Articles by Jason Powell


2/22 NXT TV taping spoilers: Full results the taping of upcoming television shows (spoilers)

Logo_NXT_dn_crop600NXT TV taping
Orlando, Florida at the University of Central Florida
Results courtesy of In-The-Building Jacob

Episode One (estimate)

1. Ruby Riot (Heidi Lovelace) beat Kimber Lee.

2. Andrade “Cien” Almas beat HoHo Lun.

3. Kassius Ohno beat Elias Samson in a loser leaves NXT match.

4. Ember Moon beat Billie Kay.

5. Heavy Machinery beat Jonathan Ortagun and a partner.

6. Nikki Cross defeated Macey Estrella.

Episode Two

1. Andrade “Cien” Almas beat Oney Lorcan.

2. NXT Women’s Champion Asuka defeated Pricilla Zuniga

3. NXT Tag Champions Authors of Pain beat The Ealy Brothers.

4. Sanity fought Roderick Strong, No Way Joe, and Tye Dillinger to a no-contest.

Episode Three

1. Dash Wilder beat Akam and Johnny Gargano in a Triple Threat.

2. Bobby Roode defeated Kassius Ohno to retain the NXT Title.

3. Shinsuke Nakamura beat TJ Perkins. Bobby Roode and Andrade Almas attacked Nakamura. Finn Balor made the save.

WWE Raw rating for the February 20 show

Monday’s WWE Raw scored a 2.21 rating, up from the 2.16 rating the show drew last week. Raw averaged 3.215 million viewers, up from the 3.087 million average from last week.

Powell’s POV: A solid increase compared to last week. The key was the third hour maintaining most of the viewers from the first two hours, which is not always the case. It would appear as though that bulk of the credit for that should go to the Braun Strowman vs. Big Show main event. The February 22, 2016 edition of Raw delivered a 2.73 rating with 3.884 million viewers.

2/22 Moore’s NXT TV Review: Kassius Ohno appears, Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce vs. Liv Morgan in a Triple Threat to become No. 1 contender to the NXT Women’s Championship, Bobby Roode vs. No Way Jose, Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne

By John Moore

NXT on WWE Network
Taped February 1 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

The show started off with an in-memoriam for George “The Animal” Steele. The intro video talked about the upcoming Ember Moon, Peyton Royce, and Liv Morgan triple threat for this show. Tom Phillips, Nigel McGuiness, and Percy Watson were the commentators for this episode… Phillips hyped Pete Dunne vs. Mark Andrews. Bobby Roode was facing No Way Jose later on in the show. The women’s triple threat was opening up the show.

1. Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) vs. Liv Morgan in a Triple Threat to become No. 1 contender to the NXT Women’s Championship. Phillips pointed out that Liv Morgan was getting a chance at a title shot as a result of her pinning Peyton Royce. Nigel picked Royce as his favorite. Phillips said Royce and Kay were unbeatable as a unit.

Royce came at Moon with a kick early on and Morgan took advantage of this by tossing Royce into Moon and went for a rollup. Morgan did the matrix dodge for another pin attempt via rollup. Moon came at Royce with a kick to sent her to retreat outside. Kay pulled Royce away from Moon’s plancha which caused her to fall into Morgan. Royce tossed Moon into the steps to send us into commercial.[C]

Royce had Morgan dominated back from the break, putting the boots to her in the corner. Royce used her boot to choke Morgan in the corner as well. This led to a pin attempt by Royce. Royce made sure to kick Moon to keep her on the outside looking in. Royce locked in a modified tarantula on the ropes. Royce made sure to keep Moon outside every time she made it to the apron. This included hitting her with a basement dropkick.

Morgan fought out of the corner with a boot and headscissors to pick up a two count. Morgan tried to come back with more forearms after Royce kicked Moon off the apron again, but it was to no real avail. Morgan got hit with a spinning back kick in the corner. Morgan escaped with a drop toehold and double stomp to the back of Royce. Morgan hit a bulldog on Royce. Moon finally made it in the ring to break up the pin. Moon got sent back out by Morgan with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors.

Royce recovered and put Morgan in position for a superplex. Morgan blocked the superplex. Moon took advantage of this to nail Royce and Morgan with a sunset flip tower of doom. Billie Kay tried to protect Royce from the Eclipse but got hit herself. Liv Morgan tossed Ember Moon outside but the distraction caused Peyton Royce to defeat Liv Morgan with her bridged fisherman suplex.

Peyton Royce defeated Liv Morgan and Ember Moon in 8:20 to become the number one contender to the NXT Women’s Championship.

Royce still loves her flower as she and Kay retreated up the ramp. This was the point where the commentators checked in on commentary. Nigel and Tom cut to video packages for Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews. After the packages that aired during the UK tournament, they cut to commercial with the Kassius Ohno vignette… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Pretty good match from the women with a good story of Royce’s focus being placed on keeping Ember Moon out of the ring. Even though it was a good match, I don’t think anyone is taking Peyton Royce as a serious threat to the title since Asuka has beaten both Billie Kay and Peyton Royce and they haven’t been presented as serious threats (which is actually why I felt it was necessary for one of them pic up the title at the last Takeover to cause a shakeup).

Mark Andrews made his way to the ring, thankfully not riding a skateboard like Bart Simpson. Nigel McGuiness made a shoutout to Andrews’s band.

2. Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne. They both started the match with the code of honor handshake. Nigel pointed out that Dunne’s first match ever was against Mark Andrews. Dunne kept a wristlock on Andrews and turned it into a finger stretch which drew the crowd’s attention. Andrews managed to use his agility to flip out and hit a dropkick to send Dunne outside.

Dunne almost blocked an apron moonsault from Andrews who turned it into an armdrag. Nigel said Dunne has been called a young Fit Finlay by William Regal while he thinks Dunne reminds him of Daniel Bryan (Danielson). Dunne took advantage with his methodical offense. Andrews sent Dunne outside with an enziguri. Dunne didn’t fall for the moonsault twice and side stepped it leading to a running forearm to Andrews. Dunne stomped on Andrews’s hand on the steps. Dunne hit Andrews with a front suplex on the apron to send us to commercial. [C]

Dunne had Andrews’s legs trapped while also continuing to pry at the fingers of Andrews. After softening up Andrews some more he tossed Andrews outside. Andrews staggered Dunne with a tiger feint kick. Andrews rolled up Dunne into a footstomp to get a bit of momentum. Andrews followed up with a springboard huracanrana and standing shooting star which lead to a nearfall. Mark Andrews went for his finisher but Dunne was playing possum. Dunne punched Andrews who was midair. Dunne hit his tilt-a-whirl flapjack to lead to a good nearfall. Dunne went for the Bitter End, but Andrews came back with an enziguri. Dunne caught Andrews with a running enziguri of his own.

Andrews came back with a desperation huracanrana but couldn’t capitalize due to taking prior punishment. Dunne hit Andrews with a sick snap German. Andrews blocked the flapjack with another headscissors to lead to a nearfall and this is awesome chants. Dunne blocked a DDT but Andrews reversed it into a flip stunner. Dunne blocked dodged the Shooting Star and hit the Bitter End (pop up Flatliner) for the victory.

Pete Dunne defeated Mark Andrews via pinfall in 9:57.

John’s Thoughts: Really fun match between two of the stars from the WWE UK Tournament. Dunne is a WWE prime heel in the making if they want as he plays the character well while integrating it into his in ring style. Andrews finally gets a chance to mean something and he’s making the most of his spotlight by showing off his fluid athleticism. Also, even though he still has it written on his tights, I’m glad WWE realizes that “Mandrews” is a dumb ring name.

