Chris Toplack | WWE
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WWE

The Revival Officially Released By WWE

After months worth of discussion, the Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) were officially granted their release from WWE as of this morning, April 10, 2020. This should come as no surprise as the two reportedly asked for their releases several times over the past couple of years even downing down raises.

Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder were pulled off the road back in March of this year with their final match taking place on last worked a match during a live event on March 1. Dash in specific was recently featured in Edge’s WWE 24 special where he was one of the few in the know regarding The Rated R Superstar’s surprise return while helping him prepare for it.

The duo remains the only Triple Crown Tag Team Winner in WWE history with their most memorable run taking place in NXT where they reigned as two-time champions while also competing in memorable Match of the Year against DIY (Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano) at NXT TakeOver: Toronto in 2016.

Note: I was fortunate to witness this match in person and it remains the best tag-team match I’ve ever watched live.

Despite winning the Raw Tag-Team Championship twice and the SmackDown Tag-Team Championship once, the two never received the same spotlight on both shows compared to NXT.

Author Note: NWA offers some great potential for them and AEW features an excellent tag-team division with plenty of depth, so I personally hope they end up there. There are really endless possibilities for this talented duo.

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WWE Extreme Rules Predictions

WWE Extreme Rules takes place this coming Sunday, July 14th from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This marks the eleventh event under the Extreme Rules banner. 

  • Kickoff Show: 6pm ET

  • Main Card: 7pm ET

(Cruiserweight championship) — Drew Gulak (c) vs. Tony Nese

Drew Gulak won the Cruiserweight title at Stomping Grounds in a triple threat match against Nese and Arira Tozawa. Continuity certainly wasn’t at play since former champions tend to receive immediate rematches, but Nese had to defeat Akira Tozawa to earn a rematch.

Prediction: Drew Gulak retains 

(Raw Tag-Team Championship) — The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) (c) vs. The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)

It’s refreshing to see this match without the dependency on corny comedy segments. These are easily two of the best teams in the world. 

A victory for Jimmy & Jey would mark their 7th title reign. But will it happen on Sunday? 

Prediction: Revival retain  (So early into their reign, but stranger things have happened) 

(SmackDown tag team championship) — Daniel Bryan & Rowan vs. The New Day vs. Heavy Machinery 

Originally, it was just intended to be the New Day involved, but Otis and Tucker were added to the match after defeating Owens and Ziggler on a recent episode of Smackdown. 

Admittedly, I’m not a fan of triple threat tag-team matches, but this could potentially be very good. Heavy Machinery saw their stock rise dramatically after a very competitive match against the tag-team champions at  WWE Stomping Grounds.

Prediction: Daniel Bryan and Rowan retain 

Undertaker & Roman Reigns vs. Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre

Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre have been at odds with Roman Reigns for months. Just as the feud seemingly ended, it picked back up again, but the Undertaker adds a completely new dynamic to the match. Taker came to Roman’s rescue on Raw a few weeks ago. 

According to Undertaker’s promo, he wasn’t asked. 

I would fully expect Kevin Owens to get involved here.

Prediction: Undertaker and Roman Reigns (This will reportedly lead to Taker vs McIntyre at SS)

Aleister Black vs. Cesaro 

Ever since parting ways with Ricochet, Aleister Black has been trapped in a promo room begging someone, anyone to challenge him. 
At one point, someone knocked on the door, but disappeared. 

Originally, I predicted it was going to be Randy Orton, but Cesaro will be a tough challenge and this will lead to an even better match between the two. 

Prediction: Aleister Black 

Smackdown Women’s Championship — Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss AND Nikki Cross (2 on 1 Handicap match) 

Alexa Bliss came up short at Stomping Grounds, but Cross earned Bliss another opportunity at the title. Whether it happens here for months from now, this is inevitably leading to Bliss turning on Cross. 

Cross proved to be even more helpful on Monday when she defeated Dana Brooke in a Beat the Clock challenge and change this to a handicap match.

I predict Sasha Banks will show up to even the odds or perhaps even turn on Bayley. 

Prediction: Bayley retains 

(United States Championship) — Ricochet (c) vs. AJ Styles:

After AJ Styles defeated Ricochet on Raw, the two rematched where Ricochet got his victory back. The series is even at 1-1, but AJ has the numbers advantage. The Club is officially back together and AJ is a heel. 

