Categories
Sports

WWE Clash at the Castle 2022: Matches and Predictions

Peep these stats – the last time WWE went to the United Kingdom for a major stadium event was SummerSlam ’92 and the last time the company landed in the same region for a PPV was Insurrextion ’03. Now in 2022, the world’s largest wrestling organization (that’s now headed by Stephanie McMahon, Nick Khan, and Paul Levesque!) is doing right by its UK fans by emanating a PPV from there on September 3. Taking place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, WWE’s ready to introduce us to a clash of the ages. Now with all that being said, let’s get into all my WWE Clash at the Castle 2022 predictions.

WWE Clash at the Castle 2022 Predictions
WWE

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Gunther (c) vs. Sheamus (WWE Intercontinental Championship)

Preview & Predictions: What’s on delivery here is brutality personified! For years, Sheamus has been known for getting himself involved in some of the most bone-rattling matches against the likes of Drew McIntyre, Cesaro, and Randy Orton. In the case of Gunther, his past and present exploits speak for themselves. He chops the soul out of everyone he meets and boots his opponents into another galaxy when given the chance to do so. And now, both of these UK-born brutes are gonna attempt to beat the hell out of each other for the IC title.

This match is pretty much the perfect match to book for WWE’s PPV return to the UK. The promise of these two powerhouses chopping and bashing each other’s chests red is very high. Sheamus is always known for putting on the hardest-hitting performances on every show he’s booked on – Gunther’s gonna provide him with the perfect barroom brawl dancing partner to create another one of those entertaining showings.

For my WWE Clash at the Castle 2022 predictions regarding this bout, I’m siding with Gunther here. His IC championship reign is just gathering steam and Sheamus is just gonna be another name added to his reign of dominance.

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Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, and Asuka vs. Bayley, Dakota Kai, and IYO SKY

Preview & Predictions: Excitement is in the air regarding the women’s divisions on both Raw and SmackDown! At SummerSlam, Bayley made her grand return from injury with Dakota Kai and the newly renamed IYO SKY by her side to square off with Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch. Now the Raw Women’s Champion has her hands full with a former rival of hers and her two dangerous allies. Luckily, Bianca has some backup of her own to help even the odds. Both trios of ladies are now set to go to war in this six-women tag team match.

Now that Bayley is back at full health and aligned with two fan-favorite NXT call-ups, she’s in one of the best positions she’s ever been in her career. It’s quite evident to me and everyone else that Bayley’s being set up for a future title shot at Bianca’s prize – this bout is clearly being set up to cement that upcoming PPV contest. I’m predicting that Bayley will find a way to pin the champion here whilst the other four women get caught up in their own scuffle outside the ring. When Bianca least expects it, she’ll get floored by Bayley and fall in defeat. That loss will lead to both women getting into some singles action at this year’s Extreme Rules, for sure!

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Edge and Rey Mysterio vs. The Judgment Day (Finn Bálor and Damian Priest)

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Preview & Predictions: During the “SmackDown Six” era, one of the tag teams I fell in love with consisted of Edge and Rey Mysterio. They used their combination of nimbleness and high-flying abilities to have some bangers with the four other members that made up the rest of SmackDown’s very best. Now here we are in 2022 and both men have joined forces once again to clash with The Judgement Day’s Finn Bálor and Damian Priest. Edge has come for revenge on his former stablemates and Mysterio is joining him to get his own measure of revenge for his son as well.

So here’s the thing – The Judgement Day has been eating immense L’s as of late. They lost at SummerSlam, plus Damian Priest fell to Edge on a recent episode of Raw. It’s high time that this stable finally gets a major win that adds a bit of steam to their current run. I’m imagining a situation where Mysterio ends up being the weak link of his team, which will give Bálor and Priest all the confidence in the world to zero in on him. My WWE Clash at the Castle 2022 predictions are pointing towards Judgement Day getting a major PPV victory here.

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Liv Morgan (c) vs. Shayna Baszler (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

Preview & Predictions: Is Liv Morgan pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes with her whole babyface act? At SummerSlam this year, she sat outside the ring and smiled amidst all the chaos produced by Ronda Rousey’s angry post-match attack. And I feel her – she clearly made the champ tap out, but the ref only managed to catch Ronda being pinned while Liv gave up. Now I’m starting to think that Liv is putting on a farce with her current shtick and is going to pull out all the nefarious stops to defeat anyone that comes for her championship.

It’s kinda crazy that one of Ronda’s best friends is now gunning for Liv’s title after Ronda emerged unsuccessful during her attempt to do the same. Now that Hunter is in control of creative, he’s clearly giving his former NXT standouts a chance to truly mean something on the main roster. Shayna Baszler is a clear example of that new edict. Now Shayna sticks to the same game plan Ronda’s known for – stiff strikes and punishing submissions. Liv is clearly out of her league here and should realistically fall in defeat to Shanya here. But I guarantee that Liv will find some sort of screwy way to get one over on her latest challenger that will be similar to the way she screwed over Ronda. Liv’s leaving with the belt here.

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Matt Riddle vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Preview & Predictions: Why was this planned match at SummerSlam canceled? I NEED ANSWERS! Anyways, I’m pleased with the fact that this match has been rebooked for this show instead. Since Randy Orton is currently on the shelf, Riddle’s gone the singles route once again. Which I don’t mind one bit since I get a kick out of watching him put on bangers on his own on a weekly basis. Setting him up against another modern-day in-ring great in Seth Rollins will only lead to PPV greatness here.

So here’s what I’m expecting – this is just the first of many “premium event” encounters between Riddle and Rollins for the year. And to keep this feud going strong over the next couple of months, I foresee Rollins finding some type of cheap way to get the first big win over his latest rival. By hook or by crook, Rollins will pull away with the win here. That win won’t bring this war to an end so quickly, though. Riddle will be seeking his revenge on Rollins in a hardcore match of some kind at the following month’s Extreme Rules, I presume.

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Roman Reigns (c) vs. Drew McIntyre (Undisputed WWE Universal Championship)

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Preview & Predictions: Roman Reigns has been running roughshod over anyone and everyone that’s been put in his path. Now that he’s running around the WWE landscape with both main shows’ top titles, he’s the current king of the mountain that’s only going to be defeated via a Herculean task. The man that’s stepping up to try his damndest to fulfill that task is Ayr, Scotland’s very own Drew McIntyre. As one of WWE’s top UK stars, this high-pressure situation is placing Drew in one of the most important title matches of his life within his home country.

Now here’s the current situation – Karrion Kross recently made his shocking return by assaulting Drew, which led to rumors of Kross possibly being set up against Roman for a title match for one of his belts. Since that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, I presume this match is going to go straight down the middle without any sort of interference from Kross. I’m fully convinced that Drew is coming home to win himself a damn championship! Roman’s going to relinquish his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship to the conquering babyface – BANK ON IT!

And I can also see Kross rising up to get himself involved in the continuing title feud between the new champion in Drew and the former titleholder Roman.

Categories
Sports

The 10 Best “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Matches

Hey Yo! It’s The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37pm. Earlier this year, we saw something I thought I would never witness as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin came out of retirement after 19 years at WrestleMania 38 to wrestle Kevin Owens. I was at WrestleMania XIX so I am biased when I say I thought the way he wrapped up his in-ring career before against The Rock was really fitting but it really was a WrestleMania moment. This made me want to look back at the “Stone Cold” era of Steve Austin’s career to create a list of his greatest matches for the people. This list is only considering the WWE portion of his run from 1996-2022. Therefore, there won’t be any Steve Austin matches on this list from his tenures in WCW and ECW. Now let’s get to my list of the 10 best “Stone Cold” matches.

Be sure to share this article and debate with your friends. Also, be sure to let me know how you feel about this list on Instagram or Twitter.

Honorable Mentions

King of the Ring – 06/23/96

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Jake Roberts

In Your House: Final Four – 02/16/97

Intercontinental Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart vs. Undertaker vs. Vader

King of the Ring – 06/08/97

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels

In Your House: Canadian Stampede – 07/06/97

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock & LOD vs. The Hart Foundation

In Your House: D-Generation X – 12/07/97

Intercontinental Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock

Raw – 06/29/98

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kane

St Valentine’s Day Massacre – 02/14/99

Steel Cage Match

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon

Backlash – 04/25/99

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock

Fully Loaded – 07/25/99

First Blood Match

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker

No Mercy – 10/17/99

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Triple H

Armageddon – 12/10/00

Hell in a Cell

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker vs. The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Rikishi

SmackDown – 05/31/01

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit

King of the Ring – 06/24/01

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

Unforgiven – 09/23/01

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle

No Mercy – 10/21/01

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle vs. Rob Van Dam

Survivor Series – 11/18/01

Winner Takes All

Team Alliance  vs. Team WWF

Vengeance – 12/09/01

Undisputed Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Chris Jericho

WrestleMania X-8 – 03/17/02

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall

No Way Out – 02/23/03

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Eric Bischoff

WrestleMania 38  – 04/02/22

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kevin Owens

10. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WWF Championship, WrestleMania 15 – 03/28/99)
WWE

This was the first match in the Austin/Rock WrestleMania trilogy. By 1999, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was already a made man and the hottest act in the company. By the end of 1998, The Rock had aligned himself with Vince McMahon and the Corporation and became the Corporate Champion. Austin spent most of 1998 and the early part of 1999 being screwed out of the championship as Mr. McMahon didn’t find him fit as the face of the company. The fans were strongly behind Austin as he had to overcome the odds even from his personal life as he was going through a divorce at the time. This slightly beat out their rematch the following month at Backlash because it had fewer shenanigans.

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9. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker (WWF Championship, SummerSlam – 08/30/98)

When doing the research for this list, I didn’t realize how many times The Undertaker and Steve Austin crossed paths from 96-02. In 1998, in possibly his biggest challenge to date in his first run as WWF Champion, Austin had to face The Undertaker at SummerSlam. It was dubbed the “Highway to Hell” as leading up to the event, the odds seemed stacked against Austin as The Undertaker and Kane were on the same page for the first time since Kane arrived in the WWE. This meant Austin had to look over his shoulders at all times for Kane. Both men were in their prime here and over with the fans as The Undertaker had not fully turned heel yet. Both The Undertaker and Austin seemingly injured themselves mid-way through the match, yet they still were able to pull out a main event-worthy classic. It was the victory Austin needed to validate that he was on top and will forever be remembered as one of the very best Stone Cold matches.

8. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (WWF Championship, WrestleMania 14 – 03/29/98)
WWE

The rise of Stone Cold’s popularity from 1996 to 1998 was like nothing we had ever witnessed before. He was an obnoxious and brash bad guy who did what he wanted when he wanted without caring about the repercussions. This attitude (along with his toughness) made him a fan favorite. As things were changing in the WWF after the infamous “Montreal Screwjob,” it was becoming more obvious that Austin would get his moment on top. By the end of 1997, it became clear he was next to challenge Shawn Michaels for the WFE Championship. Inserting Mike Tyson into the picture and having Austin go face-to-face with him just elevated the Rattlesnake’s stock even more. The match was solid and better than we expected considering Michaels had a bad back injury. The Austin-Era had truly begun.

7. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Dude Love (WWF Championship, Over The Edge – 05/31/98)
WWE

Everything was good in the world once Stone Cold had won the WWF Championship at WrestleMania. However, Mr. McMahon quickly realized he had a World Champion representing his company who played by his own rules which basically meant breaking all of his. It became an obsession for McMahon to get that championship off Austin without having to strip him without cause. Enter the unpredictable Mick Foley, who had three different personas. Love had aligned himself with McMahon after initially wanting Austin and McMahon to get along. Once again, McMahon stacked the odds against Austin to hopefully get the title off of Austin. This included McMahon making himself the guest referee. Austin once again found a way to overcome the odds in a really solid match between two legends. It only added more fuel to the fire for the Austin/McMahon rivalry. This off-the-wall brawl is easily one of the best Stone Cold matches.

6. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle (WWF Championship, SummerSlam – 08/19/01)
WWE

Following WrestleMania X-Seven, Austin had turned heel again aligning himself with his archenemy Mr. McMahon. During this time we saw a more insecure and cowardly but still violent “Texas Rattlesnake.” However, when the WCW and ECW invasion took place, it lead Mr. McMahon to beg for the old confident Stone Cold that he feuded with over the years. This ultimately led to Austin aligning himself with Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Paul Heyman, and the rest of the Alliance due to him thinking Mr. McMahon didn’t appreciate him. In Austin’s mind, he also thought McMahon was grooming Kurt Angle to be his next guy. This kicked off the feud between the two and a series of great matches. The first one took place at Summerslam 2001. Although it ended with a DQ finish, it was an absolute banger.

5. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Triple H (3 Stages of Hell, No Way Out – 02/25/01)
WWE

The rivalry between Stone Cold and Triple H went all the way back to the Summer of 1999. Triple H became adamant about becoming the WWF Champion and keeping it. This meant getting rid of Steve Austin. At the ’99 Survivor Series, Austin was struck by a car in the parking lot to write him off of TV for a real-life neck surgery that would keep him out for nine months. When he returned in the Fall of 2000, he was focused on finding out who ran him over. Initially, we found out it was Rikishi but later found out it was Triple H behind the entire thing. They settled their lengthy feud in a 3 Stages of Hell match at No Way Out 2001. The first fall was a singles match, which Austin won. The second fall was a Street Fight, which Triple H won. And the final fall was a steel cage match where Triple H would finally defeat Austin. It was a personal and bloody affair that marks one of the most brutal and best Stone Cold matches of all time.

4. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WWF Championship, WrestleMania X-7 – 04/01/01)
WWE

The build-up for this match might have been one of the greatest build-ups for a WrestleMania main event. It’s definitely in the top five WrestleMania main event build-ups with the video package in the top two with Limp Bizkit’s “My Way” as the soundtrack.

I know most of you are probably shocked this match landed at number four, but the first three hold a different significance to me. Unlike their match at WrestleMania XV, both men were super hot fan favorites at the time. During Austin’s absence in 2000, The Rock became the top babyface in the company. When Austin returned in the Fall of that year, fans were just anticipating for them to cross paths again so they could battle over the WWF Championship and that top spot. It finally was going to happen when Austin won the 2001 Royal Rumble and The Rock defeated Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship at No Way Out 2001.

The match was a classic filled with drama and had the fans split down the middle. Austin was obsessed with reclaiming his spot – The Rock’s popularity created insecurity within him, which lead him to turn heel in the final moments of the match by aligning himself with his longtime nemesis Mr. McMahon to win the championship and claim the top spot.

It was something you could see the seeds being planted for but couldn’t envision actually happening, but it eventually took place. It’s still a banger to this day and undoubtedly one of the best Stone Cold matches.

3. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart (Survivor Series – 11/17/96)
WWE

Bret Hart represented everything that was good and wholesome in the 90s. When “The Hitman” lost the WWF Championship to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 12, he took time off from the company. Hart didn’t return until the Fall of 1996. During that time, an outspoken and brash superstar named Steve Austin had begun rising to the top starting by winning the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. On that night he cut the iconic yet sacrilegious “Austin 3:16” promo on Jake “The Snake” Roberts, which received a mixed response from the fans but put Stone Cold on everybody’s radar.

When Bret Hart returned to the company, the first person he wanted to challenge was Steve Austin. This was Austin’s breakout moment as Bret Hart had been with the company since the mid-80s and had been waving the company’s flag as one of their top guys for the last five years. Plus this challenge was made for the ’96 Survivor Series, which was taking place in the WWF’s Mecca – Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was really Austin’s opportunity to prove he could hang with the best at the top of the card.

This was a straight wrestling match with no gimmicks or stipulations. These two went toe-to-toe with hot near falls all throughout the entire match. The match was entertaining from start to finish. There was a lot of pressure put on Austin to perform at a high level and he succeeded at having his best match in the company up to this point. In the end, Austin never tapped but failed to win because he held the Million Dollar Dream sleeper hold on for too long to the point where Hart countered it and snuck away with a pinfall win.

2. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XIX – 03/30/03)
WWE

Personally, this is my favorite match of the Austin and Rock WrestleMania trilogy. I may be a little biased because I was there live, but there was a lot of significance to this match. It would be the last time we would see Austin and The Rock face off against each other. At the time, nobody really knew this would be Stone Cold’s last match in 19 years. This would also be The Rock’s last WrestleMania singles match until 2012. Lastly, it felt like a farewell to an era…the Attitude Era.

