I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!: Raw Regurgitated, 5/5

Stephanie has a heavy hand, Kane has an evil plan and Adam Rose has his debut. Raw Regurgitated, just for you, on the internet.

***WARNING! YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES ***The fears of the Shield breaking up have most subsided, as they’ve now become the resident punching bags for HHH and his merry band of Affliction models. This is obviously significantly better and not just because it means we can pick the Ambrose/Rollins/Reigns trifecta in the “future WWE WHC” Derby. It also allows for that most important of scuttlebutts — CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT — to happen naturally by forcing them to respond to adversarial conditions that don’t feel contrived or manufactured. This feud feels like an existential one, much in the same way that Daniel Bryan’s does.

Whether that’s a function of HHH’s newfound (pardon the pun) “moral authority”, meaning his actual real life contributions backstage being so well-regarded by nearly everyone it allows people to feel much better about their perception of the creative control he has over his storylines and the careers of others is hard to say. But it feels like that. While HHH has always had a legitimate stake in the welfare of the company — even before he was the boss’s son-in-law, one of the main reasons he and Stephanie fell in love in the first place was because of their mutual dedication and obsession with THIS BUSINESS — now the direct fruits of his labor, AKA NXT, are seen as almost unequivocally beneficial to the company. This allows him to be the same performer he always was without a certain segment of fans thinking everything he did had some deeper political agenda that would only benefit him.

Which is all fans that care about this stuff are worried about: they don’t care whether or not someone has too much backstage power, they care whether someone having too much backstage power will effect their favorite performers. It’s why there’s such a disconnect from the internet’s feelings towards HHH and how the overwhelming majority of fans feel about him: not knowing that he has creative control or that he is married to the boss’s daughter or any of the relatively mundane things that have happened throughout the history of people and who they work for — full disclosure: your correspondent, for one, is dating the eldest daughter of his first manager at the company he currently works at (hi, sweetie!) — makes just enjoying the great work he does so much easier.

And it’s that, much like worrying about the Shield breaking up not because of what’s happening on the show but what’s being talked about on the dirt screens — full disclosure: your correspondent now writes a daily Rumor Round-Up, which means he’s part of the problem — that’s the biggest obstacle the WWE will have to overcome in order to finally get over the hump and reach the levels of fandom that propelled them to boom periods twice in the last thirty years: a bunch of “smart” fans being really stupid.***WARNING! YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC CHILI CHEESE DOG MILKSHAKE ON THE WAY OUT ***

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I’d like to personally thank Cesaro for doing what we’ve all been wanting to do the past two years: punch RVD repeatedly in the face. If only he could have screamed “DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST ANYTHING DIFFERENT”, my life would be complete.

Quick note to WWE Creative: Will-they-or-won’t-they make ups/break ups work with buddy cop shows, not established brother tag teams. Owen and Bret were only tangentially connected before they had their falling out, Cody and Goldust are former tag champions. Just shit, or get off the pot. You’re just bringing us all down as a pair of brothers slowly disintegrate because of a series of unfortunate events. That’s not the build up for a wrestling feud, that’s the first act of an Oscar movie.

Things you never think you’ll write down for public consumption: I can’t believe that the WWE is squandering all of the potential money they could make with El Torito and Hornswoggle with a segment that would seem obnoxious and overwritten if it had taken place during the guest host era. That’s right, I said it. It had to be said, and I said it.

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Of all of the stats that David Shoemaker made up that we’re trying to actually apply to Kayfabermetrics, the one that we are most excited about is Value Over Kofi Kingston. And matches like this, the first one where Rusev actually felt like A) he was working with someone who matter and B) was able to get past after dealing with adversity early where Kofi seems like the first “boss” on your way to the top. Which is a nice way of saying that for all the “jobbers to the stars”, he’s the biggest star.

While he and I very rarely agree on anything — because he’s a little bit country, and I’m a little bit rock n’ roll, I suppose — I can’t help but feel exactly the same way Brandon Stroud did about this Alberto del Rio-Daniel Bryan match. The crowd was kind of into, the performers were kind of into, and even the commentators were kind of into it. But because of the looming specter of DEMON Kane, and the sublimely hilarious “sorry, I’m a heavy knocker” runner from Stephanie, all coupled with Daniel Bryan being the number one guy in the company in the ring made the outcome of this match not in doubt for a second. This would of course be fine if it didn’t make the whole match feel like filler until they were waylaid by mean schoolgirls Kane on their way out of the building. Also, for the love of God, how do you not bring Brie out of the car with you when you check the hood? Have you literally never seen a horror movie before, Daniel?

Although Big E may be headed back down to the lower midcard as they retool his character, he’ll always be at the top of the card in my heart:

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There’s literally nothing on earth worse than people complaining about how a crowd reacts the first time they see a performer. It’s equal parts “not giving anyone a chance to do anything without thinking it’s crap”, which is the very worst emotion you can commonly attribute to a certain segment of the fandom and “assuming everyone knows just as much about the product as you do,” which is the second worst part of dealing with people who considered themselves to be “smart”. That’s not to say that Adam Rose’s debut did much, or even that it was good (it was, at best, not the worst thing ever.) But that the only time first impressions really matter in wrestling is when you screw up something like The Shockmaster or Ultimo Dragon tripping the first time they appeared on TV. Outside of that, the point of vignettes like the Exotic Express and the BOLIEVER promos isn’t to get you excited to see someone come in as much as it is to make you are of who they are so when they show up it doesn’t feel so random. Which is why people remembering CONSTANTLY that most people — even people paid to write about wrestling — don’t watch everything all of the time. When people say wait and see, they don’t mean “push out the bad stuff and ignore it completely”, they mean “allow the thing you are watching develop into what it’s supposed to be”. The best example of this recently were complaints about Bad News Barrett that went something like this (but were admittedly, not given a “Best” at the beginning of it):

I also love that they’ve apparently given up on Barrett, and decided the best gimmick for him would be “guy who does the easiest shit to get heat you can think of.” His material was seriously WE’RE IN THIS TOWN (pause for cheers) I HATE THIS TOWN (pause for boos). In his second appearance of the night, because a guy with a hashtagged lectern DEMANDS two appearances, he upgraded to I DISLIKE THINGS YOU ENJOY (food) with a side of I’M NOT FROM HERE. “Thanksgiving is weird! I have my own customs!”

This isn’t to pick on Brandon again, but to give an articulate version from a slightly different (which is to say “backhandedly pro”) position regarding something that is now recognized as somewhere between “TOTALLY AMAZING” and “SUPER GREAT!” but was initially shat upon by nearly ever “smart” fan out there.

And finally, a transcript from the end of this week’s show:

“OH HEY, IT’S THE SHIELD AGAINST THE WYATTS. IF ONLY EVOLUTION WAS IN THE BUILDING, BUT WE HEARD THEY AREN’T!”

“OH WAIT, THERE THEY ARE! I DID NOT SEE THIS COMING, JBL!”

“IT LOOKS LIKE THE SHIELD ARE THE ONES HAVING TO DEAL WITH THE DAMNED NUMBERS GAME NOW!”

“THAT’S RIGHT MAGGLE!”

“BOOBIES?”

“GO BACK TO SLEEP, JERRY”

(and SCENE)