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WK'S WWE MONEY IN THE BANK PPV BLOG 7/17: Ongoing live coverage of Punk vs. Cena, Orton vs. Christian, Show vs. Henry, more

Jul 17, 2011 - 10:09:23 PM


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KELLER'S MONEY IN THE BANK PPV BLOG
JULY 17, 2011
CHICAGO, ILL.
LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW


-They open with a video package of C.M. Punk's controversial statements that he wasn't supposed to say on TV, but WWE keeps replying over and over to sell a PPV.

1 -- SMACKDOWN MONEY IN THE BANK

-Participants: Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Sin Cara, Cody Rhodes, Sheamus.

-Kane uses power moves early, but there's a lot of athleticism otherwise with the smaller wrestlers in this match flying everywhere in and out of the ring. For instance at 5:00, Cara, wearing all white, dives off the top rope onto Sheamus at ringside for a respectable pop. Gabriel also flip dove onto Kane at ringside and Slater slingshot corkscrew dove onto Cody Rhodes on the floor.

-Booker talks a lot about his Fave Five. Cole said it changes every few minutes. His pick to win is Sheamus.

-Cara continues to work on connecting with the crowd. After clearing the ring, he shakes and gesture and shows great fire before going to ringside to get a ladder so he can climb to the briefcase. Instead, Barrett cuts him off.

-In a very big spot, Sheamus powerbombed Sin Cara off the ring apron through a ladder bridged at ringside. The ladder bent in half. Cara convulsed at ringside as refs and medics checked on him. Even Sheamus sold the idea that he went too far or may have badly hurt Cara.

-Cole notes that Edge earned the rep as the ultimate opportunist because of how he handled winning Money in the Bank and capturing the World Title afterward.

-At 10:00 Kane rammed both Cody and Bryan with the ladder. Meanwhile, Cara was rushed to the back on a gurney.

-Slater and Gabriel reunite against Barrett as he tried to climb the ladder, but then turn on each other again as they both go for the briefcase. Cody tips the ladder over and both Gabriel and Slater land on the top rope.

-Cody climbs the ladder, but Barrett yanks him to the floor. Cody fires back with a Crossroads on Barrett, then climbs the ladder again. Sheamus intervened and gave Cody a one-armed back-breaker.

-At 15:00 Sheamus lifted Brian onto his shoulders. Kane clotheslined Bryan off of Sheamus's shoulders, Doomsday Device style. Bryan landed on the side of his head on a ladder lying in the ring. Ouch. Bryan sold it like Brutus Beefcake wind surfing.

-Sheamus bridged a ladder from the middle turnbuckle to another standing ladder mid-ring. Kane knocked Sheamus out of the ring, then clotheslined Cody. Gabriel dove at Kane, but Kane chokeslammed him. Kane then climbed the ladder... very... slowly... Bryan got up and tried to stop Kane. Cole called him feisty, annoying, and a pest. A loud chant of "Daniel Bryan" broke out. He tried to put Kane in a submission while standing on the ladder. Kane blocked it, then caught Brian mid-air and powerslammed him. Bryan, though, turned it into a DDT. Kane rolled out of the ring.

-Slater climbed the ladder as the crowd booed. Bryan went after Slater. They fought on the ladder. Slater gave Bryan a neckbreaker off the ladder. Slater got up and climbed the ladder again. Barrett yanked him off. Slater climbed to the top rope. Barrett knocked him off balance. Barrett and Sheamus lifted Slater up on the top of the ladder as if they were trying to get a cat out off of a high branch with a long stick and dropped him onto Kane at ringside.

-At 21:00 Kane chokeslammed Sheamus off the top of the ladder onto a bridged latter in the ring. Cody, Bryan, and Barrett swarmed Kane to prevent him from winning. Barrett gave Kane his Wasteland finisher. Gabriel stood on the ladder bridged on the top rope and then hit Kane with a 450 splash. Barrett followed up by stomping on Gabriel, then he tossed him over the top rope onto Slater.

-Bryan and Cody battled on the ladder at 23:00. Barrett climbed behind them and grabbed the briefcase as Bryan had Cody in a submission hold on the of the ladder. Bryan knocked Cody to the mat, then turned to fend off Barrett. Barrett set up a Wasteland on Bryan, but Bryan knocked him down with elbows and then grabbed the briefcase to win.