The two legends were back in familiar roles as Steve Austin was the returning fan favorite and The Rock was in his heel “Hollywood” persona. There was no championship on the line this time around and they weren’t fighting for the top spot. Instead, The Rock was obsessed with the fact he had never beaten Austin at WrestleMania even though they faced off at the event two times before. It was truly a clash between superstars who ruled the roost for four to five years. I’m not bothered that Stone Cold came out of retirement this year to wrestle Kevin Owens, but this was the perfect storybook ending to Austin’s career. The match still holds up.

The encounter had a big match feel even though it wasn’t the main event. The company had already been a year into its new “Ruthless Aggression” era so it made sense that Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship would go on last. But this match really felt like a farewell to the era that came before. They pulled out all the stops. They had entertaining spots and kicked out each other’s finishers. It took three Rock Bottom’s, but The Rock was finally able to beat Steve Austin at WrestleMania. They shared a personal emotional moment after the match and Austin walked out with his pride in hand. This final Austin vs. Rock clash is definitely one of the best Stone Cold matches I’ve ever seen.

1. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart (Submission Match, WrestleMania 13 – 03/23/97)
WWE

This is my favorite match of all time so if you’ve read any of my other lists (such as Bret Hart’s greatest matches), it shouldn’t surprise you that this is number one. Following their encounter at the ’96 Survivor Series, the “Texas Rattlesnake” never stopped being a thorn in “The Hitman’s” side. The plan was never for Bret Hart to face Steve Austin again at WrestleMania – instead, a rematch between Hart and Michaels was planned. However, when everything changed because Shawn Michaels “lost his smile,” the company decided to run back Austin versus Bret Hart for WrestleMania since the rivalry was still ongoing.

Austin had screwed Bret Hart at the 1997 Royal Rumble by returning to the match after being eliminated only to win the match. Following that, when Bret Hart had won the vacant WWF Championship in a Fatal-Four Way Match that Austin was also involved with, the “Bionic Redneck” would interfere in “The Hitman’s” first defense against Psycho Sid. The usually cool, calm, and composed Bret Hart was being pushed to the edge by a cocky, arrogant, and brash Steve Austin. Austin was also becoming more and more of a fan favorite during this time, which called for the epic double turn to happen during this epic encounter.

The match took place in front of a rowdy Chicago crowd. It was a Submission Match, which meant both men had to try to make each other tap out. The UFC’s Ken Shamrock was officiating the match. This had a little bit of everything. It was a technical match and a brawl but overall it told a great story. The story of the company’s hero turning on the fans after being pushed to the edge by disrespect was amazing. The anti-hero became the new fan favorite because the people couldn’t deny his tenacity and toughness. It was the greatest double turn in history. Austin never tapped out, yet he passed out in a pool of his own blood.

The image of Austin’s face covered in the crimson mask is still one of the most iconic images in wrestling history. This match and his feud with Bret Hart made Stone Cold. If you have never seen it, please go check it out because it’s at the top of everyone’s lists for the best Stone Cold matches of all time.

I hope you all enjoyed this list of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin matches. Tell me if you disagree and let me know what you think over social media. Ya dig? Oooh Yeah!

Instagram – @thewrestlingclassic

Twitter – @twcworldwide

Youtube – thewrestlingclassic

Weekly Podcast – TWC Show

Websitewww.justindhillon.com

Categories
Sports

WWE SummerSlam 2022: Matches and Predictions

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WWE is taking its summer spectacular to Nashville, Tennessee this year! And just like the year before, SummerSlam is going big with its planned venue as it’s set to emanate from the Nissan Stadium. The excitement levels are unsurprisingly off the charts for this event. And most fans (including me!) are shocked by the fact that this installment of the summer wrestling extravaganza is actually taking place in July instead of August. I’m not complaining, though! It’s cool that this annual August event is happening a month earlier. Now let’s break down all the confirmed matches for this event by getting into my WWE SummerSlam 2022 predictions!

WWE SummerSlam 2022 Predictions
WWE

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The Mysterios (Dominik Mysterio and Rey Mysterio) vs. The Judgment Day (Damian Priest and Finn Bálor) (No Disqualification Match)

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Preview & Predictions: The Judgement Day really switched up on the homie Edge and slotted Finn Bálor into his leadership role. Man, it really be the ones closest to you that do you so dirty. Since that big change, Finn, Damian Priest, and Rhea Ripley have made life extra difficult for Rey and Dominik Mysterio. All the beef between these two duos has finally resulted in them getting booked in the perfect feud ender – a No DQ tag team match that gives The Mysterios the advantage since they’ll need some weapons to make a dent in the gigantic Priest.

I’m sure Rhea will play a part in how this match unfolds during its middle to latter portion. But at some point, I feel like she’ll get her comeuppance from someone we’re all expecting to see – a returning Edge! Those mysterious vignettes have clearly been cluing everyone into his impending return, which I think is going to transpire at SummerSlam during this match. Rey and his son will overcome The Judgement Day thanks to some much-needed assistance from Edge. When it comes to my WWE SummerSlam 2022 predictions, I’m very confident in my Edge prognosis coming true.

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The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) (c) vs. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) (Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship, Jeff Jarrett Will Serve as the Special Guest Referee)

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Preview & Predictions: In one of the most impressive examples of quality tag team wrestling this year, The Usos and The Street Profits arguably put on the match of the night at Money in the Bank. Jimmy and Jey ended up prevailing at the close of that epic contest, but their win came with a catch since Montez Ford’s shoulder was up while he took the losing pinfall. So it comes as no surprise that Ford and Angelo Dawkins are getting another shot at the tag team straps here.

If this match is anything like the one they had a few weeks prior, then we’re going to have another match of the year candidate here. I think it would be criminal for The Street Profits to lose once again – it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to continue lowering their stock here since they’re one of the best tag teams across both main roster brands. My gut is pointing towards a triumphant win for Dawkins and Ford here. The Usos have been unified tag champs since May – I think now’s the perfect time to give that act as titleholders a break and switch that act over to a hot babyface duo. That’s the big crowd-popping moment I’m expecting here for my WWE SummerSlam 2022 predictions.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/42OoZN5Sx8s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedBianca Belair (c) vs. Becky Lynch (WWE Raw Women's Championship)</code>
Bianca Belair (c) vs. Becky Lynch (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)

Preview & Predictions: Are we sure this match is going to happen? We were promised a WrestleMania rematch between Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks at last year’s SummerSlam and we all saw how that went. We’re pretty confident that the whole “card is subject to change” situation won’t take place here once again, though. Bianca and Becky Lynch are most certainly going to run it back for the second time for the Raw Women’s Championship in a repeat of their 2022 Match of the Year Candidate.

For this much-anticipated runback, everyone expects another crowd-popping encounter between modern-day women’s greats. While Becky’s a top contender that’s always seen as a legit threat that can take the title whenever she pleases, I don’t think a win is in the cards for her here. Bianca has a lot of juice left in her Raw Women’s title reign, which is why I’m guessing she retains it here. Once Rhea Ripley comes back from her injury to take a shot at the champ, I’m convinced that Bianca will run into her biggest challenge to date.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YLwCMs2GR7o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedLiv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey\t(WWE SmackDown Women's Championship)</code>
Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

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Preview & Predictions: So Liv Morgan’s the SmackDown Women’s Champion now, huh? I may not be a fan of hers, but it’s hard to deny just how passionate her followers are and just how much they rooted for her to get such a major opportunity. But I’m lowkey worried about how Liv’s first title run is going to go based on how it went for a similar underdog champion. And the person I’m alluding to is Nikki A.S.H., who had an uneventful run as Raw Women’s Champion soon after cashing in to win it. I’m already starting to peep the “she got lucky when she beat Ronda Rousey!” vibes now that Liv’s champ, which is why I feel like her title run may end up being equally forgettable by the time she drops it.

But here’s the thing – I don’t think she’s going to drop the title so soon. As a matter of fact, I think Liv’s gonna hold onto her first championship up until the Fall. You’d think that Ronda would easily dispose of someone like Liv and you’d be right in feeling that way. But I foresee a surprise return here that’ll lead to Liv eking out the win. Charlotte Flair will interfere at some point and land a killing blow on Ronda in order to get the revenge she desires due to her loss at WrestleMania Backlash. And due to that shocking attack, Liv will end up getting the pin on Ronda without realizing how her opponent got knocked out in the first place.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mq54Q_AMAEM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedBobby Lashley (c) vs. Theory (WWE United States Championship)</code>
Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Theory (WWE United States Championship)

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Preview & Predictions: Well I’ll be! I had Seth Rollins pegged as Mr. Money in the Bank for the second time in his illustrious career. Who ended up getting the briefcase, though? Lame ass Theory, who got added to the match for no real good reason other than “because we can” from the WWE powers that be. I was shocked when he got beat for the United States Championship earlier in the Money in the Bank show and I was even more shocked when he showed up at the end of the show to get the last laugh. Now Theory wants his US title back from the man that submitted him for it in the first place, Bobby Lashley.

You know what? I think Theory’s gonna fail in his attempt to get his gold back. I’m so used to that WWE story trope where they have the wielder of the briefcase lose a ton of matches before they cash in out of nowhere and finally win the biggest prize in the company. I foresee that treatment getting reapplied to Theory here – Lashley is going to retain his US Championship and remain as the #1 champion on Raw for the time being. Theory will still be in a good position as the 2022 Mr. Money in the Bank though, so this loss won’t affect him too much.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ag-MkW4O6yU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedPat McAfee vs. Happy Corbin</code>
Pat McAfee vs. Happy Corbin

Preview & Predictions: Pat McAfee is a constant highlight of WWE. He’s fun to listen to at the commentator’s booth and he’s way better than your average celebrity when it comes time to put on his working boots. So far, Pat has put on some bangers with the likes of Adam Cole and Austin Theory (let’s all ignore that steaming pile of trash he and Mr. McMahon produced at WrestleMania this year). Pat’s highly disrespectful (and hilarious!) comments towards Happy Corbin have now earned him a new opponent to square off with at one of WWE’s biggest premier events.

Now I’m the furthest thing from a Happy Corbin fan – he was way more entertaining as “Broke-Ass Corbin” if you ask me. And whenever he’s in the ring, I tend to walk away from my TV and grab something to eat. But since Pat’s being pitted against him, I’m actually going to give this Corbin PPV bout a chance. You just know Pat’s SummerSlam entrance is going to make headlines! As for who’ll emerge as the winner here, this one’s easy to predict – Pat’s going to add another W to his all-time record. Here’s hoping Corbin diverts from his “Happy” moniker after taking yet another significant loss on PPV…

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AAT09NnPQP0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedLogan Paul vs. The Miz</code>
Logan Paul vs. The Miz

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Preview & Predictions: So not only is Logan Paul a full-time WWE Superstar but now he’s being presented as a…babyface? That’s…a choice, to say the least. I’ll have to hand the man credit, though – Logan looked great during his WrestleMania 38 tag match performance, plus his drip and million-dollar Pokémon card chain stood out for all the right reasons. The Miz turned on his boy Logan even though they overcame The Mysterios – it’s clear that Miz wanted to teach his Hollywood homie a lesson about never turning your back on anyone in the world of professional wrestling.

So Logan’s back and ready to get his revenge on the guy that brought him into WWE in the first place. The Miz presents the perfect foil for him and the sort of guy that could even get the fans to cheer for the instantly unlikable Logan. We got a major celebrity being placed in a prominent role with a supremely hated heel on a major PPV card here, so you know what the outcome’s going to be – the good guy celeb is going to win so that WWE can brag about it on all the big media outlets the day after.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3rL0yYAmhUk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedRoman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (Last Man Standing Match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship)</code>
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (Last Man Standing Match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship)

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Preview & Predictions: Sigh…this again, bruh? I am sick to death of watching these two wrestle each other over…and over…and over. If we keepin’ it a stack, they’ve only had one great match (the one at WrestleMania 31). And the rest of the rematches they’ve been involved in have ranged from decent to atrocious (that horrible main event from WrestleMania 34 lies at the very bottom of the barrel!). I was bored to tears during their WrestleMania 38 match. But after it ended, I was hopeful that we were finally moving on from them as rivals and moving on to fresher foes. But I was sadly mistaken. Now Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar is happening for the seventh time with a Last Man Standing stipulation.

I’m so exhausted with these two at this point – I would have preferred Roman running it back with Bobby Lashley. And if WWE properly rehabilitated AJ Styles after all those losses he took from Edge and The Judgement Day, he would have made for a fun challenger to Roman’s Undisputed WWE Universal Championship reign. It’s really slim pickings when it comes to fresh challengers for Roman’s title belts, so I see why WWE was forced into booking this stale matchup all over again. So who’s going to win here? It’s going to be Roman – Brock’s not the one to end the “Tribal Chief’s” legendary title reign, folks. Plus I just can’t see Roman losing it when he’s clearly being penned in to face Drew McIntyre at September’s Clash at the Castle event.

Side note – Theory’s definitely not cashing in here, either! As far as my WWE SummerSlam 2022 predictions go, I’m super confident about this one, in particular, being bulletproof.

Categories
Sports

The 25 Most Memorable Work/Shoot Wrestling Promos

Hey Yo! It’s The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37pm and it’s all about the best wrestling shoot promos.

This article will cover the most memorable and shocking work/shoot promos in wrestling history. There has always been an unspoken rule in the wrestling industry to protect the business at all costs. The often-heard word “kayfabe” is a phrase relied upon to make everything in the business seem authentic and genuine. The promos cut by the stars would be about upcoming matches, current storylines, and self-promotion. By no means were you supposed to discuss the backstage politics, the way the creative was booked, or make the business come off as a scripted pre-determined form of entertainment. When people would cut promos discussing these things, it would be considered a “shoot.” This is easily explained as something real in a space where everything else was scripted or produced.

There are some times in wrestling where these “shoot” promos are done intentionally to gauge a reaction from the hardcore fans who are curious about the backstage politics and love the feeling of being an insider. It also makes it hard for fans to initially realize if what is being said is scripted or real. It evokes a feeling of chaos and uncertainty but has everyone talking. They also make you feel something as if you’re watching the script fall apart as true emotions and feelings come to the forefront.

As of a few weeks ago on AEW Dynamite, MJF cut a scathing promo on the fans, All Elite Wrestling as a company, and its owner Tony Khan on their first episode on Dynamite from Los Angeles. It managed to get everyone excited and it all felt real. It was blurring the lines between reality and fiction. That promo alone led me to want to go down memory lane discussing many other unforgettable shoot promos in the history of professional wrestling.

Be sure to share this article on the 25 best wrestling shoot promos and debate it with your friends. Also, be sure to let me know how you feel about this list on Instagram or Twitter.

