The Weekly Wrestling Wrap-Up #15

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As a reminder, this column typically only discusses what wrestling companies televised in multiple markets in the United States air on their broadcasts. There may be additional thoughts at the end, and if a Pay-Per-View occurred, that will also be a part of the column. However, local wrestling groups, especially companies that only have a show a month, are not going to be a part of the equation. With that said, let’s get on with it!

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The Stories
RAW
- Stephanie McMahon brought out Daniel Bryan after stating that he’d had a corporate makeover. Bryan came out with his hair slicked back and tied, with a suit and tie, with groomed sideburns, but he still has an unruly beard. He said that he knows that the fans might want him to be a champion, but what WWE Corporate probably wants is a man that sells merchandise and appears in movies – John Cena. Bryan said that he knew he didn’t fit the image, but the truth is, John Cena is an entertainer, and Daniel Bryan is a wrestler. Bryan noted that if Cena left the WWE the next day, he would go to his life of luxury and never wrestle again, but if Daniel Bryan got fired, Bryan would wrestle wherever he had the opportunity, because he, like the fans, loves wrestling. He said he’d do what Corporate wants for now, but at SummerSlam, he would do what the fans want, which is making Cena submit. However, after that, Vince McMahon came out and told Bryan that he’d forgotten one thing – a shave. He brought out Wade Barrett to do the honors, barber chair in tow, but Daniel Bryan turned the tables and shaved off half of Barrett’s beard. Bryan went to the top of the ramp, said he’s going to be what he’s always been, he would be WWE Champion, pulled off his button up shirt, and revealed a shirt that said, “THE BEARD IS HERE” with an arrow pointing to his face, and said the phrase.
- After his loss to Rob Van Dam, Ricardo Rodriguez apologized to Alberto Del Rio for the mistake. Ricardo begged for forgiveness, but only got a superkick to the face and a beat-down with the bucket for his pleas. Del Rio followed up by tossing Ricardo out of the ring, putting Rodriguez’s head between the ring steps and the ring post, and drop kicking the steps. Del Rio then grabbed his belt and climbed the second turnbuckle to stand tall.
- Cody Rhodes came out to the ring, carrying a box that seemed to be leaking, saying that he had a gift for Damien Sandow. Cody then showed a recap video of what happened regarding the Money in the Bank briefcase. Cody said that he made the effort, and got the Money in the Bank briefcase back from the Gulf of Mexico. It had some kelp and sand on it, and Cody told Damien to come and get it. Sandow refused to come in to the ring, telling Cody to put the case down and leave. Cody did as requested, but just as Sandow went in to the ring, Cody got back in, and fought Sandow until he bailed. Cody then dumped the contents od the briefcase, showing that the Money in the Bank contract was basically pulp.
- The Bellas were backstage, talking about Total Divas. Eva Marie showed up offering them hairspray, and mocking Natalya. Natalya showed up, and Brie told Natalya that Neidhart’s presence on the E! show was a slap in the face. Natalya decided to show Brie what a literal slap in the face was.
- John Cena was out, noting that most of the time, his opponents were bad people, but sometimes, he was facing a fan favorite. He noted that that made fans choose, and a lot of people chose Daniel Bryan. He noted that what Bryan had to say had a lot of truth, but also a lot of ignorance. He said that Bryan’s criticisms wouldn’t make him change, because he’d taken the same criticism from The Rock, CM Punk, and dozens of others. Cena said he was dedicated to the WWE, but Bryan would wrestle in gymnasiums and therefore maybe that was where Bryan was most comfortable. Cena said that it was true that he wouldn’t wrestle again if he left the WWE, but that was because the WWE was the only place that Cena belongs. Cena then countered Bryan’s assertion that