Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Monday Night RAW: The Great Disconnect

So two things.  The first is about Roman Reigns.  After watching the crowd reaction to Triple H straight-up MURDERING Vince's Chosen One, all I can say is "Man, I'm tired of being right."

I for one can't wait to see Reigns NOT get revenge.

Last night Triple H became the most popular star in WWE, for annihilating the top babyface in the company.  I'd like to repeat that: The HEEL WWE Champion got cheered like the second coming of Daniel Bryan as he attempted to end the life of the company's #1 hero.  What's wrong with this picture?  I'm sorry, I have nothing against him, and I don't really blame him for the cosmic ineptitude with which he's been handled, but there's no getting around this: Roman Reigns is NOT The Guy.  Period.  No other top babyface - not Hogan, not Warrior, not Bret, not Shawn, not Austin, not Cena; hell, not even Diesel - was this hated when his time came.  The fans simply, emphatically, do not like Roman Reigns.  They don't want to cheer him, they aren't invested in his journey; they frankly want to see him get mauled.  He's edging dangerously close to "X-Pac Heat."  Making WrestleMania 32 his big coronation will result in an absolutely disdainful crowd, and a miserably awful post-Mania season.

I know Vince still thinks the "casual fans" want to see guys like Reigns as the top stars.  Only one problem with that line of thinking (and Dave Meltzer said this the other night): casual wrestling fans don't exist anymore.  They're gone.  WWE chased them off by expecting them to commit to five hours or more every week.  What you have left is a group of diehard fans who will watch the show religiously, and guess what....a guy's "look" isn't nearly as important to them as it is to Vince.  What they want is a guy they can emotionally connect with who can deliver good promos and matches consistently.  That's it.  What he looks like is completely secondary.

So figure out a Plan B, folks.  Turn Reigns heel, have Rollins come back and be WWE's savior, do something.  Your big Roman-fest isn't gonna pan out like you want it to.  End of story.

Jeezus fuckin' Christ, what year is this??

Sadly, the Reigns situation isn't even the most dire thing to come out of last night's show.  Let me preface this next paragraph by saying I was actually excited for WrestleMania from about 5pm till about 8:30pm.  At 5pm WWE.com posted a video of Brock Lesnar attacking Dean Ambrose in the arena parking lot, setting up what's sure to be a fascinating, exciting semi-main event for the big PPV.  Lesnar vs. Ambrose - the unstoppable bully vs. the loose cannon.  I love it.  This match is already more intriguing to me than ANYTHING at WrestleMania 31.  So for a few hours I was optimistic about 'Mania.  And then WWE took a giant, Taco Bell-esque dump all over it.  Two words: Shane fucking McMahon.

Yup, it was announced last night that The Undertaker's WrestleMania opponent will be none other than the 46-year-old non-wrestler offspring of the boss, who hasn't appeared on WWE TV in seven years.  At a time when the company desperately needs to build up new heels, and any number of current full-time guys would benefit from a high-profile match with Taker, Vince has opted to put Shane in there instead.  I cannot even wrap my head around how logic-defying this move is.  If anyone has a rational explanation, please comment below.  This is a serious request.  I legit can't make heads or tails of a Taker vs. Shane Hell in a Cell match.  But here's an attempt to process this unbridled stupidity.

1. I can rattle off upwards of ten better opponents currently on the roster (as in, not outside hires or NXT call-ups): Kevin Owens, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev, AJ Styles, Chris Jericho, Ryback, Bray Wyatt (again), The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, hell even the original choice Braun Strowman would be more appropriate.  Know why?  Because he's a goddamn WRESTLER.

2. Shane's whole reason for being in this match is because he wants control of WWE, yes?  And the fans are supposed to be excited and hopeful that he'll save us all from The Authority, yes?  Quick question then: Why would you put him against one of the most universally beloved stars in the company's history?  Who exactly are we supposed to be rooting for in this situation?  Does Vince honestly think fans WANT to see Taker lose to Shane??

3. Why, in the storyline, would Taker agree to this?  What does The Undertaker stand to gain from beating up Vince's son, on Vince's behalf?  Is Taker a heel now?  Last time we saw him he was a babyface, and he and Kane killed the Wyatts at Survivor Series.  Mark Calaway seriously needs to put the kibosh on this idea.  "Vince, if you can't find me someone appropriate to fight at WrestleMania, count me out."  It's that simple.  Save us, Mark.  Pleeeeeease.....

4. Presumably Shane is going to turn this match into a big stunt show, including at least one very dangerous high spot.  This only six weeks removed from Daniel Bryan having to retire due to concussions.  Really sends a great message that you're only concerned about performer safety when it's convenient.  Otherwise, cue Shane's 50-foot dive off the Titantron.

5. I am soooooooooooooo motherfucking tired of the McMahons being presented as bigger stars than the actual wrestling talent.  This shit's been going on since 1999 when Vince booked himself to win the Royal Rumble, and it got old real fast.  Over the years we've seen every conceivable combination of McMahon vs. wrestler, and with very few exceptions it's resulted in a whole lotta stinkers.  Christ, in 2003 we even saw Vince beat up his daughter.  I do not care one goddamn iota about this family as on-air characters.  They are no longer interesting, likable, or compelling.  I'm sick of watching them emasculate the wrestlers, any of whom could beat a rain check into any McMahon's ass ten times outta ten.  I'm tired of them undercutting the rigorous training process one must endure to become a pro wrestler, by booking themselves to hold their own in wrestling matches.  This to me is as damaging to the business as having someone like Stardust lose to Stephen Amell.  Amell, athletic though he may be, is not a trained pro wrestler.  Stardust is a second-generation pro wrestler with a decade of experience.  Shane McMahon, athletic though he may be, is a rather doughy 46-year-old businessman.  The Undertaker is one of the most dominant wrestlers in the history of the business.  If simply being the son of a wrestling promoter puts him on equal footing as the legendary Undertaker, what the fuck is so special about being a pro wrestler in the first place?

I'm callin' it - this Taker vs. Shane match is the dumbest idea Vince has had since Katie Vick.  The gaping logic holes hurt my brain, and it's becoming quite evident that the WWE product is no longer for me.  The real marquee event taking place the first weekend in April is NXT TakeOver: Dallas.  WrestleMania Lone Star is a carny farce.  I'm gonna keep saying this until it happens: Vince, RETIRE.  Right now.  You don't know what you're doing anymore.  Everyone sees it but you.  Get out of the way and let those with good ideas take over.

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