Wrestlers we’ve lost too soon

Last week has been a sad one in the world of professional wrestling with the passing of The Dynamite Kid and Larry “The Ax” Henning. Henning lived a long life passing away at the age of eighty two, but the Dynamite Kid passed on the day of his sixtieth birthday. In the grand scheme of things, sixty is not really that old.

I am not sure what the average life span is these days, but last I heard it was somewhere between seventy five and eighty. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized most wrestlers don’t live that long. It doesn’t seem like most wrestlers make it to sixty-sixty five.

I often wonder why that is? Why do wrestlers who are in peak physical condition pass away before their golden years. Some of them well before their golden years. Multiple wrestlers have passed away before the age of forty. 2018 has been a year where we saw a lot of wrestlers go to the ring in the sky.

Along with The Dynamite Kid and Larry Henning; Bruno Sammartino, Brian Christopher, Jim Neidhart, Johnny Valiant, Matt Cappotelli, Nikolai Volkoff and Vader are just a few that have passed away this year. Cappotelli was thirty eight and Brian Christopher was forty six.

Sammartino and Henning were the only ones in their eighties, everyone else was below the average life span. Why do wrestlers rarely seem to make it to a full life span? I know wrestling is hard on your body and the traveling is exhausting, but there are a lot of people who work seventy hours a week and have physically demanding jobs.

I think a big reason why the wrestlers I grew up watching are dying so young is being a product of the era. I grew up in the eighties and nineties and watched wrestlers like, Andre the Giant, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, Vader, The Ultimate Warrior, Crush, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Brian Pillman and The Z-Man.

All of the wrestlers I just named have passed away. Almost everyone has heard about the death of Chris Benoit. If not just google it, I don’t want to get into the details of the murder, suicide tragedy he was involved in. That’s a writing for another day. Pillman and Guerrero died of heart attacks in their thirties.

How does someone in there thirties and in great physical health die of a heart attack. Is it a hereditary issue, a fluke or a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol that lead to their premature death? For a lot of wrestlers, I’m sure it’s a combination of all. Guerrero had a well known issue with drugs and alcohol, but was clean at the time of his death.

Brian Pillman was also clean from alcohol and street drugs at the time of his death. It has been noted he was taking a lot of pain killers to deal with a bad ankle, but it appears that his heart attack was a hereditary heart disease issue. Randy Savage and The Ultimate Warrior also passed away due to heart attacks. Both men were in their fifties at the time of their death.

It’s no secret that there were little to no rules when it came to drugs and alcohol in the seventies, eighties and nineties in professional wrestling. Just listen to any podcast or documentary from a wrestler during those decades. They will tell you it was done in the locker room. Wrestlers lived like rockstars during that era.

Sex, drugs and wrestling. Ric Flair said in his 30 for 30 documentary that he has slept with thousands of women. He also said that he drank every day, like a lot of drinking, like every day. He was just one of many that lived and worked like that. Wrestle, go to the next town, party, repeat.

I often wonder just how many wrestlers lived the fast life like that? I often wonder how many wrestlers who manage to make it to their golden years, regret it? Ric Flair has been having a lot of health issues in recent years and rumor has it, he is still drinking. You ever wonder how Flair is still going at seventy years old, but Eddie Guerrero dies at thirty eight?

A lot of wrestlers were and are victims of substance abuse. Another eye opening cause of death for pro wrestlers is suicide. Most notably Chris Benoit, but there are others that have taken their own life such as; Kanyon, Brian Christopher, Crash Holly, Kerry Von Erich, Mike Awesome and Sean O’Haire.

I won’t speculate as to why they decided death was better than life, only they and God know what they were thinking in those moments. I often wonder if it was the physical toll wrestling took on their bodies or personal demons that led them to that decision. From every thing I’ve read and watched about Chris Benoit, know one ever thought he was capable of such a monstrosity.

Some say it’s concussions other say it’s steroids. Some say it’s mental illness others say it’s selfishness. No matter the issues that lead someone to that decision, it’s always the people who are left to grieve who hurt the most. Even fans of Benoit or Kerry Von Erick or Brian Christopher are left wishing there was something they could have done to help.

I do have to give the WWE credit for really stepping up their wellness policy. Especially after the Benoit tragedy, they have been more vigilant in detecting concussions. They have been stringent on the testing of concussions and other injuries that come up with a pro wrestler.

They may have even saved some life’s with their testing. Wrestlers like Edge,who had to retire in 2011 due to neck injuries, have publicly thanked WWE and their medical staff for noticing the his issues and telling him not to wrestle anymore. Daniel. Ryan and Paige are two that come to mind that the WWE have taking measure into keeping them from doing permanent damage to their bodies.

