The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up #5

IGR Weekly Wrestling Wrap Up

So, what did WWE give us at and after Extreme Rules? Did any of it make sense, and are they going anywhere worthwhile? What about TNA’s work going in to their second major Pay-Per-View for the year, Slammiversary? Are they giving fans enough to make people want to order it? Finally, with the first new episode since Border Wars, how is ROH faring? With questions like these, it’s obvious what you’re about to read.

iGR Weekly Wrestling Wrap Up1

As always, this is not a column that focuses on wrestling news. Instead, it is merely a presentation and analysis of the stories (and, in some cases, matches) that the wrestling companies in question see fit to broadcast. Although all attempts will be made to include every possible story shown, some things may slip through the cracks, but I will try to rectify that the following week. With that little rider out of the way, let’s get wrapping!

The WWE logo and the Extreme Rules logo © 2013 WWE. Used under fair use rules.

The WWE logo and the Extreme Rules logo © 2013 WWE. Used under fair use rules.

This is going a little off-format, as the run-down will be a reaction to each match without much of a summary, since previous columns have already detailed how we got here, although when the results are directly related to the story, I will mention it.

RESULTS
Steel Cage Match: Brock Lesnar def. Triple H via pin fall following interference from Paul Heyman and an F5
WWE Championship – Last Man Standing: John Cena {C} and The Ryback battled to a no contest after the match was stopped for medical reasons
Extreme Rules Match: Randy Orton def. The Big Show via punt to the head following chair-assisted RKO
Tag Team Championships – Tornado Match: Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns (The Shield) def. Kane and Daniel Bryan (Team Hell No) {C} following a knee drop/Death Valley Driver combination on to Bryan for the pin to win the titles
World Heavyweight Championship – Number One Contender’s I Quit Match: Alberto Del Rio def. Jack Swagger with the Cross Arm Breaker
Strap Match: Sheamus def. Mark Henry with a Brogue Kick to touch the fourth ring post before Henry manages to touch one
United States Championship: Dean Ambrose def. Kofi Kingston with a bulldog driver to win the title
Chris Jericho def. Fandango via Codebreaker off of the top rope

General Overview: For a show called Extreme Rules, opening with two regular matches is somewhat of a confusing choice. The stipulations during the rest of the show worked well enough, although two of the matches definitely used the stipulations in a manner that made little sense. However, they did close with a match that had a definite ending, and the match was a somewhat hardcore gimmick.

Lesnar vs Triple H: Well, they finally decided that Brock Lesnar needed to have a victory against Triple H that didn’t end with Triple H having a broken arm. However, in order to do that, they continuously made Lesnar look ineffective. The fact that Paul Heyman had to hit Triple H in the groin in order for Lesnar to finally get the win cuts Lesnar’s legs out from under him. I don’t care that Lesnar won, the fact that he won in the manner that he did makes the match meaningless, and puts over Triple H when he really did not need it.

Cena vs Ryback: Considering the end that we got, I understand why this wasn’t the final match, even though the title was on the line. However, using Cena’s real injury to book the match was probably to the detriment of the plans that they had. This match would clearly have been better in a Falls Count Anywhere environment, since the ending clearly gave Ryback the win, if Ryback had had the presence of mind to demand a ten-count. The result here was stupid.

Randy Orton vs Big Show: While the match in and of its self wasn’t terrible or anything, it was still a match where the smaller guy was booked to look like a beast. Show managed to keep coming back from taking some heavy hits, but an RKO on a chair apparently was enough. It seems that they’ve decided to keep Show off the screen for a while, considering the match ended with a boot to the head, so while Orton may have not needed the win, it may be what WWE booking plans required.

The Shield’s Title Victories: The matches were possibly the best part of the show, since they had definite ends and gave the victories to the logical winners, considering how things were built. If The Shield had failed here, the entire point of their dominance from Survivor Series up until the week before Extreme Rules would have been a waste. Instead, WWE did the right thing here, and The Shield has the gold. I was hoping that we’d see Freebird rules for the belts, but I doubt that will actually happen.

