Tag Archives: Brie Bella

WWE Main Event review (Sept. 16): Ziggler vs. Miz (w/stunt doubles), Big E. vs. Rollins

There’s no RAW review this week, and there probably won’t be for a while. You put together a crappy show, the fans will refuse to watch. The ratings, apparently, already prove this. I might even skip Night of Champions in protest. Hell, I skipped Battleground and survived.

There also won’t be a Midcard Report, The Champ’s most “over” offering, this week. Why? To cleanse the palate.

I didn’t watch RAW for the reasons above, but plenty of people did. As a result, WWE needs something to help these unfortunate fans try to forget. With Main Event almost always being at least halfway decent, we’re running an ME review early, with Superstars later in the week.

•••

Of course, with Main Event, we start with wrestling. And we start with the Intercontinental Champion! We also start with … multiple jobber identity crises.

Main Event 091614 Dolph Ziggler R-Truth R-Ziggler
All photos are screenshots from WWE Network programming unless otherwise noted.

Yes, a choreographed, staged athletic simulation has not one, but now two, stunt doubles. On the bright side, we have Damien Sandow Mizdow in a rivalry involving the Intercontinental title. However, not sure I can handle guys like Sandow and R-Truth, who can both do some decent work in the ring, being gimmicky copycats because they apparently can’t get over on their own.

Main Event 091614 The Miz Damien Mizdow Sandow 2 Main Event 091614 The Miz Damien Mizdow Sandow 3

If this match works, it’ll be in spite of, not because of, this whole “stunt double” bit.

Intercontinental Champion DOLPH ZIGGLER & “R-ZIGGLER” vs. THE MIZ & “DAMIEN MIZDOW”

At 3:15, I’m finally able to get the “stunt double” rant out of the system and try to “CALL THE DAMN MATCH!” Sandow hits a lariat on Dolph and tags to Miz. Miz commits gimmick infringement on Ziggler (you know, more than there already is in this match), but Dolph regroups, goes for the superkick, knowing Miz will duck, and rolls him up. Miz kicks out and tags, and the stunt double eats the dropkick. Sandow much better at this wrestling thing than his boss, and he gets the advantage heading into the break.

COMMERCIAL BREAK, tries to take this match seriously

We’re back at 5:35, and Miz locks in the vicioius Cleveland Nose Hook while riding Ziggler. Unfortunately, the CNH is illegal, so he resorts to a headlock. Dolph side suplexes out, and the stunt doubles tag in. Truth with the Stinger Splash, then a series of punches in the corner. Miz creates a distraction on the apron, and Sandow gets aggressive. Miz wails on Ziggler from the floor, and eventually tags in. Knee to the dome and a cover.  Front facelock at 8 minutes as Michael Cole reels off some of the IC lineage. I’m sure this is a high point right now. Miz releases the hold to have a go at Ziggler, which simply allows Truth to hit a back bodydrop. Tag to Sandow, and he’s back on the offensive. Chinlock time, and Truth strikes his way out. Reaches for the tag, but a drop toehold, a drag and a tag to Miz.

Meanwhile, Ziggler can’t wait to get a shot at Miz, and apparently Truth decides he’ll get some shots in. Running corner lariat, though, from Miz, then a weak axe-handle sort of thing from the top. Front facelock again, then the tag to Sandow. Vertical suplex and cover at the 11-minute mark. Series of knees to the head and chest, powerful whip into the corner, and he looks like he’s going for a slowed-down version of that running lariat, but Truth cuts him off in the middle. Hot tag to Ziggler at 12:15.

Splash/neckbreaker combo caps the initial surge. Fame Asser blocked, and Miz hits half the Reality Check. Backslide , cover and reset, and Ziggler’s second attempt is successful for a 2 count. After some angry deliberation, a front facelock from Ziggler. Skull-Crushing Finale is blocked. Figure Four blocked into a cradle, and Ziggler goes for the DDT. Miz blocks, but Truth gets the blind tag. Miz tosses Ziggler out, and Truth hits the DDT, but Sandow breaks up the cover. Damien knees Dolph off the apron. Truth appears to botch the Zig Zag on Sandow, and Miz, the legal man, hits the Finale to triumph.

Main Event 091614 The Miz

Time: 14:03

Technical Merit: Ziggler and Sandow are great wrestlers, so that part was good. Miz does enough to get by. Truth didn’t really appear to know what he was doing at the end, and he was the recipient of a lot of rest holds. He also looked pretty blown out well before the end. It won’t sound that way in the next paragraph, but this was a good match.

Artistic Impression: I like that the Intercontinental Championship has a story line. I don’t like the “double stunt double” bit. It kind of made sense for Sandow, who was imitating people anyway, and it’s funny because he’s better than Miz. But why the hell does Dolph Ziggler, the best salesman/stuntman in the company, need a stunt double? Just let R-Truth come out as himself and an insurance policy.

TOTAL SCORE: **

•••

Renee Young asks Seth Rollins whether losing to Roman Reigns on RAW is a “setback”. Rollins raises the briefcase and, namedropping Dean Ambrose‘s disappearance, etc., scoffs at this idea.

Main Event 091614 Seth Rollins

He’ll use brain over brawn to beat Big E., then his brain will tell his foot to curbstomp Reigns’s dome into any surface that suits his purpose Sunday.

