Cleat Geeks

Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which recaps everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw.

Raw featured a double dose of women’s action, beginning with The Bellas and Natalya on the losing end of a six woman tag team contest against the Riott Squad (much more on that match later). Later on, Nia Jax defeated Alicia Fox in singles action, and on SmackDown the following evening, Asuka and Naomi defeated Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose–with the IIconics on commentary. Later on, SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, coming off attacking Charlotte Flair, defeated Lana after challenging her to a match backstage. Week 2 of the Mixed Match Challenge saw Bobby Lashley and Mickie James defeat Jinder Mahal and Alicia, as well as The Miz and Asuka (the defending champions) defeat R-Truth and Carmella.

On NXT, Lacey Evans antagonized Candice LeRae during Johnny Gargano’s interview, and later on, Kairi Sane defeated Vanessa Borne in non-title action. Kairi was again confronted by Shayna Baszler, who reminded the champion that she has a rematch coming her way. Kairi responded by challenging Shayna at the Evolution event on October 28! The Mae Young Classic’s opening round concluded with Hiroyo Matsumoto, Taynara Conti, Nicole Matthews, and Io Shirai winning their matches and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. On Lucha Underground, Ivelisse’s attempt at the Trios Championship came up short, and on the following evening’s Impact Wrestling, Tessa successfully defended the Knockouts Championship against Faby Apache, only to be challenged to a title bout at Bound For Glory by Taya Valkyrie!

So let’s address the elephant in the room. During Brie Bella’s delivery of the Yes Kicks, one of them legit struck Liv on the head and knocked her loopy. Liv was checked on in the back, with Brie showing immense concern for Liv’s well being. It was later reported that Liv suffered a concussion and is following WWE’s proper protocols regarding such things, which means that there will most likely be changes made to the Super Show-Down match, which has the Bellas and Ronda Rousey teaming up against the Riott Squad. With Liv out, I can see Brie being removed and the match turned into a standard tag pitting Ronda and Nikki against Ruby and Sarah. It can be a near blessing in disguise, because the result could see Ronda and Nikki victorious, which could be followed by Nikki turning heel and attacking Ronda to set up their rumored title contest at Evolution.

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Happy birthday to former WWE Women’s Champion Candice Michelle, who celebrated the big 4-0 this Sunday! Candice Michelle was one of many products of the Diva Search years ago, and was later signed by WWE sometime in 2004. After spending a few months on SmackDown, Candice turned heel upon returning to Raw, as she and Torrie Wilson formed Vince’s Devils with Victoria in the summer of 2005, with the alliance ending nearly a year later. She ended up becoming one of the long list of WWE women to be featured on the cover of Playboy in 2006, and it was in 2007 that Candice captured the prestigious Women’s Championship. Candice’s tail end of her WWE career was lagged by clavicle injuries, and she was released from WWE in 2009. On December 2 of last year, Candice competed at House of Hardcore 36, defeating her evil former ally, Lisa Marie “Victoria” Varon, in what was Candice’s retirement match.

In strange, but true, news, Nicole Matthews has been banned from the United States for five years due to work visa issues. Nicole, who is from Canada, received the ban shortly after her Mae Young Classic match aired this past Wednesday, which saw her defeat Isla Dawn. Nicole’s second round match will air either this upcoming Wednesday, or the following week, but the entire bulk of the tournament was taped a month ahead of time. The ban derails a good chunk of Nicole’s wrestling career, as she has competed for SHIMMER Women Athletes for over a decade.

Finally, Tenille Dashwood (the former Emma in WWE) will be sidelined for months as she will undergo surgery on her injured shoulder. Tenille revealed that she has competed with the injury for several months, and she was properly written off at ROH’s Death Before Dishonor PPV in Vegas. The event saw Tenille defeated by Sumie Sakai in a Women of Honor Championship match, and afterwards, Tenille was attacked backstage by an unknown villainess, whose identity was not revealed. I myself am hoping that the attacker ends up being Mandy Leon, as Mandy needs a heel turn in ROH.

A new week begins with the final countdown to Super Show-Down in WWE, as well as the continued countdown to Bound For Glory in Impact! Until next week!

The 10 Count

This is the first of a new weekly article where I plan to give you the fans 10 happenings wither they be rumors, opinions or facts about the wrestling business. Everything is up for grabs WWE, Impact, Ring of Honor, NXT and the independent circuit as well. These 10 things are in no particular order so throw everyone out of the ring, and let’s start the 10 Count!

In what some are calling a strange happening, especially with the timing of the match, this Monday on Raw Roman Reigns will face off against Jinder Mahal just 6 days before their scheduled match at Money In The Bank. The match will more than likely end with a disqualification involving Samir Sing, but the timing of the match may lend itself to a stipulation possibly being added to the match.

Speaking of the Money In The Bank event this Sunday, a noticeable absence is Jeff Hardy. He has not been on Smackdown Live in a couple weeks and is not scheduled to have a match at MITB. It is because he is dealing with an injury. Sources are saying that Hardy has a pinched nerve and is being given time to recuperate by WWE.

