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Heels of Wrestling Episode 14: WWE TLC 2017 Review and Survivor Series Intro

Episode 14: WWE TLC 2017 and Survivor Series Intro

WWE TLC 2017 has now come and gone. It was a night that had drastic changes due to superstars Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt being out for the night due to medical reasons. We were gifted with last-minute substitutes in AJ Styles to step in for the latter and WWE Raw GM Kurt Angle to step in for the former.

Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2017 also had the debut of Asuka to the main roster. Did her debut go well? Were Styles and Balor match too sweet? Was Angle able to survive the carnage of a TLC match after all those years gone from the ring? Find out on our weekly show.

 

Highlights from WWE Raw TLC 2017

The Shield at TLC 2017

The Shield is victorious at TLC 2017

Finn and AJ at TLC 2017

Too Sweet!

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3 Big Concerns for WWE Raw TLC 2017

WWE Raw Presents Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2017

WWE Raw's TLC 2017 Main Event. 5-3 Handicap TLC Match.

The Shield vs.Braun Strowman, The Miz, Kane, and The Bar

On October 22, 2017, WWE Raw will present the 2017 TLC PPV show. The main event for the evening is a three on 5 TLC Handicap match between the Shield and Raw’s top Heels, all in one match. However, this has honestly let the rest of the card feeling a bit shallow. The rest of the card is mostly women’s matches and cruiserweight bouts. Another highlight of the show is the debut of The Empress Asuka to the main roster, facing Emma in a rematch of their NXT classic. What concerns for the PPV and the Raw brand does this leave us?

What does the Shield do after this?

The Miz, Braun Strowman, and The Bar have been the top Heels on Raw for the entirety of the year. The only Heel missing from the match is Samoa Joe, and it only feels like his absence is just because of Injury. If he was healthy, I don’t think they bring Kane back to fill in that spot, but instead, have Joe be the fall guy. The problem with this is, who do The Shield go from here?

It’s seemingly obvious that The Shield is going to win their big debut match back together. I can’t see WWE going any other way with the booking. So now every Heel built up over the last year is going to be dealt with in one fell swoop. Braun and Miz are just the newest sacrifices on the pyre that is Roman Reigns on his way to Brock. The irony being they were the two hottest superstars this year, not Roman. This match could have easily been broken up into two separate matches, and give this card depth. Instead, we get to watch all the villains fall to The Shield.

Braun and Miz are just the newest sacrifices on the pyre that is Roman Reigns on his way to Brock. The irony being they were the two hottest superstars this year, not Roman. This match could have easily been broken up into two separate matches, and give this card depth. Instead, we get to watch all the villains fall to The Shield.

The only other 3-man stable WWE has is The New Day, and they’re on Smackdown. It can’t be the Wyatt family because Luke and Erik are now on Smackdown as The Bludgeon Brothers. The only other

The only other possibility would be a reunion of The Club. Finn Balor is on Raw, and so are the Good Brothers, Gallows and Anderson. Bringing The Club back may also steal some thunder from the Bullet Club coming at WWE’s neck right now.

What Impact will Asuka have on the WWE Raw Women’s Division?

WWE Raw's newest call-up, Asuka

Asuka’s TLC Promotion

As I’ve talked about before, WWE doesn’t do the best job with their new arrivals. The trend of bucking NXT stars hold especially true for the call-ups as of late. These talents usually receive huge pushes, only to be stopped dead cold by an already established superstar on the roster.

That better not happen to Asuka. Asuka, The Empress, the most prestigious champion in NXT history, better not sniff a clean loss on the roster until next Summer at a minimum. In NXT Asuka ran through the competition at first, but then started to use Heel tactics to get over Ember Moon. It’s hard to keep up ways for someone to be undefeated and not make the rest of the division look weak.

With Raw’s women division hosting some of the most over women in wrestling, I find it hard to believe Vince will let Asuka run through everyone. Especially with the current champion being Alexa Bliss and WWE’s love of 50/50 booking. A robust program with Alexa Bliss out the gate can solidify Asuka, but putting too many road bumps between her and the title will just make her look like every other NXT call up. Keep her dominance going and WWE will only strengthen the diviso, not make it worse.

