Full disclosure - I'm not even an hour through Monday Night RAW yet.  Having stayed up until 11:00 (#NAIdraft 2.0), though, I am well aware of what is to come.  Car doors flying (and hitting children, apparently), Titus being ace on commentary, a main even match that should cause me to lose my mind.  I'm excited for all of that, and I encourage any of you Hall of Famers out there to share your own RAW responses here on NAI.

But today, I want to talk about the IC title picture. . . In a complimentary way.

Based on the Twittering I was seeing last night, I expected this match to be a train wreck, a travesty, a complete and utter waste of time.  That wasn't what I got, though.

Big Show, Ryback and The Miz put forth a quality, entertaining segment that continued to build their story heading into Battleground.

On Twitter, I called it "great", and while fellow NAIbor Chris (@ChrisToTheW) reminded me to put the segment in context, it still was very good.   Now, I have no love for Ryback, I've made that abundantly clear.  I also feel that Big Show needs to transition to an announcer role, pronto.

As for The Miz. . . Well, you know how I feel about him.  He has been on a role as of late, and this spot on the roster is the perfect chance for him to get over, while getting booed.  He's no longer getting "X-Pac heat", as most call it.  People are actually enjoying the over the top ridiculousness that is Mike Mizanin right now - He truly is becoming the guy we love to hate.

Like one would expect, his work during this segment was great, if a little too enthusiastic, if you catch my meaning.  I loved having him on commentary, distracting both talents in the ring, though I think we can all agree that the best Miz work of the night was done after the match, trying to find his way out of the ring, stuck between the irresistible force and the immovable object.  From a purely physical standpoint, Miz has no business being in the ring with either Big Show or Ryback, which is going to make it even sweeter when he wins the IC title.

(Yes, that's my prediction, and I'm sticking with it. Either the Ryback experiment is done or he'll be a legit, size wise, challenger to Brock's WHC.)

It wasn't just Miz that made that match, though.  We all anticipated that.

 I don't think any of us counted on Ryback and Big Show being that decent in the ring.

Again, I won't say they were "good", even.  That might be a stretch.  However, they were serviceable.  Ryback did the best he could fighting a 500 pound giant, breaking out his top rope splash once more, which I have to say, is impressive.

Big Show, however, struck me as the "star".  He's taking lessons from John Cena, dusting off some older favorites (He should be using the Haas of Pain during every match, IMO) and breaking out new ones, like the powerbomb faceplant and the second rope elbowdrop.  You had to take notice of that.

Sure, Big Show's time has come and gone, but I give him a lot of credit for still trying to improve in the ring.  It can't be easy to be a 43 year old giant.  Any effort he puts in, in my mind, is appreciated.

Long story short, folks, let's #PromotePositivity.  We all might have better ideas of how to use the IC title, there's no question.  But for what we've been given, that segment was pretty darn watchable.  Take off the bias blinders and watch it again.  You'll see what I mean.


What do YOU think?  Be Heard.

I’m not a patient man.

Perhaps its only child syndrome or perhaps its just impulse control issues, but patience and I have never really gotten along.  This, like most things, can be a blessing and a curse.  For one thing, it gave Mrs. Matthews and myself a very entertaining engagement story.  (My fervent paranoia comes into play there as well, but that’s another column.)

In terms of writing, my lack of patience means that when I get an idea that I think is good, I can’t help but run with it.  To that end, I’d like to welcome you to the first installment of Finisher Friday.  If you have read my initial column, where I gave new finishers to the former Shield brothers, you know what’s in store.  If you didn’t read it, how dare you!  Go read it, so you’re all caught up.


I had such a good time finally putting these ideas to paper, and it seemed to generate a decent amount of interest, so now we have yet another weekly feature, at least until Hall of Friday season kicks in again.

This afternoon I took to the Twitter and asked for ideas of whom fans would like to see get a new set of finishers.  Remember, they each have two in my world.  Based on votes and conversation, today we’re going to focus on two NAIborhood favorites. . . And, for some reason, Big Show.

Let’s get that one over with right now.