Prediction: Ricochet retains (I’m not confident in this choice)

(Last Man Standing Match) — Braun Strowman vs. Bobby Lashley 

The last we saw Braun Strowman, he was taking Bobby Lashley through the stage set. Somehow, Lashley came out unscathed and even dismantled Rey Mysterio on Raw. 

I do believe Strowman will come back fiercer than ever before. 

Prediction: Braun Strowman 

(WWE Championship) — Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Samoa Joe 

Once Samoa Joe dropped the United States Championship, a main event feud with either Rollins or Kingston was the next logical choice. Why? Samoa Joe is one of the most believable and dangerous characters on the main roster and can be inserted into the world championship feud at any point in time.

Last week, Kingston showed his aggressive side once he flipped off Joe and proceeded to hit him with Trouble in Paradise. 

Prediction: Kofi Kingston retains 

(Universal & Raw women’s championship — Seth Rollins (c) & Becky Lynch (c) vs. Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans ) – (Extreme Rules Match)

Here’s the stipulation: If Rollins and Lynch win, Corbin and Evans will never challenge for their respective titles again. If Corbin and Evans win, they receive both championships. 

I’m not sure about you, but all four of these individuals need to find fresh feuds against of SummerSlam. Ideally, Wyatt would be a great opponent for Rollins. 

Prediction: Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch retain 

Hopefully, this leads to Bray Wyatt debuting and challenging Rollins. 

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WWE Stomping Grounds Predictions

Predictions:

WWE Stomping Grounds takes place this coming Sunday, June 23, 2019  from the Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, Washington.

Sadly, the event is not selling very well and WWE is even offering 2-for-1 ticket deals for the first-ever Stomping Grounds event. A sign of the current state of WWE? Quite possibly. The price-point sure didn’t help their cause.

  • Kickoff Show – 6pm EST

  • Main Card 7pm EST

9 Matches in total with several being announced this week

The New Day vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

With Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn constantly getting involved in Kofi Kingston matches, this tag-team match makes sense, but it was somewhat thrown together at the last minute.
I imagine it will transpire on the pre-show.

Prediction: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Cruiserweight Championship – Tony Nese (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak – Triple Threat match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Getting straight to the point, I don’t foresee either Tozawa or Gulak being either individual to dethrone Nese and even if I were proven wrong, it’s highly doubtful that it occurs this Sunday.

Prediction: Tony Nese retains

Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre

A rematch of their lackluster Wrestlemania 35 clash. Sadly, the main storyline has been Shane McMahon’s constant one upsmanship over Reigns.

With Roman being pinned multiple times over the past couple of months, another loss will effectively kill any momentum.

Prediction: Roman Reigns

SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery

Heavy Machinery earned this opportunity last week. While Daniel Bryan claimed this team was a joke who was ill prepared for the spotlight, he did recognize their strength.

WWE has done little to build Heavy Machinery as a legitimate threat.

Prediction: Daniel Bryan and Rowan retain the titles.

Raw Women’s Championship Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans – The Man vs the Sassy Southern Belle

I have to question the logic of this match since Becky cleanly defeated Evans at Money In The Bank. How did she earn an immediate rematch?

Either way, this feels like a fairly predictable outcome.

Prediction: Becky Lynch retains

United States Championship —  Samoa Joe (c) vs. Ricochet

Ricochet earned this championship opportunity on Monday when won a Fatal 5-Way this past Monday. It’s refreshing to witness a new feud and based on Ricochet’s reactions on a weekly basis, he was the right man to be in this spot.

Prediction: Samoa Joe retains

SmackDown Women’s championship Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

Despite the fact Alexa Bliss is a Raw Superstar, she’s challenging for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. That was effectively the final nail in the brand split coffin.

The X-factor will be Nikki Cross in Alexa Bliss’s corner.

I have a hunch that Cross will inadvertently cost Bliss the match.

Prediction: Bayley retains

Universal Championship — Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin:

This is a rematch from their underwhelming Super Showdown battle and much like that match, the lingering possibility of Brock Lesnar cashing-in his MITB contract remains present.

Perhaps the biggest question remains, who will be the guest referee? All signs point to Lesnar.

