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FEARLESS: Britney Young On Her Career And Breakout Role On Netflix’s ‘G.L.O.W.’

FEARLESS: Britney Young On Her Career And Breakout Role On Netflix’s ‘G.L.O.W.’

Britney Young – Photo by Bobby Quillard

Britney Young is proof positive that believing in yourself and following your dreams does pay off! Born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in Eagle River, Alaska, Britney was always curious about the television and film industry. A lifelong fan of cinema, her passion for the arts led her to USC, where she pursued a degree with a concentration in critical studies. Upon graduating she went back to her hometown for a visit and, as fate would have it, she landed her first job as a P.A. on “Big Miracle” and continued to work in production on films and shows including “Savages,” “Joyful Noise,” “Spongebob Squarepants 2,” “The Mentalist” and, most recently, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriends.”

After working for these productions and exploring the world behind the camera, Britney realized her passion for acting continued to burn deep inside of her. While still working for production on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriends,” Britney juggled her job and went after her dream of acting. She became a part of her friend’s web series “Ana Mead,” and it was during this time when she met her manager, began auditioning, and landed her first role on TruTV’s “Those Who Can’t” as Little Debbie. She also got a role at her job and, even though it was only one episode on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriends,” this changed her mentality of pursuing acting full-time.

In 2017, Britney Young has truly taken Hollywood by storm with her role on Netflix’s new hit series, “G.L.O.W.,” where she plays Carmen Wade, aka Machu Picchu. Created by Jenji Kohan (“Orange is the New Black”), “G.L.O.W.” is inspired by the short-lived but beloved show from the ’80s telling the story of Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), an out-of-work, struggling actress in Los Angeles who finds one last chance for stardom when she’s thrust into the glitter and spandex world of women’s wrestling. Her dynamic performance on the series has earned Britney Young legions of dedicated fans, and spotlights her as a actress to watch in the years to come. 

Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Britney Young to discuss the experiences that shaped her as a young actor, her truly unique career path and breakout role as Carmen Wade (Machu Picchu) in Netflix’s critically acclaimed series, G.L.O.W.

How did you get involved with the arts early on in life?

Basically, I grew up overseas in Tokyo. I was really drawn to my dad’s 1980’s movie collection and I was the nerd who stayed inside and watched TV nonstop. I had so many questions and really enjoyed watching people act. In preschool and kindergarten, I was always trying to be the center of attention at all the little recitals and school plays. My parents thought, “Oh, maybe we should get her into theater.” I did a bunch of theater growing up and I really wanted to be the Disney Channel Triple Threat, who sings, dances, and acts, like Raven-Symone. When I got to high school, that dream started to fade because my teenage years got in the way with everything from sports, boys, friends, getting my license and so on. By the time I got to college, I thought, “I’ll get my degree in something I can hopefully use after college!” I’ve always been interested in producing as well, so I went to the USC Film School and when I graduated, I had $60,000 worth of debt. I knew I needed to have a more steady job than what I would have with waiting tables and auditioning, so I went into the production side of things. I spent the last seven years going from project to project as a production secretary, production assistant, post-production, and working in accounting until I finally became a producer’s assistant. It was there when I saw all of the casting tapes coming in for the projects. Seeing those tapes really ignited my fire once again and I thought, “Okay, I need to transition over to doing what I have always wanted to do!” And here we are! [laughs]

I imagine working in different areas in the entertainment business gave you insight into the system. What were your biggest takeaways from the experience?

Yeah! I think we all have this idea in our heads that the best actor is always going to book the part. Being an assistant, I realized that wasn’t true. There are so many great actors who I would see and think, “Oh my God, they are going to book this person. They are so fantastic … ” and then they would go with someone else. It’s all about the full package. For example, “How does this person fit into the story?” “How will these people play off of the characters we already have?” I think that was something that was really eye-opening to me. The one thing I really took away from the experience was to always trust in your instincts. Sometimes tapes of my friends would come in and they would say, “Oh, originally I thought this character was this certain way … ” Then they would go in and have the casting director, manager or agent kind of tweak their performance and then they aren’t happy with it and don’t get the part. I always think to myself, “I would rather not get a role where I made my own choices and did the character as I saw it, rather than not getting a role from someone coming in and completely changing my performance.” I think that was the main thing. Always trust your instincts because you are the one who is going to be doing the work and possibly getting this character, so you have to be comfortable with what you are doing!

Who had a big impact on you as a performer?

I was really drawn to The Brat Pack! I really loved Anthony Michael Hall and Molly Ringwald. For the longest time, I really wanted to be the princess in any John Hughes movie! That was until I grew up and realized the basket case is probably the better part! [laughs] Like I said, I think someone who really influenced me was Raven-Symone, especially being a bi-racial girl growing up. It was so great to see someone who looked more similar to me than a lot of the young, white actresses did at the time. I really related to her because of that, and because she was so sassy! I’m pretty sassy and she was so sarcastic and funny, which was something I was really drawn to. I was also really drawn to Shirley Temple. I watched her movies nonstop and, like I said, I wanted to be that triple threat! She could sing, act and dance! She carried these films alongside Academy Award winning actors and was the center of the film. Those were the most inspiring figures to me earlier on.

Britney Young – Photo by Bobby Quillard

Which of your early roles had a big impact on you as an actor?

There were definitely two of them. The first one wasn’t even a role that I got. I think I may have been in third grade and the school I went to was a K through 12 school. The high school was putting on a production of “The Sound of Music.” I went in for the role of Gretl, who is the youngest daughter. I remember finding out that I didn’t get the part and I wrote the director a letter. I begged her to please give me another chance because I really wanted the part and asked if she would let me try again. Of course, she kindly responded, “I love your passion but the role has already been cast.” After that, I went and wrote myself the most upsetting letter. My mom still has it to this day and she showed it to me two Christmases ago. I basically wrote myself a letter and said, “You are the worst actress ever. You’re so stupid and nobody likes you!” I really tore myself a new one for not booking this part! [laughs] Now, when I read it back, I just cringe. I’m like, “God, Britney, it was just a part! Calm down!” At the same time, it makes me realize that as much as I was treating myself horribly, it really showed that I was very passionate about doing this job. Now I find comfort in that I am one of those people who did find a passion early on in life and has always been striving to get to that point. To see that I have accomplished some great things in this business really does give me a lot of pride. Another role that I really appreciated was the role that lit a fire under my butt! I was on a web series called “Ana Mead.” My friend, Marquel Skinner, was one of the creators and producers of the series. She also starred as the lead character, Ana Mead. When I started transitioning into acting, I had asked her for advice and she helped me out a lot. She basically called me up and said, “I have this part for you. You don’t even have to audition. It’s yours if you want it!” I was blown away and I took the part. It really brought the light back into my eyes and after that I wanted to be on set all the time. I knew I didn’t want to go back to working a 9 to 5. I think those are two of the early projects that really stand out in my mind as having a tremendous impact.

Your biggest project to date is your role on Netflix’s hit series “G.L.O.W.” as Machu Picchu. You are awesome in this role. Tell us about how you got involved with the series.

Interestingly enough, one day I was sitting in my office and reading Deadline. An article came up announcing “G.L.O.W.” and how Netflix and Jenji Kohan were going to be involved in bringing the show to the screen. I read the article and thought, “I wonder if there might be a part in there for me? Let me email my agent and manager to tell them to keep an eye out.” Life and work got in the way and I never sent that email. A couple days later, I got these sides that were from the “G.L.O.W.” casting office and I was so confused! [laughs] I called up my agent and asked him what it was for and he said, “Oh, you have an audition for a new show on Netflix called ‘G.L.O.W.’” I thought, “Oh my God! It’s fate! I can’t believe this is happening! I have to look at this and see what it’s all about!” I was really, really drawn to the character Carmen Wade. I don’t normally get to play sweet, kind, introverted people, so I was really excited when they said she was a gentle giant. I was like, “Yes! Let me see if I can be a nice person on camera!” [laughs] If you’ve watched the original series, you will remember how they did the raps before each match. They sent us one of the clips of that and we were supposed to prepare a rap. I watched it 25 times that night and was so incredibly addicted! I thought, “What is this insanity?! I have to be a part of it!” I ended up going down a huge YouTube rabbit hole where I watched a bunch of the raps and matches. I was totally into it!

I went in and auditioned with Jen Euston, who was our casting director. This is so cliche and I know people say this all the time but I really thought I tanked. I thought I bombed. I had fun and Jen was fantastic. She helped me with the two scenes and the rap. It was a 40-minute audition, which never happens! I just walked out and thought, “Oh crap! We had to do it so many times, she probably hated it. I did a horrible job.” I called my agent immediately and said, “I’m sorry but that ship has sailed. I’ll get ’em next time!” When he called me later that night, he said, “Hey, check your email.” I was flabbergasted to find that I had a callback for the next day! I went in and it was with our executive producers, Jenji Kohan and Tara Herrmann, and our creators, Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch. I walked in and Jen introduced me. She said, “Here’s Britney Young!” For some reason, I decided I would make a joke and added, “… And hope to be Carmen!” I didn’t nail it! [laughs] They didn’t smirk. They didn’t laugh or anything. I thought, “OK, I can’t bomb this again, so I have to bring it!” I thought I did fantastic! I walked out of there and was so hopeful. That’s what really messed with my head because I didn’t hear anything for another four weeks! I was just sitting there like, “What is happening?!” I knew they liked me and they told me I was pinned but they weren’t making a decision yet, so I just sat there and waited. I didn’t want to tell a lot of people just in case it didn’t go through.

Finally, they called and asked me to come in for a stunt audition with our stunt coordinator, Shauna Duggins, and our wrestling coordinator, Chavo Guerrero, Jr. I said, “Yeah, sure! I can do that!” I showed up to the audition and Shauna flat out said, “You’re not on our insurance, so we really can’t have you doing too many things.” She had me do some forward rolls, I jumped off a ledge and punched a few punching bags. In my head, I was thinking, “You can not leave this room without picking up one of these people!” I looked at Shauna and said, “Can I pick you up?” She said, “You’re not on our insurance.” I said, “I was a cheerleader in high school and I can do this. Just let me pick you up.” So, she runs at me and I catch her. She was like, “Wow! That was great.” Then, Chavo, little sassy pants, was like, “Do you think you can catch me?” So he ran at me and I caught him too. It wasn’t as easy as Shauna, but I still did it! To be honest, I think that is what truly sealed the deal for me. I walked out and thought, “Okay, cool! This is mine!” I found out that following Monday that I was offered a role and we started training in a week!

Alison Brie and Britney Young inside the squared circle on ‘G.L.O.W.’

What went into training for the series? It looked like you girls were learning this profession from the ground up.

Yeah! We trained, all 14 of us, for a month prior to shooting. When we showed up on the first day, none of us had wrestled before, with the exception of Kia Stevens, who was a professional wrestler in the WWE and TNA. I think that was the best thing the production could have done. It was great for us to learn the sport and get introduced to what we would be doing while shooting, but because all of us came in at the same level, we immediately bonded. It became such a supportive and encouraging atmosphere that, as we progressed, we were hooting, hollering and cheering each other on! It was never a competition and always so encouraging. I really do appreciate that the production did it that way! We basically came in and started very, very small. The first day, Chavo said, “I’m going to teach you how to get into the ring.” Of course, we were all a little bit cocky and said, “We know how to get into the ring!” Let me tell you — NONE of us knew how to get into the ring! [laughs] We tried it and none of us could do it. We stood there in line and each girl went in one at a time because we just didn’t know how to do it properly. From there, we learned how to walk around the ring and do footwork with our partners. We worked on that for the first week and went over and over different techniques and moves when it came to footwork. Slowly, we started learning different moves like the headlock, the hammerlock, barrel rolls, forward rolls and all of that. We continued with that until we were able to get to a point where we could put them into a sequence and create little 30- or 40-second matches. I really appreciated that because, when we would get the scripts, Chavo and Shauna would go through and review then. Alison [Brie] and myself have a little match in episode five and we needed to learn how to do a suplex. Instead of saying, “Okay, Britney and Alison, we’re going to teach you how to do a suplex,” they taught everybody how to do a suplex. That was great because if it was ever written into a script, everybody would be prepared to do it. I thought that was very smart because it kept us all on the same level, nobody was leaps and bounds ahead and we could all be encouraging! Ya know, I’ve never been so sore in my life and I’ve never bought that much epsom salt! I wonder what the guys at CVS thought I was doing with it all because I seriously bought five tubs of it to use after training! [laughs]

You referred to Chavo Guerrero Jr. as “Mr. Sassy Pants.” He’s been in the game for a long time. What was it like working with him and what pearls of wisdom did he bestow upon you?

[laughs] I call him “sassy pants” because that really was our relationship. He’s a Cowboys fan and I’m a Giants fan. We always pick on each other and joke with each other but it’s all out of love and support. It’s interesting because my character, Carmen, also comes from a wrestling dynasty family. He and I talked a lot about how he knew when he was younger that he was going to be a wrestler but wanted to still use his family name but also carve his own path to being just Chavo. That really helped me a lot, especially in episode four where Carmen stands up to her dad and says, “You know what? This is my dream. This is my life and this is what I’m going to do. Don’t worry, I’m still going to keep our family name safe.” He gave me a lot of insight. I think one of the most interesting stories with me and Chavo comes from the series finale. For the finale, we trained for about a month for those fights. I’m the type of person where I need to do baby steps and go through the technique. I can’t do all the added stuff like selling it, pain or wincing. I just need to get the choreography down and the technique down first. It’s just like when I was a cheerleader. I never smiled or did any faces during practice but I hit it during the game! That’s what I tried to explain to Chavo. He was like, “No! You’ve got to do it now.” Finally, when we went to shoot, we did the match and after the first take Chavo came up to me. I looked at him and said, “Am I selling it?” He said, “You are selling the shit out of it!” Just the look on his face let me know I was doing Chavo proud! He knew I could do it and I know what he was trying to get me to do but that’s what I love about him. He tries to tell you how he learned it and how wrestlers learn it, but he also respects the fact of how you learn and he works with that.

