RIP Nick Menza

Ok this year has completely sucked in terms of all the celebrities and musicians we have lost this year (Alan Rickman , Lemmy, Prince, David Bowie to name a few) and I woke up to the news today that Nick Menza (former drummer for Megadeth) had passed away.

Normally I have posted social media statuses with a little personal message regarding the aforementioned people, but this one was particularly personal for me. I remember the first time I ever listened to Megadeth. I was 11-12 years old and had just heard Linkin Park’s ‘Hybrid Theory’ album, I was so excited by this new sound and had never heard anything like it. This was the first time I had heard metal music, and I absolutely loved it.

Not long after I began raiding my mum’s cd collection, trying to find anything remotely similar, this is when I found classics such as Metallica’s ‘Black’ album & ‘And Justice For All’ , along with a Motorhead album, Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ & ‘In Utero’ albums and the absolute legend ‘Jimi Hendrix’ with a compilation of his greatest hits.

I was so hooked on metal and rock and just wanted to find as much as I possibly could. The next possible opportunity I had I went to a HMV store and started scanning their ‘Metal’ section, I had no idea what to look for or what I wanted, I guess I just wanted something that looked cool, this is when I came across Megadeth’s ‘So Far…So Good…So What’ album and ‘Rust In Peace’. I loved the former, but the latter truly stood out for me. The cover stood out and it looked awesome!

Rust In Peace began my love affair with Megadeth, which has carried through with me straight into adulthood. Rust In Peace was a perfect album in every way, killer guitar riffs, awesome vocals and drumming that was so creative and technical, it was like nothing I had ever heard before. The drums weren’t just there to make everything loud and heavy, they existed to complement and often at times, outshined everything. This album was a masterclass in metal music, feeling often at times like the drums, guitars and bass were all competing with each other.

Gradually over the years, I collected all of Megadeth’s albums, but the standout albums for me were with Nick Menza on drums, his drumming for me, is one of the best things about listening to a Megadeth record. Just like many fans, I always wanted to see a reunion of the Rust In Peace era line up, though sadly this something we will never see.

I am very saddened to hear of this huge loss to the metal world and music world. My condolences go out to his family, his friends and his band members in Megadeth. Though this is a sad day, try to remember him in the best possible way, crank up Rust In Peace and blow yourself away, just like he did to us all those years ago.

RIP Nick Menza

– Christian Reeve

Grappler’s Choice #17: WWE Extreme Rules 2016 Predictions

With Extreme Rules right around the corner, I thought I would add my predictions for the upcoming PPV.

Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin (No Disqualification Match)

If WWE consider taking Baron Corbin seriously and pushing him any further, he needs to win this match. Given that Ziggler pulled off a surprise roll-up victory at WWE Payback, I predict Extreme Rules will be Corbin’s night. I think this will be a very brutal match, and Corbin will come out of it looking unstoppable.

Winner: Baron Corbin

The Usos vs The Club (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) (Tornado Tag Match)

The club should pick up the victory in this one. I think they will win and completely dominate in this match. This will be a sort of hint as to the outcome of the main event, however, I think it will contrast this match outcome (See AJ Styles vs Roman Reigns).

*I have a strange feeling that we might see the surprise debut of Finn Balor to assist The Club and help them pick up the victory*

Winners: The Club

Kalisto vs Rusev (with Lana) (United States Championship Match)

Rusev should pull off the win here, setting up a future rivalry with John Cena upon his return, I would say this is the most likely outcome. We’ve seen Kalisto win too many times, and simply put, the United States Championship needs a new champion in order to breathe some life into the division once again. I see Lana interfering in the match, costing Kalisto the match.

Winner: Rusev

The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & And/Or Xavier Woods) vs The VaudeVillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) (Tag Team Championship Match)

Considering Vince McMahon’s opinions on The VaudeVillains’ gimmick, together with, the very recent arrival of this team (they need more experience on the main roster), I see The New Day retaining the championships here. Enzo & Cass will win the gold most likely at Money In The Bank (providing that Enzo Amore recovers from injury).

I predict thereafter that The VaudeVillains will then defeat Enzo & Cass for the championships further down the line.

