Truths And Lies 03.11.14: WWE/TNA Week In Review
Posted by Justin Watry on 03.11.2014
Raw thoughts! Will Daniel Bryan leave WrestleMania XXX as WWE World Champion? Why did Bobby Lashley return to TNA Impact Wrestling? Are The Shield still together? All this and much more!
I hope everybody had a wonderful week. We are one step closer to WWE WrestleMania XXX and hot off a TNA Impact Wrestling Lockdown pay-per-view that certainly got fans talking. Or not. Either way, wrestling continues on just as I do with this great column each and every Monday night. Without any more stalling, here we go...
Note: I will happily respond to comments, as long as they do not have insults or cuss words. Sadly, most still do not grasp the very simple concept months later. Here are some of the best from last week!
Pepo: I don't think you got it. Bryan defeats HHH and inserts himself in the Main Event, making it a Triple Threat between Orton/Batista/Bryan. That's what I was talking about.
Fair enough. I think I covered this enough, but my scenario is basically the same. The 'when' and 'where' is really the only thing that could change. If Triple H defeats Daniel Bryan at WMXXX, Bryan is fired from WWE. If Bryan defeats Triple H at WMXXX, Bryan gets a fair/clean title shot. If that is added to the Batista/Randy Orton mix later on in the night or Extreme Rules, whatever. His payoff is drawing near...
Greg: Justin, if you liked Emma & Paige from ArRIVAL, do yourself a favor and track down their awesome match from last July when Paige became the inaugural NXT Women's Champion! Hope you watch it on a weekly basis as NXT really is the best WWE Produced Wrestling show on a week-to-week basis.
I will try and watch that match eventually. Remind me in case I forget next week. As for watching every week, NXT ArRIVAL was great, but that was a loaded show (live!) with tons of hype. That will not be the case every week. Thus, I will keep tabs on NXT but am not promising any kind of reviews going forward. If I watch, it will be a replay or something days later. For now, I will stick with the greatest wrestling show ever produced - NXT Season Three!
StrawberrySwing: Hey Watry, with Cena as big and as bankable as he is, do you feel he's now 'above the title'?
A lot of guys are. Shawn Michaels (outside of a month) went his full 2002-2010 return without the title and even refused the opportunity many times. The Undertaker is obviously above any kind of gold. Chris Jericho has no use. John Cena went the end of 2011 all the way to the beginning of 2013 without the WWE Championship. Nothing was altered in terms of his standing or star power. As we see now, he has this story line going about taking on the young stars to prove his worth. Long story short, John Cena could never win a title again and be just fine.
Big F'N Show: Justin I got a quick question. D Bryan wins the title at Mania over/under 6 weeks on the iwc complaining he is burying people (insert name) needs to be pushed?
Way under. It would be five seconds after the show went off the air.
"Dolph Ziggler is STILL buried! CM Punk should return and be back on top of WWE! Why did *insert name* have to win in the opening match? Ugh, Triple H needs to retire already! Batista sucks and is a disgrace despite me wanting him back just two months ago! Now that Daniel Bryan has won the WWE World Title, he better not lose it until at least 2016...anything else is instantly considered a BURIAL!"
You get the point. Daniel Bryan could win the title, have 70,000 fans chanting 'Yes!' and get handed the perfect WM moment, and it still would not be enough for some. Folks just complain online. It is what they do.
Jason Andreas: Regarding Raw; while I understood the crowd wanting to make a statement, it got to the point where it just became annoying and disrespectful. In the middle of the Shield/Wyatts match, for example - these are supposed to be the new guard, the ones the 'smart fans' (for want of a better word) want to see pushed, so why hijack that?
There seems to be a bit of a 'thing' at the moment of crowds wanting to get themselves over more than enjoying the actual product in front of them. It's fun for a while, but it's beginning to jar a bit too.
BTW, you did ignore my point that the *General Manager* of NXT acted like he didn't know who Emma was. Don't you think that was a ridiculous position for a debut of a new talent?
Agree on the first point. I was writing about this back in 2012 - the night after WrestleMania 28. Two years ago! There is a fine line between freedom of speech and ruining a show. Chanting for Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, or Fandango's theme music, or even Zack Ryder - fine. Do your thing. At least they are a part of the show. Chanting for cotton candy, Macho Man, or the ridiculous "We Are Awesome" is just pointless. Do that garbage in the Impact Zone. I do not want it on WWE TV.
