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WWE’s Latest Bailout

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Bailout

Vince’s crew will be doing an old school loop in Florida through at least next Monday. One need only look at this year’s insane first half travel schedule for justification of this territorial time warp. Last night’s SmackDown Live was in Graham’s flagship city of Tampa. Readers who may know my style by now might think I would give a thumbnail of The Golden Goose of the modern art form. Since said Goose only crossed into one territory South of The Mason-Dixon Line just long enough to blink; and he was a better technical wrestler in The Rising Sun the he ever was in the US, those sheep would be wrong. Goose only needs Vince’s cash and your adoration because he made bad decisions and couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Wish we all had the McMahon wallet as a fallback plan once we got to our sixth decade.

Most fans tend to think Tuesday Night houses the more consistent show for both performance and storylines. Outside of one glaring mistake that makes a regular appearance because she is holding Championship Gold there is not much one can use to counter this argument. In my opinion, it starts with Paige. Even though she is scripted like all performers, her authenticity in wanting a good product comes across thanks to her experience in the industry. She knows how the art form is supposed to be portrayed; and does a much better job with this than Kurt Angle.

When something screwy happens on SmackDown Live, it doesn’t take a month to resolve. Attempts are made to advance issues quickly. Sometimes, within the same show. Want proof? This week’s episode was recess heavy. Outcomes aside, this is never a bad thing. Ladies bookended festivities, starting with Renee Young conducting an in-ring interview with Becky Lynch. The Lass Kicker has been excessively hot recently, including a clean tap out win over Charlotte. The redhead reinforced her long road back to challenging for and winning SmackDown Women’s Gold.

Full disclosure here. The Aliens sent me home last month, so I could see The Blue Brand in person. Staying in character, I walked my mechanical ass out of one televised match in Omaha. Yes Carmella; I would rather risk falling down a flight of stairs with heavy equipment on my back in the dark, than watch you be a fake champion in a work. Blondie Circus, there’s your heat! Listening to her is impossible. I can’t tell you a word she said in the ring. All I know is Ellsworth has a Titantron, and Becky got jumped by someone who can’t wrestle. This prompted a returning Charlotte to run in and save her best friend. What was she returning from again? Never mind that Second Nature did An Exploder Suplex in some serious heels. That’s hard enough in wrestling boots!

Just because a result moves a storyline along does not mean it was a good thought. Case and point: in the first hour, Carmella went looking for The Sexy Goth Chick to remedy the fact she had been punked. In the process, she may have wormed her way out of losing Gold at SummerSlam. The Belt Holder was heeling up on Paige, reminding her that she will never be champion again. All the promos were extremely personal and vicious. Creative was in rare form last night. More on that later. Back to Carmella. Our GM wasn’t gonna be insulted. She set up the main event with a stipulation that virtually guarantees Carmella will escape SummerSlam with Gold.

Quick, anyone remember the last time a champion lost two straight matches clean on TV and kept the strap? I know bookers and insiders think of titles as props, but must they slap us in the face so obviously? I hate Triple-Threat Matches, and Vince is beating me over the head with one. Why even have it? We know who’s walking out of there. We can see it weeks out. Why? Because the champion lost ANOTHER match where her challenger had fake rust in order to win a “coin flip.” HERE’S AN IDEA! Becky already beat Charlotte. GIVE HER THE SINGLES MATCH!

I am an unabashed Super Mark for the ladies art form, but what the Hell was Stamford’s other offering last night. The storyline surrounding it was understandable if not unnecessary right now. Not the first time. Won’t be the last. Why is WWE breaking up Rusev Day when fans LIKE THEM? If anyone has an answer other than: “Because Vince wants to,” I can walk! As strange as it is, at least marks can see that WTF moment coming. As for the Lana/Zelina Vega match we saw? I’ve got nothin’ for anybody except: Cover your ears. What the f*** was THAT? I have been watching various incarnations of the art form for over 30 years. That may have been the strangest worked match I have ever seen. Ms. Vega, Lana is a virtual rookie. You are not. If I’m not mistaken, you have years of professional experience around the globe. The Ravishing Russian does not.

I am a rarity for a Super Mark. I hear NXT rumors and respect opinions of those who know the product. However, I take pride in not watching talent before they come up to the main roster. Vega was no different. She had a great reputation as Almas’ mouthpiece. I wanted to see what she could do in the ring. The answer I got last night was stunning. She can do nothing?? Vega went over, and I couldn’t care less. Let me get this straight? She gets in the ring, and Creative tells her to FLAT OUT COPY her dude? Excuse me? Here’s the thing; not only did it look very weird, but she couldn’t do it without Lana running circles around her professionally. I didn’t stutter.

Lana should have won the match. She was kicking her ass and handing her most of her offense. Zelina, if you are going to do nothing yourself other than talk, stay out of the ring. Maybe the Puerto Rican art form is just perpetually f***ed up?

