Sunday, 28 June 2015

TNA Slammiversary XIII Preview

It's the first live PPV in over a year for TNA Wrestling, this show has been hampered by the Impact Wrestling being moved to Wednesday from Friday in the United States, heavily effecting the companies taping schedule. Rather than having title matches occur after taping the next six weeks of television, TNA shuffled the card around to accommodate this. Will the lack of consequences effect the show? Let's have a look at what TNA has put together and find out.

Singles Match
Davey Richards vs. Austin Aries

If this isn't match of the night, then something has gone horribly horribly wrong. Give Davey Richards and Austin Aries 20 minutes and a ring and then leave well alone! The pair put on good matches in their previous home of Ring of Honor, even having their own PPV named after them in 2009. Expect a quick paced, technical match up with a dose of high flying action, with Richards finally being able to show what he can do as singles competitor in the company, opposite one of the all-time TNA greats. 

Obviously with implications for the on-going tag team series between The Wolves and The Dirty Heels, the chance of interference in the match are high, especially with The Dirty Heels new found Dirty Heel-dom. This could be a sticking point for the bout and if their is interference one would hope that it is cleverly done, steering away from the over-booking that this one could do without. 

I'm strongly leaning towards Austin Aries winning this one, to give The Dirty Heels the advantage going into the final match of the series, offering a much more interesting story to see played out on the next week of television. 

Prediction: Austin Aries wins.

Non-Sanctioned Match
James Storm vs. Magnus

Skimming past that having a Non-sanction match on PPV still makes no sense, this match is one of the few on the card that has received a lot of build across television over the last few months. Whilst it would be easy to focus on the horrendous angle that saw Storm push Magnus' fiancee Mickie James onto a train track, this feud has actually been a rather entertaining watch. Magnus has finally stepped up as a babyface, becoming very easy to root for and relateable to a large portion of the viewing audience, whilst James Storm continues to develop his role as leader of The Revolution. 

The gimmick would suggest a big ol' fashioned brawl, chuck in some weapons and a handful of big spots and you should have top quality match. Both men are capable of putting on an enjoyable contest, let's hope they got all out and put on a contest fitting of their last in TNA (for now) as both men will be moving to pastures new following the show.

Prediction: Magnus wins

King of the Mountain match for the vacant TNA King of the Mountain Championship
Jeff Jarrett vs. Matt Hardy vs. Eric Young vs. Drew Galloway vs. Bobby Roode

It's been a long time since we've had a moment in wrestling like Jeff Jarrett's TNA return on Wednesday night, but he's straight into action as he attempts to go out how he wants to. I expect to see that play a big part in this match. It's a gimmick that needs to pay attention to the detail for it to work, with a complex set of rules that makes it stand out from WWE's multi-man ladder contest Money in the Bank. This match lives on it's booking and how the falls are placed to help build the drama, whilst the big spots will obviously help things along as well. With very little known about how the King of the Moutain title will work, the winner of this match is anyone's guess really.

Prediction: Eric Young becomes the inaugural King of the Moutain Champion

Singles Match
Bram vs. Matt Morgan

I'm yet to be convinced by Bram's efforts within in the ring, which seem to be below his notable skills with a microphone. Matt Morgan, whilst a competent competitor for such a large man, might not be the ideal opponent to convince me that Bram has the skills within in the ring that will make him a major player for the company. I fully expect we'll see continuation of Bram's winning streak, as he continues to call out past TNA stars, but hopefully things will last little longer than his matches with Crimson, Joseph Park and Vader on Impact Wrestling.

Prediction: Bram wins.

3-on-2 Handicap Match
The Dollhouse vs. Awesome Kong & Brooke

We saw a similar match on Impact Wrestling a few weeks back with Gail Kim in the place of Brooke, which had a lot more interest behind it, due to the past between Gail and Awesome Kong and that wasn't anything to write home about. There's a lot of talent in this match, with both Jade and Marti Belle yet to be given the time to shine as well as they could do for the company, it seems a bizarre decision to hire wrestlers with notable talent and then hamper then with a gimmick that limits their chances to perform to the best of their abilities. Expect Awesome Kong and Brooke to win to build to their Three Way match with Taryn for the Knockout's Championship on Impact Wrestling next week. 

Prediction: Awesome Kong & Brooke win.

Tag Team Match
Lashley & Mr. Anderson vs. Ethan Carter III & Tyrus

This feels like having four guys that simply happened to be available for the show and were therefore chucked together. It's a match that isn't particularly inspiring and there isn't really any reason to care about this. Whilst I'm not expecting a stinker, I wouldn't expect this to be anything you wouldn't find on any wrestling television programme. At least EC3 has two big name roster members to go over before challenging Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight Championship next Wednesday, I suppose.

Prediction: Ethan Carter III & Tyrus win.

Singles Match
Jessie Godderz vs. Robbie E

The Bro-Mans...EXPLODE! I was probably the biggest fan the Bro-Mans had, found them to be entertaining heels and thought they were good enough in the ring to get by in the role they were given. Will they be able to exist as singles competitors? Now's their chance to prove it, I suppose. Godderz seems the one set for a push, but Robbie E winning could open up some more interesting avenues for the pair in the coming weeks.

Prediction: Robbie E wins.


The three top matches have the potential to make this show, but the undercard doesn't have a whole lot to get your teeth into. A strange time for TNA in an ever-changing wrestling world, let's hope they come out of the other side stronger and continue with their TV product which has been stellar over the last six months. 

