Tag Archives: El Torito

Big Cass Hits the Big Time, Champions Fall, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I’m going to get into Raw, as afterward we’ll get into Ryback’s current situation with WWE, and the numerous releases we saw last week.

Ponderings From WWE Raw:

WWE Raw, May 9, 2016, Chris Jericho, Big CassColin Cassaday interrupts Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel, and challenges him to a match. I was really annoyed when a light chant of “Where is Enzo?” broke out. WWE and Colin Cassady are trying to make the best of a bad situation. To his credit, he’s not doing a bad job. In terms of the Raw audience, I’d argue Enzo was over with the fans the night after Wrestlemania because of how great he was on the mic. Cass, while part of the act, didn’t have that advantage. So this is a great chance for him to flesh out his character. Thus, when Enzo returns, the team will be even stronger.

Baron Corbin def. Dolph Ziggler. “Even Steven” booking strikes again. I’m wondering if these two will rematch yet again at Extreme Rules. I don’t really see why they’d need to, as I don’t think there’s enough interest to merit it. But it’s a possibility. Pleased to see Corbin win with his finish, though he could have easily won with the Deep Six.

R-Truth def. Fandango. Michael Cole shoved a bunch of contrived pop cultural references into this match. He talked about the Goldust & Fandango vs. R-Truth & Tyler Breeze match on this week’s Smackdown being bigger than Captain America: Civil War. He also mentioned James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke,” and Ozzy Osbourne’s disappearance. It’s like someone picked the least important match on the show to shove all of that into. Last week I talked about this program not making any sense, but at least these four guys have something to do on Raw.

WWE Raw, May 9, 2016, Charlotte, Paige, NatalyaPaige def. Charlotte with a distraction roll-up. I get why they did this. They want the fans to question Charlotte’s ability to stand on her own as we head into a match where Ric Flair is banned. For continuity’s sake, Paige should get the next title shot at Money in the Bank next month.

I tend to mute the commentary when wrestlers put on a headset, especially when there are two of them bickering with one another. But Natalya was fine. She seemed to run out of things to say when Cole and JBL kept questioning her, but she came off well. I do, however, think she jumped up on the apron a bit too early. Logically, she should have jumped up there after Charlotte tried to win with her feet on the ropes.

Sami Zayn def. The Miz. Not a good night for champions, as both the Women’s Champ and the IC Champ lost clean. But in Zayn’s case, at least we know he’s getting a title opportunity. We now officially have the fatal fairway match I mentioned last week. My guess is Miz retains when Kevin Owens accidentally causes Zayn to get pinned. This Zayn/Owens stuff could go to Summerslam if they book it right.

Dana Brooke makes her Raw debut in a backstage segment with Emma and Becky Lynch. From a wrestling standpoint, I can’t say I’m that familiar with Dana Brooke. I’ve seen her in backstage segments Emma, as the two are obviously run-in buddies. But she’s largely unknown to me. Either way, her debut adds a bit more depth to the women’s roster, which is a good thing.

Darren Young, Bob Backlund vignetteDarren Young finds a life coach in Bob Backlund. This segment first aired on Smackdown. I’m really intrigued by this pairing. As I understand it, it was Darren Young’s idea, and WWE are letting him run with it. The “Make Darren Young Great Again” slogan is obviously timely. What’s more, this will give us a chance to get to know Young a bit more. We don’t know much about him, aside from the fact that he’s the first openly gay WWE star. And obviously, Backlund is very entertaining.

But the most surprising thing about this vignette? They let Young and Backlund say “wrestling.” Holy crap. I thought that word was banned! Then Byron Saxton said it!

Sin Cara def. Rusev with a distraction roll-up. The second distraction roll-up of the night. Ugh. Rusev really shouldn’t have lost this match. From where I sit, WWE is still in the process of rehabbing him. He won a big battle royal last week, and now he loses to Sin Cara? Lame. On the plus side, they learned their lesson and kept Kalisto off commentary.

Roman Reigns & The Usos def. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson via disqualification in a six-man elimination tag team match. Anderson and Gallows had a few heel moments here. You had Gallows cheap shooting Jey Uso, then Gallows abruptly tagging AJ out of the match, and of course attacking Reigns to cause a DQ.

