was ok, put probably the one that people will most forget about when they think of the show.  The match was stiff and quick and ended as predicted with interfernce from the Big Show when he punched Big E.  The Bar was able to win the match and retain their tag team championship.  I hope that the Uso’s are next in line for a title shot.

gohomepwb.com pick: The Bar  Winner: The Bar (PPV prediction record 14-11)

AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe one more time

In an almost impromptu match, Samoa Joe and AJ Styles renewed their rivalry for about 10 minutes. The match was probably not their best and AJ Styles won clean with a phenomenal forearm. Now that he has beaten Joe by every possible scenario, it’s safe to say this rivalry will be put on the shelf. I look for Orton to be in the title picture after Survivor Series. So a very predictable match and a very predictable finish.

gohomepwb.com: AJ Styles Winner: AJ Styles (PPV prediction record 15-11)

A New Universal Champion Crowned

Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman went one on one for the vacant Universal championship. Before the match started Baron Corbin hit Strowman in the back of the head with the championship. Lesnar went on to hit about 6 F5’s to beat Strowman and become the first ever two time universal champion. His is what I hoped and picked would happen. Strowman needs to rejuvenate his baby face momentum. I think Lesnar and AJ will have a great match at Survivor Series and then we will see Strowman chase Lesnar for the Universal championship until Wrestlemania.

gohomepwb.com pick: Brock Lesnar Winner: Brock Lesnar (PPV prediction record 16-11)

An attitude era Main Event

Triple H and Shawn Michaels, together known as DX took on the team of Kane and the Undertaker. This match was mostly controlled by Kane and the Undertaker. Triple H was choked slammed through a table, so HBK was by himself for most of the match. Which I believe was the plan, so that we could see all the classic HBK moves. We were not disappointed either, as we saw everything he could offer. Including a moonsault from the top rope to the floor. It looked as though HBK landed on his face, but hit the move nonetheless. The match ended shortly after that with some sweet chin music and a pedigree on Kane for a DX pin fall win. I called the finish to a tee, as I fully expected Kane to take the L in the match.

gohomepwb.com pick: DX Winner: DX (PPV prediction record 17-11)

Outside of the World Cup tournament, this was a pretty predictable show. I can only imagine how happy the WWE is to have this trip over with. I kind of hope that they are done with the overseas pay per views for a while. I like the traditional ones and we are getting close to the road to Wrestlemania already. I look for a good Survivor Series and then we will start to see a couple Wrestlemania angles take shape.

It will be interesting to see what happens on RAW tonight with the crowning of a new Universal champion. Also, it will be interesting to see if Ziggler gets into an angle with Shane McMahon for a Survivor Series elimination tag match. Thanks for checking out gohomepwb.com.