Surprising PPV Twists 

At Extreme Rules, while some may viewed some of the matches as ending in a predictable manner, one of the biggest shocked of the night was when The New Day became the new tag team champions. Kidd and Cesaro had a lot of momentum behind them but the rising stars were able to pull the upset and win the match.

Moments like that are what make the WWE so exciting. For example, during the Seth Rollins/Randy Orton match it could be predicted that Kane would be the reason the match would go a certain way as the gate keeper. A shock did happen in that he chokeslammed both Randy Orton and Seth Rollins but the fact that Rollins walked away still champion could have been predicted. History has shown that when a title changes hands, the title remains with the new champion at least through the next PPV. Had Seth lost it would have been an interesting surprise. On the other hand, having someone lose the title so soon after winning it causes them to have a short reign and doesn’t give them enough time to show their skills as a champion.

While there are multiple variables in the equation, the task to make the WWE as unpredictable as possible has been done and can be done with the right ingredients. Here’s hoping the next PPV leaves even more surprises like the double choke slam and the victory for The New Day.

-Celine

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The King of the Ring and the WWE Network

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The King of the Ring is a tournament tradition that has been around since the 80’s, making appearances throughout the years. This year the tournament began on Monday Night RAW and finished on the WWE Network, something that had not been done in previous years before the Network came out.

To be such a significant title and tournament in the WWE, this was a big move to have it take place on the Network. It was reminiscent of the days when the King of the Ring was a pay-per-view itself as opposed to what it was in recent years on either RAW or SmackDown. The current method is able to use the best of both worlds—begin developing the matches on WWE television and finish it in true pay-per-view fashion on the Network, a paid service. For fans of the King of the Ring who were used to seeing it on RAW or SmackDown, that remains the same. For those who miss the PPV/larger-than-life format of earlier years, the appearance of the King of the Ring on the WWE Network heightens its significance by having it on the same wavelengths of PPVs.

It’s a big step for the advancement of the WWE Network and the returning interest for the King of the Ring. Here’s hoping this becomes an annual tradition once again.

-Celine

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The End of the Curb Stomp

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One of the things that captivates audiences with the art of professional wrestling are the various moves performed by the wrestlers. The Attitude Adjustment. The RKO. The Yes-Lock. One of the more popular moves recently has been the curb stomp, the finisher of Seth Rollins. However, it was announced on Monday that the Curb Stomp would be banned due to safety reasons. It’s moments like these when fans stop and realize just how dangerous the business can be. If there is a slight mistake, someone moves too quick, someone moves in the wrong direction, or there is just a bit too much force applied to a sensitive area (head, neck, etc.), the consequences could be serious with the injuries. Similar to when Randy Orton’s punt was banned, safety should always be the number one concern. No matter how cool a move looked, the wrestlers should be worry free for injuries. I have to personally admit that the Curb Stomp was one of my favorite newer finishers. Vicious. Brutal. Rollins slams your head and neck straight to the mat from stepping on top of it. That’s the gory side of wrestling that had toned down the past few years and while it was exciting to see and will live on forever in video clips, it’s good to know that, for now, this move won’t cause any further injury that can have long-term effects in the future.

-Celine

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WWE Films and New Stories 

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With the release of The Marine 4: Moving Target, The Miz returns to film as he becomes the first WWE Superstar to star in a Marine franchise film twice, as John Cena and Ted DiBiase both starred in Marine films once. This also marks the first time a diva has been featured in a WWE film with Summer Rae. With the movie being released on Blu-Ray and DVD the Tuesday after RAW, it was interesting story line wise since The Miz and Summer Rae were on opposite sides of the Miz/Mizdow conflict. When Mizdow and The Miz had a match on RAW for the right to have the “Miz” brand, Summer Rae came out on Mizdow’s side but made a heel turn, attacking him from outside the match and allowing Miz to receive the victory. Although The Miz couldn’t complete his celebration in the ring by finishing his “AWESOME!!” (Randy Orton hit him with an “RKO Out of Nowhere” as he terrorized the entire locker room throughout the night) chant, him and Summer were able to get the point across that they were a team now—just in time for the DVD’s release. With Fandango dancing on his own (and Rosa with Adam Rose now) after months, Summer is finally getting a new story line of her own and it’ll be exciting to see what she does with it. The Miz, being a former WWE Champion, is always going to be a draw and pairing him with an up and coming diva is always a plus. What’s next for Mizdow, or is he back to being Damien Sandow? The story line became a lot more interesting with the new Miz/Summer pairing and the increased popularity of Mizdow. Let’s hope the story line keeps the momentum and remains just as exciting as it was on Monday night.

-Celine

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Pre-Recorded Tapings, Spoilers and RAW 

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One of the things that can be seen as troublesome when the WWE goes to the UK is that it is pre-recorded. When RAW is pre-recorded it more like SmackDown as opposed to WWE’s flagship show in RAW. The tapings take place early in the day due to the time difference and it’s as easy to get spoilers for the night’s taping as it is for SmackDown. While with a regular RAW, everything happens live, there’s no risk of spoilers, and the audience genuinely has no way of knowing what is going to happen next, a taped RAW does take away that live element that makes RAW stand out from the rest.

