Tag Archives: Divas

Another Paige in the Book of Underrated Brilliance

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I was going to do a review of the PPV last night, but I think I’ll hold off on it.  Short form: I enjoyed it.  I thought the Wyatt Family would win the tag titles, but I was also of the mindset that if they won then Bray would win later as well, and I knew Bray wasn’t going to reign victorious.  It was a terrific match all the same: the Usos and the Wyatt Family have some good chemistry.

The briefcase ladder match was excellent, arguably the highlight of the evening, and it did the impossible in letting us think for ONE moment that Kofi Kingston was actually going to succeed, and the crowd was behind him too, which was even more incredible.  Did I get mad at the interference by Kane to help Seth Rollins win?  No.  Because “Plan B” is a terrific scapegoat, and while I didn’t care who won this match I was big on how it all played out.

Big E took on Rusev, and lost.  Again.  Proving that America is weak compared to the almighty force that is a Bulgarian with an American manager praising Russia (Reverend Father Pastor Uncle Sam Big E Langston the Third must not be preaching right).  I anticipate he’ll want a rematch soon.  And he’ll lose again.  Because… he does that.

Layla fought Summer Rae.  Layla beat Summer Rae.  But the focus wasn’t on those two but Fandango, who is likely grinning like Ludacris in a Ciara video anytime someone brings up this storyline.  Even so, he did deliver the line of the night when he said, “Fandango loves triangles.”  Me too, Dango.  Me too.  A lot of us do.

The brothers Rhodes took on Ryback and Axel, and for the life of me I wonder if Dusty was around them when they were children.  The gimmick is one thing.  The way Goldust was feeling up his brother upon their victory made me raise an eyebrow.  I mean, I can only look at Dusty here: the two are half-brothers, SOMETHING has to be in Dusty’s genes.

And of course, our main event pitted eight superstars against each other for the coveted dual belts of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship title, and while it wasn’t as exciting as the briefcase battle, it was more intense.  We were dealing with more grounded superstars, not flyers who leap from ladders and to ropes and then to the floor (another highlight, and a rather impressive one due to its flow).  Cena won, and that was no surprise.  Like I said, he and Orton were the safe choices, and perhaps that exactly what we need right now.  I assumed Orton would win, but I just wanted the tension that would come from Orton and Rollins being potential enemies so suddenly after they came together.  That can fester for a bit though.  More interesting to have a potential little feud between Rollins and Cena, but since it’s going to be Cena vs. the Authority… at least until they bring Lesnar back to the fray.  It’s all a web, but it’s easy to navigate.

Oh, and Adam Rose fought Damian “Paul Revere” Sandow.  Sandow is forever underrated and this match proved it yet again.  Here’s hoping they do him right in the future.

I think that’s it.  Uh… oh, wait, I forgot one match.  It was the second one, and it was for the Divas Championship.  Paige, the champ, took on Naomi, and it was the best match on the card.  Now what does that mean?  It means that as far as a wrestling match goes, no gimmicks, no fanfare, no bullshit, it was far and away the finest match in Boston that evening.

Imagine that?  In fact, it was a good night for Divas wrestling both qualitatively and quantitatively.  From the perspective of quantity, there were two.  One focused on Fandango’s love for triangles (it still cracks me up) and thus NOT the actual Divas, and the other focused on two athletes who can actually wrestle.  Quality wise, both matches were pretty good.

Eh.

Well, the title match was terrific, the other was okay.  Layla kicking Summer Rae will always be worth watching.  In any case, the awesome match put on by Paige and Naomi was met by the crowd with a lack of enthusiasm.  Shameful.  I can assume that this is partially because it was a Divas match, and that doesn’t sit right with me.  At what point do we turn our nose up at something the second we hear what it is?  Who does that?  Maybe it’s just me, but we should never judge a book by its cover (the cover this time is a Divas match).  To know a book’s worth, you have to read it through and through, page by page, resisting the urge to add an “I” to those words when they come up.

But let’s talk about the match and some of the build up.  It started with Paige fighting other Divas, because that’s what you do in the WWE: you fight people.  Eventually it came to Naomi, because Alicia Fox isn’t so much a thing anymore.  While the athletics of Naomi and Paige were never in question, it did come down to the possible feud.  The showings between the two have always seemed tense, even a bit aggressive, but respectful.  Enter Cameron, who is there because… I don’t know: let’s say because she’s light-skinned.  She comes through as “My time is now!” and whatnot, and even when Naomi was taking on Fox the other day, the focus of the commentary was on Paige and Cameron, who were arguing over something or the other, it doesn’t matter.

This is a glaring issue with this is how it seems like the Divas aren’t a priority in the company, and this dialogue and commentary doesn’t help.  I spent a minute tweeting about the match and the nonsense surrounding it, nearly exacerbated because I was actually pretty excited to see Paige vs. Naomi.  Sadly, as I’ve been saying:

https://twitter.com/da_infamous_DiZ/status/481235514096631808

https://twitter.com/da_infamous_DiZ/status/481235797442842624

https://twitter.com/da_infamous_DiZ/status/481236030897799168

https://twitter.com/da_infamous_DiZ/status/481236489062604800

Paige has been misused so far, and I don’t often say that anything has been misused.  Dolph Ziggler?  Possibly.  Zack Ryder?  Most definitely.  Kofi Kingston?  Perhaps.  And I’m sure they all have a story to tell, but Paige herself was doomed from the start by the virtue of her being brought in as a replacement for AJ.  You can try and convince me otherwise all you want, but from how she just won the title off of her to how at one point they had her dressing like her, Paige was brought in not because she’s arguably the best female wrestler alive (citation needed) but because AJ was going on sabbatical.  And it shows.  And it fucks with me because she deserves much better.

More than that: they just aren’t developing her character.  Like I fear Prince Devitt and KENTA might be in their WWE matriculations, she might be best served as a trainer or one who puts others over.  We know all three of the aforementioned can wrestle: KENTA could come into the company as a mid-card powerhouse with the sole intent to get revenge on the Second City Saint and the American Dragon for stealing his maneuvers (GTS and Busaiku Knee Kick respectively), but he could also be in the training facilities acclimatizing indie cats to the WWE style, or playing with the WWE style of wrestling himself.

