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  1. Just to circle back to the Bryan booking post WM30 chat. Kane as perfectly logical feud and the title run being doomed due to injury anyway are both completely fair points, but I’d still point to the Kane feud as a big backward step at that time. That Mania kind of felt like a potential new dawn - Bryan’s big win, the streak ending, Cesaro (seemingly) breaking out as a singles star and face Shield squashing the old guys (complete with a ‘there goes the Attitude era’ call on commentary). To go from that into a Kane title feud was such a ‘same old shit’ move. Kane is one of those guys that epitomises WWE’s post-WCW staleness for me. Someone who stuck around forever being consistently uninteresting. By 2014 he was at least 10 years past the point of being a credible main event threat (yeah, I know he had title runs between then, but they weren’t on the a-show), And, the ‘Uh-oh Kane is a monster again’ push was beyond played out. In short, Kane sucked and should have been nowhere near the title scene in 2014.
  2. Totally agree on that. Although this talking point tends to get a weird amount of push back on here (for DVDVR I feel like the real Suzuki incident was suggesting they should do a video montage for him). When they’re bringing in YouTube regulars off the bench it just seems like a no-brainer to do a quick highlight reel of them winning, help establish what their finishers are/what is dangerous about them. Doing them as little character pieces with guys like The Gunns obnoxiously commentating over it would be a great touch as well. I really like the win-loss records as a tool to establish credibility BTW. I think the concept has been established enough now that you can start to play off it a bit more, like they did the little trophy thing for Shida’s wins. I like the idea of them playing off the ‘padding records’ thing with a heel taking obviously easy matches to build up a big win streak.
  3. Just had the chance to catch up on this last night. Just skimmed this thread so I’ll probably repeat some talking points. Good show, if a little long. Four hours is just a bit too much for me. I think you could stand to trim a few minutes from multiple matches (and they’d probably be better for it). Mix up the pacing/match structures a bit (if everything is an epic then nothing is epic). And I’d have cut the Cody match from this. Darby/MJF - I really liked this. The big stuff all looked good as you expect from Darby, and there was some really well done counters. I think it made sense that it was worked fairly straight, rather than hate-filled as MJF thought he had a better chance in a straight wrestling match, and Darby was defiant that he wouldn’t let MJF break him mentally and would stick to his usual style (luckily Darby’s usual style is pretty aggressive anyway so there was still enough hate in it). I think this put over that MJF is actually a pretty good wrestler, but maybe a step behind Darby, and it’s his general dickishness (mind games, willingness to cheat) added onto his wrestling skills that make him dangerous. If I was to fault this, I’d say the sequencing towards the end felt a bit-off, having the slightly goofy pin exchange after the big tombstone spot didn’t really work for me. Wasn’t really into the tag title match. I was only half paying attention to the first few minutes so maybe I missed something, but it just felt like there was no structure - no obvious heat segment and no particular story to get into. Plenty of good looking stuff, but it just seemed like one long finishing stretch. It was more FTR plugged into a Lucha Bros match, and I think the opposite would be a lot better. Miro/Danielson - really good, in hindsight it probably worked that the finish was so sloppy looking, sold the danger of what Danielson was doing. Miro is probably the best vulnerable monster around currently and Danielson kind of has the opposite thing going where he’s sort of naturally vulnerable as a smaller guy, but he comes across as a killer and a realistic threat no matter the opponent. Street fight was good fun mostly, maybe could have been a bit shorter, but good finish, and they used plenty of breakups rather than kick outs off big spots. It didn’t particularly bother me here, but it struck me in the MJF match that he’s a much more interesting version of Cole. I’d say the characters/wrestlers are ballpark similar (sleazebag heel, who’s solid-good but no obvious standout skills), but MJF just projects his