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Notes In Observance – WWE Smackdown 3/19/15: Failed Snake Repellent

WWE Smackdown“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

(Aired 3/19/15)

Failed Snake Repellent

– Opening the show with clips from Brock Lesnar’s sit-down style promo was a nice surprise, as the main event of WrestleMania should get “front page” focus of the show, especially so close to the big match. It can even be said Lesnar’s comments sunk in better the second time around, as we could look past the shock value and dive deeper into exactly what he said. He played this off perfectly and deserves a lot of credit here, as great as Paul Heyman has also been.

– The first segment with Roman Reigns, Mark Henry, Seth Rollins, Kane and J & J Security set up the tag match main event from a mile away. Nevertheless, it made sense for Reigns to come out following the opening video and his interaction with Mark Henry was decent, as Henry put him over for last week’s barricade spear and personally endorsed him. It’s a good sign to viewers to show that people like Henry and even Jerry Lawler are now convinced that Reigns could beat Lesnar, because it gives the impression that he is growing on people, which is what WWE wants. Though it’s a forced principle, it works with the right people. The bit with The Authority had Rollins mention a billion and one times that “every arena door was locked to keep out Randy Orton, who will not show up,” which meant of course, that he would show up.

– The “$9.99” commercial song sounds a bit close to Sum 41’s “Fat Lip.” Just saying.

– The Brie Bella-Paige match followed up what happened on Raw, with AJ Lee and Nikki Bella out on commentary going back and forth on a debate about the state of the Divas division. Couldn’t they all agree that it just plain sucks and end the debate? Paige picked up the pinfall victory maybe a little too quickly to be convincing, and we didn’t really get enough time for this to sink in, as most Divas matches these days, shocking considering they had more time on Raw.

– The bits with J & J Security lecturing arena security in keeping an eye out for Orton was expected and didn’t turn out to be anything more than that – unless you were finally hoping to hear Joey Mercury speak. (Spoiler alert: It wouldn’t happen here.)

– Stardust’s boxed promo was very… Stardust. Byron Saxton is a hilarious color commentator and seems to get better by the week, as he compared a Stardust promo to “Storytelling time.”

– Luke Harper’s boxed promo was surprisingly badass, though maybe that was just the effect of him dramatically pushing the ladder down. His promo wording also came from the Bray Wyatt School of promos. It’s also kind of ironic that Ambrose and Harper wear the exact same ring attire: gray tank top, jeans and black shoes. Come to think of it, they’re both presented in the same status on the mental spectrum as “out there.” Hell, you can include Stardust in on that too. And R-Truth has his crazy moments too. One-third of this ladder match are crazy individuals. Sounds about right.

– Dolph Ziggler’s boxed promo was his usual cocky promo taking a poke at other competitors and taking back the “turd” comment towards Daniel Bryan midway through the word, which was interesting. Did WWE see a mistake with the “turd” remark, or did they bank on that catching on more than it did and retraced their steps here?

– The Intercontinental Championship Contender’s Gauntlet match was both an excellent time-killer and great way to have all the competitors show off their in-ring skills. Even the touch of boxed promos from some of the competitors was good, simple hype. The Bryan-Harper and Bryan-Ziggler portions of the match were excellent. Barrett watching from backstage also made it feel important and his attacks on Bryan and Ziggler gave him much-needed heat. They have finally played it right, well – besides for R-Truth’s performance in this match. What the hell was that?

– The hype video from all the other Divas about the tag match for WrestleMania – or Rosa Mendes, Summer Rae, Cameron and Alicia Fox arguing back and forth about who they thought would win – was a decent shot to try to make people care, but the video package sort of came across as second-rate. Who are we giving a chance again?

– The 6-being Interspecies tag match between Tyson Kidd/Cesaro/Natalya and Los Matadores/El Torito wasn’t anything too special as the campiness of the match stipulation itself was too much to ignore. It’s as if the word “INTERSPECIES” hung over the ring during the action. The two teams meshed okay together, but the only big thing out of this was that Natalya got the pinfall over El Torito and even then, is that something to brag about in the end?

– The Reigns/Henry-Rollins/Kane (w/J & J Security) main event tag match already started with the melodramatic scenario of Henry being laid out backstage and of course, all the odds were stacked against Reigns and sure enough, he comes out victorious. How magnificent and lamely predictable. Just when it looked like Orton wouldn’t show, that’s when it happened. Him getting the better hand of most of The Authority and some offense on Rollins before his escape was a decent way to make both guys look good, but it didn’t really turn out to be anything too eventful.