But when it comes to developing character, especially with the Divas Champion, we’ve gotten little to nothing.  We know she was the NXT Women’s Champion, the FIRST NXT Women’s Champion, and we know that she’s one of the youngest champions in the WWE’s history.  We know she won it off of AJ in an impromptu match, but that’s all we’ve gotten from the whole of character arc.  Otherwise she’s your stereotypical babyface: she goes in, gets beat up, hulks up, straps on an impressive submission and wins.  That’s all fine and good, but it’s not great, and we know Paige is great.

Say what you will about Alicia Fox and the mess she was doing (might still be doing): they gave her character.  They let her develop that character. I remember Space Jam and how much I never really liked Lola Bunny.  She was okay I suppose, but she wasn’t a character so much as a caricature, a female counterpart to Bugs with breasts.  Fast forward a few years and you get The Loony Tunes Show.  Lola is in this too, but she’s a ditzy, well-meaning bunny obsessed with Bugs and from a rich family.  You know what that is?  Character.  And over the seasons, that character actually developed.  It’s the same with Alicia Fox.  At one point the only thing that defined her was how she kind of looked like Rihanna when she dyed her hair (and before that an “affair” with Edge (yeah, that’s right, I remember that!)).  Now she’s a spoiled brat who throws a tantrum anytime she wins OR loses.  She steals hats and paraphernalia, and yells at the crowd.  It’s not a perfect character but it is character.

When she and Paige were going to blows, it was one of my greatest complaints: she had character and Paige was merely the champion.  And after the little feud faded, Paige is still merely champion and Fox is somewhere or the other.  People were booing Fox and cheering Paige, somewhat, but I’m pretty sure they were booing Fox because she had personality, and kind of cheering Paige because she wasn’t Fox.  Personality and character go a long way: it’s hard to root for a character when you don’t know why  you should cheer for them.

https://twitter.com/da_infamous_DiZ/status/481234713495887874

https://twitter.com/da_infamous_DiZ/status/481234863589429249

I sit back and ponder on how big Paige could be if she wasn’t there to make the other Divas look better.  Corbin once alluded to how Paige might be greater than AJ because she can bring championship level material out of her opponents, and sure enough that’s a prerequisite for being a great worker in the business, but what else?  AJ had character, arcs, storylines and something (don’t ask me what that something is, it’s just a something) that other Divas, hell, other superstars period didn’t have, and she used it.  It was one thing that she could beat you in the ring: it was another that she could navigate between insanity and calm collectedness, face tactic and heel tactic; it was almost as if she was absorbing the mic work of Punk and improved ring work of Bryan (or maybe all Punk, I don’t know).  But she was given time and arcs to deal with, from jilted girlfriend, to abusive relationship girlfriend, to GM, to Best Diva in the World.  And Paige, so far, has none of that.  Just tremendous talent and hopefully time.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but AJ’s absence is Paige’s open door, and she hasn’t been given much to work with.  Maybe she can do something more with it, maybe she’s literally working with everything she has, it’s hard to say, but until they actually invest something in her more than just slapping the belt on her, she’s not going to be the breath of fresh air the Divas division needs.  It says something when the fans are more into (for better or worse) the grudge match between two women who want a guy who can’t say triangles without making someone laugh.  Much like the game Catherine or anything involving a twisted romantic triangle, it’s one of those scenarios that could have easily be solved had Fandango just stopped one of them and said, “I have a girlfriend”.  But that’s not compelling TV, is it?  Neither is Summer Rae implying she’s a natural blonde (oh my god, who the hell cares?!), and Layla pointing out her wonderful chest is something of an acquired taste.  One I acquired a long time ago but that’s neither here nor there; I just keep abreast of those kinds of things.  I mean, I’ve noticed them, I always have, I’d have to be knockers to not!  I mean bonkers.  It’s bust who I am.  Just.

Boobs.

It comes down to how unfortunate it is that someone who is blatantly talented can’t so much as get a response when she and another great talent put on the best match of a terrific evening of wrestling.  It’s terrible that the match two women have over a man who doesn’t care about either one of them garners more of a reaction than the quality that came on an hour before, even if the funbags were in full gear in the Layla/Rae match.  As I always say, praise and hatred are good: that shows that people are responding, even if they don’t appreciate you.  But apathy is death.  Apathy is worse.  Praise will bring someone to your funeral to mourn you.  Hatred will bring someone to your funeral to make sure you’re dead.  Apathy will keep someone at home watching Scooby-Doo and eating stale Pop Tarts, because somehow they let Pop Tarts get stale.

Now, everything above this paragraph was written before RAW, and now watching it we have the return of AJ.  She came back and promptly won the Divas Championship from Paige.  On one hand, it just goes on to confirm what I’ve been saying, and that’s disgusting.  On the other, it opens up the possibility that AJ and Paige can go on to feud and make even last night’s exquisite match seem tame in comparison.  Only time will tell, but for the love of God: can we PLEASE not just toss Paige aside?  She’s an awesome talent: she does not need to just fall to the wayside and simply be another page in the history of the Divas.  She can take the place that AJ occupied/occupies.

She can.

If that’s a tale they think deserves to be written.

RAW Review 5-26-14, a.k.a. “When Life Gives You Lemons…”

"Woo Woo Woo," said very few about Episode 1096 of WWE Monday Night RAW. | Photo © 2014 WWE Inc. All Rights Reserved.
“Woo Woo Woo,” said very few about Episode 1096 of WWE Monday Night RAW. | Photo © 2014 WWE Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Episode 1096 of Monday Night RAW is in the bag and the stage has been set for Payback, this Sunday’s appropriately themed WWE “special event.”  Normally the go-home show for any wrestling sports entertainment pay per view “special event” would create intrigue and excitement among fans in a way that cajoles us to drop the necessary $60 to order the event from our local cable or satellite service provider.  Unfortunately times have changed since the 80s and much like Zack Ryder’s Last ReZort, interest has waned severely in “ordering” special events and in the WWE’s product.

