The Walking Dead 9 Deuce: S:7 Ep:10 – The Up Up Up Edition

Welcome back to the only Walking Dead blog that adds a 9 Deuce gimmick.  I am your host, Kent, and this week I am joined by Bob and Briana.  So far, I am digging this half season of the show, and fully expect this coming week to be solid.  But before we can get to that, let’s talk about the week that was. Any comments in bold are from me.

In case you aren’t familiar with this blog, I ask 9 questions that are episode specific and then 2 bonus ones that can be anything Walking Dead related.  If you like what we do, please check out the Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/9deuceblog/. You can also follow us on Twitter  @official9deuce and Instagram which is also Official9Deuce.  Finally, if you want to email me because all of those options weren’t charming enough, write me at Kent@9deuce.com. Sorry, I hate all of this promotion as much as anyone else.  Finally, this is a stain on my buddy Tom’s floor at work.  I felt that you needed to see this.

The 9

  1.   Was Richard’s idea about killing Saviors and leading them to Carol a good idea or bad idea, in the grand scheme of things?  As he said “What we have to do requires sacrifice one way or the other.”

Bob:  Bad idea.  A life isn’t worth it to bring a plan to fruition that already has a low likelihood of occurring.  Which reminds me of the car scene from the previous episode. (Bonus points for mocking last week’s nonsense!)

Briana:  Of course we don’t want it to be the right thing because it’s Carol. So my emotional side wants to say no it’s a terrible plan but the reality is yes it’s a good plan for what he’s wanting to accomplish. It would absolutely work the way he hopes and get Ezekiel on board with joining the resistance. (You’re right, it does accomplish some things.  I feel it’s one of those things that still wouldn’t have worked out well, no matter what.)

Kent:  In theory, yes.  The whole “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” applies here.  Every once in awhile, someone is so exceptional though, that they are just too important.  On top of that, Richard is showing that he is too much of a hothead and not good at being clever in his attack.  His heart is in the right place, but his execution is garbage.  Now if you told me that Carol and Daryl were going to be a 2 person wrecking crew, or Rick and Michonne, that would make more sense because they work well together.  Whoever dies from the Kingdom isn’t as important as Carol, aside from Ezekiel.  Remember, Carol rescued everybody from Terminus.

 

  1.  Out of the 3 animal statues that we saw at the Scavenger’s base, which did you prefer: the cat, the rooster, or the pig?

Bob:  The cat because it was the only one I remember!

Briana:  To be honest, I believe I missed the rooster and pig! Haha! I’m sure I saw it but can’t remember what they look like so I have to go with the cat. Additionally it was super fun that Rick grabbed it for Michonne! I hope I’m right about the reference bc I had to explain to the rest of the household about the restaurant she and Carl went to where she found that funky cat.  (It was during season 3, when Rick was still iffy about Michonne and they found crazy Morgan at the time.  So you are correct.)

Kent:  The pig was cool, but I guess I enjoyed the rooster.  Really, this is what I am resorting to for questions?

 

  1.  Why do the Scavengers talk so oddly?  In theory, they are normal people who have survived this long in the zombie apocalypse, but they don’t seem to be foreigners or millennials.

 

Bob:  Yeah they seem to have created their own culture based on their experiences and environment.  They are on the line of being a cult, order they are.  (It seems a tad odd that they have developed this in such a short time, but I concur with you.)

Briana:  My theory on that is that they just became so used to this lifestyle over the past few years that they eventually turned completely over to the “we don’t bother” thing, Including complete sentences! Haha!  (Hmmm, a society of lazy asses.  That’s something that I can totally get…)

Kent:  I know that the writers and or producers wish to give each group a unique enough identity, but the lack of full sentences was breaking my balls.  Then the “up up up”, which I know people want to make a Stranger Things reference, so I will go with the Contra code reference instead.  Janis almost talked normally, almost.  These names, like what the hell?  I feel that this was the epitome of style over substance.  On the plus side, Polly McIntosh is awesome, and I have seen her in many things, including Exam, Let Us Prey (with the dude who plays Davos in Game of Thrones), and The Woman, which is a neat film.  Glad to see her on board.

 

  1.   Was Winslow, the spiky walker, the toughest walker to kill, as of this episode?  If you say no, explain yourself.  Also, shouldn’t Rick be in constant pain given all the injuries that he has suffered over this relatively short period of time?

Bob:  No.  Every person’s 1st Walker is probably the hardest to kill.  There are two factors that play into this… first getting over the killing of another person albeit, they are dead it is still quite a hurdle.  Second, the actually physically hardest to kill, which is Winslow, due to “add-ons” that other Walkers do not get the benefit of having.  (I hadn’t considered that, but you are right.  Also, we are led to believe that as walkers age, they are more “frail” so the earlier ones should have been more difficult.)

Briana:  Yeah I definitely think it was one of the toughest walkers we’ve seen, maybe in the series! It really took a lot of thinking for them to come up with how to take him out. I was wondering why he didn’t consider just trying to get one of the posts out of it and use it. And I absolutely think Rick’s injuries are far fetched! In fact when he climbed out of the pit, I said “and two weeks later Rick died of infection” because come on! These guys haven’t dealt with any kind of problems from scrapes and cuts the way I believe they would if this were a reality.  (This nonsense with how easily and fast that people heal, namely Rick, is mind boggling.  I’m still trying to find out if scratches will, or ever did kill a person in this show.)

Kent:  On one hand, you want to say yes, because it looks intimidating and appears very dangerous.  Then you see it get taken out by pillows, and it doesn’t seem so scary.  I will offer the walker that Abe and Eugene find in episode 14 of season 6, the one covered in lead, I believe.    Also, the one in season 2, episode 11, the one who killed Dale was pretty bad ass considering how strong it was.   Fortunately, Janis shoving Rick brought back great memories of The Stand when Stu Redman tumbled down the embankment.   Seriously, pillows!

 

  1.   Is Carol the linchpin to Rick’s group overcoming the Saviors?  We have now heard some references about how Carol would have done this or that if she knew the truth.

Bob:  Yes, as I have answered in a previous blog, she is the trigger for the Kingdom and Alexandria coming together.

Briana:  I really think Carol would be a huge asset to the plan to take out the Saviors but is she completely vital? No. And I don’t say this lightly. Carol is my GIRL! But she’s not in the same mind frame she was when she took out Terminus. As much as it drove me insane, Darryl did the right thing not telling her about Glenn and everything else. We all have phases in our lives and right now, Carol can’t handle what’s happening around her. She will come back from this but I don’t think it will be right now. And they will do just fine with their new alliances. (Assuming they are able to confirm those)

Kent:  It’s either her or Eugene.  There is another obvious person that I won’t say, but maybe next week, it becomes more clear.  Whatever Carol does will have some impact and meaning.  Whether she lives or dies, it will have a big impact.  I think the answer is yes.

 

  1.   If Daryl and Carol ever hook up, or “shipped” for you braindead millennials, will that result in one of them dying soon thereafter, or would they be a power couple like Rick and Michonne, or Richonne for those of you with female body parts who watch the E! Network?

Bob:  No one would die, so after Negan is over we can have Ezekiel pissed at the Alexandrians… long shot!  (Man, that’s a reality show just waiting to happen.  It would be interesting.  In the books, Ezekiel and Michonne have a thing going, kind of, so with that obviously not happening, lots of possibilities exist.)

Briana:  hmmmmmm…. I try not to actually consider the 2 of them hooking up. Haha! In the beginning I thought it would be cool but let’s face it, she’s AT LEAST 10-15 years older than he is. They have an extremely special bond but I don’t think it’s romantic. If it were going to be, it would’ve been by now. But to humor you, (hehe) I think they’d have to be a power couple. They’re both such important characters to the story at this point that it would be wayyyyy too much to put them together and then kill one of them.  (I immediately had to look it up.  She has less than 4 years on him.  I’m as shocked as you are.  Those years with Ed has aged her horribly.)

Kent:   They have had so many opportunities to have Daryl and Carol hook up, practically every season since the second season.  From Daryl looking for Sophia and saving Carol from the farm herd in season 2, to her bringing him food and wanting to fool around and him finding her in the prison in 3, to her and him flirting in the first episode of season 4, to her and him going to find Beth and being alone together in the building in season 5, to her and him having that last talk before she took off, the teasing has always been there.  It seems like one of those plot devices that as soon as they finally give in, one will die because that’s what TWD does.

 

  1.  Choose one. Who’s more right: Rosita (wanting to go out and get the guns now and finish this deal) or Tara (wanting to go back home to regroup and get healed)?  Pick one, do not go in the middle because that shows a lack of reading comprehension and that you are probably a horrible person to go to a restaurant with, with your indecisiveness.

Bob:  I am bad to go to a restaurant with.  Tara, though.  (You were always a treat to go to Friendly’s with.)

Briana:  LMAO!! Honestly I see both sides so your question cracks me up but I know how to choose a side when necessary! As much as it pains me to say (because at this point I can’t stand either of them) I’ll go with Tara. While it is very important that they go out and find guns for the deal, they’ve been out for too long for what’s happening right now. They need to check the situation with the Saviors, Rick is injured, they need a plan, and where the hell has Judith been? Someone should check on the baby! However, I have to add that if Rosita wants to break off and go look on her own for a while, that’s completely justifiable and beneficial. But they just can’t ALL go out searching right now.  (I could get behind Rosita going to scavenge, maybe bring Carl.  Out of anybody in the group, she wouldn’t yell at Carl, I don’t think.)

Kent:  In theory, Tara is right, but everybody just magically heals pretty easily, think about all of Rick’s cuts and stabs and shots, and whatever else, all over the course of like 3 years.  So knowing that, Rosita is right, and I love her bitchy attitude at the moment.  If only she had killed Tara, I would have been more pumped.  Also, where’s Heath?

 

  1.  Rick noted that Tara had been further out than anyone else.  Do you think that we will see Oceanside or any of their members this season?

Bob:  Maybe at the end?

Briana:  Oh absolutely. This whole thing was a lead up to going back to Oceanside. Simply the fact that they wanted guns in the first place was a hint to me. Where else in this mess would they find guns for them? I don’t think it will be pretty by any means but there’s no where else to look.  (I swear, we need a damn map, like Game of Thrones has.  We have so many extra groups on the show that aren’t covered in the comics and I have no idea how many more are out there.  The books kept it simple with Alexandria, Sanctuary, Hilltop, and Kingdom.)

Kent:  I hope not.  The group itself despises Tara and wants her dead, but also hates the Saviors.  The motivation is there, and women power, and Ghostbusters 2016, fuck, most likely they will, and I will start bitching and moaning.  I wish Negan and Lucille would just rape all of them to death.  That would be the greatest episode ever.

 

  1.  Why is Daryl leaving The Kingdom and going back to the Hilltop?

Sorry to cut Bob off, but listen to this music while thinking about the scene.  You’re welcome.

Bob:  Daryl isn’t Daryl following orders or going along with the program.  He’s leaving because he is not an idle person, ever.  (SO what you’re saying is that he’s the antithesis of me?)

Briana:  Because he’s an idiot who likes to put people in danger! Lol! No I honestly don’t know what the game plan is. I think he’s just not the type to sit around and wait for things to happen or wait to be told to do so. This is his way of jumping in and doing something even if it is the worst possible idea he’s ever had.  (He does have a history of putting people in danger with his secondary storylines.   There are actually quite a few, but the obvious one is staying around Woodbury for Merle.)

Kent:  Honest reason is that it’s for drama and to give Daryl his own story so the ladies can continue to swoon.  The reality is that it serves no purpose.  He knows that the Hilltop people are willing to fight, and I can see that he could potentially help train them, but that place is terribly unsafe with Gregory in charge, and the Saviors do come inside the Hilltop.  He is way safer in the Kingdom, and he has a job, which is to wear Ezekiel down.  So Daryl is just being as dumb as Richard is.  He’s not thinking clearly.

 

Bonus Deuce – The past 10 days, I have binge watched most of the TWD franchise, and it has gotten me thinking quite a bit, so let’s analyze a bit.

 

  1.  Who has hurt Alexandria the most since we first laid eyes upon the settlement: A) The Wolves (The slaughter), B) The Saviors (Abe, Glenn, Denise, Olivia, Spencer, taking supplies), C) The Walkers (Various deaths, plus the herd that killed Deanna, Carter, Jessie, Sam, and Ron, plus Carl’s eye), or D) Rick’s Group (How much of this happens if Rick’s group never goes to Alexandria, Pete would be alive, Morgan would be wandering, Aiden, Nicholas, and Reg may still be alive)?

Bob:  E.  The original Alexandrians.

Briana:  Though all of these things have been devastating to Alexandria, I have to still go with the Saviors. They aren’t just killing some people, they’re finding every possible way to make their lives hell along with killing people. They’re taking away what little comfort they have, most of their food and ways to defend themselves. They’ve taken away their security where everything else has been manageable and there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Kent:  I have spent hours thinking about this.  It’s not D nor C.  The Wolves present an interesting argument, so I will make it as Bri has done the Saviors one.  We know that the Wolves killed at least 10 people, probably closer to 20.  They were no name people by and large, people that we didn’t have an attachment to.  Most of these people were not like Liam Neeson in Taken, they probably didn’t have a particular set of useful skills.  But I think the Wolves caused, BY FAR, the most amount of deaths.  Deaths of people that could have been trained.  If you look at the Kingdom, they are training.  Back at Herschel’s farm, Shane trained them.  Had you not lost say 10 people, that could be 10 more people to help fight and scavenge, or learn medical stuff because they need medics.  They need a new hairdresser.  Yes, losing Abe was HUGE, as was Denise.  Glenn was to an extent as he was great at scavenging, but he was kinda acting like a bitch towards the end.  It really comes down to this, if The Wolves kill count was 15 or more, then I pick them, otherwise I go with Saviors due to Abe and Denise.

 

  1.  Honestly, what purpose did the Wolves serve?

Bob:  Removing the security and lack of preparedness of Alexandria.

Briana:  For me, it was like just a brutal way to bring Morgan back. They find him, he keeps them alive and then they kill a bunch of Alexandrians. Otherwise, it seems they’re done and didn’t do a whole lot of anything. Maybe to also be the beginnings of Morgan seeing the fault in his life is precious bullshit. I saw no real purpose so I’m reaching for what I can! Lol!

