There will be some significant wrestling events taking place over the next week. Down below are the finalized cards for these events as well as my opinions of these events.
First up is this Satusday’s WWE Network special being held in Madison Square Garden. The event is listed as part of the Brock Lesnar “Go To Hell” Tour which will lead into the Hell in a Cell PPV event on October 25th which will be headlined by Lesnar Vs. Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match.
Card for WWE Special Event in MSG
Brock Lesnar Vs. The Big Show
SUNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP STEEL CAGE MATCH
John Cena –c- Vs. WWE Champion Seth Rollins
WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The New Day –c- Vs. The Dudley Boyz
Kevin Owens –c- Vs. Chris Jericho
Rusev Vs. Dolph Ziggler
Randy Orton Vs. Money in the Bank Holder Sheamus
***Team Bella, Divas Champion Charlotte, Kane, Stardust and Mark Henry are all advertised to appear.
My thoughts on the card: It is absolutely remarkable to me how obsessed WWE is with recycling matches over and over again. Somebody needs to tell WWE creative that having rematches on top of rematches in quick succession does not extend a story, but rather make it feel like they are stuck in an endless continuity loop, giving the WWE audience a glimpse into the hell that Phil Connors endured in the movie Groundhog Day. Looking at that card, the only fresh pairing is Owens Vs. Jericho. Everything else is a rematch from the recent PPVs or the various tag matches we get on Raw ever week. Dudley Boys Vs. New Day is a feud that is barely over a month old and I already feel like I’ve seen the match 10 times, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this match at a rematch on the next Raw two nights later.
Looking at the undercard matches they have listed just makes me feel like I am watching the same shows stuck on a loop. The Rusev / Ziggler “storyline” (if you want to call it that) has been pounded to death already and I just wish it would end. Also, how many times are WWE fans going to be subjected to Orton Vs. Sheamus? Who is it backstage that likes this pairing enough to keep doing it? What story do they have in place to warrant having them face each other in rematch after rematch?
Speaking of repetition, how many times does Seth have to lose to Cena? We all know Cena is retaining, so why even bother having the match. Why is it that whenever Cena loses a match (like he did to Seth at Summerslam), he has to win the next 2, 3, or 4 rematches to make up for it? Why not just do the one match, have Cena win. It would be annoying, but it would be far less annoying than getting stuck in a loop of watching Cena win all the rematches like he did in the Rusev feud, Owens feud, and now Rollins feud.
Then we have the main event which has been the main selling point of the show; Brock Lesnar Vs. The Big Show. Here’s the problem. This match was done to death in 2002 and 2003. In that time I saw a stretcher match, I saw Lesnar F-5 and Suplex Big Show in every which way imaginable, I saw them fight for a spot in the Royal Rumble match, I saw tag matches, 3 ways, 4 ways, and all sorts of stuff. And the biggest topper was that I saw Lesnar Superlex Big Show and destroy the ring. What more can those two possibly do to each other that would warrant having a new match? The dirty little secret is that if you are already subscribed to the WWE network, you can go back and watch their previous PPV matches any time you want, so what is there to be gained from doing it again? Having all that content available to Network subscribers makes this match even less exciting because I can just go back and watch their older stuff when the match was fresher.
WWE is advertising this show as a special event, but based on appearances of the card, it is same old, same old, and it really isn’t that much different from what you would normally see on Raw or in past shows you can just as easily watch on the Network. I’m just surprised they couldn’t find room for Stardust Vs. Neville again.
Next up is TNA’s biggest PPV of the year, Bound for Glory 2015, which is set to take place on Sunday October 4th. Sadly it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the hard times that TNA has fallen under. The move to Destination America has done little to revitalize the brand and the depleted roster combined with a creative direction that seems to be permanently set in the doldrums has made a show that is virtually impossible to get excited about. The card for this year’s Bound for Glory is sadly a reflection of that.
Card for TNA Bound for Glory 2015:
TNA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
Ethan Carter III –c- Vs. Drew Galloway Vs. Matt Hardy
w/Jeff Hardy as Guest Referee
THE RETURN OF KURT ANGLE
Kurt Angle Vs. Eric Young
TNA KNOCKOUT CHAMPIONSHIP
Gail Kim –c- Vs. Awesome Kong
TNA KING OF THE MOUNTAIN CHAMPIONSHIP
Bobby Roode –c- Vs. Bobby Lashley
TNA X DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP: ULTIMATE X MATCH
Tigre Uno –c- Vs. DJ Zema Vs. Manik Vs. Andrew Everett
TNA TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The Wolves –c- Vs. Trevor Lee and Brian Meyers
BOUND FOR GOLD GAUNTLET MATCH (Winner Gets Future TNA World Title Shot)
Abyss Vs. Mr. Anderson Vs. Mahabali Shera Vs. Robbie E Vs. Jessie Godderz Vs. Eli Drake Vs. Chris Melendez Vs. Alden O’Shea Vs. Tyrus
That card is just tragic. In years past, Bound for Glory was typically one of the more exciting PPVs of the year. Earlier Bound for Glory events had big matches, big moments, and A+ effort all around. Now, I am looking at this card and I just don’t see much of anything to get excited about. I like ECIII as champion (which is probably the only nice thing I can say about TNA these days) but this main event with Galloway and Hardy feels thrown together with Jeff as guest referee to spruce it up. I don’t even really know what else to say about it.
