Inside Pulse Wrestling » Chris Sanders Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Fri, 28 Mar 2014 23:44:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Inside Pulse Wrestling no Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Inside Pulse Wrestling » Chris Sanders THE RAGER! – The New Mr. Wrestlemania (Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro) Wed, 26 Mar 2014 15:00:22 +0000 So it’s been 4 years since Shawn Michaels went into retirement and even after that, we still get our share of HBK appearances, especially when it comes to Wrestlemania season. However, he doesn’t seem to be involved in Wrestlemania in any for the first in a very long time this year. This realization made me wonder if there will ever take up the “Mr. Wrestlemania” mantel and who might it be? Of course, that individual doesn’t necessarily have to take up the actual moniker itself but serve as that figure on a yearly basis.

So what am I looking for? Excitement in all aspects, mostly. That person that’s almost completely dependable year after year to have a good or at least exciting match. To the point where it could be a complete lame and boring WM but this person’s match is always guaranteed to give everyone a high point to remember. Of course, it’s easy to go with a scrappy, charismatic “smaller” guy just because it’s the template HBK put in place and you might want to avoid the menacing yet quiet big guy that’s dominating at WM at least a few years after Undertaker finally walks away for good. So that automatically takes Roman Reigns out of the equation but believe me, that guy will have enough accomplishments to hang his hat on over the course of his career, he’ll be fine.

The obvious first name that comes to mind is Daniel Bryan. He doesn’t matchup with HBK in terms of mic work but he can still hold his own and contribute a great deal to interesting story lines. The biggest thing is his matches and the excitement they generate. DB matches are almost guaranteed to become match of the night contenders almost regardless of his opponent. He’s a guy that’s going to have such a huge fan reaction for a long time and it would be so easy to take advantage of at WM. His previous WM experiences weren’t great but then again, he’s only had two matches. Of course, everyone thinks of the infamous 18 second match against Sheamus. But it was hugely memorable, fitting for the heel character he was portraying at the time and, to top it all off, began this whole yes craze that expedited his journey to the top of the company. The following year was a lot better for his win-loss record while also being part of an exciting tag team match that the crowd was incredibly into (him plus Ziggler in the same match tends to do that). And then there’s the potential this year of him being in two incredibly high profile matches, easily putting him in the upper echelon of Wrestlemania performers. If there was anybody that had the potential the match the Wrestlemania career of Shawn Michaels, it just might be his former student.

Dolph Ziggler is possibly the most gifted entertainers WWE has on their roster both physically and on the mic. His concussions really came at the worst time last year and I understand WWE’s reluctance to put a lot behind a guy prone to concussions BUT they’ve got to find a way to harness Ziggler. They’re missing out on a lot by not featuring him in prominent positions on weekly programming and pay per views. He’s got the personality and ring ability to be the guy that delivers at each and every Wrestlemania he’s a part of, clearly the fans already believe so given the reaction he’s gotten over the past couple of years. He’s absolutely a guy that can pull this off if he can stay healthy enough for WWE to be convinced to get behind him and rebuild his momentum.

Bray Wyatt could possibly be the heel version of Mr. Wrestlemania. I’m sure with his incredible mic skills that he could be a great face at some point but he really wouldn’t need to. He’s going into his first Wrestlemania and he’s actually making me excited for a Cena match. That alone should convince people to give him all of the accolades. And no, he doesn’t exactly fit into my “small guy” criteria but they’re my rules and I can easily bend them in order to include guys that I like. So suck it. But seriously, if Bray’s career continue to go the way it has been, he’s still really young and we could possibly be looking at the next Undertaker figure. Most likely, Bray won’t have the streak but he’ll definitely be that dark, opposing figure that we can also count on during Wrestlemania (possibly…hopefully…we’ll see).

Cesaro, he could easily turn tomorrow and become one of the biggest faces in the company. Honestly, I’m kinda wonder why WWE hasn’t pulled that trigger already but they’ve seemingly done away with the Real American breaking up teases. He has that Daniel Bryan factor in that he’s match is almost always assured to be a match of the night contender regardless of his opponent. If harnessed the right way, he could be a huge WM asset for WWE for a long time because it seems like it’s more and more difficult for fans to boo Cesaro in spite of his close proximity to Zeb.

Honorable Mentions:
I’d put CM Punk on this list if he didn’t despise the idea of working with HHH so much.

So the Shield are technically faces now, right? I’ll put Dean and Rollins on here because either/both would fit perfectly in this role but, honestly, I just want Shield to last forever.

Is Evan Bourne even alive?

Kofi Kingston could possibly pull it off if WWE didn’t put that 5-inch thick glass ceiling over him.

Cody has his chances. I’d be interested in seeing him take one more swing at a single career after CoDust is over but I’m not holding my breath. He’s a great tag team wrestler, perhaps he should stick to that.

Big E has a great personality if WWE ever decides to let him show it off. Still needs some work in the ring but I still very much dig him.

I’m positive WWE can do something with Sandow. We saw a brief glimpse of what an inspired Sandow can do when he was up against Cena last year. He plays a great snob character, WWE just needs to actually find an interesting feud for him because I think he’s only had like 2 or 3 during his tenure.

I still haven’t completely given up on Drew McIntyre even though all logic is telling me that I should. I just chalk it up to him joining the main roster at a very young age and was instantly in a high profile situation. Drew just hasn’t found the character yet.

Honestly, the Hunicara change has made me enjoy Sin Cara matches now that they have a more dependable guy playing the character and can work with people not named Alberto Del Rio (even though they’re still booking them together). WWE might actually get the payoff they were hoping for when they hired the original.

Odds are that nobody will be able to live up to the legend of Mr. Wrestlemania and that’s completely fine, I don’t think we really want a carbon copy of HBK because where’s the excitement in that? All I know is that is that Undertaker is closer to the end than the beginning and when he’s gone, he’ll be the last of all the things we look forward to every year at the showcase of the immortals. When that time comes, WWE will need somebody to step up and fill the impossible void of HBK and Taker and become the dependable figure for their biggest show. Daniel Bryan is the clear favorite right now but my column would be boring if I just left it there. Who knows who it will be or if that person is even in the company yet.

For the record, I still think WWE will find something for Shawn to do on April 6th. Just surprising plans haven’t been made public yet.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: Coheed and Cambria did a cover of Somebody that I Used to Know and *spoiler alert* sucked way less than the original.×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 3.24.14 (Undertaker, John Cena, Batista) Tue, 25 Mar 2014 05:49:57 +0000 …And we’re back.

1. I’m so glad we got Batista’s mic sorted out so we can hear him repeat all the things he’s been saying the past couple months. Apparently, he believes Steph enjoys getting drooled on. Is that before or after the Hemsley’s watch torture porn together? I didn’t even know drooling on people was a thing people were into. Clearly I haven’t traversed the internet enough.The part that truly saved this segment was when Steph vaporized Batista’s sunglasses with her hand. She feels very strongly about not wearing sunglasses indoors.

2. The fatal 4 way was a lot of fun to watch especially when WWE threw the crowd a bone and featured a lot of great spots with Ziggler. I’m making the assumption that Sheamus will cost Christian the IC match on Main Event that’ll lead to a WM30 match. Hopefully that ends up being the pre-show match when we’re only partially paying attention to it.

3. Sin Cara comes out with someone in a Scooby Doo mascot costume which leads me to wonder which member of the Guerrero family is in the suit. Is it possible for Hunico to be both Scooby AND Sin Cara at the same time? Did JTG somehow find a way to get TV time? Maybe we’ve already witnessed the return of CM Punk. Did WWE just confirm Half Life 3? C-O-N-spiracy

4. So I’ve enjoyed the weekly interviews between Cole and HHH. However, WWE has this tendency to take something that works and try to replicate it on Raw. This is why you see so many rematches from Smackdown the very next Monday. Hell, how else would you explain Bad News Barrett? But as enjoyable as I find this interview sessions, they translate as just another talking segment when it’s put on Raw.

5. Dear Jeebus, Goldust entertains the hell out of me. Since every other cast member of Total Divas hates Summer Rae, just give her the Jo-Jo treatment and put Goldust on the show. I’d watch the pants off that show. Or at least gives his character a reality show on the network. Its a golden opportunity. You get what I did there? Hello? Is this thing on?

6. The biggest thing I took away from the Arnold segment was Hulk Adele Dazeem-ing Joe Manganiello. Also, Miz is still alive and employed…so there’s that.

7. Speaking of Smackdown rematches, John Cena vs Luke Harper. And I could see why they would want to repeat it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the mask ending but then again, I kinda rolled my eyes at the Cena in the bathroom segment beforehand. I think it might’ve been more effective if the Wyatt’s beat up Cena and do the mask thing with the lights on.

8. The Vickie Invitational is not so much an invitational as it’s a “hey, are you a Diva and can kind of wrestle?” match. Also, this has to be a battle royal, right? Also, Vickie really should’ve just said “AJ, you’re fighting all the Divas” and end it there. It’s Wrestlemania season, time is money.

9. Cesaro really is good for Swagger because I found myself actually liking him during their match against Shield. Also, at Wrestlemania, it’ll be The Shield vs Citizen Kane and the New Age Inlaws.

10. After the druids set up the coffin at the side of the ring, I noticed Brock checking the other side of the ring in case of anyone coming out from under that side. Surprisingly smart move for Lesnar, color me impressed. Also, it’s been a while since we’ve seen Undertaker do some gimmicky things with casket, I enjoyed it.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

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THE RAGER! – The Great Repair (Daniel Bryan, HHH, Batista) Wed, 12 Mar 2014 15:00:59 +0000 Daniel Bryan is making it really difficult to have a wrestling column that doesn’t focus only on him every single week. This week seems a bit unavoidable with the big announcement that he will get his match against HHH at Wrestlemania 30. Not only that but Daniel Bryan will be added to the championship main event if he is successful against HHH earlier in the night.

Obviously nobody believes that this is exactly what WWE had intended when they left DB out of the Royal Rumble. The main evidence to support that would be that this was prior to CM Punk splitting and still going with the idea of him facing HHH at WM30. WWE had to have known that there would be fallout with the fans over DB not being included, I believe they just thought that anger would be aimed at Authority and not so much at their Rumble winner. To be fair, I wasn’t expected all that Batista backlash either, especially with him being such a returning big name because it takes a lot of effort (Chris Jericho) to make the fans boo returning nostalgic legends. But what if Roman Reigns had won instead? I can’t imagine fans being as nearly as outraged if that happened. Sure, they wouldn’t be thrilled that it wasn’t DB but I can’t imagine Reigns getting boo’d out of the building if he was standing as the Rumble winner.

Anyways, WWE made a big mistake not even including Bryan in the Rumble and I feel like that was a conclusion we realized immediately, let alone the fact that his momentum dictated that he be the only choice to win the match altogether. But the fans essentially turned Batista heel on their own and I don’t believe WWE wanted a heel vs heel match to close out the show. At this point, allow me to express how impressed I am that WWE resisted their urges to throw Cena in the championship match, we all know they were thinking it. What WWE did on Monday was right a wrong that they made back in January and surprised us all by doing so.

I was honestly growing concerned that DB’s championship chances were growing slimmer with each passing Raw because Bryan kept repeating his demand of “giving the people what they want” in reference to a match against HHH and then the crowd responded with cheers as I sat in my living room with my arms crossed and angry because that’s not at all what I want. Of course, it’s impossible to get the fans to oppose anything that Daniel Bryan says right now. If he really wanted to, I’m sure he could make the crowd in favor of the holocaust at this point. It just made me feel bad because it was obvious that good guy Bryan Danielson was simply being a good company man and running with what the company was giving him.

Over the past few weeks, Bryan didn’t mention anything that had to do with the championship match. Matter of fact, there’s hardly been any mention of Batista or Orton at all which added to my surprise when Daniel Bryan added that to his demands during his occupy segment. So WWE did what they were suppose to do and ended up finding a way to surprise us all in the process. It’s like WWE is that petulant child that is suppose to take out the garbage every week but refuses to do it. Then one day, the child actually does take out the trash on their own and then cleans their room without being told to do so. Congrats on doing what you were suppose to do all along. Is it obvious that I’m not a parent?

Obviously we can’t get too excited because there is that first hurdle Bryan must jump over and that’s beating HHH, especially when you know Trips keeps that shovel handy at all times. However, I feel like there’s at least a 85% chance that DB wins because that’s obviously the more interesting story line going into the main event, right? WWE knows exactly how something like this can elevate a top face to full-on hero status after pulling off the same thing with Bret Hart at Wrestlemania 10. Now when Bryan gets into the main event, that’s where it gets really difficult in predicting because, again, WWE has a history of giving into the temptation of putting their top belt(s) on a guy with big movies coming out BUT, Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t coming out until the summer. So WWE could go ahead and have Bryan win at WM30 and have Batista leave for a little bit (maybe like a month) and then comes back to team up with Bryan when he gets in a jam. Bryan eventually drops the belt due to shenanigans and a newly faced Batista wins it in time for Guardians’ release and WWE gets all the press they could possibly hope for.

Wishful thinking, I know. But realistically, I think Batista and Bryan both have a 50% chance of winning the championship match, let Orton do something else for a while after he loses his rematch at Extreme Rules.

All-in-all, well done to the WWE for making me interested in this year’s Wrestlemania for reasons beyond that it’s Wrestlemania. As long as Bryan gets past HHH, we’re guaranteed a decent show. Bryan wins and we’ll be looking at a great show.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: I wanna be this guy when I grow up.×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 3.10.14 (Daniel Bryan, The Shield, More Daniel Bryan) Tue, 11 Mar 2014 06:22:16 +0000 1. I really dig the 30 man battle royal addition to the WM30 card and making it mean more than a one-off meaningless match before the show starts. It gets a lot more guys on the card and possibly makes this new Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy almost like King of the Ring as far as prestige and possibly starting a new tradition. Wrestlemania has badly need something to fill the void that Money the Bank left behind after it got it’s own pay per view, this might do the trick. But let’s not get too carried away because I’m convinced Big Show is going to win this.

