PPV Spotlight

WWE Hell In A Cell 2017 Spotlight: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Jinder Mahal

It’s time for a handful of WWE Superstars to step foot inside the most demonic structure in WWE history – Hell In A Cell. For my Spotlight this time round I really toyed with the idea of going with The New Day vs The Usos for the Tag Team Titles, if only to gush about them for having great matches time and time again. However, I do like to put the focus on matches that I feel have a larger significance to them. And this time round, that accolade has fallen to the WWE Championship match between Jinder Mahal and Shinsuke Nakamura. Continue reading

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WWE No Mercy 2017 Spotlight: John Cena vs Roman Reigns

Well here we are. It could be a real changing of the guard, as the monster among men looks to triumph over the beast incarnate, and the two men who have been pegged as the faces of the company over the past 13 years go head to head. Thankfully WWE aren’t wasting these momentous face offs on a B-show, so without further ado, welcome to my Wrestlemania 34 PPV Spot- what? This isn’t Wrestlemania? It’s not even a big-4 show? It’s a throwaway B-PPV at the end of September? WWE, what are you doing to us?

So, just to be clear, I’m going to focus on the Roman Reigns vs John Cena match. I could quite easily have argued that Braun Strowman should win the Universal Championship because he has lightning in a bottle right now, or gone on a rant about how the misuse of the Raw women’s division is typified by the addition of Bayley to tomorrow night’s match, but I won’t. Yet. Continue reading

WWE SummerSlam 2017 Spotlight: Raw Tag Team Championship Match

Tonight is the night WWE throws the biggest party of the summer, the second biggest show of the year, it’s SummerSlam!

Anybody else not particularly excited?

Is it just me or does it feel like the build to SummerSlam has been lacklustre at best? I mean seriously. It’s tough to get excited about a WWE Championship match featuring Jinder Mahal, but the sheer clarity that he’s out of his depth as champion is managing to muffle the buzz of a Shinsuke Nakamura WWE Title match. Randy Orton vs Rusev is a nothing match between two people who have given the fans no reason to care about them over the last three months, the Intercontinental Championship isn’t being defended, it seems impossible that Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt will deliver on a card as busy as this and – along with the Cruiserweight, SmackDown Tag, Raw Women’s and United States Championship matches – is a rematch.

I’m aware it’s easy to be negative about WWE, and it can also be easy to focus on the bad things and overlook the positives. So I’m going to look at a match that has managed to generate a good reaction from crowds over the last few weeks. I’m going to look at the Raw Tag Team Championship match, and the reunion of two thirds of The Shield as Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose take on Sheamus & Cesaro. Continue reading

NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III Spotlight: Ember Moon vs Asuka

I thought it was about time I added an element to these Spotlight previews. Having done Raw and SmackDown PPVs, as well as the dual-branded shows, a look at NXT’s storylines was probably well overdue. I’ve decided to go for a match I think could have imminent main roster implications too – the NXT Women’s Championship match between Ember Moon and Asuka.

This is a story that essentially goes back to Ember Moon’s debut in NXT, which just happened to be one year ago at TakeOver: Brooklyn II. Moon defeated Bille Kay, and embarked upon a lengthy undefeated streak on the yellow brand. It was an impressive outing for Moon, highlighted by her Eclipse finisher, a beautiful diving corkscrew stunner when executed properly.

Elsewhere on the show Asuka – on a 10-month undefeated streak herself – defended her championship against Bayley in the hugger’s final NXT match. That Bayley was heading to the main roster was highly expected, so naturally speculation began as to who eventually would defeat and dethrone the Empress of Tomorrow, and Ember Moon’s display made her the obvious choice. Continue reading

WWE Battleground 2017 Spotlight: Women’s Fatal-5-Way

Without even noticing, I’ve already passed the one year mark of PPV Spotlights. I started doing them last summer, and I just happened to be going through some of my articles and noticed what match I’d written about for last year’s Battleground – Natalya vs Becky Lynch. I thought it might be apt to revisit that article somewhat for the 2017 edition of my Battleground Spotlight. So here we are with Battleground 2017 tonight, and instead of writing about two women, I’m writing about five.