They are quick to pull a wrestler from an event when there are injury issues, opposed to twenty years ago when it was, you work no matter what. I can vividly remember Stone Cold being dropped on his head by Owen Hart during a match. Stone Cold lost feeling in his limbs momentarily and still finished the match.

Something like that would never happen in today’s WWE, and that’s a good thing. If we never see another ten bell salute on RAW or Smackdown, that would be great. I think that today’s wrestlers are in a better situation to live a longer life and not have as many health issues later in life.

Unfortunately, the wrestlers and wrestling companies had to learn the hard way. Hopefully we will stop seeing wrestlers pass away before they are supposed to. My concern is for those in the independent scene. Watching the matches are incredible, but in my opinion, the risks they take in the ring are unnecessary.

I get it, they are trying to get noticed, but no one will know your name if you can’t wrestle long enough to make it to the big leagues. I’d like to see them in the WWE or Ring of Honor someday, but if they are barely able to walk by the age of twenty five, no company is going to take a chance on them.

I’m not a pro wrestler, I am just a fan who gets to write about the industry. And all of this is just my opinion, but there is some incredibly talented men and women that no one has heard of yet, killing it at small gymnasiums and bingo halls around he country. One day they will get a contract from a big league wrestling business.

And if for some chance there is an indy wrestler reading this, I ask you to be safe and strategic in your journey. Stay healthy and determined, and I will be writing about you one day.

Top ten coming Wednesday and TLC predictions on Friday.

Thanks for checking out gohomepwb.com

The Decline of Monday Night RAW

The last Monday night RAW was abysmal. That’s the only way to describe it. And after thinking about it, RAW for the majority of 2018 has not been as enjoyable for me as in years past. So, I am trying to figure out why it is. When did it start to be less entertaining? How long do I keep watching? Why has it become so predictable?

So after putting some thought into it, I believe there is a combination of things that have led to a less enjoyable RAW. First thing I have noticed are the injuries. Right off the top of my head I can think of five wrestlers that are out due to injury. Obviously Roman Reigns is out for the foreseeable future and Braun Strowman is out for a few weeks.

Right there are two of the biggest names in the industry. Not to mention wrestlers like Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Alexa Bliss. Now I realize Bliss is still on tv, but when is the last time she was in the ring? She’s great on the mic and maybe they are on to something with her being the leader of the women’s division. But she is one of the top stars who needs to be competing in a lackluster women’s division.

Smackdown clearly has the better women’s division. Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Asuka will compete in a TLC triple threat match at the TLC pay per view. Yes please! RAW women’s title match will be an overrated Ronda Rousey vs an even more overrated Nia Jax. If that match comes on after the Smackdown women’s title match, expect to here some “boring” chants.

Speaking of weak divisions, RAW’s tag team division is weak as well. A.O.P. are the current tag team champs and there biggest competition is Bobby Roode and Chad Gable. Seriously? Really?? I mean RAW has buried their entire tag team division. The titles have become insignificant and the teams in the division are laughable.

The Universal title is back on a part time schedule. Not putting the title on Strowman at Crown Jewel was probably the better option at the time. Strowman needs more time to get his popularity back to where it was before the questionable heel turn in late summer/early fall. Perhaps they had different plans for Strowman before Reigns’ illness, but I feel like WWE was trying to turn him face again just prior to Reigns announcement.

There have been a lot of questionable decisions made creatively this year. Obviously the brief Strowman turn is one of them. Some others that made no sense to me are Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt team. Whatever happened to Wyatt anyway? How about Finn Balor being used as enhancement talent most weeks, or Baron Corbin as RAW general manager elect?

How about the misuse of Bobby Lashley for the majority of the year. He was floundering to say the least, until he turned heel. And Lio Rush as his hype man is weird to me. Much like Drake Maverick as manager of A.O.P., I don’t understand the use of 205 Live guys as managers. They have their own show for crying out loud. To me, seeing Maverick pee his pants and Rush constantly being made fun of for his size is indirectly hurting the entire 205 Live brand.

Aside from all that, being three hours long does the show no favors. It’s hard to sit through anything for three hours, especially this day and age. Twenty years ago during the attitude era, I would have loved a three hour show. But at the same time only being two hours long added to the intrigue of the show. I don’t like a three hour RAW. Period.

Before I get into suggestions on ways to make RAW better, I want to address the rumor that Vince McMahon has lost touch with what entertains a wrestling fan. I am on the fence with this. About twenty one years ago McMahon aired a video message stating that the WWE would be moving on from super hero type wrestlers to a more edgy product. I feel like that was more out of necessity opposed to a creative direction.