-Cole was in disbelief. Lawler rubbed it in, asking Cole how it tasted to declare Bryan the winner.

-Bryan sat in the corner and celebrated, breaking down emotionally at the big win. The announcers hard sold the idea that winning MITB basically guarantees you a World Title win.

WINNER: Daniel Bryan in 24:00.

STAR RATING: **** -- Very good MITB match. Lots of good workers taking a lot of big bumps, but also selling them, during the course of the match. I gave it an extra quarter star just for the underdog win of Bryan being a surprising and dramatic twist.

-They showed Vince McMahon arrive in his limo with John Laurenaitis and a small guy with glasses identified as C.M. Punk's attorney. Cole said they've been trying to get Punk to sign a contract all week before the event.

-They showed the skyline of Chicago as Cole called it one of the great WWE cities, home of three different WrestleManias.

2 -- KELLY KELLY (w/Eve) vs. BRI BELLA (w/Nikki Bella) -- Divas Match

-At 4:00 (yes, four minutes!) Bri bumped face-first onto the mat on her own as Kelly lagged behind with a grip on her hair.

-Nikki told Bri afterward: "She doesn't even eat. How can you not beat that?" Good point.

WINNER: Kelly with a power legdrop at 5:00.

-A commercial aired hyping Summerslam featuring various WWE personalities swimming and then clips of Staples Center.

-They showed the announcers at ringside introducing a video package for the next match.

3 -- MARK HENRY vs. THE BIG SHOW

-Henry wound up for a punch aimed at a fan who dared pat him on the back as he walked to the ring. The fan jumped back, then smiled as if he didn't just pee himself a little.

-Cole ran down the massive measurements of their various body parts in the opening minutes. Cole billed Henry at 398. At least he made weight.

-They went at each other aggressively, like a rookie Phil Baroni vs. a rookie Vitor Belfort. They battled at ringside and used the ring steps. Henry ended up with the advantage.

-In the ring Henry worked over Show's left leg. He applied a half crab.

-Henry splashed Show in the corner once. On a second attempt, Show lifted his boot. Then Show leaped off the second rope with a flying shoulder. Show sold a left knee injury afterward.

-Show went for a chokeslam, but Henry countered with a powerslam for a believable dramatic near fall. So Henry picked him up and powerslammed him again, then splashed him twice and scored the pin.


WINNER: Henry in 6:00.

STAR RATING: *3/4 -- They went at each other aggressively, in a way that suited the intensity of the build-up. Then settled into Henry working over Show's leg, which made sense and wasn't belabored to the point of feeling like "filler." We got a clean pin, too. Interesting to see WWE really truly get behind Henry for the first time after all of this time.

-Afterward Henry splashed Show's ankle while it was in a partially folded chair. Show sold it huge. Officials in the ring called for help from the back. They drove a red cross flatbed truck to ringside. As Show was helped onto the stretcher, the crowd chanted "C.M. Punk! C.M. Punk!" How nice. Show is super-selling a leg injury and the crowd has already moved on.

-Josh Matthews asked Vince backstage if he has resigned Punk. Vince said the guy is the biggest ingrate he has ever encountered in his life. (After The Rockers first left the AWA, I asked Verne Gagne if he had re-signed them and Verne basically gave me the same answer in the same tone; he did not like Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty.) Vince said he offered him the most lucrative contract he has ever offered anyone and he turned him down. He said the Punk fans shouldn't blame him as he did everything he could to retain him on the roster. Josh asked what exactly Punk said to him. Vince said he pointed at the door and said, "Get out." Vince said John Cena brought this upon him because he insisted this match is what the fans wanted. Vince is starting to resemble in his mannerisms the incompetent Vice President who became President on "24." Vince said if by some chance Punk leaves the arena with the WWE Championship, "may God have mercy on John Cena's soul." Laurenaitis makes a good Corporate Stooge standing in a suit behind McMahon. He's also not acting.

4 -- RAW MONEY IN THE BANK MATCH

-Participants: Alberto Del Rio, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger, Evan Bourne, R-Truth, Alex Riley, The Miz, Rey Mysterio

-Del Rio drove a 2008 Lamborghini worth $160,000 into the arena.

-R-Truth got no intro music.

-Cole noted that Rey has never been in a Money in the Bank ladder match before.

-Everyone opened the match with a ladder in hand, swinging it at each other like some ratings-stunt on "Survivor" replacing the jousting contest. Several of them were little ladders which Cole explained were easier to handle and use as weapons.

