The general consensus from last night's RAW was that the show was a dud.

Well, that's not entirely true.  Most people will admit that the show was decent enough, but it paled in comparison to what many believed the penultimate RAW before Wrestlemania "should be".   I can understand where those people are coming from - the lack of Lesnar, Undertaker and Shane-O-Mac was pretty evident.

However, let's focus on the show for what it was, not what we wanted it to be.  Yes, friends, I'm donning my #PromotingPositivity Pork Pie hat and sharing with you the things I think you should be excited about from last night.

Roman Reigns Silently (and from the Ramp!)

Roman Reigns catches the arm of Stephanie McMahon on Monday Night RAW

What I expected to be yet another incredibly annoying promo by Stephanie McMahon wound up being far more than I could have hoped for with the entrance of Roman Reigns, from the ramp no less!  Sure, he's got the Shield music, sure, he's got the Shield outfit, but just a new way to the ring alone is enough to get some people popping.

Then he got to the ring and. . . He didn't act like The Rock.  He wasn't trying to be a Jericho-type "cool guy".  He spoke softly AND carried a big stick, and by stick, of course, I mean his serious presence.  It couldn't mean anything else, right?


It seemed like the Philly crowd helped us figure out what's really going on with Roman these days.  People inherently like him, especially when he acts the way he did, so the initial reaction is to cheer him.  Then, after that first burst, people realize that "it's cool to hate Roman" and THAT'S when the boos come.  It's not legitimate, it's an artifice.  I expected better, Philadelphia.

Styles and Owens, part 2

If it was up to us, NAIborhood, I'm sure we'd let them have a best of 70 series - I didn't catch their Smackdown encounter but this match was everything I hoped for and more.

Food for thought - Has Kevin Owens had a bad match in WWE yet?

Even the ending was fine by me - Yeah, it was a repeat of what happened on Smackdown, but that's going to be what happens until Shane McMahon wins at Wrestlemania and Smackdown becomes a WWE / NXT hybrid show.

If I say it enough, it will come true.

Battle of the Beasts

In a ROH review I wrote yesterday, I mentioned an encounter between Moose and Kongo, and bemoaned the lack of Rusev being used as the monster that he is.  He might not have won last night, but at least the match was more along the lines of what I was thinking.  He and Big E had a chance to tear the house down and while their stables got in the way, they did just that.  I enjoyed that contest, and I hope it's not the last time we see them in a match.

While we're on the subject of New Day, two quick points off the #PromotingPositivity podium.  First, what the hell were Big E, Kofi and Xavier talking about last night?  Is this what we're going to get out of a "face" New Day?  If so, please turn them heel again as soon as possible.

Secondly, Rusev has outgrown the League of Nations.  His Twitter feed alone should be enough to get him back into the mid-card singles title market.  Why he's not part of the IC ladder match is beyond me.

Ok, let's get back to the column proper.

Bo Flippin' Dallas

If you were to check out my profile, you would notice that I have listed Bo Rida as my favorite current wrestler.  That's probably not true, but I'd be hard pressed to find a guy more entertaining on a regular basis than Mr. Dallas.  In fact, let me be bold.

Bo Dallas is performing, character wise, on a level very close to one Kevin Owens.

He might not be getting as much of a chance to shine, but in my mind, Bo Dallas is the leader of the Social Outcasts (in fact, I find Heath Slater to be the least entertaining of the bunch).  Every little thing he does is magic.  Go back and watch him try to beg off of Kane - Totally hilarious.

I'm pulling for Bo Dallas to win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, and then I want his cheesy smile bronzed and put in Andre's place.

Fandango had a match!

His hair might have been terrible, but at least we saw him.  I was beginning to forget what he looked like.

The IC ladder match.

I'll be honest - This is not the match I was hoping for.  No Harper (though since he apparently got injured, that's probably for the best), no Rusev, obviously no Titus O'Neil.  I had originally expected Stardust to be a part of this, so that was nice to see.

Despite my minor disappointment, it's not like this match is going to be terrible, folks.  Owens and Zayn can tell their stories, Ziggler and Miz are always dependable for some entertaining action, Sin Cara will dive off of stuff and Zack Ryder will be so legitimately happy to be on the Mania card that we'll be pulling for him the whole time.

