Monday, December 14, 2015

When WWE Forgets To Tell Their Story

At TLC last night, Roman Reigns failed to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship due to interference from the League of Nations and, apparently having snapped, proceeded to beat upon Sheamus and then Triple H.  It was a neat enough visual and the fans reacted positively to it.  It gives Roman Reigns a much needed edge and it takes him out of the title picture, which is a positive considering that they don't appear to be willing to give him the title at this time.

But unfortunately, it really didn't make any sense.  And in the end, their story will suffer and Reigns won't get the reaction they want him to.

Hopefully tonight will shed light on whether this was the beginning of a heel turn or not (I'm thinking it wasn't), but based on last night's commentary it didn't appear to be a heel turn.  It appeared to be the heroic face Roman Reigns beating on the crooked heel Triple H (despite the fact that that character is inconsistent at best).  But, again, that story hasn't been properly told.

Why exactly did Reigns beat on Triple H?  Triple H had nothing to do with anything that has plagued Roman Reigns.  At the very worst, he made him defend his WrestleMania title shot against Daniel Bryan.  But beyond that?  Nothing, really.  Rollins cashing in his title shot at WrestleMania was perfectly legal and didn't appear to be set in motion by Triple H.  Upon Rollins' injury, Triple H put Reigns in the title tournament (he didn't have to) and even offered him a direct route to the finals.  When Reigns refused, Triple H didn't really do anything to make his progress in the tournament any more difficult.  And when Reigns won, Triple H came down to congratulate him.  And what did Reigns do?  He attacked him, without any provocation whatsoever.  And, again, Sheamus cashing in was perfectly legal and didn't appear to have anything to do with Triple H.

Nonetheless, what does Triple H do?  He gives Reigns TWO title shots -- one on Raw, and one at TLC.  And even when Triple H came down to the ring at Triple H, did he threaten Reigns physically?  Does he threaten to fire him?  No.  He says "what's wrong with you?"  Not exactly worthy of a vicious attack.

If this is the first step in a Reigns heel turn, then cool.  But if we're supposed to consider Reigns the hero here, then they forgot to tell the story.

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

LIVE TLC thoughts - December 13, 2015

9:54 - Paige vs. Charlotte will be interesting since Charlotte appears to be going through a heel turn, whereas Paige recently turned heel and is really only a heel through her actions and relationship with Charlotte as a face.

9:50 - Again, a World title reign would've been preferable.....but this is better than nothing.  Then again, this IS typically the championship that seems the champion become a jobber.

9:48 - I still love how Owens randomly yells at Cole during his matches.

9:37 - In a perfect world, Ambrose would be competing for the World title (or the champion) and Owens would have a lengthy reign with the Intercontinental Championship.  But that's not the hand we were dealt.  As such, I hope we see an Ambrose win here because this guy desperately needs a big victory.

9:33 - Sorry, but the Royal Rumble hasn't ended with fans cheering in years.

9:18 - Rhyno has the strangest body ever.

9:10 - I'm still sad that we never got to see an AJ Lee/JoJo backstage segment.  The adorableness would've been off the chart.

9:00 - With great brutality, ADR is fiercely throwing all of those chairs around Jack Swagger.

8:52 - Wait, is ADR wearing completely different gear than what he was wearing during the social media lounge segment?  I would've sworn he was wearing black kneepads and trunks during that segment?

8:28 - I appreciate and respect what these guys are willing to put themselves through....but some of these spots annoy me.  Like, from a kayfabe perspective....if Big E is on the ground outside, presumably out of commission....and an Uso is in the ring, with a ladder set up, why would he decide to risk his body and his advantageous position by diving to the outside on top of a ladder?

8:10 - On the other hand, it looks like both the Lucha Dragons and the Usos have new gear.  Side note -- I like how the Usos wear the same shorts but different colored arm sleeves and tights.  I'm predicting that the New Day win here, but if they don't I'd like to go with the dark horse and see the Lucha Dragons win.

8:06 - Sadly, no new gear for the New Day.

8:00 - Are they really banking on the League of Nations bringing in those last minute buyers?  I guess I refer a new faction with some relative main event fresh faces than the Authority again.

7:41 - A kind word about WWE:  I like the new Royal Rumble logo.

7:33 - I honestly cannot remember the last time I was less enthusiastic about a WWE program.  The only reason I'm watching is because The Walking Dead, The Leftovers, and Once Upon A Time have all had their midseason finales and won't be on tonight.  There is really nothing else to watch.  But very little about the booking tonight will make me happy, and a lot of things could potentially make me annoyed.  I don't anticipate lasting the entire night with these LIVE thoughts.

By the way, does the whole Team BAD "Unity!" thing scream typically WWE mentality of meddling?  The fans have already taken to Sasha.  They already like her.  She's already over.  There's already a connection there.  Yet WWE feels like every person must have this over-the-top personality and catch phrase.  So instead, they have her acting in a way that seems totally counter to what got her over in the first place.

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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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Sunday, April 26, 2015

LIVE Extreme Rules thoughts - April 26, 2015

10:56 - Interesting booking at the end.  Was the RKO banned in general, or was Randy Orton banned from using it?  Ambiguous enough to warrant a rematch.  Good match and a fun finish.

10:50 - Loved the Pedigree spot there.  I actually thought we'd see a pin.

10:43 - I don't know why, but I find it awkward how the announcers keep calling them "Seth" and "Randy" instead of "Rollins" and "Orton."

