As it currently stands the most popular thing to do is bash any and everything produced by WWE regardless of what the end product looks like. Makes me reminisce about the days when it wasn’t popular to speak ill of TNA and their pre-Bruce Prichard booking. Nevertheless Monday’s episode of RAW provided the haters with all the ammunition they needed to have a spectacular time.
On the other side of the coin, it’s funny that for once in a long time I was actually entertained by what has been (for me at least) a typically dull three hour sports entertainment cavalcade. No matter how you look at it, however, this show contained something for everyone; whether you bashed the show, complained about not watching it while watching it, or remained engaged from 8 – 11:03 PM, you were talking or tweeting or texting about the show. That, much to the chagrin of the company’s detractors, is a good thing.
For what it’s worth RAW was made all the more interesting by two things: the wrestling and the live crowd. Everything in between, ranging from the mundane or nonexistent storyline progression to the highly entertaining segments, pointed back to the strength of the in-ring action and riding the momentum from an energetic crowd.
We shouldn’t be so quick to shake a stick at those two factors, one of which has been a major criticism of the WWE’s product for sometime now. Fans clamoring for more “wrestling” in WWE matches have quietly ignored the reality that the three hour format lends itself to allowing for longer, more in-depth wrestling and psychology in matches of some importance to the bigger picture. Longer matches then give way to building solid feuds and rivalries (a point that Mr. Gammon brought up), as opposed to having two guys face each other randomly because they haven’t done so before and for the sake of it being “different” with no rhyme or reason other than being “different.”
An immature fan, hell bent on being angry for the sake of being angry, would argue that seeing the same match-ups over and over again are pointless and boring. It could be argued that Sunday night’s 4,000th match between AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels at TNA’s Final Resolution proves that immature perspective to be a) silly and b) chock full of bias. I highly doubt that most fans yearned to see John Cena and Brodus Clay tear it up in the main event match, so what’s the real reason behind disliking recycled matches?
That stuff aside, this go-home episode of RAW did very little for me to build excitement for this Sunday’s TLC pay per view; but on the flip side it didn’t dilute my interest in watching the pay per view, especially my desire to see The Shield’s official wrestling debut against Team Hell No and Ryback. I’m sure there are thousands of fans who disagree with that perspective.
Here’s what stood out in the show for me:
- No Muppets were filmed in the making of this show. Are you frickin’ happy now?
- Cody’s Mustache + The Miz’s Face Turn = Unintentional Gold
- Antonio Cesaro continues to impress
- Colt Cabana was backstage
- The Shield finally attacks John Cena…THANK. YOU. JBL.
Yesterday before the show I crafted a lengthy piece about the Muppets serving as Social Ambassadors for RAW. I must begrudgingly admit that I didn’t consider the fact that the fuzzy and fun-loving creatures from Jim Henson’s Monster Workshop wouldn’t actually be featured on the show as Social Ambassadors; rather they’d simply tweet here and there about the show, perhaps even be mentioned here and there on the live broadcast.
If you watched the show you could’ve probably counted on one hand the number of times the Muppets were mentioned by Jerry Lawler and Mike Cole. So in the long run it was hilarious to have wasted an entire blog post on defending stars that didn’t even appear on the show. What’s even more tickling is the fact that some fans were pissed off at something that never manifested on the show. As fans we really have to start picking and choosing our battles.
Now the Muppets will be featured on the Tribute to the Troops show coming up in a few days, but it’d be way more ridiculous to see people get pissed off at a variety show done for those brave men and women who serve our country in the armed forces. If you don’t like Flo Rida, Kid Rock, the Muppets or matches that have very little to do with current storylines, then piss off because the show wasn’t designed for you anyway.
Cody Rhodes returned to action last night after suffering an injury one month ago prior to the Survivor Series pay per view. Unfortunately Cody’s return to action was dwarfed by the debut of his new mustache, a debut that garnered at least two boisterous chants from the New Jersey crowd and a Twitter hashtag. To make matters even more awesome, the Rhodes Scholars (tag team consisting of Rhodes and Damien Sandow) were subjected to an interview with The Miz on MizTV.
The unintentional hilariousness that ensued was enough to at least give the dissenters and advocates a moment of tranquility.
The whole segment easily reminded us of what makes being a wrestling fan fun. It’s understandable to want solid wrestling matches, but the segments that take place in between those matches are important for a number of reasons; wrestlers prepare for matches, get time to recuperate, get last minute instructions, get checked out by physicians, etc. Most important the segment served as a buffer in between matches so the fans get a moment to breathe; seriously think about watching two hours of straight wrestling with nothing in between…
This particular set-up not only did a lot to reintroduce Rhodes to the fans that may have easily forgotten about him in his month long absence (in comparison, does anyone miss Mr. Anderson in TNA?), but it also furthered some sort of rivalry between Miz and Sandow, an exchange that initially began some weeks ago. There may be nothing that comes from it, but it would be peculiar to have Miz constantly egg Sandow without some sort of payoff in sight.
