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I anticipate WrestleMania having a problem this year. I feel like there are going to be way too many matches and unfortunately Vince tries to be a nice guy and get everyone on the card which is a mistake. This causes the show to be overstuffed with too many rushed matches which only serves the purpose of the wrestlers in those matches getting attendance for Mania. It's a waste of time. You'll have the typical canceled 20-second "match" and then a few super-fast ones that end in 3-5 minutes. In the interest of not having a main card pushing six hours and ending no later than five hours, here is what they should do...

Main card
1. Universal Title
2. Taker vs. Cena
3. Angle/Rousey vs. Triple H/Stephanie
4. WWE Title
5. SD Women's Title (Charlotte vs. Asuka)
6. I.C. Title (Miz vs. Rollins vs. Balor vs. Strowman)
7. U.S. Title (Roode vs. Orton)
8. SD Tag Titles (Usos vs. New Day)

Pre-show
1. Andre battle royal
2. Fabulous Moolah battle royal
3. Cruiserweight Title

Instead of wasting Bliss vs. Nia, Sasha vs. Bayley and Owens vs. Zayn on the pre-show, I propose they keep those feuds going heading into Mania but the actual matches take place on the Raw and SD after Mania where they can have more of a focus put on them. I think the U.S. title match should probably be on the SD after Mania but you really can't keep Randy Orton off of WrestleMania so I'll leave it on. See if WWE books all of these matches for WrestleMania, they'll be forced to put every women's match on the main card because of some stupid hashtag movement that for some reason they'll pay attention to and the hell with that. The fucking Usos have NEVER been on a WrestleMania which is why I'm putting them on the main show and Miz, Rollins and Strowman getting thrown into a multi-person match when they deserve singles matches is a shame so I could care less about some injustice that people perceive for the women. Bliss vs. Nia has pre-show written all over yet, both battle royals are meaningless, Sasha vs. Bayley could be a good storyline but it still has nothing on the line and Owens and Zayn are main eventers on WCW Thunder SmackDown so who cares. Just same them for after Mania. If time allowed it, I would like the Cruiserweight Title on the main show to legitimize it a little now that Triple H is running the show, but as is, I'll leave it on the pre-show because of time constraints.

This should be what WWE does every year...

1. Focus on eight matches getting their proper time on the main show
2. Two battle royals for all the leftover men and women
3. A Cruiserweight Title match to take place in-between the pre-show battle royals
4. Keep feuds moving forward for everything and some matches take place on the Raw and SD after WM where they can be under the spotlight more than on the WM pre-show

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If they're serious about rebranding the Cruiserweight division they should really have the tournament finals on the main show. I'd open with it. If they're on the pre-show, it just cements that the show doesn't mean any more than it used to. Swap it for Orton/Roode, a certainly boring match that I can't imagine anybody caring about. 

Also I'm being that IC title match ends up being another big giant ladder match for all the upper midcard, again. 

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I feel like I'd enjoy Rousey more if i wasn't thinking about how much her friend Shayna is outclassing her every week in NXT. I hope Ronda's caught up by the time Baszler gets called up, that could be a hell of a feud for "legitimizing" women's wrestling in a way that they've repeatedly failed to do thus far

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205 report:

- I was annoyed at how especially terrible the crowd was this week--they really do need to start taping this before Smackdown and not after when everyone is tired and annoyed. But then I realized the show was in Green Bay, so that explained why it was shitty even by 205 standards.

- Gulak and Andrews had a rock solid match, again really hurt by the crowd. Can't help but feel putting Andrews over Tozawa was a mistake for this reason, as having a babyface people kinda like would've gotten a better reaction. But there were other plans...

- My first reaction to Itami and Tozawa being paired up (for a tag title tournament after Mania, probably) is annoyance that they're throwing the two Japanese guys together, but truth be told they did work really well together. Hopefully when they don't win the tag titles Itami turns heel and they feud.

- Ali vs Buddy Murphy was awesome. It helped that both are two of the guys who usually get a reaction anyway, but by the end of it the crowd was doing "this is awesome chants" and going crazy for Ali.

So, Mustafa Ali is my pick to win the title. Love Gulak, but he's kinda getting crickets, I'd have Ali squeak out a win on him next round and Gulak brutalizes him post-match to set up a feud after Mania. Ali is getting the best reactions of anyone (Roderick Strong is the only guy really close), he revealed out of fucking nowhere this week that he's actually a damn good promo, and plus, this:

Image

 

Put Ali vs Strong in the opening match at Wrestlemania, have Neville return as a surprise on Raw the next night, and watch people start to actually pay attention to this show.

