Weekly Rundown: A downward trend

For all new readers of this feature: This is a relatively new feature on the site, where I run down the week that was in WWE (RAW and Smackdown specifically, and PPVs when applicable), and note events I perceived as positive – or posits (prefaced by a “+”) and negative – or negs (prefaced by a “-”). If it is neither, but noteworthy, or if I’m on the fence about some points I put them under question marks – or queschies (prefaced, as you probably guessed, by a “?”) what I try to accomplish with this is a summary of the week, with my own spin/take on it. This feature is heavily inspired by the Aftermath Radio Win/Fail segment (formerly Shine/Heat which I still insist was a better name). Mind you, this is subjective and very much open to debate – as long as it’s a civil one – in the comment section. Regardless, I am always open to criticism as long as it’s constructive.

Oh, one last thing. You should know that I have a crush on AJ, and a friendly blood feud with Matt “Not AJ’s Choice” Andrews about her. It’s mostly in good fun. Mostly.

For the old/regular (those who read all THREE previous articles) Ok, so as you can – or will in a couple of seconds – see, the Rundown has undergone a couple of changes, and they are as follows (notice they are all posits, for I am biased about them):

+ The name has changed from Landau Rundown to Weekly Rundown. This move was made to get more readership, as my articles were getting less hits than most – which is understandable – no one wants to read something that is, at first sight, about a guy they haven’t heard and do not care about.

+ Also, instead of the date the title will include the 3 main happenings of the said past week.

+ The division from now on isn’t by show, it’s by changing order starting by all the posits, then all the negs, then all the queschies.

+ Also, there will be constants or general ponderies, so as to not be repetitive. They will get their own sub-title.

+ There will now be an opening and closing paragraph about the week. This week the opening paragraph is about the changes, in the next weeks I will wing it from week to week. The closing paragraph will recap my overall opinion of the week in wrestling.

For all of you: feel free to do your own rundown via the comment section in the future(writing little notes as you watch the shows could be very engaging and fun – give it a try and tell us via the comment section what you wound up with)

Lastly – A reminder: This blog reflects MY views, and my views alone. It is by no means objective. If you disagree – which is encouraged – feel free to voice your opinion (in a civil manner) in the comments section. Let’s get some healthy debates going.

So Let’s begin:

Constants (Things that remain constant on a weekly basis, and so won’t be mentioned in the weekly review itself, but in this sub- instead)

+ both R-Truth’s remixed theme and Brodus Clay’s “somebody call my momma” theme.

+ Drew McIntyre, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and Wade Barrett as wholes – both in the ring and on the mic. Barring anything absolutely extraordinary, know that I believe these 6 names to be complete packages, and so mentioning their greatness alone in those aspects weekly will be a waste of space.

+ AJ. Forever and always. This also means:

 - Matt “The Choice” Andrews. It’s a shame, really. I could like Matt… If only he’d leave AJ alone.

- Stereotypical foreigner gimmicks. They are distasteful and dated.

- The way announcing currently is in the WWE. That means random disses at Cole are implied when not said outright (but this is not limited to Cole – it’s the whole way announcing is handled).

- Ted DiBiase’s heel theme for a face superstar. Not to mention that auto tune… ugh.

- Aksana’s cliché role that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

- “The Royal Rumble winner gets to main event Wrestlemania” is a fallacy, and has been this way for several years now. For the past 5 or so years, the winner of the Rumble has rarely actually main evented ‘Mania. Let’s recap, shall we? Last year – Del Rio was in the opener (!), previous year – Edge (Rumble winner) faced off against Jericho in a match that was followed by a Divas match, THEN the WWE title match, and THEN ‘Taker vs. Michaels. Not the main event by any means. Previous year winner Orton did, in fact, main event ‘Mania, but for 3 more years prior (up until Batista main evented) not a single winner was the actual main event of ‘Mania. I’m saying either stand by your word, or rephrase it – “The winner of the Royal Rumble gets a World Title match of his choosing at WrestleMania”.

 ? Clay’s character as a whole. I am still very much conflicted about it.

