Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bell to Bell: Lesnar and Reigns’ Sissy Fight, the Ladder Match Fallacy, and More

Paul Heyman cuts another killer promo. Then Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns have…a tug of war? Firstly, the last thing Brock Lesnar said in that video package? “I’m going to f#$% Roman Reigns up.” Bone chilling.

Secondly, I’ll give WWE credit for making me actually want to see Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns. I don’t know if it’s going to be a train wreck or not. But Paul Heyman has made me believe Roman Reigns is in borderline mortal danger this Sunday. And they had me in this last segment. They really did.

Then Lesnar and Reigns had that weird tug of war with the belt. I get what they were going for. The whole back-and-forth pull with the WWE Championship. It put a huge damper on the segment. Plus, it seemed really out-of-character for Brock. If I’m Lesnar, and Reigns literally pulls the title out of my hand, I take him down on the spot and knock his teeth down his throat. When Reigns grabbed the belt, it seemed like a fight was about to break out. Something the refs would break up. Brock has done that kind of thing with both Cena and Triple H before. Mind you, we’d already seen a couple of big fights on this episode. But one of those was definitely worth changing up to end the go-home Raw to Wrestlemania on a high note.

Sting opens Raw, comes face-to-face with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. It was great to see the crowd react to Sting so well. All that sound and fury definitely leaves me hoping Wrestlemania is more than just a one night stand for the Stinger.

I was also very pleased to hear Sting using his actual voice this week. Why they felt the need to mess with his voice during that vignette last week is still a mystery to me. And it makes even less sense when you take into account that we were bound to hear his real voice eventually. That ring at Wrestlemania is going to be miked, obviously. So weird…

Bray Wyatt cuts an impassioned promo on The Undertaker, stealing some of his lighting cues. Boy, they really should have just gone to commercial after this one. Michael Cole kind of killed the moment when he had to play up the next segment. But that notwithstanding, this was one of the best promos Bray Wyatt has ever done. All that stuff about the truth, “the angel with the burnt wings,” the end of ‘Taker’s winning streak. It was fabulous. In my mind, Bray’s mic work is finally living up to all the hype. And of course, the classic purple Undertaker light and the thunder effects worked well.

Internet fans have poked a little fun at The Undertaker not being around much for this one. But realistically, there’s no other way to do it. Undertaker’s appearance on the show undeniably one of it’s biggest selling points. Quite possibly its biggest one.

Rusev def. Jack Swagger, and subsequently destroyed John Cena. . Hey, remember when Jack Swagger was a Heavyweight Champion, and wasn’t getting his ass handed to him by Rusev whenever they needed a squash match? Yeah, me either.

From a heat perspective, the John Cena/Rusev program is more or less where it should be. Cena has played up the importance of the United States Championship, and what it means to stand up for America. It should be an interesting match on Sunday.

The way the announcers played up Lana’s absence (she’s filming a WWE flick) was interesting, referring to her granting Cena a match at Wrestlemania. I imagine she’ll be with Rusev come Wrestlemania though.

Dean Ambrose & R-Truth def. Stardust & Luke Harper, with Bad News Barrett on commentary. A solid match, amplified by how into it the crowd was, obviously. I still maintain that Stardust and hist brother Goldust have unfinished business. But perhaps that’s a story for Extreme Rules.

I find it mildly amusing that WWE has guys like Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, and Bret Hart tweeting about how this ladder match could make somebody’s career. When those guys wrestled for the Intercontinental Title in a ladder match, they weren’t competing in a squeeze match with seven guys. They were in one-on-one matches, engaged in rivalries that weren’t watered down for the sake of getting a bunch of guys on the Wrestlemania card. No offense to anyone involved in this match, but come on!

And if you were wondering where Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler were during this match…

Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler, with Dean Ambrose as the guest referee. I realize I’m beating a dead horse here. But if you want a Wrestlemania match for the Intercontinental Title that at least has the potential to be worthy of Savage vs. Steamboat, Hart vs. Piper, and HBK vs. Razor, this would be it. Just give these guys some time and let them do their thing. Their work speaks for itself. And hot damn, Ziggler even got the win this week! Good finish, too.

Kevin Nash announced for WWE Hall of Fame. Given all the notoriety Nash has earned over the years, I almost wish he were headlining the Hall of Fame a different year. But regardless, it’s tough to deny Nash deserves it. Even if you’re not a fan of his wrestling ability (as many aren’t), he’s been one of the biggest stars in wrestling for the past two decades. Congratulations are most certainly in order.

Hulk Hogan makes a surprise Raw appearance to confront Curtis Axel alongside Snoop Dogg. Hey, at least Axel got a mildly entertaining segment out of this whole #Axelmania thing, and got to stand next to an icon like Hogan on worldwide TV. To his credit, he milked a Royal Rumble elimination like nobody ever has.

Los Matadores & El Torito def. Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, & Natalya in an “Interspecies” tag team match. I was hoping to avoid talking about this match, as it already happened on Smackdown last week. But since it was apparently so memorable they had to have it again this week, let me say this: The only time Natalya should be involved in an “interspecies” match is if she’s wrestling her grandpa’s old buddy, Terrible Ted the Wrestling Bear. (Look it up, kids.)

Incidentally, Cesaro was the winner of last year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. That should serve as inspiration to all the guys in this year’s match. If you work hard, gut it out and win, you too can be on next year’s Wrestlemania pre-show.

 Written by: The Fanboy Wonder, Rob Siebert

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