Tag Archives: Rusev

How I would book SummerSlam (part 2) 

In my last post I listed the matches I would book for SummerSlam on August 20th. Here I will explain why I have booked these matches and who should win. 

But first I must say that events have taken over since I wrote my last post. Kevin Owens dropped the United States Championship to AJ Styles at a Madison Square Garden live event on Friday and his planned match with Styles at the Battleground pay per view has been pulled from the card. This suggests that Owens is injured and he probably won’t be the United States Champion at SummerSlam. I had booked Owens to lose the title to Shinskae Nakamura at SummerSlam and had put AJ Styles in a match against Rusev. 

Now if Owens is fit for SummerSlam I would book his rematch against AJ Styles with Owens regaining while putting Nakamura in a match with Rusev. If Owens is not fit the Styles v Rusev match stays but becomes a title match with Styles retaining while Nakamura would get a match with Baron Corbin (which I suspect would be a rematch from Battleground). 

Back to my original booking plans. Roman Reigns booked himself into the Universal Title match at SummerSlam on RAW back in June and I can’t unbook that. But instead of Lesnar v Reigns at SummerSlam which we have seen before I would have Braun Strowman beat Reigns in an Ambulance match at tonight’s Great Balls of Fire (yes really!) pay per view and then go on the rampage with another wrestler (I’ll explain who later) at RAW tomorrow demanding a title shot. RAW General Manager Kurt Angle capitulates and it is Lesnar v Reigns v Strowman at SummerSlam. I would put the Universal Title on Strowman as I think RAW needs a full time wrestler as Champion and Reigns can get the title before Wrestlemania if the company wants Reigns to be defending the title there. Plus Strowman has improved massively in the last year and improvement should be rewarded. 

Over on Smackdown the Jinder Mahal v Randy Orton feud will hopefully be put out of its misery at Battleground. WWE will probably go with the safety first option of having John Cena challenge Mahal at SummerSlam in yet another American v foreign heel yawn fest. But neither man should win. I would have men’s Money in the Bank winner Baron Corbin cash in during the match (a la Seth Rollins at Wrestlamania 31).  I would not have Corbin cash in on Cena as when Cena breaks Ric Flair’s record and wins his 17th title he deserves a good reign rather than be used to transition the belt to another heel as his 16th reign  was. My plan is a way to get the belt from Mahal to Corbin without the need for a transitional face champion in between. 

The Intercontinental Title feud between the Miz and Dean Ambrose needs to end. Right now. The problem here is that RAW has no mid card apart from these two so the next challenger has to be either be a low card guy elevated or a top of the card guy being demoted. Since RAW is top heavy at the moment I would combine the Intercontinental Title with an existing feud making it a triple threat match. The feud would be Seth Rollins v Bray Wyatt which has been appallingly built and is the least exciting on the Great Balls of Fire card. It will probably go on beyond tonight so why not combine it with the Intercontinental Title and see if we can get fans interested in this feud. I would still have the Miz retain with interference from the Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) but NOT Maryse who should be fired. In fact I would keep the title on the Miz for the foreseeable future. 

That is not the only gold the Miz’s stable should have. I would take the tag team titles off Sheamus and Cesaro tonight (if only because Sheamus is taking a break from the WWE so him and Cesaro need to drop the titles). But the Hardys would only be transitional Champions. I would have the Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) take the titles off the Hardys. That would (a) make the Miz even more unbearably smug than he usually is with his faction holding two titles and (b) it could lead to Matt Hardy becoming “Broken” if WWE can ever get permission to use the “Broken Matt Hardy” gimmick.

As for the other tag team titles I would have the New Day take the titles off the Usos at Battleground and that allows the feud to blow off at SummerSlam. New Day would retain the titles. 

Now the women’s titles. I would have Nia Jax wreck tonight’s RAW women’s title match between champion Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks by attacking both women. Then tomorrow in RAW I would have Jax along with Braun Strowman (see above) go on the rampage demanding a title shot.  Kurt Angle would capitulate and the match would be Bliss v Banks v Jax. I would not have Bliss v Jax as it is two heels and the size difference makes it an unrealistic match. Nor would I put the title on Banks tonight and have her v Bayley for the title at SummerSlam. That match should be kept for Wrestlemania. Plus Bayley needs to be built up after her terrible feud with Bliss. Banks should win the title but not until SummerSlam as she deserves a title win on a big stage (all her titles have been won on random RAW episodes). 

