Let’s Talk About Factions!

VarsityClubGreetings to you loyal L.E.W.D. readers and blog post followers! And peace to our dear brother Corbin for holding down the throne while the rest of us unintentionally shirked our wrasslin’ writin’ duties here. It’s literally been one month since I’ve personally angered you to the point of apathy or silent rage, but fear no longer! Here’s another fantastic and reasonably logical post to stick in your craw!

After having an incredibly long conversation with Mr. Chris Lamb and our Brother The Nic Johnson last week, viewing last night’s episode of ROH Wrestling and Friday night’s Impact Wrestling, I began to put more thought than I should have into the role factions play in professional wrestling and sports entertainment today. The most prevailing thought that occurred was the feeling that … Continue reading Let’s Talk About Factions!

What Happened To “Make Roman Look Strong?”

Raw was trash. I’m beyond tired of the 20 minute talking segment where they could have just made a simple announcement but then like five people interrupt with full entrance themes. I was not a fan of them spinning Roman’s Mania win as a fluke and now he needs to re earn the title shot he just earned. I’m even less of a fan of them making him spear the beard off the very REASON Roman’s been getting booed. Then Roman lost his first singles match in three years. This is not making Roman look strong.

Roman Reigns last lost a singles match in 2012 in FCW. THAT doesn’t sound anything like a guy who might qualify for being prematurely shoved into top guy status. He won’t be hurt much by a random loss on Raw. But to a lot of people, Brock Lesnar just got up from 3 AAs and a curb stomp. How will Roman Reigns beat Brock Lesnar if he can’t get up from getting hit with a briefcase and a chokeslam? That doesn’t make much sense.

Something that makes less sense is making Roman Reigns Superman punch and spear the beard off that midget. People are not going to gain respect for him if he wrestles a good match and wins over their hero. They’re going to shit on him again just like they did at the Rumble. I suggested that WWE push that Reigns was related to so many wrestling gods… months ago. Doing it now just reeks of “see, this guy is just getting preferential treatment because of lineage” instead of the intended getting across that this dude has wrestling greatness in his blood that he is only growing into. WWE should be inviting us to follow the exploits of its new, cool brooding ass kicker, not steadily booking their new face of the company into situations where he will most assuredly be booed out of the building. Having Bryan come back before the Rumble set Reigns up to get booed. Having Reigns beat Bryan at Fast Lane sets Reigns up to get booed. This is so very simple.

I never want to see Undertaker wrestle at Mania again. The Streak is over. Have him work the other major PPVs. I have no interest in seeing Taker beat Bray Wyatt, nor do I have any interest in seeing Taker lose to Bray Wyatt at Mania. Maybe at SummerSlam or Survivor Series or the Rumble.

John Cena’s match with Rusev being for the US title tells me off top either Rusev is going over or there will be some kind of countout or DQ finish. WWE does not care enough about making the midcard titles seem important by having main event guys go for them when they’re not being pushed at the very top of the card. When Brock was away, that was an opportunity for Luke Harper and Dolph Ziggler to main event in an epic TLC match over the IC title. Instead we got that trash between Wyatt and Ambrose! I want all the themed PPVs to go away and bring back the King of the Ring.

I think it would be interesting to see the MITB ladder match put back on the Mania card. With only one world title most of the top talent on the roster doesn’t necessarily have a match on the card. I think the roster is too thin for the battle royal to work, see the debacle that was the Rumble. I think taking off Rollins’ time limit to cash in and adding another case would lead to the two contract holders fighting over cash in opportunities before eventually culminating in a ladder match for the one and only contract at, say SummerSlam. I don’t see WWE doing something so brilliant, but it would be dope.

Paige is getting another title shot and I hope she wins because Nikki hasn’t really done anything as champion… but then maybe they actually care about making her look strong by having her beat all these former champions. The Divas storylines have been non existent, it’s just been a bunch of singles and tag matches with people at ringside and guest commentating. I have little interest in anything going on there.

The tag team division is like every tag team breaking up, The Ascension, The Usos and whatever old tag teams WWE can dig up. Yawn.

Dean Ambrose vs Bad News Barrett should be interesting.

That’s all I got to say about that, I’ll catch your ass down the road.

WWE Should Never Listen To Us

Wrestling fans are dumb. We are people who want everyone to look strong, for no one to lose. If we don’t want that, we’re tired of the same old shit but get angry when they try something different. Vince shouldn’t have changed plans last year. When he did that, he basically encouraged this year’s cancellation of WWE Network subscriptions. My only thing is I think they should look at getting new writers to work on promos… or even better, stop scripting every word of promos. But hey… they shouldn’t listen to a nobody like me.

