Cheap Pops - Wrestling News & Views - December 22, 2015

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Cheap Pops - December 22, 2015

by Chris Delloiacono, Mike Maillaro and Jeff Ritter

This week!

- TLC Results
- The Roman Empire Begins!
- NXT Takeover London Results
- PWS Fightmare Before X-Mas Results



- Sasha Banks def. Becky Lynch (Interfence from Team BAD)

- Triple Threat Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Titles: New Day Def. The Lucha Dragons and The Usos (Interference from Xavier Woods)

- Rusev def. Ryback (Interference from Lana)

Chairs Match for the WWE United States Title Alberto Del Rio Def Jack Swagger (Del Rio hits Big Stomp onto a pile of chairs)

- Tag Team Tables Elimination Match: Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan def. Bubba Ray Dudley, Devon Dudley, Tommy Dreamer and Rhyno.  (Bubba was last man standing, but Wyatts overwhelmed him with numbers)

WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Dean Ambrose def Kevin Owens (Ambrose reversed the Popup Powerbomb into a pin)

WWE Divas Title Match: Charlotte def. Paige (Interference by Ric Flair)

TLC Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title: Sheamus def. Roman Reigns (Interference from Rusev and Del Rio)

After the match, Reigns beats down Rusev, Del Rio, and Sheamus.  Triple H comes down to stop it, and Reigns demolishes Triple H too.

Mike: I actually didn’t get home until the Del Rio/Swagger match.  When I was reading the results, I was glad about that, as it looked like the first three matches all ended with interference.  Actually, the last two matches involved interference too.  I really don’t think you should have dirty endings on that many matches during a PPV as it just means you pretty much have to have a rematch.

All that said, from what I saw of the show, I did enjoy the matches I saw.  Ambrose winning, especially HOW he won was a nice surprise.   And I loved the beatdown Reigns gave Triple H after the match.  The crowd definitely seemed to go to Reigns when that happened, so this was some great booking.  And you know that had to affect ratings the next night with people tuning in to see what happens next.  

Really, the only complaint I had about the show (other than the finishes) was during the Wyatt/ECW match.  I am glad the Wyatts won, and looking real strong doing it.  But I do think the WWE should have allowed Bubba to at least eliminate one of the Wyatts before he got taken out.  A great match should put over both teams, and they were in great position to make Bubba look like a beast, even if he still lost in the end.

Chris: This was a very watchable PPV with winners that didn't seem in doubt going in.  Ambrose with the victory was a nice surprise that finally gives him a signature win.  For years, the WWE product has been devoid of moments like this and what happened the next night on RAW.  I'd say the tag team ladder match stole show.  Everyone worked their butts off and pulled some spectacular stunts.  

To be honest, I think TLC is one of the lamest PPVs of the year.  I hate how there's a Chairs Match, Ladder Match, Tables Match, and a TLC Match.  There's too much "extreme" wrestling on the card.  Better balance is needed.  Extreme Rules is the more fun event, because you get a nicer variety of hardcore. Seriously, by the time the main event rolls around, you've seen a ton of similar spots across the card.

Mike: I think the biggest problem is that for the most part WWE’s hardcore matches have become real tame.  We did get some flashes of “hardcore” during the elimination tables match, but they were just teases.  Tommy Dreamer pulls out a cheese grater...only for nothing to come of that.  Bubba teases that he’s going to light the table on fire...only for nothing to come of that.  I am not saying every match needs to be bloody and brutal, but I miss the crazy matches we got during the Attitude Era.  

The Roman Empire Begins

Mike: The night after TLC, WWE worked hard to try and recover from their ratings woes.  Building on the momentum from the end of TLC, Roman Reigns was put in a title vs career match against Sheamus by the returning Vince McMahon.  Despite interference by Vince himself and the League of Nations, Reigns emerged as the new WWE Champion!

This actually reminds me back of the Monday Night Wars.  Ratings had become so important to the business model that WWE and WCW would put big title changes on their Monday night shows instead of PPV’s.  

