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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Wrestling’s 4Rs: WWE Raw & Dragon Gate on iPPV Reviewed
Posted by Larry Csonka on 08.08.2014

How the 4Rs of wRestling Work!
Here is a quick explanation of the 4R's. The column will run TWO times a week. We will group our feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and need discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come. This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a "mark" column, nor a "smark" column, our goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. We will not apologize for our opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.

 photo dragongateblue_zps8c26309d.jpg

Dragon Gate Scandal Gate 2014
By: Larry Csonka

  • Masaaki Mochizuki, Dragon Kid{W}, Gamma defeated (7:08 Bible) Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!, Mr. Quu Quu Tanizaki Naoki Toyonaka Dolphin, Jimmy Kanda{L} [***]
  • Don Fujii, Ryotsu Shimizu{W} defeated (7:32 Kamearikouenmae Crab) Yosuke♡Santa Maria, Yuga Hayashi{L} [***]
  • Jimmy Susumu{W}, Jimmy Kagetora, "Mr. High Tension" Kotoka defeated (11:26 Hikari no Wa Cutback) K-ness{L}, Kenichiro Arai, Shachihoko BOY [**½]
  • Akira Tozawa, Shingo Takagi defeated (13:22 Disqualified for brass knuckle use) YAMATO, Punch Tominaga{L} [***]
  • T-Hawk{W}, Eita (18:28 Night Ride) defeated Masato Yoshino{L}, Uhaa Nation [***]
  • Open the Dream Gate Championship 4 vs. 1 Handicap Match: BxB Hulk vs. Naruki Doi, Kzy, Cyber Kong, Mondai Ryu
    -Hulk (13:34 FTX) Mondai Ryu
    -Hulk (17:04 Jackknife Cradle) Kong
    -Doi defeated (21:29 Bakatare Sliding Kick) Hulk
    -Hulk fails in his 1st defense; Doi becomes interim champion [*]

    The Tirade

    This was a placeholder show to set up the Dangerous Gate event, but placeholder shouldn't be bad and overall I was not a fan of the show. It's a rare instance that I came away completely disappointed with a Dragon Gate show, and cannot recommend anything from it. Some will claim it is because I am so high on the G1 right now, but I look at both promotions differently, and I had none of the fun I normally do watching the Dragon Gate promotion. Nothing broke three stars, nothing felt important, and the stuff that was supposed to (the main event) was just frustrating. The match I was looking forward to the most (EITA and T-Hawk vs. Yoshino and Uhaa Nation) was simply under whelming, and that was pretty much my feeling on the entire event. Fine matches that helped to set up the bigger show, unfortunately it felt like a TV show, and not an event I want to pay for.

    The main event match/angle I ended up hating. The wrestling was fine, but I hated it. BxB Hulk finally wins the big one, and Dragon Gate decides to completely over book the mess, play shenanigans and turn me off of the product all in one night. They signed the main event at the start of the show, Hulk defending the title against Naruki Doi, Kzy, Cyber Kong, Mondai Ryu; this plays off of the MAD BLANKEY split and the angles they have been running, but I feel that you do not do this match for the title. Hulk fights hard, shows heart, but loses the title. Yes the odds were stacked against him, but this just came off as an overbooked mess, the kind of shit I try to get away from when I watch Dragon Gate. I want high paced and awesome action, I want wackiness and gimmick and strange names, not overbooked title matches and angles. And now Doi is not the 21st champion, he is the interim champion, and will face Hulk at Dangerous Gate. If Hulk wins, it will be counted as a title defense and he basically gets the title back; if Doi wins, he is the 21st champion.

    Some have loved this angle, they claim it's the kind of angle WWE would try and fail at and think that this is well done. I fully respect those opinions, if you enjoyed the angle and presentation, then so be it. I was not a fan. I was hoping that Hulk could simply defend the title and move onto the match with Doi; I don't need an elaborate angle/screw job to make me want to see it. I will agree it makes sense to a point, but it simply came off poorly to me and killed my enjoyment of the show. And Dragon Gate rarely does that.