-Big spots early by Rey using a headscissors to take Swagger over the top rope to the floor, Truth leaping over the top rope with a dive onto several on the floor, and then Rey and Kofi leaping stereo-style off of two top turnbuckles onto everyone on the floor, and then Bourne leaping off the ladder at ringside with a flip dive onto the other seven on the floor at 3:00. Everyone was KO'd on the floor.

-Bourne got up and set up a tall ladder mid-ring. Bourne and Bryan both MITB winners in one night? Not so fast. Miz met Bourne at the top. Bourne grabbed the case, but Miz grabbed it, too. Miz fell to the mat and grabbed his right knee in tremendous pain. He pushed the refs away as he ripped down his kneepads and rolled to the floor. A ref made an arm signal to the back. The slo-mo bump didn't look bad, but Lawler observed that it appeared the knee was out of joint and out of place. I couldn't tell either way. Miz was helped to the back by several attendants.

-Booker - you know, Mr. Spinarooni - was critical of Kofi's dancing and told him to "leave it in the "back."

-Cole said both Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan are trending worldwide right now.

-At 11 Rey, Bourne, and Riley grabbed at the briefcase. The other four joined in as all seven remaining wrestlers reached up for the swinging case. Del Rio was sent crashing off of the ladder. Swagger was knocked down next. Bourne got tipped over third.

-Kofi ended up the last man standing after knocking Rey down. Cole ruined the finish by declaring Kofi the winner before he grabbed the case, thus giving away to any discerning viewer that he wasn't winning. NOTE TO WWE: STOP DOING THAT. Swagger intervened and ended up taking a nasty bump to the mat.

-Miz limped back to the ring and climbed the ladder. The crowd popped and actually booed when Rey intervened. Rey sunset flipped Miz off the ladder to the ground. Rey then climbed the ladder as the crowd booed. Del Rio got to Rey just as he grabbed at the case. Rey kicked him down. More boos. Del Rio quickly raced up the other side of the ladder and absorbed some blows to the head as Rey rammed the briefcase into his head. Del Rio ripped off Rey's mask. Rey leaped to a nearby ladder. The ladder tipped over and it tipped over Del Rio's ladder. Del Rio set another ladder up and reclimbed it and got the briefcase for the win.

WINNER: Alberto Del Rio in 15:00.

STAR RATING: ***1/2

-A commercial aired for the WrestleMania 28 travel package.

-The announcers hyped the World Title match and threw to a video package.

-Mathews interviewed Del Rio backstage regarding his win. Del Rio reminded everyone he was already the no. 1 contender from winning the Triple Threat match two weeks ago. He said tonight he proved to everyone how great he is. Josh asked if it was his destiny to win the match. What a dumb question. So scripted sounding. Del Rio reiterated his line that it is his destiny to become WWE Champion.

5 -- RANDY ORTON vs. CHRISTIAN -- World Title Match

-Booker said he thinks this is Christian's last opportunity.

-Cole called Orton the "Apex Predator." That is so clunky and forced sounding. It's like people who give themselves their own nickname; it just doesn't work. It's better than Ezekiel Jackson's "Personification of Domination" corporate monicker, though.

-Cole said Orton has matured and grown up and became a great champion in WWE, but he has had anger management issues in the past. He said Christian has tried to get him to snap, so Orton will have to manage his emotions carefully to avoid getting DQ'd and losing his title.

-A guy dressed up as John Cena in the front row held up a sign saying, "I'm taking a break with the fans in the crowd."

-Orton got a mixed reaction from the crowd.

-At 4:00 both men knocked each other over the top rope to the floor. Cole had to resist with all of his strength throwing to a commercial break.

-Orton took Christian down with a Thesz Press and mounted him and punched away. Christian flailed free and then dove at Orton. Orton dropkicked Christian out of mid-air.

-They went into a series of trading near falls at 8:00 with the crowd increasingly behind Christian as the match progressed.

-Orton stood over Christian and signaled for the running punt kick. Christian leaped to his feet. Orton snap powerslammed Christian instead. Orton then gave Christian his DDT off the middle rope. Orton pounded the mat as Christian stood. He was about to hit the RKO when Christian collapsed and begged off into the corner. Christian then surprised Orton by spitting into his mouth. Orton flipped out and pounded on Christian in a full mount position. The ref counted to four and Orton pulled off. Orton got up and kicked Christian in the crotch. The ref DQ'd Orton and awarded Christian the title.

