Big Brother 17 – All Aboard Vanessa’s Crazy Train

Big Brother

We’re a month out from the final episode of Big Brother 17, where a single houseguest will walk away $500,000 richer. That means the strategic part of the game is finally getting really exciting. I’ve decided to start posting a blog following every Thursday night Eviction episode that looks at every houseguests current standing and tries to lay out the best moves they could make this week.

Day 71 saw Johnny Mac get evicted 5-0 against Steve; however, not hours later, J-Mac won the juror’s competition to get himself right back into the game. Unfortunately, the person he was gunning for the past few weeks, Vanessa, was in power as the Head of Household. Also, for the purpose of this post, I’m pretending like I don’t know this week will be a double eviction because the houseguests don’t know it and couldn’t possibly pre-plan for it. The rest of this post will assume you’ve been following the show, so I don’t have to spell every relationship and situation out. So, if you don’t know what a POV or an HOH are, you might want to stop reading, otherwise, let’s get to it.

Austin

Austin has two jobs this week. The first, and potentially most crucial is to step away from Liz for like five minutes (or, you know, most of the week) and try to squash anyone talking about how pissed he was at Vanessa last week/how close she came to going on the block. Vanessa plays a very emotional game, but she’s smart and will probably figure this out on her own, which means keeping as much from her as Austin possibly can the main focus of the week.

Austin also needs to convince Vanessa that she would be the person he would take to the final three over Julia. It doesn’t matter if this is true, he just has to convince her that it is. If he can do that, then he might be able to keep Vanessa on his side long enough to attempt to get her out next week. Austin has slowly been realizing how dangerous Vanessa is to his game and I fully expect him to target her before we hit the final six if he’s able to. For now though, it’s key that he kiss up as much as possible to make Vanessa feel as safe as he with his side of the house. If he can push Vanessa to either put up the safe option of Steve and John (doubtful) or Meg and James (it would hurt his personal game, but would obviously be preferable to himself or the twins going on the block), then he’s done a better job then he has a real chance to make it past final four.

James

James is in a really bad position at this point in the game. His only real ally is probably the worst player in the game and he doesn’t have much leverage with the current HoH. If Vanessa is as smart as she claims, she’ll be putting James and Meg up on the block and there’s not much (outside of the Veto, of course) that James can do about it. Really, his best option would be to go to either side of the house (Austwins or Vanessa/J-Mac/Steve) and say that he’ll be a “soldier” for them if they keep him in the house and help them take out the other faction. He should be able to sway the votes because, unlike Meg, he’s actually a competition threat and both sides will want to gear up and find a way to fire a shot at the other side. That said, the fact that Meg can’t do anything could lead to her staying around as an easy target late in the game.

In truth, whoever survives the week between Meg and James would seemingly be in a very good place. Both sides will want to bring them in, so James main goal this week has to be convincing people that he’s a better option to keep than Meg. That said, if Vanessa decides to put up the Austwins then I think James needs to do everything in his power to keep Austin around and send Liz home. He and Meg can manipulate that position and get Austin and maybe Julia to join their side, giving them the numbers to hit Vanessa hard next week.

John

After being evicted a few days ago, Johnny Mac is setting in a pretty sweet position this week. There is no way that Vanessa puts him up on the block unless she has some type of breakdown in the next few days and decides that J-Mac didn’t hug her five weeks ago so he has to go (this isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility, people). So John’s biggest goal this week is lockdown an absolutely ironclad final two deal with Steve and then, if Vanessa goes with James and Meg, go to James and try to lock him up with Steve and himself for a final three to give his alliance the numbers to take on the Austwins. Also, J-Mac should continue to be a loveable goofball to win himself America’s favorite and the nice check that comes with it.

Julia

Julia is in a very interesting position this week. Even if Vanessa elects to go after the Austwins, Julia isn’t going home. Liz is the prime target because she’s the glue that holds the group together and Austin is a much bigger comp threat. So, if Julia finds her alliance on the block, she should do everything she can to secure her somewhat secret alliance with Meg and James. If Liz goes home, Austin and Julia would be smart to stick with Brass Tacks to give them more numbers at a HoH win against Vanessa/Steve/John.

If James and Meg go on the block, Julia has a big decision to help make. Does she try and keep James or Meg? It would seem that the best move for Julia is to keep Meg. James would work with her, but I think he’s more likely to either team up with Steve and John or try to get her out at final four by allying with Austin. Meg is the safer option for Julia’s game because she’s more controllable. It could be hard to convince Austin to send home James, but that’s Julia’s task for the week.

Liz

If Vanessa decides to go after the Austwins (she won’t) Liz has to be the main target. As mentioned above, she’s the glue holding Austin and Julia together and with her gone, they both begin playing solo games, making them much more controllable for both sides of the house. Her only real option in that scenario is to win the Veto or hope that whichever Austiwin isn’t on the block with her wins it and takes her off. Otherwise, she’s going home.