2. Real American split is furthering to the point of Zeb reaching his limit and Jack Swagger gets pre-buried by Cesaro using a 5th grader’s ultimate weapon, the tight grip handshake. Those kids were always jerks…

3. Can’t help but feel like this was a wasted appearance by Undertaker and as much as I love him and Heyman, all they did was talk in circles. At least they could come up with some reason as to why Undertaker decided to fight Lesnar. Also, we’re still waiting on whatever Undertaker was going to announce. Does Heyman have amnesia powers?

4. CoDust is a fun tag team to watch almost every time they have a match but they seem to put in a bigger effort against Shield. Funny how the Shield is able to do that with most of their opponents. Also, Roman seems to have messed up the spear for the first time but given all the awesome he’s given us in such a short time, I’m willing to let this one slide.

5. Where do I begin with Daniel Bryan on this edition of Raw? I’ll admit that I rolled my eyes at first at the whole “Occupy Raw” thing because the occupy movement was about as useful as a time-travel sit-in (What do we want? “Time travel!” When do we want it? “That’s irrelevant!”) but the visual of filling up the ring and around the ring with DB supporters was a great one and served it’s purpose to force HHH’s hand. Bryan got his match and my response was basically “alright, fair enough…no surprise there.” And at the very least, we got to see the return of screamy Steph and that does something to me that I don’t feel comfortable talking about in a public forum. But then Daniel Bryan continued with another demand that made me throw my hands up as if to signal a touchdown. HHH confirmed (with a RAGE) that it was a deal and DB would be added to the main event if he beat HHH. At that point (with arms still raised), I stood to my feet and exclaimed loudly, “It’s happening!” I’ll hand it to WWE, they’re fixing a rough situation that originated at the end of Royal Rumble and color me impressed. However, let’s hold back on expectations right now because I’m sure HHH always keeps an emergency shovel in a glass case that’s dying to be broken.

6. Another Sheamus vs Christian match. Worst. Follow-up. Segment. Ever. To be fair, the Bryan segment easily could’ve ended any Raw and it felt a bit odd that it was done at the 10pm hour and it no following segment really had a chance. Sheamus and Christian could’ve had a great match (they didn’t) and no one would’ve cared. It’s safe to say that anything short of a surprise CM Punk return would’ve failed following DB’s ultimatum.

7. It’s only been a few weeks but I’m already tired of Lana’s voice and ready for Rusev to finally start wrestling. Her voice is like Vickie’s but with an accent, high pitched and about as comforting as a needle under your toenails.

8. Lost in all the shuffle of Bryan’s ultimatum was Sandow almost getting a match. That guy is still trying to recover from the MitB cash-in.

9. Cena vs Wyatt was confirmed for Wrestlemania 30 but not before Cena committed himself to Hogan’s 30-man battle royal. Making promises to the elderly only to immediately cancel on them #NotAFace.

10. Did that tag team main event even matter after all that had happened? It seemed more to try and remind people that Orton and Batista still existed. To be honest, my attention was drawn elsewhere because viewing companions were more interested in looking up an old college classmate that use to drive us insane and constantly tried to argue with/stump the professor. Turns out the guy is still a jerk, who knew? Daniel Bryan ended the show standing tall, which seemed to be the real important thing to take away from this episode of Raw.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

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THE RAGER! Wrestlemania 30: The Rest of the Card (Shield, Big E, The Usos) Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:00:22 +0000 So we’re about 30 days away from Wrestlemania 30 and the top of the card is taking shape. So far, the matches being officially listed as of right now is the championship match of Randy Orton vs Batista and Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar. That’s 3 part-timers in 2 matches which frees up the rest of the card for more full-time members of the roster. That leaves roughly 7 or more matches to fill the rest of the card. What will the rest of the card look like? Let’s take some wild guesses, shall we?

Daniel Bryan vs HHH:
This match is pretty much a lock barring any new developments or other factors. That also takes care of HHH, the last of the part-timers getting involved this year (that we know of). The only change I can see being made is, by some miracle, WWE comes to their senses and add DB to the championship match. It makes sense considering that the match now stands as a heel vs heel match that will leave their show ending with boos, which will just be a repeat of the end of last year’s Wrestlemania, something I’m hoping WWE doesn’t want. Of course the easiest solution to that would be to end the show with Taker vs Brock because there’s no way Brock is gonna break the streak. And if DB does get moved, what will that mean for HHH? Easy answer is Big Show because WWE is going to find a reason to put him on the show and I’d rather stick him in a match that I don’t care about and is far away from the championship scene.

John Cena vs Bray Wyatt:
Another lock for the card even though I really would much rather see Wyatts vs Shield III in a cell instead but obviously the Shield split is beginning and besides, I’m really digging this so far. As I stated in 10 Thoughts yesterday, this really feels like what “Embrace the Hate” should’ve been if Kane was a promo mastermind like Bray is. This elevates a rising monster while at the same time keeping Cena on the card and doing something actually interesting rather than being thrown into the highest profile match.

Something with the Shield:
With Seth bailing on his Shieldmates this past Raw, the end of the Shield seems uber nigh. With Seth naturally being the glue that’s been holding this team together, it’s completely logical that they now fall apart. I think this was a smart way to set up a triple threat match at WM30 but apparently that’s an indicator that a triple threat championship match won’t happen. Regardless of the indicators, I highly endorse this match because there’s no way Shield goes out with a whimper. I understand this means the death of something we’ve all cherished dearly for over a year but we all knew the end was coming, might as well make it bad ass.

Tag titles:
The tag division has enjoyed a resurgence over the past year and a half so it makes sense that the title is defended at WM30. Usos are your recently crowned champs and New Age Outlaws have postponed their rematch so why not postpone it to the big show? Perhaps add some names to the match like CoDust. However, with WWE’s fear of multiple things in threes, we might need to add a fourth tag team. I may hate it but I’d rather see Curtis Axel and Ryback instead of Los Matadores.

Mid-Card Belts:
Of course, the US Championship’s involvement depends on what WWE decides to do with Shield but I really would love for WWE to actually do a title unification/double title ladder match that they were apparently considering last year. I mean, WWE made that nifty double-title holder for TLC, might as well use it again, right?
There should be a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship, at the very least, especially if WWE is gonna stick with Money in the Bank having it’s own pay per view. Also, it serves as the match that puts a larger number of people on the show. I’m thinking Big E, Cesaro, Jack Swagger (instead of having a Real American break-up match), Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Christian and Sheamus (because we don’t need to see them face each other again).

Divas Championship:
AJ has been running through the Total Divas cast for months now so I’m guessing that’ll come to an end at some point to give the show some sort of high point. Obviously, if AJ were to lose her championship to anybody, I’d hope it would be Natalya or maybe even Brie or Naomi. Anybody else would be a joke…not saying the Divas division is all that serious to begin with.

The Nothing Match:
Fandango and Summer Rae vs Santino and Emma. You always need a light nothing match to kinda mix things up a bit. Besides, you know there will be a moment where Hulk comes out to fix some sort of shady shenanigans. Fandango hits a cheap shot and then the top rope leg drop for the pin. Hulk’s music hits, points a finger, slam and leg drop. Might as well happen.

Kick-off Match:
Either a big battle royal or Alberto Del Rio vs Sin Cara because it’s happened on every other show, might as well do it one more time at Wrestlemania before Del Rio rides off in the sunset.

So THE RAGER’s month-early card looks like:

WWEWHC match: Randy Orton vs Batista (vs Daniel Bryan, possibly)
Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar
HHH vs Daniel Bryan (or Big Show if above happens)
John Cena vs Bray Wyatt
Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose (possibly for the US Championship)
Tag Team Championship 4-Way: Usos vs NAOs vs CoDust vs CurBack
IC Ladder Match: Big E vs Cesaro vs Jack Swagger vs Miz vs Kofi Kingston vs Dolph Ziggler vs Christian vs Sheamus
DC Match: AJ vs Natalya
Fandango & Summer Rae vs Santino & Emma
Kickoff: Battle Royal (seems most likely)

That’s 9 matches with a kickoff, seems pretty reasonable to me. Thoughts? What does your card look like thus far?

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: Thomas the Dank Engine×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 3.3.14 (Daniel Bryan, Wyatt Family, The Shield) Tue, 04 Mar 2014 17:11:51 +0000 I apologize my 10 Thoughts are so late, I got about 3 thoughts completed after Raw when my eyes went blurry and got a massive headache. This is what happens when you try to give up sodas cold turkey. But nevertheless, he’s my 10 Thoughts!

1. There really was no way WWE was maneuver their way around the Chicago crowd (they did not disappoint) and I think facing it head-on at the top of the show really was the best strategy. They just allowed Paul Heyman to work his magic to find a way to steer the crowd into reacting what he wanted them to react to. Also, Brock’s brief mic work tonight might have been the best speaking moment of his career. Brock also did a decent impersonation of Heyman saying his name. (Side note: Lesnar accidentally pegged a fan with a monitor)

2. Usos winning the Tag championship truly feels overdue, especially when you think of how they were one of the few actual tag teams back a few years ago when it was just them and The Colons. It was a great moment and interesting way to get the crowd actually interested in something that has nothing to do with Punk.

3. I do like the Zeb story of trying hard to keep Real Americans together and it makes way more sense than the usual tag team breakup the instance one single thing happens. Although it seems odd that they did both matches again Big E in the same night when they very well could’ve done so on Smackdown. They could’ve cut the second match that way they wouldn’t have ended at almost 11:20pm.

4. It’s Shield vs Wyatts II, what else would you expect? It was great even if they teased Shield breaking up. However it started with Seth Rollins, they guy I really didn’t expect to be the one to start it. I believe he was yelling that he’s tired of being the glue that holds them together and I do like that reasoning. The only person I haven’t been crazy about in their two matches is Rowan, he just doesn’t do much for me. That’s the only downside in all of this. But how much more can I wax lyrical about this matchup? It’s one of the few times where the matches were hyped to high heaven and actually lived up to it. With all the complaining going on with WWE’s product, at least we have this.

5. I’m sorry, friends. I’m trying to keep an open mind about Emma, I swear, but this just isn’t working for me at all. Maybe I’m simply not the demographic they’re aiming it with this.

6. It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest Christian fan, especially in recent times and I’ve joined the anti-Sheamus club a while back but I kinda feel bad for this match because they simply had no chance with this Chicago crowd. It also doesn’t help that it already feels like these two have been feuding for 3 months.

7. Shouldn’t Bryan being forced away from the ring happen at the end of the show? You know, before his scheduled match? This is the segment where I truly became impressed with the Chicago crowd. They did their best to drown out The Authority every time they spoke and then went completely silent to listen to Daniel Bryan. I mean, they were technically still doing exactly what WWE wants them to do (boo the heels, respect the faces) but hot damn, it was impressive. Also, that ending was just shenanigans galore and it seems like Bryan vs HHH at WM30 is gonna happen.

8. Anytime the commentators acknowledge anything the IWC came up with on message boards or reddit, it instantly becomes a uncool. It happened with Fandangoing, Boo-tista and now “Hijacking Raw.” The only exception that is still going strong is Yes, that’s not going away anytime soon.

9. Yeah, that pop was definitely not for Aaron Paul. It’s refreshing to get a reminder every now and then that Ziggler hasn’t been completely forgetting about. Sure, he may not be where we want him to be but at least he hasn’t gone full Ryder.

10. This feels kinda wrong to say on the internet but I’m actually kinda digging Cena vs Bray. It’s what “Embrace the Hate” was suppose to feel like if Kane was a promo-mastermind like Bray.×120.jpg×250.jpg

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THE RAGER! Rewarding Expectations (The Shield, Wyatt Family, Daniel Bryan) Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:00:05 +0000 I honestly believed that I would have a difficult time pulling myself from WWE Network long enough to write this week’s RAGER. However, their issues with their on-demand service made that problem a bit easier for me. How nice of them.
But at least their live stream has been working with very few hiccups regardless of traffic size. This is reassuring and eases my concern before the WM30 crowd hits it in April.
But that’s enough about that, let’s dive into Elimination Chamber, yes?

Kick-off Match: CoDust vs Ryback & Curtis Axel
Since they were in Minnesota, it was a nice touch to bring out Axel’s grandfather for the match. Although that does seem like an odd move for an overly heel tag team but I get it, you don’t know how many chances they’ll get to do that. Decent enough match, it’s just hard for me to gather the interest to really care about AxBack one way or the other. It was a throw away match on a free platform, it is what it is.

Big E vs Jack Swagger
I love Big E, I truly do, but this felt more like a random Smackdown match that just so happens to be for the Intercontinental Championship. There really wasn’t much of a set-up to this feud and now seems to be more fuel to a possible break-up between Swags and Cesaro with Big E chilling in the middle. Decent enough match, Big E opens up yet another opponent. Seems to be a trend being set.

New Age Outlaws vs The Usos
Again, I would’ve loved to have seen the Usos win here but alas, I understand the appeal of having NAOs holding the tag titles going into an overly nostalgic Wrestlemania this year. This, of course, is assuming the tag titles will even be defended at Mania…although it would be huge if Usos won it at Mania seeing as how they seem to be continuing their feud according to this week’s Raw. I liked this match, its fun to see NAOs back to their heel tactics.

