Sunday, November 22, 2015

LIVE Survivor Series thoughts - November 22, 2015

10:47 - After a night of pretty smart booking that ending was a little.....curious.  They seemed to give us everything we didn't want.  Ambrose loses clean.  Reigns wins the title as the triumphant babyface.  And Sheamus ultimately walks away as champion.  I don't think too many people were asking for any of those things.

10:27 - Living room TV is starting to sputter out so I'm heading to the bedroom to watch on my Roku.  Commentary during the match may be taken to Twitter.

10:22 - Obvious winners here with no real surprises.  No harm, no foul.

10:03 - Really cool entrance and I loved how Kane set the pyro off....but I do wish Undertaker ALSO did something a little more special, appearance wise.  I understand that part of the evolution is for them to show us "this is what he was.  This is what he is now," but even up until recently he would whip out some crazy cape or jacket.  Even his WrestleMania 30 attire stuck to the "Old Western Undertaker" motif but gave us some flair.

10:00 - Nice to see Kane celebrating this big moment by wearing the same gear he's worn for the past four years or so.  Sigh.

9:57 - I may be optimistic here, but the fact that they're not closing the show with the Undertaker (who you have to assume will win tonight) leads me to think they may do something big in the main event.  If they were merely doing a straight up Reigns victory, I have to imagine they'd be aware enough that they'd get a bigger reaction out of an Undertaker win.  Yet if they do a big turn (either Reigns or Ambrose) or an unexpected win (Ambrose winning), it would HAVE to end the show.

9:45 - Dolph yelling at the ref "COUNT!" and then quickly saying "or don't" when he couldn't get in position quick enough was a legit laugh out loud moment.

9:44 - Dolph Ziggler's transformation over the past year has been more than a little curious.  What's with the eyeblack?

9:37 - Fine enough Divas match that seemed to keep the audience engaged.  I hope it's not the last we see of these two against each other.  Fun enough feud and Paige is definitely a better fit as a heel.

9:15 - Really though....can WWE learn the definition of the words "sole" and "anniversary."

9:11 - In fairness, Sheamus should have at least 20 seconds before getting into the ring (10 seconds to count out Kofi, and 10 seconds to count out Xavier).  I do like the idea of Sheamus getting so beaten up that he's "written off," giving them a logical explanation as to why he can't cash in later.

9:07 - Is it me or are there a lot of people right now that have a finishing move where they simply jump on somebody from a high location?

8:53 - I like how all the faces are in black/red/blue.

And yeah, spot on with the heel team, too.  None of them in new gear though.  Disappointing.

8:52 - So my prediction for the face team was spot on (with Ryback stepping in for Cesaro).  Let's see if I'm right about the heel side (my guess was the New Day, Sheamus, and Barrett).

8:45 - Okay, so far they're being pretty smart with their booking, thankfully.

8:39 - I do love when Kevin Owens randomly starts yelling at Michael Cole.

8:30 - That awkwardly long pause and that terrible promo delivery is the biggest reason why they shouldn't trust Roman Reigns as their WWE Champion.  At least if they turn him heel, they have a group that they can speak for him.

8:26 - Again, the obvious guy won but it was a fun match and they kept us guessing with some false finishes.  I do hope they go the route of him questioning himself because of an injured arm, though, leading to a heel turn.

8:16 - Roman Reigns winning but injuring himself is a great motivator for him turning heel and joining the Authority.  His concern over winning in the finals could be too much for him to resist temptation.

8:10 - Smart starting off the show with this match -- the one with the most "obvious" ending.  Plus, fans will get behind Reigns' long as they also think Ambrose is advancing.  If Ambrose doesn't advance, I could see the fans rejecting a Reigns victory out of protest. going with this one first.

8:07 - Fun opening segment.  The question is -- do they end the show on Undertaker's match or with the championship finals?  If the championship finals doesn't close the show, I would say there's an extremely small chance of anything unexpected happening.

8:00 - I actually like the lightened down version of Undertaker's theme for the "We Rise For Him" ad.

7:55 - I'm guessing that the Ziggler/Breeze match got upgraded to the main show?

7:49 - So we're going to talk about how four people were just announced as "sole survivors," right?

7:42 - All connection issues are forgiven now that WWE Network is giving us an Edge and Christian series.

7:36 - My guess for the event elimination match is the New Day, Sheamus, and Wade Barrett vs. Cesaro (if healthy), Lucha Dragons, and the Usos.  If Cesaro is out, swap him with Ryback.

7:32 - That powerslam pin combo is what people hated about the Survivor Series formula.  THAT had to come back too?

7:30 - Stardust lying in the ring smiling was a fun visual.  Loved the Goldust reveal and Stardust's reaction.  Glad to see Goldust back.

7:27 - Not one person in new gear on the heel side.  Let's see if the face side fairs better.

7:25 - I've said this before but it's worth stating again:  It strikes me as extremely odd in this era of "themed PPV's" that WWE has made every effort to take the actual theme away from this -- the original themed PPV!

7:07 - Not off to the best start.  Kickoff stream won't work on my Smart TV or Roku.

