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WrestleZAYNia XXXIX - 4/1 & 4/2/2023


Dolfan in NYC

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21 minutes ago, Craig H said:

I feel like I can say with 99% certainty that TK and the rest of the roster watching WM were somewhere between heartbroken and devastated when Cody lost. There’s never been any indication anyone was happy to see Cody leave and I think they were all pulling for him. Hell, there were a bunch of people in WWE pulling for Cody too. I suppose the only difference for all of them is that it’s probably easier for them to say, “hell of a match, but that’s the business.”

I view Cody as the carniest, cheesiest wrestler in years but man I hope he recovers from this for his own sake and the businesses. 
 

He had lightning in a bottle from Mania to June last year and managed to do it again this year, I hope he’s able to get back to that level again. 

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8 hours ago, For Great Justice said:

I like how over here it’s all “fuck this company,” and just one subforum over it’s “I can’t believe they didn’t have Mark beat Joe, but I guess there’s more to the story.” And one dude’s shoot brother died and the other had never won anything meaningful in his career until this year’s Rumble.

Love all the passion. And I get that 80 percent of the board disagrees with me on this, and that’s why this place is great.

But to me, booking wrestling is a lot like being a magician in that there are two parallel stories going on with the audience: there’s the trick itself (the show you see on TV), which is the most important one and it needs to be impressive. And then there’s the question of how the magician pulled the trick off (the wrestling equivalent being the writing and will they / won’t they / why are they when it comes to booking decisions). And you want to show just enough of the strings of (2) to enhance (1). That’s part of what makes great booking to me, and it drove a lot of the appeal of this exact match as well as Montreal last month. That’s on purpose.

And I think Triple H gets that. “I can’t believe these fuckers didn’t put Cody over” is one of those components from that second layer that will be used to reinforce the story from the first layer as they move this forward. That’s how this works.

I mentioned in another thread that I'm reading Ringmaster right now, and it talks (for the benefit of a less experienced reader in the art of pro wrestling) that kayfabe has, in the era where pro wrestling openly admits that it's a work, morphed into what the author calls neokayfabe, which is the (2) you talk about here.

And I can't help but think it would be more fun if we as fans just all pretended that we knew nothing about (2) and encouraged bookers to focus solely on (1). Because the second part of this is sort of layered by cynicism ("the company hates us") and honestly has never really been well-handled. Maybe that's because Russo in WCW and then the first few years of TNA/Impact didn't even try to be interesting about it on the basis that "are they working or shooting?" was interesting in and of itself, but I feel personally like I've been rolling my eyes at stuff that tries too hard for decades.

And even something like this that is subtle, which apparently would be "Is HHH big mad at Cody mocking him, and that's why we got this finish?" feels so BORING to me. People in here are talking about how there are very few legitimate guys to elevate now that Cody's lost, and though I don't watch WWE or even really think Cody is much of anything to get excited about, the bleakness of having to watch Roman Reigns be champion for another year or two or three or whatever (or, if you like the guy, the bleary repetitiveness of it) certainly doesn't sound like it's worth the meta aspect of the booking. 

NXT sort of alluded to some of this stuff back in its golden era of 2014-2016 with the past histories of guys who came in from other companies, but it never shied away from giving us the endings that were cathartic or, if not cathartic, feeling like they were worth experiencing even if your guy didn't win. Is that because the NXT crowd was open to pretending that only (1) mattered and not (2)? Was it HHH and his committee trying to hearken back to the U.S. promotions of the 1970s and 1980s? I don't know, but it was refreshing. 

Sorry, your post was excellent and made me verbal vomit here. 

Edited by SirSmUgly
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Day 2 thoughts

Gunther, McIntyre,  and Sheamus beat the living shit out of each other, and I loved every second of it. Gunther and McIntyre need to go directly into a program so they can have their version of the Clash at the Castle match. I like McIntyre a bit more than Sheamus,  so I think him and Gunther could have even better matches. 