 

- Also, shout out to Buddy Murphy, who I always liked in NXT even when he was in a sorta mediocre tag team. He worked his ass off and had the best match I've ever seen him in, repeatedly bumping on his head and selling his arm like it was about to fall off.

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Unofficial NXT Takeover: New Orleans card...

NXT Championship 

Andrade "Cien" Almas v. Aleister Black 

 

NXT Women's Championship

Ember Moon v. Shayna Baszler

 

NXT Tag Team Championship

Undisputed Era (Adam Cole+Kyle O'Reilly) v. Authors of Pain v. Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne

NXT North American Championship Ladder Match

EC3 v. Adam Cole v. Ricochet v. Lars Sullivan v. Killian Dain v. Velveteen Dream

 

And the fact that it's the first ever four match card for a Takeover, and not loaded with matches I expect to go far past twenty minutes, leads me to expect that some sort of unsanctioned grudge match of Tomasso Ciampa v. Johnny Gargano will be announced in a backstage segment or online, assuming Ciampa is cleared. 

There must be some sort of directive for new titles, given the NA title being announced here and the Cruiserweight tag titles coming to 205 soon. I'm all for a midcard title in NXT (ideally for workrate guys lacking the star power for the big belt, like Roderick Strong or Oney Lorcan) but it seemed like the UK belt was being repurposed for that reason, which makes me wonder what the hell they're doing with that belt. 

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WWE looks so minor league when all it takes is for a celebrity to make one or two appearances to be worthy enough to be in their Hall-of-Fame with wrestling legends. I have no problem with someone like Mike Tyson getting in or even a small handful of celebrities that were part of important moments but overall this celebrity wing is a joke along with the Warrior award and both should be removed from the HOF. Kid Rock just makes this whole 2018 HOF ceremony white trashy. Normally I despise when fans heckle during speeches. I hope they do this time.

On 3/8/2018 at 2:16 PM, Ruiner II said:

There must be some sort of directive for new titles, given the NA title being announced here and the Cruiserweight tag titles coming to 205 soon.

The NA title makes sense. The cruiserweight tag titles make no sense at all. WWE barely has enough credible tag teams on the entire main roster to justify one tag title and they're bringing in a new tag title just for one little cruiserweight roster? 

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42 minutes ago, Mike said:

WWE looks so minor league when all it takes is for a celebrity to make one or two appearances to be worthy enough to be in their Hall-of-Fame with wrestling legends. I have no problem with someone like Mike Tyson getting in or even a small handful of celebrities that were part of important moments but overall this celebrity wing is a joke along with the Warrior award and both should be removed from the HOF. Kid Rock just makes this whole 2018 HOF ceremony white trashy. Normally I despise when fans heckle during speeches. I hope they do this time.

The NA title makes sense. The cruiserweight tag titles make no sense at all. WWE barely has enough credible tag teams on the entire main roster to justify one tag title and they're bringing in a new tag title just for one little cruiserweight roster? 

The NA title doesn't really make a world of sense either--the UK title is already a half-ass midcard belt for NXT since the UK Network show got scrapped. 

Either way, Triple H has shown a very strong aptitude for making championships feel meaningful and since both are on his shows, I'll hesitate to write either off. The main thing for the CW tag belt is that they sign some tag teams to populate the show rather than exclusively form new ones from the guys on the roster. 

The thing where you're right is that there's already two tag divisions that are bare bones as it is. I'd just collapse the Raw tag division, send the Club and the Bar to Smackdown and put the Revival in the 205 tournament. Then you have one tag division for the big guys and "stars" and one for the smaller workrate teams. 

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205 thoughts... 

- Solid opening tag match, it's cool that they're already planting seeds that Hideo is actually the most miserable prick. Lucha tag teams are super easy to get at least relatively over. 

- Jack Gallagher as cold psychopath is all buys. Staring the jobber down and then just casually grabbing his fingers and twisting his arm was badass. 

- Another great main event, wrong guy won, but whatever. Easily the loudest I've ever heard a crowd for a 205-branded match. Cedric had a fine promo, glad he stole AJ's shutting down of the "You deserve it" chant from earlier in the night. Everybody needs to do that from now on, until those chants are only ever given ironically, like when Miz gave Ambrose the participation award or when Aleister Black Knightfall'd Adam Cole at Takeover. 

