I have to say that it finally seems as though the Road to WrestleMania has become what I expect of it. Well, one storyline has really started to gain steam, it seems as though most else has been pushed to the side and almost everyone else on the roster is going to be in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The problem being is that putting everyone but Taker, Brock, Bray, Cena, Orton, Batista, Trip and Bryan in this Battle Royal will leave us with three sick matches, and everyone else reliving the Royal Rumble that flopped in a serious way this year. So while I'm thrilled (mostly) about these four big matches, I'm worried about the rest of WrestleMania XXX right now.
Because this was a crazy driving all over the state for medical appointments day, and Matt Kunka offered to help out, some of these segments will be written by him this week. He's new to how things are done in the RIB, but really wants to learn all aspects of WNW, so he's jumping in here without a net.
In Ring Segment > B
Triple H is usually someone who will get mixed reactions. Not the same as John Cena, but Triple H is loved and hated at the same time. He starts off Raw in the ring saying the same old stuff. It was pretty boring because we’ve heard it all the time. Even the crowd was chanting, “What?” to it. At this point in time, going against Daniel Bryan is the same as whoever goes against Undertaker at Mania (in general). The opponent is an automatic heel. Triple H is not only getting booed out of the building, he keeps egging the fans on. It’s brilliant to see. We all love and respect Triple H but man, you gotta hate him something fierce for wronging Daniel Bryan for as long as he has and as gleefully as he has. What helps Triple H get over as a heel? Cue Batista’s music!! Batista is out to equally welcoming boos that Triple H was getting. I still can’t hear what he’s saying as it just comes off as the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons. Something about things not going his way and his pants looking ugly on him. Not to mention how much those sunglasses make him look like a washed up rap star.
What helps those guys get over more as heels? OUT COMES ORTON!!!! Absolutely no fan is cheering to see any of these men. Suddenly, Triple H summoned the spirit of Mr. McMahon and started jumping on the ropes, veins in his head popping and yelling at our “main event” of Mania. HHH calls Orton a whiny baby who needs his hand held for every match and pokes the Batista bear calling him a Hollywood movie star trying to run the show. After saying once he beats Bryan, HHH will be in the main event with the boys, he storms to the back (probably to get his blood pressure checked).
RKO OUT OF NOWHERE!!!! In the blink of an eye, Randy Orton went from being booed and causing half the crowd to fall asleep to having every single person cheering for him simply by laying out “Big Dave” with an RKO. I can’t even lie here, I started clapping and cheering at my TV. Who doesn’t want to see Batista RKO’d?
Backstage Segment > B
I thought that Batista was short, sweet and to the point. I was actually quite impressed that he didn't go off on a tangent, and it added that much more to what happened later in the show.
Usos vs The Real Americans > B+
The Usos have really stepped things up in the ring, and their characters have grown in a huge way. Sadly it looks as though the Tag Division is going down the tubes again, but I'll continue to keep my fingers crossed that it won't fall to the horrid mess it was before this latest push.
Not sure if I'm thrilled about The Real Americans getting along right now, but I also know it won't last. Cesaro has been saddled with Swagger for too long, and the fact that Swagger is still on TV after all the crap he pulled last year around this time, continues to shock me. Okay, so he hasn't hurt anyone recently, but that doesn't mean 95% of the fans care to see him working the ring, especially the way he's holding Cesaro back. I'm just hoping Cesaro gets away soon. Honestly, I wouldn't even have issue with Cesaro in another team, as long as it's with someone that will help him, and not hinder him. And I have to admit that the B got the + because I got to see Cesaro hit the neutralizer.
Winners – The Real Americans (12:22)
Backstage Segment > B+
I don't think there's been an incarnation of Kane that I haven't loved, but I know I'm biased. I've loved him from word go, and don't see a time I won't. It doesn't hurt that he's buffer than everyone right now. The issue I had with The Shield right here was that it was obvious which was going to speak next. It was great for writing the results, but not great for the flow of the segment. That's the worst of what I have to say about The Shield, and that's not a biggie by any stretch.
