Another show in Saudi Arabia, set for the locals paying for seats. Does it matter what Western fans think when the WWE Network subscription is paid for?
We’re going (going), back (back) to Saudi (Saudi).
Yes, that’s right. In just under a month’s time, the WWE will make yet another sojourn over to the Middle East for Super Showdown.
This is the third show to take place in Saudi Arabia over the last 13 months, following the Greatest Royal Rumble last May, and Crown Jewel in November.
The WWE has been widely criticized for holding these Saudi Arabia shows, largely because the regime over there is known for oppression of women and homosexuality, and for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi last year.
Many people wonder why Vince McMahon would see fit to sign a contract binding him to multiple Saudi shows, but you know what they say: money talks.
Yes, Vince is receiving a substantial amount of cash (some may call it blood money) from the Saudi government to make these shows happen. I don’t think any amount of righteous complaining is going to change the old man’s mind, so that’s not what I’m here to do.
No, I’m here to talk about the way that Vince crafts these shows, because I think we could all be in agreement here: The Saudi shows have all SUCKED.
Does anyone even remember the Greatest Royal Rumble?
It offered literally nothing of value, and I am so hard-pressed to even remember the match card. I remember the cruiserweights in action, the whole Lesnar-Reigns steel cage debacle, and the 50-man Royal Rumble main event, which is probably the most boring Rumble match to ever take place.
I mean, seriously. I could rant on this Rumble for hours upon end. Remember when they did a 40-man Rumble back in 2011, and almost everyone universally agreed that it was bad and too long?
Well, that clearly didn’t deter WWE from saying “hey, let’s make it a 50-man Rumble filled with mainly jobbers and bad surprise guests! That’ll score with the crowd!”
Spoiler alert: It didn’t.
And don’t even get me started on what they did to Rey Mysterio’s longevity record. Look, I like Daniel Bryan, and that record was meant to be broken at some point. I get that.
But to waste what should have been a groundbreaking achievement on a show that no one was going to care about? And to make the record virtually untouchable in the process, almost guaranteeing that the record will stand during the worst Rumble of all time? That’s not going to do anybody any favors.
But that was that. The Greatest Royal Rumble wasn’t good, but it looked like Wrestle-freakin’-Mania compared to Crown Jewel.
Ohhhh, Crown Jewel. I’m boiling over just thinking about it.
Shane McMahon, Best in the World? I don’t care if we got a really good storyline out of it, in a vacuum, that was a borderline-offensive booking decision to make.
Braun Strowman-Brock Lesnar? Terrible. Terrible terrible terrible. Brock Lesnar’s had someduds in the past, but it was clear he wasn’t even trying here. As for Strowman? This was the end for him.HE gotso thoroughly dominated by Lesnar that he basically disappeared after that.
Strowman used to be this monster that everyone feared, and it took one match to strip all that away from him.
And the main event? DX-Brothers of Destruction? WHAT YEAR IS IT, FOR GOD’S SAKE.
The match was bad, you wasted a pure retirement to bring Shawn Michaels to Saudi Arabia, and that’s the match you’re going to have?
Gimme a break. I’ll even give HBK some credit, he had to pull a lot of weight after Triple H went down with an injury. Still, he should have never been in the match to begin with.
These shows are very clearly intended for a certain kind of audience, one that enjoys watching 50 year-olds try their best to entertain a crowd. That’s very evident in the announced matches for Super Showdown.
Triple H-Randy Orton? A match people wanted to see in 2009.
Goldberg-Undertaker? A match people wanted to see in 1999.
We’ve also got a 50-man battle royal, which I’m sure will be fun and not a total clustershmuck.
I’ll forgive you if you tune out of the Super Showdown when it rolls around.
Steve Cook: 10 Commandments For Wrestling Fans
Be a good fan.
It’s an amazing time to be a fan, but that great power brings great responsibility. Steve Cook steps in with an all-too-important list of commandments for wrestling fans!
We live in a crazy time. I feel like it’s getting crazier the further we move along. I’m not sure what I can do otherwise than try to set behavioral standards for wrestling fans attending events right now. I would prefer not to do such a thing, but wrestling fans are not giving me a choice with their antics recently. If they acted like rational people I could remain silent, but instead they choose to act like assholes and force my hand. I wish they wouldn’t, but I have no choice but to strike them down.
I have 10 Wrestling Commandments for Wrestling Fans, and they need to accept them.
10. Thou shalt apply deodorant
This is the biggest common courtesy you can do for your fellow wrestling fans. Let’s be honest, a lot of us are going to be sweating buckets during a show. The experience is never going to be lemony fresh. Deodorant does make a difference. It’s one layer to suppress the stink, and maybe it ends up losing the battle, but it puts up a good fight.
