Thursday, 26 November 2015

Wrestle Ropes' Ready for the Weekend: November 2015 Week 4

We're fast approaching yet another weekend in the British Wrestling calendar and once again we are taking a look at just a small selection of the shows taking place. Let's get Ready For The Weekend!

Up first on Friday night, Scottish Wrestling Alliance are at The Lagoon Centre in Paisley, Glasgow. The event shall mark the Scottish debut of 'The Aerial Assassin' Will Ospreay. And what a début he is in for as he faces 'Scotland's Best Young Wrestler' Lewis Girvan. Will Ospreay has been tearing it up all over England as well as participating in this year's Pro Wrestling Guerilla's BOLA tournament. Lewis Girvan has not been having a quiet year himself as he has competed against some of the finest athletes in Scotland today including Drew Galloway. Ospreay will no doubt impress many new fans on Friday night as he makes his Scottish debut but he's facing the very best that Scotland has to offer in young talent. This match could be the match of the weekend. When speaking about the best that Scotland has to offer, a name that is often in any person's list is Mark Coffey. While often seen as part of Polo Promotions, Mark Coffey is not called 'The Real Deal' for nothing and is accomplished in singles action as he is in a team. On November 27th he will get a chance to prove that as he challenges Drew Galloway for the SWA Heavyweight Championship. Galloway won the championship in this very venue in Paisley. We could see another champion crowned on Friday as Mark Coffey will bring his A-game and give Galloway everything he has. The main event shall see Grado facing Mikey Whiplash. A must-see match for any wrestling fan. However, this match will have an added dimension as it has been announced that Gavin 'Boaby The Barman' Mitchell from hit BBC comedy show, Still Game shall be the special enforcer for this match. Grado will have the fans well behind him in Paisley but he faces one of the best technically sound wrestlers in Whiplash. Mikey Whiplash is as smart as he is dangerous and Grado will need to stay one step ahead of him to have a chance at picking up the win.

Full Card

*SWA Heavyweight Championship*
Drew Galloway (c) vs ‘The Real Deal’ Mark Coffey

*SWA Scottish Junior Heavyweight Championship*
Kenny Williams vs ‘Flyin’ Ryan Griffin (c)

*England Vs Scotland: Special Guest Enforcer – Gavin ‘Boaby The Barman’ Mitchell*
Mikey Whiplash vs Grado

‘Iron Man’ Joe Coffey vs ‘Hardcore Icon’ Jack Jester

Lewis Girvan vs ‘The Aerial Assassin’ Will Ospreay

Courtney vs Viper

‘Global Hero’ Joe Hendry vs DCT

Jack Gallagher vs Jackie Polo

Moving on to Saturday and Shropshire Wrestling Alliance are back at the Dawley Town Hall in Telford with 'GoldRush 2015'. The evening will feature two championship matches, one involving a ladder and a rumble to crown a new number contender. As we said their will be a championship match involving a ladder. The championship in question is the SWA British Lions Championship. Tyler Bate has been a fighting champion since winning the championship. This match will be his greatest challenges as he face not one but five other opponents in the shape of Mark Andrews, Nixon Newell, Drew Parker, Chris Brookes & Mike Bird. Any one of these challengers would be a worthy and challenging opponent. Add in the fact that ladders will play a vital part in the outcome of the match and really anyone could be working out of Telford as the SWA British Lions Champion this Saturday. The other championship on the line on November 28th will be the SWA Heavyweight Championship. Dan Moloney made his intentions clear at 'British Lions 2015' when he attacked reigning champion, Ryan Smile after the main event. With Moloney in possession of a guaranteed championship match, SWA had no choice but to grant the 'Super Beast' his demand. While Moloney will look to deliver another beating to The All Day Star and take the SWA Heavyweight Championship, Smile shall be out to gain retribution on the blind-sided attack that he received the last time that these two men were in the same ring. Saturday night will witness former tag team partners come face to face in a match. Chris Ridgeway and Damian Dunne are both on a quest to pick up a big win in SWA. These former partners did not part on good terms so there may be a little more spice in their offence against each other. There is a lot for both men to prove. Who is the better man and who will finally get the win they desperately want.

Full Card

*SWA Heavyweight Championship*
‘Super Beast’ Dan Moloney vs ‘All Day Star’ Ryan Smile (c)

*SWA British Lions Championship: Six-Way Ladder Match*
‘Calamari Catch’ Chris Brookes vs ‘Boy Next Door’ Drew Parker vs ‘White Lightning’ Mark Andrews vs ‘Ginger Jesus’ Mike Bird vs Nixon Newell vs Tyler Bate (c)

*15-Man Over The Top Rope Goldrush Rumble*
Winner Become Number One Contender To The SWA Heavyweight Championship