Main Event 091614 Seth Rollins 2

His purpose appears to either involve not enough hygiene or too much. He’s on the Bo Dallas Hair Hydration System, and he’s a few weeks away from the Edge Is Back Beard. Seriously, that man had facial hair blessed by the Canadian gods themselves when he had time to grow it.

Unfortunately, we have to wait for that match, because it’s Brie Mode now. Yay. Consider the clear stolen gimmick from Marshawn Lynch‘s Beast Mode to Brie Mode, this is yet another reason to hate the Seattle Seahawks. You know, besides the ones their fans give you already. 

Main Event 091614 Brie Bella

This makes me unhappy. This also means promo time with Nikki Bella. And the term “voluptuous derriere.”

Main Event 091614 Nikki Bella Renee Young

Besides that actually awesome line, can this get worse?

Oh yes. Yes. It. Can.

Main Event 091614 Cameron

BRIE BELLA vs. CAMERON

Brie works the arm at :45, showing some semblance of wrestling. A clumsy-ass drop turns into a half-crab, which is escaped pretty easily. Cameron uses the rope as an impact weapon … Brie sells it … and Cameron covers. Properly, this time.

Weak headlock, cover, painful-looking suplex, then the legdrop cover. Again, properly this time as Cameron informs us, “Yeah, I know!”

Main Event 091614 Brie Bella Cameron

Girl, you didn’t know a day before, and it’s your damn job!

cagesideseats.com
cagesideseats.com

Yeah, I’ll count that. I’ll count it as another reason to mock your stupid ass until you mericfully get future endeavored.

Brie with a semi-decent lariat and some short dropkicks at about 3:00. Then that stupid “BRIE MODE!!!” leads into a missile dropkick. Cameron appears to set up “Girl, Bye,” but Brie hits the X-Factor for the win. Considering Brie gets X-Pac heat in this house, that’s SO fitting.

Time: 3:53

Like one of the Divas matches last week, luckily the 5-minute rule applies here, because this was bad. They appear to try — well, Brie does, anyway — but it’s just not there. Cameron’s gotta go; her only benefit is pulling off the “racy schoolgirl” look … which basically EVERY WOMAN WITH A PLAID SKIRT can pull off.

Main Event 091614 Cameron 2

Brie does absolutely nothing for me from an in- or out-of-ring standpoint. At least she didn’t talk this time.

•••

JBL declared the main event would be a good one. We’ll see whether Big E. delivers; he certainly has the ability.

Main Event 091614 Big E

Rollins simply doesn’t have bad matches if he can actually do anything about it.

Main Event 091614 Seth Rollins 3

On another note, THERE’S A FREAKING STING DVD SET COMING OUT NEXT WEEK. Finally.

BIG E. vs. SETH ROLLINS

Canned “You Sold Out!” chants about a half-second after the bell. Nobody actually cares about that anymore … you know, except the marks still hung up on The Shield. Big E. doesn’t care about that; he cares about winning the match, and Rollins isn’t pleased with the early proceedings.

Main Event 091614 Seth Rollins 4

Rollins goes to the classic heel tactic of ducking through the ropes to get a break, then cheap-shotting his way to an advantage. That worked until Big E.’s shoulder and his right fist turn the tide. Shoulder charge to the midsection in the corner. Make that two. Vicious right into the corner, then Rollins hits three right elbows and goes for the suplex. Blocked twice, then Seth goes for the crossbody. Not so much. Big E. catches and hits a chain of three backbreakers before the cover. Rollins audibly calling spots … that one must’ve involved being knocked outside. Big E. bounces Seth’s head off the table, tosses him into a barricade, then presses him back in.

Seth’s springboard attempt blocked, but he does hit a face-first dive outside just before the break.

COMMERCIAL BREAK

Back at 7:00, and Rollins continues his control, this time in the ring. Chop block to the back of the knee, then he slaps on the headlock. Big E. powers out, but misses the lariat and eats a kick. After a cover, Seth locks in the vicious Double Ear Lock, then pulls Langston into the ropes. Kick, kneedrop, back to the headlock. Big E. powers out and knocks Rollins back-first into the corner twice, but Rollins reverses on the third attempt and charges in. After a reminder that brains beat brawn, brawn hits a uranage. Then a lariat of sorts. Then another. Then the belly-to-belly. Rollins hits a couple more kicks. But another belly-to-belly, and the Warrior splash for 2.

Both men down around 11:30. Rollins elbows Big E., dances around a bit, kicks Big E. from the apron, then TAKES THE SPEAR ONTO THE FLOOR. Big E. rolls Rollins back in, knocks him down, and ditches the straps. Big Ending? Nope, Rollins slips onto the apron. Kick, re-entry, duck the shoulder charge, then post Langston in the other corner. That sets up the Curbstomp. Done.

Main Event 091614 Seth Rollins 5

Time: 14:08

Technical Merit: This one was raved about on Twitter, and it was … OK. The style contrast helped, but it seemed a bit slow and repetitive at times. Then again, when did we last see Big E. go 14 minutes on TV? I know it’s been a while for me. Cool spot with the spear to the floor, but otherwise pretty average.

Artistic Impression: Even as Big E. built steam, there was never the feeling he would win the match, mainly because WWE is having Rollins go over on basically the entire midcard at this point. Cool to see, though, that Rollins can go in and work well with almost anyone, which will bode well when he carries a belt, instead of a briefcase, in the future.