At the time of the video, circa 1997, WWE was losing ratings to WCW. Not to mention ECW was gaining traction at the time with their hardcore style. So, he changed his direction to remain competitive with those wrestling companies that were already finding success with the hardcore shoot style of show.

With no real competition in 2018, there is no need to change creative directions. The PG formula which has been used for probably fifteen years, was and is a successful formula. But I think any long time wrestling fan will tell you, it has become stale. Certain moves are banned, certain words are banned and certain gestures are banned.

There are a lot of rules in a politically correct 2018 Monday night RAW. It has watered down the show and I know Vince doesn’t need to change direction, but would it really hurt to try? Like I said, he has no real competition. Smackdown has been dabbling in some attitude era angles and characters and the show is without question a better show.

So, has Vince lost touch with the current wrestling fan? Na, I don’t think so. I think it’s time for Vince to take some more risks creatively, but I don’t think he has lost touch with fans. So if I had Vince’s money and knowing that there is no real threat to ratings what would I do to make RAW more entertaining? Well, I am glad you asked.

The first thing I would do is go back to two hours. And if going to two hours is not an option due to network obligations, I would use the first hour of RAW as a NXT platform. Yes, I know NXT has their own show, but it’s not on network television. I would still build for RAW during the first hour with vignettes and interviews with the wrestlers, but keep them vague and interesting so that I have to watch a second and third hour to see what happens.

The second thing I would do is a brand draft. Clearly Smackdown has a more entertaining roster. I know injuries play a factor, but who wouldn’t want to see a match like AJ Styles vs Braun Strowman. Or Randy Orton vs Drew McIntyre and what about a Jeff Hardy vs Seth Rollins. So many options with a loaded roster and all the talent is on Smackdown.

Another thing I would do, since RAW is three hours, is bring back the Hardcore title. Something that can be defended each week, multiple times on the show and it’s a anything goes situation. Falls count anywhere and anyone on the can be a contender. You could have some legends return every now and then to win it.

RAW also needs to beef up there tag team division. This would take some time, but it’s not impossible to do. Honestly, I would wipe the slate clean with the current state of the RAW tag division and start over. The Revival, Ascension and B-Team could all be teams that are capable of being legit contenders if booked right.

I would start by setting up a several month long tournament for the tag team titles. But not a traditional tournament. Maybe a double elimination or round robin style tournament. And have matches that fans want to see tag teams in, such as cage, ladder or tornado tag matches. Give the teams time to look strong instead of losing in a minute or two like they normally do.

Another thing RAW needs is some comic relief. It’s a very serious and dramatic show anymore. Smackdown has the NEW DAY! who always do some funny things. They also have The Miz who gets a laugh every now and then. Everyone on RAW has to be a bad ass, and I get you want to be taken seriously, but it makes for a one dimensional show.

Dolph Ziggler is a stand up comic and he doesn’t use any of his stuff on RAW. I would like to see him be more witty and use some comedy in his promos. Elias is about the only one on the roster who makes the crowd laugh anymore. He and his guitar are about the only comedy on the show.

The last thing I would do is keep the Universal title off of Brock Lesnar. Lesnar doesn’t need a title. He’s an attraction anytime he’s in a match. He doesn’t need a title to appear legitimate, he just needs to kick the crap out of someone. I would put the title on a weekly work horse like Rollins, Balor, McIntyre or Ziggler. Or bring Orton, AJ or Daniel Bryan from Smackdown to carry it.

Those are just a few things I would do. If I could hit reset on the current state of RAW I would totally do it. As much hate as WWE got for this past weeks RAW, hopefully they take notice. I mean if 15,000 people in an arena screaming refund at the end of the show doesn’t tell you something, then maybe it’s time for hearing aids.

RAW was once a can’t miss show, now it’s something I dvr and fast forward through most of. The flagship show is sinking and if things don’t change life boats will need to be deployed. Hopefully things start to change and RAW will become easier to digest. I’m optimistic that a positive change is coming, especially as we inch closer to the road to Wrestlemania.

WWE is a very successful business and will right the wrongs. I think we will have to be very patient with RAW over the next few months. Hopefully we start seeing some wrestlers return from injuries, and hopefully we start seeing something worth watching again.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

RAW Review

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A very emotional Monday Night RAW from Providence, Rhode Island last night.  The show started off with Roman Reigns coming to the ring carrying the coveted WWE Universal championship.  Reigns was welcomed with the usual mixture of cheers and boos.  He came to the ring in street clothes which was a little shocking, but not nearly as shocking as what we heard from Reigns.  Reigns went on to inform the world that he would be relinquishing the WWE Universal championship because he has been battling leukemia for the last eleven years, and unfortunately it has returned.

