Cubed Circle Newsletter
You may be wondering at this point why cubedcirclewrestling.com looks like it has been completely destroyed. If you are reading this and it is fixed you can ignore this opening, but if it has not the basic story is this. I updated the site, a few things went wrong, and as a result I resorted to my old troubleshooting fail safe, when you don’t know what something is, particularly if it is a part of your OS or website, delete it! Suffice to say this did not work out well, and led to a day of frustration given that my backups are stored in a different location. Regardless, it has supposedly taught me a lesson: don’t delete things if you don’t know what they are or you “think” that it will fix the problem, but at the end of the day I highly doubt that this will change much in the future. On the bright side this has been the entire gimmick of the newsletter over the past couple of years, so it really comes as no surprise.
Before we get to the actual newsletter, there is another important note. As I mentioned a few months ago, due to the fact that I will be writing the most important examinations of my life so far in October through to November, I am going on an hiatus from issue 100 onwards. This is meant to provide adequate study time and the like, and to ensure that I am not going to be watching iMPACT when I should be studying. I originally looked at putting the newsletter on hiatus during that period, but due to Ben Carass & Bryan Rose being incredibly great I do not have to. Instead, Ben will be shifting from the NXT reports over to RAW and WWE PPVs, and Bryan Rose will be covering New Japan iPPVs and Bound for Glory, which means that the newsletter will keep chugging along…and will most likely be of better quality to be honest.
In this week’s issue we preview the three September New Japan iPPVs, look at All Japan’s next low, RAW with spray paint, some of the ratings highlights, Ben Carass covers NXT with no Zayn/Cesaro, the worst edition of iMPACT in months, and “a wresling show”, SmackDown. And after having to bare three times the normal intro, I hope that you enjoy the newsletter and have a great week.
— Ryan Clingman, Cubed Circle Newsletter Editor
Road to Destruction — New Japan Announces 3 iPPVs for September
Following their stint of nine internet pay-per-views in eleven days as a part of the 2013 G1 Climax, and one of the best wrestling tournaments that I can remember, New Japan followed the G1 finals on August 11th with a much needed month long hiatus. It makes sense to take a break from both a physical and creative standpoint after such a taxing tournament, and there is also the matter of fan burnout to contend with. But, with New Japan’s most recent announcement of their September iPPV line-up and house show schedule, things are almost back on track.
What is perhaps the biggest story coming out of any of these announcements, is the fact that they will be offering a total of three iPPVs throughout the month of September. Luckily, unlike the G1, they are priced at different price points scaled from most important to least important, and are obviously available as single purchases. The September 28th Destruction show is clearly the most important out of the three, and is priced at the standard $25 price point. The next step down from there is the September 14th show from Korakuen at $15 dollars, and then there is the September 5th show, also from Korakuen Hall, for $10.
This announcement brings the over exposure debate out in the open again much like the G1, and there are two main thoughts on each side. The side against the number of shows states that if you present the iPPVs in a manner where the majority of your audience will have to pick and choose, then you are going to devalue the meaning of your iPPV business. The view from the opposite end of the spectrum is that fans will order the shows that they really want to see, and so as long as you put on very good shows, you can offer smaller shows up at lower price points to earn a few extra buys, it won’t hurt anybody. I understand both sides, and both are valid for different situations. I believe that when it comes to this tiered platform New Japan aren’t really doing anything inherently wrong. The B and C level shows on the tour are being offered for just over and just under half the price of the regular shows, and there is a large enough pricing gap that you aren’t really telling people that the big shows are irrelevant. You also have to look at this approach from a Japanese standpoint rather than an international one, and as far as the Japanese mentality goes I don’t believe that we really have a clear cut answer. As long as these shows are placed in a strategic manner, and we don’t have a G1 situation every few months, I don’t think indicators will go down. You also need to look at the impetus that New Japan had for making this move, obviously the G1 model performed well, although you can’t judge most periods by the standards of the G1.
The two shows from Korakuen aren’t anything to write home about, although they good range from fun to good. The September 5th show features a Time Splitters/Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu tag match in the opener, which should be a good showcase for Komatsu and Tanaka, especially Tanaka who seemed to be a step or two behind Takahashi & Watanabe the last time I saw him, although he definitely has some degree of promise. Everything else apart from the top two matches on the card is pretty much what you would expect from a show of this nature, many multi-man matches that could be very good, but have a couple of dull works thrown in in order to keep the match a few steps below that level. The two top matches probably also fit into that category, although they do have some degree of promise. The first elimination match is Nakamura, Ishii, Yano and Jado versus Suzuki, Michinoku, Taichi and Benjamin, which could be a ton of fun, even if a large portion is comprised of comedy. The main event match has quite a lot of promise as Kojima captains a team of Tomoaki Honma, Naito and Bushi against Okada’s team of Masato Tanaka, Yujiro Takahashi and Gedo. Everything that Honma and Tanaka have done together has been absolute gold, and apart from Bushi and Takahashi, everyone involved is top or near top tear in the working department. I therefore have high hopes for the mainevent, as the Tanaka/Honma, Tanaka/Kojima, Tanaka/Naito, Okada/Honma and Okada/Naito sequences could be very good. At $10 it should provide a good amount of entertainment.
The second Korakuen hall show does have one match that has the potential to be absolutely blow-away, but most everything else is pretty much on the same level as the September 5th show. There are far more Bullet Club centric matches on this show, but the match that most people will probably be talking about by the end is the Naito & Kojima versus Masato Tanaka & Kazuchika Okada match, which has the opportunity to be out of this world. All four men work so great together that it is very difficult to imagine the match not being at least very good. Factor in the Korakuen Hall crowd, and how well guys like Tanaka and Naito have performed in that building historically, and you have a match that may be worth the $15 alone.
The actual Destruction card only has five matches announced at this point, but it should be a very good card by the looks of it. You also have to look at New Japan cards in the past that looked very good, and those that looked blow-away, and you will notice that a lot of the time the former delivers in a far bigger way. The main card is pretty much completely comprised of rematches from either the G1, or other matches over the past year or so, and while that is fine with me, apart from the mainevent, we have seen the majority of these matches one or two times too often. The opening match is Toru Yano versus Minoru Suzuki, in a match that we have seen countless times and most recently as a part of the final night of the G1. The original premise of these matches was that Suzuki wouldn’t buy Yano, Yano would use some of his antics, and then Suzuki would destroy him. This was a fun concept, but the pair reached their peak in the opening match of the final night of the G1 this year, in a match that was actually amazing for what my expectations were going in. Yano worked the babyface role, something that he had been doing throughout the tournament, and ultimately got the win. This is clearly just the match for Suzuki to get his win back, and it was fun the last time, so if they do it one final time I don’t have much of an issue with it.
