Posts Tagged ‘Raw’

Brooklyn RAW Crowd / “Diva Revolution”

August 25, 2015

Opinions are mixed on the Brooklyn crowd’s disrespect toward the Raw Divas match featuring Team Bella (Brie, Nikki, and Alicia Fox) against Team PCB (Paige, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch). I’m of the opinion that it was appropriate. Not toward the new Divas, obviously. They’re just doing what they’re told. The chants from the crowd were more directed to WWE decision-makers. It was the realization that the “Diva Revolution” was just another trendy hash tag fad that tried to take advantage of the recent momentum of women in sports (Rousey, USA Soccer, Serena Williams, etc.). The crowd realized that it was disingenuous, like most of what WWE’s main product puts out these days. If you needed any other proof that it’s a branded tagline with no meaning, count how many times JBL and Cole say ‘Diva Revolution’ during their segments. It’s enough to want to make me mute the TV. Not because I’m anti-women’s wrestling, but because it’s so forced that it makes me want to cringe.

First, you have to start from the beginning of what’s wrong – and what is wrong with WWE in general. There are very few storylines. Sure, the main event feuds typically have storylines, but they’re generally vague and lack logic. NXT women’s wrestling works because not only can they work a match, they can tell a story. It’s back to basics. Wrestling is good overcoming evil. The babyface is held down, screwed, and always comes up short while the heel cheats their way to the top. The babyface finally overcomes heel. Why was Bayley against Sasha Banks so amazing at NXT Takeover? Not just because they had a great match – those can be a dime a dozen. It’s because people had a reason to emotionally invest. Bayley was down and out again and she overcame Sasha and beat her – fairly. I mean, just the promo video before the match got you fired up. There was a finish without interference or timekeepers ringing the bell. Kevin Owens against Sami Zayn worked because they had history and a storyline. I mean, there are still massive portions of fans that think Undertaker is a babyface just doing what he has to do to win. That’s a direct result of the idiocy of WWE announcing these days. I could see Undertaker sacrificing a litter of kittens in the ring and JBL screaming, “HE’S JUST DOING WHAT HE HAS TO DO TO WIN.”

Back to RAW. Since debuting, the Divas have been on teams. Sasha is saddled with the incumbent Naomi and Tamina. Becky and Charlotte are saddled with Paige. Team Bella is saddled with Team Bella. With the exception of possibly Paige, the incumbent Divas don’t know how to work the crowd and tell much of a story. I also think that they have no interest in doing so and instead are more concerned with keeping their spot and backstabbing – this is wrestling, after all. Would you rather model, be on an atrocious reality show, and work 2 minute matches or be paid the same to do the same and bump around 10-15 minutes a night and possibly have your lack of talent exposed? It’s also nearly impossible to get over by having endless 3-woman tag matches with no meaning or backstory. We are forced to sit on our hands until Nikki breaks AJ Lee’s title reign record because personal grudges are more important to McMahon. Instead of the obviously more talented new women squashing the current Divas, they were subjected to not only being forced to sell for them, but to trade wins – essentially rendering the entire thing pointless. After watching those women in NXT, the idea that Brie Bella could pin one of them is as realistic as Bo Dallas taking Brock Lesnar out, yet Brie pinned Becky at one point.

Monday night was the culmination. The most popular Diva, Sasha, wasn’t even on the show. What we got was an absolutely awful promo where the Divas bickered amongst each other about absolutely nothing, which lead to yet another 3-on-3 tag match that also meant nothing for the winners or losers. This match lasted somewhere around 15 minutes and 75% of the match was Team Bella working rest holds on Team PCB. It ended with Alicia Fox pinning someone. Some Divas Revolution. It was an awful match. Why was it so awful? Because there is no storyline. Who cares who wins because it means nothing?

Triple H said this weekend that he doesn’t just put the NXT women in the main event; they earn their way into it. WWE is forcing the Divas to have more time, but not giving them any opportunity to earn it. Sometimes I wonder if it makes Triple H sad that he has to watch people that he made stars in NXT are marginalized and snuffed out in WWE. NXT just sold out a 15,000 seat arena with a roster of independent wrestlers and development talents. Pretty much every match on the card and the wrestlers were OVER with the crowd. Is it genuine? Is it just the audience rejecting the bland, meaningless WWE product? Who knows, but I do know Triple H can promote and book a wrestling show. I look forward to the day that he takes over WWE, but he’ll be saddled with Stephanie, who I think is just as clueless as Vince.

