The Wrestling 9 Deuce August 1 & 2, 2016
Welcome to our week in wrestling review. It’s a new weekly feature that I don’t have a name for quite yet. Yeah, it needs working on. Any suggestions? The idea is to have 9 questions, and 2 bonus questions or conversation starters. I am joined by Keri and Russ. This new format is getting a bit of buzz, I’ve never had so much feedback before in my life about a wrestling feature. OK, it was only 3 people, but I have no friends, so it’s a nice start. We will tackle RAW with the first 5 questions, then Smackdown with 4 more, and finally wrap it up with the Deuce.
On a side note, I would love to have a banner for this. I am not artistically inclined in the least bit. If anybody would be willing to help me, please contact me by leaving a comment or messaging me on Facebook.
- What did you think about that opening segment with Sasha, Charlotte, Jericho, and Enzo?
Russ: I really enjoyed the opening segment. I really loved Charlotte and Jericho put together! What a Heel team they would make the two of them together were so annoying it was glorious! Enzo was amazing like always, though I thought he came off a little creepy with that whole how ya doin bit with Sasha. Jericho and Enzo in a feud with Mics would be off the charts. The match itself was pretty standard I like how they are setting up Enzo Cass / Jericho Owens for summer slam. That could be an amazing show stealer.
Keri: I felt it was very strange yet very funny and I had no clue where they were going with it at first. Three things stood out for me during this segment though. First, Charlotte is terrible on the mic and needs a lot of work. Second, like Kent said, Sasha is not a face and should not be written as one. Since they don’t want her completely heel right now, have her be a tweener instead. It was painful to watch her at times. Third, can I please have a Jericho and Enzo promo off each week until Summerslam? Please? Please? Ok I’ll stop begging now. They saved that segment and the insults were fantastic. The match itself was ok. Hated the ending. Dana Brooke, please go back to NXT. You need major work for me to think you are even remotely important to the division. Perhaps, a few more matches with Asuka will slap some good wrestling sense into you.
Kent: It was weird, but I liked it. I like changing it up. It felt like they wanted to treat everybody like real life people. Like Enzo can function without Cass. On the other hand, the “How You Doin” thing bombed between Enzo and Sasha. I know she is the cool trendy girl, but that don’t mean that she can pull some of these things off. It didn’t work for me. I don’t like her as a face, and I think a segment like this exposed her weakness as a face. I know that she’s over, but give her more of an edge. Why WWE doesn’t understand how you can have the crowd behind somebody, but they don’t need to be a happy, smiley mofo, or Apollo Crew. Jericho owned this segment, and this was a good reminder that Enzo is great, he’s fresh, but he’s about 20 years behind Jericho. The match was contrived. Jericho and Charlotte did great though.
- Right now, who has the better story line going on, and will come out a bigger star because of it: Rusev, Cesaro, or Darren Young?
Russ: I know I’m being naïve cause the WWE sucks, but I think Cesaro has the best story line going. That doesn’t say much about the others. Now, Cesaro should be a Main Eventer already, but I do like how they are using his slightly off the cuff remarks on WWE Network about wanting to be on Smackdown to give him a push. Vince loves him some controversy and I think Cesaro may have finally rub the boss the right way. Time will tell of course and like so many times before WWE will crush my hopes for the Swiss Superman. Let me tackle the other two. Darren Young’s gimmick feels like it is already falling flat, which isn’t a mark against Darren, but how he is being portrayed when he “wins”, getting lucky. He just isn’t clicking for me. As for Rusev, I want him to be a big star, but they waste him on stupid squash matches. I get how you have to make him look super strong, but you don’t only have to feed him scrubs. Granted this week he went up against Mark Henry and this match was sub par. His formula is stale and when he drops the belt he will get lost in the shuffle like he did last time.