6:49 - No promises that I'll last or night or that I won't take an hour break for The Walking Dead.  More than most, I think this show really could be the make or break point for a lot of fans.  This show is potentially the "reset" button for this company, and what they decide to do with that opportunity will be the deciding factor in whether not some of these fans on the fence stick around for the time being.

If this were my show, I would have Ambrose win the title and then have Reigns turn on him afterwards.  Yes, I'm biased and favor Ambrose significantly more than Reigns, but the purpose for this would be that they have the chance to make two stars instead of just one.  I would assume Reigns takes the title next month, so at least Ambrose would have "WWE Champion" on his resume.  One of the worst things they could do (short of Del Rio winning) would be for Reigns to win in a straight up tournament as the heroic hero.  Not only do a lot of people not want to see that, but it's also not interesting television.

Sidenote:  I do hope we see Undertaker go a little throwback (or at least different) with his look tonight.  How about the black button up with the sleeves torn off and the gray gloves and boot covers?  Kane in some new gear would be a nice change of pace, too.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - October 26, 2015

11:06 - That ending was such typical WWE.  Instead of ending the show with the crowd cheering loudly and Reigns celebrating with his music playing and Rollins ranting, they have the two of them stand there, awkwardly staring at each other with no music playing.  Way to take the the wind out of the sails.

11:02 - I obviously wish this Reigns push was going to Ambrose, but I did like that closing sequence with Reigns turning the Pop Up Powerbomb into the Superman Punch.  Well done.

11:01 - Seth Rollins right now is showing us how wildly entertaining a legitimate heel commentator can be.

10:56 - Loved Kevin Owens telling Alberto Del Rio to "breathe."

10:39 - Having said that, it does make me sad seeing Dean Ambrose out there with the rest of the midcarders who have no direction.

10:36 - Pretty cool that Titus O'Neil gets this moment.  Nice to give him a little exposure -- something that's usually saved for the heavy hitters.

10:24 - I want more than anything for Ziggler to succeed, but he's one guy who's in desperate need of a good story and some character development.  He's currently pulling a Zack Ryder right now, where a change is needed to get his career back on track.  And instead of tweaking the character or his style, he just sorta starts dressing differently.  Sometimes a more significant, Chris Jericho-esque character shift is what's really needed.

10:17 - Kofi's exaggerated and high pitched "Whoa, Dolph!" when he was clearly about to do something devious was pure comedy.  Loved it.

10:05 - I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I found that entire segment dull until Kane arrived.

9:48 - I think Ryback is ARGUABLY the only person in this match that I'm even moderately entertained by.

9:25 - I can't imagine Del Rio not winning here.  I'm guessing Ziggler tops Big E to keep the two heels/two faces dynamic, which is curious booking.  Ziggler is probably the most over of the three babyfaces, and that's the one who's going to compete against obvious chosen one Roman Reigns.

9:18 - Only in WWE is becoming tolerant considered a heel turn.

9:07 - Again, I don't get it.  Haven't we seen Paige turn on these two, like, three times already?

9:04 - Isn't it odd how Sasha seems to be seen the least in this Divas Revolution, and is one of the few Divas not currently involved in any segments with Charlotte, the champion?

8:55 - I don't get it.  Are we supposed to, like, get MORE upset each time Paige turns on Charlotte and Becky?  Why not have them just, ya' know, feud?

8:53 - Why does the Divas dressing room have an antique lamp in it?

8:50 - It's almost frustrating watching Cesaro.  Seeing all of the amazing things he can do and seeing the fans legitimately react to it.....and then them just not doing more with him.

8:46 - I'm hoping for Cesaro here, mostly because I'd love for him to get a high profile singles win.

8:36 - That WWE 2K16 commercial was pretty damn awesome.

8:32 - Are they even going to explain Lesnar's absence tonight?  Who else is there?  I assume Big E gets a shot too.  Then there's Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio.  I guess Cesaro, Ziggler, and Neville do, too?  I assume Rollins doesn't fight.

8:28 - I don't know why, but it's a pet peeve of mine when the announcers refer to the Superstars by their first name.

8:18 - Now I definitely want to see Reigns lose.

8:11 - Roman Reigns sounding as natural as ever.

8:03 - Not off to a great start.  I detest when WWE has their characters come out and narrate what's happening or what's happened.

7:57 - Okay, I'm going to give Raw another chance tonight.  Basically, the show has been ATROCIOUS for months now.  To the point that I not only don't make sure I'm home to see the show, but that I might actually watch something else instead.  I've been watching Raw each and every week (mostly out of habit) for as long as I can remember.  That's a big deal.  However, I figured that WWE had painted themselves in a corner with their Hell in a Cell booking, so no matter how much panicking we saw, nothing significant would happen.  Well, with Hell in a Cell behind them now, they can hit "reset" and start putting together a, ya' know, good show.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

LIVE WWE in MSG thoughts - October 3, 2015

10:24 - Overall a fine enough show but, again, they made it seem too much like an every day episode of Raw.  It's been years since I've gone to a house show, but they seem to have stripped the show of all of the charm that typically goes with these untelevised shows.  And when people haven't really been too enamored with the current product, being like "every other show" is most certainly not a good thing.

