Category Archives: Show Previews

Mitch Nickelson’s WWE Raw Preview 5/30/16

It’s the Memorial Day edition of Raw so it’s only fitting that a certain someone is returning tonight. John Cena will be a huge focus of the show from Green Bay and according to WWE.com‘s official preview, he’s the big selling point to watch. Like usual, WWE’s preview points are bolded below, accompanied by my thoughts on each subject.

One big thing absent from WWE’s preview is the huge upcoming brand split. It’s been a few years since WWE has kept a separate Raw and SmackDown roster. There are many questions about how this new incarnation will play out. I’m not one to normally clamor for McMahon on-screen time but they should at least take a few minutes of programming to give a few details.

What Does John Cena Have Planned For His Return?

The biggest talking point going into Raw is that John Cena will be back after several months out rehabbing a shoulder surgery. In typically superhuman fashion, Cena shaved an astonishing four months off of his recovery time. Either WWE intentially flubs the expected time off in the beginning or the man is from the planet Krypton. Regardless, it’ll be interesting to see what direction he goes upon return.

I might be jumping to conclusions, but the current United States Champion sent out an interesting Tweet on Sunday…

Did Rusev upend Kalisto’s title run to set up a feud with John Cena for the title he made shine in 2015? No complaints from me if that’s the case. It would also explain why Rusev’s career has felt like it’s been in a bit of a resurgence as of late.

Will Former ‘Brothers’ Collide?

I still would’ve liked a Seth Rollins babyface run but who am I to complain about him challenging Roman Reigns at Money In The Bank for the title that he never lost? These two were in a feud together last fall when Seth freakishly hurt his knee in a match with Kane at a house show, so there’s plenty of unfinished business to settle.

There are no matches for Seth Rollins advertised before the big match on June 19th but I am curious to know if he’ll have much of an in-ring presence beforehand. His wrestling return on Raw should be a treated as a big deal so they should advertise that well in advance. As for this night, Rollins and Reigns should have some heated conversations as long as the physicality is kept to a minimum.

Can The Showoff Out-Grapple The Lone Wolf?

This is a bit of an odd feud by this point. First of all, Baron Corbin won their last match together at Extreme Rules. He did happen to use a low blow but since it was a NO DQ match he technically did nothing wrong.

baron low blow

Ouch.

Last week on Raw, Dolph Ziggler challenged Baron to this upcoming technical wrestling match and then told him to watch his match later in the show…which he lost. I like Baron Corbin and Dolph is definitely the guy to make him look good in-ring on the main roster but this is a feud that’s dragged on a tad too long. I’m sure they’ll put on a decent match together but I’m more than ready for Baron to get his final win then move on to whatever his next step is.

What’s Going Through Charlotte’s Mind?

Charlotte kicked her dear daddy to the curb last week because she’s an ungrateful millennial or something. Ric Flair might not be by her side anymore but Dana Brooke now is. Anybody who reads my stuff will know that I’m all in with Dana but there’s something lacking here. WWE is promoting that we might get more of an explanation as to why the daddy/daughter love is gone but I’m more interested in knowing just why the two ladies are now allies. Also, is Natalya still challenging for the Women’s Championship? The Flair family drama from last week makes me question just who’s currently vying for that belt.

Is Dudleyville “S.A.W.F.T.”?

The Enzo Amore concussion suffered during the Tag Team Tournament about a month ago sort of put his and Big Cass’ rivalry with The Dudleyz on the shelf. Enzo’s well again so it looks like everything’s a go with plenty of smack talk for everyone in Dudleyville. Bubba Ray & D-Von are definitely legends of the tag team division but they’ve been on the wrong end of the win-loss record during this current WWE run. I’ll be happy when Enzo & Cass get put over by The Dudleyz but didn’t Colin handle them pretty easy by himself at Extreme Rules? It won’t feel like as big of deal as WWE hopes it will when they finally win this feud. Bubba Ray and D-Von need to put these guys through a couple of tables so they look like more of a threat.

Who Will Emerge As The Final Money In The Bank Ladder Match Participant?

Alberto Del Rio was added as the sixth wrestler to the MITB Ladder Match on SmackDown last week joining Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Dean Ambrose, and Cesaro. That’s a really strong class of competitors. I’d be happy if any of these guys won it although I’m feeling ADR the least at the moment. The last spot could easily go to John Cena since he’s not really doing anything at this point on the upcoming PPV. It could also go to Randy Orton since he’s due to return very soon as well. I do think this question will get answered on Monday night but if they wanted to save this spot all the way up until the event itself then it could end up being a cool surprise if it’s the right person.

