Truths And Lies 03.25.14: WWE/TNA Week In Review
Posted by Justin Watry on 03.25.2014
Raw thoughts! How great will The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar be at WM XXX? What is the best feud in wrestling today? Why was the TNA rating so low last week? All this and much more!
What to ramble on about...
Do I discuss my NCAA bracket already flushed down the toilet (but having Florida winning it all)? The snow that is still falling in Wisconsin? How about that WWE stock price, huh? Right, I am supposed to write about wrestling. Okay, fine. This past week was fairly quiet until we got to Monday night's Raw. Funny how that always works. Bring on the noise!
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!
Follow The Buzzwords: 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.
What kind of logic is this? Something good happened, so you can't complain about something bad that also happened? Care to elaborate?
Your username makes it impossible for me to discuss John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt at WMXXX logically with you. Sorry.
callie: Why would anyone assume that the 411 op 30 matches was YOUR personal list? Its not like you are writing the articles. I don't get how that merits a mention let alone its own separate reminder.
Trust me. When you see the complete list (and next few specifically), I want it to be 100 percent clear it is NOT my list whatsoever.
Alec via email: I always enjoy reading the column, particularly your evaluation of rumours. I've never written to you before but wanted to weigh in on the ‘smarky' crowd debate. I do think it's a really interesting situation as you are televising an event which is designed to be performed, seen and reacted to live. Wrestling has evolved from it's carnival roots but will never shed them, and that carnival atmosphere of participation will always be present.
My wife and I have been attending WWE live shows in the UK for years and both travelled from the UK for Wrestlemania 29 and the post-WM Raw. Our take on the crowd is that, on the night, you're not particularly aware of the cameras or that it's being broadcast. Crowds aren't chanting for posterity nor for the audiences at home. The ‘E' in WWE stand for entertainment so, when the crowd isn't being entertained - witness the Sheamus/Orton match at the post-WM Raw - the crowd will entertain themselves. I think this is particularly true of post-WM Raws as they are made up of a largely non-local audience - people who have spent thousands of dollars to be there whether it's traveling across the country or across the globe so feel some heightened expectation. I appreciate that it can irritate at home but the television audience isn't part of your consideration when you're in the crowd. Part of the fun of attending a live event is in being part of the crowd. Rather than sit on our hands in silence as we watch a throwaway divas match, the crowd will make its own entertainment. Again that ‘E' stands for something. We have paid our money, we do respect the efforts of the company at large, but will not tolerate being bored. There are elements who go into business for themselves (‘Husky Harris' chants) but there always will be in such a large crowd.
Without wanting to be too UK-focused, I also think that sporting culture has a part to play. At football matches here, we have a long tradition of paying attention to the match whilst also chanting what you might call ‘bar-room-wit' at the opposition. At a wrestling event, there is no opposition, so instead you get a kind of benign hooliganism where the entertainment becomes the target of chants born of positive, negative and apathetic reaction. I would imagine that it's often the same in other countries. My only real gripe is the lack of originality that's starting to come through. Part of the fun is the spontaneity and creativity, whereas elements of the crowd sometimes seem to act as though they are now expected to run through a checklist of chants/behaviours.
Just to frame things, my wife and I are both highly capable of independent, critical thought, both have decent careers relying on being self-starting and self-aware and are acutely aware of the pitfalls of blithely following herd behaviour. However, there is nothing wrong with choosing to participate - there are far worse ways to blow off steam. Ultimately, we love wrestling but it's entertainment and elaborate silliness - crowd behaviours are just an extension of that. Thanks for taking the time and thanks for the column.
Great email. No cuss words + quality writing = a place in my column!
I was set to write a lengthy reply but decided not to. You pretty much summed up everything and how crowds can both help and hurt the live presentation. Slight correction though: Back in 2011, WWE officially transitioned from "World Wrestling Entertainment" to just simply "WWE" as a company. Technically, the letters stand for nothing anymore...just WWE.
Panda: I have no problem with Big Show winning the inaugural Andre Battle Royale. Hopefully, it's a yearly thing. It's a perfect crutch for getting everyone on the show. Better Big Show than Rey Rey. Even though the size of Rey Rey holding a life-sized Andre trophy would be a funny visual.