Titus O’Neil vs Darren Young
A little surprised at the outcome just going under the assumption that Darren Young would be the one getting the push and needed a win more than Titus would to jumpstart his singles career. However, Titus won instead and I’m assuming WWE has some sort of plan for this going forward. Okay, I just read back that last sentence, there’s no need to point out how ridiculous that notion is. As I’m sure I’ve said in the past, I’d probably be more into this feud if I actually took the time to watch Smackdown. That’s on me.

The Wyatt Family vs The Shield
Words cannot accurately describe how much I enjoyed this match and how relieved I am that it met my high expectations. I went into the match expecting it to be a Roman Reigns highlight show but instead, Seth kinda took over the match and high spots. That’s the one thing I love about Shield, one guy will take the attention torch for a little while and just when you think you’ve locked into who you believe to be your favorite Shield member, one of the others will do something to take said attention torch and you’re back to having no clue. I’m anxiously awaiting the break-up of Shield, not because I want it to end but because I can’t wait to see what each one of them will do in singles. And I don’t mean to diminish anything that Wyatt’s did during this match because each member absolutely held their own and it takes two to tango (or six in this case).
I amend my earlier statement, keep Shield together for a little while longer so we can get rematches periodically. I think 2 more would be appropriate, yes?
AJ vs Cameron
I guess AJ really is going through all of the Total Divas cast. If Eva Marie gets a title shot at ANY point in the near future, I vow to cut off my television and turn it around to face the wall. That’s right, I will punish WWE by putting them in the corner, they know what they did. I urge you all to join my pledge.

Batista vs Del Rio
Batista wasn’t this bad during his actual wrestling career, was he? Or am I just looking through a different, smarky filter right now? His appearance at Elimination Chamber and the following Raw made Rock look like a marathon runner. I am super proud of the Minnesota crowd, though. Nobody should pay money to sit through that.

Elimination Chamber
A chamber match is always held in high regard from me and, much like the Rumble match, it takes a lot of hard to work to make one completely suck. That being said, the participants did a great job of not making the match suck. I enjoyed it and didn’t even mind Sheamus (of whom I hold in the deepest of hatred) and Christian (of whom I have an inexplicable growing hatred for). Christian’s splash from the top of the cage was a good spot and was quite surprised his fragile body held up for it. For me, the obvious MVP of this match was Cesaro with Daniel Bryan as a very close runner-up. I do sort of hate that I correctly predicted that we would get double shenanigans for this match. I think it would’ve been cooler if the lights had went out while Cena was still in his pod and the lights came back up to find that Bray somehow made it into John’s pod as well. This would leave Cena with no way to escape and Bray would catch him off-guard and beat him down a bit. Lights go out again and when they came back, Bray would be gone and Cena would by laying unconscious in his now-opened pod and one of the heels would go in and eliminate him. But instead, the three Wyatts appeared in the Chamber because of course it takes three men to take out Super Cena. The only thing that doesn’t really add up is Daniel Bryan being the one instigating Kane. Sure, DB has wanted to rip Kane apart for some time now but winning the WWEWHC seemed to be the bigger goal. Having Kane use this opportunity to attack DB makes much more sense, especially if it all leads to DB being mad at being screwed over by HHH facing him at WM30.
But what do I know? I’m just a lowly writer that can’t even get his script accepted by the film festival he used to volunteer for 3 years ago at his alma mater. I’m not bitter, guys. I swear.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: “Cats are just lizards with fur.”×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 2.24.14 (Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Roman Reigns) Tue, 25 Feb 2014 05:34:42 +0000 1. Honestly, I feel like we got the correct dosage of Hulk Hogan tonight. It didn’t take too much of the spotlight off the rest of the show, charged up the crowd and Hulk narrowly dug himself out of a “launching of the WWE Universe” botch. If he takes a similar approach at Mania, I’ll be content with it and maybe even be understanding of a leg drop.

2. Jerry Lawler acknowledged the “Boo-tista” chants from EC last night, stripping the chant of it’s coolness. It’s time to pack it up. ABORT!

3. Apparently, Batista didn’t get the “talk over CM Punk chants” memo.

4. Cesaro can simply do no wrong at this point. WWE needs to turn him face before the fans do it for them (if it hasn’t happened already).

5. So I was actually beginning to get excited for Cena/Wyatt tonight until I saw a picture of Cena’s knee after the Wyatt beat-down. I’m no doctor but a knee isn’t suppose to look like that and doesn’t look like it will be serviceable in 40 days. But, again, I’m not a doctor and the injury could be nothing. I know how it would make sense for me to post a link to the picture of Cena’s knee but I’m too much of a pansy to look at it again. Bring on your mockery, I stand by it.

6. Daniel Bryan vs Kane. When it was first announced, I admit that I scoffed at the idea. I admit that my scoffing was incorrect and how dare I forget the chemistry Daniel Bryan and Kane had/still have. Also, how dare I short change Kane especially since this came after we watched a younger Batista gasp for air for an entire match/promo. Not to mention Kane also wrestled in slacks. I like WWE’s logic of Kane not knowing about being booked into matches so he does so in slacks and undershirts but still has the foresight for elbow pads and boots.

7. I still understand why people like Emma. I feel nothing but anger when I see her make her entrance and interact with Santino. Sure, her submission move looked impressive but it wasn’t enough to quell my anger. If someone wants to explain Emma to me, I promise I’ll try to listen.

8. Green Bay, why are you so delusional? Of all the moments you all could’ve crapped on and you pick the Bray and Roman match? Did none of them see the match of the year contender between Wyatts and Shield last night? sure, this match was a little slower but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad match. Maybe it’s just me being sensitive due to me loving both men involved in the match. Also, I’m a stereotypical Chicago Bears fan that hates the citizens of Green Bay. Again, bring on your mockery, I stand by it.

9. I still don’t know how I feel about Daniel Bryan facing HHH at WM30. It makes sense given HHH has been the core of Bryan’s problems since Summerslam but it’s not the championship and maybe I just need to accept it and move on. Also, it’s hard to not blame this on Punk leaving.

10. I really was not looking forward to Brock/Taker at WM30, not really for any specific reason but I find myself getting caught up in the final segment of Raw and incredibly enthralled after Taker “stabbed” Brock’s hand into the contract. Undertaker seems to have grown The Ministry goatee back and I’m hoping this means he can shoot lightning once again. Also, this will be the 2nd Taker match in a row that Heyman is involved in. Maybe the remainder of Taker WM matches will be against Heyman guys. Undertaker vs Curtis Axel at Wrestlemania 31 confirmed.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

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THE RAGER! Chambering Expectations (Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Cesaro) Wed, 19 Feb 2014 16:00:39 +0000 So we’ve finally reached Elimination Chamber. It honestly feels like we’re so far removed from Royal Rumble considering how much has happened in the days after and how quickly things have seemed to cooled. Bryan didn’t win the Rumble, Punk left and wrestling fans were in a frenzy but that all seemed to die down within the past couple weeks. I’m sure WWE is quite happy about that, just a few pesky CM Punk chants (although I’m sure we all have March 3rd circled on our calendars). But the great thing that’s come about in these few weeks is the push Cesaro has been getting lately. Sure, Cesaro may not be on the top card of a stacked Wrestlemania 30 but this is a great time to get momentum and fan reaction.

Kick-off Show: CoDust vs Curtis Axel & Ryback
There are pay-per-views where I really try to defend the pre-show booking and attempt to understand the reasoning as to why they chose a specific match with certain wrestlers. I have no defense for this. Sure, CoDust is a certain draw but there is no excuse for the other two…there’s never an excuse for them. On behalf of everyone here at THE RAGER, I sincerely apologize.

Darren Young vs Titus O’Neil
Not quite sure this feud has built to a level that would dictate having match on a PPV but then again, they might not make the Mania card so I can understand moving it along now. Perhaps I would feel differently if I watched Smackdown but it just doesn’t seem like fans are enough behind this rivalry just yet. I do like Titus, though and I’m eager to see if he will be able to do much as a singles competitor. Darren Young has potential and I will admit that he’s come a long way since his very rough NXT debut but he’s still got some work.

Tag Team Championship Match: New Age Outlaws(c) vs The Usos
Maybe Usos finally win their first tag team championship here. It would be huge for them to put away legends and would cap off a big push over the last few months.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Big E(c) vs Jack Swagger
Was there some sort of contractual exchange that said that if Cesaro was put into a championship match then Swagger would have to be in one as well? Sure, I haven’t been as hard on Swagger lately but I just assumed it was because Cesaro makes everyone around him appear golden. Unless he does a lot to impress me in the near future, I think Swags should be confined to just Tag Team action because been when he’s best utilized. There’s no shame in it. I do think it’s going to be a while before Big E drops the IC belt and even then, it’ll probably be done so he can move up.

Batista vs Alberto Del Rio
Nothing about this is appealing to me. Perhaps Del Rio can pull some sort of magic out of a hat that’ll make this match salvageable but I’m not putting much hope into it. Honestly, I’m expecting this to quickly end long before Batista can get winded. Just a strong showing to try to convince the fans that the right man won the Rumble.

The Wyatt Family vs The Shield
Easily the match most people will be anticipating with an abundant amount of excitement and for good reason considering how nuts everyone went when it was teased just before Survivor Series last year and considering the huge response they got for the stare down. Ultimately, I think the match will come down to the growing dissention in the Shield leading to their defeat and we’ll get the triple threat match at Mania. If Wyatt is going to ultimately face Cena at Mania this year, there’s no way the Wyatts will be losing this match.

Elimination Chamber Championship Match: Randy Orton(c) vs Christian vs Daniel Bryan vs John Cena vs Cesaro vs Sheamus
First of all, the most obvious thing that will happen is that Bray will find a way to magically appear in the chamber or at least distract Cena for the second PPV in a row. It’s not the greatest way to lead into a Mania match but it’s completely plausible that WWE would take that route. Also, one can assume the Authority will have some sort of hand in making sure Daniel Bryan doesn’t win. That’s right, multiple run-ins/goofy distractions. It’ll be something that’ll pour fuel into a Daniel Bryan vs HHH match or (fingers crossed) Daniel Bryan being added to the WWEWHC match at Mania with Orton and Batista. The latter of course dependant on if they go the triple threat route with Shield at WM30 because WWE apparently believes that if more than one triple threat match occupies the same PPV card then Kthulhu will rise from the depths and write terrible reviews of the WWE Network. Cesaro is my dark horse and sentimental favorite but I do realize how much of a huge longshot that is. However, how many of us actually thought Swagger would win last year? Stranger things have happened, friends.
As for Christian, he probably won’t make it out of the chamber without getting broken in some way which takes care of booking him for anything Mania-related. Randy will probably end up winning due to shenanigans and Sheamus…who cares.

I always have high hopes for EC because I love chamber matches, they’re a lot of fun and this PPV always fall on my birthday weekend so it almost feels like a present. In the WWE PPV holiday metaphor, Elimination Chamber is birthdays…although the last year’s was pretty awful but I’ve had bad birthdays as well. Like the time my great-grandmother passed away the morning of my birthday party. Or the time my ex decided to start one of the biggest fights we’ve ever had on the night of my birthday while my friends were over at my apartment (I equate that to Swagger winning last year).

Either way, I’m going to enjoy my birthday chamber (that sounds way more sexual than I originally intended) and I hope EC is enjoyable, we all could use a good pay per view right now.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: GO WATCH HOUSE OF CARDS!×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 2.17.14 (Cesaro, John Cena, Big E) Tue, 18 Feb 2014 05:40:24 +0000 1. So Christian is apparently a heel now? Is that something that developed on Smackdown or is he just operating under Alicia Fox rules?

2. Seems like WWE was tempted to use Daniel Bryan for the entire first hour of the show. I’m not complaining because it’s Bryan because he can carry two straight matches. However, this Kane business is making me believe further that Daniel Bryan will lose at EC due to authority shenanigans and get the match that CM Punk was suppose to have at WM.

3. I can be pretty cynical when it comes to certain comedy bits. Team Friendship was great because there were spots or jokes here and there that were genuinely funny but still had really great matches so I was completely on board. Anything involving Santino is usually full-on “wackity-schmakity-do” type of comedy that just annoys the life out of me (although I do realize that most of it isn’t meant for people my age or older). So now this stuff with Santino and Emma is just not doing anything for me even thought I’ve heard plenty of people talk about Emma and how good she is. Maybe she is and I’ll just see in time but for now, her dumb arm dance just angers me.

4. Roman vs Mark Henry was an impressive match. I don’t mean that Mark Henry was impressive in ANY way but it was impressive in the sense of how Roman was able to move that mass of humanity with such ease. Kayfabe or not, we’ve seen Cena and Ryback struggle to lift Mark Henry within the past year and now you have Roman who lifts him up in a Samoan Drop with about as much struggle as I have pickup up one of the many cookies I consume on a regular basis.

5. Big E had a 2-on-1 handicap match against 2/3MB and yet I still considered it a handicap match in Big E’s favor. Also, everything in this match was incredibly awkward. Perhaps some of it might be Zeb’s commentary over the live mic or more likely due to the terribleness that is Jinder and McIntyre. All I know is that Big E is great in so many ways so I know it can’t be his fault. Right, guys?

6. Cesaro and Cena was a really good match and further to prove the idea that Cena can actually pull out a good match every now and then when given the right opponent. And sure, winning over Cena would’ve been huge for Cesaro but considering Cena probably is going to look unstoppable leading up to WM30. If they were actually considering Cesaro to win at EC then WWE might have entertained the idea of him winning over Cena. Honestly, I’m just glad Cesaro has gotten this mini-push just before Mania…or at all.

