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Monday Morning Thoughts
Coming This Week
I originally started this blog with a run down of my thoughts on each of the WrestleMania matches, but that seemed to strike me as hollow knowing that we’ll be seeing some major pushes in
tonight’s last Raw before the big event. So, I’m going to instead do a daily blog all week long until Sunday, and each day I’ll update a new piece about a match that is booked.
Now, I know there are 8 matches booked, and if I started tomorrow, that only leaves 6 days, so I’ll most likely post 2 updates per day to start with the less interesting matches, saving the big mains to be solo updates throughout the week. I hope you tune in and enjoy.
Just noticed that TripleR is doing a similar idea for his column. I’m moving away from the prediction side of things, and more towards analysis surrounding the match up.
Batista vs Randy Orton
Does it strike anyone else as odd that we have the original WrestleMania XXX Main Event booked for tonight’s Raw? Think about it - the match that WWE was seemingly banking on headlining the biggest show of the year (if not of all time) is now going to be on free TV the week before?
I can’t wrap my head around it. So many parts of WWE’s booking plans have been shoddy and poorly thought out, yet it still seems like it was all planned somehow. I’m so baffled, which is a credit to their efforts in trying to bait us into buying the show or WWE Network. I don’t believe for a second that Daniel Bryan was going to get this storyline whatsoever, but why would they put Orton vs Batista on Raw instead of a following PPV?
As was often mentioned, the Orton vs Batista match is still interesting. The problem was that it was an out of nowhere direction after months of the Daniel Bryan push. CM Punk quit over the direction of the main event. How are we to expect that they thought so little of this potential bout that they would use it to main event Monday Night Raw, instead of a summer PPV?
Speaking of the Animal, I can’t deny that he’s been a lot more interesting lately. In fact, everyone who has had interactions with Batista have been interesting. Stephanie slapping him last week worked really well, and he earned a face reaction out of it. Then on Smackdown, both he and HHH traded barbs to the delight of the audience, both getting heat and cheers at various points. He slipped on a line, but it’s good to see that he’s getting comfortable in his role again, unlike when he originally returned.
It’s strange how Batista is barely a heel. Other than “Deal With It!” he doesn’t do a lot that is purposely aimed to be booed. His confrontations with the Authority have been very babyface driven, making a very strange dynamic.
I was watching the Legends of Wrestling program on the Network over the weekend, and one episode flashed back to when Vince McMahon made a vital onscreen appearance in late 1997, addressing the audience in a frank moment elaborating the reality of the wrestling program. He was basically telling everyone at home that he understood that they have grown up, and might be tired of the same wrestling programming that saturated the 80s, with heroes pushing vitamins and saying their prayers. The line that stood out was how he believed we, the audience, were tired of good guys vs bad guys.
How things have changed.
For years John Cena has been a face that gets booed, which was an inspiration for some of Dave’s best work in 2010. Now, he’s falling in the same routine. The world of wrestling is a baffling one.
Without going into too much detail that I will save for my write up on the 6 man tag match for this Sunday, The Shield have obviously shown a new dynamic recently, with Seth Rollins at the forefront.
It can’t be denied that in terms of wrestling as a face, Rollins is the most prepared. Using his high risk offense and speed, he’ll get the crowd on their feet easily. They keep the spots for Reigns to use his Superman Punch and Spear, but Seth has been allowed to steal the show quite often.
With the rumors of Rollins and Ambrose turning on Reigns at some point, I wonder if the reason for such strong showings for Rollins is to get them as much attention ASAP, making the heel turn all the more memorable.
My problem with this idea is that I don’t expect it to work. If people are getting behind Rollins due to his in-ring action, why will they stop cheering him if he turns on Reigns unless he becomes a boring heel? For the first year, Rollins has used his ability once in a while to pop the crowd, but was much more reserved than he has been over the last couple of weeks. Even if he returns to a less fan friendly style of wrestling, the crowd will still want to pop for the few high risk moves he delivers.
My guess is Rollins will be staying face, with Ambrose being the heel. I’m not sure how it’ll work, but it’s something that just feels right.
Well, here we are: The final Raw on The Road to WrestleMania, and on the verge of a twelve-car pile-up in each lane. Daniel Bryan hasn’t been seen since being carried out on a gurney two weeks ago thanks to Triple H. Bray Wyatt is – for all intents and purposes – haunting John Cena. Batista’s at his wits’ end. And The Undertaker’s ghoulish misdirection has Brock Lesnar running scared. Six days before WWE descends upon New Orleans for The Show of Shows, what lies ahead on Raw?
