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
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:
It 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.
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?
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.
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?
Before I fill this post with reasons and excuses, I invite you to listen to my thoughts on the 2014 edition of the Royal Rumble as well as the prospect of the upcoming WrestleMania XXX.
Feel free to post your thoughts and reactions in the comment section below.
It has been said that a picture is worth one thousand words. Seeing as I really can’t wrap my thinking around my frustration with the heavyweight title scene in either TNA or WWE at this moment, I figured it’d be better to at least set the stage using pictures instead of words.
Shout out to Mr. Christopher Lamb for inspiring the follow simple, easy-to-understand graphics. Disclaimer: HOWEVER you feel about either wrestling promotion—good, bad, or indifferent—please do not enter into ANY conversation regarding their storylines regarding their own heavyweight championships without EXPLICITLY highlighting the following points:
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
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.
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.
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…
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.
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?
Ringside Psych: Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls vs. Team Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins @ Wrestlemania XXIX
Welcome back, and today we discuss the biggest match of the event!
Literally; there has to be at least three-quarters of a ton of human matter in the ring at any given time when these people are out. In fact, let’s check. Sure enough, the combined weight of the eight competitors is 1691 pounds. We can call this a delightfully historic match as we… uh, as we… well, uh…
It’s Brodus Clay’s first Wrestlemania! And Tensai’s! And the Funkadactyls and, uh…
Well, there’s the fact that it’s an eight-person, mixed tag team… duh…
Ah fuck it, this match is a throwaway anyway; I’ll likely be pissing away my homemade super hot wings and Russian Kool-Aid during the match anyway; unless some boobs pop out then I don’t care. In which case the match will get my seal of approval:
Let’s talk about Trips and Brock instead. In all the hub-bub of Twice in a Lifetime, we neglect to see that Triple H is involved in his… what – sixth? Seventh? – “career ending” match; famously last year he took on the Undertaker in an “End of an Era” match, and lost. Walked out into the sunset with Taker and Shawn Michaels in the most beautiful and symbolic non-wrestling display I’ve seen in a while. It was a fitting “walk into the sunset”, and yet… here we are again. Triple H, the man who went to full time corporate because he felt like his time was up as an in-ring competitor, coming out of his self-imposed retirement on a yearly basis like he has a permanent mid-life crisis going on.
The pure story behind the (latest) Triple H/Brock Lesnar conflict is the same as (one of) the last one(s): Lesnar messed with McMahon and Triple H has become the go-to knight to uphold the McMahon name and defend the honor of his super rich father-in-law and
extremely well endowed, gorgeously buxom, “Kinda wish she was a Playboy model but only if she did special businesswoman shoots with tiny thongs” wife. I apologize if I said anything to really insult Stephanie McMahon. It’s all lust, I mean lust, I meant to say lust, I mean…
Well this is going nowhere fast. Here: watch this Howard Stern interview where Stephanie talks about how she loves… something that makes me love her even more.
Oh, and Dave Chappelle is there too. Don’t care why because he’s Dave Chappelle and he can do what he wants. That’s what makes him cool. In any case, barring my habit of drooling when I think about the billion dollar princess, this is a common concept for Triple H. He’s the defender, the knight in shining armor who comes in and fights when people can’t fight for themselves. Sometimes he wins, and sometimes he loses, but either way, when he comes back to take up the mantle he comes back from the exile he imposed on himself. Makes for an inconsistent man. Not a good look, Trips. Just take the L this time around: Vince went out there his damn self and got beat up his damn self, don’t be a hero! Focus on your wife! After seeing this interview I don’t see why you’d even WANT to be in the damn ring anymore! Get your priorities straight, McMahon-in-law, I don’t think I can sit here and stress that enough!
Ahem… I apologize again if I implied that Triple H didn’t have his priorities straight. When he’s in the ring it means he’s making that money – SHE’S WILLING TO EXPERIMENT; DAVE CHAPPELLE CAN VERIFY!!!
Sorry, sorry, it was still fresh on my mind, I apologize for a third time. Now friends, Brock Lesnar is one of those few professional wrestlers that doesn’t need a reason when he competes. He was built up to be a monster and as such most of his storylines, past and present, revolved around that. The most memorable time when he wasn’t playing a monster was when he was feuding with Kurt Angle, and we were treated to some amazing wrestling and legitimately funny moments, akin to Tensai and his
few one moment s, if you want to think that way. So whenever Lesnar is in a role now, I think, “He’s a monster and he hurt somebody and now someone is coming after him.”
Pretty much. I remember the stories of Lesnar when he first started; you remember the stories? He stayed in the forest, took baths with ice water, ran through trees, ate tables, beat up bears; he was the real man’s man that filled the void that Steven Regal evolved out of, minus the kick-ass theme song. So with this upcoming match, all I can say is that the psychology is as “complex” as the plot of Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. Yes, THAT Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. Triple H is the Chosen One (not the real Chosen One like CM Punk) and Lesnar is Master Payne, aka Betty. The Chosen One will fight and do it big, and then he’ll come to Betty and Master Lesnar will school him for a bit (“I spank you as a baby, I’ll spank you now, bitch!”) and then the Chosen H will overcome, gather strength and win. More than likely at least. This is a revenge story at its most basic, but it also serves as a transparent mask for Triple H’s mid-life crisis and Lesnar’s latest bout of “I do what I want when I want to who I want and you can kiss my ass if you disagree”; or the Lindsay Lohan method of problem solving, if you want to save precious words. Ultimately this feud will end one of two ways. Either:
- Triple H wins, and he goes back into “retirement” while Lesnar continues doing whatever the hell he wants until someone decides to mean mug and step to him again, or, the less likely…
- Lesnar wins, and Triple H goes back into “retirement” while Lesnar continues doing whatever the hell he wants until someone decides to mean mug and step to him again.
Two drastically different outcomes, but they both ring honest and true: nothing will be resolved because nothing is truly on the line. As we saw with Cena’s victory over Lesnar at Extreme Rules, Lesnar just keeps at what he does. And as we’ve seen with Triple H’s victories and failures, he just goes back home to his (I pause to avoid making a remark about Stephanie McMahon that rivals one I’d offer about Lara Croft) wife and family with either a smile or a frown on his face, after addressing the audience with a “I gave it my best shot” speech or a “I still got it” speech.
Seen it all before, heard it all before, I offer this: “Recycled, Retarded, Rejected, NEXT SCENE!”
And with nothing left to say or do, that’s the final “Ringside Psych” before the big event. Hope you enjoy as much as I do. If there are boobs, then it’ll be great. If Ryback manages to lift Mark Henry, it’ll be epic. And if by some strange circumstance the Rock wins against John Cena, it’ll be the best Wrestlemania ever! Assuming Wrestlemania XXX doesn’t stack up… but that’s all speculation. Peace and love, my friends.
Anticipation is at a fevered pitch as fans are only a few days away from the biggest sports entertainment spectacle of the year! WrestleMania XXIX is practically here, and we’re all anxious to take part in the majesty of this weekend surrounding the “grandest stage of them all!”
The build for this year’s event has been characterized by some fans as “lacking,” not having that humph that makes the event worth spending so much money for. That is a fair and accurate criticism to make of the event, which questions the rationale for shelling out tons of money just to attend it live or ordering it on pay per view.
If you’ve followed the L.E.W.D. site from its very humble beginnings, you can easily recall that WrestleMania is the anniversary of our first official gathering; this weekend (if not the entire week) represents the first time many of us witnessed the event live and in person. Having paid the money, helped with organizing damn near 20 people from around the country, and visited the many different events surrounding WrestleMania, I can honestly say that the magic of the weekend lies not within the actual event, but just experiencing everything that comes with it.
This year’s WrestleMania, outside of anything WWE is promoting or pandering, appears to be the largest gathering of pro wrestling related events fans have ever seen. Wrestlecon is happening this weekend; our great friends at DragonGate USA/EVOLVE will be doing stuff, as well as Chikara, Shimmer and CZW. Hell, even TNA is cashing in on this opportunity and hosting an event in New York on April 5!
This all goes to say that there is no reason for any fan that prides himself/herself on being a pro wrestling/sports entertainment fan to intentionally pout in the corner because this WrestleMania has somehow failed to live up to the hype and grandeur of WrestleMania X7. There are so many different events going on and ways to see them that WWE’s premier pay per view will literally be the bookend to one hell of a weekend. In that regard, the show cannot fail to meet expectations if you limit your expectations to simply experiencing WrestleMania by itself.
Given the pomp and circumstance of the event it isn’t unreasonable to expect WWE and its superstars to deliver come Sunday. My point is that at this point in the game we have to begin to appreciate what the event symbolizes and not just the event itself. This particular WrestleMania may seem like trash to some, but having experienced WrestleMania XXVII live here in Atlanta…I’ll just say this one is a big step up from that in more ways than one.
I also realize in these economic times we’re all strapped for cash and our finances won’t allow us to indulge in everything offered by the weekend; but if I had a choice, I’d honestly encourage you to purchase one of the iPPVs and locate your nearest Hooters or Buffalo Wild Wings to catch WrestleMania. If push comes to shove, you could also consider rounding up your closest friends and chipping in to order the event together.
Having said that let’s look at the card as it stands now and attempt to make some good ol’ fashioned predictions:
For some time now The Miz has been involved in a series of matches battling against Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett. Ironically enough their placement on the WrestleMania card appears to be a metaphor for their current rivalry: easily forgettable.
I believe their rivalry began with a spat over who was the bigger movie star, with Miz and Barrett speaking highly of their films The Marine 3: Homefront and Dead Man Down, respectively. Once again in a strange twist of fate, I’m not in a particular rush to see either movie or their match.
This match feels as if the men were placed together because in the grand scheme of things both were aimlessly floating around with very little to do. I haven’t been all that thrilled about their matches, which isn’t a slight at either individual’s work rate or abilities. The bottom line for me is that the feud and rivalry is rather dull and the Intercontinental Championship feels like an unnecessary accessory altogether, not even speaking about Barrett’s ho-hum reign.
I expect Barrett to retain in what’s going to ultimately be an over exaggerated exhibition match.
Prediction: Wade Barrett retains.
Let’s face facts: the average wrestling fan believes this match is a waste of time and space on the jam packed WrestleMania card. The average fan would also believe that there are tons of wrestlers (Ted DiBiase and Kofi Kingston maybe…) who deserve this coveted spot more so than Fandango. Those opinions, while valid, also miss the mark when it comes to the whole of Jericho’s burgeoning feud with Fandango.
For starters, Fandango (formerly Johnny Curtis from the fourth season of NXT) is a “debuting” wrestler in the company. That word “debut” can be used loosely here, but he’s new talent relatively speaking. It’s hilarious to see some fans dump on new talent, only to turn around and complain when the company fails to make “new stars.”
Secondly, Fandango is making his “debut” at WrestleMania against Chris Jericho, a soon-to-be-legend that works extremely well with getting over…you guessed it…new talent. The man should be honored twice as much to have Jericho as his in-ring coach and to face him at the company’s biggest pay per view of the year.
