The Wrestling News Experience 07.21.14
Posted by Stephen Randle on 07.21.2014
Thoughts on the results out of WWE Battleground, a preview for tonight's Raw, news and thoughts on the future of the WWE logo and more!
Monday July 21st, 2014
From 411Mania's Canadian offices in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, this is The Wrestling News Experience, with Stephen Randle!
No, Wait, It's Actually "Love Is A Battlefield". Eh, Close Enough.
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Experience. I am Stephen Randle, and I have watched a lot of DOTA for the last two weeks. And also a lot of Suits. Both are good, for different reasons. But only one gets you looked at like you're a crazy person, and it's not the USA original show. However, I'm already a wrestling fan, so I'm used to it. Bring on your mockery about a game that so many people play that the world championship raised over 11 million dollars from fan funding! Like my co-worker who mocked my House Targaryen t-shirt, it turns out that I'm actually the one with my finger on the pulse of popular culture, and you're the one who's out of the loop!
We're into the pre-show, but there are two matches, which means less Renee and more Funkadactyls attempting to wrestle.
Nice of WWE to use the same music for Battleground that they use to advertise WWEShop.com. No, wait, not nice. Annoying.
In a shocking display of not even trying to hide the fact that everyone knows how this ends, the entire announce team picks Cena to win. You know, when even those three idiots can see it coming...
Fandango vs Adam Rose
Apparently it's Adam Rose's birthday, which apparently explains why Summer Rae and Layla are with him. And I know we went through this with Torito, but JBL knows the rabbit is a guy in a suit, right? I'm just asking, because he spent like a minute discussing how he wanted to dismember, cook, and eat him in intricate detail, and I feel like authorities should probably be notified at some point.
Have you ever noticed how in WWE, the goofy comedy characters somehow always end up with the hot supermodels? It's just like real life, right?
Adam Rose defeated Fandango (pinfall, Party Foul)
Seriously, Adam Rose is probably the only person who's thrilled that Santino retired, because it pretty much guaranteed him a job and semi-featured role as opening match comedy character for at least a few more years.
Cameron vs Naomi
So "Funk Is On A Roll" gets passed off to yet another wrestler. From its humble origins with Ernest "The Cat" Miller to The Funkasaurus to Xavier Woods to Naomi, truly, no other entrance music has endured being thrust onto so many shitty gimmicks despite not really being worth it for so long.
Well, that was short. And of course, the complete non-wrestler beats the actual competent one that we might not hate seeing pushed as a legitimate threat. Because we need to keep Cameron strong for season three of Total Divas, I guess!
Cameron defeated Naomi (pinfall, rollup)
And with that, we move on to the thing that we're still calling PPV because we are nothing if not ridiculous creatures of habit! This also explains why Raw will never draw below a certain rating!
The Usos (c) vs Luke Harper and Erick Rowan - 2/3 Falls Match - WWE Tag Team Championship
Yeah, okay, it's official: Harper and Rowan's entrance music is terrible and not getting better. This is like when The Corre had sixteen different versions of their entrance, and they all sucked.
So, the only way to tell the Usos apart is by their tattoos, is it, Cole? Am I the only person on the planet who sees that their face paint is on completely opposite sides? Or are we pretending that their faces are covered in tattoos that partially wipe off halfway through every match? Have I finally gone completely insane?
I said "completely" insane. I wasn't there yet.
Wow, that was a sudden end to the first fall. Did I just see a man pinned by a transition move? What is this, the 1989 Survivor Series?
Harper and Rowan defeated The Usos in the first fall (Harper pinned Jimmy, Big Boot)
Wait, what? I was settling in for a long second fall.
The Usos defeated Harper and Rowan in the second fall (Jey pinned Rowan, roll-up)
I'm starting to feel like 2/3 Falls was a mistake, since these aren't two teams who can have three distinct matches in a row, and it's showing, because there was minimal action between the first two falls, and no real build to either finish. Instead of three matches, we're getting one match with two short breaks in the action, and it hurts the flow of what would be a much better match if it were one fall, as they showed last PPV.
And now we ramp up the action right away, which is fun, but it's still hurt because the first two falls were underwhelming in building up to a "pull out the stops" finish.
Everyone goes up top! Even Rowan! What the hell?
And having watched Rowan kick out of their only finisher, the Usos are momentarily stunned. That's why you build up secondary finishers, guys. Lesson learned.
Holy crap, they gave Rowan a double superplex spot. He's got crazy backwoods redneck strength!