It’s easy for us to place the blame solely on WWE for producing a lifeless, lackluster product that resembles a post-recognizable-name episode of Saturday Night Live than a pro wrestling broadcast.  Truth be told the promotion has seen better days; the problem is that a lot of us “fans” think of “better days” as being that Attitude Era-ish time period where pro wrestling was on fire for more than the sole reason that it was “great”  There were some great things that happened in that era that showcased the skill of some phenomenal superstars, but it was also during a time period where the concept of an iPod would’ve gotten you sentenced to death by firing squad.  In effect, the Attitude Era drastically altered our expectations as pro wrestling “fans,” and has transformed us into the insatiable brats we are today.

And yes, I used the word “WE” because WE are all “fans.”

Let’s just be real with one another: yes, RAW for the last few weeks has been slightly underwhelming, something that most diehard fans wouldn’t rush home to see.  Then again with the invention of DVR-ing, is there really ever a need to “rush home” to watch anything nowadays?  For yours truly, however, RAW has remained a staple on Monday nights since the very first episode in January 1994.  YES, I am one of those guys who will watch RAW regardless of how the supposed masses review the “quality” of the show.  Some would say fans like myself are mindless and dumb, which seems absolutely ridiculous seeing as the average reading ability of folks living in the United States is at the fourth grade level and strong segment of the population has at least made it to the tenth grade … but I digress.

So yes, RAW has been underwhelming for some time but it is a far cry from being bad or terrible as some have claimed it to be.  The problem is that our expectations of what the show should be don’t necessarily match what’s actually produced on the show.  We still want Attitude Era-ish shenanigans and when we don’t get them, we immediately pan everything they throw at us and label the product as something horrible.  It’s really the equivalent of a temper tantrum from a small league of grown ass fans.

I contend that our expectations are all over the place, relying on our desire to see what we like instead of being specific about what we want, which are two very different things in and of themselves.  We want to see more attention given to the Divas Division and its superstars, but we like seeing scantily clad Divas with big boobs parading around the area.  We want to see compelling and action-packed storylines with drama, twists and turns, but we like seeing simplified conflicts with certain superstars dominating the main event and three hour broadcasts. We want to see new wrestlers and characters, but we like seeing the same old guys doing the same old stuff.  The gray area for pleasing all fans is quite small and tumultuous, and I do not envy those tasked with making RAW or Smackdown or NXT or Main Event or Superstars happen each and every week from a creative direction, because they have to put on a show whether or not we fickle fans like it.

The cool thing about WWE in particular and all promotions in general is that they always provide us with entertainment even as we pick apart the most miniscule of details in the product, and a lot of times they provide us fans with the very thing we want andlike, and we willingly choose to ignore it just to focus on highlighting our opinions and point of views.  We can’t truly enjoy the product because we’re too busy enjoying picking it apart; I’ll be the first to admit here that I’ve been guilty of that often and even wrote to defend such a perspective.  However, it’s one thing to be a “fan” that turns a blind eye to haphazard writing and terrible booking and it’s a completely different thing to trade in one’s perspective as a “fan” for the false glamor that comes with the emptiness of complaining about a lack of substance without offering an alternative solution.

With these things in mind, here’s what stood out to me during Episode 1096 of Monday Night RAW:

  • Wyatt vs. Cena: Missing the Picture
  • Adam Rose and Alicia Fox: Missing the Picture
  • Payback “special event;” Missing the Picture
After months of taunting and battles, Bray Wyatt FINALLY gets the chance to show John Cena how to properly stretch his leg muscles. | Photo © 2014 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
After months of taunting and battles, Bray Wyatt FINALLY gets the chance to show John Cena how to properly stretch his leg muscles. | Photo © 2014 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The ideological feud between Bray Wyatt and John Cena is one of the three top feuds in the promotion at the moment.  I would bet stone cold cash on the fact that most fans have completely missed the fact that John Cena has taken a less prominent roll in the promotion for some time now and has used his energy and charisma to build up younger stars.  In this case, his protege Bray Wyatt has benefited greatly from the rub.

Here’s a tweet that I put out earlier which expresses a part of the confusion surrounding the Wyatt/Cena feud:

5-27-14Tweet_RAWIt wasn’t that long ago when Vince McMahon shocked the pro wrestling world by reportedly stating that there were no more “faces or heels” in his promotion’s product, effectively saying what Vince Russo had been saying all along: there are no good guys or bad guys, just characters who will fluctuate between the moral and immoral depending on the circumstances they are in.  The Wyatt/Cena feud showcases that blurred line of logic to a tee, but its approach seems to be somewhat more cerebral than most can handle.

While it has become slightly inorganic for Wyatt to include his youth-friendly gospel song into each promo or talking segment, his verbal sparring with Cena centers around the notion of one cult of personality battling another.  Bray Wyatt is forthright in saying that the Cult of HLR is filled with empty promises and false hope, while John Cena spends more time defaming the Wyatt Family’s system of belief while once again ignoring anyone who supports or opposes his own tried and true beliefs.  Both men believe in their own ideals, and yet Wyatt is the one saying “join me” while Cena says “eff all y’all, I’m a bawse!”  And somehow, somewhere … we’re being told to believe that Wyatt is the bad guy … at least he has some interest in people believing in him.

All this is to say that the crux of this feud is lost in translation, mired down by the weight of cryptic promos and lofty dialogue.  But this is what we fans wanted, right?  We want those deep, introspective storylines that push the boundaries of what we’re use to seeing, right?  This whole storyline is much more than being about Guy A hating Guy B and wanting to fight; the Wyatt Family has lost a good number of matches against Cena and yet they don’t seem to be bothered with that inasmuch as they are with the fact that they haven’t completely decimated the Cult of HLR …

Look for their match this Sunday to be “bowling shoe ugly” as Jim Ross has said.  After years of listening to John Cena’s spiel and praying feverishly to the wrestling gods for his demise, I can only be baffled as to why someone would not want to purchase the special even to see how this turns out.  If that isn’t your cup of tea, there’s always Matt Hardy and his ICONIC Championship.

Come come now, people! Don't be a lemon ... #BeAStar | Photo © 2014 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Come come now, people! Don’t be a lemon … #BeAStar | Photo © 2014 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Pro wresting is based on characters, point blank.  Characters dominate sports entertainment and sports so much that you’d be hard-pressed nowadays to find athletes in the public square that are just as well-rounded and normal as you or I.  Think about it: Tim Tebow made waves not just because he was a standout college athlete but also because his deeply rooted Christian beliefs made him a target of mockery by football fans in our supposed “Christian” nation.  All these behind the scenes shows were created for boxers which show the personality of these “characters” outside of two dudes who are punching the hell out of each other for money and a championship.  Each UFC fighter is a “character,” NASCAR drivers are “characters;” it just is what it is.

