Category Archives: Commentary

Goldberg is still ‘Da Man’

It’s a little over twelve hours after Survivor Series 2016 and I am truly shocked. In 2014, we watched Brock Lesnar defeat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30, the audience was stunned. Tonight, a pinfall stunned everybody once again, but unlike the sweeping sadness that washed over everyone when Lesnar defeated the Undertaker, this moment was very different. One could speculate as to why the match happened as it did, but let’s stick to the facts – it happened and it happened how it happened.

The fellow fans I was sharing a room with all sat up and leaned toward the screen after the first spear. I managed to pose the question through a gleeful, ear to ear, smile, “how fantastic would it be if this was a total squash?” Well, a second spear followed. Goldberg hoisted the Beast up into the air and delivered a jackhammer. Part of me thought, “he’ll kick out, he kicks out of everything, he’s Brock Lesnar.” The other side of me said, “This might be it, but seriously, there’s no wa- oh.” The ref counted three. The crowd was elated. This 90 second event, culminating in a wrestler that has been unbeatable for almost 3 years getting pinned to the mat, took all the energy was sucked out of the WWE Universe from the Undertaker’s streak ending and spat it right into the end of 2016 with positive momentum.

There are undoubtedly lots of mixed thoughts about what we all watched, but to me, it was an awesome ride. I think I shouted out loud, as did some of my friends. I was 12 years old again watching a superhero put a ravenous beast back in its cage. Even though it’s totally debatable if they did the right thing and if they should have had someone on the full time roster finally beat Brock clean, I came out of this match feeling great. I have no second thoughts about it. It was fun. I’ve watched this match 4 or 5 times again already.

It begs the question, “what happens now?” It was presumed that the rub Lesnar possessed needed to go to someone on the roster and really propel whoever that superstar is. In my view, this does little to tarnish Lesnar, if anything it builds Goldberg up even higher than we ever was. The mythology of the Goldberg character has remained protected after all of these years; the match at Survivor Series was really no departure from that, even if that ultimately is surprising in the context of 2016. Lesnar still is a beast and an S tier wrestler as far as kayfabe goes. Heck, we know he’s beatable, they reminded us of that going into this match. Goldberg, however, left the business 12 years ago with his legacy in tact. Goldberg never lost a one-on-one match clean, period. Who better in the business to grab that torch from Lesnar and pass it on to someone else – while also giving that superstar the distinction of being the first to beat Goldberg cleanly as well (the same rub that the Ultimate Warrior got by being the first superstar to defeat The Immortal Hulk Hogan clean)? It makes a lot of sense. Of course, this plan is contingent on Goldberg sticking around a bit longer. I, for one, look forward to Raw and what’s next …or should I say, “who’s next?”


Wrestlemania 32 Thoughts

Wrestlemania 32 is less that 24 hours old at the time of this writing, and with the show postponed this week, I have opted to jot down some thoughts about the event. Overall the event was lackluster. While it was certainly better than Wrestlemania 11 and 29, it probably is going to fall into the bottom 10. Let’s break it down.

Kalisto (c) Vs. Ryback

It’s no secret, I love Ryback. His cries of “wake up” and “feed me more” can be found in my fondest dreams. That being said, I’m a big fan of Kalisto and Lucha in general. This match needed to go exactly how it went and for its place on the card, I thought it was an excellent match. The fans had yet to file in, it would have been better to have more people in seats, but what can ya do?

Total Divas Vs. Team B.A.D. and Blonde

This was a match. There were wrestlers in it and they wrestled. The story being told here was very light. Eva Marie’s performance, objectively speaking, was on point. Frankly, she’s better than Lana. Speaking of Lana, what did this match settle? Brie tapping out anyone except Lana seems weak. Regardless, we got a feel-good moment of seeing a Yes Lock at Mania, probably for the last time.

Usos Vs. Dudley Boyz

The Dudleys forgot that they are heels and were babyfacing it up a bit too much. The team that decreed they were more than just a one trick pony and were going to cease pandering to the fans and getting tables, counted down and did a “get the table(s)” as if that heel turn never happened. Furthermore, the audience was pro Dudleys and booed the poor Usos. Usos winning made sense however. When they say “Us” I say “O.” ….or is it “Ooh” and “So?”

