Truths And Lies 12.24.13: WWE/TNA Week In Review
Posted by Justin Watry on 12.24.2013
RAW thoughts. Plus: Who is ready for the WWE return of Batista? What did you think of the DixieLand match from TNA Impact Wrestling? Why was John Cena on Smackdown? All this and more!
I love Christmas time.
It is great. My family is amazing. The snow is bothersome, everybody in Wisconsin gets used to it eventually. Most importantly, the entire atmosphere surrounding the holidays is fun. Television specials. Lights outside. Cheerful people. Best of all, Christmas music! Yes, I love Christmas music. For that, all of you can share in the joy throughout this column.
Moving to the wrestling business, it has been a slow week - both on camera and behind the scenes. I expect nothing else. The wrestlers are on holiday vacation, while the shows are just waiting for early January to continue any big story line progression. That is fair. What isn't fair? The ridiculous race to see who wins the NFC North with a mediocre record! That division is up for grabs folks. Should be an interesting final week in the NFL regular season...
Let's start like I do most weeks - taking a look at the best posts from the comment section without any cuss words or insults. Trust me, there were a few out there!
JusticeBringer: I'm 100% positive that Armando meant one briefcase having one half the tag team championships and the other briefcase possessing the other instead of a brand new set of tag belts.
That is fair. I could have read it wrong. Point taken.
Steve Ward: I love the Ask Yourself section so very much. Glad someone gets to call out all the utter crap out there. The worst of the "news" posts are the ones which could easily say "I watched Raw and they had these two guys feuding, so it's safe to assume they'll have a match at the PPV" framed as "you guys, total inside info here, A vs. B at the PPV! You heard it here first~!"
That being said, TNA is not the ONLY option outside of WWE. Dozens of guys make a living as independent wrestlers. Making WWE money? God no. But in some cases, definitely more than they would in TNA, which is notorious for pretty darn average paychecks. Then of course there's Japan and Mexico...
....oh, and a proof read wouldn't kill you. (It's against the rules to be totally positive towards Watry, right?)
Hahaha, true. At the end of the day, WWE is king. NFL is king. MLB is king, etc. You can play in the Arena Football League and make a great living. You can bounce around the minor leagues for years and put food on the table. When push comes to shove, you *should* want to do it for the biggest stage possible...and of course, the biggest paycheck available. That's WWE.
Kung Fu Panda: I agree. They should've had Tensai turn on Truth and Woods too. Then we could've had them feud with each other. Actually, I also wouldn't mind if Woods or Truth turned and they did a Woods/Brodus vs Tensai/Truth feud. Anything to keep these guys busy for now.
This was in response to a comment from Scott last week on the same topic.
I think the there are two points to make with this little mini-feud going. First, it keeps them busy just like you said. Obviously, all four would love to be featured more prominently, but you know what? This is a start and at least something for fans to get into. Secondly, Tensai is talented inside the ring. We know that, but it does make you wonder what his next move is. He has worked on the pre-show PPV panel before as well as some commentary in developmental. Like Alex Riley. Maybe he is slowly transitioning to an agent role or backstage work? He is hardly even in matches anymore. If that is the case, Brodus Clay should be the main focus as a newly turned heel. The "dancing dinosaur" gimmick ran its course.
e2gfx: My thoughts on TLC: First I would like to thank you for not using any cuss words, its very admirable and respectable. This is an article after all, and shows a high level of professionalism. I purchased the TLC PPV (PAY-Per-View, for all you thieves out there), and I was split on how I felt. The go home Raw ended in such a way that I was very interested, especially, in the main event. While I believe Randy Orton vs. John Cena certainly delivered, I felt it was lacking something, but truth be told, I don't know what it was. It felt like it was hyped as the biggest match ever, and I don't think it was ever going to live up to that expectation. The spots were fine, but the last spot where Cena was to go through the table landed awkwardly, and for a moment, I felt as though Cena had seriously injured himself.