As for the other women’s title it is in a weird place. The Smackdown womens champion Naomi is a baby face but is the third most popular baby face on the roster behind Becky Lynch and Charlotte. One of Lynch or Charlotte has to turn heel and challenge Naomi for the title. I would turn Becky Lynch heel NOT Charlotte. Now I would not have turned Charlotte face to begin with but they can’t undo that so soon or else she would become a female Big Show who is a joke among fans for all the face/heel turns he has had in his career. Besides it kind of makes sense. Lynch has been betrayed by Charlotte and Natalya in the past and was furious about the ending of the Money in the Bank match. It is surely a matter of time before she gets fed up of being secrewed by friends and turns into a “Don’t Trust Anyone” kind of heel. 

I should say I don’t think WWE will turn Lynch – they are more likely to turn Charlotte if anyone – but this is how I would book it. Lynch would win the title and get the long title reign she deserves as I think the WWE have booked her awfully. 

I mentioned in my last post I would say what would happen to the women’s Money in the Bank winner Carmella. Well to make the women’s division different from the men’s I would have Carmella fail in her cash in. It is well known that in the men’s division a Money in the Bank win is virtually a guarantee of winning the title. With the women there is no history so there is a chance of doing something different. I would have Carmella cash in after Naomi defends the title at Battleground (presumably against Tamina). But a couple of minutes into the match I would have Lynch, Charlotte and Natalya attack Carmella throwing out the match. This provides revenge for the women screwed by James Ellsworth in the first Money in the Bank match while protecting Carmella from being pinned. Carmella could if you want turn face by dumping Ellsworth when he comes back from suspension and then have a feud with Lynch for the title later in the year. 

Now the non title matches on the card. Dean Ambrose and Samoa Joe will probably lose their title matches at Great Balls of Fire tonight (both in my booking and WWE’s). I would put them against each other and have Joe win keeping him dominant after he (please) pushes Brock Lesnar to the limit tonight. Ambrose can survive a loss and it has the advantage of being a fresh match up.

The booking of Finn Balor – who became the first ever Universal Champion at last year’s SummerSlam lest we forget – has been baffling. He is not even on the Great Balls of Fire card as of this writing which is quite astonishing. On RAW they have been teaseing a feud with the Drifter Elias Samson but it has not made the Great Balls of Fire card. I would have Balor face Cesaro – who might be without his tag partner Sheamus –  at SummerSlam. You could either have Balor win or have Cesaro win with interference from Samson if you want to continue the Balor/Samson feud.

Finally Mike and Maria Kanellis have joined WWE for some reason going straight to Smackdown and by passing NXT (which only AJ Styles. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have done lately). Suspect Mike will start either against Tye Dillinger or (more likely) Sami Zayn. I would book Zayn to win although WWE have booked themselves into a corner if they go down this route as Mike Kanellis is new and Zayn has lost too many feuds so neither can lose. But someone has to win and Zayn has more growth potential (to be honest Mike and Maria leave me cold and the fact that Maria is on Smackdown while Auska and Nikki Cross are still in NXT proves that (a) WWE is not a meritocracy and (b) valets and intergender angles must be scrapped). 

So that is how I would book SummerSlam. WWE do it better….

Ten trades I would make in the Superstar Shake-up 

WWE is unlike most sports in that it doesn’t have an off season. RAW and Smackdown are on 52 weeks a year, every year. That being said Wrestlemania is generally considered the end of the WWE “year” and the RAW after Wrestlemania the start of a new “year”. And on Monday’s RAW after Wrestlemania WWE chairman Vince McMahon announced a “Superstar Shake-up” for next week’s RAW. We don’t really know what that means except that an unspecified number of wrestlers will be traded between the two shows. Needless to say there are a lot of rumours about who will be traded.

I have no idea anymore than anyone else has about who will be traded. What I will do here is list ten trades I would do to shake things up – five from RAW to Smackdown and five in the opposite direction. Some I suspect will happen some are just wishful thinking on my part.

Anyway here are five RAW to Smackdown trades I would make : 

Finn Balor – This is a trade made for the sake of fairness and justice. It must be remembered Finn Balor never lost the Universal Title back in August. He had to relinquish the title the night after SummerSlam because of an injury during his title win over Seth Rollins. Justice says he should get an instant shot at getting it back – but WWE in their infinite (lack of) wisdom have put the belt on part timer Brock Lesnar who probably won’t turn up again until June. Balor deserves better. Switch him to Smackdown where he can challenge whoever has the WWE title once the Randy Orton v Bray Wyatt feud is over. Balor v Wyatt is a match I would like to see. Also it gets Balor away from Rollins. It doesn’t make sense that on Monday Balor was tagging with Rollins who injured him back in August (albeit accidentally). 

