Triple Z recaps his favorite moments from last night's epic Royal Rumble event.
The first ever event to feature two Royal Rumble matches did not disappoint. The men's Royal Rumble went on early. The men's Rumble going on early is similar to when Undertaker does his entrance in the daylight it just doesn't feel right. Rusev is super over with the crowd. Funny how that happens when WWE least expects it. Finn Balor came out at number two. The beginnings of this match had Baron Corbin attacking everyone. Elias singing to the crowd before our first surprise entrant Adrien "Cien" Almas came out. Sami Zayn ended up stealing Tye Dillinger's spot at 10. The eventual winner Shinsuke Nakamura came out at 14. The New Day spot later in the match was great. Kofi Kingston having his foot be saved by Xavier Woods was hilarious. Then The New Day air lifted him back into the ring. Only to have Kofi quickly eliminated by Andrade "Cien" Almas.
I thought it was unnecessary to have Sheamus, Cesaro, and Seth Rollins in this match. We knew none of them had a shot because they had a match next. I'm glad WWE was aware that having Jason Jordan in the Royal Rumble would've been a bad idea. The final ten entrants in the match are a weird mix of characters. At 20 we have John Cena. Followed by another surprise with The Hurricane who I was convinced was going to eliminate a big name. Aiden English came out at 22. English only lasted two minutes in the match. Yet RUSEV DAY was still over with the crowds this even lasted to when Lana came out in her Royal Rumble match. Adam Cole who was banged up from NXT TakeOver on the previous night entered the match. The arena popped and he had a nice showing. Randy Orton, who was last year's winner, entered at 24 looking to make history and tie Stone Cold Steve Austin's three Rumble winner record. The next entries were Titus O'Neil and The Miz. Then boom another surprise. Rey Mysterio comes back and looks better then ever.
Now this was a moment. What a final six. The final three would become Cena, Reigns, and Nakamura. With Shinsuke Nakamura eliminating Reigns to win the Royal Rumble. I was convinced Reigns was going to win.
I feel if Roman Reigns ever wins another Royal Rumble match he will have to start off at number one to make it interesting. When Reigns came out at number 28 I thought it was over. So it was a nice surprise to see Nakamura pull it off. I'm excited for the possibility of seeing Rey Mysterio in WWE again. This was a Royal Rumble that had great moments, fun surprises, and a true surprise outcome. So overall this is one of the better Rumble's I've seen in years.
Shinsuke Nakamura will challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Which has every intention to become match of the year. Speaking of WrestleMania we move onto Brock Lesnar VS Kane VS Braun Strowman. Nothing out of the ordinary. The match was typical Brock fare. Lesnar of course got the W. This most likely meaning we are getting Lesnar VS Reigns II at WrestleMania 34 unless something wild happens at Elimination Chamber.
The first ever Women's Royal Rumble relied on nostalgia, and it worked. I don't know how WWE will top it for next year. Hopefully they can get some of the former wrestlers back for it. Lita was pretty crazy almost killing herself on that moonsault. It's all for the fans am I right? Molly Holly looks like she could come back full time. I wouldn't put it past Kelly Kelly or Torrie Wilson to be surprises every so often. All of the free agents and Hall of Famers looked impressive. Trish Stratus especially was impressive. Give that woman a match at Mania. She could still go with Mickie James and or give her Sasha Banks. WrestleMania is a 7968 hour show anyways, so would adding another big match hurt?
Asuka was the right winner in the end. Despite how cool it would of been to see a free agent or Hall of Famer win. On top of a great match we got to see the debut of Ronda Rousey in the WWE. It will be interesting to see where she ends up at WrestleMania. I'm predicting Asuka will challenge Charlotte for the SmackDown Live Women's Championship. Just to make it a big match feel. WWE has been building towards that for awhile.
Both Royal Rumble matches could of been a lot worse. WWE got it right and now the excitement heading into Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania is at a high. Jonathan Coachman returns to RAW commentary tonight. Ronda Rousey is in the WWE. Rey Mysterio returns to WWE. All is right in the world of wrestling.
Dom Bouchard gives his bold predictions for WWE in 2018. Triple Z either agrees or disagrees with his prediction, and makes some of his own bold predictions.
Dom Bouchard: Usos will firmly establish themselves as the best tag team of all time. Feuds with Gable and Benjamin, Bludgeon Brothers, and Authors of Pain will keep them busy.
Triple Z: Wait did you really just drop "best of all time?" This one I have to disagree with. The Uso's have been able to constantly reinvent themselves. I'm predicting the duo will be traded to RAW which will likely result in a downfall.
The New Day will break up. Well kind... They will simply go their separate ways. Kofi will return to mid-card status. Big E will make a splash and feud with Roman and Braun. Xavier could do very well on 205 or in the upper mid card on SD.