WINNER: Christian via DQ to capture the World Hvt. Title in 12:00.

STAR RATING: ***1/2 -- Really good 12 minute match. Paced well, executed well, and the finish played into the personalities and storyline of this feud.

-Orton lost it and attacked Christian afterward, giving him an RKO on the Spanish announce table. Lawler told Orton to calm down. Booker said Orton has completely lost his mind.

-A Summerslam commercial aired.

-As the announcers talked about the event so far and set the stage for the main event, the crowd chanted "Cena sucks" and erupted when Punk's face first appeared on the big screen.

-A video package aired highlighting the Punk-Cena-McMahon storyline.

6 -- JOHN CENA vs. C.M. PUNK -- WWE Title Matchi

-Huge pop for Punk's muisic. He walked lout wearing a Punk t-shirt, but is it officially sold through WWE's merchandise website and merch stands? It said "Best in the World" on the back with a "Chicago - 7-17-11" on the back. Lawler said it feels like the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl if the Super Bowl were in Chicago. I'd say it was more like Al Secord just nailed Willie Plett at the old Chicago Stadium in the early 1980s in the middle of a Chicago Blackhawks-Minnesota North Stars vintage NHL game.

-A very loud chant of "C.M. Punk" accompanied Punk's stroll to the ring. Cole said Punk is considered a hero in Chicago, but in other places it's different. He listed a bunch of negative adjectives associated with Punk.

-Punk sat in the middle of the ring as his song played and soaked up the moment. Punk finally stood and egged on the cheers. He hugged and kissed a woman at ringside.]

-Cena walked out to a chorus of boos. Cole said Cena is in enemy territory. Cole said Cena is face of the territory, but tonight will he be hero or goat. What's wrong with goats?

-Pro wrestling would be so much better if babyfaces got the Punk reaction every month and heels got this Cena reaction every month. Why can't promoters tap into this synergy with the crowd's desires more often?

-Cena locked on a chinlock early. The crowd booed. It seemed as if Punk called a spot. They didn't even have the second minute worked out ahead of time? Cena ducked a Punk wheel kick. They reset mid-ring.

-Cena out-wrestled Punk early, escaping an Anaconda Vice and applying an armbar and then a wristlock. (Take that, Chavo!)

-Lawler asked Cole why Punk is so popular here. Cole said Punk is good at brainwashing people. Lawler said Punk must not value paychecks. I suppose that depends on how much you have to spend on girlfriends to keep them interested.

-They did a couple leapfrogs, and then Punk went on a flurry of offense and settled into a chinlock. Cole reminded viewers of the Bret Hart Screwjob in 1997, a time when McMahon screwed Bret out of the WWE Title because of Bret wanting to leave the company with the championship to go to WCW. (That's not even close to true, by the way, but it's the story WWE has attempted to tell to shape the story their way.)

-Cena hinted at an Attitude Adjustment at 5:00, but Punk escaped. Cena settled into another chinlock at 7:00. It's like they're trying to take the crowd down a notch so they can bring them up at the end when it's time for the climax. In effect, though, the mat holds just give the crowd a chance to go back to chanting "Cena sucks." Finally the female voices rise with competing chants of "Let's Go Cena!" tonight. The just escalates the "Cena sucks!" chant from the men.

-Cole touted the sellout crowd of over 14,000, then called it one of the most anticipated matches in history. Lawler, shortly after the loud "Let's Go Cena!" chants broke out, said, "I don't know if there's one John Cena fan in this arena." What?! Seriously. What?! Are his headsets that tight around his ears? Come on, Jerry.

-Punk leaped off the ropes and kneed the back of Cena's neck as he hung over the edge of the ring.

-A 11:00 Cena avoided a Punk charge into the corner. Punk flew shoulder-first into the ringpost.

-Booker said the WWE Title is the one title that eluded him and it means so much. Lawler said it's the holy grail of this sport. Christian has to be crying backstage at this point.

-Cole mentioned Triple H's name, quoting him talking about how if you goal isn't to win the WWE Title, you might as well not be in WWE. I thought that was Steve Austin.

-Punk came up short on a crossbody off the ropes. Cena sold a knee injury. The crowd fell silent as Cena scooted to the edge of the ring.

