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  1. DMJ

    WWE TV 08/19 - 08/25 The Return of the King of the Ring

    I'm predicting McIntyre wins. I think the WWE thinks that winning a KOTR tournament can revitalize a dead character or fast-track someone into the main event when they need someone there - hence the wins for William Regal and Wade Barrett. Plus, the British thing seems to be a trend too. That being said, like with Regal and Barrett, I don't think it will work. You can't reheat someone overnight - especially not in this way in 2019. McIntyre might work as a challenger for Kofi - but Rollins/McIntyre is a feud we've already seen and is really no better than Rollins/Corbin. Rollins needs some genuinely fresh opponents - Andrade, Lashley, even Samoa Joe or Daniel Bryan - to make things interesting. Recycling the same stuff we already saw in late 2018/early 2019 is not going to help business.
  2. DMJ

    Greatest Career Rehabs

    Yea, I definitely wouldn't put Austin in this category. Sure, he seemed like he'd just be a midcard "mechanic" in WCW and was not ever going to be given a real chance but its not like nobody saw potential in the early 90s or ever thought he sucked. Even pre-internet, he was often described as a "blue chipper" or a promising young talent with a "bad attitude" in the Apter mags. I know among my friends and I, who were like 11-12, we thought he was a good wrestler - but because he was a heel, we wanted to see him lose to Steamboat, Dustin Rhodes, etc. I wouldn't call that a rehab. Mark Henry is a weird one. I'm not sure I'd call it a "rehab" because, to me, his trajectory doesn't fit. He didn't have a career to rehab. He sucked for the first 8-9 years. You can enjoy the comedy (I didn't), but his list of good matches from that time is non-existent. Then, around 05'-06', things started to turn a little bit - but he still mostly sucked. Then, it just clicked. To me, that's not rehab as much as things just "clicking" after a decade. Rehab is more like a guy who had a promising start, maybe a good run, then, for whatever reason (drugs? personal issues? bad marriage? etc.), lost his way and became terrible, a shell of their former self...and then got good again. With Moxley, "rehab" works for me because he fits that narrative. His first few years in the WWE were good. But more than anything else, that last run he had was just awful - a complete character nosedive. By that point, he'd been exposed/labeled as a worker who just wanted to "get his shit in" (the rebound lariat, the tornado DDT), make goofy faces, and then cut awful promos. That feud with Rollins was dogshit. His stock had really lowered to the point that even his biggest supporters had to be biting their nails a bit when he left. I mean, now, without the shackles, he had to actually prove he was as good as they wanted/believed him to be and that it was the WWE system that had ruined him. I mean, isn't that essentially what happened with Ken Anderson? Elijah Burke? Dustin Rhodes, to me, is a clear case of rehab. One of my favorites in the early 90s, the original Goldust was run was great, and then...things got weird and he was terrible for awhile (with a good performane here or there, but mostly, yeah, he looked like he couldn't care less). I didn't read his book but I'm sure there were specific reasons for the dramatic drop-off. And then, boom, in like 2006, the guy was just completely rejuvenated. The ECW run and matches against Sheamus were terrific. He made me care about Ted DiBiase Jr. for a minute (I loved how that feud teased that he was obsessed with Maryse [who would've been his "new Marlena"] but ended up being about his obsession with the Million Dollar Belt !!!). Teaming with Cody and his dad against The Authority. I think there was a tag team with R-Truth there for a minute that was good. If you told me Dustin Rhodes never worked again after the SeVen bullshit, I would've been like, "Yup, dude really let himself go, so tragic." But 10+ years after his rehab, he's still kicking ass too.
  3. This. The WWE can push "Sports Entertainer" or "Performance Fighter" or whatever else they come up with all they want - but the men and women who appear and perform and sports entertain are professional wrestlers or just wrestlers. This isn't "secretaries" becoming "administrative assistants" or how now, men and women, can both be called "actors" (with the term "actresses" slowly being phased out). In those cases, and in many others, there are political or status-driven reasons that people felt these terms undermined their skills or carried with them a negative/disrespectful connotation. Maybe the clearest example is how "stewardesses" became "flight attendants." But no pro-wrestler is ashamed to be called a pro-wrestler. No pro-wrestling fan prefers to say they watch "sports entertainment." The "WWE speak" is driven completely by one man and his bizarre unwillingness to admit that he's in the professional wrestling business. I don't think anyone at FOX or USA give one shit what they call themselves. They know what shows they bought and who "performance fights" on them.
  4. DMJ