This is another one I can't get behind. The reason The New Day formed was because WWE couldn't do anything creative with the trio. Now that WWE discovered the talent they have within The New Day it will be tempting not to split up the group. Reasoning why I disagree with this is because WWE needs The New Day merch. This would be cool to see creatively if they all stayed on the same brand of SmackDown. Have Xavier win the tag titles with Big E, and then have Kofi Kingston finally get his shot as world champ.
Brock Lesnar will re-sign and remain a main event player. But he will lose to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania.
Yeah, this is likely. Brock Lesnar is wrestling a light schedule and he's making $12 million doing it. Some NHL, NBA, and NFL players don't even make that type of money and they work a full season! Brock will lay down for Roman Reigns at WrestleMania.
Authors of Pain will make an impact on Raw and dominate the tag division. These guys are beasts.
Whenever Authors of Pain debut they will dominate, and if they don't WWE is creatively lost. Paul Ellering coming back to pro wrestling is one of the most underrated topic in the past year or so. I'm excited to see what they do.
Ricochet will become a main event wrestler in a short time either on NXT or on Raw.
This is like a kinda-agree. I don't have confidence in WWE's handling of Ricochet on main roster. On NXT that's a different story. I don't see Ricochet making it automatically up to main roster just yet. Also it does kinda help when you are buddy buddies with The Rock on Twitter.
Big Show will retire along with R-Truth and Goldust.
I'm skeptical about R-Truth retiring. He can still entertain and he's only 45. Even though he's getting up there he can still contribute. The same could be said about Goldust but I think his time is coming to a close. I think we have seen the last of Big Show. Similar to how Mark Henry abruptly retired. I also expect Kane to retire this year. Especially if he wins mayor.
John Cena will win his 17th world title. Probably against Styles or Nakamura.
This is a safe bet for 2018. John Cena is used as a transition champ now. I have a feeling we won't see him against Nakamura again especially after that bad botch.
Nakamura vs AJ Styles at Wrestlemania will be awesome and the king of strong style will prevail.
Hmm. I'll go with agree despite a lot can change on the road to WrestleMania.
Jason Jordan will become the new Roman Reigns everyone rejects him but they continue to push him. The kid is an amazing athlete.
Jason Jordan is a good athlete. His run has been unimpressive and really uninspired. It's not his fault there was a reason he worked inside a tag team. WWE randomly picking him as the second chosen one is very strange. This is a 2018 prediction that already came true in 2017. So I definitely agree with this one.
Chad Gable will be the revelation of the year and push his way to a mid card championship.
I can fully get behind this. Soon WWE is going to want Shelton Benjamin to compete in the singles divisions. WWE has to utilize the man for Money in the Bank. So that will leave Gable without a partner again. His rise has been natural different from his former partner in American Alpha.
Mojo Rawley will fail as a heel. He will falter after his feud with Ryder who will leave shortly after that.
Zack Ryder leaving the WWE? I strongly disagree. Mojo won't fail as a heel because the fans already dislike him. Mojo will continue to scrap on the low card similar to Apollo Crews on RAW.
Braun Strowman will be a dominant beast all year and may beat Brock at SummerSlam, and then feud with Killian Dain.
Dom, this is a super confusing prediction. Not the Strowman being a beast part. The Killian Dain part. I don't see WWE pushing Sanity up that quick. Not quick enough for them to embark on singles feuds anyways. Braun had a great 2017 I see him fading a bit in 2018.
Johnny Gargano will become NXT Champion, and he will be the first guy to say no to join the main roster after seeing how they treated Neville and Bo Dallas and Sami Zayn.
I agree on the part where you say Johnny Gargano will become NXT Champion. This is another moment where I screamed "DOM" real loud at my computer. There is not a chance on earth Johnny Gargano would turn down the opportunity to be on the main roster. That's the only way he could live the dream of being at WrestleMania among other things.
Drew McIntyre will be a dominant force on SDLive and re-establish himself as the true chosen one.
Strongly disagree his last run in NXT was unappealing. Fans overhyped him and he's not exciting in the ring as everyone thinks. I do see him getting the call up because you can't linger in NXT forever. I'm looking at you Kassius Ohno. Eventually he will get the call up but he will fizzle.
Aleister Black will dominate NXT and make a splash on Raw as a very cool character and extraordinary athlete.
Yes this is a pretty simple agree. As long as WWE doesn't throw him with 205 Live. He will become a great main roster edition. Especially on RAW where he could embark on feuds with Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Elias, and The Miz.
Sanity will become a mid card stable on Raw.
They scream SmackDown to me. So I'm going to have to disagree. Although with a brand shake-up they could end up on RAW.
Daniel Bryan will not wrestle in WWE again.
Daniel Bryan will not wrestle in the WWE but he's definitely going to show up to New Japan Pro Wrestling. Bullet Club Daniel Bryan all the way. WWE should just let him wrestle all though it's literally a gigantic medical risk. Just take advantage of while you got him instead of losing him to NJPW.
We will see to much of Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon.
Agree. No further elaboration on this topic.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will end their "friendship" and feud again.
This will provide us with some good matches so I'm all for it.