10:21 - Definitely the match of the night but I have grown to detest the logic of cage matches.  Like, when your opponent is climbing up the cage, wouldn't it make more sense to run to the easily escapable door instead of leaping up the cage to stop them?  And why should your babyface EVER try to escape the cage when an "honorable" and "manly" pinfall is an option?

I didn't really mind Rollins losing since he had an implied victory and was screwed out of it.  Having said that, having your champion pinned so often is never a good idea.

9:57 - Wondering if we'll see more Stewart hijinx -- this time in favor of Cena -- to turn him face again.

9:50 - Did I just see Dave Lagana quoted on a WWE Network promo?

9:41 - I do like how, in Lesnar's matches, he doesn't outright no-sell people's finishers.  Instead, he just groggily gets up, as if to say, "you didn't put me out" but it still did damage.

9:31 - Thank God they didn't do a title change there.  And aren't Edge and Christian, like, 15 time champions or something?  Would the Dudleys winning it 10 times even be a record?

9:16 - Are they really going to do two matches in a row where the story is "will these legends become a 10-time champion"?

9:03 - The announcer's unprompted and completely random reference to how titles can only change hands on pinfall and submission makes me think we're looking at a count out loss for Owens.

8:59 - Pretty cool that this is Jericho's anniversary and that Lance Storm is in attendance.  It would be great to see if Storm got involved in the match somehow (I could see him hitting Owens after Owens gets in his face).

8:58 - I always preferred Jericho with a beard.  Glad he's growing it back (for this show, anyway).

8:51 - Oye, Nikki playing to the hard camera for that pin REALLY took away the credibility of this live event.

8:41 - It doesn't help that the recap showed that these two teams JUST fought on Monday.  I know that house shows typically ARE the same matches over and over again, but we seem to be getting the worst of both worlds right now:  The same matches we always see, but without the unique aspects of untelevised events.  Matches don't seem any longer and the increased crowd interactions don't seem apparent.  Plus, we're seeing those damn backstage segments and recap videos.

8:35 - Again, too many backstage segments.

8:25 - I literally cannot recall the last WWE show I've watched where Neville and Stardust haven't wrestled.

8:22 - The frequency of these recaps and backstage interviews has made this feel like your typical Raw, which is NOT a good thing.  Having said that, Kane continues to nail his character.

8:18 - God, I hope that wasn't a face turn.

8:11 - Not sure how I feel about the fact that they picked likely their three weakest announcers for this special.

8:03 - I'm glad Sheamus went shirtless for his entrance (there's an odd comment!).  The way the line shines on him, the guy literally GLOWS due to his pale skin.  It's a really cool visual that loses its impact when he wears a black t-shirt.  Drives me crazy when he does that.

I'm also not stating anything new here, but the understated entrance set up immediately makes this show seem fresh and different.

8:01 - Hey, it's been a while since I've done one of these, so why not a LIVE thoughts post?  Besides which, these Network specials tend to be better than Raw anyway.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - August 17, 2015

10:50 - I'm going to watch the rest of the show in bed.  Going on Twitter for the rest of my thoughts!

10:43 - The irony of creating this Divas Revolution, only to seemingly deliberately avoid having the Divas Champion defend her title so that she can break a record set by a former personality.

10:33 - Unless they intend to put the Intercontinental title on Miz, wouldn't it have made more sense to do Big Show vs. Ryback for the Intercontinental title, and team Miz with Stardust to take on Neville and Amell?

10:25 - I'm guessing the New Day win the titles at SummerSlam.  Since it appears to be a standard match instead of an elimination style, it's the perfect chance to swap the title without jobbing out the champions.  New Day are far and away the best tag team right now, so they deserve the titles.  I'd love to see a legitimate feud with the Lucha Dragons, too.

10:13 - So Triple H is back to being a heel for this promo.

10:08 - Really good promo from Seth Rollins.  I especially loved when he cut off the chanting -- presumably when Cena was going to make his entrance -- so that he could paint Cena as the villain of the story.  Good stuff.

9:31 - I did like the intensity of and response to Ziggler's return (and Lana hitting that kick was pretty cool), but it'll be for nothing if he just ends up losing to Rusev in their big match.  That's where they always mess up with Ziggler....they always have him ultimately fall short.

9:29 - I was never into Rusev or Lana, but I cannot tell you how much I cannot stand watching this storyline.  No redeemable values.

9:24 - I feel like we've seen Mark Henry vs. Rusev 6,000 times and we've seen the same exact result each time.

9:12 - How has WWE not used "Fight Song" once throughout this entire Divas Revolution storyline?

9:05 - I've said this before, but Roman Reigns is never more likable and relatable than when he's paired with Dean Ambrose.  Having said that, I can easily see the fans turning on him again if this becomes a situation where Ambrose is always the one to eat the pin in defeat, and Reigns is always the one to get the pin in victory.  It seems like Ambrose is always the one who gets cheated and loses against the Wyatts, while Reigns is the one who gets the revenge win.

