I try to not be too excessively nit-picky when it comes to pro-wrestling making sense, but Triple H threatening to not produce any Sting merchandise when they’ve already sold his shirts for a while seems a bit silly. If he threatened to take it away that would be one thing, but as far as I can tell the only thing Triple H has over him now is a Hall of Fame induction. Empty threats aside, I’ve actually enjoyed the build up to Triple H vs Sting so far. While Sting isn’t bad on the mic or anything, I think having him stay silent so far is doing a good job of keeping his mystique. Before this feud officially kicked off I remember thinking that any use of Sting outside of facing the Undertaker would be a waste of time, but now I find myself looking forward to this match (and I’ve never been a real big fan of either man).
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Who doesn’t love the Royal Rumble? It’s my favorite Pay Per View of the year, even more than Wrestlemania, and the reason why is that the Rumble promises potential. Up until the end of the show there are still so many possibilities and things that could happen in the WWE. You want Dean Ambrose to main event Wrestlemania even though he’s been on a losing streak? Sure, maybe it could happen! You want to see Jericho return to his full time status? Maybe he’ll be a surprise entrant and stick around for a while! Sure, you’ll come down once Orton wins it and the biggest surprise entrant was Santino, but right now there’s still all kinds of hope! Let’s dive into these predictions and see what’ll happen:
A New Day vs. The Masters of the WWE Universe… and Adam Rose
Wrestling in anything but the World Title match and the actual Rumble match itself at the Royal Rumble is about the most thankless job a wrestler can have. Although I’m sure these men will find their way into the Rumble match anyway, because where would Kofi be without his once-a-year Rumble spot? I predict that A New Day will win and maybe tease a heel turn a little bit more… did you catch it when Xavier said that they would put everyone in the hospital on the last episode of Raw? I think A New Day heel turn is coming and it might be at the expense of the Bunny.
The New Age Outlaws vs. The Road Warriors 3.0
Wow, The Ascension really took it on the chin, didn’t they? I still like them though and have hope that they’ll find their way. Their promos are terrible and the red face paint is eye-roll worthy, but they were enjoyable in NXT and I think if they weather out the shoulder pad storm they’re going through they’ll be okay. I think The Ascension has to win this match after the beating they took at the hands of a bunch of retired wrestlers last Raw, so I’m predicting them to win.
Tyson’s Wife and the Glampire vs. The Bella Twins
Man, what happened to the Divas division? Not long ago they were in major storylines and having multiple matches with storylines attached to them and now they’re in this throw away tag match. I predict the Bellas will win because the Paige/ Nattie tag team really has no history other than in Total Divas clips.
The Usos vs. The Miz and Mizdow in their best of 75 series
I think we’ll see The Usos retain after some major dissension between Miz and Mizdow, which will culminate in them eliminating each other at the Rumble. I’m not really sure what else to say about this match. I feel like the Usos could face any other team and it would feel like the hundredth time we’ve seen it.
The first match people actually want to see, an hour and a half into the show (for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship!)
I’m entirely too excited for this match. Just by adding Seth to it, the WWE have increased my interest a hundred fold. Typically Money in the Back winners have gone on a losing streak before cashing in and winning, so it’s been refreshing to see Seth earn a title shot even without the briefcase.
This match is still a doozy to predict though. One issue is not knowing for certain when Brock’s WWE contract is up. If he is guaranteed to work at ‘Mania it seems like he would retain his title for sure, and possibly go on to face Bryan or Roman. I could also see John winning the title and keeping it to defend against Rusev at Wrestlemania. Rollins could technically still hold onto his briefcase until after Wrestlemania and all the way until the next Money in the Bank PPV, if memory serves. I think the most obvious outcome for this match, and the one I’m going to predict, is John Cena winning and then Seth immediately cashing in his briefcase to win the title.
My only concern is that I see Rollins being in a similar situation as CM Punk a couple of years ago when he dropped the title to the Rock at the Rumble so that Rock could defend it at Wrestlemania against Cena, or as Edge when he dropped the title at the Royal Rumble in 2006 so Cena could defend it against Triple H at Wrestlemania 22. Like they’re trying Rollins out in this main event heel role, but maybe they’re not 100% committed. Even so, I’ll predict that he walks out the champion.
The Bootista Memorial Battle Royal
Alright, so this is an extremely hard match to predict, so I’m going to look at the wrestlers most likely to win.
