Tuesday Morning Backlash: WWE NXT Rookies Destroy Raw, John Cena; Who Attacked the Undertaker?

I’m back and damn am I thrilled with the end of Raw. More on that below, and I’m so excited, we’ll soon get right to it, but first, welcome to the best wrestling analysis on the ‘net, bookmark this and read in more than one sitting so you don’t go blind like some poor monk that looked into the face of the Holy, and comment below- you know I loves me some comments.

1) WWE Raw Thoughts – WWE NXT Rookie Stable Destroys Raw, John Cena
2) WWE Smackdown Thoughts – Who attacked the Undertaker?
3) TNA Impact Thoughts – Ric Flair and the New Horsemen
4) WWE NXT/Superstars/Misc – Wasting Vickie Guerrero
5) ROH Thoughts – The Myth of the Long Title Reign
6) Guest Spot – Ask Fake Vince McMahon
7) A Modest Response – On Ivan Rushfield begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting: Wade Barrett vs. David Otunga
8) History Time – Low Ki in early ROH
9) Match Posting – Hacksaw Duggan vs. Ted Dibiase
10) Personal Life/Blog/whatever – Cheating

1) WWE Raw Thoughts – WWE NXT Rookie Stable Destroys Raw, John Cena

In what is simply the coolest angle on Raw in recent memory, during a match between John Cena and CM Punk the NXT Rookies from Season 1 all came out with armbands with an N on them, attacked Punk, destroyed the set (including the ring), beat Cena until he was stretchered out, Jerry Lawler, Matt Striker, refs, ring announcers and more.

This had shades of the formation of Generation Next in ROH, where the young guys decide to take the spot they want. This had shades of the Horsemen going after Dusty Rhodes, severely injuring him. There were certainly shades of the New World Order takeover and the aesthetic they presented. The NXT rookies even came out of the crowd like the ECW veterans did when they reunited during the invasion. This was just pure wrestling greatness. I almost don’t care where they go from here- this is the perfect reminder of why I love wrestling.

There are numerous must-see little things throughout. Bryan Danielson kept trying to grab everyone he beat on in submission moves. Wade Barrett just seemed incredibly dangerous. Justin Gabriel showed incredible heel charisma with his glare before the 450. The Skip Sheffield huge boot to Striker’s face was awesome, as was Darren Young punching out the time keeper, then Danielson choking out Justin Roberts with his own tie. Finally, note Danielson telling Cena “You’re not better than me” before spitting on him and kicking the crap out of him. This was amazing.

So, where do they go from here? Their purpose is obvious, so do they explain themselves? I’d personally prefer if they kept attacking and barely spoke. If they do explain do they go the “taking our spot on top” route or the “we hate being hazed” route or even “WWE is stale” route? They’ve taken out John Cena, so will Wade Barrett use his title shot to get in the Fatal Four Way Main Event for Raw? Were the NXT Rookies the one to take out the Undertaker and, if so, how will Kane respond? Will this class do anything to tomorrow’s NXT Season 2 rookies? Where did Michael Cole run off to during this melee? Could Jim Ross be involved? Does this mean Danielson is done with the Miz and Cole or are they now huge targets?

This is already being compared to the better events in wrestling. Bash at the Beach 96 was mentioned by numerous people, as was the ECW reformation. CM Punk winning the title after Money in the Bank the first time counts, or Bret Hart appearing on Raw. This has the potential to be up there with any of them. The only event this is clearly below is Vince McMahon buying WCW. The WWE just struck gold. This is why I love wrestling.

2) WWE Smackdown Thoughts – Who attacked Undertaker? A Top 5 Most Likely Suspects

5. Drew McIntyre – Drew has been trying to make a name for himself, but doing so in the most cowardly manner possible. He has Vince McMahon’s backing, so horrible acts won’t have the same repercussions. Could he be trying to get to the top of the Smackdown card by taking out all his competition? First Matt Hardy, now the Undertaker- it certainly fits his M.O.

4. Jack Swagger – Swagger is the current top heel on Smackdown and has shown he’d have no problem cheating to maintain his title against the Big Show… but the Big Show isn’t the Undertaker… he might call for more drastic measures. Swagger might not want to defend his belt against Taker and see this as the safest route out.