I laugh and talk to my best friend often about how Reigns’ promos are something out of the 60s or 70s. They want him to be a white meat babyface in a world that prefers the anti-hero, or a little edge to the character. Daniel Bryan gained popularity because he was crazy. Half the WWE roster is some form of crazy. What’s crazy to me is how fans watch these shows devoid of star power and think WWE is not in such desperate need of new stars that they don’t think rushing Reigns is a necessary evil. And then they’re blind to how, once you rush HIM to that main event level, there’s Seth “The Best In The World” Rollins with that MITB briefcase, and Ambrose, Wyatt and Rusev right there as natural rivals.

Fans have this subversive masochistic bent, man. Yall niggas like rooting for shit you know has no business ever happening. Like Zack Ryder, main eventer. That shit was coming and I’m glad it never came. I have written here, so many times, about the role looks play in how you are perceived. I am a flabby 6’6, 305. I’d be an ideal potential star in wrestling if I wanted to risk my life in ladder matches and such. But if I was 5’8, 200… not really. Wrestling fans like guys that use all kinds of different submission holds and high spots and such… that shit doesn’t sell. Do you remember that time Hulk Hogan dropped the leg off the top of the steel cage? When The Rock delivered The People’s Elbow off a ladder? When Stone Cold dropped a Stunner through the roof of the Cell? When John Cena Five Knuckle Shuffled off the top of the tron? No? BECAUSE THEM NIGGAS DREW MILLIONS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS DOING THEIR FIVE MOVES OF DOOM NIGGA.

People don’t so much love Daniel Bryan or CM Punk or Dolph Ziggler as much as they love the idea of them niggas. I remember when CM Punk was champion, people couldn’t wait for him to drop the title. (Because they aren’t USED to it being hot potatoed all over the roster) When they acquiesced and let Bryan win the main event of Mania, people complained about his weak booking a month later when he was selling the notion that a monster heel was trying to kidnap his wife. (Him getting injured saved so many fantasies from being murdered when he and not Cena took that unmerciful asswhipping at SummerSlam.) In the old days a guy who looked like Dolph Ziggler would steal the show in IC title matches but never go over in a world title match. (As opposed to having two footnote ass title reigns.) When I REALLY think about it… the idea of putting CM Punk over against The Rock, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar is utterly preposterous. But I used to be just like you so called smart fans.

WWE set buyrate records two years in a row main eventing Cena and Rock. I can visualize Reigns and Lesnar on a poster. I just can’t see the David and Goliath dynamic selling in 2015. I’ll remind you that every time WWE HAS pushed CM Punk or Bryan, ratings and buyrates went to hell. They do sell merch, I’ll give them that. Anyway… I just grew up after I didn’t get my way in 2013 and realized that these guys who can’t do Phoenix Splashes are the ones who really put asses in seats and the guys who CAN do exciting moves get people out of their seats once they’re there.

I’ve BEEN saying this, and I’ll keep saying it… WWE needs to create a new midcard title for smaller wrestlers or the second they call up Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, Hideo Itami, Finn Balor etc… they’re setting them up to be the new Justin Gabriel. Who just left the company ostensibly because he got tired of only being seen off Superstars doing jobs to those six foot 250 plus lb guys WWE sees as walking ATMs.

I wanted to see Batista win the title last year and I’m happy they will put the belt on Reigns and truly jumpstart the next generation of WWE superstars. Because I have learned it’s better to accept reality for what it is. Ask yourself… when Yokozuna, Bam Bam Bigelow, Mabel and Vader roamed the earth… why did only Yokozuna win the title? Why am I supposed to believe Bret Hart could wrap legs thick as his body around his legs against that man’s will?

You Know, I’m Not Mad That He Won…

Before we go any further, let me reiterate something very, VERY clearly: I have no inherent problem with Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble match.  None.  I don’t like that he won, as I don’t see any reason for him winning, but I didn’t see any reason for him winning last year either; we have to finally all admit – willingly or otherwise – that the reason he was cheered last year in Pittsburgh was because it was either him or Batista. 

No, I have no problem with Reigns winning the Rumble, even if I don’t like the call.  The world of professional wrestling is littered with decisions I don’t agree with, but that can hardly stand as a crutch towards my viewing pleasures.  There are storylines, matches, feuds, jokes and decisions up and down WWE, TNA, ROH, Dragon Gate, NJPW and TNA that have no reason, but dammit: TNA can make these mistakes all they want. 

Thus we complain.  We boycott.  We march up and down the street and we vote.  We boo the outcomes and say we’ll never watch the product again.  We’re lying of course: we tune back in to the product the next day.  See, I’m upset about the Rumble match even more than those who probably threatened to riot last night (and if the rumors are true those that didn’t let the Rumble winner leave the arena).  I was fuming at the mouth, throwing empty bottles of NyQuil across the room, praising the careers of Ryan Reynolds and Ashton Kutcher, I was completely livid.  But not because Reigns won.