So now the Usos just start throwing superkicks because it's all they have left.
Well, the third fall was a great match, but the first two parts were pretty bad.
The Usos defeated Luke Harper and Erick Rowan to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship (Jey pinned Harper, double Superfly Splash)
Okay, so The Usos have beaten their only real contenders who aren't Stardust and Goldust, another face team. Now what?
Please don't let the answer be "Rybaxel".
Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins
Or we could start the match during Rollins' backstage promo, I guess. If that's what you really want, Dean.
So...no match, I guess?
Well, good thing we only had that one time for five minutes anyway, because we can just seamlessly roll onto the next match as if nothing untoward just happened!
AJ Lee (c) vs Paige - WWE Divas Championship
JBL, in a shocking display of paying attention, notices that Cole said he doesn't read Twitter just seconds after talking about things he read on Twitter. He's entirely getting yelled at.
And then he brings up that there also used to be a Women's title, which was separate from the Divas title. Is he trying to get fired?
Holy shit, Cole called a Shining Wizard correctly without prompting!
AJ Lee defeated Paige to retain the WWE Divas Championship (pinfall, Shining Wizard)
Good thing AJ won that last match, otherwise the part with her holding the belt in the SummerSlam promo that ran immediately afterwards would be, like, totally awkward.
Randy searches for Kane backstage, which you'd think would be easier since apparently you just have to check any area with red backlighting.
Hey, what was the point of re-masking Kane, again? He's still using wry sarcasm like when he was in a suit.
And what a perfect time for WWE Network to start skipping and repeating the exact same Randy Orton line six times in a row. I'm not saying it's turning me off the whole concept, because it's usually a perfectly fine streaming experience, but when it goes bad, it goes really bad.
Jack Swagger vs Rusev
The announce team claims to have been looking forward to this match all week long. Well, that makes three of us.
WWE: We never met a politically touchy international incident we couldn't try and push an evil foreign heel out of.
Although I agree, USA does way too much war-mongoling.
Nice of them to make sure to cut away from Swagger's still-heelish entrance video. Still has that rattlesnake on his ring jacket and singlet, though. Hell, Big E wore more red, white, and blue than Swagger is during his matches with Rusev.
Frankly, I'm shocked it took this long into Swagger's career for them to just go with him as an All-American hero (well, as a good guy). It was literally the only thing they hadn't tried up until now.
Well, that wasn't exactly a dominating victory. I know it's just Swagger, but they wasted a face turn on a count-out loss? And in a night where we already had one match end in a bait-and-switch, you'd think we'd cut down on bullshit finishes in other matches.
Rusev defeated Jack Swagger by count-out
Man, he really is being prepped for Cena, isn't he? We should just be prepared in advance.
Um, you might want to avoid putting unconscious people in the Accolade. If anything, it looks like Swagger was being gently held while he slept peacefully.
So apparently Goldust and Stardust are looking for some sort of Cosmic Key. Have they tried playing Kingdom Hearts?
Uh...so I guess Rollins is having a match anyway?
Oh, I get it, he's being a dick. That's no excuse for forcing me to listen to his crappy entrance music. Twice.
Man, that's some lax security. Even for WWE.
So, does Ambrose have some sort of superpower where he's an unstoppable monster that reminds people of Steve Austin in his prime with his ability to raise hell in awesome ways outside the ring, except it doesn't work in actual matches, which explains why he can't even beat Randy Orton?
As fun as that was, I'm still upset that we didn't get a match.
Chris Jericho vs Bray Wyatt
Well, Bray seems pretty forgiving of the fact that his followers once again failed to get the job done against The Usos. You'd think he'd have been more focused on that, given how much Jimmy and Jey have cost them over the past few months.
Okay, get your bets in now, will Jericho putting Wyatt over as a big deal work out better or worse than when he put over Fandango as the next hot act?
We joke, but at least when Jericho makes his periodic comebacks, he comes back actually ready to wrestle long PPV matches. I'm looking at you, RVD.
No, Bray, don't go for your finisher when you're not facing the hard camera! That never goes well!
Wait, what the hell?
Chris Jericho defeated Bray Wyatt (pinfall, Codebreaker)
So that doesn't make a lick of sense if they have any interest in having Wyatt keep any heat after getting destroyed in his feud with Cena. Which I guess they don't.
I'll give you time to explain why this is actually a good plan before I explain myself further down and tell you why it's not.
