An old man hosting a summit. A threat to the realm. Eight young warriors who have answered the call. A lone authority figure guiding their way. A mystical artefact that has the power to bring doom. Bickering, screeching, until the group of nine arrives at an agreement. After watching the 11 June episode of RAW, I have the urge to re-watch Elrond’s council from The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring. This scene shares some eerie similarities with the opening segment of the RAW go home show for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. So, let us take a closer look at that segment and find out how much Rivendell we can find in Little Rock, Arkansas.
One Two Briefcases to Rule Them All
Tonight’s episode started with all eight Money in the Bank Ladder Match competitors from RAW, all perched atop ladders. This brought GM Kurt Angle out, the old and somewhat wise man of the red show. Since he was not surprised to see the assembly of superstars in the ring and vice versa, I can only assume that Kurt was the host of this ladder summit. He then introduced us to the plot. This year, superstars from both RAW and SmackDownLive will compete at Money in the Bank, but it will be a gruelling fight, before one can win one of the two Briefcases of Power that guarantee a championship opportunity anyplace, anytime. The briefcases, sometimes golden, but always with letters engraved on the side, do not grant the power to become invisible, but they can transform a mid-card baddie to a main event villain as they did with Seth Rollins and Carmella. That is basically what the Ring did for Sauron as well. If you however lose the briefcase, you are bereft of that power. Speaking of which…
One Does Not Simply Win at Money in the Bank…
Constable Corbin then entered the stage. Last year he made something disappear in true wizard fashion. Unfortunately for him, it was his push and it has yet to appear again. Baron Corbin referred to Stephanie McMahon, who is RAW’s Galadriel. The Elven sorceress who says, “All shall love me and despair”, when offered the Ring of Power. Galadriel ultimately declines; if only Stephanie had that much self-control. Corbin then allowed Angle to continue and the latter claimed that nothing would make him happier than RAW defeating SmackDownLive, which is the Mordor to RAW’s Gondor (at least in Stephanie’s eyes). Constable Corbin reminded us of the consequences should that not happen on Sunday.
No One Trusts a Monster Among Men
This prompted the superstars in the ring to make use of their microphones as well. What ensued was bickering of the highest degree. Every superstar claimed that he or she would win the briefcase, talking down their rivals in the process. I especially liked Kevin Owens pointing out the height advantage that the Monster Among Men has. The vibe that I got from KO and Bobby Roode makes me hope we see a Gimli-Legolas friendship between them sometime in the future. Of course, we also had alliances, as the former mixed match challenge partners (Banks-Bálor, Bliss-Strowman) supported each other. When the bickering got too heated, Bliss interfered with a screech that would do the Nazgul proud. Much like the interference of Frodo, this led to the segment’s end, as the competitors agreed on someone getting these hands come Sunday. At least, it was Braun’s music that hit, which I take as a universal sign of agreement.
RAW Has No King. RAW Needs No King
At the end of The Lord of the Rings, the fellowship achieves the goal and then some. The ring is destroyed, Aragorn is crowned king, and Sam marries Rosie. Of course, before that Gandalf dies and is reborn, Boromir is Sean Beaned, Gondor is basically in ruins, and Frodo never finds his happy ending. What does this mean for our fellowship of the briefcase? The Money in the Bank PPV will remain a focal point in the WWE calendar. A new queen might be crowned, if a female RAW superstar wins at Money in the Bank. It does not make sense to give the briefcase to a male RAW superstar, with the Universal king being absent and a known Kingslayer on the loose. WWE seems to continue the romantic angle between Alexa and Braun. And the others? Well, I do expect any potential alliances to break during the ladder match, steep falls from ladders for some of the superstars, and the death of any minor push most of the RAW superstars have had in recent weeks. I am looking at you, Bálor and Owens.
Does the build towards Money in the Bank increase my hype for the matches? It does not, but then again, neither did Elrond’s council meeting hype me up for the long journey to Mordor. Here is hope that we can agree on Monday that the PPV indeed passed the bridge of booking doom without incident. If not, we can only hope that Constable Corbin knows how to summon the eagles to salvage the expedition.
