WWE Smackdown Rundown – 8/23/2013

Tonight’s WWE Friday Night Smackdown comes only five short days after an epic SummerSlam pay-per-view event.  Del Rio looks for revenge in a match against Christian, and 3MB is being advertised against Mark Henry and Big Show.  Let’s see if this week’s show delivers. [Read more...]

WWE Raw Reaction and Review – August 19th, 2013

For full coverage of last night’s show, be sure to check out the complete Raw Rundown.  Also, get the latest Between the Ropes podcast for thoughts from Brian and Steve!

stephaniemcmahondanielbryanStephanie McMahon and Daniel Bryan opened up last night’s show in a very interesting way. It wasn’t what I expected coming out of the Pay-Per-View, but I still really liked it. Putting the McMahon’s on a unified front only makes sense (and makes this story a lot less convoluted). Furthermore, her interactions with Bryan were very, very entertaining. Bryan slapping the microphone out of her hand? Perfect. When Stephanie called for security, I had flashbacks to the ‘Attitude-Era.’ Daniel Bryan really is becoming the internet age Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow delivered an okay follow-up match to their fight at SummerSlam. Otherwise, the actual “wrestling” element of the show was sub-par. We had TWO different 3-on-1 handicap matches, both involving The Shield, and both feeling like storyline-over-form segments. And apparently creative needed some filler because even 3MB made it on the card.

A lot of stuff happened in-between the major segments, and most of it just wasn’t newsworthy. WWE made sure to push its pop-culture stuff, with ‘Total Divas’ being spotlighted in a 5 minute match, and Darren Young picking up the win over The Real Americans. And what about that Footlocker advertisement? Amazing stuff. That’s what a TV-PG rating can do for you!

Paul Heyman and CM Punk delivered a stellar opening chapter for the next part of their feud. Heyman offered the fake olive branch, and Punk turned it down with a fiery vengeance. Axel as the muscle made sense. But I’m glad Punk wiped him out, and things are ready to move forward with somebody new. Heyman needs to recruit some fresh blood in his battle against Punk, and I just don’t think Axel is ready to carry the mantle yet against a bona fide main eventer like CM Punk. Plus, Punk’s rant against that fan in the front row who booed him (poor guy!) was pure money. CM Punk is old school in the best possible way.

The show closed with Randy Orton’s Championship Coronation. This basically just turned into Triple H trying to explain away his sudden heel turned. To be fair, Hunter sold it like a champ. I liked his “best for business” logic (even if did contradict everything he said the last few weeks), and putting Orton out there in front gave the whole group a lot of heat. I’m also glad Triple H touched on his feud with Orton from a few years back. I’m still not completely buying The Shield as McMahon family lackeys, but I guess in pro wrestling heels are bffs.

Overall show was very meh. The promos were solid – especially Punk/Heyman, Bryan/Stephanie, and Triple H. Otherwise, the show lacked the great energy of SummerSlam. Hopefully the product picks back up next week.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @therealwiseman, and let me know what you think!

WWE Raw TV Rating Up Post SummerSlam

Last week, Raw saw a slight uptick in ratings.  The trend continued this week.

For the night after SummerSlam, Raw averaged 4.3 million viewers.   [Read more...]

WWE Raw Rundown LIVE – 8/19/2013

Refresh this page throughout the show for LIVE ongoing coverage and analysis!

Less than 24 hours after an incredible SummerSlam event, tonight’s RAW looks like a loaded show.  We expect Triple H to explain his surprise turn, and fallout from “The Best vs. The Beast.”  And who knows, maybe Ryback will find somebody else to bully backstage? [Read more...]

WWE SummerSlam 2013 Reaction and Review

Make sure to check out the SummerSlam 2013 Rundown for complete coverage of everything that happened on last night’s Pay-Per-View.  Also, listen to Brian and Steve discuss what they think on the latest Between the Ropes Podcast. [Read more...]

WWE SummerSlam 2013 Rundown – LIVE

WWE Returns to Pay-Per-View with it’s second biggest show of the year, SummerSlam.  The card is loaded with two World Title fights, and “The Best vs. The Beast.”  Be sure to refresh this page throughout the night for LIVE ongoing results and analysis. [Read more...]

