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    Really bad news about Ciampa. He faces months out, apparently. That heel turn was so perfectly crafted at the last NXT TakeOver. Hope this doesn't stall his momentum!
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    Extreme Rules card
    - Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Bálor vs. Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns in a Fatal 5-Way to determine the #1 contender for the WWE Universal title
    - The Hardy Boyz (c) vs. Cesaro & Sheamus in a Steel Cage match for the WWE RAW Tag-Team Championships
    - Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Bayley in a Kendo Stick on a Pole match for the WWE RAW Women’s championship
    - Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries in a Submission match for the WWE Cruiserweight championship
    - Dean Ambrose (c) vs. The Miz for the WWE Intercontinental title (Ambrose loses the belt if he’s disqualified)
    - Sasha Banks & Rich Swann vs. Alicia Fox & Noam Dar

    Predictions
    - Finn Balor.
    - The Hardy Boyz
    - Alexa Bliss.
    - Austin Aries (I really, really hope it's Neville though)
    - The Miz
    - Sasha Banks & Rich Swann

    -
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    Finn to win. Joe and Bray have no momentum, Seth I don't see, it's been done, Roman I assume they'll wait on. Joe & Bray v Roman/Seth can be the other match at... that PPV.

    Tag team... does it matter? Everything's on hold until they can be Broken.

    Alexa has won the whole feud and I think we've only seen her use the stick, but I don't see why Bayley would win. Perhaps it's time for Nia to finally show and help Alexa after Bayley beats on her with the stick.

    Neville

    Maryse slaps Miz so Ambrose loses by DQ, Miz becomes champ.

    Sasha/Swann
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    (Original post by ozzyoscy)
    Finn to win. Joe and Bray have no momentum, Seth I don't see, it's been done, Roman I assume they'll wait on. Joe & Bray v Roman/Seth can be the other match at... that PPV.
    I would back Finn, but I have a sneaky feeling Joe could go over. Meltzer has said whoever wins will have a short programme with Lesnar, just for one PPV, which kind of makes me think it could be Joe. But I agree, Finn makes more sense - especially after the Heyman promo last week.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    I would back Finn, but I have a sneaky feeling Joe could go over. Meltzer has said whoever wins will have a short programme with Lesnar, just for one PPV, which kind of makes me think it could be Joe. But I agree, Finn makes more sense - especially after the Heyman promo last week.
    They cancelled the Bray/Finn and Brock/Roman feuds for a reason, I figure. Finn can still be just a month - he gets his match, gets destroyed, onto the next contender.

    I think it should've been a 4-way with Roman/Braun/Brock/Finn, imagine those 4 about to start a match and how electric it would be. Imagine the finish - After a long chaotic 4-way battle, Roman goes to Superman Punch Brock, Brock lifts him up and F5s him, Braun takes Lesnar out, Finn suddenly appears from behind and dropkicks Braun out the ring, jumps up the turnbuckle and hits the Coup de Grace on the hated Roman, the crowd would explode, it protects Brock and if Vince really wanted he could still have him squash Finn in the rematch.
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    I had a feeling Samoa would go over - and so it proved. For what it's worth, I thought the main event was spectacular. Each competitor got highlighted, and the match - perhaps predictably - was excellent, given the talent in the ring. Joe and Bray Wyatt were the stars for the majority of proceedings, with Roman Reigns feeding off the crowd's hostility and casting himself as a badass. Seth Rollins and Finn Balor were the glue who stuck it all together, with the latter carrying the bouts at times. The Fatal 5-Way was chaotic, frenetic - and I'm so excited for Brock Lesnar vs Joe. It was the type of match where every man involved in elevated. From a physical perspective, none of the superstars in the Fatal 5-Way present a bigger challenge to Lesnar than Joe.