Del Rio vs Swagger: The way that this match went down was completely insane. The second throwing in a towel is a rule in an I Quit match that’s so dated that I’m not even sure it ever was a rule in the first place. The fact that Swagger fought out of multiple submission holds, only to submit after getting a rest during the Dusty finish, was quite ludicrous. They made it quite obvious that Swagger was being punished, and as such, we got a finish that robbed the fans of sense.

Sheamus vs Henry: Of all of the matches, this one had the ending that got me angry. The whole feud has been built backwards, with the supposed bad guy doing all the impressive stuff and the supposed good guy taking cheap shots. If this were logical story telling instead of the WWE, this match would have had Henry take the win after hitting a huge World’s Strongest Slam and dragging Sheamus’ unconscious body around the ring. Instead, Sheamus almost wins, Henry tries to stop him, and then Sheamus actually gets the win. This was the least satisfying result.

Fandango vs Jericho: Well, this match was apparently crisper than the WrestleMania match. As far as the result goes, Jericho managing to counter Fandango’s finisher was a nice bit of tit-for-tat. Exchanging wins with Jericho isn’t the worst thing that could happen to Fandango. On the other hand, Fandango is somebody that they seem to want to hit it big, so some fans could consider losing to an on-and-off worker like Jericho detrimental.

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WWE Championship: John Cena, as part of the angle they’re doing from Extreme Rules, was not present. Instead, Ryback opened RAW by driving in to the arena with an ambulance. He talked about the result of Extreme Rules, and stated that he was really unhappy with it. After insulting the fans, he stated that while Cena managed to escape with the title by requiring medical attention, at Payback, that would be the one thing he wouldn’t want. That’s because it’s going to be an Ambulance Match. Later on, to emphasize the angle, Ryback came down to the ring after a match between Cody Rhodes and Zack Ryder, took out Rhodes, and slammed Ryder in to the ambulance he used earlier. On Main Event, Ryback distracted 3MB by abducting Heath Slater in an ambulance.
My Thoughts: Well, it was a bit on the nose, but at least WWE creative has a way forward after that debacle of a match ending at Extreme Rules. The fact that they sacrificed not one, but two, roster members to Ryback just to prove a point was a little much, though. Ryback could have just as easily attacked Ryder backstage, and they could have given the time from the brief Rhodes/Ryder match to one of the other contests. Interrupting the tag match on Main Event was a little redundant.

World Heavyweight Championship: Big E. Langston played the part of Dolph Ziggler on RAW, taking Alberto Del Rio one-on-one and winning in short fashion because AJ Lee just kept interfering. They got a much longer match on Main Event, with Del Rio picking up the victory. Meanwhile, the would-be contender and former challenger to the title, Jack Swagger, got a decent match with Randy Orton on RAW, but then ate a quick loss to Daniel Bryan on SmackDown.
My Thoughts: With the champion still out for the time being, they had to do something. Having Ziggler’s “heavy” step in was somewhat predictable, but at least the man is portrayed as a wrestler, unlike the other men’s sidekicks. The fact that Swagger was built up so heavily only to be tossed away is fitting, considering the situation, but it does mean that Ziggler really needs to come back to be a foil to Del Rio.

“I’m a Paul Heyman Guy”: So, because the WWE only has so many appearances for Brock Lesnar, but they apparently wanted Paul Heyman to still dress down Triple H, Heyman brought out yet another client. Said client? Michael McGillicutty, re-named Curtis Axel in the vein of the “Rocky Maivia” name scheme. While they built him up heavily, putting him against Triple H, Triple H proceeded to verbally dress him down, and then took most of the offense in Axel’s re-debut match. The match ended with Triple H succumbing to medical concerns, because apparently the cage match took more out of him than originally thought. On SmackDown, Heyman and Axel claimed that as a victory, and then Axel got the win over Sin Cara in a very brief match.
My Thoughts: Sin Cara’s return continues to be completely pointless, and apparently, because Triple H actually is still the jackass that we remember from 2003, we also have a man that could have come out looking like gang busters looking ineffective against a man with an injury. Who wins on this, again? Brock Lesnar doesn’t seem to be around to take credit, after all. McGillicutty wasn’t all that impressive before this new direction – he was relegated to Superstars, which only airs on Hulu in the US. Fans remember who he is, and who he was before was so it’s confusing as to why he’s the new Heyman guy.