 

 

 

 

Quick Results

РPaige def. Brie Bella via pinfall 

– Intercontinental Championship Contender’s Gauntlet Match – Dolph Ziggler def. Daniel Bryan, Luke Harper (eliminated by Bryan), Dean Ambrose (eliminated by Harper), R-Truth (eliminated by Ambrose), Stardust (eliminated by Ambrose)

– Six-Being Interspecies Tag Match – Tyson Kidd/Cesaro/Natalya def. Los Matadores/El Torito via pinfall

– 2-on-1 Handicap Match – Roman Reigns def. Seth Rollins/Kane via pinfall

Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 3/16/15: The Viper-lante

WWE Raw“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

(Aired 3/16/15)

The Viper-lante

– If this episode had any mission, it was to draw advantage back on Seth Rollins’ side, after nearly getting demolished single-handedly by Randy Orton. It kind of happened, but it kind of didn’t. To set all this up though, WWE used the opening video to highlight Orton’s brutal attack, with clips from his sit-down promo describing his satisfaction.

– Starting the show off with a seemingly pissed off Authority made sense. Being in his hometown, chants for Rollins were expected, but he did a good job of shutting it down with insults in a good promo, as the rest of The Authority followed suit. The big newsworthy event here was Rollins’ accepting Orton’s WrestleMania challenge and countering with a challenge of his own for this show. If you’re Creative though, why tease this match for free so close to Mania? It all made sense by the end, but the idea of it still lacks principle. Orton’s response promo was a somewhat edgy way of setting up the “main event.” He sure likes to make people his bitch, huh?

– The Bellas boxed promo was decent for what it was, as they tore down Paige and AJ Lee’s recent friendship and their “Give us a break” line was also good.

– The Lee-Nikki Bella match wasn’t anything too special despite having above average ring time. This had the Bellas get the better of Paige and Lee inside and outside the ring. If the commentary team spent less time bickering loudly and more on pushing the match, that would’ve been nice too.

– WWE must think we love watching Show and Kane bicker like eight year-olds. Of course, this bickering had purpose on the episode, setting up Rollins’ “big plan,” but there’s no doubt that maybe some truth was laid down here – with Kane and Show claiming Rollins’ ego was getting to his head and when The Authority eventually disbands (five years later hopefully?), this can be something they use for it. The immediate turnaround was confusing though, considering Show/Kane told Rollins he deserved what happened to him when they complained about it a little while before.

– Miz’s boxed promo was okay and continued the storyline, saying Mizdow would get fired if he didn’t help him win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale. This will so set up that turn. For a show made for “big moments,” if Mizdow doesn’t turn on Miz here, that will be a horrendous loss of opportunity.

– The Ryback-Miz match appeared as another Smackdown repeat, as Miz was beaten with the Shellshock after a non-convincing tease of Mizdow hitting Miz. Miz dropping Mizdow with the Skull-Crushing Finale was a good way to get heat on him.

– The John Cena-Rusev contract signing promo had its nationalistic feel-good moment in there, as Cena gave a passionate “Rah-Rah America” promo. The logic of Rusev having his attorney as a way of fighting the official rematch made sense, being that Lana made the match official, when Stephanie McMahon told Cena that Rusev himself had to accept. The lack of logic of the outrageously bad Russian accent on said attorney overshadowed this moment, to the point where even JBL, the heel announcer, had to side against Rusev. For what it’s worth, Rusev flipping the table and fleeing was a good tease once he signed the contract.

– You can’t point out that The New Day is in a good mood, because they’re always in a good mood. Silly announcers.

– The Tyson Kidd/Cesaro/Natalya boxed promo was a fun spoof on parodying the team’s ridiculous clapping.

– The Kidd/Cesaro-Big E/Kofi Kingston match was okay and quick, with Los Matadores and El Torito observing at ringside and Kidd/Cesaro winning with a cheap trick. Los Matadores essentially fed New Day to Cesaro and then Torito took out Cesaro. Kind of confusing. With pending injury to Jey Uso, we can see why the sudden push of other teams happened. Unfortunate, but it put WWE in this situation.

– The backstage segment where J & J Security “walked out” on Rollins was probably the most convincing of the bunch – considering Jamie Noble didn’t trust Orton from the get-go and was against Rollins already. Nevertheless, we knew what it led to, so why keep talking about it?

– Besides the “F— Roman Reigns Up” comment, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar’s sit-down interview clip wasn’t nearly as “controversial” as hyped as much as it was him being overconfident, remorseless and sadistic, all qualities we knew already. This was well-done and Lesnar looked like a legit, unpredictable badass.

– So Show beat down Erick Rowan for no reason… What was the point?

– The video package for Larry Zybysko as the recent WWE HOF inductee was cool to see in terms of showing his AWA career highlights early on. Also cool to see his WCW highlights in standing up to the nWo in its heyday.