Best Wrestling Shoot Promos
WWE

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XlEPm52CxHM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed25. "The Real Jeff Jarrett" - Jeff Jarrett (WWF Raw - 11/20/97)</code>
25. “The Real Jeff Jarrett” – Jeff Jarrett (WWF Raw – 11/20/97)

Jeff Jarrett returned to the WWF in late ’97 after spending over a year in WCW. 30 minutes into an episode of Raw, he came to the ring talking about how he was misused in both the WWF previously and most recently WCW. He took shots at Eric Bischoff, Mongo, Doink, Ahmed Johnson, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels. Although he was told to go out there and shoot, the biggest mistake for him, in the long run, was to shoot on rising star “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. The promo ended with Jarrett telling Vince that he hoped his investments were worth the headaches although they were not. Jarrett would reclaim some success in the WWE for a bit, Austin refused to work with him, and he would be back in WCW by the end of ’99.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/aPRW-YR9IuY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed24. "WCW Sucks!" - Scott Steiner (WCW Nitro - 02/07/00)</code>
24. “WCW Sucks!” – Scott Steiner (WCW Nitro – 02/07/00)

Scott Steiner didn’t always talk a ton during his time as one-half of the Steiner Brothers. However, when he split from his brother to join the NWO and fully took on his “Big Poppa Pump” persona, it became exciting to hear what Steiner would say due to his impulsive promo style. Although promos in WCW weren’t necessarily scripted, not many people took advantage of this more than Steiner. He legitimately had heat with Ric Flair so he called him out for his teeth, stealing Buddy Rogers’ “Nature Boy” gimmick, and even referenced changing the channel to watch the WWF when Ric Flair was on TV because WCW sucks. There is no way he was told to say all of that! This is one of the best wrestling shoot promos and certainly one of the most unintentionally funny picks on this list.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ezycxm08AMw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed23. "I’m Tired of Making Stars!" (Eddie Kingston - Progress Wrestling)</code>
23. “I’m Tired of Making Stars!” (Eddie Kingston – Progress Wrestling)

I’m sure there are a plethora of great shoot or worked shoot promos from the independent scene. I mean, a lot of our favorite wrestlers and promos in wrestling were guys who cut their teeth on the independent scene. One person who has always been able to talk has been the “Mad King” Eddie Kingston. Giving Kingston a microphone is always entertaining and he is a master at trash talking. Prior to finally being signed to AEW in 2020, Eddie cut a promo in Progress Wrestling where he shared his fatigue on building all the stars on the independent scene that eventually got signed to bigger companies while he was still firmly on the independent circuit for over 10 years. He would trash the “acting” part of wrestling claiming he was not an actor and it never does feel like Kingston is acting.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_kpEjrKqf3s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed22. "The Birth of Extreme" - Shane Douglas (ECW - 08/27/94)</code>
22. “The Birth of Extreme” – Shane Douglas (ECW – 08/27/94)

It was the night they said out with tradition and in with a new era of wrestling. Shane Douglas had won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. In a moment where he could have basked in the happiness of winning such a prestigious championship, he instead cut a promo that nobody saw coming. Douglas would list the names of former great champions before throwing the championship on the ground proclaiming he was the new ECW Heavyweight Champion. It was the dawning of a new era and an unexpected farewell to the tradition that came before it. It might not seem like a big deal now but back then everyone lost their minds. Extreme Championship Wrestling was soon born and it started with the Franchise’s defiance. This one earns its placement here as one of the best wrestling shoot promos thanks to it kickstarting a wrestling revolution.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CCWh4Fi-wFc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed21. "Who is TNA?" - Samoa Joe (TNA Turning Point - 12/02/07)</code>
21. “Who is TNA?” – Samoa Joe (TNA Turning Point – 12/02/07)

When TNA was formed in 2002, it was meant to be a good mix of well-known talent as well as homegrown talent that would get the opportunity to work with a company on a larger scale since WCW and ECW were both now out of business. This left WWE as the only major game in town. Samoa Joe was one of those talents plucked from a thriving independent scene in the early ’00s to be a part of TNA.

Although established names such as Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, Sean Waltman, Raven, Kevin Nash, Dusty Rhodes, and Scott Hall made appearances in the company, it was the young stars who felt like they were the backbone of the company. Therefore when Scott Hall did not show up to the Turning Point 2007 event where he was in the main event, Joe decided to take matters into his own hands and address the situation. Even if that meant disrespecting the legends who paved the way for him.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bUusZfqqIuI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed20. "Sick of Waiting" - The Miz (WWE Raw - 08/21/17)</code>
20. “Sick of Waiting” – The Miz (WWE Raw – 08/21/17)

In the summer of 2017, the WWE finally began working towards A dream match between John Cena and Roman Reigns. Both men were presented as two of WWE’s chosen superstars to run as the face of the company. In many ways, it was Cena’s time to pass the torch to Roman to see if he could run with it. However, The Miz took offense to this and the crowd in Barclay Center in Brooklyn actually agreed with him when he interrupted their moment to talk about the amount of undeserving opportunities Reigns and Cena would receive because the machine was behind them. He was tired of working hard and waiting for his moment while things were just handed to the other two. He insulted both by pointing out their flaws while boasting about his work ethic. It was hard to disagree with The Miz, even though we’re not supposed to. This one’s pretty underrated when it comes to remembering the best wrestling shoot promos.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/97wq9_mfDVE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed19. "Speaking the Truth" - Kevin Owens (WWE SmackDown - 07/09/19)</code>
19. “Speaking the Truth” – Kevin Owens (WWE SmackDown – 07/09/19)

From the first-ever interaction between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon in 2016, I just knew the two of them would one day have a fun feud based on their instant on-screen chemistry. They began feuding in late 2017 going into 2018 but initially, Owens was the bad guy and Shane was the good guy. By 2019, the roles had changed and everything Owens was saying about McMahon since 2016 now seemed to ring true. That being said, while feuding with an authority figure or person of power, it might be hard to air your grievances. Therefore, when Owens had to come through the crowd to hijack a microphone to rant about Shane McMahon, it felt unscripted and came off like a total shoot. It’s always a nice touch when someone’s mic gets cut, which is exactly what happened to Owens here.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YDK03fJK6dE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed18. "Not a Corporate Puppet" - Diesel (WWF Raw - 11/20/95)</code>
18. “Not a Corporate Puppet” – Diesel (WWF Raw – 11/20/95)

Promos such as this one were rare at the time. Just one night after losing the WWF Championship on WWF Raw, Diesel walked out to ringside during a match between Savio Vega and Skip to make it feel more unscripted or planned. There was no entrance music playing and Diesel shockingly came out in his street clothes. He talked about not having to be a corporate puppet anymore after being the champion for an entire year. He even addressed Vince McMahon as if he was letting us know McMahon had more stroke in the company than most casual fans knew. This might not be as “insider” as future shoot promos, but it was for the time.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/afedl8HylCY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed17. "Total Divas Promo" - AJ Lee (WWE Raw - 06/26/13)</code>
17. “Total Divas Promo” – AJ Lee (WWE Raw – 06/26/13)

2013 was definitely a transitional period for WWE’s women’s division. AJ Lee had gained popularity over the years by being featured in many male storylines and even played the role of Raw GM for a brief period of time. The show “Total Divas” began airing on the E! Network, which brought in a new fanbase that took a liking to the women who were cast on the show. Those women were the Bella Twins, Natalya, Naomi, Cameron, Eva Marie, and JoJo at the time.

AJ Lee came out blasting the entire cast of Total Divas with insults like calling the women cheap interchangeable useless women and dissing their decision to join a reality television show. The promo was loaded with insults like those while AJ Lee also talked about how hard she worked to be the face of the division while all these other women sucked up to management and got by on their looks. It felt real and out of nowhere. It was practically AJ Lee’s own “pipe bomb.”

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/h4Ue6pON9yY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed16. "Farewell Promo" - Cody Rhodes (AEW Dynamite - 01/19/22)</code>
16. “Farewell Promo” – Cody Rhodes (AEW Dynamite – 01/19/22)

When this promo first aired, we had no idea what we were witnessing. It just felt like another Cody Rhodes promo to promote his upcoming ladder match with Sammy Guevara. Little did we know it would be Cody’s last in-ring promo in All Elite Wrestling before returning to the WWE at WrestleMania 38 a few months later. Looking back at this promo now, Cody really had a lot to get off his chest before he even brought up his match with Sammy and it was basically a farewell to the six years of his career that he spent outside of WWE.

This was the period where AEW fans started turning on Cody and booing him no matter what he did to earn their cheers. He told a story about going back to when CM Punk dropped his pipe bomb and how he went to go do all the things CM Punk talked about in that promo. He wrestled in New Japan, faced the best of the indies, and helped create an alternative to WWE. If CM Punk sparked the Revolution, Cody Rhodes lived and participated in it. All of this was extra special now looking back at it.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RjsuW-Vu6kc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed15. "What Makes Jim Cranky?" - Jim Cornette (11/06/97- 12/29/97)</code>
15. “What Makes Jim Cranky?” – Jim Cornette (11/06/97- 12/29/97)

Jim Cornette has always been known to be quick-witted and clever with his rants and roasts. Therefore in late 1997 during the midst of the Monday Night Wars, WWE decided to start airing shoot promos by Cornette on Raw where he shared how he really felt about the current state of the wrestling business. He really would shoot on just about everything he disliked, which included the NWO, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart being screwed, Shawn Michaels being a jerk, Phil Mushnick, and much much more. If you haven’t seen them and you’re a big wrestling historian, be sure to watch them all. Cornette has been on record saying he didn’t enjoy them looking back because he feels like shoot promos exposed the business too much. But boy was he spitting fire from an educated perspective of someone who loved the tradition of the business.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PSvOzJWaVXs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed14. "Sports Entertainment" - Joey Styles (WWE Raw - 05/01/06)</code>
14. “Sports Entertainment” – Joey Styles (WWE Raw – 05/01/06)

Joey Styles was a one-man commentary team in Extreme Championship Wrestling and is fondly remembered for his exaggerated “Oh My God!” call when things got wild in the company. He would call PPV events solo and somehow remained entertaining the entire time. Years after ECW went out of business, Joey Styles was brought into the WWE to replace Jim Ross.

It was a life-long dream for Styles to work a WrestleMania. So when he was almost fully kept off of Wrestlemania 22 (he was able to commentate for Foley vs Edge, though) with Ross returning and McMahon not being a huge fan of his play-by-play style, it really rubbed him the wrong way. They wanted a storyteller who knew the WWE style. This led to an angle where Styles would use this real-life disappointment in a worked shoot promo bashing WWE. Vince McMahon, sports entertainment, and the fans who buy into all of it. It all felt super legit.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yMpQdlQ6N6k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed13. "Out of Character" - The Undertaker (WWF Raw - 06/01/98)</code>
13. “Out of Character” – The Undertaker (WWF Raw – 06/01/98)

One of the most respected and honored characters in the WWE is The Undertaker. Although he had an over-the-top character that worked in the early 90s, the Phenom took his character work so seriously that people would suspend their disbelief for all the years he acted like a dead zombie cowboy wizard. it was rare to ever see him out of character, even for interviews or other television appearances.

Therefore when he came out for a promo with no extravagant entrance and in street clothes in ’98, fans already felt like this was off the script. He talked about his relationship with Vince McMahon as an employee and his loyalty to him while not feeling like he was getting the respect he deserved. It felt like the first time we were hearing Mark Calaway talk with all the gimmicks and deadman characteristics absent. It was a preview of who we would see during his run as the “American Badass,” but it really caught fans off guard in the summer of ’98.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ugn46kqyq-w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed12. "Shooting on TNN" - Paul Heyman (ECW - 06/02/00)</code>
12. “Shooting on TNN” – Paul Heyman (ECW – 06/02/00)

The relationship with Paul Heyman and TNN was a rocky one, to say the least. When Heyman introduced ECW to the wrestling scene, it changed the landscape of professional wrestling. Although ECW featured great technical wrestling, it also introduced a more hardcore style of wrestling. It was a lawless organization and began gaining a lot of popularity for standing out from the competition.

WWE and WCW were leading the professional wrestling industry and there was a ton of interest for networks to get on this wrestling boom, so TNN took a bet on ECW. ECW began airing on TNN, but Heyman was disappointed in the lack of promotion and support from the network. When TNN bought the rights to WWF Raw to begin airing on the network, Heyman saw the writing on the wall and verbally attacked TNN on their own channel. He certainly didn’t hold anything back.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FFOcKTmfAes" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed11. "Good Ol’ JR" - Jim Ross (WWF Raw - 09/27/96)</code>
11. “Good Ol’ JR” – Jim Ross (WWF Raw – 09/27/96)

Jim Ross was hired by the WWE in 1993 with his first appearance being at WrestleMania IX. This was around the time when Razor Ramon and Diesel had jumped ship to WCW. The WWE was so petty over them jumping ship that they wanted to prove that it was the characters they created that got those guys over rather than the guys themselves. Therefore, they were going to introduce a new Razor Ramon and Diesel, which we would later on all refer to as the infamous Fake Razor and Fake Diesel.

Before Jim Ross could introduce us to these new “returning” characters, he cut a promo about his lack of loyalty to the WWE and even called out the egotistical owner of the WWE, Vince McMahon. He discussed his issues with Bell’s Palsy and how he was fired two weeks after his first attack. They used Ross’s anger towards the company as the explanation for why talent was leaving because JR was seeking revenge. Ross did a great job delivering the worked shoot promo and they had something here, but the pay-off was unfortunately pretty bad.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OO0j3xaZ53E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed10. "You Want an Apology?" - Eddie Kingston (AEW Rampage - 11/05/21)</code>
10. “You Want an Apology?” – Eddie Kingston (AEW Rampage – 11/05/21)

When CM Punk made his return to wrestling after a seven-year absence, I was ecstatic. Especially since he made his return to AEW, where there were a ton of old and new foes he could cross paths with. For some reason though, the idea of him feuding with Eddie Kingston never really crossed my mind. Therefore, when they crossed paths on an episode of AEW Dynamite igniting their feud, I was intrigued knowing they had crossed paths before on the independent scene in the early ’00s.

Kingston was starting out on the big stage, whereas CM Punk had some years under his belt. Following their brief interaction on AEW Dynamite, CM Punk wanted an apology on AEW Rampage. The last thing Kingston was going to do was apologize. It led to this tremendous promo where you couldn’t tell if Kingston meant what he was saying or if it was a worked shoot. It was the first Punk program since his return one with Darby Allin that I could sink my teeth into. I still want more!

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-7AoX3LkxpA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed9. "Heyman Let’s Loose" - Paul Heyman (ECW One Night Stand - 06/12/05)</code>
9. “Heyman Let’s Loose” – Paul Heyman (ECW One Night Stand – 06/12/05)

In the summer of 2005, Vince McMahon was convinced to bring back ECW for a one-night-only event. The response and success in sales for the “Rise and Fall of ECW” played a huge role in this decision. It ended up taking place in front of a rowdy Hammerstein Ballroom crowd, which was occupied by hardcore ECW fans filled with so much passion that traveled from all around the world for this seemingly once-in-a-lifetime event.

There was an angle where Raw and Smackdown crusaders also had seats for the show as they felt ECW was below them and wanted to be there to mock the event. Paul Heyman would come out to feel the love from all his ECW loyalists in the crowd, but also tore the WWE crusaders up with insults before heading to the back. The insults to Edge and JBL were top-notch burns! This is undoubtedly one of the best wrestling shoot promos I’ve ever laid witness to.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2uGI9X1AGqQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed8. "Paving Potholes" - Kevin Nash \u0026amp; Syxx (WCW Nitro - 04/21/97)</code>
8. “Paving Potholes” – Kevin Nash & Syxx (WCW Nitro – 04/21/97)

In early 1997 the Wolfpac boys of the New World Order began feuding with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Looking back now, it’s easy to think that Flair, Piper, Nash, Hall, and Waltman all came from the same era. However, by the time Nash or Waltman got into wrestling, Flair and Piper had already had at least ten years of experience on them. Which means they hailed from an era way before their younger rivals.

During their feud, there was a lot of talk about respect and the new generation of guys having no respect whatsoever. In this promo specifically, Syxx and Nash decided to fire back. Syxx would call out Flair for ripping off Buddy Rogers, but it was Nash who really got passionate about the veterans leaving nothing but potholes behind them in the wrestling industry. It felt like things really got personal with the jabs delivered during this rivalry. As far as the best wrestling shoot promos go, this one certainly had an air of truth to what the younger guys were saying.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VAf6epYTUAM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed7. "Becoming MJF" - MJF (AEW Dynamite - 02/23/22)</code>
7. “Becoming MJF” – MJF (AEW Dynamite – 02/23/22)

MJF is a student of the game and committed to his character. He’s always on, even when it comes to meet and greets, interviews, or being seen in the public eye.  Therefore, anytime we see a different side of MJF, it feels like something is off. Although in the most recent promo we saw a fired-up MJF talking about stuff that was breaking down the fourth wall, this promo from earlier this year was one of the first times we got to see MJF with his guard down.

He told a story about his childhood, getting bullied, his love for wrestling, being able to meet CM Punk, and how CM Punk let him down by leaving wrestling when he needed him the most. It was the most genuine we have ever heard MJF be. He even broke into tears. It was a plus that he mentioned how a picture of CM Punk and Bryan Danielson posted on my @thewrestlingclassic page encouraged him to pursue his dream to become a wrestler and prove that he could be better than CM Punk. Nobody knew how to feel after this promo because it was too real for MJF.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CqS0jj36PTg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed6. "You Made Wrestling a Dirty Word!" - Paul Heyman (WWF SmackDown - 11/15/01)</code>
6. “You Made Wrestling a Dirty Word!” – Paul Heyman (WWF SmackDown – 11/15/01)

By the Spring of 2001, the WWE had successfully gained ownership over both WCW and ECW. By the summer, they started an Invasion storyline where the WWE was at war against an Alliance between WCW and ECW. This would all lead to a “Winner Takes All” match at Survivor Series in a traditional Survivor Series match. Vince McMahon was the figurehead for the WWE, whereas his children were the figureheads of WCW and ECW respectively. Paul Heyman was on commentary during this period and he aligned himself with the Alliance for obvious reasons as ECW was his creation.