AJ Styles will stay the best in the world.
Unless he runs into Velveteen Dream.
Triple Z gives his Bold Ten Predictions
I give my ten bold predictions and Dom responds with agrees or disagrees.
WWE gets a show on Facebook Watch after the success of the Mixed Match Challenge
Ronda Rousey will appear in the WWE.
2018 is this year CM Punk returns to pro wrestling.
WWE does a test run streaming on Twitter.
The Elite hosts a second "All In" event by the end of 2018
Daniel Bryan wrestles again in NJPW
Finn Balor captures the Universal Championship
WWE announces the second Cruiserweight Classic to generate interest
Eric Bischoff and the NWO are inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame
Vince McMahon resurrects the XFL
In a shocking twist... Dom Bouchard agreed on everything.
Well that's it for now. Thanks for reading ZWrestleTalk!
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Follow @domghosthunter on Twitter
Dom Bouchard gives his awards for this year in WWE.
All awards will be split into categories by brand. Which consists of NXT, RAW, and SmackDown. Let's get to it.
Feud of the Year
NXT: Bobby Roode VS Roderick Strong
Roode VS Strong was a great story of a man looking for a chance to prove that he belongs. Strong was going up against an established star in Bobby Roode.
SmackDown: The Uso's VS The New Day
The Uso's and The New Day were the MVP's of the year. Consistency and time after time delivering in the ring.
RAW: Braun Strowman VS Roman Reigns
The feud was a violent clash between two goliaths every time they met in the ring.
Wrestler of the Year
NXT: Drew McIntyre
The return of the chosen one. Drew McIntyre had a short reign as NXT champion but has proven that he has what it takes to be the face of NXT.
SmackDown: AJ Styles
AJ Styles proved to everyone he is the best wrestler in the world by a mile. Give him a big match and he will deliver. It's great to see the title back on him.
RAW: Braun Strowman
Just a absolute monster that really got to break out in 2017. His confrontation with Triple H may be the defining moment for Braun. He's the unexpected main event breakout of the year.
"Rookie" of the Year
Patrick Clark proved he was the real winner of Tough Enough. Along with Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville of course. His character should carry him for years to come. Hopefully the main roster doesn't give him the "Tyler Breeze" treatment. Although if you look at it. Breeze has once again risen to the top. The future is bright for the dream.
Match of the Year
NXT: Aleister Black VS Velveteen Dream
Aleister Black and the dream created magic in their short feud and worked a tremendous match.
SmackDown: New Day VS The Uso's
Pure magic every time these two teams meet in the ring.
RAW: The Shield VS The Bar, Kane, The Miz, and Braun Strowman
The match that was made out of unexpected circumstances turned out to be a crowd pleaser. Kurt Angle became an honorary member of The Shield and the fantastic talent created one of the matches of the year.
Women of the Year
One word. Undefeated.
RAW: Alexa Bliss
Bliss was able shine in the lackluster RAW women's division.
WWE and Naomi finally figured each other out. She became a key player in SmackDown's women arsenal.
Tag Team of the Year
NXT: Authors of Pain
Just a dominant force that tore through NXT. Their impact was huge.
RAW: The Bar
The tag team of Sheamus and Cesaro finally got a name and personality in 2017. The team had a interesting year but for most of it they were holding gold.
SmackDown: The Uso's
The Uso's reinvented themselves once again to stay fresh with the WWE audience. The duo delivered solid matches throughout 2017 and has had a reign with the titles.
Worse of the Year
NXT: No Way Jose
Just a failed attempt down in NXT. Similar to Andrade "Cien" Almas before he got reinvented with Zelina Vega. Will No Way Jose figure it out?
RAW: Titus O'Neil
Currently adds nothing to the table.
SmackDown: Randy Orton
Orton is becoming so boring I just switch channels.
"WOW!" Moment of the Year
NXT: DIY Betrayal
This broke everyone's heart. Superb storytelling by two amazing performers.
SmackDown: Jinder Mahal wins the championship
Jinder created a very cool character for himself and he is only improving in the ring. This particular moment launched him into stardom. This also shows that WWE still has what it takes to create new main event wrestlers. If the story is good the fans will follow. A lot of the credit should go to the creative team of SmackDown for pulling off such an intriguing twist.
RAW: Braun destroys the Big Show
Sheer, mass destruction as the young gun finally destroyed the longtime legend of the ring. Only one true giant remains in the WWE and that is Braun Strowman.
Character Development of the Year
NXT: Johnny Gargano
The once tag team partner in DIY became a fan-favorite and honorable singles star in 2017. Gargano will continue to chase NXT and UK championship gold.
SmackDown: Jinder Mahal
Mahal was once a joke. Most assumed that he was brought back post WWE draft to be a jobber. After upstaging Rusev on RAW. Jinder Mahal made the move to Tuesday nights and became a main event superstar. Jinder would go on to become one of WWE's top heels.