9. Thou shalt not consume more than you can handle
Knowing your limit & staying under that limit suppresses a lot of situations. I’m one of those guys that can consume way too much and not do anything too crazy most of the time, but not everybody has my constitution. Which is great for them, as they don’t have to worry about dying of liver failure before they hit 50.
8. Thou shalt not hold up signs blocking fans’ view
I can only name one time I could approve of such a thing. I attended the 2012 Royal Rumble in St. Louis. A fan right in front of me had a sign. I was outraged at first, but then I realized the sign said “I Paid To See Daniel Bryan”. Then I shook the man’s hand and gave him my approval as a fellow Daniel Bryan fan. As it turned out, Bryan worked the opening match, so I didn’t have to deal with it most of the night.
7. Thou shalt not compare African-American Wrestlers to other African-Americans
The worst fan experience I can remember being a part of was an ROH show in Dayton, Ohio with Jay Lethal in the main event. I don’t know why that was the time they felt the need to compare Lethal to Gary Coleman or Webster or other famous African-Americans they could think of, but it was a humiliating experience as a wrestling fan without racist tendencies, and I understood why ROH would be hesitant to bring Japanese talent to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. Just so so bad.
6. Thou shalt spend freely at the merchandise table
The merch table is where the wrestlers make most of their money on most of the shows you will attend. If you really want to show your appreciation for a wrestler, this is where you will spend your money.
5. Thou shalt not use profanity
This is one I’ve been guilty of far too frequently. I grew up watching Tony Soprano & Al Swearengen, so profanity is undeniably part of my vocabulary. Especially at sporting events with quality opposition & questionable officiating. It’s not an admirable trait though, especially when pro wrestling is most enjoyed as a child. Try to keep it clean if a child is within eyesight. They’ll learn these words eventually, but you don’t want it to be from you.
Time to pick up a new Chairshot shirt!
4. Thou shalt not use “insider terms”
The problem I have is with people who use insider terms wrongly. Also, with people that use them to heckle the wrestlers. I hate people that try to act like they know things when they really don’t. I’ve been writing these columns for years and have read more than most people on the Internet, but I still wouldn’t use insider terms to heckle wrestlers. If I wouldn’t go there, you shouldn’t.
3. Thou shalt cheer for whomever you please
This is a debatable one. One popular school of thought, especially among wrestlers, is that fans should cheer the faces & boo the heels no matter what. It’s said to reflect poorly on a heel if he gets cheered, therefore if a fan truly appreciates the bad guy wrestler they should boo anyway.
I reject all of this nonsense. If you like a wrestler, cheer them. I don’t want to train fans to lie, so I won’t. I mean…can somebody really boo Chris Jericho in 2019? He’s an evil man, but I would cheer if he walked out in an arena I happened to be in. I couldn’t help myself. The man is a wrestling legend. If Jericho, or Flair, or somebody on their wavelength came out, I would cheer regardless of whatever a wrestling promoter told me to do.
2. Thou shalt not touch the wrestler, unless thou art high-fiving a fan favorite
This seems like common logic, but it’s been ignored far too often lately. Scarlett Bordeaux had the temerity, the unmitigated gall to work a show in Cancun over the weekend, and some overeager ringsider wanted to get all touch-feely.
Scarlett Bordeaux was groped by a fan at yesterday's AAA Worldwide event in Cancun. Security watched and did nothing. pic.twitter.com/coz0ZwGkvD
— HeelByNature.com (@HeelByNatureYT) June 16, 2019
What the hell? In what universe is that kind of behavior acceptable? I don’t give a damn about Scarlett’s persona or her ring attire or whatever. What makes fans think they have the right to cop a feel on anybody? Money? I know we elect people to public office based off of money, and we don’t care if our presidents grope females, but we hold wrestling ringsiders to higher standards than our Presidents apparently.
We should hold our Presidents to higher standards, but this isn’t a 10 Commandments for Presidents column. If somebody higher on the foodchain wants me to write that column, I will with pleasure.
1. Thou shalt remain on your side of the barrier
This seems like the easiest commandment to live by. As fans, we should all know our place is in the audience. We’re not getting paid to be part of the show. Yet, some dumbass marks think they are part of the show and need to participate. Very recently, there was the asshole that got owned by an angry Samoan.
— SoCal UNCENSORED (@socaluncensored) June 15, 2019
I wish I had an angry Samoan at hand to deal with people that annoyed me. I don’t, but most wrestling shows do. My feeling is that once you cross the barrier, you are subject to whatever punishment the people employed by the company feel is acceptable. If it’s getting your ass kicked by an angry Samoan, it is what it is. You are entering into their workplace. Their workplace often involves violence. It isn’t their fault if you don’t know how to work.
