Friday, 30 October 2015

TV Review: WWE Monday Night RAW #1170

With Hell in a Cell now in the rear view mirror, WWE headed towards it's biggest PPV of the Autumn, Survivor Series. With a #1 Contenders tournament involving four semi-finals and a Fatal Four-Way main event, involving Alberto Del Rio, Big E, Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler,  Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Neville and Roman Reigns, would there be enough quality to keep the three hours entertaining? Let's have look!




To the surprise of no-one, the Authority kicked off the show with an exposition laden promo, explaining the results of Hell in a Cell, and putting over Seth Rollins victory over Kane, who is now removed as the Director of Operations. The wordy explanations continued, with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon shifting gears and creating an eight-man tournament to find the New number One contenders tournament featuring the winners from Hell in a Cell. Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler, Neville (who won the Kick-Off show), Alberto Del Rio, Roman Reigns, Big E, Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens would be our eight competitors, Brock Lesnar didn't fancy it, obviously. I liked the idea of the tournament straight away, especially as it rewarded those who won the previous night, which in kayfabe is what you'd expect to happen. However, for me this opening segment was way too wordy and perhaps wasn't even needed at all, especially having Roman Reigns interrupt the promo, it simply sign posted his victory later in the night even more. Heading straight into the action would have given a completely different feel to the show.



Match 1 - WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contenders Tournament Semi-Final - WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston with WWE Tag Team Champion Big E vs. Roman Reigns 





A fine opening TV bout, Reigns and Kingston worked well together, with Big E on the outside also playing a bit part in the action. The story wrote itself really, with the Tag Team Champions stacking the deck against Reigns, with a series of underhanded tactics to keep control of the bout, before The Juggernaut launched his comeback, securing the victory with a Spear. A simple bout, but done well, Kofi Kingston made Roman Reigns look great, whilst Kingston won't be harmed by suffering a loss to Reigns, due to his status as a tag team wrestler at the moment. Even, the fact that Reigns managed to overcome despite Big E helping to stack the odds, doesn't harm The New Day as it can easily be argued that Big E had one eye on his tournament match later in the night.


Little bit extra - There could have been a little bit more made about Reigns' victory the night before, having Reigns wrestle whilst showing the effects of the Hell in a Cell match and still win, would surely put him over even more?




Winner - Roman Reigns via pinfall (Spear) in 12 minutes, 43 seconds



Match 2 - WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contenders Tournament Semi-Final - Cesaro vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens





A cracking encounter for television, you should know that putting these two together and giving them a solid ten minutes, that you'll be entertained from start to finish. Whilst Owens dominated most of the match and it took the crowd a little to get into the action, Cesaro's flurries of action were placed nicely and San Diego began to warm up as the bout went on. The sequence of action that started with Owens denied the crowd the chance to see the Cesaro Swing, was the highlight for me. WWE continues the push to get Owens some heat with the audience (Even the biggest Owens fan has to admit he's struggled to garner heat, but a poorly chosen feud with Ryback might have something to do with that) by having the Canadian cheat to win once again, although he was still able to hit a huge Pop-Up Powerbomb to claim the victory.



Winner - Kevin Owens via pinfall (Pop-Up Powerbomb) in 10 minutes, 20 seconds.




Match 3 - Six Woman Tag Team - PCB vs. Team Bella





What a waste of time this was? How stupid did Becky Lynch and Charlotte look, by allowing Paige to team with them? She's spent weeks cutting promos on them and leaving them high and dry. Also how many times have these two teams faced each other on TV? The match was fine but I didn't care. Nikki's lost twice in a row to Charlotte so that was clearly done and with the crowd so hot for Sasha Banks at the moment, Team B.A.D. could have offered something, at least, a little different here. Nikki pinning Becky Lynch, despite clearly being cycled out of the title picture for now, also seemed like an odd piece of booking. 



Winners - Team Bella via pinfall (Nikki on Becky (Rack Attack)) in 5 minutes, 25 seconds


Paige's turn happening last month seemed to have been simply to add a little shock value to the post SummerSlam edition of RAW, but she's trod water for weeks, WWE would have been better of holding her turn for this show, as it least her attack on Becky and Charlotte would have some kind impact.


Match 4 - WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contenders Tournament Semi-Final - WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio with Zeb Colter vs. Neville




A massive improvement on Del Rio's return match opposite John Cena at Hell in a Cell, even if the new partnership with Zeb Colter is still a little tenuous...Mex-America? Come on. Neville worked as a perfect babyface for Del Rio, with the pairs offence complementing each others well. The action was crisp and had purpose, with both men working hard for one another through, in front of an appreciate crowd. I'm digging having Del Rio win his matches in different way and his diving Double Stomp with Neville in tree of woe looked great, a much more convincing finish than the Superkick used in his bout the night before. The United States and Intercontinental Champions picking up victories made me happy, as twelve months ago, you just know they'd have been used to put someone else over! Here's hoping Cesaro and Neville are rewarded for their unselfish performances.


