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Triple Z discusses the rise of Kevin Owens in WWE and writes a short epilogue on why Triple H is good for the WWE.
WWE did something magical this last Monday night. We were given a Fatal Four Way match for the WWE Universal Championship. The competitors are Big Cass (the odd man out but hinted at a future reign), Roman Reigns (WWE’s once chosen one who is trying to earn his respect back), Seth Rollins (The fan-favorite yet people are starting to turn on him too.), and Kevin Owens.
Kevin Owens deserves his own paragraph. He’s the man who stormed onto the scene of NXT. Once arriving he decimated his best friend Sami Zayn on the way to the top. He would later defeat Zayn for the NXT Championship. Kevin Owens had an exhilarating reign as NXT Champion. Owens went toe to toe with Hideo Itami, Finn Balor, and Samoa Joe. KO during his NXT run accepted an open challenge from John Cena. This was the first time a NXT talent was doing double duty. Kevin Owens despite losing the rivalry to Cena made an incredible impact on the main roster. This would lead him to the Intercontinental Championship. Kevin Owens should be considered WWE’s best NXT success story this far. In a short period of time, he was able to translate to the main roster and become a top heel.
Now back to the match. Kevin Owens was the man the Internet wanted to win. Which is a good thing. The match was interesting and gripping. WWE earlier in the night foreshadowed Roman Reigns becoming a dominant force and possibly capturing the new red belt. The match was surprising with Triple H coming through the audience and helping at first Seth Rollins. After helping Seth Rollins the most gut-wrenching heel turn happened since Bryan/Orton at SummerSlam. Triple H turned on his protégé Seth Rollins. Kevin Owens took the opportunity and won the Universal Championship. Despite Triple H helping Kevin Owens win it doesn’t mean he will be a “weak” champion.
Kevin Owens winning the WWE Universal Championship isn’t just good for WWE. It’s good for professional wrestling. The independent wrestler who wrestled in front of 100 people at Ring of Honor may end up main-eventing WrestleMania in 2017. Kevin Owens didn’t have the “WWE” look or build. Seeing Kevin Owens winning the championship was a great moment for all fans. I mean WWE’s booking of Kevin Owens has been great so far. Slow builds are great to see in wrestling. Although this Kevin Owen’s reign is still fresh, and we need to make sure there won’t be another Authority storyline. The Authority coming back would be the worst-case scenario.
So where will Kevin Owens go from here? The only answer is up! This moment solidified that he is a WWE guy. WWE can take many angles with Kevin Owens. The angle I’m assuming they will do is Finn Balor coming back to reclaim the title. Also the dream match with Brock Lesnar could become a reality. The Kevin Owens Show is truly going to happen. Kevin Owens has it all so this move shouldn’t get anybody mad. Sadly fans love to turn on talent.
I have loved following Kevin Owens since Ring of Honor. I have enjoyed his WWE-NXT runs and I hope they last a long time. I also like Kevin Owen’s family and how they record reactions when big moments happen in his career. Today I was disgusted on Twitter. A “NBA Insider” from ESPN felt like trolling an eight-year-old kid for his reaction. I mean if your name isn’t Adrian Wojnaroski are you really an insider? I’m glad Jonathan Coachman went after him too because ESPN employees need to respect all the sports and entertainment they cover now. ESPN covering WWE has not been accepted by ESPN’s fan base. The best thing they could do is at least having their talent build it up and not tear it down.
Another thought on this situation is has “WWE becoming mainstream hurt or helped them?” That’s another article for another time.
Epilogue: Triple H is changing the WWE for the better
Triple H is the main force for Kevin Owens winning the WWE Universal Championship (Both physically and business wise). If it wasn’t for Triple H signing him none of this would of happened. Triple H is trying to explode the McMahon/Dunn safe era. Triple H is trying to do what’s best for business yet maintaining loyal fans. Triple H creating NXT is remarkable because it revolutionized WWE. FCW wasn’t the same as NXT and the Performance Center and don’t try to tell me otherwise. I’m not saying we wont see guys like Roman Reigns and Sheamus holding the title in the New Era. That is going to happen Triple H won’t neglect the different types of wrestlers. HHH created a cool indie promotion out of a developmental system. I expect Triple H to continue to change WWE for the better. Kevin Owens winning Monday night looks like WWE is heading in a better direction.