    In truth, I felt it was good a PPV. The pre-show was really, really underwhelming. There was no progression in the Enzo Amore/Big Cass storyline, there was nothing to do with Kurt Angle and the mysterious text, and it was all fairly boring for a 60-minute long show. In terms of in-ring action, Kalisto beat Apollo Crews - with Titus O'Neil and Crews' arguing costing them the bout. These persistent losses will do one of two things: a) turn Crews into a fully-fledged, angry heel or, b) have him turn on O'Neil and create a singles feud. I'd rather the former for sure. O'Neil should go all-in on the Titus Brand, refusing to wrestle and cowardly hiding behind Crews, who is physically incredible.

    There was one dud on the main card - the mixed-gender tag-team match - which saw Noam Dar and Alicia Fox lose to Sasha Banks and Rich Swann. It felt like a match from RAW, in truth. Banks has fallen a long way since before WM34, and while it's fine for her to take a step down the card (she's still on TV unlike... say... Nia Jax), I feel this is beneath her. It was good to see Swann pick up the win, because after the cruiserweight match later in the night, it's clear WWE needs new fully-fledged babyfaces to take on Neville. This did a lot to showcase Dar, too, who came across like a cocky heel and can hopefully use the platform going forward.

    The rest of the card was extremely solid. Neville beat Austin Aries, as aforementioned, hopefully bringing to an end their feud. Neville took the belt and retained, meaning he needs new challengers - possible Swann, Akira Tozawa, Cedric Alexander? The right man won: Neville has been an incredible champion and Aries shouldn't be relinquishing him of the belt, in my view. Two titles DID manage to change hands - the Hardy Boyz losing in a gimmicky cage match to Sheamus and Cesaro. Both members of the team had to exit the structure, but Jeff exited and then returned to help Matt, and it all seemed rather confusing. The crowd was really hot throughout, and Baltimore is probably one of my favourite places to see wrestling performed. The crowd added to every single bout, not least the opener, which saw the Miz lie, cheat and steal a la Eddie Guerrero, as he beat Dean Ambrose. Both title changes are smart. Babyfaces work better chasing the titles, and Sheamus/Cesaro need the straps after going so long losing to both Hardys on RAW and on PPV. The Miz, meanwhile, has elevated the IC title like nobody else. He's an incredible champion and Ambrose was resting on his laurels and not bringing any attention to the title. I want the Miz to face new challengers now, with Ambrose entering an Elias Samson feud.

    We also saw Alexa Bliss squash Bayley, utterly running over the former champion and looking like a star in the process. Many will question the quick nature of the bout, but I felt it was excellent. Bayley's character shouldn't want to use weapons and violence, so it makes sense to have her squashed. WWE has midhandled Bayley since her debut on the main roster. Bliss, on the other hand, hasn't even been on the main roster a year - but she looks incredible right now. A turning point in the match came when Bayley appeared to hesitate in using the kendo stick, which makes complete sense. It's hard to see who challenges Bliss from here. I want Nia Jax to align with her, a la Diesel and Shawn Michaels back in the 1990s. Maybe Sasha? WWE Creative needs to re-evaluate what it wants to do with Bayley at this point.
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    Well, that was a good episode of RAW. The red brand is full of intrigue at the moment. It was a nice change of pace to see a lengthy match kickstart the match, with Bray Wyatt cut off during his promo by Roman Reigns. The bout was excellent, full of back-and-forth action, culminating in a good win for Reigns. Wyatt, like last night at Extreme Rules, was booked strongly though. He was given plenty to do in the Fatal 5-Way and really shone last night, too. Later in the night, he cost Seth Rollins the win versus Samoa Joe - perhaps hinting at a Rollins vs Wyatt feud for the near future (I'd have preferred Wyatt vs Finn Balor). The main event was excellent and did so much to put Joe over. The announcers put over his physical style, made him seem a legitimate threat to Brock Lesnar, and the segment of the night came earlier in the show, when Joe clamped out Paul Heyman in his submission finish. That's excellent booking from WWE, and will spark a nasty streak to Lesnar going forward. WWE had to do something to turn one of these starts borderline face, and they've done that by eliciting sympathy for Heyman. Smart booking.