Winners: The New Day

Charlotte vs Natalya (Submission Match For the Women’s Championship)

As much as I’d love to see Natalya win, and as much as she deserves it right now, I can’t see it happening here. I think WWE want to stretch this as much as possible, I don’t think Charlotte will drop the title until at least Summerslam.

This will be a very close match, but I see Charlotte winning cleanly, leading to a subsequent storyline where she turns on her father – Ric Flair, owing to the fact that she doesn’t need him to interfere in order to win matches.

Winner: Charlotte

The Miz (With Maryse) vs Cesaro vs Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn (Match for The Intercontinental Championship)

This was incredibly close to call, but owing to personal interests on this match (I made a few bets aha :D) ,as well as, observing recent feuding and hints over the past 2-3 weeks, I think we will definitely see a new champion, and I think that man is going to be Sami Zayn.

Cesaro definitely deserves this win more than any of the four men, he needs it the most, but I don’t think WWE are gonna allow it this time around. I think WWE are keeping Kevin Owens free for ‘The Money In The Bank’ ladder match (I think he will win) so that rules him out, keeping The Miz as champion doesn’t achieve anything or serve any purpose, he’s a fantastic heel champion, but the division needs a new man holding the belt. This leaves us with Sami Zayn, who has yet to win a championship on the main roster. All of the three men have won mid card or main event championships, and I think out of the four men, Zayn needs this the most right now.

Winner: Sami Zayn

Dean Ambrose vs Chris Jericho (1st ever Asylum Match)

To give this match any credibility, Dean Ambrose has to win. This should be ‘his’ match, and should be synonymous with him, just like ‘Hell In A Cell’ is synonymous with The Undertaker. Therefore, picking up the win in this match should be a must.

Secondly, given the fact that Ambrose is getting a push recently (having largely been undefeated), it does not make sense for him to lose to Chris Jericho. Jericho should put him over and Ambrose should carry this forward, ideally getting put into the WWE championship picture. This should also be the final match between these two, effectively ending the feud.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

AJ Styles vs Roman Reigns (Extreme Rules Match for The WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

I think everyone in the WWE universe right now would love to see AJ Styles pull off the victory, but sadly, that isn’t going to happen.

WWE is firmly behind their ‘Guy’ – Roman Reigns, so any chance of Styles winning is out of the question. I would be stunned if the result were the opposite. In regards to what I said earlier with the tag team match involving The Club & The Usos, I think that The Club will cost AJ Styles the match and betray him. I think Finn Balor will join The Club and all three men will interfere toward the end of the match, attacking Styles and then leaving, allowing Reigns to pick up the victory.

This will allow Reigns to feud with Cena/Rollins or whoever for the WWE championship going forward, and will also create an AJ Styles vs The Club (with new leader ‘Finn Balor’) feud.

Winner: Roman Reigns

– Christian Reeve

Grappler’s Choice #16: Crowded Tag-Team Division?

With the recent and somewhat underwhelming debut of repackaged team ‘The Shining Stars’ (Formerly Los Matadores), Epico & Primo have rejoined what is now becoming a huge division within the WWE, but are they joining an overcrowded one?, one in which they are likely to disappear quickly?

Other recent additions have included ‘The Club’ (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows), The Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth), the newly formed ‘Fandango & Tyler Breeze’, The VaudeVillains and Enzo & Cass, to name a few.

Too many teams?

Whilst it is very exciting to see so many teams in the division, one has to wonder how it will proceed going forward. Oversaturated is a word that comes to my mind, simply because, it is seemingly insane to have all these teams competing for one set of tag team titles, especially considering , even more teams will be set to make their main roster debuts from NXT (Current NXT Tag Team Champions ‘American Alpha’ for example – Chad Gable & Jason Jordan) in the near future.

Options going forward

From what I can see, there are only two options to solve this problem. Either: 1.You break up some of the teams, set up rivalries and feuds and generally reduce the size of the division or 2.WWE considers bringing back the Raw/Smackdown brand split, whereby two tag team championships may be introduced onto the roster.

This ,of course,  occurred before during the previous brand split, whereby Smackdown hosted the ‘WWE Tag Team Championship’, whilst Raw hosted the ‘World Tag Team Championships’ and whilst there was a clear difference between the two in terms of the fact that they were held on different ‘brands’, it wasn’t necessarily clear which one was more prestigious, considering the fact they were named differently but did not reflect their respective shows.