– The segment to push the Battle Royale by having all the participants in there was mainly to set up Mark Henry’s announcement of joining the match. You have to love impromptu battle royales to hype a battle royale. This led to a Henry-Kane standoff, which Curtis Axel tried to break in, but Henry sent him over the top. This was just okay. Nothing special.

– The hype of the 6-Being Interspecies match between Los Matadores/El Torito and Tyson Kidd/Cesaro/Natalya has us at an utter loss of words. What? Why? Interspecies?

– No better way to start the final hour than with Paul Heyman. Let the magic begin. What a fitting time to bring out Roman Reigns and his new, “I can, I will” t-shirt. How adorable. His promo was decent, though not groundbreaking. With Lesnar absent, this would’ve been a good time to perhaps silence Heyman with a spear or Superman punch, to get under Lesnar’s skin. Maybe that’s for the go-home show. Either way, their in-ring face-to-face should be fun and we’ll see if they can recreate the magic of the “Blizzard Show.”

– Paul Heyman’s backstage promo sold him being ticked off and hyped next week’s face-to-face greatly.

– The six-man tag match between Daniel Bryan/Dean Ambrose/Dolph Ziggler and Luke Harper/Bad News Barrett/Stardust was another repeat match from Smackdown. R-Truth’s presence was expected here though, and he had almost no reaction upon coming out. Oh, great. More title shenanigans. At least Ambrose got the pinfall, not that it really mattered at the end, but Barrett finally got the better end of this segment.

– The backstage segment with Rollins, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon was okay in setting up what happened later, but that was about it.

– The Bray Wyatt fog promo was another dime a dozen fog promo. Meh.

– The Seth Rollins “reveal” didn’t really make sense, considering most of those “Authority walking out on Rollins” segments took place backstage, only where the crowd could see it. Does word travel that quickly? Nevertheless, we knew this was going to set up Sting to make the save and the moment was worth it. It’s WrestleMania season. This is when you go all out. Cole overseasoned it a bit to call it one of “the biggest moments of Raw history.” Sigh. The tease for an Orton/Sting Interview on the WWE Network immediately after the show was actually a good hook for TV viewers and treat for Network Subscribers.

 

 

 

 

Quick Results

– Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella) def. AJ Lee (w/Paige) via pinfall

– Ryback def. The Miz (w/Damien Mizdow) via pinfall

– Tyson Kidd/Cesaro (w/Natalya) def. Big E/Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) via pinfall

– Dean Ambrose/Daniel Bryan/Dolph Ziggler def. Bad News Barrett/Luke Harper/Stardust via pinfall

Notes In Observance – WWE Smackdown 3/12/15: Daniel Bryan Is A Turd

WWE Smackdown“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

(Aired 3/12/15)

Daniel Bryan Is A Turd

– Nobody gets a rabid fan reaction like Daniel Bryan currently and yet he’s saddled to this sad “hot potato” storyline that now Smackdown is apparently phrasing. Credit us with the term coinage, aye? His promo was sort of awkward in the way that it was basically, “I was able to get to the World Title with my fans last year – it’s not happening this year, but hey – I notice a lot of guys fighting for this title, so I’m gonna join in.” Bryan’s name droppings of legends was a cheap pop, but what did work here was him mentioning that the Intercontinental Title was the one belt he didn’t get. Is Bad News Barrett really in any place to talk down to anyone at this point? The interactions with all the competitors was a little bit better in terms of putting the focus on the actual ladder match itself, as on paper, it seems like everyone does have a fair shot at winning the title – well it started that way, until Stardust and R-Truth came out and came the hot potato talk again and expected ensuing brawl. Does Stardust even watch WWE TV? He would’ve obviously known Truth has the belt.

– The 8-man tag match between The Usos/Xavier Woods/Kofi Kingston-Tyson Kidd/Cesaro/Los Matadores was decent while it lasted. It would’ve been all good had New Day and Los Matadores not been dumped on top of the easy marquee feud already set between The Usos and Kidd/Cesaro. Actually giving a voice to Los Matadores was a step in the right direction, though it’s really too little, too late for them, but having them get the pinfall with dirty tactics was a smart move and the “chaotic” pace of the match was at least decent here as well.

– The backstage promo with The Miz/Damien Mizdow was what you’d expect from these two, with Mizdow trying to break in and Miz obnoxiously sending him off to do silly errands. The story here was that he would do this all on his own.

– The Ryback-Miz match was more or less a glorified squash for Ryback, making Mizdow out to be right and he smiled backstage. This didn’t really hype the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal all too much.