Plus, there's always the chance (not really) that Cody Rhodes makes his return.

Heeeeeeeere's Roman!

Young Mister Reigns continued to be the badass we all have wanted him to be by slowly (ssslllooowwwlllyyy) appearing from beyond the garage door and battling Triple H backstage.  Once again, no talking, just brooding, exactly what we fell in love with when he was with Rollins and Ambrose.

This is what we've been asking for, folks.  Stop moaning that "it's too late".  Give him the cheers the last two weeks have earned.

Women's Wrestling

Charlotte and Natalya got the chance to have an actual wrestling match, not a 3 minute hair-pulling contest.  I know this is becoming much more of the norm thanks to the Diva's Revolution, but it's still worth mentioning.  I get why Natalya can't force her way into the championship triple threat, but it's delightful to see her mattering in WWE again.

Ambrose bringing Hardcore back

Terry Funk might not have had as perfect a moment as Mick Foley did last week, but it was nice to see old Chainsaw Charlie back on my TV screen.  As for the main event - I'll admit it, I went to bed after Vince's pretty underwhelming "big announcement".  Braun Strowman just doesn't make me want to stay up until 11:00.

I did enjoy hearing that Ambrose got himself disqualified, though.  There's no way Dean can beat Brock in a one-on-one contest.  I better be seeing Ambrose drag a hot dog cart AND a shopping cart full of weapons to the ring in Dallas.


Like I said when this column began, I get it.  Last night was not the explosion of excellence we all expected.

But it was a good RAW.  Plenty to enjoy.  Wrestlemania weekend is going to be a fantastic time.

One of the things I'd like to do with is start crafting columns for the wrestling I watch, and since I happen to have a snow day today (on the second day of spring, no less), I decided to try to catch up on my Ring of Honor viewing.

I have a hard time watching ROH regularly.  Part of it is the inconvenience of it all, and I mean that in the most first world of ways.  Logging onto my desktop, going to the website, logging in, finding where I left off - I mean, man, what a hassle!

Still, I always enjoy it when I do watch, so I'll try to be better about this, NAIborhood.

Rather than providing an actual review, which you can find anywhere, let's go back to my Teacher Days, and I'll try to provide a lesson one can learn by watching each match.


Silas Young and the Beer City Bruiser vs. The Boys

Lesson:  Depth of talent matters.

I'm a huge Silas Young fan, as I've mentioned multiple times before, but in this case, I want to talk about everybody else in this match.  Let's start with the Beer City Bruiser, someone who is far more capable in that ring than his size should allow.  Between him and Adam Cole later in the show, I might have to start a petition to start seeing the Wheelbarrow Suplex in WWE - such a good move!

I was also impressed with the abilities of the Boys, whatever their names are.  I was thrilled to see them have actual tights and boots to battle in and they did a pretty admirable job in the ring.  I'm not sure if they are long-term fixtures in the ROH tag scene, but I hope they get a chance, because they were fun to watch.

None of these talents are anywhere near the top of the card yet they were still able to put on an entertaining and engaging opening contest.  You have to have that.

Brian Fury vs. Action Ortiz

Lesson: Experience matters, too.

Sure, I could spend this time talking about the amazing dive that Bam Bam Bigelow Ortiz did, and that was super impressive, but we're focusing on Fury.  In both of his ROH matches so far, we've seen him win by taking advantage of his 17 years of experience.  In his opening match, he grabbed the referee, keeping his opponent from hitting a top rope maneuver and then quickly picking up the win.

In this match vs. Ortiz, he used the momentum of a fall to score a cheap low blow that looked very much like an accident, following it up with his impressive powerbomb.  We don't see this kind of thing often.  I was reminded of watching NWA PPVs on WWE Network - this is how the Four Horsemen cheated back in the day.

Since these shows are pre-taped, I know what happens in the finals, but regardless of the outcome (#SpoilerFree), I hope Fury sticks around in ROH, because he's a lot of fun.

Punisher Martinez vs. Lio Rush

Lesson:  Size matters.

Full disclosure - I didn't realize there was a theme to my lessons here until reading over the first half of the column.  Happy accident, that was.

