Braun Strowman, depushed

Nick Paglino:

According to The Wrestling Observer, after several months of deliberating and planning a push for Braun Strowman, WWE might have simply changed their minds on the Wyatt Family member. There had been second thoughts in WWE regarding a Braun Strowman push, and those might have been solidified after Strowman’s main event match against Dean Ambrose on Raw in Philadelphia.

With regards to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32, there were plans in place at one point for Strowman to win the match and then go on and face Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, however those plans are no longer a lock, and WWE has been discussing numerous plans for the Andre match winner.

There’s a place in wrestling for really big guys who can’t wrestle. It’s called “muscle for Shawn Michaels to hide behind.” Strowman’s pretty much in the best spot he could possibly be in. They know better than to take him away from there.

Reigns has done nothing wrong

A.J. Smith, via Nick Hausman:

AJ: It bothers me so much as a Roman Reigns’ fan. I think turning him heel would be an answer they would want to go to. The only problem with that is that then wrestling fans that care too much about the results and not the show, if he turns heel, they’re going to cheer because they are happy he is turning heel. It’s going to be the same issue that you had before. It bothers me because I don’t think he has done anything wrong. He has great match after great match after great match. I just feel bad for the guy.

Just like in my last post, I completely agree. It isn’t Reigns’ fault this story isn’t working. It’s bad character management and writing.

You can skip Raw this week

Nick Paglino:

WWE.com is hyping the following story line points for tonight’s show:

-Will Dolph Ziggler instigate himself into another all-or-nothing match?

-Expect the Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch rivalry to kick into gear in a big way

-How will Lana and Team BAD make their presence known?

-Who will enter in the third annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal?

-Will The Authority settle their Roman Reigns problem in the ring or with a mountain of litigation?

Let me answer these questions for you quickly: no, why not, a little, nobodies, and in the ring.

The card is more or less complete, so expect this Raw (which is not the last one before Wrestlemania) to be a detail-filler.

How do you solve a problem like Mr Wrestlemania?

Nick Paglino:

According to F4WOnline.com, both Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels are confirmed to have roles at WrestleMania 32.

There is no confirmation as to what the two WWE Hall of Famers will be doing, but word is that Austin’s role was locked in about two weeks ago.

As for Michaels, we recently noted WWE had been discussing two possible ideas for HBK. One would be special guest refereeing the Roman Reigns vs Triple H match, but Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that the idea might have recently been nixed, as there are other plans reportedly in place for The Heartbreak Kid. The other rumored plan for Michaels is for him to lead a group of legends, much like with DX at ‘Mania last year, to do a run-in during a match.

As for The Rock, he is reportedly calling his own shots at WrestleMania 32, and as of this writing, he has yet to inform officials what his plans are for the PPV.

Remember Wrestlemania 30, where Austin, Rock, and Hogan spent approximately thirty hours riffing on one another? I wouldn’t be surprised if they just do that again.

The Wrestlemania 33 logo is hideous

Bill Pritchard:

It had been widely reported and later confirmed by Wrestlezone’s Justin LaBar that Wrestlemania 33 will take place in Orlando, Florida at the Citrus Bowl. 

It is rumored that a press conference will be taking place sometime this week, and the following logo and on-screen graphic was seen earlier today being tested at the Citrus Bowl. According to Jim M, who was on site earlier today and took the photo, the Wrestlemania 33 logo was displayed on a scoreboard outside of the stadium, and there were also WWE trucks on site with NXT graphics on them.

I really, really hope that’s just a practice shot at the logo. Then again, The Wrestlemania logo has fallen to serious generification these last few years.

Roadblock card, in summary

Nick Paglino:

Following this week’s WWE TV, below is the updated card for the WWE Roadblock Network special taking place on March 12th from The Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, Ontario.

Triple H vs. Dean Ambrose

Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt

Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus

The Revival (Dash & Dawson) vs. Colin Cassady and Enzo Amore

Other names advertised for the event include Sami Zayn, The New Day, Sheamus and King Barrett.

Tidy.

Building up the League of Nations

Josh Isenberg:

It is no secret that The League of Nations has not been that impressive since being bunched together. Since their inception, Sheamus lost the world title and Alberto Del Rio lost and won and lost the United States Championship. Although these were the right decisions creatively, it still makes me wonder why put them together only to make them fail so early. Instead of trying to have them aim for the highest of heights, WWE is finally understanding what they are capable of. They are capable of bringing “main event” talent to the tag team division.

I’m not sure it’s a coincidence that League of Nations and the Social Outcasts were put together around the same time. WWE is trying out a new thing where they put the losers (jobbers) in a type of stable (or squad). This is something they’ve never done before, in that now they have two of them.

The Styles Clash is still a thing

Bill Pritchard:

Styles did end up using the Clash to defeat Curtis Axel, but the decision to use the Calf Crusher going forward was made after that. Styles hadn’t teased and used the move after being told to use the Crusher, but Chris Jericho reportedly wanted the Clash included in their PPV match. Since the move made it into the match without issue it’s believed the Clash is ‘okayed’ to be used again, but the Calf Killer is expected to continue to be Styles’ finisher.

I don’t understand why Styles never came up with a better finisher. He only had fifteen years to figure something out. And after the injuries, he should have retired it. The calf crusher is fine as a submission, but a performer like AJ Styles should have something high impact, fast, and safe. The Styles Clash is none of those things.

Sami Zayn, promoted

Nick Paglino:

According to the Wrestling Observer, former WWE NXT Champion Sami Zayn is scheduled to compete at WrestleMania 32.

Additionally, Zayn is booked for the annual post-WrestleMania tour of Europe.

As we previously noted, Zayn will be facing Shinsuke Nakamura, in Nakamura’s NXT debut match, two nights before WrestleMania 32 at the NXT “Takeover: Dallas” special.

I remember a few months before Neville and Sami finished their nXt story. It was going well, the show was enjoyable, but there was this sense that as soon as they were promoted to the main show, there would be nobody to carry nXt. Not long after that, Kenta was announced. Devitt and Owens followed soon after that. And now we’re about to see Nakamura in what will be Sami Zayn’s last nXt match as a regular performer on the show. What a crazy 18 months it’s been.