– Geez, WWE has really set up Smackdown as the “Roman Reigns comments on what’s been said about him on Raw” show. Not bad in concept, but the execution makes it insanely obvious. The intrigue here was the random appearance by Mark Henry who put over Lesnar’s ferocity and Reigns’ struggles and it seemed like a “pep talk” until he slapped Reigns, who went all out. The barricade spear spot was highlight reel-esque at least, but Reigns still remains in a struggle to get over with the ones who count the most and we can’t possibly expect this guy to truly beat Brock Lesnar convincingly no matter what. Wrestling fans aren’t stupid. Don’t insult their intelligence.

– The Paige/AJ Lee-Cameron/Summer Rae match put over Pai-J as a team as the Bella Twins tore them down on commentary and put themselves over in the process. Simple, but goes a long way and that’s saying a lot for a fledgling division that seems to only be more of a joke that they have to be asked to be “given a chance.” Albeit, AJ’s return gives it some promise and helps Paige get over in the process, as she got Rae to tap out to the PTO.

– Henry’s backstage comments seemed to gear him back towards the face character, saying he was now a believer out of Reigns and wanted to see what he had when tested. We possibly had a Henry-Reigns match potentially here, but that’s not the route Creative wants to go.

– Throwing the ho-hum “reverse psychology” comment aside, Randy Orton’s interview segment mixed in with the footage over his “mind game plan” was well-edited and made Orton appear clever and concise, as he said everything that needed to be said and actually somewhat justified his Raw assault. It also brings the focus back to exactly how The Authority and Rollins will get their heat back and one-up Orton so close to WrestleMania, but the fact that Orton already mentioned a challenge to a match, it should be on our near horizon. Either way, this can’t be all Orton and this has been what it is so far.

– The six-man tag match main event between Bryan/Ziggler/Ambrose-Luke Harper/Barrett/Stardust was your usual entertaining six man tag. Bryan getting the pinfall might’ve been by design to end the show on a high note, but it’s good to at least see the emphasis on the in-ring abilities of the competitors. Big thanks to Truth not being out on commentary, as he’s been overexposed there. The postmatch “clash” between Ziggler, Ambrose and Bryan was an interesting moment, albeit random as Ambrose more or less claimed nobody in the back liked Bryan, though Ziggler’s retort made it more of a comical effect. Nevertheless, it seemed the crowd didn’t know how to react and could you blame them? If WWE spent half the energy they use trying to downplay Bryan’s popularity to actually push WrestleMania, we’d have a hell of a build, wouldn’t we?

 

 

 

 

Quick Results

– 8-Man Tag Team Match – Los Matadores (w/El Torito)/Tyson Kidd/Cesaro (w/Natalya) def. The Usos (w/Naomi)/Xavier Woods/Kofi Kingston (w/Big E) via pinfall

– Ryback def. The Miz via pinfall

– Paige/AJ Lee def. Summer Rae/Cameron (w/Eva Marie) via submission

– Six-Man Tag Match – Daniel Bryan/Dolph Ziggler/Dean Ambrose def. Luke Harper/Bad News Barrett/Stardust via pinfall

Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 3/9/15: Family Reunion

WWE Raw“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.¬†

 

 

 

(Aired 3/9/15)

Family Reunion

– The opening video highlighted last week’s main event where Randy Orton helped Seth Rollins win, which obviously set up what happened on this show.

– Starting the show off with Orton and The Authority was predictable, but a good follow-up to the video opener, and the main event announcement of Orton/Rollins vs Roman Reigns provided the same sentiment. There was a bit of confusion about this segment’s purpose since it was already established Orton came back to The Authority. There were just too many teases for Orton’s turn, especially for him to say his plan, not do it and then just say he was kidding around. If he didn’t turn by this episode, when was it going to happen?

– The Daniel Bryan-Bad News Barrett match followed the exact same old routine as weeks past: R-Truth rambles on commentary and Barrett loses yet again. Oh, Barrett: the champion without the championship. Can we call him the Unchampion? Truth’s potato bit was funny for a chuckle, but they went on too far with it. Honestly though – what is the point of this “hot potato” storyline when the belt will be hung up at WrestleMania regardless of who will have the belt? How about making the belt actually look like something you would want? The championship might as well be the potato. The match itself was decent, but didn’t nearly get enough time to be anything special and this stupid storyline overshadows any in-ring positives, such as Barrett’s attempt to get heat back after the match. A frustrating “few weeks”? Barrett was taken out by Dean Ambrose, undoing his heat gains completely.

– The Ambrose-Stardust match carried on more of these shenanigans, but was more toned down and focused on in-ring action, as at least this was a unique matchup. The stuff with Bryan-Barrett after the match made sense and only led to the brawl afterwards that likely cements the ladder match’s competitors. Truth taking the belt while everyone was distracted only made everyone else look dumb. This was so predictable. Can we really believe Truth gave Barrett the real belt? At least it wasn’t real potatoes. Barrett might as well hold on to that toy belt since it is about as worthy as the real one. What a metaphorical coincidence.

