Tag Archives: AJ Styles

What Should Happen in the 2016 Royal Rumble match?

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So this Sunday will be the Royal Rumble. The past two years, WWE has made an absolute farce of the match, both times having to do with Daniel Bryan, the second time also having partially to do with Roman Reigns. So with this year’s Rumble not only being for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but the match that will truly show us just how Roman Reigns is going to be booked for the rest of his career, I figured I’d answer a bunch of questions I’ve seen asked and I’d like to answer about the match itself.

Question #1: Should Roman Reigns win the Royal Rumble?

Answer: No, absolutely not. This also has nothing to do with me not liking Reigns, this is purely to save him from becoming John Cena 2.0. Personally, if you really want to get the fans behind him again, don’t have him be the last person eliminated, don’t have him even in the final four. Give him the same spot Daniel Bryan got, but y’know what? Let’s do it even better. Have him eliminated right away by entrant #2, Brock Lesnar. That way when they fight next, Roman’s beyond an underdog in the match, Brock took him out of the Rumble before he even got his feet wet.

Question #2: So if Roman’s not winning the Rumble, who should?

Answer: Easy. Brock Lesnar. Ideally, you set up their second match at Wrestlemania 32, a la Tanahashi/Okada at this year’s Wrestle Kingdom. Have Roman come out after the Rumble and admit he got cocky last year, thought he was invincible and would’ve easily won. This year however will be different, he knows he had to work harder and now that he won the championship (twice too already…), he understands the responsibility of being the man. Should he bet Lesnar this Wrestlemania? I say no, but that’s another day of booking.

Question #3: Should Daniel Bryan be in the Rumble?

Answer: If Roman exits early, yes. If he is planned to be at the very end and win it though, not a chance and I’m positive WWE knows this now (if they don’t, they’re fucking idiots). The whole “Is Daniel Bryan Healthy?” situation aside, if he is cleared to compete, he should only be in the match if Roman’s not the focus at the end (which he will be) and if you’re setting up a feud, perhaps with someone like an AJ Styles? Speaking of…

Question #4: Should AJ Styles be in the Rumble?

Answer: Abso-fucking-lutely! I don’t give a fuck about it not being a surprise, you could tell me he’s coming out at #24, I’m still marking the hell out at #24! If you want to make this guy a serious competitor on the roster, debut him in the Rumble and actually have Cole/JBL put him over, none of this “Oh my!” crap either (I’ll get to more of this later). Make Styles look important, he’s such a key player, he deserves to be in the Rumble match even though he’s never wrestled a match in WWE yet (not counting Velocity). And not only that, have the wrestlers look at him as if to say “Ohhh shit…”, because THEY SHOULD KNOW WHO HE IS! He’s one of the best wrestlers in the world currently, who gives a flying fuck that he hasn’t been in WWE, where apparently everywhere else doesn’t exist.

Question #5: Should there be any not-serious surprise entrants in this year’s Rumble?

Answer: Like the Boogeyman? No. I don’t want to see any comedy names like Santino, I don’t want any legends that are too old to be considered a threat like say Scott Hall or Jake Roberts. This Rumble is for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, if anyone’s going to make a surprise debut or return, it needs to be someone who we can consider having some sort of chance to win it.

Question #6: Should any NXT stars be in the Rumble?

Answer: There are a couple I could conceivably accept being in the Rumble. Finn Balor, but only if you’re debuting the Balor Club, which honestly would make zero sense to me. So that leaves one person and that’s Samoa Joe. No one else in NXT right now can be considered a threat in the match, not Apollo Crews, not Baron Corbin, not any other NXT talent. Except one name you wouldn’t expect.

Question #7: Should any female talent be in this year’s Rumble?

Answer: There’s only one name right now that could work in this match and that’s Asuka. There’s zero chance of it happening, let’s be honest, but if there’s any female talent that could do something in the match, it’s the woman who we believe could actually knock a couple guys out. Can you imagine Asuka kicking the shit out of Tyler Breeze, or anyone in the Social Outcasts? That would be an incredible moment! But as far as we know, she may only be an NXT talent during her time here in WWE, so that possibility is extremely unlikely to ever happen, let alone this year’s Rumble.