A match on the card that I do have quite a distinct issue with however, is the Tanahashi/Devitt match. If I am counting correctly this is either the third or second rendition of this match, and at this point enough truly is enough. It is clear that the Devitt gimmick needs to be toned down quite a bit. I have been someone that for a long time, quite a few months before the G1 in fact, has been saying that the gimmick simply is too much and I stand by that statement. If Devitt does the same exact thing every match, in the same manner, leading to the same conclusion, what is the point? It’s a great idea to have one character that plays the US style heel, but there is only so far that you can go with a parody, and that’s what Devitt feels like at this point. I remember that I was very excited for the original match straight after the Devitt heel turn, but it really doesn’t sound like too much fun this time around.
In another match that is being recycled for what must be the third or fourth time as well, Shelton Benjamin challenges Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental title. While, Nakamura has been able to get the best New Japan matches out of Benjamin possible, at this point they have done all they can with this match, although Nakamura has to get his win back from the G1 I suppose. I expect a good match here, but it isn’t one that I am particularly excited for.
I match that I am excited for however, more than anything else on the entire show, is Masato Tanaka defending his NEVER title against Tetsuya Naito. It is no secrete at this point that the NEVER title was created for the very purpose of elevating Naito, and this is almost certainly the match for them to hand the title over. These two first met at the Kizuna Road iPPV on July 20th, and while the match was very good, I believe that the pairing have better matches in them, and this will probably be one of them. While holding the NEVER title until the Dome, or whenever they book Naito/Okada, will be good for Naito, in the long run the NEVER title doesn’t mean much. It was originally meant as a title that could be used to elevate young talent, but as can be seen with Tanaka’s 280+ day title reign that hasn’t been the case, and I think New Japan realizes that. It’s probably for that reason that Naito will win in a very good match here, go on an undefeated run with it, before it is unified with with IWGP Heavyweight Title at some point down the line.
The final match announced for the show is of course the IWGP Heavyweight Championship match, a rematch from the A Block of the G1, where Kazuchika Okada will take on Satoshi Kojima. These two had their first encounter on the final night of this year’s G1, and it ended up being one of the better matches on that card, which was pretty impressive since it was only an 11 minute match. Kojima clearly showed during his G1 run that he still has at least a portion of those big early 2000’s Triple Crown performances in him when placed on a large enough stage. I can’t see any way that Kojima could come out with the title, but like with Okada’s title defense against Makabe and to a lesser extent Suzuki, he is more than capable of bringing the crowd to a state where they are capable of suspending their disbelief.
The $25 show is actually the show that I won’t be reviewing for the newsletter, not because I don’t want to watch or order it, but rather due to the fact that it falls in with the September – November exam period, although Bryan Rose is going to be covering it in my place. Still, it should be a good show and one worth watching if you are a fan of the product, even if half the card is pretty much taken from the G1’s final night.
All Japan Not So Hot — Shiraishi Crazier Than Ever
If there was any doubt amongst the general Japanese wrestling community’s mind that All Japan has fallen on incredibly bad times this year, and dropped to fourth if not fifth place when it comes to promotions in Japan there is certainly no doubt after this past week’s show from the Ota City Gymnasium show. The show was headlined by Suwama/Go Shiozaki for the triple crown, one of the stronger matches that they have right now, they announced 1,800 fans, but the fact of the matter is that attendance was far lower than that (the building holds 3,800), and the pictures that surfaced from the show paint a very bleak picture of the current All Japan landscape.
Making things even more depressing was the fact that Nobou Shiraishi, All Japan’s president for the time being, built a match around he and Chono, where he showed up in complete, full-body, Tokusatsu style get up, making for a preposterous situation. Shiraishi in his next crazy move announced that he would be stepping down as president for the time being, and he wanted Suwama, Fuchi or Inoue to take the position. What proceeded was a game of hot potato, as Suwama claimed that he knew nothing about managing a wrestling company, and rightfully so, Fuchi when asked pointed to Suwama and Akiyama, and I don’t even know what the response from Inoue is.
Meanwhile Keiji Mutoh’s Wrestle-1 promotion has drawn a sell-out with no card announced so far. This is a good sign, but isn’t very telling given that the second, third, fourth and beyond shows are going to be the most telling for Wrestle-1. The problem with the Japanese business right now, and it is hotter than it has been in quite a few years, is that there are simply too many companies. You have New Japan at the top, with no one else really in contention for that spot, there is Dragon Gate up next, who are most likely second, then you have DDT who are surprisingly successful for just how niche the product is, you have NOAH who most thought would have died, but has carried on, and then you have the All Japan’s of the world coupled with Zero-1, Big Japan, Diamond Ring, Michinoku Pro, Osaka Pro and the like. It is unclear where Wrestle-1 is going to fit in when it comes to this model, although I can see them filling the role of a HUSTLE, where they have their own unique niche based on old and free talent. However, HUSTLE was never a promotion that was really able to make a serious profit, and I don’t know if Mutoh will either.
It really is a sad situation for the members of BURNING Go Shiozaki, Kotaro Suzuki, Jun Akiyama and company, as they left NOAH when it looked to be a sinking ship, only to find themselves in a ship sinking even deeper and even quicker, as NOAH can at least sell Korakuen Hall out when they have a have a big match, which is something that All Japan simply can not do at this point.
Whilst everyone knows that the post-Mutoh buy-out All Japan really is in no way the same company that was at times the best promotion in the world during parts of the 80s and 90s, it is still sad to see what one crazy person can do to a promotion, especially when the promotion is filled with so much great talent.
WWE Monday Night RAW August 26th 2013
US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
The majority of this show dragged, but it would be difficult to give it a thumbs down given that we got two good TV matches, and two very good angles out of this three hour show. Everything else was bad to mediocre. My real problem going into Night of Champions is the complete lack of logic applied to the issue of Bryan’s title shot; if the McMahons don’t want him to have the title or even a shot at it…why is he getting a shot at the next pay-per-view? The entire thing makes no sense! Bryan was super over on this show and looked like a star because of it.
The show opened up with the Shield standing at ringside guarding the ring for the entrance of Triple H. He called the events of SummerSlam a paradigm shift, and they aired a quick highlight package. It was simple business, and they cut to a recap of last week’s closing segment. Last week, unlike SummerSlam, was personal, Bryan insulted his wife and his family, but he was willing to move on; this got the “what” treatment. He mentioned that the ratings were up, and claimed that business was booming; “booming” is a bit of a strong term. Sure, things are up, and last week’s show did a good rating, but that was more due to coming off of a hot SummerSlam than anything else. He then brought Orton out, calling him the “future”, something that would have been far more apropos in 2005/2006, and they already did that gimmick then. Triple H had a gift for Orton from his own pocket, the crowd chanted “no”. It was a brand new Cadillac Escalade; we all know what happens to Orton’s cars on this show. Orton gave a polite “thank you”, and went to go inspect the car, but Bryan made it out. Bryan said that he had a Honda Fit. Daniel Bryan thanked the fans for their support, as a very large portion chanted “yes”. He thanked Cena, which got moderate boos, because Triple H wouldn’t have ever given him the shot. He finally thanked Triple H, for finally revealing that he was just as narrow minded as Vince was — he was now just a sell out. Orton said that he was the face of the company, which led to Bryan proclaiming that he would rearrange Orton’s face at SummerSlam, the crowd was overjoyed. Triple H then sang “When You Wish Upon A Star”, very badly calling Bryan Jiminy Cricket. It wasn’t as hokey as it sounded. Bryan could live his dream in a match against Rollins, if he won that match he would face Ambrose and of he were to win that one he would go up against Reigns. Triple H said that he believed in Bryan, and believed that it was what was best for business. This was a good opening segment, although the car gimmick for later on was very predictable. The last bit was a tad perplexing, as Hunter saying that he believed in Bryan didn’t make much sense. I understand what they were trying to do there, but it didn’t make much sense in the end.
