10 Wrestlers That Have Had An Amazing 2016

While opinion is divided on the quality of 2016’s WWE programming, what we can say is that its been a great year for wrestling as a whole. TNA was saved by Anthem, WCPW revolutionised the internet-based indie scene,  Lucha Underground gave us a female world champion, and World Of Sport is making a comeback in the UK.
Not only have promotions fared excellently, but so have a lot of the industries hottest talents, and with this in mind here are ten who’ve done the best, in no particular order:

Who?: Aj Styles

Where?: WWE SmackDown Live, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)

aj-styles

Aj Styles has been undoubtedly the worlds greatest wrestler this year. He has had match of the year candidates with Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleKingdom 10, Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules & Payback,  Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania, and John Cena at SummerSlam. He has shown and proven his worth across two promotions in two continents and he won’t just go down as the best of his generation, but maybe one of the best of all time. Styles has long since been deserving of a spot in the main event scene of wrestling’s biggest promotion, and since his debut at the Royal Rumble, Styles has proven that he is here to stay. Sorry, Dixie, this loss is on you.

Who?: Charlotte

Where?: WWE RAW

charlotte

Strength, style, talent. Three words that describe this woman perfectly. Charlotte is the best women’s wrestler alive today, nobody can touch her, she is the total package. She oozes charisma, shes as athletic as they come, and her family pedigree really shows when shes in the ring, she is her fathers daughter, and every time she snaps on the figure-eight leg-lock, that family magic seeps through. She is a heel in every sense of the word, and she is so convincing that she could literally become a professional actress with a seamless transition, but we don’t want that, because we want to see the talent of this magnificent lady on display for many years to come. With several consecutive title reigns under her belt, as well as becoming the first ever Raw Women’s Champion back at Wrestlemania, and creating history with Sasha Banks inside Hell In A Cell, this woman is a trail blazer, and a role model for all young women to aspire to emulate.

Who?: #Broken Matt Hardy

Where?: TNA Impact!

broken-matt-hardy

Any NJPW fan-boy smarky internet wrestling snob will tell you that Matt Hardy’s “Broken” Gimmick is ridiculous. Those people are wrong. This gimmick could be the one that breathes new life into wrestling as we know it. Matt Hardy had a good 2016 anyway before this gimmick, winning 2 World Titles with TNA, but when he lost his second, his magnum opus was born. He put on a match of the year candidate with his brother Jeff in The Final Deletion, which you can watch here, he won the TNA Tag Titles, saved TNA from bankruptcy on more than on occasion, and for the first time in his career he became the more popular of the Hardy brothers. I salute your #Broken brilliance, Mr Hardy, you’re so over you may as well become a pole vaulter.

Who?: The Miz

Where?: WWE SmackDown Live

the-miz

Many would’ve laughed at the start of the year if you told them The Miz would be the most consistently entertaining champion of the last 12 months. “Really?” they would’ve asked, “Really?” They’re not laughing now. The Miz has made the Intercontinental Title mean something again, with the help of his wife Maryse, he has reached devilish new levels of heelishness in 2016. Since the brand split, Miz has shone, mainly with his insanely realistic work-shoot promos with Daniel Bryan on SmackDown Live after-show, Talking Smack. Miz is also excellent in the ring, he manages to be technical and tremendously entertaining while also remaining a completely safe worker. With all the work done in the upper mid-card, you just know that The Miz is going to be one of the first in line for a World Title opportunity in 2017. In the words of the man himself, he is The Miz, and he is awesome!

Who?: Kenny Omega

Where?: New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)

kenny-omega

Fun fact, Jim Cornette once said he’d like to slit this mans throat. Now all that unpleasantness is out of the way, lets talk about why Kenny Omega made this list. Well for starters, Kenny is one of the few wrestlers in the world that does ever need to work for WWE. Why? Well he’s one of the biggest stars in Japanese  wrestling. Winning annual tournament the G1 Climax, becoming the only gaijin, or non-Japanese wrestler, to ever do so. Omega is set to headline WrestleKingdom 11, the second biggest wrestling pay-per-view show in the world, against Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Fans of the Japanese scene have become very accustomed to Omega on the programming over the years, and his success has been welcomed with open arms, lets hope we see some more success in the very near future.