You know what would have been a real 'hijacking' in Chicago? An empty arena. Zero fans there. Or how about nobody enters the building and does a 'protest' by sitting outside during the show? That would mean more. Raw would go live on the USA Network with 4-5 million and a big arena without fans. Now, THAT would be a hijacking. Instead, fans spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on their tickets, jam packed the building, and gave WWE tons of their cash. Yep, real statement there!
About JBL: This goes back to the previous point from last week. How many people even know JBL is the NXT GM? Of the 4-5 million who watch, my guess would be a few hundred thousand at best. Thus, it registers as much as Emma showing up in her debut = very little. Also, if you are looking to read anything negative about JBL, you are in the wrong column.
seanlang: Dave Meltzer wrong again
Haha, big surprise. His website even posted on Tuesday that they hit a gigantic milestone of subscribers and such the previous day. So great - a day after proclaiming CM Punk was all but 100 percent confirmed for Raw, he is thanking people and boasting about website traffic. Unreal! The sad part? People woke up Tuesday morning, read their usual dirt sheets, and believed every single word. Again. I try to warn people. I really do try, but NOOOOOOOOOOOO!
*There were tons of great comments last week. Lots of fun stuff discussed. However, a few choice words made it impossible to warrant an actual reply. Oh well...*
Truths: TNA Impact Wrestling (3/6/14)
Note: My commitment to covering this show full-time ended in January. However, I will watch from time to time. For those curious, I will be tuning in for the pre-Lockdown episode AND post-Lockdown episode. Lucky you!
1. Austin Aries had the X-Division Title with him. - The opening segment was its usual self. A bunch of people come to the ring, talk about the pay-per-view, before a brawl breaks out. Oh yeah, and Dixie Carter shows up to 'play wrestler or national television.' The downfall to this was nothing felt important. Three days away from the control of wrestling operations, and not even a Jeff Hardy return announcement matters. Despite most of the wrestlers being talented, the Bro Mans are involved. In a supposed main event level story line. If the talent pool is that thin, then they are more trouble than originally thought. Worst part was Austin Aries with the X-Division Title, That is the problem with changing belts every other week and no longer caring. Bro Mans and the Wolves had their flip/flop with video footage explaining that. Yet, there was Aries and his title, despite losing it at the same show referenced for the tag straps. Taped in advanced, edited, whatever excuse you want to use...somebody is going to show up at Lockdown with a title belt completely at random.
2. The six person tag was good. - Not great. Nothing I will even remember by Monday night. However, it was an actual wrestling given actual time. That is a rarity for TNA these days, so it was a welcome surprise. I question Eddie Edwards losing in three minutes and this all continuing until later in the night, but again - thin roster. Have to be creative just to fill time. At least it is better than Dixie Carter "trying" to cut a promo. Standard stuff on a go-home show. However, you can not help but laugh at all the logical plot holes in MVP wanting complete control to hire back Jeff Hardy, who would already be back, or the heels wanting to split up their ownership percentages. Lethal Lockdown used to be about ending a huge grudge. This is a thrown together pair of four versus another pair of four in the 45th power "struggle" for TNA that just started two months ago.
3. Gail Kim vs. Madison Rayne is the Knockouts Title match on Sunday. - I say that because by watching their match/segment during Impact, you would have never known. Chris "never should have won the TNA Title" was just kind of weaseling around ringside. Tapa and Alpha Female are not going to cut it right now, so that left Velvet Sky to get the pin fall win. The same girl who was scared backstage earlier and told a stalker where a fellow female was...but then seen smiling moments later before the match. Again, Rayne defends her title against Kim on the PPV. Follow all that? Me neither.
4. Shaw has to find a balance. - I was intrigued by his character when it began. I still am to a certain extent. There just has to be a way to incorporate his act into professional wrestling. Showing security footage in his house or going on dates with a married woman are bad enough. Then he goes to *do whatever* to Christy Hemme, and nearly every person backstage told him where she was. Only Mr. Anderson seems to care about this all going on, and he is wearing a wig cracking jokes. If this is entertaining to you, congrats. The goal, though, should be convincing viewers to plunk down $50 to see them fight. Not clown around on a TV show. Saying something is 'good' on an internet forum is one thing. Paying $50 to see a feud culminate is another.
