The Wrestling 5&1 1.04.14: Layla El Vs Michelle McCool
Posted by Tony Acero on 01.04.2014
Layla battles Michelle McCool in Vs, thoughts on why TNA is worth watching, a look at Daniel Bryan's possible heel turn, AJ Lee is your "& 1" Model of the Week and more!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! You guys gave me a great 2013, especially with the transition of DeMarco to Acero, and I thank you for your continued support. The wrestling pot is coming to a boil as the Rumble comes up, and I'm super excited. The ending of RAW saw Bryan join the Goat Squad and left the wrestling world divided. What do I think? Hell, let's find out!
Did Bryan Turn?
On Monday night, we saw Daniel Bryan take on the entirety of The Wyatt family before confessing to Bray that he was correct the entire time. The revelation comes after months of adulation from the fans that resulted in nothing but a botched title reign and a whole lot of shuffling down and around the card for Bryan. Speculation about "the devil" being Paul Heyman or The Authority came up, and we were left to wonder just when the moment that happened on RAW would ever happen…or if it ever would. Well, we are in that moment now, and not everyone is happy. The lines are a bit blurred here, and whether you believe that it's Vince who no longer wants faces and heels, or just the fact that the end of RAW was meant to be a cliffhanger, I thought it went particularly well. If we are to believe that there is truth in art where Bryan's rise to the top is concerned, then he's not going to Champion any time soon. If that's the case, then he needs something to do aside from floundering in the midcard. I think the biggest issue people have is that Bryan simply wasn't given the chance we all think he deserves. In an interesting turn, however, that wasn't the most disappointing thing of 2013 according to 411's staff and many of the readers. So was Monday night truly a bad thing for Bryan?
I'm not so sure. I was one of those who had a horrible time with the months of non-finishes and horrible way that the storyline went with Bryan. We have been conditioned to believe that the good guy will eventually prevail, and yet Bryan never truly did over The Authority, over Orton, over any wrong doings against him. It left me unfulfilled and cheated – especially when a Pay Per View came up and I was out money. I'm still unsure I'm fulfilled, to be fair, but there's a small sliver of hope that his time isn't done in the main event. IF it is…if he will never truly touch that gold, then what would we want for our beloved Bryan? I think this Wyatt thing is the next best move.
The Wyatts have one of those gimmicks that is just past the realm of reality. They are not supernatural, but have elements of fear and the unknown – similar to The Undertaker. They are in the upper echelon of imagination whereas Bryan has always been a part of the real, the concrete. Seeing him possibly join the Wyatts automatically brings apprehension, because the worlds are mixing, and we're unsure about it mentally. The beautiful thing about this all is just how well Bryan is able to adapt and how many different avenues this may take. Bryan is a wrestler, and a humble human being who is probably just as happy being another of the bearded boys as he was facing Orton. I don't truly know, but one could assume. If this is the case, then I'm willing to wait and see just where this leads. Who knows, that Championship belt may have a lot to do with it soon.
It looks like Layla wants back in the Hall of Bang, as she beats Kelly Kelly, even if just barely. This week, she goes up against a lady who looks nothing like the photos I've used…SUNNY!
Voting ends Wednesday night and you can vote once every hour!
TNA Gets A Mention: Part 2A
Last week, I put a survey in the column that saw a lot of great responses. Seriously, a lot. I wish I could post them all. Instead, I'll post a few great responses that really caused me to consider adding TNA to my scheduled viewing (again), if only for the sake of the column. Let's look at last week's responses:
Why Should I Watch TNA?
I personally watch TNA because there are wrestlers to get invested in. There are WWE wrestlers I'm invested in, so I watch it. It gets the WWE-lite label, but today's mainstream wrestling landscape deals with storylines, and TNA is using that. It shouldn't be mocked just because it's using the same formula. But many of the storylines take a different angle than the WWE, so it doesn't feel like I'm watching the exact same show.
I think this was the best reason, and admittedly, I would have to agree that the moment I latched onto a couple of characters, I'd be in there like swimwear. I never disliked TNA due to decisions or business models, I simply never gave it a chance. Those who have read me for a long time know that I've never really had anything bad to say, I simply didn't have anything to say.
WWE ending the brand extension a long time ago led to SO MANY of their new stars not being properly developed and lead to more hours of WWE programming that is irrelevant to some wrestling fans while some of us considered TNA as another brand and in many ways filled the gap that WWE never was able too. This site trolls to that one audience WAY TOO MUCH. Over the years with 2 hrs TNA has developed talent far greater than the 6-7 hr giant in lack of better words. They do Wrestling better, simply.
Another good answer that was more thought out than "Velvet's ass" (which, is also a viable reason to watch, actually). The hours of wrestling on television may very well be one of the main reasons why I don't watch TNA. The time I have for wrestling is minimal, especially when I type out three hours of wrestling a week, plus the column…it becomes overload.
As a recognized alternative product to the WWE in the same entertainment genre (or at least used to be/still trying to be) TNA can help provide grounds for comparative analysis when reviewing WWE shows and grading those. That, and they still have a reasonable list of decent wrestlers who can put on a great match. Plus, they might not be around much longer and watching a wrestling promotion in its final months is strangely both sad and entertainingly engrossing at the same time.
Using TNA as a comparative tool to the WWE while at the same time considering it its own entity is a very interesting take, and probably why those columns that include it are a bit more well-rounded than mine can be at times.
