Hello everyone and thanks for reading Planet Kayfabe here on NoDQ. I'm back this week with just some gathered thoughts on recent happenings in WWE and the outside world of wrestling. This will include some final thoughts on Extreme Rules, including a lot of I have to say about Undertaker's so-called "redemption" and Bray Wyatt's return... but first.
AEW Fight for the Fallen:
AEW's third official event, Fight for the Fallen was last Saturday. I watched it and I enjoyed it.
That's the review.
My main complaint is that the show was too long. AEW is trying to take what most people dislike about WWE and offer an alternative. 3 things stood out to me that are very WWE that AEW should not do.
1. As a "B" show this should not have been as long as it was. No matter how good a show is, every show has an expiration date and if you're just having a free show to get your feet wet, there's no need for it to be SummerSlam long. So what you have to do. Cut the fat. Go home. Do AEW's version of a TakeOver special.
2. Brandi Rhodes does not need to be Stephanie McMahon. The actual Stephanie McMahon is unbearable and took up too much time simply because she could and the show suffered for it. Brandi is in a similar position as Cody's wife where she has the leverage to pretty much do anything she wants and I doubt anyone short of Cody would say 'no' to her. Even Tony Khan comes off a bit too mark-ish for me, but maybe he has the balls to put his foot down even if it's Cody's wife who is also in an executive position.
The real Stephanie McMahon was terrible television. When Dixie Carter turned and tried being Stephanie it was even worse. Brandi, who other than being super hot, don't have much to offer in the ring or on the mic so she would probably be just as bad if not worse than Dixie since at least she didn't try to be a wrestler.
The core AEW fans see the promotion as a babyface and want to be friendly and forgiving as they find their footing, so it makes no sense to have heel authority figures. At least don't have heel authority figures who are real executives. That's a played out gimmick in WWE. Be different. Get Brandi out of the ring and I don't want to see her as a heel on AEW programming ever.
3. Commentary. That's about all I need to say. The commentary is very poor. It doesn't take much to be better than WWE and I'm not even sure the AEW booth is better than WWE's main roster booths. It's certainly not better than NXT even though I think Beth Pheonix is total garbage. Most people, including people in the business hate 3 man commentary booths. What does AEW do? Have a 3 man commentary booth. Jim Ross is also really struggling, just like he did in Japan. If I'm AEW I'm saving Jim Ross for PPV's and big specials. Use his mind for backstage roles. His days of being one of the best commentators in wrestling are over. Mauro Ranallo is better. Don Callis is better. Nigel McGuinness is better. With Jim Ross, you're really just getting the recognizable voice and the guy with the big black hat on camera, which may be valuable to AEW, but if it were up to me I'd get all new commentators. There has to be someone out there who can do that job.
The Undertaker's "Redemption":
Some quick thoughts on Extreme Rules. I feel it was a bit overrated, but if you liked it -- fine. I thought it was just an ok show. I'd give it about a 6/10. There were some fun matches, but it wasn't "extreme". The title of the show is a total farce and should be called something else. I thought some of the mid-card matches were average-to-good, but the world title matches were poor. Also, Bayley pinning Nikki clean in the ring absolutely kills that story which was one of the better things they had going. That's WWE, though. The supposed "storytelling promotion" only they don't really finish stories or follow through on stories. Things just happen. Then more things happen. Then they move on to something else and continue their usual pattern. I also wasn't a fan of New Day becoming 6-time tag champions. They had a good opportunity to establish Heavy Machinery as a big deal and instead, they just put the titles back on The New Day. You have to put over these NXT call ups so maybe next time someone is called up fans will actually care and feel they will be used in a meaningful way. The team gets a good reaction. There's no reason they couldn't have put over Heavy Machinery here. Another New Day run isn't exactly lighting the world on fire.
A lot has been said about Undertaker "redeeming" himself in his no holds barred tag match teaming up with Roman Reigns against Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre. First of all, the tag matches on this show were a f***ing joke because they were no disqualification rules except for the Raw Tag Team Championship match only apparently the only rule is that you have to stand on the apron and wait for a tag. Secondly, I know some of you are going to think I'm just being an asshole but please spare me all the atta boy's for The Undertaker. He won the match for his team and WWE made sure commentary made a hard push to convince you all that he hasn't lost a step. On Raw, the next day Cole went as far to say that Undertaker has never been better. Are you kidding me?
