Owens captures career-making victory at disappointing Elimination Chamber. WWE Title rematch to headline Money in the Bank. Big matches announced for July 4th Japan Show. Wednesday nights get more interesting on Destination America.
The WWE presented its biggest shock since ending the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak in New Orleans last year when Kevin Owens beat John Cena clean at the Elimination Chamber event. After a terrific 20-minute scuffle, Owens pinned the poster boy of the WWE with his pop-up powerbomb. The WWE didn’t waste any time in booking a rematch as the two will collide again at Money in the Bank. The result of that match will show how serious the organization are, about pushing Owens as a top heel. At the moment, they haven’t put a foot wrong with the big Canadian who has been positioned as the second biggest heel in the promotion after champion Seth Rollins. A loss at MITB will seriously derail that momentum.
In other happenings from the show Dean Ambrose beat Seth Rollins by DQ to win the match but not the WWE title in a good bout albeit one with a terrible ending. This has lead to a storyline where Ambrose has stolen the belt from Rollins, this could be entertaining if they didn’t do the same angle with the IC title before Wrestlemania. Ryback won the vacant Intercontinental title in a disastrous Elimination Chamber match which also included Sheamus, King Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and Mark Henry (substituting for Rusev). This was a disaster on almost every level as the men involved weren’t over enough to sustain a match of this length. Along with that the chamber including Henry was accidentally popped open forcing Henry to enter the match early blowing the planned layout of the match.
The crowd were also unenthusiastic after Ryback’s victory even after a returning Daniel Bryan endorsed him. None of this bodes well for Ryback’s title reign obviously. The New Day retained the tag titles in a car crash of an Elimination Chamber match over Lucha Dragons, the Ascension, Los Matadores, the Prime Time Players and Cesaro & Kidd which was as senseless as it was entertaining. Nikki Bella retained the Divas title over Paige and Naomi in a nothing match. Neville beat Bo Dallas in a match which was competent but far too long considering Bo’s place in the pecking order.
WWE will present its next big show with this Sunday’s Money in the Bank event. The WWE title will be on the line in a ladder rematch between Rollins and Ambrose. Given their talent this should be a worthy main event, even though Dean has seen his stock rising recently I can’t see him winning the title here. The MITB briefcase will be up for grabs again with Ziggler, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Roman Reigns, Sheamus, Neville and Randy Orton all involved. The Money in the Bank matches usually live up to expectations and the inclusion of aerial talents such as Neville and Kingston should keep things moving at a fast pace. Conventional wisdom points to a Reigns win. The Prime Time Players will receive a shot at the New Day, The Prime Time Players will lose. Big Show has returned and will take on Ryback for the Intercontinental title, expect the Miz to get involved in this one in some way. The Divas title will also be contested as Nikki defends against Paige.
WWE also announced an intriguing show on July 4th on the WWE Network from Tokyo, Japan. In the top matches in what many consider the main event Finn Balor challenges Kevin Owens (yes him again) for the NXT title. Balor was a huge star in Japan for many years before signing with the WWE so will have a point to prove, this should be a cracker. Brock Lesnar will also make a rare wrestling appearance on the show taking on Kofi Kingston, Brock might win. Chris Jericho will face Neville in a dream match and one of Jericho’s few televised matches of the last few years.
As shown by his absence from the Elimination Chamber Rusev is currently out of action with a leg injury. He is still being featured on TV however in an abusive boyfriend storyline with Lana. Tyson Kidd is also sidelined with a spinal injury suffered in a match with Samoa Joe.
WWE are looking to do something with Stephen Amell, star of TV’s Arrow at Summerslam. A match with Stardust seems to be the most likely occurrence.
WWE officials seem to be warming to the idea of hiring AJ Styles. At 38 years of age, AJ would not be a typical WWE signing. As he has freedom to largely make his own schedule, recently turned down an offer from TNA and is the current IWGP champion it seems unlikely Styles would accept.
The final 40 contestants for this years Tough Enough have been announced. Season 6 will feature Chris Jericho as host with Hulk Hogan, Daniel Bryan and Paige as judges and Billy Gunn, Booker T and Lita as coaches. Most of the competitors resemble underwear models. With 11,000 applicants paying a €40 application fee, this has been a success so far for WWE.
Steve Austin sent the internet into overdrive by teasing a match with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania on his podcast. Austin has since distanced himself from the rumors by claiming he was simply cutting a promo on his guest Paul Heyman.
Tommy Rogers, best known as one-half of the Fantastics tag team with Bobby Fulton, passed away on June 1st in his home in Hawaii aged 54. His cause of death is currently unknown.
In a totally unexpected move US TV channel, Destination America announced that they will broadcast Ring of Honor Wrestling as the lead in show to Impact Wrestling on Wednesday nights. Impact is still scheduled to be cancelled at the end of Autumn which makes the ROH signing all the more surprising. However if the numbers for this wrestling block can hold a steady number and Destination America change their mind it will be the biggest thing to happen outside the WWE bubble in American wrestling for many years.
Photo credit wwe.com