Brooke Hogan Released by TNA

Multiple sources are reporting that TNA has released Brooke Hogan.  This is the latest in an ongoing series of cost-restructuring moves by the company.

Her release is surprising if only because her father, Hulk Hogan, is seen as such an asset to the company.  Dixie’s desire to keep Hulk happy made Brooke Hogan seem untouchable.  On the other hand, Brooke’s TV role in TNA had played itself out. She was the former head of the knockouts division, and most recently played Bully Ray’s (kayfabe) wife.

Hopefully TNA will use this as an opportunity to re-establish itself.   The multiple high-profile releases over the summer, most of which hit the active roster or road agents, left a black-eye on the face of the company. Cutting unnecessary “name-only” talent seems like the most logical next step.

Dixie Carter has yet to release an official statement.

brooke hogan

WWE Smackdown Rundown – 8/16/2013

As the final show before this Sunday’s major Pay-Per-View event, story of the night should be SummerSlam feuds.  Expect final build for Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow, the World Heavyweight Championship match, and The Shield. [Read more...]

Thoughts on Darren Young, and Being Different in Professional Wrestling

tumblr_mi9mesCbW11rlzmqeo1_500Well kids, prepare for the backlash.

Darren Young came out earlier today as WWE’s first openly gay superstar. That is, he’s the first to reveal himself while still under contract with the company. Several previous wrestlers have announced themselves as gay – the late Chris Kanyon and Orlando Jordan immediately come to mind – but most had distanced themselves from WWE when they finally disclosed their sexual orientation.

WWE immediately announced its support for Darren Young. Both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon took to Twitter and praised Young’s courage, and the company sent out a press release using the word “proud” and saying that it would “continue to support him as a WWE Superstar.” Company frontman John Cena even did an interview with TMZ offering his own congratulations.

Unfortunately, Young has to deal with a public that’s not quite ready for his openness. The public-opinion tide is certainly turning in favor of gay-rights equality, but we haven’t reached that point where all of society is ready to accept it with open arms. And just because the general public thinks one way, it doesn’t mean the pro wrestling world follows that same path.  [Read more...]

Big Show Returns at RAW

After being advertised a few weeks ago, the Big Show finally returned on last night’s edition of RAW.

The 20-man battle royal to earn a title shot against Dean Ambrose ended with RVD and Mark Henry bumping fists.  Immediately afterwards, the Shield quickly surrounded the ring, outnumbering Henry and Van Dam.  Just as Ambrose, Reigns, and Rollins were getting ready to swarm the ring, the Big Show’s music hit, and he re-emerged on stage.  He walked down to the ring as the Shield scurried back into the crowd.

It’s worth noting that Big Show looked leaner than he has in years.  When he left back in May, he was finishing up a heel run in a feud against Randy Orton.  After last night’s events, and the open challenge by Reigns earlier in the night, it looks like Show will possibly be teaming up with Mark Henry to challenge Rollins and Reigns for the Tag Team Championship.

WWE Raw Rundown LIVE – 8/12/2013

The show kicked off live from Sacramento, CA, with Daniel Bryan’s entrance to the ring.  Final hype for SummerSlam should be the story of the night… [Read more...]

The Art of Promotion in Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena

Bryan Maddox Cena contract signingThere’s no doubt the WWE Universe is excited to see Bryan challenge Cena for the title at SummerSlam. But it wasn’t until this past Monday on RAW that we finally got a framework for their confrontation. If Punk vs. Lesnar is “The Best vs The Beast,” then Bryan against Cena has become “The Wrestler vs. The Entertainer.” [Read more...]

WWE Monday Night RAW Analysis and Review – August 5th, 2013

Make sure to check out the new and improved WWE Raw Rundown for complete coverage of everything that happened on last night’s show.

