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Podcast Episode 270: Fastlane 2017 Results

Uh oh. There’s a slow car in the fast lane, and traffic is getting backed up. People are getting frustrated, and looking for some way to just get past all of this. No, it’s not just a road trip to Vegas – it’s the Road to WrestleMania.

Fastlane was full of confusing booking decisions, and RAW more or less continued them. I can’t honestly say I’m excited by anything happening on RAW these days. Save us, SmackDown! Save WrestleMania!

Featuring: Psyniac (@rawispsyniac), Joshua Schlag (@thesteelcage / @schlizzag), and ‘The Mayor of Reseda’ Derek (@cap_kaveman).

Music by The Black Furies, courtesy of Music Alley.

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The Steel Cage Standings – February 2016

Hello and welcome to the Steel Cage Standings where I, Psyniac, go through the past month of WWE TV and rank the situations of the Top 10 and Bottom 3 superstars of the main roster and the Top 3 of NXT to boot. We’re on the rocky road to WrestleMania 32 and it’s way less delicious than it sounds. Now we’re clear of Fast Lane, the writing team is in a hurry to make sense of storylines for both the grandest sports entertainment show and the earlier Network special, WWE RoadBlock. But let’s look back over February and see how well everything stacks up.


10. The Dudley Boyz

Whilst the thought hadn’t necessarily crossed my own mind that it had begun, there was a definite likelihood of The Dudley Boyz really treading water as they approach six months back in the WWE. Thus, a heel turn was the correct decision to make with D’von and Bubba Ray declaring that their legacy “won’t be defined by a piece of furniture”. There’s very little to really care about when it comes The Usos; they put on solid matches but, as I said last week, they’re about as charismatic as your local bus driver. It’ll be interesting to see where heel Dudleyz go later in the year but for now they’re likely to pre-show material for WrestleMania.

09. Dolph Ziggler


Dolph has had yet another year of floundering. Let us not forget that terrible Ziggler/Summer/Rusev/Lana storyline. Or maybe let us, come to think of it. Regardless, this month he provided he still has what it takes to put on great matches and even cut a half-decent promo in his slapdash feud with Kevin Owens. Two victories over one of the biggest heels in the company at current is a big deal but I can say with some certainty that it’s not going anywhere and those two victories will amount to very little in the long-run, particularly since The Miz went over Dolph in a totally pointless, two-minute match on the last Raw of the month.

08. Charlotte

Whilst cracks have appeared in Charlotte’s in-ring performance more and more over her time on the main roster, she’s found at least a little footing in her work as a heel. Example: her match with Brie was an absolute train-wreck. But, following this on Raw, she managed to come off as the total asshole she’s playing by toying with the emotions of Becky and Sasha and pitting the two against each other for #1 contender-ship. She’s annoying and she’s meant to be and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to her dropping the belt to one of the absolute heroines that are Becky and Sasha.

07. AJ Styles


AJ has had a difficult first month in WWE. Facing off against Chris Jericho was a match made in heaven and one of those moments that was truly mind-boggling. Quite rightfully, and to the cheers of fans everywhere, Styles got the first win before Jericho evened the odds. Naturally, the two squared off one last time at Fast Lane and Styles pulled it out of the bag. Then the following night on Raw, instead of AJ being inserted into his next exciting program he wound up tag teaming with Y2J. This seems like a squandered opportunity and, whilst the Tag Team Champions have no real competition otherwise, I would have much preferred to see AJ strike out on his own on his way to the top.

06. Kevin Owens

With the WWE moving the Intercontinental title off of Ambrose so that they could place him more easily into the main event picture, throwing the belt back to Owens was the right decision. In fact, it’s a shame he had to lose it for such a brief time at all but never-mind. As predictable as it is, this should be the guy AJ Styles wants to face. Sadly, what we have at the moment is some sort of Big Show feud for WWE Roadblock and probably some kind of ladder match at ‘Mania. Still, Owens wears the belt well and remains a stable part of WWE’s upper mid-card, as proved by his fantastic match at Fast Lane with The Show-Off.

05. The New Day


Back to the Tag Team Champions, The New Day delivered a mixed bag of hilarity this month. Their segment at Fast Lane with Edge and Christian was long-winded and, as it turned out, totally pointless. Gladly, the trio have found a way to spin their sudden semi-feud with the League of Nations on it’s head with entertaining Twitter videos. However, in terms of the story on Raw, there isn’t much to get excited about regarding Big E, Kofi and Xavier taking on such a poorly built stable nor “Y2AJ” and it’s uncomfortable to see just how out of every other team’s league (no pun intended) these guys still are.

