I’ve been home alone for over a week now. Mrs. Spiffie is out of town dealing with some family issues, so I have been left to my own devices for 7 days, with no imminent sign of this ending. I can do whatever I want without having to tell anyone my plans. I can watch anything on tv, eat anything I please, stay out all night long causing trouble and living like Ric Flair in his prime. Well, more like Ric Flair now since I’m broke and have to ask strangers to pay my bar tab, but I digress. I’m a completely free man with no dang woman there to stop me from having fun!

And it sucks. All the sucks. It sucks like a 60 minute broadway between the Bellas. It sucks like John Cena trying to project human emotions. I know there are plenty of men (and women) who look upon their spouse going out of town as an opportunity to finally live the way they wish they could live. I don’t get those people. I chose to get married because I enjoy being with the person I married. She’s the one person who doesn’t get on my nerves after a few hours. When we watch shitty tv together she cracks up at the same things. We’re not the kind of people who need to be around each other 24/7. I have a lot of interests she doesn’t share. She has many interests I avoid like the plague. But at the end of the day we come back together, and even if we don’t love the same things, we love that the other has things they love. I get to have a slumber party with my best friend in the world every night. And when we roll to our sides of the bed, turning away because we both hate to be touching when we sleep and we both like having our own blankets, we’re content because each of us knows their best friend is lying next to them. As Ellis Redding said, “I guess I just miss my friend.”

So in order to wallow properly, we’re going to jump in the time machine back to my long ago single days. Back to a time when I still thought a goatee and a jean jacket were good ideas when leaving the house. When AOL Instant Messenger was an important form of communication. When Christina Aguilera stopped wearing pants. That’s right, we’re going to the early 2000’s. I’d show you a picture of me from back then but I still have a shred of dignity even though I’m a grown man writing about professional wrestling. We’re going to be dropping in songs (and one whole album) that were cornerstones of a proper wallowing back then. I was a failure at life, a failure at love, living in a bedroom without a bed, and so desperate for entertainment I watched the weekly TNA pay-per-views.

The thing about wallowing is that it can’t all be sad music. You don’t want to be the fighter who throws nothing but jabs at your demoralized psyche. You mix in songs with a tinge of hope in them. Songs about love still ongoing. It is important when deep in some high quality wallowing to always build up a little hope from the time, otherwise there is nothing left to be crushed by the realization of your own apparently perpetual solitary agony. It is crucial to see oneself as a tragic figure of epic proportions. You’re not just another loser in the game of life. You are accursed by fate itself and hated by the gods. You are also likely drunk on cheap booze. And that’s when you start listening to music…

WWE Monday Night Raw
August 3, 2015

At a certain age you want so badly to stem the tide of your childhood icons passing away. Freeze time so they can remain with us forever. Your heroes are the same ages as your parents. Roddy Piper was the same age as my father. My heroes are aging and passing on and I will follow them in time. A shorter time than I would care for. There is a reasonable chance that I have used the majority of my days and am now closer to the grave than the cradle, and moving inexorably towards the latter. By the end of this show I will be a few hours closer to my consciousness dissipating and my body becoming just a mass of organic matter to be recycled into the earth. Before that day I will probably watch my mother’s body be lowered into the ground, no longer the woman who gave birth to me but simply component elements in a familiar shape. The men who strode like gods across the earth in my youth are dying quiet deaths at home, just the way you and I likely will one day. I am sad that Roddy Piper is dead, but I feel much greater sorrow at the implicit reminder that I am long removed from youth, that my heroes are now old and frail men, and that before too long I shall join them in losing who I am to the inexorable will of time.

Also, I was impressed how they edited the package to make it appear Mr. T was his primary nemesis in the mid 80’s.

Seth Rollins Has a New Shirt

Enjoying the “Thank you Rollins” chant the crowd is giving here.

Cena’s nose didn’t look good.

Rollins pulling all the Cena references into his promo is the sort of snarky thing I like in a heel champ. Between the shirt, the phrases, and the “open challenge” it was as well done as it could be. If he can’t be threatening, at least let him be incredibly annoying.

So, that’s how it is going to end. Cena will end up dropping the belt to no one. He’ll vacate it after winning the WWE title at Summerslam. I feel like I’m hanging out at Fatima right now and the Marto siblings are noticing something funny in the sky. I really hope I’m wrong, because that would be the most terrible possible way for Cena’s US title story to end. To build up for months, have Cena keep beating every guy they want to try and make seem important, and end up just saying “Oh well, got the big belt now, gotta go” would be a disaster. I don’t know if you can really do a DQ finish in the semi-main of Summerslam. You can’t have Cena win and decide to keep the US title. You aren’t going to put all the belts on Rollins. Are you going to have Sheamus do a MITB cash in? That would just murder Rollins. I don’t see a path out of this that doesn’t lead to the champ always being here.

