"Oh, Monday morning, you gave me no warning of what was to be.."
Hustle's Monday Morning Mayhem - Extreme Rules
May 20, 2013 - 10:09:48 AM
It's the return of the Monday Morning Quarterback column, but from here until I see fit to change it again, it will be called Monday Morning Mayhem. Shout out to LoP main page poster kvinniks and to LoP's most racist alcoholic columnist, Randall Morrison, for the idea.
In case you missed the first version of the column, I'll be delivering my pay-per-view thoughts the following morning, giving the average reader something to read when they wake up in the morning. It's not a difficult column idea to pick up on, so even if you did miss the post-WrestleMania version, you certainly won't find yourself being lost here, but let's get on with it.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. The Miz, in his current run as a face, might be the most boring wrestler in all of mainstream wrestling. Say what you will about John Cena's goofball promos (and most of us, myself included, have done so), his pandering to the live crowds and his dumb nicknames that he gives to his opponents and people he's feuding with, but at least it gets crowd reactions. The Miz does it to pretty much no pop, more often than not. Even spending time with the legendary Ric Flair couldn't help siphon some heat to Miz. His matches aren't clicking with people. Even those who were big fans of his as a heel are shaking their heads as they watch his face work. The addition of Flair's Figure Four Leglock only seems to confuse Miz, who often finds himself locking it in to win a match in which he spent little to no time working the leg at all. That's some mind-blowing psychology. I'm sorry, but the face turn has not worked. At all. While I wasn't a huge fan of him as a heel, I'd be the first to admit that his work was ten times better, and maybe.. just maybe.. it's time he turn heel again. Unless, of course, the company feels he's going to be the next Hollywood star to break out and transcend the business. He main evented WrestleMania as a heel. He was the WWE Champion and defeated John Cena. As a face, he's lucky to get a randomly thrown together match on a pay-per-view pre-show. That's moving in the wrong direction, no matter how you look at it.
2. I believe in The Shield.. Yes, it was pretty easy to see that Dean Ambrose was going to walk out of St Louis as the United States Champion, while Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns would walk out as the Tag Team Champions, but I don't care. It's good booking. The Shield, as I've said before, have been booked as the most dominant stable in wrestling history. I stand by that. They've beaten the top names in the business, left and right, and have done it without needing a large number of people to do it. They're a well-oiled machine. Now, they have the added intrigue of having titles on their side. Some have said new members could/should be added to the group, in an attempt to get more titles. You know.. so-and-so is added and he takes the Intercontinental Title off of Wade Barrett, or even the WWE/World Title off of John Cena/Dolph Ziggler. I'm not someone who follows that line of thinking. As much as I'd mark out for, say, Kassius Ohno to join the group, or even someone like Antonio Cesaro, I think the group is doing just fine as they are. It's too early for any of them to be competing for World Titles of any sort, anyway, but that's coming for at least Ambrose, if not all three of them, at some point. Now, that intrigue of seeing them all as champions, and what they do from here, gives me a reason to watch Raw. Lord knows I need all the reasons I can get these days.
3. I think this is the beginning of the end for Team Hell No. We all knew it was coming at some point. Eventually, Daniel Bryan and Kane would have to drop the Tag Team Titles, and we'd all wonder what would be their next step. Would Kane turn on DB and go back to being a "monster"? Would DB turn on Kane and go back to being that little shit that made you laugh and want to slap him all at the same time? Would they continue to be a team, making sure Kane has something to do until he decides to retire? There were lots of questions. They didn't break up after their loss at Extreme Rules, so you have to expect they'll have at least one more match together, with their rematch clause and all. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating.. I would like Daniel Bryan to be moved on to a major singles star. Nobody gets the consistently large pops that Daniel Bryan gets, all across the world. Not even John Cena. Not even Randy Orton. Sure, he's small, but a lot of WWE main eventers have been small. Some of whom have been smaller than him. Personally, I think there's more money to be made with Bryan being an underdog face, having Kane turn on him. If done right, you could easily have those two feuding with each other through the summer, having their final match at SummerSlam, but that's a different story. Back to my original point, I think this is the beginning of the end for Team Hell No. They'll get their title rematch, probably at Payback (the name of the event kiiiiinda indicates we're going to see some rematches on the card), but after they're unsuccessful in winning the belts back, the split happens. They've had an amazing run. A much better run than anyone expected them to have. I just think it's time for them to move on.
4. I hate Strap Matches. All of them. Ever. No matter who is involved in them. The idea is dumb. It doesn't do anyone any good. Last night was no different. The idea of adding lights at each turnbuckle so that people could easily keep up with who was touching the turnbuckles is a good one.. in theory. In execution, however.. it failed. There were times the lights weren't working properly. There were times that someone looked dumb because they should have been able to see, quite easily, that their opponent's lights were lighting up as they themselves walked around the ring to touch the buckle pads, but kept going, anyway. It was just a mess. Sheamus and Mark Henry were limited in what they could do, thanks to being tied together by the leather strap, and while neither man would be confused with Dean Malenko when it comes to their technical ability, they're more than capable of having an entertaining match with each other without being handcuffed, so to speak. I really hope we never have to see another Strap Match again.
