I’m already looking forward to NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and SummerSlam the very next day. It will be a hell of a weekend. The only bad thing about is, I’m not looking forward to watching Dean Ambrose there. It will be all about Cesaro, William Regal and Kevin Owens for me. And this past week just further proved it.
RAW 2015/08/03: MizTV is a joy to watch (with the right choice of guests)
This week’s episode of RAW of course started with celebrating the life of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper who died last Friday at the age of only 61 years. All wrestlers and officials standing on the ramp wore “Hot Rod” shirts. And throughout the show Roddy Piper was mentioned or referred to several times. It was a good way to honour a legend and for me I certainly have to honour him with just another episode of “The Wrestling Week That Was”. Saying that I’m still not sure if I’ll continue doing this but right now – like I already mentioned – everything around Cesaro, William Regal and Kevin Owens is just so good and fun and exciting to watch, that I’ll at least continue until SummerSlam.
First of all about this week’s RAW I have to write a few words about MizTV. I kind of grew a soft spot for Miz without actually realizing that. MizTV with Dean Ambrose when Damien Mizdow was still a thing, was already great. And so was this episode on Monday with Kevin Owens and Cesaro. It wasn’t just the little speech done by The Miz at the very start of this segment, honouring Piper’s Pit and falling straight back into heel mode when he pointed to the sky saying, “You will be mizzed”. I actually appreciate his talking style all around because The Miz can talk, he knows how to speak and to draw all the heat out of the audience. When it comes to heel trash talk, just forget Seth Rollins – because The Miz is your guy! I also kind of love it that he basically throws William Regal’s advice about wearing sunglasses indoors out of the window. Because this behaviour makes him even more cocky.
But you also need the right guests for MizTV to make it a memorable show. And in Kevin Owens and Cesaro he just had these two guests. First Kevin Owens came out and made himself even more loved than he already was in saying that he’d be a huge fan of The Miz and of course he owns all of his movie Blu-rays. Now he was asked what’s the actual issue between him and Cesaro and here I was a little disappointed. Because of course Cesaro was jealous of him. Don’t we have any other reasons why one person can go after another one than just jealousy? Yeah, Bray Wyatt wants to “fix” people – whatever that means (we never get an explanation). But basically all other people (especially women) are simply jealous of each other. WWE really is a simple world, isn’t it?
Now Cesaro wanted to listen sitting in the front row why he was jealous of Kevin Owens, so he came out before The Miz had a chance to introduce him formally. And Cesaro got a great reaction from the audience. “Cesaro Section” signs everywhere. Of course Kevin Owens now had to wove in John Cena again, that he, Owens, already beat him but Cesaro never done that (thanks to Owens). The look upon Cesaro’s face as his reaction basically spoke novels. I’ve read in that (and you’ve already seen it in the Gif on the right hand side), “Really, Kevin? You beat John Cena? See, I don’t really care. I’ve finished William Regal’s in-ring wrestling career instead, and I know how much you want a match against him. But it won’t happen anymore. So, jealous, me? No way.”
But there was another point that Kevin Owens made. Not just did he beat John Cena; he also was NXT champion just two months after his first match in NXT / WWE. So, he’s around for just a few months while Cesaro apparently accomplished nothing really within three years. So, we’re certainly not talking about his 239 days United States Championship reign or his 63 days Tag Team Championship with Tyson Kidd or him winning the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy. Now Kevin Owens ended his tirade with assuming that Cesaro will never match his God-given natural ability for this business.
There was a little pause and then a long “Ooooooooooohhhhh” by The Miz and just in the little reaction to it by Cesaro I saw more fun than in any Ambrose & Reigns segment – ever. Like I already said for numerous times: Cesaro is just a natural babyface. He was actually the one wasted as a heel. He can be a heel but he’s just too funny for being thrown into a role as a villain. It also fits his role as a babyface more when he has to play angry and during that falls a bit more into his Swiss accent – together with his veins appearing like crazy. So his answer was the following:
“Kevin, let’s get one thing straight, I’m not jealous of you. If anything, I’m ashamed of you. I’m ashamed because every single time you walk away from a match, you don’t just disrespect yourself, you disrespect your opponent, you disrespect the WWE Universe, and you disrespect every single WWE superstar who ever set foot in this ring. Kevin, quite frankly, you’re an embarrassment.”
That made Kevin Owens trying to stand up from his chair but the chair stuck to him a bit, so The Miz had to help him and Cesaro made fun of him. Also The Miz finally had taken off his sunglasses, so his enjoyment during the following confrontation between his guests had more effect. Now Kevin Owens told Cesaro that to him it’s embarrassing that he’s more accomplished in three months than Cesaro in three years. And this made Cesaro saying that, after he’d been going up from his chair as well:
“Really, Kevin? Well, why don’t you back that up because this may be MizTV. But this is still a WWE ring. And you may be really good at talking – and walking – but I am really good at fighting. So, if you wanna go – let’s go!”