On the go-home Smackdown before Survivor Series, they let Heyman cut a shoot promo on Vince McMahon. Heyman would dig in deep on Vince about the promoters he ran out of business, the way he disrespected his father’s wishes by expanding globally, the ideas he stole from ECW, and the way he made wrestling seem like a dirty word compared to the term “Sports Entertainment.” It all felt real and Heyman was able to make the fans feel conflicted for a good while. It definitely deserves its placing here as one of the best wrestling shoot promos.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2KX7iuxyjHc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed5. "Bret Snaps!" - Bret “The Hitman” Hart (WWF Raw - 03/17/97)</code>
5. “Bret Snaps!” – Bret “The Hitman” Hart (WWF Raw – 03/17/97)

Bret “The Hitman” Hart had been a superhero to wrestling fans around the world for most of the decade. He was cool, calm, and always kept his composure. The Hitman would back up all of his verbal accolades in the wrestling ring as one of the best wrestlers in the world. He even got through feuding with his own brother with a respectable approach.

When he lost the championship at WrestleMania 12, he took some time off. When he returned later in the year, the environment was changing. A disrespectful Steve Austin was on the rise, Shawn Michaels was acting more like a degenerate, and Bret Hart just couldn’t catch a break with his enemies all on his back. Austin had screwed Bret Hart in the Royal Rumble and out of the championship the night after winning it a month after.

It wasn’t until after a cage match that would determine whose match would be for the WWE Championship with Sid on the go-home show to WrestleMania that we actually saw Bret Hart fully unravel. He was tired of being disrespected and screwed. He shoved Vince McMahon to the mat and pointed out that he’s been part of screwing him over just as much as everyone else. The Hitman was so frustrated that he even cursed on television, which was really rare at the time. This would lead to a brawl and it all felt very real.

It’s one of those segments I’ll never forget and will forever be known as one of the best wrestling shoot promos. It really planted the seeds for the Attitude Era as we saw the WWE moving towards a more reality-based direction.

4. “Russo Fires Hogan” – Vince Russo (WCW Bash at the Beach – 07/09/00)
WWE

By the year 2000, World Championship Wrestling wasn’t what it once was. The Turner executives decided to bring in Vince Russo in October of 1999 with the perception that he was the mastermind behind WWF’s rise during the Monday Night Wars. Russo, along with Ed Ferrera, were the head writers for WWF’s programming during the peak of the Attitude Era when WWF started overtaking WCW in the ratings with edgier and raunchier content. However, WCW started becoming more like WWE-lite than its own show. Russo really wanted to focus on the younger talent too rather than the older guys like Hulk Hogan. I won’t go into all the details of what exactly happened backstage at Bash at the Beach 2000, but I promise you there are a plethora of articles and videos on it.

Long story short, there was a plan where the night would end with Booker T winning the World Championship while Hogan would have walked out with his own World Championship. Thus leading to an Undisputed Championship match. However, once Jeff Jarrett just laid in the ring for Hogan to pin him, you could already tell there were some shenanigans at hand. Russo would come out a little after the Hogan/Jarrett match and cut a shoot promo on Hulk Hogan and the political power plays he makes backstage with his creative control. He even mentioned how he wished he never saw him again in WCW..and we didn’t. Check this one out if you haven’t already.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8d4SLA4HYp0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed3. "Not a Coward!" - The Miz (WWE Talking Smack - 08/23/16)</code>
3. “Not a Coward!” – The Miz (WWE Talking Smack – 08/23/16)

Talking Smack was this brand new show that aired right after SmackDown every week. Renee Paquette and SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan hosted the show and there were special guests appearing on it every week. The beauty of the show was that it was unscripted, meaning the talent that came on had to cut promos and answer questions on the fly. Whereas everything they said on the main shows was scripted or had some sort of direction. The Miz has always been one of those guys that when he talks, you listen because he’s one of the best talkers in the business today. When Miz gets fired up, he reaches a whole different level. 

The rivalry between Miz and Bryan goes back to when Bryan first showed up for the NXT competition game. Bryan is a wrestler’s wrestler, whereas Miz is more of a talker and personality. When Bryan said Miz wrestled like a coward while he was the reigning Intercontinental Champion looking for some respect, it struck a nerve with Miz. He even took jabs at Bryan for being forced into retirement due to his wrestling style and independent background. It got to the point where Bryan walked off the set. I think on this day we all learned not to call Mike Mizanan a coward. Hands down, this will always be regarded as one of the best wrestling shoot promos of all time.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FcuhEsDgis8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed2. "Superstar Steve Austin" - "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (ECW - 10/10/95)</code>
2. “Superstar Steve Austin” – “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (ECW – 10/10/95)

Some of the best promos come from the heart and are fired up by true frustrations. I feel like MJF’s most recent promo was rooted in real frustrations he held deep down inside. I think CM Punk’s pipebomb was rooted through true underlying frustrations that were weighing on him as well. The first promo I remember seeing that seemingly broke down that fourth wall and came off as a wrestler expressing their real frustrations with the business rather than their rivalry was the infamous Steve Austin promo in ECW.

Austin had recently been fired by World Championship Wrestling by Eric Bischoff. Not only was he fired, but he was fired by Fed-Ex while recovering from an injury at home. Paul Heyman, who had worked with “Stunning” Steve Austin in WCW during their time in the Dangerous Alliance stable, always saw great potential in Austin. When Heyman found out Austin was fired from WCW, he called him up and offered him a role in ECW. Austin entered ECW full of anger and frustration. Heyman gave him the platform to express those feelings and he did just that by taking jabs at Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan, and many others for being underestimating, misusing, and under-appreciating him. It was authentic and passionate.

Every time he looked at you in the camera, you knew he was saying every word with pure conviction. Austin wanted to prove he was the superstar he always thought he was – ECW and Paul Heyman allowed him to do just that. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite and best wrestling shoot promos of all time.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/F5GRlDHGB4A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed1. "The Pipebomb" - CM Punk (WWE Raw - 06/27/11)</code>
1. “The Pipebomb” – CM Punk (WWE Raw – 06/27/11)

There wouldn’t be a “The Wrestling Classic” without the infamous CM Punk pipe bomb from Las Vegas. As cliche as it sounds, this moment got me back into WWE programming on a full-time basis. As someone who wasn’t and still isn’t a big John Cena fan, it finally felt like things were going to change. I had friends who stopped watching wrestling messaging me asking me if that was real or not. It even ended up on WorldStar!

I have been a fan of CM Punk since I first discovered him in Ring of Honor. The run he had in the WWE was very much a story of highs and lows. I popped when he won championship titles for the first time. I enjoyed what I saw during his feud with Jeff Hardy and loved the Straight Edge Society era of his career. Although he had been given plenty of opportunities, been a multiple-time World Champion, and had high-profile matches, it didn’t really feel like the CM Punk we knew before the WWE until this promo where he sat on the stage and aired out all his grievances.

John Cena had just defeated R-Truth in a match that ended their feud where a water bottle was the weapon of choice at one point. I remember that detail because it’s a reminder of how meh I was about the product at the time. CM Punk, who had won the opportunity to face the WWE Champion at Money in the Bank, came out wearing a “Stone Cold” Steve Austin t-shirt. Once he grabbed the microphone and sat crossed-legged on the stage, the rest was history. The line about not hating John Cena but hating the idea that John Cena was the best was already relatable to how I felt. His going in on the fans, The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and the entire McMahon family was wild for the time. He brought up Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, John Laurinaitis, NJPW, ROH, and even waved at Colt Cobana who didn’t work there anymore. He even stated that WWE would maybe be better after Vince was dead, which just seemed insane at the time.

After years of feeling like every promo in the company was scripted word for word, this felt like it wasn’t. It felt rebellious and radical. They got me back on the hook and it was even more satisfying when Punk actually beat Cena at Money in the Bank. He would continue to cut work-shoot-like promos for the rest of his tenure in the WWE. A lot of those promos could have also made this list, but this was the best one. People still talk about it today, whether it’s positive or negative. I still strongly believe CM Punk getting over opened the door for smaller guys who were considered indie darlings actually having legitimate opportunities in the federation. It was guys such as Daniel Bryan and himself that broke the glass ceiling for guys like them to reach the top spot. I’ll always have a soft spot for this promo and basically know it word for word.

Whether you love or hate CM Punk, you know at the time that this promo shook things up and easily earns the top spot on this list of the best wrestling shoot promos.

I hope you all enjoyed this list of memorable worked shoot promos. Tell me if you disagree and let me know what you think over social media. Ya dig? Oooh Yeah!

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Categories
Sports

AEW×NJPW: Forbidden Door: Matches and Predictions

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Wrestling fans everywhere – welcome to the modern-day version of the historic event, AAA When Worlds Collide. Now All Elite Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling are joining forces to present one of the most anticipated PPVs of all time, AEW×NJPW: Forbidden Door.

With two companies backed by strong rosters full of the very best in the industry, dream match scenarios are running wild through the minds of the most avid wrestling fans. Modern-day greats, such as Kazuchika Okada, Bryan Danielson, Hiroshi Tanahashi, “Hangman” Adam Page, and so much more, make up the gamut of wrestlers everyone is dying to see compete on this crossover PPV match card. On June 26, the fans in attendance are going to blow the roof off of the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

But before we get there, allow yours truly to give you all a preview of what’s to come and who I think will emerge victorious from AEW×NJPW: Forbidden Door.

AEW×NJPW: Forbidden Door Predictions
AEW / NJPW

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/AEW/status/1540096200187183106?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>
Gunn Club (Billy, Austin, and Colten Gunn) and Max Caster vs. Yuya Uemura, Alex Coughlin, The DKC, and Kevin Knight

Preview & Predictions: EVERYBODY LOVES THE ACCLAIMED! I consider myself a part of that whole “everyone” collective, by the way. I’m a huge fan of the quadruple silliness that Max Caster, Anthony Bowens, Austin Gunn, and Colten Gunn have gotten into lately. For this go-round, Billy Gunn is gonna step into the ring with his young boys to go to war with the NJPW Dojo Bros. I think the AEW squad that’s been put in place here is going to crash and burn since they’re being pitted against their toughest competition to date. The New Japan representatives being put in place here are nothing to play with and they’ll get that message across with a win here.

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/QTMarshall/status/1540706195547332608?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>
The Factory (QT Marshall and Aaron Solo) vs. Bishamon (Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi)

Preview & Predictions: Oh snap, they got Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi booked on this show? That’s quite a pleasant surprise! Although both of those guys are the perennial New Japan wrestlers who’ll never win the “big one,” they still stand out as those lovable underdogs you can’t help but want to see win. Speaking of winning, Goto and Hashi are going to steamroll over QT Marshall and his stablemate Aaron Solo here without breaking much of a sweat.

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/kmaru0923/status/1540560306786938880?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>
Swerve In Our Glory (Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru)

Preview & Predictions: Swerve Strickland isn’t exactly Keith Lee’s favorite person in the world right now. And that’s because Swerve flipped him over the top rope during a battle royale that had Interim World Championship implications attached to it. Swerve is trying everything to get back in his tag team partner’s good graces, but that whole process is definitely going to be a slow burner. They’re going to attempt to mend their friendship here by taking on two members of the Suzuki-gun collective, which are El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. I’m going to hand the victory to Swerve in Our Glory on this one – they’ll continue on the road to a restored sense of trust as they overcome two of the lower stablemates from Minoru Suzuki’s dastardly stable.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NrAbBWl-k_A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedZack Sabre Jr. vs. TBA (Zack Sabre Jr.'s Opponent Will Be the Newest Member of Blackpool Combat Club and Will Also Replace Bryan Danielson at Blood and Guts)</code>
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. TBA (Zack Sabre Jr.’s Opponent Will Be the Newest Member of Blackpool Combat Club and Will Also Replace Bryan Danielson at Blood and Guts)

Preview & Predictions: Ooooooooooh…so we got a mystery man being set up to take on New Japan’s best technician, huh? My heart’s broken over the fact that Bryan Danielson won’t be able to take on Zack Sabre Jr. and participate in Blood & Guts a few days later, but he’s promising us a worthy replacement. So three choices entered my brain after I thought about who it could possibly be: Jonathan Gresham, Johnny Gargano, and Claudio Castagnoli (the man formerly known as WWE’s Cesaro). And after much deliberation, I think that the third choice is the one that’s finally going to make his AEW debut, align himself with the Blackpool Combat Club, and walk away with his first company win over the Suzuki-gun member. CLAUDIO’S GOING TO BE #ALLELITE!

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/AEW/status/1540794459994132480?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) and El Phantasmo vs. Dudes with Attitudes (Darby Allin, Sting, and Shingo Takagi)

Preview & Predictions: A lot of wrestling fans are none too fond of the Young Bucks match formula. I’m not among those fans, however – I simply adore the breakneck pace and insane multi-man maneuvers that break out whenever Matt and Nick Jackson get caught up in a bout with four or six more men in the ring with them. I’m expecting this eight-man tag team match to deliver the biggest crowd pops of the night thanks to a mix of your usual Young Bucks high-flying madness, Darby Allin’s daredevil antics, and Sting’s signature hot comeback sequence. Another factor that’s going to take this match over the top is the presence of Shingo Takagi, who is one of those reliable talents that regularly produces the best matches on any New Japan event card he’s booked on. With the speedy powerhouse Takagi in tow, I predict a triumphant win coming Darby and Sting’s way.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XigD-iYAspg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedFTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) (ROH World Tag Team Champions) vs. United Empire (Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb) (IWGP Tag Team Champions) vs. Roppongi Vice (Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero) (Winners Take All Tag Team Match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship and IWGP Tag Team Championship)</code>
FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) (ROH World Tag Team Champions) vs. United Empire (Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb) (IWGP Tag Team Champions) vs. Roppongi Vice (Trent Beretta and Rocky Romero) (Winners Take All Tag Team Match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship and IWGP Tag Team Championship)

Preview & Predictions: Here is one of my most anticipated matches of the entire show! FTR has been incredible all year long thus far thanks to their rejuvenated run as babyfaces and ROH World Team Champions. During their title match with Roppongi Vice on a previous episode of Dynamite, Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb of Will Ospreay’s United Empire stable ran in to disrupt things and leave both teams in a broken & beaten state. Now all three duos are going to go to war and vie to leave with both the ROH and IWGP tag team championships within their grasp.

I think we’re due for a shocking result here, ladies and gentlemen! So United Empire just claimed the tag team straps at NJPW Dominion, while FTR has held the ROH tag team straps for a good while now. My gut’s telling me Khan and Cobb will blow everyone’s minds when they get a pin over Trent Beretta or Rocky Romero to rip the titles away from Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler without even pinning either one of them. This crazy win will lead to FTR finally flying over to NJPW to continue their beef with the United Empire later this summer.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wFID5P108_s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedPac vs. Miro vs. Malakai Black vs. Clark Connors (Four-Way Match for the Inaugural AEW All-Atlantic Championship)</code>
Pac vs. Miro vs. Malakai Black vs. Clark Connors (Four-Way Match for the Inaugural AEW All-Atlantic Championship)

Preview & Predictions: This lineup is so dammed good! Pac never has a bad match whenever he gets his time to shine, Miro is the god-killer that “redeems” his foes, Malakai Black has an aura about him that presents him as the ultimate badass, and Clark Connor gives it his all due to a never-say-die attitude. Prepare yourself for a match jam-packed with stiff strikes, extremely brutal slams, and sharp high-flying maneuvers. I feel like Pac and Black will be the ones to cancel each other out while Miro and Connors come to blows in a power-based war that’ll erupt near this match’s final moments. And once all is said and done, everyone’s favorite god-hater will be the one to tap out Connors and be crowned the first-ever AEW All-Atlantic Champion. ALL PRAISE THE TRUE KING OF BULGARIA!

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/AEW/status/1537240261868527616?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>
Le Sex Gods (Chris Jericho and Sammy Guevara) and Minoru Suzuki vs. Eddie Kingston, Wheeler Yuta, and Shota Umino (The Winning Team Receives the Man Advantage for Blood & Guts)

Preview & Predictions: NJPW sure does love its six-man tag matches! This one has that extra oomph added to it in the form of AEW talent in order to increase its importance in my eyes. Chris Jericho has realigned himself with the “Spanish God” Sammy Guevara. And to make matters even more dangerous for their opponents, “Murder Grandpa” Minoru Suzuki is standing right beside them. But those same opponents aren’t pushovers whatsoever! Eddie Kingston, Wheeler Yuta, and Shota Umino (JON MOXLEY’S BELOVED “SHOOTER!”) are definitely ready for war.

