Why Roman Reigns Will Prove The Right Choice

Why Callum Wiggins feels that whilst the Royal Rumble result might sting with fans for now, they will come to recognize that Roman Reigns was the right choice…

The Royal Rumble is the biggest match of the year, and on Sunday both it’s content and outcome let a number of fans down. For me personally, I was disappointed, solely at the content and booking of the match itself. It was not the best way to structure the match by any stretch of the imagination, which became even clearer when placed opposite the masterclass in storytelling told in the Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship. The crowd’s obvious distaste for what they were witnessing for the second year running really took away from the atmosphere of the contest, making it difficult viewing for anybody. But the true victim of this was not the audience, as much as they are likely feeling sorry for themselves – it was Roman Reigns.

Let’s face it, Vince McMahon is always on the search for the next “guy”. The person that can take the mantel from John Cena and lead the company into the future. There is no doubting that Reigns fits the bill. His power is explosive and emphatic. He is extremely athletic, demonstrating an effective combination of slams and strikes. His Superman Punch is personal favorite of mine, as it makes such a brilliant freeze frame when landed correctly. And although the Spear might not be the most inventive of finishing maneuvers, the raw power Reigns gets behind it genuinely looks to take all the air out of an opponent.

His main problem has often been his promo skills. Sometimes this hasn’t been entirely his fault, as Reigns has clearly been provided scripts that are filled with mediocre buzz words and are far too short for him to present any genuine emotion. Nevertheless, he has also come off on occasion as quite nervous when speaking, thinking about things too hard to really emotionally invest the audience. Nevertheless, when Reigns is confident and feeling it in a promo, he comes across as a genuinely likable, funny and intense individual. And if you tuned in to RAW last night despite the blizzard conditions, you were able to witness the Rumble winner talk candidly about the negative reception to his victory, and recognize that he was a worthy winner.

In my mind, his victory was dealt a slightly poor hand because of the way the match played out, but also the fans not likely to give him a chance regardless. Last year, Reigns was viewed as the final great hope to overcome Batista, the man that everybody felt was a shoo-in to headline WrestleMania. He was the man the audience got behind in order to ensure that they would not have a winner shoved down their throats by the backstage officials, and when he was eliminated the crowd turned ugly. However, this year Reigns was in Batista’s boots, with many expecting his victory in the match, but not exactly fond of it.

Roman Reigns WWE 2014

When Daniel Bryan was cast aside half way into the match, it was always going to kill the crowd, and WWE officials should have recognized that. In the early 2000’s you wouldn’t have thrown out Stone Cold or The Rock after ten minutes unless you had a very good reason to do so. Obviously, Bryan isn’t quite at their level, but he is the most over superstar in the company at present. Maybe they will make a good story out of Bryan being taken out by Bray Wyatt, a man who he has yet to overcome in a match. However, there seemed to be little reason to eliminate him so early other than shock value.

It wasn’t only Bryan, as other fan favorites were rapidly tossed aside by Big Show and Kane to much crowd anger. Of course, being heels, that’s exactly the response they wanted. But with every Dean Ambrose or Dolph Ziggler tossed to the floor, the more clear it became to everybody that Reigns was destined to win. The reason why the greatest Royal Rumbles end with two mega-babyfaces or major stars is because it makes the outcome that little bit more unpredictable. When Reigns was left staring down Kane and the Big Show, there’s no suspense in that finish. Neither of them are going to main event WrestleMania at this stage of their careers, so Reigns went from being a contender to a certainty, which the crowd rebelled against.

Roman-Reigns-Brock-Lesnar

Still, the crowd turned on Reigns from the moment he entered the match, trying to convince the higher-ups that they wouldn’t cheer for a superstar that has been groomed for the main event. Their fervor was so strong that they cheered for the anti-American Rusev to eliminate him at the climax. This side of the audience’s reaction was pretty harsh, to say the least. Of course, they pay good money to support who they want, and let’s face it, the heroics of John Cena have not exactly endeared him to the vocal sections of the audience. But Reigns has proven time and again that he can hang with the biggest superstars on the roster, and will do so again against Brock Lesnar.

After the awe-inspiring and dominant performance Lesnar produced last night, people would be forgiven for thinking he was the babyface in the bout. Now he is battling Reigns for the title at WrestleMania, he will likely get the support of the audience over the former Shield member. But Lesnar is a temporary fix for the crowd – Reigns is here to stay. His size and power make him the only true combatant to the dominant warrior that is the Beast Incarnate. Although many people won’t be too pleased to read that, the choice of Reigns is the correct one.

Brock Lesnar SS 2014

All their favorites will still be at WrestleMania. Dean Ambrose will likely be tying up with some Authority members; Daniel Bryan will battle Bray Wyatt; Dolph Ziggler will fight for the Intercontinental Championship. So why can’t a good hand like Reigns be supported in his rise to the top of the card. Though he might not be a superstar that has been naturally accepted by some in the audience, his look, ring work and heritage make him an ideal candidate to lead the company when Cena is forced to hang up his sneakers.

Give the storyline time to breathe, by making Lesnar look even more dominant and Reigns doing everything he can to prove, not only to the audience, but to himself that he can overcome the Conqueror. His journey of getting prepared to defeat what few could endure will invest the crowd as much as any other angle, and if Lesnar was to depart following WrestleMania, earning the respect of the Beast with a handshake or something of that ilk would be a great way to cement Reigns as the guy.