    You're better than this Dragon Gate. I mean seriously, who the hell is booking this shit?

    "Pyro and ballyhoo bro!"

    Oh what the fuck…

    Score: 4.5

    As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…

    0 - 0.9: Torture
    1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous
    2 - 2.9: Very Bad
    3 - 3.9: Bad
    4 - 4.9: Poor
    5 - 5.9: Not So Good
    6 - 6.9: Average
    7 - 7.9: Good
    8 - 8.9:Very Good
    9 - 9.9: Amazing
    10: Virtually Perfect

    As a reminder, this is not a basic "how good was the show" number like a TV show, as I have always felt that a PPV is very different from a regular show. I have always judged PPV on how they built to a match, the match quality, crowd reactions to matches and angles, the overall booking, how the PPV leads into the future, PPV price and so on and so forth. I have added this in here for an explanation since so many have asked, and I have previously discussed it on podcasts. I understand that this may seem different, but that is how I grade. Obviously your criteria may be different.

     photo wwe-raw-logo_zps506d1388.jpg
    By: Jack Stevenson

    Raw 8.04.14:
  • Roman Reigns d. Kane in a Last Man Standing match
  • Mark Henry d. Damian Sandow
  • Dean Ambrose d. Alberto Del Rio
  • Rusev d. Sin Cara
  • Dolph Ziggler d. Cesaro
  • Goldust & Stardust d. Rybaxel
  • Chris Jericho d. Luke Harper
  • Diego d. Fernando
  • Bo Dallas d. R-Truth
  • Heath Slater d. Seth Rollins (that isn't a typo. He had a lot of help from Dean Ambrose. Like, A LOT)

    Roman Reigns vs. Kane: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this, considering Kane usually is kind of tedious, as are Last Man Standing matches, and Reigns isn't accomplished enough yet to overcome both those obstacles. But in the end this worked really well, and was a good, intense brawl. The problem with Last Man Standing is that its structure requires there to be several moments in the match where nothing is happening other than one guy flailing around on the mat like an upturned turtle while another stands over him moodily, which can really disrupt the flow of things. Reigns and Kane however are so methodically paced that, had this been a regular match, they would have just filled those several second gaps with meandering punchy-kicky sequences, and every match is better for losing those. It meant the focus was solely on the match's highlights, the weapon use and the impressive feats of power. These big spots were impactful and built on each other nicely, although the finish was kind of anti-climactic, it was hard to buy a single spear from Reigns being enough to incapacitate Kane for ten when previous LMS matches have needed people to be electrocuted in order to keep them down. Still, this was largely successful. Something something 9.99 on the WWE Network.

    Sitting down with Cena and Lesnar: It's kind of a clichéd opinion at that point, but WWE really should do more of these serious, no frills, UFC styled sit down promos to hype the big matches, because oh my god does John Cena-Brock Lesnar now feel like the biggest of matches. It feels like... the biggest fight of the summer. We all get into pro wrestling to some degree for the showmanship and the histrionics, but sometimes it's refreshing just to be told "hey, these guys don't like each other, and they're going to calmly explain why." Ultimately, this now feels like two real humans with real human motivations who just happen to be super-human fighters, and we're going to get to see them battle for the WWE Championship for only 9.fucking.99 on the fucking WWE fucking Network. Awesome awesome work.

    Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper: Soooooo many weirdly brilliant 2009 indy geek dream matches on Raw these days. Chris Jericho vs. Brodie Lee! Wow! This was pretty damn fine; not as damn fine as you might expect considering the raw talent involved, but they didn't have a ton of time and the storyline leading into it has been desperately lackluster. Still, these guys are more than capable of slinging a good David vs. Goliath match together, and that's what we got, with Jericho desperately hacking away at his gigantic opponent while Harper swatted at him with big boots. The finish with Bray Wyatt's interference was more of the same and yet another missed opportunity to inject something invigorating into this feud, but on its own merits the match was very worthy of a spot in the right.

