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Monday Afternoon Pre Raw and SummerSlam Thoughts
So many of last night's matches exceeded expectations. Great show, so if you haven't watched, pay the $9.99 and watch it.
Cesaro vs RVD
The complaints about Cesaro are rather irrational. I do understand that the guy is probably the best wrestler in WWE today, but the problem that I believe the brass has is his lack of ability to connect with the fans bigger than a few key moves. We may all know he has more skills to perform in the ring than WWE's next chosen poster boy Roman Reigns, but at this point both have connected with the WWE Universe for identical reasons: moves that pop the crowd. Roman has his moves of doom, be it the Superman's Punch, the Spear, the kick on the outside, or the Roar, while Cesaro has the European Uppercuts, the Big Swing, and the Neutralizer. Beyond that, Roman has connected with a bigger portion of the WWE Universe. Yes, it might not be for the reasons you and I would prefer (bloodlines, preferential treatment, super sexy hair...etc.), but he's more popular. Even at Cesaro's height around WrestleMania XXX, Roman is and was more over than the former Claudio Castognoli.
The reason it's not so bad is because the fall from grace was barely a drop. Before WrestleMania, he was a midcarder with a rather 50/50 win/loss record. How much is really different now? After Mania, he was rather popular, and everyone got excited that WWE would be doing something significant with him. The fact is that other the Battle Royal win, Cesaro was never on a real roll. We all assumed he would be on one, but it never took place.
Now, I'm not saying he shouldn't be getting a push, but as critical as I am of Roman Reigns, he is honestly the better long term candidate to be the next John Cena. He can't talk or wrestle, but his wrestling isn't terrible, just bland and average, while he's equal on the mic skills. Plus, he's younger, so he has more time to grow. Cesaro isn't being wasted either. He's still on TV every week, and he's still over. Fans are confused as they don't know what to think of him (a threat, or a loser) but they are still paying attention. It's nowhere near great, but it doesn't necessarily mean it is a bad thing. WWE is flooded with midcard stars right now that can and should reach a main event spot in time; Cesaro is just one of them. Sheamus, Dolph, Reigns, Barrett, Wyatt, Rollins, Ambrose, Ryback, Rhodes, Harper...etc. There's a lot of talent that WWE can elevate to fill a spot, and Cesaro's skills as a wrestler are not as important for long term star appeal compared to the attributes of most of roster. I prefer him than most, but it doesn't mean most prefer him.
Where is this losing streak going? Nobody knows. My guess isn't a prediction, but rather a perfect scenario for the Swiss Superman if WWE took that direction. His losing streak could and should lead him to come back to Heyman, asking for him to take Cesaro under his wing once again. Paul says no, Cesaro is a loser, always will be, so Cesaro is somehow motivated to get back on track without Heyman, and prove him wrong by defeating an obstacle down the line. I won't say Cesaro vs Lesnar is in the future, because there's no way that will happen. But Heyman can draft any talent to be a Heyman guy while Brock is away on sabatical. That could be Cesaro's hurdle.
As for RVD, he needed the win more. Had he lost again, his name value would be worthless. Cesaro can be rebuilt back up a lot easier, while Van Dam only needs a couple of key victories to stay relevant.
Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz
I cleverly didn't pick a winner in the CF prediction column because I couldn't have picked one. The Miz has been on a major roll with this rejuvenating gimmick change, while Dolph Ziggler has quietly been regaining momentum from the Universe with his underdog ascension. Most went with the heel, which made sense. He had more concrete momentum. Ziggler just had a slow rise without any real major victories except for a non-title win over the champion.
At this point, with a heel World Champion, and a US Champion who has been ill recently, Ziggler needs the title. While the main event titles were separate, everyone complained that the World Title was more like midcard championship, and fit around the waist of Dolph Ziggler as he feuded with Del Rio and Swagger. At this point, the IC Title is in a identical position. And I just listed a bunch of talent in the midcard, most of them are heel. A face champion makes more sense.
I expect Miz to want a rematch. I also suspect the US Champion will get involved to push the supposed merge of the Intercontinental and United States titles. Not sure if it's the best idea, but it's better than having the current titles as they are. I really truly believe that one of the titles (US makes most sense) should evolve into a TV title. Regular weekly defenses with a time limit. It won't happen, but it should.
