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Billi Bhatti

About Billi Bhatti

I am a lifelong WWE Fan, and have followed MMA for the past decade. I have attended WWE and UFC events in the US, including every Wrestlemania since 2005.

Author Archive | Billi Bhatti

The Undertaker vs John Cena: Doomed to Never Happen?

WrestleMania 33 marks the 4th time Cena-Undertaker has been pulled from WrestleMania. I reveal why Vince McMahon has canceled it once AGAIN

Many expected John Cena vs. The Undertaker to main event the upcoming WrestleMania, and rightfully so. It is a huge match that has never happened on the grandest stage of them all and it was actually the plan going into 2017 until Vince McMahon changed his mind. This was sadly the fourth time that Vince McMahon decided to pull the match from a WrestleMania card.

WrestleMania 33 is not the first time The Undertaker vs John Cena has been cancelled, it was also shelved at WrestleMania 25, 26 and 32.

WrestleMania 25:

John Cena vs. The Undertaker was planned for WrestleMania 25 until McMahon decided he would go for two mega-matches instead, opting for Undertaker vs. Michaels and John Cena vs. Hulk Hogan, with Edge defending the WWE Title against Triple H.

As we all know, Hulk Hogan wasn’t medically cleared and WrestleMania 25 underwent major changes. The WWE booked a chaotic Elimination Chamber PPV, flip-flopping both it’s world titles. Triple H vs. Edge became Triple H vs. Randy Orton, with Triple H going in as WWE Champion and Edge had to defend the World Heavyweight Title against Cena and Big Show.

Jeff Hardy vs. Christian was also changed to Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy when the internet leaked that Christian had signed with WWE and was behind a number of mysterious attacks on Jeff Hardy. This becomes a very relevant fact, later on in this piece.

WrestleMania 26:

The WWE had concrete plans to do Cena-Taker at WrestleMania 26. The plans were so concrete, that they even had Undertaker Tombstone John Cena on Raw at MSG (see video below) on the Survivor Series 2009 go-home show.

Unfortunately, Shawn Michaels alerted WWE of his plans to retire and his desire to work with Triple H at WrestleMania 26. In one of the rare cases where Triple H and Michaels didn’t get their way, Vince McMahon decided he wanted The Undertaker to face Shawn Michaels in a rematch from WrestleMania 25, with Triple H programmed in with Sheamus and John Cena facing Batista for the WWE Title.

WrestleMania 32:

After being off the table for six years, mainly due to Cena working a 3-year program with The Rock, The Undertaker vs. Cena was set to be The Phenom’s final match in the WWE. Unfortunately, Cena was injured and fans saw Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon instead.Despite being fully poised to retire at this show, The Undertaker is now back for WrestleMania 33. See my previous article here for more about The Undertaker’s plan to retire last year.

WrestleMania 33:
The Undertaker will head to WrestleMania 33 to take on Roman Reigns, while John Cena may be placed in a very underwhelming role, as he teams with his girlfriend, Nikki Bella to take on Miz and Maryse. It’s quite sad to see a man who had a 5-star match at the Royal Rumble, take part in a mixed tag match at WrestleMania.

However, my sources tell me that Cena is now very keen to do the match, as the couple will be taking part in several mainstream media projects together to promote the match and themselves, on route to WrestleMania.

Back to WrestleMania 32…

WrestleMania 32 was meant to be biggest WrestleMania ever and the original card was very special. It was set to be:

  • The Undertaker vs. John Cena
  • Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title
  • The Rock w/Ronda Rousey vs Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon
  • Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks

Once WWE realised that The Rock vs. Triple H was not possible, they reshuffled their deck and came up with a new card. The new card looked like this:

  • The Undertaker vs. John Cena
  • Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
  • Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar, for the WWE Title
  • Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks

However, once the WWE lost Seth Rollins and John Cena, the card became an absolute mess. Brock Lesnar’s opponent actually changed three times, going from Daniel Bryan to Bray Wyatt to Dean Ambrose. As we all know, The Undertaker ended up taking on Shane-O-Mac and Triple H went in as WWE Champion against Roman Reigns.

So What’s the Deal with WrestleMania 33?

As we fast forward to now, WrestleMania 33 is suffering from the same chopping and changing as WrestleMania 32, despite having none of the injury concerns (I am assuming Seth Rollins is going to make it). To understand why Vince McMahon is making these changes, we have to understand Vince McMahon himself…

Vince has a massive ego…

Vince sees himself as a great mind and creator, which he has been in the past. WrestleMania 33 should have been the easiest card to book of all-time. However, the easy way isn’t the way of a great creator like Vince.

