Springtime for teachers is a whirlwind of assessments, field trips, evening events and counting down the days to summer. Thus, it’s been a little tricky for me to come home and put myself in a writing mood. My apologies for that. However, last night’s Payback had too much going on to be ignored, so let’s get to it. Here are the lessons learned from WWE Payback.
On the day after Wrestlemania, I spent hours sitting in front of my computer sifting through the myriad complains of the NAIborhood, and, if I’m being honest, offering many of my own.
Why did Brock Lesnar so handily defeat Dean Ambrose?
Why did WWE build up the Shane McMahon story only to have Undertaker win?
Why did The Rock put Bray Wyatt over verbally, but not necessarily physically?
Basically, the world wanted to know What in the blue hell is going on?
Last night’s grandest stage of them all was not the harbinger of watershed change that I was hoping for, though that’s probably my own fault for having my usual #IrrationalIdealist expectations. We got the distinct impression from Wrestlemania that this is still Vince McMahon’s company and, with minimal exceptions, what he says goes.
Doesn’t mean it wasn’t an enjoyable show to end an enjoyable weekend, though.
Come with me, NAIborhood, as the Pope of Positivity walks you through his personal list of favorite moments from Sunday’s Wrestlemania.
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.
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.
One of the biggest wrestling related stories of the weekend was the announcement that Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns would be teaming with a mystery partner to take on the Wyatts (Bray, Harper, Stroganoff) at Night of Champions. On this weekend’s NAIborhood podcast (available wherever NAIpod can be found), Doc Manson and I discussed it a bit, though I made the mistake of thinking the 6 man tag was at RAW, not NOC. My bad. Ryback would have made sense, but he won’t be wrestling twice at Night of Champions.
People are still buzzing about the mystery so I thought that today, I’d lay out some of the likeliest, and of course, the unlikeliest options.
Let’s start with the easy ones. . .
The last 72 hours have taught me many things, and while this particular lesson was one I’ve long since known about, I certainly have had it reinforced.
I have an addictive personality.
After about 10-12 hours spent in my office Sunday – writing my predictions column (I didn’t do so bad, really), re-recording the initial episode of the NAIborhood podcast (now available on iTunes, YouTube and PodOMatic!), editing, discussing things with ace producer Bill Neville, sending it off, then recording a second episode, I finally re-emerged to the world right around the time of the Money in the Bank pre-show.
I had a choice in front of me. I could dive right into MITB or I could spend some quality time with the beautiful and incredibly supportive Mrs. Matthews, who hadn’t minded losing me to NAI-land for the entirety of our Sunday.
The decision was super easy, so I wound up only watching about half of the PPV last night. To be honest, that was probably for the best, since I wound up skipping the parts most of you seemed to be the most discouraged with.
I’m not going to write a full reaction column, since I didn’t see the entire thing, but I will share this Chief’s brief thoughts on the parts of the show I did catch.
I hope this column finds you mostly recovered from the egregious and tragic news of the week. Yes, friends, Seth Rollins debuted a new finisher on RAW. I could hear you all weeping and gnashing your teeth from the comfort of my bed, mourning the loss of the Curb Stomp.
While “The Architect” has only been a main event player for a brief period, his finishing move sure worked its way into our hearts, didn’t it? That’s the beauty of the truly good ‘match-enders’ – the Superkick, the Sharpshooter, the GTS – sometimes they expand beyond the talents themselves.
The perfect finisher is more than just a flashy move; it’s truly a combination of the right maneuver done by the right superstar, usually to the right opponent. Now, I’m not going to talk much about the Stone Cold Stunner in this column, and if you’ve read my recent work you know why – I take issue with Austin taking issue with someone using his move, so he and I are in a fight right now.
Took a little bit of a break there, but welcome back to a weekday edition of The Chief’s Briefs. After believing that the Comcast cable gods were conspiring against me, keeping me from Monday Night RAW, I had a pleasant surprise to return home from work this afternoon and find it waiting for me on my DVR. Thus, today’s episode is a RAW-recap spectacular!
The Genius of New Day
It’s entirely possible that last night was not the greatest PPV in history.
It might not even be the greatest Wrestlemania on record. . . However . . .
Last night was the most fun I’ve ever had watching a wrestling show