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The Steel Cage Standings – December 2016

Hello and welcome to the Steel Cage Standings where I, Psyniac, go through the past month of WWE TV and rank the Top 5 Raw and Top 5 Smackdown superstars, Top 3 NXT superstars and then highlight three stars or teams that have been wasted or have been straight-up terrible. December 2016 was a bit of a weird one for quality and whilst I’ve recently enjoyed Raw more than usual, the general opinion has seen the divide between the red and blue brands grow wider. 2016’s final Raw was a bit of a shitshow whereas the final Smackdown was basically an awesome miniature PPV. Anyway, let’s get into it.

RAW Top 5:

05. Owens & Jericho


The Universal Champion and his “bezzie mate” still hang onto a place in the Top 5 this month despite a few misplaced steps in their story. We had tension for the vast majority of December with Owens sorely trying to win his friend back for a second time and whilst they’ve had their moments (the shark cage thing was actually hysterical, even if it’s utterly stupid) we are beyond treading water at this point. Team Kevin and Chris/Chris and Kevin are now at the stage where breaking these two up for real has lost any shock value and when it happens we’ll be waiting for them to change their minds once again which is a shame. This time of year is always a bit of a clusterfuck whilst the Wrestlemania card falls into place but it’s sad to see these characters suffer because of it.

04. Neville

A surprising return this month and one of the only stand-out moments from Roadblock: End of the Line saw Neville come down to the ring to seemingly congratulate Swann on his victory before immediately taking him out and turning heel in the process. Bad, Beardy Neville immediately kept the fire burning with a killer promo the next night on Raw and ascending to the top of the Cruiserweight division immediately, where he obviously belongs. This no-nonsense, loner character is a strange fit for Neville but a fit it is and he’s pulling it off splendidly. It’s about time he got some of the spotlight on TV.

03. Bayley

Perhaps it’s just because it’s fresh but my God is it good to see Charlotte facing off against Bayley. The Banks feud, as I’ve said on numerous occasions, has been one of this year’s worst, ongoing (read: never-ending) things so to see Charlotte get to flex her muscles, literally and figuratively, against someone else has been fun. Moreover, Bayley has been able to come into her own better by interacting with more than just jobbers or being used as a jobber herself. She’ll be a fine competitor for Charlotte to blow past on her way to Wrestlemania and hopefully prominent screen-time will help her, too.

02. Braun Strowmann

Good lord, Braun is good. Two months he was a surprise entry, last month his booking allowed him to move up the list and here we are at the #2 spot. Following his excellent use at Survivor Series, Braun found his way back into his story with Sami with ease. The ten-minute time limit match at Roadblock: End of the Line was a weird one but it allowed Strowman to explode after the next few weeks, demand a rematch with Zayn. Whilst it has shades of Joe in NXT, Strowman interrupting matches and making a mockery of Raw has been a good use of him and he’s excelled in every segment they’ve given him, spoken or ring-work, over the last few months. Not bad for that green member of the Wyatt Family.

01. Cesaro & Sheamus


Following their best of seven series in September, I was cautiously optimistic that Cesaro & Sheamus could work as a team. The two are incredibly hardworking dudes and between them could have a few decent ideas. Well, those decent ideas flourished and the two found themselves getting over in their respective face and heel roles. Nowadays, Sheamus is basically a face that’s fun to boo because of how entertaining their “yay/nay” dynamic is. That’s why, as much as I love The Club, I’m not surprised that the WWE cashed in on them (see also: they’re “WWE guys” more than “NJPW guys”).

Booked very suddenly into a title match at Roadblock: End of the Line, Cesaro and Sheamus winning the titles was a very real possibility but it was still a shock that WWE ended New Day’s run so suddenly. Gifted new belts, this is an example of WWE striking when the iron was hot after the tag division had been so cold for so long.


