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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Ricardo Rodriguez suspended.

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The following was posted on WWE’s corporate website this morning:

STAMFORD, Conn., July 2, 2013

– In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE (NYSE:WWE) has suspended Jesús Rodríguez (Ricardo Rodriguez) for 30 days effective immediately for his first violation of the company’s policy.

Shanna says: Ricardo Rodriguez is one of my favorites, and it’s sad to see him suspended. He’s also the last person of ever think would do anything like this.

He’s such a big part of Del Rio that his absence will have a big impact.

A speedy 30 days to you, Ricardo. And whatever you’re doing that got you suspended should stop immediately.

Monday night lessons: What I learned from Mark Henry, CM Punk, and Raw in general. (6-17-2013)

Honestly, where do I even begin?

There was so much awesome stuff going on Monday night, it was hard for me to focus on only the things that meant anything. EVERYTHING seemed to have meaning. So, I narrowed it down to the stuff that got the biggest reaction from me.

I’m excited at the direction wrestling is going right now. THIS is what I want to see. This and so much more of this.

And I went completely out of control with caps for this report. Sorry in advance for that.

Let’s break down all the memorable moments from yesterday.

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1. CM Punk takes an F-5 like a BOSS.

While I wasn’t at all enthusiastic about Brock vs HHH: THE SAGA, I am going absolutely bonkers over CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar: THE F-5 CHRONICLES

Whether you like Brock or not, it cannot be denied that his presence brings a little something extra to the show.

Having him work with Punk, who gives as much as he takes, is sure to be an epic battle. Brock wordlessly F-5ing Punk last night made me breathless with joy at the possibility of the awesome yet to come.

This is only the beginning, folks.

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2. We all turn right along with you. + Ricardo tried to save Alberto. It just didn’t work.

So. Yesterday, I wrote about how we should all respect Alberto because he won the fight with Dolph Ziggler fair and square.

Last night, Del Rio took the sentiment that most fans were (foolishly) thinking, and used it to cement the fact that he is a bad guy. And it’s GREAT.

I was tiring of Alberto the smiling champion who loves the fans. SCREW US FANS, ALBERTO. Go back to being bad and awesome. And while you’re doing that, do that thing where you out wrestle everyone just because you can. That’s the best.

Bonus: The end of show beatdown that Ziggler gave Del Rio was equally as fantastic, and Ricardo trying to intercede on Alberto’s behalf and getting violently shoved to the ground for his troubles is more precious than I can put into words.

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3. A McMahon arrives, swerves everyone, leaves.

While our NEW Divas champion was patting herself on the back for submitting Kaitlyn and being best Divas champion of all time, Stephanie McMahon showed up and, for lack of a better term, shut that shit down.

When AJ tried to get crazy, Stephanie was having none of it. It was beautiful to watch. One can only hope this is leading to AJ vs Kaitlyn part 2 with Stephanie in Kaitlyn’s corner.

But. There’s something really nagging at me about this segment. A criticism, if you will. Why did Stephanie bitch out Kaitlyn and the other Divas?

Think about it. Our former champion just got done being submitted and humiliated at Payback. She had to be helped to the back by Layla and consoled by the Divas backstage. This is super babyface territory. Kaitlyn deserved to have an authority figure on her side last night.

Had Stephanie looked AJ dead in her eyes and said ”Kaitlyn is the champion we need, so she gets a rematch.”, followed by AJ losing her mind and being carried away by Big E, that would’ve been perfect. But that wasn’t what happened.

As soon as Stephanie shut down Kaitlyn and the rest of the Divas, poof went Kaitlyn’s credibility as a competitive opponent. Which completely undermined the work put in to build her up in the first place. That’s not cool.

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4. We ARE all puppets, Mark Henry.

Imagine my surprise at reading about Mark Henry retiring on Twitter. Then, as I watched on Monday, he thanks fans, wiped away tears, and thanked his family for their sacrifices so he could wrestle. He made jokes and charmed us all. He was getting the send off he deserved and I was happy to witness it.

AND THEN, HE REVEALED HIS TRUE NATURE.

This is the segment of the night.

Who didn’t laugh or cheer when Henry slammed Cena into the canvas and screamed ”DID YOU THINK IT WAS EASY??”

Mark Henry is the B-E-S-T.

5. Sheamus, you disappointed me.

In real life, I’m sure Sheamus is a nice guy. But everything he does outside of him wrestling and not speaking is awful. And while this isn’t totally his fault, it needs to change for the better.

I cannot deal with another one of these.

Sheamus, if you’re going to keep doing stuff like this, I’m going to give up hope on you. Stop it. Now.

And those are the Monday lessons.

Until next time.

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.