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  1. DMJ

    RIP Tracy Smothers

    Very sad news. Tracey was the real deal. As a kid, I liked the Southern Boys/Young Pistols and remember recognizing Tracey when he became Freddie Joe Floyd a couple years later. What immediately comes to mind with Tracey Smothers, though, is that he became a semi-regular here in Cleveland, wrestling for Cleveland All-Pro run by JT Lightning (and Johnny Gargano's stepdad, I think), which sorta morphed into Pro Wrestling Ohio which sorta morphed into Absolute Intense Wrestling. For the past 15 years, Tracey was just always on these shows and I know its true for other regional/indie promos throughout this half of the county (if not the whole country). And he always seemed like he was having a good time, glad to be there, and appreciative. Its also fun to look at some of his opponents over the last decade on Cagematch - its a real who's who of "true" indie guys like Grado and Luke Hawx and Mad Man Pondo and the list goes on.
  2. Doing jobs is part of a "push" now. Same as being part of a shitty/comedy stable. And being somebody's sidekick. Its all the "brilliance" of Vince McMahon's longterm booking. It took like 10 years for Drew McIntyre to go from semi-decent push to midcard filler matches to 3MB comedy to being Ziggler's sidekick to beating Brock Lesnar. Matt Riddle, Slapnuts, and T-Boz are going to be mega stars in 2030 and then who'll be a "bad booker"?
  3. DMJ

    WWE Hell in a Cell 2020 - Family Feud

    Before this thread got derailed with talk about Ricochet, there was some discussion of Drew McIntyre. I liked Orton and Drew's SummerSlam match more than most and I even thought the Clash of the Champions match was a perfectly fine feud-ender. Then, last night's match happened...Just yuck. There were so many logic holes and this type of stipulation/setting just isn't a great fit for a guy with McIntyre's skill set/style. The best parts of the match were when they were just wrestling. Everything else around the cage and on top of it was awkward looking. It was not a creative match, it was not a captivating match, it was not even a highly physical match. It was a chore to watch. The piped-in "This is Awesome" chat was comical because this match was not at all awesome. And to top it all off, Drew McIntyre lost, clean, in the middle of the ring, to a guy that who he has beaten twice before. I get that Orton is as credible as they get, sure, and can beat anybody on any given night, but this really felt like Drew LOSING more than Orton winning. Its hard not to see this as the WWE opting to create the "next Sheamus" rather than go all in on the first Drew McIntyre. Sure, Drew will probably eventually get another title run and be treated like an upper midcard-level guy when the company needs him to be, but being a perennial top guy? I didn't see it in January, I didn't see it in April, but I must admit that the WWE was making me believe it could be possible these past few months...only to make me realize I was right the first time. McIntyre hit his ceiling last night and that ceiling is 40-year old Randy Orton (which, admittedly, isn't all that old...but because Orton started so young and has been a top guy so long, he seems like he should be 8-10 years older than guys like Kofi or Ziggler, when he's basically the same age as them - and only 5 years older than McIntyre and RAW's hottest new superstar Keith Lee).