Slammiversary is live tonight on Challenge at 1am in the UK.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

13 Top Performers from 13 Years of TNA Wrestling

Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling is now 13 years old and will be celebrating their milestone with a special week of shows, including a live Impact Wrestling broadcast on the 24th June (aired 28th June on Challenge in the UK), the Slammiversary PPV on the 28th June (aired for free LIVE on Challenge in the UK) and Bell to Bell Special on 1st July featuring Kurt Angle defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Ethan Carter III (aired 5th July in the UK)

We here at Across the Pond Wrestling wanted to celebrate the very best of TNA, by looking at those performers who have put in highest quality matches for the company across the 13 years. Ordered by those deemed to have put in the most matches of a certain quality, this list gives the best of the best that have plied their trade in the company. Let us know if you agree with the list by contacting us on Twitter @ATPWrestling or our Facebook page here.

For those wondering those who narrowly missing out include The Motor City Machineguns, Jeff Hardy, Jerry Lynn, Rhino, Alex Shelley, Low Ki, Abyss and Petey Williams.


Jeff Jarrett

It would feel almost wrong not to include the founder of the group on this list, but he's found his way onto this list on his own merit inside the ring. With memorable bouts across his nine year run with the company, Jarrett's strongest run of matches may have come at the end of his time there. 2011 proved to be creatively fruitful for Jarrett, who produced three standout matches opposite rival, Kurt Angle. Fuelled by real-life issues between the two, Jarrett and Angle put together compelling bouts at Against All Odds, Lockdown and Slammiversary. Despite this impressive run of bouts, their strongest match and maybe the best of Jarrett's entire career may have come two years prior, when the two met in a No Disqualifcation match at Genesis, in an intense contest that shone the way for matches of the type in 2009. 


Jay Lethal

A staple of the X Division between 2006 and early 2011, Jay Lethal's Black Machismo character might be the thing his TNA run is most often remember for, by the current ROH World Champion had his fair share of quality matches within a TNA, hence him finding his way onto this list. Lethal played his part in a number of the X-Divisions famed multi-man matches, like the first and only X Division King of the Moutain bout at Slammiversary 2009 and a three way bout with Chris Sabin and Sonjay Dutt at Sacrifice 2007, Lethal showed skill beyond his years in singles outings against the likes of Sonjay Dutt, Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles. Lethal was just 26 years old when he departed TNA, so this begs the question as to how far he could have ended up in the list if TNA had stuck with him, those currently watching Ring of Honor's product will know what the Black Machismo has become.


Team 3D

The only tag team to make the top thirteen, Brother Devon and Brother Ray (later Bully Ray) arrived in TNA in 2005 and continued to put on their own brand of exciting brawling for the next nine years with the company (with a four year hiatus from teaming). Helped along by a strong tag team division that became a calling card for TNA between 2007-2009, the likes of LAX, The Motor City Machineguns, Beer Money and The British Invasion provided the pair with strong opponent in both conventional tag team action and multi-team action. It was however, the resurgence of the team in 2014 that provided them with their strongest TNA bouts in a superb series of bouts with old rivals The Hardy Boyz and The Wolves that became a highlight of TNA programming throughout the summer. 


Sonjay Dutt

Perhaps a surprising inclusion at this place on the list for many, Sonjay Dutt proved to be one of the most consistent competitors in the X Division without ever being rewarded with a run with the belt. Dutt's participation in numerous stand-out multi man bouts throughout his TNA run (2003-2009, 2012-2013) would show up as the main for him finding himself here. A four way contest with Chris Sabin, Petey Williams and Puma at Destination X 2006 typified what the X-Division should have been, with plenty of Indy-style spots and dives, an all round fun match for any viewer. Dutt showed real chemistry in a 2007 feud with Jay Lethal, producing his best singles outings for the company, in a division that was often too over crowded in this period to spot light one on one feuds.

Dutt still works One Night Only tapings for the company and can has been most often seen in Pennsylvannia performing for Renegade Wrestling Alliance this year.


Bobby Roode

Part of two succesful tag team who were both close to making this list on their own right, Bobby Roode has come into his own as a single competitor since breaking from James Storm in Beer Money Inc. in 2011. In fact, there's not many who have had better years in wrestling than Bobby Roode in 2012. Growing into his World Heavyweight Championship run, Roode blosomed in the spotlight. A superbly crafted contest with Austin Aries may have seen The IT Factor drop the title, but was also the strongest bout of his title run and arguably his best singles match to date.

Growing into one of the strongest performers around today, expect to see Roode jump higher up the list in the next few years, as he continues to put on stellar contests with the likes of Eric Young and Lashley. 


Christian Cage

At the time of his debut, Christian Cage was the biggest name to jump from WWE to TNA in 2005. With two strong NWA World Heavyweight Championship runs in 2006 and 2007, Cage put together an impressive resume in TNA that see's him placed at Number 8 on the list, despite only spending three years with the company. 2007 was an especially strong year for the Instant Classic. Two superb bouts with Samoa Joe, first at Destination X and then Bound For Glory, as well as participating in a stand-out King of the Mountain match that also included Joe, AJ Styles, Chris Harris and Kurt Angle at Slammiversary. His strongest match of the year and perhaps the strongest of his entire TNA career was also a Ladder match against the up and coming Kaz in the final of the Fight for the Right tournament at Genesis, telling a great story as Cage bought out the best in the younger man.

Currently back with WWE, simply by the name Christian, it would appear that Cage's wrestling days are over, but he was still able to pick up two ECW Heavyweight Championships, two World Heavyweight Championships and an Intercontinetal title since returning in 2009.