The cast of Netflix’s ‘G.L.O.W.’

There is no question “G.L.O.W.” has terrific writers and awesome base material. What did you bring to the character that wasn’t on the original written page?

That’s an interesting question. Like I said, originally her main character breakdown was that she was a gentle giant. What I think I brought to the role is that I kept that feeling of innocence and kindness but also, when the time came, I really turned on the passion, aggression and heat. I think that was something that might not have necessarily been there or maybe I just brought it out and it was like a little light bulb going off like, “Oh, that’s exactly what we wanted.” I know for sure that in the finale match where I won, after the first take Liz and Carly said they never expected me to have the look on my face of “Holy cow, I just won!” They loved it and that’s how I continued to play it with each take. There is definitely a sense of “This is still a very sweet person but watch out because she’s gonna get ya!” [laughs]

I’ve been following you on social media. It’s cool to see you connect with some of the original “G.L.O.W.” girls on which the series is based. What has that experience been like and what is their take on the show?

I did a podcast yesterday with Babe The Farmer’s Daughter, who actually owns G.L.O.W. now, and Little Egypt. They were fantastic! We basically swapped stories and I asked them so many questions! One thing I didn’t know but found out through talking to them was how some of the subtle moments on the show, like where Cherry Bang takes over coaching the girls, were very close to real life. After the first season of the original “G.L.O.W.” series, the new girls were actually coached by the veteran “G.L.O.W.” girls. That was so interesting to hear. I love connecting with them and it’s something I wish I could do more of! I want to honor those who came before me! While our show isn’t an exact replica, we are inspired by the original series and the original girls, but they still went through a lot of similar things. To hear their stories, it really does help you to focus a little bit more when you are shooting. You want to bring that authenticity and truthfulness to each situation and character, so I really appreciate them reaching out to us, letting us pick their brains and telling us about their experiences. They have all said so many positive things about show. For example, Little Egypt was discussing the show yesterday and would say things like, “I remember when we went through that! I remember when we were given our characters!” That makes me feel so great! Our original intent was to make these women proud and they really do seem to be reacting very strongly and positively to the show! That’s fantastic!

You’ve come a long way in your career. When you look back on your body of work, how have you evolved?

Throughout my career, I have been very grateful to play every character that has come my way and every show that I have been a part of. I definitely feel that now I have maybe wiggled out the door of the stereotypical, plus size, or African American roles. I think I started out going for the bullies, the mean girls, the sassy girls or the ghetto girls. I played very much into those stereotypes, which is kind of ironic since “G.L.O.W.” deals with breaking out of those stereotypes. I really am grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to play Carmen, who has so many layers to her and I don’t see anything stereotypical about her at all! I definitely grew as an actress on this series and I really owe that to our cast. I’ve never been around a cast that not only includes this many women, but also so many women who are this different. Everyone is so professional, sweet and kind. They are the type of people, who after a take, I could turn to and ask, “Hey, why did you make this choice?” They would tell me why and it gave me the opportunity to rise up to be more on their level. In the past, I don’t think I have sat there and deeply thought about what a character would do or how they would act, as much as I did with Carmen on this show. I owe my growth to all of them. Like I said, it’s really just about trying to come up to their level and I learned so much from that!

Britney Young – Photo by Bobby Quillard

As you mentioned, the role you play on “G.L.O.W.” is a meaty role, physically and dramatically. What was the biggest challenge you faced with the project?

This is going to sound so weird but the biggest challenge for me came from the timing. I say that in the sense that I had never cried on camera in a way that was supposed to be authentic. I have comedically cried, but I’ve never cried in a serious moment. It wasn’t in the takes that ended up being included in the show. I actually prefer the way they did it because it makes more sense but there were takes during the confrontation with Carmen and her dad where I really was crying very hard tears. It was very interesting for me because the first day we shot that in the gym was my first real crying scene on camera. Immediately, the next day, I had my first on-screen kiss! It was almost as if the anticipation of having those two things back-to-back had me so hyped but also nervous! I was like, “I have to nail these things! I can’t not nail them or these scenes aren’t going to work!” I think the biggest challenge with those emotional scenes wasn’t the material or what we had to do with it but the timing involved. I wasn’t able to say, “Oh, I just cried my eyes out for three hours over 17 takes. I’ll rest and have a kissing scene later in the week!” It was literally crying my eyes out for three hours, 17 takes and tomorrow I have to kiss a guy! [laughs] That was the biggest challenge for me!

It’s interesting to hear about what you went through with this role. It seems like a wrestling boot camp, which mirrors what the characters on the series are going through.

Exactly! That’s a great way put it! For most of us, it is kind of our first big break. We all have done things here and there but to be on a show for 10 episodes and be in almost every scene and have dialog in those scenes was a lot to adjust to! You’re right! It was very similar to a boot camp!

A lot of people can look to you as an inspiration. You pursued your dream and made it a reality. What’s the best lesson we can take from your journey?

I think the best lesson has to be to never give up on your true dreams and goals. Always go after it. Even more importantly, go after it in the path that makes the most sense for you. I think many people think, especially with acting, you have to move out to California, wait tables or be a barista and then you will get your big break. That’s not how I did it. I moved out to California, went to school and then worked in production for seven years. Now, here I am! I think that was the best path for me and I am so grateful for that path because I learned so much. It also allowed me to appreciate being on that side of the camera so much more than if I hadn’t been in production. You have to take your own path to achieve the goals you have set for yourself. It doesn’t matter the path you take, as long as you reach your destination!

Thank you so much for your time today, Britney. We loved you on the series and can’t wait to see what you have in store in the years to come!

Thank you, I appreciate your time!

Follow the continuing adventures of Britney Young on social media via Instagram and Twitter! Season 1 of ‘G.L.O.W.’ is new streaming on Netflix!

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GAME CHANGER: “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner Discusses His Legendary Career

GAME CHANGER: “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner Discusses His Legendary Career

Every major PPV is significant for IMPACT Wrestling, but this year is special. Not only has the promotion recently entered into an agreement to acquire Global Force Entertainment, LLC d/b/a Global Force Wrestling but will see the return of the legendary Scott Steiner. “Big Poppa Pump,” has been a staple in the professional wrestling scene for years. Steiner has successfully accomplished multiple goals outside of IMPACT Wrestling, but his work with IMPACT is more than reputable. Since his debut in 2006, Steiner has wrestled against some of IMPACT’s biggest, most iconic stars like Samoa Joe and Kurt Angle and has wrestled in some of IMPACT’s greatest history making matches. Steiner formerly wrestled alongside his brother Rick Steiner in the IMPACT Zone. Together the two defeated tag teams such as Team 3D and Immortal. On July 2nd, Scott Steiner returns to IMPACT Wrestling and will join forces with Josh Mathews to battle Jeremy Borash and Joseph Park in a tag team match that no one saw coming! 

Icon Vs. Icon recently had the opportunity to get some insight into the complicated world of Scott Steiner with a quick interview. In the days leading up to Slammiversary XV, Steiner took a few moments out of his day to discuss his legendary career, what it takes to make it in professional wrestling and the challenges of navigating today’s overly politically correct world.

You have carved out an amazing career for yourself in professional wrestling. What does it take to make it in the business today?

It takes a combination of a lot of things; timing being one of them. You have to have a good presence, the “It” factor, you have to look good and have in-ring ability. Luck also has a lot to do with it also! Not everybody starts off great. It’s a process that takes years to perfect and it’s a profession you can always get better at. I’ve been fortunate. … When I first went to the University of Michigan, I trained with Steve Fraser who became the first Olympic champion in Greco Roman Wrestling in 1984. A lot of the wrestling throws and step-around suplexes I learned from him. I tried to incorporate what I learned in college into my professional career and it brings a certain amount of realism to it. … I started out with Dick The Bruiser up in the Detroit area, right after I graduated from The University of Michigan. From there, I went down with Jeff [Jarrett], his father and Jerry Lawler and then went from to NWA with Ted Turner. … You learn a lot from wrestling the other guys over and over. It’s up to you to choose what you want to incorporate into what you want to do. You can learn a lot from the people you work alongside, if you’re open to it. … I’ve always focused on one punch at a time, one match at a time.

You’ve been a part of some great moments in TNA Wrestling. What are some of your favorite moments from that part of your career?

My favorite memories are from The Main Event Mafia. All the champions were together. That was a lot of fun because you had a lot of history in the ring every time we stepped into ring! A lot of us had been around for a long time. The stuff that we did backstage versus what was actually seen on TV was also entertaining and funny as hell! To date, that’s been the highest rated portion of TNA’s existence and a lot of people bought into it because of the reality of everything! It was a lot of fun!

It’s no secret that you have freaks around the globe. What is the bets lesson those fans can take from your journey in this business?

Persistence. Nobody starts at the top. It took a lot of hard work, stubbornness and patience. It was a journey and something I had to work for with the way politics are and all the backstabbing. It took a lot of persistence and sticktoitiveness. It took a certain amount of toughness to keep going because wrestling is a tough sport, man. It’s not like it was back when we first started and were traveling 315 to 330 days a year but, even today, you are still beating your body up. You just have to stick to it, man!

You’ve built quite a career for yourself. Which of your many accolades mean the most?

I’m in the Dan Gable National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Michigan. Dan Gable was the head coach of Iowa when I was wrestling at Michigan. He had a string of 17 or 18 national championships. I actually beat one of his guys when Iowa State were in the finals that year. To be recognized by a guy I idolized when I was growing up as a kid and as an amateur wrestling. It was nice to be remembered by him and it doesn’t get any better than that. Ya know, when I go out to these independent shows, that’s good enough for me, man. It all comes down to how the fans remember you.

You’ve never been one to mince words or be politically correct. Has there been any pressure in recent years to tone down your brash style?

That’s the problem with society now, it’s too politically correct. If you can’t speak your mind, what good is freedom of speech? What’s it all mean? No, no one has told me to tone it down. I’m gonna be me. I hope I don’t change and if I do change, that’ll be the day I die! Why be politically correct?

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WWE 2K18: Official Trailer and Game Details Revealed!

WWE 2K18: Official Trailer and Game Details Revealed!

The full details and trailer have been unveiled for WWE 2K18! The breakdown is below:

Be like no one. These four simple words likely generate several reactions, but for WWE Superstar Seth RollinsTM, they are a master class in describing his unmatched work ethic, disruptive mindset and definitive WWE career.

Since joining WWE in 2010, Rollins has done things on his own terms. Like many claim but never accomplish, he was destined to be different, blaze his own trail and take no prisoners along the way, even if it meant disrespecting history. The first move on Rollins’ chess board: become the inaugural NXT® Champion in 2012 and put everyone on high alert. The second move: make his WWE main roster debut at Survivor Series® later that year, align with WWE Superstars Roman ReignsTM and Dean AmbroseTM to form The ShieldTM and rally against authority. As the pieces continued moving, the accolades followed: two-time WWE Champion, United States Champion, WWE Tag Team Champion and “Mr. Money in the Bank®,” to name a few. And now, “The Kingslayer” stands tall after a definitive checkmate: defeating Triple H® on WWE’s grandest stage at WrestleMania® 33.

For every calculated action and result, there is no question Rollins will prevail by any means necessary, and in doing so, embody everything it means to be like no one.

In celebration of his in-ring accomplishments and bold individuality, 2K today announced Seth Rollins as the cover Superstar for WWE® 2K18, the forthcoming release in the flagship WWE video game franchise. In addition, Rollins will personify WWE 2K18’s worldwide marketing campaign – BE LIKE NO ONE – which invites players to explore Rollins’ identity, as well as those of several other WWE Superstars, while learning more about the game. WWE 2K18 is currently scheduled for worldwide release on October 17, 2017 for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and Xbox One.

“As the WWE 2K18 cover Superstar and franchise ambassador, it is my incredible honor and mission to ensure this game will truly BE LIKE NO ONE – a calling card perfect for everything I stand for – as it sets forth on its own unique path,” said Seth Rollins. “Following in the footsteps of other WWE 2K cover Superstars – Dwayne “The Rock®” Johnson, John Cena®, Stone Cold Steve Austin® and Brock Lesnar® – I now carry the torch and proudly represent a new generation of WWE Superstars. I am the future, and the future can’t be stopped.”

“Each year, the WWE 2K franchise emerges with a unique identity, impeccable authenticity, an incredible roster and the freedom for players to customize and control the virtual WWE world through its extensive offerings,” said Chris Snyder, Vice President of Marketing at 2K. “In determining who truly epitomizes BE LIKE NO ONE and represents WWE 2K18 to the fullest extent, there was one obvious answer: Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins.”

In addition, today 2K announced details surrounding WWE 2K18 premium product offerings and their scheduled release dates:

About the WWE 2K18 Deluxe Edition

Players who purchase the WWE 2K18 Deluxe Edition, available in both physical and digital varieties at participating retailers, will receive Early Access to their game copies and in-game bonuses beginning four days early on Friday, October 13, 2017 for PS4TM system and Xbox One. The WWE 2K18 Deluxe Edition includes the following items:

  • Copy of WWE 2K18 video game with Deluxe Edition packaging;
  • Access to Season Pass content (details announced this fall);
  • Access to WWE 2K18 pre-order bonus digital content (details announced this summer);
  • Additional WWE 2K18 Collector’s Edition digital content (details announced this summer).

