SummerSlam 2017: We Thought We'd Never See

By Brock Koller

1992 was supposed to be the SummerSlam you thought you’d never see.

2017 is looking like the SummerSlam I never thought could be.

If you just were to look at the WWE Championship match, you’d understand.

WWE

WWE

The WWE Champion is Jinder Mahal. A wrestler for most of his time in the WWE who was relegated to C-level shows and hardly ever won a match. His purpose was to make others look better and sometimes pretend to be able to play guitar.

But then something happened, Mahal left WWE and came back. However, his return was pretty much met with the same response as his previous tenure.

But then something happened…again.

He was switched from Raw to Smackdown and, it was as if he got a whole new persona.

Jinder Mahal, the man seen fighting on Main Event and Superstars week after week, was now the modern day Maharaja. He was beating Randy Orton again and again. And he was the WWE Champion.

Jinder Mahal is the WWE Champion going into SummerSlam. That is something I thought I’d never see.

His opponent is a three time IWGP Heavyweight Champion in New Japan Wrestling. He wrestled in the G1 Climax tournament, New Japan Cup, and was dubbed the King of Strong Style.

His name – Shinsuke Nakamura.

But because wrestling fans in 2017 are very knowledgeable, Nakamura was not an unknown when he made his way to NXT in 2016. Within months he captured the NXT Championship, all while fans sang along with his theme song.

Despite Nakamuranot given the mic too often, he quickly became one of WWE’s most popular superstars even prior to his call up to Smackdown.

And he defeated John Cena.

Now, with hours to go, a champion faces a challenger where neither is named Cena, Orton, Reigns. Rollins, or Ambrose.

It’s a match most of us thought we could never see at an event we thought we’d never see.
 

PREDICTIONS: 

1. Miz & Miztourage

2. Akira Tozawa

3. The New Day

4. Big Cass

5. Randy Orton

6. Finn Balor 

7. Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose

8. Naomi

9. Sasha Banks

10. AJ Styles

11. John Cena

12. Jinder Mahal

13. Samoa Joe 

WWE WrestleMania 33: The Ultimate Thrill Ride Down Memory Lane (Preview)

by BROCK KOLLER

It’s more about the feeling than the event itself.

That can be true for so many people for so many things. It could define the importance of the holidays, Super Bowl, birthdays, or any annual tradition for that matter. For many, the actual event, the physical happening, may not be as important as the meaning it holds, the memories it brings, and the feelings it evokes.

To me, WrestleMania is as evocative as any date on the calendar. The matches are crucial, of course. The storylines, pivotal. The crowd, game changing.

But what WrestleMania brings with it - that is why I have a smile on my face every year at this time.

Growing up, watching WrestleMania with family and friends, cheering on the heroes, jeering the villains, wearing my favorite Superstar’s t-shirt, watching all of our expressions change in unison throughout the card, and then discussing in exhausting detail the ramifications of what we just witnessed – that is what WrestleMania carries with it each and every year for me.

It’s the nostalgia, the yearning of yesteryear, the appreciation of the memories, and the chance to relive those feelings each and every year. As the anticipation builds with every passing hour, nearing Sunday night, the awareness of the emotional ties to WrestleMania grow stronger with it.

It’s appropriate that this year’s tagline for WrestleMania is the Ultimate Thrill Ride, befitting of the Orlando setting, but also apropos for the emotional rollercoaster the event entails.

The enthusiasm, the hope, the reflection, is all there for days leading up. It’s there for the entirety of the show, but just like it does every year, the event then grabs you. It causes you to put the present in the forefront, pushing aside the nostalgic daydreaming, for enjoyment of the product happening right before your eyes. It sucks you in to make sure this year will be added to that emotional archive, making you want to relive it again next year.

But with all that good, there is always something to complain about. Every year, a match or two will not go the way I or you would’ve hoped. But those complaints fade with time, and all that is left is the memory of being excited for WrestleMania and looking forward to the next one.

The matches are important, but not as big as the event itself.

The card for WrestleMania 33:

WWE Universal Championship

Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar

The Story: Goldberg has humiliated Lesnar on more than one occasion and the Beast Incarnate is seeking retribution.  Lesnar would not mind also walking away Universal Champion, a fairly new title in the WWE, for the first time. Both men last fought at a WrestleMania in 2004. Goldberg won.

Prediction: Goldberg won’t be able to take down Lesnar for a third time. Brock Lesnar walks away the new champion.  WINNER: Brock Lesnar

WWE Championship

Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton

The Story: Bray Wyatt believed he had Randy Orton under his control. Orton, the winner of the Royal Rumble, which granted him a title shot at WrestleMania, played Wyatt’s own mind games against him. The mystical aspects of the story should not overshadow the awesome athletic abilities of these two.

Prediction: Randy Orton’s master plan will end with gold. Bray Wyatt will not be able to figure out what Orton is up to in time. WINNER: Randy Orton

WWE United States Championship

Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens

The Story: When Kevin Owens was Universal Champion, he and Chris Jericho were best of friends. They were inseparable, until Owens had enough and broke off the friendship, seemingly breaking Jericho to pieces in the process. Jericho, now cheered adoringly again by the fans, will take his List of Jericho to Mania looking to make sure Owens makes the list of those who fell to him at WrestleMania.

Prediction: Kevin Owens just lost the Universal Championship, he wants more gold. Jericho, riding high on what is arguably his best run of all-time, won’t be able to hold back a focused Owens. WINNER: Kevin Owens

The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

The Story: Roman Reigns eliminated The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble. Reigns likes calling the ring his yard. Should be noted, the Undertaker has been calling the ring his yard since the early 2000s. I think Taker has you beat there, Reigns. Reigns is looking to be only the second man to defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania.

Prediction: The 1 loss in the Undertaker’s WrestleMania record will stay intact. Roman Reigns will come close, but won’t have enough to take down the original big dog. WINNER: The Undertaker

Non-sanctioned Match

Triple H vs. Seth Rollins

The Story: Seth Rollins turned his back on his best friends The Shield to join forces with Triple H a few years ago. With Triple H by his side, Rollins ascended to the top of the WWE ladder and stole the show and the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 31. Then an injury sidelined Rollins causing Triple H to rethink his chosen one. With Rollins back, Triple H put his new plan in motion and cost his former protégé the Universal Championship. For months, Rollins has been seeking revenge on Triple H, but another injury sidelined Rollins’ momentum. With Rollins’ status in doubt, Triple H agreed to fight Rollins, but without the WWE’s permission. Thus, the non-sanctioned match was set.

Prediction: Questions surround the health of Seth Rollins and whether he is fully healed and ready to fight at WrestleMania. Triple H will no doubt target the leg of Rollins. But you have to remember, Triple H chose Seth Rollins years ago for a reason, Rollins is smart. Looks like the student will outsmart the teacher. WINNER: Seth Rollins

WWE Raw Women’s Championship

Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match

Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax

The Story: Bayley, Charlotte, and Sasha Banks have been running the women’s division on Raw ever since the brand split. They have made history by main eventing pay per view events and wrestling in matches women never wrestled in before. Recently, Nia Jax has been added into the equation, looking to make an impact.

Prediction: The Raw Women’s Championship needs a bit of stability after the back and forth a few months between Sasha and Charlotte. Bayley can give the title that stability and credibility. WINNER: Bayley

WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. All SmackDown Live Female Superstars

The Story: Alexa Bliss thinks she is the best female Superstar on the SmackDown Live roster. She now gets the opportunity to prove that. Becky Lynch, Carmella, Natalya, Mickie James, and a just back from injury Naomi are looking to show Bliss is all talk.

Prediction: What a story it would be if Alexa Bliss was able to outlast all the other women on the roster. What a better story it would be if Naomi, fresh off an injury that almost ended her WrestleMania dreams, regains her title she was forced to vacate in her hometown. WINNER: Naomi

Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles

The Story: AJ Styles was supposed to go to WrestleMania to fight for the WWE Championship, but he lost that opportunity. After blaming SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon, the Phenomenal One wanted to show his frustration in person, by throwing McMahon into a car window. In response, McMahon alerted Styles that he now has a new match at WrestleMania against the Commish.   

Prediction: Shane McMahon will jump off something high, but come up short to Styles. WINNER: AJ Styles

Intercontinental Championship

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin

The Story: It’s been quite a year for these two. Last year, Baron Corbin won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. His star began to shine after the brand split and the Lone Wolf was able to roam around the SmackDown Live landscape. Dean Ambrose was WWE Champion at the time of the split. He has since continued his gold winning ways by way of the IC title.

Prediction: Dean Ambrose is a mainstay on the top of the roster, title or no title. Baron Corbin is hungry – he’s a wolf after all – and he’s hungry for his first championship in the WWE. WINNER: Baron Corbin

WWE Raw Tag Team Championships

Triple Threat Ladder Match

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus

The Story: These three teams have en bebattling back and forth for months, going back to when Cesaro & Sheamus were champions. As champs, Gallows & Anderson have been able to prove why they were such a hot commodity in Japan. As for Enzo & Cass, they are looking for their first taste of championship gold. Throw in a ladder with these three teams and it should be one memorable tag match.

Prediction: The pop for Enzo & Cass winning the titles is something I would like to see. WINNERS: Enzo & Cass

4th Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

The Story: The Big Show, Braun Strowman, and Sami Zayn are the big names going into the match. Most of the SmackDown Live tag team division is also involved. And Mark Henry was just announced as a participant.

Prediction: Braun Strowman is looking to have a strong year ahead of him. This looks like a good launching point. WINNER: Braun Strowman

WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries

The Story: Neville calls himself the King of the Cruiserweights and won the Cruiserweight Championship. Austin Aries was a semi-mild mannered commentator for cruiserweight Raw matches and 205 Live, until he decided it was time to return to the ring. Aries thinks he’s the cruiserweight who can take the king down to size.

Prediction: Can what will probably be the first match of the night – a match to be shown on the Kickoff – steal the show? Despite this being on the Kickoff, this is one of the matches I am most looking forward to. WINNER: Austin Aries

John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse

The Story: John Cena doesn’t like The Miz. The Miz doesn’t like John Cena. Nikki Bella doesn’t Maryse. Maryse doesn’t like Nikki Bella. The Miz is married to Maryse. John Cena is just dating Nikki Bella.

Prediction: Unlike WrestleMania 27, The Miz is not WWE Champion. And also unlike WrestleMania 27, The Miz will not be defeating John Cena this time. Most are saying there will be a proposal at the end of the match. Will fans be chanting Yes! or No!? WINNERS: John Cena & Nikki Bella.

So there you have it. The Ultimate Thrill Ride. The Showcase of the Immortals.

WrestleMania 33. All the matches. All the pageantry. All the memories to be made.

And then to be remembered.

I already can’t wait for next year.

Enjoy the show.

 

    

Think Fast: WWE Fastlane 2017 Brings a Mania of Questions

by BROCK KOLLER

WWE

WWE

Tonight’s Fastlane pay-per-view should not only bring us quality matches – Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe, Bayley vs. Charlotte, Neville vs. Jack Gallagher, to name a few – but it should, hopefully, bring us some clarity as to what WrestleMania will look like.

It’s not uncommon for wrestling fans to still have some questions at this point on the Road to WrestleMania, but, this year, it’s a tad different. The pieces are there. There are just a few more pieces it seems than places to put them and some pieces you thought went in one spot are being placed in another.

Puzzle analogy at its finest.

For instance, many, including myself, believed John Cena would FINALLY face the Undertaker at WrestleMania. That is not going to happen, as the seeds have been planted for a mix-tag match between Cena and Nikki Bella versus The Miz and Maryse.

Where does that leave The Undertaker?

At the Royal Rumble in January, Taker was eliminated by Roman Reigns, which could be a teaser of things to come.

Tonight, Reigns battles Braun Strowman. It’s anyone’s guess how that match will end as both are strong competitors who need to be just that going into Mania. So does the winner of this match face The Undertaker at Mania? Does the loser? Do both?

Or do Reigns and Strowman continue their beef into Mania – leaving Taker to find a different opponent?

It’s looking like Samoa Joe will demolish Sami Zayn – will it be Joe vs. Taker? Or is a returning Finn Balor in Samoa Joe’s future?

But what if – despite his claims – Seth Rollins is not cleared to wrestle in time for Mania – where does that leave the Triple H – Rollins match? I’m on the side that WWE could easily turn Samoa Joe against Triple H and slip him into the Rollins’ spot.  