Winner - Alberto Del Rio via pinfall (Diving Double Footstomp) in 12 minutes, 3 seconds



Match 5 - Six Man Tag Team - "The Celtic Warrior" Sheamus, King Barrett & "The Bulgarian Brute" Rusev vs. The Dudley Boyz & Ryback





The commentary team mentioned that these guys were all the "losers" from last night...so why exactly should I give a fuck? Could have been spun potentially, but nah. I honestly didn't pay much attention, but it was your generic short, forgettable six man tag. Devon as face in peril, hot tag to Ryback, Barrett stole the win on Devon. The three meat hooks from Big Hungry was cool, as was the former Intercontinental Champion getting involved with The Dudley Boyz signature "Wassup" but that was about all this had to offer. Hopefully WWE decides what it's doing with it's trio of Europeans, especially current Money in the Bank holder Sheamus!
Winners - Sheamus, King Barrett & Rusev via pinfall (Barrett on Devon) in 6 minutes, 11 seconds.




Whilst I'll admit that Bray Wyatt's promo on The Undertaker flew straight over my head, Kane confronting him and the subsequent appearance of The Wyatt Family didn't. I find Wyatt captivating as a character, and find myself unable to take my eyes off him when he is talking, however, I very rarely come away with anything that he has said. Maybe it's his very different promo style and perhaps having him uncharacteristically cutting it out in the ring had an effect also. Erick Rowan, Luke Harper and Braun Strowman battering the Demon (I guess the whole Corporate/Demon thing has been completely dropped now) was hugely entertaining, with the trio, along with Wyatt all looking superb. With Kane exiting the same way as The Undertaker the night previously things are getting very interesting heading toward Survivor Series on 22nd November (with just three editions of RAW to go!)


Match 6 - WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contenders Tournament Semi-Final - Dolph Ziggler vs. WWE Tag Team Champion Big E with WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston 




The last in four semi-final's Big E got a chance to perform at a level that he's not often been allowed to as a singles wrestler since departing NXT back in June 2013. Although it never felt like Big E was going to pick up the victory, mainly due to the likelihood that WWE would even the field of babyfaces and heels for the main event, but there was still enough here to keep me entertained. Ziggler hurting his arm after hitting the ringpost was sold well, and would add something to the main event also. At times, there was a little too much focus on Tyler Breeze and Summer Rae who sat at ringside for my liking, and even Breeze eating grapes in a fluffy seat gave me a good laugh, I'd have preferred the focus stay on the wrestling as the other bouts had been afforded.


Winner - Dolph Ziggler via pinfall (Zig Zag) in 13 minutes, 53 seconds


Match 7 - WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contenders Tournament Fatal Fourway Final - Roman Reigns vs. WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler 





Even though there was only ever going to be one winner coming out of this win, the four performers still managed to put on a top-quality RAW main event. Even if the logic of the new Mex-America member Alberto Del Rio partnering with French Canadian Kevin Owens for most of the match wasn't entirely convincing, it did at least give the bout an easy to follow dynamic and having the pair working over either Reigns or Ziggler at seperate times presented a nice dynamic to start. The crowd was red hot, Seth Rollins was on fire on commentary to complement the action as things built and built and built towards the conclusion. The sequence involving the Tower of Doom tease was superb, with all four men combining to pull off a speedy slice of action, making the most of the Fatal Fourway concept. Although the bout never managed to convince me that Roman Reigns wasn't going to win, it did allow everyone the chance to shine, whilst simultaneously putting over the Juggernaut as someone who could wrestle the title away from Rollins. The Superman Punch as a reversal for Owens Pop-Up Powerbomb attempt was world-class exchange, with Reigns Spear then giving him the victory. 


Finally...




ATPW Scale Rating - 5.56 - Good/Very Good TV

After Sting and Kane have recieved World Heavyweight Championship matches just because reasons, it was refreshing to see a tournament set up with the winners from the previous night involved. Wins on big events should be rewarded in logical booking, it makes a cheater even more frustrating and allows fans to feel like getting behind a babyface will be worthwhile. It also gave Roman Reigns a solid foundation heading into Survivor Series, and made him look like a beast, especially after winning his Hell in a Cell bout the night before. Everyone that took place in the Fatal Fourway seemed to be elevated for having taken part in it. 



Outside the tournament, I thought the match and storylines were lacking, with Paige finally turn on Charlotte and Becky Lynch lacking any punch after the flip flopping of the last few weeks, whilst the six man tag lacked a purpose. At least, The Wyatt Family's apparent feud with The Brothers of Destruction is becoming more intriguing by the hour. Whether WWE can keep that moment over the next few weeks, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Wrestle Ropes Ready for the Weekend: October 2015 Week 5



This weekend sees promotions across the country celebrating anniversaries, holding new tournaments as well as the return of established ones. Add in the usual dash of rivalries and new encounters and we have another packed set of three days. Let's get Ready For The Weekend!