This brings us to our third point: the higher ups in the company must think he’s worth his salt if they’ve chosen to (a) not release him, (b) have him wrestle against Chris Jericho at his (c) debut at WrestleMania. This isn’t taking into consideration the tons of money placed into his character with the garishly elaborate sets.
Fourthly despite whatever the fans may feel the need to chant, the man can actually wrestle; there is a HUGE difference between chanting “you can’t wrestle” and “you don’t wrestle.”
All things considered Fandango’s presence at WrestleMania is enough of a big deal for Curtis Jonathan Hussey. He doesn’t need a win here to legitimize himself, so expect Chris Jericho to humble the star Sunday night.
Prediction: Chris Jericho wins, feud with Fandango continues.
The feud between Del Rio and Swagger started off as a red hot rivalry rooted in the controversial subject of immigration. Since Swagger’s return to WWE he, along with his manager Zeb Coulter, have crusaded against the individuals they believe are causing America to decay in the sort of moral turpitude that only “immigrants” can apparently cause. Unfortunately that angle lasted about as long as a Hot Pocket in a college student’s refrigerator; as it stands now the main reason fans are invested in this match is because Jack Swagger beat up Ricardo Rodriguez.
Del Rio’s run as a face has been much better than the latter part of his run as a heel; the sad part of it all is that even with Rodriguez by his side, Del Rio consistently struggles to get the fans to rally behind him. This nagging reality haunts Del Rio to this day, and thus creates a situation similar to that of The Miz and Wade Barrett; yeah he’s going to wrestle Jack Swagger, yeah there’s a title on the line, but do you really care?
I’m hoping that the match will be a clinic between two exceptionally gifted wrestlers, but other than that it probably won’t be anything worth writing home about. Del Rio retains much to
Yosemite Sam’s Zeb Coulter’s chagrin, and Swagger survives only to spend another day frustrated with change.
Prediction: Del Rio retains
The bout between Ryback and Mark Henry is one of those fights that force you to ask yourself, “What took them so long?” Actually, wrestling logic dictates that these two will feud for another month or so, realize that they’re not so different after all, and unite in a formidable team that will rise up the ranks and win the WWE Tag Team Championships. Alas, they’ve already got a Black Guy/White Guy powerhouse team, so that dog won’t hunt anytime soon.
WrestleMania XXIX will also be a huge night for Ryback as well, serving as the star’s coming out party against another WWE legend in the making. Say what you will about Mark Henry, but it cannot be denied that he’s one of the most tenured WWE stars still wrestling today (he debuted in 1996, while Triple H debuted in WWE one year before him in 1995). Despite having gaps in his career due to injuries, Mark Henry has remained a fixture in the company and the man has to be worth something if they haven’t released him yet.
“Two bulls in a china shop” is the best way to describe this match; Ryback will walk away with the rub from Henry, which will bring him one step closer to his eventual run as a main event star in the company. If Ryback is able to lift Henry up for his patented Shell Shock finisher, then WrestleMania XXIX will officially be worth the $55 you’re planning on spending on it.
Prediction: Ryback with the pinfall victory.
It’s amazing how quickly the members of Dolph Ziggler’s stable have managed to fall from grace in such a short time. There was a point where the AJ Lee character was the focus of Monday Night RAW and involved heavily with multiple main event superstars at once. There was also a point where Lee’s heat was translating nicely over to Dolph Ziggler. Things really began to look awesome when the very large and intimidating Big E Langston joined the crew as the silent and brooding enforcer.
Then it all went to hell.
Ziggler is still in possession of his Money In the Bank championship contract and with three months left until its expiration we can only hope he cashes it before becoming the third person (after John Cena and Mr. Anderson) unable to successfully cash in their MITB contract. AJ Lee and Big E have no purpose or direction whatsoever right now because they’re too busy living in Ziggler’s shadow, which in and of itself is a shadow of the spectacle of WrestleMania.
Whatever the case may be these two men are being fed to the WWE Tag Team Champions as neither team really has much going for them at this exact moment. Team Hell No will retain and high-falootin’ hijinks will ensue.
Prediction: Team Hell No retains.
It truly is hard to believe that two years ago we had the extreme pleasure of watching Jon Moxley wrestle right before our eyes; we knew then that Moxley had a try-out match with WWE that weekend, but we never imagined that it’d be two short years later when we’d see him in a marquee WrestleMania match.
The same can be said for Tyler Black, who was scooped up from ROH by WWE seven months before Moxley. Most fans immediately assumed that Black would be “misused” by WWE…but three years later, he’s got a WrestleMania match.
Roman Reigns debuted in FCW Wrestling in September 2010, the same month and year as Tyler Black. As a member of the legendary Anoa’i, the superstar first known as Leakee had massive shoes and expectations to fill. Fast forward three years…well you get the picture.
Collectively speaking The Shield is beginning to show signs of monotony as their justice-leveling antics appear to lack substance and value. They’ve amassed two straight pay per view victories and have proven themselves to be formidable contenders against numerous superstars, including John Cena. At WrestleMania XXIX they face their biggest challenge to date against the team of Sheamus, Randy Orton and The Big Show, but their presence still lacks a solid direction that could make the difference between their match being good and great.
The consensus among some fans is that Orton will turn heel and align himself with The Shield; this would solve a few of the company’s problems: refreshing the Randy Orton character, breathing some new life into The Shield and adding some star-power to their mix. Think of this as WWE’s “Bully Ray-slash-Aces and 8s” swerve.
I have two problems with that rationale: there are already tons of heels in WWE at the moment and I also never saw the trail of breadcrumbs leading to such a drastic shift in Orton’s character. With or without a heel turn from a member of the opposite team, expect The Shield to pull off the victory against Team Non-Compatible.
Prediction: The Shield wins.
The WWE took advantage of Paul Bearer’s unexpected death to concoct a convenient storyline for Taker/Punk match at WrestleMania. Some fans have even gone as far as to question the build to the match prior to Bearer’s death; whatever the case may be, Punk has one hell of an opportunity to steal the show with the Deadman this Sunday.
Ever since Punk’s near mythic year long reign as WWE Champion, the Straight Edge Superstar has fought for the respect he feels he rightfully deserves. If you’ve followed Punk’s WWE career (or watched his 3-disc DVD set), you would realize that he fought tooth and nail just to stay in the company and has amassed quite a bit of stock by now. If Punk manages to give a good show with Taker, he would undoubtedly receive the credit he deserves just by hanging with him in the ring.
The build for this match leaves a lot to the imagination, but do you really care about the build more than you do the actual psychology and athleticism of the match? Here are solid facts: Taker can still go in the ring and Punk can get a five star match from anybody (remember the bout with John Cena from RAW?). Two exceptionally gifted wrestlers, athletes and entertainers going at it for at least twenty minutes…and some folks are stuck on the build for the match? Please.
The safe (and accurate) assumption is that Taker will go 21-0 by defeating Punk. I hope and pray in my heart of hearts that this is the case, but I’m not convinced the “build” was solid enough to give us reasonable doubt about Taker’s chances of losing this year. At the very least, however, I’ve got a feeling Punk will finally gain the “respect” he’s been searching for.
Prediction: The Undertaker defeats CM Punk
Prediction: Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls
I’m hoping you didn’t drink the Kool-Aid and let the smooth taste fool you…
While a solid and consistent number of fans were up in arms about “Twice In a Lifetime,” I failed to see anyone question the necessity of yet another Triple H “Your Career Is Officially Over…Again…” match at WrestleMania. I swear the last time Trips showed his body at this pay per view the match was billed as the “End of an Era;” but I guess a new era can start when you cut your hair even though you still wear your leather jackets and enter the arena with a Motörhead song blaring through the sound system.
The most recognizable Attitude Era wrestlers that are still going at it are Triple H, The Undertaker, and Mark Henry. Oddly enough each of them have matches at WrestleMania, and even more sinister is the fact that only two of those individuals are in matches where they are in a position to put over other younger superstars. Guess which individual gets the spotlight all on his own…
It was once commented that Triple H has yet to have that “WrestleMania moment,” the one pivotal career-defining WrestleMania moment that serves as the magnum opus of his 18 year WWE career. I’m not so sure his match with Brock Lesnar will be it.
The last match between Lesnar and Triple H wasn’t as enthralling as Lesnar’s match with Cena, which makes getting excited about this one a very daunting task. I expect brutality and a certain level of “legit” from Lesnar (two times the average level of legit, in case you were wondering), and that’s enough to get fans interested in the match. Who wouldn’t want to see Brock Lesnar beat someone senseless?
But again, the focus is on Triple H…the focus is on Trips settling a score with Brock and showing the WWE Universe that The Game still has it. It’s also a way for Trips to try once again to get that WrestleMania moment he’s thirsting for. Even with the tantalizing possibility of Lesnar ripping off Trips’ arm and beating him with it, the reality of seeing Trips’ puppy dog face as he grieves another loss to Heyman’s boy is enough to cause fans to yawn themselves silly until the main main event.
To borrow a quote from our L.E.W.D. brother Corbin Macklin, “I sweafogawd if I see this man lose onemotime…”
I call Trips beating Lesnar, enabling him to keep his wrestling career and perhaps setting up a rubber match sometime in the future.
Prediction: Triple H defeats Brock Lesnar
What more can be said about WrestleMania XXIX’s main event that hasn’t already been said?
There are a ton of possibilities that could come from the finish of the match. At this moment I’m not sure of what future projects The Rock has lined up; I think he’s supposed to be Hercules or start filming the another movie with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker or whatever. All signs point to John Cena regaining the WWE Championship, placing a big thumbs up emblem on the sides where the Brahma Bull logos are at, and mediocrity on RAW ensues for another millennium.
I would actually enjoy seeing John Cena lose again to The Rock; it’s tragic to see any fan yearn to see a character’s downfall, but that’s what makes for compelling television. It’s sickening that John Cena can manage to escape clean losses time after time; everyone has a weakness and dammit someone’s got to know how to keep Cena on the sidelines. For me, seeing a different personality trait in Cena’s character would be gold. He doesn’t have to be a full blown heel, but just something different than the life coach we get each week right now.
The problem with changing something that isn’t broken is that it begins to wear thin on some, particularly those of us that wish for some type of depth to be shown in the character. Depth among shallow-end pool swimmers (i.e. kids and young women) isn’t something valued or sought after, and because of such we’re going to get another Cena WrestleMania victory and everyone for the most part goes home with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside of their stomachs. I’ve been told that ulcers and abdominal pains have that same effect…
There have been reports that seeds have been planted for a Ryback/Cena post-WrestleMania feud (remember the Triple Threat match for CM Punk’s WWE Title and Cena’s elimination of Ryback at the Royal Rumble pay per view?), and that’s something I even hinted at in a previous post. That type of feud will suffice, but it’s the same wash-rinse-repeat cycle Cena’s been placed in before. Hell, I’d like it if they brought back Alex Riley as some young, upstart collegiate so-and-so attempting to assume the throne when Cena’s Jersey City All Pro character get’s ready to “go off to college.” But alas, I’m on the internet writing for you and not the WWE for a reason…I guess.