On this weekend’s episode of “Drop The Mic,” fans will be treated to a slugfest between several women on the WWE roster against four actresses who have made their mark on the hit Netflix show, “Glow.” Brie and Nikki Bella will be joined by SmackDown Live Women’s Champion Carmella and Alicia Fox in a rap battle against actresses Kate Nash, Jackie Tohn, Sunita Mani and Britney Young on “Drop the Mic,” airing this Sunday at 10:30pm ET on TBS. In addition to the WWE women vs the women of Glow, fellow WWE superstar Chris Jericho will also do battle against Laila Ali on Sunday.

So, when will we see Rey Mysterio in WWE? Most of you saw New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Dominion show (more on that event later) where Rey worked a six man tag team match. So like with any big name who doesn’t seem to have a home in any one company his name is now surfacing as someone the WWE is interested in. I am told the WWE is interested, but that he will not appear regularly on any WWE programming until he finishes with his other commitments. Those commitments include a match at TripleMania in August, so if we see him in WWE it will be after that.

Wrestling and NASCAR are coming together this weekend. Have you ever listened to the podcast Something To Wrestle with Bruce Prichard? Have you ever watched the NASCAR Xfinity Series? Well, now the two are coming together in the form of a sponsorship as the Something To Wrestle podcast is going to be on the rear quarter-panel of the #39 car driven by Ryan Sieg. Saturday’s LTI Printing 250 at Michigan International Speedway inclement weather forced a restart on Lap 89 of a scheduled 125, but the race ended under caution two laps later when rain pelted the asphalt, not to mention the event started three hours late. Sieg is currently 15th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Standings he has managed 1 top ten finish so far in the young 2018 season.

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Why have we not seen Sanity on the Smackdown Live main roster even though they were drafted to the roster in the Superstar shake-up? I am being told there is trademark issues. I am sure exactly what issues there could be, but I do think it is a good thing for the 3 man group because if WWE is this concerned, then they must be planning a merchandise line for them and therefore it is likely they will receive a big push upon arrival. But, they did wrestle in two dark matches this week in Texas against Gallows and Anderson, so they could possibly interfere in their match against the Bludgeon Brothers and at the next pay-per-view event, which is Extreme Rules, they could be involved in a triple threat match. That would be right down Sanity’s alley.

Impact is Jericho! Chris Jericho made several big Impacts this weekend. He did so in a ring in Japan, but his biggest announcement may have been this announcement about the Jericho Cruise.

Does this mean that Callihan, Jericho and Ring of Honor may all be working together? Jericho is one of my favorites, and if he is now on board with Impact, then I will be on board with Impact.

Later this month the WWE will be heading to the UK to film the United Kingdom Championship Tournament. They officially named a General Manager for this tournament, long time respected UK wrestler Johnny Saint. In the WWE’s official press release they said Saint would be the General Manager of the UK brand. Why would they call it the UK brand? This is fueling tons of different rumors. I would like to see the WWE make this tournament into a one hour show much like 205 Live (we cover 205 live every week, here is our newest article on the show). I would also like for the WWE to drop 205 Live from the Smackdown Live tour and combine these 2 shows (205 Live and the UK show) at smaller arenas with smaller ticket prices. Let me also make a prediction here. In order to ignite this show, WWE will need a big name to be the champion and to challenge the winner of the afore mentioned tournament. The WWE has a wrestler who walked off a live Raw show because he did not like the direction creative was giving him. But, he is signed to a WWE contract and WWE has frozen his contract. In other words, he is sitting at home, not getting paid and not allowed to wrestle for any other organization. I think the WWE has already talked to Neville and he will be the face for this new brand.

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At New Japan Pro Wrestling last night the event had 6 championship matches where 5 titles changed hands. The event took place in Osaka-Jo Hall and the man we have mentioned a ton of times in this article, Chris Jericho became the new Intercontinental Champion to capture his 10th IC title is his long and distinguished career.

Lastly, we have the highlights of the UFC 225 from Saturday night where CM Punk suffered yet another loss in the octagon. When you watch the highlights below it will clearly show that Jackson was basically playing with Punk. It looked like Jackson could have finished Punk whenever he wanted to. We had an article here on cleatgeeks yesterday where Dana White said in his press conference prior to UFC 225 what would happen to CM Punk should he lose this fight. Now, if Punk wants to make a fool of his 39 year old self in an octagon, I could care less. But, the problem I have with this whole Punk UFC, WWE situation is that Punk complained that he did not like part time wrestlers coming into WWE and taking the place of a real wrestler who work hard at house shows and have talent only because they had a household name. Yet Punk is now doing the same thing in the UFC. My problem with Punk is that he is a hypocrite.






Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which recaps everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw and ending with Clash of Champions!

