Posts Tagged ‘WWE Smackdown Live’

Right now, Ronda Rousey is being portrayed as a top babyface in WWE, but she admitted to “The DC Check-In,” that she’d like to be “a heel the whole time.”

The former UFC star is notorious for being a major Rowdy Roddy Piper fan, and he is her inspiration for wanting to be a villain, as she believes he was “the best heel ever.” Rousey added his nickname during her MMA career in order to pay tribute to him, which she then brought into the wrestling world through some of her ring gear.

“He was the real heel though that wanted you to hate him, he wasn’t the cool guy heel that was like, ‘I want to be bad. I want to be cool. I want you to like me.’ That jacket that I wear is a replica of his jacket and is actually stab-proof because people would try to stab him,” she said. “That’s what kind of heel I want to be.”

Rousey admitted she wants to be a heel that “really inspires that visceral from within and really gets the other person liked,” but she has only spent a brief period of her WWE career working in that manner. Prior to the end of her first run with the company, Rousey began embracing the boos of the audience throughout her storyline with Becky Lynch, which culminated in the first-ever women’s main event at WWE WrestleMania.

“It’s so much easier to get people to hate someone than like them. I think a lot of people forget that the job of a heel is to get the babyface over, it’s not for everyone to think that you’re a cool heel,” she said.

Despite the fact she wants to be a heel, right now, Rousey is working as a babyface in her feud with Natalya, and the two women will collide this Saturday at WWE’s Money In The Bank for the “SmackDown” Women’s Championship.

The Viking Raiders returned to WWE TV with a bang on Friday’s SmackDown.

Erik and Ivar attacked New Day members Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods as the pair danced in-ring with Shanky. This, seemingly, signifies the Viking pair’s first heel turn on the main roster – it’s long overdue. The Raiders have been spinning their wheels for far too long since first jumping up from NXT in April 2019.

They’ve been going through a rinse and repeat series of mini-pushes that ultimately go nowhere, and that became tedious. Now, as heels, they’ll hopefully start to dominate the division and work their way back towards those now-Unified Tag-Team straps.

This was a good start.

A few matches against New Day should help prep The Viking Raiders for a title tilt whenever WWE decides to stip the belts from fellow heels The Usos. Alternatively, wouldn’t it be something different if the company decided to cast Erik and Ivar as cold wrecking machines who don’t care who they have to mow down?

The Raiders could certainly do with exorcising the demons of that flopped feud with Jimmy and Jey from earlier this year.

Ronda Rousey recently spoke with Kurt Angle on The Kurt Angle Show about her transition from MMA to Pro Wrestling, and how wrestling’s predetermined nature helps keep Rousey’s mind at ease.

During the conversation, Rousey talked about how she’s not afraid of injuries in pro wrestling, as “injuries happen in everything.” She felt that the transition from MMA to wrestling was much easier, saying that there was “a lot less pressure.”

“Pre-determined winner,” Angle responded. “That’s got to help a lot,” his co-host continued.

“It really does help a lot,” Rousey said of pro wrestling, “and I don’t think pro wrestlers understand how much that it helps because a lot of times I’ll hear people be so offended that like, ‘How dare you call this fake! There’s no fake way to go through a table,’” Rousey continued, “or ‘This injury is real.’ And I’m like, ‘You guys, it’s not like the physical toll that makes something real.’”

“The injuries don’t enter into your mind,” Rousey said of her time in MMA. “It’s the anxiety and uncertainty of the result,” that makes the situation real, as opposed to the predetermined outcome of a pro-wrestling match.

Rousey’s focus on the result over the physical toll certainly helped her in the worlds of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and The UFC. The UFC Hall of Famer was a one-time Women’s Bantamweight Champion, as well as a bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

“Imagine if you didn’t win that gold medal, Kurt, and what that would have done to you for the rest of your life,” Rousey continued, “That is what makes it real to me.”

“Injuries, I don’t care. People get injured all the time playing ‘Pirates of Penzance,’” Rousey said, emphasizing the theatrical nature of her current profession, while also acknowledging the dangers of everyday life. “There’s a lot of difficult, physical things out there that the realism to me is that extreme anxiety.”

The mystery surrounding the potential departure of Sasha Banks from WWE has deepened; Banks herself appears to have rubbished Raj Giri’s report of her being released on an Instagram story, but Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men podcast was able to confirm that her “attorneys” were working towards it.

Zarian has also confirmed WWE’s feelings on the matter in the event of her exit actually happening. Apparently, the promotion is under the belief that they “clone” her.

Long-time fans of WWE will know the practise to which Zarian is referring; WWE has attempted to “clone” The Rock several times over the years by promoting the likes of Seth Rollins in 2019 as a stand-up comedian of sorts.

“In their minds, they could clone Sasha with somebody else and have her fit that role, and no problem. It is now a role you are playing,” Zarian explained. He elaborated by revealing that most WWE talents, with the exception of the Brock Lesnar, Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns types, are perceived as “mid-level actors”.

Cloning Sasha should be a doddle; all they need to do is pick somebody, anybody, because any wrestler will do for the role of a generational talent who remains the highest-drawing figure of WWE’s post-March 2020 pandemic era.

WWE legend Booker T has publicly criticised the company’s decision to unify both its Raw and SmackDown Tag-Team Titles.

Book told fans tuning into his ‘Hall Of Fame’ podcast that he liked the separation between both sets of belts across WWE’s major brands. Explaining, the former 11-time WCW Tag and three-time WWE World Tag-Team Champ said it’ll take a bigger toll on The Usos physically because they’ll be expected to work more.

“They’re going to have to defend those championships on the house shows, European tours, Monday night, Friday night…and that puts those guys in a position where they’ve got to work all week long”, the icon added.