1. When the dead come knocking
Brock Lesnar fell for the old empty-casket trick last week and for all the bravado of The Beast Incarnate, “Eat-Sleep-Beat-the-Streak” is looking more and more like an impossibility. The Anomaly does have one thing on his side, though: When he gets in the ring with The Undertaker at WrestleMania, he’ll presumably let his fists do all the work for him. All he has to do is survive The Deadman’s “final message” this Monday. What does The Phenom have in store?
2. He can see you
Another Superstar who’s making excellent use of mind games? Bray Wyatt, who has John Cena unusually shaken heading into their confrontation on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Wyatt hasn’t relied on mysticism a la The Undertaker, but he has seemingly cut to Cena’s core with his weekly sermons, and disgraced the Cenation leader by stringing him up in the ring ropes last week on Raw and slapping a sheep mask on him. Can Cena find his footing and rally, or is Bray Wyatt irreparably in his head?
3. What could have been
Is Batista losing his cool? The Animal’s rollercoaster return has seen the WWE Universe turn against him in droves. A tough match with Sheamus on SmackDown exposed Batista’s frustration; with Daniel Bryan lurking in the wings and Triple H gaining steam in his own bid to enter the title match, can The Animal maintain his momentum and fulfill his promise to become champion?
4. Shield vs. Suits
How the tables have turned for The Hounds of Justice, who are set to face both a key member and longtime associates of The Authority when they battle Kane & The New Age Outlaws at WrestleMania. The Shield has stuck through thick and thin and looks stronger than ever, but The Devil’s Favorite Director of Operations knows them just about better than anyone. Can Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns power their way to their second consecutive WrestleMania victory?
5. The home stretch for 'YES!'
Daniel Bryan wasn’t at Raw last week thanks to lingering injuries from Triple H’s brutal attack on his shoulder, but with only a week to go before the biggest match (matches?) of his career, don’t expect the “Yes!” Man to sit out this week’s Raw. The Cerebral Assassin will want Bryan as weak as possible heading into their match, though, so what final hurdle does Triple H have in store for the thorn in his side that is Daniel Bryan?
Pre Show Thought
One of my students, Leaf, in LOPforums “The Voice” column writing contest proposed this grand idea for a Bad News Promo regarding his spot at Wrestlemania:
""Can I have some decorum please?! At Wrestlemania, thirty men will attempt to eliminate each other in order to get their hands on the inaugural, prestigious, Andre The Giant Memorial Trophy. BUT I'M AFRAID I'VE GOT SOME BAAAAAAD NEWS! 29 men are going to see the potential pinnacle of their careers robbed from them at the hands of me! They're going to spend their Wrestlemania paycheck on alcohol and be too drunk to work Monday Night Raw the very next night. They will all be out of job for being unfit to work, and fans all over the world will be able to watch their most disappointing moment whenever they so wish on the WWE Network, whilst Bad News Barrett and his podium will stand taller than Andre The Giant ever did. Thank you very much! Ha Ha Ha Ha!.."
Intro - Undertaker
I hope the Deadman gets a massive beatdown. It’s not a new thought with the wrestling discussion boards, but there’s been absolutely no reason to believe the streak is at risk from this match so far. Brock’s been on the losing end of every segment. It’s all the more confusing because Brock Lesnar is a true physical threat, unlike most of the men who have challenged the streak over the years.
I just don’t see the appeal of these Undertaker promos. It makes me long for his American Bad Ass character, when he could be a lot more adventurous with his promos. As the Deadman, he’s too one dimensional. He’s never been a great promo, but as the Deadman, he’s even more limited.
And the act is a bit tired. It’s likely a sign of my age, as I’ve watched this gimmick for 24 years now.
Why is Brock acting like a ****? This match has been very poorly built.
Too little too late? One F-5 doesn’t seem like a strong enough change in momentum to alter the obvious fate of the streak going 22-0.
To be fair, it must be incredibly difficult to make anyone seem like a credible challenger to the streak. After the amount of kick outs from the Undertaker, it would take 7 F-5s through flaming tables to really seem like it’s over at 21-1.
Big E. vs Alberto Del Rio
Are they officially dropping Del Rio to the midcard? Full time?
This is thankfully a great way to get the IC title and champion exposure. Del Rio, as bland and overrated as he is, is a big enough name to make an Intercontinental Championship match seem up for grabs. And a win for the former Langston would be among the biggest wins of his career.
And matches where Del Rio is only wrestling, without a storyline or chances to ruin the interest with promos, are when he shines most.
