Posts Tagged ‘Wrestlemania’

I’ve been quiet. Too quiet. The fact that I haven’t really written anything here for Kick Out at 2! in a very long time is well, depressing. Truth is when Shane and I started this site it was meant to be nothing but a running commentary of our thoughts of the current product of professional wrestling. We started it, we were full of ideas and we had content flowing on the site on a regular basis. Truth is over time, wrestling got stale for me. For two years people like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were going against the grain, forcing change and putting the “Entertainment” back in the company’s name. WWE was on fire, a hotter fire than it had been in a long time. Then it burned out… then I burned out.

While Shane had been keeping the site going with his journey into WCW, I felt like I honestly wasn’t pulling my weight. It was hard for me to write about anything but honestly my heart just wasn’t in wrestling anymore. I had simply become so disenchanted with wrestling and almost totally lost the passion and the love that I’ve always had for it. I knew that WWE didn’t give a damn what I thought or what millions of others fans thought. For the last 3 years, no matter how much we voiced our frustration, flat out told Vince and his powers that be that we didn’t want to eat what was being force feed to us, WWE has been consistently pushing bad ideas as their main roster down our throats.

I haven’t watched an entire episode of RAW in at least 2 years, following the product through PPV’s alone on The Network because it seemed like storylines simply didn’t matter, they were dropped with no explanation, no new characters were being made and WWE was simply refusing to grow as a product in the entertainment field.  It then got to a point where I wasn’t watching PPV’s. I eventually returned and watched The Royal Rumble with my friends on Xbox Party Chat. We loved the fact that AJ Styles made his debut and once we saw Triple H become World Heavyweight Champion we felt for a few weeks that maybe, just maybe WWE was reading the writing on the wall. With all the injuries they are having and Roman Reigns simply not getting over as the cookie cutter baby face Vince wanted him to be, I figured Vince was going to the right thing and force some changes by having Dean Ambrose challenge for the title at Wrestlemania.

Not only was I wrong again but Wrestlemania as a whole was quickly shaping up to be the worst Mania I have ever seen. Not only was it bad but it was worse than I could have possibly imagined. The story of this Wrestlemania wasn’t the Championship, it was The Authority. The fact that WWE made a story out of WWE’s ratings being in the toilet and built an entire angle out of Shane fighting for control to make a change seemed like a perfect setting to change it up. Having Undertaker beat Shane was a complete waste and an incredibly mis-booked storyline. Dean Ambrose not getting a win over the monster that is Brock Lesnar was another waste and in a world where Chris Jericho has been consistently putting over younger talent for two years, was there any reason for AJ Styles “Wrestling’s hottest free agent at the time of his signing” to not get the win and a Wrestlemania moment against the established veteran?

WWE claims that their attendance record was over 100,000 when in reality it was just slightly over 94,000 but regardless, when you have “100,000” people unanimously “booing” someone, you do not put the title on that person! 20 some years ago Vince had the idea that Lex Luger was going to be the superstar to replace Hulk Hogan, wanting to initially over look the likes of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Today he is wanting Roman Reigns to be the next John Cena, overlooking the likes of Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Bray Wyatt even Zack Ryder. The point here is, especially now with the possibility of calling any NXT talent up to the main roster, ANYONE but Roman Reigns deserves to be World Champion. Because of WWE’s inability to tell a compelling story with him, Roman has had the title sling shot back to him so many times that he is now a 3 Time World Champion, 1 away from tying Shawn Michaels’ career record. Shawn Michaels, the man who had the 30 some year wrestling career! Roman has been there 4 years… he hasn’t earned that and he surely does not deserve it.

Speaking of NXT. NXT Dallas Takeover was absolutely wonderful! This promotion is single handedly been the only thing that has kept my interest in wrestling from totally fading away. NXT Dallas hooked me back. Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe was incredible and people are going to really have to step it up if they want to take the “Match of the Year” title away from the Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura match. Triple H knows how to run a wrestling show and from what I’ve seen it seems like WWE will be in good hands once Vince does decide to hang it up, which honestly needs to be sooner rather than later.

