Truths And Lies 01.07.14: WWE/TNA Week In Review
Posted by Justin Watry on 01.07.2014
Old School Raw thoughts! Does AJ Styles returning to TNA Impact Wrestling change anything? Did we get new tag team champions on Smackdown? Why did Jake The Snake Roberts return to WWE? All this and much more!
Cold as ice.
Did everyone see the 49ers/Packers game on Sunday? Yeah, welcome to Wisconsin! Last week Thursday, a bunch of schools/stores/workplaces were closed for Monday (today) and Tuesday. Closed. Days in advance! It is THAT cold out right now. Moving to wrestling, I hope all of the year end stuff was worth the wait. If some awards seem a tad out of date, that is on me.
My 'most important events of 2013' section (for another column) was written three weeks ago. There used to be editions of Ask 411 Wrestling finished a week in advance by myself. Amazing, huh? Back on point, good luck to everybody on their 2014 plans and ideas. By next month, they will mostly be forgotten about anyways.
I kid, I kid. With a new calendar brings new hope. Hopefully, the WWE Network launch is not one huge bust. Hopefully, the historic WrestleMania XXX event comes together nicely. Hopefully, TNA Impact Wrestling does not continue to act like TNA Impact Wrestling. Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully! Bring on the social media plugs...
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! I read 69 comments last week, so that gave me plenty of material...
Randy Orton: "TNA can tell us he is the future all day long. Until he proves it, those proclamations are just empty promises." I know, right?
Right. Comparing an 11 year proven track record as a top star in WWE versus somebody fairly new to the main event scene in TNA Impact Wrestling is not the way to go. Thanks for reading Randy...if that is your real name.
Jason Andreas: Justin, the thing about spoilers is that they're harder to avoid than you think.
Given the timezone aspect for UK showings of Raw, etc, I don't see the show til the next night, when I get back from work, so it means completely avoiding 90% of the sites I enjoy reading (Inc the likes of Facebook) because otherwise the headlines spoil things. Sites like 411 are driven by clicks, so they want to have all the big news screaming out so we'll follow it.
With someone like Lesnar, as he's seen as a "legitimate" athlete due to the MMA run, him popping up on Raw will often even show up on unrelated sports website as a general piece of sports news.
So how, other than a complete internet blackout, do you avoid spoilers when you work for a site that devotes a large amount of space to propagating them in the first place?
I do it every week for Smackdown. For years now, I have watched the Blue Brand without knowing a single thing. It is pretty easy to NOT click on a link. Most of the time for Impact I am in the dark but admittedly when things are taped over a month in advance, I do stumble upon news. I can admit that. Last week, the Brock Lesnar return was a surprise because I did a complete internet blackout, as you mentioned. If others can't do that, so be it. That is on them. I can, and it helps A LOT with my enjoyment of watching. This is not some kind of addiction where I am just shaking and salivating to read spoilers.
reality4U: Gee, doesn't like TNA's show. Shocking.
The previous week, I called Impact a good episode. You must have missed that. If you want nothing but positive news reports and fluffy reviews for TNA, there are a few websites out there for that. Last week, 411mania had a listing for anybody wishing to cover Impact Wrestling every Thursday night and give their own thoughts on the product. That was a chance for you to step up to the plate and write about TNA as you saw fit. Just a guess - you did not apply. Oh well, enjoy the comment section!
Jonftw2: Has anyone else ever noticed that Watry almost never uses contractions?
I have no idea what you ARE talking about. I AM just a man giving opinions on wrestling. Let US not get into any disagreement over this. That would NOT be very fun. We just can NOT pick things apart that are NOT legitimate. There IS no truth whatsoever to that claim. I will NOT believe it at all. I AM in shock over such an accusation. We ARE all wrestling fans here. Nothing more, nothing less.
ego: I thought this was pretty well written. It's refreshing to hear someone who doesn't buy into the rumors hook, line, and sinker and uses some common sense. Seriously, a good majority of those who think they're "smart" to the business are the new modern day marks, believing everything they read on the net.
