Get Rusev a dinosaur to ride, and make this Rusev World a Super Rusev World.
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Worst: This Is Perfectly Acceptable
I have no issue with Randy Orton being Seth Rollins’ first big feud post-WrestleMania. I really don’t. It’s been set up for a long time, and beating Orton will give Seth some much-needed credibility. If I was booking WWE, I’d probably put Rollins and Orton together, myself. That said, there’s nothing interesting about this rivalry.
I want to see Rollins get into it with Reigns. I really want to see him face off against Brock. By comparison, Orton is just sort of there, and neither he nor Rollins added much depth or interest to their feud on SmackDown.
Rollins basically just recapped what happened on Raw, although he did get in a good line about showing Al Roker and his Today buddies what’s what. Seth needs to start beefing with as many talk show hosts as possible. He’ll be my hero forever if he curb stomps Jimmy Fallon. Orton then came out and reminded everyone that he’s still owed a rematch from last WrestleMania. Are we sure about this? I think there may be a one-year expiry dates on rematches, Randy. Orton then called J&J Security sewers rats and Kane Little Red Riding Hood while looking bored. This caused me to also look bored.
Again, nothing wrong with Rollins/Orton. Rollins needs a nice, filler feud while he gets on his feet as champion. It’s the right thing to do, but the right choice isn’t always the most entertaining.
Worst: The Big Red Machine Show
Now that WWE seems to be trying to do something with the Intercontinental Championship, is the André the Giant trophy WWE’s new cursed object?
Fresh off his win at Mania, Big Show looked like a total goober here. Selling big-time for minor kicks and punches, getting DDT-ed off the top rope, looking like he was about to lose after about a minute of action. Did Big Show and Kane get mixed up on the call sheet? Because Big Show was definitely occupying Kane’s “giant stumbling loser” role here. Leave being Kane to Kane.
Worst: Go Away, Ryback
Did I miss something? Why are Randy Orton and Ryback best pals now? Why does Ryback keep involving himself in segments we’re supposed to care about? Just saying, Orton not immediately RKO-ing Ryback every time he sees him is kind of putting a strain on my suspension of disbelief.
Best: Funk Is Still On A Roll, I Guess
So, in her inset promo, Naomi made reference to funk being on a roll, which was weird. Naomi’s been a lady Uso for months now. You can’t just go back to biting on Brodus Clay again. Keep your biting straight.
Anyways, this match was pretty okay. Naomi still has way too much improbable, flippy offense, but she’s a little less out of control than she used to be, and Natalya tried to keep her at least semi-grounded. Natalya even managed to make Naomi’s goofy headscissors DDT finisher thing look alright. Also, Nattie’s leather pants are still a thing that exist, so that was certainly a point in this segment’s favor.
Again, not a great match, but probably my favorite thing from the first hour of this show, so it kind of gets a Best by default.
Worst: Dirty Deeds Done In Kane’s Bathroom
This was a classic “my God, somebody actually got paid to write this” WWE segment. Kane is upset that Randy Orton said he was powerless in the opening segment, so he’s going to prove he’s got power by giving Orton a title match against Seth Rollins. Wait, what?
Before we can let the stupidity of that sink in too deeply, Rollins starts complaining that it smells in Kane’s office, then we hear a toilet flush. Ohhhh boy, who’s it going to be on that toilet? Big Show? Santino? Big Show and Santino at the same time? Nope. It’s Dean freakin’ Ambrose. The man everybody had pegged as the next Steve Austin late last year, is now the guy who grosses people out with his stinky poops. Dude, it’s okay to say no sometimes. When the writers tell you your match tonight is going to be set up by you taking a dump in the wrong place, that’s your cue to start offering some constructive criticism. Some alternative options.
I’ll admit, I’d be pretty into Ambrose getting a “shitty houseguest” gimmick. I want Ambrose’s next PPV match to be set up by him leaving a bunch of hair in Stephanie’s shower drain. I want a blood feud to be born when Ambrose uses Triple H’s laptop without asking and fills his browser history with porn.
Worst: You Can’t, You Didn’t
Roman Reigns was an insufferable golden boy leading up to WrestleMania 31, but at the show itself, he was involved in a great match, stood up to a Brock Lesnar mauling and got his first real taste of defeat. It could have been a turning point for Reigns. The moment he becomes a more human, relatable, admirable character, but it seems WWE is going the opposite direction with him.
Roman talked about his loss at Mania in a sit-down interview, and the quantity of bullshit he spouted from his pie hole was truly astounding. He bragged about how he came out swinging and took it to Brock, when in reality. he was immediately stuffed and taken on a tour of Suplex City. He swelled with pride about how he kept picking himself up after Brock knocked him down. Yeah, because Brock let you. He didn’t bother going for a pin until, like, 15-minutes in. He said Brock didn’t have an answer when he Superman punched him in the face. He had an answer, and that answer was MORE SUPLEXES, BITCH. Finally, and perhaps most gallingly, he claimed he was that close, just 30-seconds away, from beating Brock. Oh, f*ck off.