Peyton Royce and Billie Kay were interviewed backstage during their gloating session. Royce called the interviewer a pleb. Royce also blamed Crazy Nikki Cross for losing at Takeover. Royce said she’s number one contender because she had a fair go tonight and next week will win due to having a fair go. Royce said she was taking the title down under. They cut to commercial with a “Patrick Clark Experience” video… [C]

Phillips hyped two huge matches next week with the Women’s Championship and Tag Titles being on the line. They cut to Tye Dillinger being interviewed at the performance center. Tye said that Sanity has made him the focal point of their twisted agenda. Dillinger said if Strong and Jose didn’t show up he would be in trouble. Dillinger said they and he won’t let these psychotic bullies take over. Dillinger said he has an agenda like Young but it doesn’t include Sanity…

No Way Jose made his entrance for the next match in the show. Of course he was against the “Glorious” NXT Champion Bobby Roode…

3. No Way Jose vs. Bobby Roode. Roode took his sweet time getting ready telling everyone to not rush him. No Way did some dance shimmies to start off the match. Roode immediately locked in a headlock and belly to back suplex. Roode toyed with Jose with slaps and did his Glorious playing to the crowd. Jose had a wristlock and danced his way out of it. Jose comically got Roode to do the wave with him in the wristlock. Jose toyed with Roode to return the favor to Roode.

Roode had a kick blocked. Roode dodged the telegraphed punches of Jose and hit him with Roode’s signature spinebuster leading to the commercial break. [C] Roode went to the second rope and hit No Way with a clubbing fist to the back of the neck. Roode did his glorious thing again. Roode then went to work on the eyes of No Way on the ropes. Roode hit a Suplex on Jose to continue his methodical onslaught. Roode keeps things at his pace with the headlock which brought the crowd into it to rally back Jose. Jose hit Roode with a chop to the gut and then went for the TKO which Roode blocked. He did managed to stagger Roode with a back elbow and axe handle fists.

No Way hit the telegraphed punches this time to get a mini-rally. Roode rallied back but had the Glorious DDT blocked into a full nelson chokeslam by Jose. Roode went for a neckbreaker but it was blocked. Roode blocked Jose with the boots. Roode went high risk but flew right into the right had of Jose. Jose walked right into Roode’s Glorious DDT which earned Roode the pinfall victory.

Bobby Roode defeated No Way Jose via pinfall in 6:08.

Nigel McGuiness called Roode the most deserving Champion in NXT. Roode walked up the ramp and had second thoughts which caused him to head back to the ring. Roode gave No Way Jose a chop block. Roode added insult to injury by locking in the half crab on Jose with the knee to the back of the head. Suddenly Kassius Ohno’s theme played as the former Chris Hero ran in to run off Roode.

Ohno was met with “Welcome Back” and “Oh No!” chants. Roode asked Ohno who the hell he was to interrupt the champion. Kassius said “they” (the fans) know who he is and Kassius knows that Rhoode knows who Ohno its and he’s Kassius Ohno who is no one to mess with. Oh no said in his travels anything he wanted he’s reached out and gotten. Kassius said he had some unfinished business because Roode has what Kassius wants and needs which is the NXT Championship. Roode did some mock cries and said that must be a sad story. He called Kassius “Mr. Ohno if that’s your real name”. Roode said he was a fighting champion and they don’t have to wait. Roode said the title can go on the line right here right now.

Roode told Kassius to take his jacket off so they can get to work. Roode called the ref to the ring. As Ohno had his back turned, Roode hit Ohno with the chop block. Ohno blocked the half crab and hit some clotheslines and several elbows. Ohno then hit Roode with a back drop. Ohno’s shoe fell off during this and Ohno threw his shoe at Roode as Roode was dispatched of. Roode walked up the ramp as Ohno’s theme played to close out the show…[C]

John’s Thoughts: Nothing really special match-wise with Jose and Roode being solid in the ring but there was no doubt that Roode would pick up a decisive victory here. I like that Roode did the post-match attack, but if they really want him to be a heel they have to take away the entrance theme. He has all of the tools in the ring yet these days he’s falling back on an entrance theme to pull the adverse reaction as to what is intended.

The Ohno appearance was a good one and sets up what can be a really good feud between him and Roode. Given how these two are stellar technicians in the ring, their impending match could be epic. Roode just has to tone down the comedy, which he’s fell back on too many times in his NXT run. That said, a solid closing segment and a somewhat noteworthy show next week with two title matches. DIY vs. AoP should be fun in particular. Make sure to check back tomorrow morning for my All Access NXT TV audio review.

02/22 PWTorch Livecast VIP Aftershow: Powell and Keller answer listener email questions

Jason Powell and Wade Keller answer listener email questions on the bonus portion of the show available exclusively to members of their respective websites. Note: The full live portion of the show is available to members in an earlier update (73:25)…
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2/22 Powell’s Ring of Honor TV Review: Jay Briscoe vs. Christopher Daniels in the Decade of Excellence Tournament Finals, Colt Cabana vs. The Boys in a handicap match, Bull James vs. Silas Young


By Jason Powell

Ring of Honor TV
Taped on January 14 in Atlanta, Georgia at Center Stage
Aired in syndication over the weekend, available Wednesdays on Comet TV

The show opened with a Decade of Excellence tournament video package spotlighting the finals between Jay Briscoe and Christopher Daniels… The standard ROH opening video aired… Kevin Kelly was on commentary…

Powell’s POV: A strong opening video package that made the finals seem important and told the story of both wrestlers nicely.

1. Silas Young (w/Beer City Bruiser) vs. Bull James. Footage aired of Young and Bruiser attacking James in a previous angle. Young asked for a handshake, telling James to be a man. James shook it, then pulled Young close. Bruiser provided a distraction and then Young hit James from behind.

James dumped Young to ringside. Young told him to come to ringside and fight him like a man. James went to the floor and hit Bruiser, but Young flipped onto James on the floor. Young roughed up James inside the ring heading into a break. [C]

Bruiser got involved again when he prevented James from suplexing Young. James performed a tornado DDT on Bruiser on the floor. When he returned to the ring, he and Young jockeyed for position, then Young performed Misery for the win…

Silas Young beat Bull James.

Powell’s POV: James was previously known as Bull Dempsey in NXT. The fans didn’t really react to the match. It may have been due to this taking place later in the taping, but it’s not like ROH did anything to make the fans like James. After all, he seemed more than happy to team with the heels before they decided they didn’t want him, and we haven’t really heard from him since then.

A Jay Briscoe backstage promo aired. He spoke about being the first person to walk through the ROH curtain 15 years ago when he was just 18 years old. He said he is soon to be ROH Champion… [C]

Footage aired from Survival of the Fittest 2016 of Bobby Fish defeating Lio Rush via submission. Fish spoke about winning SOTF and his plan to go from that to winning the ROH Championship when he faces Adam Cole for the title at Manhattan Mayhem on March 4…

2. Colt Cabana vs. The Boys (w/Dalton Castle) in a handicap match. Castle joined Kelly on ringside. Cabana sat on the top rope and spoke over the house mic. Colt said it was a sad day that the Boys were even allowed in the ring when he helped build the company. Cabana told the fans not to boo him because he’s a legend. Cabana said Castle isn’t better than him because of one fluke win. He said he would destroy his two “schmucks” and dubbed himself the Iron Jew. Fans chanted Iron Jew.

Cabana worked over one of the Boys with repeated bodyslams. The other Boy tagged in and the brothers got the better of him before he took a powder. Cabana walked over and jawed at Castle, who stood his ground heading into the break. [C] Cabana hip-tossed one of the Boys over the top rope.

Cabana went to ringside and threw one of the Boys into Castle, then asked one of the security members if he was okay. Funny. Castle followed up with the Chicago Skyline Drop on one of the Boys. The other tried to attack him from behind, but Cabana put him in Billy Goat’s Curse for the win…

Colt Cabana beat The Boys in a handicap match.

Powell’s POV: A fun match with Cabana being just as entertaining as a heel as he is as a babyface. I would question that approach if this were higher on the card, but it works for his mid-card program with Castle.