  4. I just watched this for the first time this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'd definitely consider it a career match for Triple H (and Batista too). I wouldn't necessarily call this a "carry job," though, because Batista puts a ton of gusto into all the bumps he takes and, impressively, delivers big power moves from beginning to end when he needs to. For a guy who was sometimes criticized for being gassed and unable to work long matches, on this night, Batista knocked it out of the park. In recent years, Batista has openly stated that he wished he'd been around during the Attitude Era rather than the "PG Era" and this match shows why - he and Triple H are clearly reveling in the barbarism they get to show off. They'd do it again at WrestleMania XXXV (or was it 34? I forget). I also like that this match is really simple in structure, pacing, and big spots. They don't overreach. They don't flood it with nearfalls. They don't finisher spam. They don't get cutesy with anything. Its a Hell in a Cell match so you don't need run-ins (even though a Flair appearance would make sense storyline-wise) and ref bumps and convoluted ways to have both guys out of the cage or on top of it. The match can just be a goddamn bloody brawl in a cage with weapons and, done correctly, you don't even need to use multiple finishers or some insane bump through 2 tables off a ladder to get to a believable ending point. (4.5/5)
  5. I agree with everything above. The term "Self Conscious Epic" comes to mind with this match. As the poster above noted, this may not be the first of its kind - I mean, would Warrior/Savage at WrestleMania VII count as a self conscious epic in a way? - but this match definitely comes across as two guys that know the ingredients for a great match, start by sprinkling them, and then, by the end, are just pouring them on to the point that the match loses any sense of realism. It starts out decent - the usual slow-build that comes with these sorts of matches - and when Angle takes control, Shawn is perfectly fine selling. I liked the hope spots. The buckle bomb gets a massive reaction (it was a pretty rare move to bust out in the WWE back then and still is). Then, things get wonky. Angle starts the match teasing Ankle Locks but abandons that strategy. Michaels gets a cut under his eye, but Angle doesn't exploit it (which, if he was a better improviser, maybe he could've/should've). He hits the buckle bomb (seemingly going after Michaels neck), but then goes for suplexes to target Michaels' back before applying a rear chinlock to slow him down. There's no rhyme or reason for anything Angle does even though it all looks good. Michaels, meanwhile, is getting beaten down so bad that him springing to life becomes less and less believable. Kicking out at 2.9 can be awesome - but when you're doing it for every single nearfall from the very start of the match, it loses its luster. This match didn't need a ref bump. This match didn't need Michaels taking a nasty fall on the outside and seemingly injuring his ankle - only to then survive the dreaded Ankle Lock for the amount of time he did. What was Angle doing going to the top rope? Was he going to attempt a flying forearm? Since when does he even do that move? His lone top rope move has always been the moonsault so the finish seems like it was designed to "look cool" rather than actually make sense. I'd still consider this above-average because the crowd is definitely into it, I think the commentators do a good job of giving this a big fight feel, and there are some spots and moments that are really good. I wasn't bored by it. I didn't catch myself checking my phone while watching. In some ways, had this match and matches like it not become "the blueprint" for so much of the garbage we see today, it would probably be easier to enjoy. This is Michaels and Angle as the Godfathers of a style of match that we now get on NXT every week. But in isolation, in front of this crowd, in this context, it obviously pleased the fans of 2005 more than it pleased me.
  6. DMJ

