Why The Year Of Brock Lesnar Is Okay

I get it, IWC (internet wrestling community) - you aren't too fond of Brock Lesnar. You aren't too fond of part-time superstars. You covet the Undertaker's streak. You firmly believe the WWE World Heavyweight Champion should be on every Raw and SmackDown! 

When Lesnar returned to the WWE in 2012, you chanted his name. You cheered at the thought of him taking out John Cena. Now, it's 2014, he ended the Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania XXX, and he is the champion of the wrestling world. 

And guess what? You are angry about. So, what else is new? It seems that no matter what, it's not good enough. 

Except this time, it should be, and I have 3 reasons why:

1) Storyline consistency

Brock Lesnar is one of the most impressive individuals in WWE lore, like it or not. He defeated The Rock for Undisputed Championship during his rookie year in 2002. He had several great contests against the likes of the Undertaker, Big Show, & Eddie Guerrero.  He defeated one of the all-time greats, Kurt Angle, in the main event of WrestleMania XIX. 

After a hiatus of 8 years, he came back as "The Beast Incarnate" and continued to boast impressive performances. His matches with John Cena, Triple H, & CM Punk have all been in discussion for match of the year in their respective years. 

Face it - he may not exude the most exciting personality, but he is a hell of a worker, and his matches are usually the most physical on the card. 

So, when it was announced that he would take a crack at the undefeated streak of The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX, I had a sneaky feeling that we'd see Lesnar triumphant. 

The clues were rampant - Lesnar had the pedigree of a man you'd want to end the streak. He was being billed as an unstoppable walking rampage. He was a credible loss for The Undertaker.

When he did the unthinkable, and ended The Streak, what was the logical next step? The world title. 

John Cena showed the tremendous amount of respect he has for The Undertaker at SummerSlam. While he took easily the worst beating of his career, his loss to Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship made the fight that 'Taker put up at WrestleMania look heroic. 

So, in a day and age when inconsistency is predominant, the WWE sticks with natural progression that makes sense. 

2) Paul Heyman

Paul Heyman's emergence as one of the greatest managers and talkers of all-time is directly correlated with the return of Brock Lesnar. 

Not only are we getting great stories and great matches, but we are getting to watch a man has honed his craft over decades finally take the spotlight he deserves. Heyman adds intrigue and boldness to Lesnar's character that has transcended Brock into the upper echelon of the WWE mythos.

Quite frankly, the more Heyman, the better. 

3) The classic monster heel

When is the last time the WWE has put such a dominant beast on display? Seriously think about it - Andre The Giant? Yokozuna? How many superstars have looked as unbeatable as Lesnar looks now?

People will tune in to see him lose, but more importantly, Lesnar has been booked to allow for perhaps the next great WWE moment: his losing the championship. 

The same way The Rock made Brock Lesnar a star at SummerSlam 2002 - Brock Lesnar could create an instant superstar by dropping the title after such an imposing run. It may be Roman Reigns. It may be Cesaro. It may be Dean Ambrose.

Regardless, the WWE has done an excellent job in booking Lesnar to be both a historic champion and the bridge to the next generation of superstars. For that, they deserve the "This Is Awesome!" chant. 

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Tennessee Titans: Notes From Preseason Game 1

The Tennessee Titans defeated the Green Bay Packers 20-16 Saturday night in a torrential downpour in Nashville. The conditions didn't provide much of a glimpse into what the first team offense or defense will actually look at, but we did learn some things both positive and negative. Let's dive into the official SoBros Notebook for this one:

*If you were anticipating to see Jake Locker's first action of 2014, you were disappointed. The Titans quarterback finished 1/2 for 5 yards, and 2 yards rushing. He seemed to struggle with holding on to the wet football, and really left the field without giving us anything to even really base on opinion on, positive or negative. 

*The first team defense looked pretty bad against a Packer offense that didn't feature Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, or Jordy Nelson. James Starks chewed up 49 yards and 1 touchdown on 6 carries. 

*The defensive backs, as a unit, look like a physical bunch - especially at the line of scrimmage. Daimion Stafford laid 2 hits worthy of a WWE ring. Ken Whisenhunt was even singing Stafford's praises after the game, meaning he'll likely see an expansive role this preseason. There's a chance he could eventually be the successor to Bernard Pollard. 

*Justin Hunter, Taylor Lewan, & Bishop Sankey all got a heavy workload in the game. While Hunter didn't really seize the opportunity to shine, Lewan looked pretty good, and Sankey definitely showed why he was the first running back taken in the 2014 draft. At the end of the game, Sankey would've amassed 37 yards rushing, 38 receiving, and a touchdown. The preseason will be a key development period for the product out of the University of Washington. 

*Derrick Morgan seemed to be transitioning well to outside linebacker, dropping into coverage fairly well on one play and breaking up a first down pass. 

*I was puzzled by the drafting of Marqueston Huff in the spring, and I still am. He was beaten badly by Chris Harper twice in coverage, but looked very strong at the line of scrimmage and in blitzing situations. 

*The quarterbacks behind Jake Locker may have been the beacon of hope in this game. Charlie Whitehurst was 10/15 for 94 yards and 1 touchdown, while Zach Mettenberger led the game-winning drive in impressive fashion. While Whitehurst will earn the backup job, Mettenberger will be given ample opportunity this preseason to push him for the job. The coaching staff has to be happy with his first performance.

In the end, they'll suit up to play the New Orleans Saints Friday night with almost as many unanswered questions as before they played the Green Bay Packers last weekend. 

Top 10 Matches in WWE SummerSlam History

WWE's annual extravaganza, SummerSlam, is right around the corner, and we here at the SoBros Network love top 10 lists....so why waste any more of your time?

Today, I'm counting down the top 10 matches in WWE SummerSlam history.

10. No Disqualification Match: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar – 2013

The most surprising match of Brock Lesnar's return has also been his best. With Paul Heyman involved, fans knew this feud was going to be fiery.

What most fans didn't expect was that each man would top his WrestleMania match from that year (Punk against The Undertaker; Lesnar against Triple H at WrestleMania 29). In fact, a lot of fans weren't sure this match was going to even deliver.

In the months prior to this match being made official, Paul Heyman had turned on his former client, CM Punk by costing him the Money In The Bank ladder match. When "The Beast Incarnate" returned to be managed by Heyman, it was only natural that this match would take place.

Wanting to silence Punk for good, Heyman would send Lesnar out to do his dirty work – and so, the match billed as "The Best vs. The Beast" was born.

Once the match had concluded, both performers came out as shining lights, and a match that wasn't given a lot of credit became one of the greatest matches in event history.

9. Intercontinental Championship: Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect – 1991

Another of those matches from the glory days of the Intercontinental Championship, this match featured two men who helped elevate the title to that level.

Both of these men are in the discussion for the top Intercontinental Champion of all time, and this match certainly helped their case.

A clinic on technical wrestling, this title bout is just as good today as it was in 1991.

8. World Championship TLC Match: CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy – 2009

The second CM Punk appearance on this list was his first SummerSlam main event. Not only was Punk one of the greatest wrestlers, but he was a very underrated storyteller.