8:57 - "You say you don't like the Wyatt Family, but you seem to enjoy fighting them."  That is some great insight, JBL.

8:30 - Glad Sheamus ate the pin there.  I find it remarkable how this guy is pretty much guaranteed a highlighted spot on every PPV.  I see now reason why this guy has the Money in the Bank briefcase.  Do love the continued overness of Cesaro, though.

8:03 - It always strikes me as odd when Triple H and Stephanie come down and try to sell a WWE event.  Could you imagine Vince McMahon doing that during the Corporation era?  At least so explicitly.  Like, we're not SUPPOSED to want to do what they want.  I know they're not as consistently heel as Vince, but still.

And is WWE off of PPV altogether?  Because they keep saying "only on WWE Network."  Unless they're just lying to sell some subscriptions.

Also, funny seeing Undertaker and Brock Lesnar being hyped with Demi Lovato playing in the background.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - August 3, 2015

8:40 - Really great match and an excellent example of how you can make somebody look great in losing and make the heel retain a title without having to cheat or look weak.  Neville had the match "won" on numerous occasions, but Rollins found a way out of the situation through fair means.  Great stuff.

8:23 - While I liked the concept here, I didn't love the fact that it took so long for somebody to accept the challenge.  Wouldn't somebody under 6' and less than 200 pounds -- theoretically, somebody who typically doesn't get a shot at the World title -- jump at the opportunity to accept this challenge?  Clearly they must have known about these restrictions, otherwise the whole roster would have run out.

8:18 - Surprising that they had Rollins issue the "winner take all" challenge without any notion that he's just taking advantage of a weakened Cena.  Not a complaint, just an observation.

8:08 - Really great and touching tribute video to Piper.  And I'm glad they didn't completely overlook the Hogan connection.  Very well done.

7:46 - Obviously, the big news in the wrestling world is the death of legend Rowdy Roddy Piper.  Indeed, this is terribly sad news.  As I indicated on Twitter, while Piper is best known as a villainous heel, I grew up with him as a babyface commentator, and some of my fondest memories include him (and Savage) saving Hogan from the Undertaker on the Funeral Parlor, urging Randy Savage to propose to Elizabeth, avenging Bret Hart and defeating the Mountie for the Intercontinental Championship, coming to the defense of Virgil after being mistreated by Ted DiBiase, feuding with Ric Flair, and being a generally bombastic personality.  I was actually refreshed when he turned heel in the late 90's in WCW, because I've ONLY seen him as a hero.  I would later become frustrated when practically every one of his WWE returns saw him perform as a heel, because, to me, that wasn't Piper's legacy.  He wasn't the perpetual villain.  He was a lovable guy.  I'm glad he had the fans on his side for his last few appearances.  Rest in peace, Roddy.  You were a legend.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

LIVE Battleground thoughts - July 19, 2015

10:47 - Kinda odd that Rollins and the ref disappeared out of nowhere, but it made sense for the final visual to be the Undertaker.  I am intrigued to see where the story goes from here.  What exactly is Undertaker avenging?  He lost clean.  It's not as if that was a justifiable response.  Is he the heel in this situation?  The fans rooted for him and Lesnar showed fear, which implies Undertaker is the face in the situation.  But, again, I'm intrigued to hear what his motivations are (especially since Undertaker had already returned at WrestleMania, making no reference to the Lesnar loss).

Overall a really fun show considering the fact that I wasn't particularly looking forward to it.  Thumbs up, overall.

10:28 - I'm fine with the "Rollins is all alone" story, my issue is that it's been so jumbled and all over the place.  Like, it feels like he's gone from being alone, to being reunited with the Authority, to being alone, to being reunited again so many times since Extreme Rules or so.

So which of the rumors comes to fruition tonight?  Undertaker?  Sting?  Shield?  What's your guess?  Nonetheless, I see Rollins walking out with the title.....which he should.

10:13 - Ohhhhh, I expect a lot of people won't care for that result.

10:10 - I almost feel like we might see a double turn tonight.

9:48 - Owens is definitely the right guy and now is probably the right time, but I can't be the only one who kinda doesn't want this Cena US title reign to end.  The weekly great matches and the overall focus on a midcard's been some great stuff.

9:45 - I do like the story they're telling here, about how Owens went from stomping on the US title to suddenly wanting to hold it.  It's as if he's doing it to take it AWAY Cena.  It's just as much about hurting Cena as it is helping himself.  Also, I thought we were supposed to see a redesign to the United States title.  I wonder if we'll get that should Owens win tonight.

9:38 - Probably the best Divas match in recent memory and I also believe the right person was victorious.  Really good stuff and everybody played their roles to perfection.

9:26 - I have to admit, I do like the three factions of Divas feuding with each other.  I imagine it as Paige/Becky/Charlotte as the absolute faces, Team Bella as the absolute heels, and Team BAD as the tweeners (leaning on the heel side) that act as heels or faces depending on which team they're up against.  I know a lot of people have argued that the three debuts should have been paced out better over the course of a number of weeks, but I'm all for dropping a bomb and making a great story.