Big Show

As we were discussing Show on Twitter, somebody mentioned that Paul Wight had been advised by WWE lawyers to stop using the chokeslam as his finisher. In my very quick research, the only thing I saw regarding this issue is that Big Show has been told not to pretend to chokeslam fans.  Nothing that I found said anything about banning the Chokeslam altogether.

If there’s a reason why Big Show isn’t chokeslamming people anymore, I think it has more to do with his age and overall health than anything else.  At 43 years old and nowhere near the best shape of his life, its possible that Paul Wight just can’t pick up guys like he used to.

Finisher 1 - KO Punch

Look, this is not my favorite move in the world, but with wrestlers getting smaller and smaller these days, this makes a lot of sense.  A punch from this guy, especially if he makes it look legitimate, SHOULD knock out just about everyone on the WWE roster.

Finisher 2 - Hyper Drive / Earthquake Splash

Up until about 5 seconds before I wrote this section, I was going to give Big Show the Haas of Pain as his second finisher.  I love this move and I give Show all the props in the world for adding it to his arsenal.

The fans on Twitter, though, made very valid points.  Again, it comes down to size.  Big Show need only sit on a guy to be able to hold his shoulders down, so why not borrow Mojo Rawley’s finisher?  It’s not like he’s using it right now, plus it makes no sense for a guy Rawley’s size to be using.

Big Show runs the ropes, hops (he can’t jump) in the air and sits on his opponent.  It could even be a submission move if he felt like it.


Everyone’s favorite Swiss Superman seems happily ensconced in the tag team division, but that doesn’t mean his finishers couldn’t use a tweaking.  The Neutralizer, while fun, seems almost too easy for someone as talented as Cesaro.  We can certainly do better, no?

Finisher 1 - Pop Up Uppercut

Truthfully, Cesaro should and I dare say could be the Man of 1,000 Finishers.  Everything he does is so crisp and devastating-looking, you could tell me he’d start using the side headlock as a finisher and I’d be watching intently for it.

Still, the pop-up European uppercut is one of those moves that really should signify the end of a match.  He’s strong enough to send most talents wayyyyyy up high in the air and then BOOM!  They look like they were in a car crash.  Just awesome.

Finisher 2 - Swing into (Insert Leg Submission here)

You have to. . . HAVE to. . . take advantage of the popularity of the Cesaro Swing.  What better way than to have it be the beginning of his new finishing move?  Cesaro spins his ‘ponent round and round then takes his pick of any number of lower body submissions to force the tap out.

My personal preference, being the hardcore Dean Malenko fan that I am, would be the Texas (Swiss) Cloverleaf, but if this partnership with Kidd is going to keep going, I’m all for Cesaro starting to use the Sharpshooter as a sign of Canadian solidarity.

Bray Wyatt

If you paid attention on Twitter today, I apologize for the fact that you know what’s coming.  Don’t blame me, blame the genius professor known as MagnumNAI!

With the exception of the pose (kiss included) before the move, Sister Abigail, in my opinion, stinks as a finisher.  Seriously, I’m getting so sick of the myriad wrestlers using some form of double stomp / double knee (Backstabber) / Flatliner type maneuvers.

Aside: I watched Lucha Underground this week and while I didn’t count the number of Backstabber / Lungblower variations, I can safely estimate it was somewhere around 1209.  ie, WAY TOO MANY!

Anyway, Bray needs a change, and the secret to BOTH his finisher lies, like the hold word, in his hands

Finisher 1 - Asian / Oriental Spike

See that thumb there, the one all wrapped in a leather guard?  Bray’s going to take that thumb, stick it sideways, and shove it straight into the throat of this opponent with a great amount of force.

Imagine one of Kane’s throat thrusts, only with just the thumb.  The leather guard is perfect, as it adds a level of mystery.  Is Bray hiding something in there, something that would make the spike more effective?  Wyatt, master of theatrics anyway, would signal the move by holding his hand out to the side, showing off that dastardly thumb.  It’s perfect.