    NXT Takeover: Toronto 2019

    The first Gargano/Cole match was a 2-out-of-3 falls match that went 38 minutes and featured lots of finishers (including Fish & O'Reilly's) and lots of finisher kickouts. They basically did it all in this match. It was dizzying and jam-packed with crazy offense, much of which was arguably undersold. The second Gargano/Cole match was a 30-minute Ironman match that started with both guys suffering arm damage - and then proceeded to feature just about every move under the sun: Ushigoroshis, backstabbers, bicycle kicks, discuss clotheslines, topes, spears and, oh yes, there were still plenty of superkicks. Again, much of this was arguably undersold to get to the next breathtaking sequence. The finishing stretch was terrific - but, again, it was dizzying and jam-packed with crazy offense. This weekend, they wrestled in (essentially) a Three Stages of Hell match for 46 minutes. If you're counting at home, that's 114 minutes of action between two guys over the course of the past 3 Takeovers and all the matches, except for the last two falls (because one was no DQ and involved brawling in the crowd and the other was in the cage) looked and felt very much the same. Were the moves well-executed? Sure. Were there some slick counters and nasty-looking bumps? No doubt. But if you saw the first match, you saw the second, and you saw most of the third. You can only go through the alphabet of crazy moves so many times before it stops being impressive. In other words: Cole/Gargano 1 was indulgent. Cole/Gargano 2 was excessive. Cole/Gargano 3 was whatever the most extreme synonym of those words is.
  5. DMJ

    WWE Summerslam 2019

    I'd have to look back, but I thought this was one of the best WWE PPVs of the year. - DId this thing only go 3.5 hours? I don't watch the pre-shows and don't consider them part of the real show. 3.5 hours felt like the right amount of time. One more match added onto the main show would've hurt the overall presentation. I was expecting a Reigns/Bryan segment, but the show didn't suffer without it. In fact, one could argue that it benefitted from the slimmer runtime (especially compared to the slog that WrestleMania has become). - There were at least two matches I would consider for my annual Top 10 list of WWE Matches of the Year. I thought AJ/Ricochet was their best offering yet and could easily sneak on my list around 8-9. It was everything that Cole/Gargano wasn't - it didn't overstay its welcome, Ricochet's selling was awesome, AJ Styles wrestled as a heel instead of trying to wow the audience. Speaking of Ricochet's selling, I'd argue that him incorporating the damage to his knee into his offense made perfect sense and was terrific - I mean, what else is he gonna do? He's not a submission specialist. He's not going to mat wrestle. Instead, he does insane shit like one-legged springboards because he's that agile. I want to cheer for this guy! Even with a bum knee, he's still flying, and I never felt like he was taking me out of the match. Once he rallied, he got the same recovery powers afforded to every babyface since the dawn of time and that's okay too. Its guys like Gargano, Cole, and Rollins that bother me because their ignoring of damage is so obvious and blatant. If you can't see the difference in what Ricochet did in this match and what the aforementioned often do, then I don't know what to tell you. Trish/Charlotte was probably the best or 2nd best Trish match ever (I remember fawning over the WM23 match against Mickie James) and much of that has to do with Charlotte and the crowd. Since Becky's reign has been a bust, I think its fair to say that this was the best women's match we've seen since Mania (at least in terms of Network specials/PPVs, which is all I really watch). - The crowd was dead at times and I disliked the finish, but Kofi/Orton, before the final minute, had me hooked. So, so, so much better than Kofi/Ziggler or Kofi/Owens. - Whoever said Owens/Shane was the best possible version of that match nailed it. I was not excited about that match at all, but they kept me entertained. - Goldberg/Ziggler was also funner than expected. Ditto for Wyatt/Balor. To be honest, I didn't even like Wyatt's new entrance all that match - what did it for me was the exit. That was cool and different. - The main event was the best Rollins match I've seen in months, maybe longer. I loved the opening stretch with Rollins back-flipping his way out of the german suplexes and then Lesnar wisely just switching to non-release versions. As a Lesnar fan and a pretty vocal Rollins non-fan, I was hoping for a different finish, but oh well, the WWE made the "right decision" in the sense that someone needed to topple Lesnar and, because they didn't pull the trigger with Roman or Braun, they were basically out of options in 2019. Also, like at WrestleMania 31, it did seem like the crowd - which was 50/50 at the start - warmed up considerably to Rollins as the match went on (the same way that, at 31, even Reigns detractors probably would've been okay with him getting the W because it felt earned).
  6. DMJ

