Wednesday, October 19, 2016

RASSLE TRIBUNE #3 OMFG

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RASSLE TRIBUNE #3
Things Happened in Wrestling! WWE builds towards another old star’s return, SmackDown gets silly, RAW gets sillerious? NJPW Hits a Home Run, and TNA!

So I must mention in full disclosure that this issue is heavily rushed due to some wild day-job related activities. One being getting no sleep and that not being tied to my ‘rasslin fixes. It’s really a tragedy when you can’t even fixate yourself onto the wacky world we all know and love to wind down after days of dealing with complete bullshit. Yet ALAS! I don’t take no shit and I don’t let time or sleep keep me from this damn, beautiful work that I do. So let us just get our asses into it all!

Hayabusa vs Jushin Thunder Liger, NJPW Super J-Cup 1994
When you can say a match starts with a dive, I feel like you’re really in a great place. So this is how Hayabusa looks at ring psychology: is the man on the floor? Then he will be dove upon and given every move ever until either I job out or he dies at my feet. I must say I appreciate this philosophy. Liger’s philosophy? Whipping your ass! Hence, we get a damn fun match. It could be argued that this year is the peak of either man and this match shows quite a lot in that regard. Hayabusa just throws everything out there and really looks great...until he botches a Shooting Star Press horribly ON THE MAN THAT INVENTED THE FUCKING MOVE! Hayabusa really was the Japanese Sabu after all. I still have to recommend this match as well as any other work from both men, especially Haybusa who’s career ended far too soon due to injury. Hayabusa does bust out a bizarre, almost reverse half crab hold that looks both parts hurty and cool. Liger is so fucking awesome here as clearly the better worker and he shows what it takes to be a top star in wrestling, not just Japan. He shows that mean streak that we all have loved from his work that know him, and also shows incredible grace in the same moment. If this was 1994, you’d be shitting yourself seeing what these two do at a time when Bret Hart and Yokozuna were doing plodding, WWF main events. And Hulk Hogan was in WCW, just let this all sink in people. ****

So I figured out a way to watch WWE and not pull my hair out: watch SmackDown first, RAW second. I do this because RAW is much like European beers; it is quite heavy and bloated. Three hours for a wrestling show is just death. SmackDown is much like a nice, Mexican cerveza; light, pleasant, and leaving you wanting more...sometimes anyways. Thus! We start our week with SmackDown’s No Mercy fallout show.

WWE SmackDown 10-11-2016:

Whoever made the “Give me Dolph or Give me Death” sign is a brilliant person! It’s amazing how a guy I thought was done finds himself at least over in some way again. Is he Cena 2.0? No one is but hey Dolph never lost his pushes because he wasn’t good. The guy is really awesome in the ring when motivated and underrated on the mic when, again, he’s motivated.

Dolph talks about how he didn’t know if he was going to win. Way to show you have very little faith in yourself, like many others in the crowd and the said crowd sit on their hands for this promo. Insert the usual “I almost lost it all” cliches in wrestling. In a very odd moment, he mentions that if you don’t believe him about not knowing about his win, he says “go check your guide and hit the info button”. That’s about as Vince Russo as it gets for 2016. He’s saying this TO A LIVE CROWD AS WELL. And that crowd responded with..nothing. Miz comes out to SAVE THE FUCKING DAY! Miz and Maryse are in all black looking somber as hell. They simply come in and take a moment of silence and boos fucking GROW. This man is the best heel in wrestling today. Miz shushes Ziggler and says he’s mourning the death of the IC Title and I die. Miz then proceeds to cut a fantastic promo about his run and how he brought prestige to the title. This garners a mixed reaction actually which shows how much respect Miz has gained over the last couple of years. Miz says now the title is mediocre at best because DOLPH is mediocre. Miz flubs a line about how it’s time for him to be the hero and overcome. That promo lost a few points. Miz basically says he wants his rematch and Dolph then throws it to video of Miz’s sad face after losing the title that was GOLDEN SHIT. Dolph makes fun of Miz for crying and Miz gets stoic and says that the face represented everything he has worked for being stolen from him. The crowd chants “You were crying” and Miz throws a great zinger at them saying they’d never understand passion and I love it. Miz fires up and says he is not done and neither is the Spirit Squad. Oh no this is now a weekly thing? I will heavily pass. They announce that it will be a handicap match with The Spirit Squad and Dolph. Fuck.

Dolph Ziggler vs Ken Doane and Mike Mondo
Mauro Renallo tells us that “Daniel Ziggler” made this match. Oh wow. This is not the best showing so far for Team Blue. Ziggler makes the two goofs look like goofs. Mondo’s actually talented but he’s not in a position to get over. Miz huddles up with the boys and I die more because that’s hilarious that a Hollywood star would be friends with two middle-aged cheerleaders. Gotta love ‘rasslin. This is your typical handicap match with bullshit double teams and Miz distracting. Slater and Rhyno come in and save Dolph from triple teaming which really makes him look GREAT! *

We get hype for the tag match between Kane and Randy Orton against Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper. You have to be kidding me.

We get the heavily scripted Shane and Daniel Bryan announcement that Survivor Series will be a card dedicated to RAW vs SmackDown...only 4 months into a brand extension. So at a time when both brands should be focused on building their own stories and characters, they’re instead going to throw it all to the side and have some exhibition that probably would work better at WrestleMania.

Carmella is grating. We get more bullshit between Nikki and Carmella where Carmella comes out of nowhere to beat her up in the back. Great, more shitty matches.

Carmella vs Naomi
They could have something unique with Naomi but that would require pushing her well. I don’t have faith in that. Carmella of course takes her out before the bell and makes her look stupid. Alexa makes this better simply by watching the match with a bitch face. This just happened and Nikki bounced down to the ring to try something. A nothing match.

Alexa cuts a really awesome promo after the match and I’m a big fan.

Jimmy Uso vs Chad Gable

Gable takes down Jimmy right off the bat and gives him a mat lesson. This is a fairly basic match with a lot of rest holds which I’m not exactly big on. Gable does an awesome side twist flying clothesline which was cool. Then we get an armbreaker over the top rope but The Usos cheat for the pin like real dicks. Good stuff. **1/2

We get a backstage segment with The Hype Bros and we get a tease of some animosity between them. Then The Ascension shows up and stares at them. Spooky.

AJ Styles comes out to brag about No Mercy. This is the usual “I’m great” kind of affair and the gist is that he’s giving anyone in the building a match. Ambrose comes out and AJ says he isn’t talking about him. Ambrose says that AJ “don’t want none” of him and it is dumb. AJ says he has plans other than a match with Ambrose and out comes James Ellsworth. This is so ridiculous. AJ puts his arm around him and says he felt about about that tag match Ellsworth was screwed out of weeks ago. Strange continuity. He says Ellsworth deserves a NON-TITLE match and Ambrose is a public mark for Ellsworth and we get a huge pop for it. Daniel Bryan emerges to lay down some law. He says that AJ doesn’t run shit here and he thinks that the best thing to do is to start the match now but Ambrose has a job to do, that job is being the referee! Fantastic. Ambrose takes the ref’s shirt off and puts it on. Bryan lets us know that if AJ hits Ambrose he could be fined and/or suspended.

James Ellsworth vs AJ Styles
This is camp as camp gets. Ambrose takes his sweet time doing anything, including counting pinfalls or checking submissions. At one point he checks his phone while Ellsworth taps like hell to the Calf Crusher. AJ gets mega pissed and yet, he can’t touch Ambrose. This felt like an old school Memphis match in so many ways with Ambrose milking even the smallest things like weapon check before the bell. I was surprised at how much I really liked this because it wasn’t done in a poor way. I mean lets face it, AJ hasn’t been booked very smartly as champion so far anyways so having him do a mini-feud with a jobber isn’t all that out of the realm of possibility. Now rating it as a good match? That’s tough but as a spectacle this is first class! I think the highlight for me is when AJ shitcans Ellsworth to the floor and Ambrose states that “he’s just a child” to which AJ screams “no he’s not he’s a grown man!” This is just classic shit. JBL also gets the Danny Davis’ confused from WWF referee and Southern territories fame respectively. We get an awkward spot where Ambrose flirts with a ringside fan, I wonder how Renee felt about that one. Probably took it in stride she is great. Ambrose gets tired of playing games and drills AJ with Dirty Deeds and gives Ellsworth the big win. ***

Orton is backstage looking real paranoid. He finds Kane. They reminisce about the Stone Age, or sorry that was just my own personal hatred for Kane being on my TV. Orton tries to sound poetic and it fails. He says all that his life is about is pain. Orton says the voices in his head actually try to help him stop hurting people, but he doesn’t listen. Real psychopath. Kane says he is in. Real old weirdo.