10:39 - By the way I'm guessing that Rollins wins here, after some help from Kane.

10:21 - Just goes to show you that, in all due time, WWE fans will eventually move past you.  Here is the Chicago crowd cheering and chanting for Ryback, who CM Punk had torn apart on more than one occasion.

10:14 - Isn't Randy only convincing Kane to help Rollins when he says that the Authority will throw him out when he's no longer doing what is in their best interests?

10:10 - Hard hitting match and the fans, amazingly, actually were solidly in Reigns' corner.  The only thing is that the ending seemed off.  There were A LOT of brutal spots there....and you end with Reigns throwing a table on top of him?  I think the spear spot would have worked just as well and probably would have looked even more brutal.  Now, let's move on and go a couple years without these guys fighting each other.

9:55 - I do like the psychology here of Big Show destroying all of the weapons so they can't be used on him....but the way they're going about it is backwards.  Cole just said that Big Show is a giant and doesn't need a weapon.  Wouldn't that make him the hero here?  They should push this as Big Show being afraid and destroying the weapons out of self preservation.  Instead, it looks like Reigns needs the weapons to win, and Big Show wants to beat his opponents with his bare hands.

9:54 - Big Show can't even put a table back correctly.

9:50 - Chicago is being surprisingly inviting to Reigns.  I'm surprised.  Also, Reigns' top confuses me.  Is it supposed to be a vest?  A shirt?  A shield?  A chest protector?

9:48 - The only thing worse than seeing this match yet again, is that we're going to be hearing the referee count to almost-10 for the next 15 minutes.

9:42 - Brie's cheering is quite grating.

9:34 - Finally some new music for Naomi.  Not great, but better than the last one.  And I just can't buy the Bellas as faces, sorry.

9:29 - I liked the booking of the finish, with Cena reversing the Accolade and Rusev realizing that he got credit two posts as a result.  And then the final moments, where each hit separate posts before realizing that they both had the same one left.  Good stuff, although I do think it would be a mistake to break up Lana and Rusev.

9:12 - I like how one of the chain cuffs has the Russian flag, while the other has the American flag. Nice touch.  I'm guessing Cena wins here -- as he should.  By the way, Eden seems to be doing a lot more announcing than JoJo.  What's the breakdown of responsibilities here?

9:03 - Fun match and premise, with the right winner.  And once again, have Ambrose move on and onto somebody bigger and better.  And have him win THAT feud too.  There's no reason why this guy shouldn't be considered as a next possible WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

8:54 - Wow, pretty surprised by that result.  Don't get me wrong, I'm always happy to see Kofi get a push/opportunity....but it feels like Cesaro/Kidd were just finding their stride as a team.  As Vince would say, they were connecting with the audience.

8:46 - Some new gear for Tyson Kidd here.  I suspect that this "face turn" for the tag champs does not last.  They'll be back to heels and feuding with Lucha Dragons by next month.

8:43 - I suspect that Cesaro and Kidd retain here.

8:32 - Glad to see Ziggler win.  I'm guessing a post-match beat down will result in Ziggler doing the ass kissing anyway.

8:30 - Charles Robinson tweeting a message asking people to let him know where Ambrose and Harper are is pretty funny.

8:22 - New gear for Ziggler.  I'm guessing Sheamus wins this, although I'd like for Ziggler to win.

8:19 - Is this JoJo's first PPV?  Well, except for Survivor Series, I guess.  I'm still sad we never had an AJ/JoJo program of adorable petite girls.

8:15 - I do love the idea of this match continuing throughout the night (not necessarily all night, but throughout the course of the night) as the camera follows them at various places.  Back when my friends and I used to do the whole backyard wrestling thing (moons and moons ago), we came up with an idea for a match where this exact thing would happen.  In the opening match, one person would put another in their car and drive off.  Then in between matches, we'd check in and see where they're fighting.  The match ultimately ended as the main event (of course, there were only, like, six or seven of us).  It'd be cool if that happened tonight, too.

8:05 - Something is severely wrong with this world (and company!) if Dean Ambrose doesn't win this one.  Talk about a guy in need of a big victory.  As I've said before, Ambrose definitely wins more than he loses....but he never seems to win the feud.  And thus, he has the perception of being a loser.  They need to get past that.  Have Ambrose win here and move him onto somebody bigger and better.  And then have him win THAT too.

7:56 - I'll say it.  I love Cena has United States Champion.  His pride in holding that championship goes a long way in establishing it as a prestigious title.  And the Open Challenge has given us some fresh matches and frequent title defenses.  All around awesome stuff, as far as I'm concerned.

7:51 - Tough to say who "should" have won that match, since both guys could have used a victory.  Ultimately, though, you can't argue with going for the over babyface.  I wish they could think of doing something with Barrett, because he has a lot to offer.  But until they figure that out, why not give Neville a big win?

7:40 - Apparently capes are popular in the UK?

7:34 - Watching the Roman Reigns/Big Show recap brought up what I can't stand about most WWE faces -- particularly the ones at the top of the card.  Nobody ever gets upset about anything.  Yes, there's a thin line between whining and expressing displeasure, but I really can't stand this "I had the victory but Seth Rollins cashed in....which he had every right to do" followed by "I was about to become the #1 Contender but Big Show interfered.  Oh well, now I'm going to kick his ass."  Yeah, but what about becoming #1 Contender?  Doesn't he still care about that?  Show some displeasure.  Show that you're pissed.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - March 30, 2015

11:08 - Overall an awesome, nearly flawless episode.  The ending was a bit weak, though.

