The opening segment should’ve been right up my alley. CM Punk? Count me in… except, unfortunately, this feud with The Shield seems completely superfluous. Put Punk one-on-one with ANY of these three men (yes, even Seth Rollins) and my interested might be perked. But the idea of a 3-on-1 handicap matching being the attraction on a major PPV really grinds my gears. At least Punk’s backstage promo later in the evening was pure money. His over-exuberance was icky-sweet at first, but Punk brought it around and made the whole thing stick. This is why he’s the best talker in WWE Period.
Vince McMahon must be reading my secret diary… “Gee golly, I hope WWE gives us not just one, but TWO 3-on-1 handicap matches at TLC!” Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt has potential. But seeing possibly the best pure wrestler in WWE stuck in another silly gimmick match that does absolutely nothing to show off his talents – and the likes of which is already ON the card – makes me want to club a baby seal. Harsh words? Yes. But these asinine decisions are literally driving me to the funny farm.
Hey, Ziggler and Sandow wrestled again! And this time in a legitimate contest! I’m glad Sandow got the rub here… Too bad he’s going to get squashed by Big E.
Oh, and that Divas match was quite alright. But… yeah… Divas match…. in 2013… woo….
WWE is taking the tag-team division a lot more seriously these days. Pairing up wrestlers who failed to get over in singles competition actually makes a lot of sense. And hey, what do you know, wrestling bookers have been doing this for YEARS with positive results.
I’m digging this Xavier Woods and Brodus Clay feud for what it is. It’s just a relief that WWE brought in a new wrestler with an actual plan instead of just a gimmick. The Real Americans against Prime Time Players was more of the same – not that I’m complaining here. And Curtis Axel and Ryback seem to (surprisingly) be clicking, as they participated in a winning contest against The Miz and Kofi Kingston.
Let’s chat about Miz and Kingston for a minute. What’s the point here? I’m all for developing an undercard storyline, but – for starters – these guys have done this before, and they’ve done it recently. Also, they look like petty drama queens for exchanging “slaps” on a weekly basis. You know what had me excited? The idea of a true Miz heel turn. Heck, I’d even be excited if Kingston showed some real grit for once, and gave a babyface Miz the shellacking he’s always deserved. But this tweener game of one-upmanship feels like “Saved by the Bell: The WWE Years.”
Hey, The Shield defeated Goldust, Cody Rhodes, and Big Show, and it was pretty great. How many “match of the year” contests have The Shield been involved in throughout 2013?
#BadNewsBarrett seems like the wrong end of a creative booking session gone south. Maybe it was a practical joke? Maybe Vince McMahon just hates Wade Barrett. Or maybe the rest of American thinks this crap is funny, and I’m the weird one here. I don’t know. I just fail to see how these schoolyard insults do anything to further Wade Barrett’s in-ring career.
The contract signing between Randy Orton and John Cena was surprisingly entertaining. These men threw real insults at one another. It’s fun to speculate about exactly what’s staged and what’s impromptu in modern WWE (hint: little-to-none), but either way, insults still mean more when there’s an ounce of truth behind them. Randy Orton has finally gelled with this new heel persona. Likewise, John Cena said the same things about Orton that people (or, “smart marks”) have been saying for years. And having Triple H justify why this match is happening NOW gave the whole charade a little more credence, and sold the whole angle just a little bit more. Am I convinced we’re going to have a clean finish in two weeks? Nope. But at least I’m finally invested in what happens.
As a side-note, WWE Smackdown is garbage these days. When half of the show is dedicated to Titus O Neil vomiting in JBL’s hat, and the other half is generic, Shotgun Saturday Night caliber matchups, even the most hardcore wrestling fanatic starts to doubt the extra two hour commitment every week. So this is my public plea for WWE to give me something – anything – worth writing about on the Friday Night show.
How are you feeling about WWE these days? Are you buying WWE TLC in two weeks? Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to follow Betwen the Ropes on Facebook and Twitter for all the late-breaking news and opinions!