What do you think? Leave a comment below or message me on Twitter @KirstinHerzog1. Always #UseYourHead.
The Good, Bad and Ugly: SmackDown Live 12.11.18
Does the TLC Go Home of SmackDown continue to build excitement, or does it go the way of Raw and help us all get to sleep earlier? Bobby let’s us know how things are shaping up.
With Tables, Ladders and Chairs coming up this weekend, we had a semi-sweet Monday Night Raw. The actual in ring action looked decent. SmackDown is always looking bright, and tonight shouldn’t disappoint. What surprises are ahead on the Pre-TLC SmackDown?
Opening Promo w/ Daniel Bryan to Non-Title Match (WWE Champion) Daniel Bryan vs. Mustafa Ali
Daniel Bryan is solidifying his heel persona by continuing his onslaught on the general public and acting as wrestling’s Smokey the Bear. Shaming his once devoted fans, causing everyone to react in some way. Daniel Bryan continues to pile on that his old self is now dead, and all of the fans are idiots. Cheap pops and heat continued on. Until luckily it was interrupted by Ali. Mustafa Ali is a great talent. He didn’t do much of the talking here. He mostly fell victim to Daniel Bryan spewing his agenda. Ali went on to ask Daniel Bryan what’s up with his new attitude, only to be disrespected with a slap to the face. We saw a little action which gave us a taste of what is to come. Daniel Bryan looked sharp. His strikes were well done and was full of energy. This evil, snapped gimmick is working well for him. He wore down Ali,working the knee. Old school, clean wrestling. Ali had minimal offense but stuck to his high spots. Even with the multiple interruptions and heavy commercials, this was a Good match. After some incredible feats, Ali misses an inverted 450. Daniel Bryan went on to tear Ali apart, making him tap to the “Heel Hook.” Daniel Bryan Wins, a hot opening match. After the match, overkill set in, with Daniel Bryan viciously attacking Mustafa Ali up the ramp. This wasn’t needed but acted as a callous to Daniel Bryan’s changeover to a heel.
Randy Orton Promo
Orton wielding a chair went about showing off his previous torture of Rey Mysterio, questioning why anyone would want to have a chair match with a guy like him. Just as he was about finished, Rey Mysterio attacked him out of nowhere, hitting Orton with a chair and a 619, causing Randy Orton to flee. Not a bad promo. Short and effective.
Rusev and Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe and Shisuke Nakamura
Rusev being involved is Good for business. These four are some of the best in the business. Rusev has the abilities to carry the WWE as the Heavyweight Champion. Much like a Bobby Roode, he has had moments of being overlooked, however that can change at any moment like we saw on Raw. Pairing Shinsuke and Rusev is genius and a guaranteed winner. WWE just has to let them work and it will be fantastic. After being interrupted by an untimely dance off from Carmella and R-Truth, Shinsuke Nakamura brutally attacked Jeff Hardy from behind. Samoa Joe continued the assault on Hardy. This wasn’t brilliant considering the talent here, but it was entertaining enough. As the crowd showed everyone, Rusev when finally given the opportunity, delivered and looked Good in there. He is a great talent all around. After a devastating kick to the face, Rusev covers Nakamura for the Victory!
Asuka vs. Charlotte
Going into this, how could it be Bad? It really can’t right? First thing, it is a great Main Event, also,having Becky Lynch come out after the contenders were already in the ring was also great. Charlotte looked completely flawless and confident. This was very physical. Asuka not to be outdone did some outstanding work. Asuka kept after “The Queen” working her arms and beating her down. Charlotte and Asuka went back and forth most of the match. Charlotte finally trapped Asuka into a “Figure 4” but getting reversed. The two went back and forth fighting every second. This match was action packed. Asuka repeatedly kicked Charlotte in the face, until Charlotte hits a spear. After landing on her feet from a blocked moonsault, Charlotte then kicked out of a roll up from a countered “Figure 4”. Asuka hit the “Asuka Lock” that was countered sending Charlotte and Asuka to the floor. Charlotte then when psycho, Getting Disqualified for using her Kendo Stick. Before Charlotte could go too far, Becky Lynch got her back, only to get attacked by Asuka. Asuka went crazy with the Kendo Stick staking her claim of dominance. Asuka Win!