The crowd was very respectful to Reigns in response to the announcement.  Reigns said that every night he came to the ring whether the crowd cheered or booed, they reacted to him.  And he was very thankful for that.  Reigns will be taking time off to take care of his family and his health.  Reigns also stated that he is not retiring, and he will be back after he whoops leukemia’s ass.  Love or hate the character of Roman Reigns, the love the WWE universe showed the man who portrays him was incredible.  Best wishes to Roman Reigns, you are in my thoughts and prayers!

Finn Balor is back!

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O.k., so Finn Balor never left, but he has been in some meaningless matches and angles lately.  Last night on RAW he was in the first match of the night with Bobby Lashley.  Lashley, who is doing great as a heel, is looking better than ever.  His hype man Lio Rush is the perfect accent to get the heat from the crowd that Lashley needed.  The match was pretty good and Balor was able to pick up the surprising victory.

I think Balor vs Lashley has potential to be a great feud.  I think both men are Universal title material, and I think a small rivalry between the two will be good for both.  Lashley, so that he can get as much heat as possible as a heel, and Balor to restore his credibility as a Universal title contender.  It will be interesting to see where this goes.

Sasha Banks picks up momentum headed into Evolution

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Sasha Banks with Natalya and Bayley in her corner took on Ruby Riott with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan in her corner.  The match was pretty good, going back and forth with Ruby picking up the win after a minor scuffle with all the women on the outside.  I could be wrong, but I swear I heard Jo Jo the ring announcer tell us this was a submission match.  Either it was a mistake or the stipulation was nixed at the very last second.  Either way big win for Ruby Riott.

Fifty fifty booking will tell us that Sasha, Bayley and Natalya will with in the six woman tag match at Evolution.  That will be my pick, but you will have to check out gohomepwb.com on Friday for the rest of my predictions on the all women’s pay per view.

DX still going strong two decades later

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Some things will never get old.  I love seeing DX back, although I know it is for one match, it’s the match that I am most looking forward to at Crown Jewel.  It’s crazy to think that DX has been around for over twenty years.  I can remember watching the night DX was formed back in 1997.  That was also the same year Kane was introduced to us.  It’s hard to believe that in character terms, Kane is the youngest in this match.

Triple H and Shawn Michaels had a great promo adding fuel to the fire of this rivalry.  But as good as their promo was, Kane and The Undertaker’s may have been a little better.  An eery setting as Kane and The Undertaker were at a cemetery digging the graves of the DX members.  I can’t wait to see this match, it should be a classic!

Strowman vs Lesnar for Universal title

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After the unfortunate diagnosis for Roman Reigns, there was questions as to what to do with the vacant Universal championship.  It was mentioned later during the show that Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar will now compete one on one for the Universal title at Crown Jewel.

Paul Heyman came out to promote the match, and was very respectful to Roman Reigns during his statements.  He of course was putting over Brock Lesnar, when Braun Strowman interrupted.  Strowman went on to take shots at Brock Lesnar’s part-time WWE schedule.  What was not expected was out of nowhere Drew McIntyre ran down the ramp and hit Strowman with a nasty Claymore kick.

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McIntyre has hit Strowman with several of his finishing kicks in the last two weeks.  There is a part of me thinking Brock Lesnar may win the title at Crown Jewel and we see Strowman enter a lengthy feud with McIntyre.  I like this growing rivalry, as McIntyre is a stud, and is a believable opponent  for Strowman.

Is Elias turning to the good side?

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Elias went one on one with Apollo Crews last night, and after a decent match picked up the victory.  In a more interesting segment, Elias was on the stage area and wanted to finish his song that he tried to start before his match.  Elias was interrupted by acting RAW general manager Baron Corbin.  Corbin and Elias went back and forth verbally, before Corbin cut the microphone to Elias and the sound to his guitar.  Elias left the stage area as Corbin went on to talk about the rest of the show.  Elias came back out seconds later and smashed his guitar over the back of Corbin.

Elias is already a fan favorite, even as a heel.  I hope that this is the start of a face turn for Elias.  He has the potential to be one of the most popular wrestlers on the roster now.

No fighting at contract signing

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The Nikki Bella vs Ronda Rousey match for Evolution is now official after the contract signing on RAW last night.  The Bellas came out first, but quickly left the ring when Rousey arrived.  They were not going to fight Rousey, especially in a city like Providence…their words.  Rousey promised the twins that if they entered the ring she would not lay a hand on them.  Rousey also stated that unlike the Bella’s, her word is her bond.  The Bella’s entered the ring and signed the contract.  Nikki then slapped Rousey across the face trying to incite a reaction out of her.  Although extremely irritated by the tactic, Rousey managed to keep her cool and leave the ring, saving the beat down for Sunday.