On Raw, Paige and Mandy Rose defeated Mickie James and Bayley, keeping Absolution unbeaten since their formation. Later on, Asuka was set to face Alicia Fox, only for Absolution to get to Alicia again and then target Asuka for the third straight week. This time, the villainous triumvirate finally met their comeuppance, as the rest of the Raw women’s roster, including champion Alexa Bliss, took down Absolution, forcing them to retreat. The same thing happened with the Riott Squad, as after Charlotte defeated Ruby Riott, a brawl ensued, which included Naomi returning and helping take down the Squad.

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Wednesday’s NXT saw Ember Moon defeat Peyton Royce, only for Peyton and Billie Kay to beat down the reigning NXT Women’s Champion. Nikki Cross, who competed for the title at Takeover in Houston, ran off the Iconic Duo, making things interesting for Ember as she has three potential challengers for the title. Thursday featured the 15th annual Tribute To The Troops event, which featured a double dose of women’s action. On the SmackDown side, Charlotte defeated Ruby Riott and Carmella in a non-title three way match, while Absolution defeated Sasha Banks, Mickie James, and Bayley on the Raw side. That night on Impact, Allie defeated KC Spinelli, Sienna, and Madison Rayne in a #1 Contender’s match, and the show was main evented by the Knockouts Championship tournament final, with Laurel Van Ness defeating Rosemary to capture the title.

The week ended with Clash of Champions in Boston, which included Charlotte defending the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Natalya in a Lumberjack Match. See, when all but one (Naomi) of the Lumberjacks are heels, things get tough for the babyface involved, and in this case, Charlotte found herself constantly beaten by the Riott Squad, Carmella, Tamina, and Lana, as well as her opponent, who planned for this to happen. Despite this, Charlotte emerged victorious with her Figure Eight submission, and after the match, Natalya engaged in a post-match interview with Kayla Braxton. The Queen of Harts stated that Charlotte used her famous name and underhanded tactics to win, and she went on a rant accusing the fans on turning their backs on her after 10 years of delivering strong matches, and went as far as to say that she will turn her back on them. Though she didn’t utter the actual words, this may indicate that Natalya is leaving WWE! Wow!

At long last, the moment that Women of Honor fans has been waiting on for a long time has happened! At Friday’s Final Battle event, it was announced that a tournament will take place to crown the first ever Women of Honor Champion! The title belt was distributed at the event, and regarding the tournament, 16 women will participate, with talent coming over from the STARDOM event. The current WOH roster includes Mandy Leon, Kelly Klein, Deonna Purrazzo, Karen Q, Scarlett Bordeaux, Brandi Rhodes, Stella Gray, and the returning Rain, along with Sumie Sakai and Faye Jackson. Women of Honor matches have been uploaded to YouTube once a week for over two years, and the viewer numbers have lead to the outcry for a championship for the women. The tournament will take place next month.

A new week begins with Raw and features the fallout from Clash of Champions! Until next week!

The 10 Count

This is the first of a new weekly article where I plan to give you the fans 10 happenings wither they be rumors, opinions or facts about the wrestling business. Everything is up for grabs WWE, Impact, Ring of Honor, NXT and the independent circuit as well. These 10 things are in no particular order so throw everyone out of the ring, and let’s start the 10 Count!

Remember a few weeks ago when Neville supposedly walked out, wanted out and asked for his release? Well, multiple sources are telling me that Neville is coming back to WWE! I am so happy about this. From what I am hearing, Neville will come back either at the Survivor Series event this Sunday or perhaps the 205 Live following Survivor Series. I also now expect Enzo to retain his title so an immediate feud can begin between he and Neville unless the 205 writers are subscribing to the theory that you don’t need a belt when you have a good rivalry in which Neville should cause Enzo to loose the title at Survivor Series.

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Speaking of 205 Live, the call up of Hideo Itami to the main roster to 205 Live is suppose to take place the week after Survivor Series. But, there are a few rumblings that once his contract expires at the end of this January, that he will be returning to Japan. He is supposedly unhappy with how WWE is using him as well, much like Neville was unhappy in the same regard. We will keep you updated on this evolving story.

Lucha Underground will be back for season number 4. We do not know when they will start taping or when the episodes will air on the El Rey Network except that it will be sometime in 2018. As more details become available we will bring them to you and as we always have we will cover every episode right here on @cleatgeeks. Here is the promotional video posted to the Lucha Underground YouTube Channel.

I am being told that several male talents are upset that Alberto El Patron has his own private locker room. He had this private locker room at both the Bound For Glory event and also the t.v. tapings the days that followed. Talent that has been with Impact Wrestling, have paid their dues and been with the company for much longer think him having his own locker room, which is his own private trailer, is unfair. But, Impact Wrestling has virtually no choice as him having his own private dressing room is in his contract. Plus, I have also been informed that Alberto let before the final day of Impact tapings, therefore we assume that he might not even appear on the final tapping for the show.