The one thing we do know for sure is Brock Lesnar will fight Goldberg at WrestleMania. But don’t worry – there are still questions?

Tonight, Goldberg battles Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal Championship. Will Goldberg win the championship and take it to WrestleMania? Will Chris Jericho interfere somehow? And if he does interfere, will it cost Owens the title or Goldberg the match? Will the all-but-signed Jericho-Owens Mania match be for the Universal Championship or the United States Championship?

Former Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte is undefeated at pay-per-view events. Will she continue that streak tonight and regain her championship? If she does win – who will she battle at WrestleMania? Or if Bayley retains and end’s Charlotte’s undefeated PPV record, where does that leave Charlotte? And who would Bayley defend against at WrestleMania – Nai Jax? Or will Charlotte win and end up losing her first PPV at WrestleMania? Does the outcome of the Nai Jax – Sasha Banks affect the outcome of the Bayley-Charlotte match? Or will we see all four of these Superstars in the title match at Mania?

There are even more questions – who will be Raw Tag Team Champion? Cruiserweight Champion? - and that does not even include is AJ Styles’ best available WrestleMania opponent Shane McMahon?  

AJ, I hear the Undertaker is still available.

Or how about Shinsuke Nakamura?

Do I even need to ask?

Predictions:

Universal Champion Kevin Owens vs. Goldberg: Goldberg. New Champ. New headlines.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman: Braun. And I’ll say outside interference from Undertaker.

Raw Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair: Charlotte. Back and forth titles continue, but the PPV streak can be alive going into WrestleMania.

Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe: Samoa Joe. If there is a ladder match at Mania, Zayn should win that or the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.  

Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Jack Gallagher: Neville. But Gallagher will look strong and win next month.

Raw Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass: Gallows & Anderson. Too early for heel turn from Cass. If not, he’s my new pick to win the Andre Battle Royal.

Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax: Nia Jax. But Sasha won’t be left out of title picture.

Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs. The Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar (Kickoff Match): Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar.

Any questions?

With Tumbler of Options, 1 Thing Has To Happen At WWE Royal Rumble 2017

by Brock Koller

Tonight the Road to WrestleMania 33 begins. And while there is no overall clear favorite winner to win the main event,  tonight should also begin the road to one specific Mania match.

It’s a match years in the making, yet a match the rumor mill says has already been scrapped from WWE booking plans. Hopefully, that is just a ruse on the federation’s part to keep the hardcore fans and dirtsheet writers off their trail.

Because the Undertaker vs. John Cena needs to happen at WrestleMania. It just make sense.

In his Mania repertoire, the Undertaker has wrestled some of the greats including Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Jake the Snake Roberts, Batista, Kevin Nash, Kane, Big Show, Edge, CM Punk, and Randy Orton.  

John Cena’s WrestleMania Rolodex is full of top names too including Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Edge, Big Show, Batista, and The Rock.

But, as you can see, Taker’s name does not appear on Cena’s list nor vice versa.

They have wrestled back in 2003 and in a tag match in 2007, but Undertaker vs. John Cena is unquestionably a WrestleMania match.

There are many ways the Royal Rumble can be the launching pad for this historic contest.

Scenario A: John Cena defeats AJ Styles for his 16th WWE World Championship.  The Undertaker wins his second Royal Rumble match. Undertaker chooses to face Cena at WrestleMania.

Scenario B: John Cena loses to AJ Styles and is entered into the match. He and the Undertaker meet in the center of the ring and have a face to face stare down followed by a brawl. This has been done before a la Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior at Royal Rumble 1990 to setup their WrestleMania VI encounter.

Scenario C: John Cena defeats AJ Styles and Styles is entered into the Rumble. However, after AJ Styles loses to Cena, he attacks Cena and tries to injure him. During the Rumble, Cena comes out to get revenge on Styles and inadvertently eliminates the Undertaker. Causing drama.

The point is no matter how you get to the Undertaker vs. John Cena, we need to get there.

It is time. And it should begin tonight at the Royal Rumble.

Match Predictions:

Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax: Jax gets her biggest win of her career, Banks gets frustrated as her turn back to heel grows closer. WINNER: NIA JAX

Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson: It would be great if Gallows & Anderson finally won the gold and could show what they are really capable of. So let’s hope. WINNERS: GALLOWS & ANDERSON

Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, & Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya: Hey, Mickie! With this being Mickie James' first high profile match back – she needs to prove those ‘you still got it’ chants she will receive are accurate. WINNERS: BLISS, JAMES, NATAYLYA  

Rich Swann vs. Neville: Neville is the King of the Cruiserweights. Enough said. WINNER: NEVILLE

Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley: The Raw Women’s Championship has changed hands so often, I think it should stay on Charlotte until Mania. Bayley will get the gold soon enough. Just not this soon. WINNER: CHARLOTTE

Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns: So the question is when Chris Jericho fights Owens at WrestleMania should it be for the WWE Universal Championship or just the United States Championship? And if Reigns wins the title, who would he defend against at Mania – Braun Strowman, maybe? I have a feeling Owens will retain tonight, but still lose it by WrestleMania. WINNER: KEVIN OWENS

AJ Styles vs. John Cena: If I choose Cena, then the Undertaker has to be the winner of the Royal Rumble. Well, I’m not choosing the Undertaker to win it. So that must mean AJ Styles will win and go to WrestleMania with the gold. Or lose it at Elimination Chamber. WINNER: AJ STYLES

2017 Royal Rumble Match: This is it. One of the best matches ever created by the WWE. A highlight of the year every year. The Surprises. The Endurance. The Anticipation. 3. 2. 1. Who is it? Who drew number one? Who drew number two? Will The Million Dollar Man buy someone’s number this year? Will two superstars fall out at the same time? Will Vince McMahon somehow damage both knees while sliding into the ring? And how will Kofi Kingston make it back into the ring to avoid elimination? All these questions, but the most important one – Who will win?

My prediction: A returning Finn Balor.

It may be too early. I don’t know his medical status. But WWE has stunned us before with speedy recoveries i.e. John Cena winning the 2008 Royal Rumble.  Should Balor win, I would love for him to choose to face AJ Styles, but even a Balor – Reigns match at Mania would be interesting.

Many are saying Randy Orton. I’m not. He can fight Bray Wyatt without any title implications and that match will still have a good backstory.

A surprise Kenny Omega appearance? A triumphant homecoming for Kurt Angle? A motivated Shinsuke Nakamura or Samoa Joe? All good choices.

But what about Goldberg and Lesnar? I say these two just eliminate each other. Or Goldberg throws Lesnar out right away and lasts a while longer. Undertaker, I’ve spoken about already. If Cena wins the title, then Undertaker is the clear favorite.

There are a lot of other choices – you could go with Jericho, Strowman, Sami Zayn, Dean Ambrose or The Miz.

But I like going into the Royal Rumble with a wildcard. One that many won’t choose because it probably won’t happen. But I came close in 1995 when I picked the wildcard British Bulldog.

Almost was year.

This year, I’m locking in on the Demon King and hoping he remembers to win the Rumble. 

Enjoy the show! 

 

The Simpsons or Sliders: One will be right on Election Night

by BROCK KOLLER

Who knew that two of my favorite shows of all-time could have predicted the two possible outcomes for this Tuesday’s presidential election many years ago.

Back in 2000, The Simpsons, the long-running cartoon series that follows a dysfunctional, nuclear family and its Springfield neighbors, aired an episode called “Bart to the Future” which presented a future of the United States where Lisa Simpson was president and Bart…well, we love Bart.

In one of the early scenes of this presidential prophesy, President Lisa states to her staff, “As you know we’ve inherited quite a budget crunch from President Trump.”

 

As in Donald Trump, the current Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

She then asks her Secretary of State – Milhouse Van Houten how bad is it?

“We’re broke,” Milhouse replies. The future was surely not coming up Milhouse.

Milhouse explains the last administration – which would have been President Trump’s - invested in the nation’s children.

“Big mistake,” Mihouse points out.

"I am tickled we are getting all this attention, but I don't think it's going to trigger this well-awaited re-evaluation of my episode that I was hoping for," episode writer Dan Greaney told The Hollywood Reporter in March. "The Simpsons has always kind of embraced the over-the-top side of American culture … and [Trump] is just the fulfillment of that."

This vision of the future also included Homer and Marge searching for Abraham Lincoln’s buried gold. It had nothing to do with the main plot and, coincidentally, has nothing to do with this writing.

A few years before this episode of The Simpsons aired, another show on FOX had its own version of the presidency that is relevant to today’s current election.

The program was called Sliders. It featured Jerry O’Connell as college brainiac Quinn Mallory who invented a device that allowed people to travel to parallel universes.  He and his friends – Professor Arturo, Wade, and Rembrant – become the Sliders.

In 1995, Sliders was in its first season. It would go on to reach five seasons on two networks, with varying degree of success.

In its inaugural season, the show featured the episode “The Weaker Sex” where Quinn and friends landed on an Earth where the phrase “it’s a man’s world” would not apply.  

At first, the Sliders believe they have finally made it back to their home world. You see, they got lost in the multi-verse because they slid out of a parallel world too early before their timer went off…and…you don’t need to know to know this, do you? Anyway…

The four grab a pretzel at a food cart and are told the president is about to speak.

“You mean President Clinton?” Wade asks.

“Of course I mean President Clinton, who else?” the vendor says.

“That clinches it. We’re home,” Rembrant says.

Sorry, Remmy, this was only episode 7 in Season 1.  Slim chance, you were home.

One look at the television and the Sliders realize they were not back home.

President Clinton was giving a speech – but it wasn’t President Bill Clinton as it was on their Earth in 1995 - it was Hillary.

As in Hillary Clinton, the current Democratic presidential candidate in 2016.

Not only was Hillary Clinton president of this world in 1995, but Jane Pauley was the Pope.

The professor stopped eating his pretzel. 

“I love that episode. We were also making statements on glass-ceiling issues, chauvinism in society, and the danger of stereotypes,” O’Connell told Yahoo! TV in March.

So on Tuesday, this Earth could look like the parallel one the Sliders visited.

Or on Tuesday, this present day could resemble the future The Simpsons predicted.

One thing is for sure – I watch a lot of TV.

Stay tuned.

HERSTORY IN A CELL: Show-stealers & Ceiling-breakers

by BROCK KOLLER

Tonight, the cell takes a step back. The main focus of tonight's Raw exclusive pay-per-view Hell in a Cell is two words: match placement.

 

And if the rumors are true - which they are usually are (except when they aren't) - the main event - meaning the final match of the "Triple Main Event" - will feature Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair.

 

This would not only be historic because this is the first time eeeeeeeeever (practicing my Jericho impersonation for Halloween...you don't like it? YOU JUST MADE THE LIST!...ahem) two female wrestlers would compete inside Hell in a Cell, but it would also be the first time a women's match closes a WWE pay-per-view.

 

Think about that. Since The Wrestling Classic in 1985, the WWE has bee presenting quarterly/monthly/bi-weekly pay-per-view events. That's a lot of matches! But in those 31 years, not one women's, ladies', or divas' match has been the main event.

 

If it is indeed true that tonight that glass ceiling is breaking, should the WWE have made a bigger deal about it? 

 

Or 1) Did WWE decide too late to make this a bigger deal? 2) Does WWE now see all competitors as equal - since they jettisoned the term Diva at WrestleMania - and there is no reason to point out this historic occurrence until it actually is happening? 

 

Whether WWE decided back when Mick Foley announced it a few weeks ago or if it was decided just a few hours ago it should happen, Sasha and Charlotte have proven they can handle the pressure and deliver - final match on the card or not.

 

Now who should win? You know, as in an actual wrestling match prediction. Well, Charlotte should come close, but Sasha just won the title back and she needs to show on the big stage why she is the Raw Women's Champion and not a 2-time fluke. 

 

WINNER of THE MAIN EVENT: Sasha Banks

 

Other predictions:

 

Kevin Owens defeats Seth Rollins - look for Chris Jericho to almost cost Owens the match.

 

Roman Reigns defeats Rusev - Reigns will win using the cage somehow. 

 

New Day defeats Sheamus & Cesaro - just not ready yet to say goodbye to the New Day's reign.

 

TJ Perkins defeats Brian Kendrick - I do like the story of Kendrick wanting Perkins to let him win. TJ should have mixed emotions but ultimately do what he needs to in order to walk out champ.

 

Gallows & Anderson defeat Enzo & Cass - Start building up The Club again as a force, one to be reckoned with.