character into his work much better. Cole will bump big and take a beating, as he demonstrated here, but I find that he generally works far too evenly for a cowardly heel. One example I’ve noticed is his reliance on ‘you charge at me and I’ll kick you’ as his go-to cut off. I think he did that 3 times in this match. It’s just totally uninteresting. Cheat, be more of a dick. Cody tag was solid enough, using the reluctant partners thing to add a bit story, but I just didn’t care. What were the stakes here? Why should I care if PAC and Cody can get along? Neither are particularly likeable ATM. It felt like it was building to an angle, which didn’t happen. Could have done this on TV. And what was with that weird post-match attack of Cash getting in like 2 shots? I do think there’s interesting things you can do with Cody as heel who thinks he’s a face, but this isn’t it. It feels like it’s in limbo ATM, it needs to be better defined. I don’t think any of the other guys benefited from being involved in this. There’s a larger narrative being told with Cody but it almost seems independent of who he’s actually in there with. Womens title was a match. I think the thing about Conti being hugely improved/WWE dropping the ball on her has been overstated. I like when she leans into the more unique looking judo throw stuff, but still a way to go to put it all together. Her shocked face after every kick out throughout the match was pretty annoying (as an aside, that should mainly be a heel trait to sell the toughness of the face, not the opposite). And that’s kinda my main criticism of Baker, similar to Cole and in spite of her cheating, she works too strong for a coward heel. She kicked out of both of Conti’s finishers here, plus the new potential finish of the Gotch piledriver (making it feel a bit anti-climactic straight off). Punk/Kingston was a just a really good fight. This was relatively short but was totally satisfying for what it was trying to do. Selling by both was great and the exhaustion felt much more earned here, despite the comparative shortness. Guerrero spot felt a bit misplaced, but the Cena spot was a great fuck you. Like Punk has earned the right to do that cos, unlike Kingston, he made it and fought stars like Cena. I didn’t actually realise until this started, but having two multi-man street fights was a bit of a daft decision. Working the first 5-10 of this as a straight tag was equally strange, I’d have preferred if they just kept the tag format for this, even if they allowed weapons. Some ok stuff, but a bit of a mess and not as fun as the earlier street fight. I’ve little interest in Jericho and crew currently, the younger Inner Circle guys really need to get away from it. Main was good, I think I’d rate the opener, Punk, and Danielson matches higher though. I was a bit tired at this point so I was maybe a bit less invested. I just hope (and assume) the Bucks bit is leading to a splintering of The Elite rather than a face turn for them.
  4. Just caught up, enjoyable show, some assorted thoughts. Punk Fish was really good. I thought the almost kick-out made perfect sense. Little touches like that, and Punk’s flying elbow off one leg, were the low-key highlights for me. I actually prefer Punk’s long tights look, for whatever reason I think it adds to the whole veteran vibe he has now. I didn’t really get them signing Fish, but I think his presentation has been great and he’s brought it. I think it’s another bit of really smart booking, having guys like him and Spears as mid-card JTTS means it isn’t always your future stars taking these losses. I’ve enjoyed Sammy’s title matches so far and this was again solid. He seems to have reined in some of his finisher overkill tendencies recently. As a face character though, he’s not really working for me since the initial stuff as a foil in the MJF-Inner Circle feud. It feels like he’s playing dress up in Jericho’s weird biker gang fantasy with the leather vest, and he still gives off a cocky little prick vibe more than anything else. I like the idea behind the Cody promo. Him maintaining that he’s a hero as the fans rebel against him is kinda where I’d go with this, but the execution here was too on the nose. I mostly enjoyed the main. In amongst Ghostbusters, donkeys and everything else - the thing I found the goofiest was Uno’s stupid ‘ref catches the leg’ neckbreaker. That’s a cute idea that should never have become a signature spot. Seeing Knox cluelessly shuffling into position telegraphed it even more.