Kent:  I hate to get wordy, especially after my last response, but I must.  Let’s go back to season 5, episode 9.  Beth had just died.  Noah want to go check on his old community, and in the process, Tyrese dies.  While that is happening, Rick, Glenn, and Michonne say that going to DC is still the right call, and it’s about 100 miles from there.  Shortly after, they discover walker bodies with the W carved in.  So the Wolves were there.  Our group travels north to Alexandria, 8.5 miles away from DC, so they traveled approximately 90 miles.  Somehow, they end up right near where The Wolves ended up setting up shop.  HOW CONVENIENT?  Seriously?  Bob is right, and really it’s that plus to add drama, and to show how much of a bad ass Carol is.  It was also a device to get Morgan’s backstory and to see the why behind his “all life is precious” philosophy, which is what Bri brought up.  The thing is, not all of the Wolves died.  We never got closure.  It’s worse than never getting closure on Morales or the Vatos in season 1.  We never got closure on the boy and the girl that were with Lizzie and Mika when they grabbed Judith as Governor was attacking the prison with a tank.  That boy and girl were never seen or mentioned ever again.  The Walking Dead is chock full of convenient plot devices and alas, this was one of them, and it could have been so much cooler, but it came and went with a whimper rather than a bang.

Thank you to Mark for this lovely meme.

All of the pictures are the property of AMC, the producers, Robert Kirkman, and all of the other people who helped make this. I am simply using the images for review purposes.

Live To Win – February 23, 2017

Yeah, here we fucking go again.  I’m not making any bold claims.  We both know that I will probably give up far quicker than I should because I hate diets and exercising.  I do have a reason as to why I am back to this.

Monday, I went to the doctors, and the news wasn’t great.  My blood sugars are up to a level that require medication, my cholesterol is finally high, my blood pressure is absurd, and my heart beats are more frantic than ever.  So I made a deal with the doc that we;d do a follow up in 3 months, and I would do some blood work 2 weeks prior.  That gives me approximately 10 weeks to drop some weight and get myself heading in a better direction.  I honestly have no idea if I will achieve this or not.  I hope that I do, but I won’t know for 3 months.  In the meantime, I am dieting, exercising, and looking to start some yoga.  Fucking hell.

You know the drill by now.  I give you my exercise playlist, and you pretend that you care.  Deal?

All videos belong to the proper owners, and please support the artist.  Well except for the last one.  That guy is a total dickhead.

The Wrestling 9 Deuce – February 20 & 21, 2017 – The Next Generation of Big Men Edition

Oh man, no Russ this week?

Well, I guess Keri and I will have to carry the load this week.  Ladies and gentlemen, it’s nice to be able to say that the Big Man Renaissance is upon us.  Luke Harper, Baron Corbin, and Braun Strowman are all showing us that we are in capable hands for the foreseeable future.  This week, we also dealt with some heartbreak as Naomi had to hand over her title as she is injured and due out for awhile.  Anyway, please enjoy the blog and podcast.  Leave us some love…or hate.  I am easy to hate.

Of course, we also did our podcast, Are You Not Kentertained, where we discuss some of these topics and others, plus do our weekly segments.  It’s like a verbal companion to the blog. Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog , on Twitter @official9deuce, or Instagram at Official9Deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

  1.  What the…….did Braun Strowman and Big Show just have match of the night?  Also, did you see the “Roman is Poochie” sign during the match?

Keri:  This was a really good match and it really was match of the night. Both guys really did bring the house down and I swear I felt a big fight feel when I watched. I guess it takes Big Show to finally get a good match out of Braun. With that being said, I like how they are slowly starting to get Braun to work with all the big men in the company and learn from them. That knowledge is really starting to show. As for the Roman sign, I didn’t see it but it sounds hilarious.

Kent:  Yeah, I think they had the best match of the night, both in entertainment value as well as possibly technical wrestling.  For Big Show, this doesn’t surprise me because he’s kinda like Cena or Kane, in that he does so many power moves that we forget that these guys know how to wrestle and can still get down and dirty and craft a match.  That Roman is Poochie sign was tremendous.

 

  1.  Let’s talk about the New Day segment with Handsome Rusev and Hardbody Mahal, along with Lana.  The New Day are hosting Wrestlemania.  Is this a good use of these guys or is this going to be dreadful?  Secondly, how far will this ice cream thing go?  Also, R.I.P. Rusev’s career.

Keri:  There is just so much to be sad about with this segment and New Day’s new role. First off, is this really how WWE should be treating their longest reigning tag team champs? I don’t think so but I guess I understand it. All three guys are really charismatic so why not have them host Mania. Especially given the fact that, no one wants to see them near the title picture for a very long time. Secondly, does anyone really care about this ice cream or the plans for it? I didn’t think so. And lastly, poor Rusev. Talk about talent being wasted. This leads me to one question would he fare any better on Smackdown? I don’t know.

Kent:  To answer Keri’s question, Handsome Rusev would be handled well over on Smackdown as a face for a bit.  Imagine him vs Miz, a rejuvenated Dog Ziggler, or Corbin.  You can always switch him back as well.  Yeah, he’d be doing fine.  New Day are pretty much being punished in some way for exceeding their potential.  On the plus side, maybe this results in them getting a minor break as they have been going hard for a long time without any serious injury.  I guess it is a tad flattering that they are doing this, but they are wrestlers, and I bet you that as wrestlers, those guys would rather have a match unless they are going to be given plenty to do.  Enzo and Cass should be feuding at Mania for the belts in the battle of the gift of gab,  Fudge this whole ice cream things, like hot fudge it.  It’s dumb.  Go away.

 

  1.  Would Enzo and Cass be better served by turning heel?

Keri:  Now that they are number one contenders,  I say not yet. Let’s see how this plays out first with them and Anderson and Gallows. Overall though, I think a heel turn could really benefit this team. They got the mic chops to be very successful should Creative chose to turn them heel.

Kent:  Cass is just Enzo’s protector for when he runs his mouth.  Well, wouldn’t it be even more irritating if this guy was just saying awful things, but his buddy is such a bad ass, that it’s tough to shut them up?  This whole gimmick feels like it should have been a heel thing then a face, not the other way around.  I think by year’s end, they need to do the turn and make Cass come off like a bad ass, and let Enzo develop more in ring.

 

  1.  RAW highlighted two cruiserweight feuds Monday night.  Choose your favorite (if you can) and discuss.

Keri:  I liked both segments. Both held my interest and made me want to see more. The Akira-Kendrick storyline has so much potential. I can’t wait to see how this came about and how it will continue. I think it’s time to binge watch some 205 live. I know I know I keep saying this but I think I mean it this time. As for Neville-Gallagher, I really liked this one. It’s the stereotype vs. reality match. I mean, come on, when you think of the British you think prim and proper and drinking tea and crumpets. I think that is what makes Gallagher’s character so perfect in this case. With that being said, Neville has been amazing since his return. I like him as a heel more than I ever did when he was a face. I guess I just don’t like goody goody superheroes as much as I do the villain in this case. Therefore, advantage Neville and Gallagher.

Kent:  Both were really well done.  Neville is absolutely killing it, and everything is working in his feuds.   Still, there’s something to be said for simplicity still being effective.  I gotta side with THE Brian Kendrick on this one with Akira.  Both are at different points in the feud arc, and they are better than anything that RAW has going for it aside from possibly Jericho and KO.  If you watched 205 Live, which I am doing now, I feel like this is going to be a great feud.  Also, if you watched last week’s 205, props to Rich Swann on the mic.  They advertised Austin Aries in the ring….and I have a clue.

Speaking of KO, I just gotta say that his promo very much reminded me of the promo that CM Punk cut prior to facing off with the Rock at the 2013 Royal Rumble when he ended up jobbing.  It was the promo about boxing with God, and it was one of the all time great promos as far as I’m concerned.  KO’s promo convinced me that he is jobbing to Goldberg.  I also think that it should be Brock that screws over KO at Fast Lane, then the next night KO requests his rematch with Brock banned, and then Y2J does something.  That way KO and Brock can eventually feud.

 

  1.  So, Naomi relinquished the belt on Smackdown due to injury and Miss Bliss is again our champ. What are your thoughts on this rapid change of events?

Keri:  Honestly, I didn’t think that Naomi was that injured. What happened? I must investigate this development further. As for the segment with Bryan and Naomi, that segment was well done. The emotion and everything about that match just pulled at the heart strings. Admit it everyone, you teared up a little. As for Miss Bliss, her pre match segment with Bryan was great. She really is the best heel in the company right now. As for her winning the title for the second time, I’m happy about it and I can’t wait to see where they take things from here. I understand that it is the same old storyline but it still feels exciting. How does Smackdown do this and RAW can’t? RAW, why can’t you be more like your brother, Smackdown?

Kent:  Booty Booty Booty!  I feel terrible for Naomi though, as well.  I feel like I have been advocating for Naomi longer than Alexa.  I hope that whatever her injury is, she gets through it fine and comes out all the better, unlike Nikki’s untalented, but equally fine ass.  I think Alexa is the best choice to be champ for the foreseeable future.  I think that I would have liked Mickie winning it on Smackdown in a match with Becky, Alexa, and maybe Carmella.  I would have then liked to see Alexa get so competitive that she throws away her friendship with Mickie to become the champ again.  That would feel about right at home on a logical wrestling show.  Also, I know that the Naomi segment was sad, but I can’t be the only one that actually found what the Usos said on Talking Smack to be just as sad.  Like that actually got me more for whatever reason.

 

  1.  We had a battle royale to determine the #1 contender to face Bray at Wrestlemania for the championship.  It ended in a double elimination with Luke and AJ.  Give me your thoughts on any and all of this.  Also, do you think that Luke is getting over with the fans in the way that WWE had hoped?

Keri:  I think we all thought, perhaps hoped, that this match would end a different way. Be honest you thought Luke was going to win clean didn’t you? Of course, you did. However, by including AJ in the ending of this match you add another layer to the inevitable. Harper is going to face Bray at Mania. He just needs to get through AJ Styles to do it. Kinda appropriate don’t you think? As for Harper’s crowd reaction, I was impressed with the pop I heard at the end of that match. Is this what the WWE had in mind for his character? Quite possibly. Harper turned face when he separated himself from Bray. I think this is the first time in a long time the fans are cheering exactly who Creative wants them to cheer for and it is dare I say glorious.

Kent:  I have a lot of thoughts on this, and normally I try to limit my shameless plugs, but I promise that I give a much more detailed insight on this on our Are You Not Kentertained podcast.  I don’t want to go crazy on you guys at the moment.  I will say that this will hopefully set up AJ’s Wrestlemania feud.  The odd thing is, imagine if they just said screw it, and made it a 4 way dance at Mania with Bray, Randy, Luke, and AJ as the main event.  HELL YEAH!!!  I thought the replay showed that AJ touched first, but that’s not the real story.  I loved this match.  The eliminations made a lot of sense.  Someday, I swear they will consider changing the policy about eliminated participants being able to eliminate somebody after the fact.  In 1997 they took a firm stance on this at the Royal Rumble.  They should consider it.  Otherwise, why wouldn’t you just go in and keep fighting to eliminate all enemies?  It’s a weird logical fallacy. I had a Simpsons moment during the match.  I wondered to myself: “Are they saying Luuke or Booo-urns?”  By the end, they were definitely popping for Luke.  Like, it’s working.  Also, because I like to brag, go back to this blog and read our responses to question #6.  Yeeeeeaaaaah.

http://www.9deuce.com/blogs/2017/01/13/the-wrestling-9-deuce-january-9-10-2017-its-too-cold-for-wet-hair-edition/

 

  1.  Are the Uso’s the best tag team currently on Smackdown? We won’t be including Bray and Randy as a team for obvious reasons.

Keri: No, they are not. Breezedango is far superior to any other team on Smackdown. Just kidding. I had you there for a second,  didn’t I? The Usos are being booked perfectly right now. They are the seasoned heels that feel that AA just isn’t cutting it as champs. And you know what, they are right. AA’s first title reign has been lackluster at best. I can’t believe I’m saying this but let’s put the belts on the Usos for awhile. At least until the Revival is brought up, that is.

Kent:  Well, since we aren’t allowed to go hard, this question becomes very hard.  I know that AA has more to offer both in the ring and on the mic.  I know that the injuries to Zack Ryder and one of the Uso’s aren’t AA’s fault.  But they have been fairly lackluster so far aside from the matches with Bray and Randy, which got cut short way too quickly.  With that being said, the Uso’s haven’t gotten enough dap for how good they have been since their heel turn, totally reinventing themselves.  They are the total package.  SO my answer is obviously, The Ascension.

 

  1.  Nikki and Nattie had their big blow off Falls Count Anywhere match that Natalya won.  Did this match finally do the feud justice?  Also, does anybody come away from this Cena/Nikki vs Miz/Maryse feud/match looking good?

Keri:  I really hope this is the end of this feud. This match was ok. Nothing really special and it was very very sloppy. As for the Total Divas (and their men) match at Mania, I think that it doesn’t matter who wins or loses or how it is booked, we all lose. This includes the people who are in the match as well.

Kent:  This match was good for what it was supposed to be.  I liked Nattie asking the fans if they wanted tables, and then shoving it back under the ring, and not using the kendo stick.  Stuff like that worked really well.  Nikki just needs to stop.  I felt bad for Natty on the announce desk spot.  

 

  1.  Shinsuke said that he wants AJ Styles at Wrestlemania.  We know that Shane McMahon is the rumored opponent.  We have also discussed Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, and The Undertaker as people that we would love to see facing AJ at Mania.  What match would be the best match and feud for AJ out of those listed?  Yeah, this is a tough question.

Keri:  I’m good with all the above. Since I have to choose, I say bring up Shinsuke and let him fight Styles. I guarantee you it will be one of the best matches of the night if they do it.

Kent:  Initially I want to say Phenom vs Phenomenal one is the obvious choice, but Braun would benefit more from the Taker match, and other options allow AJ to do more of his moveset.  A match with Taker is too limited nowadays.  Shane is an obvious no.  I still don’t think that Finn is as good as most people do.  Shinsuke vs AJ would be money, and I know that we will eventually get it.  The best bang for your buck though is AJ vs Joe in my opinion.  We don’t know how much longer they will remain at their peak, but the clock is ticking.  Do the match while both guys have crazy momentum and deliver the obvious match of the night.  Seriously, WWE you clearly read this stuff, especially what I say because I wrote that you should turn Luke face, and then you did.  I said push Baron, and then you did.  I said to stop making Braun a bitch, and then you did.  Do AJ vs Joe, and you will have one of the 20 all time great matches in Mania history.  That alone should be worth it.

 

Bonus Deuce

  1.  Right now, would you rather Roman or Braun face Taker at Mania?

Keri:  I would like to see Braun face Taker at Mania. He could use the Taker rub and it would further legitimize him as one of the newest monsters in the company. Also, Roman is already over. What would putting him in a match with Taker do for him? It would do nothing. I say put him in a match with Zayn and Joe at Mania instead.

