Authority Song: Wrasslin’ Wednesday 6/24/15

Wrasslin Wednesday Header

Derek: We’re coming to you live (two days later) from Indianapolis! Good to be back on Wednesdays. All those Thursdays felt dirty. And I know a thing or two about feeling dirty, because I pre-ordered the PC version of Arkham Knight.

Will: It’s good to be back. My apologies for the tardies and absences. NBA season has finally come to a close, and I’m ready to dive back into wrasslin’. Things got hot and heavy there for a minute, with Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank back to back, but now we can fall back into the usual one PPV per month routine.

Derek: Yes, things are finally slowing down in the ol’ squared circle, which has been good and bad. It’s nice to not be over-saturated, but we’re in the no man’s land that typically exists three weeks before a lower-tier PPV. But there was one unquestionable victory on Monday night, and that was the return of this man:

heyman return

WWE, Inc.

Yes, I think it’s safe to say that I missed Paul Heyman more than Brock Lesnar. It’s nice to have Brock back, but it really felt like something was missing when Heyman stopped showing up. Welcome back, Paul.

Will: Heyman on the mic should get old, but it never does. His returning from a relatively long hiatus obviously made his work Monday night all the better, but I increasingly feel like he could just talk for 30 minutes straight and I would still be entertained. He’s just so damn good. He owns the room, which is no small feat when those rooms house some 20,000 people. He’s aggressive and lyrical and always wraps up his monologues with tidy little bows. He knows when to downshift and when to stomp on the gas, and I’m never left feeling like I saw anything other than a spectacular performance. Welcome back indeed.

(Also, making a new Suplex City t-shirt for every locale Brock visits is borderline genius. Also borderline genius: You can buy an “Eat. Sleep. Poop. Repeat” dog leash.)

Derek: The running story of the evening was Seth Rollins mending the bridges he scorched with all of his Authority brethren. Each member of the Authority (correctly) pointed out that Rollins was only making nice because of Lesnar’s return. Despite Kane, J&J, Triple H, and Steph all calling him on his BS, they still returned to his side at the end of the evening. The show ended with Rollins, Kane, and Joey Mercury (Jamie Noble broke three ribs moments earlier) assaulting Lesnar in the middle of the ring.

The reunification of The Authority has me less excited for Battleground. Last week, I wondered why we were getting the Lesnar-Rollins match at Battleground instead of SummerSlam. Now that the band is back together, a false finish at Battleground has moved from possibility to probability. I can see it now: Lesnar gives Rollins an F5, one … two … and Kane breaks up the pin! That’s a disqualification! Rollins retains! Then Rollins returns to his childish ways and we get the real match at SummerSlam. Now that that’s settled, we just need to find out who will replace Noble.

My question is what happens to Dean Ambrose? I thought for sure he would run out and help Brock at the end. Getting a chance to attack Rollins is good enough, but the opportunity to be on Brock’s good side? That’s a chance most wouldn’t pass up. I was disappointed he didn’t make an appearance.

Will: Ambrose’s lack of involvement is a concern, but I’m actually on board with the Authority-related events of this week. It isn’t satisfying to see them all back together in the short term, but I’m optimistic that it will make whatever the eventual payoff is that much better. They also needed a way to make Brock look vulnerable, and a combination of the numbers game and working his knee seems to be the chosen path. I would have liked to see something with more resolution, but I’m not mad at WWE for playing the long game.

If Ambrose doesn’t find a way back into the picture, however, my outlook is a bit less sunny.

Derek: Outside the main event, Bray Wyatt continues to taunt Roman Reigns for his “I’m a Little Teapot” commercial. I’m slightly more in on this feud than I was a week ago. Despite its cringeworthy beginning, the feud hasn’t lost me yet because Bray isn’t completely reverting back to the “I hate you because you’re popular” trope he has used for the past year. He just seems pissed off that Roman took his MITB spot. A classic reason for people to wrassle.

Bray’s little anti-Roman shrine was pretty creepy, too. For someone who has fancied himself “The New Face of Fear,” he hasn’t been doing very many scary things. Hopefully he’s starting to make up some ground in that area.

anyone but you

Will: I was all in on this week’s edition of Bray does weird shit. The eerie lighting and targeting of a foe’s daughter brought to mind the old feud between the Undertaker and Vince McMahon, when a then-young-and-naive Stephanie McMahon was caught in the middle. Bray has definitely trended more creepy than scary lately, but it’s worked for me — red capital letters smeared on the wall are a sure thing when it comes to creepiness.

