What a weirdly structured and largely uneventful Raw.
Last night’s show was “main evented” by Mark Henry’s Rally for America over Rusev instead of the main event angle of John Cena-Paul Heyman, which occurred at “halftime.” Not halftime of Raw but halftime of Monday Night Football. Was Cena watching the game on a monitor backstage and wouldn’t act until there was a break in the action? Very odd for WWE to acknowledge the competition like that.
The biggest takeaway from last night’s show (besides German Suplex #17) seemed to be the discussion of John Cena being a bully. Ultimately, the story between he and Paul Heyman played into the fact that John Cena wouldn’t give into bullying Heyman, with Heyman calling his bluff. However, for a large portion of the evening, my twitter timeline was filled with complaining that Cena was being a bully. For a company running the “Be A Star” campaign on the surface it seems like in incongruous thing but as a long time wrestling fan I thought, how is this any different from numerous babyface-manager interactions from wrestling’s past?
There’s a LONG tradition of heel managers being used and abused by babyface stars for their words and evil deeds committed by their clients. Hogan beat up Bobby Heenan on the regular. Warrior stuffed him into a weasel suit after beating him up. Babyfaces throughout not just WWE but professional wrestling in general, have used heel managers as punching bags, so I wonder why so many were so outraged last night. Extend the analogy to comic books; heroes are regularly a-holes to villains. It is how hero stories work in American entertainment. Why should John Cena’s actions be any different?
Is it because he’s universally reviled by the internet wrestling fans? Have fans gone soft? I don’t know for sure. But I do believe that when we try to apply real world logic and real world rules to professional wrestling things stop being fun. Does Bray Wyatt really live in a secluded compound in the woods with Harper and Rowan? Do the Dust Brothers live in a nebulous black room and talk about Cosmic Keys on their off time? Is Damien Sandow really a stunt double? No, no, and no, but I enjoy losing myself in the “universe” of professional wrestling and its rules and law after a long day of work. I’d like it if social justice kept its peanut butter out of my wrestling chocolate.
It’s just a show! What are you trying to prove! On to that show…
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It’s almost time for another installment of WWE Main Event! Tonight features the Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler as the special guest on a Tuesday-night version of MizTV, hosted by the Miz.
Just last night the Miz pinned Ziggler in a tag match, after a distraction from Miz’s stunt double, Damien Sandow. Miz’s new-ish Hollywood personsa is getting him great heat, and working against a crowd favorite like Ziggler has done wonders for his role as midcard villain.
Be sure to tune in tonight, as there is no less than a 99% chance this edition of MizTV ends in fisticuffs!
MizTV featuring special guest Dolph Ziggler (non-title appearance)
Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Nebraska
Live on WWE Network, 8pm EST
Excellent show from top to bottom. Almost everything that should have happened did, three titles changed hands, and we saw an absolute mauling. With heavy emphasis on said mauling, let’s take a look at last night’s results and your pal Louis’ thoughts.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar def. John Cena with the F5 to win the Title.
3 F5s, 16 German Suplexes, and two gigantic fists put down the WWE proclaimed greatest World Heavyweight Champion last night. In one of the most decisive main event championship matches in WWE history, Brock Lesnar won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the 4th time over John Cena. All that was missing to make this a perfect night for Lesnar and Heyman was the return of the post show-press conferences and homage to this classic UFC post fight interview.
An unreal match to watch and a very entertaining spectacle. Anyone following WWE the past decade could not have expected John Cena to be put away in this fashion. I’ve been a wrestling fan for most of my life and I can’t recall ever seeing a pay-per-view main event match be so one-sided. Outside of two Cena “hope” moments, Lesnar dominated Cena from bell-to-bell. Kudos to Cena for taking a hell of a beating. I know it’s a work but I don’t want Brock Lesnar putting his hands on me even in a controlled environment. No thank you.
Looking forward there are a ton of directions WWE can go with the Beast Incarnate as champion. Obviously, building John Cena to “overcome” the odds and regain the belt is one path. Roman Reigns took another step towards being one of the big dogs by defeating Randy Orton tonight. There’s the David vs. Goliath possibility between a healthy Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar. And even heels like Rusev throwing their hat into the ring.
Now, we can assume Lesnar won’t be an every Raw/Smackdown type champion from his track record and Heyman’s interview with Dukes last week, but there could be a lot of fun challengers you could line up for his appearances to stretch his reign until WrestleMania 31. How fun would Sheamus and Lesnar blasting each other be? Can you imagine Dean Ambrose refusing to stay down battling the Beast? Is there any bigger star coming out of Guardians of the Galaxy than Dave Bautista? What if he returned for a PPV matchup against Brock? That could be a HUGE money match with mainstream appeal. As long as they don’t blow their wad with an immediate Cena rematch, this could be an incredible run we’re about to experience.
Another interesting way this could go is a clash with the Authority. Brock Lesnar is out for Brock Lesnar. Friction could develop once Lesnar doesn’t comply with the Authority’s demands. Having an active champion was a point of emphasis for Daniel Bryan vacating the title, could this be the crack in the currently chummy relationship between Team Lesnar and Triple H?
Stay tuned. This could get fun. Hit the jump for more from last night’s show.
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LIVE tonight on the WWE Network and PPV it’s SummerSlam aka the Biggest Fight of the Summer. Nine Matches, Three Championship Bouts and surprisingly NO tag team contests. Let’s run down the card.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman
The build up for this match has been more “big fight” than your traditional WWE pay-per-view main event, with both men not touching each other in the lead-up to the match. John Cena retained the WWE Championship in his first title defense at Battleground against Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, & Kane. The next night on Raw, after Dean Ambrose chased “Option B” Seth Rollins from the arena, “Option C” was enacted as Triple H selected the Beast Incarnate to challenge Cena at SummerSlam.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar wins the WWE World Heavweight Championship and ushers in an interesting conundrum for the WWE Championship.
Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho- Luke Harper & Eric Rowan banned from ringside
This is a rematch from Battleground, with Chris Jericho taking a surprising victory in the first match. Strangely, the buildup for the second go around has been built around Jericho making sure Wyatt’s family members were banned from ringside. If Jericho got the victory WITH Rowan and Harper at ringside, why should he have an issue now that they’re banned? That complaint aside I’m expecting another great matchup between the two.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt should go over here, IMO. Two back-to-back losses to Jericho after the Cena feud would kill him dead.
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After scoring a surprise win over Sheamus last night on Raw, the Miz gets another opportunity to humiliate the U.S. Champion. Despite his new(?) Hollywood persona, the Miz’s return to WWE wasn’t going so well after getting shown up by both Chris Jericho and the Wyatt Family during his grand return. However, Miz got some of that juice back scoring a big pinfall over the Celtic Warrior yesterday.
Both the Miz and Sheamus are participants in the IC Title battle royal this weekend at WWE Battleground. A win tonight would go a long way in securing the victor some momentum for that title upcoming title shot.
United States Champion Sheamus vs. the Miz (non-title match)
Crown Complex, Fayetteville, NC
Airs LIVE on the WWE Network, 8pm EST (7 Central)