WWE Raw Commentary May 30th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary May 30th 2016

Money in the Bank is three weeks away and we have our main event and six out of the seven ladder match participants decided. We’re going into this episode of Raw in a strong position. Raw was quality last week and they have any number of directions they could go to build the excitement for the upcoming pay per view. On top of all of that, it was announced last week that the Brand Extension is returning in July. With so many unanswered questions, plus all the speculation about the future, you would think this would mean an important show. (SPOILER: You would be wrong)

Shane & Stephanie McMahon start off the show by a talking about Smackdown starting to air live on Tuesdays, before long it’s The New Day that interrupts to ask questions about their future. To which Shane and Stephanie both can’t give conclusive answers. So they start a dance battle between the two McMahon’s. Shane dances like he’s having conniptions and before Stephanie can get her groove on, The Vaudevillians arrive for their match with the New Day which is next.

This segment was fun, but ultimately pointless. They may have announced this Brand Extension a little too soon. They clearly haven’t worked out many of the specifics and now it just looks like they haven’t properly thought this through. That being said the brand split is definitely the right decision going forward, I’d just like to see that they have a clear vision on what it’s going to be.

Vaudevillians and New Day have another perfectly fine match, similar to their encounter at Extreme Rules. But it’s The Club, Gallows and Anderson who break up the match and take out The New Day at ringside and hit the Magic Killer on Big E. Following the commercial (of which there were already two in the match itself) Gallows and Anderson say that they’re putting the tag division and the entire WWE on notice.

The New Day needed new challengers and there is no better choice than The Club. They managed to escape the endless cycle of Uso rematches and they have apparently discovered that there are actually other opponents in WWE who aren’t related to Roman Reigns. Good luck to The Club, if there is ever a team to dethrone New Day, I think we have them right here.

Also, JBL said ‘Glory Hole’ on commentary. He said ‘GLORY HOLE’! What in the absolute hell!?

We head backstage to Apollo Crews doing push ups in preparation for the non-existent match he’s in tonight. Big Show walks up to him and Apollo seems defensive. It looks like just now Crews has decided he’s angry about the attack Sheamus did on him last week, because he sure as hell looked happy and smiley when he went out for his match (Yes, that lack of attention to detail still irks me).

Apollo gives some of the worst acting I’ve seen in a while. I feel like I’m super tough on Crews, but I just need to see something more than just “look at how flippy he is for his size”. Show asks him if he’s going to back down to Sheamus. This is a match heading towards Money in the Bank, and if it doesn’t pick up soon it may be in danger of just being a pre-show match.

More tag team action now as my new favourite tag team (Breezango, who now have an amazing remix of their respective themes as their entrance music) face my least favourite tag team (The Usos). I would have given WWE all of my money if Breezango defeated The Usos, but alas, they did not. Following the match The Golden Truth, who were out on commentary for the match, attack Breezeango and lay them out at ringside as it seems that Truth and Goldust are finally getting their mojo together.

The attention to detail in this rivalry has been very impressive whether you think it’s a dumb story or not. I can only hope that in this Brand Extension, all rivalries, top to bottom, will be given the same amount of time and detail that this Golden Truth story has.

Time to go to a segment that just did not work. Roman Reigns is out there doing his standard ‘The Guy’ shtick when he calls out Seth Rollins to fight right now. Rollins appears and the commentary team are already hyping that a fight is about to break out and even does the cliché of “WE WON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR MONEY IN THE BANK!” I really hate that. Because of the over hype, we knew that nothing was going to happen. Rollins goes to the ring, walks back. Grabs a microphone, puts it down. Walks back to the ring, then leaves the stage. He then sprints back to the ring and walks away once more. That was over a span of about 7 minutes. It. Was. Tedious.

The fact that it was obvious there was going to be no altercation, add that it was so drawn out and then take into account that the crowd were completely dead and it makes for a segment that flops. Seth is really good at being that smarmy heel he may actually be the person to be booed against Reigns. I mean, that’s what WWE is trying to achieve, but whether they can keep it that way remains to be seen.

We now move on to Rusev in his first appearance on Raw since his United States Championship win at Extreme Rules. He’s facing Zack Ryder in a non-title match and I can only see this ending super well for Ryder. The Long Island Iced Z succumbs to The Accolade from Rusev, which he appears to be sticking with the version he did to Kalisto. I like that a lot. Post match, Rusev says he’s a great American which prompts Titus O’Neil to come out and say something patriotic and punch him in the face because ‘Murica.

It’s the rivalry that literally no-one asked for. Titus O’Neil? Really? How far down has the US Championship gone if suddenly the likes of Titus O’Neil are in contention? I’m sorry, I’m just not a fan of Titus O’Neil. He’s a great Dad and he’s all charitable and everything but my god is he just sub-par in the ring. May we just get through this in what hopefully is a short program.

More tag team action now (wow there’s a lot of this tonight) as The Dudleyz are facing Enzo & Cass in what is Enzo’s return to competition since his injury at Payback. Enzo & Cass have had the Dudleyz number a lot lately. In fact, in some variation Big Cass has defeated one or both of the Dudleyz the last FIVE times. Oh, and they won again here too. That is SIX wins in a row, so what are they fighting about anymore? They won, and we should move on.

Also, you can tell how much WWE cares for this rivalry as there is no official link on YouTube to the match, just the promo.

It’s time for the reason so many extra viewers are tuning in this week, John Cena is back! And Cena is in fact wearing the shorts Ellen Degeneres gave him. Cena talks about ‘The New Era’ and says that they have to go through him. Which brings out AJ Styles. After a really long dual chant of Let’s Go Cena/AJ Styles, AJ welcomes Cena back to the fold and they shake hands. The Club interrupt and as it looks as if Gallows and Anderson are about to attack Styles and Cena, AJ STYLES TURNS ON CENA. The three men all gang up and assault Cena. Styles leaves the ring and returns three times to lay into Cena for good measure.

Wow! Okay WWE, well done. You managed to shock us. I take back everything I said about The Club leaving AJ last week, I was so very wrong. In fact this was what I said last week…

There’s something annoying about WWE’s story telling at the moment and it’s the way they telegraph changes in a story. WWE have taken most of the suspense out of this AJ Styles/The Club story which just sucks.”

They did this to make me look foolish and I accept that. I really like this rivalry on paper but the only thing now is whether this will go the way of all the other initially interesting John Cena rivalries. Wade Barrett, Zack Ryder, Ryback, Damien Sandow, Bray Wyatt, Rusev and Kevin Owens are all well known examples of feuding with John Cena not ending well for your career. Let’s just hope that we don’t add AJ Styles and The Club to the list.