I definitely think this was the right time to put the title on Reigns.  Not sure if they should have “wasted” a month with the title on Sheamus, but I really don’t want to be negative here.  Reigns has been showing a ton of improvement over the last few months, improving in the ring and on the mike in leaps and bounds.  I am really curious where the WWE goes from here, but they definitely have my attention right now!

Chris: I actually watched Raw and enjoyed it.  The build through the night was a lot of fun!  Seeing Vince back as THE Authority was world’s better than Triple H or Stephanie in the roll.  Neither one is convincing or enjoyable as the evil suit.  Vince, on the other hand, was born for the part.

It was time for a change!  Sheamus was not credible as THE champ because nothing valuable has been done with him in a half-decade.  As for the new champ, I'm not the biggest fan of Reigns, but you're right he is improving.  With almost everyone on top injured, Reigns was the proper face to run with. I think this can actually be a fun Road to Wrestlemania.  I just hope we see some stories besides Roman overcoming the Authority every single week.  Another run of rinse, recycle, repeat will send the ratings back into a tailspin.

The show worked best because something happened.  There was a sense of impending history all through the night.  The crowd was buzzing thanks to a main event that wasn't another ridiculous tag team match.  It's been five years since the big strap was swapped on Raw.  How idiotic is that?  With the Network, WWE should be running way more big matches on TV each week.  Surprising fans on Raw will draw eyes to the Network.  If craziness happens on the show, to borrow from Jim Ross, BY GOD, what will happen on the Network!

NXT Takeover London Results

-  Asuka def Emma

WWE NXT Tag Team Title Match: Dash and Dawson def. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady

- Baron Corbin def. Apollo Crews

WWE NXT Women's Title Match: Bayley def. Nia Jax

WWE NXT Title Match: Finn Balor def. Samoa Joe

Mike: Okay, huge props for NXT for this show.  Even without some of NXT’s top draws, they still managed to put on a great show.  I loved that each match got plenty of time, and each match kept me guessing until the very end.  I pretty much loved the finish for each match, which just about never happens. I also loved that all the matches managed to make all the competitors look good, showing off their strengths and talents.

Chris: This was probably the best NXT special from top to bottom.  All five matches were well done in the ring, plus, you said it, the finishes were brilliant!

Mike: The show opened with Emma Vs Asuka.  It was great to see Emma reminding everyone how good she was.  I don’t think I ever doubted Asuka was going to win, but it was still a great match all the way through.  Part of me would lean towards calling this match of the night.

Chris: Holy crap, I thought this was the best match of the night too!  How weird is that?  It was so crisp, and the booking was perfect.  Asuka overcame the odds, but a couple of near falls looked like Emma was going to steal one.  I can't believe how entertaining this was!

Mike: A little disappointed that Enzo and Big Cass still can’t win the big one, but it was a very good match that could have gone either way.  Dash and Dawson continue to impress me. In just a short time, they have shown themselves to be major players in the revitalized NXT Tag Division.

Chris: I don't think Enzo and Cass are ever going to win the big one, and hopefully that means they are off to the main roster.  Seeing ‘Zo and Cass feud with the New Day would be spectacular.  

I absolutely love Dash & Dawson so much.  They become more like the Brainbusters every week.  Here's hoping their next challenge is Gable and Jordan!

Mike: Speaking of Gable and Jordan, next week they are involved in a four-way tag match that was taped during Takeover.  It seems like they might have gotten the biggest response of the night.  No real surprise.  Those guys are obscenely over.  And deserve it.

I like that Baron Corbin is bringing a DDP-like “out of nowhere” quality to his finisher.  His last two matches, I didn’t see the end coming until he hit a quick and unexpected “End of Days.”  I hope they can keep that up.  Corbin continues to show that he can work the big matches.  And Crews is just always awesome.

Chris: This was one of two major surprises on the show.  I didn't think Corbin would win!  Perhaps we are getting an idea of who is challenging Finn Balor next.  The out-of-nowhere finish was greatly appreciated.  Every match doesn't need to telegraph their ending.