Intro & Women’s Title

I liked the video package, I failed to realize it was Sideshow Bob doing the voice over until Maggle Cole mentioned it later. The close up recreation shots of wrestlers doing signature taunts was a great touch. Also during the preshow, Lita debuted the new Women’s Title and we are leaving that butterfly belt behind. The Women’s Title looks exactly how it should look, nearly identical to the men’s Title.

Intercontinental Ladder Match

For those that listen to the show, I had said if Owens failed to retain, Ryder was my second choice, half because of going with my heart and half because it made little sense to add Ryder of all people on the roster, in place of Neville. I fully expected Owens to retain, especially with the mentioning that the Intercontinental Title has changed hands consistently at Wrestlemania for many iterations of the event. The crowd was psyched and it was a feel good moment – one of the few we’d have. The match was excellent as well, it was a spectacle and it was arguably the match of the night. Ryder, no matter what you think of him, has been a member of WWE for over a decade, the main roster alone for 9 years. The picture of him holding the IC Title as a child with (then champion) Razor Ramon juxtaposed to his picture with Scott Hall holding his title is beyond heart-warming. Also worth noting: Sami Zayn maybe the most beloved man in professional wrestling.

Jericho Vs. Styles

Again, those listening to the show might remember I was extremely conflicted with this match. I thought AJ made the most sense to win and it seemed a forgone conclusion that he would win, but the other part of me wondered if the powers that be wanted to give him a “how do you do?” from WWE and have him eat some humble pie for his first ‘Mania appearance. Welp, they did. The match was good, the problem is that we saw this match already. Nothing really new happened and that soured me on it a bit.

New Day Vs. League of Nations

New Day got a hell of an intro. I expected the League to win the match though as soon as they announced that this was a non-title match. That’s how it went down. The match was actually solid. I thought Big E was in serious trouble with that spear through the ropes spot, I’ve heard nothing to suggest there were any medical repercussions of that (knock on wood). Now, what do you do when you have a group of guys in their prime beat another group of guys in their prime that are also the Tag Team champions? You have 3 men, all 50 years old, show up for no reason and beat them all up. Way to put over your roster, WWE. I thought this was abysmal. Nostalgia for the sake of nostalgia loses its appeal very fast.

Lesner Vs. Ambrose

Well, this match is going to be amazing! These guys are gonna beat the ever-living crap outta each other and we’re gonna get a show! This might be match of the night, this might steal the show… oh. No. Nevermind. This match was about as paint by numbers as it could get. I, along with most fans, decided that this needed to go one way: Dean Ambrose wins. We have no clue of the progression of the WWE stories beyond what we see televised, but they are certainly painting a bleak future for poor Dean. He’s arguably the most over babyface in the company and they seem determined to have him come up short every time. We built up to Ambrose being passed down weapons, notably Mick Foley’s barbwire bat. He missed his swing with it and that was that. What was the point? Did someone on the writing staff (I use the term “writing” loosely) realize that they had forgot to book anything for Lesnar and Ambrose and just threw them together? Neither wrestler got to really showcase anything special and the ending of this match, Lesnar hitting an F5 (albeit on chairs) and getting an easy pinfall left most of us scratching our heads and wondering what the point was.

The Women’s Title Triple Threat

This match, although good, suffered from a few problems – problems that had nothing to do with the wrestling. The first problem is that fans expected Sasha to win, period. She lost. The other problem is that there was such a strong “this is going to be match of the night” sentiment that there was almost no way the participants could live up to the hype. That being said, it was arguably the match of the night. Between this and the Intercontinental Ladder match, you can take your pick, they are the solid two matches in the discussion. My biggest complaint about this match: Raven Felix. Seriously, this woman is a vocalist? She sounded like a drunkard singing at the bar on karaoke night. Also, I know I’m channeling my grandmother, but that’s how she dresses for a performance in front of nearly 100,000 people?