    Extreme Rules subplots spilled over to RAW. Dean Ambrose interrupted Elias Samson's gig, before being ambushed by the heel when he and the Miz clashed over the TitanTron. Kurt Angle told him to have the night off, but Ambrose disguised himself as a cameraman and attacked the Miz later in the night, during his IC title celebration. In truth, this feud has felt like both superstars are treading water a bit - after all, we've seen it so many times. But Extreme Rules proved they can have really, really good matches - and last night added a frenetic energy to an otherwise well-worn programme between these two superstars.

    In terms of other in-ring action, Sheamus and Cesaro - in desperate need of dominant booking, after weeks of losses to the Hardy Boyz (even if they did get the straps at Extreme Rules) - ran over Heath Slater and Rhyno in a squash match, TJP beat Mustapha Ali before Neville interrupted, beating down his uneasy ally. I've got to admit, I'm not a big fan of TJP vs Neville. Both are better as heels - and kept apart, or even kept together as partners. I'd rather Akira Tozawa vs Neville, personally. We saw the build to Great Balls Of Fire start in earnest, with Goldust and R-Truth's excellent promo packages continuing, and further development of the Titus Brand after Kalisto rolled up Titus O'Neil for the win. The storyline is going round in corners right now, and I'm not sure where it's headed, but I really do see something in O'Neil/Apollo Crews. I think there's a good storyline to be had there.

    The intrigue surrounding Enzo Amore's mystery attacker continued when Big Cass was laid out backstage, meaning the Big Show tagged with Enzo as they picked up the win over Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, who at this stage have zero momentum and no hope of entering the tag-team title picture. Remember, they were champs heading into WM33. The way they have been mishandled by WWE is a damning indictment. As for who the mystery attacker of Enzo is? I still want it to be Cass - but WWE appears to be setting us down a different path.

    My favourite segment of the night was the continuation of Alexa Bliss' character development. She is possibly my favourite thing in the WWE right now. She squared off against Nia Jax, but incited Dana Brooke and Mickie James to attack her, causing her to escape. Jax laid out all three competitors to end the segment strongly, and looking like a legitimate force. If we're heading for Bliss vs Jax, I'd welcome that. I worry that Sasha Banks and Bayley are being misused, but having Brooke and James in and around the title picture is smart and elevates them. I'd prefer Jax to align with Bliss for a few months - she could be the Diesel to her Shawn Michaels - but the contrasting styles between these two suggest we're heading for good matches.
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    Joe vs Lesnar: last night's episode has made me the most excited for a feud since Taker vs Lesnar WM30. I really hope Wyatt doesn't have something to do with their fight at GBOF. That was the best I've seen Joe so far, and Heyman was stellar as always.
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    (Original post by AR_95)
    Joe vs Lesnar: last night's episode has made me the most excited for a feud since Taker vs Lesnar WM30. I really hope Wyatt doesn't have something to do with their fight at GBOF. That was the best I've seen Joe so far, and Heyman was stellar as always.
    +1

    That Joe/Heyman segment was just electric. Genuinely edge-of-the-seat stuff when Joe walked up to Heyman and started whispering. WWE needs more of this. I think Joe vs Lesnar could be exceptional. The only rub is all the hints that it'll be a short programme. I want it to stretch through summer!
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    Lana's back! SmackDown saw her return to cost Naomi a victory in a six-women's tag-team match, as Tamina Snuka, Carmella and Natalya capitalised to pin the champion, after Lana's interference. The match was preceded by an in-ring segment involving all five Money In The Bank competitors - including Becky Lynch and Charlotte, too - and saw Lana demand an opportunity from Shane McMahon. It seems we're headed for a Naomi vs Lana match at MITB, with all reports suggesting WWE is keen on two women's match at the forthcoming PPV. If that happens, it adds depth to the division with SEVEN women involved in storylines, which is a massive step forward from Creative.

