It’s less than two weeks away from Extreme Rules and we are FINALLY making some progress on the build to the first event after Wrestlemania. There’s some mystery and excitement surrounding this event, and I am intrigued to see how it will go (given the current circumstances). From injuries to absences, curiosity is killing the average wrestling fan.
First of all, Cena is injured. The champ and face of the WWE (quit denying it) is hurt and it is in a delicate spot. Anyone remember when Edge injured his Achilles tendon? He was out, and out for a while. Cena’s injury is, reportedly, less severe than what Edge suffered but it is still dangerous. As all the WWE superstars are, Cena is a professional and is willing to entertain the fans through injury. He came out on Monday Night Raw to a massive pop and gives Ryback the chance to choose their match stipulation at Extreme Rules. What did he choose? Last man standing.
Is this 2010 all over again? Does Ryboring (see what I did there?) actually think he can win? Allow me to show why his decision was stupid, to see why just go to YouTube and type ‘John Cena last man standing match’. There will be several videos that demonstrate Cena is a badass. He may be a superhero to the kids but he is one tough mother you do not want to mess with.
Another shining star on Monday Night Raw was Damien Sandow in his match against Randy Orton. The highlight of this match wasn’t so much the wrestling but Sandow mocking Randy. When he sang his own improvised words to Orton’s theme song, I couldn’t stop laughing. Of course, going into Extreme Rules, Randy got the win but Damien Sandow really proved that he can go to bat with some of the more established wrestlers in the WWE. Listening to him on the microphone is like listening to a pompous angel with a golden voice. From the man with a golden voice, we go to the man with the golden feet. That man is Fandango. I really like him and I can’t explain why for the life of me. He’s just funny and this thing he has going with Jericho is intriguing. The appeal of Fandango is that he is so ridiculous. The sequins, the attire, the voice, the finisher, fans can’t help but laugh and just go with it.
We were subjected to yet another bout that featured Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, and Jack Swagger. It’s just the same old thing. I LOVE Ziggler and he is fantastic but he does not need an entourage. They fight for a bit, Swagger and Colter come out and be giant losers. Blah, blah, blah…
On a side note, an unfortunate turn of events happened at the Smackdown taping the following night. Ziggler suffered a concussion that led to him being diagnosed with retrograde amnesia. Due to that, he may or may not be participating at Extreme Rules on May 19th. Many are saying that he should be stripped of his title if he can’t actually defend it. I don’t think that should be the case. It isn’t like when Shawn Michaels got the crap kicked out of him in a bar, he didn’t do anything stupid, it was just an unfortunate accident. What they should do is let Ziggler keep the title and have some sort of battle royal to determine a number one contender. Even if Del Rio or Swagger wins, they just need to add others in there to keep it fresh and interesting.
I thought that all of the matches on Raw were very entertaining, even the women’s match. I know, I know, surprising. The obvious standout was The Shield. They can face anybody they want and turn it into a five-star match. The Shield faced the Usos and Kofi, and retained their undefeated streak in the WWE. It was such a fantastic match from both sides, my favorite moment being when Seth Rollins got caught with a right hand from one of the Usos. Not only did it look painful but I felt the blow sitting on my couch. These three mysterious men in black are like an unstoppable freight train that just bowls over anyone and anything that is in their path. JBL is one hundred percent right in comparing them to the Fabulous Freebirds. The style or look of the group might be different but the charisma and appeal is the same. The Shield is there to shake things up and change the landscape of pro wrestling, just like the Freebirds did.
The one element of Raw that didn’t really click for me was the segment with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. I think that Brock should be there to build his match, not just show up and wreck shit. As much as I don’t particularly care for Lesnar, this feud could be really good if he actually worked towards making it better. Pre-taped segments aren’t helping him, they just make him look like someone who doesn’t care about the fans and just wants to get paid. One thing I will credit Lesnar with is that he didn’t come in and get handed a title, just high-profile matches that turn out to not end that well for him. He isn’t a wrestler, he is a fighter and he has to play to that strength or he falls flat. Triple H appeared on the broadcast and I am hoping that he just beats Lesnar so bad that he never returns to the WWE again. He just isn’t someone who is enjoyable to watch. He comes out, hops around like he pooped his pants, huffs and puffs, and then leaves. Talk about boring.
Next week the build needs to be kicked into high gear, as it is the go-home show. With three of the top names in the company nursing injuries, it will be compelling to see how the WWE creative department will spin the stories to make up for the absences. I wish all of the superstars working with injuries, or those out with injuries, the very best and I hope that they return to action soon.
On May 27th, I will be attending the Bret Hart Appreciation Night for Monday Night Raw in Calgary. Look for a special article in the coming days about the Excellence of Execution. I also wanted to note that I will be starting a five-week course so I will still be blogging and watching Raw, but I may not get to watch it until a day or two later. It’s only five weeks so I hope to be back on schedule as soon as it is done!