Austin Aries

Whilst his first run with TNA would witness Aries taking part in a number of strong multi-man X Division contests, it was his return to the company in 2011 that saw him really find his groove for the company and shoot up to 7th place on this list. His push to the World Heavyweight Championship in 2012 was perhaps the most natural of any in recent years, as Aries gained a ground swell of support, helped along with by delivering in big matches against the likes of Brian Kendrick, Alex Shelley, Samoa Joe and Bully Ray, before culminating with the previously mentioned classic bout with Bobby Roode at Destination X. As shown in the above list of opponents, "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived" has shown a real diversity since returning to TNA, proving to be one of the companies most reliable performers, excelling in almost any role he has been tasked with.

Currently engaged in Best of Five Tag Team Series alongside former rival Bobby Roode against The Wolves, Aries is still putting in strong solo performances, most notably a stellar World Heavyweight title bout with Kurt Angle a few weeks ago.


Frankie Kazarian

Frankie Kazarian maybe one of the most underrated performers in the history of TNA, with a lot of his strongest matches almost slipping under the radar when most will talk about the greatest matches in company history. A superb tag bouts with Christopher Daniels (before officially becoming Bad Influence) against Kurt Angle and AJ Styles from Slammiversary X and No Surrender 2012, a Ladder match with Christian Cage from Genesis 2007, one of the strongest openers you'll see against Angle from Slammiversary VIII and a stand out X-Division contest against Petey Williams at Slammiversary 2008. Throw in multi-man gimmick matches like King of the Moutain, Ultimate X and X Division Gauntlet's and you can see why Kazarian made it so high up this list.

Currently plying his trade in Ring of Honor, Kazarian is still tearing it up as part of Bad Influence, newly christened The Addiction, whilst also putting on a stand-out solo bout against Michael Elgin at Supercard of Honor IX in March this year.


Chris Sabin

Despite the picture, it's probably wise to skip talking about Sabin's much maligned World Heavyweight Championship reign and remember a time when Sabin was ripping it up in the X Division. Sabin helped to solidify the style of the Division in it's infancy. Classic X-Division matches with the likes of Paul London, Michael Shane and Juventud Guerrera all took place on NWA:TNA's weekly PPV's, long before the company even started using the six sided ring. I'd seriously urge anyone unfamiliar with Sabin's earlier matches in TNA to go back and check out matches like the three way Ultimate X bout from Final Resolution 2005 with both AJ Styles and Petey Williams or the match that saw the Motor City Machineguns collide at Genesis 2009 or the highflying masterclass opposite Senshi at Bound for Glory 2006. 

Having spent some time this year in Europe for the likes of Southside and WXW, Sabin is currently back in Ring of Honor, where he recently took part in strong three way bout opposite Kyle O'Reilly and KUSHIDA at Global Wars 2015.


Samoa Joe

Our article looking at Samoa Joe's TNA departure earlier this year covered a lot of Joe's career in TNA, if you're looking for something a little more in depth. Forever linked with two other men in our top four, it's almost impossible to talk about Samoa Joe's career with out mentioned Christopher Daniels or AJ Styles. It's impossible to talk about TNA's greatest matches without mentioning Unbreakable 2005. Never seen this epic three way? Stop reading this, find a copy of it somewhere, anywhere, grab an adult beverage, sit still, enjoy, then come back and thank ATPW. The match was so good that it was repeated a further three times at various PPVs throughout the years. 

After departing TNA earlier in the year, Joe has been everywhere! Eventually ending up in WWE on the NXT brand, Joe found time for brief stop in Ring of Honor, including a good main event opposite Jay Briscoe at Supercard of Honor IX in March.


Christopher Daniels

The greatest TNA performer never to win the World Heavyweight Championship, Christopher Daniels was a special talent for the company to have, someone who could take chicken shit and turn it into a tasty, succulent chicken salad. The best example of this would be Daniels time under the Suicide gimmick. Whilst attempting to portray a cross-over character from a video game that had very little to do with the video game, Daniels put in stand out performances in a number of multi-man X-Division bouts, whilst still putting in stellar performances without the hood against the likes of Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe. 

Whilst almost always seemingly to struggle against TNA creative, leading Daniels to leave the company on a number of occasions, Daniels could always rely on his best friend AJ Styles to put on a classic match. With more chemistry than you could have shaken a shitty stick at, the duo were paired together more times than many will even remember and almost always delivered. Bouts at Against All Odds 2005, Final Resolution 2009 and Destination X 2012 stick out as their strongest contensts opposite one another and span both men's TNA careers.

Currently one of the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Champions with Kazarian, Daniels is still capable of putting together a solid singles match. His bout with Roderick Strong from Supercard of Honor IX in March standing testament to this.


Kurt Angle

Kurt Freaking Angle. The man is a machine, seriously if it was revealed tomorrow that the part of Kurt Angle had been played by a robot for the last ten years then I wouldn't be all that surprised. His move to TNA in 2006 is almost certainly the biggest moment in the history of the company, and oppened up the opportunity for Angle to work with some of the names elsewhere on this list. Most notably for his red hot feud with Samoa Joe, coming directly after Angle's TNA debut and allowing for three straight PPV bouts, the strongest at Turning Point 2006, the feud became the quintessential TNA rivalry.

Whilst Angle was well-reversed in tearing it up with other names from our top 13, your AJ Styles', Jeff Jarretts and Christian Cages, Angle really excelled in putting on world class matches with those who might not initially spring to mind. A Falls Count Anywhere bout with Abyss at Turning Point 2008 showed that Angle was more than capable of changing up his style to match that of his opponent, creating a brutally exciting contest. A year later at the 2009 event of the same name, Angle allowed TNA fans to see just what might have been for Desmond Wolfe as the pair worked a gorgeous technical bout. And in perhaps, Angle's greatest match under a TNA banner, his opponent came in the unlikely shape of Mr. Anderson in a Steel Cage bout at Lockdown 2010. Some lovely storytelling, amidst a brutal bout that was a fitting conclusion to the pairs 2010 feud. Almost certainly the best Mr. Anderson match of all time. 

