The WWE-ek: The Network is Here

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Normally I talk more about what goes down on RAW, but the real focus is the follow-up which took place on SmackDown this weekend. It seems Monday Night’s Old School RAW was the match striking the box with SmackDown being the show with the flame.

That sounded better in my head.

Daniel Bryan-Wyatt seems to have fully embraced his integration into the Family, joining in on post-match beatdowns. While putting Bryan with the Wyatts may seem like a lateral move, we now get some matches with Bryan pitted against other specially talented people rather than being paired with them. RAW this Monday will feature Bray and Bryan vs. The Usos? Could be great.

RAW showed the start of the build for Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show, and Friday night, Paul Heyman served as emissary to make the match for the Royal Rumble. My guess is both Show and Brock are in the Rumble match, this might serve for a warm-up, unless this will be an excuse for WWE to take Show off TV for a while with another “injury” storyline. Lesnar “broke” Mark Henry’s arm on RAW, but yet was forced into a retreat by Show. Very odd booking, considering just a week before Big Show was at the peak of zaniness as WWE’s New Year Baby. Big Show should be taken seriously, but feeding him to Lesnar is not going to do it.

In the joke of the night, Sin Cara, Rey Mysterio, and Los Matadores defeated the lineup of The Real Americans and Rybaxel. Great, we have the uber-kid friendly masked superhero squad defeat the ultra-serious and villainous foursome. Thanks to taped-over dubbing, the chants of “We The People” were drowned out. Happened on RAW too. Except it was live, so no dubbing there. Forget Axel and Ryback, they are terrible and whatever hot water they are in is clearly not cooling off.

Let’s talk about Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro for a moment. These guys are no rookies. Swagger is a former World Champion. Cesaro is a former Ring of Honor Tag Team Champion. I do not have to rehash the Rise and Fall of Jack Swagger from last year, but it does not change the fact he could main event if given the right push alongside Zeb Colter. Same statement goes for Cesaro. If people like Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and Dolph Ziggler can hold major championships, why not Cesaro?

I’m going to name some other duos who I feel were incredibly talented yet never really got the deserved spotlight:

Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo – They were hot at one point, teasing the homosexual angle and even better when they revealed it all to be a giant publicity stunt and a complete hoax. Sadly, once the curtain was pulled, the momentum was over and the duo eventually split.

Brian Adams & Brian Clark (Kronik) – Big time tag team in WCW, but never got a chance in WWE. They wound up jobbing, and if they were around today, would have likely been a bigger version of The Shield. Both men were menacing and outright awesome in the ring. WWE did not need more big men and tag teams were not a big draw yet.

Mark Jindrak & Sean O’Haire – Here are your winners. You want a young-looking duo with all the criteria for success, it was right here. Jindrak and O’Haire had every element a wrestling ring could ask for. The look. Jindrak looked like he was carved from stone and O’Haire had the intense face of fear. Wrestling ability proven. Both could slide around the ring like a cruiserweight or go shoulder-to-shoulder with any big man. WCW gave them the belts, because they earned it. Then WCW decided to go with some bizarre storyline just because it was WCW and the company needed to prove to the world they knew how to bury themselves. They pushed O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo as a team, who wound up as jobbers once acquired by WWE. Interesting to note, Mark Jindrak is the hottest trend in Mexico right now, competing under the name Marco Corleone in the CMLL promotion, and also appearing in various televised media.

I’ve been mentioning Jindrak more often. Yes, there IS a reason. Coming soon, folks.

Randy Orton and Big E. Langston had their “champion vs. champion” contest, but we all know this was the tryout match for Langston to see whether WWE can entertain the possibility of the two having some sort of extended feud. The match, was not great, as Orton still lives and breathes the spoiled brat routine, so he came off as very nonchalant and uninterested until the final minutes of the match where he woke up and spiked Langston with the RKO. Could WWE Creative have given Langston the win? No. Because of the gimmick Orton is running with, he needs the reinforcement of being taken seriously as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Many felt the gimmick tarnished what should have been a special achievement, but even I agree the spark is missing. Langston will be a WWE Champion one day.

In a great main event, The Shield defeated CM Punk and The New Age Outlaws. Yes, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn still got it. Gunn, maybe not so much, but still a great showing. Roman Reigns is getting major attention with big wins, recently pinning CM Punk on RAW. Perhaps the curse of the mid-card title has now shifted from the Intercontinental to the United States Championship. Ambrose is looking more like the attention-seeking loser while Rollins is clearly becoming lost in the shuffle. It has been teased many times in the past few months, but I predict Royal Rumble is where the group will finally collapse. Expect Reigns to eliminate his partners from the match, along with a dozen other people. Yes, every year there is usually one guy who does a good chunk of the eliminations, and this year belongs to Roman Reigns. If there is any place best to make the not-so-subtle push, it is going to be right then and there.

I find a lot of people are posting their “top 10” Rumble entrances/returns/surprises, and how in the hell are 90% featuring John Cena’s 2008 Rumble return as the #30 entrant and winning it. I was there, it was hideous. The girls sitting in front of us squealed like hogs in filth while the rest of us booed mercilessly. We knew it was going to happen. There have been better returns. How did Mr. Perfect’s return not make it on WWE.com’s list? Are they crazy? Hennig entered at number 25, and wound up in the final four of the match, with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Triple H, and nearly won the damn thing!

Well, I’m done with my mix of rant and nostalgia.

WWE announced they are finally launching the WWE Network. Took them long enough. It was first announced about what, three years ago? I was only in my second apartment, and wasn’t yet a bumbling father of twins. That long ago. Or it seems like it. So what’s the deal! It’s access to an insane amount of content, plus the added bonus of pay-per-views. What? $9.99 a month for unlimited wrestling insanity, and you get a PPV with that? Wait… including WRESTLEMANIA? You know the old saying, “if it’s too good to be true…” Well, this is one instance where it is true. WWE has announced by having a subscription to their service, which would amount to about $120 a year, you can watch their monthly pay-per-view events as part of the service. You can imagine people everywhere checking and double-checking, and yes even triple-checking that this isn’t some scam. You know how true it is? DirectTV has announced they are considering to drop WWE pay-per-views from their service. Hell yes. They are so angry about WWE dropping the price and creating such a steal for their customers DirectTV is up and threatening to drop. Fine. Who the hell uses DirectTV anyway these days? Oh, what? Is this a temper tantrum because when WWE was shopping the WWE Network to cable providers TWO YEARS AGO, you passed on it and now you kick yourselves in the ass? Hey, you folks have only yourselves to blame if WWE profits. Which they probably will.

Finally, the WWE Network has come… home.

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