There was a major change to the Raw men’s traditional 5 on 5 match tonight on Raw. There was an angle where first Stephanie in the opening segment was questioning Kurt’s reasoning for having Jason Jordan as the final member of the 5 on 5 elimination match. She was hinting as though he was favoring Jordan because he was his son and not doing the right thing for the Raw brand. Kurt then decides to make a match later in the program for Jordan to face the returning Bray Wyatt. Jordan wins the match despite an obvious injury that occurred during the match to his knee. As soon as the match concluded a furious Wyatt attacked Jordan and did more damage to the already injured knee striking it against the ring post. Kurt is then shown talking to his son asking him if he is 100% to which he replies he will be by Sunday. A couple segments latter Kurt comes to the ring and the story unfolds into this…….

This was brilliant writing, and I fully expect this to be the kickstart that leads to HHH vs Kurt Angle at WrestleMania.

Raw will finally retaliate against Smackdown this Tuesday night with the show in Charlotte North Carolina. I know that The Shield will be a part of the show, but that is all I can confirm. I do expect to see other superstars from Raw at Smackdown but I think it makes more sense and I fully expect Raw superstars to individually attack Smackdown superstars at different points of the show to hype the individual rivalries instead of a under siege type segment that Smackdown did on Raw a few weeks ago.

Here is my opinion on a rumor. A lot of different people I talk to and almost everything I read say that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were sent home early from the European tour because they are being disciplined for not staying in the ring after their match last Tuesday and allowing the New Day to beat then up. Personally, I think the whole thing is a work and you will see them appear again on Survivor Series costing the Smackdown brand to loose the 5 on 5 match to Raw.

Image result for beer moneyImpact Wrestling is in some real trouble. As most of you already know James Storm has already became the latest superstar to leave the company. Which makes me wonder if we will ever see a reunion of Beer Money. The father and son team of Earl and Brian Hebner as well as long time referee Brian Stiffler were all granted their release from Impact Wrestling. The job of a ref is much more than meets the eye. Most of the matches on Impact wrestling look thrown together and with inexperienced refs, the product may get worse. The Bound For Glory event was just done in Canada, Anthem, who now owns the show is headquartered in Canada and they are currently doing Impact tapings in the days that followed BFG that will carry television til January. All 3 of these res were told that they would not be used at either BFG or the tapings afterword, so they all asked and were granted their release. Lastly, Impact Wrestling did not sell enough tickets to their BFG event so they actually had to hire an outside agency to pay people between $50.00 and $75.00 each to sit in the arena and cheer. That is pitiful, not to mention that the heavyweight title still had the wrong side plates and seemed to have a sticker covering the old belts until they can afford to buy new ones.

We have already talked about the cruiserweights at 205 Live getting a few new wrestlers in returning Neville, Hideo Itami and as most of you probably saw they also had Paul Dundee make his debut as well when Raw was in England. But there are also two former Impact Wrestlers who could also be making their way to 205 Live soon. The first is Crazy Steve who teamed with Abyss and Rosemary in his last action to form Decay. He has been working at the performance center for a few months and said to be progressing well. The second is the wrestler know on Impact as Rockstar Spud. He is in negotiations with WWE after he was released from Impact. From all indications, he wants to completely skip NXT and go right up to the main roster by joining the cast of 205 Live, but as of this writing nothing has been signed or made official.

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Finally, we have some interesting NXT news for you as well. This Saturday on the Takeover Hpuston there is a War Games match. The WWE has released the rules for that match, so we will share them with you. Like other War Games matches there will be two rings side by side with one large cage covering both rings. One member of each of the three teams will start the match. The remaining 2 members from each team will be locked in shark cages that will be located on the entrance ramp. After a five minute period, one of the shark cages will open and both remaining members, will then be able to enter the match. This time after a 3 minute peirod, one of the remaining two shark cages will open and those two members will be allowed in. After a second three minute time period, the final cage will open and the final group will enter the match. But a pinfall or submission can only occur after all parties have entered into the cage.



Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which recaps everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw.

Raw featured Sasha Banks and Bayley both looking to become part of Team Red in the women’s match at Survivor Series, as the pair defeated team captain Alicia Fox and Nia Jax in tag team action. After the match, Alicia (who tapped to Sasha) only added Sasha to the team, leaving Bayley somewhat bewildered. Also, Asuka defeated British indie wrestler Isla Dawn; the second straight time she faced a jobber on the program. On SmackDown, Becky Lynch defeated James Ellsworth, who was later on the receiving end of physical blowback from the rest of the women, even Carmella. It was also announced by Shane McMahon that Charlotte will receive another opportunity at the SmackDown Women’s Championship on the next program.

NXT featured Kairi Sane defeating Billie Kay, while Ember Moon responded to Mercedes Martinez’s claime that Ember “can’t win the big one” by challenging Mercedes to a match for the next program. Also, Sonya Deville confronted Ruby Riot and blamed her for Sonya’s loss in the Triple Threat, which led to Ruby challenging Sonya to a future match once her shoulder’s healed. On the following evening’s Impact, Allie defeated KC Spinelli in a contest that took place in Windsor, Ontario.