While this match was good, the fact that Martinez was a full foot taller (not to mention probably 100+ pounds heavier) factored into the quality.  We saw on a couple of occasions that the two wrestlers avoided a full-on collision, probably because it might have squashed poor little Lio.

I'm not taking anything away from either competitor - Punisher looks like he belongs on Lucha Underground ASAP and Lio Rush has a lot of skills for a rookie, but this is one of the reasons why I feel that having weight classes isn't a bad idea.  Martinez' dive over the ropes would have been a whole lot more stunning had he actually connected with Lio with anything but his hair and his fingertips.

Matt Sydal vs. Adam Cole

Lesson: Adam Cole is as natural a talent as Kevin Owens.


I love Adam Cole, babayyyyy.  Everything about him screams professional wrestler, despite the fact that he doesn't have the stereotypical muscle-bound look.  But the way he walks, the way he talks, the way he has the crowd in the palm of his hand. . .

Sounds like our current Intercontinental champion, doesn't it?

Adam Cole and Kevin Owens were both born to be professional wrestlers.  More specifically, born to be heels, even though the crowd goes crazy for them.  They each have the innate gift for this business, and that's why I firmly believe Adam Cole signs with WWE by the end of 2016.  Contracts be damned, whatever Adam's is.  It's going to happen.


Back to back days with NAI columns. This hasn’t happened in. . . Hmm, best not think about it.

Yesterday, I spelled out how Bray Wyatt, to me, is the only real answer for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  I received a fair amount of positive feedback for that piece, and I’m quite proud of it, although a lot of people mentioned whether, much like Taker before him, a character like Wyatt needs the belt.  Fair point there, though my argument is that while Bray Wyatt might not need a title, he does need a concrete moment of becoming a true main event guy, and as much as I liked the pyro and lightning, it hasn’t happened yet.

However, in the interest of further discussion, today I will expand my horizons and consider other options.  In fact, our goal today is to look back into the sands of time- specifically, previous WWF tournaments - and see whether or not we could see history repeat itself.

Deadly Game Tournament - Survivor Series 1998

The History It was the height of the Attitude Era, and Stone Cold Steve Austin was feuding brilliantly with Mr. McMahon.  Vince had done everything he could to force Austin to lose the title, putting him in a Triple Threat match with Kane AND The Undertaker, though the Brothers of Destruction weren’t allowed to pin each other.  Both brothers wound up pinning Austin at the same time, and summarily (following some more Stone Cold hijinks) the belt was held up and awarded to the winner of a tournament.

The Rock and Mankind made it to the finals, and in a move that shocked the wrestling world, The Rock turned heel, joined The Corporation and won the World Title.


Roman Reigns will be playing the role of The Rock.
Dean Ambrose will be playing the role of Mick Foley.

Reigns and Ambrose battle their way to the finals, and somehow Triple H screws Dean over, Roman reveals he is in cahoots with The Authority, and we’re off and running on the Road to Wrestlemania.

Why Would it Work?

This one is the tournament most people have and will think of, both because of happening at Survivor Series and because of the seemingly “easy booking” of the result.  Fans have been rabidly anticipating one of the two remaining Shield Brothers to turn on the other, and by having Roman turn heel and join The Authority, you can make a lot of people happy, plus it gives Reigns an out, as I explain further down in this column.

In reality, Ambrose would be more of a Foley / Austin combination here, as being betrayed by another brother sends him completely over the edge.  More hiding in trunks, more taking over taxi cabs, basically everything that made Dean great before becoming Roman’s towel boy.

WWF Championship Tournament - Wrestlemania IV

The History - During the feud between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, the Eighth Wonder of the World managed to win the World Title, thanks to some referee Twin Magic.  The belt was held up and decided in a 14 man tournament.

Hogan and Andre faced each other in Round 2, both getting disqualified in the process.  In the end, Randy Savage had a Herculean effort (Sadly, Hercules himself wasn’t in the tournament), winning four matches in one night to win his first World Title.  Even so, however, he remained in the shadow of Hulk Hogan, who interfered to help Savage win the belt, sharing in his spotlight.


Roman Reigns will be playing the role of Randy Savage.
John Cena will be playing the role of Hulk Hogan.

