John Cena should lose at SummerSlam

It’s true.

Back at Money in the Bank, WWE had an excellent opportunity to experiment with the world title. With Daniel Bryan unfortunately out of the picture, they could have put the WWE World Heavyweight title on any man. An eight-man title ladder match left plenty of doors open. And really, there were only two men that it shouldn’t have gone on - John Cena and Randy Orton. 
They could have given it to Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Roman Reigns, or even Alberto, Sheamus or Kane would have been a welcome change. Instead, WWE played the safe card and gave the straps to Cena.

John Cena is the last man who should be WWE World Champion. He is in this fifteenth world title reign. He will surpass Flair, I assure you of this. But the bottomline is, he doesn’t need it. Cena is in a position now, 12-years in his career, 15 world titles deep, that he no longer needs a belt to get over. He doesn’t need a belt to be relevant. He does nothing for the WWE title and the WWE title does nothing for him now. Can you remember the last time Cena won a championship and had it mean something? At this point being champion is surely just a chore for him having to carry two big heavy belts everywhere he goes. John Cena could go the rest of his life without ever touching a title belt again, and it wouldn’t damage his career in the slightest.

But now, the reason he has the belt is of course to build up to the big title match against Lesnar at SummerSlam. I hate the idea of a part-timer being champion. I feel like if you’re not available to compete regularly, then you shouldn’t be champion of anything. But, this is a different situation to me.

Earlier this year, Brock “STREAK BREAKER” Lesnar did the unthinkable and defeated The Undertaker at ‘Mania. I still stand by this as being the biggest booking blunder of the all time. But what’s done is done. Lesnar is “THE STREAK BREAKER” and they should milk this for all its worth and push Lesnar as the dominant conqueror that he is. And if that means that he spends a month or so as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, then so be it.

At SummerSlam, John Cena should lose the championship to Brock Lesnar, if only to shake things up in the WWE. Then, at say, Night of Champions or even Hell in a Cell, another challenger steps up and defeats Lesnar for the title. That young stud then becomes not only WWE World Champion, but also the man that defeated THE STREAK BREAKER and conqueror of John Cena at SummerSlam, thereby putting over a new young guy. This guy could be anyone, ideally Roman Reigns though I guess.

This almost certainly won’t happen though, as Cena will likely retain IMO, but we do have Seth Rollins cash-in to look forward to. And when Cena does lose the title, they should keep him away from it. He is at a point in his career where he should primarily be putting over younger talent, not winning championships.

[Retro Review] WWE Bad Blood 2003

So I thought rather than just cover what’s going on at the moment, I’ll go back and review some old wrestling PPVs at random, just for the funziez.

Bad Blood was a bit of an experiment on the WWE’s part. This was only a year or so after the brand extension had been put in place and the powers that be decided to try out “brand exclusive” pay-per-views. I guess the idea of this is that it would lead to more pay-per-views and also get some smaller names onto big events as well, spawning more storylines. It didn’t work out so well though.

I’ll get the “Redneck Triathlon” out of the way first. The nostalgic wrestling fan in me wanted to give this a thumbs up, I loved a lot of the work Austin and Bischoff did back in ‘03/’04. They constantly clashed over authority decisions, most of the time it was funny. I would have looked at the Redneck Triathlon more favourably if it happened on Raw, but instead, it happened on PPV. 
The whole idea was that Bischoff and Austin would have a friendly series of contests to decide something meaningless. Who the most badass GM was or something maybe. Nobody cared.
What we got was an awful belching contest where Austin basically lip synced belching. $30+ for lip synced belching. 
The second contest was a “pie eating” contest. Of course this was WWE circa 2003, so that naturally meant parading a half naked Mae Young around the ring and her giving Eric a bronco buster. I wonder if Vince McMahon would have taken this kind of treatment had WCW won the Monday Night Wars?
The third contest was a “pig-pen” contest, which just involved Austin beating Bischoff down and throwing him in a pig-pen. So it wasn’t just a clever name. Several good quality wrestlers were left off the card to make room for this. The entire women’s division was absent from the first Raw only pay-per-view, to make room for this. 
Grade: E

The Dudley Boyz vs. Rodney Mack & Christopher Nowinski with Theodore Long

This match both sucks and blows. It sucked in that the fans didn’t care at all about it, and apparently neither did the writers who provided such a half-assed script that blew chunks. This was before Teddy Long’s SmackDown GM gig, when he was managing a stable of angry young black people, and (the world’s whitest wrestler) Christopher Nowinski, for some reason. I think the plot here was that Teddy was trying to create doubt in The Dudley Boyz, making D-Von see Bubba Ray as a racist for making his black tag team partner get the tables all the time. Yep. That’s the gist of this match that people paid for.
The match itself is weak and by the numbers. Nowinski gets the win by hitting one of the Dudleyz with some metal face mask he’d been using to protect his face. It looked like it was made of tinfoil, but it was enough to knock out Bubba Ray Dudley for a three-count. 
Grade: D-