    Beat the Clock!: Once again the Beat the Clock challenge proved itself one of the more fun little gimmicks WWE has to offer, providing two really enjoyable segments. First there was a long (surprisingly long) tough battle between Dean Ambrose and Alberto Del Rio, with lots of intelligent arm work by Del Rio which actually lead somewhere, and plenty of drama as the clock ticked on and on and on and Ambrose's chances of naming the Summerslam stipulation for his match with Rollins seemed to slip right out of his grasp. Then, in the penultimate segment of the night, Seth had his opponent switched at the last minute from Rob Van Dam to... Heath Slater. This was great because it meant we didn't have to see Van Dam wrestle, and also led to an inventive and pretty funny angle in which Dean Ambrose re-appeared at ringside to distract his nemesis by shredding his Money in the Bank contract and then pouring cola and popcorn into the empty briefcase, before wedging JBL's cowboy hat in there for good measure. This went on long enough to distract Rollins multiple times, and he eventually got so frazzled that Slater was able to roll him up for the three count, which is barely believable but we'll go with it. Taken as a complete package, this was probably the highlight of the show.

    Rusev vs. Sin Cara: We didn't actually get to see this match, it happened entirely during the commercial break and was only visible to viewers of the WWE App. I like this a lot for two reasons. The first is that anything that messes with the inconceivably stale Raw format is very very welcome. The second is that anything that stops me from having to watch yet another Rusev squash is very very welcome. Sadly we did get the usual Lana promo after the match, and the intervention of the Real Americans didn't freshen up things particularly with their sickly sweet spiel, but you can't have everything in life, and to be honest I think it's self-absorbed of you to be asking, you're absolutely delusional and you need to get a sense of perspective. There are people dying in poverty and of terrible diseases across the whole world and you're getting all upset over a Lana promo? You disgust me.

    Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro: Ziggler won a peppy but very, very short match that mostly served to illustrate how far Cesaro's star has sunk since WrestleMania. The Miz hit the ring for a post match confrontation in which he nearly got kicked in the face. All perfectly OK.

    Two Different Dusts vs. Rybaxel: It's rather frustrating to see Cody and Goldy spend about seven straight weeks wrestling Rybaxel in various different guises, take a few weeks off to cut some fun but insubstantial promos about the cosmos, and then return to just do the exact same match. The unimaginative booking drags this into purgatory but I'm still thoroughly in love with the Stardust character and in awe of how brilliantly Cody pulls it off, so it was nice to see him in a slightly lengthier, if too familiar, segment.

    The WWE Network has only got 670,000 subscribers and don't you just know it: In one of the more bizarre opening segments in Raw history, the Authority all came down to the ring together to supposedly hype the card for Summerslam, but in reality drum into our heads that you can watch it by subscribing to the WWE Network for only... well, you get the picture. It was so odd and kind of uncomfortable to watch this company, usually so self-assured to the point of arrogance, reduced to devoting the whole opening segment of Raw to begging people to subscribe to the Network. I'm not sure if it was maybe a joke? Because Triple H delivered the '$9.99' catchphrase with that little smirk he does that indicates he's not taking it wholly seriously, but I also don't think the company has the guts to poke fun at itself like that. JBL and Jerry Lawler also spent about the first quarter of the show trying to get '$9.99' trending on Twitter, but of course it can't because the dot in between the '9' and the '99' would have broken the hashtag, which is such an incredibly basic and strange error for a company with an undeniably well-maintained social media presence to make. Maybe this was an incredibly effective promo that got 330,000 new people to subscribe instantaneously, but, also, maybe not. Maybe it was just one of the most baffling ten minutes of TV in pro wrestling history.

