How Many Weeks Til Mania? Wrasslin’ Wednesday 2/11/15Posted: February 10, 2015
Derek: We’re coming to you live (two days later) from THE Ohio State University! This week was a bit of placeholder week, as very few of the storylines advanced in any meaningful way. Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan are now EVEN MORE angry at each other, after they were (naturally) paired together in a 5-on-2 Handicap match in which Roman Reigns tagged himself in and stole Danny Boy’s three count. That “tag yourself in” rule is fairly recent, right? I can’t remember ever seeing that when I was a kid. I cant remember ever seeing a 5-on-2 Handicap Match either. But I digress.
Triple H called Sting out, hoping for an answer to his request for a face-to-face meeting at Fastlane. “Sting” made an appearance wearing a wig he stole from Norman Bates …
… before accepting Triple H’s request via Titantron.
We have lots more to cover this week, including the “DON’T CALL ME CODY!” feud, Bad News Barrett adopting some more initials, the newest inductee into the Hall of Fame, and the increasingly entertaining Tyson Kidd-Cesaro tag team. One would assume my first question to Will would involve one of those storylines, or the aforementioned Reigns-Bryan or HHH-Sting feuds, and that’s a fair assumption. However, I’m going to kick things off with my favorite moment of the evening.
Will, what were your thoughts when the Columbus crowd started chanting “You’re from Cleveland!” at the Miz?
Will: Heh, I liked it. I don’t exactly know what it means, and when Miz came back at them with “Better than Columbus,” everyone seemed to shut up, so maybe they didn’t know what it meant either. Way to rep the CLE, Miz. We’ll always love you for that.
But yes, there wasn’t too much in the way of plot progression this week. The whole episode could have been spent counting down the minutes until Wrestlemania. And you know, I’m actually alright with it. It’s unrealistic to expect every match every week to reshape a feud. Sometimes you just need good, solid wrasslin’ matches, like we saw with Dolph Ziggler vs. Bray Wyatt and—well, I suppose that was the only really good match of the night. My point may or may not stand.
Let’s start with Sting and Triple H. “Sting” was clearly not Sting, as we last saw the Vigilante with relatively short hair, not the short order cook ponytail of whoever was in the ring. That doesn’t really matter as far as the story goes, though I am curious to see if WWE addresses the imposter later on. It has been widely assumed that these two would meet at Wrestlemania, but for the time being, they will be on the slate at Fastlane.
We also saw the nature of their conflict fleshed out more than before. Triple H painted a picture of a long-simmering WCW-WWE feud, with Sting ostensibly being upset that Trips, to hear the COO tell it, put WCW out of business. Do you buy their beef? And are they really going to face off at Fastlane, or could more trickery be afoot?
Derek: Man, I hope not. WWE bought out WCW at the beginning of 2001. I realize this is professional wrestling and some suspension of disbelief is required, but I just wouldn’t buy it if Sting walks up to Triple H and says “You know, something has really been bothering me for the past 14 years, and seeing as I turn 56 just over a week before Wrestlemania, I thought I might try my hand at kicking your ass.” If losing the Monday Night Wars was that big of a deal, I imagine he wouldn’t have waited 14 years and might have tried picking a fight sometime before he became eligible to join AARP.
I still think they’re trying to position Sting as the Batman of wrestling. The announcers continue to call him a vigilante every other sentence. They have him tormenting Triple H psychologically. Triple H has been a bad guy for a very long time. Sting is one of the most popular wrestlers of all time and he’s here to rid the world of evil. With WWE’s commitment to a lack of subtlety, I would be surprised if they go anywhere else with the feud.
Will: We’ll be seeing a lot of Reigns and Bryan for the next few weeks. Reigns is still catching some boos, but his character has shifted from a smack-talker to a stoic badass, which I count as a win. That said, I’m not terribly interested in these guys right now. Why is that the case? Are you invested in them?
Derek: I’m not terribly interested in it either, and I think it’s because it doesn’t really matter. This feud was manufactured out of thin air because of Royal Rumble backlash, and it could very well disappear just as quickly. I don’t think people care so much about the match as much as they care about who wins the match, if that makes any sense.