So whilst you can bemoan the outcome of the Royal Rumble all you like, and claim the WWE doesn’t listen to what the fans want, I’ll conclude with three valid points:

1. Roman Reigns deserves his chance to be in the main event of WrestleMania.

2. Fans are fickle beings (including yours truly) and can’t be trusted to make long-term calls for the company’s future.

3. You’re still going to order WrestleMania regardless so you might as well try to enjoy the ride there.


5 Things We Learned from the Royal Rumble

PWP’s Oliver Norgrove breaks down the FIVE things the wrestling world learned at the Royal Rumble PPV:

Seth Rollins has huge potential as a babyface

Seth Rollins’ performance on Sunday was nothing short of mesmeric. His chemistry with both Lesnar and Cena made for a magnificent match, and the lengths at which he took his body to entertain the fans should be admired by all. One thing, though, that struck me heavily about the match was the crowd’s reaction to his performance. Everything he did was cheered, and cheered loudly. You see, there is a lot of money in Seth Rollins, but for it to be made he must turn babyface. With a wrestling style that can bring any match to life, it’s hard not to cheer a guy that could probably put on a great bout with Shawn Michaels’ ugg boots.

Philadelphia are a passionate bunch

It was most definitely a strange night, and a strange atmosphere to be involved with. Though I wasn’t personally in the arena, I could feel the malaise and the anger directed towards performers and booking decisions alike. Philadelphia, however, turned the passion up a gear when they confronted both WWE talent and employees after the show in the parking lot. One could say such behaviour is childish, whilst others may feel it to be justified after paying extortionate prices just to see their favourite WWE superstars either disappoint or be disappointed.

WWE needs to milk the Mizdow cow

How great and how consistent are the reactions for Mizdow these days? Last night, Philly were incredibly warm and receptive to WWE’s resident stunt man, and were horrified at his limited rumble involvement. I mean, why couldn’t WWE have provided us with a Miz-Mizdow face off during the Royal Rumble match? Is it too much to ask for that Sandow receives 10 minutes rather than 10 seconds of exposure? I hope that there is an entertaining climax awaiting the wrestling community with this storyline, because believe you me, it deserves one.

Roman Reigns isn’t as popular as WWE think

I didn’t think Reigns would be the most popular figure in Philadelphia last night, but what actually ensued shocked me. A chorus of boos broke out during Romans entrance, and so right from the off he was on the back foot. Unable to sway the crowd in to liking him, Reigns’ eventual victory was masked somewhat by the hatred and disappointment that enveloped the building. Not even The Rock could fully convince the Wells Fargo arena that Roman Reigns is worth cheering, or worth the $9.99, and by the look on his face, I’d say he couldn’t believe it either.

Big Show and Kane simply must retire

The crowd were angered 15 minutes into the rumble when Daniel Bryan was eliminated by Bray Wyatt. Why was this done? My gut feeling is that Vince wanted to go with HIS vision this time around, and wanted the focus to be on Reigns rather than on Bryan. So when WWE decide to terrorise an already-angry crowd with two middle aged, overpaid men is absolutely beyond me. I tell you what though, we all got a rather candid representation of how much WWE value Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose. It speaks volumes that these three, young and supremely talented individuals are being, quite literally, dumped out of matches in order to make Big Slow and old man Kane look good. It really does.

 

Thank you all for reading and please feel free to leave a comment, letting me know what you thought of the piece, and of the PPV. 

PWP’s Royal Rumble PPV Predictions

PWP’s Fab Five is back with another round of predictions. This time: Royal Rumble 2015!

I think it’s safe to say that the Royal Rumble pay-per-view is a fan favorite, and one of the most important nights of the year for a WWE fan. January is when it all begins.

The Rumble is where the road to WrestleMania starts, as 30 men will fight for a chance to main event the biggest show of the year and attempt to walk out the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

As of right now, there are so many possibilities to what WWE will decide to do with their WrestleMania 31 main event, but the players involved all present a great case to why they deserve it. You have Daniel Bryan, who is returning from a serious neck injury and is looking to get back into the thick of things after being away for nearly a year.

You have Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, both former Shield members, who are the young guns and favorites when it comes to standing tall at the end of the Royal Rumble. You have some dark horses like Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler (still undecided if he’ll even be in the Rumble) or Rusev, who are long shots, but possible.

But then you have the veterans that you can also make a case for like Randy Orton or a possibly returning Sheamus.

So many possibilities…

But the Royal Rumble match has almost taken a backseat, as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match is the main and central focus, as Brock Lesnar defends his title against John Cena, who is looking for world title number 16, and Seth Rollins, who was added to the match by Triple H and is the holder of the Money In The Bank briefcase. Similar to the Rumble match, there are so many different ways that WWE can book this match.

Before we get into the predictions, let me introduce you to the panel:

Let’s begin:

WWE Kickoff Show:
The New Day vs. Adam Rose, Cesaro & Tyson Kidd

Royal Rumble 2015 New Day vs Kidd Cesaro Rose

Eron’s Pick: The New Day 
This feud is as generic as it gets. I can’t even remember what they’re feuding about. But none-the-less, I love that WWE has taken two guys in Kidd and Cesaro, and put them together. Two guys who work so hard, great in-ring performers, getting some kind of spotlight during the pay-per-view. But sadly, they’re going to lose. I’m going with the New Day, just because…

Joel’s Pick: The New Day
Why are The New Day so happy? Why is someone as fruity as Adam Rose aligned with such a wrestling-centric tandem as Kidd and Cesaro? Why are these two factions fighting to begin with? The fact that NONE of these questions have been answered in 6 weeks worth of storytelling makes this one of the most pointless pre-show matches in the history of pre-show matches. Sure, the action will be probably great, but I need more than in-right action to maintain my attention.