Prediction: Seth Rollins retains

WWE Championship Kofi Kingston (c) vs Dolph Ziggler vs in a steel cage match

These two have squared off on many occasions, but their match at Super Showdown in Saudi Arabia was unquestionably underwhelming. Many factors involved, but I fully expect this match to be some form of redemption.

Kofi Kingston has done a remarkable job as WWE Championship as he constantly overcomes the odds to retain. As for Dolph Ziggler, he is fuelled by jealousy and adamantly believes that based on Kofi’s recent success, it should have been him instead.

So, will it be Dolph Ziggler this Sunday? Doubtful.

Prediction: Kofi Kingston retains

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The Legacy of Dean Ambrose

Last Sunday, Dean Ambrose made his final WWE appearance during Shield’s Final Chapter.

Dean did not renew his WWE contract with reports stating that he will retire as opposed to joining a competing promotion.

If I had to define Dean Ambrose in one word, it would be misused.

Before we look at some of his career highlights, I wanted to go over a few trivia facts along with accolades

  • As a youth, Dean Ambrose idolized Bret Hart.

  • Dean appeared as a part of the Undertaker’s entrance at the 2006 Royal Rumble. He was a druid.

  • As Jon Moxley, he had a tryout for TNA back in 2009.

  • Dean Ambrose wrestled William Regal in the final episode of Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) television.

Best Moments and Matches

  • In November 2012, Ambrose made his main roster debut at the Survivor Series pay-per-view alongside Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. In their turtlenecks, they triple powerbombed Ryback through an announce table during the triple threat main event for the WWE Championship. This allowed CM Punk to retain.

  • Dean’s first singles championship was WWE United States Championship when he defeated Kofi Kingston at Extreme Rules (2013)

    • Dean would hold the WWE United States Championship for 351 days though he really never defended it much.

  • The Shield faced off against the Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber 2014. Arguably the best of their many matches.

    • The Wyatt Family would win the match after Bray hit Sister Abigail on Reigns.

  • Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns vs Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista – WWE Payback 2014

  • On the June 2nd edition Raw, Rollins betrayed Ambrose and Reigns and aligned himself with The Authority. Ambrose immediately started feuding with Rollins.

  • Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins from the August 18th, 2014 edition of Raw. This was a Falls Count Anywhere match. Rollins won the match via referee stoppage. Kane interfered.

  • Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins – WWE Hell in a Cell 2014

  • Dean Ambrose vs Bad News Barrett vs Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler vs Luke Harper vs R-Truth vs Stardust at WWE Wrestlemania 31 in 2015. The opening match of Wrestlemania 31 was a Ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Daniel Bryan ended up climbing the ladder for the victory.

When you look at 2016, one could make the argument that Dean Ambrose was the MVP of WWE.

  • Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens Last Man Standing Match for the Intercontinental Championship at Royal Rumble 2016

  • Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns WWE Fastlane 2016

    • To determine the #1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 32.

  • Triple H vs Dean Ambrose at Roadblock in March 2016 (I was in attendance)

  • Dean Ambrose won the  2016 Money In The Bank ladder match and then cashed it in later on in the evening on Seth Rollins to win the WWE Championship. Seth had just defeated Roman Reigns with two Pedigrees.

  • Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins vs Roman Reigns WWE Battleground 2016. This was a Triple-Threat match for the WWE Championship. Ambrose retained after pinning Reigns with Dirty Deeds.

  • Arguably Dean best singles match was against AJ Styles for the WWE Championship Backlash 2016

  • Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles WWE TLC 2016  This was a TLC match for the WWE Championship. Styles picked up the win to retain the Title. 

  • Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs Sheamus and Cesaro – WWE Summerslam 2017 (For the Raw Tag-Team Championship)

    • Upon winning the Raw Tag Team Championship, Ambrose became the 27th Triple Crown Champion and the 16th Grand Slam Champion.

  • Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler for the RAW Tag Team Championship Hell In A Cell 2018 (This was Dean’s first match after an 8 month absence)

  • Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins vs Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley, and Drew McIntyre at WWE Fastlane 2019. The Shield reunited for a match at Fastlane in 2019. This was Roman Reigns’ first match back after his battle with leukaemia.   

Final Thoughts

Dean Ambrose should go down as one of the most dependable stars of the modern era. Also, when fans rejected Roman, the majority turned to support Dean.  

