For many of us, the advantages of adult-ness more than trump the challenges of childhood. With every time we pine for the days of being carefree and irresponsible, there are ten other times we flaunt our ability to spend money without asking permission, eat whatever we want at restaurants and stay up MUCH too late listening to #NAI52.
Still, folks, there is one part of being a kid that all of you are missing, even if you don’t quite know it. We teachers know it VERY well - In fact, we know it even more than the students.
Those first hours of summer vacation.
Now, some of my loyal readers are young enough to still know what these moments feel like (#GOML - You know what it means), but for those who have been bogged down with full-time jobs all these years, let me paint you a quick mental picture.
The joyous feeling as that bell rings, or the last bus is called. The first minutes of being in your house, not sure what to do because seemingly suddenly, you have 9-10 weeks of relative freedom in front of you. Making lists (be them mental or physical) of the things you want to do, then falling into such a state of euphoric exhaustion that all you can do is lie down and barely watch TV.
That’s the feeling I’m encountering right now. I feel like I’ve been hit by a bread truck, but I am delighted for that feeling as well. So, I did what any wrestling writer worth their salt would do, now that I had, for all intents and purposes, unlimited free time.
I watched Smackdown.
I haven’t done a “DC’s Diaries” in a while, so let’s get back on the hoss’ and ride to the WWE show that practically nobody watches (except for this week). Let’s join the blue brand already in progress.
For all the flak he gets, Sheamus is a pretty good talker, and I liked the first 40-50 percent of his promo. Right around the halfway mark, though, he said something that totally took me out of the moment.
I feel like more than a million dollars. I feel like this briefcase is worth its weight in gold.
Obviously the teacher part of my brain is not fully dormant yet, for I immediately questioned that logic, and set off to do some research and some math.
The price of gold right now is around $1200 an ounce, and since there are 16 ounces in a pound, that means a pound of gold is worth $19,200.
That MITB briefcase only contains a contract, so it can’t be TOO heavy. It’s likely around 15-20 pounds, if that, but for our purposes, let’s assume Sheamus also stored a brick or three in there, so let’s say 50 pounds.
$19,200 a pound, times 50 pounds. Even at that irrational weight, that briefcase is still only worth $960,000, or 40,000 dollars less than a million.
(Aside: Is this what you might need to come to expect from your Chief of Staff now that he has a lot more leisure time? Maybe.)
Truthfully, that took me through the rest of his promo, Ambrose coming out, Kane coming out, the brief match and Reigns interfering. Thank you, math, for saving me!
By the way, was it really a “big announcement” or “breaking news” that the tag main event was what it was? Come on, WWE, give us some credit.
I’m not spilling government secrets here when I tell you that I don’t watch women’s wrestling, especially not on the main roster, so its not like I’ve been really up to speed on the goings on with Paige and the Bellas.
Having said that, I had an epiphanous moment as I watched the last seconds of the segment. (having not fast forwarded enough, and being too lazy to fast forward more) Brie had won, thanks to help from Alicia Fox, Paige looked lost and frustrated in the ring, and it hit me.
She’s going to get the NXT Divas as backup. Maybe not the entire Four Horsewomen, but at least Charlotte.
This is probably not “breaking news” either, but for me, I suddenly became more interested in the Diva’s division since. . . . . . .Hmm, that will take some thought.
This better be the way they’re going with this angle, otherwise Paige is just being buried.
Here’s a question for you all to ponder - When was the last time we saw someone like Kevin Owens in WWE? Someone equally gifted in the ring and on the mic, someone who so obviously and readily “gets it”, someone who seems, as the NAIpod boys said, to be a walking ATM.
The only guy I can think of is Jericho, and as I learned reading one of his books recently, even he didn’t have such a great start to his WWE career as Owens is having.
This guy could be a once in a generation star.
So he’s talking to Renee, being all amazing and such, and the camera pans back in that tell-tale way that lets you know somebody is about to enter the frame. Now I’d read the spoilers, heard the Twittering, even seen a picture of what was about to happen next. And I STILL marked out when Cesaro walked in. That’s how you know something is good.