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WWE RAW Review (09 July 2012)

July 10, 2012

Here we go with another WWE Raw review – this time for Raw #998. Michael Cole called it #999 to open the show, so that should give you a sign that this show was a debacle. TNA is receiving fairly universal acclaim for their PPV Destination X this past Sunday, so what will WWE do to try to steal at least some of their thunder? I’ll warn you, they basically crapped on everyone’s TV screen.

The show opened up with AJ skipping to the ring. Blah, blah, blah, and out came CM Punk. Eventually, AJ proposed marriage to CM Punk before being interrupted by Daniel Bryan. Bryan then proposed to AJ instead. Punk and Bryan argued back and forth and the stupid iPhone text jingle went off. You know what this means – the Anonymous RAW GM is back. The computer booked AJ & Punk vs. Bryan & Eve as the main event. Quick, name one mixed tag match that has been awesome… Time’s up! Couldn’t think of one? What’s that tell you? Those types of matches suck? If so, you’re smarter than the WWE writing team.

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WWE RAW 1000

July 10, 2012

WWE has been putting on the worst weekly show humanly possible for quite some time now. That being said, RAW 1000 is coming up very soon and I have a pretty fantastic ticket that I could probably flip for 5-6x what I paid, but I won’t. That being said, the entire show is being built on past stars and part-timers. Shawn Michaels, Triple H, The Rock, and Brock Lesnar are all official right now. You can almost be certain that Undertaker will make an appearance (I mean, he was on RAW #1). Ticketmaster still has tickets, but the best left available is 12 rows up in the upper deck. StubHub’s inventory is also rapidly decreasing, which means this show might be a legit sell-out by July 23rd.

The arena capacity is 19,150, but I don’t know how many more seats a WWE event adds. That being said, the reason most people are going is a bad sign for WWE. People like me are going to see the older stars because there is no way in hell I’d pay to see the regular garbage they air every week. One day, that proverbial well will dry up. Triple H appears enough that his appearance isn’t that special. Shawn Michaels has less and less to do with WWE every year. Undertaker will soon retire – probably very, very soon. Lesnar doesn’t care about wrestling and he’ll make his money and be gone again after WrestleMania. The Rock is the #4 highest paid actor in Hollywood and if you think he’s going to ever really make a full-time return to WWE, you’re insane. Kane is reaching the end of his career. The same goes for Jericho and Big Show. Cena has the Bieber Effect in that all his fans are children and once they reach a certain age, they aren’t fans anymore. Punk and Bryan continue to have their Championship feud overshadowed by AJ, Kane, Cena, MITB, take your pick. WWE is in big, big trouble.

WWE Raw Live Blog (02 July 2012)

July 3, 2012

Pre-opening: The Colossal Clutch is the name for Big Show’s stupid half assed Camel Clutch.

Great, the MITB has 3 guys who won’t bump. Great ready for a plodding, slow match complete with many, slow, very slow ladder climbs. Cena comes out happy and smiling after being assaulted. But no, he’s above being mad. I really don’t like Cena. Sounds like Cena is cutting a promo for all the 9-year-old fans.

Is this what wrestling has come to? Just long winded, pointless promos with all the competitors just talking over each other? Great, here comes Jericho to say he’ll win.

No, he’s just going to go through all his past catch phrases. Since the audience is 9 year old, they have no idea what’s happening. And here’s Kane to add to this pointless rambling.

Big Show adds nothing to this. Just utterly pointless. Almost like the bookers can’t come up with an original idea to build a feud, so they based an entire, boring 15 minute promo on it. Goodbye ratings. A 15 minute promo that accomplished nothing.

Oh, God. A completely random 8-man tag. Christian, Santino, Kofi, and Truth vs. PTP, Otunga, and Rhodes. Will this lead to anything?

This is a really sloppy match. The Prime Time Players again show that wins don’t matter. They took a blatant loss again. Then Rhodes walks out. Now it’s 1 on 4. Now Otunga is apparently being written off TV with a heel-style beat down after being pinned by Santino. All the kids in the ring dancing with Brodus make me feel stupid for watching this.

The whole heels bailing on a match and taking a count out doesn’t really work if they aren’t champions. Heel champions do it to keep the belts as they don’t change hands on a Count Out. Why do they really care if they lose? They’re the champs! If they aren’t the champions, it’s a loss that should hurt their standing as competitors, right? Illogical.

Love that Raw flashback with McMahon training for Austin.

Hey, once again Del Rio slams that car door like he wants to damage the car. Is he retarded?