Who?: Cody Rhodes

Where?: TNA Impact!, Ring Of Honor (ROH), WhatCulture Pro Wrestling (WCPW), Global Force Wrestling (GFW), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)

cody-rhodes

The grandson of a plumber certainly has been a busy boy this year, he left WWE in a blaze of glory and he has achieved nothing but success since then. Rhodes, despite not actually being able to use the name Rhodes, as competed in TNA, ROH, GFW, WCPW, WWE, and joined the Bullet Club on NJPW all in one year. His success is huge throughout the world, as he prepares to compete at Wrestlekingdom 11, he takes with him the GFW Next-Gen Championship and the WCPW Internet Championship. During his time in WCPW, Rhodes wrestled Kurt Angle, a dream match for fans worldwide, and Rhodes proved he could go just as good as the Olympic Hero. With Cody slowly becoming the king of the indie scene, you can only expect more great things to come his way in 2017, and his dad would be proud to hear it.

Who?: Johnny Mundo

Where?: Lucha Underground

johnny-mundo

Johnny Mundo has long since been the poster boy of Lucha Underground, and its not hard to see why, he’s shredded, he’s athletically gifted, he’s great on the microphone and he has charisma by the bucket load. But despite all this, Johnny has never really found that much success when it comes to championships, despite a run as ECW World Champion in WWE, the mainstream World Title success that others have had has somehow evaded jumping Johnny. This all changed this year when Johnny cashed in his Lucha Underground Gift of the Gods Championship on Sexy Star to become the Lucha Underground Champion. Mundo has since lost the title but it was great to see him finally climb the ladder to the top of the company he has fronted since its inception. This also marked his first World Championship on a televised wrestling show since the aforementioned ECW Title reign back in 2007. Here’s hoping we’ll see another, longer Mundo reign some time soon.

Who?: Chris Jericho

Where?: WWE RAW

chris-jericho

Behind #Broken Matt Hardy, Chris Jericho is the second most over wrestler of 2016, he has had a number of catchphrases get over, including “Stupid idiot” which is, in my opinion, the best put down since WWE went PG, and it would not have worked if it had been said by anyone other than Jericho. Not only that, but Jericho is great at getting inanimate objects over too, he’s got a scarf over, a list, a potted plant, a jacket, and even none existent things, like the elusive gift of Jericho, drink it in….man. Jericho is the best he’s ever been right now, and he may be too good for the benefit of the others around him, as somehow, he managed to make a list have more value than the WWE Universal Title. Regardless, Jericho remains the man, and it saddens me to think that his current WWE run is coming to an end, but its been one hell of a time, and we’ll miss him until the day he’s back.

Who?: Martin Kirby

Where?: WhatCulture Pro Wrestling (WCPW)

kirby

Martin Kirby is great, and I don’t just say that as a WhatCulture fanboy, I say it as a committed wrestling fan. Kirby is a man that we can all get behind, his outrageous, and funny personality makes him the ultimate British wrestling character and he is the heart and soul of this British based promotion. With the help of a certain gentleman in a crown, Martin Kirby is the most over man in WCPW, with WhatCulture Wrestling Issue 3 even giving him a limited edition cover. The WCPW booking team are obviously doing a slow build to Kirby becoming the WCPW Champion and the face of the promotion, and when that day comes, many a pink glow-stick will be raised in the air. You can check WCPW out here.

 Who?: Shinsuke Nakamura

Where?: WWE NXT, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)

shinsuke-nakamura

We end with the king of strong style, and if he wasn’t on this list, it would be a crime, frankly. For the most part of 2016, Nakamura was billed as unstoppable, steamrolling through competition, one stiff knee at a time, the most protected and monstrous star since Brock Lesnar, it seems the two are on a collision course to meet. He put on two match of the year candidates this year, one with Aj Styles and Wrestlekingdom 10 and one with Sami Zayn at TakeOver: Dallas, and has one IWGP Intercontinental Championship and two NXT Championships to show for it. Shinsuke defines the word charisma, and he’s destined for great things in his future with WWE, so stay tuned in 2017 for more stiff knees and broken ribs, delivered by this man.

Well that’s it for this list and for 2016, did I miss any out? Was your favourite wrestler of the year not on the list? Have a list idea or a review request? Tell me in the comments or go through the contact page.

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Top 10 Worst Divas/Women’s Champions In WWE History

This Sunday at WWE’s Hell In A Cell pay-per-view, Sasha Banks and Charlotte are going to create history by being the first women in history to compete inside Hell In A Cell, and it is wonderful to look at women’s wrestling and see how far it has come. Of course it wasn’t always this way, and WWE fans have been subject to some truly dreadful female champions over the years, and here are ThePowerReviews ten picks for the worst ever.