‘The Kid’ Ethan Silver vs ‘The Juice’ CJ Banks

‘The Priority’ Chris Ridgeway vs ‘Number One’ Damian Dunne

Finishing the weekend, Kamikaze Pro are at the The Cadbury Club in Birmingham with a stacked show where every championship will be up for grabs. One title on the line will be the Kamikaze Pro Championship as Robbie X will defend against Juventud Guerrera. Robbie X has been a fighting champion for over a year now. His opponent, Juventud Guerrera has held championship in almost every company he's wrestled in. Robbie has defeated some of the best in Kamikaze Pro as well as those from further afield during his reign. He faces as big a challenge as any now though in the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, who will look to add to his impressive list of accolades. November 29th will see one man who loves to cheat face a man who loves violence. This Sunday will see Marshall X faces Clint Margera in a no disqualification match. Marshall X is renowned for cheating during matches in any way he can. That won't be an issue for his when he face Clint Margera as he can do anything he wants. While that would normally be of benefit to Marshall X, his opponent Clint Margera is a man who will do anything. He is a lover of violence and the use of weapons. Marshall X may find that he's against a man who likes do anything it takes to win more than even he does. The main event for 'Frost Fight 3' will see 'The Man Beast' face 'The Super Beast' as Rhyno competes against Dan Moloney. Dan Moloney is the current Money In The Bank holder and has continued to get better as Kamikaze Pro has grown. He's now one of the promotion's top athletes. His opponent needs little introduction as a former ECW Champion and a current member of NXT. Rhyno is still as impressive as he ever was and will bring Dan Moloney a challenge that he has rarely faced before. However, Moloney will look to show Rhyno that there is room for only one beast in Kamikaze Pro and he's not planning on giving up that place any time soon.

Full Card

‘The Man Beast’ Rhyno vs ‘The Super Beast’ Dan Moloney

*Kamikaze Pro Championship*
Robbie X (c) vs Juventud Guerrera

*Relentless Division Championship*
‘Dynamite’ Pete Dunne (c) vs ‘Lights Out’ Tyler Bate

*Kamikaze Pro Tag Team Championship*
The Hunter Brothers (Lee & Jim Hunter) (c) vs The Bigger Picture (‘Number One’ Damian Dunne & ‘All Day Star’ Ryan Smile)

*No Disqualification*
‘The Badman’ Marshall X vs Clint Margera

‘The Wonderkid’ Jonny Storm vs ‘The Phoenix’ Jody Fleisch

Nixon Newell & Toni Storm vs Shanna & Chardonnay

*Fatal Four-Way*
‘The Big O’ Omari vs Mika ‘The Polish Punisher’ vs ‘The Wolf of Broad Street’ Elliott Jordan vs ‘The Pharaoh’ Malik

That wraps up this week's preview of the weekend's wrestling schedule. Of course, there are many more events taking place over the three days. To find out more about the shows we've highlighted here as well as all the others, check us out at for the latest show and match announcements, British Wrestling event list and more

Blu-Ray Review: WWE SummerSlam 2015

WWE SummerSlam 2015 is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now from and all other reputable DVD stockists. Broadcast live on PPV (and on the WWE Network) from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, USA on 23rd August 2015. The four hour show features The Undertaker trying to get revenge on Brock Lesnar for breaking the streak at WrestleMania XXX in the main event. Elsewhere Seth Rollins and John Cena put their WWE World Heavyweight and United States Championships respectively on the line in a Title vs. Title clash, Team PCB, Team Bella and Team B.A.D. going at it in a Elimination encounter, Kevin Owens facing Cesaro and six more matches! Dean Ambrose, Neville, The Lucha Dragons, Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler are all also featured. The Blu-Ray version includes over twenty minutes of special features, but no extra matches. Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John "Bradshaw" Layfield provide the commentary.

SummerSlam host, Jon Stewart opens the show, with 3 time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Mick Foley, joining him in a chuckle-worthy skit. Despite Sheamus having a tonne of heat early doors, the crowd quickly get's bored of his distinctly average opener with Randy Orton. A much better choice for an opener would have been the Fatal Fourway for the WWE Tag Team Championships, with champions The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil), The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (with Xavier Woods), The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) and Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando) (with El Torito) putting on a pacy bout that has the Barclays Center rocking. Dolph Ziggler (with Lana) and Rusev (with Summer Rae) do the best they can to make their encounter, but with the worst finish of the evening, it's still a massive let down that the crowd rightly shit on.

There's a lot of fun to be had when Arrow and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles star, Stephen Amell teams with Neville to take on King Barrett and Stardust, with the three wrestlers helping Amell look much more experienced than he is. Ryback's WWE Intercontinental Championship defence against The Miz and The Big Show is kept short and full of action, although the finish pales in comparison to a couple of the falsies used. Whilst The Wyatt Family's Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper teaming up against former Shield buddies Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns has a frenetic start, the later two thirds of booking lead to a rather disappointing conclusion. 

With the WWE World Heavyweight and United States Championships on the line, Seth Rollins and John Cena work well together to produce a terrific contest. Whilst the finish isn't particularly satisfying (noticing a theme yet?), the two reversing roles to satisfy the racous anti-Cena crowd, stringing together sublime sequences and piling on the drama make this arguably the best title defence of Rollins time as champion. Unfortunately, the three way tag team bout from PCB (Paige, Charlotte & Becky Lynch), Team Bella (Alicia Fox, Brie & Nikki Bella) and Team B.A.D. (Naomi, Sasha Banks & Tamina Snuka) can't keep things up, being nowhere near as good as it needed to be to justify the "Diva's Revolution" tag. There are a few saving graces like a brilliant dives sequence, but with a messy narrative and a flat finish it's difficult to see what the actual idea here was. 

Awkwardly placed before the main event, Cesaro and Kevin Owens have to battle through a slightly subdued crowd, but do produce some great action. The main event between Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) and The Undertaker puts their messy WrestleMania XXX contest to bed, as the duo look like two completely different men. Believably physically and weaving a simple narrative, even the questionable finish can be reasoned with in hindsight. 

Blu-Ray Exclusive

When I saw a RAW segment with The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar on the Blu-Ray Exclusives, I was excited to watch Taker and Lesnar's pull apart brawl again...unfortunately this is their confronation from the RAW before SummerSlam and whilst it does feature some wonderful work from Paul Heyman, it isn't quite what I was hoping for.


