The Wrestling News Experience 07.07.14
Posted by Stephen Randle on 07.07.2014
News and thoughts on WWE's plans for Brock Lesnar through WrestleMania 31, Santino Marella's retirement, Emma's firing and re-hiring for petty larceny, a preview of tonight's Raw and more!
Monday July 7th, 2014
From 411Mania's Canadian offices in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, this is The Wrestling News Experience, with Stephen Randle!
Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Experience. I am Stephen Randle, and I don't get hyped, I stay hyped for The DOTA 2 International that begins tomorrow. And I might just have more to say about that later this week, but for now, just assume that I'll be watching a lot of DOTA for the rest of the month. It's almost a good thing that there's absolutely nothing worth watching on TV!
Speaking of which, you should have watched Undateable, which was a good show that ran on NBC on Thursdays over the last month, and will probably get cancelled because it didn't get Big Bang Theory numbers in the middle of the summer.
Last week, WWE apparently realized that they hadn't done anything to tempt people to renew their WWE Network subscription (I mean, other than putting all their PPVs and their best television program, NXT, on it), and decided that they really might want to put some effort into Raw. Thus, rather than give us the expected Cena-Orton or Cena-Kane match at Battleground, they instead decided to cram all three men in one match and also put Roman Reigns in there because if he ever wrestles a singles match he apparently might explode or something. Okay, you explain why he never does, then.
But there's more, as Triple H has promised that they'll have a Plan "B" should Cena survive that match. Normally, you'd think that Plan "B" would, as it has in the past, consist of Seth Rollins, who holds the MITB briefcase. However, Rollins has problems of his own, as Dean Ambrose has guaranteed that whenever Rollins attempts to cash in, he will be there to prevent it from happening. It takes a lot of dedication to aggressively stalk someone like that, but if anyone can do it, it would be Ambrose.
So...what else could Plan "B" stand for?
Well, it also won't be Bad News Barrett, who has been sidelined for a very long period of time after undergoing shoulder surgery. As a result, yet another title has been vacated, and will be awarded to the man who can win a battle royal at Battleground. Is it just me, or have we had a lot of battle royals lately? In any event, if your favourite midcarder is on TV tonight, you should expect them to declare their entry into that particular match, even if its most likely that Cesaro will be winning it.
Also, The Miz returned last week! I know, you might have forgotten about that because Chris Jericho returned immediately afterwards and got attacked by The Wyatt Family right after that, and those two things are far more awesome than The Miz, so I just wanted to remind you that indeed, The Miz is back. And nobody cares.
Meanwhile, another return happened last night, as AJ Lee came back and somehow tricked Paige into a rematch for the Divas Title, which she promptly won. Oddly, Paige got more offense in a two minute loss than she did in all her previous successful title defences. In any event, there's a new Divas' Champion, and one wonders if the old one isn't a little perturbed at how easily she was led into a situation that resulted in losing the belt.
Plus, Star Dust continues his meteoric rise (see what I did there?), Jack Swagger fights for America for real this time, and the Adam Rose Death Watch continues, tonight on Raw!
- A popular rumour that has somehow wandered around the Internet is that WWE's plans for Brock Lesnar are to beat John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Title at SummerSlam, and eventually be defeated for the belt by none other than Roman Reigns...at WrestleMania. Okay, I feel like this has been shown to have been a misinterpretation or amalgamation of a few different rumours, but in case you hadn't heard, here's a point-by-point breakdown that explains why this rumour is bullshit:
1. There's no way in hell they're going to let Brock Lesnar hold the WWE World Heavyweight Title from August until next May, since his contract only pays him for incredibly limited dates which would preclude him from working anything resembling a full schedule, or even showing up on every Raw from now until WrestleMania. And before you say "well, they could pay him more money to work more dates", Brock already has more money than he could ever spend and one of the easiest schedules for a pro wrestler that has ever existed. Do you think he'd give that up for a few more bucks? So, that means eight months with no WWE World Champion making regular appearances on Raw, PPVs, or house shows. Does that sound even a little bit plausible?
2. There is no number 2. Go read 1 again, in an more strident tone, if it didn't somehow convince you the first time.
- You may have heard about Emma's Wacky Wal-Mart Adventure that took place in Hartford before Raw, where she was arrested for allegedly attempting to steal an iPad cover. The charges were dropped in exchange for a single day of community service (presumably John Cena was more than willing to serve her punishment), but Emma briefly found herself unemployed on Wednesday afternoon. There was a statement on WWE.com and everything, but surprisingly, WWE reversed their decision and decided that Emma was in fact, not fired. One would assume that shortly after the initial decision was made, someone saw Jack Swagger (arrested for DUI just before his WrestleMania World Championship match), RVD (arrested for DUI, possession, and speeding while WWE and ECW Champion), and Cameron (arrested for DUI, attempted to bribe the police officer to get away with it) walking around backstage and realized that their Wellness policy is a joke. And also that firing Emma was probably a bad idea, because if she's stealing iPad covers when she's employed, what might she steal when she isn't collecting a paycheque? She is Australian, I hear they're all master criminals over there. Especially that Sforcina guy.