We get the announcement of Ellsworth vs Styles for the title next week! Oh god, I must have more Memphis wrestling on my modern WWE TV.

Randy Orton and Kane vs Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper
I’m so damn happy Harper is back. The man is so good in the ring and has a very rare, crazed aura about him despite being a really nice guy by all accounts. Just for once can we get a strong Wyatts push? Sure it isn’t ever going to be as great as it would have been earlier but this IS salvageable. This match is very short which is good with Kane involved. Kane immediately beats up Harper which is just great. Harper gets things together though and in comes Bray to...get beat up some also. Bray has to retreat and has a look of complete fear. Orton and Harper start to fight next and Orton throws out a Bob Jr. Superplex for the family’s sake. Kane is in again and I snore/ Kane takes the dogshit worst whip into the barricade by going about -10 miles-per-hour. Orton goes fucking nuts on both of his opponents on the floor. Things get weird when the ref ignores the in-ring, legal action to scream at Kane which of course leads to Harper leveling Orton with a superkick. This is quite the sloppy one. The lights go out yet again and Harper is in Kane’s spot on the apron. Some real Vegas shit. Orton runs right into Bray’s Sister Abigail and gets pinned. This spooky stuff is pretty polarizing. **

The news hit Monday that Goldberg would be returning to WWE on the following week’s RAW program. This is amidst the rumors that he will be facing Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series in Toronto in November. I’m both intrigued and annoyed by this development. On one hand it is really fun to think about these two big, established stars go out and show off what they can do and hopefully we don’t just get the WrestleMania 20 kind of match. However, I look at this also as a potentially good example of a part-time former star being paid big money for short-term gains that don’t benefit the future stars. If Goldberg comes in and simply does a one-off program with Brock it could be very good at its best. Time, as always, will tell.

I can’t recommend RF Video’s Reflections interview with Broken Matt Hardy. I get that there are people that find the stuff that Hardy has done as of late with TNA as overproduced and corny but the man needs to be commended. He is unbelievable at keeping within kayfabe and he’s one of the very few that even knows what in the fuck that term means. He is fantastic and young wrestlers should actually learn from his dedication towards his “character”. I love that he never breaks and this interview is simply him grilling some goof that thinks he’s cute for trying to bring up Matt’s early career. Somehow, Matt nails the issues with modern wrestling right on the head, all the while still being “Broken” about it. He simply says that things in wrestling have gone far too much in the favor of “spot monkeys” and the essence of what wrestling was built on;simulated hand-to-hand combat, with a nice Shakespeare spin. I couldn’t agree more and while I love a really fun stunt show spotfest, I think it goes on far too much. A guy like Will Ospreay should be doing spot fests because that is HIS expertise and he is smaller which gives this said style a level of logic. Seeing a guy like Moose doing dives is just stupid because why would a man that can throw around the entire TNA roster or many other rosters jump around like a high flyer? Basics will always work.

RAW 10-10-16 Thoughts:
-Really Shocking News Alert: The New Day is fucking awesome. However, throwing them in a match at the pay-per-view with two guys that just weeks ago were in a heated war against each other doesn’t do them favors. Cesaro and Sheamus have a fun chemistry and it is a shame they’re going with an angle that is as overdone as a gas station pizza slice.

-The cruiserweights continue to bust ass but the crowds aren’t responding. Having Perkins do a fucking awful promo with video game cliches used in it was terrible. Perkins is already having to fight upstream and to give him a segment like that really hurt. Kendrick? He’s fucking fantastic let us hope he doesn’t get some of the same hatred.

- I hate white ropes. Like despise them. So when I saw that this show had the white ones, I lost my shit probably when it was unnecessary. I just hate how neutral that color is for the whole look of the ring and I love that RAW and SmackDown are different and that includes the ring ropes. Little things can make such a huge difference in the eyes of your paying public and don’t get me wrong that little detail isn’t going to kill RAW at all. It just doesn’t help me out when I look at them and want to destroy my TV.

-Sasha and Roman vs Rusev and Charlotte on paper looks phenomenal and perhaps the easiest match to get heat off of that RAW has. In practice this match was just DEAD. The boys and girls worked really hard to get them into it but they just weren’t buying what they were selling and since WWE has to have everything choreographed down to the last detail, they weren’t afforded the luxury of improving it to improve things.

- I liked the angle involving Owens winning the Universal title. I felt that they had so many different options and they did. There were a number of ways to make Triple H handing him that title something special and instead? We’ve gotten yet another half-assed angle. No mention of why Triple H did it. Nothing from him at all aside from some useless cameo on WWE.com after Night of Champions. Owens and Rollins deserve something they can sink their teeth into and they’re not getting it yet.

Sasha Banks starts the show with a promo after her Women’s Title win. She mentions that it is Eddie Guerrero’s birthday and talked about how he made her believe that this was her calling. Then she put over Lita and Trish Stratus for being the first women that made her want to be in WWE. Then she went further about her winning her second “RAW” Women’s Championship. A lot of the usual inspirational babyface stuff and Sasha’ fantastic. She’s got an insanely special charisma to her. She finally says she wants to make the rematch with Charlotte inside HELL IN A CELL. The fans react big and I immediately groan because I feel that this is a potential let down. It isn’t like they’re going to let those women go as wild as the men. So out comes Charlotte to answer Sasha’s challenge yet before she’s in the ring she’s interrupted by Charlotte and Rusev? This is great. Charlotte shoots daggers at Lana. Great. Young Buck Rusev comes out and says “no one cares about the stupid women’s revolution” and I fucking HOWL! What a damn heel he is godly. Charlotte rips the mic from Rusev! HOLY FUCK. Charlotte asks Rusev who the hell he thinks he is?! This is too much heat to handle. The fans actually pop for Charlotte though. Charlotte agrees to the HIAC and Rusev says that’s good, but still screw this he wasn’t finish “black swan” HOLY FUCK. Rusev just became my favorite. SASHA TAKES HIS MIC OUT OF HIS HAND AND TOSSES IT! This is too glorious. Lana has the mic now and says they’re “lost women who need to know their place”. Tremendous. CHARLOTTE AND SASHA SHOVE DOWN LANA. Segment of the year so far. Rusev is shitcanned by them ALSO. This is perfection and...Roman Reigns is here to add garbage to the festivities. WHAT A FUCKING JEER BY THE CROWD. There’s something strong in Roman and Rusev hating each other, it’s much like a modern day Magnum TA and Nikita Koloff...only if Magnum was the heel and Nikita the loved fan favorite. BUT HEY! We of course will get a mixed tag out of this...oh jesus.

We get the announcement of Jericho vs Rollins for the 99393 time tonight. Oh great, honestly they have good matches but why all the same matches? You can do things again and again but spice it up.

New Day asks Oakland to not dare be sour and feel that WWE Tag Champs power. I’m ok with it as always because these men are money. They almost can’t get their promo out because people love them. They talk about great pairs in sports and entertainment. Of course this leads to them stating their great, record setting title run. Big E awkwardly puts over Cesaro for being “handsome” and “thick AF” wow. Then they shit on Sheamus and it is awesome. Sheamus is apparently still BASURA! TRASH! HOT GARBAGE. Xavier might be the sickest man on the mic today, he just never gets flustered. Cesaro’s music interrupts and we get a nice pop for the Swiss Superman. As he should get because he’s great. Sheamus kind of...walks out from the back like the lackey he should be. We are told it will be a singles match between Cesaro and Kofi. Cesaro and Sheamus do the dueling taunts and obviously Cesaro is more over. Funny.

