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WWE Battleground 2014


MGFanJay
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I think the "wait and see" response many of you dismissed me about last year until I was pretty much proven right at WrestleMania is the answer.

 

 No, you weren't "pretty much proven right." Bryan said point blank on Jericho's podcast that there was no plan in place to put the belt on him. It was supposed to be an Orton push, and Bryan was supposed to be a bridge to get to Orton-Batista. If the fans hadn't hash-tagged Bootista all to hell and Punk hadn't left, Bryan wouldn't have been in the main event or won the title. Period, end of story, directly from the mouth of the guy it happened to. Just because they ended up having no choice but to finally do the right thing doesn't magically mean the "wait and see" talking point was right. It wasn't. They were doing what we were worried they were doing - misreading the situation and not putting Bryan on top. And they're misreading the Wyatt and Cesaro situations right now, not because they have a larger plan, but because they don't know how to build new stars. If one of those guys ends up winning the World title in a couple of years, it doesn't mean they're not fucking up RIGHT NOW.

 

 

I think Bryan's "confirmation" is him keeping the modern day kayfabe of the meta story -- that the WWE Universe demanded his push and got it. Would you really expect Bryan to say, "Oh yeah, the whole plan since SummerSlam was to have me chase the title until I won." No, he'd never say that. It's ridiculous.

Daniel Bryan had entire final hours of Raw. His stuff with Bray ended ever Raw the storyline continued. The dude's chase for the title and battles against The Authority was the entire story from SummerSlam until WrestleMania. The Bray stuff revolved around The Wyatts trying to lure Daniel to the darkside in order to bring down their machine. I mean, it's just common sense and I can't believe people are falling for it.

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Seriously Greg, I know you want to believe that they were just working everyone, but believing that they booked everything up to the crowd not giving a shit about Orton and booing the hell out of Batista is just insane.  Its little kid level of "Its still real to me!".

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I figured that the usual crowd would pan the show given the results, but I actually really enjoyed the card and have no issue with the current direction of the company. I probably should just ignore the show threads.

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I think the "wait and see" response many of you dismissed me about last year until I was pretty much proven right at WrestleMania is the answer.

 

 No, you weren't "pretty much proven right." Bryan said point blank on Jericho's podcast that there was no plan in place to put the belt on him. It was supposed to be an Orton push, and Bryan was supposed to be a bridge to get to Orton-Batista. If the fans hadn't hash-tagged Bootista all to hell and Punk hadn't left, Bryan wouldn't have been in the main event or won the title. Period, end of story, directly from the mouth of the guy it happened to. Just because they ended up having no choice but to finally do the right thing doesn't magically mean the "wait and see" talking point was right. It wasn't. They were doing what we were worried they were doing - misreading the situation and not putting Bryan on top. And they're misreading the Wyatt and Cesaro situations right now, not because they have a larger plan, but because they don't know how to build new stars. If one of those guys ends up winning the World title in a couple of years, it doesn't mean they're not fucking up RIGHT NOW.

 

 

I think Bryan's "confirmation" is him keeping the modern day kayfabe of the meta story -- that the WWE Universe demanded his push and got it. Would you really expect Bryan to say, "Oh yeah, the whole plan since SummerSlam was to have me chase the title until I won." No, he'd never say that. It's ridiculous.

 

Listen to the interview.  Bryan is not that good of an actor.  It's an extremely natural conversation, and after hearing it, I quit doubting that Daniel Bryan's ascent was completely organic and unplanned.

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They were trying to get Orton over? Why did they keep jobbing him to the hair ball? Couldn't they have given him one meaningful clean win?

Use Bryan's teflon-like levels of never losing heat to get the crowd rabid for someone to finally dethrone Orton.  Batista was supposed to be that guy.  Then the Rumble happened.

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I don't think Bryan was bullshitting there at all, to be honest. The Daniel Bryan storyline, once they shifted gears after the Rumble, only worked because the fans have been conditioned to expect shitty booking. This wasn't a ten year plan to book terribly for one big payoff in 2014. It was a constant pattern that they finally decided to become self-aware about because the fans (more specialized than ever with less casuals than ever and more tied into the internet than ever) for once absolutely refused to play along with what they wanted them to do.