A backstage promo aired with Christopher Daniels talking about the matches he’s had with several of ROH’s tops names in history. He said he’s not happy with that. He said he’s called “the best that never was” and he’s going to change that and added that his destiny is to become ROH Champion…

A video aired on the ROH Top Prospect Tournament showing past winners Matt Taven, Hanson, Donovan Dijak, and Lio Rush. The graphic noted that the new tournament begins next week…

Kelly was joined on commentary by Mark Briscoe and Frankie Kazarian for the main event. They showed the brackets for the Decade of Excellence tournament and both men agreed that they would be watching the finals without any animosity between them… [C]

Ring entrances for the main event took place. Christopher Daniels was out first and a brief promo aired as he headed out. Jay Briscoe was out next and Mark spoke about how his brother hasn’t been the same since he won the ROH Championship. He said he’s not complete without it anymore. A brief Jay promo aired with him telling Daniels, “Let’s do it”…

Bobby Cruise delivered in-ring introductions for the main event and noted that the winner would earn a shot at the 15th Anniversary pay-per-view on March 10 in Las Vegas…

3. Jay Briscoe vs. Christopher Daniels in the Decade of Excellence tournament final. The wrestlers shook hands and then the bell rang to start the match. The crowd had dueling chants of “Man Up” and “Daniels” before the wrestlers locked up. They cut to an early break when neither man had an advantage. [C]

Daniels controlled the bulk of the offense between the breaks. Kazarian said he knows Mark and Jay are brothers and have that bond, but he said Daniels is like a brother to him. [C] Jay charged at Daniels, who pulled down the top rope. Jay tumbled to the floor. Daniels performed an Asai moonsault.

Kazarian got up from the broadcast table to cheer for Daniels. Mark then did the same for his brother. A short time later, Daniels caught Briscoe in a small package for a two count. He followed up with an Angel’s Wings Suplex for a really good near fall. The ref checked on Jay while Kelly said there was a chance of a ref stoppage.

Jay got up and immediately hit a Death Valley Driver. Daniels came back with a uranage. Briscoe caught him with a rollup for a two count. Daniels hit another uranage. Briscoe avoided the Best Moonsault Ever. Jay performed a lariat for a two count while Kelly pointed out the same move beat Jay Lethal.

A short time later, Daniels hit the Angel’s Wings Suplex from the middle rope and scored the clean pin. Daniels showed emotion after the match while Kelly hyped that he would challenge for the ROH Title at the pay-per-view. Daniels and Kazarian hugged, and Kazarian raised his partner’s arm while a group of fans chanted “you deserve it.” Daniels and Jay Briscoe shook hands and hugged, then Jay raised Daniels’ arm before leaving the ring…

Christopher Daniels defeated Jay Briscoe to win the Decade of Excellence Tournament.

Powell’s POV: A strong main event. It was odd to hear so much from Kazarian instead of Daniels on past shows, but I really liked the way he and Mark Briscoe were used over the last couple weeks. This was a good tournament with a fun final. The Daniels win was telegraphed early on, but they still told a good story and that will continue going into his title match at the pay-per-view. Overall, a good television show. The Young and James feud is underdeveloped so that match felt a little flat, but the Cabana vs. Boys match was fun, and the main event was felt important. Haydn Gleed will return on Thursday with a member exclusive audio review.

02/22 PWTorch Livecast: Jason Powell Powell and Wade Keller take calls on the Smackdown battle royal, the WrestleMania mixed tag, Roman Reigns, Kurt Angle, and more

Jason Powell and Wade Keller take your phone calls and discuss the Smackdown battle royal, the WrestleMania mixed tag, Roman Reigns, Kurt Angle, and more (70:57)…

Click here for the February 22 PWTorch Ad-Free Livecast.

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WWE Raw viewership for show headlined by Braun Strowman vs. Big Show

Monday’s WWE Raw television show averaged 3.215 million viewers, according to Viewership was up from the 3.087 million average from last week.

Powell’s POV: The first hour of Raw averaged 3.259 million viewers. Hour two drew 3.261 million viewers. The final hour of the show averaged 3.127 million viewers. The Braun Strowman vs. Big Show match helped keep the majority of the audience for the third hour. We hope to have the actual rating later today.

2/22 NXT TV preview: The lineup for tonight’s television show (no spoilers)

Logo_NXT_dn_crop600The following matches were taped on February 1 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University for tonight’s television show.

-Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce vs. Liv Morgan in a Triple Threat to become No. 1 contender to the NXT Women’s Championship.

-Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne.

-NXT Champion Bobby Roode vs. No Way Jose.

Powell’s POV: The show streams on WWE Network at 7CT/8ET. John Moore will be by with his report on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. John’s audio review is available for as an All Access review on Thursday.

2/22 NXT TV spoilers: Full results of tonight’s television show (spoilers)

Logo_NXT_dn_crop600The following matches were taped on February 1 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University for tonight’s television show.

-Peyton Royce defeated Liv Morgan and Ember Moon in a Triple Threat to become No. 1 contender to the NXT Women’s Championship.

-Pete Dunne beat Mark Andrews.

-NXT Champion Bobby Roode defeated No Way Jose. Roode attacked Jose afterward. Kassius Ohno made the save.

Powell’s POV: The show streams on WWE Network at 7CT/8ET. John Moore will be by with his report on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. John’s audio review is available for as an All Access review on Thursday.

Powell’s WWE Smackdown Live Hit List: Controversial finish to the battle royal for the WWE Championship shot at WrestleMania, Nikki Bella vs. Natalya in a falls count anywhere match, American Alpha vs. Tyler Breeze and Fandango

By Jason Powell

WWE Smackdown Live Hits

Naomi forfeits the Smackdown Women’s Championship: No, it’s not a Hit that an injury forced her to drop the championship. Rather, it’s the emotional speech she delivered before doing so. Naomi made the championship feel important and it helped fans make more of a connection with her. Daniel Bryan delivering the the setup and being the person to take the championship away certainly added to the moment given everything he has gone through.

Nikki Bella vs. Natalya in a falls count anywhere match: Nikki and Natalya showed great effort at the Elimination Chamber and they actually worked even harder this time around. There were some frightening moments at times, but this was a very physical and highly entertaining brawl. If this is the end of the feud, then I actually like Natalya getting the last win. She needs it more than Nikki does at this point. The finish with Maryse is another step toward a mixed tag match at WrestleMania. However, the big negative was that after the women worked such a physical style, Maryse’s weapon work looked comically silly.

Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss for the vacant Smackdown Women’s Championship: The idea of Bryan booking this match with no regard for the other women in the division felt odd. At the very least, it felt like they could have had a four-woman tournament. Nevertheless, the match was entertaining and I like the decision to go with the last champion now, perhaps with the idea of shaking it up with a title change at or coming out of WrestleMania.

Pre Battle Royal promos: Some of the promos were better than others, but the basic idea of having the wrestlers speak about the battle royal beforehand brought me back to when the company took a similar approach with the Royal Rumble competitors.

WWE Smackdown Live Misses

Battle Royal: This wasn’t your typical battle royal with lots of punching and kicking until the final moments. Keeping the wrestler count to ten was wise in terms of not exposing the thin roster and because it gave them plenty of room and opportunities to tells stories in the ring. They were wise to have the match come down to Luke Harper and AJ Styles considering that most people had them pegged as the favorites. Unfortunately, the in-ring work was sloppy, and then the finish was botched. It was obvious upon first glance that Styles hit the floor before Harper, yet they stuck with the plan, insulting the intelligence of viewers everywhere.

American Alpha vs. Breezango: Tyler Breeze and Fandango are always a Miss in my book because this cornball gimmick is keeping what could be a solid tag team buried in an undercard comedy spot. It means nothing when Alpha or anyone else beats them. Could Fandango have rolled out of the ring any faster after taking Grand Amplitude and being pinned? The post match angle with the Usos jawing at Alpha was strong and I’m really looking forward to these teams finally feuding.


2/22 ROH TV preview: The lineup for tonight’s television show (no spoilers)

Logo_ROH_dn_crop600The following matches were taped on January 14 in Atlanta, Georgia for tonight’s Ring of Honor television show. The ROH television show premieres on Sinclair Broadcast Group affiliates an in syndication before it airs on Comet TV on Wednesday nights.

-Silas Young vs. Bull James.

-Colt Cabana vs. The Boys in a handicap match.

-Jay Briscoe vs. Christopher Daniels in the Decade of Excellence Tournament Final.