Keri: Honestly, I feel that Cesaro (damn it creative!) and Darren Young are going nowhere right now. Rusev, is the only one right now out of the three that has any potential of doing anything remotely interesting at Summerslam. But did we have to continue the push no one wants? Why did it have to be Roman? I said it before and I’ll say it again. We need a break from him or just turn him heel and be done with it. With that being said though, out of all the superstars on the RAW roster, Reigns really is the only one that is a legitimate threat to Rusev’s title reign. Ok, perhaps Owens could also fit into this role but it doesn’t seem that creative wants to move him in that direction. In fact, other than the commentary role last night, I don’t think creative knows what to do with Owens now that the whole Zayn feud is “over.”
Kent: I want to say Cesaro. I want to believe that WWE truly believes in him and are slowly building him up. I have zero faith in this unfortunately. Darren Young in theory is going to get a good push, it’s going to happen. People are thinking that it’s just going to go away, but it’s not. Rusev though, he’s my pick. Vince seems to be done jobbing him out for now. Roman is putting people over. This was a sad, and contrived (there’s that word again) way to get Roman a pop. Given the situation, do fans dare applaud a foreigner over an all American Samoan? If Rusev gets put over in a big way, this could be that push that we have been waiting for. I should note that Russ didn’t get a fair opportunity to retort to this, so this will be a question next week, but how the hell do you put Rusev over if you don’t use jobbers? It’s a little more difficult than it was pre-draft. The premise is, you have a lot smaller roster now, so less mid card guys to feud with, so options are limited. More on this next week.
- Is it a foregone conclusion that Anderson and Gallows are going to beat New Day for the titles at this point?
Russ: I totally think this is a forgone conclusion. New Day has had the longest title reign ever and it will end at 1 year, a nice round number. I think it makes sense to drop the belts to A & G. They are a fantastic tag team, great heels, can handle themselves on the mic, and can just dominate the competition. Plus, they will be great foils for Enzo and Cass when they finally take the belts off them probably at Rumble or even Mania. New Day needs to get on their singles careers. Big E needs to be the Main Eventer he is destined to be.
Keri: I think that is the way that creative is leaning. Out of all the teams right now on RAW, they pose the biggest threat to the New Day’s title reign. Especially, since creative feels Enzo and Cass for some strange reason are not ready. But after that, what are they going to do bring up another team from NXT if so then who? The only one that I can think of that could possibly hang with Anderson and Gallows are the current NXT tag team champs, the Revival and I don’t see them getting a call up until at least Mania. So basically, here is how I think it’s going to play out, Anderson and Gallows take the belt at Summerslam. Then the New Day and Enzo and Cass chase them for the belts until Mania. In short, tag team wrestling on RAW post-Summerslam equals boring.
Kent: I will reference the biggest travesty in wrestling history, the ending of the streak. Brock dominated that shitty build up. I think this is the route that they take here. I think Enzo and Cass may not get the belts until Mania, BUT after New Day, who else is going to challenge the Club? WWE, you need to bring in about 6-8 more low level tag teams. The Dudleys or Golden Truth aren’t going to sell PPV’s. This is how Paul London and Brian Kendrick had that long ass title reign back in the day. There weren’t any great options. They need to get some indie teams or else the tag division will flounder.
- Seth Rollins and Sami Zayn had a match. Basically this is the segment for the people that only want to see 3 hours of men rolling around on a mat grappling each other. What are your thoughts on the match? Was it anything special?
Russ: The match was good, definitely the match of the evening, though the wrestling was really subpar tonight so that doesn’t say much. I enjoyed these two in the ring together. They have good chemistry and tell a good story in the ring. I wouldn’t mind seeing a program out of these two later on. I liked the near falls and I was a little shocked that Rollins won clean. I wonder if they are keeping him heel lite, for a face turn? That would be interesting, have him beat Finn for the championship and roll reverse them. I’d love to see Finn as a heel! Rollins would be a great feud to do it with. I digress from the match. It wasn’t anything special, but an above average match.
Keri: I watched the highlights of this match the following morning since I fell asleep before the match started (I know I know lame) Ok creative, why have I not seen this match up before? These guys work really well together. It was fun to watch and the spots were great. I don’t see how it delivered on Seth’s promise that he would make an example of Zayn to Finn earlier in the night but it still was a damn good match. Overall, I think creative wanted to make sure there was one good match on the card and this was that match.