  5. Kev

    1997 WWF

    Raw 2 June 97 Taker promo with Bearer, Bearer basically telling Taker that he’s in charge now. Bearer got a bit less hammy around this point and it was needed. Fuck Yeah! Sid is back. I thought he was done. He wants his Mania rematch tonight. Faarooq out as an afterthought to remind us he’s challenging at the ppv. Nice video package on Ahmed and Farooq’s never ending feud as they face off again. It’s decent enough but quickly breaks down with NOD/Taker interference, big brawl doesn’t result in a dq and Ahmed takes a pretty sick looking bump into the steps during the melee, allowing Farooq to roll him in for the pin. Ahmed gets a choke slam post-match after getting in Taker’s face. I still like Ahmed after seeing him a fair bit now on these Raws, probably best that his matches were kept short, but he bumps well and has nice explosive offence. I think this probably signals the end of him as an upper mid card threat. Bret announces that his KOTR match with HBK is off. This leads to more HBK/Austin arguing and they’ll now face each other at KOTR. There’s nothing classic here but Austin is great at this point. I think I said this in a previous recap, but just 100% in on his character, everything about him seems believable. Owen vs. Bob Holly for the IC title. This comes after Holly upset him in a non-title match a couple weeks back, they kinda killed this mini-story arc though by having Holly lose to D’Lo last week. It’s a nice little sprint, for the second week running Holly goes to the well too many times with the Frankensteiner and gets caught with a powerbomb leading to an Owen win. Another never ending feud reprise as it’s HHH vs. Goldust back for another instalment. This is good for the short time it gets, quick pace and intensity puts over the rivalry. Miscommunication from H and Chyna leads to a Goldust roll up win. I think keeping the full-on Goldust presentation was a mistake after they did the ‘reveal’ in the sit down interviews. I feel like the psychology of the Goldust character was kind of lost once they ‘humanised’ him, I’d have toned down the makeup/bodysuit and generally just tried to make him less gimmicky. I think that would have given him a better chance higher up the card. Tag Titles - LOD vs. Austin/HBK - the start of this is really good as Hawk overpowers HBK a few times until Austin is like ‘Fuck this’ and jumps in to start a brawl, which LOD again get the better of. Austin briefly gains control, showing he’s not afraid to heel it up with an eye poke and a low blow. LOD overpower them again, and that actually leads to some Austin/HBK teamwork as they realise the challenge they face, and they’re very much in the heel role here. They do an interesting variation on the ‘ref doesn’t see the face tag’ bit as Animal accidentally shoulder blocks Hebner as he charges in. This lets Austin hit Hawk with the belt, but only for a 2. Inevitably, it’s a fuck finish as Austin and HBK end up brawling with each other to a count out as the Hart Foundation lurk on the outside. Really enjoyed what we got, but once again it’s disappointing that an interesting match is cut short. The storytelling across shows in terms of building feuds is good, but the matches are too often a temporary distraction rather than really being part of the story and telling satisfying stories in their own right. Mankind sit down focusing on Cactus Jack and death match stuff, once again really good. This is maybe the best example of WWE using someone’s actual backstory and non-WWE history to help get them over. Obviously it helps that it was Foley, but when you see it done so well here it’s almost bizarre that historically and even to today, they tend to have such an aversion to this sort of stuff. KOTR qualifier - Savio vs. Mankind - this is pretty good, we get 2 Mankind bumps on the ramp and Savio almost overshoots a big dive to the outside within the first minute. It breaks down a bit at the end, with Mankind winning after Crush accidentally hits Savio with the heart punch (to the face). Crush and Savio brawl post-match as I think this version of the NOD is about to split off into Gang Warz. Sid vs. Taker. Surprisingly this ends clean with Taker pinning Sid in about 5 mins. A forgettable NOD attack post-match, again doesn’t particularly feel like it positions Farooq as a serious threat and it’s weird timing after they literally just did NOD in-fighting last segment. The match itself was worked pretty evenly, but such a quick, clean loss sorta feels like a burial for Sid considering almost every big Raw match ends on some sort of non-finish during this period and they immediately did a run-in at the end still anyway.
  6. Kev

    1997 WWF