RAW: Braun Strowman
Strowman was easily the superstar that the WWE creative team wrote best for.
Thanks for reading!
WWE recently sent out a survey detailing possibilities for the WWE Network. After taking a look at the survey I realized they are on a full out quest for content domination.
Which makes perfect sense. If they are able to add more exclusive content then they might be able to add in tiers for pricing. The survey included special live events, original scripted dramas, TNA, Ring of Honor, and house shows.
So let's review the survey's first options. Special live events make sense. Give us shows from unique locations. I am all for that! Like how WWE was planning a live version of Bash at the Beach. Having a WWE event on a beach would be insane to watch. That's what made events like Tribute to the Troops cool. Seeing WWE in a different setting.
Original scripted dramas is the section I'm going to dive right into. This is what it says from the survey.
Wrestling-themed series inspired by wrestling's colorful and rich history such as a WWE's version of Game of Thrones.
How much cocaine do you have to do to pitch a WWE version of Game of Thrones? Maybe WWE got the wording wrong on the survey. They could of meant they wanted to do a prestige television series similar to Thrones, Walking Dead, or Breaking Bad. Wouldn't that essentially be GLOW from Netflix. Most likely, and I don't think that will be a selling point for the network. If WWE thinks of a scripted drama they could pull from their own history. Have a biographical series on Eddie Guerrero, a show about the Wyatt family mythology, or even adopt the BROKEN Hardy Universe. A live-action, drama series about the Monday Night War would sell. Anything mentioning the Monday Night War sells.
Ring of Honor and TNA programming could be fascinating for some viewers. I laugh that WWE worded TNA with a bunch of slashes. TNA/Global Force Wrestling/ IMPACT even WWE doesn't know what's going on. Ring of Honor has always been WWE's secret developmental territory. We could call it NXT Jr. at this right.
TV-14 in-ring show. WWE is sending out floaters about possibly resurrecting ECW. Possibly, a new edgier promotion that would have a weekly show. This is WWE just teasing us at this rate. Many fans have argued that WWE is at its very best when they are allowed to push the envelope. The PG rating limits the ability to tell stories and push exciting promos. No way does squeaky clean WWE do a TV-14 show in 2017. We live in a different world now. ECW would get hammered by critics. We have politically correct WWE fans that would hate the direction of the show.
WWE Director's Cut was another suggestion on the long list of programming ideas. Basically where wrestlers, commentators, referees, and those who were there give their commentary and analysis. So for example Hulk Hogan narrating WrestleMania III.
WWE then once again goes on to suggest "Other Promotions" this time including ICW, PROGRESS, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. There is no way NJPW would sell out to WWE. Not now with NJPW World, the streaming service taking full force. I could see ICW and PROGRESS going on the network but that kind of move really benefits the little guy involved. It won't move the subscriber's needle when it comes down to it. Very few would pay more than $9.99 just to get PROGRESS and ICW.
The Audio Channel section of the WWE Network cracks me up. It's a streaming network and you want to add audio? WWE just go out and create your own podcasting network. I'm sure hardcore fans would pay for it. In my personal opinion I rather watch a Edge and Christian TV show instead of listening to one of their podcasts. Although I do enjoy their podcasts. Plus I'm sure WWE could snag the podcasting rights to Steve Austin, Jim Ross, and other important wrestling figures. Although I think the audio channel section is mostly unnecessary but some aspects gained my interest. Like play by play of pay-per-views this could be good for someone who is driving somewhere and can't stream or watch the pay-per-view. The music playlist is eh. Sports radio show is another boring option. I really dig the play by play option though. It would be interesting to see how WWE implements this in the network if this option tallies enough support.
Original scripted comedies.... ah yes probably the same executive and or writer who suggested the WWE version of Game of Thrones. This time saying a WWE version of The Office. The format for that show would be extremely interesting due to the amount of breaking kayfabe the crew would have to do. A mockumentary inside the already zany world of WWE may be enticing for some fans. For others it doesn't push the needle that much.
WWE Superstar Roasts hosted by The New Day. Now that is a scripted comedy worth tuning into.
As the survey continues it gives the option for more reality TV shows. Something that I'm sure is already planned for the WWE Network. I mean within the survey they gave a working title for Legends House- Season 2 The Attitude Era. I bet the show has already started pre-production. WWE Cribs has potential to be a watchable entry. WWE-style Apprentice is a hard pass. (Unless Vince convinces his buddy The President to do it. Then it becomes a must watch for the American public and Twitter.)
WWE in the survey introduced the premium priced features. Here are some examples. Social viewing would be watching WWE Network and having a social experience with friends. Next option is the download to go option which has already started to appear on Netflix. This option would definitely add value to a higher price network. Having the ability to watch the content offline would truly be worth the upgraded price. WWE's next option was social sharing which would allow users to share playlists, and clips from there favorite shows on the network.