Finisher 2 - Mandible Claw

We haven’t seen, to the best of my knowledge, anyone use the Mandible Claw since Mick Foley, pretty much the only famous user of the hold, but with a little change to Bray’s guard, it’s another perfect fit.  If we add more leather over the middle and ring fingers, Bray now has two options from virtually the same position.

I’ve seen ideas for Bray to use the CrossFace Chicken Wing, but I already gave that to Ambrose.  He could also use the Million Dollar Dream or even the Tongan Death Grip, but I have plans for those as well.  The Mandible Claw would be a fantastic second finisher for Wyatt.  Just imagine him applying it with that great laughing face of his, kissing his victim’s forehead as he slips into unconsciousness.

I’ve been saying for a while now that Bray needs to go darker in order to be truly successful, and these two moves are some ways to do it.


What do YOU think?  Would these moves work?  Are there better ones?  Who should we look at on our next Finisher Friday?  Be Heard.

As many of you heard on NAIpod this week (and if you didn’t, what’s the matter with you?  Go listen!), one of the topics of discussion was the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.  Specifically, the talk revolved around who was going to be in it, since so many of the obvious choices for winners are otherwise booked at Wrestlemania this year.

Well, as Chief of Staff of the New Age Insiders, amateur and unofficial Statistician of the same organization, and just basically a guy who enjoys making lists, I decided to do some quick figuring, and I have some startling results.

I can easily see 30 superstars in this years Battle Royal.  Yes, that’s right.  Thirty.

All that would be required is literally using everyone on the WWE roster. . . Well, not everyone, I didn’t count David Otunga. . . Plus a couple of additional entrants from NXT (though not necessarily developmental talents), and it was easy.  I didn’t even consider those traditional “Surprise Royal Rumble” guys - RVD and Jericho to name a pair of them.  If I did that, I bet I could manage to squeeze 40 in.

While I doubt we’ll see 40 (or even 30, really) in the ATGMBR (now that’s a mouthful) this year, looking at the list I compiled did bring to mind some interesting ideas.  So, my friends, allow me to present to you 10 guys whom, in my opinion, could be potential winners.   In no particular order, let’s start with . . .

The Big Show

Well, OK, I guess I’m going in SOME sort of order.  Who better to win this than the guy whom, at one dark point in wrestling history, was billed as the progeny of the late Monsieur Roussimoff?

I know, I know. . . Basically ANYBODY ELSE would be better.

Still, it would make sense that a giant win a battle royal one of these days, doesn’t it?  And if the winner isn’t going to get a push of note (and let’s face it, have we seen any signs that they will?), why not let Big Show have a day in the sun.

. . . I hear your “eclipse” jokes, people. . . I hear them. . .


I honestly don’t think we’ll even see Sheamus in this match - He seems much more likely to show up in the next few weeks as part of the eleventeen man IC ladder match - but if Sheamus were to enter the Battle Royal, he’d immediately become a favorite to win.  Having a dominant performance here would remind fans that when he wants to be, Sheamus can be a brute, and it could (if he did it as a heel and with maximum violence) propel him into a potential contender for our new World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns.

Note:  I don’t particularly like the sound of that phrase, but I’m going to keep using it in the hopes that it grows on me in the next 3 weeks.

Bo Dallas

Here’s a return that I think we can all but carve out in stone for the Battle Royal.  As much as I would like to see Bo Dallas immediately insert himself into the IC title picture, I just don’t think its feasible. Truthfully, we’re far more likely to see Dallas eliminated within 15 seconds of the bell ringing than to last to the end.

I just . . .Won’t Stop . . . Bo-Lieving. . . Hold onto that feeeeelllliinnnggg. . .

Yes, kids, DC Matthews just broke out a Journey reference.  Google them - they were good.

Mark Henry

I’ll give full credit for this idea to (Originally I believed this to be Brandon McIntire, but open review it was @PJCooler) as I heard it on NAIpod and immediately knew it was super-plausible.  Henry is reportedly in as good a physical shape as he’s been in years, so if WWE wanted to use the Battle Royal as a launching point, having the Hall of Pain resume at Wrestlemania is a really good way to do it.