11:05 - I can't even make out what they're saying with half of these chants.  They are NOT being kind to Reigns though.

10:56 - If I'm remembering correctly, last year's Raw after WrestleMania ended with the awesome Shield save when the Authority attacked Daniel Bryan.  It was a truly awesome moment that made the audience erupt.  I hope we see something better than Reigns or Orton pinning Rollins to become the new #1 contender tonight.  It's been an awesome show otherwise....let's end it big.

10:52 - Half of the guys in the main event of Raw after WrestleMania were left off of the WrestleMania card.

10:41 - I'd hate to say it, since I love Goldust, but without any connection whatsoever to Cody/Stardust, will WWE ever do anything with Goldust again?

10:22 - Already over Jerry Lawler being here.  He couldn't even remember how Paige debuted a year ago?

10:14 - So who steps up to be Orton's partners?  Reigns seems like an obvious choice.  Ideally, THIS would have been a great use of Ambrose.  Who else is out there?  Ryback?  Assuming they don't use anybody who has already fought tonight.

10:07 - Obviously it was important for Cena to win there to re-establish the championship.  And Ambrose did come out looking like they were in the same league.  It's just unfortunate to see him losing against pretty much everybody at his level or above him, when he needs some big wins.

10:03 - I love Ambrose....but that powerbomb spot was bad.

9:57 - I have to agree with what the others are saying....Byron Saxton needs to show a bit more emotion and passion out here.  He's being hit doubly bad right now -- he both has to sell concern for his coworkers AND he's out there by himself.  It's a difficult to win situation.  I don't love Lawler, but him being out here probably does help the situation.

9:46 - I'm a pretty notorious Cena defender but how can you not appreciate the fact that, for the past few years, he's taken a significantly reduced role at WrestleMania so that somebody else could have a moment?  Not to mention that he went a long way in getting over Daniel Bryan and CM Punk.  Not to mention the fact that, while still being one of the most over and successful guys on the roster, he allows himself to be "lowered" to the United States Championship.  And he did so proudly.  You don't see that very often and hopefully it removes the stigma of guys getting a secondary title after a World title.  Plus, I kinda like that new shirt.

9:37 - It's rather brilliant having all of these NXT debuts at the smark heavy Raw after WrestleMania.  The secret, of course, is to continue the momentum.

9:22 - The Rhodes Scholars Explode!  In all seriousness, I do hope that Mizdow reverts back to his Sandow persona.  Not the intellectually superior part, but rather his own identity.  Actually, come to think of it, this match is two guys who are both aping their former partners.

9:12 - Similar to when the Nexus tore apart the ring and ringside area, Brock's attack on the ring announcers and cameraman will, at the very least, give the show a new feel.  Visually....audibly....we'll see and hear something different.  And that's important.

9:08 - Wait....strangely, WWE's Instagram page has a photo of the Rollins sideplates.  Hmmmm.

And yes, Lesnar killing people was loads of fun.

9:04 - Hmmmmm, looks like Rollins has the generic "WWE" sideplates.  Does that not bode well for a long reign?  I certainly hope they didn't give up on that feature of the title yet -- it's the best part!

9:02 - I want to see what the Rollins sideplates look like.

9:00 - Shocked that they're using the Brock appearance this early in the show.  Thinking that there has to be some sort of twist coming.  Reigns heel turn?  Heyman turning on Brock?  A surprise return of some sort?

8:54 - What's with all the hate towards New Day?  I understand it's a weak gimmick and there isn't much reason to care about them, and that they're not quite the darlings that Lucha Dragons and Cesaro/Kidd are, but I figured there was still a soft spot for Kofi at least.

Awesome performance for Kalisto and Sin Cara.  Good for them!!

8:47 - Loving the Lucha Dragons.  I don't watch NXT as often as I should, but I've always had a soft spot for the Sin Cara character.  I'm glad that they found something for him and I would be thrilled if they became a regular fixture on Raw.

8:45 - I noticed it last night at WrestleMania, but it appears that the LED ring apron is now a permanent fixture on Raw too.

8:31 - Really fun match and quite possibly the best running knee we've seen yet.  By the way, I love that Bryan has shown some edge since his return.  He's not your traditional, happy, loving life babyface.  Well, he is.  But he also shows some legitimate tension with Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler.  Good stuff.

Also, loved the Sheamus heel turn and new look.  Both things were desperately needed.

8:27 - Yeah, let's do that move we banned on a body part that will impact the rest of the match......during the commercial break.

8:13 - Personally, I love the idea of using one of Brock Lesnar's wrestling dates on a Raw match.  Yes, gaining Network subscribers is the new PPV buyrate, but right now extra eyes on Raw COULD mean increased Network subscribers.  People, I do believe, want to see something new and different.  Brock has been most interesting when he's not surrounded by Triple H and John Cena, who Brock fought pretty much exclusively for the first year or two of his deal.  I'm about 50% sure that we won't actually see Brock fight tonight....but teasing it is something different.

And yes, this does seem like the beginning of a face turn for him.