5. I liked the final segment with Samoa Joe and Magnus a lot. - No Dixie Carter. No jokes. No men wearing wigs. No power struggle garbage. No comedy duos. Just two dudes wanting to be the champion inside a steel cage. Samoa Joe needs to remain motivated, win or lose at Lockdown. Magnus probably should retain by hook or crook for awhile, but you never know with TNA. For now, this was the best thing on Impact.
Lie: I care about Gunner vs. James Storm. - Nope. No matter how much TNA tries, Gunner is not going to capture my attention. James Storm is worth moving up the card though, and adding a lest second Last Man Standing stipulation just further devalues gimmick matches, but TNA moved past that years ago.
*Not much to see. Apparently, there are some big Japanese stars heading to Lockdown. Never would have known it though unless are an internet fan. I mean who cares about promoting and that kind of stuff, right? Oh well, that crossover attempt is already off on the wrong foot. Joe and Magnus did solid work, Dixie was kept to a minimum and hopefully is off TV by next week. Other than that, the show was all over the place trying to sell a PPV to its fans. The company had FIVE MONTHS to get a card together. Yet, one match was added late without warning. One was altered late, and now word has it Kurt Angle is out of his steel cage against Ethan Carter III, which had actually been reported and well known weeks ago. Oh, and a [ointless Last Man Standing stipulation was thrown in for good measure three days before the PPV. Five months! Not that it matters much, but I really do wonder how many reading this actually purchased TNA PPVs in the past or now with a $10 WWE Network per month offering SO MUCH MORE than a normal three hour show for five times the price here. I plan on watching Impact next week but can not guarantee any more after that.*
Truths: WWE Smackdown (3/7/14)
1. Batista is back. - Hugged Triple H and Stephanie McMahon on his first night back. Had the spotlight entrance during his Raw return. Said "Deal with it!" in his first promo back. Won the Royal Rumble and feuded with Alberto Del Rio just muddied the waters. With the volume turned up, The Animal is officially back. Good! The man is very talented and can no doubt deliver in the ring. It was a strange first month in a half, but all is well now.
2. The Shield are still together. - A big part of me wishes they just stay together. I have no taken their entertaining six man tag team matches for granted. Much props for the past 15-16 months there. However, it also seems it is only a matter of time before they break up. On Smackdown, it was teased that they will stick together for a little bit longer. At WrestleMania XXX, a triple threat seems logical. I just am not ready for their great run to end just yet.
3. The Usos defeated Ryback and Curtis Axel. - Simple enough. The new champs get a clean victory over a heel duo. The tag division will need a shake up in order to be relevant, with the disappearing acts of Darren Young/Titus O'Neil and Cody Rhodes/Goldust the past two weeks.
4. Eva Marie is back on TV! - Time for Total Divas. Admit it, you love her...
5. Daniel Bryan wins another Smackdown main event. - I would love to know stats behind Daniel Bryan's past year of main eventing Raw and Smackdown. Every week is either The Shield or Daniel Bryan OR both closing out the show. It has been that case since last spring/summer. This week, Daniel Bryan and (the returning?) Big Show beat Kane and Batista in a tag team match. I am not sure I would have had Batista out there, but it fits if Bryan is indeed heading towards a title match at Mania...or a full blown feud afterwards with The Animal. Regardless, Bryan gets the win and does the "Yes!" chants to end the evening. Nothing wrong with that.
Lie: Sheamus, Christian, Dolph Ziggler, and Alberto Del Rio are intriguing characters right now. - What are these four guys doing? Can anybody find an explanation? By all means, please dip into the 'fantasy booking' pool and tell me. Two normal singles bouts are surely not the idea here. I doubt that would make the WMXXX card, unless a stipulation or gimmick was involved. Again, by all means, somebody tell me where these four are going.
