What is your stance on the CM Punk Chants?

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CM Punk Champion

It is no secret that chants for former WWE champion CM Punk have been shouted loud and clear in 2017, with the name recently been blared during certain segments on Monday Night Raw.

Much discussion and debate has risen as a result and whilst some are against the chanting see for example, What Culture’s video on the matter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHTfiXrUaRc others sit on the opposing side of the fence and are unfased by the noise of the fans in attendance.

What I was wondering though is how do people at home feel about it in general? Do you like or hate the CM Punk stuff? Or do is not bother you either way? I thought it best to present the case for and against, and try to allow everyone to discuss their standpoint accordingly.

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Prologue

99% of wrestling followers know exactly who the man in question is, but just in case you’ve been living under a wrestling rock the past 10 years, or you’ve not been into WWE for too long, let me quickly run down a brief overview of CM Punk.

Punk was a massive indie star before arriving in WWE and as a result, he almost always had the backing of the fans as he broke onto the biggest scene before exploding into the biggest star in the business after his infamous pipebomb promo.

After that he was on top of the world and held the WWE Championship for a massive 434 days, but after missing out on his dream of being in the main event of Wrestlemania to the Twice in a Lifetime matches between The Rock and John Cena, he left the company the day after the 2014 Royal Rumble. He was banged up and worn out but even in leaving his action paved the way for Daniel Bryan to take centre stage at Wrestlemania XXX, one of the finest moments in WWE history.

Because of his amazing promos, his fantastic matches (my personal favourites being against Jeff Hardy, Brock Lesnar and many times against John Cena) and his stratospheric popularity people want to remember him in WWE. A lot of people would also consider him their favourite wrestler, and rightly so, he was/is one of the best in the world.

Chants have really picked up in volume recently however as a fake AJ Lee was bought out on a dark segment at Raw, as part of the film WWE and The Rock are making based on Paige. During this thunderous rendition, Rocky called Punk and left him a voicemail, Punk duly responded with a grateful tweet: https://twitter.com/cmpunk/status/833905165145145344?lang=en

Since then they have continued; very notably so in segments involving the Raw women, Stephanie McMahon, Seth Rollins and HHH, which leads up to this discussion, what do you think about people chanting CM Punk? And why perhaps, do people continue to chant his name?

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For

Everything mentioned in the above introduction shows exactly why people want to chant for their hero, and since they’ve paid their hard-earned money for ticket to the show, why the fuck not? So long as no offence is being dished out and no harm is being done to anyone, then the fans are free to enjoy shouting about their favourite wrestler, whether they’re still with the company or not.

If you’ve ever been to a wrestling show of any kind you’ll also know that shouting together as a huge audience is really, really fun. This might not always project through the television screen but by and large people are having a laugh and getting involved with the show, rather than trying to kybosh it as some may feel.

Crowds also often chant CM Punk in the direction of heel authority figures, namely Stephanie, Hunter and even a while ago, Vince. Seemingly the Punk chant represents a sort of ‘fuck you’ to the authority, which is exactly what the man stood for both in the sense of kayfabe and reality; personally I find that all quite amusing and enjoyable, especially when it elicits a response such as Stephanie’s recent classic, ‘if you could keep that up for 2 minutes and 15 seconds, you’d last one second longer than Punk did.’

Oh and finally in this section, do you actually need me to explain why Chicago will forever chant for Punk after gifting them the best wrestling moment the city has ever seen? Nope, didn’t think so, cheers.

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Against
Here’s where things could get a little spicy… There are seemingly 3 primary reasons why people dislike the CM Punk chanting. Irrelevance, trying to make the show about the crowd rather than what is going on in-ring and, most pertinently, throwing off segments.

Firstly, the point of irrelevance. CM Punk, fantastic as he was, hasn’t been seen in WWE since the Royal Rumble in 2014 and with his name being all but blacklisted by the company, he doesn’t currently have any place on Raw and Smackdown. Hence then why people do not see the point in the fans in attendance shouting the former champion’s name throughout arenas; it’s seen in a similar vein to the ‘what’ or former ‘ECW’ chants as it is just unnecessary.