That is the ultimate irony. Today's "smart" fans are now the easiest to trick and work over. One of my favorite moments is still the diehard New Yorkers stunned at John Cena returning early in 2008. Never gets old.
truthhurts94: Watry you were spot on about CM Punk calling ambrose the weak link of the shield and how IWC would have reacted to cena or hhh saying it instead. Solid point
I was fine with CM Punk trying to cause tension within The Shield. However, truth is truth. When John Cena or Triple H make a comment like that, the flood gates open. When the IWC favorite Punk does it, he is just telling a story and being a character. Can't have it both ways. There was some very good discussion in the comment section on this topic last week. Sadly, most of those posts had offensive language or insults. Therefore, I could not respond. At least say "BS" or "WTF" next time.
KAOS: I clicked on Tuesday Wrestling News and ended up here! WTF 411?!
One last time: I do not control what is placed on the front page. I do not control what the headline reads. I do not even control what the preview blurb reads. My only obligation is the content inside the column. It has been over a month now; the Tuesday Wrestling News link is for Truths And Lies.
gooched: good column man, don't let the others get you down.
Thanks! I have been doing this for nearly six years. It did not bother me when I started. It does not bother me now.
OPAN: I don't know that that is entirely true.
I think in some cases with WWE there is just that brand loyalty from having grown up with it and there is also the acceptance that they are successful in what they do, whether we love what they do or not. Of course we believe they could be better, but we can't argue that they are failing. In my view, I don't see WWE having a better track record of creative comebacks other than the fact they've been around longer.
With TNA, I think there is that lack of brand loyalty for some and seeing anything non-WWE as the enemy. Then there are those underwhelmed by WWE who are desperate for an alternative and when TNA doesn't deliver, we're that much more disappointed. Throw in the fact that TNA is surviving, but not thriving, and it makes criticism easier. If you toss in that for many, TNA has done some things we enjoyed...but then they screw it up or change in mid stream, for those fans desperate for an alternative, these disappointments are especially frustrating and maybe that makes our criticism seem more bitter.
This was from a very good discussion about why WWE and TNA seem to get judged on different playing fields.
I think the main take away from this post was about success. For me, numbers speak louder than any forums, Youtube videos, comment section rants, or other forms of voicing your displeasure. Love WWE or hate WWE, they are successful. The company just finished yet another year being profitable and also hitting their annual goal of over one million PPV buys for WrestleMania. Again, we can argue their product from dusk to dawn. However, none of that means much when they keep raking in the dough. They are making money, so all the faults don't mean much to their bottom line. For TNA? The empty arena live events. The stagnant television ratings for Spike TV, now trailing reruns of COPS on a regular basis. The tapings in an Orlando sound stage...for free entry. The debacle of going on the road. The cutting of all but three live PPV events (rumored to be due to the extremely low buy rates). Few Impact shows on the road. Releasing talent left and right. Never ending rumors of a sale. Thus, it seems easier to point out (and justify) the criticisms and failures of TNA, when all of that negativity is right in front of your face.
Truths: TNA Impact Wrestling (1/2/14)
1. The Bobby Roode/Kurt Angle feud continues! - Fine. I will sit through one more match. This back and forth between Kurt Angle and Bobby Roode is the exact problem with not having actual pay-per-view events. You can't really do anything of note. They wrestle. The brawl. The challenge each other to a rematch. No PPV money made. No live event attendance ticket sales. No ratings increase. No business. No point. No doubt, their cage match will be great. No doubt...but then what?
2. There is still an X-Division Title. - The division disappeared for two months after Bound for Glory. Chris Sabin shows up as champ, loses the belt to Austin Aries, both men leave television, return on Thursday night, face off in a title rematch, and shocking! Sabin wins the title back from Aries. Why even bother? The amount of talent wasted in this company just boggles my mind.
3. Gunner is bland. - There, I said it. Credit to TNA for standing by this guy and giving him opportunity after opportunity after opportunity, but it is not working. I wrote about this in 2011. I wrote about this in 2012. I wrote about this in 2013 and am starting off the same in 2014. Gunner does not do it for me. He is a mixture of Crimson and Curtis Axel. Big dude with a beard and no personality. It is a joke his nickname is about intensity; absolute joke. His feud with James Storm just started, and I already don't care. Yet, Gunner is the one with a World Title match, not Storm.
4. IT IS DIXIE CARTER'S SHOW! - That is what Rockstar Spud said. Has he been watching Impact the past few months? Every show has been about Dixie Carter. Nothing new here...
5. Samuel Shaw had his 'debut' match. - Is it Samuel or Samual? One was shown on TV. One was listed on their official website. Two different spellings. Typo or did I miss something? Regardless, I am still going to wait and see where this goes. Him wrestling in just normal clothes was a good continuation. However, that can't last forever. How does he transition from a psycho killer kind of character to worrying about title belts inside a squared circle? That is the real question.