We’ve spent the last few months talking all over social media about how Reigns is the New Cena, the next big star, yet just like Hulk Hogan in 1988, John Cena isn’t going anywhere soon.  Thus, for the time being, these two stars need to figure out a way of co-existing on the same roster.

I envision Roman Reigns being set up with an impossible bracket for this tournament, having to take out Big Show, Bray Wyatt and perhaps even his best friend Dean Ambrose on his way to the finals.  Exhausted, Reigns makes it to the finals, opposed by MITB winner Sheamus, who (as perhaps a new Authority member) has had more of a cake walk in this tournament.

The deck is stacked, it seems, and once again, Reigns will come so close, only to fall so far.

Enter John Cena.

Cena, not scheduled for the tournament and in a surprising move, makes a save for Reigns, allowing him to win his first World Championship.

Survivor Series ends with Cena and Reigns posing for the crowd, sharing the spotlight.

Why Would It Work?

As I said in last night’s column, Reigns isn’t quite ready yet, and shouldn’t be given the pressure of leading the company all on his own right now.  Having Cena provide the assist allows them both to shoulder the weight of responsibility as THE guy.

Plus, as we saw by Wrestlemania V, the two best friends turned into bitter enemies, as Savage resented being in Hogan’s shadow and turned heel.   But maybe now I’m just hoping.

King of the Ring 1996

The History

This tournament was obviously not for a championship, but it’s the most famous KOTR for a reason, as this was the birth of Stone Cold Steve Austin, wrestling legend.  Winning his tournament, Austin takes the microphone and cuts one of the greatest promos in history, cementing himself as a future megastar.  The World Title was his within 2 years.


Kevin Owens will be playing the part of Steve Austin.

In order to fully explain this, we need to cover Why It Would Work as well.

One of the most common things I saw online following the news of Rollins’ injury was that it was time for someone on WWE’s roster to “step up”.  Someone needs to take the proverbial brass ring and run with it.  This is going to have to be more than just a solid performance in the ring - We see lots of those each and every week, yet it doesn’t necessarily do anything.

No, at Survivor Series, if someone is going to have an “Austin Arrival” moment, they need to do it on the microphone, letting us know that this was inevitable - that the rise to company domination was something that was only a matter of time.

Sorry Kanyon, but for that, Who Better Than Owens?

If WWE really and truly wants to announce their youth movement to the world, there’s no better way to do it than to give their title to a rookie.  “I got here May 18th.  Six months later, I’m the World Champion.  What do you think of that, Cole?”   His promo would write itself.

Kevin Owens could bring forth the dawn of a new era in professional wrestling, just like Steve Austin did nearly 20 years ago.  Give him the title and the microphone, and he’ll take care of the rest.


What do YOU think?  Will we see history repeat itself at Survivor Series?  Be Heard

I always wanted to play Dungeons and Dragons, but I never got around to it.

Being of a creative and improvisational mind, D&D always seemed to be right up my alley.  Creating a character, a backstory, a code of conduct, yet doing my best to adapt to the situations that presented themselves - Nerdy, perhaps, but seems like a lot of fun.

The closest I came was in college, and if memory serves, one Doc Manson was part of that group as well.  We started making characters for ourselves (I wanted to be a Rogue-type, despite being one of the least stealthy people I know), but it fizzled out before it got very far.  I consider it a missed opportunity, though I’m pretty sure that if I had gotten into it, Mrs. Matthews wouldn’t be sitting in the other room, us being happily married for going on five years.

Why am I telling you this, besides to beef up my nerd cred and (possibly) score some brownie points with my wonderful bride?

WWE needs to take a lesson from Dungeons and Dragons.

No, nobody should be casting magic missles into the darkness (well, maybe New Day could), but one thing that D&D is famous for is not having simply “good” and “bad”.  They delineate between those who are evil because they, like the Joker, are agents of chaos and between those who break the rules purely for selfish reasons.  There are the rule-followers because they follow rules and the rule-followers who just do what they feel is right.

In WWE, we don’t really have that. . . Or at least, not as much as we should.  Doc and I discussed this a little bit on last week’s podcast, or maybe the week before that, talking about how not every babyface in the company needs to be filling wishes each and every day.

