Raw / Smackdown Is….

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I’ve seen security footage. Technology has come a long way and is no longer black and white running at 12 frames per second. We finally saw the betrayal we’ve been waiting 4 weeks for and Cass has been waiting a year for. Everyone knows Enzo is a man who runs his mouth and gets knocked around for it, but at least he had a soulmate in this world that would alleviate any of his ass kickings. If you’ve ever seen any backstage interviews that have documented Enzo and Cass’s rise you would know that was a genuine tear. Cass himself must’ve been getting a lump in his throat too. Enzo and Cass’s relation was immensely relatable and their breakup was deserving as Raw’s final segment.

The problems with Money in the Bank were absurdly obvious, so much so that it had to be done on purpose with full awareness of what the backlash would be. There is no way the creative team would be that oblivious. And the quick reactions on social media’s from the women, Shane, Steph and Daniel tells me they expected the backlash. For how revolutionary the first Women’s Money in the Bank match was supposed to be, it turned into the kinda controversy WWE loves to produce so they can boost their ratings. With the network, ratings must matter much more than ppv buys now. The argument against this is that it is a good wrestling story. For all intensive purposes, James Ellsworth is hardly considered a man. He is portrayed as Carmella’s puppet and can be easily beaten by any female. In a twisted way it was more empowering to Carmella to have Ellsworth so under her thumb that he would do this. Smackdown swiftly solved the dilemma by stripping Carmella of the briefcase and setting what would be a ratings boosting Money In The Back match next week. Carmella may have found a new dynamic to her character. Directly addressing internet trolls, an opportunity no one takes advantage of. The problem was Carmella wasn’t the person earning heat, it was Ellsworth and the booking decision.
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Naomi kicking out of Lana’s finisher was a mistake. You have immediately hurt Lana’s power. You could’ve easily protected her finisher by having Carmella come out to tease her cash in at that moment in the match. But instead Naomi kicked out and it wasn’t until later that Carmella came out. Carmella did seem to distract Lana more so than Naomi, however she was not the direct influence to Lana’s loss. The match was serviceable and way above Eva Marie levels. Lana looks good performing moves, chaining them together into having compelling matches will come in time.

I can’t imagine anyone new to watching Raw would listen to Roman and assume he’s a good guy. Do good guys go around acting privileged? Do they say their the number one contender two months prior to a match? Roman continues to be WWE’s top heel. If he was flipped to be a traditional heel, instead of this babyface with a piss poor attitude, people might actually begin to like him. His entitlement and arrogance only tells me he’s been scripted to troll audience. Until there is a definitive move in Roman’s character, the crowd is going to remain confused.

BRAUN!! Can we ever believe injury reports any more?

Elias has been rocketing up the charts. Throwing a wrench into Dean’s plans and now having a face off with Finn Balor. Not too shabby for a guy whose character was destroyed in NXT. Bo Dallas gave a good showing, possibly to the detriment of Finn, though I could see Finn being a nice enough guy to allow Bo to shine a bit. We later saw Bo and Curtis Axel align themselves with The Miz. Wait is Miz assembling a Marine 5 entourage? Are we expected to be an audience that has seen a WWE film? Get serious.

That WWE 2k18 Commercial was an Incredible a tone setter. Hopefully I won’t have to mute the commentary this year.

Seth is the only person to come back at Bray matching him theme for theme, ideology for ideology. The top rope dive to the ground was the coolest spot of the night, and then after showing replays we see that they got color only intensified the moment. It reminds me how blood is under utilized, blood can be used for story psychology and it has largely gone forgotten. We’ll never see a Stone Cold passing out in blood moment again. (shout out to the “Localize Mother 3” sign.)

Quote of the week: Seth Rollins – Life is about defining who you are. You make that decision. We’ve all made mistakes in our lives, all of us but that does not have to define who we are today. It does not have to define who we are tomorrow. It doesn’t have to define who we are in the future. We get to decide that.
Match of the Week: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Dolph Ziggler

Raw / Smackdown Is….

For the second straight PPV WWE has put on a sub-par go home show, this time for Smackdown. However their counterpart Raw showed up with a fiery first segment. You know Brock is looking like he’s in a good mood. He’s holding back smiles. Heyman is attempting to get under Samoa Joe’s skin by calling him the mut black sheep of the rich samoan wrestling history. No one is playing a frightened heel role here. We have seen this same segment involving Brock and Undertaker so I would deduct points. However with these two bruisers there’s no better way to culminate their first in ring meeting. When these happen I ask in what world are all the superstars just hanging out at Gorilla position? Every other time we are always meant to believe that they are spread out throughout the back. Are people actually spending time with the likes of Curt Hawkins?