– The latest HOF inductee video about Connor “The Crusher” Michalek was about as touching as possible. Seriously. The concept of the Warrior award was cool to see, but how will they follow it up every year? Long live the crusher.

– Paul Heyman’s promo with Brock Lesnar managed to even top last week’s. Heyman touched up on many different points about Reign’s family, made some controversial remarks and now we know the microphone getting cut off has to be storyline related. This was golden stuff right here. No way around it. Heyman is the best talker in the business – how he can get the crowd in the palm of his hands and blend kayfabe and reality into one vocal tirade is unlike anyone else in wrestling right now.

– The Bray Wyatt promo asking where The Undertaker was and to find him was more of what we’ve seen lately. Sad to see it would kind of happen, but not happen at the same time.

– The Show/Kane-Erick Rowan/Ryback match was quick, but not painless enough. Why have Ryback/Rowan come out to Rowan’s buzzkill music? This also managed to further tension between Kane and Show, because we needed more of it? Stephanie McMahon coming out and essentially throwing out Show/Kane for the meantime gave her her “power” moment, but we all knew it was really to lessen Authority numbers for when Orton would attack Rollins.

– The backstage segment with The Miz, Wiz Khalifa and Miz was more of Mizdow using his impersonations to get over. Not bad per se, but this was just glitz and glamour quite frankly.

– Oh, we’re not just getting that backstage segment. It’s a performance. Oh god, why? Yes, showing enthusiastic white chicks in the crowd will save this… not. Even the Divas are better than this.

– The Bella Twins backstage promo was their usual promo, though it was good stuff, as per their usual “mean girls” act.

– The AJ Lee (w/Paige)-Summer Rae (w/Cameron, Eva Marie) was a quick match that had Lee win by submission to continue to look strong. Pai-J (pronounce it Pay-Jay) and the Bellas should have an interesting match come Mania.

– The video of Sting’s perspective against Triple H was finally the perfect time to have him start talking, though it didn’t exactly sound like Sting at some points. If it was though, then kudos. Why mess around with his voice though? You didn’t show him on camera talking directly, so it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Most wrestling fans know Sting’s voice thanks to his later WCW years and TNA.

– The Cena-Rusev backstage interaction was a culmination of what they’ve done lately. It was cool to see it happen on the brink of a commercial break. The little things.

– The Rusev (w/Lana)-Curtis Axel match was just a glorified reason for a Rusev squash. Did anyone expect different? If only Axel begins to come out to Hogan’s music. The promo that followed only made the Cena run-in that much more predictable, not bad predictable though. The main highlight here was that Cena literally took out Rusev to get Lana to give Cena a United States Championship match at Mania. Will this come back to haunt Cena, being that logic calls for Rusev himself to accept the challenge? This is probably how it gets stretched these next two weeks.

– The Rusev-Lana backstage interaction was likely him angry over the match being made, as it was all in Russian. Very animated at least.

– The New Day boxed promo continues their frustrating positive act. It will never catch on. Who claps their way to the top of anything? That’s the message we tell kids these days? Sigh.

– The Tyson Kidd/Cesaro (w/Natalya)-Kofi Kingston/Big E (w/Xavier Woods) match had Hump Day knock off the tag champions in an “upset” as it was pretty much called before the match. The lack of crowd reaction for New Day should tell you all you know. Good to see The Usos throw themselves into the segment, though it was to set up the subsequent matches.

– The Naomi (w/Jimmy Uso)-Natalya (w/Cesaro, Tyson Kidd) match was more diva continuation of the Kidd/Cesaro-Usos feud. Los Matadores coming out right after just made this even more confusing to digest.

– The Usos-Los Matadores (w/El Torito) match was more of a way to put Los Matadores over. The move to the outside by Jey Uso was almost catastrophic, but the eventual story here was that Los Matadores and New Day knocked off both of the big tag teams, nearly coming from obscurity. Not the best way to showcase your tag division, but it could be worse. At least they’re not stealing the tag team championships.

– The backstage segment with Rollins/J & J Security had Noble and Mercury continue to doubt Orton’s intentions, clearly the most logical people in the stable. Doesn’t that say something?

– Wyatt’s in-ring promo was cool in retrospect of finally making the match official and Taker’s gong garnered a huge pop, one of the biggest of the night, but you could tell the fans wanted Taker in person and all that buzz was killed after that. Would one Taker appearance kill WWE? If Lesnar can appear and get paid for standing there, what’s stopping Taker?