Instead of auto-piloting into WrestleMania 33 by giving fans the great matches they missed out on at WrestleMania 32, Vince McMahon probably could not resist the urge to let his creative juices flow and revamp the original card.

Vince hates spoilers…

As I pointed out earlier, the WWE once had plans to do a Jeff Hardy vs. Christian match, however, Vince changed that to a Hardy vs. Hardy program, once the internet leaked info about Christian re-signing with WWE and him being behind all the attacks on Jeff Hardy. This is NOT the only example of Vince swerving the internet.

Sometimes a card may benefit from changes after a leak. The leaked card for WrestleMania 27 featured Sheamus vs. Triple H and Wade Barrett vs. The Undertaker, but that was changed to Undertaker vs Triple H. When John Cena returned to Smackdown on December 27th, fans chanted “Un-der-taker.”

That immediately put the match in huge danger. Knowing that the internet knew what the great mind of Vince McMahon was planning, would not have sat well with Vince.

Vince had a plan…

There be an element of OCD to this one, but Vince had a plan in his mind for The Undertaker vs. John Cena, with the big picture being, The Undertaker got to win the WWE Title from AJ at the Royal Rumble, in his hometown and John Cena would tie Ric Flair by beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania.

This is how Vince McMahon saw things playing out and it was a grandiose plan. However, The Undertaker was not ready to go one on one with AJ and Cena vs. AJ was booked for Royal Rumble instead. So why not do Undertaker vs. Cena, with Cena going in as Champion instead?

I don’t know because I am not Vince McMahon, but it’s very likely that he soured on the idea because he wanted it to play out exactly as he saw it in his own mind.

An excuse for Randy Orton?

Vince McMahon has always been high on Randy Orton, particularly since his return last summer. He has urged his writers to find good stories for Orton and has been wanting to give him a good push. The fact that Undertaker could not make the Rumble, gave Vince McMahon the perfect chance to push Randy Orton higher up the card.

The WrestleMania 33 card now seems finalised, assuming Seth Rollins does make it. It is actually a pretty decent card, but it could have been better if McMahon’s original plans had stuck. Be sure to stay tuned to my podcast as we head towards WrestleMania 33.

This article was originally published at Sportskeeda.

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The Long Road to The Undertaker’s Retirement

The Undertaker was said to be feeling a great deal of pain following his short stint in the Royal Rumble. Many speculated on The Undertaker’s future last year when he left his gloves in the ring, a gesture that symbolises retirement in MMA. However, those who listen to The Dirty Sheets know that Undertaker WAS meant to retire last year.

We re-addressed this story again this week on one of our “DS Breaking news” podcasts (which you can hear below) while discussing Undertaker’s latest injuries from the Royal Rumble.

Many sources have told me that The Undertaker was adamant he would retire after WrestleMania 32. It was an agreement made on the weekend of WrestleMania 30. Prior to that, The Undertaker told Vince McMahon he was done after WrestleMania 28, but McMahon convinced him to stay and work two more WrestleManias.

The Undertaker planned to retire at WrestleMania 32, after facing John Cena in front of 100,000 people in his home state. However, John Cena suffered an injury and the WrestleMania 32 plans were thrown into disarray, with Shane McMahon was brought in at the last minute to replace John Cena.

A stipulation was added, that Shane would run RAW if he could beat The Undertaker. The Undertaker and Vince McMahon agreed that the Shane McMahon match was not the match to finish his career with and they agreed to begin a new storyline where The Undertaker would lose the match to Shane on purpose, in order to stick it to Vince McMahon, setting up a story that would conclude at WrestleMania 33.

The finish was set to be The Undertaker hitting Shane with a Tombstone, and then putting an unconscious Shane over his own body. He would then explain that he did it to secure a healthier future for WWE under Shane’s leadership and because he hated Vince McMahon.

Knowing The Undertaker was committed for one more year, the WWE even booked The Undertaker for a UK show in London, at the O2 arena (see video below).

However, somewhere between setting up the match and two weeks before WrestleMania, The Undertaker decided that the grind of getting into fighting shape for WrestleMania was too much for him and he told Vince that he would be finishing up after WrestleMania 32.

Feeling there was no convincing Taker to stay this time, Vince announced the stipulation that The Undertaker would never wrestle at a WrestleMania again if he lost.