A graphic aired for a WWE App poll for the Punk/Axel match. The options were, “Heyman banned from ringside”, “Heyman as special guest referee”, and ” If Punk won he would get a match with Heyman”. If the results here weren’t forced enough they pretty much had Lawler and Punk beg for Heyman after the match. Fandango was out for a match with Cody Rhodes with Sandow on commentary. Right at the start of the match Miz made it out dressed as Fandango with Rosa Mendes and danced down to the ring. This allowed Rhodes to get the win. Sandow shot in for a beat down, but Miz rushed in to make the save. Maddox made it down, and yes he booked a tag team match, which was joined in progress after the break. JBL called Mendez a kleptomaniac. Miz wrestled the entire match dressed as Fandango. Once again Fandango walked off, and Rhodes landed a shot on Sandow from behind the referee’s back to allow Miz to land his skull crushing finale for the win. I really hate this Fandango walk off gimmick, especially when they played his music after the match…when he was on the losing team! There was also the matter of Miz and Rhodes winning via heelish tactics. I was not a very big fan of this. There was a Los Matadors vignette. Christian was backstage with Matthews. He was asked his opinion on Triple H. He lived through the Attitude Era and talked about history when Orton came by saying that he would beat Christian later on. Christian called Orton a tool and Orton walked off. I thought you weren’t supposed to say anything bad about Triple H and Orton. An App Punk promo was shown, further pushing the Heyman match. Heyman was complaining backstage, but Axel said that Punk couldn’t out wrestle him. Axel asked if Heyman would put his life on the line, and Heyman gave a very hesitant yes.
Punk was out for his match with Axel, and the results were revealed as 81% for Heyman in the ring — gasp! Punk ran after Heyman, and Axel was able to drag Punk back to the ring for the advantage. Axel landed a stiff Saito suplex. Punk landed the elbow soon after for two. Punk finished Axel off, pretty much out of nowhere with the GTS. Heyman was walking off, but some referees brought him back. They repeated the spot, but this time the security brought him back in. Heyman was awesome saying that it was Lesnar’s idea. However, as Punk got a hold of Heyman Axel came in with a low blow. This the security didn’t stop, which didn’t make any sense and Heyman grabbed a pair of handcuffs, tying Punk’s hands behind his back. Heyman was so great screaming for Punk to fight him, and landing slaps. The crowd was super behind Punk and he managed to land a high kick on Axel and a few kicks to a grounded Heyman, but Axel took him out with a chair shot. Axel grabbed a kendo stick and handed it to Heyman, who donned a look of pure evil. Punk cursed, but Axel had Punk and Heyman screamed that he had fathered Punk, and he was everything to him. Heyman took this cane now broken at this point, and unloaded on Punk, luckily most of the impact was delivered to the top of the announce table, still Punk took a heavy caning here. Heyman began to weep behaving like a complete madman. I really liked this apart from the obvious disappearing security and referees. Heyman was so great here, and so were Punk and Axel, but he was the real star of this segment. Just a tremendous squirming heel manager. Punk’s back was bleeding quite a bit from the footage shown from the app.
JoJo, from Total Divas, was a guest announcer for a Divas match. Natalya was out with the Funkadactyles against Brie Bella with Nikki Bella & Eva Marie. There was a distraction out on the floor and Brie grabbed the win, awful match. AJ then made it out, she recapped ‘Total Divas’ in a few seconds. She got the babyface reaction with all of this. She called them cheap, expendable, interchangeable women. Women that went I reality TV, because they weren’t good enough to be champion. Nikkie, Bella, and Eva were making a commotion the whole time, which really disturbed the promo. To be honest they had legitimate go-away heat with me, incredibly grating. All the while AJ was cutting a very fiery promo. They would never be able to lace up her Chuck Taylors, they couldn’t touch her and that was reality. AJ was by far the most likeable person here, meanwhile every single one of the members of the Total Divas crew came off as terrible performers. Ricardo was brought down as Van Dam’s personal ring announcer, it didn’t work as well in English. Van Dam almost missed a split leg and was caught with a big step up enzuigiri. Ricardo was up on the table chanting Van Dam’s name for the distraction allowing RVD to grab the leg scissors rollup. Yet another babyface distraction win. A video was shown of Cena’s promo from last week.
Matthews was backstage with Ryback, he questioned Matthew’s accusations of bullying and grabbed him by the mouth before shoving him to the ground. I am actually enjoying Ryback in this role, it really does feel more natural. Heyman and Axel were interviewed by Renee Young in the parking lot. Axel said that Punk would never forget what they did to him, and he deserved to be punished. Heyman felt like a man who put his son in place, leaving Punk beaten by his own authority figure. Heyman was the last person that he should ever come up against. Heyman had a really red and swollen eye from somewhere in that segment. Christian was out for his match against Orton. We have seen this match many a time. Christian was perched on the top rope, was pushed off and landed right on his shoulders on the apron, which looked like an incredibly tough bump, but was super impressive. There was a bizarre bout of miscommunication when both men froze in the middle of the ring, Orton went for the RKO, Christian just stood there, and Orton landed on all fours for a kick. Christian a later on threw Orton off of the RKO and called for the spear. Orton leapfrogged it, Christian landed the spear, but Orton kicked out. Orton landed a thumb to the eye behind the back of the referee’s and landed an RKO for the win. Both men worked really hard here to put on a very good TV match. Just then, right on cue, Bryan appeared on the tron next to Orton’s new car. He wanted to know if he won at Night of Champions if he would be the new face of the company. He then stepped back to reveal, the entire car was spray painted “yes”. The crowd was so into this, although the vehicle trashing gimmick got old a long time ago.
After the break Maddox, Orton & Triple H were in the back. Maddox said that everyone was laughing and cheering. Hunter said that he considered the vehicle and the title his personal property. He wanted every single member of the roster out on the stage watching what happened to Bryan latter on. If someone were to come down to the ring they would be fired. Titus ‘O Neal came down with Darren Young and got a bigger reaction than usual. Swagger was down with Zeb Colter and Cesaro. He said that Ms Young and Ms ‘O Neal should have gotten the message. Young freaked out a bit, but there was nothing major brought up, which was rather peculiar. I don’t know what was going on tonight, as they repeated the same finish again with Young distracting Swagger for the win. There was a new Wyatt vignette, a so called ‘WWE.com Exclusive’, great stuff! Wyatt sang and talked about ‘Sister Abigail’. Maddox was backstage talking to a doctor who said that Punk was refusing medical attention. Punk came by and said that Maddox could only help him. Punk was booked in a handicap match at Night of Champions, an elimination handicap match. If Heyman ran we would never be see him again…will this be a tile match? If not it wouldn’t really fit with the Night of Champions theme now would it? There was another Los Matadors promo.
