"Monday morning, you sure look fine.."
Hustle Is Posting Right Now - Monday Morning Quarterback
Apr 8, 2013 - 10:05:14 AM
First of all.. sorry, Tito. I know this has been a part of your columns for a while, but I figured I'd take the idea and expand on it a bit. The idea just hit me, and since everyone always wants me to write columns after pay-per-views are over, I figured I'd run with it.
Second of all.. Sports Illustrated's Peter King has a weekly NFL column called Monday Morning Quarterback, where he breaks down that weekend's football games. In taking the idea, I couldn't come up with a title to fit the world of wrestling more, so I'm sticking with the MMQ title. I'll be doing one of these after every pay-per-view is over, but if any of you can come up with a better title, I'd love to hear it. Monday Morning _____? If I like your idea, I'll use it and give you full credit for the name change.
Enough wasting time. Let's get on with it.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I was a little leery when WWE announced that the WrestleMania pre-show on YouTube would be an hour for this show, and I had good reason to be. While most people assumed the extra 30 minutes would mean we'd get an extra, unannounced match thrown in (Kaitlyn VS AJ was a suggestion, as was Antonio Cesaro VS R-Truth), I assumed the extra 30 minutes would mean an extra 30 minutes of video packages. Sure enough.. there weren't any added matches. On top of that, the match we got (Wade Barrett defending the Intercontinental Title against The Miz) only lasted 4:10. For the sake of reference, let's look at how long some of the recent YouTube pre-show matches have been..
- Brodus Clay & Tensai defeated Rhodes Scholars before Elimination Chamber in 4:07
- Antonio Cesaro defeated The Miz before Royal Rumble in 7:56
- Naomi won a Santa's Little Helper Diva Battle Royal before TLC in 5:25
- Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal defeated Zack Ryder & Santino before Survivor Series in 6:11
I just don't understand why you'd give the pre-show an extra 30 minutes if you aren't going to give a single moment of those extra 30 minutes to the match. A match, by the way, which was for the Intercontinental Title, so it wasn't just two random schmucks that are lucky to get TV dark match duty. Finally, how big of an asshole is Barrett after all of this? His title reign was a complete failure, and dropping the belt in four minutes on YouTube is actually the most fitting way for it to end. I literally know people that missed the entire match because they went to the bathroom, thinking they'd be back in plenty of time to catch the rest of it. Don't be surprised if you don't see Barrett in any sort of title picture again (minus the rematch that will be coming his way after dropping the belt, of course).
2. The right team won the six-man tag match. A lot of people just didn't like the team of Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show. It was "too random", or "Show's face turn didn't make sense", or the team was just "three guys with nothing else to do", and so on. Everyone was expecting some sort of heel turn in this match. What we got was the turn that none of us actually wanted to see, with Big Show becoming a heel for the 8,297th time. In the last two years. The match itself wasn't bad, but I'll continue to say this again and again, because it's necessary.. The Shield are in the middle of a monster push. As I mentioned in my WrestleMania predictions column, the men that have been beaten by The Shield in their handful of main roster matches combine for a grand total of 26 WWE/WWF/World Title reigns. They're winning their matches, and they're looking dominant in the process. They don't seem to have many holes in their game when it comes to in-ring work, as all three men bring something to the table that helps to accentuate the other two. I love watching it. It should be very interesting to see where they go from here, especially now that it appears the feud with their opponents here has ended.
3. I'm pleasantly pleased at the result of Ryback VS Mark Henry. I have no problems with Ryback whatsoever, but I feel that Mark Henry had been overlooked here. As I've been telling people, this very well could/should be Henry's last chance at a singles push before he has to retire, because he turns 42 in a couple months and has shown that he isn't exactly invincible in recent years. Ryback will have his chances in the future, but I thought WWE should take advantage of Henry's remaining time with the company. I didn't think they would, but I thought they should. You really couldn't ask for more from the ending of the match, either. Henry got the pin, but Ryback looked strong, and even got some of his heat back in the post match fight. This feud probably isn't over, and you know what? I don't have a problem with that.