About the WWE 2K18 Collector’s Edition

Players who purchase the WWE 2K18 Collector’s Edition at participating retailers will also receive Early Access to their game copies and in-game bonuses beginning four days early on Friday, October 13, 2017 for PS4TM system and Xbox One. Details of the WWE 2K18 Collector’s Edition, as well as the ability to pre-order this version of the game, will be available later this summer.

Developed collaboratively by Yuke’s and Visual Concepts, a 2K studio, WWE 2K18 is not yet rated by the ESRB. WWE 2K18 is scheduled for worldwide release on October 17, 2017 for the PS4TM system and Xbox One. For more information on WWE 2K18 and 2K, visit wwe.2k.com, become a fan on Facebook, follow the game on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #WWE2K18 and #BLN1 or subscribe on YouTube.

2K is a wholly owned publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).

All trademarks and copyrights contained herein are the property of their respective holders.

About WWE

WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The Company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide in 20 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is now available in almost all international markets other than the People’s Republic of China and embargoed countries. The Company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo.

Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.

Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to: WWE Network (including the risk that we are unable to attract, retain and renew subscribers); major distribution agreements; our need to continue to develop creative and entertaining programs and events; the possibility of a decline in the popularity of our brand of sports entertainment; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent K. McMahon; possible adverse changes in the regulatory atmosphere and related private sector initiatives; the highly competitive, rapidly changing and increasingly fragmented nature of the markets in which we operate and greater financial resources or marketplace presence of many of our competitors; uncertainties associated with international markets; our difficulty or inability to promote and conduct our live events and/or other businesses if we do not comply with applicable regulations; our dependence on our intellectual property rights, our need to protect those rights, and the risks of our infringement of others’ intellectual property rights; the complexity of our rights agreements across distribution mechanisms and geographical areas; potential substantial liability in the event of accidents or injuries occurring during our physically demanding events including, without limitation, claims relating to CTE; large public events as well as travel to and from such events; our feature film business; our expansion into new or complementary businesses and/or strategic investments; our computer systems and online operations; privacy norms and regulations; a possible decline in general economic conditions and disruption in financial markets; our accounts receivable; our indebtedness; litigation; our potential failure to meet market expectations for our financial performance, which could adversely affect our stock; Vincent K. McMahon exercises control over our affairs, and his interests may conflict with the holders of our Class A common stock; a substantial number of shares are eligible for sale by the McMahons and the sale, or the perception of possible sales, of those shares could lower our stock price; and the relatively small public “float” of our Class A common stock. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends (including under our revolving credit facility), general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant. Forward-looking statements made by the Company speak only as of the date made and are subject to change without any obligation on the part of the Company to update or revise them. Undue reliance should not be placed on these statements. For more information about risks and uncertainties associated with the Company’s business, please refer to the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors” sections of the Company’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.

About Take-Two Interactive Software
Headquartered in New York City, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. is a leading developer, publisher and marketer of interactive entertainment for consumers around the globe. The Company develops and publishes products principally through its two wholly-owned labels Rockstar Games and 2K. Our products are designed for console systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, and are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. The Company’s common stock is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol TTWO. For more corporate and product information please visit our website at http://www.take2games.com.

About 2K
Founded in 2005, 2K develops and publishes interactive entertainment globally for console systems, handheld gaming systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, which are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. 2K publishes titles in today’s most popular gaming genres, including shooters, action, role-playing, strategy, sports, casual, and family entertainment. The 2K label has some of the most talented development studios in the world today, including Firaxis Games, Visual Concepts, Hangar 13, Cat Daddy Games and 2K China. 2K’s stable of high quality titles includes the critically acclaimed BioShock®, BorderlandsTM, and XCOM® franchises, the beloved Sid Meier’s Civilization series, the innovative EvolveTM, the popular WWE 2K franchise and NBA 2K, the #1 rated and #1 selling basketball franchise*. 2K is headquartered in Novato, California and is a wholly owned label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO). For more information, please visit www.2k.com.

*According to 2008 – 2017 Metacritic.com and The NPD Group estimates of U.S. retail video game sales through April 2017.

All trademarks and copyrights contained herein are the property of their respective holders.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
The statements contained herein which are not historical facts are considered forward-looking statements under federal securities laws and may be identified by words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “potential,” “predicts,” “projects,” “seeks,” “should,” “will,” or words of similar meaning and include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the outlook for the Company’s future business and financial performance. Such forward-looking statements are based on the current beliefs of our management as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to them, which are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict. Actual outcomes and results may vary materially from these forward-looking statements based on a variety of risks and uncertainties including: our dependence on key management and product development personnel, our dependence on our Grand Theft Auto products and our ability to develop other hit titles, the timely release and significant market acceptance of our games, the ability to maintain acceptable pricing levels on our games, and risks associated with international operations. Other important factors and information are contained in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, including the risks summarized in the section entitled “Risk Factors,” the Company’s most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, and the Company’s other periodic filings with the SEC, which can be accessed at www.take2games.com. All forward-looking statements are qualified by these cautionary statements and apply only as of the date they are made. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 

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Anthem Sports Acquires Control of IMPACT Wrestling, Announces New Role For Dixie Carter

Anthem Sports Acquires Control of IMPACT Wrestling, Announces New Role For Dixie Carter

Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp. has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in TNA IMPACT Wrestling, and has formed Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions, LLC.  Anthem also owns Fight Network, the world’s premier 24/7 multi-platform channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, which is IMPACT Wrestling’s exclusive broadcast partner in Canada and worldwide digital partner.

“We are thrilled to have acquired TNA IMPACT Wrestling,” said Ed Nordholm, Executive Vice President of Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp., the parent of Fight Network. “As we grow Anthem’s linear, digital and mobile platforms globally, top tier content with global appeal is key to that success and this acquisition is a perfect strategic addition to our portfolio. IMPACT has been a dominant wrestling brand around the world for more than a decade and we are confident that Anthem can leverage its assets and strategic partnerships to take IMPACT Wrestling to even greater heights.”

Mr. Nordholm, who has been the managing director of the IMPACT Ventures Board of Managers since October 2016, will assume the position of President of Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions, LLC. Dixie Carter will resign from her position as Chairman of Impact Ventures and join the Advisory Board of Fight Media Group, which holds all of the combat sports-related assets of Anthem, where her focus will be on the global growth of the combat sports-related brands owned by Anthem.

“Anthem has been a great partner for many years,” added Dixie Carter. “We have worked hard to find the right company who would acquire TNA, use its strategic influence and have a long-term commitment to the brand. TNA’s incredible fans, talent and staff deserved to see the brand continue to thrive after 15+ years of incredible growth.  I’m excited to move to a new position and work with Anthem on their global strategic plan, and I am confident TNA IMPACT Wrestling is going to be a huge part of their success.”

Ms. Carter will remain a minority equity stakeholder.

 

About Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp.
Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp. is a global sports media company and a leader in operating targeted specialty video channels on linear, digital and mobile platforms with offices and studios in New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles. Anthem’s portfolio includes Fight Network, the world’s premier combat sports channel now broadcasting in the U.S., Canada and over 30 other countries, Fantasy Sports Network (FNTSY), the world’s first and only channel dedicated to fantasy sports, GameTV, a Canadian specialty channel available in over 9 million homes, RotoExperts.com, a leader in fantasy sports news and analysis, DailyRoto.com, the most comprehensive and far-reaching daily fantasy sports website and Edge Sport, an extreme and action sports network recently launched in Canada in partnership with IMG. Anthem also has a significant ownership interest in Pursuit Channel, one of the top outdoor channels in the U.S. available in over 40 million homes, and it owns SportsGrid.com, a leader in general sports entertainment commentary.

About TNA IMPACT Wrestling
TNA IMPACT Wrestling specializes in television properties, events, products, merchandise and music, as well as the management and promotion of professional wrestlers. The roster features such greats as Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, EC3, Bobby Lashley, Drew Galloway, James Storm, the high-flying X-Division, Gail Kim and the lovely and lethal Knockouts. Its highly successful flagship, IMPACT WRESTLING, broadcasts in more than 120 countries around the world, including Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Pop, a joint venture of CBS Corporation and Lionsgate, in the United States and on Fight Network in Canada.

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Billy Corgan Takes On Role As President of TNA Wrestling

Billy Corgan Takes On Role As President of TNA Wrestling

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IMPACT Ventures [IMPACT], the parent company of TNA Wrestling and IMPACT WRESTLING, today announced the appointment of Billy Corgan as its new President. Current President Dixie Carter becomes Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of IMPACT.

As President, Billy Corgan will be responsible for leading day-to-day operations for IMPACT and its affiliated brands. As Chairman, Carter will focus on long-term planning, strategic partnerships and global growth.

“Billy is a visionary, an iconic artist and savvy businessman with an incredibly gifted creative mind. He has built a decades-long successful global brand, and also has a deep passion and understanding for professional wrestling,” said Carter. “In working with Billy over the last 16 months, he has impressed me to the point that I’ve been in discussions with him to take an elevated strategic leadership role within the company. The more we discussed our vision for the organization, the clearer it became that position needed to match his commitment.”

“We are entering an exciting new era for IMPACT and will be working to continue to define our brand, develop global strategies for success, and structure for future investment and growth,” added Carter. “These moves, effective immediately, signify the team’s determination to work together to effectively cover more ground and capitalize on TNA’s current momentum that has seen ratings rise in recent months.”

Corgan, 49, is an American musician, songwriter, producer, TV writer and poet, best known as the lead singer, guitarist, and sole permanent member of The Smashing Pumpkins, who have sold more than 30 million albums worldwide and won multiple Grammy Awards. Corgan joined IMPACT in May 2015 as a senior producer.

“I believe in this company, its passionate fans, the talented roster and the dedicated staff and crew,” said Corgan. “I am committed to this great opportunity and will use all of my resources and connections to drive the success of this company. This year we have made significant strides in establishing a strong foundation for our future and will be aggressive in continuing to evolve and grow the IMPACT brands.”

IMPACT’s flagship broadcast IMPACT WRESTLING airs Thursdays at 8/7c on Pop, and in more than 120 countries around the world.

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WWE PAYBACK: By Gawd! Our Superstars Offer Their Predictions On The Big Event!

WWE PAYBACK: By Gawd! Our Superstars Offer Their Predictions On The Big Event!

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Some call it retaliation, vengeance or redemption. WWE Superstars call it payback! In anticipation of the big event, the Icon Vs. Icon superstars are ready to offer up their predictions and thoughts, as Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, The Miz and all your favorites prepare to settle their differences at WWE Payback! The first pay-per-view of WWE’s New Era takes center stage this Sunday when WWE Payback comes to the Allstate Arena in Chicago. The action begins with the WWE Payback Kickoff, which airs live on the award-winning WWE Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. In addition to WWE Network, the Kickoff streams for free on WWE.com, the WWE App, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Google+.

Then at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, WWE Payback — featuring four championship contests, plus grudge matches and an announcement from WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon that will alter the fate of Raw forever — takes over WWE Network.

Let’s get you warmed up with an introduction to our writers and a look at the official theme of WWE Payback — Andy Black’s “We Don’t Have To Dance.”

ABOUT OUR WRITERS:
Duke “The Barber” Dukecake is a WWE aficionado. His lifelong love of professional wrestling has landed him at countless live events and even lead him to a tangle or two inside the squared circle. His favorite WWE performer of all-time is Shawn Michaels. His style is best described as a perfect blend of The Blue Meanie, Mr. Fugi, Corbin Bernsen and Tatanka.

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles has been watching wrestling since his emergence out of the womb on April 10th of 1992. A lifelong WWE fan, the first event he can remember watching was Wrestlemania 11. Since then, he has surrounded himself with the world of wrestling in multiple facets. Besides wrestling Dylan is an obsessive fan of both horror and comic books. You may see him sharing his opinion on just about everything on the internet or maybe even working the MonsterMania Con on the east coast. You love him and he loves you! Follow him on Twitter at @thedylanlyles

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison is an unapologetic defender of the Backyard Wrestling movement that swept the nation in the late 90s. His dedication to winning the Intercontinental Championship Belt in WWE 2K16 is rivaled only by teaching his children how to properly sit on a Sharpshooter. His life was forever changed in January 2016 when he attended his first live NXT event in Chicago and was witness to the magic that is Sami Zayn.Follow him on Twitter at @almostgothim


INTIAL THOUGHTS ON WWE PAYBACK:

Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: Hopefully I get a little payback (pun intended) this month and actually get more than one match prediction correct! This card has me excited as it has tons of potential to be great. Almost every match can be a show stealer. It’s certainly going to be excited to see some recent NXT callups (Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin and the tag teams) shine on the big WWE PPV stage. With that being said, here are my predictions for this month’s WWE Payback.

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: The Wrestlemania hangover is subsiding and I no longer feel burnt out on the product. Just in time as it seems like the Payback card is stacking up to be one of the best pay per views of the past decade. On paper the lineup sounds fantastic. Not even WWE can screw this one up…..right? Well, regardless, the in ring work we will witness on Sunday will be incredible and I’m looking forward to it. The quality of the show will all come down to booking. That being said, here are my predictions for Sunday night’s pay per view!

“The Booty Man” Jeremy MorrisonThe WWE juggernaut invades Chicago, IL., (Rosemont to be exact) and we have a card full of family drama, friends turned bitter rivals, want to be talk show hosts, and some WWE gold up for grabs. This is Payback, folks. In the first pay per view since the epic fail of Wrestlemania, the good folks over at WWE seem to be heading in the right direction, booking an event that shows almost more promise than their biggest money maker. For the uninitiated, it would be like the NFL scheduling to Super Bowl contenders for their first pre-season game months after the Super Bowl left a bad taste in fans mouths. Who am I kidding. The NFL does that every year.