9:20 - That was probably the best possible ending, all things considered.  I still think they need to expand the Wyatt family, though.

8:55 - Really not invested much in this match either, but I'd give Wyatt the win.  The guy desperately needs a high profile win (against somebody other than Ambrose) and this would be the perfect time.  I also heard rumors of a Shield and Wyatt reunion, so why not do that now.  Have Bray win after the Wyatts return (perhaps with some new followers).  Reigns will then understand the importance of having numbers, which could motivate his turn to return to the Shield (which would be a heel team, I imagine).

8:45 - While I would have preferred a New Day win, I'm okay with PTP retaining.  I'm all for extended title reigns.  I am wondering who challenges them next, though.

8:37 - I like the new copper/bronze ring gear that the Prime Time Players are wearing.  Goes nicely with their championship.  Having said that, I am hoping for a New Day title win here.

8:30 - I'm still kinda disappointed we never had AJ Lee and JoJo on screen together.  Those two would have been adorable together.

8:26 - Orton was probably the right winner, but it's still frustrating to see them give the briefcase to a guy that is only going to lose.  And where does each guy go from here?

8:09 - Roku needing to reload a bunch of times.  App on the SmartTV seems to be working uninterrupted, although that feed is a few seconds behind.  I'm guessing Orton wins?  Not really invested in this story or either guy, to be honest.

7:46 - Okay, so can this feud FINALLY end now???

7:45 - What is with Lawler's fascination with the size of Barrett's nose this match?

7:41 - Wait, are PPV's no longer being offered by ANY PPV providers?  Because now they've gone to saying "Only on WWE Network."

7:23 - What possible justification is there for this R-Truth/Barrett feud continuing THIS long????

7:06 - One of the more lackluster cards tonight.  Not sure if there's anything I'm particularly looking forward to tonight.  I will say this, though:  I'm with Rollins....why exactly do we want to see Brock Lesnar as WWE Champion again?  His absence as champion not only left a gaping hole in the main event, but it took the thrill away from the Money in the Bank briefcase (which is already pretty much as unthrilling as possible already, with Sheamus as the briefcase holder).  Further, the story of Lesnar being an unstoppable champion only worked with him as a heel.  A babyface champion that's unstoppable but never appears doesn't really work.  If the Rollins experiment isn't working (and personally, I'm fine with him as champion), I don't think another Lesnar title run is the answer.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - June 29, 2015

11:02 - And that's the other thing that annoys me about all of these rehashed matches.  Why is Dean Ambrose even in a position to be losing to Kane, followed by Rollins, followed by Kane and Ambrose again?  They have a full roster.  If they built up more people, there would be more people for Rollins to face.  And if they built them up more consistently and stronger, these losses wouldn't matter.  Ambrose WAS protected for a long time, but he lost a lot of good will with the fans when he lost every single feud of his singles career.  Losses and wins absolutely do matter, and Dean Ambrose is your best example of that.

11:00 - So glad they spent all those weeks building up and protecting Ambrose just to see him job to Kane, job to Rollins, and then eat the pin in a tag match with Kane and Rollins.  Why in the blue hell is Ambrose getting pinned in a match that involves freakin' Kane?!?!

10:39 - Your career is not in a good place if you are losing -- AT ALL, no less clean -- to Barrett.

10:16 - Sheamus (needlessly, mind you) wearing his black t-shirt really kills entrance.  The way the bright lights hit him in total darkness, his whole body (minus his trunks) seems to glow because he's so pale.  The black t-shirt kills that.

10:05 - Woman standing behind a man with her former man standing on the opposite side?  The Attitude Era taught us that that girl is turning on the new guy.  I really thought Lana was going to hit Dolph with the low blow.

9:59 - They've been making out every week for like a month, and have been accompanying each other to the ring.  How is THIS them "going public"?

9:37 - It does strike me as odd that the one team that you didn't see any part of an entrance for is the tag team champions.

9:32 - Didn't this EXACT match happen on Smackdown or something?  Again, why do we have to see the same exact matches over and over again?  Use your damn roster!

And I still don't get why they gave up interest in the Lucha Dragons after the reactions they were getting around post-WrestleMania time.

9:30 - Is it really a good idea for a directionless (and, presumably, less over) Bray Wyatt to bring up his "father" in a promo?  You're just inviting IRS chants.

9:21 - Wow, what an incredible match.  Cena is on absolute fire as United States Champion.  It's sorta odd that this guy is putting on some of the best matches of his entire career, on a WEEKLY basis, and they're seemingly actively keeping him out of the main event.  And he's being incredibly generous too....presumably being saved from losses by Neville and now Cesaro.  And that was a really fun, awesome match.  Bravo to both guys and hopefully this is the beginning of some great things for Cesaro.

8:59 - So is Cesaro a heel again?  I had high hopes for him as a face.

8:52 - Strangely, that mini promo during his entrance worked.  Why not do more of that, and then have Cena explain the circumstances to the audience during the commercial break?