7:54 - Well, an extremely strong WrestleMania has come and gone and the comment I keep hearing (from both fans and those within in the industry) is that viewers need to be more patient, since they complained about the build to WrestleMania but it ended up delivering -- big.  But do the ends justify the means here?  I mean, if the show is built on weak stories and characters that we're not invested in, don't fans have the right to be skeptical about devoting 4+ hours to see if the matches and results deliver?  Frankly, the build WAS terrible.  It's one thing if you're not into Roman Reigns the character, but WWE gave us no reason to get behind him.  Where was the dominant monster from the Shield?  He was struggling to beat Kane and losing to Big Show and Seth Rollins.  All while spewing ridiculous lines that even supporters couldn't get behind.  And other big matches -- like the Intercontinental Championship -- was built on an extremely flimsy story that really didn't make anybody look good.  And your main event stories like Wyatt/Undertaker and Sting/Triple H really had no story at all.  It was just -- "this is what we're offering!  Be excited!  CARE!!"  And in both of those cases, one man was building the entire story.

I'm glad WrestleMania delivered and I really enjoyed the show.  But I think fans deserve better than, "See, you just needed to wait and see where we were going."

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

LIVE WrestleMania 31 thoughts - March 29, 2015

11:03 - Incredibly intriguing WrestleMania with Seth Rollins walking away with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  The manner of getting there -- with Rollins interrupting an existing match -- was a bit questionable, though.  In all the years Money in the Bank has existed, that's never been a clause that was seemingly allowed.  Plus, it was done in a way that sacrificed the "new" star in Roman Reigns, while protecting Lesnar (which, given his extended deal, is fine).

What an awesome and well deserved moment for Rollins, though.  He's been one of the best built stars of the year.  In fact, who would have guessed that Rollins would be the first member of the Shield to get the World Championship?  We all thought he was going to be the one lost in the shuffle!

Intriguingly, the build to this year's WrestleMania has been one of the worst ever.  Yet the booking and performances, top to bottom, was practically flawless.  It's so unfortunate that this company can't get their act together and really put out a consistently great product.  All the pieces are there.

10:46 - As you can see in my predictions, I don't see any way that Reigns leaves the stadium as WWE Champion.  But surely the guy is dead in the water if he just gets squashed by Brock.  Even a flukey victory would do him no favors.  Based on the timing, this won't be a 30 minute classic.  It's looking to be 15 minutes or so.

10:40 - I was mostly wrong in regards to my first prediction.  Newish gear (with his logo) but more or less the same.  By the way, it's always difficult to judge in arenas, but he got pretty much no reaction during his entrance.  And right now they're jeering him pretty significantly.

10:33 - Several bold predictions here:  1) Roman Reigns completely changes his gear tonight, possibly even traditional tights.  2)  Reigns wins.  3)  Rollins cashes in and wins.  4)  If Lesnar wins, Reigns turns heel.  Regardless, Rollins cashes in and wins.

10:29 - Just walked in to see Undertaker win.  How was the match?

10:16 - I didn't catch Undertaker's entrance so I'm forced to assume he's back to his American Badass gimmick.

10:05 - Looks like Bray Wyatt is going to be able to wrestle.  This entrance is also strangely similar to the Walking Dead episode I'm watching.

9:46 - Looks like the Rock never got that memo about WWE's partnership with Tapout.

9:36 - Commercial break so I stepped in to see what's happening.  On a VERY long "Loading, please wait" screen.  Disappointing.

8:58 - It is odd seeing Macho Man finally in the Hall of Fame but him not being the highlighted person inducted.

8:52 - They were a little light on each of their accomplishments there.  How about the fact that Reigns is undefeated at WrestleMania?  Or his tag team title reign?  Or Lesnar's King of the Ring win?

8:51 - Alright friends, at 9:00 I'm going into the other room for the next hour and a half to watch the season finale of The Walking Dead.  I'll drop in during commercial breaks and will offer any quick commentary.  Enjoy!

8:49 - Oh yay.  So happy to be wrong.  Sorta odd booking, though.

8:40 - So Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL have been sitting at ringside for nearly 3 hours now and none of them have taken a sip of their Mountain Dew.  Must be delicious!

I'm oddly excited that I get to see AJ Lee before I leave to watch The Walking Dead.  And I can't help but appreciate Paige too.  I think AJ and Paige SHOULD win....but with the faces winning the big matches (most of them), I guess I gotta go with the Bellas, unfortunately.

8:37 - I hate these stupid concerts they do at WrestleMania.

8:32 - Fun backstage segment with Daniel Bryan and former Intercontinental Champions.  Nice to give him a moment and make the title win seem like a big deal.

8:25 - I enjoyed that match soooooooo much more than I thought I would.  Was I anticipating it?  No.  Was it a good match?  Not really.  But I loved the allusions to the WWE vs. WCW war.  And seeing the nWo come out and defend Sting was such a fun visual.  And it was great seeing Nash and Hall without it being about the Kliq. A lot of fun.

8:19 - Okay, I marked out when DX came out.  I marked out HUGE when the nWo came out.  LOVED the nWo/DX confrontation.

8:13 - Did Triple H order the wrong sized logo for the back of his trunks?

8:05 - My gut tells me Sting wins this, but with two strong babyface wins I'm not so sure.  Sting SHOULD win....but I'm going to go with Triple H here.

8:03 - So, um....that happened.

7:59 - I'm confused.....WWE knows that Sting isn't Japanese, right?  I like the visual of all of the musicians wearing the Sting facepaint (kinda like the WWE 2K commercial), but nothing about Sting's character or appearance has anything to do with Japanese culture.  I do like that he's wearing a flashy jacket, and there is a little red in his facepaint....but it's still a little too Crow-ish.