Powell’s POV: My full ROH TV review will be available later today, and Haydn’s Gleed’s member exclusive audio review will be available on Thursday.

2/22 ROH TV spoilers: Full results of tonight’s television show (spoilers)

Logo_ROH_dn_crop600The following matches were taped on January 14 in Atlanta, Georgia for tonight’s Ring of Honor television show. The ROH television show premieres on Sinclair Broadcast Group affiliates an in syndication before it airs on Comet TV on Wednesday nights.

-Silas Young beat Bull James.

-Colt Cabana over The Boys in a handicap match.

-Christopher Daniels beat Jay Briscoe in the Decade of Excellence Tournament Final.

Powell’s POV: My full ROH TV review will be available later today, and Haydn’s Gleed’s member exclusive audio review will be available on Thursday.

2/21 Moore’s WWE Talking Smack Recap: Daniel Bryan and Renee Young discuss the controversial battle royal finish, Naomi relinquishing the title, AJ Styles stops by, Becky Lynch demands a match against Mickie James, the Usos on bustin’ bubbles

By John Moore

WWE Talking Smack
Aired February 21, 2017 on the WWE Network

-Renee Young and Daniel Bryan checked in from the Talking Smack set. Bryan said the ending of the Battle Royal was difficult to deal with and was stressful. Bryan announced AJ Styles vs. Luke Harper in a match next week to become number one contender for Bray Wyatt’s Championship.

-Renee pointed out how Luke Harper was in good shape while also being in peak performance. Bryan talked about Harper as a person who hits with his elbows as opposed to simple forearms.

-Bryan said that the situation with Naomi was heartbreaking and not his decision. Bryan said the reason they had to strip the title from Naomi was because they were heading right into WrestleMania and there needs to be a Smackdown Women’s match at WrestleMania. Bryan brought up how Naomi can’t catch a break. He brought up how 2013’s WrestleMania had her match cut which also involved Brie Bella. Bryan talked about how Naomi had to watch people pass her by while she was a Funkadactyl. Bryan also brought up how he had to relinquish the title twice due to injury.

-Becky Lynch was the first guest on Talking Smack this week and she said the Naomi situation was hard to watch. Becky said Naomi is an amazing person and this situation was two-fold. Becky said Naomi getting hurt was the first thing, and the second thing was the amount of time that Naomi put in to get to the top only to have it taken away from her.

-Bryan said that Becky might have had the title taken away from her in the match from Smackdown. Becky said Alexa always finds a way to beat Becky through shady means. Becky simply called Alexa a cheater. Becky blamed herself a bit for not preparing for the cheating.

-Becky said she needs to find a way to take care of Mickie James and she doesn’t know what Mickie is so offended by. Becky mocked Bliss for gaining Mickie’s favor just by using google to find some facts about Mickie. Bryan compared this situation to younger wrestlers sucking up to “old timers” by referencing their past. Becky said she will not suck up more and she demanded another match for Bryan to grant. Bryan said he has to talk to other people including “Lloyd Peacock”. Renee brought up how Lloyd wasn’t real and Bryan said the sprit was real. This ended the Becky Lynch interview portion of the show.

-Bryan said this was not the time nor place to start a “Lloyd Peacock” chant when Renee really wanted start the chant jokingly.

-Bryan said Mick Foley can “suck it!” because the Smackdown women were in more of the show compared to Raw. Renee brought up how Natalya and Nikki Bella literally tore the place apart and wanted to know if Bryan spoke to her yet to which Bryan said he didn’t. Bryan gave both women props for the hardcore match they put together while also talking a bit about how Maryse got involved.

-The Usos were the next guests. Bryan said that the Usos talked some good smack earlier on. Jimmy said they called out Alpha because they have something the Usos want, which are the tag team titles. Jimmy said some young bucks can’t come all up in here thinking they know everything. Jimmy said they are there to tell the youngsters they don’t know everything.

-Jey and Jimmy mocked the notion that they might be called “thugs”. Jey said they have Alpha’s number “really good!” Renee wanted to know if the Usos think that they are falling under the radar due to the hype behind American Alpha. The Usos said there will always be somebody to put you in your place no matter how good you are. Jimmy said it was now time to start busting bubbles.

-Bryan joked about busting some bubbles back in the day. Jimmy called Bryan a bubble buster for busting Mick Foley’s bubble by asking him to suck it. The Usos then joked about caring about Naomi’s injury too much. They talked more about the Bubble Busting before they left.

-Bryan said he felt cooler sitting next to the Usos. Bryan referenced the Usos injuring Chad Gable initially.

-Renee transitioned to Miz and John Cena eliminating each other. Bryan said it was more Miz than Cena who was taking care of business while Miz did a poor Bryan imitation. Bryan said people hate that Miz is a poor sport and he isn’t as good as he thinks he is. Bryan brought up how Miz and Baron Corbin keep complaining to Bryan and came off as sore losers in the battle royal. Renee Young announced MizTV featuring John Cena for next week’s show.

-AJ Styles was the next guest who complained about having a chipped tooth. Styles also complained about Bryan settling this next week when he would rather have it solved tonight. Styles said he was in much better physical shape than Luke Harper. Styles claimed that Harper’s feet touched the floor first. Bryan said both feet have to touch and there was this secret rule book published. Styles asked if fists were now allowed. Bryan said Style’s tooth was chipped because Harper gives elbows rather than forearms. Styles mocked Bryan by saying that Miz actually hurts.

-Styles said it was no problem and was only complaining because he wanted to get it done now, like an American. Styles said he wishes Shane were here to make a good decision. Bryan wanted to talk about how Styles thinks the earth is flat. Renee tried to end the interview. Styles proposed that Bryan leave, which Bryan accepted. The show ended with AJ Styles and Renee Young closing the show. Styles ripped up some papers.

John’s Thoughts: Talking Smack does get a bit repetitive sometimes with similar guests, but it still is WWE’s best avenue for character development that the main shows can’t provide. The show is also serving as a conduit to forward some angles that did not move forward during the main show. The best part aside from Renee and Bryan’s chemistry was the Usos and their amazing heel characters again.

02/22 All Access Daily Podcast with Zim’s WWE 205 Live Audio Review: Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick, Jack Gallagher vs. Tony Nese, Mustafa Ali vs. Noam Dar

Zack Zimmerman hosts the Daily All Access Podcast and reviews WWE 205 Live featuring Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick, Jack Gallagher vs. Tony Nese, Mustafa Ali vs. Noam Dar, and a teaser for the in-ring debut of Austin Aries (16:47)…

Click here for the February 22 All Access Daily Podcast.

If you are not a Dot Net Member, click here for details on signing up for membership.


2/22 WWE Network Schedule: Live stream programming lineup

Logo_WWENetwork_dn_crop600The following is the schedule for the WWE Network’s live stream for February 22, 2017. All times listed below are ET.

