WWE

WWE TLC: Five candidates to take over from John Cena as US champion

Barnaby Read 21/10/2015
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Who do you see taking over from Cena?

At the Hell in A Cell pay-per-view this Sunday (Monday morning GST), John Cena will put his US Title on the line for what is widely reported as being the last time ahead of a break away from the ring.

The WWE has already announced that Cena will take his open challenge to the PPV, setting up a potentially historic moment for the company and the title.

Following the bout, Cena is expected to take leave of WWE duties until around Christmas, setting up the chance for the title to change hands at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California.

– WWE TLC: Saudi Arabia fans lap up LIVE event
– WWE TLC: The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar works

– WWE TLC: The top-5 Hell in a Cell matches
– WWE TLC: Cesaro picks top-5 matches of his career
 

It will bring to an end one of the greatest reigns in the belt’s history, one in which Cena has breathed new life into the championship.

Fairly plodding along until Cena took ownership of the title for the fourth time at WrestleMania, the US title had lacked renown and was devoid of interest among the WWE Universe.

Thanks to his rivalries, in particular, with Rusev and Kevin Owens, Cena cemented both his reputation as a 12-time World Heavyweight champion and the resulting matches have left the division in rude health.

The weekly open challenges, giving the likes of Adrian Neville, Cesaro and Stardust a chance to take home the gold, also brought tantalising title matches to the WWE Universe’s TV screens every week.

And while this marks the end of an era for the US title, it offers the opportunity for WWE to maintain its momentum by giving some of its most talented members of the roster the time to shine as a champion and imprint their own identity on the belt.

Here, Sport360 looks at five potential challengers we’d like to see win the title.

5) Dolph Ziggler
A few months ago, Ziggler would have been higher up the list but his recent soap opera feud with Rusev means his credibility and potential as champ is diminished for now.

He still deserves a good title run and would prove to be a great champ but the WWE’s recent plot lines for Ziggler have somewhat hindered him.

4) Samoa Joe
Since his arrival in NXT, Samoa Joe has thus far stayed away from the main shows, bar a dark match on Smackdown en route to winning the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament.

A TNA legend, Joe has the mic skills, wrestling ability and shock value to provide another shot in the arm for the US title.

3) Adrian Neville
‘The man gravity forgot’ has set the bar high since stepping up into the main shows and his high-flying, high-octane style has endeared himself to the Universe enough to make him a viable candidate.

Neville would make a great champ in terms of style and continuing Cena’s trend of exciting matches but his mic work still leaves a little to be desired. 

2) Sami Zayn
Zayn shares so much in common with Neville but is yet to make as much of a step up to the main shows and take centre stage.

He is more than ready to do so and his candidature would be a real fillip for fans in the Middle East.

1)  Cesaro
The big man has already played his part in Cena’s US Title run, serving up one of the matches of the year in the now infamous open challenges.

Like Zayn, Cesaro is ready-made to take the title – the only setback for him, Ziggler and Neville is that they will feature in the HIC pre-show.

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WWE

WWE TLC: Saudi Arabia fans lap up live event in Jeddah

Barnaby Read 13/10/2015
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John Cena & Chris Jericho were on show in Saudi Arabia' first WWE show.

The WWE rolled into Jeddah this past week, with a number of top-tier title matches and heavy hitters that delighted Saudi Arabia wrestling fans.

– WWE TLC: The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar works
– WWE TLC: The top-5 Hell in a Cell matches
– WWE TLC: Cesaro picks top-5 matches of his career

It was the first time the WWE’s LIVE event visited the Kingdom, following on from the Abu Dhabi event that delighted avid followers in the UAE earlier this year.

According to local reports, thousands flocked through the King Abdullah Sports City Sports Hall gates in Jeddah over the course of the three days’ action that ran from Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 October.

Superstars in attendance included WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, United States champion John Cena, Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, Ryback, Big Show and The Miz.

Fans were treated to a street fight between Rollins and Cena, a repeat of the same matchup that took place at the Zayed Tennis Stadium in the UAE capital in February.

