|Will McMahon call on some childhood friends for his backup?|
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I think it'll be a series of aces in the hole, each one getting progressively more skilled. First, the Social Outcasts will attempt to make their presence felt. Then the New Day. Then, for a nostalgia pop, it'll be the MEAN STREET POSSE. However, the endgame is probably going to be John Cena. Of course, whether Cena is announced as a proxy or is dropped as a surprise is all up to how things are going to unfold for this feud. Honestly, I have no idea where any of this is going.@tholzerman He's a McMahon, damnit. And a McMahon always, always has an ace in the hole.— Brian Coulter (@PhilaBCoulter) February 23, 2016
What's Shane McMahon's? #tweetbag
Since appetizers are the first course, I am going to go with an all pre-developmental menu for this one.@tholzerman All right, we’re almost done crafting the perfect NXT/WWE-themed restaurant. Last item: appetizers. #TweetBag— Star of Savage (@StarOfSavage) February 24, 2016
- Finger-Lickin' Good Chicken Tenders - Is it cheating to include a Lick of Death-inducing foods based on a Lucha Underground character for Maxine's dish? I don't care. These chicken tenders are fried to perfection and covered in a sweet Asian glaze that will make you lick every bit of sauce off your hands, or if you're a wimp, the fork and knife.
- Blackened Gator Skewers - If you want to make your appetizer a win, get these Titus O'Neil-approved appetizers. Alligator loin meat is covered in Cajun blackening spices and grilled over open flames for a protein packed appetizer you'll think is chicken if you didn't know any better.
- Best in the World Vegan Samosas - Don't eat meat? No problem here at the NXTavern, where the Daniel Bryan-influenced vegan fried dumplings combine a secret curry spice blend with cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini, and potato to form an appetizer that'll score a lot higher than a solid B-plus.
- Cheesy Chickbuster Pullapart Bread - Want an appetizer to share with your best friend, like Kaitlyn and AJ Lee in their NXT days? Then get yourself this cheesy but warm appetizer of pull apart bread baked with melty, gooey asiago, cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses.
- Champagne Pulled Pork Sliders - For the glitzy, party boy lifestyle, these Darren Young-themed appetizers contain pork butt which has been cooked in champagne and topped with Four Loko braised onions on brioche buns.
- Kaval Kickers - Low Ki may have only spent a season in NXT and a couple of weeks in WWE after winning, but this dish will commemorate him the way everyone knows of him. Jalapeno peppers that may be small in stature are filled with cream cheese and bacon to pack a big kick of spice and flavor to the mouth.
And thus completes the NXTavern menu. Now I wish I had the money and time and patience to start it.
I love the idea of Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, and I pored through nearly every other possible matchup I could think of. However, the only match that comes to mind is The Beast vs. The Best. Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan is the one dream match from current day WWE that I wanted to see the most that has been robbed because of cruel injurious fate. If I could wave a wand, heal Bryan, and allow him to take on one more match with no threat of injury whatsoever, I would put him against Lesnar in a heartbeat in the main event of this year's Mania.@tholzerman you get to make one match for Mania using any 2 guys/girls currently under contract and no one is injured. Who ya got? #TweetBag— Brian Charlie Brown (@brianbrown25) February 24, 2016
Honestly, I'm not sure who's going to fight Taker at Mania, but if it's not McMahon, it can't really see it being anyone but John Cena. Undertaker last came back as quite the dick-punchin' old prick against a Brock Lesnar who was working as a chaotic-neutral consumer of all worlds. WWE will probably never turn Cena heel unless it had at least two strong babyfaces on top to hold its mantel of kid-friendly crowd heroism and charitable works. McMahon is ostensibly the good guy here because he's speaking to a crowd that is frustrated with at least part of WWE's direction. Plus, the brand split looms. Besides, I'm not sure I would debut Bálor in this slot as a surprise at Mania. I'm not sure I'd debut him as a surprise at all.@tholzerman do you think shane will literally wrestle the Undertaker? Personally hoping it's a spot for Demon Finn to debut.— John Fisticuffs (@JohnFisticuffs) February 24, 2016
The secret is... I'm always angry... uh, I mean hungry.@tholzerman I need to know your WrestleMania Brisket Nachos secrets.— King of All #Content (@GemCityGent) February 24, 2016
No, that's actually Ryback's secret. My secret is that I've never made these brisket nachos before. However, my youngest brother got an electric smoker for Christmas, and he said that as long as I provide the meat, he'll smoke it for me. So I'm gonna get me a brisket, prepare it the way one prepares a brisket, and have him smoke it for a good long time. Then I'm gonna transport it home, shred it, and put it in a bowl for a nacho station. See, I'm gonna have some picky guests. Some people like cheese, some people don't. Some people like spicy stuff, some people don't. Some people like John Cena, some people don't. Note, I'm not putting John Cena on my nachos. Anyway, the nacho station will include chips, some kind of homemade queso dip, my homemade salsa, pickled jalapenos, homemade guacamole, sour cream, and whatever other accouterments I can think of. Hopefully, it all comes together, because I have worked myself into a shoot over this concept.
