Once again I find myself having to turn off grim news of a city on fire to write this. Once again I have difficulty caring about anything that happens on this show. I’m getting kind of tired of having to deal with the aftermath of reckless and violent police officers on Monday nights. This stuff is hard enough to enjoy on a good day.

Oh well,I know there are many more important things happening in the world, but for a little while we watch this together and try to find entertainment so we can face the day to come. Or at least we can make fun of how awful the announce team is. First, what questions do we have for tonight?

  1. Was anything actually blown off at Extreme Rules? It would not be hard to imagine every match from last night being part of a longer series. Orton surely isn’t done with Rollins (and Kane). Rusev almost surely has to eat one more loss before his program with Cena is concluded. Ambrose and Harper might just feud forever. New Day vs. Swing Cats is just getting started. There’s no other challengers for Nikki Bella except for Naomi. No Big Show feud ever ends in just one PPV. Looks like we’re in for a lot of second verse, same as the first.
  2. King of the Ring, what’s up with that? Hopefully we’ll have time to talk to our guest Lindsey Buckingham and find out how he feels about King of the Ring coming back. But first, before I start reviewing, and trothing, and talking about wrestling, I say oooooooooohhhh wheeeeeeeeeee, what’s up with that, what’s up with that?
  3. Will Prime Time Players continue to be the highlight of the show? All I ask for out of this week is another 30-60 seconds of PTP amazingness. That’s it. I’ll deal with Fandango and Kane and Big Show and whatever else WWE throws at me. I’m a man. I can take it. But I need, need some Titus and Darren just bulldozing the fourth wall on my screen at some point.

Newhart Update: I would have said things here, but then I saw S7/Ep15. And I decided that Peter Scolari is in fact the inspiration for Stardust. Next week, how Newhart kept accidentally predicting the future.

Check This Out: http://www.slacker.com/artist/chuck-brodsky Listen to “Not a Single Shot” because that’s the kind of song for a day like this day.

WWE Monday Night Raw
Monday, April 27

The Seth Rollins Funtime Band Arrives: Wow. That Extreme Rules match sounds awful and ill-conceived even with WWE’s editing. I can’t even imagine how terrible it must have been to watch.

There is no greater dick move than explaining your own bad joke. It’s like Foghorn Leghorn embracing his dark side.

Oh there goes Uncle Glen, making Justin Bieber jokes a couple of years after the rest of the world stopped doing so. He can only take so much of that little punk running his mouth and making his jokes before Glen has to stop posting on Freep, put down the Wild Turkey, and tell Seth what’s what.

And then Randy Orton called Seth “Catwoman” and I stopped knowing what he was talking about. At some point he’s just going to call someone a vestigio.

I know why they are trying to push Roman Reigns as the next great face, but my god he has a smirk that just screams brodouche. It’s the smirk he gives right as he walks up to a woman on a date with a guy, leans in for a moment, and walks away with her trailing behind. Or as he throws you under the bus in an important meeting. The smirk of entitlement and winning the genetic lottery. The smirk that tells you even if you work as hard as him, you’ll never have it as good as him.

And at the end of the segment, involving a 12 time world champion, the current champ, and the future of the company, it ends with Kane’s music playing. To put Kane in perspective, when he came barreling down the aisle in his nifty red onesie Dan Marino led the NFL in passing yards, Pedro Martinez was pitching for the Expos, and the number one song was Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana. Definitely seems like 2015 is a good time to go all-in on Kane. Winner: Everyone hanging on to their youth via Kane

Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett – King of the Ring 1st Round: Inset Interviews! Though I have to wonder if that moment was worse for Dolph than being thrown into a giant crate labeled for shipping to OVW. Also points to Barrett for calling himself “elegant”. That’s not a word that gets used enough in pro wrestling.

I’m from Chicago, so I know that the Irish know how to work the system and get things done for each other. But the entire control room must be full of nothing but folks named O’Doyle and Flaherty and O’Reilly in order for Sheamus to be able to not just appear on the stage but to have graphics cued up on the Titantron for just the right moment. I bet Sheamus doesn’t even know what a parking ticket looks like.