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Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson.

Mitch Nickelson’s WWE Raw Preview 5/15/16

Serving as the go-home show for next weekend’s Payback event, Monday Night Raw hails from Greensboro, North Carolina this week. That’s Ric Flair country, so expect plenty of Wooo’s whether or not he’s there.

Going off of WWE.com‘s official preview, I’ve taken their  bullet points (the bolded stuff) and added my thoughts on each of these issues. Let’s get to it…

It’s Club-ering Time

Get it? The pun is that they’re calling themselves The Club. GET IT?

Despite WWE’s inability to give these guys a name that comes across even a quarter as cool as Bullet Club, this Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles feud has been absolute money. Last week, the two had an awesome exchange over a chair that wasn’t even used that had the crowd going bananas. Since this is the final Raw before their WWE Heavyweight Championship Match at Extreme Rules, I think AJ Styles will get the upper hand in whatever exchange these guys have. Roman will almost certainly retain his title on Sunday so his opponent needs to look strong prior to their match.

The only reservations that I have toward their interactions is the fact that AJ suffered some injuries since last week’s Raw. WWE and Styles are acting like any setbacks are only temporary but that is an issue to be mindful of.

As far as The Usos and Anderson & Gallows are concerned, I think there will be a setup for a tag team match between these guys. There isn’t anything official set up for Extreme Rules at this point and it would be odd if this match doesn’t happen. Maybe this one will be a Tables Match. It could go on without a stipulation but I think it would be better if they attach one to it.

New Day Rocked

The Vaudevillains became the Number One Contender by default when their tournament final match at Payback was stopped due to an Enzo Amore injury. Since then, they’ve come across as way more of a formidable opponent to the WWE Tag Team Champions New Day. Seriously, their big vocabularies and annoyance for childish antics have made them perfect foils for New Day.

I’m not sure if it’s time for New Day to drop their belts or not so I won’t guess who might get any advantages on Raw. As long as both teams get plenty of mic time then I’m happy with all of this.

The ‘EnD’ Is Here

Wait, wait, wait….the team name for Emma and Dana Brooke spells “End?” I literally just figured that out while putting together this preview article. That should make a good t-shirt that I’ll consider purchasing. Dana Brooke is perhaps the best female talker in WWE so I’m more than ecstatic that she rejoined Emma on the main roster. Besides, there are WAY too many heads that need patting right now.

Emma is in need of a tag team partner to even the odds a little and it just so happens that Sasha Banks isn’t doing anything right now. There are a bunch of other women not doing anything that could also join her but Sasha would be the best.

Lights Out

Chris Jericho destroyed Dean Ambrose’s potted plant Mitch. Dean Ambrose ripped Chris Jericho’s obscenely expensive light up jacket to shreds. There was also a straitjacket and some Colin Cassady action mixed in with all of this. Jericho and Ambrose seem to be heading towards a Straitjacket Match at Extreme Rules but the Big Cass factor might change that up somewhat.

Every time these guys cross paths some sort of property damage occurs. My guess for Raw is that whatever gets vandalized and destroyed this time around will valued at a minimum of $25,000.

Caribbean Cool

Oh crap, I forgot that these guys are going to be debuting. I try not to be too negative so I guess I’ll hold out judgement until they actually do something in the ring. It’s a re-re-re-debut and unless these guys are actual travel agents trying to get people to vacation in Puerto Rico then those video packages truly were worthless.

Plugs

Check out my exclusive articles to WhatCulture.com. I’m the weekly Most Insane Spots guy over there, so there’s tons of fun visuals.

Follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Thanks for reading.

Answering WWE’s 5 Point Raw Preview 5/9/16

Omaha, Nebraska is the lucky town to host Raw this week and at this point I’m unaware of any matches announced for the show. Nevertheless, WWE’s got me covered with some of the things I should be expecting in the form of their weekly WWE.com Preview.

I’ve attempted to offer some analysis to WWE’s own questions for the show. You’ll notice that WWE’s questions are in the form of the bolded headings. My opinions are everything else. Let’s get to this…

Will AJ Styles Embrace His Ruthless Side?