Pretty much everyone except Punk was on the entrance way for Bryan/Shield gauntlet. Renee Young interviewed Big Show on the apron while the Shield were making it out and he was asked his thoughts on the Shield match…silence. Same question for Dolf, same result. Miz was asked to comment, and he cut off in the middle; that was very strange. First was a rematch of one of the best TV matches of the year Bryan/Rollins. Bryan shot out with a tope on Rollins that was more like a flying push and sent Rollins over the announce table to massive “yes” chants. Rollins as he has been one to do in the past, played a great heel antagonizing Bryan, slapping him in he face and the like. The two exchanged strikes to yes/no chants. They went to a rollup exchange, but Rollins landed a big reverse brainbuster. Bryan landed a German suplex from the very top turning Rollins inside out. The fans were so into this. Rollins is a very good bumper indeed. Bryam then landed his running knee for the win to cap off a very good TV match. Ambrose shot in immediately, but Bryan grabbed the no lock. Reigns shot in for the DQ, which meant that Reigns was legal. Bryan grabbed the no lock on Reigns, but Rollins and Ambrose commenced a beat down. They laid him out and Triple H made it down starring Big Show right in the ye. Bryan took the triple powerbomb. Big Show was forced to look away as Triple H continued to stare. Orton made it down. Orton landed the RKO while Show boiled on the ramp. Orton then walked back up the ramp, Triple H parted the sea of superstars and Orton walked off smirking to close the show off.
RAW Ratings for August 26th 2013
Monday’s edition of RAW was down marginally from last week’s show drawing 4.19 million viewers and a 3.07 rating, but with the lack of pre-season football this week they were able to win out the 18-49 demo in all three top spots, something that they haven’t done for quite some time. They kept the pattern of increasing viewership going strong in the 18-49 demo, but the second hour won out in overall viewership. The first hour drew 4.129 million viewers (1.815 million viewers and a 1.43 rating in the 18-49 demo, behind the second hour). The second hour drew 4.291 million viewers (1.903 million viewers and a 1.5 rating in the 18-49 demo, behind the last hour). The third and final hour drew 4.151 million viewers (1.982 million viewers and a 1.56 rating in the 18-49 demo, which won out the night). I would be very happy with this week’s rating if I were the WWE, as it was up from most editions of RAW over the past few weeks and they won out the night.
Unfortunately we have no further details, as this was the first edition of RAW in the 2013/2014 Nielsen season. We will have all the segment by segment viewership details this week.
WWE – NXT
August 28th 2013 – Full Sail University, Florida.
Corey Graves was in the back with Renee Young; before she could ask him anything, Rick Victor showed up and told him the Ascension would rise. Graves replied that he was standing right in front of him, but Connor O’Brian nailed Graves from behind and the big heel team put a beating on the tag champ. O’Brian very safely worked a shot with one of those metal support structures that WWE use in all their sets.
I suppose starting the show off with an angle was a good idea and gave us something to invest in, even though it involved the unbelievably dull Ascension.
After the titles, CJ Parker did his wacked-out hippie routine then Tyler Breeze made his elaborate entrance.
CJ Parker vs. Tyler Breeze
They did some goofy stalling, so Tony Dawson informed us that Bo Dallas has suffered an injury and we would hear from him later on. CJ made a lunge for Breeze’s phone, which was in the corner, but Tyler cut him off, then after some transitions the model took a break on the floor. CJ fell for the old ringside chase/cut off spot and Tyler started to get some heat; he paused to take a snap of himself then CJ came back with an airplane spin and landed a double-knee strike in the corner. The finish saw CJ go for a right hand and Tyler cowered for his life; CJ grabbed the tights, to try pull Tyler out of the corner. The ref admonished CJ, which allowed Tyler to grab his phone and nail CJ with it.
Tyler Breeze defeated CJ Parker via pinfall, at 3:18.
Apparently Dawson hasn’t learnt how to get over a heel move and he referred to Tyler’s cheating as, “savvy”; Regal also commended Breeze for his resourcefulness.
Match was pretty goofy and they didn’t really do all that much, so be prepared for this feud to continue. Dawson really was clueless in calling the finish; Jim Ross needs to comeback to this show, just so these hacks in developmental can learn how to get the guys’ character over, as well as the match itself.
Renee was in the back again; Emma was her guest and she told Renee that she had a title match anytime she wanted (which was news to me), but said that would have to wait until she kicked Summer Rae’s butt all over the ring. Emma awkwardly invited Renee to, “dance dance Emma-lition, whatever that is and Renee said she would she Emma there.
Man are the wacky gimmicks starting to pile up in NXT; I guess learning character portrayal is high on the agenda for the developmental guys, which is fine. However, I don’t hear a lot of rumblings for any of them to be called up to the main roster like say, Adrian Neville, Paige or Sami Zayn, who are more or less always portrayed in a serious manner. I suppose The Wyatt Family are the exception, but still that gimmick was super strong and added something exciting to the main roster. Characters like Emma, Bayley, CJ, Tyler Breeze, Enzo Amore (I could go on) may play well to the small college crowd, but with the exception of Breeze, I can’t see any of them getting over with the multi-demographical WWE arena crowds.
Emma and her bubbles came out; they showed Summer Rae attacking her after the dance-off, three weeks ago. Summer appeared and she was appalled by Emma’s bubbles, which were still floating around, touching her. Footage of Emma attacking Summer after her title match with Paige aired.
Emma vs. Summer Rae
Emma tried for the Muta-lock right away; Summer crawled to the ropes then landed her ugly rolling DDT thing. Obligatory cat-fight spot. Emma repeatedly rammed Summer’s face into the mat, which led to a ridiculous two count. Summer countered the tarantula and started to work on the arm then she dropped all of her 95lbs onto Emma’s arm with a splash. Summer applied a full-nelson using her never-ending legs, but she missed a splash in the corner and Emma slapped on the tarantula; some geniuses in the crowd tried to get an “ECW” chant going, but given its 2013, it died faster than the infamous Extreme Reunion show last year. Finish saw Emma hit her low splash in the corner then deliver a catapult and roll into the Muta-lock to get the tap.
Emma defeated Summer Rae via submission, at 4:25.
Emma celebrated with her customary dance, however Summer shoved her through the ropes then poured Emma’s bubble solution into her face. Summer left up the ramp and mocked Emma, who was down on the ramp selling her eyes.
I like both of these women; Emma is more advanced in the ring, but Summer is light-years ahead in presence and charisma. Still, this match wasn’t very good. There is likely to be more to come from these two after the post-match angle, which was fine for some heel heat.
