Raw / Smackdown Is….

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Do not get confused. Raw is about The Miz and where he and the Intercontinental Championship go after this feud. Raw is not about the Shield reuniting, it’s about where the antagonists are placed after this high profile program. We know Shield members will go right back to their status before reuniting. Seth and Dean will remain tag champs while Roman returns to his yard owning lawncare. Though I must admit hearing Cole say “The Hounds of Justice” again brought a smile to my face.

It was a surprisingly big week at WWE. We had reunions, 3 title changes, heel turns, a man in drag? And a former champion walking out on the company. I’ll try to at least form a sentence for each occasion.

With all the steps forward WWE took this week the only thing that is sticking in my mind is Neville’s departure. Call it the pessimist in me. But I usually let the bad overshadow the good. I may have been part of the problem for Neville’s departure. I agreed with all the moves WWE has done with Enzo Amore. I never looked at it as his rise effectively burying other talent. I saw it as bringing charisma to a dry division. Neville saw it as the former. Like Cody Rhodes before him and CM Punk before that, I can not fault Neville for his decision. Taking another loss to Enzo wouldn’t have helped anyone. Enzo has established himself as the must watch mouth of the division, but the title should be represented by a top wrestler of the division. Use Enzo as spark for each guy that begins a feud with him. Enzo has to be the current day John Cena of the Cruiserweight, as far as being the guy to set others up for success on the microphone. On commentary Corey Graves has it out for Enzo. You don’t often hear so much commentary disruption during a promo. Granted, it was Enzo’s worse since joining 205 Live. But still Corey sounds like he has a vendetta against Enzo now and it may be related to Corey’s former tag partner Neville quitting. When Neville refused to take the fall to Enzo, Kalisto was inserted into the title opportunity and gave us one of those rare Raw title changes to remember. Where the division goes from here is anyone’s guess. Was there a title change only to distract from the Neville news? Will Kalisto move forward as a fighting champ or will Enzo regain the championship and have his no contact clause nullified? Either way, No One Was Ever On The Neville Level.

In more pleasant news. They did it!. They turned a babyface underdog into a seeing the light heel. The options for Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have increased ten fold. Sami can get a prime spot working with Shane. Kevin can play the ringside support role and take a little bit of time to heal from ailing injuries. Sami and Kevin can recruit a guy like Dolph and form a team for Survivor Series. Owens can start a babyface run when Sami shockingly turns on him. The roads are open and Zayn is free from the gridlock now.

I’m confused. Is Sister Abigail just Bray in drag or could I actually expect an actual flesh and bone person. Maybe she is the counter to Finn’s Demon. Is this another excuse for Finn to bring out the Demon, or will Finn the man lose to “BrayGail” at TLC to set up a final Demon vs Drag match at Survivor Series? It’s Spooktober so I’m continuing to allow this program to be B-Horror level fun.
There is a great disturbance in the Force. We have a new enemy.
Aww Smackdown started with a tearful show of appreciation. A peek into the Usos painful life and mutual showing of respect between rivals. The Smackdown tag picture has sneaked up on me to become a formidable division. It seems as though they are cutting off the Uso’s New Day rivalry at the right time. You never want too much of a good thing and teams like Breezango and Gable & Benjamin are capable stealing shows. I wouldn’t say any team, other than New Day and Usos, are ready to be champs. But they can take a few dirty loses as the build to a championship level.

I figured the insertion of Tye Dillinger to make the Hell In A Cell U.S. Title match a triple threat was only a way to protect AJ Styles from taking a pin. But then on Smackdown AJ took a clean pin. This won’t hurt AJ as he can take losses and still be as over as ever, but I fear for the United States Championship. AJ was never able to fully develop the open challenge and I can’t see Baron doing anything original with his reign. I hope to be wrong. I hope he gets his own talk show. The Wolf Cave with Baron Corbin where he can tell the crowd “You’re Not Me”.

