I’m an optimistic wrestling fan. That’s not something you see a lot of on social media, but I’m one of them. That”s why I think Ronda Rousey coming to the WWE is going to be fantastic. While Rousey has made only one WWE appearance it has generated a lot of reactions.
Ronda Rousey Debuts in the WWE
Firstly, let’s look at what the detractors are saying. Sasha Banks & Nia Jax are seemingly unhappy with Rousey’s arrival and subsequent spotlight. Those comments have triggered WWE fans into thinking that Rousey isn’t well liked and therefore won’t succeed. Let’s get real for a moment. This is the WWE. The athleticism, injuries and insane skill that go into being a pro wrestler are very real. Wrestlers getting fans to start conspiracy theories via Twitter and interviews are not. While I appreciate it still being real to some people, you have to think logically.
Rousey vs. The World
Nia Jax is the women’s division resident monster. Sasha Banks is The Boss. They don’t call her that because she loves giving other women the spotlight. The Nia tweet everyone is focusing on is this one. Now, would it be smart for WWE to get some feuds going via Twitter and interviews or should everyone just be ecstatic that Rousey is there? The WWE is better than almost anyone at utitlizing social media, and if Rousey is still training for her first match, why not use the power of the internet to stir the pot?
Is Rousey going to take someone’s spot? Of course she is. The same way Asuka took someone’s spot when she debuted. The same way Ember Moon took someone’s spot in the women’s royal rumble. If Rousey was in the WWE for a one and done I would understand the uproar. She’s not, as she’s signed to a multi year deal and already has great name value. I’m sorry if I don’t fall apart when she takes Bayley or Mickie James’ spot.
Maybe the dumbest ‘point’ being discussed is that Ronda Rousey will only succeed if she’s built up properly. Uhh, ya think? Same goes for literally every other man and woman that debuts on the main roster. If her character sucks and they put her in story lines that don’t maximize her strengths she will not succeed. If her character is good and they do maximize her strengths, she will succeed. Those two things have nothing to do with Ronda Rousey.
Here’s the thing. While it’s fun to think the women’s revolution is due to contributions from past stars, it’s just not true. The reason women are in the main events of Raw, Smackdown and pay per views is because of women like Ronda Rousey. Same goes for the women’s TLC, cage, royal rumble and elimination chamber. If Rousey didn’t prove that people will pay to watch talented women fight, the WWE would not have followed suit. Rousey has legit fighting skills that will only be enhanced as she continues to train in the Performance Center. More importantly, she knows how to sell and perform in big time events.
She’s headlined multiple UFC events that have earned over 1 million PPV buys. While her career as a UFC fighter might be over, her career as a WWE star is just beginning. That’s great news for everyone involved.
WWE Raw was live from Philly last night, the same site of NXT TakeOver & the Royal Rumble. WWE LOVES to talk about the ‘E’ in their name standing for entertainment. It’s true, and entertaining the fans is a major part of their success. Last night they focused on the second ‘W’, which stands for wrestling, and turned in one of their best shows in awhile. They have such a strong roster from a wrestling standpoint that I’m surprised they don’t do more shows like this. There were seven matches last night and almost all of them served a purpose, which is all you can ask for on a three hour wrestling show. Let’s get to the five stars!
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Braun Strowman, Forever & Ever
I feel like I type Braun Strowman’s name a lot in these posts, but it’s for a good reason. Braun and Lesnar duked it out for real at the Rumble and he was ready to cause more destruction last night. He fought Kane in a Last Man Standing match, which is pretty self explanatory. The only rule is that you win by beating your opponent so badly they stay down for a 10 count. Braun understands the rules of the match (which doubled as an Elimination Chamber qualifier) and beat the shit out of Kane. To ensure Kane wouldn’t get up, Braun flipped the entire announcing stage, table and all, on top of Kane. Braun flipping large objects continues to be one of my favorite things, and we even got this hysterical image out of it:
— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) January 30, 2018
There was an was odd exchange backstage where Kurt Angle was yelling at Braun for trying to kill Kane. Even though Angle is the one who put them in a LAST MAN STANDING match. What was he supposed to do? Sit on his chest for 10 seconds and hope he doesn’t get up? If you put Braun in that kind of match, two things are going to happen. 1. Something large is going to get flipped and 2. Braun will be the one walking away.
2. Women’s Elimination Chamber
One night after the amazing inaugural women’s Rumble, Stephanie McMahon announced the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber. That’s great news for everyone except Alexa Bliss, who will have to defend her title inside the structure. The announcement opened Raw, and also gave Asuka a spotlight to enjoy her Rumble victory. I doubt she’ll be in the chamber match since she’s already the #1 contender, but I’m excited to see who earns a spot.
