Daron Jackson: I’ll state first of all that I went back and watched all the episodes from the post-Rumble Raw up through the chamber. I mined them for moments to show the jerks
Nick Bond: Do you just make a compilation for them? Like, not video editing necessarily, but “this is an important segment”
Daron Jackson: Basically. I made a word document filled with time stamps. Very efficient. This also means that I saw everything but the Chamber twice.
Nick Bond: Wow, that’s nerdy even for me. What did you think about the Chamber?
Daron Jackson: Overall, enjoyed as a whole.
Nick Bond: That seems like you are saying “meh”. But nicely.
Daron Jackson: Not, “Meh,” per se, but I can’t honestly say that I’m weighing the entire PPV. This is because I actively skipped Dave/ADR and AJ/Cameron
Nick Bond: I feel so bad for Dave. That match was totally good, and a lot of fun. The crowd shit ALL OVER IT, but anybody comparing Batista to someone like the Rock is outside of their goddamned minds. AJ/Cameron, tho. That was a pile of turds.
Daron Jackson: I feel so bad for AJ. She is living breathing proof that you can only Really get over in the company if you are a guy. Not that she isn’t or wasn’t ever over; but that she was a “Real Attraction” when she had nothing to do with the Divas.
Nick Bond: Yeah, transcending professional wrestling fandom as a woman seems almost completely impossible. Torrie Wilson and Stacy Kiebler can’t get over outside of the WWE. AJ is nice, but those two are clearly more … uh… mainstream than her and they just had no chance.
Daron Jackson: I’m not even looking for any of them to become household names. I just yearn for a time when a Divas match is at least questionable as the piss-break. Like, “Maybe we should stick around for this one”
Nick Bond: Oh, then you should probably watch NXT ArRival because Paige and Emma brought it.
Daron Jackson: Oh, yeah, I know they do good things there. The fact that I’ve seen episodes of NXT where there are two wholly separate Divas storylines taking place on the same show in the same episode is beautiful and insane
Nick Bond: Yeah, while NXT is all different types of wonderful for the entire roster, it’s completely game-changing for the Diva’s division.
Daron Jackson: Here’s the thing. I don’t know that whomever is running things down there understands how to do it on the main shows. Because Emma has been as shoehorned as you can get. It’s a silly thing to say, but if not for NXT, she wouldn’t even have the meager almost following she has now. Looking at her introduction objectively, it has been terrible.
Nick Bond: Totally, but I think that’s the purpose of NXT. Also, it has, but it’s like the first episode of a TV show. It’s the pilot, they are seeing what does and doesn’t work, and hopefully moving forward. She needed to establish that stupid dance and how “she just likes to have fun!”
Did you know that she just likes to have fun, Daron?
She just likes to have fun.
Daron Jackson: That’s irresponsible to me. What seemed logical would be to try and introduce her in the same manner you did for NXT. Then let the people figure it out.
Nick Bond: Yeah, I think they realized they have to have her wrestle, because the crowd loved her after she beat Summer Rae. And not just because she beat Summer Rae. It was because she’s a Good wrestler. She may end up being one of the great women’s wrestlers of all time from a work standpoint.
Not that it’s a high bar, but she might get over it.
Daron Jackson: Oh, she’s got Molly Holly written all over her. It just killed me that they decided having Santino announce, “This is a new person! You have to like her now because I said so!” was the best way to go about it.
Nick Bond: Well, I mean Santino is as over as free money.
Daron Jackson: I just didn’t like the pandering-ness of it. It felt like them trying to sell me John Cena-brand socks because they’re the socks that John Cena wears
Nick Bond: That is a GRUESOME way to describe a woman, but I do understand what you mean. If divas are supposed to be strong women, having them be identified exclusively by the men in their lives makes no sense.
Daron Jackson: It wasn’t a direct correlation! I’m not a monster. I understand that women are more than just soft things that men occasionally jerk off into. You must forgive me, I had to get that out. In any case, they seem to be fond of this buddy system for some people. Ex: Xavier
Nick Bond: It’s pretty old school, actually. This guy knows this guy, let’s use them to get him over.
Daron Jackson: I don’t mind that so much. But cut the cord, guys. In a way that doesn’t require a Rockers-esque betrayal. Speaking of which, Titus “You’re Supposed to be My Friend” O’Neil vs D-Young.