Alternate audio was another option that was discussed for the new premium network. Which as a example would allow Jerry "The King" Lawler and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin would call a pay-per-view. This leads to a interesting development. The alternate commentators would need to be briefed about the past events to coherently commentate a past pay-per-view. This feature isn't the most exciting but it shows how hard WWE is trying to diverse the network.
Speaking of making the network more diverse. WWE listed a option for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for the WWE Network. This will give viewers the ability to view content like you are sitting at ringside for historic and current WWE events. This feature would use a headset and would also feature computer-generated graphics.
WWE is continuing to push the premium pricing for the network. These next set of options continue the trend for a more expensive yet personalized network. Which the first option is ironically personalization. This feature would allow you to change the overall look of your network and how you assemble your playlists. Also designs could be based off of your favorite superstars and eras of wrestling.
WWE may introduce a rating system for the network. That would grade matches and events out of five stars. So basically the future of the network someone may click WrestleMania and they will see WrestleMania III with a five star rating, WrestleMania 32 with a one star rating, and WrestleMania 33 with a four and half star rating. Those could be examples for this rating system. WWE could also do a Rotten Tomatoes style interface but I doubt WWE would want fans dissing the product.
WWE continues with the alternate theme. Alternate viewing may become available on the premium network. Alternate viewing options would allow viewers to watch WWE in-ring shows using different camera options (gorilla cam, drone cam, Go-Pro cam.). The feature will also allow viewers to view in 360. Very similar to the earlier virtual reality feature that I discussed.
The last section of the survey discusses details on non-watchable ideas that my eventually get integrated into the WWE Network or the future WWE Premium Network. Preferred pricing that would include deals on WWE VIP deals and offers from WWE sponsors. The ability to listen to WWE's monthly conference calls. WWE executives Stephanie McMahon and Triple H would be on the call talking about WWE's operations and business. The ability for "Sweepstakes Entries" that would allow fans the ability to win unique experiences from WWE.
These features also include early access on merchandise and free shipping from WWEshop.com. Early access to tickets, fan voting on match participants, Hall of Fame inductees, and Slammy winners. Loyalty program that would give back to the loyal consumer of the product. The final option is get "Breaking News First" that could be interesting but the people who receive it would just leak it and hype it up. I mean you think Sports Illustrated, Pro Wrestling Sheets, Cageside Seats, and my good friends over at Daily DDT wouldn't break the news before WWE sends out that alert? I mean all of these websites have sources and they can break stories probably faster than WWE wants them released.
Also why use that WWE breaking news feature when ZWrestleTalk has accurately reported many WWE happenings. I didn't nickname my Twitter the "Woj of Wrestling" for nothing. I will continue to due my very best to cover WWE for the loyal followers of ZWrestleTalk.
The WWE Network is on a quest for complete content domination. To paraphrase a quote from one of the founders of the sports website The Athletic. "WWE sees Ring of Honor, IMPACT (TNA), ICW, and PROGRESS all as empty calories." WWE is truly trying to enhance user experience on the network. The company according to this survey is looking for innovative and also wild solutions to keep the WWE Network fresh. The company obviously has a goal to do a premium version of the network. WWE is just taking their sweet time to make that $11.99 or $14.99 a month worthwhile for the average wrestling fan. I'm still betting that most will stick with the cozy $9.99 package unless WWE starts to screw with the lower priced tier.
WWE trying to think of innovative ways to watch the product is brilliant. The possibility of watching matches in virtual reality is a exciting development. New ways to experience WWE will keep fans curious about watching the network.
The more wild approach from WWE is trying to create TV series similar to The Office or Game of Thrones but themed to WWE. I just don't see that working out for them. Just bring back Breaking Ground, the show that captivated audiences with NXT superstar who were hungry to make it into a very hard business. That show was so fascinating due to the fact it was real. The people that were introduced on the show made you enjoy their characters on NXT more. You also got to witness the harsh realities of the business. So WWE Network needs to bring Breaking Ground back as part of getting more content for the network.
WWE's quest to have endless content is now very noticeable. Will WWE figure out how to make a pricier network? Will they lose subscribers if they remove content from the lower tier network? So many questions that should be answered as WWE continues to dominate their own content model. On their quest to dominate content and the entire wrestling atmosphere.
Despite low attendances and low ratings, the WWE is in a very good position right now.
The only problem on Raw is its almost non-existing mid-card division. Filled with over twelve legit main event wrestlers including Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Brock Lesnar, The Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, and The Hardys. The only mid carders are Jason Jordan and Elias. The tag team division is also non existent besides the two top teams and Gallows and Anderson. Heath Slater, Rhyno, Apollo Crews, Curt Hawkins fill up the lower mid card. This is where Smackdown has the big advantage. The writing team is stuck on neutral with the same guys facing over and over again. Filling three hours of TV should be easy with the depth of the whole WWE, but they seem to write on the fly which is inexcusable, and is the reason why a lot of wrestlers want out, like Neville. The Cruiserweight division should only be on their own show, which would avoid the overexposure of Enzo and Kalisto. The writimg team seem to be handcuffed by Vince and that's why SDLive is way more organic and fluid, because Vince is not such a control freak on that show which leaves Road Dogg and his team more creative freedom and it shows.