TOTAL SCORE: *3/4

•••

OK, so that wasn’t all that great either. But fear not, wrestling fans: This week’s episode of Ring of Honor (which will be reviewed Thursday) is apparently everything we’ve ever dreamed of, and there’s always WWE’s top show on Thursday. I’ll give you a hint: This guy is the top heel on the top show.

NXT Takeover2 Tyson Kidd 2You know, unless they’re slow-turning their champion. But hey, don’t you actually want to know what happens on NXT?

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WWE RAW review (May 12): The Shield get payback on Evolution, John Cena gets a bit on Bray Wyatt, and Daniel Bryan’s neck leaves him in limbo

Before you ask, Damien Sandow‘s preshow rant was tailor-made for the Midcard Report, seeing as the midcard would be considered a promotion for him. So check back Wednesday for that.

You know who’s not in the midcard? The Shield.

•••

“We’re not running from Evolution. We’re running TO Evolution. … We will run THROUGH Evolution.”

We had promos from Seth RollinsDean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.

RAW 051214 Roman Reigns

We had fans clamoring for Ric Flair. We had Randy Orton in a suit.

RAW 051214 Randy Orton Evolution

We had a backstage beatdown. We even had cameos from Finlay and Mike Rotunda. And that was just in the first segment! This is the first part of a three-act performance Monday night, part of which probably has to do with the Daniel Bryan situation. We’ll address that in a bit.

Act II

Don’t worry, Evolution comes back an hour or so later. And they’re angry.

RAW 051214 Triple H

Triple H and his group will humble Ambrose. They’ll pluck Rollins’ hummingbird wings off. And they’ll take their time to make an example of Reigns. So much time, he’ll be the one not to adapt, but … get ambushed by Rollins and the rest of The Shield? I don’t think that was the plan. But hey, Batista‘s had enough and he wants a match with The Shield’s big guy in the main event! So there’s that.

Solid heel promo from Triple H, who truly is best for business right now. His ring psychology is second to none. He knows exactly what to say, and how to say it, to drive home his point. And can we finally recognize the brilliance in finding and booking talent? Sandow, Dolph Ziggler and a few others would disagree (and probably legitimately so), but Bryan fans were putty in his hands for eight solid months in the build to WrestleMania. Triple H wanted you to despise him and doubt the direction of the product, because he was trolling every single one of you. Plus, you got what you wanted in the end — Bryan as champ, an elevated Shield, Bray Wyatt taking the upper hand over John Cena. etc. — so griping about Ziggler or Sandow or Kofi Kingston just doesn’t mean a whole lot right now.

Anyway, on to Act III.

BATISTA (w/Randy Orton & Triple H) vs. ROMAN REIGNS (w/Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins)

Just a note: We went from all three Evolution members in suits to just Trips in a suit to none in suits. Batista with some of the worst shoulder charges in the business in the first minute, and Reigns responds with a better effort. If you’re going to go super slowly with high-impact maneuvers, make sure it actually looks like you make impact. This only takes a minute to go outside, and Dave gets his head bashed into the barricade and the steps. Within 2 minutes, I’m bored. So is the crowd, because the “BOOTISTA!” chant begins. Batista appears to sell better than he can dole out punishment … not like the bar is set super high, though. The four men outside get involved when Rollins and Ambrose dive outside onto Hunter and Orton, which allows Reigns to prep for the Superman Punch. Trips pulls him out by the legs, Rollins attacks Trips, and this one gets thrown out.

Time: 4:17

This is an excuse for a beatdown, followed by a WCW/nWo call for the midcard cavalry. Only instead of Scott NortonStevie Ray and the like, we get 3MB, bay-bay! On the bright side, we get Triple H with a steel chair … only to get speared by Reigns. This leads to Ambrose and Rollins with steel chairs and OMG CHAIR SHOTS!!!!! Fandango and Curtis Axel get finishers onto chairs for their efforts, and Heath Slater and Ryback get the Superman Punch and the spear, respectively. Oh, poor Ryback. He gets the triple powerbomb, too!

Evolution won last week. The Shield are on their way to winning this week. I don’t care who wins at Payback; I just want to see this keep going as long as it can stay hot. Methinks it could be a while, especially if Evolution evolves and gets a fourth member to fill in for/replace Dave along the way.

•••

RAW 051214 Daniel Bryan 1

The champ is here! Though he really does seem like an afterthought at this point.

It’s been an uphill battle since SummerSlam — a steeper one than Bryan thought — but he … I mean WE … beat the odds to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Unfortunately, that means he has a big target on his back. Kane hit a bullseye, but he was determined to show up at Extreme Rules, and he succeeded. But that comes with a price, as does his entire style of wrestling. The price? No, not The Million Dollar Man. It’s neck surgery on Thursday. Hey, at least he’s not losing his smile — or his title. For now. He doesn’t know when he’ll come back, but he will.

He’s still the champion, which means his time is expected to be minimal. If it’s minimally invasive, it could be almost like he never left. If he must sit a while and can’t defend the title in three weeks, here’s a solution: Put it on the line at Money In The Bank. You have a traditional MITB match for a contract … then you have 6, 8, 10, however many worthy guys in a ladder match for the title in the main event. With only one major championship and an injured champion, you have to do SOMETHING, and frankly, just slapping the belt onto Kane wouldn’t be it.