Cena wins and we’ll get to pout about it in a post-WrestleMania blog post.
Prediction: John Cena redeems himself to himself and wins the WWE Championship for the 800th time
All things considered this action-packed WrestleMania will keep us enthralled all Sunday night. I hope you enjoyed reading the predictions, and stay posted to the L.E.W.D. site all weekend as we indulge in the cavalcade of pro wrestling going on as we speak!
Most fans won’t readily acknowledge that RAW’s ratings, as of late, have hovered around the 3.1 area. While this means absolutely nothing to the average fan, it means a lot to analysts and pundits such as us.
It doesn’t mean or suggest that the quality of the product is getting better; what it does suggest is that fans are finding more reasons to tune into the show each Monday night. The “Road to WrestleMania” is typically filled with more than enough elements to energize fans and entice them to purchase the WWE’s annual mega-sports entertainment event, but last night’s show offered more than what most probably expected or anticipated. To say that last night’s RAW was knocked out of the park would be a huge understatement. While I would hesitate to say the show was “perfect,” I will say that it was great all around and well above average.
Three things made the show awesome: the hot Dallas, Texas crowd, the opening brawl between Brock Lesnar and Triple H, and the MOTY candidate bout between CM Punk and John Cena. Everything in between seemed to add some depth and volume to the undercard for WrestleMania XXIX. It will be interesting to see how the company can keep up this momentum between now and April.
Here’s the most noteworthy stuff:
- WWE Vengeance: Lesnar vs. Triple H II
- WWE Insurrextion: Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett
- WWE Judgement Day: The Shield vs. Randy Orton
- WWE December to Dismember: Featuring AJ Lee, Dolph Ziggler, and Ryblack
- WWE Bragging Rights: CM Punk vs. John Cena
The evening started out with last week’s proposed fight between Mr. McMahon and Paul Heyman. While it was safe to assume that very few people (right-minded folks, mind you) expected a true fight to take place between the million-dollar geriatric and South Philly’s favorite son, even fewer could have accurately predicted the magnitude of the brawl that followed their slap fight.
Two really cool things happened during the exchange between Heyman and Mr. McMahon; for starters, Scott Stanford sent a tweet question whether Heyman had been robbing homes in Dallas prior to appearing on the show. Secondly, Heyman gave Mr. McMahon “The Pounce,” and no one seemed moved by his perfectly executed, skillful and dangerous maneuver.
Nevertheless the whole spectacle was cut short by the unmistakable sound of Brock Lesnar’s music. The beast of a man approached the ring and prepared to sink his teeth into Vince McMahon’s old and surprisingly muscular carcass. Before Lesnar could get another taste of McMahon’s blood, Triple H’s music blared through the arena and we all knew that a rematch between the two would take place at April’s blockbuster pay per view. The standard brawl took place between the two after McMahon hightailed it out of harms way, and everything that happened afterwards was unintentionally magnificent.
The brawl between Lesnar and Triple H seemed real; it felt real even though it looked phony at times. You could easily tell that Lesnar was using his MMA training against Triple H, who’s experience in body building didn’t seem to help his situation at all. I even wondered if there would be a point in the fight where Trips had to whisper to Brock, “Hey! It’s not real fighting, bro!” Not too soon after I had that thought, Lesnar eased up a bit on the realism and switched back into scripted entertainment mode.
The money moment of the fracas was when Trips sent Brock’s skull sailing into the ring post, busting him open the hard way. Half of Lesnar’s head was soaked in blood as the cameras attempted to avoid showing it on live television. Despite their best efforts the effect of this was necessary to make this rematch between the men mean something. I would venture to say that it was Lesnar’s blood that sold a good number of people on this pay per view alone; the awkward part of it all is that this was only the beginning of the show…
It’s anyone’s guess as to how epic their match will be at WrestleMania, but if their brawl last night was any indication we can expect this grudge match to be more passionate and grueling than their first encounter.
Another thing that stood out was a segment in which Sheamus made fun of Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett and his work as an extra in the upcoming movie Dead Man Down, starring Ireland’s second favorite dandy, Colin “Remember Me?” Farrell. A few fans in my Twitter feed commented on how absurd it was for a face (Sheamus) to continue to be a face while making fun of (bullying) someone for their small part in a movie. I started to respond to a few of these comments but stopped when I thought about the lack of angst against John Cena and his many heel-like tactics over the past few years; be a star, everyone.
The eventual exchange between the two was far from being bad, and it actually provided a few chuckle-worthy spots (I particularly LOL’d when Barrett referred to the fans as “idiots;” it was the accent and the air of arrogant confidence that did it). I also site this as being worth mentioning because of a previous post where I stated that the only program decent for Sheamus at this point is a feud with Barrett for the Intercontinental Title. I also stated that spot belonged to Bo Dallas, a spot he was politely pulled out of because of WrestleMania season.
Another thing to consider is the recent “international flair” the title has acquired with its most recent champions. The title has suffered from a lack of importance, prestige, and significance as of late. Having non-American champions gives some sort of meaning to the title even if that meaning is still not all that defined. Another match between Sheamus the feisty fighting Irishman squaring off against Barrett the brutish bare-knuckle Brit is something good for both men and for the title.
Sheamus would make another appearance that night during an in-ring segment involving The Shield. The three members of the so-called “arm of justice” in WWE were busy spouting their manifesto to the audience when they issued a warning to the hapless superstars in the back. Sheamus strolled out in his wrestling gear and responded to their warning, only to serve as a decoy for a sneak attack at the hands of Randy Orton. With Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns advancing on Sheamus, Orton slithered into the ring and leveled Seth Rollins with a surprisingly devastating RKO.
A number of fans have commented that Orton seems to be floating aimlessly at this point in his career. I wouldn’t say a feud with The Shield would invigorate Orton’s character, but it would give the rub to the group of young lions. What’s more interesting about this story is the story of how all three of these young WWE superstars made it to their first WrestleMania. Speaking particularly about Dean Ambrose’s rise to glory, it was only at WrestleMania XXVII two years ago in Atlanta (where we first saw him in person) that he received a try out match with WWE, a match that got him this far in the company. It’s an impressive story, and to share that story with two equally talented young superstars in a match with Randy Orton is pretty big. It will be a thing of beauty to see what comes from this.
Speaking of things of beauty, AJ Lee’s fall from grace has been less majestic than anyone could have ever imagined. When you consider the amount of time and energy that was put into AJ’s character during the latter part of 2012, it’s amazing how dimly her once radiant aura shines now. Ever since being partnered with Dolph Ziggler, AJ has seriously fallen off the radar of relevance; problem is, there’s is no justifiable or logical reason for such a tremendous dip in attention given to her character.
The same thing could be argued for Dolph Ziggler, the current Mr. Money In the Bank contract recipient. Dolph has literally seen several stop and go storylines and at one point looked to be headed towards the main event scene like a bat out of hell. Things looked even better for the bleach blonde superstar when he was essentially given his own little stable to work with. It just seems like after awhile the writers gave up on him and have reduced him to wrestling matches for the sake of simply keeping him on fans’ minds and in our collective consciousness.
All of this could be for a good reason, however; Ziggler has until July to cash in his contract for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship, and a lot can take place in the five months between now and the July 14 Money In the Bank pay per view. The more cynical fans tend to write off wrestlers or storylines that don’t receive immediate attention or payoffs. It remains to be said that patience is a virtue, and Ziggler may be in the midst of being primed to have a major role in the company moving forward.
The question is where does AJ Lee fit in the middle of all of this? At this point in the game she’s barely a skid mark in the frilly unmentionables of the Divas Division, and the creative writers have all but abandoned the idea of making her a credible valet for Mr. Ziggler. The good news for AJ is that she’s an actual wrestler, and given our affinity with Trish Stratus and Lita it would not surprise me at all that AJ’s “sunny days” are ahead of her.
As for Big E Langston, the massive and mysteriously silent monster is playing his role to the tee. Langston is standing in the footsteps of such legendary bodyguards as Diesel, Dave Batista, and Ezekiel Jackson just to name a few. Perhaps Big E will one day serve as the potential grouse in John Cena’s pheasant hunt. But then again, a man can dream can’t he…
Speaking of John Cena, just how exhilarating was his match against CM Punk on Monday night?!?!
Many fans and pundits have said this before already, but Cena seems to be the type of wrestler/superstar that is very capable of having an excellent match if he’s pushed to the limit by his opponent. It’s anybody’s guess as to the pep talk given to either Punk or Cena prior to the match, but whatever was said or done it gave both men the passion and desire necessary to deliver one hell of a battle.
We often condemn the WWE for not having matches like this on the regular, but the truth of it all is that these rare gems should be rare gems, because if matches like this happened all the time what exactly would a rare gem be?
The other thing to pay attention to is CM Punk’s ability to bring the best out of Cena. It’s often said (and ignored largely by fans) that a wrestler is only as great as his opponent makes him look. While the myth of John Cena’s stature tends to overshadow all around him, Punk truly stood out as a performer by showing off his ability to take Cena beyond complacency and mediocrity in the ring. This is why Punk’s legendary 21st Century WWE Title reign is lost among fans today; we miss the significance of all he brings to the product because we’re too busy focusing on the obvious flaws of the company to appreciate the crown jewels in their possession.
I did get truly pissed me off during the match as Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler casually ignored the fact that Punk spent a majority of the match working on Cena’s neck and head. It’s one thing to constantly state that Punk was “trying to wear Cena down,” but he could’ve easily done that by working on Cena’s mid-section, making it harder for him to breath the longer the match progressed. Instead Punk worked over a previously injured area of Cena’s body, making him super vulnerable for a knee to the face or the dreaded Anaconda Vice submission hold. I know understand why people say RAW’s commentary team has gotten awful. The little things always make a difference, and I wish the commentators could’ve at least acknowledged that in their incessant banter.
So what’s the end game for both men? Of course we get another “Once In a Lifetime” match between The Rock and John Cena, but more importantly CM Punk is available for what could be the biggest match of his WWE career against The Undertaker at WrestleMania. We assume Taker will win the match, but what would it say about how the company feels about Punk if he becomes the first and only wrestler to defeat “The Dead Man” at the pay per view? Once again…a man can dream, can’t he?
That all I felt about the show last night. What do YOU think about it?
I have a problem with wrestling fans.
Man, do I have a problem with some wrestling fans.
Following my usual routine of following the action on Twitter while simultaneously following the action on Monday Night Raw (‘cause I’m just good like that), I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming abundance of “smart marks” dumping their collective poop chutes all over the product, per usual.
Not that #Raw20 last night was extraordinary. On the whole, the 20 year anniversary of Monday Night Raw was fairly average. There were some good wrestling matches, some silly booking fails and the show did its job of building towards the Royal Rumble.
The part that gets me is that everyone was complaining about the fact that the show wasn’t loaded with Attitude Era stars.
Let me get something straight, people: You same pious flapjacks whine and gripe incessantly about how WWE needs to not load their show with older part time stars because it “takes time away from the younger talents who need it.” Then, when WWE has something lined up like an anniversary show/reunion/celebration event, everyone simultaneously cries foul that those same older part time stars that YOU DIDN’T WANT TO SEE aren’t there to fill time on the show.