3. CM Punk – CM Punk of the Straight Edge Society is a Cult Leader. He became a cult leader when Undertaker destroyed him for the World Title last year. Now, he’s finally worked his way back into contention, only to be confronted by Undertaker yet again. That kind of thing greats on a man, especially a man who just got busted open and shaved by his rival… would it push him far enough to have his goons take out The Undertaker?

2. Kane – Sure, Kane is searching for the attacker, but the guy has turned on Undertaker more times than anyone and he isn’t exactly known to be balanced. He could be conniving and throwing the trail off the fact that he’s the one that attacked Undertaker, or he could simply be so nuts he doesn’t remember doing it.

1. NXT/Wade Barrett – The NXT Stable, which Wade Barrett appears to be (might be?) the Stable of is certainly making an impact after Raw. Who’s to say they didn’t form a bit earlier to get The Undertaker out of the way, and wait for national television to take out another of the fan’s heroes, John Cena? Without Undertaker and Cena, who could stand up to NXT against this horde of rookies?

3) TNA Impact Thoughts – Ric Flair and the new Horsemen

Ric Flair seems to be leading a new unit of four wrestlers. Now, TNA might not be bright enough to put this together, but I think I might be. These wrestlers would make a great Four Horsemen style stable… with one little change.

But first, let’s address the Four Horsemen name. I’m almost certain the WWE, courtesy of buying WCW, has the trademark on it. Being a direct biblical reference, however, this is something that would be hard to make a trademark stand on. Even if Four Horsemen were out, the Four Riders or some such variation would surely work. Would the name draw alone? No, but with Ric Flair kept to the JJ Dillon role of manager, they’d at least have credibility and some interesting options.

The current group of four are Desmond Wolfe, Beer Money, Inc of Robert Roode and James Storm, and AJ Styles. Wolfe is perfectly capable in Ric Flair’s role as group leader and top dog. TNA, unfortunately, has cast him in a different position. He is Tully Blanchard, currently. He isn’t a top heel, but he’s annoying, cocky, effective, and, most importantly, can lose without losing his heat, while putting on a great match.

Robert Roode and James Storm are, of course, the major tag team of the group. Roode is, just as he was in team Canada, the Enforcer. He will be playing Arn Anderson- the tough guy who can be beat, but it’s damn hard. He’s talented enough to easily rise above this role, though, and become a major player, should he so desire. Storm mixes the best of Ole Anderson and Barry Windham (though he’s clearly not the worker Windham was). When in a tag team, he’s a tough guy you take a beating from who’s just cowardly enough to take a beating and make you look great for it, while in singles, he’s a jack of all trades who can have a good match with anyone in a more outright cowardly role.

Finally, we have AJ Styles. AJ is clearly the man TNA wants for the Flair role, and, just as clearly, that’s failed. They seem to slowly be setting up Kaz to be a heel with Flair, but, honestly, that won’t work. What would work would be cocky heel Jay Lethal in AJ’s role. That swerve would play off his respect of Flair, with the impressions being an homage, and he’s already a better promo than AJ, while being nearly as good a worker in his own way. His selling is superb and, while usually used to gain sympathy, could instead be utilized to make faces look like they’re going to defeat him, then have him cheat for a victory.

Lethal is not the only choice for that role, though, even if he is the most interesting. Unpopular choices that, unfortunately, work, would be Matt Morgan and Ken Anderson. Anderson doing the double turn with AJ would work were Anderson a face longer, but he has the right charisma to carry that role. His in ring weakness, however, means he should not be allowed near the role. Matt Morgan, on the other hand, has been getting over, despite the internet’s hate of him. Almost any non-‘net fan who watches TNA at all is impressed with his cockiness and charisma. That could be used to good effect in a stable, if he weren’t so big that he’d make the enforcer team look like nothing and mostly unnecessary.