I am eagerly awaiting the return of Cody Rhodes/Stardust, by the way.  Obviously he needs to take as much time as he needs to heal and mourn, but I am cautiously excited to see what they have in store for him upon his return.  I'd love to see what others have suggested, for him to return as Cody Rhodes, but to continue using "Stardust" as a nickname (like Dusty Rhodes did, which I did not realize).  I actually liked Stardust more than most people did, but they clearly had no plans for him and he's been pretty much a jobber since WrestleMania.  So I think reverting back to Cody, who most people love anyway, would be for the best.

I'm just not sure Cena beating him for the US title in an epic first appearance since his father's death is necessarily the way to go.

8:42 - And actually, this is where the Authority misses the mark.  Sure, Mr. McMahon was always involved in the main event feuds, but the Corporation was all over the card.  Bossman was in the Hardcore division.  Shamrock was fighting for the Intercontinental Championship.  Kane was anywhere between the midcard and upper midcard.  The Rock was at the top. Bossman and Shamrock also fought in the tag team division.  Shane was feuding for the friggin European Championship!  Part of the reason why the main event scene has felt so repetitive is because it feels like the Authority MUST be in the main event.  For example, why isn't Stephanie actively involved in this Bella/Divas/Paige storyline?  Kane doesn't NEED to be involved in the World title picture, even as a secondary character.  I know it sounds like I'm saying "more Authority," but really I'm saying they should spread themselves out.  It'll freshen them up.

8:40 - Even from a storyline standpoint, what advantage is there for Alicia to join the Bellas?  Have they even bothered to explain that?  Granted, I like the story they're going for....that Paige is trying to rally the troops, with the troops being the very people she's turned against countless times before, but I just don't get the obstacle they've set up.  Why are people afraid of the Bellas?  Honestly, THIS was the time to involve Stephanie.

8:19 - Rollins was fun enough in his segment but JBL was a pain in the ass.  And why was Rollins acting like the tag team main event was a spur of the moment idea when it was already announced on  Nonetheless, the Authority was pretty fun in their roles.  But do we really need to see Mark Henry vs. Big Show AGAIN?!?!  Will the even acknowledge that Henry turned on him, like, less than a year ago?

7:58 - Alright, let's bring back the LIVE Raw thoughts tonight!  But one thing....I seriously can't believe that they're advertising a Seth Rollins/Kane vs. Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns main event for Raw tonight.  HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO SEE THIS MATCH?!?!?!  Honestly.  They've got a roster of, like, 100 people.  Why keep mixing and matching these four guys?  Dreadful.

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

LIVE Elimination Chamber thoughts - May 31, 2015

11:02 - I'm not much of a sports fan, but isn't there a thing in football where if the opposing team did something that would have resulted in a penalty, but the end result was advantageous to the offended team, the play stands?  I mean, why essentially benefit the team that did something wrong?  Shouldn't that apply here?  Like, Rollins did something against the rules in hopes of retaining his title....but it didn't work.  Why should Ambrose pay the price for that?

10:57 - Overall a great and, more important, a star making show.

10:54 - You sneaky bastards with your Dusty Finish.  Wow, that was dirty.  I really thought we had an Ambrose title win there!  But hey, if you're not going to give him the title, that was one way to make him look great.

10:29 - I miss those hooded sleeveless jackets Ambrose used to wear.

10:23 - I love how this New Day heel turn has turned into a renewed (and way, way, way, WAY overdue) push for Kofi Kingston.

10:19 - I love how Daniel Bryan still calls him "The Ryback."  And I'm perfectly happy with Ryback as the Intercontinental Champion.  They push him strong and the fans respond to him.  Good enough for me.

10:06 - Ah, yes.  Very clever.

10:03 - I don't get what Sheamus is so upset about.  Isn't the pod the best place to be?  It's not like he gets extra points for eliminating more people and the match can't end without him participating.  Why not let everybody beat each other up and then slide in to pick up the pieces?

9:51 - I'm guessing Ziggler goes the distance but fails.  If Rusev were still in this match, I would predict Lana turns on him to help Rusev win.

9:45 - Speaking of Sheamus, I keep forgetting to mention this but I really do like his new entrance, with everything going dark and then Sheamus standing there with a bright light surrounding him.  He truly does look like he's glowing, since he's so pale.

9:44 - I don't even remember if Mark Henry is supposed to be a heel or face right now.  He's not winning.  Smart money is on Sheamus, I'm thinking.

9:42 - I'm kinda shocked that the white strap has lasted this long.  I sorta figured they would've switched it to black by now.  It sorta sticks out like a sore thumb.

9:23 - While a Cena win was far from a foregone conclusion, something about that result was still rather shocking.  Wow, bravo to WWE for putting Owens over and bravo to John Cena for probably being the most selfless top star any wrestling company has ever seen.  Great match and bravo to all involved.

9:03 - Although I am sure they won't explore it, I like the reverse dynamic of having JBL sing the praises of Cena while Lawler since the praises of Owens, based on their prior experiences.

9:02 - Interesting possibilities for this match.  Not sure what to expect.

8:52 - That was the worst possible result.  Also, the Bellas smiling happily comes across as so incredibly insincere and fake.  They are terrible babyfaces.