On Friday night, Fierce Females are back at Walkabout in Glasgow. This show will mark Fierce Females' third anniversary and it's looking to be one of their best events ever. At the last event which featured a championship rumble, there were a number of talking points. One was Leah Owens eliminating her own sister, Kasey Owens during the rumble. There is evidently some tension between the twins and the most obvious way to get rid of that is to let them go at each other on October 30th. It won't be the first time they've faced each other but it may be their first encounter were competition isn't the only thing that is driving them. From the bad blood between twins to the bad blood between baes. Sammii Jayne & Debbie Sharpe have been beside each other for months in Fierce Females. They have been inseparable. That was until 'Rumble In The Jungle' when Debbie eliminated Sammii from the rumble match. Understandably, Sammii Jayne is not best pleased with her bae, Debbie Sharpe. Debbie claims that Sammii would have done the same to her if the tables were turned but Sammii Jayne disputes that. While Sammii Jayne claims to have forgiven Debbie Sharpe for her actions, we'll find out if that is true this Friday when they meet in singles action. In Fierce Females there are twins, there are baes but nothing compared to the friendship between Bete Noire and Viper. That was until 'Rumble In The Jungle'. After Viper won the rumble match and become only the second Fierce Females Champion in it's history, Bete Noire came to the ring to celebrate with her long time friend. And that is when it changed. Without warning, Bete Noire laid out the new champion with the championship she had just won. Since then, Bete Noire has said little on the subject, Viper has said even less. That was until a few weeks ago when Bete Noire finally spoke. She told Viper that she was sick of living in her shadow and that this was the new Bete Noire, the real Bete Noire. Fierce Females have now announced that Viper will defend the Fierce Females Championship against Bete Noire in Glasgow in a Last Woman Standing match. Both of these women competed in the very first Fierce Females event. Now on October 30th, they will fight for the biggest prize in the promotion. But this is more than just about a championship. Viper has now reached the top in Fierce Females and will give her everything to stay there. However, the Bete Noire that now stands across from her, no longer cares how far she has to go. She refuses to be in anyone's shadow any more. These former friends meet this Friday and only can be left standing.





Moving on to Saturday and Shropshire Wrestling Alliance are back at the Dawley Town Hall with their British Lions tournament. In a change to this year's tournament, the winners of the qualifying matches will go on to a five-way elimination match with the British Lions Champion, Tyler Bate on November 28th. Speaking Tyler Bate, he joins forces with the SWA Champion, Ryan Smile in the main event to face The Dunne Brothers. While this match is not for any championships, it is all about pride. The champions will be looking to take the win to showcase their own championship reigns while The Dunne Brothers will be aware that a win over the champions will give them a legitimate claim to a future championship match. In a special attraction, non-tournament match, 'The Welsh Destroyer' Nixon Newell will face NXT's 'Blue Pants' Leva Bates. Nixon is one the of the gems in the Shropshire Wrestling Alliance crown, facing almost everyone in the promotion in some form or another. Leva Bates on the other hand has being tearing it up in WWE NXT as well as across the independent scene in North America. This will be a great first encounter between these two young wrestlers. The British Lions tournament itself features it's usual plethora skilled athlete such as Mike Bird, Wild Boar, Ethan Silver and Chris Brookes to just name a few. One match that does stand out from the crowd is 'The Priority' Chris Ridgeway vs 'White Lightning' Mark Andrews. While Mark Andrews has been tearing it up in Impact Wrestling as the winner of British Boot Camp 2, Chris Ridgeway has being making a name for himself in the UK. Ridgeway has gone against some of the best the UK has to offer. This Saturday he gets to go against another and a man he has openly admitted to admiring and respecting. Mark Andrews is already known for putting on stellar performances every time he enter the ring. Ridgeway is fast becoming know for doing the same. This match will be one not to be missed on October 31st!