As for the rest of the card, I enjoyed the four way tag match very much, no complaints here. The Handicap matches were fine, and fulfilled their purpose, and if anybody can pull of entertaining handicap matches, it's these guys. I could have done without the tons of funk story. I just had no interest, and would have preferred to see Ziggler vs. Fandango on the PPV card instead. AJ Lee retaining I think is the right call, have the babyface chase the heel for the title until WrestleMania. Overall, it was an acceptable PAY-per-view, but I feel would could have had more fun with the tables, ladders, and chairs in OTHER matches than the main event. But maybe that was so no other match could steal the show from the main event. I give it 3 Hecks out of 5 Decks. Merry Christmas Warty, hope you enjoy the holidays!
Warty! Hahaha, that is excellent. Typo or not, I like it.
This whole comment was excellent. Littered with just the right amount of sarcasm and actual thoughts - I approve! You brought up a good point about the main event. Was there anything that could have been satisfying? It seemed like WWE was in a lose-lose situation here. If Orton won clean, fans would be disappointed without some HUGE climax. If John Cena won, the usual cries would be heard about him. If Triple H ran down to win, the backlash would surely be ridiculous. Even with the actual match quality, there was no way to get out of this with this...outside of internet heroes CM Punk and Daniel Bryan reigning supreme. Then it would be fine. Oh yeah, and they have to wrestle in an Iron Man match too. Nothing else will ever be okay.
BlandyBoreton: Please stop using the ''Tuesday review'' title
First comment again! Man, you are quick on the draw. Unfortunately, you are talking to the wrong person. I have nothing to do with what is promoted on the main page or headings used. The little "preview" is not even my work. All I do is provide the actual content from start to finish. Headings, teasers, previews, and all that extra stuff for clicks? Not me.
Jason Andreas: Two things:
1) Why aren't you a fan of the Usos? They've not exactly been pushed as a dominant force at any point, however they're a solid team with a fairly unique look (and entrance) and are perfectly capable of bringing it in the ring. I'd love to see a modern version of the E&C/Hardyz/Dudleys rivalry with three modern teams, and the Usos would fit the Hardyz part pretty well. Maybe the Wyatts for the Dudleys, with the Real Americans or maybe (if there was any chance) the American Wolves as the E&C facsimile.
2) With the unified titles being a big focus, what would you think of an Elimination Chamber main event for the championship featuring: Orton, Cena, Bryan, Punk, Lesnar and Henry? I know Lesnar would be unlikely to feature, but that combination of participants would make it feel like the biggest title match in years, imo. This obviously depends on who wins the Rumble (Chris Jericho) too. Could have Taker come back and win it, let Lesnar win Elimination Chamber, then... RATINGS!
To be precise, here is my quote from last week's column on the Usos: Nice to see The Usos back in a prominent position even if I am not a big fan of them...
I am not a big fan. They fill their role and are a 'legitimate' tag team. Thus, WWE will use them more often than not on one of their many weekly television shows. However, I doubt you will ever see me clamoring for them to win the tag belts.
Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker should stay far away from the title. No need. Ratings will come regardless come WWE WrestleMania season. Two part-timers going at it for the top prize does not interest me. Just let Brock and Taker slug it out at Mania in a brawl. That is all we need to see! I am fine with the other participants - not sure how Mark Henry would fit with the other names, but he is more than capable. With just one Elimination Chamber match happening in 2013, it is going to be intriguing to see if there is one or two in 2014, especially with only the Unified WWE World Championship.
Truths: TNA Impact Wrestling (12/19/13)
1. The opening segment was terrible. - Terrible, just terrible. Magnus has never been a good talker. Jeff Hardy is hit or miss on the microphone (usually miss). Then there is the main topic at point. This all ties back to Dixie Carter and AJ Styles, who are two more bad promos. If this huge ball of confusion is going to work, someone is going to have to carry the talking segments. So far, it has not panned out well.
