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)
A reminder: This blog reflects MY views, and my views alone, and is by no means objective. If you disagree – which is allowed and even encouraged – feel free to voice your opinion (in a civil manner) in the comments section. Let's get some healthy debates going.
First off I would like to thank Matt for filling in for me last week, as – and I'm paraphrasing Samuel L. Jackson here – "And you will know my name is EXAMS when lay my vengeance upon thee". Basically, had a lot of school priorities to attend to. Regardless, I am back this week to rundown the week that was in the WWE – and this is a very festive edition, as it is the first PPV edition of the rundown – which also means it's a bit longer than usual so bear with me.
+ Daniel Bryan, Drew McIntyre, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and Wade Barrett are total packages – both in the ring and on the mic. Barring anything absolutely extraordinary, know that I believe these 7 names to be complete packages, and so mentioning their greatness alone in those aspects weekly will be a waste of space.
NEW + Daniel Bryan's heel character and his delivery of it (which promoted him into the total packages category) - as long as they won't ruin it.
NEW + Kane's gimmick; as you've probably noticed, every promo the resurrected Kane has given so far has been given a correlating psychological analysis of human nature by me. Glenn Jacobs is a really intelligent person, and I am sure those correlations are no accident.
NEW (moved from "?") + Brodus Clay's character, when they don't just waste time with it.
+ AJ, forever and always. This also leads nicely into:
- 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 and Booker T are implied when not said outright (but this is not limited to Cole and Booker – it's the whole way announcing is handled. For example, King's treatment of the divas is borderline sexual harassment – and he's a face!).
- Aksana's cliché role that doesn't seem to be really 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. See the Jan 21st Rundown for a brief… well, rundown of the list of winners from the past 6 years, or check it yourself on Wikipedia, and see for yourselves how many of them were actually in the main event (hint: 1). 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".
NEW - the way Divas are handled. Unless I state otherwise for a particular week know that I am very much displeased with the Divas' division in the WWE. And yes, that includes the flatulent gimmick. The less said about that the better…
NEW ? Drew McIntyre's storyline. There was a segment nixed from this week's show that seemed to have him going somewhere with it beyond just losing.
And with that out of the way, let's get to this week's Posits!
+ Despite Bryan entering the cage match first (see first Neg), he was introduced last. And what heat did he receive – along with loud "let's go Bryan" chants. He looks strong in this match, but even he couldn't save the match from the stupid door ruling (see said Neg)
+ Big Show's shuffle side kick. 'nuff said
+ Mark Henry was booked to perfection. If he was injured, you couldn't tell it by the match. He took next to no dangerous moves, and all of one bump (from the shuffle side kick).
+ Finally, the match as a whole was great, if anticlimactic. It made sense (save the whole door debacle – see Negs). Bryan was thrown around like a rag doll a bit too much for my liking, but having him getting chucked onto the cage wall made sense.
+ Both Cena and Rock's video packages throughout the week were wonderful. I won't be surprised if these air before each man's entrance in 'Mania.
+ I guess the reason Jericho isn't back to his old gimmick is that Eve stole it – "vindictive, pompous, and insigrious"? I don't even know what insigrious means, not to mention how to spell it. (and yes, I've double checked, she said "in-sig-ree-us")
+ Ricardo Rodriguez in the rumble. I was actually mad at Santino for eliminating him.
+ Kofi's handstand spot was insane.
+ Kharma is BACK!
+ The mainstays in the rumble were almost exclusively from my top 10 young guns list (see the latest Landau Landscape for reference).
+ Amazing wrestling all around this week: Punk vs. Ziggler from RR, Punk vs. Bryan from RAW (both verbally in the opening segment and in the main-event-that-didn't-end-the-show – see corresponding Neg), Sheamus vs. Cody and Barrett vs. Orton from SD!
+ I'm glad to see the AJ storyline developing. I almost thought it became an afterthought until this week.