    WWE TV 10/19 - 10/25 No NBA, no happiness

    NXT's slide in quality started a long time before Covid, but it also doesn't help that - even for a WWE-centric fan - NXT no longer looks or feels any different than RAW or SmackDown, and how many hours of the same thing can one reasonably watch? I know some people see worlds of difference between the PC Center, Full Sail, the Thunderdome, and wherever else they've been filming for the past 7 months, but it all looks kinda the same to me and I never forget that there's not actually a full live crowd (even if that crowd is less than 500 for NXT and 8,000+ for RAW). For a time, NXT did feel like WWE's own "alternative" brand, but that changed a long time ago and now, even a side-by-side comparison in production doesn't yield much contrast.
  7. I just watched this for the first time and expected to read lots of praise for it. I'm a bit surprised that this wasn't a universally-loved gem. Maybe it just caught me on the right night, but I loved this match and think it really deserves some love. - Red hot crowd. - Amazing pace. This match just doesn't slow down. - Fantastic Bret performance. Him running into the turnbuckles - backfirst and chestfirst - always pops me. Love some of his counters and roll-ups. - Nash shows off an arsenal that I'm not sure he ever bothered to utilize again in any match where Bret wasn't his opponent. - The commentary on this show is legendarily bad. I'm a Gorilla fan, but he doesn't mix well with Savage and Art Donovan is beyond awful. Somehow, this match was so good that it drowned out the historically terrible commentary. Gorilla's appreciation for what he's watching is apparent and infective. - Shawn and Neidhart get huge reactions for their spots. Nothing really to fault there. - Is it overbooked? Yeah. Probably. But I kinda like that there are moments - Diesel botching a catch, Diesel tossing Bret into Hebner and Hebner *not* going down like he was shot, Bret hitting Diesel with a punch that sends him into the ropes and stumbling like a boxer - that make the match feel like more of a fight than a choreographed dance (even with all the "extras" like the uncovered turnbuckle and the Shawn bump at the end and the screwy finish). - Again, the pace. This match has the crowd at a 10 from the first bell and never lets them go below that. To me, a 4-star match is a "must watch" and I'd say this is a must watch for WWF/WWE fans. Having never seen it, I always viewed it as the "lesser" of the Diesel/Bret PPV matches, but I think it stands up with all of them. When you think of what else the WWE was presenting in 94', I'd even go as high as 4.5-out-of-5.
  8. https://imgur.com/a/EUpe7G6 So we can now add sexual harassment to the list of reasons why Lars Sullivan is a creepy shithead.
  9. I know this will read like a "complaint for complaining's sake" post but its a shame that Sasha and Bayley will have to work their Hell in a Cell match on the same show with 2 other Hell in a Cell matches. Just makes it less special to me. Also, I haven't watched RAW in awhile but why is this Drew/Orton feud even continuing? That Ambulance Match really did feel like the end of the feud as Orton not only got beat, but also got his comeuppance from all the legends. A Hell in a Cell Match with Drew feels like a hat on a hat. I'd have much preferred Drew not even wrestling on the show, but maybe being involved in some big angle/segment with his next challenger - whether that's AJ or (I"m puking in my own mouth) Bray Wyatt.
  10. I've been liking Rollins okay recently after years of not digging him too much, but here's what I'd do with him honestly (and maybe where the WWE is going with him if he does go to SmackDown?).... - Shows up on SmackDown for a couple weeks. Maybe some backstage moments with Roman, reminding him that they used to run the company together and without Heyman. By bringing up the "good old days" and teasing a crowd-pleasing Shield reunion, this would sorta make Rollins a tweener/face, a friend trying to bring their friend back to his "old self." Obviously this goes against Rollins current gimmick, but it isn't unheard of to have this happen when a character jumps from RAW from SmackDown (see Charlotte). - Roman destroys Rollins. - Rollins goes off-screen for awhile (paternity leave) and when he comes back, you can either bring him back on RAW as the heel character (which is actually what he's been the best at) or if the crowds are behind him, as a face to try to get revenge on Reigns on SmackDown. Basically, put Rollins on SmackDown for the sole purpose of establishing heel Reigns even further as a badass with no allegiance to family or his old Shield buddy. Accomplish that in 3-4 weeks and give Rollins a much-needed break from TV.
  11. DMJ


    ^ Totally agree with all of that. I just don't know if, even without being overproduced (which is likely) and in a 2-person team, should we shine in this role. If anything, I think she'd benefit from doing what Barrett did. Go elsewhere, learn the job outside the WWE umbrella, and when you come back, you'll have the confidence to be yourself. Barrett has been on NXT for what? A couple weeks? And he's already made a positive difference through sheer confidence and being himself. Right now, she's kinda just a generic commentator but female. We don't need "female Byron Saxton" (and I'm not even slagging Byron Saxton, just saying he's kinda vanilla) when Beth Phoenix being Beth Phoenix could actually add something to the mix.
  12. DMJ