Let’s face facts: they had hinted at Reigns being the winner for the longest.  We didn’t like it but that was the case.  The hope was that his mic skills and charisma would match up with the reception he was getting from the crowd.  In my case, I was hoping he would switch up his move set a little, gain his own attire, get his own theme music, stop coming out through the crowd, adopt a manager, stop trying to be funny, etc.  He was always the silent weak link of the Shield: both Ambrose and Rollins are money.  They went in opposite directions and thrived.  Ambrose is a lunatic fan favorite who bares no allegiance while Rollins is a calculating mega heel who… I mean, the man brought the Phoenix Splash back to the rotation.  The Phoenix freaking Splash. 

And still Reigns has one thing in his column that his former teammates don’t: he’s a WWE original.  Ambrose is an indie star, Rollins comes from the same camp as Bryan, Punk or Cesaro (it should be noted that Rollins is a former NXT Champ, so they knew he had something about him) and he’s one of the most accomplished guys to ever come into the E championship wise. 

Despite what we think, despite who we praise or love, the WWE will ALWAYS push their own first.  Corbin made a salient point many moons ago that Punk was a transitional champion despite his impossibly long WWE Championship run, and he’s right.  CM Punk is also not a WWE original.  John Cena is, and it shows.

John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, Batista, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, these are all originals.  Big Show is not an original.  Chris Jericho is not an original.  If anything, it’s a bit funny that Jericho was the first Undisputed Champion and his world title runs are more or less distant memories, like Ziggler’s world title run.  He’s a WWE Original though.  There’s a reason he’s still there.  Same with Zack Ryder.  And The Ryback, as Daniel Bryan calls him.

Reigns winning the Rumble was expected, and the crowd response was appropriate.  Philly fans are a serious breed: they weed through the BS with fine toothed combs.  That’s why they cheered for Rollins: he’s a ridiculously talented wrestler.  That’s why they booed Cena: he’s rather mediocre.  That’s why they cheered for Mizdow: he’s very entertaining.  That’s why they booed the Miz: he’s a douche.

No: I’m not mad that Reigns won the Rumble because it makes sense in terms of the development of Reigns as the top babyface in the company one day.  That day is more than likely not March 29, 2015, but one day he will be the face of the WWE, and the company is still in a tailspin due to Punk’s departure, Bryan’s initial injury and the fall of Russia.  Maybe one of those things didn’t happen but its just as valid as anything else.

So we’ll likely have Reigns vs. Lesnar at Mania.  That’s dumb, but if we’re going to be honest: Bryan vs. Lesnar makes no storyline sense right now either.  It’s nice as a David and Goliath narrative, and it’s nice for Bryan and his rise back to the top after never officially losing his title, but does it make sense?  Not entirely.  Difference is: we don’t care about sense so much when Bryan takes on Lesnar.  We like Bryan.  He’s a short athletic goat with a sexy Mexican girlfriend that… wait, am I talking about Bryan or JoMo…?

In any case: Bryan going to Mania is a feel good story straight out of Feel Good Inc, but I don’t think people would be so mad if he lost so long as he lost later in the match.  If he didn’t lose so inconsequentially, people would still hate that Reigns won, but they wouldn’t have been so upset.  The fans weren’t even given the illusion that Bryan could have won. 

Bryan is a fan favorite and one of the most over Superstars in modern history.  Period.  Reigns will be one those kinds of guys eventually.  But not right now.  And the WWE is trying to make him the face sooner rather than later.  The fault isn’t with Reigns: it’s with lazy booking and mistakes that couldn’t be rectified.  Maybe the E has leaned on Cena and the like for so long that there was no legit gameplan for when the Cena was too unhealthy for prolonged work.

I don’t know, but the point remains: I’m not mad at Reigns won.  It happened.  I can accept it, whether I like it or not.  But the Rumble still pissed me off.  Why?

Because #6 never made it to the ring.  I don’t know what PPV y’all were watching, but Reigns outlasted 28 others, not 29.  Rowan did NOT replace Axel: I don’t know WHAT he was doing.  If there is truly a victim from last night’s travesty, it is Curtis Axel.

I Dig Ascension

First things first, my title is a spin on how many people bitched last night that The Ascension got buried on Raw Reunion. Truth is, I came away from Raw an Ascension fan for the first time. I don’t like their physical workstyle, it kind of bores me. But on Raw, they interacted with seven WWE Legends. WWE had them cut promos comparing themselves favorably to these old timer tag teams, then had seven of them in the ring and three beat the two of them up. You can never be hurt as a young wrestler getting to interact with LEGENDS.