I actually saw people on Facebook blaming the PG era for this.
Let’s call a spade a spade people (and get to enjoying that phrase, we’re gonna revisit it frequently in this piece) and just admit that:
A. Most of the people reading this (Not all but a fair few) have no concept of what the PG Era actually is and it has become a scapegoat for your dissatisfaction with the product. The PG Era is responsible for wrestling’s decline about as much as the Happy Meals you buy your son three times a day are responsible for him being the size of a dump truck.
B. On ANY OTHER NIGHT, if these guys were making cameo appearances, most people would be on Twitter or Facebook or whatever social media outlet they feel would make them look the most important and they’d be screaming from the rooftops about how WWE doesn’t need to be giving the spotlight to older stars.
I find this funny for a variety of reasons.
One reason the IWC will never be taken seriously by most professional wrestling companies is because the vast majority of them behave foolishly, doing things like whining on Twitter about how bad the show was because THEY could have booked it better. Much like our aforementioned obesity analogy, personal responsibility needs to be taken into account.
Don’t sit on your hands like a bunch of idiots and blame the WWE for things they have no control over. Do some research. ‘Taker didn’t show up because he’s likely to make an unannounced return at the Royal Rumble (Be real people: When does ‘Taker just show up on a show anymore? It’s too early for him to pick a ‘Mania opponent so the Rumble is the logical place to be.)
Austin and Shawn Michaels had prior booking engagements at the SHOT (Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade) Show in Las Vegas last night. Did we expect Triple H to just randomly show up on Raw?
Someone said on Facebook that he should have reformed Evolution to fight the Shield. Honestly, does anyone think before they speak?
Batista is gone. Orton is already fighting the Shield. Flair isn’t about to put on the panties for another match. Use some common sense folks.
Did anyone stop and think that maybe the reason that WWE didn’t advertise the hell out of this show was because they weren’t planning on doing anything extraordinary with it? If none of those special appearances were able to happen then of course they’re not going to promise a huge show. THEY DIDN’T. Everyone who watched with their expectations on Mars expecting Randy Savage (God rest his soul) to come back to life to re-enact his IC Title match with Steamboat was just delusional.
The show was average and did what it needed to do: It built towards Royal Rumble.
Let’s call a spade a spade people. Everyone throwing up memes about how horrible it was, comparing it to WCW’s dying days, get over yourselves. You’re not funny, you’re not witty, you’re not clever and you’re not right.
Once again, blame the WWE for things they have control over. Blame them for stupid booking moves like jobbing Ziggler to Cena for the 3rd straight time, since he clearly needs about 15 wins to make up for one loss.
Blame them for things like that. Things they control. Don’t blame them for global warming, the violence in the Middle East, smart cars and the extinction of Twinkies. Have some self respect for goodness sakes.
While we’re on the subject of calling a spade a spade, let’s talk about TNA for a moment. If you’re a butthurt TNA fan then don’t even bother reading this because I’m going to offer critique and you will not like it because you don’t like anything that doesn’t involve worshipping this company.
The following is straight from one of the many wrestling dirtsheet sites, who copy/pasted it directly from PWInsider.com.
“According to PWInsider.com, backstage morale at TNA Genesis last night was said to be high. Overall, everybody felt the show was solid from top to bottom, with a great main event. Most of the roster feels the company is moving in the right direction at this point.”
Let’s call a spade a spade (Told ya we would revisit this phrase) and dissect this logically.
OH NO, HE’S USING LOGIC! LOCK UP THE WIFE AND KIDS, EARL! I FEAR A TWISTER IS HEADIN‘ FOR KANSAS!
For starters, whoever decided to start using the word “solid” to describe wrestling shows should be drug out back and shot in the trachea. That is the SINGLE most overused word in the world of wrestling analysis. The only word that even comes close is “buried” but we’re not going to use that word here.
For this analysis, we’re going to do something different. I’m going to school some TNA fans on how to build a logical argument. I am going to do something TNA fans can’t do and I’m going to critique this product without mentioning any other company. That IS possible, you know.
Because much like with those weirdos in Connecticut, personal responsibility is our lesson here. Personal responsibility and perspective. We’re not going to blame TNA for things they can’t control. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of their woes stem from things they CAN control.
Back to our point.
Screw the word “solid.” That’s a lazy way of saying that the show didn’t fall to pieces. If you build a car that’s extraordinary, you can imagine it’d go fast, be durable, hold up well in an accident, get good gas milage, come with restraints and mouth gags for kids on road trips (Totally kidding about that last one.)
If you build a car that’s solid, all one can expect from it is: “It goes. Vrrooooom.”
Now that we’ve pointed out the sin of using the word “solid”, let’s delve deeper into this, shall we?
Reading this very vague report, we can sum up that according to “the roster backstage at Genesis”, talents are feeling good about the direction of the product/progress of the company.
Calling a spade a spade again (you will never want to play cards again after reading this), the questions need to be asked.
Just who in the heck was polled?
I could say something along the lines of:
“According to PWInsider.com, backstage morale at JCW was high. Overall, everyone felt the show was solid from top to bottom with a good main event. The roster feels the show is moving in the right direction and hope to transfer to a large front yard with a few more successful shows.”
And that’s just what I came up with off the top of my head.
If morale is really that high, cite examples. Who did you poll? And here’s the interesting part that no one is going to notice because apparently, I’m the only one who dives this deep into this crap.
Are we to assume that you only polled the guys backstage at Genesis? Because that’s a fairly skewed opinion. Of course they’re gonna be happy about the direction of the show. THEY’RE ON THE SHOW!
Did anyone go down to OVW, where talents have been collecting dust like cars in a garage for years and ask them how they feel about the direction of the company? Did anyone ask them how they feel about TNA bringing in random outsiders for Gut Check instead of using their own flipping developmental territory?
Did anyone outside of the usual 17 stars on TV each week get to speak? How about anyone who didn’t get a spot on the show because TNA is bringing in guys for one-off returns and no contracts?
Did anyone ask Bully Ray if he thinks this absurd angle is a good move for the company? We’ll never know because our grandiose report just says “The roster,” and/or “everyone backstage.”
If I went and I polled Jeff Hardy, Austin Aries, Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and Bobby Roode about TNA, then obviously they’re going to say they’re happy with the direction. They’re getting what they want from it.
TNA doesn’t get off scot-free for being TNA. They make some of the most idiotic decisions I have ever seen but they’re the only ones who get praised for it week in and week out.
Take this PPV change for example. Everyone is jumping TNA’s bones ready to start sucking. Well, maybe not everyone. But it seems like most people just read the headline “TNA to make MAJOR changes to PPV schedule in 2013” and immediately assumed it was good. Does anyone read anymore?
A good example was given on Twitter not that long ago.
After pointing out the fallacy of their tweet, they quickly amended it by reminding everyone that the six sided ring was coming back for ONE NIGHT ONLY.
But no one clicked on the link. People were responding to the headline itself, praising the company for bringing back the beloved six-sided ring.
Fans do the same with the PPV lineup. It’s already going to be talked about on the podcast so I’m not going to go completely off on it here. But facts are fact.
Fact: TNA is only dropping from 12 PPVs a year to 11.
Fact: TNA is only moving seven of these events to Friday night as opposed to Sunday night.
Fact: TNA isn’t really saving any money here. They’re just spending less.
Wake up folks. Stop putting pool floaties on TNA and telling them it’s okay to never learn how to swim. Stop wiping their tears away and telling them that there are no winners and losers. That’s half the problem with society nowadays. Stop babying them.
Throw ‘em in the pool and let them swim you knuckle headed fruit booties.
And remember: Let’s call a spade a spade. (Insert Aces & Eights joke here.)
~Mr. Quinn Gammon
*All moving gifs courtesy of ilovewrestlinggifs*
Hello again, dear friends and enemies. Welcome back to the site. If you’re like me (and you’re not, because I’m the incarnation of perfection) then you come here for pro wrestling and/or sports entertainment commentary, insight, witty banter and, of course, the occasional bit of hardcore animal porn. But since the nation of Kickassia has passed the Protection of Oriental Pigeons Act (aka the P.O.O.P. Act) we’ve had to fall back on pure analysis.
But not me, true believers! Never a fan of the status quo or hot bird-on-bear action, I, the Infamous One himself, is proud to bring you ranting! Yes, ranting, pure unadulterated ranting on something we all love to hate: the WWE! As we all know, last night was Summerslam 2012, one of the big four PPVs the company puts out, and the question is simple: “DiZ, you clandestine paragon of forthrightness, what did YOU, in all your greatness and humility that I can never hope to achieve, think of the PPV?”
Since you are so kind to acknowledge my greatness, I’ll tell you. I’ve picked up a bad habit, I’m sorry to say, one that compels me to actually buy the PPVs, fry up some chicken wings, drink Yuengling and Sam Adams and occasionally endure a random appearance by a long-lost friend. The last element within that circle did not occur last night, but just as well. Those long-lost friends are usually casual fans and at a certain point last night they would have felt cheated out of the $0.00 they paid to watch it.
Not that they matter. What did I think? Well we start with the pre-show match between Antonio Cesaro, the man of five languages (and six words) versus the United States Champion (and I use that term loosely) Santino Marella. Just for you, reader, I’ll treat you to highlights from the match via moving gifs which highlight the best parts of the matches. So let us begin.
We all know the reign of Santino Marella as the United States Champion has been stupidly underwhelming. His high point came in the Elimination Chamber match when he was literally the cock of the walk. His inclusion into the PPV, even in the pre-show, is fulfillment of the role of the champion who puts others over. Enter Antonio Cesaro, master of one-word phrases and questionably attractive European women. He’s quickly risen from being Teddy Long’s pseudo-adversary to PPV pre-show talent, and why not? He’s a big Swede who beats people up, kind of like this guy here (only he’s Spanish).
Besides that, with patriotism very high right now (election years will do that to you) a good international heel is needed, and Cesaro fits that bill to a Rocky IV kind of perfection. The match was entertaining, far more than Marella has been in a long time, and his loss came as a sigh of relief to us, the masses. Frankly I think Cesaro can enact a respectable and entertaining run as the United States Champion, and maybe he’ll even bring a little validity back to the title. The big question now is who he feuds with next. I’m hoping for a low-to-mid carder who hasn’t exactly had a chance to shine or, hypothetically, gets thrown into walls by giants.
Match one (two if you want to speak in technicalities) was between the Show Off Dolph Ziggler and Y2J Chris Jericho. I don’t know who said it, but a very wise person said that this match had the potential to be the best PPV opener in the history of the WWE.
I agreed. Jericho versus Ziggler, old versus new, unofficial mentor versus unofficial mentee, Yomi versus Shura (Yu Yu Hakusho fans might get that one), and sure enough it was all that and more. The in-ring psychology of the match suggested to me that Ziggler was like a younger brother to Jericho, desperately trying to earn his elder sibling’s respect through ability, skill and imitation. That, as well as the fact that Jericho’s role in the WWE right now is to put over the next generation of stars, fueled this great match.