And with that out of the way, let’s get to this week’s Posits!

+ Having Bryan talk about pretension is great (on both RAW and Smackdown), considering the new hypocritical direction of his character. And notice he (very carefully) has never said he loves AJ back yet. He appreciates her loving him – that’s the most he did. I’d say it In a heartbeat if I were him, but that’s just me.

+ Justin Gabriel is Hornswoggle’s guardian now, apparently. Interesting – At least it gives him something to do. He had me believe he was going to beat Rhodes on Smackdown, because of great work both men’s part.

+ Speaking of Rhodes, he restores a lot of the IC title’ prestige – Be it by insisting that his match against Gabriel be non-title, or how he goes about holding his title after winning. This guy is really up there, and is only improving.

+ Henry was spot on in everything he did in his backstage segment on Smackdown where he told Teddy how stupid the whole wheel thing is. He came off very believable (probably because he was saying the truth)

+ The Usos’ entrance. I love that thing – especially the synchronization of old & new in the move from the Haka to the modern rap theme.

+ Dance offs are NOT how they should be using Clay. I don’t mind the gimmick, as long as he wrestles. That said, this segment was relatively awesome. Vickie’s Omage to Seinfeld’ Elaine, Clay’s dancing, and finally WILLIAM F’N REGAL – who is amazing at whatever he does. Clay said Regal was a CHICKEN, Made CROW sounds to demonstrate and Cole corrected him that that was not a chicken, but a HAWK. That was a moment worthy of a face-palm.

Side note: This is the most I’ve ever CAPPED in recapping a single segment.

+ kudos to Hunico and Dibiase for doing what they could with a flag match stipulation. Both are amazing wrestlers. That said, the creative team should be slapped with a swordfish for coming up with that match in the first place. The whole show on Friday had good wrestling despite Creative’s best efforts to ruin the wrestling.

+ Bryan was very subtle about getting his no contest finish yet again (for explanation, read the Smackdown! blog). I am loving this

+ The RAW main event was brilliant from a booking perspective. First off – you have both World Champions AND Chris Jericho teaming up – two of which are apparent faces but actually heels, and both of them left the match one way or another. It draws ratings, it makes sense, AND it progresses storylines.

+ Dolph, besides being great in the opening promo on RAW (which goes without saying), had some very good points. Foley doesn’t need to be in the Rumble, and him coming out to confront Foley about him taking someone’s spot – obviously not his own – was… well, Noble. Regardless, he was great. Let the man speak some more!

+ The heat Perez Hilton got, despite being face. That is great all on its own.

+ R-Truth’s promo was pretty funny. As long as he doesn’t wrestle much, I don’t mind seeing him weekly.

+ Punk’s promo was great. This is how you have a great promo without shooting. Everyone on the current roster could learn something from Punk’s deliveries.

Now the gauntlets are off, no more Mr. Nice Guy (Landau). Let’s get to the Negs!

 - I hate the roulette concept. Not only is it unbelievable from a statistical standpoint that conveniently no male pillow fight ever took place, and that the stipulation always “fits” the superstars, but the fact that everyone and their mother were ready in the back with US and Mexican flags just in case… Might as well just start off with them in the ring – save some time, not a lot less believable.

- Bryan’s constant “Okay?”s took away from the Smackdown opening segment for me. Also, Bryan whining over what happened to AJ is not the right place to take this storyline. It should be more about Big Show than him in my eyes. By that token, Big Show not being on either RAW of Smackdown is obviously the wrong route to go – unless of course next week he addresses both the accident and his absence in a way that makes his absence worthwhile.

- Backstage Sin City segments. More or less everything was so predictable. Also, at some points you could hear canned laughter… Yup, it was that bad. But the worst thing, it led to what will be addressed in the next neg:

- “This is ridiculous, I’m better than this!” (Drew McIntyre, before his blindfold match). Yes you are Drew, yes you are… Same as the flag match. They did what they could with the stipulation, but such a stipulation should never have been approved in the first place.