I broke down and actually watched RAW this week, meaning that I watched the 90 Min version of it on HULU. Let’s face it, 3hrs is simply too long for a weekly wrestling show. Surprisingly enough I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. Seeing a lot of the NXT guy’s debut was nice and honestly gives me some hope that WWE could potentially get better. I had heard that Zack Ryder lost his Intercontinental Championship and was pretty pissed about that but honestly seeing the way it unfolded I kind of feel like Zack may be front and center for what could potentially be a good story for him. I really hope he wins it back as I feel he could be a very credible champion and he clearly deserves it. Cesaro returning was absolutely incredible and the Fatal Four way to determine the number one contender was really, really good. All four of those guys that were involved in the match deserve to be champion. I really hope that AJ makes an impact with the WWE audience and he isn’t simply served up to the “all powerful Samoan Overlord”

There are a lot reasons that wrestling fans such as myself have to be upset with the way that WWE is currently handling their own product and rightfully so. However with the amount of pure talent on the roster, the untapped potential and the seeds of improvement that I hope were sown Monday Night I can only hope for the best. I won’t say my relationship with WWE is over but it has clearly taken a beating and it’s going to take some time to make a full recovery, if it ever does…

I really hope it does.

Robbie C.

Advertisements

Wrestlemania.  The Showcase of the Immortals.  The grandest stage of them all.

The show that makes me reevaluate professional wrestling, yet again.

Wrestlemania is wrestling’s Super Bowl.  It’s Stanley Cup.  It’s become more than just WWE’s annual big show.  Over the last ten years or so, Wrestlemania weekend has become a celebration of all things wrestling.  ROH, Evolve, and other indy companies always relocate to the Mania host city to do big shows that weekend.  There’s Axxess, WWE’s fan festival where you can do anything from meet your favorite superstars to watch some live wrestling to walk through a mini museum of WWE’s past.  There’s the Hall of Fame ceremony, where wrestling’s legends are honored.  There’s WrestleCon and other wrestling events.  It’s a big deal.

It’s no lie or even a secret that we here at Kick Out at 2 have been out of the current product for a while.  I still catch the PPVs and keep an ear to the ground on what’s going on with Raw, but in 2016, I have watched a total of two complete episodes of Monday Night Raw…and one was because I was at the event.  As the injuries mounted and the card came together, we were not getting excited about Mania whatsoever over here in Ko@2land.

Wrestlemania, however, finds a way.  As Friday bled into Saturday and eventually Sunday, all I could think about was wrestling.  There wasn’t a single thing on my television on Sunday that didn’t happen in a squared circle.  I found myself getting excited.  I found myself wishing I had called a few friends over and had a Wrestlemania party.  I found myself wishing I was back in Virginia so we could have a Kick Out at 2 Wrestlemania Party ourselves, with blackjack and…well, I digress.  What I’m saying is that the part of me that loves pro wrestling awoke and Wrestlemania was the full moon that brought it to snarling life.

So, let’s talk about Mania.  I’m not going to do a full breakdown like I do on Nitro or something like that.  For one, there are other places that do that stuff with the current product.  For another, from start to finish, Wrestlemania was almost SEVEN HOURS LONG!  The pre-show started at 5, the show ended at fifteen till midnight.  That’s ridiculous.  I can barely stomach a three hour Raw anymore, so trying to write up seven hours would be maddening.  For most of the event, I was on XBOX Live with Derick and Robbie, so I know their thoughts on the card and for almost every point I make, rest assured that I speak with the full authority of us here at Kick Out at 2.

This card let me down.  Just the card, out of the gate.  Now, I know that’s due to injuries, so I’m not spending too much time on this, but going into the show, I was excited for THREE matches.  Three…in a seven hour show.  I wanted to see the Intercontinental Championship ladder match, AJ Styles VS Chris Jericho, and Shane McMahon VS The Undertaker.  I’m not a Roman Reigns fan in the slightest, so that match didn’t have my attention at all…but we’ll get to that later on.