Another 3 Months without a Universal Title match

WWE Raw Universlal Champion vs. Smackdown WWE Champion

Brock Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal

There isn’t going to be a Universal Title defense at WWE Raw’s TLC this year.

On Smackdown, Jinder Mahal called out Brock for a match at Survivor Series. With WWE earmarking everything in advance, there’s no way this match doesn’t happen, and again it’s not a title defense. The Beast Incarnate probably won’t be defending the Universal Title until the Royal Rumble in January.

WWE’s live event numbers have been dwindling, and the lackluster showing of their two champions doesn’t help that stat. Raw is the “bigger” brand of the company, and without it’s most prominent draw showing up every week, it diminishes the brand. It’s clear that Brock is just patiently waiting on the Roman Reign’s feud, and it leaves a massive gap in the Raw landscape. When no one’s fighting for the ultimate prize of the brand, what are they fighting for?

Conclusion

WWE Raw is going to have some hard choices to make as they start gearing up for the road to Wrestlemania. There’s going to have to be massive shakeups at the main event level for interest to pique again before the Rumble. We all know Lesnar and Reigns are on a collision course, but it’s up to WWE to keep it interesting in the meantime. Asuka will provide a shot in the arm to the women’s division, but the mishandling of other former NXT Champions makes me worry for Asuka. Hopefully she translates well in a division that has turned stale in the latter half of the year.

Asuka will be a shot in the arm to the women’s division, but the mishandling of prior stars make me worry for Asuka. Hopefully she translates well in a division that has turned stale in the latter half of the year. Forever may the Empress reign.

As always, like, share, and feel free to leave a comment or argue with me below. Then make sure to subscribe to our channels @Baselinetimes and @TheHoWPod on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Markus X. Murden, Esq.

Senior Editor/Heels of Wrestling

@MXMurden on Twitter and Instagram

 

Heels of Wrestling Episode 12: WWE No Mercy 2017

Episode 12: WWE No Mercy 2017

WWE No Mercy 2017 is Tonight September 24, 2017, on WWE Network Live.

Heel Predictions

Adam Gregory: Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, Nia Jax, Jason Jordan, Neville, Finn Balor, Elias

Bobby Nagel: Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, Alexa Bliss, Jason Jordan, Enzo Amore, Bray Wyatt, Elias

Markus Murden: Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, Nia Jax, Jason Jordan, Neville, Bray Wyatt, Elias

Follow The Heels of Wrestling on Instagram and Twitter @TheHowPod and Like and follow us on Facebook at The Heels of Wrestling.

WWE’s Midcard Hell

WWE’s Midcard Hell

Back in the day, being in WWE’s Midcard was just a test to see if a WWE Superstar is ready for a title push. It used to be obvious what direction a Superstar is heading in the company based on how they are performing in the ladder leading up to a title shot. That’s how the system used to be set up.

The current state of WWE’s midcard is a crapshoot. Superstars like Tye Dillinger, Baron Corbin, and Rusev seem to be perpetually going nowhere in the midcard. While other superstars are given a fast track or skip it all together like Jinder Mahal, AJ Styles, and the obvious next up Bobby Roode. The choice to propel a superstar can be because a Superstar’s talent and overness with the crowd is undeniable, such as with Styles and Roode. However, these same qualities can leave someone forever wandering the midcard like Zayn or Rusev.

How can WWE fix this?

Introduce and Maintain Strong Characters

Braun's hand raised standing over James Ellsworth

Strowman destroys James Ellsworth

Currently, WWE has a lot of excellent wrestlers. The current WWE rosters may be the best collection of pure wrestling ability WWE has assembled. However, this has lead to probably an era of less than stellar characters. And like it or not, character plays a huge part in how Superstars get out of the midcard.

Over the past year, Braun Strowman has exploded onto the Raw Main event scene. Before this major push, Braun was just a lackey to Bray Wyatt and wasn’t getting any character development. When Braun was finally able to cut promos well enough, and show who the Monster Among Men is, did he become a fan favorite? Yes, and this was accomplished through great backstage segments with Reigns, great in-ring monster work, and other antics that set him apart from the crowd.