WWE Raw, May 9, 2016, Roman Reigns, Karl AndersonI like the bad blood that exists between these two teams. And people can say what they want about Roman Reigns (I certainly have), but that moment when he looked at the chair, said “I don’t need it” and gave it to Styles? That was bad ass. On the other hand, Styles proves that babyfaces can be cheered in the modern era, so long as they have talent and a good amount of fire.

Kevin Owens def. Zack Ryder. We certainly can’t say Zack Ryder hasn’t gotten some decent TV time since Wrestlemania season. WWE seems to appreciate him as a guy who the fans like, and can give anyone a run for their money, but keeps coming up short. He’s an underdog. That’s not a necessarily a great position to be in. But it’s better than not being on TV at all. And as I recall, underdogs have done some great things in WWE…

Last week I mentioned how no one could have imagined AJ Styles on Sportscenter. But how about Kevin Steen showing up on Sportscenter? What a world we live in…

The Dudley Boyz def. The New Day. What the hell? The Women’s Champ, the IC Champ, and the Tag Champs all lose non-title matches in the same night. Between that and the distraction roll-ups, this is really weird. Just like Paige hopefully getting a title shot at Money in the Bank, one would hope the Dudleys will now be in the tag title picture next month as well. Also, hat big clothesline Kofi took from D-Von looked awesome.

WWE Raw, May 9, 2016, Dean AmbroseDean Ambrose attacked Chris Jericho before his match with Big Cass. This was disappointing. They hyped Big Cass against Jericho for the entire show. Ambrose’s appearance was obvious, but they could have at least let them wrestle a bit. Cass didn’t have to beat Jericho. Ambrose could have attacked him and ended the match.

The visual of Ambrose wearing Jericho’s jacket, and then destroying it was pretty cool. But the idea that “Mitch the potted plant” meant the world to Ambrose is just stupid. It was a running joke. Now suddenly it’s a factor in a program between two of WWE’s biggest stars? What the hell…?

In Other News:

Ryback off TV over contract dispute, posts lengthy blog on the issue. Much of the blog Ryback posted on his Tumblr page had to do with how wrestlers are paid, and how talents who win matches should get paid as much as the ones who lose. He seems to be implying that all WWE wrestlers should be paid equally. Allegedly, he also wants WWE to pay for his travel and hotel expenses.

(Incidentally, I hadn’t caught the “pre-show stopper” weight belt Ryback wore out for his pre-show match at Payback. Funny stuff.)

Ryback, pre-show stopperI doubt WWE will give at all. If they don’t feel Ryback should be paid more, chances are they’re not going to shill out more for him. Especially now that he’s talked about the issue publicly. As for the travel stuff, if WWE doesn’t pay for John Cena or Roman Reigns to travel across the globe, they’re not going to do it for Ryback.

Still, I give “The Big Guy” credit for trying to take on the system. As far as the travel stuff, he’s right in principle. If there’s another industry that doesn’t pay for its employees to travel, I’m not aware of it. Perhaps that falls back under WWE classifying its employees as “independent contractors.” Which, of course, is a big sham.

WWE releases the following talents: Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow, Santino Marella, Hornswoggle, Alex Riley, Cameron, Zeb Colter, El Torito. WWE did what many refer to as its annual “spring cleaning” last week. Most of these aren’t surprises, as the talents haven’t been on TV in a number of months. We had a pretty good idea that Wade Barrett was leaving, which is a shame considering all he could have offered. Cameron, a.k.a. the real life Ariane Andrew, had posted a lengthy rant regarding fans cyber-bullying her less than a day before this announcement. Frankly, I’m sad to see her go. She many not have been a great wrestler, but her on-screen personality was very easy to dislike. At the very least, she might have been a good valet for someone.

But the one that really hurts is Damien Sandow. At one point, this guy was one of the most over guys on the roster. Why you wouldn’t make at least some use of a guy like that is beyond me. Hopefully WWE’s loss will be somebody else’s gain.

Image 3 from wrestlenewz.com. Image 6 from cagesideseats.com. Remaining images courtesy of WWE. 

