Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ramblemania 34

Hey, look at this. A timely Ramblemania! Well... almost timely.

So here's the deal; this is a show where I had gotten little interest in and then slowly but surely, my interest piqued... mostly when a guy who hasn't wrestled in three years is about to wrestle for the first time since the last time wrestle, but some of the other stuff were kind of intriguing and there were some interesting match-ups that I was really looking forward to.

Did it live up? Eh... let's find out.

As a bonus, here's some quick thoughts on the Ramblemania Pre-Show stuff, which is mostly talking aheads, a couple battle royals and the finals of the Cruiserweight tournament to crown the vacant title, because Enzo Amore is a fucking idiot.

After a few talking heads, we get the first Battle Royal with the boys. Your commentary team for this match comprise of WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, WWE Hall of Famer Jerry "The King" Lawler... and Byron Saxton. One of these things is not like the other, indeed.

Oh, look. John Cena is in the crowd as a fan. Yep, yep, yep.

Broken Woken Matt Hardy Version Lard Point One wins the Andre The Giant Battle Royal with the assistance of the returning Bray Wyatt, who got to keep his name and attire despite being DELETED in the Lake Of Reincarnation. I'm guessing the lake was still trying to "f*ck that owl" or whatever that is. This is a battle royal where every once in a while, someone would eliminate someone over the top rope and pose for the hard camera. Other than that, there was a commercial break that killed any enthusiasm I had for this match until the end.

Oh, look. John Cena is in the crowd as a fan. Yep, yep, yep.

Cedric Alexander defeated Mustafa Ali to win the vacant Cruiserweight championship, which is awarded to him by the former Rockstar Spud and current 205 Live general manager, Drake Maverick.

Naomi wins the other Battle Royal in the pre-show; the one that people are calling the first-ever Women's Battle Royal... despite the fact that there was already a Wrestlemania Battle Royal at Mania 25... and it was won by Santino Marella... maybe you should pretend this is the first one after all. The ending was confusing as all hell, as Bayley eliminated Sasha Banks towards the end and everyone thought she won, but the lack of music cued us in and there's Naomi, who eliminated stupid Bayley and wins the match. Gee, this seems less like an attempt to make Naomi a big deal (and I like Naomi; she has spunk and lots of glow-y things) and more like an attempt to present Bayley as the most stupidest wrestler in the world.

Somewhere in Venice Beach, the Stinger is holding Bayley's beer.

And now we start the main show, where some duet is singing America The Beautiful.

Seth Rollins defeated Finn Balor and IC Champion Miz to win the title. Finn Balor didn't come out with the Demon entrance, but instead gets a bunch of marks in t-shirts to usher him out... man, that was so lame. Also, the 3D graphics for Miz are terrible and not all that good and I hope they never attempt something this shitty again... oh, who am I kidding? Of course, they will. Anyway, this was a great little opener; not much else to say here. It got me in the mood.

Oh, look. John Cena is in the crowd as a fan. Yep, yep, yep.

Smackdown Women's Champion Charlotte defeated Asuka via submission to end the "streak" and retain the title. What a shock.

Not a shock.

Look, from my vantage point, they'd either save the streak for Rousey to break somewhere down the line or they let Baby Flair do it because she's Ric Flair's kid and we gotta make her look special by giving all these "historic" moments. And while I'm sure Rousey being the one to do it would've been seen as a "big" deal by those in WWE, I'm happy that they gave the honors to Charlotte because she deserves something for being that talented a wrestler.

In any event, this was a fine match between two extremely talented women who put on a fine showing and gave their all. I wasn't bored in the slightest, I was mildly entertained, and it had a rather satisfying ending that made both look good. Asuka might taken a blemish on her record, but she went down fighting and I'm not going to complain.

And then two days later, Carmella cashes in her briefcase and beats Charlotte for the title. The Queen has been beheaded... oops.

Oh, look. John Cena is talking with a referee and heads to the back... yep, watching like a fan... fuck me.