Crazy Bill’s Pick: The New Day
Should be a good 6-man tag team match. It’s nice to see guys getting a spotlight instead of just being thrown in the Rumble match, though I expect all 6 to be in the rumble match…

Zak’s Pick: The New Day
Me thinks the New Day ain’t going to be going too far. Not that being on the pre-show is a bad thing I mean the pre-show is intended to entice last minute buys for the show and sometimes getting the talented guys to have a kick ass match is the way to go. No I don’t believe the New Day because I believe that, despite refreshing them up, I think we have had enough heel three man stables in the last 2 years. I know that is person to person opinion but it’s one I stick by. I’m picking the New Day to win this match and I believe that the bunny will play a role in the outcome. Incidentally watching the WWE Network and Vengeance 2003 what do I see? A fucking bunny. So say that you want to go back to that time all you want to avoid the PG bullshit and you will still see the same stuff.

Dan’s Pick: Adam Rose, Cesaro & Tyson Kidd
I said it once and I’ll say it again, The New Day has flopped dramatically. With that said we should get a pretty good six man tag with these men going at but we’ll see the rise of Cesaro and Kidd continue after Rose is eliminated leaving them to be the victors of the bout.

WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
The Usos (c) vs. The Miz & Damien Mizdow

Royal Rumble 2015 Usos vs Miz & Mizdow

Eron’s Pick: The Usos
I have no reason to think that Miz & Mizdow will regain the tag titles. WWE has been pointing to a possible break up for weeks now, and I think the Royal Rumble might be the place to do it. I think WWE will keep the Usos as the tag team champions until the Ascension are ready for a feud with them. So I’m going with the Usos.

Joel’s Pick: The Usos
It’s time to officially kill off the Mizdow gimmick and this is the match to do it in. It’s been a great ride for the two comedy goofs, but now, the blow off needs to happen ASAP. Usos to retain in convincing fashion.

Crazy Bill’s Pick: The Usos
Well, it’s the road to WrestleMania. That means it’s time for Miz and Mizdow to finally pay off. C’mon, you didn’t actually think they would keep a team together did you?  The Usos will win and start the ball rolling on Sandow getting a singles face push and it’ll start at Mania as he destroys The Miz.

Zak’s Pick: The Usos
Christ how many tag matches can you have on one PPV? So the seeds have already been planted for Mizdow and Miz to turn on each other and suffice to say I’m not looking forward to it. I get why WWE would want to do it because people are really into Mizdow at the moment but at the same I think part of the reason why he is so over is because he has the Miz to play his character off of. Turning him babyface means they would have to pair him with somebody else (somebody else that probably couldn’t come up with a good reason to have a stunt double or biggest fan or whatever) OR risk losing everything that the fans are cheering him for (see also Randy Orton 2004). I will be picking the Usos to win though just because them winning would further the divide that has already appeared with Miz and Mizdow and ask why can’t things last longer in wrestling?

Dan’s Pick: The Usos 
While it’s safe to say that we all love the Mizdow character it’s time to start the break up between him and Miz so they can hopefully have a WrestleMania match, which will start when they win the tag titles at Royal Rumble and then lose them at Fast Lane next month. As usual these two teams should have a good match but nothing fresh and new.

The New Age Outlaws vs. The Ascension

Royal Rumble 2015 NAO vs Ascension

Eron’s Pick: The Ascension
I think everyone on this panel will agree that the Ascension HAVE to win this match after their “burial” this past Monday night on RAW. I’ve been on the Ascension bandwagon, and I think their booking has been terrible so far. It might be too late for this tag team to “rise”, but WWE could try to plug up this sinking ship this Sunday. I have to think the Ascension walk out with a convincing victory.

Joel’s Pick: The Ascension 
If the New Age Outlaws wipe the floor with this “up-and-coming” team…I won’t know what to say. How ANYONE can be looking forward to this prelim match is beyond me. Is anyone looking forward to the heels potentially “getting theirs” at the PPV, after already seeing it happen last Monday night? Just an utter mess of a program. The Ascension HAVE TO WIN if they want any form of credibility left.

Crazy Bill’s Pick: The Ascension 
Shit on The Ascension all you want, They Will Rise. They are going to take the Outlaws to the wasteland and finally get props from the fans. It’s no surprise they went this route. The Outlaws were the guys who helps The Usos AND The Rhodes Bros get to a whole new level in the wrestling world. Expect them to do the same for The Ascension. That’s what this is all about.

Zak’s Pick: The Ascension 
Hoo boy a lot of people talking about the Ascension since they debuted both good and bad. I am in the crowd that believes that despite the obvious switch over from NXT to Raw audience WWE is bringing up a lot of stuff in regards to the Ascension that really shouldn’t matter. I mean do people really care that Konnor and Viktor have similar looks to past tag teams (And present tag teams with the Uso’s and the Dust Brothers still around) and do they have to bring up those comparisons every week.

I get the intention behind this match and that is to give the Ascension something separate from the Rumble to do and have them beat a legends team in order to silence the critics that only exist on the show itself but hopefully when the Ascension does win it will simmer down. Anybody remember that the last time we saw the Outlaws they were heels with the Authority?

Dan’s Pick: The Ascension 
WWE so far has dropped the ball big time with The Ascension since they made it to the main roster, but at Royal Rumble we’ll see The Outlaws help solidify The Ascension like they did for The Uso’s last year. It should be a lengthy match to show more of The Ascension and show that they go against a well established tag team instead of local nobodies.

Natalya & Paige vs. Nikki Bella & Brie Bella

Royal Rumble 2015 Natalya & Paige vs Bellas

Eron’s Pick: Nikki Bella & Brie Bella
So what’s the point of this match? Anyways. I guess I’ll go with the heels in this match just for the hell of it.

Joel’s Pick: Nikki Bella & Brie Bella
It’s a shame that the prediction game sometimes comes down to picks like THIS ONE. Who cares about this match? Anyone….anyone at all? If you do, more power to you. The Bellas to win (a complete 180 from my prediction on Wrestling’s Rope Break).

