Monday Night Lessons: What I learned from needing attention, The Wisconsin IWC and Raw in general (8-5-2013)

So. Here we are. Another Raw in the record books and we’re that much closer to Summerslam.

That being said, I’m not even going to pretend that I enjoyed this week’s show. I didn’t. From the virtually silent wisconsin crowd, to the abundance of countouts and DQ’s, yesterday’s show was a baffling viewing experience.

Let’s go over the good (and bad) together.

1. An inferno match??!??

The Wyatt Family

The best news coming out of last night’s Raw is that Kane and Bray Wyatt might be competing in a ring of fire match at Summerslam.

While matches like The Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank are familiar territory, WWE deciding on an inferno match with Kane and The Wyatt Family is the best match type that any of us could imagine.

Kane, when he isn’t cuddly, is a brutal monster. Like when he threw Rob Van Dam through a wall and set Jim Ross on fire. Unpredictable, crazy Kane is super entertaining.

Bray Wyatt is Jim Jones and every psychologically intimidating cult leader you’ve ever read about wrapped into one big package. Add in Kiran and Rowan s’s his silent but brutal partners (numbers!) and you’ve got a match with the potential to put the Wyatt’s on the map. Targeting Kane is one thing, but making me think that you have a chance of beating him when all the evidence says you shouldn’t is what makes The Wyatt Family so special.

Get excited, everyone. This match is going to be HUGE.

2. The Best vs Paul freakin Heyman next week!

This right here is one of the few things that I enjoyed last night. Punk vs Brock was sold for me when Heyman threw the ladder at Punk at MITB, but there’s always that little something extra when you get to hear Brock and Heyman speak. This promo solidifies that this Summerslam match will be as brutal as anything we’ve ever witnessed.

I can’t WAIT!

And I’ll be praying for Paul Heyman in his match next week against Punk. He’ll need all the positive energy he can get to get through that match. Our will Brock be the equalizer that we expect him to be?

3. Everything is wrong with the Diva’s division. Again.

Layla

I don’t know what it is that I don’t like about Layla teaming up with AJ, but it’s rubbing me the wrong way.

Perhaps it’s because I thought that AJ’s problem with Kaitlyn was taking her title and playing mind games with her until Kaitlyn cracked. That hasn’t happened yet, and I’m puzzled as to why that aspect of the story is off the table.

Another problem is Layla’s reason for betraying Kaitlyn. Layla simply wants attention. Okay, terrific.

Almost every single divas storyline revolves around someone wanting attention. Layla, who is beautiful and quirky, should get attention. But this story just doesn’t feel right. I like my own AJ/Layla/Kaitlyn story much better. Because my story builds to something interesting.

Layla also has zero momentum right now. How is this possible? Someone ad talented as she is should not be greeted by the sounds of crickets chirping.

These girls have the chance to make me eat my words with matches, promos and a little more betrayal. Let’s hope that happens.

I’d like to see more stuff like this only with Layla involved somehow:

4. Another awful Divas segment.

This promo is everything I hate about WWE’s attempts at writing for women. Hate, hate, hate it!

E, a network that has nothing to do with wrestling, is making stars out of these girls, but the WWE brass can’t seem to climb out of their enduring hole of sexism long enough to match a minute and thirty second diva segment worth more than a bucket of chicken at KFC.

You can only blame the talent for so long until you take a cold hard look at the situation and realize that sometimes these girls are sat up to fail. It’s an infuriating realization.

4. Daniel Bryan eating meat doesn’t make him more corporate

I understand what WWE is trying to do with Daniel by making him the guy who does what he wants and he’s the best (and hopefully will win) because of that. I get it. But I’ve been sold on Bryan vs Cena since Cena said ”I choose Daniel Bryan”

How about we spend less time on this and more time doing something other than finding sneaky ways to humiliate Wade Barrett?

5. Cody Rhodes has a present for Damien Sandow

Damien & Cody

This absolutely and totally bombed in front of the live crowd in Wisconsin last night, but I don’t care. Nothing in the world can make me hate Cody vs Damien at this point.

That being said, I’m tired of seeing my perfectly coiffed MITB pick as a disheveled mess. I can only hope that our savior has something up his sleeve next week.