This match was a prime example of his ability to tell a story in the ring. Working as a heel, Punk had been battling Jeff Hardy for months over the World Championship, feeding off of Hardy's very real addiction history.

Fans weren't disappointed when the rivalry between the two came to a head in Hardy's most comfortable environment: the Tables, Ladders, & Chairs match.

7.  Hell In A Cell: Undertaker vs. Edge – 2008

The main event of SummerSlam 2008 (and let's face it, it wasn't going to be a Great Khali match) wasn't even for the World/WWE Championship. Instead, the pinnacle of the rivalry took center stage, and delivered to the fullest extent.

After back and forth pay-per-view matches, Edge defeated the Undertaker earlier in the summer to force the Dead Man's retirement. However, once Vickie Guerrero caught Edge cheating her, she announced her first order of business was resigning The Undertaker.

The greatest SummerSlam main event of the 2000s would ensue.

6. Ladder Match: Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero – 2005

A wonderfully crafted story featuring two of WWE's greatest workers – Mysterio & Guerrero started their journey to this pinnacle by winning the WWE Tag Team Championship oddly enough. They would open WrestleMania 21 as foes in what has been called one of WrestleMania's greatest opening contests.

Of course, it's the WWE, and things rarely end civilly and professionally. The rivalry took a personal turn, with Guerrero revealing that he was the actual biological father of Rey's son.

Yeah – that happened. Regardless of the circumstances, this was a heated feud.

With the custody of Rey's son, Dominick, on the line, these two culminated their rivalry in perfect fashion during this memorable ladder match.

5. TLC I – 2000

The first TLC match was also the reinvention of the WWE Tag Team Championship. This match would begin to define the careers of the Hardys, the Dudleys, Edge, & Christian.

More importantly, it gave these artists a blank canvas to paint a masterpiece. Tag team wrestling hasn't been the same since these 3 teams creatively innovated what was becoming a stale division.

4. WWE Championship: John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan – 2013

The most exciting match of 2013 was also the main event of SummerSlam. This match was a complete clash in ideologies, and the WWE seemed to have finally given fans what they wanted in a Daniel Bryan win, before Randy Orton cashed in his Money In The Bank contract and walked out with the WWE Championship.

While the Yes Movement was in full effect during this stretch, this was the night that the phenomenon caught lightning. From that point, fans were white hot for Bryan, and in April 2014, they'd finally get their payoff when the G.O.A.T. defeated Batista and Randy Orton to claim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX

3. Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Triple H vs. The Rock – 1998

A coming out party for both superstars, the incredible, bloody bout was the launching pad for each man's ascension to the main event picture.

The war of words between The Rock and an old-school DX Triple H was not only hilarious, but set up the ultimate turf war. It was the perfect blend of entertainment and intensity, and was ultimately just as important a match as the evening's main event: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker for the WWE Championship.

2. Intercontinental Championship: Bret Hart vs. British Bulldog – 1992

The match that made SummerSlam – held from Wembley Stadium in London, Hart vs. Bulldog should set the bar for all Intercontinental Championship matches. The bout was such a draw that it actually headlined the show.

The British Bulldog is arguably one of the greatest wrestlers in the industry's history to never win the WWE Championship, and this match is a large part of his legacy.

1. Non-sanctioned Street Fight: Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H – 2002

Following his departure from the WWE in 1998, wrestling fans all over the world were certain they had seen Shawn Michaels wrestle his final match. When HBK returned in 2002 alongside Triple H, fans were sent into a nostalgic tailspin.

That is, until Triple H delivered a Pedigree to Michaels.

At that point, it donned on us: "Holy crap – HBK is going to wrestle again."

Eric Bischoff refused to sanction this match, and I'll admit, I initially thought that meant that the two would have to incorporate weapons because Michaels would be limited in what he could physically do.

Boy, was I wrong.

Michaels and Triple H went out and took years off of each other's career that night. The use of weapons enhanced the story of the match – allowing both competitors to show just how personal the contest had become. This stipulation also allowed for Triple H's treachery to be on prime display.

By the end, all wrestling fans were on the edge of their seats anxiously pulling for the miracle comeback, and when it happened, we all had tears in our eyes – or at least I did.

The rich history of the event means the bar is raised each and every year. While it grows increasingly hard to make it onto this list, there are a couple of matches on the 2014 card that could crack this list – one being Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, the other, of course, being the epic WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between John Cena and Brock Lesnar.

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Top 20 WWE Tag Teams Since the Attitude Era

Credit image to WWE.com

Some would say tag team wrestling took a major hit after the Attitude era's famous tables, ladders, and chairs matches. That's a point I won't argue. What I will say is that tag team wrestling became...well...different. 

Tandems were short lived, and the era of pairing two singles stars together began. Gone were the days of 5-8 year runs as tag teams....and what replaced it was a system that tried to introduce tag teams as a way of letting individual talent get their feet wet before breaking out into singles careers. 

Do you remember the last time that a Tag Team Championship match main evented a show? Do you remember that teams like Demolition and The Legion of Doom were once seen as major draws for the WWE? 

Still, there has been quite a number of talented teams grace the squared circle since the Attitude era ended (which I'm defining as the WCW Invasion angle). While longevity was rare, some teams had the look of a 90s tag team - meaning if the times were different, they may be featured a little more. 

Let's take a look back at this list of the Top 20 tag teams since the WWE's Attitude Era: 

20. The Hart Dynasty

While the name had it all, the duo of Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith simply didn't have the charisma to warrant staying power. Though quality matches, their look, and a nice 5-month Tag Team Championship reign put them in the top 20, the potential for this squad was never fully reached. 

19. Deuce n' Domino

Give the WWE credit - they tried. These two weren't exactly the best ring technicians, but they had a unique gimmick that made them stand out. They only had 1 WWE Tag Team Championship reign that last 4 months, but the duo (along with Cherry) gets an A for effort.

18. Jeri-Show

The first of several "paired superstars" on this list - Jeri-Show was highly entertaining during their 5-month reign as the Unified Tag Team Champions. Their union also provided several entertaining bouts against D-Generation X.

17. Carlito & Primo

The team that unified the WWE & World Tag Team Championships - the exciting Colon brothers held tag gold for 9 months.

16. Evolution

Though short-lived, Ric Flair & Batista's reign as World Tag Team Champions was very memorable. Evolution was ruling supreme over Raw, especially after all 4 members of the group raised championship gold after WWE's Armageddon 2003. 

15. The Basham Brothers

The 2-time WWE Tag Team Champions, the Basham Brothers were never given the credit I felt they were due. Cumulatively, both reigns lasted a total of about 5 months...and how could we forget the glory that was JBL's Cabinet...of which these two were founding members.

14. Big Show & Kane

What started out as a total copout to "legitimize" the World Tag Team Championship turned into an entertaining 5-month run, featuring an underrated title defense against Carlito & Chris Masters at WrestleMania 22. This team was an example of how to bring together two behemoths as a single unit. The duo would win the tag titles again for a one-month stint in 2011.

13. The Legacy

The Legacy would've been higher on this list; however, the team was relatively short-lived, and fans knew that both Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, Jr. were bound for singles pushes anyway. Still, the two had a memorable encounter against DX at SummerSlam 2009, though the tag titles weren't involved in the match.