Kent:  I’d love Roman vs Joe vs Sami.  I don’t even know if I have to say anything else.  I’d also have Zayn win that match by pinning Roman.  That could set Roman down a dark path.  Braun getting the Taker rub, win or lose, would be awesome.  I would book a short match where Braun got DQ’d and beat the holy hell out of Taker.  Taker still wins, he doesn’t have to do anything too difficult, and if Taker wants to come back, he has a story if he wants it.  Braun can brag about destroying Taker for a year, because the win isn’t that important if done right.  He can be the guy who claims to have retired Taker.  If it’s true, that’s a rub, if not, he still can use it to it’s maximum potential.  ROman just doesn’t have as much to gain, and that’s what we should be worried about is building for the future.

 

  1.  While RAW was off the air, The Rock showed up, and while he was in the ring, he decided to call CM Punk and leave him a voicemail.  Punk apparently was out walking his dog, but appreciated it.  Vince is rumored to be pissed but can’t say much because it’s the Rock.  Should we read anything into this aside from it being a random, one off thing?

http://rajah.com/node/54962

Keri:  Did I miss something?  This didn’t happen during RAW or any other WWE medium where the WWE fans could see it. Also, based on my understanding, when this occurred it was a closed movie set with the WWE not directly involved.

So, who cares what the Rock did during his time on set with what the was basically his movie extras. I’m sure WWE was paid handsomely for the use of the ring as part of the production cost for filming this part of the movie so why should it matter? Or why should Vince or Triple H even care? If this rumor is true, then that is really really petty and kinda ridiculous.

Kent:  I know that I am not known to be an optimist, but in this case, I am going to be.  Rumors in wrestling are never ending and we don’t always know the full truth.  Maybe Vince was mad, maybe Vince actually asked the Rock to do it to send out feelers while maintaining a persona of being pissed.  Maybe HHH put Rock up to it, as i have said, that’s important to HHH’s legacy.  I have to believe that somehow some way, this will be a step in the right direction towards mending the fences.  I’m aware of the reality, but no matter how you view it, Punk is the one guy who could join WWE currently, not to be too old or injury prone, and be a superstar immediately.  These are facts.

All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

The Wrestling 9 Deuce – February 13 & 14, 2017 – The Festival of Friendship Edition

Welcome to the blog that refuses to give it’s fans what it wants, The Wrestling 9 Deuce.  This week, we talk about what happens when you end up on the list of Kevin Owens, the fallout from Elimination Chamber, and our newly crowned RAW Women’s Champion, plus much, much more.  Also, the main image is of what Big Show currently looks like.  At his age and size, that is incredible.

Of course, we also did our podcast, Are You Not Kentertained, where we discuss some of these topics and others, plus do our weekly segments.  It’s like a verbal companion to the blog. Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog , on Twitter @official9deuce, or Instagram at Official9Deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

 

The 9

  1.  Was it the right time to have KO turn on Jericho during the Festival of Friendship?  Was this preferable to Goldberg coming out and acting like a bully?

Russ:  The Festival of Friendship was a great segment!  I legitimately felt bad for Jericho at the end.  That is the sign of a good segment, when you get a smark to feel bad for the baby face you’ve done your job.  My first thought on the whole thing was why are they breaking them up now?  After countless teases of the break-up I was a little shocked that they would do it now.  It made very little sense to what I had planned out in my mind.  However, after some thought I am ok with the timing.  We are getting a serious KO again which is a good KO.  The brutality of the attack sold me.  After a heartfelt genuine monolog by Jericho and KO trying to be nice and then delivering the list of KO!  This was good.  I much prefer this to Goldberg, who is supposed to be the face coming in and acting like a bully.  I really hate when the face acts like a heel and if Goldberg were a part of the segment I have a feeling he would be a bully and we don’t need that.  

Keri:  As I said last week, I’m sick of the part timers. There is no value in having them there unless it is to put over young talent. With that being said, we have been saying for weeks now that this KO and Jericho thing had to end at some point. Did creative do it correctly? Perhaps yes perhaps no. I do feel however that they should have done this all along and left Goldberg out of the title conversation entirely.

Kent:  At first, I admit, this displeased me as it went against my great plan in my head.  But as you all know, It’m a glass half full type of guy, the eternal optimist,  the Priest of the Power of Positivity.  I was thinking that Jericho may go against Sami and maybe even drop the belt, but Sami and Joe are potentially having a match.  So I suggest this.  What if at Fast Lane, we have Kevin Owens vs Goldberg vs Chris Jericho for the championship?  This gives WWE options.  If they were smart, they would make it a three way dance, meaning it’s elimination style.  This would force Jericho and Owens to consider working together to eliminate the common foe.  This would allow Goldberg to still be over and not lose any real momentum.  Then the 2 guys could battle it out.  Or you could have Jericho lay out KO, get speared and the Goldberg wins.  You have options, depending on who they want to be champ at Mania.  Yeah, this was preferable.  

  1.  Let’s talk about the women.  Bayley is the new women’s champ.  Emmalina debuted only to kinda bury the gimmick and say that Emma is coming back.  Dana made her return as well.  The hairline from hell also came back.  Talk about any and all of this.  Come on Keri, that dead horse needs to be beat a little more.

Russ:  The whole Emma thing we waited so long so that she could come out for a 5 second pose, she then proceeds to tell us we will have the reinvention of Emma.  Does this mean she will be gone for another 6 months reinventing Emma come back for another 5 second pose and leave.  Would that not be the greatest gimmick ever!  On to more important women news Dana is back!  Ok, to be honest I thought it was just Emma because they barely showed Dana.  Oh, and Bayley won… WHY!   Why are they having Bayley win at a meaningless RAW?  I get that they want to do something HISTORIC with Charlotte and PPV’s, but they are really screwing everything up because of it.  Bayley’s win should have been at Mania! It would have been a great feel good moment for her and all Bayley heads.  Instead she gets a tainted win and the belt that she will probably lose at Fastlane (especially if Charlotte gets her rematch at Fastlane.) Just so they can set up a fatal four way for Mania that *gasp* Charlotte will win.  I’m convinced now more than ever that Charlotte won’t lose a PPV for a long time, now that Bayley won the belt on RAW.    

Keri:  Well, here we go again. I swear I’m experiencing deja vu. Enough enough that poor horse has had enough. Didn’t we just play this game-ah a few months ago-ah. I mean the players are different but the storyline is the same. I’m happy for Bayley don’t get me wrong but seriously Creative, again. I can’t get excited about this win. Why you ask? Because I know she is going to drop it at Fastlane or Mania to Charlotte. Why?  Because Charlotte’s  PPV streak is more important than The Streak? Alright enough about that. Ok, so Emmalina, I mean Emma, I mean oh forget it, debuted this week. And the crowd was trolled and we are getting Emma back. This leads me to one and only one question. What is the over/under on the number of months before we see Emma again?

Kent:  Yaaaawwwwwn.  Oh, you put the belt on Bayley at a meaningless RAW.  That’s the same thing that happened with Sasha.  Man, that Sasha has really done some historic stuff since then.  I bet Bayley will too, until she drops the belt at Fast Lane because Charlotte don’t lose at PPV.   Really great booking right there. F’N idiots.  The Emma thing, 17 long weeks of cock teases, and now we get the makeover of Emmalina to Emma.  Well first of all, she looked stunning.  I was incredibly happy to see her on my screen, although a bikini would have been preferred.  So after all of this, they may have realized how dumb this was all along.  Or, maybe they do something where she has dual personalities.  I am legitimately intrigued by a women’s division story on RAW.  Is this the first time since the brand split?  Yeah, it is.  Glad to see Dana back, but I would consider reuniting her with Emma, or sending her back down to NXT, and bring up Billie and Peyton to be Emma’s lackeys.  They have opportunities, but there is one HUGE issue that isn’t being discussed.  RAW has one female face.  Charlotte, Sasha, Nia, Emma, Dana, Alicia,  and even Paige are all natural heels.  Paige is the closest one to being a decent face, but….well it’s Paige. (Keri: Who is this Paige you speak of? I’ve never heard of her.)  (Kent: I believe that she is Alberto Del Rio’s perro.  I am quite the LING-uist.) (Keri: Who? Who? Who?)

  1.  Rumors are flying that Austin Aries should be cleared to return to the ring for Wrestlemania and may target the championship and Neville.  With all of the great talent in the division, and Austin having a great gig at the moment on commentary, is it smart for Austin to leave the announce table?  Is it smart for WWE to push Austin hard when Neville and others are killing it?

Russ:  I love Austin as a performer and I love Austin as a commentator.  So it is a tough call.  I am leaning toward leaving him on commentary for now.  One simple reason.  The Cruiserweights don’t really need him right now.  Neville, Swann, Jack, Noam, TJ, Kendrick, Tozowa, Neese, several others I don’t feel like mentioning are doing great.  Even though RAW has been a complete disservice to the Cruiserweight Division they are succeeding with me thanks to storyline and 205 live!  They need to bring Austin back to the ring when things seem to be settling down in the division and they need a big shake up.  Neville shouldn’t lose the belt until after WrestleMainia to set him up as The King of the Cruiserweights. That is about the time Austin should be retuning to the ring so he can take the belt away from the babyface maybe at SummerSlam. With that being said I will not be disappointed if he decides to return to have a match at Mania.  

Keri:  I’m torn about this one. On one side, I love Aries on commentary (Foxayyy!). I think if him, Graves, and Mauro could do commentary for all the shows and I would be a happy happy fan. With that being said though. I love watching Aries in the ring and I think a feud with Neville for the belt at Mania could help jump start the division with even more momentum. So, as you can see I’m really torn about this one. (Kent: Would you replace Mauro with THE Brian Kendrick, and have Graves be the lead call by call guy?) (Keri: I wouldn’t be mad at that)

Kent:  I am clueless, but I am leaning towards Austin staying at the desk is better for him long term.  For WWE, I think they would be wise to take the chance and make Austin a star.  Wasn’t Austin Aries at one point named Austin Starr?  Yeah, he was, and he has by far the highest ceiling for the next year or 2 as the star of the Cruiserweight division.  He can elevate every single wrestler’s game.  He is one of the best in the business today.  When healthy, he’s every bit as good as AJ in my opinion.  As long as WWE is sure that they are committed to this division for at least a few years, put Aries in the ring and let him bring the noise and the funk.  Trust me.

  1. Samoa Joe’s sit down interview with Cole was one of the finest I’ve ever seen.  Seriously, how good is Joe?  Let’s talk about him.   

Russ:  Much like the 4th question Joe is AWESOME!  I am not a fan of the sit down interview segment, but Joe was stellar.  I’ve always known he can do great promo work, but I’ve only seen a handful of promos from him.  He really drove home the point that he is loyal to HHH, but he doesn’t need him.  This felt like a great way to set up Joe, but still show that he is his own man.  Also, I like how he called out Zayn.  Zayn and Joe should put on one hell of a performance at Fastlane.  What I like about Joe is the fact that he is ready made for the Main Event.  He doesn’t need to go through the mid card or anything.  He can legitimately start at the top and stay there, which is fine with me.  After they botch giving the belt to Goldberg at Fastlane and then give it to Brock at Mania and effectively destroy any prestige the belt has.  They need to give the belt to Joe so he can restore it to glory.  

Keri: That interview gave me chills. It was that damn good. Joe completely sold himself, what he has accomplished, and in turn showed why he will be a force to be reckoned with on RAW. Amazing job. I can’t wait to see where they go from here with him.

Kent:  The sitdown interview is an artform.  When done properly, with the right individuals, with the right story, it’s amazing.  Think back to Jim Ross and Mick Foley.  Of course, they can always go awry like in Sasha and Charlotte’s sit downs.  Interestingly enough, Steve and I discussed this Monday night on the podcast, and I suggested that Luke Harper could really benefit from one.  Then later that night, Joe has one.  Odd, right?  This was well done.  For those who didn’t follow TNA when Joe was killing people, or the folks that don’t follow NXT, you are in for such a treat.  Joe is one of the best guys in the business right now.  It helps that he’s new, he’s fresh to a lot of the audience, so the hyperbole will be strong.  But the same could be said for AJ Styles.  That was a fun year, right?  

  1.  So Rusev was back on RAW this week and he faced Sami Zayn. What are you thoughts on this match? Also, how are you feeling about a potential Joe- Sami feud? Also, where does Rusev go from here?

Russ:  Rusev has been eating a lot of losses lately. I don’t know if this is a bad or good thing.  I’m worried that it is going to be a bad thing.  He has no direction right now and they haven’t set him up with a direction for WrestleMania.  What are they waiting for?  He is a top performer so why is he treated like a lower mid-card guy?  I hope they give him a clear direction soon and that it isn’t a throw away match at Mania.  

Keri:  What has happened to the Creative love for Handsome Rusev? They are jobbing him out if they put him on RAW at all. So sad. He deserves better and so does Lana. I mean why is the male viewing audience being deprived of their weekly Lana fix. With that being said, the match itself was good and I’m excited for a Zayn-Joe feud. It will be like Zayn-Owens and probably just as good. As for future things for Handsome Rusev, I say a win at the Andre the Giant Battle Royale is just what he needs to rebound this slump he is in right now.

Kent:  Rusev would be in a featured match if we didn’t have to pamper the 5 part time guys having big matches.  4 of the card’s 6 biggest matches involve a part timer. If you count the Cena & Nikki vs Miz and Maryse as a big match, make that 6 part timers and 5 out of 7 matches.  The reality is that Wrestlemania is no longer the biggest night of the year in wrestling.  It’s a big night in which feuds do get settled, but it’s opportunity to see matches that we have discussed in fantasy scenarios.   Basically, they have just told us that Joe is superior to Rusev because Joe is gonna kill Sami.  Sami beat Rusev, in a solid match I might add.  It’d actually be kinda neat if Joe is the one who beats Brock, and Rusev is the one who beats Joe.  Sami vs Joe is going to steal the show at Fast Lane because he’s every bit as good as Seth, and we knew Seth and Joe were going to do some great stuff.  As for Rusev, he will be in the AtGMBR.  I will offer two alternatives.  Rusev vs Braun or Rusev and Jinder vs Big Show and Shaq.  The latter would be awesome and the crowd would totally eat it up. Big Show vs Shaq will bomb if that happens, so hopefully they figure that out.

  1.  Months ago, Baron and Dean had a match on Smackdown, and it was fairly lackluster if memory serves me.  Now it appears that Baron is going after Dean and the IC Title.  The thing is, this time, it feels right.  What or who do you attribute that to?

Russ:  I think we can all agree that since their first meeting Corbin has grown leaps and bounds as a performer.  This alone would be reason enough why this encounter feels better than the first. However, I’m also going to say that creative has a lot to do with it.  Smackdown has consistently made great stories that flow smoothly from one story to the next.  What is happening between Corbin and Dean is no different.  They made an excellent point of showing Dean pinning Corbin and Corbin getting pissed and beating Dean down afterward.  Simple yet effective.  This gives everyone in the WWE Universe an understanding of why these two are going after each other.  The final factor I believe is that this will be for Dean’s IC Title.  We have been waiting for Corbin to go after some gold and it feels like the right time for him to become the IC Champion.    