I am confused by Corey Graves treatment of Elias Samson. I compare Corey to Bobby Heenan who would elevate the heel no matter what. Jimmy Hart or Honky Tonk man weren’t great singers but Heenan put them over every time. Booker T is doing more for Elias while Corey brings up Samson’s singing more than his wrestling. Samson is being booked strong, possibly because of his gimmicks ability of getting massive heat. Dean and Miz continues to be a good program that now has Samson in the middle to for Miz to hide behind.

Why is Noam Darr asking the production truck to feed his phone onto the titantron?
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You would think that after a month, WWE would give Enzo and Cass some security. The scorned lover angle they have going with Cass’s jealous eyes piercing Big Show is not the direction I wanted this story to go and I don’t think it was the original plan either. Where did the Corey phone messages go, were those ever even related. This story smells like an audible has been called.

Quote of the Week
When you look in the mirror you see a man. When I look at you, I see a man who is beneath me. -Bray Wyatt to Seth Rollins

Match of the Week- Hardy Boyz vs Cesaro and Sheamus Best of 3 Falls

Money In The Bank – Predictions

Women’s Ladder Match- There are competitors here that do not need the briefcase. Charlotte is on the top of that list. She is the best on the roster and will get title shots without the briefcase. Tamina or Carmella are two good choices however I believe the Men will have a heel win therefore 50/50 booking cause this match to give a face the win. Winner- BECKY LYNCH

Men Ladder Match- Nakamura did the fatal kiss of death for any go home show, he climbed the ladder and gave us a final visual of being a winner. AJ Styles is in a same position as Charlotte where he does not need the briefcase to get a title match. I can say the same for Kevin Owens plus he should currently be building the United States Championship. Ziggler has become toxic and Zayn hasn’t gained momentum or have any faith from Vince. Who does have faith from the higher ups is the lone wolf. Winner- Baron Corbin

New Day vs The Usos (Champs)- The safe bet would be to put the titles on New Day. They get ratings and in a two hour show it would be efficient for them to be carrying the championship. Winner- NEW DAY

Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal (Champ)- Right now the title is making the man. Jinder needs to be given time to make himself a worthy champion and carry the lineage. Him losing so soon will only tarnish the championship. Winner- JINDER MAHAL

Wrestling isn’t everything, but everything is wrestling.

Raw / Smackdown Is….

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Raw had its fallout from Extreme Rules and Smackdown continued its escalation towards Money in the Bank. Extreme Rules came and went without much excitement. If there is a Road To SummerSlam it begins with Money in the Bank. I am raising my usually low expectations for what has become the fifth biggest PPV of the year.
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Extreme Rules was book ended by good matches and an uninspired middle. The Miz owns the Intercontinental Championship. His classic heel storytelling in the ring and on the mic is the throwback the Intercontinental Title deserves. Dean Ambrose is great but his motivation never seems to be about a championship or owning anything. He is a dog chasing a car, even if he catches it he wouldn’t know what to do with it. Yes, I stole that from The Dark Knight. The Raw crowd loves The Miz. He shut down their “You deserve it” chants by saying “You know that will mean something to me if you didn’t chant it every time anybody accomplishes any little thing” He plays every situation the way he should further solidifying himself as the most over guy on Raw. WWE have been leaning hard on too many championship celebration segments as of late. It is just always a party for a babyface to ruin. However Miz and Dean have been creative with breaking trends and this segment was no different. Instead of Dean doing any demolishing The Miz became paranoid and sabotaged his own celebration. Watching anyone attack a large cardboard box is always comedy gold. An elbow drop to a boxed up grandfather clock the swerve of the teddy bear costume. It was all great stuff following a well paced match they created at Extreme Rules. Miz and Dean are the best and most underappreciated program going on right now. Some guys are better when they are pursuing a title and some are best when the have it. Miz is his best being the IC champ and Dean is best chasing.

Does WWE struggle keeping championships on babyfaces? All titles except the Smackdown Women’s are now on heels. I believe it puts writers in the most creative spot. A heel is best when they are showing power, dominance and a cockiness because they are holding a crown. Whereas if they are without a championship they only seem to always be complaining about it. A babyface should have odds to overcome and be chasing what almost seems unattainable. We naturally go for the underdog and that is always the best position a babyface can be in.

