3 WEEKS AGAIN?! Really WWE? Really? Not wanting to sound like The Miz (because not even The Miz wants to sound like The Miz) but really? As if contending with playing GTAV, catching up on Breaking Bad, and, y’know, working wasn’t enough I have 3 solid weeks of WWE actually being cool and watchable to slot into the schedule. Yeesh. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it. Let’s get on with it, Trevor’s only half way through flying school and I’ve got to finish his education.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow
OH NO WWE!! WHY YOU HAZ DOLPH ON PRESHOW!! I’m paraphrasing that, but go look at WWE’s Facebook page. There’s loads of folks (and no doubt some of you reading this) who are feeling that way. Well I know how you feel, because I was one of you too. I too felt the burn of Dolph Ziggler no longer gunning for Alberto Del Rio’s WHC, along with the pang of watching him reduced to near jobber status over the last few months.
That is until I was able to push my fanboy love for excellent bumping aside and finally see what people like Jimmy Redman have told me all along. Dolph needs some work before he’s ready to have one of the big titles on him. Don’t get me wrong, I still love watching Ziggler go, but at the minute he’s suffering from transitioning to face and not quite fixing up his game to match.
You can blame his sudden drop in the WWE pecking order on him making inflammatory comments about Orton in interviews if you like, but I think they’ve just reeled Dolph back in a little in a bid to get him to up his game as a face. I know I mentioned before that I’d have loved to have seen HBK bestow the superkick on Dolph as his new finisher, and I’ll reiterate that again. But it’s more than just that. I want Dolph to up his offence as a face, even if it’s just a 5 moves of doom style sequence to get him started. He’s got flashes of the right elements, he’s just struggling to put it together properly. The 10 elbows and the flurry of mounted turnbuckle punches he does both strike me immediately as moves he needs to put into the comeback sequence WWE loves it’s faces to have, instead of squandering the moves early on in a match just to get them in. I don’t doubt that Dolph is gonna pick this up, I just think we all need to be prepared to wait a little for him to get up to speed on working as good guy.
And oh look, the annual burial of the MitB winner is well underway with Sandow. I suppose the whole deal with Cody hunting down the briefcase has been superceded by the Rhodes Family involvement in the corporate angle (more on which later), but I honestly thought they’d have something for Sandow to do? Sure he’s still entertaining, but by the time they get round to finally letting him cash in he’s gonna look just as weak a champion as all the other MitB reigns of guys like Swagger and Ziggler. Please, just once, could you book a briefcase holder with a long term plan to make them look like a legitimate threat to the champion?
One final point is that I love the concept of WWE’s kick off matches. One of the most important matches on a show is the opener to set the mood, and it looks like WWE have now gone fully behind making the kick-off a legitimate show opener that they give away to entice you into watching the rest of the show. I really like the whole “try before you buy” thing, so this works really well for me. So if you see your favourite guy wrestling in the kick-off, don’t be mad that they’re getting buried, be kinda chuffed that they’re depending on your guy to put on a great opener to pull in the viewers.
Who I want to win: Dolph, but I’m more than aware that a simple win like this doesn’t really fix anything.
Who I think will win: Probably Dolph again, purely on the goodwill of the fans who keep cheering for him. Now we just need him to work out how to make us get behind him completely.
Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt
Well this one came out of left field. With minimal build as well. I hate it when they do this, because it leaves me next to nothing to write about. There’s no feud here yet, the entire build seems to be two segments where not much happened, so there’s not much for me to preview for this match.
I tell you what we’ll have a look at instead. Bray Wyatt basically telling everyone who’s been bitching and whining about him not being on shows to be patient. If you missed it on Raw a few weeks ago, here it is again:
So there you have it, you want things now and have no patience, but Bray sees patience as a lost art. In one throwaway line of a promo Bray’s telling us to wait and see what comes next. As much as I rip on WWE for bringing Bray in and seemingly not having a plan of action for after his initial debut, this works for me really well. Bray Wyatt shouldn’t be appearing on every show, because once what he does becomes too familiar it loses some of it’s shine. I’m actually happier with the Wyatts only turning up on a hop and a catch as makes those appearances seem a little more special.
This match may have barely had a build at all, but I’m hoping this is just the start of something great.
Who I want to win: Bray Wyatt. Let’s see the Eater of Worlds destroy some people without having to use the Family to jump them first please.
Who I think will win: Probably Bray. Nothing against Kofi, I just don’t see him leaving this match as the winner.