2. There was just one match during the first hour...again. - This week gets a pass because it featured a good (not great) Bobby Roode/Kurt Angle match. Now, there were many problems with the whole thing, for an actual in-ring contest, I enjoyed the bell to bell action. As for the SMALL nitpicks that added up to a BIG deal: Roode did not get a televised entrance. You have two hours and only three matches planned. Since he was the eventual winner, the man deserved an entrance. Secondly, why is Angle doubting himself? The heel cheated. He did not lose straight up; he was screwed AGAIN! Hopefully, he does not have to leave television for months and "find himself" at home like other TNA guys. Thirdly, can anything big ever finish without the referee looking incompetent? TNA has been this way for years now. The Jeff Jarrett Era is slowly creeping back. Also, the two our of three falls stipulation hurt the feud. If these guys can have a great 20 minute match with ONE fall, why are they losing within so fast? Because it was two out of three falls? Finally, what was the endgame here? To prove Roode can always outsmart Angle? Every win was tainted in some way the past few months. Angle injuring himself. Low blow. Using the ropes. What was the point? Roode is a heel. Angle is a machine. We knew that already. Whatever, I am ready to move on from this feud. Been there, done that.
3. I am fine with the Feast or Fired aftermath. - As stated last week, the actual match is a mess. Transitioning that to some story lines and some direction for these wrestlers is a plus. The whole music, lighting and soap opera setting was a bit much, but par the course for this company I suppose. No idea what Sting was rambling on about or even willing to risk his job just to wrestle Ethan Carter III...but that is what we have come to with The Stinger in TNA.
4. We are back to square one. - Tell me if you have heard this one before. A face turns heel to win the title and joins a giant faction. Well, if you have followed TNA for the past five years, it is how just about every story ends. This is just the latest stable. No wonder there are never any "top faces" in this company...they all turn heel as they gain momentum.
5. The journey is complete - Dixie Carter is Stephanie McMahon. Rockstar Spud is Brad Maddox. Magnus is now the corporate champion, like Randy Orton. All the while, Jeff Hardy was treated as Daniel Bryan - not being the right fit for the face of the company. Oh yeah, AJ Styles is also somewhere out there playing the role of CM Punk from 2011. Did I miss anything? Look, I get it. Wrestling companies recycle story lines. Always have, always will. Just a nature of the beast. In most cases, there is no use in even bringing it up. I get it. However, you just can't look past what has transpired on WWE TV for the past few months and then watch the last few weeks on Impact. Congrats to Magnus winning. He has been named the "future" for so long. Well, it is time to see if all the hype was legitimate! Put up or shut up. If I counted TNA as an actual WORLD Title, this would mean more. Since I don't, it is just another story line for Dixie Carter to gain more Twitter followers.
Edit: Jason Powell from ProWrestling.net put it better than I could. Since he is (by far) the most fair and balanced reporter on TNA, his word holds merit with me. Here is what Jason said about Dixie after Thursday's episode - "TNA should be an alternative to WWE, not doing the same, tired heel authority figure gimmick with someone who possesses the acting ability of a kid who plays the non-speaking part of a tree in a third grade play. Carter should stop listening to all of the people on her payroll who tell her how great she is doing and just be honest enough to admit to herself that this isn't working."
Well said sir. Thank you.
Lie: The Dixieland stipulation was necessary. - What a mess. Dixie Carter wants her hand picked champion in Magnus (yet another WWE story line) and the wrestler turns heel in the process. Fine, whatever...but did we really need ALL of this to get there? You can't just do a screwjob in a normal match? Or just a cage match? Or just a ladder match? Nope, we need this all rolled into one cluster. If this gimmick overload is due to Jeff Jarrett gaining more power within the company, then no thanks! We have seen enough gimmick matches during the past month to last an entire year. Yet, they just keep on coming. Just way too much. Follow the KISS Method: Keep It Simple Stupid!