- The RAW opening promo was too long, and basically achieved nothing to warrant the time it took. Other than to have Punk say “I’m the best in the world” in a suspiciously Jericho-esque way to ignite a future feud and to show just how good Ziggler is on his own, this segment didn’t really accomplish much. Foley wasn’t really necessary, and without promotion he probably didn’t even get a spike in the ratings.

- Why did Ryder kick out of the Gutwrench Powerbomb (Suplex, if you ask Cole) twice like it was nothing in his match vs. Swagger? To keep Ryder look strong in defeat? Well, then Ryder shouldn’t have lost the title in the first place – that just makes Swagger look weak in victory. THEN Laurinaitis apologizes to Ryder? When Ryder and everyone screamed at Laurinaitis about that match, didn’t he at least think to wait with the match until he got final word? Not only that, but the decision was not reversed as a result. Sorry, too much of an unbelievable mess – especially since in a similar situation the decision was reversed with Daniel Bryan.

- Not only that, but then Swagger has two matches in the same night, and his title win, the title, Zack Ryder, and his own values are all decreased by the Jobber entrance to Cena and the subsequent Annihilation of a champion. Lovely.

- I don’t like the GMs tagging in and out in general – Long has no place making matches on RAW.

- I’d prefer the regular ring announcers to announce Funkasaurus like they did on Smackdown, that taped girl on RAW was Annoying!

- Foley’s involvement on RAW didn’t really add much to the program, all the same things (more or less) could have been done with a current superstar. Except that this route would’ve also gotten a current superstar over. Off the top of my head? Ted Dibiase and Zack Ryder are viable options. Both men could’ve easily been elevated by being in Foley’s shoes tonight – just change the order of entrances in the opening promo, give DiBiase/Ryder a motivation and that’s that. Ziggler got over not based on who he was talking to as much as how he was talking, so his rub would remain in tact.

- Laurinaitis wasn’t believable enough in his reaction to Punk’s promo. It took away from it.

- Why do the announcers make it seem like the only reason Epico & Primo are tag champs is to get ROSA over?

And all that’s left is the Queschies (I will once again say that ALL constructive criticism and suggestions – say about the names of the good/bad/unknowns of the week instead of posits/negs/queschies – are accepted.)

? I still don’t think Mahal deserves the push he’s getting, but I guess it’s better than nothing

? I’m conflicted about the Smackdown main event. On one hand – the match was good. On the other the finish was kind of blah. On the third hand – for those of us who have 3 hands – I understand why they did the finish to build towards the rumble, and it got Bryan over in his subtle intentional ways to get a match to be a no contest. I’m really on the fence here. What did you think? (comment below)

? Too much talking on RAW, but it was all good! I don’t know what to think of it. On Smackdown, on the other hand…

So – this is the week that was in the WWE. All in all, it was an OK week, although it was much, much worse than the past couple of weeks overall – with Smackdown being the factor to drag it down. Once again – you are all invited to voice your opinions in the comment section – both on the week and the blog – as long as it’s constructive.

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  • bettysteve

    you LIKE the "rapper" haka? having been brought up with the "all blacks" and THEIR haka, l have to mute the tv instantly when l see the Uso's enter, and to let them know, check out old New Zealand Rugby game starts to see what a REAL haka looks like, (your ancestors are more than likely to be roling over in their graves when they see what you have done to THEIR warcry). [BTW...NOT a Kiwi]

    • Silkysmooth

      Hold on… hold on… they're not doing the haka (The New Zealand war cry); they're doing the Samoan equivalent… although I don't know the name of the Samoan war cry… it does look similar; judging on the Samoan war cry from Rugby matches and the fact they're said to be from Samoa

      • bettysteve

        my bad, thought a haka was a haka *shrug* kiwi one is still more intimidating.

    • JamieSNZ

      The first haka that the Uso's preformed was the traditional NZ haka.
      There are several different versions though.
      [BTW, I am a Kiwi ;)]

      • Chris

        They have said, repeatedly, what the dance is when the Usos come out. It’s not trying to be THEIR warcry so it won’t cause anyone to spin in graves. What will, probably, is your casual racism in it being all the same and not having a clue what you are talking about.