When it comes to pro wrestling, however, there is a need for characters that aren’t necessarily your straight forward, “I’m going to wrestle you to death” types of superstars.  This is where Adam Rose comes in to play, a wrestler with a colorful entrance and a wacky entourage that makes you pay attention.  The issue is, however, that this campy gimmick doesn’t sit well with those stoic, emotionless fans who watch Frank Gotch matches all day long.  The same thing applies to Alicia Fox’s character direction, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

For those of you that don’t know, Ray Leppan South African wrestler that portrays Adam Rose, and prior to receiving this Aldous Snow reminiscent gimmick he successfully brought life and meaning to Leo Kruger, his FCW and NXT persona that went from simply boring (along with Damien Sandow, point of fact) to simply intense and intriguing.  The Leo Kruger of NXT is the Kruger I preferred, a creepy South African poacher/big game hunter with a seriously bitchin’ theme song:

When I first heard that Kruger was getting a makeover, the only thing I knew very little about Russell Brand other than the notion that I despised the idea of Kruger being neutered just when he was getting over (with me) as a character.  After seeing Adam Rose debut on NXT, my mind was changed when I realized why this character development happened.  Leppan began his stint in WWE’s FCW developmental promotion in 2010 and stayed during the promotion’s shift to NXT and Full Sail University.  Between 2010 and 2014, the Kruger character was the primary character portrayed by Ray Leppan, which implies that despite development and growth, Leppan had only portrayed one type of character  in four years while signed with WWE.  The Adam Rose experiment, in my mind, was a way to see if Leppan could do more and be more than just an multifaceted yet one dimensional character.

Lo and behold, Adam Rose makes it to the main roster (after 4 years in developmental when tons of stars are lucky to make it to or past two years) after his gimmick does well on house shows and at Full Sail University (*cough cough Hi Emma cough cough*).  With barely a full month in on the main roster, why have fans panned the character as “not working” when he hasn’t even seen a real strong feud yet?  Worst of all, are you seriously telling me we’d opt to see the wrestling poacher than this quirky character and his cast of crazy cohorts?  Seriously, where in the twenty-first century wrestling world is it “okay” for wrestling carnies and not for Adam Rose?

TNA's The Menagerie: (from L to R) The Freak, Knux, Rebel, and Crazzy Steve.
TNA’s The Menagerie: (from L to R) The Freak, Knux, Rebel, and Crazzy Steve.

Also of concern is the direction for Alicia Fox, who has taken to post-match fits of confusion to express her happiness or frustration with a win or loss.  From Diet Coke soda baths to giving members of the ring crew wedgies, fans have voiced their displeasure with Ms. Foxy’s development as a character because it … well I don’t know exactly why they don’t like the direction she’s headed in.

As one wrestling pundit put it online, it does make you pay attention to the Divas and their division.  For years fans have clamored for the division to be paid attention to, and even with the success of the E Network’s Total Divas show, fans still screamed for the division to be more than just a reason to acquire B-Roll for the WWE’s reality show.  Alicia Fox gives you just that with the newly crowned and very young Divas Champion Paige … and that’s a bad thing?

Pro wrestling has always had characters; from Ric Flair to the Macho King, Mr. Perfect to Roddy Piper, Sting to Kerry Von Erich, there’s no escaping the necessity of a persona to add flavor to a fight between two individuals.  There’s a place for the Daniel Bryans and Gail Kims just as there is a place for the Bad Influences and RD Evans.  Everybody can’t be straight forward like Lance Storm and Dean Malenko, and the more we try to pigeonhole our stars into being the next iterations of Stone Cold and Trish Stratus, the more of a disservice we do the superstars who bust their butts to be the first versions of themselves.  Just think about it: everybody is nuts about the way Dolph Ziggler is being treated currently, but how many of those same fans talked down about the name “Dolph Ziggler” when he disappeared from The Spirit Squad as Nicky and as Kerwin White’s caddy, Nick Nemeth?  Exactly.

The Shield vs. Evolution in a No DQ Match at this Sunday's special event, Payback. | Photo © 2014 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Shield vs. Evolution in a No DQ Match at this Sunday’s special event, Payback. | Photo © 2014 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I wouldn’t rate the build up to this year’s Payback as something spectacular and worth writing home about, but we must acknowledge that by its name this special event is directly related to the special event that preceded it … in this case, WrestleMania XXX.  If it seems like a lot of the matches are simply rematches from the last special event, then hey … maybe that’s by design.

We can’t neglect to consider that most promotions seemed hell bent on pushing their television deals, which is something that even TNA really began doing four years ago when Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan joined the company.  If this is true by any stretch of the imagination, it then makes sense for these special events to look and feel like special television broadcasts.  Fans and pundits hate this because we’re accustomed to pay per views being climaxes or blow offs to feuds, or at least explosive continuations of on-going storylines and creative directions.  From that perspective, the TV shows should drive viewers to order the pay per views, and the pay per views should segue in some form back to the television shows.  Such is rarely the case nowadays, as the pay per views (or special events) usually drive people back to the television shows, while the television shows do almost little to hype or push the pay per views (or special events).

The question remains: what is pro wrestling pay per view supposed to be?  Four years ago the suits at TNA tried to convince us that the twelve pay per view per year model was asinine and that promoting four major shows while having seven monthly “special events” (because that’s really what the One Night Only pay per views are if you want to be technical about it) was the wave of the future.  Hell, they even went as far as to promote pay per view themed episodes of Impact.  Other wrestling promotions went the iPPV route, and others are just now walking into the pay per view fray just as WWE settles into its special event format on the WWE Network.  With all of these options and changes to the way pro wrestling is presented, what do we expect a pay per view or special even to be?

If you’re paying $9.99 per month for the WWE Network, what should a special event be to be worth your $9.99 that month?  If you’re paying $60 a month to watch a special event, what should that special event be to be worth your money?  If you’re pirating the special event, what should it be to be worth your time and pirating efforts?  If you’re attending a live show and you paid in advance for your tickets, purchased tons of merchandise at the tables and waited in the special VIP lines to get a picture with your favorite superstar or Diva, what would that special event be to be worth all of your efforts?