10) Nikki Bella

nikki

It is true that Nikki Bella has improved in the ring, but that does not save her from inclusion on this list. Her first title reign came at a time when WWE’s women’s division was more or less irrelevant, nevertheless the reign was utterly forgettable to say the least. But it is her second reign that has earned her the place on this list, many believe that Nikki was only given the title in the first place as an attempt to spite Aj Lee, and the same people believe that this was almost certainly the reason that she held the title for such a long amount of time, breaking Lee’s record as longest reigning champion in the process. Others Bella sceptics believe she was given the title purely due to the success of reality show Total Divas, that many still believe portrays the world of womens wrestling in a painfully unrealistic fashion.

 9) Alicia Fox

fox

Now I’m not going to rail on this one too hard, as Fox was the first black Divas Champion and that is incredibly progressive, but at the time, Fox was simply the wrong choice, as it is arguable that Gail Kim should’ve walked away with the title on the night of Fox’s title victory. This was not helped by the fact that at the time, Fox was still very green, and honestly had very little to offer to the dying division. Thankfully Fox has come on leaps and bounds since then, and can pull off one of, if not the finest Norther Lights Suplex I have ever seen.

8) Layla

layla

Layla debuted as part of Extreme Expose on WWE’s ECW reboot, and spoiler alert, she’s not the only one on this list to have done so. She had a reasonable amount of title success in her time with WWE, but for me, the Lay-Cool “piggy James” story-line was enough to kill her character for me during her co-women’s title reign with Michelle McCool, however McCool will not make this list, as she actually went on to become a fairly decent performer. The cruel story-line made it simply impossible to ever take Layla seriously again, which made her run with the Divas title that much more unbearable.

7) Brie Bella

brie

A great woman once said “talent is not sexually transmitted”, and that is certainly the case with Brie Bella, as she shares little-to-none of her bearded husbands glorious talents. What may surprise some people is that Brie captured the title before her twin sister, whats more surprising is that she even won the belt at all. Most people do not even remember her reign, and for good reason, it was one of the most forgettable and meaningless title reigns in perhaps the most forgettable and meaningless periods in women’s wrestling. While Brie did improve vastly in the later years of her career, it is not even to keep her lacklustre run with the butterfly strap off this list.

6) The Kat

kat

Whether you remember her as The Kat, or Miss Kitty it’s safe to say that you don’t remember her ever holding the belt. The Women’s Championship was always supposed to be seen as the more serious of WWE’s female titles in the eyes of the fans, but that theory goes straight out the window when you remember that Stacy Carter won the title in a four corners evening gown pool match. The only reason she isn’t placed higher in the list is the sheer irrelevance of her title reign, and as brutal as that may sound, it is undeniably true.

5) Kelly Kelly

kell-kelly

It annoys me that Kelly Kelly got over as much as she did, despite not having any real talent for wrestling at all. She started in the ECW reboot as a literal stripper and built a roaring fan-base of hormonal teenage boys and and sweaty middle aged men. Said fan-base got her such a good reception that she was smashed over and given a Divas championship reign, even besting the simply excellent Beth Phoenix during her tenure with the company. Kelly embodies everything that was wrong with the direction of women’s wrestling and above all else, that has earned her a place on the list.

4) Deborah

deborah

The most annoying thing about Deborah as champion was that she was great as a manger, her underhanded tactics as the right hand woman of Jeff Jarrett always generated a great deal of heat. But unfortunately, she was young, blonde, and was not short in the chest department, and this was the only criteria you needed to wrestle in the WWE women’s division in the late 90’s. Deborah would eventually return to management, both as a heel, and later as a face as manager of Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was her real life husband at the time, but those of us who were unfortunate enough to witness her in-ring championship endeavours certainly know that she was far from a mat technician.

3) Sable

sable

In at number three on this list is the real life wife of angry, destructive, man-planet, Brock Lesnar. A lot of Attitude Era fans remember Sable as somewhat of a pioneer for women’s wrestling, but that could not be further from the truth, in fact, I would say that Sable set women’s wrestling back more than anyone. She was the original Playboy Diva, posing on two separate occasions, and paving the way for a generation of talent-less lingerie models, posing as wrestlers. Couple that with the fact that her in ring work was dreadful, constantly looking worried about taking the slightest bump, and the fact that she ruined her former husband Marc Mero’s career, and its not hard to see why Sable comes in so high on this list.

2) Harvey Wippleman

wippleman

Yes that’s right, for those of you who do not know, MALE manager Harvey Wippleman actually won the WWE Women’s Championship. It does not matter in the slightest that he was in drag when he won it, and it does not matter that he ended The Kat’s title run to achieve it, this is quite honestly just about as low as you can possibly sink in the booking of the women’s division and it would be number one on this list, if it was not for my pure disdain for the top pick.