Sunday night in Huntingdon will see Southside Wrestling hold their inaugural Young Tigers Cup at the Commemoration Hall. The Young Tigers Cup will see some of the UK's best young wrestlers compete in a one-night tournament to win the eponymous Cup. One of the tournament quarter-final matches will see former Speed King Champion, 'The Aerial Assassin' Will Ospreay face The Pledge of The Righteous Army. Ospreay has face some amazing talent in Southside Wrestling on previous occasions. The Pledge is a young man who is so eager to prove himself that he has rejected his own name in pursuit of the approval of The Righteous Army. Ospreay has proven himself time after time. The Pledge is a man who is quickly catching the eye of the Southside Wrestling fans. However, The Righteous Army are known for using their number their advantage. Ospreay will be looking to add another accolade to his resume but The Pledge will be looking to prove himself further to his fellow Righteous members. Another tournament quarter-final that will take place on November 1st will have an international element to it when Trevor Lee compete against 'SuperBeast' Dan Moloney. Trevor Lee is well known to fans who have seen him in PWG & TNA, holding gold while with both companies. Dan Moloney is a hungry young man whose strength is only matched by his talent. In recent months, Dan Moloney has competed against a number of well-known names and has matched them every time. Trevor Lee will be looking to add more silverware to his collection. But he'll have a very tough challenge in the form of Dan Moloney to overcome first. As for Moloney, well he'll be looking to showcase further why he is the 'SuperBeast' on Southside Wrestling. The night will not only showcase the young tigers of Southside though as the leader of 'The Righteous Army', 'The Righteous' Joseph Conners will be in action as he defends the Southside Heavyweight Championship against the number one contender, Martin Kirby. Joseph Conners has defeated many during his reign as champion, a reign he will want to continue. His opponent however is one of the most decorated men in the UK today. Martin Kirby has held both the Southside Speed King & Tag Team Championship in the past. A win on Sunday would make him a Triple Crown Champion in Southside, an accomplishment that only few hold. Kirby became the number one contender due to his incredible drive to win. Joseph Conners desire to keep the Southside Heavyweight Championship may be the only thing to equal Kirby's drive.


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 www.wrestleropesuk.wordpress.comfor the latest show and match announcements, British Wrestling event list and more

PPV Review: WWE Hell in a Cell 2015



18 days after the last WWE Network special, NXT Takeover: Respect, WWE presented the seventh edition of the Hell in a Cell PPV. With Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker tangling for the final time in the main event, inside Hell in a Cell, whilst Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns got their chance inside as well. With Seth Rollins also defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Kane, was this PPV any good? Let's have a look.




I wish I'd had a camera recording my reaction during the open segment of the show. Firstly, I was buzzing to see John Cena make his way out, his United States Open Challenges have been a highlight of a rocky 2015 for WWE, and with this being the first one on PPV and Cena rumoured to be taking time off, surely we'd get something special? Then Jack Swagger's music hit and I repeated the phrase "Fuck Off" a fair few times, not because I particularly dislike Swagger, but even Swagger's nearest and dearest must admit that the Real American would have been a major let-down. Quickly, my face changed into utter bemusement as Zeb Colter made his first TV appearance since early December. The return of the current World Heavyweight Champion for both AAA (Mexico City, Mexico) and WWL (San Juan, Puerto Rico) took me completely by surprise, got a big pop from the crowd, even if his new partnership with Colter is questionable at best. Funnily enough it was Del Rio's first WWE match since a loss to Jack Swagger on Main Event in early August 2014



Match 1 - United States Championship - John Cena (C) vs. Alberto Del Rio with Zeb Colter 





After the hype, the pop for Del Rio's return and Cena supposedly wrestling his last match for month, this match was always going to be amazing, wasn't it? WRONG MOTHERFUCKER! The crowd remembered they never gave a fuck about Del Rio during his 2010-2014 run and didn't even seem that bothered for Cena. The two hardly gave them much to cheer about, going through the motions for eight minutes, before Del Rio won with a superkick. Which I'm pretty sure no one brought as a finish, even if Cena did a decent job of selling a potential concussion post match. There was nothing to get your teeth into in terms of narrative and no spots that stood out either (despite about seven replays of the Mexican's tilt a whirl backbreaker). Del Rio even managed to hit the Flying Nothing, which may be a world first. As an end to Cena's magnificent open challenge, this was as flat as a witches tit.



Winner - Del Rio via pinfall (Superkick) in 7 minutes, 48 seconds *NEW CHAMPION!*





With the Staples Center still subdued for Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns' entrances for the first Hell in a Cell match of the night, we were somewhat lacking in the big match feel that this contest deserved. Maybe it was the decision to have this match go on second, and have it follow an opener that didn't get the crowd warmed. For a while, I thought it was maybe just Los Angeles being a little bit lazy and just wanting to watch, rather than participate but they picked up later, so it's definitely not that. Simply put this card wasn't put together with the care and attention that it needed to manipulate the audience for the right moments and at times the performers bore the brunt of that, as Bray Wyatt's spooky Raven-esque pose in the corner and Reigns staring him down as great bit of work.



Match 2 - Hell in a Cell - Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt





Two talented performers getting the chance to let their creativity flow and put on a fine spectacle, that would hold up well against the two veteran performers tasked with having the other Hell in a Cell bout on the show. A strong spot-based encounter, this felt like a fitting conclusion to Reigns and Wyatt's twenty week feud, as the two men battered each other with a variety of weapons. WWE staples the Singapore cane, steel chair and table were all out in force, and the match very easily could have became a case of "We've seen it all before" but the two men (and whichever agent was involved in putting this together) came up with some innovative spots, making good use of the enclosure. A personal favourite would have to be the chair that Wyatt wedged into the cage, but ended up getting sent into, as well as the Singapore cane slotted in the corner of the cell that The Eater of World put Reigns head through!





