RAW is making an omelette by busting up some eggs.

I feel like not starting with the glaring point would be like reviewing the execution of Eddard Stark by talking about the scrapes on his knees. You peg your story on the lede, right?

So they end RAW with Stephanie confronting the fired Bella. It was an ok bait and switch. I twas acted well by Stepha, and Flatty Bella tried to act as best as she could, but it came off formulaic: Emphasize the last work that you say to Steph. Bonus points if it is “bitch.” And yes, I thought Steph did a good job of selling the “spoiled rich girl throwing a fit.” It made the “twist” decent. But… and there is always a “but,” isn’t there? The “but is: THIS is the angle you are finishing with? This is the one that gets the weight? I don’t care about this at all. Not even a little bit. There might be some redemption in having Dan Bryan Come back as a result of it, but honestly there feels like there could be a hundred better ways to do that. Your main event of RAW was to push a match between two women that haven’t wrestled in a really long time (couple months and over a decade) and were not known as good wrestlers to begin with.

WE opened with Paul Heyman and Cena. I don’t know that there is a more important man in the WWE today than Heyman. He gets to shine. He can talk circles around anyone else there. Cena comes out alone and gets booed. He says he knows he has an ass-kicking coming. Then Heyman came out and mad ethe match so important that Brock didn’t even need to be there. You don’t need to feed Lesner jobbers (and burn through his contracted dates) as long as Heyman is there for him. Then out comes Cesaro. Heyman rightfully looked confused as to why he was there and then slowly sound the realization as Cesaro referred to Paul as his “friend” and went out to wrestle Cena.

Cena said he was going to wrestle circles around him. He didn’t. He kept up, but Cesaro is a way better wrestler than Cena is, even with Cena actually wrestling. There were some good false finishes, but when you don’t believe that the WWE will let Cena lose on RAW to Cesaro in a curtain-jerker, it kind of kills the believability of said false finishes. It took a “super” AA to finish Cesaro, so that says something. But the win here makes you believe that Lesner walks out with he gold.

AJ still flips out over the word Crazy. Paige got under her skin. Matches work better than promos in this case.

Wow, the WWE really makes me not care about Chris Jericho anymore. He comes out to do old, hack jokes against Steph because he wants another match? Really? That earns him a match against Seth Rollins, who is still with the authority and hits Jericho from behind. Jericho has just come off weak this run.

It feels like they care about Dolph Ziggler again. It feels like they are trying to get him over with the Tag Champs. It feels like they are tryignto do the right thing… but it feels sorta like a failure. I don’t feel like the Tag Champs are over enough to rehap Ziggler. The wins are helping, but a few more single wins would be better than some 6 man wins. Also, the flash at the end of the backstage made it feel like the pseudo-Oppression were the point of the match… not any of the people actually in the match.

The plus side is that if your could actually control Ryback, then Rybaxel could be a decent team that you could push. Big if.

I love the Bo Dallas gimmick. I realize that it doesn’t have legs and funny don’t make money, but I have really enjoyed it. Isn’t that all that matters? His streak was broken by a jobber, so I am guessing they will feud now. Good way to get him some shine without just having him expected to win each match because of said “streak.” What they really need to do is bring back Konnan and reform the 3 Live Crew. Yep, I just advocated for a TNA gimmick. BO-lieve that!

Jack Swagger and Rusev just make me want that match to happen. Coulter has worked well as a mouthpiece. I am glad to see the WWE go back to the Manager system. I have missed it. I want to see the rematch. I think these two work very well together.

Conversely, Rose and Sandow are how you make me not care about a match. They are both the goofball in the pairing and it doesn’t work. I think Sandow could be a great comedy worker… but not in this feud. Let him be more than finisher target and I bet he blossoms. Lord knows you need a new Santino.

Orton beat the shit out of Reigns. Hate to say it, but good. You had been making him out to be Superman for a month now. Time to show he can be hurt, even if it is in a 2 on 1 attack. Also, Orton and Kane seemed to work together tonight. Fine, but don’t have them snipping at each other backstage next week. Kane burned the roast again and the only place Randy takes him is FOR GRANTED!!

Women. You would thing we would all learn how dangerous they all are. And yet, Fandango won’t. He keeps getting fooled. No one in the WWE has any sense of concentration or trickery. I could make a KILLING there. He jobs to one of Los Matadores.

Total Divas match. Fuck that match. Fuck that show. You need to be a much better wrestler to use that submission on a regular basis. You can’t stumble into it. It needs to be crisp.

