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Brand Split Decision

Photo courtesy of YouTube.

Photo courtesy of YouTube.

By Anthony Zevoteck 

 

Randomly, one Wednesday this past May, WWE shook the wrestling community when Shane and Stephanie McMahon both announced via social media there’d be a roster split to create two completely different shows with Raw and SmackDown.

The news was coupled with another announcement that SmackDown would be moved to Tuesdays and to air live, which would start Jul. 19.

Expectedly, the double bombshell was met with equal cheers and jeers from WWE fans alike. For longtime fans, this wasn’t new territory, as WWE had once split the roster before in 2002 upon a sudden influx of talent from the defunct World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling promotions. It was also due to the fact that at the time, four hours of weekly television time was too little to establish new talent and called for a difference between shows.

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Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 5/23/16: Professional Separation

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 5/23/16)

Professional Separation

– Fresh off Extreme Rules, the main event scene was about to transition from “The Club vs. The Bloodline” to what WWE originally had planned for Survivor Series – WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns against Seth Rollins. The story has surprise now, with Rollins in a return role from injury, out to get the belt he never lost. Of course, Reigns was now “the guy” instead of the “good guy” he was back in November. That said, it’d be key to see the follow-up from the end of Extreme Rules, where Reigns feigned off a fiery AJ Styles to retain the gold when Rollins dropped him with a friendly Pedigree.

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Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown 5/12/16: Dire Straits

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 5/12/16)

Dire Straits 

– The opening in-ring segment with Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho was a fine advancement in their program thus far, with Ambrose addressing the “jacketastrophe” (cleverly coined by Mauro Ranallo) from Raw and how things were even with him and Jericho now, until the lights came out, back on and we found Ambrose laid out face down. It turned into a trademark heel Jericho beatdown, as he set Ambrose in a strait jacket while screaming at him to “get crazy.” The Codebreakers added a necessary vicious touch, as we could see the irony in that within feuding with Ambrose, Jericho himself has gone crazy. He always knows how to reinvent himself, as his latest character seems to be that of a crazed, self-obsessed rock star. His latest “Gift of Jericho” pose is hilarious, yet it works for heat because he makes it so.

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Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 5/9/16: 15 Grand Unplugged

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 5/9/16)

15 Grand Unplugged 

– The saga that’s “The Family” (WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns/The Usos) and “The Club” (AJ Styles/Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows) continued in a new way this show, as we’d see a six-man elimination tag later on, as the opening video reminded us of the carnage that went down the week before. Basically, Styles’ boys had Reigns sitting prey for steel chair vengeance, but Styles thought twice and ended up going through the announce table. Tsk, tsk.

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Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown 5/5/16: Royal Warfare

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 5/5/16)

Royal Warfare

– The “Highlight Reel” segment with Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn, WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Maryse was a good opener, in that it did several things within 10 minutes. Jericho got to brag about taking Dean Ambrose out with his potted plant, Mitch, on Raw, building some good heat and making us anticipate Ambrose’s return for the following Raw. Apparently getting hit in the back of the head with a potted plant can cause contusions, bulging disks and signs of whiplash, so be careful out there. Zayn fit nicely in this segment, talking well for himself when accused of being a “sore loser” and “thief” by Jericho. Jericho had good heel logic in pointing out that Kevin Owens beat Zayn fair and square and got attacked for it the next night, while Zayn said his reasoning was because of Owens’ actions after their Payback match when he threw him out of the ring after slapping him. All the talk of the IC Title brought out Miz, who was the proud Champion who was offended at having his property touched by Zayn. Also liked the line where Miz put over his 11-year experience in the business comparing it to Zayn’s “kiddie pool” experience. Zayn continued to poke fun (literally) by touching Miz’s belt. Jericho leaving his own talk show segment felt random, but fit his character. Also liked the hook if the Zayn-Miz match was going to happen after some brief physicality.

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Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 5/2/16: Corporate Sibling Rivalry

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 5/2/16)

Corporate Sibling Rivalry 

– Opening video time… Yup, Mr. Deep Voice Narrator was back, as he broke down Payback’s important occurrences – Vince McMahon deciding Shane/Stephanie McMahon would run Raw, both playing a role in the main event’s decisive winner. Of course, the focus was on typical mcMahon family drama during what’s repeatedly preached as a “new era.” What’s new about this again?

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WWE Payback 2016 Reaction

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Payback was christened as the “first pay-per-view of a New Era,” and to a degree, this was true.