-Punk tried to suplex Cena back into the ring, but Cena reversed it and suplexed Punk over the top rope to the floor. Wrestlers teased doing that for decades but never did it, and now it's commonplace to suplex someone off the ring apron to the floor. The chances wrestlers take and the moves they do now that are considered ordinary and part of the normal routine are so far beyond what was standard 15-25 years ago.

-The announcers talked about Cena having to work in pain with the knee injury. They said working hurt is part of the sport.

-Cena set up an Attitude Adjustment. He landed a variation of it for a near fall. They're 16 minutes into the match, but have 30 minutes left in satellite time. Is this going to be a short PPV, a very long match, or will another big angle or match follow this one?

-The crowd popped as Punk landed punches in his comeback. Cena countered with an abdominal stretch.

-Punk powered out with the help of an eye rake. He hip tossed Cena. They both collided with matching clothslines and were both slow to get up. Cena backdropped Punk, who immediately schoolboyed Cena for a near fall. The pace really began to pick up.

-Cena slammed Punk and paused to indicate he was about to go into the You Can't See Me routine. The crowd, of course, booed. Punk had plenty of time to recover and he kicked Cena when Cena bent over to wave his hand in Punk's face.

-Punk got up, played to the crowd, and landed a spear through the ropes onto Cena at ringside 19:00. Both were slow to get up. Punk rolled into the ring to break the count, then returned to ringside to toss Cena into the ring. He then climbed to the top rope and springboard dove at Cena. Cena moved.

-Cena dropped his Five Knuckle Shuffle next, then hit the Attitude Adjustment. Cena threw Punk so high, Punk nearly landed on his feet, then swept Cena down and scored a near fall. Had he landed on his feet, that would have been a huge pop. He couldn't quite pull that off, though. No big deal, but it would have been a cool moment.

-Punk got up and set up a Go To Sleep. Cena countered with a gut-wrench suplex for a two count. Cole cheerlead, "Come on, John! Get him here!"

-Lawler said he has a feeling that Cena's knee is going to cost him as the match progresses. Cena kept stretching the knee and favoring it. Cole said Cena is trying not to show it.

-Cena lifted Punk for an Attitude Adjustment. Punk hit two big kneelifts and then a bulldog. Cena was down face-first on the mat. Punk waited for Cena to begin to rise, then springboard dove at him with a flying clothesline for a near fall. The replay of the second kneelift showed that it landed as legitimately as any move in pro wrestling. Man, that was stiff.

-Punk roundkicked Cena's chest a few times. Cena ducked a fourth kick and applied the STF out of nowhere. Punk struggled. Cena made his ridiculous facial expressions. Punk crawled toward the bottom rope and came very close, then finally grabbed it. The crowd applauded as Cena was forced to break it.

-Punk landed a kick to the back of Cena's head and scored a believable near fall. Lawler said he was exhausted.

-Punk climbed to the top rope at 25:00 and hit a crossbody. Cena rolled through, lifted Punk, and went for an Attitude Adjustment. Punk countered with a Go To Sleep attempt, but Cena slipped free mid-move and applied another STF. Punk again tried to crawl to the bottom rope, but Cena dragged him back to the middle and reapplied it. Punk teased tapping, but instead countered out of it and applied his own submission lock on Cena's head. The crowd popped big time. Great drama here.

-Cena powered to his feet and launched Punk suddenly into an Attitude Adjustment for a very near fall. The crowd exploded with cheers at Punk's kickout. They showed men leaping up and down in the crowd. Cole noted that all of the fans were standing in the arena.

-Cena climbed to the top rope and leaped off, but Punk countered by felling backward into a powerbomb attempt that really didn't happen. In any case, he made the cover and Cena kicked out. Lawler noted it was an attempt at a powerbomb that didn't quite work. The crowd again loudly chanted, "C.M. Punk!"

-At 28:00 Punk lifted Cena for a GTS, but Cena escaped and snapped Punk throat-first over the top rope as he dropped off the ring apron.

-Cena leaped off the top rope with a legdrop to the back of Punk's head at 29:00. The announcers said it was over, so therefore Punk was kicking out, and he did. The crowd popped. Cena looked on in disbelief.

-Cena stood and waited for Punk to rise. Lawler said Cena is staying cool and not panicking. Cena positioned himself behind Punk and then went for another AA. He hit it and that was yet another super near fall. The crowd erupted again. Cena stood and took it to the ref as if he just got called out on a ball outside of the strike zone.