Nick Bond: Yeah, I’m not entirely sure how to feel about that. Has anyone ever not been the Jannetty?
Daron Jackson: It’s sadly, far more often the case that they both become Jannetty. The exceptions might be Miz/Morrison.
Nick Bond: Yeah, they are literally the only people I can think of that came out looking better. And that’s in part because it fit their characters.
Daron Jackson: But it barely counts since they weren’t a “real” tag team
Nick Bond: Yeah, they weren’t the Kings of Wisdom or something like that. They were just Miz and Morrison.
Daron Jackson: Those were good times. Sidenote, do you get why I call Titus “You’re Supposed to be My Friend?” I realize that may be a west coast inside joke
Nick Bond: Is that a reference to Batista and Rey Mysterio?
Daron Jackson: 100%. And it’s used everytime someone gets thrown into the guardrail
Nick Bond: Have you ever seen the Batista “you were supposed to be my friend” Sparta remix?
Daron Jackson: The sheer mass of the exasperated sigh residing in my soul right now. I was unaware that was a thing.
Nick Bond: It’s some next level shit, brah. It’s not so much that it’s good, but that it’s officially part of the internet now. Yeah, I think that the next thing I want to do for JMS is wrestling interpretations of internet memes. I’m not sure what EXACTLY I want to do, but it’s something I think about a lot.
Daron Jackson: I’m not following the thought process
Nick Bond: We have the world of WWE at our finger tips now with the Network, and we need to mine that for all its glory. I’m not sure I’m following the thought process either, but I know it involves a screencap of the two Doinks from WrestleMania IX
Daron Jackson: I think I get you
Nick Bond: The internet and wrestling are really weird together, but the WWE Network pretty much requires people to engage with it almost constantly. Just the idea of having everything ever at your fingertips, to create basically whatever you want if you have the right software. I’m very excited about the possibilities.
Daron Jackson: We’d have to mine our own memories for memes as well. Because do have them. Like the “I REALLY Hate Rey” spot: i.e. hilarious 619 counters.
Nick Bond: Yeah, I was talking with someone about that. Rey Mysterio has entered the saddest possible place: he’s the homeless man’s John Cena. Literally no one wants to see him win, even kids, so they boo him unmercifully any time he comes close to winning. It’s almost like he’s a heel, even more so than Cena.
Daron Jackson: Rey? Really? I don’t see that at all
Nick Bond: Have you not heard the wild boos for him whenever he sets up for the 619?
Daron Jackson: I think maybe I spend most of that time waiting for a counter. I’ve not noticed it at all. I don’t know how fair it is since he hasn’t had a singles match in forever. It’s all 6-mans.
Nick Bond: Which is another thing: whatever happened to Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara?
Daron Jackson: They finally realized that Sin Cara is teeeeeeeeeerrrible
Nick Bond: Wait, Sin Cara, or Sin Carunico?
Daron Jackson: Sin Cara. Hunico is literally fantastic
Nick Bond: Sin Cara is the first guy we’ve seen fall FLAT on his face in a LONG time.
Daron Jackson: Like, completely flat. Even when Brodus fell, they picked him up.
Nick Bond: And what’s crazy is that he’s still a top ten merchandise seller.
Daron Jackson: Masks are cool
Nick Bond: Why exactly do they think masked wrestlers can’t get over in the US?I mean, for someone like El Generico, I totally get it. He’s a tall, very handsome white Canadian. The gimmick is borderline offensive. But the idea what kids wouldn’t get behind a masked hero?
Nick Bond: Batman?
Nick Bond: Spiderman?
Daron Jackson: It’s a terrible idea. But I have to say, i never actually considered that Generico might be offensive
Nick Bond: It is and it isn’t. It’s about as offensive as Jennifer Lopez playing Selena. Which is, “I get it, but really?” And speaking of Sami, because you haven’t seen NXT ArRival, you haven’t seen Sami-Cesaro IV.
Daron Jackson: I still kinda think that a head injury-memory loss angle could work
Nick Bond: Cactus Jack disagrees, vehemently.
Daron Jackson: Is the stuff in NXT Arrival new footage or a recap?
Nick Bond: All new footage. It was the first “live special” on the Network.
Daron Jackson: They got three hours?
Nick Bond: Two, the first quarter of which was Zayn-Cesaro.
