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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE RAW Review, Daniel Bryan Injury Thoughts, Evolution/Shield, more
By Mr. Tito
May 12, 2014 - 11:45:15 PM
The "Excellence in Column Writing" has returned and for the time being, we'll keep the Monday Night columns going. Just seems to be more efficient on my time as I attempt to juggle family, work, and an increasing Netflix addiction. Seriously, I'm going at a 3-4 episode a clip on shows that are 1 hour in length every night... Who needs the WWE Network when you're consumed by many television shows that you haven't seen yet. I've already watched all of those WWE/WCW/ECW Pay Per Views before. What I haven't seen are shows like Breaking Bad, Dexter, etc. that I never had time for.
On a personal note, I do want to thank my readers, even the ones who enjoy commenting below. Believe it or not, you have an impact on me... I read your comments and sometimes, it provokes thought. I'm possibly the most stubborn wrestling fan on earth, but there are times someone says something really intelligent that it might shape my thoughts. As long as you don't break my #1 rule of DON'T BE A DICK, I'll read your comments and may respond. I've even given several commenters props if they come up with a really good idea.
But for those who break my rule and say "just retire already"... I have news for you: I'm here to stay. The only thing that could make me retire now is Kane defeating Daniel Bryan at WWE Payback for the WWE Title in a BURIED ALIVE match. However, thanks to incredibly bad luck for Bryan, that match won't happen...
Reportedly, and Daniel Bryan made the speech in the ring tonight on Monday Night RAW, Bryan's neck is injured and he'll require surgery that will keep him out of WWE Payback and maybe longer. So far, the WWE hasn't made any plans to strip Bryan of the WWE Title, but WWE management has become skilled at shredding scrips on a moment's notice. Plans were in the works to have Kane vs. Daniel Bryan in a BURIED ALIVE match at WWE Payback. That's right... A match invented from the bad 1990's Undertaker era that has never been taken seriously when tried in future years.
It's 2014 and when you have options like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) selling a legitimate fighting competition to teenage audiences that are critical to pro wrestling's long-term growth, a BURIED ALIVE match makes the WWE look bad. Worse yet, the WWE always seems to add a gimmick to Kane matches. Even though the WWE never gave Kane a legitimate World Title reign until late into his career, they always slapped a gimmick onto his matches as if that was needed to defeat the Big Red Machine. Daniel Bryan is the WWE Champion who beat Triple H cleanly in a singles match and then Randy Orton/Batista on the same night for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 30, but yet he needs a gimmick to beat Kane? Mind you, Kane hasn't exactly been winning matches lately either... Did you see his 6 man match at Wrestlemania 30?
Maybe the injury is a saving grace for Bryan and helps him save face as a wrestler... WWE wasn't taking his WWE Title reign seriously as obviously indicated by Bryan wrestling Kane and NOT Triple H, Randy Orton, or Batista who were involved with the WWE Title situation at Wrestlemania 30 of all places. Hell, Randy Orton DID NOT get pinned or submit at Wrestlemania 30. Batista tapped out to the YES! Lock and it caused Orton to lose the title, something he alluded to on the RAW following Wrestlemania 30. We should have had Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan to (a) perfectly follow up Wrestlemania 30 and (b) allow for a final blow-off to Orton and Bryan's feud from late 2013 where Bryan would finally get his revenge. But instead, we get Kane vs. Daniel Bryan, WHAT A WASTE!
And "FINGER OF SHAME" to you, the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) for your LACK of consistency with Kane. Do you remember the Bray Wyatt vs. Kane discussions we had before SummerSlam 2013? As I recall, I argued that Bray Wyatt should start much lower on the card and work his way up. Instead, the WWE rushed Wyatt to the top of the card and Kane was the sacrificial lamb to begin the main event level push for Wyatt. We could argue about how successful Wyatt has been since (I'm starting to lose that argument, though...), but the bigger point is how the IWC assessed Kane. "HE'S A BUM" is what I heard repeatedly and Kane's age was mocked repeatedly. The IWC was calling for Wyatt to mow right through Kane.
But now? Kane is a worthy main eventer to fight Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title. How inconsistent of you...