And Rollins makes the fatal mistake of sending away his personal security during a shot of him walking through the parking lot. Why would they even be filming if he wasn't about to get attacked?
Wait, was Rollins leaving the arena anyway? Wasn't he supposed to be Plan B? Why would he leave? I mean, it makes sense that he's fleeing now, but before that.
Battle Royal for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
And the crowd goes wild for Ziggler's entrance. You poor people, you still have hope.
It's Barrett! And he's injured, which is clearly bad news!
I feel bad that Great Khali has to be in these matches, because I think he's one bump away from shattering into five thousand pieces.
Ryback bodyslams Del Rio to give us our obligatory "Why didn't you just slam him over the top rope, dummy?" spot of the match.
Look! It's Titus O'Neal! And he's doing things! Which is exciting because he ain't done shit since he broke up with his tag partner for no particular reason!
Why is Heath Slater still in this match?
Kofi and Big E pull off a chicken fight spot to save Kofi from elimination! Well, he's done his spot for the evening, he can go now.
Oh, that's why Slater was still in there. To eliminate Cesaro. Yeah, that push is dead, isn't it.
NO! No more Bo!
Dammit, Miz is winning this, isn't he.
The worst part is, the crowd would be thrilled with Ziggler or Sheamus winning, and nobody's going to give a shit about Miz.
And there it is. At least Dolph got to eliminate Sheamus, which made even less sense, because Miz and Sheamus are the ones actually feuding.
Oh, and listen to the crowd go deathly silent. Yeah, he's not a heel, he's a vacuum.
The Miz won the battle royal to become the WWE Intercontinental Champion
Geez, between this and Evil Geniuses being eliminated from TI4, it's been a day full of disappointments.
John Cena (c) vs Kane vs Randy Orton vs Roman Reigns - Fatal 4-Way - WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Well, I guess they didn't retire the WHC like everyone was assuming. Wouldn't want to deprive Cena of his ridiculous scarf, I suppose.
I don't suppose we could just fast-forward through this match and get to the end part where hopefully Rollins fails to cash in, Ambrose attacks him again, and then Brock destroys Cena to declare his intent to have a title shot at SummerSlam? What do you mean I can't fast-forward live TV? Why even have all this technology, then?
And the crowd finds their own amusement by chanting for Daniel Bryan.
I know we talk about Cena's Five Moves of Doom, but Reigns literally only does five moves and repeats them through the match. Not that that's a barrier to becoming WWE Champion, but it could doom us to some pretty bad PPV title matches in the future.
John Cena won a Fatal 4-Way to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (Cena pinned Kane)
Okay, now give us the good stuff.
Or not. Okay, then.
This was not a PPV that had to happen. The WWE World title match was an irrelevant placeholder because John Cena wasn't losing the title, and in the process, may have exposed Reigns as a man of a few words...and moves. The match I wanted to see never happened, which is bad no matter how good the segments that replaced it were, because Ambrose can (and does) attack Rollins on any random Raw already. The tag title match was decent, but left us with no challengers and was another loss for the Wyatt family, who never seem to win. Speaking of which, somehow Chris Jericho beat Bray Wyatt cleanly, which makes no sense. We got the heatless Miz getting a push as IC Champion, a bad Rusev-Swagger match, and an okay but not great Divas title match. Plus, everything was basically a set-up for SummerSlam. If a PPV could underline how much WWE doesn't feel they have to try on minor PPVs because people will watch them on the Network anyway, this would be the one. Everything that happened on this show, could literally have happened on Raws during the build to SummerSlam rather than a show that people theoretically could have paid for.Oh, and then nothing happened at the end that could have at least driven interest heading into tonight! Literally, if you skipped Battleground and just watched Raws from Money in the Bank until SummerSlam, you wouldn't miss a single real storyline development!
Bottom line, for the first time, I felt like this PPV wasn't even worth the ten bucks I spend on the Network. Fortunately, NXT still makes up for it, but it's not such good news for the main roster.
Tonight, your special guest for Raw is Flo Rida, who will probably be performing the only song of his that anyone knows! Which he already did back at WrestleMania a couple years ago! Because that's what you want to see on your wrestling show, a musical performance!
Anyway, last night John Cena retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship because we already saw the advertisements for SummerSlam that said he would, and those things are written in stone. With Seth Rollins having fled the arena due to repeated attacks by Dean Ambrose, there was no Plan B in effect for The Authority, and apparently no Plan C either. Well, maybe that will happen tonight. Don't hold your breath.