12. Kane & Rob Van Dam 

Upon the brand extension of 2002, and the subsequent addition of the World Tag Team Championship to Raw, a lot of superstars were being paired together in makeshift tag teams. Kane & RVD made up the first duo to provide genuine entertainment value to the division. The quirky chemistry the two had became a staple of the flagship program for the entire spring of 2003. 

11. The Usos

In 5 years, Jimmy & Jey may find themselves atop this list. As one of only two major tag team draws in the WWE today, the Usos have an exciting brand of wrestling that fans haven't seen since the Hardy Boyz retired. The team is currently 4 months in to their much-deserved first championship reign.

10. Cade & Murdoch

3 reigns as World Tag Team Champions over a cumulative 9 months lands Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch in the top 10. The duo billed from Nashville provided a spark to Raw's tag team division upon their debut in 2005, and were featured in an excellent program against the reunited Hardy Boyz in 2007.

9. Team Hell No

Kane appears on this list for the third and final time for his 8-month reign as WWE Tag Team Champion alongside Daniel Bryan. The duo's dysfunctional dynamic became a favorite on WWE programming.

8. Billy & Chuck

The team that bridged the Attitude era through the brand extension era held the WWE Tag Team Championships for 4 months over 2 reigns. Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo accounted for one of the most memorable moments in WWE history when they staged a wedding in 2002, before Eric Bischoff guided 3 Minute Warning into sneak attacking the two.

7. The Dudley Boyz

Most of D'Von & Bubba Ray's success came during the Attitude Era; however, the iconic tag team did earn 4 tag team championship reigns for a cumulative 6 months in post-Attitude Era. The two were even given a high level program against the Undertaker in 2004 that culminated in a highly questionable Concrete Crypt match at The Great American Bash.

6. Kendrick & London

For 11 months, the high-flying duo of Paul London & Brian Kendrick reigned as the WWE Tag Team Champions on SmackDown. The pinnacle of their run came at Armageddon 2006, when the two defeated The Hardy Boyz, MNM, & William Regal & Dave Taylor in a ladder match. 

5. The Miz & John Morrison

For a full year, over two championship reigns, The Miz & John Morrison were not only two of the best wrestlers in the WWE, but two of the best entertainers. The team known for their internet show, The Dirt Sheet, was featured in rivalries against Jesse & Festus, Cryme Tyme, and even DX.

4. The World's Greatest Tag Team

Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas debuted as Team Angle in late 2002, and if they had ever truly found their way outside of that moniker, they'd likely be number one on this list. Later known as The World's Greatest Tag Team, these two excellent ring technicians exemplified tag team wrestling perfectly. They held the WWE Tag Team Championship twice for a cumulative 5 months, but deserved many more reigns, and much more time atop the tag team division.

3. Los Guerreros

In 2002, Eddie & Chavo Guerrero captured their first of two WWE Tag Team Championships. It likely would've been three reigns had Chavo not been injured and replaced by Tajiri. Los Guerreros had one of the greatest, most underrated tag team feuds of all time against Haas & Benjamin, but more importantly, it was during this time that Eddie Guerrero began to transform into the eventual WWE Champion he would become.

2. La Resistance

The ultimate heel tag team - La Resistance terrorized Raw for nearly 2 full years. Between the trio of Rene Dupree, Sylvan Grenier, & Rob Conway, the Frenchmen (In Conway's case, French sympathizer) held the World Tag Team Championship 4 times, and were prominently featured on WWE programming. 

1. MNM

Perhaps the quintessential tag team, Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro exhibited all fans want in a tag team: great wrestling, great personality....and well....Melina helps, too. MNM would hold the WWE Tag Team Championship for around 10 months between 3 reigns, but perhaps more impressive was the attention they received on SmackDown programming. Featured in major programs against the likes of Eddie Guerrero & Rey Mysterio, The Hardy Boyz, Kendrick & London, and Batista & Rey Mysterio, MNM truly had the feel of an old-school WWE tag team capable of main eventing any show. 

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Defining the Prestige of the WWE Intercontinental Championship

credit image to BleacherReport.com

For decades, professional wrestling fans have debated the merits of becoming the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Outside of the main event, one could argue this title means more than any other accolade in the industry. The problem is, like most hypothetical sports/entertainment questions, there's no quantitative measure to it. 

What it means to be Intercontinental Champion can't be defined in black and white....which is exactly what I mean to do over the course of this article. #logic

The Intercontinental title started gaining prestige in the 80's & early 90's as an accomplishment equal to the then-WWF's heavyweight championship. If you've ever studied business, you've likely heard the saying "You don't sell the steak. You sell the sizzle."

The steak is the true substance of the deal, though the sizzle is what draws you in. 

The Intercontinental Championship was the steak to the WWF World Championship's sizzle. Some pundits would claim that the World Title was given to the company's biggest draw, while the Intercontinental Title was given to the company's best wrestler. 

If you look back through the record books, this idea certainly holds water. 

For every Hulk Hogan, there was a Mr. Perfect. For every Yokozuna, there was a Razor Ramon. For every Diesel, there was a Jeff Jarrett. For every John Cena, there was a Shelton Benjamin. 

But, if the Intercontinental Championship is meant to be a second World Title, why is it so rare that the two most famous wrestlers hold the belts at the same time? If they're equal, why wasn't Andre The Giant the Intercontinental Champion whilst feuding with Hulk Hogan? Why didn't Shawn Michaels have the Intercontinental Championship when he challenged Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII? 

Enter the "stepping stone" theory. 

The biggest x-factor involved in holding the Intercontinental Championship is the chance a wrestler is given to shine as a future World Championship contender.

It's almost as if the company is handing them the keys to the main event. At this level, performers are groomed to become building blocks for the industry's future. 

This was certainly the case for several of the all-time greats, such as Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, and Randy Orton.

However, another complication in defining what exactly being Intercontinental Champion means is the fact that you just don't know it right away. It's not something you can measure in the moment, but more as time passes, you see where that champion progresses. 

So, essentially, we've arrived at another question: Do you know the good ol' days when you're in 'em? Or do you not realize they were the good ol' days until you're out of 'em?

Still, I think there are clues that allow us to successfully predict who will last, who won't, who is seen as the best wrestler in the company, and who is seen as the next prodigy. 

All Intercontinental Champions fall into two categories: 

1. Stars who make the title - i.e. the Savages, Michaels, Ultimate Warriors, Bret Harts, & Chris Jerichos of the world. These are the individuals who successfully transcend to the next level, proving that as Intercontinental Champion, you stand a legitimate chance of being the next headliner.

2. Stars who the title made - i.e. the Razor Ramons, Mr. Perfects, Honky Tonk Man, & Kofi Kingstons of the industry. These are the guys who didn't/haven't won a World Championship, but have definitely found their time in the spotlight (and made damn good careers, mind you) battling over this prize, and distinctly raising the level of competition in the division. 

This isn't a bad thing either - Razor Ramon, Mr. Perfect, & "Rowdy" Roddy Piper are all considered three of the greatest of all-time, and are in the WWE Hall of  Fame, though the Intercontinental Championship was the pinnacle (as far as titles go) of their careers. 