We get the undercard on the pre-show, which I always feel bad for because these guys deserve to be on the main show.  It’s telling at how bloated the roster is right now when you can’t fit your important guys on the show in five hours.  I’m not exactly calling for a brand extension or a roster split…but we gotta do something here.  Anyway, Ryback and Kalisto was a pretty decent match albeit one that looked like it was contested in front of about 45 people because of how early in the pre-show it happened.  They’ve finally given Ryback a bit of personality, but he’s a heel now which is dumb.  People like this guy as a monster babyface.  Do that.  The Total Divas VS non-Total Divas match was useless except to let us know that there are at least 13 women in this division, which is ridiculous when only about six of them can put on a decent match to save their lives.  We were treated to the in-ring debut of Lana, which was meh, and the main roster return of Eva Marie, which was totally useless.  Brie Bella wins with the Yes Lock, which I liked.  Usos VS Dudley Boys was nothing special but it was interesting when the crowd booed the crap out of the Usos at the end of the match.

So, on to Wrestlemania! I enjoyed the ending to ONE match.  ONE!

Now, I read a comment on Reddit today that kind of drew this post out of me.  The guy, and I’m paraphrasing here, basically said “you’re a bunch of smarks who are pissed their favorite guy didn’t win.”  I’ll go on record as saying that one of the things I have a problem with is that my guy didn’t win in ONE match.  That was AJ Styles.  I love AJ Styles unapologetically and wanted him to win.  Especially when Jericho has been putting people over at Mania for years now.  And he didn’t.  So…that upset me.  I saw no real reason why Styles couldn’t win, but I ultimately don’t think it hurt Styles and I don’t know if it’ll be the end of their feud, but still…Wrestlemania should be about making new talent.  AJ debuted as the hottest free agent in pro wrestling, so him being beaten by a man who everyone can beat now doesn’t really do much for him going forward.  Chalk it up to WWE’s 50/50 booking lately, I suppose.  Now, with that out of the way, I can assure you that anything else I have a problem with doesn’t come from a place of “I’m pouting because my guy didn’t win.”

The Intercontinental Championship match was awesome and was the match of the night and the moment of the night for me.  I was legitimately excited to see Zack Ryder win and I hope that he gets a push that continues for a long time.  He’s earned it more than anyone else on that roster.

The Divas…nay…Women’s Championship match was pretty good.  I’m not invested in any of these ladies, though, so Charlotte winning didn’t do much or detract from anything for me.  It simply was.  I did like Sasha wearing tights commemorating Eddie Guerrero, though, as well as Charlotte coming out in a robe made of Flair’s 2008 robe.  That was pretty tight.  I like the new Women’s Championship belt as well.  It’s way better than the Divas title.  I’m also very glad the Divas moniker is gone.

Why’d New Day lose?  They’re the hottest thing WWE has right now.  I get that the loss doesn’t hurt them, per se, but still, send people home happy.

Or, was sending people home happy why we got the three legends coming out to beat down the League of Nations?  I’m not going to lie, I marked at this.  I enjoyed seeing some Stone Cold Stunners get tossed around.  This, along with Zack Ryder, made my night.

Ambrose losing was probably inevitable, but I think they could have done more in building him up to be a legit threat to Lesnar.  I never felt that Lesnar was in trouble through the entire match.  Plus, I’m getting tired of Suplex City.  Brock is a great wrestler, but his entire repertoire has been reduced to two moves.  I’m over it.  Brock got the win and deserved it, but they’ve basically established that no one can beat Brock.  He’s Godzilla.  Who’s that going to help?

Now…let’s get to the two that really upset me…

  • Roman Reigns wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the third time.

There’s so much about that sentence that makes me unhappy.  Like I said before, I’m not a fan of Roman Reigns.  He has no charisma.  He’s not a great wrestler.  He can’t talk to save his life.  I just don’t like him.  Nothing against him…I just can’t get into him.  He was my least favorite part of The Shield but he’s the part that’s getting shoved down my throat week in and week out for the last year.