And off his suit jacket went. The Miz was already hyped for a brawl breaking loose but Kevin Owens said that he would fight Cesaro but on his terms. And since there was no prize on the line, he wouldn’t fight now. And with that being said, he left the ring. Cesaro mocking him with “Walk, Owens, Walk” and the crowd happily chanted this – and WWE should make Cesaro a shirt with it. And The Miz was furious, demanding from Cesaro that he should fight Owens now. Owens himself took his chance to shove Miz into Cesaro, then went for the Pop-up Powerbomb but Cesaro was faster, teasing the Cesaro Swing. And the crowd basically went nuts. You don’t really need a catchphrase if you have something like the Cesaro Swing, do you? Yes, Cesaro had this “Fact” catchphrase with Tyson Kidd, but that was kind of heelish. And just recently he came up with the “thanks for asking” statement at the end of a promo. But the swing is far above these.
But this time the swing didn’t happen. Owens was able to weasel out of the ring and Cesaro kind of struggled with putting off his shirt. When he finally managed doing this, the intensity between Cesaro and Kevin Owens very much hyped me for SummerSlam. There are still a few days to go until then, so there are a few other segments to fill. And I can’t wait for it.
I very rarely put Reigns Gifs in here. But to me this scene was quite telling: Reigns referring to his so-called “brother” and only friend in this world as “crazy”. And Dean Ambrose reacts rather hurt by it. As if he was very disappointed that his (also sole) friend sees him like everybody else, a “lunatic”, an “unstable one”, one “crazy” human being without any game plan. That’s probably the direction WWE now goes with Dean Ambrose: he always loses not just the big matches, also quite common one-on-one matches, because he’s got no clue. So he needs the Über Superman to actually win a match once in a while.
Before Reigns went for throwing up on his own words, Dean Ambrose actually came up with a nice hommage for Roddy Piper when he stated:
“Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, we’re here to deliver a message in the immortal words of Rowdy Roddy Piper: We’re here to kick ass and chew bubblegum; but we’re all outta bubblegum.”
But back to the before mentioned direction that WWE might go with Dean Ambrose. Well, what a stupid direction and – again – waste of talent they are doing here with Dean Ambrose. I very much enjoyed his work with Cesaro but it was quite clear that they would stuck him back to Reigns as the crazy lapdog when Reigns made it back from vacation. So, of course Dean Ambrose had to go nuts inside the ring, commentators called him The Lunatic Fringe and were almost embarrassed when Dean Ambrose bodyslammed Luke Harper onto the mat. Yeah, he’s not just 5’5”, even though you all want us to believe that apparently. So the ten minutes of match time (excluding two commercial breaks) didn’t see much action by Randy Orton and Sheamus but much more Dean Ambrose going crazy all over Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt and Über Super Reigns winning the match in the end. I bet you can feel my excitement for this match!
And after it Dean Ambrose once again dressed down which means he put his already torn in half shirt down, so he was there with his bare chest like he happened to fight last week. Also during this Australia Tour he fought part of his matches bar his shirt. What actually is this? Let him fight with just his jeans on from the very beginning or let him finish with the intact shirt. Or is this some kind of a stripper gimmick you throw on him to please the fangirls? Or is this just another spot during a match to make him look weak and “crazy”? Just give him back his FCW persona, make him fight with just his jeans on and leave out the recent rubbish.
With these little teasers of Reigns calling Dean Ambrose “crazy” and “my lunatic” or else and Dean Ambrose visibly not liking it, makes me hope that at SummerSlam The Shield finally breaks up completely. Their tag team match is completely useless unless WWE makes Reigns turn on Dean Ambrose. As much as Dean Ambrose is wasted as a babyface but if he turns on Reigns, the audience will cheer Ambrose, not Reigns. That’s still the case. So, I’d like Dean Ambrose turning on Reigns for Ambrose going heel much more than vice versa. Because that would mean first Seth Rollins, then Roman Reigns turned on Dean Ambrose to finally confirm him to be the weak link of The Shield. After SummerSlam these three men finally have to go their own separate ways. And WWE needs to stop promoting The Shield here and there. I makes sense re-uniting them in twenty years at an Old School RAW but not before.
Now the supposed SummerSlam match card already bores the hell out of me. Apparently it’s four hours long. But if I would watch it live, I would be still able to head for bed early because even if Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar isn’t the main event, it will be at least the second last. And then the main event will be Seth Rollins vs John Cena. Or vice versa. These two matches I couldn’t care less about. I already read a few people creaming for Sting to be a part to make this show even better. So, you really enjoyed these twenty minutes of talking at WrestleMania and a match between two oldies when the young and hungry and fresh guys should get their chance to show what they really are able to put on the mat instead of holding down and only showing off three or four “signature” moves?