As you say, the nature of their squabble makes sense, or at least enough sense for me to buy it. Based on looks alone, Bray and Roman are natural foils. My concern is that neither has blown me away in the ring, and I don’t imagine them working together all that well. I’m skeptical that we’ll get a payoff commensurate with the build-up. Here’s hoping.

Derek: Looks like John Cena and Kevin Owens are continuing their feud with another match at Battleground. This time, the US Championship is on the line. It’s too bad the NXT Championship isn’t also on the line, because the thought of John Cena as NXT Champion is absolutely delightful.

I’m not sure I can describe this feud in a way that I haven’t already. There’s really no way to do it justice without just directly quoting both of them, and there’s been enough of that. These two should just feud forever, until John Cena becomes NXT Champion and the galaxy implodes.

Will: Their feud is incredible. It’s good for the same reason that good fried chicken is good: They’ve taken a simple premise, and they’ve executed the hell out of it. There’s no convoluted reason for them to fight, no forced pawn caught in the middle. It’s a rivalry that could work in any time or place, from ancient China to the Wild West. 

John Cena — face of the company John Cena — respects Kevin Owens as a wrestler. He said so himself. He entertains the idea that agreeing to a match with Owens may mean going into a fight that he cannot win. Owens made his big league debut less than two months ago, and here he is, earning kudos from the biggest name in the biz. 

But Owens isn’t a man of integrity. He isn’t a man of morals or values. He is not a decent man, and to a man like Cena, a man defined by loyalty and respect (as well as hustle), that qualifies as a personal affront. Pure and simple, they don’t like each other because they perceive themselves to be more different than they are alike. Owens doesn’t care what people think of him; Cena does. Owens will stoop to any low in the pursuit of victory; Cena won’t. Even as they are both experts in their field, they cannot stand each other because of how they got there.

It’s sort of a Joker-Batman thing. Owens isn’t that wild, but he is similarly nihilistic. Beyond his son and dominating the squared circle, there appears to be nothing that he truly cares about or considers important, and that’s dangerous. These two are so damn good. More, please.

Derek: It was a rough week for the tag team division. Tyson Kidd is having the same neck surgery Stone Cold and Edge had, so he’s supposedly gone for 14 months. Erick Rowan also has an arm injury that could keep him out for a while. So Luke Harper and Cesaro, the owners of separate failed singles pushes who were looking to rebound through the tag team division, have lost their partners. Maybe they’ll put them together?!

cesaro owens

Either way, the tag team division is in danger of turning back into garbage. And I know a thing or two about garbage, because I pre-ordered the PC version of Arkham Knight.

Will: You poor S.O.B.

The tag division is in a weird place. Some six months ago, we bemoaned the full-on crapfest that was the Ascension’s debut (although they’re growing on me a little bit, like a slow moving fungus) and were growing tired of the never-ending run of Usos vs. Miz/dow matches. Then Cesaro and Kidd picked up steam and New Day re-invented themselves as legitimately great heels. Add Rowan & Harper and the Prime Time Players to the mix, and it suddenly looked like four-man wrasslin’ was in a great place.

Alas, just like in the NBA or NFL, injuries have submarined much of that momentum. The PTPers have the belt and are reasonably over, even if they’re not 100 percent compelling. New Day is still there, but the thinning roster runs the risk of relying on them too much. What other tag teams are left that you care about? Have we reached the point where we yearn for the Usos or completely talk ourselves into the Ascension just out of necessity? If it looks this bad from where we’re sitting, I can’t imagine how Triple H feels trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

(An aside that I’ve gotta mention: I love how Kofi is billed from “Ghana, West Africa.” I want to be disappointed in WWE for not trusting their fans to know what and where Ghana is, but in this case they’re probably right.)

Derek: The Kane Konundrum continued, as he can’t decide if he’s The Ultimate Jobber or the Big Red Machine. The Kane/Rollins thing has lingered, and lingered, and lingered, and still not gone anywhere. I had hoped he would team up with Ambrose or something, but he always reverts back to the status quo. Please do something with Kane. I don’t like delays. And I know a thing or two about annoying delays, because I pre-ordered the PC version of Arkham Knight in Korea.

Will: It will all be okay, friend. Arkham Knight will get sorted out — if it’s as bad as people say, maybe you’re better off without it for now! — and one day Kane will finally turn on Seth Rollins. We’ll think it long overdue, and the fact that we’ve pined for it so long will make it all the better. In an ideal world, he’ll come out in the old Big Red Machine attire to destroy Rollins mid-match, cue some fireworks, and ride off into the Big Red sunset. 

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