Cena can’t wrestle by saying you don’t get lucky in title matches eleven times. A small section of the fans began to chant, “Boring!” and Cena said he knew the fans wanted to see him and Bryan fight then and there. Cena said that Bryan had to remember one thing – if Daniel Bryan lost at SummerSlam, it meant that Bryan wasn’t good enough. Cena got out his catch phrase, which brought out Randy Orton. Orton said that Cena was aware of the target on his back, but Cena somehow remained oblivious of the Money in the Bank contract. Orton said he could cash in whenever, but ultimately, the champ was in the briefcase. That brought out The Shield, but for whatever reason, Daniel Bryan came out to even up the numbers. That led to Brad Maddox pulling a Teddy Long and booking a six-man tag team match.
- After the tag match broke down, Daniel Bryan helped John Cena chase off The Shield. However, Randy Orton came in and gave Daniel Bryan an RKO. Immediately after that, Orton hit Cena with an RKO! He teased cashing in the brief case, and almost handed the official the briefcase, but The Shield came back in, so Orton bailed. Cena ate a spear from Reigns, and then Daniel Bryan took a triple powerbomb from the Hounds of Justice. Orton was left looking at the chaos to close RAW.
- After the match against Tons of Funk, Bray Wyatt joined Rowan and Harper in the ring. He gave Brodus Clay the Kiss Good Night, and then got on the microphone. He said that the Devil’s Favorite Demon was not a monster, but an illusion, a fairy tale, a lie. Bray said he was the man of a thousand truths, the eater of worlds, and he is forever. However, just after the screen graphic that typically ends a Wyatt family promo, pyrotechnics exploded on the stage. Kane said that in spite of all of his speeches, Bray’s intent was clear – to maim, injure, and disfigure anybody in their path. But Kane said he didn’t do it for a message, he did it because he enjoyed it. He said that at SummerSlam, nobody was going to be able to save Bray Wyatt from inside a ring of fire. That set off the corner pyrotechnics.
- CM Punk gave an interview, talking about his match against Curtis Axel. He noted that Bobby “The Brain” Heenan’s managerial relationship with Mister Perfect was one where Mister Perfect was allowed to have a mind of his own. However, Curtis Axel’s blind loyalty to Paul Heyman was a totally different animal. Punk said that he was coming for Paul Heyman, and he meant it. He then said that at SummerSlam, The Best versus The Beast would end with Brock Lesnar losing the match, and Paul Heyman losing everything. During Punk’s match with Axel, Paul Heyman came out and mocked Punk. Punk kept trying to get at Heyman, but McGillicutty kept saving him. After the match was thrown out, Brock Lesnar came to the ring, and a fracas ensued. McGillcutty ate a Go To Sleep, Lesnar ate a chair shot, and CM Punk took an F5 and multiple chair shots, which left Lesnar and Heyman standing tall. Team Heyman was backstage, and Brock Lesnar criticized CM Punk’s name as the Best in the World, saying he was The Beast – and The Best. He then told Paul to say something stupid. Heyman then challenged CM Punk to a fight on the following RAW.
- Stephanie McMahon came to Triple H, totally upset about how Vince treated her for the Daniel Bryan segment. Triple H went on a rant about how Vince McMahon is no longer the creative genius he once was. He said that Vince was throwing away SummerSlam because of his personal preferences, and Triple H promised to stop him. Stephanie was visibly shocked that Triple H finally snapped.
- Zeb Colter insulted the people of Green Bay in a speech about how he hated what America had become, and how Wisconsin’s cheese must have clogged the fans’ brains as well as their arteries.
- Layla gave a Picture-in-Picture interview where she said that she betrayed Kaitlyn so that she could get attention. AJ Lee helped Layla win a match against Kaitlyn, which led Kaitlyn to come out and attack AJ during the match between Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston. Kaitlyn left the ring, shocked at what happened to Ziggler, but not sure how to react.