What made the biggest boom periods in wrestling interesting was that there were different kinds of heels and babyfaces.  You had Ric Flair and the Horsemen, but you also had Kevin Sullivan and Purple Haze.  You had Hulk Hogan and you had the Macho Man.  You had Steve Austin, The Rock and Kurt Angle, among others, all who may have been rulebreakers at one time, but none of them the exact same type of heel.

So, based off of yesterday’s column about my Top Ten talents I’d build around, mixed in with the great NAIborhood discussion over the last few days, and a dab of foreshadowing of my #FantasyBookingWrestlemania, allow me to present some options for current talents, and how they could be differentiated to perhaps bring more interest to the product.

John Cena is the epitome of Internal Good

This one is already happening, and has been so for a decade, hence our general boredom.  John Cena is the Hulk Hogan of our times, his “Never Give Up” is the training, the prayers and the vitamins all wrestling children of the 80’s were told to take each and every week.  Cena has a strong moral compass that leads him to seek to right wrongs and ensure justice.  He doesn’t do it because the rules of the land tell him to, he does it because it’s the right thing to do.

One of the problems with John Cena is that there was never a great yin to his yang, much the same way people are having issues with Rollins and the current main event tier right now.  Hogan had the Heenan Family and his ever changing cast of goons to battle.  Cena has had Orton, JBL, CM Punk (too briefly). . . and whoever else he fought during the decade or so I stopped watching wrestling.

Did he ever have a real nemesis?  Someone help me out.

Seth Rollins should be a selfish, overconfident babyface.

Yes, friends, I’ll be traveling down the Shawn Michaels road again with the NoseBreak Kid, and I’ll continue doing so until I see something that shows me that Rollins isn’t the next ShowStopper.

Contrary to Cena, who does the right thing even at his own detriment, Rollins should be following rules and defending the innocent, but only to a given point.  He should always have his self-interest first on his list of priorities, or at least the interest of his close friends and associates.

This makes Rollins a compelling character because we can see the moments where he decides NOT to do the right thing in order to put himself first.  He might even become a heel for a brief period if it serves his interests, as opposed to Cena, who never would.

Hence, again, why Cena can be boring.  He’s always going to do the right thing, and he’s almost always going to be successful.  Perfection is boring.

Kevin Owens should be, and is, a selfish heel.

Depending on your opinion, the batting average of WWE when it comes to character development varies, and while you might not be happy with the career trajectory of our IC champion, you can’t deny that he certainly is one of the most compelling characters in the company.

One of the reasons for that, besides Owens God-given charisma, is the fact that he’s got a definitive and rational reason for doing what he does.  He’s working to provide a better life for his family and to prove that he’s one of the best talents in WWE.  Can anyone fault him for that logic?

Owens is going to do whatever he has to do in order to fulfill his mission.  He’ll break rules, attack people, take the “cowardly” way out, but he might also help somebody unexpected if it’s a means to an end.  This is where selfishness comes in handy, just like with Rollins.  Owens could someday run out to save John Cena if it was part of a larger plan.  He’s always got his endgame in mind.

Sami Zayn should be a lawful face. . . Unless Kevin Owens is concerned.

In many ways, Zayn is a lot like Ricky Steamboat to me.  I think he’s always going to be a babyface - he’s just too talented, too charming, too “aww-shucks ma’am” to pull off a convincing bad guy.   Zayn will also have a moral code like Cena would, but he’s probably also always going to follow the letter of the law.  If the dirty heel gets to the ropes, Zayn will break the hold.  He’ll make sure the rulebook gets adhered to.

Unless he’s facing Owens, in which case he’s more likely to beat KO to death with the rulebook than stick to it.   When it comes to the ultimate betrayal that we saw in NXT, Sami Zayn will do whatever it takes to extract his vengeance.  He’ll break rules, defy orders, face fines and suspensions, all in order to get his hands on Kevin Owens.  That’s what makes his character great.

Roman Reigns should be a “Lawful” heel.

I firmly believe that Roman Reigns won’t become a legitimate main eventer, specifically in the eyes of the fans, until he turns his back on that crowd he currently walks through.  The WWE audience (or maybe just the IWC) won’t get behind him until it’s “cool” to do so.  If they keep him as Cena 2.0, or this “Big Dog” business, it won’t work.

