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Sierra Bravo’s “Who Wants Seconds?”
It should be said that Jericho’s many returns have rarely failed to excite. Even the rather lame mini-feud with Fandango made the most of the dancing gimmick and the star presence of the lead vocalist of Fozzy. Then again there has been a trend of the returns meaning less and less every time.
In 2007, the “Save Us Y2J” campaign was a bit of a flub, as it didn’t amount to much to start. The excitement was high, but we all knew Jericho wasn’t about to unseat Orton as WWE Champion, making it almost a lame duck angle. It led to JBL vs Jericho, which brought JBL back to the ring, so there was nothing wrong with that. But until the Ric Flair involved heel turn on Shawn Michaels, it felt like a return without purpose – something we’ve been programmed to think is the sole reason of anything Jericho does. Whether it’s his interviews or his books, more than anymore he portrays the fact that he’ll only return when it means something. Perhaps the goal was for him to just make an impression in early 2008 only to turn into the stoic heel Jericho later that year (which I do agree that the Miz ripped off later on in 2010). If that’s the case, well done on all accounts. I just don’t believe it, and think it was just happenstance.
Then after his departure in 2010, he came back in early 2012 to basically chase CM Punk in what could have been a rather solid angle. The problem I had wasn’t with the execution nor the actual angle, but it was again predictable that Jericho was in no way threatening to become WWE Champion, and the matches weren’t in the main event position, and therefore squandered in the effort to catapult CM Punk as the next possible megastar.
He left and returned a couple of times, with the importance dropping lower and lower each time, especially the Fandango feud.
So, in 2014, what does Jericho really have to offer after a rather shoddy win/loss record and minimal shock factor after this umpteenth return?
A whole lot.
The fact is that Jericho’s versatility is almost unmatched, and we’re most likely about to see a different side of the man that we’ve never seen before. I credit Mick Foley for pointing it all out, but Jericho has never really dealt with an evil heel like Bray Wyatt. Jericho has dealt with challenges like Kane back in 2000 when he was a monster, but it was after he’d been humanized.
Also, it must be noted that while the angles upon Jericho’s returns were never blockbuster money making successes (CM Punk, Fandango…etc.), they tend to be among the best work of his opponent’s careers. That’s a lofty goal considering how well the Cena vs Wyatt angle was for the most part (results aside, I think it’s a unanimous decision that the storyline was entertaining).
I think Jericho’s return is a big one, and an important one in the grand scheme of WWE. Not only does it involve one of the biggest heel prospects in the company, but it involves a possible rejuvenation of a former WrestleMania headliner. Knock The Miz all you like, but there’s still gas in the engine that should be used before he’s put out to pasture. Jericho is one of the best people to put across the ring from him.
Besides, it could lead to either Jericho or the Miz joining the Wyatts. And that works too.
Anyone who has tuned into the Tuesday Night Titans LOPradio podcast recently has heard XanMan and me talk about how disinterested we are in the current Roman Reigns push. Last week in my Live Raw Blog, I ended the piece with a few paragraphs on the subject, which I’d like to repeat for you:
This push proves WWE is completely out of touch with reality. I am not disputing how over he is, and how strong his look is. My problem is that he’s going to sink as soon as he’s out there alone. Every single special appearance of Reigns has been with the ring filled with guys that can protect him from looking green. This trend is apparently going to continue until he’s ready to compete on his own. In theory, that’s great, but the problem is that he’s too high on the card to have a lot of room to improve. He’s already in the ring with the elite, so his time to find his stride is very very short.
And this push is thankfully partially natural. The problem is how many guys are being ignored who are getting over even more organically, and being held aside so that Reigns can flounder.
I hope he proves me wrong, but the facts are clear: he can’t wrestle. This isn’t a Great Khali push where he only needs to do the 3 things he can do and look powerful doing it. This is a push to being the new face of the company; he needs to back up his actions.
The Universe will turn on him if he can’t bring it in the ring. Look what happened to Cena in 2005. Reigns also can’t back it up on the mic.
This is going to be very tricky.
Now I’d like to elaborate on this just a bit.
There are a couple of ways WWE can go with this. Whether I like it or not, WWE is obviously moving forward with the idea that Roman Reigns is the next Cena. I am firmly confident that he’ll never reach that level, but I do think that the effort can and should be made as long as everyone in the company understands that if he doesn’t reach that top echelon, it does not mean he or the push was a failure.