7. Full disclosure, when I saw the graphic of The Wyatt Family vs Los Matadores and Sin Cara, I began to laugh loudly and uncontrollably because it’s becoming painfully obvious that WWE is running out of jobbers to feed the Wyatt’s.

8. So the main event was a rematch between two guys that were involved in a match the night after WM29 in which the crowd infamously shat on and cheered when Big Show came out to end it. You would think after that legendary night, that match would simply be forever retired…maybe retired is the wrong word…banned? Orton and Sheamus have the chemistry of a sandwich that’s made up of old cookie dough and arsenic between two slices of disappointment.

9. Why did Shield interrupt the main event? One could argue that the matchup was a crime against humanity and an injustice that was in dire need of being corrected. They are all three Batman. I suppose I could’ve named other members of the Justice League depending on which closely resemble each member of Shield. However, everybody involved in Justice League not named Batman is pretty lame. Get over it.

10. Batista shoved a man wearing a neck brace. #NotAFace

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

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THE RAGER! Snowy Streams of Consciousness (Antonio Cesaro, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan) Wed, 12 Feb 2014 16:00:14 +0000 It’s time for a little full disclosure. I really am not feeling this whole “writing a column” thing this week and was incredibly tempted to just take a week off especially when it seems like WWE writer have had the past couple weeks off just based off what I’ve seen on Raw since Rumble. However I decided against skipping this week because of a certain game…Flappy Bird. And no, I didn’t play the game before the creator pulled the plug on it. However, I am incredibly entertained by this person’s replacement version of the game and I wanted to spread the word of Flappy Bryan. That’s right, it’s a Daniel Bryan-themed replacement of Flappy Bird although the maker did miss a big opportunity to call it “Flappy Beard.” If the IWC actually does exist (I’m still confused as to why there was such a long, heated debate on it’s exitence), I know the IWC gods are smiling down on this game. So yes, the existence of this column for the week is merely an excuse to plug a game that I had nothing to do with. If you navigate away from this column at this point, no hard feelings and I will see you next week.

So some of you are still here? Ah crap, I guess I should say something about wrestling then. The remainder of this will be very stream of consciousness so be warned if I veer off at any point.

Joel and I were recording this week’s Classy Ring Attire a little earlier than we normally do because I had made plans to travel and spend the week in my childhood city of Fayetteville with my parents and do the whole pre-birthday festivities with them as well as the rest of the extended family down there. However, the weather decided that I should be snowed-in and postponed all my plans until after my birthday in a few weeks. And yes, when I say “snowed in,” it’s the Southern US definition of getting a few inches of snow and ice and the entire region shuts down while the rest of the country laughs at us…especially my Canadian colleagues. Please understand, this happens because the infrastructure of the entire Southeastern US is not equipped for any ice or snow accumulation ever. Of course, wintery weather is not unheard of in this region so you would think drastic improvements would’ve been made decades ago to avoid entire cities and towns shutting down. However, remind yourselves that the US south has the highest percentage of the population that doesn’t believe in ANY sort of global warming or climate change…so try not to be surprised that the south is closed due to this foreign white cold stuff falling from the sky.

Sorry, back to wrestling. Since Raw has been so dreary the past couple of weeks, on Classy Ring Attire, we’ve started doing a segment called “What’s making you happy this week?” We do this because, as we’ve stated many times, we try to not be just another wrestling podcast that features two guys nobody’s ever heard of that just completely crap on wrestling for an hour. While we do have our airing of grievances every week, we try to bring out some positives because the point of the podcast is that we ARE fans of wrestling which means there should be SOMETHING out there that we’re enjoying.

There’s one thing that’s kinda flying under the radar lately, especially with all the Punk hubbub going on, and that’s Antonio Cesaro (or just Cesaro now, apparently) being a participant in the Elimination Chamber. Honestly, I’m not expecting him to be anywhere close to winning this match but I’m simply excited that he’s being included, especially considering this is for the only major championship the company has right now. I know I got onto the Cesaro bandwagon a little late, especially since he had a well-deserved following since his indy days and I wasn’t converted until a few weeks into his US Championship reign. Remember how refreshing it was when people (on a massive scale) started to really understand just how talented Daniel Bryan is? I’m starting to have that same feeling as more and more people really how massively impressive Cesario is. Of all the young talent that we all seem to be excited about for the future of the company (Shield and Wyatts), Cesaro seems to be lost in the shuffle in our collective fantasy bookings. Sure, some of that may have to do with Cesaro being a little bit older than the guys in that discussion but still, I can’t wait until Cesaro gets that one push and I believe he’ll run incredibly well with it. So again, I’m expecting him to win the EC match but I really hope it’s a building block.

But moving onto things that I have a far less optimistic outlook on, these Raw episodes have just felt awkward. I went into excruciating detail of the whole Punk thing last week and I’ll hold to my promise to not really talk about it anymore because it’s gotten enough speculation and coverage to last us a very long while. However, almost every segment feels uneasy. It’s like you’re forced to be in a room with 5 people that are your friends but everybody is pissed at each other and nobody will talk about it even though everyone is aware of why they’re pissed. This is the ultimate elephant in the room because there was this guy that was a huge of WWE’s broadcast every week and then suddenly he’s not there and nobody is saying anything even though they know that we know. Of course, Shield is getting a little more ballsy when Raw goes into commercial and it IS surprising that WWE put the footage on their website but that just seems to make the company’s silence on it that much more weird. Also, I’ve come to the realization that there’s almost no way for Punk to come back without people shouting “it’s a work” from the rooftops…regardless of it it’s actually a work or not.

Finally, the Punk chants are still weak. Not really stating that there’s point to be made here, just putting it out there because I find it interesting as a habitual people-watcher (not in a creepy way…at least not this time).

Maybe next week will be an actual structured RAGER! No promises.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: So I don’t have a date for Valentine’s but I just did a phone survey about grocery stores and the lady sounded very nice…so I’ve got that going for me, right?×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: WWE Raw 2.10.14 (Dean Ambrose, Antonio Cesaro, Randy Orton) Tue, 11 Feb 2014 08:22:03 +0000 1. Feel what you want about Betty White being on Raw in any capacity but she’s one compelling lady that’s still hilarious. Of course I wasn’t crazy about the weird tea-swapping thing with NAOs but everything before that was fine. For the amount of effort that went into talking up her appearance, you would think WWE would’ve used her more on the broadcast. Instead, I think she may have been on the show a total of 5 minutes out of the entire 3 hours. And yes, it is hypocritical for me to harp on how dumb it is to have celebrity guests on Raw and then advocate for more time be dedicated for this guest. However, certain guests are not entertaining in the slightest. Michael Strahan is the worst but I’ll watch some Betty White without hesitation, same goes for Muppets because I still have a soul. Also, I thought for a brief second that Stephanie was going to demand that Big Show knock out Betty White.

2. I’m becoming increasingly more suspicious that the WWE creative staff is just copy-and-pasting their opening promo segments with Authority and Randy. Also, it’s ironic how Orton was going on about wanting to do more promotional appearances at talk shows as he was stumbling and having a hard time remembering his lines.

3. Putting Cesaro in the Chamber match just makes sense and it really needs to be just a matter of time before we see him in the main events consistently…if we lived in a perfect world. Although the day he does move on in singles will be a sad day for Swagger but suddenly, I find myself (and others) not completely hating him as much due to his association with Cesaro. Also, I know this is going to sound really superficial but the person that was responsible for Christian’s spray tan needs to be fired and forever unemployed because he looked like the Jolly Green Canadian tonight.

4. The CM Punk chant attempts were much better than Omaha last week, as expected, but still seemed to give up very easily. Again, this might mean nothing but you would think that if fans were truly enraged, they would make a greater noise about it and you know that the longer this goes on, the less vocal they will become. Not saying that the fans really have a say in the matter by any stretch of the imagination, I just like studying people, I suppose.

5. As much as I dislike Mysterio and as many times as I scoffed at every incredibly dumb 619 set-up, the end of the 6-man tag match was pretty cool. And the only bit of it that I give credit to Mysterio is that he did a great job of getting caught by Bray. I’m glad to see Bray actually wrestling more and more now. It’s nice to see a great bit of wrestling skill is there to accommodate his captivating mic work. Also, I’m just accepting the fact that Goldust can do no wrong at this point…Cody isn’t too back either, just needs to leave the high-flying cage stuff to more capable hands.

6. Remember that time when Del Rio and Ziggler had one of the best matches of 2013 and it took Del Rio A LOT of head shots and time to finally get the win over Ziggler? Well WWE certainly doesn’t because ADR squashed Ziggler as if he was mistaken for Zack Ryder. Remember how hopes had been raised when Ziggler came back to the Rumble and looked pretty good? Those hopes have been buried all over again.

7. I gotta hand it to Miz, I was kinda pissed to sit through a Fandango and Santino match too. I mean, I wasn’t so pissed that I’d rather see a Miz match but I like the effort.

8. Of all the names floating in my head to face Dean, (rumors of Stone Cold being backstage, Roman Reigns taking a chance, Pikachu, even Evan Bourne finally returning) and we got almost the worst possible outcome with Mark Henry (only Khali surpasses Henry’s horribleness). I’d like to believe this is ultimately Blair’s fault because he truly is “Hump Douglas: Henry Whisperer.”

9. Seems like Kane’s suspension or whatever it was called was under the “Cena is fired” rules which means he can still show up whenever he feels like and grab a live microphone. And then Bryan came out to ruin all my hopes that there might be a Team Friendship one day. Why can we just use our words?

10. I’ve been led to believe Cena/Orton was finished a long time ago, why would I believe them now when it’s a random match on Raw that’s not for any championship and both men are involved in the same EC match in two weeks? WWE burned me once before in believe we’d never see Cena/Ortan again, I shall never be led to believe that again.

Bonus Thought: Many many congratulations to Lita for being announce for the Hall of Fame. Well deserved.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

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THE RAGER! – Advocating for All Devils (CM Punk, Vince McMahon, HHH) Wed, 05 Feb 2014 16:00:36 +0000 So I suppose you all have read just about everybody’s thoughts/opinions/predictions on the CM Punk fiasco. Oddly enough, you haven’t really heard mine because I posted my article merely hours before the story broke last week, thus rendering my post-Rumble article quite useless. It’s okay, these things happen. But, if your eyes will allow me, I will now give you every single thought I’ve had on the matter and, barring any new development, I will not speak of that horrid week in wrestling for a very long time.

Hopefully my longtime readers know by now that I try to play devil’s advocate for all sides of a particular story and that’s what I plan on doing this time around (hence the name of the column this week).
*Disclaimer* There are no actual facts in the following column because nothing has been confirmed, acknowledged or dismissed. I do not claim to have any “inside” information and pretty much anybody that’s not a WWE representative or CM Punk is probably full of crap. This message is brought to you by the RAGER legal team which consists of just Chris and his extensive law knowledge that he picked up from Aaron Sorkin movies and his roommate that’s in his third year of law school.

First off, we start with what happened (allegedly)
Prior to the January 27th episode of Monday Night Raw, CM Punk left.

That’s really all we know for certain, that’s the one truth that everyone seems to agree on thus far. Well that and the general knowledge of Punk’s contract ending in about 6 months or so.

Initial reports were that CM Punk was angry because he wasn’t written into that show because to sell his altercation with Citizen Kane during the rumble match. Later, reports were changed because a “source” said that there was a loud altercation that led to Punk’s departure and the writers had to scramble to write him off the show.

Both sides have been completely silent on the matter ever since, leading to a lot of wrestling fans to ponder and panic as to what is going on, why this is happening and whether or not this is actually real.

Theory 1. Punk left because he got banged up at the Rumble which adds onto everything else that has to ache on CM Punk by now. Punk reportedly exclaimed at WWE producers/writers that he wasn’t going along with some sort of concussion explanation that may have allowed Punk some time off to heal. So when Punk refused to go with that route, they decided that the walk-out route was the best way to write him off for a bit to heal up. Punk returns, beats up Authority people, cue the music.

Theory 2. Punk left because of his displeasure towards probably not being the big main event draw at Wrestlemania 30 but instead getting a presumed match against HHH. This plan was discouraging to him and made the realization that he’s practically back in a similar situation before his contract ran out back in 2011. Punk leaves to possibly try to force WWE into changing for the better and if they don’t change things, he’s reached the point in his career that he can walk away.

There are plenty of other theories floating out there but they tend to be a derivative, in some way, of the above two. But it leads me to a question that I’ve been wondering since I watched Raw this week:

Who rightfully gets to be enraged by this?

CM Punk? The guy has been treading through seemingly insignificant stories since his feud with Heyman ended with a fizzle (I still blame Ryback and Axel). Being faced with such a creatively stagnant situation would cause anyone to become burnt out on something that takes such a toll. Plus, it’s no secret that being the main event of Wrestlemania is the last big mountain Punk wants to climb before he hangs it up (which he’s stated plenty of times that he’d like to relatively soon). Being regulated to probably a mid-card match against HHH for WM30 has to feel like a punch to the gut, especially after his epic championship reign as well as his great match against Undertaker last year. However, if this is really the case, he probably should’ve tapered his expectations for Wrestlemania 30. If there were to be any Mania that featured a long list of part-time/returning legends to fill the card, it would be the big 30th anniversary. In some ways, it might be considered a victory for any full-time roster member to even be on the card at all. Whether or not this’ll make for a crappy Mania isn’t the point. Also, I’m sure facing off against HHH would simply feel like they’re rehashing their feud in the fall of 2011. The only difference would be that HHH is firmly a heel character now.