When I first started writing here, I liked CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio. I felt WWE was making a mistake by emphasizing their older part time talent over the younger talent. I still feel the mistake was made when The Rock was brought in to trade wins with Cena and essentially make CM Punk’s 434 day title reign a long transitional title reign used to keep the belt away from Cena until he’d drop it to Rock, who’d transition it to Cena. I will, however admit in retrospect, that was the right decision. BUT… if WWE let Punk beat Rock at the Rumble, then had Cena/Rock II, and let Punk break the streak against Taker in the true main event of Mania? CM Punk is still there right now. And if he was healthy? I’d still have him as champion today. And Roman Reigns would be getting absolutely DESTROYED if he ended that title reign, especially since Punk is a internet favorite.

Alberto Del Rio is one of my favorite wrestlers going right now today. He was top five to me, at the time he left. I feel two things kept him from getting over: one, he lost to Edge at Mania, lost to Christian at Extreme Rules… then cashed in MITB on CM Punk at Summer Slam, lost the title to Cena at Night of Champions, won it back at Hell in a Cell, then lost it to Punk at Survivor Series. That’s from August to November. It was like he got two month reigns in there. Two, I think his accent made him sound annoying, so for many fans he got “Fuck this guy” heat as opposed to heel heat. I thought two solutions for him would have been to have him speak slower and lower, to make him sound cooler. The other is to always have him speak in Spanish, and have Ricardo translate for him. I feel WWE diluted its main event picture by having either the same guys in all the title matches, or just letting guys who would have never won the world title back in the day get short to the point of being irrelevant title reigns. I think Del Rio and Ziggler combined may have like 6-7 title reigns and they may not be 6 or 7 months long because Ziggler’s first reign was 11 minutes and the second was a month, before he lost to… Del Rio, who’d lose to Cena. Again. Unlike in the Ascension’s case, where they will be going over against old Legendary talent, CM Punk lost to The Rock, Brock Lesnar and Undertaker in roughly a year, Del Rio would lose any match he had against Punk, Cena, Orton or Sheamus.

I am a passionate man. If I like you, I will go to war for you. I cried on here monthly that Del Rio was being buried because he’d lose big matches with regularity. No one gets over by losing a lot then winning a big one every now and again. I want very badly for WWE to create new stars and not need to rely so much on Brock and other part timers to create interest. Reigns could fail as what WWE wants him to be if Rollins still has that briefcase and uses it on him at Mania or shortly thereafter. People like winners. John Cena is the man because he almost never loses. Reigns needs to be that kind of bulletproof. Ironically, Cena has had MITB cashed in on him a few times. Rollins will be Reigns’ Edge. Cena had the title from Mania to January, damn near a year. It was clear at that point Cena was the man. Winning the title doesn’t make you the man if your matches aren’t the main event (CM Punk) or you don’t hold the title over a month or two (Del Rio).

I feel like people overreact to wins and losses in wrasslin all the time. I once overreacted to a match this time two years ago so hard this site is most likely not viewable at your job. So I understand. It is from this experience, I implore all of you people crying burial right now: relax. I feel like between, Ambrose, Wyatt, Rollins, Reigns and Rusev, WWE has a nice nucleus of young talent that will be the top guys in a few years. Everyone else is just satellites in their orbit. I think that WWE has been doing a good job making its main events meaningful, but maybe their midcard is weak because of a lack of consistent creative attention. But then, the main event matches SHOULD be more important. That’s why it’s important for WWE to emphasize these young talents like they have been, in letting them main event. It’s just as important for fans to grasp that if you are not WWE’s upper crust, you’re just going to be the guy built up to put THOSE guys over. It’s just the way it is.

Just A Thought … (Jan. 14, 2015)

This Friday, IMPACT Wrestling on Destination America “debuts” on it’s new day and time at 9/8c. At the same time on AXS-TV, New Japan Pro Wrestling will debut on prime time television in the United States with the first installment of its 13-show series .

Here’s the conundrum: what will happen? On one hand, US fans universally agreed that the Wrestle Kingdom 9 PPV was the greatest thing on earth, trumping everything the ‘E has ever done. Imagine how fans should react for a prime time New Japan television show …

On the other hand, IMPACT Wrestling – a program which a healthy number of fans claim is also better than the ‘E – will run head-to-head with arguably the second largest pro wrestling promotion in the world. Effectively you’ve got two “better-than-the-E” promotions airing their product at the same time … both with a rightful claim to the same cadre of rabid fans who passionately support pro wrestling and detest sports entertainment.

Oh whatever will fans watch?

It's Still Real to Me, Dammit!

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