Kent: This was the match of the night, but is that really saying anything? The matches were shit tonight. This was a fine, above average match. Simultaneously, this is your #1 pick vs. #11, which technically was RAW’s first and seventh pick. This should have been a bigger deal, but they fucked up with where they drafted Sami. This is a fact. I have to admit, I didn’t care about this match, but it was for reasons beyond my control, and wasn’t to do with the quality of the match. Still, remember how when RVD was ECW TV champion you could watch the match and know it would be very good but after a while, the matches all started blending together, or like Bret Hart in the mid 90’s? Same thing here for me.
- The final segment of RAW ended with Lesnar eating an RKO outta nowhere. On Smackdown, despite the best security that money can buy, Brock was able to infiltrate Smackdown and F-5 Orton. Of course, Heath Slater was also able to bypass security. Are the rules of the brand extension already out the window, or is this a one-time thing due to the nature of the novelty of Brock or will WWE continue to find excuses to get other people on rival shows?
Russ: Ok so my first thought when I saw this was, ok its only been two weeks and they have already crossed brands… so much for keeping them separate. However, my second thought was holy crap that was actually awesome! This had to happen. No physicality between the two throughout the feud would have made this a meaningless match at Summer Slam. The RKO outta nowhere on Raw made this much more entertaining. Now I can’t wait to see what Brock is going to do to Randy when he can’t sneak up on him! Brock also sold the RKO staying down for a bit, that’s good it makes it believable that maybe Randy does have a chance at Summer Slam if he can just hit an RKO. Good stuff. Now I’m hoping this a one-off for this match only. If they keep finding excuses to cross over, then just stop with the asinine concept of brand extension.
Keri: I think the lines are being blurred to sell viewers on the Brock-Orton Summerslam match. It’s the only match on the card that is across brands so they have to have each guy show up on the other’s show or there is no build for Summerslam. Also, I have to say interesting choice by creative for Brock to take the first hit. It’s almost like they are trying to build Orton up as a threat to Brock. We all know that Brock is winning this match-up at Summerslam is inevitable.
Kent: There was at least a 65% chance that this would happen on RAW, but still, after all of the talk about competition, Randy just helped pop the ratings for RAW. More importantly, now Brock knows how it feels and now I will go with the other thing that I know well, horror movies. What’s scarier: the thing that you know is coming, or the unknown terror? The unknown obviously. Same thing applies. Randy is better off not unleashing it until Summerslam for that psychological advantage.
- Right now, what’s the weaker division on Smackdown: The Women’s or Tag Team?
Russ:Definitely the Women’s Division. The tag division is pretty awful, but you have some awesome teams that can shine given the right tools. I love the Vaudevillians I think they have the potential, American Alpha (AA) looked good in their debut, and knowing what I saw in NXT I can’t wait for them to show more. As for the women…. I just don’t see these women getting stronger. Becky is good, but she has nothing to work with! I really feel bad for her they are using her to elevate the rest of the girls, but the rest of the girls are awful. The whole thing with Eva Marie last night…. What the hell was that all about other than wasting my time. I mean it was so stupid I almost thought she must have had a real injury, but if that was the way she did things then she should have been fired immediately! Natty is OK, I have no complaints about her, but she isn’t a true star. She is more of a middle of the road who can help elevate others.
Keri: The women’s division hands down. There was not one women’s match last night. There was just a whole lot of nothing. I feel so bad for Becky. Why is a person with all her talent stuck with these women? Eva Marie is a joke. Plain and simple. That “injury” angle was awful. We know you can’t wrestle Miss All Red Everything so at least show that you can’t on national TV so we can boo you out of the building. Also, what was that thing with Carmella and Natalya? It made no sense. And quite frankly both ladies deserved better than two minutes on TV. And where was Alexa Bliss in all this? With that being said though, it isn’t the talent that’s weak. It’s extremely crappy writing. The same crappy writing that turned the women’s division into a bathroom break in the first place. Oh and one more thing, Becky demand a trade and do it NOW!!!! You deserve so much better than this.