The parade of goofballs continued when footage from “earlier tonight” rolled. Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady were with Sylvester LeFort and Scott Dawson in the back. Sylvester told the Jersey boys that if they joined his “legionnaire” all four of them would be able to get revenge on Mason Ryan and make a lot of money. Big Cass remarked that all Dawson did was lose; Sylvester agreed, but told him not to talk to his guy like that. Dawson asked LeFort when he would get paid and Sylvester replied, “when you win a match”. Enzo informed them he and Big Cass wouldn’t join their “legionnaire” for all the money in the world; Dawson said he would beat their “Jersey shore wannabe” brains in, which caused Enzo and Cassady to flip-out. Sylvester dragged Dawson away from the barrage of New Jersey colloquialisms, to safety.
I assume this was hinting at a turn for the Jersey duo; Cassady was a huge babyface to me when he pointed out that all Dawson did was lose.
A graphic hyped Enzo vs. Scott Dawson then after a break Summer Rae was leaving the building, still in her gear mind you. Sasha Banks approached her and said she couldn’t believe what Rae did to Emma. Summer stated that Sasha had better believe it, because that is why Summer is where she is and why Sasha is where she is. Sasha didn’t know what that meant, so Summer explained that she was on the main shows every week and claimed SummerSlam was named after her. Summer continued her rant and told Sasha if she wanted to be relevant she should follower her lead, not question it then said Paige and Emma may be popular, but were “big ugly fish in a small little pond”. Summer stated she was willing to do whatever it takes to get to the top then advised Sasha to grow a back bone and beat down Paige in their match in two weeks.
Heel turn coming.
Sylvester LeFort showed up on the stage. He announced himself from the “great fighting country of France” then said he knew how to make money and find great fighters. Scott Dawson made his way down then Enzo got a big pop when he came out. He said if he and Big Cass had a dime for every time they were beaten up as kids, they would have no dimes, because they were not “S.A.W.F.T – Soft”.
Enzo Amore w/ Colin Cassady vs. Scott Dawson w/ Sylvester LeFort
The people chanted for Enzo, who countered a hiptoss by landing on his feet, however Dawson hung him up over the top rope to start the heat. Enzo fought from underneath, but was shut down by some more no-nonsense offence. The transition came when Enzo countered a sidewalk-slam into a tilt-o-whirl headscissors; on the outside, Alexander Rusev ran down and took out Big Cass. Enzo was distracted and Dawson delivered a modified Angle-slam for this finish.
Scott Dawson defeated Enzo Amore via pinfall, at 3:11.
Sylvester celebrated then raised the hands of Dawson and Rusev on the stage.
Basic stuff in this one; Dawson appears very solid in the ring, he just needs a lot of work on his presence and look. I wonder if they are actually going to turn Enzo into an actual face or if they will let him continue with his current shtick even though it isn’t necessarily a babyface act. I’m not sure how I feel about Rusev joining Sylvester & Dawson just yet, although I suppose it gives Enzo & Big Cass a team to feud with.
We got a recap of the greatness that was Antonio Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn, last week then Renee Young brought Sami out for an in-ring interview. The people chanted “match of the year” and Sami thanked them for the chant then said he was conflicted, because people had been raving about his match, but he could only focus on the outcome. Sami stated that he didn’t know when he would face Cesaro again, but stated he would be ready then claimed it was time for him to look forward. He flirted with Renee a little, before declaring that he wanted to become the next NXT Champion. Bo Dallas hit the ring, which made the people very unhappy and he said that just because a few people on the internet (hey, that’s me!) said he had a good match, that didn’t make him a challenger for the belt. Bo claimed he would love to have a match with Sami, however Sami had injured him at SummerSlam Axxess then he called Sami a “good kid” that was still “green”. Sami informed Bo he was a delusional crazy person with no perception of what the people really think of him. Dallas grinned and stated, “Everybody loves Bo” then explained that the people were chanting “Bo”, not “Boo”; Sami asked the crowd what they were saying and they started a “Boo” chant. Sami got down to business and accused Bo of being scared and dodging his challenge. The Real Americans’ music hit and Zeb Colter appeared on the stage. Zeb said Bo didn’t have to answer the questions of an illegal immigrant then told Sami that he was still determined to expose him as a fraud and demanded Zayn to produce some legal documentation to prove his citizenship. Sami told Zeb that after he was done beating Bo for the NXT Title, he would do everything in his power to get Colter and Cesaro deported back to hell, where they belong. Zeb stated that Sami had chosen to do things the hard way and said he had some word form him: “we the people”; Jack Swagger jumped Sami from behind and the director made sure we understood Bo had left the ring, with an awkward choice of camera angles. Swagger planted Sami with a Doctor-bomb then draped the “Don’t tread on me” flag over his body.
For NXT standards, this was quite a long in-ring angle and for the most part it was ok. Sami needlessly flirted with Renee, which appears to be his gimmick, but when it came time for him to be serious he did a good job of challenging Bo, who was also fine in his over-the-top babyface heel role. Zeb getting involved with Swagger also makes sense and provides Sami another main roster dragon to try and slay on his way to a title match. Like I said last week, I wouldn’t put the belt on him, as he doesn’t really need it, but I like the story they appear to be telling of Sami’s chase and it should only help get him over even more with the NXT crowd.
A video package of NXT at SummerSlam Axxess rolled: Tyler Breeze pinned CJ Parker, however CJ appeared to kick out before the three, Xavier Woods played some video games, John Cena rather condescendingly said “I like this Neville kid in the ring”, Xavier Woods and Mojo Riley beat Scott Dawson and Alexander Rusev, Paige wrestled Emma, but we didn’t see who won which was smart considering they have a title match coming up. However they then showed Bo Dallas pinning Sami Zayn in an NXT Championship match.
Adrian Neville appeared to some new generic rock music then Connor O’Brian came out with Rick Victor for the main event.’ Victor carried Corey Graves’ NXT Tag Title belt.
Adrian Neville vs. Connor O’Brian w/ Rick Victor
O’Brian displayed his strength and Neville showed off his speed; O’Brian dropped Neville across the top rope and landed a big boot to start the heat, before the break. A graphic hyped Sami Zayn vs. Jack Swagger for next week then we went back to the ring; Neville avoided a big boot in the corner then started a comeback with some strikes and hung O’Brian up on the top rope. Neville went for a springboard, but O’Brian sort-of-but-not-really caught him with a downward spiral to get a near-fall. Neville avoided a charge in the corner to land a belly-to-back to get a two count; there was clearly a screw up here, as a jump cut was made while the ref was counting, plus the crowd were booing and Regal tried to explain that the referee might have seen something different from them. I imagine O’Brian simply didn’t kick out. Finish saw Neville hit a 450 to get the clean win.
Adrian Neville defeated Connor O’Brian via pinfall, at 3:40 (TV Time)
Victor got in the ring and the Ascension double-teamed Neville. Graves ran down with his ribs taped up to try make the save, however the big heels overwhelmed the faces and left them lying in the middle of the ring. The Ascension hit their version of total elimination then their spooky music and strobe light were deployed as the show closed.