7:53 - I'm shocked Triple H and Sting are on this early in the show.  Not because of their status, but because I figured both guys would need the dark to make an effective entrance.  Sidenote:  I REALLY hope we see a jazzed up Sting appearance.  If he's just in the traditional Crow facepaint and attire, I'll be disappointed.

7:49 - Really no issue with Randy winning here as he's the good guy and the booking was heading into that direction anyway.  That was an AWESOME ending sequence, though.  Loved Rollins missing the flippity flop but still landing on his face, then hitting the first part of the Curb Stomp but then getting caught in a great looking RKO.  I suspect Rollins will have his big moment later tonight.  Great match.

7:34 - Almost a retro look for Orton, with the red trunks and elbow pads.

7:32 - I've been saying for the past year that I thought that Rollins would debut a new version of his gear (I thought a gray one) but we finally have one.  Now he's sporting a gold trim, really looking very X-Men movie right now.  I predict Orton wins this one.

7:26 - If this means big things for Bryan, good for him.  Let's hope for a nice, long reign here.  A really fun, action packed match.  I really, REALLY hope that nobody suffered any significant injuries.  Those Stardust and Dean Ambrose bumps looked really brutal -- I hope everybody is okay.

By the way, does the lack of Sheamus in the ladder match and battle royal add some credibility to the rumor that Wyatt won't be able to wrestle tonight and that Sheamus will replace him against the Undertaker?  What a letdown that would be.

7:19 - Just saw that Barrett has "One True Champion" with an image of the Intercontinental Championship on the back of his trunks.  Love it!

7:10 - I forgot to make this an official prediction, but I did predict privately that either Dean Ambrose or Luke Harper would NOT be wearing blue jeans.  Looks like that's the case with Harper.  I also love his jacket with everybody else's names crossed out.

Stardust has some fun new gear too, but it's a little too similar to the designs he's worn before.  Why not go in a way different direction?

7:06 - Really fun opening video.  I was skeptical at first -- it seemed a little too cross-promotional (Terminator entrance, anybody?) but it really came together nicely and established WrestleMania as a huge spectacle.

By the way, I was wrong about Daniel Bryan.  No cool ring jacket.  But he is at least wearing normal boots.

I'm guessing Bryan wins this.  If not Bryan, I see Ambrose taking it.

7:01 - Random prediction:  Daniel Bryan brings back his kick ass jacket/robe for his WrestleMania entrance.  Enough with the damn t-shirts.  And it wouldn't kill you to get rid of the furry boots either.

I can't get a real sense of the WrestleMania set, either.  I know they said it wouldn't have a location like the past few years, but i'm not getting a sense of what the theme is at all yet.

6:59 - That was a really awesome look at the Intercontinental title ladder match.  They did a really nice job of going over the history of the title, the history of the title at WrestleMania, and the history of ladder matches at WrestleMania.  I kinda wish the match didn't kick off the show, but I'm excited.

6:53 - Okay, now I think WWE is deliberately going overboard with their references to how thrilled they are that fans are dressing up as their favorite Superstars.  I'm sensing it's damage control over all those reports about asking fans to change out of their costumes.

6:47 - Eck, didn't love that ending.  I think they did an effective job of giving Mizdow some momentum and strength, but was it worth it?  I mean, you had Big Show eliminate Cesaro, Ryback, all of the New Day, and Mizdow.  Was it worthwhile to sacrifice so many people to make Big Show look strong?  They could've made an even bigger moment for Mizdow.

Having said that, I did like the various throwbacks to Big Show/Cesaro.  And the overall story of Big Show never actually winning a battle royal was good.  But, again, Big Show is a heel.  Why is he getting a triumphant moment?

6:33 - I love the fact that Miz is wearing a blinged out, more impressive version of the gear that Mizdow is wearing.

6:30 - New blue gear for Miz and Mizdow.  By the way, my prediction is that Miz wins, and then after the match Mizdow finally turns on him.  Also, half the guys in this match are from the tag team title match.

6:25 - For those you keeping score, WWE is allowing people to wear costumes and outfits for WrestleMania.  Hooray for letting your fans get into the spectacle.

6:17 - Prediction #1 is correct!  Fun match, the only thing that "hurt" it was the fact that the announcers didn't even try to make sense of who was the legal man.  The referee actually seemed to keep track of who was legal but the announcers just went on and on about how they didn't know.  Why not try to make sense of it to help the audience follow along too?  But a good match, overall.

6:05 - Okay, our matches on the kickoff show have been begun and I am excited to say that 100% of the competitors have some new gear on!  As you probably gathered, I'm a sucker for Superstars debuting new gear at PPV's, but it's ESPECIALLY important to do it at WrestleMania.

Anyway, follow my LIVE thoughts throughout the night.  However, I'm taking an hour and a half break for The Walking Dead season finale.  Shows what sort of excitement there is for WrestleMania, huh?

I'm guessing Cesaro and Kidd retain here.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - March 23, 2015

11:00 - Alright, I'm watching this final segment from bed.  Check Twitter to follow my thoughts on the rest of the show.

10:55 - That post-match segment actually made me lose interest in the Intercontinental title Ladder Match.

10:51 - You know, I always love when Ziggler is made to look good....but I hate when it's at the expense of Daniel Bryan.  Especially leading into WrestleMania.  But thank goodness we got to see Ambrose some show edge.