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I remember waking up on Sunday morning excited about WWE SummerSlam. I knew in my head that it wouldn’t be better then NXT TakeOver: Back to Brooklyn but I so badly wanted it to be. SummerSlam is WWE’s second biggest event of the year. Like the other fans I had high hopes. SummerSlam wasn’t as bad as WrestleMania. It was just as long as WrestleMania but it wasn’t as bad. Usually while watching WWE events I will read my Twitter. I get everyone has a different opinion but it was awful to read some tweets last night. The fans were finding new ways to put a “negative” twist on things. One of those things was the whole “card placement” issue.
I was appalled people were tweeting “Of course Rusev and Roman Reigns is the co-main event” and “Why would the Women’s match go second?” WWE put the Women on second to actually give them TIME. Do you not want your Women’s wrestlers to get time? WWE has never done back-to-back main events and if they do it’s rare. (WrestleMania 28 featured a back-to-back main event with Chris Jericho and CM Punk leading into The Rock VS John Cena.) Let’s do some looking back at some WWE co-main events according to these people. So Charlotte VS Becky Lynch co-main evented the Royal Rumble this year? So Fastlane’s co-main event was Curtis Axel VS R-Truth? Rusev VS Titus O’Neil also co-main evented Money in the Bank… See how ridiculous this sounds. Also another reason why everybody knows it’s the cool-down position is because WWE put the Divas in that position for years! This isn’t UFC the card doesn’t go by importance. WWE fans getting confused between combat fighting promotion.
There are a couple “negative” things I will agree with though and you will see that throughout this column. Earlier today if you follow me on Twitter I tweeted out a reply to my friend and I said, “SummerSlam sucked because wrestling fans are starting to suck”, and yeah it sounds harsh but it’s true. I mean wrestling fans have been stereotyped. To non-fans and haters we as a group look like classless, white trash, basement living bottom feeder people. Which is totally untrue but last night won’t help reverse that stereotype. That stereotype will never be reversed. I’m not trying to say all wrestling fans are bad. That is totally not the case because when I go to wrestling events, wrestling fans are the coolest people in the world. Why? They don’t judge you for liking pro wrestling because they like it just like you. Last night fans were being obnoxious and weren’t acting like normal “happy” wrestling fans.
The terms “mark” and “smark” are being blurred. Let’s get educated for a moment and find out the true definitions of these terms that we so often throw around.
A Mark- A person who buys into the emotion and characteristics of the storyline and characters in Wrestling.
A Smark- the fan that knows wrestling is choreographed, but appreciates it on a higher level.
When did it become bad to be a “smark” and look at the definition “appreciates on a higher level”? I also enjoy marks because their reactions are great and we were all once a mark. The two terms are now blurring, as fans will use their “mark” emotion with a “smark” mindset. Prime example would be fans petitioning to #FireBrockLesnar or suspend Brock Lesnar. They are using “insider” knowledge but letting their emotions get the best of them. Brock Lesnar pounding the heck out of Randy Orton was uncomfortable to watch. It was cool though because you don’t see finishes like that ever. Earlier in the show I mentioned that it would be cool to see Brock knockout Randy Orton. Well it happened yet the ending was lackluster. Lesnar walked out on top and with no excitement. Nobody from SmackDown Live wants to come out and defend the brand? Shane McMahon coming out without Daniel Bryan was especially odd.
If I played pretend and acted like I was booking the show. Bray Wyatt coming out to spook Brock Lesnar would have been a nice ending. Heck, I know it’s a quote and quote New Era but Goldberg coming out would have been cool also. The fans want the pay off and usually I say wait for SummerSlam and wait for WrestleMania for the big pay off. Sadly it’s now becoming a random RAW in July is the big payoff and then they go back to the same old theme.
WWE doesn’t have to give us what we want. I know that sounds really weird. WWE is just printing cash. Especially with WWE creating NXT they are well off. I have written about this subject many times. This SummerSlam applies to this subject. It’s the whole We Will Still Watch Monday Night. The fans usually say “they won’t” but they end up watching it. If they were serious they would stop watching WWE and start watching TNA, ROH, NJPW, and Lucha Underground. If you like pro wrestling there is plenty of alternatives.
Here are more of my hot takes about last night. The “belt” chant was funny but true. I wouldn’t chant that when you have Finn Balor and Seth Rollins in the same ring. John Cena and AJ Styles delivered a classic. How can people still hate John Cena? That is a myth I will never understand. Ambrose and Ziggler had everlasting potential to shine on a big stage yet they fall short way short. To quote ZWrestleTalk writer Dom Bouchard on Sasha Banks VS Charlotte: “It was going to be a show stealer which turned into a boring botch fest.” The Women’s tag team match was unnecessary and it was only good because it showcased the women of SmackDown. Reigns and Rusev needed a match. WWE liked going against the popular decision, which upsets fans. It was similar style to WrestleMania. Both events had main events that shouldn’t have been main events.