Crazy Bill’s Pick: Natalya & Paige 
I would talk about the divas, but they don’t care and I don’t either, no matter how much I want to bang Paige and Nikki. Paige and Natalya win.

Zak’s Pick: Natalya & Paige 
This is actually kind of unique as opposed to the one and one women’s match that we normally see on PPV. The title is not on the line and the story going into the match is that both Natalya and Paige want to get the belt and are now being forced to team together even though being a babyface and heel respectively they wouldn’t get along against both the champion and her sister. I actually see a specific outcome that will lead to Natalya and Paige winning: They won’t get along but they still manage to beat the Bella’s making them both contenders for the title. I actually see something that could lead into WrestleMania 31 but considering the patience that WWE has for the women’s division that probably won’t happen but oh well if it is a 4 way at WrestleMania great if not than I’ve lost nothing.

Dan’s Pick: Natalya & Paige 
A match that in my opinion should’ve been a fatal four way for the Diva’s Championship, is now a tag match that should still deliver if given enough time. WWE has been building this up pretty well and has made Paige and Natalya look credible against The Bella Twins and their momentum will continue with a big win this Sunday.

The 2015 Royal Rumble Match

Royal Rumble 2015 Logo

Eron’s Pick: Roman Reigns 
For me, it came down to two obvious names: Roman Reigns or Daniel Bryan. I went with Reigns just because I think WWE will make the same mistake as last year. I think Vince McMahon are dead set on putting Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania 31. Simple as that. I WANT Bryan or Ambrose to win this match, but we all know better… right? Any chance we get a Lex Luger/Bret Hart finish to this Rumble with Bryan and Reigns winning? I think that’s a good possibility. Maybe the Authority get involved? We’ll see I guess.

Joel’s Pick: Roman Reigns
As has been WELL documented, the most predictable choice for this year’s Royal Rumble match isn’t exactly the BEST one to go with. With Roman Reigns being everything but READY to take his next step into megastarsdom, I can’t help but feel WWE are rushing with their plans. If Roman IS WWE’s pick for the main event of Wrestlemania 32, the lead booker for this match has a helluva challenge upcoming on Sunday. Reluctantly, Roman to win.

Crazy Bill’s Pick: Daniel Bryan 
This is the toughest. As I said, they were heavy on Reigns, but it looks like something changed. I honestly think it’ll be Reigns vs Big Show at WrestleMania. So who could win the rumble? Ryback, Ziggler, Ambrose, Wyatt and Reigns are all highly probable picks but I think I know exactly who will get it one more time.

Zak’s Pick: Roman Reigns
We have had a lot of debate going on in the Pro Wrestling Powerhouse world: Articles, Facebook discussions etc and I have to say I am sticking with my guns and it may not be a surprise: Roman Reigns. Whether you consider him ready or not to me the sign that somebody is ready to be pushed is just overness. Daniel Bryan may be the proven draw but it is time to finally stop putting themselves off, get off the pot and strike now when Lesnar is still here ready to put somebody over. I want them to push Reigns now because much like Ryback in 2012 he didn’t win the match that he needed to win and it was downhill from there. THIS is the Roman Reigns equivalent.

Dan’s Pick: Roman Reigns
While I like many would love to see Daniel Bryan win the Rumble this year it’s just not the direction it’s going to go, especially with how unsure Bryan’s future is if he gets hurt again. Roman is being set up for a huge match at WrestleMania this year against Brock Lesnar, if he goes into Mania as champion, and be set up as the next golden boy of WWE.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins

Royal Rumble 2015 Cena Lesnar Rollins

Eron’s Pick: Brock Lesnar 
Since mid-2014, the most popular rumor going around was that WWE wanted a Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns main event for WrestleMania with the WWE Title on the line, so I’m sticking with that. I think WWE wants Reigns in the main event and I think they want their special attraction, Brock Lesnar there as well. It’s very possible that they change their minds last minute and go with Rollins vs. Reigns, Cena vs. Reigns, Cena vs. Bryan, Lesnar vs. Bryan (you get the picture) or any other option.

Joel’s Pick: John Cena 
Let’s just make it clear here: I am picking Cena to WIN THE MATCH. Will he leave Philly with the Championship? That’s an entirely different question! But on the whole, WWE has done a solid job surrounding this match with legit interest and intrigue. But when all is said and done, Cena makes it 16 World Championships and gets set to “pass the torch” to Roman Reigns at this years WrestleMania.

Crazy Bill’s Pick: Brock Lesnar 
This one is tough. They have done so much in the past few weeks to make us REALLY question what was going to happen. It looked like Mania would be Reigns vs Lesnar for the title, but with Rollins getting put in the match and Reigns looking to be having his push slowed down… It’s hard to say. I’m pretty sure they’ll still rely on Lesnar to get one last big draw at WrestleMania as the champion, especially if they know he’ll likely try the UFC again.

Zak’s Pick: Brock Lesnar
*Insert unfunny joke about infrequent appearing WWE Champion here* I think the reason why Seth Rollins was added to this match beyond the furthering of the Authority angle was to plant the seed of doubt within the fans mind because if Lesnar and Cena were facing each other one on one we would know that Brock was winning. I still think that despite Lesnar potentially returning to MMA after WrestleMania it would be best for him for his last match to be the one where he finally loses the title so I will be picking Brock Lesnar to retain his title, Seth Rollins will either lose outright or get cost the match by Sting (WWE you should start actually promoting Sting appearances now) and John Cena to be the odd man out as he goes into WrestleMania to do…actually really does depend on the Rumble outcome which brings us to…

Dan’s Pick: Brock Lesnar
With the addition of Seth Rollins to the match a level of uncertainty of who will walk out of Philadelphia as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, which is exactly what the match needed. Seth will lay low for the majority of the match but try to steal pins from Cena and Lesnar. Lesnar will pin Cena and proceed to celebrate with Paul Heyman, who then turns on Lesnar which sets up Seth to cash in Money In The Bank and become the WWE Champion.