    NXT Takeover: Toronto 2019

    Yeah, I don’t think Gargano has been “turned on” - but I think he’s had bad luck. Obviously the Ciampa injuries meant that, because he was tethered to the guy, his own arc was going to effected. Then he has a great match against Andrade but because they still need him to tread water and get to a predetermined “moment” (Ciampa vs. Gargano for the title), they were forced to do convoluted shit - like turning him heel. Simultaneously, he got positioned to *always* put on 20+ minute matches on every Takeover, with his main event ones going even longer. Even for a guy as talented as him, that’s a recipe for overexposure. Diversity in match types would’ve went a long way in keeping him fresher. At least for me, the 100% certainty that his match tonight goes an hour is not intriguing, it’s a challenge to the viewer.
  7. DMJ

    WWE TV 08/05 - 08/11 Comedy can truly help in dark times

    I know this is way off track now, but I'd be curious if someone were to do a real, thorough, legit survey if The Miz was more well known than Roman Reigns. Or if they'd be equal. I lean towards thinking The Miz is more famous/well known. The survey could be something where you show someone a picture of each and ask them to name them. Part of me thinks that anyone who could name Roman Reigns would be very, very likely (maybe even 99%) be able to name The Miz. It makes sense too because Roman Reigns is most famous for being a WWE Superstar. If you know Roman Reigns as a WWE Superstar, you probably know a whole bunch of WWE Superstars and The Miz has been around for a long time in many high-profile positions. But is the inverse true? You might laugh at The Marine or 12 Rounds or even wonder how people who don't watch WWE could possibly watch Miz and Mrs., but there are certainly people who, even if they don't watch these things, are at least exposed to them peripherally. And that would mean, even if they only know his name and his (often mugging) face, The Miz is more famous than Roman Reigns. To make another comparison, around 2007-08, I technically became aware of who Madea was without trying. It was just a character I'd see randomly on the cover of a DVD at the checkout counter or on a Redbox screen or in a commercial. At this point, Perry was not remotely in the mainstream and I'm not even sure the Madea films were theatrically released until a bit later (maybe 2009?. I wasn't a fan, I wasn't someone who regularly consumed "urban" media, I didn't have any interest in Tyler Perry or Madea, but over time, I (and millions of other uninterested people in America) became aware of it just because it had been on the periphery of the mainstream for so long. The Miz, from The Real World to Real World/Road Rules Challenge to Tough Enough to WWE TV to schlocky straight-to-DVD movies and back to another reality show has been on the periphery of the mainstream for what? 20 years now? So, yeah, I'm wagering that The Miz is more famous than Reigns too.
  8. DMJ

    WWE TV 08/05 - 08/11 Comedy can truly help in dark times

    I disagree. If anything, them keeping Roman on TV every week, headlining PPVs, and doing WWE-centric media appearances makes it clear to me that they don't even want him to "surpass Cena" and become a more mainstream star. When a WWE guy becomes a mainstream star, in Vince's eyes, it means that they are going to leave the company or demand a limited schedule. If you check out the wikipedia page about WWE Studios, you might be as surprised as I was to learn that they're still putting out non-Marine movies, that one of them featured Seth Rollins, and that Roman Reigns did not appear in any of the live-action ones (I'm guessing he did do voiceover for the Jetsons/Scooby Doo/Flinstone crossover movies). The company clearly sees him as more valuable in-ring, touring, than on a movie set. I also don't think that the people at the top are so naive as to think anyone, especially Roman Reigns, in 2019, is going to touch Cena's level of popularity when you think about historical context. Cena debuted at a time when RAW and SD were consistently drawing ratings that the WWE would dream of getting today, with ratings still in the 3s and 4s through the first decade of the 2000s. As the company expanded into more global markets, Cena was the company face (and a much more kid-friendly one than Reigns ever was or will be).
  9. DMJ