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The big news coming out of WWE’s women’s division is that Paige could be returning to WWE TV as soon as this Monday’s Raw! Paige was drafted to the red brand in last year’s brand split, but it was in August of last year that she received her 30-day Wellness Policy suspension, followed by a 60-day ban two months later. She remained inactive due to injury, but mainly, she was in the spotlight due to her relationship with Alberto El Patron. I sense Paige returning could be WWE’s response to Alberto’s return to Impact, especially his words at Bound For Glory. Regarding business, Raw will feature Bayley, Mickie James, and Dana Brooke clashing for the last spot on the Raw Women’s Team, and Paige’s return could lead to her not only being added to the match, but winning it, meaning Bayley could be left off Survivor Series altogether.

In other women’s wrestling news, Madison Rayne made a return to SHIMMER this weekend, teaming with Deonna Purrazzo in tag team matches. Ironically, Rayne is booked to return to Ring of Honor later this month and compete against Deonna at Survival of the Fittest. Former Knockouts Champion Taylor Wilde (real name Shantelle Malawski) announced that she is pregnant with her first child, which is due in April. Taylor had planned to come out of her retirement to participate in the Mae Young Classic, but she backed out, and now we know why. Congrats to Taylor!

A new week begins with Raw and will end with Survivor Series weekend! Gail will make her announcement on Impact, and Takeover will feature the crowning of a new NXT Women’s Champion! Until next week!

Top Rope Top 10: The Best Active Wrestlers Today

The talent inheriting the landscape of professional wrestling may arguably be the best to ever grace the squared circle. We must not only look at the WWE to identify these 10 athletes as New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ring of Honor and Lucha Underground have showcased some of the best wrestlers and matches over the past year. Taking that into consideration, here are my top 10 active wrestlers today!

10. Dalton Castle

Dalton has connected with the fans in a way his androgynous predecessors never achieved. “The Party Peacock” packs a punch of fun that is all too often forgotten in a business built on bludgeoning your opponent. Castle’s wrestling and charisma combined to make him a standout in ROH where in-ring quality has always been the key focus.

09. The Miz

The Miz is the best heel the WWE has had in recent memory. His promos are continuously exceptional then the “shoot” feud with Daniel Bryan made him the best in the business. The addition of real-life wife, Maryse, only elevated the level of heat The Miz garnished from fans. His mic skills,  a manager not afraid to interfere and some of his best in-work with Dolph Ziggler all aided the Miz into returning the Intercontinental Championship and himself to relevancy.

08. Zack Sabre Jr

If the last year and a half that Sabre is having is an indication of where he is going then the sky is the limit. From capturing the PWG World Championship, competing in the Cruiserweight Classic, winning the Evolve Championship, recapturing his British Heavyweight Championship or shocking the world by joining Suzuki-gun, Sabre is having one of the best runs outside of the WWE. He is having matches with a global who’s who of the wrestling world and becoming renowned for his in-ring work.

07. Tetsuya Naito

There is no one who is over man with the fans of Japan than this man. If it was not for, Omega versus Okada at Wrestle Kingdom XI then his match with Hiroshi Tanahashi would have earned match of the night honors. Naito has completed his second defense of the IWGP Intercontinental Championships and his star power has never been more evident. There is no doubt that his stock will only continue to rise throughout 2017.

06. Chris Jericho

Jericho saves! Over the past year, he was the highlight of Raw. He helped elevate Kevin Owens to main event status. Jericho might not be the same in-ring performer he was in his youth but he has reinvented the wheel and kept himself on top of the game. This has become glowingly apparent during his absences from WWE television while touring with Fozzy.

05. Bobby Roode

Glorious might be an understatement at this point in Roode’s career as his current run in NXT has shown us nothing less than excellence. Roode relays an old school train of thought and it has only made him more successful. He does not rely on spots to sell his match but instead is considerably one of the best in-ring technicians and is capable of putting on a 5-star match anytime he jumps in the ring.

04. Shinsuke Nakamura

It can be argued that Nakamura is one of best in-ring performer today and what else would you expect from the man known as the King of Strong Style. His work is flawless as he smoothly transitions from move to move. His ability to sell is matched only by the best of all-time. It seems no matter if he was in Japan or NXT, each time that he entered the ring, he put on matches that can be considered candidates for match of the year. His mannerisms, charisma and in-ring skills will transcend him past Japanese legend into global icon.

03. Kazuchika Okada

This man is half the reason, I will be watching Dominion 11 live at 3:00 AM. Okada’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship title run is considered by many to be one of the best runs in the history of any title. Okada is not your garden variety champion relying heavily on his spots to sell his story, he prefers to tell a new story with each opponent and it has paid dividends for him. Whether against Kenny Omega, Katsuyori Shibata, Minoru Suzuki or Tiger Mask W aka Kota Ibushi, the matches have been near perfection each time. The adaptability of Okada makes him a true master of his craft.