I don’t know if I am jaded or just old. Jericho’s match was fine, but it didn’t grab me. There was nothing wrong with it that I can put my finger on. But still… it just didn’t grab me. Something is missing. What Noah calls “it.” Finish was Jericho catching Rolling in a codebreaker as he jumped into the move and the lights went out and Bray Wyatt chumped the fuck out of Jericho. Jericho doesn’t seem like a threat. He eeked out a win and then Wyatt has dominated him. IF Wyatt doesn’t go over at Summerslam, it just won’t feel right. Know what I mean?

Then the end.

At least I got to see Fit Finlay and I am glad Jamie Noble still has a job.

-Ryan

Like a vampire, TNA has been Spiked.

That headline? NAILED IT!!

TNA has lost it’s TV deal. Despite the terrible product that they produced on a daily basis,i am still shocked. Like the person in an abusive relationship, you just get used to them taking the crap from the significant other because of all the time they had invested and how genuinely sweet they could be when you weren’t around and SURE, there is some bad but you have to look at the good points. But Spike had enough and TMZ found out. I have to be honest, I don’t see who would want to pick up TNA. They hit in the 1 range as far as Neilsen ratings go. How small would you have to be to have that be a marked improvement. RAW made Spike. Literally. They attention they got from that 1 show was enough for them to rebrand from TNN (The Nashville Network, a former country music-themed station) to Spike, the station of manliness with man things. You know, like dudes rolling around in Spandex.

To me, the sad part is this kills any competition for WWE. It could be argued that they never were competition for the WWE, but at least semantically they were. They operated in the same realms. I find it hard to believe that Spike is walking away from pro wrestling all together. I could see Jeff Jarrett coming in and pitching them Global. He is savvy and while his initial business plan did not involve Spike, i think he would take the offer if it was presented. In turn, he can give them a product they are accustomed to without all of the “problems” that arose since Panda got involved. As Bill Mitchell pointed out to me, Spike has invested close to a billion dollars into Bellator. They are clearly looking to promote MMA and may have walked away from Pro Wrestling. My thought is they will need a strong lead in to promote a brand that isn’t UFC and that ties in a lot better than COPS reruns (sorry, Noah.) Jarrett could deliver a paired down Impact with reasonable cost on the talent and a base of operations so touring wouldnt eat into the costs.

If he doesn’t then i look to Jarrett, who clearly still has contacts in TNA, to scoop up the more indy talent and let Angle go to the Fed. Initially, I had thought his big play would have been to get Angle when his contract expires. Why get the King when you can get all the pawns and a few rooks and bishops for the same cost? Angle is looking for a retirement payday, so unless the fed drastically low ball shim, I can’t see him looking to join Global. The only other people i could see going to the Fed and Bully Ray (slim chance, but possibly as a long term goal as an agent) and Samoa Joe. Chances are again slim as Hunter is the gatekeeper to the kingdom and he works that velvet rope in a “no Fatties” T-Shirt. Sorry, Kevin Steen.

Rumors swirl that this is all around the fact that Vince Russo was secretly on the payroll and Spike didn’t like him. Had they had better ratings, this wouldn’t be an issue. Results are the best defense. I am wondering if Russo was doing more than punching up commentator scripts. The booking seems to say so. Regardless of what caused it, they opted not to renew their highest rated original programming. SOMETHING had to influence that decision.

What i find funny is Dixie tweeting that “negotiations are ongoing.” I get that you have to save face but lying isn’t going to cut it. Had Spike came out and denied the rumor, it would have had some weight. But their silence makes Dixie’s denial just sound… pathetic.

Yes, there are things that could happen. This isn’t the death knell yet. They could find another channel or go alternate media routes (aka internet.) but I can’t say it looks good for them.

-Ryan

RAW serves you a hotdog now to give you steak later?

I feel l like you HAVE to address the PPV in order to discuss RAW, so… It was bad. But it wasn’t bad for the effort of the people in it. They tried. Oh my god did they try. They tried all the time… for this revolution. And yes, this is the PPV before one of the big ones, so you can’t do anything that gets too close to a payoff. However, the Wyatt job felt unconvincing. They have a good match that was killed by the finish. The Usos/Wyatts were the same way, but in that case there were too many false finishes. It felt like they burned through a lot of very good a believable finishes for a title defense that didn’t feel like it was going to stick as a status quo. They just cancelled the Ambrose/Rollins match, which is never the idea you want to project. And Cena won again, which is what should have happened but felt less that satisfying considering all the action in that match.