1) Stephanie McMahon

steph

Here it is, the top pick, and who else could it be? Let me start by saying that Stephanie McMahon is not a wrestler, she has never been a wrestler, she has never learned to wrestle even slightly well and there is no way she would be involved in the industry if her father didn’t own the largest wrestling promotion in the world. Now obviously Stephanie works hard behind the scenes, and I can respect a good work ethic, but it is a very different story when it comes to her in-ring work. She held the Women’s Championship for months on end, despite not actually being able to wrestle at all, and I could’ve put that behind me if she was in any way entertaining during her reign, as her brother Shane often was when he would capture championship gold, however she was not, and she did very little for the title other than robbing it of value, and to be perfectly honest, at that point in time, it didn’t have that much value left to lose.

Did I leave any out? Did your pick for the worst female champion in WWE history miss out on a place? Have a review, list, or countdown request? Drop it in the comment section or go through the blog’s contact page!

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How I would write an episode of Monday Night RAW.

Filling three hours of television time is no easy task, especially on a weekly basis. But if anyone can do it, it’s WWE, the international juggernaut of pro wrestling, known worldwide for providing entertainment for millions…or at least they used to be, which is saddening because the roster of their flagship show, Monday Night RAW, is perhaps the most talent packed in the shows history. So here is how I would structure an episode, attempting to get the most out of the three hours at my disposal. I will try to base my it all on current feuds and rivalries. Commercials during matches will not be documented.

0 – 10 minutes – Cruiserweight match

To start us off, action from the cruiserwight division, this is an old WCW Monday Nitro trick, start off with fast-paced, high octane action. Anyone from the division would suffice in this segment, but preferably the champion should be showcased. In a tag team match, a triple threat, or even a singles match.

10 minutes – 20 minutes – Seth Rollins mic time

Seth Rollins will one day be the face of the WWE, so it is of paramount importance that he has the first piece of mic time on the show, it was done with Austin & The Rock back in the Attitude Era, and it was a big help in cementing them as the top stars. Have Rollins come out and bad-mouth Kevin Owens, Stephanie, & Triple H. Chris Jericho interrupts does his whole “stupid idiot” shtick and Mick Foley comes out and makes the match, Owens and Jericho vs Rollins and a partner of his choosing. Suddenly, Kevin Owens appears behind Rollins in the ring and gives him the pop-up powerbomb. He and Jericho leave.

5 minute commercial break

25 minutes – 35 minutes – Braun Strowman vs Darren Young

Braun Strowman comes to the ring and refuses to compete against two local jobbers. He stands in the ring and refuses to move until he gets real competition, he attempts to grab ring announcer JoJo. As she recoils in terror as shes blocked into the corner, Darren Youngs music hits and he runs to the ring flanked by Bob Backland. Darren enters the ring and the bell rings, Strowman destroys him and pins him. After the match, he continues his destruction, Backland tries to help Young and he is utterly wrecked, Braun continues to utterly pummel the two. he then leaves after generating some great heel heat.

35 minutes – 40 minutes – Seth Rollins backstage

Seth Rollins is seen walking backstage, he is visibly annoyed he storms though the backstage area until he is stopped by Neville, who agrees to be his partner for the main event, he claims he’s had just about enough of seeing Jericho strut around with his little list. The two shake hands and walk off in different directions.

40 minutes – 55 minutes – Bayley vs Charlotte & Dana Brooke

This will keep the audience focus as the first hour of the show ends, with the deck being stacked against Bayley, and while Charlotte is present, she allows Dana to wrestle most of the match, but Charlotte constantly interferes, playing mind games with Bayley. Bayley picks up the win, but Charlotte gets on the mic after the match and sends a message to Sasha, giving her own prodigy Dana Brooke, a huge big boot just to make a statement, and to punish her for taking the pinfall.

5 minute commercial break

60 minutes – 80 minutes – Enzo & Cass promo segment

Enzo & Cass arrive in the ring, they do their whole “SAWFT” gimmick and begin to talk about how they’ve been overlooked for a tag title shot, they are interrupted by Gallows and Anderson who say that they have been robbed of the titles in every challenge they have made, and insist that they receive one more shot. At which point, Sheamus’ music hits, he is walking down the ramp and he is interrupted by Cesaro, who says that although he may not like it, he and Sheamus earned the right to a title shot. The three teams are arguing in the ring and the New Day’s music hits, the champs come down to the ring, deal an insult to each of the other teams, and a brawl ensues. They are interrupted by Mick Foley who tells them to stop. He says that while Sheamus and Cesaro are the actual number one contenders, all the teams better learn to co-exist, because they will be representing RAW in the 10 tag team elimination match at survivor series, the teams all look around at each other, shocked.

