Wrasslin’ Recap: Roman Steps Up, Cena Steps Aside and There’s a Void on Both RAW and Smackdown (9.28.17)
This is Who We Are
Damn. It’s been awhile. How’s everyone doing? Good? Are you eating enough, you’re all skin and bones. Sorry, i’ve just been busy with life things that don’t involve wrasslin’. Which is to say, most other things, but know in my heart of hearts that i’ve missed you all. Even you Stephen with the turtleneck. Okay, with that out of the way, let’s talk some wrasslin’! Specifically, this past week in WWE, since it feels like they’ve dug their heels into the ground in quite a few ways. Roman Reigns was cemented as the guy. Enzo is in full on heel mode, and while he’s the Cruiserweight champ, he’s still taking huge losses for alleged backstage douchebaggery. Then there’s the whole racism angle at play between Jinder Mahal and Shinsuke Nakamura. WWE gave us a lot to unpack, and by golly we’re gonna get through this as a team. Like the Goonies, or Allen Strange and those two nerds that took care of him. Join me, will you…
When You Finally Beat Your Dad at Driveway B-Ball
There comes a time, in every (not really) boy’s life, when they finally best their dad at their game of choice. For some boys, it’s basketball, for others, it’s chess, and for a rare few, it’s bullet ball. In that moment of triumph, there takes place an unspoken transfer of power. Your dad doesn’t have to move out or anything, but there’s a silent acknowledgement that you’re not the young lad you once were. You’ve arrived in some ways. Your dad may swell with pride, but they also know that you don’t need them quite as much. Roman Reigns beat his dad. Pinning Super Cena clean during No Mercy, and sliding into place as the on-screen face of the company. Many of you may be thinking, “hey, wasn’t Roman ALREADY face of the company?”, and i’ll respond with a chuckle while placing a Werther’s Original in you hand, and a simple “not really”. Roman was the IT guy. Roman was next in line, Roman was 1B. As much as he’d proclaim the his stature, he was never truly THE guy. Not as long as That broad shouldered boy from Boston (I know where he’s really from) was still around. Only a select few have ever gotten to beat John Cena, 1-on-1, clean. Roman wasn’t on that list, and moreso, Roman had been made to look vulnerable. He’d lost to Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar in the past year. He wasn’t a pushover, but he wasn’t infallible. Cena, usually was. Which is what made this match dynamic so interesting in hindsight. They put Roman in the Cena spot.
It was Cena who was dishing out everything he had. AA after AA, big spot after big spot, and Roman just wouldn’t stay down. It’s the exact type of match Cena would have with up and comers before laying their ass down for that three second tan. Cena put people over by letting them look like they could beat him, then snuffing out their dreams like a bulked up Freddy Kruger. Instead, Roman let the “old” guy look good, before Superman punching his high and tight haircut into star spangled confetti. One only has to watch the post-match adulation to recognize what took place. Cena may not be retiring, but he’s stepping down to let the tactical pirate officially take his place. Roman is still polarizing, but his path to acceptance no longer has a dayglow roadblock.
Long Live Lesnar
It has never been clearer that a big Brock loss will be saved for WrestleMania. Between the Fatal 4-Way just last month, and now his win over Braun Strowman, Brock has been built as vulnerable, but pretty much untouchable. Strowman, was the clear choice to topple the pink-faced brute, but for some reason, his crowning shall be saved. I venture to say that Braun has too many losses to Roman Reigns, who’s clearly being rebuilt in a way, to make that program alluring. Had Braun won, he’d likely be champ for a stretch until Roman got his shot at him at Mania. With Brock retaining, there’s not a void beneath him. I keep comparing it to samurai fighting for the #2 headband, and that analogy still fits. The only person who has a clear claim to a title shot is Finn Balor, but he’s stuck having Man vs. Man matches with Bray Wyatt and Goldust. Man vs. Man, because all other matches are Lizard Kings vs. Cheetahmen apparently.
With Brock’s limited appearances, it’s very likely he’ll be champ at least until the Royal Rumble. I don’t foresee a situation in which they have him drop that championship before then. Yes, there’s a need to make every PPV and network special feel like anything can happen, but even those big moments are saved. The Goldberg shock was held off for a Big 4 PPV, as was his eventual loss. I know the journey is more important, but you can’t help be see the wheels spinning in the interim. So go on you big, burly blonde. Kick all the infrequent ass, while making others look viable(something he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for). I await your next heavyweight title defence, where i’m sure the first two rows will be stricken with gout from pure beef intake.
The Zo Show
So everyone hates Enzo. That’s what we’re to take away here. I get it, and I kind of like it. I still think it’s strange for WWE to turn so much into the meta curve on this one, mostly because it was still just backstage rumours and dirtsheets that even outed Enzo as an (alleged) insufferable prick. They didn’t actually have to confirm it. Then again, guys are “punished” in ring for backstage transgressions all the time, we’ve just been made privy to their whole carnie justice system. At least, in between beatings, Enzo gets to take part in my favorite heel activity, and that’s say whatever the hell he wants before getting punched, kicked, kneed, etc, in the face.
This week, he dressed down the entire 205 Live roster, calling out the low ratings for the show, and lack of crowd response. All true statements, but doesn’t make it right to point out. He ain’t wrong, just kind of an asshole. So, in an odd act of selflessness, Neville, in defiance of Kurt Angle, and losing any future title shots, attacked Enzo, then served him up to the rest of the roster (post show, and after Braun got in on the action too). He’s still champ, but at what cost. At what cost.
Stuff and Thangs
In shocking news, both RAW and Smackdown Live are still having issues with their women’s division. Less so over on Smackdown since there is at least a feud that is outside of the title picture. On RAW, if you’re not actively competing for Alexa Bliss’ title, you’re not on TV. It’s not all bad though. The women’s match on No Mercy was completely bonkers, and will likely be the true star turn for Nia Jax.
Yes, I know it’s strange to say someone getting superkick/powerbombed from the ring to the floor, but damnit, this is wrasslin’! You make stars by showing how much punishment someone can take just well as dish it out, and Nia delivered. Alexa may have come out on top, but everything here is serving to make that entire division look stronger. At least in-ring. They still very much need individual, personal feuds to let the personalities come through a bit more.
We finally got payoff for the disgruntled show off, in the form of Bobby “Ain’t He Just Glorious” Roode. This is perfect. Bobby is the embodiment of everything Dolph claims to hate, with one glaring exception; Bobby can get it done in the ring. Ziggler claims, you need a flashy entrance to get noticed, along with a catchy song and some catchphrases. Bobby has all that, but from bell to bell he can hang with just about anyone. Which means, Dolph is going to be served up to the Glorious one more than likely, but we should get some solid matches out of this. And hopefully, Dolph gets a full on makeover.
Alright, I have to tap out. I’ve rambled long enough, I didn’t even get to the Miz. I will address how they had Jinder Mahal basically steer into the racism a week after apologizing for having him do it in the first place. I guess if you make the jokes more broad and sophomoric, the actual intent is lessened. Sound logic.
Hopefully, I don’t pull another Judy Winslow and i’ll be back around next week. If you get worried, send the search party over to my Twittah Machine. I’ll let off my sexy flare if i’m okay. Till then….