XanMan correctly pointed out to me that the push, as forced and unorganic as it has been, is very identical to what launched Batista to superstardom. If everyone understands that this super push of having Roman defeat Orton, HHH, and possibly Lesnar along the way to becoming the WWE Champion at WrestleMania leads to him being another Animal, then there’s no harm done. Batista was in no way ready for his push in 2005 either, and showed just as much greenness and lack of skills as Roman Reigns does at this point. Batista couldn’t work a promo, nor was he known for his in ring abilities. I’d even go as far as saying he had even less upside than Roman does due to his age at the time of being near 40 years old and all around lack of mobility with his size.
With the goal of finding a new Batista, someone who can be at the top of the card, but not THE guy, Roman Reigns and WWE would have very understandable aspirations.
The problem is the apparent expectation that he’ll be the next star to lead the company similarly to Cena, Austin, or The Rock. There’s absolutely no way he can reach that level. In fact, I see him having more of a future as heel at the top of the card, even though he’s working his moveset to be very face friendly with the pop timing down pat. He can be the arrogant beast for the next Cena to overcome in a couple of years.
The worse case scenario is that he turns into … well, I’ll let LOP poster and sometimes column writer “Sierra Bravo” explain here:
Cult Icon’s “il Trio”
For another perspective on Roman Reigns, or rather the individuals in The Shield and their break up:
Time will tell, and I don’t want to give off the impression of impending doom. I just worry that too much is expected from a guy who isn’t quite ready for it all. If expectations were slightly more reasonable, this would be much easier to swallow.
Brock Lesnar as WWE Champion
A very puzzling scenario seems to be taking place in WWE these days. If anyone is not predicting John Cena walks out of Battleground unscathed and with the titles still around his waist (or neck), you need to get off the internet immediately. It seems to be painfully obvious that Cena will be walking into SummerSlam to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Brock Lesnar. Whether Brock is the Plan B or not, there’s very little reason to not expect Brock to be champion sometime before WrestleMania.
I think the logical and understandable prediction was that he’d be showing up around the Royal Rumble to win the championship, and defend at Elimination Chamber and/or WrestleMania 31. It would just make sense as there’s no way Brock can appear as often as a WWE Champion is expected to, so save him for the important dates during the Road to WrestleMania.
Instead, it looks like he’ll be the draw to keep subscribers on the WWE Network during the SummerSlam and Night of Champions season.
This is both intriguing and troublesome.
It is unlikely Brock walks out of SummerSlam without the titles, but his dates are limited. Are we to expect Brock will defend on 2-3 PPVs in a row, and then disappear until the Road to WrestleMania?
It’s an interesting ordeal WWE is faced with. They might want to rush Brock’s date in the next few months, and ultra push someone like Roman Reigns to unseat him at an event like Survivor Series as his crowning moment. Or, they might be renegotiating the deal with Brock in an effort to have him appear more often.
I won’t pretend to know the right answer, but I hope WWE either has a plan or are open to loosening the purse strings to have Brock defend more than a couple of times in the next 7 months.
Tuesday Night Titans
Once again, XanMan and myself put together another show on Saturday afternoon. We did not air last week’s episode due to a technical error where my recording program seemed to clip a majority of the show. So, we reviewed the same ECW show to stay in order, while moving onto a new main topic of discussing Roman Reigns and the rumored match ups for SummerSlam.
New Wrestling Podcasts with LordsofPain
Just days after the United States celebrated Independence Day, the fireworks continue as WWE heads to The Great White North for Raw. In breaking news, WWE.com has learned that Bret "Hit Man" Hart will be in Montreal tonight! Plus, WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena battles Seth Rollins while Canada’s own Chris Jericho prepares to go one-on-one against the brash and egotistical Miz. What else can the WWE Universe expect less than two weeks before WWE Battleground? WWE.com has some theories.
1. Will the return of Bret Hart turn Raw upside-down?
Ever since WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hitman” Hart tweeted that he will be on Raw tonight in Montreal at 8/7 CT on USA Network, both social media and the WWE locker room have been clamoring for the return of The Excellence of Execution!
But what will the five-time WWE Champion bring to an already turbulent Monday night atmosphere, in the same city that once played host to one of his most controversial professional moments?
Could Hart choose to confront The Authority about their recent involvement in the WWE World Heavyweight Title picture? While WWE COO Triple H might not approve of such interference from his once-heated adversary, no one could deny that such a confrontation would be “best for business.” Perhaps he will take the opportunity to play a part in in Hart Family Dudgeon alumni Chris Jericho’s match with the outspoken Miz, a Superstar who Hart definitely has had issues with in the past.
No matter what happens, the mere fact that Bret Hart is stepping back into the Raw ring in Canada makes tonight’s show must-see, all by itself.