Damien Sandow

This is THE guy, in my mind, for this Battle Royal.  I know this, because I heard myself say it on NAIpod.  I truly believe that the Sandow / Miz storyline comes to a head at Wrestlemania.  There’s no point in having Sandow “snap” on a RAW (or God forbid, a Smackdown), especially when they’re both in this match.

The booking is easy as pie - Miz and Sandow wind up being the last two men in the ring.  Miz orders Sandow to eliminate himself, and when Damien hesitates, Miz slaps him yet again.  This sends Sandow over the edge, who sends his former boss over the ropes, winning the Battle Royal for himself and basking in the adoration of tens of thousands screaming fans.

How is that not the perfect way to book this match?


Alright, just for fun, let’s get to the more “out there” picks.

Big E

I assume that at least 2 members of New Day will be in this Battle Royal, if not the whole trio.  We’ve never really seen a team absolutely run amok through a match like this, but if they used teamwork and did a lot less crowd-playing, there is a possibility that these guys could do well.  Big E makes the most sense as a potential winner, since he really is a monster in waiting.

The Ascension

I know they seem to be as low down the WWE totem pole as you can get without being a Matador right now, but Wrestlemania would be a good time to re-introduce fans to Konnor and Viktor.  Why not have them, as I mentioned with New Day, run roughshod over the other combatants, working as a cohesive unit the entire time?  Then, at the end, rather than turn on each other, they lift the trophy together and declare their dominance over the entire roster.  Wouldn’t that be better than seeing them wrestle yet another tag team from wrestling’s past?


I really think we’re going to see either Rhyno or Kendrick (possibly both) as the “surprise” entrants in the Battle Royal.  It will garner much of the same reaction for the casual WWE fans tuning into Wrestlemania after who-knows-how-many months away and also provide an opportunity for the announcers to plug NXT without using an actual NXT guy.

(If the newest member of the NAI team Bill Neville was producing this blog, he’d cue the Tony Atlas laugh right here - Imagine, WWE announcers promoting NXT!!!)

While I don’t really see Rhyno winning this thing, it is possible that some of these veterans are going to get a second shot at WWE, so who knows?  It could happen!

Adrian Neville

If there’s going to be an NXT talent appearing in the Andre Battle Royal, it’s going to be Neville.  It won’t be Breeze (he’s more of a “RAW after Mania” debut, I think), and I’m sorry friends, but it’s certainly not going to be Finn Balor.

Note: In my head during the last 5 seconds, I just created a conspiracy theory that says the next NXT “special event” is specifically taking place before Mania so that when Finn loses to Owens, he can advance to WWE right away.  I don’t believe it for a second, but I’m sure somebody will latch onto it.

Neville makes a lot of sense in this match, and if WWE is going to go with some sort of “diminutive underdog” gimmick, winning a Battle Royal in his first match is a good way to start.

Daniel Bryan

Look, at no point in the last few weeks has Daniel Bryan announced he’s going to be in the IC ladder match.  To be honest, he hasn’t said much of anything about Wrestlemania, from what I’ve seen.  I made a prediction a while ago that there’s a very good chance Daniel Bryan goes from Mania main event to the Battle Royal, and I still think that’s a viable possibility.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner just might be Daniel Frickin Bryan.  Stick that on your Twitter feed and rant about it.


What do YOU think?  Who do you think are the favorites to win the Battle Royal?  Who do you want to see win?  Be Heard.

Hell in a Cell has come and gone, my friends, and while I did not get to see the live Twitter-verse reactions, I can tell that the overall impressions are positive.  As they should be, it was a quality show, which as many who don’t #PromotePositivity as much as I do would say, is a rare thing.

I had a fractured viewing of it (watched the first hour last night and the remainder between 3:45 and 5:15 this morning), so I’m probably not the best person to judge the overall product.  However, while I did enjoy the vast majority of what I saw, I can’t help but feel like I am wanting more.  In some cases, that’s a positive, but in others, not so much.