In this sense, if a brand split does occur again, I consider that WWE should introduce a ”WWE Raw Tag Team Championship’ & a ‘WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship’, thereby making a differentiation between the two and making it clear that there is no difference in terms of prestige.

Raw vs Smackdown PPV?

In addition, on a totally unrelated note, I think that if WWE brings back a brand split, they should consider introducing a ‘Raw vs Smackdown’ PPV, in which champions from both shows face off against eachother, to determine which show is better.

I guess I am still living in a fantasy booking world, but with all the speculations and rumours of a brand split once again, it does bring forward some very exciting implications and potential eventualities that may come intro fruition.

Fundamentally however, the tag team division needs to be changed in some way in order to accomodate the sheer number of teams.

The current champions

I guess that there is a potential third option which could be; an increase in title defenses and changes, however each set of champions need to reign for awhile to establish some sort of a following and get over with the crowd. If you have month reigns and then push the next tag team, it simply becomes too reptitive.

However, the current situation with The New Day reigning for this extended period has led to them achieving much more unenthusiastic crowd responses, which may be due to the fact that the fans want to see something different, instead of the same promos and the same winners each week.

I love The New Day gimmick, don’t get me wrong, but everything has its day, and in wrestling you have to keep reinventing yourself, and keeping yourself relevant. Even a change in attire can achieve you further interest with the fans, as they often will speculate behind the change, arguing that it may signal a push or an upcoming change in the character (e.g. a heel turn).

– Christian Reeve

Grappler’s Choice #15: Classic WWE

Remember the days when WWE/WWF did awesome video packages for promos, when they captured all the raw emotions and build up perfectly, sprinkled some awesome music on the top and made you love one guy, whilst simultaneously detest the other?

Well, those days are not long and forgotten, if fact they’re making a comeback in a big way. I realise what I’m saying is quite vague at this point, so allow me to elaborate somewhat.

Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn

Amongst other things, the recent feud with Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn brought something with it that has been missing from the WWE product for awhile now, and that’s authenticity. The whole video package of these two superstars who were best friends and are now sworn enemies is completely compelling and believable. It pretty much sold itself and these two didn’t need to do much to get the crowd engaged in the storyline. But this small addition was a significant bonus, it really was the icing on the cake for me.

Triple H vs Shawn Michaels 

For some reason, it reminded me of the video package of Triple H & Shawn Michaels from Summerslam 2002. Everything about that video package was perfect, it really nailed the emotional side of things, it made us absolutely hate Triple H for betraying Shawn Michaels, it was nostalgic and reminded us of the memorable moments with those two from the past, but most importantly, the video was able to stir the right emotions with the crowd. Of course, the video package is a small part of the feud itself, the superstars have to sell it and make the crowd feel it each week in the lead up to a PPV, but this video really wrapped everything up nicely.

And for me, the Owens vs Zayn package for WWE Payback did exactly the same thing. I know I often write about things the WWE needs to do or isn’t doing, or they are simply doing wrong, but I feel it’s important to also say what they’re doing right, because, after all, there’s plenty of reasons why we tune in every week, and plenty of reasons why we’re still engaged, even if the product isn’t always to our liking.

With that in mind, I also wanted to comment on the recent three feuds between Roman Reigns & AJ Styles, Chris Jericho & Dean Ambrose and Natalya & Charlotte.

Roman Reigns vs AJ Styles

The Reigns vs Styles feud was brilliant in quickly shifting the focus away from the Styles vs Jericho feud. Many fans (including myself) were unhappy that Styles lost to Jericho at WrestleMania, it seemed pointless in their storyline and it really didn’t do anything for either of the superstars, they seemed to just go their separate ways.

However, not long after we were treated to an exciting Fatal-Four-Way match to decide the number one contender for the WWE championship, AJ Styles came out on top, and now we’ve received a very engaging feud between the two, which has also brought us the debut of the Bullet Club in the WWE, as well as, what looks like a new stable in the form of Roman Reigns & The Usos (which is being billed as ‘The Family’ or ‘The Bloodline’ – I think they should stick the latter, it sounds much cooler).