Kofi Kingston vs Cesaro
This is some pretty good stuff for a TV match. Cesaro continues to be perhaps the greatest television wrestler in this decade or longer by doing all his impressive shit. Kofi even marks out for him which was great. They do some moves and fakes for a while just like two faces would do. Cesaro and Kofi start to look like they’ll fist fight and Sheamus is nowhere around to help Cesaro against all three New Day members so it’s ignored for a commercial. Match comes back to Kofi in the driver’s seat. Cesaro comes back though and starts slinging around his awesome european uppercuts. Things end up pretty sloppy in the end, climaxing when Kofi botches a springboard that leads into a big swing attempt but Sheamus distracts Cesaro who gets rolled up. Cesaro is mad. Classic odd couple stuff. **

We get a replay of Goldberg on ESPN. He mentions not having to give Brock Lesnar a rematch, yet that would be the big match he’d take if he came back. What kind of dumb statement was that? Obviously this gives us the catalyst to the eventual match.

Bayley vs Cami Fields
Totally great reaction for Bayley here in her hometown area. She gets a job match yet she gives quite a bit to Cami in this. Reminded me a lot of the kind of job matches you’d see from the workhorses in Crockett where they’d give enough to the jobber before absolutely demolishing them in the end. Bayley works hard and does her best to be good at selling. At least she TRIES, too many don’t even know enough to do that. *

Dana Brooke blindsides Bayley and the INFLATABLE MEN DEFLATE OVER BAYLEY. Great image to build what might be a bullshit match. It’ll test Bayley’s ability to carry Dana that is for sure.

Jericho is in the back, on the phone. He’s putting himself over of course and R-Truth sees him and starts laughing behind his back. Jericho gets pissed and demands that the person on the phone get him a payday. R-Truth says don’t worry, I have one right here! Jericho says he meant an actual payday, not the candy. R-Truth apologizes and leaves. Jericho is mad he didn’t get it anyway and calls him a stupid idiot. Grand.

Drew Gulak and Tony Nese vs Lince Dorado and Sin Cara
It’s not a good thing when Sin Cara gets the biggest reaction between four men but it’s not fair either. He’s been on WWE TV for years and the other three are brand new. Gulak and Lince start off with some really fun lucha transitions. Gulak has enough and brings in Nese who also gets overwhelmed. Sin Cara tags in after a bit and starts doing more..stuff on Nese. That’s basically what this match was; stuff. Gulak tries to cheat but gets knocked down to the floor by Lince. Lince finds himself in the wrong side of town and gets cut off from Sin Cara for a while. We get a very cool Gory Special by Gulak. That gets the crowd up a bit also. Sin Cara was very good in this and perhaps he will find his niche in this new Cruiserweight division. I really enjoyed the spots between Lince and Gulak. Lince ends up getting the win with a Shooting Star Press on Gulak. I liked this quite a lot. ***

Foley is walking in the back with the worst combover and flannel suit in history. This man proves that you can’t judge people by their appearances or he’d be committed. Stephanie puts his wardrobe over in obvious sarcasm and asks if she can join him during his big “Hell in a Cell Address”. He says sure in the way that you’d say sure to your mother suggesting you go out with the girl next door that picks her scabs.

Next up is said Foley and Stephanie Address. Stephanie actually puts over the No Mercy show from the night before yet she also says Hell in a Cell will kill it. Stephanie gets her cheap pop in while saying Foley is going to add more to the big card. Foley says that the women “don’t get what they want because they want it, they get it because they get what they deserve”. Foley said that women deserve to make history so he’s going to make that match official. I also realize suddenly that this show is in Boston, one of Sasha’s backyards. This could be SPECIAL EDITION SHIT. Foley keeps on though and mentions that Rollins will get his rematch against Owens and that it will also be a Hell in a Cell match. That brings us up to three matches inside “Satan’s Playground”. Very TNA of them I must say yet car crashes always get some big crowds.

This brings out our Universal Champion Kevin Owens and his best friend Chris Jericho. Owens says this was a dumb decision because “I don’t wanna be in a Hell in a Cell because I want a long career unlike Foley”. This man is great in case you forgot. Jericho then goes into how Foley is nothing more than a genie in a stupid suit. Jericho goes into a list of demands that are silly and Foley scoffs at him. Jericho mentions a private jet for Owens and Jericho. Owens says that would be better than giving Rollins another match. Jericho says he knows Foley never liked him but it isn’t fair that Owens get hate. Foley in a classic moment says; “Hey I put you over to Paul Heyman for ECW but it is safe to say I’ve not liked you for 19 years”. Goddamn you Foley. Foley then begins to play along as Jericho milks putting him on the list and GETS A HUGE POP FOR PUTTING FOLEY ON THE LIST. Foley mentions how dumb this is and IS ON THE LIST AGAIN! Ok this is getting near the level of the opening segment. Stephanie fires up on Jericho and tells him to respect Foley. Stephanie says she doesn’t care what list she is on and Jericho comically writes on the list and says he isn’t writing. UNBELIEVABLE IT IS BETTER THAN THE OPENING SEGMENT NOW. Stephanie says that Seth Rollins is better than Jericho and Jericho says he’d like to see Rollins try. Stephanie mentions she wants this Jericho and Rollins match to have a stipulation. If Jericho wins, he will be added to the main event of HIAC and makes it a Triple Threat Match. Jericho smiles and clearly crosses Stephanie’s name out. CLASSIC SHIT. Owens is in complete shock by this.

Rollins himself is in the back, waiting to be interviewed by Charlie from SmackDown. Rollins says he’s not looking at his Jericho match differently. Rollins doesn’t care because he will beat Jericho, and go on to beat Owens inside Hell in a Cell. Rollins says that after Hell in a Cell, Stephanie’s plan B-Z will be “obsolete”. Let the TNA dorks freak out. Rollins says he was “the best piece” Stephanie ever had. No, seriously. This has gotten straight up creepy now.

This is the epitome of pointless. We are shown a backstage segment from the pre-show about how Axel and Dallas are a tag team now. Dallas is playing the brooding teenage goth apparently. What a fucking horrid idea this all is. Enzo and Cass deserve so much better. They are WHITE HOT right now and they’re having to fool with these goofs weekly. Anderson and Gallows assault Enzo and Cass from behind during their big schtick. Will this make them something? Doubtful but let us please hope something happens. Axel and Dallas say they still want a match and out comes Sami Zayn! Zayn waits a second and Neville’s music hits!

Neville and Zayn vs Dallas and Axel
Zayn takes the heat early on and god is he great at selling. He’s just great in general actually. Zayn slings Axel into the corner with a t-bone. Helluva Kick and Neville’s tagged in for Red Arrow! Dallas just stands there as Axel is beaten. Interesting. Fun to see Neville and Zayn tag but this was not anything. 1/2*

Apparently Titus is mad at R-Truth because Truth got his Payday sponsorship. Wow, great reason for a match.

R-Truth vs Titus O’Neil
Another nothing match that has no real rhyme or reason. Titus jobs as always. 1/2*

Kendrick is the back. Perkins shows up and Kendrick’s mad. Perkins tells him to “hit the pause button Greasier Jack Sparrow”. Perkins says Kendrick is afraid that he doesn’t have anymore lives left in this game. This is awful. Kendrick says he won last week and Perkins says he cheated. Perkins said that he would give him another shot anyway because of their history. Perkins talks about breaking his N64 and that Kendrick bought a new one. What the fuck. Bad promo. Kendrick makes this something at all and tries to sucker Perkins but Perkins is smart to it. Why can’t we have ORGANIC promos?

Braun Strowman vs The Splash Brothers
These jobbers were the epitome of garbage. They said their mom told them to always MAKE A SPLASH GET IT? Dumb. Strowman carves them up and eats them as usual. Cole loses his mind on a dropkick by Strowman which was great. 1/2*

Sasha is in the back and in comes Roman. He puts her over for making history and says something about how it doesn’t matter if the HIAC match is permanent, tonight is what matters. Yeah I mean who cares about career ending injuries and shit. Sasha says he just needs to take care of Rusev, believe that.