Charlotte – One of Charlotte and Sasha Banks MUST be traded to Smackdown this coming Monday. Their rivalry made history in the women’s division – including the first women’s Hell in a Cell match which also became the first women’s match to main event a pay-per-view. But their rivalry is all played out now and if Banks turns heel as expected her and Charlotte as allies would seem weird. Either of them could be traded but as I want to see Banks v Bayley – which has only happened once on the main roster – Charlotte gets the nod. 

New Day – This is a no brainer to me. Smackdown’s tag division is such a mess its title was not defended at WrestleMania. The New Day have gone stale since losing the RAW title back in December. The obvious way to kill two birds with one stone is to trade New Day to Smackdown. Champions the Usos get new rivals and New Day get a chance of scenery. As a bonus if Vince McMahon wants to push Big E as a singles competitor in the future the smaller Smackdown roster is the place to do it. 

Rusev – Doubt that this will happen as he is injured but Rusev badly needs a change. Since being fed to Roman Reigns the Bulgarian has been in an awful feud with Enzo and Cass and stuck in a terrible tag team with Jinder Mahal. That broke up at Fastlane last month but injury saved him from being put in the Andre Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Rusev would beef up the Smackdown mid card and on his return would be an immediate contender for the Intercontinental Title. 

Sami Zayn – This should be a no brainer. He really should have been drafted to Smackdown back in July he has been little more than cannon fodder for Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe and frankly has been wasted. Also (like Charlotte and Sasha Banks above) him and Kevin Owens need to be split up and as Owens is the US Champion and won’t be traded Zayn is the only option. 

Now here are five that should go in the opposite direction from Smackdown to RAW. This is harder because the Smackdown roster (especially the male singles side) is smaller but here goes : 

Carmella – The RAW women’s division is top heavy. The Smackdown women’s division is bottom heavy. Therefore Smackdown should get an elite woman and RAW a not so elite woman. Carmella fits the bill. Besides sending her to RAW (a) breaks up her awful alliance with useless James Ellsworth and (b) reunites her with Enzo and Cass which was a successful partnership in NXT.

Luke Harper – The purpose of this trade is to get the talented Harper out of Bray Wyatt’s shadow. Haper has potential to be a break out star but I suspect as long as he is on the same show as Wyatt he will be overshadowed. Separating Braun Strowman from the Wyatt Family worked for him. It could also work for Harper. 

Kalisto – As with Sami Zayn (see above) this should have happened at the original draft. Kalisto is a Cruiserweight. The Cruiserweights are on RAW. Unless WWE were going to push him as a giant killer a la Rey Mysterio this made no sense. Kalisto’s job on Smackdown has been as a punchbag for Baron Corbin and then (with Apollo Crews) he was part of a terrible handicap match against Dolph Ziggler at the Elimination Chamber in February. Like Neville a move to the Cruiserweight Division could revitalise his career.

AJ Styles – This has been rumoured for ages and I suspect that the Styles v Shane McMahon angle that led to a better than it had any right to be match between the two at WrestleMania is the storyline reason for sending Styles to RAW. They shook hands on Tuesday night’s Smackdown but do they trust each other? I suspect no and Shane will trade Styles to RAW. 

Dolph Ziggler – It looked like Ziggler’s career had been rescued by his Intercontinental Title feud with the Miz. Then he lost the title back to the Miz and…Oh dear. A heel turn hasn’t really worked ( he had that terrible handicap match mentioned above) and it might be that Ziggler’s career is beyond saving. It might have slightly more chance of happening with a change of scenery.

Others that I would trade but definitely won’t be traded would be Cesaro to Smackdown (but he and Sheamus are the number one contenders for the RAW tag titles so won’t happen) and Dean Ambrose in the opposite direction (but he is still the Intercontinental Champion so presumably it won’t happen). It will be fascinating to see how many trades are done on Monday and how many I get right. One thing is certain. It will be fun to find out…

 

Why a women’s Hell in a Cell match is a good idea

The women’s revolution in the WWE – which has been progressing in fits and starts – has received a couple of boosts in the last two weeks. First of all Sasha Banks won the RAW women’s title from Charlotte in the 3rd October episode of RAW. While this had happened before back on July 25th this time the match was the main event of RAW. This is only the second time a match between two women* had main evented RAW – the last one was when Lita beat Trish Stratus on December 6th 2004. And although RAW’s ratings still fell in the third hour (the third hour of RAW is a total disaster and needs to disappear) the ratings fell less with the women main eventing than they had in previous weeks. The match was well received and was seen as a success. But the women had main evented RAW before.