I’m not alone in this.  100,000 people booed the living crap out of Roman Reigns last night.  They booed him so much that they had to lower the mic volume to keep it from sounding bad.  This was so apparent that one of my 9th graders came in today commenting about it.  The “WWE Universe” does not want Roman Reigns as champion.  For the last two months they’ve been telling WWE that at Raw, Smackdown, and live shows.  HHH has been the odds on babyface through this entire feud and has been cheered relentlessly for it.  He was the man last night and he was who everyone wanted to see win.  Except he didn’t.  Vince didn’t listen to his audience.  He didn’t listen to his fans.  He didn’t listen to the people who pay for tickets and merch and the WWE Network.  Nope…he gave Roman the belt.  For the third time.

You see, I can deal with a champion I don’t want.  But I can’t deal with one that now only has one less world title reign than Shawn freaking Michaels!  WWE does this stupid thing recently where a guy’s first title reign or so doesn’t matter.  Roman wins it in November…boom, Sheamus cashes in on him.  He wins it a month later…boom, HHH wins it from him in the Rumble.  So, now, he’s a three time champion out of nowhere, the crowd still can’t stand him, but there we go.

One would think this would be my biggest issue with last night, but that one is reserved for….

  • WHY DID SHANE McMAHON LOSE?!

What the living hell, WWE?!  Now, I understand that having a 46 year old man who was never a legit wrestler come out and beat the Phenom seems kind of silly, but you have to look at the narrative that went into that match.  Shane comes out two months ago and says he’s going to be the voice of the people and he’s going to change the sinking ship that is WWE for the better.  He’s going to wrest power away from The Authority and take back Monday Night Raw, as well as his legacy as Vince McMahon’s son and heir apparent.  Then, after last night, it’s just over.  No change.  No Raw is Shane.  No nothing.  Just the same as it ever was.

Here’s the problem with this, and it flows into my problem with Roman…

With this angle, WWE came out point blank and said yes, our ratings are tanking.  Yes, we know we’re not as awesome as we once were.  Yes, we know you hate The Authority opening the show with 20 minute glad-handing promos.  Yes, we know you want it to be better.

They gave that potential change a face.  A face we all love.  A face some people have legitimately been wanting to show back up and wrest real life control of the WWE back from his father, sister and brother-in-law.  They gave us Shane o’Mac; a man who’s awesomeness is only topped by his fire shoe game.

Then they beat him and took it all away.

Go back and watch the very end of that match.  Taker sarcastically pats Shane on the cheek as if to say “it’s so cute how you thought it would change…”and then plants our hopes and dreams of a new day on Raw tonight right on their head in the center of the ring with a Tombstone piledriver.  With that match, Vince McMahon told the fans watching the WWE that he hears their complaints…and that he just doesn’t care.

Damian Sandow tweeted out today that if we have opinions, make sure they hear them tonight.  Now, Damian was speaking in reference to the ovation he got in the Andre Memorial Battle Royal last night.  If we’re a fan, tell WWE so they’ll know.  Unfortunately, Damian, we’ve tried letting Vince know what we think.  We tried it at the Royal Rumble last year.  We tried it at Wrestlemania last year.  We tried it at the Royal Rumble this year.  We tried it through the entire lead up to Wrestlemania.  We tried that AT Wrestlemania.  Hell, we even tried it a few years ago WITH YOU.  If it’s not in Vince’s master plan, he’s not listening.  What he wants to happen is what’s going to happen, us be damned.

Vinnie Hears Ya

I always hold NXT up as proof that this company can run a wrestling promotion the way that fans want.  NXT has long term storytelling that makes sense.  NXT has great wrestling action.  NXT has minimal intrusion from “authority figures.”  NXT put on a show on Friday with not a single gimmick match.  Just singles matches and tag team matches.  It blew Wrestlemania out of the water.  It’s not even close.  NXT: Takeover is the better wrestling show.  And they accomplished it in two hours.  WWE, the biggest wrestling promotion in the world, took seven and was really only able to piss me off.  This company knows what to do…they just refuse to do it on a larger scale.