I thought I knew what to expect with Seth’s promo - fearful, cowardly, whiny. I’m getting tired of that character, so I was overjoyed to see him get a little confidence and show us the champion we all know he can be. I still don’t know what in the world will happen at Battleground, but I’m excited to see it when it does.
As I watched Smackdown, I kept saying the same thing over and over again, so much so that I’m just going to thematically group these all together.
Smackdown should really be the “B” Show
Monday Night Raw is the flagship, there’s no denying it. It will always be the show with John Cena, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and the like. Rather than spending the entirety of Smackdown recapping a show that almost all of us have already seen, why not use the time more wisely?
We don’t need a brand extension or anything like that, but just leave the top guys off of Smackdown and let it be the show for everyone else.
Bo Dallas vs. Dolph Ziggler was fine and dandy - Bo got to do his Bo-things, and Ziggler got a win. Had they had 5-7 more minutes to tell an in-ring story, though, and it could have been even better.
Ditto for Neville vs. Xavier Woods. Those two (along with the rest of New Day and the PTP) could have done a whole lot more with 10 minutes.
Cesaro vs. Owens is the exception here, and even that was shorter than I thought it would be. If you gave us main events like those two, with 15-20 minutes each time, a whole lot more people would be watching Smackdown.
The main event was a blatant repeat of the events from RAW, so I didn’t even bother watching it. I guessed that either Bray or Orton (if not both) would get involved somehow, and I was right. I’ll find the Wyatt promo and save myself 10-12 minutes of Kane vs. anybody.
I’m guessing the Smackdown ratings will spike this week solely because of Cesaro and Owens. That hopefully will show WWE what people want to see, and they’ll start giving us more of it.
Smackdown could be a whole lot of fun - Just give it (and your entire roster) a chance, WWE!
What do YOU think? Be Heard.
With all the hullaballoo (such a fun word to type, let alone say) in WWE / NXT of late, it seems I have fallen off the What If Wednesday wagon, so thanks to a suggestion from NAI Fan Friday contributor and host of RealWorldChamp.com Josh Petrie (@jpetrie18), let’s get back on the horse.
Speaking of horses. . .
It’s no secret that I love a good stable (ANOTHER horse reference, HA!), and from the myriad conversations I’ve had on Twitter, so do many of you. Arguably the greatest stable in history, the Four Horsemen set the stage, in many ways, for all the greats to follow: DX or the nWo wouldn’t have existed without the Horsemen, and Evolution was just the Horsemen without the name.
There will be arguments aplenty about this idea, which is good - that’s why I get the big bucks - but I think we can all agree that the “Horsemen build”, stable wise, is as follows.
It might not have been this way every single time, but when you think of the “ultimate” Horsemen, that’s what you had. Flair was the leader, Arn was the enforcer, Tully was the mat technician and Ole Anderson was the veteran. They also benefited from having The JJ Dillon, a manager to help guide the way.
So, using this build as a model, let’s take a look at some prospective Horsemen, shall we?
It’s What If Wednesday, so we’ll be creating our own stories here, hence why Orton and Rollins would be on the same team. Orton provides experience and, being pretty much the only one of these guys to actually share a ring with Ric Flair, Horseman-Pedigree-by-Proxy.
Rollins is the leader, obviously, and Cesaro and Kidd can remain as a tag team. While I doubt Orton would win the IC or US championship (though he could), this is a unit that could easily win just about every major title in WWE.
Obviously we’d need to clean Harper up a bit, but is there anyone else who screams “Enforcer” as much as Luke does? As for Jack Swagger . . . You remember him, right? . . . This guy looks like he’d have been a Horsemen in the late 80’s, if not a member of the Varsity Club.
You can pick either Rhodes or Ziggler to be the leader or the veteran, it doesn’t matter much either way. And for those, like Mr. Petrie, who wonder whether a RHODES could ever be a Horseman, what better way for Cody to get some serious heat than by defying his family legacy and aligning himself with the group so synonymous with Ric Flair?
Cheating a bit here, as Neville isn’t technically on the NXT roster anymore, but I like the fit, and its my column, so he stays. Corbin, like Harper, is an obvious fit for enforcer, even with the total lack of wrestling talent. I’d stick him and Chad Gable (he of the one NXT match and hopefully still the leader of Shoot Nation) as a tag team, letting Gable get experience while doing the lion’s share of the work.