10:43 - Ambrose's reaction to Ziggler and Bryan brawling was great.  But can we move past this whole "turd" thing?  It's humiliating.

10:39 - So according to WWE fans, we REALLY want to see Ziggler vs. Bryan and we REALLY like Dean Ambrose.  So let's throw them all in a story-less 20 person match.

10:30 - Phew, I thought they were going to focus exclusively on Nash's WWE tenure like they did with Hall.  Glad they're focusing on his entire career.  Truth be told, Nash's significance to the wrestling world will probably be more tied to his time in WCW than his time in WWE.

10:23 - I mean, the passion and commitment to character is certainly there with Bray Wyatt.  I just can't get into his character.  His promos are far too repetitive and the culmination of his feuds ultimately have little to nothing to do with his character.  Plus, the fact that the Undertaker isn't here to respond to these threats really does make it lose its luster.

10:05 - Ironically, it was a losing feud with Rusev that got Swagger over -- fairly significantly -- as a babyface.  If they had given Swagger something to do afterwards, he might have actually become a solid upper midcard attraction.  But instead he did nothing, and really only continued to exist to repeatedly put over Rusev.  And now he's really in no better position than he was before the Rusev feud.  He's only a good guy now.

10:03 - I wish WWE wasn't so coy about the length of time WrestleMania would last or how much it would cost to watch it on the Network.

9:50 - By the way, disappointing that a year after his big Andre the Giant Battle Royal victory (and being super hot going into that), Cesaro is on the WrestleMania pre-show this year.  What a wasted opportunity.

9:49 - Really?  Again?

9:38 - Typical modern-day WWE:  Curtis Axel is getting great babyface reactions through this goofy Axelmania thing, and what does WWE do?  Goes out of their way to put him in a heelish situation.

9:22 - This whole "strong" Nikki Bella thing confuses me.  She's obviously fit and on the stronger side of the Diva spectrum, but the announcers never really focus on her strength advantages.  And she does these little things like the push ups and the Rack Attack and that thing where she lifts up her opponents and chokes them, but she isn't a power worker like, say, Beth Phoenix or Chyna or Victoria were.  It's like a very half assed attempt to make her the power Diva.

9:09 - Thank goodness!  We're finally going to see Rusev vs. Swagger!!

9:06 - I think it was a mistake not having Rollins get the upper hand here.  Have we seen Rollins get the upper hand on Orton since the beat down on Raw a few weeks ago?  If not, we already saw the payoff.

9:03 - It's strange, I never remembered Mercury being that short when he was in MNM.

8:56 - Remember how I said I kinda sorta care about the Rollins/Orton match?  Well, stop giving it to me every single week leading up to the show.  Again -- I'm sure that we won't actually get a match between Orton and Rollins tonight, but show some restraint.  The story is there.  We already want to see Orton get his hands on Rollins.  Just ride that hype for another week into Mania.  No need to give us the match now.

8:53 - I literally had no idea that Erick Rowan was even in that match.

And why in the blue hell did we devote THAT much time to discussing Bill Simmons for THAT?

8:39 - And I will also remark, this isn't an anti-Roman commentary.  The fans CAN care about the guy.  They cared about him when he was in the Shield.  He DOES seem destined for great things.  But why not take the slower, more natural route?  Look at some of the greatest legends in WWE -- Steve Austin, The Rock, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Edge, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan.  Let's even count guys like Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Jeff Hardy, or, hell, even the Miz (who just appeared on television).  What do they all have in common?  They all took similar paths climbing UP the ladder to the top.  Many of them began in tag teams and won the tag team title.  Then they moved onto the Intercontinental/United States Championship.  They had a few reigns there and then moved onto the WWE Championship.  Why not do that with Roman?  Why not take advantage of the monster Rusev push by culminating it at WrestleMania with Roman?  Have him be the first person to pin him and win the United States Championship.  Roman is young -- let him climb to the top instead of throwing him there.  For every Steve Austin or John Cena, there's a Sheamus or Jack Swagger -- somebody who was given a World Championship before any significant time in the midcard or with a secondary title.  And they suffered because of it.  The only guys that really seemed to successfully jump into the main event World title scene in the modern era are Batista and, to a lesser extent, CM Punk.

8:38 - The amount of effort WWE has put into making us care about Roman Reigns when they had a perfectly viable option RIGHT THERE shows just how little this company cares about giving the fans what they want.

8:29 - Between Ambrose, Harper, and WWE.....I'm kinda shocked nobody has objected to the fact that Ambrose and Harper are essentially wearing the same exact thing.  Yes, there are differences, and the two guys don't look alike physically, but it's really, really close.  Why not have Ambrose wear a black tank top?  Or black jeans?  Why not do something to stand out?

Oh, good, Dean Ambrose is dancing and being a nice guy.  Everybody loves a nice guy who dances.

8:15 - Also, why not give us some fun pairings with these IC title match competitors?  There are, like, seven guys in the match and it seems like we see the same match over and over again.  Various pairings of Ambrose/Ziggler/Truth/Bryan vs. various pairings of Harper/Barrett/Stardust.  We've established that the faces aren't friends, nor are the heels.  We've seen the faces against each other.  Why not give us Ambrose and Stardust (a fun team, considering their manic characters) vs. Bryan and Barrett?  Or Bryan and Harper?  It would be fun to see them discuss his past with both guys through NXT/Nexus and the Wyatt Family.

