Truths And Lies 12.31.13: WWE/TNA Week In Review
Posted by Justin Watry on 12.31.2013
RAW thoughts! Plus: Is Dolph Ziggler gaining momentum in WWE again? Why was there a 27 minute opening segment with Dixie Carter on Impact? What is Brock Lesnar doing back? And has Daniel Bryan joined The Wyatt Family?
Ladies and gentlemen, Sunday afternoon is why we all love football. Simply no words. Santa Claus delivered all of my presents last week, so I must have been a good boy in 2013. This week is all about ringing in the new year. For wrestling fans all over the world, I truly believe the next 12 months are going to be talked about for decades and decades. Really could be a year for the ages.
TNA Impact Wrestling has been surrounded by a dark cloud of rumors for months now. That thing could implode anytime. WWE is launching their much hyped network that may change the industry forever...or bomb terribly. All the while, we have a historic WrestleMania XXX event coming up. Buckle up folks. It is going to be a very interesting year...
Be forewarned now! This was a lengthy column to write.
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!
It is time for my monthly reminder: I do not upvote any comments. I do not downvote any comments. I do not comment on any articles, columns, reviews, etc. I do not even have a registered account despite being asked to many times. My platform to voice an opinion is right here, not in the comment section.
RJ: From an Eagles fan to a Packers fan...YOU'RE WELCOME! =)
...and Green Bay Packers season ticket holder! I do thank you. However, the Chicago Bears and Packers are unworthy of a playoff spot. Even being from Wisconsin, I can admit that. No favoritism here. Honestly, it is ridiculous that such mediocre teams get in, while good teams with better records miss out due to their division. The same can be said about the National Basketball Association. The East is a joke. Yet, they will get eight playoff teams, just as the West - who have much better records and teams. Trust me, I know how lousy the Milwaukee Bucks were last year but weaseled into the playoffs. Oh well! Those are the rules, and as we have seen in the past, just make the postseason! Then all bets are off. My Super Bowl prediction remains the same from September: Broncos over 49ers.
Gil: The "Ask Yourself" section should have a whole column to itself, with different writers giving their two cents on each rumor. Might be fun and I'll read it.
Or just read it in my column every week? Seems like a fair deal.
Panda: My theory is that all of these "leaked" stories is the internet version of kayfabe. Think about it, for us adults (in age anyways), the curtain on pro wrestling was pulled back a long time ago. But these "leaked" stories make it real to us again. Vince McMahon doesn't like our favorite guy and doesn't see him as a main-eventer? We must cheer louder so Vince notices! This so-called "insider information" makes us appear like we really know what's going on. It would be interesting to see what percentage of the rumors are actually true. I'm guessing, maybe 10%. Merry Christmas or however you roll.
I can buy this theory. That is what astonishes me. So many adults DO actually buy into this stuff on a daily basis, even though I clearly point out the false information all the time. Yet right when the next headline pops up, it is trusted again without notice. Then I point out ridiculous it is. Then another story pops up...more eyeballs reading it without any hesitation. Then it is proven wrong. The next day, another story. Another story shot down. The cycle just continues. Your estimate of 10% being true may be a little low. Some of this stuff is true, no doubt. However, most of it is click bait for those looking to be on the "inside" of WWE.
tdr: If management was really mad that Punk was tweeting about the Blackhawks last week he would not have done it again this week.
There you go! Also, the man keeps winning on television in big story lines and has been in the supposed doghouse since coming to WWE in 2006. Looking at all of his title wins and major accomplishments, that must be a weird doghouse.
celia: That list of wrestlers that you have interviewed is just a notch below mediocre.
Could you please send me a list of the wrestlers YOU have interviewed before? I would love to know. Don't worry, I will wait for a response. I am very proud of my interviews and wish to expand even more in 2014. If any of those names do not interest you, please feel free to name some talent you wish to hear from, and we can go from there. I asked for suggestions. Thanks!
Cam Walters: I guess my open invitation last week, which was not written in any sort of attacking manner, was too much for Justin to handle. I was actually curious to hear his response this week. Ah well. I tried. Cheers all.
Try again next week without a few of the words you used. I will happily reply.
e2gfx: Dear Warty, I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed my comment. I truly respect your work, so I was very honored to have my comment in your column. This will surely be up there in one of my favorite moments of 2013. Which leads me to my question for you this week: What was your favorite single moment in wrestling for 2013?