05. Baron Corbin


I’ve always been for Baron Corbin rather than against; stupid wolf shirts, receding hairline and belly-face be damned. Whereas Raw is very rigid, Smackdown Live has a really good way of making it feel as though guys can float around the roster without too much question and one example of this has been Corbin stepping up to challenge for the WWE title on the Wildcard Finals episode at the end of 2016. Was he ever going to win it? Not bloody likely. But did he look like a beast and give you the idea that maybe, someday he might get there? Yup.

04. The Miz

The Miz has had one of his weaker months here in 2016 but even still he lands on his list. Out of all the stars in WWE in this insane twelve months, Miz is one guy you could say stole the show on a regular basis and his match with Ziggler at TLC did just that. Following that, he handily moved into a feud with former WWE Champion Ambrose (see above about guys not feeling out of place) and made the whole thing very interesting with one line aimed at Renee Young. Shocking yet logical promos and storylines like that are a great way to help us forget about that confusing Bryan rivalry (which may be over but who knows?) for one thing but also just to hook viewers. I guess The Miz is must-see after all.

03. Alexa Bliss & Becky Lynch


First of all, congratulations to Alexa Bliss on becoming Smackdown Women’s Champion. Whilst their tables match at TLC was a bit of a disappointment, it was the right decision. Moreover, the two have managed to keep their feud and subsequent rematch storyline pretty interesting with the inclusion of Becky’s apparent alter ego La Luchadora earning her another shot at the end of the year which concluded with a very interesting twist. Who exactly is under the mask is one thing but having somewhere for Becky to go now she doesn’t have the belt makes sense, gives Alexa a month to breeze through an opponent whilst Nikki is feuding with Natala etc. As a whole, the Smackdown’s women’s division is very strong and constantly interesting. Most importantly, Alexa sits at the top of it.

02. The Wyatt Family

We were all very skeptical, fair to say, about Orton joining the Wyatt Family but when they shockingly took the belts off of Slater and Rhyno I think we were all made believers. That moment, post-match, was enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand-up as Randy and Bray handed Luke their belts and posed before the lights went out. Even still they played with us by teasing a break-up which I sincerely hope isn’t coming despite taking the belts off of the three. Hopefully that’s just a way to crown somebody two time champions and also to help American Alpha not fall away into obscurity. Either way their match at the end of the year show was fun and if it means we get more of that I’m down for it.

01. AJ Styles


WWE really has an issue with it’s heels sometimes by overbooking the turd out of them. Every match either has to have an over-the-top cheat finish or they’re booked to lose clean every damn week. I was getting a little worried about Styles losing to Ellsworth so many times so to see him get his own back so viciously put my mind at ease. Furthermore, he successfully defended against two guys who going into the match didn’t look like they had a chance and yet AJ made them look like a million bucks.

With Cena returning, the course was clear and the two still produce one hell of an energy when they’re in the ring together. Considering the quality of the matches they put on earlier this year, colour me excited for their rematch at Royal Rumble. It’s possible Styles will surprise us by retaining yet again but if he doesn’t then there’s no qualms here with his run with the belt this year. 2016 was truly the year of AJ Styles.


03. The New Day

“The bad” list this month may seem familiar to those of you who checked out last month’s list since it’s entirely the same. December is a good month for WWE to spin wheels and Raw has suffered the most with it. Hell, The New Day have practically defined the term over the last six months. Even so, losing the belts almost immediately after passing the record we were all waiting for them to break was a bit of a unceremonious way to do it. I suppose the bright side is that it’s over now. Move along, people.

02. Roman Reigns

Last month I was tearing my hair out over the fact that Roman was given the midcard title for Raw and proceeded to head straight back into the main event with it like it was an accessory to hang off his Big Cheater Vest. Roman is a fine wrestler but it seems like they keep making decisions with him specifically to piss off fans. Following Roadblock: End of the Line where he lost, Roman has another shot at the Universal Championship at Royal Rumble still whilst holding the United States Championship which is (at the time) not up for grabs. Utterly stupid, utterly infuriating, utterly indicative of Reigns’ booking.