Jinder Mahal defeated Rusev, U.S. Champion Randy Orton, and the Glorious Bobby Roode in a Fatal Four Way match to win the title. Poor Rusev not only does NOT get to ride out in that awesome tank he had three Wrestlemanias ago, but he ends up doing the favors to a guy that nobody seems to care about anymore or at all, depending on your point of view. But in any event, I think we can look forward to Jinder retaining the title with the help of his lackeys every single match.

In any event, I didn't care for this one. Not even Rusev Day could make me care about this match and that's a shame because that dude deserves better.

Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle defeated Triple H and Nipple H when Rousey made Nipple H submit via armbar. I will be completely honest with you. While this match was taking place live, I was too busy working on the website and the match was largely background noise. On the second viewing, however, it was... okay. Not an MMA fan, not a Rousey fan, and the less I expose myself to Ear Rape City, the better... but this was okay.

Honestly, this would've been better if it were shorter, but it was okay for what it was. At the very least, Steph got the upper hand by cheating and eventually got her comeupperance. Kurt Angle has seen better days; hence why I refer to him as Jason Jordan's dad. Really, once you got to the goofy shit towards the end, the match ended up being a bit more palatable, but nothing that has me shitting snowflakes to give this match. At best, it was merely okay. At worst, I spent most of the time playing that Power Rangers: Legacy Wars game on my phone.

As far as Rousey is concerned... I think she'll be fine. I do think her punches are a little Shane McMahon-esque (almost comical and hokey, especially during her spat with HHH - and considering she used to punch for a living, that's really fucking shocking) and her facials come off more as if she hated herself and would rather be anywhere else - and it's not just a WWE thing; she has that look everywhere and it's often mislabelled as "badass" by really stupid people - but the few moves she did looked alright, the armbar is a nice simple finish that works, and with a little more polish, she might turn out to be one of the genuine highlights of WWE and not just a highlight that people will ejaculate to in order to make her seem more impressive than she actually is.

I also think Rousey should get a change in attire. I don't need her dressed in a way that reminds me of another dearly-departed WWE Legend that I'd much rather be watching right now... shit, I'll take the elder years where he barely moves a bit because there's some semblance of comedy that doesn't translate to the written word.

The Bludgeon Brothers defeated Smackdown Tag-Team champions the Usos and the New Day (with their 3d pancakes, Jesus Christ) in a triple threat match to win the titles. This wasn't so hot, but it was fairly short and the big white dudes got the duke over the two teams of colored people; thus, continuing WWE's cold war against foreigners of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

And then John Cena hits the ring, waiting for Undertaker to show up. Instead, he gets Elias, who sings a song and gets beat up for his efforts. And as John Cena slowly makes his way up the ramp, I keep waiting for the eventual dong to hit, because I know it's going to hit.

And once the dong hit... I turned the television off. I spent the next five minutes doing other stuff. I check back on the channel, the Undertaker is STILL making his way to the ring, and then you wonder why this show is ten fucking hours long. So I turned off the TV and work on some Mega Man Maker levels and after about ten minutes or so, I see Undertaker making the long walk back to the stage - I assume he beat up John Cena - and then I go to the bathroom.

And then I make a solemn vow to myself. From this day forward, if there is an Undertaker match at any upcoming Wrestlemania, whether it'd be announced ahead of time or not, I will turn the TV off, I will spend the next half-hour doing something else, and when I check back and the match is over, I'll watch the rest of the show.

To paraphrase a quote from a certain Internet personality; "No more Undertaker. I refuse."

I'm done with Undertaker matches. Tremendous amounts of respect for the guy for the long career that he's had and I thought the match he had with Roman - as not so good as it was - was a nice little cap on the career of Mark Callaway and certainly a nice note to end it on with the way he laid the hat and coat and rode off into the night. It was beautifully done and a nice way to bring that chapter to a close.

But to see him go back when his non-appearance would've been ideal for the sake of the story... to see Undertaker in further Wrestlemania matches would be like watching Ric Flair wrestling in TNA Impact Wrestling. It is more of a sad sight than it is genuine excitement. Suffice it to say, I'd much rather see David Arquette win a WWE championship within the next six months than I would another Undertaker match at Wrestlemania.

Come at me, bro.

Oh, and now he's getting a casket match with Rusev at that Saudi Arabia. Rusev Day Be Buried... Oh well, that toilet break had to come up somewhere.