We were treated to just over 13 minutes of smooth ring work and flashy bravado that ended, surprisingly, with a Jericho win. The crowd was enthused and, even better, we were treated to the Lion Tamer. Not the Walls of Jericho as many figured, but the Lion Tamer. I explained to one person, “The Walls of Jericho is a renamed Boston Crab. The Lion Tamer is there to crush your skill and snap your back in two.” Big brother wasn’t amused.
But I’m looking past that and to what this match might mean for this feud between Jericho and Ziggler. It seems like many a Superstar right now are playing the shadow game to a wrestler they emulate or idolize, and this is the first time I’m seeing how blatantly this is being shown. I don’t see Jericho doing anything big for a bit and Ziggler may not cash in that briefcase in the near future (or maybe he will; get the belt of Sheamus; oops, spoiler) but we may finally see that almost Rule of Two Sith thing I was hinting at so long enough back when Cena was supposed to join the dark side.
Maybe. I hope so.
Match three was between Daniel Bryan and Kane, more in-ring story for the long (and compelling) arc between AJ, Punk, Bryan and Kane. While the “anger management” angle has seemed to fade a little bit, the sun that is Bryan’s career hasn’t subsided in the least. Easily one of the finest workers in the WWE in a long time, he makes the ring work look good and he plays the crowd to perfection, whether friendly or jerky, aggressive or downright psychotic. Pair him with Kane, another of the great workers in the WWE, and we have a great match.
It is interesting, I think, that this angle has lasted as long as it has, and it all revolves around a Diva, the most powerful Diva on the program, the Diva that did what Eve couldn’t do and did it without any sexual innuendo (the mantra is “I will resist Eve breast, mouth or sex jokes. I will resist…”) and now it seems like she punishing every man that had any relation with her along the way. Look at Punk and his triple threat. Look at Bryan and his psychological evaluations. Look at Kane and his relative third wheel status. Look at Josh Matthews and…
Well to be fair, he was just doing his job. But really, when’s the last time that paid off? That’s not very “Be A Star”-ish, WWE. What does it say when a man who is just trying to do his job gets manhandled and may just suffer from some anal bleeding?
But Bryan won the match via a Small Package (ironic, I know) and AJ has promised retribution and consequences for Kane’s attack. A great match, great work from both Superstars, great tolerance for Josh Matthews. I don’t know WHO he pissed off to get thrown around and beat up as of late but he’s taking it all in stride.
Our fourth match was for the Intercontinental Championship, a real barn burner between token talking Mexican good guy Rey Mysterio and (not a) movie star Mike Mizanin, aka the Miz. I didn’t know what to expect or think of this match but I have to admit: I hate Batman and Bruce Wayne just a little bit more now that we have this image:
Personally I think he’d have been better off coming out as the Riddler, being “Mysterio” and all, or even Bane, because of the similar Mexican heritage, but hey, when you need to impersonate a hero, you impersonate everyone’s favorite psychologically damaged, sexually repressed/confused, forever lonely billionaire! Trust me, I know Batman lore, I’m being VERY nice just saying that.
Like I said, I didn’t have much of an opinion for this match because my only thought was that I wanted the Miz to win. I’m in the minority here but I’m not big on Rey Mysterio for the same reason I’m not big on Sin Cara: I don’t see their styles soar because they rarely face other luchas. When the eventual (and inevitable) battle between him and Sin Cara becomes a reality (not that tag team mess where they look like Double Dragon) I’ll probably enjoy it more. After all, what is Sin Cara in the WWE but in the shadow… of… Rey… Mysterio… do I hear the sweet bells of validation?!
The actual match was surprisingly good. The back-and-forth was clever and enjoyable, and the end of the match actually did feature some serious edge-of-your-seat(-with-a-beer-in-hand) moments. The Miz’s victory pleased me even more because it looked like a hard fought victory, which is the best kind of victory.
Match five was the rather noteworthy Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio 463 (I don’t think the number is that high, but it might as well be). We’ve seen this match plenty of times but despite Del Rio’s in-ring skill he’s just not that fun to watch overall. He’s rather dull on the mic and he’s grown stale. Someone’s left the cap off of the bottle of Senzao if you catch my drift.
Therein lies the issue: the actual match was solid. It was clean. But like the Primetime Players vs. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth 353 (again, not that many, but might as well be) back when A.W. was their manager, the crowd wasn’t into it. A.W. brought energy to that match, and Ricardo Rodriguez couldn’t do the same for this match.
There was a certain time when the crowd popped though that caught my attention, as shown here:
But that pop actually came BEFORE Sheamus displayed his strength, when Del Rio locked in his finisher. That was curious, but even when Ricardo threw his shoe (you’re missed, A.W.) the crowd just wasn’t into this otherwise solid match. Sheamus retained, but it’s about time we had something new. Sheamus vs. Del Rio has long since overstayed its welcome, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Orton in the WHC title hunt again. Speaking of Orton… no, nothing. I just wanted to get your hopes up. Like I said to Quinn before: he dismantles with arguments and logic. I just hurt people’s feelings. Deal with it!
The next match was the Primetime Players against Kofi Kingston and R-Truth, who seemed to be dressed in Superman attire for some reason or the other. You’ll notice the lack of moving gifs for this one. That’s because there are none (or at least I don’t feel like looking). It was a standard match, and the consistent chant of “Kobe” throughout (or maybe “Kofi”, it was hard to tell) was the highlight.
My biggest thing was finally acknowledging that one of the biggest African-American wrestlers in the WWE right now is a Que. That’s gotta be an interesting article in the Oracle I reckon. Kofi and R-Truth (I call them “Good Times” because I think of this song when they come out) retain their titles, but honestly I don’t feel too strongly either way about them right now.
The WWE Championship match followed this tag team encounter, and the first thing that caught my attention was the order of appearance. John Cena was first, then the Big Show, and finally the CHAMPION CM Punk. That’s good. It’s progress. Punk wasn’t in the main event but that’s a gripe for another post.
I’ll say this: that match was as good as it could have possibly been. There was a consistent attempt to keep it a one-on-one bout and the double tap out was, predictably I’ll admit, interesting if not a little cliché. Punk’s victory was the icing on the cake because it was both so like him and so unlike him at the same time, which only makes his tweener status (HE’S NOT A HEEL!) all the better.
But you have to wonder: is this part of a grand months long arc like that of Daniel Bryan? We know the Rock is waiting at the Royal Rumble for his match (with no reasonable explanation as to why this match CAN even go down) but what until then? Minor sidestories within? Gaiden? Cheese? The Tahj Mahal? Hammer? I’m actually voting for Hammer. Otherwise, CM Punk is a terrific tweener, in the same vein of Stone Cold himself (SHADOWS! SHADOWS! SHADOWS!) and I like that.
What the people (i.e. – many of thee) don’t understand is that there’s a lot more to the characters you love and hate in the ring. There’s more than just black and white; there is gray, several shades of it, about fifty to be exact. That’s where CM Punk is. That’s actually where a LOT of wrestlers are, but people don’t like to think. There’s black and white, but no gray. Gray SUCKS! So people just think, “Oh, he hit the Rock so he’s a heel!” Shut up, fool, he’s a tweener, between face and heel, adept in both, master of none!
I’m sorry, I got angry because I envisioned your (ADRIAN!) face and just screamed at the computer screen. Let me sum up my feelings on those that feel like CM Punk is a heel with this:
Next we had our Cash Money performance, and being an ardent hater of anything post-2003 from the Cash Money camp that was NOT Teena Marie let’s just apply the above moving gif to my feelings for the performance. There wasn’t enough dancing Layla but there was enough trying to sing Spanish announcers. That made the overall performance about a C+. It would have been a B-, but like I said: not enough dancing Layla.
Finally, my legion of followers, we come to the main event. Brock Lesnar versus Triple H. I’ll offer this disclaimer now: if you’re a casual fan of pro wrestling/sports entertainment, this match sucked. If you’re a deep thinking pro wrestling/sports entertainment fan, this match was intriguing.
It was like a game of chess, that’s the only way I can describe it. And chess, while interesting, isn’t always something that has your eyes shifting like a game of ping pong. It was like a ballet almost, a psychological struggle between a man with no morals and a man who still thinks he has something to prove after losing a record third time to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
No tables were destroyed, no weapons utilized, just some retrospectively brutal attacks by both combatants. Looking at what this match is truly here to symbolize, you have to wonder if this is all part of the long road (or an extended storyline) leading to the end of Triple H’s in-ring work. He’s been around for a while, staked his claim, and now he’s been emasculated and defeated, both as an athlete (Lesnar’s repeatedly beat him senseless) and professionally (Lesnar didn’t get his way, but he left the scars). Is it time to see the end of Triple H, the wrestler?
Maybe. I have a scenario in mind actually that would be a perfect way for Triple H to leave the ring, but it would need to happen at Wrestlemania. In any case, it was a gentleman’s match, not full of spotfest excitement or bloody indulgence but true, technical, specified brutality. Watching from both a casual and deep thinking pro wrestling/sports entertainment state of mind, I was equally bored/angered and amazed/melancholy, because with the abundance of shadows I’ve spoken of earlier, who exactly is the shadow for Triple H? Stone Cold’s legacy is in the spirit of CM Punk right now. Hogan’s is in Cena. Rey Mysterio’s is in Sin Cara. Jericho’s is in Ziggler, maybe even a few others. Could perhaps Sheamus…
Well, it was a deep match, with Triple H tapping out to Lesnar. He left the ring like a king who had finally taken too many wounds. Classy. Very cool, very classy.
That sums up the PPV for me. Because I’m in the weird habit of paying for these and essentially hosting little private parties for them now, I hold the PPVs, especially the big four, in a higher regard now, and I can say that Summerslam didn’t disappoint. The crowd wasn’t as enthused at all times as they could have been, and the main event is going to be a polarizing thing for many, but by and by I liked it, money well spent, a nice compliment to my many, many beers.
The DiZ gives this PPV a B for a grade. That’s about all I have to say today. You stay classy, San Diego. I’m Ron Burgandy…?
Tonight’s the night! Fans all across the world are geared up for the biggest blockbuster party of the summer. Hailing from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, this year’s SummerSlam Pay Per View looks chocked-filled with sports entertainment goodness that’s sure to leave fans lingering on the edge of their seats…for what, we’ll have to wait until the show starts to see.
One look at the card shows us a bevy of matches that pit up-and-coming stars against veterans of the sport. With the exception of the Triple H/Lesnar match, the card looks like a springboard for the next generation of superstars. What better than a place like Los Angeles to attempt such an important feat for the WWE? In that sense the show should be perfect for those who are tired of the same old matches and stars dominating the product. If you don’t buy into this show and your favorite star gets pushed back down the card, who can you really blame for that?
That’s another point for another time. Until then, let’s join in on the speculative goodness and provide some good ol’ fashioned previews and predictions, L.E.W.D. style!