Last week’s Raw ended with AJ Styles getting put through an announce table thanks to a Roman Reigns Powerbomb. It was a fun way to close out the show. Considering the two are building towards an “Extreme Rules” match at the upcoming eponymous event, I expect another hardcore interaction between these guys.

I think AJ’s alliances will still be teased as he keeps playing with the emotions of his New Japan buddies. So maybe we don’t get a definitive answer on whether he embraces his ruthless side or not. But if the question was rephrased to include “extreme” in the place of “ruthless,” then yes – I do believe AJ will embrace his extreme side. Maybe Roman will find himself put through an announce table this time around. It is his turn.

Who Deserves To Challenge This Miz?

The three most likely options to this question are Sami Zayn, Cesaro, and Kevin Owens. That’s quite an impressive short list of challengers. Shouldn’t Zack Ryder be on that list as well? Poor guy.

My money is going towards Miz defending against all three of those wrestlers at Extreme Rules. I wouldn’t be upset at all if Zayn and Owens did a second PPV singles match in a row, but since there was a clean loss at Payback a multi-man match this time around feels more likely. My official answer to WWE’s question is “all of the above.”

I still have the richest prize in the world…AND my #ICTitle. #WWEPayback @therealmaryseouellet

A post shared by Mike "The Miz" Mizanin (@mikethemiz) on

As a Miz fan, I hope that he survives this onslaught of challengers. I’m eating up the Hollywood ego-overload between he and Maryse, so keep that coming WWE. I will concede that he might not be the best wrestler in the mix here, but he’s still such a great character. Keep that IC strap on him for a long time.

Where Is Dean Ambrose?

Wait, Dean Ambrose has been missing? Wasn’t he just on Raw last week getting his head hit with a potted plant thanks to Chris Jericho? I guess I don’t recall seeing him on SmackDown, but I wouldn’t automatically think someone was missing simply because they miss Thursday night.

The point of this question is to sell the Mitch the Plant strike by Y2J, which is acceptable. If you bust something off someone else’s head, it should mean a potential injury. Even with WWE teasing that he might not be on the show because apparently nobody has seen Dean since the plant attack, I still expect him to get some sort of revenge on Chris.

With the plant out of commission, Ambrose will have to find another talk show item to whack Jericho with and I don’t think his posterboard sign is going to cut it.

Is Charlotte Running Scared?

Charlotte will be defending her WWE Women’s Championship against Natalya at Extreme Rules in a Submission Match. The reason she might be “running scared” is because her 16-time World Champion of a father is banned at ringside. Ric Flair has gotten involved in his daughter’s favor in the past, so of course Charlotte must be a little scared.

Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks have been on the backburner since WrestleMania, which sucks. Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing a talented in-ring performer like Charlotte getting some spotlight, but can’t Sasha be on TV a little more? She’s probably being saved for a SummerSlam title push but surely she’s got unfinished business with Team B.A.D. or something in the meantime.

Will Rusev Devour Kalisto’s ‘Big Heart’?

Rusev won a Battle Royal to determine the new Number One Contender to the U.S. Championship because he looks close enough like Ryback, I assume. Seriously, does Kalisto only fight big, beefy dudes now? I like Rusev, it’s just there’s a specific formula being presented at the moment.

On SmackDown, Kalisto performed a quick but successful strike against The Bulgarian Brute. They could simply do a repeat similar to that angle or maybe Rusev will get the upper hand this time around. Either way, Rusev’s really only in the picture to lose to Kalisto in the end in hopes that he can get the little guy over.

Plugs From Mitch:

Follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Also, here are a few other recent articles from me worth checking out:

Jim Cornette vs. Cowabunga 8/19/93 Highlights (GIFs)
10 Most Insane Wrestling Spots Of The Week (May 8) (More GIFs)

Thanks again for reading.

Answering WWE’s 5 Point Raw Preview 4/25/16

We’re 6 days away from WWE Payback and the roster is fresh off of a trip to the other side of the Atlantic. WWE is in Connecticut tonight, which is where the company calls home. Here are the 5 major points that WWE has used on their website to tease the show tonight. Just like last week, my opinions are the unbolded stuff below.