So, when considering this, here's what it all boils down to:

Prestige = how a champion is featured vs. how a champion is remembered.

How a superstar is featured when he (or she - lest we forget Chyna) holds the title is paramount. A good Intercontinental Champion will have a prominent role on the roster and show card, be given decent amounts of time to perform, and will have great stories to tell in the ring with great talent to work with. 

Essentially, the Intercontinental Champion is an investment. 

But, even with all of that intact, if a champion doesn't progress towards a main event spot, or worse, falls further down the card, none of it will matter. Here's looking at you, "Wildman" Marc Mero.

That being said, I'd still rather the WWE try and fail with emerging talent than force the title on 'placeholder' champions....the guys who don't need the title to elevate them, but also don't add much value to the competition for it. No one will remember the runs Kane, Big Show, and CM Punk had as Intercontinental Champion...and to me, that's almost as bad as giving the title to Albert or Dean Douglas.

Bottom line - the Intercontinental Champion must be able to entertain at a high level, and the Intercontinental Championship itself must add something to the overall show that is the WWE. 

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The Friday Rant - Premiere Edition!

credit image to ESPN.com

Ladies and gentleman, welcome in to a NEW SoBros Network tradition: The Friday Rant!

Get ready for a quick-hitting glimpse into the random mind of yours truly, Stoney "The Bear" Keeley, AKA Stoney Nitro.

Anyway, it's Friday – it's Memorial Day. What better way to start the holiday than an article filled with attention deficit disorder-style balancing of all the hot topics in the world of sports, entertainment, and, of course, sports entertainment. Let's begin:

Johnny Manziel is being sued for sexual harassment, and it is awesome in the worst way.

Seriously, if you get a chance to read the official complaint, do so. It's chock full of Manziel's NCAA violations, including the notion that he was paid cold hard cash by Kevin Sumlin himself, and that he smoked pot before games at Texas A&M.

Then, there's a barrage of penis references, none of which are flattering to Johnny Manziel – but somehow, Jadeveon Clowney's penis is referenced in a most respectable way.

The best part of it all is that the accuser provided an Atlanta address that just so happens to be occupied by CNN headquarters.

Now, this will be thrown out in a heartbeat, but doesn't it provide great fodder for the sports world?


How close was the WWE to actually breaking up The Shield?

Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns have arguably been the hottest WWE superstars of the past 2 months, considering Daniel Bryan's re-hashed program with Kane and his absence due to injury and personal matters. Their rivalry with Evolution (Triple H, Randy Orton, & Batista) is easily the best content on WWE television right now.

But, lest we forget, for a while, The Shield was expected to disband and compete against each other at WrestleMania XXX.

Yet, at the 11th hour it seems, WWE officials pulled the plug and kept the faction intact, giving them a squash match against Corporate Kane & The New Age Outlaws at the "Show of Shows" instead.

Afterwards, the group turned face in uproarious fashion and had a 4-star match at Extreme Rules against Evolution. Going into Payback, there's little doubt that the deserved main event rematch will be one for the ages.

How would this summer be setting up without them as the top active babyfaces on weekly programming?

Who knows? But, WWE is creating a lot of interest in these 3 by keeping them together, and perhaps making unique stars in the process. Each member seems to shift in and out of the role of team captain, something rarely seen in wrestling stables.

It works! I expect the group will remain a unit throughout Survivor Series. The split of The Shield is building to a point that WrestleMania 31 may be the only venue suitable for the fallout.

Patrick Peterson goes Richard Sherman on Richard Sherman

If you know me, and read my piece on Richard Sherman, you know I love this kind of stuff – the trash talk, that is.

This week, Patrick Peterson claimed that the Seahawks corner wouldn't last in Arizona's scheme, and that he is more 'covering space' than 'covering a guy.'

Yee-haw! How do you think Sherman responded? A screenshot of who has the most interceptions over the last 3 seasons – take a wild guess who tops that list.

Richard F'N Sherman – with 20. Peterson sits at 3, with 12 interceptions. It's getting good, now!

Peterson responded by saying that he does more for his team than Sherman does – he's a better man-to-man coverage player, he's involved in the return game, and even plays some snaps on offense.

Don't get too worked up over a potential Crabtree style implosion, though. These guys are actually respectful colleagues, and keep in touch in the offseason. Peterson was quick to say that he was happy for Sherman in his milestone contract.

If I'm reading the tea leaves, I take this whole spat to mean Peterson sees his own value as similar to Sherman's. So, when his contract is up, get ready to pay up Arizona.

Think about this: who would you rather have on your team, Peterson or Sherman?

The Bray Wyatt/John Cena program must end at Payback.

....and it must end with a Bray Wyatt victory. This storyline has been ongoing since January, and it's starting to feel a little too strained. The two have had to rely heavily on storytelling to sell their matches.

Frankly, the wrestling just hasn't been that good. Blame Wyatt. Blame Cena. Blame chemistry...but for whatever reason, there's not a major spark in the ring between the two. In fact, I'd venture to say that Cena's one-on-one bouts with Luke Harper have been the best wrestling of this whole feud.

The program has done its job perfectly. The WWE has found a way to keep Cena fresh, and get Wyatt over in transition to the main event stage.

Subtle nuances have also helped keep the story going as well – things like Cena teasing a heel turn, and the WWE acknowledging Wyatt's pull over the WWE Universe. How long can this go on?

The cage match at Extreme Rules seemed a perfect closing for the pair – but alas, we have Last Man Standing at Payback. I'm already beginning to fast forward through the Raw/SmackDown segments involving these two – if the WWE keeps stretching this out, it may risk loss of interest on a much grander scale.

Daniel Bryan should NOT have the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

As much as I love Daniel Bryan as the "face of the WWE," the WWE title is still the WWE title.

If the champion can't defend it, then he shouldn't have it....plain and simple.

But, there's an underlying brilliance in stripping him of the title: it keeps the Yes Movement going.

It's another bump in the road, one that doesn't involve a screw job, that will make this underdog even more popular. Just as his program with a non-threat to the championship in Kane was getting stale, Bryan's neck surgery will prevent him from action for up to 8 weeks.

It's just another reason for fans to cheer him when he gets back, and maintain the rabid support he has arena to arena.

Also, this would be a great window to give another star a brief run with the industry's greatest prize.

My preference? Hands down – Alberto Del Rio, he's a credible star who could use a career revitalization. A 2-month run with the title would do wonders for him, and would provide a spectacular opponent for Daniel Bryan upon his return.

And, no, I don't hate Kane. The Extreme Rules angle was brilliant, and the match was everything you want in a knock-down drag-out main event. But he's clearly passed his prime, and the program doesn't have staying power.

In Other News

CitiesJournal.com posted an article featuring the top 14 small cities in Tennessee. Gatlinburg was #1 – which I have no gripe with....but Lebanon was ranked #5?? Ahead of Franklin?

This is horrible news – the only reason it made the list at all is the Wilson County Fair.  Other than that, Lebanon is not even in the discussion for great small cities in Tennessee.