For me, It was Daniel Bryan's victory over John Cena at Summer Slam, and the screw job (am I allowed to say that? I apologize if you consider that a rude word to use, it's not my intention) that followed. I'm a fan of all the men involved in the match and the segment afterwards (Cena, Orton, HHH, and Bryan), and at the time I was very excited for Bryan. The screwjob that followed was epic, because it really evoked such a strong emotion of anger from so many fans (especially the IWC, who probably didn't even pay for the event anyways) who failed to see the big picture. As Bryan fan I was shocked, but that was a huge moment that has really paved the way for WWE's storyline ever since, and it elevated Bryan to new heights, even though he only held the title for a few seconds. Hope you have a Merry Christmas, See ya next week!
Oh and for your question about who you should interview: I know you write for the Layfield Report, why not an interview with JBL, and talk to him about his transition from being a wrestler to a full time commentator, what it's like to work with Cole, etc.?
Hahaha, Warty! Still funny to me. Here is a quick rundown:
1. Don't think I have not tried with JBL already. Most of the WWE roster like to comment off the record more than on the record with internet folks. 2. You can say screwjob. Go right ahead. SCREWJOB! 3. I have been doing many year-end awards for the websites I write for. From promo of the year to match of the year to diva of the year to everything in between, lots of subjects are covered. Since not all of that has been posted yet, I won't spoil anything. Just know that my "Best of 2013" columns are all over the internet if you look hard enough...like those pesky plugs at the end of this column.
WillyDope: I think that the entire Tensai Brodus thing isnt quite done yet....they could still turn Tensai as well, having the reasoning being that the Funkadactyls left him hanging after the Brodus beat down....then even though Brodus beat him down, you can still have them team up to destroy Truth and Woods, as well as the Funkadactyls spirits, who are now accompanying them to the ring.
I suppose that could work. For me though, it is over with. Brodus Clay beat down Tensai already. Unless some huge turnaround is explained, I can't suddenly buy into them being a team again. It reminds me of the Aces and Eights wrestling Bully Ray and beating him down for months on end, only for the Aces and Eights leader to be Bully Ray. So laughable. Then they tried to do video packages to 'explain' everything. Nice try. Once the beat down occurs (Brodus to Tensai), the logic is VERY tough to look past.
Shelly: I work in a very competitive industry, and my niche within that industry is considered very lucrative. In my region, I compete with 3 other companies. This means when a prospective client is given similar pitches, but with MANY different benefits to a relationship. Number 1 has a history, name recognition, and low costs, Number 2 has a full service package and the ability to meet every business need with a very hands on approach. Number 3 has the most expansive product around, with more than twice the options of the rest.
We all have our counter-arguments against our competitors...but that argument is why our way is best, We also know that we can't mimic our competition, even though to a layman we're all offering the same product. Each company has been building their platform for roughly 15 years with an eye to stealing market share. Company 1 was in 1st and owned the market. Number 2 came next with a counter-approach to peel away the high end client with ancillary interests. Then number 3 emerged with the most versatile product.
I'm no TNA hater and I honestly don't know if the blame should fall on The Carters, those they employ to advise them, or Viacom. Being WWE-lite is a recipe for failure/middling success and I'm dumbfounded how any of these 3 entities can't see that BUSINESS reality. Of course wrestling is wrestling, and there hasn't been a truly original idea in forever, but TNA should wake up everyday trying to steal market share (trying to win the lapsed fan, which was TNA's original model, simply did not work) and trying to out-WWE WWE is simply impossible. TNA needs to counter-program.
The Monday Night War is such an obvious blue print. WCW was able to be in the position to compete with the massive investment in brand name talent, but they only began to compete in a meaningful way when Nitro went live against the canned Raw with house show matches and main events...being DIFFERENT. And they pulled ahead by ditching "big characters and vanilla stories" and presenting a more mature, realistic product...being DIFFERENT. The WWE was able to be in a position to compete by matching the realism (and the WWF brand was a HUGE built in advantage) with fresh faces and then only began to compete by pushing the realism further than WCW could go with language, sex, violence, etc...being DIFFERENT.
It's highly unlikely TNA can ever compete with WWE, but that's a childish goal anyway. Their goal should be to keep growing, pulling market share, and forcing WWE to adapt to stop the bleeding...then changing again when WWE changes. That means TNA can't be WWE-lite. They have to be DIFFERENT.