Styles’ Longtime Friends Gallows & Anderson To Make Raw Debut

Anderson & Gallows will be facing off in tag team action against The Usos tonight in their first WWE match. I expect the debuting team to look strong but more importantly, I expect some revenge from Roman  Reigns during this match. I don’t see Roman just running out to be a pure heel or anything, but maybe the Bullet Club duo will grab chairs or other obvious signs of cheating to provoke The Big Dog to get involved. To aid his friends, AJ Styles could then come out to help out his pals to even things out. To avoid an obvious alignment, AJ should then shove his friends and ask what they were thinking while pointing at the chair originally used. Then he could storm off with a disappointed father look on his face.

Regardless of how it plans out, more teasing of who Anderson & Gallows might be aligned with needs to be happening. This is a highly interesting element to Payback’s main event.

How Will Dean Ambrose Retaliate Against Chris Jericho?

Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens during the main event of last week’s show and instead of getting to enjoy his victory he was attacked by Chris Jericho. I can’t say enough how much I’ve been loving Chris Jericho’s heel work as of late and look forward to whatever dastardly stuff he has planned for tonight.

I’m hoping that Dean Ambrose wins the singles match against Y2J on Sunday. But then again, if he loses then that means he gets a WWE Championship match at the next Pay-Per-View, right? Right?!

Has Corbin Stolen Ziggler’s Spotlight?

Baron Corbin, the winner of the illustrious Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal has been introducing The Showoff to his finisher every time they meet up on the floor area around the ring. I think we’ve seen Dolph eat an End of Days three times on the floor recently, which is a little too repetitive. Corbin’s the new guy to the main roster and will almost certainly win at Payback, so I expect Ziggler to get some sort of an upper hand tonight. He’s got to look good right before he stares at those ceiling lights.

Will Old-School Fisticuffs Trump New-School Smacktalk?

The Vaudevillians had there best main roster promo yet last Thursday on SmackDown. Actually, I think it was their only real bit of promo time so far. They seem pretty neglected in getting the audience truly invested in them and I’m hoping that they can get something similar to what they got on SmackDown tonight on Raw.

They’re super proper and are offended by the crudeness of Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady. Enzo & Cass have really taken off and it’s been mostly off of the overwhelming charisma that emanates from Amore’s voice. Promo time opposite the Smacktalker Skywalker is the best thing to get Aiden English & Simon Gotch as over as they should be.

Is Shane McMahon’s Tenure As Raw Showrunner Coming To An End?

The fact that the stipulation to the Hell in a Cell Match at WrestleMania 32 has been rendered completely meaningless has been said millions of times by millions of people in the past few weeks doesn’t mean that it isn’t still worth stating. The show’s been overall better in that time frame but it would still be nice to hear a logical explanation to important issues like where Triple H and Stephanie have been during all of this.

There’s probably going to be a new element to the “Shane on Raw” story and it will likely get tied into the WWE Championship, which is a mistake. Keep the Roman & AJ story separate because it doesn’t need the over-complication treatment when the McMahon drama gets mixed in.

Final Thoughts:

I find most of these stories to be interesting, so my hopes are high for Raw tonight. Even the lesser developed feuds like Baron Carbon vs. Dolph Ziggler (which has consisted of nothing other than repeated End of Days to the floor) still has interest because it’s a completely fresh matchup.

As long as at least two or three matches with some quality talent are give a decent amount of time, this could be a strong wrestling show.

Follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson.

Answering WWE’s 5 Point Raw Preview 4/18/16

Taken from WWE.com, here are the big questions going into tonight’s Raw. WWE’s questions are bolded, sprinkled with my thoughts regarding each subject.

Will  rivalries reach a boiling point?

The rivalries referenced here are the ones between Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens. The Jericho/Ambrose one was apparently the original plan for Dean at WrestleMania, which would’ve been better than the Lesnar match we got instead. The Highlight Reel hijack from last week was goofy, but I was okay with it. Jericho is doing some fantastic heel work right now and I have full faith that he’ll pull this all together between now and Payback.

Kevin Owens received a Y2J back body drop while he was hanging out at the announce table during the Zayn vs. Jericho main event on last week’s SmackDown. This feud is one of the best things about WWE right now. My only request is that Owens gets all the banter time he needs…and free reign over the hats and cell phones of the announce team.

Can Reigns continue to silence his critics as “the guy” in WWE?

The only silencing going on here is what WWE’s production team is doing to the audience. I remember seeing a fan sign recently that asked not to silence the crowd noise because they were paying for this experience. That’s kind of sad to see in the crowd.