    The Official Seth Rollins is Terrible Thread

    I totally agree that Rollins as "default top babyface" after Reigns had to take medical leave was an unfortunate thing - but, again, the other main issue is that, going as far back as 2015, it was clear The Shield were going to be the top 3 pushed guys and a number of really hot acts - from Braun to Finn Balor to even The Miz's great heel work in 2017 (?) - were kind of unappreciated. I'd also posit that Samoa Joe showed some life in that time, though, again, his booking has been all over the place (the feud with Lesnar, for example, was very well-received). There was also Rusev Day. There was also John Cena essentially stuck in WWE Purgatory for the past two Manias and, in 2018 at least, he was actually around and on TV for all of the Mania build. This one is a stretch but I'd also throw out Big E's name. I think if you had orchested a situation where you had Brock Lesnar staring face-to-face with Big E, although the height difference would be noticeable, a live crowd would lose their shit at those two dudes - and, though its diminished now - New Day was still plenty over in 2017/2018. Now, I don't think Samoa Joe or Rusev or Braun or heel Miz could be more successful than Rollins in the role that Rollins is playing as the fighting babyface World Champion who is main eventing the show every week for months at a time. Maybe Finn or E could pull it off. But any of the other guys listed could've worked in a slightly different - daresay more traditional - World Champion role for a couple of months. I'm not a huge fan of Kofi Kingston's post-Mania run, but at the very least, him being World Champion still feels fresh and different. That's something you can't say for Rollins (or Reigns) in 2019. At least Lesnar, who I really hope wins on Sunday, still has somewhat of an aura and mystique in my eyes.
  10. DMJ

    WWE TV 08/05 - 08/11 Comedy can truly help in dark times

    On the topic of SummerSlam, it seems there is total disarray and disorganization backstage. Vince booking everything on a complete whim with no foresight. From what I understand, SummerSlam was a near sell out months ago due to "the brand" while the B-level Network struggles to sell tickets. (I looked it up and it was reported in the Observer that it sold out all the way back in March) With the show already sold out, what was the point of throwing a rushed Goldberg squash onto this card? Why not save that appearance for a show 2 months from now and actually build him up to take on a real, top level guy? Or have him wrestle on a show that doesn't feature Brock? And its not just the Goldberg match. The Trish/Charlotte match could've been something - except Charlotte has basically been a non-factor since WrestleMania so that match is cold too. When did Trish/Charlotte get pencilled in? If it was planned back in May or June, why not build up to it starting then? What else was Charlotte even doing? I think the match would've been absolute shit, but one could argue that the top heel in the women's division, in August 2019, is Lacey Evans and that is who Trish should be coming back to face. I'm really hoping that they save the reveal of Roman's attacker till SummerSlam itself as, even with how hokey this storyline has been, I still think this feud has legs (if it is Bryan, in fact, who is revealed as the attacker). But rushing the reveal tonight and then throwing Bryan/Roman onto a card that is already so loaded would be such a waste.
  11. DMJ

    WWE TV 07/29 - 08/04 Hey whatever this country is broken

    Hate to be that guy, but I think last week's weekly WWE thread "devolved" into this exact same conversation. There were some great, eloquently-worded takes on it in last week's thread (and I'm not just tooting my own horn), but I could see every weekly thread turning into this for the foreseeable future. Its just too fun to dunk on the guy. Maybe we should just make some sort of catch-all thread with a name like "The Seth Rollins UnAppreciation Thread"?
  12. DMJ