Roman Reigns should be the new face of The Authority.  Let life imitate art - WWE wants him to be the next “guy”, so have them act that way on television.  Reigns should do everything he can to make HHH / Stephanie happy and keep himself on the path to greatness.  He should be Rollins without the whining.  He is not a cowardly heel, but he will follow orders if they lead to future title shots and more glory.

Oh, and he should be an on-screen partner of Eva Marie.  #EmbraceTheHate.

Dean Ambrose should be a chaotic heel.

As I said in my previous column and on Twitter a million times, the PG era is what’s keeping Ambrose back.  If WWE was willing to take risks, Dean is the man to do it, both in and out of the ring.  Everyone compares him to either Roddy Piper, Brian Pillman or Steve Austin, and all three of those guys were over because at any given moment, they could do anything.  Ambrose doesn’t have that right now.  He can do anything, just as long as it is previously approved by the censors.

In a perfect world, Ambrose is the personification of crazy evil.  He’s lighting things on fire just to watch them burn.  He’s coming out, beating down a random wrestler with a chair, then just chuckling to himself and walking away.  No reasoning, no rationale, just bug-nutty crazy.

At any given point, Ambrose should be capable of saying or doing anything.  That’s a compelling character.

Plus. . .

With Ambrose as the Crazy Heel, Reigns as the Authority’s heel and Rollins as the cocky babyface, you now have the potential for a Shield Triple Threat.  Book it.

Bray Wyatt should be the ultimate neutral.

This has been a long-standing problem with the Wyatt character, in my opinion.  He’s spent the last few years trying to “save” WWE from certain talents, yet they all have been good guys.  Isn’t that a little limiting?   Wouldn’t a better idea for Bray be that he’s trying to save WWE from evil, yet evil, in his warped mind, takes many forms?

Neutral, in D&D terms, means sometimes the character does the right thing, sometimes not.  This should be Bray.  Why couldn’t he try to save us from Big Show, who is a heel (last time I checked, anyway)?  Or Miz?  Or Rusev?  Or The Authority in general?  Just imagine Bray Wyatt coming out to attack Triple H (and if they wanted to push the envelope, Stephanie) because the WWE needs to be saved from its own power structure?

Bray Wyatt could be our Katniss Everdeen!

Warning!  Warning!  Nerd Limit Reached!

Apparently talking about wrestling, Dungeons and Dragons AND The Hunger Games in a single column breaks some sort of code, and being a lawful proponent of #PromotingPositivity, that means I’ve got to stop writing.

What do YOU think?  Is this one thing WWE needs?  How would you classify your stars?  Be Heard.

Time was a funny and fickle thing. Sometimes there was never enough of it, and other times it stretched out endlessly.  - J. Lynn.

If there was one topic that kept running through my head during and after last night’s Battleground, it was time, and not just because the ‘event’ ended 15 minutes “early”.  To be honest, it didn’t end early, plenty of WWE events end well before 11 o’clock, this one just ended suddenly.

All of the problems I saw people having with the matches, with the results, with EVERYTHING have to do with time.  So, let’s take some time today and try to sort things out.

You don’t live longer. It just seems longer.

In this 24/7 world of social media, our perception of time has become skewed.  It feels like it has been FOREVER since we had a Sunday Night WWE event, when in reality, its been 5 weeks.  When we check Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Glorknorble (is that how you spell it?) dozens of times each day, it makes it feel like certain things have been going on FOREVER!

This has caused a lot of problems with select members of the wrestle-watching community, as the warped view of time alters our reality.

“R-Truth and King Barrett are ALWAYS wrestling each other!”

Not true - While they fought at Battleground and at the 2 RAW’s previously (which is a little much, I grant you), they’ve only had 7 televised matches against each other since Wrestlemania.  With the predilection WWE has for cookie-cutter booking at times, 7 matches in 4 months is really not so bad, until you count the multitudes of chatter that take place about every match.  That’s when it seems like forever.

People have made the same claims about Sheamus and Randy Orton, and this points to another fault in our perception of time - The years blur together.  I did a very cursory ProFightDB search and found that Orton and Sheamus have had 20 singles matches against each other, stretching all the way back to 2010.  4 and a half years, 20 matches.  Not the end of the world.