If anyone read this article, and travelled to Lebanon on a vacation, they would be severely disappointed. If you've ever been to Lebanon, then you surely know it is not a destination city....unless, of course, you love second-rate, redneck antique stores. There are about 4 of them – you'll have a ball!

On rare occasion, Old Man Keeley does make his way out of the South. For Memorial Day, I'm spending 5 days in New Jersey, fitting in some quality time with the lady's family.

While I do tend to stick out like a sore thumb, Jersey isn't as bad as most Southerners believe it to be. Just watch your sir/ma'am usage, and you'll be fine. As I sat down to write this, my girlfriend's six-year-old niece climbed onto the couch with me, and asked "why are you typing so much?"

Good question – I don't even know sometimes. I told her that I love sports, and I love to write about them for all the people to read. She wanted to give this typing thing a try, and I thought her message was too adorable to leave out of my article, so here it is:

"You need more   diaper changing and   mommy.

I am   going to be in a memorial parade   and   "

That's it. That's the entirety of what she typed. Clearly, I don't change enough diapers around this place.

On that note, have a great, safe holiday weekend, and remember to honor the true meaning of Memorial Day. See ya'll next Friday!

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Totally Clueless World Series Predictions

credit image to SBNation.com

Not one man here at the SoBros Network is considered an expert in baseball. We've only covered MLB twice. First was the article I wrote on Ryan Braun & steroid use in baseball. Second, I asked the crew on the Power Hour if they had watched any of the 2013 postseason. The reply was a resounding no.

So, we just moved on.

And hey - we do try. We attempt to give the people what they demand! Every now and then, they demand BASEBALL! 

Here's the problem - I don't know anything about baseball, other than you have to hit the ball hard and run around the bases. 

This is not meant to be a knock on baseball - seriously. I love the passion my family and some of my friends have for the game. One friend, in particular, comes to mind....he played at the collegiate level, and I've always said I wanted to watch a baseball game with him so that I could pick his brain and understand baseball strategy better.

That was 3 years ago, and as of this writing, I have still yet to sit down and watch a baseball game with him. It's boring - the experience of baseball does not translate well to television. The schedule is tedious, and it's summer! We have things to do....pools to sit by! 

But, it's May, and baseball season is just around the corner!

Given my deep sense of professionalism, I'm going to attempt to look into my crystal ball, and tell you all who's beating who to take baseball's most coveted prize: that trophy with all the flags on it.

We'll start with Major League Baseball's toughest division:

The AL Central

Though young, upstart franchises such as the Kansas City Royals and the Cleveland Indians (who signed that Red Sox guy) will make a push for the title, there's just no stopping Justin Verlander and the Motor City Maulers - also referred to as the Detroit Tigers.

It's a proven fact in baseball that if you strike out a hitter, it is impossible for him to hit a home run. That's just what Detroit's rotation does - strike out all the hitters. 

Keep an eye on Paul Molitor and the Minnesota Twins. The wily veteran could make this an interesting race. 

The AL East

Well, until you knock them off the mountaintop, the Boston Red Sox just have to be the favorite to win this division. 

The Baltimore Orioles will take a step back, especially with Adam "Pacman" Jones in center field. This is a total downgrade from the guy that held the position last year. Toronto just doesn't have a good enough rotation (of pitchers) to compete, and Derek Jeter has retired as a New York Yankee. 

My real dark horse in the AL East is Tampa Bay. With John Madden managing, and the David Price Award winner, Cy Young, on the mound, the Devil Rays have a shot at playing in September. 

The AL West

I was just informed that Ken Griffey, Jr. has retired. This changes things in the AL West. 

After hearing this news, it really makes this division anyone's ball game. But, I'm here to make picks, and picks I shall make. 

That kid who played at Vanderbilt is really good, and will undoubtedly lead the Oakland Athletics to an AL West title. While the Mariners do have that guy from Jimmy Fallon, they just aren't ready to take the next step. 

The Angels have a lot of bats in their dugouts, but that hasn't played out well for them so far. Why would it now? 

The AL Wild Cards

The Wild Card is one of the coolest things in sports....of all time. In 2014, I see the Yankees and Royals grabbing the 2 spots from the American League. This is based solely on the fact that they will likely have good enough seasons to qualify. 

The NL Central

When you have Ryan Braun in the prime of his career, you win baseball games. You win enough baseball games to win the NL Central....though, let's be honest, it's not like the division is the highest class of baseball. 

Saint Louis, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh are all trending downward to meet the Chicago Cubs in a middling pool of talent. 

As for the Houston Astros? Give me a break.

The NL East

It was really hard for me not to select the Montreal Expos here, until I realized that the Montreal Expos haven't existed for 10 years. 

Alas, the NL East is Atlanta's for the taking. They've been great for 20 years - why stop now? 

The Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals aren't ready to win the division, and even though the Mets have that one guy that won that throwing award (don't they?), they aren't good enough either. As for Philadelphia - hey - it ain't 2008, folks. 

The NL West

Showtime, Los Angeles! The Angels have the best pitcher in all of baseball, Clayton Kershaw. 

It's a proven fact in baseball that if you strike out a hitter, it is impossible for him to hit a home run. That's just what Los Angeles' rotation does - strike out all the hitters. 

The same can be said for San Francisco, which will make for incredibly long games. What even happens if no one ever scores a run? Do they just play forever? 

Well, hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, because we are going to find out at least 55 times this season! 

Ultimately, the Dodgers will walk away as champions...but they, along with the Giants, will hit all kinds of balls against the Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Padres.

The NL Wild Cards

Easy choice - Giants and Cardinals. I think the Cards have some sort of agreement with MLB that they are always in the playoffs. Can anyone confirm this rumor for me?

As for the playoff bracket? Check this out!

AL Wild Card Play-in: Yankees over Royals
NL Wild Card Play-in: Cardinals over Giants

AL Wild Card: Tigers over Yankees
AL Wild Card: A's over Red Sox

NL Wild Card: Dodgers over Cardinals
NL Wild Card: Braves over Brewers

AL Championship: Tigers over A's
NL Championship: Dodgers over Braves

World Series: Tigers over Dodgers

Hope you've enjoyed this sarcastic way of getting an actual World Series prediction up. Until next time, PLAY BALL!

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2014 NFL Draft - First Round Reaction

credit image to ABCNews.com

The mania that is the first round of the NFL draft has come and gone. Now, it's time to poke and prod every prospect drafted.

Here's my quick reaction to what unfolded last night. Since I'm a 'bad news first' kind of guy, let's start there.


5. New York Jets – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

I love Pryor, and in my mock draft, I actually had him slotted to Chicago at #13. The reason I don't like this pick is because of the Jets offense. They desperately needed a playmaker at receiver, and passed on Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin, AND Marqise Lee. Pryor will be a great player on New York's defense, but the biggest hole of all is yet to be filled.

4. Carolina Panthers – Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

Again, I had Benjamin graded as a mid-first rounder. The problem with this pick is that the Panthers need a day 1 starter at receiver. The biggest draw of Kelvin Benjamin is his potential – potential that Carolina doesn't have time to development. I had the Steve Smith-like Marqise Lee mocked here.
3. New England Patriots – Dominique Easley, DT, Florida

I don't understand drafting Easley over Ra-Shede Hageman, Timmy Jernigan, Kony Ealy, or even Kyle Van Noy. He graded out as a 3rd rounder – a huge reach here.
2. Miami Dolphins – Ju'Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
Wow – another 3rd round graded player going before pick #20 in the first. This doesn't make sense with Morgan Moses and Cyrus Kouandjio on the board.