Asuka vs. Bianca was great,  but was clearly a step down from the woman's title match from night 1. I know I just said that think they should do a year long program with the goal being Bianca vs. Ripley at next year's Mania,  and I honestly think that's the best story available. The problem with that is that this roster is fucking stacked with talented women. They are going to have to work really hard building a strong midcard for the women,  so that Belair and Ripley have credible challengers,  while keeping the rest of the roster engaged in meaningful feuds. I have no confidence that they can do it. It's kind of ridiculous that we only got the two championship matches and then multi-women tag matches on the show. They need to be able to have meaningful secondary feuds if this division is going to reach its full potential. They have the talent,  they just need to use it a little bit better. 

So people are pretty upset about Roman beating Cody, and I get it,  but I kind of think it was the right thing to do. Roman is the tide,  and the tide is high. You know who is also higher than ever,  Sami Zayn,  Kevin Owens, the Usos, and Cody Rhodes. We all kind think that Sami and Cody should be world champion,  and before they got involved in this storyline I don't think we would have been saying that. Here's the thing,  as long as this story stays compelling,  Roman should keep winning,  because everyone around him is better off because of his presence at the top. I don't know what the end should be,  but I do know that I'm more interested in who might eventually beat him than I would be if Cody was fighting any other heel on the roster. Cody will be fine,  his story will be fine,  and people now think of him as the guy in the front of the line to win the championship. Roman is now in the position where almost beating him can make someone in the fan's eyes and they shouldn't squander that for a feel good moment. 

Something I really like about the current WWE is that the champions fucking matter. Every champion other than Austin Theory seems damn near unbeatable. Gunther,  Rhea, Bianca,  and Roman are booked like world beaters,  and it's going to make whoever beats them look like a world beater as well. I get it,  having the same champion for years might get boring,  but you can't argue with their credibility. Give me credible champions who can work over a surprising title change that ultimately doesn't matter. 

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What is this repetitiveness people talk about regarding Roman besides him being champion for a really long time? And being the first extended long-form heel champion we've ever seen? 

Roman has absolutely killer and incredible matches. They're also pretty different from each other. He wrestled Cody differently than he did Sami differently than he did Drew differently than he did Jey and etc. 

If you think The Bloodline storyline is boring and repetitive -- please show your cards. Because the beats of the story have changed at every PPV the past few months into where we are now. I'm very curious into know how it's repetitive. I'm also very curious to know what storylines you don't find boring and repetitive that also have any level of depth of nuanced storytelling or etc. 

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Night 1: I finished up Night 1 during Night 2. I watched this in 3 parts. I skimmed passed most of Cena-Theory. I did catch Cena making audible calls in-ring which was very amusing. I have no nostalgia for John Cena. That haircut suggests maybe he could be a new form of ‘Middle Age Man’, but younger and hipper. Who will land the role of ‘Drinking Buddy’? Well, Arn of course. Dug the Chad Gable Snickers commercial. Gable continues to kill everything he touches. Including the Men’s Showcase match – incredible suplex on Strowman. I assumed the size of the venue would equal a quiet audience, but they were certainly not the typical Monday Night crowd. I skimmed a bit of the showcase, but dug what I saw – namely Dawkins rocking Braun’s ass to the floor. Fuck yeah, put a rocket on Angelo Dawkins! Awesome finish! I hope this corrects the path for the super talented pairing of Dawkins/Ford. Nice touch with the conductor for Rollins' entrance. Rollins-Paul was fine for what I saw, but looking at a 4 hour running time, I just didn’t have a whole lot of time in me for this one. Dom v Rey was what I came for, and it did not disappoint! From start to finish - a wee bit of perfection within the 'universe'. Loved the entrances. Loved all the drama. Loved the hoopla. Dom is really starting to put his in-ring game together. I’ve always dug Rey, but I think late stage Rey might even be my favorite Rey of all. I took a dinner break between the Mysterios bout and Rhea v Charlotte. Glad I did, had plenty of time and energy for these terrific ladies. They too did not disappoint. Really liked this well paced solid bout. Good finish. Rhea was one of my early favorites when first tuning into the HHHWWE era. I assumed she was main event money from the beginning, and (if not before) now it’s certainly clear. What a talent! Then... well, nobody with a FFWD option is gonna watch whatever was going on with the Miz and McAfee. I didn’t even skim it, just right on passed and onto the Main Event. I didn’t have lofty expectations for the Usos v Owens/Zayn. I love Sami and Kevin, but I often skim the Usos matches. I find their matches are only ever interesting to me in the closing moments. A little different here. Kinda by the numbers stuff to begin, but then an explosive last 10 minutes plus? I’m glad my expectations weren’t so high as this kinda surprised me. I didn’t buy all the false finishes, but they were certainly exciting. Great, great finish! Owens is so great, and Zayn might be the best in the business. Certainly the best performer in the ‘Universe’.

