All posts tagged Randy Orton

Savior in the Bank

When the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship were unified at TLC last December, the ramifications were felt all down the WWE roster.

The idea behind unification was to consolidate the “power structure” at the top of the card. Instead of having main eventers divided, with some chasing the WWE title and some chasing the WHC, they would all have a singular focus. As added motivation, despite protestations from WWE superstars that one title wasn’t superior than the other, the truth had been clear for some time: the WHC would always be the number two belt. Having one main belt for all the top guys to pursue just made more sense.

An added benefit was that wrestlers who existed on the fringe of the WWE and WHC title pictures could now serve to elevate the long-diminished Intercontinental and U.S. Championships. Unfortunately, the flip side of that notion is that these guys were essentially being demoted relative to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (“WWEWHC”), and were more or less devalued as serious contenders. Since December, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto del Rio, Sheamus, Mark Henry, Big Show, and Rob Van Dam have all been moved away from the title picture, to varying degrees.

Since Randy Orton and John Cena had their unification bout seven months ago, nine WWE superstars have either had a shot at the WWEWHC or have seriously associated themselves with the strap. While nine guys orbiting around the WWEWHC sounds like a perfectly adequate title picture, five of those nine are no longer actively wrestling.

Daniel Bryan: indefinite injured reserve
Batista: indefinite hiatus
Triple H: returned his focus to Authority-related matters following his conditional Wrestlemania XXX title shot
Brock Lesnar: on a super-part-time schedule (never got a title match, but declared his desire for the belt)
Christian: he’s injured, right? Probably.

This doesn’t even take into account the surprise vaporization of title picture mainstay CM Punk.

Furthermore, the four remaining guys aren’t without their own issues.

Randy Orton: The top heel in the company after a SummerSlam MITB cash-in, his character has been undermined since being christened the “face of the company” by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Orton’s primary issue is that once he became the Authority’s hand-picked champ, he lost all autonomy. Instead, Orton is merely a stand-in for the Authority’s wishes and Triple H’s seemingly constant flirtations with other potential “faces” (Batista, Seth Rollins, Trips himself, and even John Cena), give credence to the notion that Orton really can’t hack it as a top guy. Naturally, being cast as desperately clinging to his “favorite son” status, Orton has come off as insecure. That insecurity has manifested itself in the worst ways, as he’s needed help from every Triple H crony from Billy Gunn to Shawn Michaels to retain his title.

Recently, while the Evolution reunion was cool, it further damaged Orton’s status. Triple H was the unquestioned leader and Batista got over as a somewhat-fresh face with a hilariously trollish attitude. This left Randy Orton to be the “third guy,” and without a specific role other than to round out the numbers. Furthermore, as Triple H has proven that he can still go (and go hard) in the ring, as long as Randy Orton serves as an arm of the Authority he can never be a true top heel, as Triple H will have the final say-so, backstage as well as between the ropes.

Kane: Everything said about Randy Orton goes double for Kane. All the issues Orton has due to being an underling for the Authority, apply even moreso, as Kane is even lower on the totem pole than Orton. Kane did manage to get a bit of his mojo back with his re-masking and title shot against Daniel Bryan, but the fact remains that he’s spent the better part of his post-Wyatt return having his hands full playing office politics with Brad Maddox.

The bottom line is that Kane looked way too at home getting squashed alongside Road Dogg and Billy Gunn at Wrestlemania XXX at the hands of the Shield.

Hit the jump for a look at the last two main event guys and how this could all change at Money in the Bank. Continue reading →

Who will take the final spots in the Money in the Bank Championship Match?

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Money. Money, Money, Money, Money! It’s all about the MON-AY!

With the “blockbuster” announcement of the vacating of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Monday on Raw, the Money in the Bank ladder match has taken on an increased importance this year and the field of contenders for the championship is taking shape.