Daron Jackson: Nice. I’m badly behind on NXT
Nick Bond: If you don’t watch anything else on the Network, that’s the thing to see. It was like an ROH match but with the WWE’s production values and storytelling style.
Daron Jackson: I believe it
Nick Bond: So, Money in the Bank 2011 or something like that. But in front of 1000 people, so not quite the religious experience. But damned fine work by both of them.
Daron Jackson: I wanted to get the jerks through to EC for the sake of the 6-man, but now I’m going to focus on NXT
Nick Bond: Oh, speaking of which, what were your thoughts on that?
Daron Jackson: Right below Taker/Shawn 1. It felt like a spectacle.
Nick Bond: Yes! That’s the type of match you can show people who don’t like wrestling but appreciate art to go “wow, there’s more to wrestling than I thought”.
Daron Jackson: Going back to the face off on Raw where they stood on opposite ends of the ring and the FACE OFF got a This Is Awesome chant
Nick Bond: Cole talks about “big fight feel” and that match was pretty much the definition.
Daron Jackson: I had literal butterflies in my stomach for that match. It felt the same way I did before Bret/Shawn Ironman match. The whole, I Don’t Know What Is Going To Happen But I Know I Want All Of It To Happen. It was so just so well built. There was so much more to it than just a feud. It was like Marvel vs DC.
Nick Bond: Yeah, you had a list of spots in your head that you hoped/knew they would get to.
Daron Jackson: The feeling of Oh My God, this is actually happening
Nick Bond: Exactly! It felt like when we were at WrestleMania. That’s a show where you realize “oh, literally anything can happen and probably will”. And it’s really the only show where it’s guaranteed to happen, so it’s really nice when a single match at a B payperview does that.
Daron Jackson: I just genuinely could not be more pleased with how that match went down. Everything and everybody. Rollins, I feel, gained the most.
Nick Bond: Yes, I was about to say that. Rollins has really been “pushed” in the past couple of weeks into the guy clearly in charge.
Daron Jackson: Not so much in charge. But “taking charge”. And, can we talk about how absolutely dynamic the entire inner-workings of the Shield is? It is insane how much is going on.
Nick Bond: Yeah, I’ve said this before to Dave: they are characters reacting to situations. Not situations that require specific reactions. Ambrose and Reigns both know they are a little hotheaded, they defer to Rollins because he’s relatively even keel and they “have each others backs”.
Daron Jackson: But it’s also like, they all three realize how good they are and how good they have been. So, of course there will be jockeying for position at the top of a great thing. But it all just feels so natural
Nick Bond: Yeah, nothing they are doing is like “what, why?”.
Daron Jackson: And Rowdy Dean Ambrose. Just setting the other two up constantly to flesh out their characters.
Nick Bond: Yeah, he’s their crazy cousin basically. They love him because he’s family, but that’s also the only reason they put up with his crazy bullshit. But like, Dean coming down to the ring to help out during the Reigns/Wyatt match was very clearly like “OH, SEE! I KNEW HE WAS A GOOD GUY!”. Also, I’m enjoying how much they are being pushed not as faces, but as not actively heels.
Daron Jackson: Exactly. It’s the Orton push.
Nick Bond: They are chaotic neutral, kind of. We’re here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and Dean ate all the bubble gum.
Daron Jackson: “Dean, why did you eat all the bubble gum. I bet you swallowed it too.” “Seth, I’m going to Kill Dean” “Just calm down Roman, it’s his car”.
Nick Bond: Then you hear a loud POP and smash cut to Dean with his entire face covered in bubble gum. This stuff writes itself.
Daron Jackson: But at the same time, anything dynamic like that isn’t far-fetched. It all makes sense
Nick Bond: Yeah, though speaking of “writing itself”, where do you see everything going next week?
Daron Jackson: Orton will get speared or Batista Bombed for some reason. Danielson will end up in a gauntlet of some sort. Brock will beat uuuuuup, Dolph?
And I’m not sure where everything else will land.
Daron Jackson: Also, can you justify H/Bryan for me? Just because I want to hear someone say something good about it, And I know you’re the only person I know who can do it.