Charlotte and Rusev vs Sasha Banks and Roman Reigns
This should have had way more heat than it did. Roman and Rusev start out and have a weird lock up where they lurch around until they tie up. Shoulder block and a spin kick from both guys respectively. Rusev beats on Roman in the corner, trying ANYTHING to get this crowd to give a fuck. The fans start to finally care when Roman and Rusev just clobber the shit out of each other like only they can. The fans demand Sasha which was awesome but what did we get? A shit Roman shine segment. Roman tries for his spear but Charlotte snatches his leg. Sasha runs around and clobbers Charlotte. Rusev and Charlotte are both on the floor selling, looking pissed. Rusev has the heat on Roman after a commercial break and Roman quickly fights back to his feet to set up for that Sasha Banks hot tag! Rusev does more things though before this happens. Roman stumbles around while Rusev beats on him and throws him around. Great sell job there dude. Lana and Charlotte are caught talking to each other like catty bitches and I LOVE IT. Rusev tells Sasha he sees her and she cowers. Roman nails the Superman Punch and we get our opening for the tag. Charlotte also begs for a tag and gets the blind tag on Rusev and IN COMES SASHA. Sasha is throwing dropkicks like hell and that great knee. Running Meteora is awesome. Charlotte retreats to a corner but Sasha makes her pay with the double knees to the abs. Near fall. Bank Statement on Charlotte and Roman dives completely over both women and nails a very cool looking Spear on Rusev! Charlotte taps for the win. I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. ***1/2

Tom Phillips is backstage with Owens and Jericho. He asks a question but Jericho says that isn’t even a question, it is parlance, it is jargon, and more importantly it is a stupid idiom! Gold! Owens says he’ll still answer his non-question and goes on to say that he doesn’t care about a Triple Threat because it’ll really be a handicap match with Rollins if Jericho wins tonight. We definitely sense a tad of uneasiness and Owens kicks Phillips out. He doesn’t move. Jericho says that Phillips is on The List for it. Phillips says Phillipe Tomistein is the name on the list. I’m dying.

Paul Heyman comes out to address Goldberg. He says his usual lines about Brock Lesnar’s greatness and warns Goldberg that challenging Brock in real life isn’t like WWE 2K17. Heyman never wrestles yet gets more over than the vast majority of the roster because he gets IT. Heyman cues up gameplay footage of Lesnar vs Goldberg. Thanks? Anyways it is just whatever. Heyman then proceeds to hype up Goldberg for him which was great. He also manipulates the crowd into a Goldberg chant and feigns anger. Genius. Heyman tries to mention that both Lesnar and Goldberg were running parallel as if Brock was in WWF in the late 90‘s somehow. Strange line. The important part is that Heyman issues a challenge for Goldberg by Lesnar.

TJ Perkins vs Ariya Daivari
Perkins’ entrance theme is so awesome but damn that backstage promo was bad. Why does he have to use gamer cliches? One thing they can’t ruin is his in-ring ability. Kendrick was fantastic on commentary during this match really putting over how important becoming Cruiserweight Champion is for him. Perkins goes through his Rolodex of amazing moves and Daivari is just there to be bumped around mostly. Daivari is just a guy from what I saw. Perkins pulled out the wheelbarrow bulldog and it looked great. They really have some good false finishes though late in the match that make Daivari look much better. He takes one too many chances though and Perkins makes him pay for it. Good stuff. ***

Jericho is backstage and Stephanie stops him. She admires his scarf and Jericho mentions that “it is really big this time of year in Luxemburg.” God this man deserves everything. Jericho admits that he wrote her name down, but he didn’t know how to spell Stephanie so he scratched it out. Stephanie wants a peek at the list but Jericho mentions it is “only for him” despite posting a picture of it on his Facebook. Then again he’s a heel! Owens comes up and asks what the hell that conversation was about? Jericho states friendship very cryptically.

Tito Santana is the focus of the Hispanic Heritage Month spotlights every week. Bravo, Tito!

Chris Jericho vs Seth Rollins
Jericho milks the start like a true pro. The scarf he has on is launched into Rollins’ face and Rollins stomps the piss out of him into the corner then wipes his ass with the scarf and throws it at Jericho! Good schtick. Jericho rakes the eyes to get the heat and chops Rollins like an evil man. Rollins gets back into things and kicks the pecs off of Jericho. Jericho tries hiding behind the ref but it doesn’t work. Blockbuster by Rollins is a nice sight for us late 90‘s WCW watchers. Jericho retreats to the floor but eats a baseball slide by Rollins and is tossed into the barricade. He looks hurt, oh no! Owens’ music interrupts things and down to the ring comes the champion. Rollins turns around and Jericho takes advantage by throwing him ribs first onto the ropes! Nice callback to Night of Champions and his injury. Jericho takes over naturally and Owens coaches him on. Jericho, being a smart worker, focuses on the ribs and lower back for the rest of the match. Rollins looks fucked as Jericho hits more offense. Jericho messes up and slaps Rollins around and we get Rollins firing up just to be neutralized by an abdominal stretch. Great stuff! Flatliner into the second turnbuckle changes things though for Jericho. Rollins nails an enzugiri at one point that looks really rough and Jericho takes forearms in the corner for his troubles. Slingblade as well for a near fall. Rollins tries stuff but his ribs keep him subdued. Rollins finally does a strange backbreaker to give us all hope. Jericho counters a cross body with a dropkick to the ribs for a near fall after a spell. This is quite the match I must say, a lot better than their most recent matches. Owens tells Jericho after a Codebreaker is countered to “make him drink it” which I think was sound advice. We get strikes exchanged, Rollins’ high knee being the paramount moment. Rollins finds himself on the apron and he kicks Owens who’s on the floor but takes too much time. Jericho sinks in Walls of Jericho! Rollins is fighting like hell. Rollins wills himself to the ropes though and gets a big pop for it. Rollins eats a superkick from the floor by Owens but it isn’t enough to put him away. Oh wow. Rollins is in a bad way and Jericho tries for his middle rope dropkick to the apron but Rollins moves. Rollins hits a suicide dive but on Owens. Jericho rolls in behind him and again, Rollins plays the dumb face that WWE loves so much. Jericho rushes him but eats an enzugiri followed by a sprinboard high knee for a near fall. Jericho’s bump was really bad and both guys crash to the mat together. Rollins tries for his frog splash and misses, setting up a Lionsault for the near fall! This crowd has come unglued for this one. Jericho takes too much time himself while going up to the top and Rollins catches him on it. They fight up top and Jericho finally gets some separation yet Rollins tries for a Pedigree. There is a serious of roll ups and Jericho goes for the Walls but Rollins finally reverses for the pin. Owens immediately hits the ring and pounds on Rollins. Graves is the man of reason, stating that Owens should be glad because at least now it is only one-on-one but Vince doesn’t agree apparently. Owens goes for the Pop-Up Powerbomb but is countered into a Pedigree until Jericho blindsides him. Rollins escapes his onslaught though and finally hits a Pedigree on Jericho. Owens is up the ramp, snorting mad with his title. ***1/2

Overall thoughts: I really liked this show. I felt like the in-ring action was much better than the card last week aside from that Women’s Title main event. I felt like the cruiserweight division was building much better and the fans were clearly more into them this week. The mixed tag was much better than I’d heard some state online in my eyes and very different. The main event was easily Rollins and Jericho’s best match together and did well to make me care about the weeks leading into this next big show aside from the obvious logic fails with Owens.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rassle Tribune #2

RASSLIN TRIBUNE #2: My Computer Ate My Homework, SmackDown is headed to Sacramento, RAW Continues to Happen, TNA Continues to Pulsate One Way or Another.