Mike: The biggest surprise for me tonight was Nia Jax.  She had only really been wrestling squash matches, so it wasn’t clear how well she could go.  But, her match with Bayley ended up being really good.  I do think that Bayley might have kicked out of Nia’s finishers a few too many times.  Bayley should be the top dog of the women...but it’s a little odd when your monster hits her finishers several times, and Bayley can keep kicking out over and over again.  It was a little Cena-like.  But I am glad Bayley won.

Chris: I love the way Bayley won!  Using the guillotine repeatedly to wear down the bigger opponent was something you never really see.  I can't remember seeing anything like that in a long time.

The Super Cena comparisons are fair, though.  And, I think they may have hurt Nia Jax’s stock far too quickly.  Interesting that they are going toward the Jax/Asuka feud I mentioned last week, yet the title isn't involved.  Maybe we see a Triple Threat with Bayley/Jax/Asuka at the next big show?  Bayley is a definitive underdog character, and that's the only match that I see on the horizon.  

Mike: They may include Emma at some point.  It looks like they have recognized her value to NXT, and that she’s a far better fit here than on the main roster.  

Chris: I'm all for Emma getting involved in the title picture. It's a glaring omission that she's never held the NXT Women’s Title.  

Mike: The main event was just a war.  Some great storytelling here with both men seeming like they were seriously trying to hurt each other.  I’ve said it before, Samoa Joe always brings his A-game for Takeover, and this match was no exception.    I also loved Finn’s “Jack the Ripper” entrance.  

Chris: The entrance was a lot of fun, and a nice tip of the hat to the London theme.  These two dished out legit punishment to each other.  I haven't heard of a “real” injury, but Balor looked messed up at the end.  I don't know if that was just selling when he was talking to the doctor, if it was, wow!  

I'm anxious to see the next few months of shows, since the next special is in Dallas right before Wrestlemania.  I wonder if Balor/Corbin headlines or does Sami Zayn get the big spot?

Mike: If I were booking it, I would have Sami Zayn get payback against Kevin Owens before he returns to the title hunt.  I know that Kevin Owens is main roster these days, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for Zayn not to be seeking revenge against the man who took him out.  I just don’t know if they could make that feud work on the main roster right now.  At NXT, you can guarantee that it would get a huge crowd reaction.

I’m also not sure how much attention you can bring with a Balor/Corbin main event.  I actually think it could be a decent matchup, but it likely wouldn’t have all that much heat to it.  Granted, NXT Takeover isn’t a true PPV, so I am not sure how you measure it’s success.  But I would think after all the huge Takeovers we’ve had, this one would leave a lot of people flat unless it was booked real careful.  I think it’s very likely you might end up with a mirror of his match with Samoa Joe.  Corbin beating down Finn repeatedly leading to a match where Finn retains after a hard fought match.

PWS Results - FIghtmare Before X-Mas December 19, 2015

- Habib from the Car Wash def. Fallah Bahh.  After the match, Bahh gave Habib a serious beatdown.  Bahh's running buddies the Heavenly Bodies come out to celebrate...and to wrestle in the next match.

- Heavenly Bodies def. Merry Men in Tights.  After the match, the Heavenly Bodies announce they are leaving PWS to join Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling.

- Jeff Jarrett is out next.  He taunts PWS and his opponent, Dan Maff.  

- Jeff Jarrett def. Dan Maff when the Heavenly Bodies distract Maff allowing Jarrett to hit the Stroke.

- Club Taboo (Craig Steele and Sandy Man) win a Four Corners Tag Match against the Handicapped Heroes, the Reynolds Brothers and Aesthetic Enterprise) to become the PWS Tag Champs.  Zack Gowen of the Handicapped Heroes was not able to be there to defend his titles, so their manager Hush stepped in losing the match and the titles.  