– The Orton/Rollins-Reigns main event handicap match made the moment that finally happened, thankfully. Logically, it did make sense for Orton to get rid of the other Authority members systematically to get to Rollins and sure enough, it did. Did J & J Security go far enough that they couldn’t help Rollins though? Either way, this brought us exactly where we were after FastLane and Orton isn’t necessarily any more over within this storyline. Has WWE done themselves in too far by waiting too long to strike on this storyline wait?

 

 

 

 

Quick Results

– Daniel Bryan def. Bad News Barrett via pinfall

– Dean Ambrose def. Stardust via pinfall

– Erick Rowan/Ryback def. The Big Show/Kane via pinfall

– AJ Lee (w/Paige) def. Summer Rae (w/Eva Marie, Cameron) via submission

– Rusev (w/Lana) def. Curtis Axel via submission

– Kofi Kingston/Big E (w/Xavier Woods) def. Tyson Kidd/Cesaro (w/Natalya) via pinfall

– Naomi (w/The Usos) def. Natalya (w/Tyson Kidd/Cesaro) via pinfall

– Los Matadores (w/El Torito) def. The Usos via pinfall

– 2-on-1 Handicap Match – Roman Reigns def. Seth Rollins/Randy Orton via pinfall

Notes In Observance – WWE Smackdown 3/5/15: Hot Potato

WWE Smackdown“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

(Aired 3/5/15)

Hot Potato

– Dolph Ziggler’s opening promo was a nice attempt to make the Intercontinental Championship seem important by bringing up how the belt changed his life, but it would’ve actually worked had he not been the latest belt thief. His references to Daniel Bryan more or less fed on those backstage rumors of working together at WrestleMania. The stuff with Bad News Barrett, Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper basically fighting over the belt and R-Truth sneaking his way to the belt was more childish shenanigans for a belt that doesn’t look any more important than it was before this silly segment. Important to also note that Bryan wasn’t involved here, so we had to question if he’d even be a part of this ladder match, though we got our answer by the end of the night. For what it’s worth, it also set up the main event tag match for later.

– R-Truth’s backstage interview about him having the belt again was what you’d expect from a Truth interview. Him saying “Gene Ambrose” was chuckle-worthy, but that’s about it.

– The Tyson Kidd/Cesaro/Natalya boxed promo showed off their confidence headed into Mania, so no complaints. Fact.

– The Los Matadores-Kidd/Cesaro match after that promo pretty much told us this would be a squash and it’s a perfect time for it to happen. Kidd/Cesaro need to look as strong as possible. Right now though, the main challenge is finding a right opponent for them and The Usos might be those guys. The referee sliding out of the ring while making the count was sort of unintentionally funny.

– The Big Show-Kane backstage segment seemed to just play off their past tension and make the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale feel a little more important. Big guys in a battle royale. How intriguing. Sigh. The suit talk was random, but worked in a comedic context.

– The Ryback-Kane match was pretty basic that furthered Kane/Show’s tension and Ryback beating Kane with just the Meat Hook Clothesline made Kane look kind of weak. Kane making Show face Ryback seemed like a way for him to get back at Show and torture Ryback at the same time and fill TV time – all at once. Mission accomplished?

– The Ryback-Show match had Show KO Ryback after a few minutes of action as a Kane distraction backfired. Also basic. This was bad basic though.

– The Bray Wyatt promo hyped next week’s Raw where something would happen. Will Undertaker finally show? Probably not.

– AJ Lee coming back already has good signs for the Divas Division. You could only watch variations of Paige vs The Bella Twins and Alicia Fox so many times.

– The Bella Twins promo was surprisingly decent, though Nikki led most of that. Their points fit the logic of their characters and they at least play the “mean girls” act almost with ease.

– The Lee-Brie Bella match wasn’t the greatest Divas match but easily the best in a while. It’s surprising what can happen when the Divas are given more than three minutes. Lee got the tap out win as Paige helped her, which continued their interesting partnership.

– Bryan’s backstage interview had him put over the belt, Ziggler and gave a hint that he’d possibly go after getting the belt. It’s okay in principle for the ladder match, but this “hot potato” angle is just so wrong.

– The Damien Mizdow/Miz-Kofi Kingston/Big E match was okay, but more focused on Mizdow and Miz. Having Miz send Mizdow off the apron just to lose on his own was a good next step to take with those two, where it will lead to another altercation on Raw. Will this big moment happen at Mania or beforehand, causing a match between the two?

– Interesting that they continue to do the interviews with Roman Reigns like they did last week on Smackdown. Will this be recurrent all the way until Mania? They’re obviously protecting Reigns with pre-taped statements.