The fatal five way did not go as I expected. Finn ate the submission but was protected by passing out. This felt like an appetizer for the whole road to Summerslam. When Samoa Joe won it felt like he was the obvious guy to feed to Brock. Then Joe’s promo did all it had to do to make him a believable champion. Going to the school of Jake the Snake Roberts by knowing that when you talk softly people are forced to pay attention. He grabbed our attention and made an argument of why he should be the new Brock Lesnar of WWE. Paul Heyman came to counter stating that Joe was the worse case scenario as far as promoting a money making match. Joe cornered Heyman closely describing what the next 30 seconds will be like and proceeded to apply the Coquina Clutch. Heyman’s argument of Joe not being a money making competitor is true. There is no David vs Goliath story so Brock needed some more purpose and Joe provided it by taking Paulie down.
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It has been a bad week for Bayley. She was part of the terrible This Is Your Life segment and then went on to lose easily at Extreme Rules. Bayley is being booked too weak to the point where she is looks dumb. She asked for a kendo stick match and had weeks to prepare then once she grabbed it she was like a kid who was spun in the opposite direction of a pinata at a birthday party. The quickest thing to save her now would be a heel turn against Bayley, but I don’t believe she can come off as natural. When she returns I expect to see a dejected and defeated Bayley. I want her confidence to be destroyed, she needs to do more than overcome her opponent, she needs to overcome herself.
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Lana got way more praise from the crowd than I ever expected. I can’t tell if it is a sarcastic appreciation or are people legitimately that into Lana. She has been excellent with her character having consistent commitment. I don’t know what her ring skill is, from what I recall of her one match she did a lot of kicks. She’s been training and working on the NXT circuit so at the very least MITB now adds a match of curiosity to its card. When Lana said she could beat Naomi, Charlotte and Becky’s reaction were the mime smoking joints. It was caught live but edited out for the YouTube. You can still catch a glimpse of it at 3:55 of this video.

Titus Kallisto pre-show match was better than a lot of Extreme Rules. I am a believer of the Titus Brand. No more questions.

Match of the week. Fatal Five Way

Quote of the week – “Earlier today I saw a leaf fall on the side of a highway and it inspired me to write this song” – Elias Samson

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling

Raw / Smackdown Is….

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It didn’t dawn on me until later in the week that Raw was the go home show for Extreme Rules. That is how uneventful this week was. We are going into a fatal five way with a lot of fan favorites, but never had all five of them in the ring. There was no video package. Any promos were toward an individual and not Sunday’s match. The IC Championship program got fused in with the Tag Titles program through a 6 man tag leaving neither of them with anything new story wise. This was an irregular go home show. Each show had a huge moment. One for better and one for worse.

Why This Is Your Life Bayley segment failed: When you bring in actors they’ll always be seen as outsiders, and a WWE audience is unkind to outsiders. They are seen as people who are unfamiliar with WWE and their performance is disingenuous. The attack strategy on Bayley is played out. She’s a nice happy person and I don’t believe the audience has ever been convinced to this being a weakness. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with someone that will do your homework and take the blame when in trouble? The idea of Bayley being clingy to her father was too over the top. I imagine Bayley was going to come out and have something to say but was told backstage to just go out there and fight. No words could have saved this segment. Alexa tried her best with the position she was put in but with this being the go home for their Kendo Stick on a Pole match it fell flat and deflated any momentum.

If the reasoning for Alicia Fox and Sasha Banks feud is to inject star power into the cruiserweight division, then I’m all for it, plus Sasha’s dancing is cute. The RAW women’s division has been failing since Charlotte’s departure while The Smackdown Women have turned things around in fell swoop. The Smackdown Women’s segment was finally a success and had me forgiving the month of 6 woman tags. The set of yet another Smackdown scramble match had me yawning, but the execution of the no contest brawl showed intensity that could only be contained by a ladder match. Earlier in the year we never saw a Woman’s Hell In The Cell match and that turned out good and could’ve been great if some spots went better. I’ve never seen women use a ladder and anytime we can get a first in wrestling, it’s the news of the week. charlotte moonsault.gif
Enzo’s secret attacker struck again. Implementing The Revival will assure this will become a long running story. Enzo & Cass were growing stale as competitors so to have them involved in an out of the ring mystery is their best use. I still believe they have value on the mic but are not believable as champions. The Revival are injured but fortunately not out of programming. It’s serendipitous for these two teams to be in a story now. As far as Cass being a suspect, this feels more like focus testing. A big man heel Cass will pale in comparison to Braun. Let this storyline serve the purpose of reintroducing The Revival.

I want to applaud Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews. They are telling a story and having fun with it. Titus is swaying Apollo to the dark side but putting an entrepreneur spin to it. Anyone that is successful uses underhanded tactics right. Apollo has been criticized for being too smiley. Let him be a naive brainwashed heel. Pulling competitors tights and giving them low blows with a smile. I’m looking forward to that light bulb in Crews’ brain to light up and fully succumb to Titus’s teachings. This .com video is better than what was on a majority of Raw.

