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Planet Kayfabe: Diminished Returns
Submitted by Kayfabe Candyass on 09/07/2018 at 12:37 PM


Planet Kayfabe: Diminished Returns

By: 'K.C.' Paul Matthews | @PlanetKayfabe



Do you ever hear fans bury an angle and then some dipshit former insider on his podcast cries about how fans are "too impatient" and even some fans will fall right in line with these ex-shills/current wanna be shills and say "yeah you guys want instant gratification let it play out."

Okay. Sure. Because WWE has earned the benefit of the doubt and always has a long term plan...

**cough ,The Invasion ,The Nexus, Michael Cole' s Heel Turn, The Anonymous Raw General Manager, Goldberg's First Run, The Summer Of Punk, Wyatt Family, Zack Ryder, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan Before Wrestlemania 30, Daniel Bryan After Wrestlemania 30, Daniel Bryan since coming out of retirement cough**

Let's see how this whole Kevin Owens angle plays out. He quit on Raw a week ago. Some people really believed it and many others have had enough doubt cast on them to at least question if it was real. I'm sure they have a long term plan to rebuilt what hasn't been a good year....
...and he just returned after one week in a terrible segment to attack Bobby Lashley.

Well... That's what I get for listening to you shills out there and playing "wait and see" with WWE. WWE just throws something together where K.O. shows up in his WWE Shop Kevin Owens shirt one week later. Interesting how we are always labeled the impatient ones now, yet it was the fans online who were all fantasy booking a long-term return angle for Kevin Owens. In fact, I was going to write a whole column about what I would do with him... but nope! Bobby Lashley is in a garbage segment with Jinder Mahal and Kevin Owens comes out and attacks Lashley just because. I guess because he's the only other guy on Raw that has had a worse year than him and figures he needs to rehab his image by going after the lowest hanging fruit. Maybe he's just avenging his friend, Sami Zayn, ya know, like any asshole heel would do.

Now some of you might continue to be more forgiving than I and say "just have patience let it play out" and why? In the last decade I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I thought something was going to suck in WWE and it turned out to be good. One of those things is the Santino/Kozlov tea party segment back in 2010 in Manchester, England. So, whatever. If this turns out to be good and benefit both Kevin Owens and Bobby Lashley, great, I will gladly admit I was wrong and underestimated WWE and be happy for both guys being elevated from this great piece of booking and storytelling. Until then, I'm not going to get my hopes up. They really had something with Kevin Owens when he simply said "I quit" on Raw. People were talking. If it were me I would have kept him off TV for much of the fall season. Change the look a little. Get in better shape. Maybe grow the hair out a bit. Something. Then when people have all but forgotten about him -- strike. Instead, he quit and came back the next week and what this also does is next time someone quits or gets fired (again, like KO was on Smackdown) people aren't going to care because they already killed it and instead of playing with those who got sucked into the story, it took them one week to remind fans that it's all just fake television and don't buy into anything.

Well, great. So, whatever. Kevin Owens is back. This feud with Bobby Lashley is going to be like every other feud. He's probably going to take some ridiculous big bump too because for some reason that's what the company has been getting off on lately for him. Maybe its my fault for getting my hopes up. I'm sorry. I'll try not to do that anymore.

There was another return this week. On SmackDown Live, perhaps the best female superstar in WWE in terms of pure work, Asuka, returned to save Naomi from the IIconics after a match straight out of the 2009 Diva's division that ended in a sunset flip instead of a roll up. After fading off into the distance after a horrible program with Carmella (who I guess now is going to be in a comedy trio with R-Truth and Tye Dillinger) Asuka is back and hopefully to restore some of her past dominance and overall mystique. I can't bury this too much even though I'd rather see her do something more high-profile. Charlotte and Becky are starting what could be the first real hot women's feud that doesn't involve high school drama and is about the actual title.

This is fine and a case of where I'm willing to wait-and-see. See? I can be patient. I just don't want to see Asuka selling too much for the IIconics who aren't seen as serious threats and it seems like the crowd is already done with their troll promo routine where their entire skit is dependent on them being loud and annoying. When the material is good, they can deliver a decent promo. When the material is lacking, damn does it suck and they were most recently greeted with boring chants. Not good. One of the pitfalls of Asuka on the main roster was WWE not booking her as a dominant force from the start. Yes, she won, but she was selling for 90% of her matches before hitting a couple moves and winning. It's not what people wanted to see. No one wanted to watch her sell to f***ing Emma. They did this same shit with Charlotte last week when Carmella, who was booked as a fluke and needed James Ellsworth to win her matches for her and still often times accidentally, got 90% of the offense on the champion Charlotte Flair before Charlotte hit a couple moves at the end and won. What? Since when did Carmella in real life or in kayfabe become capable of hanging toe-to-toe with the champion?