The feuding between these two stables has become a little too repetitive for my liking, and there’s only so many times you can see the same people in the ring before you get bored (unless the superstars are truly captivating and involved in an intense rivalry). With that being said, the upcoming rematch between Reigns & Styles is looking very exciting. My only hope is that AJ Styles will come out on top.

Roman Reigns – changes needed?

I really feel that if Roman spends some time away from the title picture, gets a slight change in gimmick (e.g. new entrance theme, new ring attire etc) it might breathe some life into his character again and inspire the crowd. It’s been spoken about a million times, but yeah, Roman is not getting over with the crowd right now, and it’s not because he isn’t talented or doesn’t deserve it, it’s because he isn’t being booked properly.

Reigns has done everything he can to improve (he’s worked on his mic skills, improved majorly in the ring etc) and now it’s up to WWE to push him in the right way. Many spectators have argued that an outright heel turn would be beneficial for him, and whilst I’m inclined to agree (having seen his brilliant work in NXT as a heel) I don’t think this is the way to do it. Because turning him heel right now won’t get organic heat.

These boos aren’t because Reigns is ‘the bad guy’ or because he ‘isn’t good’, it’s because WWE haven’t booked him correctly, and so his character has suffered as a result. I am completely contradicting previous blogs I have made about Reigns, but to be honest, over time things change, and so too has my opinion of both him and the current situation. I think if they take Reigns out of the picture, repackage him slightly and give him a push in a non-title capacity, he will achieve the right response from the crowd. But that’s just my opinion, I’m not an expert, just a fan.

Y2AJ/ Jericho vs Styles/ Jericho vs Ambrose

Fans might also remember the earlier initial ”Y2AJ” tag team partnership between the two earlier in the year that was somewhat short-lived, it left fans confused and disappointed and also seemed somewhat pointless when you consider the fact that they even went as far as to sell merchandise for the team on WWE Shop. With that being said, this current Jericho heel turn has been brilliant, possibly one of his greatest so far (although his feud with Shawn Michaels in 2008 will likely remain his best heel turn of all time) and Chris has really pushed himself both as a wrestler and a performer this time around.

This current feud with Ambrose, in my opinion, has run its course and both men need a new challenge. I feel that Ambrose should be in contention for the WWE title after Extreme Rules, and I think that Jericho should get put into the Intercontinental Championship picture because 10-time champion has a great ring to it – don’t you think? (The same goes for the Dudley Boyz too, let’s make it 10 WWE!)

Jericho In General

It would be good to give him another championship run, perhaps back to back PPV title defenses thereafter, and this could then culminate in him dropping the title to an up and coming star (for instance, Baron Corbin who is currently losing his momentum after successive losses to Dolph Ziggler).

Some might say that the whole ‘passing of the torch’ idea is lame and overused, and I would be inclined to agree in some instances, however, the WWE is an open door for Jericho and considering the fact that he’s also involved with other ventures (Fozzy, Talk Is Jericho etc) I’m sure he wouldn’t mind putting someone over before he leaves. On that note, I’m happy to see Jericho winning matches again and not just putting over up and coming talent all the time.

Misused Superstars

He has been used incorrectly by WWE in the past, and this undermines his achievements within the company and his character as a whole. He isn’t the only superstar to suffer this fate by any means, but I feel inclined to comment on this issue, as it’s ridiculous for superstars to be put in this position. In all honestly, I thoroughly dislike the misuse of many superstars (both former and current) and I don’t think that consistent jobbing is ever ok, as it damages superstar reputations.

Whilst we all know the reality of professional wrestling with regards to the staged aspect of it all, it’s nice to be able to buy into the ‘story’ of it and if I’m honest, this is what has always drawn me into it. Ryback, Dolph Ziggler, Tyler Breeze – I could name so many superstars that suffer this fate, so I will leave it there. Sorry to take this post in a negative turn, but I like to give a clear and honest opinion on everything.