Charlotte retains the Women's Title. Photo: Sean Maggle Spurge

Charlotte retains the WWE Women’s Title. Photo: Sean Maggle Spurge

Undertaker Vs. Shane McMahon

I expected this to be the last match of the night and expected some kind of swerve, or interference. What we got was a very slow paced match that served to make both participants look very tired. We got one anxiety-inducing spot with Shane leaping off the top of the cell onto the commentator’s table. Suffice it to say, this match was pretty lackluster and as soon as it was apparent that it was middle of the card, I expected Taker to win – and as soon as I saw Shane McMahon’s children come out with him, I decreed that I wanted him to lose, because I hate children. Anyway, this match ending the way it did means the Authority is still in power, no matter what the outcome of the main event is. The psychology baffled me a bit on this, however. If the roster is sick of the Authority, they should have rushed the ring and all contributed to beating down the Undertaker and aiding Shane in winning the match just to abolish the Authority. Then again, no one ever accused WWE of maintaining any consistency.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Some stuff happened, Baron Corbin won.

The Rock… does stuff?

The Rock shows up. I noticed he had wrestling boots on right away and found that suspect. The Rock is cutting a promo in the ring and gets interrupted by the Wyatt Family. We get a half work, half shoot promo of Rocky putting Bray over, but reverting back to the Rock’s typical name-calling (haha you’re fat Bray!). After it looks like we’re on the brink of a brawl, The Rock announces this is to be a match and tears off his casual attire and has his wrestling fatigues on and is ready to go. This should have been awesome – we get an unadvertised Rock match at Wrestlemania, and with Bray Wyatt! Bray has to go over right?? He’s come up short against big names two years in a row, now it… Oh, Erick Rowan… The Rock Vs. Erick Rowan is happening, at Wrestlemania, and it’s now… 11:15 PM?? Ok, let’s be objective here, maybe it will be a good match. Rock Bottom, 123.

Well now the rest of the Wyatt Family is going to beat him up. They’re gonna bash him good. Rocky needs someone to come help him, another wrestler of his caliber that can throw down with the best of them. …AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA! …they brawl, we’re done, and no one cares.

Roman Reigns Vs. Triple H (c)

Triple H got quite the introduction. His wife, dressed like a cross between Mad Max and Weird Science explains to us all how we suck and our lives are meaningless. I did enjoy this, however. It’s the theatrics that we should have more of at Wrestlemania.

Despite Stephanie and Trips convincing us desperately that we love Roman Reigns, it’s just far from reality. I’m flabbergasted that this match actually went on last. We all were saying prior to this match that there was simply no way that it just goes on last and is paint by numbers, “baby” goes over “heel” 123 and we crown a new champion. That is, however, exactly what happened. There was no swerve, no plot twist, nothing! It was “what you see is what you get.”

What can anyone say? They did it. They did the thing we all said they’d be unable to do. They’re daring the fans to stop watching. All-in-all, on the main program, there were 2 matches worth revisiting. It was a solid card, but they ended it on such a low – the match, while passable, was just barely passable. It was far to slow and matches where two people hate each other and are being pulled apart on Raw because the participants want to kill one-another should never start with headlocks and arm drags. Sending the crowd home disappointed made it that much worse. We are now pretty much in the place we were a few months ago. Reigns is champ, Authority is in power, now what? I’m reserving hope that Raw is going to be balls-to-the-wall amazing tonight. Usually repressing the fans at ‘Mania is what leads to the crazy Raws the next night. We were spoiled the previous 2 years with pretty good Wrestlemanias and Raw the following nights was mild both times.

Explanations are not the Kernel, Emotions Are

daniel byran losesIt is a little over 12 hours removed from the WWE Fastlane event, and there is a lot of controversy among fans about what has transpired. There seems to be an argument-ception taking place of what people feel should have happened as well as how people should be reacting and how their actual reactions are garnering re-reactions, resulting in arguing about arguing. There is an exquisite simplicity to this all though that is going unsung and I would like to shed some light on it.

Here is what I know – Roman Reigns speared Daniel Bryan and pinned him in the middle of the ring. This made me feel awful. It generated lots of negative emotions – discontentment, resentment, dissatisfaction, etc. The guy that one wants to win in a wrestling match is sometimes different than who actually wins. This is typically in a dynamic that contains a babyface and a heel, the blow of a loss is cushioned with the acceptance that sometimes this is the only reasonable way to progress the story, and that makes it palatable. However, I watched Roman Reigns stand tall as the victor at Fastlane, and listened to a chorus of boos when Bryan shook his hand – signifying that the same visceral negative feeling that I was experiencing was shared with many others – likely the majority of the viewing audience.