Newer fans are going to tell me that Balor should be trying to duplicate his Bullet Club, not the Horsemen, but again, I submit to you that without the Horsemen, there’d be no Bullet Club.
Ever since I saw the WWE.com piece on the ladies of NXT, I’ve thought that the ‘NXT invasion’ everyone keeps debating and mulling over should happen with the ladies, and the ladies only.
Just imagine, after the Naomi, Paige and Nikki Bella triple threat at Elimination Chamber, we see Sasha, Charlotte, Becky and Bayley (yes, Bayley) run to the ring and take out all three of the Diva’s title participants, no matter who wins. A group of other Divas (Brie Bella. . . Umm. . .Is Alicia Fox still around? I swear, I need to hire D-Jay to write all my women’s wrestling pieces) come out to try to save the WWE women, but are rebuffed. Natalya emerges, one would think to save the day, but she winds up joining forces with the NXT ladies, serving as veteran and JJ Dillon all at the same time.
People keep saying they want to give Divas a chance. People keep wondering if women’s wrestling will ever be taken seriously in WWE. THIS would do both of those things. Give them a storyline that’s solid and some ring and promo time to make it work, and people will buy in, especially once they see the depth of the NXT talent.
I’m on the fence about Bayley, I truly am. She’s good, but I don’t know if she could ever be anything other than the hugger. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt that she could turn the gimmick around if the need arose.
Also, you could talk me into Paige being the one behind the NXT invasion, and the ladies I mentioned help her win the Diva’s title. That’d be fine, too.
In no particular order, here are some talents I feel would have made great Horsemen.
William Regal - Besides Arn Anderson, could there be a better enforcer than Regal? Tough as nails and will either punch your lights out, throw you around, or twist you into knots. Dear Lord, I love this man.
Shelton Benjamin - Fun fact, friends. There has never been a Horseman of color. . .Ever. . . We’ve had Canadians, we’ve had Italians and we’ve had. . .whatever planet Mongo McMichael was from. . . But never anyone of an ethnic minority. Yeah, sure, Butch Reed was an associate of the Horsemen, but that doesn’t count.
I try not to get into racial issues in my columns, as being a white guy, its not really my position to say anything, but still, that’s an odd stat. Shelton Benjamin would have been perfect for the Horseman - the young wrestler who anchors a tag team or who wins the mid-card titles 10-15 times.
Billy Gunn - This is quickly just turning into “DC’s Favorite Wrestlers”, but that’s OK. Billy Gunn could have been the wily veteran or the enforcer.
Steve Austin - Not Stone Cold, of course, but while watching WCW PPV’s of the 90’s, “Stunning” Steve seemed like a perfect Horseman. Here’s a little mini-What If Wednesday for you - What if he had been one? What if WCW had hung onto Austin a little longer and given him enough to do where he would have been a productive member of their roster? What happens if Stone Cold never becomes Stone Cold?
(Note: I honestly can’t remember if I’ve done a What If Wednesday on that topic or not already. If so, move along.)
Alberto Del Rio - I’m honestly shocked that Del Rio never led a stable of some kind in WWE. He seems like an ideal guy for that. Hopefully he’ll get his chance in Lucha Underground.
Damn, now I’ve got an idea. . . OK, this is the last one.
This wound up just being “Former WWE All-Stars”, but it works. Or so I think.
What do YOU think? If you could re-cast the Horsemen in 2015 WWE / NXT, who would you pick? How would you fill wrestling’s greatest stable? Be Heard.
I’m not a patient man.
Perhaps its only child syndrome or perhaps its just impulse control issues, but patience and I have never really gotten along. This, like most things, can be a blessing and a curse. For one thing, it gave Mrs. Matthews and myself a very entertaining engagement story. (My fervent paranoia comes into play there as well, but that’s another column.)
In terms of writing, my lack of patience means that when I get an idea that I think is good, I can’t help but run with it. To that end, I’d like to welcome you to the first installment of Finisher Friday. If you have read my initial column, where I gave new finishers to the former Shield brothers, you know what’s in store. If you didn’t read it, how dare you! Go read it, so you’re all caught up.