1. Kansas City – Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

Great talent – no need. The Chiefs only pulled the trigger on this out of paranoia from the 38-10 lead they gave up against Indianapolis in the playoffs. Receiver should have been the pick. Taking Ford is a luxury pick they could ill afford.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars - Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Could end up being the best quarterback in the draft, but how do you pass up both Khalil Mack & Sammy Watkins? Jacksonville could've had either and grabbed a franchise quarterback in round 2.

4. Arizona Cardinals - Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

Granted, Arizona was in a situation where they could draft a number of ways and be fine. On one hand, I'd prefer the playmaking Jimmie Ward. On the other, the Cardinals drafted a big, physical defensive back that will start sooner rather than later.

3. Detroit Lions - Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Best tight end in the draft? Yes. Will he solidify a lethal passing attack? Yes. The problem? Detroit has needed an elite corner for years now. Dennard & Fuller were still on the board here.

2. Tennessee Titans - Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

I'm back and forth on this one (obviously, this is the "mixed" section) for a couple of reasons. First, Lewan likely won't make an impact right away, which is something you typically expect out of your first rounders. Second, tackle was not the most urgent position of need for the Titans. Still, you have to like the prospect of Lewan replacing Michael Roos in 2015, and possibly competing for the right tackle spot in 2014. He's versatile, and could wind up as the greatest tackle in this draft.

Also - I can certainly see the frustration from the Titans fan base. This wasn't a sexy pick. However, I'm not buying the notion that this pick was a response to Houston drafting Jadeveon Clowney.

You don't draft a guy simply because you want to account for a player who has NEVER played a down of NFL football in his life. What if Clowney ends up as a bust? Then what of your pick?
Ruston Webster is a calculated guy - you don't draft to block a guy who's never lined up on Sundays. You just. don't. do it.

1. Buffalo Bills - Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Great receiver, great situation, but Buffalo gave up a lot to get him. This is a move similar to what Atlanta made for Julio Jones. The difference? Atlanta was one player away from being a serious Super Bowl contender. Can the same be said for Buffalo?

5. Cleveland Browns - Justin Gilbert/Johnny Manziel

A gutsy call, but the right call for Cleveland. Stealing Justin Gilbert from Minnesota and banking on Johnny Football sliding. Gilbert is going to be a stud in the return game and as a shutdown corner, while Manziel could be the most electric quarterback the NFL has seen in years.

4. Minnesota Vikings - Anthony Barr/Teddy Bridgewater

The Vikings reached the playoffs 2 seasons ago on defense and Adrian Peterson's legs. Minnesota desperately needed to get younger and faster at linebacker. On top of that, they traded back up into the 1st round to grab their franchise quarterback in Bridgewater.

3. Houston Texans - Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

A lot of debate about this pick - I never understood why. Though I thought the temptation to draft one of the quarterbacks would take over and Houston would draft Bortles/Manziel, this was the best pick they could and should have made. Clowney is a rare prospect

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

I love this for so many reasons! Tampa Bay stood firm at #7 after Buffalo traded up to grab Sammy Watkins, and still walked away with perhaps the most NFL-ready wide receiver in the draft. Evans is big, has excellent hands and body control, can run routes, and outwrestle corners. 5 years from now, he'll be the best wide receiver out of this class. Book it!

1. Cincinnati Bengals - Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

WOW - the Bengals needed a corner more than anything else in this year's draft, and who would've thought that at #24, they'd get the most polished, arguably best, cornerback in this year's class? Seriously - Dennard was mocked as high as #8 to Minnesota. He's physical, he's ready for the NFL, and he is an absolute STEAL!
Check back for more reaction to Friday's Round 2 & 3!

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WWE Extreme Rules: Grades & Analysis

credit image to WWE.com

The WWE builds for months and months towards the pinnacle of sports entertainment: WrestleMania. There's undoubtedly a lull in action following the event, much like the peace of the week after the Super Bowl. So, what can a company with no offseason do for an encore? 

Extreme Rules. 

Of course, I can only speculate on this, but, Extreme Rules is a nice way to ramp the intensity back up and commence the road to the next year's "showcase of the immortal." Notorious for WrestleMania rematches, this year, the WWE took a different route and gave us, largely, new programs. 

Let's dive right in to the results, review, and analysis of the WWE's night dedicated to hardcore wrestling. 

Pre-show WeeLC Match: El Torito feat. Los Matadores defeated Hornswoggle feat. 3MB

I'm largely laughed amongst my fellow grown-ass men wrestling fans when I say this, but I am genuinely impressed with the skill that El Torito possesses. The little bull adds an element of humor to Los Matadores, and honestly, helps get the total presentation of the team over with audiences.

Seeing him bounce and float all over the ring is pure entertainment, but throwing him in a TLC match displayed his true abilities as a talent. 

The crowd was in and out of this match, but for the most part, it was good for a few laughs and several broken tables. It fairly set the tone for the rest of the night. 

Grade: 1.5/5 stars


*Comedy has a place in wrestling, but it's always a shame to see such talented performers as Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal, Primo, and Epico wallowing in mediocrity. 

*Poor Drew McIntyre. At one point he was the "chosen one" appointed by Vince McMahon himself...now, he's relegated to Hornswoggle matches. He took easily the roughest bump of the match when he front-flip bumped over the top rope, through a table, outside the ring....*sigh* and it was during a little person ladder match. 

*I like Heath Slater's gimmick, he's a solid wrestler, and his persona in the ring is great....but man.....he's ugly. He looks like he's straight out of the trailer park, and that could be his biggest hindrance from being a steady, midcard heel. 

OPENING CONTEST: Elimination Triple Threat: Cesaro defeated Rob Van Dam and Jack Swagger

It's safe to say just about all of us pretty well saw this as a simple way of putting Cesaro over. That part came true. Thankfully, by virtue of the elimination stipulation, RVD had his moment as well when he pinned and eliminated Jack Swagger after a 5-Star Frog Splash. 

All parties were made to look good, and this match served 3 purposes:

1) Cesaro's momentum continues. He will undoubtedly be main eventing shows by the end of the year. 

2) Extreme Rules opened to a strong, entertaining match.

3) The door is closed on Cesaro/Swagger (seemingly), and the door is just opening on Cesaro/RVD

Grade: 3/5 stars


*RVD has clearly lost a step....maybe it's rust, but he definitely looked a tad slower and definitely winded compared to the impeccable cardio-conditioning of Cesaro.

*When Cesaro dodged the 5-Star Frog Splash, and RVD landed on the trash can, he was busted open the hard way.

*After all that's transpired over the past year, Jack Swagger's window as a potential main eventer seems to have closed. If you stayed tuned for the Extreme Rules Fallout special, Zeb Coulter expressed interest in finding a new tag team partner for Jack Swagger to continue the Real Americans moniker. 