5. Instant Replay being added to pro wrestling is, almost without question, the dumbest thing I've ever seen. Think about the ground that covers, folks. Alright, I want all of you to close your eyes and picture something. Well.. maybe don't close your eyes, as that would make it difficult for you to continue reading what I'm saying, but think about how long you've been watching wrestling. It doesn't matter if it's been a year or 40 years.. just think about that time frame in your head. In all those years, think about how many times you've seen a referee screw something up. Distracted by a manager, and he missed heel shenaniganery. In the wrong position, and he didn't notice someone's foot was on/under the rope during a pin. Whatever it is.. the referee screwed up. In those instances, how many times did that referee's mistake lead to a title changing hands? How many times was that title the title in whatever promotion you were watching? How often did another referee immediately run to the ring to point out the original ref's mistake, leading the ref to go back and watch the finish of the match on instant replay? World Titles have changed hands because of bad referee work. Hulk Hogan has lost matches because of bad referee work. John Cena has lost matches because of bad referee work. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has lost matches because of bad referee work. The Rock has lost matches because of bad referee work. Heaven forbid that Alberto Del Rio lose a match for the #1 Contender's spot to the World Title because of bad referee work, though. The real reason why the ending to Alberto Del Rio VS Jack Swagger was so dumb is that WWE is in a lose-lose situation now. On one hand, they could use instant replay on a regular basis from here on, eliminating the referee mistakes from their programming, but giving us the potential for even more delays and distractions on television, making a three-hour episode of Raw seem like a 10-hour Ken Burns documentary series. On the other hand, they could decide not to use instant replay again, making it a new way to end the match at Extreme Rules, but making the.. entire.. fucking.. thing.. pointless.. as to why this was the one indignation in the history of wrestling that led to a referee running out and calling for instant replay. Yes, I know it isn't the one time, but go along with it. Creative license and all. This was just another instance of the WWE Creative Team not really putting a lot of thought into one of their booking decisions, but really, I guess we shouldn't be surprised at this point.
6. This was an odd time for Randy Orton to bring back the RKOPunt as a finisher. With Dolph Ziggler currently on the shelf because of a serious concussion and an apparent case of retrograde amnesia, and with WWE recently announcing that they will be donating $1.2 million to Christopher Nowinski's Sports Legacy Institute to help research head and brain trauma in sports, having Orton kick Show in the head to win a match seems like a pretty odd choice. Defenders of the move will point out that Orton hit Show with two RKOs, and still wasn't able to pick up the win, so he needed to do something major to get the win over a man who outweighs him by an entire Randy Orton, and while I can't deny that, the timing was just suspect. We're supposed to believe that Ziggler's injury is legit, and not part of some storyline or a secret cover-up to some backstage punishment. The SLI is damn sure looking at legit head injuries, and just what kind of long-term effects concussions and blows to the head can have on the human brain. This may have been the worst week for WWE to pull off something like this. Maybe it won't matter too much. Maybe Show will appear on Raw and wrestle, without having to run with the usual RKOP sell of being on the shelf for weeks/months at a time. Time will tell. The match itself was good, though. That's as motivated as I've seen Orton in a long, long time. Wrestling in his hometown really gave him that fire that he's been lacking for so long.
7. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending of the John Cena VS Ryback match. First and foremost, the match itself wasn't bad. It wasn't anything that will be on year-end lists, but it worked on its own level. However, WWE basically screwed themselves over with their booking of the match. Ryback is currently 846-2 in non-title matches during his WWE career, but is also 0-194 in title matches. Live fans seem to have completely given up on seeing Ryback as any sort of legit threat to the WWE Title, so another loss for Ryback here would be a death knell to him as a main eventer. However, because of that booking, nobody would have bought it if he actually beat Cena for the title, short of him shooting the man or having a dozen other wrestlers help to stuff the man into a casket like we saw at the 1994 Royal Rumble with Yokozuna and The Undertaker. Therefore, a No Contest of some sort is as logical a decision as the company could have, but there are too many people with questions right now. Many people point out that Ryback got to his feet before Cena did after they both went crashing through the set to the backstage area, and because of it, Ryback should be the new WWE Champion. However, those people forget that both men were down for longer than ten seconds, so while Ryback did get to his feet first, the match would have been thrown out with both men being counted out. To counter that, though, as LoP's own TripleR pointed out on Twitter, there was never even a count. The spot happened, the referees went to check on the fallen wrestlers, and that was it. My only counter to that is Vince McMahon's Twitter account. If you remember back a couple days, Vince tweeted that he was crossing his fingers because of the high risk of injuries at an event like Extreme Rules. It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility that we'll get some sort of storyline explanation that Vince sent word down that referees should be extra careful during the event, hence why we saw a referee that was more concerned with the health of Cena and Ryback than he was in making any sort of ten count. It's yet another "time will tell" situation, but it's also another rematch that we'll probably be getting at Payback, whether we like it or not. I'll say this, though.. with Cena fighting through another "injury", I sincerely hope the tone of his promos shifts to something more serious, and that he isn't coming out on Raw and cracking jokes about Ryback.
