Taste My Rainbow - Briefing The IWC On 2013
Jan 3, 2014 - 5:08:44 PM
Briefing The IWC On 2013
Welcome back to the column that’s flown over the cuckoo’s nest one too many times - Taste My Rainbow. I closed out the year on a high note; attending WWE’s house show last night in Hartford with my female counterparts. Not the worst Christmas gift in the world, right? It’s been less than 18 hours and I’m already harassing them for pay per view tickets (my selfishness never rests). Watching corporate Kane take on Big Show in full wrestling gear with no mask seemed about as out of place as spotting CM Punk at a rave. No stranger than witnessing Castagnoli celebrate his 33rd birthday with a Cesaro swing on Booker T I reckon. Earlier, I nearly uppercutted my tranny roommate with an errant arm raise when Cody Rhodes sailed off a steel cage and sealed he & Goldust’s victory over the Real Americans in the MOTN (as if it were ever in doubt). The lights then dimmed as the crowd went bananas for the Orton/Cena main event (which was otherwise a mediocre match between the two).
Anyways, I wanted to share my thoughts on 2013 before sending them into the front row with a punt Snitsky would be proud of. Initially, I tried steering away from this becoming too elaborate or analytical. Then a brain fart occurred and I decided to steer this bus of craziness down a totally different path. So rather than cram everything into a single column or put together a 4-5 part series, I’ll be posting one entry at a time and updating the page every couple hours. Also, I figured this would give readers an opportunity to chime in and offer suggestions. If you wanna see The Candyman cover a specific WWE topic and think it’ll be overlooked, leave a comment below. I kinda promise to fit it in no matter how tight this bitch gets. According to the calculator app on my phone, this little excursion of mine should meander on for 6-7 days. And my New Year’s resolution is to see this thing through...
Until scientists create a time machine which allows me to travel back and rearrange shit, I’ll always contest that Punk belonged wedged between The Rock + John Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 29. The BITW busted his ass throughout 2012, made certain that Johnson’s return in January was a successful one and yet management repaid Brooks by feeding him to the Undertaker. Therefore, I take solace in the fact that Punk thanked the company with a big FUCK YOU by commandeering their prized horse thru a pre-‘Mania match so awesomely executed, Rocky couldn’t top it on his best day. Then as if Punk hadn’t sent a clear enough message, he stole the show at WM29 and upstaged WWE’s sentinel Cena/Bryan moment with another part-timer.
Punk’s congruent feud with Heyman might’ve sufficed on the stick but ultimately, it still reduced to the BITW dicking around with a pair of subservients throughout the fall months. Competitively speaking, The Shield and Wyatt Family are much more his speed. Despite losing four career-defining matches (perhaps the biggest of his career) during ‘13, Punk’s proven to his employers that he’s the most clutch performer in WWE today. The dude’s more reliable than a queef when you’re fucking a fat chick.
I realize his booking at the tail end of 2013 had folks dragging a stool over and tying their Daniel Bryan t-shirts into makeshift nooses but there’s really no reason to torture yourselves (unless erotic asphyxiation is more popular than I realized). Ever heard of a rising climax? Of course you haven’t. Patience is lost on most people.
It’d be near impossible to name a better conditioned main eventer than Danielson. Whereas most wrestling contests feature bursts of offense followed by rest periods, D-Bry can turn on his signature move set and sustain it until the final bell. It’s fucking incredible. Goatface had been coasting during his run with Kane and their split started to resemble one of those unhealthy relationships that trudges on far longer than it should. Bryan still has his work cut out for him moving forward. Sure he impressed in the summer against the likes of Cesaro and Cena but afterwards, Danielson failed to meet expectations on three separate occasions against Orton. And while I realize it’s as tempting as busty cleavage, we can’t blame EVERYTHING on The Viper.
If D-Bry’s stamina-starved title reigns end up standing alone and he goes 13 years without sniffing another like his former tag team partner, I’ll surrender my columnist badge (and confess that you never should’ve listened to me in the first place). 2013 served as a tale of two halves for the man behind the beard; one dodgy and the other encouraging.
Performance-wise, I’ve never taken issue with Swags. He’s brick solid between the ropes and thrives when paired with the right pieces. Jack is an odd puzzle piece himself though (which makes me wonder why management wasted Zeb on Swagger to being with). Jacky Boy holds a microphone like a housewife does a plunger. I can’t imagine how many taints Zeb had to lick clean for Vince to point Cesaro in his direction. Swagger’s character work has always been suspect. Luckily for him, Antonio’s placed a temporary band-aid on Jack’s career. When company officials figure out what the fuck to do with Castagnoli and tear said bandage off Swagger, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the lispy bastard bleeds to death.
Keeping with the here and now however, I’ll go on record by saying the Real Americans would be Tag Team Champs right now if it weren’t for Goldust’s illustrious return to WWE. When you add up everything Colter/Cesaro/Swagger bring to the table, I believe you get a lump sum greater than any heel tandem on the main roster. As far as Jack goes, people tend to reflect back on his WrestleMania run as if Swags buried his World Title aspirations with the DUI arrest. That angle was never meant to crown a controversial champion… it simply revolved around elevating Del Rio’s fanfare (or at least trying to). Zeb just better hope when the time comes to separate the groceries, management packages him with the goods and not the garbage.
Another stop/start year for the giant. Wight’s made a habit out of being irrelevant one week and the center of WWE’s hottest storyline the next. Big Show’s parading around in a diaper like a fuckin’ tool two months removed from rolling into the arena in an 18-wheeler... What gives? Not sure whether I should award the 500-pounder some brownie points for his diverse roleplay or ridicule the company for treating Show like a booty call one only pursues when intoxicated. Admittedly, I crushed on TBS while he took pleasure in obliterating The Authority’s agenda throughout October & November.