Lie: The final 30 minutes was entertaining. - I was okay with the last segment crowning Magnus as the official TNA Champion going a half hour. These are the kind of instances where lots of time should be devoted to one talent. The problem is Impact usually does this every week with NON-IMPORTANT segments. In a quick recap, AJ Styles confronted Magnus and set up a 'title for title' battle next week. It was the logical next step. Even if you had ignored spoilers, this was the obvious finale. However, that does NOT make it bad. I have said numerous times that predictable does NOT automatically mean wrong. If something makes sense and is the right path, you do it. Predictable or not. My main problem was...yep, you guessed it. Too. Much. Dixie. Carter. Even when this was supposed to be all about Magnus and Styles, it came back to her.
*Not bad. Not good either. The Knockouts is the same old, same old stuff. EC3 and Sting agreed to wrestle at Genesis in a throwaway segment. Could be The Stinger's last TNA appearance ever? Could be. The rest was your usual filler trying to give Spike TV two hours. I know these last bunch of episodes were taped all within a few days, but there is no spark to the product at all. Even with AJ returning, not much changes. My commitment to reviewing TNA Impact Wrestling only went through the end of 2013. On my own, the deadline was extended to Genesis on January 16th. After that, count me out. I watched more TNA during the last two months of 2013 than I did the previous ten months of 2013. Sorry, just can't do it anymore! I will probably pop back in once a month or something. Every single week though is not happening.*
Truths: WWE Smackdown (1/3/14)
1. Curtis Axel was on TV. - Why?
2. Bad News Barrett is making me lose my patience. - I only watch one Youtube show online, and that is the JBL & Cole show. One of the best parts has been Wade Barrett. Since bringing his current gimmick to television, I allowed it to play out. Again, viewers of the JBL & Cole show already knew what to expect. Well, time is running out. Bad News Barrett needs to start going somewhere. Start a feud. Pick on a certain wrestler. Have a match once a week. Simply introducing a rising podium is not going to cut it.
3. I expected Erick Rowan and Luke Harper to win the tag team titles. - As usual, I was completely spoiler free going into Smackdown. While a part of me thinks that Cody Rhodes and Goldust will hold the tag belts for another month or two, I had The Wyatt Family winning inside my mind. When that did not happen, it was okay. Either outcome was welcome in my book. The match was more then solid, and both sides looked good. Since I did not cover this in my 2013 Year End Awards, it is only right to give props to Goldust for his recent work. If you want to trust the rumor mill, this will end at WrestleMania XXX in a match against Cody Rhodes. That has been my assumption for the past few months, but I almost do not want this to end.
4. The entire second hour was predictable...too predictable. - When Smackdown entered the second hour, I told myself we would get a divas match with Nikki Bella getting her win back over Aksana, Big E destroying Axel, and the six person tag match with CM Punk getting the pin fall victory. No joke. I had NOT read any spoilers and nailed the complete second hour (minus Barrett and video packages). As noted before many times, I am fine with being predictable in story telling. However, this just felt like a way to fill an hour of air time.
5. Dean Ambrose was pinned in the main event. - Weak link? That is definitely the impression given by the commentators and certainly Punk from Raw last week. Sure enough, there was Ambrose getting pinned. I suppose that will lead to inevitable implosion of The Shield. Also of note, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins did not look happy after the match. All the while, Amborse was nowhere to be seen. Interesting...
Lie: Wrestlers should compete twice in one night. - I will not repeat myself too much here. However, the Usos AND Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins wrestled twice in the same night. For those of you who have read my columns for the past few years, this is something I harp on a lot. Guys pulling double duty should try to be avoided at all costs. Short Money in the Bank cash-in or something in under a minute to sell a story line? Fine. That is the exception. Full blown TWO 20 minute matches in the same night on the same show with the same guys? No thanks.