This six-man tag going to devolve into chaos at some point. With Eddie’s unbridled rage for Jericho still a thing and his affinity to go “Strong Style” when the likes of Suzuki are in his midst, things breaking down are a given for this PPV bout. Yuta will be the one to bring the fight to Guevara, while Umino will try his luck at making a dent in Suzuki. I think that the last pairing will result in the babyfaces taking the L here – Suzuki will take advantage of his younger foe’s inability to bring him down and ultimately plant him with a Gotch Style Piledriver for the win.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ewi231i94L4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedThunder Rosa (c) vs. Toni Storm (AEW Women's World Championship)</code>
Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Toni Storm (AEW Women’s World Championship)

Preview & Predictions: Well this is a nice surprise! I figured since NJPW wouldn’t fly over their talent from STARDOM (which is their sister promotion), there wouldn’t be a women’s match booked for this show. Shout out to Tony Khan for doing right by his ladies and giving them a prominent spot in this significant event. Thunder Rosa’s the AEW Women’s World Champion and she’s successfully defended it against Nyla Rose, Serena Deeb, and Marina Shafir. As for Toni Storm, she’s racked up some impressive victories over Jamie Hayter and even Dr. Britt Baker.

Both women are coming in strong with noteworthy wins and celebrated in-ring performances backing them up. If Rosa was coming into this thing smack-dab in the middle of a long AEW Women’s World Championship reign, then I’d say Toni is the perfect person to bring it to end. But we all know Rosa’s not dropping it so soon since she’s just getting started on making this title reign a lengthy one. Rosa’s holding onto her prize once all is said and done here.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oWeqDmVAGoA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedWill Ospreay (c) vs. Orange Cassidy (IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship)</code>
Will Ospreay (c) vs. Orange Cassidy (IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship)

Preview & Predictions: One of the more shocking match announcements for this crossover show comes in the form of “The Aerial Assassin” Will Ospreay vs. “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy. And the stakes for this have been raised to a shockingly high degree since the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship is up for grabs. I know what you’re thinking, folks – “OSPREAY’S FIGHTING ORANGE CASSIDY…REALLY?” But hear me out, folks – this match is going to exceed everyone’s expectations and possibly be the best match of the entire evening.

Ospreay can do no wrong in the ring – he’s already shown the AEW faithful just how good he is thanks to his MOTY candidate against Dax Harwood. And Cassidy has equally shown that he can put on his working boots and shock the crowd when he starts revving up (just take a look at his match against PAC at Revolution 2020!). With both these guys in the ring against each other for the very first time, I’m expecting greatness to be produced here. And as for the victor, Ospreay is walking in as the champ and damn sure leaving it the very same way.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kmdZF7i2kBE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedJay White (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada vs. "Hangman" Adam Page vs. Adam Cole (Four-Way Match for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship)</code>
Jay White (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada vs. “Hangman” Adam Page vs. Adam Cole (Four-Way Match for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship)

Preview & Predictions: New Japan’s biggest prize is the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Its current holder is the Bullet Club leader Jay White, who reclaimed the belt after defeating the “Rainmaker” himself at this year’s Dominion show. The stakes have been raised a whole lot more now that the belt is on the line with those same two individuals in place and two additional wrestlers in the form of AEW talent. And those two add-ons are Adam Cole (BAY BAY!) and the former AEW World Champion Adam Page.

I just know these four men are going to give us something really special here. All four men mixing it up at the very same time guarantees that a high level of entertainment will be achieved. The methodical White, smooth-as-butter Kazuchika Okada, southern powerhouse Page, and opportunistic Cole all have varied styles that present an interesting dynamic here. As for who I think is going to win, my pick has to be White. He just won it back, so I just can’t see him dropping it just a few weeks after becoming New Japan’s top champ.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cBi7l0tc72A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedJon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (Interim AEW World Championship)</code>
Jon Moxley vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (Interim AEW World Championship)

Preview & Predictions: Man, I feel so bad for CM Punk. That risky leap he took into the crowd on his first night as AEW World Champion resulted in him getting bogged down with a broken foot. And due to that unforeseen injury, he was forced to step away for surgery and give up his marquee spot on this show. In the meantime, Punk will hold onto his title while an interim AEW World Champion gets crowned. And due to the outcome of two important matches that took place in both AEW and NJPW, Jon Moxley and Hiroshi Tanahashi are FINALLY going to step into the ring against each other.

This blood feud match has been a long time coming. Moxley has had NJPW’s “Ace” in his sights due to their previous IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship aspirations. The pandemic kept both men from running up against each other in a singles match, but now the stakes have been raised to a higher degree for this encounter. When Moxley was the champ, he didn’t get a chance to perform in front of a crowd during that run. So I think all the events that led to this match will result in Moxley becoming the first two-time AEW World Champion. And this time, he’ll get to bask in the adoration of the crowd while he’s enjoying the best run of his career.

Categories
Sports

The 10 Best Scott Hall Matches

Hey Yo! It’s The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37pm. And this one’s all about showing all my love and adoration for the best Scott Hall matches of all time.

A few months back on March 14, 2022, we lost one of the most important and popular wrestlers in the business, Scott Hall. I wanted to write this article for a while now and I am glad I am finally getting to it. Although he started his wrestling career in 1984, my first exposure to Hall was when he made his debut in the WWE as Razor Ramon. He oozed machismo and was the personification of cool. He would go on to shake up the wrestling world when he jumped to WCW along with his Kliq brother Kevin Nash as one of the founding fathers of the “New World Order.”

He is remembered for mannerisms like flicking the toothpick and the way he would point at one of his comrades. Fans will always remember his promos such as the survey he would do on WCW television, his vignettes before debuting as Razor Ramon, his simple yet significant Hall of Fame speech, or just how he would start talking with a “Hey Yo!” However, he was also a tremendous wrestler. I thought I would make a list of my favorite Scott Hall/Razor Ramon matches for anyone who wants to go back down memory lane with “The Bad Guy.”

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“Hard work pays off. Dreams come true. Bad times don’t last…but bad guys do!” – RIP Scott Hall

Be sure to share this article and debate with your friends. Also, be sure to let me know how you feel about this list on Instagram or Twitter.

Honorable Mentions

King of the Ring – 06/13/93

Razor Ramon vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart

Raw – 10/11/93

Intercontinental Championship

Razor Ramon vs. Rick Martel

King of the Ring – 06/19/94

Razor Ramon vs. Owen Hart

Raw – 08/01/94

Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels

Action Zone – 10/30/94

Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid vs. Shawn Michaels & Diesel

Fall Brawl – 09/15/96

War Games

Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, NWO Sting & Hollywood Hogan vs. Ric Flair. Lex Luger, Arn Anderson & Sting

Halloween Havoc – 10/27/96

WCW Tag Team Championship

Scott Hall & Kevin Nash vs. Harlem Heat

Slamboree – 05/18/97

Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & Syxx vs. Ric Flair, Roddy Piper & Kevin Greene

Clash of Champions – 08/21/97

WCW Tag Team Championship

Scott Hall & Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger & DDP

Souled Out – 01/17/99

Stun Gun Ladder Match

Scott Hall vs. Bill Goldberg

Superbrawl – 02/21/99

Scott Hall & Kevin Nash vs. Rey Mysterio & Konnan

Raw – 03/11/02

Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & Hollywood Hogan vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin & The Rock

Wrestlemania X8 – 03/17/02

Scott Hall vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/obwnbKlbysM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed10. Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid (Raw - 05/17/93)</code>
10. Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid (Raw – 05/17/93)

This match is more memorable for being a moment than the match itself. It made the list because most fans who were alive during this time remember this unforgettable upset. It was a break-out moment for 1-2-3 Kid who at the time was just known as “The Lightning Kid” or “The Kid.” There wasn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind that Razor was going to pick up the victory against smaller enhancement talent.

Razor Ramon confidently controlled the match until Kid made a comeback and then stole the victory. The way Razor sold the loss with such shock elevated the moment. It was after this surprising victory over Razor Ramon that The Kid became the 1-2-3 Kid. Kid and Razor would be tied to each other off and on in the years that followed. This match not only marks one of the best Scott Hall matches, but also one of the greatest upsets in wrestling history.

9. Razor Ramon & Ric Flair vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage & Mr. Perfect (Survivor Series – 11/25/92)
WWE

The match was originally supposed to be the Ultimate Maniacs which was the team of Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage against Flair and Ramon. However, the Warrior had left the WWE before the match took place and Mr. Perfect would replace him. This made sense because Perfect had been an ally to Ric Flair for most of 1992 as his “executive consultant” but he turned babyface to team with Savage.

This was Ramon’s first big brush with top names in the company and they were all in their prime. It wasn’t the main event but was stacked with star power. The match ended in DQ after multiple referee bumps but this match proved that The Bad Guy was ready to hang with the big names.  

8. Razor Ramon vs. Owen Hart (WWF Intercontinental Championship, Raw – 01/09/95)
WWE

This under-appreciated classic took place on Monday Night Raw. These two had history wrestling in the finals of the King of the Ring in 1994 where Owen Hart picked up the victory with an assist from Jim Neidhart. Fans anticipated the rematch because they had great chemistry with each other. This match went a little longer than their King of the Ring match and was a bit more competitive.

The fans were really invested in the match and having Shawn Michaels on commentary gave us a unique perspective because he had his own history with Ramon. Both men would look strong at the end and it almost seemed as if Owen had won the match when he had Ramon in the sharpshooter but Bret Hart would run in to cause a DQ.

7. Razor Ramon vs. Diesel (WWF Intercontinental Championship, Summerslam – 08/29/94)
WWE

The feud between Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels was at an all-time high in 1994. Following their ladder match at Wrestlemania X, The Bad Guy lost the Intercontinental Championship to the Heartbreak Kid’s bodyguard, Diesel. A rematch was set for Summerslam between the two but the odds were still stacked against Ramon as long as Michaels was in Diesel’s corner. Razor was able to even the odds when he secured Walter Payton, the Hall of Fame running back for the Bears and arguably the greatest player in NFL history, as back-up.

This match was better than anyone was expecting which further proved the Kliq members always worked better with each other. The shenanigans with Michaels and Payton outside of the ring added to the drama. It would be a Sweet Chin Music from HBK inadvertently hitting Diesel that would allow Ramon to regain the championship.

This one’s a definite highlight in Razor’s career.

6. Razor Ramon vs. Jeff Jarrett (WWF Intercontinental Championship, Royal Rumble – 01/22/95)
WWE

I think a lot of us grew up not liking Jeff Jarrett because he was so good at being unlikable and obnoxious. However looking back at his matches now, he was a really good in-ring performer. The matches he had with Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Championship always had great in-ring psychology. The match at the Royal Rumble was the tale of two matches. Double J would focus on The Bad Guy’s knee and with the help of the Roadie they would pick up a count-out victory.

This wouldn’t sit well with Jarrett who would taunt Ramon to return to the ring to retain his championship with honor. Ramon wouldn’t back down to a fight and the match was restarted. The attack on the knee would seem to be too much because he wouldn’t be able to hit the Razor’s Edge and Jarrett would win the title.

5. Scott Hall vs. Sting (WCW World Heavyweight Championship, Uncensored – 03/15/98)
WWE

Many of us fans consider Scott Hall to be one of the most popular and deserving legends to have never won a World Championship. The odd thing about it was that in both WWF and WWE, Hall never really got World Title match opportunities. Therefore when he won the World War 3 Battle Royal in 1997 to earn a shot at the championship at a later date, it was exciting.

He would also be facing the Stinger who was red hot off his year-long feud with the NWO in 1997 and his matches with Hollywood Hogan for the World Championship. It wasn’t a long match but Hall made it unpredictable with all the stuff he pulled out to try to win such as brass knucks and even Dusty Rhodes getting involved. Sting would retain but it was a valiant effort by Hall in one of his only title shots.

This bout sticks out as the most memorable clash whenever the best Scott Hall matches are mentioned.

4. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & Hulk Hogan vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Sting & Lex Luger (Bash at the Beach – 07/07/96)
WWE

When Scott Hall came through the crowd on Monday Night Raw’s rival show Monday Nitro in the middle of a match to declare war on WCW, it changed the game. Soon after Kevin Nash would show up as an ally of Scott Hall declaring war on WCW. They were dubbed the Outsiders and they were reeking as much havoc as they could to WCW. They got the match they wanted against three of WCW’s top stars in Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy Savage but nobody knew who The Outsiders’ third man would be.

When it was revealed that Hulk Hogan was that third man turning against the fans for the first time since the mid-1980s, it shook the foundation of the wrestling world. This only worked the way it did because Hogan was aligned with Hall and Nash. The fans were so angry they were literally throwing trash in the ring. The match was dramatic and one of the most iconic nights in the business.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4ZU7LogHJx0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed3. Razor Ramon vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart (WWF Championship, Royal Rumble - 01/24/93)</code>
3. Razor Ramon vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart (WWF Championship, Royal Rumble – 01/24/93)

If there were two people you knew you were going to have great matches within the 90s, it was Shawn Michaels and Bret “The Hitman” Hart. This was Razor Ramon’s one and only shot at the WWE Championship. At this point, he had only been in the company for four months but worked with the likes of Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Ultimate Warrior, and Mr. Perfect so it wasn’t too shocking when he got this opportunity. They were really prepping The Bad Guy as a top heel. They added fuel to the fire when Ramon attacked Bret’s younger brother Owen backstage.

Razor would be in control most of the match by cutting the Hitman from any momentum he’d get by focusing on his ribs. It was a valiant and dominant effort by Razor Ramon but once the Hitman found a unique way to lock in the sharpshooter, it was over. This was an excellent quality championship match and showcased to the fans that Razor Ramon was going to be a top-tier player moving forward. It’s wild that it’s his only televised WWE Championship opportunity.

This early highlight in his career stands tall as one of the very best Scott Hall matches ever contested within WWE.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6jrgE-X2syI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed2. Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, Summerslam - 08/27/95)</code>
2. Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, Summerslam – 08/27/95)

The build-up heading towards Summerslam would lead us to believe we were getting a clash between Shawn Michaels and Sid for the Intercontinental Championship. Instead, it was changed to Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon having a rematch of their revolutionary Wrestlemania X ladder match. Although there was a lack of build-up, the excitement for another ladder match was enough to draw in fans.

The other notable fact here is that both guys were babyfaces here which was rare to see at the time but Ramon assumed the role of the heel during the match. Both men successfully recreated the magic of the first match and pulled out some new extraordinary moves that left fans in disbelief. There is a memorable spot near the finish where you can tell Michaels gets frustrated but the rematch lived up to height and Michaels got his first-ever Ladder Match victory. 

1. Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels (WWF Intercontinental Championship, WrestleMania X – 03/20/94)
WWE

Although it wasn’t the first ladder match that happened in the WWE, it’s the first one majority of fans remember because it happened on the biggest stage of the year. Shawn Michaels was stripped of the Intercontinental Championship in late 1993. Razor Ramon would be crowned the new champion after winning a battle royal and defeating Rick Martel.

Shawn Michaels wouldn’t recognize that there was a new champion, therefore the solution was a ladder match between the two to declare the Undisputed Intercontinental Champion. This was an innovative match and something fresh for the WWE. To see the two men using the ladder as a weapon, Shawn Michaels performing a splash off the ladder and all the other spots were ahead of their time in 1994. It was nothing the audience had witnessed before and many believe it stole the show.

You just have to mention this pioneering bout as being near the top of the list for the best Scott Hall matches.

I hope you all enjoyed this list of the 10 best Scott Hall matches. Tell me if you disagree and let me know what you think over social media. Ya dig? Oooh Yeah!

Instagram – @thewrestlingclassic

Twitter – @twcworldwide

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Weekly Podcast – TWC Show

Categories
Sports

WWE Hell in a Cell 2022 Preview: Matches and Predictions

WE’RE HEADING BACK INTO THE MOST DEMONIC STRUCTURE IN ALL OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING, FOLKS!

Now the WWE Universe has grown quite accustomed to getting annual Hell in a Cell matches in the summertime instead of the fall. And just like last year, this year’s match-themed PPV will transpire in June. The stakes are certainly high since this show is expected to wrap up some major feuds/storylines that have been transpiring since the springtime months. Before WWE goes Ladder Match crazy at July’s Money in the Bank spectacular, the men and women of the immense WWE roster will come to blows at the 2022 Hell in a Cell PPV.

So let’s get into some fun predictions about all the confirmed matches for this year’s June 5 installment of Hell in a Cell.

