Dear WWE fans,
I want to apologize….for absolutely F’N nothing. Oh, you thought this was going to be a heartfelt column musing on my mistakes and acknowledging you? Hell nah. This is Steamy’s Rants bitches; this is the column where Uncle Steamy goes off his meds and lets it all fly. Yes, WWE fans, I drink your milkshake, I lick your tears and I inhale all the copium y’all been huffing. You remember the acronym ROTFLMFAO? That’s the most accurate description of my mood this morning. For the first time in a long time, I watched a full segment of a WWE show and I’m about to take a dump on your heads faster than Vince McMahon in a threesome.
Where to begin? How about we start by rewinding to last Saturday. Pro wrestling’s kryptonite struck again when RC Cola Phil showed why he was scared of real glass, because it seems his body is 90% glass at this point. OK, that was mean, I’m not laughing at Phil Brooks. I hated how he handled himself in his last year in AEW but I don’t wish physical harm on the man. I would have rather he be healthy and squashed by Jinder Mahal in 5 minutes on the main event of WrestleMania (pre-show of course). It sucks for him that he has to endure another physical injury, and I’m genuinely sad that his quality of life will be affected by his declining physical health.
I’m not laughing at Brooks, I’m laughing at Triple H. WWE fans, we AEW stans told you that Punk was a liability. We told you his body was failing him; that he suffered two major injuries in the span of a couple of months. We told you that if it wasn’t attitude issues that would do him in, it would be injuries. None of us expected it to happen so fast, but your lord and saviour H had to take another shot at AEW. The minute the ink was dry on that contract, the clock was ticking until the bomb blew up in WWE’s face. Yet, WWE still wanted to stick it to AEW so badly by signing away the problem child to try to prove their superiority. “He’ll be used so much better in WWE,” they said; “He’ll be in a locker room with veterans who’ll make sure he stays on his best behaviour,” they said; “He’ll be on a part-time schedule to avoid injuries,” they said; well, that last one sure bit you in the ass, didn’t it?
Now Punk’s injury wouldn’t have been as big of an issue if another bad decision in a long line of bad decisions hadn’t caught up to WWE. First off, insisting on having 2 WWE “World” champions. I know Triple H fondly remembers his reign of terror on top of Monday Night RAW where he was defeating everyone and holding onto a replica of Ric Flair’s belt in the hopes of being recognized for the legend he was in his own mind, but it never worked. Y’all might not remember this, but Triple H was the first “undisputed champion” of the brand split era. Back then, the WWE Undisputed title (which was the unified WCW and WWF championships that Chris Jericho won) wasn’t brand exclusive. The idea was that the champion would travel to both brands and defend against all comers. This was a good idea, but it didn’t stick. Maybe Paul Heyman was right when he said “Triple H didn’t want to work Tuesdays”, even though the belt didn’t become SmackDown exclusive until Brock Lesnar won it off The Rock (who had won if off The Undertaker, who had beaten Hulk Hogan, who had himself dethroned Triple H). Then Eric Bischoff handed Triple H the World Heavyweight Title and it all went to hell in a handbasket.
Whichever title was on RAW was always recognized as the main belt. You just can’t have two World champions for a single company. Even in boxing which has boxers wearing 300 different belts, they’re all technically separate organizations. If they had renamed the belts the “RAW” and “SmackDown” championships instead, maybe that would have been a little better, but it still would have led to fans asking, “Who’s the top guy in the company?” WWE also (wisely I might add) didn’t want to abandon the lineage of the WWF title that traces its history to Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Bob Backlund, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and many others. Whenever the WHC wasn’t around Triple H’s waist, the WWE title was always the most prestigious one.
Eventually WWE came to their senses and unified the belts when Randy Orton beat John Cena. All was well, only one champ, as it should be. They say those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and that statement came true when WWE decided to go ahead and repeat the brand split. What came as a result of the split? The introduction of a new “world” title: the Universal title. It never helped that belts changed shows on a regular basis and that the Universal was always seen as the “lesser” of the two titles, they carried on. Eventually, the golden child won the Universal title in 2020; then in 2022 he beat Brock Lesnar to reunify the Universal and WWE Title. We’re back to one championship, Roman Reigns has it, he’s pegged as the top heel, all is well.