The promoters of the UK tour were not aware of Vince’s decision until WrestleMania week. They were told that BOTH Daniel Bryan and The Undertaker were off of the UK tour and would be replaced by Shane McMahon. They told me at the time that, “they knew this was not an equal replacement and were prepared for the uproar this would cause.” They were also angry that the WWE ran The Undertaker advert (see above), all the way up to the advertised date, knowing The Undertaker was finished.

On the Saturday afternoon before WrestleMania, Vince McMahon decided to abandon the finish where Undertaker would place Shane onto his own body and decided that The Undertaker would be going over instead. It made NO SENSE to the story.

Shane was still going to run RAW and remain on TV, but The Undertaker WAS still going retire, so the original finish made much more sense, however, Vince went ahead with the illogical changed finish of Undertaker winning. Shane lost the match at WrestleMania 32, and ran RAW anyway, before being given SmackDown.

The Undertaker wandered off into the sunset, seemingly done with wrestling. It made a complete mockery of the stipulation and rendered the match completely irrelevant.

Somehow Vince McMahon has managed to bring back The Undertaker once again. Maybe it was the dissatisfaction of finishing his career against Shane, maybe it was the money or maybe this guy just can’t say no. The Undertaker returned to TV last November, with plans to face AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble in January and John Cena at WrestleMania 33.

However, once again, things were changed. The Undertaker wasn’t ready to work a full match with Styles, so Vince McMahon decided to have John Cena face Styles instead, with The Undertaker going into WrestleMania as the challenger.

A few weeks later, Vince changed his mind again (a common theme in this article), and decided that he did not want to do The Undertaker vs. John Cena match at all (I shall be doing a more detailed story on this later on in the week, here on Sportskeeda).

Vince McMahon then decided to move The Undertaker to RAW, where he was originally slated to face Finn Balor, however, this was changed to Roman Reigns when Finn Balor failed his medical, the week of the Royal Rumble, as outlined in a previous article.

Dave Meltzer reported that The Undertaker vs. Cena match had been changed, but it wasn’t so bad as it had been scrapped for “something the fans would love.” That was set to be Undertaker vs. Balor. Unfortunately, this plan didn’t materialise due to Balor’s failure to recover in time for the Royal Rumble angle, which was given to Roman Reigns.

Meltzer certainly was not referring to anything involving Roman Reigns when he said, “something fans would love.” However, despite ‘Taker’s poor physical condition and the fans dislike of Reigns, I feel that the match will come off well.

I believe that the fans hatred of Reigns will add heat to the match, as the crowd will desperately want Undertaker to win, which will mask the shortcomings of The Undertaker, as their investment is guaranteed. This may pan out to be better than a Balor vs. Taker match, where you have two guys people like, so you are less inclined to care about the result.

TLDR;

A lot has been made of The Undertaker’s condition at the Royal Rumble. However, it has to be understood that the guy just underwent surgery and is in his 50’s. He will be ready for WrestleMania 33 after which, I don’t think we should see him do anything again until the build for WrestleMania 34, the event where he should have his final match.

It would be fitting to have his final match at WrestleMania 34, in New Orleans, where the streak ended. After that, there should be no more talks between McMahon and Undertaker about doing anything more.

The WWE needs to move on without The Undertaker. I expect The Undertaker to end his WrestleMania career at 23-3, as he puts over two future talents at WrestleMania 33 and 34. Unfortunately, I think this rules out ever seeing an Undertaker vs. John Cena encounter at a WrestleMania, but hopefully I am wrong.

This article was originally published at Sportskeeda.

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Why Brock Lesnar WILL Wrestle in a RAW tournament & Win WWE Universal Title

Could Brock Lesnar be wrestling in a Raw tournament to crown a No.1 contender for the WWE Universal Title at WrestleMania 33? I explain why.

As I laid out in my previous article, this year’s Royal Rumble may be the most open Royal Rumble ever, with six new betting favorites in four months. However, for me, the biggest hints regarding the direction the WWE could be going in, may have been dropped this week. The first hint seemingly came when Shane McMahon announced that the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match would be a WWE Title match. I had originally believed that Smackdown would use the Elimination Chamber to crown their No.1 contender, meaning the Royal Rumble winner would come from Raw. However, this announcement means that neither Raw or Smackdown have a clear way of crowning their own No.1 Contender after the Royal Rumble, should the winner come from the opposing brand. So why would the Chamber not be for No.1 Contender status? In addition to that, why has the advertised WWE Title match, a two out of three falls rematch between Cena vs AJ Styles, been changed to an Elimination Chamber match? Could it be because the Royal Rumble winner will be a Smackdown talent and the Elimination Chamber needed a reason to exist?