So as the headline states, my computer fucking hates me. I had about 18 pages of fantastic reviews of fantastic things, and next thing I know BAM! Nothing. Now I’m sure many that will read this opening line will be hateful enough to state the obvious: SAVE YOUR WORK DUMBSHIT. Yeah, yeah I know but sometimes this shit just FLOWS, man. And when the creativity FLOWS, man you just kind of forget simple things like save features. I’ll cut the cantankerous shit though and get into what we all came here for.

TNA Bound for Glory 2016 Quick Thoughts:
- The main event was an alright match but the finish was absolutely anti-climactic. Considering what I mention later regarding TNA’s future, this is extremely stupid in many ways.
- Decay vs The Hardys in “The Great War” was an absolute spectacle. As a wrestling match? I’d give it an average at best rating but as an entertaining event, it was top notch. They called back to all the previous vignettes/angles that have led to this moment as well. Strong finish that makes sense, if making sense even matters at this point with these four.
- The Impact Grand Championship final ended up being Eddie Edwards against Aron Rex, aka Damien Sandow when Drew Galloway revealed a bad neck injury. He mentioned in the promo that the injury was announced something about Billy Corgan only buying TNA to make life hell for him. Good stuff. I’ve seen elsewhere give this match low marks but I actually enjoyed it. Was the live crowd hot for it? No but we’re talking about the Impact Zone, scorched earth if there ever was any. Rex got the win but that didn’t hurt Eddie. Rex also teased a heel turn in the future while Eddie never gave up.
- Gail Kim vs Maria for the TNA Knockouts’ Title was what you’d expect; dogshit. It was nice to see Gail regain the title she brought into the business back in 2007 but other than that this was very forgettable.
- Mike Bennett vs Moose was alright. Moose has incredible potential and is a truly phenomenal athlete while Bennett is solid in the ring as a worker. It just lacked a really strong reason behind it as well as execution errors here and there that many make.
- The Bound for Gold Gauntlet match was also..there. A whole lot of nobodies and in the end, Eli Drake got the big win and a chance to challenge the TNA World Champion in the future at any time. I really dig Eli Drake despite him going way overboard with the Steve Austin routine at times. He has presence and he’s capable in the ring so I give this good vibes.
- Trevor Lee vs DJ Z for the X-Division Title was absolutely ridiculous. It was a spot fest if I’ve ever seen it and that isn’t a bad thing. I thought they were really inventive with their transitions at times and I saw things I’ve never seen before. Trevor Lee is going to be a massive star someday, if the stars continue to align themselves.

RAW 10-3-2016 Quick Thoughts:
-I felt like the mass of this show was quite poor, especially when it came to the in-ring sans the main event. New Day vs Owens and Jericho was fantastic both in the segment before the match and the match itself. It isn’t news to anyone that those four are money.
- Enzo and Big Cass had a bit of a cringe worthy Susan G. Komen segment with some cancer survivors. It wasn’t their fault, they were just instructed to do their full entrance schtick and these women clearly weren’t fans. Even many of the fans looked really uncomfortable but Enzo and Cass had strong poise dealing with it.
- Braun Strowman continues to just murder poor fuckers. He finally cut a promo saying he wants real competition. Well then, get ready to be exposed further!
- Sami Zayn vs Titus O’ Neil was the very definition of a good squash match from a babyface. Zayn took some heat, made his fiery comeback, and hit his finish for the win. Let us pray poor Sami gets some good stuff soon.
- Brian Kendrick vs TJ Perkins was awesome. Kendrick got the big win leading to a rematch for the title which I am also ok with. However, the fans still don’t seem enthused by this division and I am hoping WWE will be smart and push the cruiserweights with more character vignettes and promos. You can’t buy something that isn’t sold to you.
- Roman Reigns and Rusev opened the show with a shit brawl. Roman, naturally, got the upper hand in the end and announced that he would face Rusev inside Hell in a Cell AT Hell in a Cell. Thanks WWE, but this isn’t going to be what you think it will be.
- Seth Rollins continues to be booked quite weakly all too often. He looked like a whiny bitch in the back with Stephanie, even after giving the “marrying Hunter was a mistake” line. He caused Owens and Jericho their New Day match but still, so much more is needed to be done for people to truly invest in Rollins as a hero and most of all him against Owens entirely.
- Ah, Sasha Banks vs Charlotte. This was really, really good. I just can’t help but get Joshi vibes from these ladies and they absolutely bring the drama. Sasha continued to defy reason with her risky moves and Charlotte even added that trait to her own arsenal when she threw out an insane corkscrew moonsault to the floor on Sasha out of nowhere. Sasha wasn’t to be outclassed and she was absolutely on her game. Sasha took the win and that is as it should be. Charlotte is still the main bad girl on RAW and that’s also how it should be. Kudos to all involved. Rumors of a first-ever women’s Hell in a Cell match make this all the more intriguing going forward.

SmackDown Live Quick Thoughts for 10-4-2016:
- Bray Wyatt is pretty much done. Even if he beats Randy Orton at No Mercy, the damage that has been done to his mystique is something that can’t be taken lightly. He lost on this show to Kane by countout when Orton lured him to the back. What continued on throughout the show were glimpses of Wyatt looking for Orton, finding Orton, being outsmarted and locked in a storage locker, and finally Orton finds that Wyatt disappeared.
- The Hype Bros went up against The Vaudevillians in a battle of meaningless tag teams. Hype Bros went over after stuff.
- Nikki Bella vs Alexa Bliss ended up being Nikki and Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss and Carmella. That match was decent simply because Nikki sold most of the time, Becky and Alexa worked as well while Carmella just didn’t do anything. When she DID do something it was bad. Alexa went over with Twisted Bliss which is a fun move. Things have been hampered though with the injury to Becky.
- Jason Jordan vs Jey Uso was awesome for the angle match it was. Jordan won in a matter of seconds and that’s when The Usos took out both members of American Alpha with attacks to the knees. Slater and Rhyno ran them off and we got the overdone taunting before a big show.
- The segment involving Ziggler and Miz on this show was amazing. Miz ran a mockumentary involving all of Dolph’s worst WWE moments. Dolph fired up and out came Mike Mondo and Ken Doane from The Spirit Squad. Things seemed dormant until they mocked Dolph as well and blindsided him. Dolph made a comeback and took them out with Superkicks and nearly got Miz with one also when he snuck up from behind. I am actually interested in this match.
- Baron Corbin vs Jack Swagger was total bullshit. Bad match. Horrible finish. Pointless in every way. They did the “bad ref” finish where Corbin was reaching for the rope break and the ref saw that as a tap. Corbin lost his shit and we’re going to see a rematch that is not going to be good either.
- The face off between Cena, Ambrose, and AJ Styles was fantastic. AJ started and mentioned how great he was until Ambrose interrupted to talk about how he was screwed with the low blow from AJ at Backlash and now Cena is jealous of his success so he has to come out from the shadows to get the glory. Cena finally came to the ring and AJ immediately told him to shut up and started jabbing at him about not being in Ric Flair’s league in regards to his chase towards 16 World Championships. He also said his problem is he’s worried about Flair and not AJ. Cena went to respond yet Ambrose cut him off as well andsaid he knew what he was going to say, going into how Ambrose knew Cena didn’t like him and had done all he could to undermine him. The problem? Ambrose stated he was just a better performer than Cena and that’s why it didn’t matter. He also said that he wasn’t going to be a fake, plastic person in the back to be the World Champion and that’s when Cena just said talk is cheap. Cena also laid out both opponents and posed with the title. AJ blindsided him and posed as well with the title and went to walk to the back when Ambrose DRILLED him from behind and spiked him on the ramp with Dirty Deeds to end the show. Strong go-home for Team Blue going into No Mercy angle wise, totally awful for the most part match wise.

ROH All Star Extravaganza VIII
I only saw part of this show because of technical issues and I came into the show at the Kaimaitachi vs Dragon Lee match. Really good match that I saw with modern lucha oozing all out of it. Kaimaitachi now has been injured and it is a shame, he’s quite the good one.

Now again, I didn’t see most of this show so that sucks. However I saw two fucking tremendous matches here.