8. Brock Lesnar's life motto is either "I gives no fucks" or "YOLO". Whenever we see him wrestle these days, we see him do spots where he puts his own health on the line, and he keeps ending up hurt in some way.. but he'll also end up smiling about it. He really doesn't care. It's pretty clear that he's making a nice chunk of change for his incredibly limited schedule, and he has no reason to be stressed out. Some people feel like he's slapping wrestling in the face, showing a lack of love and passion for the business, but hey, he's not the one that gave him the huge contract and the teeny tiny amount of dates to work, is he? He seems to be having more fun than he ever has in wrestling, so that has to count for something, right? Right?!?
9. I'm disappointed that we didn't get a Divas Title match on the card. I.. I can't believe I just typed that. I don't even know how many times I've said that AJ Lee has basically carried the Divas division, all without wrestling much, for about a year now, but it's true. She really has. Now that she has herself a brand new t-shirt that is being sold by the company (the first Diva to have her own shirt in I don't even know how long), it's time to give her the Divas Title. I like Kaitlyn and all, but she's no AJ, and the crowd reactions both women get prove that. Will AJ get her title shot soon? Of course she will. Will she win the title? I'd venture a guess and say that she will. However, the wait is getting crazy, as she probably should have had the title months ago.
10. I'm not a fan of match lengths on pay-per-view that we see on television. 8:34. 6:48. 7:58. 11:18. 7:23. 13:01. Those are times of the first six matches on the card. Those aren't meant to be pay-per-view match times. Those are Raw or Smackdown match times. I'm not saying that WWE pay-per-views should be six-plus hours long, with every match being 45 minutes in length. That would be silly. However, when you expect fans to spend money on certain events, you'd think the smart thing to do would be to give them reasons to do so. Giving them short matches like that means there's extra time where non-wrestling is taking place. We can see that on television for free, and without things like blood and excessive violence on WWE programming, it's not like the "we get the Extreme stipulations on pay-per-view" line of thinking really works here. Perhaps we didn't need eight matches on the card, and could have rocked out with six or seven, giving each match some more time to work with. Maybe it's just me.
11. (Bonus) Let's look at my match ratings for the show..
- Chris Jericho VS Fandango: 1.5 stars
- Kofi Kingston VS Dean Ambrose: 2.5 stars
- Sheamus VS Mark Henry: 1.25 stars
- Alberto Del Rio VS Jack Swagger: 2 stars
- Kane & Daniel Bryan VS Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns: 2.5 stars
- Randy Orton VS Big Show: 3 stars
- John Cena VS Ryback: 2.25 stars
- Triple H VS Brock Lesnar: 2.25 stars
As you can see, there was no real standout Match Of The Year candidate on the show, but just about everything was at least serviceable, so.. there's that. I wouldn't recommend giving this anything more than a download, if you haven't already seen it. Not worth a DVD purchase, in my opinion, and damn sure not worth the price of a pay-per-view replay.
Factoid Of The Week That May Interest Only Me
American Idol has officially reached the point where people begin to question why it's even on the air anymore. The ratings have been going down for years, but at the same time, 14.31 million people just watched the season finale. Do you realize how many people Stephanie McMahon would give handskis to for the promise of 14.31 million people watching Raw every week? The answer is 14.31 million people. Anyway, Idol saw it's lowest ratings since the beginning of its very first season, back in 2002. Those low ratings didn't last long. The reality TV talent competition genre was new in America, but once it caught on, the popularity skyrocketed and ratings went through the roof. With new judges popping in and out every season.. with the ratings plummeting.. with the Idol winners actually becoming anything in the music business being few and far between.. maybe it's time to pull the plug on the Idol experiment, before it gets to the point where Fox has to cancel the show due to poor ratings.
Tweet Of The Week
Guess who's still dead? Mufasa.
I laughed. I hate to be that guy, but technically, Scar is still dead, too. Let's not argue about semantics, though.
Who I Like Tonight
I wouldn't be shocked if we got the Tag Team Title rematch on Raw tonight, but I think it'll be saved for Payback. On the other hand, I do think we'll get Kaitlyn VS AJ for the Divas Title tonight, and that will lead to yet another title change. The AJ Era is upon us.
Also, Ryback will probably play the "I got to my feet first, so I should be the WWE Champion" card, while John Cena will (hopefully) play the "I took your best shot, and I'm still here" card, letting us build to their rematch at Payback in another gimmick match. Common logic would say it should be Hell In A Cell, but with the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view only four months after Payback, I'm not sure the company wants to have the match take place that often.
I also predict that Evan Bourne will be making his return, with Raw coming to us from his home state. I'd like to see him get involved with The Shield, giving them another opponent to face, and giving him a hot storyline to return to. An eventual Ambrose VS Bourne feud for the United States Title sounds just fine with me.
Again, though, with Payback being the next pay-per-view, expect more than a couple rematches taking place, so brace yourselves.
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