    "Opportunity" was a running theme of SmackDown, with Mojo Rawley demanding a chance to impress Shane McMahon. He has been curiously absent since winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy Battle Royal, eliminating Jinder Mahal to win, and he took on the WWE Champion last night. Mahal - in a lofty position - shouldn't need the Bollywood Boyz to be picking up wins over midcarders, even if Rawley is the only man to have beaten Mahal since he moved to SmackDown. The match itself was unspectacular, but Mahal's promo post-match was more assured and vengeful than it has been previously, which is a welcome sign.

    In truth, the in-ring action was unremarkable all night. We saw The New Day beat the Colons in their SmackDown debut, with the Usos calling them out post-match. The Usos have been delivering excellent, excellent promos of late - and that's great to see. A heel turn has really revitalised that group, and I'm so happy they are feuding with the New Day. The matches promise to be spectacular. All WWE needs to do now is utilise Breezango, who were caught up in a great backstage segment with Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods. Using Tyler Breeze and Fandango effectively to help capitalise on their momentum should be high up on WWE's agenda.

    Elsewhere, we saw AJ Styles beat Dolph Ziggler - eradicating the momentum the latter got last week for beating the babyface in the main event - and Shinsuke Nakamura pinned Kevin Owens AGAIN in the main event. These two provide great action in the ring, but how many times can Owens suffer clean losses? The match wasn't stellar - it seemed like both superstars knew this was a match on free TV, so didn't put in all the bells and whistles. Obviously, Nakamura and Owens are capable of a match of the year - but this wasn't it. The broadcast aired with Baron Corbin, a somewhat forgotten member of the MITB match, delivering End of Days to Nakamura to remind everybody he's a threat after he sat in on commentary. SmackDown seems to be showcasing a couple of superstars a week, and after Ziggler stood tall last weekend, it was Corbin's turn. That's smart and adds intrigue heading into MITB. That came after Corbin battered Sami Zayn backstage, too.

    On 205 Live, Neville made TJP tap out in their clash for the Cruiserweight Championship, somewhat bringing an end to their feud. It was an odd match, and the crowd seemingly didn't know who to cheer for. I want Neville to head into a programme with Cedric Alexander, personally. We saw the returning babyface return and beat Noam Dar in the opening match, after the Scot's promo recounted their history together. Alexander said he was done with the feud post-match - which is good to hear - and suggests he's en route for bigger things. For me, the next challengers to Neville should be either Alexander or Akira Tozawa. In the other match of the night, Drew Gulak came out to congratulate Mustafa Ali on a win, which he earned against a jobber (surprisingly) without using high-flying moves.
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    (Original post by Longshot100000)
    Samoa Joe though
    The way he called him "Paul E"

    Loved it.
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    (Original post by Longshot100000)
    Samoa Joe though, never seen anything like it, that deathly calm warning followed by complete aggression with Paul Heyman screaming "I'm just an advocate." like an Alt Right bully screams free speech, Joes just like "Nah Fam, I'mma kill ya.".
    Reported. You are banned here. Get a clue, you will always get rebanned.
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    (Original post by Longshot100000)
    Samoa Joe though, never seen anything like it, that deathly calm warning followed by complete aggression with Paul Heyman screaming "I'm just an advocate." like an Alt Right bully screams free speech, Joes just like "Nah Fam, I'mma kill ya.".
    So good to see them pushing guys like AJ and Joe that made their name in TNA, never thought I'd see the day. Been a fan of both since their early days, Joe's undefeated streak in TNA was good days and he works best as a killer heel, so it's good to see WWE using him in that sort of role.

    Looks like Wyatt and Rollins are gonna be feuding.
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    The fans slam WWE elevating Jinder into the title picture.

    Same fans chant "we want Lana!" and demand her a title match vs Naomi, when she has zero live matches to her name.
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    (Original post by Longshot100000)
    Brock is probably gonna destroy Joe though.
    I disagree on that one. Seems like they're really going out of their way to build Joe up as a monster and I think they've learned their lesson when it comes to putting over part timers after building a guy up. Of course, Vince could get cold feet on Joe by the time the match comes around but currently, I think the plan is to at least make Joe look like a force, maybe even have him go over.
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    (Original post by WoodyMKC)
    I disagree on that one. Seems like they're really going out of their way to build Joe up as a monster and I think they've learned their lesson when it comes to putting over part timers after building a guy up. Of course, Vince could get cold feet on Joe by the time the match comes around but currently, I think the plan is to at least make Joe look like a force, maybe even have him go over.
    I hope Joe does win, but I don't see it.