The best and only answer is … entertaining.  How that special event is entertaining will depend on the person you’re talking to, but we all have our own reasons for wanting to watch the show even as we move heaven and earth to try to convince other people not to watch it.  If we really thought and believed the special event wasn’t worth our time and money, would I be sitting here writing this post and would you be reading it?  Absolutely not.

Get over it; watch the special event and enjoy the spectacle as it directs our attention back to next Monday night and the road to July’s Money In the Bank special event.

But those are just my thoughts; what do YOU think?

 

WWE Announces Lita Will Be Part of the 2014 Hall of Fame Class

When I was 14-years-old, I felt like no one understood me. I went to an inner-city middle school where I, hot pink hair and all, stood out like sore thumb. I wore Doc Martens, a necklace of soda can tabs, and carried a backpack riddled with music quotes written in White-Out. My teachers all thought I was smart but an underachiever, and could not fathom what kind of parents let their child walk around with crazy hair and a bad attitude.

My home life had been a tad chaotic as of late and my mom had just moved to help my sister with her growing family. My dad knew as much about raising a teenage girl as I did about growing a mustache and his idea of handling my budding hormones and dealing with emotional outbursts was a pat on the head (literally, we are not a hugging bunch) and a bag of Hot Cheetos.

I ended up living with my best friend’s family before starting my freshman year of high school. In times of change or turmoil, watching wrestling with my dad remained my constant. As a kid, I had high dreams and aspirations of becoming a wrestler someday but, much like how I stood out at school, I did not look like any of the women wrestlers I watched on television. I didn’t want to wear a dress and escort people to the ring and be eye candy; I wanted to wrestle.

That all changed the night I saw Amy Dumas, AKA Lita, nail a male wrestler with a moonsault. I was mesmerized and I just kind of sat there with my mouth hanging open. Not only did this woman not look like the other women wrestlers, she was bad ass.

lita_02It’s an almost indescribable feeling when something finally clicks within yourself and you can feel an old passion being reignited. As a young girl, I never resonated with the female wrestlers I saw on television because they did not wrestle. I imitated Shawn Michael’s moves, The Undertaker’s moves, etc. The wrestlers I wanted to be like were all male because that is all there was to look up to wrestling wise.

Lita was like a breath of fresh air in a stale period for women’s wrestling. Her passion and fearlessness inspired me and I finally felt like there was a strong female wrestler who was easy on the eyes, but came out with a purpose and looked like she could actually fight and might just be crazy enough to do so. She was believable.

To me, Lita will always be the best Women’s Champion, followed by Trish as a close second and honestly, both those women really did something special. They fed off of each other and they both just went for it. To this day I have never seen/heard a crowd so into a Diva’s match since they headlined Monday Night Raw on December 6, 2004. When is the last time a crowd, positively, chanted a Diva’s name as loudly and excitedly as they would John Cena or CM Punk?

I instantly became a fan of hers and have remained one to this day. It was announced last night on Monday Night Raw that she will be inducted into the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame and it’s about damn time. I felt like her exit with the WWE was handled poorly (they did her dirty) and I feel like this was a step in the right direction towards making things right. As a fan, I was disgusted with how they let her go out, and to be honest that whole “Diva’s Division” has not been right since.

So congratulations Amy Dumas, and congratulations to WWE for finally getting something right as it pertains to women’s wrestling.

“I’ll Give You What For!” – The Truth About Originality

IGYWF“Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery.” – Charles Caleb Colton

Seriously; what is the deal with being “original?”

I could easily throw around cliché after cliché to prove a point here but it’s almost ridiculous how at this stage in the game pro wrestling fans will go out of their way to point out how one promotion is “obviously” copying off of another.  We’re not immune from doing such things here at L.E.W.D. Headquarters, so it makes me (in particular) highly qualified to speak on the subject and how annoying it is.

The fact of the matter is that no matter how much things change, people by and large hope and pray that everything remains exactly the same.  There are individuals still living in 2013 who believe in their heart of hearts that people of color shouldn’t be allowed to do anything except be seen.  There are people who believe that it’s poor people’s fault that they’re poor; there are men that still firmly believe women are objects, and there are folks who believe that they’ve amassed great amounts of wealth on their own without help from anyone living under the sun.

That’s just the ebb and flow of our society; a company introduces a new soft drink formula, people bitch and moan until Coca-Cola Classic returns to the shelves.  A beloved and not often discussed cartoon character gets killed, people bitch and moan so much that they barely notice or question the presence of the Family Guy rerun shown on December 1, 2013 in between all new episodes of The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, and American Dad.  People don’t really want anything original; we all want the same old s**t in brand spanking new packages.

For what it’s worth this is why some fans detest the WWE; the company continues to pander the same old s**t to their dismay, even if those same disgruntled fans won’t recognize the fact AND reality that the same old s**t earned the WWE $505 MILLION in revenue in the third quarter of 2013.  And exactly how much did your favorite company earn this past quarter…?

Back to the main point at hand; there is this unhealthy obsession with originality to the point where it’s sickening to read comments on who’s copying what and how one promotion did this or that to mask the fact that it read the predictability of their competition so well that it was able to rush a storyline to “prove” that they weren’t “copying” their competition.  Read that last sentence again and kindly remind yourself that pro wrestling fans also detest “predictability.”

Real talk: regardless of what anyone tells you, originality in the 21st century is about as dead as Juntao.  Ain’t s**t original about the iPhone 5sxlmfao, ain’t jack diddley original about the Xbox Seven or the PS99, and in the world of pro wrestling there is absolutely very little original stuff going on in any promotion that has a television deal with major or slightly minor network.  Hell, there just might be very little originality contained in this post you’re reading!

So why, I ask…why is it important for us fans to point out every single instance that a particular promotion is being “authentically original” with a storyline or character more so than any other promotion or corporate entity managed and operated by a carbon-based life form?  Better yet, why must one promotion be constantly identified as the creator of an idea or character?

cheatingThe first idea that immediately comes to mind is the concept of plagiarism, that thing we were told not to do throughout our entire  lives.  Copying another person’s work or stealing their intellectual property is a big no-no in this country, perhaps even around the world (I wouldn’t know what the laws are in Tibet because I live in the United States; never assume, you know…).  After all, if some individual spent an ungodly amount of time crafting or creating an idea or object only to have some d**k of a human being roll through, steal it, and claim it as his/her own, where is the justice in that?