6. Alberto Del Rio kicks the bucket.

Del Rio

I have big problems with WWE’s decision to break up Alberto and Ricardo. The main problem is that this little beatdown was completely unnecessary. Why did Alberto suddenly decide to beat Ricardo so viciously? It’s just bizarre.

If this leads to Ricardo interference that will eventually lead into Alberto vs Ricardo, I won’t be so upset. But I doubt that’s where this will end.

Raw overall: I hate to be the overly negative smark, but I didn’t like this show. Raw is starting to feel more and more like a burden at a three hour viewing time, and all that extra time is focused on super lengthy Cena promos and Stephanie McMahon crying backstage. You know, the stuff I don’t want to see.

Thank goodness that next week is the Summerslam go home show, because I’ve got to have a good Summerslam experience this year. WWE has some strong matches on tap for this PPV, so there’s no reason to be squandering interesting stories this late in the game.
And those are your Monday lessons.

Stay tuned for my NXT Review, and other interesting observations from the world of wrestling.

Until next time.

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Monday Night Lessons: What I learned from constant losses, TWO diva matches, and Raw in general (7-29-2013)

While the rest of the world cries into its collective coffee about another week of work/school/life, come Monday night, wrestling fans are given a much-needed reprieve. Raw, whether good or bad, always gives us something to talk about. Yesterday’s show was no exception.

Last night’s episode gifted us a Table match, Daniel Bryan vs Kane (!!!!!!), TWO divas matches, and a whole lot more.

With Summerslam approaching, the need for some good old fashioned entertainment becomes more prevalent by the episode. Because who wants to watch a boring Summerslam? Nobody, that’s who.

Let’s find out if this is a Raw for the record books, or one to forget.

1. Daniel Bryan vs Ka OH PLEASE DON’T DO THIS YOU GUYS JUST STAY FRIENDS or A BIG BOOT TO KANE

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Daniel Bryan vs Kane happened last night, and boy did this match not live up to my expectations.

I heart DB and Cuddly Kane, but Kane’s current wrestling doesn’t work for me.

Back when he was diabolical Kane throwing Rob Van Dam through walls and forcing Lita to marry him, he could do singles. But this is not that same Kane.

Something about him wrestling DB didn’t click with me despite the fact that this was THE match that I wanted to see. Perhaps Daniel moved too fast and it made Kane look slower and plodding by comparison? Perhaps.

Maybe Kane bring destroyed by The Wyatt Family a few more times will get my sympathy.

Speaking of the Wyatt’s. These people are something ELSE. From their entrance to the way they destroyed Kane, they sure know how to make a statement.

Another little thing I appreciate is the little touches given to the family to differentiate them from everyone else. When Bray screamed FOLLOW THE BUZZARDS and we got a quick flash of that sheep mask, then blackness, it reminded me why I love wrestling so much. Weird characters beating people and horror movie style fades to black make me SO HAPPY.

2. Is Fandango ever going to win a match?

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I would love to know the thinking behind having Fandango lose in the exact same way for weeks and how that equals entertaining. Because I don’t get it.

And no, FANDANGO IS A HEEL!!! is not an acceptable answer. Watching him lose by count out once or twice was fine. But this recent losing streak is on Groundhog Day levels of ridiculous. He’s been doing the same exact thing for weeks, and it’s getting old.

The Fandango character is hilarious and can do silly. For example: Why is Fandango not giving dance lessons to unsuspecting superstars? (Damien Sandow?)
Literally, someone should do something wrong, have to report to GM Maddox, and have their punishment be Fandango dancing lessons with him constantly berating that superstar for not doing the moves to his standards.

Also, I’m SHOCKED that Summer Rae hasn’t provided some kind of distraction that allows her to SASHAY away like she was too busy dancing to be grabbing anything or distracting anybody.

So. Less pointless Fandango countouts, more backstage fans lessons and Summer Rae sashay, please.

3. AJ finally gets her hands on Dolph.

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And, for lack of a better term, who gives a shit?

This whole thing with AJ and Dolph is really bugging me. AJ is our Diva’s champion who reduced Kaitlyn to a sobbing mess and made Kaitlyn so angry that she still can’t get it together enough to do anything besides spear AJ on site. This same AJ ran into a match FOR NO REASON, and got her sweaty bodyguard DQ’ed. What?

