Truths And Lies 01.14.14: WWE/TNA Week In Review
Posted by Justin Watry on 01.14.2014
Raw thoughts! Was that main event on TNA Impact Wrestling even a match? Why did the New Age Outlaws show up on Smackdown? Do you agree with The Ultimate Warrior going into the WWE Hall of Fame? All this and much more!
I have said repeatedly that 2014 will be a memorable 12 months. Maybe more than any other calendar in the past 25 years or so. We certainly kicked off January in a major way. Can you only imagine what the next 11 months may bring? So much can change in a year, but this year seems different. Different in a good or bad way? Only time will tell.
Moving over to the NFL Playoffs, my pre-season prediction was the Denver Broncos over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. That was my pick dating back to September 2013. Well, what can I say? I love football and can't wait for the next slate of games. Now here are some beloved 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!
Note: In TWO weeks, I will respond to some reader feedback from my recent WWE Network column.
Tony: It seems that Daniel Bryan will win the Rumble. I imagine the final eight will be 4 Wyatts and 4 other guys. Six guys go out leaving only Bray and Bryan. Bray orders him out. Bryan starts to walk. Bray turns his back. Bryan does a couple silent yes chants. Crowd goes bonkers. Bryan eliminates Bray. Goes to WM 30.
Seems fair. I keep comparing this story line to John Cena joining the Nexus. He wore the t-shirt (one night I think) and did everything Wade Barrett ordered. When that finally boiled over, Cena was still a face and still the good guy in fan's eyes. One of those tasks was eliminating himself from a #1 Contenders Battle Royal on Raw. Wade ordered Cena to jump over the top rope. After some back and forth, he did so. Your scenario calls for the same thing, only for Bryan to throw Bray over at the last second. It would be great. Bryan stays face the whole time, lets his rabid fan base rally behind him even more and gets some revenge on The Wyatts, before focusing on the WWE World Title leading to WrestleMania XXX. Yes! Yes! Yes!
El Local: 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?
You must really hate NXT.
I do not watch NXT, so it would be unfair for me to comment. My guess is comparing a developmental system with young stars and newcomers versus a two hour show on cable television is not the same thing though...just a guess.
LueHaakon: I fail to see what this has to do with my self esteem... I simply find that section boring, because it boils down to "Hey! Those news reports the past week? All of it's BS!". Watry, whom I think can be a good writer, could easily write something more interesting.
It all comes down to interpretation. Are YOU one of the fans who believe every online report? Are YOU like me who just laugh at all the nonsense reported as 'news' on the internet? Are YOU someone who can tell the different between guessing and actual inside scoops? Regardless of which category you fall under, that is on you. The other option is to just just skip over the Ask Yourself section if it is bothersome.
pjl32: lesnar vs big show sucked years ago, so why would it be better now?
Well, that is your opinion. My opinion is that that the battles between Big Show and Brock Lesnar were entertaining. Thus, I am fine with one more clash of the titans. Assuming it happens at the Royal Rumble, that is good use of both guys. Who would pass up the opportunity to see that giant F-5 one more time? Sign me up!
AG Awesome: More people are working their way into the title scene so I'm very curious about who could win the Rumble this year. I think because of all this potential, we should have the Rumble winner pull a switcheraoo and say he wants "the main event of mania, a match with The Undertaker" instead. Then let the elimination chamber match be for the actual championship title shot. At least it would be something different for this year.
Don't like it. Your comment is one of the million reason why I try to stay far away from fantasy booking. This idea has been presented to me year after year after year after year (on other websites). Every single time, I shut it down immediately and move on. Sorry. Not to completely laugh off your idea, but I like to follow the KISS Method with professional wrestling. You win the Royal Rumble match, you get a title match at WrestleMania. Simple. Perfect. No reason to change anything.
Crow: I agree that a lot of the internet rumors on sites such as this are garbage. I have always been under the impression that they all pretty much trickle down from Meltzer, anyway, and he probably has one or two guys that he talks to in the business.The real question is; if most of the information isn't true, why should we fans even come to sites like this? If there were no internet rumors, wouldn't guys like you be out of a job?