I’m going to wrap up with this.  Wrestlemania is in Orlando next year.  Four hours from my apartment here in Miami.  Until last night, all I could talk about was getting a group together to hit Mania weekend and everything that comes with it.  Last night, after the show had gone off the air, that desire was gone.  I still want to go to Axxess.  I still want to go to the Hall of Fame.  ROH shows sound awesome.  NXT Takeover sounds phenomenal.  Wrestlemania…yeah, I may just come on home and catch that one on the Network.  Tonight’s Raw…normally the best Raw of the year…I really don’t want to watch it.  I may not.

I’m not one of the ones who’s going to tell you to cancel the WWE Network over this, because as long as they offer the thing, I’ll never cancel it.  I love wrestling and wrestling history too much to lose access to as much of it as the WWE gives me.  But…I’m even more out of love with WWE than I’ve been in a while.  I won’t be going to the Smackdown show in June.  I won’t be going to any live events.  I probably won’t be watching any PPVs for a while.  No, I’ll stick with Nitro, and NXT, and stuff like that.  It’s weird…this company puts out things that I enjoy…I just wish a few of them could happen in the ring with the main roster.

Shane

So that was interesting! The Kick Out at 2 PPV Predictions, not the PPV itself. So here’s the deal for those playing the home game. Recently Shane, Derick and myself where involved in a group chat which saw me “making fun” of Sting and other WCW related topics. As you should no doubt realize that is a dangerous game one should not play. I figured some form of “revenge” was heading my way but didn’t honestly think they would do what they did… I was wrong. Even with them throwing away their predictions and trolling me back on our main site, I was still only able to pull ahead by one point. Perhaps I should start paying more attention to RAW & Smackdown but after this finasco I’m more inclined to start WCW on the WWE Network.

Robbie – 14/29

Derick – 13/29

Shane – 12/29

Hopefully we will be back on track for Payback since the playing field is very leveled. Also you should head over to Amazon and buy Shane’s first Vol. of Kick Out at Nitro. Just click the picture below! From what I understand it holds the codex to deciphering our last post. 😉

 

Well that was certainly an interesting Wrestlemania. Definitely a lot better than last year’s. I know Derick and Shane blame me for Sting’s loss so figured I may as well pick the best picture I could find to rub some salt in their wounds. We had a lot of shocks this year as well as plenty of good moments as well. The only thing I personally didn’t like was Brock losing his championship. I blame Dean Ambrose for not keeping his promise but that is another article for another time. Let’s take a look and see how we stack up with our predictions after this year’s Wrestlemania…

Derick – 13/22

Shane – 12/22

Robbie – 10/22

Really close game so far. Hopefully Extreme Rules will be a fun PPV and level the playing field a little here at Kick Out at 2!

Two weeks ago the WWE hit a major setback on the road to this year’s Wrestlemania. The Royal Rumble usually has been the PPV that launches the build to WWE’s biggest event of the year – Wrestlemania, their Super Bowl if you will. However, for the past two years, to say The Royal Rumble PPV has been a misstep would be an understatement. Last year we saw the return of Batista, who for some reason went on the win the Rumble match. The decision was unpopular with the wrestling fans so much so that it quickly lead to a heel turn for the former Champion. This year, so much effort has been going into elevating Roman Reigns and trying to build him into the next face of the company, that it was no shock that he would emerge the victor. What was surprising was how quickly the fans turned on him. Despite WWE’s best efforts to get Reigns over which included bringing in Roman’s fellow member of the Anoa’i Family, The Rock, WWE creative clearly did not get the reaction they were hoping for.