So, the AJ that singlehandedly took out her former best friend is now a mess over Dolph and cannot come up with a way to one up him?

Seems Legit.

In any event, is a good thing that AJ will soon be pair….. Oh. That’s a spoiler. Never mind.

4. CODY, DAMN YOU!

Damien Sandow


Reasons number 1 and 2 for why I love Damien Sandow so much.

5. The Bella’s win using a KAZOO BAH GAWD.

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While I normally can’t wait to rip something I hate in this show into tiny verbal shreds, there wasn’t much to hate about Brie Bella vs Natalya. Brie managed to pull out a decent match. She really showed some spunk in this match, and that effort deserves to be acknowledged.

But, we have to talk about the Kazoo. When I first saw it last night, I was annoyed and wanted a better finish. But let’s all take a moment to remember that we got two diva matches on Raw, and that the success of Total Divas means that we might see more diva action of this type in future shows. That is not annoying.

Let’s also take a moment to remember that this match had Natalya wrestling, and her farting or awkwardly dancing with Khali. Win!

6. Cocky Daniel Bryan?

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With everyone and Vince McMahon doubting the capability of Daniel Bryan, he’s got more to prove than ever. But a Daniel Bryan chasing a belt will only make that eventually victory that much sweeter.

I know people think that Daniel may lose at Summerslam, but I am hoping beyond hope that he wins. He is beyond deserving of a championship, can carry it well, and he’s believable in just about everything he’s done in his career.

But after Ryback vs John from yesterday, I still have my reasons for doubting John will lose.

Raw in general: While this show didn’t have Brock Lesnar, I still enjoyed it. Not as much as previous shows, but there’s enough action in this episode to keep me satisfied until next week.

But as we move closer to Summerslam, things should be kicked up a notch. There’s only twenty or so days left until we get there!

And those are your Monday lessons. Stay tuned to Absolute Smark for more wrestling goodness through the week.

Until next time.

Monday Night Lessons: What I learned from teeth grinding, YES! and Raw in general (7-22-2013)

So.

Overall, this wasn’t the most action packed Raw I’ve ever seen. We didn’t have huge revelations like last week. This week’s show focused more on reminding all of us Summerslam is coming by feeding us little bits of feud salad to keep us satisfied until the steak and potatoes of Summerslam is ready.

This show also had some solid promo work, teases, and Daniel Bryan wrestling three times in one night.

Let’s go over the memorable parts of Raw.

1. Miz TV is the reason why I grind my teeth.

Total Divas is LIVE this Sunday, so WWE thought it appropriate to give us a Miz tv segment featuring the stars. And just like the last time they were on together, this segment bombed. It was a forced, boring, and uncomfortable affair highlighted by Eva Marie giving Jerry Lawler a soft slap that wouldn’t hurt a puppy. A Bella Twin nipple had more impact than this whole segment. Seriously.

Believe it or not, I don’t hate the idea of Total Divas. I like trashy reality shows like the Real Housewife series. The announcement of a show like Total Divas should make me shiver with joy. But it doesn’t. So, what’s the problem?

The problem I have with Total Divas is the people on the show are not people I’d go out of my way to see. Namely the Bella’s. They’re not my cup of tea when they wrestle, so why would I tune into a show primarily about them?

If Total Divas had AJ and Kaitlyn in it along with Naomi/Cameron and Natalya, I’d sit my butt down on the couch and watch every Sunday. For me, AJ and Kaitlyn are the kind of people I’d like to know about in a more personal way.

But all of this is coming from someone who knows wrestling. The idea of this show is to speak to a broader audience than just me or existing fans of these ladies. And it just might make all the girls me popular in the end. Good for them, and not so great for those not featured.

And yes, even after all this bitching, I will still end up watching it. Shut up.

2. Daniel Bryan is a wrestling God.

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Whether it’s stealing the show with John Cena in the Raw opener, or being put through a table at the close, Daniel Bryan is unstoppable.

Daniel Bryan needs to stop being so perfect. Almost everything he does these days, from wrestling to talking, is just that. Perfect. The most jaded Smark can’t find a thing wrong with what he does for good reason.