TNA being TNA, the worst choice is always a possibility, as well, with Abyss cleaning up and joining the heels, not as a Ric Flair, but as a Sid Vicious. This would bump Desmond Wolfe up to the Ric Flair role, certainly a bonus, but James Storm would have to be Tully Blanchard, and he’s just not quite good enough, although he could team with Abyss for a decent unit, letting Roode pursue singles fame. While another Abyss push isn’t what anyone wants, this could actually work out better than Morgan.

Of course, the best man for the role not employed by the WWE isn’t employed by TNA either. Austin Aries, despite not being my favorite wrestler, has absolutely nailed the Flair character in a way AJ Styles can only dream of. The entire “Greatest Man that Ever Lived” gimmick is tailor made for heading up a stable and tailor made for that stable being the Horsemen. Aries isn’t the worker AJ Styles, and probably even Lethal, is, but he can be more than relied on to have a great match with a top quality opponent- something TNA offers in spades with Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, RVD, and Jeff Hardy all hanging around. That is, though, a pipe dream, and the best bet for TNA is to turn and push Jay Lethal. The kid’s been a star in the making since his ROH debut at 19-years of age. Time to take the final steps.

4) WWE Superstars Thoughts: Wasting Vickie Guerrero

Chris Morgado recently wrote a column discussing the the best heels in wrestling, but he missed the one that gets absolutely the most heat: Vickie Guerrero.

Vickie Guerrero is absolutely despised by the audience. The instant her shrill “Excuse me” is heard, fans go absolutely insane. Just listen to the heat it garners:

So, given that this is the case and Raw writers supposedly recently figured out how great she is, why is her main feud being relegated to the WWE’s least watched show?

Vickie is currently becoming involved with Dolph Ziggler. While this feud has played out a bit on Smackdown, the majority of Ziggler and Vickie’s interaction and feud with Christian, is almost entirely on Superstars. This is patently absurd.

Ziggler, a hugely successful amateur who got the most absurd gimmick ever over and has been great in ring and on the mic is demoted to the least watched show instead of being given a huge push. He’s put with the absolute heat magnet that is Vickie Guerrero, a move that could make his career, but, again, on a show almost no one sees.

Meanwhile, we have Christian. Returned from TNA at the height of his abilities, he carries ECW for a year, then gets to brush up with former partner and current top guy Edge. Edge, who ruled Smackdown for over a year with Vickie in tow, instead of doing some kind of transition feud, just drops Christian, who’s suddenly feuding with Ziggler and Vickie, who he could clearly have amazing interactions with. Interactions that no one is seeing.

Vickie Guerrero is one of the most effective tools in the WWE arsenal. Put with anyone who can cut a good promo (Ziggler fits) against anyone who won’t be verbally overwhelmed (Christian fits), she is a ehat magnet that makes fans care more about the angle through sheer hate of her and thus gets everyone more over. So, why is she doing it on the least watched show?

5) ROH Thoughts: The Myth of the Long Title Reign

ROH first began in 2002 and first experienced national success with Samoa Joe as their champion. Joe had a nearly two year title run that included amazing defenses against such talent as AJ Styles, Bryan Danielson, Homicide, CM Punk and Austin Aries. Having the belt for so long truly set ROH apart as a company built on wrestling. Since then, both Bryan Danielson (wildly successful), Takeshi Morishima (pretty good) and Nigel McGuinness (less so) have gotten long title reigns. These aren’t the problem.

The problem with long reigns is that while they do legitimize the belt and wrestler, they, at least in ROH’s view, make it so that each other wrestler that has the title must have it for a longer period of time, working through the house show loop, before they can lose it. Part of this is certainly the DVD nature of the product makes it difficult to quickly assess how fans are responding to the new champion, but with so much of the fanbase net savvy, that need not be a true limit.

Jerry Lynn, Austin Aries second reign, and Tyler Black have all gotten title runs and, the first two, at least, went on too long. In order to make Lynn feel a legitimate champion, he went on and on with the belt for longer than anyone wanted to see in a bizarre homage to The Wrestler. After that, it was Austin Aries, who barely defended his belt in a bizarre attempt to gain heat… only he simply wouldn’t drop the title. Making people pay to see him defeated is one thing. Making people tune out because he wont wrestle is something else. Now, we have Tyler Black’s reign. Great, he got the title and is legitimized… now get the belt off of him. Keeping the belt on Black two years after it would have made him isn’t helping anyone.