01. Sasha Banks


We have a winner! Of the biggest loser award. For the third month in a Row Sasha Banks struggles to evolve from the utter garbage she’s become. After winning the Raw Women’s Championship for a third time this year (and third time crying about it, if I recall correctly), she went on to drop it back to Charlotte again in a poorly booked 2-out-of-3 Falls match at Roadblock: End of the Line. Instead of doing the right thing and taking her off television, she came to the ring on Raw to proclaim “I no longer feel like The Boss” (no shit) and then got attacked by Nia Jax, turning her even more into “sympathetic white meat babyface”. What a waste. Get off my TV and into the bin, Sasha.


03. Asuka

I have to admit that during her reign I’ve gotten a little tired of Asuka and it’s not really her fault. With the women’s division all but cleared out before her debut, she was left with very little to do. That’s why this month’s bout against Nia Jax made me remember why we were all so excited to begin with. A much longer match that allowed Asuka to sell, making her opponent look super powerful; I almost thought for a moment that she might finally drop the belt. Two more months however, and WWE can clear Paige’s name off the record so you know that’s where this is going.

02. SaNiTY

This second half of this year has been a bit of an odd time for NXT with the show finally getting a lot of criticism for it’s shallow roster. Losing it’s lead writer to Smackdown hasn’t helped either. Gladly, this month saw some development in the newest faction SaNiTY. Whilst we’ve been spoilt with the cream of the former-TNA crop coming through WWE already, Eric Young is still a good get for NXT and his faction presents some intrigue with the whack-job Nikki Cross, the suddenly very missing Sawyer Fulton and the interruptions by Big Damo. It’s hard to know what exactly is happening but fingers crossed. And heads bopping to that totally screwed up Primus-esque theme music they have.

01. Bobby Roode


Just because it’s not surprising doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Bobby Roode being crowned #1 contender for the NXT Championship is the right thing to do, especially as he’s one of the most over individuals in NXT if not WWE at large. Whether or not his opponent should be Nakamura or Joe is up for debate since chants of “GLORIOUS” may actually drown out support for the NXT Champion and King of Leaving Horrible Marks on Austin Aries’ face. Similarly, whether or not Roode will take the title or suffer his first loss makes for an interesting point of discussion and something to look forward to next month. Either way, the crowd reaction in San Antonio will be nuts and this you can all but guarantee.

You can find Psyniac on Twitter at Raw is Psyniac where he tweets about Raw and Smackdown 18 hours after they’ve aired, how much he loves Carmella and, occasionally, candy.

Photography credit (C)

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Podcast Episode 257: Rusev Won’t Be Cucked

Things really escalated quickly.

Things really escalated quickly.

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So, uh. Enzo. That happened, huh?

Also, SmackDown proved (yet again) that it is the superior brand with its TLC show on Sunday night.

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

Featuring: ‘The Mayor of Reseda’ Derek (@cap_kaveman) and ‘Rabbai Dirtsheet’ Jared (@SuperJew75).

Music by The Black Furies, courtesy of Music Alley.

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The Steel Cage Standings – November 2016

Hello and welcome to the Steel Cage Standings where I, Psyniac, go through the past month of WWE TV and rank the Top 5 Raw and Top 5 Smackdown superstars, Top 3 NXT superstars and then highlight three stars or teams that have been wasted or have been straight-up terrible. November 2016 saw the two brands of WWE collide in the first relevant Survivor Series pay-per-view in years. Not only was it relevant however, it was actually good and was topped off by this year’s biggest surprise. Let’s roll right into it.

RAW Top 5:

05. Enzo Amore & Big Cass

You know RAW is hurting for big stars when I put these guys in here for “making me laugh”. It’s no slight on Enzo and Cass, the tag division right now on RAW is a fucking mess thanks to New Day’s stalemate title run, but they’ve at least had some amusing segments. Be it hocking merch for Black Friday, (how you doin’), Cyber Monday (how you doin’) or ‘Zo walking around with a pixellated yellow banana hammock (how you… hm), at least the two are doing more than looking like jokes like the rest of the division. It may be another story where Rusev should be the face but them being paired up with the Bulgarian Brute, another immensely funny performer, should make for some entertaining moments.