And we have a new Intercontinental Champion, but don't get excited, it's The Miz. Maybe we'll get a unification match against Sheamus out of this, at least. Which Miz will probably win. I'm just warning you in advance.
Plus, Chris Jericho beat Bray Wyatt, because apparently everyone can! And it was a night of disappointment for The Wyatt Family in general, as Harper and Rowan failed to capture tag team gold against those pesky Usos! Can they rebound, tonight on Raw!
- The word is coming down that WWE will officially transition away from the "scratch logo" that has been their hallmark (in one form or another) since the late '90's, and switch to the more stylized logo currently being used for WWE Network (and several other places, such as NXT) after SummerSlam, with all belts and logos expected to be replaced at that point. There is no word on what this means for the belt formerly known as the WWE Championship, since it is basically a giant scratch logo. Also, they only introduced it just under two years ago and spent a lot of money on it, but that wouldn't be the first time they wasted ridiculous amounts of money on something terrible. See also, the XFL, McMahon's Million Dollar Giveaway, the WBF, WWE Studios up until they were saved by Halle Berry, WWECW, any salary paid to Mike Adamle, Million Dollar Tough Enough, the Diva Search, you know what, I'm going to stop before I make myself sad. And also start questioning how this company manages to stay profitable.
- There's a rumour that WWE might be planning a fan interaction event at WrestleMania 31, involving lighting the arena with their cell phones, which is silly, because they already do that for Bray Wyatt's entrance. On the bright (ha!) side, if fans are already doing it, it will at least probably actually happen, unlike that whole idea they kept having about promoting Rey Mysterio vs Sin Cara and trying to get the entire audience to wear masks.
- Eva Marie has been officially demoted to NXT, where she was received with a scathing crowd reaction during the last round of TV tapings, possibly because she has absolutely no skills related to anything having to do with being anywhere near a wrestling ring. Apparently, people noticed.
- And Alicia Fox's weird screaming character, which ate up a lot of TV time, led to no real push, and made no sense, has been dropped, which is incredible, because that's actually a rational reaction to something failing on every level.
- WWE stock rose slightly over the weekend due to vague rumours of a potential buyout, which, once again, would never happen. Does it scare you that the people in charge of most of the world's money are too dumb to understand that Vince McMahon would never sell his family-run wrestling promotion?
- Kurt Angle has said that he would love to close out his career in WWE, to which WWE reportedly coughed politely and refused to make eye contact.
HOT: Dean Ambrose
Last time I compared Ambrose to CM Punk, this week I'll be one of the many putting his work up against Steve Austin. His repeated assaults on Seth Rollins, capped every time by being forcibly carried off by authority figures, only to keep coming back for more, did so much to remind me of Austin during his initial rise. I say again, are we sure Roman Reigns is the one who's going to end up as the real beneficiary of the Shield breakup, or (to use an analogy that's been gaining steam lately) is he becoming the Orton to Ambrose's Batista?
NOT: Bray Wyatt
Listen, I know wins and losses theoretically don't matter and Wyatt can still cut great promos, but at some point, you've destroyed the mystique around a character that's supposed to have otherworldly powers, and they're quickly reaching that point. Would you like to know the last time Bray Wyatt or the Wyatt Family in general won a feud? That would be their debut feud against Kane. Last year. Since then, they attempted to convert Daniel Bryan and briefly managed it before he quickly broke free (Wyatt won the PPV match, but come on, Bryan was the winner in the end), lost to The Shield, and lost decisively to John Cena. Losing cleanly to Chris Jericho is just baffling at this point, since it was clearly a spot for him to get a big win over a "name" talent, and then he...didn't.
HOT: Daniel Bryan
Well, arguably he was more over than at least half the guys in the title match, if you were listening to the crowd. I think the worst part is that Bryan was, if nothing else, a taste of something new and different, and now we're back to the same old thing, and it's turned the crowds even more cynical. There is, however, no truth to the rumour that I had this spot prepped for what I assumed would be a Brock Lesnar appearance and had to come up with something on the fly.
NOT: Jack Swagger
That was an All-American face turn leading into a choke job worthy of Lex Luger. I'm sorry, if the end result was going to be Rusev winning again, was it necessary to turn another midcard heel into a face. rather than just pushing one of the midcard faces that already exist into that role? I know Swagger probably wasn't going to re-invent himself into anything resembling a real star out of this, but why even bother putting in the effort when he's just another guy for Rusev to beat?