I will be fine. Sadly, I can not speak for others. You will have to ask them...
jmac: That John Cena versus Bray Wyatt rumor really floored me. Not that it might happen, but that it might be the absolute main event at WM30. Wyatt is great and the company has built him up well, but he's not going to main event WM three months from now. He's not there yet. He's certainly not there over guys like Punk, Lesner, HHH, Taker, Bryan, Orton, or Batista. The company doesn't do business that way. It almost never has except for Lesner and he's the reason they haven't done it since. Wyatt's great, but he's not going to main event WM30. He's not there yet.
Once I saw this story, I really began to feel like the IWC may collapse in on itself. That maybe sites like this and others may start to become obsolete once rumor after rumor proves untrue. What do you think, Justin? Do you think the WWE has successfully begun to neuter the internet news media?
I really do not think much will change. Just look around. Even after the Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena rumor popped up, it is the same nonsense going on. Post a headline, get the clicks, entice discussion, add up comments, and *hope* the story is true afterwards. Repeat, repeat, repeat. You could go down the line and prove every single report is false, yet the very second a new rumor leaks online, the same folks will gobble it up with a spoon as fact. Repeat, repeat, repeat. That part will not change. Hopefully though, there is at least SOME kind of pause or thought nowadays. Anything with legitimacy or actual inside knowledge? No. That was thrown out the window years ago and was just re-enforced once more with the Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena garbage. Speaking of garbage, how about Impact on Thursday night?
Truths: TNA Impact Wrestling (1/9/14)
1. There was too much Dixie Carter. - At least there was not a 27 minute opening segment this week with her out in the ring "playing " wrestler! Nope, instead it was seven, eight, nine (I lost count) different segments with her backstage, in the ring, and interfering in the main event. If somebody has the actual amount of segments she was in, please feel free to let me know. Regardless, it was (once again) THE DIXIE CARTER SHOW! Beyond terrible. Anything with AJ Styles, Magnus or the TNA Title meant nothing when all was said and done. More on that later...
2. There was no X-Division match or segment...again. - Austin Aries defeated Chris Sabin for the title. Nothing happens...until Chris Sabin gets a rematch and wins the title back. This week? Nothing happens. Yawn!
3. Samoa Joe vs. Ethan Carter III ended in a no contest. - Really? I know TNA wants to protect EC3 and that undefeated streak, but this was ridiculous. Rockstar Spud clearly came out to help EC3 by grabbing his leg. Then EC3 clearly hit Joe with a wrench. Yet, the match is just thrown out. This reminds me of Crimson, when TNA would just go to every level to extend his undefeated streak, all the while failing to realize nobody cared. Then then the payoff arrived, James Storm beat him easily and sent him off television (and the company). Ethan Carter faces Sting next week/ For the first time since his debut, I will care about how he does in the ring. Good or bad, we shall find out.
4. As usual, TNA ruins the steel cage gimmick. - Well, it is almost Lockdown! You know what that means? A bunch of cage matches on FREE TV, leading to a PPV where TNA will ask viewers to pay for a show surrounded by steel cage matches! Yep, makes sense to me. Kurt Angle vs. Daniels and Kaz was fine, even though those two guys can officially be labeled as comedy wrestlers now. Shame too. Then we had Bobby Roode vs. Sting in a cage match. Build those bouts up for a week? Or a month? Or two months creating interest and buzz, maybe getting a nice buy rate? Nope. Just happens to fill 30 minutes of TV time. Roode vs. Angle in a cage match next week, even with the added stipulation, has been flushed down the toilet. Their feud is past its due date and thankfully ends next week.
5. The main event match sums up everything about TNA. - Honestly, why even bother discussing this mess? If you ever wonder why TNA is in the position it is today, watch Magnus vs. AJ Styles from Thursday night.
