Tag Archives: Pro Wrestling

Odds and Ends, Fits and Starts: Raw Regurgitated, 12/2

It’s hard to say if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that CM Punk was the person I least enjoyed listening to in a three-way conversation between himself, Kane and Stephanie. At the very least, Corporate Kane has very quickly become my new favorite gimmick remix, replacing long standing champion of my heart, Matt V1. That’s right, I’m a proud MFer.

Stephanie’s a pretty awful actress — which is more than okay considering that she still manages to be better than Dixie Carter and understands how to serve as corporate executive for a business that isn’t the professional wrestling equivalent of a sinking ship on fire — but she plays “awful/detached insanely rich person” like Meryl Streep.

The real problem with the WWE: They won’t let people get over by giving them nearly insurmountable odds against new stars so that they could get over with the crowd by doing the seemingly impossible. If they did that , they could use that narrative dynamic to sell one of the 6-8 PPVs — depending on how one feels about buying the Survivor Series and/or Extreme Rules every year– that don’t sell themselves, while making stars out of everyone involved. If only they did that, things would be so much better.

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Odds that Dolph Ziggler would face Big E. this early in his IC championship reign for the belt at a PPV: 1,000 to 1. Odds that Damien Sandow beats Langston for the title at TLC: 1,000 to 1. Odds E. loses that belt to Dolph Ziggler at the end of his run: Pick ‘Em. Odds Ziggler faces E. for the Unified Undisputed World War Wrestling Championship Belt Title after Langston wins it: 1,000,000 to 1.

If they are doing “Summer Rae is a female version of Fandango in the ring” with this “dancing while wrestling” thing, it might be the best news in the history of wrestling, because Here Comes the Emmalution. But if they are just having her do this because that’s what they think ladywrestling should be, they might as well just keep the women of NXT down in Florida until they all retire.

Things that are beautiful, but not long for this world: sunsets, a refreshing breeze, #BadNewsBarrett

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*** WARNING: YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE! *** PLEASE KEEP EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES *** Man, they should just give Daniel Bryan a shovel, so he can dig his own grave, amirite? Anyone who thinks this Wyatt storyline isn’t fantastic — even with the fits and starts with Daniel Bryan’s whereabouts that 8% of the crowd actually worries about — is a bummer on the level of people who that John Cena has been the most popular performer in the company for the last ten years because of politics. And those people are as depressing as Hulk Hogan being the most popular performer in the world for 20 years because of politics.

And in all this Bray Wyatt “join me” business, while it’s hard to say what’s going to happen, the real interesting dynamic is whether Wyatt is trying to con Bryan, or whether he just wants him to turn heel. The former screams “Hero’s Journey,” while the other leads to a feud with CM Punk — after he nobly dispatches the Shield by himself in a parallel storyline.

This is pretty much the perfect “midcard” feud: it has tons of intrigue and even more stakes, but doesn’t involve a major title, won’t be featured at the end of any show and never be truly resolved, and still serves major purposes in terms of narrative momentum for both characters, marks a fundamental shift in the direction of their careers and, most importantly, will lead to much better things in the future for everyone involved.

Like Andy said last week, this is all highly interesting stuff with huge stakes, and it should be clear that this would be bogged down if the WWE or WHC was involved, especially in the ramp up to the most important “WrestleMania season” ever. They’ve figured out a way, in a manner not unlike Community or Arrested Development, to not just mix meta-commentaries into the product as a nod to those “in on the joke”, but to debate the very notions that the commentaries are pointing at.

Wyatt talking about “taking down the system because they don’t know what they have in you” is the exact same idea as the Bluths complaining about cuts to housing orders that sounded suspiciously similar to the ones made by FOX regarding the number of episodes they wanted to produce.  By making this about existential ideas involved in the modern interpretation of wrestling by its most vocal fanbase — “us vs. them” and shadow politickings — it’s allowed the Reality Era-storytelling to be folded back into the standard tropes of the industry, something that the Attitude Era, like grunge, just never had in it.

What “happens” backstage become, more or less, a new wall of kayfabe, a new layer of storytelling, a new tool to be used to leverage butts into seats. And they are doing so by pushing the fourth wall against every screen they can get their hands on.

That this — the incorporation of formerly radical ideas by the “establishment” — is more often than not what happens after revolutions should not be missed. They — meaning the WWE — are finally calibrating the effect of the internet to a time before Cyber Sunday or even Taboo Tuesday, and that’s a good thing. It coming with more complaining than you can shake a stick at? Something we should be used to by now. *** WARNING: YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE! *** PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC MILKSHAKE ON YOUR WAY OUT***

WOAH. You can bury Edge and Chris Jericho, hotshot story lines to the top of the card before quickly discarding them in favor of much shinier new toys, and compare yourself to Harley Race and Hulk Hogan, but having Kane be a dick to Daniel Bryan is a bridge too far, Hunter.