-  Bobby Wayward def. Anthony Bowens

- Kevin Matthews def. Devon Moore in a Falls Count Anywhere match.  After the match, Jarrett comes out and invites Matthews to join GFW.  Matthews promises to answer him before the night is over.

- Drunken Swashbuckler won a six man match against Sanjay Dutt, CPA, Starman, Bonesaw, and Jessicka Havok to retain the Suicide Six Way Title.

- Delroy and Team Espana def. Nikos Rikos, Phillip Simon II, and Ronald Kingsley in a six-man tag.  After the match, Raven and Monsters Island come out to demolish Delroy and Team Espana.  

- Brian Myers def. Chris Payne in a Ladder Match to become the undisputed PWS TV Champ.

- Matt Macintosh won a four corners match against Mario Bokara, Kenny Omega, and Sami Calllihan to retain the PWS Title.  

- After the match, Jarrett, the Heavenly Bodies, and Sonjay Dutt charge the ring to attack Bokara.  Other PWS wrestlers change the ring to help (Dan Maff, Pat Buck, Fallah Bahh).  Brian Myers comes down and changes sides to join Team GFW.  GFW stands triumphant.  Kevin Matthews comes down.  He teases that he will be joining Team GFW...and then rallies the other PWS wrestlers to chase Team GFW off.   Pat Buck cuts an awesome promo at the end declaring war between PWS and GFW.  He sold next month's show brilliantly!

Mike: PWS always puts on a great show, but last night they went above and beyond.  We had mentioned a few weeks ago that PWS was going to be doing a cross-promotional show with Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling in January.   In last night’s show, they started to lay the seeds for that show from pretty much the opening match, with Global Force Wrestling trying to poach talent from Pro Wrestling Syndicate.  

To me, a wrestling storyline works best when it’s tied into some real emotion.  Pro Wrestling Syndicate is a small promotion with a lot of guys who just didn’t catch on for whatever reason, so they tend to carry a chip on their shoulder.  The show ended with a great brawl between PWS and GFW guys, and PWS owner Pat Buck gave a heartfelt promo about PWS as a family and the Rahway Recreation Center as their home.  I honestly don’t think there was a single person at that show last night that wasn’t convinced to rush out and buy tickets for the January show just to see what happens next.

In addition to the GFW crossover, it was just a solid show all across the board.  We got to see new tag champions crowned in a crazy four way tag match. Huge surprise that it went to Club Taboo.  I love Craig Steele, so I was glad to see him getting the chance to carry some gold.  His tag partner Sandy Mann has a great presence, but I’m still not quite sold on him yet.  Hopefully working with Craig will help.  

The two grudge matches were great.  Anthony Bowens and Bobby Wayward have huge talent, and I would be shocked if they don’t become household names in the very near future.  Feuding these two guys is a great way to show off that talent.   I also like the Falls Count Anywhere match with Kevin Matthews and Devon Moore.  I’m a huge Kevin Matthews fan, and seeing him finally get a satisfying win over his old Reality Check stablemate was a highlight for me.  At I always love when a heel’s manager gets a beatdown after that match.  Shining Edward Jackson sold that Ego Driver like a champ.

Typically the Suicidal Six Way is one of the best matches over the night, but this one felt a little off.  I was really excited to see Jessicka Havoc because PWS doesn’t feature a lot of women wrestlers.   But her timing and footing seemed real off during the match.  I don’t know if it was a problem with her boots, but she kept slipping when she was trying to climb the ropes, and it made her look slow-paced and out of place.  And that brought the whole match down for me. Often, I think PWS should stick with their homegrown talent.  Too many times they bring in big names that don’t quite seem the right fit.

By the way. this was my daughter’s first live wrestling show.  Everyone was so cool to her, and she had a great time.  She actually asked me to buy her a Nikki Bella figure.  I am not a huge Bella fan, but she is, and her Uncle convinced me to buy it (and even split the cost).  She carried that thing around like a trophy all night, so it was definitely the right choice. Although the best part for me was when Kevin Matthews saw it after the show and said, “Well, that’s a waste of good plastic.”   