 

Bayley defeats Dana Brooke 

 

Team Cedric defeats Team Nese

 

That is all. Have a historic time!! 

 

No Mercy-ing Dolph Ziggler? Previewing WWE No Mercy 2016

by BROCK KOLLER

WWE

WWE

As I sit here and another WWE pay per view is looming, there is only one topic that I want to delve into when it comes to No Mercy.

Oh, I’ll give my predictions on every match soon enough, but after tonight, this could be last time we see Dolph Ziggler.

Whether that makes you sad, makes you happy, or makes you indifferent, it’s hard to predict what you are feeling.

Ziggler was once the uber-favorite of the Internet Wrestling Community. While Daniel Bryan was building his momentum by losing in 18 seconds to Sheamus and teaming with Kane, the WWE Universe was cheering on the Show Off to be the top guy.

Back in 2011 and 2012, Dolph Ziggler deserved the championship. That’s what many smarks, marks, and dirt sheet writers were talking about. When it finally occurred, the night after WrestleMania 29 in 2013, the New Jersey crowd hit euphoria. The crowd could not believe that Ziggler successfully cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase and became World Heavyweight Champion. That was the moment Ziggler fans had been waiting for – and the moment Ziggler had been waiting for.

It was an awesome time to be a Dolph Ziggler fan. But due to an injury, that title reign did not last long and Ziggler never recovered. Sure, he won a Survivor Series match that eradicated the WWE of The Authority...for a few weeks.

But other than that championship win, I am having trouble naming my other favorite Ziggler moments from his career. I’m not counting his Spirit Squad run. Just when he was Dolph Ziggler – beginning with his “My name is…” gimmick. I know a good number of his matches got me on my feet, but I can’t recall which off the top of my head.

Maybe that’s a result of the number of hours of wrestling that I watch in a week in Ziggler’s era. If something isn’t as momentous as a long awaited title win, it’s just not worth remembering.

I do remember he fought Kofi Kingston.

A lot.

Like a lot a lot.

Just search YouTube for Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston.

There is their their Smackdown June 2, 2010 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InXwDmL2WLg

Their Smackdown July 9, 2010 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk61qHmPJRE

Their Smackdown July 23, 2010 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xlcyz59L4Jk

Their Smackdown July 29, 2010 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk61qHmPJRE

Their Raw May 5, 2010 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAEFT6eO0A0

Their Smackdown August 6, 2010 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMC5BEVVbJI

Their Smackdown August 20, 2010 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4n3GS2UZcI

Their Smackdown August 27, 2010 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBQG58kNEu4

Their Smackdown December 10, 2010 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSoLVRG_loY

Their Raw December 13, 2010 match where Kofi teamed with Daniel Bryan and Ziggler teamed with Ted DiBiase https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w51e_5b5DU

Their Smackdown December 31, 2010 triple threat match vs. Jack Swagger https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVglWLw1Ud4

Their Smackdown January 7, 2011 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQj6HXXKXZs

Their Raw May 7, 2012 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozRrm5clmWw

Their Raw September 24, 2012 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJn31wQMIbs

Their Superstars September 27, 2012 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM4K31HboQI

Their Raw March 18, 2013 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsvuX1cw_Vg

Their Smackdown March 22, 2013 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C03x4ZEM4oU

Their Raw March 28, 2013 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsvuX1cw_Vg

Their Raw April 29, 2013 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_Hl38rztJw

That time they teamed together against the Prime Time Players on WWE Superstars August 16, 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KYxFdvJ8AY

Their Tribute to the Troops 2013 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slpL8UlGnyI

Their Raw June 1, 2015 match https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRXprKaW3UY

You get the picture.

I’m sure there are more, but those are all I could find on the WWE’s YouTube Channel.

Regardless of the number of times Ziggler faced Kingston, the point is I am trying very hard to remember anything else.

I even checked Reddit’s Squared Circle because I was sure someone made a list of his best matches. I knew there should be one. There should be a Top 10 list at the top of the Wreddit right now because Ziggler was a great wrestler. He was the poster boy for “he's so good, he needs to lose to elevate this other guy.” Seriously, I think his character created the need for that wrestling phrase.

After googling, I did find a Wreddit post about Ziggler’s Essential Matches by MatthewMir made in August.

From the list, Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan at Bragging Rights in 2010, the Ziggler- Alberto Del Rio “Double Turn” Match from Payback 2013, and Ziggler vs. Luke Harper at TLC 2014 are a few I remember marking out to.

So - should this be the end for Mr. Ziggles – oh yea, that was a thing, too. I really don’t think this should be the end.

But I do think he will lose tonight. Yes. I think he’ll have a sendoff on Smackdown. But in a few months, he will be needed back for one reason or another. His triumphant reinstatement. That will make a good story. One to remember.

WINNER: THE MIZ

Other Predictions: 

A.J. Styles defeats John Cena & Dean Ambrose 

Alexa Bliss defeats Becky Lynch - supposedly Becky is hurt

Randy Orton defeats Bray Wyatt

Heath Slater & Rhyno defeat the Usos

Nikki Bella defeats Carmella

Jack Swagger defeats Baron Corbin

Enjoy the show!

Raising a Raw-ckus: WWE Clash of Champions Predictions

by BROCK KOLLER

A few weeks ago Smackdown Live had their pay per view, now it’s Monday Night Raw’s turn.

Tonight, all the Raw championships will be defended at Clash of Champions on the WWE Network.

WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins

It’s the Kevin Owens show. Seth Rollins should come close - putting on quite a performance, showing why while he’s not the champ, he is the number one guy on Raw. Rollins chasing Owens for the title – if done correctly – could get WWE through the annual creative drought of the fall.

WINNER: KEVIN OWENS

United States Champion Rusev vs. Roman Reigns

Why not give it to Roman? Roman deserves some sort of recognition for his stellar ring-work. He may be booed by half of the crowd in every arena he walks through, but he always shows up big for the big matches. Rusev’s U.S. title run hasn’t been as eventful as his one leading up to WrestleMania 31. I say, give Reigns the U.S. title and let him grow with it. Maybe he can win over those fans as US Champ.

WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS

Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley

Could be the match of the night. Isn’t it always with these superstars? Sasha had a very short title reign, losing the championship back to Charlotte. It would be nice to see Sasha win it again and keep it for a longer period of time. But not just yet…let Charlotte continue strutting with the title for a little while longer.

WINNER: CHARLOTTE

Lightning Round: 

Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

WINNERS: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson

Cesaro vs. Sheamus (Match 7 of Best of 7 Series)

WINNER: Cesaro

WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick

WINNER: TJ Perkins

Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho

WINNER: Sami Zayn

Alicia Fox vs. Nia Jax

WINNER: Nia Jax 

Don't Look Back: Time for Smackdown Live-Only PPV BackLash

by Brock Koller

When's a good time for a pay per view? How about every two weeks because that is what it will feel like as both Raw and Smackdown Live present their own pay per view events within the same month - every other month (or so). 

Tonight - it's Smackdown Live's turn.  Fun Fact: The first Smackdown only pay per view during the initial brand split was Vengeance 2003. The main event? Big Show vs. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar.

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION DEAN AMBROSE vs. AJ STYLES

It's AJ Styles' show. There is no question about it. He is the new face that runs the place! So it make sense for the WWE Championship to go to AJ. Dean chasing the title could create a more interesting storyline and a more tolerable character in the Lunatic Fringe. Maybe a little less goofy, more serious. Regardless, Ambrose would be better off without the title and Styles would be better off with it.

WINNER: AJ STYLES

SMACKDOWN WOMEN'S SIX-PACK CHALLENGE

Becky Lynch. Nikki Bella. Natalya. Naomi. Alexa Bliss. Carmella. Some new faces. Some veterans. A lot of opportunity. These 6 women get to the show that their division is just as strong as the women on Raw. This should NOT turn into a quick - everyone does their finishing move in the first two minutes - match. These women need to bring it! And the one who walks out the winner needs to make her mark as the face of the division.

WINNER: BECKY LYNCH

SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TOURNAMENT FINALS

The new bad attitude Usos must first get passed the Hype Bros to make it the finals. They will. I mean, they didn't just turn heel to lose, right? But once they meet the tag team division darling duo, Heath Slater & Rhyno - what will happen? Again, the Usos didn't just turn heel to lose, right? Rhyno and Slater are a good comedy team, but in order for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships to be taken seriously, the inaugural champs need to be taken seriously. And that's the whole point of the Usos turning bad - to be taken seriously, right?

WINNERS: THE USOS

RANDY ORTON VS. BRAY WYATT

After Orton's bloody TKO loss to Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, you would think Orton needs a win. You are right. BUT it seems - it always does - that Bray Wyatt needs to win. Bray Wyatt always seems to need to win because he rarely does in big time matches. But how can Wyatt lose? I imagine a double DQ of some sort. Then I would suggest that they would battle inside Hell In A Cell next month - but that's looking like a Raw only show! Confusing, isn't it. So maybe Smackdown will have one match inside the cell at No Mercy? Well, No Mercy is just days away, so we'll find out soon!

WINNER: DOUBLE DQ

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION THE MIZ VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER

This match has happened numerous times in the past on numerous shows with numerous outcomes, but with the brand split, this match has become more important than any of the countless times Miz fought Ziggler. The Miz has taken the added attention he's able to garner to his advantage. He is stealing the show - and the spotlight - anytime he's in the ring since Smackdown went live. Ziggler is coming off being in the Smackdown main event at SummerSlam. He still has momentum behind him. While the Miz had a more viral moment, both created buzz during their Talking Smack appearances. But now the talking is over and it's time to see who will walk out the champ. My opinion...the tour continues.

WINNER: THE MIZ

Enjoy BackLash! See you in a few weeks for Clash of Champions!

 

 

Party Time: Previewing WWE SummerSlam 2016

by BROCK KOLLER

It's time for WWE SummerSlam - the biggest party of the summer - and there's a lot to get to so let's get started before the summer is over or gets a 30 day suspension for violating the wellness policy.

There's a feeling around SummerSlam that no other WWE event has. It has it's own mystique to it as it is separate from any indication of being on the road to WrestleMania which the other big events have.

SummerSlam always seems to have matches that would only fit at this particular event - it's hard to explain - but it's matches that pit foes against others that they normally wouldn't or have never in the past - i.e. Razor Ramon vs Million Dollar Man, Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio, John Cena vs Batista. This card has some of these kind of matches - Lesnar/Orton, Reigns/Rusev, Balor/Rollins, Enzo & Cass/ Jericho & Owens. AJ Styles vs John Cena would have fit this bill if they hadn't fought before.  I'm happy the SummerSlam feeling is still there even with hours upon hours of wrestling every week.

This will be the first official pay per view of the new era - technically, the second, but the first since Raw and Smackdown became two separate brands again. I expect as they did back in the 2000s that the commentary teams will alternate back and forth to call their respective matches.



Carmella, Becky Lynch & Naomi vs Natalya & Alexa Bliss

The Smackdown women wrestlers have no title to fight for as of yet, so now they just fight for pride. A couple new faces, a new attitude for Naomi, and the suspension of Eva Marie are the headlines going into this match. What I am looking for is Becky Lynch cementing her dominance as the star of the Smackdown female roster, which she is, and another woman stepping up to challenge her.

WINNERS: Carmella, Becky Lynch & Naomi

The Miz vs Apollo Crews

The Intercontinental Championship is on the line and Miz's entertaining run as champ could come to a halt Sunday. The audience needs to see more from Apollo Crews though before he is awarded the title. I could see The Miz winning or losing this match by unscrupulous means. A few more weeks should give Crews enough time to show more about his personality and his abilities. He can get the title next month at Backlash. Yay, Backlash is back.

WINNER: The Miz

Cesaro vs Sheamus

This is the first match in a Best of Seven Series.  I had a feeling we were going to see this match at least seven more times so why not make it count, right? These two can go and there last few outings have been really good. As the series goes on, the matches will take on a more important quality, which will add more interest and entertainment value. How they will change it up match after match will be what I'm most interested in seeing.

WINNER: Sheamus

Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens

This is one of those matches that could steal the show. With both Jericho & Owens in the driver seat, this could be a wild ride. Just whatever the mic picks up from those two during the match will make this a match of the night candidate. But the ringwork should also be stellar from all four. Looking forward to this one.