Alberto with the win, which I am fine with if this leads to a championship match down the line. Either next week on Raw, or to be built up through the Battle Royal to lead to a match next month at Extreme Rules for the title.
Bray Wyatt promo
This stuff just keeps getting better and better. I hope WrestleMania isn’t a roadblock in his evolution.
Summer Rae vs Natalya
Why are Total Divas getting more storylines and character development than the champion, who just happens to be the most over Diva in almost a decade?
Ah, the Power Couple.
I have to say they buried Fandango and put him over in a solid portion there, well done.
And impressive how they deal with the CM Punk chants.
That’s a great video. And before anyone says “Of course they put the budget to HHH, and not any other superstars,” this will put over Daniel Bryan even more when he eventually wins. Great heel work.
Here comes Batista. Let’s hope he continues his great segments on the mic. He hasn’t been stellar, but the drama has been there nonetheless.
8 Man tag
I love when we get these sorts of matches, combinations of opponents at the PPV battling it out on TV. It’s like a classic Survivor Series match from late 80s.
Why are the Usos wrestling with shirts on? Have they been doing this for a bit and I haven’t noticed?
Wow, I was about to say that this match deserved to go the extra segment, but that there’s no way it would get the added time. Glad to have been wrong.
That was an AWESOME Chuck Liddell commercial, but he’s much more out of shape now than when he was competing in the UFC.
WHAT A MATCH!
I loved every minute of that ending, especially the “twin magic” tactic of the old Killer Bees from Los Matadores.
Rhodes Bros. vs Fandango and Sandow
Random match, especially after another tag team bout that highlighted 4 of the existing teams. I’d be fine with a Sandango team if they could find a good reason for them to stick together.
They really are one of the most interesting parts of the WWE Roster. So tremendously versatile, especially with this new babyface direction. I hope they stick with this for a while, because there’s a lot more they can do before splitting up.
Bray Wyatt vs R-Truth
A modern squash. Expect the crowd to sit on their hands, until Cena shows up.
I was just thinking that WWE have done a great job getting Bray over in the ring. For a man who hasn’t had that many matches, he’s one of the few heels who’s had his finisher established with the WWE Universe. That’s increasingly rare.
Oh man, I hate to be overly negative, but that ruined so much of my interest in the match. This whole angle was based on how Wyatt was getting in Cena’s head, and instead John does that? I know that a segment with Cena looking strong means he will most likely lose on the PPV, which works for me, but Cena shouldn’t be able to just infiltrate the Family this easily and end up just fine at the end of it. It came off as lame, and made the Wyatt’s look pretty stupid.
John Cena Promo
Sorry, John, you killed this match for me. So ****ing dumb. It’s one of those moments where people figured “it’ll be cool, it doesn’t matter that it makes no sense.”
But it does. Dumb lame dumb.
Kane vs ?
Did the King have more hairplugs put in?
Anyways, no shock that Reigns won the vote. Now it’s time to expect a sloppy match since the Universe just voted for the least capable performer of the trio.
How many hot moves does Roman have? The Spear, the Superman punch, the kick to the head on the outside… jebus.
I was thinking of that initial beatdown from Kane and the Outlaws on The Shield. Lots of people were bothered by it after over a year of dominance by The Shield. The reason it sat well with me unlike with others is that this was a complete surprise. The Shield weren’t expecting anyone to come to Kane’s side. Since that attack, The Shield have stood their ground and not been taken out.
The problem with these segments is that Piper never fits in the modern style of promos. He goes off the cuff, which would be fine if he didn’t talk over music and other people. It’s a consistent issue whenever Roddy is invited to host the Pit.
It’s also why he’s given less and less important guests for his show, because there’s no way WWE would risk their top talents to look foolish in a Pit segment due to sloppy production. Piper could probably eat holes into the the other talents on the mic if he wanted, but he reigns himself in too much in the wrong way, while going too far in others. If coached, Piper would be fine, but I’m betting he’s not very open to coaching.
Batista vs Orton - No DQ
Notice the Daniel Bryan chants? They’d be even louder if this was taking place on Sunday.
Great ending to the show, perfect for the “go home” episode. Daniel Bryan needed some revenge on HHH for the vicious handcuffed beatdown from a couple of weeks ago. Very well done, especially as it sets up the ending I have been predicting for a while, where HHH wins the bout, but Bryan gets inserted anyways. It just makes so much more sense.
I’ll save this for the daily blogs I’ll be posting this week. I hope you enjoyed the show and blog (except for that dumb Cena segment).
And on that note, Peace out
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