This brings me to my second hint, the Raw dates of Brock Lesnar. It was revealed this week that Brock Lesnar is now advertised for all RAW events going into the Fastlane pay-per-view on March 5th, except the February 13th RAW in Las Vegas because he’s currently serving a suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission over the failed drug tests related to UFC 200.

Lesnar’s updated schedule looks like this:

  • January 16th – RAW in Little Rock
  • January 20th – live event in Buffalo
  • January 23rd – RAW in Cleveland
  • January 29th – Royal Rumble in San Antonio
  • January 30th – RAW in Laredo
  • February 4th – live event in Salt Lake City
  • February 6th – RAW in Portland
  • February 17th – live event in Dallas
  • February 20th – RAW in Los Angeles
  • February 27th – RAW in Green Bay
  • March 6th – RAW in Chicago
  • March 12th – live event in New York City
  • March 13th – RAW in Detroit
  • March 20th – RAW in Brooklyn
  • April 2nd – WrestleMania 33 in Orlando

This an extremely busy schedule for Brock Lesnar. I can’t imagine that Brock is making all these appearances to simply show up with Paul Heyman and speak about Bill Goldberg, especially when Goldberg is wrestling at WWE Fastlane against a different opponent. My theory is, that Brock Lesnar will be wrestling in a No.1 contender tournament to see who faces the WWE Universal Champion at WrestleMania 33. I believe that Raw will announce this tournament after a Smackdown talent wins the Royal Rumble. This will leave the door open for Goldberg to defeat the WWE Universal Champion at Fastlane and for Brock Lesnar to win the Raw tournament and challenge Goldberg at WrestleMania 33. This would be a great way to rebuild Brock after his 86 second loss and It would be a chance to get the Universal Title onto Goldberg, which is something I believe the fans would like to see. It would also raise the stakes for the final match between Goldberg vs Lesnar, making light of Lesnar’s two losses, as he would win the final and most significant match of their trilogy. Winning a WrestleMania main event for the WWE Universal Title would certainly be the most significant win in the Goldberg vs Lesnar trilogy.

With Shane’s announcement and the information about Brock Lesnar’s WrestleMania dates, I believe we may have been given our biggest clues to date regarding the winner of the Royal Rumble, what the direction is for Brock Lesnar and WrestleMania 33 in general. If I am wrong, it will be very interesting to see how WWE use Brock Lesnar for all these additional dates, the highest amount of consecutive dates he’s ever had since his 2012 return to the WWE. I do not believe Brock Lesnar’s contract incurs additional costs, should he wrestle on TV, as he has wrestled on several major WWE house shows in the last twelve months. Those matches have all be very quick five-minute matches, and I believe the opening two tournament matches will be the same, until we get to the final match, which will most likely take place on March 6th in Chicago, the night after WWE Fastlane. If this theory is correct, the WWE will once again face the issue it faced last time Lesnar was Champion, in that the Universal Title will be off TV for several weeks and not defended on house shows. However, I feel it will be beneficial long-term, as the person who defeats Brock Lesnar for the gold, probably at SummerSlam, will be looked at as a truly massive star. Stay tuned to my podcast, the Dirty Sheets, as we will continue to cover and discuss the interesting road to WrestleMania 33.

This article was originally published at Sportskeeda.

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The Most Open Royal Rumble Ever

A look at who could possibly win the most wide open Royal Rumble ever, where even the betting favorite has changed six times in four months

It’s fairly standard protocol for the WWE to tell you that their annual Royal Rumble event is “anyone’s for the taking” and that everyone has an equal one in thirty shot, however, that is never ever the reality, with the Rumble usually being between two or three guys at best, and often it’s simply a predictable one horse race.This year appears to be a massive exception to the norm, with the number of potential winners now exceeding double figures and with no clear betting favorite. In addition to that, the betting favorite has changed six times since SummerSlam.Let’s have a look at the changes in favoritism.

Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins: Lesnar and Seth Rollins were originally was installed as joint 4/1 favorites. As it became clear that both were penciled in for matches against Shane McMahon and Triple H, their odds plummeted.

For those not clued up about what these odds mean, they mean a $100 bet on either would return $500 ($400 profit and the $100 stake returned).