Reigns vs. Miz
Roman Reigns and Miz had a rematch of their very good IC title match at Raw 25. The rematch was very good, but the finish wasn’t as creative. I did like that they played off their match last week, with Miz trying to remove the middle turnbuckle again. The ref caught him this time, but Miz was still able to retain thanks to distractions from the Miz-tourage. While the distraction finish is stale as hell, I do enjoy Miz winning by pitting his strengths against Reigns’ weaknesses.
Miz’s greatest strength is the numbers game, while Reigns is the prototypical lone wolf. Technically he’s in The Shield, but he and Rollins haven’t been together in a while. Plus, he just eliminated Rollins in the rumble. While Reigns can get by on his own most of the time, Miz is just good and crafty enough to eek out a win. The crowd was super into this match as well, which always helps. Now that Reigns has lost two weeks in a row and failed to win the rumble, he’ll probably win every match for the rest of the year (not kidding).
Asuka vs. Sasha – Match of the Night
In a night full of great pro wrestling, Sasha Banks and Asuka stood above everyone. This was easily Asuka’s best main roster match, and Sasha’s best match in a long time. This really had everything. Submissions, counters, cringe worthy strikes, near falls and Sasha Banks trying to murder herself:
This was so crazy holyyyyy pic.twitter.com/EF8GknRqFO
— WrestlinGifs (@WrestlinGifs) January 30, 2018
The move itself got saved because Asuka was countering the dive with a kick, but Jesus Christ, Sasha. She very rarely hits that move clean and she’s either overshooting it and folding herself in half or getting her foot caught in the ropes and almost decapitating herself. Sasha is way too good a performer to keep trying that move, and I’m sure she can come up something safer. I really loved this match and it put Sasha and Asuka on another level as in ring performers. I know Bliss is the champ and she’s a great character, but nobody tells a story in the ring like these two. It came down to Asuka being too talented and too resilient for Sasha, which is a lethal combination. No one is ready for Asuka.
Cena vs. Balor
John Cena took on Finn Balor in the main event. It was an elimination chamber qualifying match, and these two capped off a great night of in ring work. Balor is so solid, and he tows the line perfectly of delivering believable offense while making Cena’s moves look great. Balor put up a hell of a fight, and was only defeated when Cena hit his top rope AA. If you factor in Balor going almost an hour in the rumble last night and that he fought JOHN CENA, it makes a little bit of sense. That’s the glass half full theory.
Now, let’s talk the logical theory. I don’t like Cena beating Balor at all. I honestly don’t know what this accomplishes, especially if Cena isn’t winning the chamber match. Balor just had a memorable night in the rumble, so they follow that up by having John Cena beat him clean? It’s the same illogical booking as having Balor beat Styles in a MOTY candidate at TLC and then losing to Kane the next night on Raw. ESPECIALLY since he and the Balor Club had their ‘pass the torch’ moment with DX last week.
There’s still three Raw’s to go before Elimination Chamber, so maybe Balor still gets in, and I say that because who else would take his spot? There are three slots left, with one presumably going to Reigns. Who takes the final two? Samoa Joe is hurt. Dean Ambrose is hurt. Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan weren’t even on Raw. Kane? Apollo Crews? If you want Cena in the match, fine. Throw big match John in there. But to put him in there at the expense of Balor is insane. I hate it and it stinks.
Elias beat Matt Hardy to earn a spot in the Elimination Chamber. Yay for Elias and silent indifference for the dead in the water Hardy/Wyatt feud.
The Coach (Jonathan Coachman) replaced Booker T on commentary. A piece of wood would have been better than Booker, but Coach was great last night. I’m excited for him moving forward.
The Revival beat Heath Slater & Rhyno. Let’s hope Raw 25 was just a tiny bump in the road for the best tag team on the main roster.
The Bar retained the tag belts in fun match against Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews. Apollo got a chance to shine and took advantage of it. His move set is so dynamic that I’m not sure he isn’t spotlighted more often, but it was great to see last night.
The Dudley Boyz are the newest inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame. Congrats to Bubba Ray & Devon.
On episode 26 we talk cheap movies that made BIG money, WrestleMania and the return of Drinking With Class. Call and leave a voicemail to be heard LIVE on the show – 401-285-8120. Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/AverageNobodies
Ever since Kurt Angle was announced as the headliner of the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame class, fans like myself started fantasy booking some type of return to the ring. Would he link up with American Alpha? Would he reignite old feuds with AJ Styles or Samoa Joe? Would he start something new with Finn Balor, Seth Rollins or Kevin Owens? Up until this point those were all pipe dreams, but a new report from the Wrestling Observer is giving people newfound hope. While nothing is set in stone and Angle would have to pass WWE’s rigorous medical testing, it’s a step in the right direction. It goes without saying that Angle is one of the most physically gifted and entertaining wrestlers of all time, so any type of send off in addition to the Hall of Fame induction would be fantastic.