Sheamus: Coming off of a victory against Mark Henry, Sheamus went up against Henry’s training partner, Titus O’Neil, because of some things Titus said on the Extreme Rules post-show. Sheamus managed to defeat Titus and fend off the other Prime Time Player, Darren Young, at the same time. However, on SmackDown, Sheamus tried an ambush Dean Ambrose backstage. He then teamed up with Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston in a failing effort against The Shield.
My Thoughts: So Sheamus not only goes after a guy, but goes after the guy’s friends? And if that wasn’t enough, he tries to bully somebody else? Somebody needs to pull him off of the Be A Star program, because he is totally becoming a straight-up bully. Him losing almost made me cheer The Shield. Speaking of those guys …

The Shield, Complete With Actual Metal Plates: They got a victory speech on RAW before a match against Team Hell No and Kofi Kingston. The most memorable line was that the Hounds of Justice “run this yard”, and they have the collars to back it up. Following that, they managed to dispatch their three opponents, pinning Kane this time instead of Daniel Bryan, just to prove that they could have won the belts from either man. On SmackDown, Dean Amrbose defended his belt against Kofi, but The Shield made sure he retained via DQ, which led to Kofi getting backup from Sheamus and Randy Orton, but as previously mentioned, The Shield actually won that legitimately.
My Thoughts: With everything about I can complain, these guys are the reason I keep watching. Team Hell No made the tag team titles matter, so The Shield claiming them from Bryan and Kane is huge. Dean Ambrose winning the United States title is icing on the cake, so showing the three men dominate not only Team Hell No and Kofi Kingston, but two men that won at Extreme Rules, is a great way to do things. If it leads to the United States title once again being a belt that is a legitimate prize instead of a place-holder instead of somebody’s name, I’m all for this.

FAN-DAN-GO: On RAW, we had Fandango team up with Wade Barrett to take on Chris Jericho and The Miz. Almost as if Fandango was above everything, he left the ring and started dancing with Summer Rae. This left Barrett on his own, and let Jericho and Miz pick up the victory. On SmackDown, Fandango was the guest on Miz TV, and got in to a verbal tirade with Miz. Barrett interrupted the whole thing to insult Fandango, but Miz reminded Barrett that Miz was challenging him for the Intercontinental title. Fandango was on commentary during the match, and attacked Miz for the DQ.
My Thoughts: Both the United States and Intercontinental titles were on the line this week, and both defenses ended in disqualifications. While the United States championship’s result makes sense, having Fandango blatantly cost Barrett the win instead of letting Wade make the defense and then getting Fandango to assault Miz after the fact makes it look like we’re going to have a three-way rivalry. If they manage to make Barrett relevant again, or at least make the Intercontinental title relevant, I’m all for it.

Other Thoughts: Chris Jericho becoming an afterthought after a victory on a Pay-Per-View kind of puts him in the Randy Orton camp. Creative apparently has no idea what to do with either of them except for putting them in matches because the stories for both men ended at Extreme Rules, but due to their popularity, they have to be on the show. We’re seeing more of the secondary roster on the air, which is a good thing, but chances are that it’s only for the summer, right up until they can be shuffled back on to SLAM. That, or Superstars is suddenly going to feature far more of that show’s namesakes.

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TNA World Championship: The show opened with Hogan discussing a few random things (including plugging a restaurant), but when it got down to business, Sting came out. The two talked about the stipulations for the title match at Slammiversary, but Sting said that he agreed to the stipulations, and he only needed one match to handle things. Brooke Hogan interrupted everything and tried to take the blame for letting Ray get in to the position that he now holds, and offered to resign. Hogan refused, and said she was doing just fine running the Knockouts division. That brought out Ray, who said (rightly) that everything was on Bully’s shoulders. Except for the part where, in spite of manipulating Brooke, Brooke made him fall in love with her. He says that is why he’s keeping the wedding band, because he’ll always love her. When Brooke asked him for clarification, he said he meant that he still loved her. Sting also talked to Joseph Park about his TV title shot and the tag team match next week, alluding to an appearance from Abyss.
My Thoughts: So, first we get the new World order mixed with Sons of Anarcy in Aces and Eights. Are we seriously going to get a copy of the McMahon-Helmsley Era now? Honestly, this really didn’t sell me on the main event for Slammiversary. They went with a romance angle instead of truly building the title match. Making secondary titles a side consideration is one thing. The decision to make the main belt a non-issue smacks of stupidity, even if it involves Abyss’ return.