And Cody’s mustache…priceless.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro defeated Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston in a long and extremely athletic match. The highlight of the match was Cesaro reversal of Kofi’s top rope cross body splash into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. To say that reversal was glorious would be an understatement.
When speaking of making a mid-level championship relevant one would be remiss by not mentioning Cesaro’s name somewhere at the top of that conversation. Cesaro has come quite a way since his WWE debut as a defrocked rugby star turned wrestler and consistently shows the top brass in WWE that he’s a worthwhile investment and a future main event superstar.
Kofi Kingston as of late has settled quite nicely into his mid-level role as Intercontinental Champion. While he doesn’t bring the same flair or notoriety to the belt as former champion Cody Rhodes did during his reign, Kingston seems comfortable in a position that feels to be a grooming session for a main event spot. What should concern us is that this isn’t the first time Kingston has flirted with the proverbial main event mistress, and there’s much to be said about his appeal to those fans who expect their champions to be “wrestlers” in the Antonio Inoki/Great Muta sense of the term.
I will say this: if there was any chance that Kingston would become a major champion sometime prior to 2014, he’d remind me a lot of TNA’s current World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy…minus the drugs and D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F. attitude.
Everyone’s favorite wrestler, Colt Cabana, was apparently backstage at last night’s show. Wrestlers always find their way backstage to shows so it’s not all that big of a deal really. In Colt Cabana’s case, it was interesting to find out that he was backstage at RAW a mere four days after the WWE posted that video on their website.
Colt recently “ended” his tenure with NWA after defeating former NWA World Heavyweight Champion in a series of matches known as the 7 Levels of Hate. This series, culminating with a steel cage match in Australia, saw Cabana defeat Pierce but not for the NWA Title due to some b.s. that’s too complicated to delve into at this moment in time. Point being Cabana may be free to do something with the WWE if he and the company choose to enter into some sort of agreement.
Cabana is funny as hell and also one unique athlete that really didn’t get a solid opportunity to do what he does best in a WWE ring. With stars like Brodie Lee, PAC, Chris Hero and Martin Stone currently making waves in NXT, Cabana could fit in quite nicely with the vast number of “wrestlers” being developed for the WWE. We can’t jump to conclusions because of a WWE.com video and backstage sighting, but it is interesting that the WWE referenced a former wrestler out of the blue for seeming no reason other than to reference him. Let’s just hope he’s at least brought in as a trainer (a la Sara Del Ray).
And finally, the WWE once again ripped off TNA by ending the show with a pier 6 brawl initiated by the hijinks of The Shield. Luckily for us the initial attack was aimed at John Cena, an attack that was long overdue.
It was only a matter of time before The Shield directed their swords of justice towards John Cena. Some fans questioned the group’s motives for attacking Cena, motives that were literally laid out by Dolph Ziggler at the beginning of the show. The simple version is this: Cena, despite having had one terrible 2012, still managed to get opportunity after opportunity to wrestle for the WWE Title. We fans even criticized this for years, so is it really any question as to why The Shield would go after Cena at this point? Hell, my question is “why’d it take them so long to do it?”
What makes The Shield compelling to watch is their calculated and slightly vicious campaign against injustice in the WWE. They attack at random and at will, and it still remains to be seen if they’re indeed working for someone or for themselves. As Mr. Lamb stated in a conversation, they’re like a special ops force within the WWE, striking with intention that’s confusing to anyone outside of the master plan. The attacks can only go on for so long, but at the least we get to see them perform in an actual match in less than a week from now.
Those are just my thoughts on the subject; what did YOU think of the show?
News broke late yesterday afternoon that WWE Superstar Randy “Please Accept Me” Orton was suspended by the WWE for his second violation of the dreaded Wellness Policy.
Wrestling forums, message boards, blogs and websites were flooded yesterday with articles and posts about yet another dark turn in the career of “The Viper.” Meanwhile an entirely new river was created on the planet from the tears shed by Ortonites the world over.
*Note: Mr. Morris would like to take the opportunity to express his deepest sympathy to @RKOsNumba1Fan and @VipersOracle (shameless plug). He would also like to say hello to Shane H. and the Hit the Ropes Radio crew (shameless plug). Please visit The Color Commentator, because it’s still real to them too, dammit!
This type of opportunity doesn’t come often in the realm of pro wrestling. Superstars take time off for various reasons, but the perfect storm where a major star involved in a major storyline is forced to take time off only comes every so often.
