Welcome to week 2 of “My WWE Soapbox!” The column where I, Taylor C. Mitchell, get a chance to step onto my soapbox and talk about five hot topics every Monday.
The opening segment of last week’s Monday Night Raw
The first 30+ minutes of Raw last Monday were some of the best 30 minutes of wrestling stories and matches that WWE has put together all year. John Cena cut one of his most memorable promos of his career, which is saying a lot. Put aside his goofy sophomoric humor filled promos, the guy is a damn good promo when he is passionate about a story and is being serious. I love that Cena has gone further from the “underdog” character and more to the “guy that never gives up.” It obviously doesn’t make sense for him to be an underdog anymore. So, with this promo he talked about how he knows very well that Brock Lesnar is going to beat the snot out of him, but he is not going to give up and he is going to fight him to the end.
Paul Heyman comes out and is brilliant as always. Heyman puts the fear in Cena. You can even hear in Cena’s voice as he is out of breathe screaming that he is going to walk out of SummerSlam with his titles — the best stories are when the hero appears to be vulnerable. If fans of Cena are going into Summerslam to root for him, but are also nervous and wondering if he is going to be able to defeat Lesnar then you have a winning storyline.
Cesaro comes out and Heyman’s expression on his face is perfect. Heyman looked nervous and terrified as if Cesaro was going to attack him, and then that expression turned to pure relief when Cesaro hugged him and referred to him as his friend. Cesaro cuts the best promo of his WWE career where he tells Cena that he “can’t wrestle.”
After three great promos we get an excellent **** match between Cesaro and Cena. Cena starts the match off with the great story telling of pulling out every wrestling move he knows to work Cesaro over and then at one point Cena just throws that strategy aside and starts brawling with Cesaro. Great, great match. These two have had two **** matches on Raw this year. I sincerely hope WWE realizes they have a hot main event feud here that could put together a series of great PPV matches.
Kurt Angle returning to WWE
Kurt Angle was a guest on Jim Ross’ podcast a couple of weeks ago and the guy truly seemed in the best condition he has been in in years. I have been a bigger skeptic of most about Angle’s health and character. When the videos came out online showing the potential Angle Family reality TV show it sold me on who Kurt Angle really it. This show not airing on TV was the best thing that could have happened to Kurt Angle. The guy looked like a total scumbag of a father and a husband. Kurt was complaining about going to his daughter’s dance recital and was busy texting and calling people not paying attention at all. There was a scene where Kurt was so drugged off his mind in other room as Karen was struggling with the kids in the living room or something. I don’t know — my point is, I never thought this guy had a shot at coming back to the WWE… until now. Kurt claimed to have been 11 months sober from alcohol and pain killers. Kurt also addressed speculation that he couldn’t pass a WWE physical. Kurt said that he has zero doubt that he once his knee is healed that he could pass a WWE physical. Kurt also said that he has been regularly attending a WWE sponsored rehab program for the last 11 months that includes going to AA meetings on a weekly basis. The fact that its WWE sponsored I think will play well for him in the WWE’s eyes.
Kurt listed Daniel Bryan as the first guy he would want to work a program with in the WWE. Talk about a dream match? He also listed Cesaro, Roman Reigns, and Brock Lesnar as guys he would love to work with if he returns. Kurt said that his knee will be healed and he will be ready to wrestle again come October. This podcast was recorded before the reports came out about Spike not renewing their contract with TNA. Once Kurt hears about that, I could only assume that he is leaning towards going to WWE. I’d love to see him have one last run with WWE and then become a trainer down in NXT. I would also love to see Kurt Angle vs. Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 31 on a card with the rumored Lesnar vs. Reigns main event I think that would be a great way to put over the next generation.
WWE Network Lead-in’s
With all of the speculation over the WWE Network and whether it’s a success or failure, the thing I don’t get is why the WWE hasn’t closed Raw with a segment that continued onto the Network? When I heard the Network was coming out I figured this would be a weekly trick that WWE would be pulling to get people to want to get the Network so they don’t miss anything. Now, obviously I think you should use this sparingly and when really important things happen. Do I think this would save the Network? No, but I do think it would help.
I cannot believe that we currently have FOUR storylines in the WWE that involve WWE Divas. This has to be a record. This obviously has a lot to do with Total Divas and the success of that show, but it is good to see that WWE isn’t only focused on getting more eyes on that show. Currently we have the following storylines:
- Paige vs AJ Lee “The Frenemies”
- Naomi vs Cameron “Funkadactyls Explode”
- Summer Rae and Layla vs Fandango “The Other Woman”
- Brie Bella vs Stephanie McMahon “How many times can we say ‘bitch’ on TV and still be PG?”
Now, two of these storylines are boring typical WWE Divas feuds. But, I am really enjoying the Paige/AJ Lee feud. Especially since Paige turned heel. Read my Smackdown review from this past Friday to read more about the brilliance of Paige. Brie and Stephanie McMahon has been really entertaining for a feud that I normally would not have any interest in. Stephanie has been stellar in her performances all year, and this is a feud that is giving Brie a true opportunity to improve her skills and give her something to sink her teeth into.
The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam
I just want to close on this match that appears to be happening at SummerSlam. Some of the best memories of the history of SummerSlam revolve around the Intercontinental Championship: Ultimate Warrior defeating Honky Tonk Man in 30 seconds,Bret Hart vs Mr. Perfect in Madison Square Garden, Bret Hart vs Davey Boy Smith in front of 80,000+ in London, England, the Ladder Match in 1995 between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, Stone Cold getting his neck broken by Owen Hart in ’97. Etc.
Do I think Ziggler vs Miz will be in the same category as these great moments? No, probably not. But, it has been a well-built feud surrounding the usually-invisible IC title and I think it will be a match that could really surprise fans with how good it will be vs their expectations.
I will step off the soapbox for the week now! Be sure to catch all three of my weekly Voices of Wrestling columns:
- My WWE Soapbox – Every Monday
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Brawls –Every Saturday
- Smackdown Review – Every Saturday
And follow me on Twitter @LuchaNerd and tell me what you think of my Soapbox topics!