So, who should the next champion be? Roderick Strong, Davey Richards, Chris Hero… it almost doesn’t matter. ROH has several guys on the cusp of stardom and some trading the belt would make more guys atop the card look legitimately like top wrestlers. Instead, we continually seem to get long reigns to build one man, even when they don’t need it.

6) Guest Spot: Fake Vince McMahon Answers All

One of the best blog’s out there, Fake Vince McMahon is an excellent workup of how Vince views wrestling and the world. I decided to ask Fake Vince if he cared about fans and here was his response:

“Mr Glazer, if you want a solid answer, you’re going to have to ask a more specific question. All I can say is that we listen very carefully to our fans. Do we grant them their every whim? Of course not. We’re not a wish fulfillment company, distributing sprinkles and candy unicorns around the land. We tried making everyone happy back in 2000. Remember how many titles we had back then? Cripes. Even Patterson was hardcore champ for a few minutes. Then we realized that championships don’t really mean anything and we began trying new things.

I think you’re asking the question because you’re implying that we don’t. That we don’t care what our “fans” want. I think wrestling fans have an interesting sense of memory. When was a time when you felt we were doing everything right? Did it correlate with a certain time in your life? Internal bias has a lot to do with it. We’re a reflection of America, of our fans. You look into the WWE, and you tend to see yourself. Do you like what you see?

We play with types, with motifs. If you think HHH or Cena or Undertaker are too overexposed, remember that there was once a time when we had a guy who held our belt for seven years. And then remember how much merchandise a guy like Cena sells, or someone like the Undertaker. Taker could walk to the ring and back and do literally nothing at all, and still sell enough merchandise to bankroll all of Smackdown. So do we listen to fans? Of course. But we listen a little better to their wallets than you might like. “
Fake Vince McMahon
fakevince.tumblr.com

7) A Modest Response: Ivan Rushfield on David Otunga vs. Wade Barrett

So, Ivan’s been cheerleading Barrett for awhile, while Otunga is getting nothing but hate. Naturally, this set off a bit of a debate on the relative merits of each. Here’s my take:

A random debate has been going around about David Otunga vs. Wade Barrett. Now, anyone who knows me at all knows where I stand on this one, but I figured I’d break this down quickly anyway.

David Otunga does not get the wrestling business… at all. He isn’t bad because he’s green. He’s bad because he’s bad. What he messes up aren’t just little botches; they are first week of wrestling school mistakes. He may be big and intelligent and good looking, but he’s also clumsy and awkward.

Now, sure, there have been plenty of bad wrestlers who couldn’t do moves that got by on charisma and mic ability. Otunga can’t do that. He simply doesn’t get the basics well enough. A huge part of charisma in wrestling is timing, and Otunga has none. Whether fans realize it or not, by watching enough wrestling, we know how the basic structure and storylines work within the ring. Otunga, quite simply, does not. He doesn’t get pacing, timing, selling or psychology. But at least he can talk, right?

Otunga is certainly a good, if not great promo. He needs work on getting over what he’s saying more than himself, as he’s easily lost. This is the one part of his game that will come with experience, but it is hardly enough. Looking through wrestling history, all of the great talkers had great timing that was evident in the early days. The most common comparison for Otunga, The Rock, is patently ridiculous. The Rock, for one, understood wrestling like no other. A third generation star who grew up in the business, even when he was “bad” he was still a solid wrestler. Fans didn’t not buy him; they hated his role as smiling babyface. Rock found himself by being himself, letting his natural timing and unique understanding of the business shine through. Otunga is already being himself and there is no timing to build on.

Wade Barrett, meanwhile, is a star. He’s a huge dude who can talk and wrestle, but fans, desperate to disparage his skill to make Otunga seem better, continually insist he’s boring. A giant cocky heel with every tool is boring. That’s nonsense. His matches, though different in style, have been every bit as good as the much heralded Justin Gabriel, while his promo skills are actually better and more focused than the ballyhooed Otunga’s. His entire character right now is built around being a bit too good for NXT. He was the standard for other rookies to strive to. He got along with his pro, the former World Champion and perhaps best wrestler in the world, Chris Jericho, won his matches, cut great promos, and had good matches.