02. AJ Styles

There might not be any better in-ring performer right now than AJ Styles. His accolades across the globe already put in him the top-tier of best in the world. It was his sudden rise on the WWE stage that put Style’s on another level. He has helped to make SmackDown Live the A Show for WWE t. His matches with Cena were instant classics and he got Shane McMahon over to put on one of the best matches at WrestleMania.

01. Kenny Omega

Since 2016, Kenny Omega has had one of the biggest impacts on professional wrestling, whether it was the turning on AJ Styles and taking control of the Bullet Club, or his epic match with Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 11, everything he seems to do is pure brilliance. Omega has the complete faith of NJPW as he became the first foreign wrestler to headline the Tokyo Dome since Brock Lesnar. He boosts one of the most unique characters in wrestling, infusing his love of video games and anime into his persona. Omega constantly redefining what it means to be the best in the business. His matches never fail to amaze and he can keep an audience on their toes.

Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which details everything in women’s wrestling in the past week, beginning with Monday’s Raw.

Raw was in Blue Jacket Country, aka Columbus, OH, and the latest edition featured a four way #1 Contender’s match pitting Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Nia Jax, and Sasha Banks against each other for a shot against Bayley at Payback. In the end, Alexa picked up the victory in front of her home crowd, and she will face Bayley next Sunday at Payback in Bayley’s hometown of San Jose. This is a change in the original play to have Nia get the shot at Payback, but it appears that WWE is still upset over Nia’s match against Charlotte a week prior, which featured Charlotte landing on her head due to one of Nia’s moves. If they are adding a second Women’s match for Payback, I would think that it would be a three way between Sasha, Mickie, and Nia for a future title opportunity.

SmackDown kicked off with Charlotte demanding a title opportunity, with Naomi seemingly happy to oblige. Commissioner Shane McMahon decided to have Naomi face Charlotte in a non-title match, with Charlotte receiving a title shot should she win. Throughout the program, we would see Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina all voice their displeasure over Charlotte getting an opportunity, and it grew after Charlotte defeated Naomi later in the evening.

NXT featured tag team action, as Liv Morgan and Aliyah defeated Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. Impact Wrestling’s live show featured the Knockouts Championship contest that saw Rosemary retain against ODB, while Sienna again confronted Karen Jarrett and demanded to know the whereabouts of the Global Force Wrestling Women’s Champion, Christina Von Eerie. Karen stated that Von Eerie will make her presence felt next week.

Since the Superstar Shakeup, we have seen promos for Lana which have her debuting a new gimmick, supposedly portraying a villainous seductive dancer. Lana has been debuting that new character at NXT live events this week, and it has included the debut of MaryKate as Lana’s evil enforcer. Fans of MaryKate remember her on Impact as Rosie Lottalove, and after losing over 100 pounds, she returned to the indy circuit as Andréa, competing mostly for Shine Wrestling. MaryKate appeared on an edition of NXT in 2015, but it was a few months ago that she was officially signed by WWE. Regarding Lana, she won her match against Ruby Riot, and as shown in the photo, the evil MaryKate celebrated Lana’s victory. No word on when Lana’s re-debut will happen or if MaryKate will be packaged with her on TV.

As followers of Ring of Honor know, Taeler Hendrix left ROH earlier this month. Taeler had competed in ROH’s Women of Honor division for over a year, serving as the lead villainess of the division. Now that she’s gone, I truly think that they should turn Mandy Leon heel and have her replace Taeler as the top villainess in Women of Honor. Mandy definitely has a natural heel look; mostly like Nikki Bella. Mandy has apparently displayed a bit of a heel persona in recent matches, mainly a three-way match against Sumie Sakai and Jenny Rose. The tail end saw Mandy resort to some villainous methods towards Rose, and after Sakai won, Mandy took her time and looked upset before re-entering the ring to shake hands with her opponents. If/when she does turn heel, the evil Mandy could feud with either Sumie or Rose, or even feud with Deonna Purrazzo. Time will tell if Mandy does finally turn heel, but I believe she’ll shine as a villainous competitor in Women of Honor.

A new week begins tomorrow with the final Raw before Payback. Meanwhile, SD will feature a championship battle between Naomi and Charlotte! Until next week!

Piledriver Profile: Bobby Roode

Bobby Roode is the current NXT Champion and that in itself is…… Glorious! But who is Booby Roode? What road has he taken to be our NXT Champion? Let me try to answer those questions.

Robert Roode Jr was born May 11th 1979 in Scarborough Ontario Canada. He trained to become a professional wrestler in Canada under Sean Morley and Shane Sewell, 2 men well versed in technical wrestling. After a little over a year of training Roode went on to wrestle on the Independent circuit in Canada, mostly under the name “Total” Lee Awesome. After a couple of years on the Indy circuit, Roode made his way to WWE (or what was known then as WWF) in 2001. Roode wrestled a few dark matches for WWE in the 3 years he spent there under the name Rudy Rude, and appeared occasionally on a few episodes of Sunday Night Heat. Things didn’t work out for Roode his first stint with WWE as he left in 2004.


