Due to being out Friday night (Mineral Club meeting, not out partying), I missed Smackdown. I'm just now sitting down to watch it now (Sunday) after seeing what happened to Natalya's face at the hands of AJ. The first thing that jumped out at me is what a jackass Laurinaitis is, but we all knew that. Honestly, after AJ's attack on Natalya, I was again drawn in by Brock's interview video. Between how believable Brock was and the production of the video, I was again blown away. I had no troubles sitting down and watching the video straight through a second time; didn't want to fast forward through it at all.
It was Brock's video that brought up an interesting discussion between Stacy and I. We had discussed on our road trip on Saturday about how the WWE would be booking Extreme Rules, specifically the match between Cena and Brock. We both agreed that Cena couldn't win cleanly, but Brock shouldn't go over perfectly cleanly as well, but how do they do that in an Extreme Rules Match? But further on than that, where will Brock be going after his feud with Cena? And then the biggie, who will be facing Brock at WrestleMania? I mentioned to Stacy that I had heard both Brock/Taker and Brock/Rocky bantered around online, but that I absolutely don't want to see Taker facing Brock at WrestleMania. It doesn't interest me at all. I'd rather see Taker and Brock each take a younger wrestler and face them at WrestleMania and make them famous – as Taker used to say so many years ago. I'm not saying the younger wrestlers need to beat Brock and Taker, just that they should be given the chances to prove themselves against the big boys.
During the Brock video and our discussion Stacy came up with a very interesting idea, but sadly I think it's beneath what both Brock and VKM would think is Brock's worth. After reading about Cena's health (yes, I have jumped days in writing this), I'm thinking that some young blood could be pushed up for Brock to work with. I know, it's not at all what VKM, Steph and Trip would think is viable, but since Stacy brought it up, I can't get it out of my mind! Okay, hear me out on this one.
Brock Lesnar was an All American, and the WWE has pushed Jack Swagger to be the All American American. See where I'm going with this? I know Swagger is no where near Brock's level, not even on the same map that Swagger could show on Brock's radar as the smallest blip, but if Swagger developed a personality and some charisma... Since Stacy said it, I haven't been able to get it out of my mind. Think about it, let me know your thoughts.
In Ring Segment > A-
A number of people complained on WNW about RAW starting with the contract signing. I, on the other hand, thought it was a great idea. They could start there and tease problems all the way through the show. Obviously that didn't happen, but I really like how they handled it. The issues with Long, Laurinaitis out and being a jackass while getting such heat.
Edge was a wonderful surprise! I was thrilled to see him, even though he doesn't look like the Edge we know and love with that haircut! What did bother me was that Cena dropped back into that wallowing in self pity funk. He'd seemed to bounce back when his mouth was bloodied, but now he's back to woe is me, boo-hoo. This was exactly the Cena I really didn't want to see. I want to slap him when he's like this! But it will say it was a nice way to start the show, hook the fans with a solid and interesting segment.
Jericho vs Kofi > A-
Both of these guys threw some serious moves in the ring. This match wasn't long, but what was there was solid! Many of their reversals had to be timed perfectly, and they were. I was impressed with both of them, and my only wish was that it went on longer than it did. I really like how Jericho has changed up the walls of Jericho recently. It's an organic evolution of the move. I also think Jericho did a great job on mic at the end of this match. Just enough to remind us of how he feels about Punk and drop another little question into the show.
Winner – Jericho
Video > B
I'm going to lump all three of Brock's wrestling videos together here. First off, I have to say I laughed at VKM's little poke at TNA with these videos. Hardy, then Hogan, then ending with Angle. Not so subtle, but showed where VKM's head is. He thinks he's showing off how little he cares about TNA by showing videos of 'the next big thing' beating up three of TNA's biggest names, but in reality it was VKM showing off that he really is paying attention to TNA, no matter how much he'd like to claim he isn't.
A couple other things jumped out at me during these videos. First off I remembered how so many people were saying ten years ago that Hogan was really too old to be in the ring, but he looked so young then compared to now. Secondly, I found it interesting how they showed Brock hitting three F5s on Angle, but not Brock trying to hit that SSP and ended up knocking himself so loopy that he doesn't remember the rest of the match, or his winning it. Creative editing 101?
Video > B-
I'm also going to lump Brock's interview videos together. The interview was great the first time, good the second time, but by the third and fourth times, even with re-editing, I was annoyed. They're putting so much else into Brock, you'd think they would do more with this.
Backstage Segment > B+
Punk was so great with that basket of booze, but the look on Josh's face when Punk handed him that basket was priceless! Josh is actually 31, but he looked like a 21 year old kid getting handed that basket of booze. He was just too cute. When punk kept the bottle of Jack, I knew something was up.
Video > C
Yay, Tensai beating up on Cena, then Otunga and Brock getting involved. Yes, I know they had to update us, that's why I'm giving it a middle of the road grade. Not great, not bad, just was.