04. Braun Strowman

Braun moves up the list for RAW by being continually booked correctly and taking advantage of the moments he’s given. On the lead into Survivor Series Braun was not made to look like anything over than what he is: a monster. Taking out members of Team Smackdown with his shocking speed and impressively convincing power-moves, we all knew Braun’s inclusion in the 5-on-5 could really help his push. He looked great too, even with only one elimination under his belt (which was helped by Smackdown in-fighting) and was thrown out of the match in a way that didn’t make him look weak whilst managing to call back to his earlier squash match with Ellsworth. Braun and his on-going story have been a highlight of RAW every week.

03. Rich Swann

I’m not really sure how I’m going to tackle 205 Live, both in Steel Cage Standings and also in having enough time in my life to watch yet more WWE programming. But that’s besides the point. Since the debut of the terrible Cruiserweight Division, Swann has been the stand-out guy week-to-week. WWE clearly saw something in him early on which is why he was booked on every episode of RAW, saw his face plastered on the company’s trucks recently and then got a win over Cruiserweight Champion Kendrick. In order to shake things up and generate shock, Swann got the title on the very first episode of 205 Live. The title is already losing steam by being passed around so much but it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve it and hopefully he’ll be the first guy to get a decent run out of it.

02. Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho

Before it even began to flourish into the friendship we know and love today, Jericho and Owen’s shaky, temporary partnership was fun. In fact, since the day JeriKO appeared on our screens they’ve been a part of the Steel Cage Standings and usually near the top. Every month however, it gets better. November constantly teased a break-up of the two and whilst it’s clearly coming they managed to subvert our expectations by having the two reconcile over their hate of Roman Reigns. Hell, in the last RAW of the month Kevin lost his cool with Chris, telling him his help was making him look bad (somewhat true, at least) and then later mentioned that their relationship would endure even this. It’s guy love between two guys.

01. Goldberg


One of the most discussed subjects of November 2016 was whether Goldberg should or would beat Brock Lesnar. Bill has been known to be a bit of a tough businessman and he came back to WWE, twelve years after his initial departure, to show his kid and other children around the world that he’s a “superhero”. On the other hand, Lesnar has been booked as an unbeatable machine for the past two and a half years; beating the streak, decimating Cena and forcefully busting Orton open this summer. Still, with all the talk I don’t think anyone predicted what would transpire.

Goldberg beating Lesnar in 1:26 caused an initial shocked, confused, terrified outcry of many and I was one of them but after mulling it over for a brief period of time it started to make sense and where we’re at now it’s all excitement and all must-see TV. Goldberg has entered the Rumble to pursue the title, Lesnar promises to chase after him and Heyman has been unshaven and whimpering on TV. It’s starting to feel like WrestleMania this year could have some really interesting marquee matches and who would’ve thought Goldberg/Lesnar III would be one of them?


05. The Women’s Division

Let’s kick off Smackdown with a range of compliments so broad that I couldn’t just pick one woman or one feud. The Blue Team’s female roster has been booked in increasingly interesting ways basically from top-to-bottom. Carmella and Nikki’s personal grievances have made for brutal promos (something about Nikki being punched so hard her tits come out her back?!) with both of them really getting over in their respective roles. Add the wrinkle of Natalya potentially being the one who took out Bella at Survivor Series, who has been playing this insufferable yet hilarious character dropping song lyrics and talking about her cats and you’ve got some hints for future rivalries. In the title picture we have Alexa and Becky who have been particularly stiff with each other recently and are gearing up to a table match at TLC with very little “THIS IS A MOMENT” fanfare and it has the potential to steal the show regardless. Overall, the women of Smackdown, unlike RAW, haven’t felt like they’re treading water for a second.