80 minutes – 85 minutes – Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho backstage segment

Jericho tells Owens that Neville is Rollins’ partner for the night, and says that he’s been officially added to the list for badmouthing the list. The two men mock Neville, after the joking is done, Jericho asks when he will get his title shot, considering the two are close friends and he believes he deserves one, Owens re-assures him that he hasn’t forgotten about him and that he’ll get exactly what he deserves. Jericho thanks him, and the two men share a manly hug.

90 minutes – 100 minutes – Sami Zayn vs Titus O’Neil

Titus beats down Sami for most of the match, constantly talking smack throughout, but he gets too cocky, makes a few mistakes and Sami hands his ass to him. This is important because in recent weeks, Zayn has fallen off the radar, and a win over a a big muscular heel like Titus re-establishes that Sami is not a force to be taken lightly.

100 minutes – 105 minutes – Golden Truth in Foley’s office

The Golden Truth complain to Mick Foley, they are upset as they believe they have been left out of the Survivor Series match, they are rambling and jabbering and it is clear that Foley is growing tired of this, so he tells them that if they were capable of counting, they’d realise there was one spot left on the RAW side of things, and says they’re in, the two leave the room as Foley shakes his head.

105 minutes – 115 minutes – Sasha Banks vs Alicia Fox

Yeah, yeah, I know, hear me out, I think its important for the Women’s champion to gain a victory on RAW, and i believe it should be a drawn out, technical domination, have Sasha out-wrestle Fox and make a fool out of her for 10 minutes, really paint her to be technical wizard she is. She couldn’t believably shame Bayley or Charlotte, but it makes sense to sacrifice Fox as she hasn’t really had any momentum since the breakup of Team Bella.

5 minute commercial break

120 minutes – 125 minutes – Nia Jax vs Summer Rae

Nia Jax has a squash match against Summer Rae, she completely wrecks her, and then puts her through the announce table after the match. This continues Nia’s dominant run and gives Summer a much needed television appearance.

125 minutes – 145 minutes – Roman Reigns vs Rusev – United States Title Match

Rusev gets one more rematch for the title, the two battle for around 20 minutes, it is a hard hitting brawl, Rusev just cannot put Reigns away, Lana is ejected from ringside, Rusev protests, as he is distracted he turns around into the spear. Reigns pins him and leaves. Rusev rants and screams as he walks away from the ring.

5 minute commercial break

150 minutes – 155 minutes – Tom Phillips interviewing Sami Zayn

Tom Phillips interviews Sami Zayn, Sami says that he believes that after his victory over Titus O’Neil, he deserves a title shot. Out of nowhere, Tom Phillips is superkicked by Rusev, who goes on to assault Sami, Lana walks onto the screen, looks down the camera and states that Rusev will be the next United States Champion, setting up a three way angle between Zayn, Rusev, and Reigns for the championship to be played out in the coming weeks.

155 minutes – 160 minutes – Goldberg Accepts

Michael Cole and the commentary team are on the screen, they address the breaking news that Bill Goldberg will be on RAW next week to personally accept Brock Lesnar’s challenge, and that he invites Brock Lesnar to join him, if he’s man enough to stop hiding behind Paul Heyman.

5 minute commercial break

165 minutes – 180 minutes – Seth Rollins & Neville vs Jericho & Owens – Main Event

Jericho wrestles this entire match, Rollins wears him down throughout, as does Neville, but he gives back as good as he gets. Jericho finally gets to Owens to make the tag, at which point, Owens jumps down off the apron and grabs a mic and his title. He starts to make his way up the ramp, Jericho turns around into the pedigree, followed by the red arrow, Neville makes the pinfall. Jericho is knocked out. Owens holds up the title and goes on the mic. He says he’s a prizefighter, and from now on, he’ll only fight with the title on the line. Owens reminds Jericho that he told him that he’d get exactly what he deserved. The show ends as a groggy Jericho tries to make it back to his feet.

So, how did I do? Did I write better than WWE creative, or do I need to improve? Let me know what you thought in the comment section below, and if you have a request, either drop it in the comments or go through the blogs contact page, and remember to follow ThePowerReviews to see more content like this!

 

5 Criminally Underrated Matches You Can Find On The WWE Network.

The WWE Network makes it easier than ever for wrestling fans to see vast amounts of content from histories biggest wrestling promotion.