– It was great to show a video package showcasing Brock Lesnar. Very necessary in a WWE world too dominated by Reigns at the moment. We forget there is a whole other side to this bout and it was good to see Creative make attempts to explore that.

– Reigns’ interview was okay, but it was hard to take his promises seriously when we just saw Lesnar’s major damage against big names like John Cena and Undertaker and Reigns is nowhere near their legacy yet.

– The Jack Swagger-Rusev match was a necessary follow-up to what happened on Raw, but this was one of those instances where Rusev’s undefeated streak made this too predictable to invest in. Rusev stays strong and the intrigue of him accepting Cena’s challenge hangs in the balance heading into Raw. The Curtis Axel “#AxelMania” promo was laugh-worthy as he is basically the new wannabe Hulk Hogan and stands no chance against Rusev. Will this turn him into a good guy? Will Cena help Axel win, making Rusev angry? Wheels are turning.

– The Cameron, Summer Rae and Eva Marie segment tried to push the #GiveDivasAChance hashtag but was just mainly confusing. Odd to see Eva Marie on TV that is not Total Divas.

– The Barrett/Harper-Ziggler/Ambrose match had Truth again on commentary. It’s sort of working but at the same time you have to wonder why he’s out there constantly, not really adding much besides crazy statements. The action wasn’t nearly long enough as Ziggler was the only one to really look good. The postmatch happenings just followed up what happened on Raw with a different twist. For all the times Truth gets the belt, why does he give it up so easily? The stuff with Bryan was decent and looked to be the end of the show until we got a nice surprise with Stardust now entering the mix. Guess that program with Goldust is dead now. Probably better off. We just need to get to this ladder match already.

 

 

 

 

Quick Results

– Tyson Kidd/Cesaro (w/Natalya) def. Los Matadores (w/El Torito) via pinfall

– Ryback def. Kane via pinfall

– The Big Show def. Ryback via pinfall

– AJ Lee (w/Paige) def. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) via submission

– Kofi Kingston/Big E (w/Xavier Woods) def. The Miz/Damien Mizdow via pinfall

– Rusev (w/Lana) def. Jack Swagger via submission

– Dolph Ziggler/Dean Ambrose def. Bad News Barrett/Luke Harper via pinfall

Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 3/2/15: The Daily Show With Seth Rollins

WWE Raw“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts an analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

(Aired 3/2/15)

The Daily Show With Seth Rollins

– Booker T, why would Roman Reigns have to pay a ticket to see a show he is currently on? Head-scratcher. The opening segment with Reigns and Seth Rollins shoved the Jon Stewart-Rollins celebrity rivalry to the forefront. The crowd wasn’t receptive for Roman, but being it was Jersey, you can’t be shocked. An audible CM Punk chant broke out during the segment, which also couldn’t have been good. For what it’s worth, the crowd did positively react to Reigns punching Rollins and spearing J & J Security. Making Reigns look tough and ruthless is the only way to go and the “One vs All” dynamic is a good way to describe his WrestleMania push, quite frankly.

– The backstage segment with Rollins, J & J Security and Randy Orton was interesting in Orton trying to “help” Rollins and sort of gave a glimpse into what could happen in the future (obvious official turn on Authority) but we’re not there yet. This needs to happen sooner than later. Even when Orton turns, we’ll be right back to where we were after FastLane.

– The Dean Ambrose-Bad News Barrett match had R-Truth on commentary yet again, which wasn’t bad. When allowed to utter more than “What’s Up?” he is entertaining enough to root for. The match was okay, but continued the godawful trend of Barrett having his Title stolen by Truth again and losing yet another match. The random appearance of Luke Harper walking out with the belt added something new. This isn’t making the belt look prestigious, it’s making it look like a toy. Pathetic. Does Ambrose earn two Title shots now with multiple wins over Barrett? He should. It’d make about a much sense as what they’re currently doing.

– It can never be a good thing when the whole locker room is backstage, but it had promise because it was related to The Miz. Damien Mizdow upstaging Miz and subjecting him to public ridicule with an erectile dysfunction commercial was a good, yet edgy way to go. They’re teasing the official turn slowly with it getting closer and closer, well done.

– Bray Wyatt’s stage promo with the burning casket was a good promo with a visually stunning image, if you will. There was a moment of tease, but no Undertaker. He’ll have to appear sooner than later. Can Wyatt drag this out until Mania? Our hopes are slim on that, when this could be a bigger feud if Taker would throw his two cents already.

– The Tyson Kidd/Cesaro/Natalya-Usos/Naomi match was okay and continued their program and established rocky waters again between Natalya and Kidd, with Natalya upset being the one to lose the match an Kidd made up by consoling her. Where will this ultimately lead? There’s more money in Natalya with Kidd than against him. The flip-flopping isn’t working.