By the way, these guys had a great match. Way better than I normally would have thought with the amount of time they had.
Another match that exceeded expectations. I was surprised to see Paige win, but it didn't change my appreciation of the match. I in fact loved the heel work done by Paige. There was one great moment when Paige was crawling seductively over AJ, and the announcers went mute. Lawler's face was pictured in the background, and he was stunned. It was likely he didn't know what to say without it being too much like an Attitude Era joke, but it seems like he was so sexually stunned and frustrated and couldn't handle it.
The ladies had the best womens match of the night. Terrific stuff, and I'm quite curious to see where it goes from here.
Rusev vs Swagger
How many of you bitched about this gimmick? Instead of admitting that there was potential with the gimmick, people are instead now complaining that WWE changed the rules. Morons. Flag matches have always had multiple scenarios, either the capture the flag format, or the winner has their flag raised style. The talk all week was on WWE figuring out which way they would go. This match was still great without hurting Jack, and continuing the push for Rusev. Great stuff all around, and the type of match and storyline that WWE needs to reference more often. Not the xenophobic aspects, but the simple storyline with simple stipulations that connect because they are well delivered. Midcard rivalries can benefit from matches with stipulations to make them feel bigger. Rematches in the same standard contest over and over again grow tedious a lot faster than the ones that have changes in the flow. Mankind vs HHH in 1997 had some great arcs because they escalated from singles matches, to cage matches, to NYC Street fights. It all worked, while adding gimmicks that never stole too much spotlight from the main event.
That's what this US vs Russia angle has accomplished. It has been so superbly well done, it's actually been under-appreciated by us online who tend to notice these subtleties.
Rollins vs Ambrose
Another match where everyone complained about the Lumberjack stipulation. Hell, there's people defending their complaints by saying this match was ruined by how out of the box it was. People want it both ways: they want to complain about something, and then when proved wrong they complain that it went in the wrong direction.
This match was near perfect. I honestly have no complaints at all. The wrestling was great, the use of the lumberjacks was great, the spiraling out of control crowd brawling was great, and the ending was great. We still crave seeing these guys go one-on-one, and we haven't had a conclusive outcome to anything. It's been perfect storytelling. If there's an angle to compare to the Attitude Era, this is it. Stone Cold Steve Austin had to overcome lots of adversity with Vince McMahon in charge. Today, in a much smaller spotlight, Dean Ambrose is pulling the same formula out by chasing Seth Rollins who has the Authority behind him every step of the way. It's been ****ing genius.
I expect the next step will be Ambrose still wanting his hands on Rollins, but ending up with Kane instead. This leads to a match at Hell in a Cell, where Ambrose can finally get a fair match with Rollins without the interference.
Seriously, this was so solid, it's also been under-appreciated by the IWC. Weird.
Wyatt vs Jericho
Another improvement from a Battleground match. Wyatt stepped up his game and was the vicious Eater of Worlds more than ever. Jericho looked out of place keeping up with Bray's frantic maniacal beatings.
The odd thing is that we already have strong rumors that the angle isn't over yet, and continues for another month. I'm not sure where it can go from here, but with the match quality improved as much as it has, I won't complain. I just hope that there are some better use of Jericho's time on Raw, because the build up between these matches outside of the original surprise attack upon Jericho's return have been deflating.
Brie vs Stephanie
What's to say? Stephanie is a better wrestler than we ever expected, while Brie still has very little to offer. Yet, who gets to have more in ring work from this feud? Ugh, and a stupid heel turn that no one cared for? Unless there's a Cena heel turn out of it, it's all very pointless. Decent match for what it was (a spectacle) but too long, and just not satisfying. Less said, the better.
Orton vs Reigns
I wasn't into this match, but it wasn't completely bad. It was just completely average and standard. Orton is a great worker, but he generally needs opponents that can carry their end of the workload. If he doesn't, his restholds tend to outweigh the excitement. This was the case. Roman can nail those spot moves really well, and it sure takes a heck of a talent to kick out of an RKO, but there was still very little to see from Reigns in this match.