-Daniel Bryan: While I would love for Bryan to win, I don’t see it happening this year. And I’m okay with that. He had a huge moment last year that would be impossible to top, so I don’t see him in the main event of Wrestlemania again. Also his name keeps getting brought up on WWE TV as someone who is very likely to win it, so I think the WWE is trying to work us over.
-Roman Reigns: While he’s constantly brought up as the person Triple H and Vince want to push, I don’t think they’ll go through with it. He just hasn’t gotten the reactions that he would need to be the champion, and I think putting the belt on him now would just make people hate him for it.
-Rusev: A month ago I would’ve bet money that Rusev would win and go on to face Cena at Wrestlemania, but I just don’t see it anymore. His impressive win streak has turned into a meh-inducing “never been pinned” streak, which is far less cool. The fact that he just lost to Ryback on Smackdown (albeit by countout) tells me that the luster is wearing off of him.
-Randy Orton: This is probably one of the stronger choices because he’s been off TV for so long, and not because of an injury, but rather because they’ve been saving him for something. In fact, considering that Randy already has a built in feud with Rollins, I feel confident in saying that Randy Orton will win the Rumble and go on to face Rollins at Wrestlemania!
Well, that’s the Royal Rumble! There are a lot of potential outcomes and only a couple that I really hate, so that’s a good thing for me. My only problem is going to be sitting through the gauntlet of tag team matches in order to get to the main event and the Rumble. I’m sure the Usos and everyone else will bring their A-game, but the two main events are the ones I really care about.
I’ve been to a few WWE house shows throughout the years, and they’re always pretty fun. It’s all the wrestling with none of the storyline fluff or terrible announcing. I wouldn’t say I always go; it usually depends on when it is and who’s on the card. For example when the WWE Live event was announced for St. Louis on January 16th of this year, I almost didn’t go. WWE just had Survivor Series here a few months earlier, so I didn’t really have an itch to scratch for seeing the same guys over again. But then Jericho was announced, and then Bryan, and then I had to go. Anyway, it wound up being a pretty solid show all around and I’m glad I went. Here’s a brief rundown of how everything played out:
Bray Wyatt fought Dean Ambrose in the opening match, and it was a great way to kick off the show. Ambrose won, which was nice because he only seems to lose whenever there are cameras filming it. Ambrose was super over with the crowd, as was Wyatt, although there weren’t a whole lot of people playing along with the whole “fireflies” schtick. I personally didn’t, because y’know, you have to stand up and pull out your phone and find a place to put your nachos and by that point Wyatt’s in the ring already… you know how it is.
Next up Cesaro beat Justin Gabriel, who the crowd could not have cared less about. The match was filled with some nice holds, reversals, and mat wrestling in general, but not too many people were into it. There was lots of “woo”ing going on and someone trying very hard to start a “boring” chant. There’s always one, isn’t there?
Fandango came out next with Rosa Mendes and he had a microphone! He insulted us by calling the “Gateway to the West” the “Gateway to Sadness,” which, as a St. Louisan of three years, sounded to me like one of the nicer things he could say about this city. At least it sounds sympathetic! R-Truth interrupted and asked if Fandango had been taking cold medicine, because he sounded like his head was loopy. I don’t know, folks, I’m just telling you what happened. Anyway, they had a match and R-Truth (who was pretty over with the crowd) won.
Jericho came out next to one of the best pops of the night and proceeded to grab a microphone and tell us that St. Louis is one of his favorite wrestling cities (sorry, everyone else!). He went on to explain that he wasn’t just saying that, it was completely true. He grew up in Chesterfield and his Dad played hockey for the St. Louis Blues, and has won a couple of championships here. I always thought he was strictly from Winnipeg, but I guess I just don’t remember his first book well enough.
Eventually Luke Harper came out and interrupted him after Jericho started talking smack about the Authority, and the two of them had a great match. Chris Jericho locking in the Walls of Jericho got a huge pop, and eventually he won with a Code Breaker.
Next was an awesome tag team match between the team of Big Show and Kane versus Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan. Bryan was probably the most over wrestler at the entire show, which (as a huge fan of his) was great for me to see. Roman Reigns also got a pretty good pop when he came out, although that may have just been people excited to see if he’d walk past them when he came out through the crowd. After Bryan and Reigns won and the crowd was going nuts doing the whole “yes” pose, Bryan gestured towards Roman Reigns so we would cheer for him too. The crowd booed. Well, not EVERYONE, but people were far less excited for Roman and there was some noticeable booing. Roman played it off though with a wave and a smile. Much better than Batista.
Then there was an intermission!
