Tag: roman reigns

“So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #059: How AEW has the WWE in a Rest Hold

“So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #059: How AEW has the WWE in a Rest Hold

It’s been a while since I’ve written to you, my adoring public. But rest assured, I’ve been knee deep in content saturation; trying to find a specific hook to yammer on about on my little home on the interwebs. Well, since it’s been long enough since my last wrestling run-down, I felt it was time to return to the squared circle and once again wax poetic on the virtues of Cody Rhodes and company. Let’s do the thing:

The win/loss record makes inconsequential matches actually matter

When AEW gets into their mid-card, their simple system of tracking wins and losses (and soft resetting at year end) means every match has a purpose. By telling us presently-not-on-the-top-five Jungle Boy is facing off with 5th ranked Superbad Kip Sabian, even without a lengthy backstory, the match suddenly matters. A win over Sabian might mean Jungle Boy gets on the ranking board. But if Kip nips Jungle Boy in the bud, he’ll hold more wins than #4 on the chart, and suddenly his stock is skyrocketing. This makes every match have ramifications. It forces us, the viewers, to think of the predetermined contests as holding a narrative built around the sport between the ropes. This suspension of belief is what pro-wrestling used to be rooted in. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #059: How AEW has the WWE in a Rest Hold”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #035: WTFWWE

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #035: WTFWWE

As warned last week, I’m gonna get knee-deep in some WWE opinionatin’. Strap in, slapnuts, we’re about to break it down.

Wrestlemania (35, but who’s counting) was a sordid affair that outstayed its welcome by a little over 2 hours. The never-ending pay-per-view delivered one match for the ages (Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston), a few we’ll certainly remember (Brock Lesner being taken to dick-punch-city losing to Seth Friggin’ Rollins and Becky Lynch kicking ass and chewing bubblegum), and the rest a mostly-forgettable mash of who-cares. Following Mania came the always-odd RAW and Smackdown post-shows; each delivering their fair share of follow-up angles, new debuts, and ultimately (a week later), a pair of “superstar shake-up” episodes to reset the rosters and kickstart the next year of programming. Rather than figure a way to create a single cohesive thesis to tie my waning thoughts about all the back-and-forths… I figure it behooves me to listicle out each errant bon mot and wax poetic before moving on. Allez cuisine!  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #035: WTFWWE”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #020: The Year in WWE… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #020: The Year in WWE… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In 2018, The WWE was up, down, and all around. As I skirted towards canceling my WWE Network subscription several times… I never mustered the courage enough to say “no more”. I’ll even freely admit the only times I used my subscription was to watch the PPV’s — save, of course, for Crown Jewel and the Super Showdown. It seems the 5 hours of program I pay for otherwise via my cable bill tends to give me enough content in a given week. Such that I’ve never felt a desire to burden myself with NXT, 205 Live, or any other original programming the McMahon family wishes to inundate me with.

With that being said, I still consider myself to be a fan. I follow RAW and Smackdown Live every week, and typically watch more than enough YouTube shows on the subject than I care to admit. With the end of the year upon us, it’s time to do what so many (too many) of us smart marks do; make a list of things to argue about with one another.

I present to you now, without any further needless banter, my 2018 year in review. And because I believe in ending snarky things with a smile, we’ll go in reverse order.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #020: The Year in WWE… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

The Smarky Six: Week of September 24th

The Smarky Six: Week of September 24th

The Irish Lass Kicker ambushes The Queen during a photo session prior to SmackDown LIVE going on the air.

Copyright 2018 | WWE

Welcome back to the snark show! I’d apologize for not covering the landscape of the WWE lately, but let’s all be honest: it’s not been worth it to cover. I’ve been paying attention though… and with that, let’s go ahead and run though my top stories for the week… you pencil-necked geeks.

