WWE in Cincinnati: Have we seen the last of Daniel Bryan? Wrasslin’ Thursday 5/14/2015Posted: May 14, 2015
Derek: We’re coming to you live (three days later) from Cincinnati! We were bumped by the NBA Playoffs again this week, but not to worry! Wrasslin’ Wednesday shall live on in Thursday form until Wednesdays are a bit more doable.
We’d also like to announce a new weekly feature we’ll be doing: The Monday Mash-up. Anything goes in that one. Come back on Monday and check ‘er out.
Well, that’s enough of that. Let’s talk wrasslin’.
The esteemed COO made his return after a few weeks of presumed vacation. Too bad he’s not working in a few post-Mania PPV’s like he did last year. Looks like he’s joined the Undertaker on a once-a-year schedule. Bummer.
The good people of J&J Security took it upon themselves to mouth off to the boss, who squatted down to their level to put them in a match with Ambrose. I enjoyed that.
And with that, everything was back to normal. Except for Stephanie. I guess she’s babysitting.
Will: It was good to see Triple H back, but I wonder if it’s telling that the best show in months happened in his absence. I enjoyed him at the top of the show, and “Daddy’s home” is a hell of an opening line. I suppose I’m a little bummed out that Kane’s role was again reduced as the story of his uneasy alignment with the Authority stubbornly inched along.
Will: I could listen to the new King Barrett say “Doulf ZIGG-LAH” on a loop for an hour. I’ll forever miss the peak of the Bad News era, but “obnoxious monarch” is a good role for Barrett. Sheamus did commentary during the Barrett-Ziggler match, with Barrett winning thanks to the Irishman’s interference. Sheamus looks stupid as all hell, as the crowds rightly chant, but he’s a good heel, and I’m enjoying his quest to rid WWE of everymen. His look sort of makes sense since his character is a total dick.
Derek: Almost anything Barrett says is incredible. If he ever has to retire, I hope he moves on to provide the audio version of every book ever written. Could I interest you in Romeo & Juliet narrated by King Barrett? Anne Frank’s diary? The Bible? Hell, I’d listen to Fifty Shades of Grey if he read it to me.
And yes, I did just Google “ridiculous lines from 50 shades of grey” and read them (NSFW) in Barrett’s voice until I was crying. Try it! He could practically print money.
The “Wyatt” Family
Will: Hey, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper are back together! I’m in on that; both have been better as individuals than I expected, but both seem to have plateaued since branching out on their own. As far as collateral damage, Fandango made for a fun squash.
Derek: Yeah, they might as well. WWE didn’t seem to have any compelling solo storylines for either of them. They can inject some more life into the tag team division until their characters have some sort of direction. I’m glad Harper has someone to accompany him to the liquor store now.
Will: It may not be great for WWE that the most consistently entertaining segment is John Cena’s open challenge. Neville was the challenger this week, and like his fellow NXT grad Sami Zayn last week, he had a hell of a match. Neville looked super duper strong, breaking out of an STF, kicking out of an AA, and landing a Red Arrow. Rusev interfered to rough up Cena, voiding a match that Neville conceivably could have won. My question is: When Rusev and Cena finish up their feud, will Neville set his sights on one of them?
Derek: Neville! The New Sensation! The Man That Gravity Forgot! He’s been in WWE for about a month and he’s already giving Apollo Creed a run for his money. Well done.
I’m surprised at how entertaining the Cena matches are, because the ending is pretty much never in doubt. Cena isn’t losing the belt, so he’s either winning or it’s ending in shenanigans like it did on Monday. Yet, somehow, they’re always entertaining. Part of it is due to his excellent opponents, but even the most avid Cena hater has to give him props for this run.
Will: Daniel Bryan’s segment was heartbreaking. Bryan has never meant as much to me as he does to many people, in large part because I wasn’t in on him from the jump. I witnessed some of his evolution, but not the entire struggle, and thus his story doesn’t resonate with me quite as strongly. Still, it’s impossible not to feel the connection that he has with the crowd. Though I don’t think it was, it felt like it could have been a retirement speech. When do you think we’ll see him again? Could he really be done wrestling?
