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Posts tagged “Kofi Kingston

L.E.W.D. Booking 101: “A.F.R.O. is in business.”

I’m not one to talk about race or racial relations very often (unless I’m talking about police brutality, Hollywood or the unintended consequence of the concept of Pokemon) but when it comes to the WWE, I’m the first to say it: they don’t give a brotha a chance.  When R-Truth came into the fray and introduced Almost Dr. Xavier Woods and the Funkadactyls, he pleaded with the crowd to give a brotha (read: brotha) a chance, and I shook my head and said, “Man, they ain’t trynna give a brotha a chance…”

But that’s just my perception.  Most prominent black Superstars are relegated to background roles or unmemorable personas, such as Mr. Shuck-and-Jive R-Truth or Kofi “Always Making This Face” Kingston.   Sure, there’s Mark Henry, but even he functions as a massive, powerful continent of a man who goes in, wrecks shop, dances a bit, wrecks more shop, and leaves.  Is it awesome?  Very, but I’m greedy: I want more for my brethren in color.  I want more for the human embodiment of Torterra and his would-be protégé, the Intercontinental Champion and candidate for Venusaur, Big E. Langston.  I want to see Xavier Woods as more than just Lamont Sanford, finding himself in violent situations with his partner in crime Rollo Lawson, er… I mean Ron Killings.  What can I say: they’re both felons.

But how awkward would it be for an angle or a storyline that pushed some level of prominence on these particular Superstars just based on the shade of their skin?  The Nation of Domination worked because of what it was and when it was.  In a time of PG-13 rated angles, stories, content and foolishness, the Nation was acceptable.  This was a time where a group such as the Nation could thrive and just be seen as business as usual; it helped that it became a platform for Dwayne Johnson to grow as well. 

Doing something like that now, an angle such as the Nation, and the gods of political correctness would swoop on the world of professional wrestling faster than Kevin Nash at the Fingerpoke of Doom. 

And swooping is bad. 

As are fingerpokes. 

Unlike the world of “We are the World-ness”, I am NOT politically correct, so don’t expect me to shy away from anything.  Say an angle that DID focus on the shade of the skin existed, but at the same time, it DIDN’T exist.  Say there was a blatant idea that the black Superstars were coming together to compete with what they see as an… let’s say “unfair” system, but it wasn’t about them being “unfair” to “them”.  Would a professional wrestling company be capable of something so reasonably complex?

Over the past few months we’ve seen some more-than-simple stories, long-form exploits that have garnered just as much hate as they have praise; some might say significantly more hate than praise.  The “Best for Business” storyline has many yawning and complaining, often to their own hypocrisy considering that despite their “boredom” they watch every week (your views mean ratings).  Daniel Bryan’s rise and background battle with that same Authority is another testament to that long-form talent, but without being in the limelight the casual viewer concludes that the story is over and “burial” begins. 

Forgive me: that “burial” (hi Quinn!) begins.  The unwritten rule is that we always say… never mind.

I want to go into the concept of A.F.R.O. but it’s important to remember that the casual fan doesn’t care about long term storytelling so much a dedicated viewer such as us fine people here at L.E.W.D.  If anything, we’re even MORE critical about the long term because we have more time to critique and dismantle.  There’s a reason we spit on the Aces and Eights and Claire Lynch and anonymous Raw GM storylines so much; part of it is longevity. 

That’s the issue with a long story: you run the risk of getting boring or repetitive.  Loyal fans will stick by it, but after a while even they will turn their nose up at it.  With that in mind, you HAVE to stay entertaining.  You HAVE to stay relevant.  You HAVE to keep their attention, and as much as Ashley and Quinn may disagree with me, maybe because it’s a copied storyline or maybe because it’s of the “enemy” (my words, no one else’s) company, but I think the Magnus/AJ Styles thing still has a chance to be reasonably compelling.

It’s been done, but what hasn’t?  AJ Styles should’ve just LEFT and said “Screw you, Dixie, I’m going home!” and Magnus should just take the World Heavyweight belt he possesses that he gets on TV in about two weeks (the beauty of taped shows), but the dynamic of a king versus an uncrowned king is always something fun.  Usually.  I haven’t read the spoilers yet, outside of the fact that Magnus is the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.  Oops.  Spoiler.

Whatever you do, if it takes a while, keep it amusing. 

Exposition out of the way, let’s talk A.F.R.O.  Imagine a nation (no pun intended whatsoever) where people who get fed up with the higher ups of their society stop and leave.  They don’t leave forever, just for a while, and in that while there’s a notable absence.  Where went the massive pair of Mark Henry and Big E. Langston (who still has his title and just hasn’t been around)?  Where went the high flying yet massively pointless Kofi Kingston?  Where went the rapping Truth?  Where went the almost doctor Woods?  And you don’t ask about Ezekiel Jackson because he was gone already. 

Yes, he’s still employed in the WWE. 

You DO ask about the Funkadactyls though.  You do ask about Alicia Fox.  You might ask about Brodus Clay and Layla, but one is still in hot water with me because he dared use the phrase “main event player” to describe himself and the other… the other can do no wrong in my book.