What happened this week is historic though. On Monday’s RAW it was announced that Banks would defend her title against Charlotte at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on October 30th. What makes this unique is that Banks and Charlotte will compete in the match the pay-per-view is named after : Hell in a Cell.

The first Hell in a Cell match took place between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker on October 5th 1997. The match takes place inside a 20ft high, five ton cage and is considered the most dangerous structure in the WWE. It has been called “Satan’s Structure” and “Career shortening”.  There have been 33 Hell in a Cell matches since 1997 all involving male competitors. So when the Banks v Charlotte Hell in a Cell match was announced on RAW it was a big deal. 

I should point out that rumours that the match would happen had been leaked on the internet last Wednesday. I saw three internet polls during the week and they all showed 80-90 percent support for the women’s Hell in a Cell match. While internet polls are even more unreliable than their offline equivalents three polls with this level of support suggested clear support among the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) for the match. It also suggested that the IWC who often are as divided as the Conservative Party was in 1997 and the Labour Party are now had found something we** could unite behind.

Except that after the match was announced the schizophrenic IWC seemed to change their minds and a backlash against the match begun. People were saying that the match was too dangerous for women and that Charlotte and – especially – Banks were in danger of being injured. Now there are two other Hell in a Cell matches scheduled for October 30th between Universal Champion Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins and between United States Champion Roman Reigns and Rusev. No one says that the four men are at risk of injury even though Rollins injury record is arguably worse than Banks is. It is also argued that the feud between Banks and Charlotte is not worthy of a Hell in a Cell match even though they have been feuding on and off – mainly on – since the Royal Rumble in January far longer than either of the two male feuds that will end in the Cell. Frankly in a world where UK female soldiers will soon be allowed on the front line by a Conservative Government – unthinkable as recently as 2012 – the idea that two women cannot fight in a cage is ludicrous. If women can fight on the front line they can fight in Hell in a Cell. It is sexism pure and simple. 

So why are people so opposed to the match? Eileen McDonough and Laura Pappano have the answer. They mention the “three I’s” that have been used throughout history to deny women equality – Inferiority, Injury and Immorality. All three are being used here. People are saying that Banks and Charlotte are “inferior” and unworthy of a Hell in a Cell match. They are worried that they will suffer injury. And they think women taking part in this violent match is immoral.  And it is utter nonsense. 

The WWE like to think they compete with real sports which is I suspect why they have a deal with US Sports giants ESPN. In most real sports men and women compete in the same events with mainly the same rules. If WWE want to properly support the Women’s Revolution they have to put women in the same matches as men as this happens in real sport. It is only a baby step no doubt about it. There are still other matches that women have not competed in – Tables, Ladders and Chairs matches, Money in the Bank matches, their own Royal Rumble*** and even the Elimination Chamber. But this is the start. 

I will be nervous when Sasha and Charlotte step into the Cell on October 30th. Like Ginny Baker in the fictional “Pitch” (see previous post) the pressure will be enormous. I bet you they will be scrutinised far more than Owen, Rollins. Reigns and Rusev will be. But that is the price of being the pioneer. Banks knows this having been part of – along with Bayley – the first ever 30 minute “Iron Woman” match in NXT last year. Cynics thought women could not wrestle for thirty minutes straight. Banks and Bayley proved that that was nonsense. 

Back to real sport for a moment. After the 1928 Olympics women were banned from running distances longer than 200 metres and the ban stood for 32 years. Women were not allowed to run the Marathon at the Olympics until 1984. Today the idea that women could not run the Marathon would be seen as a joke. The same will apply to the WWE. Ten, twenty years from now wrestling fans will be saying “That Sasha v Charlotte Hell in a Cell match was amazing wasn’t it?”. Ten, twenty years from now women’s Hell in a Cell matches will be taken for granted and accepted (they won’t be common as they aren’t common for men today). And the fact that women were not allowed to compete in Hell in a Cell matches until nineteen years after the men will be seen as ridiculous not as is the case today the fact that they are competing in one. The women’s Hell in a Cell match is an idea whose time has come. In truth it should have happened before now.

*Lita v Stephanie McMahon main evented RAW in August 2000 but the Rock was guest referee and Kurt Angle and Triple H also got involved.

**I don’t consider myself a member of the IWC but the fact I talk and read about wrestling on the internet might mean some people consider me part of it. 

***A woman competed in the men’s Royal Rumble in 1999,2000,,2010 and 2012 but there has never been a women’s Royal Rumble.