When the bell rings and he’s headlining pay per views however, I’ve gotta draw the line. Not only did the Creative Team prep fans for a Big Show/Triple H showdown and then abandon it as if nothing ever happened but TBS was practically handed a WWE Title shot against Orton; nearly resulting in this year’s Survivor Series event collapsing into itself and swallowing all of time and space. I could’ve sworn we were attempting to draw in more viewers… not repel them. Props to the big guy for convincing me that he still warrants a spot on the card (albeit a reserved one). I could give a fuck how well-respected or versatile Wight is though. WWE were asinine to backseat their hottest item for a giant turd sack. They should be grateful that Bryan’s over enough to withstand it.
Let’s see how many personal goals Sheffield crossed off in 2013:
[ ] - Win the Rumble and main event WrestleMania
[ ] - Eat raw animal meat from a live kill
[X] - Pick up a PPV win (should Jericho really count though?)
[ ] - Finally beat Kaitlyn at arm wrestling
Yeesh tough break. Now here’s what Ryberg’s list should have looked like…
-- Finish second place at everything; even 'Best Leotard Design'
-- Let management ruin my push with an ill-advised heel turn
-- Find a mouthpiece that masks some of my weaknesses for a couple months
-- Form a tag team with someone who’s actually as boring as me
Where did things go so terribly awry for Meatwad? I can’t help but single out WrestleMania back in April. As if it weren’t deflating enough that Sheffield jobbed to SkidMark courtesy of a bullshit finish, The Rock tore his abdominal and adductor tendons the same evening. You’re probably asking "But SkitZ… what the hell does Dwayne’s pelvic region have to do with Ryback?" I assure you the REAL honest to God answer is best reserved for a later discussion. But when studied outside of a sexual context, it’s pretty obvious the writing staff were forced to scrap their plans of completing the Cena/Rock trilogy at Extreme Rules. Johnson’s injuries are to blame for Ryberg’s rushed transition! Vince’s goons panicked, snapped their fingers and Sheffield’s been rubbing his sore ass ever since.
His flair for predictability has never given internet fans much incentive to admire the guy. So when WWE’s Poster Boy won the ’13 Rumble and avenged his previous loss to The Rock at WM29, the IWC rallied against him with stuff fouler than anything Terri Runnels’ gynecologist has come across.
Cena quietly put together a sturdy title reign however. Carrying Ryback to a passable performance is no easy feat; firefighters stand a better chance of evacuating everybody safely from a propane factory explosion. So Cena mustering not one but TWO above average matches out of the dude should speak volumes. The same goes for Mark Henry (epic retirement speech be damned). Cena can cut as mean a promo as any pro wrestler alive when motivated and while I didn’t exactly care for his verbal tirades with Johnson, the stick work between himself and Bryan on the RAW before SummerSlam is my favorite exchange of 2013 hands down. Punk’s "your arms are too midgety to box with God" spiel comes close but it was also a one-sided affair with no Rock present.
Ever since Cena returned triumphantly at HIAC though, it’s been more of the same old; slapstick interviews and paint-by-numbers booking. I’ve grown to detest Cenation in his current form almost as much as an unkempt vagina. Aside from his crowd manipulation six nights prior to TLC, Cena’s been a lounge act. Hopefully, it’s just a sign of the times and Mr. Hustle, Loyalty & Respect ups his game when ‘Mania season comes a-knockin’.
Nemeth and Nikki Bella dated? And I’m just now learning this? Fuck no wonder Ziggler constantly bashes on Cena in interviews. This explains the Blonde Perm’s fall from grace, doesn’t it (as well as why he went 1-33 against Cena a year ago)? WWE’s cash cow is all bent out of shape because he’s indulging on Ziggler’s sloppy seconds. Cena exchanged words with the
pompous dickholes boys in the back and they traded him a shovel for some free merchandise.
That’s how I imagine it happening in my head anyway. A couple days ago, I re-watched Money in the Bank 2013 and it’s seriously depressing how high company officials were on Dolph then as compared to now. Crowds were bathing in whatever Ziggler crapped out. The guy was finally riding solo and his awesome series of matches with Del Rio helped ease the transition process. Then the wheels fell off and Dolph never reached the finish line. People feel justified in blaming The Show-Off’s untimely concussion for his swift descent but, truth be told, his perception as World Heavyweight Champion had already tanked. Management set a terrible precedent leading up to Ziggler’s MITB cash-in so perhaps we shouldn’t be stunned that his status failed to improve when he swapped roles.
Clearly, Dolph’s locker room grumblings fell within earshot of some well-connected individuals. The Show-Off is blacklisted and this appears to be one of those instances where Vince expects him to either persevere or skirt around the unemployment line until his pussy shows. Ziggler needs to hop on damage control if he plans on amounting to something in WWE again.
I haven’t exactly been cryptic in regards to my discontentment towards Rotunda Jr. Wyatt’s yet to prove his worth to me. Granted the dude’s younger than me and less than six months into his first legitimate run with WWE but c’mon now… how are you gonna create THAT much buzz around a group upon their debuts when the ringleader wrestles like he’s suffering from cardiovascular disease? Bray’s work ethic remains a major concern. I don’t think it’s a coincidence either that Husky’s only competed in one singles match on pay per view since SummerSlam. I’m sure The McMahon clan winced thru his Ring of Fire match with Kane just as we all did. That performance caused management to slam on the brakes and they’ve been protecting Bray behind Rowan & Harper since. Wyatt’s so wrapped up in crafting promos that his ring game tends to suck balls. I just wish Husky held himself to a higher standard physically.
