The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up #14

The WWE continues to roll into SummerSlam, and the pay-per-view is looking stronger by the week. Meanwhile, in TNA, the rivalry between the Main Event Mafia and the Aces and Eights got to a new level, the World Heavyweight Champion faced the X-Division Champion, and the Bound for Glory Series continued to roll on. Meanwhile, in Ring of Honor, we had Steel Cage Warfare, which, due to SCUM leader Steve Corino’s intent to destroy Ring of Honor, meant that the fate of the company was on the line. Want more details? You’ll just have to read the column!

iGR-Weekly-Wrestling-Wrap-Up3

As usual, the Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up on iGR won’t discuss any wrestling news other than what airs on television in the United States, and which originates in the United States. This means that if a company airs solely via alternate means, e.g. video distribution or online-only services, fans will have to look elsewhere. However, should watching said shows on an actual television broadcast be unavailable, the report will use alternate means of viewing.

The Stories:
RAW
– Vince McMahon was out with Brad Maddox in tow. Maddox was forced to make a public apology for a bone-headed decision in allowing John Cena to choose his challenger. Vince recounted what Maddox said about Daniel Bryan, and asked Maddox what he really thought. That brought out Bryan, who actually shook Vince’s hand. Bryan accused McMahon of putting words in Maddox’s mouth. The two then had a discussion about respect as it related to Bryan, Vince, and John Cena. Vince then began to tear down Daniel Bryan, eventually stating that his preference would be for Cena and Bryan to burst in to flames in the ring at SummerSlam. Bryan came back, telling Vince that he appreciated Vince’s honesty, but the fans’ thoughts mattered more. Bryan asked the fans if they wanted a new WWE Champion, and the fans started chanting “Yes!” Later backstage, Daniel Bryan confronted John Cena about whether Vince McMahon was telling the truth about how John Cena was being pretentious when he praised Daniel Bryan. Cena asked if Bryan was calling him a liar, to which Bryan had no response. Later on, Triple H confronted Vince McMahon. Vince said he just thinks that Daniel Bryan can’t beat John Cena. Stephanie said that the solution was a corporate makeover for Daniel Bryan, to which both Vince and Triple H responded cynically. After Cena’s match, Bryan came down to congratulate Cena, but the two had a small disagrestrongent about the WWE Championship belt.
– Some WWE backstage staff was grabbing some snacks. Ryback pushed thstrong out of the way, and began to bully one of thstrong physically and verbally, eventually hitting the man with food, and then threatening to put him through the food table. He faked that he was going to walk off, but then hauled off and gave him a choke bomb through the table. According to Ryback, the entire point was to strongphasize what he was going to do to John Cena. The actual tables match had roughly sixteen tables at the stage and ramp, with some stacked double, not to mention others around the ring.
– They showed a video about the Wyatts, strongphasizing their cult-like nature and the rhetoric that Bray Wyatt has used. They made sure to include the fact that Bray Wyatt has been telling Kane to “follow the buzzards”. Immediately afterward, Kane stormed in to Brad Maddox’s office. Maddox said that the Wyatts weren’t present, but Kane could send a message by showing his killer instinct against Daniel Bryan. Kane had a conflicted look in his eyes as the scene faded. Later, just as Kane was going to set off his pyro following his loss to Daniel Bryan, the Wyatts came out to the arena. When the lights came up, Kane went after Bray Wyatt, but Rowan and Harper bum-rushed him. Kane fought valiantly, but eventually fell to the double team. Bray then delivered the Kiss Goodbye, got on the microphone, and told Kane he was no dstrongon, and to be careful about what he said, because he never knew who might be listening.
– AJ Lee went on a tirade about Big E not protecting her against Kaitlyn, wondering why that was the case. Langston was a little speechless, and AJ decided to assume that Langston liked her, and what she does in the ring. She skipped off, totally happy, leaving Langston annoyed. After AJ lost to Kaitlyn, she began to throw a tstrongper tantrum, and Big E tried to calm her down like before. That brought out Dolph Ziggler, who mocked AJ a little bit, then issued a challenge to Langston which Big E accepted. After AJ cost Big E the match, Langston berated Lee, who began to have a break-down. Langston was so confused that he took a sneak Zig Zag from Ziggler.
– Before Cody Rhodes took on Wade Barrett, they showed a video recap about Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow’s interaction on the previous week’s SmackDown. Sandow came out after Rhodes’ match, and spoke about their time together. He noted that he was incredibly successful, and educated the unwashed masses, and Cody … grew a moustache. However, that was because Sandow comes from a family of scholars, while Rhodes comes from a family of clowns. Sandow said he probably should put Rhodes down, but “carny folk” are beneath him. He said his patented, “You’re welcome,” before walking off.
– Curtis Axel was backstage with Paul Heyman, who talked him up as the best Intercontinental Champion ever. Before Axel’s match against R-Truth, Paul Heyman gave a speech. He said that he was the most exclusive manager and advocate in sports entertainment history. He talked up Brock Lesnar, and then talked up the fact that his other client was the Intercontinental champion. At the end of Axel’s match with CM Punk, Punk rushed the ring, pulled Axel out, got some good shots against Heyman, and fought off an attack from Axel. However, Heyman managed to retreat.
– They had a segment between the Bellas and Natalya that was filmed earlier, and the Bellas called Natalya an ugly duckling. This fed in to Natalya’s match against Brie Bella, making her recklessly aggressive. Just as Natalya was going to lock Brie in the Sharpshooter, Nikki distracted Natalya with a duck call, allowing Brie to win.