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Sting, Seth, the Statue, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Ponderings From WWE Raw:

Sting, Seth Rollins statue, WWE Raw, September 7, 2015Sting holds Seth Rollins’ statue hostage, eventually crushes it in a garbage truck. So Sting and Seth Rollins are feuding over a statue? That’s pretty lame, especially for a character like Sting. This could be so much more personal for him, even if they don’t want to get into the dark, scary, “vigilante” stuff. Sting is 56 years old.  He’s trying to win the WWE Championship for the first time, during his first run with the company, coming off a big loss at Wrestlemania. They could easily do something akin to what ECW did with Terry Funk in 1997. Funk was in his early fifties when he won the ECW Title from Raven at Barely Legal. It was one of the most emotional moments in the ECW’s history. It’s a classic tale. The older guy comes back to teach the young punk a lesson in respect. WWE could easily go that route with this story, and it would be even more emotional and effective considering the national scale, how long it took Sting to get to WWE, etc. But apparently this story is about a statue…

Also, does Sting have to wear a t-shirt all the time? How about one of his long coats? The t-shirt makes it seem like he’s trying to cover up his body or something. Even if that is the case, can’t he wear the coat anyway? Needless to say, he’d look a lot cooler.

Charlotte, Nikki Bella, September 7, 2015Charlotte to face Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship next week. Good move. There’s no drama in having Charlotte challenge for the title a week after Nikki breaks the record. But a matter of hours before the record breaks? Now that’s good TV. If WWE wants to be ballsy about this, they’ll put the Nikki vs. Charlotte match in a prominent place on the show. I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to see Nikki in a main event spot. But if they really want to try and make this a “revolution,” it’s worth a shot.

John Cena & The Prime Time Players def. Seth Rollins & The New Day. I was happy with this match, mostly because Titus O’Neil, Darren Young, Kofi Kingston, Big E., and Xavier Woods all got to be in a Raw main event. It’s good to see the Dudleys haven’t completely eclipsed the Prime Time Players since their return. And of course, The New Day can turn babyface any day now. Very happy for both teams.

Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose def. The Ascension. So apparently The Ascension and Stardust are a group now. Cosmic Wasteland. Makes you wonder why Stardust wasn’t out there with them this week. It’s not like he couldn’t have taken a spear from Reigns or something. Granted, even without Stardust, a squash like this isn’t necessarily a great start for a group.

Randy Orton, September 7, 2015So it’s looking like Randy Orton is going to team with Reigns and Ambrose to face the Wyatts at Night of Champions. I’m absolutely, 100 percent fine with that. Why? Because it keeps Randy Orton away from a certain someone…

Randy Orton def. Sheamus. Dear God…why? Seriously, we need a restraining order for this one. Randy Orton and Sheamus must be kept out of the same ring for at least three years, minimum. And while we’re at it, let’s get a similar arrangement in place for Orton and John Cena. This program was an awful idea from the start. Why would we want to see any kind of rubber match?

The Big Show chases The Miz out of the arena, then knocks Cesaro out. Wait…I thought Show was supposed to be wrestling Ryback for the IC Title at Night of Champions? Are we making it a fatal fourway with Cesaro? I’d be okay with that, so long as it ends with Cesaro leaving with the belt.

The Dudley Boyz, Raw, September 7, 2015The Dudley Boyz def. Los Matadores. There’ve been rumors of Los Matadores being repackaged. I can only assume this is part of that. I’ve hated the Los Matadores gimmick from the beginning, not because it was supposed to be kid-friendly, but because it seemed like such low-hanging fruit. Hey, we’ve got two Hispanic guys? Let’s make them bullfighters! I only wish they’d put the damn bull through the table too. Speaking of which, what happens to him now? Does he become a new Dudley brother?

Images courtesy of WWE.com.

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Kane Nails It, Orton’s “Stunning Spree” and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Kane, Seth Rollins, Raw 04202015Ponderings From WWE Raw:

After going on a rant against Seth Rollins, Triple H makes Kane “guardian of the gate” at Extreme Rules. Kane really nailed this one. It’s amazing how the right program with the right partner can reinvigorate a character. Hell, about a year ago I was ready for a Triple H/Big Show match on pay per view. Now I’m just about ready for a Seth Rollins/Kane match for the WWE Title. And yes, I did enjoy that El Torito line.

My guess is at Extreme , Kane keeps J&J Security out of the cage, and possibly even Triple H. But then he ends up accidentally slamming the door on Orton’s head or something, costing him the match.