Scott Steiner vs. Test

The winner of this match would get the “managerial” services of Stacy Keibler. Better than any WWE title belt in my opinion. No matter who wins, I think the real loser is Stacy.
In any case, this match wasn’t as bad as Steiner’s Royal Rumble or No Way Out performances, but it was still pretty average. I just loved how he botched his first move of the match. A double axe handle off of the apron. He slipped and ended up stumbling into Test, and Test, the champ he is actually sells the botch.
Fortunately the match isn’t long enough to see Steiner go for his thirty belly-to-belly suplex streak that he seemed to like doing. Test, the good, bashes himself in the head with a chair allowing Steiner to hit the “Steiner Flatliner” for the three-count. 
Grade: D

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Christian (c) vs. Booker T

This could have and should have been the match of the night. Both guys were awesome talents and were back in their prime. The match suffered from perhaps the most dickheaded booking ever. I swear some jackass writer was in the back laughing his ass off over how much of a dick move this match was.
Booker T controls the majority of the match. Christian decides, “screw this I’m leaving,” grabs his belt and starts walking out of the arena. Referee Jack Doan gets on the mic and says “Hey Christian, you’ve got til the count of 10 to come back to the ring, or else you’ll forfeit the IC title to Booker T”. Christian comes running back to the ring like a bat out of hell and clocks Booker over the head with the belt, ending the match in a DQ finish.
Problem #1: someone, please enlighten me, when have referees EVER had the authority to alter the stipulation of a match like that?? Seriously, what the hell?? I’d understand it if Austin or Bischoff came out and made the announcement, but no, they were too busy in their stupid triathlon, so the referee decided to become the boss for a day. And everyone bought it!
Problem #2: if Jack Doan apparently feels so strongly about the match ending cleanly and the championship changing hands, why didn’t he strip Christian of the belt for a DQ finish? Why is a DQ better than a count out? Why didn’t he use these suddenly newfound authoritative powers to just award Booker the belt? Were the writers stoned when they wrote this? Unfortunately, I doubt it.
Problem #3: it ended in a DQ! They teased one bullshit cheap finish and turned around and gave us an equally bad bullshit cheap finish. Actually no, it was even worse, because Booker T looks like a chump in his own hometown. This was a match that had been building up for several weeks. Both men had the potential to deliver a good match. What did we get? A brief match that had such a stupid pointless ending. And I know there had to be some writer dick backstage pleased with himself over how much he just shat on the fans with that one.
Grade: E- (purely for the terrible, terrible ending)

WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Rob Van Dam (c) & Kane (c) vs. La Resistance

Ugh, bland and boring. Some real Sunday Night Heat quality stuff right here. La Resistance were green and not over at all with the crowd. Whatever heat they had was made purely to cash in on whatever resentment the US had for France. RVD and Kane were a solid throw-together tag team. They had a great “odd couple” chemistry that made both their matches and promo work fun. It would have been nice to see them drop the titles a reputable/more experienced tag team. Instead, RVD had to job clean to the Frenchies and lose the tag straps. It had to happen in order to give Kane his big trainwreck heel turn, but they couldn’t have jobbed to say, The Dudleyz? Or Evolution? Or Storm & Regal?
Grade: D

Chris Jericho vs. Goldberg

This was better than I remembered it being. Goldberg’s year stint in WWE was largely forgettable and poorly booked, and while he seldom delivered anything to write home about, he still had the occasional gem. Of course it took Chris Jericho to pull it out of him though.
Early on, Goldberg misses a spear outside of the ring and goes through the crowd barricade, nice little spot that “injures” his shoulder. Jericho spends the rest of the match working the arm and shoulder and Goldberg actually sells it quite well with the threat of not being able to pull off the spear or jackhammer in his current condition. Of course, the ring psychology inevitably goes out the window and Goldberg hits his spear and jackhammer of doom combination for the win. 
I would have enjoyed this match way more if they had a more creative ending. It would have been interesting to see Goldberg find a way to win without using the spear to really sell his “injury”. Nevertheless, this match is a gem, one of the few from Goldberg’s WWE run.
Grade: C+

Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels

I remember when I bought Bad Blood when I was just a teenager, this was one of the major selling points for me. This and the IC title match that turned into an absolute shame. Did HBK and Flair deliver here? Sort of. Their best match together? Not by a long shot. If you’re looking for a solid Flair/HBK match, always go to their Wrestlemania bout. 
In any case though, this wasn’t too bad. It’s funny though, it feels like Michaels and Flair know they’re working on a really mediocre show, so “hey let’s change things up with a table spot.”
The Spanish announce team are shown mercy on this night as Michaels brings his own table from out under the ring and splashes Flair through it. Michaels doesn’t triumph though as Orton comes out and screws everything up with a chairshot, giving Naitch the win.
This would have been solid if the WWE didn’t just disregard what the fans wanted to see. We wanted to see an old school wrestling match between two legends to see who the better man was. But too many ref bumps, run-ins, chair shots, low blows and a table spot make it less old school and more of your typical modern day WWE nonsense.
Grade: B-

WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
HELL IN A CELL
Triple H (c) vs. Kevin Nash
Feat. Mick Foley as the special guest ref

On a ranking of Hell in a Cell matches from best to worst, this should appear somewhere right at the bottom, within the same league as Undertaker vs. Big Boss Man and the Kennel From Hell match… well maybe not that low. But pretty low.
It was obvious before the PPV even aired that WWE were stacking the deck to try and make this “Raw only” pay-per-view work, the major selling point being Triple H defending the big gold belt against Kevin Nash in Hell in a Cell. Not only that, but Foley would be there! Foley! Inside the cell! With Triple H! Sounds good on paper. And I think people were possibly even expecting Nash to win, given how poorly he had been booked since his return a few months prior, and the fact that Trips had retained the belt against him at two PPVs in a row. 
But this was Evolution’s Triple H, the Triple H from 2003, the Triple H that buried people. But in all fairness, would anyone have actually wanted to see Nash as the World champ in 2003?
The match was worked less like a cell match and more like a street fight. The structure seemed inconsequential. It was just there for marketing purposes really. Neither Nash or Trips were in great shape. In fact, 2003 possibly saw Triple H in the worst shape he’d ever been in, his quad perpetually hanging by a thread. And he spent the remainder of the year barely able to walk with a groin injury. And Nash was just as hopeless. He was lazy, sloppy and more boring than ever to watch. He certainly earned himself the moniker “Big Lazy”. 
Something I really disliked was the use of weapons like a hammer and particularly a screwdriver. They tried to sell it as brutality but really it came across as backyardy to me. 
Foley and Triple H inevitably get into it. Trips eventually gets the win off the pedigree. The first pedigree of the match. Put on a pot of coffee and wait for it to boil because just like with Booker T at Wrestlemania, Triple H is going to take his sweet time going for the pin. And he wins. 
Grade: D



Bad Blood had all the ingredients for a solid show. It had the talent and the potential, but most matches were either booked poorly or worked poorly. No one cared about most of the undercard matches, and I just can’t get over how much I hate the way Booker T v Christian ended.
Flair and HBK was fine, but it could have been better, and Jericho somehow managed to drag Goldberg to a passable match. But the main event was so bland. Even now, 11 years later, I don’t get how anyone thought keeping the World title on Triple H was a good idea. He was in terrible condition and consistently delivered mediocre matches whilst burying 90% of the people around him. 
I also have to pick on the fact that the women’s division wasn’t at all represented here. And that’s a bad thing when you consider how tight the women’s roster was in 2003. Raw boasted the Women’s Championship and divas like Trish Stratus, Molly Holly, Gail Kim, Victoria, Lita, Jazz, Ivory and Jacqueline, just to drop a few names. But they made no appearance here in favour of Mae Young shoving her crotch in Eric Bischoff’s face. Good example of the WWE knowing what we want, am I right?

Match of the Night: Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels
Grade: D-

WWE Raw Review (21/07/2014)

The Good

The lack of John Cena was very much noticeable, and it’s pretty hard to book a feud with only one guy there. And the fact that Lesnar’s return wasn’t at all a surprise put them in a tough spot. But thanks to the awesome promo skills of Paul Heyman, they pulled it off. He is doing an absolute golden job of selling Lesnar and, regardless of if it was the right move or not, Heyman and co are milking the end of the streak for every drop it’s worth.

Bray Wyatt wins the second best promo of the night. Jericho, like Cena, was notably absent. While I’m not sure if Jericho winning was the right move, Bray’s promo made it seem like not so much of a big deal. 