04. The Miz

I’m not a fan of the WWE hot potato’ing titles (which is all they seem to do right now) but putting the Intercontinental Championship back on The Miz was the right thing to do, as was have him and Maryse cheat to retain at Survivor Series. Miz may as well have been shooting on Talking Smack when he said that he was making the IC title relevant again because it really feels that way; he’s one of the guys you can really depend upon to make the most of what they’re given and craft something great out of it. His feud with Ziggler is starting to get tired but when the champion is on screen you pay attention.

03. AJ Styles

AJ Styles has come a long way since his time in TNA and the depth of his WWE character is picture-perfect proof of it. Skilled but too arrogant for his own good, Styles has played excellent foil to Ambroses’ chaotic persona and Ellsworth’s lucky streak. Angry, flustered and passionate; as good as every player in this feud has been, AJ has been carrying the story for the most part. With any other guy, this might not have worked. Coming up to a year in the company, Styles’ list of accolades is impressive and hopefully only continues to grow from here as he’s made his presence known as one of the most entertaining guys in WWE.

02. Bray Wyatt

I’ve said it before, numerous times, but I try not to get on the Bray Wyatt bandwagon. I’ve been burned before. Every time it seems as though Wyatt is on a roll he’s sure to lose at that integral moment then disappear off the face of the planet. I’m asking for trouble by saying this but right now it looks as though that may not happen this time. Bray got the most number of eliminations in the Survivor Series Men’s 5-on-5 match and they just so happened to both be the faces of the company; Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Definitely an unexpected end to the match but one that couldn’t come without….

01. Randy Orton

Firstly, RKO put on the most solid performance out of all of the guys at Survivor Series. More importantly, we’ve all been a little worried that this Orton in the Wyatt Family storyline is about to cheapen at any moment with the not-so-sudden revelation that Randy has been planning to takedown the Wyatts from the inside but Orton eating a spear from Reigns and allowing Bray to capitalise says otherwise. For a few weeks now, Bryan and Renee have said they’re waiting for Orton to turn on his bearded brothers so I was starting to think this may be a much more long term deal.

Following their victory at Survivor Series, the two have found themselves in contendership for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship and there’s no reason why these two shouldn’t win. They’re both powerful characters in kayfabe that could do with the win, the gold (Orton’s last tag championship was 2004, Bray has never held a belt) and the extra ingredients to push this intriguing story forward. When Orton stinks, he stinks but when Orton is good, he’s damn fun and right now he’s hugely entertaining to watch.


03. The New Day

Whilst I think things have at least taken an interesting turn in the last couple of weeks with New Day being instantly eliminated from their Survivor Series match and going on a spree of cheating matches to win, we need to address the fact that New Day’s push to beat Demolition’s Tag Team Championship reign and the damage it has done to WWE. The tag division on RAW was never in a great position to succeed with three decent teams and two joke teams making up the entire roster but New Day crushing them all over and over has not exactly done wonders for the future. Hopefully the writers have a plan for building guys back up when they finally drop those titles.

02. Roman Reigns

When Roman won the United States Championship from Rusev there was almost a collective sigh of relief. Point one; he was out of the main event picture for the time being. Point two; it was retreading old ground but at least the predicted US Open Challenge would give him something to do on TV that was worthwhile. Point three… wait, what? I haven’t even finished thinking about the positives and he’s already got a Universal Championship match? How does that make any sense? And what does that do for the poor US title? Holding it over your back like a dickhead definitely isn’t helping it look strong and neither is ignoring it and running headfirst back into boring Roman main event territory.

01. Sasha Banks

For the second month in a row Sasha Banks is the bottom of the WWE barrel. What a horrible state of affairs; once the shining jewel in the so-called “Women’s Revolution” and now a totally ruined character. I said in October that the plus-side to her losing the belt so quickly in her hometown was that she could move out of the title picture for a while and it seemed like this was the plan with Bayley and Charlotte having an altercation at Survivor Series but…. nope. On the final RAW of November, Sasha became three time Women’s Champion in Charlotte’s home city in some weird kind of 50/50 booking bullshit. Three time champion. She doesn’t even feel like one time champion. Oh, and she cried again too so there’s no hope that she’s bringing the boss character back. How tragically disappointing.