*Eh. The first hour actually was pretty good. The second hour just did nothing for me outside of yet another quality main event match with The Shield. There was no Daniel Bryan appearance, but that was expected. No John Cena. No Randy Orton. No Kane. No Triple H. Big E Langston stood up for his friend Mark Henry after getting demolished by Brock Lesnar on Raw. However, any kind of real follow-up will have to wait until Old School Raw on Monday. Speaking of, Paul Heyman said Lesnar would do something 'old school' on Raw. Is that a hint towards The Undertaker? Time will tell.*
Truths: WWE Old School Raw (1/6/14)
1. Ric Flair was either awesome or confused...or both. - I thought the opening segment was a mixed bag. Ric Flair is still Ric Flair, even when he does start to ramble and lose his place. Randy Orton can hold his own, same with John Cena. However, throwing all of them out there to promote the Royal Rumble WWE World Title match was a disaster waiting to happen. There was never one clear focus or proper finish. Lucky (or unlucky if you are cynical) for us, this stayed on the tracks just enough.
2. Batista will compete in the 30 man Royal Rumble match. - No surprise. It is official now. Feel free to begin all the speculation and fantasy booking...
3. Ryback needs a new direction. - I covered this when Ryback began teaming up with Curtis Axel. Now, I am going to go one step further. Ryback does not need to just break apart from Axel. He needs to do a complete 180 and FAST! The jab about Lilian Garcia was not needed (maybe he was told to say it?). His constant laughing and grin was painful to watch. Even a potential showdown with Big E Langston seems tiresome. Ryback has been one of my favorites to watch since his re-debut in April 2012. On the Road to WrestleMania XXX, making horse jokes and being associated with Curtis Axel is very, very disappointing. Turn him back face again. Make him a bully backstage again. Crush lower card talent in 30 seconds again. Anything!
4. Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show is still intriguing in 2014. - Despite everything, seeing these two go at it is entertaining. Big Show crying. Big Show whining. Big Show being fired. Big Show as a face or heel. Big Show dancing in a diaper. None of it matters once he stares down Brock Lesnar. It is a more than worthy pay-per-view battle. As covered below, if this goe down at the Royal Rumble, I am more than happy.
5. The Old School gimmick was okay...until the end - JAKE THE SNAKE ROBERTS! Oh my goodness. I was shocked. Shocked. This must be a one-time cameo...but wow. The rest of the night though? Not amazing. Not great. Not even good. My word is 'okay' for describing all of the segments. Too Cool and Rikishi teaming up was...cool. The referee stuff was pointless. Big E walking through the hallway with everybody (and a nice shout out to NXT Season 3) was funny. Piper's Pit was pretty good. Seeing the New Age Outlaws brings back fun memories. DDP and Booker T appearing together probably means more for WCW fans than anybody within the WWE Universe nowadays. Yet, the entire thing was nothing more than a television hook to grab ratings from the much hyped BCS Championship Game over on ESPN. I appreciate the added effort, but it fell flat this year.
Lie: Daniel Bryan had to change his name to Daniel Wyatt. - I guess Luke HARPER and Erick ROWAN do not count. Why are people calling him Daniel Wyatt? Oh well, this should be interesting for a few more weeks until we get the inevitable 'turn' from WWE's resident Yes Man!
*Not much to write about here. The Shield continue their implosion. CM Punk vs. Roman Reigns was given a solid amount of build throughout the show and delivered. John Cena and Randy Orton only had a brief segment together. The legends stuff is okay for one night but wears out its welcome in a hurry. The Royal Rumble is three weeks away, and we know Batista and Alberto Del Rio will be in the 30 man main event at the PPV. Brock and Show look to be on a collision course, and the rest is filler for three hours of Raw. Can't wait for the Rumble...*
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:
Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show may take place at the Royal Rumble 2014 pay-per-view event. - Truth be told, I always assumed we would see this match one more time. Even with both on limited schedule, there is something about seeing that giant F-5 finisher. We shall see.
Confusion over Batista's new deal? - Of course. People on the outside have no clue what is going on inside WWE. Never would have guessed...
The Rock says the original plan for WrestleMania XXX was for him to wrestle Brock Lesnar. - I am going to trust this. It seemed like a great plan that just did not work out. Too bad. Hopefully, WWE revisits this feud come WM 31 in 2015.
Update on Stone Cold Steve Austin! - Here is your weekly "update" that absolutely nothing has changed since 2003. Time to move on perhaps? I can already see the headline in January 2019: "Is Stone Cold coming back? Click to find out!"
Triple H did not offer Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards a contract due to their size. - Ah, there it its! The daily "WWE hates small guys" story. I love it. The company knew the height and weight of these two well before bringing them, just like any other wrestler. Non-story here.