Orton’s suspension, initially seeming like a huge blow to the WWE, is actually an opportunity for the next top star to figuratively and literally take the ball he dropped and run with it.
Fans of sports entertainment should spend the next 60 days hopeful that several of their favorite “under-pushed” and “ill-utilized” superstars step up to the plate, grab the bull by the horns, and strike while the iron is hot.
In other words, somebody should take Orton’s time off to prove that they’re more capable and trustworthy of being Smackdown’s most recognizable face (sorry Sheamus).
The next 60 days should be sobering for Randy Orton and the superstars on the Smackdown roster.
One can imagine that a superstar’s second violation of the Wellness Policy is harrowing by itself. We’ve yet to see any athlete score the infamous third strike which would see them released from the company for at least one year.
Much like former superstar Jeff Hardy and the recently suspended Rey Mysterio, Randy is staring into the abyss of a yearlong exile from the WWE. If the company or the business means anything to him, he will more than likely spend this time to heal injuries and think of ways to avoid getting that third strike.
There is of course another option that would be interesting for the business on the whole…
The dark clouds created by Orton’s suspension also come with at least one silver lining. His two month absence from the WWE gives the rest of the roster the golden opportunity to fill the void that has been created by his temporary and involuntary departure.
Some fans make it a weekly habit to accuse the WWE of holding back certain stars for a myriad of reasons. It is not very often, however, that fans aim their venomous barbs at the athletes who, growing comfortable in the position in the company, tend to coast through matches and high profile feuds.
Despite the best wishes and well-intentioned desires of the fans, wrestlers are utilized to be and do certain things on a given roster. The superstars who look to break out of those restrictive walls created by the “system” MUST prove to Vince McMahon, the booking team and the creative writers that they have earned the opportunity to occupy a major spot in the company.
CM Punk has notoriously spent most of his WWE career fighting individuals who expected him to be another wrestler in the company long enough for a cup of coffee. Many years later he’s not only gracing the cover of the WWE ’13 video game, but he’s also getting his first WWE produced DVD (think of how many outstanding superstars that DON’T have one…Kurt Angle…).
Chris Jericho is another superstar that had a lot to prove in the WWE to naysayers inside and outside of the company. His popularity and intellect have made him one of THE most preeminent athletes and entertainers in professional wrestling today.
Most fans can easily agree that Kofi Kingston is a superstar that deserves some time in the sun, and while he’s currently enjoying success as a tag team champion with R-Truth, now would be an excellent opportunity for him to show the suits that he can shoulder the weight of being a top star in the WWE.
Can Kofi actually do that?
Ironically enough his last taste of the main event spotlight was opposite Randy Orton in October 2009. Between that time and now Kofi has been an Intercontinental Champion, U.S. Champion, and Tag Team Champion. What he’s most remembered for is the tag team he formed with Evan Bourne, who is also currently serving out a 60 day suspension for violating the Wellness Policy.
Even though Kofi is still fairly young in his career with many more opportunities ahead of him, he still has to prove to higher ups in the company that he’s worth the money it would take to make him one of the major players in the WWE. Despite his athletic abilities and his rapport with the younger fans, what logical reason exists that would justify placing him in the main event picture over someone like Cody Rhodes?
We’ve got two months to find out the answer to that question.
Let’s view Orton’s suspension as the perfect time for the product to be refreshed and revitalized with a new face or faces. Whether we see Orton return with a new focus and determination, or we witness the rise of the newest superstar that captures our attention and hearts (and dollars), we’re in for one hell of a ride no matter how we look at it.
Anyone else doing the “Funkasaurus Dance” to celebrate the arrival of the weekend? Just me? Awesome.
Hot off the heels of a stellar RAW, WWE’s B-show held its own and delivered a decent night of television.
As fans we got what was expected; an Elimination Chamber line-up, Orton/Barrett match, and another video courtesy of WWE Productions but we also got unexpected farting, veganism, and a new tag-team.
Without further ado, my 7 points of the night:
1. Smackdown’s Elimination Chamber Line-Up.
Smackdown kicked off the show with Teddy Long in the center of the ring, explaining the Elimination Chamber.
He announces Daniel Bryan will defend against Wade Barrett, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes and Big Show.
This match piqued my interest mostly because it is Bryan’s/Rhode’s first Elimination Chamber and Wade Barrett’s second. Big Show and Orton are tied with 3 chamber appearances each, so should be interesting to see if that gives either veterans an “edge.”
2. Mark Henry’s “Suspension.”
After injuring himself last week on Smackdown and powering through the Rumble, it was no secret Henry would be taking time off. The only mystery would be how WWE would choose to write him out of Smackdown for the time being.