Where did they go?  For at least a month they’re all gone.  It’s business as usual and, as usual, people are bitching and moaning about every little thing.  It’s professional wrestling and sports entertainment, that’s what you expect, but slowly and surely even the people behind the scenes, the talent and the staff, are grumbling.  The company is not doing well in their eyes, the operations are shoddy and more and more the people are saying that the company is more reckless than it’s ever been. 

Enter a business card, one with nothing more than the name Mr. H, the profession “fixer” and a phone number.  The GM sees it and, out of sheer desperation, dials, and the voice on the other end, a familiar, gruff voice, merely says, “See you in a week.”

So Brad Maddox paces in his office at the beginning of the show, blowing off any nonsense from Guerrero, trying to hurry any words from the authority, and the door to his office slowly opens.  He looks frightened, then happy, then scared.  Why?

Because who walks in by Mark Henry, dark shades on, CLEAN three-piece suit, and he’s on his phone, talking business.  Mark Henry is scary enough.  New agile Mark Henry is even scarier.  New agile Mark Henry rocking a suit and talking on a phone, demanding the attention of the person he’s standing before even as he’s on the phone is enough to make you crap a brick.  He ends his phone call and says happily, “Johnny!  Good to see you again!”

Brad: “It’s, uh… it’s BRAD, sir, my name is—”

Mark waves him off.  “Sorry, I gave you the wrong impression; you think I care.  You called me and you called the right one.  My team and I, we’ll get this company in ship shape in no time.”  He smiles.  “Ah, Franklin, it’s great to be back!”

Brad: “Uh, it’s Bra—”

Mark: “Still don’t care, Alice!  I need to look around again: my team will be taking notes throughout the show too.  Now, get out of my office.  I have musing to do.”

Brad: “I—”

Mark grabs Maddox and literally throws him out of the office.  He closes the door and sits at Maddox’s desk.  “Lashawnda better not try and correct me again.”  Then he goes to the phone.  Henry is in charge now, and slowly but surely his “team” is going to come out. 

It starts off swimmingly.  A throwaway match takes place between random mid-card number one and random mid-card number two.  Who do we see at the entrance ramp, taking notes on his tablet, speaking on his bluetooth?  Big E. Langston, not in a suit but certainly business attire, belt over his shoulder, glasses on, scoping potential competition?  Perhaps. 

The tag champions win their match later on and Woods and Truth come out, one in a suit, the other like Langston, conversing amongst each other, circling the ring but engaging in no action. 

A Divas segment backstage shows Fox, not amused, on her bluetooth, and walking on her way.  The Divas match has Layla sitting ringside, silent and watching. 

Towards the end of the show, the Unified Champion (assuming of course they refer to them as the Unified Champion) is walking backstage, pleased with his victory, smiling, already tired, and in the hallway he encounters Mark Henry.  He doesn’t look amused either; don’t let Aaron McGruder’s satire fool you: black people are NOT a jovial people.  The champion stares down Henry, Henry stares him down, and out of the blue, BAM!  A kick right in the temple, leveling the champion, and Kingston, in his suit and tie, rises from his violent strike.  Henry nods.

Henry: “Assessment?”

Kingston: “Weak.  You’d think a real champion would be ready for anything.”  He grabs the belt, shrugs and drops it right back on the champion.  “Even the belt is garbage.  We’ll have to design a new one.”

Henry: “We’ll need a new champion too.  Can’t have the face of this company smiling and looking weak.”

Kingston grimaces.  “I’m done with that smiling BS.  We done here?”

Everyone mentioned before comes up, clean, dressed to kill, not rallying behind Kingston so much as standing beside him.  Henry pulls a cigar from his jacket (I’m assuming he would smoke a cigar; he IS from Texas) and lights it.  “We have enough data to get it started then?  It was pretty easy going today but orientation is over.  Next week we hit the ground running.”  He kicks dust on the champion.  “A.F.R.O. is in business.”

——————————————————————————————

Now admit it: THAT would kick ass.  It would be great to see and it would be compelling, and the scenarios that would come from it (and believe me, I have dozens upon dozens, including having Ron Simmons as A.F.R.O.’s director of Human Resources and Wade Barrett being the “affirmative action” employee). 

But that’s just how I think.  What do YOU think?


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?


RAW Review 12-10-12, a.k.a. “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Sho’…”

This isn't pro wrestling!! I KEEL YEW!!!

This isn’t pro wrestling!! I KEEL YEW!!!

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.
Hey...where erybody go?

Hey…where erybody go?

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.

Damien Sandow (left) flanks the right side of Channel 5's Action News Team Anchor Guy Tannen. | Photo © 2012 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Damien Sandow (left) flanks the right side of Channel 5’s Action News Team Anchor Guy Tannen. | Photo © 2012 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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.

Champion versus Champion exhibition...there's a nifty word...exhibition... | Photo © 2012 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Champion versus Champion exhibition…there’s a nifty word…exhibition… | Photo © 2012 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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).

All I could say was...it's about damn time! | Photo © 2012 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

All I could say was…it’s about damn time! | Photo © 2012 WWE, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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?

 


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