4. The WWE Universe is dying for Daniel Bryan to be a singles star. Did you hear the crowd reactions he was getting? My goodness. Week in and week out, there isn't anyone in wrestling that gets the consistently loud crowd reactions that Daniel Bryan gets. Nobody. Not even The Rock, John Cena, Triple H and so on. Those guys get some ridiculous pops, sure, but there are the occasional cities where the pops are much lower in volume. He's over with the "marks". He's over with the "smarks". WWE might actually be doing him a disservice by keeping him in a tag team, even if it's a tag team that has held the Tag Team Titles for 204 days coming into Raw (the longest reign in that title lineage since Carlito & Primo Colon held the belts from September 21st, 2008 to June 28th, 2009). The fans are just waiting to have a real reason to cheer for the guy, and the "head honchos" in the back have to notice that. Making the situation even better is the fact that Daniel Bryan VS John Cena would be something fresh. Daniel Bryan VS Ryback would be something fresh. Daniel Bryan VS Alberto Del Rio would be fresh for the main event scene. Daniel Bryan VS Jack Swagger would be something fresh. Daniel Bryan VS Randy Orton would be fresh in the short-term memory world of pro wrestling. Do you see my point? People continue to complain about WWE feuds being "stale", especially towards the top of the card, and in Daniel Bryan, the company has a solution to that problem right there. Now, if only WWE was serious about pushing another tag team to step up and take the titles away so Bryan can move on.
5. I'm still not impressed by Fandango. His match with Chris Jericho wasn't awful. I can say that much. However, it just didn't work for me, and they seemed to be stuck in first gear. I talked to several people who have been fans of the Fandango gimmick, and even they admit to not really liking the match too much. There's still plenty of time for Fandango to win me over. It's clear that he isn't going away anytime soon, so I should probably start getting used to him.
6. Living Colour still has it. It was a brief performance, but Living Colour really made the most out of performing "Cult Of Personality" live to accompany CM Punk to the ring. Guitarist Vernon Reid is one of my all-time favorites, and he doesn't appear to have lost a step, while lead singer Corey Glover has always been a great showman with a voice that has stood the test of time, even after all these years (they've been around for longer than this, but "Cult Of Personality" came out in 1988). Very fun performance.
7. It is going to be very difficult for a WWE match to top The Undertaker VS CM Punk for Match Of The Year. Ho. Ly. Shit. We should have known, right from the beginning, that it was going to be special. Punk's entrance was great, but was topped by Taker, who walked through what came across as a zombie outbreak of hands reaching up from the ground at him. From there, we got an absolute classic. We continue to doubt Taker every year, and every year, he keeps delivering some entertaining matches at WrestleMania. Punk, to his credit, wrestled like he had a chip on his shoulder, and by all accounts from his media interviews all week long, he did have one. The story that those two told was great, with Punk starting out as that cocky asshole who was trying to get under Taker's skin to slowly becoming more and more afraid of the man, especially after he couldn't keep him down. I've been spending the last couple weeks praising the "WrestleMania Moment" when Shawn Michaels kicked out of a Tombstone at WrestleMania 25, and we got another Tombstone kick out last night, which sent me (and my entire Twitter timeline, from the looks of it) into a tizzy. The crowd was electric from beginning to end, which only made the entire thing come across even better. I really can't give a much higher recommendation for a match. If you're someone who hasn't watched the show yet, but are only looking for certain matches to check out, you're a fool if you skip this one, regardless of your opinions of the two people involved in the match or the storyline they've been running with over the last few weeks.
8. Triple H VS Brock Lesnar was too much like John Cena VS Brock Lesnar for me to truly enjoy it. Don't get me wrong.. I did like the match, but the formula was far too similar than the Cena VS Lesnar match we got at Extreme Rules last year, right down to the final stretch involving the ring steps being brought into the ring and used. Brock was Brock, and was a physical, angry bully of a man. Triple H was the older "underdog". The match was just fine, minus those similarities to Cena VS Lesnar, but sweet Joe Pesci, was that crowd dead or what? Putting this match on right after the emotional roller coaster ride that was The Undertaker VS CM Punk was a risky move, and that risk didn't lead to a reward. A lot of people said this match was hurt because the outcome was pretty obvious to most fans, and while I agree with that, the outcome to Taker VS Punk was also pretty obvious to most people, and that didn't stop those same people from becoming invested in the match like they were here. There just wasn't enough of a reason for the fans to care. With the previous match, you had fans wanting to see The Undertaker defend the honor of his recently deceased friend and stomp several mudholes in the ass of CM Punk, who had worked his ass off to get people to hate him. With this match, it was a man who had come out of a forced retirement to.. put his career on the line.. taking on someone who has someone else do the talking for him. Zero "connect" with the WWE Universe, and that was clear right away.