Keri:  Corbin has really come along way since that match with Dean. He has really come into his own over the past month or so and the thing is he just keeps improving week over week. I will dub this the Alexa effect. In both cases, we didn’t full believe then we watched the person grow and now we can’t wait to see them succeed.  In any case, this feud is going to be great and I stick by my Mania prediction. Baron for IC Champ!

Kent:  Obviously Baron has continued his improvement.  That’s obvious.  Dean seems motivated and has improved since joining Smackdown.  This year, I think he is working with somebody who is genuinely excited to work with him, unlike last year with Brock.  That alone makes a ton of difference.  THink about it, this will be Baron’s one year anniversary, and he is working with a former world champ, Smackdown’s #1 pick, so he is amp’d, plus he likes to brawl and work a certain pace.  Dean isn’t the world champ, but he had his run, now he is trying to keep afloat, stay close to the top.  Right now, he is being asked to help  further cement Baron as the best young guy on the roster, and I think Dean takes pride in that.  Especially when you consider, last year, you just bump a lot for this sloppy behemoth, but this year, you get to help mold a young talent and have that wild match that you crave.  

  1.  It was announced that next week, Nikki will fight Natalya in a Falls Count Anywhere match.  Aside from the assumed Maryse interference, is this the right type of match for this feud to potentially end?  Also, do you think that Alexa will be in a title match at Mania?

Russ:  This or a similar match should have been on the card at Elimination Chamber instead of a straight up wrestling match.  As for ending the feud, sure it seems like the right choice.  This will easily lead to Maryse interfering where other matches might be a little more difficult to get Maryse where she needs to be at the right time.  Since it is falls count anywhere it has the potential to be violent (in a pg way.)  That is exactly what this feud needed at EC and now since I believe this will end the feud.  As for little Ms. Bliss, yes she is definitely going to be in a title match at Mania.  She is too good not to be featured in one.   

Keri:  I’m back to just wanting to see this feud end. Let’s face it the match at Elimination Chamber soured me on this feud. They could have done so much more with that match. This match will be more of the same disappointing nothingness. But, on the positive side, at least it’s better than watch Sasha try to wrestle Nia. As for Miss Bliss, she is too good not to be in the title picture at Mania. She deserves her rematch and her Wrestlemania moment even if they include Becky and Mickie somehow.

Kent:  No, I think they should have gone with an I Quit, or submission, or Last Man Standing.  Falls Count Anywhere is fine, but I never feel that that match is the final nail in a feud.  This feud deserves to have that big, violent, bust your ass, how bad do you really want it style match.  Both have submission moves.  It would have felt like a better conclusion, instead of just a stupid pin.

  1.  American Alpha seem to be missing something.  We know that the booking and writing haven’t necessarily been there.  So far, their run on the main roster has been somewhat of a flop compared to what I think a lot of people expected.  What do you attribute that to?

Russ:  I think the biggest problem for American Alpha is that the Tag Division is treated poorly on Smackdown by Creative.  They have failed to make teams look credible in the division and as such we have nothing that gives us that worry that they may lose the titles or the thrill of the victory that we crave when they vanquish a particularly difficult foe.  I do believe Smackdown is working to correct this by finally getting the Uso’s in the picture, but I feel that AA should be chasing right now, not going in as champs, because I have a feeling the Uso’s will be walking out as champs if they start to feud with AA.  (Kent: The Uso’s don’t go hard.)

Keri:  Booking. Booking. Booking. Did I mention booking? American Alpha and quite frankly the whole division in general has been booked very poorly. I don’t think it’s from lack of talent. I just think this is a case of Creative laziness. I mean Smackdown creative has been on point on everything else. I guess they had to get lazy somewhere. Too bad AA has to suffer as a result though.

Kent:  They haven’t had the right opponents in the proper match length yet.  I know a feud with the Revival will help, but so could a 2-3 month feud with the Usos, or Vaudevillains.  The Ascension is really not a great mix in styles, but still, it should work.  They have to be given time to tell a story that makes sense.  The heels have to be able to get a few over on AA.  I really wish they could have a match with the Steiner Brother and Haas and Benjamin.  I wish they could go against the Hardys and Dudleys.  They need to face some veteran teams.  Right now, they aren’t clicking in ring as well as we have seen in the past.  They are too good to devolve this early on.

  1.  Is there any chance that Randy fights for the RAW belt at Mania?  If so, give me a percentage.

Russ:  0% chance.  As cool as it would be for the Wyatt Family to be Co-Champs on the different brands, I just don’t see it happening.  The main reason is because this whole Bray and Randy story has been the cat’s meow of storylines in WWE.  To all of the sudden go away from the stories natural conclusion feels like we are being cheated.  The reason the story is so good is simply because they aren’t using normal wrestling story tropes.  Or if they do use them they twist them. We have no idea where this story is going and that is refreshing and fun.   I haven’t cared about Randy Orton for a long time, but this story is making me want to see him as Champ.  It has done wonders for Bray and Luke.   Honestly, I don’t think this story is ending at Mania and I’m ok with that.

Keri:  I say maybe 1% but it’s really unlikely. I think what is going to happen is this and we already saw the foreshadowing of it Tuesday night. I have a feeling Luke comes out against Randy’s actions and in turn challenges Wyatt so he can be released from the family. This would then be viewed by Wyatt and Randy as a challenge for the belt. Randy given the fact that he just further pledge his allegiance to Wyatt will stand by Wyatt in the match at Mania. The only thing I don’t have an answer for here yet is the overall outcome of this match. I could see a Randy double cross or a potential Harper win. It just isn’t that clear to me yet.

Kent:  Eh, 0.92%.  I mean, it would be neat to see Randy beating Goldberg and Lesnar, and then have Bray vs Luke, but the best case scenario for us is Randy vs Bray vs Luke.  That’s the show stealer.  The master and the servant line just reminded me of HHH trying to convince Batista to go after JBL’s belt at Mania 21.  This a similar vibe.  I like it.

Bonus Deuce

  1.   Worst botch of the week: Nikki getting flung into the ring post and missing by a mile or Enzo’s failure at going over the top rope so he paused and then just did it himself?

Russ:  I missed the botch that was the ring post, but Enzo’s botch was hysterical.  When I watched it I couldn’t figure out what the hell happened.  He looked ridiculous jumping out of the ring.  I will give him credit for taking a few seconds to make it look like he was just trying to catch his breath, but holy crap that was awful and hilarious.  

Keri:  Botches, Botches everywhere. Ok, now that I have that out of the way. I’m going to go with Nikki. She is not good enough in the ring to sell even the worst botch. I’m Enzo’s case at least he sold the botch.

Kent:  I think the Nikki one.  One could argue that Enzo botched and decided to just get out of the ring to get himself straightened out.  He dropped his mic when he first came out.   Maybe he is not feeling well.  I haven’t known Enzo to botch much.  At least he didn’t pretend to be hurt by something non-existent.  Nikki has a history.  Yes, Nikki is historical.

  1.  Cena and Styles, along with Bray, had a hell of a good main event match on Smackdown this week.  I have been thinking lately, is it possible that AJ Styles is John Cena’s greatest or best all time rival, in terms of their feuds and matches, all of that stuff, chemistry on the mic and in the ring.

Russ:  There is an argument that can be made that AJ is Cena’s greatest rival.  It has been something I have pondered in the past.  In terms of match quality (have they even had, at worst, a mediocre match between them?), mic skills, and chemistry between the two it is hard to beat and I wouldn’t fault you for thinking such a thing.  However, I have to go with Edge vs. Cena as my all time favorite rivalries of Cena(for now anyway, maybe AJ can surpass it eventually.)  As Kent will go into greater detail further down the blog I will just make a quick comment.  The rivalry between these two helped cement both of them as top dogs in the WWE and their eventual legend status.  They had fantastic chemistry in the ring and watching their matches was always a delight.

Keri:  The feud between Styles and Cena has been amazing to watch from all aspects. The only Cena feud that comes close is the feud with Punk. That one was legendary. It started with the pipebomb, continued with the MITB match in Chicago with Punk leaving the belt, and ending with Punk returning on RAW with the belt weeks later to challenge a newly crowned champion version of Cena (or as I like to call it my favorite Punk moment). Great! Now I hear Cult of Personality in my head.

Kent:  Well, when looking at Cena’s biggest rivals, I suppose you gotta play the Game-uh, the Elimination game I meant, you silly gooses……or is it silly geese?  I would start off with Brock, Randy, HHH, Big Show, Wade Barrett, Edge, Christian, Kane, CM Punk, Sheamus, Seth, Bray, HBK, The Rock, and AJ Styles.  We can easily eliminate Big Show, Wade (Shovels are horrible things), Kane, Christian, The Rock, Seth, Bray, and Sheamus.  That leaves Brock, RKO, HHH, Edge, Punk, HBK, and AJ Styles.  I can write off HBK because it was never long lasting for a feud, despite it being great.  HHH and Cena tangled, but I am really struggling to remember one great match of theirs. Probably Manie 22 I think in Chicago was their big one.  I kinda forgot about big Dave Batista, but they didn’t tangle as much, so he’s in the same breathe as HBK, minus the all time great matches.  The leaves us with 5.  I’m going to rank them because it’s Valentine’s Day and I have absolutely nothing better to do in between watching porn.

  1.  Brock Lesnar – He’s at 5 because they have feuded multiple times throughout their careers.  The big one was when Brock finally returned to wrestling.  The problem is that they don’t have any great standout match aside from the Royal Rumble match also involving Seth.  This has history and good story, but the in ring stuff was merely adequate most of the time.  Most memorable thing was Brock’s return and Brock inventing Suplex City and killing Cena.
  1.  Randy Orton – Due to the nature of being in the same class, these guys have tangled over the years and have had numerous main event feuds.  The mic work is usually solid, mainly because Randy is always the heel.  They have great chemistry in the ring, but their matches never are great.  They are very good, but rarely great.  The other 3 guys have had numerous great matches with Cena.
  1.  CM Punk – July 17, 2011 may be one of the greatest nights in wrestling history.  Punk’s contract was expiring that night, he had dropped the pipe bomb, and he has heading into his hometown of Chicago to face John Cena.  These guys tore the building down, and it was one of those feel good moments for fans.  These guys were great verbally sparring, had awesome in ring chemistry, never a shitty match.  Really enjoyable stuff here.
  1.  AJ Styles – Every single time that these 2 guys are in the same match together, they improve upon what is already great.  Their promos are bitter and scathing and it works well.  This would be #1, but longevity isn’t a thing yet.  The singles matches are all match of the night and some match of the year candidates.  Even when it’s tags or multi-man matches, you can just see how well they meld together.  John also helped make AJ a main eventer in the fan’s eyes.  We knew he had the talent, but he had to get over that obstacle.
  1.  Edge – You can’t be surprised.  These 2 helped elevate each other to new heights.  Without one, the other wouldn’t be as good as he would become.  Their feuds are legendary.  Their matches speak for themselves.  It’s rare and nice when 2 talents work with each other and just bring out the absolute best in one another.  Think of HHH and HBK, or Taker and HBk,stuff like that.  Edge vs Cena may be one of the top 10 greatest wrestling rivalries in the Mania era.  AJ and Cena can never benefit in the same way that Cena and Edge were able to due to the time in their careers.

All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

The Walking Dead 9 Deuce: S:7 Ep:9 – The Doesn’t Make Us Friends Edition

Welcome everyone to the only Walking Dead related blog that adds a silly 9 Deuce gimmick.  The first week back was rough for my contributors, with Valentine’s Day and some other things.  Fortunately, I am not alone as I had 2 gentlemen help out, Bob and Eric, so round of applause for them, and much appreciation.  I would like to say congratulations to Bob on his newest child.  Somehow he still found time to provide answers to my inane questions.  Sweet.

In case you aren’t familiar with this blog, I ask 9 questions that are episode specific and then 2 bonus ones that can be anything Walking Dead related.  If you like what we do, please check out the Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/9deuceblog/. You can also follow us on Twitter  @official9deuce and Instagram which is also Official9Deuce.  Finally, if you want to email me because all of those options weren’t charming enough, write me at Kent@9deuce.com. Sorry, I hate all of this promotion as much as anyone else.

 

  1.  What is Father Gabriel doing? .Who is watching Judith?

Bob:  I have no idea what this cat is doing.  I know he has a plan and he is determined.  Judith… ahhh uhm.. no clue.

Eric:  I think that the supplies he was gathering up wasn’t for him.  He was very rushed and sloppy. I’d be interested to be able to read closer whatever he was reading.  (Kent: I think it would be fascinating to look through that notebook.)

Kent:  First, the potentially easier thing to guess.  I will say that Kent and his woman are watching her, although Tobin seems more likely.  As far as Gabriel is concerned, I think that whoever spied on Alexandria at the very end of the last episode gave Gabriel some rather explicit instructions on what they wanted and that is why he was so hurried and sloppy when gathering the canned goods.  Also, there’s a person in the car with him….probably Heath.

 

  1.  Is Gregory doing what’s best for: A) Himself, B) The Hilltop, C) Both himself and Hilltop, or D) Neither? Also, who’s the bigger jerk: Gregory or Simon?

Bob:  A) Himself, although be projects it inaccurately upon the Hilltop as well.

Eric:  He is looking out for himself with the Hilltop on the side. He knows how unpredictable Negan is and if Greg is seen as important maybe Negan wont bash his skull in. Gregory is a huge dick.  (Kent: I think you will find that we eventually see something play out. I think people will love it more than the Spencer incident.)

Kent:  D is my response.  I think that Gregory believes that as long as he is the leader, he holds value in Negan’s eyes, but that’s only true of a leader with a strong will and grip on his people, so not Gregory.  Also, he keeps proving his enemy with more supplies, strengthening their cause.  Yes, I will discuss this later.  I think that Gregory may be a bigger jerk than Simon, but it’s damn near 50/50, but I refuse to say both.  Simon is technically still following, and trying to motivate.  Gregory pulls off this facade that he is trying to be a “good guy” while being a dick.  He seals the deal with his theatrics and calling people their incorrect name.  Gregory may be one of my 5 favorite current characters for all of the reasons that I just mentioned.

 

  1.  Are the members of the Hilltop community making the smart decision, for them and their community, in wanting to join Alexandria’s cause?

Bob:  Yes.  Live Free or Die!  (Kent: I don’t know what film reference to make here.  Lots of options.  Eh, half Les Miserables and half Bill Pullman’s speech in Independence Day sounds about right.)