2. The Y2J problem
Oh, hey Miz. We totally missed you. Fresh from the set of WWE Studios’ “The Marine 4: Moving Target,” the egotistical Awesome One returned to WWE last Monday with the bombast one might expect from, well, Chris Jericho, who also happened to roll through Raw to give us all a glimpse of that endlessly cool light-up jacket of his. Jericho made short work of the self-professed “A-Lister,” much to the delight of the WWE Universe, but Y2J’s smile soon faded when he faced a three-on-one attack by The Wyatt Family.
The Wyatts continued to target Jericho on SmackDown, warning The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla to “save” himself. On Raw, Jericho will compete in a WWE ring for the first time in nearly a year against a vengeful Miz. Will The Eater of Worlds and his sinister disciples make their presence known during this anticipated encounter?
3. More ‘Money,’ more problems
Just one night after John Cena became a 15-time World Champion at Money in the Bank, Seth Rollins nearly brought Triple H’s “Plan B” into action, attempting to cash in on The Champ after Cena suffered a horrific assault by Kane. The Cenation leader’s salvation came in the oh-so-unlikely form of Dean Ambrose, who ambushed his former “brother” before Rollins’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match against Cena could begin.
Despite that failed attempt, Rollins remains Mr. Money in the Bank, and will continue to stalk Cena in pursuit of WWE’s grandest prize. However, just as Rollins forces The Champ to keep his head on a swivel, so, too, does The Lunatic Fringe aim to unsettle his onetime comrade. Whenever Rollins attempts to cash in his Money in the Bank contract, Ambrose has vowed to be there to prevent it.
Tonight on Raw, Rollins once again finds himself in close proximity to Cena’s title when he goes up against The Champ in a one-on-one clash. Will the strategist use his contract to transform this non-title encounter into a WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match? If so, how will Ambrose find a way to factor himself into the equation?
4. What’s Paige’s endgame?
Déjà vu, anyone? Just as a debuting Paige captured AJ Lee’s Divas Title the night after WrestleMania, a returning AJ reclaimed her prize in a similarly unexpected championship collision with The Diva of Tomorrow last week on Raw.
Paige has taken the loss in stride, at least on the surface. On SmackDown, the British beauty sat at ringside during AJ’s non-title clash against Eva Marie, even offering a congratulatory handshake to the two-time Divas Champion after the match. Is this a show of good sportsmanship, or is Paige trying to gain a psychological edge over the returning titleholder — a Diva who knows a thing or two about mind games herself?
5. Don’t tread on Zeb
We never thought we’d say this, but we’re actually agreeing with Zeb Colter these days. Last Monday night, the outspoken Real American defended the United States of America against Lana’s anti-American rhetoric before Jack Swagger brought the fight to the monstrous Rusev and forced the behemoth out of the ring. The “U.S.A.” chants where deafening and we can only assume that, somewhere, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was giving a thumbs-up in approval.
On Friday, The Ravishing Russian and The Bulgarian Brute attempted to spoil Damien Sandow’s Fourth of July festivities on SmackDown, but Swagger and Zeb once again defended Old Glory against the invading Russian oppressors who retreated after a prolonged staredown.
This Monday on Raw, will the “Cold War” between Swagger and Rusev heat up?
Live Raw Discussion
Intro - Roman Reigns
Knowing that Raw is live in my former home of Montreal makes me miss seeing a live TV or PPV in person so much more than ever. Halifax hasn’t even had a house show since November 2011, I think.
He has a mic? This is going to be sloppy.
Not too bad. Still needs work as he was sloppy, but nowhere near as bad as I predicted. I think the problem is he isn’t showing enough of his true personality, and comes off as too scripted. He might just not have the charisma, but I just can’t believe WWE would give him a live mic to start off the show if they didn’t have some faith in him.
Looks like we’ll see a singles match between the 2 tonight.
Wait… Reigns in a singles match? Uh oh…
Harper and Rowan vs Usos
I love the intro for the tag team, especially since it’s different from the intro for the trio or Bray solo. I do think the hillbilly banjo version from a couple of weeks back would have worked had they kept going with it, but this works too.
Nothing wrong with these guys having another match.
Awesome match as expected! I hope they have a PPV rematch, but add a gimmick to the mix. We don’t see too many tag feuds escalate to the point of needing a gimmick, but you should capitalize on it when you can. Something like Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne vs Nasty Boys in their Street Fight, or Falls Count Anywhere. It shouldn’t be something saved for the main event like an I Quit or Last Man Standing Match, but maybe a cage match? We used to see lots of midcard angles take place with these sorts of gimmick matches on PPV, while the main eventers would use them on Raw and using those ultra special gimmicks on PPV. I think that’s something that worked well for the Attitude Era as it gave a level of importance to the midcard.