Bryan in a suitDaniel Bryan’s corporate makeover proved more entertaining that I initially expected. WWE was smart to lead this segment with a short, but funny, video that captured Bryan’s transformation, and then move the comedy out of the way in favor of Bryan v McMahon drama. Everything that Bryan said about being a “wrestler” further cemented his status atop the mountain. I’m also curious to see where things go with Vince McMahon – while some people are saying his presence isn’t necessary, I think Vince adds an element of unpredictability to the whole affair, and only strengthen Bryan’s chances at winning the gold. Remember how Money in the Bank 2011 played out?

The middle of this segment lost me a little. Why, again, is Wade Barrett coming out to shave another man’s beard? Is he just happy to be on TV? Did WWE really need to make him look so foolish? But Bryan recovered things at the end, and him ripping-off the suit (along with the great “fear the beard” shirt) made for a memorable, crowd-pleasing moment.

Also, while I’m buying the Vince McMahon meddling (mostly in anticipation of a possible Orton heel-turn), I could do without the Triple H/Stephanie McMahon garbage. One McMahon is enough for this, or really any, storyline. My biggest concern is that the Triple H/Stephanie/Vince dynamic is going to result in some weird overbooked angle at SummerSlam, and completely overshadow whatever great moment is in store for the PPV. Sometimes simple storytelling is the best.

John Cena, on the other hand, delivered with another strong promo. He played off of Bryan’s earlier comments niceley, and cemented that he might not be a wrestler, but he is a company man. His passion for WWE seemed believable. By staying away from the “preacher-man” gimmick, and instead simply promising to beat Bryan and prove that he is the best, Cena has sold this matchup as major league. It might be a little bit like the Punk – Cena dynamic of the last two years, but that’s okay. Good stuff all around.

Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow stood out yet again. While nothing really changed here last night (other than the re-introduction of the briefcase), these two continue to look like superstars. This is my favorite ongoing feud.

While a lot of other stuff happened (Lesnar/Heyman/Punk, Bray Wyatt/Kane, Christian, etc.), one thing that really stood out was the underwhelming return of Kofi Kingston. This guy has been off TV for two months, yet creative simply booked him in a quick victory over Fandango. Really guys? The show was already crowded, so why not hold off on Kingston until AFTER SummerSlam. Better yet, let him surprise attack Ryback and get an ounce of revenge. Kofi Kingston vs. Ryback would be great pre-show fodder.

Overall show was good. WWE has been booking shorter matches in favor of more stuff happening, and while I hate some wrestlers aren’t given long enough to shine, it seems to be working. First, the mid-card finally has some life in it again. Also, the main-event picture has been elevated above everything else with some great mic work by Bryan and Cena. Hopefully this momentum carries up through next week’s RAW and on to Sunday, August 18th – if so, WWE is likely to have one of the best SummerSlam cards in years.

Agree? Disagree? YES! No!? Let me know in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter @therealwiseman

Announced for Next Week’s RAW: CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman

During the Curtis Axel and CM Punk match last night, Punk finally got his hands on Paul Heyman.  Unfortunately for Punk, the moment was short-lived. [Read more...]

Kofi Kingston Returns to RAW

Last night on RAW, Kofi Kingston made a surprise in-ring return, winning his match against Fandango. [Read more...]

WWE Raw Rundown – 8/5/2013

Show opened with the long intro, and traditional fireworks. Finally!

Opening Segment w/Stephanie McMahon: Stephanie was in the ring, and she reminded everybody of her ambitious idea to transform Daniel Bryan to somebody Vince McMahon might like. The camera cut to a spa scene and showed D-Bry getting papmered. Next, there was a montage of Bryan working out and getting pumped. He then went to a Texas Roadhouse and ATE MEAT (because apparently corporate champions are required to break their vegan vows). Finally, the last clip showed him at a tailor getting fitted for a designer suit. [Read more...]

WWE Raw Preview – August 5th, 2013

WWE.com relesed it’s “Raw Five-Point Preview” earlier today, with five potential highlights of tonight’s Monday Night Raw. Let’s take a closer look at each preview point: [Read more...]

WWE Smackdown Rundown – 8/2/2013

smackdown outlineVery entertaining wrestling-heavy edition of WWE Smackdown tonight.  There were a few misses (see below), but the in-ring action, highlighted by a fantastic main-even, made this a show worth watching. [Read more...]