Main Event
– R-Truth got to rap his intro music, complete with his new regular (instead of braided) dreadlocks.

SmackDown
– Alberto Del Rio opened the show, ready to announce his chosen opponent for SummerSlam. He told the fans, “Thank you for nothing,” but then thanked Vickie Guerrero for letting him choose his opponent, just like Brad Maddox let John Cena choose his opponent. He talked about a few potential choices – Brock Lesnar and Booker T – but then chose Ricardo Rodriguez. That brought out Vickie Guerrero, who said she felt that Del Rio was disrespecting her by choosing an unworthy opponent. Del Rio suggested the Brooklyn Brawler instead. Vickie told Del Rio that she anticipated this, so instead, a triple thread would determine his challenger at SummerSlam. The three men in the match were RVD, Christian, and Randy Orton. Later, Del Rio accused Vickie of going back on her promise. Vickie asked Del Rio if he was afraid of competition, but Del Rio vehstrongently denied it. Brad Maddox stepped in to tell Vickie she made the right choice, and when Del Rio got in his face, he rstronginded Alberto that he is the RAW GM. Before the triple threat match, Del Rio came out and told all three that he hoped they would tear each other apart.
– RVD started an interview, which Christian interrupted by saying, “Damn, it’s been a long time.” When Christian got to his “One. More. Match.” phrase, Randy Orton said “loss” over “match”. Orton said he was going to win. However, when Orton started to say “R.K.O.”, RVD said, “Bro” on top of the last letter. He said he was actual back in the WWE to compete. The three descended in to bickering with one another. However, after the match, Randy Orton shook hands with Christian, letting Christian have his moment of victory. Rob Van Dam followed suit when he managed to get to his feet, also shaking hands with Christian. Josh Matthews interviewed Christian – or tried – but Alberto Del Rio ambushed Christian and gave him the thrust kick to the head.
– Zeb Colter got on the microphone, trying to insult Houston, but Cody Rhodes attacked Jack Swagger to start the match. Cody was later interviewed about his actions in relation to Damien Sandow. He said that Sandow winning Money in the Bank was not the impetus for his turning on Sandow. Rather, Sandow’s attitude towards Cody was what set him off. Almost immediately after Cody said that the best part of Team Rhodes Scholars was Rhodes, Damien Sandow ambushed him and beat him down, leaving Rhodes dazed and confused.
– Kaitlyn gave an interview wherein she said that she’d been suckered in repeatedly with AJ. However, she’d learned from her mistakes, and was planning on making AJ pay once and for all. Layla was with Kaitlyn, and praised Kaitlyn as the real deal, leading to a hug between the two. However, Layla interrupted Kaitlyn’s offense during the Diva’s title match, allowing AJ to retain her belt. Layla was looking somewhat smug, and skipped out of the arena with AJ. Kaitlyn was once again devastated by betrayal.