While his restrictions in other areas are oftentimes glaring, I do fancy Bray’s vivid imagination. Extending one’s character is a hurdle many guys can’t successfully leap. References such as "sister Abigail" and "the devil made me do it" are great for drawing in non-casual viewers (even if there’s no substance behind those entities). Wyatt is brilliant at embellishing his looney-bin persona and alternating dialogue to prevent shit from getting redundant (anything to excuse himself for dressing like a cruise ship driver from Boca Raton). As a fan, I wouldn’t bother delving any deeper for risk of losing your own sanity. These reports of Husky facing Cena at WrestleMania XXX though are beyond screwy. There’s a higher probability of Droz regaining feeling in his legs.
Jerry Lawler: The least effective personality behind the broadcast booth. King spent his year patrolling pointless contests, monitoring fan polls and delivering one liners that haven’t made anyone laugh since the nineties. You couple that with Lawler’s inability to wrestle following his heart attack 16 months ago and it’s a mystery why the company keeps Jerry commentating when he doesn’t bother calling matches (I’m guessing it has something to do with King and Vinnie Mac being tighter than a butthole). Lawler’s too delicate of a flower to put over young heels anymore. I’d move him into a spokesperson type role and eliminate the clutter at ringside.
Michael Cole: If anything, I probably give Vince’s lackey the longest leash in terms of my patience. Can you blame me though? Since WWE squandering months of storyline material on Cole back in 2011, I find myself growing numb to his annoying mannerisms and catchphrases. It’s all water under the bridge now. And in Michael Cole’s defense, he’s stopped acting like a floppy dildo in recent months. Not entirely mind you but he’s toned down the quirkiness that urges viewers to mute the TV (or in extreme cases of jackassness, turn the channel).
JBL: Ah the beacon of hope on Monday (& Friday) nights. I will admit that we probably fan Bradshaw with more praise than he rightfully deserves. When placed next to his colleagues however, the squirrely Texan is a relief and even hilarious in certain situations. Cole handles the logistical aspect of commentating while JBL provides wrestler insight and an occasional chuckle. I’d be absolutely heartbroken if Bradshaw relinquished his ringside gig anytime soon. I’ve grown accustomed to him berating Michael Cole during RAW and instilling some heelish perspective in WWE’s play-by-play. Twas’ sorely missed. I swear Cole & Lawler are auditioning for a goddamn Disney movie.
Corporate heel stables will forever hold a place in professional wrestling. If executed correctly, they can have a dramatic effect on the product which is what we’ve seen happen with The Authority in 2013. Call me naïve but I still believe the purpose of creating the faction is to cement Daniel Bryan as Punk’s successor. The BITW could end up sticking around for an additional 2-3 years but when he does walk away from the business for good, I see D-Bry filling that niche (about as seamlessly as H depositing a load in Stephanie’s dumper).
The fascinating part about The Authority however is that some skeptics perceive it to be art imitating life; H's stranglehold on the company depriving specific wrestlers from breaking free and reaching their max potential. I'd argue that Trips' stable has had the opposite effect on budding talent (except for pushing that fucking chode Big Show... I'm still haunted by said transgression). Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, The Shield, Cody Rhodes & Goldust are in a better place collectively because of the angle.
I can't be the only shmuck who's disappointed with Hunter for
keeping his MILF of a wife covered up like a nun ignoring the itch to ditch the suit once in awhile and lace up his boots. Yours truly would've been more than happy to watch The COO rid the Establishment of its 500-pound problem (for selfish reasons I confess). Nevertheless, they've improved upon the product and the following 3+ months of television should be a doozy. Everybody say it with me - Brad Maddox for Cruiserweight Champ.
Whether Mr. McMahon’s backstage barking orders into a headset or not, JBL speaks the truth when he says The Shield had the greatest year of any group in WWE history. Their body of work was amazing and although the trio cooled off slightly between June and August, they still delivered excellent matches on the regular. Let us not forget either that while their level of competition may have slipped somewhat, Rollins, Reigns & Ambrose were all reigning champions throughout said lull (and defended their titles in an impressive manner to boot).
This marks the first instance in mainstream wrestling where I’ve watched a stable consistently perform at a high level for 365 straight days. It assures me that every Shied member will flourish individually when the Creative Team runs dry of options and separates the trio (likely as early as the Royal Rumble in four weeks). It’ll be a sad fucking day when Rollins, Reigns & Ambrose aren’t main eventing RAW or SmackDown as a cohesive unit. I’m sure the split will throw my cycle completely out of whack (‘bro period’ and whatnot).
Personally, I would’ve taken the U.S. Title off Moxley a while ago. I mean it made sense when Ambrose actually fought midcarders but he’s above that now apparently. Plus it’s kinda sad that he defends the belt less frequently than I get laid (tragic really). I never forgave management for pairing Jericho with Fandango when Y2J could’ve been stringing together some fantastic PPV bouts with Ambrose during the spring. So either Creative really are as inept as we accuse them of being or they’re laying the groundwork for a scenario in which the Intercontinental & United States Championships are unified. Wise move?
The Viper left us flaccid in the trousers for roughly 2/3 of the calendar year. His stagnancy waned on for so long however that veteran marks must’ve been getting suspicious around the time he won the MITB briefcase. A booking decision that no doubt generated some quizzical stares. We knew the company had something up their sleeves and they popped the champagne at SummerSlam with Orton’s big reveal.