The irony of it all is that we copy stuff that doesn’t belong to us all the time.  We copy things from text books, we copy songs off the radio and movies off of television.  Ideas for major motion pictures and even actor’s and actresses’ performances are based off of something else that has already happened or been expressed in some form or fashion.  Clothing styles from the 1980s have returned in 2013; gaming geeks are excited about Killer Instinct being ported to the Xbox One.  They made three Spider-Man movies with Toby Macguire before “re-booting” with the English dude.  Christian Bale was like the 80th Batman/Bruce Wayne, and if two movies with Michael Chiklis wasn’t enough they’re re-booting the Fantastic Four series; WHERE THE FACK IS THE ORIGINALITY EVERYBODY’S SO DAMNED EXCITED ABOUT?!?!?!?!

I surmise that “originality” is far more complicated than most would like to let on.  To critically think of “originality” makes people uncomfortable, and everyone loves being comfortable.  I surmise that most fans think of “originality” in a superficial sense, on a level that skims the surface of something they believe to be simple and about as deep as a kiddie pool.

To these fans, “originality” means coming up with an idea before someone else that no one else has even thought of.  That surely can’t be all to being “original,” because if it was, there are a ton of “original” ideas that tons of other pro wrestling fan analysts “stole” from yours truly.

I tend to view “originality” as something more intricate, something way more involved than just coming up with an idea we believe hasn’t seen the light of day by the time we have a god-like epiphany.  Originality is being able to take something—a concept, an object, an idea or a story—and present it in from a perspective that very few people have seen or acknowledged.  To an extent, originality is having the unique ability to take something and improve upon it in a way very few others have considered.

schooldazeFor example: movies about life in college have been done many many times over.  There are even movies about college life that are told from the perspective of certain groups of people, particularly African-Americans.  Movies like Spike Lee’s School Daze (a still from the movie of Giancarlo Esposito and Tisha Campbell-Martin is to the right), John Singleton’s Higher Learning, Charles Stone III’s Drumline and Sylvain White’s Stomp the Yard are all great examples of showcasing how Black folks deal with college and college-related issues.

Out of the four movies that I’ve named (and there are more, including George Jackson and Doug McHenry’s House Party 2), not nary a one of them have told the story of how a Black female lead character deals with with college and college related issues…that is an original story that’s waiting to be highlighted, filmed, backed and released by a major motion picture company.  Even Roger Kumble’s Disney kid-friendly film College Road Trip, starring African-American stars Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone, deal more with the father’s perspective (Lawrence) on things than his daughter’s journey (Symone).  

The hysterically funny thing about it all is that I’m not the first person to make this observation about these types of films.

In pro wrestling originality has less to do with who came up with what idea or storyline first; instead, a promotion’s originality has everything to do with how a promotion can present that idea from a vantage point very few people saw coming or even knew existed.  If this is the criteria we use for condemning promotions for a lack of originality, then the top three would be guilty all day long without question or reasonable doubt.

Take the TNA Knockouts as another example.  I’ve contended for quite some time that something original within the division (and the company for that matter) would be to have the Knockouts featured in a major storyline line leading to a pay per view main event.  There are tons of arguments against such a idea, but when speaking of originality, which of the three major pro wrestling promotions have done that?

Instead of debating the pros and cons of trouncing down that path of originality, fans are left essentially arguing about apples and oranges when comparing the KOs to the Divas, all the while conveniently avoiding the conversation dealing with two Pacific Islander bodyguards protecting diminutive female champions…

gailleidAJ-Lee-Tamina-SnukaA third example can be seen in the WWE, where plans are good and underway for a Title Unification Match schedule for the upcoming TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs pay per view.  World Heavyweight Champion John Cena will face off against WWE Champion Randy Orton in a TLC Match, where the winner will be declared the Unified/Undisputed/Irrefutable WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

This storyline doesn’t lack “originality” because it’s a “copy” of the title unification match that is forthcoming in TNA; rather, this storyline and the impending match lacks “originality” because it’s the same old s**t that happened or should have happened eons ago in WWE.  This relationship between John Cena and Randy Orton is something that the promotion tried their hand at long ago, the whole purpose being to paint Cena and Orton as the new age Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior.  To be honest they’re actually more like Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice, but that’s another story in and of itself.

This type of storyline is hard to swallow when the promotion has rested on its laurels for so long in creating new stars.  We could’ve had John Cena vs. Antonio Cesaro; we could’ve had a much better feud between John Cena and Damien Sandow.  We could’ve even had a rematch between John Cena and a night club…but yet we’re stuck here with an uninspired and unoriginal storyline that will ultimately lead to Cena being the WWE Champion once again with who knows what (and who cares) for the World Heavyweight Championship.  WWE doesn’t need TNA to be “unoriginal;” they do that very well on their own.

Thought I was boogie-jiving about the Hogan/Cena, Warrior/Orton thing?
Thought I was boogie-jiving about the Hogan/Cena, Warrior/Orton thing?

The bottom line is simple and sweet: we wrestling fans are way too intelligent to waste time bickering on the supposed superficial originality of one promotion over another.  All three major promotions are borrowing from one another liberally, and the excitement found within each promotion lies solely in how they tell their borrowed stories differently from the other guys.

It doesn’t matter which promotion came up with their Corporation vs. Little Guy storyline first; what matters is whether or not a given promotion tells that story better and differently than the other guys.

ROH, TNA, and CHIKARA all ran storylines that dealt with outside groups attempting to take control of each promotion.  Two of the three ended their angles with the promotion coming out on top, while the last promotion concluded with an angle that still has fans guessing, scratching their heads, and saying, “What the f**k just happened?”  Who, or what, is lacking “originality” in that department?

