The month of September is nearly over and as we head to October, WWE’s focus is on the upcoming Hell in a Cell pay-per-view in Los Angeles on October 25. The main event of that show was announced at last Sunday’s Night of Champions. It’s Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match that will likely put an end to their rivalry…for good. We think. Maybe. Possibly. Anyway, we’ll talk about it ere!
For this week’s Canton’s Corner, I’m bringing in TJRWrestling’s NXT reviewer Kurt Zamora. What we’ll do is list the topic (there will be four in total), then go back and forth on it as best we can before moving on to the next. Later in the column I have some other stuff to discuss like Paige’s promo fro Raw, but for now let’s go my discussion with Kurt.
Topic #1: Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell
John: WWE has decided to roll with Undertaker vs. Lesnar at the HIAC PPV in October. It’s a surprise because that was the plan for WrestleMania, but according to the Wrestling Observer, Vince McMahon realized it wouldn’t be a hot program at the biggest show of the year. That means that WWE has to go a different direction for both of them at WrestleMania. There are rumors out there for both guys, but with WrestleMania still over six months away, nothing is known for sure right now. Do you like the idea of doing the match at HIAC?
Kurt: I love the idea of doing this match at HIAC. First off, WrestleMania HAS to get 100,000+ fans in the stadium. Anything less is a failure. So if Vince thought for even a second that holding off on this match until then would hurt the possibility of that happening, then this is the right decision.
John: They’re not getting 100,000 fans paid. If they get 80,000 that would be nice and they are going to say it’s 100,000 no matter what they have. With that said, I’m glad they are doing it at HIAC because the feud needs to finally end with a decisive Lesnar win and leave it at that. What about WrestleMania options for each?
Kurt: I think they’ve got a legit shot to have a legit 90,000 and then exaggerate it from there. But you can’t have 75,000 or something & say it’s 100k. Trust me, I’ve been in that stadium, the fans will know if they’re lying. Nonetheless, with that said, as it pertains to Lesnar you have to pick The Rock. Meltzer brought up this week that the Steve Austin scenario is picking up steam again so that would work too but I don’t see it happening. The Rock vs. Brock to me is literally the biggest match WWE can do right now.
John: That 93,000 number at WrestleMania 3 isn’t legit, but they say it so much that people buy it. I think they should do Rock vs. Brock. That’s the biggest money match there is because I don’t see Austin being able to wrestle. With Rock, he’s into his 40s and who knows how many injuries he might have or movie commitments that could prevent it down the road. I think Undertaker vs. Cena is a match that should happen too.
Kurt: Great minds think alike. Cena vs. Undertaker is definitely the way to go. It’s really something to think about the fact that they’ve only had one match against each other and it was a throwaway match on a B level Smackdown PPV when Taker was still riding motorcycles. I think it’s ok to play up Cena getting booed in certain matchups and this would be one of them because I don’t think anyone wants to see Cena beat Taker. So this would be a fun match.
John: I remember thinking years ago WWE should have Cena go undefeated at WrestleMania and then do that match with him against Undertaker, but it never happened. It wouldn’t be the first time ever for them because as you said it happened over a decade ago. For a lot of fans, it will feel fresh. Same with Brock/Rock. That’s why it’s important to make WrestleMania special with matches that aren’t repeats. I also want that Shield triple threat too!
Kurt: Next Saturday I’m going to have my 6 month prediction card for WrestleMania & that Shield Triple Threat will be on the top of my card. I want that too!
Topic #2: Other former WWE stars that could be brought back like The Dudley Boyz
John: I like Carlito as a performer and even met him a few times. He’s a really good guy, but not a difference maker at all. The names that come to mind to me are Jeff Hardy and Kurt Angle. Both have expiring TNA deals (Angle in late January, Hardy in February) and I think WWE should bring both back. Plus, I know we both noticed WWE wishing Matt Hardy a happy birthday on their social media this past week. That has caused some speculation. Matt’s not as big of a name as Jeff, but seeing the Hardys back would be awesome.
Kurt: It’s like you’re reading my mind. Angle would be fantastic but I want The Hardys back. Is it too much to hope for the Hardys/Dudleys/New Day in some sort of gimmick match at Mania as a tip of the cap to the great matches from Mania 16 & 17? I agree on Carlito. Solid worker, enjoyable on the mic but not a difference maker.