HHH? You’ve had an incredibly successful wrestling career and now you’re the new leader, the partial heir to the WWE throne whenever Vince hands it over either by choice or death. You’ve been touted as the right guy to carry the company into a new era and praised for projects such as NXT and the Performance Center. You’ve already been able to bring big names back into the good graces of the company, names that probably would never have come back if they had to deal with Vince. And now, one of your top guys bail because he allegedly sees working with you on your biggest show to be a downgrade. Yeah, I’d be a little pissed too. I know HHH will keep to the “business is business” mantra but that’s still gotta bug him a little and that’s probably a major reason why Vince is reportedly the only one talking and negotiating with Punk directly. On the other hand, HHH is apparently the go-to guy for creative these days and there’s still time to adjust. Wrestlemania plans don’t necessarily need to be etched in stone just yet.

Vince? If we’re to believe that Punk really was going to leave in 2011, you really shouldn’t be surprised that this is happening again. Sure, there has to be some part of Vince that’s upset about this especially since they invested over a year on Punk with the championship and reportedly developed a relationship with him (as he’s known to do with all of his major guys). Vince and Punk are both guys that apparently have very small inner circles and yet somehow managed to be in each other’s. So Punk leaving again has to feel somewhat personal to Vince but, like I said earlier, it’s probably good that Vince is the one reasoning with Punk now and probably trying to appeal to him on a personal level. I don’t know if Vince would be the enraged one in this scenario, if anything, he’s the negotiator.

The Fans? Nope. Chant as much as you’d like but let it sink in that you’re chanting for a guy that doesn’t want to be there right now. It’s easy to paint WWE has the big bad guy that drove Punk away or it was their decision to kick him out of the company. CM Punk is no victim in this case and WWE’s hands are clean. Chanting “we want Punk” isn’t going to change the fact that the only person responsible for Punk’s absence from WWE programming is Punk himself. Whether or not that was the right thing for Punk to do is up to him but it’s time to stop blaming WWE for it. Remember when we believed Punk would be gone for most of 2013 and yet returned 3 months later for Payback in Chicago. Do you really think that it was Punk’s decision to cut this rare vacation time short? Probably not. WWE has been incredibly eager to feature Punk on as much of their programming as they possibly can. Even if they don’t have much of storyline for Punk to work with, WWE still tries to feature him in at least 2 segments every Raw. I will say that WWE isn’t necessarily doing their image any favors by keeping this quiet, not addressing it, taking Punk signs from fans (reports of Punk supporters being ejected from Raw were later proven false) and purposely trying to dampen any Punk chants. Of course, WWE’s policy has always been to stay quiet on these matters until they can no longer afford to but I get the feeling they’re reaching that point very soon and will NEED to say something.
But yes, the fans can cheer whatever they want and if they still want chant and support Punk, by all means. I am, in no way, damning Punk and discouraging anyone from supporting him because I’m still and forever will be a huge fan of his. All I’m saying is that this is not the same as the Daniel Bryan “Yes Movement” where the fans helped ensure that Bryan is prominently featured on every show. The fans hold absolutely no power in the Punk scenario and WWE can do nothing but nervously pace until Punk decides to return.

But IF you’re in the audience and you want to make noise to support Punk, you’re gonna have to do better than that weak attempt by Omaha. It was just embarrassing.

I apologize if this was too much rambling but, like I said, this is every thought I’ve had on the situation since it first happened last week. My CM Punk fandom sincerely hopes that this is all an elaborate work because Raw is so much better with him included in it and I don’t think any of us are ready to relinquish that. However, regardless of what any of this is or isn’t, I really don’t believe we’ve seen the last of CM Punk in WWE. More of that guarded optimism.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: When I was younger, I was convinced that muscly dudes just didn’t grow body hair.

I was a dumb child.×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: Raw 2.3.14 (Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, CM Punk Chants) Tue, 04 Feb 2014 05:38:48 +0000 1. Randy Orton and the Authority deployed a counter to discourage the CM Punk chants. Randy barely got into his opening monologue before the Omaha crowd erupted in a cry for CM Punk. Orton immediately changed his usually-slow cadence into a more brisk pace with less of a pause between each sentence until the crowd gave up. HHH used the same strategy when the chants returned after the Authority’s entrance. This was successful because it was executed well, plus it helps that it was Omaha and the crowd was simply weak. I expect future crowds to be more difficult to reign-in as long as people remain enthralled by what’s going on with Punk and his relationship with WWE.

2. Congrats to Christian for making it a week without breaking. I’m starting the think “one more match” means “one more match before shattering.”

3. Having a cage match but taking away the escape stipulation just seems silly. What seems ever sillier is having a tag match in a cage but not under tornado tag rules. Also, Cody had balls for the flip off the top of the cage but it gets cheapened when it whiffed by quite a bit.

4. Emma’s highly-anticipated debut came to pass for a dance competition. JBL’s look of complete disinterest afterward completely summed up my feelings on this segment.

5. Damn you, WWE, for making me believe that you already squashed this Batista and Del Rio nonsense. I know there’s always the chance Del Rio can make this into a decent match whenever it does happen but still, Del Rio is the most boring and redundant character and he’s gonna be paired up with a guy that’s not exactly know for his personality either.

6. Having a Xavier Woods and Dolph Ziggler tag team it’s not so much of a bad idea. However, having R-Truth in the mix as well is the downfall. Also, it seems like Dolph’s passionate promo after Smackdown last week got so many people to believe this will be the start of another Ziggler build. Hopes were once again destroyed, this time by the Wyatts.

7. I don’t know what Lawler had up his sleeve to next week and Bad News Barrett but I sincerely hope it’s been trashed after that verbal pillow toss. Also the writer that is responsible needs to well acquainted with unemployed.

8. While on commentary for the Divas match, AJ admitted that she sometimes gets distracted by other Divas during matches. It was the statement that launched a thousand fan-fics on tumblr.

9. If all this Punk madness ends up being completely legit, I have a feeling WWE is going to dangle Daniel Bryan in our faces to shut everyone up about Punk. And honestly, that might be the most successful way of going about that. It’s like Indiana Jones replacing the golden idol with a bag of sand and hope that the giant boulder of fan outrage isn’t unleashed.

10. Nothing of any substance happened tonight. I’m more interested in the fact that we may not see or hear from CM Punk until his February 12th appearance on @Midnight which was also set to feature Miz but has been removed last week but Punk is still scheduled to appear. Personally I think dropping Miz from the show is an upgrade. I think the show would be pretty hilarious and great if CM Punk and Ron Funches were joined by Mick Foley.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

]]> 5
THE RAGER! – Shuffling Towards Wrestlemania (Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Batista) Wed, 29 Jan 2014 16:00:31 +0000 I’m not gonna delve too far into my thoughts on this previous Raw, especially since you can simply catch my 10 Thoughts column for yesterday. I will say that I feel more optimistic after watching Raw than I did after the Rumble. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Kick-Off: Codust vs New Age Outlaws
Pretty decent match with an unexpected finish that got the crowd pumped before the real show started. It’s gonna be difficult for for NAOs to receive a heel reaction from the crowd but that’s easily taken care of if they do something against Daniel Bryan, it worked at getting HBK boo’d at the Slammys. As for CoDust, one can only assume this might be the beginning of the break that leads to a WM match (or kickoff match, considering all the part-timers and top card). As much as I’ve enjoyed CoDust, I will say that Cody’s individual momentum has kinda faded which is ironic because I’m certain the “getting fired” story was suppose to elevate him as a singles wrestler. Instead, he found himself in yet another tag team. Maybe that’s simply what he’s meant to do, there’s no shame in it.

Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt
Easily the match of the night, which is difficult to do when it’s on the same card as a Rumble match. It played up the injury and had some of the elements that we all loved about Del Rio vs Ziggler at Payback. It was one of those brief moments where I kinda forgot that this was pro wrestling and found myself actually getting caught up and concerned about Bryan. Maybe that’s what WWE wanted all of us to do: get Bryan all beaten up after an injury and see that he’s clearly not in any shape to put himself up against 29 other men. That would be a valid angle to go with but it simply didn’t quite feel like that, all smarkness aside, it felt more like a fluke win and Bryan would’ve been fine to enter the Rumble. Still a really good match but I still stand by with the assertion that this match should’ve happened at TLC.

Brock Lesnar vs Big Show
It wasn’t as painful or long as I was expecting but all it did was re-establish what didn’t need to be re-established; Brock is a dangerous mountain of a man. All WWE had to do was show clips of his SummerSlam victory over Punk instead of throwing Show around. Also, is breaking chairs like a new parlor trick Lesnar learned recently? Because he’s been doing that way too much lately. The match was fine and all but we didn’t need that extended chair beatdown on Show afterwards while the crowd sat in silence, not out of shock but out of boredom.

John Cena vs Randy Orton
As documented on @CRAttire’s twitter, here are a list of things I’d rather experience than watch this rematch:
1. Be the middle person of a human centipede.
2. Rewatch Birth of a Nation AND Bicycle Thief back-to-back.
3. Invest in Grown-Ups 3
4. Reread that dumb fictional narrative novel about shapes that was so bad that I refuse to even google to find out what the title is. High school English class sucked.

I felt as if Bray Wyatt temporarily turned face just because he mercifully ended this travesty.

The Rumble Match
Obviously the big story here really should be Roman’s performance but that sort of got lost in the shuffle of fans being outraged by Bryan’s absence and so many of HHH’s friends getting the upper-hand. Am I stoked about Batista winning the Rumble? Of course not, I don’t think I’ve been happy with the Rumble winner since Edge won so that aspect really has no affect on me in determining if it’s a good rumble. This was a really good Rumble, I thought. We got two really impressive spots out of Kofi, Dolph made his return, Roman broke Kane’s record, we got a decent amount of surprises (I think I marked out for JBL’s brief entry more than I did for Nash’s) and we the showdown we all wanted to see…Punk vs El Torito.

And in case you haven’t seen me post it a billion times, I did predict that Roman would break Kane’s elimination record. I’ll wait patiently as you all convert to Chrislam.

But ultimately the spotlight of the show is fixated on Bryan’s absence to the point where Rey Mysterio got the biggest heel reaction just because he was the final participant and wasn’t Bryan. I’ll admit that I was disappointed too but, again, there’s another pay per view before we get to Mania and even then I’m not going to get my hopes up about Bryan getting the championship. Yes, it would be completely dumb of WWE to try to kill a potential Bryan championship run so I HAVE to believe that this is all part of some sort of plan that will have a payoff at some point. However, WWE isn’t exactly known for have long-term plans for specific wrestlers (just a few exceptions here and there) and so we must prepare ourselves if WWE does let this slip through their fingers. It would be a heart-breaking missed opportunity but it’s a mistake I can see WWE making. But there is hope because one has to think WWE has some idea of what they have if they continue to close out Raw after Raw with Daniel Bryan in the main event either by himself or alongside higher guys like Cena but with Bryan’s music playing as they fade to black. So I approach this Wrestlemania with a cautious and suspicious optimism that there’s a reason for WWE to keep their top wrestler away from the championship scene and for keeping CM Punk roaming between non-feuds for the last couple months.

I’ve stated many times in the past that I don’t claim to know what WWE is thinking in their week-to-week booking and so on and I don’t put much stock into a lot of the dirtsheet rumors one might hear online because if they were right, we’d have seen Sting debut in WWE about 25 times by now and Cena would’ve turned heel years ago. All I can go off of is what I feel when I watch every week and I still feel like there’s a reason for all of this. Perhaps it’s just me.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: I created this video to celebrate my 2nd straight fantasy football championship.×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: Raw 1.27.14 (Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, Jake Roberts) Tue, 28 Jan 2014 05:11:49 +0000 1. Daniel Bryan demanded to be put into the Elimination Chamber match and refused to leave but did not proceed to make snow angels. That is why he was put into a 6-man tag main event, he didn’t follow precedent.

2. I am sad to see that Rey Mysterio’s heel reaction didn’t carry over into Raw. For a brief moment I held onto the hope that just maybe you all believed just as I believe. Also, Swagger got the win after getting slapped in the face by Zeb to get him “motivated.” I’m not judging, just pointing out the facts. Different strokes for different folks, am I right?

3. Randy got angry because he has to defend his title at the next pay per view. Did someone forget to explain to Randy how the monthly pay per view system works? I know some people got confused over the WWE Network but the monthly system remains. Also, I’m thinking WWE might be looking at a Brock vs Batista match for EC but there’s also a possibility that they will be added to the Chamber match with Batista doing that weird thing that Cena did a few years ago and forgo his Rumble winnings for a Chamber entrance. Either way, I’m cool with it.

4. Do you suffer from depression? DO NOT take RybAxel, it will not relieve your depression. It will only give food-in-ear disease and a false sense of perfection.

5. Dolph Ziggler actually got a win on Raw after missing some time. Let all of our hopes rise once again only to have them dashed yet again…especially with only one top title and a crowded (with part-timers) top card.

6. I really tried to like Del Rio, I did. He’s had really good matches (and one great match against Ziggler) but there’s moments where a Del Rio match/segment just kills the audience. Also, the flags stationed atop the ring posts bug me as a safety hazard. I just know one of those will accidentally enter somebody one of these days.

7. Brock Lesnar hijacked the Tag Team Championship match like a disgruntled Pittsburgh audience hijacked the Rumble. Also, I don’t know why this matters but it was weird to see Goldust wrestling without wearing gloves. It’s like catching Santa not wearing pants when you took a wrong turn at the mall that one time. I had a strange childhood, friends.

8. Jake The Snake Roberts is the latest inductee into the Hall of Fame and very well deserved given his career and is the perfect conclusion to the story of his recovery and redemption. Still would’ve been nice for it to go full circle and had him as a surprise entrant in the Rumble but this is still really awesome.

9. Christian is making his return on Smackdown this week. What’s the over/under on how long it will be before he has to take time off for another injury?

