Old Friends, New Enemies: Raw Regurgitated, 2/3

It’s always fun to see a “normal” crowd, that seems mostly disconnected from the hate-watching that encompasses a sad portion of the #InternetWrestlingCommunity. Sure, there were CM Punk chants — and there ABSOLUTELY SHOULD HAVE BEEN BECAUSE IT’S A TOTAL BUMMER HE’S GONE — but it didn’t become an all encompassing thing or really distract from the show in any discernible way. There’s a difference between “going into business for yourself” and “voicing your opinion”, and while some crowds forget that, it’s nice to see one that doesn’t.

*** WARNING YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES *** The idea that the WWE doesn’t know exactly what it’s doing with Daniel Bryan seems either hopelessly naive or needlessly cynical. Give how unbelievably dense most fans are about what the WWE is and what it’s supposed to be — as a trip to literally any comment section can attest — it seems like the former. The WWE isn’t a “professional wrestling” company, and they really have never — especially in the “E” era — been one. They are a sports, entertainment and media company which specializes in the medium of “professional wrestling”.

That may seem like a bit of wordplay, but it’s a clear and important distinction. The WWE’s using the nebulous concept of “professional wrestling” — it’d be difficult to compare Chikara to Ring of Honor and say they are in any real way the exact same thing — to push eyeballs to their product in order to get money from advertisers, consumers and network. They are not selling “professional wrestling”, they are using “professional wrestling” in the large context of a “sports [and] entertainment” show to sell action figures, t-shirts and Slurpees.

It’s entirely valid and appropriate to discuss the WWE’s role in the world of “professional wrestling” and whether or not this is good for “the business” (spoiler alert: probably not.) But the notion that a company in the money-making business wouldn’t be willing to listen to the consumers because of odd perceptions about the nature of how they run their business is allowing yourself to be a mark.

And, while “marking out” is perhaps the height of being a wrestling fan, being a mark — the victim in a confidence game — inhibits the fan from being able to have genuine fun with the product. Complain, boo loudly, hate whoever makes your blood boil, and cheer as loudly (and synchronously) as you can for the performers you love.

But try to never lose sight of the “fact” that the WWE is a company in one of the few industries filled with more deceit and double talk than “professional wrestling”: marketing. *** WARNING YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY CHILI CHEESE PRETZEL DOG ON THE WAY OUT***

Yes

There’s literally nothing bad that can come from Triple H doing that “Yes!” chant, right? …. Right?

***

Grooving-on-a-Sunday-afternoonWhile there’s a lot to love about Roman Reigns as the Great Destroyer, the finest part of this match was unequivocally the way that Dean Ambrose sauntered over to Big E. Langston to hit him with the Headlock Driver. Without saying a word, Ambrose managed to show the level to which Reigns had annihilated Big E., the level to which he was willing to rub it in his face that he was stealing Roman’s kill while also depriving the fans of what they really wanted to see: Roman Reign spearing Big E. Langston in half. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns continue to just be the best, and Seth Rollins continues to, you know, be there also.

Anyone who isn’t excited about whatever in the blue hell is going to happen between the Shield and the Wyatts are going to do at the Elimination Chamber PPV is someone that is, if it’s possible, doing it wrong.

Serious Question:Christian continues to be one of the truly great workers of his or any generation. So why is the feeling that he’s probably going to get OBLITERATED by someone looking to take his place in the Elimination Chamber Match not a total bummer?

****

There is perhaps no bigger Triple H supporter in the world than yours truly, but this whole New Age Outlaws business is the first time I’ve legitimately worried about whether or not H is always willing to do what’s “Best for Business” given his new position of power. If the NAO is simply there to raise the platform of the Cody-Goldust breakup and hand the titles over to a more deserving team, wonderful. But if this is some sort of gold watch run that’ll last through several “Pay Per Views”, or whatever they’ll call them now, that would be as big an existential bummer as CM Punk never coming back.

With that said, while Billy is not Dustin — nor has he ever been — and Road Dogg couldn’t “actually” wrestle his way out of a paper bag, they are easily the best idea for transitional champions possible.

Wow, Cody. Wow.

CODY

***

I’ve already made this joke on the Twitter, but I got really excited when Miz showed up during the Zack Ryder/Titus O’Neil match because it means we are one step closer to my Cre8ive Ha5 N0thing 4 U stable from my WWE Universe in WWE 2K14.

If booked correctly, Emma will be a huge star in the Diva’s division. If not, she will be the best possible version of Los Matadores. So, it’s pretty much a no-lose situation.

It’s extremely sad for Curtis Axel that instead of being able to work his way up the ladder with his best friend as one half of Rybaxel, he’s forced to play the Cameron to Ryback’s Naomi as they build towards the Big Guy and Sheamus in what will be a Hoss Fight that might just break record for largest disparity between the “actual” quality of the match and “what the internet thinks” is the quality of the match.

***

As a Alberto del Rio AND Batista fan, this match has me VERY excited. But for literally anyone who isn’t a huge fan of either, this has to be about 50X worse than the Big Show-Orton Survivor Series angle. And that was basically Katie Vick, except instead of Vince forcing Triple H to pretend to have sex with Kane’s dead girlfriend, he actually screwed Big Show’s career until it was dead.

The quicker we all realize that Dolph Ziggler’s status with the company is easily measured by the place on the card that the person who beats him is, the easier it will be to watch him become a Jobber to the Stars.

God bless AJ Lee, she just put over the entire NXT Diva’s roster in two sentences than the WWE has been able to put over the Total Divas after six months of trying.

***

If only they stopped burying Daniel Bryan by putting him in 25-minute main event matches on their flagship show against the WWE World Heavyweight Champion that he wins clean in the middle of the ring with his finisher as the crowd loses their shit (with the commentators commenting on it) after fighting off his former tag team partner and blocking his opponent’s finisher.