04. Triple H

Triple H securing the belt away from the grubby mitts of Reigns at the Royal Rumble was totally expected and also totally fine, all in all. It was nothing to write home about, which is why he didn’t even appear on the Steel Cage Standings last month. However, his return to Raw two weeks ago is definitely worth talking about. With the crowd so firmly against Roman, Trips fully embraced the cheers and “yes” chants as he beat the living snot out of the company’s golden boy by doing the DX chop as he stood tall. It was totally not what he was there to do and it was utterly hilarious.

03. Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch


Another draw this month, this time between the two women competing for the Diva’s title who did a fine job knocking off Naomi and Tamina at Fast Lane. At this stage, I’ll be happy with either of them winning the title at WrestleMania and it’s definitely looking like they’ll both be getting a shot at it. Becky has had the long-play story of being Charlotte’s former partner and the crowd is totally behind her but they also recognise Sasha’s in-ring superiority. That’s not a knock on Lynch at all. Sasha is just better than pretty much everyone ever. This storyline is simple but effective because it relies on the belt and no catfighting rubbish and I’m more excited to see where this leads than most other stories in the WWE right now.

02. Shane McMahon

Here comes the money indeed. AJ Styles’ debut may have been more unrealistic of a dream but Shane’s return this month was at least as, if not more, shocking. The internet was swiftly ablaze with what it all meant and Shane-o declared his intent to take control of Monday Night Raw by defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania. The storyline may have come out of left-field but in certain respects it makes sense and there’s enough excitement there that it will without a doubt be one of the most looked forward to matches of the card, if only for curiosity’s sake.

With Shane having such a history of reckless abandon and his stint at WrestleMania 32 taking place instead Hell in a Cell this could go many, many ways. Place your bets now on just how far these two guys will go despite being possibly told otherwise. With The Streak being done and dusted, it’s entirely possible that Shane will beat ‘Taker and go onto oust The Authority once more. And if he doesn’t? Well, add this to the pile of stories that never went anywhere.

01. Dean Ambrose


Shane may have been the most mind-blowing person on this list but Ambrose inches it out again this month, stealing it from under someone else’s nose, as he often does. The reason for this is because of his consistent quality. Whenever there’s a lull in production, WWE thrusts Ambrose forward like a snarling, drooling guard dog and he jumps at the chance to prove his worth. Yet time and time again the company pass up on him being “The Guy” and February 2016 was yet more proof that he absolutely should be.

Ambrose was framed on the lead up to Fast Lane as the most interesting and, more importantly, most sympathetic character in the triple threat for #1 contender-ship and yet he still lost due to the total no-selling of Roman Reigns. With their main man still getting booed despite this (or in spite of this?), Ambrose is taking the lead on the episodes of Raw that Reigns is missing and progressing the story of both his WrestleMania feud with Brock and his Roadblock with Triple H for the title. In the last Raw of the month, he stood toe-to-toe with the champ, looked totally viable and cut one hell of an entertaining promo. Ambrose has been #1 on the Standings before and he will be again.


03. The Wyatt Family

Christ almighty, what a mess. In what appeared to be a build-up to Wyatt VS Brock, the Family started their annual tradition of going into WrestleMania strong and it was all looking a little bit interesting again but it appears to have been dropped in a very quick hurry. At FastLane, The Wyatt Family lost to a combination of Ryback, Big Show and Kane; a group that would disband practically immediately afterwards. Now, hurtling towards the biggest show of the year, they’re cutting yet more yawn-worthy cryptic promos and have no clear direction.

02. The League of Nations

Speaking of floundering stables… although these guys were basically never on the up and up. The League of Nations have achieved all but squat since forming starting with a total lack of menace or integrity. Sure, they recently beat the current United States Champion but when they have so little presence it doesn’t feel like there was any actual intent to it. What a waste of decent competitors.

01. Roman Reigns


I’m at the risk of sounding like a stuck record here but I’m pretty sure that counts for just about every single one of you reading this. If your babyface challenger is getting booed right up until the moment you take him off-screen then you’re probably doing it wrong. It remains to be seen how bad Reigns’ nose injury is and how many episodes of Raw he’ll miss before ‘Mania but A. all the cities they’re visiting won’t be kind to him if he is there and B. they’re running out of time to change their terrible decisions. Smash cut to Vince with his fingers in his ears yelling “I can’t hear you”.


03. Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn is back in NXT and he’s here to stay. Rightfully placed back at the top of the card, Zayn has had some great encounters with Corbin and Joe. In fact, these have made the latter star actually interesting to me for the first time since joining the company, and that’s partly down to just how badly I want Sami to succeed. Whilst the continuous DQ finishes aren’t the most original idea in the world, it’s all about the slow build to Sami Zayn’s NXT TakeOver Dallas opponent and that reveal is almost here.