ATPW Scale Rating - 6.10 (Good)

This is the 2nd highest rating I've given out for a WWE PPV this year (although WrestleMania 31 didn't receive a rating) behind Money in the Bank, so if you're looking to get a 2015 PPV on Blu-Ray or DVD then you can't do much better than SummerSlam. The fact that the show is Four hours as opposed to three, means that you're getting even more quality for your money. That's always a good thing! 

Two great matches in Undertaker/Lesnar and Cena/Rollins, whilst there's plenty to enjoy on the undercard also, with the Four Way Tag and Owens/Cesaro standing out as the strongest amongst the pack. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Guest Article: The Women of WWE - Part 3 (Lily Lestrange)

As we've seen from parts one and two of this blog series, WWE's history books are full of women who have made some sort of impact on the industry and have paved the never-ending path to what women's wrestling is today. But it's time to stop dwindling on the past and start looking at the (mostly) present and future Divas of the WWE.

Spot that cheeky wee "mostly" tucked away in brackets in that last sentence? That's because this lady is sadly no longer involved in the WWE but her presence is still felt despite this. I tried to keep this blog as future-focused as I could but this wee one just had to slip through; if WWE aren't going to give her the recognition she deserves then I certainly will.

AJ Lee

Who else but AJ? I've never personally been a fan of her in the ring but her mic work was some of the best that we've ever seen in the women's division and her accomplishments - like all of the other women in this series - are so important when it comes to progress in that division. She was the one who decided that "Divas" were a complete omnishambles, that being just like them wasn't anything to be proud of; so she told them all to take a running fuck to themselves and stood against them on her own because she was an independent wee mental goth chick that didn't need no help from anyone. 

Sure, they dumped her with the "crazy chick" gimmick that they burden a lot of good wrestlers with but she ran with it and made it her own; you saw the character developing from that shy little girl who cost Daniel Bryan the World Heavyweight title to Sheamus at Wrestlemania 29 to this sadistic, manipulative woman who pushed CM Punk off the top rope and through a table. At Mania 29 she just wanted to kiss her man good luck... that night on RAW she was kissing CM Punk goodbye because she was done with his shit. All the kisses she was dishing out resulted in the black widow gimmick that she ran with for the rest of the time she spent with the WWE and it was brilliantly thought out, the lot of it. There hasn't been that much attention to detail given to a female character in the history of WWE, as far as my memory serves. You could see her character developing as time went on and that’s why she was as popular as she was; you can be the best wrestler in the world with the best mic skills ever but if your character is stale then people begin to lose interest very quickly.

It was a shame that things ended the way they did with her. She was the longest reigning Divas champion in history and she didn't get so much as a thank you or a proper send off when she left. They wrote her out of the history books by making Nikki Bella hold it for 6 days longer than her; a title reign that was nowhere near as interesting as AJ's. Despite this, AJ still holds the combined record with Eve Torres for the most title reigns with the Divas Championship.


Speaking about AJ ties in nicely with Paige, given that it was on her debut to the main roster that Paige defeated AJ for the Divas Championship. Asides from Gail Kim winning the Women's title in a battle royal (a battle bloody royal, some things never change eh?) no other woman has won a title via pinfall on their debut. An amazing achievement for her given that she was only 21, which makes her the youngest Diva's champion ever.

I'm going to cheat a bit here and gush on about her time in NXT, because this is where her best matches have all happened. Her time on the main roster has seen her garner a bigger fanbase but with time constraints she's not really been able to show off her true skills in any of the matches she's had. She's had a lot of decent matches but none worth noting. NXT is another story; her match with Emma on NXT ArRIVAL in February 2014 was, I believe, the first match that really got people's interests piqued in terms of women's matches in the WWE. Everything about that match was brilliant, from the storytelling to the visible emotion they both showed throughout it, it's a must-see for every wrestling fan. But after that match was when people started talking; it got people saying "aw here, these lassies actually CAN wrestle" and from there everyone's been in mutual agreement that

The women of NXT are, well, fucking brilliant. It's leading to more people giving a damn about what happens on the main roster now that a lot of the NXT women have been called up too, so the more buzz that's generated by that, the more that creative will see how much people care about the women's division and hopefully that leads to them paying more attention to their Divas.

Her wrestling skills aside, Paige has fallen from the same tree as AJ and Lita where she has never been afraid to be different and takes pride in being a pillar of hope for kids who have always felt like they've never fit in. It's touching to see young girls approach her with their stories about how she's inspired them to embrace who they are because it was the exact same for me back when I was a kid except it was Lita that we looked up to. It's heart-warming to see that the next generation of kids have someone like that to look up to in wrestling, especially someone as talented as her.


I've seen people flapping their gums about Charlotte a lot this past while so I felt that she was the most relevant of the Horsewomen to talk about for now. She's been getting a lot of flack from the IWC because they think that she's only achieved what she has because she's Ric Flair's daughter, when in reality that couldn't be farther from the truth. I mean don't get me wrong, I don't think she'd have gotten into NXT if it wasn't for her family but to say that her entire wrestling career is built on the basis of her being the kid of a Hall of Famer completely discredits everything she has achieved in the time that she's spent on NXT and the main roster. The mentality of a lot of wrestling fans is that if you've no previous experience in the industry then you've no right to be in the WWE. A lot of those same fans shit their knickers with joy when Enzo Amore comes out with Big Cass. Enzo was in the same boat, he joined WWE with no previous experience but there we go, that's the IWC for you.