SmackDown in particular have made a habit of this. In every PPV this year that has featured a women’s match from the blue brand, there at least five female superstars from Tuesday nights on the show – often in multi-women matches. At the Royal Rumble there was a 6-women tag on the pre-show, at Elimination Chamber there were three separate singles matches, at Wrestlemania there was a championship 6-pack challenge, at Backlash there was another 6-women tag match and Money in the Bank was fairly self-explanatory. Continue reading

Great Balls of Fire 2017 Spotlight: 30 Minute Iron Team Match

I may have burst out laughing when I heard that WWE were genuinely putting on a show titled “Great Balls of Fire” (luckily I was in the midst of other wrestling fans who were doing exactly the same), but what we have ahead of us tonight is the potential for a really good wrestling show. It just goes to prove that if the content put in front of us is good enough, it doesn’t matter what it’s called.

Which is an idea that I could quite readily apply to “The Bar”. And that brings me to the Spotlight match for tonight, which in itself is extremely rare. As far as I can find, there have only been two of these kinds of matches in WWE since 1989, and neither of those had anywhere near the potential quality of tonight’s edition. I am of course, talking about the 30-minute Iron Team match between the Hardy Boyz and Cesaro & Sheamus for the Raw Tag Team Championships. Continue reading

MITB Spotlight 2017 Pt2: Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match

The Money in the Bank briefcase has launched the careers of many a WWE superstar over the years into the stratosphere. It bridged the gap between upper mid-carder and main eventer, and led to greats like Edge, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan winning their first World Championships in WWE. Not every briefcase holder has been a success (Jack Swagger, Damien Sandow), and even two little known wrestlers called Randy Orton and John Cena have won Money in the Bank matches, but since they’re little more than footnotes in history we’ll move on quickly from them. Regardless of the blemishes on the record though, holding the MitB briefcase is a sign that WWE higher ups have faith in you to deliver big as and when required. Tonight, we find out who the latest man to write their name in the history books will be.

This will be the same format as the preview of the women’s match I posted earlier, where I look at how to make each individual the star of the match, and then assess their chances of winning and being able to call themselves Mr Money in the Bank for the foreseeable future. Without further adieu… Continue reading

MITB 2017 Spotlight Pt1: Women’s MITB Ladder Match

Money In The Bank is here! And for the first time I think ever, only one brand is featured on the show. We’ve had brand specific MitB ladder matches before, but this is the first time we’ve had two briefcase matches both from a single brand before. It is also notable because, as you may have heard, tonight we see the first ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match!

In previous years I’ve done columns looking at the participants in the briefcase matches, looking at their chances of winning. This year I’m going to add one more thing into my thoughts – how you could potentially make them the star of the match, if that’s even possible. So, starting with the women’s match in this article, let’s get to it! Continue reading

Extreme Rules 2017 Spotlight: Austin Aries vs Neville

Tonight WWE goes Extreme! Or so they say. There really hasn’t been that much excitement around the WWE product recently, with a series of subpar shows and autopilot booking making Raw and SmackDown pretty bland. The match I’ve picked is one that I think typifies the repetitive nature of WWE programming in recent weeks, and it also allows me to take a look at a division that I haven’t really touched on in this column for months. I’m talking about the Cruiserweight Championship match.

The last time WWE’s purple division was the focus of one of my Spotlights was in the very early days of the division, with the featured match being TJ Perkins vs The Brian Kendrick. Oh how times have changed since then. We have seen more talent added to 205 Live including Tozawa, Noam Dar and Neville; we saw Rich Swann inserted into the title picture, win the championship, lose it to the resurgent Neville and fall out of contention again.

Neville Swann

And Neville didn’t even care. Look at him acknowledging his adoring kingdom.

But still the Cruiserweights as a group are really struggling for momentum. It’s one thing to say give it time, but by this point the women’s revolution had started to take off and become a focal point of Raw and SmackDown. Right now, the Cruiserweights are a tired part of a bland show. Continue reading

WWE Payback 2017 Spotlight: House of Horrors

I’ve been quiet since Wrestlemania and the superstar shake-up, and that’s because I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. If I had written a column in the immediate aftermath of the draft last summer, the tone of it would have been far angrier than if I had waited a week. My main reasoning for that is I want to give WWE the chance to let things play out, as maybe something that as a fan I find frustrating one week is actually building to something bigger. But tonight is Payback, and since the build has been muddled and just generally not that good, I’m going to address something from the shake-up that ties into a match tonight. I’m just going to go ahead and say it.

I have no idea why Bray Wyatt was moved to Raw.

braywyatt

Should WWE’s “Face of Fear” stayed the face of SmackDown?

Continue reading