Sunday, April 9, 2017

Ramblemania 33

It's been a couple weeks, but better late than never, I suppose. And if nothing else, those anticipating my fully detailed thoughts on the latest Showcase Of The Immortals(TM) won't have to wait a year for that to happen; you can just get that here. (Or here, as well.)

So the first thing worth noting is that this was a better show than last year's show. This should be readily apparent by the fact that I'm writing about it now rather than a year later. Still long in the tooth and I don't think next year is going to be any better, but nonetheless, here are some thoughts on the show.

I haven't seen the preshow, but one minor guy won a battle royal and the two champions retained their titles. And that's all I know.

Gotta say right off the bat; the set looks mighty impressive, with a semblance of a functioning roller coaster gimmick to play off that ridiculous "Ultimate Thrill Ride" tag. You know what needs to make a comeback? Ring carts. Dust those off and bring those back because seeing all these wrestlers walk from point A to point B is absolutely painful.

But I digress.

AJ Styles defeated Shane McMahon in what could easily be considered the match of the night. A straight-up wrestling match with Shane pulling off shit like a Shooting Star Press as well as his usual coast-to-coast and crashing table-breaking elbow bits. It's no five-star classic or anything of the sort, but this was a far better match than we were expecting. Sadly, this means the bar is set fairly low for this night, as AJ Styles having a great match shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone yet he's wasted on Shane McMahon.

Kevin Owens defeated U.S. Champion Chris Jericho to win the title. The irony of two Canadians fighting over a United States Championship is lost on WWE and its staff. As for the match itself, it was alright. Nothing mindblowing or anything, but it went by rather quickly. On a side note, Jericho's light-up scarf looks absolutely ridiculous and it fits.

Raw Women's Champion Bayley defeated Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match to retain the title. Nia went out first (with all three smaller ladies pinning here), then Sasha, and finally Baby Flair. I didn't like the angle they went with Bayley, who looked scared and perturbed every time she appeared on camera, but I guess that's what they're going with because we need to have Charlotte be 16-time champion by the end of the year or something.

The returning Hardyz BROKE Raw Tag Champs Anderson and Gallows, along with two other OBSOLETE tag teams to win the titles in a ladder match. You know what, I tell a lie; this is the match of the night. You already have two top-notch teams (and that team from the Bronx) and then you toss in the not-quite-BROKEN Hardyz in there and you've got a big team to make three small teams look good. Three things to note;

1 - There was a DELETE chant.
2 - There was a BROTHER NERO chant.
3 - The crowd was classy enough to not start a FUCK THAT OWL chant.

Unfortunately, once the Hardyz won the Tag Titles, they rendered the rest of the Wrestlemania card BROKEN and OBSOLETE because this is the point where the show falls off a cliff and smashes into the rock face with such ferocity that what's left of it is impossible to determine.

And so we will treat it as such... DELIGHTFUL!

John Cena and Nikki Bella made the Miz and Maryse OBSOLETE! And then Cena proposes because we need material for whatever BLASPHEMOUS reality TV show that the Bucky Beaver Motherfucker is doing these days. The only noteworthy bits about the match were the "Miz Is Awesome" chants and the way the crowd shat on Nikki once she got the hot tag... oh and Jerry Lawler came out for color and that's fine by me.

I didn't care for the match before it was officially announced, I didn't care for the build to this match, and I naturally didn't care for the match itself. This was a pretty worthless match all around that exists solely to further the narrative of their shitty reality shows and since I don't watch those, I have no reason to care about this match. The sad part about all this is that the winners of the match will be gone for the foreseeable future, as Cena is doing some movie somewhere while Nikki is taking time off, making this whole thing BROKEN and OBSOLETE!

I guess congratulations are in order for the new couple. Hopefully, this is something that was genuine rather than manufactured, but considering how this whole thing was played out... I don't care either way, really.

(2018 Update: John Cena and Nikki Bella have since broken up, rendering this entire happy moment entirely pointless. But then again, what else did you expect?)

Seth Rollins DELETED He Of The Three Hs and made him OBSOLETE! This was a near-half hour of HHH working the injured knee of Seth Rollins and the end result is a match that is about as effective as a 20-minute HHH promo. Good lord, this match put the room to sleep and it seems like the crowd wasn't really into it, either. This went on way too long, which probably explains the lower-key entrance HHH got this year, which was less ego stroking than usual. Steph falling through a table was a nice touch and at the very least, she didn't have a live mic in her hand to talk, so that much is appreciated.