I feel Smackdown has the perfect roster. AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Jinder Mahal, Randy Orton, The Uso's, and The New Day fill up a wonderful main event pool. The mid card is filled with guys ready to step up to main event status at a moment's notice. Bobby Roode, Dolph Ziggler, Rusev, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin , Tyler Breeze and Fandango, Tye Dillinger, and Baron Corbin is a wonderful combination of all around top notch talent. Even the lower mid-card is good with guys like Ascension, Colons, Harper and Rowan. The creative is absolutely top notch and that is why it is by far the best show. Like Road Dogg said, "Give me fifteen more minutes and that would be all I need to feature everyone."
Neville left a big hole in the division. He was the best wrestler by a mile. Kalisto is a gifted high flyer but he is unreliable in big matches. Too many botches come from him. Enzo is a travesty in the ring but a great talker. Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, TJP, Tony Nese, Mustafa Ali are unbelievable performers. Drew Gulak is awful. Lince Dorado, Arya Davairi, and Gran Metalik have a lot of potential. What they need is few guys like Hideo Itami and Roderick Strong.
The best WWE show. Filled with some of the best athletes in the world. DrewMcIntyre, Aleister Black, Adam Cole, Andrade "Cien" Almas, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reily, Kassius Ohno, Hideo Itami, and The Authors of Pain are amazing. Not to mention Sanity is also terrific. They have many prospects like Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, and TM 61. It is a great time to be a wrestling fan. Lio Rush is another kid with so much potential. The only problem is one hour of TV is not enough to feature everyone.
This has been Dom Bouchard's State of the WWE. Please make sure to follow @domghosthunter and @ZWrestleTalk on Twitter.
The usually bland, storyline stalling event looks exciting this year.
The epic event will see Brock Lesnar defend his WWE Universal Championship against Braun Strowman. Also on the card is a match that is worthy of WrestleMania. John Cena will be taking on Roman Reigns. Two matches that are considered dream matches for WWE fans have been made on the No Mercy card. The rest of the event could be trash yet these two matches could save it. That's how powerful these two matches are.
After Monday's vicious promo battle between John Cena and Roman Reigns it's safe to say this feud could be long term or even over arcing. Similar to when The Rock was a part timer in a feud with John Cena. They still were in a feud even though The Rock wasn't there. I feel like this is going to happen with Cena and Reigns. I'm all for it. When two performer blur the lines of what is real and what is fake. It makes for entertaining television. We have seen this in recent weeks with The Miz cutting a heartfelt promo on RAW. The product is so much better when they blur the lines. It becomes fascinating to watch.
Other developments on RAW include Alexa Bliss feuding with former friend Nia Jax. The purple division is once again a must watch due to the antics of Enzo Amore. Will he be getting a shot at Neville? The booking of the battle royal was smart.
Jason Jordan not winning protects him in the long run. If he gets rushed to the top without a pop then he will fail. There is no need to have him fail. The Miz will now get to defend his title against a worthy opponent in Jeff Hardy. See all these recent development are from RAW. Some of these might not even last until September 24th when No Mercy takes place.
I just think the card looks promising with the two matches already booked. What is usually a "whatever" event has become a must watch event. WWE needs to utilize this surprise more often. Like fans complained when WWE gave away Nakamura VS Cena on free TV. The move was smart because I'm not a typical viewer of SmackDown and I watched SmackDown. Same thing may happen with No Mercy. Usually I wouldn't care if I missed a minor event like No Mercy but now I'm making sure I watch it.
Not every match needs to be saved for WrestleMania. As long as it's a exciting match we will tune in and watch. WWE needs to keep up the surprises and storytelling. There is too much talent on the roster to be screwed up.
Will see what happens in the following weeks of RAW but No Mercy looks promising.
ZWrestleTalk's Triple Z and Dom Bouchard give their State of the WWE for the month of July.
Triple Z: The month of July has been a crazy month for WWE. Currently we are in a big transition month before SummerSlam. We had two PPV's this month. We had the surprisingly good WWE Great Balls of Fire and a solid WWE Battleground. Are the fortunes changing? Is RAW becoming superior to the SmackDown brand? SmackDown has been the more creative brand since the split. For example, Jinder Mahal as a main eventer. That would never of happened on RAW. It's SmackDown's creativity that makes it more watchable than RAW. Especially now that SmackDown's roster is loaded.
I'm bringing back my classic bullet point style of writing for this article.
That's my State of the WWE.
Dom Bouchard: State of the WWE July 2017
The flagship show is loaded up with talent and the main event players are on a roll. The problem lies with the totally awfully booked mid carders.
Solutions: Let's start off with Apollo Crews. The poor guy is a truly amazing athlete but he lacks the charisma to engage the crowd. His association with the Titus Brand makes the situation even worse. With the recent news that WWE is about to send main roster wrestlers to NXT, it would really help Apollo ,Darren Young, Goldust, and Kalisto.