Since this whole match was just an excuse to show pictures of last night’s events I do not see any reason to think any longer about it.Winner: Bad News Barrett

Big E. vs. Tyson Kidd: Booker T somewhat asking if the Freebirds Rule will apply to New Day. An excellent question King Booker. Someone get to the bottom of this.

What in the name of all things holy is Natalya wearing? I never thought that I needed to see the BDSM Mistress version of the Road Warriors after a long night in Vegas. I’m still not sure I needed to see it, but at least she wore it well.

So far we are not getting a whole lot of wrestling on our wrestling show. It was a fun two minutes or so, but I hadn’t even fully digested Natalya’s outfit when the bell was ringing and the match was over.

This week’s random JBL Eurosport Reference: Chelsea vs. Arsenal refs. Go Gunners! Winner: Big E.

Ryback vs. Bo Dallas: “Go Back Home”, that’s not bad there you damn cheeseheads.

The inner Wyatt is beginning to show through in Bo.

I love Ryback squashes. I don’t ever want him in main events. I just want cocaine pixy stick manic Ryback murdering jobbers while calling them stupid and demanding to be fed. Some guys are just built for squashes. You keep doing you Ryback.

Speaking of Bray Wyatt, I guess I was right when I said he could be talking about Ryback. Of course, they made it vague enough he could have been talking about Spiros Arion, Tom Magee, Bill Kazmaier, or pretty much anyone ever. Bray is not a fan of specificity unless absolutely necessary. Winner: Mike Rotunda’s Revenge

John Cena Open Challenge: Cena is in super pander mode tonight. He’s invoked America and himself as its avatar, Vince Lombardi, and the local city shout out. It’s the trifecta of cheap pops.

John Cena vs. Heath Slater: The United States Champion of the World is an excellent title to win.

Alas it appears that Heath will not be winning the belt tonight.

John Cena vs. Rusev (talking at each other): Banishing Lana is pretty much THE heel move. Of course the fact that after months of hating America and all of these horny preverts she suddenly loves being cheered means one of two things. Either one, the sheer power of Chicagoans to turn her into an America loving Cowgirl is awe-inspiring, or two this whole thing fails to make a damn bit of sense. Much as I would love to believe it is the former, I fear it is the latter.

Rusev losing his mind and just pumping his arms like a lunatic to his music is another thing I never tire of. Winner: Not Me. The John Cena Open Challenge has failed me two weeks in a row now.

Meanwhile, in Wrestlingville: Papa Paul had to go on a business trip. Whispers around the neighborhood are that he has a another lover down in Florida, and that when he’s down there he’s a completely different person. Paul knows that Seth’s mom is just too soft on the boy, and he’s starting to get worried that she’s been spending a lot of time helping the Reigns boy with his homework. So he’s certainly not going to let Seth stay home with just Stephanie around to watch him.

Sure Glen may be a bit of a kook, and a lot of a failure, but at heart he’s a guy who knows how to keep someone in line. And if Glen gets a bit out of hand teaching the kid some lessons, well that might not be the worst thing in the world. Paul knows it is much easier to let Glen catch most of the heat from Stephanie than to have to wear that particular hair shirt.

If that means that Glen maybe smacks the kid upside the head a couple of times, or breaks his IPhone because Seth is using Snapchat to send inappropriate pictures to his friends, so be it. Paul knows Glen won’t go too far. Glen knows he has to stay in the family’s good graces. Last time he went to far and did some things to Steph’s mouthy brother that led to Glen having to live in his truck for months. He knows Stephanie tolerates him because he’s Paul’s older brother, but that only goes so far. He’s not going to let anything too bad happen to Seth, but the damn kid really needs to take off the apron and skirt and try being a man for once in his life.

Meanwhile that weird house at the end of the block, the one everyone thought was vacant, seems to have some people wandering around. No one is sure why the garage is full of hair dye and cheap guitars though…

Was I stalling for time there because I see R-Truth’s match is next? Perhaps….

R-Truth vs. Peter Scolari: There is no one in the damn world that is that excited about R-Truth. That was not a real person. That a hologram created for Vince McMahon’s amusement. They didn’t have time to add the overalls and straw hat in time for broadcast, since we know nothing makes Vince happier than a hillbilly and a black man dancing together.

I do agree with Truth’s platform for if he becomes King. Spiders are creepy as hell.

Stardust’s outfit looks like something an indie worker would wear. An indie worker who is very committed to his look mind you. But it has that weirdly garish look of an indie outfit. I like it though.

I have no idea what the hell that finish was. Best I could tell they ran into each other and then Truth won. Interesting choice for a finisher. Simple, elemental, easy to believe. Winner: R-Truth

Adam Rose vs. Fandango: Nope.


Hey, it’s Rosa Mendes. Nope. Winner: Nope.

Brie Bella vs. Naomi: If Daniel Bryan can heat up a Bella vs. Naomi feud from his home he truly is Wrestling Jesus.

I am so unable to follow the alignments of everyone involved at this point. You might as well point to a random Giant vs. Lex Luger match from WCW and ask me to guess who the face and heel were at that point.

Naomi has new music talking about how awesome she is. Kind of a heel move to have music talking about how much better you are than everyone. Would be like having a theme telling everyone they could look but not touch, and that you can only dream about such a thing.

*Reads Kevin Eck’s Tweets*

Oh, well that explains the violently shifting alignments. #GiveCrazyBitchesAChance? Winner: Naomi

I like the way the network is being programmed this week. This is the first time that I’ve felt like it is a Network being put together with a purpose instead of just randomly putting things on the stream and hoping people will watch.

Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus – 1st Round King of the Ring: I like Dean’s platform, but I still think I have to throw my support to Truth and his anti-spiders proposals.

Inset interviews are an underrated way to get a wrestler’s personality over. Week after week, simple repetition of a theme, 15-30 seconds, every week, highlighting something you want to get over about a guy. It’s a simple method to make the fans see the side of someone you want them to see, and you’re able to do it in a controlled environment. Especially for a newer guy like Neville who hasn’t been introduced as anything more than Flying Hobbit. I’m sure there’s a reason they don’t do this all the time. I’m also sure it is a terrible reason borne of Vince McMahon being a weird senile old dude.

There are so many sad things about Ambrose being made into a glorified jobber. Perhaps the saddest is that there is no one in WWE who wrestles as a face as well as Ambrose does right now. His timing on when to pop up for a hope spot, his use of facials and gestures to get the crowd riled up, the selfless daredevil actions. Outside of Daniel Bryan and Sami Zayn, Ambrose is the best face there is in the company. I can only imagine what would happen if WWE gave fans any reason at all to believe in him.

This match felt like the practice run for a much better Ambrose vs. Sheamus match at some point in the future. Winner: Sheamus

The Mizdow is Dead, Long Live the Sandow: In a different, better universe, this exchange happens between Alex Trebek and your faithful scribe:

A:People in Bullet Club knockoff shirts sitting on their hands at Raw.

Q: What is the state of wrestling fandom in 2015?

Alex: Sorry, we were looking for “people taking themselves too seriously.”

The “You’re Welcome” callback was wonderful.

This sort of honesty can’t be allowed to continue in WWE. Sincerity must not infect the Universe. Sandow is connecting with the crowd on a human level, the kind of level that gets people to truly invest in the person, not just the character. If the audience cares what happens to Damien Sandow, whether or not he wearing a robe or dressing like Miz, that makes him something special. I have no idea if this is a one-night thing, like Ryback’s speech a while back, but I hope they let this breathe for a while.

I would probably enjoy the show more if it was three hours of Axel and Sandow playing the mimicry game all night. Then Prime Time Players come in and laugh at everyone. Winner: Older siblings throughout the land

Tough Enough promo. I doubt I will watch with no Steve Austin. That said, there’s no good reason at all why LuFisto shouldn’t get a shot. You may think there’s a reason, but you are wrong. #LuFistoForToughEnough

Luke Harper vs Neville: Pretty sure that Luke Harper just shot to the top of the Republican Party primary polls after that speech. Though Ted Cruz thinks he is being a little too soft.