Having him wrestle 3 times was awesome enough. But that last match be had with Antonio Cesaro was phenomenal.

Matches like these are why I often end up in the fetal position after he wrestles. You know that whatever he does during a show will be the thing everyone talks about, and he somehow manages to top himself every week.

What I love about DB is that he isn’t satisfied with okay. He wants to be the best every night. No matter who he goes up against, he’s exciting. DB is making me excited to see him wrestle Cena at Summerslam, because John is going to have to dig deep to be on the same level as Bryan is. It’s a challenge I can’t wait to see him step up to.

3. Del Rio isn’t a good heel? Suuuuuure.

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Alberto Del Rio, once again, pulled out another strong wrestling performance. His match with Sheamus was excellent, and the more Del Rio kicked Sheamus’s bruised leg, the more I cheered. Not because I hate those 1-800-FELLA commercials, but more like ‘you shouldn’t be wrestling with a bruised leg. It’s likely to be kicked’

On one hand, good for you for being ‘tough’ and wanting to perform despite the handicap. On the other hand, wrestling with a bruised leg is very dumb.

I still miss Ricardo Rodriguez, but now that Alberto is flying solo, is given Alberto more of an incentive to be an asshole. This brutal, take no shit Alberto is one that I’m enjoying far more than anything else he’s done in his WWE career. Now he’s out to exploit weakness and win by any means necessary. Thumbs up for that can do attitude.

5. The Best vs The Beast’s manager

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Last week’s Raw saw Brock Lesnar beat CM Punk and toss him into the announce table like a rag doll. This week saw the violence take a backseat to another CM Punk/Heyman verbal confrontation.

I’ve already made the choice to buy Summerslam based on last week, but Punk and Heyman continue to up the ante with strong promos. And for some reason, a lack of Brock works.

This problem between former friends isn’t so much about Brock as it is about Punk eliminating Brock so he can get to Heyman. Not having Brock be at every show gives the impression that Brock truly won’t jump without Heyman say so. Little things like that only solidify the seriousness of this situation.

Believe me, I want to see Punk vs Brock. I just need to be reminded of why.

And those are your Monday lessons.
Stay tuned to this page for more wrestling analysis through the week.

Until next time.

Monday Night Lessons: What I learned from The Big Ending, YES! and Raw in general (7-15-2013)

Money in the Bank is now in the dust, and it’s time for WWE to build to the biggest wrestling party of the summer.

With a month and counting to Summerslam, WWE is planting the seeds of stories that’ll keep our minds (and eyes) on their shows until August.

But will this Raw be entertaining?

Let’s find out together.

1. The Big Ending, part 1.

In the middle of a particularly intense match between Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler, the bell rang.

At first I was like ”LOL BOTCH”, but then someone at ringside pulled off a hood and revealed herself.

Guys, AJ’s crazy again. And this time she has a big sweaty black man running security.

I sometimes forget that WWE is ”the longest running weekly episodic program” in history, so when AJ and Big E attack Dolph, OF COURSE AJ isn’t grabbing a mic and spilling all her hurt. Nor is Big E going to reveal why he decided to big end his former friend Dolph, or why he likes crazy AJ better than the showoff. We just have to let their faces and actions tell the story.

AJ was dumped and humiliated by the one true love she thought she had finally attained. So she sent Big E out to destroy him at a time where it would hurt him the most. TWO THUMBS UP.

It’s looking like it’ll be Big E Langston vs Dolph Ziggler at Summerslam. YES!

2. I was wrong about The Uso’s.

One of the best things about top shelf pay per views like Summerslam is they give us fans a chance to see talent we wouldn’t normally see. And it looks like it’s time for The Uso’s to give us all they’ve got.

I don’t know what the hell I was smoking that made me believe The Uso’s lacked personality. That isn’t even close to the case. They haven’t been given the chance to show off how great they are.

The past two days have given us The Uso’s at the top of their game. Their pre show match with The Shield at Money in the Bank was so good, all I could say to express my joy was 4 MAN SUPERPLEX HHHJJYTRDSFGHI or OH MY GOD THIS IS SICK.

Their match with The Real Americans from Raw was also great. The action wasn’t long enough, but we got a solid look at them wrestling another team and doing a great job. Plus they have some crazy energy that I love seeing.