While I’m always appreciative of shock value on WWE’s behalf (since it’s become an endangered luxury in the technological age), it took SkitZ a little getting used to… like a girl who refuses to ride the D with the lights on because she’s self-conscious about her belly chub. Warming up to Randall as WWE Champion was definitely a process but his new role grew on me as The Authority asserted its dominance. I mean when push comes to shove, anything beats babyface Orton. Good guy Randy is the flea market of entertainment. He’s simply better at being an asshole (and his promos benefit too). Is that range and fluid delivery I’ve been detecting in The Viper’s stick work recently? And no agonizing pauses between words? Holy shit I think hell’s frozen over.
There are about 37 other guys on the roster who I’d rather see carrying the WWE World Heavyweight Title but you know what? Orton’s earned it for once. If this was 2005 and Randy had been irrelevant for two years, he’d have shoplifted 18 cartons of cigarettes and harassed three strippers by now.
Alberto Del Rio
Tell me you don’t cringe whenever Berty delivers one of his patented superkicks to a helpless opponent. Dorito’s strikes have become deadly… Or he’s gotten really skilled at slapping his thigh upon contact (but feel free to cover your ears and repeatedly mumble "kayfabe, kayfabe, kayfabe, kayfabe" if it’s still real to you). Lord knows I’ve been in denial for a decade and a half.
Del Rio’s character flaws might be a deal breaker for the majority of the IWC but you can’t underestimate how crisp his in-ring execution is. No matter whom ADR is trading counter for counter – Bryan, Punk, Cena, Sheamus, Ziggler, etc. – he seals the deal like a male gigolo at a swinger’s club. And it pains me that more people aren’t lining up to polish his domepiece (errrr metaphorically speaking).
The Mexican Aristocrat kick started the year with an ill-fated face turn that, well at the very least, stripped the World Title off of Big Show. WWE should have realized Berty would nosedive as a protagonist until he eventually hit rock bottom. It’s one thing if the fans dictate a turn (ala Payback) but honestly, what circumstantial evidence was there to trigger Del Rio’s sudden change of heart? That’s why I threw my head back and laughed maniacally when ADR resumed his villainous ways and coordinated a World Title reign with more technical exuberance than a five-star hospital.
Ricardo Rodriquez had fucking worn out his welcome at Casa del Rio. Berty is better off without the extra luggage and deserves a helluva lot better than laying down for Sin Cara. My buddy Super Chrisss would be able to understand that if he stopped being this guy…
The former UFC Heavyweight Champ’s limited number of appearances make it practically impossible for fans to invest themselves in whatever he’s doing at the moment. It places a major burden on Heyman and Lesnar’s latest rival to shoulder all the heavy lifting and that’s bullshit. I wipe my unwashed ass with whether Brock truly cares about WWE or pro wrestling in general. A paycheck is a paycheck.
The bottom line however goes like this: if Lesnar isn’t contractually obligated to at least be present (that means IN the arena) for the entirety of a feud, then why’s he worth the paper? In the grand scheme of things, how much money is the company really gaining from Brock working 2-3 matches per year? It pisses me off because the dude was a full-time employee from March 2002-04; he’s familiar with the system. Either stay or go. You’ve squeezed two kids out of Sable already. I promise you her rare cut of beef isn’t going anywhere.
Ultimately, the blame falls on Vince and the ‘tards he’s hired to handle such matters. But it’s a two-way street. Brock’s performance at SummerSlam back in August brought with it a wave of optimism… that dissipated slowly until I accepted Lesnar had bid us farewell for the remainder of 2013. Brock is unappealing in these shot glass size doses. He’s like a badly edited porn clip that’s too short for me to even pop off a couple rounds. Where’s the satisfaction in that?
Why I’d Cup Check Him if We Ever Met in Person:
-- His eccentricity makes me as uncomfortable as watching Eva Marie wrestle
-- To find out whose salad he’s tossing; MizTV should’ve been canceled before it ever aired
-- Ric Flair is not impressed
-- I’m overwhelmed by how much he’s underwhelmed as a face
-- Maryse is sleeping with him (WILLINGLY)
-- I wanna know if Miz is in total control of his face muscles
If so, what’s up with that ^ DVD cover? Mizanin’s action pose looks more like someone battling gastroenteritis.
The Creative Team admitted defeat just six months into their failed attempt at channeling Del Rio’s inner Eddie so why did they wait an entire year before nixing the Miz experiment? If you couldn’t already tell, I have zero love loss for Maryse’s sugar daddy. He’s been handed opportunity after opportunity for reasons unbeknownst to me. Mike Mizanin seems like an okay guy outside the ring when he appears on talk shows and red carpets (and acts like a regular fuckin’ human being). When he steps out from behind that curtain however, I automatically focus my attention elsewhere. The IWC loves flinging poo at Cena but Miz is the real drizzling shits.
What did he accomplish in 2013? An Intercontinental Title reign that barely lasted 24 hours. He didn’t elevate any younger stars or so much as break a sweat to advance a feud. And how someone fails to have an above average match with Cesaro is absolutely mind blowing. Face Miz should be burned at the stake.
The Great White found audiences giving him the Cena treatment recurrently throughout much of ‘13 (BLAME THE MACHINE). Sheamus is just too one-sided of a character in today’s ever-evolving product. Diehards are stubborn to fully embrace the guy (and being so buddy buddy with Triple H in real life hurts his approval rating among smarks). The ginger had a subpar year; his worst to date and that isn’t because he missed the last five months rehabbing a torn labrum. Will 2012 become the highlight of his career? It depends how the company books Sheamus upon his return. Lay the goofy Irishman shtick to rest and peel back another layer. The Great White is tailor-made for a role within The Authority. Convert Big Red into the flaming prick he was beforehand and stack him against Punk. That’s a grudge match I would pay to see.
