Hello everyone and thanks again for reading Planet Kayfabe. I appreciate you joining me again as this week I do some quick take on some news topics in WWE. Kofi mania. K.O.'s return. Becky and Rondy "shooting" on Twitter. Bruce Prichard back in WWE. Anything else? Of course. Roman Reigns is back and almost looking like he never left minus that weird sound the fans were making called "cheering". Yeah. What that all means. What I think of it all. You know the deal, by now. If this is your first time reading, welcome aboard.
*** THE BIG DOG RETURNS ***
Let's start this off the way Raw started off this past week. Roman Reigns made his on-screen return to WWE to a standing ovation in Atlanta, Georgia. Roman made his way to the ring, soaking in the moment, hugging and slapping hands with almost every fan in the front row. He talked openly, as himself, about how he is a man of faith and appreciated all the fans who prayed for him while he went away to battle leukemia. The fans chanted that it is his yard. He replied it's "our yard" (kinda makes me think that should have been the phrase from the start, but there's no way beating Undertaker was getting this guy cheered back then anyway) "I'm in remission, y'all" was his announcement to a relieved and hot crowd. That became the signature statement of this whole segment and probably the line that gets played back for years to come. As usual what made this so great was it was real. It wasn't littered with WWE speak and buzzwords. Roman came off as a real, likable guy that you want to get behind.
Just to bring this back to wrestling... going forward this is what they should do with Roman Reigns. He's not great with wordy scripts and bad humor. Just let him be a cool guy. Let him be a television version of himself. The fans don't want to boo him, but if they have him go out there and cut the same old lame promos it won't be good for him because it will probably be met with a more confused silence whereas at least before he would get a reaction. I know it sounds like I'm shitting on WWE, but it was always baffling to me how they could take a guy who looks like Roman Reigns, with his presence and suck all the cool right out of him and instead turn him into some smug geek and expect him to be cheered. Everyone who works with him says he's a great guy. Just let him be a great guy who also kicks a ton of ass. This isn't hard. As himself he really comes off as both a cool guy that's cool to like and also someone good for kids to look up to. A demographic WWE is oddly forgetting about even in the PG era. It's like the only care about the money they get from PG friendly sponsors but really have no babyface with family-friendly appeal. They are either geeks or guys who say "bitch" because its an easy pop with the current audience. I like edgy programming, but the fact is WWE is PG and whenever they try to be edgy now its like we get Attitude blue balls.
It was brave of Roman to speak as openly and honestly as he did. I can't imagine having to tell just my family something like that, never mind standing in a ring on live television to tell the world. It's good to see Roman in good health. As for Wrestlemania? I think the best spot for him is to perhaps corner Seth Rollins, assuming Seth is winning at Wrestlemania which isn't a 100% certainty. If Roman is ready to wrestle I think his comeback story should begin after Wrestlemania. It is one way to keep fans interested after Wrestlemania. You're seeing a new story begin. I like the idea of a comeback story and there's no need to rush it like how they rushed the Roman vs Cena match that I don't think most fans even remember ever happening which should have been a much bigger deal. WWE must also be thrilled to have Roman back after some of the headlines the terrible ratings made in his absence so we will see what happens in 2019 for Roman Reigns and WWE.
*** BATISTA RETURNS ***
This past week, which was also the last Raw of February it seems we have our first big nostalgia match set for Wrestlemania. Batista returned and attacked Ric Flair on a show celebrating his 70th birthday.
I like Dave but I have a few logic concerns here...
First, why does Dave want this match? At Smackdown 1,000 Evolution came out and that's where the seeds of this match were first planted. Batista took to the mic and said Triple H has beaten everyone in the business -- except him. This should make Triple H want to challenge Batista but instead it's Batista trying to get the match with Triple H and... why? What does he have to prove? Batista previously defeated Triple H in the main event of Wrestlemania 21. Both of them were 36. Now they're 50 (or turning 50 in July in Hunter's case) Triple H tore his pectoral muscles at Crown Jewel and had surgery on November 8. Especially for a guy his age I'm surprised he'll be able to wrestle by Wrestlemania. I'm excited for the match for the nostalgia, but I don't think it will be any good. Like I said, both men are 50. Triple H is freshly coming off a serious injury. I'm not expecting a 5 star classic, nor did I expect that 14 years ago. The story could be very good though. That's all that really matters here. I just hope HHH is prepared for a physical match because what they lack in the ring at their age they are going to have to make up for it with physical spots.
