What’s up, CFers? The week has come to an end, which means it’s time for another “Week in Review” column. The WWE presented the “go home” shows for Hell in a Cell, whereas TNA presented the fallout show for Bound for Glory. So let’s proceed and find out what were the things that happened in the professional wrestling week that was:
(This epicness courtesy of Oliver: @MrOlliB
This week’s show featured a Contract Signing segment between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan for their match at Hell in a Cell and it was exceptional. Both men were made to look strong not only through their individual promos but also with the fantastic matches they had with Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose respectively, earlier in the night. Orton’s promo was totally unlike him in that, he was able to put over Bryan as a highly capable threat, but he also made himself look like a badass, while Bryan’s promo was delivered in his normal articulated, yet impassionate way. A lot has been made about Triple H’s counter to Bryan’s accusations but that promo carried a lot of meaning, even though it was historically inaccurate. I get that the likes of Edge, Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam must be pissed off, but they should take things with a pinch of salt. Triple H was smart in taking the names of the talent who have just recently worked with the WWE and will more than likely work with the company again in the future. For Bryan to be compared to them so early in his main event push should be no shame. More than anything, it provides a yardstick which Bryan should cross to become a true marquee superstar.
Triple H never carried the company on his sole back, but through backstage politics and nepotism, he has taken himself to a higher level. Ever since Bryan entered the main event scene, his beef has been with Triple H. The biggest payoff to this angle would be for Bryan to defeat Triple H, hopefully at WrestleMania. Thus, I maintain my stand that Bryan has to win the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell. However you may want to twist it, the WWE fanbase is not ready for a 5’10”, 200 Pound guy to become the face of the company. With John Cena back and being put into the World Title match, which should hopefully remain an upper midcard Title for the time being, the 3 months between now and the Royal Rumble is the best time to test Bryan out. As much as I like Daniel Bryan, a non tested push for him could mean disaster if he happens to fail by chance. WrestleMania 30 should see Bryan defeat Triple H and not main event it; not next year, not so soon.
The product sorely needs a new face at the top, but it should not come at the expense of another derailed push. We’ve seen so many pushes being carried out in recent times only for the wrestlers to fail and fizzle out to the midcard. Bryan is hot right now and his rise has been organic, but that doesn’t guarantee box office success. The time is ripe now to pull the trigger on a championship run for him, and WrestleMania should see the culmination of the feud that has been brewing since SummerSlam in Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H. I would really like to see Daniel Bryan close out WrestleMania with the Title in his hands, but I don’t want the post WrestleMania lull to affect him so much that he can’t recover from it.
Championship belts cease to matter if the company just doesn’t trust you to draw, like we saw with CM Punk in 2012. The question of ‘when’ ceases to matter when the question of ‘how long’ is raised. If Bryan defeats Triple H at WrestleMania and then goes on the climb to WWE Title contention afterwards, it brings forth a change of guard following the 30th Anniversary. Plus, it gives all kinds of fans a whole year to acclimatize themselves with Daniel Bryan so that they can invest in him as a main event star and support him come WrestleMania 31. Of course, I won’t pretend to know everything about the WWE business, but as a fan of the product for more than 10 years who has seen both new and old stars at the top, I don’t want a sudden push that could possibly derail all so suddenly. If the current product is any sign, then the Management believes in Bryan, so I’d expect them to be far sighted rather than just milk him as soon as possible. I want Daniel Bryan to main event WrestleMania, but I don’t want it at the price of a suitable payoff to a solid angle.
After an expectedly underwhelming Bound for Glory, TNA produced the fallout show which was met with even more criticism. Everyone went into PROMO mode and we had less than 20 minutes of in-ring action during the whole show. Last week, I said that Bound for Glory felt more like a middle of the road PPV rather than the self proclaimed biggest show of the year for TNA, and the storyline continuations that we saw on Impact further substantiated those claims. With the amount of clean, yet indecisive finishes we saw at BFG, it gives the TNA Creative fodder to fill out the next few Impacts. I hope that Creative can look ahead to where they want to take the company. Some new marketing and logistical strategies are being applied with the 24/7 Initiative, moving back to the Impact Zone in Florida and a rumored more aggressive house show circuit, and it should result in a better and a more stable future for the company. Management has to forgive themselves for the weird decisions they took in the past few months and reconsider their objectives. A company with so much potential deserves another chance and the questions about their future should all be answered sooner rather than later.