I don’t have a problem with Reigns as “the guy,” but WWE needs to acknowledge his connection with the crowd for what it is. They want to boo him and that’s fine. It’s when they continually try to present him as something he’s not that leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. It’s not like the ratings are going up with the way they’re doing things.

Might Shane McMahon run his third consecutive Raw?

Sure, why not? I’m over the fact that the stipulation of the Hell in a Cell Match at WrestleMania 32 meant nothing. Raws have been better with Shane “in charge,” so who am I to complain? They seem to be presenting the debuting talent as Shane’s doing. That association works for me.

Is Emma in for an Irish Lass Kicking?

I’m still happy for Emma and her return to the main roster. The aloof chick with the goofy dance failed the first time but she’s since been repackaged as a more serious heel. I wish other wrestlers got second chances like this. Becky Lynch is about as babyface as can be, so this is a clear contrast of hero vs. villain. Plus, they’re both pretty good in the ring.

Who will advance in the No. 1 Contender’s Tag Team Tournament?

I’m hoping the answer to this is Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady, but there’s a bigger question to ask here: Do Gallows & Anderson have another attack for The Usos or another tag team? Their debut last week got a huge reaction.

I’m excited to see who they target next. If they continue their aggression towards Jimmy & Jey, perhaps that will spill over into the Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles feud. The Roman family vs. whatever they’re calling Bullet Club now can set up a ton of interesting combinations between all six of these guys over the next couple of months.

Then again, maybe Gallows & Anderson might attack a new tag team. They might be establishing their dominance solely in that division right now.

That’s all for me. Follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson and go ahead and watch the video of me, my wife, and my kids doing some wrestling catchphrases if you have an additional four minutes or so. My kids are adorable.

Seth Rollins vs. John Cena Could End Up Being Match Of The Year

Looking forward to tomorrow’s Night of Champions event, there’s one match in particular that I’m most excited about. Before talking about the reasons why Seth Rollins vs. John Cena is a lock to be the match of the night, here are a couple of other matches that I’m also excited about. I won’t touch on everything but here are a few quick thoughts:

New Day table

New Day vs. Dudley Boyz

This should be loads of fun. New Day are on levels of funny that haven’t been touched since the days of Edge & Christian. Add to that the fun of when Bubba Ray and Devon put one or more them through the table and this should be a highlight of an already great show.

owens ryback

Ryback vs. Kevin Owens

Kevin Owens has been one of the best performers of the year in WWE as a mark for The Big Guy, I’m stoked for this matchup. I ultimately see Owens carrying the IC Title, but I hope that this is more than a one and done feud. That would likely require a screwy ending, which would hamper this match from being as good as it could be.

Cena Rollins shoot basketball

Seth Rollins vs. John Cena

The United States Championship will be defended in what should be Rollins’ first match of the evening. Considering the two titles he has to defend, this one seems way more likely to have a clean finish. Also factor in that Rollins is already a spectacular performer and John Cena is having a legendary year of matches already and this could end up being one of the best matches of the year. I’m very stoked for this one and hope it lives up to the hype that I’m putting into it.

Thanks for reading my quick thoughts on the upcoming show! If you have the time, go to WhatCulture.com to check out my feature archive, including “8 Losses That Need To Happen At Night Of Champions 2015!”

WWE Fast Lane Predictions

Here are my Fast Lane picks! I’ll keep the intro short but I will mention that I didn’t do any sort of pick for the Triple H/Sting confrontation. It’s not a match but rather a setup for their Wrestlemania match. I’m glad they’re making their angle special but there just isn’t anything to really call from a “Predictions Article” standpoint. Anywho, let’s get to it.

Goldust vs. Stardust at WWE Fastlane 2015

Stardust vs. Goldust

My hope for this match is that it’s a setup for a Wrestlemania encounter. Stardust should ultimately win that match and it could be a special moment for the entire Rhodes clan. Regardless, Fast Lane is a free PPV so this should set things up. The older brother will this bout until he loses the war.

Mitch’s Pick: Goldust

WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd

The Usos (w/Naomi) vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (w/Natalya)
Tag Team Championship

This is a complete toss-up for me. I haven’t followed much of whatever storyline has been put into this but I think that there’s a Total Divas angle to it. Naomi and Natalya feed into that side of things, I guess. This isn’t a moment of complaint though, because whatever brought these four men together in a WWE Tag Team Championship match is fine by me. I’ll pick Tyson Kidd & Cesaro for the win because they’re wrestling beasts and it would make me happy if they had a run with the gold. The Usos aren’t slouches either, so I expect greatness if it’s at least 12 minutes or more.