Derek: It’s so difficult to predict. I’m trying to think of another beloved athlete who had such a mystery injury. Has there ever been another guy who has basically said “I’m injured, the doctors have no idea how to help me, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be better”? That’s insane.
The comparison I keep is hearing is Shawn Michaels. He took off with an injury after dropping the belt to Stone Cold at WrestleMania XIV, but came back years later after everyone thought he was done. Sadly, we may have seen the last of him. Too bad, since I really don’t want my last memory of him to be a headbutt battle on top of a ladder with Dolph Ziggler.
Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel
Will: Macho Mandow is immediately one of my favorites. He does a really solid job imitating Randy Savage, particularly when pumping up the crowd, and he’ll only get better in time. The New Mega Powers angle is goofy as all hell, but it feels like a sure thing. Also, was the Ascension being ironic in critiquing Sandow and Axel biting old gimmicks, considering that they’re just a lame Road Warriors knockoff?
Derek: The whole thing is pretty funny, and that’s fine with regard to Curtis Axel and The Ascension. Those guys can be comedy characters, and that’s cool. But I do wish they would find a place for Sandow. In his first promo, he made a point that he was Damien Sandow again. He had a shirt with “Miz” crossed out. He got new music. I thought they were going to use his new over-ness to propel him to a singles push with a new character. Now, he’s right back to mimicking people. He’s good at it, but I hope they do something with him eventually.
Will: I was glad to see Ambrose get some shine in his hometown. Cincinnati treated their boy right, which made me wonder if Dean is especially representative of southwest Ohio like Stone Cold Steve Austin is of Texas. The handicap match against J&J was silly, but as decent an excuse as any for Ambrose to land a couple double clotheslines.
Derek: I wonder how he felt about the match. Thankfully, he got the spotlight at the end, because it would’ve been kind of dumb to put him in a squash match in his hometown. I imagine he’d rather have an awesome match and lose than take on some jobbers.
Will: Was Roman Reigns supposed to spear Kane through the announce table, or just on top of it? Seemed like the former to me, but maybe not.
Derek: HOW DARE YOU IMPLY THAT ROMAN REIGNS MADE A MISTAKE. OOO-AHHHHH!!!!
Will: The Cesaro & Kidd vs. New Day feud has turned out to be pretty good! Big E and Cesaro work really well together, though it seems like Cesaro works really well with anyone. I understand a little more every week why he has long been a smark darling. Do you think he’ll ever have the juice to make a title run?
Derek: That one’s totally up to Vince. He’s just about the only one who isn’t sold on him. Stone Cold especially makes a habit out of singing his praises on his podcast. I think this feud will definitely help him. I think it’s just a matter of time before Harper and Rowan get inserted, too. Everyone could come out of this a winner.
Ryback v. Wyatt
Will: I don’t understand how Ryback was standing in Bray Wyatt’s way. I don’t understand what Bray Wyatt is striving for. I’m not sure Ryback and Wyatt work well together. This feels like several steps down from Bray and the Undertaker.
Derek: It doesn’t make any sense at all. The whole thing feels rushed and I keep forgetting it’s even happening. Definitely agree with you about the Undertaker. I’m not sure why they gave him that match if they were just going to turn him into an afterthought afterward.
Will: Raw ended as only it could before a pay-per-view, with all four main event players squaring off after the night’s final match. Reigns, Ambrose, and Randy Orton all hit their finishers on poor Seth Rollins, and Ambrose closed the show by Dirty Deeds-ing Reigns. I wish I were more interested in the Payback main event than I am.
Derek: I’m more excited now that the “bonus” Elimination Chamber pay-per-view is coming up two weeks after Payback. Now I get the feeling that anything can happen. I don’t think Ambrose will win because of the announce team constantly asking “CAN YOU IMAGINE THIS LUNATIC AS CHAMPION?!?!?!?!” But any of the other three have a shot. Sure, if Rollins loses, he’ll probably get it back at Elimination Chamber. But at least the outcome is up in the air, and the Kane-Rollins storyline may finally advance.
It’s about time, brother.