WWE

WWE: Fight talk commences ahead of Wrestlemania 31

Barnaby Read 24/03/2015
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Brock Lesnar (l) and Roman Reigns will fight for the WWE Heavyweight title at Wrestlemania.

Finally, the talking is over and we are just five days away from the Wrestlemania 31, with this week’s Monday Night Raw drawing to an end months of build-up.

– #Quiz360: Win group paintball trip at ZSC
– WWE TLC: Cena calls on USA as Sting takes control

This week’s edition gave us the promise of a head-to-head between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns before their World Heavyweight title match in Santa Clara. While they didn’t come to blows (instead a mundane grapple over the belt ensued), the two have been sold as a fine showpiece, largely thanks to the superb work of Paul Heyman.

Elsewhere on the show, Dean Ambrose took a turn as special guest referee between Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan ahead of the ladder match for the Intercontinental title, with fans given a clear indication that one of their favourites will come out on top in California.

All three have excelled in the ring in the last six months and each deserves a good run as champion.

Speaking of which, Rusev was dominant in his performance on Raw as he took control of John Cena ahead of their showdown for the USA title. It is hard to look past a Cena win and the end of Rusev’s unbeaten streak but the WWE have played the story superbly in selling the pair as evenly skilled competitors.

Without doubt, the most exciting matches at Wrestlemania, however, are HHH vs Sting and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt.

The build up to the first of those, bringing together respective WWE and WCW legends, kicked off the show on Raw as Sting and Stepanie McMahon exchanged barbs in the ring. It was a good sell and the whole bat vs sledgehammer will be an exciting prospect for those looking for both wresters to unleash fury on each other next week.

As for the latter, the Undertaker once again stayed away from the show and it was left to Wyatt to control the narrative of the storyline.

Yet again Wyatt excelled, proving his reputation as the most intense and talented storyteller on the roster.

With all the talking over, roll on Wrestlemania.

TWEETS OF THE WEEK – #SnoopMania takes over Raw

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WWE

WWE: Cena calls on USA as Wrestlemania prepares for a Sting

Barnaby Read 17/03/2015
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Sting once again showed up on Raw to interrupt The Authority’s best laid plans, taking to task an attempt from the heels to set up Randy Orton.

Another week goes past and we edge another week closer to Wrestlemania’s March 29 date with the WWE once again trying to ramp up excitement for the showpiece event to varying degrees of success.

To start with, it was another week to forget for the upcoming tag team title match and Andre the Giant Battle Royal with both plodding along at a frustrating pace.

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#Quiz360: WIN a group paintball session at Zayed Sports City

Add to that very little in the way of storytelling and the WWE’s insistence to keep Kane and the Big Show relevant and both matches are shaping up to be duds on the WWE’s big night out in Santa Clara.

These two stories are no reason to give up on the event, however.

John Cena’s appearance on Raw, in which he called on his compatriots to get behind him and bring some much needed relevance to the US Championship title, makes for an exciting showdown with Rusev and finally brings Cena back to the forefront of a heated rivalry.

Elsewhere, a superbly cut Brock Lesnar promo, the ever consistent hype of Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns’ feverish interruptions have meant that the Royal Rumble woes are now long forgotten. This main event, with Lesnar as the all-conquering beast and Reigns as a plausible overthrower of the champion, has the makings of a classic.

Speaking of which, the HHH vs Sting match on the card is one the WWE are selling with their finest gusto.

Sting once again showed up on Monday Night to interrupt The Authority’s best laid plans, taking to task an attempt from the heels to set up Randy Orton.

It resulted in a superb snapshot of Orton and Sting, centre of the ring, surrounded by Authority bodies.

It seems the WWE is putting all of its resources and energy into the top of the Wrestlemania card, which is a shame for the lesser matches that have all the potential to contribute to an iconic show.

With that said, selling the stories of the likes of Cena, Lesnar, Orton, HHH and Sting does no-one any great harm and does ensure we will be in for a treat at the end of this month. Even if that does mean a lot of people will switch on halfway through, which is less than ideal!

WINNER OF THE WEEK – Larry Zbyszko 

‘The Living Legend’ was this week announced as the latest addition to the WWE Hall of Fame, joining the class of 2015, which already includes some stellar names.

Randy Savage, Rikishi, Alundra Blayze, The Bushwhackers, Arnold Schwarzenegger in the celebrity wing and the inaugural “Warrior Award” inductee Connor “The Crusher” Michalek have all been added so far and it is expected that Kevin Nash will be the final man to be honoured at next week’s concluding Raw before Wrestlemania.

TWEETS OF THE WEEK – Rappers take over the WWE

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WWE: Storytellers steal the show ahead of Wrestlemania

Barnaby Read 10/03/2015
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John Cena’s interruption of United States champion Rusev’s match ended with the latter being rendered unconscious from the STF.

As per the last month of action in the WWE, this week was all about further establishing and developing storylines for Wrestlemania 31 in 19 days’ time (March 29).

It’s safe to say it was an eventful few days in WWE and Raw was at the heart of it.

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The star turns from this week’s Raw were undoubtedly from those storytellers shaping the main events in less than three weeks’ time.

The back-and-forth between the Undertaker and Bray Wyatt came to a head in dramatic fashion with The Phenom accepting Wyatt’s challenge, much to the latter’s glee.

Wyatt’s signature rocking chair was set on fire via a lightning bolt from the top of the stadium as ‘Taker agreed to a showdown, while Wyatt laughed maniacally in the corner of the ring.

Despite Undertaker’s continued absence from live shows, the match between these two is being sold superbly by Wyatt. He is truly one of the best wrestlers in the company at selling a storyline.

Wyatt is only bettered by the man who has set the agenda for wrestling managers, mic-men and product sellers in the business, Paul Heyman.

Heyman was at his no-nonsense, intense best introducing the return of WWE World Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

His mic was cut off by WWE, but nothing could halt Heyman in full flow. His passion, conviction and way of working a story, the crowd and his athlete are superb and this was all on show in the best promo the WWE has seen in a long time.

Elsewhere, there were two non-title losses for Intercontinental champion Bad News Barrett and tag-team champs Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, while the Authority began to be dismantled and John Cena showed a brutality barely witnessed before.

Cena’s interruption of United States champion Rusev’s match ended with the latter being rendered unconscious from the STF. Not happy with enough punishment, Cena woke Rusev from his slumber with a bottle of water before again putting the champion in the STF and making him pass out.

The result; our Wrestlemania showdown which has breathed life into the US title like never before.

MOVE OF THE WEEK – Cena’s STF (see above)

TURNING POINT OF THE WEEK – Randy Orton’s revenge

After two weeks of speculation and general teasing, the Viper struck on Monday Night.

Randy Orton finally exacted revenge on Seth Rollins for his part in the Shield’s brutality which ultimately kept Orton out of action.

These two could end up with a scintillating rivalry, starting with a showdown at Wrestlemania.

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