Have you ever gotten some news that you were unhappy about and ended up slamming your fist into a table or a wall? It’s dumb, it’s childish, it’s embarrassing to think about, but most of us have done it. That is an echo of your unevolved brain from ages passed, before wisdom and reason found their way into your psyche, but it remains somewhere in there. Did Reigns deserve the negative reception he received? He absolutely deserved better, however, you had about 15000 people that needed to put their collective fist through a wall, but reacted in a more suitable way for a wrestling audience. Everything beyond that point is attempting to articulate why this occurred.

There is plenty of time for debate and conversation about what is wrong or right with this whole scenario, but the bottom line is that I know how this made me feel – it made me feel bad. Based on reaction from fans that were there as well as people clambering on the internet – I know I am one of many. We are upset – people will try to explain why they are upset, or conversely, why one should be happy or content. Debate all you want, a large portion of the fan base was left feeling jilted last night and that deserves more than a simple brush-off.

Like I said, I am abstaining from listing pros and cons of either side, or how it should have been booked, or anything like that (until the show on Tuesday). That is an argument for another time. This is simply a commentary on the simplicity of the emotion that what we saw generated. It did not make me hate the bad guy and make me want to watch the next installment to see if he finally gets his, it did not make me want to tune in to see the hero’s victory celebration, it made me despise the hero and pity the jilted wrestler. Explanations aside, if WWE’s goal was to make me (and fellow fans) cheer for the good guy and boo the baddie in the main event of Wrestlemania, they have failed miserably. Yes, believe that.

WWE’s Spring Cleaning, Yay or Nay?

WWE “future endeavored” a fair amount of their roster today. Perhaps some of these were necessary, but were some of them oversights on the company’s part?

Curt Hawkins

Photo by Ed Webster

Photo by Ed Webster

Hawkings began his stint way back in 2007 – which seems crazy when you think about it. He was paired up with Zack Ryder – at the time they were Brian and Brett Majors (AKA the Major Brothers) and went on to capture the tag titles. Eventually they would split up and go their separate ways. Unfortunately, Hawkins would play the Marty Jannetty to Zack Ryder’s Shawn Michaels – and that isn’t saying much. I struggle to think of the last time I saw Hawkins in a WWE ring. He would pop in once in a while or pair up with someone for a bit, but some people probably weren’t aware that he was still with the company. There was a lot of talent here and more could have probably been done, but WWE must not have seen it that way. This is probably the best move for him, as he could potentially find more success being used on the indie scene, rather than standing by idly on WWE’s roster.

Evan Bourne

Evan Bourne got the fans behind him and was extremely likable. Unfortunately, he made some bad decisions in a short amount of time. After professing that he studies ways to maximize his health (with an aspiration to be the longest living person in history) he found himself suspended for 30 days due to violating the wellness policy. He was using synthesized marijuana – which is an odd choice, seeing as how WWE will suspend you for this, but only fine you for using actual marijuana. After 30 days, Bourne returned to action and within about a week, received another suspension – this time a 60 day suspension as it was his second violation. In a little over a month, he was already at two strikes. Missing three months while you’re receiving a push is a good way completely deaden your momentum. He then would go on to suffer an unfortunate auto accident, which took him out of action for over a year. He surface on NXT sometime last year but was seldom to ever used. I reckon that WWE saw him as a major liability. After too many problems, one can only conclude that the subject in question either is the cause of their own problems, or just has extraordinary bad luck. Either way, it doesn’t bode well for the WWE to deal with either and cutting him loose is the right move.


Photo by Krystal Bogner

Photo by Krystal Bogner

You know – Aksana, good looking woman, could work fairly well, except for almost blinding Naomi in one eye… – not sure this was a good idea. I think this could have been given a bit more of a chance. First she was Teddy Long’s femme fatale, then she was Cesaro’s valet (remember that?), and then she kind of floundered ever since. I think she had a look and a character that could have been utilized way better. Perhaps they thought Lana neutralized the need for Aksana (Aksana being Lithuanian and Lana being Russian, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?). Either way, I’m going nay on this. Bad move, WWE.

