Week in Wrestling #9- 9-25-15
Wrestling News From the week of
September 18 - September 25, 2015
The future of Sting is very much in question, as is the biggest match at next year’s WrestleMania. Sting (Steve Borden, 56), suffered a serious neck injury late in his WWE title match with Seth Rollins that headlined the 9/20 Night of Champions PPV show in Houston.
Sting had tried to do a hard physical match which included nearly being injured by being put through the Spanish announcers table where his head nearly hit one of the monitors that was not cleared off the table. Late in the match, Rollins threw him with a power bomb into the turnbuckles, and Sting whiplashed badly on impact. He got up and after rebounding off the ropes, lost his footing and collapsed. The ref held things up while Rollins started playing to the crowd. The trainer and doctor rushed to the ring to check on Sting. The cameras switched to Rollins when they realized something could be wrong. After a minute or two of working on him, and with Sting clearly wanting to continue, the match went on, and they worked quickly to the planned finish of Sting being pinned with a cradle off an attempt at the scorpion deathlock.
There is the obvious question of someone who is his age, even though he moves well and is clearly in good condition for his age, should have been taking some of the spots that he did. The WWE didn’t release any information past acknowledging the injury and that they didn’t know anything more.
In an interview on the WWE web site, he said he was out cold in the hospital and was being pumped full of medication to get him out of pain. He was given a CT scan and an MRI. He said there is still a lot to come from the tests but he was told he had cervical spinal stenosis and that the doctors told his wife he’s going to have to get it dealt with.
They also said he was lucky he was able to walk out of the ring. He had tingling and numbness down both arms, all the way to his fingertips early on in the match from taking an earlier bump into the turnbuckles, so he was hurt before the power bomb into the turnbuckles. After that move, the tingling and numbness went down to his legs and I couldn’t feel his legs well and admitted being worried.
He doesn’t know how the long term will play out but didn’t discount the idea of wrestling again, saying if it was the right scenario he’d consider it.
Taker vs Brock at Hell in the Cell
At Night of Champions, they announced the next PPV, Hell in a Cell, on 10/25 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, would be headlined by Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar in a Hell in a Cell match.
It had been expected and in fact, on paper, that Undertaker vs. Lesnar would be one of the main events at next year’s WrestleMania. Originally, Lesnar’s only October date was to be the 10/3 Madison Square Garden show, which would be a live network special. Speculation that it’s hotshot booking because network numbers are down doesn’t appear to make sense, because if that was the case, they’d have rushed it onto Night of Champions.
The reason given is that Vince McMahon felt it was time to end the program and move in new directions with both characters, so either there are better ideas on the table than a third match, or it doesn’t make sense. However, they have added some dates. Given he and Undertaker are headlining the October PPV, he would be expected to be on a few Raw episodes.
In a very intriguing announcement, he was announced for 10/19 in Dallas, the go-home Raw, to appear on Steve Austin’s live network podcast, which is expected to be the time frame when WrestleMania tickets will go on sale and when a main event will be teased. What we do know is that this Undertaker vs. Lesnar match was not originally scheduled for Hell in a Cell. It was a negotiated extra date for extra money that isn’t part of Lesnar’s original contract. We also know that unlike most of Lesnar’s programs that are well planned out in advance, this was a major change. Even as of press time, to show how late a change it is, it hasn’t been made clear what Raw’s Lesnar will be on to build the match.
At this point he’s only scheduled for the Madison Square Garden show, which was scheduled months ago, and the 10/19 go-home show in Dallas. Undertaker, Austin, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair are all scheduled for that show, and they’ll probably be pushing WrestleMania ticket sales in conjunction.
Obviously more dates for Lesnar and/or Undertaker between now and then could and probably should be added, but right now they haven’t been officially done yet. Hell in a Cell is planned to be the final match between the two, and they would face different opponents at WrestleMania. Vince McMahon felt that as big as the match appeared to be at SummerSlam, that he no longer wanted the blow-off at Mania.
So What About Wrestlemaina?