Yeah, I would rather Big Show lose. Rey Mysterio is the same. Like you, him winning does nothing for me outside of the visual of the huge trophy being by his side. On that note, the official WWE Youtube page has their one on one match listed as taking place at Backlash 2002. Come on! It was 2003. Silly mistake there.
MagicianMan: Watry, I read your articles on NoDQ and you are plugging this 500 followers and then you will live tweet RAW. Why would we follow you if you delete the majority your tweets just after posting them? Being in the UK, I went to read your tweets on RAW the last time you live tweeted and poof! they were gone. I'm not sure if you are just paranoid about people knowing your opinions and being able to discredit what you write or just don't understand social media, but please give me an incentive to follow you other than the chance of being lucky enough to be on twitter in the hour in which you keep a tweet up.
An incentive? If you want to follow me on Twitter, then follow me. If not, that is your choice. Once I hit 500 (and I did over the weekend), yes - I will live tweeting during Raw for my second time ever. There is an announcement below on that subject.
Other than that, my Twitter use is limited to occasionally breaking wrestling news - sometimes long before any websites. For instance, I purposely kept my comment about Total Divas made last Tuesday afternoon on my timeline. Go check it out. Feel free right now. Visit my Twitter page and read the Total Divas post from Tuesday. As you will see, I had their viewership before any other 'dirt sheets' story. They were busy going with the "DID NOT RANK IN THE TOP 100!" nonsense at that very moment to rile people up, while I actually had number all along. Match up the time lines. It is true. Again, long before any other wrestling website - the actual number was posted by yours truly. See, if you were following me on Twitter, you would have known that news first...and not been freaking out over the "DID NOT RANK IN THE TOP 100" click baiting headline for a few hours. The other point is just for my columns, which are plugged on Twitter right after being published. Lucky, huh?
As for deleting stuff, I have covered this topic before. I do it for everything. Once I write a column and send it into the system, I delete it. That is why I tell people to Google my past work. It is because I legitimately do not have that stuff on file. Once a Tweet becomes outdated, it is deleted. Same with Facebook, Word, documents, whatever. Everything is removed pretty quickly. I have no use in keeping them.
Derek: Watry upvoted this
*sighs* I do not upvote any comments. I do not downvote any comments. I do not even have a Disqus account, and using a 'guest account' would be a waste of time. My columns give me a platform to voice an opinion, not the comment section. As stated from day one, love me or hate me, I will be completely honest.
AG Awesome: Watry, I have a challenge for the "ask yourself" segment. Talk to Csonka or whoever runs 411 and ask if you can plant a single fake news article that may or may not be believable between now and next Tuesday. See what kind of response you get in the comment section, see if any other websites pick it up and run with it too. Then next Tuesday reveal what it was and describe what happened in the aftermath.
I think if 411 will allow this simple social experiment it could turn into a pretty interesting, introspective piece for the site. But the powers that be may not want their "integrity" questioned so I guess it probably wont happen. Still, Id love to see what would go down if you come up with a good one...
Here is the ironic part of your post: That happens on a daily basis! Every day. Every week. Every month. For the past 15 years or so. Me making up a story next week is not going to change that. It just gets added to the dumpster that is "IWC journalism." Look at the list of news stories as we speak. Just look at them. Read each headline one by one. Most of them are false and without any kind of factual information, while only a few are legitimate. This "experiment" is technically already going on; most just do not know it.
*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 (3/20/14)
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 again sometime around late April or early May
Truths: WWE Smackdown (3/21/14)
1. Daniel Bryan did not appear. - Good! No need to explain this. Thankfully, Daniel Bryan was nowhere to be seen on Smackdown. After what happened on Raw, that should have been a guarantee. WWE came through here. Props.
2. The Miz TV segment was lame. - Eh, I rarely use the word lame...but this was lame. It started off okay, but then a bunch of guys come out randomly get thrown over the top rope? There has to be more than that from now until April 6th. I am fine with presenting Big Show as the "giant" favorite going into the event, provided he loses at Mania. This entire thing just felt like a waste of so many wrestlers. It did not get any better, as Alberto Del Rio defeated Big E relatively clean in mere minutes afterwards. Um, what? IC Champ? Big E? Did not like this all.