The fact that Angle is still putting in quality matches like those against Austin Aries, Eric Young and Lashley in 2015 at the age of 46 is quite frankly ridiculous. The man is not a human being. It's true. It's damn true.


AJ Styles

Could it have been anyone else? AJ Styles was TNA for many years, owning those early weekly PPV's in various combinations against the likes of Jerry Lynn, Lo-Ki and The Amazing Red. Those first months of action were what drew many to the TNA product when it was just in it's infancy and almost all of the matches that got people talking involved The Phenomenal One. 

Styles proved to be one of the most versatile member of the TNA roster, able to put on strong matches wherever he was placed on the card, with a variety of opponents and under a variety of different gimmicks. From almost every member of this list to guys like Tommy Dreamer in 2010 (perhaps Dreamer's last good match), Booker T in 2009 (perhaps a similar situation to that of Dreamer) or even mixing things up in a tag team with a limited Tomko in 2007 and 2008 and pulling out a number of credible bouts. Double Elimination, Three Way Dance, Ladder, Street Fight, Ultimate X, Iron Man, Steel Cage, Lethal Lockdown, King of the Moutain, Full Metal Mayhem, Table, Last Man Standing and I Quit, Styles was able to turn his hand to any match TNA threw at him and make it his own. 

Even when seemingly at odds with the company over contract issues, the then "Lone Wolf" was still killing it in his final six months with TNA, sometimes at the behest of the booking. Kurt Angle at Slammiversary IX, Austin Aries twice on Impact Wrestling, Bully Ray at Bound For Glory 2013 and Magnus twice on Impact Wrestling, including Styles' final match inside a TNA ring, proved that Styles still had a lot to give to the company. If this was a Styles who was a loggerhead with the company, imagine what the quality of action could have been like if the situation was a little more mutual.

Since departing the company in 2013, Styles has been able to really flex his creative muscles inside the ring, heading to New Japan Pro Wrestling, whilst also competing in the US for Ring of Honor. Bouts with Minoru Suzuki (G1 Climax 24 - Day 7) and Adam Cole (War of the Worlds 2015 - Day 1) would be great places for anyone looking to catch up on Styles' work since leaving TNA.


We hope you've enjoyed checking out our list and hope it's made you think about checking out some classic TNA footage, as well as what those who have departed the company are up to these days.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

WrestleRopes' Ready for the Weekend (26th June - 28th June 2015)

The very good folks at Across The Pond asked us if we would like to do a weekly preview of some of the shows scheduled for the weekend and we were happy to oblige such a great site as this. So without further a do, let's get underway!

Credit: HOPE Wrestling/Ringside World/Smile Designs

On Friday night, HOPE Wrestling are back at the Forest Town Arena in Mansfield, a venue they've really defined as their home in the past year or so. Evolution XXIV: We'll Start a Fire...And Burn Some Bridges is going to see four qualifying matches take place with the winner from each contest earning a place in the six-way HOPE Championship match on July 17th. With qualifying matches such as Martin Kirby vs. Ryan Smile and Joseph Conners vs. T-Bone, the outcomes of each match really are anyone's guess. Elsewhere on the card we have The Hooligans against The London Riots. If you have ever wanted to see a hard-hitting tag team match between two of the finest teams not just in the UK but in Europe then this is the match for you! 

Credit: Pro Wrestling Chaos

Saturday is jammed-packed when it comes to shows and we could have a whole article just dedicated to it with events from the top of Scotland to the South of England. However there can only be room for one, well two actually, and the first is ProWrestling Chaos' Heir to the Throne in Bristol. The main event will see Mike Bird defending the King Of Chaos Championship against Eddie Dennis. If you've never seen either Bird or Dennis then you're really missing out on two really talented guys on these shores and the match I almost guarantee to be a cracker. Whoever comes out on top in that match better keep their eye open however as there will also be a six-man Heir To The Throne ladder match with the winner earning a championship match at any time of their choosing. Those two matches plus Morgan Webster in action for the first time since retiring Dave Mercy and earning his roster spot back, Pro Wrestling Chaos are looking primed to deliver another great event.

Credit: Shropshire Wrestling Alliance/Smile Designs

Also on Saturday night, ShropshireWrestling Alliance have their first show for almost 3 months with The Return at the Dawley Town Hall in Telford. Now if you are unfamiliar with SWA then the best way we could describe them is to say they are the future. Their shows are packed with some of the hottest young wrestlers in the UK and their show this weekend is no different. Firstly we have Tyler Bate defending the British Lions Championship against Dan Moloney. Now if you wanted a match that showcased young talent in the UK then this is that match. Both of these men have been tearing it up in the last year or so in the UK and neither man is even in their 20s yet. There's also an SWA Heavyweight Championship ladder match between Joey Sanchez & Edwards in SWA's ongoing war with The Chase Coalition. With the added stipulation that if Edwards loses he's gone from SWA, there is a lot more on the line than the championship. In another intriguing match, Damian Dunne & Chris Ridgeway will be in a tag team action against Chris Brookes and.... well we don't know! The only person who does know Brookes' partner is Chris Brookes himself! Add in matches involving Ryan Smile, Chuck Cyrus, Marc Morgan plus big announcements for SWA's July 25th show and you have a stacked night in Telford.