10961968_10103211063619623_1312139453_nOne year ago the fans were cheering for Reigns like crazy wanting to see him dump Batista out of the Rumble when it came down to those two. This year, Roman has found himself on the opposite end of the spectrum receiving a very different reaction from the fans. Like last year the fans have let their voice be heard and it seems WWE is wavering in their decision to run with Reigns vs Lesnar at Wrestlemania. At Fast Lane, Roman will put his No. 1 Contendership on the line against Daniel Bryan who defeated Seth Rollins this past Monday to earn a shot at his once vacated title. This is WWE’s answer to protecting Reigns by using the clear fan favorite Bryan to hopefully help elevate Reigns to the next tier. Over the past few weeks I have went back and forth myself so much on Reigns. “Is he ready?”, “Is he not?” and at the end of the day I think this is just a classic example of wrong place at the wrong time.

There is no doubt in my mind that Reigns will be a top tier talent one day and I have absolutely no problem with that. The problem that I do have is WWE wanting to push him too hard and so fast that he becomes another Ryback. Another big guy with so much more potential who had a brush with the main event only to drop back to mid-card hell and lost in terrible booking for a year of so. It’s not fair to Reigns and putting him out there only to have his legs cut off from under him would only hurt him in the long run. With the return of Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar now receiving a a Baby Face pop each time he shows up, despite being a Heel, there are just so many X-factors that come into play to shape a World Title picture that the fans will accept.

If they go with the current plan, despite WWE’s story and commentary, Roman would be the heel and Brock the face going in that match simply based on crowd reaction alone. The question is would WWE be bold enough to allow this to be an organic turn. I’ve thought of the possibility of having Paul Heyman turning on Brock and being Roman’s manager and voice, much like he did for Lesnar after his debut. Speaking has never been one of Lesnar’s high points and it’s become painfully obvious that Reigns has some issues as well. While teaming Heyman with Reigns may work out down the road, I’m not sure it should happen just yet. Perhaps WWE should look to the past and at what has worked before. If I were booking this I would have them use Wrestlemania 2000 as the template going forward.

Wrestlemania that year consisted of a Fatal Four Way Match for the WWE Championship. The Rock had won The Royal Rumble that year, eliminating The Big Show last and earning the right to go on to face Triple H at Wrestlemania. Triple H had retained the title against Mick Foley and throughout the months building up these 4 were heavily involved in each others matches and stories that eventually lead to each person having a legitimate claim to the title resulting in the Fatal Four Way Match.

It worked then and it could really work now. Brock has proven he can beat anyone, even walking away from an awesome Triple Threat at The Rumble. If the rumors are true and he is leaving WWE he will need to drop the title at Wrestlemania. After a Triple Threat, naturally you add one more person to the fray. Seth Rollins was made during that Triple Threat and has proved he is more then ready to step up. Daniel Bryan clearly isn’t going anywhere after making his return which many thought may never happen and Reigns’ Rumble win traditionally gives him the right to Main Event Wrestlemania. At Fast Lane what should happen is Seth Rollins should interfere in Reigns’ match resulting in a loss for Reigns, officially adding Daniel to the main event. Later in the night Lesnar should make an appearance cutting a promo with Paul only to be attacked by The Authority. The Authority makes random attacks anyway so why not make this one count? Kane, Big Show and J&J Security should get the best of Lesnar, maybe even playing off his “broken ribs” angle leaving him broken and beak down…cue Seth Rollin’s music. Seth attempts to cash in only for an enraged Reigns to storm the ring shortly after the bell rings. Reigns takes out Seth and pulls Lesnar over Seth’s body. As Reigns distracts The Authority the ref comes to and makes the count with Reigns gaining revenge by costing Seth his contract.

wpid-fb_img_1423047235399.jpgGoing into Wresltemania each person could argue that they had legitimate claim to The WWE World Heavyweight Champion. WWE creative could be happy, Vince could be happy and the fans could be happy seeing so many people in the mix. A Main Even consisting of these four individuals would cover every demographic the WWE tries to cater too. You would have your company guy, your indie guys and your special attraction…. the best of every world possible. If WWE we’re smart they should let this unfold…. only question is, are they smart?