Mitch’s Pick: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro

Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose at WWE Fastlane 2015

Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose
Intercontinental Championship

This is a match that I sigh a little over because I feel like both guys deserve way better. While The Shield was still together I would never have guessed that Dean Ambrose would be the guy that wound up on the lowest placing of the card, but that’s his current reality. He’s spent so many months being promoted as this ‘lunatic fringe’ who is a loose cannon on the mic and brawls like a wild man that his in-ring abilities have taken a real backseat. It’s cooled him off a lot. Hopefully him and Barrett can bring some depth to not only their ring-work but to the IC division as well. Both guys are great and I hope they’re given a chance to work a decent match. I’ll pick BNB retaining here.

Mitch’s Pick: Bad News Barrett

Ryback, Erick Rowan & Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins, Big Show & Kane

Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, & Erick Rowan vs. Seth Rollins, Kane, & Big Show

Another difficult match to call. Obviously many micro-feuds are being pushed through this big match but which team gets the upper had at the moment? I’ll go with the heels winning because I do not see Kane and Big Show winning whatever matches they do at Wrestlemania. This is their chance to get that upper hand. Between Ziggler, Ryback, and Seth Rollins there is plenty to be excited about in this match. Hopefully it gets a decent amount of time because multi-man matches are hard to screw up. Just give the crowd an ending sequence of 8 or so finishers back to back and that’ll get them on their feet.

Mitch’s Pick: Seth Rollins, Kane, & Big Show

Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
Winner Faces Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania

So many possibilities for this. Does WWE stick to Plan A and have Reigns be the sole challenger against Lesnar at Wrestlemania? Or does WWE give in to the demands of the fans and switch to a Daniel Bryan/Brock Lesnar pairing? Or will there be a wacky finish and we get a triple threat match between Lesnar/Reigns/Bryan at the biggest show of the year? It’s a real toss up but I’m making the call the Reigns wins at Fast Lane and Bryan does not main event ‘Mania. I’d rather have Bryan in it, but my gut feeling is that WWE won’t do it.

Mitch’s Pick: Roman Reigns

Divas Champion Nikki Bella vs. Paige at WWE Fastlane 2015

Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) vs. Paige
Diva’s Championship

This is another match where I haven’t followed the storyline much. Both girls are talented wrestlers who rarely get the chance to prove it because they’re on the main roster. Brie actually aired here grievances about this fact at Indianapolis Comic Con, which I wrote about HERE. Since this is more of a setup PPV I’m leaning against many title changes. So with that in mind, I’ll pick Nikki to retain in what is hopefully a match that goes longer than 4 minutes.

Mitch’s Pick: Nikki Bella

Rusev (w/Lana) vs. John Cena
U.S. Championship

I’ve been hearing that this is the main event of the show but I could just as easily see Bryan vs. Reigns going on last. It doesn’t really matter to me either way. People might grumble about Cena taking the top spot on the card but at least we can be happy about Rusev’s first PPV main event if it happens. I definitely see Rusev retaining his title because WWE should (and will) save his first pin or submission for Wrestlemania 31. Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem with them saving his first real loss for Wrestlemania 32 but they’ll probably let Cena get the glory this year. Rusev will retain, but I’ll call Cena with a win by DQ or some technicality.

Mitch’s Pick: John Cena (but no title transfer)


So there are my picks. What do you think will happen at Fast Lane? Let me know your picks in the Comments Section below or hit me up on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Take care.

NXT Rival Predictions

Tonight on the WWE Network is the next installment in NXT’s spectacular series of Takeover events. Rival is stacked with a mostly loaded card and a couple of matches that should be phenomenal. What are my thoughts on the event? Well, I’m glad you asked…

Baron Corbin vs. Bull Dempsey
(No DQ)

This is the only match on the card that I don’t really care about. Baron Corbin is huge and brought quite the presence to his recent match with Adrian Neville. I’m interested to see how he’ll eventually perform with stronger workers but I have zero desire to see this match with Dempsey. Hopefully it’s short.

Mitch’s Pick: Baron Corbin

Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville
(Number 1 Contender’s Match)

This and the main event could be match of the year contenders. Both guys are beasts in the ring and I’m hoping that Finn gets one of those cool over-the-top entrances. It makes more sense to me that the new guy (Finn) will get the win over the former champ (Adrian) to secure himself at the top of the card.