This was not great and should never have been the main event of the show, although I guess with the story they wanted to tell with Graves it almost had to be. Neville and Graves have some serious hard work ahead of them with their programme against the Ascension.
There were no standout, or even good matches on the show this week, however unlike many episodes of NXT, this week at least had some structure with the angles that opened and closed the show, plus we got a goofy angle to set up Enzo vs. Dawson and then there was the in-ring angle that told a good story with Sami Zayn and his quest for the NXT Title.
TNA iMPACT August 29th 2013
CSU Convocation Center, Cleveland, Ohio
Every week I try to be fair and relatively positive when it comes to iMPACT. Sure, it isn’t going anywhere, and a lot of the time the product is rather dull, but it hasn’t been a very insulting or annoying product in recent months, simply a mediocre one. Well, in the interest of fairness, this week’s show was one of those upsetting shows that TNA tends to put on every now and again. It didn’t make me mad, no there isn’t much that TNA could do to warrant such feelings at this point, but rather I found the show incredibly annoying. For weeks and weeks, months and months TNA has been booking the Bound for Glory series. It was never made clear exactly where they were in the tournament from day one, no dates were announced, and they took some major liberties when it came to the points structure and gimmick matches. I’ll be the first to admit that those short sighted, and at times baffling, logical inconsistencies made the series rather dull and uncaptivating, but up until a few weeks ago it still felt like there was still at least some semblance of order to the way things had been booked. Well, things started to fall apart a few weeks ago, and this week they officially crumbled. Without, any notice last week, or any build, this was the night to decide the final four in the BFG series. This wasn’t because they forgot to promote it last week, or didn’t tell anyone, which would have been infuriating enough, but rather because they simply ran out of time. So in a simple round robin tournament, with matches that take place on house shows, they managed to destroy the entire tournament. How in the world was this even possible? If the promotion didn’t show signs of trouble already this made it seem even worse, as not even one person went through the trouble to see that the dates lined up, and if they did, nobody really cared. There were a couple of good matches on this week’s show, but between that and the Bully Ray angle that is going nowhere I was completely disinterested in this entire show. Say what you want about the current WWE direction, but from a creative and match quality standpoint they are worlds ahead of TNA. And that really is a shame, because with talent like Joe, Daniels, Kazarian, Roode, Aries, Ray, Angle and Styles, things shouldn’t be that way. However, if TNA keeps chugging on I guess that is simply the way that it is going to have to be, as depressing a thought as that may be.
There was a short segment where Brooke approached Ray and was very upset wanting to walk to the ring. So the gimmick of cutting the entire BFG series off at the knees was something to the effect of ‘last chance Thursday’. The Aces & Eights made it out to kick off the show. Ray stated that Devon was missing, and he wanted answers. Bischoff said in the most horrendous manner possibly that he was just as angry as Ray, Total Divas level. Knux was fine, Briscoe didn’t get much, and Anderson said that it could have been any of them “it is what it is” are his exact words I believe. Yup, pretty much sums it all up. Ray then proceeded to run Devon down, he didn’t need him and the only man he needed was Tito Ortiz. Ray wanted to give Tito his very own colors, and this caused Anderson to fire up and get very agitated. Ray wanted Anderson in line. Ray brought Brooke out with a jacket for Tito, and Anderson was pushed into the corner, before Tito tore Devon’s label off of the jacket that he was handed. There was a Jeff Hardy soliloquy, saying that he would beat Kazarian later on. Hogan was shown entering the building after “months of meeting with executives and lawyers”…every Thursday night they schedule these meetings? Hardy was out for a match with Kazarian. Hardy won with the Swanton bomb in a fun match. Bischoff, Anderson, Knux and Briscoe were complaining backstage. Bischoff was so awful. No one man was bigger than the club was basically the conclusion. Animal Farm time I guess.
Gail Kim and ODB were out for a two out three falls match. Kim worked over the knee of ODB for pretty much the entire match. Kim grabbed the first fall with the single leg Boston crab to crickets. ODB grabbed cradle after the break for the second fall. ODB locked in a sharpshooter for the win and the final fall and the number one contendership. The fans were into this match in pockets, but it dragged as there were a lot of dead spots. Velvet Sky was asked her thoughts on ODB, the Knockouts PPV (she called the division red hot), and the interviewer tricked her into talking about how she was Sabin’s girlfriend, all the while the camera man shifted the camera downwards, which was so unprofessional. Roode and Daniels were discussing their plan for the BFG series now that Kazarian was out, and Roode proclaimed that he would take care of business. Aries was with JB backstage and talked about how he wanted win the BFG series solo. Daniels came by and they argued back and forth setting up a match for later on. Aries said that he would slap Daniels so hard that he would grow hair again. Hogan was approached by an interviewer and said that he had a huge announcement…like we haven’t heard that term used before.
The Mainevent Mafia made it down after a recap of last week’s angle aired. Rampage started off saying that he would stomp a mud hole in Tito before their fight in November. Joe got on the mic and was pretty over with this crowd in Cleveland. Sting was overjoyed getting the crowd to chant “AJ”. Styles made it down to his blues tune before his old music hit, which doesn’t do much after the initial spot last week. Styles got on the mic saying that the suit and tie gimmick simply wasn’t him. He said that the only person he could trust was ‘Allen Jones’ and he had developed trust issues, and was given the “what” treatment. He changed the way he looked at the business. “I deserve better” is what he yelled to Tenay and Carter. He basically said in a roundabout way that all of their new stars fail. He used to pray that they would fire him so that he wouldn’t have to quit. Boring chants. He started by tapping people out, and he wanted to be the guy to send the fans home happy. He could still be the go to guy, carry the company on his shoulders and he would be the new TNA World champion. This was basically a cheap man’s CM Punk promo. He said some stuff that may have been viewed as a little risqué, but at the end of the day he just talked in circles and loose terms that didn’t mean anything. I understand that they just wanted to end the end AJ gimmick, but like the BFG series this was a pretty lazy way to do it. Aries was out for a match with Styles. Styles grabbed the win with a cradle putting him right under the red line. So basically he needed a submission to qualify, which literally no one mentioned, nor was it built to during the match. This was so incredibly moronic.
Daniels made it out with villainous goggles and a jacket, the best thing on the show. He was out for a match with Aries. Aries got his win with the brainbuster in what was a very good TV match and by far the best thing in on the show. Tenay comically stated the importance of the BFG series after the match. Ray was talking to Tito backstage saying how he had Hogan in his back pocket. Hogan made it down to the biggest reaction of the night. He was getting to his big announcement when Bully & Brooke made if out. Hogan said that he had taken care of personal business and the divorce was finished; and where was Brooke in all of this, gone right? Ray said that he didn’t care and hadn’t ever cared. He used Brooke. Hogan announced that Ray would have to defend the title against another member of the “Aces of Eights” as Hogan called them. Ray wasn’t doing it, but Hogan said that he would have to defend at No Surrender. He then said that he would also defend the belt this week against Sting. Sting came out and cleaned house. I think Hogan meant next week, same week on the taping schedule, but next week on TV. This left so many questions in my mind, why did Sting get a title shot so soon after he lost that match to Bully? Why did they book two consecutive title matches? And so on. However, it turns out that Hogan just completely butchered the last two minutes of his promo, so it will be a NON-TITLE MATCH NEXT WEEK. I really didn’t enjoy this show at all — a thumbs down.