Who Should I Pay Close Attention To?
The most common name mentioned was Bobby Roode, with Magnus being a close second. There was, of course, a few mentions of the Knockouts. Here are some of the more thorough and interesting answers.
Bobby Roode, Magnus, Gail Kim and Brooke Tessmacher. Roode is a great wrestler, and he has the look. He's not perfect on the mic, but everything he says comes off naturally. I think Gail is one of the greatest female wrestlers in a mainstream company. And she is great at coming off as a total bitch, but can also be a face. I see Magnus and Brooke as works in progress. They have the look and the potential. I think Brooke is further along, but I think Magnus is developing quite well, also.
Magnus, Bully, Roode, Storm, Angle, Hardy, AJ, Joe, EC3, Park/Abyss, Bad Influence, EY, Anderson, Sabin, Aries, Gunner, Dixie, Knockouts, and pretty much everyone else. TNA has done a great job over the years developing its characters. In many ways some of them has been getting character dev\elopment since 2007 and have been re-packaged succesfully to ascend up the card so much that when they move out of the main event pic they seem wasted when the reality is TNA reboots storylines just like WWE
Too many to list - get on the Dixie train! ECIII, Magnus, Dixie, Spud, AJ, Bully Ray, hopefully a refreshed Knock-outs Division
The obvious contenders of Roode, Aries, Kaz, Daniels, Angle, Ray etc.... Maguns will grow into his role as champion well, if he is given a good run. Spud is gold as the out of his depth pussy character. And of course TNA is home to Velvet Sky, Gail Kim and Christy Hemme - you should pay very close attention to that trio!! Haha
Your mum, she loves it
Your Turn: What are your answers?
TNA Gets A Mention: Part 2B
Here's part Two of your responses!
Who Should I Not Give Any Attention To?
I don't think there is anyone on the roster who should be ignored just because. Unlike the WWE, there isn't a Great Khali who just comes in because they remember he works there. Even the comedy guys, like Eric Young and the Bro-Mans feel like integral parts of the show.
Give attention to all of them. You can mention WWE as being the top promotion forever but the reality is they play it safe. They have nothing to gain so when someone tries there they stand out. TNA on the other hand has been fighting for ground and have been successful enough to get the notoriety of everyone to even compare them to WWE when no other new promotion not named WCW/TNA does...thats big. They come off as more motivated and much hungrier. When they have been in doubt, they do better.
These were the most important answers, to be honest, as they were what I expected the most of. Similar to the WWE, there isn't anything we shouldn't pay attention to (with the exception of Khali, ha!) because the product isn't tailored specifically to JUST me. Astonishingly enough, Sting was a common answer, which makes me believe that the ol Stinger isn't all he once was cracked up to be.
This is, quite possibly, the most important view of the entirety of the survey that I gave you guys. It shows some pretty important stuff that really showed me quite a bit. In other words, it gave me some insight of what my readers want, and considering you guys want me to incorporate more TNA in the 5&1, I have no choice to oblige. So, consider this my promise to you all that I will try my best to do so. Any and all pieces or opinions you would like to put forth, you just let me know.
By the Beard of Bryan!
First off, great responses regarding the TNA issue. I can't promise that we'll have more pieces on TNA, but I can promise that I'll try. One comment by Smilley put you guys into a tailspin of conversation that was enjoyable to read. Jay left a comment that was one of those rare times when a comment described itself ever so succinctly. The Spanish Announce Table takes offense to Layla's omission from the Hall which was explained due to Kaitlyn beating her. After this week, however, she may have a chance to get back in there! SilentOx wants to remind us that Sunny is far from Sunny in this day and age and to not do drugs. Thanks, Silent. Kaos assumes I hate CM Punk. The Lie Detector results determined that was a lie. Matt chimes in with what not to pay attention to in TNA, and goes off on Dixie. We'll see just how much it's a rehash in coming weeks, won't we, Matt? Jack finds my AJ obsession creepy before speaking of Aksana's lack of underwear line. I'll submit to being a creep, Jacky boy, but looks like your denial may be getting the best of you. Speaking of AJ, Dos-Face can't get enough of AJ in her red and black bikini, and to that I say Hellz Yes. And Bad News Barrett wants to remind you that the gavel isn't the only thing he is bangin!
Because Why not?!
About the author:
Tony Acero is currently a student at Cal State University of Long Beach. He is double-majoring as a Creative Writing and Literature major. His first book, Through The Looking Glass, was published in April, 2012. School's Out is a short story that found the author arrested due to the severity of its content. Both can be found on amazon.com.
Tony joined 411Mania in April 2010, and currently contributes in both music and wrestling. Tony is an avid drinker of Mountain Dew and Jack Daniels. He is a writer who hardly takes himself seriously, yet has an innate ability to create moments that are both human yet fearful in his writings.
HALL OF FAME Greg DeMarco is a graduate of Virginia Tech (Bachelor's in Business Management) and Arizona State (Master's in Higher & Post-Secondary Education). He works in online higher education. Greg started in improv comedy in 2001, making his stand-up debut in 2004.
Greg first appeared as a ring announcer for Rising Phoenix Wrestling in Phoenix Arizona in 2006 and served many promotions in both on-stage and back-stage roles for over six years, most notably Ring of Honor in 2010. He began writing for 411Mania in October 2010, founded The Greg DeMarco Show in May 2011 and opened WrestlingSmash.com (and Wrestling Smash Radio) in January 2013.