THE BAD: N/A
New Day Rap Battle: Usos vs. The Bar
This style of promo has potential. It can be really Ugly or really Good. Depending how much cheese is involved vs.actual humor. The New Day came out looking dapper and ready for the festivities. They are always ready to party. The Bar had their Run DMC track suits and Flavor Flav clocks for decor. That’s where it ended with a cheese filled “Ice Ice Baby” to remedy their horrendous rap abilities. The Uso’s surprisingly were also not great at this. This was a completely ridiculous,worthless segment. Chalk this up as Ugly.
Miz Promo (Shane McMahon and Miz vs. The Vegas Boys
Begging is just ridiculously over the top, especially in the current SmackDown setting. It’s cheap. The Miz and Shane are both Good typically on the mic. This was a smooth promo,however out of the blue Miz calls out a ref for a tag match. This match was horrible. Shane had more botches than I have ever seen. This was absolutely Ugly all around. Shane ended the debauchery by submission for the victory.
Final Results: Good(ish)
Although the Good outweighed the Ugly on this one, we had some pretty Ugly moments. More than I have seen on SmackDown in sometime. This wasn’t their strongest show among the past few weeks, but it worked. The highlight of the night was the Main Event! TLC is Sunday and I would say thanks to SmackDown, we are ready to roll!
Can a Queen of the Ring Event Work in Today’s WWE?
Rumors are swirling about WWE bringing back a throwback event for the next all-women’s PPV. A Queen of the Ring tournament sounds like a good idea as a focal point for the PPV considering the ever-evolving Women’s Evolution.
Many fans remember the King of the Ring, which was considered one of the big five PPVs for WWE back in the 1990s. King of the Ring had its ups and downs, but it was mostly known for the birth of Austin 3:16. The iconic moment still stands the test of time twenty two years later, however others such as Owen Hart, Triple H, and Edge certainly benefited from the once-prestigious tournament.
After Brock Lesnar’s win in 2002, King of the Ring slowly began to fade out. The last tournament was in 2015,where Bad News Barrett would later become King Barrett to celebrate the win. Before that was the infamous King Sheamus, who won the one prior back in 2010.
The allure and beneficial factor of King of the Ring definitely dissipated by the time it was brought back. King of the Ring used to be a big deal, meaning that the winner was definitely en route to a huge push or a WWE Championship opportunity down the road. The accolade was something that a few men could add to their list of accomplishments.
So let’s fast forward to now with these Queen of the Ring ideas. Could this really work in today’s WWE that is struggling to create lasting moments and new stars?
It depends on the commitment factor for the company; and that lies on the success and reception of the event if it did happen. There is certainly use for it, as the tournament can be used to elevate talent such as Ruby Riott, Peyton Royce, or Sasha Banks. On the flip side, it wouldn’t be no surprise if someone such as Alexa Bliss or Mandy Rose could take the win to garner extra heat for their respective character. That would certainly work, as Bliss is an example of someone who is very much over and the company seems to be completely behind her.
Consistency also matters, in which it is crucial to make the Queen of the Ring idea work. That goes hand in hand with the storytelling aspect that the company has been struggling with for some time now. Gaps in logic with missed opportunities have done more harm than good, and with Evolution’s success, it wouldn’t be fair to the women if Queen of the Ring was one and done thanks to those poor factors.
Queen of the Ring is a great idea that could certainly help the Women’s Division. Having the tournament at the Women’s PPV would create interest for fans that want something to look forward to. There is no doubt that the talent would shine during the Queen of the Ring – even the potential for possible Match of the Year candidates is high at an event such as this.
WWE has all of the tools to make this a success if at all possible this is true. Overall, it would be beneficial for the Women’s Division, and it will help the Evolution become full circle –something that the Division is meant to be.
Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!