It’s our only women’s match (and segment) of the night and it’s 4 minutes long, yay revolution. Natalya is facing Dana Brooke, with Charlotte at ringside. There’s not a lot to say here, Charlotte distracts Natalya and Dana pins her. They attack Natalya after the match but Becky Lynch makes the save. This is fine I guess, it’s just not exactly eye catching. WHERE IS SASHA!?

Next up Dolph Ziggler kicks Baron Corbin in the balls. That is all. I can only hope this is leading to a ‘Kick My Balls’ match at Money in the Bank.

Main Event now and all six participants of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match are split into face/heel sides and competing in a Six Man Tag Match. A graphic is shown for the pay per view match and the extra spot is no longer there. Is there no longer a seventh man? Is that it? Okay then. Before I get to the match, I need to bring up how absolutely amazing Chris Jericho is at the moment. It’s the little things he does, like flicking back his non-existent long hair as he enters the arena.

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Look at him, he’s killing it with this character. We may be looking at his best incarnation.

As you can expect with all six of these guys, the match was quite good. Plus the banter between Kevin Owens and Jericho is always top notch. Face team gets the win and celebrate while staring at the briefcase hanging above the ring to close the show.

Final Thoughts:

Well, this show was pretty poor wasn’t it? The first two hours were stuffed with a whole lot of nothing and even when there was supposed to be intrigue (Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins segment) there was none! More of the same from the Enzo & Cass/Dudleyz and Golden Truth/Breezango stories. The women’s division isn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Reigns and Rollins are stuck in this stalemate and probably won’t get at all physical until the pay per view. Rusev’s first challenger being Titus O’Neil is an uninspired choice.

The only positives from this show were the shocking heel turn of AJ Styles on John Cena and the main event and that only gets a thumbs up because the match was good and the participants are all quality, not so much for any story there. This Raw was solely booked on the shoulders of John Cena to keep the viewers interested. Why the John Cena/AJ Styles segment didn’t close the show boggles my mind. This was just a really bad show guys.

Final Rating: 4/10

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WWE Raw Commentary May 23rd 2016

WWE Raw Commentary May 23rd 2016

Extreme Rules is in the history books, so it’s time to pick ourselves up, get those thumb tacks out of our elbow and back and start to climb the ladder because Money in the Bank is less than four weeks away. The post WrestleMania filler pay per views are done and dusted and it’s time to get into the summer programs. The summer season in WWE always kicks off with Money in the Bank. So, who is next in line for the crown?

Last night at Extreme Rules we saw The Club dominate The Usos, Rusev reclaim the US Championship, The Miz escape with his Intercontinental Title in what was the best main roster match of 2016 so far, Dana Brooke help Charlotte retain her title, Chris Jericho land in thumb tacks for no good reason, Roman Reigns defeat AJ Styles in a very physical match and Seth Rollins return from injury attacking Reigns in the process. Quite the newsworthy pay per view. What does Raw have in store for us tonight?

The returning Seth Rollins opens the show to a thunderous ovation and what unfolded next was marvelous. More marvelous than Marc Mero in fact. Seth started by soaking in the praise from the crowd and it was the classic bait and switch. Rollins says that his knee buckled under the pressure of carrying the company on his back and that he doesn’t need anyone other than himself. Going as far to say that he took all those get well cards sent to him while in the hospital (that he didn’t read) and he threw them in the trash and set them on fire. I really hope that he didn’t do that in the actual hospital itself.

Interruptions from Roman Reigns and Shane McMahon follows and Shane makes the main event for Money in the Bank official. Roman Reigns defends the WWE Championship against Seth Rollins. It’ll be the first time they’ve ever faced off one on one with the title on the line. But it’s only Money in the Bank, so ain’t no way this match is ending clean.

WWE are wasting no time in getting ready for the annual ladder match. We’ve got five Money in the Bank qualifying matches tonight. The first of them being everyone’s favourite ray of sunshine Sami Zayn against Rocksteady from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s a solid match, nothing to write home about though. Sami connects with a surprise Helluva Kick and pins Sheamus. Sami Zayn is the first person to qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Sheamus is furious. Night is off to a good start.

You know how I said that Sheamus was furious? Yeah, he’s still mad even after the commercial break. Renee Young is interviewing Apollo Crews who has the personality of ply wood. As soon as Crews mentions ‘The New Era’, Sheamus blasts Crews from behind. Which is what we as viewers want to do every time WWE mentions ‘The New Era’.

Let me explain something to you. If any of you New Era attempt to rise up, I will be there to knock you down!”

Sheamus there, channeling his inner John Cena circa 2010.

The New Day arrive on the scene and there’s a cake with happy birthday written on it in the ring waiting for them. I’m not going to lie guys, that cake looks amazing. I could really go for some cake right now. New Day have a cake out there because it’s Raw episode 1200 tonight. They clearly don’t understand how birthdays work, but that’s beside the point. Big E. threatens children, JBL and Byron Saxton that he might throw the cake on them. But before he can, The Social Outcasts (who I’m just discovering that they are indeed still a thing) attack them from behind. Social Outcasts are facing New Day next.

Quick match once we return from commercials, New Day pick up the win. Following the victory The New Day clothesline Heath Slater with the cake. That cake still looks amazing, can someone please bring me cake? I’m very hungry. Fun little segment, no clear next challengers for New Day though.

Our second of five Money in the Bank qualifiers is next as The Miz faces a man who could swing me into the sun should he so please, Cesaro. The Miz, despite retaining his title at Extreme Rules, actually tapped out to Cesaro but the referee was distracted so it makes sense that these two will go one on one tonight. Another solid contest between the two as it’s really hard for Cesaro to put on a bad match. Cesaro gets the win off the Neutralizer and the Swiss Superman is the second to qualify for Money in the Bank.

Highlight of the match though?

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Cesaro, stop being perfect.

Back to Renee Young and she has Seth Rollins as her guest who halfway through the interview spots someone off camera that he’s very happy to see, Stephanie McMahon. Seth tries to hug her but she pushes him away. Steph lets Rollins know that things have changed around here since he’s been gone and that now their business relationship has changed. She shakes his hand and walks away. They shared the same chemistry as if two people who previously had an affair years ago bumped into each other in the same aisle of a supermarket.

It’s our third Money in the Bank qualifier now as Chris Jericho faces the upstart Apollo Crews. Chris Jericho is really feeling the effects of going through those thumb tacks last night as his back is bandaged up. But Crews just got viciously attacked by Sheamus backstage, surely he’s not feeling 100%… Oh wait, he’s walking and jumping around the stage like nothing happened. Great work selling that assault, Apollo. Jericho landed a codebreaker and got the win over Crews.