I had such a good time finally putting these ideas to paper, and it seemed to generate a decent amount of interest, so now we have yet another weekly feature, at least until Hall of Friday season kicks in again.
This afternoon I took to the Twitter and asked for ideas of whom fans would like to see get a new set of finishers. Remember, they each have two in my world. Based on votes and conversation, today we’re going to focus on two NAIborhood favorites. . . And, for some reason, Big Show.
Let’s get that one over with right now.
As we were discussing Show on Twitter, somebody mentioned that Paul Wight had been advised by WWE lawyers to stop using the chokeslam as his finisher. In my very quick research, the only thing I saw regarding this issue is that Big Show has been told not to pretend to chokeslam fans. Nothing that I found said anything about banning the Chokeslam altogether.
If there’s a reason why Big Show isn’t chokeslamming people anymore, I think it has more to do with his age and overall health than anything else. At 43 years old and nowhere near the best shape of his life, its possible that Paul Wight just can’t pick up guys like he used to.
Finisher 1 - KO Punch
Look, this is not my favorite move in the world, but with wrestlers getting smaller and smaller these days, this makes a lot of sense. A punch from this guy, especially if he makes it look legitimate, SHOULD knock out just about everyone on the WWE roster.
Finisher 2 - Hyper Drive / Earthquake Splash
Up until about 5 seconds before I wrote this section, I was going to give Big Show the Haas of Pain as his second finisher. I love this move and I give Show all the props in the world for adding it to his arsenal.
The fans on Twitter, though, made very valid points. Again, it comes down to size. Big Show need only sit on a guy to be able to hold his shoulders down, so why not borrow Mojo Rawley’s finisher? It’s not like he’s using it right now, plus it makes no sense for a guy Rawley’s size to be using.
Big Show runs the ropes, hops (he can’t jump) in the air and sits on his opponent. It could even be a submission move if he felt like it.
Everyone’s favorite Swiss Superman seems happily ensconced in the tag team division, but that doesn’t mean his finishers couldn’t use a tweaking. The Neutralizer, while fun, seems almost too easy for someone as talented as Cesaro. We can certainly do better, no?
Finisher 1 - Pop Up Uppercut
Truthfully, Cesaro should and I dare say could be the Man of 1,000 Finishers. Everything he does is so crisp and devastating-looking, you could tell me he’d start using the side headlock as a finisher and I’d be watching intently for it.
Still, the pop-up European uppercut is one of those moves that really should signify the end of a match. He’s strong enough to send most talents wayyyyyy up high in the air and then BOOM! They look like they were in a car crash. Just awesome.
Finisher 2 - Swing into (Insert Leg Submission here)
You have to. . . HAVE to. . . take advantage of the popularity of the Cesaro Swing. What better way than to have it be the beginning of his new finishing move? Cesaro spins his ‘ponent round and round then takes his pick of any number of lower body submissions to force the tap out.
My personal preference, being the hardcore Dean Malenko fan that I am, would be the Texas (Swiss) Cloverleaf, but if this partnership with Kidd is going to keep going, I’m all for Cesaro starting to use the Sharpshooter as a sign of Canadian solidarity.
If you paid attention on Twitter today, I apologize for the fact that you know what’s coming. Don’t blame me, blame the genius professor known as MagnumNAI!
With the exception of the pose (kiss included) before the move, Sister Abigail, in my opinion, stinks as a finisher. Seriously, I’m getting so sick of the myriad wrestlers using some form of double stomp / double knee (Backstabber) / Flatliner type maneuvers.
Aside: I watched Lucha Underground this week and while I didn’t count the number of Backstabber / Lungblower variations, I can safely estimate it was somewhere around 1209. ie, WAY TOO MANY!
Anyway, Bray needs a change, and the secret to BOTH his finisher lies, like the hold word, in his hands
Finisher 1 - Asian / Oriental Spike
See that thumb there, the one all wrapped in a leather guard? Bray’s going to take that thumb, stick it sideways, and shove it straight into the throat of this opponent with a great amount of force.