That’s all folks! During the Royal Rumble, everyone on the PWP staff will be live tweeting, so be sure to follow them all and follow PWP on Twitter as well @Team_PWP!

Also, Pro Wrestling Powerhouse has so much Royal Rumble content that can read on the PWP homepage.

Projecting the Success of NXT’s Superstars

Pro Wrestling Powerhouse
PWP’s Tim Bell gives you a “best case & worst case” scenario on the projected careers of some of the top stars in NXT in this list

Lately, NXT seems to be outshining the WWE main roster due to its focus on pure wrestling and lack of fluff and filler. Fans are enjoying the commitment to performance and character development, and it’s led to a lot of excitement about seeing some of the top stars of NXT graduate to the main roster.

However, what is a realistic expectation from these talents as they make the jump to RAW and SmackDown? While many fans want everyone to go the “Paige route” and win a Championship on their first appearance, it’s likely that many talents will fall short of the lofty expectations NXT has created. So how do we handicap each performers chances? I’ve taken a look at 10 stars of NXT, and have projected both a best case scenario, and a worst case scenario comparison for each of them. Who has Championship potential, and who may ultimately disappoint?

Adrian NevilleAdrian Neville
Best Case Scenario: Chris Benoit
Worst Case Scenario: John Morrison

Now, this shouldn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyway. Obviously, we’re only comparing Neville to Benoit as a WWE performer, not as a real life individual.

Neville has a dream combination of a fantastic look, and a move set that defies your immediate expectations when you first see him. True, he’s only 5’10”, but his muscular physique helps him shed the lightweight label he’s normally receive. Neville has shown the ability to amaze both through his aerial prowess, as well as with his technical skill, allowing him to have a great match in a variety of ways. Neville’s in ring talent should allow him a long career, and I could certainly see him having a Championship moment similar to Benoit’s WrestleMania 20 victory.

However, he’s struggled at times when delivering promos, and if he cannot develop a clear personality and connect with the WWE audience, he may be another great looking disappointment, much like the “Shaman of Sexy”, John Morrison.

My Prediction: Neville wow’s in the ring, but his size and dry personality relegate him to 2 tier success. Future Intercontinental Champion, but World Championship is unlikely.

SteenKevin Owens
Best Case Scenario: Taz (ECW)
Worst Case Scenario: Rhyno (WWE)

Newcomer Kevin Owens has certainly jumped right into the main event picture in NXT after his attack on Sami Zayn, and with a wealth of experience in ROH and on the independent circuit, Owens is certainly equipped to do great things in WWE. He’s a bit unique though, and in WWE that can be a blessing, and sometimes can be a curse as well, as they may not be too sure on what to do with him. His best personality is the one he’s already displayed in NXT, as a vicious fighter who never backs down from a challenge, because whether he’s being cheered or jeered, that character still plays.

If he’s built as a consistent, credible threat, he could be a monster, similar to Taz’s ECW persona. However, if he’s not built properly, he’ll be seen as too small to  be a true big man, and will struggle to find his niche in WWE.

My Prediction: I have reservations on how WWE will use Owens, but I’m choosing to be optimistic that they’ll figure this one out. Owens eventually succeeds as a babyface in WWE, even finding the main event picture from time to time. 

Tyler Breeze NXTTyler Breeze
Best Case Scenario: Shawn Michaels
Worst Case Scenario: Rick “The Model” Martel

Tyler Breeze has a great character right now, even if it’s a rehash of the pretty boy persona done so many times before. The heat is still real, and Breeze portrays it as well as any other. The issue is whether Breeze can find a way to be more than he is currently. His ceiling and floor were probably the easiest to set, because it’s based simply on whether he can eventually grow his personality away from the mirror (or in this case, cell phone).

If Breeze can evolve, his in-ring talent is immense, and the Dolph Ziggler and, yes, Shawn Michaels comparison begins. If he cannot, and it’s always about his looks, then expect him to be stuck in the early segments, much like Rick “The Model” Martel once upon a time.

My Prediction: Breeze continues his current character to the main roster, eventually finds some grit and toughness to expand his personality, and comes far closer to being Michaels than Martel.

Enzo vs Lefort NXT TO 2Enzo Amore
Best Case Scenario: Road Dogg Jesse James/”Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart
Worst Case Scenario: Zack Ryder

Enzo Amore is an interesting case, and he gets two best case possibilities, because I could see WWE transitioning him to a manager for Big Cass as easily as I could see them debuting as a team. Enzo’s in-ring talent is not his strong point, that’s obvious.

His promo skills make him an easy comparison to James, but honestly, Enzo hasn’t shown the skill inside the ring to even be compared to James there, which is why the transition to manager may be the best option. WWE isn’t nearly as dependent on managers nowadays as it was in Hart’s heyday, but Amore could be one of the most natural heel managers in years. Or, he could be split off on his own as a wrestler, and be the most annoying jobber since the “Long Island Iced Z”.

My Prediction: Enzo makes the switch to manager, and becomes as helpful to his talent as Paul Heyman, albeit in a completely different fashion. Biggest question becomes how long WWE is willing to run with him as a manager.