HOT: Dolph Ziggler
It's seriously hard to figure out what WWE is doing with Ziggler. In one week, he gets associated with Summer Rae and Layla and a win on Raw as a result, plus he gets one of the best crowd reactions in the battle royal, where proceeds to show off like only he can do. And then he gets turfed by The Miz, who we'll get to. At this point, Ziggler could fit into either HOT or COLD, depending on what day it is, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt this week since, you know, he's pretty awesome.
Wow, I thought Cesaro wasn't in a good place a few weeks ago, but things have only gotten progressively worse for the Swiss Superman, who keeps losing matches and also lost Paul Heyman as his manager. Come on, guys, you knew Heyman was going to have to go back to managing Brock eventually, why attach him to another wrestler for, apparently, no particular reason other than to give him a forum to remind people about Brock Lesnar? Sorry, Cesaro, join the list of other failed "Heyman Guys" with Ryback, Curtis Axel, Heidenreich, Nathan Jones, and Matt Morgan. Man, that's depressing company to be in.
HOT: Adam Rose
Like I said, the retirement of Santino Marella couldn't have come at a better time as far as Rose is concerned. Now, instead of a one-way ticket back to NXT, Rose apparently has secured a spot as the token comedy face act. Maybe they'll let Emma be a Rosebud! Hey, it couldn't be any worse than what she was doing up until now.
NOT: The Miz
Ladies and gentlemen, your new IC Champion. And nobody, anywhere, gives a damn. Hey, I'm glad he's back, because it gives me an easy entry on this list every single week.
HOT: Stardust and Goldust
I don't know what the hell they're talking about, all I know is they're doing something interesting, and clearly having more fun than anyone really has a right to. How did Goldust manage to become even more popular and an even better wrestler at 45 than he was at any point before this? And what the hell is in Rhodes DNA that makes them able to say "screw it, I can make this crazy idea work if I really want to" and then just go ahead and do it?
NOT: Randy Orton
You know, when you're being portrayed as even less intimidating than Kane, who hasn't been intimidating in at least five years (if we're being generous), to the point that you're searching for him backstage to make amends like a little wuss, your position with the Authority, and WWE in general, seems to have taken a sharp downturn. Long gone are those glory days where they pretended that Orton was the Face of WWE. And don't forget, Batista will be back in a few weeks, and Orton's probably screwed, because I just know who Big Dave is going to get for his return feud.
Inactive List as of 07.07.14
- 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)
- CM Punk, WWE, contract officially expired as of July 17, will not re-sign
- Ricky Steamboat, WWE, released from his trainer's contract
WWE World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena
- 22 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)
**NEW** WWE Intercontinental Champion: The Miz
- 1 day reign, won a Battle Royal on July 20th (Battleground PPV) to claim the title vacated by the injured Bad News Barrett
WWE United States Champion: Sheamus
- 77 day reign, won a battle royal that included former champion Dean Ambrose on May 5th (Raw)
WWE Tag Team Champions: The Usos
- 140 day reign, defeated The New Age Outlaws on March 3rd (Raw)
WWE Divas' Champion: AJ Lee
- 21 day reign, defeated Paige on June 30th (Raw)
WWE NXT Champion: Adrian Neville
- 144 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
- 285 day reign, defeated Corey Graves and Adrian Neville on October 2nd NXT
WWE NXT Women's Champion: Charlotte
- 53 day reign, defeated Natalya on May 29th to win the tournament for the title vacated by former champion Paige
In case you hadn't been paying attention to the Games Zone, I've spent much of the last two weeks covering the DOTA 2 International. If you want to get caught up on the Main Event results before the Grand Finals, which go down today, you can check them out in the Games Zone.
On the latest After Dark, I make predictions in my Battleground preview, including thoughts on the fall of Cesaro, the insanity of pushing Jack Swagger, and why Roman Reigns might not be the big star everyone thinks he is!
411 will have live coverage of Raw tonight starting at 8 pm EDT.
From our promotional department, I've been informed that if you really do like 411Mania and all it provides, or even just me (and really, who doesn't like me), don't forget to bookmark the site in your browser or make 411 your homepage, and tell all your friends about how awesome 411 is.
And don't forget, you can follow all of the everyday goings on in 411 on Twitter.
That's our show, I will be back next week. Also, don't forget 4PC in the Games Zone on Wednesday, and the TWNE After Dark podcast on Wednesday, airing live at around 11 pm EDT on Spreaker.com, posted on 411 shortly thereafter.