GIF of the week:

giphy.gif

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Interesting Daniel Bryan news... https://www.f4wonline.com/wwe-news/daniel-bryan-gives-interesting-answer-about-possible-wm-return-253796

Pertinent bit here

Quote

The angle that was shot and the change in the original WrestleMania plans of late involving McMahon, Owens, and Zayn, reflects that something has changed.

This is a situation we've been monitoring closely for a long time. There has been movement over the past month and protocols that have taken place. There are new doctors who have cleared him in recent months after his belief that his brain has responded favorably to hyperbaric chamber treatment, a treatment that football legend Joe Namath has been doing and has claimed great results from. Danielson first found out about this treatment about one year ago. My feeling is that at this point, if he does get cleared, they would do an immediate storyline and make an announcement of the tag team match.

A few weeks ago we had received certain information about strong moves by him to attempt to get cleared and last week, as noted by the tease in the Observer this week, the specifics that if he is cleared he would be in the tag team match was noted.

 

I'm obviously very excited by the idea of Bryan being cleared, but man, if he is cleared, I'd strongly favor them just going with the original plan for Mania and building to a proper return match/storyline. Tagging with Shane McMahon is like, the least exciting first back match I could think of. And the thought of not getting Bryan/Okada or Bryan/ZSJ is saddening.

If he came back, I feel like they'd probably use him as the top guy on Smackdown for a bit with AJ going to Raw. Keeps him away from Roman, while treating him like the big star he is. Man, can you imagine if they kept them apart for a year and then did Bryan/Roman at Mania next year? Sick as I am of Roman, that would be a perfect Wrestlemania main event.

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We are so close to WrestleMania and announcing Bryan's return so close would be a waste. This needs proper build-up and a return in a tag match is dumb. If he is indeed wrestling, they should just make it a handicapped match and then Shane announces Bryan as his surprise partner live at the show.

And it's a damn shame he isn't wrestling the Miz. That's the big storyline right there.

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50 minutes ago, Mike said:

We are so close to WrestleMania and announcing Bryan's return so close would be a waste. This needs proper build-up and a return in a tag match is dumb. If he is indeed wrestling, they should just make it a handicapped match and then Shane announces Bryan as his surprise partner live at the show.

And it's a damn shame he isn't wrestling the Miz. That's the big storyline right there.

If they absolutely have to have Bryan at Mania, they should just splinter the story into two singles matches. Have Owens and Shane settle their business in a street fight or something, and Sami Zayn and Bryan can have a singles match. The card is already overloaded, but just push one or two of the crappy matches to the pre-show or just cancel it altogether. You can make room for the return of your biggest star. 

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The Owens/Zayn/Shane/Bryan storyline is literally the only storyline I’ve cared about in the last 6 months because for me it felt obvious that they were building up to Bryan’s return at Wrestlemania and I’m glad it’s going in that direction. I’ve thought all along it would end up being Shane vs Bryan but after what happened last week it seems obvious that it’ll be Bryan and Shane vs Owens and Zayn. That match is not ideal but I’ll take any Daniel Bryan match, I’m just happy to see him in the ring again. 

 

Heres hoping he is indeed coming back though and that WWE isn’t just planning to give fans some blue balls. Ive sat through hours of shitty Smackdown to see his mediocre and sloppy comeback storyline and I hope it’s not for nothing. 

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14 minutes ago, Omar said:

The Owens/Zayn/Shane/Bryan storyline is literally the only storyline I’ve cared about in the last 6 months because for me it felt obvious that they were building up to Bryan’s return at Wrestlemania and I’m glad it’s going in that direction. I’ve thought all along it would end up being Shane vs Bryan but after what happened last week it seems obvious that it’ll be Bryan and Shane vs Owens and Zayn. That match is not ideal but I’ll take any Daniel Bryan match, I’m just happy to see him in the ring again. 

 

Heres hoping he is indeed coming back though and that WWE isn’t just planning to give fans some blue balls. Ive sat through hours of shitty Smackdown to see his mediocre and sloppy comeback storyline and I hope it’s not for nothing. 

I've seen it suggested that Shane will work the whole match and they'd heavily build up to his hot tag to Bryan... and then Bryan drops from the apron, watches as Zayn and Owens kick his ass. 

Story-wise... that's actually pretty damn solid, but booking-wise it'd be one of the stupidest things ever done by a wrestling company, which tells me I shouldn't rule out WWE doing something like that. 