Quote of week: TIE “Here we are in Kevin’s heaven” – Kevin Owens &

Match of the week: TIE Andrade “Cien” Almas vs Johnny Gargano at NXT & Kevin Owens vs Shane McMahon at Hell In A Cell
Wrestling isn’t everything, but everything is wrestling

Raw / Smackdown Is….

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Again this is how you get people on board with Roman. Less words and more violence. Don’t try to look like a superhero. Take lessons from what Braun has shown you. Braun doesn’t have a silly move like a Superman punch, everything he does looks to have force. So Reigns should go for more spears and powerbombs and leave the punches at the kiddy table.

THEY ARE GOING TO DO THE THING. The reluctance to unify the Shield too early tells me WWE wants to make it clear that it will be a one time deal. In the meantime, let’s keep Miz and The Bar strong for as long as possible. I do not want to see a Shield payoff until the day of TLC. Put the Shield behind the 8 ball more. They are known to be one of the most powerful factions ever, so we have to see them indecisive and the competitor dominant in order to even the odds.

Mickie James having her own locker room was the funniest part of her segment. And Alexa labeling her room like a seven year old who stole all the glitter from the arts and crafts room wasn’t anymore convincing. Continuity in the woman’s division is currently not on the writers priority list, when Nia Jax turning on friend Alexa Bliss was their Raw ending storyline less than a month ago. The commentary for Nia Jax has switched from making her an imposing monster to now turning her into another Total Divas star. Her character is not fitting to speak about her appearance at fashion weeks or her “rising star”. However if the division can only have one unstoppable beast, I’d rather it be Asuka.

I’m feeling sorry for Matt Hardy, when I see Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks having immense amounts of fun in the wrestling world and be vessels for creativity. Matt came back to WWE with loads of momentum that he generated for himself through ingenuity, risks and social media. Now I only feel robbed of what insanity we could’ve seen if he hadn’t returned. I can’t put blame on Matt or WWE, neither could’ve expected the turmoil of the Broken Universe legal rights or predict Jeff’s injury. I just believe an alternate universe for Matt would’ve been more delightful.
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“The Demon fuels the man. You don’t paint your face to become the Demon. You peel your skin to reveal it. Show me your face Finn show me your true face.” Please someone take notice on how well Bray is written in comparison to the rest of the roster. Sister Abigail will be returning and spooks central is back just in time for our Six Flags Fright Fest discounts. Instead of being snobby and too cool for school I am going to always appreciate Bray Wyatt. It may look like he’s always saying the same thing because he’s always framed the same way, but though his themes stay consistent his specifics are unique to the situation. We have a bad tendency of being cynical because of over saturation. I will like to take some time, step back and re-appreciate The Eater of Worlds.

This week in Enzo Amore Revitalizing The Cruiserweight Division News

And then we had Smackdown Live which continued its ho-hum lead up to Hell In A Cell. Gifs will some it up.
Meanwhile, in Denver…

Hell In A Cell predictions:
Shane McMahon vs Kevin Owens (Hell in a Cell Falls Count Anywhere): Because Shane hasn’t had a win and this program won’t have a payoff until Survivor Series. WINNER – SHANE

Jinder Mahal WWE Champion vs Shinsuke Nakamura: It’s that time. By rule of reverse momentum, Shinsuke was the last to look beaten on Smackdown so it is his turn from comeuppance. Ratings and attendance haven’t been as good as they could be, a change may help reinvigorate interest. WINNER – SHINSUKE

The New Day Smackdown Tag Champions vs The Usos (Hell in a Cell) New Day will retain, but it will be to a no contest. I am expecting the debut of The Authors of Pain to tear down the cell and demolish both teams. NO CONTEST

Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin vs The Hype Bros: I only put this here, because this will be where the break up occurs. Ryder goes heel. WINNER – CHAD GABLE & Shelton Benjamin

Match of the Week: Roderick Strong vs Drew McIntyre for NXT Championship

Quote of the Week: Bray to Finn – “The Demon fuels the man. You don’t paint your face to become the Demon. You peel your skin to reveal it. Show me your face Finn show me your true face.”