Imagine one of Kane’s throat thrusts, only with just the thumb. The leather guard is perfect, as it adds a level of mystery. Is Bray hiding something in there, something that would make the spike more effective? Wyatt, master of theatrics anyway, would signal the move by holding his hand out to the side, showing off that dastardly thumb. It’s perfect.
Finisher 2 - Mandible Claw
We haven’t seen, to the best of my knowledge, anyone use the Mandible Claw since Mick Foley, pretty much the only famous user of the hold, but with a little change to Bray’s guard, it’s another perfect fit. If we add more leather over the middle and ring fingers, Bray now has two options from virtually the same position.
I’ve seen ideas for Bray to use the CrossFace Chicken Wing, but I already gave that to Ambrose. He could also use the Million Dollar Dream or even the Tongan Death Grip, but I have plans for those as well. The Mandible Claw would be a fantastic second finisher for Wyatt. Just imagine him applying it with that great laughing face of his, kissing his victim’s forehead as he slips into unconsciousness.
I’ve been saying for a while now that Bray needs to go darker in order to be truly successful, and these two moves are some ways to do it.
What do YOU think? Would these moves work? Are there better ones? Who should we look at on our next Finisher Friday? Be Heard.
Let’s face it, folks. . . Tag team wrestling, at least in the WWE, stinks. As I blogged about in my HIAC recap, there have been 3 sets of tag champs in the last 12 months… Two of those teams are the ones we saw on Sunday (Dust Brothers and Usos) and the other is Mr. Ass and Road Dogg, the New Age Outlaws, who were 50 and 44 years old during their reign.
Let that sink in for a second; Billy Gunn is 50 years old.
We’ve seen a lot of Rhodes and Usos in 2014, mainly because they are really the only teams going. You can’t (and I won’t) count Slater-Gator and Los Matadores, at least not until they show me they are more than comedy duos, and that’s it.
It’s a shame - tag team wrestling can be some of the most entertaining - the psychology involved with cutting the ring off, isolating a single opponent; the struggle leading up to the hot tag, then the fresh man coming in like a house of fire - just the fact that 4 wrestlers allows for more combinations and ideally more intrigue.
So this is a problem in today’s WWE. You know what another problem is? A seemingly non-existent direction for many superstars, particularly the ones on the lower tier, though many established talents are suffering as well.
Putting on my fantasy booker hat, I am setting out to fix both problems at the same time. I submit to you, dear reader, 9 tag-team possibilities that would revitalize a barren division and flailing gimmicks. I’ll even go as far as to recommend a tag finisher, since I seem to have match-ending moves on the brain lately.
Adam Rose and Fandango
No superstars define the term ‘flailing gimmick’ quite like these two. First you have Rose, who is now relegated to escorting guest hosts and being overshadowed by a bunny. Though at least he’s on TV, unlike his prospective partner. Both men have suffered from a one-dimensional gimmick and a catchy entrance song that quickly became more popular than the wrestlers themselves.
I’ve mentioned this before a time or two, but the time has come for both of these men to drop the corny gimmicks, and forming a tag-team would be one way of doing that. Come out and ‘throw down’ the party hats and dancing shoes, tell the world you want to be respected as wrestlers, and then go out and contend for those titles. Rather than using the Party Foul (in my opinion, a dumb name and a dumb move...Seriously, it looks like he’s just face-planting himself), Rose hits a neckbreaker followed by Fandango’s Guillotine Legdrop. I just can’t decide if ‘Serious Business’ is a better name for the tandem or the finisher.
If that name doesn’t work for those two, perhaps it would for
Cesaro and Rusev
Moving on to another pair I’ve been hyping for quite some time, even if its an unlikely one. Between Rusev’s year-long mega-push and Cesaro’s year-long trip to the WWE doghouse, I doubt we’ll see these two tagging anytime soon, but it does make sense. This alliance would be one of the most physically imposing and technically dominant in history.
Allow me to illustrate my thinking, and forgive me if you’ve read this from me before. The duo comes out in Olympic-style wrestling warm-up jackets. I bet Rusev could pull off a singlet, too, though that’s entirely optional. No more anti-American stuff either, these two are just the strongest, toughest and overall baddest wrestlers on the planet. Imagine the World’s Greatest Tag Team, but actually able to live up to the hype (and I say this as a huge Shelton and Charlie fan).