What that means for Mania becomes intriguing. From a Lesnar standpoint, the only matches that would seem viable would be Roman Reigns, although Reigns may once again be groomed for the title picture, Rollins, but only if Rollins is champion, The Rock, who was scheduled to face Lesnar in 2014 but pulled out due to injuries suffered in his 2013 match with Cena, or the wild card of Austin.
Austin cut a promo on Lesnar when prompted by Paul Heyman a few months ago during a live shoot, but Vince McMahon was furious because he was promoting a match bigger than anything they would be able to promote and that there were no plans or talks of delivering. Austin then said that he would not be wrestling and gave the impression he was not even considering another match.
As far as Rock, he was scheduled for a match with HHH, but that was also in conjunction with Ronda Rousey and Stephanie McMahon. Rousey is now seemingly out of the picture due to a movie commitment, or at least that’s what she’s saying. And there has already been the HHH vs. Seth Rollins beginning tease.
For Undertaker, a Sting match at this point is not just questionable because of the uncertainty of Sting’s injuries, but it’ll mean far less with Sting having lost his first two WWE matches. Sting was expected to face Bray Wyatt at Mania, but he was since taken out of the angle that would start to set him up for that match. But unless they do something with Rollins in a Wyatt like role as just a top heel who Undertaker has never faced on a big stage putting him over, the other options would be John Cena, just because it’s never been done on a big stage since Cena really established himself as the top star, or perhaps Braun Strowman, since that’s the type of opponent eventually groomed for Undertaker.
Night of Champions Review
The Night of Champions layout was really clear they saw Sting as a nostalgia act whose value is just as a name from the past for Rollins to beat.
In the storyline, Rollins lost clean to current star Cena. But not only did he lose and had to come back a second time, but Cena left him laying after the match with an Attitude Adjustment on the floor and threw him back in the ring. Sting came out to face a guy who had wrestled once, and then was basically destroyed and handed to him, almost putting Rollins in the babyface position of having to defend with all the odds against him. The scripted ending was Rollins to reverse out of Sting’s trademark move and pin him.
Traditional booking would have had Sting attacked backstage, plus the person who attacked him could be a direction for Mania, and go in the match against doctor’s orders and play the babyface role of having to battle the odds, at his age, making a comeback, putting up a good fight, but falling short. Instead, he had the world title all but handed to him and still lost, which makes no sense as far as babyface booking goes. And either way, it’s the same end destination to where they could do the post-match follow-up with Kane and Sheamus.
After Rollins pinned Sting, Sheamus came out and laid Rollins out with a Brogue kick and went to cash in the briefcase. The crowd popped big for this, as they just wanted to see a title change.
Kane came out with the mask and old costume as Demon Kane, and Sheamus backed off. Kane choke slammed Rollins and Sheamus was about to cash it in, when Kane also choke slammed Sheamus, before Sheamus officially cashed it in. Kane then laid out Rollins with a tombstone piledriver and the show went off the air. A funny thing happened after that, which was quite awkward.
Kane left. Sheamus got up, since it makes no sense to sell one choke slam for very long. Rollins stayed down, because he took a tombstone. Fans were screaming at Sheamus to cash it in, not realizing that the show was over and thus, you couldn’t cash in. So Sheamus saw Rollins laying there motionless, grabbed his briefcase, and left the ring.
Night of Champions ended up with three title changes. Kevin Owens beat Ryback to win the IC title, which was expected. Charlotte ended Nikki Bella’s heavily pushed record setting reign at 301 days in taking the Divas title. And Cena beat Rollins to win the U.S. title, ending the Rollins one month run as dual champion. It was Cena’s fifth time as U.S. champion, tying Bret Hart, Wahoo McDaniel, Chris Benoit and Lex Luger for second place for most reigns, behind Ric Flair’s six.
Overall it was a good show, with nothing close to a bad match
On the Books for Hell in The Cell
The next PPV, aside from the Lesnar vs. Undertaker Hell in a Cell match, is scheduled to include Rollins vs. The Masked Demon Kane for the WWE title, rematches from Night of Champions with Kevin Owens defending the IC title against Ryback and The New Day vs. The Dudleys in a tables match for the tag title, which would play off some kind of angle or storyline shot on the 10/3 MSG show.
Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella vs. Paige for the Divas title was on the lineup I saw as well but plans always change. It also appears that a Wyatt Family vs. Reigns & Dean Ambrose & Randy Orton match would be there. Rusev and Dolph Ziggler are continuing their storyline, but MSG would be their third straight Network special match so we don’t know if they’ll go for a fourth singles match.
Notable as not being mentioned or programmed yet is Cena as U.S. champion, who has also scored two clean singles wins over Rollins in two nights this past week. While in hindsight due to the injury, it ended up working out for the best, it’s notable the decision was made that Rollins vs. Demon Kane would be stronger than going a second show with Rollins vs. Sting.
Kurt Angle's Brother charged with murdering his Wife
David Angle Jr., the 62-year-old brother of Kurt, was arrested on 9/20 on a charge of homicide related to the death of wife Donna Angle, 57. Police in Dormont, PA responded that morning at 6:24 a.m. to calls about a domestic disturbance and a woman who was not breathing. When they arrived, they found Donna Angle unresponsive on the floor of the living room. David Angle said that he had a dispute with his wife, kneeled on her chest and pulled her arms. She was rushed to St. Clair Hospital in Allegheny County and pronounced dead at 7:13 a.m.
According to the criminal complaint, David Angle told officers that they were in the living room at 3 a.m. when she offered him some vodka. He told her that he didn’t want to drink. She started “badgering him” about wanting him to drink with her and they got into an argument. He said that all of their arguments always revolved around drinking and he admitted he had angler issues. He said that his wife tried to kick him and he grabbed both of her arms, pulled her off the coach, put his foot on her chest and then pulled. He told police that she became unconscious and he tried to revive her before calling 911.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story with Dave Hawk, the manager of Kurt Angle, saying that it was Kurt’s brother and that Kurt would appreciate honoring his request for privacy at this time. Kurt was very much broken up by this coming out of nowhere.
Smackdown Changes Coming
Expect some interesting changes in January when it comes to Smackdown. As one would expect, they are looking for a new look to the show once they debut on USA and some new ideas for the show. I expect it’ll be like whenever they have a new change, that they load the show up with main events for the first two months. The usual is that once it stops becoming that new toy, it then gradually becomes a show at the level of what it has been
Raw Rating continues to Suck
Raw on 9/21 set a new non-holiday low for viewers, although ratings were up slightly from the past two weeks. The show did a 2.46 rating and 3.34 million viewers (1.42 viewers per home), down slightly from 3.39 million last week and 3.37 million the week before.
This number was a disappointment because it came the day after a PPV, when ratings usually go up, especially with questions about Kane, Chris Jericho and Sting that came out of the show, although the Sting question probably wasn’t known to much of the audience.
What probably hurt was that even though the NFL ratings were down from the previous week and it was only one game and not two (so Raw had 30 minutes with no game on), the game involved the New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts. WWE is strongest in the New York market so a New York sports team is going to hurt Raw more, even if the game isn’t quite as highly rated nationally.
The Raw rating has put enormous pressure on creative by Vince McMahon directly, more than the prior two numbers. I think they at least partially used the excuse on the previous two weeks as Labor Day and the start of the NFL season, but when they ran big angles at the PPV to boost ratings the next day, when there is the traditional post-PPV increase, and the audience set an all-time low, it was the first time we got the term “panic” thrown around.
WWE made an approach to Carlito, but apparently the money offer was low so he didn’t take it, although they were under the impression he would take it with a better money offer. They wanted him back as part of whatever repackaging they are going to do with Los Matadores that has been talked about but not finalized
Fans Hopping the Rail
On the Night of Champions show, there was yet another fan who hopped the rail, which is the third time in recent weeks something like this has happened. It was during the beginning of the six-man tag match with Reigns’ team against The Wyatts. Reigns & Ambrose were about to introduce Jericho as the mystery partner when you saw a fan, who I believe was dressed like Reigns, hit the ring. The cameras quickly switched away and security took him away. The fan, Oscar Ramirez, was arrested, plead guilty, and was sentenced to ten days in jail. He was threatened with six months if he didn’t plead guilty. WWE made a statement that going forward they are going to prosecute anyone who hops the barricade and interferes with a show.