This is the best booking of Sin Cara ever. No one wants to see his garbage style and I’d rather Cara look like a jobber than someone like Christian. Maybe Sin Cara won’t come back.

I warned you last week. WWE tried to hint that Lesnar would respond, but didn’t actually advertise him. Now you see it’ll be Heyman. Nothing wrong with Heyman, though. Don’t expect to see Lesnar though.

See? WWE ruined Lesnar already. Him being dangerous would be believable if Cena hadn’t beaten him. So, uh, what does he think Triple H will do to him if PG Cena took Lesnar’s best and still won?

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WWE RAW Review (25 June 2012)

June 26, 2012

Raw improved marginally from last week, but that isn’t saying much. It’s like going from an F to a D-. Starting from the beginning, Vickie Guerrero is the guest GM. It turns out that the permanent GM will be revealed at Raw 1000, which means these next 3-4 shows are just going to be throwaway shows as they prep for a huge 3-hour Raw 1000. Anyway, Guerrero announced Punk vs. Bryan vs. Kane in an unannounced Triple Threat elimination match. OK, two problems here. First, this match had no hype whatsoever prior to right now. Second, this is an exact rematch from the No Way Out PPV 8 days ago. You cannot continue to make people regret spending money on a PPV. They are extremely expensive nowadays. Sure, it wasn’t a 20-minute match, but still, you’re giving it away on free TV 8 days after it aired for $55 on PPV.

Despite that, the match is fine. It was nothing special and the finish protected all 3 wrestlers. It moved the AJ/Kane/Bryan/Punk story forward. Kane was pinned after distraction and Bryan got the pin on Punk by blindsiding him, more or less. Moving forward, it sets up Punk vs. Bryan II at the next PPV. You can’t really be upset about that. Hopefully, it’s a clean match and Kane doesn’t get involved.

Next up, Vickie makes a Ziggler vs. Del Rio match to determine the #1 contender for the World title on Smackdown. That seems kind of rushed and pointless. Shouldn’t these guys be trying to get in the MITB match instead? Vickie makes this an ‘object on a pole match’. Those are never pretty. Ziggler comes off in the segment looking strong. Last thought on this: Vickie is Ziggler’s manager, so why doesn’t she just book him in the title match on Smackdown? If she isn’t loyal to him, why didn’t he just dump her? It’s silly things like these that make the product look cheesier than it is.

Next up, Big Show vs. Brodus Clay. Here’s another example of WWE just blowing potential PPV matches. A month ago, Show laid out Brodus. In response, Brodus was switched to Smackdown brand, which I don’t understand because I thought the brand split was over, yet they still treat it like it exists sometimes. Brodus ends up playing a part in stopping Big Show in the cage match at No Way Out. Ok, so there’s a nice little feud here and it gives the WWE somewhere to go with Big Show and Brodus at this point. Nope, WWE decides that it’s best to throw together a rematch unannounced on RAW. Clay comes out walking just fine despite having a bad knee from some attack on Smackdown. I don’t watch Smackdown, so I have no idea what happened. He gets in a tiny amount of offense, but Show mostly dominates him and gets the easy pin. Then as Clay is being helped out, he gets KO’d by Show again.

This accomplished two things. First, the aging and stale Big Show is a monster. Great. Second, Brodus is a novelty act. The only way this will remotely help Clay is if he returns and takes Big Show out. Knowing WWE, they’ll forget about this and Clay will be dancing on Smackdown next week.

Then, a skit with AJ and Kane is next. Don’t care. The US Championship is being defended this week. Turns out Santino is done feuding with a ring announcer and doing 90-second jobs to Del Rio. It also turns out that the jobber, err, Santino, is also holding a meaningless title. His opponent, Jack Swagger, earned his title shot by losing to Ziggler last week. I know it makes a lot of sense. Shockingly, Santino beats Swagger. Swagger is a former World Champion, so just like the Miz; he’s just being buried weekly.

John Cena is out next to announce his big announcement that he promised on Twitter. Is he retiring or taking a break? Doubtful. He calls the majority of the WWE audience a bunch of 9-year-olds. Thanks, asshole. Way to shit on probably 70% of the audience. He goes on and on with his childish promo which surprisingly didn’t contain any homophobic slurs. Right before he makes his announcement, he gets interrupted by Jon Bon Jovi. No, wait – it’s a returning Chris Jericho. Jericho trashes Cena and says a few things that the non 9-year-olds are thinking. Cena then announces he wants to be WWE Champion again and stop Big Show, so he’s in MITB. The non 9-year-olds with a collective eye roll since we know Cena will likely be given an 11th title reign. Jericho announces he’s also going to be in the MITB.

