The Whole World In His Hands: Raw Regurgitated, 4/21

Kane brings the pain to Daniel Bryan, Bad News Barrett brings the (bull) hammer down on Sheamus, and Bray Wyatt brings the house down with a stirring rendition of "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands." Raw Regurgitated, right on the internet, just for you!

We’re not the type of people to say “we told you so” here at Raw Regurgitated…. but we told you so. The days of worrying about indy darlings being treated as year-long transitional champions are mostly gone, and while it may have seemed like it wouldn’t be that much fun to watch Kane and Daniel Bryan settle their feud over who is the real World’s (Tag Team) Champion, this opening segment proved yet again that — on some level — the WWE has their stuff together for a booking standpoint. They seem to have finally figured out that having “something” for everybody goes beyond “having as many different flavors of ice cream” as possible, and requires them to put on the best possible version of that “something” if they want to compete in an ever-fracturing media landscape.

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Stephanie’s “let’s give a warm round of applause for Daniel Bryan” after he was “eviscerated” by Kane not only puts everything she was saying to Kane to try to get him to stop in question, but implies that it was her plan all along to have Kane eat Daniel Bryan’s lunch. Which is why she’s the real star of the show. (We will not be accepting arguments on this topic.)

While it’s insanely unfortunate that Mr. Danielson has passed away, the idea that he got to see his son reach the top of his chosen profession and marry the love of his life seems like it must have been nice.

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HEY SHEAMUS, I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS! (Which, in this case, is that Bad News Barrett is getting a major push …into the mid-card. Yay! [?])

It’s always fun to watch two guys that “smart” fans usually ignore or openly disrespect while in the ring get their due in front of a crowd that isn’t trying to make themselves the show. Sheamus continues to be a tour de force of HOSSome-ness (pronounced HAWEsome-ness) with a penchant for being able to work with anyone. And the feeling surrounding Bad News has the potential to become electric (no, not in that way) if he finally reaches his considerable potential. While both are too old to be consider the future of the business the way that Roman Reigns is, they certainly have the potential to be the forebearers to the realization of Vince McMahon’s dream of big guys in every match, but with the ability to actually perform physically and tell a great story.

It’s certainly hard to say that Hornswoggle and El Torito’s beef makes 3MB and Los Matadores “legitimate”, but it does give them a legitimate story to work with and a serious hook with the crowd. Hornswoggle is a very good worker, especially when paired with larger guys, because he’s very big for a little person, and Torito appears to be the type of performer small children want their parents to pay to see. Having those guys pull in some of the audience allows them to add value to both teams, while giving some of the most likable, hardest working and under appreciated workers in the company a little bit of residual shine.

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Evolution is a mystery, but why they haven’t been able to get as over as they thought they would isn’t. While the crowd “cares” about Batista, HHH and Orton, they are three of the all-time “paid to see him wrestle the guy I paid to see” performers of all time. Out of the trio, Batista is the only one who has ever been a real draw in the tradition sense — HHH’s drawing ability is largely based on wanting to see him get his ass kicked, and the same goes for Orton — so throwing these three in a stable with these three established attitudes towards them wasn’t going to work on anything other than nostalgia reaction. And since no one watching now really remembers Evolution other than as something that happened that involved those three and the much more popular Ric Flair, that isn’t going to work as well as they would hope either. The stars of these feuds should pretty unequivocally be the Shield both in the sense that they should be the main people featured, and that Evolution should react to them, not the other way around. And the reaction for the two groups last night made that very clear.

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HAVING SAID THAT, if this Evolution-Shield thing ends with any of the Shield joining them or with Orton vs. Ambrose, Rollins vs. Batista and Reigns vs. HHH, there’s literally nothing that would make this feud not be a great idea.

Speaking of great ideas, the following things were worth their weight in gold during the Usos-Rhodes Brothers match: the Usos entrance (the best in the company outside of the Wyatts (even if their pyro was kind of [JBL IS] poopy this time), Ryback on commentary acting like a real person who grew up a wrestling fan (this was worth it’s weight in whatever is more expensive than gold, if only because it established that The Ryback has a father), RybAxel spending half the match putting over the people in the ring as hard as they could while calling the announcement out for not doing the same (while still making themselves seem like the undisputed best), the Rhodes Brothers potential break-up (which felt less kick your leg out of your leg and more barbershop window), and RybAxel establishing themselves as the number one contenders for the title (which means we may have finally reached a place where there is an organically developing Tag Team division, which is maybe the best part of the entire segment).