Pre-show – Antonio Cesaro (w/Aksana) vs. Santino Marella (c) for the United States Championship
I’m sure the average fan can agree that Santino’s reign as United States Champion has been lacking…well…a lot of stuff. Relevance, significance, prestige, importance, focus, meaning…we could go on all day about it but that’s not really the point here. Marella is gold when it comes to bringing attention to his opponents, and it’s that ability that will make or break his pre-show match against Antonio Cesaro.
Cesaro is still in the infancy stages of his WWE career and it is very noteworthy that he’s advanced far enough in so little time to the point where he has a Pay Per View match for a championship title. Yes it’s for a “meaningless” title, but it’s a title nevertheless. Eric Escobar never got that far…
At any rate I expect this match to be one where Cesaro can easily dominate and physically embarrass Santino. The irony of this international fracas is that an Italian and Swede are vying for the U.S. Championship; take that, Arizona.
Cesaro’s Pay Per View outing tonight should be one were fans get a chance to buy into the character. By being in a high profile match against the WWE’s top babyface underdog, Cesaro can gain tons of heat and further his character without even winning the match.
Prediction – Santino Marella retains; Mr. Morris Hopes – Antonio Cesaro wins, moves on to feud with Alex Riley…b/c story line wise* no right-minded “American” would agree with it.
“The Prime Time Players” Titus O’Neil and Darren Young vs. “High Times” Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (c)
for the Tag Team Championships
Despite what fans may gripe about, tag team wrestling in the WWE has slowly made a return to some level of prominence within the company. Any one that’s followed the progress of Titus O’Neil and Darren Young can easily agree with that aforementioned statement. If you haven’t followed their progress, then that’s your fault and not the WWE’s.
Not much has been seen collectively from Kingston and Truth other than furthering the feud between them and the PTPs. So far their reign has been lackluster, but that is largely due to the WWE’s insistence on putting over the story more so than the athletic competition. While not necessarily a good thing it isn’t all that bad either; we get that the PTPs are the new jack tag team stars on the rise and that High Times feels it necessary to humble the young, brass duo.
Having been involuntarily relieved of A.W.’s managerial services, the PTPs will have to utilize their own abilities (athleticism and charisma) to put over their team as a legitimate threat to High Times. Other than that, the group isn’t as polished as they could be and a clean win tonight would not do them justice in the long run.
Prediction - High Times retains; Mr. Morris Hopes – High Times retains. #BillionsandBillionsandBillionsofReasonsWhyTheyShould
Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz (c) for the Intercontinental Championship
According to Mr. Quinn Gammon, Rey Mysterio has a pinfall victory over The Miz which entitles him to a match of this caliber. I honestly missed that victory and care very little to visit YouTube to see it.
This does not take away the potential for this match to be an exhibition of solid ring work from two superstars capable of getting a rise out of the fans. My fear is that the prestige of the IC Title that was built up during the magnificent reign of Cody Rhodes has been lost by now. With no offense to The Miz, the title has returned to its inglorious days of being an accessory; it’s like a Yves Saint Laurent purse or a celebrity’s 3-month old baby.
Since his departure from the WWE to film The Marine 2: Homefront, The Miz has yet to stand out dramatically in the midst of everything else going on in the WWE right now. Rey Mysterio is the perfect WWE vet to bring some attention back to the man who has a pinfall victory over John Cena at WrestleMania. Not too many people can say that now can they?
Prediction – Miz retains; Mr. Morris Hopes – Rey Mysterio wins, begins feud with Sin Cara b/c they’re going to have to do it anyway.
Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
All one has to do is take a look at Daniel Bryan’s rise to WWE superstardom to see just how far the “indy darling’s” stock has skyrocketed in such a short time. Bryan was once the man that fans knew wouldn’t receive a fair shake in the WWE due to his size and abilities. A few years later the man literally has fans eating out of the palms of his hands; it’d be awesome to look at his transition from professional wrestler to sports entertainer.
Bryan will go one on one against “The Big Red Machine/Monster” tonight in what could be an interesting match-up of skill versus brute strength and power. I expect Bryan to amp up his intensity in this match to compensate for the monstrous brutality he lacks and Kane will provide. I believe I heard somewhere that Bryan does not hold a singles victory over Kane, which means he will probably work for not only the victory but also to do so in a way that will weaken Kane’s stoic persona.
I’m not sure if RAW’s General Manager AJ Lee will get involved, but I’m hoping she doesn’t as it could take away from the athletic story telling in the ring while adding to the drama that exists between herself and Daniel Bryan.
Prediction – Kane wins via AJ Lee distraction;
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero)
This will perhaps be the best wrestling match of the night. Combine a renaissance man like Chris Jericho with a super-solid in ring worker like Dolph Ziggler and fans are guaranteed one hell of a display of athleticism and ring psychology.
We’re looking at two stars who are brilliant in their own right and bring something unique to the table of professional wrestling and sports entertainment. Jericho is an entertainer at heart who excels at pro wrestling all around the world, is a NY Times bestselling author, is the lead singer of the popular rock band Fozzy, and has a degree in communications.
Dolph Ziggler is a decorated amateur and collegiate wrestler, has a political science/pre-law degree, and is fluent in American Sigh Language.
What in the blue fluke are we in for tonight?
Jericho’s band Fozzy has already began touring a hectic schedule that will pick up dates in September. Needless to say Jericho’s run in the WWE at this point will probably come to an end with this match. However look for the vet to put over Ziggler in spectacular form, perhaps in preparation for his cashing in of his Money In the Bank briefcase.
Prediction – Dolph Ziggler wins; Mr. Morris Hopes – Dolph Ziggler wins.
Big Show vs. John Cena vs. CM Punk (c), Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship
For starters, CM Punk is not the heel in this match.
In fact, CM Punk has pretty much spouted everything that IWC pundits have spewed venomously against the WWE since the beginning of the PG Era. His nine month reign has received far less fanfare and fan attention than what it should have (in comparison to Robert Roode’s nine month TNA World Heavyweight Championship reign) and the focus of RAW has been on everything except the champion. So why then would anyone boo CM Punk for stating his beef with this especially when we all agree with him?
This match is important as it will allow Punk to put to rest all the chatter that does not have to do with his reign as WWE Champion. Between the Big Show’s “I’m a giant and I can bully everybody because I’m big and mean and surly and frightening and blah blah blah,” and John Cena’s “I can take up TV time for a major announcement that’s not really an announcement and I’m also made of adamantine,” Punk’s “Joe 6-Pack” reign will carry most of the work in this match.
To be honest Big Show is just a prop in the match, the real beef taking place between the face and the champion of the company. At this point in his career Cena really doesn’t have to be anywhere near the title in order to be significant, which is one of the reasons why Punk’s pissed off in the first place. I imagine a feud between the two sometime in the future, but I’m also aware that Punk’s character will be featured prominently to coincide with the release of the WWE ’13 video game. That notion makes the match all the more interesting.
Prediction – Punk Retains. Mr. Morris Hopes – Punk retains.
Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Sheamus (c) for the World Heavyweight Championship
That goofy smiling doof just doesn’t get it. Del Rio is going to lose, flat out.
This match makes me angry because of Del Rio’s character being stuck in development hell. After returning from an injury/suspension or whatever it was, Del Rio fell casually back into the same safe schtick that has not worked to get him over with the fans. The man even changed the color of his tights and scarf to represent how “sinister” he had grown in his quest to win the WHC, and it hasn’t worked. I won’t go in on Sheamus because he’s a pretty straight-forward character: “My name is
Finlay Sheamus, and I lov’ ta foite!”
I’ll keep this one short: Del Rio has to gain some viciousness (like The Rock did in his I Quit Match against Mick Foley) in order to be taken seriously. He should make someone bleed, put someone out of action indefinitely, and probably punt an eight year old’s soda to the other side of the area. Then and only then will someone take him seriously.
That ain’t finna happen tonight, so get ready for another month of mediocrity.
Prediction – Sheamus retains; Mr. Morris Hopes – Sheamus retains…for the love of all that is sacred please let Sheamus retain.
“The Perfect Storm” Match – Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)
Tonight’s “big business” match will see Brock Lesnar attempt to decimate Triple H. To quote WWE Legend Jim Ross, “this one ought to be a barn burner!”
Over on Gerweck.net a few fans complained about the event taking place in Los Angeles for the fourth time in a row. For those of you that missed Captain Obvious’ groundbreaking appearance, here’s a recap for the logic behind this:
The WWE has established itself as a major player in the Los Angeles market. Without even considering the tons of networking opportunities and shoulder rubbing events that accompany an appearance in Los Angeles, the area has been good for the WWE fans for at least three years running. It would be illogical and stupid for the WWE to not capitalize off of booking in a city that has been and will be gracious to their presence.
Excuse them for not considering Tumbleweed, South Dakota, population: YOU as the most lucrative host for one of their major Pay Per Views.
So while some sit and stream the show for free as they complain about the location, think about the potential money that could be raked in from this Lesnar/Triple H fight in L.A. Lesnar’s credibility as a fighter against Triple H’s reputation as a technician and brute will make this fight even more chilling than Lesnar’s destruction of John Cena at this year’s Extreme Rules Pay Per View.
Cena was a pancake compared to Lesnar; this fight with Trips won’t be as sugary sweet or easy. I’m not sure how many more dates Lesnar has with the company, but I’ve heard at least one person remark that a missing Triple H (due to getting his ass handed to him by Lesnar) could equal a return for John Laurinaitis. One could only dream…
Expect this one to be ugly in a good way, satiating the blood thirsty appetite of those fans longing for an un-PG product. I’m not predicting blood, but wouldn’t be surprised if it showed up during the course of the match.
Prediction – Triple H prevails at a great cost; Mr. Morris Hopes – Lesnar beats the crap out of Triple H, who wins but disappears from TV for awhile.
Well there you have it; hope you enjoyed the preview and here’s to a good SummerSlam that’s worthy enough to be purchased on DVD in a month or so.
I know this is getting a little ridiculous, but there still is plenty more to come. In this chapter we discuss the Triple H and Brock Lesnar feud.
We here at L.E.W.D. discussed earlier today the intent of crafting pieces that celebrated 4/20. While I myself do not partake in said “sticky-icky,” and while I’m not entirely sure that my fellow L.E.W.D. brethren avoid the cannabis as well, who are we to deprive you, our loyal reader, of some lighthearted celebratory hijinks involving our wit and the long list of pro wrestling’s most popular potheads?
Seeing as it’s currently nine minutes until Smackdown and said article(s) haven’t seen the light of day on this site, I guess that would make us a bunch of jerks…so be it.
But while we’re on the subject of Smackdown, and I have a few minutes to murder before moving on to my next duty of the day, please allow me the time to release a poignant, well-constructed, and hallucinogenic free rant against one of the WWE’s newest superstars…
…Damien effing Sandow…
Let the ellipses show that yours truly has not the first positive or supportive thing to say about Damien effing Sandow. I dislike Damien effing Sandow and highly doubt that he’ll add anything to Smackdown or the WWE.
*Disclaimer: The following is a tirade against the character Damien effing Sandow and not the man portraying that character, Aaron Stevens. Mr. Morris is sure that Mr. Aaron Stevens is a fine, law-abiding citizen, a doting husband, father, and son, and an organ donor. But the reality is that he’s boring as goose-s**t and so too will Damien effing Sandow be.
