At first glance, it may seem like few things have changed in the WWE over the past week as WWE champion CM Punk retained his title at Survivor Series, but that isn't the case. The debut of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns promises to have a major impact on the company.
The NXT Wrestling stars interfered at Survivor Series as they attacked Ryback and put him through the announce table. This allowed Punk to pin John Cena and keep the gold. The three young stars struck again as they took out Ryback on Raw as well, but their motives won't be revealed until the next episode of Raw.
While the NXT Three dominated WWE headlines this week, there was plenty else worth talking about. A popular WWE diva was arrested, rumors swirled about the validity of an injury to a top superstar and plans for the upcoming TLC pay-per-view have been discussed in detail, too. That may seem like a lot, but fans have come to expect chaos with regards to the WWE.
Here are the biggest news stories and rumors surrounding the WWE for the week beginning on Nov. 18.
Most fans figured that CM Punk would retain his WWE championship at Survivor Series and that he would do it through unfair means. That is precisely what happened, but nobody could have predicted the manner in which the Survivor Series main event played out.
NXT prospects Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns destroyed Ryback, and Punk wound up being the beneficiary.
Fans have been calling for Rollins and Ambrose in particular to debut for quite some time, but it seemed as though there were no imminent plans for them. They managed to make a major impact at Survivor Series, though, and now everyone is talking about them.
The only questions left are why they attacked Ryback and whether they have any involvement with Punk and Paul Heyman.
After Brad Maddox shockingly helped Punk beat Ryback at Hell in a Cell, I figured Survivor Series was the event at which we would see Brock Lesnar make his highly-anticipated return.
All the warning signs were there—it was a "Big Four" pay-per-view and "Lesnar Guy" was firmly in the front row. However, Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns debuted instead. As much as Lesnar interfering would have made sense, I definitely preferred what we saw.
The WWE has a lot of talent in NXT that is ready to make the leap, and three of the top guys will now have that opportunity. Rather than having them debut by winning a couple of squash matches and ultimately getting nowhere with the crowd, Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns were immediately put in a position to succeed.
It seems very likely that they'll be part of a stable with Punk and Heyman, and that should lead to great things for the young trio. It's tough to say exactly where they go from here, but the important thing will be making sure that they aren't devalued by the dominance of Ryback.
Normally, when a WWE star is arrested, it spells doom for their career. However, that isn't always necessarily true.
WWE diva Kaitlyn found herself in quite a predicament on Tuesday as she was arrested at the SmackDown taping in Grand Rapids, Mich., according to TMZ.com. The reasoning for the arrest was that Kaitlyn failed to pay a speeding ticket that she had previously incurred during a prior visit to the city.
Kaitlyn was quickly released on $315 bond, so it wasn't as big of a deal as people initially thought. However, when a WWE talent gets in trouble with the law, it's always a big story.
Kaitlyn did not appear on SmackDown and it's unclear whether she was even scheduled to, but her push will be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks and months.
I realize that getting arrested is never ideal, but I'm willing to bet that it won't adversely affect Kaitlyn in this instance. She has been getting a really nice push lately as the primary foe of Divas champion Eve, and it seems like she is pegged as the future of the division.
She certainly has all the tools necessary to capture the title as she's attractive, has an engaging personality and is pretty solid in the ring as well. In a lot of ways, she reminds me of a young Beth Phoenix because of the power she brings to the table.
Considering the fact that Kaitlyn and her peers are on the road for upwards of 300 days per year, it's easy to understand why she didn't pay the ticket. She may have just forgot or intended to pay it when the opportunity arose, but Kaitlyn barely has time to breathe, let alone pay a speeding ticket.
Ultimately, the biggest thing I take away from this is that there isn't much policing to do in Grand Rapids, Mich. They were obviously quite desperate for her to pay the ticket since they arrested her at her place of work.
If Grand Rapids really needed the $300 that badly to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff, then I would have gladly written up an IOU for them.
One thing I particularly enjoy with regards to wrestling is when the lines between the product and real life are blurred. That's one of the biggest reasons why I loved it when CM Punk made fun of Jerry "The King" Lawler after his return from a heart attack.
The WWE continued to push realism on Raw as John Cena seemingly injured himself while chasing Dolph Ziggler down the ramp. Cena appeared to tweak his ankle and the WWE played up the injury in a big way.
According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Cena is perfectly fine. He worked a Saturday Morning Slam match on Tuesday despite saying that he had an MRI earlier in the day on his knee.