The match had a clunky ending when Jericho went for a Lionsault but landed on Apollo wrong. As you can see below.

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I think what they were going for was Apollo to nip-up while Jericho is in mid air as a cool way to dodge the move. But Apollo didn’t get all the way up and that was the result. Would have been a cool looking spot, it’s a shame they couldn’t pull it off.

Next is the feud that just keeps happening to us and we can’t escape it. Despite better judgment, Baron Corbin is being interviewed. Seriously who keeps giving this guy a microphone? It’s consistently bad. Dolph Ziggler appears and basically says that Corbin can’t wrestle and that he can’t beat him in a technical wrestling match. It looks like we’re getting Corbin and Ziggler for (hopefully) the final time next week. May this rivalry die and we can all live a little happier.

Speaking of things that make me happy, ENZO AMORE IS BACK! Enzo returns after that horrific concussion he suffered at Payback and he gets an incredible ovation. He’s going ballistic in the ring like a wind up toy on acid. Big Cass makes quick work against Bubba Ray Dudley tonight, beating him with a boot to the face and an elbow. It’s not fancy, but it’s effective.

After Charlotte defeated Natalya at Extreme Rules thanks to the help of her new found friend Dana Brooke, it’s revealed that Charlotte will talk about the ‘State of the Women’s Championship’. In actuality, it was the platform for Charlotte to berate her father. Charlotte says that Ric was never there for her growing up and it’s time for him to leave her ring. For about 5 straight minutes, Charlotte talks down her father and it’s absolutely incredible.

Props to Ric for turning on the waterworks on cue and Charlotte for being so hate-able. Charlotte said some incredibly cruel lines and finished off with “You know what you can just watch me on TV like I did the last 30 years to you.” People have said recently there are no true heels in WWE anymore. WRONG. Charlotte is the best heel going today.

Once again it’s time for a Money in the Bank qualifying match as Dean Ambrose faces Dolph Ziggler. Dolph is out there to steal the show and Dean is there to “just do stuff” as JBL would so eloquently say. As you would expect from these two, they put on a perfectly fine match. A lot of tonight is simply putting on not terrible performances it seems, so that’s welcome! Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on Ziggler and gets the pin to move on to Money in the Bank. Dolph sure told Corbin didn’t he? This years match is looking mighty strong, lets hope they don’t do something stupid like have Baron Corbin qualify. Oh crap, they’re going to do that aren’t they?

AJ Styles cuts a promo about losing to Roman Reigns and blaming it on The Usos and The Club’s involvement. Gallows and Anderson take exception to that and say that AJ is the one who’s changed. AJ says that professionally they need to separate but no-one can separate them from being brothers. Anderson says they’re not brothers or friends anymore. Anderson and Gallows leave the ring as AJ gets set for his main event match.

LAME! There’s something annoying about WWE’s story telling at the moment and it’s the way they telegraph changes in a story. As opposed to letting them be friends and then having one turn on the other and explain afterwards, they’ve done this backwards. WWE have taken most of the suspense out of this AJ Styles/The Club story which just sucks.

Main event time and it’s the last Money in the Bank qualifier of the night as AJ Styles takes on Kevin Owens. As expected this match was supremely entertaining and even had a cool spot where Styles gets Powerbombed on to the steel steps. More back and forth and Styles succumbs to a Pop-Up Powerbomb and KO moves on to Money in the Bank to close the show.

This weeks edition of Raw was very direct, it was straight to the point. We’re one week into a four week build and we’ve already got our main event booked, five out of the seven men decided for Money in the Bank, Charlotte has turned on her father and The Club have broken up with AJ. I’d call that a productive week wouldn’t you?

Overall Raw was fine and it did what it needed to do. It’s almost like you could call this Raw “The Raw that Had to Happen”. Now we have this outline of a pay per view in mind, it’s time to colour it in. We’ve John Cena returning next week, plus we’ve got Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton coming back imminently. How will Cena and Orton factor into this ‘New Era’ of WWE? That’s probably the main question people have as we go into the summer.

Solid matches and storyline development throughout the show, I’d call this a win.

Final Rating: 7/10

WWE Extreme Rules 2016 Commentary

WWE Extreme Rules 2016 Commentary

It wasn’t a bad show. It wasn’t a good show. It was a show. Is that joke played out a bit now? Yeah probably, but nevertheless the sentiment is still the same. This years edition of Extreme Rules can hold its head up high and say that it satisfactorily moved the stories along. Did they move in the direction people were hoping? That’s up for debate, so lets look back at what happened when WWE went extreme (I guess?). Also, I’m just doing the pay per view itself so that means no Ziggler and Corbin. WWE doesn’t seem to care about it, so I don’t have to either.

Kicking off the show was The Club vs The Usos for the umpteenth time. Jimmy and Jey are out first to quite a frosty reaction. Extreme Rules is hailing from New Jersey, so we should have definitely expected a vocal fan base. Naturally, Gallows and Anderson received the opposite with a very positive reaction. As for the match itself, I would have cared about it a bit more if we hadn’t seen it multiple times a week, every week for the last 5 weeks! The matches are fine each time and this is no exception. Thankfully they’ve saved their best encounter for pay per view.

The Club get their win back in more vintage 50/50 booking from WWE. The Club needed this win though and the match was fast paced, physical and exciting. The Usos being paired with Roman have caused them to receive similar negative reactions. They’ve been stuck with the same stuff since 2012 and haven’t evolved their character, much like their cousin. But regardless of their reactions, they’ll still always be in the forefront of WWE programming. Oh WWE and your obsession with Anoa’i family nepotism, may you stay forever present. Anyway, you’ll never enjoy anything if you don’t highlight the positives so I’ll just say that the match was good and the right team won.

Moving on the the United States Championship match… Wait, it’s on the actual pay per view? This is the first time since the Royal Rumble that the title hasn’t been defended on the kickoff show. I’m genuinely surprised that Vince didn’t notice as he looked through the card.

Vince McMahon: “Okay, what have we got on tap for tonight… Tag match, US title match? Ew, how did that get in there?”

Anyway, Kalisto defends against Rusev in what ends up being a pretty good match. The crowd again is split as the vocal Jersey crowd are behind Rusev against the plucky underdog. You have to feel sorry for Kalisto, he’s been given no favours in this title reign. He’s consistently been placed on kickoff shows and rarely featured on Raw. Since his win over Del Rio he hasn’t given the audience a reason to care for him or his story… Which he didn’t even have other than “He’s small. Look at him face these big guys.”

Rusev slams Kalisto on the apron (That’s the hardest part of the ring don’t you know?) and slaps on the sickest looking Accolade I’ve ever seen and folks, we’ve got a NEW United States Champion in Ru-Ru!