I have said in previous posts that I would like to see Nikki win the title at Evolution.  The way things are shaping up, it doesn’t look like that will be the case.  I have a few days before Friday to decide on a prediction for the match.  I guess you will have to check out gohomepwb.com then to get my opinion.

Ember Moon continues to get push

Ember Moon, along with Nia Jax, Dana Brooke and Tamina, all wrestled in a fatal four way match on RAW last night.  When I first heard about the match, I was intrigued to see it.  However, my intrigue turned to disappointment when the match ended in less than four minutes.  Even worse Taminia took the loss, solidifying her role as womens division enhancement talent.

I will say this though, Ember Moon has probably the best finisher on the main roster right now.  Her flying stunner is awesome and really looks devastating for her opponents.  Too bad we probably won’t see it at Evolution due to her being in the battle royal.  I heard that there are a lot of great women wrestlers from the past that will participate in the battle royal.  I look for a legend to win it.

Trish and Lita still have some attitude

Trish Stratus and Lita were in Providence last night for RAW.  They had a back stage interview, that was quickly interrupted by Alicia Fox.  Fox and Mickie James attacked the hall of famers, and then started to say “this is how we do things now!”  Trish and Lita quickly recovered and fought back and was able to get the better of Mickie and Alicia, stating “That’s how we did things in the attitude era!”  Check out my prediction for the tag match this Friday.

Main Event Tag Team Title Match

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RAW tag team champions Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre put their titles on the line last night against the emotional Seth Rollins and Dean Amborse.  The two Shield members came out through the crowd paying homage to Roman Reigns.

The match was everything as expected from these four men.  The first match of the night where I heard “this is awesome” from the crowd.  Granted we got some very heavy news from Reigns to start the show, and that immediately drained the energy from the crowd.  It took some time, but eventually the crowd was able to recover, and really got into the match.  A back and forth affair, until Strowman interrupted and went directly after McIntyre.  The Shield was not disqualified because the ref was knocked out before Strowman attacked McIntyre.  Once McIntyre and Strowman left ringside, Ziggler was left alone and went after his tag team title, to hit Rollins with.  His attempt was foiled by Ambrose, who then set Ziggler up perfectly for the curb stomp finisher from Rollins.  Ambrose put the ref back in the ring to count the one, two, three.  The Shield are the new RAW tag team champions!  But then…

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On a night that should have been a celebratory night for the Shield, it could not have gone worse.  Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had just won the tag team championships for their brother Roman Reigns.  In one of the most shocking moments in recent memory, Dean Ambrose turned on Rollins putting him in his dirty deeds finisher.  Ambrose then went on to completely decimate Rollins.  Ambrose put a beating on Rollins like I haven’t seen since the attitude era.  Ambrose even pulled back the padding that goes around the ring, exposing the concrete floor and put Rollins in his dirty deeds finisher once more.  This time on the concreted floor.  Ambrose threw his tag title at Rollins and left the ring through the crowd.

The WWE Universe in attendance last night were in shock!  It was the last thing anyone expected after all they had been through throughout the show.  Ambrose, will clearly be one of the most hated guys on the roster now.  And as predicted by my post yesterday, Rollins will reach a very high level of popularity.

A very emotional and shocking RAW last night.  I don’t know if RAW has new writers or if they decided to turn up the creativity, but whatever they are doing lately, I love it!  I can’t wait to see what happens next week, and at Evolution this Sunday.

Once again my thoughts and prayers for a full recovery go out to Roman Reigns, and I can’t wait to boo you as soon as you return!  Tomorrow I will give my Smackdown Live review.  As always thanks for checking out gohomepwb.com

RAW Review

Monday night RAW is back!  I can’t say enough great things about the show last night.  One of the best shows of the year, and of course it was in Chicago.  Chicago is a great wrestling city, and always makes the show a little better with their crowds.  The show was great from start to finish, and it started with…

The Return of DX!

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I think we could all agree that the writing was on the wall with this one, after the ending of Super Show-Down.  Triple H started the show by saying his respect for the Undertaker and Kane is long gone.  HBK made his way to the ring and was livid about what happened at Super Show-Down.  He has been retired out of respect to the Undertaker, but the respect is now gone.  So…Are your ready?!  DX vs The Brothers of Destruction at Crowned Jewel.  I can’t wait for this one, and I personally think this will lead to a third Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker match at next years Wrestlemania.