Teddy Long

I love Teddy Long. You have to love Teddy Long. He’s been in the business a long time, possibly before some of you reading this were even born. He carved out a decent career for himself – it’s hard to not enjoy seeing a cute little man in a double breasted suit dancing happily and then announcing a straight-up tag team match. That being said – he has had a successful, long, fruitful career. His on air role was that of the GM of Smackdown for the better part of a decade. The era of GMs seems to be coming to a close as far as I can tell. Although they exist in theory, they’re an afterthought. The Authority, that outranks GMs, is present on just about every show and therefore makes GMs redundant at most. Teddy, I love you man, I loved watching you, loved hearing you call people “playa,” but it’s time to go home and rest my man. You’ve earned it. I suspect a Hall of Fame spot will be waiting for you sometime in the next few years.

Yoshi Tatsu

Photo by Richard Hencher

Photo by Richard Hencher

WWE, this is an example of you missing the boat. This is a guy that you dropped into the show with just about no fanfare or build up – and he got over. The fans got behind him. He had a look, he was entertaining and funny, considering that his gimmick disallowed him to speak English, and he was an excellent worker. So what did you do? You forgot he existed and had him get beaten up backstage once in a while. Shame on you. Someone in the back wasn’t paying attention. I hope wherever he ends up, he makes a lot of money for the company he’s with as well as himself, and you guys kick yourselves for it.


I can’t say much about Camacho, because we barely saw him! Seriously, can you remember one Camacho match? I’d like to say “if he was just hanging around the roster and not being used, it’s probably better that they got rid of him,” but I don’t see how you expected him to get over in the first place, WWE, if he got virtually no air time. I’m ruling fault of WWE on this one.

Brodus Clay

Brodus’s gimmick gave him what many know to be the “glass ceiling.” This isn’t his fault. The dancing thing, it was actually over. We all suspected that the time would come when he would abandon the goofy dinosaur gimmick and turn into a huge monster. For a time, it looked like this was the path we were about to go down. Unfortunately for Brodus, they didn’t seem to have any long term plans for this and after jobbing him out a few times, they seemed to lose him in the shuffle. They were able to find him to give him a pink slip, though. This is a bad decision. The only monsters you have on the roster right now are Kane – who is getting up there age-wise, and Brock Lesnar – who has three matches a year. I’m calling this one a mistake on WWE’s part.

Drew McIntyre

Photo by Megan Elice Meadows

Photo by Megan Elice Meadows

What is there to say? Vince clearly had a huge crush on this guy at first. Where did Drew go wrong? He did marry ‘Tiffany’ in real life, and only six months later they had a domestic dispute and news broke that they were divorcing. Maybe that incident was all it took to have him fall out of Vince’s good graces? Either way, he was lumped into 3MB. This definitely felt like a demotion – even though 3MB has since found a cult following. It’s hard to believe that Drew McIntyre was the Intercontinental champion five years ago already. Either way, I think this is a bad move. Drew McIntyre was a solid worker and could have been a real success if they didn’t push him so hard and then throttle him down for no apparent reason.

Jinder Mahal

Jinder never was over. His whole presence was a complete waste. He debuted as a random character thrown into a Great Khali story. The story (for those that forgot) was that he was marrying into the family and the family was tight on cash, but he came from means and they had to do whatever he said if they wanted his financial assistance… at least that’s what I remember. The story might not have been that interesting and I made it better in my brain. Anyway, within like, a month of Khali being a reluctant heel, he turned face again, defeated Jinder and that was the end of Jinder. He completely was a non-entity after that and also found himself lumped into 3MB, ironically this was a promotion for him. Being that he was the biggest jobber in the biggest jobber faction, I’d say he’s probably better off boosting his stock in another company.


Photo by 'Jay2009m'

Photo by ‘Jay2009m’

While writing this, news broke that JTG was indeed let go. JTG not being let go was similar to the Undertaker’s streak. After a few times where you thought there were a chance the streak would come to an end, you accepted that it never would come to an end. We expected JTG to get fired since he didn’t even appear on air in over a year, but when he was finally let go – it was shocking in some weird way. You probably shouldn’t have been shocked, but you were. Suffice it to say, it was probably meant to be. JTG was a member of the roster for over 7 years. After they split up Cryme Tyme and went with the decision to have JTG go over Shad Gaspard – JTG never seemed to find his footing – not that there was much of a chance for him to do so. I’m not certain as to what a lower-carder makes in WWE when not being utilized in any matches, but I reckon he’ll probably be able to make as much, if not more, elsewhere, and actually get to practice his craft.