Anyway, of course there’s a response from Stephanie McMahon. Bryan’s neck surgery simply proves he’s not an A+ player because he’s not durable. She’s been trying to protect him, but he won’t listen, so she needs to see him face to face. But we don’t exactly get Daniel Bryan … in his own power, anyway. Kane drags him out and dumps him like a cat dropping off a “present” at the door.

RAW 051214 Daniel Bryan 2

And just when we thought we would avoid a Brie Bella appearance, her Emmy push continues.

RAW 051214 Brie Bella 1

Or her Slammy push? Or her Razzie push? All I know is she detracts from the product. If I were the champion and I wanted my wife involved with me, then sure! There are ways to do it. But if she couldn’t act, she would solely be the valet.

This week’s Bad Acting Lesson with Brie: When you’re REALLY angry with someone else, lock in a glare. A good one, even. Make the viewer think something big is going to happen.

RAW 051214 Brie Bella Stephanie McMahon

Then absolutely ruin the moment with a weak-ass push that couldn’t possibly be sold and yell, “STAY AWAY!”

Maybe the bright side of Bryan’s injury is we don’t have to see her next week? Or does this just mean Brie and Steph will carry on the rivalry for the most prestigious championship in professional wrestling? Stay tuned.

•••

There’s a debate as to whether Cena is still a main-event guy or if he’s … gasp! … an upper-midcard guy for good. In terms of pure card position since Elimination Chamber, he’s absolutely been in the midcard against Wyatt. But here’s the thing: Wyatt is main-event caliber, and Cena can still get there. At the same time, Wyatt’s on the way up, while Cena’s clearly trending downward. The Shawn Michaels 2000s stage of Cena’s career snuck up quickly, and it appears to be a good thing. Plug him into a main event if you need him. Hell, make him a placeholder champion in case of emergency. But keep him at the top of the second tier, where SuperCena winning all the time wouldn’t be as much of a problem, and let him work with/elevate the next generation.

JOHN CENA & WWE Tag Team Champions THE USOS vs. THE WYATT FAMILY

This was the SmackDown main event Friday, and the rematch is early in the show. Score another for the midcard …? Luke Harper snaps off a dropkick and takes control early, then momentum slows a bit as Erick Rowan comes in. Typical Cena fan call-and-response while Wyatt’s in the ring, then back to wrestling when the rotation returns to Harper. Jey Uso plays the babyface in peril for about 2 1/2 minutes before the hot tag to Jimmy Uso. It’s hard to remember when Jimmy’s hitting corkscrew moonsaults, but Jimmy is flying around at 250 pounds … he’s about the same size as Cena, who conspicuously hasn’t entered the ring, and people haven’t really seemed to mind.

RAW 051214 John Cena 1

On the other hand, there’s been maybe half as much action in this match as on SmackDown, until an Uso back kick around 7:15 stirs the crowd once more.

HOT TAG TO CENA. And yes, business does pick up. For a sec.

Three of the Five Moves of Doom on Rowan, Harper distraction. AA to the outside, Harper throws Cena on his dome. Jey with the crossbody, Wyatt uranage. Jimmy enziguiri … and Rowan pushes Jimmy down. But it was a really big push! Please. Cena recovers at this point and locks on the worst STF I’ve seen in my life. Seriously, look at the thing.

RAW 051214 John Cena 2 STF

Wyatt saves it with the running senton, and the Usos save Sister Abigail with a few superkicks. Attitude Adjustment on Rowan, and this match mercifully ends.

RAW 051214 John Cena 3 Usos

Time: 9:44

Technical Merit: Slow and boring to start, Rowan and Cena botchfest to finish.

Artistic Impression: Even Steven booking. Yay.

TOTAL SCORE: 1/2*

That was pretty bad. There were maybe 2 minutes of action, but Rowan has a special way of almost instantly killing momentum. The man can’t wrestle. And, judging by Cena’s STF, maybe he can’t anymore either.

John. John! I wanted to say thank you. Thank you, John Cena, for helping me to realize — FINALLY — what I must do. Thank you, John. And follow the buzzards.

And suddenly the match doesn’t matter. What exactly must Wyatt do?

Maybe Bray Wyatt’s sermon this week shed some light.

RAW 051214 Bray Wyatt Family

Your actions don’t surprise me anymore, John. They’re so human, and all humans are flawed. It is their ignorance and their greed and their lust for power that prevents them from thriving in this paradise like they’re supposed to. They’ve become parasites, and they’ve infected everything. You’re no different, John. You’re just like them. You’re all the same. Your boundless narcissism keeps leading you right to me, John, and where will this fairytale of ours end? Will your mighty hero return home with the head of the beast, so that he can hang it on his mantle and brag to all his friends about how brave he fought? Or is this the time, John, that the beast was waiting for you. *chuckles* Last week, you said that you would never give up, even if it meant you would be the last man standing. Oh, I like that. I like that very much because at Payback, I’d like to put your little theory to the test. Because when mountains crumble, I will stand. When oceans boil, there I will stand. And when everything burns down around you, John, there I will be standing. You have to ask yourself, John, where will you stand? How far are you willing to go to take this devil down. *chuckles, sing-along time*

… burn.