Charlotte's journey through the ranks and her development as a wrestler has been an interesting one: she started out on NXT as Bayley's tag team partner then turned on her not long after to join Sasha Banks and Summer Rae as part of the BFFs. Whilst all of this was going on she was feuding with Paige for the title and when Paige was called up to the main roster (and when she won the Divas Championship) she was stripped of it, so a tournament was held to determine who would win the vacant title. Charlotte ended up winning after pinning Natalya and went on to successfully defend the title for another 258 days before losing it to Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Rival. Before she lost the title, the matches she had where she was defending it weren't some mickey mouse squash matches; she got to demonstrate her wrestling abilities, her mic skills and her athletic prowess (and by god is she athletic) in all of the matches she had which is why she's drawn in a lot of fans amongst the people criticising her.

As expected when she was called up to the main roster along with Becky Lynch and Sasha, the storyline they were inserted into hasn't exactly been thrilling; I haven't watched RAW for a long time (and given the kinds of matches and story lines that not only the women but all of the wrestlers have been put into, I won't be inclined to watch it anytime soon) but the gist I got from it is that they all got put into different sororities (like they were high school teenagers) and got pitted against each other in teams of three, as per usual in some daft triple threat matches where you don't actually get to see anyone demonstrate their capabilities. It was Charlotte, Becky and Paige versus Naomi, Tamina and Sasha versus The Bellas and Alicia Fox versus... no-one gives a fuck. It was all the women thrown together and put in meaningless matches with no continuity. Aaaaanyway, regardless of all of the half-arsedness of their feuds, Charlotte ended up feuding with Nikki and after being cheated out of a win a few times, she finally defeated her at Night Of Champions to become the new and current Divas Champion.

Now this doesn't seem like a lot; the timeline of her career that I've just described sounds quite short, right? Well she's been with NXT for 3 years now, so it's really not. Given that she has previous athletic experience she's obviously picked this up quicker than what some model with no experience would *cough* Eva Marie *cough* and she's been working alongside some of the best coaches in the business to get where she is now, so it's got little do with who her dad is and more to do with the effort she's put in to get where she needs to be. Working her way up from nothing to become the NXT Womens Champion then the Divas Champion in that timescale is an amazing feat and it's well deserved.


And there we have it, the last instalment of my Women Of WWE blogs. I've -hopefully- covered the past, present and now future of the women's division sufficiently enough for you all to know and appreciate a bit more about it. Once again, I'm sorry I didn't get to cover all of the people that I wanted to in this one; Becky Lynch and in particular Sasha Banks have achieved great things in their careers and they should be recognised for it. I'll hopefully be covering more about these great ladies over on my own blog at some point in the future.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

TV Review: WWE Monday Night RAW #1174

The day after Survivor Series, we had a brand new World Heavyweight Champion in Sheamus, WWE would want to put on a great show and make their new Champ look incredible...wouldn't they? 

Fast-Forward...A quick "last time" pre-credits started the show, quickly catching up viewers with the events of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament at the previous nights Survivor Series, including Sheamus cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase on Roman Reigns to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion...

Of course, Sheamus didn't open the show, no that would be ridiculous, wouldn't it? Triple H and Stephanie McMahon opened the show, because they're the Authority and they can do that sort of thing. Both went on and on about nothing in particular for over five minutes. Seriously both of them spoke so much, but didn't say anything. It took a while for us to get a glimpse of the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus, as Triple H introduced him. Sheamus handled himself well on the microphone and had some good content to play with ("Who looks stupid now?"), but for the life of him couldn't stand the fuck still! The Celtic Warrior was pacing around the ring and it made difficult to take him seriously when he actually looked nervous to be out there. 

Now you'd think Roman Reigns would be right pissed off with Sheamus, wouldn't you? You'd reckon the Juggernaut would want to Superman Punch the Celtic Warrior's mohawk in oblivion, but nah, big Roman was more interested in Triple H. That same Triple H who had to tell Reigns to move closer too him during a stare down, completely ruining the illusion. At least, Reigns was over with the Nashville crowd I suppose. The closing twist of a returning Rusev attacking Reigns just about managed to rescue the show some momentum with Stephanie announcing that Reigns and Rusev would main event the show.

Fast-Forward...A short highlight package of The Brothers of Destructions victory over the Wyatt Family at Survivor Series was shown...As The Wyatt's 425th rebuild began, WWE aired a "Earlier Tonight" promo from Wyatt, as the family made their way to the ring for a match with The Dudley Boyz...Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper went over The Dudley Boyz in a short, simple tag bout with Harper picking up the pin with a Discus Clothesline...The entire Wyatt Family destroyed Bubba Ray and D-Von post match, but no indication was made of where the Wyatts were heading next...A vignette for the Undertaker aired with inserts from the WWE Network show, Legends with JBL, with Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and Triple H commenting on the Deadman...Sasha Banks was on RAW, and she'd be wrestling Becky Lynch? This had to be great...Okay, so it wasn't great, but it was alright, and at least WWE seems to be listening to the audience who want to see more Sasha, as she picked up the win following some help from Team B.A.D...Ugh, the direction for Paige's backstage promo (revealing that, like we pointed out in our review, Charlotte's feet were under the ropes during her victory at Survivor Series) was so bad, like the opening segment the focus was complete squiffy, as Paige talked way too much about Ric Flair than she did Charlotte...