Handicap Match: Alexander Rusev defeated R-Truth & Xavier Woods

Rusev attacked Xavier Woods and R-Truth before the match officially started, throwing Woods into the metal brackets of the ring itself, effectively knocking him out. He then made relatively short work out of R-Truth before winning with The Accolade. 

The contest was booked perfectly. Rusev was made to look reckless and ruthless, and more importantly, still undefeated. WWE creative staff protected the young talent in Xavier Woods by having him knocked out before the match started, and protected one of their most over early to midcard faces in R-Truth by not having them squashed in the ring at the same time. 

My gripe with this match? This is something you give away Monday night on Raw, not on a big show such as this one with only 7 matches (limited card space). I would've much rather seen Sheamus or The Usos get this spot on the card. If Rusev is going to be on the special (they're no longer referred to as pay-per-views...get with the times, lame-o!), having him tested would be something truly spectacular. 

Grade: 1.5/5 stars


*The best part of this match? Lana - easily. Good gracious.

*Rusev really reminds me of one of the prototypical "foreign monsters" from the mid to late 2000s - i.e. Umaga, Great Khali, Vladimir Kozlov. The thing that makes Rusev stand out is his ability to work. If he can stay fresh, he does have a chance at longevity. 

Intercontinental Championship: Bad News Barrett defeats Big E

A nice mix of wrestling and brawling, Bad News Barrett and Big E went out and nearly stole the show. Of course, nobody kicks out of the Bull Hammer! The title change was somewhat expected. Barrett has really found his way in the 'Bad News' character, and Big E's championship run was starting to grow stale. 

While there is clear direction for Wade Barrett, character development for Big E in the near future is crucial. He could easily slip into nothingness, or he could take the next step. It all depends on his performance and the decision-makers' faith in his ability. 

Grade: 3.5/5 stars


*The WWE Universe continues to support true talent rather than whoever is simply forced down our throats. Wade Barrett has clearly found the element he needs to be a main eventer in the future, and the crowd appreciates that 100%. 

*Big E showed a little personality in the post-show press conference. Mocking the so-called reporters' questions, he was visibly agitated and bitter. This was a nice change of pace for his character, and hopefully, he will be allowed to do more of this. 

Evolution vs. The Shield

Wow....easily match of the night, and a top 5 contender for match of the year. I wasn't necessarily surprised that The Shield won, but I was surprised that Batista was the man that was speared by Roman Reigns and pinned cleanly. 

In case you haven't noticed, things really haven't panned  out the way Batista thought they would upon his return. 

Still, The Shield established themselves as main event caliber talent. Each man has a definite future in the business. 

Grade: 4/5 stars


*I almost feel bad for Batista. He wasn't necessarily the cause for the fans to boo him, merely the catalyst. The Universe was just plain sick and tired of part-timers coming in and stealing the spotlight from those more deserving.

*I still feel like Roman Reigns has a bit of John Cena in him. Hopefully, they will push him in doses and we won't be smothered by him. 

*Dean Ambrose's style in the ring is phenomenal. He is like a combination of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Brian Pillman. 

Steel Cage Match: Bray Wyatt defeated John Cena

This had to happen, or else the company was going to risk Ryback-ing Bray Wyatt. He deserved the win, and has come out of this rivalry a star. Still, we should be thankful that the story of this program is good. 

Because the wrestling has just been so-so. Last night, with all 3 members of the Wyatt Family either in the cage or around it, it was booked to seem as though Wyatt still had trouble beating Cena. Should it have been a 3-on-1 beatdown? No, of course not. 

But, it was a rare instance where Harper & Rowan's appearance made Wyatt look weaker than he should have. It looked too hard for all 3 of them to beat down Cena. 

Also, the pacing of the match was painfully slow. Thankfully, the creepy finish, and Wyatt's win helped keep the show on track (though it never truly recovered from the peak that was Evolution vs. Shield).

Grade: 2/5 stars


*The Undertaker steps down, and Bray Wyatt steps up. I've been saying for a few months now that Wyatt is the next Undertaker, and really, it's simple. For years, Undertaker was one of, if not the, best performers in pro wrestling. His character didn't translate well to mainstream culture, so he was never seen as "the guy" the way Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and The Rock were. Still, he won several WWE Championships, and became a steady favorite in wrestling lore. He was known as the conscience of the WWE. Should he stay healthy, Wyatt could play a similar role. 

*I won't be surprised if we see an edgier, grittier John Cena after all is said and done...maybe not full on heel, but darker. The man sells too much merchandise for the company to have him turn on his young fans. 

*Oh yeah - that kid was creepy.

Divas Championship: Paige defeated Tamina Snuka

What could've been a good contest was marred by a botched finish. Still, Paige is over and looks to be the second coming of Lita. 

She's the anti-diva, and is over with the crowds. Give her some more time, and she'll continue to impress. But on this night - meh - let's just give her a do-over. 

Grade: 1/5 stars


*I've never been a fan of divas not having last names....it's weird. You'd never in a million years see Randy Orton come out, and have nothing but 'Randy' show up on the graphic at the bottom of the screen. It just. doesn't. make. sense.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan defeated Kane

A true throwback to the golden era of hardcore - Daniel Bryan's character as champion continues to evolve, and yes, Kane still has good matches left in the tank. 

These two beat each other all over New Jersey - and honestly, it was a nice change from the typical stale WrestleMania re-matches. Not only did the match provide a new, tougher dynamic to Daniel Bryan, but it made Kane look like a legitimate threat to become champion. 

The finish is not one fans will forget any time soon, considering the visual of Kane flying through a flaming table. 

If you watched the post-show press conference, Bryan really dug into Kane and showed a nice tenacity that will add depth to his character if he's given better chances to on air. 

Grade: 3.5/5 stars


*Daniel Bryan's headbutt off the forklift is one of those signature superstar moments. They'll be playing it for years to come. 

*Kane sat up and stared down Bryan after the match - suggesting that the program is not over. If you haven't read the reports, some are suggesting that the two will meet in a Buried Alive match at Payback. 

Sign me up

In terms of overall presentation, Extreme Rules earns a score of 3.5/5 stars. Not as good as it could have been, but still, a really good show considering the stale slates of rematches we've seen in past years. 

As wrestling fans, we are in the midst of the next great shift in talent. There are a lot of similarities to the brewing of the Attitude Era in today's WWE landscape. Soon enough, cards will be dominated by fresh faces who audiences are eager to support. 

If you don't believe me - look at the winners of each match: Cesaro, Alexander Rusev, Bad News Barrett, The Shield, Bray Wyatt, Paige, and Daniel Bryan. 

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WrestleMania XXX: What Could've Been

Credit image to WWE.com

This year, the WWE has simply dropped the ball in building towards WrestleMania XXX.

In what was once supposed to be considered the greatest wrestling show of all time, sloppy booking and indecision has transformed professional wrestling's Super Bowl into a total clustered mess.

Fans would not accept as babyface Batista returning to claim the main event in New Orleans. Potential deals with Sting, Goldberg, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and CM Punk either fell through or just never materialized.

Austin vs. Punk, Rock vs. Brock, 'Taker vs. Sting, Goldberg vs. Ryback......none of it. We get none of those iconic dream matches (this year anyway).