Bobby Lashley turning heel

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Thank you RAW writers for getting this one right.  Bobby Lashley with his hype man Lio Rush in his corner, took on Kevin Owens last night.  Owens, was heavily cheered by the Chicago crowd as expected, and in turn Lashley was booed.  But Lio Rush was encouraging the boo’s.  He had a microphone throughout the match and would chime in from time to time to irritate Owens and the Chicago crowd.  Lashley was not going anywhere as a baby face, and I think the powers that be finally recognized it.  Lashley clearly turned heel last night, and in return I think Kevin Owens may have become a babyface.  Lashley and Rush incited an arena full of boo’s, when Lashley attacked Owens well after the match was over.  Lashley pulled an already injured Kevin Owens to the ring post corner and repeatedly crushed his knees into the ring post.

The crowd in Chicago was going to boo Lashley regardless of his tactics, so why not give them a legit reason.  Well done writers, well done!  It will be interesting to see the direction they go with Kevin Owens, I think if he kept the same attitude, and even the same tactics, but didn’t say anything bad to the crowd, he would be a great baby face.  He is already loved as a heel, so don’t change his character, just be nice to the crowds, get those cheap pops and watch Owens be one of the most popular wrestlers on the roster.

WWE World Cup

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WWE has announced they will be holding a World Cup Tournament at Crowned Jewel in Saudi Arabia.  John Cena was automatically entered into the tournament because, well… he’s John Cena.  On RAW last night acting general manager Baron Corbin put on a global battle royal, with a bunch of jabroni’s supposedly from different country’s around the world.  One of those contestants was the Conquistador from Spain.  When the match started the Conquistidor immediately jumped out of the ring and sat on the floor until there was only Corbin left in the ring.  The Conquistador got in the ring and performed several familiar moves, a triple german suplex and an angle slam.  Corbin was eliminated from the battle royal and we saw that when the Conquistador unmasked, it was Kurt Angle.  Thus, Kurt Angle and John Cena are the first two competitors in the World Cup, which appears to be a revamped King of the Ring.  At first I thought, not another tournament.  Then when I see the first two entries are John Cena and Kurt Angle, I suddenly am more intrigued by this tournament.  The Big Show and Randy Orton will do battle tonight for another spot in the tournament.  This is shaping up to be a star-studded tournament, I think we could see a couple more legends enter the tournament before it’s all said and done.  Perhaps a Rey Mysterio and Batista who are returning for Smackdown 1000 next week.  Or maybe a Goldberg, Sting or The Rock.  It’s probably a long shot, but it would make the tournament much more interesting.  I can’t wait to see who ends up in this tournament.

The Bella’s turn on Rhonda Rousey

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In a rematch from Super Show-Down, The Bella Twins and Rhonda Rousey battled The Riott Squad last night.  The match was pretty good until the end when it appeared that Sarah Logan and one of the Bella’s missed a spot at the finish, and Sarah Logan fell awkwardly not even being tripped.  Regardless Rousey locked in the arm bar on Ruby Riott and Riott tapped almost immediately.  During the winners celebration the Bella’s turned on Rousey, throwing her into the steel steps and the ringside barricade.  And though not official, it would appear Nikki Bella will battle Rhonda Rousey for the Women’s title at Evolution.  This should be an interesting match, especially with Brie in her corner.  Rousey vs Nikki one on one is not that intersting, as no one really thinks Nikki could beat Rousey one on one, but add Brie, now there’s a chance.  I think it would be a good time for Rousey to pick up her first loss.  The Bella’s are great heels and they could have a good run with the title.

Mixed tag match

Another week of mixed match challenge promos, where we see Team BnB and Team Majalicia for the third week in a row.  A very predictable match where Team BnB picked up the victory.  I can’t wait for this mixed match challenge to end, and we see Finn Balor in some meaningful segments and matches.  I am not a fan of the mixed match challenge, with the exception of The Fabulous Truth.

Balor is another wrestler I would like to see in the World Cup tournament.  He is a wrestler that can have a great match with anyone, and who wouldn’t want to see a Finn Balor vs John Cena match.

Ember Moon picks up an upset victory

Ember Moon took on Nia Jax last night in a one on one contest.  A quick, but decent match that saw Ember Moon pick up the win via count out.  Nia had a nasty collision with the L.E.D. board, that is now the ring apron, and was unable to return to the ring before the ten count.  The two women’s division wrestlers embraced at the end in a show in a sign of friendship and sportsmanship.