Night 2: I started night 2 with Reigns v Rhodes. I had the FFWD trigger close to move things along in the usual opening 'Reigns is really tough' section. Not a big surprise that this was a fun match, but did we really need 5 goddamn ppl running interference? But... well... unlike Chinatown forget it Jake,  it’s W-W-E! That said, I ‘popped’ as they say - for the Roman victory. I like Cody, but his mass amount of press lately led to all kinds of lame nonsense like presenting the idea that he was a ‘nuanced heel in AEW’. And as good as some of his promos were on the road to Mania, some of the talking 'whaddaya wanna talk about' have been classic Cody in that not-so-fresh-feeling kinda way. I bet it was a sad, solemn night on the Lex Express, but I do expect he’ll be flapping his gums on whichever pods will have him to say how happy he was to lose. After breakfast I started from the beginning and had fun (as expected) watching Omos v Lesnar. I then skimmed the Women’s showcase. Rousey looked great. I liked what I saw from Chelsea here. I didn’t really care enough to watch much, so no grade or star rating. Poor Bobby Lashley - All Mighty, but… not really. His kinda sad/time-waster appearance was still arguably better than a Bray Wyatt match. Sheamus v Drew v Gunther was great, I agree! But... am I ungrateful to walk away thinking I still would have preferred a singles? I always like Gunther winning. After a lengthy break I watched Asuka v Belair. I love Asuka, and I like Belair, but perhaps my expectations were a bit lofty as I couldn’t really muster much interest. Still, it was clealry solid. Oh, and then there came the money! I stopped to take a look at Shane injurying himself and Snoop Dogg’s ‘Incredible Offense’. I barely watched Edge v Balor. I just couldn’t get passed the question: Who has the better shitty hairdoo – Adam or Cena? I really used to like Edge, but tough guy Edge is a total bore. I'm surprised there isn't more talk about Edge being the worst promo in wrestling now - for his longwinded delivery moreso than the cheesewhiz he spews, but also a little of that too. Balor’s awesome and there really shouldn’t be an issue for me getting into any match he’s in against a credible opponent, but case in point here – I just didn’t give a shit. Hell in a Cell = *fart sound. Not unlike the Academy Awards, I really can’t fathom watching these long drawn out Manias live. I won’t complain further as FFWD, as always with WWETV, provided the editing tools I so needed to enjoy my time with the BRAND. Good Mania if way way way overlong.

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4 hours ago, Log said:

I do love that Snoop saw shit going south and thought, "I should probably just full-on punch Miz in the face."

A true live performance veteran! He knew exactly what was needed in that moment.

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After digesting it, I at least hope there's a plan after this. With so much being built up for Sami and KO wanting to end the Bloodline, that would make for a great next chapter of all this so when Roman does fall, it's because he had nobody left having his back. And while I like that story, fuck man, last night was the night for that. He's 2 months from 1,000 days which would make for a nice milestone but if it's Roman/Cody II at Summerslam are people gonna be as invested as they were last night?

Kind of a strange weekend, as good as it was. Most of the stuff I was into was on night 2 and disappointed. Edge/Balor, Bianca/Asuka (at least in result), I kind of sat stunned for a few minutes after the main. Night 1 was excellent all around while I didn't have much in the way of expectations for that one.

It's a tough spot, to criticize for WWE for so long for not being too invested in long term booking and to possibly have another chapter of Reigns and the Bloodline planned out but have that fly against this moment that would have been such an organic way to start that next chapter. To quote a sage, I don't agree, but I understand.