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Is it sexist that Emma’s cobra is now in love with Santino’s cobra, or just lame and kind of terrible but still likely to get her way more over than she would be otherwise? I want to feel righteous indignation, but it’s hard to find something to actually get angry at any more. I don’t understand how Andy keeps it up. Oh, right, he watches TNA.

WELL THAT JUST MADE ME ANGRY. But me, personally, as Cesaro’s success is one of the few things I openly root for anymore. Everything else exists somewhere between “fundamentally indifferent to” and “actively don’t want to hear people complain about it”, but convoluted stories involving Swagger, Cesaro, RVD and eventually Big E make me nervous, if only because the IC contender’s tournament was such a perfect way to directly inject importance into the Intercontinental title again. With this type of booking, they are essentially saying “we want Cesaro to feud with Swagger, which we see of equal importance to the IC belt, but without the IC belt”. It’s not that they did this — though you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more meh on RVD than your correspondent — but the manner in which they choose to complicate the storyline. Considering the people involved — yes, even RVD — this deserves more than the benefit of the doubt, but this scene in the story definitely left me wanting less of whatever direction they were going.

Is Paige just going to narrowly beat every member of the Divas division until she narrowly beats Tamina at the next PPV, and continue to do so until someone like Kharma comes back? Or is there an actual plan in place?

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There is one thing we hate more than anything else at Raw Regurgitated, and it’s the “insert random name here” chants. Beyond how incredibly disrespectful they are to the performers in the ring, the idea that they’ve become the way that crowds show they are bored is borderline repulsive. It’s somewhere between being the guy who yells during moments of silence and holding your own matches in the crowd during the show on the “please go away scale”.

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*** WARNING! YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES *** Wins and losses don’t really count for much in wrestling. At least as much as they seem like they would considering how much planning goes into who gets them. As Kayfabermetrics has established, there are a bunch of factors in determining who the WWE wants you to believe is best, the highest in the hierarchy, the most powerful in the power rankings. They do this through things like mentioning over and over again how successful certain performers are, matches they’ve had recently and, because winning/losing isn’t totally meaningless, their most winning and losing streaks while they talk tangentially about what’s happening during the actual match.

This is because, unlike most other shows — outside of soap operas and the news — the show must welcome new fans, appease the old fans and plan for the future all at the same time, every day always. So things like title reigns, and numbers of accomplishments are extremely important in establishing who, for lack of a better term, is a “big deal” to them and who isn’t. Even while it seems like Daniel Bryan was being buried, the numbers made it clear that he continued to be one of the most well regarded and best/most utilized performers in the industry. The same thing goes for Bray Wyatt, who has been mixed up in a feud that is seen by many members of a certain segment of the wrestling fandom as a way to “bury” him. Ignoring the millions (and millions) of dollars they invest in each other prominent brands — Wyatt, especially, who is being positioned as one of the company’s major stars — this idea is on its face highly ignorant.

HOWEVER, given the track record of John Cena being put over everyone other than the most popular and well-regarded performers in the company (Randy Orton, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan) , there may have been some cause for concern before last night.  But when you accept that John Cena is always going to win in the end, you have to judge what happens in between those wins to see how people are regarded by the company. While Doomsday may have killed Superman, the real villains in Metropolis — your Lex Luthors, et al — are the guys who are made into formidable opponents by forcing Superman into compromising what he stands for — in his case, Truth, Justice, and the American way — or changing the way he operates.

CM Punk and Daniel Bryan made him show that he could wrestle, and Bray Wyatt is trying to get him to show that he can cheat and do wrong to get what he wants much easier than adhering to the eternally cheesy ethos of Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect. The victories in a war of attrition are smaller, but they are more meaningful no matter meaningless they may feel. And there aren’t many more meaningful moments you’ll see than someone cradling Superman while he gets an entire crowd to sing-along with him, even if it feels meangingless right now. *** WARNING! YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC CHILI CHEESE PRETZEL DOG MILKSHAKE ON THE WAY OUT***