For a brief moment I was hoping that the rules for the WWE Title open challenge meant that Daniel Bryan was about to come “Yes”ing down the ramp. His book is a quick and easy read. I recommend it to everyone.

Seth Rollins vs. Neville

This seems to be the spot Neville is in. Able to be seen as a credible threat at a moment’s notice but not elevated. Honestly that’s not a bad spot for him. Some guys have a ceiling of upper midcard, and that might be the case for Neville. You can have a long and financially beneficial career there.

Nice sequence with the german into the deadlift german by Neville.

Interesting that JBL was insisting that Neville had a pinfall after the pedigree reversal. Don’t know if something will come of it, but if not it is a very odd thing to mention.

Holy shit I bit on the Red Arrow finish. When that landed I really thought I was watching the biggest shocker in WWE history.

JBL was actually solid near the end of this match. Staying true to his character but also getting so into the match that he couldn’t help but call it down the middle. They really built a lot around the near fall that JBL was talking about earlier. I feel like something more has to come of this. Maybe an out in case Cena can’t go at Summerslam, stick Neville in there against Rollins and let them go balls out for 15-20 minutes.

Winner: Seth Rollins

Wallow With Me: To be a good wallowing, there must be a sense of heroic solitude at some point in the session. A refusal to be brought low by the tides of fate, to claim the open sea as your own upon which to seek the shores of Aman. The mix of self-pity and stoicism in “I’ll Sail this Ship Alone” by The Beautiful South captures that feeling of weakness undergirded by a delusional strength.

All the Teams!

New Day is just endless fun. The prancing and high stepping entrance. Xavier Woods razzing the Prime Time Players for being on commentary again. Big E’s facials. They are locked in one of those grooves where everything they do is just perfect. It’s very hard to do that in the main event scene where everything is so managed and Vince is so hands-on. That’s why usually these sorts of hidden gifts are in the midcard, where Vince is too busy to look at Kofi Kingston’s entrance. An entrance which threatens on a weekly basis to break the internet.

Titus O’Neil is just trying to improve the quality of commentary. And help Darren Young get things to trend on Twitter. That’s a good man and a good friend.

I’ll be honest, I don’t even give the tiniest damn about the wrestling in this match. The interplay between the six people at ringside will keep me entertained for as long as this match goes. That said, Big E trucking everyone on the ramp and then running full speed into the dropkick through the ropes was awesome. Big E is absurdly underrated. The size, strength, speed, and goofy charisma are a package that usually WWE would be pushing until the bitterest of ends.

Winners: New Day and Ascension

Wallow With Me: When in a miserable wallow of loneliness, it is common to have a feeling of frustration about all the potential mates who have shunned you, even if they have only done so in your mind. Not a healthy idea to be fair, but it happens. Remembering the girl in high school who wouldn’t give you the time of day. Maybe the guy you dated for a while who decided he preferred random hookups to a relationship. Maybe a woman you were sure was perfect despite never actually speaking to her. Wallowing is irrational and determined. In the sadness there is a flicker of righteous anger. Sadly that same wellspring can be poisoned and lead to guys getting into fedoras and Reddit. But for most of us it goes away as we grow older and wiser. But until then, the mind and heart want to imagine the unrequited love coming to their senses and singing, like Gemma Hayes does, “I Let a Good Thing Go”

Nikki & Brie Bella vs. Becky Lynch & Charlotte

The inset interviews and the cheesy group name of Submission Sorority seemed like it came straight from the 80’s. I’m a little concerned that perhaps that time machine I used to go back to the 2000’s may be going rogue. I hope it doesn’t keep going backwards and cause the main event of Raw to be a 6 hour match with Undertaker as Strangler Lewis and Brock Lesnar in the Joe Stecher role.

<Twitter>This angle has been going for three weeks. Why haven’t the entirety of the gender dynamics in WWE changed by now? Obviously this whole thing is a failure and should be scuttled immediately. Give the time to Eva Marie and Dana Brooke. </Twitter>

There are actual crowd reactions happening in this match. Booing and cheering. I know that there are people who think that keeping the Bellas around is proof that this angle will be scrapped as soon as possible. But for better or worse the Bellas have heat and crowd investment that only comes with time and exposure. To throw that away to try and make a statement would be counterproductive and harm the very idea that theoretically we all want to see succeed.

If this whole trend of having actual matches using regular wrestling tropes is going to continue the Bellas need to stop doing face things. The pounding on the mat to encourage Brie to get to the corner is not a thing that should be happening. The Bellas are such good heels, but they don’t seem to understand that means not getting the crowd behind you. I blame John Cena. They’re so used to watching him act like a face while everyone is booing him that they think this is normal now.

