Truths And Lies 03.18.14: WWE/TNA Week In Review
Posted by Justin Watry on 03.18.2014
Raw thoughts! What must Bray Wyatt do between now and WrestleMania XXX? Why will The Undertaker appear on WWE Main Event? Is Dixie Carter finally off television for good? All this and much more!
It is official.
My Big Brother audition is in the history books. Now we play the dreaded waiting game for a response. From what I understand, their casting decisions will go until (maybe?) late May. The 16th season of the CBS series starts filming in late June. I will not bore you all with the lovely details, but I am feeling optimistic about my chances. If I suddenly stop writing columns and head off to California soon, you will all know why. Stay tuned for an update!
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!
Rick: There is only one obvious winner of the Battle Royal! The Big Show! Bryan came up big Again! YES!
Yes! Yes! Yes! I do fear that The Andre the Giant battle royal was only introduced so Big Show could win. I hope there is something else in mind. If he is entered though, you have to assume he is the odds on favorite.
dizel123: How long before Christian and Sheamus make up and team together calling themselves team Christmus?
Kudos. You made me laugh with this comment.
Vince Jordan: Dude, it's been 12 weeks now. Do you find yourself pushing on a door for 12 hours when it clearly says "Pull"?
Pretty much this. My columns are posted every Monday night after Raw. No more 'accidental' clicking or acting shocked when it is me. After three months of the same thing, it is time to change the record.
Rey Henry: now that it is official, i am very cynical about wm30. will HHH, JOHN CENA, RANDY ORTON, and BATISTA lose on the same night. i just cant see it happening.
Well, Triple H and Randy Orton are losing. That makes 2 of the 4 right out of the gate. Batista is likely to lose, due to the Daniel Bryan stipulation being added last week. Really, it comes down to John Cena. Tough call now. If any of them win, it will be Cena at WrestleMania XXX. I suggest not being cynical, but hey! What do I know? This is the internet. Nothing is ever good enough. Daniel Bryan could beat Triple H clean, win the title over Randy Orton and Batista to close the show in an epic moment with 70,000 fans...yet if John Cena beats Bray Wyatt, the winning/crying will still be there. Just never ends.
Steve Ward: Last week I predicted a fake rumour of Cesaro vs. Swagger vs. Langston would show up, and it was making the rounds 48 hours later. This week, Langston is put in the Battle Royal. Another dodgy "rumour" based on nothing but a decent guess based on what was already on TV gets exposed. Funny how there were no rumours about the Battle Royal, since there was nothing to hint at that beforehand. You'd think that the "inside sources" would have had some idea that was coming, but nope.
I'm with Watry on Samuel Shaw. I really want to like that character. He seems like a good wrestler, it's a unique gimmick that stands out, and yet there's still a fair bit that is missing from it. Kind of like the Leo Kruger character - clearly headed in the right direction, but I just never bought Kruger as a creepy psycho, he always looked like he was playing a character, instead of being that character.
Shaw has the right look (though basing his attire so directly on Dexter in 2014 is unfortunate. I wish he'd put a bit more of his own spin on it. His head and arm choke finish while he says "SSHHHHH" as they go to sleep is all kind of awesome. But then he speaks and says the right things, but in a regular wrestling promo delivery. Imagine if he was a bit more unique in his speaking style, like Bray Wyatt. He needs to be more quiet and intense, play up the creepy factor.
If Samuel Shaw was a character in NXT, I'd be very excited to see him get called up... but after maybe another six months to a year fine tuning the character and getting it right. The concept is great, and parts of it are spot on, but it just doesn't feel complete yet.
Yes sir. You nailed the Big E/Jack Swagger/Cesaro bogus report. Something happened on Raw, and BOOM! Inside scoop - triple threat being discussed. Um, no.
About Shaw, it just comes down to TNA Impact Wrestling and how everything is presented. Needless to say, I have zero faith in them making it work. The pieces of the puzzle are there. Now somebody just has to put it all together.
pjl23: hey justin!! doesnt all this talk of "highjacking the show|" just sound like something the e creative team came up with to justify what they put on tv? how can having a substantial voice about what you want to see be a bad thing?
I think 'hijacking' came from live crowds in the UK, Chicago, smarky cities, and of course - the night after WrestleMania in recent years. WWE noticed (obviously they have ears) and placed that into the Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority story with him standing up for the fans to revolt against the boss. Where people mix kayfabe and reality is some STILL think WWE has been BURYING(!!!) Bryan and STILL think the company has some kind of agenda against him. The man has been the main focus of the company since last spring and regularly closes Raw/Smackdown in main event matches/feuds. I do not know what else has to be done until some finally get off this nonsense.