Show goers trying to make their presence felt at home and almost attempting to make themselves appear more important than the wrestlers is something that has raged on for a while, especially in NXT since Owens labelled them ‘the John Cena of wrestling fans.’ Some of the Punk chants have the same effect and whilst, as mentioned, it is fun to get a reaction, it can go too far and feel like the crowd just want to take over the show instead; making it very tiresome for many.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, throwing off and even ruining segments is something that really has got under the skin of fans when the CM Punk chants begin. Rollins’ segment a few weeks back really suffered as while he was giving an emotional speech the crowd seemed to ignore him and chanted for Punk instead. It took the shine off what was a crucial moment in the lead up to Mania and that really isn’t cool.

Conclusion

So I pose the question to you all again, what is your stance on the CM Punk chants? Do you mind them? Do you hate them?

Personally, I’m of the volition that it is all fine if the timing is right. During Steph’s promos it pretty fun because she bites back, but when Bayley is speaking or when someone like Rollins is stating something really important, Punk chants are something we could really do without. There really is a time and place for everything, even Punk chants.

WWE Backlash 2016 Review

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Smackdown broadcast their first solo PPV since the most recent brand split this Sunday and they truly laid down a solid marker for Raw to attempt to top with their first swing, Clash of Champions.

With only 6 main card matches advertised and just over 2 hours and 30 minutes to fill the show was a big success in terms of fan reception as very segment got an appropriate amount of time and the wrestling was constantly captivating as a result.

Here then, is a rundown of the matches from Backlash that have us pumped for No Mercy next month:

#1 – Becky Lynch def. Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Naomi, Natalya and Nikki Bella

We began with the crowning of the first Smackdown Women’s Champion in a match that most thought was either going to be really fun or a huge clusterfuck.

In the end it was both; a really fun clusterfuck. There were a couple of botches here and there but the action came thick and fast with each wrestler coming off as a star – establishing each of the 6 as a legitimate threat in the division.

Following a flurry of T-bone suplexes and her patented disarmer submission Becky Lynch eliminated her final foe Carmella to be the last woman standing; claiming her rightful and deserved place atop the Smackdown ladies’ tree.

Hopefully this is the start of something sensational for Lynch, she is a wonderful performer and can set the bar extremely high for whomever takes the strap from her. Overall this was a great opener, popped the crowd early on and set the tone for the evening.

#2 – The Usos def. The Hype Bros

Our second contest of the evening could have easily been any standard, weekly-TV tag but it was definitely better than that. Mojo in particular showed himself off as a menace to the Usos as he had the better of both brothers and avoided taking the pin/submission for his team.

Usos sneaked the victory with a really marvellous finish. A chop block to Ryder’s knee backed up with a brutal half crab/grapevined arm combo; advancing the Samoans to the final later in the evening in impressive fashion.

Heel Usos are very cool in my opinion – they have a great deal of swagger, a solid look and true brutality in the ring. Now they just need to change their shitty face titantron and the twosome will be right at home in their new persona.

#3 – The Miz def. Dolph Ziggler

Who could have possibly predicted that The Miz versus Dolph Ziggler would be a bloody brilliant PPV match?! These 2 went all out, balls to the fucking wall and showed why they deserve the respect and adulation of the fans. With all the talk about ‘indie darlings’ and ‘hottest free agents’ it was refreshing to see two WWE-birthed stars perform to such a high level.

This was a fast-paced bout filled with smooth mat-wrestling, nearfalls in the form of a Ziggler Superkick and nearly submission with Miz’s long-locked figure 4. There even seemed to be a nod to CM Punk’s UFC fight in the beginning from the pair; the match was a real blast to witness.

After 18 minutes (!) of constant battling, Maryse would intervene to screw Ziggler by spraying him in the eyes with an unknown substance – much like The Elite with their hair spray – before a Skull Crushing Finale blasted Dolph to the mat for the 1, 2, 3.