02. #Baymella

Carmella earned her title shot in January and put on a fun match with Women’s Champion Bayley this month which resulted in the two really bringing their off-camera friendship to the forefront. This then naturally coincided with Eva Marie’s hunger for the belt and the two squared off with her and Nia Jax in what has been a really fun feud. Bayley has done a great job down in NXT assisting in creating another batch of (mostly) interesting, new female stars and, as they say on the show, the future is now.

01. American Alpha


There’s something to be said about hype. It burns out. Chad Gable & Jason Jordan, however, have proved they are not just a passing trend. Now under the pseudonym American Alpha, the two have continued to dominate the tag team division of NXT with incredible matches and they become more and more charismatic by the day. It’s only a matter of time before they get their hands on the belts and when I start thinking about what these guys do in the main roster a year from now I get giddy. So believe the hype.

You can find Psyniac on Twitter at Raw is Psyniac where he tweets about Raw 18 hours after it’s aired, how much he loves Finn Bálor and, occasionally, candy.

Podcast Episode 216: Return of the Mac

Dollar, dollar! Dollar, dollar!

Dollar, dollar! Dollar, dollar!

Here comes the money!!!!!! Here comes the money! Shane McMahon is back!

Shut up. Stop trying to be logical. Just for a moment or two at least. This is amazing. Wait. He’s fighting The Undertaker? In a Hell in a Cell match? Um. K.

Wait, Triple H is beating Roman Reigns to a pulp, now? Do I cheer him? Oh, he’s covered in blood, and he did the fist cock, and the crotch chop. Hell yeah, I’m cheering him! For now, at least.

This whole thing has a TON of plot holes, but there’s some fun stuff to enjoy in the interim. I just hope they fill the gaps by the time WrestleMania comes around. They have time to do so, at least.

Hosted by: ‘Dirtee Jesus’ Billi Bhatti (@DirteeJesus)

Featuring: Joshua Schlag (@thesteelcage / @schlizzag), ‘The Mayor of Reseda’ Derek (@cap_kaveman), ‘A Bomb’ Adam Hess (@ahess49), ‘Hot Podcast Garbage’ Sprung (@jasprung), ‘Super Jew’ Jared (@SuperJew75), and ‘The Beast from the Middle East’ Darrell Johnson (@zazzumplop).

Music by The Black Furies, courtesy of Music Alley.

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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Podcast Episode 215: Fastlane 2016 Preview

The prize fighter again has his prize!

The prize fighter again has his prize!

The moment of truth is upon us. We’ll soon have pretty solid answers about what WrestleMania’s card will look like. Will we have to put up with more Roman Reigns in the ‘A Story’, or will the fan base get to have a sense of unity in backing Dean Ambrose?

I don’t even know if I’m cautiously optimistic anymore. Regardless, I remain hopeful.

Hosted by: Joshua Schlag (@thesteelcage / @schlizzag)

Featuring: ‘The Mayor of Reseda’ Derek (@cap_kaveman), ‘A Bomb’ Adam Hess (@ahess49), ‘Dirtee Jesus’ Billi Bhatti (@DirteeJesus), and ‘Hot Podcast Garbage’ Sprung (@jasprung).

Music by The Black Furies, courtesy of Music Alley.

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].

Add us to your favorites on Stitcher: [Click here].

Listen via TuneIn Radio: [Click here].

SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel: [Click here].

The Steel Cage Standings – January 2015

Hello and welcome to the Steel Cage Standings where I, Psyniac, go through the past month of WWE TV and rank the situations of the Top 10 and Bottom 3 superstars of the main roster and the Top 3 of NXT to boot. The first month of WWE programming in 2016 was definitely an interesting one that managed to be both pretty run-of-the-mill with very little in the way of surprising story-telling development but exciting in regards to the acquisition of several NJPW talents. The Royal Rumble has come and gone and I think overall everyone was pretty happy. But who looked the best coming out of it?


10. R-Truth

As I’ve mentioned previously, R-Truth’s Slammy for “LOL Moment of the Year” was pretty well deserved and what helped was the fact that WWE didn’t shove the joke down our throats all year, instead bringing it out now and then. The latest one may have topped the others as R-Truth entered the Royal Rumble PPV and, for some reason, assumed it was Money in the Bank; setting up a ladder, climbing it and then exclaiming “where’s the briefcase?!” in dismay. Who knows if there’s anything more to the “Golden Truth” pairing beyond “remember when Goldust used to freak-out Booker?” but the segments, at the very least, have been amusing.