Lie: The Bully Ray/Mr. Anderson is intriguing. - Still with the silly background music. Still two guys fighting well after the payoff already happened. Still the same "dark" comments with no reason. Still using the word 'rape' which may or may not offend some people. Still threatening Anderson's family members (this time his twin babies) that does not sell anything. Still have bad memories of the Aces and Eights. Still don't care.
*Next week will be the final TNA Impact Wrestling I watch and review for the time being. I committed through the end of 2013. That was my commitment. After rarely watching all year, I tuned in for the final two months of 2013. For the sake of giving myself a finale date, Genesis was the best option. That is next Thursday. Then I am out...until at least late February or early March. This is not some bold proclamation that I will never watch again. This is not me boycotting TNA forever. This is NOT anything like that. I just can't watch every single week anymore. When the build to Lockdown (March pay-per-view) kicks in full gear and their UK Tour is going on, look for me to pop back in on the show. Until then, enjoy this past week's main event match...if that is what you want to call it.*
Truths: WWE Smackdown (1/10/14)
1. Curtis Axel had a match. - Why?
2. The should have been promotion for the New Age Outlaws wrestling. - As usual, I do not read the spoilers for Smackdown. I had NO idea these two would be in the main event. Just a hunch: Casual fans had no idea either. Thus, they had no extra incentive to tune in. If they were going to watch Smackdown already, great! If not, announcing Billy Gunn and Road Dogg (and CM Punk) appearing versus The Shield could have convinced them to watch. I loved watching them wrestle in rare situation. I loved that Roman Reigns got yet another big win with his Spear finisher. I loved everything about the main event...but no advertisement just means it was a missed opportunity.
Edit: Smackdown drew over 2.8 million viewers last week. Probably could have topped 3 million viewers with even a small bit of New Age Outlaws promotion.
3. I loved the build for The Usos vs. Bray Wyatt/Daniel Bryan. - On the flip side, this was good stuff. If you have read my columns for the past six years, this will sound like a broken record. Regardless, what WWE did here is what I want to see more of going forward. Last week on Old School Raw, it was announced that Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan would team up. Fine, simple enough. We later learned it would be against The Usos. Okay, fair enough. Now on Smackdown, there was some hype for the Raw match as well as both sides speaking on said match. So simple. Simple, simple, simple. Announce a match. Give the wrestlers 30 seconds of promo time and hype it up for a few days. Then when the match happens, the battle feels worthwhile instead of just filler. All it takes is a small effort to make even a normal tag match come off like a big deal.
4. Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio should continuing teaming up. - There is pretty much one thing for Mysterio to accomplish in WWE. That is to put over Sin Cara clean in the middle of the ring. Mask vs. Mask would only work if Mr. 619 was retiring, but the story would have to revolved around the masks. Obviously. For that to happen at WrestleMania, we need to see Sin Cara and Rey Rey as a team once again. This has been on and off now for awhile. Sadly, injuries and whatever else keep getting in the way. Pair the two up for another month or two - then go from there leading to Mania.
5. Randy Orton vs. Big E Langston was a good match... - ...but did we really need it? Big E would benefit more from racking up victories each week. I know the IC Champion tends to lose to whoever is the WWE World Champion, but that can easily be avoided. Just do not have the match to begin with! Orton did not have to wrestle on Smackdown. Come to the ring and talk about The Authority. That leads to their little deal on Raw. Big E can crush 3MB in a handicap match or something. Both men get the spotlight, without somebody having to take a pin fall loss.
Lie: I was entertained by this episode of Smackdown. - Could you tell? This just did not do it for me. The voice overs from Michael Cole were way too obvious not to ignore. It looked like Philly brought a good audience yet decided to stay silent. Then there was just nothing going on at all. Even Paul Heyman and Big Show appearing on Miz TV felt rushed and out of place. I want to see Show and Brock Lesnar battle again, make no mistake. The segment was not the best though. Outside of the quality build to Monday's Raw, this was mostly filler. Big time filler! WWE has done a very nice job in recent months making the Blue Brand feel relevant. This was a back step backwards. Hopefully, things switch next Friday night.