Eric:  Strength in numbers. Even though some are reluctant to join the cause. I feel its in everyone’s best interest to fight against Negan and the Saviors.  

Kent:  With the Hilltop in particular, those wanting to join Alexandria to fight against Negan are wise.  They probably know that they are going to most likely be the pawns in this game of chess, but pawns sometimes survive.  If they don’t act now and help their best chance at getting out from under Negan’s thumb is to join the cause and hope for the best.  Those are better long term odds.  As for what both gentlemen above me spoke on, I have often wondered about the mentality of somebody in a community.  I have wondered what percentage are optimists.  If you’re an optimist, you fight for a better tomorrow.  What about the eternal pessimists, which even if you weren’t prior to the ZA, maybe you have changed.  If you’re a pessimist and you pretty much live day to day with low expectations, are you really going to risk your life for such a cause?  It’s something that I have been pondering.

 

  1.  Would Richard be a better leader than King Ezekiel?

Bob:  No, he is too war hawkish.  Richard is perfect where he is.

Eric:  Richard doesn’t necessarily think things through. He is right where he belongs

Kent:  As currently presented, yes.  To go back to something said in the show, the more the Hilltop and the Kingdom provide the Saviors, they weaken themselves while strengthening the enemy.  At some point you have to cut your losses and go for it before the ratio is too out of balance that you have no chance.  Richard gets this principle and Ezekiel doesn’t   The hard thing for me is that overall, Ezekiel is the wiser leader for the day to day stuff and keeping things going.  But none of that matters if they are eventually are too weak to keep that community going.

 

  1.  Will there be any repercussions or fallout from Morgan lying to Rick and Daryl about Carol’s whereabouts?  Will Benjamin be the person who blows Carol’s cover?

Bob:  Daryl will not trust Morgan ever again until something else happens that forces him to trust him.  Rick will broken-heartedly rebuke Morgan, it might end their relationship, but probably not.  Benji will not blow any cover… 

Eric:  it will hurt the trust that Morgan and Rick have. Even though Morgan helped Rick out in episode 1 and 2. The rest of the group might not be so forgiving. 

Kent:  I can see Daryl following somebody like Ben out in the woods and meeting up with Carol.  I think he finds her in some way accidentally and he convinces her to step back into the fire.  That could subsequently lead to Carol getting into Ezekiel’s ear. As for fallout, I guess it comes down to if Rick is in desperation mode Rick or in Ricktatorship mode. Both gents above me talk about various ways of how the lie could be potentially compartmentalized in some capacity, and I didn’t think about it in that way, but I think they are onto something.

 

  1.  What will happen first: A) The Saviors step foot inside the walls of the Kingdom, B) Daryl talks Ezekiel into joining the cause, or C) Daryl stares Ezekiel into submission?

Bob:  A, then B

Eric:  The King seems to think that the Saviors will never set foot inside the walls, and with Negan actively looking for Daryl, lets hope that doesn’t happen. So I say B.

Kent:  C, as I am guessing that he will convince Ezekiel to let him go outside the walls for some purpose and hopefully it will be through the power of staring.  The safe money is on A though.

 

  1.  Was it worth the risk to get the explosives all things considering?  More importantly, do you find it feasible that Rick and Michonne came out of that unscathed?

Bob:  Sure is! It shows they will do anything it takes for their freedom! It is feasible for the unscathed result, but not reasonable.

Eric : Not totally unfeasible. But the cars and the wire wouldn’t have come out undamaged, but maybe the walkers are easier to take down now that time has passed and their bodies aren’t as solid as they once were. With Negan taking all of their weapons, it was worth it for the coming fight.

Kent:  We can all look back with some confidence and be like, yeah it’s our group, of course it was worth it.  The reality is that they probably could have gotten 2 less bundles and been smarter.  As for Rick and Michonne somehow going unscathed, this is beyond absurd.  Last I knew, scratches can still infect you.  Just because the walkers are slowly weakening, they are still a threat.  They can still easily lunge at you.  They still have nails and teeth, at least a good chunk of them do.  They also had to be careful in keeping hold of the explosives.  It was about as practical as the Daryl and Carol ambulance flip or Glenn surviving the dumpster scene.  These are things that would not happen, and you have to make peace with that.  If somebody tries to argue about it though, I will be forced to put them in their place with logic and reason.

Rant time.  Let me tell you something brother, the first thing I thought of was wrestling during this scene.  Of course it was, but to be more specific, Hulk Hogan.  You see, in the 80’s and a good chunk of the 90’s, the Hulkster would be put up against the biggest, baddest dudes, all hell bent on destroying Hulkamania.  Every once in awhile, Hogan would get put on teh shelf, like Earthquake did in 1990, but it was always to give Hogan a break for filming or whatever other nonsense he had going on.  Then, he would come back, and he would stand victorious against all evil.  One of the biggest traits of the Hulkster was wrestling fans call “no selling”.  You remember, Hogan would take clubbing blows to the back, punches to the face and he may shake the ropes, his eyes would get huge, he may even wag his finger telling you “not today brother” and then he would hit a few punches, maybe a clothesline, a bodyslam, the big boot, and finish it off with a leg drop for the 1, 2, 3.  Rick Grimes is now officially no selling any danger when it comes to stuff like that, and it does weaken this show slightly for me.  Yes, it’s fiction and anything can happen, but fiction is at it’s best when there are rules to that world and story and people have to follow those rules in order to create drama.  Consider how Superman started off with a few big moves, and that was it.  Nowadays, he has so many more things added to over come the obstacles, the same with Batman, and it kinda takes you out of believing that they are remotely in trouble.  They need to bring back the danger element.  A major character needs to get bit to illustrate that while the living are more dangerous, do not forget about Dre, I mean the walkers.  Otherwise, what’s the point in having walkers anymore?  Either tell us that scratches will no longer kill you, which would make sense considering that everybody is infected already, or give a walker a kill on one of the experts.  Don’t give us Glenn by the dumpster again.  I’m sick of that shit.

 

  1.  Are they foreshadowing something bad happening to Aaron?

Bob:  Nope, just a little LGBTQSIA etc. drama.  (Kent: What?  You dislike long abbreviations that keep getting bigger and bigger?  Me too!  I just say LMNOP and that’s what they get, no more, no less.  Although, I am still a big fan of the UMSHCG, better known as the Ultra Mega Super Hyper Cool Guys.

Eric: Just forcing relationship drama.  (Kent: You guys are killing it right now.)   

Kent:  Aaron is actually a really good character, and it feels like a reverse foreshadow.  Eric offers very little to the group or the show.  He is expendable.  Now we can all be worried about Aaron getting got, but I think the more likely scenario is Eric dying.  Also, it’s as the gents said, just for drama to keep women entertained and involved so they can go watch True Housewives of East Bumfuck after.

 

  1.  Give me your theories, your guesses, whatever you want to call it, in regards to the ending.  Who are these people?  How is Gabriel involved, if he is?  

Bob:  I don’t think Gabriel is involved and is probably being held. I still don’t know who these people are, no idea!

Eric:  Could they be the all women’s group that we saw earlier?  (Kent: It’s possible that is Oceanside, but there are some dudes, or some really fugly amazons there.    It is possible that they have recruited a few dudes since we last saw them, which would be approximately a week I am guessing, 2 weeks at most given what we have seen on TV.)

Kent:  Rick smiled.  Now I know that can be interpreted in a couple of ways.  I’m going to say that this group has Heath.  Father Gabriel is on next week’s Talking Dead, so his story should be explained.  There’s a surprise guest next week as well, and that used to indicate a death.  They haven’t gone that route in awhile, so it makes sense for it to be Heath.  With that being said, it will probably be some annoying actress that brings the show down.  I am going to say that this group is a minor threat, maybe Wolves level.  This should all tie in with whoever spied on Alexandria at the end  of episode 8.  Rest assured, I will be wrong.  Rick is smiling because he sees an armed group and that is what Rick needs.

Also, I feel so bad for any guys in that group.  Just imagine being surrounded by all that estrogen, and they probably initially think “My my, look at all the poon at my disposal” and the 30 minutes later, they aren’t getting any, and are getting nagged all day.  I’d rather get eaten by a walker.  More peaceful.

 

Bonus Deuce

  1.   What was your favorite scene or line from this episode?

Bob:  Rick’s smile at the end.

Eric: “ We fucked the same dead guy, doesn’t make us  friends”  

Kent:  There’s a lot to like in this episode.  I loved Carl’s pissed off look, Gregory’s “Rhetorical”, Ezekiel reading the “Free at last” speech, Rick’s smile at the end, and probably a few that I am missing.  But damn, I have to go with “What the hell you telling me for?  We both had sex with the same dead guy.  Doesn’t make us friends.”  That was awesome, and it kinda redeemed her character a bit, in my eyes.

 

  1.  Who is the biggest ticking time bomb on the show at the moment?

Bob:  Richard looks to becoming unhinged. If he doesn’t get to murder some saviors soon, look out!

Eric:  I agree with Bob. Richard seems out for blood concerning the saviors

Kent:  There are so many people that are like one nudge away from snapping.  You can see it in so many of their eyes, the actors are doing a great job in showing the pressure and tension that they face, well except Tara because her character is just the worst.  At least Jesus is chill, but delivers it in a different manner.  Richard and Rosita top my picks.  Rosita still has the mind to disarm the explosives, Richard is my choice.

All of the pictures are the property of AMC, the producers, Robert Kirkman, and all of the other people who helped make this. I am simply using the images for review purposes.

WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 Review – 9 Deuce

Welcome to 9 Deuce’s WWE Elimination Chamber 2017 Review.  I am joined by Keri-smatic Enigma, Keri.  We run down the card and then we finish it with some overall thoughts. As always, we rate everything on our patented 9 Deuce scale, which is 1.0-9.2.

Of course, we also did our podcast, Are You Not Kentertained, where we discuss some of these topics and others, plus do our weekly segments.  It’s like a verbal companion to the blog. Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

The 9

  1.  Mojo Rawley def Curt Hawkins

Keri:  I did not tune in for the pre show so I missed this one. All of the recaps I read said I didn’t miss anything so whew. At least, I didn’t miss a match of the year candidate.  That would have sucked. Rating: None since I shouldn’t rate something I didn’t see.

Kent:  Curt tried here.  He really tried.  Mojo needs to go back to NXT.  He’s not ready and it’s painfully obvious.  I like the guy a lot, and I want him to succeed.  This match never really clicked.  I will give it a 3,1.

  1.  Becky Lynch def Mickie James

Keri:  This was a good match. But then, again I wouldn’t expect anything less from these two ladies. I was sorta surprised that Mickie lost her first PPV back but then again Becky also needed a win so I guess the outcome was a coin flip. Rating: 5.5 out of 9.2

Kent:  This was pretty much the match that one would expect.  It was well executed, good, solid match.  Nothing memorable really happened, nor did I expect it to, but that would have helped.  I like that Becky tried a different outfit, although I like her old stuff better, kudos for trying different stuff.  Mickie looked really nice on Talking Smack.  I give this a 4.2.  It wasn’t bad, just something I would ever watch again.

  1.  Kalisto & Apollo def Dolph ZIggler

Keri:  This match started what I felt was a night of strong heeling. The pre and post beat downs by Dolph were great from a heeling perspective. The match was ok. The ending kinda predictable since we want a pissed off Dolph and him lose yet again. Rating: 2.0 out of 9.2

Kent:  Well, I liked Dolph’s opening attack.  That was well done.  The match, it was fine, but not PPV quality, in my mind.  The after match stuff was well done and is getting Dolph over.  I don’t know how to read this though.  Does the crowd like Apollo and/or Kalisto, or are they just happy to see a pissed off Dolph.  We are getting “Thank you Dolph” chants.  This match actually was above average but then Kalisto came back and it hurt the flow that Dolph and Apollo had.  On just a match perspective, I would say this was slightly worse than the Becky match.  I give it a 4.0.  

  1.  American Alpha won the Tag Team Turmoil

Keri:  This match was better than I thought it would be honestly. Given the fact that writing for this division has been in such disarray lately, my expectations were set very low. First things first. Strong showing by the Ascension and Ginger Rhyno. Good job creative on the Ascension part of that. As for the Usos this was another example of what I like to call the night of good heeling. Their post Elimination beat down of American Alpha was just what you would expect from good heels. With that being said, the ending was what I expected. Not sure about the storylines coming out of this though. Rating: 4.5 out of 9.2

Kent:  Once again, a match that was very much what one would expect.  That’s not a good or a bad thing, it’s THE thing.  Thank you Roman Reigns.  I am glad that they remembered that the Uso have more aggressive ways now.  I loved that they made The Ascension look decent this week.  I would have given them 3-4 more minutes and really show how dominant Ascension can be, PLUS show AA’s resiliency.  This match should have gotten more time.  If I don’t hear “We go hard” the Tuesday after Mania, I am going to riot.  That’s right, I said it.  You can hold me to it, kind of.  I give this match a 5.0.  I have no interest in rewatching it, but it was well done.

  1.  Nikki vs Natalya went to a double count out

Keri:  I felt this match was slow and predictable at some points. It was boring to watch and showed just how bad Nikki still is in the ring. I don’t think it helped that she was in the ring with Natalya. The count out ending while BS I did feel made both ladies look kinda strong in a strange sort of way. Rating: 2.0 out 9.2 (It was bad but not Nia vs. Sasha bad)

Kent:  Holy balls, Batman.  What a fuckery of fuckerisms.  I stated a couple of times this week that I felt that this match would fail to deliver, and I explained why.  As of late, I haven’t been getting many things right, so this vindicated me a bit.  Nikki’s cross arm breaker was botchtastic, and I don’t know who to blame there, but it was ugly.  Then a couple of minutes later, Natalya shoved Nikki into the ring post on the outside, but Nikki did a horrible job with the bump.  It was sloppy as hell.  Then you had the pacing of a Nia Jax match, not a compliment.  Very slow.  It lacked the heart and aggression that the build up had.  Like, I know that they tried, but it was a poorly booked match.  They should have just beat the holy hell out of each other and had the ref throw the match out.  That would have worked better.  You know how I know that to be fact?  Because the 2 best parts of their interaction was the brawl on the ramp after the match and the brawl backstage involving Maryse, where they planted the seeds.  Those 2-3 minutes were better than the whole match, and that’s a problem.  They should have had that same anger in the ring.  I give the match a 1.8.  I give the aftermatch a 5.7 because I would rewatch those bits.   This feud needs to end because both ladies need people to carry them to better matches at this point.

