The Return of Sting! And Someone Else — Wrasslin’ Wednesday 11/26/14

Wrasslin Wednesday Header

Derek: We’re coming to you live (two/three days later) from Indianapolis/St. Louis! This happened:

Sting-HHH Staredown

Sting, at long last, made his debut in a WWE ring. His brief appearance led to a Scorpion Death Drop for Triple H, a victory for Team Cena, and Dolph Ziggler making a case to be added to Mount Rushmore.

Gotta say, Survivor Series was on its way to being the worst pay-per-view of the year. Each of the opening matches were some combination of pointless and confusing. Luckily, the main event was one of the most exciting and entertaining matches of the year. All it cost us was Dean Ambrose’s Momentum. RIP, Dean’s Momentum.

The match had everything. An elimination in the opening seconds. A surprising order of exits, with the exception of Rollins being the last man standing for Team Authority. It had a mid-match heel turn. It had Dolph Ziggler becoming the wrestling version of John Matrix.

I only wish Sting had come down from the rafters with a baseball bat. I think WWE stopped doing those stunts after Owen Hart died, but that was 15 years ago. Surely there would be a safer way to do this now. It’s just so cool.

Or the WCW/NWO Revenge version with some irritating and repetitive commentary, if that’s more your thing:

Regardless, the main event was superb. I was surprised that such a long match was able to keep my attention throughout. Top class stuff. What did you think?

Will: The early matches were as dull and/or disappointing as you say. The Ambrose-Wyatt clash was sort of interesting, though it quickly became clear that it was little more than a teaser trailer for what I can only assume will be a rematch at Tables, Ladders & Chairs.

The four-way tag team match was fun, if only for how well Miz and Mizdow played to the crowd. Mizdow sneak-a-tagging Miz and getting the pin was a nice touch, and should serve as a nice basis for their feud, whenever WWE gets around to it. We’ve discussed the problem of WWE’s thin roster, and those two functioning as capable mid-carders will be a boon for the first hour of future programming.

The Nikki Bella-AJ Lee match was weird. Nikki’s sister Brie has been forced to serve as her personal assistant, and it seemed to me like the sister rivalry would resume once Nikki and AJ ran their course. And then Brie planted a big sloppy kiss on AJ, AJ was rightly confused, and Nikki got a quick victory. What?

I don’t think I had never heard of Slater Gator before Sunday night, and thus I was not especially interested in their matchup against Adam Rose and the Bunny, the latter being a human in a full-on bunny costume.

The Cheap Heat podcast, hosted by Sports Monocle favorite David Shoemaker AKA the Masked Man and Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg, is fond of describing derivative and/or lame performers as “adjace,” i.e. adjacent to a previous, better incarnation. Current WWE announcer Michael Cole, for instance, is WCW announcer Tony Schiavone adjace. I think Adam Rose and the Bunny are Miz and Mizdow adjace — a heel mid-carder and his popular sidekick with a zany schtick. And Rose and the Bunny starred in the sixth match of an eight-match show. So, yeah, this pay-per-view mostly sucked.

The main event, however, was fantastic. Big Show immediately knocking out Mark Henry was a surprise, as was his sudden and inexplicable betrayal of John Cena. Of course, it isn’t new for Show to change his allegiance at the drop of a hat:

Rusev eliminated Ryback, Luke Harper dispatched Erick Rowan, Show walked out after KOing Cena, and it looked like Ziggler would be the sacrificial lamb en route to a big Authority victory. He was alone against Kane, Harper, and Rollins, and getting destroyed as one would expect him to. Rollins played a wonderfully arrogant heel, especially when he was inviting Ziggler to tag in his non-existent partners:

Ziggler persevered and evened the odds when he eliminated Kane and Harper. He was about to pin Rollins, only for Triple H to intervene. He hit Ziggler with a Pedigree and was primed to clinch an appropriately shady victory for the Authority. But then Sting came in to save the day! Ziggler, a long-time fan favorite and strong worker in the vein of Daniel Bryan, wound up getting a huge push. Team Cena won, the Authority lost, and the fans had a match actually worth caring about.

It was an inspired bit of action that veered away from the boilerplate Cena overcomes all! storyline. It will be fun to see how the shrapnel of this match falls back to Earth. Sting-Triple H looks to be a Wrestlemania headliner in the making. Ziggler now looks to be a legitimate main eventer, and he and Cena could even form a babyface super-tag team — the Mega Powers adjace, if you will.