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They were trying to get Orton over? Why did they keep jobbing him to the hair ball? Couldn't they have given him one meaningful clean win?

Use Bryan's teflon-like levels of never losing heat to get the crowd rabid for someone to finally dethrone Orton.  Batista was supposed to be that guy.  Then the Rumble happened.

 

They could have had Orton actually beat Bryan definitively one time. 

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I think the "wait and see" response many of you dismissed me about last year until I was pretty much proven right at WrestleMania is the answer.

 

 No, you weren't "pretty much proven right." Bryan said point blank on Jericho's podcast that there was no plan in place to put the belt on him. It was supposed to be an Orton push, and Bryan was supposed to be a bridge to get to Orton-Batista. If the fans hadn't hash-tagged Bootista all to hell and Punk hadn't left, Bryan wouldn't have been in the main event or won the title. Period, end of story, directly from the mouth of the guy it happened to. Just because they ended up having no choice but to finally do the right thing doesn't magically mean the "wait and see" talking point was right. It wasn't. They were doing what we were worried they were doing - misreading the situation and not putting Bryan on top. And they're misreading the Wyatt and Cesaro situations right now, not because they have a larger plan, but because they don't know how to build new stars. If one of those guys ends up winning the World title in a couple of years, it doesn't mean they're not fucking up RIGHT NOW.

 

 

I think Bryan's "confirmation" is him keeping the modern day kayfabe of the meta story -- that the WWE Universe demanded his push and got it. Would you really expect Bryan to say, "Oh yeah, the whole plan since SummerSlam was to have me chase the title until I won." No, he'd never say that. It's ridiculous.

Daniel Bryan had entire final hours of Raw. His stuff with Bray ended ever Raw the storyline continued. The dude's chase for the title and battles against The Authority was the entire story from SummerSlam until WrestleMania. The Bray stuff revolved around The Wyatts trying to lure Daniel to the darkside in order to bring down their machine. I mean, it's just common sense and I can't believe people are falling for it.

 

 

I have an acquaintance who truly believes that 9/11 was an inside job. He frequently categorizes anyone who disagrees with him as "ridiculous," is certain that every single thing that comes out of his mouth is "common sense," and has literally said, in those exact words, "I can't believe people are falling for it."

 

You'd think if people were trying to get others to believe their crackpot theory despite all evidence to the contrary, they'd acknowledge that their version of events strains credulity instead of just insulting everyone who doesn't agree with them. You'd think.

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Seriously Greg, I know you want to believe that they were just working everyone, but believing that they booked everything up to the crowd not giving a shit about Orton and booing the hell out of Batista is just insane.  Its little kid level of "Its still real to me!".

 

Orton got zero wins over anyone but Cena in his title quest. The whole arc was about Bryan getting the rug pulled out from under him time and time again. And then he got his redemption. I predicted the end result would be "Bryan's winning this at WrestleMania" the minute that angle unfolded. Everything else is just stuff Playstation 9 Meltzer got worked into reporting or Daniel Bryan doing the meta halfway-in-character/halfway-working interviews they've been doing the past few years to work the hardcore fans.

I think the "it's still real to me" thing has been completely subverted on smarks. And it's awesome to see unfold.

As far as the booing Batista out of the building -- maybe he was or wasn't supposed to get that reaction, but the dude left the Rumble flipping off fans and being a heel and wore some ridiculous outfits and palled around a bit backstage with the uber-evil HHH and stuff. HHH talked up about how Batista would be a great "face of the company" in his fireside chats. It was pretty clear that he was going to do a slow heel turn from the jump. And that works, since the only time Batsita has ever been anything special is when he's a heel.

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I think the "wait and see" response many of you dismissed me about last year until I was pretty much proven right at WrestleMania is the answer.