LUCKY for logical wrestling fans, we don't have to endure Daniel Bryan vs. Kane at WWE Payback. Instead of Brie Bella showing off her poor acting skills and screaming for her life, she's at ringside with other Total Divas to "judge" the Nikki Bella vs. Natalya match. Zero concern that Kane might ambush her during that match OR that Daniel Bryan just announced his injury to fans. She's moved on, aside from one last acting performance to be concerned over Kane brutally attacking Bryan to sell the injury... Bryan's dignity could be spared with this injury although it's a shame to see any wrestler begin to have neck problems. Many wrestlers have tried different types of surgeries for their necks but eventually, there's not enough duct tape to hold it all together. Anything surrounding your spinal cord never heals properly especially when you're in something as dangerous as pro wrestling. Daniel Bryan's style won't let any temporary fix keep him around long-term. Not good, not good...
IN MY OPINION - Daniel Bryan should vacate the WWE Title if he's out for more than 2 Pay Per Views. Let that neck injury heal up... Bryan can spare his dignity and retain his popularity for a future date while WWE Creative can rethink how they book WWE Champions not named John Cena or Randy Orton. Furthermore, if WWE Management doesn't believe that Daniel Bryan is a legitimate WWE Champion, this injury gives them the perfect way out. I'll be honest... I'm growing tired of defending Bryan. WWE obviously doesn't want the guy as WWE Champion and if as Mick Foley wrote recently, if Bryan doesn't start vetoing BAD ideas to protect himself, he deserves the poor booking treatment by WWE Creative. I felt the same about post 2011 CM Punk when he was made into a weak WWE Champion as well. If the wrestlers themselves won't stick up for themselves and are OK with just cashing the nice WWE paychecks, then why should we care as fans? I'm moving on and am curious to see if someone like Cesaro can be different against the WWE machine.
But for now, no BURIED ALIVE match unless the WWE is pulling a swerve on us... God, I hope not. It's 2014! WWE needs to take itself seriously, especially the competition over its World Championships.
While Triple H/Batista/Orton or Evolution has avoided Daniel Bryan, I have to admit that it might be worth it to elevate the Shield members. Thankfully, the WWE kept the Shield together and it's paying off in dividends. Reportedly, there were plans of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins turning heel on Roman Reigns. However, the WWE saw the babyface reaction that the group was getting and thought the better of it, for now. The Shield can now continue to grow together and it will only benefit those guys still early into their WWE careers. Out of the 3 members of the Shield, I see Seth Rollings growing rapidly both in personality and in the ring. That guy is on fire right now and by now, I figured he'd be the 3rd best guy of the group. Now, I'm moving him on up and now consider Dean Ambrose as the weakest of the 3.
Seems like Triple H approves, too... After all, he's an active wrestler again and at his age and legitimate executive role in the WWE Corporation, he's risking a lot out there. Yet, he wants to actively work with the Shield. This is following Wrestlemania 30 where he put over Daniel Bryan 100% clean. He's starting to GET IT as an executive of the WWE and can use his established star to put over many wrestlers. Aside from a few bumps in the road, such as when the Shield were used as HHH/Stephanie stooges, the Shield has been booked perfectly. As VP of talent and a significant member of the creative team, HHH deserves props for his handling of the Shield. Now, this Evolution vs. Shield feud not only allows for the chosen Roman Reigns to shine but also someone like Seth Rollins. EVERYBODY benefits in a stable war.
You know what I want? After WWE Payback, the WWE should go all-out and have Shield vs. Evolution vs. the Wyatt Family and have a 3 way stable battle. That would draw huge and the best part is that no titles are on the line. Just pride... Sometimes in pro wrestling, that's all you need. The "sense of urgency" just to kick the other guy's ass to simply prove that you're better than them. The pride of being the best 3 person stable has enough drawing power to headline a Pay Per View (or "special event") without issue. After all, repeat history shows this... Just watch many Pay Per Views from WCW/WWE to prove that. Stables draw money!
Important points out of the way, let's discuss Monday Night RAW...