John: Don’t forget too that when Jeff Hardy left in 2009 it’s not because WWE wanted him to go. He just hated the lifestyle and the schedule. Maybe if he returned he’d get a sweeter deal. He’s a dad now, he’s probably not doing drugs like he was used to (nobody really knows for sure) and one thing about getting older is you learn a lot of life lessons. I think WWE would value Jeff a lot and he probably wants to have another run on top. It’s not like TNA is getting bigger anyway.
Kurt: TNA wants to build around EC3 anyways and really The Hardys feel out of place there now. The Hardys would be huge merch sellers for WWE & You could even headline the “B” house shows with them vs. the Dudleys for awhile and probably boost attendance. There are no good reasons not to bring the Hardys in.
John: My last point on this subject is that you can’t bring back too many names from the past. The WWE roster is loaded with talent as well as people in NXT that should be called up soon (Balor, Joe, Breeze, Itami when healthy) and there aren’t enough spots to bring in too many stars from the past. However, it’s important to mix in the veterans with the younger guys because as we have seen with the Dudleys, the crowds react well to those stars from the past.
Kurt: I definitely agree. WWE relies too much on part timers and guys from the past though, so if I’m gonna take their mentality, I’m at least gonna hope for the guys I’d want to see.
Topic #3: The bizarre booking of WWE Champion Seth Rollins
John: Seth Rollins has been booked like such a loser champion. This past week, he lost clean to John Cena on Sunday and Monday. Then he lost to Dean Ambrose at the Smackdown tapings. Are Cena and Ambrose going to get WWE Title shots now? Probably not. Kane will get a shot even though he lost about 80% of his matches in the last two years. What bothers me is that WWE loves booking Rollins to be such a loser even though he could be a great heel champion. Is there anything positive that we can take from the way he’s booked?
Kurt: I really don’t think so. Because not only is he being booked to be a loser but he’s also borderline overexposed. I mean look back to that week on Raw where he wrestled against Ryback and in the 6 Man Tag. He was on that show A LOT. Ratings were awful too. So it’s a double bad booking because they’re presenting him as a champ we shouldn’t care about AND they’re making us sick of seeing him. It’s really a shame because he’s the best in the ring right now I feel.
John: I hate it. I get what they are thinking by presenting the idea that this guy can lose the WWE Title any time, but the problem is nobody is going to care if he loses because we see him lose all the time. Most of the time I won’t complain about wins and losses since they ultimately mean little. However, with the WWE Title it does matter because it is supposed to be the richest prize in the game. Long term, this will do more harm than good.
Kurt: It doesn’t help anything that the US Title means more now too based on the booking at Night of Champions. And then this angle with Kane. Look I respect Kane’s lengthy career but this type of storyline is going to be the death of Rollins. Just ask Zack Ryder. Daniel Bryan was headed down this road too until he got hurt the first time.
John: I get why they are having Rollins vs. Kane since it’s a story built up over a year. It just doesn’t seem right with the WWE Title involved. Rollins is probably going to be a great babyface when he turns next year at some point. I just wish his WWE Title run was more memorable. He’s an outstanding performer, but the booking has been frustrating to watch. Imagine heel Triple H in 2000 losing like? Would never happen.
Kurt: No it would not. Speaking of Triple H, I can only assume that match with Rollins isn’t happening for quite some time because a match with Rollins in this current state does nothing for Hunter. Rollins needs some serious momentum for a possible win over The Game to mean anything.
John: It may be a WrestleMania thing. That would be considered a big match, but would likely mean Rollins loses the WWE Title before that. It could also be something where Rollins turns face while he’s the champ, then he retains against Triple H at WrestleMania (story could be Hunter thinks he is better than him) and maybe Rollins beats the 434 day WWE Title reign of CM Punk. Who knows? I think Rollins vs. Triple H happens at some point and WrestleMania is possible for them. Until then, make Rollins look stronger!
Kurt: I wouldn’t be against Rollins vs HHH at Mania, but I won’t predict it next week in my column!
John: What a shill. Proud of you. Haha.
Topic #4:The Wyatt Family storyline with Reigns, Ambrose and others
Kurt: As for other things WWE is dropping the ball on, how disappointed were you by Reigns and Ambrose having Jericho as their mystery partner? I know Jericho teased on his podcast that it’s leading to something later this year but the whole point of the mystery partner was someone that could counter Braun and was “crazy” in his own right. Jericho fell well short of that.
John: “We need somebody to lose! Call Jericho!” I think that was the booking idea. Jericho’s apparently in WWE’s plans through WrestleMania, but the lack of a follow up on Raw was pretty disappointing. Maybe he’ll turn heel to feud with Dean Ambrose. They just needed a vet to put over the new performer. Now Randy Orton is back in the spot and it’s probably another six man tag, this time at Hell in a Cell.