Women’s Division

Back on a positive note, The Women’s division is very exciting at the moment and just keeps on giving.Natalya vs Charlotte has been a  very mixed bag in my opinion. I felt that the whole ‘Chicago Screwjob’ idea was completely ridiculous and just insensitive to Bret Hart, but with that being said, the wrestling between these two superstars has been excellent. Fans appear to be fully invested in it and I have to say for me it’s been more compelling and exciting than the WWE title feud.

Natalya vs Charlotte (Extreme Rules) Part 1

I think that if Natalya wins at WWE Extreme Rules, we have seen a good feud that makes sense, but if she doesn’t, It will become a terrible one. Whilst that may seem like a very extreme opinion, you have to consider the fact that these two have been on and off feuding since WWE Roadblock. Charlotte is an extremely talented wrestler and has proven multiple times that she deserves the title, but we need to get more excitement pumped into this division. For example, many fans want Sasha Banks to become champion, and yet she’s been all but forgotten since her opportunity at WrestleMania 32.

Title Additions & Considerations

This for me is one of the reasons why I believe there to be a case for creating mid-card & tag team championships for the Women’s division (please check out Grappler’s Choice #14 for a deeper explanation on this issue), as it would create even more excitement for the Women’s division, and give the wrestlers that are not in the current title picture opportunities elsewhere. In fairness, there are interesting feuds developing (for instance, Emma/Dana Brooke vs Becky Lynch) but I still argue that WWE should introduce more titles, simply put, the women’s division is expanding and developing at an ever-increasing rate, so now is the time for WWE to capitalise on it.

This for me is one of the reasons why I believe there to be a case for creating mid-card & tag team championships for the Women’s division (please check out Grappler’s Choice #14 for a deeper explanation on this issue), as it would create even more excitement for the Women’s division, and give the wrestlers that are not in the current title picture opportunities elsewhere. In fairness, there are interesting feuds developing (for instance, Emma/Dana Brooke vs Becky Lynch) but I still argue that WWE should introduce more titles, simply put, the women’s division is expanding and developing at an ever-increasing rate, so now is the time for WWE to capitalise on it, and make it even more spectacular.

Natalya vs Charlotte (Extreme Rules) Part 2

If Natalya does win, we should receive a very refreshing and interesting title reign where we will likely see many title defenses. Natalya is a ‘fighting champion’ style wrestler, so if she wins it will be likely that she will want to remind everyone how good she is. With that in mind, I think an eventual heel turn for her might be a good idea after some passes, just to add another interesting element to her character. She’s a complete face at this point, so it would be very entertaining if she could successfully pull it off. Perhaps I live in the fantasy booking world a bit too much..

Overall, WWE is returning to it’s classic formula, we’re seeing exciting and compelling matches, interesting and compelling character developments, and a generally entertaining product. Sure, not everything will be what people like, but it’s impossible to please everyone. In my opinion, they’re on the right track and the future looks bright.

– Christian Reeve

 

Grappler’s Choice #14: Women’s Wrestling Show

So I was scrolling through comments on an article I wrote for ‘Give Me Sport’ discussing Women’s wrestling in the WWE, specifically, the prospect of introducing female equivalent titles to the Intercontinental & United States Championships.

I found a fantastic comment from a user who was commenting on the status who suggested the idea of WWE producing a Women’s Wrestling Show. He suggested it would be a great addition to the WWE network and I have to agree!

The WWE Network

WWE has produced quite a lot of varied content for its network in fairness to them. It’s arguable that many people would have assumed that it would simply feature Raw, Smackdown, PPVs and past content, however, that’s not the case!

WWE has opted to include entertainment such as the reality tv series ‘Total Divas’, various shows such as the ‘Edge & Christian Show’ and ‘Ride Along’, as well as, a new animated adult cartoon series titled ”WWE Camp”.

There will, of course, be mixed opinions among fans, wrestling professionals and everyone else in the industry. In fairness, the aforementioned shows are barely related to wrestling, but the WWE is a ‘sports entertainment’ company, so it’s very difficult to draw a line with them, in terms of where the entertainment ends, and the wrestling begins.