Maybe its that I have more questions than answers right now, so for today’s review, here’s what’s in store:

We start with the pre-show, where besides Paul Heyman’s deliciously disdainful commentary, the best part was

Mizdow TV

Impressions: I had hoped for some more overt signs of dissension in the ranks but it seems WWE is going with the slow burn for these two.  Perhaps that is because Sandow is making The Miz look so damn good.  The patter between the two was fantastic - I went from being legitimately annoyed at Miz for interrupting Sandow’s brilliance to laughing out loud with glee at their mutual exchanges of bro-love.  Most people (not me!) just wanted Miz to go away and never return, but now I think they are actually entertained by him.  Such is the power of Sandow.

Moment:  Sandow going back and forth between trying to copy the Miz’s words and yet be touched by the sentiment.  We discussed this on Twitter recently, but it bears repeating - Is Sandow a top 10 talent in WWE on a pure entertainment scale?  Could he even be top 5?

As for the question and what is next, we’ll save that for the match later in the evening.

We move on now to an unadvertised match, such as it was…

Mark Henry vs. Bo “Washington” Dallas

Impressions:  Not sure what the point of all that was, especially when you add it to the results of the Rusev match later on.  My biggest impression is that Bo Dallas needs more exposure and mic time.

Moment:  Bo’s entire promo, both pre and post match.  He was topical, heelish and yet still hilarious, even after getting his butt kicked.  I still Bo-lieve!

Question:  Could we see Bo Dallas become a mid-card title contender?  I’ll get to this with the next match, but it feels like we’ve seen all of the possible combinations of matches with the current crop of IC and US contenders.  Sliding Bo Dallas into the IC title picture makes sense to me, though I don’t think it’s what’s next.

What’s Next:  For Henry, we’ll once again wait ‘til the Rusev match.  As for Dallas, I think he continues to languish in the undercard for a while.  I don’t think WWE sees him as I do, as a guy who could give Ziggler a run for his money.  He’ll continue to be fodder for the guys they like, but don’t have a place for at the moment.

Now, onto the show proper.   As predicted, we began with what I truly (and incorrectly) thought would be the match of the night…

Ziggler vs. Cesaro

Impressions:  You know what happened here?  I fell victim to one of a WWE fan’s classic blunders.  No, thankfully it did not involve a land war in Asia, but it was almost as bad.  I fell victim to my own hype.  I spent so much time lauding this match as a potential all-time classic that when it was just an excellent match, I wound up disappointed.

I had really expected WWE to give these two 25 solid minutes to tell their story, and so when they moved from chain wrestling to the pinfall roulette in the first 5 minutes, I thought it was rushed.  Had I been more realistic and expected 15 minutes of action, I might not have felt that way.

I’m glad Ziggler is getting the chance to be a legit IC juggernaut in getting the win in straight falls, which I am sure nobody expected.  Cesaro also looked beastly, thanks to...

Moment:  Of course it’s the superplex.  That’ll be a highlight of his for a long, long time.  Serious strength required there.  Still. . .

Question:  What happens to Cesaro now?  He’s failed at capturing both the US and IC titles, and while this feud with Ziggler could continue, Ziggler made his point pretty clear that he was the better man.  With Cesaro still hugging the “tweener” line, there’s no obvious place for him to go.  Considering he is, in my mind and the mind of many others, the best in-ring talent WWE has, that’s a travesty.

What’s Next:  The fact that there is no clear cut place for Cesaro or Ziggler for that matter makes me think this feuds continues regardless of last night’s outcome.  Perhaps this brings out a darker, more vicious side of Cesaro since he was embarrassed at HIAC?  I’d sure like to see that.

This just in, folks, hold on, I’ve got something in the headset here. . . What’s that? . . . Really? . . . No way around it? . . .  Damn. . . Well, sorry gang, but I’ve been told that I need to discuss the Bella match.  I was going to gloss over it, but rules are rules. . .

Nikki Bella vs. Brie Bella

Impressions: Considering I was barely in the room and had the volume all the way down, my impressions are few and far between.  I’m sad this feud needs to continue and I weep for the real women’s wrestlers who are on the sidelines while these two hog the spotlight.  Seriously, why aren’t all the Cena haters blaming him for this?