WINNERS: Enzo & Cass

The New Day vs Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows

It's finally here. The end of The New Day as tag team champions. If New Day wins, it will be a shock. The time has come for new champs and these champs should not be funny. We've had hilarious tag champs for a year, no need for another, and less funny, so the doctor gimmick has to stop for Gallows & Anderson. And The Club with titles in hand need to be serious and mean business. It's time for a new day in the tag team division. What The New Day did over the past year should not be overlooked. They made a name for themselves and proved WWE and its performers can still make new ideas work. New Day still rocks just not as champions.

WINNERS: Gallows & Anderson

Roman Reigns vs Rusev

Roman Reigns is taking on one of the most evil characters in the WWE today. This is his chance to get the fans fully behind him. But why is he going after Rusev? I think he wants the US Championship, but in recent weeks it seems he just wants to make fun of Rusev & Lana for being in love and getting married. Maybe he can give an impassioned speech prior to the match about brining the US Title back home to get the fans to understand his true motives. But the Brooklyn crowd is not expected to give Reigns a rousing ovation. Though Philly did once so anything can happen. Reigns' climb back to the main event begins with a win here.

WINNER: Roman Reigns

Sasha Banks vs Charlotte

The WWE 24 special looking at the Women's Evolution is a must watch and shows just how much being in this spot means to these talented female wrestlers. Sasha Banks and Charlotte are no strangers to stealing the show. Given the right amount time and a chance to connect in the ring, these two can put on a clinic. Sasha Banks will walk in and out as champ.

WINNER: Sasha Banks

We still have quite a number of matches to get to so let's just take a short intermission. Remember when they used to take intermissions during pay per views? I feel like we need them again. Let's listen to the old SummerSlam theme for a bit.

Ok back to the card...

John Cena vs AJ Styles

Back in the day - they would have saved AJ vs Cena for SummerSlam but nowadays it's not like that. We've already seen them one-on-one so while this isn't an epic first time ever encounter it still should be pretty epic. I always go against Cena seeing that he never has to win another match and he will still be the face that runs the place, but usually Cena still wins anyhow. But I'm still going with my gut and picking Styles.

WINNER: AJ Styles

Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton

Now this is a first time ever match (minus a 2002 era Smackdown) but in my opinion, it's missing something. Yes we have two big names. Yes we have two awesome finishing maneuvers that can come from out of nowhere. But this match came from out of nowhere!! It was just "this guy will take on this guy for no reason." It was announced at the time to feed off the UFC 200 hype, but that was pretty much it. Why not have Randy Orton return, say he's looking for a challenge, and Paul Heyman respond. There. Cause. Effect. Gets people invested. Plus, now it's also about Raw vs Smackdown which is way too early to care about. While this match has it all, it could have been so much more. Should be a very good contest just without a real reason for being.

WINNER: Brock Lesnar

Dean Ambrose vs Dolph Ziggler

Potential. If we were playing the WWE association game, and you were to ask me to give a one word response to describe a wrestler that would be the word for Dolph Ziggler. Potential. Ziggler has it. He shows it in the ring. He especially shows it on the mic when he's speaking from the heart. His heartfelt promos are straight from the book of every inspirational sports movie. But he has never been deemed the man. If there was ever a time to give him a chance- now is that time. Who knows? WWE could not be happy with Ambrose after the comments he made on the Stone Cold Podcast and want to make a change. You never know. In the end, though, I think we do know. It will be a great match and we'll be saying "boy, that Dolph Ziggler sure shows a lot of potential, doesn't he?"

WINNER: Dean Ambrose

Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins

The fun is in the chase. That is the only reason I am going to go with Seth Rollins. It is not too early for Finn. Finn doesn't need to prove himself. Finn doesn't need to become a star. He is one. He has proven himself. He could definitely become the first WWE Universal Champion and that would make sense. But just think of the fun of an annoying, arrogant, boastful Seth Rollins walking around with his brand new title - only to be tormented by the Demon King week after week. A good old fashioned wrestling story. Then eventually we will get Finn's triumphant victory over Rollins and it will be that much sweeter. Though it could be the time for Balor, it shouldn't be.

WINNER: Seth Rollins

Wow. That's a lot of matches. I got my party hat on - now I just need like 20 pizzas for all 6 hours!

It's About Time: First Look at Time Travel TV Shows of 2016/2017

by BROCK KOLLER

The Flash. Outlander. Legends of Tomorrow. 11.22.63. Frequency. Time After Time. Making History. Timeless.

Pretty soon there will be Chicago Time Traveler and NCIS: Time Warp. Well, not yet, but it feels like we are getting there.

The new TV season – if there still is such a thing - will see the trend of time travel take over the television airwaves.  Which is all fine with me.

Being an absolute fanatic about Back to the Future, I have never been one to shy away from a new venture in the time travel genre.  Journeyman, Life on Mars, 7 Days, I’ve watched them all.

But when is too many too many? It might be the Fall of 2016 and beyond.

Right now, all we have to examine the future of time travel TV are the sneak peek trailers the networks pushed out a few months ago. Yes, these few minutes are really not the best way to determine the quality of a show, but unless a time machine pops out of the space-time continuum to take me to the premiere of each show, this is all I got to go on.

Frequency

‘Frequency,’ the 2000 movie starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel, is one of my favorites. It had a different approach to the time travel concept. No one actually traveled through time physically. There were no vortexes, no wormholes, no bending of space. There was the aroura borealis, but that’s a usual occurrence in reality. A father spoke to his older son in the future through a ham radio. They were able to alter the future, but sometimes not for the better. It was a fantastic concept and when I heard they were finally going to turn it into a television series, I was all for it. Of course, the thought then goes – it made a great 2-hour movie, but how could it make a great TV series for years to come? That’s not my job to figure that out. 

 

Right off the bat, knowing that this comes from Jeremy Carver, a producer-writer on the long-running and constantly charming ‘Supernatural,’ is a big plus for ‘Frequency.’ The writer of the movie Toby Emmerich is also onboard as a producer.

Some changes. The lead is no longer a male cop, but a female cop. And it no longer is 1999 and 1969, but 2016 and 1996. However, some things are the same as the original – ham radio, talk of baseball which makes them figure out who each other is, a murderer on the loose. Again, it all worked it in the span of 120 or so minutes in 2000, but can it last in a longer format? I’m excited to find out, as I really am still intrigued at this take on time travel and want this show to succeed.

Frequency premieres October 5 on The CW

Time After Time

Growing up, as alluded to before, there was no better time travel movie for me to watch than Back to the Future. It had it all, as I explained in a previous blog back on Back to the Future Day. But every so often, I would stumble upon another version of the time travel story – Doctor Who, Quantum Leap, Josh Kirby…Time Warrior, Time Cop, and more. Then I found this strange film on the local movie channel and I was just totally confused. Is that H.G. Wells? The author of The Time Machine? Why is he going after Jack the Ripper? What is happening? I would ask those questions every time I found this movie. Until I finally saw the beginning scenes. The movie was called ‘Time After Time.’ It was created in 1979 and saw both Wells and the suspected Ripper travel from the 1890s London to the 1970s California. Like ‘Frequency,’ this movie with another take on time travel is being made into a television series for the Fall of 2016.

 

Like the original – H.G. Wells’ friend steals the time machine and, like the original, his friend turns out to be Jack the Ripper. Here’s the change this time around: when the two land in the future, it’s no longer 1979 San Francisco, but 2016 New York. And because this is a TV series, more characters need to be introduced – including Wells’ great-granddaughter!! Hmmm…interesting. I’m wondering if this chase will end up spanning other time eras or will they stay in the present. This show does have a seasoned vet behind it – Kevin Williamson, creator of ‘Dawson’s Creek,’ ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ and ‘Scream.’ So this show has the chance to be both really dramatic and terrifying. Sign me up!

Time After Time premieres on ABC on TBD

Making History

OK, so technically ‘Making History’ doesn’t premiere on FOX until 2017, but the trailer is up, so it’s got to be reviewed. This is the only comedy take on the time travel format in the upcoming TV season. Can time travel work for laughs? Have I mentioned ‘Back to the Future?’ The show is produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller of ‘Lego Movie’ fame.

 

Here’s how FOX explains it: “Two shows in one, it’s both a rollicking historical adventure, and a contemporary comedy about love, friendship and trying to fit in to an increasingly complex and impersonal world." Rollicking is always good, right?

While this show has its own version of the time travel story, it centers on the constant time travel question – if I can go back in the past, can I alter the future? It plays on that in a comedic fashion – duffel bag time machine, ham as currency, movie quotes used as revolution inspiration, and especially when introducing the female lead in the show as Paul Revere’s daughter. Hey, it’s a time travel show, so why not make a character related to a historical figure?

Adam Pally has been hilarious in whatever show he’s been on – ‘Happy Endings,’ especially and this should be no different here.

The issue is by the time this show debuts, all the other time travel shows will likely have seen their fate sealed. Will this show premiere too late and us time traveler lovers be exhausted by then?

Making History premieres on FOX in 2017

Timeless

Like ABC’s ‘Time After Time,’ NBC’s ‘Timeless’ features a criminal who steals a time machine. But whereas one person goes to the stop him in ‘Time After Time,’ ‘Timeless’ features three protagonists. And in another difference, this criminal doesn’t stay in one year, he travels through time.  The series is produced by the team behind ‘The Blacklist.’

 

When comparing the new entries into the time travel TV mythos, the trio concept is exclusive to ‘Timeless.’ This is also more of a serious, reality-based sci-fi show. It is the first show of these to mention Homeland Security. The showrunners say they will not hide from the racist and sexist parts of bygone eras.

The concept though is very similar to The CW’s ‘Legends of Tomorrow.’ A group of good guys travel through time to stop a madman from turning the future into his vision. Of course, on ‘Timeless,’ none of the good guys and gals have superpowers. That we know of.

Timeless premieres on NBC on October 3.

All in all, the four shows premiering this upcoming “TV season” centering around time travel all have potential. None are too much like the others, except the whole time travel thing.

But we have to remind ourselves, there’s still ‘The Flash,’ ‘Outlander,’ ‘Legends of Tomorrow,’ ‘12 Monkeys,’ ‘Doctor Who,’ and I’m sure others that I’ve never watched – who has the time!

The question is will these shows be worth our time, stand the test of time, and last long enough for us to remember them?

Time will tell.

  

Feeling Drafty: Superstar by Superstar Analysis of 2016 WWE Draft

by BROCK KOLLER

The WWE Draft has come and gone. Now the question is - were the right Superstars chosen for the right show? Here's a look at what I thought about the first 30 stars to get selected. It's anyone's guess how this will out shake out - but since you are here, you are reading my guesses. Thank you. 

Round No. 1
1. Seth Rollins - Raw; Seth Rollins was the right choice to be the first pick. Even though he is not currently the champion - that I'm sure will change very soon - he is without a doubt the top star on the roster. He is a bonafide star and WWE needs to make sure everyone is aware of that. 


2. WWE Champion Dean Ambrose - SmackDown Live; Right behind Rollins, is Dean Ambrose. Ambrose winning the WWE Championship solidified his status as a main eventer. He will bring the championship to Smackdown and make the show his own. Ambrose should be the center of the show. It's no longer The Rock's show, it's Dean's show. 


3. WWE Women's Champion Charlotte - Raw;  Charlotte may not be the most popular and if I were a Commissioner or General Manager, I personally would have selected Sasha Banks as the top women's wrestler on my roster, but she is Women's Champion, has been for months now (including her Divas Title reign), and that accounts for something. Right now, Charlotte is the one to beat in the women's division and her being the top female in WWE made this the right pick. 


4. AJ Styles - SmackDown Live; A.J. Styles has proven he is that good. In ROH, he was that good. In New Japan, he was that good. In TNA, he was that good. And in WWE, he is still that good. While his heel turn was surprising, what he has done with it is not. Styles is magic. He can turn any situation into gold and as a top draft pick, making Smackdown a must-watch show is his next task, one he should succeed with.  

5. Finn Bálor - Raw from NXT; The most exciting pick of the entire WWE Draft. In my book, the next big thing in the WWE. The next mainstream media darling. The next big-time t-shirt seller. The next face of the company. Two things though - first, he was picked before John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, and many other already established stars. Is that a problem? At first glance, yes. Why didn't Raw pick Cena (storyline wise)? But him being picked so high up, should make those who are not aware of Balor from NXT take notice. It should intrigue viewers to watch and see who this guy is. Second, tons of wrestling fans have been clamoring for Balor's main roster debut. Does this pick kick the wind out of the sails? It will still be a surprise when Balor shows up, but now we are expecting him to. That goes for all the NXT picks. The surprise of if they will be called up is no longer there. But the anticipation of when, still remains. I guess that's good enough. I'll still throw my arms up in the air when his music hits. 