Nonetheless, fans were left delighted by the action, the Saudi Gazette quoting 21-year-old Muhannad Abdul Wahab as saying: “I always wanted to watch Cena in action and am very glad to see him live here in Jeddah.”

The same paper spoke to Abdullah Banajah, who took his two sons along to the event, who said: “That was awesome and the crowd went berserk watching the fight. John Cena is very popular and he is the main reason my sons insisted to watch this event.”

Banajah’s 11-year-old son, Nader, told the Gazette: “I love WWE show on TV but this time I got to see them in real. A really enjoyable experience.”

The Middle East is an emerging market for the WWE and one they are tapping into with more and more urgency.

As well as the two live shows in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, OSN also brought the WWE Network to fans in the UAE, while the company also has a permanent home in Dubai.

Here, we look at the best tweets from the action-packed show.

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WWE

WWE TLC: The top-5 Hell in a Cell matches of all-time

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Sport360's top-5 Hell in a Cell matches.

Billed as the most brutal of the WWE’s many formats, Hell in a Cell is as bloody as it is brilliant.

Next month, the WWE Universe is treated to the ninth Hell in a Cell pay-per-view since it was given its own annual place on the WWE calendar.

Ever since the first ever Hell in a Cell, at WWF’s 1997 Badd Blood (no, Taylor Swift did not appear), the matches have been ferocious – serving up some of the most memorable moments in WWE history.

This year’s offering promises to be no different with the October 25 PPV at the Staples Centre throwing up some mouthwatering prospects.

Not only will Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt do battle in the 20ft high, five-tonne structure, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar will also decide their rivalry in what will surely be a match up not for the faint-hearted.

The anticipation was ramped up this week thanks to Paul Heyman’s microphone mastery and in order to get in the mood for the encounter, Sport360 brings you our top-5 Hell in a Cell matches from the 30 that have delighted to date.

5) Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Triple H, Steve Austin, Rikishi, and The Rock (Armageddon – Dec 10, 2000)

This may not have been the best match in Hell in a Cell history but the sheer brilliance of the six names pitted against each other in the steel battleground is enough to get the blood pumping.

This was the height of the Attitude era’s dominance and it left you not quite knowing where to look as the action spilled over between some of the WWE’s most iconic wrestlers.

Rikishi being sent from the top of the Cell into a backed up truck sticks in the memory.

4)  The Undertaker vs Triple H (WrestleMania XXVII – April 1, 2012)

One of just two times – and the most recent – that Hell in a Cell has featured at WrestleMania, as the two most experienced combatants in the format served up a treat.

Shawn Michaels was guest referee and joined his peers in hitting finisher after finisher in one of the most physical Cell matches there has ever been.

A poignant moment closed out the fight with all three embracing as Michaels and ‘Taker helped a battered Triple H out of the ring.

3.) Triple H vs Shawn Michaels (Bad Blood – June 13, 2004)

Any match between the old D-Generation X compatriots is worth a mention.

But chuck them in Hell in a Cell on the back of months of no-holds barred feuding and you’re definitely on to a winner.

Michaels’ elbow drop from a ladder that put Triple H through a table, with both men covered in blood, had the crowd on its feet.

2) The Undertaker vs Mankind (King of the Ring – June 28, 1998)

Put together the man who created Hell in a Cell and hardcore legend Mick Foley (in his Mankind guise) and what do you get?

Quite simply blood, brutality and one of the best spots in history as Foley was hurled from the top of the cage and through a table.

Reckless, dangerous and outright brilliant.

1) Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker (Badd Blood – October 5, 1997)

The match that started it all, this was the culmination of a legendary feud between two of the best wrestlers in WWE history.

Not only was this notable for the match itself, it also led to the late, great Paul Bearer bringing ‘The Big Red Machine’ Kane to the ring for the first time.

It ended months of speculation that The Undertaker’s half-brother was coming for him and sparked a historic run for the WWF and its Attitude era.

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