It’s kind of wasting Lesnar and Heyman, too. They show up, and that’s cool, but they’re just kind of standing around and waiting for something to happen. Even if the dreaded Reigns v. Lesnar match was imminent, Heyman would make us care about it somehow. He comes out and talks, and it’s great, but it also seems largely pointless. I’d like to see Heyman focus his venom on someone, be it Bryan or Reigns.
What do you think of Heyman’s performance in this role?
Will: Anything Heyman touches turns to gold, so WWE should have him laying hands on more material. He and Brock are in a weird place right now with multiple potential opponents. The unclear nature of Brock’s next match limits Heyman’s ability to elevate it. He’s still superb, but he’s that much better when he has a clear-cut foil.
I have thus far tried to avoid spoilers, but there are rumors that both Reigns and Bryan will be in the Wrestlemania main event with Lesnar. Have you kept your nose in the dirtsheets? Could we really have another triple threat title bout?
Derek: I haven’t paid too much attention to the rumors, but I guess I wouldn’t really mind having Bryan and Reigns in the match. I’d rather Seth Rollins take Reigns’ spot in that scenario, since he’s better in every conceivable way. He may be involved anyway. He has to cash in his Money in the Bank contract at some point, right? If it does end up being a Triple Threat match, he would have to be involved somehow, even if it’s via a cash-in. He looks to be in line to face the loser of the Bryan-Reigns match at Wrestlemania. If both of those guys are in the main event, who is he going to fight? Sheamus?
How do you see it playing out over the next month?
Will: I’m glad to say that I’m not sure. I could certainly see Reigns beating Bryan and going on to the ‘Mania main event, but can they really afford to poke Bryan and his fans in the eye like that again? They seem too invested in Reigns for Bryan to face Brock, but I can’t imagine that they would run back a three-way for the belt so soon. Rollins lingers at the edge of all of these conversations. His cash-in is surely coming, but again, I’m not sure when or how it will happen.
Let’s dive into the tag team division. Both Miz & Mizdow and the Dust Brothers look to be on the outs. Are you more interested in the Miz/dow marriage ending, or the brothers Rhodes going their separate ways? Can the individuals survive without their partners? When those things happen, are Cesaro and Tyson Kidd suddenly the premier tandem in WWE?
Derek: Miz and Mizdow are great for each other. Before they teamed up, Miz was losing a battle with obscurity and Mizdow was a jobber’s jobber. I worry about what will come of them afterward. I’m more interested in seeing how that plays out.
Rumor has it that Stardust and Goldust will wrassle at ‘Mania, after which Goldust will retire. It will be interesting to see if Stardust will switch back to being plain ol’ Cody Rhodes. He’s been strictly a tag team wrestler since I jumped back into wrestling. It may be a struggle for him to go on as a singles wrestler as well.
It does look like Kidd and Cesaro will be the most fun. Actually, it’s not even close. Unless there’s a huge leap from Ascension or New Day, Kidd and Cesaro will rule the tag team division.
Will: Alright, we’ve gone long enough without discussing Bad News Barrett. Dean Ambrose called him out after squashing Curtis Axel, and Barrett responded by introducing his new “BNZ” network on the Titantron. It looks like we have an battle for the Intercontinental Title on our hands. This should be great, right?
Derek: I’m looking forward to it. “BNZ” doesn’t seem particularly necessary. I just enjoy him popping up from time to time to deliver some bad news. I didn’t think the formula needed to be messed with just yet. I wish these guys would get some more microphone time. That might be the most entertaining part of the show.
Let’s wrap up with the newest member of the WWE Hall of Fame: Rikishi. What are your thoughts on Rikishi as a Hall of Famer? Do you support or oppose his use of the Stinkface?
Will: I completely supported it in Rikishi’s heyday, but now I get very uncomfortable whenever they show a highlight of it. He literally buried his ass in his opponent’s face, and after a good few minutes of strenuous, sweaty physical activity. I would rather take a backhand chop than the Stinkface any day.
But hey, congratulations to Rikishi. I never thought of him as Hall of Fame caliber, but he was in the business for three decades. He comes from the famous Anoa’i wrestling family, and the Usos are his twin sons, so the honor may be for his whole family as much as him.
The Stinkface is dead; long live the Stinkface.