The storytelling was decent, with just enough narrative to hold the attention between the highspots, with Reigns spending the majority of the contest fighting from underneath. Reigns must have breathed a sigh of relief when mid-way through the crowd began to get behind him (even if the Roman Reigns chants were met with "Sucks" an octave lower). As soon as the crowd became invested in the bout, it was much easier to watch as a viewer at home and gave the final stretch that much needed boost. An electric sequence which saw Reigns get a near fall off a School Boy reversal off Sister Abigail was some of the slickest work I've seen from either man, whilst when Wyatt finally hit his move it looked devastatingly good and got a big reaction as a false finish.


A little extra - Despite this being a terrific contest, I have to say it was let down by the commentary team who were weak throughout (ranging from an unconvincing Michael Cole to a desperately over-the-top Jerry Lawler), whilst the production was also poor. The camera giving as clear view a table, a second before Reigns speared Wyatt off the apron through it, was amateurish and took away the shock value of what was one of the biggest spots of the match  




Winner - Roman Reigns via pinfall (Spear) in 23 minutes, 3 seconds




Despite being without Xavier Woods due to a storyline injury, Tag Team Champions The New Day's Kofi Kingston and Big E were on top from with their pre-match promo. Their trombone-based rhetoric certainly seemed to hit the spot with the live audience, and they got a good chuckle out of my when referring to Bubba Ray Dudley as the "Caucasian Kamala", as well as Kingston's reference to WWE's social media venture and massive flop Tout. Considering I had been down beat about this contest heading in, the duo got me hyped to see more New Day action inside the ring.



Match 3 - WWE Tag Team Championship - The Dudley Boyz vs. The New Days' Big E & Kofi Kingston (C)





I should have stayed down beat, I really should. The New Day got me hyped for a match that never turned. The four men involved looked like they'd never met each other before and jolted from one clunky moment to the next, even the hot tag for the Dudleyz was weak and barely gained a murmur from the crowd, as it came out of the blue with barely any build. Kofi Kingston chanelling Eddie Guerrero with his trombone, throwing it to Bubba Ray and hitting the canvas with the ref distracted, was a pretty cool moment until it lead to Bubba pleading with ref and the crowd to not disqualify him. Kingston flying into vision as Bubba Ray was about to order his brother to bring in the furniture, was the bouts strongest moment, before a flat finish saw the New Day manage to grab the victory via Kingston Trouble in Paradise. A pancake of an end to a feud that never managed to get into second gear. 



Winners - Big E & Kofi Kingston via pinfall (Kingston on Bubba Ray (Trouble in Paradise)) in 8 minutes, 24 seconds *STILL CHAMPION*



Match 4 - WWE Diva's Championship - Charlotte (C) vs. Nikki Bella 





This was the strongest non-HIAC bout on the card for me, with Charlotte and Nikki combining well once more to put on a compelling slice of action. The psychology of this was spot on, with Nikki focusing her attention onto the lower back of Charlotte, in an attempt to counteract the bridging of The Nature Girl's Figure 8 hold. After the previous two title bouts between the two had seen Nikki work the arm and leg and still come out on the losing side, it made perfect sense for her to focus on a different body part here, with the back being the logical next step. With Nikki pulling out a Spinebuster, as well as an Alabama Slam onto the ring apron, this felt very different from the kind of women's matches that were being put on 12 months ago. I did feel that the finish was a little sloppy, and having Charlotte still win with the Figure 8 was a little unimaginative. There was scope for a different kind of finish (similar to the point that I made about their Night of Champions clash), but I suppose it has put Charlotte over (and especially her ability to lock in the hold no matter what) superbly heading into her post-Bella feud. 



Winner - Charlotte via Submission (Figure 8) in 10 minutes, 39 seconds


Match 5 - WWE World Heavyweight Championship - Seth Rollins (C) vs. Kane






After what has felt like an age of building towards, the match that no one particularly wanted to see anyway, was unsurprisingly a bit shit. The action was pretty sloppy and most the matches big spots were botched, or, at least, didn't look as good as they could have done. Rollins' powerbomb onto the announce table standing out in particular, with the table not breaking and Kane rolling off as the table fell over, even the set up to the move looked contrived. Despite having a career year, it felt like Seth Rollins was trying way too hard. The selling of his frustration at being unable to put Kane away would have been a nice touch, but it wasn't just a touch, it was a frying pan across the face. Hitting two superkicks' exactly the same as the ONE Alberto Del Rio used to put away John Cena earlier, and then a Frog Splash, and still only get two, was as frustrating to watch as a viewer as Rollins tried to get across with his over-the-top actions. The best thing about this match was that it was the end of the rivalry between the two, and that Rollins can hopefully move onto better things.