And Kalisto’s uneventful title reign limps over the finish line like a broken down car.

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Back to tag team action, this time the titles are on the line as New Day defends against The Vaudevillians. Xavier is still devastated that Gotch and English destroyed his New Day-Lorean time machine, so to cope with this he put out a request for ladies to send him nude pics, as you do. Woods is competing tonight which is a nice change as well. Another perfectly decent match on Extreme Rules, the in ring content is really delivering so far. The Vaudevillians really rose to the occasion in their first proper main roster pay per view showing and they made me truly believe they had the titles won. But in the end it was the New Day getting the win, with a beautiful Shining Wizard from Xavier Woods.

Now this is the match that many (including myself) were looking forward to the most, a Fatal-4-Way for the Intercontinental Championship as The Miz defends against Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Cesaro. First off can we talk about the video package for the match? Wow that was fantastic, everything from the profiling of the participants and their reasons for wanting the title to the music (‘Fire’ by Pvris, which is a killer track by the way) it was perfect. Now I’ve professed my love for a good package (phrasing) let’s get to the actual match.

The match literally kicks off with Sami Zayn delivering a Helluva Kick to Kevin Owens as the bell rings. What an unexpected start to the match, this is a good sign. I can’t give this match enough praise, all four men (yes, even Miz) gave an incredible performance. The action was fast paced, it was near fall, after near fall, after near fall. But in the end it was The Miz who sneaked through the back door to get the pin on Cesaro despite tapping out earlier to him while the referee was distracted. Best match of 2016 that didn’t come from NXT, without question.

Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho are given the unenviable task of following that match, good luck gents but it’s like being the fruit at the dessert buffet. You’re not going to impress after people have already passed the cakes and ice cream. Yes I’m comparing the IC title match to food because that match was delicious. Ambrose and Jericho are facing each other in an ‘Asylum’ match and the cage lowers to the cheesiest psycho music I’ve ever heard. It’s so camp I love it.

As for the match, uh, it was kind of a mess wasn’t it? It went way too long and it just turned into grabbing a weapon, whacking the other with said weapon, go grab the next weapon and repeat for 25 minutes. The crowd were not into it for the most part as I think I saw most of them staring at their phones. To put it in perspective, Ambrose jumped off the top of the cage and the crowd barely reacted to it. After walking around hitting each other for what feels like an eternity, thumb tacks are brought out to wake up the crowd. Jericho went into the tacks and Ambrose got the win. It was a cool visual, but the match was so dull for the majority of the it and will probably be the most forgotten thumb tack spot in WWE history.

The misfires keep coming as we move on to the Women’s Championship. Charlotte defends against Natalya in a Submission match where if Ric Flair comes down to ringside, Charlotte would be stripped of the championship. We went into this expecting a technical showing and we left in a state of confusion. Sadly, the match wasn’t that great which was quite disappointing. We’ve seen Charlotte and Natalya put on some of the best matches in women’s wrestling, specifically their match at NXT Takeover in May 2014. Unfortunately, they didn’t recreate that magic.

At the end of the match Ric Flair’s music hit and Dana Brooke appeared dressed as the Nature Boy. The distraction cost Natalya the title as Charlotte made her tap out. It just didn’t make any sense at all, why is Dana aligning herself with the Flairs? Is it because they’re all blonde? I can only put it down to Dana Brooke not being ready to be on her own since Emma had to have back surgery. But surely if someone isn’t ready to go it alone in a division that doesn’t have a tag title, you just don’t bring them up from NXT. It’s really not that hard. Just an underwhelming showing and a story that on the surface, makes zero sense.

Main Event time! Roman Reigns defends against AJ Styles under Extreme Rules. How did the match unfold? Re: Payback, three weeks ago. See you next time.

Okay, so there was a bit more to it than that.

The crowd were once again solidly behind AJ Styles, predominately anti Roman Reigns and JBL and Cole still tried their best to explain why every city they go to isn’t behind their hand picked star. How hard is it to tell the truth about why you’re so intent on making Reigns succeed? “He’s pretty, he’s got great hair and he’s sort of (but not really) related to The Rock.” You could write 10,000 words on WWE’s infatuation with Roman Reigns and why he’s not connecting with fans but now is not the time. I must say though if there is one photo that explains my dislike, it’s this cringe worthy screen grab.

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What a knob. Anyway…

The match was pretty darn good though, much like last month. Both Styles and Reigns did fantastic jobs of using their surroundings to make this feel like it was ‘Extreme Rules’. The Club and Usos got involved once again, chairs were used and tables were broken. As a main event it’s all you could really ask for. Reigns gets the win with a spear as he barely scrapes away with the title. Night isn’t over though.

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Well look who’s back. Seth Rollins is here! After being sidelined for 8 months with a knee injury which forced him to relinquish the WWE Championship, Rollins returns and he wants back the title he never lost. Sadly though, he hasn’t thought of a new move in those 8 months and still uses the pedigree on Reigns. Regardless, bring on Raw! I am psyched for this.

Overall, Extreme Rules 2016 will be mostly remembered for it’s in ring content as only 2 out of the 7 matches on the show missed the mark (those being Jericho/Ambrose and Charlotte/Natalya). It’s always good to come out of a big show with more positives than negatives. The Club got their big debut PPV win, Rusev looks like a monster again as he regains the US title, the tag division is as healthy as it’s ever been and the Fatal-4-Way absolutely stole the show by a long mile.

Obviously the biggest positive to come away from Extreme Rules is that Seth Rollins has finally (FINALLY) returned to WWE and it looks like they’re wasting no time by having him go straight after the champion. We don’t know if he’s now a good guy or if he’s going to be forced to play evil seeing as WWE have zero top heels right now. All I know is I’m excited for Raw tomorrow!

Final Rating: 6/10

WWE Raw Commentary May 16th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary May 16th 2016

It’s the last stop before Extreme Rules. The night WWE takes it to the extreme, well for two or three matches anyway. Regardless, what can we expect from the final episode going into the big show on Sunday? Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s remind ourselves on what happened last week on Raw.

Previously, a six-man tag team elimination match pitting ‘The Club’ against ‘The Family’ ended in disqualification. The opposing club/family/gang/whatever you want to call them, engaged in a massive brawl that basically ended with AJ and Roman playing a game of “You have it. No you have it” with a chair. Nothing happened as AJ springboards at Roman but it was a defensive maneuver, so AJ rolls under and they stare off. I sense a lot of underlying sexual tension, I have a feeling that AJ Styles STRONGLY disagrees though.