10. Yet again, we have another 3 on 3 tag match as the main event and yet again, it’s a shuffled gather of top faces versus Shield. It’s been going on seemingly constantly all year but it’s difficult to complain about any match that features Shield and Daniel Bryan. The Wyatts interfered and caused Bryan’s team to win via DQ to place his team in the Chamber match. Some will assume going ahead and placing Bryan in the championship match this soon is damage control for the previous night. I prefer to believe this was the plan all along because I like to believe that no one would be dumb enough to bury someone as over as Bryan on purpose without some sort of plan. But then again, I’ve been wrong before.

Bonus Thought: Let it be known that I, Christopher William Sanders (real name, no gimmicks), correctly predicted on both Pulse AND Classy Ring Attire that Roman Reigns would break Kane’s Rumble elimination record. It is now evident that I am a wizard and will now accept your gifts of praise, cash and various chocolates. Please and thank you.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

]]> 11
Trashy Ring Attire #2: Pre-Rumblings with Martin “Kon” Shaw Sun, 26 Jan 2014 06:49:50 +0000 Did we say monthly? Who cares because our trashy heroes are back and with a friend! That’s right, Blair and Kue are back to their trashy ways with special guest, KON!

It’s all of their thoughts on the Rumble BEFORE the Rumble and they’ve included more naughty words than your body has room for.

Enjoy what you’re hearing? Be sure to follow them on their BRAND NEW twitter account @TRAttire.

]]> 19 BD,Classy ring attire,Jonah Kue,podcast,royal rumble,Trashy Ring Attire,WWE Did we say monthly? Who cares because our trashy heroes are back and with a friend! That's right, Blair and Kue are back to their trashy ways with special guest, KON! - It's all of their thoughts on the Rumble BEFORE the Rumble and they've included mo... Did we say monthly? Who cares because our trashy heroes are back and with a friend! That's right, Blair and Kue are back to their trashy ways with special guest, KON! It's all of their thoughts on the Rumble BEFORE the Rumble and they've included more naughty words than your body has room for. Enjoy what you're hearing? Be sure to follow them on their BRAND NEW twitter account @TRAttire ( Inside Pulse Wrestling no 2:00:27
THE RAGER! The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (All Things Royal Rumble) Wed, 22 Jan 2014 16:00:55 +0000 I’m starting to believe WWE views the Royal Rumble the same way they do their video games. The running theory as to why WWE’s graphics have been so crappy the past few video games is because they know the kind of business that they’re going to drum up for it regardless, kids are still gonna pester their parents in buying it and WWE throws enough older wrestlers in the DLC to rope-in the attitude era fans. So if WWE knows that they’re going to have good numbers on games sales just by releasing it, then what incentive do they have in spending more money to find developers that are more competent than the clowns at Yukes that use the same crayon-drawn graphics from 2006 (possibly a slight exaggeration but you get the point).
The same goes for the Royal Rumble. It’s the Rumble, possibly the collective favorite match of wrestling fans and WWE knows they’re going to get a boost in business regardless of the effort they put into the card and build-up show. I say this because, as I stated on this week’s 10 Thoughts, the go-home show just felt like WWE was openly not even trying to lure more people to buy the Rumble. And they’ve kinda got a point because it’s not really going to stop people from watching it, at least not me.

It’s the Rumble. It’s my wrestling Christmas. Every new entrant is another present being unwrapped at the clock counts the down. Some of the presents are a great surprise (last year’s Jericho entrance is comparable to me getting all 3 volumes of Knightfall this past Christmas) and some presents are kinda horrific (any Khali participation is like that one year my extended family decided to play one of those surprise gift swapping games and a 9 year old Chris went home with a shiny new surge-protector) but it’s the anticipation of what is going to happen because it’s the one night where even the most rigid of smarks can be surprised.

So let us all gather around the table with our loved ones and enjoy this wondrous time of year.

Kick-Off Show: Tag Team Championship Match
CoDust(c) vs New Age Outlaws
Here’s a match that probably only exists because WWE is trying to find a way to fill up the card while using as little Rumble participants as possible. In this case, both members of Codust will be in the Rumble and I suppose NAOs could possibly make an appearance but Road Dogg already got a Rumble return moment so I’m thinking it’s more likely Billy will get that this year, if anything. Watching NAOs in the ring lately really forces one to marvel at the condition Goldust has kept himself in. That isn’t a knock on NAOs because they’re still in pretty good shape, especially Billy, but they seem to be gassed early in their matches whereas Goldust does so much more in each match and the only time he ever looked completely out of breath was after going 20 minutes against Orton. I will give Billy an out seeing as he’s a good 6 years older than both Road Dogg and Goldust but still, seeing Goldust continue to put on really good matches is pretty spectacular. Oh yeah, Cody is in there somewhere too.

W(x2)WE Heavyweight Championship Match
Randy Orton(c) vs John Cena
Yes, that is the new correct way of referring to the top championship in WWE because math and, last time I checked, Randy isn’t the champ of two different worlds. Also, the reason I bring up this match first is because I usually go in order of importance, starting with the least important. Does anybody actually care about this match? From the lack of sound happening at the end of Raw this past week, I don’t even think the kids give a crap about this match. I have no idea who is going to win because honestly, both guys are interchangeable to me and it really doesn’t matter who wins what. In a night that features THE Rumble match, we have found our bathroom break match.

A Match of Little-to-No Importance
Brock Lesnar vs Big Show
Big Show is gonna throw Lesnar around a lot, both guys are gonna move pretty slowly for a while and then Lesnar is going to do the same takedown-kimura lock combination about five times. Lesnar pulls off an F5 on Show, Michael Cole craps himself in amazement. Credits.

The “Why is This Happening?!” Match
Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt
Man am I glad WWE finally around to reading all of my messages from before TLC about how much I wanted to see Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt face each other. That’s the thing about WWE, whenever they do give us what we wanted, they do it when we don’t want them too (Dolph cashing in the night after Mania instead of Mania itself…still an awesome moment, though). I really am excited to see these two face each other finally, I just thought that it would be a featured part of the Rumble match and not it’s own thing. It’s easy to be doom and gloom about it because it greatly decreases DB’s chances of being in the Rumble, let alone winning it as we all predicted months and months ago. I’m making the assumption that DB puts Wyatt away definitively to end their feud, make it into the Rumble but doesn’t win but something happens to start off his next run.

The Royal Rumble Match
I’m going to go too much into detail about who I believe will win, I’ll save that for Rhett’s Roundtable later in the week.
Having CM Punk being as #1 is a brilliant move and makes him a favorite to win, or at least keep him in the conversation, because I think we can all agree that the Rumble just seems like a thing Punk should win at some point in his career. It just makes sense, right? And being one of the few men to have done it from the #1 spot would make that much more special. And Punk has shown us in the past just how great he can be in the Rumble, first with his promo-between-eliminations back during his SES days and then again as the leader of the New Nexus in his last Rumble appearance. Punk didn’t end up winning either but could be easily named the MVP of both matches just in terms of entertainment.
I also think CoDust starts their break-up at this point to set up a WM match. They may not actually break here but this is where it’ll begin.
Jake the Snake will be one of the surprise entrants, HHH will also be in the match and so will Vader. (I’m really just taking shots in the dark, I have no evidence to support any of these).
I really don’t know what they’ll do with Batista. It’s really tempting to say that he’s just going to win it but I don’t feel like they will. Again, I have no evidence to suppose that claim, just doesn’t feel like it’s going to happen.
Also, the Rumble will mark the return of Sheamus…that just seems obvious.

The best thing about this year’s Rumble is that there is no clear cut person that is absolutely going to win it like last year with Cena. Last year’s Rumble wasn’t terrible but knowing in the back of your head how it’s probably going to end and then seeing it end exactly that way was kind of a drag. Of course, it’s easy to say that Batista is the obvious winner but I’m just not convinced of that yet.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: Looks like I’m rooting for the Sea-Chickens in the Super Bowl this year. I still hate you, Peyton. Sincerely, a Bears fan that’s still salty about Super Bowl XLI×120.jpg×250.jpg

]]> 6
RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: Raw 1.20.13 (CM Punk, Batista, Daniel Bryan) Tue, 21 Jan 2014 05:01:14 +0000 1. There are some legendary WWE wrestlers that have had great returns during a talking segment. Batista is not one of them. He’s not that guy. Honestly, I would’ve been much better off if his return only consisted of doing a run-in with Del Rio, drop him and leave. Also, the skinny jeans don’t help but then again, I can imagine it’s hard for him to find clothes that aren’t tight on him.

2. Having Bryan and Wyatt face each other at Rumble makes sense in terms of the flow of whatever story is going on there. However, it feels like a gut-punch that there’s a possibility that he’s not in the Rumble match. Of course there’s always a chance that he pulls double duty but this does kinda throw water all over most of our Rumble predictions.

3. Whichever cameraman was chosen to sit at the arena entrance and wait for Cena is either the luckiest man or the most bored man. Also, Cena takes forever to show up to Monday Night Raw? Apparently “Hustle. Loyalty. Punctuality. Respect.” wasn’t as catchy.

4. CM Punk will enter the Rumble first. Announcing that ahead of time either means he’s going to win or be screwed over again by someone in the HHH camp to move that story further. Of course the latter is more likely especially with all the hubbub surrounding Batista’s return.

5. This entire show felt like WWE was saying, “Hey, you’re getting the Rumble match this Sunday! Screw you, that should be enough.”

6. Knowing that Brock has a limited number of dates as per his contract, I can’t help but feel like having him face Big Show at Rumble is a waste of a Lesnar appearance. WWE apparently really wanted Lesnar at Rumble but wanted to have him face somebody WWE won’t exactly miss in the Rumble match. If that was the case, I’d rather we just not have a Lesnar match because he’s shown he can’t have a good match against just anybody.

7. New Age Outlaws was fun to see around Raw Old School and all but I don’t really need to see them quickly lose their breath every Raw. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’d rather see Real Americans face CoDust on the kickoff show.

8. Speaking of the Kick-off Show, the panel this month will feature Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. I’m actually incredibly interested in how the closed captioning is going to look for this.

9. John Cena came in at the end of the show without a care in the world and causes Kofi to lose his match via DQ. #NotAFace

10. I want you all to really meditate on how Raw ended last week with the crowd chanting in unison for Daniel Bryan and compare that to the tangible amount of “meh” excreting from the crowd this week in reaction to Cena and Orton fight-walking up some stairs. Let that stir around in your brain for a bit and share your thoughts below.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

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THE RAGER! Working the Wyatts (Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt, The Usos) Wed, 15 Jan 2014 16:00:36 +0000 Even a couple days removed from this past Monday Night Raw, it’s hard to write a wrestling column without talking about the boisterous ending when Daniel Bryan seemed like he had the entire state of Rhode Island in the palm of his hand. And it’s for good reason because this was probably the payoff WWE was hoping for in this entire Daniel Bryan story. Was this the way the Bryan/Wyatts story was suppose to end up or was this WWE bailing on the story and hoping the crowd reacts to Bryan turning on Wyatts? I don’t know but part of me wants to believe this was the way it was suppose to go down just because there have been so many things that were not working at all but WWE stuck with them for months (aka the latest edition of Cena vs Orton). Of course, that’s incredibly naive of me to assume that because, as we all know, if WWE was given the choice to bail on a Cena or Orton story (let alone a story that involved BOTH of them) or being chained to a sinking ship, WWE would get some goggles and start holding their collective breath.

Truly it might be a bit too soon to come to these assumptions, especially when we have a whole other Raw to get through before we reach Royal Rumble. Honestly, I would’ve been happier had this Bryan thing happened on the go-home Raw and let that final image of him atop the cage with the crowd going crazy send everyone home in a frenzy to order the Rumble…not that Royal Rumble really needs that much build to get people to buy it. Even when we all knew Cena was gonna win, we still tuned in and enjoyed the pants off the rumble match. Ending the go-home like that would probably cement a Daniel Bryan victory for the rumble match, in my estimation.
But then again, maybe it was good that Bryan dumped the Wyatts when he did because you never really know what kind of crowd you’re going to get. Don’t get me wrong, Bryan deserves to get a thunderous ovation regardless of where he is but we’ve all experienced crappy crowds (which Providence kinda was before THE big moment at the end). But we have what we have and one can only assume that we’ll get some sort of explanation next Monday night. Personally, I’m hoping for more of the cerebral explanation that it was all part of a plan to somehow get Bryan alone in a locked cage with Bray. However, that would also suggest that Kane might have been a part of this plan which does makes sense considering his history with both Bryan and the Wyatts but I’m not so sure they want to drop Kane’s newly-formed heel persona just yet.
Hopefully the explanation doesn’t involve anything with Bryan somehow was brainwashed by Bray Wyatt but was ultimately saved by the cheers of the fans, we don’t need another one of those types of faces. Yes, that does sounds incredibly lame but you can’t look me in the eyes and tell me that you haven’t thought the same and the fear of it lurks in the back corner of your mind as it does mine.

Getting lost in the shuffle of all this is Usos picking up the win in a big main event slot because I honestly can’t remember the last time there’s been a match like that with a cage the end Raw. They just had the misfortune of being followed by a huge moment with the biggest fan-favorite in the business right now. But truthfully, Usos were sort of the MacGuffin of this story because, honestly, WWE just needed the Wyatts to face ANY team that’ll lead to Bray and Bryan inside the cage that wouldn’t overshadow the final moment. I’m not saying I feel bad for them because they did get the win and they did get some great spots that will certainly lead to championship opportunities down the road. However, this moment belong to Bryan and (to a much lesser extent) Bray.