Everybody knows the classics, Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker from Wrestlemania 25, TLC 2 from Wrestlemania X-Seven, and CM Punk vs John Cena from Money In The Bank 2011, but there are so many more hidden gems available to anyone willing to look, or to those who remember them, but the point still stands nonetheless.

Here are five of those hidden gems.

Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit – ECW One Night Stand (2005)

benoit-vs-eddie

You wont find this one mentioned on TV anymore, for obvious reasons, but this match was technical wrestling at its finest. Eddie and Benoit proved here that they had some of the best in-ring chemistry in not only the history of WWE, but in the history of professional wrestling as a whole, while there was no championship gold on the line, or even a feud between the two, this matched proved to be the best of the night, withboth men paying on hell of a tribute to ECW on this one-off reunion classic.

CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan – Over The Limit (2012)

punk-vs-bryan

In this 2012 bout, WWE Champion CM Punk defended his titled against Daniel Bryan in an incredible match. The match represents so much more than great pro wrestling, it represents the journey of both men coming full-circle. Both were independent stars and both were told that they’d never be main event players, and yet here they were in a pay-per-view main event, in a match for the top championship in the WWE. Punk was on his way to becoming the longest reigning WWE Champion of recent times, Bryan was about to embark on the best three years of his career, and both were in their prime. The best in the world, and the king of the indies, what a match.

Paul London & Brian Kendrick vs The Hardys vs MNM vs William Regal & Dave Taylor – Armageddon (2006)

tag-title-match

A four way tag team ladder match with the WWE Tag Team Championships on the line was often a guarantee for match of the night at any WWE event. This is one of the greatest tag title matches in WWE history, pitting the incredibly exciting champs London & Kendrick, against long time rivals MNM, the hard hitting technical combo of Regal & Taylor, and the legendary Hardys, with some truly incredible spots and a genuine sense of uncertainty, this is a real nail biter, if you don’t already know the result, you honestly have no clue who’s going to win. The one down side is the simply horrific injury suffered by Joey Mercury’s face during a botched ladder spot, regardless of that, the match is a classic and is a must see for ladder match fanatics.

Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle – Wrestlemania X-Seven (2001)

angle-vs-benoit

Wrestlemania X-Seven had a couple of truly great matches on the card, including this hidden gem. Again, you wont find this one getting a mention on WWE television anytime soon, due to one certain Canadian participant, but this was very much the technical marvel of the night, showing off both men’s mat grappling talent, and cementing them as the two best wrestlers in the world at the time, the one let down is the slightly screwy finish, but because of the phenomenal display put on these amazing athletes, it is very easy to overlook. The two men were not only matched by colour of attire that night, they were matched with pure in-ring chemistry, and that is something that fans will not soon forget.

Paul London vs Billy Kidman – No Mercy (2004)

paul-vs-billy

I apologise for the poor picture quality, this match is incredibly difficult to find a photo of. That is probably due to the fact that this is about as obscure as it gets when it comes to WWE matches. The cruiser-weight divison, exclusive to SmackDown at the time, was dominated by these two men at this particular point in time, this match is a great, but subtle display of high flying done well, there’s a simply beautiful springboard moonsault spot from London to Kidman, from the ropes to the outside, and some really impressive and very stiff kicks thrown by Kidman. Even with a short run time of ten minutes, you could tell that both men were putting their all into the performance, and it is just one of many matches that made the old SmackDown cruiser-weight division so great.

Was your favourite under-praised match left out? Do you have a list or countdown idea you want to share? Have a review request? Drop them in the comments or go through the blogs contact page.

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5 Alternatives to Raw & SmackDown for Casual Wrestling Fans Looking to Branch Out.

Casual wrestling fans don’t have many options when it comes to the mediocre and often lacklustre programming provided by WWE on their flagship shows.

The recent brand split did bring a spur of diversity to proceedings but it still leaves much to be desired, especially when you consider the quality of programming provided by WWE in their prime.

Many casual fans are tired of this decline in quality, and this can be seen in the ratings for both Raw and the newly renamed SmackDown Live, so with that in mind, here are five alternatives to Raw & SmackDown that are the best hope for getting casual fans back into wrestling.

Lucha Underground

Lucha-Underground-logo

Lucha Underground is the perfect choice for the casual fan looking to get back into wrestling. Why? Because it does not take itself too seriously, blending the heavily fictionalised side of wrestling brilliantly with the athletic in-ring side, choosing to operate more like a TV show than a professional sports programme, with intense storylines and a range of unique characters. The show boasts that rare TV-14 age guideline, and features some faces that WWE fans will find familiar, including Johnny Mundo (formally known as John Morrison), Chavo Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, and former WWE announcer Matt Striker calling the action. In this shows two seasons, it has generated perhaps the most hype of any wrestling show of the decade so far and a is must-see for all wrestling fans, casual or hardcore.