3. I think The Shield have found their opponents. - After months of false rumors and speculation (deigned to be news), it seems The Shield have a direction. Kane and The New Age Outlaws may not be the most desired matchup available, but this does two things that I agree with. First, it keeps The Shield together a little bit longer. I am as anxious as anybody for the three to break up, but a little time as faces can be fun before that happens. The trio is just so entertaining that it will be tough to see their run end. Secondly, from a historical point of view, imagine looking back at this match in 20 years. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns beating Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, and Kane in front of 70,000 fans at the biggest event of the year is a 'pass of the torch' if there ever is one. Three young guys with potential main event matches still ahead of them taking out three guys who wrestle part-time and established WWE names from the Attitude Era. Pretty big deal.
4. Dolph Ziggler is on a bit of a roll. - Do not look now, but Dolph Ziggler has won a few matches the past week. Could mean nothing. Could mean something. For now, I will take a wait and see approach with him going into WMXXX. On Smackdown, he defeated Damien Sandow is a quality match. Good for him.
5. We may have our WMXXX pre-show match! - The Usos defending the tag titles is my prediction for the Mania pre-show right now. If that was the idea, then I would have rather seen Billy Gunn and Road Dogg lose to the Usos in New Orleans, not on Raw from Chicago a few weeks back. The Usos have never been my cup of tea, but they can deliver in the right situation. Maybe the tag scene gets one last boost in the next two weeks? Right now, I say it makes the WM pre-show.
Lie: Luke Harper vs. John Cena was bad. - I have a confession to make. I have no idea what is going with the indy scene. I do not follow Ring of Honor or much of anything outside of WWE (and TNA Impact Wrestling). No surprise, I know. However, here is the confession. Before signing with WWE, I kept up to date with Luke Harper when he was Brodie Lee. Not sure why. I must have just read an update or seen a match of his somewhere. He and Kharma (Amazing Kong) are really the only two that I followed BEFORE hitting it big with WWE or TNA. To see him go from there to facing John Cena in the main event of Smackdown is pretty cool. Yeah, Cena was always going to win. Obviously, he should have, but it was still a cool scene. Nice match too!
*Better than recent weeks but still features lots of filler. This close to Mania, there should be no wasting time. Having John Cena in the main event match helped keep me intrigued to the very end of the show with his ongoing feud with The Wyatt Family. Everything else was okay but nothing worth going out your way to watch.*
Truths: WWE Raw (3/24/14)
1. The opening segment was pointless. - This is just like last week's Raw opening segment. When you have heels talking to heels talking to heels, it rarely works. Either the crowd cheers for nobody or worst yet - they start to cheer the heels! Not good. Stephanie McMahon getting the best of Batista by slapping him, only for him to get the better of Randy Orton made next to no sense. I really hope The Authority story line ends after WrestleMania XXX.
2. A #1 contenders match for the IC Championship felt like a big deal. - Yep. It is quite simple. You have four wrestlers people know and recognize in Sheamus, Christian, Dolph Ziggler, and Alberto Del Rio. Then you have the champ at ringside watching the match, all the while the commentators build up the showdown the next night on Main Event. To top it all off, deliver a good match with a loud and excited live audience! Easy formula there. Big E is a face, so there really only was one winner. Sheamus is a face, so he was out.. ADR just fought Big E last week, so he was out. That left Mr. Ziggler and Christian, with only one being a heel. Thus, the end result was never in doubt. On Monday night, the IC Title picture felt fairly important. How long that lasts is anybody's guess.
3. The Triple H interview was entertaining. - Nothing amazing here, just enough to keep the feud with Daniel Bryan going another week. Of course, I loved the references about this era where people just whine and complain all day long if they are unhappy instead of actually doing something about it. He even got in a quick Twitter plug. Impressive! As for no Daniel Bryan appearance? Eh. I understood keeping him off Smackdown. That was a no brainer. Not on Raw either is pretty questionable this close to Mania. The only problem is that in this day and age in order for a big injury to be sold properly it requires a wrestler missing television time. That meant no Bryan.
4. I am not seeing Sabotage. - You know, this segment was actually not that bad. I just do not care to see the movie. What did stand out to me was the potential of The Miz winning the battle royal at WrestleMania XXX before getting some punches from Hulk Hogan afterwards. May not be the worst idea in the world...just look at The Miz's win loss record at Mania.