The Chair Shot Heard Around the World

shieldI like the Shield. It’s hard to dislike the Shield. They were given the ball and they ran with it and really did become the most over and arguably the best faction in the history of pro wrestling – and that’s all of pro wrestling. Their ring work speaks for itself, their promo work is fantastic. I, like most of you, am very high on the Shield. I can tell, however, from my interaction with some fans, that there are much bigger fans than me. I am OK with admitting that, especially now, because in the face of the chair shot heard around the world last night, I can look at this swerve more objectively than a die-hard fan and say: it makes very little sense.

Let’s start with the Shield’s turn to facedom. The Shield was somewhat involved with the Authority at the beginning of this year. We got our first taste of the Shield being fan favorites when they had their altercation with the Wyatt family. Stirring this pot a little more was Triple H trying to dissuade the Shield from pursuing this any further and Roman Reigns stepping up to him and saying, “with all due respect Hunter, we are not asking you.” Fast forward a few weeks, they came to Jerry Lawler’s aid against Kane and we ended up with a Kane & New Age Outlaws match at Wrestlemania (in which we saw the Shield destroy them). The following night on Wrestlemania, they came to Daniel Bryan’s aid and stood up against Triple H, Randy Orton, and Batista, making them white hot.

What would follow is a grueling two month feud including constant battles and beat downs on television in conjunction with brutal drag-em-out battles in the ring at two consecutive PPV events. These two factions hated each other and tried to completely destroy each other in order to win and to rid WWE of the other.

Just about 24 hours removed from another battle, in which the Shield was completely victorious and stood stronger than ever, why did Seth Rollins turn? Booking-wise, I can see an argument for it. The Shield has already done everything it could possibly do. You can add more accolades to their ledger, but after dominating Evolution, a faction of seasoned veterans, all with multiple championships between them (I believe they counted 31), all having headlined Wrestlemania(s) and worked with the best of the best, the Shield obliterated them and that’s the cherry on top of their work as a team. Show business mantra, you leave the audience wanting more. You quit while you’re ahead. It’s cliché, but it’s accurate. It’s time for Dean, Seth, and Roman to move onto bigger and better things.

Kayfabe-wise, however, this abandons all reason. 24 hours prior to Raw, Seth Rollins was diving off of a stage into Evolution and trying to wipe them out – as he was doing for months. When Raw started, Triple H had no idea Batista was going to quit. Some time between 8:15 and 10:50 PM, Triple H and Randy Orton somehow made Seth Rollins an offer? Maybe he came to them, but why would he? Was he tired of fighting and decided he’d be more valuable and make more money being part of Camp Triple H? It seems like a slender thread at best. They have a week to come up with something (more) creative. The pacing of it just seems very odd. After trying to almost kill each other, what could have changed his mind to (re)align with Triple H, especially after detaching from him in the first place to start this whole feud? If you were to win a war with someone – you wouldn’t offer to join them after proving their inferiority – as well you wouldn’t accept an offer to join them.

We touched on this topic of a possible Shield member betraying the others on last week’s Doing the Job. We arrived at the conclusion, however, that the only way a turn would make sense is if it stemmed from dissension from within. The example we offered was if one of the members were eliminated and the other two ended up winning – alla Owen Hart in Survivor Series 1993. He would then (of his own volition) turn on the Shield and be welcomed with open arms into Evolution. It was the only way that the story would make any real sense – juxtaposed to a full scale assault on the opposition for months, only to join them. The fact that the Shield clean swept them at Payback neutralizes that theory.

As a mark, of course I don’t want to lose the Shield. I wanted them go push on righting wrongs and triumphing over evil. As a fan of good story-telling, I don’t see a coherent way to convincingly explain this turn of events. The only story that makes any sense is that Seth Rollins approached Evolution when an opening presented itself – counting on his stock being high after taking Evolution down not once, but twice. That hearkens back to the question of why he would have left the protective wing of the Authority to begin with only a few months ago to begin with. While one might say, “it is one thing being part of the Authority, but a totally larger opportunity to be part of Evolution,” that might have been true once upon a time, but we just established the Shield is superior and leaving the winning team to join the losing team is a step down from where Rollins already is. On the Network’s Raw post show, they theorized that Triple H, perhaps, offered Rollins a seven-figure check and that he needs to do what is right for himself or his family… I’ll just leave that one there for reference, just in case that’s what they go with.