Kurt: The Wyatts better win if that’s the case. They need a definitive storyline win. I don’t know the last time Bray or the group had one of those. Orton, as much as I love him, is just as boring as Jericho in that role. Would Cesaro have been so hard to put in that role? Someone that wants an opportunity and his freaky strength could’ve been something to play off of to throw The Wyatts off their game. It was just another missed opportunity and again shows WWE’s dependence on part timers.
John: I think putting Orton there is fine because he hasn’t feuded with Wyatt before so it feels fresh a bit. They can move from Reigns vs. Wyatt to Orton vs. Wyatt if they want too. I’m not sure how long the feud is going to last, but it’s probably going to be until Survivor Series where they do some big elimination tag. All of this is done to keep Roman Reigns busy without putting him into the WWE Title picture until early next year.
Kurt: If there is one positive in this for me, it’s that Roman is progressing nicely in all that he does. When he is back in the title picture, he’ll have earned it.
John: Getting back to the Wyatt Family, I think they booked them strong the right way. It needs to continue. Dominant heels are needed and is also the opposite of how Rollins is booked.
Kurt: The Wyatts definitely need to be booked strongly. All three offer something different and Harper is often praised highly by legends such as Edge and Austin. If they get Rowan back, that stable could finally be something special.
John: It’s nice to have a dominant heel stable. I don’t know how far they can go with Strowman, but he’s going to get the chance to go far as long as he improves. Mostly, I’m just happy for Bray. This can help him become a legitimate main eventer.
Kurt: The day Bray gets a one on one WWE Title match will be a wonderful day. He clearly deserves it.
That’s it for our chat. Check out Kurt on Twitter @FriscoKTank where you’ll see him supporting the Carolina Panthers and Zack Ryder among other things. Thanks Kurt.
Five Quick Hits
1. Paige’s promo on Raw was great. I think she has tremendous potential as a heel in this storyline. While I think the phrase “pipebomb” is overused, it was the kind of promo that got people talking and that’s a good thing. What I like is that the focus is back on the Divas Title right now instead of all the teams that are a part of the “Divas Revolution” these days.
I’m also happy that Natalya is back. She’s been a face for so long, but I think it would be great if she turned heel to align with Paige because she has a reason to turn heel: she was left out. Easy story to tell. I hope it works out.
2. I love that Lucha Underground is back for a second season. Their future was in doubt, but they recently confirmed a second season that will start taping later this year and airing early in 2016. It’s a fun show that is different from WWE and I’m glad it’s returning. Even though it’s not shown on TV here in Canada, I watched every episode online.
The way the show is presented is fantastic. I think Prince Puma (Ricochet) is one of the best wrestlers alive while ex-WWE guys like Johnny Mundo and Alberto El Patron have fit in well. I’m also a huge fan of Catrina with Mil Muertes. There’s just a lot to like about their show and I’m glad it’s back.
3. The WWE live event from New York’s Madison Square Garden next Saturday October 3 should be fun. While it’s a house show, there could be some story development as well. Brock Lesnar should beat Big Show in the main event. I don’t think the Dudley Boyz will beat The New Day for the tag titles, but there should be some good storyline progression.
I’m looking forward to Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho unless it gets changed. Jericho noted it’s about 25 years since he had his first match, so that’s pretty cool.
4. I’m going to NXT Takeover Respect in Orlando on October 7 and then the tapings the next night. I’m really excited about it because I’ve never been to NXT events in Orlando. It should be a great time with Bayley vs. Sasha Banks in a 30 minute Ironwoman match. Plus, it’ll be nice to get away for a few days although I will still write some things because that’s what I do!
5. WWE is loading up the October 19 edition of Raw with Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair in the house likely to talk about the Lesnar/Undertaker match. It’s also going to be a night where they announce an on sale date for WrestleMania 32 because it’s in Dallas, which is near where WrestleMania is. I like the idea of Austin being a part of a Raw because it hasn’t happened that often. Do I think he’ll wrestle again? No. He denied it again this week. People should let it go.
Wrap It Up
That’s all for now. As I always say, my goal with Canton’s Corner is to get this posted on Saturdays or Sundays. I should be able to commit to it weekly now although I may not do it on PPV weekends.
No more live Raw Deal or the rest of the year since the NFL is back. It will be posted on Tuesday around 12pmET or so.
Have a great week. Go Blue Jays. Go Rams.
John Canton –firstname.lastname@example.org