If you look at the midcard now, it just seems to be guys who are good at wrestling. It’s hard to differentiate Dillinger from Aiden English when all their main card duties consist of quick matches and even faster promos. Even strong characters coming in get washed down like the Kanellis couple. Without a strong impression of who these wrestlers are, fans aren’t going to be clamoring to see them holding titles anytime soon.

No Natural Flow

The Maharaja

There’s no natural flow to the midcard in the current WWE landscape. Superstars get inconsistent motivations, pushes, and angles that hinder their character. For example, someone being never pushed, such as a Zayn or Cesaro. Or it could come in the manner of a superstar reaching the main event and then get buried back down to the midcard, ala Bray and Rusev.

Currently, there seems to be a tight bottleneck on the titles in WWE. Even after the superstar shakeup earlier in the year, the upper echelons on each Brand mostly stayed the same. Of recent times Jinder Mahal, of all Superstars, is the only undercard superstar to break into the title scene and not just be a put over the star. There’s been such a tight ceiling on the WWE main event that most guys who would be in the title picture have been paired off into tag teams.

WWE needs to restore a natural pipeline to the title picture. With the current bottleneck access to the main event, the once decent flow of WWE’s midcard is a thing of the past. I would love to see the King of the Ring return as a signpost for Superstar ascension. Anything at this point to show the progression of a Superstar into a title match, aside from a multi-man match win, would be a vast improvement to the system.

Abandonment

On top of things on screen being confusing, some storylines and superstars are either abandoned or go straight up missing.

Do you remember when Breezango’s office was left a mess, and Breezango was going to reveal who did the crime? Well, who was it? We as the audience will probably never know. Remember Curt Hawkins who they made a huge deal about coming to Smackdown? He’s jobbing somewhere. What about the recent Zayn and Mike Kanellis feud? That went on for two weeks and was then just left flat at the end with no payoff.

The Wyatt family’s break up at the beginning of the year was a hot angle. The fans were begging for Luke Harper to get a push, and he gets one match against Erik Rowan, and we haven’t seen either of them since. Dillinger was off TV for months, and it’s happened with Apollo Crews, The Ascension, American Alpha, and countless others. Writing either takes them into corners that go no where or they just get dropped from the scene, sacrifices to the midcard maw.

WWE needs to realized abandoning superstars kills them for a long time. A simple repackaging can keep their heat up, just look at the Miztourage. If done correctly, this can even be used as a package to catapult a Superstar to the main event scene, think what Evolution did for Randy Orton and Batista. The point is, it’s better to be a lackey on screen, then to be dropped altogether and have nothing to do, ever.

What to do?

WWE's Midcard in one match

WWE’s Midcard in a battle royal

Some fans have argued that it could be WWE just has too many superstars, and this jumbled midcard is just the result of this. There’s some merit to that, and the brand extensions have only seemed to exacerbate the problem somehow. Making NXT a third branch could free up some space, but then that pushes out their midcard. The problem would only become worse from there as then how do you showcase the new talent properly?

I believe that WWE can turn this sandpit of a midcard into something if they just tightened up their writing and realized the pitfalls they create for some of these guys. In an era where characters are weaker than before, it takes a real motivation for the fans to get behind someone. But if WWE continues to abandon, given no character, and bottle-necked the midcard from title opportunities the Hell will just continue.

As always, like, leave a comment or argue with me below. Then make sure to subscribe to our channels @Baselinetimes and @TheHoWPod on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook.

Markus X. Murden, Esq.

Senior Editor/Heels of Wrestling

@MXMurden on Twitter and Instagram

 

 

Heels of Wrestling Episode 11: SummerSlam 2017 Weekend

Episode 11: SummerSlam 2017 Weekend

The Heels are back and we’re giving our review of WWE’s big SummerSlam PPV weekend that included NXT: Takeover Brooklyn and SummerSlam. We pick our favorite matches and performances. Make sure to like and subscribe for more Heelish content.