Big E Langston
For the longest time, I couldn’t recall who Ryblack reminded me of (even going as far as letting my dementia temporarily convince me that Big E was the first of his kind). Then Bobby Lashley sprung to mind and I felt like a fucking idiot. Choc Lesnar is obviously more blocky in comparison but the power lifter is equally as agile. Explosiveness is a quality that’s sure to moisten the crotches of several key figureheads in the company (men included).
Big E really hadn’t shown us shit for potential this whole year until management sent him running to Punk’s aid and removed the safety harness. In hindsight, distancing himself from Ziggler steered Soulberg clear of a miserable conclusion to his rookie year. Langston’s grown on me during his Intercontinental Title reign and I promise it isn’t ALL due to him stripping the belt off that defective vibrator Curtis Axel. We can only hope WWE doesn’t go overboard sculpting Big E into their own image because a controlled environment = limited fun. He’s learning quickly and at this rate, Langston could soon become the unstoppable powerhouse Mark Henry fantasized about being 17 years ago.
Curtis was also a bit of a late bloomer but perhaps the higher ups should be held responsible for that seeing as how the character itself is so gimmick restricted. Fandango’s prolonged debut put quite the damper on his maturation process into full-fledged WWE wrestler. He needed the reps more so than the average newbie. I’ve watched some of Johnny Curtis’ work from NXT… its as obvious as Big Show’s love handles that he’s improved leaps and bounds since then.
If the decision were mine however, I probably would have reserved Fandango’s first match for the post-WM29 edition of RAW. The ballroom dancer is in no better position now because of his win over Jericho (as if defeating Y2J still holds the same weight). I get that debuting a guy at WrestleMania is a unique concept but who knows if luck will be waiting idly by to bail your asses out next time. Fandango may never translate into a main event performer but Footloose has proven over the past 8 months that he’s a dependable midcarder. The only drawback is Summer Rae’s lack of chest padding. She’s just a couple silicone injections away from happiness (a win for society really).
April 8th Episode of RAW
The WrestleMania fallout episode is building a reputation for being more "must see" than anything that precedes the Show of Shows (granted this year’s task was simplified by the shitty reviews WM29 generated). Miz’s fluke IC Title reign came to a screeching halt courtesy of Wade "I’ll fuck your mother with my bullhammer" Barrett. Ziggler tore the lid off the IZOD Center with his cash-in on Del Rio and, for 24 hours at least, we forgot that Dolph’s number in the loss column had set record lows for a World Title contender. In a match heavily rumored for ‘Mania, Orton and Sheamus budded heads to settle who’d be exacting revenge on Big Show (rather than wisely considering the disadvantage and double teaming him instead…). And Ryback double crossed Cena in a move we assumed would be instrumental in furthering his career. Adversely, it proved detrimental.
It’s amusing to me when internet marks complain about what crowds are chanting. Who cares if the MSG faithful are cheering on the commentators or harassing a specific wrestler? Folks can harp all they want about integrity and self-conduct… I’ll take a raucous group of misfits over a mute audience any day. I think we can both agree that a dead crowd is more of a buzzkill than a third wheel who overstays their welcome. That rowdy bunch in Jersey added a whole ‘nother dynamic to the show. I wish my girlfriend made that much noise when we bump uglies.
Rhodes Scholars were a fucking riot. And after several unsuccessful attempts at capturing Tag Team gold, it appeared Damien & Cody were finally on the verge of hitting pay dirt at the 2013 Royal Rumble. That of course never happened. Management instead opted to book Kane & Daniel Bryan strong thru ‘Mania (even though Team Hell No’s best days were behind them).
I never quite figured out why Sandow and Rhodes repeatedly talked about concentrating on their respective careers when the company kept them together for several months thereafter. Did Creative run into a brick wall? Maybe the duo knew deep down they’d be better off butt naked in prison than chancing it as solo wrestlers? Or is someone at fault for miscommunication between the talent and front office? Regardless, Damien and Cody turned their breakup into an enjoyable feud; one the majority of us wish had lasted longer. Did they rush the MITB briefcase onto Sandow? Absolutely. I’m still a firm believer that he could’ve made the leap without falling into obscurity. Damien strikes me as one of those guys who could skip midcard titles, squeeze himself into the main event picture and remain there. Then again, perhaps I’m as delusional as Tito (doubtful).
Until WWE stops treating Sandow like a dingleberry precariously perched above the anus, I vehemently disagree with crowning him Mr. Money in the Bank back in July. That briefcase was fucking poison while in Damien’s possession. Company officials verified it when they sacrificed Sandow’s supposed World Title victory for Cena’s latest act of heroism. If the writers can’t produce any suitable storyline material for Damien, they could at least give him lengthier promos. I’d take Sandow on commentary over Barrett’s bad news in a heartbeat.
Pay Per View Assessment
WWE had an
ass uncharacteristic year in the PPV department. Whereas the quality often peaks around WrestleMania and never regains its momentum from those initial three months, 2013 witnessed a different trend. The product disappointed right out of the gate, hit a hot streak during the middle months and then stumbled across the finish line; knocking down sponsor booths and innocent onlookers in the process. I’ve listed my top three candidates below but for a more in-depth review, you should check my boy Maverick’s CF column - REQUESTING FLYBY #53: Ranking 2013’s PPVs. He does the subject a far better justice than I could (or have the patience to).