As for their finisher, the world is their oyster. Right now I’m partial to Rusev lifting a guy up for a wheelbarrow suplex (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a28_RKlRUu0), holding him in place for a Cesaro European uppercut before finishing the move, but seriously, limitless potential. Why do you need a single finisher when you could have 5 or 6?
Kofi and Big E
Those of you who frequent WWE house shows may argue that these two are already a team, but until I see them as such on television, it’s not official in my book. I don’t need these two along with Xavier Woods to reform the Nation, although it isn’t entirely a bad idea (Mr. Langston, Mr. Kingston and Dr. Woods), but just give these two SOMETHING.
KofE (as I just decided to call them) has that combination of power and speed/skill that you see in a lot of the great tag teams over the years. The Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs, even to a lesser extent the Dudleyz and Legion of Doom, all these teams had that mixture. Given a legitimate push and some time to develop, I really think these two could make a name for themselves in the tag ranks.
Speaking of the Road Warriors, we’ll borrow a bit from their playbook for the finisher here. Big E lifts up the opponent, just like the Doomsday Device, but instead of a clothesline, Kofi runs up the ropes and hits Trouble in Paradise instead, with Big E adding a little extra “Oomph” on the drop down.
Bo Dallas and Jack Swagger
This one is a bit of a stretch, I grant you, but hear me out. These are things we know. Bo is a talented talker. Jack does his best work when he keeps his mouth shut and just looks intimidating. Dallas is in need of a ‘bo-liever’ or two in order to further his character. Swagger’s “All-American American” schtick is played out, especially since he failed to beat Rusev three or four opponents ago. Have Bo motivationally speak his way into Swagger’s mind, have Jack ditch Zeb Colter, and you’re set.
I like this finisher idea a lot, though I’ll freely admit to tweaking the idea lots of people have had when it comes to Bo Dallas. Swagger puts the opponent in the ankle-lock (the Bo-lieve lock). Bo doesn’t touch the opponent, just gets down on the mat face-to-face with him, encouraging him NOT to tap out. “You can do it. . . Don’t give up. . . I Bo-Lieve in you!” It’s sad how giddy I am at just the idea of seeing that on WWE TV.
The Ry Guys
Full disclosure: I was halfway through typing an explanation of how RybAxel never got a fair shake when I came up with this idea and totally changed direction; as such, the tag team name is a working title. Feel free to send me a better one.
We saw on Monday that Ryback still has some serious love from the San Antonio crowd. You know who else has that love, or at least he did once upon a time? Zack Ryder. With their powers combined, they would be Captain Over! with the WWE Universe!
(Too much? A Captain Planet reference? Just want to see where my limits are, gang.)
I’m sure the powers-that-be have much grander plans for Ryback than in another tag team, but admit it, if these guys starting teaming up tomorrow you’d be ordering their t-shirts from WWEShop by the end of business hours.
Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel
Most of these teams consist of guys that need a new start - with these two, it’s about talents who deserve it. Both Kidd and Gabriel have been super impressive in NXT, and while it seems their fates are set as the “established veterans” who eventually job to the younger talents, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Not to get all NX-Tangential on you, but with the influx of stars like KenTami, Prince Balor and the newly minted Kevin “Beef” Owens (you’d have to be paying attention on Twitter to understand that one), you don’t need to be taking precious NXT time and giving it to two guys who could be making waves in the WWE tag team scene.
Tyson and Justin (with just their first names, they sound like another version of 3MB. Note to WWE: that was NOT a suggestion!) could easily be a force in the tag team scene right now, and who knows? Maybe that would lead to individual WWE success.
Borrowing for another tag-team of my youth, the Quebecers, Kidd locks the opponent in the Sharpshooter, then Gabriel comes off the top with a somersault legdrop or some such. Match finished.
Sheamus and Bad News Barrett
Another stretch, probably even a bigger one than Dallas and Swagger, since both these talents are established in the “upper mid-card to lower main event”. Here’s my thinking.