10:00 AM: 205 Live replay

10:45 AM: Talking Smack replay

11:10 AM: WWE Story Time

11:30 AM: WWE Ride Along (Styles, Anderson, Gallows, Jericho, Henry)

12:00 PM: Legends With JBL (Bruno Sammartino)

1:00 PM: 205 Live replay

1:45 PM: Talking Smack replay

2:10 PM: WWE Story Time

2:30 PM: WWE Ride Along (Styles, Anderson, Gallows, Jericho, Henry)

3:00 PM: Monday Night War (Bischoff strategies)

4:00 PM: 205 Live replay

5:00 PM: WrestleMania Rewind (Savage vs. DiBiase)

6:00 PM: 205 Live replay

7:00 PM: Holy Foley

7:30 PM: WWE Ride Along (Styles, Anderson, Gallows, Jericho, Henry)

8:00 PM: NXT TV (New)

9:00 PM: 205 Live replay

10:00 PM: WrestleMania Rewind (Savage vs. DiBiase)

11:00 PM: NXT TV replay

12:00 AM: 205 Live replay

1:00 AM: WrestleMania Rewind (Savage vs. DiBiase)

2:00 AM: NXT TV replay

3:00 AM: 205 Live replay

4:00 AM: WrestleMania Rewind (Savage vs. DiBiase)

5:00 AM: Legends With JBL (Bruno Sammartino)

6:00 AM: NXT TV replay

7:00 AM: 205 Live replay

8:00 AM: WrestleMania Rewind (Savage vs. DiBiase)

9:00 AM: NXT TV replay

10:00 AM: 205 Live replay

WWE in Germany and NXT TV taping in Orlando (correspondents needed), NXT and ROH TV coverage, LU’s Greatest Hits, Jim Ross, Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, Colt Cabana, Bruce Prichard, and Taz podcasts, Super Calo


By Jason Powell

-The NXT TV tapings will be held tonight in Orlando, Florida at The Venue at UFC. If you attend the show, you are encouraged to send a report to

-WWE is in Dusseldorf, Germany at ISS Dome today with the following advertised talent: Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho, Cesaro, Sheamus, Big Show, New Day, Enzo Amore, Big Cass, Braun Strowman, Sami Zayn, Rusev, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Lana. If you attend the show, you are encouraged to send a report to

-NXT TV features Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce vs. Liv Morgan in a Triple Threat to become No. 1 contender to the NXT Women’s Championship. The show streams on WWE Network at 7:00 p.m. CT. Zack Zimmerman moved to covering 205 Live for the time being due to a scheduling conflict, but John Moore will be by tonight or tomorrow morning with his review of the show.

-Ring of Honor TV on Comet TV features Jay Briscoe vs. Christopher Daniels in the finals of the Decade of Excellence Tournament with the winner earning an ROH Title shot at the 15th Anniversary pay-per-view. My full review will be available later today, and Haydn Gleed will be on Thursday morning with his member exclusive audio review.

-Lucha Underground will not be airing first-run material until May 31. However, El Rey Network will be airing “greatest hits” episodes on Wednesdays. Tonight’s shows are “A Much Darker Place” from January 27, 2016 and “Death Comes in Threes” from March 9, 2016.

-Jim Ross’s latest “Ross Report” podcast guest is former WWE wrestler Ryback.

-Steve Austin’s guest on the new family friendly edition of Broken Skull Challenge winner Hunter McIntyre. The Unleashed show has part two with Paul Roma.

-The latest “Talk Is Jericho” podcast hosted by Chris Jericho has Rusev and Lana. The previous show focussed on the 25th Anniversary of the “Wayne’s World” movie.

-You can find the Ross, Jericho, and Austin podcasts at

-Colt Cabana’s latest podcast is Jessicka Havok. Listen to the podcast at

-The latest “Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard” podcast focusses on WrestleMania VI. There was also a bonus edition on the “No Holds Barred” film. Listen to the show at

-The Taz Show is a daily show with a video feed option that is live from 7-9 a.m. ET. You can view or listen to the shows at

Birthdays and Notables

-Super Calo (Rafael García) is 46.

02/21 Powell’s WWE Smackdown Live Audio Review: Battle Royal determines No. 1 contender for WrestleMania, Naomi addresses her health status, Nikki Bella vs. Natalya in a falls count anywhere match

Jason Powell’s member exclusive review of WWE Smackdown Live: Battle Royal determines No. 1 contender for WrestleMania, Naomi addresses her health status, Nikki Bella vs. Natalya in a falls count anywhere match (30:44)…

Click here to stream or download the February 21 WWE Smackdown audio review.

If you are not a Dot Net Member, click here for details on signing up for membership.


2/21 Zim’s WWE 205 Live TV Review: Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick, Noam Dar vs. Mustafa Ali, Jack Gallagher vs. Tony Nese

By Zack Zimmerman

WWE 205 Live on WWE Network
Aired live from Ontario, California at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena

A recap aired of last week’s contract signing segment between Cruiserweight Champion Neville and his Fastlane challenger Jack Gallagher… The opening video played… Inside the arena, Mauro Ranallo, Austin Aries, and Corey Graves checked in from the commentary table. They promoted Jack Gallagher vs. Tony Nese for later in the show.

Brian Kendrick made his entrance. A replay showed Kendrick attacking Akira Tozawa last week when Tozawa refused his handshake. Tozawa was out next for a singles match.

1. Brian Kendrick vs. Akira Tozawa. Tozawa came out hot with a big kick and a jumping senton bomb. He aggressively attacked Kendrick and yelled “I don’t need you.” He fired off rapid machine gun chops in the corner and then rocked Kendrick with a quick jab. Things went out to ringside where Kendrick got the better of Tozawa by driving his head into the ringpost.

He looked for the Captain’s Hook back in the ring, but he was unable to put Tozawa away. Tozawa fought back and flew into Kendrick with a high-impact tope suicida. Kendrick tried to go under the ring and Tozawa went in pursuit, but as he did Kendrick managed to tangle Tozawa’s boot up in the ropes that secure the ring canvas. Kendrick slipped back into the ring and the referee finished up his ten-count, awarding the match to Kendrick.

Brian Kendrick beat Akira Tozawa by countout in about 5:15.

Replays aired and Kendrick walked out exuding smug self-satisfaction. Meanwhile Tozawa was still hung up in the ropes with a referee still trying to help get him out. After more than a few seconds, they managed to free Tozawa.

By this time, Kendrick had made it through the Gorilla position and was approached by Tom Phillips for an interview. He noted that he was a former four-time champion and claimed to be a living legend. He said that he taught Tozawa a lesson tonight and that’s to win by any means necessary, and he said he’s not done teaching Tozawa lessons…

Elsewhere backstage, Noam Dar was standing by for an interview. He was sporting a rough looking bruised eye. They rolled footage of Rich Swann returning last week, and dedicating his match against Dar to Alicia Fox before beating him. Dar said that he and Fox remain as close as can be. He questioned what kind of man would speak to another man’s woman like that. He noted that Fox ditched her loser ex but would never do that to him. He said he’s dedicating his match tonight to her… [C]

Zim Says: Kind of a goofy finish for the match, but it was more creative than a typical rake of the eyes or something like that and this is just the start of the program so I’ll hold off to see how things play out going forward.

Back in the arena, Noam Dar made his entrance. Mustafa Ali was out next.

2. Noam Dar vs. Mustafa Ali. Ali got the better of Dar with an armlock early, but Dar rolled to ringside to take a powder. Ali did a nice handspring into a dropkick once Dar re-entered, causing him to roll right back out. Ali continued on and used a big flip dive over the ropes and the referee onto Dar at ringside moments later. Back in the ring, Ali used a diving crossbody, but Dar managed to trip Ali up and he fell face-first onto the ring apron. Dar took control from there.

Dar worked Ali’s arm and Austin Aries tried to explain how that would hinder Ali’s ability to hit the reverse 450. Ali managed to roll through a sunset flip and caught Dar with a dropkick to a doube-down. Where there should’ve been a crowd rally, there were crickets from the exhausted, post-SmackDown crowd. Ali hit a front roll into a neckbreaker for a two-count. Ali followed up with a big springing tornado DDT but was unable to follow up immediately.

The two found themselves battling on the turnbuckle, where Dar kicked out one of Ali’s legs and he went face-first into the top of the ringpost. Dar followed up promptly in the ring with a running kick for the win…

Noam Dar pinned Mustafa Ali in about 7:30.

Austin Aries threw to a video package of none other than himself. It showed some in-ring highlights from his time in NXT and had a few soundbites laid over the top. There was no graphic, but Mauro Ranallo noted that he looked forward to calling Austin’s matches when he gets back in the ring…

Jack Gallagher vs. Tony Nese was advertised for up next… [C]

Zim Says: Fine match but it felt essentially like filler. Ali worked hard, Dar has some charisma but he still hasn’t really done anything in the ring nor in storyline that stands out to me as being particularly strong.