Diva’s Championship Match
AJ Lee © vs. Brie Bella
So, did you know Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan are engaged? I mean, it’s not as if it’s been mentioned all over the TV non-stop for two weeks…oh wait, it has. Which has also turned Brie Bella face by the look of things? Daniel Bryan is so over he’s now turning other roster members purely by association. Face osmosis if you will.
I don’t know whether it’s just me, but WWE don’t seem to have made as much of an ado as they should have about AJ’s little outburst on the Total Divas cast.
AJ dropped one hell of a pipebomb on the E! Divas and it’s been glazed over for the most part. Maybe it’s because the women of WWE are still being reduced to 2 minute matches on Raw, but there could be so much more to this that just isn’t being done. Why not spend a bit more time showing us some of the reactions of the Divas instead of just having them pull angry faces when they walk out for meaningless matches? I dunno, I feel for AJ. She tried to do something exciting, and it was one hell of a promo, but booking just hasn’t followed up on this for her, which means that we’re stuck with another Divas title match that doesn’t really mean anything. Personally I’d be much more interested in seeing things kick off a little further between Steph and AJ, that looks like a whole powder keg waiting to be lit. I think it’s about time the Divas title got involved in the corporate angle.
Who I want to win: AJ, although I’ll give props to Brie for improving in the ring.
Who I think will win: AJ. Maybe even with Tamina getting involved if they’re planning on acknowledging Brie Bella as a face now.
Intercontinental Championship Match
Curtis Axel © vs. R-Truth
Ah Jesus…what do I say about this? Curtis Axel just isn’t working for me. But if I go through this again, I’ll feel like I’m just repeating myself for the 1000th time. Even though they’ve put Axel with Heyman (who’s done what he can with what he’s been given/chosen to work with) he’s still not clicking. A big part of it for me is that they STILL haven’t given him any kind of discernible finisher that’s capable of, y’know, FINISHING A MATCH.
Axel just isn’t ready yet. I don’t know if he’ll ever be. Sure he’s mechanically sound in the ring, but he’s also a black hole that sucks in charisma from all around him. The fact that the Intercontinental Champion is pretty much relegated to being a bit player in his manager’s storyline tells you everything you need to know about the confidence WWE have in Curtis Axel right now.
So here we are with yet another filler match for an IC Champion going nowhere. The only problem now is that to take the title off him they need someone ready to hold it. And I don’t think there’s anyone who fits the bill right now. It’s certainly not gonna be R-Truth, regardless of how much even a simple “I’ll talk to you later” from Monday got a crowd reaction. Which is kind of a shame. Axel’s doing nothing with the title now, so why not give R-Truth a go. It’s not as if the IC title means all that much right now, give R-Truth the belt and let him and little Jimmy have a celebration party. I’d watch that.
Who I want to win: R-Truth. Why the hell not?
Who I think will win: Axel. And Paul Heyman at ringside will probably be the most entertaining thing about his match. Again.
Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Shield Members Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns
Alright, so this whole Rhodes family story has been excellent. A few months back we compared WWE to Game of Thrones on the TWO Podcast, and now we’ve got into the territory of the McMahons beasting the other legendary wrestling families, the comparison seems to be getting more relevant by the day.
Everything about this has been really well done. From Cody’s initial conversation and subsequent match with Orton, to the continuity spreading onto NXT with the removal of Dusty as GM for a while, to Goldust attempting to step up for his family, to Big Show’s heart breaking when he had to knock Dusty out, all of this has been so excellently done. And then they capped it with a Rhodes boys run-in against The Shield. Man, I’ve loved the hell out of this. It’s one hell of a way to book your guy to come back strong after a couple of weeks off.
So are we all agreed that Cody has to get his job back? We are? Good. Because that’s what needs to happen. The Rhodes family need to be that first stumbling block for the Corporation, a figurehead to show that fighting the good fight can work against the Corporate machine. Daniel Bryan’s tried to lead the locker room to some success recently, but if Cody and Goldust can stick it to The Shield tonight (maybe even with a little extra help from the locker room) then that could be the galvanizing moment that begins the big fight back.
Will it happen? Well that remains to be seen. There could be more to this story yet, which (provided it’s as entertaining as what has preceded this has been) is fine by me.
Who I want to win: The Rhodes boys, obviously!