Follow @TheHowPod on Instagram and Twitter

Roman Reigns Has to Destroy John Cena

Roman Reigns has to destroy John Cena in their upcoming match. It can be a No DQ match, it can be a Last Man Standing match, hell it can be a Hell in a Cell, but at the end, Roman Reigns has to have his hand raised, and he has to be a Heel.

On Monday night Raw, we saw Roman Reigns and John Cena team up to defeat The Miz and Samoa Joe to start off John Cena’s tour on Raw. WWE’s two top Faces of the company are together again on one brand. Vince McMahon has been trying to pass the proverbial torch of WWE from Cena to Reigns, but so far it hasn’t worked. Because WWE has gone about it wrong this whole time. Roman Reigns needs to be bad, this needs to be his yard, and he needs to take Cena’s head off to claim it. This is now WWE’s perfect opportunity to turn Roman Reigns into a heel.

Every time Roman cuts a promo, it’s obviously not him. The cockiness of beating The Undertaker. The boos and jeers of the fans. A track record of ruining everything. When we think about it…

Roman Reigns is already a Heel

It’s time for WWE to face facts. They’ve ironically created the biggest Heel in the business, and they’re too reluctant to pull the trigger on him. Let’s run down a list of some of the horrible things WWE creative have had Reigns do in just this year:

    • Roman Reigns tried to murder a man with an ambulance.

What we have brewing here is a perfect storm of how to turn Roman Reigns into the top heel of the company. Reigns is in a spot we haven’t seen him in since he was busted for violating the wellness policy in 2015. The spotlight isn’t necessarily on him right now as Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman are the leads of the title picture going into No Mercy.

Why Now?

The idea of turning Reigns or Cena heel has been tossed around ad infinitum on wrestling boards for the past few years. The void as the top Heel on WWE programing has been noticeable for quite some time. And much of it is to do with WWE’s booking of top Heels.

Since the breaking of the Authority, it seems as if every Heel has been booked as cowardly or needing help to get their title reign over. From KO and Jericho being best friends to Jinder Mahal having the Singh brothers in his corner, no Heel has been able to do it alone in recent memory.

The situation can all change with Roman turning Heel. We’ve seen him do heel tactics in matches. Brutal attack with chairs, powerbombs through tables, vicious spears, you name it he’s done it. However, that Superman punch does need to go, no Heel would do that. (No one should do a Superman punch anyway.)

But I digress, Roman can be believable as a solo Heel champion. A sort of reverse-Ultimate Warrior type. Except with Roman, we have someone who has the ability to do lengthy work rate matches. This also would open up the opportunity for a tweener like Samoa Joe or Braun to go full on in a character choice as well. There shouldn’t be these many tweeners at the top of the billing. Not for the sake of story and fan engagement.

Heel Roman would also give us a nice contrast with the reuniting of the Shield. I always thought Roman should have been the one in the Shield to turn heel, this could be a chance to retell angles from that period with a new lineup. Do the Shield turn heel with Roman? Do they maybe try to talk sense into him? All these stories could line up, drawing from past instances, and fuel some interesting story lines heading forward.

Heels Have and always will Rule Wrestling

Every real star needs a turn as an in-ring Heel. It’s too late for John Cena, but factors outside of the ring can be attributed to his lack of Heel. Maybe it was because of the PG era and Vince needing a Stallworth for the company? I don’t know. But right now, there is a bevy of talent on the roster, and all of them feel like tweeners or faces. We need a Heel revolution.

John Cena has been the Face that runs the place for quite some time. However, we need a Heel to take over. The Roman Empire needs to ride a wave of destruction across the WWE we haven’t seen in quite some time. Plus a Heel change has definitely never helped a struggling, over pushed baby face before.

