So “Extreme Rules” was… not half bad! Letting Dolph and Seth close the show continued the elevate the only mens title on RAW. AJ’s match with Rusev made both competitors look strong (but put a pin in that). And hey, the B Team getting the tag straps? They deserved it (clap clap clapclapclap).
Of course the week in episodic wrestling did much to spin the wheels out of Sunday and turn our focus directly to “the biggest party of the summer!”. Let’s unspool this ball of yarn and pull out six hard takes to carry us into the next week, shall we?
- Brock Lesnar loves the WWE like I love a good colonoscopy.
Oh, Paul E. Dangerously… I can’t quit you! But lord I can quit your client. I do not buy the poop you’re shoveling, Mister Heyman. Brock Lesnar doesn’t love the WWE. The Beast Incarnate is only about 4 things: Eat. Sleep. Extort promotions for an insane amount of money to see him compete, because, yes we all acknowledge he has both a look and prowess in combat sports that is mesmerizing to see, however ultimately he is at this point only delivering a repeat of the same tried-and-true by-the-numbers performance time and again, and his time with the WWE Universal Title has ultimately grown stale because of his inability to care long enough to sell us the match. Repeat.
And that we can only expect either Roman Reigns or Bobby Lesnar to face him at Summer Slam as the means to end Brock’s reign of meh… leaves me yearning for Braun Strowman to declare his cash in. Make it a fatal four way so Lesnar can bitch he wasn’t pinned… and we can all get on with our lives.
- I can’t believe I’m going to say this: I’m compelled to see Randy Orton.
Randy Orton has been a great many things throughout his WWE tenure. As one of the famed “OVW class of 2002” alongside John Cena, and Bautista, Orton helped usher Vinny Mac’s wrestle-fests out of the Attitude Era into the next era—whatever the hell that was. And while RKO has himself a smooth-as-silk moveset, he has long lacked in the charisma department; once he was a locker room leader and not a young up and comer chasing his minutes on air. Suffice it to say he hasn’t looked like he’s given a damn in the last five years as far as I’ve seen. But I digress. Seeing him rampage on Jeff Hardy this week on Smackdown – and dig his finger into Jeff’s unplugged earlobe, and twist it with glee was the kind of stomach-churning act of aggression that I can get behind. I was disgusted, intrigued, and glued to my TV. With Hardy apparently needing to nurse an injured back though… I don’t exactly get where Orton’s going. I’m sold on him for now. But boy how quickly that might change in a week.
- The B Team vs. Revival is an underdog story I can get behind.
The Revival represent, in my mind, the ethos of HHH and his vision for the future of the WWE. They don’t talk too good… but boy can they tell a story in the ring. They, unlike so many current tag teams on the roster, are really better than the sum of their parts. Taken alone, Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson are milquetoast heels. Paired together under their gimmick, they are truly a revival of what Tag Team Wrestling should be. They cut the ring off. They work a body part. They cheat. And they have one of the best tag team finishers in the sport today. While their main roster run has been as enjoyable as a seizure (due in part, yes, to injury), their most recent run of victories (mostly) over Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns have restored some of their clout – certainly enough to garner them a title shot.
Counter this with the B Team’s sudden hot streak and face turn. We’ve got the perfect underdogs holding the straps. While I suspect shenanigans forthcoming in their rematch with the Deleters of Worlds next week, it’s clear enough that the Revival will be in the title picture by Summer Slam. Whether we get a triple threat, or just a single team vs. team bout… Axel and Dallas are working from underneath. And I love that. They made annoying heels that couldn’t sell their work in the ring well enough to care. But now, on the lucky streak of their life, we have someone to cheer for.
- What is the difference between Alexa Bliss and Carmella exactly?
Mickey James is cuter than James Elsworth. And Ronda Rousey is a bigger draw than Becky Lynch.
Beyond my snark though comes concern. I love a good heel champion as much as the next fella, but to see essentially the same gimmick played out on both brands shows me that someone isn’t paying attention in the writers’ room. I want to feel the chase for a title. Becky Lynch sold that decently with her string of wins… but I loathe the idea of “beating the champion in a non-title match makes you the number one contender” booking. It’s lazy! Why make people pay for something when you’ll give it away for free. And over on RAW, the whole “suspension” angle is cute; but it doesn’t take a genius to know that Rousey is greener than Hal Jordan and is doing promotional work and private in-ring work behind the scenes. Why not just show us her preparing instead of playing out a watered down Stone Cold angle? In both bookings we wind up with the same outcome: a heel champ who has a believable contender for their title. But is it too much to ask that we not get the same story twice with nearly identical bitchy blondes?
- Did anyone else notice that it wasn’t Rusev Day on Tuesday?
I did, and I think it’s insulting to Rusev. Work that hard in a title match. Get over organically. Sulk off TV the following Tuesday. What a way to book a rising star.
- And in one stroke, the Intercontinental Title is forgotten… again. But! But! Bobby Roode!
Doesn’t anyone remember that Dolph beat Roode for the US Championship and then abandoned wrestling because of reasons? Well, I do. And what I remember thinking was that Dolph clearly quit because his angle with Ric Flair lite likely bored him as much as it did us. I think I’ll just say it again, because maybe if we all believe it, it will eventually come true: Make. Roode. Heel.
And don’t think I’m not looking out at the upper mid-card to wonder who will compete for the IC strap opposite Zigglesworth. Smash cut to another match with Rollins at Summer Slam? Sigh…