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After sitting with this for a while and witnessing all the reactions, I've got to say... I weirdly don't have a take on the main event result. I think it's for a couple reasons.

  1. Part of my philosophy on wrestling is that if there's appropriate and effective follow-up, you can justify pretty much any result in wrestling. It's part of why I'm not freaked out by the Mark Briscoe or Eddie Kingston results from earlier in the weekend either. We're not operating with anything close to complete knowledge yet. How worked up should I get? They've invested a lot in Cody and it's a new regime -- as much as people like to clown on the "wait and see" mentality, I really don't know what to think right now.
  2. I've maintained for a while now, prior to the recently lauded creative successes, that the bar is so low for WWE that it's not worth getting too worked up over anything they do. Oh, Karrion Kross got used as a doormat for Jeff Hardy on his debut? So what? Their creative sucks and is subject to the capricious whims of a tyrant, how worked up should I get? If they don't have standards, why should I hold them to any? As such, I'm not invested enough to become upset.

So long as Cody has decent creative and a decent push going forward, I'm not sure how much this loss will bother me. Maybe it will mark significant demarcation in Cody's career and I'll come to think of it differently. But I don't have the strong aversion to this result that so many seem to. I have a rooting interest and would prefer Cody have won. But... meh. We'll see. 

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I tried to watch this back to back on my day off, probably a mistake. The Day 2 portion definitely started to drag for me after a pretty good Day 1.

Day 1 was basically "how you should book a Mania" and Day 2 was "how WWE has booked Mania the last 8 years."

I think the only person on the horizon who could credibly challenge Roman next year is Gunther, but that's a long shot. If they can't pull the trigger with actual main event Cody Rhodes falling into their laps, who can they pull it with? They seriously might as well go after Bruno's reign now, they're already halfway there. It sure as hell ain't gonna be Bron Breaker or Austin Theory. The idea that Cody should win it on another show is terrible as well. You don't give your new top face his crowning achievement in front of 15,000 fans, you do it in front of 80,000 (and this was actually a good crowd too).

That said, I would mark for the vintage HHH pettiness if this was all about that throne thing from AEW.

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10 minutes ago, John from Cincinnati said:

So long as Cody has decent creative and a decent push going forward, I'm not sure how much this loss will bother me. Maybe it will mark significant demarcation in Cody's career and I'll come to think of it differently. But I don't have the strong aversion to this result that so many seem to. I have a rooting interest and would prefer Cody have won. But... meh. We'll see. 

Knowing Cody and his comic book fetish, he could take a "Hogan starts wearing black in 1995" route and come back with more of an edge.

If he took the Dusty backstory into "I need to go deep into a place my father never did" territory to justify a pseudo-heel turn and his desperation to win the title, I get that.

Just afraid that dragging this out will lead to the fans turning on Cody. They had a chance to do a Luger 97 last night and have him win the title before dropping it back real quick, but instead they did a Luger 93.

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I'm curious how many of the ppl, and specifically the posters here, disappointed by this finish will be tuning into Raw for more DubbyaDubbyaE?

I watch WWETV on tape delay and FFWD thru half the shows. Mostly for Zayn apperances and matches featuring Gunther and Chad Gable. I'm of the belief that Gable might be the best wrestler in the world right now, and he's essentially a 'jobber', so I expect nothing from this company's finishes. I generally watch Raw on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday or whenever I get around to it - it's never a priority. I also, generally, watch the AEW side of the 'Monday Night Wars: 2023 edition' first. I just prefer Matt Menard's commentary to anything on the USA Network. All that said, I must be the guy who that Main Event finish was for because I'm more interested where they go from here than anything they've done. Well, other than Zayn v Roman in Montreal. 

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15 minutes ago, Dolphman 3000 said:

Knowing Cody and his comic book fetish, he could take a "Hogan starts wearing black in 1995" route and come back with more of an edge.

If he took the Dusty backstory into "I need to go deep into a place my father never did" territory to justify a pseudo-heel turn and his desperation to win the title, I get that.

Just afraid that dragging this out will lead to the fans turning on Cody. They had a chance to do a Luger 97 last night and have him win the title before dropping it back real quick, but instead they did a Luger 93.