You know, I was all prepared with this mental block of text questioning how HHH could have shitty Wrestlemania main events under his belt, but can pull off some great Mania matches when they're far from the top of the card... and then this match happened and it seems silly to bring that up. Honestly, the last time I felt like a HHH match at Wrestlemania was worth a damn was the one he had with Daniel Bryan Danielson because that was a good match. Every match since then... one was the drizzling shits, the other was a forgettable sloth, and then you have this one, which was basically one old guy working a young guy's knee for twenty five minutes and putting the room to sleep.

There's a time wasting mini-concert featuring some OBSOLETE musicians. The segment was DELETED from my mind.

The next couple matches don't deserve the MAGICAL treatment... because they suck.

Randy Orton defeated WWE Champion Bray Wyatt to win the title in an absolutely dull match. Just about the only highlight of the match was Bray's ability to run floor projections of maggots and other gruesome bugs... almost building to something big before going with the usual nothing match. Other than that, it was your usual boring RKO match in ten minutes and nothing of value was lost. This is a case where the build-up to the match was better than the actual match itself.

And... look, I don't think there was any delusion in seeing that the Bray Wyatt WWE Championship reign was just a holdover for Randy to get the belt at Mania on my end. But I would've liked the match to feel like a big deal instead of... eh. When John Cena beat AJ Styles for his 16th World Title, that felt like a big deal because it was such a great match between two top talents in the company and it depicted a great battle. When Randy Orton beat Bray Wyatt for his 14th World title, it was business as usual... or back to the well... or whatever.

Three months in and we've had four guys hold the WWE title. Something is seriously wrong here.

And speaking of which...

Brock Lesnar defeated Red Belt holder Goldberg to win the belt. A couple spears, a dozen suplexes, done in about five minutes. On the one hand, I can safely say that this was a far better encounter than their Wrestlemania 20 match. On the other hand, this is the usual Brock Lesnar lazy suplex match that featured a spear through a barricade and Brock kicking out of the Jackhammer. Hey, some people dig that sort of thing and that's totally fine. Those folks must be happy. I, on the other hand, went for a pee and didn't miss much.

And now we resume our WONDERFUL tone...

Naomi (a.k.a. Glow Girl) DELETED Smackdown Women's champ Alexa Bliss and four other women who are OBSOLETE to win the title. This was moved to the pre-show, but people got pissed and it was moved back to the main show... and after watching the match, I'm thinking maybe they should have kept it on the pre-show because nothing of note happened in the match. There's a bit where Nattie did a double sharpshooter with two girls and it's the most awkward looking thing I've ever seen. I don't think even Bret could make that look good. But hey, Naomi got to win the title back and that's cool. She's got a neat entrance if nothing else.

Jim Ross comes out to call the main event, which surprises me a bit but we all deal with grief in our own ways, I suppose. This, along with the video package, sort help bring the specter of finality here.

Roman Reigns DELETED Undertaker and made him OBSOLETE! Long live the Roman Merchandising Empire! This is another case where the build to the match (or what I've seen of the build, at least) ended up being better than the match itself. Watching this match was a chore and maybe it's because Taker can't go anymore or maybe Roman isn't quite as good as people make it out to be... I can't tell you exactly what it is, but I can say that the match definitely didn't click with me. Nonetheless, regardless of the match quality, the end result of Roman Reigns beating Undertaker was the right call for me and a perfect capping of a long and storied career that will never be matched. In fact, if the Streak was still a thing, this would be a perfect way to end it.

And yeah, I'm sure Roman's going to get massive heat as a result... but you know what? That one segment on RAW the next night where he's silent in the ring for ten minutes getting all that negative reaction before saying "This is my yard now" did more to sell me on Roman than anything the monkeys in WWE Creative could concoct. Now I'm intrigued in where Roman goes from here. Now I'm wondering what's next. In other words, I now care about Roman Reigns as a character and as a player in the WWE landscape. And I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for Roman.

So that's Mania 33; first half was good, latter half fell off the rails. Way too long a show for my tastes, but I can say it was a better show than last year. Again, I'm talking about this now rather than next year, but that's enough to say "Yeah, I enjoyed it enough to talk about it, but no real urge to go back to it any time soon." It's just too damn long and even if it's paced well, you're asking a lot for people to sit through five hours of stuff... to say nothing of the additional two to three hours that the pre-show lasts.

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