WWE SmackDown – August 30th 2013.
Thomas & Mack Centre: Las Vegas, NV.
Regrettably, Miz TV was our opening segment and the host introduced Big Show and Dolph Ziggler as his guests; Cole talked about both of them, along with the rest of the roster, being castrated by Triple H on Raw. Miz showed footage of Daniel Bryan being destroyed by the Shield after the gauntlet match and Randy Orton’s RKO then he said it was time the WWE Universe heard their opinions on the way management is running the WWE. Show very solemnly said watching Bryan get beat down was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do in his career then became too overwhelmed and asked Dolph to take over. Ziggler chickened out and wanted Show to continue with his thought; Miz started to speak up, but Triple H came down to the ring and Cole talked about how all the superstars were unhappy with the new “dictatorship” regime. Triple H told Miz to finish what he was going to say, but he of course was spineless and kept quiet. Trips wanted to know why Miz was in his ring gear and he replied, “you never know when a fight is going to break out”. Triple H shot down a question from Miz then explained that the three were going down the “Daniel Bryan route” and were making things personal, instead of thinking what was best for business. Hunter stated that Randy Orton was the face of the WWE then said: Orton wasn’t just a guy that ran his mouth, in reference to Miz, he wasn’t just a big guy, like Show then Trips looked at Dolph and said, “He’s at least big enough”. Triple H put over Orton some more then talked about ratings and selling out arenas then said they should all be happy, because with Randy as Champion they all were earning more money. Trips buried Miz for going from a WWE champ to a geek then booked him in a non-title match against Orton tonight; he also booked Ziggler vs. the Shield in a handicap match and gave Big Show the night off. Hunter told Show he wanted him to sit at ringside and watch what goes on, but not get involved; Show made his angry face and clenched his fist, however Trips just told him to go sit in his chair, by the announcers. JBL did an in-studio line and said Show was lucky that Triple H didn’t tear up his iron clad contract; hey, at least they tried. Show took a seat next to the table; Hunter dismissed Ziggler and told him to go get ready then brought out Randy Orton to take on the Miz.
A poor segment that made all three babyfaces, especially Ziggler, look like utter creampuffs. At least Miz didn’t make his own talk-show completely intolerable this time; although he didn’t really have the chance to. This was all about Hunter burying everyone again. I understand that they are booking the faces like this so people rally behind them and Daniel Bryan, plus they want as much heat on Triple H, and by association, Randy Orton, as possible. But not having them even speak their opinions just makes them look like a bunch of terrified sycophants. Miz getting a match with Orton didn’t bother me, as it was non-title and was more of a punishment. However I have no idea how they get round Big Show being awarded a title shot against the Shield, maybe we’re not meant to think too much about that just yet.
Non-Title Match: Randy Orton (WWE Champion) vs. The Miz
They started slow with some basic opening spots; Orton landed a dropkick to get an early two count then he tossed Miz to the floor and dropped him over the barricade with a belly-to-back. Miz fought out of Randy’s patented chinlock then landed his flying clothesline in the corner for a hope spot; Orton caught him with a kick, but Miz dumped the champ over the top. The Shield’s music hit and they came through the crowd before a commercial break. When we came back, Randy was laying a beating on Miz on the outside, while the Shield watched on. Orton got the heat then Miz made his comeback and got a two count off his backbreaker/neckbreaker combo. Randy countered the skull crushing finale and delivered the hangman’s DDT; Miz reversed an RKO into a backslide for a near-fall then scored with a dropkick to the knee. Miz applied the figure-four and Big Show cheered him on, but Orton got to the ropes. The finish came when Randy rolled to the apron and snapped Miz’s neck across the top rope then he hit the RKO to get the pin.
Randy Orton defeated The Miz via pinfall, at 10:01 (TV Time).
The Shield got in the ring and began to stomp the Miz; Big Show could only watch, however Daniel Bryan ran down with a chair and chased off the heels. The people went nuts and chanted, “yes” while Show checked on Miz.
If there’s one babyface I’m fine with being sacrificed to get over the Triple H/Orton/Shield association, it’s the Miz. The match wasn’t anything special though. Bryan running down for the save was good booking and got over huge with the crowd; with a bit of intelligent booking,
Ziggler and Big Show could easily get reactions similar to this.
A Los Matadores vignette aired then Daniel Bryan walked in to Vickie Guerrero’s office. She called him a bully for what he did to Orton and The Shield then told him in her world when people bully, they get bullied back. She introduced Bryan to his opponent for later on and Ryback walked in; he said if there is one thing he can’t stand, it’s a bully then told Bryan he would see him in the ring.
The Raw rebound was way too long, and showed CM Punk being caned by Paul Heyman; next they aired the WWE Rewind, which was Rob Van Dam pinning Alberto Del Rio with his wacky leg roll-up. Van Dam was in the ring with Ricardo then Damien Sandow came out. Damien said he would amass victory after victory until he won the World title then declared himself the “uncrowned World Champion”.
Rob Van Dam w/ Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Damien Sandow
Van Dam landed a kick for an immediate near-fall then came off the top with a legdrop for another two count. Sandow delivered a knee to the gut then sent Rob into the corner for the ring post spot, which was the transition to the heat; Big Show was too sad to pay attention to this match. RVD got in a hurricanrana then crotched Damien on the top and caught him with his thrust kick, before he came off the top with the 5 star for the win.
Rob Vam Dam defeated Damien Sandow via pinfall, at 2:40.
Alberto Del Rio hit the stage and told RVD that he was only awarded the number one contendership because of Ricardo, who Del Rio accused of betraying the Latino people. Alberto said Van Dam may have rolling thunder, however he would rain all over RVD’s parade at Night of Champions and would prove who the real World Champion is.
It’s no surprise that they are using Sandow to get other people over, look how many jobs Ziggler did last year when he had the briefcase. The Van Dam/Ricardo alliance still makes little sense to me and Del Rio’s promo added little to this puzzling feud.
The Shield were in the ring after a break then Dolph Ziggler made his entrance.
3-on-1 Handicap Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Shield
Ziggler fired up early with shots to all three members, however Rollins eventually took over and the Shield began to get the heat on Dolph. Reigns landed a Samoan-drop then Ambrose worked over Ziggler, until Dolph dumped him over the top. Rollins came in, but Ziggler caught him with an inside cradle for a two count. Finish saw Dolph go for the Rocker-dropper, but Rollins countered and delivered a buckle-bomb then Reigns hit the spear to get the three.
The Shield defeated Dolph Ziggler via pinfall, at 4:01
The Shield stood over Ziggler and mocked Show from the ring; Show seethed, but he didn’t move, so the Shield planted Dolph with the triple powerbomb.