Unfortunately, the gentlemen were the only representation left. There was just one additional contest Tuesday. The semi-finals of a tag tournament to determine The Bludgeon Brothers’ opponents for Gold at SummerSlam. Participants: The Usos and The Bar, who have recently returned to television after completing other obligations for the company. The standard WWE formula of “returning performers win” held up here. The trick is to help sheep suspend disbelief long enough to think it won’t. Mission accomplished, fabulous match.

This was a very strange episode. I can’t remember the last time I closed a piece breaking down promos. They were all great. First, Jeff Hardy called out Randy Orton. The Charismatic Enigma was pissed after a torturous attack last week. He’s still gonna be pissed next week. When he wants to be, there is no better heel on either main roster than The Viper. Jake would be proud. Hardy mentioned his connection with the fans, and his pride when holding United States Gold. Orton came down the ramp only to swerve us with help from Shinsuke Nakamura after a brief stare down between heels. Finishers and vintage moves everywhere eventually found Hardy laid out on the announce table with Randy wiping off his customary war paint. This was fun.

Next, we have Daniel Bryan calling Mike out. Naturally, Mike showed up on The Titantron rather than in person. He was pretending to be shooting his reality show. I doubt it. Daniel was running down his in-ring skills and fake movie career. Mike countered with: “This is an old argument. Fans are sheep. Let your contract expire. I see you as nothing more than a baby.” This was glorified high school and it was great! Leading to something at SummerSlam. Though none of us are quite sure of the outcome yet, given the shoot aspect of Bryan’s contract.
Time for the best talker in the game right now. Hopefully, that’s not all Samoa Joe will be known for in Stamford. He has earned his history. We are well aware of what he can do. So is AJ Styles. This got personal in a hurry!

After praising his accomplishments and physical ability, Joe questioned Styles’ skillset and heart in terms of fatherhood. Going so far as to say that his family would be rooting for Joe to send him home after SummerSlam. What an odd, intense night. After that, I could use a shot of whiskey with a coffee chaser. Eventually, I will sober up, jump in the Cessna, and catch everyone up The Gulf Coast in Jacksonville next week.


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MadMan: She’s Handing Out Blues Better Than A Namesake Will

Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.

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Madman decided to follow his blue dragon back towards the titans! Let’s see what black magic he weaves in this edition.

I may not be in regular rotation, but when they give me a chair, I swing for my fences. As a decades-long consumer of the art, I don’t have many left. The only Home Runs WWE has placed within my scope, can be found in Women’s Division on both Monday Night Raw & SmackDown Live.

The year I began watching wrestling, some very interesting circumstances took place surrounding cable television. WTBS; (Atlanta), WAS the home of The NWA’s Jim Crockett Promotions. At least until “Black Saturday,” which ultimately saw Vinnie Jr. Hijack the famous 6:05 time slot. This nearly cause riots among cable viewers opposed to McMahon’s product and presentation.

Though the million dollar ransom The Crocketts paid to get their flagship spot back on the dial gave the head of Titan Sports the backbone to finance WrestleMania, which helped to wreck most of the territories. Hell, it can be argued somewhat convincingly upon its 30th Anniversary, Vince himself ruined his biggest display’s pristine intentions for two consecutive years with Lesnar beating the streak instead of Bray Wyatt; and, Sting losing his ONLY Mania match because someone else had the right bride on their marriage license.

Despite the objections of both smarks and sheep in certain cases, we must respect the history of this pop culture institution. IF WrestleMania is Woodstock, it is only appropriate that Tito Santana opened the show with a victory!

In recent years, there has been only one person on The Main Roster who has matched the swag of Santana’s initial accomplishment without even trying, and she wrestled in the last Mania Match I cared about. Finally got tired of giving fans The Blues. She’s ready to deal some out in the form of steel chairs and God knows what else.

“Cut Her talent LOOSE!” We kept screaming. “A REAL run with Gold, PLEASE?” Like a kid aching just before Christmas. As with Solis, she was a true pro, until the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in the modern art form washed over us.

Fans and insiders alike FORGOT about Social Media! Don’t get me wrong, it’s still here. Can’t get away from it. Hell, I’m doing a roll-in on the internet right now! If you’ve been fans of us long enough, you’ll realize that last sentence was not a botch! Seriously, this thing felt like the territories back in the day. No one knew a damn thing! Even some of those paid to know were flipping a coin every five minutes. Thanks for the constant stress, you ancient prick!

Come on folks. If you know my current wrestling HEART at all, you KNEW the last Chair Shot on her return was coming from her Super Mark in Middle America! When older dudes at this circus describe what true fandom is like; they’ll often say: “That’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, that’s bulls***, BUT THAT’S REAL!”