Even in today’s market where there seem to be more professional wrestling options than ever, most of them are pre-recorded. From TNA to Lucha Underground and Ring of Honor and even SmackDown itself, the matches were recorded weeks and maybe in some cases even months earlier so it’s easy to find out the winners by doing a simple Google search. That’s an advantage that RAW has in that it is almost always live and as unexpected as can be. While the other companies run differently due to their respective circumstances, the WWE is lucky to be in a position to have such a popular weekly episodic live professional wrestling program. It’s such a different experience when RAW itself is taped, but it also serves as a reminder to how spoiler we may be with RAW’s live television aspect and how it can easily be taken for granted. Wrestling is wrestling, but when the unexpected is added to the mix (such as forgotten lines, injuries, and events as dramatic as the fans interrupting one of the matches during Tuesday’s UK tapings of SmackDown) a new dimension is given to the show.

-Celine

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The Pop for UK WWE Talent: A Reflection

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The Monday, April 13th edition of Monday Night RAW featured the Superstars and Divas from the O2 Arena in London and there was definitely a hometown pop for the British stars of the WWE. The show opened with John Cena battling against Bad News Barrett in a hard fought contest that ultimately led to Cena’s victory. The Divas were in a Battle Royal for the number one contender spot for the Divas Championship and hometown hero, Paige, won—only to be interrupted during her promo thanking her home by a now-heel Naomi. Neville continued his rise on the RAW roster, having established himself as a star while on NXT and also suffered a loss, in his case at the hands of Dolph Ziggler.

While all of the matches featuring British members of the WWE roster were exciting, it was interesting that the three main faces spotlighted suffered negative fates—the men losing and even though Paige won, the beating Naomi gave her resulted in her needing immediate medical attention. It’s an interesting take on the hometown crowd. It’s not uncommon for a Superstar or Diva to go over, win, etc. when they are in their hometown. However, for storyline sake, perhaps it is also best to keep certain story lines at a certain pace as well as a Superstar’s momentum. Looking at Neville as an example, he has his whole career ahead of him to become a Superstar. Beating Dolph Ziggler, a top talent, easy may come off as unrealistic. In return, the fans were treated with an excellent match and display of Neville’s athletic ability, The same applies to the match between Bad News Barrett and Cena. If Barrett were to win, does he get a push. If he defeated the United States Champion, why would he go after the Intercontinental title? It gave an opening for Rusev to announce the type of match he would have with Cena at Extreme Rules and gave the pop and proper spotlight to Barrett for the UK audience at the same time, all while staying within the confines of the direction of the Intercontinental and United States championship storylines.

The biggest pop of the night easily went to Paige, who the UK audiences have seen grow up through the years as she comes from a historic British wrestling family. From the cheers of the audience when her music hit to her victory and awarded spot in the next pay-per-view event, Paige was the hero of the night. She was even given mic time with an in-ring interview with Byron Saxton. The fans were able to see their hometown Diva be victorious, demonstrate her excellent athletic skills, and listen to her personally thank them as she described her journey this past year as a 2-time Divas Champion with a WrestleMania victory added to her resume.

While Paige and the fans were able to be satisfied and Paige was able to say what she had to say, the story line was still able to progress with Naomi’s heel turn and subsequent beating of Paige. While Paige has been on the main roster for just over a year and has won the Divas Championship twice, Naomi has been on the main roster for years now and hasn’t received that opportunity. Especially with AJ Lee out of the picture, Naomi is capitalizing on this opportunity to finally get the gold, having beaten Divas Champion Nikki Bella twice already.

In the end, the hometown heroes were able to do what they do best in the ring, Paige receiving special emphasis with a promo and victory as being one of the most successful Divas ever to come from the UK, and story lines were able to advance while still satisfying the hometown audience.

-Celine

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So You Want To Be in the WWE? 

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During WrestleMania, a commercial aired promoting new series that were going to be on the WWE Network. There’s Swerved, a comedy from the mind of “Jackass” producer Jeff Tremaine, Jerry Springer Presents WWE Too Hot For TV, focusing on outrageous WWE moments, and Camp WWE, an adult animated comedy from the mind of Seth Green. While all of the new shows look exciting, the ones that caught my eye were the revival of two classics—Tough Enough and the Diva Search.

Tough Enough has had many incarnations and in the past has given us such stars as The Miz and Cameron and alum such as  John Morrison, Miss Jackie, and Josh Mathews. With weekly eliminations, it was the ultimate search for the next Superstar or Diva.

It’s all female equivalent was the Diva Search, which introduced the WWE world to such Divas as Christy Hemme, Ashley Massaro, Layla, and Eve Torres. The Bella Twins, Rosa Mendes, Maryse, Maria, Rosa Mendes, Michelle McCool, Kristal Marshall and Taryn Terrell, along with Eva Marie, JoJo and Lana in the unofficial 2013 search all came from the Diva Search.

Tough Enough and the Diva Search were excellent showcases for people looking to achieve their dream of stardom as a member of the WWE roster. It can be seen as the American Idolor Saturday Night Live even of the WWE—a group of people chasing the dream of making it, not-ready-for-primetime, and reaching that goal through perseverance, resiliency, dedication, and handwork. It shows the side not seen on WWE TV about the hardships, trials, and tribulations of making it to the big leagues and just how competitive it really is out there. It’s exciting to see both shows are coming back and it’ll be interesting to see the next big star get discovered before they make it big.

-Celine

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