Tetsuya Naito vs Jay Lethal
THIS IS RASSLIN. Lethal played the strong babyface with cool moves and Naito played the complete douchebag...with cool moves! It was really good with Naito taking the heat all over the place and Jay fighting back so damn well. The finish was awesome and proves that ROH is getting better not worse. ****

The Addiction(c) vs The Motor City Machine Guns vs The Young Bucks in a Ladder War for the ROH World Tag Team Championships
This was a total tornado of action. If you like insanely dumb bumps, blood, and DEM SPOTS you have it in droves with this. The Young Bucks take a fucking heinous beating a lot of this match complete with a completely mental bump by Nick Jackson from the top of a ladder all the way to the floor and pretty much evaporating a table that did nothing for his fall. It is totally something out of the TLC days of 2001. There was a great moment where all six men did table spots in stereo and it came off well. Christopher Daniels won a Medal of Honor here with the fucking blood he lost as well as the absolutely insane bumps he took on a repeated basis while also missing nothing in terms of timing. There was a Fort of Barricades that Daniels was the sacrificial lamb for. The Bucks won after a crazy Meltzer Driver through a table and it is a must see. ****1/2

The rumor mill is going wild this week with more talks of a Brock Lesnar vs Bill Goldberg match yet there’s a new twist. Now the reports coming out are indicating that the match will indeed happen but not at WrestleMania 33. Instead, the plan is for a match at this year’s Survivor Series in Toronto. This coincides with recent quotes from Goldberg mentioning that he is thinking about a return now more than he has in years thanks to the hype behind WWE 2k17. What do I think about this development? It’s intriguing indeed but it’s also another example of Vince McMahon fixating on stars of yesteryear and neglecting his current crop all too often. I think the match would be a big hit and if it is given a good angle it could be very huge but the fact is both men are much older now than they were the last time they met in 2004. Let us also not forget that that match was god awful so is this something fans really WANT to see?

I caught only the majority of the “Wolf Creek Cage Match” between Decay and Matt and Brother Nero Hardy from this Thursday’s Impact as well as the well-publicized main event World title match. I thought the Decay and Hardys cage match was really good but I missed the finish thanks to my cable provider being absolutely fucking horrid. Then I find out that this was something TNA DID ON PURPOSE? My god. Then they post the finish online which included Matt just climbing over the cage, Reby rubbing his “blood” on her face as warpaint and them celebrating with Jeff. This shit is bizarre. **

Aron Rex vs Baron Dax for the Grand Championship was pretty much a squash. Rex showed some evil deeds on his way to the win but he made Dax tap like nothing. Rex feels very meh to me which is bad because he’s just gotten into the company. Perhaps it is the WWE burial that hasn’t been able to reverse itself or perhaps Rex just isn’t as good as people expected him to be.

The Maria/Mike Bennett and Brandi/Cody Rhodes segment was alright. I’m curious to see how Brandi will fair in the ring and Cody’s very good so there’s no worries on that. Mike vs Cody is next week.

Bobby Lashley(c) vs Eddie Edwards for the TNA World Championship
This is the classic mode of booking an underdog babyface. Lashley mauls Eddie for the vast majority of this one and even ignores chances to win because he thinks this is just a warm up. He does his usual suplexes and mean shit while Eddie simply sells and refuses to die. Eddie gets in some flashes of offense, a top rope hurricanrana and shining wizard are examples, yet Lashley is Lashley and isn’t taking that shit. As time goes on though, Lashley becomes weaker and suddenly Eddie’s hitting a nice elbow suicida on him on the floor and the fans are coming. Lashley cuts him off though right when things get good and we are expected to see another Lashley win with the spear and instead, Edwards bursts towards him and nails a running knee strike that they’re trying to call the Boston Knee Party (sigh) and gets the win! Eddie Edwards is yes, TNA World Champion. I really liked this match, loved the finish, and hope to God that he is given a chance as a strong champion. ***

WWE No Mercy 2016 Pre-Show:
American Alpha and The Hype Bros vs The Vaudevillains and The Ascension
I love me some American Alpha. They have the absolute best offense of any tag team in a long time, of course sans our saviors The Young Bucks. Now I’m thinking about a Bucks vs Alpha match instead of this. That match would be leagues better than this. Hype Bros are just there and it is sad because Zack Ryder is a talent. Same can be said for The ‘Villains and The Ascension though. Aiden and Chad Gable start us off and Gable wrestles circles around the poor man. We get some stereo dropkicks from Alpha on both ‘Villains. In comes Ryder and Viktor of the Ascension. We get a “Lets Go Ryder” chant which is super cool. Viktor does stuff. Ryder does some also. This quickly becomes just an exhibition of all teams involved, complete with Mojo Rawley making a complete ass of himself but somehow getting over with the crowd for it.

WWE No Mercy 2016 Main Show:
I didn’t know what to think when it was announced that the Triple Threat World Title match would start the show. I think on one hand it is a poor move because it is making the belt feel less important to some who feel that it should always be the main event. However on another hand, it has that unpredictable, ECW type feel where you never knew where a match would be put on the card so you made every match a big deal. Let us see how this pays off or not.

That Miz and Maryse commercial for No Mercy is gold. All of us should rejoice these people.

AJ Styles(c) vs John Cena vs Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Championship
A huge part of the crowd ate this up from the start. I was confused about them playing the match hype video AFTER all three men were in the ring. Bizarre. Way too much stalling before the bell even rang. I love how the heel in this equation got probably the loudest pop of anyone. They chanted his fucking name for god’s sake. Mauro Renallo is a godsend for this brand because he adds so much to anything he’s calling and these boys are going hard. Ambrose goes for broke but finds himself a pawn in the AJ vs Cena game and then we get a three way clothesline spot that is fun. They sell and Cena gets back up to fight with Ambrose and then comes AJ who gets knocked away time after time by Ambrose. Cena and AJ take a beating on the floor thanks to Ambrose for a bit and then we get a fight at one of the announce tables between AJ and Ambrose. Ambrose tries leaping on Cena but is caught and driven into the post. AJ dives from the ring into Cena like it is just another day. More AJ chants which make me happy. Cena takes a beating in the ring by AJ. Ambrose catches AJ sleeping and tries a suplex to the floor yet Ambrose transitions into the ring and jockeys for position with AJ and Cena sneaks up to give both men a german suplex. Super Cena still shows up when needed, or not needed depending on your disposition. Cena and AJ have a moment in the ring and Cena hits a fucking horrible TKO kind of move for a near fall. Cena then goes for the AA but AJ lands on his feet and seamlessly hits a Pele Kick. Goddamn AJ is just great. Ambrose gets a sunset flip on AJ for a two and AJ then hits his moonsault reverse DDT and neckbreaker combo on both opponents! I loved that. Ambrose gets backdropped way over the top and nearly eats the steps on a nasty bump. AJ works on Cena with mid kicks but Cena is stubborn as fuck with a gordbuster. Code Red for a near fall by Cena! That was probably the best one he’s ever done. Cena tries for a Super AA but AJ maneuvers himself out and into a Torture Rack Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall! We get a back and forth between Cena and AJ with sleepers until Ambrose comes in to synch one in on Cena himself and puts all his weight on him. Cena breaks the hold by driving Ambrose into AJ in the corner. We get the usual Cena comeback but AJ breaks it up with a german suplex/facebuster combo to get a near fall. Ambrose comes up and nails AJ with his Double Chickenwing Facebuster for a near fall! This is good. Ambrose gets tossed to the floor and Cena’s back to do his Ultimate Warrior shoulder blocks yet Ambrose is up top and hits the standing elbow drop for a near fall! AJ goes to nail Ambrose with the springboard elbow but Cena takes it instead. This opens up Ambrose vs AJ up on the top rope ending with an AJ frankensteiner into a sunset flip for a near fall! AJ gets a roll up for two. A double clothesline ends things for a time and Cena finds himself in the ring yet again. The fans immediately start booing, and Cena signals for a double five knuckle shuffle and hits it, it’s not good. Cena gets AA on AJ but AJ rolls to the floor. Dirty Deeds is reversed into an AA on Ambrose for a near fall! Here we go, the finisher/kickout marathon begins! Cena locks on the STF and AJ breaks it up. AJ suplexes Cena on the apron and jumps up and hits a springboard 450 on Ambrose for two. Springboard forearm is countered yet Ambrose is countered also into the Styles Clash! Cena is there though to lock on the STF! Ambrose is out though, or so we though. Ambrose holds AJ’s hand from tapping and starts beating the shit out of Cena. Cena finds himself with both men up high for a Double AA but AJ fights out. What follows is a flurry of all three men leveling each other with great moves. Ambrose and AJ are up though and continue on. Ambrose teases a Super Dirty Deeds but Cena comes from behind to hit a powerbomb for two. AJ cross bodies Cena but is dead lifted up and into the AA but AJ slips out again into a Calf Crusher! Cena is in trouble but Ambrose saves the match with an elbow on AJ. Cena rolls out and again, it is about Ambrose and AJ. Ambrose gets the Calf Crusher on AJ! His version is real bad. Cena takes AJ’s other leg and locks the STF ON! AJ TAPPED WHAT IN THE HELL?! The ref is waving it off, and JBL somehow tells us this is the right move and yet he’s saying that it is still on. Really dumb. Cena levels Ambrose with a clothesline and I start to get woozy. What kind of trite are they giving us? Cena has AA but eats Dirty Deeds instead but AJ saves the day with a ref interference! Ambrose leaps over the ref and dives onto AJ who crashes down and Ambrose slings him over an announce table. Ambrose goes up top and Cena is smart to it. Why not? Cena again goes for the Super AA and nails it. AJ has a chair! AJ beats his spine out with it and AJ takes the win! Really dumb booking in many ways but AJ retains the title despite tapping out to both men. ***1/2