The New Day part of this segment was great. I thought their "jamboree" to celebrate a year of the New Day (despite them already celebrating this a few episodes back) was a sound twist on the championship celebration, and the three created some entertaining television with in the ring. Kofi Kingston's ridiculous unicorn hair may just have stolen the show. THe thing that let this down for me was the fact we were promised a Tag Team Championship match and then didn't get one. I know the New Day are heels and the idea of them backing out of an Open Challenge is perfectly reasonable, but it didn't really make much sense once you had both The Usos and the Lucha Dragons beat the shit into them anyway. This could have been made to work, if the New Day had called off the challenge before either team made their way out to the arena and certainly before The Usos proposed a triple threat, with the idea being that no team deserved to face them. 

Fast-Forward...Mark Henry walking out caught me by surprise, because he hasn't had a match (on TV or elsewhere) since losing to Kevin Owens five weeks ago...Henry went on to job to Neville in quick fashion, despite dominating the sub three minute encounter (Oh and The Miz was watching on backstage for seemingly no reason whatsover)...The World's Strongest Man shook Neville's hand at ringside and I still hadn't a clue what any of this meant or was leading towards...Stardust and Titus O'Neil skit was different, but definitely had it's moments...I hadn't watched the pre-show for Survivor Series, so again was a bit shocked to see Goldust involved in a six man tag team match, his first RAW bout since jobbing to Rusev in late March...

The crowd weren't particularly into The Prime Players & Goldust's six man tag bout with The Cosmic Wasteland, which has to be down to the fact that there was little to no reason for it to be taking place. In fairness to those involved they did manage to bring portions of the crowd into the action, with Goldust and Titus O'Neil doing a good job of getting things going, whilst The Cosmic Wasteland worked over Darren Young. There was some decent action as well, with Young's over head belly to belly hope spot and the well-timed finishing sequences standing out amongst the bunch. What O'Neil picking up the pinfall on Konnor means for any of these six fellas going forward, I honestly don't know.

Jack Swagger coming out to confront Zeb Colter over his alliance with Alberto Del Rio provided my favourite moment for the Mex-America storyline so far. Whilst there is clearly very little chemistry between Colter and Del Rio, that seems to have become a focal point of their entire act, with Colter nodding along, pretending to understand when Del Rio was talking Spanish being gold. I'm not too interested in seeing Swagger and the Mexican Aristocrat lock horns again, but I do think that The Real American put on a competent performance with some well-written content. There's space to tell a curious story here, even if the faces don't quite fit with what WWE are trying to do with them.

Fast-Forward...Paige and Charlotte's entrances including some mind-numbing commentary with the trio bickering over whether the Diva's Champion having her feet under the ropes at Survivor Series constituted cheating or not...

I'm not sure why WWE took the match from the night before that got absolutely no crowd reaction and decided that the audience would like to see more of it. Now, Paige and Charlotte are skilled inside that ring, and I praised the in-ring content of their Survivor Series match, and whilst there was flashes of that here, things never quite came together for me. The crowd being a little more interested helped, but the duo seemed to want to do too much and use all the ideas they had, without any of them going anywhere. Paige worked Charlotte's leg, but it took her seven minutes to start doing so, and even then things were hit and miss. The physicality was still there, but it's hard to believe that two people really hate each other, when you can hear them LOUDLY talking to each other! Paige needs to sort this out! At one point I heard her tell Charlotte she was going to push her away and then they'd both hit kicks...why am I mentioning this in particular? Because PAIGE DIDN'T PUSH CHARLOTTE AWAY! The Diva's Champion had to cover by awkwardly stumbling backwards. Final moan, almost fifteen minutes is way way too long for a bout that's going to a double countout in my opinion. 

Fast-Forward...Michael Cole lost his shit when The Anti-Diva locked on the P.T.O on the announce table, despite it making no difference to the move what so ever...If you'd forgotten what happened at the beginning of the show (or had in fact changed the channel after hearing Triple H talk for five minutes) a handy recap aired...Ryback destroyed Heath Slater because Slater said country music sucked, what a time to be alive!...

More throw-away tag team action next, as Dolph Ziggler & Dean Ambrose teamed to conquer Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens and Tyler Breeze (with Summer Rae). These four talents are capable of putting on a show-stealing encounter, if given the chance, but they aren't miracle workers! Give them just over four minutes of television time and you'll get a decent tag bout and that's exactly what this match was. Ambrose's hot tag was the highlight for me, with his silly suicide dive standing out in particular. Breeze took the pin after Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds in an awkward looking closing sequence, it would seem he's being moved into an Intercontinental Championship programme with Owens.

Fast-Forward...JBL, El Torito and Mark Henry starred in a cringey advert for some kind of Tex-Mex burger, but no one actually mentioned which outlet was selling it...As we headed into tonight's Rusev vs. Roman Reigns main event, Michael Cole was quick to push Sheamus' appearance on ESPN's Sports Center later in the week...

Roman Reigns was made to look like the centre of absolutely everything, opposite Rusev in the main event. Sheamus had to keep giving Rusev the upperhand, twice interfering in the action and then being part of the distraction that allowed Rusev to take control as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion was ejected from ringside. The Bulgarian Brute then got a number of sweet near falls, all to show off Reigns' "resilience... resolve...,(and) passion" as Byron Saxton made very clear on commentary. In fact, Reigns was pretty much all the commentary team would talk about throughout, if Reigns was kicking out, they'd talk about Reigns qualities mentioned above, but if Rusev was the one kicking out (once for a well-worked Superman Punch), they'd focus on the way that Reigns had performed the move. Obviously, this is how you present a babyface, especially one that you're planning to push to the moon, but it also made for a frustrating and predictable encounter.

I've probably been a little harsh on this one, as the in-ring stuff was strong and physical, but I was never really given a reason to stick around to see what happened. Even though I did stick around (because I wanted to write this review), I was again disappointed with the finish. Over fifteen minutes on TV (almost 19 minutes for those in the arena) to end with outside interference is lazy booking. King Barrett caused the DQ, as the European buddies seemed to be coming together. Not entirely sure why WWE were unwilling to let Rusev take the pinfall from Reigns here, but for reasons known only to them this finish was the best they could come up with.

Fast-Forward...Just because WWE fancied putting their new WWE World Heayvwieght Champion over strong, they had Roman Reigns manage to fend off Sheamus, Rusev and King Barrett to close the show in the middle of the ring, FFS...


ATPW Scale Rating - 3.73 (Average-Poor TV)

This was the weakest episode of Monday Night RAW for quite some time. The show as a whole lacked a sense of urgency and you never would have known that there was a PPV just three weeks away. Whilst the main event was the strongest portion of the show for me, even that was only slightly above average and ended with the supposedly newly formed group (including the World Heavyweight Champion) looking a like complete losers. Even Kofi Kingston's unicorn hair couldn't save this show from receiving a Poor rating on the ATPW Scale.

WWE is gonna have some work cut out for them over the next two week's as head to the final PPV of the year, TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs on 13th December.

Monday, 23 November 2015

PPV Review: WWE Survivor Series 2015

4 weeks after Brock Lesnar went over The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell, it was time for the 29th addition of Survivor Series! After a tumultuous build-up that saw Seth Rollins have to surrender the WWE World Heavyweight Championships two weeks into the build for a match between he and Roman Reigns, this show featured the final three matches of a tournament to crown a new champion with Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Alberto Del Rio and Kevin Owens battling for the belt across the show. With The Undertaker appearing alongside Kane to take on The Wyatt Family to celebrate his 25th year in the business, this show had to be great....didn't it?

Fast-Forward...Lilian Garcia sang the Star Spangled Banner, which apparently no one else sings along to...The opening package focused on The Undertaker's 25 year anniversary and upcoming tag bout with Kane against the Wyatt Family, as well as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament involving Roman Reigns, Alberto Del Rio, Kevin Owens & Dean Ambrose, before closing with a nice twist on a clichéd saying “History is written by the Survivors”...During the entrances for the first match of the evening, Michael Cole made it absolutely clear that the whole WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament was about Roman Reigns, by only talking about Reigns' story heading into the show...

Match 1 - WWE World Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final Tournament - Roman Reigns vs.United States Champion Alberto Del Rio with Zeb Colter

A strong opener between the two least popular remaining members of the tournament (Well least popular amongst the "cool" fans anyway). Whilst some of Reigns early offence was a little sloppy, the pair strung together some enjoyably slick sequences, with a simple and effective story. It was clear that Reigns was being put over as the stronger and more capable performer inside the ring, with Del Rio having to go to the outside to gain the upperhand, sending the Juggernaut into the ringpost, barricade and steel steps at various points. We also got the United States Champion working Reigns shoulder, riffing off the Reigns previous victory over Cesaro on Monday Night RAW. Reigns selling was good and we did get a superb submission sequence with Del Rio locking on the Cross Armbreaker, but I felt at time that opportunities to continue the work weren't taken, such as when "Mexico's Greatest Export" pulled Reigns throat across the top ring rope, when an attack to the arm would have made much more sense. There was clearly only ever going to one winner here, but the lively crowd made the near falls much more exciting. A much better outing for Del Rio than his bout with John Cena at Hell in a Cell and a contender for the match of the evening for me.

Winner - Roman Reigns via pinfall (Spear) in 14 minutes, 4 seconds

Fast-Forward...As Reigns celebrated his victory, Michael Cole continued his obsession with tournament brackets, how he'll cope when the tournament is over is yet to be seen...Whilst Jo Jo stood awkwardly about the backstage area with a microphone, Roman Reigns was interrupted by both Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens, with the Intercontinental Champion putting in the strongest showing on the microphone ...We didn't have to wait long for more Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens as the pair made their way to the ring for the 2nd Semi-Final in the title tournament...

Match 2 - WWE World Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final Tournament - Dean Ambrose vs. Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens

The quality of action didn't drop for the 2nd bout of the evening, and whilst Ambrose and Owens didn't quite connect as well as many would have hoped for, they still put on a sound physical encounter. In comparison to the opener, the crowd were pretty subdued in the opening stages, perhaps because Owens and Ambrose are favourites amongst the livelier fans, therefore I was very impressed with the Intercontinental Champion who managed to bring the crowd onside with a couple of adlibed lines, that whilst they weren't particularly creative ("And that's why I'm the next champ") pulled the crowd into the action and allowed for a much more enjoyable second half of the bout. After a handful of exciting near falls, like Owens Fisherman's Buster off the top rope, Ambrose escaping two Pop-Up Powerbombs to hit Dirty Deeds 2 was a skillfully frenetic finish. The IC Champ being kept strong by clearly having the match won if he'd have hit his Pop-Up Powerbomb made me happy and the potential for a rematch over the belt with some added toys at TLC in three weeks is a mouth-watering prospect.

Winner - Dean Ambrose via pinfall (Dirty Deeds 2) in 11 minutes, 18 seconds

Fast-Forward...With Ambrose being afforded plenty of time to celebrate, Michael Cole was busy putting over the main event bout with Reigns, just in case anyone was thinking of changing the channel on PPV...A well-produced vignette on The Undertaker interspersed with clips from WWE Network show, Legends with JBL, airing reminded us once again that this was the 25 year of Taker in the biz, if it was anyone else it might have been a little bit of over-kill...