For her boatloads of fans and the woman herself, Christmas is here! The Stamford’s latest Blues enthusiast is very real, And WWE’s Black Magic Woman IS BACK! Line ’em up. they’re all falling. Charlotte & Ronda too. To The Man and those in charge of her Twitter Account, thanks for keeping the possibility top of mind when things first got weird. We never gave up, but you will! MISSED YOU LADY BANKS!


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Mad Man’s Spinal Tap & 20 Questions

Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox. Does this article go to 11? Are the retread concepts, just hollow nowadays?

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Back to back weeks we see the Mad Man come to play in our sandbox! Does this article go to 11?

When you have decades of experience watching the art form, your eyes and thought processes change. It’s the reason my colleagues can break down pending news and angles we haven’t seen yet. Mr. Meltzer made a cottage industry out of it. A ton of people on The Internet are trying to follow suit. Then, there are fans like me. As much as I love twitter, Professional Wrestling fans were never meant to receive “spoilers” every day.

This is NOT a “Back in my day…” thing. My eyes have changed too. However, I am focused more on WWE’s calendar when watching Stamford’s offering. If I think about wrestling. it’s very simple. My suspension of disbelief is gone for very few performers. In fact, I would say it’s gone for most fans. If we know it’s a work, why are scripts and outcomes still based on the assumption that we don’t? If I have seen a gimmick before, I am VERY hard to impress. Make me believe you can beat somebody; and stand out doing so, or I will chew you up and spit you the Hell out.

For those who say I should keep my mouth shut because I can’t perform and never have, I DON’T CARE! Saint Dave gets a pass, and y’all still watch the current product like his lap dogs and clones, despite “knowing’ the outcome? I don’t watch for the outcome anymore. Based on character development and pushes, I can see that coming. Call me a hypocrite and I will play 20 Questions with you. Can you get me to the finish line without looking like an idiot or a laughable copy of someone else?

Su Yung is 5’6’’ish. Marks and sheep world wide are transfixed and petrified? Make up aside, why? She is impersonating three legends with no unique move set and doing it very badly. Without her zombies, can she beat anybody? Mr. Calloway used druids. He was 6’10’’ and did not need them to kick your ass. Mick Foley put himself and you through HELL before using The Mandible Claw. You had no choice but to take it. The Great Muta was arguably the best Rising Sun performer of all time. He had a move set most American fans had never seen before. The Mist was believable in his hands because audience and opponent were spinning trying to keep up with him. Where is Su Yung’s Mysticism? As much as fans love her, there are no OMG moments in her matches, and her gimmick is predicated on them.

She is far from the only example. Twitter went crazy about a month ago because a top name on the indies put something in her opponent’s mouth during a match. Outside of a prison fight, when would this EVER HAPPEN? Why is this necessary? If this is a work, why would any girl allow someone to do this? Tell me why either woman gets hired again without the parrot response? Same question applies to Joseph. Dude ain’t pickin’ up anybody like that in real life. I dare him to pick my wheelchair up with his finish. He would be in traction.

Tony Schiavone is our crazy wrestling fan uncle. Our memories of him when we were kids and teenagers all ROCK! He is without question one of the best to ever call the action. God Bless Conrad Flair for bringing him back to the art form. Among other fun stuff, he now does commentary for MLW. With tongue firmly planted in cheek; I must say, I have a slight problem with him. I understand that it is his job. He continues to put MJF over because?? I get the gimmick. It’s just OLD! He is ripping off The Miz. One look at him, and you can see that. “I have more money than you.” So did DiBiase. And if you did, you wouldn’t need the $50.00 a night you made before Tony started calling your matches because you’d be paying him. Just wait until Mike retires before you go to New York.

Finally, we arrive at the biggest tent. Vinnie’s circus was on The West Coast in The House of Hot Rod & Billy Jack Haynes. Sheep under 25 are now asking a three-worded question. The only help you’ll get from me is to say that he may have been the father of Modern Independent Wrestling. Sometimes, it wasn’t his choice, and he is still fighting demons today.

Back to this week. Didn’t Spinal Tap all stand in the Center Ring around a month ago and do a babyface promo? “It’s our fault. We’ll do better for you. This is YOUR product.” First, I believe Stephanie as a babyface as much as I believe Saint Richard as a babyface. Shut up and go home as a shoot. Second, as big a moron as Vince is, he’s NOT leaving the person carrying the big top out of WrestleMania! Outside of the obvious, Becky’s leg is a work. SHE WAS LIMPING ON THE WRONG ONE ON MONDAY! Seth Rollins is hurt as a shoot. He WASN’T at Monday Night Raw. If Becky wasn’t cleared, she wouldn’t be on either show. So WHY is everybody going apes*** over this?

Sometimes, I can’t tell which group is Spinal Tap?

Is it the group on stage or the sheep who believe what they’re watching? I truly wish this art form was treated more like real competition.


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