Tensai vs R-Truth > C
I can't say this was the worst match I've ever seen, or even seen since last week when Tensai was in the ring, but it sure wasn't the best! I really hope Tensai makes it in the WWE, but he sure is sucking wind these days.
Winner – Tensai
In Ring Segment > B-
I love Percy Pringle! I know a lot of people loved the voiceless Kane (read Journey Into Darkness if you don't know Kane's full history), but I don't – usually. This wasn't his best segment, but it wasn't horrid. While Kane wasn't totally wonderful, Orton was solid and Bearer appearing was very cool. I thought it was well in Kane's character to no run and save Bearer.
Backstage Segment > B+
Hey, Alex Riley got a show bonus and didn't have to bomb in the ring for it! I thought it was funny that Punk was drinking from a red Solo cup, the favorite of Snooki and drinkers all over the country. They did a great job of showing Punk drinking without ever showing him pouring the bottle of Jack into his cup. Bravo!
Cody & ADR vs Khali and Big Show > C-
I saw great camaraderie with Khali when he sang to Cena for his birthday after RAW went off the air, but seeing him in the ring is not something any of us what to see. This match was a slap in the face to both Cody and Big Show. Yes, I know, ADR was in this match too, but for me, his stock has plummeted and he will need to do a lot – grow and evolve his character, work on his dwindling charisma, add some moves to his repertoire, create a finisher that isn't a submission move – before I will even start climbing over to his side again. Cody and Big Show were solid in this match; that Big Show can sell and make such a smaller worker look decent says a lot for him. In the end this was a mess and should not have been booked in the first place.
Winners – Big Show & Khali
Backstage Segment > A
People are going to think I'm daft for giving this segment, especially one with Laurinaitis in it, an A, but hear me out. Something very important was said in this segment and hopefully the fact that the WWE is PG, will show at least one kid that the WWE has rules that need to be followed and that drinking within a certain length of time before doing something that could at all hurt someone is a very bad idea. I also liked that they didn't jump to conclusions or take one person's word for it that Punk was drunk. With all that's going on with the likes of Scott Hall, I think the WWE handled this quite well.
Backstage Segment > C
And then WWE goes right back to their norm and shows Brock bullying someone much smaller than himself. Josh was on the first season of the original Tough Enough and was training to wrestle, but he's not under a wrestling contact and doesn't wrestle regularly. Be A Star, but it's okay for the wrestlers to bully announcers if they have enough clout? Not good. I understand where they're going with Brock, but the WWE as a whole needs to make a stand and decide what they want to promote and what they don't want to promote. I will say that the disgust and concern in Cole's voice after the show came back from commercial was nice to hear.
Divas Championship Lumberjill Match > F
I had started by giving this match a D-, but I had to change it to an F. Richard has stated that Beth's injury is legitimate (EDIT - now known to be fake, but she sold it wonderfully!), which totally sucks. I'm not at all happy about Nikki winning the strap, even if it was done because Beth is hurt, or so Kharma can come in and take the Title from Nikki before her contract ends. No matter what the reasoning, or quick decisions that were made, I don't like it. The only thing at all good about this match was that the other Divas got their fair show bonus after all the male wrestlers got their bonus for breaking up Brock and Cena a few weeks ago. For me this just evens that score, otherwise, this wasn't worth anyone's time.
Winner & new Divas Champ – Nikki
Backstage Segment > B-
Punk did a solid job of being 'drunk' here, but he over sold it a bit. It had me worried for the in ring segment to come.
In Ring Segment > A
My only problem with this segment was that it went on too long. Punk pulled things back some and didn't over sell as I was worried about. Punk worked the drunk roll well, Jericho was a jackass, and Long was pathetic. Punk was fun to watch, I mean, who hasn't been around (or been) a silly drunk trying to act like they weren't? Over the legal drinking age, of course!
Punk, when he came out of his drunken stupor was hysterical! He played that so well! I was really impressed with his silliness – moonwalk, Flair strut, etc. The only real problem I had with this whole thing was the length of it. Yes, they had to make it a certain length, but it think they pushed it a couple minutes too long. Other than that, this was a great segment and a great way to push the match between Punk and Jericho at Extreme Rules.
Sheamus vs Henry w/ Special Guest Ref Bryan > D+
This was so predictable, to the point of being an eye rolling segment. Bryan taunts Sheamus, Henry gets the win, Bryan takes off his shirt, Sheamus attacks, etc. This was a total waste of time and talent. Hopefully their 2 Out of 3 Falls Match is better than this!
Winner – Henry
Backstage Segment > B-
Even though Josh is 'injured' I still don't want to see Striker. Normally I like Sheamus' little Irish comments, but this one fell flat for me. I prefer when he talks about absurd family members over trying to be a little more historic.
Primo & Epico w/ Rosa vs Santino & Ryder > C
Why? That was not good. It wasn't bad, like the previous match, but it wasn't at all good. WWE really doesn't care about the Tag Team Champs or the Tag Team Title, do they? I guess they don't care much about the US Title either. What a mess! I will say at least there was a little wrestling in this match and it wasn't as predictable as the previous match, so it was better in that regard. The WWE had three hours so they had to fill it with crappy and messy matches? This makes no sense to me.