I’ll take back everything bad I ever said about Cody if he gives us a Cold Blooded Sausage Maker promo tonight 

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20 minutes ago, Dolphman 3000 said:

Just afraid that dragging this out will lead to the fans turning on Cody. 

One of the main knocks on Cody has been "lack of adversity" or "too manufactured" in his road to the title, so I feel the opposite. He could stand for the perception of the booking doing him dirty. 

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I can honestly say not once have I been bored by The Bloodline with Roman Reigns as champion. That's not to say I don't think he should lose here at some point because I do but to me a dominant champion and the way they've played it up is far more interesting than hot shotting the title around.  

Remember when the belts didn't fucking matter at all?  I do.   Now every title matters again. 

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1 hour ago, Go2Sleep said:

The idea that Cody should win it on another show is terrible as well. You don't give your new top face his crowning achievement in front of 15,000 fans, you do it in front of 80,000 (and this was actually a good crowd too).

SummerSlam is yet another stadium show,  this time in Detroit.  I believe it's Ford Field the site of WrestleMania 23.  I'm not saying they will or won't or should or shouldn't but it's probably going to be 60,000+  in that place.  This is where WWE is at right now.  Another stadium show will be packed to the brim. 

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2 minutes ago, Niners Fan in CT said:

SummerSlam is yet another stadium show,  this time in Detroit.  I believe it's Ford Field the site of WrestleMania 23.  I'm not saying they will or won't or should or shouldn't but it's probably going to be 60,000+  in that place.  This is where WWE is at right now.  Another stadium show will be packed to the brim. 

Cody demanding a rematch tonight and giving it 5 months of build would be great

Worst possible thing they could do is Roman vs. Sami vs. Cody in a triple threat to milk the cash cow with Roman going over again, so I have a bad feeling that's inevitable

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I think people also need to redefine “fell into their lap.”

KofiMania was falling into their lap. Kofi got over in a losing effort in a gauntlet match he was not even supposed to be in. Then he ended up winning the title at WM a few weeks later after the groundswell of popularity.

Becky Lynch fell into their lap. She went from being the fourth place Horsewoman not doing too much on the roster to finding her voice as a super defiant insurgent and a counter to Ronda Rousey and headlined WM. 

Cody Rhodes came in with a monster push. Then he got hurt. He came back winning Royal Rumble. That is literally “we are hand picking this guy to headline WM.” He had a really compelling storyline and did a great job at finding himself in The Bloodline saga. But that is not falling into anyone’s lap.

Cody is going to be fine. 

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Also: I am pretty sure the way to not bury someone who you are pissed at for starting in AEW is to:

1) Give him a lot of money

2) Have him win the Royal Rumble

3) Give him a lot of screen time where he does promos he wrote

4) Have him main event WrestleMania and lose via screw job in a way that very much protected him. 

Yes that is exactly the way to bury someone.

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1 hour ago, Greggulator said:

I think people also need to redefine “fell into their lap.”

He fell into their lap because he never should've been available to them in his current form. They got extremely lucky that he had a fallout with the co-founders of his new company. WWE had 6 years or so with young Cody and never got him above IC/US level, and was a jobber by the end of his run. He goes out on his own, finds a style and presentation that works for him, and WWE gets all the benefits of a potential ace despite doing not just no work, but counterproductive work to get him to that level.

He'll be fine like Seth Rollins is fine booking wise. This was their chance to officially make him the top guy everyone thought he would be when they signed him.

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30 minutes ago, Go2Sleep said:

He fell into their lap because he never should've been available to them in his current form. They got extremely lucky that he had a fallout with the co-founders of his new company. WWE had 6 years or so with young Cody and never got him above IC/US level, and was a jobber by the end of his run. He goes out on his own, finds a style and presentation that works for him, and WWE gets all the benefits of a potential ace despite doing not just no work, but counterproductive work to get him to that level.

He'll be fine like Seth Rollins is fine booking wise. This was their chance to officially make him the top guy everyone thought he would be when they signed him.

Define “everyone” because I did not think that. Nor did a lot of people. Cody won me over the past few weeks but before that I thought he was a total tool. 

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