So Daniel Byran comes out and he gets a beating from Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, taking him out of the match, leaving us with Shane McMahon and his incredible Ronda Rousey-style flurry punches that never connects with their target. Shane is holding off hernia surgery and this is somewhat sad to watch - even moreso when the match is trying to sell this fifty-year old with a hernia as being on equal footing with the former Champion Of The Universe in Kevin Owens and the former El Generico in Sami Zayn.

But before Shane can find something particularly high to jump off of, the real reason people would give two shits about this match comes out and eventually Daniel Bryan Danielson makes the hot tag to fend off the two Quebecois himself. I cringe whenever he does a high spot, but never goes for the headbutt and I hope he never does. The match ends with Bryan locking Sami in the Yes Lock and scoring the submission victory. Shane and Bryan celebrate while I wait for a swerve that never happens. So there you go; a Daniel Bryan Danielson comeback story that actually has a happy ending for once.

This match isn't great; there's a bit too much Shane McMahon and the false swerve at the beginning only served to add to the irritation, but once Bryan hit the ring, he got his stuff in, he looked good doing it, and it was a nice feelgood moment to see Daniel Bryan Danielson back in action after three long years. Suddenly, I have a reason to start watching Smackdown on a regular basis rather than every once in a while.

Nia Jax defeated RAW Women's Champion Alexa Bliss to win the title. Ideally, a woman of Nia Jax's stature and size should've been able to beat a woman of Alexa Bliss's size and age group in about a minute or so. Anyone remember that one match seventeen Wrestlemanias ago when Chyna treated Ivory like a rag doll, then beat her for the Women's title in a short amount of time? This should've been like that... but it wasn't that. Instead, this was ten minutes of the rather sizable Nia Jax getting some token offense while the tiny 12-year-old that is Alexa Bliss got the upper hand and dominated the plus-sized wrestler whom we were supposed to believe is this huge monster. This was bad.

I was not a fan of this storyline. I find it stupid that a big wrestler who was (supposedly) portrayed as a monster for years is suddenly offended and triggered because someone called her fat. I think I know why this was a thing. A couple months ago, some guy on Twitter posted a video of himself reacting to Nia Jax coming out and calling her "Nia Fat." This ended up causing a huge firestorm on social media and even Nia commented on the situation herself.

So... look, I'm sorry, but this whole thing is a farce. Apparently, in order to get the better of a bigger fellow or fella, you just call them fat and they go into a crying, raging fit? Hey, body-shaming is a thing that is frowned upon and there are tasteful ways to go about it... but you'll find none of that in sports entertainment and especially from the leaders of tasteless low-brow family-friendly entertainment.

Come at me, sis.

WWE Champion AJ Styles (or is he the Universal champion?) defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the title. And if this match has told me anything, it would be to fork over the ten bucks to subscribe to the New Japan World On Demand service so I could look up their WrestleKingdom match from years ago to see if that match was any better. This was merely okay, but went a little slow in some cases. The crowd seemed dead at this point, which didn't help anything. I suppose they needed to keep it slow as to not take the thunder away from the main event... not that there was anything to take to begin with, but still, for a highly anticipated dream match, this was underwhelming.

After the match, Shinsuke presents AJ Styles with the championship and then he punches AJ in the balls. Oh, goody. We're using a Wrestlemania match to build to a re-match at some later B-show PPV... and yes, I'm counting the Greatest Mediocre Royal Rumble thing as a B-show.

Braun Strowman and some kid defeated Raw Tag-Team Champions Cesaro and Sheamus to win the tag-team titles. And when I say "some kid," I really do mean some kid that Strowman picked out from the audience because fuck you, that's why. All of a sudden, David Arquette winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in 2000 wasn't so bad after all, because at the very least, he was a grown adult, whereas one half of your new Raw Tag-Team champions has yet to hit puberty.