Randy Orton goes on a “Stunning Spree.” Stone Cold Steve Austin used to do this kind of thing occasionally. He’d just come out and hit the Stone Cold Stunner on random guys, heel or babyface. And oddly enough, Orton’s “Venom” shirt is slightly reminiscent of a Stone Cold shirt they used to sell during the Attitude Era. Still, the crowd was into it. And it’s still fun to watch.

Incidentally, Orton’s promos have been better recently. For my money, angry Orton beats slow and methodical Orton any day.

Seth Rollins, WWE Raw, 04202015Seth Rollins def. Dolph Ziggler in the main event. Now this was a main event. Two five-star performers going one-on-one. A predictable finish, of course, with Sheamus costing Ziggler the match. But seeing Dolph being featured so prominently in a Raw main event was pretty damn cool.

Fandango def. Curtis Axel. I came away from this match thinking about Axel dancing during Fandango’s entrance. I’m not sure if that was a good move or a bad one, as the attention was obviously supposed to be on Fandango. Either way, he got himself noticed.

The decision to turn Fandango into a babyface is a curious one, and actually seems two years too late. The real-life Curtis Hussey has always been a great talent, and he really dove into this role head-first. But they didn’t seem to know what to do with him once “Fandangoing” became a big thing. I’m not immensely optimistic that he can gain a lot of momentum as a babyface. But I’m definitely rooting for him.

Speaking of missing the boat on a great talent…

Damien Sandow, The Miz, Summer Rae, Smackdown, April 2015Summer Rae costs Damien Sandow his match with The Miz. I wondered if this was going to happen. Summer Rae turns on Sandow, giving Miz the win. So…where does Sandow go from here? Is he dead in the water? Does he start from scratch now after gaining all that steam?

John Cena def. Kane in another US Open Challenge. I’m starting to look forward to this segment every week, even if we do have to endure a hokey John Cena promo every time. Thus far it’s given the midcard guys (Stardust, for example), a nice chance to shine, even if they do end up losing in the end.

However, as good as Kane was with his promo, he wasn’t the guy I wanted to see come out there this week. In all honesty, I’d have preferred Heath Slater.

Naomi def. Brie Bella. Good lord…STOP PUTTING THE BELLAS ON COMMENTARY. Instant mute button! And yes, I know I’m being a hater, but I refuse to buy them as babyfaces. I’m on Team Naomi. Her promos are decent (though her punches suck), and she’s talking about how she’s been held down too long by management. She’s got my vote. Better her than one of the Kardashian twins…

Kofi Kingston, Sin Cara, Raw, 04202015The New Day def. The Lucha Dragons. They’re heading in a heel direction with The New Day, which of course is the direction they should have taken to begin with. More than anybody, Kofi Kingston should be thrilled about that. This poor guy has been a smilin’ babyface for the better part of eight years now, and he’s never had the chance to go heel. And it’s not like he’s just a nobody. He’s been a midcard champion multiple times. I’m very interested to see what he can do on that side of the fence.

Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper have a brawl. I’m no more into Luke Harper now than I was when I was in The Wyatt Family. All I really know about him is that he’s a big guy with dirty clothes and big eyes. There’s nothing for me to grasp about him. He just feels like Bray Wyatt light.

Sheamus brutalizes Zack Ryder, cutting a promo all the while. Jeez. As if Zack Ryder hasn’t suffered enough…

Ponderings From Elsewhere in the Wrestling World:

Taz, TNATaz and TNA part ways. Apparently due to issues with late paychecks, Taz has parted ways with TNA. It truly seems to be a sad state of affairs down in Dixieland, with so many talents dropping like flies. Still, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Taz return to the announce position on Raw or Smackdown. Of perhaps more likely, doing something with the WWE Network. At one point, Taz was indeed the best color man in the business. I’m not sure who that distinction would go to these days. Certainly not Booker T. or JBL. But hopefully that door is still open, if WWE chooses to go in that direction.

Missy Hyatt arrested for grand theft in Florida last month. This sad bit of news surfaced late last week. According to the report, what the real-life Melissa Hiatt stole was worth more than $300, but less than $500. Needless to say, it’s sad whenever this kind of thing happens. But hey, if we want to spray a little positivity on this, we can always say: “Controversy follows Missy Hyatt wherever she goes.”

Images 1-4 from WWE.com. Image 5 from noticiasdewrestlingexpress.blogspot.co‪m.

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