Finn Balor: Finn spent a large amount of time as the favorite, with rumors indicating that he would be fit to return by the Royal Rumble. Having vacated the Universal Title after SummerSlam, Finn Balor seemed like the logical favorite.

Goldberg: After his win over Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series, Goldberg extended his deal with WWE and announced his entry into the Royal Rumble. The bookmakers reacted and instantly installed Goldberg as the favorite. He has since drifted out to 14/1.

Chris Jericho: Jericho spent a short time as the favorite after Roadblock, with the belief obviously being that Owens and Jericho would square off at WrestleMania, with the WWE Universal Title on the line.

Although the pair will certainly face at WrestleMania, it looks unlikely to be for the Universal Title, after Jericho captured the US Title. It’s highly unlikely that WWE would book the match as Champion vs Champion and bookmakers agree, with Jericho now out to 12/1.

The Undertaker: This is an extremely interesting one and demonstrates the current power of internet rumors. Many assumed that The Undertaker would simply win the Rumble and face John Cena.

However, Undertaker’s odds ironically drifted out after him announcing his involvement in the Rumble on RAW, as Dave Meltzer reported that Vince McMahon had canceled the Cena vs Undertaker match and that Undertaker had been moved onto Raw.

This has not been confirmed by WWE whatsoever, however, this story was picked up by every major internet wrestling site, resulting in Undertaker no longer being the favorite.

Braun Strowman: For weeks on my podcast, I have ridiculed any possibility of the WWE actually booking Roman Reigns vs Strowman for the WWE Universal Title at WrestleMania, despite it looking like the direction that the company’s taking on TV.

I can not fathom that WWE would be so blind as to book a match in a such a high profile spot, that will be undoubtedly booed by 70,000 people. However, as it stands, Strowman is currently the favorite to win the Rumble at 2/1.

He is also the odds-on favorite to eliminate the most men (odds-on means you have to bet more than your actual possible profit. He is currently 4/5, so you would have to bet $100 to win $180, so only an $80 profit from your $100 bet).

My thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, the Royal Rumble is wide open. I initially favored a Raw participant to win the Rumble, believing that Smackdown Live would use the Elimination Chamber (the next Smackdown PPV), to crown their No.1 contender.

I believed that the company would have Brock Lesnar win the Royal Rumble and Goldberg win the WWE Universal Title at WWE Fastlane on Sunday 5th March. It would be a great way to rebuild Brock after his 86 second loss and It would be a chance to get the Title onto Goldberg, which is something I believe the fans would like to see.

It would also raise the stakes for the final match between Goldberg vs Lesnar, making Lesnar’s two losses irrelevant, as he would win the final and most significant match of their trilogy.

The only problem with doing this is that the Universal Title would belong to a part-timer for several months, possibly up to SummerSlam in August.

However, my theory was thrown out the window last Tuesday when Shane McMahon announced that the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match would simply be a WWE Title defense by the Champion (AJ or Cena).

This now means that neither Raw or Smackdown have a clear way of crowning their own No.1 Contender, should the winner come from the opposing brand.

This opens the door wide open to both brands housing the Rumble winner, and a whole host of options, where even a debutante like Samoa Joe is being talked about as a contender.

Be it by accident or by design, the WWE have done a great job in making this year’s Royal Rumble genuinely unpredictable and must-see. Stay tuned to my podcast, The Dirty Sheets, as we will continue to speculate who will win the 2017 Royal Rumble.

This article was originally published at Sportskeeda.

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Legends Series Podcast Ep. 4: Hulk Hogan, Part Four

Let me tell you something, maniacs, Part 4 of the Legends Series sees the guys discuss the botched WCW / ECW / WWF invasion before continuing to review Hulk Hogan’s return to with the nWo, his matches with the Rock, Vince McMahon, Brock Lesnar and more.

Greig rants on Stone Cold AND HBK, while Billi compares his own reality TV experiences to Hogan Knows Best.

The guys even fall into an Unfunny Nerd Tangent and realise a four-part series just isn’t enough, Brother!

Hosted By: ‘Dirty Jesus’ Billi Bhatti (@DirtyJesusBrand)

Featuring: Greig (@greigT13) and Nick (@nick_fromNY).

Music by Rick Derringer (@rickderringer)

This episode has been archived. We’ll be glad to provide it on demand – just send us an email and let us know which episode number you are looking for… OR for instant access to our full archives, become a Patreon supporter!

SUBSCRIBE in iTunes: [Click here].

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