Mitch’s Pick: Finn Balor

Blake & Murphy vs. Lucha Dragons
(NXT Tag Titles)

I don’t know much about Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy, but kudos to NXT for giving them a shot. Sin Cara has been on and off on the main roster for a while and rumors have been abounding about Kalisto’s imminent debut so I’m calling for the Champions to retain in this one.

Mitch’s Pick: Blake & Murphy

Charlotte vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
(NXT Women’s Title)

This is a match that could be fantastic. I’m a little leery with so many involved but I guess I shouldn’t underestimate the NXT Women’s division. I feel that Charlotte’s departure to the Diva’s division should have already happened by now so that makes me hesitant to say that she’ll retain. I guess I’ll pick Sasha Banks to win it because that will give Bayley a heel to chase the title against. Becky Lynch seems like the longest shot to me, but I guess that’s just because I know the least about her.

Mitch’s Pick: Sasha Banks

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
(NXT Championship)

This should be great. I’m hoping that it’s a multi-match series so I’m scratching my head on how to call this. I feel like it could be a victory by Owens but a cheap one so that Zayn still retains. I haven’t seen a time limit draw in a while but since they never announce match times that ending probably won’t happen. NXT has only done lengthy title reigns during my brief time as a fan and I’d like Zayn to at least get a few defenses out of it.

Mitch’s Pick: Kevin Owens (by DQ or something, NO title change)

So there are my picks. Do you agree with me? Banter below with who you think will win or hit me up on Twitter @MitchNickelson and we can talk there. These NXT shows are always great, so don’t miss out!

Last Minute Rumble Predictions

I’ll keep this short and sweet. I’ve been avoiding spoilers today because I want to experience the surprises as much as I can in full mark-out mode. The Rumble is sacred; don’t mess with it.

Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods (New Day) vs. Cesaro, Tyson Kidd & Adam Rose (Pre-Show)

I see New Day winning this one. There is loads of talent on this pre-show match and I hope all of these guys weather their spot on the card until they get their chances to move up.

Mitch’s Pick: New Day

The Bella Twins vs. Paige & Natalya

Since Nikki Bella is the Diva’s Champ I’ll assume that she’ll take the fall in this match. Not sure if Paige or Nattie is the one to get the win but I’ll hope that both of them get a Title shot soon. If some combination of these women (or all of them) are in the Diva’s Championship match at Mania then I’ll be fine with it.

Mitch’s Pick: Paige & Nattie

The Ascension vs. New Age Outlaws

I remember reading a dirt sheet rumor recently that people who matter were already balking on an Ascension push. I guess it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that the Outlaws could win tonight, but I’m still going with the safe pick of The Ascension. Young guys winning over legends just makes sense.

Mitch’s Pick: The Ascension

The Usos vs. The Miz & Damien Mizdow (WWE Tag-Team Championship)

Miz & Mizdow need to split up and The Ascension will need a babyface team to feud against in their eventual title hunt. The Usos should win this.

Mitch’s Pick: The Usos

30-man over-the-top Royal Rumble match

I don’t mind Roman winning this and I still think he’s the safe pick. I’d rather have Bryan winning it (or Ziggler or Ambrose or Wyatt or…) and there might be better options than Reigns, but it’s not terrible if he does. He’ll do fine in the main event of Wrestlemania and as long as they stop writing dumb promos for him people will largely enjoy the mega-push he’s being given.

Mitch’s Pick: Roman Reigns

Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

I’ve heard a ton of convincing reasons why John Cena will win the match tonight but I think I’ll stick with Plan A. Roman will win the Rumble and he’ll go on to face Lesnar at Mania. This is a hard one to pick and I won’t be surprised at all if I’m wrong. I’m also still holding out on Rollins doing a cash-in because I’d like him to be the first one to do that at Wrestlemania.

Mitch’s Pick: Brock Lesnar

So here it is, my picks for the Rumble. It’s such a great show and I’m very stoked to watch it tonight. I’ve heard rumors of The Dudleys and The Rock over the past few days and I expect that Sting will show up in some capacity as well. But as for today, I’ve avoided the dirt sheets.

What do you think? Let me know your picks and predictions and if I can I’ll banter with you before the show. As always, check me out on Twitter @MitchNickelson and I’ll chat over there as well. Take care.