Kent: American Alpha are the real deal. Enzo and Cass are CM Punk while AA is more Daniel Bryan. These guys are legit and when they eventually split, both guys are potential main eventers. With the women, we got to hear this great line: “I never saw Bret Hart jump someone from behind.” Ladies and gentlemen, David Otunga. Really dude? Did you not pay attention to Bret vs Stone Cold? Anyway, the women’s division is such trash. They need Emma, Nikki, Asuka, and Bayley to get back to respectability. Natalya is not that good and Becky has nothing to work with. That Eva thing was fucking terrible. Honestly, I’d rather have American Alpha and Konnor from The Ascension over the whole Smackdown Women’s division. Konnor is awesome! Also, if WWE had an ounce of intelligence, which is questionable, they would sign the Steiners to get AA over. Scott Steiner on the mic is one of the most underrated performers of my lifetime. I am in no way kidding. He was great.
- AJ Styles and John Cena talked a lot to one another. Both made good points, at least valid ones. Just considering the promo aspect, who did a better job on Smackdown with their promo?
Russ: I was only half paying attention to the promo so I don’t remember much (that’s what happens when the wrestling is light and the promos are heavy.) However, I did have a few things to take away from this promo. First I loved the fire from John Cena about his love for the company. He really shines when he is speaking from the heart and isn’t trying to pander to the audience. As a wrestling fan John Cena annoys me to no end as I’m sure he does a lot of smarks, but as a person! John Cena is a great person, with all his work with make a wish and how he truly comes off as a nice guy. Which is why I will always tolerate him in wrestling. That being said, AJ styles had some great counter points to Cena and sounded convincing. If I had to say who did a better job I’m going to give Cena the edge this time around. He was just fired up and a fired up Cena is hard to beat promo-wise.
Keri: I think both were more or less equal in this segment. AJ made valid points and played his role extremely well. Cena, well it was pretty much the same old same old stuff we always hear from him but it matched what AJ was saying perfectly. In short, it was a decent set up to what will probably be the final match between these two at Summerslam. Hopefully, if Cena allows it, with AJ winning the final match up.
Kent: First of all, why aren’t there “Beat Up John Cena shirts? I have never understood why WWE doesn’t make shirts that would sell like crazy, even if it’s just for a couple of months. They are shirts, they are incredibly profitable. AJ did say “stupid idiot”, so that’s a perk. I loved his participation trophy talk. Also, AJ interjecting with the Cena Sucks was perfect. I thought AJ had this promo won. Then Cena started the love bit, and said “grown ass man” and you could see him deliver something that resonates with him for once. That’s when Cena is at his best on the mic. The slow clap by AJ was awesome though. The end of AJ’s promo went a little shitty for me. The liar and loser bit. AJ needed one thing to win this promo, and that was to highlight how he’s a wrestler, who knows moves and has some amazing athleticism. For all the strength and heart that Cena has, AJ has the knowledge, the speed, the prowess, and the heart, and that he’s every damn bit as good as John. We didn’t get that, so I side with Cena this week. If Cena puts one person over this year, I hope it is AJ. If Cena puts over one person next year, I hope it’s Cesaro or Samoa Joe.
- Apollo Creed…I mean Crews, is the new #1 contender to the Intercontinental championship held by The Miz, and his lovely wife Maryse. Is it too soon for Apollo to win the gold, meaning at Summerslam?
Russ: It is too soon. Apollo has some great moves and is a good baby face, but he is boring. They need to develop his character before dropping gold on him. He could benefit a lot from feuding with The Miz. The Miz can make Crews a sympathetic face and give him a way to showcase his move set. When they are done feuding in a couple months (say Survivors Series) He should then take the gold. He will be established, he will be over in a big way (thanks to The Miz) and he will have deserved it by then after all the cheap ways The Miz will get his wins before then.
Keri: I was shocked at the outcome of this match. I really thought Corbin was going to take it. With that being said , the Miz isn’t really doing anything with the IC belt right now other than hold it and have his wife win his matches for him and Crews needs the fans support to move forward on the main roster. So, I say have Miz put over Crews and have Crews win the belt if not at Summerslam then down the line so the fans care again. Fans right now do not care about the IC championship which a travesty is given the people who have held it in the past. We need to make the IC championship belt great again!