I also fail to understand why WWE is pushing him this strong this early. My guess is that WrestleMania is not when Reigns will ascend the mountain, because there's very little he can do between now and next spring after a clean win over Orton. Other than HHH getting in the ring with him, who else can Reigns take on as he struggles for his title shot? Having him defeat Cena would be overkill, an there's no one else on the roster who is in a place to be a significant stop in the road for him. I'm fine with him dropping down the card a bit, but it's a bit more abrasive and noticeable when he just surmounted Randy Orton of all people. I really thought Reigns should struggle to get that victory after a couple of shots. Now, he's left with very little.
Brock vs Cena – WWE World Championship
While everyone seemed to predict Brock would walk out as champion, did any expect it to go down the way it did? Some have called it a squash, and that's incorrect. It was a devastating beatdown, but there were lots of chances for Cena to get the win. It just didn't go in his favor. It was one-sided, but not a squash.
No matter what you call it, it was shocking! I ****ing loved it. Lots of fun all night, but this match was enormous. I can't say it was the best of the night. It might have actually been the worse in terms of a singular wrestling match. But the story told overall was so out of the norm and perfect that the match is really a 5 star affair in context. It's very confusing to rate, because it's impossible to judge it on its own, which is what we normally do.
Brock as champion is so much more exciting than I expected it to be because of how dominant he was. Where Cena goes from here? No clue. A rematch next month is possible, but unlikely. Maybe he takes some time off. I truly expect The Animal to return tonight to challenge Brock next, and that is a much bigger PPV draw than any other combination with current roster members other than Cena vs Brock III. These draws are important as WWE is facing resubscribing time from those who initially signed up in late February when the Network was launched. Batista is a fail safe in this case. The match won't be great, but we can say the same about Andre vs Hogan. Sometimes its the attraction that matters, and I give thumbs up to this one, no matter how entertained I am for those 15-20 minutes. It'll be best for business
Tuesday Night Titans
For August 19th edition of Tuesday Night Titans, Xanman and I discuss the potential return of Batista in a match vs Brock, we run down some of our favorite CM Punk moments, along with recapping some of the tragedies in his WWE career. We also review Enter the Sandman in our continuing effort to review all ECW major cards in chronological order. For your pleasure, I present to you some videos of the event in question, along with a link to the podcast which should be available Tuesday at 7 EST.
Find Additional Wrestling Podcasts with LordsofPain
2014 might very well be the year of Brock Lesnar. At WrestleMania, The Beast Incarnate did the impossible and ended The Undertaker’s legendary undefeated streak at The Show of Shows. Last night at SummerSlam, Lesnar gave John Cena a one-sided beating to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
On Raw, what could very well come to be known as the “Lesnar Era” continues. What will happen 24 hours after a new ruler ascended to WWE’s throne? WWE.com places some bets before Monday night’s hottest show rolls into Las Vegas.
1. The Beast is here!
Paul Heyman promised that Brock Lesnar would “feast” on John Cena’s WWE World Heavyweight Title at SummerSlam, and The Beast Incarnate gorged himself at night’s end. Now that the conqueror has vanquished this generation’s most indomitable Superstar, what’s next for Lesnar? Also, will Cena respond to his crushing defeat in The Biggest Fight of the Summer?
2. Et tu, Nikki?
The Bella Twins used to fool opponents with their strategic use of “Twin Magic,” but there was nothing magical about what transpired at SummerSlam during Brie Bella’s emotionally charged clash with Stephanie McMahon. Following weeks of Stephanie’s underhanded attacks and cruel mind games, it was Brie’s own flesh and blood that would ensure the “Total Divas” star’s defeat in Los Angeles with a surprise attack. How will Nikki explain her unfathomable actions toward her twin sister?
3. Buzzards circle Hollywood
Even though Chris Jericho had banished Erick Rowan & Luke Harper from ringside during his anticipated rematch against Bray Wyatt, legions of Jerichoholics witnessed Y2J fall victim to Sister Abigail’s kiss, spelling defeat for the charismatic Superstar in his most barbaric battle with The Eater of Worlds to date. Will Jericho attain retribution against the backwater preacher on Raw, or will “The Man of 1,000 Truths” seek out a new target tonight?