Women’s Wrestling

But back to the topic at hand, I think that in line with my initial suggestions regarding the addition of new wrestling titles for the Women’s division, the inclusion of a separate show would really help to raise the status of this division, and create more of a buzz for Women’s wrestling. It already has so much momentum given recent developments such as the rebranding of the division, the new championship belt, and of course, the exciting matches and feuds we’ve seen over the past few months. The triple threat match for the Women’s championship still sticks out in my mind as one of the best matches on the card at WrestleMania.

Just a quick idea I wanted to share with you all!

– Christian Reeve

 

Grappler’s Choice #13: The Next ‘Paul Heyman Guy’

Good morning everyone! Please accept my apologies for the delay in my posts recently. As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently very busy with exam revision for my second year of university, together with, writing articles for Give Me Sport. It’s very exciting to be speculating on rumours, current storylines, and providing opinions for them in regards to what might or should occur in this respect.

For anyone who enjoys discussing WWE or Sport in general, I sincerely recommend applying to them to become a writer – it’s really rewarding!

Now back to the matter at hand.

Brock Lesnar

As some may or may not know, Brock Lesnar will likely be out of action for some time, owing to the unique nature of his contract. Many high profile superstars on the roster have this luxury and tend to exercise it straight after an intensive series of promos and matches (other examples include John Cena, The Undertaker and The Rock to name a few). We haven’t seen Brock Lesnar since WrestleMania 32, and I’d wager we won’t be seeing him again until at least summertime (build up to SummerSlam perhaps?).

In light of this, Paul Heyman is of course not occupied with representing Brock Lesnar as his ‘advocate’, leaving many possibilities open in terms of superstars he might wish to represent in the absence of Lesnar.

New Paul Heyman guy?

Some wrestling sources have already speculated on this and have come up with some decent options (Kevin Owens tends to pop up as a strong contender) however I don’t feel he particularly needs it. He’s brilliant on the mic, he’s fantastic at cutting promos and Owens simply just doesn’t need that kind of support. If we consider how powerful Lesnar looks when Paul Heyman does the talking for him, we can see the kind of respect he demands from the crowd, simply by describing the monstrosity of his client. That’s not to say Lesnar can’t cut a decent promo on his own, he did very well back in 2002/2004 when he and Heyman split, but there’s just something about him and Heyman together which is so much more inspiring and compelling to watch and listen to.

I think Paul Heyman’s next ‘guy’ should be Baron Corbin. This man looks fearsome in the ring and when he speaks on the mic. However, he was recently booked to lose a match against Dolph Ziggler in an ongoing feud he has with the superstar, which consequently ended his undefeated streak on the main roster.

I think this was a poor move by WWE this early on in Corbin’s career. At this stage, we are only discovering what his character is about and what his motives are as a superstar. Whilst we have seen him in NXT for a long time, the main roster is different and there are all kinds of disparate superstars he may work with.

Why Baron Corbin?

fedfe

Personally, I think he’s a main-event guy, through and through. It doesn’t matter if he slips down the card in the future (even the top guys do that), but his first run should include a WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign.

He’s a natural heel and WWE should take advantage of this. Could you imagine some of the rivalries he could have at the very top? (Corbin vs Owens, Corbin vs Reigns , Corbin vs Ambrose etc) I particularly like that last one, I think those two could have tremendous chemistry together, and could pull off fantastic promos.

Paul Heyman should represent Corbin because it will add strength to his character. Heyman’s years of experience in the industry will be invaluable in helping this superstar grow and develop his character. Heyman works particularly well with heels and tends to inadvertently get them over with the crowd despite trying to achieve a heat response. For instance, Lesnar was supposed to be a heel in the storyline with Roman Reigns, and yet Reigns was booed the entire time and every time Lesnar comes out; the crowd literally repeats everything Heyman says word-for-word – what does that tell you about this guys influence?

Whatever the decision, WWE needs to do something with Corbin quick or they will lose the momentum they have (it is already waning after that defeat to Ziggler). This guy is a future main eventer, you heard it here first!

– Christian Reeve

 

Grappler’s Choice #12: Fantasy Tag Team

Give Me Sport

Ok so just a quick plug here, but recently I applied to ‘Give Me Sport’ to become an article writer and was successful!. I haven’t been focusing on this blog much due to this and revision for upcoming exams at university. But anyway, if anyone is interested in reading my articles you can find them here – http://www.givemesport.com/christian-reeve

Ok so now that’s out of the way, I wanted to discuss this fantasy tag team idea that I have which I think is highly unlikely to occur, but would be absolutely awesome to see in the WWE.