 

 No, you weren't "pretty much proven right." Bryan said point blank on Jericho's podcast that there was no plan in place to put the belt on him. It was supposed to be an Orton push, and Bryan was supposed to be a bridge to get to Orton-Batista. If the fans hadn't hash-tagged Bootista all to hell and Punk hadn't left, Bryan wouldn't have been in the main event or won the title. Period, end of story, directly from the mouth of the guy it happened to. Just because they ended up having no choice but to finally do the right thing doesn't magically mean the "wait and see" talking point was right. It wasn't. They were doing what we were worried they were doing - misreading the situation and not putting Bryan on top. And they're misreading the Wyatt and Cesaro situations right now, not because they have a larger plan, but because they don't know how to build new stars. If one of those guys ends up winning the World title in a couple of years, it doesn't mean they're not fucking up RIGHT NOW.

 

 

I think Bryan's "confirmation" is him keeping the modern day kayfabe of the meta story -- that the WWE Universe demanded his push and got it. Would you really expect Bryan to say, "Oh yeah, the whole plan since SummerSlam was to have me chase the title until I won." No, he'd never say that. It's ridiculous.

Daniel Bryan had entire final hours of Raw. His stuff with Bray ended ever Raw the storyline continued. The dude's chase for the title and battles against The Authority was the entire story from SummerSlam until WrestleMania. The Bray stuff revolved around The Wyatts trying to lure Daniel to the darkside in order to bring down their machine. I mean, it's just common sense and I can't believe people are falling for it.

 

 

I have an acquaintance who truly believes that 9/11 was an inside job. He frequently categorizes anyone who disagrees with him as "ridiculous," believes that every single thing that comes out of his mouth is "common sense," and has literally said, in those exact words, "I can't believe people are falling for it."

 

 

I'm a WWE Truther, I guess.

I'll just agree to disagree. I haven't even watched this show yet because I'm on vacation. And whenever I watch shows and review them, I don't watch to critique angles in advance.

Review things after they fully unfold. If they move on from Bray/Jericho tonight, and/or if he loses at SummerSlam in their final match, then look back at the whole feud and critique it. But you can't say something's awful until it's actually awful.

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Gregg, what would you say about how the Wyatts have been treated in their feuds since EC? Let's just look at Bray Wyatt on PPV: Lost to Cena, beat Cena (in a virtual 3 on 1 in his favor and only after creepy kid interference), lost to Cena, lost the MITB match, lost to Jericho.

 

Even if we wait to critique the Jericho thing, would you say that after Wyatt was rung up by Cena three straight times, a loss to Jericho in the first match of the feud was probably not the best choice? How would you look at the Cena feud now that it is over? Finally, I think that Bray Wyatt was so over by the Rumble that he could have credibly feuded with Bryan over the big gold post-WM or could have held the gold himself. Do you think, like I do, that this is not true now and that how he was booked in the Cena feud is a big part of why this is not true, or do you disagree with my whole premise here?

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There is no point to having two "World" titles without the brand split.  What they should do instead is build up the IC or US title to be what whichever title John Cena didn't hold was during the two World title period.  I feel like they maybe were going to do that with Barrett (he referenced being the top champion in the WWE when then unified belt was vacant), but then he got hurt.

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Having two world titles is just a bandaid for a bullet wound. The real issue is that they need to figure out how to book compelling midcard angles again. Adding another title for midcarders to trade wins over isn't going to help the underlying problem. 

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You're basically saying that you can't judge an individual episode of a TV show until the entire season's over (or maybe even the series).

If it's a serial type of show, you really can't. Some episodes of Mad Men might be better than others, but saying the whole series or season sucks until you see the finished product doesn't work.

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Don't forget that Wyatt won the cage match in the middle of the Cena program. It didn't end up mattering at all, but he did get a PPV victory over Cena.

 

Huh, he DID win. I had to go look that up because I could have sworn he lost. Oh yeah, the little kid showed up after Cena had destroyed the three Wyatt members. 

 

A Pyrrhic victory for Wyatt in terms of his long-term viability if there ever was one, but you are correct, and I should change my post. 

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You're basically saying that you can't judge an individual episode of a TV show until the entire season's over (or maybe even the series).

If it's a serial type of show, you really can't. Some episodes of Mad Men might be better than others, but saying the whole series or season sucks until you see the finished product doesn't work.