The Wrestling
RAW
The Shield def. Mark Henry & The Usos via pin fall after ambrose landed the inverted DDT STO on Jimmy Uso. Mark Henry and The Usos sent The Shield running after the match.
Rob Van Dam def. Fandango via count-out after Fandango left the match up the ramp, then said his name after the match
Kaitlyn def. AJ Lee via pin fall after a Spear
Dolph Ziggler def. Big E Langston via disqualification after AJ Lee attacked Ziggler when he began to take over the match
Christian def. Alberto Del Rio via pin fall after countering a Cross Arm Breaker attstrongpt in to an outside cradle
Cody Rhodes def. Wade Barrett via pin fall after a Cross Rhodes
Daniel Bryan def. Kane via pin fall after countering a choke slam in to an inside cradle. Kane gave Bryan a choke slam after the match.
Brie Bella def. Natalya via pin fall
Curtis Axel def. R-Truth via disqualification after CM Punk attacked Axel
Tables Match: John Cena def. Ryback by table break with an Attitude Adjustment

Main Event
Wade Barrett def. R-Truth via pin fall after blocking a suicide dive with a Bull Hammer Elbow
The Usos def. The Prime Time Players via pin fall following the thrust kick/Superfly Splash combo
Mark Henry def. Drew McIntyre via pin fall with a World’s Strongest Slam

SmackDown
Cody Rhodes def. Jack Swagger via pin fall with a sunset pin
Big E Langston def. Sin Cara via pin fall with the Big Ending
CM Punk def. Fandango via submission with an Anaconda Vice out of a superplex
Diva’s Championship: AJ Lee def. Kaitlyn via submission with a Black Widow after Layla blocked Kaitlyn’s offense
WHC #1 Contender’s Match: Christian def. Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam via pin fall against Orton with a backslide counter to an RKO

What Worked
RAW
– I have no idea how else to phrase this but “YES! YES! YES!” Daniel Bryan is holding the crowd in the palm of his hands these days, and it’s making the show far more entertaining. The fact that he was able to hold his own in the same ring as the boss was quite telling of just how far Bryan has progressed from being a man that got by solely by his in-ring work. His interactions with Cena actually manage to make Cena more interesting. If not for the main event being a really good tables match brawl, he and Kane would have had the match of the night. If they don’t give Bryan the title, they will be giving the ultimate definition to the prhase “missing the boat”, but for now, they’re doing everything right.
– Even though Christian’s return initially looked like he came back so that they could have an additional wrestler in Money in the Bank All-Stars that would look credible while having no chance of actually winning, this run he’s had as of late makes it sestrong like that was all part of the plan. How else do you explain a winning streak that, while not necessarily ignored, is somewhat underplayed, as if it’s expected that he would go on a string of victories? This win over the World Heavyweight Champion by countering the man’s signature submission sestrongs to point to another run with the World Heavyweight Championship, although one hopes Randy Orton won’t be over his shoulder this time.
– Rob Van Dam and Fandango sestrong to be working a program with each other. If it leads to a SummerSlam match, I’m all for it. Both men tend to work a showy style in the ring, but Fandango is more of a showman on the ground while RVD is a showman in the air. It’s a dichotomy that can definitely work, especially if Fandango stays true to form and refuses to wrestle any match where it sestrongs like he might lose outside of Pay-Per-View performances.
– Sandow is carrying this rivalry with Rhodes. That’s not a bad thing. I kind of want to say, “Thank you,” each time Sandow says, “You’re welcome.”
– Other people may have seen this as cheesy. Others may have seen this as pointless. But as a fan, that tables match was outright entertaining. I don’t care that it was basically just a brawl that won’t go down in legend as the greatest match ever. It was incredibly ientertaining, and that’s what mattered to me.
– Somehow, even though the WWE had three hours, there were only nine matches on the show. During the Monday Night Wars, that same match count was possible in two matches. The difference? Every single match was given time. Even the shorter matches felt somewhat developed, with only one match truly feeling like I was robbed of time that could have been spent on something better. Whether it’s because of wrestler input, or simply because WWE realized that if they’re going to fill a three-hour show, they might as well think up less acting material and just let the performers do what they took years and years to learn (and in some cases, perfect).