After hearing Teddy Long run through the EC line-up, a frustrated Mark Henry makes his way to the ring and tries to swap his Chamber entry for an instant title match.
Long decides to take a stand and removes Henry from the match but won’t give him a title shot either.
Henry responds by flipping Teddy’s tie…and he’s suspended…
We all knew it was coming but that was a little weak in my opinion.
Before Henry could actually do some damage to Long, the Great White (here’s hoping his push gets him a better nickname) comes to save the GM.
We see a nice Brogue Kick take Henry out of the ring and learn that Sheamus isn’t deciding which champion to face until after the Elimination Chamber.
3. Sheamus v.s. Rhodes
Sheamus’s mic time draws out Cody Rhodes, who announces he is going to win the title at the upcoming PPV.
Long seized the opportunity and left the two to put on a pretty great match. I feel like both Rhodes and Sheamus have come a long way, and I enjoy Rhodes as Intercontinental Champion.
I would not mind seeing something develop between these two.
4. A new tag-team added to the “tag-team” division.
Apparently Santino was disatisfied with his current partner, Yoshi Tatsu and decided to replace him with….Hacksaw Jim Duggan?
The two made a funny pair and the tag-division is a bit of a joke anyway…. so I guess it works.
In their non-title match against Primo and Epico, Rosa came through with yet another distraction and the P&E got the win.
5. Heel heat brought to you courtesy of Veganism.
How do you get the crowd in Omaha, Nebraska to turn against you? Tell them not to eat meat.
::sigh::, I get where they are going with this and it is nice to see Veganism get some play. My dad has been vegan for the last 36 years and I have eaten vegan off and on for most of my 26 years.
More and more people are becoming Vegan and there are a lot more options out there for Vegans in 2012. In case you did not know, Vegan does not just limit one to no meat. It means no diary, honey, eggs, seafood, poultry, etc.
After my grandma battled stomach cancer, which her doctor attributed to too much red meat, my dad became Vegan as a sign of support and actually did find it giving him many health benefits. My dad tried to force the diet on me from birth but my mother, who loves all things fried and meaty, had other plans. Nevertheless, I always eat vegan when I go to my dad’s for PPV’s. Spicy fried tofu…yum!
My problem with this Bryan-Vegan business is that A. We saw this angle with Punk/Hardy already… “I’m better than all of you, you shouldn’t eat meat” and he gets booed while an oversized giant wrestler gets cheered for eating a steak. Granted, it’s not as bad as booing the guy preaching “no drugs” but still, we have seen it before which leads me to B. Bryan isn’t Punk.
Because they both have similar backgrounds and were Indy Darlings, there has been constant comparisons between the two and now we have similar angles. Some commentors and writers on various other sites have gone as far to say that Bryan rivals Punk on the mic…
That claim is so ridiculous to me, I will just keep moving…
Bryan continued his descent into sneaky heel status by claiming he shouldn’t have to be in the Elimination Chamber, he already proved his worth as champ, womp womp.
He and Show have it out via mic/chokeslam and Bryan narrowly escapes a punch to the face thanks to an injured AJ.
6. People are talking about the Divas.
Too bad it has nothing to do with their skills, great matches, or even looks this time…
In a backstage segment we were given Natalya farting and Santino throwing up into a trash-can because of it.
While I did not cry injustice like a lot of people, I don’t really see this helping anything…
Natalya and Beth squared off against Tamina and Aksana, with Beth ordering Natalya “out of her ring” and gaining the victory. Natalya is left behind and takes it out on Aksana only to be attacked by Tamina.
Look at that, my blurb about the Divas is about as long as one of their matches and probably about as interesting…moving on.
6.5 Khali replaces Henry in the Elimination Chamber.
My friends and I really enjoyed the movie “Despicable Me.” If you haven’t seen it, you should. It is fun for all ages.
Whenever we are in disbelief or surprised by something, we quote the minions from the movie and deliver a high-pitched “Whhhhaaaaaaaaaaa?”
Yeah, we are really cool…Anyways, that’s what Khali’s involvement in this PPV received from me.
Big Show and Khali in the same Chamber match seems risky to me. How many big, awkward moving superstars do we need in an already cramped space?
7. Orton and Barrett Git R’ Done.
These two beat the hell out of each other and I was happy to be along for the ride.
Both men looked great but Orton came out victorious via RKO to Barrett on a steel chair.
Backstage, Bryan finally gets a match up with someone other than Big Show… yep, Randy Orton. Already looking forward to next weeks main event.
***An honorable mention goes out to IMPACT this week. The London crowd really added some much-needed energy and the matches were pretty good. Usually I equate watching IMPACT to watching paint dry but not this week.***
Until next time, Too-da-loo