Team BAD being interviewed backstage. Sasha is so much more charismatic that Naomi and Tamina it’s kind of hard to watch sometimes. You just want her to tell them to scram and leave things to the Boss.

Tamina is the Jud Buechler of this angle. Right place at right time, and ends up getting three NBA title rings because he didn’t piss Michael Jordan off too much in practice.

Winners: Charlotte and Becky Lynch

Wallow With Me: If you’re of a certain age and mindset, like me, you “got” Donnie Darko upon your initial viewing of it and proceeded to watch it repeatedly. Also, you got teary at the final scene showing all the characters and asked “what is this amazing song and can I listen to it 4,000 times in a row and let my heart just bleed until the entire world drowns in my sorrowful blood?” If you didn’t get it, oh well, the song is still beautiful. Gary Jules – Mad World

Miz TV w/ Kevin Owens & Cesaro

Miz giving Roddy Piper his due. Well done. It’s obvious how much Miz loves to be involved in wrestling. He’s another guy who comes off really well in Bryan’s new book. I don’t disagree with the path he went on leading to the WM main event, but on the other hand I feel like if he hadn’t been involved in something so big and had the misfortune of being a concussed third wheel he would be more highly regarded today. No one in the company except Vince himself can convey so much with just his face, no words needed.

Kevin Owens is a fan of Miz movies. Aren’t we all? I am planning to rent a theater to watch his upcoming Christmas movie with Paige.

About time Cesaro comes out in a suit. Dammit he is a good looking man. Emphasize that.

There are a LOT of “Cesaro Section” signs in the crowd. Diondre Cole and I have the same question about this. It’s a good thing, but just odd.

Watching Miz during this segment is a delight. He loves being a shit stirrer and gets the same look of excitement as the fans when it looks like a fight is about to happen.

Dear God, can I please have 30 minutes of Cesaro-Owens at Summerslam? kthxbye

Winner: Cesaro. He got to look pretty damn cool.

Wallow With Me: Eventually in the throes of wallowdom there comes a point of imagining the ideal relationship awaiting you just over the horizon. The one so full of love and passion that it could power spaceships to Arcturus. Again, without something to strive for you’re not wallowing. You’re dealing with depression and should see a doctor. Over the Rhine, a band fronted by married couple Karin Bergquist and Linford Dettweiler understand the way that great love causes a cocoon to form around you and yours. The urgency of love overwhelming all of the demands and calls of the mundane. They know “The World Can Wait.”

Rusev vs. Mark Henry

Where the hell is Dog Ziggler? I was looking forward to him becoming a Bulgarian Mathilda. If I used star ratings in my reviews I would dock this match a full star due to this.

Mark Henry looks like a man who just wants a few more paychecks before going away for good. It’s really a shame that it took him so long to turn into the awesome Hall of Pain version of himself.

I feel like Mark Henry just called an audible after the match and said hell no to being put in the Accolade. Good for him. Mark Henry teamed with Barry F’n Windham. He earned the right to say IDGAF if he so decides.

Winner: The Fisherman

Wallow With Me: Whilst wearily wallowing the imagination can run unfettered through the fields of endless possibility. Sometimes a form takes shape. Hazy, indistinct, but familiar. You might know this person. You might not. This person might be many people of differing reality to you. But you can feel the tension radiating from them. This other person is uncertain, wavering, another broken soul. But not ready to come to you, but not ready to turn away. You wait. You feel like she’s a “Tease” like Brenda Weiler sang about.

By the by, I love Brenda Weiler’s music. If I had the option I would choose her making music and touring again over WWE returns of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. Do you understand how serious I take this?!

I really really wish Luke Harper had an Etsy store. Probably best that he doesn’t though. I’d hate to see Ru Gunn go broke and have to get a second job and not be able to continue reviewing Smackdown.

How the hell did Sheamus find his way to the secret smoky room of the Wyatts? Did he have to go under the ring to get there. Did he pass by the Little People’s Court on the way? Does that room lead to where WWE keeps the portkeys for Undertaker, Wyatt, and Sting?

Wade Barrett vs. Zack Ryder

JBL is just going bonkers tonight. Thus far we’ve already heard a Tim Berners-Lee name drop, a mention of the Rugby World Cup, and Charlemagne references.

They gave the jobber a nice amount of offense. Wade must have liked the kid.

At least the Bullhammer looked good at the end. Wade Barrett is still the second biggest loser in the company. Thankfully tonight he met the guy on top of shit mountain.