In the end we’re all still going to complain that a given promotion is “copying” off of another one, and that a given promotion has a creative team that is all over the place and must steal ideas from other promotions to remain afloat and relevant.  As text from a popular book says, “there is nothing new under the sun.”  There have always been title unification matches, there have always been factions, and the Pretty Mean Sisters (PMS) existed well before The Beautiful People and Laycool.  Never mind the fact or supposition that the promotions are copying one another; if we’re going to see the same damn stories over and over again, at least try not to insult our intelligence by telling it in a uniquely different way.

And if you find yourself celebrating a supposition that one promotion is copying another, at least try find something more compelling and thought provoking to dialogue about.

WWE Money in the Bank 2013: Want vs. Will

WWE Money In The Bank
Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

It is prediction time for this year’s installment of the WWE’s Money In The Bank.  This time, I am not only asking you who do you think will win, but who do you want to win as well.  This way, we can see how predictable things may be, but is predictability actually what people want…  With that said, let’s get to the card:

MITB John Cena vs. Mark Henry
Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MITB Ziggler vs. Del Rio
Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MITB All-Stars
Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MITB WHC Contract Match
Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MITB The Miz vs. Axel
Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MITB AJ vs. Kaitlyn
Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MITB Jericho vs. Ryback
Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MITB Shield vs. Usos
Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to express them!

RAW Review 5-6-13, a.k.a. “Are You Not Entertained?!?!”

I would like to apologize in advance if this post sounds like I’m only repeating stuff I’ve said before; the sad part is that usually when I repeat myself, it’s because I’ve found validation in remarks I’ve already made.  Essentially I’m giving myself a congratulatory pat on the back, a lá Barry Horowitz.

As I’ve stated before here, particularly on my last RAW review, WWE creative seems to be spinning its wheels when it comes to crafting provocative storylines and characters for fans to invest in and get behind.  They seem to be suffering from the exact same problem that plagues other sports entertainment companies: subjecting fans to seeing the same stars face each other in the same matches each and every week, with the needle of progression stabilized in a comfortably stagnant area.  The writing and wrestling in WWE right now just feels like one excruciatingly lingering and cumbersome expression of mediocrity.

It’s not just that the creative writing and execution is terrible, but it’s also the feeling that everything seems uninspired and bland.  Feuds and rivalries are rehashed, recycled and reused.  Characters feel forced and far from organic.  We’re shown wrestlers each week who bust their humps wrestling, and we have no earthly reason or urge to support their cause or wage verbal war against them.

This isn’t complaining at all, but rather an honest critique of one person’s experience watching Monday night’s episode of RAW.  In the three hours I spent watching the show I eventually became more enthralled with being on Twitter than I did with paying attention to what was going on in the ring.

Perhaps WWE could benefit from shaking up the creative teams or introducing new characters to the product while phasing out older ones, or give the secondary titles real and authentic value as well as become the means through which superstars can transition to the heavyweight championship and main event scene.  In the meantime the company could stand to at least pretend as if they have enough writers and wrestlers to have a vibrant mid-card rife with a mixture of tag team and Diva action involved in captivating stories that entertain instead of lull fans to sleep or coerce us to change the channel.

On the other hand as proactive fans perhaps it’s also wise to walk away from WWE programming for a bit to give our brains a chance to rest from mundane nature of the product.  The company is motivated by money, and if any of us truly want them to do better we have to speak with our wallets and not our internet browsing speeds.

But alas, here’s what stood out for me during the show:

  • The Awakening of Antonio Cesaro
  • Foreshadowing, Dean Ambrose Style
  • Mark Henry: The Greatest Man Who Ever Kicked Somebody’s Ass
  • Brock Mad, Brock Smash
  • John Cena versus Ryback: A Tale of How the Mighty Have Fallen
"Screw you guys, I'm going H.A.M.!" | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
“Screw you guys, I’m going H.A.M.!” | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

It wasn’t very long ago that fans began to sour on the prospect of Antonio Cesaro’s run as a WWE superstar.  After inexplicably losing several matches as the United States Champion, Cesaro’s run was unceremoniously ended by the foots of “Double K” Kofi Kingston, also known in some parts as the Crown Prince of Mid-Card Excellency (Jeff Jarrett is still the reigning monarch in that kingdom of inadequacy).  In a lot of ways Kofi reminds me of Jeff Hardy, but that’s another blog for another day.

Along with his loses Cesaro was also conspicuously left out of WrestleMania XXIX despite having a lengthy and historic run as the United States Champion.  It wasn’t long after that fans began to naturally assume that Vince McMahon “hated” him and he was essentially being buried for the unknown and unnamed personal grudge the Irish-blooded McMahon secretly harbored against the Swiss.

On an unrelated note this idea absolutely infuriated me because fans became super vocal about this the night after Cesaro was named the WWE’s Swiss Ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  That makes perfect sense; send the guy you “hate” to be the official international ambassador for a foundation that brings joy to dying kids.  If that’s the case then McMahon must really hate the s**t out of John Cena…but I digress again.

Oddly enough all of the anti-Vince McMahon pundits were nowhere to be seen when Cesaro cut a pipe bomb-esque promo last night after defeating the modern day Brooklyn Brawler, Zack Ryder, in short fashion.  Simply put, Cesaro said he’s a beast and there’s no one on the entire roster that can walk a mile with his jock strap…because Swiss jock straps are nothing to yodel at.

All jokes aside Cesaro made his intentions as loud and clear as a clarion call from the top of the Matterhorn.  In fact his promo was one of the few moments during the show that piqued my interest and sent chills up my spine.  We all know that Cesaro is a beast and the more prescient fans (i.e. everybody at L.E.W.D.) knew that his losses were only a red herring to his eventual rise to prominence.

Simply put if Vince McMahon didn’t think he was worth a damn he would’ve simply released him (Braden Walker) or taken him off of TV completely (John Morrison) and used him once a month to do the job for someone else (Zack Ryder).

Stay tuned to see where Cesaro’s new found awesomeness will take him; if his promo last night wasn’t proof enough, check out this video done for him prior to this year’s WrestleMania:

Since we were almost on the subject of Kofi Kingston, the current United States Champion teamed with the Uso Brothers on Monday’s show to face The Shield in 6-man tag team action.  Kofi ate the pin for his team after dining on Dean Ambrose’s unnamed finishing maneuver.  While the WWE’s self-proclaimed arm of justice remains undefeated as a trio, the more interesting event occurred after the pinfall.