Miz retaining his championship was certainly the right choice. He’s so so easy to hate and whoever finally takes the belt from him is going to get a really exciting pop and a highly beneficial rub. Personally, I hope he goes full Honky Tonk Man and holds the belt for over a year, or at least until Mania 33 before an uber-face a la Sami Zayn or Cesaro puts Miz’s IC title world tour on a permanent stop.

#4 – Randy Orton Kane def. Bray Wyatt

WWE management had hoped that the Viper would be cleared in time to compete at Backlash, but alas, he couldn’t make it. As a result they shot an injury angle and Bray was counted as the victor by forfeit before the Big Red Machine stepped up for a No Holds Barred match.

For their 1st Smackdown-only show this looked real bad for the blue brand, and the fans sounded disgruntled as they knew they were getting bullshitted. But lo-and-behold, Kane and Bray had a very entertaining collision, one far better than many would have hoped.

Despite the entire match being set up for Bray to lose via an RKO, the pair did a wonderful job of keeping the viewers invested with forceful chair shots, a fantastic senton through the announcers table and Bray mocking Orton with the legend killer pose.

People seemed pissed off that Wyatt lost again on PPV but the loss was dirty as they come as Randy slithered in with the RKO and Kane followed up with a chokeslam. This feud is only just heating up so hopefully we see them clash at No Mercy, and if Bray wins, this defeat will be instantly forgotten.

#5 – Heath Slater and Rhyno def. The Usos

He’s only gone and done it, hasn’t he! Heath Slater was victorious at Backlash, securing himself a contract on Tuesday nights. And not only that, he is, alongside the veteran Rhyno, a Smackdown tag team champion. Truly amazing scenes.

After getting battered for 90% of the contest, Heath came back and ran wild before a eating a superkick as the Usos looked set to take the win. But Rhyno, the wily old fox, hit a sneaky gore before Heath, bereft of energy, pinned Jimmy to become the inaugural champions.

Slater and Rhyno winning was the perfect decision in my eyes; the Usos can feud with American Alpha until the latter are already to carry the belts forward whilst the champs can go through a few challengers in the meantime, personally I want they to battle FaBreeze next. Long live the Heath hype train though – he feels like this year’s Mizdow, the fans love his character and how much he commits each and every week, it’s a joyous story to get wrapped up in.

Styles became WWE World Champion in controversial circumstances

#6 – AJ Styles def. Dean Ambrose

If you’d have told me a year ago that then Bullet Club leader, TNA hero, AJ Styles would be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion I would have called you a fucking lunatic. But here we are, let it be known, that on September 11th 2016 at Backlash, the phenomenal one rose to the very top of the international wrestling scene.

AJ and Ambrose put on a wonderful main event as Styles continues to rack up his number of world-class matches, whilst Ambrose looked like he returned to the in-ring level he was at a couple of years ago when feuding with Seth Rollins. The twosome had clicked on the mic beforehand and blended beautifully in the squared circle too.

Styles was again presented as the better pure wrestler in the world, displaying more pace on the mat and countering Ambrose with speedy forearms and smooth transitions in the calf crusher. Dean on the other hand showed he was prepared to risk everything in order to keep him title; including him sprinting across the announcers’ desks to drop a giant elbow over the barricade onto Styles.

The finale of the show came about as Ambrose went for the dirty deeds but styles countered, inadvertently knocking down the ref, Styles quickly noticed and smashed in a dick kick plus Styles clash combo to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. WOW.

There’s little more to say about this victory other than to reiterate how amazing and unbelievable it is that AJ bloody Styles is the top guy in WWE right now, it is a historical moment and one that I will likely never forget. The man is riding a tidal wave of success at the minute and I cannot wait for No Mercy as he looks to retain his belt against both Ambrose and Cena.

Should Roman Reigns win the US Championship at Summerslam?