Ringside Segment > C
Of course they had to have Hornswoggle out being the silly leprechaun, it was St. Paddy's Day. And of course it made sense to have Bad News Barrett out there to slap him and the fans down verbally. I wasn't overly impressed with any of it, personally, but it wasn't horrible.
Sheamus vs O'Neil > B-
I can't say that this was a bad match, it just wasn't anything to write home about. Honestly, what saved it was Christian on announce. Christian on announce as a heel really helped carry this match. And while Sheamus was adorable in his interview after the match, Christian's little quips on announce made Sheamus that much better. I know O'Neil has grown greatly over the past couple years, but I still have a feeling that the best part of all of this was O'Neil before the match on the WWE App explaining about how he's Irish.
Winner – Sheamus (4:07)
In Ring Segment > A+&A-
The art of the promo boils down to psychology. Telling a story, getting under someone’s skin and getting in someone’s head will take you a LONG way in this industry. Bray Wyatt has been on a roll of late as each week his promos get better. This week’s promo is one that I would watch again and again and reference it to people years from now of how to be effective. Wyatt was on point last week calling out the “prayers and vitamins” that Hogan and Cena have stood for during their time on top of Mount WWE.
Wyatt mentions how Cena creates a false mask where he’ll sign autographs, kiss babies, have a “plastic girlfriend in a castle” and it’s all hiding that he’s afraid. Wyatt gives promos like he is the embodiment of pure evil looking to flush out the false saints of this world in Cena. When I think about this promo and their ultimate match, I think about black and white. Polar opposites that can’t exist without each other. It is best described as a yin-yang. This is the true battle of good versus evil and judging by MIC WORK ALONE, this could be the sleeper match of the evening when Wrestlemania comes in less than 3 weeks.
I have to throw my two cents in here. Matt talked only about Bray, and he gave him the first grade, but I have to mention how strong Cena is in this feud. Cena hasn't been his normal whiny self, nor is he claiming that he's going to win this match. This is a nice change for Cena, and it shows the fans that he really takes pushing Bray seriously. That's why I gave Cena such a strong grade for himself.
Bryan vs Orton > A-
Close your eyes and think about some of the best hardcore matches you’ve ever seen. I can almost guarantee you’re thinking of something either from ECW or the late 90’s/early 00’s WWE. If you put this Bryan/Orton match on the same card as those hardcore matches you’re thinking about, you may have a new favorite hardcore match. Of course, then you open your eyes and realize this wasn’t the greatest hardcore match. But it’s up there. Right off the bat this match moves from back and forth wrestling to an all-out brawl. We see suplexes on tables and barricades and some creative uses of a kendo stick.
Both men hit their usual repertoire of moves. Bryan does his signature kicks to Orton on his knees using a stiff kendo stick shot in between each kick. This was a painful match and all I could think during this was how excited I am to potentially see these guys lock horns at Mania. Batista and Bryan previously put on a very solid match and now Orton and Bryan went the distance. It’s the general consensus that Batista vs Orton at Mania is going to be boring. While I disagree, after seeing these matches with Bryan; we’ve got some great wrestling and some hard-hitting action coming our way in less than 3 weeks. Randy Orton usually gets booed, but after beating up Batista earlier in the night, the man was cheered with great aplomb.
Batista came out and tried interfering. He was met with Daniel Bryan’s foot and the two (Face and foot) got along quite well. After Brian secured the victory with an assist from “Big Dave”, Batista returned the favor by pal Orton by serving him up with a big slice of Batista Bomb Pie. At this point, all 3 men have a great deal of momentum leading up to a huge Wrestlemania.