Really, it’s the WWE’s own fault when they still think they have to keep Big Show or have Triple H and the Undertaker taking away good TV time on PPVs from the young talent. If the stories would be great (like in NXT) and the talent were allowed to act after their abilities, also the still green talent would grow on people. I really liked the Old School RAW we had almost two years ago. The WWE should do something like this once every year, the first live RAW after Christmas, getting a few oldies out there, having some fun segments, get them their deserved five minutes of fame again. But please don’t use them on major PPVs or on the cover of video games because you think the young faces weren’t able to draw huge audiences. The young talent work their socks off every week on RAW and SmackDown and a good spot at WrestleMania or SummerSlam is something they work for the entire year. Just for them to see the Undertaker or a part-timer like Brock Lesnar take away these spots from them.
And what else do we have? A title-for-title match between Seth Rollins and John Cena? Instead of bringing back the Hardcore Championship or the European Championship, you want one guy having two belts again? Also the Intercontinental Championship is nowhere to be seen these days because Ryback is still the champ despite being injured. And we all remember that Daniel Bryan had to vacate it because he was and still is injured. Now we get a triple threat match between Ryback (if he’s cleared to wrestle), The Miz and Big Show (!). I’m really excited about that match. I just can’t express how excited I am! And then of course this absolutely meaningless tag team match between Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper wherein Dean Ambrose is just the lapdog to Roman Reigns in the WWE’s still desperate try to make the guy universally popular. But like I already said, this strategy hurts Dean Ambrose because he’s better used alone. And it also doesn’t help Reigns because he has to put over himself if he wants to be there on a long term.
So, really, Cesaro vs Kevin Owens is the sole match that already excites me when I just think about it. It’s now on WWE to give these guys at least 15 minutes to show us a hell of a match that they are more than capable of doing.
NXT 2015/08/05: William Regal vs Kevin Owens further intensifies
This episode of NXT was a William Regal show all over. Fabulous! The episode started with a great women’s match between Charlotte and Bayley. After Bayley recovered from a broken hand, she wants to earn another opportunity for a women’s championship match, and her next hurdle today (after already having beaten Emma) was Charlotte. After hard fought and intense twelve minutes and Charlotte already kicking out of one Bayley to Belly, Bayley realized that she needed to step up her game. So she went for another Bayley to Belly but from the top of a ring post. And this time she won. And after Baron Corbin killed his next victim in Steve Cutler within just 23 seconds, we saw Bayley again in William Regal’s office asking politely for a championship match. But since NXT TakeOver Brooklyn is still two weeks ahead, there needed to be a contenders match first, so we get Bayley vs Becky Lynch next week with the winner facing Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver for the Championship. I’m almost sure that Bayley will win the contenders match because we already had Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch and these two are hard at work at the main roster, so it’s almost written on the wall that Bayley will actually win that title. At least she would very much deserve it. But we will see – as always.
We also got a quite inspirational training video from Bull Dempsey this week. And a very angry fought match by Tyler Breeze against Aaron Solow was finished within just 55 seconds with the Beauty Shot. And finally William Regal stepped out to announce that Tyler Breeze would go one-on-one with Jushin “Thunder” Liger at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn. A legendary opponent for a guy who – in my opinion – just deserves something big for all these years he’s already in FCW / NXT. That should be a great match.
Another one I’m looking for is the debut match of Apollo Crews f.k.a. Uhaa Nation. His opponent wasn’t revealed yet. But I expect one of the newest recruits. So this could and certainly will be a shorter match, probably the very first one on the card. But still a good one to get into NXT TakeOver Brooklyn.
And after Finn Bálor promoted his match against Kevin Owens, we had a tag team match of Dawson & Wilder against The Hype Bros. Seriously, I know that Dawson & Wilder are supposed to be heel but against these Hype Bros they are all face to me. Zack Ryder is just Zack Ryder but even he seems to be slightly embarrassed by the antics of Mojo Rawley. I just don’t get this guy and probably never will. So the Hype Bros won but at least they were still beaten up after the match by Dawson & Wilder. I know, I’m the evil!
And finally we saw William Regal for a third time during the show. Back in his office he met up with The Vaudevillains to grant them another championship match against Blake & Murphy. But since Alexa Bliss last time cost them the win, William Regal suggested a way to get even on Blake & Murphy without giving up on chivalry. This very likely will be a way to introduce one of the newest female recruits to NXT. And The Vaudevillains could finally win this tag team title and end the run of these annoying current champs.