5. John Cena vs. Luke Harper was about the post-match image. - You want my thoughts on Cena vs. Harper? Scroll up and read my Smackdown thoughts. That match had a main event setting and an actual finish. This was more about the post-match image with Cena wearing the sheep mask. Brooklyn nailed it with a "This is awesome" chant. Indeed. That WAS awesome. Very cool moment.
Lie: The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar feud is lacking. - The Beast. The Streak. Nothing more is needed. This is the best thing going. Their WM match is going to be amazing. Expect Brock to stand tall next Monday night.
*Well, we finally got the Divas Championship match set for WMXXX. It was about as we all assumed but does mix in the Total Divas TV show and the Tamina Snuka/AJ Lee split. The Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal continues to portray Big Show as the favorite, which is fine. Hey, how about Titus O'Neil? Remember when I said right before WM was NOT the best time for him to be a solo act? Yeah. Otherwise, the major story lines were showcased and given just enough to bring us to next week's final bits of Mania hype.*
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:
Some think Sting has signed a WWE deal; others deny the report. - Woah! That is quality reporting. Off to a good start, I see...
Triple H felt offended CM Punk did not want to wrestle him at WrestleMania XXX. - Let me get this straight. Triple H said nothing to anybody, but internet news reporters can now read his mind? Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuure.
WWE to have a two hour WrestleMania XXX pre-show. - Somebody JUST emailed me a few weeks ago saying that this was going to happen. I said no way, no how. Mania is long enough as it is. Sure enough, the individual was right, and I was wrong. Kudos sir.
Rey Mysterio staying with WWE for one more year? - Probably for the best. I figured he would stick around a tad bit longer but not much more after 2014. One more major injury though, and he is likely done. Hall of Fame career no doubt.
WWE Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber pay-per-view buys down from last year - No surprise. Last year had The Rock (The Rock!) going for the WWE Championship in January and then defending said title in February. This year had Batista returning...and whatever the Chamber was built around. Solid numbers, nothing really noteworthy. Also goes to show you the PPV business is not as 'dead' as people want to claim in 2014. The Rumble just did 445,000 buys.
Razor Ramon to the WWE Hall of Fame - The redemption theme continues for this year's class. I wonder if WWE is going with the name 'Razor Ramon' on purpose to try and hide his past issues. Whatever, another deserving choice.
Bret Hart believes Owen Hart will be induced into the WWE Hall of Fame next year. - It is inevitable. There is no such thing as 'first ballot' for WWE, so that is why I rarely get all worked up over who gets inducted and when. It does not matter! Owen will get his due, just like a lot of other legends waiting. It will happen. Just relax.
WWE World Champion Randy Orton vs. Batista next week on Raw - In Washington DC? Good luck to the hometown hero Batista! I know the WM title match will be a triple threat match, but having this one on one match just six days before the biggest event of the year is just...just...just...wow. No way do I endorse such a thing.
Big Show vs. Bray Wyatt on Smackdown this Friday night - I fear for what may happen OR look forward to what should happen.
Lei'D Tapa leaving TNA Impact Wrestling - Waste of OVW. Waste of Gutcheck. Waste of even being on TV for the past few months. Waste of "building" to a feud with Gail Kim only to leave a week later. Giant waste of time. Good luck to Tapa going forward. Par the course for TNA. Speaking of...
TNA Impact Wrestling drew under one million viewers on Thursday night. - See what happens without that lovely COPS lead-in? I know, I know. March Madness was on, so the number is excused, right? Wrong! Last year against the start of March Madness, Impact had 1.4 million viewers. In 2012, Impact drew 1.4 million viewers against the start of March Madness. In 2011, Impact drew 1.7 million viewers against the start of March Madness! This year - under a million. Yeah, March Madness is the problem. Keep telling yourself that.
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 few spots 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.
I Will Be Live Tweeting During WWE Raw Next Week!
Yep, I am back. Next Monday night, my second EVER live tweeting session will be found at the Twitter account @JustinWatry - all things me. It is the WrestleMania XXX go-home edition of Raw, so it is bound to be fun. Mark your calendars now! Next Monday night - live tweeting during Raw...be there AND be square.