You’d think that would have been it. You’ve crowned your guy, you’ve given him a massive title reign that, in terms of length, eclipses almost all other champions in history. Roman Reigns is working part-time now. Not that big of an issue, Brock did the same when he was undisputed champion, maybe you can use that absence to make the IC and/or US titles mean more and so when the main title is defended, it’s a special occasion, right? Wrong! Triple H decides screw it, let’s reintroduce the World Heavyweight title even though Roman Reigns has two belts and has held them both for about a year and a half. That won’t make things more complicated, right? I mean it worked before?
Now why did I take this long detour through history when I’m trying to drink your milkshakes? Because make no mistake WWE fans, I drink your milkshake! I DRINK IT UP! Having 2 world titles means you need 2 world title contenders for WrestleMania. Hence, now the Royal Rumble winner has to choose which champion he wants to face at Mania. If say, for example, one of your top storylines and the guy you tagged as the challenger for one title gets a freak injury, you’re in Barney Rubble.
Let’s take another trip down memory lane to last year’s WrestleMania. Cody Rhodes is back from a torn pec and wins the Royal Rumble. Cody is at this time the clear #1 babyface in the company and it makes sense to have him face your “unbeatable” champion. But what’s that I hear in the background? It sounds like someone’s saying “olé”? Wait a minute, that’s gotta be, that’s gotta be Zayn, that’s gotta be Sami Zayn.
While Cody was away rehabbing from injury, the sneaky Canadian comes in and steals the whole show. Sami Zayn uses his veteran skills and knowledge to get himself mega-over and inject life into The Bloodline. The people are waiting on pins and needles to see him face, and hopefully beat, the big bad Tribal Chief. To top it all off, you have a PLE scheduled in his hometown of Montreal a month before the granddaddy of them all. Perfect timing! Sami wins, goes to WrestleMania, the people are happy and all is well that ends well.
About that…Cody is back and he wins the Rumble. WWE hasn’t closed out a WrestleMania with a real face vs. face match in a while. Plus, Roman’s legendary reign ending a month before the big show? That’s not good. Now this is what happens when you handpick someone instead of taking your audience’s pulse. You’ve put all your chips into Roman Reigns, you’ve already put a story in place and you’ve got your plans all laid out. This has never happened before. How could you ever foresee that a super over babyface would come out of nowhere, that the fans would get behind the underdog and suddenly you’re stuck between either going along with the plan or making a change? If only there was ever say a guy with a beard who is this awesome technical wrestler and fans just love him. Maybe he points his fingers to the sky and fans chant some kind of agreement? I don’t know, maybe the word “Yes”? No, that doesn’t make any sense; of course, they couldn’t have foreseen this, it’s unprecedented.
Thankfully, the worst is avoided. Fans don’t turn on your other babyface (Cody) and Sami Zayn loses in Montreal. Some people are a little disappointed but there isn’t much backlash. It’s OK after all, Cody Rhodes will “finish the story” and win the belt that eluded both his father and his brother at WrestleMania 39. Except…you’ve already decided that you haven’t quite pushed Roman Reigns hard enough. He’s only been nearly unstoppable for close to 10 years. He’s held the Universal Championship for 2 years and now he’s been the Undisputed champ for a year. Let’s make it a record-setting reign. People love numbers, right? All the kids are doing math challenges in the schoolyard. Your announcers keep reminding everyone how many days the same guy’s been champion. Never mind that Mick Foley only held the title for a combined 29 days over 3 reigns and they’re fondly remembered, no it’s all about quantity, baby; screw quality. Defending the belt? Are you nuts! We can’t do that. We have to get to 1000 days by hook or by crook. If the dominant champion beats everyone, we’ll have to end his reign prematurely.
Here we are, WrestleMania 39, it’s time for a changing of the guard. Let’s give the guy who helped found our biggest rival in the last 20 years; the guy who destroyed a symbolic throne of the man who is now the head of creative in that company’s debut event; the man who we poached away by offering money and a chance to get the one accolade that he can say he’s the only Rhodes to ever do so, the big rub and defeat the unbeatable champion and make a WrestleMania moment to remember. PSYCH! Roman wins; lol.