Bravo. Well said.
Truths: TNA Impact Wrestling (12/26/13)
1. There was a 27 minute opening segment with Dixie Carter - Torture. This is just becoming too much. I can't wait for Genesis to arrive, so my commitment (originally until the end of 2013 only) is over with. The entire segment was one big punchline after another. Fine for mid-card comedy; not good for your TOP story line. Rockstar Maddox comes strutting down to the ramp like a goof. Dixie gets her own entrance and hypes a big announcement (insert your own joke here). A bunch of people keep interrupting her so this drags through a commercial break. Once all the nonsense ends, Dixie does not even bother talking and walks away. Seriously, TNA Impact Wrestling has TWO HOURS per week on television. Yet, nearly a quarter of that time gets flushed down the toilet every week so Dixie can gain more Twitter followers. Best part was when the segment finally ended, the camera caught the fans in the Impact Zone literally sitting there arms folded with no expression. Welcome back to Orlando!
2. The background music is back. - Some people never learn. Once again, Bully Ray is followed around by background music while speaking. Pick your spots TNA! I know the Impact Zone was nearly silent, but find a better way to cover that up. This is not a soap opera no matter how much you try. Nobody was invested in his relationship with Brooke (too rushed due to the Brooke Hogan departure). Thus, fans are not going to get invested now that they are breaking up.
3. I liked the Magnus videos - Shocking, I know. Magnus is still not a finished project. Anybody with a clear head knows that. TNA can tell us he is the future all day long. Until he proves it, those proclamations are just empty promises. Thus, the company has to do EVERYTHING under their power to get him over in a big way. All of these videos done spotlighting his past were a fine start. Two small nitpicks though: Magnus should have been on the show live. First episode of Impact after his big win? Not there...BUT plenty of Dixie! No thanks. Also, the "career in review" from Magnus that was being told here was not exactly as things happened in real time. Just revisionist history. That can be forgiven though.
4. There were four minutes of wrestling during the first hour. - This is starting to become a weekly bet for TNA television. How little in-ring wrestling can there be? Is that the ultimate endgame? Try and produce a show with NO in-ring wrestling eventually? While the second hour usually makes up for the average amount, it is just silly to see hot much talking there is during the first hour. As noted before, I do not watch ANY show with a stop watch. Never have, never will. I enjoy promos more than matches nine times out of ten. Yet, every time a commercial break hits and I look at the clock on my wall, another 15 minutes goes by without a match. Sorry, but a four minute count out draw between Gunner and James Storm is not going to cut it. Wrestling Wrestling Matters!
5. The Jeff Hardy story is a retread of a retread of a retread.... - Okay, Jeff Hardy can't go on the UK Tour. I get that. Just have EC3 attack him. For TNA to have yet another one of their faces "go home to think about things" is just ludicrous. Same heel factions. Same authority figures blabbering. Same story arc with the good guys. Oh joy. Can't wait for Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles to return feeling better than ever to take back THEIR company! Then the cycle continues on...
Lie: I remember the Knockouts match. - Tapa vs. ODB literally finished up an hour ago, and my memory is blank. Not a single move. Not one word from commentary. I can recall the winner. That is about it. I must have completely zoned out. The division is usually some of the best television from TNA Impact Wrestling. Not anymore.
*Meh. The first hour was more of them same - talking segment after talking segment after talking segment with lots of Dixie Carter mentions in between! Her stable of guys ran from Sting wearing a t-shirt, so there goes what little credibility they had. Bro Mans being in ANY main event match is downright wrong. Ethan Carter III gains nothing, zip, nada from that "win" over Sting. Let's see him go one on one with the legend. Then we can all judge his potential - still have not seen anything yet. The rest was just okay or mildly entertaining.*
Truths: WWE Smackdown (12/27/13)
1. WWE needed to promote the appearance of John Cena. - Same as previous episodes of Smackdown. If a big star makes a semi-rare appearance on Smackdown, promote it! Tell your audience. I know Cena has become a kinda-sorta regular lately for the Blue Brand, but my point stands. Just assuming fans know will watch will not lead to any ratings increase. You have to TELL them to tune in! Show a graphic on Raw. Air a short commercial. Plaster this news all over your website and social media. Something. Anything.
2. There was no Divas match. - Interesting. My memory is hit or miss, but isn't there usually at least one Divas match/segment per show? Strange.
