PPV Spotlight

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?

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Wrestlemania 33 Spotlight: Seth Rollins vs Triple H

It’s finally here! It’s the day of Wrestlemania 33. It’s been a long build up, in more ways than one. We’ve been on the road to Wrestlemania for all intents and purposed for the last three months. We’ve been hearing constant plugs for Mania several times a week on each Raw and SmackDown. But it’s been a long build up for some matches too, as I’ve already written about some matches that’s roots can be traced back to SummerSlam, a whole seven months ago.

But there’s one match where the history, across several tracks, goes back years. And that’s the match I’m rounding off this preview series on. It may be unsanctioned, but that just means there are boundless opportunities here. It is, of course, Seth Rollins vs Triple H.

Trips Rollins

Serious Trips. Mean Trips. Grrrrrrrrr. #HeelBeard

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Wrestlemania 33 Spotlight: Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt

As the premier prize in the industry, the WWE Championship match at Wrestlemania should always be the most highly anticipated spectacle at the showcase of the immortals. But we’ve seen during the brand extension that that’s not always the case. When there are two world titles, one has to take priority over the other at the biggest show of the year, and just as it did in the early stages of the original dual world title era, this year it’s the WWE Title match that’s taking the back seat.

Part of that is because the build up to Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt this year has been… weird. In theory, this is a seven months storyline that has had its twists and turns, elevated both men with some character development and is peaking at the right time for maximum impact. Practically though, the last month or so especially has been confusing and very hit or miss.

Orton Wyatt

We’ve had to surrender to the supernatural in the last couple of weeks

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Wrestlemania 33 Spotlight: Roman Reigns vs The Undertaker

Day five. Wrestlemania is just two nights away, and the excitement is definitely building. We have the Hall of Fame ceremony tonight, NXT TakeOver tomorrow night, and then the big one. This time of the year, and this show in particular, has almost become synonymous with one man over the decades. That man’s match on Sunday night is today’s spotlight match: Roman Reigns vs The Undertaker.

The Undertaker will be competing in his 25th, and possibly final, Wrestlemania match, with a win-loss record of 23-1. Roman Reigns will be competing in his 5th, and definitely not final, Wrestlemania match, with a record of 3-1. There are twenty years worth of difference between their Wrestlemania appearances, twenty years worth of wins between their records, and twenty years difference between their ages. Passing of the torch anyone? Continue reading

Wrestlemania 33 Spotlight: Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho

It’s day four of my Wrestlemania previews, which means we’re past the halfway stage! We’re just three days away from wrestling’s biggest annual event, so let’s get cracking!

It’s the match that has had the longest regular build, features one of the all-time greats, and has the potential to absolutely steal the show. It’s the United States Championship match between the reigning champion, the g.o.a.t, Chris Jericho, and the prizefighter himself, Kevin Owens.

This is a storyline that goes all the way back to the weeks before SummerSlam. Chris Jericho had been having his issues with Enzo Amore, and of course with Big Cass in his corner Big Chris was outnumbered. So, apparently quite randomly at the time, Kevin Owens – fresh off a rivalry with his former best friend Sami Zayn – told Jericho that he had his back.

Jeri-KO

The two Canadians formed a formidable partnership that would bring both success

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Wrestlemania 33 Spotlight: John Cena & Nikki Bella vs The Miz & Maryse

Day three of my Wrestlemania 33 Spotlights is here! And it’s the match that, on paper, was felt like a massive let down considering the year some of these competitors have had. There could have been so much more for these guys, and a lot of potential matches were suggested around Royal Rumble time. But, it has turned out to be one of the most well developed programs on the Wrestlemania card, and has delivered some of the best segments WWE has had to offer on the road to the biggest show of the year. I’m talking about John Cena and Nikki Bella going up against The Miz and Maryse.

There were so many complaints online when it became clear that this was the direction WWE were going in. It was a let-down for Cena, who the online community had been hoping would face Samoa Joe for the WWE Championship. It was a let-down for The Miz, one of the very top performers on the blue brand since the draft (aside from AJ Styles, probably the best) to only be in what would at best be a mid-card mixed tag team match, surely? Continue reading

Wrestlemania 33 PPV Spotlight: Charlotte vs Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks vs Bayley

It’s time for the second match in my week of PPV Spotlights in the build-up to Wrestlemania 33! This time round, I’m looking at a match the features two competitors who were in my match of the night at last year’s Wrestlemania. It’s also probably the single biggest missed opportunity of the night. I’m talking about the Raw Women’s Championship match between Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Bayley.

It’s such a missed opportunity because Bayley should have been crowned champion on Sunday night. I think we all know that by now, I just hope WWE realises that. It was a great Raw moment, don’t get me wrong, but the moment itself and the significance of Bayley’s subsequent title run would have been so much more had it been saved for Wrestlemania. But, I still think it can be saved. Continue reading