So he must lay Cena out until he can no longer stand. SO many people will agree with him. He’s the best heel on the microphone at the moment. The only question is whether he and Cena can FINALLY have a match that backs it up. PROMO: ****1/2

What did you think of RAW? Comment below if you’d like, get at me on Twitter @jpetrie18, or say just come back Wednesday for the Midcard Report. We keep it laid back around here.

WWE RAW review (May 5): Daniel Bryan vs. Kane nears WrestleCrap territory, and Evolution (and The Wyatt Family) exact revenge upon The Shield

The WWE World Heavyweight Championship rivalry is crap. It doesn’t really have to do with Daniel Bryan. It may have to do with Kane. It also may have to do with their overgimmicked, weak main event at Extreme Rules (click here for review).

It definitely has to do with this person.

RAW 050514 Brie Bella

Brie Bella is ruining her husband’s title reign not necessarily with her mere presence, but at the very least with her atrocious acting and WWE’s insistence on using said lack of skills in what’s supposed to be its main storyline. It’s also a similar song and dance to a couple years ago, when Kane and Eve teamed up to inadvertently kill Zack Ryder‘s career in a bizarre damsel-in-distress storyline.

Basically everything happened backstage involving Stephanie McMahon, the Bryan family’s rental car and Brie’s terrible screaming. If this were a horror movie, as WWE seems to want to make it, she’d be the chick who dies first. Meanwhile, this feud is dead in the water. Steph orders them to stay in the dressing room. Brie gets claustrophobic, so they try to leave. Steph orders Bryan into the ring by threat of stripping him of the title if he doesn’t. Bryan acquiesces.

WWE World Heavyweight Champion DANIEL BRYAN (w/Brie Bella) vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO, non-title match

This match starts crisp and fluid, but kind of boring. Two men can put on a technically sound pro wrestling match, but if people don’t really care because it feels like they’ve seen it so many times before, it’s not going to move the needle. ADR doesn’t move the needle as a personality anymore, which is unfortunate because the man can wrestle, and he seems to be somewhat invigorated by the prospect of facing the champion. Business starts to pick up when he kicks Bryan off the apron and whips him into the barricade before the break.

*COMMERCIAL BREAK*

And when we’re back, it’s high time for a DDT. I can get behind this. Afterward, typical Bryan match for a couple minutes: Exchanging strikes, diving headbutt, dropkick corner charge, suicide dive, etc. Del Rio climbs the ladder for the enziguiri to stunt the momentum and calls for the armbreaker, but Bryan escapes and uses a headscissors to put Del Rio in position for the YES! Lock as Cole oversells the performance.

TIME: 9:26

Technical Merit: Clean, crisp and action-packed, if not entirely original.

Artistic Impression: The sell — Bryan is gutsy after facing Kane during Extreme Rules the night before. I wasn’t sold.

TOTAL SCORE: **1/4

Take what they’re trying to sell out of it, and try to forget this felt like a SmackDown pairing from a couple years ago, and it was a high-quality match. But Bryan’s matches are getting so formulaic that the one thing he does best — get in the ring and wrestle — is getting stale. He’s definitely a versatile and talented enough wrestler to adapt and keep things fresh; it’s past time to do so.

Anyway, back to this riveting storyline … Bryan and Bella try to leave again, only Kane is in the back seat. Don’t know how they didn’t notice him. Anyway, Brie half-assed screams, Bryan pulls Kane out, Kane tries to return through the sunroof and Bryan drives off and drops Kane. Inexplicable, Bryan gets out, stares at Kane long enough for him to recover, then gets back in and peels out just out of his reach.

Why is this crap happening? Apparently because Batista won’t face him. But this was the best creative could conjure as a backup plan? And who gave Dave enough control to decline to put someone over? Let him take a couple triple powerbombs and send his ass on his way then.

Thanks to Dave, though, we have one decent angle left to counter the worst storyline of the year … maybe besides El Torito vs. Hornswoggle. You’re right … at least that one’s shenanigans are cheeky and fun.

Anyway, Evolution decides it wants to make The Shield‘s life miserable. We start that with …

RAW 050514 Dean Ambrose 1

20-MAN BATTLE ROYAL for Dean Ambrose’s United States Championship

Normally, a battle royal is a cheap way to determine a champion or No. 1 contender. This time, there’s actually a bit of a backstory. It took about 1:09 for someone to go (Xavier Woods), and the rest of the lower card is forcibly vacated from the ring at a consistent rate. Also, at 5 minutes, Big Show uses a spank as an offensive maneuver. Shocking because 1) it’s a freaking spank, and 2) Heath Slater lasted that long. He even eliminated Damien Sandow“I’m the U.S. Champ, bay-bay!” We can all dream, right? 

*COMMERCIAL BREAK*

Not only did Slater get eliminated during the break, but Dolph Ziggler was eliminated by The Cobra. This man was World Heavyweight Champion 13 months ago. But I digress. Ambrose somehow wasn’t attacked by all 19 guys to start. In fact, he eliminated Rybaxel and Jack Swagger in quick succession to move into the final two … and right into a Brogue Kick. All that’s left is tossing Ambrose over.

RAW 050514 Sheamus

Hulu Plus TIME: 10:08

Technical Merit: Basic battle royal.

Artistic Impression: Not much drama, if any, until the end.