It wouldn’t surprise me if they ended up facing The Shield again at Summerslam, but we shall see if my fantasy booking becomes reality.

3. Didn’t I tell all of you to believe in The Shield?

TRIPLE POWERBOMB TO MARK HENRY!!!

And to top it all off, they basically told Mark Henry to go back home and get reacquainted with his couch because he don’t want none of The Shield.

I love these guys.

4. The Big Ending, part 2.

Have you ever had a moment when watching wrestling that feels so real that you wind up staring at your laptop screen for half and hour trying to figure out how to write it? Yeah, that was me.

The segment between Paul Heyman, CM Punk was so vicious I had some trouble putting how I felt about it into words. Watching this felt like stumbling into someone else’s private argument. This was just as bad, if not worse, than watching your own family fighting.

Then Brock’s music hit and things really got intense.

The Paul Heyman we all thought we knew was gone. Replacing him is this evil man who cowers behind Brock. The Heyman we knew would’ve never allowed Brock to beat Punk so viciously. But that Heyman is long gone.

This Heyman is not the man holding up Punk’s WWE championship and heaping praise and guidance on Punk. This was not the Heyman from Wrestlemania that held ”that urn” for Punk and clumsily danced to Punk’s theme. This is not the man who mentored Punk like a son and helped him nurture his talent. This person is gone and will not be back.

As Heyman screamed for Punk to stay out of his life, I knew that the one happy and successful relationship between Punk and Heyman had reached its big ending.

For this alone segment alone, WWE can have my money for Summerslam.

5. John Cena’s chooses….

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Daniel freaking Bryan to wrestle at Summerslam for the WWE title.

YES!

I can only hope WWE does the smart thing and has little disagreements pop up tween Daniel and John that don’t necessarily turn anybody, but make the match more intense than it would be if they respected each other. This is not the time the Daniel to be a full fledged bad guy.

6. The Big Ending, part 3.

Damien Sandow is still Mr. Money in the Bank, but now he’s got a bigger and more angry problem than keeping that briefcase. That problem is Cody Rhodes.

Despite his attempts to pretend that his former tag partner’s betrayal didn’t phase him, Cody ambushed his former partner after his loss to Christian and tried make him pay.

For the few minutes that this was on my screen, I left with one major thought. These two are going to have one excellent match whenever they finally do cross paths.

A little part of me still hurts at the loss of Rhodes Scholars, but Cody Rhodes is slowly breaking out of his shell and showing us a new side of himself. He wanted that briefcase and to have it ripped away from him when he was so close to winning it has put more fire into Cody and I’m liking what I see.

Damien Sandow will likely cower until he has to face his former partner, but don’t be surprised if the briefcase takes a backseat while Damien and Cody punch out their issues.

I’m looking forward to seeing Cody eventually get the upper hand. Maybe at Summerslam?

And on that big ending, those are your Monday lessons.

Until next time.

Monday Night Lessons: What I learned from The Wyatt Family debut on Raw, Kaitlyn spears, and bad dreams. (7-8-2013)

It’s that time of the week! We came, we saw and (hopefully) enjoyed some WWE style wrestling action.

Last night’s show gave us the highly anticipated debut of the Wyatt Family, a job evaluation of Vickie Guerrero, and much more. With one week and counting to Money in the Bank, will this week’s Raw snap us out of the banality of the widely panned show from last week?

Let’s find out together.

1. OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY

When it comes to wrestling shows, I’m kind of a hermit. I don’t read spoilers and stay off the internet until it’s time to watch the show. Therefore, I knew very little about The Wyatt Family besides and what little I saw of them on NXT. I didn’t go too deep into my imagination and start picturing what I wanted for a Wyatt debut. I just let it happen without thinking.

Throughout the night until almost the end of the show, we were treated to some up close and personal time with the Wyatt Family. In a series of short vignettes sprinkled through the show, A “wwe.com reporter” was lead around the Wyatt Family property and into the heart of the Wyatt Family domain. And those little peeks were effective and scary.

And then Bray Wyatt blew out his lantern.

And the lights went out in the arena.

And I adjflakjdsfiajfoijaeoifjnaowenfafjnaowijnfoawjiefaof all over myself.