Barrett was, in other words, the control case of what happens when the best pro gets the perfect rookie. Everyone else on the show was playing off the dynamic that he and Jericho created. Was Otunga and his constant fame more interesting? Sure. How about Darren Young and his issues with the Straight Edge Society? Yep. Michael Cole, the Miz and Daniel Bryan’s issues? Lord Yes. Hell, even William Regal and Skip Sheffield had some more interest. That’s not Wade Barrett, though; that’s the booking. What Barrett showed, why he won, is great skill. That skill will allow him to get over with a better storyline on Raw or Smackdown. That skill is what makes him a WWE Superstar.

8) History Time: Low Ki (Kaval) in Early ROH

History time is usually about the territory era, but today, in honor of his NXT debut as Kaval, we’ll be taking a look back to 2002 and Low Ki in early Ring of Honor.

In 2002, ROH was just a new independent, although one with big backing from RF Video and featuring Eddie Guerrero. The company intended to focus on honor and athletic competition, for which they wanted a new generation of talent. Low Ki was the poster boy for this through ROH’s first year. Let’s take a look at his role on the first ROH cards.

The very first ROH shows featured Eddie Guerrero, but in the first show, at least, he would not be in the main event. The main event would feature the three top independent talents at the time going to battle. Chris Daniels, already the veteran of the indie scene, hated the pretension of ROH, so he was the first major heel. He would face two young men who made a name for themselves tearing it up at the ECWA Super 8. The first of these was a young man trained by Shawn Michaels and William Regal, an amazing mat wrestler that we all know now as Daniel Bryan, Bryan Danielson. The third man was a self-made striker from Brooklyn, Low Ki. Unsurprisingly, these three absolutely tore the house down with a fast-paced, intelligent 3-Way that immediately put ROH on the map.

The second show, aptly titled Round Robin Challenge, featured each of those same three men in singles matches against one another. This time, while Low Ki vs. Daniels was good (they never had the chemistry one would expect), Low Ki vs. Bryan Danielson got the main event, and they had what I rank as a damn near five star classic officiated by Ken Shamrock. These two simply went out and wrestled hard on the mat and struck the crap out of one another. There is no way two wrestlers this young should have been capable of that.

So, for an encore, on the third show, Eddie Guerrero’s finale, A Night of Appreciation, Low Ki went out and faced ROH newcomer AJ Styles. No less hard hitting, this replaced Danielson’s mat wrestling with AJ and Ki flying for an impressive spectacle, barely worse than the Danielson match.

At this point, without Guerrero to draw, ROH moved on to a title tournament that would take place over two shows. This meant that Low Ki would have two matches at Road to the Title. Low Ki would first kick the crap out of annoying heel Prince Nana, utterly destroying him to a massive pop, then put on an awesome, if short match filled with matrix style reversals with Amazing Red. This short match must be seen to be believed, as it’s absolutely ridiculous the stuff they pull off.

Here’s a great encounter between the two from TNA at around the same era:

After earning his way into the finals of the title tournament, Low Ki would have an Iron Man Four-Way with Brian Kendrick, Chris Daniels, and Doug Williams. At Crowning a Champion Low Ki would be the centerpiece of yet another classic, showing that despite his youth he had the repertoire to go long in matches.

Honor Invades Boston came next and Low Ki would defend his newly won title for the first time, facing AJ Styles once more, and, of course, it was yet another four star match, allowing Ki to have a four-star match on every single ROH show so far except Road to the Title.

Here’s a great (if slightly watered down) AJ Styles vs. Low Ki match from Zero One:

After this, at Unscripted, Low Ki would lose the title to Xavier in a curious decision where a mid-card face turned heel and cheated to win the belt. Easily the least effective match of this era, Low Ki still managed to get the mediocre Xavier incredible heat.

Finishing up his initial run in ROH was the inaugural Glory by Honor. Here, the diabolical Chris Daniels hired a new wrestler to take out Low Ki. Ki was, of course, up for the challenge and we got a match that made all of his previous stiff matches look like they were worked loosely: Low Ki vs. a debuting Samoa Joe. Joe and Low Ki tore the house down in an absolutely great, stiff battle and Ki made Joe a star in one night, setting Joe on the path to become both ROH and TNA World Champion.

