WRASSLIN’ STATE OF MINED: RAW Overstays Its Welcome While Smackdown Live Runs On All Cylinders (August 9th, 2016)

Come For The King…

I’m digging Dean Ambrose as this “kingpin” character they’re sticking him with. Its given him a bit more swagger, which helps between the time he’s supposed to be a “lunatic”. I’m one of those people that never found him so much as unstable, just kinda quirky, which was then dialed down repeatedly, while simultaneously telling us that he was capable of anything. No, he wasn’t but good on ya for trying. I do think that to really get the Kingpin thing across, he’ll likely have to pickup some lackies, but that’s teetering into heel territory, which I don’t see happening. That said, his response to getting an accidental superkick from Dolph Ziggler was perfect. It was calculated, it was swift, and it sent a message. I do want a little more animosity between the two, so Bray may have to be taken out the equation a bit since there’s only one Smackdown Live left before SummerSlam

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Still, this match, while being for the title, has the distinct disadvantage of playing possible third fiddle (Cello? Viola?) to Brock/Orton and Balor/Rollins.  While the Lesnar/Orton match has lost some of its luster (which I’ll explain in a bit), it is still more of the marquee match here. The name value alone is the draw. Dean and Dolph have more to prove so to speak, and in technically less time. If anything, this feud needs to get good and ugly.

Apathy Breeds…

Well, this is one way to kill momentum for a match. Showing the timeline for a rivalry that just doesn’t exist. These two may have come up in the same era, but never truly crossed paths, and neither of the characters is what I would call competitive. At the very least, indifferent. Brock is just a hired gun. Blowing in and out of town as he pleases, while Orton (who is still too damn quippy for my liking) has always been a slow, methodical, borderline boring character. One of these guys has to muster up some intensity. Brock was in prime position to do so after taking the RKO from an unknown location, but he went right back to “ehhhhh” about the whole thing. We know this is just a random pairing of names to give SummerSlam some big fight feel, but it’s gotta be more than this.

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Having Orton work with Del Rio to establish that the RKO could still be hit from just about any place, was nice. Having the match end in a DQ to protect both guys on the thinned out Smackdown Live roster was even better.  At least Orton is in the ring, but I can’t say that I fully look forward to the match, given how each of these guys likes to work. Even Ambrose, who was on the Stone Cold podcast, stated that as much as a beast that Brock is, he’s going to work his match, and there’s not much anyone is going to do about that.

Demon Tease

Leave it to Seth Rollins to try and call out mythology as a negative in a feud. Also, the layers of irony to him stating that Finn isn’t his real name, then the crowd chanting Tyler Black (as an insult back to Seth) which still isn’t HIS real name. Onions have layers, wrasslers have layers. His promo was also well timed, as Finn juuuust happened to have a pre-taped package outlining what each of his names mean, and we got some glimpses of Demon Balor, which I guess will make its main roster debut at SummerSlam. I (kayfabe) don’t know why Finn wouldn’t just come out and say these things in person, but it was something at least. In all actuality, this was one of those weeks where you could feel every minute of RAW being three hours. Like when a stabbing victim describes the blade scraping the bone and oh my God I just went to the darkest place possible to make that analogy.

Let Them Eat Cake

Roman Reigns is a douche. I’m okay with this, but was there really any reason for him to ruin Lana and Rusev’s moment? Outside of “their bad guys and don’t deserve happiness” reasons, of course. Still they came out, and talked about their wedding for what felt like eternity, then Roman (who is also still too damn quippy) came out to well, be annoying really. First he wanted to be Rusev’s best man, but if that didn’t happen then he wanted a US Title match, which then lead to Lana getting cake in the face, which also lead to what may be my favorite wrasslin’ gif of all time…

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Rusev turned into frickin’ Shaggy and Scooby for just long enough to make me remember what childhood was like. He was the wrasslin’ equivalent of the guy Austin Powers ran over with a steamroller. It was beautiful. Still, Roman has his title shot now. Which I still think should be the RAW belt, or in the very least the WWE champ should float shows, with the lower straps only changing places via draft or one off matches. This is all still a “demotion” of sorts for Roman, so he’ll likely lose this match. For the greater good.

Team? What Team?!

Man, the tag team division is looking anemic. American Alpha is doing a great job to make themselves look strong against the competition, but actually having the current crop of teams come surround the ring in order to look intimidating backfired. The Ascensions music hit, and I’d totally forgotten who was supposed to come out. The tag titles, much like the WWE title should have floated, with the champ appearing on both but only belonging on one. You can definitely see the division of talent in cases like this.

Stuff and Thangs

Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan met up on RAW to discuss show boundaries and such, which I thought would have lead to establishing some rules about swapping players, but nothing really came of it as of now. I do like the idea of the GM’s battling to put on the best show possible, but they’re both still too firmly in good guy territory to make any big moves. Just smiles and handshakes.

Ms. All Red Everything got another shot at her debut singles match and had yet another setback. I love the long troll, but they’re playing a dangerous game here if she can’t eventually deliver in the ring, which Eva can’t really do. At least Carmella and Alexa Bliss got to win their respective matches, helping to legitimize the Women’s Division over on the blue brand. The same can’t exactly be said for the tag division.

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In shitty news that should make you feel bad; Shelton Benjamin will not be making his return after suffering a severe shoulder injury. Dousing any dreams of a Gold Standard/American Alpha team-up, but it does stoke the fire for a Kurt Angle comeback. I know there are serious concerns of him wrasslin’ himself to death, but damnit they just let Sting flop his bag o meat body around a ring a few times. What better time to bring the Olympic Hero back into the fold?

Now for good news that’ll make you feel great; Lucha Underground is coming back September 7th thanks to their now floating shooting schedule.

Given the nature of the shows, i’m now going to a declare a week to week winner. What’s the point of the brand split if there’s nothing up for grabs….even bragging rights. I’m going to have to say Smackdown Live Won this week. Just a solid show all around that didn’t feel bogged down. You disagree say it to my virtual face on the Twittah machine. After which we can hash out our differences over Tasters Choice coffee. Till then…

Deuces Kiddos

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