While this is a little off topic (just a little bit), if you follow me on Twitter, you will have noticed that I pointed out something from immediately following the Royal Rumble two months ago. Literally, MINUTES after the show ended, Daniel Bryan was venting on Twitter about being held down, the machine not listening to the people, blah, blah, blah...but he used the term YESMovement. Not once but twice to get it over. If you do not think he was directed by WWE to tweet that, you are kidding yourself. From the second the Rumble went off the air, the wheels were in motion. While I do not think 'hijacking' is something from the creative team, I DO believe the term YESMovement and everything that followed was from WWE. Merchandise and such was all set to go for Bryan leading this 'movement.' That was indeed the creative team.
Josh: For a years I would click on the brief news items posted on this site and I would always see in the comments people freaking out and/or fantasy booking with their hearts fluttering like middle school girls about the possibilities of the junk posted.
Since this column started, the comments have completely changed. The comments are far more cynical. Even the "dirty dozen" who always post how much they hate this column have changed their tune when they read and post to the "rumors" items. It would take a fool to act like Ask Yourself hasn't been a big part of that.
Not sure if complimenting or not...
*insert Futurama internet meme*
Michael L: I said it on another page on this site, but I'd only be truly impressed with the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal if the trophy is life-sized. Otherwise, it's likely to be your standard battle royal that usually went on before the show, only without the lame Raw/SD competition they often had for those. I'm hoping to be wrong, as they put something else at stake (such as a WWE title shot), and bring in some non-regular WWE stars (a legend or two, plus some NXT talent).
Plus, I agree that the "Occupy the WWE" segment was very well done, and a very appropriate way to get Bryan his match with HHH and likely get into the main event. I much rather like that approach than the deux ex machina of having Hulk Hogan or Vince McMahon come down to the ring and just put Bryan in there. If Hogan did it, it would likely be more about Hogan than Bryan--and it certainly wouldn't make since for Vince to help Bryan since Vince was the one who got the ball rolling on the idea that Bryan wasn't a main eventer in the first place. And if things go like the fans want, Bryan can say that he beat three of the four Evolution members in one night.
Agreed on the battle royal. Just seems like a nice tribute to Andre and getting a bunch of guys on the WM card. I do hope Roddy Piper and a few legends show up. Almost like WrestleMania 17 but with current stars too. As for the rest of your comment, you are right. Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon were not needed here. Just Bryan and his fans taking over the show until Triple H gave them what they wanted. Worked out great. As usual, WWE knows best and stands to profit big time. They always win in the end. Always.
*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 (3/13/14)
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. The opening segment was bad. - Let the record show back in January I was fine with MVP joining TNA Impact Wrestling. Yes, go Google it if you wish. With that out of the way, the 673th 'new era' of TNA started out like the rest - a long winded talking segment trying to explain away their illogical story lines. MVP is a good talker, but this was not his best night. Magnus is getting boring chants, and his paper champion gimmick only goes so far...until he is confirmed to actually be a paper champion. Abyss is not a monster in 2014, and yet another change in wardrobe is not going to change that. Oh, but after two years of trying to find himself and the Joe Park garbage, he is with Magnus for the money. The MONEY! Yep, your standard TNA explanation after wasting everybody's time thrown to the side all in five seconds. OOHHHH!!!! What was the point of Abyss and his journey the past two years? If somebody wants to tell me, I welcome it. Unreal how horrible you can screw things up on a continuous basis. Samoa Joe gets a title rematch next week because TNA does not care about their pay-per-views, even with so few per year. Whatever, I do credit TNA for keeping Dixie Carter off the show. If stipulations are to mean anything, you have to follow through. Keep her off Impact for a long, long, long time.
2. Anderson beat Shaw in a street fight. - Hey, a street fight! Good thing this was built up and given a bunch of heavy promotion. You know, coming off an all steel cage PPV and all? Oh, wait. There was no hype at all - just a random street fight on Impact that last two minutes. Right. Best part is Anderson defeated Shaw in less than four minutes, and a mannequin was the main focus.