#3. Payback – Interestingly enough, all three of the shows I chose produced kickoff matches that belonged on the main card. And it began with this PPV. Flip-flop Sheamus/Sandow with Ambrose/Kane and there honestly isn’t one eye sore anywhere. While I would’ve rather seen Axel, Barrett and Miz tossed in a gas chamber filled with raw chickens, they managed to pull off a solid opener with Hennig scoring the emotional victory on Father’s Day. Sadly, no one’s cheered Curtis since.
AJ and that pug of a woman Kaitlyn put forth a performance unparallel to anything we’ve witnessed within the Divas Division since 2006. Ziggler/ADR featured not only a great story but an exceptionally rare double turn. D-Bry and The Shield gave the crowd their money’s worth as usual (Orton was there too). As for the Cena/Ryback headliner, the meatheads did a commendable job given the tameness of their Three Stages of Hell stipulation. Considering how undervalued they are by Chicagoans historically, the fact that Sheffield and The Champ weren’t booed out of the building is impressive. Not nearly as impressive as Ryberg’s tolerance for failure though.
#2. Money in the Bank – Before the Rhodes Bros. returned and set the division on fire, The Shield’s dark match against The Usos had my vote for best tag team contest of 2013. WWE shortchanged the shit out of their paying customers by leaving that barnburner off the broadcast. Sans the dual MITB ladder matches, this card featured a lineup pretty similar to Payback’s.
Miz/Axel presented us with one less reason to wake up tomorrow, AJ & Kaitlyn delivered a respectable encore and Ziggler/ADR had been as suspenseful as nutting in a jacuzzi before the dreaded DQ finish occurred. Aside from those minor reservations however, I found myself loving the pay per view. Mark Henry still moves around the ring like he’s got fuckin’ club feet but his retirement speech weeks prior had Philly in a frenzy. To hell with the dorks who campaigned for SkidMark to mug Cena and take the WWE Title. Orton jerking Van Dam off(…) the ladder and RKO’ing him in midair made my night. As did Sandow betraying his best friend; classic villain move.
#1. SummerSlam – It irks me that a card spearheaded by Cena/Bryan and Punk/Lesnar drew in under 300,000 buys. Yet a predictable Royal Rumble event that everybody knew would close with Rock & Cena emerging victorious somehow generated 498,000. Sheer blasphemy.
I misread a Main Page news report and thought WWE had shown the Brie/Natalya snoozer on SummerSlam Axxess instead. Tragically, they didn’t and showcased it on the PPV over a very game RVD challenging Dean Ambrose for the United States Championship. Proof that logic isn’t always a top priority in wrestling. Bray and Kane were limited offensively because of the flames surrounding them but Cody and Sandow worked feverishly to livening up the Staples Center (even though some twat waffle backstage gave the bro war less than seven minutes).
On any other show, ADR/Christian would’ve been a frontrunner for MOTN honors. After a penis blister of a cat fight though, Punk and Brock obliterated expectations. Throw in a serviceable mixed tag team bout that necessitates a watch because of AJ’s caboose, a main event which bore witness to Cena losing cleanly (the heavens opening up, Zeus raining down lightning bolts, etc, etc.) and you’re staring at a People’s Top Choice Award. The Orton/H screwjob that ensues afterwards is simply icing on the cake. Do us both a favor and BUY THIS DVD. It’s a certified penis enlarger (hence why I snagged 2013’s Best PPV Matches the second Best Buy placed it on their shelves).
Quite the mixed bag for Y2J following a strong 2012 run. Jericho’s performance in the Rumble last January set the stage for an exceptional string of matches. With little emphasis on character work this go-around, the Fozzy frontman made a conscious effort to outperform the rest of the locker room. Maybe he felt compelled to justify the amount of zeros on his paychecks… Or maybe he was over-compensating for the stray meteoroid that caved in his pec crease (Kofi met the same fate).
I slowly started tuning Y2J out while he mentored Fandango. Concentrating on just work rate alone made Jericho no different to me than any other inspired veteran midcarder (*cough* Vito *cough). It pains me to see Old Father Time catching up with the first-ever Undisputed Champion. Fans in denial needn’t look any further than his plodding match with RVD on the July 15th episode of RAW. If Jericho can’t commit to a brief WM30 run, I’ll hardly be devastated. Get a respectable fuckin' tattoo first and foremost.
Assist From Legends
Even though Hall of Famers Bret Hart and Mick Foley popped up on television sporadically throughout 2013, their appearances didn’t amount to jack shit. However there were two legends who returned to WWE this past year and really made an impact: Dusty Rhodes and Shawn Michaels. Both displayed their resourcefulness while caught in The Authority’s crossfire; The American Dream opposing them and HBK presumably aiding them.
We’d been waiting anxiously for management to appease us and fuckin’ do something with Cody already. Expanding his kayfabe firing into a high stakes family affair including Dusty & Goldust did just that. It nearly aroused our imaginations into a full-on brain 'gasm. And at the center of the drama stood Papa Rhodes going to bat for his son(s) against Hunter & Stephanie. Despite most smarks knowing that Dusty works regularly for WWE behind the scenes, I thought he did a tremendous job of bringing realism to the angle and portraying the protective father figure. He’s really the one responsible for Cody & Goldust’s solidarity and progress since winning their jobs back at Battleground.
Meanwhile, many cited HBK’s superkick on Bryan as a vehicle for upper management to jip D-Bry of what he rightfully deserved – the WWE Championship. Nonetheless, Michaels stamped his mark on the Orton/Danielson feud and added a necessary layer to a rivalry that clearly lacked something. Shawn "accidentally" costing Goatface the title at HIAC made even the most unshakable minds entertain a future HBK/Bryan showdown. We may be far removed from that scenario now but is it delusional to still pine over the possibility of Michaels & Trips facing D-Bry & Punk at WM30? Oh fuck off. 60% of you are expecting Bryan to curtain jerk on April 6th anyway.