*Despite all that, I would call this a good show. Not sure why Jeff Hardy is still taking big bumps like he is but props for that. Not sure why Magnus would turn heel right before the UK Tour. He will still get a big pop, but as your top heel champ? Probably best to get booed for a month of taped programming, not cheered. That is just me though. Now sure how many fans care about Chavo Guerrero in 2013. The tag scene is still gone. The Knockouts are still spinning their wheels. The TV Title has been gone for six months, The X-Division is back to being invisible after last week's title change. Then the rest is dominated by DixieLand garbage, talking segment after talking segment after talking segment, and The Authority story line already playing out every Monday night on Raw. Much better episode than recent weeks, but that is not really saying much.*
Note: There are two openings at 411mania to cover TNA Impact Wrestling each and every Thursday night. The first is to do the live coverage. The second is to provide thoughts immediately after the show (instant analysis). If you are somebody who constantly harps on the TNA bias, here is your chance! Give every match five stars. Rip on WWE all night long. Say every Impact Wrestling show is wonderful and glorious for all I care. Do as you please. Now is the time to either step up to the plate...or continue hiding in the comment section.
Truths: WWE Smackdown (12/20/13)
1. Tensai vs. Brodus Clay should not have happened. - I am realistic. These two were never going to have some huge breakup and major match at Royal Rumble. We can all agree on that. However short their tag team run was together, their FIRST clash should have not been thrown on Smackdown without any hype, entrances, build, or promotion whatsoever and end within minutes. I covered this a little above in the reader feedback section, but wow...
2. John Cena needs to be advertised for Smackdown. - Same as last week. I don't read spoilers, so I had no idea John Cena was appearing. When his music hit, it surprised me! If your top star is going to be on the Blue Brand, TELL your audience about it. If you build it, they will come. Regardless, Cena did a good job with Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan setting up the WWE World Title picture heading into early 2014.
3. The Miz is back in limbo - It seemed like The Miz was back on track a few weeks ago. He had his movie coming out, the heel turn was coming, plus his little skit with Michael Strahan gave him some much needed attention. However, that has all disappeared. Losing to Damien Sandow in a hard fought contest is fine. Doing so in short fashion and after a bad joke? Not good. The man better get back on the right track. With the Road to WrestleMania XXX coming up, now is not the time to be lost in the shuffle.
4. Brie Bella is not done feuding with AJ Lee. - By the looks of it, this is far from over. Brie Bella defeated Tamina Snuka in a good match. AJ Lee was on commentary, as Nikki Bella was at ringside. I was hoping AJ would move on to a new opponent after TLC, but Smackdown sent a different message. After Brie won, she knocked the Divas Champion down and made the tell tale motion around her waist for the title. Sadly, one more rematch may be coming.
5. The Wyatts are all over the place. - They destroyed Daniel Bryan backstage. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan beat the tag champs in Goldust and Cody Rhodes. All the while, their promo from Raw was very creepy. I am not sure if their main goal is to get inside Bryan's head or win gold. You could argue positively or negatively with this stable going in different directions. For now, I will watch this all play out, as they are great together.
Lie: The Shield wrestling in tag matches every week is getting stale. - Newsflash folks: In a few months, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose are probably going to move apart on television. The Shield are not going to be a trio much longer. I do not know about you, but I am going to enjoy every last moment now. When it is gone, it is gone. Do NOT take these great tag matches for granted. I can almost guarantee you the fans out there saying these bouts are stale will be the same ones in 2014 begging for a Shield reunion. Guaranteed. For me, I will appreciate it before it disappears for good.
*Not reading the spoilers helps. It really does. This almost felt like a Raw episode to me. The Wyatts made their presence. Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and John Cena were in the opening segment. CM Punk was there. Cody Rhodes and Goldust had a good tag bout. The Shield had a quality main event, as the rest was filled with...well, filler. This felt like Raw. Best of all, the final segment featured Big E Langston chasing off The Shield and standing tall. Nice job.*
Truths: WWE Raw (12/23/13)
1. I avoided the spoilers all week. - It can be done folks! If you really try to avoid spoilers and NOT have the story lines ruined for you in advance, it is possible. Doing so for over a month (with TNA) can be difficult. No doubt. For less than week? Or just a few days for Smackdown every week? Very easy. I suggest all of you try it sometime. You may be surprised. You may actually *gasp* enjoy the show!