4. Rise of Roman’s empire
Does WWE have a new “apex predator”? After Roman Reigns’ incredible victory over Randy Orton at SummerSlam, it seems as though the powerhouse is destined for championship glory in the near future. However, it’s equally likely that The Viper has some unfinished business with Reigns. As Orton reels following his SummerSlam defeat, expect some serious backlash against Reigns or whoever else gets in his way.
5. Corporate espionage
Kane might have again traded his demonic mask for corporate garb, but the brute has lost none of his malice in the transition. At SummerSlam, Kane’s interference and the ensuing brawl prevented Dean Ambrose from getting even with Seth Rollins, allowing Mr. Money in the Bank to score a tainted victory over his former partner. Denied satisfaction in last night’s Lumberjack Match, the unstable Ambrose will be looking for payback, but who will he go after first, Kane or Rollins?
Live Raw Discussion
Intro – Stephanie McMahon
I was about to say that as happy as I am to see Daniel Bryan, you know it's only to drag out more Stephanie and Bella garbage. Of course, having it not even be Bryan made it worse. Of all the things that took place last nice, why are they continuing with this ratings disaster? ****!
Why does anything think this acting nightmare will work out? It's a post-PPV Raw, and it's the opening segment, so the crowd is louder than usual for this shit, but it won't last. Nikki vs Brie is just not captivating. The only reason the angle has worked at all over the last couple of months has been Stephanie's participation. Without her, there's nothing left. Pathetic.
There wil be decent segments in this story, I won't say it'll completely fail. But overall, it will crash. This is one case where I have to bring back the “I'm right, you're wrong” motto.
Big Show/Mark Henry vs Wyatt Family
I'm so happy this tag team is moving forward. Check my old blogs, I've been asking for this for 6 months, and it's exactly what is needed to help push this division along.
If you aren't a fan of tag wrestling, I dare you to find a better use of the winning team. We may all love Mark Henry and Big Show, but they get stale quickly due to how limited they are in the ring, and how long they've been around. Putting them together not only gives them a rather fresh direction, but they are infinitely more enjoyable in the ring as unit. You cut each of their in ring time in half, and it just produces a better product.
As for the Wyatts losing, there's really no harm done.
Ambrose/Rollins Backstage stuff
Ambrose is nailing his TV time on a regular basis. His facial expressions have been golden, and his attitude works to connect with the portion of the audience longing for a new Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Natalya vs Paige
This should be damn solid.
I like Nattie's new attire. She has a much nicer body than WWE seems to allow her to project. Her face isn't the best, but she's not ugly, with a thicker body like I prefer. Shorts show off her ass and legs really well.
A win for Natalya injects more legitimacy to the division with more possible contenders.
This feud is more and more like Trish vs Mickie... but it's like Mickie vs Mickie since they are both nuts.
Match Vote – Ambrose vs Rollins
I voted for No Holds Barred.
New Title Presentation
Stephanie has already changed her wardrobe. She's worse than Macho and Elizabeth from Mania IV.
That promo was solid, but not the mindblowing experience I was hoping for. I think a lot of that disappointment is because it didn't lead anywhere. It didn't have to be Batista showing up, but something.
Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz
That jacket is perfect for The Miz in his new character. It's probably the best touch since he became Johnny Cage.
Please retain, Dolph.
Cesaro's losing streak now ends, but it means nothing. Swagger on the other hand looks to be starting his. Wicked...
Something I Found On another Site About Roman Reigns
This was written by Brandon Stroud on uproxx.
“Okay, so I give Roman Reigns a lot of grief. He’s getting that unrealistic WWE top babyface push I hate, he’s the only Shield guy who hasn’t grown up since the split (he’s still using their entrance and music) and his matches are just a bunch of plodding strikes until it’s time to hit his signatures. The worst parts of Sheamus and John Cena in a guy who looks like The Rock. It’s kind of an on-paper nightmare for me, I’m not gonna front. So yeah, he’s not actually a “broomstick,” but go back and watch this match objectively and tell me it is not Randy Orton wrestling a f*cking Brawlin’ Buddy. Orton vs. Reigns could’ve been Orton vs. Mama’s Boy from the pizza rolls contest and been the same thing.