Even though story-wise it’s mind-boggling, execution-wise it was extremely compelling and will probably lead to quite a rating next week. I’m sure my co-hosts will have their opinions as well. How about you? Email us!

The Decoy Curtain

Batista flipping a fan off after the Royal Rumble

Photo Credit: @Da_Fonz94 on Twitter

The Royal Rumble left the entire WWE Universe up in arms, turning to the internet to express their disapproval for the event. Although it is very possible that this is just due to ignorance on the part of the WWE, I did leave myself room for one sparkling optimistic question: is the booking now a means of working the audience, as opposed to the execution on the air? The curtain was pulled back a long time ago. We know this, we were told this a lot during the attitude era. Wrestling is a show, not a competitive sport. The problem is, how do you really work a crowd when you have pulled back the curtain? Easy, you don’t pull back the curtain, you pull back a decoy curtain.

Devoted fans stopped watching wrestling for pure narrative a long time ago. It became fashionable to be a “smart fan,” and have some idea as to who is “over” and who has “heat.” If you’re reading this, you know all the insider terms already. The drama still exists, but the focus is no longer what happens within the narrative, but the policing of the writers and the decisions that they make.

Think about it, you have watched with bated breath many times in the last decade, not because you wanted the hero to overcome the villain, but because you thought the villain needed to win the present battle in order to make the hero eventually winning the war more fulfilling. When it didn’t happen, you were left scratching your head and wondering how the booking team missed such an obvious story-telling mechanic.

Bringing us to the present, Daniel Bryan is currently the most over guy in the company. He is universally beloved by smart fans and the mainstream audience – something that rarely happens. There is no shortage of support at every show he is on. Can the powers that be really be failing to see this? If you think about it – the booking (potentially) is genius. The internet was lit on fire after the 2014 Royal Rumble. Daniel Bryan was white-hot on social media, everyone was talking about the Royal Rumble. Yes, they were complaining, yes they were furious, but they were talking about a WWE event in droves, that is remarkably good for WWE. The most furious fans are also the most captivated and I would be willing to wager copious amounts of money that everyone is going to tune into the post-Rumble Raw under the guise of, “say it ain’t so.”

The only issue is that even the most patient WWE fan is beginning to get jittery about is: are they [WWE] compliant or negligent in this booking? Too many times since Summer Slam, I (and I am guessing many of you) have thought I knew where this story was going. With each digression I sought solace in thinking that this was merely the curved path with a great ending to an epic story. But as we have seen in the past, sometimes these path digressions lead the wrestler astray. Perhaps this is what WWE wants the fans to think, making Bryan’s eventual triumph that much sweeter. Unfortunately, we have to wait longer, with the potential payoff simply being that Dave Batista gets a main event title shot at Wrestlemania 30 (and wins). I’ll reserve my opinions of Batista mostly for the upcoming episode of Doing the Job this Tuesday, but suffice it to say – bad move. The fans made that as clear as possible during the payperview. He’s not the guy. He was barely the guy the better part of a decade ago and he certain is not the guy now.

What if Daniel Bryan not even being in the Rumble is a brilliant work? Mick Foley tweeting his disgust could just be part of the act. The fact that Daniel Bryan did not even appear in the Rumble match could be testament to this. Daniel Bryan tweeted: “Sorry guys, the machine wanted me nowhere near the Royal Rumble match. But I thank everyone for their support. YOU are the #YESMovement” Definitely has the markings of a very well-crafted kayfabe work. Maybe it is just wishful thinking on my part, but what would be better, If Daniel Bryan were eliminated from the Rumble (possibly by Batista) or that he was never even in it and now can legitimately gripe that this is the only reason for Batista’s victory? I like the latter more.

I am going to keep my head high for a little while longer. One on hand, the fans would have shaken the very foundation of the building if Daniel Bryan entered the Rumble match and WWE would have created another magic moment, but on the other hand, Daniel Bryan’s stock went up even more in the past 18 hours. The fans were not booing Batista (directly), they were booing the booking staff for booking Batista as the winner. Yes, some of the anger is directed at Batista for coming back in the first place and getting in the way, but we all know that Batista did not get to book himself the winner – that was the writers behind the scene. Batista is merely the frontman. A booking staff cannot really be a heel though, can they? Well, if they are playing the part of the heel, of course they can. If the booking is what the fans pay attention to, then that is where you work them, “behind the scenes.”