Already qualified for June 29th’s Money in the Bank match for the Vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship in Boston:  Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, United States Champion Sheamus, & Cesaro. This Friday on Smackdown Bray Wyatt & Dean Ambrose will tussle for the 5th spot in the bout leaving only two spots in the match left, if WWE’s own match graphic shown on Raw is to be believed.

While, it doesn’t take a genius to surmise that with a match of this profile John Cena won’t be far behind, but forecasting who will fill the final spot this Monday on Raw from Cleveland is a bit trickier. Let’s examine the candidates.

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The Day After: Raw 6/3/14 “Why Seth Why!?”

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Say it ain’t so Seth!
Image Credit: WWE.com

In a completely unexpected turn of events, Seth Rollins betrayed Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose to join Evolution in place of Batista, who quit the group earlier in the evening. The angle, which turned an uneven edition of Raw into a buzz-worthy event also set the internet ablaze with chatter.

To those decrying the move, I don’t have much for you. I loved it. When pro wrestling makes me feel something, be it joy, be it anger at a performer, it pulls me in like it did as a child for the first time. If you’re angry at Seth Rollins, it succeeded. Embrace it. You’ve been worked and so was I. Completely shocked. I love being surprised. I love losing myself in the story. Sitting up after Raw for hours wondering where the story will go next. Call me a mark but it’s exhilarating and tonight’s ending was just that. No one expected after last night that any member of the Shield would defect to the crew they spent Sunday night at war against. If they said they expected Rollins to turn especially, they were lying.

Whatever Evolution offered Seth Rollins to betray his comrades: cash, lifetime memberships to every Cross Fit in the USA, unlimited indie rock music on iTunes, a WWE Championship match; it was worth it. After Elimination Chamber, it appeared to be foregone conclusion we’d be losing our Hounds of Justice. They were bickering the cracks were evident. However, calmer heads prevailed and the group seemed more unified than ever over the last 3 months. That’s what made Seth Rollins’ turn such a gut punch.

Had they pulled the trigger back in February, would we have talked about the dissolution of the Shield with the same fervor that the internet has last night and this AM? I’m doubtful. At that point, it appeared the end game for dissolving the team was to launch Roman Reigns. This situation is a much more impactful launching pad for the singles careers of all three members of the Shield. With the unexpected turn of Rollins, Seth immediately gets elevated to the VIP villains section by hooking up with Triple H & Orton. By proxy, Ambrose and Reigns have a new challenge (Evolution WITH Rollins) and the contentious dynamic between those two can be explored without the calming influence of the Architect.

It remains to be seen if Reigns and Ambrose will seek reinforcements from NXT or if we’re looking at a 2 on 2 war at Money in the Bank, but moving forward long-term, the prospect of Ambrose vs. Rollins is real and Roman Reigns is one pissed off Samoan ready to rampage through the Summer. I just went from six to midnight.

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The Day After: Payback

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Image Credit: WWE.com

The third WWE pay-per-view of the WWE Network era continues the streak of top-notch pay-per-view matches in 2014. January saw Wyatt-Bryan, February saw Shield-Wyatts, Wyatt-Cena & the Bryan saga at Mania, and May had the Shield-Evolution war. Tonight we witnessed another night of fun, fun, WWE action and two more matches to add to that list.

But that’s just my opinion. What did you think? Check out the results with my reactions and give me a shout in the comments. Also check out Martel’s Shield piece from this morning.

The Shield swept Evolution 3-0 in the No Holds Barred Elimination Match. 

Very good. A crazy, chaotic brawl. Keep the Shield together forever!  The story of the match was Evolution slowly taking over the match and beating the living hell out of the Shield in order to isolate Roman Reigns, but ultimately their hubris backfired resulting in a clean sweep for the Shield. Evolution put over the Shield HUGE. Take that Triple H haters.