Nick Bond: Easily, especially if you listen to Andy and I talk about it this week on the podcast. But, long story short: the WWE is in an existential crisis. The dynamic of what’s “good” and who “can be” “popular” is completely changing. The person spearheading the, for lack of better term, WWE-style guys is Triple H. He represents, both literally and figuratively, the old style of booking and building guys and characters. And Daniel Bryan needs to symbolically defeat that more than he needs to win the title. Him winning the title is fait accompli.
Nick Bond: We already know he can beat Orton or Batista, but if he beats Triple H, it allows him to have a chance at them unimpeded, presumably. And, strictly from a business perspective, Triple H is a WAY bigger star than Batista or Orton. And, even more strictly from a business perspective, making him win the title back at SummerSlam makes a lot more sense. Either you get to see the “start” or the “beginning” of the Daniel Bryan world title run, just in time to sign up for another six months of the network.
Daron Jackson: See, to me, this all feels like H making himself into a Taker feature
Nick Bond: Well, honestly, It’s Supposed To Make You Feel That Way.
Daron Jackson: So that we don’t feel butthurt because Danielson is in a match that is “bigger” than the title
Nick Bond: Much in the same way that “Paul Heyman” is pretty much the fictional manifestation of what we perceive Paul Heyman to be, Triple H has become the fictional manifestation of what we perceive Paul Levesque to be.
Nick Bond: … does any of that make you feel any better?
Daron Jackson: Only the business part? “Let’s do something to get them to want more after the trial is up”
Nick Bond: Well, next week, we’ll see if you feel any better following Raw in Chicago.
Daron Jackson: Because the rest of it just makes me think someone said, long ago, “let’s make this end up in a match with H” And that just doesn’t taste good to me. Granted, this is not the Worst thing in the world
Nick Bond: Well, like or not, learn to love it, because it’s The Best Thing Going.
Daron Jackson: I just spit, angrily, at my monitor. But, I guess I enjoyed the Chamber pretty well.
Nick Bond: Even with the tomfoolery?
Daron Jackson: One: Because I knew Orton was a lock. I had no reason to think or hope otherwise. However they got there “made sense” to me. So outside of that, I just had to hope nobody got buried
Nick Bond: I did like that Kane came out for something completely separate, was attacked essentially without provocation and then retaliated.
Daron Jackson: That made very good sense
Nick Bond: You saw both points of view, which is nice. I like some mral ambiguity. What did surprise me, though, was Sheamus getting taken out by Christian.
Daron Jackson: Definitely. I would have put money on CC being out first. But everybody got a lot.
Nick Bond: I can never tell if they like him way more or way less than they should. Christian confuses me.
Daron Jackson: I’m still not sure why he’s a “heel” now. That was confusing. Was it literally because he said “desperate” a few times?
Nick Bond: Yes. Desperate is Kayfabish for “bad guy”.
Daron Jackson: It was awkward. And not just because he’s not a very good heel. Sorry, he’s not a very good “aggressive” heel. He needs to be a dick. But beyond that, Sheamus and Claudio both took a nice shit kicking. Everyone did their job
Nick Bond: Yeah, of course Claudio did. Claudio is getting a big boy push, the type of push you and I talk about in hushed tones as dreams of the future.
Daron Jackson: If he doesn’t win MitB
Daron Jackson: Literally
Daron Jackson: There will be a hat
Daron Jackson: On a plate
Daron Jackson: With some worchestershire sauce
Nick Bond: I’d be amazed if he didn’t, especially after what he did on Friday and Monday. Though you should probably stop writing hat checks your stomach can’t cash.
Daron Jackson: This past monday?
Nick Bond: I mean, did you see John Tiberius Cena and him?
Daron Jackson: Yeah. Yeah.
Nick Bond: He did A FLIP out of the AA. I mean, c’mon. C’mon.
Daron Jackson: I called it on the spot. Was shouting LAND ON YOUR FEET in the same manner I yelled at…everyone….to ROLL OVER. But this one actually happened.
Nick Bond: Yeah, I did find it weird that people thought Cesaro should have won that match, though. That seems silly.
Daron Jackson: Pfffft. Yeah, no. They don’t watch wrestling.
Nick Bond: ESPECIALLY after he beat Randy on Friday.
Daron Jackson: Exactly
Nick Bond: You’d literally have to give him the belt. Because he would have beat the two best guys in the company on consecutive nights clean.