Round No. 2
6. Roman Reigns - Raw; You have to imagine things would have turned out differently for Roman Reigns had he not been suspended. He would have most certainly been a top 3 pick. This time, he just missed the top 5. But Raw gets Rollins and Reigns to carry the show. Will be interesting to see what they do with Reigns. Is a double turn in the cards? Barring any other mistakes, Reigns should stay at the top of the Raw pack and still be one of the poster-boys for the New Era. 


7. John Cena - SmackDown Live; The face that runs this place is returning to the place that made the face famous. John Cena is returning to Smackdown where he rose from the ranks - from mid-carder to WWE Champion in the mid-2000s. It's been reported Cena will take a lesser schedule as it concerns live events, but not television tapings, so Cena should still be a huge part of the Smackdown show.  An early benefit of the draft is Styles and Cena can continue their excellent rivalry through the end of the summer and beginning of fall.


8. Brock Lesnar - Raw; Well, here comes the pain strictly on Monday nights, which is really no different than what he has been doing. Lesnar rarely appeared on Smackdown. Heck, he rarely appears on anything. With the recent news coming out of UFC, Lesnar's WWE ride could take an unexpected turn. He's been an unstoppable force since his return to WWE - minus two losses - but an RKO out of nowhere might be in his future. And then what happens after that? No one probably knows right now. 


9. Randy Orton - SmackDown Live; Randy Orton is making his return to the WWE at Battleground and then in the ring at SummerSlam. Where things stand now, it would not be all that surprising to see Orton get a win over Lesnar and catapult the third generation superstar back to the top on Smackdown. They just need to keep Orton away from Cena, but Orton butting heads with Styles would be an interesting occurrence. 


10. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day - Raw; The New Day are on the top of the mountain so it feels like one of them will turn on the other soon enough, right? Well, now with this fresh setup to the WWE, this may give new life to The New Day. As rightfully the first tag team to be drafted, The New Day has the set the mark high for the next WWE Tag Team Champions.  The next tag team to be drafted could prove their only immediate threat - Enzo & Cass - not only for the titles, but for the fans' adulation. And both teams are on Raw. What happens to the tag teams on Smackdown? TBD. 

Round No. 3
11. Sami Zayn - Raw; Sami Zayn will be a main eventer now. No question. Should Seth Rollins be crowned WWE Champion or a returning Wold Heavyweight Champion - Zayn could be the first contender not named Roman Reigns. Raw is Zayn's show to lose. He just has to make it to that level and be the "good guy Seth Rollins" the show needs. 


12. Bray Wyatt - SmackDown Live; Speaking of new life, Bray Wyatt has followed the buzzards to Smackdown where he should create nothing but chaos for everyone. He no longer has his family to tag along. He's his own man. I can surely see Bray taking the title from Ambrose down the road. It's time Bray Wyatt becomes champion. 


13. Sasha Banks - Raw; The future of the women's division is at the lucky #13 pick. Sasha Banks will be crowned women's champion sometime soon - or if they can wait that long - at WrestleMania. Sasha and Charlotte have the potential to be one of the best women's rivalries in a long time and now they are given the space and time to do it right - with both being on the Raw roster. 

 
14. Becky Lynch - SmackDown Live; Where does this leave Becky Lynch? Who knows if they will make a second women's title (or call it the Ladies Championship), but Becky is very deserving of it. Should Charlotte defend her title on both shows - her feuding with Becky while Sasha awaits her match - could not only make Becky's Smackdown placement more interesting - but it would prolong the Sasha feud, which would help create the drama needed to make that moment when Sasha wins even more satisfying to viewers. 

15. Chris Jericho - Raw; Chris Jericho could have been picked an either show and I would have been happy. He can work with the best and most seasoned, and at the same time, work with the greenest and youngest to make them better. And Chris Jericho vs. Finn Balor is already a match of the year candidate and it hasn't even happened yet. 

Round No. 4
16. United States Champion Rusev (with Lana) - Raw; I really hope they let Rusev show more of his humorous side. With more time to let wrestlers shine, a new side of Rusev would be nice to see. Keep him evil, by all means, but show that he's not just one-dimensional evil. And no sketches with fish, please. 


17. Intercontinental Champion The Miz (with Maryse) - SmackDown Live; The Miz is firing on all cylinders and should be no different on Smackdown. I would love to see The Miz hold an I.C. Open Challenge every week - a la John Cena's U.S. Open Challenge. There's a bunch of new contenders for him to face, so why not them show them off - and build Miz's reputation in the process. 


18. Kevin Owens - Raw; Wow. Kevin Owens should have been drafted way higher. Way higher. He is too good to be #18. But maybe that'll add fuel to his fire - which he really doesn't need. Owens is an amazing talent - skilled on the mic and in the ring. It looks like his feud with Sami Zayn could continue forever - fight forever! - but hopefully, they find some new talent through this draft to give to Owens. Again, throwing Finn Balor up against Owens - always a winner. 


19. Baron Corbin - SmackDown Live; Baron Corbin could finally use his Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal victory to good use now that the roster is thinned out and he can show what he's made of. It seems WWE is very high on Corbin and with a new setting - and please, keep him away from Dolph Ziggler - and new opponents, Corbin could easily be an I.C. title holder in the near future. But that would mean The Miz would have to drop it soon or could the Lone Wolf become a friendly one to fight the A-Lister?


20. Enzo & Big Cass - Raw; At #20, the hottest tag team that does not have its own cereal was selected. Enzo & Cass have it all and you can't teach that. Catchphrases, funny entrances, and complimentary wrestling styles. I wouldn't mind seeing fan favorite vs. fan favorite with Enzo & Cass against The New Day. WWE would probably like to not have that so maybe we'll see The Dudleys get their 10th title reign or The Club get a title run and then drop it to the new E&C. 

Round No. 5
21. Gallows and Anderson - Raw; The Club is without its leader. Though they are quite familiar with Finn Balor. I personally would keep that away for now. When the time is right, let them meet up, but it does not need to be rushed like Styles and The Club. Let Balor do his thing and The Club can work on becoming champs. 


22. American Alpha - SmackDown Live from NXT; American Alpha has the potential to be the best tag team on any roster - and they very well could be right now - but can they become champions? It remains to be seen how the Tag Team Championships will be defended or if a second pair of titles will be introduced. One way or another American Alpha will be wearing gold in the very near future. Glad they got the call up to the main roster from NXT. 

 
23. Big Show - Raw; Well, it's The Big Show-'s job to make the younger stars shine. There are a number of them coming to Raw and whether he's good or bad, Show is always a team player and ready to do the job when needed. It still means something when a newcomer defeats the giant and that will go far for many of the young Raw superstars. 


24. Dolph Ziggler - SmackDown Live; Dolph Ziggler on Smackdown Live  needs to be different than Dolph ZIggler on anything else we've seen before. Take a page from The Undertaker and alter your character a bit. This is a fresh start for everyone, so this fan favorite needs to make the most of it. All of his fans are counting on him. And stay away from Baron Corbin. 


25. Nia Jax - Raw from NXT; This could be good. If Charlotte is dealing with Becky Lynch on Smackdown, Nia could be the perfect foil for Sasha. Although, Summer Rae is also on Raw and she could keep Sasha busy, too. Where does that leave Nia? Maybe fighting Paige.   

Round No. 6
26. Neville - Raw; There is a rumored cruiserweight division starting on Raw. If that is the case, you are looking at the star of that division. Neville could be the next Rey Mysterio - start off a cruiserweight and in a few years win the Royal Rumble and main event WrestleMania. 


27. Natalya - SmackDown Live; An evil Natalya will still be battling Becky Lynch is the early goings on Smackdown Live. But like the other women, she will get bored if there's no title to go after. Something needs to be determined to make Natalya's Smackdown presence meaningful.


28. Cesaro - Raw; Another draft pick who should have been selected way earlier. Cesaro gave a passionate speech on WWE.com about his position in the draft and in the company. Cesaro should be a future WWE Champion, but for now, he might have to show he means business fighting Rusev for the U.S. Championship as he awaits bigger things.


29. Alberto Del Rio - SmackDown Live; Alberto Del Rio is in the Chris Jericho position on Smackdown. He can still be in important title scenarios, but he should also be used to build up and comers. A win over Del Rio by a fresh face is always shocking. Del Rio also knows how to verbally make the audience root against him. He is an important piece on the Smackdown brand. 


30. Sheamus - Raw; Sheamus should not be overlooked. He was getting stale as a babyface, so he returned as a mohawked heel. Now, that look may be waning and just like I've said earlier, it's a new start. I think if we learned more about who Sheamus is, the man behind the mohawk and piercings, it could prove to be a welcomed return of a face Sheamus - one the fans want to see win. We just need a sit down interview with Corey Graves aired over several weeks on Raw. There is now time for things like that again. 

So those are the top 30 picks of the 2016 WWE Draft. Below is how the rest of the draft turned out. Everyone has an opportunity to make this draft a good thing for their career - even Heath Slater who was not drafted. WWE's first try at a split roster over 10 years ago - started off strong with distinct show atmospheres and writing - but then slowly merged back into one, homogenized brand. This is a second chance for WWE to make competition within itself. It could be great or could just feel like 5 hours of the same show with different names and then it won't really matter who was drafted #1 or #45. 

But I'm betting WWE knows what it's doing and in a few weeks, we'll be saying Raw is very different than Smackdown, except for one thing: They are both can't miss.  

Round No. 7 (announced during WWE Draft Center Live on WWE Network)
31. Golden Truth - Raw
32. The Usos - SmackDown Live
33. Titus O'Neil - Raw
34. Demon Kane - SmackDown Live
35. Paige - Raw

Round No. 8 (announced during WWE Draft Center Live on WWE Network)
36. Darren Young (with Bob Backlund) - Raw
37. Kalisto - SmackDown Live
38. Sin Cara - Raw
39. Naomi - SmackDown Live
40. Jack Swagger - Raw
41. The Ascension - SmackDown Live

Round No. 9 (announced during WWE Draft Center Live on WWE Network)
42. The Dudley Boyz - Raw
43. Zack Ryder - SmackDown Live
44. Summer Rae - Raw
45. Apollo Crews - SmackDown Live
46. Mark Henry - Raw
47. Alexa Bliss - SmackDown Live from NXT

Round No. 10 Picks (announced during WWE Draft Center Live on WWE Network)
48. Braun Strowman - Raw
49. Breezango - SmackDown Live
50. Bo Dallas - Raw
51. Eva Marie - SmackDown Live
52. Shining Stars - Raw
53. The Vaudevillains - SmackDown Live

Round No. 11 (announced during WWE Draft Center Live on WWE Network)
54. Alicia Fox - Raw
55. Erick Rowan - SmackDown Live
56. Dana Brooke - Raw
57. Mojo Rawley - SmackDown Live from NXT
58. Curtis Axel - Raw
59. Carmella - SmackDown Live from NXT

Undrafted
Heath Slater

DON'T MOCK ME: WWE DRAFT EXPLAINER & PROJECTIONS

by BROCK KOLLER

Finn Balor/ Twitter

Finn Balor/ Twitter

Tonight is the WWE Draft.

For the first time since 2011, WWE Superstars will be plucked from the roster and selected for one of two destinations: Monday Night Raw or Smackdown Live.

There’s a lot happening tonight on one two-hour episode of professional wrestling. Let's go through it all: 

First – Smackdown, which has been a taped show since its UPN premiere in 1999, is now a live broadcast, just like its big brother Raw.

Second- Smackdown, which has been on either Thursday or Friday nights since its inception, is now on Tuesdays – and as stated above it is now live.

Third – The main event of tonight's first live Tuesday Smackdown will see a WWE Championship match between the WWE Champion Dean Ambrose and his former friend, now bitter enemy Seth Rollins after their title match Monday night ended in controversy.

Fourth – This is the final WWE show before Sunday’s special event known as Battleground which will see a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship between Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns – all former (or current) champions and at one time – members of the faction known as The Shield.

Fifth – The aforementioned WWE Draft.

Last week, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon announced his children – Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon would each helm a show of their own as commissioner. Steph is the Commissioner of Raw. Shane is the Commissioner of Smackdown.

Last night, both Stephanie and Shane announced their General Managers for their respective shows – also called brands. Steph chose former WWE champion and WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley as Raw GM. Shane chose former WWE Champion and the leader of the Yes Movement, the recently retired Daniel Bryan as Smackdown GM.