*Decent episode but nothing worth going out of your way to see. Smackdown was sooooooo good back a few weeks ago. Go back to THAT kind of show!*
Truths: WWE Raw (3/10/14)
1. The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is replacing Money in the Bank at WrestleMania. - To be honest, I like Money in the Bank having its own pay-per-view each summer. Since that was introduced, there has been no reason for a MITB ladder match to be at Mania. With its own PPV dedicated to the concept, that makes no sense. However, it always seems that WWE wants to cram a bunch of guys on to the WM card. Is this where Sheamus, Christian, Alberto Del Rio, and Dolph Ziggler fit in? While the idea of winning an Andre the Giant statue does not seem interesting to me and gives me bad memories of the Bragging Rights trophy, it will give a bunch of guys a reason to appear in New Orleans on April 6th. Honor a legend and deliver a good old fashioned battle royal? Sure. Wonder if this is a one off or becomes an annual match...
2. The Undertaker and Paul Heyman promo was short and sweet. - Nothing more was really needed. Paul Heyman talks up the importance of The Streak and his client Brock Lesnar. Undertaker shoots back with his trademark line, and that was it. Perfect.
3. The "Occupy Raw" segment with Daniel Bryan was so cool - The sight of Daniel Bryan and all his fans surrounding the ring was amazing. Whoever came up with that idea deserves a raise. Seriously. This is the type of segment that ONLY WWE can showcase in front of 4-5 million viewers on live television. Planted fans or not, the message was clear from the Yes Movement. Triple H had no choice but to accept a match to face Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX...and oh look, if Daniel Bryan defeats HHH, he gets a title match. Who would have ever figured that was coming? I mean, who cares about thinking logically for a payoff when you can just whine and complain online all day long about somebody being BURIED?!?! That is more fun, right? Amazing how everything works out, huh? The end game is drawing near for Daniel Bryan. Yes! Yes! Yes!
4. Sheamus vs. Christian was entertaining. - This could have been saved for Mania. It was that good. Obviously, the outcome was never in doubt. That did not change the effort from Christian or Sheamus. They have great in-ring chemistry together and are more than welcomed to have yet another rematch. Give them 20 minutes. Let them work their magic. Pretty simple formula.
5. Big Show and Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton and Batista was okay. - Just your usual Raw main event tag match where you knew things would get chaotic in no time. Not sure what Big Show does at WMXXX (battle royal?), but he was not the focus here. It was all about Randy Orton and Batista with the VERY likely possibility that Daniel Bryan (who won AGAIN over Orton) will not only get added to their title match at Mania but also leaves as the new WWE World Champion. Former Evolution members will not have a good time in New Orleans next month.
Lie: Cesaro and Jack Swagger should stay as a tag team. - Please no. Can we just hurry up and get to the breakup? Enough tension. WrestleMania is in less than a month away, and I want these guys to get featured. Not just thrown in the battle royal. An actual one on one match. Get there as soon as possible.
*Very good show. Hulk Hogan, John Cena, and The Wyatt carried the first 30 minutes. We got some build for The Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal. Everything with Triple H and Daniel Bryan was excellent, as it has been the whole time. Now with the payoff getting closer, the countdown is on to WrestleMania XXX. In between was some good wrestling from The Shield and others. Next stop: Total Divas THIS SUNDAY!*
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 to make a major announcement for WrestleMania XXX on Raw. - Yet, just the day before, a report said he would be kept off television until Mania or the Raw before. Good guess though!
CM Punk was never planned for Raw last week in Chicago. - Hahahaha! Was he not all but 100 percent expected to be there? Man, you almost have to feel sorry for the suckers who buy into this junk every week and be disappointed when false rumors do NOT come true. Never amazes me. Whatever. The cycle just starts up again the following morning...
Wrestling Observer statement on Tuesday reads as follows: - "Want to thank everyone for a gigantic milestone we hit yesterday in terms of subscribers. We can't do this without your support, and since we've gotten so much support of late we've been able to invest in some new improvements and we've got more to come!" My translation: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Got you all again. Keep giving us your money.
WWE signs indy wrestler Drake Younger. - Nope. Can not be true. WWE only signs big body builders over 300 pounds and not from the independent scene. Of course, PWTorch says he may brought in as a referee, so maybe he will not actually wrestle?
Ring of Honor wrestler ACH will be at the next WWE tryout camp. - Huh? I thought the internet told me WWE was done looking for ROH/indy guys. Oh right.