Losing Styles was a crucial blow. For the company’s sake, I’d been rooting for them to reach a deal with AJ soon. Unfortunately, negotiations broke down when Dixie realized her pockets weren’t as deep as her vagina. Styles leaving at a time when he’s the popular subject is typical TNA. They should happily be upping the dude’s salary… not expecting him to stay and take a paycut.
Of all the guys on TNA’s roster, AJ should be the last person they’re trying to nickel and dime. It’s unbelievably textbook of Dicksy Carter to let the company’s loyalist employee walk away over a money dispute. Fits that bitch and her minions to a fucking T. Jarrett, Hardy and Sting all leaving in such a short span indicates to me a loss of faith in the company.
I recall watching a Bully Ray interview where he confidently claimed that TNA had the most talented crop of wrestlers in the world. While he may in fact believe that in his heart of hearts, it’s obvious that said circle has depleted throughout the second half of 2013. The sample size, which was small to begin with, shrunk and not in the most flattering sense either (this coming from someone who knows a thing or two about impotence). I do however applaud Bully Ray for sticking by the company during its latest hardship. He’s wise to remain in TNA as I highly doubt he’d be booked anywhere near as admirably in WWE. See Christian. Bully’s the only reason I bother keeping tabs on the week-to-week going-on’s in Orlando. Am I saving myself the trouble? Or being shortsighted when there's plenty to feast my eyes upon (besides Gail Kim)?
Khali’s Chin & Its Effect on Bird Migration
According to some stuff I plagiarized, the primary physiological cue for migration are the changes in the day length. Many birds have even been shown to use a sun compass. Thanks to the encroachment of Khali’s chin in Northern America since 2006 however, birds have drastically altered their north to south flyway pattern. Not only has Khali’s chin had a negative effect on breeding and wintering grounds but it’s led to a spike in the world’s bird suicide rate (bludgeoning themselves to death on its stone walls).
The cumulative toll it’s taken on the Western Hemisphere’s seasonal climate is equally distressing. Black-tailed Runjins are nearing extinction because of Khali’s concrete protrusion and it’s only a matter of time before the Dot-headed Fowl joins that list. Detours avoiding the barrier have been observed; shorebirds traveling as far off route as the Baltic Sea and eastern Scandinavia to escape the mere sight of Khali’s chin. Suffice to say, bird migration is completely and utterly fucked.
Today marks Lee’s 200th day as Divas Champion. She’s less than three weeks away from laying claim to the longest reign in the title’s brief history. Impressive length (something every white man dreams of hearing)… I only wish WWE hadn’t spun her in circles since dethroning Kaitlyn. It’s always a kick in the jumblies when a championship reign begins so promisingly and then veers off a cliff because of the writing staff’s negligence. I realize we’re talking about the Women’s Division here but AJ’s a different breed of woman. While she's a far cry from Trish Stratus or Beth Phoenix, there’s untapped potential slowly going to waste.
And yet management booked her to pussyfoot around with the Total Divas cast for the past four fucking months. The company’s exhausted the shit out of Lee’s beef wellington with the Bellas so, with a bit of luck and forward thinking, the Geek Goddess will soon be handed something we can watch without cringing. AJ’s cute little ass is a wondrous treasure that I flub my chub to without fail. I need more though in the New Year. Hell I demand more. Her 2013 left me with an agonizing case of blue balls (you too, huh?).
Listen you and I both know we only tune in for one reason.
………Alright maybe two.
What? You should’ve realized that watching Nikki drink herself into a wine-induced coma wasn’t nearly perverse enough.
Tag Team Tumbler
None of us could have predicted twelve months ago that WWE’s tag team division would become arguably their strongest asset by year’s end. In an era where RAW & SmackDown are bogged down by the company’s whore-able usage of social media (among other things), at least we can rely on their attractive tag team scene to fulfill our needs. I’m honest to God one more Miz/Kofi match away from boom booming an innocent streetwalker in the face. DO YOU WANT MY INCARCERATION WEIGHING ON YOUR CONSCIENCE, VINCE!?!?
[The Shield] - Rollins & Reigns compliment the hell out of each other. Their tenacity and packwolf approach explains why management awarded them with the longest reign of 2013 (just beating out Daniel Bryan & Kane’s mark of 139 days). Ironically, the pretend SWAT team won and lost their titles in the same St. Louis arena. And it’s quite conceivable that, if not for a red hot Rhodes/Authority angle, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns would still be the reigning champs today. Honestly, watching The Shield come undone at the seams has me borderline depressed. I only feel happy or somewhat myself when Samoa Ro starts spearing everything in sight.
[Real Americans] - Cesaro and Colter alone would be dynamite. It just so happens that Swagger finds himself in a unique situation where he’s actually useful for once. Jack is the Marty Jannetty of the group; there’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. The only question is how long before WWE cashes in on Castagnoli’s popularity and starts siphoning more mileage out of his skill set. Antonio is the winning ingredient; not even Zeb can pull off a promo that equates to what Claudio does in the ring. If Swagger hasn’t smoked himself stupid yet, he should plan for the future and offer his tag team partner handjobs on a routine basis. Assuming Jacky Boy does a satisfactory job, the Real Americans could still be going strong a year from now.