Those of you that visit this site routinely know that I will often watch and comment on two of the WWE’s lesser known and viewed shows: NXT and Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW).
For our two readers that just realized there were WWE shows outside of RAW and Smackdown, FCW is a developmental territory for the WWE. Simply put, it’s where new hires receive their standard WWE training before being brought up to the main roster (i.e. RAW or Smackdown). FCW is also the nether-realm main roster stars get sent back to if they can’t cut the mustard on the main roster.
This is where Damien effing Sandow comes from, and this is where he should stay in my humble-yet-vociferous opinion.
My opinion of effing Sandow is based on what I’ve seen of him through the YouTubed episodes of FCW that I watch routinely. From what I’ve seen and heard, there’s nothing about this character that is invigorating, energizing, entertaining, depressing, or noteworthy of any response outside of what happens whenever the Divas appear on television.
There is very little from this character that warrants or elicits any type of emotional response on either end of the spectrum. He’s about as bland as plain ice cream (not Vanilla…plain), and eight times less likely to be screamed for that America’s least favorite flavor of the tastiest frozen treat known to anyone except me.
Stop; I know what you’re thinking or probably saying: “But Mr. Morris, CLEARLY effing Sandow is good at what he’s doing because he’s made you hate him…which is on the end of the supposed spectrum you mentioned before badmouthing ice cream. You, sir, are a liar and a hypocrite.”
If you actually thought or said this, then much like John Cena, you’re only half-right. “Hating” Damien effing Sandow is indeed on one end of the spectrum, but that’s an entirely different spectrum than the one I mentioned above. I don’t “hate” Damien effing Sandow because of his heel character; I “hate” Damien effing Sandow because he made it to the main roster!!!
A lot of my friends/followers and some fans on the world wide internets actually like the character. He’s appeared on our TVs twice, spouting off this or that about how he’s going to essentially bring class back to the WWE. Think of him as an unmasked Matt Classic from Wrestling Society X, but less entertaining and way more yawn-inducing:
In reality, Damien effing Sandow is more of an unholy hybrid of Lanny Poffo’s “The Genius” character and Bob Backlund. Even still those two were at least mildly entertaining…unlike effing Sandow…
Here…watch one of his matches. He’s wrestling Richie Steamboat, son of WWE Legend Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Effing Sandow doesn’t even have an elbow strike that looks intimidating…and he’s wrestling against a Steamboat!
Sad thing is, this isn’t effing Sandow’s first run in the WWE! He wrestled as Idol Stevens alongside KC James as Michelle McCool’s “Teacher’s Pets.” This worked well for Stevens, so well that they sent him back to developmental and he was released from the WWE in 2007.
Everyone deserves a second chance, however, and Stevens was given one when the WWE hired him back three years later in 2010. Effing Sandow was born and now we get to be bored to tears again. Lucky us.
But this post is Booking 101, and I’d be a super jackass if I didn’t suggest something that would make effing Sandow less hated from my own perspective. In his defense I will say that wrestling in front of 7,000+ people on Smackdown is very different than wrestling in front of 100 people in the FCW arena. Perhaps effing Sandow will rise to the occasion and cause me to rethink my whole stance here.
I sincerely doubt it. To be very sincere with you, I think he’s the second coming of Eric Escobar.
What would I do if I had to book effing Sandow? I’d leave him in FCW and bring up Richie Steamboat, Seth Rollins, or Xavier Woods until I figured out what to do with him besides release him again. That’s all I got.
But alas, this rant isn’t all about me. I’m intrigued by what YOU would do with him. Let me know, and try not to be offended if I laugh in your face.
First, let me just say that I thoroughly enjoyed WrestleMania XXVIII! I found myself mostly entertained by the Pay-Per-View. Definitely a step up from last year!
One thing that I pulled from the Taker/HHH match is that the WWE planned the results of WM 28 before WM 27!
The storytelling in the WWE is seemingly taking the (what I like to call) “big picture” or “full circle” method of writing. They are writing stories that take yearly quarters to live out, as well as some storylines that take years to be realized.
Also, the WWE has tapped into the minds of their fans through social media, and internet communication. They are using it to their full advantage!
I categorized this as a Backlash in part because this is a little bit of a response to some of the IWC that are writing about how WrestleMania sucked, and the Rock/Cena match didn’t live up to expectations, and that the WWE should turn John Cena heel.
One article in particular is written by Donald Wood (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1128056-wrestlemania-28-results-john-cenas-loss-to-the-rock-will-spark-heel-turn) of Bleacher Report. He writes,
“After one of the biggest builds in the history of the wrestling business, the main event of WrestleMania 28 between John Cena and The Rock did not live up to the expectations. On top of the weak match, the WWE made the wrong choice by allowing The Rock to go over.”
First off, you already have exposed yourself as just a sore Cena smark (Note: I didn’t say member of the CeNation for a reason) that is mad because WM 28 didn’t get booked/go the way you wanted it!
The IWC needs to learn to differentiate series of events that they don’t like from a poor presentation. Just because YOU didn’t like what happened, doesn’t mean it was bad.
He goes on to say,
“By letting Cena lose, they make it even harder on the fans that try to support the leader of CeNation. Another loss at WrestleMania shows that WWE is trying to set the stage for something huge.
A John Cena heel turn, to be specific.”
He surmises that Cena will be driven mad by the loss to the Rock, and will become one of the most dominant heels in the business. Wood also suggests the idea of a Cena led nWo stable…OK?…
Let me take a page from my dear friend Mr. Ashley Morris, and ask you Mr. Wood, how would the match between Cena and Rock been better? How would you book Cena and Rock at WrestleMania?
If many members of the always disgruntled IWC would stop whining long enough to open their eyes, look around, and think a little critically, they may see a little into the WWE’s thinking.
Now let’s try this “full circle” thing out. This is strictly my opinion, so I may be very wrong at this, but this is what I think.
Earlier, I mentioned that the WWE is taking full advantage of the social media world and is getting into the minds of their fans.
We as fans don’t recognize it because we have never seen it before! There has never been a social media era in the world before the past decade.
So for all those waiting and wanting a Cena heel turn…What Are You Waiting For? He is already there!!!
Welcome to the Reality Era of the WWE!
How is John Cena a heel? I’ll explain.
The classic heel is defined as a wrestler that may exhibit immoral behavior, wrestle a face, and/or exhibits unlikable personality traits.
During his feud with Kane, he was supposed to ‘embrace the hate’, and he refused to. Kane stated that they only way that Cena would beat him, is if he embraced the hate. Some will say that Cena never did, but I remember one incident with Jack Swagger where he just brutalized him for no obviously apparent reason. He found joy in his pain…
Also, Cena is married and Zack Ryder was his “broski”, yet when he and Eve made-out, not only did he NOT push Eve away, he put his arm around the back of her head. Even worse, when they were done, he didn’t exhibit any form of regret or discomfort, he asked, “What was that for?”
When Eve is caught in her plan, Cena calls her a “Skank” a “Hoski” and insinuated that she had a STD when she never even kissed Zack Ryder, let alone slept with anyone. Isn’t that slander?
Wrestling a Babyface Adversary:
First, The Rock, and now Brock Lesnar? Unless they plan on Brock cutting an awesome rant against the fans of the WWE, he is going to be cheered against Cena by the vast majority.
Exhibiting Unlikeable Traits:
Regardless of how seemingly tired the fans are of him, he refuses to change! Just this past Monday, he made a point to say that even though he lost at Mania, that when he should lash out at the fans and make a “Heel Turn”, as if he was in an “I Quit” match, he said “No!”
How is that a Heel move? He refuses to do for the fans, and continues to do for himself. He will do what it takes to win for himself.
When he and The Rock were verbally going at it, The Rock exclaimed that all that he does is for the entertainment of “The People”. Cena’s response was that he was doing it for all the guys in the back, or the guys that were like him.
Not to mention, that Cena is not relatable. He never backed up against the wall, and has become admittingly cocky. “I never thought about losing,” he proclaimed in response to losing to The Rock at WM 28. Is that not cocky?
The WWE is a business. How do you make Cena a heel while maintaining his image that allows him to do great things for the community, keep a celebrity status, and sell his merchandise? Don’t change Cena, change the audience.
The largest demographic that seems to not like John Cena are Males aged 15 and up, which is also the leading demographic of fans from the “Attitude Era”.
The WWE has marketed many “Attitude Era” fans back into the fold, while sustaining the “PG Era” fans by having this ethical battle between Cena and The Rock. Not to mention their use of the term “Era” with WrestleMania.
Triple H and The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match with Shawn Michaels as the Guest Referee?!? (Michaels gets two points for both being Shawn Michaels, and Shawn Michaels being the Guest Referee) There’s more Attitude in that match than a national PMS convention.
Also, did anyone else notice that The Rock, Big Show, and Kane were all victorious at WM 28? In fact, the only Attitude Alumnae in singles competition that wasn’t victorious was Chris Jericho.
Point being, the WWE lured many older males back to the regular fanbase in order to achieve the “Heel” status for Cena without risking him lose fans, or the WWE lose money.
Donald Wood did make one very good point in his piece.
“Rock didn’t need to win at WrestleMania, but the fact that he did proves that there is something much bigger brewing below the surface.”
With that being said, how about you start digging deeper in thought and try to see the bigger picture instead of trying to paint your own. (Lesson I learned from The Scholar)
Thanks for reading
The Right Reverend Showtime
For all the Smark IWC Conservationalists out there that are screaming, “SEE! I TOLD YOU THE ATTITUDE ERA NEEDED TO COME BACK!” You are very WRONG! The Attitude Era doesn’t need to come back, and it isn’t back, but it does help to have some of the talent from that era return to both educate and entertain. #TeamBroughtIt
These polls will be the way we will do predictions here at L.E.W.D. Headquaters. So let’s see what you think. (This is a test run to see how we will do things in the future)
As my first WrestleMania draws near, I am looking forward to the event with high expectations.
Yes, you read that correctly; my FIRST WrestleMania. Though I have had a few minor history lessons with The Right Reverend’s extensive WWE DVD collection, I haven’t seen any WrestleMania events.
I began watching and gaining interest in the WWE in the summer of 2011. My first Pay-Per-View was SummerSlam, but so far none of the events have been as monumental as SummerSlam 2011.
SummerSlam 2011 contained all the rises and falls of a fantastic plot with a hidden surprise at the end when Alberto Del Rio cashed in his money in the bank briefcase. The storylines before the matches of SummerSlam 2011 made me interested in the fights, who was going to win, and how they would execute that win. Pay-Per-Views since then have almost let me down as I find myself engaged in certain matches, but not the entirety.
I have high hopes for my first WrestleMania, especially with the gradually growing tension from the reappearance of “The Rock.” As a new fan, the excitement of the matches is highly drawn from the progression of plot on Monday Night RAW. I can still be enamored by the characters and their promotional speeches.