3. Dolph Ziggler can still bring it! - Do not let his downturn in recent months fool you. Dolph Ziggler is still as talented as ever inside the ring. While his World Title days are far behind him, his future is still alive and well. With WrestleMania XXX coming up, I doubt he gains any traction until after April. However, his skills have not gone away. Wrestling Fandango or Damien Sandow is one thing. On Smackdown, he went toe to tow with WWE World Champion Randy Orton in a solid match. Yes, it was still a loss. Yet, it was perfectly acceptable here.
4. I am loving the build for Batista's return next month. - It has been less than a week, but WWE is doing this properly. So far. There have been a few small features on WWE.com about his comeback and past. Of course, everybody saw the big promo on Raw. That was re-aired on Smackdown. Then you have the commentators making passing mentions of it every so often as well. All the while, the WWE Universe is still over three weeks away from seeing The Animal live on Raw again. Great job! Don't overdue it and beat us over the head with non-stop plugs. Just build it slowly with a nice pace...the casual fans will be there come January 20th.
5. The last 45 minutes was fun. - This was a marathon of matches with The Shield thanks to Kane setting this up earlier. First up, Big E Langston defeated Dean Ambrose. While we could argue all day long about the mid-card titles, it has been clear for awhile the United States Championship is invisible. Would not shock me to see that merged into the IC Title soon. Next, Roman Reigns defeated Mark Henry with the spear. I want Henry to be a monster heel as much as the next guy, but if WWE is dead set against it, this is the right role for him. Clean loss to a future star. Finally, John Cena beat Seth Rollins to close the night out. Just fun stuff with one match after another.
Lie: You HAD to see this show. - Not really. Just your run of the mill Smackdown episode stalling time until after the new year. Even the filler was pretty decent. Cody Rhodes and Antonio Cesaro had a solid bout. The Prime Time Players wrestled Ryback and Curtis Axel. Daniel Bryan defeated Damien Sandow. The Wyatt Family are still feuding with Bryan. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan beat The Usos on Friday night. The actual in-ring action was solid but again - nothing that you just absolutely must watch.
*Passable two hours. Read what I said above. It was just like a live event with cameras rolling. Some big stars were there. The wrestling was entertaining, and the faces stood tall at the end. Fine show, just nothing to get excited about.*
Truths: WWE Raw (12/30/13)
1. CM Punk called Dean Ambrose the weak link of The Shield. - Just wondering: If John Cena would have called Dean Ambrose the weak link, what would the reaction be online? If Triple H called Dean Ambrose the weak link, how would the internet fans reply? I am just wondering; that's all. It seems whenever Punk says some 'controversial' in a promo, it is pushed the side as not meaning anything. If one of the enemies of the IWC say something similar in a worked setting, they are torn to shreds. Just wondering. That being said, I liked the opening match as well as Punk trying to create tension between The Shield members.
2. Curtis Axel is still on television. - Why? Pretty sure I saw Alex Riley on Raw...give him some TV time instead!
3. WWE did what they could with a limited roster. - I have an issue with how the company scheduled so many shows to end the year, but let's not go there. Going in, it was well known that some stars would not be on Raw. With what they had, I think everybody did fine. An IC Title (pretty good) match was given the top of the hour time slot. A marathon series with Daniel Bryan was featured. We got a lengthy Randy Orton video, among others. The Shield and CM Punk took up the first half hour (no problem there). Yeah, the three hour filler got excessive, but what else is new? With a rather thin talent pool for the night, I would consider things a minor success considering the circumstances.
4. It is good to have Brock Lesnar back. - More like, it is good to have Paul Heyman back. Seriously Brock, please no more talking. Ever again. Just destroy guys and look intimidating. While I think his supposed title hunt is a smoke screen/red herring before The Undertaker comes back, it is intriguing to imagine The Beast as champion again.
5. Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar as the final two Royal Rumble competitors would be great. - I am writing this immediately after Raw. Thus, keep in my this could be proven wrong within minutes. Brock Lesnar may not even compete at the Rumble. Bryan may be in a different match at the PPV, not the actual Rumble main event. Either way, can you imagine? Daniel Bryan starts early, fights all the way to the end...and Brock Lesnar comes out at #30! As one last hurdle, Daniel Bryan has to overcome THE BEAST to get his title match at WrestleMania XXX. I am not the fantasy booking guru, but that seems like a perfect scenario.