Stage Segment > B
Now, I love Heyman. I've loved him since before ECW. I was watching clips from ECW the other day and I turned the screen for Stacy to see it. He didn't realize at first that it was Heyman on sight, but his mic work and the sound of his voice is what clued him in. Heyman is great on mic and has always been great. And I will say the video here was solid, but it felt really flat without Taker or Brock. It really felt like they were reaching with this segment, even though it was Heyman.
Backstage Segment > B+
Steph is getting really nasty, and I love it. She has the feel of her father, but with much better curves, and almost a nastier streak because she's female. Her facial expressions and the tone of her voice is just evil. Even though they were just acting, you know she wears the pants in that family!
Fandango vs Goldust > D
I actually went back and re-watched this match because I wanted to see where things really went wrong. Goldust and Cody were both silly on their way out, and starting the match. Goldust was the Goldust that I remember from back in the day – the man I think of when I think of Goldust. He was all silly and goofy, and Cody was in the mix when he caught Summer Rae when Goldust huffed at her on the apron. They were still playing things up until that first botched clothesline. Something on one of Fandango's arm bands caught Goldust wrong and busted him open the hard way. I noticed that there's metal grommets and other things on his upper arm bands. I'm willing to bet those will be changed after this match!
Goldust went down, felt his head where he was busted open, and his whole demeanor changed. He was not happy, and it showed through the rest of the match. Goldust's work became quite a bit stiffer, and two separate moves were really botched. It's hard to say who screwed up the moves, but it was just a mess. Off the corner Goldust ended up landing on his upper back and neck where he shouldn't have been anywhere near there. The ref checked on Goldust after that move, and I wasn't sure if Goldust was going to get up from that one, but he's a pro and was right back into it, except it didn't work very well. I don't know if Goldust was purposefully working against Fandango at that point, and so didn't help with the suplex, or maybe they both just were not in the right spots for it to happen, but it just made this match look that much worse.
After the match Cody rushed to his brother's side in the ring, and Goldust was holding his front side, his abdomen or ribs area. Cody was obviously concerned for his brother, and tried to stay with him when Goldust went off and kicked the turnbuckle padding and brushed off the ref trying to raise his arm. He let Cody raise his arm after that, but it was obvious that Goldust was really pissed about the match. I asked Richard to let me know if anything came of this match, and he said nothing did, other than Goldust getting cleaned up backstage, and being really pissed.
I hate to give this match such a piss poor grade, but there were some serious issues that cannot be ignored, even with a pro like Goldust.
Winner – Goldust (5:11)
In Ring Segment > B
With all that JBL said about King being involved in #YesMovement, I was expecting something like this to happen this week. I was a bit shocked that Kane was sicking The Shield on King, as we really haven't seen King in the ring since his heart attack, but The Shield took care of that. I will say that it looks bad that The Shield keeps going in a dozen different directions. Are they staying together? Are they splitting up? Are all three splitting up, or is it two and one? And which two and one? Are they heels? Are they faces? Are they tweeners? Personally I still think they're tweeners, but leaning toward being faces, and the fans are loving them in a huge way, and for great reason. They are the only reason that this segment got such a solid grade, they're just wonderful and sell everything they do.
I also have to question why Kane is doing this while The Authority hasn't told him to do anything on screen recently. Honestly, it feels as though Kane is doing all of this of his own volition, and The Authority are just letting him run hog wild until he pissed them off. It's a pretty big mess with less than 20 days until WrestleMania.
Dactyls vs Tamina & AJ > B-
it's nice to see Naomi back in the ring again. The eye patch is a bit crazy, but she rocked it. She was a bit off on her split leg moonsault, but I think it's ring rust and working with only one eye, because she pulled AJ in that much further. I give her props for being out there with only half of her sight. I also have to admit that Cameron is looking better in the ring, but still not as good as most of the work between Naomi and AJ.
I'm trilled that Tamina finally seems over AJ's crap. I won't be happy if it means that Tamina gets a Divas Title shot at WrestleMania over Naomi, and I'm also worried about where Tamina will go from here, but it's something that's been growing and needed to be done for a while now. I guess only time will tell what happens with AJ and the Divas Title at WrestleMania.