Nikki Bella vs Carmella
They finally announce that Becky won’t be competing tonight. They mention it is not wrestling related which is odd. Anyways I hope Becky comes back soon and healthier than ever. They also say Alexa will still wrestle. This feud between these two started off interesting and has just puddered out. I’d call this an Ode to The Divas Division. Lots of hair pulling. Lots of tits out and asses as well. Not a ton of wrestling. Carmella slings Nikki around like hell which was great and she starts selling her neck like crazy. Carmella keeps working the neck and suddenly I don’t mind it. Nikki Bella’s facial expressions are so comical. We get a stunning moonwalk into a bronco buster. Not intriguing in any way after the fun bumps from Nikki on the floor. Nikki’s spear to Carmella after the heat was AWFUL. Nikki gives love to X-Pac with a nice X Factor for a near fall. This match just proved to me how green Carmella is and how obvious it was that Nikki carried this whole thing. The fans really didn’t give two fucks at all and I can’t blame them. Carmella’s submission finish is cool to see. Nikki pulled a Cena and beat Carmella out of nowhere. *

Miz and Maryse go into Shane and Daniel Bryan’s office and talks about great things. Mainly how he’s going to put out Ziggler and that Bryan is at fault for this retirement as much as he is. He talks about Rocky IV and Bryan corpses like he’s on SNL or something. Bryan feigns anger badly and Miz flubs his line about how Dolph and Bryan will both be retired after tonight. Miz says he wants to re-negotiate after tonight and Shane dead pans. GOLD I SAY.

Heath Slater and Rhyno(c) vs The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The fans really don’t care about The Usos either way but I have to say I like the street heel vibe they have. I know a lot of people hate them but I don’t mind it it is something different. Rhyno and Slater are just a novelty act at this point. The response for them was mute at best here. Jimmy and Rhyno do some stuff and Jimmy eats a double elbow by Slater and Rhyno. The Usos beat on Slater for a bit to make me happy it seems. Rhyno takes a tag and levels the Usos and it’s just alright. The Usos take advantage of distraction to dropkick Rhyno into the corner and hit a running butt attack into the corner ala Umaga. Rhyno actually takes the heat at some point and it is quite funny to see. Slater with the hot tag was very great though because he has FIRE. Jey and Slater have a really fun sequence with a big pop-up Samoan Drop for a near fall. Jimmy gets the tag and Rhyno makes it a fair fight. Slater hits a top rope powerslam for a near fall really good! Nice Superkick by Jimmy and Slater is DONESKI. Jey is tagged in and they attack the knee. Tequila Sunrise is locked in and Rhyno comes in to break it up with a hard ass clothesline. Slater crawls to the corner and Rhyno takes the tag. Rhyno measures up a Gore for Jey and it is all over. This was much better than I expected. **1/2

Bray Wyatt is in the back in his rocking chair speaking some kind of tongues or language. He’s snapped so apparently we have to be reminded of this with a backstage...thing. He just feels like a delusional homeless guy because of his weak booking.

Jack Swagger vs Baron Corbin
WHY DID THEY BOOK THIS AGAIN? It was dumb on Tuesday and it is dumber tonight. These guys are booking casualties of this year and this match showed it because the fans did not care AT ALL. It wasn’t even that the match was awful but it just had no real heat at all. Corbin tried to look like a big monster but no one bought it. They work with Swagger getting his hand hurt on the steps so that Corbin can work his hand the rest of the match, making one assume that the ankle lock would be impossible. Corbin does the worst post spot when he just slapped the post and sold his face. Swagger whipped his ass and hit his Swagger Bomb for two. They worked the idea that Swagger can’t put on his ankle lock and Corbin gets a near fall off of Deep Six. Corbin screams at the ref and decides he wants to play with Swagger some more and yell at fans. Swagger just no sells his hand finally and locks in the Ankle Lock. We get an identical situation with the hold with Corbin reaching for the ropes and he gets the ring apron to break. Corbin pokes his eyes and hits End of Days for the win. **