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Pre-Show: US Title Match: Kalisto (C) vs. Ryback

Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: In this match from Wrestlemania 32, the end result should still be the same. This should be an entertaining match with which to open the show, with Ryback dominating a sizeable portion of it. Kalisto will eventually mount a suspenseful comeback, retaining the US strap, further pushing Ryback down the WWE ranks.
Winner: Kalisto

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Much like their contest at Mania, I completely forgot about this feud entirely. I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen either of them on Raw. Sadly, every bit of prestige John Cena brought back to the US Title has been erased. I’m hoping that WWE will not drop the ball with Kalisto. He’s a great worker and definitely deserves more. That being said, it could really go either way. It’s the kickoff match so I don’t want to spend too much time on it. I’m going with Kalisto to retain.
Winner: Kalisto

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison: This match has me more excited this time around. In a rematch of their Wrestlemania match, these two titans are poised to kick off the night in exciting fashion. There is no denying Kalisto’s aerial ability, and Ryback has all the brute force in the world. A real David meets Goliath situation has been built between these two guys. In the first of many upsets of the night, my money is on Ryback walking up the ramp as our new United States Champion.
Winner: Ryback

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Tag Team Match for the #1 Contendership to the WWE Tag Team Titles:
Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. The Vaudevillains

Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: I think I’m the only person not excited about Enzo and Big Cass being on RAW. I just can’t get into those guys. They’re good performers, but I wouldn’t buy them as champions. Hey, what can I say….they’re not The Rockers!!! (I had to get an HBK reference in there somehow!) In all seriousness, this should be a solid event, as both teams have met before in NXT and put on good matches there. This should be a fun match, with technical wrestling, brawling, and a bit of high flying from Enzo. While this will be a back and forth fight, the Vaudevillains should come out on top. What a fun, contrast of gimmicks and styles it would be to see the Vaudevillains against the New Day!
Winners: The Vaudevillains

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Enzo & Cass are red hot! I’ve been following these guys since their beginning in NXT and they’ve really come into their own. The Vaudevillains are a hard working tag team with great in ring abilities. Not as charismatic on the microphone but a great tag team nonetheless. This tournament has been enjoyable and my prediction for this contest comes down to the prize. The winners of this match become number one contenders for the tag team championships. Those are currently held by the most over faction in recent memory, the New Day. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for hot charismatic face team A (New Day) to take on hot charismatic face team B (Enzo & Cass) at this point. That will be a fantastic program eventually but I don’t see it happening yet. I believe we will see an appearance by the Dudleys, costing Enzo & Cass their match. This will further the feud between those two teams and leave the Vaudevillains the number one contenders.
Winners: The Vaudevillains

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison: I’ve been pretty stoked with what Shane McMahon has accomplished this past month. Lot’s of fresh talent and new opportunities. It’s been fun to watch RAW again. Two Tag Teams that have felt the benefit of Shane-O-Mac coming to the WWE Universe’s Aid are The Vaudevillians and Enzo and Cass. These four individuals have proven time and again that they’re willing to put in the work needed to succeed in the Tag Team Division. Again, I’m excited for the future of the WWE. There is so much promise amongst the young talent.
Winner: Enzo and Big Cass (Unless WWE Creative is SAWFT)

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Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin

Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: Corbin is another recent NXT callup, and while I’m not all that excited about him either, I think I could eventually buy him as at least an IC champion (if not WWE champion) as his dominating, bruising style allows him to dominate most of his rivals. Unfortunately, Nicky from the Spirit Squad will be up against the big Baron and will likely lose this one. Ziggler will work his tail off and will perform at a high level just like he always does, but Corbin (who should also put on a great match) will show Dolph the “End of Days”.
Winner: Baron Corbin

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: So far I believe that WWE has done a good job at making Baron Corbin a legitimate force in the ring. His matches are long enough to show off his strengths and hide his weaknesses. He will eventually reach top guy status as that is how WWE is grooming him. I have no doubt in my mind that Corbin will go over in this contest. I’m a huge Ziggler mark but I fear he is far from receiving an actual legitimate push any time soon. Unless there is a funny finish, I see Baron going picking up the win as clean as a whistle.
Winner: Baron Corbin

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison: Many have felt that Baron is lacking in certain areas, even accusing the young man of taking some nights off, but honestly this guy has been putting in more than enough work since being called up to the main roster. I’m a fan of this guys “take no prisoners” mentality. In the other corner, you have Shawn Michaels reincarnated, Dolph Ziggler. Dolph is Mr. Charisma. A real charmer. These two going head to head feels like a b-movie sequel to the Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon twenty-five years after the fact. But I’m a fan of bad sequels, and I like this match. Dolph has all the tools needed to make Corbin a star at Payback, and these two are going to deliver a fun match that sets the tone for the night.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler, but the real winner is Baron Corbin’s young career and the WWE Universe.

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Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho

Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: I’ve really enjoyed seeing this budding rivalry come to fruition over the past few weeks. The Lunatic Fringe and Lionheart have great verbal chemistry, and I believe that will create excellent physical chemistry in this matchup. Both man can fly, brawl and wrestle technically, so this one will have a little something for all types of WWE fans. This is a touch one to call: the easy call would be to say Dean goes over clean. I mean, what reason does WWE have to put Jericho over? However, this rivalry has the potential to be great, as great or greater than the Jericho/HBK rivalry (Yes! Another HBK reference!!!). That, coupled with Ambrose’s propensity for a little hardcore action (no double meaning in that phrase, I promise!) could make things interesting. So…..
Winner: Jericho by DQ

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: If you were to ask me a month ago who was going to come out of Mania as a top babyface I would have no doubt in my mind that that man would be Ambrose. Flash forward to today and Dean is nowhere closer to the top as he was before. His match with Lesnar was lackluster at best. It was a match that could’ve shot the Lunatic Fringe’s popularity to the moon. A win over Lesnar would further establish Ambrose as a SUPERSTAR thus creating an interesting contender for the new Champion: Roman Reigns. That’s how things should’ve happened. Instead Lesnar beat Ambrose in normal fashion and has not appeared since. Ambrose has been placed in a “Battle of the Talk Shows” program with Chris Jericho. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for this Jericho/Ambrose match. It’s been hinted at since their team up at the Network special months ago. I just feel as though Ambrose deserves a better program. His lunatic gimmick could be amazing but they are kind of turning him into the “funny crazy guy”….isn’t he so crazy and nutty?! I expect a good match between the two, but Ambrose needs this win.
Winner: Dean Ambrose

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison: Well folks, I’d tell you to take a bathroom break, but you’d miss out on Icon Vs. Icon’s favorite drinking game. Only one rule: take the tiniest sip of beer possible when Jericho calls Ambrose a stupid idiot. Click it or ticket. Drink responsibly. Friends don’t let friends. Stay thirsty. Seriously, you’re going to go through a case of your favorite suds.
Winner: Dean Ambrose

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Intercontinental Title Match: The Miz (w.Maryse) vs. Cesaro

Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: Again, this one should have an easily predictable winner, Cesaro. He’s the hot hand right now and deserves a prestigious title run, but the Miz just won that belt, too. This will be a fun match, with The Miz drawing all kinds of heat from the WWE Universe and Cesaro bringing in cheers from the Cesaro Section each time he decks The Miz with one of his famous European uppercuts. I am a fan of both guys, and look forward to some good brawling form both men, and sneaky cheating form the Miz. Hopefully, Cesaro gets another chance, because he won’t win this one.
Winner and still IC champion: Mike “The Miz” Mizanin (w/Maryse)

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Since Mania the IC title has been strangely booked. A fantastic moment for Zack Ryder quickly turned sour the following Monday night. He was beaten by the Miz who was then joined by a returning Maryse. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the stuff between Miz and Maryse lately. It’s been hilariously dumb without being flat out stupid. The Miz is a very underrated heel who always manages to get under the audience’s skin. Cesaro has always been fantastic and he’s only getting better. I love the James Bond-esque suit and his whole demeanor. His interactions with the Miz/Maryse these past few weeks have been incredibly entertaining and I don’t want them to end. I think this program will extend into Extreme Rules. I see Miz picking up the victory due to some shenanigans.
Winner: The Miz

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison: Cesaro came back from his injury and (fairly) leapfrogged the entire roster when he became the number one contender for the IC Belt. The Miz lucked into the belt with some help from from Maryse. With Cesaro back at full strength following his injury, things aren’t looking awesome for The Miz.
Winner: Cesaro

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Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: Wow! What a time to be a wrestling fan! This is the one I’m really looking forward to. El Generico and Kevin Steen have known each other for a long time, and have been friends as well as bitter rivals, which they are currently. When Owens initially encountered Sami Zayn in NXT, Zayn received one helluva beatdown. When the two gladiators wrestled on the big stage in NXT, Zayn put up a somewhat better fight, but was still dominated. I think their Payback match will be a much closer affair. Both men can brawl, with Owens having that edge. Both men can wrestle, pretty evenly. Both men can do aerial moves, even though Sami gets the huge edge in this department. This is a tough decision for me. However, I’ll go with…
Winner: Kevin Owens: (When will Sami get another big win over an established superstar? Huh, WWE?)

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Definitely the match I’m looking forward to the most. This is the match that should’ve taken place at Wrestlemania. These two have competed countless times in the indies and Ring of Honor respectively. This will be there third match against one another since signing to WWE and it should be fantastic. The last two, taking place in NXT, were knock down drag out fights which left Kevin Owens dominating on both occasions. Monday night we saw a beautiful promo video discussing these two individuals’ past. It seems as though the NXT matches are “canon” and if that’s the case then Sami Zayn should go over on Sunday. That being said, I can also see WWE extending this feud for months. Regardless this should be an amazing contest. Zayn is possibly my favorite worker in WWE that isn’t part of a tag team so I’m going with him. Especially since he hasn’t had a meaningful win yet……don’t let me down dammit!
Winner: Sami Zayn

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison: This match has been brewing for months. I admit I’m biased. Sami Zayn is a household favorite, but feelings toward the bearded Canadian heart throb aside, this match is the heart and soul of the night for most of the WWE Universe. Zayn and Owens have been going after one another since their friendship soured at the hands of Owens back in NXT. These two guys are true showman, delivering high quality entertainment at PPV and House Shows alike. Both contestants are fearless when it comes to doing anything and everything possible to grab a win. Zayn and Owens are two very bright stars in the future of WWE. We’ve been clamoring for it since Zayn’s music first hit at the Royal Rumble. Finally, we’re getting it.
Winner: Sami Zayn

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Women’s Title Match: Charlotte (C) w/Ric Flair vs. Natalya w/Bret “Hitman” Hart

Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: I’m pretty excited to see this one. Natalya hasn’t had a big match like this in a while, and she and Charlotte should put together a barn burner. I must say I am tired of seeing Ric Flair out at his little girl’s matches. Will she ever get a chance to grow out of his shadow? She is already very talented and doesn’t need him at ringside. This match should have loads of technical wrestling, and both women should hit the men’s signature moves: Ric’s figure four/her figure eight and Bret’s Sweet Chin Music, oops, I mean Sharpshooter. As much as I would like Natalya to take the belt off of Charlotte, I think we’ll have to wait until Sasha Banks does it at Summerslam (or Becky Lynch? Maybe? Please?) Winner: Charlotte

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: This match is basically a retread of the Natalya/Charlotte match from NXT Takeover two years ago……and that’s okay! That match was my match of the year for 2014. The women went out there and kicked ass. Thankfully Ric and Bret stayed out of the way for the most part. This is not something I expect on Sunday. The whole point of Bret being there is to prevent Ric from interfering on Charlotte’s behalf. I’m hoping they remain in the background and let these two incredible athletes have the match their lives. I see Charlotte retaining. There’s still money in a Charlotte/Sasha feud that we just haven’t quite seen yet.
Winner: Charlotte 

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison: I don’t think anyone saw this matchup coming after the night Becky, Sasha, and Charlotte had at Wrestlemania. A lot of headlines were made about the belt modifications and dropping “Diva” from the WWE Vocabulary, but some fans were left asking “What exactly changed?” Well those fans are blind. This Women’s Division has shook the foundation of what the WWE was built on. This division is continuing to evolve and it has been fun to watch. Natalya, with Uncle Bret by her side, looks to help move the progress of the division forward. Natalya has been a technician in the ring for years and has found herself atop the ladder once more.
Winner: Natalya makes Charlotte tap after Bret Hart keeps Ric Flair from coming to the rescue once again.

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Vince Announces Who Will Control RAW: Shane or Stephanie

Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: Not an actual match, but definitely worth mentioning. Lots of family drama here, and hopefully lots of Shane on tv as a result. I love that guy! Here’s what I think: Shane will be given control of RAW and Stephanie will be given control of Smackdown. We’ll have brand extensions again, which, honestly, should improve things. Linda may even come back. Who knows!
Winner: The WWE Universe, for only $9.99!!!!