  1.  Randy Orton def Luke Harper

Keri:  This was a great match and was match of the night for me basically until I watched the main event. Both guys did a fantastic job. I also hope that I see this again with a Bray added at Mania because it was that good. Rating: 8 out of 9.2

Kent:  Was this the match of the night?  I am incredibly torn.  I am going to say that it wasn’t, and there’s one big reason.  They had this early rest hold about 5 minutes in that seemed terribly out of place for that early.  That match was F’N great though.  The commentary team was right, to a degree.  This is the best Orton has looked in a long time, probably since his Mania match with the Double Edged Sword, Seth Rollins 2 years ago.  Luke was over.  Aside from the rest hold, everything made sense.  I got grumpy when Orton went for the first draping 2nd rope DDT because I hate how guys don’t try to fight out of it when they are clearly conscious.  Luke fought out of it.  When Randy hit it later on, Luke had taken far more punishment, so it worked.  Randy has perfected the Superplex and has always done good with the Snap Scoop Powerslam.  Luke was a perfect opponent to showcase Orton, and Luke has just a good of a shot at the Heavyweight title as Corbin does at this point in my eyes.  I give this match a 7.7.

  1.  Naomi def Alexa Bliss

Keri:  In terms of women’s matches, this was match of the night. Both women are fantastic in this match. Alexa really is the total package and is so fun to watch. Naomi put on amazing show. I also thought this match was the start of the righting of the wrongs that we saw towards the end of Elimination Chamber. First for the righting of the wrongs, was Naomi.  Naomi deserved this win and honestly it really was a long time coming for her. Congrats to her! It’s really is about time. Rating: 7.5 out of 9.2

Kent:  This was the match that I had hoped for but was afraid that it wouldn’t live up to my lofty expectations.  Oh my, did it ever.  Alexa was hitting some good, logical moves, but the little things like early on with the hair flip and throwing her gum at Naomi, trying to practically demean her, it was so good and part of the reason why Alexa is the best female wrestler at this point in time.  Her character and mannerisms, combined with her moveset and athleticism, total package.  With that being said, Naomi has the best moveset of any female at the moment.  She is the best offensive female wrestler on the main roster, and possibly better than Asuka, depending on what style you prefer.  When she is on defense, she could add more to her game, especially in mannerisms.  With that being said, she has worked 8 years towards this, and was finally given the opportunity, and she did not miss her chance to glow.  That was a Lose Yourself reference.  I also enjoyed “You glow girl”.  This is the best women’s match that I have seen since Bayley vs Sasha in Brooklyn a year and a half ago.  I know Asuka vs Bayley was good, as was Becky vs Alexa in the table match, but I felt that this was better, and fairly action packed.  I give this a 7.2.  Kudos to both ladies!

  1.  Bray Wyatt wins the Elimination Chamber Match

Keri:  This match was amazing from start to finish. I was not at all surprised they started with Styles and Cena. It seemed appropriate given how the match unfolded. I also felt this was a strong showing by Corbin. The foreshadowing of the new Ambrose vs. Corbin feud that we are going to get going into Mania was perfectly laid out during this match. I predict now that Corbin has the IC title by the end of Mania weekend. Miz was ok in this match but was nothing special. I felt he was outshined by the others in the ring once he came out of the pod. Now onto Bray. The night of the righting of the wrongs continued in this match. And I have to say that two wrongs were righted in this match. The first was the Bray-Cena pin. I felt that righted the wrong that occurred between those two at Wrestlemania 30 when Cena beat Bray. The second wrong that was righted was the outcome. Finally, Bray Wyatt has championship gold. It shouldn’t have taken this long but I guess better late than never, right. Welcome to the Wyatt Era, kids. Don’t forget to follow the buzzards. Rating: 8.5 out of 9.2

Kent:  This match delivered what I think we all wanted.  It had something for everybody.  Kudos to Russ for properly predicting the order of eliminations.  I liked how the used the cage and structure in general.  That’s the appeal of this match is how they choose to utilize the chamber.  I like that the outside of the ring is now covered and not just metal grating.  I don’t agree that pins should only count in the ring, as I feel that would add something extra to the match, but I could be wrong.  I loved when Bray made his entrance and walked past the other 3 guys in the chamber.  You could just feel it.  They protected Cena a lot in this match, as far as big bumps, although he took a few.  AJ on the other hand, man oh man.  That corner spot with him, Bray, and I think Dean was insane due to how Bray tossed AJ.  It was spectacular.  I’m not even upset at Baron’s early elimination because they made it into a storyline where he beat Dean’s ass, and even threw him through a pod.  There, now we know that Dean and Baron are set for a feud. I think AJ impressed me the most during this match.  One thing that I don’t like is how guys have to be positioned to take Miz’s Daniel kicks.  I didn’t like it when Daniel did it, and I still don’t like it.  Too cheesy.  Miz really was good in his short time though.  I am so happy for Bray.  That man has persevered through terrible booking.  He gets drafted to Smackdown, and suddenly he’s interesting and relevant again.  The writing on RAW and Smackdown have made huge changes to careers.  Miz, Dolph, Dean, AJ, Baron, Bray, Alexa, and a few others have all benefitted from being on Smackdown.  Then look at RAW with a deep sigh of sadness.  I give this match an 8.0,  It entertained the hell out of me, it made sense.  What is there not to like here, aside from a few minor nitpicks?

  1.  Elimination Chamber has potentially set up a few matches or feuds heading into Wrestlemania.  Aside from the obvious one (Bray, Randy, and possibly Luke), what interests you the most over the next 7 weeks?

 

Keri:  Baron and Dean. This feud is new and fresh and I think could be very very good…for Corbin. As I said in my review of the match, I see Corbin holding the IC title by the end of Mania weekend and I stick by that opinion. In fact, if he doesn’t,  Kent and Russ both have permission to tease me mercilessly about it for the months that follow. I’m that sure of this people.

Kent:  Nikki and Maryse…….said nobody ever. HA!  Baron and Dean was a hope for me, and now it appears to be a reality.  The things though that intrigue me is who faces Naomi and American Alpha.  Furthermore, where does Dolph fit in on the card?  I have my eye on Dolph, so that’s my answer.  I hope he gets to make an impact, no, that was not a TNA reference.  Fuck TNA.  I caught up on the past month of TNA in like 4 hours one night.  I just have to say this, and I know this is mean spirited, and I don’t want to come off as mean, but what the F*&% happened to Angelina Love?  She was never the hot one in The Beautiful People, but she had her looks and was definitely attractive.  She looks like a hot mess, and I feel bad for even saying that.  I’m not here to judge people on appearance in a negative way, unless it’s about Nia Jax’s attire, but I am just very confused at how different Ang looks now.  I hope that it’s not from anything medical or substance abuse of any kind.

Bonus Deuce

  1. Best Match of the night?

Keri:  Elimination chamber match. For once, I was glad I stayed up for the ending of a PPV. Haven’t been able to say that in sooooo long. It feels good to say that honestly. The sleep deprivation that I feel today not so much but totally worth it.

Kent:  Elimination Chamber, by 0.2 points.

  1.  Worst match of the night?

Keri:  Kalisto and Apollo Crews vs Ziggles. I said when this match happened that all

I was going to say about it was that it in fact happened. As you can see in my review of the actual match, I found a few more words to say. Also this match tied with Nikki vs Natty for me. Both were bad and they should feel bad.

Kent:  Nikki vs Nattie.  If the answer was something different, I would be forced to call you out on having not seen the match.  Dreadful match.

All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

WWE 2017 Elimination Chamber Preview

Welcome everybody to the 2017 Elimination Preview…..9 Deuce style.  I am joined by Russ because Keri has the PPV off and I wish to work Russ like a dog (Ziggler) until he goes on vacation.  We did our best to give predictions, and rest assured, one of us is more right than the other.

Of course, we also did our podcast, Are You Not Kentertained, where we discuss some of these topics and others, plus do our weekly segments.  It’s like a verbal companion to the blog. Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

The 9

  1.  Tag Team Turmoil Match for the Tag Team Championship

Russ:  Well after listening to Kent on our podcast the other night I kind of want The Revival to show up.  While this wouldn’t make too much sense, it would be awesome!  Still I think this is Smackdowns way to fix the Tag division that is in sore need of repair.  I think AA is going to retain.

Winner: AA

Kent:  As much as I want The Ascension to get a run with the belts, I see no point in taking them off AA as they haven’t had much of a run thanks to piss poor writing.  Plus, I am thinking that they may be forced to GO HARD sooner than later and it will help revive the Smackdown tag division.  Then I saw NXT the next day, saw that the Revival are challenging The Authors of Pain for NXT Takeover: Orlando.  So fuck it, let’s go wacky.  Let’s say the Vaudevillains pull it off.  Lose the following month and English gives Gotch the boot.  I’m sorry, but AA needs the reset button with better writing.  It’s not their fault, it’s definitely the writing and especially the booking.

Prediction: The Revival debut and win the belts EDIT The Vaudevillains now

  1.  Dolph Ziggler vs Apollo Crews and Kalisto

Russ:  I bet this may be on the Pre-Show that is how bad this one will probably end up being.  Dolph needs the win here because he needs to become a better heel.  On the other hand, Apollo desperately needs something because he is just floundering.  I hope this turns out way better than I think it will because right now… it’s trash.  

Winner: Dolph

Kent:  Why the hell is this a match?  Couldn’t they have made this for #1 contender to the IC belt?  I really hate the idea of this match, BUT I do love Dolph hitting people with chairs and getting cheers.  Everytime I think Dolph should win, he loses and vice versa.  I’m going way outside the box here, so please no piggybacking.  I think Apollo turns on Kalisto here and we have a new team of Dolph and Apollo.  Apollo needs a mentor and a mean streak while Dolph needs something to do.  If he can help save Apollo’s career, I say go for it.
Prediction: Dolph wins after Apollo turns on Kalisto

  1.  Nikki vs Natalya

Russ:  I am full prepared for this match to let me down, but I hope they give it the right attention because everything leading up to the match has been stellar.  I am pretty sure Nikki is getting the win here, unless The Miz or Maryse interfere and hand the win to Natty.  Either way I’m prepared to be let down.  

Winner: Nikki  

Kent:  I assume that Nikki gets the win here because she is banging Cena.  I hate to go that route, but she is probably on her way out of the WWE, so she will get a nice send off.  Natalya could use this win much more though, if we’re being honest.  I have a feeling that this will be one of the 2 lowest rated matches of the night, possibly the lowest.  Nikki hasn’t been good in the ring since her return.  It happens.  Nattie has a history of being sloppy at times.  This is going to be a trainwreck.  It could use a No DQ stip or a nip slip.
Prediction: Nikki wins and nobody cares

  1.  Becky vs Mickie

Russ:  This one is a tough call because a loss for both won’t hurt either that much, and a win for each will only help so much.  I think this could be a fun match and I am looking forward to it.  Since I am not sure who is going to come out on top I’m just going to say who I want to win.  

Winner: Becky, but I honestly won’t be disappointed if Mickie Wins.  

Kent:  I don’t necessarily feel that Becky needs a win here yet.  Just because a legend returns, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need some early wins and to still win at least 40% of their matches.  Otherwise, it’s  just name value that isn’t worth much.  Becky should get on a roll again this spring I believe.  This match may be better than I expect.  FIngers crossed.
Prediction: Mickie

  1.  Women’s Championship Match – Naomi vs Alexa

Russ:  I am legitimately excited to watch this match.  Ms. Bliss is just the best thing to happen to women’s wrestling since Trish Stratus (Yea I went there.)  I am excited to see Naomi wrestle in a PPV where she can showcase her moves.  I hope this match delivers because I’ll be a very happy camper.  As for who is going to win, I’m not sure.  This is a tough match to call.  However, I really want Alexa to hold the belt going into Mania where she can lose it to either Becky or Naomi there.  If Alexa wins don’t expect this to end cleanly.  I’m serious when I say I hope this feud moves into Mania.  

Winner: Alexa, by hook or crook.  

Kent:  This is actually the hardest match to predict for me.  There are a few matches that are difficult, but this one is tough.  I initially felt that the goal wa sto have Mickie vs Alexa at Mania, but now I foresee Naomi in the title picture through Mania, and if she doesn’t win it here, she’s winning it at Mania.  Mania is in her hometown, so she is more likely to lose, so I suspect that she wins here.
Prediction: Naomi wins the belt

  1.  Luke Harper vs Randy Orton

Russ:  This one is tough.  On the one hand a win for Luke will do a ton for him going into Mania.  On the other Randy has been taking losses left and right on Smackdown that a win here seems like the only way to go.  If Randy wins I expect it to be by cheating.  I hope Bray comes out and interferes.  That way we might be setting up a triple threat match at Mania.  

Winner:  Randy, some kind of cheat then an RKO outta nowhere!  

Kent:  YEAAAAH.  Randy Orton is definitely winning this one, right?  He keeps eating losses on Smackdown, so he’s gotta lose, right?  Exactly!  Yet, I have long speculated that Randy, Bray, and Luke were destined for a Mania triple threat showdown of awesome proportions.
Prediction: Randy wins via cheating

  1.  Elimination Chamber – Cena vs Dean vs Miz vs Baron vs Bray vs AJ

Russ:  Ok, while there seems like only one obvious choice here because of Randy winning I’m still going to try and break this down.  Dean isn’t winning this.  He already has the IC title and I doubt they want to unify the belts at this time.  I expect this match will lead to Dean’s opponent at Mania and I’ll just go ahead and call it being Corbin.  Look for Corbin eating a pin from Dean after he eats a few finishers.  Rumors abound that we will get a mixed tag match with Cena, Nikki, Miz, and Maryse at Mania (Yay?) So expect these two also start their feud, if it happens, here.  That leaves AJ and Bray.  Since AJ just lost the title it makes little sense to have him get it back here.  That leaves Bray and he was the obvious choice so…

Winner: Bray

Kent:  I would never be able to show my face ever again on the podcast if Baron won this and I didn’t predict it.  Being the only big guy though, he’s likely to eat 3-4 finishers in a row, get eliminated, and have a legit excuse for getting screwed over.  Dean is definitely not winning it.  AJ makes no sense because they jobbed him out 2 weeks ago.  Cena vs Orton just happened on Smackdown, plus it’s been done to death, so nope.  That leaves 2 possibilities.  Cena and Miz are tied directly together if one is to believe the rumors of Cena and Nikki facing Miz and Maryse at Mania.  I’m still not believing it.  That’s such a waste of both guy’s time.  Alas, that leaves Bray who would then face Randy at the very least, and possibly Luke.  Randy winning the Rumble is what is really making this the only choice, unless they have Randy take on the RAW champ.  Now that would send the internet into a tizzy.
Prediction: Bray

  1.  What match are you looking forward to the most?

Russ:  It is refreshing to have more than 1 or 2 matches to be looking forward to on a PPV.  Can I say the whole thing? (minus the kickoff match.)  Seriously, while each match isn’t going to be a classic, Smackdown has done one thing right.  They gave me stories that I have some interest in.  Such a simple concept that is usually lost in the WWE.  Still if I have to choose I’m going to choose the Elimination Chamber Match.  AJ and Cena will make this match shine.  Watching Corbin be dominate will be lots of fun, until he eats a devastating move or several finishers.  Dean and Miz are great competitors and they are willing to take bumps for the team.  If it does happen watching Bray win his first Title will be special.  Not to mention it will just be brutal fun, I’m going with it.   