Question #8: Should Mauro Ranallo be calling his first WWE pay-per-view at the Rumble?

Answer: That is a stupid question, of course he should. Take out Saxton or Lawler, whoever the third would have been, and stick Mauro in there. Yes, he’ll have to somehow mesh with Cole/JBL, but if there’s anyone who could make those two bearable, it’s Mauro. And you know he’d get a surprise entrant like AJ Styles over.

Question #9: Who will be have the most memorable spot in the Rumble?

Answer: I think this year may be the first year we get two unique elimination avoidances. One of course from Kofi Kingston, who may employ the New Day as help with it. The other could be Kallisto, who I think should have that memorable spot. We know they need a Latino star to get going and they’ve been trying to push him as of late (when not having him lose the title the same week he won it), so it makes sense to give him a special moment in the match.

Question #10: Who will get the most eliminations in the Rumble?

Answer: If it’s Reigns, I will cringe. He’ll have already surpassed John Cena in eliminations if he does. It should be Brock Lesnar, let’s be honest, but that all depends on the number he draws. With Reigns at #1, the chances of him getting the most eliminations increases tenfold and with WWE/Vince’s current booking of him, you know they figure if he breaks his won record, the fans (for some strange reason) will get behind him even more.

Question #11: Will the entry order seem fixed against Roman Reigns?

Answer: I imagine so. The League of Nations will all come out closely together and I still have a feeling Triple H will be #30 and possibly win the title. I want them to not do this, but I know they’re going to book the entire Rumble around Roman trying to beat 29 other men. It makes sense, right? The one match where it’s supposed to be every man for himself and it’s become everyone against Roman. Because that’s how you get someone over, you make them beat 29 men in the same night. Yeah, that’ll get the smart crowd to like him, make everyone else on the roster look incompetent.

Question #12: What do you think is going to happen at the Rumble?

Answer: Whatever I don’t want to happen. I’m willing to bet the entire match will be exactly this, except one of three endings. Roman will spend the entire match barely hanging on. The League of Nations will come out in the early, mid 20-s spots all in a row to constantly wear him down after he’s already gassed and somehow Reigns will eliminate them all. Lesnar will be somewhere between #25-27 and will destroy everyone else to the point that it’s just the two of them when #30 comes out: Triple H. Whether Reigns just eliminates Lesnar or not depends on the ending. So here’s the 3 possible endings

  1. Roman somehow beats the odds. *vomits*
  2. Brock Lesnar eliminates him to win (Triple H will not be in the Rumble).
  3. Triple H comes out at #30 or better yet, after Roman perceivably wins the Rumble, there’s a special #31 entrant unbeknownst to everyone and it’s Trips. He beats Roman to win the title.

Either way, we have Roman in the main event at Wrestlemania 32 whether we like it or not. It’s a matter of whether his opponent for the championship is Brock Lesnar, or Triple H.


So there you have it! That’s what I think we’ll be seeing in the Royal Rumble this Sunday? Got any thoughts? Leave ’em in the comments below!

How I’d Book ‘Balor Club’

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Finn Balor

Anyone who gets in the habit of keeping up with all the behind-the-scenes action of professional wrestling has by now heard of the crazy news of four major stars from New Japan Pro Wrestling coming to WWE: Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows.

The last three names all have something in common, they were all a part of the New Japan stable, the Bullet Club. Who was the founder of that stable? None other than the current NXT Champion, Finn Balor, formerly Prince Devitt in NJPW. So it’s not out of the question, hell it’s almost a guarantee that we will be seeing WWE’s version of Bullet Club, aptly named ‘Balor Club’ after Finn Balor. But the real question is what does the debut of Balor Club entail?

AJ Styles

For starters, AJ Styles should not under any circumstance be in the Balor Club, at least not until Balor and the rest make the jump to the main roster. I fully expect AJ Styles to be a main roster debut, I do not want to see him debut in NXT. Maybe if the NXT Brand was in the Smackdown slot, but it’s not and he is a main eventer, not a developmental talent. Maybe when AJ is possibly in the world title hunt and you need a shocking way to have him defeat Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (because let’s be honest, that’s who the champion would be at that time), so then you would debut the Balor club to help him win the match and you have a strong main event stable.