One of the matches that was there this week saw AJ Styles retain his World Heavyweight Championship in a rematch with Bully Ray with some help from a returning Mr. Anderson, and then refuse a new contract and allegedly leave the company. Let’s first address Mr. Anderson. What was supposed to be a contract expiration might just have been strategic time-off and the tool is back in the company to settle matters with Bully Ray. With the Aces & 8s almost disintegrated, one has to wonder what role Knux and Garrett Bischoff would play. Before his exit, Anderson was gaining the support of these men and with them already frustrated with Bully Ray, the latter might have to run for his life in the coming weeks. I don’t know what Anderson will do once this angle is over or if he even holds much importance in the company, but the angle is a long winded one and it deserves a payoff.
As for AJ, many are accusing TNA of ripping off the CM Punk angle, and despite all the similarities, I won’t mind much if this all leads to a logical ending. If reports are to be believed, AJ Styles will defend the belt in outside promotions, most notably AAA in Mexico and Wrestle-1 in Japan and this is a very smart move if there ever was one. Whereas, to fill up the gap of a Champion, TNA will take the beaten road of a Championship Tournament to crown a new Champion and a potential Champion vs. Champion match in the future. Again, this all sounds way too similar, but if this brings with it some logical storytelling and good in-ring action, then I’m all for it. When you’re gasping for air, your hands catch hold of any possible straw, and for TNA, this could be the thing to pull them out of the water. They have employed their most trusted face to win some international fans and I expect some good things in the future that would restore faith in the TNA product.
SmackDown saw Paul Heyman and Ryback defeat CM Punk’s alleged cousin, CM “Skunk” in a 2 on 1 Handicap Match, which was hilarious. Paul Heyman has been the true star of this feud, and with the ridiculously awesome promo he cut on Raw and the over the top acting in the aforementioned match, he has necessitated the involvement of the Hell in a Cell structure. Don’t get me wrong, Punk has been great too, but once he had battled Brock Lesnar, he wouldn’t have been able to maintain the intrigue with Ryback and Curtis Axel had Heyman not been there. The storyline has been going on for more than 3 months now and it should take a much needed halt this Sunday. Punk should “get his hands on” Heyman and end this feud on a triumphant note before possibly getting involved with The Authority storyline. Heyman should take a silent exit from the company before again reappearing during the WrestleMania season and helping Brock Lesnar out. Punk needs an all salvaging victory and Heyman needs a fresh storyline; Sunday is the best time to do so.
SmackDown also saw the team of Daniel Bryan, Big E. Langston, Cody Rhodes & Goldust defeat The Shield & Randy Orton in another fantastic multi man main event, which once again stressed on the strengths of everybody involved. Big E. felt a little out of place in the whole situation but it shows the Management’s support of the guy and the potential that they see in him. Meanwhile, The Shield and Cody & Goldie continue having their infectious chemistry between the ropes and Sunday should see another great match for the Tag Team Titles. The Usos were able to secure a strong victory over The Wyatt Family too, but they were treated as the third wheel rather than an integral part of the match at Hell in a Cell. Cody & Goldie should retain the belts on Sunday and go on to have a lengthy run with the Tag belts which would not only help Cody in the long run but also maintain the momentum in the Tag division. I would have liked a Winner Takes All 5-on-5 Match at Survivor Series but then the problem of filling up the rest of the show appears. At any rate, the next few months are going to be crucial for the business as they move into the all important WrestleMania season and that should see strong champions and equally strong challengers as we’ve seen in the recent weeks.
You Cannot Afford to Miss…
1. Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose
2. Contract Signing Segment for the Hell in a Cell Match for the Vacant WWE Championship
3. AJ Styles © vs. Bully Ray for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in a Rematch from Bound for Glory
4. Daniel Bryan, Big E. Langston, Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Randy Orton & The Shield
Well, that does it for this week's edition of the "Week in Review". As always, feedback and discussions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading and may you all have a glorious week ahead! See ya next time!