So, what's the result? A staff of writers/executives who are totally noncommittal on storylines going into the event.

Is The Shield going to break up? What about the Real Americans? They're going to unify the United States and Intercontinental Championships! Sheamus vs. Christian! Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust! Ryback vs. Ultimate Warrior!

Plans seemed to change in panic each and every week, and now we're left with a card of 8 matches, that need to fill 4 hours worth of programming.

To say I'm disappointed is an understatement.

I ran the numbers, and found a disturbing trend. Most of the past decades WrestleManias have only featured just under 2 hours of actual in-ring action.

Do you remember the part about 4 hours worth of programming? Yikes.

I understand the need to push multiple main events for the biggest show of the year, but part of the charm of WrestleMania is the undercard, and finding gems of matches that steal the show.

Only 3 of those current 8 matches are classic one-on-one singles matches. This has all the makings of convoluted show.

Not to mention - we will likely have about 45 minutes to an hour of commercials, backstage promos, and live peformances.

So, you're boy here at the SoBros Network set out to put together the perfect WrestleMania XXX card given the resources WWE currently has.

And yes, it is WRESTLING intensive.

WrestleMania XXX
as done by the SoBros Network

OPENING CONTEST, winner added to WWE World Championship main event: Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan

This is one WWE definitely got right. HHH vs. Daniel Bryan has been building for months now. The only stage fitting for this feud to come to a head is WrestleMania.

Also, the added dimension of the stipulation presents a rare opportunity for WWE to open the show with their hottest star.

After all, he'll be working the main event as well, so you want to give him some rest in between.

Plus, if you want to get the crowd rocking, this is your best bet.

WINNER: Daniel Bryan

Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust

This could be pretty basic "sibling rivalry" buildup. No heels. No faces. Just two brothers eager to prove who the best is.

There's no doubt these two would put on the quintessential 'Mania undercard match.

We've seen both of them do so in the past. Cody at WrestleMania XVII against Rey Mysterio, and Goldust against HHH at WrestleMania XIII.

WINNER: It doesn't matter. The viewers win.

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal: Winner is named #1 contender for WWE World Championship

Battle royals are fun, and they serve a couple of big purposes: provide the winner with instant credibility, and showcase multiple talent in a small window of time.

For my battle royal, I'm knocking it down to 20 men, so that I'm not booked into a corner...not being able to utilize some of my best talent.

Sheamus, Big Show, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Wade Barrett, Alexander Rusev, Rey Mysterio, Christian, Brodus Clay, Damien Sandow, Darren Young, Titus O'Neill, Fandango, The Great Khali, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, R-Truth, Santino Marella, and Sin Cara make up the field.

Just as the Big Show knocks out Alexander Rusev and tosses him over the ropes, The Miz (who had been hiding under the ring) runs in and uses the Big Show's own momentum to throw him over the top rope.

Let's face it: the guy was huge in 2011, and needs a return to relevance desperately


No Holds Barred: Corporate Kane vs. Roman Reigns

Take this story from the moment Kane announced the 6-man tag for WrestleMania. Instead of aligning himself with the New Age Outlaws to take on the Shield, he would want to tackle the big man himself, with Rollins & Ambrose banned from ringside.

In Kane's mind, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. He'd want to emphatically beat some respect into Roman Reigns.

You want to showcase Reigns as a future main event talent? Here's your chance.

WINNER: Roman Reigns

Fatal 4 Way: Tag Team Championship: The Usos vs. Curtis Axel & Ryback vs. The New Age Outlaws vs. Los Matadores

A near hit – the WWE has put together quite a nice, little tag team division since Triple H has started calling the shots.

The focus of this match is to showcase The Usos as the premiere tag team in all of wrestling....which is fine, but I have a feeling it will be harder for them to get over with the man named Cesaro in the ring with them.

Therefore, the Real Americans' spot goes to the New Age Outlaws, who have their delightful farewell tour capped off in a spot in the Tag Team Championship match.

As for Ryback & Axel, a duo of impressive heels present a credible opponent for Jimmy & Jey Uso. And Los Matadores? I'm actually okay with. They've been given a string of important wins, and both men are great workers.

This should be an exciting buffer after what was, no doubt, a slow-paced, brutal street fight.


Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Coulter

Cesaro finally has enough of Swagger's blatant jealousy, and challenges him to settle their differences at 'Mania!

Instead of having a fair man-to-man contest, Swagger makes the contest personal, sending Cesaro into full-on face status.

Tell me this wouldn't be an awesome mid-card duel? Give Cesaro a chance to shine, but remind the WWE Universe that Jack Swagger is a well-decorated superstar. Prolong this feud into the future.

WINNER: Jack Swagger

Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

Given the resources WWE had at its disposal, this match makes sense, and I can't imagine a much better opponent for the dead man.

Just don't make the mistake of having Lesnar end the streak. Please – give us one more 'Mania and give that honor to Bray Wyatt. Am I right?

WINNER: Undertaker

Divas Invitational

Yep – expected and cliché. Just eye candy and an emotional buffer between two outstanding matches.


United States Championship Ladder Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins

Man – I am basically salivating over the prospects of this match on the grandest stage of them all.

If Corporate Kane really wants to tear the Shield apart, why not try it from the inside? Play on the resentment of Ambrose's U.S. Championship reign. He's hardly defended it, right?

Give Seth Rollins an opportunity at the championship and make it so that he gets to act on some of that resentment, so he wants to beat Dean Ambrose.

Rollins gets a title shot. Kane gets to "implode" the Shield. And the WWE Universe gets an early Christmas present.

WINNER: Dean Ambrose – Give his title run a little more legitimacy.

Intercontinental Championship: Big E vs. Alberto Del Rio

You want to showcase new talent, right? How about your stud-in-the-making Intercontinental Champion, Big E?

Not only would this provide Big E a main event-level opponent, and an opportunity to really elevate his name, but Del Rio is an excellent worker. He would be both a credible threat to Big E's title, and make the champion look good in the process.

A nice, featured spot on the card – just where the Intercontinental Championship belongs.


John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

Outside of the main event, this is the most anticipated bout of the show. Kudos to WWE for actually giving us this match.

This is a match that should cement Bray Wyatt atop the heel castle in WWE, and ultimately groom him to be WWE Champion.

WINNER: Bray Wyatt

WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan

I like the idea of the triple threat. WWE was correct, and smart, to listen to the fanbase and hopefully the spectacular in New Orleans will end with thousands upon thousands of "YES!" chants and Daniel Bryan raising both belts in the air.

If not, there will be yet another letdown of epic proportions. Still, the WWE won't change until we stop watching. I'm not counting on Bryan winning solely for that reason....

Thankfully, this is the SoBros Network's WrestleMania XXX, and I SAY NEW ORLEANS GOES HOME HAPPY!

WINNER: Daniel Bryan

WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan
Winner added to main event: Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
United States Championship Ladder Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
No Holds Barred: Kane vs. Roman Reigns
Tag Team Championship: The Usos vs. New Age Outlaws vs. Axel/Ryback vs. Los Matadores
Intercontinental Championship: Big E vs. Alberto Del Rio
Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger
Cody Rhodes vs. Goldust
Divas Invitational

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