The match was fine in that it got some more heat on the Shield, which is a good thing due to them not been booked as strong as they should have been for the last couple of months and with them playing the role of personal security for Triple H & Co, at least they are being involved in the main angle in the company. Still, it will be hard for them to stand out with Orton, and even more so Triple H, casting a huge shadow over everyone. And you could also argue Triple H is overshadowing the conflict between Bryan & Orton, as well as the entire roster, by making this all about him and what he thinks is best for business. I realise they are building something for WrestleMania, but by booking 95% of the roster like a bunch of wimps they are preventing anyone else breaking through into the top 5% of guys that are immune from standing out on the stage looking foolish. Plus these 3-on-1 matches are going to get very old, very quick; they could at least give us a 3-on-2 every now and then.
Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel showed up for a promo; Cole and JBL went over the stips for their handicap match with CM Punk at Night of Champions. Axel claimed Paul committed one of the bravest acts a man can ever perform and they showed Heyman and Axel wearing out Punk again. Paul said he wasn’t sorry for his actions and blamed the people that voted on Raw for what happened to Punk; he claimed every time Punk had come face-to-face with him, it has been Punk who ended up being laid out, looking at the man he should still worship. Heyman stated WWE were promising the fans that he would take a beating from Punk at Night of Champions then admitted to Axel he was scared of what would happen if Punk got his hands on him. Paul declared if the people thought what he did out of “fatherly love” was bad, then what he would do when faced with the worst beating of his life would be immeasurably worse. Heyman closed by announcing that he and Axel would own CM Punk at Night of Champions.
Paul was great, but Axel is coming across like an afterthought, as all the heat is on Heyman and
the money is Punk getting his hands on him.
Following a break, there was a whole lot of shaking going on, with Tons of Funk getting down in the ring. The Wyatt Family arrived to put an end to the flabby fun-time; Bray took a seat in his chair then blew out the lantern to reveal Harper and Rowan in the ring.
The Wyatt Family w/ Bray Wyatt vs. Tons of Funk w/ the Funkadactyls
Tensai got some shots in and Brodus belly-bounced Rowan off the apron. The fatties sandwiched Harper then went for their double-team finish, but Rowan dragged Brodus to the floor and Harper hit Tensai with a big boot. Finish saw Harper land his discuss lariat and Rowan get the pin after his splash.
The Wyatt Family defeated Tons of Funk via pinfall, at 1:14.
Bray Wyatt got in the ring and dropped Tensai with the Sister Abigail finish then told us to follow the buzzards.
More of the same here from the Family, although I am intrigued where they go with this Sister Abigail thing. They could bring someone in to be their female counterpart, or perhaps it is just a part of the character’s back story, like Undertaker’s dead mother, or god forbid, Katie Vick.
Another Los Matadores vignette rolled then a recap AJ’s promo from Raw aired; JBL said “crazy was speaking the truth”. Ryback showed up for the main event then Daniel Bryan came out and they showed the car that he spray painted on Monday
Daniel Bryan vs. Ryback
Bryan started out fast, but Ryback caught him and drilled him with a powerslam. Ryback got the heat, but he missed a shoulder block in the corner and took the ring post spot; Bryan fired up and started his comeback after the running dropkicks into the corner. Bryan nailed Ryback with a tope and Big Show cheered him on; Randy Orton came down to ringside and Ryback took advantage of a distracted Bryan. After the break, Bryan got some kicks in for some hope; Ryback shut him down with a spinebuster then delivered the meathook for a two count. Bryan countered a belly-to-belly superplex with some headbutts then scored with a missile dropkick and fired up again. Bryan threw more kicks and got a near-fall then applied the Yes-lock; Orton got in the ring for the DQ, but Bryan slapped the Yes-lock on him too.
Daniel Bryan defeated Ryback via disqualification, at 6:25 (TV Time).
The Shield ran in and swarmed all over Bryan; Big Show had seen enough and finally got in the ring. Orton and the Shield backed off then Triple H stormed down and yelled at Show to get out of the ring. Big Show made some sad faces and eventually went to the back after Trips berated him some more. Triple H gave the nod from the top of the ramp and all four heels put the boots to Bryan then the Shield held him while Orton drilled him with right hands. The Shield finished Bryan off with the triple powerbomb then Orton spray-painted “No” on his chest and stood tall with his belt.
The main event was nothing, Bryan could have gotten the win, but since they are apparently rebuilding Ryback I guess they didn’t want to beat him. The post-match angle was good and it kept piling up the heat on Orton, the Shield and Triple H. While the story may not be ideal, they are executing the stuff with Bryan very well and stacking up the sympathy on him, as well as Big Show. Although I’m not sure you want your monster giant nearly reduced to tears and humiliated, unless there is going to be some serious payback coming, which I don’t have the confidence in them to pull off. I mean, they couldn’t come up with anything more original that the spray-paint gimmick which has been used for 15 years, so why should we be confident they can book the comeuppance that the heels deserve?
SmackDown was just a wrestling show this week, however we didn’t get our traditional long match in the middle of the show, or even a good main event; I suppose Orton vs. Miz was given the role of putting on a solid match, but it was completely a by-the-numbers affair. The main focus here was all on Triple H and the babyfaces he was punishing; the story was told well, but Dolph and Show looked like fools again. Something has to change on Raw; they can get as much heat on Bryan as the like, but some of the other babyfaces are going to have to start standing up for themselves, or else the gulf between main event and mid-card is going to become even bigger.
Bits & Pieces
Whilst there is no word on the location of WrestleMania 31, it looks like Detroit and Ontario are bidding heaviest for it as a part of a joint bid.
I was able to sit down and watch the Cesaro/Zayn two out of three falls match from NXT last week and thought that it was one of the best TV matches of the year, but certainly not the best. There was the John Cena/Punk match, which was one of the best RAW TV matches that the WWE has ever put on, and there have been a couple of Shield matches that I thought were better, but as far as an NXT match goes it was one of the best. The closing stretch was physically amazing — definitely recommended.
This week’s edition of iMPACT drew 1.24 million viewers, pretty much the same as last week, and every week for that matter.
For those of you who are interested in lucha libre, or 1980s wrestling in general, as apart of the DVDVR 80s project there is a new 10 disc 1980s lucha libre good helmet set that is apparently amazing. You can find more information on how to order the set at deathvalleydriver.com/forum/ and prowrestlingonly.com.
SPOILERS for next next week’s iMPACT (no one could possibly care at this point). AJ Styles (after winning a battle royal) will face Austin Aries and Roode will face Magnus on the No Surrender TV special.
If you thought that the All Japan/W-1 talent hated Shiraishi, well you haven’t seen anything yet, as Atsushi Onita in preparation for one of his upcoming explosion gimmicks, made a cardboard cutout of Shiraishi, before blowing it up, face point on, chair in hand.
Next Week’s Issue
Next week’s issue is our final issue in the double digits, as we take a look at the first of the three September New Japan iPPVs, another stupid edition of iMPACT, RAW & SmackDown on the road to Night of Champions, Styles and his future in TNA, TNA in general, two weeks worth of ratings and so much more!
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