Enzo & Big CassBig Cass
Best Case Scenario: Kevin Nash
Worst Case Scenario: Billy Gunn

Big Cass is one of the most interesting superstars on the NXT roster in my eyes, because he’s a big man who can move inside the ring, but more importantly, he’s a big man with a personality. So often these days, Superstars above 6’9″ are expected to look scary and run people over. Problem is, once that character is beaten, he loses much of his credibility. One of the reasons Kevin Nash had staying power was that while he was physically imposing, he was able to connect with the audience verbally due to his entertaining personality, and then when he needed to be menacing, it was easy to make that switch. Cass has that same ability, and could be destined for greatness if he’s able to use that talent on the main roster. Or, he could stay the silent (in comparison) partner of Enzo Amore and be a wealth of untapped potential.

My Prediction: Cass stays attached to Enzo for their main roster debut, until WWE moves Amore to a managerial role. Once on his own, it’s up to Cass to be more than a Titus O’Neil type, and his personality should allow him to become a very popular mid-tier star. 

Charlotte NXTCharlotte
Best Case Scenario: Michelle McCool
Worst Case Scenario: Natalya

The biggest fear I have with Charlotte is the same complaint we’ve had about most Divas over the past few years. Once she makes it to the main roster, will she have a chance to truly show her skill wrestling, or will she be lost in the shuffle of being a diva? I feel one of the biggest pitfalls for Natalya in her WWE tenure has been her seemingly to be the same as the Bellas and other Divas in the division. Natalya’s a wrestler trapped in a Diva culture, and she hasn’t seemed truly comfortable for some time now.

Could Charlotte fall into the same trap? Or, will she find that promised land like McCool, where she was able to be attractive and portray the Diva image, while still remaining a true credible threat inside the ropes as well?

My Prediction: Charlotte rises to the top of the Divas division quickly, then is eventually added to Total Divas, loses the Divas Title, and through no fault of her own, is lost in the crowd. (Otherwise known as the Paige trail)

Hiedo Itami NXT TO2Hideo Itami
Best Case Scenario: Mr. Perfect
Worst Case Scenario: Tajiri

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Tajiri’s work in both ECW & WWE. However, Tajiri’s ring skill certainly should have warranted him a larger role in WWE, or in any company, but let’s face facts: not speaking English, even nowadays, is a large hurdle for talent who perform predominantly in the United States. Now, Itami is working on his English, and is coming into WWE with far more hype and a more decorated resume than Tajiri, so hopes are high that WWE will not shy away from him due to a slight language barrier. Either way, Itami will impress inside the squared circle, but will it translate into Championships and mainstream success?

My Prediction: Itami gets past the language issue, but is typecast as an in-ring workhorse who will not translate into Championship material. It’s possible he captures a U.S. or Tag Team Championship, but he doesn’t match his international success in WWE.

Bull Dempsey and Baron CorbinBull Dempsey
Best Case Scenario: Kevin Sullivan
Worst Case Scenario: Snitsky

I’m pulling for Bull Dempsey to reach his ceiling on the main roster, probably due to my belief that Kevin Sullivan doesn’t seem to receive as much credit as I feel he deserves. Dempsey is a tribute to the mid-eighties in Pro Wrestling, a character with absolutely zero garnish, who simply gets in the ring and tries to knock you out.

I feel that there’s still a place for that type of character, even in today’s landscape of Superstars. However, it may be that Dempsey plays to NXT’s territorial type audience, but not the full scope of the WWE universe. In that case, expect Dempsey to receive some type of hokey storyline, giving him a short shelf life and a number of “what-ifs”.

My Prediction: Dempsey gets a 3-5 week chance on the main roster, but this generation’s WWE fan doesn’t respond, and Dempsey either gets placed into a tag team, or future endeavored and succeeds elsewhere.

Finn Balor NXT 2014Finn Balor
Best Case Scenario: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Worst Case Scenario: Paul London

Finn Balor’s comparisons were by far the most difficult for me to come up with, first because he’s so different from what we’ve seen before, and also because I feel there’s more gray area in WWE’s potential use of Balor than with almost any other talent on the NXT roster. Finn Balor came into NXT with more hype than almost anyone else, mainly because he was a talent most believed WWE would never select. Now, not only have they brought him in, but he’s immediately taken over NXT with his presence and talent, and shows promise to be a big player for years to come…if things fall his way, of course. The fear is that Balor’s size works against him, and that he’s another of the many who get to the main roster, and isn’t allowed to live up to his talent, due to lack of opportunity. Paul London was a huge example of this, an “internet darling” who was largely popular, but never got a true shot in WWE. It would be a shame to see Balor end up the same way, but unfortunately, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. On the contrary, if Balor gets the correct chance, he won’t just grab the brass ring, he’ll smash it on his way to the top.

My Prediction: Balor is a hit from day one, popular with every segment of the audience, and he becomes one of the longest reigning fan favorites since Ricky Steamboat. The highlight of his career? It may be when he cashes in Money In The Bank to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion, or it may be the day he’s inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. 

Sami Zayn NXT TitleSami Zayn
Best Case Scenario: Daniel Bryan
Worst Case Scenario: Evan Bourne

We close our prognostications with the current NXT Champion, Sami Zayn. Sami’s latest storyline with Adrian Neville is such an easy sell, isn’t it? The classic underdog who always comes up just short finally breaks through and wins the big one. Problem is, how many times can you “finally” break through? Zayn’s earmarked for success in WWE, and he has the talent and personality to make good on his potential.

The only question is how high will he go? Will he be able to transcend and become World Heavyweight Champion, or will he have to settle for simply being wildly popular while never quite reaching the top? For every Jeff Hardy who reached the pinnacle after years of getting close and failing, there is a Rob Van Dam, who doesn’t ever quite become that World Champion caliber Superstar. Where will Zayn ultimately end up?

My Prediction: Sami Zayn will most likely be the most immediately popular Superstar to jump from NXT to WWE, and will be given every opportunity to capitalize on that popularity. I believe Zayn will inevitably cash in on that talent and skill, and become World Champion. 