And there’s the concern that this will lead to a Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt match at Rumble instead of having both men in the Rumble itself. Even if both men pulled double-duty in the match, I don’t seem to remember anyone winning the Rumble after being in an earlier match but I could be mistaken. Personally, I really think it’s going to be Punk or Bryan winning the championship because it feels right for either person and just seems like something that should be on both their resumes anyway. Of course one of the big favorites to win will be the returning Batista but correct me if I’m mistaken, wasn’t it announced that Batista would be one of the first to start the match? I honestly could’ve dreamed that up since I’m not coming up with anything when I searched for it just now. Still, I still don’t feel like the animal will win but only because, for lack of a better argument, it simply doesn’t feel right for right now. It’s almost HAS to be Bryan, right?

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: Blue Jasmine was a weird movie to watch right after finishing Her. It’s like I kept waiting for Cate Blanchett’s character to be upgraded into a better OS so that she would finally start thinking logically and would have Scarlett Johansson’s voice.×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: Raw 1.13.14 (Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Damien Sandow) Tue, 14 Jan 2014 06:33:22 +0000 1.I’m assuming New Age Outlaws turning on CM Punk is another step towards Punk vs HHH at WM30 (even though Punk vs HBK is what we want) and it makes sense for Hunter’s friends to turn in his favor. It’s a nice touch to keep Punk’s beef with HHH in the back of our minds while Punk is technically engaged with other things.

2. Sandow vs Cena, because Sandow totally had a chance now that Cena has the full function of both arms. I actually had an idea for Sandow as his ultimate heel move. Sandow finds a way to get a terminal illness and has his make-a-wish request be to beat Cena cleanly. I will now pause to allow my brilliance to really soak in.

3. Big Show punches an old man that did not provoke him and was caught off-guard because he was checking on his friend in the ring. #NotAFace

4. Not really thrilled about Ultimate Warrior’s induction in the Hall of Fame but I understand the appeal and so on. The interesting thing that goes through my mind is knowing of all the bridges Warrior has burned over the year, who would induct him? I asked on twitter and the overall consensus seems to be Hulk Hogan and that’s probably the only person I could think of.

5. Kofi got a win over Randy Orton AND it’s not 2009, that’s an improvement, right?

6. Speaking of stuff that also happened in 2009, Randy Orton sent Cena Sr to the hospital. I was almost expecting Cena Jr to hop out of the ambulance at the last second and make out with somebody.

7. I’m almost surprised it isn’t a requirement for opponents of Ryback to wear a helmet. Somehow, CoDust made it out in two pieces.

8. Hmm, I wonder who is going to be the first to be fed to Batista? Not exactly sure if Del Rio and Batista will be a full feud or just a one-off just for the initial return. However, Del Rio hammering the point feels like all the times that Heath Slater got beat up by legends before raw 1000.

9. Wasn’t a huge fan of the pre-match video for the Usos but it’s still cool that they got their own moment during the main even of the show. Also, it feels special that we get a tag match in a cage to close out Raw just because it never happens. It still feels odd that Usos have never been the tag champs even back when WWE barely had a tag division.

10. The ending of Raw was probably one of the best things WWE has ever put together. I’m really hoping that Daniel Bryan explains this whole ordeal as some sort of ploy that’ll lead to him alone in a locked caged with Bray to get his hands on him for once and for all. Also, it was amazing just how dead that crowd was and how insanely loud they were when Bryan turned on Bray and took the jumpsuit off. As we said on twitter (follow us @CRAttire), this night will forever be known as the night Daniel Bryan could’ve started a riot in Rhode Island if he truly wished.

Bonus: A lot of people are still offering up their opinions on the new WWE Network, allow us to be one of those people.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

]]> 10
THE RAGER! Daniel Bryan is No Hawkeye (Shawn Michaels, JBL, John Cena) Wed, 08 Jan 2014 16:00:59 +0000 There’s still so much yet to be seen with Daniel Bryan and his recent association with the Wyatts but that hasn’t stopped any of us from speculating because it’s fun and it’s kind of a specialty of wrestling fans with an internet connection.
On this week’s 10 Thoughts, I briefly mentioned how this feels more like the “JBL hiring Shawn Michaels” type of story rather than the Hawkeye brainwashing template. For those of you that don’t remember or wasn’t watching WWE in 2008/2009, I’ll give you a brief summation.

Shawn Michaels apparently lost a lot of his wealth during the downfall of the American economy. Shawn was out of options and was hired by JBL as his insurance policy or however they worded it. Over the following months, Shawn did everything from interfering with matches to ensure a JBL victory or was a wrestling avatar. Basically, Shawn was obligated to do all he could to try to put JBL in championship opportunities. Eventually, Shawn tried to get out of the contract but was always met with new barriers to halt any progress. Finally, JBL had a match against Shawn (I believe it was No Way Out) with the stipulation of if Shawn wins, his contract with JBL was voided but still receives money to feed his family. Of course, Shawn won to put a nice little bow on the story and then Shawn went on to face Undertaker (the first time) at Wrestlemania and JBL lost very quickly to Rey Mysterio and promptly quit thereafter.

First of all, the thing I loved about that storyline is how it actually had an endpoint. I’m sure you can think of time after time where a really strong feud begins, goes on for far too long and then dies a slow and painful death…or just ends. The thing about this plot was that it HAD to end because of what was on the horizon for Shawn that next month. I’m not sure if they actually planned out the JBL/HBK thing with the end in mind or just came up with something when the time came but still, I enjoyed it and didn’t feel like Shawn was just in a holding pattern until Taker was ready.

Going back to Daniel Bryan, sure his story with the Wyatts doesn’t exactly match up perfectly with HBK/JBL (or at all, really) but I am glad WWE doesn’t seem to be going with the easy brainwashed angle. This past Raw, Daniel laid into the Wyatts and gave insight as to why his character willingly joined. He stated that he joined to learn and transform himself into a monster and he also stated that he could teach the others as well. So it’s not so much that Bryan was lured into being brainwashed but rather went willingly to get an edge. Like HBK, Daniel essentially ran out of options and joined forces with the baddies to make it beneficial for him in the long run. How will it end?I honestly have no idea and, as I’ve stated as before, whenever WWE leaves me clueless on where a story is going is a great thing. I do know this, there’s no way WWE can make Daniel full heel right now, not with the crowd reaction he’s getting. It almost like the last half of Punk’s title reign, there were still plenty of cheers for the man in spite of all the despicable things Punk could muster. So I see either Bray’s bunch turning face or at least a tweener or Bryan makes them implode and comes out on top.

As long as this doesn’t turn into Cena being forced to join Nexus, I think I’ll be happy with however this turns out. It is a shame how Cena/Nexus ended up considering it’s first few months and even the part where Cena was forced to join, it was an interesting twist that made things interesting. That’s when things truly resembled HBK/JBL because that caused Cena to partake in heelish things without actually being a heel. However, WWE should’ve come up with better incentive for Cena and stayed away from the “Wade Barrett could fire you from WWE” thing. Everyone knew that Cena might miss a week at the very most and would be right back through some miraculous loophole. Turns out, Cena couldn’t even miss a week and then promptly tore through the Nexus with ease which made the previous few months of matches kinda pointless. But ultimately, I think I’m just pissed at the string of chairs spot at TLC while Wade was under that table or whatever that was. ‘Twas truly the dumbest thing I’ve seen until the debut of Los Matadores and El Torito.

And again, I can state how glad I am that this isn’t some sort of brainwashing story because Hawkeye was a dumb, waste of plot in Avengers. Seriously, what was the purpose of Hawkeye getting brainwashed by Loki? To get Loki and the brainwashed scientist out of SHIELD HQ? You’re telling me that Loki, a Norse god and his Loki-Pokey stick couldn’t blast his way out or teleport out of there with the tesseract? At least the brainwashed scientist served a purpose in Loki’s evil plot, Hawkeye was just rewired to aim his arrows at the good guys. And even when he was knocked back to his senses, he just had good aim. Sure, he was equipped with super special arrows but any well-trained redneck could do the same. I love Avengers, I truly did but a rich guy with a robot suit, a Norse god and two science experiments don’t need a robin hood sidekick. You know who else was really good at aiming things? Bullseye and I don’t think I need to remind you all of how much Daredevil sucked.

The point I’m trying to make is that Hawkeye is a lame “super” hero and Daniel Bryan has something up his non-existent sleeve.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: You probably don’t want to click on this if your name is Blair.×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’s 10 Thoughts: WWE RAW 1.06.14 (CM Punk, Shield, Daniel Bryan) Tue, 07 Jan 2014 05:59:05 +0000 1. A weird thing is happening. WWE is using both Cena and Orton sparingly as of late. Last week, both were doing a house show instead of on a live Raw. And now this week, both are regulated in a garbage opening promo with Ric Flair and then not to be seen for the rest of the show. Not complaining but it was weird. Maybe this WWE’s way of pre-apologizing for the Rumble championship match.

2. Seeing Daniel Bryan debut with the Wyatt’s made me realize something. I equate this with that time HBK was JBL’s “employee” and because his wrestling avatar for a paycheck. He wasn’t necessarily a heel but he was employed by one. Of course, Daniel Bryan’s situation is different as this is more of a brain-wash story but I feel like this is going to play out in a similar fashion.

3. We got Shield, Piper, Punk and New Age Outlaws in the same ring at the same time. The only reason I point this out is to remind myself that all these amazing people were at the same spot together and wasn’t a dream. Also, Dean Ambrose is portraying himself more and more insane with each passing week.

4. Another match between CoDust and Real Americans had another match. It feels like we’re watching this match on a weekly basis but I’m alright with this as long as they keep churning out these good matches. I mean, they even found a way to make Swagger look decent. They do need to pace themselves so that they don’t turn into the tag team version of Ziggler vs Kofi or Miz vs Kofi or anyone else that’s had a “feud” with Kofi.

5. I think Bob Backlund is fast becoming the running joke where WWE brings him on and is always the losing choice in whatever app voting is going on. Also, last week’s ref and Sgt. Slaughter are both heels in my eyes now because they’re at fault for continuing whatever is going between Khali and Sandow.

6. Big Show and Lesnar looks like they might have a match against each other at Royal Rumble. It’s easy to begin groaning about this match considering how Brock doesn’t do as well with slower workers. However, this does mean no Big Show in the rumble match itself and that’s a pretty substantial positive point.

7. 3MB lost to 2 Cool and Rikishi. The worm happened but Drew McIntyre no-sold it and made me proud. At least Drew has apparently drawn the jobbing line. Good for him.

8. Good thing WWE finally taught their employees to operate lifts after the Paul Heyman Hell in a Cell debacle. They figured out the secret of it all with the Bad News Barrett segments is that they don’t have to drive it as far. Lifting Barrett is a good defense mechanism so people around him from punching him in the face. Still a bad gimmick in the grand scheme but it could be worse, he could be Los Matadores.

9. Could WWE get New Age Outlaws to do an intro for Punk from now on? The match between Punk and Reigns was a lot of fun, Roman just find more and more ways to impress me each week. It does seem like a Shield split is down the road and I think I’ve accepted it with the hope that it will be done right. It would be a shame for WWE to get so many things right with Shield only to screw it up at the finish line.

10. Great moment seeing a healthier Jake Roberts make the surprise return at the end. Would’ve rather seen the DDT than the snake but I’ll take what I can get. Also was fun watching Dean struggle not to corpse while Roberts was dangling the snake on his face.

Fun Raw but nothing was really advanced other than establishing Bryan in the Wyatts and more attempts to cause an eventual Shield split.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

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THE RAGER! WWE’s 2013 PPV Report Card (CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, John Cena) Wed, 01 Jan 2014 16:00:30 +0000 I pride myself in knowing that THE RAGER is one of the most consistent columns here on Pulse Wrestling in the sense that you’re going to get one every week but everybody needs a break every now and then. Last week, I took a break for the holidays and I appreciate all of you affording me that luxury. But break time is over because it’s the start of the new year and we will celebrate by looking back through the pay per views of 2013.

Royal Rumble
It’s easy to hate on this pay per view just on sheer predictability added to exactly how CM Punk’s historic title reign came to an end. Of course the highlight was the Rumble match itself in spite of the lame outing by the final 2 participants, John Cena and Ryback. However, lame ending aside, the match started with a huge bang with the surprise return of Chris Jericho and leading into Jericho facing off with Dolph Ziggler for the opening portion of the match. Another great moment was Goldust’s entry into the match, the look on Cody’s face alone was a great moment. I strongly believe that the crowd’s reaction ontop of Goldust proving he can still do great work in the ring all led to WWE bringing him back to the roster later in the year.
Still, the championship match being restarted and Rock ultimately winning with an elbow is more than enough to leave a sour taste in the collective mouths of wrestling fans.
Rager Grade: C- (would’ve been much lower if it weren’t for the Rumble match)

Elimination Chamber
The sole chamber match was solid thanks to the likes of Chris Jericho and Ziggler and even Swagger looked decent as the winner and led some to a false hope that maybe he can salvage his career. We later learned that clearly wasn’t the case and Swagger is just as terrible as ever. I still would’ve liked Jericho to win and Ziggler to have cashed in on Del Rio to lead to Jericho vs Ziggler at Wrestlemania but that’s me. Also working in favor of this PPV is the fact that we finally got to see Shield in an actual tag team match and not only were they impressive, but they actually cleanly beat the team of John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus.
Rock vs Punk II was an improvement but still suffered from the bad taste that lingered from Rumble as well as Rock getting blown up pretty early in the match. Still would’ve liked to have the match inside the Elimination Chamber cage. It would’ve been different and would give the match a different and possibly bigger feel.
Rager Grade: C

Wrestlemania 29
What was good about it:
The show started off strong with Shield beating Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show.
The crowd during Team Friendship vs Team Ziggler as well as the “we want Ziggler” chants during the WHC match.
Finally, the biggest and brightest part of the night was all things CM Punk vs Undertaker. The story was great, the entrances were epic and the match was just great from start to finish.