-At 32:00 Cena set up Punk for an Attitude Adjustment off the top rope. Punk elbowed the back of Cena's neck to escape. Punk then hit a huracanrana off the top rope. Punk charged at Cena with a running knee. He then delivered a Go To Sleep, but it connected on Cena's ribs rather than chin. Cena tumbled to the floor.

-McMahon and Laurenaitis walked out to watch the match from the aisle.

-Cena applied the STF. McMahon ordered Laurenaitis to signal for the ref to ring the bell. Cena released the hold and cut off Laurenaitis. He didn't want to win that way. Cena returned to the ring. Punk connected with a GTS and scored the pin.

WINNER: Punk in 34:00.

STAR RATING: ***** -- That is about as good as it gets in a pro wrestling ring. The athleticism wasn't at the A+ level, but everything else that equals magic in pro wrestling happened in the last 40 minutes.

-McMahon went to ringside and put on a headset and called for Del Rio to come out and cash in the Money in the Bank. Del Rio ran out with the briefcase in hand. Punk nailed him with a kick as he entered. He smiled at McMahon. Punk took the belt and left through the crowd. The event ended with Punk celebrating among the fans in the stands, then walking into the concourse with a huge smile on his face and McMahon looking on with disbelief.

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***

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MORE RECENT WK BLOG ARTICLES...
KELLER BLOG: Paul Heyman alliance with C.M. Punk - where does it go from here?
KELLER'S WWE SUMMERSLAM PPV BLOG: Results and analysis throughout the show including Lesnar vs. Triple H, Cena vs. Punk vs. Show
KELLER: C.M. Punk is not best utilized as a tweener, despite a recent reader poll; he should be all out heel