While he suffered from a lot of bad booking, Dean really attempted to make the most of it and aside from his recent time off rehabbing multiple injuries, he never missed any dates.

Despite the fact he was undeniably popular, I believe he would have been an even bigger star if WWE just allowed Ambrose to be himself.

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The Sasha Banks Situation

Introduction

Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet was to first to report that Sasha Banks is not only unhappy in her current position with WWE, but specifically expressed vocal displeasure over her loss at Wrestlemania 35 which lead to a backstage incident.

There are many unknowns here, which doesn’t allow us to tell a complete story and only make assumptions. Instead, I wanted to highlight hints leading up to this rumoured situation.

In the end, you will be able to formulate your own opinion on whether her rumoured unhappiness is justified or if this is just merely a case of blowing a situation out of proportion.

Forbes.com did an excellent job of putting together a definitive timeline, but I wanted mine to be focused more on the up’s and the down’s throughout matches, moments and championship reigns. I do reference the Forbes article timeline towards the conclusion.

This timeline is going to begin post Wrestlemania 32 where the Raw Women’s Championship was officially introduced.

Championship Gold

  • Sasha Banks was officially drafted to Raw in the summer of 2016 and managed to capture the Raw Women’s Championship on the July 25th edition of the show.

  • She held the championship for a total of 27 days before dropping it back to Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam

  • Fast forward to the October 3rd edition of Raw, Sasha Banks won her second Raw Women’s Championship defeating Charlotte Flair in the main event. Once again, her reign only lasted 27 days after dropping it back her rival, Charlotte Flair at Hell In A Cell. This loss transpired in her hometown in Boston

  • Less than a month later, Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte in a Falls Count Anywhere match on the November 28th edition of Raw for a third time. Tying the record. This time, Sasha’s victory occurred in Charlotte’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Famously known as Flair Country.

  • As per the trend you quickly starting to see, Sasha Banks once again dropped the Raw Women’s Championship back to Charlotte in a 30 minute Iron Woman at Roadblock: End of the Line taking place on December 18th.  Her reign, only lasted 20 days this time around.

The proverbial game of hot potato came to an end. Sasha Banks had won the Raw Women’s Championship 3-times in a matter of roughly 4 months, but her reign only lasted a combined 74 days.

At this point, one has to wonder if the company simply did not have enough confidence in Sasha to be their flag barrier or if they just simply preferred Charlotte Flair to assume that role.

Either way, this period proves to be a pivotal point in Sasha’s unwillingness to trust the company with their evident lack of faith in her.

  • On August 20th 2017, Sasha Banks forced Alexa Bliss to tap-out at SummerSlam, thus making her a 4-time Women’s Champion. This also marked the final time she has held this championship to date.

Merely 8 days later, Sasha Banks was forced to drop the Raw Women’s Championship to Alexa Bliss on Raw.

A 4-time Raw Women’s Champion in just over a year with a combined reign of 82 days.

Given how seriously Sasha respects the lineage and prestige of championships, one can imagine how these unmemorable reigns affected her trust with the company.

We jump ahead to September 1, 2017—Sasha Banks appeared on “The Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast,” where she fully admitted to preferring the structure of NXT.

“I think that’s what’s different about NXT too. We kind of always knew where we were going, so it helped me prepare and think of ahead of time, like, ‘how can I make this better?’. But when I go to RAW, it’s legit, like, ‘I have no clue what I’m doing.’ I don’t even know what to prepare for. I’m just, like, handed something or told something. And I was like, ‘okay, I have one hour to get ready. Oh, okay. Alright. Let’s just do it!”

Weeks later, Sasha Banks also repeated a similar statement on a different podcast where she stated that NXT was her real home.

She also alluded to this during an Edge and Christian podcast in January of 2019. We will get to that momentarily.

The Boss n Hug Connection

During the final portion of 2017, Bayley and Sasha started to team together.

The two competed in the inaugural Women’s’ Royal Rumble with Sasha Banks lasting an astounding 54:46 seconds.  

In February, the two also competed in the first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber that saw Sasha betray Bayley by allowing her to fall off the pod. Bliss ultimately won the match.