Thus, all that overbooking led us itno RAW tonight. A RAW without Rollins. A RAW without Cena. A RAW without Cena while they are bringing up his next program with Bork Lazer.

We opened with HHH not announcing his new opposition to John Cena. Of course everyone showed up to say why they should be the next one on one opponent. The heels are arguing, which feel s like Kane is packing up and saying good bye. No evidence to support that, just … it feels weird. Maybe Kane has gone beyond being a true heel at this point? Anyway, this prompts a lot of talking and a handicapped match. Randy Orton walked on Kane and Roman Reigns wins with a continuing strong push.

Nikki Bella got stomped down by 3 divas. Her sister was a t ringside, so Stephanie slapped her. No one here can actually wrestle, so I was actually ok with this match. They did what they know how to do. It was dull and quick, which is a lot better than dull and protracted.

Bo and Sandow were good as a pseudo-comedy match. I mean, it wasn’t pratfalls or Lancashire wackiness, but it wasn’t a serious tet-a-tet. Sandow was Lebron and Bo was… Bo. Sandow took too long on the elbow drop and Bo won. I would let them do a short program and give them the warm up at SummerSlam. I think they can work well together.

Bray Wyatt decided to not let the Highlight reel happen. I was fine with this decision; Jericho’s weakest traits are his interviewing skills and his understanding of how to work in that situation. The Wyatts beat on Jericho until blood was running down his ear. Odd choice for a company who pulls back anytime they have real blood in the ring. Was this to make up for the shitty loss last night?

Also, it speaks volumes that Bray can keep losing on the big stage and maintain his level of heat. They keep on jobbing him and he still comes off as a viable threat with his gimmick.

The Miz was clever at the Battle Royal. He kept doing the Vince “hide outside” gimmick and then snuck in and won. So OGF COURSE you have him job the very next night after winning the strap. I am not going to try and say Miz should be at the top. Nope. WWE already did. They gave him the belt and had him headline Mania. With all of the good will you have invested into Miz, you are squandering it by doing what you did on Monday. You didn’t make him credible by giving him the belt. You didn’t elevate Ziggler by having him win the night after Miz got the title. You just wasted what you spent. On the plus side, Ziggler gets a win on TV!

Speaking of wins on TV, big ups to Zak Ryder! Getting an entrance AND a win! Anyone else equate this to the gold watch & hearty handshake before being future endeavored?

AJ and Paige are enemies again. They can work. Tell AJ to not be so mean girl as a face.

OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS! FLORIDA was on! Singing songs! Dancing! Woman! I would so rather have this that wrestling, amirite? Oh, then Stephanie got arrested for slapping that Bella and HHH is a dick. Not sure what that accomplishes, plot-wise, but there you have it.

Rybaxel pick up a win so that Xavier Woods can come out and complain about how the black man is being held down. It’s almost like he didn’t realize he was in pro wrestling. I get it, you are smart. But this angle has been done. A lot. Kingdom just started this angle like a month ago… and did it better. This whole show has felt like it was less about the matches and more about the talking before or after. Like with Cesaro: Clumsy dismount. “Hey, I am not a Paul Heyman guy anymore!” Show, don’t tell. I am fine with Cesaro joining the Authority, but this change of attitude is as out of left field as it could possibly be. Anyway, he goes out and beats on Ambrose and gets a win via DQed to show his loyalty to the group that hasn’t accepted him yet. Way to take that chair to the arm!

Oh, and Brock is in. Heyman made it awesome as always. His promos have a weight to them that others don’t. What he says feels important. So I am hoping that the payoffs that the WWE swerved us all on with Battleground get settled at SummerSlam.

So worth $10.

- Ryan

TNA Impact July 10, 2014

Kurt/Angle needs a cheat sheet there’s so much to remember! Tonight, dudes fight for belts and a battle royal and Jeff Hardy is Jeff Hardy again and stuff and things and stuff!

The Wolves beat Bram and Magnus, who need a team name, like Bramagnus. See, I did it.

Eric Young and Bobby Rooooo were beating up a dude in a wheelchair and then Bobby Lashley came out and killed them both. Hi, I’m someone who never watched TNA before. I assume that the heel acting like the face is the face and the faces acting and looking like heels are the heels, but they are faces and I just changed the channel.

James Storm keeps fucking with Sanada because, well, James Storm isn’t doing anything backstage but fucking with people, which seems kind of like the guy at my work that only eats sandwiches all day long. This leads to Sanada losing the X Division belt and fucking up the main event of a W-1 show, but hey, whatevs. Oh yeah, and Vince Russo wasn’t in this company.