Look, if people want to take issue with WWE booking, specifically the way there is a tiered grouping of talents in this promotion, all whom spend their time battling each other and often no one else, there’s a lot of weight behind that argument.  However, let’s calm down with regards to these “neverending” feuds that, in all reality, really just got started.

Just because it feels like forever doesn’t mean it has been so.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Since I rejoined the WWE Universe with the inception of the Network, one of the loudest criticisms has been the lack of a long-term plan, booking wise.  Last year, I attributed that to the surprise departure of CM Punk and the unfortunate injury to Daniel Bryan (and I still think I was right in doing so) - Suddenly the main event tier became much shallower, and WWE had to think on its feet, working week to week instead of month to month.  This is why The Shield broke up when it did, this is why Brock Lesnar became a Champion instead of a featured attraction - I submit we can trace all of that to the improvisations WWE had to do creatively.

Was it the best course of action?  Likely not.  Was it avoidable?  Likely so..  Did they do the best they could?  Probably, given the set of circumstances and 70 year old obstacles..  Did we have reason to Be Heard with our displeasure?  Definitely.

 Since Wrestlemania 31, however, I think WWE has collected itself, formed some long-term plans, and is moving forward with them quite nicely.  It is US, in fact, that are behind the proverbial 8 ball.

Up until the moment Kevin Owens tapped out last night, the vast majority of us believed John Cena to be a candidate for WWE MVP for 2015.  His US title reign was a masterstroke, executed to near perfection.  The “John Cena Sucks” chants were now being done ironically, for the most part, the same way we jeered for Kurt Angle, while still loving everything he did.

But when Kevin Owens submits. . . EVERYONE LOSES THEIR MINDS!

Now WWE is terrible, Owens is being buried, and John Cena has an inappropriate relationship with his maternal parent.  Can we be that easily swayed?   Has WWE earned no benefit of the doubt from the last 6 months?

Have a little faith that there is a long-term plan for John Cena and Kevin Owens.  This will certainly not be the end of their feud - We’re heading into Summer Slam with Owens / Cena IV, perhaps even with Cesaro and/or Rusev thrown in for good measure.  If August ends with Owens (or Cesaro, really) holding the United States title, having defeated John Cena to get it, a lot of you aren’t even going to remember your vitriolic response to what happened at Battleground.

Nobody is complaining too much about Reigns and Wyatt, and not just because Luke Harper came back and Bray got the victory.  Though that certainly helped.  People seem to understand there’s a long term plan here.  This will likely continue into Summer Slam (AmbReigns vs. Wyatt and Harper, perhaps?), Reigns improves every single time he’s NOT being asked to carry the company, and life is good.

As for the main event, well I can understand if that’s a little harder to comprehend.  As the NAIpod gang discussed on the post-show last night (which I still haven’t finished - I was too busy trying to find Bill from Boston’s Twitter handle so I can be his new best friend), the arrival of the Undertaker is a curious thing.  It’s difficult to theorize a way to book another Lesnar / Taker match, long-term.

Still, here’s what I do know.  Kane has shown an increasing protection of his family over the last few weeks, and then Lesnar took him out, and now “suddenly” Taker is back..  I’m not sure this has as much to do with Wrestlemania 30 as it has to do with Big Brother arriving to stand up for Little Brother.

Oh, and making Summer Slam a must-see event.  That helps, too.

Jason is right - If Taker was THAT upset about the streak ending, he’d have done something about it at this year’s Wrestlemania.  This seems more personal.

Could we see a reunited Brothers of Destruction taking on Brock Lesnar?  What does it do for the Lesnar mythos if he can defeat not just The Undertaker, but Kane as well at Summer Slam?

As for Seth Rollins, things seem to be wide open for him heading into our next Event.  He still has unfinished business with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, and right now the WHC picture is wide open.

Hmm, this has me thinking.  It might not be the long term plan for WWE, but what if we saw . . .

Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt for the World Heavyweight Championship

I don’t know about you, but in my mind, I see that match and think

It’s about TIME.

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.

Sheamus’ Promo

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.

DC’s Proof

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.

Sorry, Sheamus.

(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.

DC’s Diva Discovery

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.

Kevin Owens’ promo

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.

Rollins Rises

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.

The Four Wrestling Matches

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.
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