2. Sin Cara defeated Curtis Axel - Good for Sin Cara. As mentioned during the show, he is on a bit of a roll. On the flip side, I have two questions: First, why is Curtis Axel still on TV? Secondly, what happened to all the bandwagon Curtis Axel fans from six months ago talking about how great he was going to be as a Paul Heyman Guy? Just wondering...
3. The holiday theme is not going away anytime soon. - Look, we can argue all day long about this. WWE likes to do this stuff for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a few other holidays every year. They won't stop. The music. The singing The staging. The lighting. The Big Show as a New Year's Ever baby. The Santa match. The Divas. The Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango Vince Russo special. Whatever, I can live with it as your one time stupid holiday fun episode. Just like Titus O'Neil last month. If it continues every week though, there is a problem.
4. Batista is coming back. - I have covered this topic numerous times (on other websites) throughout all of 2013. Batista was busy filming Guardians of the Galaxy for most of mid-2013. Thus, any rumors of a WWE comeback were meaningless until AFTER the summer. Well, summer has finished up, and the deal was made to head back to the squared circle. Batista is officially returning! The timeline just set up too perfectly NOT to happen. The new Marvel film is released in theaters summer 2014, and WrestleMania XXX in April is sure to be historic. Batista benefits for the massive amounts of publicity coming his way, and WWE benefits from having a name talent back for a few months of business. Win-win situation.
5. The main event was entertaining. - At least give WWE credit for the main event. The Shield are always going to deliver in a television main event. Big E Langston gets some credible time in the ring with established stars. CM Punk is kept fresh in viewer's minds. Plus, you know John Cena is John Cena. I even enjoyed the three of them having fun backstage for their little interview. With most of Raw being holiday filler, this was an acceptable final match.
Lie: This was the worst Raw of the year. - Pretty close but no. Make no mistake, this was not a good show by any means. In fact, 90% of it was just Christmas filler to get through three hours. However, there were enough positives to get fans talking. Also, you can't grade this show as a "normal" Raw. WWE knows full well ratings/viewership numbers will not increase until January. Those, they can deliver this kind of stuff for the next week or two. Just off the top of my head, I seem to recall an episode of Raw from late September that was worse than this. Thus, mark Monday night down as the second/third worse Raw of the year.
*Nothing to see. If you skipped the entire show, you can sleep easy tonight. WWE is over a month away from the Royal Rumble. They have two weeks to fill. Most of the casual fans are not even going to bother tuning in regardless until early January. The show went just as most predicted. Expect the exact same next year, the following year, and so on. The most memorable moment was the promo for Batista.*
The next time you read an online report, ask yourself if the story actually makes sense...or is your typical gossip with no truth whatsoever. Just from the past week or so, let's take a look:
WWE will not use the World Heavyweight Championship (Big Gold) belt going forward. Maybe, maybe not. It was seen on Raw and Smackdown; that is what I saw. Another great inside scoop there!
AJ Styles leaving TNA may be a work. - No way! Really, you think? You mean CM Punk was not gone with the WWE Title in 2011 either? Aw man...
Shawn Michaels returning to the ring? - Same thing I have read for over three years now.
Hulk Hogan is expected to appear at WrestleMania but NOT team with John Cena. - Shocking. The top star in the industry (Cena) won't be working a tag match at the biggest event of the year. Shocking. Here is a scoop: Hogan and Cena teaming up was NEVER an option.
More AJ Lee backstage talk - A complete non-story from the start. My favorite is when the word "heat" is inserted into a negative report, yet the talent keeps winning on television/pay-per-view (with a title as well). Funny.