Next up was a match between Natalya and Nikki Bella. At the start of the show Jojo, the ring announcer (described by the guy behind me to his son as “the girl from that Divas show”- you know which show, sir), encouraged us to tweet or text whether we wanted Brie to be at ringside with Nikki for her match by either tweeting “YesBrie” or “NoBrie”, or texting some numbers to a place. So if you’re wondering why “YesBrie” and “NoBrie” were trending Friday night, that’s why. After the votes were tallied Brie got to stay, and Nikki would go on to beat Natalya with a Rack Attack. It was a decent match though, and the crowd stayed into it.
Lana came out next with Rusev in tow, and she called the St. Louis sports teams “pathetic”. Swagger would have none of that though and he came down with his comically oversized American flag to wave in their face. Eventually they fought, Swagger tapped, and we all booed. The best part was when Swagger came out and did his “We the People” chant and pose on the turnbuckle, and the security guard sitting in front of us said said incredulously, “THAT’S his thing?!”
After that it was time for the main event, which was a steel cage match between John Cena and Seth Rollins (accompanied by J&J security). I’m not sure if there was a technical issue or what, but it took about ten minutes for them to bring the cage down, and it involved tech guys standing on the turnbuckles and guiding the sides of the cage down so they didn’t get caught on the ring. It killed the majesty a bit, but we still got to see a cage match, so I’m not complaining.
Rollins and Cena went on to have the best match of the night, and as someone who initially was convinced Cena would win no matter what (which he did) there were a few times where I was doubting it. Seth Rollins even kicked out of the Attitude Adjustment! He would eventually be defeated by a second AA from the top of a turnbuckle, much to my wife and the security guard’s dismay, but most of the crowd was happy. Actually, the reception for Cena was extremely positive, much more so than other shows I’ve been to in St. Louis, which means either the fans here are nicer when there aren’t cameras rolling or it’s mostly Cena fans who go to house shows.
-There were TV screens set up by the entrance curtain which showed the wrestlers’ entrance videos and also WWE ads in between matches. The videos weren’t long enough to be annoying, but after I’ve seen the same videos for Macho Man’s Hall of Fame induction, Connor’s Cure, that video of all the cars being smashed on the Network, and that goddamn $9.99 music video several times on Raw and Smackdown, I could’ve done without them at the live show. Maybe I’m just cold hearted though, because there was a brief “Connor” chant after his video aired.
-When Rosa came out the little boy sitting behind us described her to his Dad as “the Diva that likes Paige,” confirming them to be Total Divas fans.
-Most all of the lights were kept off in the Scottrade Center except for the ones above the ring, giving the matches a cool old school feel to them. I’m not sure if this is a regular thing for them, but it was the first time I saw it and it looked awesome.
What is a blog without accountability? If an author is unable or unwilling to look back at his previous work and say “I was wrong!” then they are no better than an elephant digging around in the dirt with a stick! I am better than that, and to prove it here is a look back at my predictions for 2014 from 2013.
2014 Predictions: Performance Enhancing
Boy, who would’ve thought El Torito would still be around? I remember him being played out at the time too. Well obviously WWE hasn’t started training fans (anymore than they normally do) so I guess this one’s a miss. I should get bonus points though for drawing Jamie Noble though (that’s him in the far right). If I’d known he’d be a weekly fixture on WWE programming, I would’ve spent more time trying to get him to look right.
2014 Predictions: Future Impacts
Hm, this is a tough one to call as a hit or a miss because I left it fairly vague. I remember feeling bold for predicting that TNA would still be in business by the end of 2014, or at least not have been sold to someone else. While they’re still in business, they’re not on Spike anymore, so I guess ultimately this prediction was a miss. Taz is still with the company though, but he’ll presumably not be hollering about Bellator anymore, but rather about Ghost Stalkers or Ghost Asylum.
2014 Predictions: Sin Cara Shoots!
Finally, a hit! Well, Sin Cara may have had a successful shoot interview or two, I’m not really sure, but he was officially fired on March 26th and that’s good enough for me. I’m actually surprised they held onto him for that long, but maybe they did it out of spite. That seems to be a big thing for the WWE. What I would have never predicted though is that they would keep the character around on NXT. I guess they have a big box of masks somewhere that they have to sell off!
So, one out of three. Maybe I’m going a little easy on myself by calling the last one a hit, but I’ve been reading a lot of other prediction articles lately that make “bold” predictions like “John Cena won’t turn heel” and “John Cena will win the World Title again, matching Ric Flair’s record” so I think I deserve a break.
