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Believe In Evolution(?)

I’ll get right into it… I’m scared of what Evolution being back means going forward, for a multitude of reasons.

1) HHH will ONCE AGAIN use the group to put himself over

I remember Evolution primarily for two major booking fuck ups in my nowhere near humble opinion: they castrated Goldberg and Randy Orton. Don’t get me wrong… I will argue vociferously that Evolution is the greatest faction in the history of factions. They are what WWE hopes The Shield can be one day. Combined, the four members of Evolution have 48 world championships. The nWo, DX, the Horsemen… no one can claim this. How. Ever. the majority of Evolution’s time was spent keeping HHH as champion. HHH put a quarter million dollar hit out on Goldberg that Batista collected. Goldberg came to WWE by beating up The Rock. They had an Elimination Chamber match that seemed like a coronation for Goldberg. And he was VERY impressive beating up EVERYone… until he got hit with a sledgehammer. Then they handcuffed him nothing was the same. Goldberg would eventually win the title… but he was never anywhere near as dominant as his WCW days. No, I’m not saying he should have gone undefeated for a couple of years or so. I AM saying he shouldn’t have won the damn belt… just to get ‘injured’ and lose it to… HHH. This history repeated itself when ‘the lump of coal who will become the next diamond’ won the title (or did he find it in the middle of the ring?) and then held it for 28 days… before losing it to… HHH. Then… getting booked into a scenario in which he could never challenge HHH for the title. All that said… the reformation of Evolution will be a monumental waste of time unless someone (most likely HHH) divests Daniel Bryan of all that gold.

2) They’ll choose the wrong talents to join the group… or utilize them incorrectly

I’ve written here before, I think Roman Reigns would be perfect as the fourth man in Evolution. Then they went and had him and The Shield turn babyface. Honestly… not here for a predictable doublecross storyline like when Cody Rhodes turned on Bob Holly to win the tag titles with Ted DiBiase, or when Ted DiBiase turned on the Legacy rejects to help Cody and Orton… etc. It’s overdone. The Shield should stay together at this point… even though they were teasing a breakup just weeks ago. Cesaro would be good even though he’s a guy getting face reactions with his heel manager. I… don’t like this about pro wrestling these days, how fans are cheering heels doing heel things (even as I openly write about rooting for heels… don’t judge me) I said a week or so ago my pick would be to turn Big E, as he’s the latest guy they slapped a meaningless midcard belt on and then done NOTHING interesting with him. My dark horse? Bad News Barrett could use the big-time rub of being in Evolution. He has a pretty good history of being in factions but never getting to the Promised Land.

3) They’ll bury Daniel Bryan and The Shield (Hi, Quinn!)

This is TOTALLY not serious, but I will once again, bring up that while Evolution was around… no one else MATTERED. At one point the group held every title on Raw. And the titles mattered a hell of a lot more back then. Fans only get behind faces getting beat down SO much before they assume the face will NEVER get put over. See: how HHH trolled the IWC with Daniel Bryan since last August. If Monday is the last time we see The Shield in an impossible handicap match… HHH’s daughters booked this shit.

4) Different era, different result

Randy Orton got over as ‘The Legend Killer’ because he feuded with Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, etc. There AREN’T any legends really on the roster now. There’s really John Cena working full-time. HHH, Taker, Jericho, Lesnar, RVD and Batista part-time… and then it’s Orton and some dudes. Part of putting younger talent over… is having them compete with old hands the fans know and love. THEN… you go… “This guy is legit!” Orton and Cena are really the last guys who were going to war with legends every week on Raw or SmackDown. So… one of my fears is: Is it too soon to push the younger talent to the moon? When Evolution was done… Orton wouldn’t win another world title for a good three years. They don’t have the main event talent to DO that now. I feel like whoever they add to the group must leave it ready for prime time, and the guys they feuded with too. A lot of moving parts there.

5) History will repeat

Evolution broke up last time because HHH had to be the man. They beat up Orton for winning the gold… then the group was done once Batista won the Rumble and took the title at Mania 21. Right this second, HHH, Orton, and Batista all want to be champion. How long will it even make logical sense for them to work together? It won’t make ANY sense for them to be together if Bryan is to have any semblance of a ‘long’ title reign. And long these days is three or four pay per… I mean… special events. It WILL be a good sign if it ends with three of them having held the gold… and like I said before… they will have elevated the Bray Wyatts and Roman Reigns etc of the world.