Now traditionally Sunday is a day of rest.... except in British Wrestling. This Sunday will see Tidal Championship Wrestling's latest show, High Tide, takes place in Leeds. There is only one way to describe this show. Violent. Firstly there will be possibly the biggest, heaviest Falls Count Anywhere match ever when Big Damo & Wolfgang face T-Bone & Dave Mastiff in a rematch from earlier this year. If that wasn't enough, we also have JD Boom facing Addy Starr. Now you might not think that sounds all that violent but this match will be a barefoot Lego match! Oh and the fans can bring their own Lego creations as well! However, Tidal Wrestling didn't think that was enough violence as we shall witness Rampage Brown vs. Liam Lazarus for the Tidal Championship in a Last Man Standing match. Now these two men don't dislike each other, they straight out hate each other! Then you add in matches like The Proven vs The London Riots, Pastor William Eaver, Joseph Conners, Joe Hendry & Sean Only in a four-way match and Ruby Summers facing Bete Noire who is affectionately referred to as 'Hard As F*ck' you know it's all going down in Leeds on Sunday.

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 coming up soon, check us out at for the latest show and match announcements, British Wrestling event list, interviews, exclusive columns, reviews, reports and results!

Friday, 19 June 2015

ROH Best in the World 2015 Preview

Five weeks removed from Global Wars, and now with a new television presence next to TNA's Impact Wrestling on Destination America in the US, Ring of Honor presents Best in the World. Jays Briscoe and Lethal are set for the main event of the evening in a title for title bout, but is this show really a one match affair? Let's go through the card and see what ROH could have on offer for us from Terminal 5 tonight. 

Singles Match for the ROH World and ROH World Television Championships

Jay Briscoe (C) 
Jay Lethal (C)

This feels like a truly special match and if you've been following Ring of Honor television over the last few months, then I'm sure this match alone will give you reason to purchase this pay-per-view. It's been a simple story, but one that has built nicely and allowed the audience to be drawn in at their own pace, suiting ROH's one hour of television a week and irregular PPV schedule. Bar a tag team match in November, the two have been kept mostly apart on television for the last six months, but we've seen them collide outside of matches on the microphone a few times, with last week's contract signing really putting the icing on the cake in terms of build.

This should be the match that defines each man's title runs, no matter who walks out of New York with the titles. The build requires this to be the best match that either has had whilst as champion. The caveat here is the worry that ROH will not want to put both of their titles on one man and therefore go for a screwy finish that leaves both men walking out with the titles they walked in with. No matter what has gone before it, this has the potential to kill the match. The company needs to deliver on the superb build, both men are more than capable of that on their own, but if the finish isn't satisfying the match falls apart. I'm hoping for Jay Lethal win as I think it offers more avenues for development going forward and could offer up a juicy rematch for July's Death Before Dishonor.

Singles Match for the #1 Contendership to ROH World Championship

Michael Elgin 
Roderick Strong

A bit of hodge podge of guys who have a claim for getting a World title shot, this hasn't really received any TV time, beyond Moose's continued push. Moose was undefeated until last week's TV show (suffering surprise defeat to Cedric Alexander), Michael Elgin argues that he never received his one on one rematch for the title (although his TV record has been less than stellar since dropping the title) and Roderick Strong has had a renassisance of sorts since splitting for The Decade in November, going undefeated in singles competition on television, including victories over Adam Page and BJ Whitmer at Final Battle and 13th Anniversary: Winner Takes All respectively.

I've made it known before that I'm yet to be sold on Moose as the next big thing in wrestling, with his most notable matches coming in multi-man efforts, so, for me at least, this match is sink or swim for Moose. He'll be in there with two experienced main eventers for ROH, he either proves that he's ready to be in this spot or looks completely out of his depth and causes the bout to go off the tracks. I'm edging toward Strong picking up the victory here as it would fit well with his current storyline and a bout with Jay Lethal (if he wins tonight) would be another PPV headliner that I'd be hyped for, both in terms of in-ring and the surrounding storytelling opportunities. 

Prediction: Roderick Strong wins.

No Disqualification Tag Team Match for the ROH World Tag Team Championships

The Addiction (C) 

This match has the potential to steal the show. The Addiction and reDRagon are two of the best tag teams in the world right now and should prove so here at the aptly titled Best in the World. If the clash wasn't good enough on it's own, there's plenty of storyline to fuel the No Disqualifcation gimmick with the two teams feuding ever since The Addiction won the tag titles on the 25th April edition of ROH TV, revealing themselves as The KRD (alongside Chris Sabin) in the process. There's plenty of bad blood here and I've a feeling we may seen Chris Sabin get involved at one point of another in what should be a rip roaring tag bout. Expect inventive spots, tag team scrambles and plenty of fun from this one.

Prediction: reDRagon win the ROH World Tag Team Championship for the forth time.

Six Man Tag Team Match

The BULLET CLUB's AJ Styles & The Young Bucks 
The Kingdom's Adam Cole, Michael Bennett & Matt Taven

A rematch for the War of the Worlds - Night 2 event, where The Kingdom were able to get the win, this should be a fast paced, thrill-ride of a both. The two factions have gone back and forth across both Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling television for the last month or so, with Adam Cole returning just in time to help out his pals Bennett and Taven. The amount of New Japan gold on display should tell you just how highly thought of these men are with the promotion, and their appearance on the undercard here really bolsters the shows foundations, with AJ Styles in particular lending some considerable star power to the event. There's one thing for sure, this party is BYOSK...Bring your own super kicks!

Prediction - The BULLET CLUB get their win back.

Tag Team Match

ACH & Matt Sydal 
The Decade's Adam Page & BJ Whitmer

There is no one in professional wrestling that I am more indifferent about than BJ Whitmer. The guy just does nothing for me as a character or as a performer. ACH should bring enough charisma that at least some of it isn't suck into Whitmer's vacuum, with Matt Sydal has got a few funky tricks up his sleeve also. On TV recently Whitmer has been removing himself from matches and replacing himself with The Decade's "young boy" Colby Corino (because Nigel McGuinness allows Whitmer to book his own matches apparently), so we may see some more of that here, much to chagrin of color commentator and Colby's Dad, Steve Corino.