9. The main event was a "tale of two halves". At the very beginning of the match, I tweeted that The Rock VS John Cena would end up being like The Undertaker VS Edge from WrestleMania 24 was. If you remember that match, you'd remember that it started off ridiculously slow, and the crowd reacted in the proper manner. However, about halfway through the match, things really picked up, and the crowd went along for the ride with them. Coming off of back-to-back main events, last night's crowd was tired, and this match having a really slow start certainly didn't help things. There were audible "boring" chants at times in the beginning of this match, which is insane to think about, considering who was involved and what stage it was on. Sure enough, though, Rock and Cena picked things up, and the crowd reacted with the proper level of excitement. I have to say this.. I'm nowhere near as down on the final stretch of this match as a lot of you have been. Yes, there was finisher after finisher after finisher after finisher, and it started to look like an indy main event at points, but Rock and Cena are so good at what they do, and it drew me in. I was marking out at multiple points, especially with the slight parallels and the references to their first match, with Cena starting to get a little cocky, which is what cost him the victory last year. No, I didn't get a heel turn for Cena.. again.. but it's going to become my "gimmick" to predict that heel turn for every show. I mean every show. Raw, Smackdown, Saturday Morning Slam, NXT, Impact, Hell's Kitchen, The Voice, Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, The Wire.. all of them. At some point, I have to get that heel turn, right? Right?!?
10. I've finally figured out my match ratings, after watching each match a second time. When I don't include my star ratings for pay-per-views, people are always asking me what I thought of such-and-such match, so I almost have to include them every time out now. Here you go..
- Barrett VS Miz: 1 star
- Orton, Sheamus & Show VS Shield: 2.25 stars
- Ryback VS Henry: 2.5 stars
- Hell No VS Ziggler & Langston: 2.75 stars
- Jericho VS Fandango: 1.5 stars
- ADR VS Swagger: 2.5 stars
- Taker VS Punk: 4.75 stars (I honestly could not tell you what it would take to get a perfect score from me, but this is as close as it gets)
- HHH VS Lesnar: 3.25 stars
- Rock VS Cena: 3.25 stars
When you look at those star ratings, you can already see that I do give WrestleMania an overall recommendation to those of you who haven't seen the show. There were no terrible matches on the card. The pre-show match definitely would have been rated higher if it lasted longer than four entire minutes. Even though I'm down on Jericho VS Fandango, it wasn't a train wreck, nor was it the drizzling shits, and Fandango's first match carries an intrigue factor for a lot of people, so I can't even tell you that you should skip the match. I'm legitimately stunned at all of the negativity I've been seeing from people about the show. I would have appreciated some more unpredictability with some of the match results, and I feel the company played it "safe" more often than not, but I enjoyed the matches themselves, and that's what has led me to my opinions here.
Overall, I'd say that WrestleMania 29 is worth a DVD purchase when it comes out.
Factoid Of The Week That May Interest Only Me
(A lot of things in this section will be unrelated to wrestling in any way, keeping up with Peter King's columns, so be prepared.)
Even though I have yet to try the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco (I thought the Nacho Cheese version was highly overrated), I saw some stats that just make me shake my head. Taco Bell sold 375 million Doritos Locos Tacos in 2012. Even with leap year providing an extra day to the calendar, that averages out to over one million sold every single day. In comparison, McDonald's sold 100 million hamburgers. In its first 18 years of existence. This country just gets bigger and bigger, and with more flavors of the DLT being unveiled in the future, we're only going to get bigger.
It isn't all bad news, though, I guess. Taco Bell had to add nearly 15,000 jobs in 2012 just to keep up with the insane demand for the DLTs, and the company believes they'll be able to open up 2,000 new restaurants over the next decade thanks to this new popularity. We're getting fatter, but at least more fatties are able to find jobs thanks to the desire we have to be fatties, so.. there's that. Hooray?
Tweet Of The Week
Shawn Michaels - the only guy at mania looking at NY and NJ at the same time
- LoP's very own Mazza (@MazzaLoP)
The man's got a point, you know.
Who I Like Tonight
As we've all seen, the episode of Raw on the night after WrestleMania is always entertaining, and has become something of a must-watch in recent years. I don't see that being any different this year. Rumors are already all over the place that any/all of the following names will be returning to the company..
- Rob Van Dam
- Shelton Benjamin
I'm going to pull a WWE here and play it "safe" by predicting we will see one of those three names make their return tonight, but I won't pick who it is. Just know that it will be a name on that list.
I also expect AJ Lee to win the Divas Title, which will draw a really large face pop from the East Rutherford, New Jersey crowd. I'm also predicting a super hot heel reaction for John Cena. Surprise, surprise. I also think we'll get The Shield moving into the Tag Team Title picture, with or without the "Freebird Rule", and that will be the beginning of the end for Team Hell No, which will hopefully lead to a singles push for Daniel Bryan. Ryback and Mark Henry aren't done beefing yet, so I'm guessing they'll have some more interaction, leading to their rematch at Extreme Rules. I'm also predicting a lot of video packages and Touts being shown. A lot. A lot. They'll be pushing WrestleMania as the biggest event of all-time, and they'll want to make sure that those of you who didn't watch last night get a taste of what you missed out on.
I'm looking forward to Raw. This should be a lot of fun.
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