But for now, let’s get to how the group should debut.

Finn Balor vs Apollo Crews

If we need to debut this stable as soon as possible then let’s get this ball rolling! The next possible title match should be BEFORE the NXT Takeover show before Wrestlemania, this is super important! The match is Apollo Crews challenging Finn Balor for the NXT Championship. No bullshit interference from Baron Corbin and no Samoa Joe heel turn, it’s a uninterrupted match. And Crews wins, convincingly so, like Balor has a bit of a run in the match, but Crews dominates the second half of the match and wins the title.

The following show, Balor should be coming out, calling out Crews and shaking his hand, congratulating him on besting him. But he wants his rematch and he wants it right now. They set it as the main event and once again Crews dominates him and wins. Make it look like a big deal that Balor lost again, almost as if he’s going to the main roster. Play on the idea of the Balor Club stable beginning, make people believe “Holy shit! He’s going to Raw (or Smackdown)! And they’re gonna debut Balor Club then!”.

Baron Corbin vs Apollo Crews

He disappears, not a word from him. A month or so should pass and we get to the NXT Takeover show before Wrestlemania. The main event is Baron Corbin challenging Apollo Crews for the NXT Championship. I know people are still a bit unenthusiastic about Corbin, but it makes sense, he beat Crews at Takeover: London so he should have the first shot at Crews’ title post-Balor. And in the end, while it’s a hard fought battle, Crews manages to pull out the win and retain the title. Celebrating his victory, Crews is in the ring when suddenly the lights go out. And on the screen you see this:

“We are dominant, we are strong. We are one, we are…for life.”

Balor Club debut

New music hits, something as slow and heavy as Balor’s music, but less of the orchestral backing, just slow, methodical hard rock. If you can make it close to Bullet Club’s music without being a carbon copy, then do it. Balor walks out, holding up the ‘Too Sweet’ gestures, wearing his Balor Club t-shirt when two men walk out from behind him, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. And they surround Crews and put a giant beatdown on him, leaving him dead as can be in the ring. Balor walks over, grabs a mic and simply says. “We’re here.” and leaves.

Crews does not appear the next week. Have William Regal come out and announce at the beginning of NXT that Apollo Crews will be out injured the next two weeks, but wants to let Finn Balor know, that when he returns, he’ll be getting his revenge. Balor interrupts Regal’s speech and officially introduces Anderson and Gallows. And says to the NXT crowd and all those watching on the WWE Network (cause you know that’s how they’d script it) that fun and games are over for everyone else except Balor Club. They run NXT now and will take out anyone who disagrees.

(left to right) Sami Zayn, Charlotte, Colin Cassady & Enzo Amore

If Sami Zayn is still in NXT after Wrestlemania, then he should be the Balor Club’s first target. You need to go after the favourites to get them over as heels (as if Balor Club needs any help getting over in NXT). But if Zayn is not in NXT anymore, then move to the next best thing, Enzo & Cass. If they’re all not in NXT then uh…Bull Dempsey? Because if I’m booking this, I’m not having Gable & Jordan get destroyed, they’re too precious a commodity, gotta keep them on fire. And we don’t know at this time if Hideo Itami will be back yet. Regardless, whoever it may be, depending on the pecking order, the story will remain the same.

Later in the same show Balor Club interrupts Regal, the main event is Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin (or Cass & Enzo vs Joe & Corbin). The match doesn’t even get anywhere, the bell rings and as they’re about to lock up, lights go out again and the Balor Club entrance begins, the three of them walking out to the ring. They slaughter the babyface(s) in the ring, while the heel(s) retreat, wanting zero part of it. After decimating those in question, Balor takes the mic again and says the following:

“Apollo Crews! We haven’t settled our little rivalry just yet. I want my NXT Championship back! So when you come back from the beatdown I put on you…I’ll be waiting.”