The matches were great, the style was perfect- Low Ki in under five years of the business, trained by Homicide, was one of the best young wrestlers in the world. Bryan Danielson may be better, but he was also trained by Shawn Michaels, William Regal, many Southern territory era workers, and in New Japan… Low Ki learned from what’s almost a self-trained man, then studied tapes and became a student of wrestling history, working at his craft until he was a top wrestler in the world. Ki is, without question, a true wrestling success story and his first eight ROH shows including six four-star or more matches should merely be a harbinger of success to come.

9. Match Review: Jim Duggan vs. Ted Dibiase: Loser Leaves Town, Cage, Coal Miner’s Glove on a Pole, Tuxedo, Parking Lot Brawl

So, why not allow the match to speak for itself?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMNT40kiYeM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSNo2sEEDFo&NR=1

10) Personal Life/Blog/Whatever: Cheating

For some reason, I know a lot of people. I’m not sure how that happened, but I’ve got quite the colorful menagerie of friends. Sadly, most of them don’t care for pseudo-sports that I probably should have outgrown long ago. If you’ve noticed anything though, it might be that I have something of an ego. I still want these people to read me, click my shit, give me some damn tender love and attention. So, that’s kinda what this section is. It’s basically going to be a blog where I talk about whatever. I’m going to rant about some personal observations about shit that isn’t half-naked men pretending to hurt one another for largely unspecified reasons. Every other week will be stories and observations about my life specifically, while the alternating weeks will feature discussion of anything I find interesting at the moment.

Alright, it’s really late. This is almost always the last section I write for this column, and this is no different in that manner, but I had to re-write parts of section one and two due to the huge ending to Raw and the need to rant about it with as many friend’s as possible, so instead of what I planned to do here- a writeup of what I learned each night of my bender- I’m going to talk about cheating.

My best friend and I were discussing cheating the other day. Neither one of us believes in it, but we have any number of friends who are pretty proud of their conquests despite being in relationships or married. While I find this distasteful, I also decided there are two reasons (and only two) people have for cheating in a relationship.

The first reason people cheat is simple conquest. They don’t want to be with anyone else emotionally besides their mate, but they also want to sow their oats, spread their seed, or whatever other euphemism you like for fucking as much as possible. These people tend to cover their tracks exceedingly well and serial cheat because they don’t want to get caught and have to break up with the person they care about, but they also don’t want to sacrifice their single life, or even just random sex, to avoid hurting them. Continual lying is seen as the preferred course of action in these cases. The need for continual lying does usually lead to resentment in one or both parties, but that can not be an issue for years upon years and, the cheater will often argue, it’s just physical, he or she is still emotionally loyal to his or her mate. Of course, that’s only true until the mate commits the same infidelity back- then it’s World War 3. Avoidance of this kind of cheating requires maturity… or just bringing your mate with you when you go out without resenting him or her for coming along.

The other reason people cheat is that they are looking to trade up. In these circumstances, the man or woman feels their mate is less than ideal for one reason or another and is looking to find a better option. This isn’t always conscious, as often the better option is mostly physical, but from that physical attraction springs emotional attachment. With these, the cheating can be once, if followed by guilt or remorse, or continue for awhile. This is one way it is notably different than the case above, which consists mostly of one night stands or drunk hook ups. Usually, these don’t lead to leaving the first person, as it’s easy to think someone is better until you’re with them, then realize the value of your original partner, but we’ve all seen cases where someone gets burned by their mate cheating and immediately falling in love with and moving on to the next person. The trade up is, after all, pretty damn cold.

So, and this is where my discussion with my friend lead… which do you think is better and which is worse? I leave that to you, dear readers. Drop your comments below, like always.

Pulse Glazer is a Senior Staff Writer at www.PulseWrestling.com and Editor at www.ComicsNexus.com. You can follow him on twitter/pulseglazer for updates on all of his News and Columns, or e-mail hbk826@gmail.com with any questions or comments.

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