I had GOOSEBUMPS going up and down my arms from the time the Wyatt’s walked to the ring to the end of their attack on Kane.

The Wyatt Family debuting on Raw surpassed everything I ever thought a group like theirs should get. I’m so happy I got to witness it live.

If you can somehow find a video of the full Wyatt Family madness from last night, including the attack on Kane, I would highly recommend giving it a watch. This Fan Nation video might not be enough to convey how magnificent they were to watch last night.

Did anybody else have trouble sleeping last night, or was it just me?

Also, those chants? I blocked them out. The Wyatt’s had me focused on the moment and any other ridiculousness was blown off.

2.  Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee are not allowed to break up.

I got real comfortable with seeing the team of AJ, Dolph and Big E, and the little stab of pain in my heart at the thought of them breaking up is real.

In this day and age of having stables break up in two seconds, the thought of AJ and Dolph not being together anymore makes me sad. In little than a few months time, the two of them have gotten me associated with seeing them together and looking forward to their appearances. The thought of not having that anymore, nor seeing Big E with them, makes me feel like I’m preparing to lose something very important.

If you break them up, WWE, make it good. DO NOT go the “#AJALL” route.

3. Two Bellas, both as useless as the other.

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I’ve yet to see a Diva, let alone two, who add nothing whatsoever to the part of the show they’re on. I’m not fond of wishing that people didn’t have their jobs, but the twins performances are embarrassing when compared to other girls on the show.

You have AJ and Kaitlyn carrying the division on their backs, and the best the Bellas can contribute to commentary from last night during a TAG TEAM MATCH was like listening to annoying high schoolers talking at a bus stop.

And again, nothing the twins did last night made me clamor to see them on Total Divas. I’m sure the girls are nice people in real life, but they bring nothing to the table when they wrestle or talk.

Selling a story and making it interesting should be left to Kaitlyn and AJ since they’re doing it so well. And speaking of them.

4. Kaitlyn vs AJ is back where it belongs and I’m loving it.

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I don’t know what we as wrestling fans have done to deserve Kaitlyn and AJ, but we really don’t. Why? Because of last night and that TAG TEAM MATCH with them plus Layla and Alicia Fox. Not only did Kaitlyn lose her shit and violently try to fight at the mere sight of AJ, but she speared AJ so hard I almost cringed. If physicality is what we want, it looks like AJ and Kaitlyn are delivering. I mean, look at Kaitlyn’s face in that picture. Does that not scream trouble?

We’re making slow progress in the “respect the divas” category, but progress is just that.

That being said, I will not be happy until we see some kind of major stipulation added to their match at MITB. Like a ladder. Please?

5. Vickie Guerrero climbs a ladder and STILL loses her job.

So. Vickie Guerrero, in a segment I’m still embarrassed to write about, got fired by HHH, Stephanie and Vince last night. It was one of the longest segments of the night, and while that time could’ve been spent on more important things, we ultimately ended up with the news that Brad Maddox is now the GM of Raw.

Normally I love the McMahon’s on Raw, but what’s been presented in the last few weeks has been below their normal performance standards. And the “job evaluation” segment last night was too long, and pretty terrible. Had Maddox not been named GM, and the Wyatt Family not cleansed my wrestling palate, this segment would’ve left a bad taste in my mouth.

Maddox is pretty good at playing the smarmy kiss ass, so that makes me interested to see what he’ll be doing in this role. I think he can pull off the role of a GM constantly trying to wiggle his way out of trouble, and I think it could be fun to watch. We shall see.

Also, this. Because it nearly made me cry when I saw @Arda_Ocal tweet it last night.

Boo Vickie all you want to, but I have a hard time not loving her whether she’s good or bad. She’s one of WWE’s strongest characters, and I get a kick out her performances.

And one last little picture.

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I don’t know if there’s anywhere to go with Vickie/Ryback, but I’d kinda love to see it.

Ryback showing a more tender side of himself only adds a new little dimension to his character. Plus, he was sort of right.

Either way, I kind of want Vickie to be with Ryback now. Because it’s something different and I think it could work. One can only hope that hug leads to something bigger.

And for the go-home show of Raw before MITB, those are your Monday lessons.

Stay tuned for PPV predictions and other nonsense through the week.

Until next time.