Main Event
- Backstage after their match, The Shield talked about their defeat of the Usos. Ambrose said that the match was too easy – exercise, a walk in the park. He called Henry a waste of time, and a few other insults. Amrbose emphasized that they were not rookies, because they were the United States champion and the Tag Team champions. He said that they set the standard for the industry. Seth Rollins said that they were so far ahead of the rest of the industry, nobody could catch up, no matter who you happen to be. Roman Reigns said it didn’t matter who you are, there is no end to justice. Believe in The Shield.

SmackDown
- Miz TV had AJ Lee and Big E Langston as its guests. Langston’s skipping was kind of subdued, and Langston was wearing burgundy tights, emphasizing that they could show some professionalism if they wanted. Miz asked what the relationship between Big E and AJ was. AJ said he was a good friend and a nice guy. Miz was kind of incredulous, and Big E was a little stoic, refusing to fist bump AJ until she made him. Miz noted the “friendships” that she’s had, but AJ said she’s had her heart broken a lot. Miz asked if she ever considered the problem might be her. AJ said that they all deserved what happened to them. She said her so-called friend Kaitlyn deserved what happened for abandoning her. AJ then said that the title will never abandon her like Dolph Ziggler. That brough out the Show-Off himself. Ziggler got on the microphone and said that women can’t get over him. AJ told Ziggler that he isn’t over her, which had Ziggler looking at her in bemusement. Kaitlyn came out and said that Dolph may not be able to touch AJ, but she can. Kaitlyn asked AJ what she wants, since she’s cost them their titles. Ziggler said they’re done with both of them. Miz interrupted them and said it was his show. As the Host of SummerSlam, he made a mixed tag match between AJ Lee & Big E Langston and Kaitlyn & Dolph Ziggler. That led to AJ attacking Kaitlyn, Big E pulling Kaitlyn off of her, Big E taking a Zig Zag, and AJ taking a spear.
- Alberto Del Rio told Vickie Guerrero that making him face Christian on SmackDown when they’ve already got a match at SummerSlam was all kinds of foolish. Vickie justified it, saying that Christian deserves to face Del Rio earlier than SummerSlam because of what Del Rio did to Christian last week. The subject of Ricardo Rodriguez came up during the conversation, and Vickie used it as further justification. Eventually, Del Rio said that he could get injured, but Vickie said she was willing to risk it.
- Daniel Bryan gave an interview, saying that he likes the way he looks, so he gave Wade Barrett a makeover instead. He said that in spite of John Cena’s assertions, he has never changed who he is. However, he will change history by becoming the WWE Champion at SummerSlam. The beard is here! Speaking of beards, Wade Barrett came out clean shaven and with electric clippers in hand. He threatened to shave Bryan’s beard after taking control of the match, but Bryan kept that from happening.
- Renee Young showed Damien Sandow a replay of his rivalry with Cody Rhodes. Damien Sandow noted three things – that Cody Rhodes was a thief, that he destroyed the Money in the Bank briefcase, and that they would settle their differences at SummerSlam. Sandow said he had a solution – a new, improved, Sandow-ized Money in the Bank briefcase. It’s actually a leather briefcase with the Money in the Bank logo embossed in to it. Sandow gave Alberto Del Rio, or any future World Heavyweight Champion, to be ready, because he can and will cash in the briefcase when and where he sees fit. After the main event, Damien Sandow went to cash in on Del Rio, who Christian had taken out with a Kill Switch, but Cody Rhodes prevented Sandow from even handing in the briefcase.
- Bray Wyatt came on the screen after Kane’s squash against 3MB. He said that the ring of fire was supposed to cater to a man called the Devil’s Favorite Demon. However, it turned out that the fire wasn’t going to work against him, or his family. He said the fire was going to fear him. He then said that he’s already dead, causing Kane to set off the pyrotechnics on the ring posts.
- A video played of Brock Lesnar talking about his match with CM Punk. He verbally tore down Punk, emphasized his dominance, and that was that.