Winner: Wade Barrett

Wallow With Me: The feeling felt while wallowing can often be boiled down to a simple thought. The world is ending, the apocalypse is nigh, and all is lost. Also the feeling is that setting up a playlist for wallowing is a lot of work, time that could be spent feeling sorry for yourself. So the full album experience of the sound of mourning and preparing for the end times can be very useful at moments like that. Thankfully A Silver Mt. Zion created an album perfect for such moments. Also one of my top 5 albums ever. He Has Left Us Alone…

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar and Undertaker and bears oh my

The singalong with Paul kind of makes me miss Armando Alejandro Estrada. Not sure what the hell happened to that guy, but he seemed like he should have been much bigger.

So at Battleground Undertaker appears, saves the vile champion of the Authority costs Lesnar the title, sneak attacks him with a kick in the junk. On Raw he threatens a middle aged non-athlete. Brock runs out to save his only friends in the world. I can’t help but feel like Undertaker might be the bad guy in all of this.

Paul is taking some serious digs here. The image of Undertaker begging for a match is pretty much the antithesis of everything the Undertaker is.

Paul kind of went berserk at the end of that segment. I loved it, but then I was an altar boy for many years. Plus Undertaker loves a good chant in Latin, so I’m sure he appreciated the effort. Also for a middle aged Jew Paul sure does have a solid grasp on old school Catholicism.

Winner: Fans of Pre-Vatican II funerary

Wallow With Me: After the world has burned and all has been immolated in the cleansing fires of judgment, the rebirth must happen. The New Jerusalem is raised up. Lif and Lifthrasir come out of the wood to tend to the reborn earth. John Cena tells the hosts of heaven that they cannot see him and gives the AA to the gods. And now there are sprouts of hope. That delusional strength from earlier rises in your chest. You know that you can “Start it All Over Again” just as the Battlefield Band sings it.

Paige vs. Naomi

A month ago these were the two best women wrestlers in WWE. This is not the case now.

I really hope after Summerslam more women get into the mix, women who are not affiliated with DOA, Nation of Domination, or Los Boricuas.

I think there was a “Becky” chant at one point during the match. I said it last week, and I stand by it. Becky Lynch is going to end up the biggest star of the NXT Four.

I liked the ending. Too often once a submission move doesn’t work the first time it is abandoned for a while. Here Paige tried, it didn’t work, she hit Naomi again, and went right back to the submission.

Winner: Paige

Wallow With Me: It is almost sunrise. You’ve spent the night burrowed deep inside your wallow hollow. The first rays of dawn creeping in give you a momentary shock. The light burns and feels too real and reminds you the world is a place of pain and suffering. You steady yourself. Encouragement is in short supply and you so badly need it. You need someone like Peter Gabriel to tell you “Don’t Give Up.”


I like to imagine Cody went into business for himself with this Arrow thing like a much less frightening version of Dr. D David Schulz trying to get in with Mr. T.

Hey now Roman. There is only one “Crazy” and that sir is Mr. Ace Steel.

Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose & Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper & Sheamus

I always feel kind of miserable when I’m watching this show and I see the main event starting with 20 or more minutes left. This match could be 10 minutes and just get to the point. By this point in the show all anyone wants is the ending. I don’t mean that as a bad thing. We’ve been watching for hours. At this point the main event is obviously something that will lead into something else, not be something important in and of itself. So we wait for the final moments. Who will stand? Who will fall? Who will run through the crowd to escape?

So far Bray Wyatt has a follower. At one point he had two. He briefly had a children’s choir. Then he had no followers. He has one now, but even he really just seemed to come back for the familiarity and access to more arts and crafts supplies. His ability to draw followers is highly suspect given all this information.

I don’t say this often, so I will give credit where due. The announce team did not piss me off tonight.

Roman Reigns as the guy who just flies around murdering everyone and then disappearing for another 5 minutes is the best Roman Reigns.

If the last 10 minutes or so were the entire match that would have been a very fun sprint.

Winners: Randy Orton/Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns

Wallow With Me: A new day is here. Not The New Day, since they would never put up with any of this wallowing crybaby nonsense. Big E would just clap and if you didn’t clap with him he would pick you up and throw you into the upper atmosphere and when you finally came down he would catch you and try again to teach you to clap away your sorrow. But Big E is too busy being awesome to be with you in your self-pity. And that’s okay, but maybe things aren’t so bad. You’re sad, and lonely, but these are not inevitabilities. They are just the now. Maybe they’re the future. Maybe they’re passing storms. You want something beautiful to listen to before starting the day. Something that recognizes your loneliness, but has perspective as well. It might not feel like it now, and maybe it isn’t true on this day, but oftentimes it has been a “Pretty Good Year.”

Another week in the books: As shows go, this wasn’t bad. John Cena didn’t appear, which helps a lot. He might not be around next week either. I hope he’s not around three weeks from now. Because if he is, there’s a good chance I won’t be. Cena as champ of everything would send me into the deepest wallow of all time. Let’s all hope it doesn’t come to that…somehow.