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Dolfan Watches Every Wrestlemania On Lockdown


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56 minutes ago, Brian Fowler said:

Wasn't the story on why The Rock/Ronda/H/Steph thing going so long that they were hoping the sun would set before Taker's entrance?

Yep.  Tryna get the sun low.  It finally got dark enough really after the match lol

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My thoughts on this match are, at best, disjointed, so bear with me.  

Roman Reigns. 

To say he's polarizing would be understating.  But to say he's also very good at what he does... well, that's just as big an understatement.  

The thing about Roman is he's been talked about as being "the chosen one" since the breakup of the Shield.  And to say the least, the crowd -- who can be too smart for its own good -- did not like that.  There are different schools of thought as to why Roman got booed out of the stadium 90% of the time whenever he was on screen (crowd preferred Ambrose, Roman was Cena 2.0, Roman was bad... these are all arguments I've heard.), but the point is...  it's 2015 and Roman Reigns has won the Royal Rumble, MUCH to the chagrin of the crowd.  So his present for that is a program with Brock Lesnar.  

The issue at hand though, is the crowd is ready to dump on Roman and everything he says and does, and he's about to go into the main event of Mania. So what to do?  

Well, mother nature actually got involved as this was the year of the great Raw blizzard.  An entire episode of Raw had to be done without a crowd because a huge blizzard was hitting the city Raw was in that day (Bridgeport, CT, I believe), and it was the greatest gift to Roman's career ever.  

Instead of trying to cut a promo getting the crowd on his side, Raw just let Brock's advocate Paul Heyman build and sell the entire program by himself.  And in 3 hours, he had people fucking buzzing about this match.  It was going to be a goddamned epic battle, a gladiator fight, a savage, brutal brawl, and it was going to be on the biggest stage possible.  

And then we got 8 more weeks of Raw.

So, Roman makes his solo debut at WrestleMania to a loud chorus of boos. (BTW, he's got some *weird* super green contacts in, because no one's eyes are naturally that color.)  Brock Lesnar comes to a massive face pop, which, again, is fun but not what the actors are going for.  

I should note, Brock is in full OP special video game boss mode. He does 5 moves and every one of them takes of half your health -- that one that had you screaming in the arcade or throwing your controller at home.  But, unlike in future years, he actually seems to care about this match, so he'll sell too.  

So, basically the first half of the match is Brock absolutely murdering Roman.  Roman is doing everything he can to stop this freight train, but everything he does only serves to piss off Brock further.  This was also the debut of the famous "Suplex City, bitch." call out, which is a lot scarier than I remember it.  

Anyway, Roman finally figures out that to beat Brock, you essentially have to turn into the skid and just be tough enough to take what he throws at you.   The match actually was much better than I remember, as I get what they were going for this time.   (I mean, the crowd disagrees... but that's on them.)  

So Roman finally has Brock beat to a point where the crowd believes they're going to do the title switch.  But Brock pulls an F5 out of his ass (the 3rd) and both men are down.   And that's when music starts....

Let's side track to the previous summer when Seth Rollins won the Money in the Bank briefcase through nefarious means, and has held onto it for about 9 months.  (I believe that's still the record too. )  So, he's been having fun wreaking havoc on the champ but never cashing in.   Well, that's changing now.  

Seth, captial S, SPRINTS to the ring.  When he gets there, he hands off the briefcase, the ref accepts, and we have ourselves a triple threat.   It's curbstomps for all!   Until Brock catches Seth like a fucking cockroach and is ready to squash him.  But Roman spears Brock before he gets the chance (*STUPIDLY*), then eats a second curbstomp as thanks.  

Seth Rollins claims his first championship, as the crowd goes insane.  Brock lost his title, Roman didn't win the title, so all is right with the world. 

(Also, a fun side note, Roman's dad, Sika was backstage and was freaking the fuck out, because he thought Roman had been given a Bret Hart-style screwjob.  Roman had to calm him down and explain that, yes, he was in on it.)

I will say, that was an elegant, creative way to get out of the Roman issue.  Though, frankly it would hobble Roman's career and be his defining moment until he basically murdered Jey Uso about a month or two ago. 

But I think this is my ultimate take on Roman.... no one in pro wrestling history has ever benefitted more by not having a crowd.  

--

Well, that's Mania 31.  It's interesting in that it's match quality is very akin to a ski jump.  Start way up high, and slowly and steadily decline, to a nadir (Rusev's loss and Taker-Bray), and have a quick comeback at the end.  

The good moments just don't outweigh the bad.  And the utterly baffling decisions made at some points, just still make me shake my head.  

But speaking of shaking my head... WrestleMania heads to Dallas and really.... REALLY is going to be an endurance test.  

End of Day 99.

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I'm surprised you didn't like the match at the time. My recollection of the immediate reaction is "best Mania main event ever" (an opinion I still hold)

I feel rather strongly that should've been the end of Money in the Bank. There were basically two things that hadn't been done with the briefcase up to that point: cashing in at Mania to steal the main event, and cashing in during a title match. And there hasn't been a real interesting paying the dollars* since

* @jaedmc's son permanently imprinted that on my mind

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13 hours ago, Brian Fowler said:

I'm surprised you didn't like the match at the time. My recollection of the immediate reaction is "best Mania main event ever" (an opinion I still hold)

I feel rather strongly that should've been the end of Money in the Bank. There were basically two things that hadn't been done with the briefcase up to that point: cashing in at Mania to steal the main event, and cashing in during a title match. And there hasn't been a real interesting paying the dollars* since

* @jaedmc's son permanently imprinted that on my mind

They really have done just about every other story at this point with MitB. The only things left are 'face calls their shot at Wrestlemania and sticks to it' and 'briefcase turns the heel face' (though you can argue the Dolph cash-in on ADR was close to that). It's pretty clear that Vince's mood swings won't allow him to have the trust needed in anyone to pull off the first scenario, and WWE so rarely books heel/heel that the second is irrelevant.

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Quick fantasy booking here but I think the MitB winner getting screwed in a loser leaves town match and returning through the crowd to cash in on the heel later could work but not if WWE writes it. Similar to Summer of Punk. Fantasy booking idea aside it's limited by their lack of creativity.

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My MITB fantasy idea:

The winner is someone with a 2nd/manager. Think Miz/Riley or Andrade/Zelina.

Winner holds the case for a few weeks before handing to their 2nd to carry around.

Winner is written out with injury for a few months. 2nd stops carrying the case.

End of PPV/Raw/SD and the champ has retained. Screen goes black. Post PPV talk show now on the network.

While champ is going around and giving high fives to the crowd in the background they get jumped by the returning winner.

2nd runs out from the back with the case.

Title change happens on the post PPV show/Raw Talk/Talking Smack.

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I also think that there is a story that could (and should) have played out with Otis/Tucker.

Tag guy wins it. Partner expects to get a tag title shot. Winner isn't sure.

Can go multiple ways -

Winner makes good on the friendship and they win the tag belts as a team.

Winner turns heel and greedily keeps the case.

Partner turns heel saying winner is no good on his own and would be wasting the shot. Build up the underdog.

Winner takes the singles shot and fails. Leads to team breaking up. With the right team this could be pretty emotional IMO.

WWEcould never pull it off but the disappointed partner walking away from the best friend who took his shot, only to return when one of them is most in need... It's powerful stuff.

 

I'd use this for the eventual Street Profits break up and Montez Ford singles push.

Edited by L_W_P
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DAY 100

WrestleMania XXXII (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Hate Roman Reigns)

It's 2016, a WWE Hall of Famer is running for President, the company had just had one of its worst years product-wise in a long time (due to both injuries and really weird booking), and Vince was convinced he could sell out a 100,000 seat stadium for the first time ever.  

It wasn't all bad though...  the main roster got a very needed infusion of talent from the now white hot NXT (which on its own would probably have been the best promotion in North America, if not the world)...  and the Roman Reigns experiment began in earnest... then sputtered...  then began again... and then the Royal Rumb... 

You know what, let's just begin.  

Little did I know that when John Cena won the US Championship at last year's WrestleMania, that it would lead to the debut and feud with my current favorite wrestler, Kevin Owens. Owens had come into NXT and won the Championship almost immediately, betraying his best friend and taking the strap from him. That's our murder bear!  Well, during his first year on the main roster, he won the US Title and later on, the Intercontinental Championship, which is on the line in a ladder match. 

KO's opponents are Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Stardust, (the first) Sin Cara, Zack Ryder, and the other NXT Champion Sami Zayn.  As good as Sami is today as a heel, it's still so wonderful hearing the crowd sing to his music and screaming "LET'S GO!"  The crowd seems generally happy with everyone, except for a muted reaction to Ryder?  Odd.  But yeah, it's almost like "what are you doing here."  

Now, I'd been getting down about ladder matches at Mania. They tend to just be annoying spotfests where people are setting up for the next stunt rather than telling a story (or stories) in the match.  Now, there's plenty of that going on here, but this one is different.  There's no lumbering big man to slow down everything and maul people.  Well, there's Kevin, but he's shockingly light on his feet and is maybe the best overall wrestler in this match.  And I think that's the difference.  While the other ladder matches (for titles or the MitB briefcase), there's a flow here, there are stories here. 

I thought to myself, this is what it would be like if 6 Kofi Kingstons (Kofis Kingston?) were in the ring together.  Or, maybe, since there were so many superkicks, Shawn Michaels?  I guess you can take that for whatever it's worth. 

Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder are friends, but nothing's going to stop Dolph from getting ahead.  Ziggler and Miz hate each other.  Stardust is a fucking awesome weirdo. Oh, and Owens and Zayn, really, REALLY hate each other. Also, Sin Cara is there!  

I'll say, this is really the Zayn and Owens show.  They both have fantastic spots:  KO stays in the ring while everyone runs to get a ladder and just beats people up as they come in.  Sami does a god damned suicide dive THROUGH a ladder!  Stardust brings in a polka-dotted ladder (RIP Dusty), and Owens is so disgusted by it, he throws it out of the ring and breaks it.  KO looks like he's about to retain, but he and Sami fight at the top, including one of the nastiest eye gouges I've seen, and in return Zayn kills Owens dead with a suplex off the main ladder onto and through a ladder on the floor.  

End comes after that, as Zayn is inches centimetres away from winning the belt, but gets pushed over by The Miz.  Miz, being the little shitbird he is, takes a moment to not only climb, but pose for the crowd at the top of the ladder.  What he doesn't see is Zack Ryder climbing the other side...  Zack knocks him off, and claims his first and only Intercontinental Championship.  The crowd is cheering, but clearly stunned.  

Of course, being Zack Ryder, he'd lose the title the next night on Raw, but he at least got his moment.  Also, I'll note, his dad came into the ring to hug him, and in an odd moment, his dad tries to put his cowboy hat on Zack, which he angrily throws off.  I'm not sure what the heck was happening there, but... well, I guess I could say the same thing about the ending.  

That being said, this was very good on the revisit.  Sufficiently violent, sufficient drama, a shocking ending, and great flow to the whole thing.   Good, good start. 

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I remember loving that match as you had Sami/Owens awesomeness, the polka dot Stardust gear and ladder, and even Ryder winning.  He's talked about that on the figure podcast and he was very cool with losing the next day for various reasons.  For one he had his WM moment and no matter what happened he was happy.  And he liked the next night as it was something memorable tied to him and The Miz.  So good for him.  As for his dad yeah he was annoyed about it because his dad was not supposed to come into the ring.  But he was cool with that but still hates the hat.

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On 12/2/2020 at 9:34 PM, L_W_P said:

I also think that there is a story that could (and should) have played out with Otis/Tucker.

Tag guy wins it. Partner expects to get a tag title shot. Winner isn't sure.

umm, yes please. this is a perfectly exploratory way to utilize MITB and, while it shouldn't be used every year, stuff like ANY of these suggestions should be used occasionally to add some drama. While sometimes the most logical outcome is the best, that doesn't mean that it's the only outcome (besides the completely opposite "swerve the fans" deal). a MITB ladder match has been a yearly staple for 15 years (FIFTEEN!). it's a decade past time to mix it up.

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One could wonder, what would AJ Styles' career have been if he'd been tapped to go to WWE instead of TNA.  Would he have been John Cena's main nemesis, would he have been John Cena period, and would TNA have ever had the foothold it temporarily had in the late '00s. And then would the Bullet Club ever have happened?  And there's a whole set of circumstances that come out of there that completely change the landscape of wrestling overall (NJPW having American shows, the formation of AEW, etc.).  But as it was, AJ had basically done everything else there was in the wrestling industry outside of coming to the WWE.  So in 2016, he bit the bullet.

PBYB_7.gif

Or as it was seen the day of the Rumble thanks to Kevin Dunn's complete incompetence:  

NnwpAF.gif

So, his first few months were as good as the hype indicated.  Including his first real feud, teaming with and then being betrayed by Chris Jericho.  Those who bought your Y2AJ shirts know the pain.  

The issue at hand was that Jericho didn't like that AJ was getting cheered and thought he was better than him.  You know, that's just a refreshingly simple way to build a feud and it really worked for these two.  

AJ comes out to a massive pop and you can really see he's really appreciative of the first super big American crowd he's gotten.  Jericho then comes out, looking as dour as he always does when he's a heel.  Seriously, whenever he's a heel since like 2005, he is always looking like we are interrupting the worst day of his life.   

Anyway, I instantly notice the insane chemistry these two have.  They're working together really well and are hitting their things really well.  The match is going for Jericho underestimating just how good AJ is, or perhaps being overconfident in his abilities, because AJ does a lot of the offensive lifting. Including the WWE debut of the Styles Clash.  

Jericho is treating AJ like a punk bitch and doing a great job of putting him over.   Though the end comes as Jericho appears completely out of it, and AJ has him measured up for the flying forearm.  But, Chris busts out a one-legged Codebreaker and hands AJ his first WWE loss.

Both guys went on to have terrific years after this, so this was all but an exhibition match to see if they could just outdo the match they'd had on Raw the previous month. 

This was a good ride.  I wonder if the rest of this Mania is better than I remember.... (Spoiler alert:  It is not!)

End of Day 100. 

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On 12/4/2020 at 5:04 PM, Dolfan in NYC said:

End comes after that, as Zayn is inches centimetres away from winning the belt, but gets pushed over by The Miz.  Miz, being the little shitbird he is, takes a moment to not only climb, but pose for the crowd at the top of the ladder.  What he doesn't see is Zack Ryder climbing the other side...  Zack knocks him off, and claims his first and only Intercontinental Championship.  The crowd is cheering, but clearly stunned.  

Of course, being Zack Ryder, he'd lose the title the next night on Raw, but he at least got his moment.  Also, I'll note, his dad came into the ring to hug him, and in an odd moment, his dad tries to put his cowboy hat on Zack, which he angrily throws off.  I'm not sure what the heck was happening there, but... well, I guess I could say the same thing about the ending. 

My theory on Ryder winning here is so that people-in-the-know could make a nice pay-day on betting on Ryder when he had an insanely long line (if you Google it, on March, 29th he was a 33/1 underdog, a couple of days later, he had a 4/11 line). I realize that there is a relatively low limit (though I don't know how that limit looked like 5 years ago), but even then, with such long lines, it's easy to make a couple of grand (which might be nothing for the top brass, but for the lower ranked production guys or though, that's a nice bonus).

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Well, the Bullet Club definitely would've happened without AJ, because it did happen without him. He replaced Devitt when the Prince went to NXT.

Would it have worked as well without AJ there to fill the leadership the role? That's a better question. And if they went with someone else, would that someone have eventually left and opened up a spot for Kenny?

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DAY 101

We begin with Zack Ryder cutting a promo about having Razor Ramon's championship.  I'm really not sure what his point was aside from him being excited that he won. 

Oh, the point to that was they needed time to set up this gigantic box of WWE-themed Lucky Charms, charmingly named Booty O's.  This, of course, means it is time for the (main show) debut of the New Day at Wrestlemania. They are only the two time WWE *swivels hips* TAG *swivel* TEAM *swivel* CHAMPIONS, at this point, but they are clearly hyper-over.  It really is amazing and speaks to the talent of all three guys that they basically took a heel gospel-choir super-positive heel stable, and made it into the definitive tag team of the 2010's. (Yeah, fuck the Young Bucks.  Kick out again, Matt.) 

So their opponents are the literal opposite of a 'definitive' tag team, Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, Rusev, Sheamus, and Cesaro (oh right, he's not in it, I just figured).  They are The League of Nations.  Because a tribute to America's most racist president of the 20th century (and that's saying something) is exactly what the WWE needs in 2016.  Aside from none of them being American, these guys were put together because... *checks notes*... they were there. It's astounding actually, because these 4 guys have basically zero chemistry together.  I mean, Sheamus did get a quick World title reign out of it, but whatever.  

They have a match that is best described as... meh.  The New Day are working their asses off getting the crowd into stuff and doing their sells and building to a big finish.  The League is just doing spots.  It's beyond disappointing that the two talented ones in the League (who are not injured) aren't able to do more with this... but Del Rio has to come in and just kill any interest I have.  He really is just disinterested and drags everything down. 

End came as Barrett (the hurt one) bullhammers Xavier, who turns around into a Brogue Kick for the upset heel victory.  I had honestly forgotten that the League actually won this match. They decide to cut a promo that they're the best three man group ever.  That should cue someone like the nWo or the Freebirds (more on them later) or even DX... but instead Shawn Michaels (?) music hits... followed by Mick Foley (??)...  followed by Stone Cold Steve Austin (???).  

You can take one guess as to how this ends.  

I'm instantly annoyed because what is the point of having the current talent put over people who are years into their retirements?  Fucks sake, it just makes zero sense.  That being said, Rusev took his stunner bump like a fucking man.  It's a solid ***** Rock-level sell. 

Once Michaels/Foley/Austin have destroyed the League, the New Day come in to celebrate with them... and of course, Xavier eats a stunner.  Because, fuck them too.  It's fun at first, but if you put any thought into it.  It's infuriating.  

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Having Austin tell the story about this is nuts because he tears his shoulder throwing punches at Russev but he knows he has to finish the spots. He then talks about slamming a few of his IPAs (that he brought) for the pain and then having to get surgery after with the surgeon telling him after "Don't ruin my good work".

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3 hours ago, Brian Fowler said:

What, the random thrown together 1997 Austin yeah champion teams aren't a natural fit as a trios?

That's amazing and also about 1000% more thought than anyone in WWE put into it at the time.

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