No time to panic they say. Let’s get ourselves a good puff of copium. Ah! That feels better, sweet, sweet copium. See it’s all about long-term storytelling duh. What are you AEW marks stupid? This was the plan all along. It wasn’t enough to come back from a fantastic performance in a high stakes match with a torn pec and returning triumphantly to win the Royal Rumble. No, that’s not adversity. The character of Cody Rhodes must suffer, he must fail before he can succeed. Triple H is a genius! He’s making us wait an entire year before we run it back and now Cody wins the belt, it will mean ever more. It’s in Philadelphia too! The birthplace of our country and he’s The American Nightmare. It’s written in the stardust.
Wait a minute, I spy something with my little eye that starts with an R. The Rock you say? The most electrifying man in sports entertainment? Roman Reign’s cousin? The big Hollywood star? He’s back in WWE! That’s tits!
After hindering the Jinder and causing WWE to panic book a match with its World Heavyweight Champion due to being goaded on Twitter by the Evil Lord TK (a match in which your champion gets injured), The Rock mentions sitting at “The Head of the table”. That’s settled then. Rock vs. RR at Mania. That’s the plan. After all, you don’t bring in The Rock, especially at 51 years old, and tease something like this and not deliver. Where’s that copium at? We suddenly need a good puff.
Inhale; exhale; Inhale; exhale. There, all better. Of course, they’re not going to do The Rock vs. Roman Reigns for the belt and not have Cody beat Roman. It’s all a ruse you see. Ah yes, our genius booker of the year strikes again. The Elimination Chamber is in Australia, in a stadium, 70 000 people are going to be there. That’s what they’re going to do. Rock will face Reigns at the Chamber, Reigns will retain and Cody will finish the story, it’s perfect, it’s great, awesome.
Reports start coming out; yeah, that Elimination chamber match? It’s not happening. Roman’s not going to be on the show at all. Well damn, it’s OK, though, that was just a theory. What they’re actually going to do is they’re going to have Roman vs. Rock on Night 1 of WrestleMania. Then Reigns will win and somehow Cody will challenge Roman for the belt and beat him on Night 2. Problem solved, best of both worlds.
I mean Roman Reigns who only wrestles once every trimester or so is going to wrestle two matches in two nights in that scenario but that’s not a problem. It’s not like anything could go wrong. Injuries? What’s that? They’re pros, they’re not going to get injured. Damn that copium is running low, we need a new tank fast. I get it now! It’s a triple threat. Yes, that’s what it is, a triple threat match for the title. Perfect, all is well, we get Rock vs. Reigns next year. Rock is getting older? Pish posh, that’s not important. He’ll be fine, they can wait until next year, this is Cody’s time.
January passes without a peep from The Great One and the Royal Rumble goes down, Cody wins and immediately proclaims he wants to face Reigns. It looks like that’s settled then. We had some fun speculating; we got a little worried but everything’s fine. Punk got injured, that sucks for Seth Rollins but hey it’s the secondary title, who cares? They’ll find someone else to fill that spot.
Looks like we’re all caught up. Everything’s lined up, it all makes sense, now it’s February 2nd. This is the night we make it official. Cody is going to be on SmackDown and he’ll officially say he’s choosing Roman. Cody vs. Roman 2, we love it, give us more Papa H, he’s finishing the story. Thank God that McMahon guy is gone, he was a tool (and it turns out a potential predator) but we have our lord and saviour at the helm, he will never let us down.
Y’all know what happens next, I don’t need to recap it. Cody steps aside and says he won’t challenge Reigns at WrestleMania and now there’s no more copium in the tank. The store’s closed, out of stock online, reality just hit you with a sledgehammer to the face. This is WWE; it doesn’t matter who’s in charge, they will always put business first.
Now I said in a previous column, I don’t have any issues with The Rock facing Roman Reigns. It makes business sense. That’s bigger marquee matchup and it’ll draw mainstream media attention. The reason I wrote this entire piece and recapped all the decisions that led us to today is to lick your tears. I’m Cartman when he fed Scott Tenorman’s parents to him in a chili. I’m Art the Clown pouring salt on an open wound. I’m here to bask in the glory of your anger.
I watched the entire segment on YouTube and I want to share a few thoughts. First of all, that’s your guy? Roman Reigns is supposed to be this near-mystical figure. What I saw was the Suffering Succotash guy with better lines. In the span of a few minutes, it looked like he was acting in a B-movie and reading from a teleprompter. This is your monster heel? Still taking a million pauses in between every word? The guy pussyfooting around the ring like a ballerina? You think that guy can be a movie star? How strong is that copium?