And a Heel turn definitely hasn’t taken someone to heights unknown in wrestling:

So what’s up WWE? Vince needs to stop flirting with us and give us what we need, a new top Heel. And that Heel is Roman Reigns.
Markus X. Murden
Senior-Editor
Follow Markus on Twitter and Instagram @MXMurden

SummerSlam Heat: Rumors and Possibilities

SummerSlam 2017 Final Ad Poster

(c)WWE

SummerSlam Heat

Tonight is the biggest night of wrestling for the summer, WWE’s SummerSlam 2017! Vince McMahon’s annual summer showcase this year is headlined by the Fatal 4 Way match between Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Samoa Joe for the title of WWE Universal Champion. While we hope the in-ring action to be the best, some of the storylines heading into SummerSlam have cooled off, let’s take a look at some of the still blazing ones. Rumors aplenty ahead.

Is Undertaker going to be at SummerSlam?

Underake on a Plane (Snapchatted)

(c) @MR_GQ_Cantu on twitter

Undertaker was spotted on a flight to NY this Friday. This could have potentially huge ramifications for the Universal title match. Undertaker over the past couple of years had intense feuds with Roman and Brock and he could be coming to interfere in the title picture. Particularly with the former as he was the one who put him to rest in his own yard. With the main event being a no-DQ match, Undertaker’s presence could swing into a surprise win for the two newest arrivals on the Raw title scene, Braun, and Joe.

A Full Shield Reunion

Dean and Seth Fistbump on Raw

(c) WWE

This last Raw, we were witness to the reunion of 2/3 of The Shield. Dean and Seth have joined forces to face Sheamus and Cesaro, The Bar. This comes after the prior month being a seesaw relationship between Dean and Seth. The only one missing from the reunion is Roman. With Wyatt and Balor both on Raw, there is the potential for two other factions to form and face the Shield. Could a Shield reunion mean we see the return of the Wyatt Family or hopefully the long awaited debut of the Balor Club on Raw?

Only tonight will tell. The Shield may also prove vital to making sure Roman wins the title tonight. Dean has his history with Brock and Seth has feuded with Joe prior to this. We may be seeing The Shield put Strowman through an announce table tonight. I can’t say I’m not looking forward to this possibility.

Baron Corbin Failed Cash-in

Baron handing Ref MITB Briefcase

(c) WWE.com

This past Tuesday, we saw Baron Corbin fail to cash in on his WWE Money in the Bank contract. He made the suspicious choice of waiting for his opponents to get up to cash in his opportunity. He then did it in front of Cena, a man infamous for failed cash-in attempts. Silly Baron. Money in the Bank cash-ins are usually saved for pay-per-view action, but Baron decided to fumble his all the way to failure. This, of course, nixes the change we see a cash-in after the Jinder Mahal and Shinsuke Nakamura WWE Championship match.

Will this result in a more ruthless Baron going forward? Cena hasn’t won at a SummerSlam show since the Nexus debacle, and Baron may be a lucky recipient of that trend. On the other hand, Baron hasn’t been the nicest on Twitter lately. Picking fights with legends and journalists alike. We all know Vince loves Corbin for his size and not so much his intangibles. SummerSlam against Super Cena could be either a death knell or a career starter for Baron. We’ll have to tune into tonight to see.

Brock Leaving to fight Jon ‘Bones’ Jones

Brock Lesnar (Left), Jon Jones (Right)

(c) UFC

Last, but not least, Brock losing tonight means the Beast Incarnate will be leaving the WWE right after SummerSlam. There’s already smack talking going between the two fighters’ camps and hype is starting to build. The UFC and WWE have cross-promoted before, but this might be their biggest cross-promotional fight. Bones is a UFC legend with a huge following and has just come off a strong win against Daniel Cormier. Bones is also no stranger to mic work and would be fantastic at holding up his end.

Vince is never hesitant to drum up huge spectacles like this and having Brock not in the WWE ring to promote his end of the fight would mean huge dollars lost for the company. Brock has already been featured in advertisements and promotions for live events and a September PPV appearance. Could this all be a ruse? WWE has teased Brock before and he’s left. Should Brock lose tonight, this picture should become even more clear and means huge dollar signs swinging one way or another.

Tonight’s SummerSlam card is filled with matches that should not disappoint. Let’s hope the ball isn’t dropped with these angles going into SummerSlam.
Markus X. Murden

@MXMurden