Of course, the chances of Vanessa going after the Austwins seem pretty minimal. Therefore, Liz’s main goal this week needs to be to secure votes for Meg. It’s boring to write the same thing I just wrote about Julia, but her strategy should be the exact same. Meg is much more controllable and gives the Austwins another number going forward. James is a threat for multiple reasons, making him simply too dangerous to keep around for another week.

Meg

Meg just might be in the worst spot in the house (though it’s close between her and James). She offers nothing to any alliance outside of a vote and, even if she stays, has shown no ability to win any kind of competition, giving her zero leverage in the house. She’s been riding on good vibes and James’ coattails since Jackie left and the only scenario where she makes it past final five is if someone decides to pull a pawn to the end of the game (not a bad potential move for someone like Vanessa who most people dislike).

Outside of that, Meg’s days seem to be numbered. However, that doesn’t mean she’s going home this week. She should be able to successfully convince people that James is the bigger competition threat and the person they should be sending home. She needs to own her terrible competition record and use that as a reason to keep her around. It certainly won’t be a flattering gameplay move, but it’s the only one she has left.

Steve

Steve comfortably sits in three decent enough alliances. He seems to have something going with Vanessa that could prove fruitful in the coming weeks if he wants to go after the Austwins. However, he also has made deals with that side of the house and would likely be willing to play ball with either Julia or Liz (not as much Austin, it would seem). But his strongest alliance is undoubtedly John, meaning that Steve’s main goal this week needs to be solidifying a third or fourth (depending on where Vanessa really is) person to join up with him and take down the Austwins.

Steve has to hit Meg and James hard this week. He and John must secure one of them as an ally late in this game. If one of those two goes home, the other person will be floundering and Steve and John are likeable enough to bring that person over to their side. From a numbers perspective, I’m sure they would prefer James, but Meg makes a nice consolation prize.

Vanessa

Because of Vanessa weird insistence to get the least amount of “blood on her hands” as possible, I find it hard to believe she would put up the Austwins this week. She wants their votes in the end and doesn’t think she’ll get them if she isn’t loyal to them. This is probably a mistake because, unless she wins every comp she can from here on out, I don’t think any Austwin takes her to the final two (or even three) with them. She has a much better shot with Steve and John or even Meg and James, but her emotional side seems to be clouding that.

Vanessa’s best move this week would be to get out Liz, but I highly doubt she does that. Instead, I suspect she’ll target either James or Meg and have Austin there as a backdoor option. From there, I think Vanessa should stoutly ally herself with Steve and John and move away from the Austwins. At this point, she needs to own her game and not try to play so “honestly”. She needs to be cold-hearted and attack the power trio before they drop her.

Fantasy Booking – Night of Champions 2015

Fantasy Booking/PPVs, Wrestling

The WWE just wrapped up a star-studded weekend in Brooklyn. NXT tore the house down with amazing performances from Bayley, Sasha Banks, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor and more. Then came the actual Summerslam event, which delivered almost across the board (more on this later), followed by one of the best Raw’s in recent memory. So how does Vince McMahon and co. top themselves at Night of Champions? Well, they probably don’t, but that won’t stop them from trying. And, why shouldn’t I try too? What follows is how I’d book Night of Champions. Enjoy!

Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens – U.S. Championship

Night of Champions is the one night a year that every single title must be defended and since Rollins currently holds both the U.S. title and the World Heavyweight Championship, he is forced to pull double-duty. Luckily, the WWE has a solid pairing to match him up with that is sure to set the tone for an excellent show. Cesaro vs. Owens was one of the most underrated parts of Summerslam and a second collision is sure to be must-watch TV. Because those two can do the heavy lifting in the ring, Rollins is able to hold something back for the main event later on in the night. The buildup would be very basic. Owens uses the knowledge that every championship must be defending to force Rollins into a match. Owens has demonstrated that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to improve his paycheck and this represents an easy opportunity for him to bump his pay grade. Triple H agrees to the match, but tells a shocked Owens that not only will he face Rollins, but Cesaro will be in the ring as well. During the next few weeks, Rollins’ attention is obviously elsewhere, but Owens and Cesaro continuously harass him during promo segments to remind him that they’re still around.

Taking the title off of Rollins could really cheapen his win over Cena, but I think he can stomach the loss. Owens beat Cesaro at Summerslam, so it would make sense for him to go over here. However, the most interesting scenario would be to have Cesaro take the title, especially considering the recent groundswell of fan support for the Swiss Sensation. This sets up a Hell in the Cell rubber match between Owens and Cesaro and Rollins isn’t hurt too much by a loss in a three-way dance. The correct booking would have Rollins sitting out most of the match, trying to play the opportunist, while Owens and Cesaro put on a show. Rollins tries to seize an opportunity and Pedigrees Owens. Before he can get into the pin, Cesaro runs in, delivers a European Uppercut, pins Owens and becomes your new U.S. Champion. The rubber match for the title is set for Hell in a Cell and Rollins has to do minimal work for his first match of the night.