*Eh. Not their finest hour. Or two hours in this case. The New Age Outlaws wrestling in a main event with CM Punk really could have been built up for a week. Or even four days. Did they announce it on Raw and I missed it? I would suggest watching the Big E vs. Orton match and maaaaaybe Miz TV. The only real positives were with The Wyatts/Daniel Bryan and The Usos.*
Truths: WWE Raw (1/13/14)
1. John Cena vs. Damien Sandow was very good. - I enjoyed this a lot. Was there anything special done or out of the ordinary? No, not really. This entire two segment match had two good things going for it though. First was the lively crowd. Kudos to them for making this even better than originally expected. Secondly, Cena and Sandow were given time. This was not Cena winning in two minutes to showcase his dominance in the WWE World Title picture. Yeah, he was always going to win, but Sandow got some shine as well. Nice work here as Cena looks to reclaim the top prize at the Royal Rumble.
2. I was genuinely surprised... - ...when the New Age Outlaws turned and walked to the back. Forget everything I wrote about them on Smackdown. This was great. Was it a one week deal? Are they going to be regular characters on TV for the time being? Right now, it does not really matter. The Shield won once again thanks to Roman Reigns, and I can say with 100 percent certainty Raw delivered a twist. New Age Outlaws as heels? Did not see it coming. The New Age Outlaws turning sure does fuel rumors of a future CM Punk/Triple H showdown coming.
3. The Ultimate Warrior is going to the WWE Hall of Fame! - Wow. Last week, we saw the return of Jake The Snake Roberts. This week, The Ultimate Warrior is announced as the first inductee for the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Class. That is a lot of trust. Never say never folks. Back to the topic at hand, WWE put together a nice video, and as JBL said, I can't wait for that speech. Fair to assume Hulk Hogan inducts him? That is my guess.
4. Kofi Kingston pinned Randy Orton clean. - Um, did that just happen? I know WWE wants to sell Randy Orton as being frustrated with The Authority and all that. I get it. As WWE World Champion, he wants to be protected more by his bosses. Is losing suddenly in an upset really the way to go? Either Kofi is about to get his 57th push or this was a means to an end with Orton attacking Cena's father in anger. Hard to say now. Good idea, even if it was done in 2007 already.
5. The Royal Rumble is in less than two weeks. - A lot of build for Batista returning next week on Raw. A lot of bluster about the WWE Network launch. The 2014 Royal Rumble on pay-per-view? Yeah, little bit of an afterthought right now. Hopefully, that can change and FAST! I know the PPV market is not their bread and butter anymore, but until their network starts up, buy rates are still important. Last year's event drew 500,000 buys. Obviously, it had The Rock going for the title, but this year's event will get nowhere near that with such lackluster promotion.
Lie: Curtis Axel did not have a match. - Dang.
*The first two hours were entertaining. Was that Emma from NXT in the crowd during the divas match? Interesting. The Orton/Kofi match dragged, but I suppose the aftermath paid everything off. I liked the Wyatt/Bryan stuff, although I stand by my proclamation that guys should not wrestle twice in one night. Daniel Bryan was NEVER a heel in this story folks. Never! The fans are right there with him, as they always have been. Amazing to see. A bunch of this show just felt like setting the table for the 30 men in the Rumble match. While that is nice, as noted above, the PPV is still missing some major buzz. Should improve next week when The Animal returns!*
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:
Hulk Hogan was backstage at the Smackdown taping. - Would not surprise me. At this point, it just seems like a formality to sign a WWE deal.
Hulk Hogan was NOT backstage at the Smackdown taping. - Well, there you go! This also does not surprise. One thing is reported at night, then backtracked or reversed in the morning. That way, it is DOUBLE the clicks and DOUBLE the attention, all the while being wrong. The cycle continues...