TOTAL SCORE: **

But wait … there’s more. Trips decides The Shield aren’t done yet. They’ll face The Wyatt Family for the fourth time, because why not?

Promo time with the new champ, who says a clock is right twice a day and it was the right time to return to glory. Also, for Ambrose, no hard feelings, right? **1/4 For a Sheamus promo, it was good. Take that as you will.

 

RAW 050514 Bray Wyatt

Bray Wyatt’s sermon this week

Abigail always told me that I was born to lead. She said, “One day, Bray, you will change the world.” And I believed her. I always believed her. This world we live in, this horrible world we live in, it has very, very wicked ways about it. And they, they would always snub their nose up at me. They would always look down on me. They would refer to me as a piece of trash. They referred to me as a nobody. And they don’t even know it, but those people, they have made this day so sweet for me, and oh what a glorious day it is! Because I, Bray Wyatt, became somebody. Last night, John Cena’s fear was personified by that of a singing child. *chuckles, video replay* … You can’t fool the children, John. For they are the foundation of what tomorrow shall bring. Their ears are so eager, and their minds so eager to learn. And their innocent eyes see right through you, John Cena! John Cena tells all of you that I am a monster. And he is right; I am a monster. And oh how cruel I can be. He would also have you believe that my my message, my honorable message, is nothing but lies, and I only wish to watch the world burn. And I have to give it to you, John. You’re right again. I do wish to watch this world burn. I wish to watch it burn as a farmer watches his spoiled crops burn, so that they may rise up again. This world must be burnt down so that it can be reborn, and it will be reborn in my image. The image of Wyatt. Yeah, man. John Cena thinks that I do this, everything I do, all of this I only do it for myself. And that, my friends, that is where John Cena is dead wrong. I do this for the children. I do this for the poor man who stands day and night begging on the side of the street, starving because they didn’t think he was smart enough to live in this world. I do this for the teenage girl who wakes up crying every morning when she looks in the mirror because they didn’t think she was beautiful enough to be the prom queen. I do this for each and every one of you. And as of today, today, tomorrow and every day passing forward, John Cena stands alone. And alone he shall fall. But you, children, you shall stand with me and never have to be alone ever again. You stand with me and you will remember not as a monster, but you will remember me for what I truly am. … A God. *sing-along time*

WYATT PROMO: *****. That’s as good as it gets, friends. That’s using the archetypal hero as the devil, and using your own villainous self as a cult god in its most direct form. Absolutely captivating work.

His next body of work has nothing to do with Cena.

THE SHIELD vs. THE WYATT FAMILY

About 90 seconds in, a reference to Randy Orton and Batista not being in attendance. You know what this means … Anyway, Ambrose spending a considerable amount of the early stages in the ring, especially considering he went about 15 minutes or so to start the show. The crowd is actively no-selling this entire encounter until Seth Rollins‘ dive onto Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in the match’s second segment. Is there a time when Rollins doesn’t land on his feet? He’s on his feet on the dive outside, and when Harper escapes a moonsault attempt. OK, maybe when Harper throws him out and dives and pushes him into the announce table. In between all that, a nice running Shooting Star Press with little margin for error. Again, on his feet when Harper yanks him out of the corner … but that just sets him up for a superkick. Ambrose breaks up the count, and we start to get a bit chaotic as the crowd suddenly chants its desire for tables. How about watching the damn match? Idiots once more. Rollins handling business by himself until he hits the knee off the top rope and gets the hot tag to Roman Reigns. Reigns “suddenly dominating” because he’s been almost non-existent for the first 12 minutes or so. Rowan finally stops the rally after Reigns goes through nearly the full repertoire, but Ambrose and Rollins restore order and dive outside. Superman Punch to Wyatt, and triple powerbomb time?

Not exactly as Evolution finally shows up. Another dive by Rollins and Ambrose. Superman Punch to Trips, but that only allows Bray to hit a flying forearm on Reigns and set up Sister Abigail. Ballgame.

Hulu Plus TIME: 14:59

Technical Merit: Another good match with their unique array of maneuvers.

Artistic Impression: Always a good in-ring story with these two teams, and the Evolution element added to The Shield’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night.

TOTAL SCORE: ***1/4

It’s the Match of the Night, though it missed a bit of the luster from their Main Event meeting last month. It’s just odd that these teams go at it monthly without actually having an angle against each other, though it presented a vehicle for Evolution to try to exact revenge and further a hot rivalry of their own with The Shield.

And did they ever. All three members were laid out, and Reigns took the brunt of the attack, including an RKO, a Pedigree and, yes, a triple powerbomb.

RAW 050514 Roman Reigns RAW 050514 Evolution 1

There were plenty of reasons to hate RAW, but at least two things went right. We’re not sure what’s in store for Wyatt and Cena going forward, but Wyatt has a whole lot of momentum heading into the Payback buildup. Also, we have an emphatic stance from Evolution that makes a return match actually intriguing.

Come back later this week for the Midcard Report. What did you think of RAW? Comment below, or drop a line on Twitter @jpetrie18.

RAW 050514 Evolution 2

WWE RAW review (April 28): Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena, Daniel Bryan vs. Kane and The Shield vs. Evolution all set up well during the “go-home” show

“Go-home” shows before a pay-per-view often have a lot of notes to hit. Some are struck beautifully; others often fall flat.