And I can’t stress enough how important it is that every promo Balor does, he talks like he’s the only one doing the damage, not acknowledging Anderson/Gallows’ interference. Why would they not turn on Balor then? A very good reason. Balor got into WWE, he got friendly with the boss and got his buddies a fat contract. So regardless of Balor’s words, the boys love him, they’re still best buddies, they’re in the big time, making big money!

Finn Balor as NXT Champion

If they can stew this all the way until the next Takeover special, do it. Otherwise, the next NXT Championship match will be Finn Balor vs Apollo Crews. Balor will win a Battle Royal to win the #1 contendership when the entire trio are the final three in the battle royal and they all ‘Too Sweet’ and Anderson/Gallows eliminate themselves. So the main event is set, Balor vs Crews.

The match is what you’d expect. Crews is still dominating Balor, but Anderson and Gallows constantly distract Crews, giving Balor plenty of chances to put him away, but can’t. Then the ref gets knocked out and Anderson/Gallows come into the ring to take out Crews. It’s then that Zayn, Enzo & Cass, anyone to even the odds comes out and helps Crews deal with Balor Club. As Crews looks to finish off Balor, from the crowd, comes Baron Corbin. End of Days, Balor hits the Coup de Grace, 1…2…3. And you have your fourth member of Balor Club, Baron Corbin. You’re probably asking why I’m all about Corbin here. Simple, he needs the rub and I do think with the right people with him, you can turn him into a mega-star. He also fits the bill for what WWE likes, so if we can take this guy who they already like and make him into someone who’s over with the fans too, bonus!

AJ Styles when he wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

The Balor Club should run rampant in NXT all the way until SummerSlam, Balor eventually losing the NXT title to a returning Hideo Itami. By this point, AJ Styles not only has debuted in WWE, but should be constantly pushing for a WWE title match. He finally gets it at SummerSlam against Roman Reigns. When Reigns looks to finally win the match, after another ref bump, the Balor Club suddenly emerges from the crowd, completely flooding the ring and destroying Roman Reigns. Thus, AJ Styles hits whatever his finisher will be (since you know WWE’s not letting him do the Styles Clash) and wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The following night on RAW, you introduce Balor, Anderson, Gallows and Corbin, announcing Balor Club is here in WWE (because NXT doesn’t count as WWE, you know that’s how they’d say it). Over the next 3-4 weeks, Balor Club runs rampant. At the end of SummerSlam, you should have a face run of title holders, minus Styles with the WHC and perhaps the Women’s Divas Championship, since that title doesn’t matter in this storyline. Their targets are all the champions. So that at the next pay-per-view, Vengeance: Night of Champions, what a perfect night for Balor Club to snatch every possible title. Baron Corbin dominates Neville to win the United States championship (if it’s still around), Anderson and Gallows defeat The Usos to win the Tag Team Championships and Finn Balor through all the possible bullshit, beats Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. AJ Styles obviously retains over Roman Reigns and you have Balor Club holding every male-associated title in the company.

And we end with a return the following night on RAW to challenge AJ Styles for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This man:

Seth Rollins

There you have it. I could go further, but I figure the best way to stop is with Balor Club fully established a major threat in the WWE. You have a bunch of fresh matchups now, especially for the titles. There’s just a few questions left I’ll quickly go through:

What about Shinsuke Nakamura? Where does he fit into all this? – Shinsuke Nakamura (or whatever WWE decides to call him, hopefully the worst is just Nakamura) would’ve by now already had a singles feud with AJ Styles, which in the end has the goal of giving both men credibility but in the end cementing AJ Styles as the next challenger for Reigns’ title. In fact, that should be the #1 contender’s match to set up that SummerSlam match between Styles and Reigns. After that, have Nakamura challenge Balor for the IC title, would it not be amazing to see him prop up a second company’s Intercontinental Championship?

When would you break up Balor Club? – Not until at least 2 Wrestlemania-s after their debut. They should have a good two years together. So when Balor does finally turn babyface, it’s a big deal. And I mean BIG!