Another small logic gaff was how they had Flair's music hit for him to come out... and he didn't. Usually a sign that something happened to him. However, nothing happened to him until they showed Batista backstage invading Ric's room. So, what was he doing? Taking a nap? I also get why the fans were a bit pissed that they didn't get to see Ric Flair live after he was promoted for the show for weeks. WWE should have done something with him dark before the show. Instead the fans there live saw the same thing we saw sitting at home. They even could have made this better by showing Batista enter Ric's room, the camera goes dark, they show the concerned Triple H in the ring, then one minute later Batista drags Ric on to the stage where all the wrestlers are and with a mic says that same "do I have your attention now" line. Regardless, for the home-viewing audience the angle was effective. I also found it funny that this big celebration of Ric Flair ended up being all about Triple H. Dude just can't shine the spotlight on the younger talent can he?
*** BRUCE PRICHARD IS BACK IN WWE ***
This past week it was reported that Bruce Prichard is back in WWE in what some say was the same position he held before and that he has a high spot in creative working closely with Vince McMahon. For those who don't know, for two decades Bruce worked backstage with WWE and at their office in Connecticut. He was one of Vince's main creative arms and usually the guy who produced backstage segments or on-location segments. I joke a bit about him being a yes-man (which he was and still is, I'm sure) but he knows WWE, he knows Vince, he knows wrestling. His ideas aren't entirely outdated. I listen to his podcast every week. There's no one in wrestling who has a perfect batting average on all their ideas but when Bruce goes into detail about what he was thinking with gimmicks or angles that either worked or flopped he usually makes a lot of sense even if I don't always agree with everything he says.
While he has always had heat for being an ass-kiss, he's also in a position that's easy to put your heat on. You always hear bitter ex-WWE wrestling bitch about guys like Bruce Prichard and Jim Ross and Johnny Ace and Michael Hayes and Vince Russo and JJ Dillon or whoever because they are easy targets. If anyone lost their push it was because of Vince and if WWE went out of business a lot of wrestlers would talk about Vince the same way a lot of ex-WCW wrestlers freely shit talk about Bischoff without fear. As for Bruce, we'll see how this turns out. I kind of feel like he's the devil we know. When he spent all that time kissing up to Triple H and talking about how great Michael Cole is he absolutely came off as a guy looking to get a job with WWE again. Now he's got it and hopefully the company is better off for it.
As for his podcast, it is continuing and none of his booked live dates with co-host Conrad Thompson are cancelled. There's some good news for you loyal STW listeners out there. It's also being reported that initial reports of his position with WWE are a bit over-stated and that he is a "consultant" but he was at TV this past week so he has to have some sort of key role if he is going to be on the road so much that he and Conrad are not booking any future live appearances together at the moment so, even if he's not Vince's right-hand man it's probably safe to say Bruce is more than a guy they are paying just to prevent him from working with AEW.
Oh boy... For all the leaps Ronda has taken in the ring and quickly becoming a good performer exchanges like this really show her green-ness. And yes... I know she is still green in the ring and her matches are heavily choreographed and practiced. I get it, but when the bell rings she is still very good.
Keep that F word out of your mouth and concentrate on getting better at this business instead of trying to remain above it. Looking forward to seeing you real soon. pic.twitter.com/i52k4sFh2X
In the internet age some wrestlers and even writers and bookers think the way to make a story seem "real" is by referring to things as fake. It's been about 20 years since the Goldberg "refusing to follow the script" angle that was a huge bust. We should know this lesson by now. Wrestling fans know its a show. They want to watch a show. They don't want to be reminded that what they are watching is all really fake and doesn't matter.
Ronda instead doubles down on breaking kayfabe in the most markish way after a pretty childish insult about how Becky's armbar looks like the dick she "wishes she had" or something...? I don't know.
Rebecca Quin, I donít care what the script says, Iím beating the living shit out of you the next time I see you.
Yup. There it is. "The script". So we are supposed to believe that while EVERYTHING ELSE is fake -- this is real, right? Ugh... I'm glad this is only on Twitter and not on TV because even though a lot of people still see this, there's a perception that anything that happens on Twitter is not cannon and "doesn't count" unless it is mention on TV and I f***ing pray to God above that they don't show this tweet on TV.
