Okay, They May Want Some
It finally happened. The day we all knew would come. John “Hustle, Loyalty, Schmersmect” Cena has returned to claim what’s “his”; the WWE World Championship. I’m mostly okay with this. Cena, while polarizing, has deservedly gotten to where he is, so it wasn’t going to be long before he got back into the title picture, just a matter of who he’d be facing. Given the amount of emotional reverence they’ve given his armband, it’s a forgone conclusion that he get his revenge on newly crowned champ, AJ Styles, but that’s where things get interesting, exposing the ogre-y layers that permeate our wrasslin’ shows from time to time.
See, John Boy jumped the line. Horns a blaring and evoking the name of Saint Flair as his motivation. Too much had been made and time gone by for us to not circle back around to Cena tying Ric Flair as a 16 times world champion. While it is definitely a testament to what Cena means to wrasslin’ and specifically post-Attitude Era WWE, it also speaks volumes of how much a safety valve he was. Oh, and that by virtue of the modern workrate, that stars tend to stick around long enough to win that many titles. Case in point, Triple H is a 14 time world champ.
So, The Face that (used) to Run the Place stomped down to interrupt The Champ that Runs the Camp only to be cut off by the…Kinda Crazy Dude that’s Not Really Crazy, and that’s when the fireworks happened as Cena and Ambrose took turns cutting each other off at the knees in fairly shoot-like promos. Cena accused Dean of falling flat, having no balls, and basically being the shell of a wrassler Stone Cold accused him of being on his podcast. HOT FIYAH!
Dean answered back as best he could, saying that Cena takes so much time off nowadays because he can’t cut it with the youngbloods, essentially becoming a part-timer like Brock or Dwayne. All while AJ Styles looked on in glee. He had nothing to worry about, his competition was hellbent on cancelling each other out.
We’re getting great story out of all this, the only downside for me is the cementing the expiration date on his title run. Not that he’ll be completely out of the picture, but heel runs in the current WWE don’t last as long as they used to. Cena may very well win it in the next month or so depending on how his continued feud with Dean Ambrose goes. Then he’ll (hopefully) begin his farewell tour. Again, not that I hate Cena, he’s just last real connection that the New Era is supposed to be leaving behind.
It Ain’t Over
That New Era also includes guys like Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, who have been playing a bit of catch up in terms of show quality. Yes, both shows have been consistently well done, but because Smackdown Live is technically working with “less”, in terms of talent, and time, it does a little more to make sure the moments count. RAW on the other hand, while getting better, can still be a chore to get through for three hours.
The story this week, much like Smackdown, saw several men making claims at the Universal title, or at least the #1 contendership. RAW is in a strange place in terms of character alignment. Kevin Owens is a bad guy, a boarish heel that now has the corporate support Seth Rollins once had. Rollins, on the other hand, is a man alone and looking for justice, problem is, the other guy in play is Roman Reigns, who would usually be the pure babyface in the story, except the fans are still rejecting him like a bad organ donation. Yeah, the people need him, but something just ain’t right. Which means that every opportunity he has is cut off at the pass while WWE figures a way to put some shine back on their next supposed Golden Boy. That shine comes way of a Bulgarian named Rusev, who still very much has a problem with Tactical Pirate Reigns. So the match to be Champion of the Universe is still between Rollins and Owens since Rusev stopped Reigns from winning, but Rollins ALSO interfered against Mick Foley’s orders. Prompting the bearded GM to aggressively let Rollins know “We’re gonna have a talk!” before restarting the #1 contender match. Not a lot of moving parts in that title picture yet, but I can see things becoming complicated soon if firm alliances aren’t made clear.
A New Challenger Has Entered The Battle
So this Alexa Bliss is making some noise, huh? Not to denigrate her skills, but she is definitely benefiting from WWE and Smackdown Live’s need to push new stars and make the mid-level competitors look like viable champions. She’s a little small to be physically imposing, but Alexa Bliss has attitude and ferocity to spare. So her winning the 5-women elimination match was surprising only in so much that I was sure that Nattie or Nikki Bella would take it in order to feud with Smackdown Women’s Champ, Becky Lynch. Instead, the newbie will get to cut her teeth in a top level feud while both Nikki and Nattie get to work that women’s mid-card. Captain Hindsight just flew by to let us know that was the clear choice all along.
Stuff and Thangs
Life is getting in the way, so i’ll have to keep things quick. No need to beat this horse that suffers from rigor mortis, but Miz is top notch. I don’t know how Dolph figures into all of this since all he’s doing is reminding us that he will pretty much always lose the big one’s. Unless the odds are heavily stacked in his favor, I don’t see him walking away with that IC title anytime soon.
Paige posted this on her Instagram & Twitter in response to rumors that she was asking for her release from WWE.
This comes just a day after she’d posted something fairly melodramatic about giving up everything you love for the person you love, oh, and getting an “Alberto” tattoo. She has yet to return to action, i’d imagine we’ll see her in the coming weeks if only to quiet the murmuring.
Bray Wyatt broke a personal record for how many times he can work that “DERP!” transition into a single segment. The build continued for his feud with Randy Orton, which now includes Ginger Sheep Rowan. I still think Bray needs some strong wins before these two finally face off, if only to keep is threat levels high, otherwise he’s just a big dude in a beard saying a bunch of stuff no one cares about. Which describes one of the 7 people you’ll meet most in Austin or San Francisco.
Lucha Underground is back. Watch it cabron!
And finally, CM Punk made his debut at UFC 203 against Mickey Gall, in which he tapped out after just over 2 minutes. Now, as a lifetime fan of wrasslin’ and a long time fan of MMA (yes, we do exist), I can say there was never any delusions of Punk going in and dominating. Best case scenario was he went the distance in a split decision that goes either way, but proves he “deserves” to be in the octagon. What happened was the more obvious outcome of a 36 year old man with two years of truncated training experience went against a much younger, but much better skilled fighter.
Where Punk goes from here in terms of an MMA career is unknown. Dana White has already stated that his next fight shouldn’t be in UFC, and I think that his first one shouldn’t have been, but both parties mutually benefitted from the bout/exposure. That said, I have respect for anyone who enters that cage, naked in almost every sense, prepared to have their face rearranged on a grand stage. Kudos to you Punk.
That’ll be it for me. Hit me up on the Twittah Machine if you want to swap slow cooker recipes. Till then…