A couple of weeks ago I was stunned to see the streak end… and I’ll always remember I was in the kitchen with my girlfriend upon learning Warrior died and how surreal his last words on Raw were, for him to die. the. next. day. Before I could afford cable, I used to repeatedly watch tapes someone had given me. Hogan vs Warrior and Warrior vs Rude in a steel cage are matches I might not fully remember but will never be fully forgotten. I had two WWE toys that I remember… Hogan and Warrior. Maaaaaaaaybe I had Macho Man, Million Dollar Man and Jake The Snake. I KNOW I stayed having WrassleManias in my living room with Hogan and Warrior. It’s safe to say: I grew up a Warrior mark. Thanks to WWE Network… if I am so blessed to have progeny… they. WILL. be WARRIORS! RIP, my nigga.

I don’t believe I’ve written here yet about how depressing Jake the Snake’s HOF speech was to me, or how funny it was that DDP inducted him… by mostly talking about himself and his yoga. That about sums that up. I enjoyed Lita’s speech, with the alcohol consumption in front of those recovering addicts, Jake and Scott Hall. The Bad Guy looked good. Dripping greasy machismo. I wanna flick a toothpick at a nigga. right. NOW. His speech was short and tooooooo sweeeeeeeeeet. “Bad times don’t last, but bad buys DO!” Last… lemme give a shoutout to my mother. I appreciate her giving up her figure to have me and I love her on every day on the calendar, especially pagan and government holidays. Mr. T’s speech was funny. Everything else… I WANNA say meh. But. Yeah. I enjoyed the HOF speeches overall.

I leave you with: If you ain’t GOT WWE Network… you need to get WWE Network! (or a really good friend to give you their password) ;)

Undertaker is a Mark

No disrespect to The Undertaker. My title is true. His real actual government name is Mark.

Shoutout to The Nic Johnson for his well thought out piece on The Streak ending, without being a MARK crying “Oh he’s a part-timer”.

Lastly, Mike Killam of Wrestlezone made a great point that I had… and hadn’t thought of.

Cesaro has been over as a face, inexplicably ever since he joined a racist heel group led by Zeb Colter. “We The People” is one of the reasons The Usos tag title reign hasn’t seemed to matter. But… now Cesaro isn’t a Zeb Colter guy… no. He is a Paul Heyman guy. One night after another Paul Heyman guy ended The Streak MANY marks who aren’t Mark Calaway, thought should never be broken. And the Raw after Mania crowd popped hard as FUCK. AFTER the SAME Paul Heyman dropped a pipebomb heel promo about being the strategist who helped end the streak.

Cesaro’s problem his entire career has been that he’s not a mic guy. He’s a solid worker, but… if you have no catchphrases people can give less than a damn about your work. You are Alberto Del Rio, or Kofi Kingston, or Dolph Ziggler… or… Jack Swagger. So they put him with Zeb and let him do all the talking. Then all of a sudden he got over with the “Cesaro Swing”. So now…they put him with another heel manager. I will be shocked if Cesaro doesn’t come out to crickets in arenas around the world. Kinda like how people didn’t care for Del Rio, they turned him face, then people really liked Ricardo Rodriguez… so they turned him back heel and had him beat up Ricardo. *deep sigh*

This may not really be an issue. CM Punk is the first guy to SAY he’s a Paul Heyman guy and he was a face for much of the time since he said it. I’m foggy on this but I believe he’d accompany face Punk to the ring same as he would heel Lesnar. So maybe they’ve just replaced Punk with Cesaro. We’ll see.

I respect Undertaker for being a Brock Lesnar mark. I’ve read countless times over the past few days that he wanted Lesnar to be the guy years ago. I’m just slightly concerned about the ripple effects of that decision. How it will affect Cesaro being a babyface managed by the guy who managed the guy that broke The Streak. How fans will take Lesnar wrestling four or five times a year, only on PPV… and him being used to put guys over in the future. See… that’s what most of us thought The Streak could do. “Beating the guy who broke The Streak” < "Breaking The Streak". I would have picked Roman Reigns, personally. Nigga woulda been made for life.

Speaking of Reigns, I gotta give WWE credit. The Shield is here to stay, for the foreseeable future and the split between them and The Authority is permanent. The Shield are full-on babyfaces now and I liked the way it was done. It almost felt like this was planned and they've stopped rewriting Raw during the show. I may be wrong. WWE is lacking strong faces at the moment. There's Cena, Bryan… maybe Cesaro… and now The Shield.

Big E is kinda just there at the moment. He's my new favorite to be the fourth man in the new Evolution. I think at some point, they're gonna have Orton and Batista actually take the tag belts from the Usos, Big E is the IC champ, and HHH is determined to personally take the WWE WHC from Bryan. I'm here for it. The breakup of the group will be the same as the last time: everyone in the group wants to be champion, and there can only be One. Big E has to be allowed to show personality. He seems so blah to me at the moment. He may need to go back to being a heel behind some bigger heels.