Tiffany’s Takes: WWE Raw (6/17/19)
Tiffany’s Takes kicks off the week with look at WWE Raw that featured Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan and The New Day in a 2-Out-Of-3-Falls Match!
It’s the go-home show for Stomping Grounds! How will WWE Raw make a case for fans to tune in?
Universal Championship: Seth Rollins might a babyface, but that doesn’t mean he’s afraid to get nasty. I LOVED this nasty side of the BeastSlayer and the warning about what will happen to anyone who sides with Corbin over him. THIS is a Universal Champion I can definitely get behind.
I love it when a face makes good on a threat. I lost count on how many prospective refs Seth destroyed, but he definitely got his point across to Corbin and his cronies: Do NOT piss off Seth Rollins.
I enjoyed the six man tag, though an actual, conscious ref was not as fun as EC3 playing Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s (look it up on Wikipedia if you have no idea what I’m talking about). I had a rant all done about how dumb it was to have Rowan interfere and ruin Rollins vs Bryan, but it wasn’t needed. That was a great match, can we have more of those, please?
United States Championship: If Elias wasn’t such a slimeball and mediocre singer, I’d almost feel bad for him after he got beat up by every person involved in the Fatal Five Way #1 Contender’s Match for the United States Championship, including two guys he used to be allied with.
The match was actually better than I’d expected, though I did somewhat appreciate the story building of Lashley helping to get Strowman eliminated as payback for Strowman eliminating him. My one big gripe is that this match didn’t go for very long, but I am THRILLED that Ricochet won and will get a shot on Sunday!
RAW Women’s Division: Have I ever mentioned that I’m over this Becky Lynch/Lacey Evans feud? I have? Good, because I wasn’t sure I’ve mentioned how boring I’m finding Becky’s ongoing problems with Emmie Slattery (Evans). I did appreciate them bringing up that Evans is a former Marine because I hate that they’ve taken someone who is a legit badass and can be such a great example for girls and turned her into a pinup who espouses sexist nonsense that has no place in modern America. HOPEFULLY, Scarlett (Lynch) will finally triumph over Emmie and move on to someone else.
Thank you, God, they made the IIconics look like competent champs! Their title run has been build on them looking stupid and it’s hurt them so badly. Even with a tainted win, it was a win over serious opponents, which they needed. Again, I loved edgy Bayley, but I hate that she’s playing into Alexa’s plan to steal the title. Hopefully, someone gets to Nikki and makes her see sense before something really goes wrong.
Raw Tag Team Division: After an absence of several weeks, Viking Raiders finally returned to RAW for some pillaging, and had to deal with the Greenjerks watching their match, for some reason, and that was about the most interesting thing about that match, since I don’t think we got the names of the poor guys they squashed.
I liked the Revival proving that there is no honor among thieves when they stole money from Drew McIntyre. I appreciated WWE trying to enhance McIntyre’s heel creds by having him attack Heath Slater, but it just felt forced.
I know Good Brothers are leaving in the fall, but I LOVED the reunion between them and Styles. Oh, what could’ve been if Vince had pulled his head out of his ass. That said, it looks like Styles’ words got to them so this last run might be pretty good. I did enjoy the tag match between them and the Usos, but it wasn’t long enough for me, plus Good Brothers looked ridiculous.
24/7 Championship: I’ll give Truth and Carmella their dues for trying to be clever with those disguises. They would’ve gotten away with it if not for the camera crew.
Roman Reigns vs Shane McMahon: If Shane and Drew haven’t gotten the message about pissing off Roman Reigns, I’m pretty sure they learned it tonight after Roman beat the hell out of Shane, to everyone’s delight, including mine.
Firefly Fun House: NOPE. Just…NOPE! He still gets points for the literature nod, but that’s it. I draw the line at maggots, but at least the rabbit was okay. Also: The world is ROUND, you inbred!
Overall Comments: So, how was RAW tonight? That was actually the best go-home show they’ve had in awhile. Every story got built and we got some great matches. Whoever was booking tonight should get a raise.
There’s been some discussion about Seth’s conduct, but it makes sense when you realize that he’s on his own. Ambrose is gone and Roman is dealing with his own issues. Seth’s got no one to watch his back and Lesnar is lurking around, so he’s getting paranoid and sick of everyone’s BS.
I’m ready for Alexa to get her ass kicked on Sunday and I hope Nikki Cross comes to her senses soon. I’m thrilled that the IIconics are finally being treated like legit performers and not just jokes.
Rollins vs Bryan didn’t disappoint, but the fact that we still don’t have a guest ref is cause for concern.
That’s it for Tiffany’s Takes! Tune in tomorrow for SmackDown and 205!