Hello and welcome to My Pinterest Is Piledrivers. I’m James A. Sawyer, and this week I’m feeling shiny and happy.
Is it me, or is WWE slowly stumbling to improvement? Let’s take a look.
I tried this out on a whim the evening before NXT TakeOver so I could watch one of the fabled NXT events live, and kept it until after Elimination Chamber. It speaks to the quality of the Network that I debated letting my subscription continue despite my extreme lack of discretionary funds. If I at all had regular income coming in I would get the Network even over Hulu. (I’m paying you, and you’re still showing me ads? I don’t care how many seasons of Community you hold ransom. Fuck you, Hulu.) Before the Elimination Chamber I watched Wrestlemania XXX for the first time, and indeed had my choice over all manners of WWE, ECW, WCW and NXT PPVs. I don’t care how indie or esoteric your wrestling tastes are, if you’re at all a wrestling fan, and you have ten bucks a month, you need to hop on that Network.
Never let it be said that I can’t be late to the bandwagon, because that show (which I understand is not even considered their best show) won me over something fierce. This is the write-up I did after TakeOver.
This was my first ever NXT show, and despite all the hype that’s been surrounding NXT, I think if anything people have been underplaying it. Everything about NXT works.
The arena itself is cool, a nice mix of intimate but impressive looking. They have LED lights on the entrance ramp that match the Titantron, and the entrances are all unique and fitting, from Breeze’s selfie schtick to Bayley’s wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men. The crowds seem excited to be there, and the chants seem fun and respectful, with the women’s match getting a “This is awesome” and Balor’s entrance alone getting a “Ho-lee shit!” Shout-out to the dad chanting “Ho-lee shit” while covering up his son’s ears.
And speaking of women’s wrestling, I might’ve seen the best match of 2015, and it was with women’s wrestlers (I will not call these warriors “divas.”) Good god they tore the house down, and I was glued for all 20+ minutes of that match. It had crazy spots, psychology, two distinct characters that wanted more than anything to win. Sasha Banks truly is “The Boss,” and truly is an epic-level heel that you still respect for her awesome ringwork. And Bayley is every bit as fun as people say, and Charlotte is every bit as amazing as people say. I know people keep hinting at Charlotte moving up, but if that happens I really want her to retain her skill level. My god, can you imagine if Vince hands over the “Divas” division to Triple H, and he lets Paige, Natalya, Emma, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte loose?
Kevin Owens is not a “cool heel,” he’s a real heel. He’s someone that, despite knowing IRL he’s a devoted dad, you want to see him get five shades of shit knocked out of him and that smug smirk knocked off his face. This dude gets it. We live in a world where Triple H is smarter than Jim Cornette, because Owens is absolutely a star.
And how awesome is the near future gonna be, with Owens feuding with Zayn, Finn, Hideo and Joe? And how awesome is the far future gonna be, with a WWE roster with Owens, Zayn, Finn, Hideo, Joe, Enzo and Big Cass, The Vaudevillians, Ambrose, Ziggler (please stay), Cesaro, Kidd, every women from NXT, LuchaDragons, Uhaa Nation…
Excuse me as I pray for Vince to retire and for Triple H to “TakeOver.”
If this is Hunter making up for past behavior… that’ll do, H. That’ll do.
In fact… I’ve come to believe that when something is done right in the WWE, it’s Hunter. So when I see NXT or Seth vs Dean as a main event I look up and say “thank you, based Haitch.”
Meanwhile, everything done wrong is Vince. Vinnie Mac is the Goofus to Haitch’s Gallant. So when I see Kane and J&J Security interrupt matches ad nauseum, or a 3-minute Divas match being talked over by the face/heel/face/tweener/face Bellas, I kick the ground and say “dammit, Vince!” like I’m Tom Haverford.
Tag teams… as far as the eye can see!
Who did we see competing in this past Elimination Chamber for the Tag Team Championship?
The Prime Time Players
Uppercats aka K-Swiss aka The Masters of the Universe aka Kidd & Cesaro
That’s six teams, and we’re not even counting the injured Usos, the missing Beardo Bros Rowan & Harper or Macho Mandow & Axelmania. Counting the above, that’s nine tag teams! Hell, have they ever had nine tag teams at once? This might be a new record. And even if the rumors of Kidd & Cesaro splitting up to pursue singles careers are true, they can bring in BlakeAlexisMurphyFriends or Enzo & Big Cass to even them out.
Tag teams are important. On a pure entertainment level, it’s something you only get in wrestling. There are no tag team boxing matches, or tag team MMA fights. When done well, you’ve got four exciting athletes in a fast-paced match. On a practical level, it’s a way to cover up two promising talents deficiencies when they’re not ready for singles competition yet, or it’s also a great career revitalizer.
John Cena is… good?
Okay, I am decidedly not a fan of him returning to RAW after a major loss and cutting a promo that insinuates his opponent is not a “real man.” Uh, he beat you in the middle of the ring fair and square, how is that not something a real man does?
But I am a fan of him taking a break from the main event, and using his current US champion position to make every RAW a showcase for new and underused talent. We saw Zack Ryder! On TV! In his hometown! And with an introduction by the celebrity guest hosts, who sat at ringside and rooted for him! (side note- they had guest hosts and they were used in a good way!) We’ve also seen Neville essentially win his match against Cena (hitting the Red Arrow but being interrupted by Rusev). We’ve seen King Barrett, Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn kick out of the AA, which is a big deal.
And he lost to Kevin Owens! Clean! Which is something he’s only done ten times in ten years! Owens got what many feel that Bray didn’t, which is a good start.
Wrestlers written right
As seen above, they’re also using wrestlers in a better capacity lately. Gone is the awkward, nuCena of pre-Mania Roman Reigns. Here is the badass, natural, cool Roman Reigns.
Cesaro and Kidd are faces finally!
The New Day are heels finally!
And they’re heels you can learn from. I, for one, am choosing to embrace positivity in this column. Oh sure, is the WWE perfect? No, I don’t think it could be, just like I don’t think anything could be. But the future looks bright. There’s a lot of great talent already there, and there’s a lot of great talent just waiting in the wings. It’d be churlish to complain.
And in that spirit of positivity, I want to touch on negativity. Apparently this site has been growing, because what’s also been growing is the troll percentage. So hooray for Widro for more readers! And condolences to us for more assholes.
The thing about trolls is that there’s no real way to beat them, save by starving them of the thing they want most- attention. Someone like Evony Res keeps coming back to comment because it takes seconds to see a notification on Disqus, and because evidently he/she has nothing better to do. And that’s what you have to realize about trolls… they have nothing going on. There’s nobody that says “I gotta get these supermodels and gold coins out of here, I got fools to school on the internet!”
This is slightly hypocritical, because I’ve been sucked into arguing with trolls myself, often on this very site. But I’ve been trying hard to be like Elsa and let it go. All they’re looking for is something to pass the long and lonely hours, and what they’ve come up with is stirring up shit for the lulz. Take it away from them. And try to remember, you’re attempting a logical argument with someone who very likely looks like this-
Now if you excuse me, I have a Tony Robbins cd to listen to.
Follow me on twitter @todaysjimsawyer.
Tags: Cesaro, dean ambrose, ECW, John Cena, Kevin Owens, Kidd, King Barrett, Los Matadores, Lucha Dragons, Neville, New Day, NXT, Prime Time Players, Roman Reigns, sami zayn, The Ascension, Triple H, VInce McMahon, zack ryder