The Powerhouse Awards: Best of WWE in 2014

Pro Wrestling Powerhouse
Awarding The Best of WWE in 2014

Welcome Ladies & Gentlemen to the First Annual Powerhouse Awards! 

The year is just about over and WWE is entering the Road to WrestleMania. With every year that comes to an end, we have to celebrate the best from WWE in the past year. There were some amazing and incredible moments, but some also cringe worthy. I’m Eron Ramadanov and I’m happy to present the very first edition of The Powerhouse Awards.

Let’s begin the ceremonies with the breakout superstar of the year.

Breakout Star of the Year: Dean Ambrose

The year of 2014 has been filled with possible candidates, as many from NXT have shinned on the main roster, as well as some who have broken their shell and have become legitimate players in WWE’s future. The superstar that personifies that is the lunatic fringe, Dean Ambrose. In a year, Ambrose has become one of WWE’s fan favorites, as he’s connected with the fans in a way we haven’t seen recently. With that, WWE seems to be gaining trust in him as a center piece for the future.

Dean Ambrose WWE 2014

In the first half of the year, Ambrose was the (unnamed) leader of The Shield along with Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns. The group’s break up (which will be talked about later) was just the thing that Ambrose needed to become WWE’s breakout star. His feud with Seth Rollins is in the running for feud of the year (which we’ll talk about later as well), and reminded me of the Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels feud in the mid-2000s. Ambrose’s ability to connect with fans and rising to the top so quickly makes him my breakout star of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Rusev, Dolph Ziggler

Faction of the Year: The Shield

I think everyone can agree that the Shield was the most dominate faction/stable in the WWE for the year of 2014. With their domination of the Tag Titles and United States Title, and so many impressive matches throughout the year, the Shield is what a three man stable should be in today’s WWE. Their matches with Evolution, The Wyatt Family, and others headlined multiple pay-per-views and when they were placed lower on the card, they stole the show almost every night.

The Shield WWE 2014

Some of the reasons I didn’t pick the Wyatt Family is because as a unit, they don’t match up with the Shield. I love the Wyatt Family, but their win/loss record is poor, and they underachieved in my opinion. Also, with the success of all three guys outside of the group, shows that they were so dangerous as a unit.

Honorable Mentions: The Wyatt Family, The Authority

Tag Team of the Year: The Usos

When it comes to the tag team of the year, I had to go with the brothers from Samoa. Jey and Jimmy Uso are similar to the Shield when it comes to 5 star matches almost every time they step into the squared circle. The former tag team champions have come a long way from being just another tag team, to being one of WWE’s hottest merchandise sellers and one of WWE’s “go to” tag teams.

Usos

Honorable Mentions: Goldust & Stardust, The New Age Outlaws 

Betrayal of the Year: Seth Rollins turns on the Shield on RAW (June 2nd, 2014)

I think no one can argue this award when it comes to betrayal of the year. After the destruction of Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista at WWE Payback, The Shield looked bigger and better than ever. Going into that night on RAW, many wondered where do the Shield go next after beating Evolution two times in a row. I think it’s safe to say that no one truly predicted that Seth Rollins would turn on his “brothers”.

Seth Rollins turns on the Shield

As the Shield stood tall at the end of RAW, Triple H & Randy Orton walked to the ring, and WWE’s COO stated that the Authority always has a “plan b”…

Shockingly, Seth Rollins was the one who turned on Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Many believed that if that day ever came, Dean Ambrose would be the one that would turn heel on his partners. The best part of this night was, as Rollins wrenched back to hit Reigns with a chair, you can hear someone in the crowd scream, “NOOOO!”. Whether you saw it coming or not, one thing that can be agreed upon is that the Shield break-up was a day that many fans never wanted to see come. Either way, Seth Rollins wins the award for the shocking betrayal of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Big Show turns on Team Cena (Survivor Series), Nikki Bella turns on Brie Bella (SummerSlam)

Return/Comeback of the Year: The Rock Returns To RAW (October 6th, 2014)

On the October 6th episode of RAW, Rusev & Lana came out for another one of their segments where they bash America and everything that it stands for. This was in the belly of the Rusev vs. Big Show feud, which was lack-luster, and needed some spark.

Well, not only did it get a spark, but it got electrified (see what I did there?).

The return of the Great One, The Rock was one of the most shocking returns in the last few years. The crowd and fans watching at home had little, to no idea that the Rock would make his glorious return to the WWE. At the time, we hadn’t seen the Rock since WrestleMania 30. The crowd exploded with a huge roar, and Rusev and Lana froze in shock, like many watching at home. Of course, the Rock did his usual banter, and embarrassed Rusev & Lana. To add to the surprise, the Rock actually got physical with Rusev, and while in the moment, many believed that this was going to be the beginning of a feud between the two, but then everyone quickly realized that it was probably a one-off thing. Either way, it was an incredible return, and my favorite of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Hulk Hogan returns to RAW (February 24th), Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 30 (April 6th), Jake Roberts returns to RAW (January 6th), The Undertaker returns to RAW (February 24th), Ultimate Warrior at the WWE Hall of Fame (April 5th) 

Debut of the Year: Sting Debuts at WWE Survivor Series (November 23rd, 2014)

This year, we saw a number of new superstars debut on the WWE main roster, and down at NXT. But I think we can all agree that the debut of WCW icon, Sting tops the list. At Survivor Series, The Authority’s jobs were on the line and it was winner takes all. Triple H seemed to have everything under control, but Sting wasn’t having any of it.

Sting at Survivor Series WWE

The ending of the Survivor Series pay-per-view was something right out of a diehard fan’s wetdream, as Triple H and Sting stood face-to-face. It had all the makings of fantasy booking, but it was really happening! Of course we all would rather see Sting and The Undertaker face-to-face, but Triple H and Sting is almost as good.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that Sting’s debut in WWE was one of the best moments of the year, and many in WWE history just on historical value alone.

