We finally get out of Lady Liberty’s extended shadow as the plane flies along the coast. There is a strong Southern pull surrounding our next destination. Behind me, I can hear the bird’s geometry echoing a familiar refrain. There is no surprise which two letters are rattling the fuselage. In fact, there are a handful of locations where this testosterone driven response is required and justified. Being in the shadow of the old Coliseum is certainly one of them. A handful of exceedingly talented performers tried to pry loyalty away from him. The best candidate to do so was Virginia native, Terry Allen. Tragically, a car accident never gave the one they called Magnum T.A. his true shot on top. The Nature Boy’s supporters may see me do this only a handful of times a year. I am outnumbered. I have no choice. This is heavy Flair Country. This is Richmond, VA. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Let’s have some fun, assuming we don’t fall asleep.
Disjointed segment to kick off Monday Night Raw. Braun Strowman comes to the ring and cuts a solid promo about his opponents in Chicago being in trouble. He told everyone that money had nothing to do with it. “I’m The Monster in The Bank and Brock Lesnar’s gonna get these hands!” Kudos to the ringside camera man shooting this. Half-way through, it looked like he shot The Big Man while laying down. This trick cut the apparent distance between him and the ceiling significantly. Dude could almost reach up and touch the briefcase, well done.
Oddly, this brought out Finn Balor to remind him that he wouldn’t be alone in the match. The 8-Pack Irishman may need a ladder to pull it off. But he can indeed defeat The Monster Among Men. Obviously, Balor was looking for a fight, because he slapped Braun after finishing his promo. This prompted GM Kurt Angle out from the back. “Let’s reset last week’s Main Event.” Did I mention this show was odd? For some reason, Kevin Owens came out to commentary with a mic at his position. Commentary only requires a headset, right? Turns out, The Obnoxious Canadian was allowed to cut an “encouraging” promo on each competitor in the match while using the live mic, because WWE. KO’s temperament gets a pass from me because he can work, but I highly doubt he would put up with his own s***!
Speaking of s***, Balor hit one Coup de Gras after taking a typical beating from Braun. While attempting a second one to overcome The Monster’s enormousness. Owens runs from the table to shove the smaller man from the top rope, mission accomplished. What’s next genius? Pudgy Canadian goes for a ladder under the ring to combat the fact that Strowman hasn’t been dealt with. He tries to hit his biggest threat at MITB with said latter, but he is rejected. Braun pushes hard enough that he sends KO sprawling outside the ring. As the loud mouth stumbles away. Braun launches the steel projectile from the ring. Grazing his target, who was half-way to the locker room.
This forced Owens into a full sprint backstage, looking for his rental car and a quick escape. Angle ended his shenanigans by putting him in a non-descript singles match against Bobby Roode later in the night. It ended in a No Contest. Both Canadians were properly Power Slammed by Strowman, who ended his night standing tall.
Rewinding this episode, we find Elias cutting his classic tweener promo. This one was different though. Dragged on like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Sheep wouldn’t shut up and The Guitar Man wouldn’t sing.
This tug of war went through the break. Bleeding into the contest for IC Gold. Seth Rollins’ music gives us a temporary stay. The King Slayer gets to the ring, tossing Elias’ stool to the floor. The Rejected Hippie backs out slowly, but we wouldn’t have to wait long for payback. First, the title match. As the axiom goes. Seth Rollins can have a fight with a broomstick and make it look good. Despite a decent showing from Jinder Mahal, things were thrown out thanks to excessive use of a steel chair. Monday Night Rollins snapped. Using the weapon to scatter those from The Indian Subcontinent. After dispatching of his opponent, Rollins jumps on the announce table in celebration. WAIT, The Music Man from behind with his guitar, WHACK! Hey Vince, Production might wanna be careful next time they slow a replay down. Even smarks like me could see Seth’s jump after taking the guitar shot was late, just sayin’.
Welcome to Two Squashes & A BBQ. No, that is not the name of a Morning Radio Show. “Mom, what’s a DJ?” Shut up Millennial twerps! The Deleters of Worlds beat The Ascension in about ten minutes. Haven’t we seen this before? Drew Galloway did the same with Chad Gable, YAWN! Gable could be better used. That is not an argument for this post. I have a question. Why does Vince McMahon think a root canal is good for his audience? That’s what I feel every time I watch Dallas & Axel act worse than I WOULD in and around the art form. Sorry Gentlemen, you deserve better. Most sheep probably think its hilarious.