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RADICAN'S NEW JAPAN TV ON AXS BLOG 1/23 (Eps. 2 & 3): Tanahashi-Okada feud highlighted, incredible presentation, more
RADICAN'S NJPW TV REPORT 1/16: Complete rundown of incredible one-hour show focused on Tanahashi-Okada from WK7
PARKS'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 1/22: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of the Thursday show, including Daniel Bryan vs. Kane in a No-DQ Match
JAMES'S WWE NXT REPORT 1/21 - Week 136: Zayn-Owens announced for next "Takeover" special, #1 contender tournament begins, Charlotte defends Women's Title; Overall Reax
DEHNEL'S LUCHA UNDERGROUND REPORT 1/21: Last Luchador Standing main event, Big Ryck, more Lucha stars
DEHNEL'S WWE MAIN EVENT RESULTS 1/20: Wyatt vs. Swagger main event from Tuesday's TV taping for non-Network airing
TV REPORT - 1/20 Santino's Royal Rumble Lottery Spectacular: Replacement for Main Event features Santino's history lesson
OPINION & ANALYSIS
VOTE: If you are opposed to Roman Reigns in his current position, what is the main reason?
ASK THE SPECIALISTS ROUNDTABLE: The Case of Roman Reigns - would a match against Triple H better prepared Reigns for the WrestleMania main event spot?
RADICAN'S KAYFABE COMMENTARIES REVIEW SERIES: "Back to the Territories: Mid South" - Watts as a leader, expansion of territory, grueling road schedule, road stories, more
RAW POLLS 1/26: Vote 0-10 and Reigns post-Rumble
CALDWELL: WWE faces divided fanbase headed to WM31 - how can WWE make Roman Reigns work for everyone?
RUMBLE REAX #3: Live perspective on Rumble taking air out of the building, plus Rollins's performance, undercard, more
ROYAL RUMBLE REAX #2: High praise for WWE Title match, including Seth's star-confirming role, plus Reigns angst
ROYAL RUMBLE PPV REAX #1: "No long-winded statement to make; I just spoke with my wallet instead"
RUMBLE PPV POLLS: Vote 0-10, Best Match, Rumble Winner
MCNEILL'S PPV BLOG 1/25: Live Blog for WWE Royal Rumble - ongoing thoughts & observations
Sufferin' Succotash, Son: McNEILL Previews WWE Royal Rumble 2015! (with a Wrestling History Lesson)
ASK THE SPECIALISTS ROUNDTABLE: How about this scenario for The Undertaker returning in the Rumble?
THE SPECIALISTS
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Action Figure Spotlight - New Toy for WWE HOF'er Arnold Schwarzenegger
TUCKER LIVE AT THE RUMBLE: Instant Reaction to "Defiant WWE Booking" Year Two
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: WWE vs. UFC Trading Cards - Comparing Card Values of Today's Rising Stars
HITS & MISSES - 1/22 WWE Smackdown: Opening Segment, Rumble Qualifiers, Ryback-Rusev, Show Closing Brawl
HITS & MISSES - 1/19 WWE Raw: Wyatt-Bryan, Legends, NWO, Ambrose-Barrett, Final Segment - Cena, Rollins, Sting, Lesnar
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Action Figure Spotlight - Royal Rumble Favorite Daniel Bryan's History of Figures
DONOFRIO'S FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE: The Case for Daniel Bryan, WWE HOF candidates, more!
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Do Card Collectors Still Believe in Roman Reigns?, A Review of the Rumble to Rumble Stretch
HITS & MISSES - 1/15 WWE Smackdown: Bryan vs. Kane, Rumble Hype, Heyman - Rollins, Six-Man Tag
VALLEY'S TAKE: "Wrestling with Death"
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: Randy Savage Action Figure Spotlight - Savage’s Top 5 Opponents
HITS & MISSES - 1/12 WWE Raw: Cena vs. Rollins, Ambrose's Psych Evals, Bryan, Reigns's Fairytale, Contract Signing
PWTORCH EXCLUSIVES
RADICAN'S KAYFABE COMMENTARIES REVIEW SERIES: "Back to the Territories: Mid South" - Watts as a leader, expansion of territory, grueling road schedule, road stories, more
EXCLUSIVE: Stone Cold goes inside the Royal Rumble process, plus does he want someone to break his record?
RUMBLE FLASHBACK - Last Year's PPV: C.M. Punk #1 in the Rumble for his final WWE match, crowd rejects Batista's win, Bryan vs. Wyatt, Lesnar's path of destruction begins, more
JAN. 24 RUMBLE HISTORY: McMahon wins 1999 Rumble, Rock & Foley have sickening I Quit match
JAN. 23 RUMBLE HISTORY: The Rock wins 2000 Royal Rumble, Tazz makes memorable debut vs. Angle, more
JAN. 22 RUMBLE HISTORY: Shawn Michaels wins Rumble 20 years ago, but does not main-event WrestleMania XI
JAN. 21 RUMBLE HISTORY: Steve Austin wins third Royal Rumble, sets up WWF Title match at WM17
RAW RETRO: DX & Hornswoggle in Raw TV main event 5 yrs. ago, Cena & Kofi, Napoleon Dynamite, more
SMACKDOWN FLASHBACK - 15 yrs. ago: Hunter & X-Pac vs. Rock & Show, Hardys, E&C, Jericho, Lawler on commentary, more
EXCLUSIVE: Lanny Poffo reveals Randy Savage's stipulations for Hall of Fame induction (December 2011)
RAW RETRO - 5 yrs. ago: Mike Tyson guest-hosts & wrestles, plus build-up to 2010 Royal Rumble PPV
ECW PPV FLASHBACK - Guilty as Charged 15 yrs. ago: RVD vs. Sabu, Dusty Rhodes, Impact Players, Awesome defends ECW Title
REFERENCE
WWE NEWS: Raw TV Ratings are in - post-Rumble studio show jumps to highest rating since WrestleMania