During the show we saw a pre-taped interview with Michael Cole and Kevin Owens. First Cole asked Owens if his apology to William Regal was a sincere one. Owens said that it was but that wasn’t really believable. Then Cole informed Owens about what William Regal said after that apology, that he’d hope that Finn Bálor beats Owens. The following was Kevin Owens’ reply:
“Yeah, I heard that; I saw it later. And I, you know what, first I’m really happy that you’re bringing that up – good journalist you are. First of all, kudos to Mr. Regal for waiting for me to have my back turning of walked away to make a comment like that; takes a real man, real man’s man I should say, to do something like that but, see, there’s a problem there for me with a figure of authority.
Because, let’s face it, William Regal basically runs NXT, right? So for him to openly say that he hopes that I don’t win the title in Brooklyn in the biggest main event in the history of NXT, that’s a big issue for me because, see, I don’t just want the NXT title anymore, I need it. For various reasons. See, first the NXT title is a reminder for what I did to Sami Zayn and I, you know, I just like having it because of that. But also the NXT title means more money in my bank account which I’ve been liking these past few weeks and, you know, quite frankly I just don’t enjoy walking down the ramp, whether it’s on RAW or SmackDown or NXT without a title over my shoulder. So for all those reasons I need to walk outta Brooklyn as NXT champion.
But after what William Regal said and, you know, I’ve watched WWE for years, I’ve seen William Regal throughout his career. He’s not exactly a stand up guy. And, you know, I actually respect that. He would do whatever he needed to do to get where he wanted to go. And, hey, I’m all about that. But now that he’s in a position of power, who’s to say that he’s not gonna throw some cricked referee in the ring with me and Bálor in Brooklyn and we’re gonna have another Montreal screw job on our hands? Sure, it’s gonna be in Brooklyn but it’s on a Montreal boy, so…
See, I thought long and hard about that and I realized there’s really only one way for me to be guaranteed that that won’t happen. And that would be to put the title up, put a ladder between Bálor and I and see who can climb up and grab it first. That way, no referee can do anything to make sure I don’t win and I can rest assured that William Regal is not gonna screw me out of what’s mine and that’s the NXT title. So on 22nd August in Brooklyn at TakeOver what I want is a ladder match.”
More and more everything Kevin Owens does and everything William Regal does, makes me think that the final show-down could be indeed a match between these two. William Regal himself said just a few months ago that his neck issues are behind him and that he’s there when anyone is coming for him to suggest another match. As unrealistic as it would be that William Regal with almost 50 years of age would win against Kevin Owens in his early 30s but since when is wrestling realistic? As of right now I still think that this match in Brooklyn will be Kevin Owens’ last match in NXT. But with all this closer cooperation between WWE and NXT lately – who knows for sure if this little feud between William Regal and Kevin Owens might continue? Maybe William Regal indeed finds a way to screw Kevin Owens over, so later on Owens could attack William Regal for real, not just hit him once or shove him away. And that could make it more personal and for William Regal to step into the ring himself. It’s still possible and like I said, who knows? But I’m also slightly frightened of what we could see in such a match. It could be even more one-dimensional than the first match between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. And I wouldn’t like that very much.
But first things first. Because the GM still had to response. And this is what he had to say to these words of Kevin Owens:
“Kevin Owens obviously thinks that my decision making will be altered by the way how I feel about him. But it couldn’t be any further from the truth. I can’t give in to his demands because then I’m just validating his demented opinion. Having said that I had a conversation with Finn Bálor. And Finn Bálor, being the champion that he is, said that he will take the match under any stipulation. And so, if Kevin Owens and Finn Bálor are willing to enter a match, I mean, a ladder match is a career altering match. The physicality of it is second to none. But this is also the biggest match in NXT history in front of the biggest crowd. So, on the 22nd of August at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn for the NXT Championship, Finn Bálor, the champion, will face Kevin Owens in a ladder match. Best of luck to both competitors.”
So William Regal is kind of amused that Kevin Owens is actually frightened of him. And I’m almost sure that this won’t be a normal ladder match. Except for, this is NXT and we hardly get a screwed up main event match, not to mention any involvement of the General Manager. Kevin Owens lost his title fair and square in Tokio. And everything William Regal has done to Kevin Owens – so far – were just words. Let’s see if this feud might get more physical than just a few shoves.
And for those people who still can’t separate between kayfabe and real life, here are these two fabulous pictures from Cesaro and Kevin Owens trying to disturb the same Koala, probably at the same time, pictures certainly taken by Cesaro resp. Kevin Owens during their tour through Australia, shot just from a slightly different angle. I just find it hilarious that they didn’t even try to hide it. And it’s a shame that there doesn’t exist a picture with William Regal and the same Koala at the same time. That would have been even more hilarious for sure.