Tag Team division: With the return of The Revival, the addition of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, Sheamus and Cesaro ,The Hardy Boyz, Heath Slater and Rhyno, and The Club. We are looking at a pretty solid group. A few more mid- card teams would help. TM61 could be a nice addition.
Main Event Guys: This is where Raw's strength lies. Roman Reigns ,The Miz, Braun Strowman ,Finn Balor, Samoa Joe. Just to name a few. With Brock Lesnar holding the Universal title and Miz as The IC champ. It doesn't get much better than this. Maybe adding Cass and Bo Dallas to the mix could make things even more interesting.
Loaded main event scene and a very solid mid-card division. The Tag Team division is now decimated. Especially with American Alpha and The Colons gone. There is only Breezango, The Usos, The New Day, The Ascension, and the Hype Bros.
Erick Rowan and Luke Harper could be reunited ,and bringing Heavy Machinery could boost the division. Sending a few guys to NXT like The Ascension, Tye Dillinger, and Dolph Ziggler would rejuvenate their careers. Mike Kanellis should be able to find his niche. Shinsuke Namamura could very well be on the verge of winning the world title. Baron Corbin still has the Money in the Bank. John Cena is back and might face Jinder Mahal and Nakamura at SummerSlam. Kevin Owens ,Chris Jericho, AJ Styles are the real stars of SDLive. Sami Zayn is getting there too and hopefully Randy Orton will take time off.
With the addition of Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish and the amazing crop of talent already there. NXT is the real wrestling fan's dream place. Aleister Black is the future of the WWE along with Drew McIntyre. Bobby Roode is a world class athlete and perfect as the face of NXT. Roderick Strong is a guy that will someday replace guys like Ziggler on the main roster to be a consistent pro. The only problem in NXT right now is the inexistent tag team division besides the Authors of Pain. Johnny Gargano could be the guy that will eventually beat Bobby Roode.
205LIVE: Well there is Neville.The best wrestler in the WWE by far and after that it's pretty hard to distinguish another potential breakout star besides TJP and Cedric Alexander.
This has been the first ZWrestleTalk State of the WWE. Thanks for reading.
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Dom Bouchard gives his five superstars he would push and the five he would fire. Once again, Dom creates a controversial list!
Push: Tye Dillinger
The Perfect 10 is extremely over and is a really likable character. He can get down and wrestle too. He has the potential to be a mid card champion.
Fire: Randy Orton
Most overrated wrestler in history. Extremely lazy, slow, and boring. Not to mention he is bad at promos. I don't understand why he beat Bray Wyatt at Mania.
Push: American Alpha
Most athletic Tag Team on the roster and I would turn them heel. I would have them wreak havoc on the SmackDown Live teams. Gable is just pure awesomeness and Jason Jordan is a terrific athlete.
Fire: Dolph Ziggler
Hard worker but he has always had a bad attitude. He also complains a lot. He is talented enough that he can get a fresh start in Japan.
Push: Bo Dallas
Bo Dallas has it all. He has size, speed, and promo skills. I think it's time he goes after his brother.
Fire: Brock Lesnar
I'm tired of Brock Lesnar. I know this decision won't be popular for most people. He does the same old stuff every time. It's starting to get boring. He's lazy and just does the same thing. Honestly should just lose to Finn Balor and retire.
Push: Dean Ambrose
It's time to turn Dean Ambrose loose. Let him be the crazy character we have always wanted him to be. Everyone says he can be the second coming of Roddy Piper. There will never be another Roddy Piper. Good life advice is try to be YOU don't try to imitate someone. I want to see Ambrose like a "Joker" type character.
It's time to let the new generation take over. He can be a trainer in NXT.
Push: The Revival
Top guys and the best team in the world.They should dominate the Tag Team division for years. Old school rules!
For his own sake, this guy should be a top player yet he will always be the guy they use to get others over. He deserves a good run in New Japan and come back in a few years.
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ZWrestleTalk's new series "If I Was Running WWE" continues with Triple Z giving his thoughts on what he would do if he was in charge of the company.
This is my part one to the series. So I'm going to keep it short and simple. I will hit my first three key points and I will continue this concept later on.
Make PPV Matter Again, Add WWE Network Exclusives
WWE has the big four PPV's. They have Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series. All these events are now four hour events. Sometimes they go longer than the four hours. Yet outside these four WWE lacks quality pay-per-view's in the brand split era. It feels with both shows having their own pay-per-views the build to them have become lazy. I would shorten the schedule. Although I would add more "WWE Network Exclusive" events. Similar to Beast in the East and WWE at MSG. WWE has been doing so many pay-per-views that they are naming them different things. Like "Great Balls of Fire" and I don't think any competing wrestling companies were going to steal that name. I would revolve the story lines around the big four PPV's. Yet have smaller PPV's gain importance. Money in the Bank would become a RAW and SmackDown PPV. So that we can have two Money in the Bank briefcases come into play. This would set WWE Creative for more options down the road.