[The Usos] - Upon close examination, you can tell the twins apart. I shit you not. The fronts of Jimmy’s thighs have indents from rigorous doggy styled sex with his play thing. In all seriousness though, I grew major respect for The Usos in ’13. WWE tucked the jobber tandem away on B/C/D shows and we wrote them off accordingly. With the resurgence of the tag team division however, Creative gave Jimmy & Jey a fresh start and they’ve certainly capitalized on the opportunity. The Wild(ly Colored) Samoans were reportedly in line to capture the straps in July and then again in November but it never materialized. That hasn’t affected The Usos’ renewed sense of swag though. What good sports. I’d offer them both some hot cocoa with marshmallows buy Jimmy already has one waiting at home.
[The Brotherhood] - Goldust is so goddamn insistent on passing the praise along to his younger brother that it sorta pisses you off. We appreciate the modesty dude but take some responsibility for elevating Cody when the kid needed a handout. He owes you more than just a mustache. The Rhodes Brothers have taken what The Shield brought to tag team wrestling earlier in the year and expanded the playbook. And now that the Hounds of Justice are disagreeing over who’s the alpha, Coldust’s cemented themselves as top dogs in the division. Let’s just hope that once this Brotherhood storyline's run its course, Dustin & Cody celebrate afterwards with a line of coke so we can enjoy this all over again 3-5 years from now.
[Luke Harper & Erick Rowan] - Four days ago on RAW, Harper unloaded the entire arsenal during his match with Bryan and he made me a legitimate fan in the process. Rowan’s no slouch either but holy shit. Until Wyatt competes in a high profile match and doesn’t blow donkey dick, I’ll continue favoring Brodie Lee over his inferior stablemates. The benefits to having a monster heel team around are already paying huge dividends for the company. Harper & Rowan are an awesome 1-2 punch. I love watching them rattle opponents with their relentless, oddball offense (the sweat spots on Luke’s tank top are a nice touch too). Could it be The Family who dislodges the Tag Titles from Cody & Goldie’s waists? I’d peg them as the frontrunners.
[Prime Time Players] - If Vince is as business savvy as he lets on, the boss would break up PTP no later than spring. Darren Young’s limitations are as obvious as his sexual orientation (pre-announcement). Black Cena may lack the necessary tools to improve his career outside of the tag team division but the same can’t be said for Titus. Dude possesses star quality and anybody who brings up the age factor needn’t forget Batista was fucking 36 when WWE crowned him World Champion for the first time. So give PTP the prison treatment and let O’Neil get pissed off at how Young’s not resisting it.
[Los Matadores] - So. Much. Pink. Isn’t breast cancer awareness month over? Hmmm. Digging the acrobatics. I’ll only commit to their fan club under one condition though: Reigns spears Torito and he spirals through the air like a Nerf football. Airborne midgets are a barrel of laughs.
[3MB] - Ricardo Rodriquez is wishing he still had Del Rio’s nipple to suck on. Or he’s counting down the days on his digital calendar until Van Dam returns. Supposedly, he’s the best fill-in WWE could find while Heath Slater deals with his personal issues. Fuckin’ gingers… I’ve yet to meet a sane one.
[R-Truth & Xavier Woods] - K-Kwik’s little buddy is a character; he possesses Black Dynamite’s machismo and Kevin Hart’s body frame. Strange mix, no? Anyways, I envision him and Truth being the perfect replacements for Tons of Funk in ‘14. WWE’s newest Brodus Clay experiment already appears to be heading in the wrong direction. How hard is it to book a monster villain?
[Biggie Smalls] - Speaking of guys management can’t book week-to-week without insulting everyone’s intelligence, please allow Big Show & Mysterio to form an unbreakable bond; one which keeps them tagging together until retirement lands on their doorstep. And when that glorious day arrives, send Wight & Rey on a romantic getaway to a remote island where all the natives are starved cannibals.
[Rybaxel] - To remain employed thru next Christmas should’ve been Ryberg & Axel’s 2014 resolution. There’s a reason they’re both EX Heyman guys (and don’t you dare blame it on Paul’s mini layoff). Watching these two strut their stuff – primarily on SmackDown – reminds me of visiting a rundown water park and laying eyes on this…
"X" Smarks The Spot
No new questions this week I’m afraid. Just wanted to let recent winner DBPantera say his peace at the podium before this section goes into hibernation for awhile.
"While I could very easily go on a diatribe regarding the inadequacies and failures of WWE’s current direction that many around these parts have eloquently done previously, I wanted to chime in and give my two cents on something I am looking forward to in 2014.
I have always been a fan of tag wrestling, something that according to the rumors will see more prominence in the New Year. From living in the stomping grounds of The Road Warriors, and rocking Zubaz as a youngster, I have always enjoyed these matches.
With WWE’s massive roster size and no signs of layoffs anytime soon, tag wrestling doubles the amount of guys involved. It allows the vets or injured wrestlers an easier work load. It helps hide the inexperience of the younger guys while simultaneously getting them on screen for fans to begin to know. The best part is it decreases the odds of sitting through Miz/Kofi, Orton/Kofi, Del Rio/Sin Cara; time I could be using to devise a sure fire plan to getting to know Summer Rae in the biblical way.
The Fatal Four Way match at TLC a few weeks ago highlights that it is still possible for many wrestlers to showcase their best and produce an excellent match. The Money in the Bank pre-show match featuring The Shield vs. The Usos was another match I remember being filled with great action, some high risk spots, and a finale that I cannot recall seeing previously on WWE programming.
Many long time WWE fans are disappointed with what they see on a regular basis. What drew them in years ago is simply not feasible today from a safety standpoint to the wrestlers as well as the profitability standpoint of a publicly traded company. However, I believe tag wrestling offers these fans the experience they long for. Plus, who wouldn’t like to see Damian Sandow potentially form an unlikely alliance with JTG? Team IQ and Ignorance, aka Team Hell No v 2.0?"
TMR_ Satisfaction Notwithstanding
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