03. Peyton Royce & Billie Kay

Royce and Kay; or as Grieg likes to refer to them, “the Aussie cunts”, have found a hole in the NXT’s women’s roster and filled it with gusto. Dressed to the nines and slinking their way down to the ring, they’re the anti-thesis of a lot of the women in indie wrestling today and thus they make for perfect heels against NXT’s up and coming female roster. Them enlisting Daria to save them from Liv, Aliyah and Ember made perfect sense and was a great way to get her back on TV and leaving her out to dry was even better. For the time being, especially since Asuka has very little to do, they’re some of the more entertaining women in NXT.

02. Tye Dillinger

Whether you love it or you hate it the weekend of Survivor Series was permeated with “TEN” chants. I’ll admit that it got a little annoying and took focus away from the matches at hand but to begin with it was so good to see Tye so over. I’ve been a big fan of Dillinger for a good while and his match at TakeOver Toronto was thus far his biggest moment in a very lengthy developmental run. I’m worried for his future but I think we’re likely to see Tye on the main roster sooner rather than later and I’ll be damned if he isn’t ready for it.

01. #DIY & The Revival

For the past year, The Revival have been the pinnacle of tag team wrestling in all of the WWE. Simple and effective at first glance, these guys have more depth than it appears as they have continually proved by putting on multiple match of the year candidates. At least two of these have been with Gargano and Ciampa, known collectively as Team #DIY. These two great single competitors appeared a year ago to take part in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and I don’t think anyone expected themselves to want them to stay as a team. Throughout the summer the two teased a break-up, had a duel in the CWC that has gone down as one of my favourite matches of all time and finally reached the peak of the mountain by knocking of Dash and Dawson for the NXT Tag Team Titles. A show stealing moment that all four guys should be proud of.

You can find Psyniac on Twitter at Raw is Psyniac where he tweets about Raw and Smackdown 18 hours after they’ve aired, how much he loves Carmella and, occasionally, candy.

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The Steel Cage Standings – December 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’s developmental program. Last month, WWE was in a bad way of things. I was at the end of my rope and, rather than attempt to write about it and tempt myself further into taking a break, I looked over at the last 12 months of WWE and ranked that. But December was a bit of shake-up. At times it was pretty enjoyable and at times it was total trash so let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the NXT.


10. John Cena

The last Raw of 2015 was not an easy one to watch for a number of reasons, not least of which was a crowd that rode the line between so quiet they may as well be stood in the parking lot and just generally being annoying as all hell. Gladly, the return of John Cena slapped them out of their slumber. It may not have been the greatest match of his career but Cena has had enough of a good year that it was far from dreadful seeing him back. With the state of the company right now, Cena may be something to look forward to and I never thought I’d be writing those words.

09. Vince McMahon

In the closing moments of TLC 2015, Reigns lost his damn mind and unleashed his fury on Triple H. It only made sense that he would have to answer to the boss himself but I don’t think anyone expected Vince to arrive the next night on Raw. It made for a cool moment and an interesting story: either Reigns wins the big one in the main event or he leaves the WWE. Vince showed that the Mr McMahon character still lives that week, even if he did follow it up with what may have been the worst opening segment of the decade when he found himself arrested for being assaulted by Roman. Swings and roundabouts really but so far the good has outweighed the bad. Ask me at the end of January (after he plays special guest referee to Reigns VS Sheamus) and I may have changed my tune.

08. The League of Nations

It’s saccharine to say but, like most things this month, The League of Nations has been a bit of a rollercoaster. A new heel team meant there could be less of a focus on the tired, old Authority and might liven up the state of play. More importantly, it was also something for the likes of Del Rio to do that wasn’t a confusing Meximerica storyline and guys like Rusev were hardly going to suffer for something new to do either. But, in the same vein it hasn’t really done much as of yet. It may take time to establish the group properly but right now it still seems rather fractured and just like four dudes thrown together without a goal. Probably because it is.