    Raw 26/05/97 Austin/HBK with a quick in-ring promo hyping the tag title match, ends in a face off with LOD. That’s a match I didn’t know I wanna see. LOD vs. Pillman/Neidhart. The few minutes we get is enjoyable enough, but it ends on a run-in and a big brawl. Austin/HBK end up fighting again, I think this might be (one of) the first iterations of the ‘tag partners who don’t get along’ trope. I actually don’t mind it when it’s in the context of two top guys with common enemies. Later, Austin is attacked in the back by Pillman, Owen, and Bulldog. Off camera, it appears the same has happened to HBK, which leads to more arguing as HBK accuses Austin of not having his back. They’re laying it on thick, but it works as it’s basically the Hart Foundation playing their enemies off against each other. I think it’s a Raw in-ring debut for D-Lo, with no particular explanation of who he is, having previously been a nameless background member of NOD. He’s facing Sparkplug, who’s fresh off upsetting Owen last week. Holly stupidly cuts off some crowd participation by stopping his corner punches at 5 as he gets the early shine. This is a fun little sprint though, with Holly going for a Frankensteiner (having hit one earlier) but getting caught with a powerbomb for a D-Lo win. This is mostly there for Vince and Farooq on commentary to go back and forth on the race card shit. Segues into a quick Taker promo who basically dismisses a question about Farooq to hype his stuff with Bearer. Nothing in the build is making me want to see Taker vs. Faarooq, total filler title defence. Lawler then cuts the promo where he calls Goldust a f*g. There’s also a really shitty line about their daughter as well. I always considered King as mostly a comedy heel in WWF, but he’s actually a real piece of shit (the Jake alcoholism stuff in 96 is pretty bad as well). It’s weird, it almost seems more unnecessary because he was pretty much irrelevant by this point, not someone they really needed to get heat on. Lawler vs. Goldust. The crowd is mostly in favour of King here (which they explain as Indiana being Lawler territory due to USWA) and, again, it feels like that makes the pre-match promo more ill-judged, presumably knowing Lawler would get support. Lawler actually wins with feet on the ropes, Goldust then gets some shots in post-match. In a vacuum, the actual match was good, but completely counter-productive doing it in front of that crowd. Flash vs. Rocky. This is slightly directionless but there’s some decent back and forth including a nice counter sequence into the, still not a finisher, Rock Bottom. Anyway, it’s mostly a sideshow to the Headbangers coming out to join commentary and generally being dorks. They end up attacking both men, which the ref basically lets happen, leading to Rocky winning off a crossbody. More Mankind sit down stuff. There’s a bit about his balls swelling up like grapefruits (that’s a McMahon favourite isn’t it) after a hockey accident and it being the only time in high school that girls paid attention to his genitals. It got a smile out of me, I’m 33. They also talk about Snuka at MSG, lay the foundations for Dude Love, there’s a Mrs. Foley’s baby boy reference and they show various home video clips. This is all pretty significant backstory in building Foley’s legend. Good stuff. There’s a Hart Foundation promo, which includes Pillman seemingly hyping a match with Austin, but I don’t think there’s ever been any announcement about that happening. Vader vs. Ahmed. I liked this, although it felt too short. Some slightly sloppy striking as they do a sequence where Ahmed is ducking Vader’s punches, but it kinda works as two big men trying to throw and avoid quick strikes probably should be a bit sloppy. Ahmed hits a spinebuster outta nowhere for the win as Vader was in control. HHH vs. Rockabilly in a random heel heel matchup. They’re still playing up the Greenwich blue-blood stuff during HHH’s entrance, I thought that had pretty much been ditched by this point. Seems strange coming so close to DX forming. HHH wins off a pedigree, after Chyna slams Honky on the outside. The work here was fine, but it was heatless, weird booking choice. Austin/HBK vs. Owen/Bulldog. This is good, hot crowd, worked at a fast pace with plenty of hope spots and big cutoffs so it never feels like there’s any letup. Finish is a bit abrupt though as HBK hits the kick and Austin pins Buldog as we get new champs. I would have liked them to let the moment breathe to feel a bit more meaningful, but there’s an immediate post-match attack instead. That does lead to a nice moment though as, rather than save HBK, Austin uses this as his chance to get Bret one on one and attacks his previously injured leg. There’s been some Bearer shit a couple times through the show, promising to reveal his secret if Taker doesn’t ‘come back’. And the show closes on Bearer almost revealing, but Taker seemingly goes back to him by taking the knee. This stuff isn’t doing much for me, knowing it’s still a good few months before we get to Kane’s debut. Plenty of good stuff on this show, but also feels like plenty of inconsequential stuff. I wish some of these matches were given more time, there’s a lot of interesting combos but too much is done within a few minutes or with some kind of fuck finish.