Booker is mindful of the toll working so much could have on Jimmy and Jey – of course, WWE probably won’t expect The Usos to work on Raw and SmackDown every single week, or wrestle every single live event going either, but Book is concerned by the lack of time off generally.

He closed his rant by saying, “I’m going to tell you that right now. They’re going to have about one day at home to prepare and one day to get ready to get back on the road”.

The Usos are WWE’s new Undisputed Tag-Team Champions.

Jimmy and Jey beat RK-Bro boys Randy Orton and Riddle in a hot main event on Friday’s episode of SmackDown. The match was notable for interference from reigning Undisputed WWE Universal Champ Roman Reigns – that, in all likelihood, will be the babyface duo’s motivation for requesting a rematch at Hell In A Cell on 5 June.

Don’t be surprised if WWE moves quickly to announce that one.

Paul Heyman was on guest commentary for the match, but he also got involved at the end. SmackDown then went off the air with The Bloodline kicking seven shades of sh*t out of RK-Bro and standing proudly with all the gold.

This Raw/SmackDown Tag strap amalgamation will go in the history books, but it isn’t the first time Jimmy and Jey have held the Raw belts. They’re actually now three-time Raw Tag-Team Champions. WWE will likely skirt over that to crow about the Undisputed thing instead, and perhaps rightly so.

RK-Bro’s latest Raw Tag Title reign ended at 74 days. They beat Alpha Academy and the Kevin Owens/Seth Rollins combo in a three-way on the 7 March Raw to earn their second run as champs.

Dave Meltzer has reported in this week’s edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the planned main event for WWE Clash At The Castle, emanating from the Principality Stadium at Cardiff, Wales on September 3, 2022, is Roman Reigns Vs. Drew McIntyre.

“The plan for the show as of right now is Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre as the main event,” Meltzer reports, before adding “but if Tyson Fury is part of the show, it could change to him against McIntyre”.

How this impacts WWE’s other large-scale stadium events is unclear, since WWE has not built another act on SmackDown to McIntyre’s level; then again, the brand split is hardly enforced in 2022. It would be strange for WWE to book such a massive and potentially lucrative event, only to job out the home nation (just about) hero and kill the territory, so this might – might – even play host to the biggest title change in all of wrestling.

In news related to the event, ticket sales have failed to meet projections. 30,000 tickets have been sold at time of writing, despite WWE hyping up that 85,000 tickets had been signed up for to investors.

Historically low product interest in the UK, or the effects of the ongoing cost of living crisis?

WWE star Drew McIntyre wants the promotion to bring back the old European Championship… so that he can retire it again.

McIntyre said as much during a recent interview with talkSPORT’s Alex McCarthy. The Scot revealed that he dreamed of winning the European Title, which was retired in 2002, as a kid, but reckons WWE should reprise it for the benefit of his younger self:

“Yes! I just want it. Because when I was a kid and I saw it I was like ‘ah man, I want to be European champion’ and now I can’t because it doesn’t exist right now. I don’t like too many titles and there are a lot right now, but I just wanted it when I was a kid. So just bring it back, let me win it and then I’ll retire it. You never want too many titles in the company because then it’s not as special. I think where we’re at right now is good, but give ol’ Drew the European title for young Drew.”

A midcard singles belt throughout the Attitude Era and beyond, the European Championship first came into play in 1997, when The British Bulldog won a tournament to crown the inaugural champion. Such luminaries as Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Owen Hart, and Chris Jericho went on to hold it during its five-year lifespan, until Rob Van Dam unified it with the Intercontinental Championship in July 2002.

Although McIntyre was speaking in jest, WWE has never looked like bringing the European Championship back at any point in the past 20 years. The Intercontinental and United States Titles currently serve as the promotion’s midcard men’s straps.

The Wrestling Observer is reporting that Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey has been pencilled in as one possible main event for WWE’s WrestleMania 39 weekend next year.

That event, which is subtitled “WrestleMania Hollywood”, is currently scheduled to happen between 1-2 April in California’s SoFi Stadium. Dave Meltzer claims that a showdown between ‘Big Time Becks’ and Rousey could be on the cards for either night.

Vince McMahon is reportedly very keen to book Ronda vs. Becky as the final chapter between the pair – previously, Lynch and Rousey were the main story heading into ‘Mania 35. Then, WWE added Charlotte Flair to the mix and booked that headliner as a three-way instead.

Ronda lost to Flair at this year’s ‘Mania 38 before getting revenge in an “I Quit” bout at WrestleMania Backlash. The new SmackDown Women’s Champion is expected to hold that belt a while, but will WWE stretch her reign all the way through until next spring?

Stranger things have happened.

Becky vs. Ronda would have box office appeal if the feud was handled correctly. Lynch isn’t the same hard-nosed character she was back in 2019, so creative would need to go another route with the story.

Lance Storm thinks WWE’s recent booking of Lacey Evans is “asinine”.

The grappling legend told The Wrestling Observer’s Figure Four Daily that it made no sense to suddenly tease a heel turn for Lacey on last week’s SmackDown. Storm pointed out that he’s personally read several touching interactions between the WWE star and fans on social media.

He reckons WWE are confusing the hell out of everybody by suddenly pivoting away from that, but still using Evans’ real-life story in the process. That’s a fair point – previously, Lacey spoke passionately about her unique childhood and overcoming hardships in her life.

Then, last week, ring announcer Samantha Irvin introduced Evans like she was a heel. Doubling down on that, WWE had Lacey enthusiastically pander to fans like she was mocking them for believing her words.

Lance isn’t a fan of that, and worries that WWE will ruin a “feel good” story without having a clear direction in mind for Evans. The former WWE, ECW and WCW wrestler is also concerned that Lacey is ripping off his old Team Canada gimmick by asking fans to, “Please rise and show proper respect”.