Yes He Can!: Raw Regurgitated, 1/13

The Usos’ rise to stardom has been the type of thing that makes you love wrestling. Their in-ring work was never lacking, but there’s a very nice cohesiveness to their presentation that has made all the difference in the world for them. Palpable improvement of workers is always fun watch, but when obvious efforts are made to make the show that “brands” — meaning superstars, tag teams and divas as distinct characters on the show — are giving as enjoyable as possible, it’s an absolute joy to be a part of. Discussion about whether the WWE can build new characters should begin and end with the Usos, who have evolved from the poor man’s version of Duece and Domino — with Tamina as their “Cherry” — into two of the fastest rising stars in the company based almost entirely on the strength of their character development.

Here’s a question: was the cage already above the ring in storyline too? In other words, will the implication be that this match between the Usos and the Wyatts — and what will come as a result of it (spoiler alert) — was spontaneous or part of an elaborate plan between Daniel Bryan and Kane to get revenge on the Wyatts? And, if so, does that mean I was totally wrong in last week’s (first) episode of our (NEW!) podcast by calling DB Spiderman? Is Daniel Bryan really Batman? Because that’s a Batman gambit if I’ve ever seen one.

It’s really unfortunate that they are so dedicated to burying guys like Sandow. What is the company going to do when guys like Cena are no longer able to go every night? If the people in charge really cared about what’s best for business, they would have Sandow win the match cleanly in the middle of the ring with John’s finisher just two weeks before he main events a PPV. That’s how you book stars. And I know this because I write a wrestling column.

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There’s always a reason to punch old men in the face. Especially xenophobic Yosemite Sam look alikes, and it’s for reaction shots like this one:

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For much of their run, the Shield was — for obvious reasons — defined less as individuals working together than as a single organism with three dimensions. But, with Reigns established as the Hammer and Ambrose  established as the Hothead, it appeared that — as everyone had long assumed — Rollins would be left out in the cold. HOWEVER, the announcers have very subtly begun to establish Seth as the brains behind the operation. Cole even went so far as to call him the Architect on SmackDown last week. It’s clear that they have plans for all three now, and it’s interesting to see that Rollins has found himself in the most important role of all: holding it all together.

It’s always nice when creators leaves obvious questions unasked while fans ask them loudly, only for the answer to be given to them right at the moment they’ve stopped thinking about the thing that confused in the first place. Like all things CM Punk, since they never have to worry about him being  able to get something over with the crowd, they let nearly everything he does sit in a Crock-Pot until it’s just the right amount of juicy and delicious, which is exactly what happened with The New Age Outlaws when they left Punk to fend for himself against the Shield. It was a great bit of rug pulling for a storyline that they never really explained — or needed to explain — until they needed it to. Now we understand the implications of every bit of what happened over the past two weeks between the three men, without anyone explaining anything with words on the main show. That’s what wrestling is supposed to be — engaging stories told mostly through action, with words sprinkled in for context.

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THE #EMMALUTION WILL BE TELEVISED.

For all the people “excited” about the Ultimate Warrior Hall of Fame speech, JMS would like to remind them that his promos were only worth anything because they made were incoherent messes, and when he started to be able to string sentences together it involved the words “queering”. We don’t believe in soapboxes here in the Palace of Wisdom, but this guy is a turd of the highest order. HAVING SAID THAT, that match with Savage at WrestleMania VII was really great.

There was literally nothing to dislike about this entire “Randy Orton loses clean to Kofi Kingston then kills Mr. Cena FOR THE HUNDRED THOUSANDTH TIME” segment. Randy Orton’s transformation into this weird beautiful creature built entirely on the type of insecurity that can only from being the product of a decade of unachievable expectations has been as much fun as Daniel Bryan’s rise to the top of the face food chain. Also, for a fan of wrestling tropes, “Randy Orton kills your family, probably right in front of you” is right up there with “Flair never gets to jump off the top rope” and “Sting trust someone he shouldn’t” as the best of all time.

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Cody Rhodes and Goldust have spent much of the last month waiting patiently  to turn on each other. In that time, they’ve continued to out work the entire roster in fundamentally meaningless feuds that they inject with relevance, from little runs with the Real Americans to this Friday’s upcoming match with the New Age Outlaws. When they finally go the direction we are waiting for them to, it’s going to be a sight to see.

The idea that Batista isn’t a major star in the company’s history is type of revisionist history that makes us hate the internet: If literally nothing else happened for his return, the attention that Alberto del Rio is getting from this one-sided feud with The Animal is more than he’s received in his entire tenure with the company. And unlike DWAYNE or even BARAK LESNAR, Batista is coming back — if he can stay healthy — for a legitimate run that will actually serve a purpose in getting new talent over AND cementing his legacy, whatever it ends up being.

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*** WARNING YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE*** PLEASE KEEP EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES *** To say Daniel Bryan is the most over person in the company is like saying that WWE is the most popular wrestling promotion in the United States: it’s so much the truth that saying it almost undercuts its validity. BUT, even with that, last night was special. The crowd has made it clear that not only do they want to root for him, they are almost physically compelled to do so. There was no point during either match where the crowd thought for even a second about booing Daniel Bryan, despite actively loving his opponent, the Usos. They saved their vitriol for when Bryan allowed himself to be controlled by Wyatt and  even then, that was simply of their very strong feelings towards Bryan and the almost pathological fear that anything that takes him away from his path to the promised line. As MR. Brandon Stroud put it so eloquently, “Daniel Bryan” has been pushed as this very specific character for literally as long as he’s been in the company — seriously, since his first match — and that has begun to see more and more like long-term planning than as a way to bury perhaps the definitive worker  of his generation.

For all that people say about the McMahons, the WWE Network announcement highlighted a truth about them and the company they’ve built: they love taking risks. They, like the performers they pay, are willing to leap into the relative unknown if they think it  will make them money. And, after nights like last night, anyone that doesn’t think that Daniel Bryan is worth his weight in gold, or that the company isn’t FULLY AWARE OF THIS is missing the whole point. *** YOU ARE EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE*** ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC MILKSHAKE ON YOUR WAY OUT***