Kent: Yes, this shouldn’t happen at Summerslam, although is this was the late 80 or early 90’s, I’d bet Russ’ left testicle on him walking away as the new IC champion. Apollo needs to get over and he needs a personality. They paired him with one of 2 people who can bring that out of people, The Miz (Jericho is the other). If Apollo is not one of the top 6 face on the roster by the time that this feud is over, then he needs to go back to NXT, plain and simple. The Miz is a master at making people. Thankfully we aren’t saddled with Kalisto vs. Miz. Why is Kalisto on Smackdown instead of RAW, where the Cruiserweight division is? Fuck, that was dumb.
- What did you enjoy more: the Dean and Dolph promo, or the Bray and Dolph match?
Russ: The Promo: I loved Deans D-bag persona coming out. He was almost heelish, except the audience loves him. He has that factor where he would just make a wicked awesome Heel given the chance to actually do that. However, what I really loved was listening to Dolph. This was hands down one of his best promos he has ever given. He was fired up and I think had some real emotion mixed in. I hope he turns heel during or at the end of this feud, because his shtick now is getting old. I would love to see a reinvigorated Dolph have a match of the year contender at Sumer Slam and Dean is the perfect opponent. I highly doubt Dolph gets the Gold, but I think that would be the right move. As for the match, it was good, but just didn’t have that awesome feel, maybe it was the crowd, or me only half paying attention, the world may never know.
Keri: I’m going to go with the promo. Dolph was fantastic in this promo to the point where I almost thought it was a shoot. Some of the stuff he said, I can imagine is the stuff he thinks week after week after week but can’t say under normal circumstances. The guy is a workhorse and has gotten the short end of the stick more times than I can count. It’s about time he is taken seriously (well at least I hope so). Dean was also good in this promo but I really think he was just keeping up with Dolph. Also, I see a potential heel turn for Ambrose when this thing is all said and done. His actions through the whole episode telegraphed that.
Kent: The promo, and this is easier upon re-watching it. Bray hurt his ankle I believe early on when Dolph went for the roll up, right before they went to commercial break. I felt that Bray moved well, but it affected the match quality. Truth be told, they would have need an amazing match to top that promo. Dolph is great when he gets those chances to be great, and Dean kinda came off like a condescending dick. I liked it. I liked how both handled their business. I don’t see any way that Dolph doesn’t turn heel from this feud. Best Dolph promo all year, and possibly in multiple years.
- Are squash matches the proper way to get people like Braun and Nia over?
Russ: I think squash matches are only good for a week of two, no matter who you are. I get it for a relative newcomer, you want to establish their toughness, but after that, I start wanting to see a little bit of competition. I want to see just how bad they ae against opponents who mean something. So they should start to feed them low card guys or developmental guys who can put up some offense which would make it slightly more believable that they may get the win. As for guys who are established, no! I don’t need to see Rusev vs. guys who have no chance or Braun who I know is a monster, go up against no-name guys. These are just stupid and pointless matches. What are they proving? That Braun is an unstoppable beast against scrubs? I would have know that without you showing that to me, WWE. As for Nia, she had a better showing this week than last week’s dud, but she needs to beat scrubs because she will seriously look terrible against the real wrestlers. (Editor’s Note: Russ don’t want no scrubs.)
Keri: In the case of Braun and Nia, I say creative is handling this perfectly. For Braun, the audience is getting an opportunity to see what he is capable of outside of being a member of the Wyatt family. He needs to be painted as a huge threat and a monster but right now the guy is still too green to be put in an actual storyline. Matches like this, at least for a few weeks, will give him experience and also solidify his image with crowd. I would also say the same for Nia. In order for her to be successful, she has to be established as a powerhouse and a direct threat to the Raw Women’s division and the championship belt. But at the same time, I feel that they may have brought her up too early so matches like this give her the opportunity for in ring and character work.