A clip showed an interviewer catching up with Neville after he was bested at the contract signing on Raw. He said that Gallagher made the biggest mistake of his career by touching “The King.” He said that he looks forward to “making that little cockroach suffer…”

Backstage, Jack Gallagher was doing squats with his umbrella when he was approached by an interviewer. He said that his opponent tonight is one of the best tests he could have against someone with strength on the level of Neville’s. He encourages everyone to watch his fancy footwork and vowed the best his opponent, noting that the queen will be watching…

Back in the arena, Jack Gallagher made his entrance. A graphic advertised his upcomign title match against Neville at Fastlane. Tony Nese made his entrance next for the main event matchup.

3. Jack Gallagher vs. Tony Nese. Gallagher got the better of Nese with a hammerlock/armbar combination. Nese utilized the referee’s separation to catch Gallagher with a kick to the head at the two-minute mark. Gallagher showed some fight, but Nese dumped him to ringside and followed up with a cartwheel off the apron into a superkick.

Nese continued to work over Gallagher before settling into a bodyscissors mid-ring. Gallagher Fought free eventually and rallied off some offense. After a brief back-and-forth, Gallagher nailed Nese with a headbutt that staggered himself but rocked Nese. Nese rolled to ringside, however, where he managed to hot-shot Gallagher across the ropes.

The two battled on the top rope, where Nese appeared to have been knocked into the tree of woe, but he pulled himself up and drove Gallagher into the mat with a German superplex. Nese was very slow to follow up, allowing Gallaher to actually get back to his feet and take the fight back to Nese on the top rope.

This time, Gallagher got the better with a huge back superplex off the top rope. Gallagher staggered to the corner and waited for Nese to pull himself up in the opposite corner. He charged and connected with his high-impact running dropkick and scored the pinfall.

Jack Gallagher defeated Tony Nese in about 10:00.

A series of replays aired, and the show closed with Gallagher celebrating his win in the ring…

Zim Says: Solid but unspectacular main event. That can really be said for this show as a whole. It wasn’t bad in any notable way, but it felt completely insignificant and missable. Not the hottest show for me to start my 205 Live run with. Here’s hoping things pick up in the weeks to come. I’ll try to come up with some more to say for tomorrow’s audio recap which will be All-Access and available to everyone reading this, so be sure to check back for that. Thanks for reading along.

Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or; always happy to discuss.

2/21 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: Battle Royal to determine the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, Nikki Bella vs. Natalya in a Falls Count Anywhere match


By Jake Barnett

WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Aired live from Ontario, California at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena

The show opened with a video package that covered the main event last week and Orton’s subsequent refusal to compete against Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania. It then showed footage of Daniel Bryan making a Battle Royal for tonight’s show to crown a contender for Bray Wyatt’s championship at WrestleMania with ten competitors. Daniel Bryan then made his way to the ring with Yes Chants. The announce team was Tom Phillips, JBL, Mauro, and David Otunga. Daniel Bryan welcomed everyone to the show and said WrestleMania was 40 days away. He then introduced Naomi, who had a brace on her leg and wasn’t her normal animated self.

She grabbed a microphone and Bryan held a somber look. The crowd chanted “You deserve it” as she fought back tears. Bryan agreed with the crowd, and said that for years she had worked and scratched and clawed her way to the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Bryan said he was proud of her, and that’s why what he had to do was the hardest thing he’s ever had to do as a general manager. Bryan recalled his past with relinquishing championships, and said they had gone over Naomi’s records with the medical staff, and said that they now know conclusively that she won’t be able to defend her Championship in the required 30 days. He then apologized and asked her to relinquish the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

Naomi said she wanted to say a few words before she did anything. She thanked Bryan for his kind words. She said last week she felt like she was on the top of the mountain, but this week she’s filled with sadness. She said the view on the top of the mountain was so sweet, and now she’s in free fall and feels like she has no control over anything. She felt like she’s letting her fans down, and she knows when she lets go of her title, she’s probably letting go of WrestleMania too. She eventually gave up the Championship, and got a hug from Bryan. She then gave a warning to the back that when she comes back, whoever is borrowing that title from her is going to feel the freaking glow.

As Naomi left, Alexa Bliss walked down the ramp and gave her a smirk before heading into the ring. She got in the ring and laughed and said that was amazing. She said she could have done without the sob story, but Naomi giving up the title was perfection. She said all she wanted for the past two weeks was a rematch, but Naomi couldn’t compete, but told Bryan they could work it out together. The crowd gave her the what treatment as she demanded Bryan give her the championship back.

He said she was the former champion, and he supposed it does make sense to give her back the Title, but he wasn’t going to do that. He said he would give her an opportunity, and made a match for right now. He then introduced her opponent, Becky Lynch. She made her ring entrance…[c]

My Take: I liked the opening segment, even if they’re telegraphing some interference from Mickie James booking it the way they have. Naomi hit the right notes with her promo and was the most vulnerable and sincere we’ve seen her to date as far as I can remember. Bliss was very good antagonizing the crowd, and got a great reaction for mocking Naomi.

1. Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: The rolled each other up a few times early one for two counts. Lynch hit an Enziguri that the crowd liked and covered for a near fall. The action slowed down as Bliss took control with some hair pulls and the ropes to choke Lynch and steal her air. Lynch fired back with an Exploder suplex and covered for a near fall. Bliss rolled to the outside to recover…[c]

Becky fired up and hit a flying forearm in the corner, followed by some kicks. She then covered for a two count. Both women got to their feet and Becky charged again, but got sent out to the apron. She then hit a drop kick from the top for another near fall. Bliss escaped and grabbed the ring apron. She then hit Becky with a cheap shot to the throat when the ref was distracted, and rolled her up with the tights to get the win.

Alexa Bliss defeated Becky Lynch to regain the Smackdown Women’s Championship at 12:38.

After the match, Mickie James joined Alexa on the ramp before running down to the ring to try and take on Becky Lynch. Becky was able to run her off fairly quickly. They then threw to Dean Ambrose for a backstage promo. He talked about how he got beat up at the chamber and went through an electrical fire last week. He said he would relish an opportunity at the World Championship, but if he got the chance to break Baron Corbin’s leg, he’d like that too. He then pointed to a picture of Corbin on the wall.

We then heard from Kalisto, who talked about his struggles to get to the WWE. He then said he would finally prove to everyone that he belonged there. The Miz was then shown, and he said he was an A-List Movie Star, and on April 2nd he would take the WWE Championship at WrestleMania…[c]

My Take: The finish on that match made Becky Lynch look like an idiot again. Just awful. The rest of the match wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. I get what they see in Alexa Bliss as a character, but she has yet to make much of a statement as a Wrestler. I’m guessing we’re heading towards a Triple Threat now with Bliss, Lynch, and Mickie James at WrestleMania.

They advertised the Falls Count Anywhere match between Nikki Bella and Natalya for alter. Natalya was then interviewed backstage by Renee Young. Renee asked about Nikki Bella’s overwhelming support from the WWE Universe. She then gave a catty promo about how Nikki is full of silicone insincerity and has the WWE Universe, John Cena, and Renee Young fooled. She called her a Natalya knockoff and said she would expose her later in the show. Breezango were already in the ring. American Alpha then made their ring entrance. Breezango assaulted Jordan before the bell and knocked Gable to the floor.

2. The Fashion Police vs. American Alpha: Breeze started the match against Jordan, and they tried and failed to isolate him in their corner. Jordan tagged Gable, who then sent Breeze out to the floor. They then hit Fandango with a Sky High Bulldog for the win.

American Alpha defeated The Fashion Police at 2:11.

The Usos started jawing right after the match. They talked trash from the crowd about how nobody can prepare for two brothers that have nothing to lose, and walked up to the barricade. They talked about Alpha taking the rental car to their hotel later, and climbing into bed being unable to sleep. They’ll be tossing and turning with hairs standing in the backs of their necks, but it won’t be paranoia, it will be The Usos.

My Take: Excellent promo work from the Usos. It probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I liked it and they offer the most personality out of any team in the Tag Division right now. It’s a shame Breeze and Fandango aren’t taken more seriously, though. They both have crazy potential.