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What if they put him on 205 Live? Again, pretty damn idiotic business wise, but if they really want to keep him away from Reigns... I bet you anything he'd be all for it, and it'd instantly make it a must-watch show for anybody with the network (it's really damn good already, but literally the only draw it has is word-of-mouth). The thought of getting Bryan vs Strong and Bryan vs Gulak (and Bryan vs Neville?) makes my mouth water. 

*this isn't anything I expect to happen even a little bit, I'm just having fun fantasy booking all the cool things you could do with Daniel Bryan. Damn is it exciting to maybe have him back. 

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25 minutes ago, Ruiner II said:

What if they put him on 205 Live? Again, pretty damn idiotic business wise, but if they really want to keep him away from Reigns... I bet you anything he'd be all for it, and it'd instantly make it a must-watch show for anybody with the network (it's really damn good already, but literally the only draw it has is word-of-mouth). The thought of getting Bryan vs Strong and Bryan vs Gulak (and Bryan vs Neville?) makes my mouth water. 

*this isn't anything I expect to happen even a little bit, I'm just having fun fantasy booking all the cool things you could do with Daniel Bryan. Damn is it exciting to maybe have him back. 

That’s a terrible idea...

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10 minutes ago, Omar said:

That’s a terrible idea...

Like I said, it'd be a horrible move for business. I'm just saying it'd make for some damn good TV. Obviously all the best guys can't go to Triple H's network shows, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't result in better TV. 

The easier fix for that is to let Paul run the TV shows more people watch, but it's not like that's gonna happen. 

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13 hours ago, Ruiner II said:

If they absolutely have to have Bryan at Mania, they should just splinter the story into two singles matches.

That's a great idea but after the fifth hour I do think there should be an intermission so fans in attendance and people watching at home can stand up and move around for a minute to avoid getting a blood clot and then after that we can continue with the final three hours.

01. Reigns vs. Lesnar
02. Styles vs. Nakamura
03. Cena vs. Undertaker
04. Angle/Rousey vs. Triple H/Stephanie
05. Bryan vs. Zayn
06. Shane vs. Owens
07. Charlotte vs. Asuka
08. Miz vs. Rollins vs. Balor
09. Bliss vs. Nia
10. The Bar vs. Strowman
11. Women's battle royal
12. Orton vs. Roode vs. Mahal
13. Men's battle royal
14. Usos vs. Bludgeon Brothers vs. New Day
15. Cruiserweight Title match

10 hours ago, Ruiner II said:

What if they put him on 205 Live?

Remember that time when you said Big E was going to be the next John Cena? This comment right here might be dumber than that. Daniel Bryan should instantly return to main event level on Raw preferably but if not I guess SD. He shouldn't be insulted by being on the C-show like when WWE put Kurt Angle on ECW to keep him far away from the intimidated Triple H.

9 hours ago, Ruiner II said:

The easier fix for that is to let Paul run the TV shows

You called him Paul! :lol:

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6 minutes ago, Mike said:

Remember that time when you said Big E was going to be the next John Cena? This comment right here might be dumber than that. Daniel Bryan should instantly return to main event level on Raw preferably but if not I guess SD. He shouldn't be insulted by being on the C-show like when WWE put Kurt Angle on ECW to keep him far away from the intimidated Triple H.

Apparently nobody can fucking read

10 hours ago, Ruiner II said:

Again, pretty damn idiotic business wise... 

*this isn't anything I expect to happen even a little bit... 

And again, I can hardly think DANIEL BRYAN would be offended about being sent to the show where he'd get to have the best matches

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This has been the most boring road to WrestleMania that I've ever seen. In the four episodes of Raw since the last Raw PPV, there have been a grand total of three combined interactions between match participants in the big three matches...two between the mixed tag participants, one between Reigns and Lesnar and zero between Cena and Undertaker. This is worse than when The Rock was WWE Champion and was barely on TV before his match with Cena. And then on the SD side you have a bunch of completely uninteresting stuff going on. The Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens feud is entering what?...it's eighth month. AJ and Nakamura are cool and all but this is yet another Royal Rumble winner in a WrestleMania match that is promoted as like the 5th biggest match on the card.

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So apparently Daniel Bryan turned down wrestling because they didn't want him to take any bumps. Smart move on his part. No one wants to see some bullshit Bret Hart-like return from Daniel Bryan. 

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