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.

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.

Who will win? My Money in the Bank predictions

WWE Championship Match: John Cena (C) vs Mark Henry

John Cena vs Mark Henry started off with a bang. When Henry slammed Cena to the mat on June 17th and screamed “DO YOU THINK IT’S THAT EASY??” at Cena’s prone body, viewers the world over took notice. Since that time, Henry has been playing serious mind games with Cena, and generally being awesome. He’s even gone so far as to say if he loses at MITB, he’ll be gone from the WWE.

But let’s face facts. Mark Henry has been firmly in the lead as far as interactions go. He one upped Cena by faking retirement and slamming him, he’s verbally shut Cena down every time they’ve gone face to face, and Mark Henry has been built to be the monster we should all fear.

But I can’t help but have a bad feeling about Sunday. You see, no matter how strong Mark is looking up to this point, Cena is almost sure to win. Why? Because NEVER GIVE UP or CHAMP IS HERE. You know, the usual. I hate to sound like the smark that I actually claim to be, but Cena’s shtick has been stale and repetitive. I think it’s time for Mark Henry to step in, take the championship, and let Cena show everyone what never give up really means by having a nice lengthy title chase story with Henry.

But this match will surely end as we all think it will. One can only hope that interesting storytelling comes before predictability and that somehow equals Henry getting the title.

Winner: John Cena

World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (C) vs Dolph Ziggler

I wasn’t looking forward to Dolph vs Alberto at Payback, so imagine my surprise when these two pulled off one of the best matches of the night. It was a tense, brutal battle highlighted by Alberto repeatedly and viciously kicking a prone Dolph Ziggler in his newly unconcussed head. Since then, Dolph’s been chasing Alberto like he stole his rent money, and Alberto hasn’t had an answer for Dolph’s assaults. Or for Dolph dressing up like Sin Cara.

But come Sunday, Alberto can’t hide anymore. And I’m pretty sure this match will be just as good as their last encounter. But make no mistake, AJ or Big E will cause Ziggler to lose the title he’s been trying to hard to get back, and that will start the implosion of Team Zig.(tear)

I’d put money on it.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Money in the Bank All Stars Match

MITB Raw

To say there’s a lot going on in this match would be an understatement. But let’s take a second to try to break it all down. RVD is making his debut, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan hate each other, Sheamus is still Sheamus, Christian’s somewhere in the background waiting for his chance to snatch a contract, CM Punk has problems with Paul Heyman and that’ll probably cost him in this match, and Kane got taken out of MITB when the Wyatt family hit him with steps.

Did I mention that there’s only 6 figures in the picture above? Yeah, it turns out a MYSTERY OPPONENT will be in the match since Kane got taken out. Holy shit.

Since there’s so much going on here, it’s kind of hard to pick a winner. Most of the people in this match have been champions at one point or another, so it’s not like there’s an urgent need for any of them to have it again. In fact, I’d say the only person who I’d genuinely like to see win is Daniel Bryan since he’s on such a roll. Wouldn’t it be fun to watch him chase the title and win it back in a 2 out of 3 falls match, which will officially shut down the whole “18 seconds” thing? Yeah, it would be.

So, if I’m picking someone, it’d be him.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

The World Heavyweight Money in the Bank

Look at all the talent in this match! THIS is the Money in the Bank I’m most looking forward to. How can you go wrong with so many heavy hitters? In fact, the more I look at the photo and try to pick who’ll win, the harder it gets. Any one of these men have a fair chance at taking the big W.

But since this is about putting “money” on it, I’ll start off by eliminating Dean Ambrose. While it would be incredibly interesting for him to lord that briefcase over everyone’s heads with The Shield as his backup, he’s already got the US title and I doubt they want him to drop it at this point. So out goes Dean. Fandango, as much as I love his shimmy, will not be winning either. So that leaves Swagger, Cesaro, Sandow, Rhodes and Barrett.

For the sake of making things interesting, I’m going to go with Sandow. Him and Cody Rhodes appear to be heading in separate directions, and there’s no better way to split a team apart than having one man beat the other man at something they both want in a big way.

Mr Sandow, please don’t let me down.

Winner: Damien Sandow

Divas Championship match: AJ Lee (C) vs Kaitlyn

I got kind of scared of where this story was going when these two started dressing up as each other and throwing around fat jokes, but since that time, things have recovered very nicely. Kaitlyn has been spearing AJ every chance she gets, and she’s so unpredictable that it makes picking a winner in this match not as obvious as you’d think it would be.

My gut feeling is that AJ isn’t losing the title yet. Despite the fact that her and Kaitlyn have been doing some great work in promos and selling this match as something you need to see, I don’t think Money in the Bank is the blow off for this feud. I think Kaitlyn will allow the pressure to overtake her again, lose a second chance at the title, and that’ll really cement her officially losing her mind. OrĀ  someone else will get involved and cause Kaitlyn to lose.