For most fans, this was the go-home show. (I’m still torn on whether SmackDown actually counts for much of anything.) Nothing really fell flat this time around … at least on the Hulu Plus version.

There are three main-event-caliber storylines as WWE enters Extreme Rules: The continuation of the John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt angle, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan‘s first PPV defense against Kane and, of course, The Shield vs. Evolution in a six-man feud (seven if you count Monday’s Ric Flair cameo) that rightfully has been in the marquee slot over the past couple weeks.

Two of those have an air of uncertainty for different reasons. The middle story has been told extremely well, but nobody actually thinks Kane will walk out of Extreme Rules as the champion. He’s a nice stopgap measure who works well with Bryan until this whole Evolution-Shield thing passes and frees up a slew of potential foes.

 

‘He’s got the whole Cenation … in his hands …” 

We open the show with the steel cage down and John Cena out. This is serious John Cena, for those who were wondering. See?

RAW 042814 John Cena 1

He wants to know why he deserved his fate last week — when the WWE Universe chose to give him “no chance against unsurmountable odds.” He also hammered home another point: “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to become a villain.” This whole bit has been kind of … heelish. Interesting.

Another point: There will be a time to step aside. He knows it’s coming soon and actually welcomes it, then namedrops some of the upper-midcard guys, the WWE Champion and some of the NXT roster. Then he goes back to asking why the crowd is drawn to, brainwashed by, Bray Wyatt. In the steel cage, the rest of the Wyatt Family stays out, and his message stays in.

His message is about to come outside.

RAW 042814 Bray Wyatt

The familiar song is sung, only it’s sung by an entire children’s choir. Then by Bray, then by all of them with some subtle tweaks. “He’s got the whole Cenation … in his hands … he’s got the big bad monster … in his hands …” you get the idea. This actually gets booed a bit. Bray blows out the lantern, the lights come on, then this happens…

RAW 042814 choir sheep 1 RAW 042814 John Cena 2

Wyatt didn’t have to say much of anything. The visuals said it all on this one.

RAW 042814 choir sheep 2

Like seriously. How damn creepy can you get?

Later in the show, Cena declines an interview request from Renee Young. Closer to the end, he acquiesces and is pleased the WWE Universe didn’t turn its back on him. This Sunday, Wyatt won’t have the world in his hands. “He’ll have my fist in his face, and my foot in his ass.” Cena’s just better when he’s a little angry.

So, with all that being said …

Potential direction: Either way.

Who should win Sunday: Wyatt. Evens the series and could take Cena in a whole different direction for the rubber match.

Who probably will win Sunday: It’s a John Cena match. That’s damn near ’nuff said 10 months a year. But this really feels like Wyatt’s turn to go over. I think we’ll be surprised by whatever happens.

 

“I almost believed you … except everyone knows that you’re full of crap.”

RAW 042814 Daniel Bryan Brie Bella

Stephanie McMahon calls for Bryan to come out for an apology … and he’s there? Didn’t expect that. Figured he’d just take all the time off until Extreme Rules. But during his time away from the road for wedding, honeymoon and bereavement, it sounds like he found himself some promo chops!

There was no pandering. No wack-ass dialogue. No doofy smiling or high-pitched, cheesy/snarky delivery. (Yes, he tries to accomplish both most of the time.) This was a slightly battered champion ready for revenge. This was a man who commands respect by his words as well as his actions. This was a man firmly asserting his point: He won’t accept any apology, but he’ll be ready to defend his title Sunday.

This was a solid segment, actually. Steph says she and Triple H never wanted Bryan to be champ, and their emotions “ran a little high” and got out of control. Bryan said Brie Bella‘s did, too, when The Authority kept beating him down, but she stayed out of it because she respects him and she knows he can do it on his own. Steph explains the Kane development: She just wanted to give Kane a backbone and make him a credible opponent for Extreme Rules. Kane just went too far. Steph apologizes for “everything” and almost looks genuine whilst doing so.

RAW 042814 Stephanie McMahon

Bryan’s reponse: “I think you’re still full of crap.”

Steph invites Bryan to the ring so she can convince him otherwise … like that’s not a trap. Bryan stays where he is. He’ll be in the ring Sunday, and if Kane takes him down, he’ll take Kane with him … straight. To. Hell. That’s strong.

Part II of the trap attempt: Brie gets a title shot! And Bryan’s invited ringside! Not to worry … Kane is nowhere to be found, and his mask is locked away in the office. The faces accept …

RAW 042814 Kane mask gone

… but wait a second …

Meanwhile …

PAIGE (c) vs. BRIE BELLA (w/Daniel Bryan), WWE Divas Championship

Brie with a snapmare thing into a cover about 35 seconds in. That just made Paige mad. Toss across the ring, stomps and screaming. Paige is working heel here, and it totally works. Also, we have a superplex in a women’s match. That’s a new one, right? Also, that’s about all the time we have because we have a visitor!

RAW 042814 Kane Brie Bella

TIME: 2:17

Bryan temporarily thwarts the attack with a monkey wrench, but the classic Kane no-sell and chokeslam follow. Brie eventually escapes, but does this man look displeased with his handiwork?

RAW 042814 Kane

Not exactly.

Later, Bryan is getting checked out in the training room when Steph feigns concern about whether the champ still can compete Sunday. She attempts to apologize again and …

“GET OUT, YOU BITCH!”