If you follow me on Twitter you saw that I said it was a fun match and Undertaker looked fine. However, he looked fine being one of 4 men in a smoke and mirrors no disqualifications tag match that also featured outside interference. So, excuse me if after watching the guy straight up embarrass himself... Yes. I'll say it again so you know I'm not joking: Straight up embarrass himself and this business in the ring every time he took a step inside it -- excuse me if I'm not giving him a big pat on the back and saying we were all wrong and The Undertaker is back boy were we sure fooled like a bunch of toothless marks.
No. The guy is done. I'm a big life-long fan of his, but its the truth. If all the guy has left is contributing his signature moves in a no D.Q. tag match then the guy is done. Again, if you think I'm coming in hot and I'm the asshole here -- fine, but this is how I see it. His cute little role in a gimmick tag match doesn't erase the last couple of years of bullshit I've seen. On top of that if he has a great match at SummerSlam in singles competition he should probably retire right there in the center of the ring afterward because it would be a f***ing miracle and no going up from there.
Love the guy though. Thanks for a hell of a career. Big fan. Just... The party's over, dude.
Bray Wyatt Returns:
Might as well keep the smarky negativity coming, huh? Actually, I thought Bray Wyatt's return to Raw attacking Finn Balor was great. The feud isn't fresh at all, but it was a good return and Bray looked good. The Firefly Funhouse segments were good, too. The only problem is I feel the same way about this return that I did about the FFFH segments and its that it probably won't get better than this because its WWE. If that sounds simplistic, I'll explain. If you're a weekly watcher, I'm sure you understand unless you're an apologist.
I have no doubt that Bray will win his feud with Finn Balor who just dropped the Intercontinental Championship to Shinsuke Nakamura and is expected to take some time off. It's not that I'm worried about, it's after Finn that I'm worried about. This is still overly micromanaged, homogenized, PG/PC WWE. I question how edgy they will truly get with this new Bray Wyatt. I question how creative they will get. I also question if they will even book him like an actual big deal. I mean, the old Bray was pretty over and they booked him like shit and never put him over anyone in a meaningful way.
I hope I'm wrong, but I could just see this new Bray ending up like the old Bray. He will start out hot but eventually, he's going to hit a wall and WWE will only go so far with him. The segments are great. The new outfit is great. In time I fear those will just be superficial differences between him and everyone else on the roster and before long he will be just another guy having the same WWE match that we see all the time trading wins and losses with everyone else. He won't be as low on the card as a Zack Ryder or Kurt Hawkins, but they'll never pull the trigger on this guy to the point where he is headlining major PPV's like an Undertaker or even Kane in his prime.
In the interest of optimism, Bray is off to a good start and he came off as a huge star on Raw. I hope this continues. I've just had my heart broken by this company enough times (including with the 'old' Bray) to have a good idea where this is going to go once Vince gets bored with it. Yeah, Heyman has some influence now, but it's still Vince. Until there is no Vince there is no real change. I want this to be huge, so don't get mad at me. I've just watched enough of this show to know what happens when you "wait and see". I can think of all the times even in recent history where I heard "let it develop", "wait and see where it goes" and in the end, I turned out to be right to shit on it early. Jason Jordan as Kurt Angle's son. The new brand split that I buried in a full column the week it was announced and you can go back and read that one and see everything I said would happen did happen. More recently the women's tag titles that I said would be Vince's new toy until he got bored with it. I bet most of you forgot those things even still existed. I hope that the new Bray Wyatt isn't wasted, I just don't see this company in 2019 or 2020 doing anything fresh and creative and actually booking a guy like Bray Wyatt as a legitimate superstar. Bray Wyatt could go from causing nightmares to living them when he's having shitty 2/3 falls matches on Raw every week with rank and file geeks on this nothing roster that's baby hair thin on star power right now largely thanks to WWE's effort to put over corporate branding over individual stars over the past decade.
There are my thoughts on this week's happenings in WWE. I'm glad you could join me again here on NoDQ. Follow me over on Twitter @PlanetKayfabe. I'll be back here next week for more thoughts on the world of professional wrestling.
Thank you, everyone. Take care and God bless. For NoDQ, I'm KCA.