Main Event on ION drew 1.487 million viewers on Wednesday, one day after airing live on the WWE Network. - This tells me two things. First, people will actually watch if they are given a reason. On Raw, both the tag title match and Kane/Daniel Bryan was announced. Obviously, that would hook in some viewers who normally do not care. Secondly, it makes me question how many fans watched on the WWE Network or in a broader sense - even subscribed. Clearly, not many did and just tuned in Wednesday on TV instead.
Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger vs. Big E being discussed for WrestleMania XXX. Per the request last week in the comment section, my reply is "Yeah, I saw Raw too."
WWE stock goes up again and is at a market capitalization over $2.2 billion. - Taste it folks. The next time you whine and complain on an online forum and think any kind of fantasy booking or nonsense you say counts, remember this little tidbit. It does not. The machine will roll on, and nothing else matters. Get used to it.
Edit: I spoke too soon. It continued going up, hitting an all-time peak on Friday. Yes, all-time! Man, those crappy shows and stupid PG rating are just terrible. They clearly have no idea what they are doing. STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! WWE really should change their ways and follow my masterful e-fed story lines.
The WWE Network possible getting a price increase in the future? - Yes, I wrote about this happening back in January. I fully expect a price change at some point for the WWE Network and/or WrestleMania to be ONLY on pay-per-view eventually. We shall see!
Speculation on Brooke Tessmacher - Eh, she has done nothing relevant for a long while. TNA just threw Brooke Tessmacher into the Aces and Eights story line halfheartedly when Brooke Hogan was released, so it was clear the company had no real plans for her. With an already weak Knockouts roster, can they afford to lose yet another girl? Or can they afford to keep her with all the cost cutting rumors? Tricky situation.
WWE Smackdown drew 3.14 million viewers on Friday night. - Back over the 3 million mark for the Blue Brand. Kane vs. Big Show is set for this week. Can the ratings momentum continue?
New update on when Vince McMahon will return! - Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. More guesses. I can do that too. No facts. No news. No backstage scoop. Just a headline designed to get clicks.
Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, and Cesaro expected to get pushed after WMXXX. - Gee, thanks. How much did that little tidbit cost website subscribers?
Controversy over the word "hijack" between Triple H and Vince? - I do not care to watch the whole Raw promo again from last week, but did HHH ever say the word "hijack" once? That was Daniel Bryan, right? Again, I do not care to go back and watch it again, but if Triple H never used the term, that tells you this report was garbage to begin with. Like it probably is anyways.
Bobby Lashley returns to TNA! - *sigh* The more things change, the more they stay the same. His first run in TNA was a joke (still has a TNA Title match due), so why not bring him in again? Tito Ortiz worked so well. Rampgage Jackson boosted business. King Mo has been splendid. Lashley is not a 'big name' in any sense in 2014. He is not a draw. He will not increase live event attendance, ratings, or PPV buys one bit. Any money spent here is going right down the drain.
A COPS rerun that aired right before TNA Impact Wrestling on Thursday scored 1.495 million viewers, over 300,000 more than TNA Impact Wrestling. - As usual, a plethora of COPS reruns (and one new episode on Saturday) throughout the week also beat out TNA both in viewers and male demographics. At this point, Spike could just show COPS episodes every Thursday night, and and it would better than TNA for the network. Add in that Viacom (Spike TV) has once again been listed as an active suitor for WWE TV, I will repeat my stance from last week: TNA better hurry up and get a new deal done with Spike TV before it is too late.
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.
Two Quick Points
First, I want to thank AJ Kirsch again for the interview. It was posted a few days ago. If you have not yet, go check it out! I want to hit about 10 interviews by the time 2014 ends. Since I have interviewed AJ many times in the past, I figured he would be the perfect guy to begin with this year. Been great in the past and was again. Much props. Who is next? Stay tuned!
Secondly, 411mania is currently counting down the Top 30 WrestleMania Matches in History. Love the idea. Very fitting for the big event coming up on April 6th. That being said, I do want to make it clear that my top 30 is not even close to the list that will play out over the next month. Not even close, trust me. Just want to make that clear. When April draws near, maybe I will post my own personal Top 30 WM matches...