AJ & The Aces & Eights: Throughout the night, they had segments that made it clear that D’Lo Brown had gone from Vice President to not even a Prospect (wearing just a t-shirt, being alluded to as a disappointment, and doing menial chores). They had AJ Styles come to the arena wearing his recent attire, riding a motorcycle. Kurt Angle, AJ Styles’ opponent for Slammiversary, took on Aces and Eights member Mister Anderson and only lost when AJ came out and gave Taz, the Dead Man’s Hand announcer, a man-hug. When they finally got to the patching in, Bully Ray sang AJ’s praises repeatedly, and then the club presented Styles with his kutte. Kurt Angle interrupted the process, since he needed to see it with his own eyes. AJ put on the kutte, and D.O.C. ambushed Kurt Angle. Styles used a hammer on Angle, and then used it on the Aces and Eights. AJ bailed before he could get attacked.
My Thoughts: AJ taking no side but his own was kind of the obvious direction for this whole thing, but that kind of means that the man that everybody assumed would be the man to take the title back for TNA may be a red herring. After all, if a man serves only himself, how can he be the company’s hero? As an interesting side note, they made a little side reference to Ring of Honor’s SCUM group, which was a little bit of fan service, considering that they can actually get ROH on broadcast TV in Tampa.

X-Division Championship: Suicide made his return this week to challenge for a number one contender’s spot, taking on Petey Williams and Joey Ryan, who was standing in for Zema Ion. Suicide got the victory over Ryan, with champion Kenny King watching on. That finalized the X-Division Slammiversary match, although they did tease something different, as Chris Sabin offered to team with James Storm. Storm established that, in spite of the not being a Destination X pay-per-view planned this year, the X-Division champion can trade in the X-Division championship for a World Championship shot.
My Thoughts: Well, that established the hierarchy of the titles quite clearly. Apparently it goes World Heavyweight Championship > Tag Team Titles > X-Division Title > TV Title > Knockouts Title. Obviously, if Sabin would rather have a Tag Team title shot than an X-Division title shot, that’s where they’re going. Suicide’s return is a little odd, given how long ago the TNA iMpact video game came out. And Joey Ryan keeps being used as a random “we don’t have anybody else so we’re putting you in” worker, making one wonder why they’re even bothering to have him on the roster.

Tag Team Championship: So after turning down Sabin as a partner, Storm came out, with Chavo and Hernandez at the announce table (albeit Chavo was the only one of the champions actually on commentary). Storm started, but Austin Aries and Bobby Roode interrupted him. Roode and Storm relived the bad old days (according to them) of Beer Money, which brought out Bad Influence. They insulted Storm’s unknown pick, and then Bad Influence started bickering with Roode & Aries. Eventually, Storm brought out Shark Boy, who dropped some puns and “Stone Cold” style phrases. Robbie E came out and tried to convince Storm to choose him instead. That brought out Gunner, who took out both Robbie and Shark Boy. Much to the displeasure of the other two villainous teams, Storm chose Gunner.
My Thoughts: Well, at least they didn’t bring back Chris Harris. However, Gunner as the reveal wasn’t as good as the rest of the segment. Admittedly, this is the best part of the show that wasn’t directly related to Aces and Eights, but that doesn’t mean that much.

Knockouts Championship: Mickie James was backstage, talking to Velvet Sky as the champion took care of her knee. Mickie tried to talk Velvet out of the title match, but Velvet said that Gail Kim wouldn’t get her way. That led to a match where Mickie used offense that focused on anything and everything except for attacks to the leg, at least until it became obvious that Mickie couldn’t win unless she got cheap. She gave Velvet a slap, which goaded Sky in to an ill-advised multi-rotation inverted hurricanrana that ended with Velvet hurting her knee. Mickie then blatantly targeted the hurt knee, used the Mickie DT, and took the win and the title.
My Thoughts: Well, that was an interesting twist. Mickie obviously has to become a villain at this point, right? Because they need all the champions to be villains at some point, one would guess. Either that or they just realized that they had one villain in the Knockouts division, and she wasn’t the number one contender.