RAW 042814 Bryan Brie McMahon

Damn. Also, about time. Well done, Brie Bella. Well done.

Potential direction: There’s really only one way this will go.

Who should win Sunday: Bryan, and it’s not even close. Jim Ross said Bryan should hold the title until Brock Lesnar takes it off him, either at SummerSlam or Survivor Series. That’s a hell of a lot more sensible than dropping it to a 47-year-old midcard heel at Extreme Rules.

Who probably will win Sunday: There’s really only one way this will go.

 

“WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Hey, this looks familiar!

RAW 042814 Randy Orton

Anyway, The Shield apparently took out 11 men on SmackDown. Trips is impressed! Because they remind him of, well, the group in the ring. The thing is this: Evolution are still here. Hunter brought them in, and Evolution can take them out. They’ll perish Sunday … or so Trips says.

It’s standoff time in the ring until …

“WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

RAW 042814 Ric Flair Evolution

Flair is back, and he sounds a bit … hydrated. He’s happy to be in the ring with men who exude what this business is all about: Dominance. Evolution, naturally, nod their heads in approval. He discusses the Four Horsemen (of course) and Evolution, then how things have come full circle. Everything that embodies the business he sees in …

RAW 042814 Ric Flair The Shield

… The Shield? He shakes their hands, turns, winks and bails. Well then.

Oh, by the way, there’s a wrestling match involving this guy!

RAW 042814 Roman Reigns

That one’s for you, ladies.

ROMAN REIGNS (w/Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins) vs. RANDY ORTON (w/Triple H & Batista)

This goes outside quickly. Reigns hits a suplex, breaks the count, then goes back to work until Orton reverses a whip into the steps. Reigns blocks the DDT attempt by doing the simplest thing possible: Just step through the ropes. No way yet, though, to block the floor-to-apron dropkick. Distraction time from Evolution, which means brawl time for The Shield. Trips wins that portion of the battle, but Reigns has control in the ring. He moves out on the rest of Evolution, which means this match gets thrown out.

TIME: 4:44

What follows is our Wrestling 101 lesson for the night: Get the heels over on the go-home show so they’re a threat to the faces on the pay-per-view.

RAW 042814 The Shield 1

Well, at least until Rollins “hits” Trips with a springboard knee. (He whiffed by a few inches at least.) Reigns hits the spear on Hunter, and it’s triple powerbomb time? No, Batista and Orton create a diversion long enough to get out of Dodge. Or St. Louis. Whatever. Both teams look good heading into Extreme Rules, which is exactly what was necessary.

RAW 042814 The Shield 2

Potential direction: Either way.

Who should win Sunday: Depends on how long this plays out. If it’s a lengthy feud, give it to Evolution to lead off. If it’s a one-off, The Shield should take care of business now.

Who probably will win Sunday: I’m feeling Evolution via swerve, whether by Flair, a Shield member or someone else. Someone always swerves in stable warfare, right?

What do you think will happen at Extreme Rules? Comment below, or drop a line on Twitter @jpetrie18.

WWE RAW review (April 21, Part I): Daniel Bryan’s best month ever gets a lot worse — in and out of the ring

Champ’s note: This is the first of a few reviews of Monday’s episode of RAW from Baltimore. Check back later today for more.

RAW 042114 Bryan

Daniel Bryan might have been having the best April ever. He wins twice at WrestleMania XXX to finally become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Five days later, he marries a Bella twin and takes a week off for the honeymoon.

But life sometimes has a cruel way of balancing things out. In the real world, Bryan’s father died and he found out hours before Monday’s show in Baltimore show. Bryan insisted upon performing, which he did long enough to get written off to tend to family matters in Washington (not the one a few minutes away, the one a few thousand miles away).

In the WWE Universe, that write-off is Kane, who made it clear the champ’s night was over.

This worked perfectly in a lot of ways. Bryan shouldn’t be expected back by the fans until Extreme Rules (or maybe the end of the go-home RAW), giving his family time to handle what’s actually important. And we needed a reminder Kane can be a total badass … we always kind of know, but we need a refresher on occasion. Also, it provided this photo op …

RAW 042114 Steph

… which I wouldn’t ever rule out as a possibility. After all, Daddy did it once!

We start with Bryan, who can’t even keep it together … for good reason. We get the cool YES! moment with the new wife, Brie Bella. That’s about all we get before Steph comes out to provide her wedding present: A title defense against Kane at Extreme Rules. Kane interrupts … but not from the ramp.

RAW 042114 Kane1

The Big Red No-Selling Machine is back. He promised evisceration, and he provided it. Bryan gets in a few punches and a drop toehold onto the steel steps, which did absolutely nothing. Kane’s offense? Barricade slam. Tombstone on the floor. Tombstone on the steps. Tombstone on … the table?

RAW 042114 Kane2

Best believe it.

The only thing that didn’t work was the marks chanting “DAN-IEL BRY-AN!” after the second piledriver. He’s not getting up, people! He’s selling the attack! Everything else was well played, from Brie’s scream to Steph’s feigned concern to Kane’s beatdown. Want to remind people you’re still a monster heel? Beat the babyface hero until he can’t move … and then beat him up some more.

The circumstances absolutely sucked. But the story around the ring was fantastic. This will be a good match in two weeks.