Trish and Lita now a tag team

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In a bit of a surprise, Lita made her return last night to help Trish fend off Alexa Bliss and Mickie James.  Alexa vs Trish, and Mickie vs Lita were supposed to be singles matches at evolution, but now Alexa and Mickie will wrestle Trish and Lita in a tag team match.  Alexa and Mickie fought Trish and Lita last night with Trish and Lita getting the better of their foes.  Lita went to the top to hit the moonsault, but Alexa was able to pull Mickie out of the ring before she could hit it.  Great to see Trish and Lita again and I can’t wait to see them wrestle at Evolution.

Roode and Gable get a win

Bobby Roode and Chad Gable picked up a much-needed win over The Ascension last night.  But, it would appear as if Roode is getting tired of Chad Gable.  Thank you!!  I can’t stand this pairing and I hate the character that Chad Gable is portraying right now.  I hope that in the very near future Roode turns on Gable or vise versa.  It was also the first time I heard CM Punk chants.  That kind of tells you how much the WWE universe is interested in this pairing as well.  The real story came after the match, when A.O.P. came out and punished both teams, continuing their dominance.  I think A.O.P. will be tag team champions very soon, and I would love to see it.  I like Ziggler and McIntyre but they are singles guys, I am a fan of traditional tag teams representing the division as champs.  A.O.P. would be great representatives.

Paul Heyman

Is there anyone better on the microphone than Paul Heyman?  Heyman came out before the Shield, Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre match last night.  He of course put over his client Baarockk Lessssnaarr!  And at the same time verbally violated both Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman.  I don’t think that Brock will win the Universal title at Crowned Jewel, but Heyman can sell you anything on the mic.

The Shield cracked?

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Another great match between The Shield, Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre.  Earlier in RAW it would appear that Strowman, Ziggler and McIntyre were the team that was in disarray, but they came together last night to pick up a huge win over the Shield.  The match was very even going back and forth until the end when McIntyre hit the Claiborne kick on Dean Ambrose for the win.  After the match, Ambrose left in anger leaving Reigns and Rollins in the ring to wonder what he was doing.  In a WWE.com exclusive, Dean Ambrose was interviewed and said he “isn’t sure he fits in anywhere anymore.”  I think Ambrose is headed for a heel turn.  As much as I had hoped it would be Roman Reigns, it would appear as if the writers are planting the seeds for a heel turn of Ambrose.

A great show last night.  A lot of surprises, twists and turns.  I understand it is hard to have a three hours show and deliver every week with no summer break, but RAW continues to surprise me.  That’s why I have watched for over 25 years, and will continue to watch for as long as I can.  One thing RAW lacks is a mega baby face.  Watch out for Kevin Owens as a baby face, I think he could be the guy to reach Stone Cold popularity.

Check out gohomepwb.com tomorrow for my Smackdown Live review.  Let’s hope it’s as good as RAW was.

Smackdown Live review

Another great show put on by Smackdown. I swear it’s a much better show than RAW. I want to say it’s because it’s only two hours opposed to RAW being three, but the truth is… it’s clearly a better written show!  And speaking of truth, a new talk show debuted on Smackdown tonight.

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Truth TV hosted by R-Truth and his mixed match challenge partner Carmella,  debuted tonight. Unfortunately it was cancelled minutes later. During its short-lived run, Truth TV was very entertaining. Their first guess was Daniel Bryan. They asked Bryan a great question, but before he could answer, Truth and Carmella cut to a seven second dance break. A very funny spot in which the crowd appeared to enjoy. However, the fun didn’t last as The Miz interrupted and spoiled the fun. This would lead to a R-Truth vs The Miz match with the loser getting their show cancelled.   The match was probably the best match of the night. It ended when Miz hit Truth with the Daniel Bryan patented running knee. Daniel Bryan was on commentary during the match and was none to pleased with The Miz’s actions. Thus continuing the feud between the two which appears to be headed for a cool down after the Super Showdown PPV next Saturday. The winner of their match will become the number one contender for the WWE championship. I would anticipate this feud picking back up after the Royal Rumble and it finishing at Mania next year. A great way to start Smackdown, but let’s hope Truth TV gets a second chance!

Sheamus gets a “Big” win

The second match of the night was Sheamus one on one with New Day member Big E. This was a really good match with both wrestlers having their tag team partners at ringside. The match was a back and forth affair with a few stiff shots by Sheamus. Both sides of teammates managed to stay clear of each other and Sheamus was able to Big E with a brogue kick to get the clean win. A great match, but if I know WWE like I think I do, we will see New Day get the better of the Bar next week.