WWE Hell in a Cell 2022 Predictions
WWE

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wwHl7YlveGY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedFinn Bálor, AJ Styles, and Liv Morgan vs. The Judgment Day (Edge, Damian Priest, and Rhea Ripley)</code>
Finn Bálor, AJ Styles, and Liv Morgan vs. The Judgment Day (Edge, Damian Priest, and Rhea Ripley)

Preview & Predictions: AJ Styles has taken quite the beatings at WrestleMania 38 and WrestleMania Backlash from the darker, more brooding rendition of today’s Edge. Now that Mr. Copeland has adopted the name of a throwback WWE PPV for his new cult-like stable consisting of Damian Priest and Rhea Ripley, the “Phenomenal One” has had to adopt some trusty mates of his own to even the odds. Now AJ has the support of his Bullet Club brother-in-arms Finn Bálor and an honorary member in the form of Liv Morgan. Since Styles has taken back-to-back PPV losses, I presume he’s due for a comeback win here that’ll see him get the winning pin on Edge. And this in turn will lead to a big blowoff match between the two at Money in the Bank in July.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SwfdSzSHTvA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedTheory (c) vs. Mustafa Ali (WWE United States Championship Match)</code>
Theory (c) vs. Mustafa Ali (WWE United States Championship Match)

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/r6kfC6AiHpY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></code>

Preview & Predictions: Color me surprised when Mustafa Ali returned from his lengthy hiatus to pop back up on Raw. Color me not shocked at all when he immediately became a weekly punching bag for Theory, The Miz, Veer Mahaan, and Tommaso Ciampa upon his return. Ali has had to jump through so many hopes in order to finally get a shot at Theory’s United States Championship. But in the process, he hasn’t really been made to look any stronger or even credible enough to present a legit threat to the current US Champ. Theory’s still being pushed to the moon these days, so Ali’s just gonna pad out the up and comer’s win column here with an easy victory. Sucks to be you, Ali…

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/z-alkkO897s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedMadcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin (No Holds Barred Match)</code>
Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin (No Holds Barred Match)

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SwWf0UH4-lE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed</code>

Preview & Predictions: Now y’all know I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about anything involving these two men at the moment. This is one of those feuds that’ll most definitely get a whole lot of flack by year’s end. But you know what? Madcap Moss (god, I hope they change that name soon!) making his comeback in straight black tights is doing a whole hell of a lotta good for him right now. He looks far more badass and more believable, which is why I’m hitching my wagon to him for this big No Holds Barred Match. Moss is gonna put Happy Corbin away for a while by definitively defeating him here.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RisNE1bQtvM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedEzekiel vs. Kevin Owens</code>
Ezekiel vs. Kevin Owens

Preview & Predictions: Confession time, folks – I truly do miss walking with Elias. Say what you want about his wandering guitarist gimmick, but at least it was entertaining as hell watching him crap all over a new set of fans every time WWE came to town. Now he’s been forced to ditch all of that to morph into a slight “Macho Man” look-a-like named Ezekiel who swears he’s Elias’ brother. Whatever, bruh…the man is getting the push of his life right now and that tells me he’s going to nab one of those major defining career wins over Kevin Owens here. I wouldn’t be shocked whatsoever if Ezekiel ended up getting added to the Money in the Bank Match just to keep his hot streak going.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AcG76GuQZhw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedBobby Lashley vs. Omos and MVP (2-on-1 Handicap Match)</code>
Bobby Lashley vs. Omos and MVP (2-on-1 Handicap Match)

Preview & Predictions: So here’s where we stand as far as this big man beef is concerned – Bobby Lashley won at WrestleMania 38 and got the win during a Steel Cage match on a recent episode of Raw, while Omos prevailed at WrestleMania Backlash. So right now, Bobby has the upper hand in the win column. Which means he’s clearly gonna take the L here, especially since the odds are heavily stacked against him now. I feel like MVP is gonna bring his trusty cane into the picture to weaken Bobby long enough for Omos to land the finishing blow for the win. And with Bobby and Omos tied at two wins apiece following this bout, we’re due for a big tiebreaker sometime in the near future on Raw.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7HvdsN8XCck" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedBianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship)</code>
Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka vs. Becky Lynch (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship)

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/I-ej99mVnAQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed</code>

Preview & Predictions: “The Empress of Tomorrow” is finally back in the swing of things on Monday Night Raw! And upon her much anticipated comeback, she dealt a heavy blow to Becky Lynch by beating her (with a proper assist from her dangerous Green Mist!) and gained herself a match against the WWE Raw Women’s Champion in the process. But then a week later, Becky forced herself back into the title fray by getting a shocking win over Asuka! Now the stakes have been raised to a much higher degree.

Bianca Belair is a regular highlight of Monday Nights and especially when she’s given the time to do her thing on the PPV stage, so I just know this Triple Threat Match will slap! Now I love me some Asuka and it’d be cool to see her reign with the Raw Women’s Championship again. But I’m more of a realist than an optimist these days. I know Asuka was brought back to give Bianca a valid challenger to overcome in order to add more validity to her title reign.

Asuka’s going to take the pinfall loss here, which will most likely give Becky an excuse to get herself a rematch with the champ since she wasn’t pinned here. It’s only right we get that WrestleMania 38 runback at Money in the Bank in July!

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ex3bhmOXlLc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedCody Rhodes vs. Seth "Freakin" Rollins (Hell in a Cell Match)</code>
Cody Rhodes vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins (Hell in a Cell Match)

Preview & Predictions: WWE Feud of the Year right here? I’m of the belief that it’s easily going to take that honor once 2022 comes to a close. Cody Rhodes’ return to WWE has been a smashing success thus far – he’s competed in good to great matches with a myriad of Raw’s top superstars, delivered his usual brand of heartfelt promos, and gotten the crowd back in the palm of his hands (which is a far cry from the fan reaction he garnered during the final days of his AEW run).

Cody’s biggest rival during his second WWE run thus far has been Seth Rollins, who has provided the “American Nightmare” with an amazing in-ring dance partner. So far, Seth has taken two major L’s to Cody in back-to-back PPVs. And to be quite honest with you all, he’s clearly being put back in the ring with Cody here to take yet another big loss. In probably the best match of this amazing feud, Cody will prevail once more on his way to probably being included in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match in July.

This feud is so reminiscent of Batista and Triple H’s rivalry from 2005 – the conquering hero overcame the dastardly heel three times in a row on PPV. Cody’s clearly in Batista’s position, which is why I’m choosing him as the victor here.

Categories
Popular Culture

Top WWE Trading Cards to Look Out For

Before I jump in to the list of the top WWE trading cards to look out for, let’s get you up to date on the state of the wrestling card market. The 2022 release of WWE Prizm has put a spotlight back on wrestling trading cards.  The iconic stars of the 90s and 2000s have been rebranded into the ever-sought-after Prizm set. This has ushered in both a layer of nostalgia and a desire to hunt the jaw-dropping Gold and Black Prizms, which consistently bring in a pretty penny across all sports.

However, Prizm isn’t the wrestling world’s first grand entrance into the hobby.  Legends like Ric Flair, Andre the Giant, and Hulk Hogan all have rookie cards stemming back to the early 1980s.  The following list highlights a few of the most revered sets for WWE collectors:

There are other noteworthy sets to acknowledge as well, but the aforementioned list offers rookie cards for the game’s most heralded superstars.  Diehard fans of the WWE/WWF have been accumulating these cards for decades now, and now the average cardboard collector is catching on.  CardLadder has reported a 34.7% increase in its wrestling index over the past 90 days.  This comes at a time when many other major sports have been on a downhill slope, so it is exciting to see big sales across the WWE market.

Today, we intend to feature 10 cards in the WWE world that are worthy of a second (or third) glance.  Some may have fetched a high price at auction, while others may be up for grabs as you are reading this article.

Without further ado, here are the top WWE trading cards to look out for:

1. 1982 Wrestling All Stars Series A Ric Flair #27: $900-9,500
CardLadder

If you’re a Rolex-wearing, diamond ring-wearing, wheeling-dealing, limousine-riding, jet-flying son of a gun, then this card is for you.  

One of wrestling’s biggest personalities, the Nature Boy rose to prominence in the late 70s fighting in the National Wrestling Alliance and later in the WCW.  Flair has since maintained relevance by appearing in many WWE events over the last 2 decades. His trademark slogan, “WOO!”, has become synonymous with American pop culture, and his flashy attire is certainly hard to forget.

The card pictured above brought nearly $9,500 at auction in April, but lower grades can be picked up for far less. This is also Ric Flair’s first appearance on cardboard, which cements it as his true rookie card. Other copies of the 1982 Wrestling All Stars Flair can be purchased here or at major auction houses.

2. 1998 WWF Wrestling Superstarz Autographs Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: $1,500-4,000
CardLadder

Arguably the most popular man on Earth, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has reached a celebrity status that surpasses any other wrestler on this list.  Therefore, it is only fitting that we showcase one of his more electric appearances on a card.

The 1998 Superstarz Autographs feature phenomenal photography work that transports the viewer back to the late 90s, a time when wrestling reached peak ratings.  This is also the first autograph set for The People’s Champ, and it has proven to be a tough set to grade.  There are currently only 33 PSA-graded copies and only 1 PSA 10 to date.

3. 1982 Wrestling All-Stars Series A #2 Hulk Hogan: $1,000 – $48,000
CardLadder

Another rookie card for a legend, this 1982 Wrestling All-Stars copy features a yellow border and a young Hogan with a sad demeanor. While he has had his fair share of controversy, Hogan has remained one of the most prominent names in the sport for 5 decades.  

The Beckett 9.5 shown above fetched an auction price of nearly $48,000 in 2021.  There are no PSA 10s, so this may just be the best Hulk Hogan card to ever exist (Oh Brother!).  Nevertheless, lower grades can be picked up at a more affordable rate on eBay and other trading platforms.

4. 2022 Panini Prizm WWE John Cena Color Blast #7: $1,800-$7,500
CardLadder

We aren’t sure how a card without anybody on it sold for so much, but here we are.  Jokes aside, Cena has transformed himself from WWE Champion to A-list celebrity in a few short years, even playing the titular character in HBO Max’s Peacemaker.

This card featuring the wrestler/actor/rapper/mogul is our first item from the 2022 Prizm set, which has been one of the hobby’s hottest releases of the year.  The Color Blast is a short-print card that only appears once in every case (12 boxes).  It sold ungraded for $7,500 when the product debuted, but it has since cooled down to the $1,500-$2,000 range.

There are only 3 Color Blasts currently available on eBay, including a BGS 10 copy.  This card accentuates everything remarkable about Prizm, so it will be interesting to see where it goes in the future.

5. 1991 Classic WWF Undertaker #64: $100-$3,000
CardLadder

Another early WWF card of a GOAT,  this card is a diamond in the rough of the junk wax era.  Undertaker has reached almost mythical status in the WWE, all while accumulating a fandom across generations.  

Copies are available at a favorable price, but higher-graded copies have reached new heights in the past year.  An SGC 10 recently closed at $3,000, marking the most expensive card to come out of the 1991 Classic set.

6. 1997 Cardinal WWF Trivia Series Steve Austin: $50-1,000
CardLadder

There may be more impressive “Stone Cold” cards out in the wild, but sometimes simplicity is key. The beer-drinking brawler is sure to be found on most fans’ Top 10 list, and he reached an unprecedented level of fame in the late 90s.  

Austin has cards dating back to 1991, but many still consider this his most recognizable rookie card.  The Cardinal series’ crisp yellow border almost looks like a Polaroid from the golden age of the WWF.  And who better to show on this Polaroid than Stone Cold?

Different graded copies can be found here, and most of the PSA 8s and 9s have remained relatively inexpensive despite the resurgence from the Prizm release.

7. 2014 Topps Chrome Roman Reigns Superfractor 1/1 Auto – $15,000
CardLadder

This is undoubtedly the best card of the dual champ.  The 36-year-old has accumulated a following comparable to the other legendary stars on this list.  He also rose to such an esteemed status at a time when Topps had sole control of the WWE market, so we saw a new influx of the popular Superfractor 1/1s.  

This card sold for $15k in February, and there aren’t other copies you can pick up.  Regardless, other superfractors and low-numbered parallels can be found online, and we will be watching to see if this 2014 rookie 1/1 auto resurfaces in the future.  

8. 2022 Panini Prizm WWE Charlotte Flair Color Blast #2: $600-$2,000
CardLadder

It’s a family business for Charlotte Flair, and her skillset as a fighter mirror that of her father, the Nature Boy.  This card is another case hit from 2022 Prizm, and it has proven to be Flair’s most expensive card in existence.  However, other great female fighters like Sasha Banks have rallied 4-digit prices on eBay, so Charlotte is not the only Color Blast to have on your radar.

Look for Flair’s short print inserts and serial numbered cards here.  New auctions and prices are being realized daily, which is the case for most cards in the 2022 set.

9. 1985 Topps WWF Hulk Hogan #1: $100-$35,000
CardLadder

This isn’t Hogan’s true rookie card, but it certainly has more eye appeal.  1985 marked the first year Topps manufactured WWF cards. The first card in the set is none other than Mr. Hogan, smiling and holding the championship belt. This has historically been one of the top WWE trading cards to look out for. 

CardLadder has verified a PSA 10 sale of $35,000, which is certainly eye-opening.  But a population of only 14 PSA 10s and an iconic photo manufactured by the most storied card company is the perfect mixture for big-money auctions.  You can shop for various grades here, although there probably won’t be any Gem Mint 10s available anytime soon.

10. 2022 Panini Prizm WWE Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Gold Prizm /10 – ????
CardLadder

Our final spot includes one of the more stunning cards you will see today.  We mentioned earlier the power that Prizm Golds have in the hobby and their immense desirability.  This card is no different.

Currently the highest-listed Prizm WWE card on eBay at $74,999, we could definitely see this card cook up a high sale price.  Stars like Ultimate Warrior, Undertaker, John Cena,  and Roman Reigns have all had low-numbered Prizm auctions, but there still hasn’t been a verified public sale of the People’s Champ.  Add a Beckett 9.5 grade into the mix and you have a truly spectacular card.  

The only card that will exceed the gold’s value is the mythical Black Prizm 1/1, which has not surfaced as of early May. However, when it does, it will most certainly become the one of top WWE trading cards to look out for.

If you are more of an AEW fan, make sure to check out my recent article on the Top AEW Cards to Look Out For!

Categories
Sports

The 28 Most Underrated WWE Wrestlers

It’s a regular occurrence whenever the greatest WWE wrestlers of all time get mentioned. But it’s a much rarer affair whenever the conversation is directed to the most underrated WWE wrestlers some fans still look back on with reverence.

Throughout the longstanding legacy of World Wrestling Entertainment, a plentiful offering of uber-talented wrestlers has competed under its wide umbrella. But for one unexplained reason or another, several key members of WWE’s ever-changing roster have been overlooked in comparison to the company’s bigger stars. We’re here to remedy that situation by properly acknowledging those amazing talents that we consider severely underrated.

Hopefully, by the time you finish reading this list, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation for each wrestler and do some mandatory viewing of their most impressive in-ring exploits.

Underrated WWE Wrestlers
WWE

1. Ted DiBiase
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1979, 1987-1993, and 1994-1996

Titles Won in WWE: WWE 24/7 Championship (1 time), Million Dollar Championship (2 times), WWF North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time), WWF Tag Team Championship (3 times) with Irwin R. Schyster, and King of the Ring (1988)

The “Million Dollar Man” of WWE not only had one of the greatest gimmicks in all of wrestling, but he also made sure to back up his braggadocious nature with a solid in-ring acumen. Ted DiBiase proved to be the perfect foil for every babyface he caused problems for back in the day and especially did an incredible job in getting Vergil over during their breakup angle. As far as WWE “Golden Era” bad guys go, DiBiase deserves his place among the very best.

2. Owen Hart
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1988-1989, 1991-1999

Titles Won in WWE: WWF European Championship (1 time), WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times), WWF Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Yokozuna (2), The British Bulldog (1), and Jeff Jarrett (1), King of the Ring (1994), and WWF Intercontinental Championship Tournament (1997)

“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE!” The Hart Family’s quicker and snappier WWE competitor could always be counted on to have a good match with just about everyone he faced. His “New Generation” run produced great matches with his brother Bret Hart, the 1-2-3 Kid, and Shawn Michaels. And during his Attitude Era reign, he continued to prove his worth against the likes of Triple H, Steve Blackman, and Ken Shamrock. Owen would have probably continued having great matches against the newcomers that arrived in 2000 if it wasn’t for his untimely death. RIP, Owen! We’ll always look back on Owen as one of the most celebrated yet still underrated WWE wrestlers to have ever lived.