The Wrestling
RAW
Rob Van Dam def. Alberto Del Rio via pin fall with a body scissors roll-up after Del Rio got whipped in to a bucket in the corner
Mark Henry def. Ryback via count out
The Wyatt Family (Rowan & Harper) def. Tons of Funk (Tensai & Brodus Clay) via pin fall after a short-arm clothesline/running splash combo
Layla def. Kaitlyn via pin fall with the Bombshell roudhouse kick after AJ Lee distracted Kaitlyn
Christian def. Heath Slater (w/ 3MB) via pin fall after the Spear
Curtis Axel def. CM Punk via disqualification after Punk grabbed Paul Heyman
Kofi Kingston def. Fandango via pin fall after Trouble in Paradise
The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro & Jack Swagger) def. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) via pin fall with the Neutralizer
Big E Langston def. Dolph Ziggler via pin fall with the Big Ending after AJ Lee and Kaitlyn distracted Ziggler
John Cena, Daniel Bryan, & Randy Orton def. The Shield via disqualification after The Shield swarmed Bryan

Main Event
The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns) def. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) & Mark Henry via pin fall when Ambrose pinned Jey after Rollins gave Jey a curb stomp
Natalya def. Aksana via submission with the Sharpshooter
Curtis Axel def. Sin Cara via pin fall the neck breaker

SmackDown
Randy Orton def. RKO via pin fall after dodging a Five Star Frog Splash and hitting an RKO
Fandango def. Kofi Kingston via pin fall with the Perfect 10 leg drop after Summer Rae distracted Kofi
Daniel Bryan def. Wade Barrett via submission with the Yes! Lock
Kane def. 3MB via pin fall after a choke slam
Christian def. Alberto Del Rio via pin fall with a float-over lateral press

What Worked
RAW
- Bryan and Cena were genius on the microphone tonight, and it really makes me want to see their match at SummerSlam, which is not something that I can say for any pay-per-view match that John Cena has had this year. Even Randy Orton added intrigue to this whole situation. I really can’t go in to better detail or praise than to say this was a job well done, and it felt like there was nothing that was unnecessary, and nothing that was missing. Even the inclusion of The Shield felt right, because they were back to their usual method of targeting anybody and everybody, regardless of the rivalries the people they’re attacking are fostering.
- Do you ever get the feeling that something has peaked, only to realize that it still has legs under it? The CM Punk rivalry with Paul Heyman is one of those instances. I thought that they would just plateau until SummerSlam, but instead, they just keep upping the ante. Lesnar’s instruction for Heyman to say something stupid was great, especially when Heyman considered it, and then did just that, was probably the best moment of this entire blood feud.
- Now that is how you have somebody make a return. Kofi Kingston may never be allowed to grab the brass ring due to his stop-start pushes, but at least he comes back with a win. True, it was at Fandango’s expense, but since the early 2000′s signaled the death of career jobbers, at least it wasn’t a humiliating loss.
- I almost find it hard to believe that they’re actually fostering a mid-card rivalry as much as they are. Sandow and Rhodes are perfect foils to one another, and if they do this right, this rivalry could really bring both men to the next level. True, it’s also possible that the WWE will miss the boat and just have this be a nice little sideshow because SmackDown needs something other than Alberto Del Rio and Christian to fill time, but I remain hopeful.

Main Event
- It looked like The Shield was in the dog house (pun totally intended) with WWE management for a while, but apparently they were just pulling back so that they could focus elsewhere. Although this was on the C show, it’s also the only show on free broadcast TV. Considering that, this might be the only show that some WWE fans actually get to watch, so this is more important than you would think.
- Natalya getting the victory on Main Event was good, especially since Aksana isn’t being treated as anything important. It’s good to see the Sharpshooter work.
- Paul Heyman may be the most annoying man in pro wrestling today, outside of Taz and Michael Cole, but at least the man knows how to do commentary. His presence was actually good call for the Curtis Axel match, because it actually shows that Heyman is confident that his client doesn’t need his mentorship.