    Only guy I see beating Brock is Roman.
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    (Original post by Longshot100000)
    I hope Joe does win, but I don't see it.

    Only guy I see beating Brock is Roman.
    Yeah, whether he wins or not is unknown, but I imagine it'll be a very even match.
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    It seems to me Lana will go over. Why else have her debut on a PPV? She'll steal a win for sure.
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    (Original post by Mackay)
    It seems to me Lana will go over. Why else have her debut on a PPV? She'll steal a win for sure.
    Because they need everyone else in the MITB.
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    RAW is in a really healthy state right now. The main event is hot - and the other subplots are creating intrigue ahead of Great Balls Of Fire. We saw Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar brawl with superstars holding them back last night, which was a red-hot way to open the show after weeks and weeks of dull talking segments. Paul Heyman throwing down the "you're a punk" card was enjoyable, and I can't wait for them to meet at the PPV now. The rest of the show was very good, too.

    Elias Samson picked up a win over Dean Ambrose in the opening match. Samson has been booked perfectly by WWE as of yet. The company is striking gold with him, yet farcically, floundering when it comes to the likes of Bayley, Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Balor, three standout NXT alumni. Samson has been allowed to breathe, be natural, and get over as a result. Alongside the Miz, he's probably the standout heel on the roster right now - because he\s getting classic heat. Speaking of the Miz, we saw him team with a "Bear" for a tag team match later in the night, going up against Heath Slater and Rhyno. The babyface duo picked up a win after Ambrose, in the bear costume, laid out the Miz as revenge for costing him vs Samson earlier in the night.

    In the cruiserweight division, Cedric Alexander defeated Noam Dar in a continuation of the feud nobody cares about. Neville was also showcased later in the night, defeating Rich Swann, but he doesn't seem to be en route for an Alexander feud. It seems much more likely he will face Akira Tozawa, who was ringside to see Apollo Crews go over Kalisto earlier (in another continuation of another feud nobody cares about) in the night. We saw Tozawa appear to buy-into the Titus O'Neil Brand, so I'm not sure where this feud goes but I'd rather see a heel trio of Tozawa, O'Neil and Crews, rather than see the former refuse the latter duo's advances.

    There were a few missteps - namely Bray Wyatt (who's been having an affair with JoJo and is getting a divorce, if you believe the Daily Mail) calling out Seth Rollins and resorting to supernatural bells and whistles. The issue with Wyatt is that all his threats sound hollow at this stage. He has fallen flat too many times, and once too often, for the fans to take him seriously. I was also less than enthused with the depiction of Nia Jax. Jax lost a six-man tag-team match alongside Emma and Alexa Bliss (who walked out) vs Mickie James, Dana Brooke and Sasha Banks. It's great to see Banks back in the title picture, and the chaos which preceeded this match (which saw Bliss address the crowd before all the competitors interrupted) had shades of the current SmackDown women's roster.

    We also saw two other tag bouts - Enzo teaming with Cass, who was laid out backstage but resiliently battled through - against The Club, with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows picking up the win and The Big Show saving Enzo from a post-bout beatdown. Cass looked on enviously of their friendship to close the segment. It's clear we're headed for a Cass heel turn, and he'll have been the one attacking Enzo. The insertion of Big Show into the segments is clearly as a way of having Cass face him rather than Enzo, because let's be honest, nobody wants an Enzo vs Cass match. The main event saw the Hardy Boyz battle Sheamus and Cesaro in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match for the WWE RAW Tag-Team Championships. The Hardyz went 1-0 down early, but Matt picked up the second fall before the match ended controversially, with the referee counting out both teams.
 
 
 
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