3. Rick Martel
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1980-1982, 1986-1985

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Tony Garea (2 times) and Tito Santana (1 time)

“The Model” Rick Martel may not be mentioned as much as his “Golden Era” compadres, which is a crying shame. The Canadian import went all the way with his self-centered fashionista gimmick and could be relied upon to look good in the ring at all times. Before he became indulged in pure Arrogance,” Martel wowed audiences as a member of the Strike Force tag team alongside Tito Santana and even competed in the early 80s with Tony Garea as his right-hand man. Martel and his patented Boston Crab need tons more respect.

4. Marty Jannetty
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1988-1994, 1995-1996, 2005-2009

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Intercontinental Championship (1 time) and WWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with the 1-2-3 Kid

Being called the “Marty Jannetty” of a tag team upon splitting up and going solo is one of wrestling’s oldest disses. Which is a shame really when you think about how far the other half of The Rockers could have gone if he had managed to successfully fight off his demons. Even still, Jannetty did fine work during his many runs within WWE. Besides his fast-paced affairs with his former tag team partner Shawn Michaels, Jannetty went balls to the wall when pitted against a bunch of recognizable talents within the “Golden Era” and “New Generation” time periods. He’s popped up on multiple occasions to remind people of just how good he still is and why he’s referred to as one of the most underrated WWE wrestlers of all time.

5. Bam Bam Bigelow
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1987-1988, 1992-1995

Titles Won in WWE: None, sadly…

When the word “intimidating” pops up in the dictionary, a picture of a snarling Bam Bam Bigelow is placed right next to it. And for good reason – Bigelow sparked fear into the hearts of all the young ones who watched him destroy their heroes back in the day. As a babyface, Bam Bam was a real treat thanks to his surprising agility and ability to whip out a cartwheel from time to time. Once he went heel, Bam Bam solidified his status as someone that deserved so much more from WWE when he put on better than expected match with NFL legend Lawrence Taylor. Bam Bam’s one of those slept-on greats that should have gone much farther in WWE.

6. Mr. Perfect
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1981-1983, 1988-1996, 2002

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times)

Curtis Michael Hennig embodied nothing but perfection once he returned to WWE during his second run. His transformation into the one known as Mr. Perfect is the reason why so many wrestling fans remember him so fondly. His gimmick was so easy to hate yet so easy to appreciate in hindsight and his work in the ring captured everyone’s attention. Mr. Perfect’s over-the-top-selling is just the cherry on top for a wrestler that never bored anyone that watched him work. After watching this man’s bouts against Bret Hart, Ric Flair, and Hulk Hogan, you can’t help but feel angry at the fact that Mr. Perfect never claimed the WWF Championship back in the day.

7. Rick Rude
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1987-1990, 1997

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Intercontinental Championship (1 time)

“What I’d like to have right now, is for all you fat, ugly, inner-city sweat hogs to keep the noise down while I take my robe off and show the ladies what a real sexy man looks like…” And after delivering that amazing diatribe, the infinitely handsome “Ravishing” Rick Rude unveiled his body of Adonis to the crowd. The ladies loved it while the guys couldn’t help but hate it. Nevertheless, Rick never provided a dull moment inside and outside the ring. He gave the Ultimate Warrior his best matches at the time and had one of the best Intercontinental Championship runs in WWE history. And those air-brushed tights he always used to wear? Simply ravishing.

8. D’Lo Brown
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1997-2003, 2008-2009

Titles Won in WWE: WWF European Championship (4 times) and WWF Intercontinental Championship (1 time)

The head bobbing, Frog Splash…well, splashing, and widely recognized “real deal” of professional wrestling is none other than D’Lo Brown. As one of the most underrated WWE wrestlers the world has ever seen, D’Lo will always be remembered by diehard wrestling fans as a bonafide gem of the Attitude Era. His part as a member of the Nation of Domination was great, his chest-protector gimmick was hilarious, and his in-ring acumen was top-notch. D’Lo’s run with both the Intercontinental and European Championships resulted in slept-on matches with X-Pac, Gangrel, and Val Venis.

9. Shelton Benjamin
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2000-2010, 2017-Present

Titles Won in WWE: WWE 24/7 Championship (3 times), WWE United States Championship (1 time), WWE Intercontinental Championship (3 times), and WWE (Raw) Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Charlie Haas (2) and Cedric Alexander (1)

After getting split up from his tag team partner Charlie Hass, Shelton Benjamin arrived on Raw to little fanfare. But after he pulled away with a shocking win over Triple H in 2004, Shelton’s mega push was off to the races. The former amateur wrestler showcased immense physical ability as he spent the majority of his time on Raw as a singles star that blew everyone’s minds with his high-flying exploits and memorable bouts with Shawn Michaels, John Morrison, Rob Van Dam, etc. Even when he dyed his hair blond and became the “Gold Standard,” Shelton still went out and hand bangers on a nightly basis. His charisma may have been in question by the powers that be, but he’s still a top-tier athlete that should have claimed the WWE Championship at some point early on in his career.

10. William Regal
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1998-1999, 2000-2022

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Hardcore Championship (5 times), WWF/E European Championship (4 times), WWF/E Intercontinental Championship (2 times), World Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Lance Storm (2), Eugene (1), and Tajiri (1), and King of the Ring (2008)

One of the best English professional wrestlers of all time just so happens to be one of those underrated WWE wrestlers that entertained in just about every role he was given. As an endearing babyface and a slimy heel, William Regal commandeered the ring at all times and made everyone take notice of his rugged in-ring style. Regal stood out due to his hilarious facial expressions that came through wonderfully during his matches and General Manager days. And whenever the bell rang, Regal was always in fine form as he produced bangers with Edge, Chris Jericho, and Rob Van Dam.

11. Carlito
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2003-2010

Titles Won in WWE: WWE United States Championship (1 time), WWE Intercontinental Championship (1 time), WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Primo, and World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Primo

He spits in the face of people who want to be cool. While his Razor Ramon-esque Carlito Caribbean Cool SmackDown days were decent enough, the shortening of his name and switch to Raw truly turned him into a weekly highlight. The second-generation superstar known as Carlito put in his best work as Intercontinental Champion as he produced bangers with Jeff Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, and John Morrison. Carlito’s high-flying theatrics and apple-spitting disrespect cement his place as one of WWE’s best high flyers and the type of guy that would have made for a great top champion on either brand. Seeing how swole he is these days, it’d be great to see him make a play for a steady WWE return or an AEW debut.

12. Tajiri
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2001-2008

Titles Won in WWE: WCW United States Championship (1 time), WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time), WCW/WWF/WWE Cruiserweight Championship (3 times), WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Eddie Guerrero, and World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with William Regal

Not only is Tajiri one of the most underrated WWE wrestlers, but he’s also one of its funniest and highly regarded Japanese talents. After gaining the adoration of the hardcore ECW faithful, Tajiri made his way to WWE and did the exact same with the WWE fanbase. His many highlights include his highly revered battles with the likes of X-Pac, Billy Kidman, Hurricane Helms, and so much more. His partnerships alongside William Regal and Eddie Guerrero exposed his lovable personality and ability to get over with the audience even with a language barrier in place. It was always a pleasure the watch the great Tajiri douse his opponents in green mist, lock them in the Tarantula, and clock them with his Backspring Elbow.

13. Paul London
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2003-2008

Titles Won in WWE: World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Brian Kendrick, WWE Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Billy Kidman (1) and Brian Kendrick (1), and WWE Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)

Paul London can pretty much be referred to as “Mr. Velocity.” And that’s because he always stood out as the best performer on Smackdown’s spinoff show. His Cruiserweight Championship matches were always worth tuning into as Paul gelled well with all the equally talented competitors he did battle with. And as a tag team wrestler, he continued to amaze as his high-flying repertoire matched up best with Billy Kidman and Brian Kendrick. Paul’s Dropsault and Shooting Star Press are poetry in motion that fans miss seeing on WWE TV.

14. Lance Storm
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2001-2005

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Intercontinental Championship (1 time) and WWE/World Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Christian (1), William Regal (2), and Chief Morley (1)

“If I could be serious for a moment…” Lance Storm never came to play games ’cause he was all business as soon as his entrance music kicked in. And upon his arrival in WWE back in 2001, the Canadian superstar impressed due to his smoothness and crispness in the ring. Lance’s superkick is one of the very best and it always looked great whenever it landed clean on the likes of Albert, Edge, and Matt Hardy. During the rest of his WWE tenure, he always stuck out as a reliable in-ring gem that could be counted on to match up well with just about everyone. Never mind what “Stone Cold” Steve Austin said about him during that cruel promo segment – Storm is far from boring.

15. Jazz
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2001-2004

Titles Won in WWE: WWF/E Women’s Championship (2 times)

It’s criminal that Jazz only captured the WWF/E Women’s Championship on only two separate occasions! She sticks out as one of those past WWE female talents that Trish Stratus into submission on countless occasions and made her a much better pro wrestler in the process. Jazz’s rough and tumble style presented her as one of the most legit WWE wrestlers on the roster during her run – she brought an air of believability to everything she did as she brutalized every lady that tried to test her. Shout out to Jazz for her unprecedented work during her WWE run – she’ll always stand out as the most underrated WWE wrestlers we’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

16. Molly Holly
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2000-2005

Titles Won in WWE: WWE Women’s Championship (2 times) and WWF Hardcore Championship (1 time)

The former “Miss Madness” of WCW Randy Savage fame arrived in the WWE as one of the most impressive members of the Holly family. Molly Holly deserves way more credit in this day and age – she stood as a highly impressive wrestler that dropped everyone’s jaws at the sight of her Molly Go Round finisher. And once she went heel, she embodied that easily hateable “Karen” energy that made her the perfect foil for Trish Stratus and Victoria. Molly’s one of those unheralded members of WWE’s former Divas roster.

17. Victoria
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2000-2009

Titles Won in WWE: WWE Women’s Championship (2 times)

She STILL ain’t the lady to mess with. Victoria was always a regular highlight of early 2000s Divas wrestling. Her character was that of a woman with a broken psyche that employed an especially brutal moveset to ground her opponents into dust (that Widow’s Peak finisher of hers still gives us chills). Her Hardcore Match with Trish Stratus at the 2002 Survivor Series doesn’t get talked about enough, which is a crime. The rest of Victoria’s WWE tenure saw her continually prove herself to be a valuable asset that could be counted on to entertain at all times.

18. Dean Malenko
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2000-2001

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (2 times)

Dean Malenko isn’t just one of the most underrated WWE wrestlers to have ever strapped on a pair of boots – he just might be one of the most slept-on in-ring technicians of all time. His cold and calculating demeanor always put everyone on notice (his James Bond-esque WWE theme didn’t do him any favors, however). Bur during his short tenure as a WWE competitor, Dean took the reigns of the WWF Light Heavyweight division and proved to be just as good as he was back in WCW. Seek out his Backlash 2000 match with Scotty 2 Hotty and even one of his random bouts with Taka Michinoku & X-Pac for proof of that statement.

19. Hurricane Helms
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2001-2010

Titles Won in WWE: WWE Cruiserweight Championship (2 times), WWF European Championship (1 time), WWF Hardcore Championship (1 time), and World Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Kane (1) and Rosey (1)

The Alliance storyline may have been a massive disappointment, but it gave a huge opportunity to some super talented wrestlers that existed long after hat feud dissipated. One of those individuals ended up being “Sugar” Shane Helms, who adopted a Green Lantern-like character known as Hurricane Helms. His early WWE work alongside Lance Storm was solid enough, but it’s his Cruiserweight division work on SmackDown that deserves the most praise. Helms’ matches with Jamie Noble and Tajiri will forever be GOATED! Helms’ short feud with The Rock, his “I CAN CHOKESLAM EVERYBODY!” gimmick was hilarious, and his heroic theme song makes him somebody we always loved watching.

20. Finlay
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2005-2011

Titles Won in WWE: WWE United States Championship (1 time) and Bragging Rights Trophy (2009) – with Team SmackDown (Chris Jericho, Kane, R-Truth, Matt Hardy, David Hart Smith, and Tyson Kidd)

His name is Finlay and he loves to fight. And you just know we always loved watching him engage in that violent act. Finlay’s return to the squared circle in 2005 was marked by some of the hardest-hitting matches in SmackDown history as he got into it with the likes of Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, and Matt Hardy. Even with Hornswoggle by his side, everyone still feared Finlay and took him as a serious threat at all times. Be sure to watch his Belfast Brawl from WrestleMania XXIV to see Finlay in his most “fit” form. Just like William Regal, this brute must be crowned as one of the most underrated WWE wrestlers who’s worthy of respect.

21. Scotty 2 Hotty
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1997-2007

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time), WWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Grand Master Sexay, and WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Rikishi

A highly underrated WWE wrestler that had one of the silliest yet most entertaining finishers of the Attitude Era just has to be this celebrated member of Too Cool. Scotty 2 Hotty did great things with Grandmaster Sexay and Rikishi – fans still reenact their post-match dance number to perfection! In the ring, Scotty entertained due to his light heavyweight style and hilarious finishing move “The Worm.” On WWE’s old B-Shows, Scotty could regularly be seen working solid bouts with the likes of equally slept-on wrestlers of his ilk. Scotty seemingly never ages since he still looks the same as he did back in the day, so you can watch him relive all that Too Cool magic on the indie scene.

22. Hercules
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1985-1992

Titles Won in WWE: None, sadly…

The WWF’s “Golden Era” was a smorgasbord of towering brutes that looked like real-life superheroes (and supervillains, of course). One of the more unsung power men of that time period is Hercules Hernandez, who could always be seen with a steel chain wrapped around his massive frame. Not only did he look impressive, but he also managed to be one of the more solid in-ring bodybuilders in Vince McMahon’s wrestling empire. As a singles star, Hercules caught everyone’s eyes as he battled Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, and Haku. Old-school wrestling heads usually bring up his name when it comes to his underrated tag team run with Paul Roma as Power & Glory (their finisher is still one of the very best!).

23. Billy Kidman
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2001-2005

Titles Won in WWE: WCW/WWF/E Cruiserweight Championship (4 times) and WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Paul London

The original master of the Shooting Star Press was one of WCW’s biggest highlights in the Cruiserweight division. And upon his arrival in the WWF during the Invasion storyline, he still did his best to keep everyone’s attention. Billy Kidman’s lowkey WWF/E run sticks out due to his strong matches against X-Pac, Tajiri, and Matt Hardy. His tag team runs with Rey Mysterio and Paul London are also proof of his quality WWF/E tenure. Remember, folks – never try to powerbomb Billy Kidman.

24. Tito Santana
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1979-1980, 1983-1993

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship (2 times), WWF Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Ivan Putski (1) and Rick Martel (1), and King of the Ring (1989)

“ARRIBA!” Utter that catchphrase at a wrestling convention and most of the older fans in your vicinity will raise their first in honor of the great Tito Santana. As the first man to ever wrestle and win at a WrestleMania, Tito stuck out as a fan favorite thanks to his agile maneuvers and underdog demeanor. He’s done great work with so many major names, such as Shawn Michaels, Don Muraco, and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. And with Rick Martel by his side, Tito did equally memorable work as a member of Strike Force. As one of the most underrated WWE wrestlers of all time, Tito deserves even more adoration for his lengthy wrestling run.

25. Goldust
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1990-1991, 1995-1999, 2001-2003, 2005-2006, 2008-2010, 2013-2019

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Hardcore Championship (9 times), WWF Intercontinental Championship (3 times), WWE Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Cody Rhodes/Stardust, and World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Booker T

Dustin Rhodes shocked the world when he showed up during his second WWF run as the androgynous character known as Goldust. Dustin played the character to perfection and provided a super provocative element to the WWF product at the time that added a bit of pizzaz to it all. Besides his unforgettable gimmick, Goldust proved to be a great wrestler and the sort of personality that could provide tons of hilarity every now & then. His Intercontinental title reigns and his alliance with Booker T. are definite career highlights. Goldust could it all and then some. Remember the name…Goldust.

26. Essa Rios
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1997-2001

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)

Ask any avid Attitude Era fan and they’ll bring up a bunch of well-known names. If those same fans happened to watch Sunday Night Heat, Jakked, and Metal, then they probably remember the name Essa Rios as well. And that’s due to the jaw-dropping high-flying excellence he always put on display. Essa held down the Light Heavyweight division during his time in the WWF as he faced Jeff Hardy, Funaki, and Taka Michinoku. Essa even competed against a young Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle while he held the WWF Championship. If you ever want to witness one of the best Moonsault’s of all time, you can look to one of the most underrated WWE wrestlers and Lucha Libre greats in Essa Rios.