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Does it matter? If we learned anything from Wrestlemania it’s that the next night will reverse the decision anyway.
Winner: The McMahon Family

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison: To even pretend to understand what is going to happen here is like trying to figure out why grown men watch wrestling. Don’t analyze it. Just sit back and enjoy it.
Winner: Shane McMahon

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WWE Title Match: Roman Reigns (C) vs. AJ Styles
Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: Will Anderson and Gallows be able to stay out of this one? Will the Usos be able to do the same? I’m not sure either team will be back in the locker room or in catering the whole time. AJ Styles’ unique offensive style will be on display and a sharp contrast to the bruising, hard-hitting style of Reigns. I forsee a lot of time being spent outside of the ring during this match, which will enable the outside forces to get involved. This match should end with a mess of superstars flying around the ring, but a clean victor will be declared, and this feud will continue.
Winner: Roman Reigns

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: While I look forward to the Zayn/Owens match the most, this match has my curiosity. The way this feud has been booked, along with the introduction of Gallows and Anderson, has been fantastic. The outcome can go many ways. One thing is for sure in my eyes though: Roman Reigns is leaving Payback with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. How he gets there is what’s keeping me interested. It seems as though creative is keeping Reigns as an inbetween guy, not the bad guy or the good guy……..just THE guy……*grown*…. However, I feel as though we have an opportunity to create three massive heels here. Imagine shenanigans ensue during the main event. This leads to interference by Gallows/Anderson. We believe they’re going to help Styles but instead they turn on him. Roman stares them down………and then attacks Styles as well. ROMAN IS THE THIRD GUY!!!! Haha. This would be fantastic. However, not likely. I’m assuming Gallows and Anderson will turn on AJ but Roman will have nothing to do with it. This will lead to a program between the former Biz Cliz members and allow Reigns to remain that neutral character. I do not anticipate an appearance by Finn Balor as I feel NXT needs him more than the main roster. Although, stranger things have happened. Reigns retains.
Winner: Roman Reigns

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison: Roman Reigns has had a month of loud BOOs drowning out his promos and things are looking to get worse for “THE guy” at Payback, because the clear fan favorite is going to get screwed out of walking away the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. It’s not Roman’s fault. But the WWE Universe doesn’t care. His reign as champion is a result of their voices not being heard by WWE Creative. He’s just caught in the crossfire. That being said, Styles and Reigns are primed for a pretty great night. Much has been speculated as to how, but it is no secret that something big is happening. Ladies and gentleman, Finn Balor is finally coming to the main roster. And that is enough to make everyone happy. For 24 hours, at least.
Winner: Roman Reigns 

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FINAL THOUGHTS ON PAYBACK
Duke “The Barber” Dukecake: Another month, another set of predictions that hopefully fare better than my Wrestlemania 32 predictions! Best of luck to all who might be playing along!

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: On paper this card is miles ahead of Wrestlemania. These are all big matches that could possibly steal the show. The in ring work will be incredible and it will all come down to the booking. I’m hoping creative got all of their “wild card” booking out of their system last month. No matter what happens, it will be a fun show. WWE Payback can be seen on the WWE Network this Sunday night for only $9.99.

“The Booty Man” Jeremy Morrison: It is always hard to tell what the future holds in the world of the WWE. However, the past several months have been a wild ride for fans and the wrestlers themselves. Hopefully, WWE Payback will set the stage nicely for an even more ambitious road to SummerSlam. And that’s the bottom line…

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Wrestlemania Do-Over: A Look at the RAW After Wrestlemania 32

Wrestlemania Do-Over: A Look at the RAW After Wrestlemania 32

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The RAW after Wrestlemania has become famous for being far from a normal affair. The nights are usually full of rowdy crowds, exciting debuts, and surprising returns. This has been the usual occurrence for the past 5 years at least. Sunday night’s Wrestlemania was a bit underwhelming for most, myself included. Even so, we all still tuned in on Monday night to watch the “most exciting Raw of the year”. How did this post Mania Raw stack up to those in the past? Well I’m not sure if it was the best post Mania Raw but like Mania itself, the booking was a bit odd. Follow me as we cover each segment of Raw. A Raw that I’m going to refer to as “Wrestlemania Do-over”.

Our “lovable” announce team kicks off the show with a “post Mania Raw disclaimer”. They announce that the crowd after Mania is one of the craziest and loudest crowds of the year. Those who are normally cheered will be booed and vice versa. Expect a lot of excitement going into tonight’s Raw! Now it would seem that they are going to continue with a Reigns face push as they are now giving the TV audience an excuse as to why he will be booed tonight. I like that WWE is acknowledging the unavoidable crowd noise that will take place but I can’t stand the excuses being given.

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Mr. McMahon’s music hits and the crowd sings loudly. Out comes Vince with a smile and he basically “conducts” the audience as they continue singing after his music cuts. Playing off the song lyrics he says that there was “no chance in hell” that Shane McMahon was going to beat Undertaker at Mania. He says that no one has any power over him anymore. Vince changes his tone a bit and said that he never realized how bad his son wanted to run Raw. He says that he felt bad as Shane climbed to the top of the cell and jumped. This elicits a “Better than Roman” chant from the crowd and Shane’s music hits. He shakes Vince’s hand and thanks the audience. As he’s walking away Vince stops him and tells him that no one upstages Vince McMahon. Vince says that if Shane wants to run Raw then going ahead “let’s see what you got”.

So let me get this straight, no matter the outcome of the Taker/Shane match Shane still gets to run Raw? It just seems as though that match didn’t matter at all. In my mind that cell spot still accomplished nothing. I don’t want to harp on this too much as Shane running Raw for the night ended up being lackluster in itself but we’ll get to that.

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Out comes the New Day and they cut an incredible promo, as always. Xavier has the last piece of cereal from their Wrestlemania Booty-O’s box and presents it to the crowd while singing “Circle of Life” from the Lion King. We go to commercial and on the comeback Lillian is in the ring dancing with all of New Day. This was a fun little segment prior to the tag team title match. Here come the League of Nations and we set up for the tag match between Big E/Kofi and Sheamus/Barrett. New Day goes over clean with a pin on Barrett. They leave the ring and Sheamus takes the mic. Oh boy!

Sheamus cuts a similar promo to the one we saw on Sunday. He then vocalizes that a dominate team is only as strong as their weakest link.  The League turn on Wade as the audience sends him off with the goodbye chant. This will most likely be the last time we see Barrett on WWE tv for some time. Now, this may be my favorite part of the night as the Wyatts attack LON and presumably turn face. I still don’t agree with their booking at Mania but I definitely see them being a dominate face faction.

We cut to the backstage area as Vince is heading to his limo. He’s asked if he is leaving because he believes Raw is in good hands. Vince scoffs at this notion and says he’s leaving because Raw is going to be a disaster. It’s confirmed that Shane running Raw is strictly temporary.

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Cut to the ring where Summer Rae is delivering a decent promo on the Women’s Championship and Sasha Banks. Out comes Sasha and the two have a quick match in which Banks forces Summer to tap. We go to commercial as it’s announced Apollo Crews will make his Raw debut next.

When we come back Tyler Breeze’s music hits and it seems we may be getting a rematch from October’s NXT Takeover: Respect event. Crews comes out to a very large pop. After a very quick back and forth Apollo squashes Breeze. This wasn’t as interesting as the two’s previous match but it was a good way to introduce the main audience to the athletic prowess of Apollo Crews. As we approach a commercial break it is advertised that a Reigns promo is up next. This crowd erupts into boos as we go to commercial.

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Reigns comes out to a plethora of boos, but somehow WWE found the only two Roman signs in the crowd. He grabs the mic and smirks at the crowd saying “come on guys”. Reigns assures us that he’s not a bad guy, he’s not a good guy, he’s THE guy. I guess the company is going to have Reigns remain in the middle and continue to not care. It’s been working so far, right? Roman says that if there is anyone in the back who thinks they’re man enough to face him then come out now. Jericho’s music hits to a loud pop. The crowd continues to chant loud nonsense, not a change from the rest of the show. Chris calls them idiots and says they are not hijacking the show on his account. The crowd response with a “we are idiots” chant. Finally something I can agree with. Jericho says that Reigns better put him at the top of the list for his WWE World Heavyweight title. Out comes Styles, followed by Owens, followed by Zayn. Styles and Jericho begin to brawl while Owens and Zayn fight on the outside. The segment ends when Reigns hits Jericho with a spear. The crowd continues to boo. Shane puts together a fatal four way match between Jericho, Styles, Zayn, and Owens to determine the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

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We come back and Baron Corbin, Andre the Giant trophy winner, makes his way to the ring. He cuts a quick promo before being interrupted by his opponent, Dolph Ziggler. Pretty decent back and forth from a tv viewer perspective. The crowd was very distracted as they were playing with a beach ball. Ziggler and Corbin continue fighting while the crowd bursts into a confusing “you sold out” chant. Apparently an arena employee took the beach ball. Just another instance where the crowd stopped being rowdy and just began acting like children. The people who provided the beach balls were supposedly kicked out of the show. Back to the match, Baron Corbin tosses Ziggler over the barricade and the match ends by count out. Corbin, confusingly frustrated, takes his anger out on Ziggler by delivering an End of Days on the outside.

Moving forward we have Zack Ryder in the ring cutting a promo about his Wrestlemania win. He said it was the greatest night of his life and thanks his dad who is in the front row…..looking jacked! Miz comes out and talks about being embarrassed at Mania. He challenges Ryder to a match for the IC title. After a bit of arguing Ryder accepts and the match begins. Forgettable match that ends with a distraction by a returning Maryse attacking Ryder’s father. Miz picks up the win and we have a new Intercontinental Champion. The one thing I enjoyed from Sunday has been taken away just 24 hours later. It was expected but I was so proud of Long Island Iced Z.

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Coming back from break we have a video promo stating that the Vaudevillains will be on Smackdown. We move to the ring where Lita is standing surrounded by the women superstars. She’s here to formally present the Women’s Championship to Charlotte. The crowd erupts in multiple Bayley chants and out comes Charlotte. She praises the fans and women in the ring. She says they’ve come so far as women and they are all to thank. The fans, I guess understanding they were acting like children, begin chanting “women’s wrestling”. Charlotte then says the person who deserves the most thanks is her father, Ric Flair. She goes into heel mode and every other woman leaves the ring. Nattie grabs a mic and says that her genetics are superior to Charlotte’s. She challenges Charlotte to a match and the segment ends. We just saw this at Roadblock so it’s odd that we are going back to this. Especially when we still have a perfectly good program with Sasha. These two will have a great match regardless and I’m really looking forward to it.

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Another commercial break and we get a video package for the return of Primo and Epico. Back to the action, the Dudleys vs the Usos in a tables match is up next. They have a decent contest with a rather odd finish. The Usos set the Dudleys up for a similar spot to the one at Mania. The Dudleys move out of the way and the Usos go through the tables. The timekeeper rings the bell, however, in order for a tables match to end the superstar must be put through a table by the opposing superstar. D-von quickly grabs an Uso, sorry I don’t know which one….ha, and throws him through a table. Bubba begins to go off on the timekeeper but remains in character.

The disappointment of not seeing Enzo and Cass is sinking in as we head backstage to Renee interviewing Sami Zayn. This is interrupted as Owens attacks Zayn and powerbombs him through a table, basically eliminating him from the fatal four way match. We go back to the ring and the Dudleys have not left. My spirits are lifted. They are still pissed and begin walking towards the stage. The music hits and out come Enzo and Big Cass to the biggest pop of the night. Enzo cuts one of the funniest promos I’ve heard in a long time, no surprise there. I’m assuming this is setting up a program between these two teams and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a great first program for their main roster debut.

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It’s time for the main event and each competitor comes to the ring. Lillian announces that this will still be a fatal four way match and this man will be replacing Sami Zayn. Cesaro’s music hits and everyone loves it. This was a great match with a few fantastic spots including Cesaro’s swing and uppercut train. AJ Styles ends up going over clean with a Styles Clash on Chris Jericho. We go off the air as Styles poses in the ring.

For a post Mania Raw this show dragged quite a bit. A Shane McMahon run Raw seems eerily familiar to an Authority run Raw and perhaps that was the point. The crowd itself became increasingly obnoxious as the show progressed. I’m all for the crowd having fun but I can’t stand when they go into business for themselves. The last hour was obviously the highlight with the Enzo/Cass debut and the AJ Styles win. It felt as they creative was back peddling a bit with their Wrestlemania booking. An AJ Styles win tonight does not justify the Mania loss. That’s 50/50 booking at its finest. I don’t understand why Shane was allowed to run Raw tonight. It doesn’t make any sense for Vince to just all of the sudden say, “go ahead”. We also have to look forward. Creative isn’t doing itself any favors if they are trying to not get Reigns booed. They’re putting him up against “internet darling” and lovable AJ Styles. I will say that the show did spark my interest and I’m curious as to what they do going forward.

Well guys, I’m definitely burnt out on the product and I need a few days rest. If you count NXT, Hall of Fame, Mania, and Raw there was about 15 hours of WWE product being shown this weekend. I watched every bit of it and I need a break. I hope you enjoyed reading these as this concludes our Wrestlemania coverage. If everything goes right I would love to come back and chat about WWE Payback with you all. Be sure to check out Lucha Underground and NXT this Wednesday night. You can also always find me on twitter @TheDylanLyles. Have a good night everybody!

About the writer: 
The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles has been watching wrestling since his emergence out of the womb on April 10th of 1992. A lifelong WWE fan, the first event he can remember watching was Wrestlemania 11. Since then, he has surrounded himself with the world of wrestling in multiple facets. Besides wrestling Dylan is an obsessive fan of both horror and comic books. You may see him sharing his opinion on just about everything on the internet or maybe even working the MonsterMania Con on the east coast. You love him and he loves you! Follow him on Twitter at @TheDylanLyles.

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SwerveMania: The Good, The Bad and the WTF of Wrestlemania 32

SwerveMania: The Good, The Bad and the WTF of Wrestlemania 32

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As previously stated in our predictions article, Wrestlemania is the biggest event for all wrestling fans. The show is more than just a PPV of matches. It has become an event that has taken over an entire weekend of any fan. It’s a wrestling fan’s dream to attend the weekend festivities that come with the monumental occasion. As much as the WWE would like you to forget their age, yesterday marked the 31st anniversary of Wrestlemania as we all gathered around our respective viewing stations and watched what can be viewed as the culmination of the year’s storylines. What will follow in this article is a critical view of the Mania itself. It wasn’t all bad, it wasn’t all good, and not all of it made a lot of sense. Join me as we look back at this year’s Wrestlemania.

We kick off the preshow at 5pm EST. The beginning of a run time that approached 7 hours by the time we reached show end. Of course we get a bit of banter from the usual preshow team before we get into the matches. Nothing groundbreaking, but it is hinted that Lita has a big announcement to make going into the second hour of the preshow.