Moment:  Nikki stealing the Yes! chants after winning.  For all I know, that’s been happening for weeks with this feud, but I got a kick out of it.  I’ll admit Nikki has the “evil woman” look down, though my ears fill with wax and my vision goes all fuzzy every time she grabs a microphone.

Question:  Can this be over now, please?  Of course it can’t, we’ve got at least another 30 days of this, but I think that was just about everyone’s sentiment last night.  Charlotte is languishing down in NXT right now, more so than any other talent considering she is so far above her competition, yet we’ll be getting 4 weeks of Brie getting coffee or being put in otherwise humiliating situations.

What’s Next:  I could honestly care less.

Dust Brothers vs. Uso’s

Impressions:  Another solid match by two solid teams.  My biggest impression is the one I always get watching the Dust’s - Goldust, at 45 years old, is in the best shape of his life.  He’s been wrestling for over 20 years, I’ve seen most of it, and he’s never looked better than he does right now.  The other impression is how much Cody Rhodes is obviously loving being Stardust.  A lot of people keep hoping Cody comes back, but honestly, when this team breaks up, I think it’s going to be Stardust vs. Dustin, not Cody vs. Goldust.

Moment:  When Michael Cole mentioned that the last team to hold the tag titles that weren’t in this match were the New Age Outlaws.  In 2014, only 3 teams have held the tag gold - These two teams, and a couple guys whose primes were over a decade ago.  Let that settle in for a minute.

Question:  Is the tag-team division dead?  I somewhat joked about this idea in my prediction column, but seriously, could we see the tag belts disappear?  The division is void of solid teams and the guys in NXT, as much as I love the Vaudevillains and the Lucha Dragons, aren’t going to save it.  I have to wonder if at some point, Vince and Co. will just decide to say “Screw it” and drop the belts for a year or two.  This is sad.

What’s Next:  Barring the formation of another team or, even more unlikely, moving forward on the Kofi / Big E duo, don’t these two teams have to keep fighting each other?  You can’t honestly tell me Slater-Gator or Los Matadores are contenders, can you?

Time for the most shocking moment of the night, when fans realized that WWE actually seems to know a bit about how to build a wrestling card.

Randy Orton vs. John Cena

Impressions:  WWE Blunder 2 - Never bet against #KidsAndTroops.  Many of us were really convinced Orton was going to emerge victorious, even if it was shady, and get a shot at Lesnar, but no such luck.   Instead we get Cena vs. Lesnar III: Suplexes In Space!

I think this is WWE’s way of covering their bases.  You’ve got a champion with questionable health (though reports say it’s not as bad as we originally thought), all the most likely Rumble comeback guys (Bryan, Reigns, etc.) also have doubts, so Cena once again is playing the role of the fall-back option.  If Lesnar can’t continue wrestling, Cena wins the belt and we move along.  If DB or Roman aren’t ready, Cena is, sadly, the best candidate to main event with Brock at ‘Mania.

I hate how this makes sense.

Moment:  I loved that Orton is becoming a DDP-level master of doing the Ace Crusher out of nowhere.  One of the best things about Dallas Page was that every week, we seemed to see a new version of the Diamond Cutter.  That’s what’s happening now with the RKO.  I’ve been toying with the notion of a series of Finisher columns for months now, but really, isn’t the RKO the best finisher going?

Question:  When does Cena / Lesnar take place?  I think we have a pretty good idea of where both guys are heading (hint: it’s the same direction) so the only question is when Brock comes back.  I’m still thinking it’s the Rumble, though that’s a lot of Heyman / Cena promos to sit through, and even these two can’t keep it going for 2+ months.

What’s Next:  Rollins.  Cena and Seth have unfinished business after Night of Champions and I’m sure we’ll get more Authority strife tonight.  Rollins rubbing it in Orton’s face that Mr. MITB won while Mr. RKO lost.  One half of the  main event of Survivor Series right now looks like a Triple Threat between these guys.

Sheamus vs. Miz

Impressions:  Meh.  This was the one match I probably paid the least attention to that didn’t involve a Bella.  I kept an eye on it in case of any Miz-communications (Sorry, Shannon, but I’m sticking with my pun), but outside of that, it was a match.  That’s it.