EXTREME RULES predictions
Fatal Five Way for Number 1 Contender – This is to determine who will be demolished by Brock Lesnar in the Balls of Fire ppv. Because of this it is too soon for Roman or Finn to win. They will cancel each other out and feud for a short period during which time they will be having their eyes set on the Universal Championship. Finn has already had a promo with Paul Heyman and Roman, well Roman is Roman. Seth and Samoa Joe haven’t had their blow off just yet so they’ll cancel each other out only leaving Bray Wyatt to take the win and be Brock’s victim. WINNER Bray Wyatt

The Miz vs Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship) – I foresee a Kurt Angle disruption. A Maryse interference will lead to a referee confusion and Dean Ambrose DQ. Kurt Angle will not allow the title to change like that and the match will continue after the false finish. WINNER Dean Ambrose

Bayley vs Alexa Bliss (Women’s Championship) – Any match involving anything on a pole tends to underwhelm. The item on the pole never has a payoff worth the concept. Alexa had a tables match at TLC with Becky that went very well, so that is what is giving me hope. My expectations are low because Alexa’s character seems to be on a different level over Bayleys. WINNER Alexa Bliss

Sheamus and Cesaro vs The Hardy Boyz (Tag Team Championship) – The Hardyz are too hot to lose right now but competition in the Raw tag division is thin, so a Sheamus and Cesaro win can give reason to extend this feud. WINNER Sheamus and Cesaro

Quote of the Week
“This is hard to watch”. – Booker T (during Bayley This Is Your Life)

Match of the Week
Bray Wyatt vs Samoa Joe vs Finn Balor

Raw / Smackdown Is….


Jinder Mahal has to hold on to the Championship for a long enough time to make his name relevant. We now have a case of the Title making the man not the man making the Title. The longer Jinder can be champion and the stories told with in his reign will determine if that notion can be flipped.

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The writing is tried and true. We’ve seen it countless times. Having a guy spewing his national pride and Hating Americans for their intolerance doesn’t fly well these days. Society is pulling the opposite direction and are squeamish towards intolerance. In this Politically Correct world it’s uncomfortable for anyone to hate on someone for not being American. So we as an audience would feel guilty for hating Jinder for the reasons he wants to be hated. Instead we’ll show our disgust at the writers and the business decision to put the most prestigious belt on Jinder in order to boost the Indian market. Business wise this direction might make sense but story wise it is difficult to suspend any disbelief when Jinder was brought back in October only to be a jobber. Two months ago he was losing to Rob Gronkowski and the weak link in his tag team with Rusev. The politics in play are far too transparent. His rise has been too fast and unearned. In real life Jinder has worked his ass off and one can feel good about seeing him achieve a dream, but a good champion this does not make.

Raw is giving to much away by having your top 5 guys constantly wrestling each other. This week a tag match, next week a triple threat and Shield showdown. Save these in ring performances for Extreme Rules and the long road towards SummerSlam.

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The Drifter Elias Samson debuted to a resounding chorus of boos during his pre-match acoustic set. It was an effective way to get heat, because no one ever wants to be subjected to the guy at the party with a guitar trying to jam while being in the way of the keg. He gained his victory over Dean when The Miz attacked The Drifter to give him Dean a loss via DQ. It is not lost on me that going into Extreme Rules Ambrose vs The Miz will have the stipulation of a DQ resulting in a title change. The least Extreme rule ever.

Goldust and the 24k Shattered Productions is back!! Let goldy sit in the director’s chair and reference current day movies. People love referencing things in order to relate with each other. The whole gif, meme and internet culture revolve around it. Keep these twisted vignettes coming and my fingers are crossed in hope that Goldust is Enzo Amore’s secret attacker.

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Backlash had a very difficult show to follow on the heels of another excellent NXT Takeover. I have swung in the direction of paying more attention to NXT’s Woman’s Division over Smackdowns’. The prime reason being the unwithering dedication Nikki Cross has to her character. Her promo a few weeks back and her mannerisms in the ring are great examples of some one confident with the character they’ve discovered. Asuka has become the biggest force to reckon with in all of NXT. She has been invulnerable and shown no weaknesses. I will hope that Nikki Cross’s efforts are going noticed and she gets the push over Ember Moon, but I still see it as unlikely because NXT rarely put heels vs heels. I would be satisfied if Nikki gets her own program perhaps with new comer and indie legend Candice LeRae. Let’s build up Nikki to give Sanity some much needed wins. No one on the current roster is at Asuka’s level in the ring, but when you look at a complete package Nikki Cross is the closest.