Out comes Vickie, who says they can’t just enter themselves in the MITB. I was wondering if they’d address that. Big Show has an out because he’s got his contract and does what he wants, I guess. She then announces that only former champions can compete, so Cena and Jericho are in anyway. Well, that was pointless then. Why not start out with that stipulation? She also sets up Jericho vs. Cena tonight. There’s another potential fresh PPV match going for free tonight. There was a joke about WWE being PG in there, but I missed it.

Next, the return of Sid Vicious/Sycho Sid that kept with the Raw 1000 theme. Sid’s looking rough. I saw a quote from someone that said something along the lines of, “Sid looks like he’s seen some things, some bad things,” and that’s pretty accurate. All that aside, it was fun and I enjoyed it. Thank God he didn’t jump off the second turnbuckle, though. If you don’t know what that means, search “Sid Ankle” on YouTube.

The contract on a pole match is next and this was terrible. I’m all for Ziggler getting a push, but this was a disaster. These pole matches are always absolutely stupid, but this took it to a new level with them trying to pick up the dropped clipboard. Sheamus randomly walks out and says he’s excited because Vickie says it’ll be a triple threat match for the title at Smackdown. This is so dumb on so many levels. Once again, Vickie undermines her guy, Ziggler, by booking him in a triple threat. And Sheamus is so stupid, it hurts. He’s excitedly announcing the match even though it puts him at an extreme disadvantage as he won’t even have to be pinned to lose his title. Jerry Lawler pointed this out, but was probably quickly screamed at for making sense in his headset. The only good thing about that match was stopping it.

Now here’s a Diva’s battle royal while they wear bikinis. Yeah, this is a PG show. AJ wins after the travesty you’d expect.

It’s main event time. Cena and Jericho. It’s an OK match until the Big Show comes out. He distracts Cena and Jericho puts Cena in the Wall of Jericho. Show comes in and leg drops Cena, earning Jericho a DQ. Jericho backs off and Show puts Cena in half camel clutch, sort of. More like a choke out. So show pulls back on Cena choking him out and it reminded me a little of Chris Benoit with his Crossface, which is probably how he murdered his son. Turns out the anniversary of that was the day before. Great idea to leave us with that image, WWE. Stay classy. And for those of you who say that’s just a coincidence, this is Vince McMahon we’re talking about. There are no coincidences. This is the man who runs the anti-bully campaign on the shows and then openly mocks a man’s disability on the show.

So, Raw was better than last week, but the PPV is shaping up to have a pretty weak undercard. Not that it matters because all the PPV matches will be on RAW and Smackdown, I’m sure. Next week, don’t hold your breath for Lesnar to be there. They aren’t advertising an appearance, just his ‘answer’. It’ll likely be a taped interview or a lawyer/Heyman delivering the news.

Professional Wrestling

June 23, 2012

I have a lot of opinions on professional wrestling. Yes, I call it wrestling, not sports entertainment. Let me start out by telling a story. I used to go stay at my Grandparent’s house for a week or so at a time during the spring break or summer when I was out of school. They lived over in Illinois, while my parents lived in Indiana. So, what’s a kid to do other than swimming in the pool or playing NES? Watch TV and movies, of course. My grandma would take me to the local video store (remember those?). In 1991, when I was still 7 years old, I chose Wrestlemania VI to rent.

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From there, I was hooked. The crowd in Toronto was insane. The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan were my favorite wrestlers. You do realize that the Warrior gorilla pressed Hogan in that match, right? Not a body slam, he actually lifted Hogan above his head. That’s just phenomenal. Anyway, from there I rented Survivor Series 1987, 1988, and 1989. Summerslam 1989 and 1990. Wrestlemania IV and V. I remember when I got home, I found WWF All-American Wrestling on TV and it was the build-up to Wrestlemania VII.

One of my best friends around that time was also a fan and his parents would let him order the PPV events. I remember most vividly watching Summerslam 1992 in London, England. Once he moved away, he would order the PPV events and mail me VHS tapes of them several weeks later. Once we finally got cable TV, I’d watch the scrambled station and listen to the PPV events. I remember ripping down a Shawn Michaels poster and crying when he beat Bret Hart at Wrestlemania XII. Nowadays, Shawn Michaels is my all-time favorite and arguably the greatest wrestler to step into a ring.