Now tonight, Steph and Mick will choose Superstars for their Raw roster. Shane and Daniel will do the same for Smackdown.

Raw gets the first pick. Since Raw is a three-hour show, as opposed to Smackdown’s two hours, Raw gets three picks for every two Smackdown picks. Tag teams can either be selected together or split up. And there will be six selections from the WWE “developmental” league NXT.

So who should be the first pick? No question about it. Stephanie and Mick should choose the WWE Champion Dean Ambrose. He’s the champion! However, because Stephanie is anti-Dean, and has been an advocate of Seth Rollins for years, and claimed he really won the title on Raw, I think the first pick will be Seth Rollins.

So Raw gets Seth Rollins. Would only make sense for Smackdown to choose Dean Ambrose. And just like that – the Shield is broken up. Which kind of makes sense as to why WWE chose Battleground as the setting for the long awaited Shield Triple Threat and not its more well-known Summerslam event in August.

But how will the rest of the rosters look like at the end of the draft?

Here are my guesses for the Top 10 on each brand:

Raw

1.       Seth Rollins

2.       Roman Reigns

3.       Randy Orton

4.       Sasha Banks

5.       Finn Balor

6.       Kevin Owens

7.       The Wyatt Family

8.       The Miz

9.       Shinsuke Nakamura

10.   Enzo & Cass

Smackdown

1.       Dean Ambrose

2.       John Cena

3.       AJ Styles

4.       The Club

5.       Brock Lesnar

6.       Charlotte

7.       Sami Zayn

8.       The New Day

9.       Bailey

10.   American Alpha

Then again – is Samoa Joe or Austin Aries going to make the switch? Are commentators going to get swapped? Who knows what is going to happen? As a wrestling fan, I just can’t wait to see it unfold.

Tonight. Live.

 

WrestleMania in June: WWE Money In the Bank Predictions

by BROCK KOLLER

WWE

WWE

I can’t believe it’s WrestleMania, already. It’s amazing how fast time goes. It just felt like only three months ago we saw Shane McMahon fly off the Hell in a Cell, The Rock and John Cena take down the Wyatt Family, and Roman Reigns defeat Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. But now here we are again. WrestleMania. In June. Wait. In June? That can’t be right.

It will not be WrestleMania on the WWE Network tonight, but it sure feels like it. Tonight’s card is built like a Mania lineup, one that could definitely give this past year’s Show of Shows a run for its (ahem) money.

There’s a dream match. There’s a championship match with hype. There’s a ladder match with so many possibilities that the parallel universes created by the alternate endings probably has even DC writers in awe (DC is known for its multi-verse).

So even though this not Mania – or even SummerSlam which is a couple months away – Money in the Bank has been making a name for itself as a much watch pay per view since 2011.

With the draft looming next month and WWE Battleground occurring a week later – this is the last special event where the WWE roster is a cohesive unit.

So let’s go with the predictions:

AJ STYLES vs. JOHN CENA

It’s finally here! TNA vs. WWE. Impact vs. Raw. This is it. Well, not entirely true, but for years wrestling fans have wondered what would happen if the face of TNA went face to face with the face of WWE. That’s a lot of faces, which is OK, because AJ Styles is now a heel – one less face in the equation. Are you following? The point is tonight we are finally going to see Styles-Cena I. I say I, as in 1 as in one, because this will most certainly not end tonight. This will be the start of a summer-long feud between two of the best performers this millennium. Cena has been very good on the mic since his return and Styles has proven he has the chops to cut intense promos as a heel.  Now, the time for talking is over.

WINNER: AJ STYLES

ROMAN REIGNS vs. SETH ROLLINS

Seth Rollins is back and he has a right to the championship he never lost. Roman Reigns is the guy and wants to remain the guy. The story is there. But to be honest, the title could switch back and forth between Reigns and Rollins and it wouldn’t change too much as the status of the WWE stands. We’ve seen a heel Rollins champion and we are well into Reigns’ title reign, so it would pretty much be the new normal. The piece that would set a different course for the company is hanging above the ring during this event. And the man who grabs that – the briefcase, if you didn’t catch on – holds the future of the WWE in his hands. For now, I see Roman Reigns continuing his title run, but not for too much longer.

WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS

MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH

Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens

I’m going to one of my favorite writing tropes – the one word prediction used for emphasis. Here it is: Ambrose. Ambrose. Ambrose. That is also repetition for emphasis. But it needs to be said, again and again. Three reasons 1) Two out of three former Shield members are battling for the title in the main event feud; 2) The Shield triple threat match was rumored to have been in the pre-injury ridden WrestleMania card; 3) It is the most enticing option. Yes, a KO win would be great and Owens would ace being a problem stirrer with the briefcase. Yes, Sami Zayn and Cesaro would have die-hard fans marking out big time and wanting them to cash in as soon as possible. And yes, a Jericho or Del Rio would give WWE the insurance of having veterans in an important role when the company is about to embark on an uncertain future. BUT none of that matters when you bring up Dean Ambrose. The serious Dean Ambrose; the one we saw at the end of the promo on Raw where he literally spelled out what I hope will happen. Now, I’m not for him cashing in so soon as in tonight. But let’s say he cashes in for SummerSlam and that rumored triple threat match actually happens. And the new champion at that time – one word – Ambrose.

WINNER: DEAN AMBROSE

NEW DAY vs. ENZO & CASS VS. VAUDEVILLAINS vs. THE CLUB

The Club should win this, especially if Styles is going to pull off a victory over Cena. Then The Club can come out of MITB with all the momentum they need to be a dominant threat on WWE. But, I really don’t want The New Day to lose the titles. They should pass the year mark. They just can’t defeat The Club while doing it. I see the Vaudevillains taking the loss here, which is a shame because they are new to the roster and we don’t want them going the way of The Ascension. But someone has to lose in this match and The Club needs to be spared. And Enzo & Cass should only get pinned if The Club do win – then The New Day can have a beef saying they were not the ones who lost. But the point is they shouldn’t be the ones to lose anything.

WINNERS: NEW DAY

Quick Takes:

RUSEV vs. TITUS O’NEIL

Good for Titus to get a U.S. title shot after he was unceremoniously taken off of TV during WrestleMania season. But Rusev will crush.

WINNER: RUSEV

CHARLOTTE & DANA BROOKE vs. NATALYA & BECKY LYNCH

I assume Becky will be the next one in line for a title shot. So she gets the victory over Dana Brooke.

WINNERS: NATALYA & BECKY LYNCH

APOLLO CREWS vs. SHEAMUS

Hmmm….Apollo needs a big win to cement his role in the company. But Sheamus can’t lose, he needs to stay relevant. Hmmm…how 'bout Sheamus gets frustrated he can’t put away Crews and gets DQ’d? Let’s go with that.

WINNER: APOLLO CREWS by DQ

DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. BARON CORBIN

Baron Corbin will send Ziggler to the Smackdown announce table.

WINNER: BARON CORBIN

THE LUCHA DRAGONS vs. THE DUDLEY BOYZ

This will be end of the Dragons and we will get a heel Sin Cara. But this time there will only be one Sin Cara.

WINNERS: THE DUDLEY BOYZ

THE GOLDEN TRUTH vs. BREEZANGO

It’s about time The Golden Truth gets a victory. Am I right?

WINNERS: THE GOLDEN TRUTH

Enjoy WrestleMania! I mean, Money in the Bank!

Breakfast Under Fire & My Top 5 Cereals of a Bygone Era

by BROCK KOLLER

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Put down the spoon!

Did you hear this - Breakfast may not be the most important meal of the day? Could this be true?

In a recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, Indiana University School of Medicine professor of pediatrics Aaron E. Carroll writes, “Our belief in the power of breakfast is based on misinterpreted research and biased studies.”

Carroll brought up the fact that most studies are funded by the food industry, which, he writes, “has a clear bias.”

“The bottom line is that the evidence for the importance of breakfast is something of a mess. If you’re hungry, eat it. But don’t feel bad if you’d rather skip it, and don’t listen to those who lecture you. Breakfast has no mystical powers,” Carroll writes.

On Good Morning America a day after the article was published, ABC News Chief Women’s Health Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton tended to agree with the professor. 

 “This concept that your body needs to eat as soon as you’re vertical because it’s in a fast, that is a complete myth,” Ashton said.

But come on now. Whether or not breakfast is a must appears to be something of a contentious matter, OK, fine, but the first meal of the day for many remains a big business.

According to Time Inc., breakfast order sales topped $52 billion in 2015, up 30% from 2009.

In fact, that same company, Time Inc., coincidentally, just debuted a brand new website devoted entirely to all things breakfast – ‘Extra Crispy.’ (I imagine the site is part of a complete internet, but I’ll have to double-check.)

“Extra Crispy allows us to experiment with inherently shareable content—from coffee obsessions to Cronuts and the viral food phenomenon of today. We’ll have our plates full,” said Matt Bean, SVP, Editorial Innovation, Time Inc.

If you are in the mood to peruse EC, you’d find such tasty offerings as “Why Pancakes Should Be a Side Item, Not a Main Course,” “The Battle to Put the ‘Ugh’ Back in Doughnut” (naturally for National Donut Day…err…National Doughnut Day), and “American Breakfast Through the Decades.”

All this talk about breakfast got me feeling a bit nostalgic.

Growing up, when it came to breakfast, there was only one word that could satisfy that morning meal craving – cereal.

But like all good things, some of my favorite cereals only lasted a limited time. Some even were only around for a cup of coffee (breakfast humor) – so much so I almost completely forgot about a few and, like I said, they were my favorites!

That’s when I came upon a gift for the cereal historian – a website called Mr. Breakfast. This site, run by, Eddy Chavey, a Los Angeles New School of Cooking graduate, has an online database of most every kind of cereal to man – along with descriptions, photos, and YouTube videos.

Plus, you get to see you’re not alone in your obsessive yearning for breakfasts of yore, as comments on almost every page read, “This cereal was my favorite! Bring it back!”

With the help of Mr. Breakfast, I have been able to track down my Top 5 cereals of a bygone era. These may have not been the most nutritious and I bet Professor Carroll would say I would’ve been better skipping these sugar filled bowls of joy, but just thinking of these cereals brings a smile to my face.

Now, just missing the cut were Ice Cream Cone Cereal, Batman 1989 Cereal, Kellogg’s Cinnamon Mini Buns, and Ralston’s Spider-Man. You still mean something to me. All of you.

#5 Kellogg’s Pop-Tart Crunch

They debuted in 1994 and were bite sized Pop-Tarts. Nifty! They had filling inside which resembled the original full-size breakfast bars. Along with the cereals themselves, much of the fun of memory lane was looking back at the old commercials that [persuaded] suggested for me to try a box. This was a good one.

 

#4 Urkel-Os

I really wanted to put this ‘Family Matters’ inspired cereal higher up on my list, but I can’t recall I even really liked the taste. I know I liked the fact that I was eating a TGIF related breakfast. I liked the fact Steve Urkel was on the box. And I liked the idea of a strawberry-banana flavored cereal in theory – I just can’t remember if that was a good thing in practice. But it still remains one of my favorite cereals I bring up numerous times a year. Yes, Urkel-Os you did that (That being made the list of my favorite cereals).

 

#3 General Mills’ Sprinkle Sprangles

Once you utter the name, you can’t forget it. Sprinkle Sprangles was as if you were eating sprinkled sugar cookies shaped like stars. It was delicious. At the time, I did not know what a nutritional label was, so it was even more delicious. It came out not too long after Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ was in theaters, so anything involving a genie was a hit in my book.

#2 General Mills Hidden Treasures

In 1993, according to Mr. Breakfast, General Mills not only debuted Sprinkle Sprangles, but also another ingenious meal known as Hidden Treasures. Much like Pop-Tart Crunch, the cereal consisted of puffed rectangles. But the fun of Sprinkle Sprangles was not every piece contained the fruit filling (artificial, as it was). “Which one holds a hidden treat?” That was the hook that got me!

And my #1 favorite cereal growing up was

Kellogg’s Fruity Marshmallow Krispies

While most on the list were original creations, my all-time favorite was a variation of an old-time classic. 

Let Mr. Breakfast explain it so you’ll understand. Take it away Mr. B:

“A single serving of Fruity Marshmallow Krispies contained a whopping 17 grams of sugar and hardly a trace of fiber. On the plus side, it did contain less than 1 gram of fat. In 1988, a document called the Environmental Nutrition newsletter called Fruity Marshmallow Krispies the worst cereal out of 123 cereal analyzed for bran content versus sugar.