Who I think will win: I don’t know. HHH could quite easily arrange for something screwy to happen here. Or even another suspect referee? I’d love to see Cody and Goldust get jobs again, but I’m got a sinking feeling bad thing could happen tonight…
World Heavyweight Championship Match
Battleground Hardcore Rules
Alberto Del Rio © vs. Rob Van Dam
RVD in a hardcore match? Damn, I don’t care if it is against ADR, I’m interested in this one! Van Dam’s been…well, Van Dam since his return. It’s almost as if he never left and I’ve been super impressed with his commitment since he came back. This is a completely different RVD to the one that we saw in TNA, and the prospect of a Rob Van Dam Hardcore match gives me warm fuzzy feelings of anticipation.
What I like most from this is that for once it’s a logical progression for the next match between this pair to be a Hardcore Match. After the Van Terminator put in an appearance, and after Del Rio getting disqualified for refusing to release the Cross Arm Breaker, then the most obvious thing to do would be to give them a match where both men would be allowed to do those things legally.
WWE did a great job of hyping up RVD for the little kids too young to remember him properly by showing his top 10 extreme moments on Raw, check it out:
OH MY GAAAWWWWWD!! Now tell me you’re not hyped to watch Van Dam do what Van Dam does best tonight? Will he win the title, probably not, but as always he’ll put on one hell of a show regardless.
Who I want to win: RVD. Screw it, why not?
Who I think will win: Del Rio. Probably after doing something horrible to Ricky Rod too.
CM Punk vs. Ryback
So did you see Paul Heyman and Ryback going all “Billy & Chuck” for a moment on Raw?
Brilliant. Well, brilliant for everyone except Curtis Axel who is now gonna be relegated even further by not even being a “main” Paul Heyman guy.
Admittedly, this is possibly the best thing they could have done with Ryback, and the whole “I hate bullies” deal is actually pretty well worked. Especially because with the way this is working Ryback has to say maybe one or two lines tops in his promos now. That works for him, he tends to get lost when he has a lot to say, so to give him Heyman as a mouthpiece is a stroke of genius.
So now I’ve got to come to terms with me maybe not hating Ryback quite so much over the next few months. Yikes, that’s a terrifying thought in and of itself.
As for Punk? He’s still my guy. He’s still doing what he does, and I’ll probably still continue to fawn over it all like the little fanboy I am. Rumours abound that Punk will be moving out of this feud with Heyman straight back into the WWE Title picture, but I’m quite happy for this to continue for a while. I think the seeds are being sown with the little interaction with Brad Maddox this week, and it looks like it’s only a matter of time before “what’s best for business” becomes Punk’s business too.
Who I want to win: CM Punk. But I still don’t think he’ll get his hands on Heyman properly yet.
Who I think will win: Ryback. With the assistance of Heyman and Axel. I don’t even know why, I just think something screwy is happening.
WWE Championship Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
WWE you sneaky devils. Giving us what we wanted and then snatching it away from under our noses, while also extending our interest by NOT having a WWE Champion. Well played Creative, well played.
Personally, I’m waiting for the fallout of Scott Armstrong’s fast count and the reveal of who put him up to it in the first place. Surely that’s got to come out properly at some point?
Oh, and YAYYYY!! We’ve got IED Orton back! You can’t see it, but I’m actually doing a happy dance about that (and not just because he DESTROYED Miz in front of his parents). It’s been too long since we’ve seen psycho Orton doing the rounds and the last 3 weeks have been an epic display of Randy Orton losing his sh*t.
You see what I’m doing here? I’m skating around me not knowing what the hell is going to happen in this match. I genuinely have no idea how this is going to turn out. Bryan could well win again, only to be screwed out of the title again tomorrow night. Bryan could be screwed over tonight, causing him to lose the title. Hell, we could end up with one heck of a clusterfudge ending with The Shield, The Rhodes, and God knows who else involved leaving us with no champion again. That’s the beauty of this angle at the moment, we just don’t know which direction WWE are going to take, and that makes it all the more exciting in my eyes.
Who I want to win: Daniel Bryan. But then, doesn’t pretty much everybody?
Who I think will win: I’m gonna cop out on this one, because I just don’t know. Logic dictates that Orton’s being given his Corporate title back, but logic also dictated that there was no way Daniel Bryan was wining at NoC. Just goes to show, a Busaiku Running Knee beats logic every time.
So there we go. Hopefully these predictions won’t suck as badly as the last lot I did. Hopefully. But more importantly, what do you think? Feel free to join in and leave me a comment below, or even on the Talk Wrestling Online Forums.
Right, I’m off to secure a submersible for my nest heist. See you next time!!