Sheamus is going nowhere, gimmick wise. Sure, he’ll wind up giving Rusev a run for his money, but that US belt is not long for the Celtic Warrior’s shoulder. After that, what does he do? Then you have Barrett, who will be coming back from injury, so probably should take it easy, which a tag-team, even a short lived one, would allow for. Also, as popular as he will be upon his return, he’ll need a bit of time to re-establish himself before ascending fully to the main event, which I think we all agree is only a matter of time. So for 3-4 months these two are partners and provide some power, both in name value and in muscle, to the tag division. Makes sense, right?
Ok, you caught me, I’m just trying to keep the idea alive for my “Heel UK stable” of Barrett, Sheamus, Paige and Adrian Neville. Let me dream, dang it!
Finisher, finisher. . . Either Sheamus lifts the guy up and Barrett hits the Bull Hammer or Bad News does the lifting and Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick. Hell, they can do both.
J&J Security, aka Stooges 2.0
There hasn’t been enough time spent heralding the work Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury have been doing as Authority lapdogs these last few weeks. Seriously, they’ve been incredibly entertaining, and with the tag division as weak as it is, there’s no reason not to run with this and let them have a “legit” tag push.
I use quotations here because obviously it wouldn’t be legit - This would be a reward Triple H and Stephanie McMahon give Noble and Mercury for services rendered. A title match is set (Usos would need to have the belt for this to make the most sense), Kane comes out and destroys the champs, allowing J&J to capture the belts.
Silly? Yes. Would it work for a month or two? Yes. Such is the state of WWE tag team wrestling.
Finisher? Being picked up by Kane and draped over an unconscious opponent. That counts, doesn’t it?
This would be a step back for both these guys, as the promos we’ve seen of late indicate that WWE has intentions to let both try their hand at singles careers. However, if Bray Wyatt is going to be in the main event picture, these two are going to be associated with him no matter what, so another tag run works for them, especially if they are no longer (officially) members of the Family.
As such, everything about them should be new. New ring gear - obviously they can’t transition to tights and such, but get Erick Rowan out of the janitorial garb and give Luke Harper a clean shirt. Promos on their own, stories on their own, thinking on their own. I don’t remember exactly what their double-team power finisher was, but I do recall not liking it. Go back to the Harper lariat (is it as good as JBL’s? Maybe not, but it’s close) and the Rowan splash. That worked for me.
While we won’t see all of these teams. . .Frankly, it’s likely we won’t see any of them. . . I hope this thought experiment proves that the potential is there to save this division. Tag team wrestling has a place in WWE - I just hope they realize it.
Quickly, without thinking, who is the best wrestler in WWE?
Right off the top of your head, who you got?
Time is ticking away, hurry up! Who is it?
. . .
You picked Ziggler or Cesaro, didn’t you? I’m willing to bet most of you did. Oh sure, some of you MAY have said Seth Rollins. . . I bet even a small few of you picked Randy Orton. And we all know that one guy who said “John Cena”, just to be a jackass…
But if we picked a random sampling of 100 fans and asked them who the best wrestler was - not their favorite, per se, but just the most talented between the ropes, Dolph Ziggler or Antonio Cesaro would be the top names mentioned.
Now, while I could spend quite a few lines bemoaning the lack of solid direction or push that Cesaro, Ziggler or the IC belt itself has received over the last 12 months, this is not what this column is about. Being The Teacher, I’m all about #PromotingPositivity, so if you don’t mind, I’m about to make a very bold statement of optimism.
Ziggler and Cesaro are going to steal the show this Sunday.
Scoff if you must, but it’s true. Despite not being inside “Satan’s Structure” and with the near-mathematical certitude that this match is going to open the PPV, I firmly believe that when the dust clears and the cage is lifted, it is the IC title match we’ll be talking about most.
The random sampling of 100 fans aren’t wrong, even if they only exist inside my head. These two guys are the highest quality talents WWE has to offer right now, so logic dictates that when put together on a grand stage, they will perform to their optimal level.
Off-hand, I can think of two of these matches that have taken place in 2014. The first and most obvious is the Tag title match between The Usos and The Wyatts, which was arguably the best match of Battleground. (Unless, of course, you really enjoyed watching The Miz cowardly win the IC title, which I totally did.)
The second one apparently took place on some house shows. Natalya vs. Paige, I believe. All reports were that the two divas also blew the roof of the untelevised joint with their match.