Daron Jackson: Not even a match, just a ceremonial handing over. And then cancel programming for a few weeks while they re-evaluate. But he did it in the Randy match too, out of the Neutralizer counter
Nick Bond: I mean, I would have been okay with that, to be clear.
Daron Jackson: Would have made good sense to me
Nick Bond: But, it makes absolutely no sense for him to beat Cena. Cena is basically the final boss.
Daron Jackson: More specifically, it’s more like the “good guy” in a movie just calling the police or hiring a sniper to remove the “bad guy” from the picture in the first 15 minutes. That’s not how you tell a story.
Nick Bond: Yeah, suspending your disbelief in wrestling goes beyond “knowing it’s not real”. It’s understanding why someone HAS TO win a match.
Daron Jackson: Which really sets you up for so much more joy when someone who doesn’t have to win, does
Nick Bond: Yeah, like they didn’t even need to give him Orton last Friday, but man.
Daron Jackson: No, there was zero reason. Other than to inform everyone that, no, This Guy Is For Real. I saw the Roaring Uppercut and saw the Neutralizer set up. On one of the rewinds, I think I saw him hit it. But, it absolutely didn’t make sense that Orton would stay down. So I was just taking in that great spot and then the three hit. Then there was that slow backing away from the screen and “whooooooa”. The realization that the game just changed
Nick Bond: Yeah, it almost felt like someone got you a really great present AND THEN an ice cream sundae.
Daron Jackson: It was the second or third great present. The E-Uppercut RKO counter? Really? Don’t you know how hypermobile his shoulders are? And you’re just going to deck him right in the shoulderblades? Out Of His Finisher!
Nick Bond: Yeah, there’s was just no need for any of it. I mean, like I said, I was happy it happened, but for anyone complaining about the direction of the company. When Claudio Castagnoli is uppercutting World Heavyweight Champions, it feels like things are doing alright.
Daron Jackson: Not just uppercutting. Giant Swinging That’s when you Know.
Nick Bond: What do you think the near future holds for Claudio? Are you excited about a potential Swagger match at WM?
Daron Jackson: I thought they were going for Sheamus/Claudio. Which would have been fun fun times. Then I thought maybe it was going to be an IC title run to keep him busy. I think a Swagger match, while fun, would be without hype. And it would make me sad because they never got to use Real American with a face push away from Zeb. Danielson/Punk WM ME for the title not happening is sad. But face Real Americans not happening is the true heartbreak of this year.
Nick Bond: Though, in the grand scheme of things, I feel like Swagger-Cesaro would be the show stealer.
Daron Jackson: I don’t know if Swagger is cared about enough for it to steal the show. The artist formerly known as Langston had to kill himself to get the crowd into it.
Nick Bond: Isn’t that kind of the point, though? They love Cesaro and he and Swagger have a crackling type of chemistry that guys wait their entire career to have.
Daron Jackson: I think you’re overstating their chemistry. Zeb is their spark.
Nick Bond: Have you not seen their handshake, Daron?
Daron Jackson: I have. But it’s not Obvious.
Nick Bond: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
Daron Jackson: Like, it’s not an actual established part of their character. It’s there, yes, but it’s not…..advertised. Like, if they made a vignette for their feud, that wouldn’t be a part of the clips.
Nick Bond: That’s a great point. How much of a feud is based entirely around things you can put in a vignette? (Answer: almost all of it)
Daron Jackson: Basically. It’s a shame because there are things that we see that they do or try to do which doesn’t catch on. That may be one of the things in a potential Real American feud. It would likely be more based around Zeb/Jack turning on Claudio.
Daron Jackson: Actually, that’s an interesting question. Does Claudio become a “face?” Or does he just go lone wolf? Can they resist buying into him just because the crowd enjoys watching him work?
Nick Bond: Yeah, and it’s something we don’t talk about but he’s a GREAT ambassador. Smart, funny, a polyglot.
Daron Jackson: Seriously
Nick Bond: Though, given how far being smart got Damien Sandow, that might not be a good thing. Too soon?
Daron Jackson: There’s a history of that failing though. The Genius. Dean Douglas. Harvard Chris. I thought Damien had a shot because he worked “aggressive”.
Nick Bond: And I think we all know where that gets you: in a WrestleMania match with Sheamus. But, it seems like it worked out for Daniel Bryan … right?
Daron Jackson: More than anything else, I just hope Fandango gets a chance to continue The Streak