Baron Corbin & Bray Wyatt Tag Team – Why should it happen?

I think that WWE should create a tag team out of Baron Corbin & Bray Wyatt. Considering the recent rumours that the Wyatt family stable is likely to disband in the near future, it would interesting to see how he could work with Baron Corbin. Though both men have yet to cross paths, there are similarities in terms of how mysterious both competitors are, as well as, the positive crowd reactions they both receive.

Considering the recent injuries that Bray Wyatt has faced, tag team action might be a good option for him in the recovery process. It’s not necessarily too demanding (depending on who they face and the nature of the matches) and would allow the fans to see something new, fresh and exciting.

It would help to elevate Corbin, both men could potentially get a tag team championship under their belts, and it would provide the WWE with more time to plan the futures storylines and pushes for both men.

Perhaps I am living in a fantasy world, but this one seems much more enticing in comparison with some of the storylines we have seen over the past two years. However with that being said, I cannot deny that I’m extremely excited to see WWE Payback; even more than I was to see WrestleMania!

WWE has created some fantastic matches and storylines recently, leaving many fans with hundreds of questions and that’s exactly what we need. We need unpredictability and compelling storylines.

And on that note, I believe this fantasy tag team should be one to seriously consider.

– Christian Reeve

Grappler’s Choice #11: Shane McMahon Vs The Authority

WWESince Wrestlemania 32 Shane McMahon has been in control of Monday Night Raw. In a decision made by Vince McMahon which essentially dismissed the earlier stipulation made in the ‘Hell In A Cell’ match that Shane McMahon would only gain control if he beat the Undertaker, WWE appears to have ignored this stipulation, opting to give Shane O Mac control regardless.

This has led to rumours speculating that The Authority is likely to return to the WWE and challenge Shane’s claim to authority. Considering the fact that Triple H has returned to in-ring competition on the European tour, some sources are claiming that this may lead to a challenge from Triple H to Shane McMahon. In any case, the following are two scenarios that might occur if we are to see a return from The Authority.

Potential Scenarios

  1. Shane McMahon Vs Triple H: Shane’s match at Wrestlemania 32 demonstrated to fans and superstars alike that he is still ready and able to compete in matches. Triple H likewise returned at The Royal Rumble, won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and proceeded to retain it until his eventual loss at Wrestlemania. Therefore, we might see a ‘one on one’ match for control of the company between these two. This would likely culminate in a showdown at Summerslam.
  1. Classic Survivor Series Match: This would also serve as a means of deciding who gets full control of Monday Night Raw, whilst also creating a classic Survivor Series elimination match. We’ve seen this style of match before back in 2001 with the invasion storyline, or in more recently in 2014 with ‘Team Cena’ vs ‘The Authority’. This option would mean that the storyline would take need to be much longer, however this power struggle over the course of the year could provide some exciting entertainment for WWE fans. Given how exciting recent WWE Raw events have been, this storyline could serve as a means of providing fans with more a creative, dynamic main storyline, whilst also serving as a means of quietly removing The Authority angle, which has had many fans scratching their heads in regards to how long the storyline has lasted.

Grappler’s Choice #10: Chyna ‘The 9th Wonder Of The World’

WrestleMania_17.10

Today marks the passing of Joan Marie Laurer, known in the wrestling world as ‘Chyna’. I wanted to share my thoughts on my memories of watching her whilst I was growing up, as well as, to give everyone an idea of why she was such an important person within the wrestling industry.

Chyna was a key figure in the ‘Attitude Era’ of WWE. As a member of the popular stable ‘DX’ she would always be present during matches and promos. When she was introduced to WWE she was a silent performer, rarely uttering a word and existing as more of an entourage to Triple H. Immediately she demonstrated her strength as a competitor and over time began to pick up singles victories left, right and centre in the women’s division. She revolutionised the division and paved the way for many of the fantastic female competitors you see now.

Chyna achieved feats that no other female competitor has achieved before in the WWE and the field of wrestling in general. For instance, Chyna is the only woman to have ever held the Intercontinental championship and most likely will remain so.

