Is it just me or did this fakeout feel decidedly like a Paul Heyman idea? Of course, that’s highly unlikely, but the “guts to brains” ratio on this little bit of crowd control was remarkable. This crowd, as crappy in their choices were — and whoever the jackass who decided #HijackRaw was a good idea should do us all a favor and go away — managed to, at the very least, be loud the entire night. We’ll discuss the crowd in more detail later on — during that PHENOMENAL Daniel Bryan/Authority segment, which has my vote for “best bit on Raw” at least since Brock came back and maybe since the #pipebomb — but starting off with Punk’s music and working the crowd the way they did seemed like a stroke of inspired genius mixed with just the right amount of stupid.
As a rather serious Usos fan — I could argue they are my favorite tag team, but I mean, what about the Ascension then? — I couldn’t be any more happy that they finally have the titles they so richly deserve. I would have rather them win it at the Elimination Chamber against the Rhodes brothers, but beggars can’t be choosers and legs aren’t going to kick themselves out of their legs.
Does no more Langston mean no more push for Big E.? Probably not, but making him an extra in his own match is probably not the best way to establish one of the future pillars of your company.
Noah called Rollins breaking several weeks ago, but as we’ve talked about a considerable amount in this space and many many others, the dynamic of the Shield is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. The ability of those three performers to simultaneously be stock characters crudely drawn to appeal to the lowest common denominator and have them function in an entirely realistic way (like competitive friends working together for a common goal) to entirely unrealistic stimuli (angry hillbilly cultists) is — to quote the crowds at the beginning of their matches — “Awesome”. Now if they can figure out a way to turn this into a team building exercise, we’ll be all set.
In what will likely become a Raw Regurgitated staple as more and more performers from developmental show up on the main roster, to this Emma/Santino-Summer Rae/Fandango match I say: NXT did it.
There are few things I love more than watching Sheamus wrestle, but for the sake of preventing future arguments, I’d like to state for the record that my girlfriend is one of them. I love you, honey! (Okay… is she gone? Because, I’m not going to lie, she was talking during this match and I kind of zoned out and she was not happy about it… oh jeez, is coming back…) Hey, sweetie! I can’t believe they’re going to kill the Mother either!
Give me Paige vs. Emma or Give Me Death. Or, seriously, anything other than Aksana Foxy vs. The Bella Brigade. Please. I’m begging you.
WARNING YOU ARE ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE KEEP EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIME *** I like to use the reaction of normal civilians — those unsullied by years of self-inflicted abuse watching wrestling that manages to dull the rough edges of our perception of what is “good” and “bad” — as the best indicator of how much any given angle is getting over. And, I noticed something remarkable about this segment, the most engaging, thought provoking and HOTTEST segment of the last few years. It’s that my girlfriend was rooting for the Authority. Now, she watches (read: is in the same room when it’s playing) significantly more wrestling than the average public has in the seven months we’ve been dating and is at the very least familiar with the principals involved at a level that doesn’t require her to ask me every five minutes “which guy is this”, but needless to say she Is Not a fan. She doesn’t get caught up the way fans do and certainly doesn’t understand the more complicated aspects of a newly kayfabed reality, the tropes more frequently employed in the medium or the convoluted history that help create the tapestry that fans call professional wrestling. But she’s perceptive, and very quickly picked up on a rather simple fact: The Authority is right.
Now, that’s not to say that what they’re doing isn’t morally repugnant or that we should be cheering them. In fact, the fact that they are right is exactly what makes them so hateable in the first place. It’s not what they believe that’s the problem, it’s how they go about doing it that we should have a problem with. The point of the Authority from the perspective of the characters in a storyline is simple: get as much heat on the Daniel Bryan-HHH feud as is humanly possible as what’s been a six-month build (with a few “detours” along with the way) as it ramps up on the road to WrestleMania.
However, symbolically and a narrative tool, the Authority’s purpose is much more complicated. The Authority has long had to balance their “evil” actions with their “good” ones. There are several reasons for this, but the most important of which is that their goal has never been to be cartoonishly evil, but banally evil. Trying to defeat the Authority isn’t a distinct goal like “trying to win a WWE title” or “be the face of the WWE” . It’s trying to overcome years of conventional wisdom from both the company itself and the fans that buy tickets that guys like Daniel Bryan aren’t stars because they don’t fit any mold of what a “main eventer” is supposed to be.
The goal of this run hasn’t been to make a new mold out of the Daniel Bryans of the world, but rather to get the WWE Universe — and maybe the WWE itself (Vince included) — to understand that there is no mold. If you try to do that by constantly working over the good guys on a neverending loop, fans will accept that as the status quo, where any victory — no matter how small — against the “bad guys” becomes recalibrated as an accomplishment. There is no belief that their guys will ever succeed, fans began to lose interest in the proceedings because they only ever receive catharsis in unsustainable doses, creating a vicious cycle where any victory by the protagonist is perceived as unimportant, while any victory by the antagonist isn’t seen as a roadblock but an inevitability.
The Authority occasionally giving the people what they want allows them to point to those times and say “we’re here for you!”. It allows them to be selectively evil, which is far worse. Pure evil never allows for hope. And without hope there is no suffering, but there is also no triumph. There’s just death by a thousand papercuts. WARNING YOU ARE EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY CHILI CHEESE PRETZEL DOG FROM SONIC ON THE WAY OUT ***
YEAH, MR. (KERWIN) WHITE(‘S CADDY)!
Daron’s sadness about not getting a Real Americans face turn is probably only compounded by the fact that it looks like they might turn them into Team Hell No! 2.0. This time with less hair!
It’s always essentially the same promo every time, much like his matches. But after spending the last eight years as a regularly paying customer, I’ve still yet to feel like John Cena didn’t at least try as hard as he possibly could to give me my money’s worth. And considering how many times he’s wildly exceeded any reasonable expectations, I’ll take it.
Should I start the #FreeRusev movement so we can get the Bulgarian brute to unleash some of those sweet sweet spinning heel kicks?
I may be looking at him with rose-colored glasses, but I think I’m the only person on earth who has actually enjoyed everything that Batista has done since he’s been back. Now, is it “Douchetista, King of the Bros”? No, he also has the better part of two years to get himself back to where he used to be. And while it’s easy to argue that he should already be where he needs to be from a cardio standpoint, to act like he was 80’s era Ric Flair before he left seems disingenuous at best. But, man, if he doesn’t start making the Batista Bomb look better by WrestleMania, I’m going to seriously consider reevaluating my feelings towards him. Unless he starts wearing jean jackets again, because then all bets are off.
Hey, Stephanie McMahon, if things don’t work out with that other guy, feel free to hit me up on Facebook.