09. Sasha Banks


To be fair to Charlotte and Becky, their storyline was good enough that I didn’t spend too much time wondering where exactly Sasha Banks had disappeared to but when she returned at Royal Rumble she grabbed every millimetre of the spotlight. That says it all about how fantastic she is at everything. She truly personifies wrestling; great on the mic, great in the ring and her character is so good that you watch wide-eyed to see where she takes the story next.

08. Kalisto

Last month, Kalisto surprised us all with an incredible spot in the tag team TLC match. What wasn’t a surprise is that this (and an injury for his partner Sin Cara) has lead to some kind of solo push which has gone pretty well all in all. He’s gotten a little bit of charisma out of Alberto Del Rio in their feud, especially by keeping it away from the subpar League of Nations group, and the two have put on a variety of matches to differing quality. Battling multiple times on Smackdown and Raw lead to some great battles (and two very quick, ultimately pointless title changes). Their match at Royal Rumble was pretty botcha-riffic but all in all the overall quality has made Kalisto look like a capable singles performer.

07. The Rock


Quite often, The Rock’s returns to the WWE have been trite and not all that they were cracked up to be. We still don’t know for sure exactly what Rocky has signed up to do at this year’s Wrestlemania. Chances are, THAT will be disappointing. However, this month he promoted this mystery on Raw with a sizeable chunk on the final episode of the month and it managed to entertaining all throughout; with Rock entering the arena, having amusing chats with Big Show and Lana (with continuity in both!) and delivering a great promo from gorilla position all in one single shot. After coming down to the ring he then proceeded to quickly get a bored crowd on his side by acknowledging cosplaying fans before clashing on the microphone with today’s monument to charisma, The New Day. And it was good.

06. Brock Lesnar

It says a lot about a star that he can be gone as long as he sees fit, whilst still technically being regarded as part of the roster, and all eyes will be on him as soon as he returns. Brock Lesnar, despite his absences, is still a big part of WWE. On the lead-up to the Royal Rumble he was one of the most exciting entrants. We started with Heyman logically trying to sneak his client out of the match and automatically into the Wrestlemania main event. When it was clear that this wasn’t the way The Authority was going to swing, Lesnar had some great moments taking out fellow competitors on Raw before succumbing to the numbers of the Wyatt Family, who also threw him out of the Rumble early. Right now he’s an interesting component of the Fast Lane PPV and it remains to be seen if he and the Wyatts will face off for real but either way there’s plenty to be intrigued about.

05. The New Day


For the first time in a while, or perhaps ever, The New Day have had a pretty mixed month. Their verbal spats with Jericho weren’t exactly the sort of quality we’ve come to expect from either and it didn’t really find a proper end point. Y2J did break Xavier’s prized trombone Francesca which, along with the funeral that followed it, was a great moment but instantly reviving the instrument stank out of running in circles. It’s not The New Day’s fault they have next to no opponents either. They put on great matches with the Usos and have done for most of their tenure but it’s nothing new. Kofi, Xavier and Big E need something new to sink their teeth into.

04. #SocialOutcasts

Speaking of factions, the newly formed #SocialOutcasts’ momentum could be an easy comparison but I’m settling into being cautiously optimistic about the union of Adam Rose, Bo “Rider” Dallas, Curtis Axel and Heath Slater. Bizarrely, their clashing non-gimmicks actually work really well together as the group are totally out of sync. Raw overall needs to do a better job of presenting it’s characters because the group have had some great segments on and on the Royal Rumble pre-show, talking over each other and generally causing chaos. It remains to be seen what exactly the plan is with these guys, if there even is one, and whether or not WWE will stick with any particular alignment or story but for the time being they’re a highlight of the slower shows.

03. Becky Lynch


Becky Lynch might be the first totally over pure-face of the “Diva’s division” since AJ Lee about three years ago. Her story with Charlotte was so natural that it almost seems like the creative team didn’t bother to do anything with it and just let the wrestlers figure it out. In fact, I’m pretty convinced that’s what they did. Charlotte’s eventual heel turn, reliance on her Father and steadily dirtier cheap tricks caused her some real heat whilst Becky got more and more sympathy before she earned herself a title match by goading it out of Ric Flair in a very convincing promo. Let’s hope, even with Sasha’s return, she isn’t totally out of the picture because it was great to hear a crowd so behind a female competitor.