Kent:  If I say Alexa and Naomi, I’m going to get let down.  If I say Elimination Chamber, I’m going to nitpick the hell out of it.  So the easy choice is the obvious choice.  Randy vs Luke should hopefully be an opportunity to truly showcase one of the best in ring performers on the roster.

  1.  Would you change any of the current champions heading into Wrestlemania?  Forget the rumors, but are you happy with the 4 current champs on Smackdown?

Russ:  While the 4 current champions are all well and good and I have no real complaints if I were to change any of them I’d have to say American Alpha.  Smackdown has let down the Tag division and it just doesn’t feel right.  American Alpha should have been conquering heroes who won the belt in a big moment.  Instead they got the belts in a rush job and have been stuck ever since.  Let’s give them a reboot and chase the titles, but this time give us purpose. Give the belts to some group that is a bit unexpected like The Vaudevillians or The Ascension.  Finally, I’d love to see Bray as Champ, he deserves it.  

Kent:  I’d give Naomi, The Vaudevillains,  and Bray the belts.

Bonus Deuce

  1.  Should WWE give Luke Harper the win?

Russ:  Yes and No.  Yes, if they have no plans to interject him into the Main Event at Mania.  No, if it means he does get into it.  

Kent:  No, not yet.  Let him be the underdog who wins it at Mania and shocks the world.  We always want something unexpected, yet fresh, and not terrible.  This checks all the boxes.

  1.  Pick order of elimination for the elimination chamber.

Russ:  Baron, Dean, Miz, Cena, AJ

Kent:  Miz, Baron, Dean, Cena, AJ
All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

The Wrestling 9 Deuce – February 6 & 7, 2017 – The We Just Had A PPV Edition

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the wrestling blog that despises part time wrestlers getting premium matches at Wrestlemania.  We like other things though, like Smackdown, NXT, 205 Live, and midgets.  Here’s the deal, we have 9 main questions about RAW, Smackdown, and 205, and then 2 bonus questions that are simply wrestling related.  Get it?  9 and 2, the 9 Deuce…..eh, you’ll figure it out.

Of course, we also did our podcast, Are You Not Kentertained, where we discuss some of these topics and others, plus do our weekly segments.  It’s like a verbal companion to the blog. Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

The 9

  1.  Samoa Joe made his in ring debut on RAW against Roman Reigns.  He got the win, only after Braun caused a distraction.  Give me your thoughts.  

Russ:  Overall I enjoyed the match.  It was pretty brutal, which you expect from a match with Roman and Joe in it.  I thought it was a good showcase for Joe to be introduced to the WWE Universe at large.  Joe winning was also the right call.  If you thought this was going to end cleanly then you clearly don’t know WWE.  I figured Braun would come in at some point.  My only real complaint is that we still have no clue what they are going to do with Joe while Rollins is on the sideline.  I hope it is against someone he can put on a hell of a match with because his presence alone makes me want to watch Fastlane.   

Keri:  I think we are being too quick to judge here folks. And I’m not going to criticize how Joe was booked Monday night because I will do plenty of criticizing RAW later on in this blog. Joe, I feel was booked strong Monday night. His opening contract signing segment was strong and he had a strong match with Reigns. I didn’t really expect anything less from him but with RAW creative you never know. Also, It looks like we are going to get Reigns vs. Braun at Fastlane so the interference really only served one purpose which was to advance that storyline. I think this is the only thing that RAW did “right” Monday night.

Kent:  To nitpick or not to nitpick, that is the question that I must ask myself.  Yes, Joe beat the unbeatable in his first match, which is incredible for a rookie.  On the other hand, it wasn’t what one would consider clean.  Yes, we know that heels cheat.  I am pretty much indifferent.  It didn’t help, it didn’t hurt.  It did nothing for Joe.  I would have put him in a match with Sami, Kofi, or Goldust and have him just decimate them.  No need for Roman to be involved yet.  This whole instant impact thing isn’t always good because when you start at the top, there’s only one way to go.  Fortunately, Joe doesn’t give a damn, so he’ll be fine.

  1.  What are you looking forward to most for next week: The Festival of Friendship, Emma’s re-debut, Goldberg talking loudly, New Day cutting a promo about food, Enzo seeing a coupla hate-ah’s, Braun Strowman demanding competition, promises of updates on Seth’s condition and then getting something that was previously posted on Twitter, or Bayley vs Charlotte with Nia’s inevitable appearance?  P.S.  That shit is gonna be HISTORIC!!!

Russ: Wow, when you put it like that, who could resist next week’s HISTORIC RAW!  All kidding aside, I guess I am most looking forward to Emma’s re-debut for one main reason.  I honestly don’t think she is going to show up next week and that will just be hysterical.    They have built this thing up so horribly and done absolutely nothing with Emma that I truly think they are now just trolling the WWE Universe.  If she does show up it will be epic for all of 5 seconds until she comes out and either loses the match she is in or there is no crowd reaction whatsoever.  Either case I will have a great laugh.  I am mildly curious about the Festival of Friendship, but we all know that Goldberg is just going to ruin it for everyone.  

Keri:  When the labels historic and RAW come into play you are only left with one thing. What is that one thing you ask? Well, it’s the same old crap as last week. This means there will be no Emma. The Festival of Friendship is going to be another way to showcase Goldberg. Seriously, can’t he just finish this thing with Lesnar and leave? He’s not providing any other value and it’s not like he is there to put over young talent. In fact, I think he may be there to bury them. With that being said, I have a feeling it’s going to be the same old RAW that we are used to seeing. So, in one word, boring and awful. Ok, two words, sorry.

Kent:  I can hardly contain myself with all of this riveting excitement.  Let’s face it, Emma isn’t going to be on next week.  We know that the Festival is going to end with Goldberg being a bully and breaking things.  Yes, Goldberg has shown that he is nothing but a bully, so that’s cool.  I think I am curious to see just how bad New Day’s promo is going to be, so that’s my pick.

  1.  Seriously, what the hell are the New day doing?  Really, what the hell did that promo accomplish?  Why do the Shining Stars still exist?  

Russ:  Time to answer this question with questions inside the question in the order in which they are presented.  First, New Day, just what are they doing?  It seems to me that the WWE is using them as a fun throw away segment that is meant to entertain the audience and do little else.  While this is all good for the short term, it doesn’t help the New Day in anyway move their characters forward.  This is the time of year we need to see some development! What are they doing at Fastlane?  What will they be doing at Mania?  We still have some time, but they need a direction quickly.  Second,  again I think it accomplished a way to entertain the crowd and nothing more.   Was it mission accomplished?  Yea, I think so it was a fun promo.  Finally, I have been asking this question since the Shining Stars began.  Why do they exist?  My only answer is that WWE creative doesn’t have time for the lower card guys so they slap some shit together and hope it sticks.  It happened to New Day in the beginning, and through the sheer wit and perseverance of the three guys involved they made it into something special.  While, guys like New Day can turn turds into gold The Shining Stars are not capable of doing that.  As for the match it was good.  I just don’t know why The Shining Stars didn’t pick up the win that could have started at least a small feud.  (Kent: Not trying to be combative here, for once, but did New Day really will themselves into that position?  I remember that the crowd turned on them, I think it was the night after Mania 31,   Yeah, they sustained success, no doubt.  I guess my question is did they luck into their initial success as a team thanks to the crowd shitting on them, or was it simply a testament to their work?) Russ: (good question!  The way I look at it is that creative gave them a horrible gimmick that at first was more straight edge.  The crowd hated it and turned on them.  As the gimmick came crashing down Creative allowed the guys to add their own flair and it started working.  Of course I don’t know any of this to be true, but I remember how bad this gimmick was when it first started and how things changed to be spectacular.  

Keri:  Oh New Day. Remember when they were tag team champs for what seemed like an eternity and they were over af. Yeah, so do I and so does Creative. Creative has done what is called in the business world a course correct. They realize what they did and now they are trying to bury the New Day back into obscurity. And ice cream seriously.  I’m still waiting for my CM Punk ice cream bars, WWE. But I know those are not coming so I know New Day ice cream is also not coming. To answer the rest of the questions, the promo served no purpose other than to remind the fans how tired this gimmick has become. Also can we release the Shining Stars, please? They are so poorly booked and honestly I think these guys may do better in the indies. (Kent: If you release them, then you need to replace them.  RAW needs tag team fodder.)

Kent:  I listened to the promo and I just didn’t get it.  First of all, the last guy who wanted something to do with ice cream on WWE was CM Punk.  We know that Big E is close to AJ Lee.  I don’t think that is a coincidence.  I don’t see how that promo furthered anything.  It really wasted time from an adequate match, that I was hoping the Shining Stars may win.  Like, they need a win twice a year.  I think it is in their contracts.  Keri, go investigate that for us.

  1.  RAW set up a fun match for 205 for the #1 contender for the Cruiserweights.  By the year’s end who do you think is going to be the “King” of the Cruiserweights?  

Russ:  Wow, another riveting question in the 4th spot that begs to be answered!    I really enjoyed this segment because we got to see something WWE rarely lets us see outside of 205.  A little high-flying action.  Each guy got to show the WWE Universe a little bit about what makes them great!  While I won’t see 205 until after the podcast I am excited to see who comes out victorious.  So now to answer the question.  I think a reinvigorated TJ Perkins could be the “King” of the Cruiserweights. Was it just me or was TJ kind of being a dick out there?  Testing the waters of a turn? Or just refining his character?  Either way he needs something fresh to rekindle what could be a great career.  If WWE goes ahead and moves on a fresh angle and interesting feuds I can’t see how TJ won’t be at the top by years end.  

Keri:  So, I’m still not caught up on my 205 live so I’m not sure of all the guys involved. Sorry everyone but I’ve been very busy. But I do know that I like me some Gallagher so I will choose him. The division and the belt really could use some gentlemanly refinement if you ask me.

Kent:  Yes, yes, handsome question, pat yourself on the back and self fellate yourself.  Great, now that we have that out of the way, I will now answer your question.  I know that Gallagher is being groomed to be huge, but by the end of the year, who knows.  I mean, if the question had asked who we think would be Cruiserweight of the Year in 2017, I may be able to answer that better, so that’s what I shall do.  I honestly think that Neville has a chance to remain relevant for awhile, but I’ll go with Tozowa with Cedric as my #2.  By end of the year, Noam Dar because I can predict something 330 days from now.  Wait, fudge it, Austin Aries.

  1.  So, there was no Rusev on RAW. In fact, it appears that he has now been regulated to Main Event. Where do you see him (and Lana) over the next 3 months?

Russ:  Rusev is one of the best wrestlers in WWE today and  WWE knows this.  WWE also knows that Murica hates itself some foreigners because “They Ain’t from Murica.”  So WWE continually paints Rusev as the foreigner to get quick cheap heat for a face they want to promote.  While Rusev is great at this it hinders him from moving forward as a character in many ways.  It is almost impossible to make him a face the way they have structured him.  Rusev is a charismatic guy, just watch his interaction with Shawn Michaels, but when you are the enemy of America it is hard to get away from that character.    So where will he be for the next 3 months.  Honestly, I think right where he is.  In obscurity where they will use him when they need quick heat against a guy.  What a waste of talent.  

Keri:  Here is what is wrong with this picture. And I think you all know what I’m going to say. You have Lesnar and Goldberg fighting each other for the 3rd time in 6 months at Wrestlemania (yes I’m counting Rumble). Why do we have to see this again? Seriously. We have young “New Era” big guys that should be put over and instead we get washed up part timers fighting each other. This is insulting on so many levels. Insulting to the fans and to the young talent that bust their asses week in and week out. Why isn’t Rusev in the title picture or at least close to it? I guess WWE knows better than me about these things. Oh sorry. I completely forgot to answer the question. See what happens when I start ranting. I see Rusev doing nothing at Fastlane and then possibly winning the Andre the Giant battle royal.

Kent:  Dammmmmmmn, Keri just gave them the business.  When a question about Rusev comes up, first it fills me with pride to see others who care about one of the 10 best in WWE.  Seriously, he’s that good.  Now I am trying to talk myself into my bold claim but if you go with overall, looks, mic ability, act, and in ring, I stand by the top 10 claim.  He looks like a beast, he has one of the 3 hottest chicks in WWE as his wife, he is foreign but can cut good serious and funny promos, and he is damn good in the ring.  The other thing I think of when a Rusev question is asked is: what is the worst case scenario?  I actually think that this tag team lasts the next 3 months.  Whether it is the right call or not, if they were booked properly, yeah I got jokes, that could be a solid 6th team for that tag division that desperately needs a boost.  Thankfully, they just jobbed repeatedly to Enzo and Cass.  Eh, By year’s end, he will hold another championship.  Believe that.  Andre the Giant Battle Royale is going to be his big Mania match.  He once rode a tank to the ring and still lost.

  1.  It’s official, we have 3 women’s matches for Elimination Chamber, and I’m not even mad about that.  My question is to rank the matches in order than you are most excited to see, 1 being most excited and 3 being least excited.

Russ:  I think this is the first time I’ve seen 3 women’s matches on a card and didn’t think long bathroom break.  Time to order these sum bitches.  3.  Becky vs. Mickie.  This isn’t a knock against them.  Just out of the 3 matches this one has the least intrigue for me.  I love seeing Becky wrestle and Mickie is great in the ring so I’m sure it will be a fine match, but story wise this has the least connection for me. 2.  Natty vs Nikki.  This may be one of Nikki’s last matches so it will be interesting to see how they play it.  Also, the story behind this rivalry has been interesting.  I loved all of the brawls they have had up to this point and I hope we get to see that fire at the PPV. (Kent: No you didn’t.  You gave zero F’s about the concession stand brawl, as we all did.) 1.  Alexa vs. Naomi.  Alright, while Alexa is not the best wrestler, I’m hoping she can hold her own.  So, then why is this my number 1? One thing is that what Alexa lacks in the ring she more than makes up with her character!  I just love to watch her act.  That alone is almost enough to give this the number 1 spot. However, what shoves this far into the lead is Naomi’s in ring ability.  How I never noticed how good she is in the ring I’ll never know, but she is one of the best in ring performers of the women and I think you could argue she is the best. I can’t wait to see a PPV match that features her and we can really see what she does.  

