***WARNING: NXT spoilers are included in this article***
Since 2016 began, I quietly took a "hiatus" from writing opinion pieces here on WNW because I was bored with WWE and wrestling in general. It happens for many fans from time to time, and the feeling honestly sucks. Wrestling is something I have invested my life in over the last five years. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have wrestling shows to watch!
(For those of you who enjoy reading The Five-Count: I'm not sure when I'll resume writing that on a weekly basis, but hopefully it is very soon.)
Before the Royal Rumble pay-per-view was over, my passion and love for wrestling was renewed. I've had all these thoughts on my mind that I wanted to get out in the form of an article, but I couldn't just settle for one topic... So here's many topics! Enjoy my random thoughts that have been somewhat organized into categories below:
Royal Rumble PPV Was A Hit
It is no secret that WWE fans were highly critical of the 2014 and 2015 Royal Rumble pay-per-views, mostly because Daniel Bryan did not win either Rumble match. I thought WWE did a fantastic job with this year's event from top to bottom. There were no disqualification or count-out finishes. The show opened with a wonderful Last Man Standing Intercontinental Title match between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens. The New Day and The Usos exceeded my expectations and put on a really strong Tag Team Title bout. A new and deserving champion was crowned in the form of Kalisto. Sasha Banks made a surprise appearance to take out both Charlotte and Becky Lynch to create one of the most memorable Divas segments since the Divas Revolution last summer. And lastly, Triple H walked out of the Royal Rumble match with his fourteenth WWE Championship.
For me, this was an A show. There wasn't a bad match on the card and very little to complain about. Triple H winning the title resulted in me yelling at the TV a few times and booing from the couch, but that's what WWE should strive for out of me - a reaction.
A Phenomenal Debut
One of the best moments of the night, and probably the year, was witnessing AJ Styles make his WWE debut as the third entrant in the Rumble match. I followed Styles during his last year in TNA as well as some of his work in ROH and NJPW. The rumors kept swirling and it seemed all but confirmed that Styles was due to finally make his debut on the road to WrestleMania.
As Roman Reigns stood waiting for the next entrant during the Rumble, I just knew that the unfamiliar sound of piano playing in the background while the crowd popped loudly meant that the moment had arrived. The Phenomenal One had a great showing in the Rumble, followed by a great match against Chris Jericho the next night on Raw.
So what are the WrestleMania plans for Styles? Not much has been said regarding who his potential opponent(s) could be, but it should be almost a guarantee we will see him on the card.
NXT Is On Fire
As we prepare for WrestleMania 32, we also are on the road to NXT TakeOver: Dallas. In what could arguably be the biggest TakeOver event to date, the card has been stacked with big names and matches that are sure to have fans talking for months to come.
Austin Aries will make his NXT TV debut in nearly a month and will face Baron Corbin at the big show. Shinsuke Nakamura's debut will come in the form of a dream bout against Sami Zayn. Personally, I'm most excited to see "my boys" Jason Jordan and Chad Gable challenge Dash & Dawson for the NXT Tag Team Championship. Bayley and Asuka will clash for the Women's Championship. And lastly, Finn Balor will defend the NXT Title against friend turned foe Samoa Joe in a rematch from TakeOver: London.
I don't know about you, but this really does feel like a dream card. Every match has my interest and could change the future of the main roster. Could someone drop a championship or lose one of these matches to head up to Raw? Could any other big names appear on the show? There is so much to look forward to on April 1.
Current WrestleMania 32 Card
WWE has their Fast Lane pay-per-view and March to WrestleMania live special to get through before the show of shows rolls around. Matches for each of these events have slowly been revealed, leading fans to speculate which bouts will be happening in Dallas.
The main event of Fast Lane will feature an exciting triple threat match with Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Brock Lesnar vying for the opportunity to challenge Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Mania. Reigns appears to be the favorite, with fans hoping for the surprise win out of Ambrose. I don't think anyone wants to or is expecting to see Lesnar go over in the three-way dance.
Currently advertised for March to WrestleMania is Luke Harper vs. Brock Lesnar. One has to think that this will result in The Beast facing Bray Wyatt with the rumors of Undertaker vs. Braun Strowman being penciled in.
It may come as surprise to some, but the one storyline that has my attention the most is the Divas Championship picture for WrestleMania. Fans are clamoring for a triple threat with Charlotte defending against Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks. Following her bold statement that was made at the Rumble, Banks announced during this week's Raw that she is no longer apart of Team BAD. Instead, it appears that Banks and Lynch could be reuniting for a "one night only" tag match against Naomi and Tamina, possibly taking place at Fast Lane.
The idea of a triple threat Divas Title match with the three former NXT Divas makes me feel like the whole Divas Revolution would come full circle at that point. #GiveDivasAChance began a year ago and so much has happened in those twelve months for WWE's female division.
Now that's only the start. We also have to consider other top stars like Dean Ambrose, Kalisto, The New Day, Kevin Owens, Sheamus, Chris Jericho, AJ Styles and more. Fast Lane should give us a clearer direction for many talents.
SmackDown > Raw?!?!
Since SmackDown moved to the USA Network in January, I have enjoyed Thursday's show more than Raw almost every week. Some of you will disagree and think SmackDown is skippable, but I have to disagree lately. I read the spoilers every Tuesday evening to know what will happen and most of the time, I'm excited. Last week's episode featuring Reigns, Ambrose, and Jericho vs. The Wyatt Family was one of the best episodes for me in a long time. I would love to see SmackDown continue to "beat" Raw as we continue the long road to Dallas.
For now, this is all I have. And it was fun! I think these Chitchat sessions could become a regular thing. With that said, I'd love to hear from you below in the comments area! Whether it be about this new article or whether you're sharing your opinion of one of the many things I wrote about - have at it.
You can follow me on Twitter @cj_blaze24.