  7. Opener felt big time and delivered, while still feeling like they have a lot more in the tank. Liked Bryan pulling a couple moves out that weren’t really in his WWE moveset. Poison rana looked really good here, although Tony’s call about never seeing a counter like that was a bit stupid considering it’s one of the most overdone moves in AEW. Thought the booking was perfect, and AEW has enough goodwill that it didn’t feel like a copout as you can be confident they’ll deliver more. Calling time as they just slugged it out was a good call as well, rather than doing a cliched saved by the bell finish. MJF/Pillman was fine and I like the overall booking of it, but Pillman does nothing for me as a face. He feels miscast - bad look, doesn’t seem naturally likeable, and his instincts just feel off as a face, e.g. he lingered too long on the ‘I outsmarted him’ head point, so rather than being a cute heel comeuppance thing, it just made him seem like a dick. Cody/Black was most notable for the crowd reactions. I say you turn Cody without completely turning him, basically a bit more of an explicit version of what happened with Cena over the years. Don’t have him snap and turn on the fans, have him acknowledge the boos but do a ‘I might not be the hero you want, but I’m the one you need’ thing. Don’t have him start cheating or anything, have him be an overly traditional face in terms of actions, but make him a sanctimonious prick about it. Maybe some hints at abusing his power, have Brandi forcing herself into moments like she did here. Basically more of the same, but properly acknowledge it’s happening. I’m in the FTR should be winning camp, but Sting continues to look good. You can see he’s a bit slow on some of the rope running or counter spots, but he looks great when he’s just throwing hands. Main was fine, if a little disappointing. I preferred the Statlander defence. I like Ruby’s presentation, but she’s done nothing in her two singles matches to make me think she’s more than a good hand. Her offence feels a bit lacking in a big showcase like this - her kicks are generally weak, the top rope senton was ok, but otherwise there wasn’t much there to pop the crowd. By contrast, I think Britt has a tendency to do too many big spots for a heel. Here she had the slingblade, two variations on the fisherman neckbreaker, the curb stomp, and the avalanche air raid crash. It kinda feels like some of those big spots should be getting pops for the face and almost makes her look too strong, which maybe contributes to her being more over than all the faces.
  8. Kev

    1997 WWF

    Raw 19/05/97 They’re teasing Bret’s surprise again after failing to deliver last week. Stonecold in-ring promo interrupted by HBK, looking particularly douchey wearing a 2Pac style bandana. They do a ‘we have common enemies but we’re not friends’ thing, which ends with them brawling. HF on the tron challenge them to a tag title match next week. KOTR qualifier. Supposed to be Vader vs. Crush but they say it’s not happening and tease a surprise. After the break, Crush is out but Vader hasn’t been cleared after suffering a broken nose in the Shamrock match at the ppv. The new opponent is HHH who was DQ’ed last week. Meh, why even bother trying to build that as a surprise, it’s another disappointment after failing to deliver last week. They come up with an excuse about HHH being given a 2nd chance as they said you could only advance by pinfall or submission (presumably that leaves DQ rules open to interpretation) and they want to avoid any legal action from him. It’s kind of stupid, but also kind of works for HHH’s character at this point. Anyway, this is a match that exists. The ending is at least somewhat creative, as both seconds try to cheat resulting in Savio accidentally kicking Crush, allowing HHH to win. They’re in Mobile, Alabama, so they play up the hometown hero thing for Bob Holly, making his first Raw appearance in months. He takes on Owen, it’s a fine little match, with the highlight being Holly pulling off a nice Frankensteiner. And he actually gets the wins off a small package. Mankind sit down interview. These are really good at humanising and bringing a bit more realism to some of the weirder characters, which was probably needed to really integrate them into the attitude era style. They replay RVD’s squash from last week with Lawler running down Heyman and saying he’s preventing RVD from appearing on Raw anymore. Young, mulleted Scotty 2 Hotty debuts, with Leif Cassidy attacking before the bell. This is quite good with Leif mostly dominating, but Taylor getting a roll up win. After Putski last week, these debuts seem to be building to the light heavy division, but it already seems completely uninteresting compared to the cruisers over on Nitro. They show last week’s ending again. I didn’t mention in the previous recap, but after HBK super kicks Bret and the Hart Foundation attack him, they do a bit where HBK’s trying to escape as the HF try to corner him, he almost gets away a couple of times before they eventually