Winner - Seth Rollins via pinfall (Pedigree) in 14 minutes, 35 seconds *STILL CHAMPION*


Match 6 - WWE Intercontinental Championship - Kevin Owens (C) vs. Ryback





Another disappointing encounter, the Intercontinental Championship bout wasn't a patch on the previous bout between Ryback and Kevin Owens from Night of Champions. The action was slow, scrappy and never seemed to get going. Ryback's reversal of Owens' Pop-up Powerbomb attempt into a Meathook clothesline was the standalone highlight of the outing. The finish was another underwhelming one, with Owens holding onto the ropes and then hitting a Pop-Up Powerbomb to get the win. Without a doubt one of Owens poorest bouts since joining WWE, at least the talent performer held onto the Intercontinental Championship. Here's hoping just like Seth Rollins that Owens is handed a more inspiring feud heading out of Hell in a Cell.


Winner - Kevin Owens via Pinfall (Pop-Up Powerbomb) in 5 minutes, 35 seconds





If the previous Hell in a Cell bout had started lacking a big fight feel, it was present in shed (or cell) loads for the main event. The sheer presence of Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker standing across the ring from each other, for what had been advertised as the very last time, was enough to get the crowd buzzing. Throw in the giant Hell in a Cell surrounding the ring and things were at fever pitch for one of the most anticipated matches WWE has put on a "B" PPV for a very long time. The two showed their veteran status keeping the crowd hooked with an epic stare down before the match even began.



Match 7 - Hell in a Cell - The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman





If the crowd were hot before the match, they got even hotter as things went on, with Taker and Lesnar holding them in the palm of their hands throughout. The duo kept things cleverly simple, turning the slightest movement in a big moment in the match. Take for example, Lesnar's first German Suplex attempt, now you wouldn't expect a suplex block to get a big pop, but when Undertaker shifted his hips and sent Lesnar to the outside and into the side of the cage, the crowd loved it. It was simple, effective storytelling that we'd see throughout the bout, that showed just how well Lesnar' "suplex city" gimmick has been used over the last six months. 






Whilst the pair throwing bombs at each other was exactly what the match needed to be and kept me on the edge of my seat, Lesnar getting busted open was done poorly. If you're going to disobey the boss and blade, make it look good! Even the commentary team made a point of saying that Lesnar didn't hit the ring post, and then suddenly Lesnar is pissing blood. It also meant we got a couple of stoppages as a doctor entered the cell, kind of ruining all the talk about how "brutal" Hell in a Cell matches are. With these draw backs in mind, the contest was still gripping for almost the entire 18 minutes, with Undertaker's Tombstone Piledriver onto the exposed boards being one of the best false finishes in years. As a closing chapter for the feud, it worked, it would be wrong to compare to their previous HIAC bout as they were at completely different times for the industry. This was a lesson in doing the most with what you have, and accentuating the positives.




Winner - Brock Lesnar via Pinfall (F5) in 18 minutes, 7 Seconds






The conclusion of the show was a rather interesting one and I'm not sure whether I feel like it would have been more effective on the next night's Monday Night RAW. Obviously, that would have involved having to use Undertaker twice, but an appearance on RAW after ending the PPV with an entire arena chanting "Thank You Taker" could have been hyped strongly and would have had a lot of intrigue heading in. Obviously WWE went with having The Wyatt Family take out The Undertaker to end the PPV, which may have been the cheaper option and I suppose also built some intrigue heading into RAW. The attack however was done very well, as was the symbolic nature of the Family carrying Taker out of the arena. John "Bradshaw" Layfield also deserves credit for an outstanding job on commentary throughout the attack. The adverts that ran for Survivor Series pushed the show as the 25th Anniversary of The Undertaker in WWE, so that'll certainly set fans minds racing with speculation of the coming weeks.




Finally...





ATPW Scale Rating: 6.05 - Good



This PPV was propped up by it's two eponynomous bouts. The two Hell in a Cell bouts were some of the best WWE has put on since going PG, both offering something and able to captivate a crowd. The World Heavyweight Championship failed to deliver anything close to what it needed to. Whilst the undercard was very poor, with only the Diva's Match standing out of the pack for me, this is concerning when you've got major returns like Alberto Del Rio and names like John Cena on that undercard. Lots of missed opportunities...but the two HIAC matches taking up the majority of the show, allowed this one to just grab it above a 6 rating (Good for PPV) on the ATPW Scale, putting it level with Payback and behind only Money in the Bank for B PPV's in 2015. 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Guest Article: The Women of WWE - Part 2 (Lily Lestrange)

So with the continuation of part one of this series of blogs I've decided that in part two I'm going to skip past a generation of fantastic ladies and plow on straight to the Attitude era.  I'll be doing more on the lovely ladies of the 80s and 90s on my own blog but for this guest series I've decided to cut it short so that it doesn't get boring or dragged out for too long.  There is so much great talent from this time period that it's just too much to cover in one blog.  