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We kick off the first match between Kalisto and Ryback. The stadium, still half empty at this point, erupted into Goldberg chants as Ryback walked to the ring. Again, nothing surprising, these two had a decent contest that ended with Kalisto getting a clean victory and retaining the US Title. It was at this point that I noticed grumblings on the internet by fans not being allowed into the arena. These fans were rather vocal on the twitterverse beginning to blame WWE. Honestly, I would say that the fault lies with poor planning by the stadium staff. Most of the fans were in prior to the beginning of the main show and I’d say they didn’t miss much by not seeing the preshow.

As we kick into the second hour of the preshow we have Team Total Divas taking on Team BAD and Blonde. The match itself was not too bad with impressive showings by both Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, and Emma. The Total Divas pick up the victory as Brie forces a Naomi tap out when she applied her husband’s Yes Lock.

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Following the match there is a huge announcement by Lita in the middle of the ring. This is it, the moment we’ve all been clamoring for. They’ve unveiled a new Women’s Championship as they are finally retiring that dreadful butterfly belt. The women will now be referred to as “Superstars” like the men, as it should be. The only part of this unveiling that confused me is Lita saying that this is the first Women’s Championship. I’m almost 100% sure that prior to the Diva’s belt, the female title was always referred to as the Women’s Championship, but, I digress.

We then have a quick match featuring the Usos taking on the Dudleys. Usos go over clean to audible boos. Following the match the Dudley Boyz begin beating down the Usos and imply that they’re going to put them through tables. The Usos fight their way back and end up putting the Dudleys through tables. The crowd was beginning to fill in and loudly boo as the Usos made their comeback. They seemed to be playing the crowd emotions up a bit and even teasing a slight heel turn. This will be a great way to reinvent the stale team.

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Finally, two hours in, it is time to kick off the main show. Unexpectedly we kick off the show with the Intercontinental Ladder match. I believed we would begin with the Battle Royal but that wouldn’t come for much much later. This ladder match was amazing, no surprise there. I would even say it was the second best match on the card. Stardust unveiled a polka dot ladder in tribute to his late great father, Dusty Rhodes, and there were a few pretty great spots including Sin Cara being pushed off the ladder onto Stardust through a second ladder. Going into the match there were two obvious choices for who was going to leave with the belt, Owens or Zayn. This was the main feud to come out of this contest. The cards were all on the table. Who was going to be leaving the champion and who was going to be chasing the title? As we approach the ending of the match we see an incredible bump by Owens onto the ladder that basically took him out of the ending. Miz climbs the ladder as the stadium erupts into boos. Even I was flipping out. I just knew WWE was going to screw this up at this point. All of the sudden, Zack Ryder climbs the ladder, pushes Miz off, and claims victory. This was shocking and definitely unexpected. However, this guy has done so much for this company and I was glad to see him pick up the win. He deserves this. The Zayn/Owens feud doesn’t need a belt to fight over and this can easily pour over into them being too distracted by eachother to win the ladder match. This was only the beginning of the many swerves we would see tonight. Probably the only one I popped hard.

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We are then led into the video recap of the feud between AJ Styles and Chris Jericho. Many expected this match to be a show stealer, myself included. It didn’t turn out that way in my opinion. It sunk in that we’ve seen this match and all of these spots many times before. I was invested and when Jericho teased him hitting the Styles Clash I was on the edge of my seat. It was the moment that AJ finally hit the Styles Clash and Jericho kicked out that made me roll my eyes. The Styles Clash used to be one of the most devastating moves in wrestling. It’s no more effective than Ziggler’s fameasser. The match ends when Jericho reverses a Styles’ Phenomenal Forearm into a Codebreaker. Visually this looked awesome but as the dust settled I was just left confused. This should’ve been Styles’ Wrestlemania moment. Jericho did not need this win at all. Think about it, Jericho lost to Fandango at Mania but beat AJ Styles. This was a booking decision that I just do not understand. The way this match ended I would say the feud is not finished but that just means we are going to see yet another match from these two. Swerve number two of the night.

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What’s that on the stage? That’s a giant box of Booty-Os baby! I was too hype for this entrance as the box tips over and out comes the New Day dressed in full Dragon Ball Z gear. The match itself was a standard match between New Day and the League of Nations. However, for some reason the League of Nations went over for the first time of their entire feud. They announce that they are the most dominant group in professional wrestling (lulz). At that moment Shawn Michaels’ music hits and out he comes in his ring gear. This is followed by Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin. They destroy the League of Nations and celebrate in the ring with New Day. Xavier Woods tries to get Austin to dance and Austin answers with a stunner. Let’s get this straight, you have one of the most over tag teams in WWE history and you have them lose to set up a legends’ appearance? It was a nice little moment but still doesn’t make much sense to me. My knee jerk reaction was excitement but, once again, as the dust settled I was left a little underwhelmed.

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Alright, now it’s time for a fight as we set up for Lesnar vs Ambrose in the Street Fight. I was pretty excited for this match. Finally an opponent for Lesnar that I can see going over. Ambrose is booked as this lunatic that will stop at nothing to beat his opponent. However, what we got was a standard Lesnar match. A lot of suplexes with a brief comeback by Dean. Ambrose brought out both the chainsaw and barbie which led to a whole lotta nothing. A notable spot includes Ambrose channeling his inner Terry Funk by filling the ring with chairs. This decision would backfire as was both suplexed and F-5ed onto the chair pile leading to a Lesnar victory. What did this feud do? Lesnar dominated on the build and the match. If Ambrose went over he would’ve been a made star. He would’ve been the crazy man who conquered the beast. Legendary! Instead, swerve number four as nothing notable happened.

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This leads us to the match of the night, the Women’s Championship match between Charlotte, Becky, and Sasha. Becky comes out with a pseudo steam punk look filled with emotion. Sasha is accompanied to the ring by her uncle, Snoop Dogg, and is decked out in her hero’s, Eddie Guerrero, gear. Charlotte comes down wearing a robe that was made from pieces of the robe her father, Ric Flair, wore during his retirement match. If you were to watch these entrances you would say that Sasha was going over. She had the fantastic fanfare entrance and the Guerrero tribute gear, the stage was set! That wouldn’t be the case. These three women had a fantastic match that could be considered the greatest women’s match in Wrestlemania history. I have one complaint with this match and it has to do with the finish. I have no issue with Charlotte keeping the belt. I do have an issue with Ric being involved with the finish. All of this build for the Women’s Championship and it’s decided by Ric Flair restraining Sasha Banks. Just seems like a fantastic match with a underwhelming finish. That being said, still match of the night.

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Holy waste of a storyline, Batman! The Hell in a Cell match between Taker and Shane almost caused me to turn the network off. The match itself wasn’t horrible. Shane’s offense looked about as good as it has always looked, not great. It did make Undertaker look a bit week as McMahon kicked out of both the last ride and a chokeslam onto the steps. We saw triangle chokes, a coast to coast, and the destruction of multiple announce tables. You’d think this match was amazing, it wasn’t. It was pretty dull to be honest. It all built to one big spot. Shane lays Undertaker across the announce desk and climbs to the top of the cell. I didn’t want to see this and I was audibly begging for this not to happen. Shane dives off the top of the cell and flies through the announce table. The company that is now preaching about safety to all of its superstars just allowed a 46 year old man to jump off a 20 ft cell through a table. Thankfully McMahon was okay but one wrong move and we could be telling a different story. We didn’t need a spot like that from Shane in this day in age. Nevertheless, the men get back into the ring. Taker tombstones Shane and gets a clean victory. Someone please explain the point of this to me. We brought Shane back for Mania and built up this big change coming to WWE. The fans were teased with a Shane run Raw. Are we supposed to be happy because this won’t be a 51 year old man’s last Wrestlemania? This entire feud seemed to be built around the fact that they wanted Shane to jump off stuff. There was no real payoff here. I don’t expect to see either of these men at Raw. Just seems like a waste at this point.

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By this point I’m burnt out on Wrestlemania but we’ve still got about an hour or so to go. Out come the competitors for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Notable entrants include Tatanka, DDP, Big Show, Kane, Baron Corbin, Mark Henry, and Shaquille O’Neal. That’s right, an unadvertised appearance by Shaq that has been teased for years. Plenty of fun but questionable spots involved in this one. Make note, Sandow got a huge pop which led to boos as he was tossed out by O’Neal. The match ended as Baron Corbin stood victorious. It was nice to see an NXT superstar go over here. Even though Corbin is basically the Roman Reigns of NXT. I would presume he will be on the main roster from here on out.

What follows is a segment that I’m still baffled by at this moment. The Dallas Cheerleaders come out and perform a quick routine. The Rock’s music hits and out he comes with a flamethrower. I had no idea what I was watching but the crowd was eating it up. The Rock hops on the mic and announces that the AT&T stadium has set the new attendance record. At this moment the Wyatt’s interrupt. They come down and come face to face with the “Great One”. The Rock then calls out a referee and rips his pants off. He’s wearing his gear and is ready for a match. He beats Erick Rowan in three seconds…………why? The Wyatts then surround the ring and out comes Cena for the save. The two men then destroy the Wyatt Family and celebrate. Who did this help? The Wyatts could be huge but they continue to be booked to lose to part timers and legends. They are no longer a threat and this made that very apparent.

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At this point it is past 11 and we’ve been watching Wrestlemania for 6 hours. It’s time for the main event and Triple H comes out to an entrance that is indescribable. Seriously, go to the Network right now and watch this thing. Roman comes out to huge boos, unsurprisingly. This is it though; the moment we’ve all been waiting for. We know that Reigns is going to turn heel, it’s the only logical step. There’s no way he could go over clean and leave with the belt as a face. Well hold onto your hats because there’s swerve in every match except for this one!  Reigns beats Triple H clean and even gets a spear in on Stephanie. What a great guy! It’s 11:45 and Wrestlemania goes off the air with Roman Reigns standing tall amongst a mixed reaction crowd that was mostly boos.

I didn’t hate this event. It was actually much better than the build for it. The ring work itself was fantastic. That being said, it was too damn long as I found myself drifting asleep during multiple matches. The NXT event on Friday night was a quick, fast paced two and half hours. I know Wrestlemania needs to be longer than that because of the sheer magnitude of the event. That being said, there is no reason it couldn’t have been about four hours and some change. It wasn’t just the length but the booking didn’t make any sense. Ask yourself, what does the future hold coming out of this event? I’ll wait………… It seemed as though creative was trying to swerve us for the sake of swerving us. As stated, I love Zack Ryder’s moment but what in the hell else happened for the better of the company? Right now, your most over guys coming out of Mania is The Rock, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, Steve Austin, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho and the Undertaker. Fantastic, where’s the future? This is all being written before Monday Night Raw so hopefully something has changed.

I may sound bitter but I was very excited for this event as I am every year. Wrestlemania is supposed to be the “season finale” for WWE. So far nothing has changed. We are still going into Raw as an Authority run WWE. Most of the individuals who got over last night will not be there tonight. What do we do now? Hopefully we see a few surprises on Raw. Have a good one. — The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles

About the writer: 
The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles has been watching wrestling since his emergence out of the womb on April 10th of 1992. A lifelong WWE fan, the first event he can remember watching was Wrestlemania 11. Since then, he has surrounded himself with the world of wrestling in multiple facets. Besides wrestling Dylan is an obsessive fan of both horror and comic books. You may see him sharing his opinion on just about everything on the internet or maybe even working the MonsterMania Con on the east coast. You love him and he loves you!

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OFF THE TOP ROPE: Our High-Flyers Offer Up Their Wrestlemania 32 Predictions!

OFF THE TOP ROPE: Our High-Flyers Offer Up Their Wrestlemania 32 Predictions!

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It’s the biggest night of the year for wrestling fans — WRESTLEMANIA! This year marks the highly anticipated 32nd anniversary of the legendary event. Wrestling’s biggest night will take place on Sunday, April 3 from AT&T Stadium in Dallas, and broadcast live around the world on WWE Network.

There are several intriguing matches on this year’s card. While we still long for the days of the earlier ‘Mania cards where there were numerous meaningful matches, this card has shaped up rather nicely. Many of these matches could go either way, so it is with great care that our top talents have made thrown caution to the wind and made these predictions.

ABOUT OUR WRITERS:
The Heartbreak Duke is a WWE aficionado. His lifelong love of professional wrestling has landed him at countless live events and even lead him to a tangle or two inside the squared circle. His favorite WWE performer of all-time is Shawn Michaels. His style is best described as a perfect blend of The Blue Meanie, Mr. Fugi, Corbin Bernsen and Tatanka.

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles has been watching wrestling since his emergence out of the womb on April 10th of 1992. A lifelong WWE fan, the first event he can remember watching was Wrestlemania 11. Since then, he has surrounded himself with the world of wrestling in multiple facets. Besides wrestling Dylan is an obsessive fan of both horror and comic books. You may see him sharing his opinion on just about everything on the internet or maybe even working the MonsterMania Con on the east coast. You love him and he loves you!

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison is an unapologetic defender of the Backyard Wrestling movement that swept the nation in the late 90s. His dedication to winning the Intercontinental Championship Belt in WWE 2K16 is rivaled only by teaching his children how to properly sit on a Sharpshooter. His life was forever changed in January 2016 when he attended his first live NXT event in Chicago and was witness to the magic that is Sami Zayn.

INITIAL THOUGHTS ON THIS YEAR’S BIG EVENT

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The Heartbreak Duke: This year’s Wrestlemania is shaping up to be a great event. I must admit, I was skeptical as Wrestlemania neared. Without stars such as Cesaro, Cena, Rollins and Orton, would the WWE be able to put together a strong card? This year, that answer is YES! YES! YES!