Edit: A day later, the backtracking has already begun. Apparently, a blown spot during their NXT match could have been a reason. Or it is just more BS? Yeah, let's go with that.
The Undertaker has requested to work with Daniel Bryan. - Whatever. I must say it is extremely funny to see the reaction to this online rumor. If it casts Bryan in a positive light, the news is true. If it is about him in a negative light, the news is false! Ah, the joys of being an indy darling...
Concerns over an Undertaker/Brock Lesnar showdown? - Just a few months away from the potential match...and NOW folks think about health and risk? If it was a major roadblock, that would have been discussed years ago and certainly within the past few months. Not in early January 2014.
TNA is high on EC3 and Rockstar Spud. - Pretty easy to see if you just watch the show. No backstage SCOOP whatsoever. I could make the usual 'high' joke, but we will let it slide.
Spike TV making a play for Smackdown? - A few weeks ago, Variety reported that Viacom was one of the possible landing spots for WWE television. Of course, long-time wrestling fans remember what happened to ECW on TNN back in 2000. Once Raw hit the station, it was game over for the smaller brand. I assume WWE just stays with Universal, but if Viacom (Spike TV) throws a bunch of money at them and plans to ditch Impact, things could get interesting.
Bray Wyatt is considered a top project. - But...but...but his body! But..but...but...his appearance! But...but...but he does not have big muscles! But...but...but...WWE only likes guys with a certain look! But...but...but...blah, blah, blah.
Backstage news on Rob Van Dam returning for WM season - Apparently, he will return at the Royal Rumble and work a 90 day window through Mania. Yet, for those who remember, there was an online report just two weeks ago that said WWE has NO plans for RVD at WMXXX. Imagine that. Two completely contradictory stories yet again.
WWE Raw will kick off with The Wyatt Family. - Close. They were in the second segment of Raw.
TNA will be without the Impact Zone going forward, as the sound stage is already booked. - I am going to assume the company knew about this in advance, hence the packed tapings late last year. However, their big press releases made Universal Studios out to be their new 'hub' and with an upcoming training facility. More BS hype from TNA? Probably. Regardless, that still does not help matters much. By March 2014, they better have a plan (new home?) in place. Going back on the road full-time (again) is another disaster just waiting to happen.
Triple H teased the Elimination Chamber main event in an interview. - Um, no. He simply mentioned a bunch of guys at the top of the card. Is this like last year when the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view poster had six guys shown...only for NONE of them to actually be in the Elimination Chamber match? Yeah, theories pulled out of thin air.
CM Punk is tired of the travel, yet WWE sources say he isn't going anywhere. - Now I know why the internet fans love him so much. Complain, whine, protest, throw a hissy fit, yet do nothing about it. "I am done with Raw and will never watch again!!! GRRR STUPID WWE!!!!!" Yeah, sure. See you next Monday night buddy.
CM Punk vs. HHH for WMXXX is a 'lock' to happen. - ...so was the return of Carlito at last year's Rumble. And Chris Masters' return. And Shelton Benjamin's return. And John Morrison's return. And Hurricane Helm's return. Then it was Chris Jericho who came back at the Rumble...which was NOT reported anywhere. Go figure!
Edit: Wait a minute. Punk is supposed to feud with Batista in August? I thought Batista was taking time off to promote his movie that month! More back and forth reporting with completely opposite directions.
Hulk Hogan may not be able to get medical clearance to compete at WrestleMania XXX. - Yet, we are still going to discuss possible main event ideas for him? Seems a little backwards to me. Seriously, read all of these headlines. None of it is "insider" at all. It is just a bunch of matches typed out on a page to get a click.
John Cena may wrestle the Real Americans at WMXXX. - Do I even need to explain this? Come on, at least try and look like you have 'inside sources.' Once again, it is no surprise only the copy/paste websites are posting this nonsense while the few credible places out there have not touched any of this junk.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt is still planned for WrestleMania XXX. - *sighs*
Edit: Here is a quick recap for those who still believe this stuff! Cena will face Hogan. No, they will tag up. Oops! Hogan may not even be cleared. Wait, he could team with Bryan and Cena. Oh, and Roddy Piper! Or no. It may be Bray vs. Cena in the main event. Or Undertaker vs. Bryan! No. Check that, Taker vs. Brock has been planned all along. Or Brock/Punk II. Nope, Punk vs. HHH is a "lock" apparently. It just never ends...
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...