There is no question that the injury looked legitimate at first, but it became blatantly obvious that it was a work due to the ensuing backstage segments. Regardless of that, it should be an interesting storyline moving forward.
I realize that Cena's injury definitely seemed real when it first happened, but it's time for people to stop believing it.
There isn't necessarily anything wrong with being engrossed in the product and watching with a certain sense of naivete. In fact, I wish I wasn't so jaded after watching wrestling as long as I have.
With that said, any veteran wrestling fan can clearly see that Cena's injury is an angle meant to give Dolph Ziggler a storyline advantage heading into a potential match at TLC.
Cena did a nice job selling the injury, but to think that a doctor could diagnose a rolled ankle as a torn meniscus and make said diagnosis in a matter of minutes is laughable.
Wrestlers are constantly acting, and Cena's ankle roll was nothing more than an act. If he was actually injured, there's no chance that the WWE brass would have allowed Ziggler to kick him in the knee and spear him through a bathroom stall.
Also, the backstage segments were so seamless that it's obvious they were taped earlier in the day. Most people have caught on, but the fact that the WWE fooled quite a few people means that the angle was done well.
With TLC just a few weeks away, the WWE creative team is surely in preliminary talks with regards to what type of matches it wants to put on the pay-per-view card.
TLC is essentially a gimmick event, but it offers plenty of options when compared with Hell in a Cell or something similar. A tables match, ladder match or chairs match can obviously be made, as well as the all-encompassing TLC match, so there will be no shortage of choices.
It already seems pretty clear that the top matches will be CM Punk vs. Ryback, Sheamus vs. Big Show and John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler.
According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Punk vs. Ryback is slated to be a tables match, Sheamus vs. Big Show will be a chairs match and Cena vs. Ziggler is currently penciled in as a TLC match. Most of that isn't set in stone, obviously, but all of those would make for some intriguing matchups.
It's no secret that I don't necessarily buy into the dirt sheets, so I take this report with a grain of salt.
From a common-sense perspective, the proposed stipulations for Punk vs. Ryback and Sheamus vs. Big Show are obvious. Ryback has twice been put through the announce table by Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, so it stands to reason that he'll want to do the same for Punk.
Also, I'm not sure Ryback could handle a full TLC match.
As for Sheamus vs. Big Show, Sheamus hit Big Show with a chair repeatedly after their match at Survivor Series, so there isn't really any doubt with regards to them.
There is a fundamental error in the Cena vs. Ziggler prediction, though. In order for a TLC match to occur, there has to be an object for the combatants to grab. Neither Cena nor Ziggler is champion, so the only way it could be a TLC match is if Ziggler puts his Money in the Bank briefcase on the line.
In one respect, that would make it obvious that Ziggler is going to win. However, at the same time, it would make Ziggler look incredibly strong to beat the company's top star with such a big prize hanging in the balance.
Even though television ratings and pay-per-view buys don't really have any effect on us as fans, we're always curious about how well the WWE is doing.
It was much more important when the WWE had legitimate competition in the form of WCW, but the WWE is now essentially the only game in town. With that said, pay-per-view buys have been improving this year compared to last and that was certainly the case with Hell in a Cell.
According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Hell in a Cell did 200,000 buys this year, which is up 10,000 from 2011.
With John Cena being left off the card, there was some worry that the buys would plummet, but just the opposite was true. Ryback was thrust into the main event against WWE champion CM Punk, and while many fans were disappointed with the quality of the match, Vince McMahon reportedly attributes the event's success to Ryback.
I'm certainly not the biggest fan of Ryback, but I have to give him his due credit for captivating the fanbase. As a whole, there wasn't much to be excited about heading into Hell in a Cell. Everything hung on the Punk vs. Ryback match due to a fairly weak midcard.
The Punk vs. Ryback match itself was very quick for a Hell in a Cell bout, but buy rates have nothing to do with the event itself. There was enough anticipation to see Ryback in a big match that it boosted the numbers in a big way.
Now that Ryback has lost a couple of times, albeit by unfair means, it will be interesting to see if he has staying power. All signs point to a potential Punk vs. Ryback main event at TLC, which would mark the third straight pay-per-view we've seen them against each other in some capacity.
Provided the WWE keeps Ryback fresh and relevant over the next few weeks, it should lead to increased buys for TLC as well, especially since last year's event tanked with Cena being left off the card.
Preliminary Buys for Hell in a Cell Released (via ProWrestling.net)