– The segment with John Cena and Stephanie McMahon worked mainly because of Steph’s bluntness. You have to question the risky logic behind leaving Cena purposely off the Mania card so far, but McMahon tore into Cena well and made some valid points. It’s funny she actually encouraged the crowd to chant for her point. What better way to kill the awesomeness than with Curtis Axel, though it sort of played into the Mania conversation. Cena’s serious “warning” to Axel was somewhat heelish, but expected. Axel playing to the crowd with Hulk Hogan’s mannerisms was good for a laugh or two. When Rusev/Lana came out and teased a possible acceptance just to say no, it continued the anticipation per se. Cena’s driven and Rusev isn’t convinced. We can bet the match will happen, but will there be a cheesy stipulation? Stay tuned.

– The sit-down interview clip with Michael Hayes and Arn Anderson validating Sting’s credibility was a nice touch to add, but it’s not like blonde-haired Sting was a star the caliber he is now.

– The Triple H-Booker T segment was also strong, as adding Booker T to the mix with his WCW history with Sting was a nice nostalgic feel this angle needed. Him speaking out against Triple H was good and Triple H’s response by firing him was good for the shock value and bringing him back showcased his argument about “control.”

– The rematch for the Divas Championship with Paige and Nikki Bella was more intriguing than usual for a Divas match with Paige seconds away from winning and having Brie attack her. This all cleverly set up AJ Lee’s return. Had to know the CM Punk chants would happen too.

– The AJ-Paige backstage segment played up their past history and explained why they were teaming together as they both had a common enemy. Closing loopholes doesn’t happen often enough in WWE and happy it did here.

– “The Daily Show with Seth Rollins” segment turned from comedic to quite serious as Stewart planted seeds of doubt in Rollins’ head with a better-than-average wrestling promo. It’s good when WWE brings in celebrities that actually know the product and don’t bore the audience to death. This also led to Orton making his appearance, intentionally yet unintentionally allowing Stewart to escape. Foreshadow much?

– Stewart’s backstage promo was awkward, nervous and witty, which sounded about right for how he’d respond to the last segment. Is this the last of him in WWE or will he have a role in Mania?

– Is Harper having “fireflies” in his Titan Tron entrance done intentionally? This would show a loose tie to Wyatt. Harper needs something more to his character as his abilities are underutilized. Right now, he’s basically “that guy with the eyes who could wrestle.” That said, Harper can get over on his own more as a singles guy, where guys like Erick Rowan need Ryback and Dolph Ziggler to do so, and that is even a stretch.

– The Harper-Daniel Bryan match wasn’t too long but they made the most of it. Bryan getting the win kept him going strong and there was more IC Belt hot potato as Ziggler ended up with the belt now. Disappointing involvement for Bryan considering where he was about a month ago, but all this could’ve been righted if he was just put in to the World Title match at Mania. You only get one Mania a year. Why try to purposely derail the popularity of who was the most over guy in the company upon his return? They’ve smushed him down to the upper mid-card. We have to wonder if he will ever get a lengthy run with the Title.

– Cool to see Alundra Blayze get the nod for WWE HOF. Also good to see them play up the moment she was known most for – dumping the WWE Women’s Championship into a trash can on Nitro.

– The backstage segment between Orton and Rollins continued the tension of Orton demanding a thank you and having the rest of the Authority members shun him away.

– The Paul Heyman promo was epic on many proportions. We use “epic” loosely, but more or less, Heyman used his angry voice for shock value and spoke to casual fans and insiders alike. He’s one of few promo-cutters in the business that can successfully pull this off. The mic going out several times on two separate mics had to be more than a coincidence than faulty sound. Heyman could damn near hype this Mania match on his own.

– The Reigns-Rollins (w/J & J Security, Kane, Big Show) main event match was somewhat entertaining but was mainly known for the result of Orton helping Reigns win the match and the utter dominance shown by Reigns in the final minutes with the over the top rope and spear. This helps Reigns get over, but with Mania getting closer, we still haven’t really seen a real reason to cheer for Reigns against someone like Lesnar on the biggest stage.

 

 

 

 

Quick Results

– Dean Ambrose def. Bad News Barrett via pinfall

– The Usos/Naomi def. Natalya/Tyson Kidd/Cesaro via pinfall

– John Cena def. Curtis Axel via submission

– Divas Championship – Paige def. Nikki Bella (Champion) (w/Brie Bella) via DQ; Nikki Bella retains

– Daniel Bryan def. Luke Harper via submission

– Seth Rollins (w/J & J Security, Big Show, Kane) def. Roman Reigns via pinfall