        • JamieSNZ

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siva_tau

          The haka that the Usos preform is called a Siva Tau which is a Samoan War Dance designed to amp up the players in sporting events.

          Casual racism?

  • sforester

    Well done Guy. I've purposely refused to watch most wrestling programming for the past couple weeks for two main reasons: TNA's starting to suck in general and WWE's booking of certain superstars is just awful, but I always take time to read up. You may as well just add Drew to the constants as this looks to be a long-running storyline. LOL

    D-Bryan escaping whilst the lumberjacks brawl is simply brilliant. He just might out-Miz the Miz if he keeps this up. Bold, insane prediction from the Blitz: If this heel run for Daniel becomes protracted, Miz could almost pull a face turn against him.

    As per usual for me I'd like to offer several counterpoints for you:
    1) Ryder kicking out the Gutwrench Powerbomb twice doesn't make Swagger look weak. In fact it made him look stronger because he had to work for that title. I do agree though that the whole concept on that was a great big negative.

    2) You're absolutely right that someone like DiBiase or Ryder could have benefited from being in Foley's shoes, but Foley is simply among the best in bringing out that aggressiveness in a wrestler needed to take that step up. Remember Edge vs. Taker in HIAC and how we saw a whole different side of Edge when he took out Foley? DiBiase couldn't do that for Ziggler, and Ryder was "in no shape" to be there.

    3) You're right in that the main event booking was brilliant…. until Foley turned up with Mr. Socko to put Otunga out. The Mandible Claw is one of my favorite moves, but it just doesn't have that same meaning with a sock on your hand as the leather covering two fingers like Foley did all the way back in the beginning. Not to mention that Otunga is far better than he's being treated.

    4) With it being a Raw Supershow and there being no real GM as Johnny is busy playing with CM Punk and Ryder, Long entering and making the over the top rope challenge wasn't too bad. Not like the match meant anything more than something to fill time or else Sheamus would have won it.

    5) Stereotypical foreigner gimmicks are dated, yes. However, if done properly, they're not distasteful as many great pro wrestling feuds were based off stereotypes. Examples of GOOD foreigner gimmicks: Ludvig Borga (WWE dropped the ball on him!), Muhammad Hassan (only distasteful because of the timing of that "attack" on Taker in proximity to the London bombings), you can make a case for Vladimir Kozlov (not the dancing gimmick!), Lance Storm's Un-American and Team Canada gimmicks, Yoshi Tatsu, Mr. Fuji, Tatanka (if you consider American Indians to be foreign, which as many tribes have their own "Nations"…), Regal as Lord Steven Regal, and I could go on and on but I'll stop here.

    6) Why ruin a perfectly tasty swordfish on slapping creative? There's something to be said for strapping them to a wall and using a cat o' nine tails on 'em.

    • Guy Landau

      For point #2 – Putting Ryder in there would also prevent the awful US title booking. It's a Win/Win.

      For point #5 I'd say that the ones who worked – Kozlov, Regal, Storm etc. weren't STEREOTYPICAL gimmicks. They were based on geographical origin, but were not stereotypes. Regal was just Regal himself turned up – he really is that aristocratic and awesome. The rest of the examples you've made could have gotten much further if it wasn't for their bad gimmicks in my eyes. Hassan was impactful, but it WAS tasteless. VERY tasteless, in fact. You had an Italian and Iranian-American play Arabians while dissing a whole race. We have a heel Arab here in IPWA (for obvious reasons), but the difference is that he's played by an actual Israeli Arabian. Hassan was very bad in my eyes.

      Finally, as for point #6: A swordfish would hurt both as a slap and as a cut – if hit in the right angle.

      • sforester

        Good points. Wouldn't you agree though that a swordfish is mild punishment for creative's crimes? LOL

        Hang on…Kozlov, not a stereotypical Russian gimmick? Could you clarify that one for me?