In a way, I can sort of see the logic here; the kid is just filler to say that Strowman has a partner to challenge for the tag titles while Braun does all the work himself. And I'd imagine this would be a short term deal of sorts - turned out it was since the titles had to be vacated since the kid was still in the fourth grade - but when you only watch one show a year - because most people I know won't watch anything wrestling, but they'll tune in to Wrestlemania because it's a tradition of sorts - and they see random kid (who's the son of one of the referees and probably won't get paid) winning the tag titles, you begin to wonder why you didn't stop watching this shit years ago like everyone else.

But you know what? A couple days later, I watch it again and I'm like "meh." Sometimes, wrestling is stupid and that's okay. And honestly, if this had been the main event of Wrestlemania, I'd be fine with it... no, really.

So this kid is now undefeated at Wrestlemania. He joins the likes of Lawrence Taylor, Sable, Michael Cole, and Snooki as WWE Superstars who were never defeated at Wrestlemania. Maybe it's a good thing that Asuka lost here; she doesn't need to be saddled with that group of people. Then again, the kid could very easily be signed to a UFC contract instead of Brock Lesnar and become a big box office attraction. He'd be the perfect opponent for CM Punk should the latter want to fight a third time.

Oh, fuck off. It's late at night and I'm tired. And there's still one more match to this shit show.

So Roman Reigns comes out, the boos hit HARD, and the audience is quickly muted. Good job, Kevin Dunn, you bucky beaver mother fucker.

We get a bunch of suplexes, we go outside for a bit. Roman does a bunch of finishes. Nothing.

Brock hits an F5 on Roman, Roman kicks out at 2, NO REACTION.

Brock hits another F5 on Roman, Roman kicks out at 2, NO REACTION.

Brock hits yet another F5 on Roman, Roman kicks out at 2, and we have a Boring chant.

By the way, it took three F5s to end Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak... but we gotta make Roman look strong, so he kicks out.

Brock tosses Roman to the outside, hits another F5 on Roman on a table, drags him back in the ring, hits another suplex and a FIFTH F5, Roman kicks out at 2, NO REACTION. And now we have a "This Is Awful" chant.

And Roman is bleeding badly due to some elbows. That kinda wakes the crowd up, but not by much. And now he hits two spears... Brock kicks out at 2.

Brock hits another F5... and wins the match. Roman chokes again. The crowd pops; not because Brock won, but because this long, repetitive shitfest of a match is finally over.

I'll give them this... they surprised the heck out of me by having Brock win this one. And I'm not going to complain about that one. It's clear as glass that the Roman experiment is not going over the way it's supposed to and they needed to go another way. So yeah, I like the ending.

The rest of the match... nope.

This was a fucking horrible match. All that build up, all that anticipate, all those attempts to make Roman Reigns the biggest, strongest, and bestest Superstar of all time, getting wins over the Undertaker, John Cena, Braun Strowman, and countless others who would've benefited from the rub. All of that effort to make people believe in Roman Reigns - and I even bought into him for a bit towards the end - and he chokes on the biggest stage of them all.

And not only did he choke, but the crowd didn't give a shit. Because they were conditioned boo Brock Lesnar on the basis that he's a part-timer and we need a full-timer as champion. I like that idea because it's a genuine emotion people have. The problem is that on the other side of that coin, you have a guy that people either don't care about or they outright don't want to see in that spot.
So what we have here is the real Goldberg-Brock II that's the sequel to the Wrestlemania 20 match.

And wouldn't you know? They just booked the rematch at that Saudi Arabia Rumble thing... because THIS TIME FOR SURE.

When it comes to the ten-hour marathon wrestling cards, I'll safely say that the WrestleKingdom show from back in January is the superior show and I've only seen one or two matches from that card. And the really sad thing is that barring a couple bits here and there, this was a fairly decent show where the matches delivered some semblance of goods and I had a good time with it for the most part. But by the end of the show, when you had ill-conceived booking decisions like some kid, ten minutes of Shane McMahon instead of that other guy, and whatever the fuck that main event was, the whole thing wore out its welcome in a hurry.

Look, kill the main event, kill the US title match, make the Nia Jax title win a minute long at most, have Ronda make short work of Stephanie, and give me a better AJ/Nakamura match, and you have a fantastic Wrestlemania that would rank up there as one of the greats. As it is, it starts off hot and then it goes cold and eventually dies.

Oh well. Better luck next year.

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