All this style of "shooting" does is remind fans that its fake and if Ronda wants to beat Becky up so back what is stopping her from doing it right now? Or at 3PM before Raw starts? Why does it have to be on TV between 8-11 PM eastern on USA if it's so "real"? I mean, Becky is suspended right? Oh wait... That's fake too. So you have to wait until she is scripted to sneak into the building and then you're going to fight her "for real" right? Like Becky said, this is full-Russo nonsense. The fans know its a story. They've known for 100 years (yes, they knew it was a work before the internet). Its how you sell the story that sucks fans in and you don't suck fans in by saying things are fake. Don't say you're really going to fight for real just for us to watch a FAKE wrestling match. That's not how you build a wrestling angle. On Twitter a bunch of wrestlers laughed at Ronda's exchange because they all know better.
Hey @LukeHarperWWE I donít care whatís supposed to happen next time I see you Iím gonna beat the shit outta you. #nice 😏
Yeah, careful Rebecca Quin, the Raw Women's Champion is going to beat you up FOR REAL even if you're scripted to beat her up! Ugh... So scringe.
*** KOFI MANIA AND KEVIN OWENS RETURNS ***
Shane McMahon called Kofi Kingston an "11 year over night sensation"... whatever that means. Smackdown began with a contract signing. I know. Contain your excitement. They aired a video package of Kofi Kingston's time in WWE. After a quick promo Vince McMahon's music hit to say that Kofi's popularity doesn't matter and he's doing what's best for business blah blah blah... He wants to draw a bigger box office with a different match, so he brought out a returning Kevin Owens.
What sense did this make? If you acknowledge that Kofi is popular wouldn't the best thing for business be to have him in this match? Whatever. The fans felt bad for Kofi and weren't sure how to feel about Owens since he didn't act like a heel or a babyface. He was just a guy there returning with a new tattoo and maybe 15-20 pounds lighter. Maybe? I don't know. The heat was mainly on Vince McMahon. The fans felt bad for Kofi, but I'm sure most assume this all means that he will be wrestling Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania.
It's good to see Kevin Owens back. A month or so ago there was a picture of him out there where he looked a little more slim. I was hoping to see a more trim K.O. when he returned, but instead he just pulled a Ruthless Aggression era type return by appearing with new ink. The ink is fine but I was really hoping he would come back looking a little more different kinda like how Dean Ambrose did when he returned looking like he was in the shape of his life. I know Kevin is a great worker but like it or not this is still a cosmetic business and I think a major change would have helped. Instead it was like he never left. I don't even think that was a new shirt.
As for Kofi I could see him winning the title at Wrestlemania. I can also see him losing since Daniel Bryan is a hot heel. I could also see a scenario where Big E turns on Kofi costing him the match out of jealousy. There's one thing I didn't like on Smackdown was while Kofi was pretty serious, Big E and Xavier Woods were acting kinda goofy when Kofi was replaced. Almost like it was a joke. If that's what they were going for I could see a rift forming in the group. If they really want to drag this out they could have Big E win at Money in the Bank and that night cash in on an unsuspecting Kofi to steal the WWE Championship and then make Kofi chase him. Either way it feels like there's no wrong answer with Kofi. He is hot so capitalize on it. If he wins the belt and the ratings continue to suck its not that big of a deal. This company is making more money than ever due to their TV contracts and the deal with Saudi Arabia. The great thing about Kofi winning is it does feel like it is well earned. Not "deserved" as the chants will probably be. He's been a featured mid-card babyface for most of his career and became a legit star as a member of The New Day. His popularity was an organic rise. He doesn't feel like some guy they're just putting the belt on to just try on something new. It feels real and its something fans are getting behind so you might as well run with it.
There's my thoughts on some of the latest news in WWE. Thanks for reading, everyone. Next week will be my Fastlane preview and I know you're eager and waiting for the hotly anticipated FASTLANE preview but it's just one more week. Hit me up on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe where I enjoy interacting with you and I live tweet Raw, Smackdown and will live tweet Fastlane.
Lastly, I'd like to wish a happy birthday to NoDQ OG Jeff Meacham who turns 36. We have never met in person but I still consider him a great friend and I hope he's enjoying his day. All the best to Good ol' J.M.
For the rest of you, I'm KC, this is Planet Kayfabe and I'll be back here next week for my takes on Fastlane so I'll see you then. Take care. God bless.