Moment:  Since it took place during the match itself, I’ll go with Mizdow selling the Beats of the Bodhran with a slight victory over the Sheamus puppet show post-match.  I’m telling you, Top 5 in entertainment value.

Question: How long can Mizdow take it?  While, to be fair, he’s being featured more prominently now than at any time since he held the MITB briefcase, I have to think Sandow rebels sooner rather than later.  We didn’t see any huge problems between the two last night, but they were there.  Maybe Miz takes issue with Mizdow copying his employer’s beaten form rather than trying to save him from humiliation…

What’s Next:  Miz in the same boat as Cesaro, really.  He’s battled, and lost, both the IC and US champion.  He can’t go back to Ziggler already, just like Cesaro can’t go back to Sheamus.  This mid-card scene is a funny place right now.

As for Sheamus, I think he has a date with the Bulgarian Brute on the horizon.

Rusev vs. Big Show

Impressions:  Solid match with confusing finish.  I’m sick of the uber-Russian gimmick and of people having to pick up the defense of America.  Like a lot of feuds going on now, I’m ready to move on.

Moment:  Big Show putting Rusev in the Haas of Pain was my favorite wrestling move of the entire night, and yes I’m even counting the SuperDuperPlex.  I loved every second of that, and if Rusev had tapped, I’d have celebrated.  I know Big Show is huge and has a legit knockout punch, but the Haas of Pain should be his finisher from now on.  So awesome.

Question: What was the point of Mark Henry being out there?  He didn’t attack Big Show, didn’t get him disqualified, didn’t even really factor into the match at all.  I don’t get the booking there.  We seem to be heading down a road towards another “battle of the giants”, why not start it on Sunday?

What’s Next:  Rusev goes after Sheamus.  He’s beaten just about everybody else, so unless Luke Harper comes back tonight as The Patriot 2.0, Sheamus seems to be the next logical step.  I don’t know if we’ll ever see the Russian title, but I’d pencil in these two for Survivor Series.

AJ vs. Paige

Impressions:  AJ looks like Punk more and more every week.  These two, compared to our first Diva’s match, can actually wrestle.  Paige tapped much too quickly.

Moment:  Paige doing her own version of the Cesaro Swing, though AJ’s rotation kept getting interrupted by the ringside barrier.

Question: Aren’t these two destined to be together?  Both are being booked as being crazy with no friends.  Both obviously have the love / hate thing down to a science.  Do we need to wait for Charlotte to come up before these two join forces?

What’s Next:  With Paige turning on Alicia, we’ll see some Triple Threat matches, I expect.  Much like the tag division, it’s not like there are a lot of contenders out there for either talent to face.

Ambrose vs. Rollins

Impressions:  Someone should study what they’ve done to the Cells over the years to protect people from massive blood loss.  Seems like in the original years you could get busted open just by looking at Satan’s Structure, now it seems like you can actually be forced through the holes of the Cell and still come out non-crimson.

The dual fall felt forced, especially from Ambrose, who seemed to just jump off to be like his friend Seth.  That moment felt very much like they were just shooting the highlight reel moment for the next 10 years of Cell matches.

Moment:  The elbow-drop onto the balanced table, however, now that looked amazing.  I seriously believed someone had broken a limb in that, especially with the way both wrestlers were tangled up at the end.

And, of course, Bray’s return.  It was a thing of beauty, although his uranage suplex (Rock Bottom for those playing along at home) is a better looking move than Sister Abigail.

Question:  How does Bray justify his actions?  As much as I have wanted to see these two feud (crazy has never been so much fun), Wyatt is going to have to make a very compelling case.  He can’t just be another Authority lackey nor can it just be because “I was unstable long before you” - there has to be a legit reason.  The only way I can see it going is for Bray to take issue with the fact that the WWE fans have rallied around Ambrose to save the company, when it is Wyatt himself who is their savior.

Either that or they need to drop the savior act altogether and Bray just did it to get noticed - picked the most over guy in the yard and beat him down.  Unlikely, but with more possibilities.

What’s Next:  Chaos.  And I can’t wait.

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