Winners – Dactyls (3:37)
HOF > A+
I have to admit that I was completely bummed that Mr. T's induction was leaked before it was announced on RAW. I really look forward to these announcements this time of the year. I will say that a lot of WNW and WWENews.net readers have been talking about Mr. T, and hoping that this was his year to be inducted. Mr. T is the most deserving to be inducted into the Celebrity Wing of the WWE HOF, and WrestleMania XXX is the perfect time to do it. I'm very excited for him, and thought the video was fantastic, as these HOF videos always are. Now I have to find a Mr. T action figure for the Predicts!
8 Man Tag Match > B
Henry and ADR didn't spend much time in the ring, but I'm okay with that. Okay, I'm really okay that ADR was in the match the least, and I wonder if that means something? Is he deep in the dog house? I will say that Ziggler really looked great out there, and the fans love him. Honestly, I'd love to see a big and long standing feud between Sandow and Ziggler. I think if done well, it could help elevate both of them.
It makes complete sense that Big Show is in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. I've been watching some of Big Show's WCW work as The Giant, and his character was really pushed after Andre, and for good reason. Of course Big Show should be in that match, but with his WrestleMania history, I don't think he'll be winning it – though I have to say it would be great for Big Show to win it, and it would continue on with Big Show having won about everything there is to win.
Winners – Big Show & Big E & Ziggler & Henry (9:03)
Backstage Segment > B
Batista was still strong in this segment. He handled himself well, and looked good doing it. Maybe the key is to have him only spout a few lines on his way out of the building?
Kofi vs Bray > B
This was little better than a squash match, but it did great things for Bray moving toward his match with Cena at WrestleMania. He needs to look strong, and Kofi is one of those upper-mid-card wrestlers who can get over, but also does a solid job of getting others over as they're climbing their way to the top.
Winner – Bray (2:55)
In Ring Segment > A
Trip is one of the best for swerves, and he handed us a lovely one in this segment. The set up with Steph earlier in the show had us all wondering if Trip had finally seen the Daniel Bryan light, and if he was finally seeing his opponent as someone worthy of his time. He sold every bit of his speech with Bryan in the ring. Then getting into it with his wife and yelling at the 'cops' who had Bryan down. I actually thought for a moment that he'd broken down kayfabe in saying they weren't even real cops, but then reality came about and we all realized that we'd been set up with Bryan.
I never like seeing someone get beaten down when they can't fight back. I know it's all scripted, but something about that has always bothered me. It's like the wrestlers attacking a non-wrestler. I've never had problems with male wrestlers going after a female wrestler, but seeing someone go after Miss. Elizabeth, or JR has always bothered me. Wrestlers are wrestlers, and I don't subscribe to the notion that female wrestlers need to be protected, but I am against brutality against someone who isn't a wrestler, or is unable to fight back. I know this was a way for Trip and Steph to get monster heat, and hatred, from the fans, but I have to admit that it sits badly with me. I would say this even if it was ADR who was cuffed and beaten down. That should show you how serious I am about this type of thing. I'd like to say that there's no way Trip would go over Bryan at WrestleMania as that would put three heels in the main event, but Orton is less and less of a heel lately while working against Batista and arguing with Trip. What I'm saying is that I think they're doing a solid job of blurring the lines and confusing who is the biggest heel and who's really a face, and that's great for the way these matches have been laid out for WrestleMania. I'm quite impressed.
As I said at the start of this, I really am worried about the direction they're taking WrestleMania with the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. I know this match will take a lot of time, but it's also taking a lot of wrestlers who I expected to be in other matches to fill the card. Four matches and the Battle Royal isn't going to fill four hours, and it's not going to make the fans very happy – especially the ones who actually pay full price for the show.
If you enjoyed what Matt Kunka had to say here, make sure to go check out his and all the articles on WWENews.net.
Queen of WNW