Although this SummerSlam was way too long it wasn’t the worse ever. The finish wasn’t as bad as everybody is making it out to be. People went gaga when Sasha Banks and Charlotte were wrestling dangerous yet when Lesnar hits Orton stiff we need to send Brock to “wrestling school.” WWE doesn’t want you to like Brock Lesnar. They never have wanted you to like Brock Lesnar. I mean they had Brock Lesnar end the streak. The Undertaker’s prestigious streak was ended by this man of course he’s going to be hated. To all the fans that love to hate on Brock Lesnar. One day your going to get your wish and WWE is going to have someone beat him. I’m sure by that time though you will say it’s the wrong decision. Wrestling fans (myself included) tend to change their minds a lot.
WWE is going to be gun shy especially with how the fans reacted to the brutal ending last night. Fans have wanted WWE to push the PG to its limits. Yet when they do it’s “too much” or “over the top.” Sometime WWE events have to end bizarre to get us to watch tonight. The events of last night even though some were boring will get me to watch RAW tonight. That’s also because I’m a fan. I care about product and I have criticized the product. I do constructive criticism and I give my reasons for disapproval. The New Era fans don’t do that which tends to get frustrating and annoying. Twitter is a place where we are all experts and have opinions. That is usually a good thing but sometimes like last night for SummerSlam it’s a bad thing. WWE can’t make everyone happy. If you enjoy the product that’s great and if you don’t find something you like to watch. I understand WWE sometimes can be hard to watch because they have all the best talent in the world yet they lack stories. I feel WWE will become even better in the upcoming month let’s just sit back and enjoy the ride. They struggled last night because of the brand split and all the matches. They overbooked and that happens.
WWE’s New Era doesn’t need all the pay-per-views and events. It just needs good storytelling. That’s a different article for a different day.
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ZWrestleTalk's Dom Bouchard grades the shocking, exciting, and bizarre event known as WWE SummerSlam 2016.
American Alpha, The Uso's, and The Hype Bros. VS The Ascension, The Vaudevillains, and Breezango
A little overcrowded but very solid match between a lot of talented wrestlers. The story here is the start of animosity between the Usos and American Alpha. After the Alphas did their finisher the Usos frog splashed and pinned Viktor.This could lead a very interesting feud and solid matches between those two teams. The Usos trying to protect their upper echelon position against the new cocky super athletes.
Neville and Sami Zayn VS The Dudley Boyz
The end of the Dudleyz is near. This was booked just so Neville and Sami could be on the card. The Dudleyz can barely move anymore. It is sad to see them reduced to a low level jobbing team. Neville and Sami will have other opportunities to show us all what they can do. Meaningless win for them.
Cesaro VS Sheamus
The first of the best of seven was all you can expect from the two most underrated WWE superstars. Sheamus still has a lot left in the tank and Cesaro is a premiere athlete. This feud can revitalize their careers. Very physical match and their chemistry is awesome.The first goes to the Celtics warrior.
Enzo and Cass VS JeriKO
Enzo is the best on the microphone. No doubt the kid can talk and be funny and cool. The crowd loves their hometown boys. It was a very exciting match. KO and Jericho work real well together.Enzo playing the face in peril might get old someday but for now he is extremely good at it and he keeps adding a few moves here and there.Big Cass is explosive and deceptively quick. A very surprising.ending with JeriKo winning the contest.The good news is the feud is far from being over.
Sasha Banks VS Charlotte
What was supposed to be a show stealer turned out to be a boring botch fest. Charlotte seemed off her game.Despite the beautiful hurricarana off the top rope from Sasha the match was very uneven.Surprising win for Charlotte.
Apollo Crews VS The Miz
There is no one in the entire WWE who makes you feel like punching him in the face like The Miz. He is so good at being an arrogant braggart. Apollo needs to be allowed to add layers to his character but he is a wonderful athlete. Miz is also extremely underrated as a performer.Solid match and Apollo is a strong man. Upset win by Miz.