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Can you smell it in the air? Wrestlemania is upon us! The blood, sweat and, most likely, tears will flow Sunday as the superstars who are NOT INJURED compete for their Wrestlemania moment! Of course, I’m kidding. This Sunday’s Wrestlemania card may seem lackluster at first glance. Look a bit deeper and you’ll see the matches are interesting and, dare I say, unpredictable in a certain manner. Many fans are complaining about the lack of build and excitement for Sunday’s event. I must remind those fans of the lack of build we had last year and the phenomenal Mania that took place. So, strap in kiddies because it’s time for Wrestlemania 32 predictions … it’s gonna be bumpy!

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: This week the WWE circus has taken over Dallas in preparation for Sunday’s big live event. If anything, the WWE has proven time and time again for at least one weekend, the Sports Entertainment world has no choice but to step aside and watch as the WWE Superstars climb a 20ft ladder of supremacy. Will they reach the gold or come crashing down through a pile of well-stacked tables outside the ring?

PRE-SHOW PREDICTIONS:

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Total Divas (Brie Bella, Natalya, Alicia Fox, Paige and Eva Marie) vs. B.A.D and Blonde (Tamina, Naomi, Summer Rae, Emma and Lana)

The Heartbreak Duke: I’m not into this match but appreciate that these women are getting onto the card in some way. I’m interested to see Lana’s ability in the ring. Not many B.A.D members and Blonde have had any success as of late, and with the name recognition of Total Divas, I’ll go with the Total Divas on this one.
Winner: Total Divas

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: This past Monday night we saw Paige taking on Emma. It was cool seeing Emma back on Raw and picking up the victory. After the match the divas, except for Lana, brawled in the middle of the ring. Who was gonna be the final member of Team Total Divas to take on Team B.A.D and Blonde?! Eva Marie! And the crowd goes … mild? Yes, Eva Marie comes out awkwardly to boos and even a few cold shoulders from her teammates. That brings us to this Sunday. I have to go with Team Total Divas for the fact Brie is supposedly making her last appearance on Monday night. Also we’re still not done playing off the feel good Daniel Bryan retirement. It only makes sense to have the Total Divas win but please don’t have Emma or Lana take the fall. They’ll be dead in the water at that point, if they’re not already. I’m also calling a “heel turn” by Eva Marie. I put that in quotes because no one enjoys her to begin with … sorry?
Winner: Total Divas

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: The stars of Total Divas are set to take on a newly formed stable. Team Total Divas feat. Brie Bella, Natalya, Paige, Alicia Fox, and, fresh from her recent stint at NXT, Eva Marie are set to take on Team B.A.D. and Blonde feat. Tamina, Naomi, Summer Rae, Lana, and another diva back from NXT, Emma. Emma is a household favorite around these parts, but rumor on the street is Brie Bella is set to retire Monday night and I see this as a way for her to go out on top. On the other hand, Team B.A.D. and Blonde’s have been on a slide. A pre-show match with nothing of note at stake is the type of match where heels thrive. I think I just talked myself into an upset.
Winner: Team B.A.D. And Blonde

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The Usos vs the Dudley Boyz

The Heartbreak Duke: This match should’ve been on the regular card. On television in recent weeks, it has been played out with intrigue, and it should be a competitive match. Both teams are talented, and it is nice to see them work well together. Can experience overcome youth? As much as I’d like to see the Dudley’s defeat Rikishi’s boys, it won’t be so, and the Usos will be back on track to, hopefully, achieve a tag title soon.
Winner: The Usos

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Honestly, I forgot this match was taking place until this past Monday night. It should be a good one too. The Dudleys are fantastic heels when given the tools. The Usos are amazing workers that, due to the crowd’s disdain for Roman Reigns, haven’t been getting fair treatment by the audience. I expect a fantastic contest between these two teams and, if it’s booked right, all four men will come out looking strong. With that, I’m going with the Dudley Boyz. I’ve got a feeling they are grooming them to be a top heel tag and they need to remain dominant. If all goes well I hope we see a Bubba Ray (Bully Ray) singles run in WWE. For now though, Dudleys to win this pre show tag!
Winners: The Dudley Boyz

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: Our second contest set for the pre-show is a matchup that left many scratching their heads. Why isn’t this on the main card? The Dudley Boyz vs The Usos has been ramping up for a while with as much heat as you can ask for going into a PPV. The Dudley Boyz heel turn has been a lot of fun to watch while The Usos remain trapped in this sort of mid-tier purgatory as of late. I hope the Usos get back on track soon, but I have a feeling The Dudley’s have one more run in them and this is the stepping stone to move forward.
Winner: The Dudley Boyz

BATTLE ROYAL PREDICTIONS:

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Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

The Heartbreak Duke: Battle Royals are hard to predict. I am sure of one thing: Big Show won’t win two in a row, and I think he and Kane will take each other out. Bray Wyatt will win this one. Wyatt deserves success and screen time, and perhaps this will be the kickstart he needs. Hopefully WWE Creative wakes up and pushes this guy.
Winner: HBK! (kidding) Bray Wyatt

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Oh my … ummmmm … I don’t know what to say about this match. Half the guys I would book to win are in a ladder match later in the night. Monday we saw, sadly, a preview for the Battle Royal. It was a who’s who of superstars who’ve been booked as jobbers as of late. All I can hope for is we see a fun Social Outcasts spot. Also, the Wyatts haven’t been booked on the main card so I hope for a good showing by the non-injured members. Luke Harper is out with a torn ACL and Bray is having back issues. That leaves Rowan and Strowman. WWE really wants Strowman to be a top level monster. I guess winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal would be a step in that direction. I don’t know. I swear more interesting stuff is coming. For now, Braun Strowman to dominate the Battle Royal
Winner: Braun Strowman

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: The third annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal is a toss up at this point because I’m trying to predict an outcome before all contestants have declared themselves eligible. I do love me some Battle Royals though. Seeing as how the Wyatt Family has been left out of the Main Card this year, I have a feeling they’ll all declare and dominate. It would be nice to see WWE Creative make a course correction for Bray Wyatt after the golden opportunity he had at this year’s Royal Rumble. Five men left. Four willingly step over the top rope.
Winner: Bray Wyatt

MAIN CARD PREDICTIONS:

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A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho

The Heartbreak Duke: Their work together has been awesome! While their first match left a bit to be desired, it was still good, and their chemistry has only gotten better. Their match at Roadblock was fantastic, and their brief tag team work was great. Jericho’s heel turn left me wanting another match, and that will happen at Wrestlemania 32. On this big stage, Jericho and Styles will go all out, and this could be the match of the night. Styles wins (hopefully with the Styles Clash).
Winner: A.J. Styles

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Now we’re talking! These two have been putting on spectacular matches since the Rumble. Although we’ve seen this match a bunch of times already it will still be an excellent showing of their abilities on Sunday night. I don’t necessarily agree with the build as Styles should’ve never been booked to do the same mocking gimmick heel Jericho has been doing. If we hadn’t seen it multiple times prior I would say this match would steal the show. That being said, this is going to be an amazing match. Jericho is going to put over Styles, no doubt in my mind. Hopefully we see the Styles Clash on the grandest stage of them all!
Winner: AJ Styles

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: This year, WM32 kicks off with a perfect trip to the bathroom. A beer run. Nap. Fluff your pillows and ready yourself for the tired story of A.J. Styles vs Chris Jericho. I couldn’t be less excited for this matchup. I understand I am the outcast here. Everyone is going nuts for these two. Actually, I take it back. I look forward to Jericho calling Styles a “stupid idiot” over and over. Ooo! A drinking game is afoot.
Winner: AJ Styles

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Intercontinental Title Match: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Zack Ryder vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Sin Cara vs. The Miz

The Heartbreak Duke: This will also be a great match, as will Styles vs. Jericho, and is hard to predict. I’ll start with process of elimination: Ryder, Stardust, Sin Cara, Ziggler and Miz will not win the IC title in this one. That leaves Zayn and Owens. My head says Owens will win because he’s been on the main roster longer as Zayn just came up to RAW. This will be a whirlwind match and fun to watch. I’m picking my winner because I think him winning will promote an entertaining, lengthy feud: Sami Zayn.
Winner: Sami Zayn

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: I applaud WWE for trying to get as many superstars onto the card as they could. They’ve had to work with countless injuries and more changes than I can count. As much as the smark in me wanted to see El Generico (Zayn) taking on Kevin Steen (Owens) at Wrestlemania I understand why they are going with this multi-man match. This match is going to be amazing. These are talented workers who aren’t going to pull any punches and do their best to steal the show. The obvious storyline coming out of this contest is Owens vs Zayn so one of them has to come away with the belt. In most cases, I would say Owens retains as the money is always in the chase for the belt. However, Zayn is also facing Nakamura on Friday night at NXT Takeover: Dallas. They are not going to have Nakamura lose in his first match with the company. That means Zayn is going into this match with a loss. I don’t think WWE is going to have Sami Zayn lose twice in one weekend. So, I’m going with Zayn. This will continue the Owens/Zayn feud and hopefully we get a few callbacks to their previous matches in NXT.
Winner: Sami Zayn

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: The IC Title is up for grabs yet again as seven men will punch each other in the face until one man reaches the belt in the latest edition of Ladder Matches Are A Must For This Belt At WrestleMania. I don’t understand why this wasn’t built on the back of the Zayn/Owens rivalry. A one-on-one match would have been grand. Instead we have The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Stardust, Sin Cara, and Zack Ryder joining the party. I understand after half the roster went down in 2015. I get this is a way to get hard working road dogs on the card. But couldn’t they just as easily get the same amount of work on the worst matchup of the night, Kalisto vs Ryback? That would have pumped up everyone’s interest in that match. “But Kalisto and Ryback are feuding right now, J-Mo.” Yeah. And Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are gathering their friends for tea time?
Honestly, this is the match I’m most hyped for still. No secret Sami Zayn is a household favorite, his music often is used to calm my thrashing toddler. Zayn and Owens have a rich history to draw from. With Owens holding the belt, he can continue to dodge his old friend. If Zayn reaches the title first, then Owens has a reason to go after Zayn. Or Stardust could win and I will cry man juice from my eye portals.
Winner: Sami Zayn

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The New Day vs. The League of Nations

The Heartbreak Duke: I am not much of a New Day fan. I am a fan of the League of Nations, but one can’t deny the roll the New Day is on. They are one of the hottest tag teams WWE has seen in a while, and with the League not getting much of a push, I can’t see them winning, although this should be a fun contest, with the upbeat style of the New Day up against the aggressive League of Nations.
Winner: The New Day

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: I’m a simple guy. I wake up every morning and have my big bowl of Booty-Os! I smile every time the New Day comes on the screen. Their promos are fantastic and all three of them are great workers. The League of Nations is beginning to grow on me and I could finally see them as decent heels on Monday night. Del Rio getting into Woods’ face prior to the match is something that stuck with me. This is going to be a great match that leads to a League of Nations beat down. Remember, it’s four on three at this point. As the New Day are getting pummeled ….THE ROCK’S MUSIC HITS! He comes running down and lays out all four League of Nations members and helps New Day pick up the victory. They all had that fantastic promo about a month ago and I can’t think that was for nothing. Shenanigans will distract or knock out the ref which will lead to the Rock helping New Day pick up the victory. NOW THAT’S NOT BOOTY!
Winners: New Day

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: The New Day are about to walk into a lion’s den on Sunday. For the first time ever, the three man tag team champions are about to be outnumbered and outsized. It will not be pretty. If only there were some way the match could be fair. But how? The New Day tried bringing in a fourth once before when they were set to take on The Usos and The Dudley Boyz, the night the Dudley’s turned heel, as a matter of fact. Do you think Mark Henry would be willing to help out if The League of Nations are really taking it to The New Day? No? Perhaps The Godfather since he’ll be in attendance as a newly inducted member of the Hall of Fame? Faarooq? D’Lo Brown frog-splashing into Dallas like a man possessed? Man! If only there were some other former member of The Nation of Domination that was announced.
Winner: The New Day feat. The Rock

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Kalisto vs. Ryback for the U.S. Title

The Heartbreak Duke: Kalisto will take this one. This is your typical David vs Goliath contest, which I will have Ryback squashing his diminutive opponent for most of the match. Kalisto’s persistence will pay off in the end with a successful title defense.
Winner: Kalisto

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Honestly, this is my bathroom match. Kalisto is a fantastic worker and Ryback has been improving. That being said, I don’t care. Kalisto can do more with the belt than Ryback can so I’m going with Kalisto for the win. Hopefully this is a short feud and we can end it at Mania.
Winner: Kalisto

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: Feed me more … nachos. I’ll take two hot dogs. Large Coke. Oh, do you have onion rings? Whoops. Sorry. Figured I’d give you a glimpse of what I’ll be doing during this match. A trip to Pop’s sounds like a good break during this Kalisto v Ryback match. They’re perfectly fine. Just have no desire to watch this forced rivalry.
Winner: Kalisto
Bonus Prediction: Ryback Moves Forward in solo work and joins the IC ranks.