3. The Knockouts division needed a boost. - Honestly, it could have been any female. Seeing Madison Rayne, ODB, Gail Kim, and Velvet Sky wrestle each other over and over can only be done so many times. I am "meh" on Angelina Love coming back. A Beautiful People reunion will only disappoint. You can not recapture that in 2014. On the flip side, them feuding was also done. Just feels like more of the same. Brittany debuting and beating Gail Kim (with blatant interference from Tapa in front of the referee) was okay but nothing memorable for a newcomer to the company. Where things went VERY wrong was the story immediately shifted to Gail Kim and Tapa breaking up afterwards - a story nobody cared about at all. Regardless, Brittany and Angelina SHOULD help in the short-term. With Impact going through yet another down turn in television ratings, why not focus on the girls more?
4. Rockstar Spud and Bro Mans should not be on TV. - Normally, I would rant and rave about these three. Why even bother anymore? Bro Mans lose in two minutes while The Wolves are nowhere to be seen this week. Rockstar Spud is nearly as UNentertaining as Dixie Carter was for the past few months. With them doing the exact same comedy routine, they need to just go away. Switch the tag belts FOR REAL this time, and let Spud do...whatever he does.
5. The Dixie Carter tribute is an early candidate for worst segment of 2014. - When the Impact Zone is chanting 'Boring,' there are problems. As noted, Spud is beyond anything worth being shown on national television. EC3 is still a work in progress, so feuding with Bobby Lashley is almost lose-lose in terms of who comes out on top there. MVP appearing again was not needed (already getting near overkill with him since showing up two months ago). The whole thing just dragged and dragged. Felt like a 30 minute Dixie Carter promo from a few months ago. I really do hope this is it for Dixie on screen though. Was by far the worst thing on pro wrestling television. For once, Konnan is right.
Lie: Bully Ray made sense of his Lockdown actions. - Silly me. I actually had faith in TNA for having one of its main characters turn heel/face with logic. Through the whole night of a bunch of attacks backstage with cardboard (yes, cardboard), I figured Bully Ray could save this. He has been THAT good. After over a decade of random turns, that was my fault for thinking BULLY Ray would be any different. Light people on fire? Threaten a man's family and twin babies? Want to take over TNA with the awful Aces and Eights group? Sure. He puts Bobby Roode through a table, and the show ends. With fans cheering BULLY Ray. Yawn.
*Not to beat a dead horse, but when was the last GREAT match in TNA? I am not asking for epic 25 minute matches every week. They do not have time for that. *insert Youtube song* However, it has been months in a row of short, pointless filler matches with no care in the world. The longest match on Thursday was a nine minute slow motion contest with Joe and Abyss leading to (shocking!) a disqualification. You can only do promo after promo after promo after promo for so long before people wonder where the WRESTLING is! The Wolves were nowhere to be seen. Austin Aries is (still) nowhere to be seen. James Storm was nowhere to be seen. Gunner was doing some chat thing. Chris Sabin and Bad Influence are rumored to not even be at the tapings this weekend. What is the point then? All the while, TNA has hit the reset button once again. Yet, the result is the same. Short matches all night. Long drawn out talking segments. Impact Zone crowd. PPV rematches coming. Random street fight. Oh, and Jeff Hardy as Willow is si pointless. I do not care if he wanted to do this or show off his creativity or whatever. He already got his purple belt and 'talking to himself' segments. If you have JEFF HARDY on your roster, you promote JEFF HARDY! Not Willow. Bad show this week. A couple "big" matches are set for next week, while they have an actual pay-per-view coming up in April. You know, PAYING customers! Remember those? Needless to say, I will not be watching next week. Do not expect another Impact Wrestling review until late April or early May.*
Truths: WWE Smackdown (3/14/14)
1. Triple H needs to be a full blown heel until WrestleMania. - The Authority has had one main problem for the past six months. That has been their constant back and forth with their decisions. One week, HHH and Stephanie McMahon play to cheers. The next show is all about running down the fans. Then they show up on NXT being all lovey-dovey about WWE. On Raw and Smackdown, it is back to hating Daniel Bryan. Even on Smackdown, HHH got cheered for making Damien Sandow apologize and have him face The Shield. No! Stick to be a jerk. Stick to telling us all about Bryan is a B+ player. Stick to the character you play so great. No more in between nonsense.