Orton is what keeps this together. He’s boring at times, sure, but he’s making this work. He’s controlling the pace, making sure the crowd’s ready for Roman’s moves, prepping them for his superhero recovery. It’s the best singles match Roman’s ever had, and it’s because of the most secretly competent and awesome guy on the roster. Orton’s been a killer in the ring for a while now, he’s just also very aware that too much of that could get him reactions he doesn’t want, so he moderates it. He’s that admin who bans people and keeps the peace and keeps everything moving forward while you’re all OH OKAY I DIDN’T KNOW DISAGREEING WAS A BANNABLE OFFENSE. He makes the unpopular decisions. He wrestles the unpopular matches guys need to have to look the way they’re supposed to look later.
So much of this was good, too. I hated Roman’s SUPER FINISH where just instantly no-sold a match’s worth of damage, but the Superman Punch into the RKO and the spear into the powerslam were both A+ players. If they’re serious about having Roman be The Guy, he needs to only wrestle the very best people on the roster. Never put him in a match with a Ryback or an R-Truth type until he’s been doing this for YEARS. Do what you did to him with the six-man tags in single file … short, powerful, punctuated matches that make him look like a badass without ten minutes of him pretending to sell shit he’s not gonna sell in minute 11.”
Sheamus/RVD/Reigns vs Orton/RybAxel
This is the perfect type of Raw match. Gets lots of top guys on the show, pushes a storyline, and the results won't damage anyone involved. It's just action while still getting a storyline on TV.
How hot was that crowd? The hometown Ryback crowd helped, but the main ingredient was the mix of so many wrestlers who fail to captivate individually, but make a great combination. 6 man tag matches are genius to fill out a TV program without spoiling PPV singles matches for main rivalries.
Usos vs Dust Brothers
Weird to see a face vs face match here, but anything to continue building the tag division works for me.
Though I don't enjoy these random roll up type victories. Still a solid match.
Glad to see Ambrose vs Rollins is main eventing the show. I hope nothing derails the match too early, if at all.
I am surprised of seeing Mark Henry show up to confront Rusev. It's not that he's a bad option, but that I thought they were moving forward with the tag team with Big Show after such a strong push in the first hour.
Rollins vs Ambrose – Falls Count Anywhere
Expect Kane to ruin the outcome again, leading to more delay until the payoff to this feud. I still think this ends up in the Cell.
I'm sorry I haven't been commenting too much, but this match is just like the crowd is chanting: awesome.
It's always too bad when a table doesn't break after so much high paced and dangerous action. It makes the silly table spot look weak in comparison.
Cinder block curbstomp!? That was both insane, and completely stupid.
I'm guessing this injury is what will let Dean Ambrose leave to film his new movie. I didn't think of that, as I figured the movie wouldn't be filmed for a while. It still fits in the plan to have him return in time to take on Rollins in the Cell. IT won't take long to film a direct to DVD WWE film.
Some great wrestling on this show. The main event, the 6 man tag, the opening tag match, and the Intercontinental championship rematch were all solid, if not fitting on PPV. Impressive on a post SummerSlam Raw where it's understood and expected that guys might be sore and would not put as much effort into the match. That main event proved that theory wrong, because other than Cena, no one took a beating like those 2 guys last night, and then doubled it tonight with the vicious violence of the Fall Count Anywhere match. Only disappointment would be how there were no falls to count to end the bout, but it was a severe enough injury angle to warrant waiving the stipulations.
Awesome show. 2 in a row for WWE, as SummerSlam was arguably the best PPV of the year, with a rather impressive Raw to follow it up.
Oh, and WWE, if you learned anything tonight, it's that you should see you have more options than just Roman Reigns to be the next breakout star. Ambrose was more over by far, has the mic work, and the near-Stone Cold character that CM Punk was reaching for, but couldn't quite nail. And if he's going to take time off, his return will be even hotter when he does make his next appearance. Capitalize on it. Push Reigns too, but don't squander Ambrose to do it. Make Dean the backup plan, because many are already seeing the failure Roman will run into if you continue down this path. Ambrose has less to learn, so give Roman the time to educate himself on what he is lacking.
Or bring back CM Punk.
And on that note, Peace out
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