After a crazy brawl to open the match, things settled down for a portion only to break wide open once more for the home stretch. There were no eliminations until roughly 25 minutes into the 30 minute match and how those eliminations came about was fantastic. Late in the match after hitting Reigns with a triple powerbomb, Evolution then took out Rollins & Ambrose in the entry way. With his partners out, HHH, Batista, & Orton proceeded to pull Reigns inside and go all Sandman on his back (sans flack jacket) with Kendo sticks.

When all seemed lost, the comeback began. As they continued the punishment in the aisle, SETH ROLLINS FROM THE TITANTRON! Rollins’ jump from the screen turned the tide with all 6 men crawling back to the ring. One by one the Hounds of Justice took out their opponents. A spear taking out Batista. Dirty Deeds takes out Orton. Flying Knee and a spear eliminates Triple H. Clean F’N Sweep. Amazing.

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The Day After: Raw 5/5/14

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“So The Shield, Wyatts, Cesaro, Bryan & Barrett are all getting big pushes & the internet is STILL bitching?”

Such is the life of wrestling fandom in the internet age. Was RAW an all time-great episode? No. Call me crazy, but I try to find things I enjoy in each show and am usually successful. Consider:

  • Daniel Bryan, is the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion and despite the mini-post-Mania layoff is still WAY OVER. Having walked out of WrestleMania with the gold by defeating the entire group of Evolution (who laid waste to the Shield last night) and Extreme Rules by defeating the much hyped Demon version of Kane.
  • The Shield are arguably being positioned as the top faces on the show alongside Bryan and Cena, a group of anti-heroes in the mold of CM Punk,  and are having awesome trios matches with Evolution and the Wyatt Family.
  • Antonio Cesaro is being built for bigger things.
  • Wade Barrett & Sheamus, regardless of your opinions on their characters, are two new singles champions that can go between the ropes. Both have been built strong enough that hope for meaningful mid-card championship feuds is renewed.
  • New talent from NXT like Adam Rose, Paige, Rusev, Lana, and soon, Bo Dallas are coming to Raw to freshen up the landscape.
  • John Cena was not to be found on the broadcast.
  • SHIELDWYATTSANDEVOLUTIONINTHESAMERINGOMG!

We live in such an instant gratification culture and this transfers over to our analysis of pro graps action. I’m not the hugest fan of the Kane-Bryan skit shenanigans, but like the Extreme Rules match, I’m sure I’ll be entertained by the rematch at Payback. The endgame is what’s most important.  The story doesn’t need to be and shouldn’t be wrapped in short order. For instance, Evolution was on the short end at ER, so it’s only logical that they were out for revenge last night. Triple H, the character, is known for holding longstanding grudges. It makes sense.

We have it pretty good when it comes to being fans of WWE’s brand of sports entertainment. Appreciate the good stuff, and stop taking the bad stuff as such a personal affront. Laugh off the bad stuff, and enjoy pro wrestling. Because I certainly do. Just my two cents. On to the show…

Shield vs. Wyatts IV

After punishing the Shield by forcing Dean Ambrose to defend the United States Championship in a battle royal, the COO booked this main event, with Bray Wyatt getting the victory by hitting Roman Reigns with Sister Abigail due to Evolution distraction.  While their first encounter at Elimination Chamber will be the high watermark for this rivalry, this was still really fun.  I unabashedly will continue to pimp Luke Harper. Big Man can GO and my love of the Shield should be evident from our Extreme Rules recap.

Post match, Evolution sought revenge for their loss at Extreme Rules. Roman took the brunt of the punishment as he was on the receiving end of an RKO, Pedigree, and Triple Batista Bomb.  Logical, competent booking here that sets up a gimmick rematch I’d guess for Chicago at Payback. Evolution isn’t going away after one loss and now the Shield has a reason for revenge. What’s great, even though I tend to enjoy both factions, is how slimy the attack by Evolution truly was.  They only come at the Shield when the numbers are in their favor. 11 on 3 weeks before Extreme Rules and 6 on 3 this evening. Ambrose had already wrestled once and all 3 had just waged war with the Wyatts.

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