WRASSLIN’ STATE OF MINED: The War of Words Begins Between AJ Styles and John Cena (06/06/2016)

It’s All Been Done (And Said) Before

Is it just me, or has RAW been fairly lackluster given the amount of great, individual parts at WWE’s disposal. I’ll get to the ladder sitting session in a bit, but just think about the 1A feud on our TV’s for a second. The Face of TNA for over a decade, is making a run at Star Spangled Cena, with assistance from The Bullet Club. Yet, i’m only excited because I know i’m supposed to be. I guess I keep waiting for the other shoe to fall, hit me in the face, and tell me i’m on a episode of Swerved(which I have been, btw). So the story itself isn’t grabbing me, but it’s not for lack of trying. It actually may come down so a subconscious ting of familiarity. 

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See, whenever John Cena goes against an IWC favorite (Punk, Bryan, etc.) their default tactic is to call into question his lack of in-ring ability. They know it shrinks our smarky underoos in a way that hasn’t been done since the Attitude Era. It’s the wrasslin’ version of “you play ball like a girl”. Except, Cena can wrassle. He’s proven that, so he quickly disarms their argument, puts that bass in his voice and shoots them down. Lather, rinse, repeat, as needed. Yet, Styles had what may have been the perfect response to all this, by actually putting out there just why he sided with The Club; “you bury guys like me”. It was just a little peek behind the curtain. Using terminology from r/squaredcircle that may or may not have a grain of truth to them. No, not everyone makes it out of a Cena feud better than they entered, but it’s not exactly Springwood High School. So his friends will act as his protection should this match with Cena, at Money in the Bank, not go in his direction. Good stuff. We get to see industry vets do the dance while they still can, which we could only say a handful of times prior. Just imagine if we’d gotten that Sting/Taker match in the mid 00’s instead of on WWE2K16.

Holla, Playa. Holla.

It was strange enough seeing the 6 members of the Money in the Bank match, perched atop their ladders like a high risk episode of The Sports Reporters, complete with Jericho sitting cross-legged, but things got even stranger once the segment ran juuuust a bit too long, and the fights broke out, as Teddy “awkward uncle” Long, made his return to Monday Night Raw. 

What cho know bout that there, boy?
What cho know bout that there, boy?

What seemed like another “fresh” idea to spice up the programming fell flat, as Stephanie quickly undercut anything the returning GM had to say. Turning him from a bit of a refreshing, familiar face, to a somewhat sympathetic figure in just three segments. Also, the complete tearing down of a featured, Black character was mostly bookended by Muhammed Ali vignettes. Because if you’re gonna do it, do it right, eh?

All that, and we still don’t have many clear answers on what’s happening with this brand split. In all of Teddy’s ramblings, Stephanie made it clear that SHE will be running Smackdown once it goes live, but still no mention of roster changes and the like. Given how much they have to stretch to make three hours work on RAW as it is, I can’t imagine another live, two hour show going over, with less talent. We had six of the best guys on the roster in the middle of the ring Monday night, and the promo still felt meh once Kevin Owens was done talking. At least the matches they put on later that night grabbed the crowd.

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You Got It Or You Don’t

Dana Brooke getting paired with Charlotte comes off as an afterthought more and more each week. Yes, we know it only happened due to Emma’s injury, but with Ric out of the picture, this shouldn’t seem so forced. It’s as if Charlotte had never even met Dana until that night a few weeks ago. Is she her heavy, her stooge, or her valet? Dana could actually fit any of the  molds, but right now, she’s some weird amalgam of all three, and Charlotte is still too new herself to properly guide this feud.

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To make matters worse, the crowd hardly seems invested. Charlotte has technically beaten both of the women taking jabs at her, with the odds mostly in their favor. In least in terms of someone taking that damn title. So the drama is gone. No one has gotten over on our heel champ outside of group interactions in a long while.

Stuff and Thangs

Look, the show was meh, and I don’t want to ramble about Golden Truth, so let’s talk about the other “guys beat up other guys” promotion. Brock Lesnar will officially be fighting at UFC 200. The super-card that has taken a bit of a hit since so many champions have either lost their belts, their mystique, or “retired”. Lesnar had long been rumored for an MMA return, especially since he signed his WWE renewal at zero hour, but it looks like he’s being granted a one-off fight. Rumor has it, it’s mostly so that his lasting legacy in “real” fighting is mired by the illness that cute his career short. One can’t help but wonder what this will do for CM Punk’s in ring debut (set for August 22) in terms of box office appeal. At least Lesnar is making a return, Punk’s debut has been stalled several times due to injury, and you can’t help but think this takes some of the wind from his already cranky sails.

That’s all I have for now. I’m excited for MITB, and I think it was a smart idea give the Reigns/Rollins feud a week off after that craptacular display. I miss anything else you truly care about, let me know on the twittah machine. Till then…

Deuces Kiddos. 

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