I know using weapons and gimmick matches for no reason is considered dirty by some, but if the matches in TLC were just straight up wrestling matches… I can’t say I’d be too excited for this Pay Per View. It’s also a hard show for me to predict, because a lot of the matches were born from Survivor Series fallout rather than through feuds or storylines of their own. For instance, why is Rowan facing Big Show in a Stairs Match when Ryback is facing Kane in a Chairs Match? Those elements could be all flipped around and it wouldn’t make a difference. Maybe I’m expecting too much, but after NXT Takeover REvolution, I know the WWE can do better. Enough with the chit chat, let’s dive in to the predictions!
Eric Rowan vs. The Big Show in a Stairway to Nothin’ Match
One of my pet peeves in wrestling is when a wrestler can’t act out his gimmick. If someone is billed as a dancer they better be able to dance, and if Tom Phillips is going to tell me that Rowan is a super genius that can play the guitar, Eric better start strummin’ his way to the ring while reciting pi to a hundred digits or so. Anyway, I think Rowan will be winning in order to help start his singles career strong. Big Show’s role as of late is plugging up the holes in the card wherever they need him, and right now he needs to make Rowan look good.
Tag Team Overflow Match: A New Day vs. Gold and Stardust
Even though there are rumors that Vince has already soured on A (The?) New Day, I’m still predicting that they will win. I don’t think that Xavier, Kofi, and Big E.’s stable has a lot going for it right now, but they deserve at least one big victory before they’re completely given up on.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt in a Tables, Ladders, (and in memory of) Chairs match
Aren’t TLC matches supposed to have something hanging over the ladder? Dean and Bray’s match at Survivor Series ended up being a big tease for this show, so I’m glad to finally see it pay off. It’s usually hard to predict Wyatt’s matches because he doesn’t seem to care about winning and wants people to hit him with chairs, but this time Ambrose has gotten under his skin. I actually really like that we’re seeing this aggressive side of Wyatt now that his chair’s broken. While I hope Ambrose pulls out the victory, I officially predict that Wyatt will win in order to keep him looking strong for Wrestlemania season.
Ryback vs. Kane in a Chairs Match
Ryback will win. What else is there to say?
Because It Was So Good The First Time? Rusev vs. Jack Swagger
So I guess Rusev already made his way through the whole midcard now and is finally back around to Jack Swagger. Swagger couldn’t beat him the first time and I don’t think Zeb’s brokety leg is going to make him do any better this time. Rusev for the win.
Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship in a Ladder Match
As much as I enjoyed Dolph’s win at Survivor Series, if he was able to beat Harper, Rollins, and Kane in a row then he should have no problem wiping out Harper now. While my gut tells me not to bet money on Ziggler winning, I’m still predicting Dolph will walk away with the gold.
Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee in a Loser Walks CM Punk to the Octagon Match
I feel confident in predicting that Nikki will win. Everyone’s saying that AJ’s going to leave soon, and I’m inclined to believe it. I say this every time I do predictions, but, unlike most of the internet, I don’t actively hate the Bellas. Well, I DO hate that Brie and Nikki are suddenly friends again after that major feud that they had. I think that Nikki will be a fine heel Divas champ for whoever is the next person to face her though.
No Gimmicks Needed for the Tag Team Titles: The Miz and Damien Mizdow vs. The Usos
I’m probably the only person on the planet that enjoys the drama of Miz trying to get into the Usos’ heads by talking with Naomi. I don’t know, it’s just nice to have some additional storyline between these teams beyond them just wanting the titles. I predict Miz and Mizdow will win and go on to feud with A New Day. Maybe there will be some interference with Naomi? Maybe not.
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins in a Tables Match
Out of all the Pay Per Views to not feature the World Title being defended, I feel it the most in this one. Is this match the main event? Are any of the feuds at this show strong enough to be a main event? I don’t feel like this one is, even with the stipulation about Cena losing his “number one contender” status. I predict that Cena will win, of course. I liked Seth’s promo from Smackdown about wanting to beat Cena to prove he’s the future, but at the same time I wish he was going to get something more out of it if he wins.
So there’s Tables, Ladders, Chairs … and Stairs in a nutshell. It’s a pretty loaded show with nine matches announced, although there will undoubtedly be at least one on the preshow. Maybe this will cut down on the amount of filler material and impromptu matches, like anything involving Adam Rose’s Bunny. Should we consider ourselves lucky that the WWE didn’t parody that Furry Convention poisoning with the Exotic Express and The Bunny? Yes, I think so.