+ Barrett vs. Orton was also a great match, and we are treated to another one next week in Orton vs. Bryan. This could either cement Bryan as a main event talent or drop his reign to fluke status. The best way to book that match in my eyes is to have them go 15 minutes before some sort of screwy finish, when the match they will have will be very even.
Now, let's get to the Negs!
- As implied in the Posits, while I liked it, there are a couple of points I'd like to make about the Rumble cage match – bare with me as this will be a long Neg: First off - why didn't Bryan enter the cage last? He's the champion, and it's a pet peeve of mine when the fan favorite enters last despite not being champion just for the sake of the pop. Secondly, why is the door stipulation in the steel cage still implemented? I can understand its original use for big men to win, but with the pinfall/submission ruling of modern times that is no longer necessary. That makes cage matches – much like flag/something on a pole matches – unbelievably long. In no way would Bryan take as long as he did to leave a cage through the door. I say – out with the door, in with the new, no door escape stipulation. The door also more or less makes the whole concept redundant. Basically you can leave the ring – like you would in any match – to win. Just ask the ref to open the door for you first. That said, Henry asking for the door to be closed was also too much to suspend disbelief over. Bryan's escape with Big Show on his tail showed he really could have done that from the getgo. Finally, I don't think the finish was the planned one – Bryan seemed to slip from Big Show's grasp and it made his win too anticlimactic.
- Why didn't the Cena package at the Rumble air before his match with Kane? It made perfect sense to put it there, and not behind the thrown-together divas' match. At least Beth was finally back on screen, and dominating, as she has throughout the week (and with Kharma's return it's obvious why). I guess that's something good to be taken away from it, though she shouldn't have been forgotten about and made to look weak in the first place… And speaking of the match, it was too thrown together with no psychology. But what was I to expect? Finally to cap my frustrations with this match – "Booty Pop Eve Drop"? That's hardly PG. This is the first and last Divas rant of the week, and starting next week generic diva rants will become nonexistent.
- Kane vs. Cena showed none of the psychology it should have considering the storyline leading up to it. And neither did the post-match stuff – though it's nice to see Ryder getting TV time despite being "injured", though it did look unbelievable as he didn't know how to sell having a broken back and taking the moves he did despite it.
- Laurinaitis overseeing the WWE championship match from outside the ring loses the point of the build up to the match.
- And how buried was Ziggler this week?! He lost 6 different times in 2 days – he basically lost 4 times to Punk at the Rumble, then the rumble match itself, and then on RAW to Orton. NOT good.
- The intervals between entrances aren't actually 90 seconds by the end of the rumble match. I really hate that.
- WHY?! WHY is Khali back?! We were having so much fun without him! And not only that, he is in THE MAIN EVENT AT ELIMINATION CHAMBER?!
- Laurinaitis really stumbled through the opening segment. It was so bad that even the announcers made note of it. Regardless, the opening segment – while largely entertaining – went on for too long.
- Why wasn't Bryan vs. Punk from RAW the main event – as in the last match on the show? What could possibly get better than WWE vs. WH champion vs. champion, especially since it was THIS amazing match?! I understand that the quarter hour in which it was is an important one, but I'd have it go after what was the last segment.
- Punk sold the arm periodically in the Champion vs. Champion match – as in only when it suited him. Basically, he held the arm but then performed some of his moves with it. This is something I harped on Morrison over for ages, it's really disappointing to see Punk make the same mistake – if to a much (MUCH) lesser extent as he did use his left arm on occasions to show his arm is injured and adapt his moveset to his injury – something Morrison never did. He showed it hurt, but still used it too much for my taste regardless. If you sell an organ to the amount Punk did, you mustn't use it AT ALL and work around it. It's also a nice challenge as a wrestler.
- Cole, as I was afraid, is starting to come around and like Bryan. He made fun of him being a vegan until not too long ago, and now it's suddenly "noble" in his eyes? It's a slow process, yes, but it shouldn't happen nonetheless. As a whole, Bryan's character should not go full-fledged heel in my eyes, and his heat will come from the constant tension of "he's almost behaving like a face, but I hate his guts". The most heat generated by Bryan was for being a condescending face, when fans deliberately SHOWED their discontent with him despite him being a face.