Pre-WrestleMania 31 Roman Reigns may have been entitled, he may have been one-note, but at least there was an honesty to him. He was a big, beautiful man who’d been told he was the chosen and he genuinely believed it. This Roman Reigns though, this self-deluding, “I want to buy a condo in Suplex City because I’m that tough” Roman Reigns is just sad. Maybe this interview was laying the ground for a heel turn. I hope it was because if “I was thaaaat close” becomes Roman’s new catchphrase things are going to get much, much worse.
Worst: Sorry, Black Guys, You’re Not Needed At Extreme Rules
Remember when everyone was speculating that WWE just shoehorned R-Truth into the IC title scene pre-Mania because they realized they needed at least one black guy on the card? Well, WrestleMania’s behind us now, and R-Truth lost in 30-seconds. To The Miz. Make of that what you will.
Oh, and they desperately, desperately need to update Damien Sandow’s whole package. The dude comes out and defiantly attacks The Miz while wearing Miz trunks and sunglasses and doing Miz poses. He hits Miz with his own finisher then triumphantly poses while The Miz’s music plays. It’s a bit pathetic, and frankly a little creepy in a “I’ll kill you and wear your face” sort of way. If you’re going to break these guys up, actually break them up.
Best: The John Cena U.S. Open Challenge
This segment didn’t start out so hot, with Cena putting approximately zero effort into his pro-America rhetoric. He was all just, “Uh, newsflash, America doesn’t suck!” which was kind of amusing in it’s simplicity, but not the most eloquent defense of the ol’ U S of A.
Thankfully, things took a big positive turn when Cena announced he’d be defended the U.S. title every week as part of the John Cena U.S. Open Challenge. I love open challenge storylines. They’re basically impossible to do wrong, and everybody involved comes out of them looking good. The challenger looks like a stand-up, tough guy, the challengers look like ambitious dudes willing to step up to the plate, and the person who finally wins the challenge gets an instant credibility boost. This is the most genuinely good, altruistic thing John Cena the TV character has done in years. This is what the guy who runs the place should be doing with his power.
Best: An Angry Russian Tank
Then, Rusev came out, and for the first time in a long time, he actually came off as a pure heel, which is good because he’s supposed to be one. He played off Cena’s open challenge nicely; Cena represents opportunity, while Rusev wants to hoard the power and opportunity to himself. Cena and Rusev aren’t just shouting AMERICA and RUSSIA at each other, they actually represent something. It’s a battle of two diametrically opposed philosophies. Sometimes wrestling can accidentally be pretty smart.
Aside from all that high-minded stuff, Rusev was just a lot of dumb fun here, shouting about how we all live in RUSEV WORLD, dubbing himself “The Russian Tank” and covering his ears in agony when John Cena sung a few lines of the Star-Spangled Banner. And then this happened…
… I’ll admit, I may have done a minor fist pump when ol’ glory fell down, and I’m a dirty pinko Canadian.
Best: Luke Harper Unleashed
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper featured two guys working on completely different levels. Ambrose was his usual cartoonish, lazy self, but Harper was on another level, and basically dragged Ambrose kicking, screaming and rebound clotheslining to a good match. Even better, Harper got to f*ck Ambrose up, powerbombing him through a table after the match. Harper exuded some real menace here, standing over Ambrose and threatening referees and announcers. Up until now, Harper has been menacing in a sort of neutered, PG, comic book sort of way, but here I saw flashes of some serious Brock Lesnar and/or Mark Henry-level scariness. Hopefully WWE saw it, too.
Best: Whoops, Somebody Let Prime Time Players Be Awesome Again
I could, and probably should, complain about the fact that WWE is planning to have all their black guys feud with all their other black guys, but I can’t hate on this segment because apparently somebody didn’t get the “don’t let the Prime Time Players be interesting” memo. Titus and Darren were fantastic here. They actually brought up of Kofi Kingston’s weird sunken chest! And made fun of Big E’s preacher voice! I didn’t know The PTPs could be this merciless, but give me more.
Best: Heel Sheamus
Okay, he looks really goddamn stupid, but this is exactly what we’ve all been wanting from Sheamus. No more bullshit; he’s just owning up to who he is. He’s a big guy who picks on those weaker than him because he likes to hurt people and is offended that nobody really likes him. It’s just out there now, and really, the face dingleberries just make it all the easier to hate him.
Best: Holy Crap, What The Hell Was This?
I wasn’t expecting this. Daniel Bryan/Sheamus matches have always been hard-hitting, but in a safe, inside-the-box, WWE sort of way. This was something else. These guys seemed to be legitimately trying to rough each other up as much as they could. Sheamus was clubbing the shit of Bryan and kept hitting him with those Chris Hero flipping suplexes. I’m not Joey Styles, I’m not sure what they’re called, but they were f*cking scary. Sheamus also broke off a pretty nasty little neck-snap suplex. For his part, Bryan seemed to be doing everything in his power to cauliflower Sheamus’ ear by pounding away at the side of his head ever chance he got. Bryan/Sheamus has always been intense, but this match was almost a little unsettling.
Then the finish. Man, the finish. Bryan was sent into the announce table and was split open bad. Instant crimson mask. Our final image was basically Sheamus walking back up the ramp covered with Bryan’s blood. This happened on SmackDown.
If this is what heel Sheamus is going to be all about, all hail Lord Dingleberryface.