Harper is so good at working with cruiserweights. And with heavyweights. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that Luke Harper can really work well with anyone.

The rebounding German by Neville was an important move to showcase. Lots of guys can fly. No one except for Rey Mysterio has ever been able to make a career in WWE just out of flying around. But if Neville can establish his ability to add in throws and strikes, even just as a secondary part of his arsenal, now he can wrestle against anyone. He can stand and fight as well as fly.

The crowd chanting “NXT” when Neville is doing well is the sort of thing that could make some people unhappy. Especially if it continues and spreads to other guys. Being the “other” in WWE, whether through your doing or the work of the fans, is rarely a good thing. Winner: Neville

Roman Reigns/Randy Orton vs. Kane/Seth Rollins: I’m ashamed for chuckling at JBL telling Cole, “you should work for the Onion. Or the New York Times.” It was kind of funny.

I hope the show doesn’t go off the air before we find out what the WWE Universe voted for.

I have grown to absolutely hate the final match of the show. It is utterly pointless. Everyone works it at half-speed. The match is just killing time until we get to the read ending. After nearly three hours ending the show with a slow moving plot device is underwhelming. At this point in the show I’m at full Roxette. Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.

I’m really having trouble staying focused at this point. I was busy pondering how poofy Seth’s hair gets during a match when I then watching him pretty much just jump from the ring to landing face first on the floor. He may have brushed against Kane’s ankle on the way down, but that was essentially a faceplant.

Triple Threat Ahoy! I voted for Slater.

Oh God, is this the beginning of the inevitable Orton heel turn? He’s always on the verge of turning from whatever alignment he currently is, so it has to happen at some point. Having Orton turn heel and feud with Reigns gives them a chance to start over with the path they had Reigns on last year before he was injured. Winners: Roman Reigns/Randy Orton

We’ve made it through another week. How’d it go?

  1. Was anything actually blown off at Extreme Rules? I guess maybe the Big Show vs. Reigns feud. Though I have to assume he will be finding a way to make himself known going forward. Otherwise Payback appears to be the Night of a Thousand Rematches. Poor Rusev, about to lose three in a row to Cena. Way to get the young guys over John.
  2. King of the Ring, what’s up with that? Apparently it is intended to be the European Cup title this year. Barring a ludicrous win by R-Truth the King will be from the Englandy part of the world. I almost regret canceling the Network, as this is the first time they’ve put something on there I would like to watch live. I’m going to call the upset and say Neville wins it.
  3. Will Prime Time Players continue to be the highlight of the show? Goddammit WWE, why do you deny me the simple pleasure that make this show worth watching. I’m sitting through Adam Rose vs. Fandango, a Bella face push, and Kane as a main event player. You can’t give me 30 f’n seconds of Titus and Darren? Screw you so hard WWE.
  • Ugh: There was a lot of filler and bad decision-making and all the usual crap on the show. But I feel like my outrage supply is thoroughly depleted by the real world events taking place in Baltimore. Yeah, the show wasn’t good, but it made me turn off the news for a while, and I think I needed that.
  • Honorable Mention: Neville for getting to look like a complete wrestler tonight. Bray Wyatt for finally figuring out that he had to push the door open to get out of that smoke filled room. Natalya for being crazy brave enough to wear that outfit in public. R-Truth for speaking truth to arachnid power.
  • MVP: Seth Rollins is the anchor of this show. His ability to flip moods and tones on a dime covers up a lot of the sins of the creative team. I worry that they are playing up how he needed the Authority so much that it begins to undermine him. As a heel champ who shows vulnerability think Ric Flair, not Honky Tonk Man. If anyone could be Seth Rollins, why would I care about Seth Rollins. Thankfully he’s such an entitled little snot that as of now he still doesn’t draw sympathy from the crowd. But how long can that continue?

That’s the end of our journey. If you like this, please share it. If you want to say mean (or nice) things to me, find me on Twitter @spiffie6123. If you’re tired of the world around you being so awful, do something about it. And if you figure out what that something is, please tell me.