SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment: While I noted last week that I’m not the biggest fan of the dissention between Shane & Daniel Bryan, I will commend them for a few things. Firstly, it was nice to see Bryan continue to stick up for himself, and speak his feelings to Shane. He didn’t agree with the attack on Raw last month, and he also disagreed with firing Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. I also liked how he was prepared to walk away from the job, as it fit his character. Finally, if they are truly building to a feud between the two, I like how it is a slow build, and not just a sudden disagreement/firing. While there is tension, Shane is still agreeing with Bryan and seeing his points to a certain degree. This will build to a fuller story overall.
Bludgeon Bros vs. Hype Bros: Last week, I wasn’t terribly excited that the newly rebooted team of Harper & Rowan were going over the Hype Bros so quickly. I like when someone debuts (or re-debuts in this case) and faces off against local unknowns to build up quick victories. That being said, it was nice to see them do a rematch instead of moving onto another team so quickly. It also led to…..
Mojo turns on Ryder: I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Mojo. He can sometimes come across as annoying, and his singles matches have left more to be desired. While I am not thrilled that another tag team has broken up, I will give props to both men. Mojo came across more serious than he ever has, and I liked the viciousness of the attack. This is something that had been hinted at a while back, so it was nice to see that it wasn’t forgotten about. I’ll be interested to see where both wrestlers go from here.
Styles vs. The Singhs: This was another good chapter in the A.J.-Jinder story. I thought everyone played their role very well, and I liked how A.J. was the defiant, gutsy babyface who still wouldn’t back down after being attacked. While short, it wasn’t too one-sided, so I enjoyed it. Jinder has attacked The Singhs a few times, so I’m curious if this will be an end to their partnership. If so, I will be disappointed, as I thought they brought a lot to his act, but we’ll have to see where it goes.
Riott Squad vs. Charlotte/Natalya/Naomi: I had mixed feelings on this one, and while the pre-match promo will be covered in the misses column, I wanted to go ahead and acknowledge what I did like. Since it seems like SD has been copying Raw, it was nice to see the new faction in action (sorry for the rhyme). I liked how Natalya dropped out of the match quickly, since she is a heel, and has been feuding with Charlotte. Realistically, she shouldn’t really want to team with them, so it made sense. I also liked them taking out Naomi, and getting the victory. With everyone being taken out, it leaves some freshness and intrigue into future matches. That being said, while I did like the attack on Naomi, it did drag out, as Ruby had Charlotte in the same move for far too long, and didn’t seem logical (the only time someone has been in a move that long and it worked was Survivor Series 94).
Fashion Files: While some of these segments are better than others, I am giving these guys a hit for one reason and one reason only: “Beat that dead horse so we can get out of here!” It’s obvious these guys are in on the joke, and this, along with constant easter eggs/inside jokes, make it even more entertaining. I do want this to lead to something though, as you don’t want to lose the fans interest with the constant “to be continued” endings. Some may already be getting restless, and you don’t want to spoil what has become a good thing for not only Breezango, but The Ascension as well.
Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton: Overall, this was a good match with an interesting ending. Shane ended up backing himself into a corner by making it a No DQ match after banning Sami from ringside. Most would question that logic, so I was glad to see Sami still take advantage of it, since it just ended up helping Owens. There wasn’t a tease for something next time as there was last week, so it’ll be interesting to see how both Shane & Bryan react to this.
New Day vs. Benjamin/Gable: This isn’t a mark against the wrestling as much as it is against the booking. Firstly, Benjamin & Gable have seemingly been selected to be the next opponents for the Usos, so why they lost to the New Day was a head scratcher. If they wanted the New Day to stay strong, it would’ve been just as easy to have B&G cheat to win, since they are slowly becoming heels. If they really didn’t want the New Day to lose, they could have used someone else. This is where it would’ve been nice to have the Bludgeons fight a local team, and slot the Hype Bros against B&G instead. It accomplishes 2 things: A victory for B&G, and another loss for the Bros which still leads to Mojo’s attack.
Riot Squad Pre-Match Promo: I understand that all 3 women are new to the main roster, but I found myself cringing every time that each one of them spoke. It came across very unnatural and not very entertaining. It wasn’t just the lines that they were saying (Firecracker on the 4th of July?) but how they emoted during the segment. I believe that they can overcome it, but it’s these types of things that can make general fans question what’s so good about NXT, or make hardcore fans question if the call up was too soon.
Same Show/Same Cast: Don’t get me wrong. I love Styles, Owens, Orton, Zayn, and Charlotte, but for a two hour show, it would be nice if the WWE remembered that they have other superstars on the roster, and don’t need the exact same wrestlers on every week. Remember Dolph Ziggler? How about Tye Dillinger? Don’t get me started on Mike Kanelllis. And while we’re at it, Breezango can still wrestle, so it’d be good to balance the Fashion Files with actual matches on the show, so that the fans can not only appreciate the personality but the actual wrestling skill as well. By moving the roster in and out, it can keep storylines fresher while not watering down the appearances of other stars.
Jeff Indelicato has been a fan of professional wrestling since he was knee high to a grasshopper (little kid) after coming across the Wrestling Challenge episode after WrestleMania 7. He has not looked back. His passion has led him to winning wrestling trivia contests in his city, and even won him his Senior Talent Show by dancing to Shawn Michaels’ theme song. When not annoying others with wrestling talk, he loves spending time with his family and friends, and focuses on his other passion: movies. Follow him on Twitter @the_Indel or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 11/21: Heyman promo, Owens & Sami, Bludgeon debut, Shane-Bryan, change in main event, new women