I told you guys I was catching up on Lucha Underground, and I want to let everyone know I am hooked. The show has a different feel to it, being half high-impact fast-paced wrestling action, and partly an attempt at crime noir gangland physical drama. With its bigger high spots, odd camera angles, and unorthodox announce team style, the program reminds me a lot of Wrestling Society X. The women wrestlers seem to be treated more as equals here, there are less straight up squash matches, and the roster is packed with talent. I see some recognizable faces like Johnny Mundo (Morrison), Big Ryck (Ezekiel Jackson), and Chavo Guerrero, but new faces like Son of Havoc (Matt Cross), Fenix, Sexy Star, and Prince Puma have my attention—I did not even mind the matches with micro wrestlers. This is not to say the show does not have its problems, but those few things are mostly hidden by freshness and the fact it is only an hour long.
NXT began this week with a super quick match between Tyler Breeze and Marcus Louis. I am not sure what their plan is with Louis, but the fans had it right with their chant: “This is awkward CLAP CLAP CLAP” I guess he is embracing the Gollum thing. Prince Pretty on the other hand looked dominating, and I love that Beauty Shot finishing move. I see a lot of potential in Breeze. Carmella looked good again. I think I mentioned that her submission is pure gold, but here that thought is again. I wonder how much time creative has put into coming up with a name for this stable with her, Enzo, and Big Cass? As long as they do not go with Italian Stallions, we should be good.
“You about to get merced!”
I have to give it up to the Vaudevillians for that highly entertaining promo movie. Those guys are great heels and eventual champions.
Let us talk about the main event though, how Finn Balor and Tyson Kidd tore the ring up in an awesome match that gave fans some great mat wrestling, tremendous reversals, and pure skill and timing. Both of these men had their games on point and felt like dangerous competitors. They reeled me in with this thing and did not give me a clean finish, making me want more—kudos. Tyson killed it as the heel, trying to get his wife to help him cheat as well as using her as a shield and yelling at the ref during the submission hold: “Ask him in Irish!”
I am not sure why the next show is called Takeover: R Evolution and not just Takeover: Revolution, but I am excited for it.
Harper and Ziggler had an entertaining match on Smackdown. What was impressive to me was the battle royal at the beginning; not because the match itself was particularly good but, because it continued Rusev’s plot from Raw and felt like a good follow-through. More of that please.
Raw started off with another long talking segment that led to the setup for a match where John Cena could potentially lose his #1 Contender spot, but what is Seth Rollins risking? Why do they keep doing the single stipulations, when it does not build as well as if both sides had something to fight for? I would honestly be happy to see Cena lose and open up a shot for Orton or Rollins, but I do not see that happening.
I like the New Day stable and think a feud with the Dust Brothers—as I shall now call them—will be good, but these guys are destined to be a better heel stable in my eyes. I enjoyed the tag team turmoil immensely, and more stuff like this needs to happen to help build the struggling division. I would have popped hard if the team of Cesaro and Kidd had won, but am okay with the Usos. The added element of beefing up the heat with the Naomi/Miz/Jimmy add-on could help build up the feud if done right.
R-Truth did much better against Bray Wyatt than I thought he would, with both wrestlers looking good and a decent build for Ambrose and Wyatt. Creative seems to be putting in some work on trying to build both of these guys at the same time, which is good—almost like they are doing their jobs. There was some decent diva action with AJ and Naomi as well. One thing I liked though was Paul Heyman’s promo, which built Brock Lesnar up and defended his absence, making the idea of him being there a true spectacle. This is something I have been screaming for a while, but it does not help that he was just pulled from next week’s Raw.
The last thing I wanted to cover this week is the two major recent podcasts everyone should have listened to. The first of course is the infamous Art of Wrestling podcast with CM Punk telling his side of his departure from WWE. It was an amazing listen, but as Vince McMahon said, every story has two sides. With that in mind, it is not hard to believe ninety percent of what Punk said, even if some of it seemed easy to misinterpret. I still think there was a better way to handle his leaving on both sides, but I cannot blame him for leaving and was glad Punk did not die in the ring. I hope with this the internet can stop talking about CM Punk and the chants could st- No? I’m asking too much? Okay.
The second one was Stone Cold’s podcast with Vince, live on the WWE Network in what was pretty much a rare shoot interview. This was also a good listen and brought up some interesting points—even for those who thought many of the answers were ‘safe’—including the previously mentioned CM Punk podcast. One of the main points people seem to be focusing on is McMahon apologizing to Punk about receiving the termination papers on his wedding day. Others have focused on what they believe was Vince burying some of the locker room about not grabbing the brass ring and Stone Cold himself challenging the boys in the back.
What I took from these podcasts was a level of humanizing for both CM Punk and Vince McMahon. Obviously, Vince needed it a bit more and it was accomplished in different ways, but I found it interesting. The other thing with learning more about the health issues in WWE, now with Bob Holly and Rene Dupree also coming forward, is a stark reminder of how dangerous the business is and how the company handles people. It is not pretty, and sometimes it sucks when a hobby so many people enjoy can have such a dark undertone. It generates a level of trepidation, but also added respect for the athletes also I suppose.
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