Elsewhere on the show Dana Brooke made her main roster debut, Big Cass was in the main event amazingly, Dean Ambrose was a ‘stupid idiot’ and destroyed Jericho’s $15,000 jacket and Ric Flair acted like a caged gorilla at the thought of being escorted out of the arena. Okay, enough recap. Shall we move on to this weeks edition?

Raw kicks off with AJ Styles making his way to the ring to address the crowd. Styles says that he wants to set the record straight. Everyone thinks that Styles and his friendship with Gallows and Anderson is part of a scheme to make sure Styles becomes WWE champion. As evidence, Styles shows tweets from a bunch of randoms on the titantron for some reason that are all just saying that they like them together. Roman Reigns appears and says that he still thinks AJ is a liar. Gallows and Anderson’s music hits and while AJ is looking at the entrance way, he turns around to see Jimmy and Jey Uso standing beside Roman and gets a punch in the mouth.

One thing I want to comment on about this was the way WWE have changed their approach to Reigns’ negative crowd reaction. They’ve moved on from ignoring it to trying to explain why it’s happening. “Whether you love him or hate him, they have passionate feelings about him. What a presence he has.” WWE for whatever reason are on the mentality that any reaction is a good reaction, which is bonkers. Would you honestly believe that 18 years ago WWE would just settle for their guy not getting over the way they would have hoped? Why are WWE just content to let this continue? Is it impossible for WWE to pick a top guy that can be universally liked in this generation? Or would we boo anyone that looks like its Vince’s hand picked guy? All questions that would have long winded answers, lets move on.

On to something that makes me very happy, Sami Zayn vs Cesaro is up next. Holy cow, this is the gem. Everybody back off, let this go for a full hour and let it steal the show… Oh wait Miz and KO have already ruined it. FINE! I didn’t want to see it anyway. The four school children start fighting until the McMahon’s interrupt to restart this as a tag team match. Miz and Cesaro facing Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens!? This, much like TNA finding a new network every twelve months, can only end well for all involved.

The banter between KO and Sami is absolute top notch. Trading insults, giving each other advice and forcing tags made this match incredibly fun to watch. The highlight being when the crowd were chanting “you can’t wrestle!” at The Miz, KO yelling “Do you hear what they’re chanting at you Sami!?” The match ends as you would expect, everyone turning on their own partners with Sami pinning The Miz for the second week in a row. I can’t wait for this Fatal-4-Way on Sunday, but I have this suspicion that Miz is retaining.

Up next is the reboot literally no-one asked for, Primo and Epico are back and they’re even more Puerto Rican than before.  There must be a lot of pressure on those two as I think this is their third repackage, so if this doesn’t work I would imagine they’re done. It’s weird because no-one can deny the in ring capability of Primo and Epico, they’re both fun to watch and they debuted some really impressive and flashy new moves. But I have no idea why this gimmick is happening to us.

Last week on Raw we saw Ambrose destroy Jericho’s $15,000 jacket, the stupid idiot. On Smackdown Jericho got some revenge by outing Ambrose in a straight jacket and assaulting him. So now Ambrose is in the ring and he challenges Jericho to a match at Extreme Rules, which he accepts. However he didn’t tell him the stipulation, down lowers a steel cage but it’s not any old steel cage. On top of the steel cage are various weapons such as a strap, a fire extinguisher, a barbed wire baseball bat, a mop, a straight jacket and another potted plant (which I can only assume is the son of Mitch). It’s the first ever Asylum match.

A couple of things, first off Dean Ambrose delivered a stellar promo again and really sold the emotion and hatred he has for Jericho and how much he wants to get his hands on him, that was great. Second, I end up laughing way too hard whenever Jericho gives the gift of Jercho and tells people to drink it in. Lastly, I’ve seen a lot of flack that this match idea has gotten online but I really like it. When was the last time we debuted a new kind of stipulation match? I’m drawing a blank, so I’m going to sit back and enjoy this new concept and hopefully this becomes Ambrose’s signature match and he starts it off with a big win.

Women’s division action now as Dana Brooke makes her Raw debut against Becky Lynch. In a case of absolute worst timing imaginable, Emma has been sidelined with a back injury for an indefinite amount of time and she’ll have surgery on Wednesday. This sucks so much, Emma was gaining a tonne of momentum after finally returning to the main roster, it’s just such a shame. Emma, please get better soon, it’s been one week and I miss you too much.

On to the match itself, here’s where Emma’s injury is most noticeable. Dana Brooke is not the greatest in the ring, she’s got an incredibly strong personality and is easily dislikeable but her ring work is where it lets her down. Dana pins Becky clean, which is half right. Dana was the right choice to win seeing as it’s her Raw debut and all, but seeing as she’s now alone and against someone like Becky, it should have been a cheap win holding the ropes, using the tights, feet on the ropes or something. It’s nitpicking, but still.

This is where Raw goes balls out insane. After 5 months of teasing, Golden Truth (Goldust and R-Truth) are teaming for the first time against each of their former teammates Tyler Breeze and Fandango (known as Breezango, brutal). Before the match they air the most in depth video package I’ve seen in forever. It chronicles every emotion felt by Truth and Goldie and the heartbreak when their respective tag partners turned on them. I was laughing way too much at it and I have no idea why.

As for the match, it was very quick. Golden Truth started out working fine together but after one miscalculation, Truth kicked Goldust in the face and Tyler Breeze scored the win for his team. The team of ‘Breezango’, wow that is an awful name and I demand they change it immediately. I do have to say that Fandango and Tyler Breeze teaming together is amazing, I love it and it may be my new favourite thing. Leave me alone.

Next is probably the highlight of Raw for me, New Day are in the ring for another promo but WOW this one was fantastic. Xavier reveals a time machine (the New Day-Lorean) so they can go back and see what was so great about the bygone era. Sadly, the video link above has cut the two best parts out of the video. They initially went to 2009 where Jamaican Kofi returned for a brief moment and they alluded to Xavier’s use of internet porn. Outstanding.

The Vaudevillians end up attacking New Day from behind and laying them out with two new tag team maneuvers, one of them being a dangerous looking powerbomb/neckbreaker combo. Like I said last week, I don’t see Gotch and English leaving Extreme Rules with the tag belts just yet. But if that’s the case, that means we get more segments from these two groups and I’m so on board with that.

The latest installment of ‘Team Clubhouse’ vs ‘Team Nepotism’ is next with Gallows and Anderson facing The Uso’s once again with Styles and Reigns in their respective corners. Another solid match between the two teams with Jimmy and Jey getting the win after a splash. I really don’t think Uso’s needed the win here, I won’t go as far to say “OMG BULLET CLUB BURIED” but I don’t think it was the right decision.