That being said, my wrestling watching career is still young; “The Rock” hasn’t been around to enamor me as a viewer, I don’t know his character very well, and in fact, the first thing I think of when I think “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson” is his appearance as the character of The Tooth Fairy.
The Rock’s recent appearance has given me a sense of interest, however. In the debacle of The Rock vs. John Cena, I will pick The Rock simply because John Cena’s promotions are weaker. The Rock has been absent for almost the entirety of my recent wrestling watching, yet he had the charisma and power to sway me.
I generally do not like John Cena as he’s a stock character; on the other hand, in the reappearance of The Rock, he gained my respect as he is a major face of the WWE. The Rock serves the WWE as a hall of fame monument; he’s the face who can be absent for an extended period of time, making terrible movies and return to a loyal crowd.
John Cena on the other hand is still in the youth of his career; he’s the (disputable) hero of today’s young wrestling fans and stands as the rookie who’s gaining his place with the epic characters that are senior to him. He is now fighting for his place, just as Triple H and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin did ten to fifteen years ago.
He’s also a lesser version of these characters because, as we have discovered in any life context, generations are degenerative.
Today’s youth is captivated by social media and electronics. Their wrestling characters , therefore, are simple and provide stock for a good guy and a bad guy that work toward a common goal that is either heroic or tainted with “evil.”
Take a look at any of the emerging stars of the WWE; how do they differ from previous characters who have gained so much prestige and respect? Their characters are a lot less round. The point is that they don’t matter as much because they haven’t taken the extra time to develop that character for themselves.
But back to WrestleMania; I’m looking forward to watching this event. I want to see if “The Rock” has the power to come back and kick some ass, or if John Cena was right and that he should go back to Hollywood.
I want to see Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres (although I dread the screaming from Kelly Kelly), especially since the arising conflict of Eve’s promiscuous nature.
I’m ready for the comedy of Team Teddy Long vs. Team John Laurinautis.
I’m excited about Randy Orton vs. Kane, because quite frankly, Kane is so creepy he’s awesome.
I want to see Sheamus dominate Daniel Bryan because Bryan looks like a leprechaun.
CM Punk and Chris Jericho have been amusing me for weeks; I want to know if the guy in the queer light-up jacket is going to become the new champion.
The match that I’m most excited about is The Undertaker vs. Triple H in the Hell in a Cell Match. The match itself is so gruesome that it’s interesting, and the fact that I get to see two veteran figures from the WWE in a match with a special referee guest of another special figure – Shawn Michaels – simply makes the match more epic. The Undertaker is scary, and Triple H has won my attention ever since he was COO.
To you, dedicated fans, I place this challenge: watch and enjoy WrestleMania XXVIII with the same youthful eye you had when you first became acquainted with these characters. Enjoy their story and their skill.
~ “The Scholar” Jennifer Gabel ~
I’m not sure how YOU felt about Sunday night’s Royal Rumble, but I knew well in advance that something was up when I became more interested in seeing the post-Rumble RAW than I was in watching the Silver Anniversary pay per view spectacle that featured the classic 30 man over-the-top-rope brawl.
And boy was I on the money…
Believe it or not, those thoughts made me more on the money than I usually am (for those of you that know my most notorious pseudonym, the pun was intended).
For example: my good friend DJ Rallo asked me to participate in a roundtable discussion prior to the Rumble for his site, The Sharp Shooter Press (shameless plug). The very first question asked who we felt was the most likely person to win the Rumble. Here, in brief, was my response…
The Royal Rumble is such a HUGE match that I typically never take guesses at who’s the odds on favorite to win, especially seeing as there’s a 1 out of 30 chance that I’ll be “right” and rarely do people ever like to be “wrong.” However in this instance (seeing I was asked), I’ll say that I feel Sheamus has a good chance of being this year’s winner.
But of course that is vastly different from what I said about a week ago in my Talking Points piece about the importance of the Rumble:
Not only that, but this year’s rumble is taking place in Randy Orton’s hometown of St. Louis, MI. Add to that the fact that he’s been out with an “injury,” and all signs seemingly point to [Orton] sliding in later in the match and pulling it off.
For the record, I called the Sheamus thing long ago and that makes me a winner. Wanna fight about it?
All that speculative talk aside, Sheamus is indeed the 2012 Royal Rumble winner and will move forward to face the champion of his choosing at WrestleMania 28 in Miami, Florida. More important is the fact that the Rumble is the beginning of the “Road to WrestleMania,” and while the actual pay per view was mediocre or miss depending on who you’re talking to, last night’s RAW provided the surge of energy needed to make this annual road trip seem like a big effing deal.
Not only did last night’s RAW feature good in-ring wrestling, but also gave fans several reasons to hope and believe that this year’s “Grandaddy of them all” will be far better than that thing they did a year ago in Atlanta…
So as usual, here are the few points that I picked up on and felt were the most important things during the show:
- CM Punk + Daniel Bryan + Chris Jericho = Change of Shorts
- I CALLED THE UNDERTAKER THING…after I realized what was happening
- Triple H is the new…Hulk…Hogan…? ::confused face::
- Dear Kharma: Please Save Us. XOXO, Ash (smiley face)
- Did ANYONE see Epico get eliminated from the Rumble???
When it was announced at the top of the show that CM Punk would be facing Daniel Bryan in a Champion vs. Champion match, my Twitter time line exploded with fans having markgasms about the match; I’m not ashamed to admit I was in that group as well.
Most were worried that the match wouldn’t be given an adequate amount of time, and surprisingly enough it was. Most complained that the match wasn’t the main event, but as indy wrestler Joey Image pointed out, the ever so important second hour of the show (which is just as important as the overrun, but more on that later) featured these two wrestlers going at it.
After that, the only thing some fans had to complain about was the fact that no one referenced the Code of Honor handshake before the match began; William H. Macy, can you guys puhleeeze grow up?
In any case, the bout when well over the average five to seven minute mark, but the ending is what really sold the story line. Daniel Bryan gains the victory via DQ when Chris Jericho runs out, tosses him into the fan barricade, then proceeds to deliver the Codebreaker to CM Punk. Methinks Mr. Quinn Gammon was right.
And we should’ve known this was coming from the start of the episode. CM Punk literally said “Best In the World” at least one time every time he was in whispering distance of a microphone. It’s so beautiful how all of this is starting to come together; think about it:
- CM Punk is the “Best In the World”;
- The “It Begins” viral videos promised us that the “world” as we knew it was coming to an end.
- Chris Jericho returns, will make sure as the “world” that CM Punk is the “best in” will come to an end…
- 2 + 2 = 4
Keep in mind that Laurinaitis’ job is still on the fence, and we may see a new GM come into play sometime soon seeing as Triple H is attempting to not allow his personal business to interfere with his work. Is it possible that the infamous “she” could be a returning Stephanie McMahon Helmsley?
Speaking of Triple H, his epic silent stare down with The Undertaker once again left us salivating at our television screens. I wasn’t thrilled about the third installment of Trips and Taker, nor was I pleased with the thought of the possibility of Trips defeating Taker this year.
What made my night was the conversation I had with DiZ before Trips walked up the ramp, paused, and disappeared behind the curtain. For the first time I can remember, The Undertaker was the aggressor in his usual WrestleMania match.
What I’m saying is that usually the WWE superstars come gunning after Taker in order to end the famous streak. Last night, however, Taker entered the ring and issued the challenge to Triple H with his signature throat slash. I’m very positive it has happened before, but can you remember the last time Taker challenged someone for WrestleMania?
From that perspective it was easy to see that Trips wasn’t going to accept Taker’s challenge. The man just spent ten minutes explaining to Johnny Ace how the GM position corrupts good people because they allow personal vendettas to cloud their decision making abilities. Why on earth would this new, reformed Triple H accept any kind of challenge given to him by Taker or any other wrestler in the company?
This puts a different spin on Taker’s classic match at WrestleMania. As I put it to DiZ last night, it’s one thing to kick over an anthill and leave yourself vulnerable to ant bites; it’s a completely different thing to open kitchen cabinet to find ants swarming around an open box of Oreo cookies.
The Undertaker has spent most of the streak defending it, but for him to bring the streak to the table himself gives his opponent an advantage that superstars prior never had. Trips took Taker to the limit last year, leaving the Deadman to be carried out by refs and medical assistants. Taker this year has something to prove, the desire to show that he’s stronger than ever and that he’s willing to put the streak on the line to boot.
But pride always comes before the fall, and if Taker attacks Trips with that same fury and wrath, he could easily make one mistake in the heat of the moment, allowing Trips to capitalize and be the first (and perhaps ONLY) superstar to defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania.
Interestingly enough, the last time we saw Triple H was at December’s TLC pay per view. You remember his match, the slow motion one against Kevin Nash? I just found it interesting that after disappearing for a month he shows back up to one of the better show’s RAW has had in 2012 and 2011. Even the promos for the show were slightly built around his return to RAW.
Seemed a bit Hogan-like to me, brother. But again, maybe I’m analyzing it a little too deeply. It is a little suspect, though; if Trips accepts the challenge, he’ll be the first man in history to face The Undertaker 3 times at WrestleMania, and he just may be the first and only man to beat him. Hulk Hogan was/is notorious for pulling similar stunts for his own benefit, and Trips is one of the better backstage politicians in sports entertainment today.
I’m just saying…if it happens, you heard it here first from Mr. Ashley Morris.
The ten second Diva match between Beth Phoenix and Eve for the Divas Championship was atrocious even by Divas match standards. Many of the folks in my Twitter time line expected Kharma to return to TV and tan Phoenix’s fanny. Alas that didn’t happen and we were subject to another week of foolishness.
Call me a Diva Division Apologist, but I get why the WWE chooses to parade models around the ring instead of actual women wrestlers. I get it, I understand it, and really don’t agree with it. The thing that irks me is that these women can be used to do what they’re doing now in ways that aren’t as disrespectful as what we’re witnessing now.
My question is this: who in sweet cream on an ice cream sandwich is responsible for the Divas’ training and booking? When Fit Finlay was doing it, this type of s**t wouldn’t go down; too bad they fired Finlay.
I read somewhere in passing (no link provided) that Kharma gave birth to her baby on December 31. If this is true, congratulations to her and her growing family! If she decides to return to pro wrestling, particularly to the WWE, I pray to the wrestling gods (JBL and Ric Flair) that they look favorably upon us and allow her to beat the holy heck back into this dying division. For the love of Verne Gagne, Nick Bockwinkel, and all 17 iterations of the Four Horsemen, PLEAAAASSSEEEE stop the madness with the Divas!
Just in case JBL and Flair are busy at the moment, I would also like to propose this: if ANYBODY from the WWE is reading this post, how about you take the next picture and flash it on the wall whenever you’re booking a show and think about throwing some Divas action in there…
And finally, there were three of us (myself, Diz, and Pastah Showtime) that never saw Epico get eliminated from the Rumble. 1) How embarrassing is that for Epico, and 2) are we the only ones that didn’t see him get eliminated?
All in all, last night’s episode of RAW was well done and exciting from top to bottom. Great way to start the Road to WrestleMania.
That’s it for me; what did YOU think of the show?