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roman v rusev

This Monday Mick Foley confirmed that Roman Reigns would have the opportunity to dethrone US champion Rusev in 11 days’ time at Summerslam. Their match takes place amongst a stacked card and should be one of many high-quality bouts to take place at the 2nd biggest WWE show of the year. Who will walk out the winner however remains unclear. Should Roman take the title from the Bulgarian Brute? Or will the mighty Rusev keep rolling with his great year?

Rusev has been a very strong midcard champion throughout both of his title runs and has truly, along with the work Cena did last annum, made the US belt a legitimate and valued trophy once again. He parades his belt perfectly, even claiming that Raw doesn’t need another championship because they have his, and the title never takes a backseat, even in crazy segments like we saw on Monday involving his marriage to Lana.

Roman on the other hand completely bypassed the midcard area on his meteoric rise through WWE and immediately was placed atop the card. Winning the Rumble, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and main eventing Wrestlemania twice in super-quick time certainly didn’t give him the backing of the fans. But now he has dipped into the second band of stars where many have argued he should be been initally.

Reigns floored Rusev with a spear on the August 8 edition of Raw

Casting my mind back to Wrestlemania 31 where Reigns battled Lesnar, people across the WWE community suggested that Roman should have been lower down the bill and in the place of John Cena as he beat Rusev for the belt in question. This would have likely gathered support around Reigns as he would have knocked off a hugely-hated heel and not frustrated the fans by being in a spot many felt that he didn’t deserve, especially in comparison to Daniel Bryan who was obviously red hot at the time.

So what should happen when he actually gets a shot at the US Championship? Well it largely depends on what future plans are for Roman and Rusev. Should Roman win, he will probably stay bubbling under the main event picture, a place where he can grow in the eyes of the crowd and possibly be the face character that WWE want him to be before eventually returning to the top of the card, which I personally believe would be a godsend for him as he has been very entertaining and a lot more loose and comfortable on the mic over the past couple of weeks.

Rusev dropping the title could go either way for the Bulgarian though. If he drops the title at the August event then it might be time for him to move up the card and have a well-earned shot at the Universal Championship for a PPV or two. But equally he could lose relevance as he did when he previously lost his precious belt, something I really do not want to see as Rusev is a quality in-ring star and his segments are always entertaining in one way or another.

So if they push Rusev up and keep him as a star on the Raw brand and give Roman a chance to hold another belt and garner support by producing solid matches with the likes of Cesaro, Zayn and Owens I would 100% be up for a title change as both men could move in a positive direction as a result. This match has a lot of intrigue surrounding it then as the pair have a lot to perhaps gain from the match, but I feel Rusev has a lot more to lose.

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In reality I expect a Rusev win in a fuck-finish, maybe with Lana getting involved after the cake incident on Monday evening. After this I would expect Roman to get a rematch on Raw before quickly dashing back to face the Universal Champion who I likely believe will be Rollins; whilst Rusev will probably get a full programme versus Cesaro or Sami Zayn considering the champion’s good chemistry with the former and that the latter isn’t doing anything right now.

So whilst I believe Roman Reigns should walk out of Summerslam as the new United States Champion in a move that could certainly benefit both parties, I predict that the title will remain round the thick waist of Rusev. Either way though, this match has a lot of potential and I am really looking forward to seeing them clash at the back end of this month; both are workhorses and have the ability to showcase a great fight, I just hope they get the allotted time to shine.

5 of the Best: Finishers in WWE

Finishing a match in the right way is one of the most discussed and highly important factors in the making of a WWE wrestler. Along with a certain person’s look, music and promo skills we wrestling fans often spend time debating over whose finisher is the best and who’s doesn’t quite make the cut. With that said, here then are my picks for the top 5 finishing moves currently on the mail roster, so no NXT stars or part-timers like Lesnar, Taker and HHH this time round.

 

#1 RKO – Randy Orton – Smackdown

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We kick things off with the most viral finisher around. Randy’s RKO became an extremely popular meme a year or two ago, and whilst this was all fun and games, it was actually quite a testament as to what makes this cutter so special in the eyes of the fans.