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Divas Title Match: Becky Lynch vs Charlotte vs Sasha Banks

The Heartbreak Duke: This match will not disappoint! All three women deserve this chance in the spotlight at Wrestlemania 32. I am STOKED for this one. All three are deserving of holding the Divas championship. Actually, it should be renamed the Women’s Championship, but that’s a story for another time. This will be a fast-paced, back and forth match, and I’ve gone back and forth on my prediction. As with my IC title match prediction, I choose this Diva, as I think her winning will enable a wildly entertaining feud to continue.
Winner: Becky Lynch

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: This match will be the greatest women’s wrestling match in Wrestlemania history. These women, who I refuse to call divas, have been busting their ass to put on great matches on the main roster and in NXT. This will be a Wrestlemania moment to remember. I guarantee at the end of this match tears will be shed. Now, since the introduction of the “Divas Revolution” the fans have been crying for a Sasha Banks push. We saw her get cast to the side as Becky and Charlotte have been mainly involved with the title picture. Sasha Banks enters the title picture and the crowd goes crazy. What I want to happen and what I think will happen are two different things. I’m a huge Becky Lynch mark so I want her to go over. That being said, I only see one woman coming out on top here and that’s the Boss, Sasha Banks. Hopefully this leads to a rematch at Payback.
Winner: Sasha Banks

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: Next up is Divas Title action as the li’l Lass Kicker and The Boss look to beat the crap out of some stuck up Flair. Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Charlotte are set for a three-way and I’m all sorts of excited. Becky Lynch has been working her tail off as of late and earned the shot at holding the title at the end of this match. I don’t know if it’ll go down like that because there is a certain (lucky) charm to her “Oo, ya know I almost had your arse” promos. Add a lot of Warwick Davis to that quote and you’ll see what I mean. Sasha Banks could easily take the match though. Or Ric Flair could easily ensure Charolette limps away the winner. But I know it’ll be a fun one to watch. And the Lass Kicker is due a break.
Winner: Becky Lynch

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Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar

The Heartbreak Duke: This will be violent, no doubt. Ambrose will be broken at the end of this one, no doubt. Lesnar will lose, no doubt. Yes, I said it. Dean Ambrose might have to be carried out after this one, but all of the “passing of the torch” talk makes me think ol’ Dean will be victorious. Besides, Brock has to lose sometime, doesn’t he? A street fight is Dean’s best chance.
Winner: Dean Ambrose

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Brutal. That’s one word I can use to describe what we will see between these two men Sunday night. Lesnar dominated since beating Taker two years ago, as he should be. He hasn’t been truly beaten since Summerslam 2012. Whoever finally gets a win on Lesnar will soar to the top of the roster. I believe Dean Ambrose will be the one to defeat the one in 22 and 1. Ambrose is the right guy to topple the Beast. This will not hurt Lesnar, he’s still the brutal ass kicker who will destroy anything in his path. However, it’s time for his “streak” to come to an end. With the street fight stipulation you leave the match open for shenanigans and openings for Ambrose to pick up the victory. This will not be the last time we see Ambrose for the night but we’ll get to that later.
Winner: Dean Ambrose

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar will be a bloody mess. Isn’t it wonderful? This match has been so hyped up. Mick Foley and Terry Funk have even come to Dean Ambrose with advice and even gifting the Lunatic Fringe cherished items of destruction over the past two weeks. There is no denying The Beast Brock Lesnar is a force to be reckoned with in any type of match, but Dean Ambrose has tunnel vision right now. This match will be special. A smarter fan might go with Brock, but I have a feeling he’ll need some motivation for PAYBACK on May 1st.
Winner: Dean Ambrose

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Hell in a Cell: Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker

The Heartbreak Duke: I am having a VERY hard time with this one. If Undertaker wins, why was Shane brought back? If Shane loses, what is the purpose for keeping him around after Wrestlemania? On the other hand, if Shane wins, two things will happen: Undertaker will be finished, and Shane will take control of RAW, eventually turning heel. This will be entertaining. Shane will be his usual Daredevil self, and Undertaker will carry the match like the consummate professional he is. I might as well flip a coin on this one. Here goes:
Winner: Shane McMahon

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: It was strange typing that. When this match was first announced, I was excited. Then, I thought about it and was confused. There’s no doubt in my mind this match will be awesome. These two will put on a spectacular show and the cell just adds to all of the bells and whistles that’ll be used to put on a great match. Unlike most, I enjoyed Monday’s table spot. It proved Shane O Mac can still pull off the daring spots he made famous in the past. I have a bad feeling on Sunday night we will see a spot that will rival the Taker/Mankind King of the Ring spot. Neither man needs to do that, especially at their age. I hope both men make it out of this match okay. I see Shane winning. I don’t know how but it doesn’t make sense to continue to dangle that idea of a “new Raw” just to have it squashed. I don’t believe this is Undertaker’s last Mania no matter the finish. They’ll bring him back one way or another.
Winner: Shane McMahon

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: As of right now the HELL IN A CELL is scheduled in the penultimate matchup. Shane-O-Mac goes head-to-head with The Undertaker. The fate of RAW hangs on this matchup, as well as The Undertakers. Shane has proven over the course of the last month he fears nothing, not even the Dead Man. Predicting a winner on this one is as easy as talking to a critic about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I would like to see this match be pushed to the final slot, but more on that in a bit. Also, the one stipulation for the Undertaker is if he loses he’ll be finished as set by Mr. McMahon. Well, if Shane wins he’ll get control of RAW. Couldn’t Shane reinstate The Undertaker Monday night out of some sort of mutual respect? That is if The Dead Man isn’t already planning a retirement. Lets face it folks, time might be up for ‘Taker. He’s been at this a long time. Sometimes you need to hang up the boots. This match might be that show-stopping showcase. But at the hands of Shane McMahon? After all the battles. Years of ass kicking. Shane McMahon? Maybe.
Winner: Shane McMahon

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World Title Match: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns

The Heartbreak Duke: Man, I hope my HBK appearance happens during this one! This will be a barn burner. This one has been built up very well over the past few weeks, and it would be disappointing if this match isn’t stellar. It will be physical, with many near falls. One thing is for sure: Triple H will not walk out with the title. Reigns will get his Wrestlemania moment, but only after a heel turn. Yup, I’m calling it here! Vince will screw his son-in-law, helping Roman to victory and making Trips face, in a bold double turn.
Winner: Roman Reigns

The Heartbreak Duke’s Final Thoughts: There you have it! Another year’s predictions in the books! This will be the biggest Wrestlemania ever, and it shouldn’t disappoint. What do you all think? Let me know at iconvsicon.com.

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles: Surprisingly, this is the match I’m most interested in. Roman Reigns will get booed out of the building. At the same time, I see no chance Triple H will leave Wrestlemania with that title. So, here is my prediction with a bit of fantasy booking. This match will be physical and we will finally see some of the emotion from Reigns we saw at the beginning of this feud. After some brutal back and forth, Super Reigns hits Triple H with the Superman Punch and the Spear. He goes over clean. The crowd is pissed! The confetti is falling and Roman has that goofy smirk on his face. He’s still playing that sarcastic babyface everyone hates. Out limps Dean Ambrose and rolls in the ring to celebrate with his friend. He brings the beer they always talked about and the crowd dies down a little because everyone loves Dean. They toast and then Reigns smashes Ambrose in the face with his beer. He lays waste to Dean Ambrose. I’m talking about a 10- to 15-minute beat down. They’ve been lenient with the blood lately so I want to see it here. Ambrose is wearing a crimson mask. Reigns takes his hand, runs it across Ambrose’s face, and wipes the blood on the title and puts it over his shoulder. He walks to the top of the ramp, turns, and smirks. The crowd loses its minds and Wrestlemania goes off the air. One thing has to happen, Reigns needs to leave Mania as a heel. They’ve been pushing babyface Reigns for so long and it’s done nothing. I don’t blame Roman, he’s doing the best he can with what he’s been given. Roman is the kind of guy who should be a silent killer. A heel turn can do a lot for him.
Winner: Roman Reigns

The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles’ Final Thoughts: Wrestlemania 32 will be awesome. Mania is bigger than the card. We will all tune in and enjoy it as it’s our night to be proud wrestling fans. I’m excited for this coming weekend and it kicks off Friday night at NXT Takeover: Dallas! I hope you all have as much fun as I’m going to have!

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison: Last but not least we have Triple H vs Roman Reigns in what is expected to let all the air out of the awesomeness that was ‘Taker and Shane-O-Mac. We all know Roman Reigns is winning this match. Like we all knew he was losing the title to Triple H at the Royal Rumble. So on and so forth. WWE Creative backed the fans into a corner. Personally, I like the cut of Reigns’ jib. I’d like him to roll with the title for a while. But the WWE Universe isn’t going to allow it until he turns heel. So, back to that Hell in a Cell match for a second. Move this match to the 10 slot, bring HIAC up to the finale. Now, after Roman is booed out of the arena, fans have something to focus on. As Shane and Taker battle relentlessly for dominance, suddenly Roman’s music hits. He breaks into the Cell and either a) delivers a spear to Shane and assists Taker or b) delivers a Superman Punch to the Dead Man and pulls Shane on top of Taker for the 1-2-3. I guess there could be another option, too. C) have him partner with Vince to screw Shane.
BOOM! REIGNS IS NOW HEEL!
That is a fantasy. As is scheduled one can assume he’ll turn heel before the night is out, but it won’t take much effort from WWE Creative. I’ve heard rumblings he may turn on Dean Ambrose post match setting up Payback on the road to a huge Summer Slam where I’ll guess Seth Rollins might find himself in the mix setting up a frenemy triple threat?
Winner: Roman Reigns is your new WWE World Champion 

Hacksaw Jeremy Morrison’s Final Thoughts: There you have it, folks. One thing is certain, the pros heavily outweigh the cons when it comes to WrestleMania 32. I’ll be watching on the edge of my seat. Hopefully these predictions don’t prove too embarrassing. I hope you all have a wonderful WrestleMania experience, regardless of the outcome.

MORE ABOUT WRESTLEMANIA 32:
WrestleMania
 is more than just a one day event; it is a week-long celebration as WWE will take over the Dallas region during WrestleMania Week. In addition to WrestleMania 32 presented by SNICKERS, other activities will include: WrestleMania Axxess – WWE’s four-day, interactive fan festival at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center; WWE NXT® at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Arena; the 2016 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at American Airlines Center; Monday Night Raw® at American Airlines Center and more than a dozen activities designed to give back to the host community including “Be a STAR®” anti-bullying rallies, hospital visits and Make-A-Wish events. Additional information on these events will be announced in the future at www.wrestlemania.com.

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Impact Wrestling Finds A New Home At Pop, Weekly Broadcasts Start January 2016!

Impact Wrestling Finds A New Home At Pop, Weekly Broadcasts Start January 2016!

Get ready for #ImpactOnPop. Pop, a network that celebrates the excitement of being a fan, will soon become the exclusive U.S. television home of IMPACT WRESTLING, the hard-hitting, high-flying global sports sensation enjoyed by millions of fans around the world.

Pop will premiere IMPACT WRESTLING with a live two-hour, action-packed broadcast on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, and the show will continue to air every Tuesday night at 9:00 PM, ET/PT. The show features some of the biggest stars in professional wrestling, including Jeff and Matt Hardy, EC3, Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley, The Wolves, Eric Young, Tigre Uno and Gail Kim.

“Wrestling has been a fan-fueled staple since the ‘50s, and continues to be some of the most-watched appointment television today. The die-hard fandom and extraordinary passion surrounding IMPACT WRESTLING captures the spirit of Pop as a network that celebrates fan-driven entertainment and excitement,” said Brad Schwartz, President of Pop. “We’re committed to this new partnership and psyched to bring the show’s loyal fans a dedicated night to watch their favorite show on Pop every week.”

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IMPACT WRESTLING is a strong global brand seen on networks in more than 120 countries around the world and broadcast in 17 languages. Its fans are some of the most devoted and socially active in sports, with more than 15 million aggregated social media followers and nearly 700 million video views on YouTube, making it the seventh-most-viewed sports channel, ahead of MLB®, NHL®, MLS® and FIFATV®.

“Pop’s enthusiasm for our partnership and the network’s fan focus is a perfect fit for our company,” said TNA President Dixie Carter. “Wresting has always been at the forefront of pop culture with the most passionate, loyal fan base. We’re thrilled to be in business with Pop and to bring IMPACT WRESTLING to more than 80 million homes.”

 To find IMPACT WRESTLING on Pop, go to http://poptv.com.

Pop on the Web: poptv.com

Pop Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PopTelevision

Pop Twitter: https://twitter.com/PopTV

Pop Instagram: @poptv

ABOUT TNA
TNA Entertainment, LLC, is a privately held sports entertainment company represented by United Talent Agency and based in Nashville, Tenn., specializing in television properties, events, products, merchandise and music, as well as the management and promotion of professional wrestlers. The roster features such greats as Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, EC3, Matt Hardy, Bobby Lashley, Bobby Roode, Mr. Anderson, Drew Galloway, the high-flying X-Division and the lovely and lethal Knockouts, through its highly successful flagship IMPACT WRESTLING weekly broadcast, which will begin airing in 2016 on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Pop network. The product is the world’s most innovative experience in professional wrestling and is broadcast in more than 120 countries.  For more information, visit www.IMPACTWRESTLING.com or follow @IMPACTWRESTLING and @TNADixie on twitter.

ABOUT POP
Fans don’t sit at the outskirts of pop culture making snarky comments. They live right smack in the middle of it, sharing, creating, and connecting their passions with others. At Pop, fans finally have a destination that celebrates the fun of being a fan. Fans aren’t even fans anymore — they’re gladiators, tributes, human beings and blockheads. Seen in more than 80 million homes, Pop gives fans a dedicated channel that loves being a fan as much as they do. A channel that respects talent over celebrity. A channel filled with optimism, passion, humor, and excitement. A channel that understands the fun doesn’t stop when the credits roll… it’s really just the beginning.

Pop is a joint venture of CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) and Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF). The partnership combines CBS’s programming, production and marketing assets with Lionsgate’s resources in motion pictures, television and digitally delivered content. Pop’s ownership structure is comprised of the company with the #1 broadcast network and many of the top first-run syndication series (“Entertainment Tonight,” “The Insider”) and the studio that produces and distributes the blockbuster “Hunger Games,” “Twilight” and “Divergent” franchises and produces such award-winning TV series as “Mad Men” and “Orange is the New Black.”

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