After leaving WWE in 2004 Roode would find his highest profile position to date. Roode joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling or TNA to join Team Canada for TNA. Roode and team Canada competed in the World X Cup, which was a tournament style series of matches pitting Wrestling from different nations against each other meant to see which nation was home to the best wrestlers. Team USA won this event, but this event proved to be just the exposure Roode needed. Roode was known as the Canadian Enforcer as team Canada went on to feud with Americas Most Wanted. Roode would spend 12 years total in TNA, being part of great feuds with the likes of Eric Young, Dustin Rhodes, Jeff Hardy, Abyss and Jeff Jarrett early in his single career.

Roode had a successful run as a singles competitor, but really showed his versatility by teaming with James Storm and forming Beer Money. This tag team would widely be considered as the best in the business during their time together, winning the TNA tag team titles 5 times and even once holding the titles for a TNA record 212 days. Beer Money would have some excellent feuds with the likes of The Motor City Machine Guns, Team 3D, Kazarian and Christopher Daniels, and The Hardy Boys. Roode would go on to become TNA World champion as he parlayed his tag team success into a singles windfall. Roode would become World Champion twice in TNA and would pursue the title several other times sparking great feuds with the likes of Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe, Magnus, Austin Aries and MVP. Roode would eventually reunite with James Storm to reform Beer Money before leaving the company early in 2016. Shortly after leaving Roode would sign with WWE, and come to NXT where he has excelled in his short time here, already becoming NXT Champion. It’s been a long road for Roode but he is finally near the top of WWE, and that in itself is….. Glorious! As you can see first hand below.




Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up (December 20, 2015)

Welcome to the latest edition of the Women’s Wrestling Wrap-Up, which takes a look at all of the goings-on in women’s wrestling, beginning with Monday’s Raw.

CharloteBeckyLynchOne day after cheating her way to a successful title defense against Paige, Charlotte teamed with Becky Lynch against Brie Bella and Alicia Fox. Team BAD (Naomi, Tamina, and Sasha Banks) was shown holding up signs in the crowd, but the main story was Charlotte and Becky, and mainly Becky’s protests against Charlotte’s increasingly villainous attitude, which, as we all know, began with Charlotte’s deceptive victory over Becky on November 30. The surreptitious tactics continued on Monday, as Ric Flair tripped up Alicia during their tag bout, allowing Charlotte and Becky to get the win. The interference happened unbeknownst to Becky, but it definitely made things interesting. More on this later.

The centerpiece of this past week was NXT Takeover:  London, which took place on Wednesday. Airing at an early time of 3PM EST (Noon PST), the event kicked off with Asuka defeating Emma in what was a spectacular match between two alums of the Illinois-based SHIMMER promotion. Now, I’m left wondering what direction they’ll take with Asuka now, because she was shown staring down Nia Jax during her interview, but in an exclusive video on, Dana Brooke, Emma’s partner in crime since April, stated that she and Emma are not done with Asuka. Hmmm. If so, we could see Adrienne Reese (best known as Athena on the indy circuit) make her televised NXT debut as Asuka’s partner.

NiaJaxvsBaileySpeaking of Nia Jax, her title opportunity against Bayley was the last match before the NXT Championship main event. Either outcome would have been fine with me, but I thought that WWE would put the title on Nia, but that was not the case, as Bayley picked up a submission win. First off, let me say that Nia Jax is what the Divas Division needed for years:  a villainous powerhouse with a lot of personality. Before Nia, the closest WWE had was Beth Phoenix, but even she isn’t as imposing as Nia. I do see Nia Jax receiving a huge push in due time, but in the meantime, what’s next for Bayley? Will it be Asuka? Dana Brooke? Or will we see Eva Marie in the picture again. Only time will tell.

Back to Charlotte and Becky. The tension continued to grow on SmackDown this past Thursday, when Becky competed against Brie Bella, doing so after Becky found out about Ric Flair’s interference. Even so, Charlotte appeared at ringside during the match and cheered Becky on. That wasn’t all the devious Divas Champion did, as Charlotte tripped up Brie, and this time, Becky caught this, but she capitalized and picked up the submission win. However, after the match ended, Becky confronted Charlotte regarding her actions, stating that she wants to win on her own merit. Charlotte stated that she wanted Becky to win, suggesting that Becky can’t win on her own. Again, time will tell regarding this angle, but I see Charlotte turning against Becky and becoming a full-fledged villainess before 2016 is ringed in. Either Charlotte will intentionally cost Becky a match, or she’ll flat out attack Becky. Or both; anything’s possible.