Chris: It was amazing to be there for her first wrestling show and co-buy that figure!  I hope the memories of the night help make her a lifelong fan, just like us! Nikki may not be Kevin's cup of tea--or our's for that matter--but she's a wrestler, and the fact that a little girl is into that sort of thing, well that's pretty awesome!  Hopefully we have a new regular partner in crime to join us at the matches!

As for the show, I did enjoy the invasion angle.  I think Myers and the Heavenly Bodies are perfect to "join" GFW from the PWS roster.  They've worked GFW shows before, and all play scoundrels with a flourish.  The only other GFW guys announced so far are Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, and Bobby Roode.  I'm always thrilled to see Sonjay, but Roode's the man I'm really anxious to see in person.  Like AJ Styles, Roode is one of the guys that TNA didn't get behind enough. He's a brilliant worker and has a tremendous personality.  I can't wait to see who Roode's going to wrestle.

I want to touch on the main event, which was a little too short, but a brilliantly worked match. Why couldn't NXT find anything of value for Sami Callihan (Solomon Crowe in NXT) to do?  MY GOD, he's lightning fast, and his offense looks brutal.  Seeing Callihan work with Kenny Omega was an absolute delight. Both men pulled off such fluid, fast paced action.  I don't want to leave out the work of Bokara or Macintosh, though.  Mario's mat work and submission heavy offense set him apart from the others.  His reaction after Macintosh stole the victory with a roll up were perfection.  Speaking of Mac, just wow!  He gets better every month.  The Bad Apple is as fast as Callihan with a brilliant move set of his own.  He looked perfectly placed in the match with the three vets.  Macintosh deserves a lengthy reign in PWS!

Mike: Yeah, I definitely agree.  I thought it was a great main event, but way too short.  I understand why, as the real “main event” of the night was the awesome final brawl between the PWS and GFW guys, but that is definitely a match that could have had more time.  And I was definitely surprised by Sami Callihan.  He actually has a history with PWS and was a former PWS champion back in the day.  But my only real exposure to him was NXT, and as Solomon Crowe he wasn’t given all that much to work with.  He looked terrific in this match, and I would like to see him do more work with PWS in the near future.  

The ladder match for the TV Title was another great match.  But, Brian Myers and Chris Payne are two of my favorites in PWS, so that was no surprise at all. For a while now, these two guys have each been claiming to be the real PWS TV Champion, so now we have an answer...but I kind of hope this feud isn’t quite over yet.  They match up so well!

I also want to say that my daughter was terrified of Giant Leather (after commenting that Monsters Island was not all that scary).  I was worried she was going to be put off from wrestling, but first thing this morning she was already hyped about the war between PWS and GWF for next month.  So I think Kevin Matthews’ prediction that she will be hooked definitely came true.  THANK YOU TO PAT, KEVIN AND EVERYONE ELSE AT PWS!  

End of the Year Wrap-up

Mike: Well, looks like that is just about all we have for this year.  We’ll be back in a week or two, still Cheap Popping.   We started this column way back in January, and it’s been a lot of fun to write with Jeff and Chris.  I hope you, the reader, have as much fun reading it.  The new year of wrestling is already starting to look exciting.  Lucha Underground Season 2.  The leadup to Wrestlemania.  And I’m really hoping to see big things for Global Force Wrestling.  It seems like Jeff Jarrett has a solid promotion there, and WWE really needs some solid competition to get out of the doldrums.  I don’t know if that is even possible these days, but I really hope so.  I love professional wrestling, and I want to see it around for a long time.

Chris: It's hard to believe we've been doing the column for a year.  From a WWE standpoint, this wasn't a great year for wrestling.  On the other hand, between PWS, NXT, NJPW, and Lucha Underground, this was a spectacular year indeed!  The column is always very contingent on interesting news to talk about.  Here's hoping 2016 will be a fun year with lots of exciting news for us to debate!