 Ummm…

Ok, that was not exactly what I was looking for, Mr. Breakfast.

For me, Fruity Marshmallow Krispies had the best marshmallows – better than Lucky Charms. That good! There was something about the “primarily-round, nondescript shape” of these marshmallows that made them more enjoyable. And plus the cereal pieces were frosted. Frosted Rice Krispies with marshmallows? Can’t beat that.

And then of course, they had this catchy jingle that got stuck in my head and [brainwashed] caused me to remember this as my favorite cereal forever.

So while there may be some argument over the importance of breakfast - and my eating habits as a child -  there’s no mistaking that if you did eat breakfast growing up, you made some valuable memories – some valuable, delicious memories.

And if you love breakfast like it’s your job – you’re in luck – ‘Extra Crispy’ is hiring a Bacon Critic!

As for now, every time you hear a snap, crackle, or a pop, think of me and what breakfast is all about.

 

 

 

 

Almost Anything Goes: WWE Extreme Rules 2016 Preview

by BROCK KOLLER

WWE

WWE

Anything goes tonight! Almost anything. As anything would include a title change in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. And that's just not going to happen.

Here's how I see the card playing out for WWE Extreme Rules 2016:

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Extreme Rules Match
Roman Reigns v. AJ Styles

AJ Styles would make a fantastic world champ. Not just a world champ - he's been that, plenty of times - but a WWE World Champion. He would bring legitimacy to the title as Brock Lesnar did. Styles is a wrestler's wrestler. He can walk the walk as best as any other wrestler in the industry. But he's not the performer WWE wants as their champ. His spot is the role of Reigns antagonist, not as the company's main protagonist.  Is it unfortunate? To a certain extent. AJ as WWE champ would be a mark out moment. But AJ in the main event picture without being the titleholder is not too bad in itself.

WINNER: AJ Styles

WWE Women's Championship
Submission Match
Charlotte v Natalya

You know when you get that feeling. I have that feeling. This is Natalya's night. She will one up Charlotte in a match that is made for a Hart. How long will her run last as champ? How long until Charlotte wins it back? Who cares. On this night, Natalya walks out champ.

WINNER: Natalya

Intercontinental Championship
Fatal 4-Way
The Miz v Kevin Owens v Cesaro v Sami Zayn

Any one of these guys can hold the gold and the fans will believe in them as IC Champ. Each has their own strengths - but right now the biggest strength for The Miz is he is Intercontinental Champion and we hate him for that. That's his character. Just making us hate him. Kevin Owens can be hated just as much without the title. His character wouldn't fluctuate with gold. Miz's persona gets more irritating the more he wins. And Zayn & Cesaro will get cheered tomorrow no matter the outcome.

WINNER: The Miz

Asylum Match
Dean Ambrose v. Chris Jericho

Jericho lost their Payback match - then lost his jacket. Ambrose lost his potted plant Mitch. I think Ambrose needs a match loss to even this out. Mitch was worth the same as Jericho's jacket right? And for Y2J to pull one off on Ambrose inside the kennel from hell, i mean, the barbed wire steel cage, i mean, the asylum, would be a feat Jericho could crow about for weeks.

WINNER: Chris Jericho

Tag Team Tornado Match
The Usos v Gallows & Anderson

Gallows & Anderson. Enough said. No question this needs to be the decision. The Club shines tonight.

WINNERS: Gallows & Anderson

WWE Tag Team Championship
The New Day v. The Vaudevillains

It's great seeing New Day fighting some new competition, but these are not the guys to dethrone New Day. I can see them taking New Day to the limit and maybe even causing a DQ finish to show they are true contenders. But they are not walking out champs.

WINNERS: The New Day

United States Championship
Kalisto v. Rusev

Rusev is winning.

WINNER: Rusev

No Disqualification Match
Dolph Ziggler v. Baron Corbin

WINNER: Baron Corbin

Enjoy Extreme Rules & thank you Cody Rhodes for 10 years of entertainment!

WWE Payback: The Wrestling Fan's Fanfiction Event

by BROCK KOLLER

How you doin?

Very well, actually.

WWE

WWE

That’s because WWE is hitting all the marks recently. All that hard work, creativity, and entertaining storylines and matches culminates this Sunday at Payback. Hopefully, it starts up again the following night on Raw.

Wrestling fans across the world are in agreement that the WWE has been very good, if not great, these past few weeks following what many considered was a lackluster WrestleMania build. But ever since the Showcase of the Immortals, WWE has introduced a slew of new Superstars, pushed deserving talent, and created logical and interesting storylines that keep the viewers’ interest.

While the ratings are in a lull, it should not be blamed on the WWE’s current product. Maybe mainstream fans are not familiar yet with AJ Styles, Enzo & Cass, or Anderson & Gallows. But there was a time where not everyone was familiar with John Cena or Daniel Bryan.  It takes time to create household names. The WWE is doing everything right these past few weeks. Let’s hope it continues.

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles

The fact that AJ Styles is the number one contender for the WWE Championship proves that WWE is thinking differently coming out of WrestleMania. Styles, a veteran of the ring, has become the biggest face in the company and WWE just went with the crowd. Of course, this could have always been the WWE’s go-to plan after WrestleMania, Styles as the top good guy, but after Daniel Bryan’s situation, it’s hard to believe. Whether it was the original plan or one changed on the night after Mania, it really does not matter, AJ Styles is fighting Roman Reigns for the title. Reigns is slowly growing into his character. He no longer is the funny man with the one-liners trying to copy his cousin The Rock. He’s now a man who knows he’s not liked by all and it doesn’t matter to him. He’s The Guy. Sort of like the gloved Diesel of 1996. You can like him, he’ll like you back. You can hate him, he won’t care.  A better persona for Reigns at this time. He seems more comfortable with it.  Also an added to layer to this main event mix is the team of Anderson and Gallows, Styles’ old New Japan buddies. They have been helping Styles as of least, much to the chagrin, it appears, of the number one contender. This is a great wrestling storyline!! It makes you keep tuning in. It makes you keep asking questions. It makes you want to watch. Is Styles just pretending not to like his friends’ help? Will he turn heel and join them at Payback? Will they turn on Styles at Payback? Will Roman Reigns turn? (Not likely) Or will Finn Balor make his much anticipated debut and form the Balor/Bullet Club with Anderson and Gallows? So many questions! This is pro wrestling.  Good, bad, or Balor…Reigns is walking out champ.

WINNER: Roman Reigns

KEVIN OWENS vs. SAMI ZAYN

AJ Styles. Kevin Owens. Sami Zayn. Add in Cesaro, Jericho, and Dean Ambrose, and Payback is the Internet Wrestling Community’s fanfiction pay per view come to life. The video package this past week on Raw chronicling the history between the two former best friends is exactly what a match between two former best friends who have a history needed. It added to the drama. It made it known – these guys go way back. These guys used to be friends. This is why they aren’t. It gave better context to the match than showing what happened last week on Smackdown every half hour. History should not be forgotten. In wrestling, there is a lot of it. It can help any story. It can help any match. That video package made this match that was already phenomenal on paper, even more can’t miss.

WINNER: SAMI ZAYN

DEAN AMBROSE vs. CHRIS JERICHO

Another grudge match between “internet darlings.” Taking the Ambrose Asylum gimmick and making it a talk show to take over the Highlight Reel was a good way to add something different to this feud (true, it’s been done before, it’s different in today’s landscape). Jericho’s sayings during this heel run have been hilarious and Ambrose can go toe-to-toe with him on the mic, and, as he’ll show this Sunday, in the ring, as well. Since Jericho got a win at Mania, Ambrose should pick this one up.

WINNER: DEAN AMBROSE

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP

THE MIZ vs. CESARO

Cesaro was a big return the night after WrestleMania. His new James Bond persona works, as they haven’t yet made him a full on spy -yet. And The Miz got a boost of energy to his character when his real-life wife and former Women’s Champion Maryse returned. They could do a switch with the IC title and The Miz would not be hurt too much. It would be nice to see the gold with Cesaro, but I’m thinking the WWE will wait to give it to him. The Miz retains this time – probably through nefarious (Maryse) ways.

WINNER: THE MIZ

WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP

CHARLOTTE with Ric Flair vs. NATALYA with Bret Hart

It’s always a thrill to see wrestling legends Ric Flair and Bret Hart, especially the latter since he’s not on television every week. I’m sure they will only play a small role in this match – perhaps Flair getting involved and Hart taking him out with a punch. But that should be about it. That’s all there needs to be with outside interference. The two women – Charlotte and Natalya – can pull off a classic on their own. They’ve done it before. Fans are always rooting for Natalya to get her shot and here it is. She might not win, but she’ll definitely put on a memorable performance.

WINNER: CHARLOTTE

DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. BARON CORBIN

Dolph needs a dose of character change. He’s too talented to be enhancement personnel. Baron Corbin should win this. He needs to build his resume. Dolph needs a refresh.

WINNER: BARON CORBIN

US CHAMPIONSHIP

KALISTO VS. RYBACK

I’m going to go out on a limb and pick the Big Guy. I’m going to say Ryback wins. I’m going to say Ryback then goes on Raw and Smackdown for a few weeks and says he’s the greatest US Champion of all-time. I’m going to say that he’s going to start the Ryback Open Challenge. I’m going to say on Memorial Day, John Cena answers that open challenge. I’m going to say Ryback had a nice run as US Champion.

WINNER: RYBACK

WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP No. 1 CONTENDER’S TOURNAMENT FINAL

ENZO AMORE & COLIN CASSADY vs. THE VAUDEVILLAINS

Two new tag teams in a high profile match. Enzo & Cass have the shtick to be this generation’s New Age Outlaws. Both teams are entertaining, different, and made up of quality wrestlers. The biggest factor in who wins is that they face The New Day. Because of that, The Vaudevillains have my vote.

WINNERS: THE VAUDEVILLAINS

WWE

WWE

MR. McMAHON ANNOUNCES WHO CONTROLS RAW

Vince, Shane, Stephanie will all stand in the ring. Vince will ask each of them why they think they should run Raw. Vince will say they both give convincing arguments. Vince will say quite frankly he gets the last word and makes the decision. Vince will say therefore the person who will be running Monday Night will be NEITHER OF YOU. As it pertains to controlling Raw, he’ll say, you two ARE FIRED. Have a good night. He’ll then do a little dance and walk out of the ring. Shane will get a kick out of it and Stephanie will scream. Vince will dance down the aisle and people will have to tune to Raw to find out who is in charge.

It better not be a computer.

And I quote…Enjoy Payback!!

 

 

 

 

My thoughts on the passing of Chyna

by BROCK KOLLER

Joanie Laurer was the right woman at the right time.

In WWE in the late 90s - known as the Attitude Era - there was one rule- anything goes. Laurer, better known as Chyna to her legion of fans, represented that mantra.

While Lita, Trish Stratus, Victoria, Molly Holly, Ivory, Jacqueline, and others were revolutionizing the women's division, Chyna was a woman revolutionizing the men's decision.

Chyna was such a fixture in the main event men's roster that when she defeated Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Championship it was an historic moment for sure, but it was also the much predicted outcome. Fans knew Chyna could hold her own against any of the male WWE Superstars.

Whether it was battling Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Jarrett or any other guy, Chyna was as
 formidable an opponent as any of the men. She was given a well-deserved nickname as the 9th Wonder of the World, a take on Andre the Giant's 8th Wonder of the World label. What a tag team that would have been!

I was there live for WrestleMania XV in Philadelphia in 1999 as she along with Triple H turned on Degeneration X to join Vince McMahon's evil Corporation.
  That was just one of the countless memorable moments in Chyna's storied career which included: her manhandling of Marlena during her surprise debut, her hysterical Mamacita run with Eddie Guerrero, winning the Corporate Royal Rumble on Raw for the #30 spot, earning the #1 contendership to fight Stone Cold Steve Austin for the Heavyweight Title at Summerslam, to her easy win over Ivory at WrestleMania X-Seven to claim the Women's Championship.

It is somewhat comforting to know that Chyna - a female Superstar who inspired so many women to enter the so-called man's sport of pro wrestling- lived to see the return of the WWE Women's Championship at WrestleMania 32 a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately, after Chyna left the WWE, her career was seen as controversial to the powers that be and she was never brought back into the company.