Prediction - ACH & Matt Sydal win.

Singles Match

Dalton Castle 
Silas Young

These two characters would seem to be the complete antithesis of each other. The Peacock-esque Dalton Castle and The Last Real Man Silas Young. It seems almost a shame that we haven't seen more of these two opposite each other on television, but that's one of the downsides of only having a one hour weekly product. Castle may have only been around ROH for a short time, but he's been given marquee television matches with the likes of Jay Lethal and Jushin Thunder Liger, as well as appearing at two TNA One Night Only tapings, it's clear that a bright future is seen for the 29 year old, I'd expect to see him go over in this one.

Prediction - Dalton Castle wins

Singles Match

Donavan Dijak 
Mark Briscoe

Seemingly almost designed for one or more of the performers involved to be taken out so that they can't get involved in the main event, I'm expecting this one to become a wild brawl leading to a big spot or moment. There's not much to this match, other than being an extension of the main event storyline, which is fine I suppose, but it would be nice to see Mark Briscoe given his own feud if the two are being utilised as singles competitors. I'm convinced this one will be much more of an angle than a match, but it could add a lot more intrigue when it comes time for Lethal vs. Briscoe later in the show.

Prediction - No Contest.

Tag Team Match

C&C Wrestle Factory 
War Machine

Only announced for the show on Monday, this is your classic Power vs. Speed bout, which should lead to some nice story telling between the four guys. Cedric Alexander's losing streak came to end on television this week, meaning we didn't get the satisfying full year storyline, seeing as his last TV win was over Roderick Strong at last year's Best in the World, but he does seem to be taking a new more aggressive direction. It would seem this match is prime for an Alexander heel turn, bringing an end to the reunion of C&C Wrestle Factory and giving War Machine the win. Alexander has big things in his future, I'm interested to see how ROH handle his inevitable upcoming heel turn.


On closer inspection this is anything but a one match show, with some potential gems up and down the card. Yes, Lethal vs. Briscoe is the hottest feud by a mile and will rightly main event the show, in front of hot New York crowd, but reDRagon vs. The Addiction also has plenty of fire behind it, with the added No Disqualification gimmick adding a little sizzle to the steak. There's a chance for Moose to prove he deserves a spot in ROH's main event scene, a fun looking six man tag, Dalton freaking Castle and the potential for a Cedric Alexander heel turn. If the price of the PPV wasn't so high ($34.95, that's just over £22), then I'd expect a decent buyrate. ROH needs to stop pricing itself out of a market when a month of the WWE Network is only $9.99 and it's so easy to watch shows through other means.

You can order the PPV here to view online, it's also available through satelitte and cable providers in the US.

PPV Start time in our most popular countries

USA/Canada Eastern - 9PM
USA/Canada Central - 8PM
USA/Canada Mountain - 7PM
USA/Canada Pacific - 6PM

United Kingdom/Ireland - 2AM
Germany/France/Poland/Switzerland/Montengro/Italy/South Africa - 3AM
Russia/Ukraine/Israel/Greece/Finland - 4AM
India - 6:30 AM
China - 9AM

Monday, 15 June 2015

WWE Money in the Bank 2015 Review

It had only been two weeks since Elimination Chamber, and here we were at another multi-man based gimmick PPV, namely Money in the Bank. Alongside the eponymous bout in which Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Neville, Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and Kane did battle for a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, WWE presented two marque rematches in the form of Seth Rollins putting his aforementioned title up against Dean Ambrose (with added Ladder match gimmick) and John Cena tangling once more with Kevin Owens. Could the rematch live up to their previous counterparts? Could the Money in the Bank ladder match set itself apart from past incarnations? Let's find out with this here review!

Promotion: WWE
Show Title: Money in the Bank
Date: 14th June, 2015.
Venue: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio, United States of America.

Theme Song: Money in the Bank by Jim Johnston
Commentary by: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, John Bradshaw Layfield and The Miz (Big Show vs. Ryback only)

Ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Seth Rollins (C) 
Dean Ambrose

There's a lot to talk about when it comes to the longest one on one match on WWE PPV since Triple H and Shawn Michaels did battle inside Hell in a Cell at Bad Blood in 2004. Where does one even begin? How about the start? Things were kept to a minimum in terms of added build up on the PPV, with the initial video package, followed up by the Kick-Off Panel of Renee Young, Booker T, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves putting over their excitement for the match and running through the possibilities. A much better approach than the Authority over-kill we've seen on previous PPVs. A backstage segment just prior to the main event did everything that needed to be done, as all the Authority had a chat with their pal Seth. Triple H absolutely killed his rallying cry for Rollins to step up to the plate. 

Over thirty five minutes is a long time for a wrestling match these days, especially in WWE. Both Elimination Chambers ran shorter than this, so there was a lot of pressure on Ambrose and Rollins to deliver enough content to fill the time they were provide and keep the audience both within the arena and at home captivated by the action. The early section was a rip roaring adventure, with the former Shield duo running through a series of exciting and well-timed spots, like a superb sequence that ended with The Architect  flying into a ladder off a suicide dive sequence and Ambrose's diving elbow drop off the top of the ladder (with added tribute to Dusty Rhodes).