After the match, Styles and Reigns finally get around to whacking each other with the chair that they kept giving to the other last week. AJ delivers the Styles Clash to Roman onto the chair and it looked sick. AJ Styles stands tall as the show goes off the air. Wait, there’s still another 45 minutes to go? Damn it!

Big Cass is facing D-Von Dudley and just as it gets started, it’s over. D-Von avoids a big boot from Cass but collected Bubba, D-Von runs into an East River Crossing from Cass and that’s all she wrote. There’s not a lot to say here, Big Cass is looking dominant in Enzo’s absence but he’s still missed. Big Cass keeps chugging along.

Another week goes by and another episode of Raw where I genuinely forget that Kalisto is United States Champion. Kalisto is facing another guy I consistently forget is still on the roster, Alberto Del Rio. The match was fine but we’ve seen these two face each other so many times before. The story here is Rusev attacking Sin Cara from behind backstage and dragging him out to ringside to distract Kalisto which works a treat. Del Rio delivers a vicious backstabber to Kalisto and gets the win. Post match, Rusev kicks Kalisto in the back of the head and bends him to a ninety degree angle in The Accolade.

A segment that effectively served it’s purpose, making Rusev look like a beast and make you feel sympathy for Kalisto. I’m thinking that the title changes hands at Extreme Rules. Nothing is gained by Kalisto winning and to be honest, his title reign has been stagnant since it began. Also, commentary noted that Sin Cara has said “no matter how much success Kalisto gets on his own, he’ll always be there as his partner.” Wow. Way to set yourself career goals Sin Cara.

In a baffling choice, the women’s championship contract signing is chosen to close out the show. Thankfully they’ve learned from last time and did not call out a dead relative. During the contract signing Charlotte and Flair discover a last minute stipulation has been added. If Ric Flair even walks down to ringside, Charlotte will forfeit the women’s championship and Natalya will be the new champion. This news does not make Ric happy and he’s losing it. He’s really losing it. He’s acting the same way I do when I’m told that the breakfast menu closed twenty minutes ago.

Ric starts berating the McMahons and calls Stephanie the worst business woman of all time and only got along with her because of who her husband was. Charlotte is yelling at her Dad “DAAAAAD! GET IT TOGETHER” which I feel like she’s said on multiple occasions in her lifetime. Stephanie slaps Ric so hard and Ric sells it like he’s been shot in the chest. Natalya then puts Charlotte in the Sharpshooter and she taps out to close the show.

 

There was a lot to like in this final episode before Extreme Rules. AJ and Roman started off with a quick but solid opening segment, The crazy Intercontinental title story continued with a tonne of fun interactions, the introduction of the first ever Asylum match, New Day delivered their best promo in months, AJ Styles finally got to give Reigns a small measure of payback and the women’s title contract signing was fun even though closing the show with it was an odd move.

I’m quite happy with this as a go home show. I would have rearranged some segments to make it flow a little better but outside of nitpicking it was a quality episode of Raw, much better than last weeks poor episode.

Final Rating: 7/10

WWE Raw Commentary May 9th 2016

WWE Raw Commentary May 9th 2016

It’s a new era in WWE (as WWE insists on telling us 8 times a show) and that’s why tuning into Raw has become fun again. With so many NXT call ups being prominently featured on the programme, thus creating a number of fresh match ups, Raw has been a consistently solid show over the last 6 weeks or so. Can they keep it up?

Previously on WWE, prepare for anarchy because Shane and Stephanie McMahon are running Raw together! But how will they coexist? They hate each other! They’ve been throwing hurtful barbs each others way, they can’t possibly get along… Oh wait, they’re coexisting fine. Okay, well no drama there. Let’s look elsewhere.

AJ Styles and Roman Reigns and their respective gangs are at each others throats. After a 6 man tag team match with AJ Styles and ‘The Club’ facing Roman Reigns and ‘Team Nepotism’, Gallows and Anderson held Reigns up for AJ to hit him with a chair. AJ said no, Uso’s attacked AJ with a chair anyway, AJ retaliates with the chair and Roman gets all super miffed and destroys AJ by putting him through a table.

Elsewhere in WWE, Jericho killed Ambrose’s best friend, there’s a super strange love rectangle between Goldust, Fandango, R-Truth and Tyler Breeze, Natalya put a pensioner in the sharpshooter and Damien Sandow was employed. It was a good time. Let’s get to this week.

Highlight Reel

Raw hails from Omaha, Nebraska this week which is already not a good sign. It could be worse though, it could be Corpus Christi, Texas. Wow that city has awful crowds. Anyway, that’s not what this article is about. Raw opens with the Highlight Reel. Chris Jericho talks about killing Mitch and putting Dean Ambrose on the shelf, which is ironically where Mitch’s home should’ve been. He has remnants of Mitch with him, which would be morbid if Mitch was anything more than a plant. Like, imagine if that was Dean’s dog and Jericho had its leg and fur on that seat.

Big Cass surprisingly is the one to interrupt Jericho and he challenges Y2J to a fight, Jericho retreats but still gets a big boot to the face for good measure. I liked this a lot. Enzo is sorely missed next to Cass, but this is a great time for everyone to get to know Cass by himself. With Enzo and all his charisma, it’s easy to forget about Cass. So when Enzo does return, the casual viewer will be truly familiar with the quieter one of the two.

Corbin Ziggler

Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler is next. I feel like I’ve seen this match a lot already. Dolph looks like absolute trash right now and Baron Corbin isn’t really ready to be up on the main roster. Corbin definitely could have benefited from another 6 months in NXT. I personally believe Corbin shouldn’t be talking but when he has so far, it’s been bad. When Corbin was in NXT, he was on the cusp of main event NXT title matches. But he was WWE’s get out of jail card winner for the Andre the Giant Memorial Afterthought at WrestleMania. Anyway, the match was fine. To Corbin’s credit, his ‘Deep Six’ suplex looks wicked. Corbin got his win back from Payback because those are the rules of WWE’s 50/50 style booking.

Truth Fandango

The continuation of the love rectangle between Truth, Goldust, Fandango and Tyler Breeze continues as R-Truth takes on Fandango. Here’s the thing, I like almost everyone in this. But it’s the stench of R-Truth that makes every bone in my body want to hate this. But weirdly, it’s one of the longest running stories on the show at the moment, having stemmed from when R-Truth was trying to recruit Goldust back in January. R-Truth pins Fandango and I die a little inside, moving on.

