It has been a crazy week of wrestling, arguably the most eventful newsworthy of the year? It has prompted me to make sense of it. Some of it. The it that I have seen. And only a little of that. There is way too much to actually get into every detail. Not sure what to think? Don’t worry, I’ll tell you in this ‘not be the latest, but simply the greatest’ analysis and projectionsis from an outsider who does not know enough nor is not interested in being considered an expert. Maybe from here we will do this on a regular weekly basis but those are some famous last words in these parts. And one more thing, GIFs are stupid.
I have been thinking about why the match between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins was not so memorable and far from match of the year or match of the weekend. Leaving everything injury related completely aside. I rewatched it and found the match started in what seemed like a race to get things done. There was no build in tension, no circling one another, sizing one another up, trying to intimidate each other – the things you would expect from a real sports combat competition and what a simulated one should absolutely contain. There is something to be said for a sudden flair up – two combatants running at each other and clubbing away or someone rushing in and getting a sudden advantage. But it wasn’t like that; from the moment Finn landed the first drop kick it simply seemed like a rush. Some speculation that perhaps this was a case of main stage jitters on the part of Finn, and Rollins not being quite seasoned enough to help matters? Setting the stage for a heated, rage-fueled competition is of the utmost importance.
The outpouring of reactions brought on by Brock Lesnar vs Randy Orton showed something was done right. Glimpsing online reactions one gets a sense of extreme opinions, people thinking they knew what was what (except you take 5 any people and you get any of 5 different interpretations) and you get reactions to Brock that suggest a lot of unease, a lot of anger, or HEAT, beyond that of storyline, which is in fact good heat to get. Let’s not forget that wrestling is at its best when it blurs the line between the staged and the real. Putting my feelings about the use of actual brute force and level of risk involved, it was an intense confrontation. What probably left many people feeling underwhelmed was the sudden finish after a show that became increasingly exhausting as time wore on. The card definitely needed editing. It is also a bit problematic that this was the main event and we are not left with any direction from here when it comes to Brock Lesnar. We are not left seeing him as a title contender as he has been in the direction of left field since he started feuding again with Undertaker. It just left people with as much confusion as it did any temporary rush of adrenaline.
Raw? Medium, well…
Not much to say about RAW, which was in scramble mode after plans suddenly shifted due to the new and first ever Universal Champion to be crowned, Finn Balor, was declared injured. They did what they had to do, stripping him of the title. But I will suggest a perfectly good opportunity to generate some of that stuff they call HEAT was squandered by not having a face off between Finn and Rollins. They could have blurred that line between reality and show, and made this into a feud with some stakes beyond the belt, something it was lacking from the beginning.
The introduction of Bayley was something many were looking forward to after her apparent send off at NXT Takeover Brooklyn last weekend. What took place was OK, but it seemed a few tweeks could have made it so much more exciting. General Manager Mick Foley came out to have an exchange with Charlotte and then announce Bayley. The only reasons for this I could see is 1) kill time (which RAW seems to have way too much of and 2) have a familiar face introduce a potential newcomer to the wider RAW audience.
I think the impact could have been far greater if Bayley just took to the ring suddenly, with her music ringing out as Charlotte seemed all but completely triumphant in her standing. And again it would have been the perfect time for some reality tinged trash talk between WRESTLERS, no need for the go between of a mild mannered. Charlotte could have asked Bayley how she could dare think she has a shot at the title after just LOSING to Asuka. Bayley could have retorted that she knows someone she HAS beaten and that is Charlotte herself. All would have been valid points, would have given those unfamiliar with their NXT activity the background they needed, and built up a solid confrontation – WRESTLER to WRESTLER.
The Dudleys send off seemed ok though it hit from out of nowhere, with many expecting more to it. Perhaps negotiations between the tag team and the company were truly up in the air til this point. Being laid out by Anderson and Gallows, though, actually highlighted what a great program that could be. In these two teams you have some forces of destruction with plenty of credibility: on the one hand this new and exciting team with the allure of having a cult following in their previous incarnation, plus the legitmacy of working the rigorous style associated with Japan and NJPW. In the other, a team with a long history including the craziness of tables and ladders from their ECW days. While the Dudleys have been on the back burner, a sudden changeup could shake off some of the dust that seems to have fallen on them. Hopefully the value of such a feud will wake some folks up and business can be done to keep them around a bit longer, at the least, to have a run against Guns and Gallows.
Smackdown had a solid show that seems to be upstaging RAW. It is shorter, more manageable, and seems to be having quite a lot more fun.
American Alpha had a great match with Breezango. I think they should tone down the silliness with the latter. And it is worth noting that American Alpha’s music was tweaked just enough to be terrible. When it ain’t broke don’t fix it! And considering the string of smash hits NCT’s music team has had there is no reason to think there catchy intro music from NXT needed a change.
There was a lighthearted and knowingly naïve charm to the segment between Heath Slater and Rhyno, when Rhyno offered to team up with the guy he had knocked out of a contract, and help him get on the roster (and pay for an aboveground pool!)
I think they should find a way to win. Slater is obviously winning the crowd over and the premise of the contract slipping away from him at every turn is getting long in the tooth.
As nicely poetic as these two teaming up is, did it occur to anyone that a perfect partner for Slater would be KANE? I don’t know what his exact status is but I believe he is officially signed to SMACKDOWN. You would have the redhead and the big red machine. But let’s not discount this just yet. Perhaps this could be the blueprints for a fun 3 man act. In Rhyno and Kane you have two wrestlers with genuine political experience. Slater could be…Slater. The Constituency perhaps?
Bray had an excellent presence when he confronted Randy Orton. I am a bit disappointed he is still being positioned as a heel at this point. I noticed Bray started tagging his twitter activity with a phrase DOWNWITHTHEMACHINES. It sounds like the making of rebellious crowd favorite fare. Hopefully he looks strong against Orton and changes lie in wait for Wyatt.