AJ Styles VS John Cena
The crowd was on fire early on. No one draws a reaction like Cena. What do you expect from these two? A "Match of the Year" candidate. That was exactly what we got a match of the year candidate with some very strong storytelling. Styles and Cena have great chemistry and feed off the energy of the crowd. The last ten minutes of the match was a classic. Absolutely amazing near falls. Two once in a lifetime performers.The win that will catapult AJ to the top of the WWE. This was awesome to watch and experience.
The New Day VS The Club
I have not yet seen chemistry between these two teams. After a slow start things picked up a bit. I would prefer to see more aggressiveness by Gallows especially. Anderson is a solid wrestler and Gallows has not convinced me yet. I truly hope he can rediscover the spark he had in Japan.Without Big E, The New Day is not the same.Wait who comes to the rescue Big E, and The New Day is whole again. I am not a big fan of DQ in title matches but for this occasion it was perfect.
Dean Ambrose VS Dolph Ziggler
The Showoff vs The Lunatic Fringe: Two different styles and two very energetic competitors. No one sells better than these two guys. So it is really fun to see them dish out punishment and not always be on the receiving end of it. Good back and forth action but Dean never seemed in danger of losing the match. I expected more out of these two.Kinda easy victory for Dean.
Nikki Bella, Alexa Bliss, and Natalya VS Carmella, Naomi, and Becky Lynch
Big surprise! Nikki looked good and she has the it factor none of the other women have in this match. It was fun to see Nikki back. Good throwaway match. It is sad to see the lack of crowd reaction to Carmella. Not everyone watches NXT. Naomi is an underrated wrestler. Nikki pins Carmella.
Finn Balor VS Seth Rollins
This is what I was waiting for THE match. The Man vs The Demon. Both are the present and future of the WWE. Nothing short of a "Match of the Year" would be a disappointment. Seth's ring gear is awesome. Finn was absolutely amazing in his entrance. This is a future WrestleMania main event. Non stop action, near falls plus Seth and Finn fighting a very physical battle. Finn targeting the leg of Seth.
The crowd chanting that the belt was awful was extremely childish and disrespectful.All it takes is a few morons and everybody follows. What a wonderful perfect suplex into a cradle by Rollins. A Coup de Grace in the back of the head, a pedigree, holy s**t. Two amazing athletes at the top of their games. Coup de Grace and later a new champion Finn Balor.
Roman Reigns VS Rusev
This is a wonderful feud between two heavy hitters. It is the perfect spot for Roman right now. Rusev was extremely aggressive before the match. He is a great heel and Roman was also aggressive and it led to a no contest. The start of a long violent feud. A spear by Roman to cap it off.
Brock Lesnar VS Randy Orton
The main event that doesn't deserve to be the main event. In my opinion the main event should have been Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins. Not that this match is not compelling. Randy has not delivered a good match since his WrestleMania match against Rollins a year and a half ago. Hopefully Brock will bring his A game contrary to what he brought at WrestleMania. The Viper stands now chance to win without outside interference.Thankfully Brock was not too stiff with his German suplexes with Orton's shoulders.The Viper fought valiantly and Brock is such a destructive force. An RKO on the announcers table and a DDT from Randy put him back in the match. Randy kicked out of the F5. Brock knocked out Randy and left him bloodied.Brutal. Even Paul Heyman tells him enough is enough. An F5 to Shane O Mac.
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ZWrestleTalk's Dom Bouchard grades NXT TakeOver: Back to Brooklyn
No Way Jose VS Austin Aries
A very entertaining match between a man who has the talent to become a major player in the WWE and a newcomer we don't know much about. Jose proved that he can hang in there and perform at a high level in this very competitive contest. I was extremely surprised by the chemistry between them. Aries is ready to make his mark and a feud with Itami will be epic. Itami hitting the GTS was incredible. It was a great win for Aries.
Ember Moon VS Billie Kay
Billie looked like a star with her entrance. She definitely has the looks to be a top star. Now she has to hone her skills to match up against experienced performers like Moon or Asuka. Moon's entrance is electric.The crowd was into the match more than I thought it would. Moon's finisher is devastating. I think Moon will become the number one contender quickly.
Bobby Roode VS Andrade "Cien" Almas
The entrance of Bobby Roode was absolutely amazing.It painted him as a mega superstar deservedly so. Almas is a wonderful wrestler but the two never clicked. It might be ring rust on the part of Roode. More than anything Roode needs a better finishing move. Almas worked hard to make the match entertaining but it takes two to tango. I am looking forward to see more from Roode.