1. AJ Styles needs to lose the belt to Samoa Joe (AKA Daddy Styles). 

Look: I love the champ that runs the camp. Styles could wrestle a broom to a five star match. And, somehow, I’ve learned to tolerate his soccer mom haircut. But his championship run essentially has felt like “the dick punch trilogy with whatshisname” and now the “who’s your daddy” with whatshisothername. And either Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura are worthy top-level heel champions. Yes, I know they put the US Title on Nakamura, but seemingly it’s a paper belt at this point. I mean crap, Orton’s feud came to a point with Jeff Hardy at Hell in a Twizzler Cell while Nakamura surfed! But I digress. AJ Styles is too good a wrestler to be dealing with these Attitude Era Lite feuds. So let’s let the House That AJ Style’s Built be imploded, and let some new talent chase the title for a little while. Styles, here in what might be his second prime, could do well to chase from underneath while elevating some mid-carders in the process.

2. It’s always good advice in visual mediums to show not tell.

This past Monday saw Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre try to get into the head of a lunatic. And they attempted this with a line of worked shoot in-continuity jabs at Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Apparently, we have to believe that while Ambrose was getting surgery, treating a staff infection, and getting jacked at the gym… his Shield-mates never called or texted him. But to tell us this, in apropos of literally no actual evidence (or even a verbal retort from the Shield) sold the whole angle short. Since coming back from injury, Ambrose has never looked better. He’s changed his style in the ring, cleaned up his look, and is elevating the top stable in company — at least in theory. But Ziggles and Galloway’s one night at the improv here just felt like the WWE writers room attempting to make a story without actually giving us any legitimate setup. If anything… Dean’s reversal of verbal barbs back on the Scottish Terminator (dumbest nickname ever, athankyew) carried far more weight. So, is this what we’re building towards? A who will abandon their stable first match? Color me meh.

And while we’re here, let me not waste another bullet on these two hot takes:

A. Dean Ambrose can’t carry another belt right now, because RAW doesn’t have any other belt. So, stop making it look like he’s missing something he can’t have.

B. It sucks that Dolph and Drew are actually having an AMAZING run in their tag team bouts. Both versus the Shield at the last PPV and the Revival this past week; I wish that the WWE creative team would just lean into that instead. The problem is, of course, aside from the Shield, RAW’s only other face tag team is the B-Team. Someone shuffle the deck, please.

3. Someone send the Bellas back to boot camp.

Not to dog-pile on the topic (as I know most of the smark community already has), but let’s just make it clear: Between her suicide dives nearly making their namesake true, and her concussing of Liv Morgan… Brie Bella is not ready for prime-time, playa. The WWE has an amazing Performance Center. I say she packs up Birdie, gets a room at the swankiest hotel in Orlando, and shakes off every last ounce of ring rust before she and her sister do whatever it is they’re supposed to be doing at Evolution.

Oh, and while we’re on that subject? If you thought that Evolution was historic and being done for the right reasons? Please see Crown Jewel as the answer to that point.

4. R-Truth led an entertaining segment and wrestled a decent match this week.

I’m not sure this is real life anymore.

And since I’m stacking topics, let’s talk about that match for a second, shall we? First off? Daniel Bryan does better commentary than Byron Saxton. Big surprise. Did you hear his salient points about Miz’s in-ring work? He touched specifically on the execution of particular moves — his powerful front kick versus his weak hip-thrown kicks — and then lamented on his need to lean on the lowest common denominators to win matches. And then? Miz poked Truth in the eye behind the back of the ref, and nailed a mock Shining Wizard for the win. In-ring execution of a story beat. So tasty I ate the moment without a side-dish. Thank you WWE Smackdown writing staff, for doing your job correctly.

5. Becky Lynch is amazing. Period. 

Her clean win over Charlotte combined with this tweener “take no guff, give me my spotlight” attitude is exactly what the women’s division needs. Where Ronda Rousey will now sit on the RAW belt like a Lesnar-Lite (while actually doing a significant number of shows, so much harder to specifically bitch here…), Lynch is owning her fighting champion role. Giving a match to Lana, and decidedly whooping her up and down was just what the doctor ordered. Charlotte is also more a natural heel mind you, but her fighting back up the card to face Becky (be it at Evolution, the Rumble, or dare we hope for Mania) will give us the legit women’s bout that we deserve after years of forced storylines across both divisions of ladies.

6. And now, a litany of hot takes to ride off into the sunset with…

Drake Maverick in his AoP gear looks like an action figure. It’s silly, and doesn’t make Toka and Razar (zing!) look intimidating. It makes them look like they traded in their grizzled veteran manager for his cheap millennial replacement.