    - I have been pretty down on NXT for awhile now, but I liked the main event. In front of a live crowd, I think that would've been a "star-making" match for O'Reilly. I know he's not everyone's cup of tea, but I thought he shined here and I'm going to also give credit to Balor a bit. When's the last time he had two back-to-back Takeover/Network Special matches that were as good as the one he had against Thatcher at XXX and the defense here? I wholeheartedly agree that the heel/heel dynamic took away from it - but, again, I think in front of an audience, O'Reilly was fighting from underneath for a lot of the match and that it would've made him the de facto babyface. (They also drilled it into everyone's head on commentary and in the build-up that he was the underdog, which generally makes you the babyface even if you're not actually a "good guy".) - I second whoever said that the Swerve & Adonis/Legado storyline/rivlary would be better off without the title or any mention of the numbers 2, 0, or 5. The fact that they're fighting over a meaningless, irrelevant piece of tin in a completely lame "division" makes their feud feel less important than their work deserves. Just have this rivalry be about Legado being bastards and Swerve & Adonis standing up to them. - I like and support Johnny Gargano as a guy I've watched from his earliest days here in Cleveland. What I've struggled with over the past couple years is why they've opted to book him like the Big Show or Kane. He gets over as the ultimate underdog but they turn him heel to add a wrinkle to his feud with Ciampa. Then they turn him back to a babyface only to, a few months later, turn him heel again. Each turn gets him further away from what made him feel like NXT's heroic anchor and someone you wanted to root for. - I don't think the WWE is actively working against making Ember Moon a successful character. I just don't think the WWE is actively working to make Ember Moon a successful character. As someone else said, having her big return come immediately after Toni Storm's big return detracted from Moon, who really could and should have her "aura" played up. Or are characters no longer welcome on USA? - Now that Mauro is gone, the next weak link is Beth Phoenix. I think Beth is probably a swell person, she was a great in-ring performer and sports-entertainer, and she probably has a lot to contribute backstage as a producer or trainer. Her commentary has been a not-so-solid C- forever and I'm not hearing improvement show-to-show or even year-to-year. I wish it wasn't true, but she just isn't very good. I almost wonder if part of the issue is that she's not playing any sort of character/role. She's just this voice that never speaks about her own experiences, comes out against anybody (heel or face), or has any distinct personality.
  13. As someone who doesn't watch the weekly programming, I get most of my news and "follow" the major storylines by reading threads here, Reddit, and, most importantly, watching the monthly PPVs. I feel like no one has talked about Otis in months. When was the last time Otis was even on one of their major shows? Was it Money in the Bank? I don't think he was on Backlash or Extreme Rules. Was he involved in the Mandy/Sonya match at SummerSlam? I forget. If he was there, it wasn't in a big enough spot for me to mention him in my match reviews. I don't think he appeared at Payback or Clash of Champions either (based on my match reviews). I get it - the roster is loaded, Otis is featured on SmackDown weekly (I wouldn't know but I presume he is), he might've even wrestled on a Network Special pre-show in that time, but we're talking about a guy that they seemingly are giving a push to not appearing on one of their PPVs/Network Specials since May. We've talked for ages about 50/50 booking making everyone seem like just a guy, but another cause of nobody being a star is that even when someone seems to have momentum, they often disappear from the spotlight for lengthy, lengthy stretches and when we see them again, they're not fresh, they're just less over because if they're not worth being featured when they're on a "hot streak" (like winning the briefcase), why would I care about them after 6 months of putzing around in the midcard of one of their inessential, mostly-filler TV shows?
  14. Yes and no. Yes, Alexa is obviously a very attractive female and that beauty definitely doesn't hurt her. There's no argument there. But Paige was/is also super attractive and couldn't make any of her various roles work since returning to the company. Charlotte Flair is attractive, has the "pedigree," and has been positioned as the top female worker in the company. She still couldn't get over as a babyface no matter how hard they tried. Lana could only do one thing - Rusev's evil Russian manager. Any other role? Pretty much woeful. Nikki Bella and Brie Bella are gorgeous, but Brie was not good in the ring and not much better in the promo/acting department. Nikki eventually became pretty good in the ring (or at least had made huge improvements in her last few years) but, yeah, on her best day, she still couldn't touch Alexa in the promo department. Even at her peak, Nikki couldn't "own the stage" the way Alexa has. And the list goes on of beautiful, beautiful women - Stacy Keibler, Kelly Kelly, Torrie Wilson, Sable - who didn't have the versatility of Alexa Bliss, who couldn't get over as a babyface and a heel, who couldn't be taken seriously as a wrestler and manager. So, yes and no. Yes, she's gorgeous and that undoubtedly helps her get her character over, makes her even more popular, etc. But, no, if it was all about looks, if it was all just her appearance, she wouldn't be so successful in multiple roles.