TNA NEWS: Updated Impact TV ratings - Weeks 1 & 2 Friday nights on Destination America
WWE NEWS: Total Divas TV viewers - Week 4 vs. Rumble
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings for last Monday's "Legends Reunion" show - Raw crosses 3.0 benchmark
WWE NEWS: Smackdown TV ratings - Week 1 & 2 performance back on Thursday nights
TITLES & CHAMPS: Ongoing list of 2015 Titleholders
WWE NEWS: Total Divas viewership - Week 3 first-time event
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings are in for Monday's show - how did Raw fare vs. College Football Title game?
WWE NEWS: Total Divas TV ratings - Week 2 viewership
WWE NEWS: Raw TV rating for final show of 2014 - finale drops to 2.5 rating, plus viewership break down
LUCHA NEWS: TV ratings for Lucha Underground "season premiere" on El Rey Network
TNA NEWS: Impact TV ratings are in - full break down of the first episode on Destination America, including replay
PWTorch Free Podcast
LIVECAST AUDIO: Wednesday PWTorch Livecast (1/28) now available on-demand - Jim Valley interviews Stevie Richards
LIVECAST AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (1/27) now available on-demand - Wade Keller & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
LIVECAST AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (1/26) now available - Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant
LIVECAST AUDIO: Special PWTorch Livecast (1/25) following Royal Rumble now available - James Caldwell & Greg Parks
LIVECAST AUDIO: Friday PWTorch Livecast (1/23) now available - Caldwell's Royal Rumble Predictions Show
LIVECAST AUDIO: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin live interview w/Wade Keller (now available on-demand)
LIVECAST AUDIO: Wednesday PWTorch Livecast (1/21) now available - Pat McNeill & Jim Valley
LIVECAST AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (1/20) now available - Wade Keller & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
LIVECAST AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (1/19) now available - Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant
PWTORCH LIVECAST LOG: This week's interviews with Lanny Poffo (brother of Randy Savage) & WWE 2K15 developers
LIVECAST AUDIO: Lanny Poffo talks live w/Keller on Friday's PWTorch Livecast (now available on-demand)
LIVECAST AUDIO: Thursday PWTorch Livecast (1/15) now available - James Caldwell & Greg Parks
VIP Exclusive Features
VIP - PWTorch Newsletter #1390 (PDF & TEXT): Keller’s Royal Rumble Report, Rumble Staff Roundtable, Austin Torch Talk on Reigns, Mitchell column, Parks predicts WM31, Keller’s TV Reports, Cover Story, End Notes (21 pages)
VIP - 01/28 Bruce Mitchell Audio Show w/Wade Keller, pt. 1: Mid-week analysis of Rumble fallout including Roman Reign on Raw, Bryan’s future, and how the 1 million Network subscribers mark factors in (78 min.)
VIP - 01/28 East Coast Cast (ep. #226): Fall-out from Reigns's Rumble win & #CancelWWENetwork, Raw's format change a plus for everyone, Japan, TNA, more!, plus VIP Mailbag (200 min.)
VIP - 01/28 - Wade Keller Hotline - Ask the Editor: Were there too many big moves in Triple Threat and could announcers help? Austin vs. Cena at WM32? Is social media primarily responsible for Reigns rejection? Ziggler & Bryan at WM? (31 min.)
VIP - 01/28 PWTorch Livecast: Stevie Richards Interview w/Jim Valley: Impact of Social Media on wrestling, WWE & ECW insight, DDP Yoga; VIP Aftershow - Caldwell on Live Events/News (74 min.)
VIP - 01/27 - Wade Keller Hotline - The News: WWE Network 1 Million Subscription Announcement, WWE stock, Raw Ratings, TNA ratings, TNA TV tapings, Beth Phoenix honored, SD main event, Barbed Wire City (31 min.)
VIP - 01/27 PWTorch Livecast & VIP Aftershow AD FREE: Keller & Powell discuss the Royal Rumble fallout including a unique and successful reformatted Raw, plus WWE Network hits 1 million subscribers, live callers and emails (139 min.)
VIP - 01/27 Audio Flashback - Guttman Audio Show (01-25-2005): Batista’s comments about Smackdown and Triple H, what Hunter is and what he thinks he is, VIP Moment of Insanity, Sad State of Tag Division, more (27 min.)
VIP - 01/26 PWTorch Livecast: Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant: Rumble fall-out, snowed-out Raw, how Reigns went from cool Shield member to representing fan resentment, canceled Network subs, more! (72 min.)
VIP - 01/26 - Wade Keller Hotline - The News: The Monday Without Raw, Update on rescheduling and is it for best, a better Rumble-WM scenario with Bryan, Bryan’s reaction, #CancelWWENetwork, Lesnar’s schedule, Polls, Arnold (31 min.)
VIP - 01/25 WWE Royal Rumble Post-PPV Audio Roundtable: Keller, Mitchell, McNeill discuss complete fan rejection of Roman Reigns, Bryan’s elimination, stellar Lesnar-Rollins-Cena match, DDP and Dudley surprises, more (80 min.)
VIP - 01/25 Special PWTorch Livecast: Royal Rumble post-game show - James Caldwell & Greg Parks talk w/live callers, including several live reports from Philly, plus how does WWE "make it right" heading into WM31? (140 min.)
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