    Mark Henry vs. Damian Sandow: AMERICAN SPORTS! I don't know what happens in them. Even if I did I don't think I'd have found this great- Sandow came out talking about Oklahoma and how they were better at football than Texas, and then Henry was like "reckon they aren't" and proved it by doing the World's Strongest Slam. Rich and compelling!

    Diego vs. Fandango: I'm waaaaay past deadline for the column and have no time to write about something so irrelevant. Hornswoggle and El Torito are friends now! That's what we learned here.

    R-Truth vs. Bo Dallas: Dallas won this match and continues to go nowhere fast. His character remains over but they have to give him an actual, proper rivalry after Summerslam else there's a real danger he'll just peter out. Victory laps only offer a limited amount of entertainment.

    Brie & Stephanie's contract signing: While I remember, I'm told you can see the official contract signing for the 'obligatory comedy match on the pre-show involving Hornswoggle that is actually surprisingly lacking in anything funny considering that is its sole purpose' tomorrow at 8/7 Central (I have literally no idea what '8/7' Central means, being from England. I assume Central is a time zone? But 8/7 isn't a time I recognize at all) live on the WWE Network for only $9.99 a month! Be there or be square. Anyway, this snapped the streak of astonishingly great Brie Bella segments at a still respectable two, as Brie's promo wasn't any good and Stephanie and Hunter's top-notch dickishness wasn't enough to save it. I did like Brie bringing up all the different wrestlers Steph has tormented over the last year or so, it was a nice moment of continuity and also the first time since that weird Chicago Raw a few months ago that the 'CM Punk' chants have been even vaguely entertaining. But mostly this just was awkward and melodramatic, and contract signings are a worn out and boring old trope.


    No change.

    1. 2.17.14- John Cena vs. Cesaro

    2. 3.03.14- The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family

    3. 5.5.14- The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family

    4. 2.03.14- Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton

    5. 2.10.14- Sheamus & Christian vs. The Real Americans

    6. 1.27.14- John Cena, Sheamus & Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield

    7. 6.2.14- The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family

    8. 4.21.14- Sheamus vs. Bad News Barrett

    9. 5.5.14- Daniel Bryan vs. Alberto Del Rio

    10. 6.9.14- Sheamus vs. Bad News Barrett

    The 411:

    A mostly sub-par episode of Raw, although the Beat the Clock challenge and the Cena-Lesnar promo segment both were rather excellent. A lot of momentum they'd built up in the past couple of weeks was squandered this time out though- the Bella-McMahon contract signing was flat, Reigns-Orton didn't really progress, Jericho and Harper had a good match but they can't patch up the nothingness of this feud for much longer. It was a fairly fast paced show and the good was spread out quite nicely so it isn't unwatchable, but you can definitely, definitely skip this and know you haven't missed much.

    Show Rating: 5.5

    As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…

    0 - 0.9: Torture
    1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous
    2 - 2.9: Very Bad
    3 - 3.9: Bad
    4 - 4.9: Poor
    5 - 5.9: Not So Good
    6 - 6.9: Average
    7 - 7.9: Good
    8 - 8.9:Very Good
    9 - 9.9: Amazing
    10: Virtually Perfect

    The 911th edition is over…

     photo who_gives_a_shit_zps93a9518b.gif

    Have you checked out the Csonka Podcasting Network? If you haven't, you should We run anywhere from 15-20 shows a month, discussing pro wrestling, the world of MMA, the NBA, general sports, popular TV series of the past, bad movies, battle rap, interviews, MMA & Wrestling conference calls and more! Around 10 different personalities take part in the various shows, which all have a different feel; so you'll likely find something you like. All of the broadcasts are free, so go ahead and give a show a try and share the link with your friends on the Twitter Machine and other social media outlets! Running since May of 2011, there are currently over 500 shows in the archive for you to listen to.

    Listen to internet radio with Larry Csonka on BlogTalkRadio

    Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it…TO CSONKA'S TWITTER!



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