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling.
Remember the reason for the season in all your joyous happy Rusev Days to come: Happy Rusev.

Raw / Smackdown Is….

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At the end of No Mercy, I was left thankful that Hell In A Cell was only two weeks away. The Wrestlemania caliber hype was at a peak a few weeks prior and felt to have chilled with a soft go home show. Bad is the wrong word to describe No Mercy as there were quality matches and gruesome moments, see Cesaro’s teeth go into his gums. Unfortunately the build was better than the payoff and No Mercy served more as set up for future rematches.
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There’s more money in Cena going for the 17th championship over a Roman that has already beaten him. It’s best to make the challenger the underdog and that is what this result did. The passing of the torch is not a passing of the torch if you have to mention that you are passing the torch. Cena’s schedule will have less dates but he is not nearly as departed from WWE as The Rock was in 2012. When Cena comes back he’ll just say he handed the torch to Roman only until he returned. “My job in the WWE is to be the best, or be a vehicle for the best” John Cena

Watch Enzo’s Raw Talk. You’ll see why he is being given the Cruiserweight ball.

Enzo Amore was the popular kid hanging with the cool cliq. Then within that circle people started to take a deep look at him and evaluate his worth. As Enzo’s mouth was no longer able to hang with the cool cliq, he was kicked out of the cafeteria table and left to eat lunch outside with the Freaks and Geeks (205). When inserting himself with this new group he brought cool cred with him. He was after all one the popular ones and perhaps being adjacent to him would help the Freaks and Geeks gain notoriety. But like any stereotypical high school narcissist, Enzo anoints himself the group leader. He aims for the groups hot girl (Cruiserweight Championship). He gets the girl and turns her into a babe. Now the two of them rise to a new atmosphere that looks down on the Freaks and Geeks. 205 Live will become Revenge of the Nerds and I love it.
I was going to write about The Miz vs Roman Reigns feud being equivalent to Daniel Bryan vs Roman Reigns, but then I read Max Landis’s Twitter rant and feel a scriptwriter could put it together better than me.

I remember a time when the thought of a Bray and Finn program was exciting. Two clashing ring styles putting on unique matches. Eater of Worlds vs The Demon King. But why now that we have it, we can’t get excited. Perhaps because Bray has become everyone’s stepping stone. Perhaps because Finn is in the Universal Championship holding pattern like every small guy on Raw. Perhaps because these men are unique individually but can’t find much creativity in the ring. You can set your watch to the patterns for many Finn matches. He has a good move set that can be a great one if he held some tools back. Bray is fantastic at taking his opponent’s offense and creating aggressive counters for them. Yet I have not seen the creativity.

On Smackdown Rusev has become the rosters most versatile heel. I celebrate Rusev day with a chest hair grooming and 5 squared meals of Bulgarian kebapche drenched in lyutenitsa. I’m onboard anytime a vicious brute can do comedy. I love seeing someone take chances and that is what Rusev is doing. Aiden English, best friend to all heels, has been getting a lot of camera time to compliment and holster up other heels through his gift of song. Sure this all ended with a Randy Orton RKO but let’s not allow it to ruin our Rusev Day.
Happy Rusev Day to all, and to all a good Rusev.
Quote of the Week: all of Enzo on Raw Talk. “When I step outside the squared circle, I have a small circle and I don’t let any squares in it”
Oh my… 😬
Match of the Week: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs The Bar at No Mercy
Hey Seth Rollins has a name for his Finisher, at least according to Graves, it’s the “Kingslanding”. I will always be in support of G.O.T. names.

FOR KICKS. FAN OF THE WEEK: This Anime Loving Artist.

RAW / Smackdown Is….

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WWE has been pacing their shows well lately. It has helped with burn out potential. Storylines have been rotating the kickoff of the show. This week The Miz and the Intercontinental championship took the lead spot. With that came daddy drama between Jason Jordan and Kurt Angle. It has been over a month since the two shared camera time, yet it already felt well worn out. It’s good to see more fire under Jordan now as he needs to be more Kurt Angle “Wrestling Machine” edition instead of Kurt Angle “American Hero”. I’m all for a Jordan rise as long as Miz stays IC champ at the other end of it. Let Jordan get over by beating on the Miztoutage. Don’t adjust the gamma on your television set, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel are that orange.
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Curt Hawkins losing streak is now a viable part of WWE programming. In realistic terms wouldn’t an employee with 114 match long losing streak be fired? Wouldn’t they just be considered inapt at their job and therefore terminated. However we’re told to believe in wrestling, wins and losses are not job qualifiers for review. Curt Hawkins 0-115. I’m campaigning for his first win at the Wrestlemania 34 preshow.

Raw has a weekly quota to meet on the word bitch and Reigns plans on meeting it. Cena didn’t show up and still won the segment. Roman proved that Cena carried this similar storyline back in 2012 better than Reigns is today. Reigns went with a deep cut stating no one that may look like Cena could ever make it, just ask Alex Reily. This talk taken directly from dirt sheets helps validate all the hours of internet dwelling us fans do. Though when Roman does it, it feels manipulative like someone handed him that line without Roman knowing the story behind it. As Iron Sheik would say, someone needs to humble him.

Has anyone been a better gif generator than Braun Strowman?

Smackdown had a hard case of deja vu. It was a large task to follow up last week’s Vegas show that had the ratings boost from Vince McMahon’s appearance. Shane didn’t show as much vigor as his old man. Owens is pulling his weight on this program while Shane has no zingers to comeback with. This program is Shane’s biggest test since his return. He has to pull out what he showed us leading up to his Undertaker Wrestlemania 32 match. Right now he’s sounding more like someone saying the generic things a character in his situation should say, instead of what Shane O’ Mac should be saying.

To show Smackdown’s effort for repetition I would bring to the court’s attention exhibit A. Jinder Mahal cut the same promo but just went a little further with his racism. Kudos to the crowd for “that’s too far” chants. This segment caught the attention of The Washington Post and a bit of unwanted publicity. The WWE is no stranger to criticism in their depictions of nationalism or blurred lines of racism in order to get heat on a heel. I expect WWE to lean into this angle and keep Shinsuke’s retribution to come only from his hard kicks and not his words. Jinder still saying people turn their backs on him remains senseless when he’s always been a heel and never designed himself to be liked. You can’t be abandoned if you were always alone.

Exhibit B:
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Quote of the Week: Finn Balor to Bray Wyatt- If the demon is the creation of the man. Which one is more dangerous?
Match of the Week: Smackdown Women’s Fatal Fourway

No Mercy Predictions
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman – All announce tables will be destroyed. Because I believe there is more money in a rematch, Braun Strowman should become the Champion. However I can see some false finish occur. Perhaps the ring will collapse or the ropes will snap. WINNER – Braun

Roman Reigns vs John Cena – Should be match of the night. Both men can go, no matter what you feel about them, they keep you engaged. Hopefully I won’t see more than 2 Superman Punches. Please Please counter a Superman Punch into an AA. John Cena has to go shoot Transformers at some point. But The Rock did win the first Cena vs Rock match and he wasn’t sticking around. WINNER – Cena

Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs Bayley vs Nia Jax vs Emma vs Sasha Banks – This will be where we start to see the seeds of Bayley vs Sasha be planted. They’ll do some team up moves and then Sasha will try to sneak a roll up on Bayley or Bayley will give Sasha a hug and turn it into a Bayley to Belly. Neither will win as Alexa Bliss is the safer choice to be champion right now before the debut of Asuka. WINNER – Alexa Bliss

Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus vs Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose – A great match to start the PPV with. I don’t foresee a large amount of shenannigans to interfere in this one, but I do expect a win via some confusion from a blind tag. WINNERS – The Bar

Wrestling isn’t everything, but everything is wrestling.

Raw / Smackdown Is….

Sin City Smackdown was set up to be a special ppv caliber night. It was promoted as such with branded graphics and video packages. My expectations were high so I expected to be writing mostly about Smackdown this week and I just let Raw wash over me.