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As someone who has spent an entire life neck deep in white privilege — ICYMI: it’s great, for me anyways, thanks cultural hegemony! — it feels weird to get mildly indignant that a young man working toward his Ph. D is being put into a storyline with two of the most racial caricature-y characters in recent memory in which he’s been accused of stealing the others’ dance routine and companions, seemingly simply because they all happen to share a preponderance of melanin in their skin. But, yeah, this just feels kind of gross, even if it is just entertainment, and the all seem to A) not care about whatever weird racism pangs happen in my head and B) be genuinely enjoying themselves. The only saving grace is the the other guy in the feud (Tensai) was treated just as one-dimensional in Japan, so at least the U.S. isn’t the only one in the “depressing racial stereotypes” game, just the leader in the clubhouse.

Speaking of depressing racial stereotypes, if the WWE believes we are going to be fooled by this Sin Cara/Hunico switch just because it assumes we think all masked wrestler look alike, well … they are probably right.

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And, finally, we’ve reached an impasse with the Shield six-man tags, as this was one of the first that felt “stale”. While it was a very good match with one or two spectacular moments, watching three guys work over one in the corner makes a lot more sense when it feels like they almost need to do it, not when it’s clear that one of them has beaten entire teams of other people by himself. Roman Reigns’ ascension seems like it will pretty much force the Shield to change how their matches are structured in order to keep the heat as the crowd builds anticipation for Reigns to go into full-blown destroyer mode after well-timed hot tags. Or, they could just keep running train.

The most important part of this match was not the re-dissolution of Kofi and Miz’s team or the solidification Ryback-Axel tag team, but the moment of self-actualization the two man achieved after they, as Jerry Lawler put it, “realized that maybe they weren’t Paul Heyman guys, but Ryback and Curtis Angl-Axel guys”. Namaste, Big Guys.

Ole!

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Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate. Please don’t bring back Sexual Chocolate.

It’s so much fun to watch Antonio Cesaro to get moments of awesomeness like ending a “house of fire” hot tag with the sweet smell of Swiss Death.

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I’m one of “those” people. I enjoy silly promos from Randy Orton about being people’s nightmares, I like when John Cena says “yadda yadda yadda, jack”, I even enjoy when he uses that silly finisher of his to put people through the table. And I’ve realized why: I like when the crowd reacts to things. And, when they are on, and put together in the right storyline, there is nothing on earth that the crowd reacts more to than Randy Orton and John Cena.

HAVING SAID THAT, if they do not end this thing with an undisputed champion, or at least one title — and it does not matter how they get there, even if it involves the return of the Yeti — they will have lost sight of what they are, and become what they hate. They’ll be WCW.

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Watch, Skip or Skim: Spoiler Alert with “Angry” Andy (11/27-11/29)

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Over the course of seven days, there’s a lot of wrestling on TV. But only some of it is actually worth watching. That’s where Spoiler Alert comes in: we break down the spoilers of all of WWE’s pre-taped shows to let you know what you should watch, and which segments and full shows you should skim or skip. This week, WWE lays the groundwork for some questionable storylines, and hopes you can stomach a holiday-themed Smackdown!

Main Event

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 (spoilers via Wrestlezone.com)

Alberto Del Rio d Dolph Ziggler

I’d be willing to bet this is a pay-per-view quality match.  These are two of the most talented guys on the roster, even if they’re not in the roles they should be.  Del Rio needs someone who can make him look like a vicious killer, and Ziggler sells like a madman… this is good booking.

Damien Sandow d Santino

Reports say this one is a simple squash, which is unfortunate for Santino.  That said, Sandow really needs some wins, and a loss will never hurt Santino.  That said, I’d rather see this match get 10 minutes on Raw, with the same outcome.

TRIPLE FREAKING H makes a rare Main Event appearance.  The King of Kings cuts a promo backstage, saying he wants one WWE Champion, and to unify the belts.  I like this, because it’s something important happening on an “unimportant” show, completely separate from the immediate legitimacy Triple H’s presence already adds to the show.

Kofi Kingston d Fandango

This match can only serve one purpose- to further the feud between Kofi and The Miz.  Hopefully The Miz is on commentary (said no one, ever) so he can help push the feud on the mic.

SKIM this show.  Del Rio-Ziggler should be great.  The Sandow match is totally inconsequential.  Triple H will be a special “A-Show” treat on the C-program, and Kingston-Miz is a solid mid-card feud in the making,

SUPERSTARS

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(spoilers via Wrestlezone.com)

Hey, remember Superstars?  Apparently, it airs Fridays on Hulu Plus.  This week’s show  was taped before Raw on Long Island, which means the crowd had to be REALLY hot for…

Zack Ryder d Fandango

Long Island loves Zack Ryder.  If he’s not on the show, the crowd chants “We Want Ryder!” all friggin’ night – so WWE got his appearance out of the way early.  If these guys are smart, they went Memphis for this bad boy.  The crowd is going to be hot either way, and it’s early in the show – take it easy and use the crowd to tell your story.

The Usos d The Real Americans

A friend at the show said this match was really good.  Considering who’s involved, I have no problem believing it.  Hopefully the crowd is just as good.

SKIM this show.  Watch or skip the opener, depending on your feelings on the guys involved.  But there’s no excuse to miss The Usos vs Cesaro & Swagger, on a show where they probably spent 15 minutes having an awesome match.