Before that, I had moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and had been introduced to World Championship Wrestling by a neighbor kid. I wasn’t a huge fan of WCW at the time, but when Hulk Hogan jumped to them in 1994, I casually started watching, but WWF was still my main interest. I even remember ordering items from WWF Magazine’s mail order catalog – it’s hard to imagine not having the Internet back then. In 1994, I attended my first live event – WWF King of the Ring 1994 in Baltimore while I was visiting a friend. We had nosebleed seats and could barely see anything. Owen Hart was like a speck in the distance. It was a terrible experience overall, but that was my first event. In 1997, when I entered high school, I found some friends who were also wrestling fans. It hadn’t been too popular with people in middle school. If you were a fan, you didn’t really admit it.

In 1997, the nWo was pretty much changing the wrestling world. WWF was crumbling and WCW was on top of the world. While I still watched WWF mainly, I started watching WCW Monday Nitro more and more. Fans from that day will sympathize with me when I say it was a struggle flipping between shows before the era of DVRs. From 1997-2000, I really became a hardcore fan. I also became a huge fan of Extreme Championship Wrestling. I don’t remember how I discovered it, but it might have been a 2AM show on a local channel, which is where ECW aired their syndicated weekly show. In May 2008, I attended ECW’s Wrestlepalooza 1998 PPV in the Cobb Civic Center. It was a small venue, so our seats were just incredible. It was a great event and it introduced me to Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Sandman, and others that I didn’t know a whole lot about at the time. ECW was so good, we ended up going to another house show in the same building in 1998 and an ECW on TNN TV taping in Atlanta. We had front row seats at the ECW house show and it is still the most awesome experience I’ve had at a wrestling event. The main event was RVD and Sabu vs. The Dudleys.

Also in 1998, my friends and I got tickets to WCW Nitro in the Georgia Dome where we witnessed Goldberg beat Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Championship. We were pretty much the only Hogan fans in the building, but it was an amazing experience regardless. We hated Goldberg because we were Stone Cold Steve Austin fans and thought his look was a rip-off. I was 15, give me a break. Despite my Nitro love, I was always a WWF guy. The Attitude Era was, in my opinion, the best era of wrestling – period. ECW, WCW, and WWF at their peak and it was unreal. Oddly enough, when WWF bought WCW and ECW folded, I stopped watching. I don’t remember why I stopped. From 2001 until about 2007, I had almost no interest at all.

The thing that got me watching wrestling again was the Chris Benoit murder/suicide. When they originally reported it as if they were all victims, I tuned in to watch the Raw tribute. I semi-regularly started tuning in, but it just seemed different. I started watching the Wrestlemania events that I missed and ended up ordering Wrestlemania 25 and 26 to see the HBK/Undertaker matches. Now that I’ve been caught up and watched everything, I’ll argue to my death that Shawn Michaels/Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25 is the best match in Wrestlemania history.Anyway, Wrestlemania finally came to Atlanta, so my friend and I decided it was worth it to go despite not being as much of a fan of the product anymore. I mean, it’s Wrestlemania. We also ended up getting tickets to the Hall of Fame ceremony and saw HBK get inducted. I thought that was more enjoyable than Wrestlemania because I love hearing the legends tell stories and reminisce. Wrestlemania 27 was a lackluster card, but it was a fun experience.

Now we’re in the present. I watch Raw weekly, but end up fast-forwarding most of it. It’s just a badly booked show (More on that later). That being said, I’m finally going to attend a Monday Night Raw – the 1000th episode, no less. I have a great seat; I’ve learned what seats suck and what seats don’t. I’m pretty excited for it because I’m hoping it won’t be a normal show and it’ll be packed with guys I grew up watching. Now that I’ve shared my history as a fan, I’ll share my favorite moment in the history of Raw.

Raw used alternate live and taped episodes during the Monday Night Wars. In early 1999, when both shows were drawing 5.0’s and still running neck and neck, Mick Foley won the WWF title at a taping to be aired the next Monday. During the live WCW Nitro, Tony Schiavone announced on air that Foley was going to win and sarcastically said ‘that’ll put butts in seats’ and they promptly lost about 15% of their audience in an instant. Schiavone apologized and explained why that happened, but it’s not the point. That match was the best moment in Raw history. The crowd was absolutely on fire. Stone Cold returned from a brief hiatus and the place just exploded. When the ref counted 3 and announced Foley the champion, it just blew up again. It was just an unbelievable scene and I remember my eyes watering while I watched it. Just a great moment and reward for a guy who really deserved it.