Paige Charlotte

Charlotte vs Paige is next and it’s a welcome surprise. I can’t remember the last time Paige was on Raw. She’s only been able to scream “THIS IS MY HOUSE!” inside her actual house for the last month. Charlotte is without Ric Flair at ringside and Natalya is on commentary. I can’t stress this enough, Natalya is AWFUL on commentary. Just absolutely brutal, so I try to tune commentary out… Kind of like normal, anyway. Paige and Charlotte have quite a good match, big moves and near falls galore. Flair makes his way out anyway but before he can do anything Shane McMahon arrives with security to escort Flair away. Flair is furious and looks like a gorilla being hoarded by zookeepers.

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“Ooh! Ooh! Ahh! Ahh!” – Ric Flair, possibly, or something to that effect.

 

 

Seriously, look at him. While Charlotte protests, Paige kicks Charlotte in the back of the head, rolls her up and gets the win. This will not be the last surprise roll up victory tonight. By the laws of pinning champions, this should mean that Paige gets to be added to the Extreme Rules title match in a Triple Threat. But will it actually happen? Probably not.

Sami Miz

As announced in an earlier backstage segment, if Sami Zayn can beat The Miz he will be added to the Triple Threat IC Title match at Extreme Rules and it will become a Fatal-4-Way. Time for the match itself, it was pretty darn good. Miz and Maryse are great characters and I welcome them as our new overlords as their outfits are something of sci-fi villains. The commentators mention that whenever you pin a champion, you’re automatically considered for a championship match. Those same rules should apply to the women’s division (I know I’m going on about it, but I can’t be bothered sitting through another Charlotte/Natalya one on one match. It’s been done).

Sami pins Miz clean with a Helluva Kick, Sami is heading to Extreme Rules and that match will be amazing. Also, something I’ve always wondered… Is it called the Helluva Kick because it’s a ‘hell of a kick’ or does ‘Helluva’ mean something else? Help me.

Dana Debut

Backstage again with Renee Young and she’s interviewing Becky Lynch over her loss to Emma last week. Emma interrupts and tells Becky she should have eyes in the back of her head as DANA BROOKE attacks from behind. I love that they’ve kept Emma and Dana Brooke together, they had a good thing going in NXT and it should translate well on the main roster. Having Emma and Dana as the No.2 heels in the women’s division is a solid choice, they can keep the non-title women’s storylines going. Somebody’s gonna get their head pat, Dana Brooke has arrived on the main roster.

Rusev Sin Cara

It’s time to pay some attention to the United States Championship. No, honestly it really is time it was paid some attention. Rusev won a Battle Royal last week to face Kalisto who I genuinely keep forgetting is champion. Rusev is facing Sin Cara and you’d think this would be pretty simple story telling. Rusev destroys Kalisto’s tag team partner, sending the champion a message that at Extreme Rules he’ll be taking the title. Well, NOPE! Sin Cara pins Rusev with a roll up after a distraction from Kalisto… WHY!? I just, WHY!? (Roll up victory No.2 for tonight)

six man tag

Moving on to ‘We don’t own the rights to Bullet Club’ vs ‘Team we’re related to The Rock’ only this time it’s under elimination rules. Gallows hits Jey Uso in the face and Anderson rolls him up for the first elimination (3rd roll up victory tonight). ‘The Club’ are in control until Anderson picks up Jimmy Uso by the head who rolls him up to eliminate Anderson (4th roll up victory tonight. This is ridiculous).

We go to commercial and we come back to find out Jimmy Uso has already been eliminated by AJ Styles, well that was poorly timed. Down to Roman vs AJ and Gallows now and after one Superman punch, Gallows hits the bricks. Roman and AJ Styles one on one and after a bit of back and forth, Gallows and Anderson return with steel chairs to cause a DQ. Big brawl occurs and it ends with Roman Reigns and AJ Styles in a stare off and giving each other the chair to use. AJ springboards at Roman, but rolls under the ropes and walks away.

Everyone on my Twitter feed was yelling “Who’s the heel!?” and that’s the point, we don’t know. This story has so many factors going that it’s making the viewer pick a side because neither side (with the exception of Gallows and Anderson) are acting majorly babyface. This leaves it to the live audience in each respective city to decide who they’ll get behind. Speaking of, I believe this may be the first episode of Raw in over 3 months where Roman received a more positive reaction than the guy he’s opposing. It only took for them to go to Nebraska for it to happen. If WWE had their way, they’d just stay in Nebraska and other non-smarky towns 365 days of the year.

KO Ryder

Zack Ryder vs Kevin Owens is next and if Ryder beats KO, he replaces him in the IC title Fatal-4-Way. Zack Ryder comes out to absolutely ZERO reaction. Seriously, the crowd were reacting as if they just received some terrible news about their favourite aunt. Owens pins Ryder with a pop-up powerbomb and there goes Ryder’s hopes again, poor guy. What does this guy have to do to get a sustained spot in the mid-card?

New Day Dudleyz

Next up is New Day taking on The Dudley Boyz and I’ll be honest guys, I zoned out at this point. 3 hours is a long show, I caught the end where D’Von clotheslined the absolute hell out of Kofi Kingston to get the win after a distraction from the Vaudevillians. I’m not sure whether now is the right time for Vaudevillians to get the tag titles, but New Day have had it for a mighty long time now. I wouldn’t be upset if Vaudevillians won them at Extreme Rules, maybe a tad underwhelmed. I think New Day have another month with the belts.

Jericho

Main Event time as Big Cass is about to take on Chris Jericho, which is an amazing opportunity for Cass. But oh well, it doesn’t happen. Dean Ambrose attacks Jericho while the lights are out and he steals his light jacket. Dean destroys the jacket, ripping it apart as if he’s some kind of lunatic or something. Jericho is distraught as he tries to save his jacket and he screams that “IT’S WORTH $15,000 YOU IDIOT” as Raw fades to black.

Oh wait, not yet as we go backstage to Shane and Stephanie who are recapping the show and praising each other. They make jokes and act all cutesy until Shane needs to take a call and leaves the room. Stephanie holds the picture of Shane as a child in Vince’s arms and she gives a warm smile.

The complete lack of conflict in this supposed ‘Power Struggle’ storyline has completely ripped it of any excitement. One of the main gripes of the way Raw was months ago was that it was too easily predictable. You got the feeling that really anything can, but probably won’t happen on Raw. A power struggle between a face and heel authority could’ve lead to chaos and in turn, quality TV. But having them act chummy and coexist without any troubles is exactly what this angle didn’t need.

Anyway, the 9th of May edition of Raw was the definition of a filler week for Raw. There were some positives like the continued drama between Roman and AJ, Dana Brooke’s debut, Ambrose and Jericho’s story as well as the in ring stuff from the women and Sami Zayn/Miz. But outside of those, a pretty forgettable week of Raw. Could we really ask for 6 weeks of quality Raw’s in a row? The streak was broken.