You have Kurt Angle returning to face a guy that TNA is bound and determined to push endlessly in Eric Young. There is Roode and Lashley facing each other for an ill-defined midcard championship. There is yet another Ultimate X Match that has no story behind it and is just being used as a random excuse to cram guys onto the show and have a car wreck. You have a tag match that they’ve already done on Impact at least 2 or 3 times already, but to be honest, I can’t think of any other tag teams on the roster for them to use. That’s the other sad thing. They did the GFW Invasion angle, wrapped that up quick, and even though they are still using GFW talents, the roster still looks small and unimpressive.
Sadly, the best match on the card is Gail Kim Vs. Awesome Kong which is a match that was cool 7-8 years ago when they were fist doing it. It might still be good in 2015, but much like what I said about the Ultimate X, it feels like TNA is going back to the well of past glories to generate interest, and I think that well is all but dry at this point.
The unfortunate aspect of all of this is that TNA’s future on Destination America remains uncertain and I have to sit here and wonder how much longer TNA can survive with a diminishing fanbase and a shrinking roster. Bound for Glory 2015 might very well be TNA’s final PPV ever. Time will tell if that comes to pass.
The final big show I’ll be previewing is the next entry in the critically acclaimed run of NXT Takeover specials. This one is titled “NXT Takeover: Respect” and is set to air on the WWE Network on Wednesday October 7th.
As I said, the NXT Takeovers have been much with much praise from wrestling fans and critics alike, and with good reason. They are great. They are so great, so well set up, and so well executed that I am astonished it comes under the same WWE umbrella that Raw is under. How does the same company produce such a dry, repetitive, and lifeless show and then provide us with a great old school style wrestling show in NXT? It boggles the mind. This particular Takeover special is on paper the most unique special they’ve done.
The Card for NXT Takeover: Respect
NXT WOMENS CHAMPIONSHIP: 30 MINUTE IRONWOMAN MATCH
Bayley –c- Vs. “The Boss” Sasha Banks
DUSTY RHODES TAG TEAM CLASSIC TOURNAMENT CONCLUSION
Semi-Finals Match 1: NXT Champion Finn Balor and Samoa Joe Vs. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder
Semi-Finals Match 2: Baron Corbin and Rhyno Vs. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable
Tournament Finals: Winners of Match 1 Vs. Winners of Match 2
THE DEBUT OF ASUKA
Asuka Vs. Dana Brooke
Apollo Crews Vs. Tyler Breeze
I will praise the set up for the show right off the bat by being different from all the other Takeover specials that preceded it. By making that Women’s Match the main event, that instantly gives this show a unique identity among the Takeover specials. It also helps that the match in question involves to female talents that are very good, have engaging characters, and have a nicely built rematch coming out of the amazing match they had at the last Takeover special back in August. See rematches are fine when you treat them like a continuation of the story and not just shamelessly do the same match week after week without an evolving story. Having the match wrestled under Iron Man rules presents an interesting challenge for the women and a great opportunity to really show what they can do. The match they had at the last Takeover special is probably my pick for Match of the Year. The level of emotion and the great payoff of that match will be hard to match, but with the match gimmick, hype, and quality of talent, I think Bayley and Sasha can pull this off. I could also go on a rant about how this whole situation is the way to do a Divas Revolution as opposed to how they’ve handled it on Raw, but I will leave that alone.
The other major attraction of the show is the conclusion of the Dusty Rhodes classic tag team tournament which has been a nice focal point of the last month fo television for NXT. One of the few things NXT has lacked is a deep tag team division and this tournament has been a good way to put focus on tag team wrestling, make some more teams, and tell other stories. I love that they did not shoehorn an NXT Title match onto this card. You have your strong main event and this tournament, so why force a title match onto the situation? They are clearly building up Joe to challenge Balor and them being partners in the tournament is a way to set that up. Let the story and build up to that breath rather than just rush it to the Takeover special that is already loaded. Since The Vaudevillains were eliminated from the tournament, I would imagine the winners would wind up getting a tag title shot against them in the near future as well. With the new teams they’ve set up (I love Jordan and Gable by the way) and the potential stories that could come from this (next NXT Tag Title match and Balor Vs. Joe), I’d say they’ve done a really good job with the tournament. Even simple aspects like having live event matches count towards the tournament and providing updates every week was a nice old school style of presentation that I appreciated. I hope the conclusion to the tournament works out well because I like how it has gone so far.
Rounding out the card we are getting the awaited debut of Asuka as she takes on Dana Brooke and Tyler Breeze Vs. Apollo Crews. I am interested in seeing Asuka and what she brings to the table in NXT. Despite losing Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and (after this show) Sasha Banks to the main roster, it is good to see NXT trying to fill the void left by their departures. Tyler Breeze is somebody that has good matches with everyone and Apollo has done very well for himself thus far. My only problem is that I am assuming Tyler is going to lose again. I feel like he needs to be set up as a top heel, but he never wins at these Takeover specials and it always halts his momentum.
Obviously, of the three shows, I am most interested in seeing NXT Takeover: Respect, but who knows. Maybe we as fans will get three strong shows over the next few days and we will have plenty to be happy about.