Speaking of heels… one of my major gripes at the moment is that when I watch Raw, I see all the over guys are heels. Cena, Sheamus and Big E got booed heavily against the heel Wyatt Family. I call this 'the nWo effect', which I can broaden into 'the Stone Cold Steve Austin effect'. The nWo was a heel faction that got cheered for ganging up on babyfaces and Hollywood Hogan was the chickenshittiest of chickenshit heels. You will still see nWo shirts on WWE programming. Ziggler wore one last weekend. SCSA was a tweener… a babyface that cursed more than I do, defied authority and overindulged on alcoholic beverages while doing so. Ever since their era, John Cena can't get a true babyface reaction without cutting those vulgar freestyles and tossing bags of nuts at people. I will remind you people, Daniel Bryan got over as a heel. If CM Punk was an afterthought as WWE champ at WM 28, Bryan was the thought AFTER the afterthought, jerking the curtain and losing the WHC in 18 seconds. Try to convince me all of that was done to intentionally get Bryan over so I can bitch slap you.

I've read so many things that have pissed me off in the last half year about "WWE burying Bryan" LAWD. Gotta take my hat off to WWE trolling the IWC. Once they realized Bryan was an actual thing (and CM Punk left like a bitch) they firmly entrenched him in the role of the anti-authority character Punk's character is even more well-suited to playing. Yes, I'm still waiting for HHH to screw him out of the belt again. No, I don't care that you believe Bryan should get a long run as champion. Although… I'd like to see Lesnar versus Bryan at SummerSlam. So the Beast can break The Flying Goat. Just like he broke The Streak.

A brief word on “The Streak” ending…

Like the majority of the wrestling world, I was stunned, bitter and angry about the end of the Undertaker’s Streak. I should clarify, I wasn’t bothered by the Streak ending – it was created to be ended. That’s my entire problem with the ending – the Streak was literally MEANT to be broken, and when it came to be ended, it felt so clumsy, rushed, mishandled.

I spent the whole day thinking through the possible reasoning WWE could have had for ending the Streak. Was it called on the fly, in the ring by Undertaker? Was it known ahead of time? If so, why do you not put it on last knowing the impact it would have on the crowd? If it was going to end – why not play safer than sorry and let Triple H or Punk end it last year?

Fast forward to RAW tonight – when Brock’s music hit it all suddenly made sense to me. There weren’t boo’s, there weren’t cheers, there wasn’t celebration – there was just nothing. THIS is why Brock Lesnar was CHOSEN to end the Streak.

The Streak was built to be broken in order to put over whoever breaks it. To establish them as a powerhouse. The problem is, unless the audience WANTS that person to win, they will forever be doomed to insignificance. They won’t be hated, they won’t be a heel, they will simply be insignificant. They will be deemed as unworthy of having broken the Streak and what more legitimizing act can one do than end the longest running, most heralded Streak in any sport, entertainment otherwise? You will always be the second most significant part of THAT match, much less any other match in your future.

The argument was brought up that a “part timer” ended the Streak, and this just isn’t acceptable. You’re right. It sucks. But doesn’t it ultimately make the most sense? It was clear that the Streak needed to be ended. Whether it was the concussion, neck injury, or just plain old age on his wheels – Taker was a noticeably lesser performer last night than in recent years. It was time for the Streak to end.

WWE was in a lose/lose situation and had to turn it into a win/win…because that’s how you make money and save face in pro wrestling. WWE had no one in line, with Punk out of the picture, that could get the babyface rub of ending the Streak gracefully and earning Taker’s respect. At this point – you need to cut your losses. If you can rule someone basically insignificant (albeit with Paul Heyman, that’s never entirely the case) and end the Streak, send the offending party off for 6 or 8 months before they come back and the wound has healed – why not do it? Enter Brock Lesnar.

GRANTED, in my fantasy booking world – I don’t see why you don’t let Heyman get involved in the finish. If you’re clearly not worried about the sanctity of the Streak and it’s legacy, why do you not at least establish a MEGA HEEL, by building the story around Heyman’s unquenchable thirst for revenge and have him cheat to go over ‘Taker at ‘Mania. Lesnar is safe, the Streak is ended, and you have a long term MEGA HEEL manager. Makes more sense to me.

All being said – I see why WWE did what they did. I don’t like it. I think there were other options if the decision had been made earlier… but if the Streak HAD to be ended this year, you arguably couldn’t have had the curse of ending it fall it any better of a persons lap than Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman at his side. That’s what ending the Streak means, with the rare exception of maybe 3 Superstars…. It’s a curse. A burden you will never be able to shake. A weight you will never come out from under.

EDIT: For what it’s worth, if WWE has any marketing brainpower left… there would be “Brock Lesnar – The One” t-shirts being made hand over fist… at least you gave the man a legit tagline.

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