Ring Of Honor

Ring-of-Honor-logo

Ring Of Honor is one of the most well-established independent wrestling promotions of all time, and in recent years it was purchased by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, ensuring a guaranteed TV slot for the first time in it’s existence. What makes ROH so important to the casual fan? The string of talent that has passed through over the years. Ring Of Honor is responsible for launching the careers of global superstars like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins, and they’re always generating more. With exciting, fast-paced matches, and fresh entertaining talent, like world famous tag team competitors The Young Bucks, ROH provides what many believe to be the perfect alternative to Raw and Smackdown.

WWE: NXT

NXT_Wrestling

Thanks to the WWE Network, it’s now possible to enjoy WWE without having to sit through five hours of moderately boring mainstream television content. This, WWE’s treasured third brand is the jewel in the crown on the WWE Network, often praised overwhelmingly as the best thing WWE has done in years, NXT is slowly taking over the sports entertainment world, with even their pay-per-view-style events overshadowing anything produced for the main roster, this promotion really does prove that alternatives to Raw & SmackDown can even be found within WWE itself.

TNA: Impact Wrestling

TNA

Known for years as the only real competition to WWE, TNA has had a tremendous fall from grace over the last couple of years, losing TV deals with Spike TV and Destination America, and losing most of it’s home grown talent to WWE and ROH, it seemed as though Impact Wrestling was sentenced to death. But a recent resurgence has given new life to the promotion and it’s churning out entertaining content on a weekly basis, with familiar faces like Bobby Lashley, Drew Galloway (formerly Drew McIntyre), Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, and Matt & Jeff Hardy who are perhaps at the most entertaining point of their careers. Even somewhat saving the company with their instantly iconic match “The Final Deletion”, which has received praise from wrestling legends across the board, it is hilariously entertaining and is not to be missed. The match assures audiences that Impact Wrestling can still hold up as an alternative to Raw and SmackDown. You can watch “The Final Deletion” by clicking here.

WCPW: Loaded

WCPW Loaded

The newest and most unique show on this list, Loaded is brought to you exclusively on YouTube by WhatCulture Pro Wrestling. WhatCulture Pro Wrestling was started, as the name might suggest, by WhatCulture.com and features all the best that British wrestling has to offer, as well as the inclusion of several popular personalities from the WhatCulture Wrestling YouTube channel, which is one of the most popular wrestling channels in the world. Some of their shows even include some special appearances, with the likes of Damien Sandow, Kurt Angle, Cody Rhodes, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, and Bret Hart, all appearing, or being scheduled to appear in the near future. Big things are expected from the promotion in the future and they are definitely one to watch, you can check out their channel by clicking here.

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WWE: Money In The Bank (2016) – Honest Review

Whilst WWE were trying to market this as the greatest Money In The Bank pay-per-view of all time, in what felt like an attempt to erase the 2011 instalment from the memories of fans, it was most certainly not the greatest. But that’s not saying that it was not a fairly decent show with some truly memorable moments. In this review I shall go through each match individually, in order to deliver a realistic verdict on the show as a whole.

And no, I won’t be reviewing the pre-show.

WWE Tag Team Championship Fatal-4-Way Match – The New Day(C) Vs The Club Vs The Vaudevillians Vs Enzo Amore & Collin Cassidy

This match got off to an impressive start, though the overall idea of a four-way tag match seemed like the recipe for a botch-fest. There were a few interesting moments, most notably from Enzo and Cass who, as they always do, steal the show. The problems in this match did manage to over-shadow anything good though, firstly The Club looked so out-of-place here, I’m not sure why that was, they looked just as comically ridiculous as the other three teams involved. There was some sort of stand-off between Big E and Big Cass with a fight that didn’t happen; this was confusing as it was hardly a much-anticipated showdown to begin with. Not to mention that the build-up to this four way confrontation had little to no story behind it, other than all the teams wanted the titles. But I think the worst part of the match by far was the ending in which Anderson, who was the legal man at the time, was taken down by The New Day, yet Aiden English was the man who was pinned for The New Day to pick up the victory. This was a terrible ending to a very mediocre contest.