MichaelBennett&MariaKanellisNo Knockouts were in action, but websites reported that Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis are finishing their time with Ring of Honor, and they could be TNA bound. If so, Maria Kanellis will be the latest former Diva to become a TNA Knockout, and she would be part of a long list that includes Gail Kim, Mickie James, Victoria/Tara, Brooke Tessmacher, and Taryn Terrell. Maria has been in wrestling since being part of WWE’s first established Diva Search in 2004, so we’re talking 11 years! She spent five years in WWE, which included being the final Diva to pose for Playboy, but she would never hold a title. Maria has spent the last few years as the heel valet for her real-life husband Mike Bennett, mainly at ROH, and she’d be definitely continuing that role should they go to TNA. However, I would love to see her compete as well, and hopefully go on to capture the Knockouts Championship!

Until next week!

PRO WRESTLING: Sport First. Entertainment Second.

This is my second attempt at writing this column. The first attempt failed in my eyes. I found myself on a tangent far from the core message I intended to deliver. I became focused on individual tragedy in the wrestling world as a definition of the value of wrestling as a sport. Upon proofing the article I became less than thrilled with my product. I was annoyed by the meandering into the horror stories. In some desperate attempt to apply sympathetic feelings towards the acceptance of wrestling as a sport. Needless to say that article was dismissed. I realized two things. The first was that pandering to sympathy to rally support for an opinion actually diminished the validity of that opinion. The second realization was that this particular argument required neither deception nor sympathy mining. Your emotions are not required. Your fandom or lack of fandom is not a requirement. The only requirements are a modest amount of critical thought. A bit of fairness in critique.  Most importantly, a tad amount of respect.

Compare deaths resulting from competitive action and Pro Wrestling is at the top of that list. Compare brain trauma resulting in neurological disorders leading to depression and often resulting in suicide. Wrestling is right there with football at the top of that list.  Like the NFL becomes by week 6, Wrestling is in a constant state of injury. The old saying applies to both sports. “Everybody is playing with some type of injury”. It is constant wear and tear. Constant impact followed by impact. With Wrestling there is no off-season. No all star break. There is however several performances per week.  The damage inflicted through an individual’s pursuit of Wrestling is greater than any other sport on the planet. Bar none.  For furtherance and details of a sad and macabre nature I suggest google. As I wrote above, I need not mine for sympathy. The comparatives exist. But for this topic a shoot from the hip approach is far superior.

The commitment required by participants to the sport is on a par with any other sport on the face of the planet. Practice, eat and sleep. That is the world of a professional wrestler today. What is required of an athlete to rise to the top of this sport is as heavy a price as exists. The time commitment,  fitness regime, meal requirements and rest requirements are absolutely all consuming.  On a par with other sports. Once again without an off-season to recuperate.

Game planning is an integral part of the professional wrestling world. The combatants design and perfect the routine prior to performing it for the entertainment of a live crowd. Practice creates better results. Practice helps reduce injury risk. Practice provides the ability to provide the best product available. Compare it to an NFL team. The team practices a game plan all week long. The club scouts the upcoming opponent and creates a practice schedule. Then practices are contoured and plays are installed for the week based on the scouting report.  All in an effort to provide the best possible performance come gameday. The best possible outcome as they scripted during the week leading up to the performance before a live audience. The only difference of note is that wrestling is planned and practiced by both adversaries in unison.

Wrestling has fallen under the headline of Sports Entertainment. What sport would exist without entertaining? The love of wrestling is only usurped by the love of football here in the United States. Like football, the fans are, well, fanatical. They live within the sport at times. Rising and falling with the tide of their heroes.  It affects some in a very personal way. The attachment is real and it becomes a part of life. Just like football, baseball and basketball among others. Your personal investment in the success of your favorite leads to disappointment and sometimes elation. The emotional roller coaster is just as unpredictable as any other sport. The participants know the outcome. The spectator does not. From that aspect, wrestling provides the same escape and opportunity for fandom as any other sport in existence.

No conversation about wrestling’s authenticity as a sport could be complete without at least a mention to the scripted nature. Should you wager on wrestling outcomes? No, unless random betting is your vice. The size, speed, strength and other skills cannot be translated into accurate prognostications. The outcome after all is preordained. I assert that the script has no negative bearing on whether or not wrestling is a sport.  Why would that be a disqualifying point? Gymnastics, ice skating and a slew of other activities that nobody hesitates to label sport is fully scripted as well. Why is the gymnast who executes the practiced double back flip not marginalized because of the fact that it was scripted? Same with the ice skater. But the wrestler who jumps from the top of a cage onto a table is a fake. How that type of duality can exist in one mind is a puzzling human trait. The double standards are flawed and biased. Professional wrestling is not a fight. Professional wrestling is professional stunting. Played out in long term segments. The greater the skill of the athlete the greater his following and subsequent earnings. Just like every other professional athlete. If you look at professional wrestling with an objective eye the only thing you can see are great athletes putting themselves in harms way to provide entertainment to the fans who demand it. Wrestling is a sport in every possible way. It is high time that the professional wrestling industry was referred to first and foremost as sport.




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