Lie: I knew Brock Lesnar was returning - Once again, I was completely Raw spoiler free! I am SOOOOO glad I stayed off my laptop all of Sunday night and into Monday. Oh man, it would have been impossible for me to avoid all the chatter and Brock Lesnar stories about Monday's Raw had I gone online at all beforehand. When HHH and Steph made their announcements, I had no idea what was coming. When Big E retained his IC Title, I expected as such but was not 100 percent sure. When that "major return" took place on Raw, I was absolutely shocked. Genuinely shocked! I never understood why fans would purposely take the fun out of something. Try it with Smackdown this week. Try it with the next taped Raw. Try it! Do. Not. Read. Spoilers. You will find yourself actually enjoying the show more and NOT ruining big surprises for yourself.
*Good episode. I expected another filler Raw show due to the holidays. Thankfully, we got some hype for next week's Old School Raw. Woo! We got good wrestling. We heard announcements from The Authority. There was another Batista video. We even saw Brock Lesnar tease his 2014 plans; that is sure to gets fans excited entering the new year. I have no idea what the final segment was about with The Wyatts and Daniel Bryan but whatever. This story will be over with soon enough..hopefully. Even without much of the roster available, WWE delivered here.*
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:
Chris Jericho comments on his WWE status. - Yet, his word means nothing. Boy who cried wolf syndrome...
Batista was always going to return on Raw, not the Royal Rumble, despite the early advertisement. - Ah, there is the back tracking already. "Rumble surprise. Rumble surprise. Rumble surprise." Oops! WWE had a promo video already made and commentator set to make the announcement. "Yeah, it was always going to be on Raw." Nice 'correction' there.
Weekly update on Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, this time with TNA Impact Wrestling being interested? - My, oh my. I do not even watch Ring of Honor, but I can't wait for these two to sign SOMEWHERE!
AJ Styles/TNA rumors...ROH as well? - My position from October 2013 remains unchanged. Until I see him on Raw or Smackdown, his eventual landing spot will be TNA Impact Wrestling.
Backstage news on Jeff Jarrett and his future - Truth be told, I am probably more intrigued by this than anything going on with AJ Styles.. Last week, somebody asked me about Jeff Jarrett and what he may do next. Well, there are rumors of him being tied to a new wrestling company, AAA coming to the United States and even some roller derby stuff. My guess is, whether leaving TNA is truly legitimate or not, we will see him again. Except in WWE; don't count on him showing up there anytime soon.
Richie Steamboat may not be released. - Of course. Of course...as usual, nobody has a clue one way or the other.
Vince McMahon said there are no more heels or faces in a recent creative meeting - Just wondering: Does anybody actually believe this news post? That somebody would know what Vince is saying in a meeting? Anybody? Nope, just a nice headline about faces and heels to throw up there to get internet fans talking!
Triple H may face CM Punk or possibly Roman Reigns at WrestleMania XXX. - Back to "guessing = news" I see. One man speculates on scenarios through his radio show. The copy and paste gurus out there pounce on it for clicks. Hey, if you keep on guessing on matches, you will be right eventually.
Brock Lesnar is expected to return to WWE around Royal Rumble 2014 time. - Hahahahaha! Nice try. Brock Lesnar returned on Raw. Hey, how about those UFC-return rumors? How are those working out? Hook, line, and sinker...
The planned WWE World Title match for the Royal Rumble is Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena. - Wrong. Swing and a miss! Somebody took a guess and translated that into some kind of inside scoop. It was announced on Raw we will see Orton/Cena for the strap. This is good for two reasons. First, that means WWE won't be doing that rematch come WrestleMania XXX. Secondly, it frees up Daniel Bryan to compete in the 30 man Rumble...possibly even winning.
The Wrestling Observer confirms it was Toby Keith looking to buy TNA recently. - For those who recall, a bunch of websites reported Billy Corgan was the mystery celebrity involved. However, Wrestling Observer said repeatedly it was not him. Now, they reveal it was actually Toby Keith! Well, good. Does this actually mean anything or what?
John Cena may face Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania XXX in the main event. - Embarrassing. Absolutely embarrassing that this gets passed off as news. I believe December 26th, 2013 could be the day 'IWC reporting' finally got exposed. Shame on anybody who posted this garbage with a straight face and stood by their story. For shame. No surprise the mostly credible websites like ProWrestling.net and PWTorch.com stayed far away from this.
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.
Finally, let's get some "ME!" plugs out there for all of you...