2. Alberto Del Rio made sense of his Andre The Giant memorial battle royal entry. - For most of the 30 men entering the Mania battle royal, it is nothing but filler. We can all be honest here. It is just get a bunch of guys on the card and a nice pay day. For Alberto Del Rio though, his short promo on Smackdown made sense. He has won the Royal Rumble. He has won the Money in the Bank briefcase. He has been WWE Champion. He has been World Champion. Been there, done that type of thing. Why not go after the historic inaugural Andre The Giant statue? Fine logic. After he lost in a good match to Dolph Ziggler, the same can be said for his opponent. Ziggler also expressed his desire to win the WM battle royal. So far, so good.
3. Carlos Colon deserves this induction. - Good choice. The stacked WWE Hall of Fame lineup continues on.
4. Bray Wyatt defeating Kofi Kingston is okay... - ...but he should get one more big win before WrestleMania XXX. Running through Kofi Kingston is one thing. Everybody pins him or makes him submit. I am trying to think who Bray can beat in the build to Mania. He can deliver the promos. That is not the issue. He has a win over Daniel Bryan, but that was from January. In order to seem believable against John Cena, I think one more big victory could go a long ways before April 6th. Not sure against who though.
5. Big Show vs. Kane is not what I want from a Smackdown main event. - I hold the standard of a Smackdown main event higher than a Raw main event. More often than not, Raw will close with a story line or dramatic moment. Smackdown is the opposite and will choose to close with a great wrestling match. Kane vs. Show? Whatever, do that to start the second hour or something. Not end the night. The main focus was on The Shield, so it gets a little bit of a pass...but not much.
Lie: I cared about the Divas match. - I WANT to care. I really do! Both Bella twins have improved a ton over the last year. They should get a shout out for that. However, even that will not make me invested in random match after random match after random match. I am mildly curious to see what the Divas do at Mania not overly optimistic. Nikki Bella beat Tamina Snuka, and life moved on.
*Good show. A lot of the show revolved around The Shield. They destroyed Damien Sandow to start their night. They ended things by taking out Kane. Face turn? All three back on the same page? No idea. The trio are getting TV time and focus, but what that focus is remains to be seen. With Mania just around the corner, it better be made clear within the next week or so. The rest was Raw recaps, filler, and Bray Wyatt build up. On the grading scale, I would say a C+ or B- show.*
Truths: WWE Raw (3/17/14)
1. The opening segment had only one positive. - I was not feeling this opening segment at all. Instead of breaking the whole thing down, how about we just focus on the end? When Triple H announced his potential inclusion in the WrestleMania XX maim event, the live crowd cheered! They cheered?!?! This was set up as a big moment for a face character, not the evil heel boss. Think about it. The fans CHEERED the possibility of HHH entering the WWE World Title match...meaning he would defeat Daniel Bryan. Yet, it was designed to be cheered. The whole triple threat/fatal four way mess just screws with logic. Heels should be booed. Faces should be cheered. If Randy Orton, Batista, and HHH are insulting each other, guess what? Fans are bound to laugh or cheer that. Um, no thanks. Those three should not be getting fan support right now. The ONE positive to this all is the glorious paranoia from fans thinking that HHH may actually beat Bryan at Mania and then win the title. Oh, the sleepless nights many will have from now to WMXXX with their conspiracy theories. I love it.
2. John Cena is the favorite to win at WrestleMania XXX over Bray Wyatt. - Shocking, I know. Really, if this is all about John Cena and his legacy, can there be any other finish? Cena is the favorite right now to defeat Bray Wyatt. Not guaranteed. Not 100 percent, but with the story being told, it makes sense. Good segment with them on Raw.
3. Batista costing Randy Orton his No DQ match against Daniel Bryan was predictable. - Yeah, fairly predictable here. Did anybody really think Batista had left the arena? If so, welcome to pro wrestling. It must be your first night watching. At this point, it is well established that Daniel Bryan can defeat the champion. A little help from Batista is not going to mean much in the long run, but it does give The Animal some revenge from earlier in the night. Of course, as noted above, that brought cheers to Batista...which should NOT be the goal right now. Entertaining match between Orton and Bryan as usual.
4. The Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal is getting more interesting. - Still not sold on this. One year thing or annual match at WrestleMania, I just am not sure how this will go. With Big Show now in, I hope the plan is not for him to win. Please do something else. There has to be more to this all than just having a seven foot giant win to honor Andre. Sheamus is not a bad option, nor is Rusev (if he is in the match). Even the slight chance of Big Show is deflating.