SmackDown
- Considering the amount of exposition that happened on RAW, starting out with a hot opener in Rob Van Dam versus Randy Orton was the right call. Getting the crowd immediately interested and excited made things far more exciting, and it really changed up what the WWE can do. While the number of top-tier workers in the company can sometimes be a hindrance, the ability to make matches like this just because they can is nothing at which to sneeze. On the other hand, this match was basically all out and high velocity, so it made me feel a little bit like I wanted some of my life back from the time wasted watching RVD’s TNA run. I know that doesn’t seem like high praise, but it is.but it is. I was sort of surprised that they’re trying to make the body scissors pin a match ender, but hey, it beat the World Heavyweight champion.
- Finally, this long and crazy (due to AJ Lee) saga is going to have some sort of conclusion! Hopefully, we will have a conclusion to this, at any rate, because this feels like a blow-off match. I actually felt bad for Big E, since he was obviously being friend zoned. Either he isn’t happy about that, or he’s just not a happy person in general. I really don’t know which is the case.
- Christian and Del Rio’s match was a really good match, and in spite of it basically being a pay-per-view match for no extra charge, these two didn’t make it seem like they were holding back. It was a great book end to the night, especially with the opening match being as good as it was, so even if booking the match wasn’t the best choice, the two men delivered in the ring.
- You know, I actually thought that giving Barrett a week-long rivalry with Daniel Bryan was a nice little bit of story telling. It wasn’t the most incredible thing ever, but it is still nice to see when the writers do things right.
- The Sandow-ized Briefcase is what they should have had for the original Money in the Bank briefcase. It looks way more awesome, and the leather makes it seem almost like a title in and of itself, instead of a fake Samsonite piece with some decals. Sandow has become a must-see aspect of SmackDown every week, just because he’s the kind of guy that makes disliking somebody entertaining. Even the cash in was dislikable in an entertaining way, and the way that they did it made it clear that Cody was attacking Sandow, not saving Del Rio.
- Bray Wyatt’s promo after Kane’s match was great. Can’t say much more than that.
- Summer Rae fakes an injury, and Michael Cole actually respects continuity! I don’t know that Fandango getting the win back is really what they should have done, but the way that he won it at least made it so that Kofi didn’t lose in a completely clean manner.

Needs Work
RAW
- Ryback versus Henry was the WrestleMania rematch that nobody wanted to see, and the ending was completely disappointing. Pointless matches like this always make me wonder whether WWE Creative is directly instructed to create filler.
- The Bellas were on the show. Oh, and Eva Marie is more wooden than Kristin Stewart. At least Natalya slapped Brie.
- Is Michael Cole really so asinine that he has no memory of the Inferno match? Honestly, if J.R. had been at the booth, he would have straight-up said, “It sounds like Kane just challenged Bray Wyatt to an Inferno match!” Honestly, it’s like Michael Cole is being intentionally obtuse.
- Speaking of poor announcing, I really am beginning to hate JBL calling Summer Rae “Mrs. Fandango”. How many times can you possibly correct the man before it becomes obvious that the man is intentionally being wrong?
- Stop-start booking rears its ugly head yet again, with The Usos, who were on a hot streak, taking a loss to two men who were basically heel jobbers for the tag team division and any upper-card wrestler that needed a filler win. Hopefully this starts some sort of rivalry between the two, but that leaves the Tag Team championships up in the air, and the Tag Team champions simply floating in limbo.

Main Event
- The major down-side to being the only WWE show on free broadcast is that in order to keep said fans up-to-date, you get a lot of replays. I understand that it’s necessary, but if you do watch every WWE show (well, I skip Total Divas, but you know what I mean), it feels like filler.
- Sin Cara’s Ring Lighting is still totally stupid. If he ever did a lucha de apuestas match in the WWE, he’d be better off putting the ring lighting on the line instead of the mask. Also, we’ve seen Sin Cara lose to Curtis Axel over and over – it’s beginning to feel a little pointless. Axel needs new rivals.

SmackDown
- You don’t point out that you are giving away a pay-per-view match when you are giving away a pay-per-view match. WWE Creative is getting in to the habit of using their workers to point out that they know what they’re doing is stupid, but that they have nothing better. It’s like they’ve suddenly become wrestling apologetics or something. If they know it’s a terrible idea, and yet go through with it anyway, how can we as fans expect Creative to put all of their good ideas on to any given show?
- You know, if you’re going to book a comedy jobber group, you should let them do some of their comedy jobber bits. The fact that we didn’t see them get to do their huddle, or the three-man air guitar, really made me think that they could have just hired some local workers from Milwaukee or something.

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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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