SMACKDOWN

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(Spoilers via LordsofPain.net)

Randy Orton & Renee Young are in the ring, forcing Nick to watch the opening segment. (Editor’s Note: He’s right.) Orton brags about Survivor Series but walks out when asked about TLC.  Apparently, we won’t be talking about that OTHER World Champion.

Vickie Guerrero is hosting a Thanksgiving-themed eating competition backstage.  If this doesn’t end with her wearing a face-full of mashed potatoes, then I just don’t know wrestling anymore.

Mark Henry d Curtis Axel.  Quick match, with Big E Langston and Ryback ringside.  I hope this is leading somewhere.  4-way for the title at TLC?

Titus O’Neil wins the eating competition.  Millions of drumsticks, millions of drumsticks.  For some reason, victory here earns him a match against Antonio Cesaro, later in the broadcast.

Los Matadores & El Torito d The Plymouth Rockers

Get it?  Because it’s Thanksgiving.  Prepare to watch a midget bull take out three dudes dressed as pilgrims.

Tons of Funk d R-Truth & Xavier Woods

Apparently, Brodus Clay was upset that Woods stole his theme song, back-up dancers, and spot on TV.  The only way I’m ok with putting the floundering joke of a babyface tag team over the fresh talent from NXT will be if Clay and Sweet-T are turning heel.  But even then, there’s nowhere for them to go.  They’re not surpassing The Shield, The Wyatt Family, or The Real Americans.  They need to legitimize Woods – not have him squashed by the fat jobber tag team.

Bray Wyatt says Daniel Bryan is safe with him.  He says Bryan entered a man, but will leave a monster.  I’m ok with this.

CM Punk and Renee Young are in the ring.  Nick turns up his TV.  The Punker says he hasn’t heard from Daniel Bryan since he was kidnapped by the Wyatts.  He says he doesn’t know why The Shield attacked him on Raw… but thinks maybe they’re following orders from The Authority.

Antonio Cesaro d Titus O’Neil by DQ, when Darren Young interferes.  Yes, the heel won by DQ when the face tag partner interfered.  After the match, Titus pukes in JBL’s cowboy hat (HE ATE TOO MUCH.  GET IT?), and puts the hat on Michael Cole’s head.  Then he pukes on Zeb.  Little kids go nuts.  Everyone else reaches for the remote.

Goldust & Cody Rhodes d Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns in a tag title match.  The Rhodes boys win by DQ when Dean Ambrose interferes.  Punk comes out to clear house with a chair.  Then Vickie Guerrero comes out, and channels the spirit of Teddy Long.

Goldust, Cody Rhodes & CM Punk vs The Shield ends in a no contest when the lights go out.  The Wyatts are in the ring when they come back on.  The Usos and Rey Mysterio come out to even the odds.  Vickie comes back out once again, Playa, leading to….

Goldust, Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio & The Usos d The Shield & The Wyatt Family.

This cluster-f ends when Mysterio hits the 619 on Erick Rowan, who then eats a GTS from CM Punk.  Crowd goes home happy.

SKIM this show.  The tag team gauntlet of exponential growth sounds fun.  The Tons of Funk-Truth/Woods angle could turn into something.  Same with the IC title picture.  Everything else sounds like painful holiday show filler.  DVR is your friend.

@AndyMillerJMS

12 Monkey Tag Match in a Barrel: Raw Regurgitated, 11/18

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MR. Brandon Stroud has been on this much longer, but they’ve clearly started to lay the major groundwork for “Randy Orton is not putting up with shit from ‘The Authority’ anymore” storyline. If they can manage to do that and still allow Orton to be a crazy person, I’ll enjoy it. If this means a reversion to “What’s my line, Sheamus?”, I’m going to be PISSED.

Vickie Guerrero’s crowning achievement in her career is either “WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU, VICKIE?!” or her sheepish “excuse me” from the opening segment of Raw. It’s six of one, half-a-dozen of another.

Brad Maddox can’t do much in the ring, but he sells like the World Champion of getting his ass kicked. It’s different that Dolph Ziggler’s “Rubberman” selling or Seth Rollins’ stuntman bumps, but it’s just as valid and wonderful. Remember, nobody took a shit kicking like Bret Hart. And nobody takes getting thrown over the top rope to the outside like Brad Maddox.

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Either everyone who didn’t see Big E. Langston winning the IC Title after immediately after they realized the E had remixed his entrance music is a dirty mark; or, I watch way too much professional wrestling. I don’t want to think about the latter, so I’ll just assume it’s the former.

And, seriously, if he’s not the next John Cena, I’ll eat whatever stupid trucker hat they make for him.

If this were Spoiler Alert, that music chairs segment would read:

SKIP this segment because … listen, abortion jokes are never funny, so I’m not going to make one here. But, man, was that an abortion.

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Big Show isn’t the presence that Andre was, but he’s still on the Great side of the ledger as a “wrestler you pay to see”. That’s not to say he’s a great technician, but that there is more to being worthy of paying to see for a sizable portion of the audience than that. Those people are kind of silly for the most part, but, in matches like this, where he gets himself and Ryback over as serious contenders not to be trifled with — a week after The Ryback lost to The R. Truth via rollup — is something that not many people can do, and almost no one has ever been as good at while also being that size.