It was a superb match, and it needed to be for WWE to have any chance of redeeming the Network. Sting’s appearance, Ziggler’s ascent, Ambrose-Wyatt, and the uncertain future of the Authority make for the best set of storylines we’ve seen in a while, and that’s without mentioning the glory that is Mizdow. WWE can often be accused of mailing it in, so it was refreshing to see them produce a top-notch show in what was effectively a contract year PPV.

I confess that I didn’t get around to seeing the fallout on Raw. I do know that Daniel Bryan took the reins for the evening. Did I miss anything good?

Derek: A few things. You missed a whole bunch of babyface gloating. As you can probably imagine, Daniel Bryan led a series of “Yes!” chants. Many of them took place with The Former Authority still in the ring, and occasionally directly in the face of Triple H. Sadly, none of them were in Korean.

danielbryan

Stephanie reacted the same way she did when she was “arrested” for “assaulting” Brie Bella a few months ago. She looked like she was going to cry and pretended she was the victim in all of this. She was wonderful.

Triple H called the fans “bullies” and embraced his inner Colonel Jessep, pointing out that even if the fans found him “grotesque and incomprehensible,” they would still beg to have him back. He also said the fans have the luxury of criticizing because they didn’t understand or want his responsibilities. He pretty much ripped off the entire monologue.

Vince was waiting for the deposed Authority at his limousine. He gave them a Vince-ish mix of a pep talk and a disappointed lecture. The following exchange took place:

Stephanie: I am sorry …

Vince: (Indecipherable. Either “Now you say!” or “The hell you say!”) I’ve never been sorry for a thing in my life. Never been sorry for a thing I said, a thing I did. I’ve never been sorry. The only thing I might be sorry for is I have to spend Thanksgiving with the two of you!

Annnnnnd scene.

Between “Yes!” chants, Daniel Bryan spent the evening putting the losing members of Team Authority in various unenviable situations. Mark Henry faced Ryback, which Ryback won.

Big Show came out to defend himself. He says we shouldn’t judge him. Erick Rowan followed, starting the road to their inevitable match at TLC.

Luke Harper was forced to defend his Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose, which ended in disqualification because Harper pushed Ambrose into the official. Bray Wyatt ambushed Ambrose and buried him underneath a bunch of chairs behind the announcers’ table. He did it without a word, too. That was unexpected.

Corporate Kane was demoted to Concessions Kane, so we got to watch him get some food and beverage training throughout the show. The best part was when he was tending to some nachos and popcorn, when we hear a familiar voice shout “THE BIG GUY’S HUNGRY!” Ryback proceeds to order “two cans of tuna fish, a protein shake, with extra protein for The Big Guy, and a big bag … of beef jerky.”

He assaults Kane with ketchup, calling him a “devil bastard coward” in the process. Kane defends himself with handfuls of popcorn and runs away. Ryback picks up a bag of peanuts. The camera zooms in on said peanuts. Ryback yells “Hey, Kane! You forgot your nuts, STUPID!” I don’t get it. Could you explain it to me? Why would Kane want nuts? How did Ryback know he forgot them? Wrestling humor is too sophisticated.

nuts

Daniel Bryan also puts Seth Rollins in a 3-on-2 handicap match against Cena and Ziggler. He instructs the fans to vote for who they want Rollins’ teammates to be on the WWE App. Team A: Kane and Mark Henry. Team B: Luke Harper and Mark Henry. Team C: Those two little security guards who follow him around. And, well …

jj security

It wasn’t close.

Cena and Ziggler win the “match.” Daniel Bryan throws Rollins into the ring to receive a beating. Everyone dances about as Bryan’s music blares throughout the arena. All is wonderful. The faces have triumphed. “Yes!” chants all around. Well done, gentlemen. Pack it in.

But wait!

Were you hoping for the return of a universally disliked storyline from 2010-2012? I hope you didn’t go to bed before the ending, because look who’s back!

anon gm

That’s right, it’s the Anonymous Raw General Manager! If you’re not familiar with how that went down, you can find a nice summary here.

The Anonymous Raw General Manager claims “order and discipline” will return to Raw next week. And, well, Triple H was right. I do miss him already. Anything is better than having to listen to Michael Cole read more of those stupid e-mails.

I have to think WWE is trolling us. As soon as that Instant Messaging sound went off Jerry Lawler and JBL gave us a triple facepalm.

facepalsm

Only Michael Cole, the biggest heel in professional wrestling, seems to be enjoying it. Surely this won’t be a long-term thing.

Come back, Triple H. We want you on that wall. We need you on that wall.



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