In this blog I'll be looking at some of the biggest and most successful ladies in wrestling.  I'll be starting with a personal favourite of mine. 

Chyna 



  

So let's disregard all of the controversy - and there's a lot of it - surrounding Chyna.  Forget her current plea to get into the Hall of Fame and her infamous film career.  Let's talk about Chyna, the living embodiment of an Amazonian warrior; the She-Hulk incarnate. Chyna achieved a huge amount in her career with the WWE: she is a two-time Intercontinental champion (and is the only woman to ever hold the IC belt), she is a former WWF Women's champion and she was the first woman to ever participate in a King of the Ring or Royal Rumble match.  She was also at one point the number one contender for the WWF Championship when she beat Undertaker and Triple H in a triple threat match but sadly lost it to Mankind shortly after.   

Chyna was a game-changer because she broke the mould of your traditional women's wrestler: she didn't look like all the others, who were athletic but nowhere near as jacked as she was.  She proved that women can be muscular and still be feminine, still be beautiful. She didn't act the way that most women do in the ring either; there was no hair-pulling or screaming like a banshee.  If she was in the ring then she was going to bulldoze you and hit you with a low-blow no matter what was between your legs.  Her feuds with the likes of Jeff Jarrett and Chris Jericho prove that mixed gender matches work and it's a shame that they didn't continue on with them because there are current Divas that could easily take on some of the guys on the current roster. 

It's hard to believe that she was only signed for 4 years with the WWF.  She achieved so much in that time and in my opinion she is more than deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame.  I highly doubt she'll ever be in it after all the mayhem that occurred just before and well after her departure but she definitely is deserving of a place.   







Lita is another favourite of mine, again for how she broke the mould and dared to be different.  She wasn't prissy, she wasn't a model; she was this bad ass punk chick with tattoos and her knickers hanging out.  As a kid that was always a little bit "different", that was so cool to watch and comforting to know that it was ok to go against the grain.  Everyone had a favourite wrestler as a kid and I guarantee it was always one that stood out and gave a big "fuck you" to the norm at the time.   


Lita's greatest time in the WWE was probably her time spent with Matt and Jeff Hardy as part of Team Xtreme.  She was part of one of many of their infamous TLC matches (and was the first woman to ever do so) and her part in Team Xtreme lead to her long feud with Trish Stratus that lasted from June 2000 right up until Stratus retired in 2006.  After Lita pinned Stratus in what was Stratus's last ever match she began feuding with Stephanie McMahon and ended up winning the WWE Women's Championship for the first time.   


There was a lot of Lita's career in the WWE that really didn't sit well with me though.  She was a brilliant wrestler who brought the Mexican-style wrestling into the ring that wasn't commonly seen in women back in those days but a lot of the time she was booked in romantic storylines involving one (or two, as it were) men.  Matt Hardy, Edge, Jericho, Kane... It was all so unnecessary.  She was a good wrestler and she proved that time again in her feud with Stratus, she didn't need to be involved in daft stories like the one with Kane.   

Despite the ridiculousness of some of the stories she was involved in, she went on to become a four-time WWE Women's Champion; she lost the belt to Mickie James in her retirement match at Survivor Series 2006.  Again, it's hard to believe that she was only with the WWE for 6 years given the impact that she has made.  She was deservedly inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014 by, of course, Trish Stratus.  


And that leads me on to the next part. 


Trish Stratus 




Of course, I couldn't write about Lita and leave out Trish Stratus.  Trish is a legend in her own right for what she managed to achieve in her career at WWF (and then WWE): she's a seven time WWE Women's Champion (the most reigns with this title that the WWE has seen in it's history), a one-time Hardcore Champion and she was named "Diva of the Decade" on the 10th anniversary episode of RAW.  That's a great deal considering that she had no previous experience in wrestling before coming to the WWE - before she joined she was a fitness model.  Fans nowadays always complain about Divas being signed when they have no previous experience but they forget that's exactly the same background that Stratus came from so it's just a case of waiting it out to see how good these women really are.   


Albeit at first, Stratus was used mostly for her appearance but as she got better in the ring she was given a lot more opportunities such as her aforementioned feud with Lita.  It took her a while but she eventually got the opportunity to wrestle after being involved in that ridiculous storyline with her having an affair with Vince whilst Linda was in a coma.  She feuded for the belt with people like Jazz, Molly Holly, Victoria and Mickie James, who was the last person to ever win the belt from Stratus.  After that Stratus won the belt from Lita in her last match in her hometown of Toronto (by using the Sharpshooter, might I add), she retired as the champion in 2006. 


She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013 by Stephanie McMahon.  Again, for only having been with the WWE for 6 years she achieved an incredible amount.  She proved that you can achieve anything if you put in enough hard work and dedication, no matter how much or how little experience you may have.  