This week’s NXT call in the women’s division is to slow down on Eva Marie and build Asuka and Dana Brooke for Bayley after they stop bringing back people from the main roster for the big shows like with Banks on the next Takeover show. They’ve built a rep of having the great women’s title matches in the brand, and are hopeful Bayley vs. Asuka can continue that, and also hope Eva, Brooke and Alexa Bliss, who they want to be the stars of the division, can improve to where they can also have good matches with Bayley.
Lucha Underground Renewed
Lucha Underground announced on 9/21 that it will return for a second season, and that season will be taped at the same “Temple” in Los Angeles. The show is expected to go into production in December and start back on the El Rey Network in early 2016. There will be pre-production being done before December with some of the characters being brought in to shoot promos and vignettes.
The reports we have is that the budget will be decreased from the $400,000 per episode from the first season, but it will be in ways that won’t be noticeable. As noted before and confirmed by the promotion, there was talk of moving the taping location due to cost, to either Texas or Mexico. One person involved with the company said that very little information has been talked about, but the belief is they won’t be taping as many shows as the 39 week first season.
The big news of the second season has been expected to be the debut of Rey Mysterio Jr. as the top star of the promotion, debuting very early in the new season. We’re told that isn’t official, but it was strongly teased in the last episode of season one, and my feeling is they are trying to save that as a big surprise or a major announcement which is why everyone is quiet on that matter.
ROH All Star Extravaganza Review
Jay Lethal retained both the ROH heavyweight and TV titles working the bookend matches on the All-Star Extravaganza PPV on 9/18 at the Shrine Auditorium in San Antonio, but not without some controversy. In the main event, Lethal retained the man title over Kyle O’Reilly when Adam Cole turned on O’Reilly. The storyline is that it was all a ruse from the start by the Kingdom (Cole, Michael Bennett, Matt Taven and Maria Kanellis) regarding their falling out and Cole joining back with O’Reilly, reforming the Future Shock tag team.
Earlier, in the PPV opener, Lethal retained the TV title over Bobby Fish. That had an interesting back story only because a lot of people within the company were expecting a title change here and there was unhappiness in some quarters the day of the show. The story we got is that booker Hunter “Delirious” Johnston did consider Lethal winning the main title but losing the secondary title, which would have been identical to what WWE did two days later (and the whole heel champion ending up with both belts and defending on a PPV was scheduled in ROH long before WWE even had the idea). The decision was made because Fish has Japanese bookings that coincide with some shows where he wanted to put TV title matches on.
The show featured the surprise return of Kenny King, who quit TNA and reformed The All Night Express tag team with Rhett Titus. The crowd popped really big their return. There was some speculation in the final days that King & Titus would be the mystery team facing Mark & Jay Briscoe. King had teased on Twitter a few weeks ago about having to make a decision.
A.J. Styles won a four-way over Roderick Strong, Cole and Michael Elgin to become the No. 1 contender for Lethal’s ROH title. It wasn’t outright said that match would take place at Final Battle, the next PPV, which takes place on 12/18 in Philadelphia. But it will be taking place soon. At the TV tapings, they pushed the idea of Lethal vs. Strong in a TV title match upcoming as well.
This was a good show overall as far as match quality went. The production was better than some of the prior PPVs but still not a strong point. We were told the crowd was hot, but they seemed quiet in several of the big matches. The tag title three-way, largely because of the Young Bucks, had the biggest reaction but most of the matches were well wrestled.
ROH Always Booking ahead
Everything now is starting the build for Final Battle, the next PPV show, on 12/18 from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. The key angles and matches will start to be announced at the 10/23 tapings in Kalamazoo, and the card will be finalized publicly at the 11/20 tapings in Nashville. The entire card is complete.