By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
We got a really good show this week that was heavy on in-ring action. That’s not a coincidence, folks. Better wrestling equals a better product. In a season where ratings have been on a downhill slide, WWE might want to make note of that.
What’s more, we got the girls in the main event segment for the first time in what must have been over a decade. That’s fantastic. But it might have come with a certain price…
Charlotte and Paige main event the show with a contract signing. The death of Reid Fleihr is incorporated into the storyline. In terms of everything leading up to the Reid thing, the segment came off very scripted, especially on Charlotte’s part. I don’t doubt that the tears she shed out there were real. But the dialogue didn’t seem genuine. There were also a few uncomfortable silences, during which I wasn’t sure if Charlotte couldn’t remember her lines, or if she was pausing for effect.
Then Paige said the line about Reid “not having much fight in him.”
Quick history lesson: Reid Fleihr, son of the real life Richard Fleihr (Ric Flair) and brother of Ashley Fleihr (Charlotte), was a prospective wrestler who died of a drug overdose in March of 2013. Poor Ric actually found his son’s body.
Needless to say, this is a sensitive subject. Fans are already crying foul over this. It certainly skirted the limits of good taste. Personally, I don’t think what Paige said was reprehensible. From a story perspective, it gives us very personal connection to Charlotte. We’re now much more invested in this story.
But did they need to play the Reid card? No, of course not. You never need to exploit a real person’s death for a pro wrestling storyline. But they did it. They can’t undo it. So now let’s just hope they don’t stir it up any more.
The Undertaker & Kane to face two members of The Wyatt Family at Survivor Series. More mind games are played on Raw. I can understand why they’d want ‘Taker and Kane by themselves at Survivor Series, but that doesn’t make this decision any less disappointing. The idea of The Undertaker captaining his own four-man Survivor Series team at the 25th anniversary of his WWE debut made for an intriguing selling point. But a straight-up tag match? That’s a downgrade any way you slice it.
As for Raw, the moment with the moment with the druids and the sheep masks was cool. Most of the mic work was nothing special. I did, however, like Bray Wyatt’s line about a new army of darkness rising at Survivor Series. I don’t know how big a “money match” this is, but that was a money line right there.
Roman Reigns def. Cesaro to advance in the WWE Title Tournament. The crowd seemed really split during this match. It was almost like something you’d expect from a John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan kind of encounter. The older, “smart” fans were rooting for Cesaro, but the kids were cheering for Reigns.
The winner of this match was obvious from the get-go. It was always going to be Reigns going to the finals, and potentially winning the whole damn thing. So that took a bit of the edge off what could easily have been the main event for this week’s show. But it was still a good performance, as Cesaro once again shows us just how damn special he is. I take nothing away from Reigns, as it obviously takes two to tango. But c’mon now…
The idea behind the Reigns promo, and the amount of punishment he took in that match, was to build sympathy for him as an underdog of sorts who hung in there against a machine like Cesaro. However, here’s my question: Does that story work when half the crowd is rooting for the Cesaro to crush the so-called underdog?
Kevin Owens def. Neville to advance in the WWE Title Tournament. I’d argue this was one of the best, if not the best outing for both Kevin Owens and Neville on television. Neville’s athleticism was highlighted wonderfully. That reverse headscissors spot was obviously great, as was the turnbuckle bump into the snap German suplex. But I also enjoyed Neville doing something as simple as slowly sliding down the ropes and off the apron when he took that super kick from Owens.
On that subject, WWE really needs to tell their guys to lighten up on the super kicks. Now that Shawn Michaels has been retired for awhile, it’s apparently open season on that move. And it’s not even being used as a finisher.
Kalisto pins Ryback on Smackdown to advance in WWE Title Tournament, loses to Alberto Del Rio on Raw. This is funny, because to me this Kalisto thing is what WWE should have done to begin with if they wanted a new Hispanic star. They didn’t need to shill out a bunch of money to get Del Rio back. Especially given that Del Rio wasn’t exactly hot when he left. I can’t say I’m any more interested in Raw because Del Rio is back. And this whole Mex-America thing seems like it was hastily thrown together.
Still, I don’t think Kalisto loses much by giving up a win to Del Rio. If WWE is smart they’ll start capitalizing on this dynamic talent. At the very least, can we give the Lucha Dragons a tag title shot?
In Other News:
Ring of Honor leaving Destination America, will air on COMET in December. ROH must have a better deal with COMET than they had with Destination America. COMET can’t be that much easier to find than DA. Still, kudos to ROH for making more waves (even if they’re small ones) in the television market. Frankly, I’m glad they’re off Destination America. I got a shady vibe from that whole crew after what happened with TNA. Speaking of which, how does this effect TNA, if at all?
Image 5 from rollingstone.com. Remaining images courtesy of WWE.com.
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