This is off topic, but that's more telling to how lazy they are booking babyfaces and heels. Carmella was booked fine as a flukey chicken shit heel, but in her match with Charlotte she faught hard, took her to the limit in a long match and just lost clean. Not to mention the last time these two faced off in a title match Carmella beat her clean already. Charlotte had a good line when she called Carmella a "diva in a women's era" well, how does the champion babyface look now selling for 90% of a match to that "diva"? If anything all WWE did was get Carmella, the heel, over as a capable contender... Uhh boo???

It's good to see Asuka again and with her talents I'd hate to see it go to waste. Make no mistake about it. With all this talk about "Evolution" and raising the profile of women's wrestling this is still a business where Asuka was held back because the guy still in charge, Vince McMahon doesn't see how fans can connect with a wrestler who can't speak English or want to see a woman that isn't either tall, blonde or has big tits. Asuka has none of those features. She still has a great look though and certainly stands out. She's more than just a good little worker. It's weird. This company has a way of "punishing" their best workers by forcing them to make the Carmella's of the world look like superstars. I said I would be patient, but I'm not getting my hopes up. Hopefully the end of 2018 is better than the middle of 2018 has been for the inaugural winner of the women's Royal Rumble match and holder of the longest win streak in wrestling.

Alright, back to the smarky nit picking you all love so much. Dean Ambrose. Remember when before he returned we were all thinking of all the possibilities they could do. Many assumed a heel turn. Then he came back after 9 months away from the ring. New look. Bigger physique. Looking mean.

And now he's just a guy in yet another Shield reunion.

You might think that is great. You may love The Shield. I enjoy them, too, but after all the pseudo-reunions and tag team pairings and last winter's flopped reunion I'm kinda over it. I feel like I haven't had a chance to miss these guys yet. On top of that the music doesn't even pop me that much because it's essentially the same song Roman Reigns has used.

Which brings me to my next point. Seeing these guys come out in all black and tactical vests just makes them look like Roman Reigns cheerleaders now since Roman has never taken the Shield attire off, it's become his own just like the music has. It's like they're his little lackeys. I hate to say it, but right now in September of 2018 The Shield is nothing more than a heat shield to get Roman Reigns a peripheral pop. It's all cosmetic. Get these popular guys out there and revive a popular faction and turn their most over babyface on Raw (Braun Strowman) all in an effort to try and get one guy cheered... but no they don't care about boos and cheers, just reactions, right? Please. Give me a f***ing break.

Seth Rollins right now would be my pick for the MVP of WWE. He's had a great year and really came into his own as a babyface. Early this year I wrote a whole column about how I was worried about Seth peaking in WWE and how the company could be doing more with him and... they have. He's been their workhorse this year on both TV and PPV. It's been a fun year if you're a Seth Rollins fan and I don't want to see this year end with him just being a guy to pitch relief for Roman Reigns because he's a failure as a babyface and their plan is just to have him buddy up with guys no one wants to boo and turn everyone else that's more popular than him.

As for Dean Ambrose, it is still early in his return, but I hope they have more for him. In the past I said if it were me I would have booked him to turn on Seth and blame him for putting him on the shelf for 9 months since it was Rollins' suicide dive that took him out of action in storyline... but nope, that was never mentioned. They could have worked a hot program together and had a personal feud with great matches to take us through the fall season. Now he's either having matches with the likes of Jinder Mahal and otherwise being Roman Reigns' buddy when the 'fighting champion' needs help. Again, its early, but what ever happened to striking while the iron is hot? The time to shoot a hot angle with Dean was when he returned. Now he's been back for a little less than a month and it feels like he's just back to where he was just blending in when they could be doing much more. At least he dropped some of the goofy stuff he was doing before and adopted a more serious persona. He needed that more than anything. So, see? I'm not always negative.

There were a couple returns on Raw this past week. A couple 50-something year olds by the name of Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker came out to deliver the best segment on Raw in my opinion. It was great seeing them out there, but its also frustrating how much better the generation of HBK is at really hyping a big match. On the latest episode of NoDQ Review I think Aaron Rift nailed it when he said pretty much today's WWE Superstar has it made. The promotion is going to make money whether you watch or not or even if you show up or not unless it is a Wrestlemania. They don't need to sell you on a $45 PPV. If you have the WWE Network, they're getting their money whether you watch or not. The current guys are handed a script and are yelled at like school children if they go off it. The table is set for them. It doesn't matter if 1/3 of the arena at Raw or 1/2 the arena at Smackdown is empty. They're all getting paid. However, in Shawn, Undertaker and Triple H's day their bills were paid and food was made on their ability to sell you on a match. They also had creative freedom and came up in an era where you either sank or swam as a promo. If you couldn't sell the promotion and sell the angles to the public back in the day, you didn't stand a chance. Today? You can sufferin' succotash your way to the top and no one in the company has to worry about if they're going to have to move to Atlanta the next day.

The only problem is after that promo I kinda want to see Shawn Michaels wrestle Undertaker instead. For those wondering if Shawn is going to come out of retirement and want my opinion -- I do not think he is. I think it is all just a big tease to make people think it could happen. Just like rumors of him wrestling Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles, this is just the latest tease. Why? Probably because WWE wants Shawn to wrestle one more time just because they love nostalgia, which is funny because this company used to be the least sentimental place on Earth, but now they'll be bringing back 90's stars until they all drop dead.