Either way, I’m extremely proud of both AJ and Kaitlyn for stepping it up. When it comes right down to it, AJ and Kaitlyn are strong performers, and the history making contract signing segment on Smackdown proves it. When given the ball and allowed to run with it, they can do anything. I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing this match and who will eventually win. The story can only get better from here!

Winner: AJ Lee

Chris Jericho vs Ryback

Okay. So I’m not quite sure what’s going on in this match. Why do these guys hate each other again? I’m not sure. Most of what’s happened between them has been focused on Ryback and his hurt leg. And if I’m being truly honest, the only thing Ryback has done that’s interested me lately is when he hugged Vickie Guerrero on Raw after she was humiliated and fired.

But I think Ryback hugging Vickie will play into this match. I’m not one to always take stock in internet rumors, but I’m thinking Ryback and Vickie will be seeing more of each other. And if that happens, I’ll be very happy.

In any event, this match is kind of on the back burner for me. I’m sure that him and Jericho will do well, but I’m more looking forward to what will be happening with Ryback than the winner of this match.

Winner: Chris Jericho.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Curtis Axel (C) vs The Miz

I would give almost anything to never see Miz wrestle for another title, let alone one that he’s lost more times than I can remember. The IC title has more meaning around the waist of Curtis Axel, and that’s where I’m hoping it’ll stay. Because if Miz wins again, fuck it all.

Winner: Curtis Axel

WWE Tag Team Championship: Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns (C) vs The Usos

I believe in The Shield and all, but they’ve got a pretty tough fight on their hands in The Usos. This is a first shot at the gold (or copper) for The Usos, and I’m sad to see this match relegated to the opening. Because opening matches generally go one way, and that doesn’t bode well for the current tag team champions.

Either way, this match should have some solid wrestling action, and it’ll be a good way to start off what’s sure to be a monumental night of wrestling action.

Winners: The Shield

Sunday night lessons: What I learned from Curtis Axel, AJ Lee vs Kaitlyn, and a few key moments from Payback.

I’m going to start this post with a little honesty. Payback was a one match show for me. Nothing else had me as pumped as Kaitlyn vs AJ. But there were a few moments from the show and it’s aftermath that made me want to write about them.

Due to those feelings, I will only be ”learning” from the moments during and after Payback that got my attention. If you’re looking for a standard PPV rundown, this isn’t it.

Here we go.

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1. I like it when wrestlers treat a title win like an accomplishment.

We all know that as silly as wrestling can be, the women and men who wrestle have a tough, all consuming job. The ascension to the main roster is not an overnight thing. It takes years of sweat and sacrifice just to get to the top, if you even get there at all.

So, when someone wins a title, I would think that’s a very important moment in their career. And if that title win is important, take a moment to show me that the title you just won means something to you.

The internet fan in me wants to feel just as emotional as the wrestler when they win a title for the first time, or the hundredth. I want to know that the belt you just won is important to you, and that every title win after that will be just as meaningful.

As such, when AJ and Curtis Axel had those obviously emotional title wins last night, I couldn’t help but tear up a bit. Showing honesty about wanting something and finally achieving it can only make me like you that much more.

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2. Story telling should still mean something.

There’s nothing better than sitting down with a cold drink and watching a wrestling match. The hour long wrestle fests are particularly great. But nothing gets me more into a match than putting a story behind it. It could be about anything. Respect, you stole my girlfriend, that’s my title, you suck and I’ll kick your ass and prove it. All that and more is good. Because anybody can wrestle a match with no meaning.

Tell me a story with something (or someone) to get behind, and you’ve got me on your side forever.

3. A great false finish is better than a flat clean finish.

The false finish is seriously overused. So, make your false finish count. Make it suspenseful and make it add that little something extra to your match.

When Kaitlyn speared AJ to death last night, then followed up with a kiss to get limp body, I really thought that the match was over, and I physically reacted when it wasn’t. Reactions are important and I forgot that this show was predetermined for a few seconds.

Mission accomplished.

4. Rob Van Dam coming back doesn’t mean anything until he makes it meaningful.

The end.

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5. Del Rio won. It is what it is.

I like Dolph Ziggler. Him, AJ, and Big E Langston make a strange little crew, but together they are dynamic. Dolph is also one of the best wrestlers on the roster right now, and he deserves to be champion.

That being said, I think the internet forgets that Dolph is a bad guy. That’s what he is. Therefore, what happens to him on TV usually goes with what he is on TV. A bad guy.

There could be a million reasons why Dolph lost the title, but do they matter? No. He lost. At this point, he will either turn good and do a title chase, or he’ll go the money in the bank route. Or however else the WWE decides he should regain the title, if he does at all.

The bottom line is that Dolph didn’t choose to lose the title. Someone decided that he should. Not Alberto or Ricardo.

Being pissed that your favorite wrestler lost a title is one thing, but acting like Del Rio isn’t deserving of his win is just as bad. Dolph and Del Rio put on a great match last night, and Dolph losing doesn’t detract from that.

And those are your Sunday lessons.

Until next time.