WWE is upset with CM Punk for tweeting about a hockey game. - Of course. Let me guess, Punk is in the doghouse and will be BURIED because Vince McMahon and Triple H love bodybuilders, right? Right? Please don't tell me anybody actually believed this. He defeated all three members for The Shield at TLC. Yeah, must have been really angry at him.
Roman Reigns will get a big push in the Royal Rumble match because of his size and look. - There it is. Right on cue! Vince and HHH love big guys, blah, blah, blah. All you have to do is look at the WWE roster page to know this never ending theory is nonsense. It just never ends though.
The Wyatt Family may win the tag titles soon. - Uh oh! What happened to that big Wyatt/Shield match that was rumored for WrestleMania XXX? Remember all of that hype? Just disappeared...or made up speculation after one short brawl on Raw? You decide.
TNA is expecting a good number for Impact Wrestling on Thursday. - Here is your weekly "guess = news" post of the week! There is no football on, and the company has a few big matches set (at least for them) for their free PPV-like event. Thus, anybody with an ounce of sense could easily translate that to hoping for a higher rating than normal. Nothing to see.
Edit: Viewership went down this week. Oops!
Weekly update on Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards - *sighs*
Dave Meltzer speculates Batista may return at and win the Royal Rumble in 2014. - I thought CM Punk was planned to win the Rumble. I thought Daniel Bryan was rumored to win the Rumble. Now, it is Batista. Any other guesses before the event? That is all it is folks - guesses. Nothing more, nothing less. Stop believing every single headline! It changes on a weekly basis.
Edit: Batista was announced to return next month on the January 20th edition of Raw! So much for all that stuff about being a Rumble surprise...wrong again Mr. Dirt Sheet.
The Undertaker has agreed to work WrestleMania XXX but has no opponent scheduled. REALLY?! Please, I beg somebody to tell me with a straight face that this news is legitimate. Taker has waited until late 2013 to inform officials he is ready to go for April 2014, yet nothing is even set for him. Please. Just pure nonsense.
Jeff Jarrett resigns from TNA Impact Wrestling. - Related to AJ Styles or a massive swerve that ONLY the internet fans even follow? Either way, it is a momentous announcement if true and another big yawn if part of a story line. We shall see.
Edit: I just remembered all of the recent overbooking and gimmick matches HAS to be about Jarrett being involved more. Yet, he just abruptly leaves the company? Stay tuned on this one. When the founder of the company is abandoning ship, it is impossible to deny there are problems going on. As noted though, if it is part of yet another worked shoot by TNA, I just don't care.
Adam Pearce is retiring. - Nope! Just a mistake made by the promoter. Did anybody bother to double check with Adam first before posting? Anybody text/call/message him for a comment? Anybody even put five seconds of effort into the story before simply spreading it around with nothing to back it up? Copy, paste and hope to be accurate...
Have any more examples? Please share them below in the comment section. Until then, just remember the next time you click on an article to ask yourself first how much will be truth and how much will be fiction.
My Outlook For 2014
In case I forget next week, let me get this out of the way now. I am not a huge fan of making new year's resolutions. I understand the concept; it always seemed mostly pointless. For example: If you want to lose weight, just do it! Why wait until January 1st? Do not let a calendar dictate what you do. That being said, I have set a goal for myself (kind of like a resolution I guess) throughout 2014. I am planning to get back to interviewing wrestlers again. It is one of my favorite parts of doing this for nearly six years now. From Katie Lea Burchill to the Young Bucks to AJ Kirsch to TNA Impact Wrestling star Jay Bradley a few months ago to many more, my past interviews have been great. However, I am not going to stop there. In the next 12 months, I would love to expand that list. Thus, if any one you have any suggestions, please let me know! Name a wrestler for me to interview. Email me. Tweet me. Or simply use the comment section, and I will happily see what I can do. Thanks.
Finally, let's get some "ME!" plugs out there for all of you...