- While we're on the subject, Bryan's Vegan Rolemodel gimmick is not where they should be taking his character. His heel character shouldn't sound so much like Punk's Straightedge Rolemodel gimmick, it should be more him and more organic. This aspect should definitely not be the main focus of his gimmick, but general condescending, hypocritical righteousness should be the direction. It does seem to be a jab at PETA's way of conducting their business, as PETA has often been criticized for sometimes losing their morals in the way to their goal. Regardless, I'm willing to chalk it off to just timing as Bryan just won the PETA athlete award.
- Cena was too happy and too much of his goofy self in his attack of Kane. If he "embraced the hate" as it were, he should have been all business.
- Swagger, the US champion, was a nonfactor on RAW. That devalues both him, and the title Ziggler and Ryder worked so hard to restore glory to. BAD WWE.
- Santoshi was better than Santin-OOOOOOOH! Please bring it back next week, having Santino and X job to the Tag Champs is a bad way to put the tag champs – and the tag division as a whole - over.
- I would like to point the reader's attention to a Wrestling no-no 101: Orton, during his match with Barrett on SD! recycled a missed spot, that wasn't that impressive to qualify for a redo. He stood on the barricade and was about to give Barrett a flying double axe handle. But alas, Barrett was too far away and only got further away. So what does Randy do? He drops off the barricade (as necessary in this situation), and goes to work on Barrett with a couple of strikes, followed by going up THE OPPOSITE BARRICADE and performing the same spot from there. The very nature of such a spot is such that you can only do it when it's organic – it was made to be done when coming back from the crowd, as should be. Orton going the extra mile to jump onto the barricade – when the ring apron was closer and more comfortable – just to perform a double axe handle, was illogical. Now, if it was a really good spot I'd let it go, but a double axe handle? This may seem like nitpicking, but it has really bothered me.
And all that's left is the Queschies:
? Drew McIntyre in the Royal Rumble on one hand, but then again he's jobbing to Clay… Though he did get more offense in than anyone else so far against Clay. There are So many things to consider, so I'll just leave it as a queschie.
? Once Booker and Lawler got into it, I knew Cole would as well. And while it was fun to go down memory lane, there were only so many Rumble spots and too many of them went to inactive wrestlers. If you'll look at the entrant list I think almost 10 went to wrestlers who aren't mainstays.
? Barrett's new theme. I liked his old one better, though it just took me a while to get used to. Hopefully this theme is the same.
? Nothing too special about either Chamber match… More or less what you'd expect. Except for Khali. That is just wrong on 5, maybe 6 different levels
? Taker's return… I do not know what to make of it yet. We'll have to see where it goes.
So – this is the week that was in the WWE. This was a very strong week wrestling-wise, albeit with a disappointing PPV. We got a couple of GREAT matches this week, with Punk vs. Bryan obviously taking the helm, with other great matches that don’t pale in comparison being Rhodes vs. Sheamus, Punk vs. Ziggler, Ziggler vs. Orton and Barrett vs. Orton. We got no good surprises in the Elimination Chambers, but I still wonder how the 2nd #1 Contender will be decided. In past years it has been in the Elimination Chamber, but now that we don't know which brand Sheamus is going after yet it can't be in the chamber – as which one would it be? We had some questionable booking that put too many people under – Ziggler and Swagger got the shortest end of the stick as Ziggler lost 6 times while Swagger wasn't a factor whatsoever. He isn't a good midcard champion in terms of booking as WWE doesn't seem to have the confidence in him to put him over enough to get both him and the title over. We had a lot of storyline progression, not all of it in a good direction. Finally, we had Sheamus win the rumble and the Undertaker return, getting everyone's attention on the grandest stage of them all; Wrestlemania. And with the WM sign being hanged up every week, it's hard to get your attention off 'Mania, even if you wanted to.