Rusev vs RVD
I love the Swagger face turn. I doubt he’ll ever be a top guy as a face, but I still believe he’s untapped potential as a legit shoot wrestler as a heel, and he needs the rebirth as a face for now. Let him get back on track, and when the time is right, a heel turn will get him at the right spot.
WWE is stacked with top heels though. Rusev, Barrett, Cesaro, and Swagger.
An official challenge for a PPV? Nice midcard touch.
Orton vs Ambrose
Dean is going to be over like gangbusters if they give him spotlights in front of crowds like Montreal.
But he desperately needs a better finisher.
Great match. Ambrose has a great future, as he’s one of the more complete wrestlers on the roster.
Del Rio vs Ziggler
These guys always deliver. All 800 times they have faced each other.
I love Fandango on commentary. This gimmick is still golden, but it just needs the right spotlight to work. A feud with Ziggler is doing the job so far, especially with the involvement of Summer Rae and Layla.
Bret Hart, Sheamus, Sandow
My stream started cutting in and out, so I missed most of this part. Sounds like it was a great segment, so I’m sorry I missed it.
Jericho vs The Miz
So, is The Miz now ripping off The Rock’s heel gimmick from 2003? I don’t hate the Miz, but it’s hard to be interested in him when he’s always lacking originality.
That was quick, and with the tap out? Sorry Miz. Give Rick Martel a call.
Funkadactyls vs AJ and Paige
I love when they combine at least 2 storylines into 1 segment. It’s smart usage of airtime, and it draws more interest in a match as throwaway as this one would normally be.
And I must say, AJ and Paige look the part of a fitting team. Too bad the WWE Divas division does not have the room for tag teams. Which is odd because there technically could be 3 of them right now (Bellas, Funk Girls, and the Emo Goth team).
And Montreal reacts quite properly for this break up storyline.
Cesaro vs Kofi
Cesaro did a great job in french there, and the chant he received in return was well done. “Pourri” means rotten/nasty/stinky, but harsher.
So, is this Big E. gimmick now? He runs into heels after their matches, only to lose when they face off… fun. I’d rather he team with Kofi full time.
His promo skills have really improved. He certainly is leaps and bounds better than his indy days, but even since he was NXT Champion, it’s night and day. Maybe it’s because he’s a heel, something he never was in NXT, and rarely succeeded at in ROH. Let’s hope this continues to work for him, as he’s expecting my expectations, and I’m one of the few that actually saw what he brings to the table before he signed with WWE. He’s not CM Punk comfortable on the mic, but he’s easily joining the club that Daniel Bryan is headlining of indy guys that are much better as a talker in WWE than when they were as independent wrestlers.
Bo Dallas vs Los Matadores
Bo is a twerp.
But I am glad he’s bringing back the Bulldog as a finisher.
Cena vs Rollins
Why don’t they come to Montreal and/or Toronto for TV more often? They go to Chicago and New York 5-6 times a year.
Solid bout that ended in the proper cluster**** needed to save everyone’s ass. I didn’t like the ending with Cena and Reigns, with their “no, your dick is bigger” antics, but I can understand why they went that way.
Overall Show Thoughts
Very solid Raw. The in ring action was almost perfect to start off the night, but it slowed down as they tried to fit in more of the midcarders that just aren’t getting the right exposure. I think we need a couple more tag teams, but I guess that’s always my answer. It just feels like Dust 2 Dust brothers need someone else to work with other than RybAxel, and there’s no other heel team at this time not tied up in a storyline with the current tag champs. Plus, Los Matadores are on hiatus due to injury. I just think it might be wise to get Truth and Woods back in the picture, or push Kofi and Big E on a full time basis, or try to find new combinations. I could see The Miz and Alberto Del Rio doing a great job, dressed in white, acting suave, and talking about their deserved greatness. Lots of possibilities.
Match of the night was easily Orton vs Ambrose for me. I say easily only because while the opening tag bout was super, it was also a rematch similar to what I’ve seen a few times recently, while the Randy/Dean match was fresh.
Interesting to see that Reigns will take on Rusev on Smackdown. I’m betting on a DQ loss for Reigns due to interference, because he won’t be tapping any time soon, nor will the streak end for the Russian.
I’m also liking the build to this Intercontinental Championship Battle Royale, as they are involving many feuds into one match at the PPV. Dolph vs Fandango, Cesaro vs Kofi/Big E., while keeping up with Sheamus, Bo Dallas, and others.
Apparently Wyatt vs Jericho is confirmed for Battleground. Strange, but it is wikipedia, so it could be completely wrong.
Montreal had a great show to be in attendance for. Hey, WWE, come out East! It’s only been 3 years, **** it.
And on that note, Peace out
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