In March, tensions would quickly rise with Bayley walking away from their tag-matches, which lead to backstage brawls, overly scripted therapy sessions and a continued tease of the inevitable Sasha Banks heel turn. This feud had the potential to rekindle their magic from NXT, but instead, it fell completely flat and rather than extend it, the two put differences aside and teamed together.

Sasha Banks has publicly stated on multiple podcasts including Edge and Christian’s that she much prefers to play the heel character that put her on the map. Truthfully, it’s much more aligned with her character anyway.

Sasha and Bayley went on to team through the majority of 2018 with even competing on the WWE’s First Ever PPV, Evolution.

In January of this year, Sasha unsuccessfully challenged for Ronda’s Raw Women’s Championship.

Behind the scenes, it has been noted that both Sasha and Bayley would obsessively suggest to Vince and upper management the possibility or bringing back the Women’s Tag-Titles.

Eventually, their relentlessness paid off as the Women’s Tag-Titles were officially introduced at the Elimination Chamber on February 17th, of 2019.

Sasha and Bayley managed to capture the championship after defeated the team of Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose.

During their short reign, Sasha and Bayley appeared on Raw, Smackdown and even NXT along with an NXT house show to promote the concept of being defending champions anytime, anywhere on any brand.

Sadly, the concept never really took off as Sasha and Bayley lost their Women’s Tag-Titles to the IIconics at Wrestlemania 35 in a Fatal-4-Way match. Their reign lasted a total of 49 days.

Speculation

This is where the speculation begins

On Monday, April 8th Sasha Banks no-showed an appearance on the Wendy Williams show at the 11th hour citing personal reasons as the hurdle.

“Due to personal reasons, I had to pull out of my appearance today on @WendyWilliams . Sorry to everyone who was looking forward to it. Hopefully the opportunity will be there again later. #IfYouOnlyKnew”

Sasha Banks has always been known for her cryptic tweets, but fans and journalists were particularly intrigued by the true meaning behind this one.

Later than evening, she posted a length and far more cryptic message on Twitter.

HERE

Sasha Banks did not appear on Raw, but her tag-partner Bayley lost to Alexa Bliss in roughly 3 minutes.  In fact, Sasha and Alexa had an odd Twitter exchange after it was discover Banks muted Bliss and the favour was returned by Alexa blocking Sasha. Yes, very petty.

  • On Friday, April 12th, Ryan Satin or Pro Wrestling Sheet was the first to report that Sasha Banks and Bayley were laying on the floor of the locker room at Wrestlemania, and back at the hotel in front of one of their rooms, loudly making it known they were unhappy about losing the tag titles.”

Apparently, this was reported individually by 4 sources.

  • The scene was reportedly in protest of losing the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships to the IIconics at WrestleMania 35. Again, this is unconfirmed.

  • Additional reports even alluded to a violent episode featuring Sasha Banks. Also unconfirmed.

On the same day,—Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc noted Sasha Bank stopped following WWE’s official Twitter account and Vince McMahon. Petty, but perhaps very telling.

To further add to the heap of speculation, it was reported by Dave Meltzer that Sasha Banks asked for her release, was denied and that WWE wanted her to take a few weeks off to consider her decision.

In the meantime, Sasha Banks posted a photo of herself and Bayley with the IIconics on Twitter which shows there is very likely no hard feelings between both teams. She’s also been vacationing with her husband along with good friend Kalisto.

Bayley was also drafted to Smackdown which officially split up the Boss n Hug Connection.

Her future remains uncertain.

The Future

So you can look at both sides of the spectrum here.

As presented Sasha Banks been granted multiple title reigns, the ability to perform on the World’s biggest wrestling platform, achieve many firsts, become a household name and win or loss, be positioned as a fixture in the Women’s Division.

On the flip side, each of her title reigns have remained shockingly short and underwhelming, she has been very misused on the main roster and anytime momentum is gained, it is seemingly lost weeks later.  The WWE also split up her tag-team with Bayley.

One could make the argument that she takes pro-wrestling too seriously, but I would argue that many don’t take it seriously enough. In terms of her acting out on social media and reportedly backstage, if true, I don’t consider that to be professional conduct and perhaps having a serious discussion with management about her future or actually leaving would much more be ideal.

But who are we to judge or to really know what is fact or fiction? Time will tell.  

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