Keri:  I’m legitimately excited about all three and I didn’t realize I cared about one of them. Let’s start with my number one pick, which is Mickie vs. Becky. This one excites me. Both women are really good in the ring and they have the ability to tell an amazing story once this match starts. Speaking of story telling, my number two pick is Natty vs. Nikki. They are finally going to get to fight and I think it’s going to be a very good fight. For my last pick, I have to go with Naomi vs. Alexa. Nothing against either woman, it’s just that I’m not that vested in this match. At least, not yet that is.  I would like to see this feud develop though as we approach Mania season and then I’m sure my opinion will change.

Kent:  Nikki and Nattie seemed to be a guaranteed 3, but then Talking Smack happened.  Nattie left Nikki’s faceprint on the underside of the desk.  It was great. I really wish that they had a no DQ stipulation.  Then I remember Nikki vs Carmella at TLC flopping.  This shall stay at 3.  Becky and Mickie has this darkhorse chance at stealing the show.  By the numbers, Alexa and Naomi should be better.  Mickie and Becky are in #2.  I have been wanting Naomi to get a championship match  that was legitimate, and I am starting to believe that she is champion at some point during Wrestlemania weekend.  Her and Alexa are my 1.

  1.  The Ascension won a match.  Did Hell just freeze over?  Did any team do a decent job to try to stand out in a terribly crowded field?

Russ:  I was barely paying attention to this match when it was on and when it ended I heard the words Winners and Ascension in the same sentence.  You can imagine my confusion!  I thought I heard that wrong so I rewound the match a bit.  Holy Crap!  They did win! I was shocked beyond belief.  I was also shocked to see that Aiden English was getting a bit of time in the ring.  Smackdown has been doing a real good job of shaking things up and keeping us guessing just a little bit.  So I guess  Aiden and the Ascension stood out to me the most.

Keri:  Wait, Kent, are you completely sure? I swear I thought I saw a snowflake or two on Hell’s radar. Anyways, good for the Ascension for finally picking up a win. They sorta deserve it after how they have been treated since getting the call up from NXT. With that being said, these all hands on deck tag matches have to be stopped. No one is standing out and it’s just making the writing for the division look very sloppy. Perhaps after Elimination chamber, the division will have a clearer direction.

Kent:  I checked the weather, and Hell did not freeze over.  As Keri mentioned, there may have been a few very special snowflakes though.   I am so confused.  Let me tell you something, we know that if you win before the PPV you typically don’t win at the PPV, but recently, WWE has done things slightly differently.  No, Baron isn’t winning and neither is The Ascension this weekend, but a man can hope, right?  I felt that Ascension and Aiden English stood out slightly.  I’m telling you, Aiden is going to be a star.  Just not anytime soon.

  1.  What was better: The Opening promo segment with Daniel Bryan, or the ensuing 4 man match, in which Baron Corbin won?

Russ:  That is like asking what is better:  A million dollars or a million donuts.  (Kent: Dollars as you need insurance for the medical bills after the aforementioned donuts.  I really want donuts now.)  I’d take both in a heartbeat.  Seriously though, both segments were on fire.  The fatal 4 way was a little slow to start, but when it picked up man what a match!  Again, I was shocked (well this was my first shock chronologically)  to see Baron get the pin. Not only did he get the pin, but it was on AJ Styles!  That was crazy to me.  They must really like Baron Corbin if he is getting a relatively clean pin on AJ.  The opening promo was fantastic.  Everyone brought something special to the table and made for a great segment.  The Miz was great as was of course Corbin was as well.  I like how he sticks to his Lone Wolf gimmick and doesn’t align himself with heel or face.  A lot of times WWE isn’t the best at sticking to gimmicks logically.  Yet, with Corbin they have done just that.  Great 30 – 40 minutes of TV right there.  

Keri:  I have a question. Why not both? In this case,  I can’t pick just one. The opening segment was great. Great mic work and crowd interaction on the part of Miz and Bryan. Everything was great about it. The match built on the opening segment and it delivered even more. And you know what, it was Corbin’s match. Period. End of story or should I say end of days. He was fantastic in it. He really keeps impressing me week over week. The last person on Smackdown to do that won her first title not that long ago. I expect I will see the same for Corbin sooner rather than later.

Kent:  Man, the Miz absolutely killed it in that promo.  Nobody is better on the mic than The Miz, not even Jericho, in this moment.  Daniel was great and vibing off of the crowd.  Everything really clicked for me in the promo.  The match was fun as you would expect, someplace in the high 5 range.  Baron won it, but he didn’t have a great performance in my overly critical mind.  He held his own.  Nobody really had a chance to shine, it was simply a showcase.  I will say that the promo was preferred by me because I got more joy in less time.

  1.  Luke Harper should be at Wrestlemania.  I am left wondering, will Luke be in a match other than the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale?    Yes, there are possibilities, but in the end, I want a definite yes or no, will he be in a match other than the AtGMBR?

Russ:  I would love to see Luke get his rightful place in a match against Bray and Randy in  triple threat match at Mania.  Now I know that Randy pretty much has to be in the title picture.  This means that Bray will probably win at EC.  That’s fine, Bray deserves a title run.  The Wyatt Family feud has been one of the best feuds to come out of WWE in a long time.  Why not have a great showcase match on the biggest stage in the game.  So I’m going to say yes! This will indeed happen.  

Keri:  So, I’m a firm believer that worth it storylines are worth it. And the dissolution of the Wyatt family is one of those storylines. There is plenty of momentum left in the tank on this storyline to get Harper involved in the Bray-Orton plans. Right now, we are closing in on Elimination chamber and Bray is involved in the Championship match. I say there are some shenanigans in this match that could result in this storyline moving forward. Then, I predict a three way match between all three individuals at Mania (with or without the title).

Kent:  This is tough because the question isn’t about being INVOLVED, it’s about being in the match.  I am going to say that maybe miracles can happen and that somehow the triple threat Bray, Randy, and Luke match happens.  I will only give it a 20% chance, but that’s what I am guessing and am as confident about it as I am in Sami Zayn winning the 2018 Royal Rumble.  You read it here first.  It’s happening!  Also, Daniel Bryan brought up Luke’s ladder match with Dolph at TLC on Talking Smack. Yeaaaaah.

Bonus Deuce

  1.  The Road to Wrestlemania used to be the most exciting time for wrestling fans, from the Royal Rumble all the way to Wrestlemania.  Has the Road to Wrestlemania jumped the shark and become the worst time period of the wrestling calendar?

Russ:  This is a tough question because I can see two sides to this.  First,  It still is an exciting time.  Last week things really picked up on a few marquee feuds.  They picked up to a point that they were getting good.  In particular Rollins vs. HHH was looking like it finally was getting legs.  Then Rollins gets injured and WWE has to shuffle the card.  If Rollins didn’t get injured I think we would be getting pumped right now because we would have Joe and Rollins, Roman would be more focused on his Strowman business.  On the other hand, I think that because we still have to build up 2 Pay-Per Views before WrestleMania so they are trying really hard to make WrestleMania feel big, but also have to make you want to watch the FastLane and Elimination Chamber.  This hurts the majority of feuds because we don’t want to see  rehashing at WM we want to see Awesome feuds come to an eventful conclusion.  Trying to build up the other 2 PPV’s first takes away time we could use to develop smaller feuds on the card.  I am still convinced that this is the best time of the year to be a wrestling fan, but I can see others’ frustration with what is happening.  

Keri:  This is the second year in a row that I have zero f**cks to give about Mania. There is nothing really to look forward to, at least on the RAW side of things. Seth is injured so that means no Triple H vs. Seth. We will probably get match of the night from Owens vs Jericho but that is one match on a 6+ hours show. We will potentially  have two washed up has-beens fighting over the Universal title because reasons. And don’t get me started on the women’s division. Nia Jax should be no where near the women’s title. The NXT one maybe but not the RAW women’s title. And the tag team belts well that has potential if it’s just Gallows and Anderson vs Enzo and Cass. Now on the Smackdown side I have only heard rumors. But Orton vs Bray could be good as long as the title is involved. The title, however, should be no where near the Total Divas cast or it’s storyline. Way to ruin the belt if that is the case WWE. At least the intercontinental match should be interesting.  In any case, I will be watching only to criticize this year’s show on this very blog. WWE is going to have to pull something amazing and not “historic”out of their hats to impress me this time.

Kent:  Well, I’d go so far as to say that after Survivor Series is lackluster, but T:LC happens in December, so that’s not entirely fair.  So yeah, Rumble to Mania has become this 2 and a half month period where everything great about wrestling gets thrown out the window.  Logic is a dirty word.  Old part timers are now suddenly unthawed and brought out and suddenly these 40 and 50 year old guys are far superior athletes to their 20 and 30 year old counterparts.  Titles?  If you’re old and you want a title, here’s one.  You want to tie the all time record, here’s a title.  You get to keep it for 2 weeks because we really think highly of you and this belt.  You want a streak, too bad because we brought in another guy who hated this industry so much that he walked away, so despite your old ass being the most loyal of loyal, go F yourself.  Hey Dwayne, you’ve made a name for yourself.  Can you take the belt off of our best performer and lose it to a guy that you face last year at Mania?  That would be super.  Hey, you’re a retired NBA legend who has lost most of his athelticism.  Would you like to get a win over one of the most dominant big men of all time?  That’s super.  Oh, you’re the owner’s son in law?  You want a match?  I mean, screw these guys that have been busting their asses for 250 plus days a year, you have it rough in your suit.  Who do you want to have a super long and boring match with.  It can be anybody.  As a bonus, we can have your wife slap your opponent repeatedly, and he will never get his come uppance.  Hell, you don’t even have to lose.  We sure showed that guy, The Crow was it?  That guy in the face paint, he was like a WCW legend, but this WWE so he’s 0-2 and total trash.  You bury him.  Nope, this wonderful time of the year!  I love it.  WRESTLEMANIA!  Let’s go stare at each other, then stare at a sign, and then one of us will point at it because that makes it feel more important.  I got goosebumps just typing that.

  1.  The Wrestlemania era Mount Rushmore is pretty much set in stone currently.  It includes Hulk Hogan, Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and John Cena.  It doesn’t include the Rock, and if you argue with me, I will make you look like a complete moron in my argument, so just don’t.  The question is a simple one that requires lots of thought.  Does anybody that is on the current roster, including HHH, have a chance to take one of those coveted spots?  If so, how and who would they replace?

Russ:  This is a really tough question.  The majority of the roster hasn’t been on long enough to say that they deserve to be enshrined on the Mount Rushmore.  Do we have a few guys that have potential?  Yes, but it is way too early to say definitely yes (so much can happen to them in their careers.)   Here is a list of potential replacements.  I’m not saying they are at the point of being a yes right now, but maybe 5 – 10 years from now we might be singing a different tune.  AJ Styles.  This is tough, because he doesn’t have that many more years and that kind of hurts him.  However, AJ is one of the greatest in-ring performers ever so if he is allowed 5 or 8 Mania’s he may be something to talk about.  My other guy is… and I know Kent will totally agree (Sarcasm)  Rollins.  If he can stay healthy… thats a big if… he has the potential to put on a decades or more of classic matches at WrestleMania.  He already has one feather in his cap.  First person to cash in Money in the Bank and win the Title at Mania.  It is still way too early to say a definite yes for anyone on the roster, but these two guys have a future shot.  As for who would they replace… Well you can’t replace Hogan or Taker.  That leaves Austin and Cena, which I don’t think you can replace them either, but I must so I’m going to say take Austin’s face off that mountain.  

Keri:  So, I believe that a wrestling Mount Rushmore should contain those that have ultimately built the business to what it is today. Hogan is a given. Why? Because I wouldn’t be typing anything about the WWE right now if it wasn’t for him. Undertaker is a Mania legend. The streak survived for over two decades. No one on today’s roster will be able to achieve that accomplishment. Stone Cold is also a given. The man saved the company during the Monday Night Wars. If he hadn’t, well we would all be watching WCW now wouldn’t we. Now, onto the Cena. This one I have a slight problem with and I’ll explain why. Yes, his impact over the past decade has been remarkable. But, to put him with Hogan, Taker, and Austin well that is difficult for me to buy. Should a current roster member take that spot? No, none of them have the star power to do it and for that I blame the current state of WWE writing. Who would I choose? Why not Andre, Flair, Macho Man, Warrior, or Michaels? You know the guys from the Wrestlemania era that are larger than life and have built the company and to a lesser extent  the Wrestlemania phenomenon on their backs. 

Kent:  Let’s cross off a few easy ones.  Ric Flair’s accomplishments are split with a good chunk of his career before the Wrestlemania era.  The Rock has issues with number of titles, longevity, and years being the #1 option. Austin was the big dog during Rock’s height and while it was a height, he was at best, #2, he doesn’t have the importance of a Taker or Hogan or Cena.  Austin is the only person that Rock could knock off via all the criteria, but Austin rapes Rock.  HBK, Bret, Sting, Edge, and Y2J are all off the radar for similar things.  There are 2 guys who intrigue me most.  The reason I asked this was mainly because I got to wondering what it would take for Randy to really be in the conversation.  I think Randy would need to hold the record, so whether it be 17 or 18 or whatever, he would have to solely hold the record.  He needs another 3-5 years as mainly a full timer, maybe not for house shows, but at least half the year of WWE TV for the next 3-5 years.  At that point, he either replaces Cena, if Cena falls into the Hollywood pit of doom, or Austin.  Yeah, I said it.  

The one guy who I think has the best argument currently is HHH.  HHH was on top through quite a few eras, namely Attitude and Ruthless Aggression.  During the Reality era, he still was on top, but became a part timer and was important in storylines.  He has 14 titles.  He may be the greatest heel of all time.  The question is how much does his work backstage count, namely NXT?  I believe that he has had a hand in the Cruiserweight Classic which led to 205 and the revival of Cruiserweights, and also the UK tournament.  While I am aware that none of the other guys have had that kind of power, a lot of these guys had a ton of backstage power.  Hogan notoriously had all kinds of power during his years main eventing Mania 1-9, then the WCW contracts and creative control.  Taker, well, I don’t think anybody tells Taker what to do.  Cena obviously has some control, same as Austin, but I don’t think it is as great as Hogan or Taker.  How much does HHH’s backstage endeavors weigh in for this conversation?  Austin started his ascent in 96 and retired close to the top in early 2003.  He suffered quite a few big injuries that cost him time at the top, plus he left over the Brock Lesnar spat.  Just because he was the face of the company during it’s peak, does that mean that for a career, his was better than HHH’s?  With a gun to my head, I say that Austin is more important than HHH….so far.  On the other hand, HHH has had a significantly better career than Cena.  My new Mount Rushmore is Hogan, Taker, Austin, and HHH. HHH has 2 less title runs, and half of his title runs were just as shitty as half of Cena’s or Flair’s.  NXT is easily the deciding factor as far as I’m concerned.

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