Honorable Mentions: Rusev on RAW (April 7th), Adam Rose on RAW (May 5th), Hideo Itami on NXT (September 18th), Finn Balor (November 6th), Kevin Owens on NXT Takeover: R Evolution (December 11th)

NXT Diva of the Year: Charlotte

The NXT women’s division has been incredible this year, and I feel like one of the biggest reasons for that is the rise of Charlotte Flair. Charlotte has come a long way from 2 years ago, and has grown into the best diva on the NXT roster. She has only been in the business for a short period of time, but has turned into a staple for the women’s division at Full Sail.

Charlotte NXT

Her feud with Bayley defined what women’s wrestling should be like on the WWE main roster, and not everything has to be about a reality show. And most recently, her incredible match with Sasha Banks at NXT Takeover: REvolution was another reason why Charlotte deserves to be the NXT Diva of the Year.

Honorable Mentions: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Summer Rae, Paige

WWE Diva of the Year: AJ Lee

This award was very difficult on so many levels because there were four divas that I considered, and I nailed it down to two in the end between: AJ Lee & Paige. I made a list of why each Diva should be named the best in 2014, and I ultimately picked AJ Lee on seniority and going into WrestleMania 30 this year as the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time. That really sealed the deal for me. I also decided on AJ Lee due to the fact that Paige has fallen out of the Divas Title picture lately and has become irrelevant.

AJ Lee WWE 2014

AJ Lee and Paige put together a good feud this year, and with the creativity they were given, they did well enough. I will say that I was expecting more from them, but I don’t know how much of the blame lands on them. In the end, I went with the crazy chick (but in today’s WWE, I don’t know if that’s specific enough…)

Honorable Mentions: Paige, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Stephanie McMahon, Alicia Fox

Feud of the Year: Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority (Triple H & Stephanie McMahon)

This award came down to a lot of different candidates, but I ultimately went with this feud due to the length and the impact it had on WWE’s product. This feud started in mid-2013, and continued until early-2014. In total, this feud went as long as 7+ months, as Triple H and Stephanie McMahon tried to stop Daniel Bryan’s rise every chance they could get (kayfabe & non-kayfabe). The fans wanted Bryan to be in the main event at WrestleMania 30, and we received just that.

Triple H vs Daniel Bryan WM 30 2014

Solely based on the impact this feud had on the WWE product throughout 2014, I decided on this one.

Honorable Mentions: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena, Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn, Evolution vs. The Shield, Charlotte vs. Bayley 

NXT Superstar of the Year: Adrian Neville

It seems as I grow closer to the end, these seem to get harder. This was really a two person race. I battled between Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville for this award, and it was a tie. Their feud together has been incredible, and I think they have put together similar resumes in NXT so far, but the one thing that Neville had for most of 2014 was the NXT Title. Granted Zayn has righted that, but Neville was champion for a majority of the year, and his character has evolved so much.

Adrian Neville WWE

Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn have kicked ass this year, together and apart. Neville’s character has grown from honest babyface, to someone who doesn’t care what he has to do to win. Zayn has faced a similar evolution, as he’s added more edge, but I feel like I have to give respect to Adrian Neville in this situation and award his NXT superstar of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, Bo Dallas, Rusev, Tyson Kidd

WWE Superstar of the Year: Brock Lesnar

The year of 2014 has seen many superstars shine in the spotlight and many have had incredible years, but this has to go to Brock Lesnar. The Beast Incarnate might have put together the most impressive year of all time. First, manhandling the Big Show at the Royal Rumble, beating the Undertaker at WrestleMania 30, destroying John Cena at Summerslam and Night of Champions to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and unify the WWE & World Titles.

Talk about a year to remember…

Brock Lesnar SS 2014

2014 might have cemented Brock Lesnar as a WWE Hall of Famer (not that he cares) and has put him in the history books as one of the most legitimate superstars in WWE history. Granted, Brock Lesnar probably had a Hall of Fame career before this year, but this year locked up that decision.

Other superstars had years that were impressive as well like Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, etc., but none of them measured up to the year of the beast, Brock Lesnar.

Honorable Mentions: John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Rusev, Randy Orton

Match of the Year: Daniel Bryan vs. Batista vs. Randy Orton (c) at WrestleMania 30 for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Similar to the feud of the year, this match holds something that the other candidates don’t, and that’s legitimate importance. Walking into WrestleMania 30, Daniel Bryan being in the main event was the biggest thing going into that night and seeing Daniel Bryan win the World Title, and channel his inner Chris Benoit was a must for many fans in attendance and at home. I still remember hearing people say that the only reason they still care about WWE is because they want to see Daniel Bryan win the WWE Title.

Daniel Bryan WWE 2014

Daniel Bryan’s match with Triple H to kick off the show was probably a better wrestling match, but it all led to this. After being screwed so many times, the fans wanted to see Daniel Bryan finally win the big one, and shine. This match had some really cool moments, and I felt like everyone was invested in some way, whether you loved Daniel Bryan, or you hated him, you cared about the outcome. Many other matches rivaled this match, but in the end, I went with this one based on historical importance, and that it meant the most to WWE’s product for the year of 2014.

Honorable Mentions: Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 30, Natalya vs. Charlotte at NXT Takeover, Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins at Hell In A Cell, Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Tyler Breeze at NXT Takeover: Fatal 4-Way, Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena at SummerSlam, Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Nevile at NXT Takeover: REvolution 

Thanks for Reading! Hopefully you enjoyed! Let me know your award picks in the comments below or on Twitter @Eron_PWP, @Team_PWP or @CoolWrestleNews