Historically, in fact, 2 / 3 falls matches have almost always been solid, if not quite good. Want more proof? Grab your WWE Network, folks, and look up the Doink vs. Marty Jannetty classic from the first year of RAW…
No, I’m not kidding. Seriously, go watch it. It’s excellent.
Why are they having such a match? I have no idea. Even without any story that I can remember, the two still did a great job.
These kinds of matches are always full of drama and spectacle. The back and forth battle for that first victory... The desperation of the loser of the first fall to come back and win the second (which, of course, almost always happens)... The fact that all those typical “false finish” spots might NOT actually result in a kick out.
Now this one will, as I tend to do here at #2Contenders, anger some folks. However, the feud between Ambrose and Rollins has been SO hot for SO long that we have to consider the possibility that their ‘blowoff’ match (assuming this is the end of their feud) will fail to meet our lofty expectations.
Seriously, take a moment and think about what you’re hoping to see from them on Sunday. You’re expecting one, but likely both, competitors to do a dive from some height. I bet some of you are even imagining that there will be blood, PG be damned.
And if those things don’t happen? Won’t there be some sense of anticlimatism that comes with this match? When we sign on Twitter Monday morning, aren’t we going to see a lot of “Well, it wasn’t THAT good” posts?
That won’t happen with Ziggler and Cesaro.
Take these two matches out of the equation and what are you mostly looking forward to this Sunday? For a good number of people, and rightly so, it’ll be Mizdow TV on the Pre-Show. (Seriously, this is the first pre-show I’ll watch since rejoining the active WWE world. Behold the power of Sandow.
Otherwise, ANOTHER Rusev and Big Show match? ANOTHER AJ and Paige match? As Jason Moltov so expertly put it, ‘the match where the silver and bronze medalist battle for number one contendership”? Not bloody likely.
So, let’s put our equation together. A fairly underwhelming card with only two potential “showstopper” matches, one of which has a HUGE amount of hype to live up to. The other is a match built for drama and ‘edge-of-your-seat’ intrigue, and it features the two best wrestlers in the company?
Which one would you pick to steal the show?
I want to let you in on a little secret.
There’s a good to great chance you’re not watching arguably the best sixty seconds of WWE programming each week.
It’s not NXT, as much as I like that ‘brand’. It’s not Cesaro’s matches, though they are always excellent. It’s not even Dean Ambrose, even though he might be the perfect blend of Steve Austin and Roddy Piper.
In fact, you won’t find this marvelous minute on WWE television. Yet.
I’m talking about Sandow’s Sixty, which can be found on WWE.com and on the WWE App.
Damien Sandow, former Money in the Bank winner turned wrestling chameleon (aka Charlie Haas 2.0), is given sixty seconds each week to talk about anything he wants, and it has quickly become must-see web-TV if you’re a wrestling fan.
Here is one of the more recent ones. Watch; it’ll literally only take a minute.
Did you notice the honesty? The legitimate contempt Damien has, not only for the “marks” on Twitter, but also for his forced lot in life? The ‘hand-cuffed’ gesture at the end speaks volumes about the way Sandow feels he is being treated, and I am sure he is not alone.
That sort of pent-up rage, the feeling of being misused or handled poorly. . . That’s what brought Mick Foley and Austin to WWE in the first place. They were furious with the way they had been handled by WCW, and so when given the opportunity to vent their frustrations (thanks to Paul Heyman and ECW), they cut some of the best promos the world has ever seen. Had it not been for channeling that rage, those real-life feelings, they’d have never been as big as they became.
Apparently, we are in the midst of the “Reality Era” in WWE. CM Punk started it, and Heyman seems to be the flag-bearer for it these days, and I think Sandow is a perfect person to continue the trend. Why is Sandow’s Sixty not a part of every RAW? In one minute, he can make an impact that he’ll never get to do in a 4-6 minute squash match where he’s dressed like Ludvig Borga.
Lesson: You can teach a guy to wrestle, you can teach a guy to talk, but you can’t teach charisma.
Sandow has it in spades, and its a shame he’s being wasted on WWE television. I don’t think we need another Pipe Bomb, but we do need some of these guys to let their personalities shine through a little more.