As I’ve established: When it comes to wrestling, I have very little wool left to be pulled. Getting somewhere in storyline should feel as real as the rest of the art was supposed to look back in the day. Unless you are Chris Jericho or The New Day, be very careful. Comedy can turn into pain real quick.
Why does this feel like an old episode of Monday Nitro? Even recess felt weird. Nia Jax had an “exhibition” with a carpenter. The Raw Women’s Champion wasn’t even granted her full entrance. Ms. Rousey’s music hits. She goes straight for the announce table to get a scout on Nia in competition. The South Pacific Queen takes the mic as the match begins to invoke the very heelish tactic of talking trash during a contest. The premise was simple and quite legitimate: “Hey Ronda, it’s not UFC. Can you handle this?” After the demolition, The Next Rowdy One went to confront The Champ with the stare down. Nia called the challenger “cute.” Turning her back as she left the ring. Say nothing for the timing, which is absolutely pathetic. This could be very interesting.
Main Event Recess is always fun. Especially when Stamford actually acknowledges wrestling talent. Gauntlet Match for the final slot in The Women’s Money in The Bank Match. LET’S GO! What’s this? Someone ELSE drew the short straw? Bayley’s out of the chute first with Liv Morgan in the Davey Boy Smith position.
Serious question: Morgan’s been on The Main Roster for months. Do we know if she can do anything constructive? Looks like she can take one bump and lose in ten seconds. I don’t have the same reservations about Sarah Logan, despite her quick loss. Human Scrimshaw was next up. Sadly for Elmo and Dana Brooke, The Riott Kick was locked and loaded. Richmond’s own Mickie James was next. We know how Vince feels about home towns. A spirited effort wasn’t enough to put Magnus’ better half over.
Gee I wonder who’s in the anchor position? The best feminine worker on Monday Nights FINALLY got some tangible respect. After a highly intense 15 minutes; including multiple impressive spots, The Female Dragon got the clean tap out in the face of attempted interference from The Riott Squad. Hey Charlotte, my girl’s got a chance to make Ricky proud. Need I remind you what happened when Flair and Steamboat hooked up in Chicago before? LET’S RUMBLE!
Even though I just gave effusive praise to the final match, most of the show felt very phoned in. Outside of Seth Rollins and a handful of the ladies, Creative must have been inebriated on Monday. From the opening match to the Lashley/Zayn promo no one cared about, along with most of the night: Hendrix and Garcia at Monterrey could have executed a better script. Unfortunately, the money from Fox seems to be having an adverse effect on Vinnie’s thought processes. Hopefully, sheep won’t have to wait for next October to see better effort.
Dear Smarks: WWE Does Listen To Fans
Either last week or earlier this week (my days are running together so I don’t remember), Stephanie McMahon was at a summit called ‘Game Changer’ and she made the following comment: ‘We’re successful for one reason only – we listen to our fans.’
The internet smarks ROASTED Stephanie over this comment, mocking her for claiming that WWE listens to their fans when, in their minds, that is clearly not the case. Why? Because Roman Reigns, not Braun Strowman is champion, among other things. Clearly, any company that makes Roman Reigns champion over Braun Strowman isn’t listening to their fans, or at least, their REAL fans. You know, the all-knowing, smark community who know how to run a multi-billion dollar business better than the people who work there do.
I’ve tackled this ‘Real fan’ nonsense in the past and I’m really not in the mood to do it now and the issue of Braun Strowman being champion is an article unto itself. However, let’s be clear here: WWE DOES listen to their fans and the fans they listen to are the fans that buy stuff.
WWE first, last, always, and forever, is a business. They need money to survive and being a publicly traded company, they need money to keep the shareholders happy, that means they have to know who and what makes the money to keep the shareholders happy and keep the company afloat and who is making them the most money is Roman Reigns.