With a Survivor Series match advertised but no competitors announced it was a rather weird experience as Ryback, The Lucha Dragons, The Usos, The New Day, King Barrett and Sheamus headed down to the ring. TEN SURPRISE COMPETITORS! Of course, the New Day were given time on the microphone and with Barrett and Sheamus at their side, the trio were on fine form. Sleekly flicking between the various sports teams of Atlanta and their opponent, the trio got the crowd chanting "New Day Sucks" with ease. Barrett looked to be having absolute ball beside them, but I'm not sure why WWE opted to make Sheamus the butt of the joke with his awkward "Tonight we're going to get jiggy on these posers" line.

Match 3 - Traditional Survivor Series Tag Team Elimination - Ryback,  The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) & The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) vs. "Mr. Money in the Bank” Sheamus, “The 2015 King of the Ring” King Barrett & The New Day (Xavier Woods, Big E & Kofi Kingston)

The only Survivor Series bout on this year's main card, this wasn't a classic. That isn't to say it wasn't without it's moment, with the quad dive by The Usos and The Lucha Dragons and the extended Unicorn Stampede standing out as highlights of the earlier chunk of the bout. Whilst the eliminations of the contest were booked well (especially the first few) and kept a nice pace once they started to flow, the crowd had very little reason to care about this. They weren't into anything the babyfaces, and especially The Usos were doing and with Jey spending a lot of time as the Usos in peril, it was disappointing to see his hot tag to brother Jimmy get absolutely no reaction. But the effort just wasn't there to deserve.

I didn't like the booking for the finish however, as for me it went WAY too long. The New Day leaving after Big E was eliminated (to help him to the back) was a nice idea, but poorly executed with no announcement that they had been counted out made and the commentary team hinting that they would be back out. Having Sheamus as the only member of his team left opposite Jey Uso, Kalisto and Ryback was a strange decision and could have worked with we'd had seen Sheamus get quickly taken down after the distraction of New Day leaving but it just dragged on and on, without ever seemingly having anything but one outcome. No one gained anything from this, despite it being the longest contest of the evening.

Jey Uso, Kalisto & Ryback in 17 minutes, 33 seconds

Order of Elimination

King Barrett via pinfall (Sin Cara after Springboard Senton) in 7 minutes, 47 seconds
Jimmy Uso via pinfall (Xavier Woods after Double Stompp/Backbreaker Combo) in 9 minutes, 22 seconds
Sin Cara via pinfall (Sheamus after Brogue Kick) in 10 minutes, 43 seconds
Big E via pinfall (Jey Uso after Superfly Splash) in 11 minutes, 30 seconds
Sheamus via pinfall (Ryback after Shellshocked) in 17 minutes something

Fast-Forward...The promo package for the Divas Championship bout interestingly decided to omit Paige's comments about Reid Flair on last week's Monday Night RAW...Whilst the commentary team did allude to the controversial comments during the entrances of the pair, it was only mentioned how personal the feud had become, without the specifics...

Match 4 - Diva's Championship - Paige vs. Charlotte ©

The bout played out like a grudge match in the ring, but you wouldn't have thought it from the crowd, who decided pretty early on that they couldn't give a fuck about this. I thought the action here was of a high quality with both women throwing heavy strikes and taking some punishment on the outside, with Charlotte's Electric Chair drop onto the apron standing out. The only stuff that got the crowd anywhere near interested was anything involving Ric Flair, which has to be down to the way WWE has portrayed the Divas' Champion since her main roster debut. She may as well be announced as "Ric Flair's daughter" for all it's worth. Whilst the effort was put into the action, neither girl tried to get the crowd involved, beyond Paige's couple of "Woo's", even when given the opportunity to reply to the growing "We Want Sasha" chants. I enjoyed what I saw, but the fact that the crowd was silent throughout is something that needs to be addressed quickly. Hopefully that addressing isn't reverting back to the previous Divas style of the last five years.

Charlotte via Submission (Figure 8) in 14 minutes, 15 seconds *STILL CHAMPION*

Fast-Forward...The Kick-Off Panel (Renee Young, Byron Saxton, Booker T & Corey Graves) chatted about Charlotte vs. Paige a bit before, previewing the main event...Roman Reigns returned the favour to Dean Ambrose by interrupting his former Shield stablemate during an interview with Jo-Jo, which was oddly given a "Earlier Tonight" caption...Tyler Breeze's main roster debut was shown during the entrances for his match with Dolph Ziggler...

Match 5 - Singles - Tyler Breeze with Summer Rae vs. Dolph Ziggler

A decent bit of filler, but filler non the less. The feud got lost in the mix of the World Heavyweight Championship tournament, despite it being a real opportunity to intensify the feud and therefore the crowd couldn't have given a knat testes about what was going on. There was plenty of solid action, including a satisfying back and forth pinfall section, but there was just that little spark missing that could have made this a stand out match. Breeze picking up the clean win with Christian's old finish was a surprise as I expected to see him cheat to win, especially after Prince Pretty used a couple of heel antics to get the upperhand earlier on. It'll be interesting to see where Breeze springboards to from here, but isn't it sad to see how WWE wasted Ziggler's tremendous performance at last year's event, in what should have been the breakout moment for the Show-Off.

Tyler Breeze via pinfall (Unprettier) in 6 minutes, 43 seconds

Fast-Forward...More Undertaker fan-fare, as the package for The Brothers of Destructions clash with The Wyatt Family was up next...