I mean…

PWInsider.com has revealed that Vince Russo is still working with TNA Wrestling after an email was sent by Russo to Mike Johnson of PWInsider in error.

In the past, Russo has publicly declined to comment on if he is still working for TNA as a creative consultant however, the email featured clear instructions and advice from Russo to Mike Tenay and Taz on how certain segments of a TNA episode should be voiced.

This shit writes itself.

He also wrote about how Blockbuster ruined his life, but yeah. He has depression. He’s only talking about it now. Let’s just talk about TNA.

I want to like Bully Ray. But the dude is all Kingdom-ing this promo, mentioning Bam Bam Bigelow for a pop and then it’s all, “Why did you turn on me?” You know what ECW is like? Working in a used record store. It’s you against the big guys and eventually you go out of business. I know this. I worked in a used record store. And at no point do I ever miss it or the us against the world aspect or any of the people. Maybe I’m biased. Maybe I’m just sick of ticks and mosquitos sucked off the bloodless corpse of what was once ECW, a company that’s almost been dead longer than it’s been alive. I also love how Paul E and WWE get name called here. This whole thing is a joke. Oh hey – there’s Tommy Dreamer!

There was a Knockouts 4 Way. I really tried to watch it. I did. Gail Kim won and she’s really lovely and talented. Let’s just stop there.

Austin Aries talks about how he’s getting a title shot at the belt at Destination X now and how he’s made the X Division title relevant again. He just won it. Way to bury everyone, including Sanada, who is the key to getting to tape all that footage in Japan.

There was a battle royal. I hate watching battle royals as much as I hate being in them. Jeff Hardy won, drop kicking Eric Young out to win, so Eric doesn’t have to lose 4 times to Bobby Lashley.

Everyone keeps saying TNA has turned a corner. Yeah, like a baby with sharp cornered furniture.
-Sam

Really, Dave #48: Explain please

From the Battleground report on the site: RUSEV VS. JACK SWAGGER

Lana talked forever. Boy are they stalling. She got way less heat than usual. She talked about the news with American propaganda. The mention of Putin got some heat but it was like this audience just wasn’t taking her seriously at all.

She slapped Lana and the match was on.

Who is she? Lana was the only female out there. Did he mean Lana slapped Zeb?

Not much of a match. There were USA chants and We the People chants. Rusev won via count out as Swagger had the Patriot lock on him on the floor. Rusev flipped out of it and Swagger flew into the post and was “knocked out” and Swagger jumped in the ring to win.

Who won the match? He starts the report by saying that Rusev won, yet Swagger got knocked out and then jumped in the ring to win.

Look, you’re THE wrestling site in the world.

Be better than this.

RAW: Stompy stomp stomp!

Boy the world is all up in arms. Sting is gunna be there. They are passing the torch to Roman Reigns. Sting is totally hidden somewhere. What about the Total divas? Stephanie looks good standing next to women 10 years her junior. And STING!?!?

So Reigns is not a face because he has no problem beating John Cana. But he is really a face because he opposes the heels. It’s an odd way to both give him the rub and break up his group. When that happens, things get defined whether you do the defining or not. In this case, Reigns is getting defined despite being in some gray areas.

The wild card of the SHEILD is now trying to be the glue holding the Cena/Reigns faction together? Odd choice, but it is easily washed away by a group beating from the Authority. The “curb stomp,” which isn’t really one, looked good. Ambrose takes his beating like a man and then goes to a “local medical facility” to undergo “further evaluation” and possibly “get his balls tickled.” Possibly.

Oh, Miz. You did everything they asked of you… you just forgot how to get over. I, a man of my years, remember you and Morrison getting over as a tag team. You had charisma and edge and a talented partner and stuff. But you don’t have “it.” Or maybe they don’t give you a chance to show “it,” which the same as not having it for all intents and purposes. But you are still in the upper tiers of the WWE, and it seems like they are using you to… turn Sheamus? I feel like they have lit the fuse on that a dozen times and then stopped it from happening. The win actually worked, so that is good. A roll up after hanging up your yam bag on the top turnbuckle/rope is a good reason to get rolled up. So… congrats? Way to go, Miz?

So Layla and Summer Rae are all Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn… and Dolph is Batman? Or The Joker? Or just the good looking guy who gets to take advantage to the women looking to make the same guy jealous? In any case, Fandango gets easily distracted and takes a fameasser to lose. You would think someone would learn to focus in the WWE and become like a God, as someone loses once a week to theme music or standing on the announcer’s table.