The “A” story of the WWE has shifted away from the universal title to the Kevin Owens Show. In this business you do not get a much bigger vote of confidence than being able to go toe to toe with Vince McMahon. Whenever Vince makes a return to camera I can feel his imposing and dominant presence through the screen. I could only imagine how petrifying it can be to have a heated conversation with him. This is what Kevin Owens was confronted with. The paper thin plot of Kevin Owens suing WWE was sensibly eradicated with the logic of Vince McMahon being a damn billionaire and too powerful to allow a single individual to bring his empire down. When a 72 year old man gets headbutted and bleeds, it doesn’t matter how rehearsed it might have been, it naturally brings concern to viewers. I haven’t had this much concern since Vince last took a bump via a Lesnar F-5 that legitimately injured him. Vince has the right policy in place of keeping old men away from competing. No matter how jacked McMahon was in the Attitude era, I can’t see him as physical threat. He is a super strong psychological threat though. Kevin Owens role was able to highlight his best features. When Owens behaves like a child whose toy was broken so he wants to break all the other kids toys, he’s at his best. The trance he falls into is a far departure from his usual me first complaining. The dynamic reach Owens possesses is why the company is giving him the vote of confidence and why this is the new “A” story.

Jinder Mahal didn’t have to be on this show. You claim to have such a stacked card but then you cut down the time of title matches by giving time to the one championship that’s not defended. Instead we get ignorant jokes toward Shinsuke. Nothing was funny except the Singh brothers overselling. The whole segment just made me angry with how much of a waste of time it was. Please don’t have Shinsuke come back next week with counter photos. I understand Jinder was trying to relate to Shinsuke as a minority in America but it falls on deaf ear when Shinsuke is loved because of the unique diversity he brings to the WWE.

Rusev no longer needs to carry a national pride gimmick. He needs to just be a well spoken plotting brute. Let him use his brain more. EXAMPLE:
Zigglers act is to not have an act. And emphasizes how you don’t have an act comes off as trying too hard to have an act. Lets just line this all up to have Bobby Roodes propelling program. Soon enough Ziggler will do the Glorious intro and be interrupted by Bobby Roode’s Glorious intro and Roode will say something about Ziggler never being big bucks. There will be no more question as to Roode’s persona. This feud will solidify him as a face, and I expect some good matches but an overall ho-hum story because Ziggler is involved.
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Vince McMahon’s goal to make New Day gain the record for most title reigns is alive. I’m in favor of flipping this title several times, but now lets get another team involved. Don’t eject the Usos but just insert Gable and Benjamin. I notice the resurgence to the Championship has come through performance of great matches, whereas in the past New Day leaned heavily on their comedy they now put the ring ability in the forefront. This helps even out the rest of the division because no one can conquer New Day on a promo level but there’s enough talent out there to have believable in ring competition.

On Raw Roman Reigns comebacks do not resonate when they aren’t true. The whole angle between Cena and Reigns is based on real life, so when he says arenas are selling out and merch sales are great he’s just lying. WWE isn’t doing great financially. They had to cut cost and no longer have pyro for goodness sake. Cena is constantly getting the better of these exchanges and he went where we didn’t think WWE would let him go. He mentioned Roman’s wellness policy violation from last year. You don’t shed light on that. Fan signs that mention it get confiscated, so how can Cena just bring it up so nonchalantly. Further proof that Cena as carte-blanche to do what he wants.

The best truth spewed on Raw was another show stealing promo by the Miz. This weeks victim of kayfabe killing was Enzo Amore. Possibly with Cena’s blessing, Miz has freedom to scathe the ungrateful talent. We’ve all bashed on Enzo enough, so I’ll just congratulate Miz and Maryse on their pregnancy news. Hooray for a future second generation superstar.

Match of the Week: Kairi Sane vs Shayna Baszler – Mae Young Classic

Quote of the Week: (Thanks http://tdewrestling.com/ for doing gods’ work)

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling