Hey wrestling geeks, you knew we couldn’t let this one slip. It’s Weekend 1 on the “Road to WrestleMania”, and the Ringside Apostles have the full preview of NXT TakeOver: San Antonio (Saturday) and WWE Royal Rumble 2017 (Sunday).
You ready? Naw, you’re not ready.
***WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 2017*** – 1/29/17
Still running the backstage block, Sasha Banks walks ever confident (ignoring her bum knee) into Sunday for pride and territory. You cannot discount a true Bo$$; she has a plan and eyes set on the Samoan enforcer, Nia Jax. The female high volcano is rumbling within as she boils over, rage and destruction is set to leave Sasha bloody, beaten and laid out in the streets. PREDICTION: This will be one hell of a female David and Goliath match, with Banks for the swift win.
“Aw man, know what’s SO KEWL?! THE CLUB! THEY’RE LIKE NWO! And, and.. And Anderson and Gallows? They were in the Club back in Japan! Man, it was great! ‘Member??” Ugh. Me, and many fans have had to put up with this incessant babbling since they rode AJ’s coattails (ain’t nobody want them as the main dish) into the WWE. And know what? They’re not great. Karl Anderson? Sure. But Luke Gallows is as meh as ever. I guess they’re a solid enough tag team, but in the WWE, you also need charisma. And they couldn’t buy it if they made “Cena money”. PREDICTION: They Club is above average, are going against a team that’s working great together (and features Cesaro), and they’re in an era that’s known for lengthy title reigns. I know AJ probably made sure there’s a “title run” clause in their contracts (God bless him), but I don’t think it’s happening just yet. Sheasaro > Club Light.
Since I’m the resident “Jerry Lawler” over here at the Ringside Apostles, there’s no surprise that yours truly took a liking to this match. (“PUPPIES!”) But, no, seriously; there’s a lot of talent in this ring–and I don’t just mean looks.. OK, that’s a lie. But these women can go! Actually, although the heat between former 5-time, 5-time, 5-time, 5-time, 5-time Women’s Champ (and former TNA Knockout) Mickie James and recent SD Titleholder Becky Lynch is as hot as you’d imagine, it’ll be the outstanding heat between Natalya & Nikki that should get all the attention. It should be interesting to see where Naomi and Alexa fit into all of this since their newfound championship-intended rivalry popped off on Tuesday. That’s two athletically-gifted–and hella bootyful–women that are about to make the Woman’s Division on #SDLive “must see TV”. PREDICTION: Single (and lonely) Moody wins.
There comes a time when a Superstar gets his shot–and this might be Adrian Neville‘s. Arguably a better heel, his drive to succeed in the WWE after his long awaited return has put the 205 Live and the CwC title on notice the last few weeks. It’s the perfect main dish for a show that is just starting to build momentum with its fans. Rich Swann, on the other hand, has done well making an impact on the ring with his high-flying moves and charisma. Despite that…. PREDICTION: It’s time for Neville to lead the Cruiserweight division to new heights, in what should be a great bout with a Red Arrow crashing down to victory.
The deck has definitely been stacked against the Big Dog. Sunday night will be different, though: Chris Jericho will be suspended high above the ring–in a shark cage–ensuring he won’t interfere. And to add to it, it will be a No Disqualification match. Hmmm… Vince has tried to shove Roman down our throat the past two Mania’s as a face, much to the chagrin of the IWC and many wrestling fans, resulting in the main event being hijacked and pops going to the guy they wanted heat for. What better way to fix that than to give Reigns the strap and send him into April as the champ, turning him heel sometime in the process? PREDICTION: Y2J does interfere by dropping a foreign object into the ring from the Shark Cage. Owens will fail in his attempt to use said object and Roman Reigns will instead get his hands on it and use it to “KO” K.O. and become the new Universal Champion, thus causing a rift between Besties and sending them into Mania for Jericho’s US Title.
Coming off the heels of possibly one of the greatest female rivalries in wrestling history, I have been watching Charlotte‘s newest feud pretty closely. While most of the promos have come across as ‘petty girl fight’ type stuff, there is no doubting either woman’s work ethic or ability. Though Ms. Flair is the queen of the ring in my view, there’s more than likely be a title run in the future for the queen of the hugs–and I’m pretty sure that starts this Sunday. PREDICTION: Bayley.
This will steal the show. Mark my words. AJ Styles/John Cena matches have always been barn burners and I could watch them–quite literally–wrestle forever. Considering the promo they cut on Smackdown Live this past Tuesday was white hot, this war of words will erupt into quite possibly a “6 star match” (thanks, Melzer). Believe me when I say, I know WWE officials and wrestlers alike were watching Wrestle Kingdom 11 very intently and they’re looking to outdo Okada/Omega–especially the former IWGP Heavyweight Champ that once ran that Japanese camp. Prediction: Styles will do what he does best, again, and that’s #BeatUpJohnCena and retain.
With the likes of Goldberg, Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and the Big Show entering the prestigious Royal Rumble the big men are the odds on favorites to win it all. But out of the 30 men, there are only 22 known superstars, 8 of which are surprise entrants; now and then WWE knows how to surprise the hardcore and casual fan alike. PREDICTION: My money is on Samoa Joe getting called up from NXT (finally) and, although a long shot, winning the Rumble. A mark can dream, right? – Lauro Rojas
The Rumble this year is so packed to the gills, it’s hard to pick a winner. You’ve got heavyhitters like Braun Strowman and the aforementioned legends, but it wouldn’t surprise me if… PREDICTION: Somehow, Seth Rollins gets into the match and pulls this thing off! That will be a dope surprise. – JaDarrel Belser
I.. don’t know.. I really don’t want to see Taker win and get the belt at WM. I love you, Undertaker, and appreciate everything you’ve done, etc, etc. But it’s time, man. Go into the Hall of Fame… And with Rollins out of the Rumble, I’d guess Bill Goldberg; but… PREDICTION: He’ll eliminate Lesnar, and Lesnar will screw him out of the 30-Man. Sure as hell won’t be a Smackdown guy. Ugh. A spot is going to be wasted on James Ellsworth, isn’t it? Fuck you, SD. – Felipe Crespo
This year’s Rumble looks good. With 7 or so spots still left to be filled, we’re sure to see some surprises as we get ready for the Road to WrestleMania. Since we already have a good idea of what big names will be doing what at Mania… PREDICTION: I expect a few surprise entrants and an unannounced return for Finn Balor to lead to a Balor victory and either a Balor/Reigns or Balor/Styles WrestleMania Main Event. I’ll pay (the $9.99) for either of those. – Shawn Puff
One thing is for certain this year: This year’s Rumble is completely up for grabs. Usually it’s well known/telegraphed who’s going to win–be it Rock, HHH or rammed-down-our-throats Roman. But this year, there are legit six entrants (that we know of) and stories colliding. Be it Roman, Goldberg, Brock, Taker, Jericho– or any one of the as of yet known 8 wildcards. Could it be a returning Finn Balor? Or Samoa Joe, as Lauro just mentioned? Whoever is the last man standing this year, we’re all winners. PREDICTION: Although Joe is my outside choice, I gotta list the dark horse himself, “Y2J” Chris Jericho. – Sean Farrell
Surprises have become legendary with the Royal Rumble; hopes of seeing a new mastery, ala Kofi Kingston surviving the over the top rope elimination by his almost-heels. Braun Strowman will step up and break the most eliminations by one wrestler (Kane/Reigns?). But I will stand fast with the surprise entrant taking victory for the night. PREDICTION: I’m saying.. Kurt Angle is returning and winning the Royal Rumble. Oh, it’s True, it’s damn True. – Richard Pearson
Sounds wild, but I’m going with Sami Zayn. Here’s why: After being pummeled by Strowman week after week after week… he’s the perfect underdog story. He’s way over with the fans. This week on RAW, he was clearly the brand’s best actual in-ring performer (although Rollins is a close second). That pedigree reminds me of Daniel Bryan and with all these old slugs in the ring my friends have mentioned, maybe Mrs. Foley’s baby boy can convince the whigs in Stamford that this is a way to get HARDCORE fans’ attention following the massive critical success of NJPW’s WK11. After some terrible reactions to recent RR winners (Sheamus, Batista and Reigns ring a bell?), isn’t it time to listen to the fans? At Mania: 1.) Goldberg vs. Brock becomes a Triple Threat with Taker, 2.) HHH fights Rollins, 3.) Samoa Joe causes havoc, but makes more impact at the Elimination Chamber, 4.) Sami either gives Foley the “F U” and challenges Cena and/or AJ for the WWE Title, or… 5.) Finds his long-awaited revenge against K.O. (way back from 2014 in NXT) for the Universal strap. 6.) Reigns could then fight Strowman, and Y2J could fight Balor. Wullah! PREDICTION: El Generico. – Travis Moody
***NXT TAKEOVER: SAN ANTONIO*** – 1/28/17
Well, this should be interesting. We have the still relatively new incoming Indy signing in Roderick Strong (Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Ring of Honor) going up against the other dancing gimmick Andres “Cien” Almas. Now one would put Strong over since he’s a new commodity and still has that new car smell on him to the WWE Universe; but, Cien needs a win in Texas where he’s sure to have some fans from his time in Mexico. PREDICTION: Almas needs to keep it at a hundred to have a chance against the King of the Backbreaker. Sorry WWE, keep looking for that crossover talent from South of the Border.
TEN! TEN! TEN! Yeah, you’re going to be sick of that number by Monday, since it’s the number you’ll hear screaming from marks all over south Texas. But who can blame fans who’ve witnessed tremendous in-ring progress from Tye Dillinger (as well as a super boost of popularity). While his charisma or personality might not be there just yet, many feel he’s ready for the jump–perhaps to continue a heated Twitter squabble with The Miz on Smackdown Live. “The Perfect Ten” announced at.. you guessed it.. during the Rumble? Let’s hope he can get out of a possible SAnity TakeOver the night before first. PREDICTION: Does NXT really wanna bury either one of these guys? Eric Young‘s SAnity faction would be dired useless if he loses. At least if Tye falls, it gives him all the more reason to hop in the 30-man and make the fans forgot it took 4 psycho-grunge artists to beat him the night before.
Here it is. NXT’s hottest tag team, #DIY–who put on a recent clinic with TM61 and made a strong case for Tag Match of 2016 against the Revival–will be defending against the Authors of Blehhhhh, I mean Pain. A pair that would give the Monstars (that was a Space Jam reference) a run for their money, Akam and Rezar have been making their presence felt throughout NXT since June of 2016 dismantling teams left and right. Expect some stiff hits and a powerful moveset from the teams and mayhaps some ringside shenanigans with the likes of Paul Ellering about. PREDICTION: #DIY have had a good run but this writer believes it’s time for them to get called up (fingers crossed for Smackdown); Authors of Pain take the belts.
Three heels and a face. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay banded together because they’re both Australian and pretty, so they’re the best (obvs). Their mean girl gimmick works for them and they’re both good in the ring. SAnity’s Nikki Cross is there because, well, she’s sooooo crazy and unpredictable (like they keep telling us Dean Ham-brose is). She just inserted herself into the title picture because she wanted to. And, you know what? I’m OK with that because it’s Nikki Fucking Cross. PREDICTION: My heart wants Cross (God, do I love her), but she’s not ready yet. Truthfully, neither are Kay and Royce, and their partnership will probably implode after this match and start a feud between them. Asuka retains until Orlando.
I might be looking forward to this match more than any other on either card this weekend. The King of Strong Style is coming off what was an incredible fued with Samoa Joe that saw the title go back and forth between the two. I can’t help but wonder, with the expected call-ups for and following the Rumble (in addition to Shinsuke being booked for WrestleMania Axxess weekend), if the current champ will drop the belt and show up as a Rumble surprise–or even the following Monday/Tuesday night. Spicy! On the other hand, they just got this fued going and it’s been gold since the start, with Bobby Roode nothing short of #GLORIOUS since his arrival. PREDICTION: A title reign could see a main event push for the already over Perfect 10, reigniting Tye’s fued with new champion Roode.