Meanwhile, Lio Rush — with his weird Barack-by-way-of-Peele affectation — actually sells me on Bobby Lashley. I mean, sure, I’m still bored to tears when Black Lesnar wrestles… But when Rush hypes him up? It gives me something to look forward to.

Kevin Owens is being wasted week in and week out. But I heard his contract doesn’t end for several more years. So, earn that money, Kev. You deserve better. But your kids deserve the best. So it goes.

Renee Young in the commentary booth is the best thing to happen to that booth since Jerry Lawler had a heart attack. Mean? Probably. But that’s the way the shucky-ducky quack quacks.

Baron Corbin is doing the best he can in the role he’s been given. I’d like to say something more here — fantasy book him into something interesting — but even typing his name makes me yawn.

New Day vs. The Bar? It’s sad when Shamus’s point about the same old jokes holds as much weight as it does. I’m not saying split the New Day up… but I’m saying it’s time to split the New Day up.

Hey Randy? I thought the “Ten” schtick was dumb too. Stop being right, and entertaining, damnit.

Rusev is being wasted with this angle. Milwaukee? Let me introduce you to Fish Ziggler.

And last but not least this week…. I don’t give a single care in the world that HHH is facing the Undertaker for the last time ever. At all. That their entrances alone may eat up 20 minutes before they slow-motion fight through their old high spots until one heaping pile of steroids foists his sweaty body on top of the other heaping pile of surgically replaced parts…. doesn’t excite me in any way shape or form. But boy howdy, that Saudi money must be glorious!

The Smarky Six #007: Week of August 13th

The Smarky Six #007: Week of August 13th

Image result for summerslamIt’s the biggest party, err event, err pay per view, err…. Summerslam is Sunday, OK? Rather than cover “stories” this week, I’m going to break down the entirety of the card with my predictions! Someone (not me) should keep track of how I do. Maybe for the next PPV we run a contest where one reader predicts opposite me, and loser does something silly. No, I’ve never heard of Cultaholic, why do you ask? JOIN US.

Continue reading “The Smarky Six #007: Week of August 13th”

The Smarky Six #005: Week of July 30th

The Smarky Six #005: Week of July 30th

Image result for brock lesnar readingOh, I’m sorry. Was I supposed to write the top six stories that tickled my fancy, concerning the week in the WWE? I was just sitting here on my couch. Reading “Outdoors Heels Monthly”. Or was it “I’d Rather Be In UFC, But I Get Half a Million Bucks For Being Here Weekly”. Fine. Fine. Here’s your stories, jerks.

  1. Ignore. Ignore. Yell. F5. Choke out. Smirk. Yeah, that was well worth the money.

This is what constitutes story development these days in the WWE. They have a three hour show, and Brock Lesnar acts like an insolent child for 9/10ths of it. For this Vince McMahon needs to waste $500,000? While I totally get what the creative team was attempting — make Heel Lesnar Heel — frankly, I don’t want face Roman to get a pop because Brock is made to look annoyed. However… can I really complain? From Lesnar’s point of view, I’d be annoyed too. Against Lashley or Strowman? There’s story to mine. For his 807,957th battle with Rock-with-Rogain-but-nothing-else, we have no new angles to take. Is this the time Roman finally conquers the Beast? Are we seeing him train differently? Maybe attempting to expand his repertoire? No! He’s just same-old-cock-sure-snarky-Reigns.  Continue reading “The Smarky Six #005: Week of July 30th”

The Smarky Six #002: Week of July 9th

The Smarky Six #002: Week of July 9th

“Extreme Rules” is tomorrow kiddos. And boy howdy am I excited! Actually? I’m not really. I’m not not excited. After a week of ups and downs (sorry, Simon at WhatCulture!), I wound up feeling like both RAW and Smackdown had one PPV quality match each on their cards, surround by “go home” chum. Let’s unpack the week with six observations I pulled out from Kane’s Pyro. Don’t worry, Daniel Bryan set them off for me.

Continue reading “The Smarky Six #002: Week of July 9th”