The bout needed to shift gears in order to be able to go the distance, and it did so, heading into a more psychological avenue. Rollins going after Ambrose's knee, after hitting it with a steel chair, allowed the match to breath and settle, as the paced slowed considerably for a time. The two worked so well in their given roles in this section of the match, Rollins focused attack made him look like a bit of dick, especially with his usual boastful swagger, whilst Ambrose showed the all-important babyface fighting spirit and showed it well, especially in a back and forth slap battle whilst Rollins had him placed in a figure four leg lock. Ambrose continue to sell the leg for the remainder of the bout, even when it wasn't the focus, so that get's a big thumbs up from me, and a double thumbs up for when Rollins went back to the leg hitting it with a TV monitor later in the match.

A real set back for this match for me was the crowd, who were quiet for the majority of the match, rarely getting behind Ambrose or jumping on Rollins back for his antics. There were pops for the bigger spots but nothing else. If the crowd had died off as the match went on then that could easily be attributed to the bouts epic length, but the crowd were hushed from the opening bell onwards. Maybe they were worn out from the lively John Cena vs. Kevin Owens bout that came before this one, maybe they weren't quite ready for the main event to start when it did. It'd be interesting to hear an account from someone who was inside the building at the time to find out exactly why the crowd were so muted.

The pace of the final third of the match was an interesting combination of the two previous thirds, with both men clearly spent from twenty odd minutes of action, Ambrose selling his injury limb, but both going hell for leather in order to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Rollins desperation to put away Ambrose on his own really came into play at this point of the match, as we saw a more determined Rollins than we have seen over the last three months. Whilst some of these sections of action felt a little bit unnecessary, such as the spot that saw Rollins and Ambrose head into the crowd, only for Rollins to throw Ambrose into a flimsy table and run back to the ring, but the one section that stood out to me was Rollins absolute destruction of the Lunatic Fringe as he hit multiple barricade bombs (see what I did there?), before a superb sitout powerbomb onto a ladder that was piled with chairs. That particular spot really put over how desperate Rollins was to win and sold how he was willing to put his body on the line for the title, thus making the title look like something worth winning.

So that leaves us with one thing to talk about, I suppose. The finish. Now, usually I'd have no problem with this particular finish, that saw both Ambrose and Rollins fall to the ground holding the title, with The Architect holding onto it, but in this match it just didn't sit right for me. As over half an hour of action and buying into the various stories that were weaved into the match, it felt a bit cheap to have none of them really pay off. Ambrose's injured leg didn't play into it, Rollins wasn't able to show decisively that he could do it on his own and the feud wasn't settled at all but seems to be over again, at least for now. Obviously, Rollins has something to boast about that will continue to see the growth of his character, with some more of his twisted truths, and Ambrose should slot into another feud without much trouble being able to build momentum that should see him in a position to win the big one in twelve months or so, so it's not all doom and gloom here. An interesting experiment in terms of the WWE main event scene, but one that will need some tweaking before we see about of this length again.

Overall Rating: 7

Singles Match
WWE United States Champion John Cena 
WWE NXT Champion Kevin Owens

It's an accepted fact that the second album is harder than the first, ask The Strokes or Bloc Party, but for every Room on Fire or A Weekend in the City, there's a Favourite Worst Nightmare or Contra where the group manages to duplicate the critical or even surpass the initial effort. This was one of those moments, taking all the best bits from John Cena and Kevin Owens initial encounter two weeks ago and building. I'd love to go back and watch these two matches back to back, as they almost follow on directly from each other, with each match complimenting the other. 

What made the wrestling nerd in me squee a little was, of course, the story telling. This is where having the match happen only two weeks after the original actually played in it's favour, as the events of that match were still pretty clear in my mind. So I could see that John Cena was attempting to put Owens away using a number of different moves, that either we haven't seen from him before or he uses rarely. There was an inverted suplex, a sitout electric chair drop, the return of the Cenacanrana (which looked the best it ever has) and the West Newbury Destroyer. Whilst on the flipside, Owens pulled out a number of similar moves to what we saw him use at Elimination Chamber, the contrast was great to watch play out on the screen. And it didn't stop with just the moves.

John Cena's character performance took things to the next level. When was the last time we saw Cena confront a referee about a decision? I know, I can't remember it happening for quite some time at least. The frustration that he showed through his face and body when being unable to get the pin following an AA, put over how much the victory would mean to The Cenation Leader and therefore raised the stakes of what was essentially just a singles match. The crowd added a bucket load to this as well, as the Nationwide Arena was rocking from start to finish. "Big match feel" is an often forgotten about variable in terms of match ranking, and one that is difficult to quantify, but non-the-less, this match had it.

John Cena may have gotten his win back following a springboard stunner and an Attitude Adjustment, which was the right decision going forward in my opinion, but it was Owens who ended the matches air time standing tall with both the WWE NXT and United States Championships. This will, arguably, do more for Kevin Owens than another victory over Cena would've done, as he came across as a nobhead for attacking a Cena who was willing to shake his hand after a hard fought battle. I'm hoping that we see Cena off television for, at least, a few weeks to sell the attack by Owens (just like Sami Zayn did on NXT), giving Owens the freedom to show what he can do against opposite a less experienced WWE hand, but I wouldn't expect we've seen the last of this rivalry.

Overall Rating: 8.5

Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Roman Reigns 
WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston 
Dolph Ziggler 
Randy Orton

Obviously, the spots are the most important ingredients in a match like this, and that's what the majority of fans expect heading into proceedings. It has to be said that this match wasn't as packed with those big memorable spots as previous matches have been. Whilst there were still moments like Randy Orton tripping Neville off the ladder into an RKO, Roman Reigns powerbombing The Man That Gravity Forgot and Kofi Kingston onto a ladder in the corner and a cool sequence of action that lead to Dolph Ziggler hitting a Zig Zag off the ladder to Sheamus, this match suffers because of everything that has gone before it in previous years. If you'd never seen a Money in the Bank Ladder match before then I'd imagine it would have been a much more awe-inspiring display than if you were watching your sixteenth. 