Stardust vs. Neville

The early news out of Raw in Brooklyn is that Stardust turning on King Barrett was a storyline reason to give Barrett some time off to film a movie. That takes him out of this storyline that didn’t really seem to be over following Summerslam. Minus Stephen Amell’s involvement, the story has some potential to flounder, but, at the very least, Neville and Stardust know how to deliver a great match. In this scenario, we’re sticking with the super-hero gimmick and turning the next month into a game of cat-and-mouse between The Man Gravity Forgot and the Cosmic Prince that hopefully reminds the audience of the rivalry between Batman and the Joker. Stardust should consistently put Neville into moral dilemmas and test Neville’s resolve as the hero of the WWE. Neville should show doubt in his own abilities to rise above Stardust and be the hero we deserve. Maybe Neville has to choose between a star-making win against a big name or saving a damsel that Stardust is holding hostage backstage. They need to really go all out with this one or it will fall flat.

This pairing has the potential to elevate both stars, if given enough time. Therefore, I would have Stardust go over at Night of Champions, potentially by using the hostage situation discussed above to distract Neville. Then the feud would continue for at least one more PPV. In a perfect world, I’d love to see a Team Neville vs. Team Stardust at Survivor Series to play on the Avengers/Suicide Squad/Justice League teamups that are so popular in mainstream media. That said, Stardust and Neville might not have enough star power just yet to pull that off, so a blowoff at Hell in a Cell seems like a solid consolation prize.

New Day vs. Dudley Boyz – Tag Team Titles

The Prime Time Players have a legitimate stake to be in this match, but frankly, the tag team division needs an injection of some new (though old) blood. Further, I’m personally tired of seeing multiple team matches after Summerslam and want a traditional match for my next PPV. So, PTP gets the boot and has to wait until after Night of Champions to use their rematch clause. And really, the New Day needs this. They need a run with a team that has clout like the Dudleyz to elevate them even further in fan’s minds.

Obviously, New Day has to go over here. They are the most over full-time team on the roster and should be the standard bearer for the division for at least six more months. The Dudleyz, on the other hand, are likely to be at the start of a three month-long run at best and don’t need the titles to get a huge reaction. Keep the belts on Xavier Woods and co. and use the next few weeks to build up the Prime Time Players characters to the level of New Day.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev

We know this match is coming and we also know that these Ziggler and Rusev can deliver a great match if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, this ongoing feud has largely focused on the two men fighting over Lana, while Summer Rae stands around and tries to look like the Ravishing Russian. After a double-countout at Summerslam, this angle needs a decisive blowoff and Rusev needs to either get back with Lana or leave her behind for good (or at least a year). The buildup to this one needs to have Ziggler continuously getting one over on Rusev and Lana mocking him the Bulgarian Brute every week. In some ways, Rusev needs to become the babyface heading into Night of Champions, while Lana plays the heel and Ziggler plays a hybrid.

From there, Rusev goes over at Night of Champions in an absolute war. These two need to beat the tar out of each other and capitalize on their in-ring chemistry. Ziggler was born to make brutes like Rusev look like a million bucks and Rusev is one of the more skilled big men in the WWE today. They should slug it out in an old-fashioned brawl that potentially leaves both of them bloody. However, at the end of the day, Rusev needs to just barely gut this one out and stand defiant over Lana; proving that he doesn’t need her to be successful. The two can then go their separate ways; with Ziggler likely heading into a program with someone like Sheamus and Rusev potentially feuded with Cesaro or Randy Orton.

Ryback vs. Sheamus – Intercontinental Championship

Ryback’s match at Summerslam against The Big Show and The Miz was largely forgettable, which is honestly how his entire IC reign has been so far due to injuries and bad storylines. Ryback showed some great chemistry with Kevin Owens on the Raw after Summerslam, but Owens needs to finish off his program with Cesaro before he can move onto The Big Guy. Much like Ryback, Sheamus doesn’t really have any obvious opponents to challenge right now. The Heavyweight Championship scene is locked up right now, so using the Money in the Bank suitcase seems like a big stretch; and no one wants to see him go up against Randy Orton for the millionth time.