AJ Styles walked backstage and asked an extra if he knew where he was going. When the guy didn’t answer, he said the Main Event of WrestleMania and celebrated a bit backstage. Dolph Ziggler was then shown, and said that nobody can replace him, before tearing down a green screen he was standing in front of. Mojo Rawley then got hyped and said he was going to WrestleMania. Luke Harper was the last quick fire promo, and said that after tonight, Orton and Wyatt won’t have anywhere else to run.

Nikki Bella was then interviewed backstage, and said she was going to leave it all in the ring tonight. She said if we thought it was ugly between them before, just wait, because after tonight Nattie would be known as the broken Hart. Nikki then made her entrance in the arena…[c]

My Take: The quick fire promos have been too brief to really do much character work, but it’s been a nice effort to get everyone some screen time and at least put over the importance of WrestleMania. Nikki and Natalya should be an entertaining blowoff brawl.

We got some video of the previous brawls between Nikki and Nattie, and then we got Nattie’s ring entrance.

3. Nikki Bella vs. Natalya: Nikki hit spear and rained down punches before Nattie bailed out to the floor. Nikki gave chase and gave her a knee to the face for a two count. Nikki then went out to the floor and started to grab a table from under the ring, but Nattie stopped her and put it back. Nikki was able to get a hold of a kendo stick and worked over Nattie’s back and legs. She then covered for a two count. The brawl spilled into the crowd near the hard camera and production area, where Nattie threw Nikki behind the second barricade that leads into the stands. She tried to suplex Nikki from the barricade to the floor, but Nikki fought it off and dropped Nattie onto the barricade and then the floor. Nikki then hit a jump kick off the barricade and covered for a near fall.

The action moved back towards the ring when Nikki threw Nattie back over the ringside barricade. Nattie then drive Nikki into the barricade and then into the ring steps before grabbing the kendo stick from earlier. She thought better of the stick and took apart the announce table. Nikki recovered, however, and threw Nattie back in the ring, but ended up in position for a powerbomb anyway when Nattie slipped between her legs underneath the ropes. It looked like Nattie would pull off the powerbomb, but Nikki fought out, nearly landing on a nearby TV monitor. Nikki then hit an Alabama Slam on the announce table, but the table didn’t break. She covered on top of the table for a near fall…[c]

Nattie had the Sharpshooter locked in, but decided to take the action outside for a snap suplex on the ramp. They then moved up towards the stage area, and brawled near the crowd barricade to the opposite of the hard camera. Natalya tried for a pin on a piece of equipment behind the stage, but got a two count. They then brawled into the backstage area, where Nikki was thrown into Maryse. Nikki then threw Nattie into a mirror, which shattered. Nikki covered for a near fall. They then made their way towards the stage again, where Nikki hit another spear.

Natalya attempted another Sharpshooter, but Nikki reversed into an STF. Maryse ran down and worked over Nikki with pipe, which broke the hold and took Nikki out. Miz ran down and pulled Maryse off of Nikki, and Natalya covered for the win.

Natalya defeated Nikki Bella at 14:33.

After the match, video footage was shown of Maryse taking a spear backstage, and then attacking Nikki afterwards. The 10-Man Battle Royal was hyped for next…[c]

My Take: A fun, wild brawl. Cena and Nikki vs. Miz and Maryse is coming together nicely. The “pipe” Maryse used was so clearly cardboard that it was hilarious. I can’t say it’s my first choice for a WrestleMania match for John Cena, but it is what it is. We’re in for a long battle royal, by the looks of it.

Backstage, we saw brief promos from Wyatt and Orton, Apollo Crews, and Baron Corbin. It was pretty much the same formula as earlier with the WrestleMania hype. John Cena made his entrance in the arena…[c]

John Cena apparently wasn’t at all bothered that his girlfriend got worked with a lead pipe. Seems happy as ever. Most of the entrants are in the ring. Corbin, Harper, Ambrose, Miz and AJ Styles made ring entrances.

4. 10-Man Battle Royal for the #1 Contendership: Ambrose ran straight at Corbin and the brawl broke out. They all broke off into pairs and hung near the ropes. Cena ate a superkick from Ziggler that looked terrible. Styles and Ziggler went to Eliminate Cena. Both he and Ziggler got dumped over the ropes, but landed on the apron. Both Style and Ziggler ended up on the apron at the same time, but both got back in quickly. Cena went for an Attitude Adjustment on Corbin, but Corbin hit an elbow and Cena fell down face first…[c]

Baron Corbin laid everybody out with deep sixes during the break. He then eliminated Mojo Rawley. Kalisto hit Salida Del Sol on Dolph Ziggler and hit a moonsault on Dean Ambrose. Kalisto sent Ziggler out to the apron, and Dolph pulled him out to the apron as well. Ziggler pulled his mask up and superkicked him, and Kalisto was eliminated. Apollo Crews hit a kick on Ziggler and he was knocked off the apron to the floor.

Ziggler grabbed a chair and worked over Kalisto, which distracted Crews and caused him to be eliminated by Baron Corbin. We got rapid fire offense in the ring as Cena went for an AA on Styles, Harper hit Cena with a superkick and Ambrose hit Harper with a clothesline. Miz did his Daniel Bryan impersonation hit running dropkicks in all four corners. He then went for yes kicks on John Cena, and they looked weak as always. Cena ducked the final kick and tossed Miz out to the floor. Miz stared at Cena in shock…[c]

Cena hit a double german suplex on both Ambrose and Styles. Corbin hit End of Days on Cena, but didn’t eliminate him. Ambrose then eliminated Corbin, but he flipped out and pulled Ambrose to the floor and hit End of Days. As the refs attended to Corbin, Miz ran back in the ring and tossed out Cena. The refs couldn’t do anything about it because there are no disqualifications. Harper and AJ Styles remain, with Ambrose on the floor.

Harper picked up Styles and tried to toss him out, but had no luck at first. Styles reversed fortunes and looked to have Harper eliminated, but Ambrose came up from behind and both Styles and Harper ended up clinging on the apron. All three men ended up fighting on the apron, and Harper ended up kicking Ambrose to the floor. Harper still on the apron tried to suplex Styles out of the ring, but couldn’t get it. They both had an awkward blown spot in the corner, but they aborted it and both ended up back in the ring.

Harper picked up Styles, but AJ swiveled to his back and applied a sleeper. Both men brawled in the corner, and Harper suplexes Styles out ot the apron. Styles pulled Harper out to the other side of the turnbuckle, and they worked back into the previous spot. Harper ended up pulling both of them out to the floor, and there was uncertainty about whose feet had touched first among the refs, but nobody in the stands as it was clear that Styles landed first. The refs couldn’t make a call, and said they hit at the same time. There was a lot of stalling, and eventually Daniel Bryan walked out. He conferred with the officials and they declared the match a draw, and said they would determine a winner next week.

The 10-Man Battle Royal ended in a draw at 24:45

Harper and Styles got angry, and Harper hit Styles with a discus clothesline. Harper then celebrated. Afterward, Wyatt as shown on the Titantron lauching maniacally…[c]

My Take: A muddled and unsatisfying finish to the show. Luke Harper clearly won, and WWE will have to burn all the footage to make you believe differently. Harper and Styles had a hard time executing the finish, and as a result it didn’t come across as well as it should. Corbin vs. Ambrose and Cena/Nikki vs. Miz/Maryse seem to be locks at this point. Overall, I think the Usos promo may have been the highlight of the show for me. There were some other entertaining moments, but nothing felt quite as fresh as them finally showing some personality somewhere else besides Talking Smack. Hopefully next week is a more gratifying show.

WWE Smackdown battle royal participants list, winner gets the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania

WWE has released the names of the following wrestlers who will be in the battle royal to determine who will challenge Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.

-John Cena

-Dean Ambrose

-AJ Styles

-The Miz

-Luke Harper

-Baron Corbin

-Dolph Ziggler

-Mojo Rawley

-Apollo Crews


Powell’s POV: There are a few names toward the bottom that feel out of place, but I like the idea of going with a 10-man battle royal rather than having a bunch of completely undeserving (from a storyline standpoint) tag team wrestlers in the mix. Join Jake Barnett for live coverage of Smackdown as the show airs on USA Network at 7CT/8ET.