The Undertaker's entrance was quite something, wasn't it? Especially for a show like Survivor Series, if it was Mania it wouldn't have been as big of a deal, but there was his funky logo on fire and other things on fire and lots of fire. Plus a sweet coffin screen situation that showed The Undertaker's past selves, well not past selves obviously it's the same bloke, but you get what I mean. Erick Rowan reminded us all that he's the member of the Family that we couldn't give a flying fuck about, when he ran into the ring and the WWE Universe let out a collective sigh, believing he'd be one of the two to take on B.O.D! Then the sigh of disappointment was replaced by one of relief as Rowan got double chokeslammed to fuck and Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt stepped up to the plate.

Match 6 - Tag Team - The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper & Bray Wyatt) with Braun Strowman & Erick Rowan vs.The Brothers of Destruction (Kane & The Undertaker)

This contest was a fun watch, with The Undertaker running through his greatest hits and Kane coming along for the ride. Playing to the strengths of everyone involved and with a crowd that was into everything that went on, this was one of the easiest watches of the show. Whilst I'd have liked to have seen Kane worked the "Demon in Peril" role just a little bit longer than he did, to really milk the moment for 'Takers hot tag, the rest of the booking was spot on, with Strowman allowing the Wyatts to take control twice in the bout, as well as taking a Double Chokeslam through the Spanish announce table. The finish was excitingly paced, and whilst if you didn't see The Brothers of Destruction double sit up coming you'd probably never seen wrestling ever before, it was still a pretty damn cool moment. Many will focus on The Brothers going over Wyatt (and Wyatt losing yet another marque feud), but I had a great time watching and that's all I care about right now. 

Winners - The Brothers of Destruction via pinfall (Undertaker on Harper (Tombstone Piledriver) in 10 minutes, 18 seconds

Fast-Forward...The Brothers of Destruction doing their classic hand raise pose on the entrance ramp capped off the nostalgia trip...A promo for upcoming WWE Network shows offering the likes of the TLC PPV, pre-recorded Stone Cold Podcast's with Shawn Michaels & Ric Flair, a new reality show Ride Along, new episodes Breaking Ground & Edge & Christian's Show That Totally Reeks of Awesomeness showed WWE's continued commitment to produce fresh content for their channel...It was main event time, we'd see a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, there was definitely a big fight feel heading in...

Match 7 - Finals of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament - Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose

This is a difficult one to review for me, because I thought the action we were given was of a high quality, but we just didn't get enough of it. Cutting the match to just over 9 minutes was a ridiculous decision, quite simple. Just as things were getting going and beginning to look like we could be breaking into something really quite special, between two men with chemistry and heaps and heaps of back-story to play off, Reigns hit his second spear and won the title. It didn't feel like it should have, I didn't feel like I'd just watched the main event and final match of a sixteen man tournament, I felt like I'd watched a great main event for Monday Night RAW. For what they did do, all credit to Reigns and Ambrose as both brought great energy, paced the contest as well as they could have and sold the heavy hitting nature of the contest to a tee. Give me ten more minutes and more exploration of Reigns' arm injury and I'd have been very happy.

Roman Reigns via pinfall (Spear) in 9 minutes, 1 second *NEW CHAMPION*

Fast-Forward...It all went on in the next four minutes, Reigns and Ambrose shared a brotherly moment, Reigns refused to shake Triple H's hand and speared him out of his boot, before taking a Brogue Kick from Money in the Bank Contract holder Sheamus and we quickly had another title match on our hands...Sheamus only went and won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, connecting with his second Brogue Kick after dodging a spear attempt by the Juggernaut...

Wow, that was an interesting finish, tying into what was an intriguing night of booking for WWE. It was however clear that Sheamus, despite winning the World Heavyweight Championship was not the star here, as we closed with pictures of Roman Reigns leaving the ring. Yes, we did see Sheamus standing on the ramp with Triple H and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but I'm not expecting him to be holding onto that belt for long. He's another road block for Reigns to get to on his chase for the title (that now he's already actually held) and a rushed replacement for Seth Rollins within the Authority. There's a couple of avenues to explore over the next three weeks heading toward TLC, like Sheamus' relationship with King Barrett, the repercussions of The New Day leaving Sheamus to the wolves in their Survivor Series bout, Ryback getting the pin on the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion and of course, the small matter of a rematch for Roman Reigns sooner rather than later. 


ATPW Scale Rating - 5.97 - Average/Good

Whilst the show came just shy of recent outings like Hell in a Cell, Night of Champions and SummerSlam on the ATPW Scale and had a number of issues throughout the card, this was still a pretty easy watch for me. The WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament offered some good quality outings, with the opening Semi-Final contest between Roman Reigns and Alberto Del Rio being the best of the bunch for me, even if I'd mark the Brothers of Destruction and Wyatt Family contest as my favourite of the evening.

Some bouts suffered from either a lack of build or an uninterested crowd or a mixture of the two. There was potential for this to be one of the best PPV's of the year, if Charlotte and Paige could have garnered some crowd involved in their Diva's Championship encounter and if the Survivor Series Elimination match hadn't been thrown together and booked in such a haphazard fashion. The Elimination match going over 15 minutes also meant that it had a big effect on the rating for the entire show. There was however nothing on this card that I would pronounce as being outright bad.

Here's hoping WWE builds on the positives of this show and quickly addressed the weaknesses, with the 2016 WrestleMania season quickly approaching.

Second Opinion...

Here's our buddy Marc Pearson's Youtube review of the show.

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