Usos meet Wyatts. I look at that line up and I don’t believe that the Usos would EVER win. They aren’t bigger or stronger. They aren’t that fast. They aren’t that extreme. They aren’t that interesting. The biggest thing the Wyatts have going against them are that they are part of a small group. While it works for the shield, it would be odd to have the lower members of a messianic cult have titles. Having said that, I see the Usos keeping the belts because it feels like they are getting a Cena-esque push. A girlfriend on a TV show will take you far, won’t it, Dave Otunga?

My favorite comment I read about RAW was “Jack Swagger went from Jim Duggan to Hulk Hogan in two segments.” I have always touted Swagger’s natural ability. This gimmick is one of the gimmicks that will ALWAYS get over. Ask Jim Duggan. Ask Hulk Hogan. Rusev looks threatening, which helps. Transitioning Zeb into a face is awkward, but he did (and continues to do) the best he could with what he has to work with. The thrust kick into ankle lock spot was way over and was well-executed. I actually want to see this match.

Hey, did you guys know that I really like Del Rio? Huh, I have mentioned that before, have it? I didn’t have a problem with this match as a physical contest. I just find it odd that they are moving Del Rio down the card to go after the IC belt. Can’t be on top forever, but this match felt unimportant.

Women. Want to make Nikki turn or Brie. Or Brie turn on Nikki? I don’t know who is in there. Anyway, I think it would have been more telling had Stephanie been nice to Tits Bella. It provides some psychological reasoning for her turning on her sister when she comes back. Even if she doesn’t come back and just turns heel, it still explains it better than “was beaten into acquiescence.”

Also, Cameron can’t wrestle. Neither can Eva Marie. Alicia can’t really either, but she looks like Kurt Angle in their compared to Cameron. Natalya, who can, is nowhere to be seen. I get that Sara Del Ray is training them, but you can only do so much, no matter how good you are.

Heyman is backstage playing political games while Cesaro is out there losing to Big E. This win felt much more important to Big E than the Del Rio Win over RVD did despite the title implications in the RVD match. Not sure why Kingston was allowed to accompany Big E to the ring, or why it is a surprise that 2 faces can beat 1 heel, but the spots looked good. It didn’t feel like Cesaro paused to have the chair taken from him. This is his third loss to Big E, so it feels like it pushes him up the card a bit.

Heyman makes his move backstage. While all of the Authority have been bickering to HHH about who should get the belt and who WILL get the belt, Heyman shows up and offers a backup plan to HHHs back up plan. I hope everyone knows it is Lesner and not Cesaro. Also, no one could say for sure what was going on with Cesaro and Heyman. Don’t do that shit off camera. Show us the story, don’t tell it to us fresh off a commercial break.

Chris Jericho… talks. Bray does amazing promos, but in this dull, all talking build, it gets him a ”boring “ chant. Bray says he remembers Jericho promising to save us. Problem is, half the audience doesn’t remember that and the WWE is not one to remind anyone of the past (unless they can profit from it.) Virginia wanted action … they got the action. Jericho gets jumped and runs… and gets blindsided by Bray. For a guy who promised to play mind games and get “dark,” Jericho really hasn’t lived up to said claims yet. He is biding his time, funding the next Fozzy album with his WWE paychecks.

I loved the Bo Dallas match. Good spot to win on a count out. Good way to explain a tiny guy beating a giant without blinding speed and lucha spots. Bo’s yell of pain after getting hit was really good for the comedy spot that this match was built to. I just wish he could afford dry shirts.

The last match was all of what you expected and none of what you wanted to expect. No miraculous recovery by Ambrose, showing up with a neck brace and chair. No Sting coming down from the rafters. (Sting’s appearance, like a Goth Where’s Waldo, was in an ad for those who missed it.) Nothing but a group beating that leads to a DQ. I enjoyed RAW until the last match. It was like watching a building being erected that, once completed, is just a big gray block of warehouse.

A warehouse with Cena on it.

- Ryan

Really, Dave #47: The Meltzer Aside

From the UFC report on the site: “Joe Rogan asked Ronda Rousey if she was willing to fight on August 2nd. She said she needs knee surgery but gave the impression she would do so. Dana White seemed furious that question was asked. I guess we’ll here mor aobut it later. Ronda’s sister looks just like her by the way.”

Ignore the typo. The Observer was made of typos. It’s the Meltzer Aside.

1. Who cares about Ronda’s sister?
2. Of course she looks like her. She’s her fucking sister.

Really, Dave?