Winners – Santino & Ryder
Funkasaurus & Hornswoggle vs Dolph & Swagger w/ Vickie > D
And more crap! There's been some truly wonderful segments on this show, but the filler has been absolutely atrocious! Funkasaurus and Hornswoggle are really cute and funny together, but we just had a humorous match! And why are the likes of Dolph and Swagger so low on the totem pole right now? I really thought that Dolph was on his way up and would be challenging for a bit Title by this summer, but he's dropped even lower! What has Dolph done to lose his push and end up in such a dismal spot in the WWE? I hadn't heard anything. I think it's about time Dolph take his career in his own hands and prove he should be at the top of the ladder. Swagger needs to do the same thing. With Cena possibly being out to recuperate, these two should be seeing that as a break for them and jumping on it.
Yes, they have to do what they're booked to do, but it's how they do these things that gets them noticed. Dolph especially has the charisma, personality and, hopefully, drive to get to the top, now he has to prove it. I'm really hoping that Dolph, Swagger and Ryder step up and prove their worth soon as cuts are coming. I don't think any of them are on the block, but we've all been surprised before. Ryder brought a whole new way of getting to the fans to WWE, but what's he doing for the WWE this week?
Winners – Funkasaurus & Hornswoggle via DQ
Contract Signing > B
I cannot place Brock's accent. Everything I've read about him says he grew up in South Dakota and went to college in Minnesota. I will fully admit that I've only traveled the east coast of the United States, but to my ear I hear a bit of a southern twang in his voice. (Please know I'm not saying anything bad about southern accents, I grew up in Maine and was born just south of Boston, I have a mixture of those two accents – not exactly the most beloved accent in our country.) Basically I'm saying that I can't place his accent and any help would be appreciated.
I actually laughed out loud at Laurinaitis a couple times during this segment. Not just saying lol when talking to a friend, I mean I had to stop the show so I could point and laugh at Laurinaitis! First off, right at the start of the segment Laurinaitis said he was excited about Extreme Rules, and excited about the main event, "pitting two of the biggest WWE Superstars in WWE history against each other." Yes, Brock and Cena are big men and big Superstars, but I can't say they're two of the biggest in the history of the WWE. I know that the WWE goes with the theory that the WWE is the biggest ever at this particular moment and much of what happened before this moment was only there to lead up to this huge moment right here. I understand that, but this is the PG Era, People Power. This is not the AE and there are many Superstars in WWE's history that were much bigger – physically, and with the fans – who were much bigger than Brock and Cena. Further, it was the way Laurinaitis said it, the voice he has and how badly he enunciates. Sometimes I wonder what they're thinking putting Laurinaitis on TV, but then I remember the heat he gets for just being himself!
I can't say Brock is the best on mic, but he is forceful. When he speaks you have to listen because of the scariness held behind that voice. He's not someone I'd want to piss off. After saying all that, Brock kept saying, "Until the demands are made." (sic) What he really meant was 'until the demands are met' and something about that really stuck with me. The way he kept saying that, and a few other things, he came off quite a bit unpolished, and and not as well spoken or educated as he really is. I don't know if he wasn't scripted down to the word, or what the plan was, but I think he needs to be more clearly scripted until he gets back in the groove of things in the WWE. He will never be Rocky on mic, but that's not who Brock is and never who Brock would have been if he'd stayed with the WWE. All in all I think he did a decent job on mic, even though he was much better in the taped interview because they could edit and make it work the way they wanted it to. I think with time Brock will get better on mic as it's been a long time since he's done this.
Cena was pathetic! It's like he took all of what Edge said to him and ran a thousand miles in the opposite direction. He was twitchy, nervous and looked as though he would sooner barf on Brock than get in a fight with him. Hopefully something interesting will happen during their match at Extreme Rules, so Cena can have some time off and hopefully come back with a stronger and more interesting character. I think this is a good thing for Cena as he's been working straight out for quite a long time. More proof that he has a work rate like few others in the industry today.
Something earlier slapped me in the face that I had never thought about. Watching Cena in the ring with the rest of the roster and crew on stage singing to him, I realized what a camaraderie there is. Further, watching the second video, how much it seems many of them really like Khali. I have thought about how other wrestlers have fit in backstage after certain things have been mentioned now and then, but I hadn't thought of Khali. He has a huge language barrier, but it really seems as though people really like him. While his ring work leaves a lot to be desired, I found it very sweet to see how they treated him in the Cena birthday videos.
One last thing. I have been meeting wrestling fans recently and brought in some new readers through my posting the links to WNW on Facebook and Twitter. I've met some wonderful people recently and I want to thank them for tuning in to read what I have to say. Actually, I want to thank everyone for reading. I put so much into all I write and it means a lot to me that you take time out of your days to read what I have to say. Thanks.