This felt oddly predictable, not just because whatever the heck it was they were alluding to during commentary, but because this seemed like the worst possible scenario for both Kofi Kingston and The Miz. As a heel, The Miz is a non-Cena WHC-contender (emphasis on the contender part). As a face, he is Kofi Kingston.

This AJ Lee – Vickie “match” just seemed weird, and oddly reminiscent of the type of inside stuff that doesn’t play with the live crowd, especially when that can’t bump like Bobby Heenan. This may have been her worst showing ever in a ring, but at least she took the Black Widow like a champ. Also, Tamina is all of the bad parts of Diesel and like one of the good parts: she has interesting hair.

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If they make Dolph Ziggler start acting like Jeff Jarrett, we’re going to re-run #JeffJarrettWeek, but add early-to-mid 90’s catchphrases to the article and make the pictures look they were postcards sent from Bayside High so our beloved readers better understand what they have in front of them.

Everyone understands that John Cena didn’t actually need his arm in a sling, right? Is his arm “hurt”? Sure. But it more than seems like the whole point was that the sling was a ruse. One can argue that’s not a particularly good thing for a face to do, but to say that he beat Alberto del Rio “with one arm” means you should pay more attention to the story. This is Inception, folks: they are literally explaining every single part as they go along so no one gets lost.

Serious Question: Will @XavierWoodsPHD cause the E to downplay Damien Sandow’s intelligence or will they just start a feud with the two immediately about “Who’s the smartest man in the WWE?”. Gross either way.

I didn’t mind the Florida Georgia Line performance. I’ve heard the song a bunch of times before, and I don’t mind giving the WWE an occasional variety show vibe every couple of months. Especially for the go-home show before a “Big Four” PPV. Just don’t make a habit of … really? Michael Strahan? Goddamnit.

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***WARNING YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE***PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES*** If you are trying to construct a go-home show, this is a pretty perfect way to do it, especially for Survivor Series. Most of the questions coming into the show — like who was going to be the mystery partner in the “Traditional Survivor Series” match — were answered by the end of this match. And more importantly, they finished it in the hottest way possible, with one of the new rising stars of the company having a extremely hot crowd chanting along with him and seven of his friends. A lot of the things that happened on this show seemed important, and nothing felt more important than the main event. That match, a 12-man tag affair, was something that would have felt impossible a year ago. But in the last year, we’ve seen a revitalized tag team division, the re-introduction of stables of factions, the Wyatt Family, the Authority, two (very short) Daniel Bryan WWE title reigns (and more importantly WWE title match victories), the rise of the Rhodes family & the Usos,  and most importantly, the Shield. There are definitely going to be people out there who didn’t enjoy this show, and I understand why, but I found myself cheering and clapping at all of the odds and ends that helped create the whirlwind ended that you bet sent the crowd home happy, both in the arena and on television. Which is the whole point. ***WARNING YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE***PLEASE ENJOY YOUR SONIC MILKSHAKE ON YOUR WAY OUT***

When The Shield Met The Wyatts: Raw Regurgitated, 11/11

With Total Divas being an unmitigated success that goes out of its way to mess with the permeable membrane between reality, “reality” and kayfabe, is there any reason on God’s green earth we can’t get a couple of cameras to follow around Kane, Vickie and Brad Maddox for a season or two?

This crowd was shite. Like an Iowa crowd with an accent, they seemed to be trying to recreate the “magic” of that infamous (and infamously British) post-WrestleMania crowd, while completely missing that the “magic” was mostly that viewers had never seen a crowd be acknowledged for trying so hard to get itself over. And it worked, because it was organic. This crowd tried to artificially create that same feeling, and ended up coming across like all the things they say they hate about the WWE: manufactured, contrived and boring.

There’s been a very subtle transformation to the vanilla version of Goldust for Cody Rhodes. Vanilla in this case doesn’t mean “bad”, however, just “more palatable to a larger number of people”. He’s managed to incorporate bits of his brother’s work without it turning into a “Miz trying to put the figure four on people”. And that’s best for business.

Not only does this feel like the most over the Big Show has ever been, it’s one of the few times that a feud has made sense for him with a “normal” person. As a larger than life figure, outside of programs with other larger than life figures (like Mark Henry), most of stories over the years have revolved around things like “getting dosed with laxative” or “people laughing at him”. So it’s nice to see “got bullied by him and his cohorts to the point that he decided to destroy everyone” as a reason for  him to want to fight someone.

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Nothing on earth would make me happier if 3MB’s gimmick has changed from “Shitty rock band” to “shitty rock band who they are turning into faces by having them be a gimmick that makes sense for whichever town they are in”. Though, it feels like that would be way harder to put on a business card.

Kane’s presence as a new (pardon the pun) “Authority” figure puts an interesting twist on one of the most tired tropes in professional wrestling. Instead of just being the heavy, there’s a sense of actual stakes to pissing off Kane that goes beyond professional inconvenience, like him breaking your face.

Juice Make Sugar’s Raw Regurgitated Reader challenge: during the next Damien Sandow match you see, drink every time the announcers make reference to Sandow’s “new attitude” or the reasons behind it AND try to not die of alcohol poisoning.

After that loss to Curtis Axel, Dolph Ziggler has to be thinking about joining Chris Hero on a couple of independent bookings, right?

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It’s hard to say what’s weirder: Brad Maddox directly challenging Kane or the fact that Kane’s eyes are both the same color.

The day that this Tamina/AJ – Brie/Nikki storyline ends will be a good day. Until then, every day will be the worst day of our lives.

The motivation of the Shield continues to be “we go where the money is and we do what the money says”. It’s almost like they are an allegory for professional wrestling storytelling. Weird. Also, it’s kind of wonderful to see them working together like a sketch troupe. Makes you wonder how good Dean Ambrose is at “Yes, and…”

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Her “Queen Farts-a-lot” gimmick was well, farts, but at least it seemed like Nattie’s storylines had hit rockbottom in terms of how pathetic a storyline involving her could be. But, her bickering with her obnoxious (and OBNOXIOUSLY Canadian) husband about her training with Fandango is the definition of the dribbling shits.

***WARNING YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE***PLEASE KEEP EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES*** It was nice to see how excited Cena seemed to be when Cesaro and he had a chance to work together. You’ll find no bigger defender of the John Cena brand than me, so take what I say with a grain of very biased salt. But considering the rub that Cena has given to guys like Big E. Langston and Antonio Cesaro, of the legitimate “faces of the WWE” —  your Rocks, Stone Colds, Hulk Hogans — he’s unequivocally the most giving. Part of that is that he’s not, no matter how hard he tries, a movie star in the way that the Rock is and Hogan/Austin tried to be. But it would be wrong to say that’s the only reason he is so giving. It feels largely that Cena knows precisely how lucky he is to be in the position he’s in. And yes, it seems silly to talk about how generous a guy is after he just beat the presumed No.1 contenders for the tag team titles by himself, but if you just acknowledge that he’s never going to “lose” in the grand scheme of things to anyone who isn’t CM Punk or Daniel Bryan or Randy Orton or Edge (or Tensai) (or The Miz) (or Dolph) and acknowledge that he does the best he can trying to make it so that everyone makes money within that context, his career is pretty remarkable in that respect. ***WARNING YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE***PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC MILKSHAKE ON THE WAY OUT***

Sometimes, you see rumors on the internet and hope they aren’t true. Then, you watch R Truth win cleanly on a roll up, and you know that whatever Ryback did to anger whoever he angered in the back was way worse than you thought.

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As a John Cena-Alberto del Rio fan, it’s hard to articulate how excited I am for their Survivor Series match, but I’m not sure if it’s because they are two of my favorite performers in the company, or because it’ll be one of five times all year athat the crowd gave a shit about an Alberto del Rio match.

If you don’t think that the storyline for Lesnar-Taker at WrestleMania is “I’m going to make CM Punk watch the Beast do what the ‘Best in the World’ couldn’t”, you are a dirty mark.

For  those who think that Daniel Bryan is going to sink down to the “mid-card” because SummerSlam buyrates were down (which you may blame on Triple H if you didn’t understand how the time-space continuum works), he and CM Punk essentially beating the Shield in a handicap match before getting the upper hand on them AND the Wyatt Family (after some friends stop by to lend a hand) should tell you everything you know about how much the company Respects the Beard.

Andy’s Angry: Pro Wrestling Fans Who Hate Pro Wrestling

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Chikara: Wrestling for people who like comic books, who like wrestling

It wasn’t too long ago that I stepped up onto my angry little soap box, ranting and raving about how pro wrestling hates pro wrestling fans.  I meant it.  The industry mocks its fans.  It mocks workers who still love the business.  It even ridicules and minimizes the workers who “come up through the business,” the way all the veterans say a wrestler should.  But the territories are dead, and apparently, the indies just aren’t going to cut it.  The Daniel Bryans who fought their way to the WWE, working the indies here and abroad just for a shot at the show?  They’ll never be looked at like a Randy Orton or a John Cena, who will never know wrestling beyond the 20×20 of WWE’s squared circle.

But the more Nick and I talk it out the more I realize this love-hate relationship between pro wrestling and its fans goes both ways.  He’s written about this too and he was nice, the everybody-love-everybody hippie he is. But I’m me, and I won’t be so nice about  it: there are pro wrestling fans who hate pro wrestling.  I’m not sure when it started, but I can’t help but think it’s true.  Wrestling fans who hate wrestling. Isn’t it enough to hear idiots tell us it’s fake? Now we’re going to complain it’s not everything we want it to be all of the time? 

Maybe it started with ECW.  Even now, Paul and the boys like to say it was the crowd that made ECW special.  Why?  They were “smart.”  They bought and traded tapes, and thought their clever comments and “you f’d up” chants made them “part of the show.”  Hot, interactive crowds are a good thing.  Bloodthirsty crowds who crap all over anything that’s less than perfect?  They’re obnoxious, and they ruin the show.  Like it or not, selfish ECW-style crowds have ruined shows long after the company’s demise.

Maybe we should blame the Internet.  After all, it’s the Internet that ultimately destroyed Kayfabe, right?  The Internet gave every fan, smart and otherwise, a direct line of sorts to superstars past and present.  And it’s the Internet that gave every half-wit with a keyboard or a cheap webcam a voice, to pretend they know what they’re talking about. How  we have a world of knowledge at our finger tips and somehow became dumber is beyond me.

It’s part of the reason I’m here at Juice Make Sugar.  We actually like wrestling, our slogan is “For people who know wrestling is fake but don’t let that bother them” for chrissakes.

Hell, maybe it’s wrestling’s fault.  After all, the Monday Night Wars taught us that nothing was ever going to be awesome enough.  Each week needed to top the last.  Each show on USA needed to top the one on TNT, and vice-versa.  Predictable job matches?  No more.  Bring on TLC.  Bring on the blood.  Bring on the quick-and-meaningless title changes.  Make every match THE BEST MATCH EVER!

We’re spoiled.  We demand instant gratification on the story lines we like, and we’re too impatient to let something vague or unpredictable play out.  We bitch and moan that everyone looks and wrestles the same, and then we immediately dump on the first colorful character with an unconventional style.  And when we’re given what we want, we immediately turn our backs on it like a bunch of pro wrestling hipsters.

Don’t believe me?

How quickly did you give up on Daniel Bryan’s WWE title feud with Randy Orton?  The second Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, half the crowd shit all over the angle, saying Bryan was being buried.  Forget the fact he headlined the next two pay-per-views.  Forget the fact he’s now SO over, they’re using him to build up the next generation of major heels. Which is how wrestling worked before titles got hot-shotted to hell.

How about the Dolph Ziggler push?  We all marked out just a little bit when Ziggler cashed in on Alberto Del Rio.  But then, he was a babyface.  We can’t cheer a babyface, can we?  That’s not cool.  The nWo taught us that, and John Cena only reinforced it. As soon as Ziggler accepted the crowd’s cheers, he was dead meat. Now look at him. He’s just there. He should team up with The Miz, who everyone seemed to love…until they were supposed to.

Don’t get me started on the “they need to sign all the indy guys” arguments. I’ll be opening THAT can of worms in another week or so.

Somewhere along the way, we forgot how to have fun watching wrestling.  It IS supposed to be fun, afterall.  Why else are we watching?  Why else would we dedicate hours a week of TV and pay-per-view, plus Internet discussions and more?  Are we just looking for a reason to bitch?

Wrestling can be, and should be, fun.  If WWE isn’t for you, there’s an alternative.  You can skip Raw and Smackdown without giving up on sports entertainment.

You want a televised alternative?  Watch TNA.  Whatever they’re doing this week may just be different from what The Best for Business Bureau is up to.  Lots of talented guys and girls are on the roster, fighting to impress.

You like your wrestling pure, action-packed and hard-hitting?  Check out Ring of Honor.  Some of the guys fall into that “they all look the same” category, but if nothing else, the action will be solid.  If you want a show that’s nothing but guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins, here you go.

You want to see crazy bumps and superkicks galore?  Check out Pro Wrestling Guerilla.  A lot of overlap with the ROH roster, but presented as more of a nightly all-star pickup game than a promotion with long-running storylines.

Want to see fun wrestling with a deep canon, that’s enjoyable whether or not you know the back story?  Give Chikara a shot.  It can be so silly, but I’ve NEVER had more fun watching pro wrestling.  My enjoyment of Chikara is probably the reason why I kept watching WWE and TNA.  It’s probably the only reason I’m still a wrestling fan.  It’s not for everyone, surely, but it’s definitely a lot of fun.

You CAN enjoy pro wrestling.  If you don’t, it’s not the fault of the guys in the ring, or the guys in the back.  It’s probably because you choose not to enjoy it.  Stop making excuses.  Stop complaining.  There’s more than enough to enjoy – if you’re willing to enjoy it.

@AndyMillerJMS

A 3-Hour Casual Male XL Commercial: Raw Regurgitated, 11/4

***WARNING YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE*** PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE*** When we look back at the career of CM Punk, this Wyatt Family feud will likely be seen as a stopgap unless the “The Devil Made Me Do It” payoff propels either he or Daniel Bryan back to the very top of the main event. But, even with that, this is precisely the type of adventure these two should be going on now that The Dragon has joined the upper middle class of the WWE: tangentially tied to the major storyline in the company without forcing either to get on the Treadmill of Disappointment that is going to be the life of any face trying to take the belt off of “The Authority” until WrestleMania. If they insist on making us wait for the payoff, this is the “trials and tribulations of being a hero” that they should be focusing on instead of giving the Yes Lock to Unabomber look-a-likes with itchy Superkickin’ feet. That Brodie Lee and the rest of the Family might get even more over because it is just icing on delicious cake. ***WARNING YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE*** PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC MILKSHAKE ON THE WAY OUT***

Given Cena’s key demographics: an inherently transient audience — children — and people who like the role of the valiant hero/prince charming trope it seems that a lengthy absence by the very handsome (according to my girlfriend/the entirety of wrestling Tumblr) and engaging Punk would hurt the company a lot more than The Franchise’s. Which is weird to think about.

Is the ponytail Daniel Bryan’s version of the “serious” haircut so that we know he means business?

***

Santino Marella might be a future Hall of Famer, and when people look back to wonder how/why, bits like this with Ryback will go a long way to explaining it: he manages to stick up for a friend, comes off as real — for his character anyways — by reacting to the situation the way someone like him (at heart, a goofball) would by using a bit of humor to try to diffuse the situation, before handing the problem off to a guy who makes more sense in the ring against The Big Guy. This is storytelling, not rocket science, and Santino does everything one could ask of a character — entertains, moves the narrative along in an efficient way, and helps make other people more profitable — and he’s been doing it for the better part of the last decade. We will see a dozen Rybacks and Randy Ortons before we see another Santino.

How is it possible that Kofi Kingston is the only person in wrestling history to get his “big boy pants” moment, but manage to come out of it worse? … oh, right. Because he’s Kofi Kingston.

Alberto del Rio losing the WHC title may end up being a godsend for him. Like Serial Killer Randy Orton before him, the obsession over getting the belt is more compelling than the obsession over keeping the belt. When you are chasing, cheating or being dastardly is a manifestation of “how bad you want it”, and the crowd reaction comes from how badly they “don’t want you to get it”. When you have the title, cheating or being dastardly to keep the belt is a means to an end, and the crowd ends up just being pissed you get to keep it.

***

Speaking of contradicting myself in ensuing paragraphs, if Face of the WWE Randy Orton turns into a mix between the Rock and “Ravishing” Rick Rude, he can keep that belt as long as he wants.

Maybe it’s the ESPN watcher in me, but the result of that poll begs a serious question: is Big E. Langston really THAT over or are The Miz and Dolph Ziggler that lame? If he is, they need to make him the new Daniel Bryan yesterday.

Watch out, Big E., Jerry Lawler’s pretty serious about nailing people. With gimmick infringement lawsuits for pre-finisher strap removal, I mean. Also, NEVER TURN AROUND after Randy Orton has reversed your finisher. You will get RKO’d.

Did The Great Khali have to take some Alice in Wonderland potion to turn into Tyson Kidd or is that how good the WWE marketing machine is?

***

The “breast cancer is terrible” promo before this match was both oddly real and impossibly contrived. As mentioned last week, the level to which John Cena exists outside of the basic goings-on of the WWE Universe is remarkable, but you have to wonder if someone else couldn’t have done that and made it seem less like they were trying to shoehorn a t-shirt commercial into Raw.

Having both del Rio and Zeb Colter on commentary seems like an idea surely to go wrong, but with both having a “legit” beef with Cena/each other and JBL pushing the numbers in their favor ideologically, this managed to be a relatively enjoyable match from the booth that actually served a narrative purpose. And to think, they said it couldn’t be done.

Of all the things to love about Goldust, Cody, and even John Cena in the match, the jump hug after they won might be my favorite. All three, along with at least Antonio Cesaro, and possibly Damien Sandow, have managed to reach the level of in-ring work that not only do fans love their matches because of they are involved, but the very matches themselves as stand-alone stories. When you have that, that’s all you need.

***

If Big E. gets a non-title match against WWE champion Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler gets a non-title match against IC champion Curtis Axel, does this mean The Miz gets a non-title shot against Internet champion Zach Ryder?

Were the Los Matadores busy sewing new costumes to face 3MB? Leaving guys hanging like that. Just not right.

Eva Marie wins. Oof. Ba-boof.

***

The Big Show is so happy he found a suit that fits. You have to hope that it makes it through this next segment. Otherwise that’s like three fields worth of cotton wasted.

People are going to make jokes about Corporate Kane. To those people I say: please send your photoshops to juicemakesugar at gmail dot com. Thanks.

Sometimes entire segments are set ups for one single picture. This is that picture:

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?: Impact Wrestling, 10/31

This week’s Halloween edition of Impact Wrestling will try to answer the terrifying question of how you can have a professional wrestling league without a champion. Universal Studios’ monsters Abyss and Lei’D Tapa will appear alongside the spookiest witch of them all, Dixie Carter. Below is a rundown of all advertised segments: 

IMPACT Preview: Tonight's Halloween Broadcast | Angle vs. Roode | Will Abyss Return?

TNA Says:

Thursday’s HALLOWEEN IMPACT will feature a HUGE “Bound For Glory” rematch as Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle once again battles his nemesis and EGO Hall of Famer, Bobby Roode! After their epic war at “Bound For Glory” and confrontation on IMPACT, can Angle finally get payback against Roode?

Best Case Scenario: These two have a strong TV match while still managing to make the audience who paid for Bound For Glory feel like they saw something more special than what’s presented on Impact for free. Angle wins clean, setting up a big rubber match between the two.

Worst Case Scenario: Botched interference by EGO leads to a less-than-clean win for Kurt Angle who breaks his freakin’ neck on a poorly-executed schoolboy pin.

Dave Says: It feels like only two weeks ago I paid for a show where this was the only good match. Oh, yeah — that’s because two weeks ago I did pay for a show where this was the only good match. It’s a positive that TNA understands that Roode vs. Angle is one of the best things they can present  (especially with A.J. Styles temporarily off TV), but it’s a decided negative that they aren’t building a better angle (no pun intended) around this. Their rivalry is about honor and ability and who’s the better man — all the things wrestling is supposed to be about — but some of the execution has made the whole thing feel cheap and sloppily thrown together.

***

Video: TNA President Dixie Carter announces the fate of AJ Styles and the World Heavyweight Championship

TNA Says:

What’s next in the ongoing situation involving World Heavyweight Champion “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles and TNA President Dixie Carter? Styles shocked the wrestling world this past week and left IMPACT with the World Heavyweight Championship without signing a new contract! How will Dixie Carter respond this Thursday on Impact?

Best Case Scenario: Styles appears “via satellite,” holding up the belt and telling Dixie that he’ll let her see it in person again when the time is right. She flips out, saying she’s going to strip him, but he only laughs in her face, saying that everybody knows who the TNA World Heavyweight Champion is, and she can’t take it away from him.

Worst Case Scenario: Fans don’t receive any word at all from Styles, with only Mike Tenay doing his classic/hackneyed “What’s going on with ________? We haven’t even heard from _________” routine. Dixie gloats about chasing A.J. Styles out of the territory and goes on to appoint her nephew Ethan Carter III new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.

Dave Says: Goodness, is this really TNA’s top angle? It’s understandable that A.J. Styles would feel betrayed by Dixie Carter, but how is leaving the territory with the World Title the act of a hero? A strong, rebellious babyface stays and fights the rot from inside (see: Steve Austin, C.M. Punk); he doesn’t run away, flipping everybody off on the way out (uhhh… see: #ShawnMichaelsWeek).

***

TNA Says:

On the special Halloween IMPACT, ODB gets her rematch for the Knockouts Championship as she battles new titleholder Gail Kim! However, can ODB find a way to counter Gail’s newest associate, the juggernaut Lei’d Tapa?

Best Case Scenario: (I’m usually against rapid title changes, but…) ODB wins the Knockouts Title back, shocking Gail Kim with a roll-up and ensuring that there is at least one babyface champion in the absence of A.J. Styles.

Worst Case Scenario: ODB has Gail Kim in jeopardy when Lei’D Tapa enters the ring right in front of the referee and interferes, causing a disqualification. Kim and Tapa go on an extended beatdown of ODB, which no other babyface Knockouts come to the ring to break up because, well, there are no other babyface Knockouts.

Dave Says: It’s mind-boggling how far the Knockouts division has fallen since Slammiversary. Only four months ago, TNA had Mickie James putting in one of the best performances of anybody in wrestling, Gail Kim as a credible top heel, and Taryn Terrell looking like the next top babyface. Contract negotiations and a pregnancy later, we have Lei’D Tapa playing Diesel to Gail Kim’s watered-down Shawn Michaels.

***

TNA Says:

The Tag Team Titles will be on the line as the new champions The Bromans defend their gold against the former champions, James Storm and Gunner.

Best Case Scenario: The Bromans (What happened to the capital M? The way it’s written now, it looks like it should be pronounced rhyming with “Romans.”) assert themselves as strong heel champions, pinning Gunner following their Hart Attack clothesline. While there are aggravating heel shenanigans throughout the match, the finish itself is clean.

Worst Case Scenario: Mr. Olympia returns and helps The Bromans by interfering. He knocks down James Storm with a sloppy clothesline, tearing his own tricep off the bone and breaking Storm’s neck in the process.

Dave Says: GunStorm are so ice cold and dull as an act that it feels like The Bromans need to move past them as quickly as possible. The problem, however, is that the “tag team division” beyond these two teams consists of Chavo & Hernandez (ice cold and directionless), Eric Young & Joseph Park (seemingly back-burnered with the return of Abyss), and Bad Influence (much better heels than the heel champions themselves). The division desperately needs a shakeup, whether it’s an infusion of new talent or an improbably hard face turn from Bad Influence.

***

IMPACT Preview: Thursday Halloween Broadcast | Angle vs. Roode | Will Abyss Return?

TNA Says:

Also on Thursday’s IMPACT, will “The Monster” Abyss make his return on HALLOWEEN NIGHT and unleash terror on Christopher Daniels, Kazarian and anyone else who might be in his path of destruction? Will TNA’s Masked Monster make his return on Halloween to get revenge? Don’t miss it!

Best Case Scenario: Abyss bounces around Kaz and Daniels, who fly all over the place selling for him. Abyss is reestablished as a wrestler to be reckoned with, not just an ultra-gimmicked guy who appears once every three months, bursts through the ring and takes a bump on thumbtacks.

Worst Case Scenario: Just as it looks like Abyss is going to get his revenge on Bad Influence, they chase him into an abandoned windmill wielding lit torches. Bad Influence cackle and dance as they set the mill ablaze, buring Abyss alive and turning him into (Juice Make Sugar Wrestler of The Week©) Kane.

Dave Says: So, I know that Mary Shelley intended the monster to be the babyface in Frankenstein, but this is just ridiculous. It’s beyond kitschy for a wrestling show, even one airing on October 31, to be built around whether or not a friendly monster is going to kill some evil villagers. Holiday special episodes are as stale and worn-out trope-filled as Abyss’ career.