So, in the only match on the card without a solid angle to back it up, Ryback and Sheamus go dancing. The easy story here is to have Ryback squash a few challengers in a few title matches on Raw and Smackdown and then have him claim there is no one big enough to take on The Big Guy. Then Sheamus’ music hits and he says something like, “You want somebody your own size? How ‘bout me fella?” and the two have a brawl. This one doesn’t even need a conclusive finish, as it would make sense to have this one end in a countout or DQ and continue past Hell in a Cell. That would give both guys a solid holding story until other opponents become available. This match ends in a DQ and Sheamus and Ryback fight in a Street Fight or No-DQ match at Hell in a Cell with Ryback going over. From there, Ryback moves into a feud with Kevin Owens and Sheamus gets more serious about cashing in his MITB case. Not the most exciting booking, but sometimes being effective is better than surprising the smarks.

Nikki Bella vs. Paige vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks – Women’s Championship

The Women’s Division on the main roster could really use a kick in the pants. Which is a nice way of saying that Nikki Bella should not be holding the title. However, she has been a champion for almost a year, so you can’t just have her lose the title that easily or you risk devaluing the strap. That means she’s needs to lose in a way that doesn’t make her look weak, but does the job of getting the title to someone who can actually wrestle. Enter the Fatal Fourway. Charlotte and Sasha Banks used this match title to, along with Bayley and Becky Lynch, really put the women’s division on the map in NXT and I think they could do the same here. Nikki is used sparingly and Paige takes Bayley’s slot as the unquestioned babyface.

Sadly, Becky Lynch has to stay on the sidelines, but, at this point, Charlotte and Banks have a much bigger following and Paige is a bankable star that we know we can count on. Lynch will get her chance at a later date; this just isn’t it. I would love to put the belt on Sasha Banks because she’s the best women’s character in wrestling when they give her time to talk, but Charlotte seems like the safer belt. Charlotte was dominant in NXT and had some incredible stories with Banks and Bayley, plus she already has name recognition because of her father. People will want to get behind her and she can wrestle with anybody. Banks will get the title by next Wrestlemania, but for now, Charlotte is the standard bearer for the division. Charlotte pins Paige to win her first Women’s Championship.

Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, & ??? vs. The Wyatt Family

With the Wyatt’s introducing their newest family member Braun Strowman on Raw this week, it’s time for Ambrose and Reigns to gear up for a war and bring in a third member. The safe money on what WWE will do is to bring in Big Show after his apparent face turn this past Monday. However, no one wants to see Show muck up what could be a legitimately interesting feud, so I’m going another way. Bray brought in a guy from NXT (though one who has yet to wrestle on TV) to be his third man, so Ambrose and Reigns should do the same.

Finn Balor would be a huge get and would actually fit in pretty well from a wrestling standpoint. He can do the high-flying maneuvers that Seth Rollins used to do in The Shield and is a believable giant-killer if that’s what’s needed. Samoa Joe is another solid option that would bring some needed muscle to offset Strowman’s advantage. Joe doesn’t really need to be on NXT anymore, so a main event push seems imminent. The final NXT option could be Baron Corbin. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of his in-ring work, but he has a good look and would fit in with The Shield well. Plus, they can give him a bulletproof vest to cover up the belly fat he’s still working on shedding.

Of course, bringing in any of those NXT guys could be problematic if they don’t have anything to do after this match, so maybe there’s one more option. Mark Henry isn’t doing anything, would be believable up against Strowman, and is a better in-ring worker that Show at this point in their careers. With that said, regardless of who joins Ambrose and Reigns, The Wyatt Family has to over here. Bray needs to build some credibility and this feud is tailor made for a blowoff at Hell in a Cell. Look for Strowman to be the star here and throw enough people out of the ring for Bray to hit Sister Abigail and get the win.

Seth Rollins vs. Sting – WWE Heavyweight Championship

This is the one match that is already set in stone by the WWE and honestly, after what happened on the Raw after Summerslam, I’d have to get really creative to think of a way to change this. I’ll say this; the ensuing bout between Rollins and Sting is a very interesting one. Will Sting still be fighting for “the old guard”? Or is this just a way to try Triple H into another match? Only time will tell, but one thing is very obvious, there is simply no way this contest has an actual finish. Whether the interference comes from Triple H running down to save his golden boy or John Cena reinserting himself into the main event scene (and teasing a possible heel turn) by taking out Sting before he can pick up a win, this has to end with Rollins holding onto the title through dubious means.

That’s unfortunate because Rollins is one of the best, if not the best workers in the company and his constant dirty victories are making him look like a chump (a smart, conniving chump, but still a chump). He is THE World Heavyweight Champion and, even if he’s playing a rat-faced heel, he needs to be a believable in-ring threat. Him constantly winning by cheating cheapens his title run and hurts the company in the long run. It’s safe to have him beat Sting due to outside interference at Night of Champions, but he needs an actual, big-time victory over someone like Cena at Hell in a Cell or he needs to drop his title. In short, this match will mostly be used to set the table for what are sure to be a few big feuds of the fall. And, if nothing else, we know Rollins will deliver a memorable performance like always and Sting will get a gigantic pop if and when he brings out the bat. And we’ll all go home happy.