That night in Milwaukee

Rusev and Lana came to the ring demanding answers from Aiden English about his actions a week ago. Aiden did come out to explain himself. He said that Rusev Day was working great until Lana came along. Aiden went on to further prove his point. And finished his speech with saying “Lana has always told you the truth Rusev. Just like she told you the truth about that one night in Milwaukee.”  This comment incited a lot of “ooohhs” from the crowd. Aiden dropped the mic and walked off. Later in the night Aiden said he had video proof of what went down in Milwaukee that night. Another form of great writing from the blue brand. Give us a tease so that we want to watch next week. I know I’m interested to see where this storyline is going.

Naomi & Asuka vs Deville & Mandy Rose

This match had longer entrances than in ring action. The match was lackluster with Naomi and Asuka picking up the victory. The Iconics were at ringside, but didn’t really get involved. Not a fan of this storyline, but it is nice to see Smackdown getting everyone involved. On a side note, how far has Asuka fallen?  She went from being undefeated for two years to barely getting TV time. Let’s hope she gets rolling again. I would like to see her Andrew Rhonda Rousey one on one sometime soon.

Orton strikes again!

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Shinsuke Nakamura vs Tye Dillinger was the next match. The match itself was not horrible.  However, it was cut short when Randy Orton interrupted and viciously attacked Dillinger. Orton went crazy on Dillinger dropping him with a hangman’s DDT from the apron to the floor. Once Orton walked off, Nakamura hit the Kinshasa causing Dillinger to hit his head off the L.E.D. Board that is now the ring apron. It looked nasty, so let’s hope Dillinger is ok. It’s also nice to see Dillinger get some TV time. Dillinger is another wrestler who is being underutilized. Let’s hope this sets up some type of storyline for him.

After a commercial, Orton was stopped back stage and asked if Dillinger was his next victim?  Orton replied “No. It’s just the whole 10 thing pisses me off!”  Orton is very Stone Coldesk as of late. The crowd is begging for some more attitude I’m the WWE. I couldn’t agree more!  I don’t want full-blown attitude era stuff, but I like a little edge with my wrestling. The problem is…WWE believes that this type of attitude will induce a boo reaction. It’s not working.  People are cheering when wrestlers cuss or do something that should be seen as a heel move.  It as long as there is a reaction, it’s all that really matters at the end of the day.

Reactions is the perfect segway to my next wrestler. Becky freaking Lynch!  She is doing everything possible to be a heel. She screams heel with her attitude, backstabbing her friend and using profanity in her promos. But like I said, the WWE Universe is begging for more attitude. As hard as it is for me to root for Roman Reigns, it’s just as hard for me to boo Becky Lynch. Even when she attack’s Charlotte from behind at a photo shoot. Or demands that the photographer take pictures of “the champ” as she holds the title up high over the injured Charlotte. Don’t worry WWE universe, I’ve been calling it for weeks and I think very, very soon we will see the double switch.

Becky did have a quick match with Lana, which Becky won with ease. Throughout the match, you could clearly hear Milwaukee chants referring to Lana’s “one night in Milwaukee”.  Becky looked strong in the match and right now may be the most, must see wrestler on the roster.

Paige looking great!

img_0156I know Paige is not able to compete due to a neck injury, and she would rather be wrestling. But she is doing great as Smackdown GM. She has been through a lot in her short WWE career, but is looking better than ever right now. It would be nice to see her back in the ring as a wrestler some day, but if not, I think she could do a lot in WWE in a non physical role. She is proving that with her role as Smackdown GM.

Samoa Joe continues to keep it personal

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Samoa Joe didn’t show up on Smackdown for the contract signing. Instead he showed up at the home of AJ Styles. Joe is a great heel!  Week after week he continues to attack AJ mentally taking shots at his family. Another example of great writing from the Smackdown writers. This storyline gets a little better each week, and AJ and Joe have barely fought since Hell in a Cell. Their rivalry continues to grow as a result of great storyline writing. The two can go for days in the ring, and when you put the story behind it…PERFECT!  Smackdown ended with Joe ringing the door bell at th Styles estate.  Again, another story that I want to turn into next week to see what happens!

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In my opinion AJ will not drop the title to Joe. As matter of fact the WWE title is somewhat of an afterthought when it comes to this rivalry. It has become so personal you almost forget the WWE title is on the line. We learned on Smackdown that their match at Super Showdown will be no DQ. I am looking forward to the match, because the storyline is amazing and you know AJ and Joe will steal the show.

A great show put on by Smackdown!  The blue brand is head and shoulders better than RAW. You don’t get the type of stories on RAW like you do on Smackdown. RAW feels like more of a variety show. It’s something new every week. I don’t know of one cliffhanger that RAW gave me to want to watch for next week. Smackdown gave me several!  Can’t wait to see what happens next week!

Thanks for checking out gohomepwb.com. Comment or like this blog. I love talking wrestling and would love to hear your opinions.