02. Kevin Owens & Dean Ambrose

Last month I talked about how Owens has been the most consistently good heel but January he upped that by basically being the most consistently good employee, although it would be hard not to give the same award to Ambrose so this month I’m going to give both the honour of second place. It helps that the past month the two have been so heavily involved with each other. Ambrose/Owens in a Last Man Standing was, unsurprisingly, match of the night at Royal Rumble but it’s what they did next that really showed they care about the show. Both men sold injuries from their previous fight as they made their way down to the ring once more for the One VS All Royal Rumble match and even still into the next night. As for Owens? Extra special mention for his facial expressions as he furiously clashed with Ambrose, Styles and Zayn in the Rumble.

01. AJ Styles

aj styles

Without a doubt the most exciting thing about January 2016 has been the turn-around of rumour to debut of former TNA and NJPW star AJ Styles. This is one of the guys that, for a while, it was a safe assumption to make that we would never see in a WWE ring. The idea of it would have been laughable even as late as December last year. But suddenly, that belief was blown out of the water as AJ Styles made his very first appearance for WWE as #3 in the Royal Rumble and the crowd and internet both collectively exploded. I, myself, remember vividly screaming “what?” and, even now, just looking at it… it doesn’t seem real..

Styles had a great showing for the Rumble; showing his experience and talent whilst working with guys he never has been and not going so far as to seem forced upon us. WWE have been adamant to really talk up his talents but his placement on the card right now isn’t assured so I’m not too worried. If he was thrown right into the main event I’m sure he’d endure it fine but I want a slow burn. I want to see him face with several long-staying WWE employees along the way as well as other indy darlings. And who better to face in his opening night on Raw than Jericho?


03. Roman Reigns

Or, more specifically, the Royal Rumble booking. WWE should have literally spelt it out for us; “we’re trying our best to make Roman Reigns look like the most important man in the world”. The Rumble PPV was centred entirely on him; Roman defended his title in a match that was based on his “catchphrase”, he would enter at #1 and, to make matters worse and as good as it looked, the graphic design of marble characters was a clear nod to Reigns’ first name. His participation in the match though? Being taken out by the cheating League of Nations would’ve been fine but why not wait until Triple H was ready to come out if he wanted to eliminate him himself? And why did Roman walk to the back when receiving medical attention? If they’re pushing him to be the next Stone Cold, shouldn’t he have been fighting to get back in the match? How can I be sympathetic for any of that?

02. The Usos

The term “charisma vacuum” gets thrown about now and then but The Usos may as well be a “charisma blackhole”. I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again: in-ring they can really deliver. But who are they? And why should we care? And why do they keep getting tag team title shots? Probably because they’re the only other tag team on the roster. Us-oh no.

01. Vince McMahon


I’m not proud to say I called it, mostly because it was incredibly obvious and because it was dull beyond words. Vince returning to Raw for the first time was at the very least a little intriguing but his repeated appearances got worse and worse as he tried to reproduce the lighting in a bottle of Austin VS Mr McMahon with his beloved Roman and proceeded to just make groan-worthy TV. The tip of this mountain was watching him trying to use a lottery machine to declare Reigns as the #1 Rumble entrant and not being able to open the damn balls holding the names. Depressing.


03. The Mechanics

I’ve been wanting to talk about the Mechanics in a full for a while now. Just before they got a hold of the NXT Tag Team titles I was thinking they made a decent team but WWE managed to surprise again by putting the belts on these virtually unknown heels, just like they did with Blake & Murphy. Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson have done just a good a job by talking trash backstage and working perfectly in-sync. They might not be flashy but, as bad guys, I actually quite like that. They’re cooking some decent heat that’s going to make for a fun pop when they’re finally put down. Sidenote: their music is so bad that it makes me laugh.

02. Sami Zayn

Zayn continued his return to the top of NXT this month by staking his claim to the NXT title. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t the only one and was thrown into a Triple Threat with two imposing heel characters, Baron Corbin and Samoa Joe, that ended in a pretty interesting state of affairs. Sami has been back a very short amount of time. He might not be as over as he was when he went out but he’s already demonstrated why he’s so well-loved: incredible athletic performances, powerful mic work and, most importantly, great story-telling.

01. Carmella


I’ve heard more negative opinions about the NXT/Performance Centre reality show Breaking Ground than I expected to but overall I think most people really loved the insight. It warmed some people, including myself, to characters we didn’t expect to like. One stand-out moment for gaining sympathy was the episode that focused on Carmella’s friendship with Women’s Champion Bayley (#Baymella for life) and the injury she suffered at the hands of Eva Marie. After this endeared her to fans it only seemed right that she get her revenge by eliminating the #AllTerribleEverything non-wrestler from a Battle Royal last to become the new #1 contender.

You can find Psyniac on Twitter at Raw is Psyniac where he tweets about Raw 18 hours after it’s aired, how much he loves Finn Bálor and, occasionally, candy.

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