- Speaking of the Land Down Under, John Cena has been removed WWE's tour of Australia from August 7-9, because let's face it, Australians have enough stuff to deal with on a daily basis, what with the entire continent being a Saw-style deathtrap and all, they shouldn't be forced to see John Cena on top of it. But hey, at least they'll still get Emma...assuming she doesn't commit any other petty crimes before then.
- We mentioned last week that the new(est) version of Tough Enough might have been a casualty of budget cuts, but it appears that filming may have just been delayed until October. Presumably, they wanted to get Legends House Season 2 in the can before Vince and Hogan have another fight and stop talking to each other again.
- Apparently WWE is worried that people aren't booing Bo Dallas enough, probably because it's a character that's different and interesting and there isn't much of that on the roster thanks to terrible booking. Anyway, he'll be acting even more heelish and bothering more beloved faces in the coming weeks. Well, I guess he won't be feuding with John Cena, then.
- For some reason we have rumours about potential booking plans for the next Royal Rumble, which are almost as unbelievable as the Lesnar holding the title for eight months rumours, simply because I don't have any faith they've got any plans for beyond SummerSlam at this point. Apparently the current best bet to win the Rumble is one of the former members of The Shield, which is absolutely shocking, given how they've been positioned at the three hottest guys on Raw for a while now.
- It seems that Vince Russo thinks there's an excellent chance that TNA will stay on TV when their deal with Spike TV ends this fall. Wait, why are we asking Vince Russo's opinions on things anymore? I wouldn't trust that guy to tell me what time it was, because I'd be too worried that he'd tell me the wrong one just because I'd never expect it!
- So, they say a lot of thought went into choosing John Cena as the cover Superstar for WWE 2K15, and ultimately they decided that having their most well-known guy on the cover might sell more copies, since the people who hate him are wrestling nerds who will probably buy the game anyway, and having Cena on the cover might convince people who like him to pick it up. Maybe it's just me, but at what point did we stop caring about whether there's a good game underneath the cover art, in making our game purchasing decisions?
- And before we go, condolences and congratulations go out to Santino Marella, who announced his retirement from in-ring competition at a WWE house show in Toronto last night. Marella, who is actually Canadian and not Italian and therefore even more awesome, said that he has suffered a third neck injury and the resulting surgery has forced him to call it quits. Marella leaves the ring a multiple-time champion, having won the Intercontinental, Tag Team, and United States Championships over his career, as well as a brief stint as Miss WrestleMania that is best left forgotten. However, undoubtedly the peak of his WWE career would have to be the time he met me at a Blue Jays game in Toronto. I mean, I'll never forget it, so I assume he won't, either.
HOT: Chris Jericho
Well, I think we can safely say nobody saw that coming. Good thing he did, too, because The Miz was busy sucking the air out of the building, and it was probably a big difference between "this Raw sucked" and "this Raw was incredible". Also, you know, Jericho vs Bray Wyatt is in the offing, and there's a good chance it will create a brighter future for the guy Jericho puts over this time, unlike whatever the plan was supposed to be with Fandango.
NOT: The Miz
Yep, he's back, and as much as it's a good thing that he's back in a heel persona, when your return gets overshadowed immediately by another return and then again by the heels who will actually be feuding with the other guy who interrupted your return, well, that doesn't exactly sound like a return that promises much for you in the future, does it?
HOT: Dean Ambrose
I called Ambrose "CM Punk without the years of cynicism and bitterness" last week, and if he's actually got any portion of that potential, he could be a huge star for years to come. Plus, if this storyline with Rollins head where it should (i.e. he puts up the briefcase in order to get Ambrose to stop screwing him out of title shots and loses), then there's an outside chance that Ambrose could even hold the big belts before the end of the next twelve months.
NOT: Adam Rose
The word is that Kevin Dunn has poisoned the well on Rose to Vince, because he's a weird, lazy, misogynistic warlock or something, according to a bunch of other people. In any event, it seems like MITB might have been his last chance at holding on to a push, which is a shame, because I'd find it hard to make the most out of my last chance if nobody involved in commentary was paying a damned bit of attention to my match.
HOT: Dolph Ziggler
Don't look now, but Dolph might actually be on something resembling a winning streak! Plus, they gave him a new squeeze, and every one of his career resurgences have come about when he has a woman at his side! Plus, she's on Total Divas, so she probably won't get fired and leave him high and dry! Are we getting way too hopeful about a guy who will probably get burned sooner or later? Probably!