For some odd reason the referee thought it necessary to hand Kofi his United States title during the most inconvenient time after a match.  For starters Kofi was still slightly incapacitated, lying almost lifeless on the mat while attempting to recover from Ambrose’s maneuver.  Secondly the referee held the belt in the middle of the ring right next to Dean Ambrose as he celebrated the victory with his Shield brethren.  It was at that time Ambrose gave the title this lingering and desiring glance, long enough for anyone to justifiably insinuate that the man is going to destroy Kofi in the near future.

Dean Ambrose suspiciously eyes the United States Championship after leaving Kofi Kingston staring at the ceiling lights. | Photo © 2013 WWe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Dean Ambrose suspiciously eyes the United States Championship after leaving Kofi Kingston staring at the ceiling lights. | Photo © 2013 WWe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The slow burn that has occurred with The Shield has apparently arrived at a point where it would make sense that the trio would start to consider chasing after championship gold.  Most fans will easily agree that Ambrose stands out the most in the group; I believe it’s his charisma, matched with his body language/facial expressions and ability to work the mic that makes him pop more so than the amazingly athletic Seth Rollins and devastatingly intense Roman Reigns.

While I’m not too sold on an Ambrose/Shield and Kofi Kingston rivalry, I do appreciate the hint at this development for all men involved.  The Shield has wreaked havoc in WWE for some time and creative has nothing substantial at the moment for Kingston. Pairing the four men or at least Ambrose and Kingston together gives fans the new feud and mid-card energy we’re craving for.  The main problem is waiting for this whole thing to come to fruition if it indeed is meant to be.

Mark Henry deserves to be a WWE Hall of Famer and has most assuredly earned that honor after his 17 years of dutiful service in the WWE.  I don’t recall Henry ever working for any other company other than WWE, and at 41 years of age he is one of the last Attitude Era wrestlers still on the active roster (along with notable stars such as Triple H and The Undertaker).

It says a lot about Henry in real life that he’s worked for the company for this long and they’ve made sure to keep him around after a series of injuries have stalled his character’s development at various points of his career.  You have to respect the man and I’d be highly upset if some sort of WWE book or DVD wasn’t made highlighting his career and his life.

The Henry accolades don’t stop there, however; Monday night’s episode of RAW didn’t really seem to pick up steam until Henry beat Sheamus silly with a leather belt.  Prior to that Henry held the audience in the palm of his hands during an in-ring promo and then, after a verbal exchange with Sheamus, delighted us with his commentary and his verbal abuse of Michael Cole.  Everything surrounding Mark Henry last night was pure gold and even got the man trending on Twitter.

"Sheamus, if you got any pride in that pasty body of yours..." *officially done* | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
“Sheamus, if you got any pride in that pasty body of yours…” *officially done* | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This rivalry with Henry is the same exact program they had during their first skirmish.  While the program worked well the first time it is disappointing that the writers have returned to the well to give us the same thing over again.  There is a saying that goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but I wonder if there’s more they could do with Henry and Sheamus other than having them crash into each other like two rams butting heads in a fine china shop.

“The Celtic Cena” Sheamus is serviceable in this rivalry, but it’s Mark Henry who’s making it sizzle and pop.  Their outing at the upcoming Extreme Rules pay per view will be good to watch, but I’m still hoping the company can do right by both men in giving them (and us) this Hulk versus The Thing bout for the second time.

The biggest “shock” of the night came when exclusive footage was aired of Brock Lesnar destroying Triple H’s office at WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.  Lesnar’s legal aid and handler Paul Heyman documented their entire mythical journey all on his iPhone.

The whole thing was designed to further their program with Triple H who, after arriving to RAW, didn’t seem pissed at all that Lesnar destroyed his “office” and was allowed to do so by the years’ worth of staff that allowed Heyman and Lesnar to trash said office.

I joked with fellow wrestling fan Tom Bobbitt the entire night about possible storylines that could come from the segment.  One included Triple H having Lesnar arrested for vandalism, destruction of property, unlawful seizure and abduction of an individual, trespassing, and reckless behavior and endangerment.  Heyman, of course, would be sent up the river for aiding and abetting criminal activity.

Ideally Trips would have his lawyer request that bail be denied for both men, citing their danger to society on the whole.  The legal process behind that would be far more interesting and would coincide perfectly with these long drawn out yearlong storylines everyone seems intent on writing today.

The bottom line is that Brock smashed Triple H’s corporate office and the Game wasn’t even phased by his shenanigans.  If he doesn’t give a damn, neither do I…moving right along…

This image looks very familiar... | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This image looks very familiar… | Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

WWE Champion John Cena is still set to face Ryback at Extreme Rule in a Last Man Standing Match despite having a bad ankle.  Considering the players involved it’s astonishing that we really could not care any less.

Cena’s championship reigns at this point of his career are about as predictable as the likelihood of water being wet.  It’s almost moot to nuance or argue about his character right now, mostly because no one will listen and we’re slowly realizing that the man will retire in 40 years the same way he’s wrestling now.

Ryback, on the other hand, has slowly earned our angst due to WWE’s insistence to force him to become the heel in this feud.  Ryback went from having a solid core of fans behind him to having fans against him, only to find a resting spot in a place where fans are largely indifferent about him.  There was almost no reaction for him when he wrestled in Monday night’s main event, and the crowd didn’t really pop for him during his post-match attack on John Cena.

We’ve all seen this song and dance from Cena and a monstrous opponent before; it’s extremely laughable and disheartening at the same time for Ryback’s character to be pompous enough to believe he can defeat Cena on his own in a Last Man Standing Match given the man’s track record with never giving up.  This isn’t to say Cena hasn’t lost a LMS match before, but the odds are definitely in his favor on this one.

Ahh, that's right.  This is how it all started...| Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Ahh, that’s right. This is how it all started…| Photo © 2013 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

There’s only one more episode of RAW between now and the pay per view, so it will be mildly interesting to see what WWE does to add fuel to the fire burning between Cena and Ryback.  With The Shield, Daniel Bryan and Kane involved, however, this whole mess looks and feels more convoluted than necessary.  Unfortunately I just cannot shake the feeling that when it’s all said and done, this feud will just be business as usual for John Cena; such is life.

But those are just my thoughts on the show…what did YOU think about it?