 

I think its very rare for a serialized show to have a string of bad episodes and then to suddenly be able to turn it around to the point where those bad episodes are no longer considered bad. "But it was really this all along?" almost never makes the previous poor episodes better in retrospect, even if you ultimately consider the greater whole pretty good. In fact, this happens so rarely, that I feel perfectly fine judging how something is going in the moment. 

 

In general, I feel perfectly fine judging anything that I've seen a lot of at any point, though, on the idea that I can always change my mind later. If I've seen four thousand first 5 minutes of matches, I feel pretty fine judging the first five minutes of a match as I'm watching it. Sometimes I'm even happily surprised by the end.

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Gregg, what would you say about how the Wyatts have been treated in their feuds since EC? Let's just look at Bray Wyatt on PPV: Lost to Cena, lost to Cena (in a virtual 3 on 1 in his favor), lost to Cena, lost the MITB match, lost to Jericho.

Even if we wait to critique the Jericho thing, would you say that after Wyatt was rung up by Cena three straight times, a loss to Jericho in the first match of the feud was probably not the best choice? How would you look at the Cena feud now that it is over? Finally, I think that Bray Wyatt was so over by the Rumble that he could have credibly feuded with Bryan over the big gold post-WM or could have held the gold himself. Do you think, like I do, that this is not true now and that how he was booked in the Cena feud is a big part of why this is not true, or do you disagree with my whole premise here?

Bray lost at WrestleMania in a competitive match against a guy set to win more titles than Flair. He won the second cage match via a demon child fucking with Cena's head. Cena then beat Bray in an awesome Last Man Standing match.

Along the way, Bray tried to lure Cena's truest believer fans, and did so with one of the most memorable segments in years, featuring a sheep's mask wearing children's choir.

Good beat evil. Story told. If you don't like Cena, then that's a fair prerogative. But that story had a beginning, middle and end.

We're Bray or Cena or Harper or Rowan any less over after that cage match? Absolutely not.

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I just went back and watched Wyatt/Jericho since the feed froze up.  I absolutely do think that Jericho should have won there in the fashion he did, with Harper/Rowan removed from the match and Bray clearly off his game because of it.  Y2J just got back, and everyone was assuming that he was just coming back to do a quick job like he always does.  This gives some credibility back to Jericho, who actually should be a credible opponent, and will allow Bray to go over-the-top and theatrical in the continuation of the feud.  It will probably build to SummerSlam with Jericho losing in a dramatic fashion and leaving again and the Wyatts will look awesome.

 

If Bray takes out Jericho at Battleground, then what next?  Either he moves on (to who?) or Jericho wants a "fair fight" with some stipulation or other.  Jericho would also lose that rematch and neither Bray nor Jericho would get any rub whatsoever.

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From a fantasy booking perspective, I think the key to the Jericho/Bray stuff is all the talk Chris has been doing lately on his podcast about getting deep into his heel character persona while playing them, to the point where he needs time to get out of it. I think that's the big difference with Cena who really didn't have that "dark side" established to go to. Even when he was a heel, he was a jokey heel. It blurs the lines a bit but I think they can do it in a kayfabe-protected way, where Bray manages to draw out the monotone-speaking Jericho. If they really wanted to get Wyatt over, they'd have Jericho feud with a babyface in that mode afterwards, something actually independent of Wyatt, to show the damage that Bray could do to someone's soul. 

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I don't have a problem with Bray losing. I fully understand that ultimately he's going over in this feud. It's how he lost. You can't have a match like the Usos v. Wyatts where people are routinely kicking out of finishers and one upping each other and later have a main eventer who needs a win to maintain credibility dropping to a modified gutbuster.

 

I think the problem a lot of people have is over and over again the crowd is telling the WWE who they want to see in prominent roles and the WWE is more often than not, tone deaf.

 

When Sheamus and Ziggler were in that ring last night it was electric. The crowd wants Ziggler to have his day so bad. Which is why we have a Miz title reign.

 

How many successive months can the crowd tell WWE that they don't want to see Orton in the main event until they get the message?

 

And Reigns may very well end up being the guy, but at this point the crowd is far more into Rollins and Ambrose. Yet both those guys will have to fight tooth and nail to be placed in the monthly ppv main event slot. 

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