Don’t give me that look. Don’t roll your eyes at me and grumble about him being over pushed and/or shoved down your throat. I can name several people in WWE not named Roman Reigns that are over pushed. The bottom line is that Reigns moves merchandise, his stuff sells and sells really well. Having been to a few WWE TV/PPV tapings, I can tell you that Reigns’ stuff can get a little tough to find and is usually the most requested item.
Now before any of you make snide comments about Reigns having more stuff to sell, I checked WWE’s shop are and compared the number of Roman Reigns shirts to the number of shirts for AJ Styles, in terms of shirts including: T-shirts, tank tops, hoodies and what’s available for both genders, Roman Reigns had thirteen shirts available while Styles had twenty. Thirteen different shirt designs to twenty and that doesn’t include hats, gloves, or the non-wearable stuff available.
Oh, Reigns’ stuff is bought by women and kids, so it shouldn’t count? Here’s my question: So what? It’s still money that SOMEONE is spending on merchandise. If WWE didn’t want women and kids to buy their stuff, they wouldn’t be marketing stuff for women and kids. Why? Because women and kids are FANS!
For those of you still grumbling, here’s some food for your thoughts: Why should WWE listen to their ‘real’ fans? No, I’m serious. Why should they listen to fans who cheer something one week, boo it the next, demand that indy darlings get pushed despite getting mediocre pops from Main Roster audiences, and pay more attention to beach balls and time clocks than the matches? Why should they listen to people who BRAG about spending a lot of money on tickets just to boo one person they don’t like?
WWE is like any company, they listen with their bottom line, and what they’re hearing from fans is that the fans like Reign because that’s the stuff that sells the best. And before you say one thing about about Reigns’ stuff being more available at TV tapings and Live Events, I’ve been to a RAW taping, a RAW PPV, and a SmackDown/205 taping and while Reigns stuff was at SmackDown, there was also a lot of Styles and Cena stuff available at RAW events and I’m not hearing any complaining about that.
Maybe the problem isn’t that WWE isn’t listening, it’s just that your views aren’t the what the majority paying fans think or want. WWE is catering to what most of their fans want, not just the small minority that can’t seem to make up their minds about what they want.
Cheap Shots: Should Finn Balor Quit WWE?
Why Finn Balor should “Quit” The WWE
After seeing KO burst into tears on Monday night RAW two weeks ago and “quit” there were a slew of videos about why KO “quit”. The biggest one was to revitalize his character. So in playing the devils advocate why not have the first Universal Champion quit? Here’s why!
After Balor won and “lost” the title after 2016 SummerSlam he’s had and up and down career in the main roster. The once longest reigning NXT champion was a phenomenon when he joined the NXT, but once he hit the main roster, while fan support is still there it is fleeting. He had a brief reunion with Gallows and Anderson which might’ve singled a heel turn to fans, a feud with Rollins for the IC title and has had back to back to back matches against Baron Corbin. None of which have done anything for the superstars character. A heel turn might have helped a few months ago, but the repetitive booking has kind of killed that momentum.
With Finn away from the scene for a while it might help the WWE reevaluate the talent that is Finn Balor, it might also give Finn time to figure himself out too. With a WIN to his name against Elias, it seems like the co-founder of the Bullet Club may either turn to his alter ego The Demon, or perhaps a superstar shakeup is in order and he should be in place to get Balor back in the limelight. Right now, Raw seems packed full of main card talent that is either starting a faction of sorts I.E. Braun, Drew and Dolph or is turning on The Shield.
Listen, while SmackDown Live is producing the better show, it is not like the talent on there is being utilized any better. Nakamura is in limbo with the U.S. title, Aj and Joe are having a great feud in terms of promos, but not in the squared circle. The only thing that brings SmackDown Live as the A show is really their tag division and the Charlotte Flair/Becky Lynch feud.
So maybe a frustrated Finn goes away, and comes back as The Demon on SmackDown Live and interjects himself in the feud between AJ and Joe, maybe he causes friction between The Club and AJ and they “screw over” AJ during a title match, the possibilities are endless moving Balor to team blue, but what this boils down to is WWE needs to make this move while Balor is still a fan favourite and what I mean by that is that he will always have the crowd behind him, but even the loyalist fans can get bored.