NXT's Quest to TakeOver Would Continue
NXT has been cleaning out both Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling's rosters. Some could say they are going to go after PROGRESS and NJPW Wrestling also. If I was in charge of WWE I would continue this same pattern. I would make sure NXT's roster was so deep. If I had to specifically target people. I would go after Adam Cole, I would go after a veteran like James Storm. I think NXT still needs to stay true to its developmental purpose but I believe it could use WWE ready talent to keep interest high. It seems like WWE is following this idea still. At the most recent NXT taping Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly are now apart of NXT. These two were mainstays in Ring of Honor.
Fix the Cruiserweight's
It's a very differing complication the purple division is facing. The division has two struggles.
If I had to rework this division here would be the immediate changes.
These would be my first three minor decisions if I ran WWE. More to come in later posts. Thanks for reading and comment below.
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Dom Bouchard gives 21 reasons on how he would change the WWE if he was running the famous wrestling company. This is the first part in a ZWrestleTalk Series.
1. Commentary Change
I would change the commentating team on Raw and SmackDown. On Raw I would have Corey Graves and Michael Cole with total free reign. No yelling in the headset. On Smackdown I would have Mauro Ranallo and Booker T. On 205 I would have Byron Saxton and Mauro. So If I was running WWE keeping a refreshing voice like Mauro Ranallo would be a top priority. Also shrinking the commentary table would allow fluid and better commentary.
2. Fix 205 Live
I would change 205 Live and have it taped in Orlando in front of pro wrestling fans. Not WWE Entertainment fans. These talented competitors would no longer compete on Monday Night RAW instead they would be joining the NXT brand until a call up. The title could be defended at NXT TakeOver's.
3. Neville Escapes Cruiserweights
I would immediately send Neville to SmackDown. This would allow him to dominate the show. Similar to how guys like Owens, Dillinger, and Nakamura are taking over the show.
4. Out With The Old
I would never ever put a world title on part timers. I also wouldn't put the title on tired acts such as John Cena and Randy Orton. They no longer need the world title. This is a new era.
5. Road Agents
I would retire Goldust, R-Truth, Mark Henry, and Big Show and keep them as road agents.
6. Matt Bloom Gets Help
Curtis Axel would become Matt Bloom's (known to fans as A-Train, Albert, or Lord Tensai) right hand man on NXT. Axel has helped guys like Goldberg and The Rock get back into in-ring shape. His experiences of feeling highs and lows could help out the hungry NXT recruiting class.
7. Bo Wyatt
Bo Dallas would leave his stale gimmick and join his brother Bray Wyatt. This would eventually lead to Bo feuding with Bray.
8. Long Reigns for Strong Style
I would give Shinsuke Nakamura a two-year run with the WWE World Championship. Nakamura has been one of the most refreshing acts since arriving in NXT. His unique persona mixed with his strong style has given him fan support. In this new era of WWE it would be cool to see Nakamura be the top guy. Holding the title for two years is also very rare and it could legitimize a career.
I would allow the guys to have a little more freedom on their characters and promos.
10. A Return
I would only bring back Cody Rhodes. No more bringing back nostalgia acts.
11. The Chosen One
Drew McIntyre would be WWE Universal Champion at one point in 2018.
12. Heel Roman Continues
I would not do anything different with Roman Reigns. He is already the biggest heel in the company.
13. Let Dean Be Dean
I would let Dean Ambrose do whatever he wants. His character can sometimes be wasted.
14. Heel Turn
I would turn Seth Rollins heel again.
15. HHH Done
I wouldn't let Triple H wrestle again. The last couple times he wrestled he has put the audience to sleep.
16. No More Steph
I wouldn't let Stephanie McMahon in the ring again. This makes sense because if I did run the WWE. The McMahon's wouldn't be in control anymore. So why would they show up?
17. One Exception
I would only allow one McMahon to come back and do whatever he wants. That would be Shane O' Mac. I would let him be a General Manager or he could even compete. Whatever he wanted to do. He entertains the audience.
18. Risk or Reward
I would let Daniel Bryan wrestle.
Even though I love CM Punk. I would never make it a priority to get him back into a WWE ring. In my opinion he disrespected the WWE too much.
20. Final Bow
Kurt Angle would wrestle a retirement match at WrestleMania against John Cena. Talk about coming full circle!
21. Main Event Guys
My main event guys would be Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens ,Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Bray Wyatt, Finn Balor, Dean Ambrose, Cesaro, Tye Dillinger, American Alpha, The Revival, DIY and Drew McIntyre.
More to come...
Well this was Dom's first part in "If I Was Running WWE' similar to his controversial and exciting greatest ever lists. Dom takes a "NXT" approach to running WWE. He embraces the new era. I will be chipping in on this series myself. You can look forward to seeing my piece on this soon. Many other guests will be writing pieces too!
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.