Main Event
– The Barrett/Truth match would have only received maybe five to seven minutes on a main show. On Main Event, the two were allowed to put together a great contest that was visually impressive, and in spite of having two workers that are stuck in the purgatory that is the midcard, they were getting fans engaged in the match. If you’re going to call the show Main Event, you might as well present a main event quality match.
– This is how you construct a proper squash. You take somebody that’s skilled in the ring, who is going to get a fan reaction regardless, and make him work the jobber role. Then put a guy that is clearly capable of dominating the former. Now let the former get in some token offense, looking like, if he got lucky, he could hang with the dominant performer. Then have the dominant guy win in dominant fashion. With a guy like Mark Henry, it’s totally effective.

SmackDown
– I feel like changing shows from RAW to SmackDown, including the performance review, actually allows Vickie to be the neutrally-oriented GM that they were trying to make Vickie since she started being RAW’s Managing Supervisor. It was a great that the fans stopped booing her out of the building. If they keep making her sestrong totally reasonable, SmackDown may suddenly have a GM that interrupts the show much to the fans’ enjoyment. It would be an improvstrongent, that’s for sure.
– Whoever looked at the blue show and thought, “Let’s just toss CM Punk on here,” made the right call. Fandango was allowed to look competent in the ring without looking like he was on Punk’s level. Punk was allowed to pick up a win in the ring prior to taking on Brock Lesnar. Overall, I would say that that’s a win/win.
– While Cody Rhodes’ interview was a little hypocritical – “I hate when people talk down to others … That was a joke, you can laugh.” – he won a match that was decent. Combined with Sandow’s
– The whole build to the main event was decent, if not mind-blowing. All three competitors had their say in an interview, Alberto Del Rio treated all of thstrong as potential threats in a way that only he can, and the right man won. Sure, they had Del Rio take him out to end the show, but Orton already has a free shot at the WWE Championship, and RVD really doesn’t need to be the World Heavyweight Champion right now. Christian has been booked incredibly strong lately, so even if he doesn’t win the belt off of Del Rio, he’s the right call.

Needs Work
RAW
– I know that this might sound weird, but I am really not feeling this whole “Ryback as a bully” bit. Sure, it might work for the man in the short term, but it’s a gimmick that really takes a long-term effort to work. Considering the short attention span that WWE Creative sestrongs to have with their stories sometimes, it sestrongs like they’re setting Ryback up to fade in to obscurity.
– The AJ/Kaitlyn/Big E/Ziggler story is okay, but it feels like they’re just treading water at this point. I’m not sure why that is, but it would be nice to get something more than Ziggler being snarky, getting his hide beaten in the ring, and AJ going crazy while Kaitlyn attacked her with Big E caught in the center of everything. I almost feel as disinterested as Big E sestrongs at this point.
– The match between Natalya and Brie actually made me care less about Total Divas. It only served to rstrongind me that the Bellas were at the center of the Divas stories I hated the most. The twins are sophomoric, and, fair warning, if they appear on shows in the future, I’ll just be writing, “The Bellas were on the show,” in the “Needs WOrk” section. I just don’t ever see thstrong as anything but a detriment to the show, even as fstrongale antagonists. Let me put it another way – they made me wish 3MB had made an appearance. If you don’t know what that means, you must have been a 3 Count fan back when WCW was around.

Main Event
– We’ve seen The Usos take on the Prime Time Players so many times on television (including a brief rivalry to close out the first season of Saturday Morning SLAM) that it’s really beginning to strongphasize just how shallow the tag team division’s roster is. The match itself was passable, I’m just lamenting that the WWE only has four tag teams that come readily to mind. Maybe they should actually bring back Team Co-Bro.

SmackDown
– The Diva’s division just became even more confusing with that random change of heart from Layla. I mean, sure, we probably shouldn’t have forgotten that she used to be a “win at all costs” type, willing to betray anybody, but switching on a dime was just plain confusing.
– The Sin Cara ring lighting is and always has been completely ridiculous.

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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