Orton’s perfect timing in the ring allows this move to be hit from almost any angle and on any occasion and as such, fans’ interest is always peaked towards the end of his matches as a crescendo of activity leads to the RKO spot. Simply put, his match could be all-action and then suddenly end in the blink of an eye, with the fans erupting in sheer surprise.

Fast and brutal, this finisher probably has the best highlight reel of the current generation with the real standouts coming against Evan Bourne and Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania 31. All that is left for Orton to do with this move is somehow reverse Lesnar’s F5 into it at Summerslam; if they somehow pull that off I’ll be beaming with joy.

 

#2 Bank Statement – Sasha Banks – Raw

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A stretched bridging crossface often transitioned from a double knee backbreaker, what is not to love about that?! This move, in my opinion, has everything that makes a finisher truly fantastic and fits Sasha’s ‘The Boss’ personality like a glove.

The name is impeccable, the move looks seriously painful, the backbreaker fits in with her knee-based offence, and the smooth transition is very inventive. Banks really has perfected this one since her days in NXT and seeing her finally claim the WWE Women’s Championship with this manoeuvre on Monday night was wonderful, even if that match could have been saved for Summerslam.

Her best version of this move surely comes from the classic Bayley versus Sasha match from NXT: Brooklyn last summer. Having worked Bayley’s formerly broken hand throughout, Sasha stomping on said hand whilst applying her submission was a genius heel move and helped make Bayley’s triumph in the bout even more impressive.

 

#3 Red Arrow – Neville – Raw

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Probably the most obvious one on this list; Neville has mastered the art of flippy shit (him versus fellow master Ricochet would be a dream) and nothing epitomises this point better than the fact that he has the most fantastically flippy finisher in the business today.

This corkscrew shooting star press is like nothing you have ever seen before and is a stunning sight; the little Englishman has somehow revolutionised and already insane move and made the ending to his matches a true spectacle. I cannot fathom how a person can twist their body so much in such a short space of time, it baffles the mind.

Having been fittingly placed in his new home on Raw and with the Cruiserweight division just around the corner, Neville and his time-stopping Red Arrow look set to light up our Monday nights and I predict we will see this move win the first Cruiserweight championship should it be reinstated.

 

#4 Magic Killer – Gallows and Anderson – Raw

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NXT has seen a resurgence in tag team finishers, which were long absent in the WWE, with many graduates such as The Vaudevillians, American Alpha and The Ascension all making use of a double team move to end their matches. Gallows and Anderson though, having run roughshod with it in Japan, have the pick of the bunch for me.

The Magic Killer, which is a snap swinging neckbreaker from the shoulders of the twosome, lands with devastating impact and has left a whole heap of superstars (eg. Cena, Usos, Big E) motionless afterwards. And given that this requires a large amount of setup, the end product almost-never looks clunky or poorly executed.

Similarly to in Japan, the number of guys that the Magic Killer manages to put away is continually growing, certainly making it one of the most protected and destructive moves on the entire roster and it may well be the spell that ends the New Day’s record title run at Summerslam…

 

#5 Dirty Deeds – Dean Ambrose – Smackdown

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If the Magic Killer is the most protected tag team manoeuvre on the main roster then Dean Ambrose’s Dirty Deeds may well be the most devastating singles finisher in 2016. In one swift and decisive DDT Ambrose has put a number of opponents down for the count and is exactly the sort of punishing move you want your top champion to have.

Dean has put down Rollins, Reigns, Jericho, Owens and even destroyed then-champion Triple H on Raw with this incredibly powerful move. Imagine if he had dropped Brock Lesnar at Mania with it; it honestly would have been sat atop the finisher mountain with Stone Cold’s stunner.

I would go as far to say that of all the moves on this list, this is my current number 1. I love the fluidity of it which allows for creative counters and struggles (a la his match with Jericho at Payback) and it perfectly fits Ambrose’s smash-mouth, off-the-wall, style.

 

So there you have it folks, my current favourite 5 finishers on the main roster; big shout outs to Bray’s Sister Abigail and AJ’s Styles Clash too, both are fantastic. But what is your favourite finisher on the main roster today and why?