        • Guy Landau

          Kozlov never drank when he was to be taken seriously. He was billed as a Russian (which was true), who has vast training in martial arts, including Sambo and Krav Maga (which is Israeli, by the way). They gave him the stereotypes (Communist flag, Reg gear, hat, dance, etc.) only when they started burying him.

      • Marc

        Regals from Dudley in England, nothing aristocratic about it!

  • Jameson

    first time reading an article of yours…hope to see more!…+

  • MPXTheChoice

    I'm sleepy, but the biggest things I wanted to comment on are additions to your "Negs" …I enforce all of your "Posits".

    - So Daniel Bryan pins Mark Henry, but because he's not medically cleared to compete, the match never took place, and Daniel Bryan doesn't get the World Heavyweight Championship…Zack Ryder is not medically cleared to compete…and "my bad" is all we get. YEAH.

    - I would have bought Ryder kicking out of two gutwrench powerbombs (by the way, remember when EVERY finishing move had a cool name?) if the match had gone on a little longer, thus getting people to go through the rollercoaster that a match should be. Instead, it was practically a squash match, with two unnecessary kickouts.

    Finally, this is more of a "queschie"

    ? – The girl(s?) that announced our Funkasaurus were the two NXT girls that accompany him, I guarantee it…how do you feel about it in that vein?

    Thanks for covering for me…I'll respond to you…next week…I'm tired after my loss tonight…I know, I ask you to cover and I don't even have the decency to win.

    • Guy Landau

      I figured it was probably one of them, but it was bad regardless. And didn't I touch upon that Bryan thing?

      Anyway, good point about the Gutwrench. In a 5 minute TV match kicking out of two finishers is underwhelming. It just makes the finisher look bad, as the crowd isn't nearly invested in it enough to warrant it. That point also annoyed me, but alas it alluded my conscious mind.

      • MPXTheChoice

        Ah, yes. I missed that last sentence about the DB situation. Please note – sleepy.

    • sforester

      Actually Choice, only one of the Funkasaurus girls came from NXT, and that's Naomi. The other one is Cameron Lynn, real name Ariane from Tough Enough (and the first to get eliminated).

      • MPXTheChoice

        *shrug* You've seen one Diva you've seen 'em all. Again note – sleepy. …and we all need to come up with a much cooler name than "Funkasaurus Girls" …Funkettes was already done…

  • @RatedMKD

    (Part 1)
    You make a fair point about Foley being in that segment, but I'd consider it a queschie overall.

    Firstly, that has to be, far and away, the best promo that Ziggler's ever cut. When he was challenging Edge for the WHC this time last year, I figured that the only thing he was lacking to get him to the main event was the mic skills. While he can't sit on his laurels and coast off one great promo, he proved this week that he has it in him. Give him a solid feud leading into 'Mania to establish him, and I could see him being a legitimate WWE Champion by SummerSlam at the latest.

    It's a very valid point that Foley didn't need that spot. That could have been used to establish someone else, and I love the two examples you gave, Guy. That said, there seemed to be a hint of a build towards a WrestleMania feud with this segment. I originally (well, a month and a half ago) wanted to see Punk vs Ziggler at 'Mania. It *seems* certain that Punk will be tied up with Jericho, so that leaves Ziggler wide open. As I said in the last paragraph, he needs a solid feud to establish himself. If he's left with an underwhelming angle leading into the big event, I'd be afraid that his momentum will stall, similar to how it did when he went from SmackDown to RAW last year. So who could take Foley's spot in that segment and potential feud?

    With that question in mind, I have to rule out your suggestions of Ryder or DiBiase. Dolph's just out of a relatively lengthy feud with Ryder, who's firmly entrenched in the US Title picture. Extending that feud would just solidify Ziggler further down the card. DiBiase does deserve a push, in my opinion, but putting him against Dolph would probably hamper the Show-Off's ascent more than it would help Ted's. (My quick idea for Ted is to keep building him up on SmackDown, then have him take the IC Title from Cody after maybe a two-month feud at the May or June PPV.)