8:45 - I'm actually going to go on a limb here and say Naomi wins the title.  By the way, Smart TV isn't getting a great feed so i am going into the bedroom.  That means less frequent posts.

8:36 - I forget who it was -- I want to say Chris Jericho, maybe? -- but somebody once talked about the issue with the Elimination Chamber match:  Namely that the visual effect doesn't reach the pain level.  That is to say, that belly to belly suplex on the steel that Big E hit on Darren Young probably hurt far worse than it looked.  Like, was that move worth it?  When the announcers have to continue to insist that it hurts, because it doesn't "look" like it hurts, then there's an issue with the match.

8:26 - Having them get SO dominated by Prime Time Players -- who have hardly been built up as huge threats -- sorta negates what they had done to build up Ascension earlier in the match.

8:24 - I do like the idea of building up the Ascension (I think they got a pretty raw deal when they debuted), but I still think they're missing the boat by not doing more with Lucha Dragons.

8:23 - Told you.

8:19 - "No eliminations yet.....we're waiting for Los Matadores to enter."

8:11 - Near gear for the New Day as well.  By the way, I was going to rant about the Lucha Dragons.  These guys were so incredibly over when they debuted on Raw after WrestleMania and has strong showings for a couple weeks.  Then they disappeared out of no where and are finally back, two months or so later.  And they haven't had the same response since.  The fact that they were taken off TV when they were as hot as they were is ridiculous.

8:09 - I am having some issues with the WWE Network App on my Smart TV tonight.  Might have to check to see how the feed is coming on the Roku in my bedroom.

8:05 - A Tag Team Elimination Chamber match is going to be interesting and fun.  I'm guessing New Day retains here.  Who would've ever guessed we'd see Los Matadores in an Elimination Chamber match?!?!?  By the way, nice new gear for them tonight as well.

7:57 - It happened so gradually that I didn't even notice that Roman Reigns had become a raging alcoholic.  By the way, strong chance he's turning heel tonight.  Which is actually too bad, because his alliance with Ambrose has made him the most compelling he's been since the Shield broke up.

7:52 - I think it would be funnier if Axel wore the old school Hogan attire.  Basic yellow trunks and red knee pads.  This look is way too similar to the actual, current Hogan and isn't consistent with the Mega Powers era either.

7:48 - I often tease WWE for their odd camera work, but I got a kick out of them zooming out so you could see what Miz was wearing when he told Bryan he dresses ridiculously.

7:41 - Even I think this outfit is pretty weird.

7:27 - For the life of me, I don't know why they don't do more with Stardust.  And if they're not going to do more with Stardust, then I don't know why they don't have him go back to Cody Rhodes.  I also miss how Stardust used to switch up his attire.  He's been on this black/orange/silver kick lately.

7:05 - Booker T says the replacement will be a former World Champion.  Ugh, it's going to be the Big Show, isn't it????  Sigh.  Other possibilities:  Jack Swagger, Kane, Mark Henry, The Miz, and Randy Orton.  Some outside chances, but unlikely in my view:  Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, Christian, and Booker T himself!

6:53 - We're just a few minutes away from the Elimination Chamber pre-show.  I have to say, from top to bottom, I love this card!  I love the fact that the Chamber matches were saved for non-main event matches (and thus, guys who typically don't get to showcase their talents in such high profile matches).  And then you have fun, new matches like Kevin Owens vs. John Cena and a main event spot for Dean Ambrose.  Really great stuff.  This is EXACTLY the sort of thing WWE needs to do to keep their subscription count up.

I noted this on Twitter but it's worth mentioning it here too.  Since they're not restricted to Pay-Per-View demands, why not have the show end after midnight to guarantee that all those free subscribers have to let their subscription roll over to a paid month in order to see how the show ends?  Yeah, it's a dick move....but look at how many new subscribers they'd get!

Also, sounds like Rusev is out.  I have to think he was the favorite to win the Intercontinental title.  Sounds like Bray Wyatt is the likely replacement.  I'm guessing he wins the title, then.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - May 11, 2015

10:52 - Alright folks, I'm going to watch the rest of this from bed.  Overall my thoughts are that it was a good show, but not QUITE as exciting as last week.  But still a step in the right direction.  I'll tweet any last minute thoughts!

10:29 - Adding a new PPV exclusive to the PPV?  Very savvy.  Could pay off, too.

10:27 - I mean at a certain point, they're going to have the New Day bring up the fact that Michael Cole can't figure out which member is which, right?

10:10 - The question is, what do you do with the title now?  I would do the same thing that they're doing with the United States title -- give it to an established main eventer who isn't going to be in the main event picture at the moment.  Personally, I thought it should've been Roman Reigns, but he seems destined to be in the title picture for now.  It should definitely be somebody that is considered a "big deal" and somebody that the WWE is very hesitant to ever have lose.  Honestly, Orton isn't a terrible choice.

What I wouldn't do is give it to Ziggler or Barrett.  The former because they have a track record of not getting behind is title reigns completely.  The latter because they treat him like a loser whenever he's got a title.  And I wouldn't give it to Ambrose, either (not established enough for a long enough period of time), but he's not a terrible choice.  And I wouldn't give it to a newcomer like Neville, either.  Allow the man to rebuild the title, not hope for the title to build up the man.