5. That Triple H/Daniel Bryan segment to close the show was necessary. - YES! YES! YES! This was great. It reminded me of the classic Kurt Angle/Eddie Guerrero segment from Smackdown back in early 2004. All a set up to get the face handcuffed and defenseless. Best of all, it made Triple H a full blown heel which is what should have been going on all along. We should be booing him right now. Not laughing at one liners. Not hoping he gets added to the Mania main event. Just pure hatred. Make the fans cheer Bryan. Make the fans boo HHH. Pretty easy. The final segment of Raw did just that.
Lie: I know what is going on with The Shield. - Face turn? Together for a little bit longer? I have no clue anymore.
*The first two hours were good. The third hour dragged until the last ten minutes. Not exactly surprising, but that is how tonight felt. Even the excellent San Antonio crowd (nice city to visit) fell apart towards the end. I do not blame them. WrestleMania XXX is shaping up nicely but could probably use one more "spark" like last week's Occupy Raw segment to get fans buzzing. Still plenty of time. WWE will get there. Until then, I will be back...NEXT MONDAY!*
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:
Backstage news on Batista's return - There are the words 'backstage news' where you can all but eliminate anything being factual. Seriously, read the news post. *I* could have written that! I could have. Nobody would ever even notice.
Some are speculating AJ Lee may lose her Divas Title at Main Event as a message to CM Punk. - Nope! She retained, just like she has for the past month (and many more before that). Are we done with the daily conspiracy theories about WWE punishing AJ Lee for CM Punk walking out? Clearly not the case. Take off the tin foil and move on...
Rusev may have his first match (after the Royal Rumble) at Mania or the night after. - Cool. Now that is an inside scoop. Or just an educated guess. Either or. One means you watch wrestling on TV each week. The other makes people pay for 'news' online.
AMC Networks interested in buying WWE - Do I even have to say anything? Some random blog is being credited with the most ridiculous rumor of all-time...and sure enough, websites happily post it. Luckily, the places WITH actual sources immediately shot this down.
WWE bad mouthed Jim Ross on Monday because JR told a story about Vince McMahon days earlier. - Grasping at straws, I see. WWE has trashed JR for YEARS now. Nearly on a weekly basis. Jim Ross telling some silly story about Vince had nothing to do with it. Try again!
CM Punk-UFC chatter - Honestly, I feel dirty even typing a few sentences on this. CM Punk is not fighting in the UFC. Not now. Not ever. Beyond laughable to even discuss in a serious tone.
Examiner reports Mickie James is pregnant. - Yep, the ALWAYS trust worthy and CREDIBLE reporting from The Examiner is back! Why this place still gets publicized is beyond me. I guess the National Enquirer was unavailable. I hope this story is true. I really do. If not and I were Mickie James, I would sue that garbage filled website for all its worth and make sure it never sees the light of day again.
New rumor on The Shield match at WMXXX! - *reads original source and shakes head* WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. EVEN. POST. IT?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Steve Austin at WrestleMania XXX in a non-wrestling role? - No, no, no. He is wrestling CM Punk. Duh! Shawn Michaels is wrestling Daniel Bryan, and Bill Goldberg is wrestling Ryback. Have you not heard?
WWE using the Daniel Bryan situation to give 'the middle finger' to CM Punk? - Please, somebody tell me they actually believe a single part of that story. Go ahead. Read it and come back to this column. Then explain how in any sense of the word that junk makes sense. I will save you the time. It does not.
Mr. T inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame - Another deserving person and a nice entry into the celebrity wing.
The Undertaker will appear on Main Event Tuesday night live on the WWE Network. - Should be interesting to see the viewing numbers for this and the ION airing on Wednesday. WWE continues to go all-in trying to get subscribers for their network.
A rerun of COPS on Spike TV Thursday night scored 1.4 million viewers, over 200,000 more than Impact. - Also, for the 11th week in a row, TNA viewership peaked in their first quarter hour. Make your own assumption there. Oh, and a new episode of COPS on Spike TV last Saturday night drew over 1.6 million viewers. If Viacom is palnning on throwing a bunch of money at WWE for programming, they could easily air Raw on Mondays, COPS on Thursdays (do better numbers than Impact as usual) and then Smackdown on Fridays with Bellator afterwards. For TNA's sake, they better hope NBCUniversal keeps WWE.
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.
The current Top 30 Matches of WrestleMania list running on 411mania is NOT my personal list. Not by any stretch. I just want to clear that up (again) before the next 10 or so matches are revealed. Repeat: My Top 30 WM Matches are completely different! Maybe the week before or after Mania in April, I will post my list.