Kent: It works for unknown talent, and technically Nia is to an extent because NXT viewership isn’t nearly as high as RAW, obviously. AND, I have to give props to Nia. She strung together moves and came out aggressive, came out confident, she passed the 3 second rule that I have been bitching about. She really impressed me. Even when she wasn’t applying a move, she was grabbing her opponent, or dragging her, or keeping interested in the match. I loved that. Whoever booked that, I’ll guess Finlay, hats off to you. As for Braun, I am positive I am the biggest fan of Braun out of the 3 of us. Braun has taken out Reigns and Ambrose when he debuted. Those are 2 of the 3 most recent WWE World champs. Why the fuck does he need to be squashing jobbers? Unfortunately, he’s screwed. You can’t make him too dominant because it becomes too unrealistic when you have to bring him back down to Earth. Just make it a little smarter early on. Look at Rusev’s career curve. He was unstoppable until a shovel named Cena found the Bulgarian Brute. Then he jobbed for months on end. I want him to show more vulnerability right now, and still win. That would work for me way more, and a better finisher.
- Knowing what we know now, where does Baron Corbin and Bray Wyatt fit in to Summerslam? Get used to these bonus questions being used as a way to get Baron Corbin involved in the conversation. He’s the future!
Russ: Well if Baron Corbin is the future then he needs to have something big happen for Summer Slam and I think a match against Zack Ryder. I just looked at the Smackdown Roster and that is seriously all that is left of established guys. Ok so a match against Zack will not be the blockbuster match that Kent wants, but I can’t see them doing much else with him unless it’s in some stupid battle royal. However, all is not lost for him. I’d love for him be revealed as a Kevin Nash type body guard for a freshly turned Dolph, as he come out kicks the crap out of Dean and Dolph becomes the new WWE world champ. This would be a great way to elevate Baron and give him something to do until he inevitably takes the belt for himself of course. As for Bray, I have no clue. I would think maybe have him team up with Rowan against a good Tag Team like AA, or Uso’s. I really don’t see much going on for him until he gets a proper feud with someone like Dean.
Keri: I see two things happening, if creative is smart (and they are not). First, why even put Bray in the main even picture if you are not planning on using him? Provided he is not actually injured, I see Bray interfering each week until Summerslam and a triple threat happening at Summerslam (or afterwards). Now for Baron Corbin, I see a feud with Kalisto in his future (sorry Kent). After last night’s match, he blames Kalisto for his lost IC belt opportunity and that means that Kalisto has to pay dearly. Perhaps if this Miz-Crews thing falls flat (which it probably will) then we may get Corbin back in the title picture but as I see it not right now.
Kent: If Bray is healthy, I don’t know. I felt there was a legit chance that he would end up in the main event in a triple threat of sorts. I suppose Bray and Rowan could take on American Alpha and give them the rub, it’s either them or The Usos, and I’d prefer Bray and Rowan. As for Baron, he probably takes on Kalisto on the pre-show. Ultimately, hopefully he Kevin Nash’s that main event and helps out Heel Ziggler. I know that Baron is a lone wolf. Long term, get the IC belt on Baron. Maybe he beats Miz or Apollo for it, it doesn’t matter. Hell, for a few weeks, Dolph and Baron can have the tag titles before dropping them to American Alpha. That gets this duo over as 2 legit bad asses. They can be bad ass tweeners who can take on AJ, Bray and Rowan, Cena and Orton, all of that fun stuff. This is how you make stars. This won’t happen.
Final thought, I read that Lilian Garcia is done with WWE for now so she can be closer to home with her dad who is dealing with cancer. I like Lilian. She always seems like a really nice and classy lady. I can even say that back in the MySpace days, she wrote back to people, as I had a small conversation with her. I hope that things go as well as they can with her father, and when the time is more appropriate, I am guessing that we will see Lilian back on our TV screens. She really does do a helluva job doing the Star Spangled Banner.
Next week, I would like to talk about the booking problem because Russ has brought up serious pitfalls in his own way, and I don’t know if there is a consensus decision on how to book this. We seem to hate 50/50 booking, squash matches, and our favorite guys getting jobbed out and want them to get pushed, but multiple of our favorite guys. And this is why internet wrestling fans are the worst because we cannot be appeased.
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