The Miz and Dolph Ziggler had an excellent PPV worthy match in my eyes. Believable nearfalls and all around tight performance from both guys. With no Daniel Bryan around, I dare say that Dolph is the most over guy in the WWE, it’s unfortunate that he isn’t being given a fair shot in the main event right now. 
I haven’t always been a Miz fan, but his current Hollywood “Money Maker” gimmick is really enjoyable. The gimmick fits him like a glove, and he has the potential to do good things with the IC title, especially if he keeps delivering like he did here. The downside to this is Miz losing. I know Dolph needs a few wins, but what a lousy way to start a championship reign, by losing a non-title match cleanly the following night. I hope this is an isolated incident and they book him a bit better over the next few weeks.

The Stephanie arrest angle made for good TV. I thought the silly handicap match and her little scuffle with Brie was a bit meh, but the cops coming back to arrest her was hi-larious, and she continues to play an excellent bitchy heel. Must have been a slow night for the cops too if detectives are coming to arrest her and not uniformed police hey? 
In any case, I really hope this Stephanie/Bella storyline is going somewhere good, it’s got some serious heat to it now.

Cesaro versus Dean Ambrose was good. The DQ finish works for me too. It plays up Ambrose’s “lunatic” angle and it doesn’t take anything away from Cesaro. And now that Cesaro has come out and made it official that he’s no longer a Paul Heyman man, I’ll be interested to see what they do with him. They could book some good stuff with him and The Authority, whether with him joining them or him as a face against them.

Paige’s heel turn was the right thing to do. Her continued awkward applause for AJ just kept on being offputting. It’s good that they have a defined heel and she really looked strong in her turn and with her beatdown of AJ. 

The Meh

The Flo Rida performance goes in the meh column. It wasn’t “bad”. The style of music isn’t my cup of tea though, and I prefer to go to concerts for my music fix, and watch wrestling shows for my wrestling fix. Upon saying that, if The Smashing Pumpkins were performing live, then this would certainly be in The Good column, so hey, I’m biased.

Roman Reigns came out of this looking like a boss, on paper anyway. He (more or less) cleanly beat two former world champions in a handicap match. A nice feather in his cap. But does it really matter? Orton and Kane are glorified mid carders at the moment. Neither of them have really been relevant headliners in a fair while now.

The Goldust and Stardust promo - where are they going? I’m not sure what to make of the promos, but I guess I’ll say one thing, it catches my attention when they’re on screen.

The Bad

The diva tag match wasn’t remotely interesting. It was there purely to set up Paige’s heel turn. In my opinion, Natalya’s the most solid worker in the women’s division at the moment, why did she have to take the hit and job to AJ? Silly. Make Emma take the fall. 

No Chris Jericho and no highlight reel. I don’t know about other people who watched, but the fact that Jericho appeared only in a backstage segment screamed to me that he was nowhere near Raw that night. Just a bit of a letdown to get psyched for the highlight reel segment and not get it. Not much they could have done about it I guess though.

Bo Dallas versus Damien Sandow… wasn’t a bad match. Just had to question where the point was. 

Speaking of which, where is the Fandango story going? What is this like the third or fourth show in a row where Layla and Summer have screwed him over? It’s bad enough that Fandango’s already a jobber, does he need to be buried by Layla and Summer Rae as well? Christ.

Why is Khali still employed? The guy looks like he has a hard time walking to the ring, let alone putting on an entertaining match. Although he’s never really been able to deliver in the match department. Rusev isn’t the man to be trying to turn water into wine here either. Khali was basically just jobber fodder for Rusev. 

—-

The biggest downside to Raw though was what we didn’t see, IMO. No John Cena and no Chris Jericho, forcing perhaps the two biggest storylines at the moment to coast through without them. No Sheamus (aside an ad for him in Royal Pains), yet he had such a solid showing in the battle royal at Battleground. Also no Jack Swagger or Zeb Colter, I was expecting some kind of appearance after Battleground’s weak as piss ending. And no Usos - the tag champs - either, despite having the best match at Battleground. 
There was enough good on the show to keep me watching though, between the Stephanie arrest story and solid matches between Dolph/Miz and Ambrose/Cesaro.
***

WWE Battleground Thoughts

The Good:

The Usos versus The Wyatt Family was far and away the match of the night. Both teams delivered in a major way and went above and beyond the typical expectations of a WWE style tag match. The near-falls were brilliant and believable, they had myself and the entire audience on the edge of their seats. Harper and Rowan looked like seemingly unstoppable monsters, but The Usos came out of this looking like proper tag team champions. 
I was very much surprised that they opted to keep the straps on Usos. Rowan and Harper seemed like the logical choice as the champs, because now you just have to wonder what happens next for The Usos. Then again, I have a feeling we’ll see a rematch. 
My only complaint about the match was the fact that this is a two out of three falls match. They rushed through the first two falls, almost in a mad panic to get them out of the way. The match didn’t come close to heating up until well into the third fall. Why bother booking best of three falls matches if the first two falls are going to be dismissed right away? It kills the suspense and makes it pointless. That being said, thoroughly entertaining match. ****

The Intercontinental Championship battle royal surprised me. I find it hard to get excited about battle royals. They’re typically messy, hard to follow and usually predictable. Yes, I called The Miz as the winner for this, and I was right, but I actually enjoyed the match as a whole. It was a bit more than your usual organized chaos. Crowd popped big for Heath Slater eliminating Cesaro, and the final back and forth between Sheamus and Dolph was excellent. The Miz snuck in for the cheap win. Solid match. 
However, where the hell was RVD? I read somewhere he was out injured. Why no announcement of such? Would have been nice to even get a quick update from the announcers. Anyway.
***

The fatal four-way main event ended up being solid. It started out a bit slow, particularly when the match plodded through the expected Orton/Kane team up as they isolated Cena from Reigns. The match found its pace once the Orton/Kane alliance blew up, and Roman Reigns sufficiently won the fans over after spearing Orton through the audience barricade. 
The Cena victory was predictable, but I enjoyed the journey getting there with the expected flurry of finishers from all four men. The only downside was the lack of any “Plan B” or “Plan C” happening post-match. 
***1/2

The Meh

The Diva’s Championship match was perfectly fine. In fact, I’d even say it was good, if it weren’t for Paige’s awkward performance. The constant stop/start and pauses with her mannerisms and interactions with AJ just kind of killed the flow of the match for me. On top of that, we didn’t have a clear face or heel making the whole thing a tad awkward. 
**1/2

Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho put on… an okay match. I think my expectations may have been too high. But in any case, this match suffered from a few botches and was just a little rough around the edges. Jericho and Bray haven’t really worked together before, and so perhaps the chemistry just wasn’t there, they just didn’t quick sync up with one another. I also feel like Bray (arguably) could have used the victory much more than Jericho. But in any event, this is certainly the first of multiple matches, so it’s forgiveable.
**1/2

The Bad

The Rusev and Swagger match felt more like a brawl, and Swagger got in far more offense than I’d like, if I am to buy into Rusev as a monster heel. What I disliked though, wasn’t so much the match itself. It was just the ending. Cop out endings on a pay-per-view are a peeve of mine, so seeing Swagger get counted out didn’t do much for me. This would have been fine on Raw or SmackDown. But not on pay-per-view. IMO, they should have given Rusev the win. It didn’t necessarily have to be clean, they perhaps could have had Lana get involved somehow so Swagger isn’t putting Rusev over clean. 
**
Also, sidenote, what did Lana say that was so offensive? Maybe I zoned out or something, but I straight up don’t understand the big controversy surrounding Lana’s promo.

The Seth Rollins/Dean Ambrose crap didn’t fly with me. I paid good money to see Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins on pay-per-view. By that, I mean, I paid to see them wrestle. I didn’t pay to see some bland brawls around the arena that you couldn’t even really see since a crowd of security guards and referees were constantly prying them off each other.
I understand that this will serve the feud better in the long run, and will have us salivating more for the match when we inevitably get it. But I feel it’s poor form and sleazy tactics to advertise a match, expect people to buy it, and then not deliver. If they were going to pull this angle then they shouldn’t have advertised it in the first place.
Further to that, showing Seth Rollins leave the arena completely kills suspense in the main event. A large angle in the main event was the “Plan B” idea. This added another layer to the main event, that threat of Seth Rollins possibly cashing in the MITB contract if Cena were to retain. Showing Rollins getting into his car and leaving the arena killed that suspense and I felt, brought down the overall vibe in the main event a little bit. I didn’t expect him to cash it in, but the threat of it added tension that they took away by showing Rollins leaving. Just dumb to me.

—-

Overall, Battleground was okay. Not show of the year by any regard. Just as Elimination Chamber serves to push rivalries leading up to Wrestlemania, the July PPV typically serves as a seatwarmer for SummerSlam. Many of the matches and feuds on display will get kicked into gear for SummerSlam. 
There weren’t any huge dud matches on the card, IMO, but there were still letdowns. Fortunately, the tag title match, the battle royal and the last half of the main event saved this pay-per-view for me.
***