And there we have it, three women of the WWE who all were a little bit different than the norm of wrestling at that time and yet still managed to rise to the top.  Of course, women like Molly Holly, Gail Kim and Mickie James all done great things in that era too but as I mentioned at the start, there's just not enough hours in the day to write about them all (or for you to read about them all!).  Next time I'll be taking a look at the more current WWE Divas who shouldn't be overlooked or underestimated.  


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Next week - The 2nd edition of Running the Ropes with Marc P! (Check out Part 1 here)

Thursday, 22 October 2015

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



Another weekend coming up and another edition of Ready For The Weekend. Let's not hang about, let's dive into the Aladdin's cave of British Wrestling and take a look at a few of the gems on offer.






Friday night kicks off the wrestling weekend with Fight Club: PRO at The Planet Nightclub in Wolverhampton. The first match announced by Fight Club: PRO was one that had any fan of tag team wrestling visibly frothing at the mouth to see as The Hunter Brothers, arguably one of the best tag teams in Europe right now face the reunited duo of Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews, collectively known as F.S.U. All four of these men have been tearing up FC:P for a number of years but when they are in tag team action, they take it to another level. This looks to be another memorable match for the history books of Fight Club: PRO. Speaking of history, two individuals who have a lot of history between them is Chris Brookes & Nixon Newell. Former tag team partners turned bitter enemies after Brookes turned his back on Nixon only to attack her on numerous occasions. Nixon has not backed down from Chris Brookes, getting her own back on her former partner at previous shows. Their issues need to be settled and on October 23rd they look to end it once and for all. The main event scheduled for 'Project Mayhem IV' will literally be a war of chaos. An 8-man war between MK McKinnan, Jimmy Havoc, Pete Dunne & Damian Dunne of K.Y.S. and Dave Mastiff, Clint Margera and Moustache Mountain's Tyler Bate & Trent Seven. Each team hates the other and everyone is out to prove a point to the other. The Planet has seen a number of battle over the years but this may be the biggest ever and forget the ring, the city of Wolverhampton may not be ready for the violence coming it's way this Friday night.







Moving on to Saturday night and Pro Wrestling Chaos will be at the Hanham Community Centre in Bristol with 'Total Chaos'. Unlike other shows that PWC have hosted in the past, this event has no matches for it at all. Now while this may seem strange, the whole premise of this event is that nobody will know who they are facing on the night. All we know is who will be there. We would normally talk about certain matches scheduled to take place but as we don't know what they'll be, we'll discuss a few of the men who will be in action. The first man who was announced for 'Total Chaos' was the reigning King Of Chaos Champion, Mike Bird. The champion has more knowledge of the night than others as he does know that he will be defending his championship in a match but he has no idea who his opponent will be or even how many there will be. He may have only just won the championship for a second time but he could have a reign that lasts less than one show if the draw doesn't fall in his favour. Another man confirmed for October 24 is the former Doomsday Killer, Gideon. After his return at 'The King Is Dead, Long Live The King', he has fire in him that few have seen from him. He will hope that he faces someone from the Doomsday Killers so help anyone else who happens to stand opposite him on Saturday. October 24th will also throw in even more unknowns when Chuck Cyrus & Pastor William Eaver both make their debut in Pro Wrestling Chaos. Both men will look to make a statement on their first night but against who, nobody knows.





Rounding off the weekend and Kamikaze Pro host 'Bank On It! 3' at the Meadway Sports & Social in Stechford, Birmingham. The main event will see the current Kamikaze Pro Tag Team Champions, The Hunter Brothers join forces with former WWE & WCW star, X-Pac to face the trio of Ryan Smile, Damian Dunne and the current Kamikaze Pro Champion, Robbie X. Smile, Dunne & Robbie X, collectively known as The Bigger Picture have been running thorough Kamikaze Pro, attacking anyone they choose and abusing the rules at any opportunity they can. Now the fight is fair with the numbers even and a team of champions and huge experience opposing them. We'll find out on Sunday if the road stops here for The Bigger Picture or if the Hunters & X-Pac will fall to the groups antics. October 25th sees the return of Kamikaze Pro's annual ladder match for the Money In The Bank contract. This year's feature numerous former champions with Tyler Bate, El Ligero, Juventud Guerrera & Dan Moloney all competing along with Clint Margera & Kay Lee Ray, who are no strangers to using weapons and taking the risks that this match will encourage. No clear winner in this match and anyone has what it takes to win the guaranteed 
championship match. Sunday night will also see the Kamikaze Pro Fighting Females Division in action as Toni Storm, Nixon Newell & Shanna compete in a triple threat match. Nixon & Shanna faced each other on Kamikaze Pro's last show with Shanna narrowly picking up the win. Now it's time to up the ante and the number with the inclusion of the very talented Toni Storm. While Shanna may have won last time, there is no indication to say that history will repeat itself as anyone of these women have the skills and talent to take the win in Stechford.



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 www.wrestleropesuk.wordpress.com for the latest show and match announcements, British Wrestling event list and more