WWE TLCS 2014 Quick Picks

Is TLCS the correct abbreviation? Probably not; that just looks odd. But regardless of what letters are the right combination, WWE will be bringing its annual Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (and now Stairs!) event to the city of Cleveland on Sunday, December 14th, 2014.

After an amazing NXT Takeover: R Evolution show took place mere days before, these main roster-ers have a bar before them that has been raised pretty darn high. Will they rise to the occasion? Maybe. There are definitely a few matches that could come together for something magical. I will be tuning in on the WWE Network to see the event.

As far as predictions go, well, that’s what I’m doing right now. Here are my picks with some brief thoughts along with them. I wasn’t too good on my NXT predictions so hopefully I’m a little luckier this time around.

The New Day vs. Gold & Stardust (Pre-Show)

This should be one of the easier calls of the night. New Day will win. I’m still rooting for the Rhodes boys to self-destruct and then they can  get their singles match against each other at Wrestlemania 31.

The Miz & Damien Mizdow (c) vs. The Usos
(WWE Tag Team Championship)

The Miz  & his stunt double have been one of the best things in WWE right now and I’m hoping that they still have legs under their run as tag champs. I like the Naomi stuff mildly as it’s brought out some Jimmy Uso aggression that I’ve not really seen before. But Miz and Mizdow are my picks.

Ryback vs. Kane
(Chairs Match)

While I find The Big Guy highly amusing (especially on social media), I don’t have much hope that this will be entertaining. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong but I’m rooting that the total minutes in this match doesn’t go into double digits. Ryback will win.

Erick Rowan vs. The Big Show
(Stairs Match)

I’m not sure what can be done with Stairs that we haven’t already seen before but since this is a new gimmick match for this event, maybe they’ve been brainstorming extra hard to think up something good. Erick Rowan is the newer singles guy that could use a W against a veteran, so he should win.

Rusev (c) vs. Jack Swagger
(United States Championship)

It’s hard to see this match-up and not point out that it’s a rerun. This was such a great angle from the summer but it’s pretty blah at this point. Rusev wins and Putin stays happy.

Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee
(Diva’s Championship)

This one does feel like a toss up to me. Depending on if any of those ‘AJ is leaving WWE soon’ rumors are true then that could sway some people’s call in this match. I haven’t been paying attention much to this feud since Nikki won the title so I’m just going to pick Nikki without giving any reasoning behind it.

Intercontinental Champion Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler in a Ladder Match

Luke Harper (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
(Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match)

THIS is a match to get excited about. Mixing the danger of a ladder with Ziggler’s ability to sell with Harper’s creepy presence might be a recipe for an awesome match. I think that the period between this past Summerslam and the upcoming Wrestlemania could be Dolph Ziggler‘s Intercontinental Championship era, so I’m calling him to win. The Luke Harper reign will just be a roadblock in Dolph’s reign much like Miz’s one night takeaway of the IC strap.

Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
(TLC Match)

This is another potential show stealer. Their match last month was just a preview for this match so I’m hoping they go full throttle on this night. The truly sad thing is that one of them has to lose. They’re both young stars who could use a big win like this to establish themselves in the top tier of the company. Dean Ambrose has been selling quite a lot of merchandise lately so I’m picking him to win. That way, WWE can tell their stockholders that they’re interested in the bottom line.

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins
(Tables Match)

I hope the Ambrose/Wyatt match goes on last but this one might instead. There’s a stipulation that if John Cena loses then he’s no longer the #1 Contender to Brock Lesnar’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I don’t really care about the stipulation because I don’t believe it. John Cena is perpetually in line for a title shot so even if he loses I can expect him to be back in the hunt within two weeks. I want to be optimistic and all call Seth Rollins to win but I’ll be safe and give the pick to John Cena. Although Randy Orton should be returning and interfering or something.


Well, there are my picks for the shows. I wasn’t as brief as I thought I’d be.

While you’re here feel free to catch up on my most recent episode of Mitch Nickelson Radio. Sgt Damage joined me as we discussed recent UFC happenings. Also, the mind-blowingly hot Rosie Piper helped me make picks for WWE TLC later in the podcast. I don’t remember what I picked on the podcast so I hope I didn’t contradict myself. But the bottom line is that you should click PLAY below and listen for yourself…

http://traffic.libsyn.com/mitchnickelson/MitchRadio_20141210.m