What was terrible about it:
The overall show felt a tad unorganized and rushed, especially considering the final match just happened without any special entrance or package (although packages were shown throughout the night).
Chris Jericho vs Fandango was just disappointing for all parties involved. Ryback vs Mark Henry was basically a slap fight with their torsos. HHH/Lesnar II was slow and almost as unwatchable as the first match.
Twice in a Lifetime simply took place at the wrong time because the proverbial torch-passing really should’ve happened at 28 but wasn’t because I’m assuming WWE was spooked about Rock’s hometown. But then again, New Jersey didn’t quite seem like the right crowd for the torch-passing either as we all heard at the end of the match. This Wrestlemania wasn’t quite as terrible as 27 but that’s not necessarily high praise.
Rager Grade: D (as great as Punk/Taker was, a bad Wrestlemania stings worse than the usual PPV)

Extreme Rules
What was good about it:
Dean Ambrose won the US Championship away from permanent US Championship resident, Kofi Kingston.

What I was conflicted about:
On one hand, I was so glad for Shield to win the Tag belts but I was sad for Team Friendship to lose and would spell the beginning of the end for them.

What was terrible about it:
There was a strap match…need I say more?
There was no Dolph Ziggler and no CM Punk involved in this PPV.
All things related to Randy Orton vs Big Show in an extreme rules match.
There was a John Cena/Ryback match so that alone is terrible news for the audience on top of the Last Man Standing match ending in a draw. The lone entertaining point in this match was when John Cena was aiming the fire extinguisher as if he was hunting wabbits.
Rager Grade: D-

What was good:
Curtis Axel winning the IC belt while Miz was trying the Figure-4 on Wade Barrett was interesting. Wasn’t great, just decent.
AJ vs Kaitlyn was a pretty good Divas match with a rare moment where there was an actual Divas storyline. Could’ve done without the extended cry segment afterwards because nobody wants to sit and watch somebody cry. It’s uncomfortable for all parties.
I know it’s been said a lot throughout the year by many people about just how great Del Rio vs Ziggler was. Sure we were all bummed to see Ziggler lose the WHC but the story that was told was expertly done by both men.
There was a Punk/Jericho Match. Sure it wasn’t the best match those two have ever had but it was special given the location and we hadn’t seen Punk in a few months.

What was terrible:
3 Stages of Hell Match between Cena vs Ryback. You know what nobody wants? A match between Cena and Ryback. You know what people wanna see even less than that? A 2 out of 3 falls between Cena and Ryback. The only redeeming quality was during the Lumberjack match where Sin Cara waiting a good 3-4 seconds before finally falling over like the rest of the wrestlers did.
Rager Grade: B+

Money in the Bank
What was good:
Both MitB matches. Those matches are kinda hard to screw up. The first was a great vehicle for Cody that didn’t necessarily go anywhere after Summerslam. The second was just impressive by all members involved. It set up the Punk/Heyman feud and we saw the return of a energized RVD.
The deserving crowd reaction to Mark Henry based off of his promo performances a few weeks prior.

What was terrible:
The match itself during Cena and Henry. I mean, it wasn’t worse than we were expecting because I believe we were all expecting a bad match, the problem is that there was nothing done to dampen those bad expectations.

What was good:
This PPV featured the two best matches of the year. Everything about Brock and Punk was so crisp and purposeful that I, as a Punk fan, wasn’t even upset that Punk ended up losing. It was the perfect balance of physical superiority and intriguing storytelling.
The same can be said about Bryan vs Cena but is second on MotY by a very small margin. I believe the post-match hijinks is what makes this match fall a little. But still, it was astonishing to watch Daniel Bryan use a finisher that he’s never used before to put Cena away cleanly. Regardless of what happened afterward, that single moment was magical.
Damien Sandow vs Cody Rhodes. If those two had more matches like this, they’d had a lot more people pulling for them.

What was bad:
Ring of Fire. It should’ve been a bigger deal with Bray’s first match. However, it was slowly paced and all work with the turnbuckle and ropes was done gingerly due to the fire. Would’ve also been more impressive if Bray just took care of Kane by himself. I appreciate the effort but leave the flames for inferno matches.
Randy cashing in. Yeah, it makes sense with the storyline and everything…but c’mon.
Rager Grade: A

Night of Champions
I can’t remember exactly how I felt about NoC after watching it for the first time. However, now that I look back at it, I honestly can’t think of a single good thing to say about it. Something was weird about the Fatal 4-Way for the Divas Championship. Ryback inserted himself into the Punk/Heyman feud and that’s something nobody really wants to see. I know at the time, I was okay with Ryback in the story because he was suppose to be a poor man’s Brock Lesnar and would take him away from the weird food fetish pre-tapes. However, now that I know the full story, I can go ahead and label Ryback’s insertion as a misstep. I mean, I guess we got a Dolph/Ambrose match out of it and the WHC match between Del Rio and RVD was solid. And then, at the end of the day, Bryan did technically got the win but we all knew something was gonna happen to ruin it the next day (and we were right).
Rager Grade: F (By and large, a PPV is going to be doomed if it begins with a talking segment)

What was good:
Del Rio vs RVD. Really good match that was a lot of fun to watch. However, compared to some of the matches RVD has had in the past, calling this match an “extreme rules match” is laughable.
CoDust vs Shield. Such a great moment and an even better match. It was in my top 5 for the year because it’s so difficult for so many people to be involved and every single person playing their part perfectly and that’s exactly what happened here.
AJ vs Brie. Another pretty good Divas match. Wasn’t perfect but it exemplified just how far Brie has come as a wrestler.
Bray Wyatt vs Kofi Kingston. The first match we’ve really be able to see Bray Wyatt alone since Summerslam and the second half of that match was incredibly impressive. Bray showed how he’s able to continue to play his character while still being an effect wrestler in the ring at the same time.

What was terrible:
Big Show getting involved at the end of the WWE Championship giving us another month to deal with the reign of the Almighty Vacant. The bell never rang so technically the match is still going on.
Rager Grade: B

Hell in a Cell
What was good:
CoDust defending their titles against Shield and the Usos. This just continued the trend of CoDust turning all things into gold when they’re involved.
Big E Langston vs Dean Ambrose. With Axel out with an injury, Big E got the upgrade from a kickoff match to a US Championship match in the actual show. Aside from heads colliding, Big E was almost flawless in this match. We see why he’s getting a push now.
The end of Punk/Heyman. Unfortunately, Heyman’s epic pre-match promo had to follow technical difficulties with the lift he was in but at least the feud got put to rest. It really was a shame that this feud fizzled like it did but it’s hard to continue without somebody like Brock. There’s not many substitutes in a situation like that.

What was terrible:
John Cena came back way too early and got our hopes up that he’ll stick to the mid-card.
The ending of Hell in a Cell really should have led to another match between Orton and Bryan instead of it being left where it was and had Bryan move on. However, if this does lead to HBK coming out of retirement at any point for a match against Bryan, I will totally reevaluate this match.
Rager Grade: C+

Survivor Series
What was good:
Roman Reigns’ performance in the elimination tag match. One of the most convincing and dominating outings I’ve seen in a while. Expect a huge 2014 for this guy.
Big E taking the IC belt off Curtis Axel. It was beyond time.
Punk and Bryan teaming up against the Wyatts. Sure, it would’ve been better if Bray had been involved but there’s very little to complain about when Punk and Bryan are in the same corner.

What was terrible:
Mark Henry and Ryback, because we really didn’t need a rematch of their torso slapfight from Wrestlemania.
John Cena and Del Rio. It felt like this feud had been going on for a year instead of a couple months.
Big Show being in the main event. Do I even need to explain this?
Rager Grade: C-

What was good:
Punk finding a way to defeat all 3 members of Shield. It may just be a way to keep Punk occupied but it’s hard to look away when these 4 men are in a match together.
AJ vs Natalya. It felt like such a long time since we’ve seen Natalya in a one-on-one match, let alone for the Divas Championship. I feel like this match is probably as good as it’s gonna get with today’s Divas division.
Once again, CoDust turned a 4-way elimination tag match into some entertaining television.
Wyatt Family vs Daniel Bryan. I really assumed Bryan would’ve come out on top here but he didn’t. However, this was still a fun match to watch, mostly to DB’s credit, of course.

What was terrible:
The 1 billionth Miz and Kofi match. Did we really need a no DQ match with these two?
R-Truth vs Brodus Clay. WWE is challenging themselves to try to build Xavier Woods to the top without putting him in a match.
The title unification match. I still think the final spot of the night was suppose to be something different and it ended the night feeling odd and awkward. Randy ends the year as the WWE World Champion of the World Hyperbole Awesomist and we’re still scratching our heads.
Rager Grade: C-

So it wasn’t exactly a banner year for WWE pay per views but here’s to hoping WWE improves in 2014. At least get Wrestlemania 30 right and I might be a happy camper. I hope this double helping of RAGER makes up for my absence last week.

Finally, I wanted to say thank you on behalf of Joel Leonard and myself for all of you that have listened to Classy Ring Attire at some point over the past 100 episodes. We hope you’ve enjoyed them and can’t wait to share with you what we have in story in the future.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: My highlight of the year was the time Nikki and Brie’s twitter handle had a stroke during Money in the Bank.×120.jpg×250.jpg

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RAGER’S 10 Thoughts: WWE RAW 12.30.13 (Daniel Bryan, Wyatt Family, Brock Lesnar) Tue, 31 Dec 2013 06:02:22 +0000 1. A bit of foreshadowing with Punk yelling “everything is falling apart” at the top of the show, eh? Not only with Shield but also with Daniel Bryan’s run as a face…or so it seems. However, Punk using mind games to pit the members of the Shield against each other seems fitting. I just think using the “I’m the best one in the group” device seems a bit overly simplistic for all parties involved. Just get all this wrapped up before Rumble, please?

2. Announcing a rematch required that much airtime and a Randy Orton career retrospective? You really couldn’t tell half the roster was elsewhere at all (For those keeping score, that was sarcasm). Also, I don’t think WWE fully understands the meaning of the words “blockbuster announcement.” For example, before Wrestlemania 27, there was the “blockbuster announcement” that Vince will be on Raw. It literally ended up being Vince making an announcement that he will make an announcement the next week. See what I’m saying? Come, believe as I believe.

3. Ziggler actually got a clean win that didn’t involve a roll-up pin. Let the hopes of every redditer rise. Once again, ’tis the triumph of hope over experience.

4. I like Big E and certain moments of Fandango but I really found it difficult to not focus on Summer Rae and what little she was wearing. I understand the match went well and that makes me happy but all that seems besides the point.

5. I was about to go off on the “universe” for voting Khali into a match against Sandow. However, I can’t imagine a whole lot of fans setting the app ablaze to get in their votes for Kofi or Miz. To Sandow’s credit, he got as good match as anyone can out of Khali these days. I know that’s not saying much but I’m all about giving credit to where it’s due.

6. I’m told there was a Brodus and R-Truth happened. I apologize for not having any recollection of that match but my roommate showed up with doughnuts so you can understand my temporary tunnel vision. FAT BOY RAGE!

7. Brock is back and is going after the championship. Makes sense and I actually commend WWE for keeping the belt away from him this long. Until then, either Brock wants him some Mark Henry or WWE wanted Henry on the shelf for a bit. If that’s the case, Brock vs Big E at Rumble wouldn’t be a bad idea. Just sayin’.

8. Everything that involves Eva Marie turns to crap. I’m not saying all Divas tag matches or even regular matches are golden without her but it’s so much worse with her in the mix. I swear, even her blowing a kiss to the camera during the match looked awkward and untrained. And honestly, they could’ve cleared the ring and just let Kaitlyn have a match against Brie and leave well enough alone.

9. More one-on-one matches with Luke Harper please. Or was this a case of “everybody looks like a million bucks in the ring with Daniel Bryan?” Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the opening bout in the gauntlet match. The second match was fine, I guess. Rowan really should look into going the regular pants route because the crack sweat was just unfortunate. I’m sure HHH shares the same feels.

10. I honestly have no idea where this is going with Bryan joining the Wyatt’s but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Anytime WWE is actually able to keep me and a lot of other fans guessing is a win for them, especially in these days where everyone seems to be somewhat smart on the business. WWE could easily go full-blown heel with Daniel Bryan or make it part of some grander scheme for Bryan to be revealed later. All I know is that Wrestlemania season is soon upon us so either this could be something huge or something completely forgettable that’ll be swept under the rug within the next couple weeks. Either way, I am intrigued.

Also, I’m wanting to switch things up in the coming weeks here on 10 Thoughts, if any of you lovely readers have some ideas, shoot them off in the comments.

Five Plugs
1. If you’re not reading Sawyer’s My Pinterest is Piledrivers, then you’re doing the internet wrong.

2. Joel and myself recently posted our 100th Classy Ring Attire podcast this past week. I hope you all enjoy, it was a ton of fun to catch up a little with previous guests. If you haven’t checked us out yet, give us a try and if you like what you hear, you can subscribe to Classy Ring Attire on iTunes!

3. Gojira had a pretty sweet2013 retrospective that you should check out.

4. Joel and myself are doing something dangerous. We’re setting BD and Kue up with their own podcast and telling them that they can say whatever they want. You like Classy Ring Attire? Well, Trashy Ring Attire is on the way!

5. It’s not really a plug but I saw Wolf of Wall Street on Christmas and I highly recommend you spending money to go see it too.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

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