The long-awaited debut of Shinsuke Nakamura in the WWE narrative could not have been scheduled against a better opponent than Sami Zayn. However, while I would put it as a prohibitive favorite at 3-1, it's got a tough field to go up against. For example, it may not even be the best match on the show. Consider the Tag Team and Women's Championship matches on that same card. Bayley was in, by my reckoning, two of the three best matches last year, and Asuka is at least as good as Sasha Banks is, probably a lot better when she's fully been unleashed. Then the suspected American Alpha/Revival match is not only going to be the best tag team match in NXT history, but it may have just as much heat. Then again, the tea leaves on television are trending towards Enzo Amore and Big Cass getting one final shot at those belts, so who knows at this point since the show is still a whole month away.@tholzerman Vegas odds on Nakamura/Zayn being the best pro graps match any company puts on during WrestleMania weekend? #tweetbag— #FEBUTCHARY (@thebutchrosser) February 24, 2016
Then, WWN Live has a bunch of contests slated that will contend for match of the weekend, and the full cards haven't even been announced yet. Zack Sabre, Jr. is going to wrestle Will Ospreay and Chris Hero that weekend. Ospreay will get Ricochet in another match. Sami Callihan is going to go for Timothy Thatcher's EVOLVE Championship. Johnny Gargano and Drew Galloway will wrestle Drew Gulak and Tracy "Hot Sauce" Williams, the latter team who will have come off another hot tag battle against Hero and whoever replaces the injured Tommy End on the show. And that's not even taking into account the rest of the EVOLVE stuff, SHIMMER, Combat Zone Wrestling, and Ring of Honor.
Plus, if I'm giving 3-1 odds on Nakamura/Zayn, then it's only fair to put Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar in a street fight at 7-2 odds, right? I mean, Lesnar has never disappointed against a good opponent, and Ambrose is built for this kind of thing. Mania weekend is going to be absolutely loaded this year.
Like I answered above, I'm not sure I'd debut Bálor as a surprise at Mania at all. He's a guy who needs advance build before his first big special event appearance in the RAW narrative, like the night after Mania. Now, would a Bullet Club debut to help Reigns win the title at Mania work if you're talking, say, Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows? Maybe, but then you're setting up a situation where unless you actually bought the rights to the Bullet Club name, the titular name (Bálor Club) is a second fiddle to the Bad Luck Fale of the group, and putting Bad Luck Fale as the top guy in your company is a mistake that I'm not even sure WWE has the capacity to make. OR DOES IT? Personally though, I think your general idea is worthy. Reigns ain't a top babyface right now, no matter how much Vince McMahon thinks he is. So, I would put the Trips/Reigns match on in the middle of the card, have a screwy heel turn where Reigns wins with a posse (and where Triple H realizes that Reigns did what he wanted him to do all along, shakes hands, and rides off into the sunset), and close with the Shane McMahon/Undertaker bout, which is probably gonna end up being Undertaker vs. John Cena anyway.@tholzerman #tweetbag how great of a troll move would it be for the bullet club to help reigns and make him the leader of the wwe version?— BEEFBAG (@TheUltimateMatt) February 24, 2016
And if you have a card with Undertaker vs. John Cena on it and you try to close it with anything else, you're gonna have a bad time.
To be honest, I dropped out right after the brand split began and came right back in when it was in its death throes. However, I was able to ascertain specific things. One, Smackdown was actually essential viewing, and kinda like the way it has been since Mauro Ranallo took over as the lead play-by-play man there. Second, each brand had somewhat of its own identity. RAW felt like more of the classic WWE show while Smackdown was more action based. You didn't have to follow both of them to feel like you were getting a full narrative, but both narratives were complete if you did only follow one, while they felt different if you followed both. Other than that, I can't really give a full picture of what it was like because I missed the most vital years of it. However, I get the feeling that the audience will get another crack at that feeling with a WWE that is FAR better equipped to handle such a split now with The Network in place.@tholzerman as someone who got in to wrestling this decade, I missed most/all of the brand split. What was it like following WWE then?— DaVIDEODROME (@chudleycannons) February 24, 2016
It's organic heat for lesser talent for sure, which isn't exactly a bad thing. I'm going to defend Eva for a second here, because while she still can't work in the ring all that well, she's developing nearly every other facet of her game so that she can sustain that heat instead of inducing a "we don't want you here" boo from the crowd lagging into disinterest. I don't know if she'll ever be passable in the ring; Nikki Bella has proven that a wrestler can go from bad for a long time to being one of the best in the company for sure. However, she may not have to to get that crowd reaction WWE officials strive for.@tholzerman Now that's Eva's been there for a while, is her reaction more her working them, or organic heat for lesser talent?— Marty G (@ThisPhillyFan) February 25, 2016