 

Final Rating: 5/10

5 Annoying Things Only A Wrestling Fan In Australia Would Understand

5 Annoying Things Only A Wrestling Fan In Australia Would Understand

Living in Australia has many advantages. Beautiful weather for most of the year. The drinking age is 18. Some of the best tourist destinations in the world. Donald Trump isn’t in line to be our next leader… But if there is one thing it’s hard to be in Australia, it’s being a wrestling fan.

Wrestling is not super prevalent here in Australia. There are plenty of really small wrestling promotions in each major city, I know the names of the local ones simply because I’m a big enough wrestling fan and I research these things.

When it comes to finding official wrestling merchandise here, good luck! The major department stores will have a small section devoted to the DVD’s. But that’s about it. Admittedly in some areas it has improved, action figures, play rings and whatnot have seen an increase. Not so much in variety (Anybody want 14 of the same John Cena figure?) but nevertheless, the stock is there I guess.

Some of the points I will bring up may be applicable to those in other countries… But for the most part, Aussie fans will know what I’m talking about here.

  1. Our Media Treats It As A Joke

Now this could be the case in a number of countries, but in Australia I find it to be pretty bad. Our mainstream media just don’t care, like at all. The mainstream media will never treat WWE seriously (no matter how much WWE is desperately trying to change that). But at least for the most part, they let them have their say when a superstar is on a show promoting the live event in the area and not, y’know, laugh at them.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people refer to it as ‘WWF’ on Australian television. It wasn’t a big deal in the 2000’s when they had only recently changed the name to WWE. But it’s been nearly 15 years since it was last called WWF. Come on guys.

A big example of when the media were just disrespectful quite frankly was when Australia’s own Emma was a guest on ‘The Project’ in 2014. This segment was painful to watch (and still is when I re-watch it as I write this). Emma was promoting the upcoming Australian tour, her first time back in Australia as a main roster superstar. What followed was a train wreck of an interview.

They started by referring to her as ‘Diva Emma’. Clearly misunderstanding the press release they had been handed that said ‘WWE Diva, Emma’. They proceeded with generic questions in regards to body slams as a kid. They asked about her relationships for some reason (because she’s a girl I guess…). At one point one of the hosts called her Sarah.

It was awful. Watch it if you like, it’s uncomfortable. Poor Emma.

  1. WWE Only Visits Once A Year

    (At a Live Event in 2012. Daniel Bryan Vs CM Punk)Me at WWE

This just comes with being an international fan. I totally understand why they only come once a year. It’s super far away, there are only so many days in a year and a tonne of other countries around the world also want to see it. That’s fine. This has more to do with what WWE does while they’re here. And by that I mean they do nothing of note.

Since 2003, Australia has been getting annual tours. These consist of 3-5 dates of just generic live events where nothing happens. Everyone knows the way live events go. 6-8 matches of whatever feuds are happening on TV, all champions retain, more faces win than heels and the top babyface will always triumph to close the show. It’s okay to do that, but the amount they charge to see a generic show is ridiculous!

Outside of the 2002 Global Warning Tour (which was later released on video), WWE have not had a televised event from Australia, which is baffling. The 2002 tour had 56,000 people attend a non-televised event! The demand is (or at least, was) here, it’s not too much to ask that we have at least a Raw and Smackdown taping here.

  1. No Australians Have Made It Big (Yet)

If I asked you 3 years ago to name a successful big time Australian wrestler, you most probably would come up with nothing (If you said The Bushwackers I would have hit you, they’re from New Zealand).

The Fabulous Kangaroos (Al Costello and Roy Heffernan) were a very successful tag team from 1957-1965. They won numerous NWA Tag Team Championships and were posthumously inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003. However in the minds of todays wrestling fans, they aren’t remembered.

Outback Jack wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation in the 80’s. His WWF career was short. He won a handful of matches against some jobbers and left the WWF with little fan fare 2 years into his career. Nathan Jones signed with WWE in late 2002. He left 12 months later. Let us never speak of him again.

In more recent times, the likes of Emma and Buddy Murphy debuted with WWE and are still going strong. Emma is did great things in the NXT Women’s division and has returned to the main roster and Murphy became one half of the NXT Tag Team Champions in January of 2015, making him the first Australian in history to win a WWE branded championship. They are also the first Australian WWE superstars to not be total embarrassments (I’m looking at you Outback Jack and Nathan Jones).

In April, WWE signed Perth born wrestlers Mikey Nichols and Shane Haste, also known as The Mighty Don’t Kneel (TMDK) from Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan and are now in the WWE Performance Center awaiting debut. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are both Sydney natives and competing in NXT as well. Good luck to all of them!

  1. Television Broadcast Delays

This was definitely more of an issue 5-10 years ago, but it still was a major annoyance. In February 2014, Australia finally (and I mean FINALLY) started to receive Raw live on television. Monday night in the United States is about mid Tuesday morning in Australia. Perfect! But like I said, February 2014 that happened, it wasn’t always like this.

I started watching Wrestling in 2000, and at that point Monday Night Raw was broadcast on Tuesdays at 8:30pm, around 12 hours after it airs in the US. By 2003 it had moved channels and aired on Wednesdays at 9:30pm, 36 hours later than America. I was so lucky the internet wasn’t as useful as it is now.

By 2005 it settled on Wednesdays at 3pm. It stayed in that time slot for 9 years.

Smackdown on the other hand, Australia got a good deal with that! Until 2005, the blue brand was broadcast on a Saturday night. It didn’t bother many people, it was like a tape delay of a tape delay, no-one cared. However in 2004, when Smackdown was moved from Thursdays to Fridays in America, we got a super good deal.

Smackdown was moved to Friday 3pm in Australia, which meant we received Smackdown about 12-16 hours before the United States. That was a hell of a deal we got until January of 2016.

Television broadcasts were a bit of a catch-22 for Australians. Raw was super late, but we got Smackdown before anyone else.

  1. Avoiding Spoilers Of Pay Per Views

This is something that will never change because that’s the beauty of time zones. Sunday nights in the United States is mid Monday morning in Australia. This is where being an Australian wrestling fan is at its toughest.

Between March and October, PPV’s would start at 9:30am. Between October and March, 11:30am (Hooray for daylight savings!). This would mean you would be forced to go to school/work and spend the entirety of your day wondering what’s happening on the show that you can’t watch!

This proved even more difficult as the internet got bigger, social media became a thing and access to spoilers became even easier to accidentally stumble across. So the thing that you would usually do to pass the time while bored at work/school you can’t for fear of spoiling yourself!

But I do have to say, the best feeling ever was coming home and dumping all your stuff and run to the TV to watch the PPV. Because wrestling, no matter how much it irritates you, is just the best form of entertainment out there!