07. Seth Rollins

You can call it scraping the bottom of the barrel if you like but I feel like Rollins deserves this placement after the Slammys episode of Raw. I, and thousands of others, weren’t expecting him to win “superstar of the year” despite how badly he deserved it so for him to get the nod was great. Then of course the man himself made an appearance to accept the award (unlike most of the winners that night, it seemed) and cut a brief promo that played up his heel character whilst at the same time hinted that he would be coming back as the company’s next big babyface when he was ready to go again. We miss you, Seth.

06. Dean Ambrose

Talk about surprises. Ambrose grabbing the Intercontinental belt off of Owens was so sudden that it took a minute to sink in. The moment seemed to signify a few things (one of which we’ll get to later) and confirm others; the big one being that he’s getting his dues for being one of the WWE’s biggest merchandise shifters. I’m still not entirely sure on how this title-run will go, as always it’s down to the booking, but Ambrose and that white belt look made for each other and it’ll be a great image to see him arriving at Wrestlemania 32 with it over his shoulder.

05. The Lucha Dragons

Speaking of surprises, bet you didn’t see this coming a few weeks ago, huh? The Lucha Dragons are one of the few tag teams the WWE have that don’t amount to much. Occasionally, the company will try to get them over (or pretend they are) but not fully commit. So, in December’s TLC PPV, Kalisto took things into his own hands with one of the most insane spots of the year. Following the ladder-hopping Salida del Sol, Sin Cara showed that he’s not as uninterested in his profession as he seems by finishing a match on Raw despite dislocating his shoulder mid-bout. These are the kinds of things that raise the profile of the team. Whilst they may have some ways to go with other aspects, at least they don’t call each other “Uce”.

04. Neville and The Miz

This is another one of those things where I’m already questioning whether or not it’s done with but had me hooked from their first interaction. Slimy, Hollywood-wannabe The Miz promising to do great things for someone’s career whilst obviously riding their coat-tails is the absolute 100% best gimmick the guy could have and, surprisingly, it works really well with Neville who can play the straight-faced counter to his antics, only here to wrestle. With Neville winning a Slammy for his great performances they should be milking this for all it’s worth.

03. The Wyatt Family

The swing of the pendulum. For the rest of the year, The Wyatt Family have gone from being an under-booked mess to a total joke as they stalk about behind the scenes planning retribution just for all four of them to be beaten by two old men repeatedly. I’ve never bet money on any sport (or theatrical sport) but I was dangerously close to putting money on Bray and Co falling victim to another team of old men. Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t. Finally, The Wyatt Family are getting some wins and the hard-fought extreme matches are helping exponentially. It might finally be time to start getting invested again.

02. The New Day

They’ve been the top spot of The Steel Cage Standings for the last five months. It’s okay not to be #1 once. Regardless, The New Day have been one of if not the only reason to keep watching through the horror that has been the end of 2015 for WWE. What I liked about them this month is that Xavier seems to have taken a bit more of a back-seat. Sure, throwing his trombone into the middle of the triple-threat ladder-match made all the difference but it was Kofi who got the win. Kofi also went off on a hysterical, surrealist rant about beating up kids a couple of weeks later. And how could we forget about the hypnotic, gyrating goodness that is Big E? Constantly reinventing and constantly entertaining.

01. Kevin Owens

And whilst The New Day are a truly fun trio, Kevin Owens this month has defined “heel”. Owens has positively snapped after parting ways with his Intercontinental title then following that up with losing the “Best Breakout Star” Slammy to, and a 21-second match against, Neville. We’ve been reminded of the threat that Owens can possess after he totally dismantled Ambrose and put him through a table and it seems like he’s being put in a good spot.