Hulk Hogan was seen in Las Vegas on Tuesday (same day and location as the WWE Network announcement). - Thanks for the tip! I must have missed him. He was nowhere to be seen.
Hulk Hogan denies he was in Las Vegas. - Sure, why not? Any other great insight to pass on? No? Come on...
The plan is for Brock Lesnar to do something devastating to one of the legends at Old School Raw. - By "plan," I think that means "guess." Big Show came out and threw Brock across the ring. Nice try!
Jake The Snake Roberts is a lock for the WWE Hall of Fame. - I would hope so! We shall see though. Using the term 'lock' is another one to laugh at considering all the LOCKS that have been wrong in the past.
WWE may unify the US and IC Titles at Elimination Chamber. - Good! I have been writing about this scenario for months now (on other websites). Now that is has been 'reported,' watch it not take place.
TNA officials are worried about their future on Spike TV. - As long as the company has Spike TV, they will survive. Without it, yes, I would worry too! This will be one of the many stories to watch play out in 2014.
Chris Jericho returning to WWE soon? - Well, yeah. Whatever he says on Twitter, the opposite is true. He denies coming back...which means he is coming back. Funny people take Twitter comments so seriously...
WWE finally announced their network! - It took them a few years, but this is the real deal. No turning back now. I have doubted this thing from the beginning and still remain skeptical. Will it change the business forever or turn into the XFL? Lots of thoughts on this. Maybe I should write an extra column discussing this? Maybe.
Edit: I wrote an "extra" column on the WWE Network launch. It was posted on Friday night. Using the company issued FAQs, every little aspect was broken down.
WWE begins taking down fan uploaded videos on Youtube. - Get ready folks. If you think WWE is just going to sit back and let Youtube upload all of their stuff, you are kidding yourself. You want WWE? Buy the WWE Network. Pretty simple. I expect them to be VERY aggressive with online videos, as well as going after the illegal streams. Even more than usual.
Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards expected to join TNA. - After alllllll the stories about WWE, we arrive to this. Fine. I don't watch ROH anyways, so I had no horse in this race. Here are three issues right off the bat should this happen. First, Richards bad mouthed TNA just a few months ago. Remember when Ric Flair bashed TNA, only to go work for them later on. Yeah, it just comes off bad any way you spin it. Secondly, Richards and Edwards made it clear WWE was their first choice. Once that did not happen, this feels like they are "settling" for TNA. Again, it just comes off bad. These two wanted to go to WWE and probably still do. Thirdly, if ANY rumor is to be trusted about Richards' attitude...good luck!
Backstage heat on Batista already? - Two problems here: First, the word 'backstage' is used. Usually is bogus junk thrown at the wall to rile up the online folks. Secondly, a TWEET is used for context. Yes, we are still caring about what fictional character TWEET out. Quick summary is yet another non-story!
Direct TV may drop WWE PPV events. - No surprise, if true. However, there are (again) two points to make. First, WWE offered their network to Direct TV, Time Warner Cable and others during the past few years. Nobody wanted it.The cable companies passed. Now, all of sudden, they are upset? Boo hoo. You had your chance. Secondly, WWE knows this will hurt their PPV business big time. That is the entire point of getting enough subscribers for it TO work.
TNA held a talent meeting to calm down all the negativity. - Again?
Ryback claims he was released by WWE. - Actually, Ryback never said that. The phrase "Was just released" is not the same as "Was just released by WWE." Sorry, nice try though. Pure click bait for a headline said by a fictional character on Twitter that was not even true..but hey, keep up the good work!
Raw will start with Randy Orton calling out The Authority. - Nope. Nothing more than somebody taking a wild guess and hoping to be correct.
Mae Young update - This is not the time or place for a long rant, but hack reporting on a death only to retract it was just simply irresponsible. Spreading made up rumors about fictional Raw or Smackdown story lines is one thing. Being false when reporting on someone passing away is just about as embarrassing and trashy as can be.
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!
I will be on Wrestling Fact or Fiction this week. Always fun. Until then...