Shawn looks to be in great shape, but he's 53 years old. He hasn't wrestled in almost a decade. Could he do a match? Sure. He's not going to come back after all this time to just do a standard match. He would want to be the same Shawn Michaels you saw at Wrestlemania 25. Eight years is a long time to go without wrestling especially if you're now 53 years old. The only way I see Shawn wrestling again is if Saudi Arabia pays WWE millions and demand Shawn Michaels works on the card despite him being retired. I mean, come on, these are the same people who requested Yokozuna, who has been dead for 18 years, be on the show. I don't think it would be beyond them to request a 90's star who has been retired for 8 years. Also, as silly as this may sound, I think Shawn finally fully closed the door on having "one more match", as the chant goes, when he cut his hair earlier this year. He could always be Shawn Michaels with that hair. Then he cut it and became Michael Shawn Hickenbottom. Its a big deal when wrestlers cut their hair. A lot of older wrestlers hang on to the long hair as a way to hang on to their image and what shred of youth they can still project to be the same guy the fans remember. Cutting it is almost like accepting that you're just a normal guy again and not everyone wants to do that. Remember earlier this year when Hulk Hogan tweeted about thinking about shaving his head? Well, he still hasn't. He still rocks the bandanna with the long platinum hair in the back because that's what "Hulk Hogan" looks like and you know he wouldn't mind walking through another match if WWE asked him unlike Shawn who would only want to return if he could at least have a 4 star 25 minute match.

--------------------------------

There's my thoughts on some recent returns in WWE. If it seems like I was being a bit too hard on some of these, I don't know what to tell you. Its just how I see it. I hope I'm wrong. I hope this Shield reunion makes for great TV and benefits everyone and not just one guy. I hope come Wrestlemania season I'm talking about Asuka in the same breath as Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey. I also hope Kevin Owens can salvage this run on Raw which has been pretty bad. I know some of you tire of "complaining", but I don't see it as complaining if you can lay out your argument and offer an alternative idea, which is what I try to do with my opinion columns.

I'm certainly glad you read Planet Kayfabe again. Thank you. Follow me over on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe where you can send me your thoughts or engage in any conversations while I live-tweet Raw and Smackdown and all the PPV's. Also congratulations to Cody Runnels and the Young Bucks on the success of ALL IN. The business sure is changing. A few short years ago I wouldn't have imagined seeing indy wrestler shirts and Funko Pops in Hot Topic and an independently promoted wrestling show drawing over 11,000 fans and selling out in under a half hour. That's pretty huge and good for the wrestling business. No, nothing will challenge the WWE, at least in the foreseeable future, but its not about trying to take down WWE. It's about offering alternatives to the fans and more places to work for the wrestlers.

Thanks again, everyone. I'll see you here next time. Same candyass time; same candyass network. Enjoy your weekend.

Oh am I missing another return?
Oh right, The Bella Twins. Yeah. Good for them, 10 years strong. Nikki is back from her neck injury, but yeah... That was rough. Hey, Bella Army, before you send me hate mail, loosen up a little. You take the slightest rib on them and sell it like a bitch, I mean, like Fingerpoke of Doom sell every bad thing people say about them and freak out only making it more fun for the people you call the "haters". Look, they were rusty, but unlike Ryan Satin who wants to pander to you, they were never "great wrestlers" and they didn't have "tons of great matches" (yeah Ryan, still waiting for you to name one memorable Bella match that you watched more than once in your life) they were/are hot diva twins who made a good living in this business and there's nothing wrong with that. I may not think they are "trailblazers" like WWE calls them, but that doesn't mean that I "HATE" them. Ok? Relax. Not everything that isn't overwhelming praise is "hate".

Look, I'm your friend, okay? I'm saying this because I care about you. Brie botched both those dives. Yes, both of them. I've seen all the Bella Army twisting themselves into a pretzel to try and spin it that it was anyone else's fault but hers. Again... relax. She botched. It happens. People are "haters" for pointing out this basic fact. Its part of wrestling. She is rusty. All the greats f*** up from time to time. Its part of the business. Botches are like watching your friend down the stairs. You hold your laughter, check if they're okay, and then laugh. So either laugh or continue to take yourselves too seriously and make yourselves sitting ducks for the "haters" out there. Anyway, welcome back Bella Twins. I don't know how long they're here for. I doubt full time. Maybe just for Evolution. Maybe they will be the first aging female part-timers to just hit up big events. I don't know. Just relax... Mick Foley is one of my favorite wrestlers ever and when he was GM I wrote a column that ripped apart that entire run because it was honest, note "hate" or Foleyaphobic or whatever you kids say. Just stay safe out there, Nikki and Brie. You've come 10 years and that's worth applauding. Just be the Bella Twins. Don't try to be Ricochet.

Alright. I'm done. Thanks for reading. For NoDQ, I'm KC and I'll see you here next time. Take care everyone.





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