Baron Corbin Vs Dolph Ziggler

In the 957th confrontation between these two, you really have to wonder, who really cares about this feud? Nobody is the answer you’re looking for.  Although, nobody cared about it to begin with so sun rise, sun set I suppose. Corbin got the win.

Charlotte & Dana Brooke Vs Natalya & Becky Lynch

There’s not much to say on this one either, other than the fact that Charlotte and Dana picked up the win. It also helped us learn that Becky Lynch is the stupidest woman in the WWE. Why, you may ask? Because this marked the third time in the space of a year that a trusted friend and tag team partner has turned on her. This was dreadful news, as not only are there very few face competitors left in the women’s division, but also because we now have to suffer through another horrific Natalya heel run, just adding to the list of reasons not to watch Raw on a Monday night.

Apollo Crews Vs Sheamus

The third dud in a row, Apollo went over as he should have but it seems as though we have Corbin/Ziggler version two on the horizon here, and that is a truly sickening prospect to the average wrestling fan.

 Aj Styles Vs John Cena

This match was the redeemer of the evening so far. After three boring affairs we were treated to this absolute gem as WWE’s top man and TNA’s top man battled in what was probably the most anticipated clash of the last decade. Both men wrestled well, although Styles lived up to his claim and eventually began to wrestle rings around Cena. There was a seemingly dangerous moment though, as Cena came inches from a broken neck in a very narrowly avoided botch of Styles’ signature Styles Clash. This aside, the match proved that WWE really does have the potential to be taken seriously as a technical promotion, or at least it would’ve been if it hadn’t been for the ending. WWE refusing to let Aj Styles go over clean, The Club had to interfere and take Cena down for him. This let the whole match down in my opinion, but still, Styles went over, every cloud, eh?

Money In The Bank Ladder Match – Cesaro Vs Kevin Owens Vs Sami Zayn Vs Alberto Del Rio Vs Chris Jericho Vs Dean Ambrose

The ladder match was defiantly the match of the night, all the men involved performed very well. The best of which being Alberto Del Rio, who in my opinion was pulling out all the stops to portray himself as a big time, main event worthy player, his double foot stomp off the ladder was a thing of beauty and he seemed to me to be the strongest performer in the match.
As all ladder matches do, this match had many spots, including an absolute treat from Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in which Owens’ back was buckled over a ladder in a moment so realistic my own spine actually began to ache. Eventually, it would come to pass that Dean Ambrose would capture the briefcase, guaranteeing him an opportunity for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, any time, any place, it felt like this was a long time coming for Dean Ambrose and it was rewarding to see him capture the case.

United States Championship Match – Rusev(C) Vs Titus O’Neil

There was not a great deal to say about this, going into the match it was un-realistic that Titus had any chance whatsoever of winning, considering that WWE are only just starting to re-establish Rusev as a major, unstoppable heel once again. That being said, they were also trying desperately trying to legitimise Titus as a serious singles competitor having him stand up to Rusev relatively well, but ultimately being put away by the Bulgarian Brute. This match felt like it was stretched out to fill space more than anything and it was an easily forgettable affair.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match – Roman Reigns(C) Vs Seth Rollins

Let me start by saying that the pre-match video package was sublime and it outlined the roots of the rivalry excellently, really helping to re-enforce the fact that this match was two years in the making. However, the match got off to a very slow start, with neither man seeming to want to make the first move. It did get a little more interesting as time went on but the match was hardly anything to rave about, there was an interesting spot in which Roman took a hard bump against the crowd barrier but as far as spots go that was pretty much it. The interesting thing about this match was that Rollins, for the most part wrestled face whilst Reigns seemed to be wrestling heel, WWE had the potential to pull off the legendary double turn, but alas it will go down as a wasted opportunity. The match had a superb ending to save it from its mediocrity, as Rollins countered the spear into the pedigree, eventually going over clean, this came as a surprise as Roman is widely considered to be one of the most protected performers in the company today. Rollins victory was not cut and dry though, as Dean Ambrose’ music hits and fakes out Rollins, coming from behind, clocking Seth in the back of the head with the case and proceeding to cash it in.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match – Seth Rollins(C) Vs Dean Ambrose

This one was over quick, Ambrose hits dirty deeds and puts Rollins down for the one, two, three, and just like that Dean Ambrose’ career comes full circle in a superb booking choice, having all three former Shield members hold the WWE’s most prestigious championship in the same night. Ambrose has deserved this title reign for so long and nobody can deny that this victory was long overdue.

Verdict:

While this pay-per-view had some undeniably great moments, it also had just as many bad moments, meaning that its overall rating is limited. Based on this, my overall rating for this pay-per-view is: 7/10