One of her tweets around WrestleMania time was she'd hope for one more moment in that WWE spotlight to thank the fans.

Though now that will not happen, fans of the character Chyna will never forget the entertainment she brought to our TVs for all those years.

Her WWE entrance music used to begin, "Don't treat me like a woman/ Don't treat me like a man/ Don't treat me like you know/ Treat me for just who I am."

We will Chyna. We'll treat you for just who you are. A wrestling legend who changed the game for men and women. A true wonder of the world.

 

The Stars At Night Are Big & Bright: WrestleMania 32 Predictions

by BROCK KOLLER

WWE

WWE

If you were to walk down the street of any major city, you’d see beautiful skyscrapers with jaw-dropping architecture and breathtaking views. You don’t think about the contractors, how the building materials were brought to the site, what it took to get that arch constructed, or how long it took to create such a marvelous landmark. You just look up and say – This is Awesome.

Welcome my friends to an analogy for WrestleMania. The build may not be much to look at, but the event itself usually is.

The past two WrestleManias have been quite fun to watch with shocking events – Brock Lesnar ending The Undertaker’s undefeated streak, Seth Rollins cashing in his Money In The Bank briefcase; nostalgic moments – Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock opening the show, DX and the NWO putting an end to the Monday Night War; and emotional performances – Daniel Bryan overcoming all odds and being crowned World Heavyweight Champion, Sting fighting in his first ever WWE match.

This year – the road to WrestleMania has been a bit windy, thanks in part to the unfortunate number of injuries to the WWE roster, but the show of shows must go on.

With that said – here are my predictions for WrestleMania 32, which takes place in AT&T Stadium this Sunday live on the WWE Network.

Kalisto (c) vs. Ryback for the United States Championship

This match is an old-school WrestleMania grudge match in my book. It’s to the ilk of a Ted DiBiase vs. Brutus Beefcake from WrestleMania V or a British Bulldog vs. Warlord from WrestleMania VII. Just two guys of the era battling it out in a nice mid-card match. Though it’s now a pre-show match, it still has that feeling. I think Kalisto’s quickness will be Ryback’s undoing. Sorry Big Guy.

WINNER: Kalisto

The Total Divas vs. B.A.D. & Blonde

Well, this is one way to get the other Divas on the card. Hey, it’s better than a battle royal where all but four of them get eliminated after 30 seconds. It will be interesting to see what Lana and Eva Marie can do in the ring. Also, it’s nice to see Emma get some time in the main roster spotlight. Should this be the last ride for Brie Bella, let’s give her the victory and add some Yes! chants to the celebration.

WINNERS: The Total Divas

The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz

The Usos have been opening up WrestleMania for three years now. But being on the card is still being on the card. Bubba and D-Von are having their first Mania match in over a decade and you know they will want people talking about their big return. Because of that, I don’t see the Usos being able to Uce their way out of this one, not with the Dudleys trying to make a statement – that they are more than just tables.

WINNERS: The Dudley Boyz

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Who should win? Big Show? Kane? A Social Outcast? I don’t see any of them winning. I don’t really see anyone else on the roster winning either. Not Goldust. Not R-Truth. But – just throwing it out there – maybe it’s time for a certain Club to debut at Mania and since this match is back on the main card, there might be a possibility for that to that to happen. Just when you think Big Show is going back to back – he gets eliminated by the winner and soon to be former NXT Champion Finn Balor.

WINNER: Finn Balor

The New Day vs. The League of Nations

New Day rocks. New Day rocks. League of Nations not so much. League of Nations not so much. League of Nations is a very talented team of individuals, but they aren’t meshing well as a unit. I see them losing to the red-hot New Day and then going their separate ways.

WINNERS: The New Day

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

Forget that we’ve seen this match three times already; it still feels brand new to me. And who would’ve thought that we’d see AJ Styles at a WrestleMania. Well, we’re getting it. And he’s going up against a man who is Teflon in that he can lose numerous times over, but his credibility remains intact. Come on guys, he lost to Fandango at Mania a few years ago. Fandango. And still Y2J is seen as a legit threat because he is the best in the world at what he does – one of way of putting it. But this post-rubber match might be the one to steal the show. But if everyone is expecting it to steal the show, does it really steal the show or does it take the show as expected? Either way, this has the potential to be a WrestleMania classic.

WINNER: AJ Styles

Kevin Owens (c) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz vs. Stardust in a Ladder Match for Intercontinental Championship

This is certainly a hodgepodge of Superstars.  You got “Indy Darlings” Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. You got crowd favorite Dolph Ziggler. You got crowd hated The Miz. And then you got three others who have all had their moments of popularity – but not very recently. I’m torn – as a human being, I’m so happy for Ryder, Cara, and Stardust for making onto WrestleMania. They work hard, are at every show and give their 100% every time they are out there. But as a wrestling fan, I’m a little annoyed. For weeks, we were getting invested in a program between Owens and Zayn. I was ready for a look back to their indy careers and their feud in NXT. I was ready for promos with emotion and realism. I was ready for the good friends, better enemies taglines. I was ready for a true battle between two of the best. But then The Miz was thrown in. Then Dolph Ziggler loses a match which meant he was not wrestling at WrestleMania and then the next week he inserts himself into this match. Then the other three pop up out of nowhere and are now number one contenders for the IC title. Again, happy for all involved, but as a wrestling fan, I want believability, I want consistency, and I just want things to make sense. That’s all I want. Well, also I want an exciting ladder match and I think I’m going to get it. What I also think is that Kevin Owens is going to find a way to retain his title. KO-Mania!

WINNER: Kevin Owens

Charlotte (c) vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks

If this match was determined on best theme song – Sasha Banks would win it hands down. But it’s not – at least, I don’t believe it is. Anyhow, I’m still going with Sasha to pick up the victory. I think maybe Charlotte’s pops, Ric Flair, will interfere, somehow taking Becky out of the equation and Sasha will boss her way in and get the win. Yes, boss is now a verb.  This has the makings of an excellent women’s wrestling match.

WINNER: Sasha Banks

Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar in a No-Holds Barred Street Fight

Barbed wire baseball bats and chainsaw still won’t be enough for Dean Ambrose to take down the Beast. Paul Heyman, that’s another story. But I don’t think Ambrose has enough in his arsenal to get a win over Lesnar. I know Dean will take Lesnar to his limits – got to keep Dean strong – but Lesnar will find a way to victory.

WINNER: Brrrrrrrrrrrrrock Lesnar

Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match

If Shane wins, he gets control of Monday Night Raw and The Undertaker will no longer be able to wrestle at WrestleMania again.

What stipulations we have here. First, it’s a Hell in a Cell match, so you know Shane McMahon is going to do some impressive elbow or coast-to-coast dropkick from the roof of the cage. Put a chip over that square on your bingo card, now. 

Then you have what happens after this match is over. Should The Undertaker win, everything remains the same and Shane goes back to managing his tech companies and buying sneakers. Should, however, Undertaker lose and Shane win, this will mark Taker’s last WrestleMania match. Could this really be Taker’s final WrestleMania match? If this was supposed to be Undertaker vs. John Cena in Undertaker’s final match – then maybe they are sticking to this being Taker’s final year and he won’t be wrestling by Mania 33. And maybe he’ll wrestle Cena at SummerSlam or Survivor Series for his final match. In which case, this being Taker’s final WrestleMania makes sense.

Also if Taker loses and Shane wins, Shane gets control of Monday Night Raw. WWE themselves said in Shane’s return promo that things need to change. Will they really keep Raw status quo after all of this? But what really would change if Shane wins? We’d get a nah-nah-nah hey-hey-hey goodbye promo Monday night for The Authority and Vince and then what? A tournament to bring back the Cruiserweight title? A 60-minute iron match between Sami Zayn and AJ Styles? The return of Brawl For All? How would Shane really change Monday Night Raw? It’s a tough one.

The main issue is will The Undertaker still be around for next year’s WrestleMania? That’s what am I basing my prediction on. And the answer is – I am hoping we are able to see what we should’ve seen this year, next year – Taker vs. Cena in Taker’s final match. So with that, I am saying The Undertaker retains his 1 loss record and defeats Shane McMahon. Then maybe on Monday Night Raw – I don’t know- Mick Foley reveals he has the lockbox from Shane and is now the owner of Raw. Who knows? What is that lockbox anyway and why hasn’t anyone mentioned it ever again?

WINNER: The Undertaker

Triple H (c) vs. Roman Reigns

Like it or not. You can’t stop it. You have to accept the inevitable. Roman Reigns is your new top star in the WWE. Roman Reigns is your new face of the company. Roman Reigns will be your new WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania. It’s a done deal. And, honestly, if Triple H retains, is that the right thing to do for the betterment of the company? No. Reigns is fresh, a new persona, and let’s see where he takes the WWE. It’s time to give Roman a chance. #GiveRomanAChance Though, don’t fret. He could turn heel on The Rock, right? Then we’d totally be behind him.

WINNER: Roman Reigns

So that’s it. Add in a sprinkling of Fifth Harmony, The Rock, perhaps a Stone Cold appearance, some Flo Rida, and an awkward backstage segment with Snoop Dogg and Road Dogg and you got yourself WrestleMania 32.

Enjoy the show.

 

Here Comes the Money: Shane McMahon returns for WrestleMania surprise

by BROCK KOLLER

Here the comes the money.

That's what WWE is hoping for with the insertion of Shane McMahon into the WrestleMania picture.

This past Monday on Raw, WWE went as close to Attitude Era as they possibly can in the PG Era. Shane McMahon surprised his dad a la "It was me Dad that hired Stone Cold back, it was me" promo.  Vince McMahon dropped a curse word or as Linda McMahon called it back in 1999, "a little profanity." Dean Ambrose commandeered an ambulance a la Stone Cold commandeering a zamboni, forklift, beer truck, or a cement truck. And Roman Reigns was busted open a la almost every match during the Attitude Era.

It remains to be seen if these edgy happenings will continue in the weeks to come, but it goes without saying, WWE is not holding back in their WrestleMania build. But will it work? Is it enough?

Focusing on Shane-O-Mac: His return was a 10 out of 10 on the mark out scale. A 'Wow' moment. Then it turned a bit perplexing. It made perfect sense that a Shane return would involve him butting heads with Dad and Sis, but where it went from there was certainly surprising - good surprising? Not sure.

The second Vince McMahon uttered the words that Shane will face the Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell at WrestleMania made the 'Wow' moment go to a 'What' moment. What? Shane's wrestling at Mania? Is he in wrestling shape? He's wrestling the Undertaker? What about John Cena's epic return? Why would the Undertaker want to wrestle on behalf of Vince McMahon and the Authority? They are wrestling inside the cell? What for? So Shane doesn't take his ball and go home, is the reason but...what? What just happened?

DON'T GET ME WRONG- this all sounds fun! In fact, this feels like a storyline I would have conjured up back in my wrestling figure federation. I did a great Vince McMahon commentator impression! "What a maneuver! 1-2-3 he got him! No he didn't!" But this is not my Hasbro league. This is the Super Bowl of the publicly traded multi-million dollar pro wrestling juggernaut.

Is Shane McMahon really the best choice to fight the Undertaker at WrestleMania?? It's a shocker of a match for sure. It's a surprise to the Nth degree. And us wrestling fans, we love our shockers and surprises. When they make sense.

Shane wanting control of the company for the 10th time, makes sense. Everything after that, is eyebrow raising. Rock reference.

Back in the Attitude Era, I was a huge fan of Shane matches. His monumental falls from titantrons and scaffolding made even Steve Blackman matches entertaining.

And what made it better was that he wasn't a wrestler - he was the son of the owner! And his matches were sometimes the best on the card. His coast to coast kick is a move that not many athletes can pull off.

But with that said- Why is he facing the Undertaker at WrestleMania?

It might just be the best choice in the situation WWE is in. Shane said it himself in his promo - the string of injuries that has haunted the WWE in recent months has left the company looking for answers.  

John Cena was rumored to be Taker's original opponent. That would have been a match of the year candidate. Even when the match would be announced and the two would come face to face - it would have had that shocking feeling to it and even better, and it would have made sense.

Since the Shane vs Undertaker match was just booked, I'll give it time to build. I'll give it time to marinate and smooth out all the confusing wrinkles that remain. After all, it's all still pretty fresh and, well, raw.

But can Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker bring 100,000 to Texas?

I'm sure Shane-O-Mac's theme song is playing on repeat on Vince's iPhone in hopes it will.