The contents of the promo weren’t better. He’s a heel, I get it, but he starts off by crapping on the World Heavyweight Championship, basically treating it as a consolation prize (which to be fair, it kind of is) and dares Cody Rhodes to challenge him. That wasn’t good and I did laugh at how awkward and stunted RR’s delivery was but I knew what was coming next.
Cody comes out and man, please tell me that’s not how he’s been cutting promos these last 2 years? This isn’t the Cody I remember from AEW. He went over the top with emotion sometimes and tried too hard to draw on your heartstrings but he had passion, he had fire. That looked like a shell of a man who has been handed a shit sandwich and has to eat it with a smile on his face. After Reigns basically buries Rollins, buries the entire RAW roster and dares Cody to “be a man” (RIP Macho Man), Cody just…steps aside for The Rock to come in.
Oh, how I laughed. I laughed so hard and smiled so broad my jaw hurts from the smile on my face. Ear-to-ear baby. For the last year, y’all was screaming at us AEW fans about how Triple H is so great, Triple H is so smart, WWE is on fire and everything’s clicking on all cylinders. Sorry WWE fans, I told you that copium bottle is empty. The one new star WWE has had in a long time was just buried deep down in the rubble under a mountain of garbage. Cody’s face tells it all. He’s been trying his hardest to promote this storyline, he was sure this was his time, and the rug just got pulled on him, because that’s what WWE does.
You see folks, Triple H is Vince McMahon, just much less extreme and erratic. Who do you think taught Triple H how to do this job? Who do you think mentored him and instilled his philosophy in him? It was Vince, people, it was Vince all along. NXT Black and Gold was a different story. This was basically a little sandbox for Triple H to play in. It was Vince’s gift to his son-in-law. Here boy, have this studio and bring in your little toys and play with them. Like a little child running after an absentee father who might leave to go buy cigarettes at any moment, Triple H runs around Vince showing him how awesome his toys are. “Look Daddy, look at this one, isn’t it the coolest? Isn’t it the best? Won’t you play with me Daddy?” Eventually tired of being forced to interact with his progeny, Daddy Vince picks up the toys and starts breaking them. That’ll show the boy, these aren’t good toys, Daddy will show you what a real toy looks like. See these slightly used 45- and 50-year-old toys sitting on that shelf? THAT’s a real toy.
Vince McMahon the person may be gone from WWE, he may face legal consequences for his actions, but his presence will never truly be gone from WWE. The WWE is Vince McMahon. He moulded it to what it is today, he dictated every single detail that went into how the show looks, how it sounds and what a pro wrestler is supposed to be. Triple H may have more appreciation for the history of pro wrestling outside of the WWE Universe, but he’s still a McMahon guy. When it comes down to it, WWE will always be about doing what they want. They don’t really care about the fans; you’ll still watch. They just signed a 500M$/year deal with Netflix, they’re getting 200M+ for SmackDown; 200M$+ for the rights to the WWE Network in the USA, add in 20M$ a year for NXT. All in all, they could go back to the Thunderdome and still make bank. They don’t have to sell you PPVs, they don’t need to sell you a ticket. Most of y’all are sheep and you’ll line up to buy a ticket just because of the 3 letters of the marquee…WWE.
Don’t worry your pretty little heads my dear WWE fans; Doctor Steamy is here to make it all better. First of all, go ahead and flame me in the comments sections, call me a mark, call me an AEW shill, say that I’m stupid, tell me how wrong my opinions are and how much I suck. Call me names, raise your pitchforks in anger and come at me with all you got. I’m even going to clear out my Disqus block list for the entire weekend just to let you vent all you want.
You know why? Because I’m going to enjoy drinking your tears. I’m going to enjoy breathing in all the copium that’s leaving your bodies. I’m Shang Tsung and I’m taking everything and making myself stronger for it. You can’t wipe the smile off my face, because no matter what you say, what you post or what shiny new insult you come up with…you know I’m right.
Bryan Danielson vs. Hechicero; FTR and Garcia vs. The Patriarchy. 8 PM live on TNT tonight. Go see what real pro wrestling is all about, it’s going to be a good show,