    WWE TV 07/29 - 08/04 Hey whatever this country is broken

    Nailed it. But do you think the reason they didn't/don't go for that sort of approach is because, in Vince or Kevin Dunn's eyes, this would put the focus too much on the interviewer and not on Roman? In the shot you describe, the majority of the screen time is on the interviewer. The way they shot it, the camera is following Reigns for a quarter mile before anything actually happens. Your way of shooting it is infinitely better in every way, but I can see Kevin Dunn thinking the star of the scene is Roman Reigns so the camera should be on him from the beginning. I'm not opposed to the angle, but as I wrote above, to me, the pay-off will decide whether it was good or not. If it turns out to be Samoa Joe, it'd be idiotic to me. If it turns out to be Buddy Murphy, I'd probably like it - but I'd still be skeptical about where it goes next. I'd be okay with it being someone like Balor, a babyface that needs freshening up, though I'm not sure it' d be a good idea long-term. If it turns out to be Rikishi (who is doing it for The Rock), I'd be surprised, but okay with it. If it turns out to be Jason Statham in his Owen Shaw character from the Fast and Furious franchise and it is all a tie-in to Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, I'm rethinking every negative thing I've said about the WWE this year. So, yeah, the pay-off is the most important to me.
  13. DMJ

    WWE TV 07/29 - 08/04 Hey whatever this country is broken

    - I'm hoping its not Joe, but only because, to me, if you're going to do a "mystery attacker" angle, the attacker should have a reason they want to be anonymous. If Joe wanted to attack Reigns, he would just do it - the same way he's attacked Mysterio or Kofi or whoever else. It would make more sense for the mystery attacker to want Reigns out of the picture, but not want to give up their identity because it would be bad for them. For example, The Usos might be jealous of Reigns so they'd want to attack him - but they wouldn't want anyone to know because they want to stay popular and be heroes and sell tee-shirts, yadda, yadda. Basically, the mystery attacker has to be a babyface because, if it were a heel, why would they go the extra step to protect their identity? - I was really, really hoping when Bryan first brought up his big announcement at Extreme Rules that they were building towards Bryan/Taker. I'm far from a Taker fan in 2019, but I figured, if you're going to have Taker wrestle at SummerSlam (which was rumored), Bryan is easily the best candidate. It does not seem like that's where this is going, but who knows?
  14. I would agree - but I'm not sure that everyone would agree. I went to my own database to double-check and this rang true by my own ratings. Going back to 2014 or so, Reigns had matches against Bryan, Sheamus, AJ Styles, Lesnar (WM31), and Strowman that I really liked and put in the category of Potential MOTY/Worth Watching. On top of that, he had some multi-mans that I put into that same category (4-stars on my scale, which only goes to 5 and I only do half-stars, no quarters - for reference, a 4.5 or 5-star match would be Gargano/Almas, Bret Hart/Austin at WM13, Flair/Steamboat, all time classics, etc.). Looking at my database, Rollins' only 4-star singles matches are against Roman Reigns, occurred in 2014/15 against Ambrose - when that feud was red hot and seemed very fresh- or were multi-mans (which often included Reigns). So, yeah, the "super worker" tag just doesn't really hold up to scrutiny if you look at the resume.* * Sidenote - Whereas, no matter how much people hate it, Cena or a Charlotte Flair have considerable claims to being WWE GOATs in their respective divisions.
  15. Just to pile on, I think there's also been backlash against Seth in the IWC, notably in places like r/SquaredCircle, because, for a time, there was a feeling that he was having great matches and had proven to be a top 5 in-ring talent. Over time, though, it became clear that this too was an illusion and that he really doesn't have this great resume. In fact, in 2018-19, he had a bunch of straight-up clunkers (most infamously the Ironman Match with Ziggler and the feud with Ambrose). In tags with Ambrose and during his IC title reign, Rollins would routinely get 4+-star reviews by Meltzer, but very few of those matches were truly memorable. Before then, you have some good matches with Cena - but far from Cena's best - and some good stipulation matches with Ambrose featuring the same spots we'd seen a dozen times before. Then you've got the Sheild matches, which were always fun, but its not like any one worker can "claim" those. As a singles star, his resume is actually pretty thin - especially compared to other top guys. His list of great, memorable singles matches definitely pales in comparison to Cena, Lesnar, Bryan, and AJ. I don't know if its even all that better than Reigns'. So, if you add that to him being an ass on Twitter, that time he dated a Nazi, and the fact that his in-ring work can be picked apart with ease, you have all the makings for a backlash against the guy.