8:13 - Okay, Sting explained that he's not here to defend WCW (even though 90% of the promo and Steph's response was about WCW), but rather that he's here to take Triple H down.  But did he explain why?  Or why now?

8:11 - Haven't they had this bat/sledgehammer showdown, like, 3 times already?

8:09 - How does Stephanie go on a two minute rant comparing Sting to a dog without mentioning that it's National Puppy Day?

8:04 - Who thought you would ever say "Sting On Raw"?  How about one of the two other times he appeared on the show?

8:03 - Annnnnnnnnnnd the cameras miss Sting's "Woooo!"  Great job.

7:22 - So, WrestleMania is 6 days away and I honestly cannot think of the last time I have been less enthusiastic about it.  There's literally one match that has has competitors that I care about succeeding, and it's a multi-person match where all but one -- and potentially all of them -- will end up a loser.  And it's for a title that hasn't exactly been put on a pedestal over the past few years.  Brock vs. Reigns?  Couldn't care less.  Wyatt vs. Undertaker?  Couldn't care less.  Cena vs. Rusev?  Couldn't care less (although I am intrigued by the possibility of the face of the company holding a secondary title).  Sting vs. Triple H?  Couldn't care less times a million.  I like the fact that Seth Rollins is going to be highlighted, but that also makes me sad that he and Reigns are in high profile matches, while Ambrose is stuck in the Intercontinental title purgatory match.  And remember how Edge cashing in Money in the Bank was a huge event that "made" the stipulation?  Well, what happened to Cesaro this past year had the opposite effect on the Andre the Giant Battle Royal.  So I couldn't care less who wins that match, because I have no reason to believe it'll mean anything.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - March 16, 2015

10:18 - I find R-Truth's inclusion in this whole thing really unusual.  He hasn't been in a storyline or consistently won matches in ages, and he's not even formally involved in all of the multi-person matches that are leading up to the title match.

And why is Stardust wearing black/red/gold attire with silver/black/red facepaint?

9:58 - OH!  And not to mention that they paid off Axel being eliminated!  How did they waste that moment in this forgettable segment?

9:54 - Not for nothing, but didn't they just give away practically half of the competitors in the WrestleMania Battle Royal?  Wouldn't this have been just as effective if the had Kane come out and cut a promo about how he's going to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and then have Henry interrupt, enter the contest himself, and then walk into the ring and throw Kane out of it?  Why throw 15 of the competitors in and make all of them, but two, look like complete chumps?

9:44 - Has there EVER been a confrontation between Erick Rowan and Big Show that worked out well for Rowan?

9:39 - Fun and effective interview.  Not sure I would call it controversial, though.

9:25 - Does the black lining around the eye holes of Los Matadores' masks indicate that they're evil now?

9:14 - Again, they've done a good job of getting the fans solidly with Cena and against Rusev.  Bravo.

9:05 - Gotta give it to Cena, he got the entire audience behind him there.

8:49 - Miz and Mizdow is one of the few stories that the fans actually react to.  One that arguably saved both men's careers.  And the payoff isn't even happening at WrestleMania.  I'm sure something will finally happen, but it should payoff there, not start there.  Imagine if Virgil/DiBiase was paid off in a 30 man battle royal.

8:41 - I don't get it.  Are we supposed to care about this Big Show/Kane miff?  Are we supposed to be rooting for either of them here?

8:39 - "Six hours of WrestleMania" sounds like a threat.

8:33 - I admire the fact that they gave this match so much time but it also did a lot to expose the weaknesses of Nikki as a performer.  Also, with all the discussion on the fact that AJ and Paige had recently feuded, why wasn't more attention given to the fact that Nikki and Brie were at each other's throats not too long ago?

8:16 - There were more things in that promo that I liked than that I didn't like.  Really, my only major complaint is that they're giving away Orton vs. Rollins tonight when people actually DO care about that match.  Now, I recognize that it's likely a bait and switch -- which I actually hope it is -- but even so, why even tease it?  Why not just continue to build the tension?  Put Randy in a different "trap" (like J & J Security tonight, and Big Show and Kane next week).  What I liked, though, is that Rollins actually accepted the challenge.  It feels like all of our major storylines had weeks of build not for the match, but for whether one of the contestants would even accept the challenge for the match.  It's bad when they do more to build up the acceptance than the match itself.  I also thought Rollins did an awesome job in his promo.  The guy has come a HUGE way this past year.  He truly does carry himself like a star.

Oh, and I love that AJ is back.

7:56 - So here we are.  How many days until WrestleMania?  I honestly don't know.  The only frame of reference I have is knowing how many episodes of The Walking Dead are left.  I'm not breaking any new ground here, but has there EVER been a more uninspired WrestleMania?  I honestly don't have an emotional investment in a single match.  Pretty much every single guy I care about is in the Intercontinental Championship....which means all but all -- and potentially all -- will lose.  And what makes matters worse is that there isn't even an actual story there.  Like, storyline was, is there a difference between Bryan winning and Ziggler winning?  I can love both Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker, but the result of that match dramatically impacts both characters and the direction of the company.  Here, it's just a guy I like losing a match at WrestleMania.  And that's kinda sad.  The rest of the matches, I really honestly don't even care about.

I really have no problem missing an hour and a half of WrestleMania so that I can watch the Walking Dead finale.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

LIVE Raw thoughts - March 2, 2015

11:05 - Wait, really?  You're really going to make Rollins lose now?  But that plancha was prettttttty awesome.