The Miz(c) vs Dolph Ziggler Career vs Intercontinental Championship
I personally felt like this should have went last when I heard the World Title match was first but I get why you’d throw it on in the middle. For one, it isn’t like Dolph’s ever had the respect in the back to be given a true-blue big time main event aside from the time he had a ladder match with John Cena. No surprise. Also, The Miz is his opponent and WWE hasn’t exactly had faith in him in the ring either. Nonetheless this build has been pretty solid and I actually did give a shit about this. Miz has so much heat and I LOVE IT. He’s probably the only true heel on the active roster because people legit want him to get beat up constantly. Dolph starts us off with some babyface shine until Miz catches him sleeping going back into the ring but Dolph feeds him a great dropkick. Ziggler takes a Bret Hart front turnbuckle like a champ for two. Miz sells his teeth, a call back to earlier this year when he shoot lost his teeth. Miz takes control though and works over Dolph with good stuff, mainly his usual basic stuff. Miz taunts at Daniel Bryan and puts on what looks to be the starts of a mexican surfboard and does the Yes fingers taunt before stomping down on Dolph’s hamstrings. I feel like they’re totally mocking the internet fans, THEY WOULD NEVER! Ziggler goes for a superkick but suffers for it. Ziggler plays the face in peril well here and claws just to stand. Miz does Daniel Bryan’s rushing dropkicks into the corner and it is obvious that this is teasing Miz vs Bryan down the line. Odd. Ziggler catches Miz off guard with another great dropkick and Otunga tells us that somehow Ziggler is still gonna lose. Aren’t you a good guy dude? Anyways we get both men clammering to their feet and Ziggler rushes into Miz with repeated clothlines into the stinger splash and elbows for a near fall. Ziggler feigns despair here and again looks beaten down. Ziggler makes a mistake and Miz goes for the slingshot powerbomb but Ziggler rolls him up for two and Miz levels him in return with a big boot but is caught with his feet on the ropes with the pinfall. Miz is mad he got caught. Miz eats the post and Ziggler nearly gets a roll up but Miz counters. Miz nails a DDT for a near fall. Miz recovers and works Ziggler’s knee like crazy and goes for a figure four but Ziggler is smart to it. Miz clips at the knee and dropkicks it in the corner and stalks again and tries a figure four but Ziggler rolls him up for two. Miz hits his leaping clothesline in the corner and goes for a high risk move. Ziggler crotches him though and tries for a superplex yet Miz beats on him to escape. Miz counters it into a sunset flip into a slingshot but Ziggler fights out. Miz finds a way to slap on the figure four though and Ziggler sells like his leg is being filleted. He works towards the bottom rope but Miz slides him further away and Ziggler nearly gets caught with his shoulders down. They work this hold so damn well and the fans will Dolph onward to the ropes. This is good pro wrestling! Maryse finally gets involved and distracts the ref so that Miz can remove one of the turnbuckle pads. Ziggler hits a Rough Ryder for a near fall! That was neat. Miz looks fucked and sells his throat which is great. Ziggler tries for the Zig Zag but he eats the exposed turnbuckle and Miz hits a sloppy slingshot powerbomb but Ziggler barely kicks out! Miz looks absolutely shocked and saddened to the core. TOP NOTCH BOYS. These guys worked this match so well that the crowd got behind them. Miz then does the mid kicks to the kneeling Ziggler, again ala Bryan and misses the home run kick and Ziggler hits his Zig Zag! Miz kicks out however and the fans sigh! Maryse feigns a heart attack on the floor. The fans are on their feet for Ziggler and he is absolutely up and poised. Miz goes for a Skull Crushing Finale but is rolled up for a near fall. Ziggler quickly locks in a sleeper! Miz tries to fight it and they’re close to the ropes. Miz looks to fade rather quickly but suddenly bursts towards the ropes. Maryse sprays the eyes again and a Skull Crushing Finale hits but Dolph’s foot is on the rope! Maryse is stunned, Miz thinks he won. The ref says fuck no and Miz is so sad guys. Like Droopy the Dog sad and I love it. Miz goes after Dolph’s knee like a total, cheap dick. Ziggler’s boot comes off and Miz eats his socked foot with a superkick! Dolph crawls towards a downed Miz and the damn Spirit Squad hits the ring! The fans fucking boo huge and for good reason. Miz levels Mondo Miz takes advantage with the Skull Crushing Finale yet DOLPH KICKS OUT AGAIN! THIS IS GOOD, MAN. Miz looks enraged beyond belief and Ziggler is worn down to hell. Sacramento lets us know this is awesome, they are right. The ref kicks out all three goofs from ringside to a HUGE POP. Dolph gives Miz yet another SUPERKICK AND IT IS OVER FOLKS! New IC Champion and the world rejoices. ****

Orton is in the back and he’s looking in the mirror, seeing distorted shit rather than reality just like always with Wyatt angles. Ok, thanks.

We see where Curt Hawkins finally got in the ring during the pre-show. Hawkins got the mic and said that on Tuesday he’ll finally wrestle. Useless, pointless, bad, and actually rotten.

Alexa Bliss comes out and gets on the mic to let us know that Becky Lynch is being protected. Alexa mocked Becky and said it didn’t matter because she’s just scared of her. Cool. Naomi cut her off and people didn’t really seem to care a lot.

Alexa Bliss vs Naomi
Alexa just beats the snot out of Naomi for the early part. Naomi catches her talking shit and kicks her like crazy. Naomi hit a sloppy split-legged moonsault for two. Elbow strike by Alexa with the thigh slap of DOOM effect. Awesome double Eat Defeat by Naomi and yet she can’t take advantage. Alexa ties her up in the ropes near the apron and works her arm like crazy. Naomi fights up but Alexa keeps her grounded by working the arm. The crowd chants for Becky and yet that’s not going to happen. Alexa keeps the work on Naomi’s arm and stomps it like hell. She is a great, small heel though. Alexa reminds us that Naomi’s not on her level and that no one likes them. Then we get the most useless camera angle in history on the titan tron. Thanks dummies. Naomi takes more heat until Alexa takes too much time and eats the turnbuckle. Naomi gives Alexa and jawbreaker and sells it like a gunshot. Naomi hits a horrible Rear View and only gets two. Otunga gives the tired “she didn’t get all of that” line and we KNEW THAT GENIUS. Alexa locks on a Cross Armbreaker but Naomi rolls out into a pin for the win. Classic WWE replacement booking and it’s odd. Alexa should have smashed over Naomi but whatever. **

So the main event of this show was officially Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton and I couldn’t think of a worse main event in WWE PPV history in terms of build. I mean the way they’ve made the focus around Bray Wyatt constantly being one-upped by Orton was so counter productive. Then when Wyatt finally pulled some kind of mysticism, it was far too late and Orton still looked like the bigger star. Wyatt needs a drastic overhaul or he’s done because of how horribly he’s been booked. Even though he showed a different side of how a character can be portrayed for modern WWE, he never got the key wins that the character really needed to be effective. Now we’re left with the scraps of what was possible and seeing Orton invade his “lair” over the weeks made his presence seem fake. How can the fans fear or respect a guy that gets outsmarted over and over and beaten into powder? Ah well, here’s my take on the match.

Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton
Wyatt comes out and the fans still pull out their phones for the fireflies entrance but it seems like habit more than being over at this point. Then I get to thinking and shit, Orton’s not that well booked himself. He jobbed out twice to Lesnar, once at SummerSlam and again on a fucking house show with no real coverage. So this is in essence and main event with two guys that haven’t won a big match in some time. Beautiful WWE logic. The fans still respond to both guys early on so I guess it proves that you can book some pretty bad shit and the fans can still care. Wyatt starts with his spooky posing quick and Orton immediately goes for his RKO and Wyatt’s too smart for that. Wyatt comes back into the ring and starts putting the heat on Orton but Orton’s not the fool for long and then he’s stomping Wyatt with Garvin Stomps. Wyatt eats European Uppercuts in the corner and a back elbow. Wyatt teases Sister Abigail and Orton escapes as well. Orton’s neck snaps over the top rope from the apron though and he’s suddenly being slung all around the floor. Orton goes for the RKO on the floor but is launched over the announce table and Wyatt breaks the count. Wyatt takes the steps apart and we start to get a tease of bad intentions. Orton comes back and beats up Wyatt with clotheslines. Wyatt is slung into the ring and Orton’s looking around for plunder. Orton takes too much time on the apron and he is knocked into the barricade. Wyatt does the Orton pose in the corner to a pop. Orton sells like he’s all out of it and Wyatt puts the boots to him. Running senton puts Orton down for two. Wyatt continues the beating on Randy and the fans seem to lose steam quite a bit. The fight spills out to the apron and Bray puts down Orton with a DDT on the apron for a near fall. This match is both parts sloppy and decent. The fans got into it here and there but they got lost all too often I feel. Wyatt takes far too much time preening and misses a second rope back senton and Orton claws up to his feet. Both men get up and exchange strikes. Wyatt again tries for Sister Abigail but is countered into a snap powerslam for a near fall. Wyatt gets back into the driver’s seat with the running elbow cross body. Wyatt’s uranage misses and we get counter after counter that ends with a school boy by Orton for two followed by the uranage by Wyatt for a near fall. If only the angle that built this was good and the fans had been hot as hell for it. Wyatt lays Orton on the stairs and misses another running back senton on the steps like a moron. Great. Orton breaks the ten count and starts setting Wyatt up for some table punishment but decides on driving Wyatt back first onto the edge of the barricade and rolls into the ring. Wyatt is pulled up into a rope-assisted DDT and the Orton comeback is in full force. Orton is about to pounce when the lights go out and LUKE HARPER IS IN THE RING! He’s staring dead at Orton and Sister Abigail levels him for the three count. Kudos to WWE on this one because Harper is awesome. ***1/2

Overall Thoughts: This was a good B-level pay-per-view with hiccups like many WWE shows. I loved the World title match and dug the Miz and Ziggler IC title match out of all the other matches I’d say. I felt like it was an odd choice to put Wyatt and Orton last but with Luke Harper’s return it felt alright. I think it’s a much better show than Backlash was and SmackDown is feeling more put together than it was not long ago. I worry where Slater and Rhyno as tag champions are going with few heel contenders going forward.