This of course means that Chyna regularly competed with male superstars, having defeated Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle and Triple H in singles competition. She also competed in mixed tag matches, most memorably with DX and with Eddie Guerrero.

When I remember Chyna I do not consider the hard times she had in later life or the struggles that we heard of throughout more recent years, I remember her as I did when I was a kid growing up; an absolute star. I remember forgetting very quickly the novelty of Chyna defeating male superstars, I just remember her being an absolute legend in the WWE.

My absolute favourite memory of Chyna will always be of her entrance at Wrestlemania X7 (17). Chyna had returned to singles competition in the female division, she had a change of appearance, and had recently recovered from a neck injury at the time.

She brought a pyro gun out and made an incredible entrance, not to mention her outfit was very memorable too. Chyna went on to win that match and become Women’s champion again, on the grandest stage of them all.

I am saddened by her passing, at such a young age. But I am comfortable in the knowledge that her legacy will live on. You just have to look at the women competing these days and see how incredible they are as performers. Women are taken seriously as competitors now in the WWE and elsewhere in the wrestling world, and you can thank Chyna for being a crucial part of that.

I would also like to add that I feel it would only be fitting for Chyna to be posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame for the class of 2017. This is just a thought, but I honestly believed this before she had passed and will continue to believe so.

If you had never seen Chyna perform before, I honestly recommend it. She was an incredible performer and it’s worth watching.

RIP Joan Marie Laurer (AKA Chyna)

Grappler’s Choice #9: WWE Payback Predictions

*This was an unsuccessful post that I submitted to ‘Give Me Sport’ in the hopes of becoming a writer for them. I thought it would be good to post it anyway and see what everyone thinks of the upcoming PPV. And who knows, maybe I will be successful in the future!*

Payback, an aptly named title for our follow-up PPV to Wrestlemania. Things have been anything but calm since the ‘showcase of the immortals’. Shane O Mac has been running Raw and booking fantastic matches left, right and centre. Thanks to Shane we had the joy of watching a weekly tag team tournament, with the winners getting a chance at championship gold.

Enzo & Cass took the tag team division by storm when they made the leap to the main roster from NXT. Now they have an opportunity to face off with The New Day. Personally I think the winners of the tournament should have faced off against the tag champions at Payback, but this is most likely going to be saved for the next PPV. Enzo & Cass to win this one, they look like one of the most dominant and strong teams on the roster. Mic skills, power and charisma – they’ve got it all!

My winner for the Women’s Championship match is Charlotte. I’ve seen rumours online surfacing that indicate WWE might be pushing Sasha Banks to topple Charlotte at Summerslam. Natalya is a deserving champion and it would be great to see her win, especially considering the fact that Bret Hart will be at her corner for this match. However, I see Natalya being screwed out of the championship again (just like she did at Roadblock). Although this might be a good thing if we consider this prospect ‘Charlotte vs Natalya vs Sasha Banks’…..

Kevin Owens should come out on top for the match up against Sami Zayn. He’s already had a good run as Intercontinental champion and the WWE really needs more main-eventers, so he should keep winning. Owens is your man for this one. Going forward, I see Sami pushing for a mid-card championship at this point. Considering the fact that Jericho buried Styles at Wrestlemania (which made absolutely no sense by the way, especially since he’s facing Roman Reigns for the WWE championship now…), it would make more business sense for Ambrose to come out on top here, especially if WWE want him as one of their ‘top guys’. My gut feeling tells me Jericho will come out on top here though, I think we’re gonna see a long feud here.

What would this PPV be without some Payback? , I seriously think Zack Ryder should interrupt The Miz and cost him the championship to Cesaro. Cesaro doesn’t need the help at all, but this would create a brilliant feud between The Miz & Ryder, whilst also giving Cesaro the push he deserves. Cesaro to win this one though, regardless of potential interruptions.

And finally, our main event. Given the recent introduction of the ‘Bullet Club’, I really believe Styles could pull this one off. But given that Reigns is the WWE’s handpicked guy, I think this will be another chance to show how ‘strong’ he is, as he will most likely take out everyone. Reigns will come out on top here.