Would Finn Balor ever wear his demon paint with the Balor Club? – Absolutely, but at no point is it ever his red and black. Because it’s Balor Club, it should be only black and white. Have an awesome Venom tribute bodypaint getup, that would be fantastic!

Do you bring anyone else into Balor Club? – Unless it’s an original Bullet Club member (Tama Tonga, Cody Hall, etc.) that aren’t the Young Bucks, because let’s face it, they’re probably never coming to WWE, they’re smart enough to know that unless they’re offered the biggest deal in the history of professional wrestling, they can make more money outside of WWE, then no. Unless there’s a massive injury to someone, I would not add a single new member to Balor Club that isn’t already attached to the Bullet Club.


And there you have it, that’s how I’d book the debut of Balor Club. Let me know what you think in the comments below, as well as things you’d do to get the Balor Club gimmick over.

NJPW Stars to WWE?

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Shinsuke Nakamura

UPDATE: Dave Meltzer has commented further saying “WWE did not pay to have Styles and Nakamura in NXT”. It sounds like WWE paid a hefty price for both stars.

UPDATE #2: Tama Tonga’s name has also been floating around as part of the Bullet Club coming over. If this is the case, I also welcome him coming over to WWE, I think he’s untapped potential, he has a very unique look and ties to the business through his dad, Haku. Honestly, other than Yujiro Takahashi, I’d welcome the entire Bullet Club over. But there’s no way you’ll see the Young Bucks in WWE anytime soon, if ever.

UPDATE #3: Bad Luck Fale and Rocky Romero were also apparently negotiating with WWE, however there’s speculation they’re hoping more for a better deal with New Japan. Romero specifically has talked about being a guest trainer at NXT, he is friends with Matt Bloom from when he was Giant Bernard in NJPW. They were listed along with Tama Tonga in a separate post, it seems maybe Tonga falls into the better NJPW deal as well.

UPDATE #4: Shinsuke Nakamura has confirmed to Tokyo Sports that he is indeed going to WWE and will be leaving NJPW at the end of this month. That is huge! So this means for sure he’s dropping the belt to Kenny Omega at the next possible major event. This also makes AJ Styles and Anderson/Gallows far more likely if the most surprising name of the four is now confirmed in Nakamura.

The rumours were circulating last night that a number of New Japan stars gave their notice in preparation to make a WWE roster debut. Some of the names rumoured have included AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and member of the Bullet Club Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. AJ Styles is apparently set to debut at the Royal Rumble, whether he’s a surprise entrant or a just in a match (better off in the Rumble of course). Shinsuke Nakamura will soon finish his run with the IC title and then head off the NXT or the WWE main roster. And Anderson/Gallows are said to have given their notice as well but it’s unclear whether they’re NXT bound or TNA bound if this is all true.

To make the rumours even more viable though, well-respected and well-trusted names on the “dirt sheets” have followed through with this, including Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer and Court Bauer of MLW Radio.

Simply put, this could be an absolutely huge gain for WWE at a time where they’re desperate for top stars in the company with all the injuries. This should be an awesome grab of talent if the WWE has indeed recruited these four names. Except there’s one problem:

IT’S WWE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE!!!

One of the first articles I ever posted here was about the rumours a couple months ago specifically about an AJ Styles WWE run (you can check it out here). And I still stand by what I said. I have zero trust in WWE making AJ Styles anything but another member of the illustrious WWE Midcard Club. He’s a Southerner, in his late 30s and is one of the best wrestlers on the planet right now. WWE is an expert at screwing up people like this.

Shinsuke Nakamura is the biggest one I have zero trust in WWE on. Unless he’s only in NXT (which he shouldn’t be unless NXT becomes it’s own brand that replaces SmackDown, which also will never happen), WWE will fuck with him immensely. If you are WWE and you get Shinsuke Nakamura, you change nothing. You don’t change his entrance, his attire, his moveset, his demeanor, his character, hell if you can get the rights to his current theme music, do it! But you won’t WWE, you know why? Because you can’t leave well enough alone, you have to “make” guys with your version of them, you can’t accept the fact that some wrestlers get over on their own and not in WWE. If Shinsuke Nakamura doesn’t have that same haircut and the same swagger, WWE’s gone and fucked with him, because nothing should change about him. The current Shinsuke Nakamura is a worldwide star in the wrestling business.