So, Cesaro's apparently on a losing streak against ridiculously inferior competition, which can only mean good things, right? Plus, there was the idiotic decision to have his match with Kofi end during the commercial break. We get it, you want people to use the app, but there's been an unwritten rule in wrestling for, like, ever: always show the finish on TV! That's the whole point of televising matches! Especially when it's something shocking, like Kofi somehow getting a win in 2014!
HOT: Jack Swagger
Well, that's quite a reversal, albeit one that actually makes sense. Now, is this a serious attempt to revitalize the career of Jack Swagger, or just more setup for Rusev to crush before he moves on to the actual guy who's going to beat him?
NOT: Stardust and Goldust vs Rybaxel
Hey, we all love Stardust, and we all love Goldust, and for some strange reason, there are people who love the Big Guy, but for the love of whomever's in charge of these things, can both these teams move on to doing...anything else at this point? The answer, of course, is no, because there are literally only two other tag teams on the main roster at this point, and they're still fighting each other.
I would have loved to talk more Emma's saga of lawbreaking, unemployment, and sudden re-employment, but it literally took place within forty-eight hours and then disappeared again. I'd say she'll probably see some lack of forward momentum in her career, but given that her starting point on the main roster was "klutzy girlfriend of Santino", the fact that she still has a WWE career after that probably counts as a step forward.
NOT: CJ Parker
Somehow, in the land of NXT, where everyone is capable of getting a crowd reaction, nobody cares about CJ Parker. The fact that he can't wrestle an interesting match or cut an intelligible promo probably has something to do with it. How did he escape the budget cuts?
Inactive List as of 06.30.14
- AJ Lee, out indefinitely as of April 14th (R&R)
- Bad News Barrett, out indefinitely as of June 24th (shoulder)
- Christian, out indefinitely as of March 25th (concussion)
- Daniel Bryan, out indefinitely as of May 12th (neck surgery)
- Darren Young, out 4-6 months as of April 13th (ACL)
- Fernando, out 3-4 weeks as of June 22nd (knee)
- Rey Mysterio, out indefinitely as of April 15th (hand)
- Tamina Snuka, out 6 months as of June 6th (knee surgery)
- Cal Bishop, out indefinitely as of June 25th (torn rotator cuff)
- Corey Graves, out indefinitely as of May 30th (concussion)
- Dana Brooke, out indefinitely as of June 18th (leg)
- Kendall Skye, out 6-8 weeks as of June 18th (broken wrist)
- Marcus Louis, out indefinitely as of June 25th (leg)
- Tyler Breeze, day-to-day as of June 20th (broken finger)
- Veronica Lane, out indefinitely as of June 18th (leg)
- AJ Lee, WWE, returned to action on June 30th Raw
- Chris Jericho, WWE, returned to television on June 30th Raw
- Emma, WWE, briefly released from her contract before being quickly re-hired as of July 2nd
- The Miz, WWE, returned to television on June 30th Raw
- Santino Marella, WWE, officially retired from in-ring competition as of July 6th
- Steve Cutler, NXT, made NXT debut on July 3rd NXT
WWE World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena
- 8 day reign, defeated Cesaro, Kane, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, and Roman Reigns in a Ladder Match to claim the vacant title on June 29th (WWE Money in the Bank)
- Next title defense: vs Kane, Randy Orton, and Roman Reigns, Fatal 4-Way Match, Battleground PPV
> **NEW** WWE Intercontinental Champion: VACANT
- former champion Bad News Barrett was forced to vacate the title on June 30th due to injury
- Next title match: Battle Royal, Battleground PPV
WWE United States Champion: Sheamus
- 63 day reign, won a battle royal that included former champion Dean Ambrose on May 5th (Raw)
WWE Tag Team Champions: The Usos
- 126 day reign, defeated The New Age Outlaws on March 3rd (Raw)
**NEW** WWE Divas' Champion: AJ Lee
- 7 day reign, defeated Paige on June 30th (Raw)
WWE NXT Champion: Adrian Neville
- 130 day reign, defeated Bo Dallas in a Ladder Match on February 27th (NXT ArRIVAL PPV)
- Next title defense: vs Tyler Breeze
WWE NXT Tag Team Champions: The Ascension
- 271 day reign, defeated Corey Graves and Adrian Neville on October 2nd NXT
WWE NXT Women's Champion: Charlotte
- 39 day reign, defeated Natalya on May 29th to win the tournament for the title vacated by former champion Paige
On the latest After Dark, I go into more detail about how middle-of-the-road Money in the Bank was, and then how much better Raw was the next night. Plus, at that point, Emma's release and sudden re-hire were still hot news, and someone had sent a mysterious package of white powder to WWE Headquarters! Man, last week was weird.
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