With beloved Shane McMahon running Raw lately, we saw an array of main roster debuts (Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, The Vaudevillains, Enzo/Cass), big returns (Sami Zayn, Cesaro) and a main event scene you wouldn’t expect (AJ Styles, Roman Reigns).

One could argue that masking new feuds and NXT call-ups as a “new era” is a tad bit deceiving since that kind of thing happens every year.

However, thanks to the debuts of Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows and having them inserted into the Reigns-Styles storyline, the prominence of the Zayn-Kevin Owens feud, a tag team tournament to determine #1 contender’s, recent storylines and an amped-up Chicago crowd were bound to make this a night to remember.

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Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown 4/28/16: The Truth’s Gorgeous

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 4/28/16)

The Truth’s Gorgeous

– The opening video chronicled the Raw ending where we got more development in the “Is he or isn’t he?” saga that engulfed the rivalry between WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns and AJ Styles and the arrival of his former Bullet Club buddies from New Japan in Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows. Basically, Reigns got laid out by the Phenomenal Forearm after Reigns Superman Punched him when he tried to tell Anderson/Gallows to stop attacking Reigns. Echoing words from Anderson/Gallows of them telling Styles they “only wanted to make sure it was a fair fight” lasted throughout the video.

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Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 4/25/16: Everything’s A Collusion

WWE RawBy Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 4/25/16)

Everything’s A Collusion 

– WWE’s biggest intrigue remained the question if AJ Styles, the #1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, was in cahoots with New Japan newcomers Luke Gallows/Karl Anderson of the former Bullet Club, which Styles was once a part of. It’s a great way of meshing “smart” storylines within WWE’s realm of sports entertainment superficiality. Gallows/Anderson have attacked Reigns’ cousins, The Usos and then Reigns himself. Styles continued to deny any prior knowledge, while it seemed that Gallows/Anderson were taking advantage of how it all appeared. Storytelling at its best, because otherwise, Styles-Reigns would completely falter. Reigns just won the World Title at WrestleMania and is primed for a long run, while Styles, a relative WWE newcomer, needs some credibility. He’s a guy who can main event off his name alone, but not one to win a World Title just yet. This “Is He? Isn’t He?” storyline is the perfect mask to cover the initial faults of the current biggest program headed into Payback.

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Notes In Observance – WWE Raw 4/18/16: Shane Takes Another Power Swig

WWE RawBy Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 4/18/16)

Shane Takes Another Power Swig

– This Raw emanates from London, which automatically meant a rambunctious crowd synonymous with WrestleMania weekend. Without any matches or segments hyped, that alone was enough to make us see what craziness would occur. Things kicked off with the “Ambrose Asylum” in-ring segment with Dean Ambrose, Shane McMahon (running the show once more), Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Chris Jericho. Got a kick out of the fact that the “Ambrose Asylum” set’s a mockery of Jericho’s “Highlight Reel” set, potted plant included. Ambrose’s lines bordered on cutesy, but not enough to turn the crowd off and he seemed delusional by talking how he was in the “talk show business” now, but it worked with his character. As far as Shane’s agenda of ushering in a “new era” and his reference of people like Sami Zayn, AJ Styles and Sasha Banks, it made sense on the surface, but not really. These people were around when The Authority was in power and isn’t it every year that WWE brings in new stars after WrestleMania? What’s so different about it happening because Shane’s in power? And again, why’s Shane in power for yet another week, when the original WrestleMania stipulation didn’t call for it? When will we get answers for these growing questions? We’ll let it slide because the shows are better creatively speaking, but as time passes, the logic holes get bigger. Owens as the role of skeptic worked and we liked his view about being “punished for being an honest man,” accusing Shane of being “drunk with power,” a line that resonated throughout the night. He also laid down some bold lines about Zayn “riding his coattails for a decade,” which drew out everyone’s favorite underground underdog. Zayn got some decent mic time, reminding us that he was signed by WWE before Owens, which he called the driving point for their own friendship and that ate Owens up. Jericho’s lines were short and sweet, but he stood on the “Shane’s drunk with power” side of the argument. Shane’s announcements of Zayn-Owens and Jericho-Ambrose at Payback were predictable, but lacked a certain excitement to them. The end of the segment was good too, with Shane purposely clearing the ring (and Ambrose getting his potted plant out of harm’s way) before a brawl broke out, with the faces clearing the heels from the ring. We also found out that Ambrose-Owens would battle later.

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