If we’re lucky, KO’s aggression will continue to grow and will cost him his rematch. I doubt very much we’ll see him as the top heel of the WWE in time for this year’s Wrestlemania but if they do it correctly he could be doing great things by the time WM33 rolls around. He has consistently shown that he can go with anyone in the ring and demonstrated his uniqueness when speaking on the mic as well as just shouting to the crowd/the commentators/his opponent mid-match. Owens is one of a kind and it’s time to start taking true advantage of that.


03. Lana

Sorry Derek but I’m nothing but glad that the “ravishing Russian” has vanished from TV following Rusev’s introduction into the League of Nations. Lana made a not-so triumphant return to Raw to explain her and her fiancé’s “secret” relationship and engagement. In the following two weeks she’s caught in the middle of things twice and is written off TV as injured. So basically it was a total waste of time.

02. The Big Show

Show knows that the #1 spot in the Royal Rumble is the worst one to have right? He’s been there long enough to understand how the Royal Rumble works, yes? And he knows that, despite his size, someone or a group of someones will find a way to get him over the rope? Yeah? Okay. Just checking.

01. Roman Reigns

See: Vince McMahon. Exciting for one whole week then immediately questionable. The problem is that Reigns has been questionable or worse for weeks and weeks up until the one good Raw (and end of a PPV) he had where he beat down some über-heels like a badass. Then he immediately went back to smirking and trying to be funny and… well, it’s been hit and miss to say the least. And let’s not forget that December 2015 give birth to the “tater tots” moment. I could’ve just written “tater tots” over and over in this description and you guys wouldn’t have questioned it, surely? Because, seriously… tater tots?


03. Sami Zayn

Should I start this with “let’s go!” or simply “he’s back”? Sami Zayn, a man who embodies NXT, has finally made his way back to the developmental show and he did so in incredible fashion. Takeover London was far and away the best place to host Zayn’s return as the crowd fittingly exploded for him from the moment he arrived to the moment he put away Tye Dillinger. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess but it’s such a relief to see Sami back in the ring where he belongs.

02. Chad Gable & Jason Jordan

Two months ago I hinted at the idea that Gable and Jordan may be next in line to take the NXT Tag Titles. Surprisingly, my runner-up addition of Dawson and Dash pulled a victory out over the Vaudevillians to grab the gold and did so very well. In the mean-time, Gable and Jordan have been getting bigger and bigger and more and more over. Breaking Ground has helped a lot of NXT stars obtained more fan interest but for me seeing JJ struggle until he clicked with Gable was very important. Those belts might not be around their waists now but they’re not totally out of the field of view.

01. Asuka

I had this moment watching Asuka VS Emma at TakeOver London and it was one of “wow, we’re already at this point?”. Sure, the London crowd were hot basically all night but they went nuts for Asuka. She has been in NXT three months and she already not only fits in with the product as a whole but has carved out her own niche. I’ve never thought of Emma as a great in-ring worker but the two had an excellent bout and Asuka followed this up by teasing a clashing of her and fellow newly-debuted titan Nia Jax. There’s lots to love about Asuka already but lots to look forward to too.

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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Podcast Episode 206: TLC 2015 Results

Let Roman Reign.

Let Roman Reign.

WWE has been in rough shape for a little while now. Ratings have been slumping. Something had to change. TLC started heading in the right direction. Raw solidified the move.

Roman Reigns is the deserving champion, and he’s finally won the hearts and minds of much of the WWE Universe. Maybe not all of us, but we appreciate the effort.

Oh, and we didn’t forget that NXT is going down in London. We preview that as well. Look for a follow up after that show takes place this week!

Hosted by: ‘The Beast from the Middle East’ Darrell Johnson (@zazzumplop)

Featuring: ‘The Mayor of Reseda’ Derek (@cap_kaveman), Greig (@GreigT13), ‘Hot Podcast Garbage’ Sprung (@jasprung), and Joshua Schlag (@thesteelcage / @schlizzag).

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!

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