10:00 - I'm guessing Daniel Bryan officially retires.  Which is, sadly, probably for the best.

9:59 - Did I just see that Big O guy from the Zack Ryder show on the Tough Enough tryout videos?

9:54 - I still hate that instead of capitalizing on Sandow's new found overness and allowing his character to evolve, they've returned him to the same exact role he was playing prior to getting over (just now as a face)....but I did get a kick out of that Mega Powers handshake recreation.

9:37 - I didn't catch that Reigns/Kane segment because I had to fix a clog in my tub.  I literally chose to fix a clog in my tub over watching Reigns vs. Kane.

9:27 - I'm actually surprised that Reigns is getting such a warm reaction. I figured the fans might view him with resentment since he got the super push in favor of Ambrose.

9:20 - I continue to love this US Title Open Challenge.  We are pretty much at 100% for awesome matches.  And wow, they did an awesome job of protecting and making Neville here.  Awesome stuff, as far as I'm concerned.

8:58 - It is so odd that WWE's top babyface and the face of the company is shocked that fans predominantly rooting for him.

8:49 - They might as well call this match "course correction," between reuniting Rowan and Harper and giving Fandango his original theme back.

8:33 - Sheamus is doing what I had been asking him to do since he debuted on the main roster -- essentially, wear his typical street clothes.  It's such a tiny thing, but street clothes gives these Superstars an much more so than simply wearing a WWE t-shirt over their wrestling attire.

8:26 - In a four man competition, why exactly should we be impressed that 25% of people think Ambrose will win the title?

8:17 - I'm kinda disappointed that they're putting Ambrose in the opening match.  The crowd is dying to see this guy....why not make them wait a little?  Also, side note, but I kinda miss those sleeveless hoodies he used to wear down to the ring.

8:09 - I know we have some hometown bias here, but it's great seeing Ambrose so over with the crowd.

7:59 - I will mention one thing before the show begins:  I absolutely HATE that Damien Sandow is exactly where he was pre-Mizdow, after the whole Mizdow thing got him so over.  This should have ended with him finding his own identity.  Hell, his promo a week or two ago explicitly made fun of the impersonation portion of his gimmick.  And now he's back to dressing up like other Superstars with a goofy nickname.  No progress made whatsoever.

Also, let's not act like Triple H has been gone for six months.  It's been a couple of weeks....does it really warrant a grand cold opening and "he's baaaaaack"?

7:32 - I'm torn here.  After last week's show, I'm actually semi-looking forward to discussing Raw.  But at the same time, the show tends to be better when I don't do LIVE thoughts.  What to do, what to do?

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Monday, April 27, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - April 27, 2015

10:00 - Lammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmme.  Not only does Sheamus advance, but he was also in the dominant position.  This is like the worst booked tournament ever.

9:42 - So far 100% of my King of the Ring booking has been wrong.  Ambrose BETTER win here because any guy I've had interest in advancing so far has not.  I'm guessing Ziggler returns the favor and distracts Sheamus, allowing Ambrose to get the win.  Although the guy should just get a clean win.

9:30 - Ugh the Bellas are faces again.

9:26 - Leave it to WWE to turn Fandango babyface and embrace "Fandangoing" well over a year after it was a "thing" and after jobbing him out AND attempting to alter his gimmick to prevent Fandangoing.

8:51 - Wondering if they might connect Bo with Wyatt if rumors of the Ryback/Wyatt feud are accurate.

8:40 - Did JBL just ask, "Does that mean you have the Clap?"

Also, I'm disappointed that WWE's Superstar page doesn't list all three members of The New Day as tag team champions.

8:31 - "Dolph, let me distract you."  At least he's honest.

They finally give Barrett a win and it's against Ziggler???

8:29 - While I most certainly think that Ambrose should win this tournament (that way he has a notch on his belt, while Reigns has the more impressive Rumble win and Rollins has the World title reign), it does strike me as ridiculous that Sandow is not in this....and not winning it!

8:13 - Pretty big reaction for Reigns, actually.  Mostly positive, too.  It does make me sad, though, to see how much Dean Ambrose has been left out in the cold during this whole World title scene.

7:56 - So the King of the Ring tournament is returning tonight.  Here are the brackets:

Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett
Stardust vs. R-Truth
Ambrose vs. Sheamus
Neville vs. Luke Harper

This is how I would book it, keeping a realistic mind of who they want to push and giving a bit of a bias of who I like and who I think they SHOULD push.

I would have Ziggler beat Barrett, Stardust beat Truth (since he needs a solid win), Ambrose beat Sheamus, and Harper beat Neville (since he needs a solid win too).  In the second round, I'd have Ziggler beat Stardust and Ambrose beat Harper.  In the finals, I'd have Ambrose beat Ziggler to be named King of the Ring.  Just as long as they don't do anything ridiculous like give him a crown.

Will any of that happen?  Check back in about a minute to find out.

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