    So that still leaves Dolph without a WrestleMania opponent. Someone who's established and can afford to take a hit by putting someone over. Someone the crowd can get behind. Someone who can make the match seem like a semi-main event in an already stacked card. Someone who can make Dolph look like a big deal.

    With Cena and (presumably) Punk tied up, the biggest example that springs to mind for me is Orton. It's pretty much impossible to have Orton in a match and make it seem like no big deal. That said, I'm hoping to see 'Mania used to blow off the Orton/Barrett angle once and for all, and Barrett needs the Orton rub more than Ziggler does. Besides, I'm hoping to see Sheamus challenge Bryan in a title match at 'Mania, so booking that match alongside Ziggler/Orton kinda leaves Barrett out in the dark.

    So Orton's out. Scanning the current roster, what other face does that leave? Rey Mysterio could be an option, if he's healthy in time. They had a great match at SummerSlam 09, so assuming Rey's not slowed down too much by his growing litany of injuries, that should be a decent encounter, at least. That said, it's questionable at this point whether or not he'll be ready in time for 'Mania, so I don't think we should rely on that.

    I really see no one else. Guys like Kofi and A-Ry would benefit from a feud with someone of Ziggler's calibre, but I'd throw them in with the DiBiase reasoning. In Kofi's case, I'd throw him in with the Ryder logic too. Dolph and Kofi have had three separate feuds over a midcard title in the past two years. Seeing that feud again would seem stale and certainly drag Ziggler back down.

    Maybe a heel could turn face for the feud. The Miz is always an ideal candidate of mine for a face turn, but it's too soon after he solidified his heel status by turning on R-Truth and taking out Morrison. Besides, we wouldn't want to hurt either man's momentum by having them lose. Del Rio will probably be back by then, and some have said his stale character would benefit from a face turn. That said, he's unproven as a face, and we face the same problem with a face Miz's momentum.

  • @RatedMKD

    (Part 2)
    In terms of a heel turning face to feud with Ziggler going into the main event, the only candidate I can accept right now is Christian, but even then, we don't know if he'll be good to go in time. Don't get me wrong, I love his heel character, but he's equally capable as a babyface, and it could help with his surefire HoF induction speech for Edge (although I'm pretty sure everyone's smart enough to separate a heel Christian from the man Jay Reso talking about his best friend). If he's good to go, a face Christian would afford Ziggler some great promo opportunities, an excellent 'Mania match and a great rub. But that's an if. If we can't consider Rey, we certainly can't consider Christian.

    So who does that leave? Foley really is the only candidate for Ziggler, in my opinion. It wouldn't be the classic wrestling match that a feud with Punk, Orton or Christian would deliver, but make it a dramatic spotfest and that won't matter. Regardless of the PG environment, it surely won't reach the lofty standards of Edge/Foley at 'Mania 22, but the crowd will most surely be firmly behind Foley, and hate Ziggler even more for beating him.

    I know I said I considered Foley's role in that promo/potential feud to be a queschie, and it must seem like I very much class it as a posit. So here's the main caveat to which I object: it's not fair for Foley's possible involvement at 'Mania to deprive a full-time talent of a spot on the card – especially with such a large paycheck at stake. So yeah, there you have the reasoning behind my queschie. It took a while, but we got there! I hope I didn't lose anyone along the way!

    (This is the first time my comment's ever been too long to submit in one installment.

    • Guy Landau

      From what I understand MITB is back to 'Mania this year. I fully see Ziggler winning that match.

      And the involvement tonight wasn't directly against Ziggler in the ring, and as such would not harp on his stock.

  • Y2Jay

    i agree 100% with ryder should not have lost the title
    also wth is up wit mahal being put over like hes amazings news flash wwe ryder>mahal

  • Doug

    Jinder Mahal's involvement in this Sheamus/Barrett feud is really good. Barrett can go over Sheamus, then Sheamus beats up the jobber. These two guys get over, and Mahal gets the rub from being with these upper-midcarders, making him feel important enough to at least be on TV.

    Everybody wins.