10:55 - Alright, I'm kinda getting a kick out of this Orton routine.  If ONLY they hadn't already turned on Orton, I would consider it completely acceptable.  But other than that, I'm finding humor in Orton coming out to distract Rollins right before he's about to gain an advantage or do something diabolical.  And Orton is fully aware of what he's doing.  The fans are fully aware of what he's doing.  Even Kane, Big Show, and J&J Security are aware of what he's doing.  Yet he sometimes manages to make it work.

10:45 - So Paul Heyman gives a 10 minute promo about how everybody believes that Roman Reigns beating Brock Lesnar is a foregone conclusion, but they're wrong.  The second it ends and Reigns comes out, Michael Cole asks "Do you think Roman Reigns is tired of everybody saying he can't beat Brock Lesnar?"  Geez, get it together.

10:30 - Another pet peeve:  WWE either announcing their inductions before Raw or outright spoiling them.  They've done this with every single inductee this year.

10:19 - "Daniel, I know you spent almost a year out of action due to neck and other severe injuries, but we'd like you to wrestle in a ladder match at WrestleMania."  "Really?  Hmmmm.  Is it for the World title?"  "Well, no."  "Oh.  Maybe a number one contender's shot, where the winner faces the champion at Extreme Rules?"  "Unfortunately not."  "Are you guys doing another Money in the Bank match?"  "No."  "Then what am I fighting for?"  "Get'll be risking it all -- haha, literally! -- for the INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP!"

10:10 - I will say this.  Jon Stewart cuts an awesome promo.  And he knows his wrestling history.

9:53 - Thrilled to see AJ Lee back and it would've been an awesome surprise if it wasn't spoiled for me by a website that did not offer a spoiler warning.  Actually, that's another rant.  There will be one link that says "SPOILER:  Superstar returning tonight."  And then higher up on the page there will be another story with no spoiler warning that will say "as noted earlier, AJ Lee is backstage at Raw and expected to return tonight."

But yes, I approve of AJ and Paige vs. the Bellas at WrestleMania.  They're pretty much the only four Divas who have received a push this year, so they might as well be the ones that get the WrestleMania treatment.

9:42 - Every voice in that Flintstones cartoon sounds strange.

9:27 - In all of the dream matches that came up, did anyone ever say "Sting vs. Triple H"?  This isn't a shot at Triple H, but I just don't think their careers ever intersected in a way that people said they wanted to see that match.  Their characters were never similar and they don't really have similar styles.  It's just not something that, I think, people ever wanted to see.  The inherent interest isn't there.

9:13 - I gotta admit, I did laugh when Axel noted that he's been in the Royal Rumble for 35 days.

9:07 - I understand she's a heel and that she's not SUPPOSED to be right, but this promo would make a lot more sense if Cena said anything that might even remotely be considered derogatory against Andre the Giant or the Battle Royal.  He seemed quite honored.

9:02 - Criticize Cena all you want, but this is the type of promo Reigns should have been delivering.

8:53 - Having said that, how awesome is it that Tyson Kidd might be in a featured match at WrestleMania?  Well deserved.

8:48 - The Usos vs. Cesaro/Kidd always deliver awesome matches and there's an actual story there.  But we've seen them fight every single week for the past couple of months.  Again, what's the thrill in seeing them fight at WrestleMania?

8:35 - Similar to my complaint about Ziggler and Ryback feuding with the Authority but not having that pay off at WrestleMania, the same is true with this Miz/Mizdow thing.  This is a feud that actually has people invested.  They love the Mizdow act and they can't wait for him to turn on him.  Yet, at the moment, Miz is scheduled to be in the Battle Royal.  Can you imagine if Virgil/Ted Dibiase was paid off in a 30 man battle royal?

8:30 - What's the end game with this Intercontinental Title story?  If Barrett ultimately wins, EVERYBODY looks like a loser.  If anybody else wins, then what's the appeal?  I mean, let's say Ambrose wins.  He's already beaten Barrett before, so the victory doesn't mean much.  He's already physically appeared with the title, so seeing him holding the title doesn't give us much pleasure either.

8:02 - This whole Seth Rollins/Jon Stewart thing is great, but it accentuates what is wrong with WrestleMania right now.  They have a pre-written story with Randy Orton and Rollins and people ARE invested in it....but instead of just going with that, what are they doing?  They're having them team again (which can really only potentially make people less invested in Orton as a face) so that Orton can turn on him and, as a result, the match just seems more rushed.  And instead of moving forward with that Orton/Rollins match, they're having Rollins spend time on Jon Stewart -- which I can't imagine will play into a WrestleMania match.

And that's not all.  For the past six months, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, and Erick Rowan have been feuding with the Authority.  Will this pay off with these three banding together to face the Authority at the biggest show of the year?  Perhaps Kane and Big Show take out Rowan (the weakest of the three) and Ziggler and Ryback team up to defeat them at WrestleMania, finally getting their revenge for getting fired?  Nope.  Instead, we have Ryback in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, you have Ziggler likely battling for the Intercontinental title (a title he's held, like, three times in the past year) and Rowan not doing anything.

And then you have Daniel Bryan, who has been feuding with the Authority in some capacity for well over a year.  And will he be doing anything involving the Authority?  Nope.  He's set up to participate in the Intercontinental title match as well.....a title he has had nothing to do with in years against competitors he hasn't had anything to do with since his return.

Where's the logical build for anything?

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