02/21 All Access Daily Podcast with Jason Powell on The Rock calling CM Punk after WWE Raw, the WWE Smackdown battle royal, a notable omission from Raw, and more

Jason Powell hosts the Daily All Access Podcast and discusses The Rock calling CM Punk after WWE Raw, the WWE Smackdown battle royal, a notable omission from Raw, and more (25:32)…

Click here for the February 21 All Access Daily Podcast.

If you are not a subscriber, click here to become a Dot Net Member.


Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: Braun Strowman vs. Big Show, Bayley is a bad person, Samoa Joe goes prison yard on Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens opens the show, Roman Reigns vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

By Jason Powell

WWE Raw Hits

Kevin Owens’ opening promo: A unique Raw opening with Owens delivering the type of promo many of us wished he’d been able to deliver throughout his run as WWE Universal Champion. Comedic KO is entertaining, but strong heel Owens is big money. Owens presented a believable case for retaining the championship against Goldberg and made their match feel like more of a showdown than an inevitable lopsided squash. Owens teasing a comment on what he did to Chris Jericho only to then drop the mic was perfect. It put the focus on the title match where it belongs while leaving the fans wanting more regarding Owens vs. Jericho.

Braun Strowman vs. Big Show: This was so much better than anyone ever would have predicted. I assumed Big Show was going to put up slightly more of a fight than Mark Henry did last week before Strowman put him away. Instead, they went over 12 minutes and had the crowd with them from the pre-match “this is awesome” chant through the pinfall. The match was positioned as a breakout moment for Strowman, who performed moves we haven’t seen from him. At the same time, they actually protected Show by having him put up a better fight against Strowman than anyone else has thus far. The winner and the loser benefitted from this match. The angle with Roman Reigns attacking Strowman afterward was also a pleasant surprise. I have no idea why babyface Reigns felt the need to run out and attack the heel Strowman following a hard fought match, but the surprise was that Strowman still managed to get the better of Reigns.

Samoa Joe attacks Sami Zayn: “This is your world now.” Samoa Joe delivering that line in the midst of his latest prison yard style beatdown on Sami was one of the true highlights of the night. Joe’s attacks are violent and believable. It was quite the stretch that the referee didn’t call off the match between Owens and Zayn after the beating that Zayn took from Joe, but it did give Owens a chance to show off his ruthless side.

Neville and Jack Gallagher contract signing: WWE avoided having an actual cruiserweight match on Raw last night and I’m not complaining. They focussed on establishing the characters, which is a much better use of time than a Drew Gulak squash match loss of the week. WWE also addressed any of the criticisms of the Gallagher character through Neville’s rant about him being a stereotype, and Gallagher’s comeback that he is being the man he was raised to be was simple yet effective.

Nia Jax vs. Sara Pierce: Another dominant squash win for Jax. Her post match promo complaint about not getting a title shot seems to indicate that WWE is ready to move on from her squash matches in favor of putting her into something more meaningful. Unfortunately, Nia’s promo delivery is weak enough that the company would be wise to give her a mouthpiece.

New Day vs. Rusev and Jinder Mahal: This segment became a Hit the moment that Big E responded to Lana hacking their ice cream plans by pointing out that she is Russian. I can’t say I cared for much else and I continue to despise the way Rusev is wasted as an undercard comedy figure, but the Big E line was comedy gold.

WWE Raw Misses

Bayley keeps the Raw Women’s Championship: The segment was everything I laid out in the Hit List last week with Stephanie McMahon putting Bayley on the spot and encouraging her to forfeit the championship due to the interference of Sasha Banks. Stephanie’s points were spot on. There’s no way the squeaky clean Bayley character would possibly want her first championship win to be tainted by outside interference. The segment was perfect. And then Bayley announced that she was keeping the championship. What?!? The personification of good in WWE is happy to keep a championship that she didn’t earn the right way? The innocence of the Bayley character is gone. The little girls who look up to Bayley were told that it’s okay to keep something you didn’t earn. At least babyface Charlotte stated that she didn’t want Bayley to forfeit her championship because she would rather beat her in the ring for it. Wait, Charlotte is a heel? Is Vince McMahon so morally bankrupt that he has lost all comprehension of right and wrong?

Roman Reigns vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson: I am officially giving up on Gallows and Anderson again. I did this a while back and then WWE renewed my hope by giving them the tag titles. By booking them in competitive handicap matches with Reigns, creative is showing that they don’t care about Gallows, Anderson or the tag titles. So let’s focus on something that WWE clearly does care about. This isn’t helping Roman Reigns. Vince McMahon obviously feels that Roman working against two heels makes Roman look like a badass. It’s one thing for a babyface to be forced into a sympathetic situation and put up a fight. It’s another thing entirely when the babyface is given a chance to pick a tag partner yet thinks so little of his opponents that he opts to go it alone. What Vince presumably finds noble actually comes off as a meathead move that makes Roman’s detractors roll their eyes in further disgust.

Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks: The sudden renewal of the rivalry felt flat. It didn’t help that it came moments after the baffling segment with Bayley, but the bigger issue is that they didn’t do anything to get viewers excited about going back to this feud. It wasn’t like Charlotte had been ducking Sasha and fans had some reason to be excited by Sasha finally getting her in the ring. Rather, it felt like they were just randomly going back to an overexposed feud while also booking Charlotte to lose yet another match on Raw.

WWE Fastlane lineup: Five matches advertised for the final event before WrestleMania 33

The following matches are advertised for the WWE Fastlane event, which will be held on March 5 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Bradley Center.

-Kevin Owens vs. Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship.

-Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman.

-Neville vs. Jack Gallagher for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.

-Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship.

-Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass for the Raw Tag Titles.

Powell’s POV: WWE added the women’s rematch on Raw, and Enzo and Cass earned the tag title shot by beating Sheamus and Cesaro in a No. 1 contenders’ match. I still assume that Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn will be added to the lineup.

WWE appoints new executive of Global Content Distribution and Business Development

WWE issued the following press release to announce the hiring of Sal Siino as a Senior Vice President.

WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced the appointment of Sal Siino as Senior Vice President, Global Content Distribution & Business Development. Siino, who previously held senior leadership roles with WeMash, Bedrocket Media Ventures, T3Media and Westwood One, will report directly to Tandy O’Donoghue, WWE Executive Vice President, Strategy & Analytics.

As WWE’s Senior Vice President, Global Content Distribution & Business Development, Siino will be a key member of WWE’s leadership team, responsible for the management of WWE’s worldwide content distribution business across all platforms. Siino will also manage business development initiatives and partnerships, and provide related support to WWE’s business units.

Prior to joining WWE, Siino was Co-Founder, President and Chief Operating Officer of WeMash, where he connected premium content owners including movie studios, news organizations, sports entities, music labels and publishers with video artists, filmmakers, and musicians to re-imagine content beyond its original context.

Before co-founding WeMash, Siino was Executive Vice President, Partnerships & Chief Revenue Officer of Bedrocket Media Ventures, where he partnered with established brands and category leaders including Univision, PGA Tour and Major League Soccer, to develop pioneering online destinations and branded YouTube channels to reach audiences on all screens.

Previously, Siino was Chief Content & Revenue Officer at T3Media, a company that represented the largest library of licensable video content in the world. He also served as Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Operations at Westwood One, a sports and entertainment content syndicator and the top domestic provider of traffic and news reports to television and radio stations. Siino practiced law with Kelley, Drye & Warren in New York and worked as an investment banker in Merrill Lynch’s Mergers and Acquisitions group.

Siino received a BA from Georgetown University, his J.D. from The George Washington University School of Law and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

WWE 205 Live lineup: Three matches advertised

WWE is advertising the following matches for tonight’s 205 Live show.

-Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick.

-Mustafa Ali vs. Noam Dar.

-Jack Gallagher vs. Tony Nese.

Powell’s POV: WWE announced all three matches in a commercial on Raw. Join Zack Zimmerman for live coverage of 205 Live as the show airs on WWE Network after Smackdown Live at 9CT/10ET.