overwhelm him. It’s actually really well done and adds a sense of realism, it’s a nice contrast to the standard quick escape or immediate beat down. So Bret’s surprise is that he’s coming back at KOTR. He’s only been out a few weeks so this feels totally underwhelming, again seems stupid that they built this as a surprise. He challenges HBK and says he’ll not wrestle in the US again if he doesn’t beat him within 10 minutes. HBK on the tron for a bit back and forth, including the Sunny Days line. I’m pretty sure this match doesn’t happen at KOTR so not sure how this is going to play out. Goldust brings out his daughter for a cutesy bit, she doesn’t play along with the queues for her to talk though so it’s all a bit awkward. I liked the sit downs to explain his backstory and motivation behind the character, but switching that into him suddenly being this family man face is a bit jarring. Anyway he’s facing Rockabilly. For the few minutes it lasts this is good, but has a weak finish as Goldust is DQ’ed for hitting Honky with the guitar. Crowd is hot for Goldust, he’s throwing good strikes, and Billy is making everything look good. Billy seems to get a lot of shit, but I actually think he can be pretty good, at least in small doses. And this sort of goofy, stooging heel stuff may be his best role (notwithstanding the actual gimmick here being a total dud). Next up is a quick Ahmed interview, with Vince asking him about Faarooq ‘playing the race card last week’. This is interesting as Ahmed puts down Faarooq, but then says actually he was speaking the truth last week. I honestly don’t know where they’re trying to go with this as it was clearly Faarooq being played up as a heel last week, but Ahmed agreeing makes it feels a bit more nuanced. I’m probably overthinking it and giving them too much credit and this is just leading to an Ahmed turn (which I think briefly happens soon). They’ve done a couple bits throughout the show where HBK and Austin are each trying to find different tag partners. HBK quickly joins up with Shamrock. Austin clearly isn’t bothered about who his partner is so you see him walking in on Sable asking her, and then he’s talking to Harvey Whippleman and The Brawler (who he beats up). There’s always a certain beauty in Austin calling someone a piece of trash, particularly here as he’s ostensibly convincing Whippleman to be his partner while doing it. Rocky vs. Faarooq - it looks like PG13 have been written off after getting squashed by LOD. Quick match with Rocky looking pretty good (although the crowd is largely apathetic to him now). Faarooq hits a dominator to win. He then stops The Nation giving Rocky a beat down, which is some nice foreshadowing if they were already planning on Rocky joining The Nation. The Foundation beat up Bob Holly backstage. Taker in-ring interview - Taker even mentions Faarooq playing the race card. This all just feels like Vince forcing his shitty opinions on the audience, Taker really isn’t a character that needs to have an opinion on how racism may or may not effect one’s career prospects. Bearer ends up interrupting and gives Taker 7 days before he reveals his secret. Bearer is ridiculously hammy as always, but Taker’s conflicted acting is pretty good here. Anvil vs. Austin - this last like 2 minutes before The HF jump in and then HBK makes the save. It’s announced that Austin/HBK will indeed be teaming in a tag title match next week, leading to their protests and brawling with each other again. I’m not sure whether it’s the way this is edited for the network, but the only match that was announced in any way here was the KOTR qualifier and that was only because of the shitty surprise tease. Otherwise the matches just happened, it makes them all feel completely throwaway. Another two non-finishes here which doesn’t help.
  9. Ah right, I get you now, it still took a good 5 minutes for me to work out what you meant. That’s me misunderstanding how the quote functionality works on here. Sloppy edit now in place to remove the misquoting.
  10. Sorry, unclear wording by me. I was trying to signal that I agreed with your response (without quoting another block of text) as you basically made the point I wanted to and I just wanted to add to that.
  11. Sorry, @HarryArchieGus already addressed this but just to jump on the point @Technico Support made re Cage. Yes, lack of charisma/presence is definitely a massive issue. But his in-ring is also a big part of him not being good. The argument isn’t that he’s bad because he does certain moves, it’s that he doesn’t seem to understand when/why to do stuff to make it meaningful. It’s moves for the the sake of moves. He feels like the perfect example of a guy that just doesn’t get ‘it’. Plus, a lot of his spots don’t look very good anyway, he’s managed to make the Steiner Screwdriver completely unimpressive. I’m not sure whether you were being serious saying ‘guys are more talented and better now’. But there’s no way Brian Cage is better/more talented than Luger, Sid or whoever, because he does more moves.