Grade C -
D.I.Y (Gargano and Ciampa) VS The Revival
Speechless is the word to describe this match of the year candidate.The Revival is in my opinion the best heel tag team I have ever seen in my 43 years.The chemistry was off the charts and the crowd was into the match and Gargano and Ciampa proved they are also main event caliber.The match was great from start to finish. Near falls after near falls. Everyone worked their ass off. It was a gem and The Revival now have 3 matches of the year candidates this year. This is awesome and a great win for The Revival.
Editor's Note: Dom should just do "The Revival Match of the Year" because nobody else has a shot.
Bayley VS Asuka
It seems to me that Bayley is on her way to the main roster and if this was her send off, it was a good one. Not a great one though.The chemistry is not as good as it was with Sasha. Bayley thrives on her underdog character but she needs to add to her arsenal. Good win for Asuka.
Shinsuke Nakamura VS Samoa Joe
Nakamura's entrance was worth the price of admission by itself. Wow.Samoa and Nakamura facing off had a big match feel.It didn't disappoint because it was a stiff and hard hitting battle. Nakamura is a great striker and Joe is awesome as the the dominant bully, so it was a clash of styles. Nakamura hitting his finishing knee strike on Joe seemed to legitimately break his jaw and the second one did the job to win the match.
New NXT Champ Nakamura
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Triple Z takes a look at the highs and the lows from the outcome of the WWE Draft and WWE's New Era.
High: Finn Bàlor is on RAW
The longest reigning NXT champion is finally on RAW. Finn Balor deserved this kind of treatment. Bitter fans saying "All you smarks complained when Roman was getting pushed and you cheer for Balor!"
Well there is a huge difference. One has talent and the other not so much. Yes Roman Reigns has gotten better but he isn't near Finn Balor's level. Finn got over easy and it was a smart decision by WWE to bring him up to the main roster. Finn Balor has the talent and skills to be WWE's first Universal Champion. Also we are getting Rollins VS Balor out of all this.
Low: WWE Will Become Title Crazy
Remember when WWE wanted so badly to unify the Intercontinental Championship and United States Championship? It's weird to think just a few months ago WWE only wanted one unified champion. Now WWE is bringing in the WWE Universal Championship. Having two top titles makes it difficult to tell who the top guy is. Also leaves the question of "Who main events the RAW and SmackDown mixed PPV's?" Also another thing is WWE Women's division is smaller then the guys. They only have 15 active wrestlers!!! So why do they need two titles? I mean a traveling champion would work out well. Plus it would lead for more confrontation between the General Managers. It would almost be like a game stealing the title back and forth. Plus they just revealed the beautiful new Women's Championship at WrestleMania… Why water that down already. Same goes for the Tag Team division on SmackDown. I would prefer traveling champions. I guess WWE wants American Alpha holding a Tag Team title of some sort?
RAW is also bound to introduce a Cruiserweight Championship. Leading to SmackDown introducing a new singles titles. This would bring WWE's championship count to 10 belts. That would be insane to watch at WrestleMania.
High: All The New Talent from CWC, NXT, and Past.
I mean WWE's New Era will allow us to see former favorites like Rhyno and Shelton Benjamin be back on WWE. Also the new era will allow us to see new exhilarating stars from WWE's Cruiserweight Classic. Also don't forget the greatness of NXT.
Low: RAW is Super Long
Let's face it RAW can't keep up the momentum every week. If each show is going to be three hours. Three hours needs to be for special events. The only reason why WWE is keeping it at three hours is strictly do to money. RAW can be a good show but it just loses momentum during the three hours.
High: SmackDown is Strong Again!
SmackDown is becoming strong again. Despite people complaining about Dolph Ziggler. SmackDown has been great to watch. It's Women's division has some interesting players. Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, and Kalisto are valuable talent. AJ Styles and Bray Wyatt are both excellent too. Also Ziggler becoming a main event star again is great! The brand also has John Cena. Even the commentary is good with Mauro Ranallo and David Otunga. JBL is still awful, and that is a fact. SmackDown also has the Intercontinental Championship. SmackDown has become more enjoyable to watch.
Evaluating WWE's New Era is interesting. Will this era be successful? Will it be forgotten like the PG and Reality Era? Could it dethrone the Attitude Era? Can WWE's New Era make wrestling cool again? These are the questions as the New Era continues on in the WWE.
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Creator of ZWrestleTalk. This page I give you my thoughts on the current state of the WWE product. I look back at the history of WWE. Sometimes even predict the future. If your lucky you get comedic articles too.