Good, emotional speech by Daniel Bryan about his neck injury as a temporary goodbye to fans... The guy really cares about the business and the fans chant "YES!" loudly to him because they can see it. That's what the WWE misses... They see a guy under 6'0" but he fans see passion, heart, and someone who still deeply cares about the business. Bryan has been fed with so much shit from the WWE Creative staff and yet he keeps working hard and overcoming it. Kane would later interrupted a Stephanie McMahon promo where he would drag out an injured Daniel Bryan to further sell the Bryan injury and time off. That was pretty cool and now Kane becomes Stephanie's problem with Bryan out. I'm fine with that...
I really enjoyed the Rusev and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan segment. It was good cheap heat for Rusev to interrupt the All American Duggan and before he could destroy Duggan, Big E made the save. Granted, it continues Rusev's ongoing attacks towards black wrestlers, intentional or not, but at least Big E hasn't been designated as a glorified jobber like Kofi, Xavier, or R-Truth. WWE has made it clear, repeatedly, that they have no long-term main event plans for those 3 wrestlers but they do for Big E. Should be interesting to see how the 2 wrestlers match-up. But I thought it was a good segment for Big E to step up and save an old fan favorite in a tight spot. But DAMN that was a devastating kick by Rusev! Oh, and Lana... Yes indeed.
I kind of like the Adam Rose gimmick. It's fresh, it's hip, and just completely different from anything that the WWE has done with gimmicks or entrances. I just hope that Adam Rose can actually wrestle at the end of the day. Otherwise, he's another Fandango. Once the fun gimmick wears off and they appear boring as a wrestler, the fans quickly turn.
Not sure if anyone has cared about Alicia Fox for the past few years... Hard for me to care if she's upset at losing a match. Why does the WWE keep so many Divas on their roster and yet do nothing productive with them? And damn it, WWE, when are we getting Paige vs. Emma already?!?
Enjoyed Usos/John Cena vs. the Wyatt Family... Fun six-man and I was happy to see the Usos look pretty strong in the match. Cena seems to really own the Wyatts.
Yeah, Natalya vs. Nikki Bella did nothing for me other than making me admire John Cena for terrorizing that nightly. Jesus, man.
Nothing wrong with Ryback vs. Sheamus. Solid match. On another note, I would be FOR a Tag Title run with Ryback and Curtis Axel. They seem to be work well together now after months upon months of being dumped together.
Good to see Dolph Ziggler winning an actual match. He fought Fandango who is saddled with Layla. I could easily argue that Layla is one of the hottest Divas on the roster in terms of physical looks, but she fails to get over because of everything else. I don't understand the Summer Rae switch for the life of me. With Layla, she just feels like she was given to Fandango because she had nothing better to do. With Summer Rae, she was brought up as Fangando's dancer and was defined by it. Summer Rae worked out well and seemed to look legitimately like a ballroom dancer who was trying wrestling instead of Layla being firmly established as a wrestler who is trying to be a ballroom dancer. Did you get all of that?
Meh to Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow... Just keeping the ball rolling until the eventual Cody/Goldust split.
The MAIN EVENT was Batista vs. Roman Reigns. Heading into this match, and I Tweeted it, I thought that this match was huge for both Reigns and Batista. For one, Batista needs to prove why the WWE brought him back and pushed him so hard to start 2014. Batista or "Bootista" isn't a spring chicken, either. For Roman Reigns, he needs to prove that he can carry a match and also captivate an audience ON HIS OWN in a big spot. It's one thing to get a hot tag from the Shield and hit moves in spurts, but it's another to carry a 15-20 minute match that creates a desire for fans to want more, more, more! Not much occurred during the match and eventually, it resulted in chaos among the 2 stables. To emphasize that nobody messes with the Authority, Stephanie McMahon ordered many WWE heels to come down and attack the Shield. GREAT spot where Roman Reigns broke the hold when Triple H tried to hit him with a chair and then Reigns speared Triple H. Shield then cleared the ring with chairs. NICE ending!
LAST WORD: GREAT stuff with Evolution vs. Shield. Because the Shield is catching fire, it's helping Orton/Batista to be with Evolution as their opponents. Stable wars make money, which I've always said. Anything involving the Shield tonight gets an "A+", but the rest of the show gets about a "B+". Happy that we're not getting a BURIED ALIVE match at WWE Payback but I'm sad that the great Daniel Bryan could be sidelined and affected down the road. I hope it's all a work...
SO JUST CHILL... 'TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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