G5: WWE Live, Fastlane, NJPW World, more

WWE returns to Australia this year, but not New Zealand. Is it worth making the journey across the ditch for the live WWE experience?

Will Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns at Fastlane result in a change to the WrestleMania 31 main event, or are Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns still on a collision course for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?

NJPW World, the Japanese promotion’s WWE Network equivalent, is free for the month of February. Who’s signed up for the service, and is it worth your time?

We offer our opinions on these, and more, questions in this week’s Gimme Five.

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1. WWE has overlooked New Zealand on its 2015 touring schedule, announcing three dates for Australia in August but none on this side of the Tasman. Are you tempted to cross the ditch to see WWE live?

David:
I’ve started going to WrestleMania now WWE has taken New Zealand off its touring schedule, and it’s a wonderful experience. If I wasn’t heading to San Jose I’d be very temped to go to Brisbane or Melbourne or Sydney though. There’s nothing quite like WWE live; I can’t recommend it enough.

Dion:
No – I’m lucky enough to be tagging along with David and Stevie to this year’s WrestleMania, so will get my fix that way! Here’s hoping WWE returns to these shores soon. Indications are, they have more of an interest in New Zealand at present!

Blake:
Truthfully, not really. The simple fact is, we have plenty of great wrestling in New Zealand. While I love many on the WWE roster, it doesn’t have the same X factor as it may once have had. If it ever gets back to a point like the Attitude Era or the Ruthless Aggression Era and New Zealand was overlooked again, I would definitely consider the journey. However, for now, I’m more than happy with the local live event product.

Corey:
As much as I would love to head over for the shows, my bank account would hate me for it so it will be a no-go this year.

 

2. Rikishi is the latest inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame, joining “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 2015 class. How do this year’s inductees compare to some of the previous classes?

David:
There are two issues at play here. First, the marquee name in “Macho Man” Randy Savage is being inducted posthumously, which is always a bit of a downer. And second, the 2015 class was probably always going to be overshadowed by the past two year’s Hall of Fame inductees. 2013’s line-up of Bob Backlund, Booker T, Bruno Sammartino, Donald Trump, Mick Foley, and Trish Stratus is perhaps the strongest combination in history, with 2014’s Carlos Colon, Jake Roberts, Lita, Mr T, Paul Bearer, Razor Ramon, and Ultimate Warrior only slightly behind. Even had Savage still been alive, the 2015 class would struggle to compare.

Dion:
It’s looking good so far and I think we can expect a couple of additional big names in the coming weeks.

Blake:
This is a very good year for the Hall of Fame so far, and that means two very good years in a row. I won’t lie, I don’t really put too much focus on the Hall of Fame, but these are some very deserving superstars to be entered this year.

Corey:
This year’s class is already off to a great start, it’s about time the Macho Man took his rightful place in the hall of fame. Like David said it is going to be hard to match up to the past two years of inductees like Warrior, Sammartino and the other big names.

 

3. Will the upcoming Fastlane pay-per-view alter the main event for WrestleMania 31, or do you think Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns will still go ahead?

David:
I imagine Reigns will beat Bryan, so it won’t change the WrestleMania main event on paper, but it does give Reigns an important chance to prove himself. I had no issue with Reigns winning the Royal Rumble, but I didn’t like how he did it. Now, with Daniel Bryan to go through at Fastlane, Reigns has a chance to show he truly belongs in the main event, without help from The Rock. Fastlane won’t change the WrestleMania main event, but it should change the way people are feeling about it.

Dion:
I’m on the fence. I’m a big D-Bry fan, but part of me would be happy to see Reigns and Lesnar go ahead. I think we’ll probably see a triple threat at WrestleMania, with Roman Reigns winning and Seth Rollins cashing in the Money in the Bank.

Blake:
WWE have really written themselves into a corner here. If they keep it as Reigns vs. Lesnar, then they have to hope that the fans begin to care very soon. If they now decide to add Daniel Bryan to the mix, then they are doing a repeat of last year which is exactly what the fans weren’t happy about in the first place. There is no easy way to fix this problem, and I think it’s simply going to have to be a case of WWE riding out the storm.

Corey:
Fastlane should change people’s minds about Roman Reigns. It gives him a chance to prove that he deserves to be in the main event. Having him win at Fastlane would be a good way to stick it to the fans who have been so critical of Reigns. I am a big Bryan fan but I don’t want a repeat of last year with Bryan sneaking his way into the WrestleMania main event.

 

4. Just like the WWE Network, NJPW World is free for the month of February. Have you signed up for the Japanese over-the-top streaming service, or will you before the end of the month?

David:
I’ve been subscribed to NJPW World for a couple of months now, and it’s right up there with WWE Network when it comes to value for money. There’s a tonne of stuff in the archive, and multiple live events each month. I’ll be watching The New Beginning in Sendai live tomorrow night (Go Bad Luck Fale!) and I’d advocate everyone else do the same.

Dion:
I haven’t and I won’t. I only have a small window of wrestling watching and NJPW doesn’t feature for me at present.

Blake:
Unfortunately, this is a case of too much wrestling. There simply isn’t enough time to keep up with and watch everything, and although I thoroughly enjoyed the Tokyo Dome show from earlier this year, I’m going to keep my focuses on WWE and New Zealand for now.

Corey:
I tried to sign up for the free trial but wound up just paying for the full service. As the kids say: I ain’t even mad. A couple of matches that I recommend are Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Naomichi Marufuji from October 2013, and Prince Devitt vs. Low Ki vs. Kota Ibushi from January 2013.

 

5. What are your thoughts on yesterday’s NXT TakeOver: Rival event? Is it already a contender for 2015’s event of the year?

David:
Absolutely. Every NXT live event has been a stand-out, and this was no exception. NXT TakeOver: Rival was just the right mix of significant moments (with its two title changes) and great wrestling to be worth watching again and again as the year goes on. It’s going to be tough to top it, but the next NXT special will probably find a way.

Dion:
I haven’t watched it just yet, but it’s on the to-do list. I’m looking forward to it!

Blake:
NXT have put on some fantastic events during their time, but this one didn’t quite live up to the past few. The problem is when you put on an A-grade show time after time, an A-minus just doesn’t quite feel the same. The only two problems in the show were the Baron Corbin snoozefest and the tag team match which will be on Botchamania very soon. While I think that there will be a couple of NXT events to be considered “event of the year” as the year goes on, this was not quite one of them.

Corey:
NXT TakeOver: Rival knocked it out of the park, “it” being the last couple of WWE pay-per-views. I’ve been a fan of Kevin Owens for a long time and seeing him win the NXT title two months after his debut—and from Sami Zayn no less—this show with that moment will stick with me for a long time. Definite show of the year contender.