Bullet Club: Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, AJ Styles (first 3 on left)

Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows are the toughest ones to factor in. I really have a hard time seeing Gallows coming back to WWE specifically because he’s affiliated with CM Punk and we all know just how petty WWE is. But if they are WWE bound, NXT seems like a bad fit for them. When I watch how Anderson/Gallows wrestle their tag matches, they don’t look like a team that would be losing to the likes of Cass/Enzo, Blake/Murphy and yes, even Gable/Jordan. So if they’re coming, I’d prefer them already challenging the Usos and such.

However this all could lead to one big faction in WWE: The Bullet Club, or specifically the Balor Club. Finn Balor (aka Prince Devitt) was the original leader of the Bullet Club, can you imagine a WWE version of the faction? Him, Anderson/Gallows, maybe even AJ Styles? And you could add within WWE’s system to it. The WWE needs a major faction, not this League of Nations bullshit, we need a faction that we can conceivably believe are a threat. If you book the Balor Club solid from the start, then you’ve got one.

My heart wants to believe that this will not only happen but won’t be fucked with, but my brain tells me otherwise. I don’t trust WWE to handle guys like Styles, Anderson and Gallows, especially with a Balor Club faction. But most of all, I do not trust them with Shinsuke Nakamura. I’m willing to see what they do only because they haven’t fucked with Hideo Itami yet (he’s also been gone almost a year now though). But if he’s anything different than his current character, I will not be happy.

YeaOh!

AJ Styles + WWE – This better not happen!

ajstyles

Rumours in wrestling are a constant circulation throughout the internet. One of them as of late has been concerning the “Phenomenal One” AJ Styles, who since leaving TNA Impact Wrestling has proven that he isn’t just a good wrestler, he’s one of if not the best wrestler in the world today. The current stories are saying that AJ’s last dates schedule so far with New Japan Pro Wrestling are in January and that’s all. So of course rumours about WWE trying to negotiate with him into coming back to North American television are starting to float once more.

And as much as I have grown to become a huge AJ Styles fan this past year, I have ABSOLUTELY ZERO desire to see him in WWE!

Not because he wouldn’t work there, fans wouldn’t attach to him, he’d have bad matches, all of that isn’t true, he’d kickass there. He’d have great matches with guys like Cesaro, Ambrose, Owens and especially Rollins, before the knee injury.

I don’t want him in WWE because they will do absolutely nothing with him.

To start things off, he’s a Georgia boy and we know how much Vince, Kevin Dunn and the rest of the WWE take to Southern talent. We’ve see with how they treated Jim Ross over the years how they will endlessly make fun of the accents. Hell Cesaro isn’t allowed to do anything solely because he’s Swiss. You know they won’t let AJ talk much.

Secondly, how many guys originally from TNA have actually done anything in WWE? Here’s a brief list:

  • Samoa Joe is in NXT
  • James Storm’s had one match so far in NXT
  • Marcus Cor Von (aka Monty Brown) had a short, forgettable ECW run
  • Low Ki (aka Kaval) was a thing. I forgot about him until see him on the list
  • Amazing Kong (aka Kharma) is the closest we’ve had to a TNA star making a mark and her tenure was very short

The track record so far for TNA stars in WWE is horrendous, I have little to no faith that Styles would be any different in WWE, where they frown upon people getting over before they do anything with them.

Lastly, AJ’s already 38 years old, his career isn’t exactly young. Plus when you take into account just how much money he’s making doing the independent circuit and wrestling on other major promotions like New Japan and Ring of Honor, it almost seems pointless to take a chance and hope Vince will do something with him for the couple years he’d have left before in WWE’s eyes he’d be too old to be a star (unless you’re John Cena or the Undertaker).

I would love nothing more than to see AJ Styles wrestling some of the best wrestlers in the world in some of the biggest arenas and on some of the biggest shows year round.

But then I remember he’s wrestling Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestle Kingdom 10 at the Tokyo Dome in January and I shut up.