Where this match also suffered was it's almost formulaic structure, which was undermined by a lack of logic, at times, that made it hard for one to suspend disbelief. The biggest example of this would be Dolph Ziggler's involvement in the match. It would be easy to praise The Showoff for his hard work in the match, he took a number of big bumps and was heavily involved throughout most of the match. However, after taking a bump off the top of the ladder, Ziggler was up almost instantly to hit a Superkick on Kane, in a match that lives and dies on the consequences of falls like the one Ziggler took, to have a competitor jump straight up makes it harder to buy into the fact that they can't get to their feet for the final few minutes of the bout. 

I'm almost definitely being harsh on what was an throughly entertaining slice of WWE action, that saw everyone in the match (with perhaps the exception of Kane) working hard to put on a spectacle for the Colombus crowd and us folk at home. Neville's performance stood out especially, taking some big bumps, being believable in his selling and impressive when on the offence. In a match that needs everyone to be selfless in order to put on the best possible match, The New Sensation gave a lot to his opponents taking a number of big moves from the likes of Reigns and Orton. Undoubtly the biggest match of his WWE career so far, and only his third appearance on pay-per-view, Neville showed that he more than belongs in this type of match-up, hopefully we'll see him continue to get a steady push over the next few months.

I have to say I was surprised to see Sheamus walking out with the Money in the Bank briefcase, as I think like many I was convinced Reigns winning was nailed on. Whilst I wasn't too enamored with having Bray Wyatt take Reigns out of the bout, I'm fairly happy to see The Celtic Warrior get a chance to move back up the card. His character has been head and shoulders above what we'd seen prior to his return a few months ago and, bar a sub-par effort against Orton on Monday Night RAW #1150, his in-ring performances have been enjoyable. A quick feud with Neville would do a lot for both men over the next couple of months, and I'd expect we may see Sheamus holding onto the briefcase until at least after SummerSlam in August.

Overall Rating: 6

Singles Match for the WWE Diva's Championship
Nikki Bella (C)

Going hard and fast from the outset, this was one of the best Diva's bouts to be presented on Pay-per-view in quite some time. Whilst the bout was hurt by the duo being unable to get the Nationwide Arena into the match, until perhaps the final near fall, both worked hard to create an enjoyable encounter, that included some nice near falls and for the most part strong action. The action in the first couple of minutes on the outside of the ring may have been the strongest of the match, with Paige hitting a somersault senton off the ring apron and Nikki tripping The Anti-Diva on the barricade.

Whilst having John Bradshaw Layfield shitting on the finish on commentary didn't help things, I thought the closing angle that saw Paige able to reverse Twin Magic and pin Brie Bella, before the swap was revealed to the referee, allowing Nikki to pick up the win, was a clever one that played nicely of their previous match on Monday Night RAW #1149. It builds the desire to see Paige defeat the Bella Twins, whilst also firmly placing the Twins back as heels within the Diva's division. A rematch should be much more anticipated and just goes to show what can happen the women of WWE are given the time to peform. More of this please.

(Quick Note - I'd prefer to have only been able to hear Paige during her pre-match interview with Renee Young)

Overall Rating:  5.5

Singles Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Ryback (C) vs. The Big Show

The Miz's pre-match promo, before taking his seat from commentary may have been the best thing about the almost fifteen minutes this was given. The action wasn't actually that bad, but there was just no real drive or purpose behind it, Ryback just seemed to batter Show (including an impressive verticle suplex), before Miz had enough of dicking around a ringside and ran in a caused a disqualification. If there hadn't have been only two weeks between PPV's, then this could easily have happened on Monday Night RAW to set up a triple threat, if that's what they want to do. Why they are pushing a Ryback/Big Show/Miz three way feud, I have absolutely no idea. 

Overall Rating: 1

Tag Team Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships
The Prime Time Players 
The New Day's Xavier Woods & Big E (C)

Sticking to your bog standard tag team formula, this was a solid outing for both teams. Hurt slightly by the lack of time it was given, Xavier Woods, Big E, Titus O'Neil and Darren Young put together an entertaining match, helped along by just how over The New Day have become in WWE. Whilst the wrestling wasn't spectacular, with Big E's overhead belly to belly to Young being perhaps the standout moment from the bout, but it didn't need to be, in between the Owens vs. Cena and Ambrose vs. Rollins this worked nicely. I'm convinced the Prime Time Players only won because the show needed a face victory, but hey, Millions of Dollars, Millions of Dollars etc.

Overall Rating: 4

Tribute to Dusty Rhodes

Kicking off the show was a moving tribute to WWE Hall of Famer, Dusty Rhodes who sadly passed away on Wednesday. Having the entire WWE roster out on the ramp to start the show was a classy move by the promotion and seeing Vince McMahon shuck and jive to Common Man Boogie by Jimmy Hart and J.J. Maguire would have surely going a belly laugh out of The American Dream! The video package that would air later on in the show was one of the most emotional pieces of footage that WWE has ever created. Our thoughts remain with the Runnels Family and anyone close to Dusty at this difficult time.


An interesting outing for WWE, with a lot of strong action on display throughout the card, often undermined by questionable finishes to differing degrees. Only Big Show vs. Ryback stands out as a match that I struggled to gain any kind of enjoyment out of, with Kevin Owens and John Cena delivering the best match of the show. The encouraging performance in the Diva's Championship match is also worth a lot of praise, hopefully we'll see WWE continue to push women's wrestling it's programming going forward. Certainly not the strongest incarnation of the Money in the Bank PPV, but definitely not a bad show.

Overall Rating: 6.5