  12. Kev

    1997 WWF

    Raw 12/05/97 Bret promo to start, now standard stuff for him - running down fans, Austin and Taker. He teases a surprise tonight. A reference to ‘my loveable brother Owen’ was the highlight. KOTR qualifier - HHH vs. Ahmed - Eh, Hunter typically boring on offence, Ahmed’s stuff not looking very good this week. A pretty quick DQ win for Ahmed after Chyna interference. An Austin in-ring interview with Vince. Like Bret, fairly standard fare for him here. He’s more obviously positioned as a face on this episode after a bit more ambiguity with the Taker feud. Scott Putski debuts vs Leif Cassidy. Putski looks part Joe Gomez and part The Renegade, and is equal parts as shitty. Felt like Leif was holding this together. Putski looked lost at times, hits a couple of decent suplexes though and wins with a slightly sloppy German, then fights off a post match attack. LOD vs PG13. They play it as the Nation forcing PG13 to take the match unbeknown to them during the entrance, except they’re already dressed in their gear for the first time. Decent little squash, other than Hawk letting their only offence be a spike piledriver for him to no-sell. Mankind promo leading to Bearer returning with a bandaged face and we get the first cryptic references to Kane. A good 5 months before his debut I think. Were they deliberately that patient or was Kane meant to debut earlier? Farooq in ring with Vince. He’s randomly no.1 contender after not competing for months then beating Ahmed who’d had to face 2 men before him. Farooq talks about how black men have never had the chance to be world champ, and never really says anything particularly heelish, Vince interjects to say it’s nothing to do with being black and accuses Farooq of being racist. It’s all a bit uncomfortable in 2021 and doesn’t reflect well on Vince as Faarooq basically talks about structural racism to Vince’s offhand dismissals and boos from the crowd. Taker vs Savio. Bone Street Krew explodes. This is fine, if completely forgettable. Savio works the leg a bit and hits some decent kicks in between Taker offence, Nation jump in for the beat down as Taker has it won. That’s another two fuck finishes this episode, gotta protect Savio. Out of nowhere, it’s young-ish RVD vs young Jeff Hardy. Lawler & RVD bad mouth ECW first. It’s a quick squash with RVD hitting the 5 star and a split legged moonsault for the win. Highlight is probably RVD recklessly catching his leg on the rails off a tope con hilo and almost landing right on his neck. This is pretty unremarkable today, but felt very different to everything else on the show. Was there rumours of them doing more with the ECW stuff or was it just the odd favour to hype their PPVs? Just feels like a bit of a missed opportunity (although maybe for the best). Another Dustin sit down. Didn’t think much of this one. Just more about being a family man and looking up to his dad. They’d already touched on this last time and this didn’t add much more. Seemed a bit pointless considering they didn’t have Dusty under contact to have any sort of payoff to this. Headbangers, Blackjacks, Furnas/LaFon, Bulldog/Owen in a random non-title 4-way elimination. F&L out quickly off a Windham clothesline. They then cost the Blackjacks against The Headbangers. This format is shit and is largely pointless here as the straight tag lasts twice as long anyway. That part isn’t very good either as The Headbangers suck. Champs win. Bret promo to finish. Such a weird segment, with no payoff the teased surprise. He sends the HF to the back and calls out HBK. Then he just runs down HBK to his face for 5 mins, eventually HBK super kicks him leading to a bit of a HF and Austin/Michaels brawl and that’s it. This episode was a bit of a dud. As good as Bret’s heel work is, the promos are getting a bit repetitive, even when I haven’t kept up with this for months. The format of regular non-finishes and over reliance on post-match beatdowns/brawls is also getting a bit tedious as there’s not a lot of interesting in-ring stuff mixed in.
  13. Am I out of touch? No, it’s the children who are wrong. Either way, he looks far too sleazy to be an otherwise fairly vanilla up and coming, fiery babyface.
  14. Yes! The actual intro to the song seems perfect for an entrance theme, even if you did a quick cut into the chorus after it, they need to add that intro in. Speaking of themes, Hayter’s is a banger. I’ve liked Ruby’s presentation but the match reminded me I was never high on her from what I saw in WWE, solid enough but not particularly interesting. A new finisher would be a start, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kick look very impactful. At least ditch the arm wringer and try to do it more Satomura-like I liked the quick women’s promo follow-up to the battle Royale, short and effective. Along with the aftermath of Ruby’s match it feels like the division is finally getting a bit of depth in stories/characters, rather than them spinning their wheels on Dark with rare Dynamite appearances thrown in. I’ve said it before, but Pillman needs to ditch the mullet, it’s such a bad look for a face. The Blondes whole look generally is so dated that it almost feels like it should be a heel thing.
  15. Havoc is probably the highest profile release they’ve had as he was being featured pretty regularly. But, my understanding is that was on the back of speaking out stuff, so their hand was somewhat forced rather than them actively realising he didn’t have much to offer (he didn’t, he sucked). With Kong, it seems like there was a mutual realisation that she was too broken down to still go. Shanna and Mel are probably the closest examples to what I was thinking, but they were both so low profile that it didn’t really register. I suppose what I was trying to get at is there becomes a point where you realise that people you are featuring regularly maybe aren’t worth it. And will Tony be strong enough to make them calls. If it’s a case of quietly letting people’s contracts run out like Mel/Shanna then that seems like a pretty reasonable way to do things (assuming you’re not having people sit out contracts for years).
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