27. Taka Michinoku
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 1997-2001

Titles Won in WWE: WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)

WWE clearly took inspiration from WCW’s Cruiserweight wrestling craze, which is why it birthed its very own Light Heavyweight division in response. And the shining star of that division was none other than the Japanese gem known as Taka Michinoku. Taka’s high-flying feats and devastating Michinoku Driver provided the early years of the Attitude Era with five-star worthy wrestling feats, which were admittedly rare at the time. You can check out Taka’s WrestleMania XIV match with Aguila to see just how good he was back in the day. And of course, his Kaientai run alongside Funaki was one of the funniest elements of WWF’s Attitude Era tag team division. Is Taka one of the most underrated WWE wrestlers? INDEED!

28. Sean O’Haire
WWE

Years Active in WWE: 2001-2004

Titles Won in WWE: None, sadly…

Man, what could have been! Sean O’Haire is one of those cases of someone that should have main evented a WrestleMania while he was still alive. Not only did he look great from a physical level, but he also came across as better than expected in the ring due to his amalgamation of power-based offense and top-rope maneuvers. Sean’s “Devil’s Advocate” gimmick should have gone a lot further than it did, but we enjoyed it while it lasted. If you want to witness this behemoth’s greatness in action, check out his bout alongside Chuck Palumbo vs. the APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq) and watch clips of him pulling off his Widow Maker finisher on everyone.

Categories
Sports

AEW Double or Nothing 2022 Preview: Matches and Predictions

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We’re heading back to Vegas, baby! All Elite Wrestling’s throwing all of its chips on the table for its next PPV spectacular. Which means now’s the perfect time to deliver my AEW Double or Nothing 2022 predictions.

This year’s installment of the Las Vegas-themed AEW event has three major matches planned that are set to have major ramifications for the company’s summertime run. The AEW World Championship will be up for grabs – “Hangman” Adam Page will defend his prized title against his (arguably) toughest competition to date in the form of CM Punk. Plus the Finals for both the men’s and women’s Owen Hart Cup tournament will take place at this major AEW show. Alongside those bouts will be a strong lineup of bouts that I’m sure will rise to the occasion of everything else on this card.

Before we all tune in to watch this show live on PPV as it emanates from the T-Mobile Arena, allow me to make my AEW Double or Nothing 2022 predictions by previewing every confirmed match for the card.

AEW Double or Nothing 2022 Predictions
AEW

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/AEW/status/1527795037320400896?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>
Hookhausen (Hook and Danhausen) vs. Tony Nese and Mark Sterling

Preview & Predictions: I just love a good old odd pairing tag team in wrestling. Al Snow and Steve Blackman and Booker T. and Goldust are just a few of the many weird duos that I’ve come to appreciate through the many years of my wrestling fandom. Now I’m ready to add another quirky tandem to that list – Hookhausen! The phenomenon known as Hook wasn’t too keen on Danhausen at first. But after issues developed between those two and Tony Nese & Mark Sterling, Hook finally decided to befriend the face-painted fellow and provide him with some backup.

Tony’s quick win over Danhausen shocked the hell outta me, I gotta admit! But it made sense in the grand scheme of things to push this story forward and finally get Hook to stand by Danhausen’s side. At Double or Nothing 2022, I foresee Hook canceling out Tony while Danhausen curses Mark to the point where he succumbs to whatever finishing move ‘Hausen has up his sleeve. HOOKHAUSEN FTW!

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LJrciLNTrw4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedSamoa Joe vs. Adam Cole (Men's Owen Hart Cup Tournament Final; Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh are barred from ringside)</code>
Samoa Joe vs. Adam Cole (Men’s Owen Hart Cup Tournament Final; Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, and Satnam Singh are barred from ringside)

Preview & Predictions: The Men’s Owen Hart Cup Tournament has its Finals set! And this PPV tourney closer presents a cool styles clash between the submission specialist in Samoa Joe and the crafty opportunist in Adam Cole. It’s mindblowing to me how AEW is giving old “black and gold” NXT fans like me a proper conclusion to a storyline that had no real resolution during its glory days. Now we’re finally going to see Joe and Cole hash out the issues that started between them last year.

I could honestly see either man walking away as the first-ever winner of the Men’s Owen Hart Tournament. A win for either guy could elevate them to a title shot that I could see them on the winning end of. I think I’m gonna side with Cole here, though. Even though Jay Lethal and his cronies have been banned from ringside, I can still envision the rest of the Undisputed Elite screwing over Joe and thereby costing him the match. Cole will take the assist and emerge as the winner of the entire tourney and use it to earn himself some championship gold in the near future.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/o2Q_eWesoGw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedSammy Guevara, Frankie Kazarian and Tay Conti vs. Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page and Paige VanZant (If American Top Team win, neither Guevara nor Kazarian will be allowed to challenge for the TNT Championship as long as Sky is champion)</code>
Sammy Guevara, Frankie Kazarian and Tay Conti vs. Scorpio Sky, Ethan Page and Paige VanZant (If American Top Team win, neither Guevara nor Kazarian will be allowed to challenge for the TNT Championship as long as Sky is champion)

Preview & Predictions: Man…as a diehard AEW fan, it’s been hard for me to come to the realization that this whole feud between Scorpio Sky’s camp and Sammy Guevara’s backup sucks. It looked like it was heading in a natural direction where Sky turns babyface and ditches Men of the Year to continue on as a singles guy with the TNT Championship around his waist. Instead, Sky stuck to his heel roots. So now we have a case of two guys beefing with each other that the crowd is compelled to boo every time they see them. This heel vs. heel dynamic hasn’t gotten any easier to stomach with all the added bodies here, I must say.

So because of the stipulation attached to this whole ordeal, I think Sky, Ethan Page, and Paige VanZant will prevail. It’s the best way to bring all of this to an end and I have a gut feeling that Mr. TK will take the hint and move the TNT Champion onto something more entertaining. I know he didn’t read the room beforehand, but I think he’ll take note of how the fans are responding to all this and finally get back to making the TNT title mean something again.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PHfR7ykGmzA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedJade Cargill (c) vs. Anna Jay (AEW TBS Championship)</code>
Jade Cargill (c) vs. Anna Jay (AEW TBS Championship)

Preview & Predictions: Jade Cargill is STILL holding it down as the inaugural AEW TBS Champion! And in the process, she’s gradually improved between the ropes and developed her personality to the point where I actually look forward to hearing her speak (and tell Tony Schiavone to cut the shit). Jade’s next vict…I mean, challenger is The Dark Order’s lone female representative. Anna Jay is pretty solid in her own right, but all her skills won’t be enough to make a dent in the seemingly unbeatable TBS Champion. Jade’s retaining her belt without breaking much of a sweat here, folks!

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/oEeUUmNYmdQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedJurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus) (c) vs. Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee vs. Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs (Three-Way Tag Team Match for the AEW World Tag Team Championship)</code>
Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus) (c) vs. Swerve Strickland and Keith Lee vs. Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs (Three-Way Tag Team Match for the AEW World Tag Team Championship)

Preview & Predictions: Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus really got their work cut out for them here. They’ve gotten past The Lucha Bros., reDRagon, and The Young Bucks, which are all legit squads that have been hangin’ and bangin’ for years. But now, Jurassic Express is getting lined up for another PPV Three-Way Tag Team Match against two makeshift duos. So now the dynamics have changed for this encounter and a wildcard winner in Las Vegas is a real possibility.

I think we’re due for an expected heel turn here, ladies and gentlemen. The slow-burn to a Christian Cage heel turn has been looking more and more likely as time wears on. Jungle Boy’s singles failures must be irking his mentor and making him regret the decision to stay by his and Luchasaurus’ side. I think Cage’s resentment will finally boil over here and cause him to screw over Jurassic Express.

I say all that to say this – WE’RE GETTING NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPS HERE, FOLKS! I’m pulling for a shock win that sees Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs escape with the belts due to Cage’s turncoat behavior.

<code><p class = "twitter-tweet">https://twitter.com/AEW/status/1530322284476514306?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw</p></code>
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Darby Allin

Preview & Predictions: Even though Kyle O’Reilly fell in defeat to Samoa Joe during the Men’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Final, he still got an opportunity to compete on this PPV. And against Darby Allin, no less! This one should be a fun submission/daredevil exhibition. For some reason, I can totally see Kyle walking away as the winner here. Darby’s gonna need someone fresh to feud with for a while, which is why I think this match is just the beginning of an ongoing storyline between the two. Without Sting covering his blank spots this time, Bobby Fish will trip him up and help his reDRagon tag team partner walk away with the win.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/aJcaTnX19ic" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedDr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. vs. Ruby Soho (Women's Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Final)</code>
Dr. Britt Baker, D.M.D. vs. Ruby Soho (Women’s Owen Hart Foundation Tournament Final)

Preview & Predictions: So I was completely off with my predictions for who would be included in this tournament final! I was all set for a PPV match between Toni Storm and Kris Statlander here, which I’m sure would have delivered in full. Instead, we’re due for a runback from the very first AEW Dynamite: Grand Slam show. Dr. Britt Baker is set to take on Ruby Soho once again. But this time, it’s not for a championship belt – it’s for (I’m guessing!) a luxurious trophy.

Due to Britt beating Ruby so decisively during their first encounter, I think the pendulum is gonna swing in the other direction here. I know everyone expects the cheating dentist to use her two besties to win the whole thing, but I think Storm and Statlander will show up to even the odds against Rebel and Jamie Hayter. With Britt being thrown off her game here, Ruby’s going to capitalize on that moment of weakness and emerge with the biggest win of her career.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Wckqfc9bhQQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedHouse Of Black (Malakai Black, Buddy Matthews, and Brody King) vs. Death Triangle (Pac, Penta Oscuro, and Rey Fenix)</code>
House Of Black (Malakai Black, Buddy Matthews, and Brody King) vs. Death Triangle (Pac, Penta Oscuro, and Rey Fenix)

Preview & Predictions: At AEW Revolution 2022, The House of Black ended up having one of the best matches of the evening against Pac, Penta Oscuro, and Erick Redbeard. The two members of the Death Triangle came up short without their stablemate in Rey Fenix, however. But now that the newly healed (and angelic!) luchador has returned, we can finally get the match that was previously set for the previous PPV. I’m extremely hyped to watch this go down now that Fenix is stepping into the fray with his insane high-flying repertoire in tow.

I love both sides and I’m placing all my bets on this match taking the runner-up position for Match of the Night. Deep down in my heart, I just know that Buddy Murphy and Fenix will have the biggest crowd-popping move exchanges. This one’s definitely gonna be a doozy! Now that the Death Triangle is fully reformed, I think they’ll pull away with the shocking victory here over their “darker” adversaries.

With both teams at one win apiece, I’m expecting a major tiebreaker to go down at some point to wrap this feud up and put a nice bow on it.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uwQRuU_KiZM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedThunder Rosa (c) vs. Serena Deeb (AEW Women's World Championship)</code>
Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Serena Deeb (AEW Women’s World Championship)

Preview & Predictions: After months and months of tormenting Hikaru Shida, Serena Deeb finally finished her off in a Street Fight that capped off their feud. And with that win came the vaulted #1 contender’s spot for the AEW Women’s World Championship. Deeb is one of those veteran female competitors that’s an understated cornerstone of AEW, so I’m highly pleased to see her get a championship match on PPV. And since it’s against the always-ready Thunder Rosa, I’m expecting this match to deliver.

Now we all know how this one is gonna end up. Miss Rosa’s reign as the top women’s champion in AEW hasn’t even hit second gear yet. Deeb is a worthy challenger to that reign, but it’s clear as day that she’s being put in this position to give Rosa a viable rival to overcome. I think it’s a super-safe bet to go all-in on Rosa here – the face-painted superstar is gonna notch herself a big win here over another one of AEW’s legitimized ladies.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/a8SyXiiPJYs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedMJF vs. Wardlow (If Wardlow wins, he will be granted his release from his contract with MJF. If MJF wins, Wardlow will be permanently banned from signing with AEW)</code>
MJF vs. Wardlow (If Wardlow wins, he will be granted his release from his contract with MJF. If MJF wins, Wardlow will be permanently banned from signing with AEW)

Preview & Predictions: The 2022 ascension of Wardlow is so reminiscent of the 2005 ascent of Batista – both men came up under the leadership of their respective stable’s top star, eventually got sick of that individual’s power trip, and finally broke away from that group in order to exact revenge on their former leader.

MJF has been at Wardlow’s neck and made it his sole goal to ruin Wardlow’s life ever since this year’s Revolution. But the big man has made his way through every obstacle put in his way and will now get the chance to release all that pent-up anger on his former boss.

Even before this match takes place, I’m hitching my wagon to this whole ordeal between MJF and Wardlow winning “Storyline/Feud of the Year.” It’s been executed to perfection, has done more to build Wardolow into a superstar, and provided further proof that MJF is the greatest heel in modern-day professional wrestling. I’m fully convinced that it will culminate in Wardlow emerging as the victor who’s finally gotten his revenge on MJF and freeing himself from his tyrannical rule.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/5slwP_okogo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedJericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Daniel Garcia and Jake Hager) vs. Eddie Kingston, Santana, Ortiz and Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley) (Anarchy in the Arena)</code>
Jericho Appreciation Society (Chris Jericho, Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Daniel Garcia and Jake Hager) vs. Eddie Kingston, Santana, Ortiz and Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley) (Anarchy in the Arena)

Preview & Predictions: I was shocked by just how good of a match Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Kingston had at AEW Revolution 2022. And my jaw damn near dropped when Eddie managed to notch a submission win to his W-L record. Ever since he defeated “The Wizard,” Eddie and his boys Santana & Ortiz have been on the receiving end of numerous beatdowns by Jericho and his new stable of fellow “sports entertainers.”

But now the odds are finally even! Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley have chosen to fight alongside Eddie’s crew to engage in a chaotic brawl that I’m sure will be one of the biggest highlights of the night. This one is gonna be pure mayhem – I’m expecting a whole lot of plunder will be involved during this 10-man match’s wild festivities. And once the dust settles, I presume that Eddie, Santana, Ortiz, Danielson, and Moxley will emerge as the battered & bruised victors.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/kCu8uxMbHJM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hedThe Hardys (Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)</code>
The Hardys (Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson)

Preview & Predictions: At ROH Supercard of Honor XI, fans everywhere got to witness a dream match in the form of The Young Bucks vs. The Hardys in an insane Ladder War match. And ever since then, I’ve been chomping at the bit to see them come to blows once again. This time, both teams are going to hash out their current issues in a regular old tag team encounter. Even though there won’t be any tables, ladders, and chairs included in this one, I still think The Bucks and The Hardys will be able to produce an enjoyable matchup here.

I think this match will be the first in an ongoing series between the two teams that’ll continue into the summer. Even though both Matt and Jeff Hardy aren’t the young, nimble superstars they used to be, I still think they’ll both rise to the occasion on the big AEW PPV stage. Matt and Nick Jackson’s cockiness will end up costing them in the end here as some sort of mistake will cause them to fall to The Hardys.

The originators are gonna prevail here!

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2UcFlofyJZU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed"Hangman" Adam Page (c) vs. CM Punk (AEW World Championship)</code>
“Hangman” Adam Page (c) vs. CM Punk (AEW World Championship)

Preview & Predictions: WOW! Now this is a match that deserves top billing as the main event of this show. Adam Page has been a tear as AEW’s most important champion – every time the belt is on the line, the “Millenial Cowboy” has shown up and shown out against the likes of Bryan Danielson, Lance Archer, Dante Martin, and Adam Cole. While on the other side of the coin, CM Punk has produced some of his finest work to date against Dustin Rhodes, Penta Oscuro, and Dax Harwood. With both men at their current peaks, AEW has chosen to book them in one of its biggest matches of the year.

I’m so conflicted on this one since I love both guys and I’d be perfectly fine with either one leaving with the title around their waist. Page should retain it since it’d be great for him to overcome another major name during his ongoing AEW World Championship reign. But it’d also be great for Punk to claim the title now that he’s shaken off all that ring rust and gotten back to being the “Best in the World.”

I think AEW’s gonna stick it out with Page here, though. The “Hangman” is gonna prevail here with a definitive victory that will raise his stock even more as the current face of the company. I still think it’s a bit too early for Page to drop the belt, which is another reason why I’m predicting his victory here. Punk won’t look bad at all losing here, folks. When the time finally comes for Page to drop the strap, I think it’ll be to someone that everyone despises. You guys know I’m talkin’ about…