The Other Aces and Eights Stuff: Wes Brisco, Garrett Bischoff, and D.O.C. came out to interrupt a would-be match between Sam Shaw and Alex Silva to tell Shaw that he was getting a bye in to the BFG Series because Silva was unconscious in the parking lot. Brisco complained about not getting a chance to get in to the BFG series, which resulted in Magnus coming out. Magnus and Brisco had a match, and when it was clear that Magnus was going to win, D.O.C. and Bischoff came in and started to beat him down, but Samoa Joe came out to make the save.
My Thoughts: So, that was a brief time for all of TNA’s heroes to be gone. Magnus and Joe joining forces to take on the Dead Man’s Hand isn’t that bad of an idea, really.

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NOTE: This episode aired on May 18, but was not available online as of the writing of the previous column.

World Championship: Nigel McGuinness was out on the show to list people who had the right to challenge Jay Briscoe for the title. That included Michael Elgin, who was more focused about redeeming his loss to Karl Anderson and ridding ROH of SCUM. However, the American Wolves, Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards had title shots coming. Nigel mentioned the Best in the World internet Pay-Per-View. That brought out Jay Briscoe, who was happy to beat anybody and everybody. Mark Briscoe came out to give Jay humility, but that just led to Jay challenging Mark. Nigel decided to take the whole thing under consideration.
My Thoughts: Well, the potential contenders that Nigel McGuinness mentioned definitely have a past rivalry with Jay Briscoe, since the Briscoes and the Wolves have tangled quite frequently. But Mark going from the Television title to the World title scene? If not for the fact that they made it a sibling rivalry story, Mark challenging Jay and vice versa would make no sense at all.

SCUM: The show started with Steve Corino coming out and gloating about SCUM’s victory at Border Wars, eventually claiming that whoever SCUM sends to challenge for the ROH World championship will be the last person to hold the title. Corino was on commentary all night, providing a villainous counter-point to Kevin Kelly, albeit without any malice between the two men. Jay Lethal came out to talk about Kevin Steen replacing him at Border Wars, issued a challenge to Jimmy Jacobs, and got ambushed. Lethal managed to take control quickly, but the hurt leg let Jacobs get some offense. Lethal looked to get the win, but since the Lethal Injection is highly athletic, Jay’s knee gave out and Jimmy won clean. Later, the team of Cliff Compton and Rhett Titus took on the C&C Wrestling Factory. Eventually, Caprice Coleman had to leave for medical attention, but Caprice kept coming back. While it looked like Caprice and Alexander might get the victory, Coleman’s injury eventually became too much, and Rhett Titus got the pinfall victory for SCUM. At the end of the night, SCUM interfered with the match between Kevin Steen and Adam Cole, giving Cole the victory.
My Thoughts: All three matches on the show involved SCUM, either with the result or with people actually in the match. They caused the outcomes of all three matches, and two of them were due to injuries that their opponents caused. SCUM seems to be tearing down ROH properly, but only because it seems like they’re targeting or absorbing everybody that can make ROH unique. Not a bad strategy, come to that.

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WWE Payback
WWE Championship – Ambulance Match: John Cena {C} vs Ryback (Presumed to happen, not officially booked)

TNA Slammiversary XI
TNA World Heavyweight Championship – Challenger’s Future Title Shots On The Line: Bully Ray {C} vs Sting
AJ Styles vs Kurt Angle
TNA Tag Team Championships: Chavo Guerrero, Jr. and Hernandez {C} vs Bobby Roode and Austin Aries vs Bad Influence vs James Storm and Gunner

And with that, that wraps this edition of the Wrap-Up! Until next time, keep on slamming, suplexing, and springboarding, but only if you’ve had the proper training.

Nicholas Villarreal

Game Review/News Editor at iGame Responsibly
Nicholas Villarreal is a seasoned writer on the staff of iGame Responsibly, covering breaking news, as well as game reviews.

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