Smackdown used squash matches effectively which is tricky to do. Sami Zayn achieved a quick roll up win on Baron Corbin, which is always the safe way to protect a bigman. They lose because of leverage and surprise not because they were beaten down. It was Zayn’s second consecutive win over Corbin but Corbin’s anger and post match attack continued to tell the story of Zayn being an annoying fly Corbin can’t swat away. Breezango continue to explode in popularity through they’re comical hijinx. Though we will have to see some more serious wrestling from them if they are to become believable champions. Their Backlash loss was a good loss to take because it came do to their comedy. The quick pinfall wins against each Uso brought them back up to an even level with the Uso’s and keeps them in the picture as top contenders.
Looking ahead to Smackdown’s Money in the Bank. The main event will include 6 of the rosters top guys. What else is left to put on the show? A tag team match? The women have to start splitting up in order to push out two matches from that division. Perhaps this is where New Day make their Smackdown debut and eat up time.

Quote of the week
“Roman, what does one silly yard mean to a man who owns the world?” -Bray Wyatt

Match of the week
Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne. A new contender for match of the year

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling

Raw / Smackdown Is….

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Newark New Jersey the city where dreams well that’s not it. Newark New Jersey the city that never sle.. well that’s not it either. Third time’s a charm. Newark New Jersey the sweat gland of America… Look at you guys, you are the poster child of failure” -Alexa Bliss.

Big men are prone to injury too. As unfortunate as it is to see Braun sidelined and halter all of his rocketing momentum, this shows creative that agile guys like Seth and Finn are not the only people you have to fear an injury adjustment for. You have to be afraid of everyone’s fragility. 6 months is the kayfabe word for Braun’s recovery but the dirt sheets are saying 6-8 weeks. Let’s hope this bumps Braun to a Summerslam showdown with Brock. 


Now with an overbooked fatal 5 way at Extreme Rules, I see plenty of predictability. Seth and Joe have a program to finish off as do Finn and Bray. This only leaves the WWE default go to guy, because he gets a reaction. The man who tends to the yard in a bulletproof vest. The man who is an irregularly sized dog. Roman picked up an unnecessary win over Finn. He could’ve easily taken a protected loss after running full force into the ring post, but instead he buries Finn a little bit. I see this decision more as protecting Braun by not having a small guy beat on Roman who beat on Braun.

Sasha Banks is in a holding pattern. I sense she is set to take a streak of embarrassing losses before it causes her to reveal a mean streak and go heel. In the meantime, Alexa Bliss is chewing up the scenery of the whole Raw and Smackdown women’s division. Smackdown can’t escape the habit of grouping all the women together, which may be what they feel is necessary to fit them into a 2 hour show. Bayley has lost her mojo and struggled on the mic. What worked in NXT only makes her character stagnant on the main roster.

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We did get a heel turn via Goldust turning on his fellow jobber partner R-Truth. I was just happy to see something of relevance happen in the tag division. This will now mean that a new jobbing tag squad needs to be developed. Perhaps it would include Curt Hawkins and Bo Dallas and they’ll be called Bolieve the Facts.

Match of the week goes to the Intercontinental Championship bout between Ambrose and The Miz. It was face paced, had finishers out of nowhere, and a logical conclusion. Best moment being Ambrose doing a top rope elbow without any care of Maryise’s presence. Nitpicking here, The Miz won but because it was off a DQ he didn’t win the title. This shouldn’t mean that Dean Ambrose’s music gets played as if he was the victor.

BACKLASH Predictions

AJ Styles v Kevin Owens (U.S. Champion). These are the top guys on the Smackdown roster and the US Title seems to be in an elevated state while the World title is part of an uninteresting feud between Jinder and Orton. AJ and Owens should fight a long time over the title, exchanging it back and forth. Give AJ this win, then Owens win the rematch dirty. WINNER AJ

Breezango v Usos (Tag Team Champion). What the heck is DayOneish? Finally Breezango brought it up during another good segment of the “Fashion Files”. I want a Breezango win but It’s too early for them. WINNER USOS

Jinder Mahal v Randy Orton (WWE Champion) I believe WWE cares more about getting people talking and they’ve gotten that with the rise of Jinder. Randy has complimented Jinder on various radio shows in the past, I could see him doing the job to him. WINNER JINDER

Shinsuke Nakamura v Dolph Ziggler. Dolph always claims to steal the show, but hasn’t done so for years now. At the very least Dolph finally has a chance to live up to his moniker with a unique talent like Shinsuke Nakamara. Being that it’s Nakamara’s first WWE match, he is locked in for the win. WINNER Nakamara

Summer is here. (unfortunately)

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Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling.