Tag Archives: Ricardo Rodriguez

Andy’s Angry: Breaking Down Brodus and Remodeling the Midcard

It’s always amazing to see how much certain wrestling fans truly hate their theatrical sport of choice.  If they’re not getting what they want, these fans explode about what WWE should be doing.  When they get exactly what they want, they complain that the angle is being hot-shotted, or just botched in general.

Take, for example, the midcard.  Fans have long cried out for a need to rebuild the midcard, and to make the matches matter.  Give the guys a reason to fight, instead of just having them fight.  You may have noticed, lately, a lot of tag guys and lower card guys are actually getting over, and it’s not a coincidence.

People also cried for new talent.  The Shield, The Wyatts, Cesaro, Fandango, and so many others say hello.

2 weeks ago, WWE attempted to rebuild a floundering mid-card tag team, while also introducing and establishing a promising new talent.

And it was brilliant.

A week after he was introduced to the mainstream audience, Xavier Woods came out with Brodus Clay’s dancers – and his theme song.  A few days later, Big Brodie was PISSED that the young guy was stealing his gimmick – and his spot on the show.  It immediately established Woods as a relatable underdog, and set the wheels in motion for a long overdue Brodus Clay heel turn.  It also set up a series of matches where Clay gets to finally work like the big man he is, and let the crowd get behind Xavier.

So naturally, the internet drops trou’ and declares this a big ol’ steamy pile of wrestlecrap.

Are you kidding me?

I didn’t see many complaints about Woods, but man do people have a problem with Brodus Clay.  In particular, people hate him for declaring himself a “main event player,” in comparison to a rookie like Woods.  Apparently, these folks would rather have Clay declare himself a jobber, or a failed comedy gimmick, than try to sell himself and sell the feud.  And since when do heels have an accurate opinion of themselves? Part of what makes them heels is the disconnect between reality and what they say reality is.

Which makes me  think that the people complaining have never actually watched professional wrestling.  Story lines like this one are almost literally Wrestling 101, and everything that is right about the business:  It uses established undercard monsters (Clay and Tensai) as a platform to introduce a new character (Woods)  using a clear and obvious size disparity and they’ve attached him to an established babyface (Truth) to make sure the fans cheer the new guy by association.  Even if it didn’t do all that, it would still be using two babyfaces to take two floundering guys, and give them new life as bad ass heels.Whether or not the internet likes it, this angle is already a success.

Not only does it work, it shows that WWE could take its “future future endeavors” list and create some midcard stars. There are a bunch of unused (or underused) guys who have been on TV – who could be used a lot better.  In no particular order- David Otunga, JTG, Ezekiel Jackson, Mason Ryan, Ricardo Rodriguez, Yoshi Tatsu, Zack Ryder, Evan Bourne…

Let’s start with JTG.  Right now, he’s dead in the water, but it wasn’t always that way.  He was OVER as a member of Cryme Tyme.  And he’s been off TV long enough that you could easily revive the gimmick, and retcon his miserable singles run.

There’s only one problem.  His former tag team partner thinks he’s an actor now, and isn’t coming back.  My solution?  Since Mason Ryan would be busy with my next idea, I’d team him up with Ezekiel Jackson.  JTG did all the work in the original team, and let Shad take the hot tag.  That would work just fine here.

And if you’re trying to recapture Cryme Tyme magic in 2014, give them a high-powered attorney who keeps them out of trouble. There’s a certain Harvard Law grad floating around who could use something to do.  Unless Mr. Hudson Otunga is busy, that is.

Just like that – you’ve got an undercard tag team that, if nothing else, could be used to build teams like The Real Americans and Tons of Funk for tag title shots.  And you’ve given them a Teflon gimmick with a charismatic manager to boot.

Zack Ryder has a segment of fans that love him.  Right or wrong, they’re going to chant “we want Ryder” at live events—especially in the northeast.  So cash in on it, using some other talented guys with nothing to do.

How? The FBI.

ECW fans will remember the original incarnation of the Full Blooded Italians.  They’ll also remember that half the stable wasn’t Italian.  Hell, some members weren’t even white.  But that didn’t stop the group from parading around as a family of tough-guy Italians.

Re-use that formula here, but with Ryder leading a group of quasi-Long Island douche bags.  Curt Hawkins is still under contract, right? Evan Bourne could easily fit the bill, given enough hair gel.  Mason Ryan could be the group’s muscle.  Better yet, Zack’s famous cronie The Big O is coming along quite nicely in NYWC.  And a fake-Italian/guido stable would be far more productive than anything else Yoshi Tatsu is up to.  Team them up as the L.I.E., and  make it stand for whatever you want it to.  Then feud them with Santino.  Sell a lot of t-shirts.

A lot of people love Ricardo Rodriguez.  He’s funny, he’s charismatic—and he can work.  The only problem is, it’s been established that he’s little more than a punching bag in a bowtie.  Now, in fairness, WWE did set him up for a future return and legitimate run, saying that he was moving to the WWE Performance Center to learn how to wrestle.  But I have a better idea.

Use Ricardo Rodriguez as your next masked luchadore.  Call him anything BUT El Local.

Give him a gimmick, a back story, and the chance to get over as a legitimate wrestler.  If it fails… he’ll always be Ricardo Rodriguez.

Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel were a good little “London & Kendrick” kinda tag team, until Kidd got hurt.  Now he’s back, and neither guy is doing squat.  Team ‘em up and let ‘em go.

No, seriously, that’s it.  Just let these guys wrestle.

I could go on, but I think you get my point.

Of course, not every gimmick is going to work out.  Sometimes, a silly rapper gimmick turns into the biggest superstar in wrestling.  Sometimes it’s Slam Master J and nobody remembers you at all. Maybe Bad News Barrett turns into a main event gimmick.  Maybe it’s a “Just Joe” afterthought.  Who knows?

Not everyone makes it to the top.  But you can be a success without being number one and it wouldn’t hurt to give some guys a chance to grow as performers and connect with the crowd.  It certainly isn’t hurting Brodus Clay, Tensai, Xavier Woods and R-Truth to have a shot at something meaningful.  The proof is in the crowd reactions, and given enough time, the merch sales.  And WORST case scenario, every roster needs  a 3MB.

I hear and read a lot of complaints about Cena and Orton staying on top of the show, a decade after they took over.  You want that to end?  Someone else needs to get a shot—and everyone has to start somewhere.

So stop complaining, and enjoy the ride.



Punch Drunk Love: Raw Regurgitated, 10/8

Uh-oh! Somebody got in the spray tan again! When will she ever learn!

This wasn’t a particularly strong performance by either of the two principals, until, of course, Stephanie LOST IT and SLAPPED THE SHIT out of the Big Show. This is the type of emotion this storyline needs to keep interest up. Stephanie and H are fighting to the WWE built in their image, something that has a legacy within Stephanie’s family and will define not just Triple H’s career but his life in the entertainment industry. Also, watching Steph repeatedly hit someone in the face while they laugh at her because they are a giant is hilarious.

Pro tip: Never fire the guy you’ve been using as your assassin. Especially when you’ve been using “if you want to keep your job do what we tell you”. I’m not a logic doctor, but I’m pretty sure when you fire him, you’re saying “do whatever you want, guy”.


For those without their WWE-to-English dictionaries: ” “Blah Blah has been very aggressive as of late” of “we might be pushing this guy, but we also like jobbing him out so let’s see if this gets over.”

Can’t they just give Dolph Ziggler  the superkick instead of trying to make chicken salad out of Billy Gunn’s finisher?

We had a request from one of our readers to talk about this Divas match and how bad it was. Unfortunately, we can’t do that. This match was what it was: an attempt to introduce to the Raw audience to people that have only really been seen in direct connection with “Total Divas”. Getting mad at Eva Marie for not being that great in the ring during (what I am assuming is) her debut match on Raw is like getting mad at a dog for meowing. It’s just going to frustrate you and make you question the meaning of life while blaming something that can’t help itself and clearly isn’t long for this world/is an abomination.


The entrance had a little bit less oomph this time because we all knew the smoke was coming out of the nostrils, but getting to see Torito actually do some work was worth sitting through Drew McIntyre “Long Goodbye” tour.

I think at some point in here Bob Backlund spoke. I fast-forwarded, as I can’t watch crazy people talk with a live mic — nothing makes me more uncomfortable than people speaking when it’s clear they haven’t taken their pills — but from what I understand, it was rousing. And insane. Mostly insane.

This better not lead to CM Punk and R Truth taking the tag team titles away from the Shield because Punk wants to relive his glory days when he was best friends with a black guy and had long hair. Haven’t we seen enough of Punk throwing his weight around backstage?


Where’s Kofi’s family? This doesn’t work unless you can see the exact moment Orton breaks Mama Kingston’s heart.

Any time that Kofi loses to Randy and Randy doesn’t tell him that no one will ever love him again has to feel good.

Daniel Bryan going H.A.M. on Randy is going to be important in the next two weeks, as having them be separated because DB is just too bloodthirsty and Randy is too crazy is  the only way anyone is going to pay to see them wrestle after the traveling Dusty Circus came to town.


If Alberto and Vickie ever do get together, they better call their stable “The Family”.

It’s hard to say which was worse: that John is back already — I love Cena, but they need to give the Main Event some time to breathe — or that the announcement made people only half pay attention to Ricardo Rodriguez getting payback on Del Rio for putting his smoking buddy out of commission.

He’s had his heart broken, his neck broken and now his arm broken? How happy must Ricardo be now that the Affordable Care Act is being implemented?


Zach Ryder is so low on the totem pole, they don’t even mention that he used to be US Champion. And I’m pretty they list Chris Benoit as a former US champion.

They need to put a belt on either Santino or Antonio, so that this amazing feud can have some stakes too it. Watching Marella try to hit Cesaro with the Cobra while simultaneously performing evasive maneuvers to avoid hitting Hornswoggle is why we get into the wrestling writing business in the first place. That and the chicks.

Considering that he booked himself as a guest, how did The Miz not see Bray Wyatt showing up on Miz TV? He must not recognize the level to which his career looks like a dead antelope on the Serengeti at this point. Poor guy.


Goldust’s inevitable turn against Cody is going to make moments like this match — and Sunday night’s as well — be so much harder to look back on without it getting a little Dusty in JMS HQ.

***WARNING: YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE*** PLEASE KEEP EYES AND EARS INSIDE KAYFABE*** Mixing the Rhodes family struggles with Daniel Bryan’s, all while allowing for the Big Show to come back and get the most over out of anyone is the kind of layered booking/writing that separates good wrestling periods from great wrestling eras. Although it may not seem like it when you see Big Show knock out everyone involved in a match you may have paid to see a definitive ending to, wrestling exists in an entirely different narrative world than anything else. This doesn’t just extend to the WWE app, but exclusives on WWE.com — like Michael Cole’s weekly interviews with Triple H — and Twitter, where entire feuds can be build out for anyone that cares to watch. The WWE functions less like a scripted TV show and more like an augmented reality that the performers place on top of their normal lives to give some sort of meaning to the lives of people with nothing better to do. This may not feel like it, but this stuff is the beginning of a revolution, and while the results may not always be pretty, they will likely continue to be what’s “Best for Business”. ***YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE***ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC MILKSHAKE ON THE WAY OUT***

Did Show just kill Triple H?

Headlock’d: Night of Champions Predictions

It’s PPV Sunday, which means we have an asston of content, at least a third of which will be drug related. We’re starting off with the Headlock’d prediction show, and we’ll have What’s the Worst That Could Happen? and the Night of Champions drinking game to get you prepared for the show.

Tonight’s the night, THE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS! Where a plurality of titles are on the line and at least one might change hands. Possibly, but we’re promising anything.

Making Friends and Influencing People: Raw Regurgitated, 8/19

I wrote about this on Cageside Seats, but this is PRECISELY how you pass the torch to someone: succinctly and without equivocation. John Cena does it the right way.

People are going to complain about Daniel Bryan implying that Stephanie is being a B-word (read: bitch), and saying she’s trash. It’s not that they are wrong, as much as if you were ever going to call out someone for being that, you can’t think of a better time than after them telling you that you’re not good enough to be something you’ve wanted to do your entire life because you are too short, too skinny and too ugly. And if that person is your boss, and only because she’s the daughter of your boss’s boss, it’s easy to understand where he’s coming from.

At some point, someone is going to say “that’s not security, those are guys from developmental!“ and ruin it forever, but until then, please keep bringing them up just for this.


Now that Orton has stolen the “steal the belt from the champion after a hard-fought match that serves as a major push for them” trick from this year’s Money in the Bank cash-in grab bag, what’s Damien going to do? Let’s just hope it’s not the Mr. Kennedy special.

Sandow actually manages to look better every time he’s in the ring with Cody. And only half of that is because he’s won the “facial hair” belt from this feud.

When Damien gets a finisher to match this gimmick that doesn’t involve puns he’s going to be the most over heel in the company. Until then, he’s going to be booked like Leapin’ Lanny Poffo with a worse beard.


Wow, that whole Layla-AJ thing looks like it just went from 0-shitty feud in less than 1.4 matches.


There isn’t a better guy on the roster to give the Shield 3-on-1 tag match treatment to than Ziggler. Well, a better guy under 350lbs, but still.

Ziggler will not win this match, but at least he hasn’t called AJ a slut or crazy, so that’s a win for everybody.



Speaking of OOF, the only good thing that has ever happened in Sin Cara’s career is how pissed Alberto Del Rio was after they ended that match.

Can’t we just let Ricardo take those fat burners? He looks like he ate one of Alberto Del Rio’s cars.

It may be repeatable, but Rob! Van! Dam! isn’t nearly as fun as ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLBERRRRRRRTOOOOOOOO DEL RIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Also, stoner is a way less interesting language than Spanish.


Can I buy a thousand stocks in this Prime Time Players face run? They are everything the Usos should be, and at least half as good a dynamic as The Shield: Operation Long Hair. I’m all in on this.

Wow, Titus O’Neilll is doing the Lord’s work out there. I’d like to hedge my Prime Time Players face stock with a Titus O’Neill US title future. I swear I won’t do credit default swaps on a Fandango derivative! Just let me bet on this!

At what point is Ryback going to make him put the lotion on his skin before he give him the hose again?


Getting to see The Shield do work as a trio in the ring at the same time, legally, is easily the best thing going on this show. They are basically all the good things about Kofi Kingston, Christian and Test with none of the bad things. Believe in the Shield (continuing to get a main event push!).

That Triple Powerbomb has pretty much ruined real powerbombs, but I’ll allow it if they keep doing it to guys literally three times their size.

If humans ever create a time machine, I’m taking The Shield to ECW just to shut up Dean Douglas.


That was so intense and so awkward that, for the sake of that dude’s social life, I hope that fat dude was a plant.

If Curtis Axel was a real man, he’d beat CM Punk to death with his bare fists. But, since he doesn’t have the balls and is a little bitch, I guess we’ll just have to deal with going to the trainer’s table to get tape up to try to beat CM Punk to death with his padded fists. You know, like a woman.

Does Paul Heyman feel tired (not stale, but physically tired) to anyone else? Someone get that guy some blow so he can pronounce BARAK LESNAR correctly again.


I’m just going to come out and say it: Bray Wyatt’s matches are not great so far. The story has been good, and he’s good, but man, there’s just something missing from these things and it’s probably “decent wrestling”.

If they aren’t careful, this whole “we have a really good tag team division” thing might just take off.



That hug, and smirk, are why heel Randy Orton is better than you.

***WARNING SERIOUS WRESTLING DISCUSSION AHEAD*** This was the best segment since Punk’s pipe bomb, and may have been even more inside than that was. Not only did they manage to explain “why” they screwed Bryan in an entirely legitimate (read: logical) way, they did so in such a way that they were able to break kayfabe using kayfabe. They were essentially saying: we are the reason people win and lose, not you and not them. We can’t always be so obvious with it, but we promise — we’re in charge. This is what wrestling should be and hopefully they can keep it going in the perfect space between “not too long” and “long enough” that a bunch of people make money, and everyone eventually goes home happy***

God Love Him, Daniel Bryan needs to learn how to count.

The Pride is Back!: Headlock’d, 8/12/13

We (okay, mostly Noah) have been building you a better, stronger and faster (okay, about the same length) version of Headlock’d for your viewing pleasure. We’ve got a new logo, a new studio and (eventually) a slightly new format.

In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be adding in new segments, and turning this little show into its own network (!). But for now, enjoy Noah talking about dead’d ring announcers, Dawson’s Creek, briefcases made of chocolate and apples. Also, wrestling. Mostly wrestling.

Let’s Lock Up!