— Bray Wyatt (@WWEBrayWyatt) February 13, 2017
If you didn’t catch last night’s Elimination Chamber pay per view, you missed out on a landmark moment for one of WWE’s rising star and in my opinion, it’s greatest character. Bray Wyatt outlasted The Miz, Baron Corbin, Dean Ambrose, John Cena and AJ Styles to become the WWE Champion in the main event, pinning Cena and Styles to pickup the win. This is inexplicably Wyatt’s first singles title in the WWE, and it’s hard to think of someone more deserving. While guys like Reigns, Rollins, Ambrose, Owens & Styles have won titles during their brief singles careers, Wyatt has been relegated to a frustrating pattern of stop and start pushes. He’s carried WrestleMania season feuds with John Cena and The Undertaker, only to lose on the big stage and be sent back to the mid card. Last night he finally grabbed the brass ring, and he did it by himself. There was no assistance from Luke Harper or Randy Orton or a surprise return from Erick Rowan; it was just Wyatt, in his all glory, Sister Abigailing himself to championship gold. While anything could happen between now and WM, the smart and logical story is going to be Orton/Wyatt for the title in one of the main events, so Bray Wyatt should go into WrestleMania as the defending WWE Champion.
— WWE (@WWE) January 16, 2017
Now that we’re less than two weeks away from the Royal Rumble, ‘WrestleMania season’ is starting to take off. It’s far and away the best time of the year to be a wrestling fan, and a big part of that is WrestleMania weekend. One of the biggest events of that weekend is the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and we now know that Kurt Angle will be apart of the 2017 class. Angle is one of the most decorated and entertaining wrestlers in WWE history, and also happens to be a legitimate Olympic Gold Medalist. The only question left for WWE fans: will he have one more match? I hope so, but either way, congratulations to Kurt Angle on his hall of fame induction.
— WWE (@WWE) April 11, 2016
I know it’s only been two weeks, and the Raw after WM is always great, but how GREAT have these last two Raw’s been? Ignoring Shane’s match with The Undertaker at WM, this has been a great storyline. Ideally they would have had Shane come back and say he wants to take charge of the WWE, only for Vince to give him a shot on a trial basis. Shane would succeed, and the WWE Universe would support him, and eventually he would take over as Raw GM full time. Since WWE is not an ideal universe, they had to throw Shane vs. Undertaker at WM in there, have Shane lose, and then have him become Raw GM anyway. Maybe Vince really wanted to see him jump off the cell? Either way, the WWE is on an upward swing creatively for the first time in forever. Let’s look at what’s happened these past two Raw’s:
- No Authority, meaning no long winded promos that accomplish nothing.
- A logical, showing his work GM that sets up feuds and matches that make sense
- The debuts of Apollo Crews, Enzo & Cass, Baron Corbin and Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows
- Two of the four debuts above have instantly reinvigorated the tag team division
- A tag team tournament (with actual tag teams!) to determine the #1 contender for the belts
- Cesaro returning and becoming the #1 contender for the IC belt against a great heel with a new valet who he has great chemistry with (Miz and Maryse)
- AJ Styles becoming the #1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
- Bray Wyatt finally getting a chance to look like a main event talent, which gives Reigns another contender beyond Styles
- Kevin Owens entering a feud with Shane McMahon – yes, please
There’s so much happening right now, and all of it makes perfect sense. Giving Raw a GM who has little to no ego and who explains why he’s doing what he’s doing allows us to just sit back and let the performers perform. Instead of trying to connect the dots and wonder why things are happening, we get to see the men and women interact in logical stories. This is such a great improvement over pre WM Raw and I really hope it keeps going. You can even have The Authority return over the summer and have them feud with Shane, and don’t forget that we haven’t seen Brock Lesnar either. You also have Rollins, Cena, and Orton coming back soon. I know it’s only a few Raw’s in a row, but this is a big step in the right direction. Let’s hope they keep it rolling.
The Raw after WrestleMania is always the best Raw of the year (and sometimes better than WrestleMania) and last night was no exception. We got the return of Cesaro (in a tear away suit!) a new IC Champion in The Miz and a new #1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in AJ Styles. BESIDES that, we got the Raw debut of Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin and your new favorite tag team Enzo & Cass. My favorite part about all three of these debuts is how positive the crowds reacted to them and how for the most part the announcers put them over for the live broadcast. Minus infinity points for Michael Cole saying that Enzo is an ‘acquired taste’ while 20,000 people sing his entrance promo word for word. Besides that, all three debuts for flawless. Corbin got a match with a smaller guy who doesn’t mind selling his ass off in Ziggler, Crews got to look like a million bucks and Enzo & Cass turned the tag team division on it’s head with one amazing promo. With these debuts, plus the return of Cesaro and the eventual returns of Cena, Orton and Rollins, this roster is going to be so stacked it’s going to melt people’s brains.