How Detrimental To WWE Television Is Stephanie McMahon?

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The billion dollar princess with the trillion dollar body. One of the principle owners of WWE. Whatever title she goes by, Stephanie McMahon will always forever be a person of utmost importance in WWE. She’s a McMahon after all, being the only daughter of the one running the ship in the WWE. Why wouldn’t Stephanie’s “character” be as protected as it is? If you were running the WWE and one of your family members was interested in an on-screen role on the show, wouldn’t you do all you could to protect their image? It makes sense for the powers-that-be to portray Stephanie as a person of power. However, does Stephanie’s role as an authority figure do more harm than good to the product?

One of the biggest factors to take into account is the fact that WWE is currently a PG product… most of the time. There are limitations to what the WWE can pull off in terms of beatings and types of revenge dished out by their talent. It’s not like the top babyfaces of the WWE could just casually attack the women authority figures of WWE in response to a ruling that they didn’t like. Roman Reigns’ spear to Stephanie at WrestleMania 32 was one of the rare exceptions to this, in an instance where Stephanie was inadvertently attacked. People don’t like it when men attack women, especially when the men are supposed to be heroes that send out good messages. However, people also usually don’t like it when an authority figure can abuse their power and bully around the good guys who are supposed to stand up for themselves

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When dealing with a heel Stephanie McMahon, options are limited. If this was a heel Mr McMahon or Shane McMahon, who are capable of taking hits from men with no real issues in terms of their PG product, it’s fairly simple for the knight in shining armour to get their revenge. However, the good guys of WWE are limited when it comes to Stephanie. The best way that the good guys can get revenge is through a verbal “beatdown” towards Stephanie. Then again, this also has its setbacks. First and foremost, a lot of the fans that show up to RAW paid their money to see people settle their differences through combat. If they wanted a debate, either tune into a political show or watch Prime Minister’s Questions every Wednesday.

Secondly, not everyone on the roster has the ability to throw down on the microphone. Roman Reigns is better at hurling punches than hurling insults. Putting these people up against Stephanie, only to have them get verbally emasculated, leaves a severe mark on the credibility on the babyface hero. Seeing the John Cenas and Roman Reigns’ of this world not being able to do anything cool in response to Stephanie making them feel inferior doesn’t spring you with confidence.

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Not to mention that even the women of WWE are not in a position to touch Stephanie either. These girls can theoretically beat up the boss and it would come off as much better than if a man were to do it. Despite this, these women are prevented from doing so by their lack of relevancy. It’s not like Natalya or Paige are over enough at the moment to be able to do a program with her. You can make arguments for the likes of Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch but the power lies with the McMahons, according to the storyline. Since these McMahons are running the show, they’ll be a big part of it. Heck, Shane and Stephanie were a big part of the Payback main event between AJ Styles and Roman Reigns. The point is that the likes of Stephanie and Shane are already considered as main event talent. With the exception of a few half-hearted “main event” segments on RAW, the women haven’t come even close to producing a true main event female star. The only women, since the Authority angle started, that have been able to physically attack Stephanie are Brie Bella (who was part of a “big” main event program with Stephanie, due to her affiliation with Daniel Bryan), Vickie Guerrero (who was leaving the company anyway) and Ronda Rousey (who is not even employed with the WWE).

There is actually one woman that is being promoted and presented as a main eventer by WWE, in the hopes of finally achieving true relevancy for the women’s division. That woman is Charlotte, which brings me to my next point. Since it’s pretty obvious that a heel Stephanie does more harm than good, the next best solution is to turn her into a babyface. It’s very difficult to say what Stephanie is now. One week, she is humiliating the babyface Teddy Long. On the next week, she’s standing up to the heel Charlotte. The chances are that Stephanie probably will slowly transform into a full-blown babyface and I think that it’s probably going to be Charlotte vs Stephanie at Summerslam. I’ve predicted this before. Now the verbal tirade that Stephanie gave to Charlotte on RAW a few weeeks ago actually comes off better than if she would have done it to Roman Reigns.

Now that Stephanie’s a babyface, her speaking out about it is presented as a positive thing. Charlotte had humiliated Ric Flair and so Stephanie completely tore into Charlotte. I’m sure that there’s a lot of people that’ll argue that the whole “eye for an eye” thing is not a 100% babyface move. However, at least she’s pointing out that what Charlotte said was a disgraceful thing.

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I’m not a fan of the idea of this Charlotte/Stephanie angle in the slightest. I’m not a fan of the idea of Stephanie McMahon possibly winning the WWE Women’s Championship. However, the WWE had already done a great job in killing the momentum of the women’s division anyway. There’s literally nobody that is in a position to challenge Charlotte, other than Stephanie and Sasha Banks (who has only worked house shows and Main Events since April). Therefore, I don’t think this feud is detrimental to product as the division is already in a bad shape. If the women’s division after WrestleMania stayed exactly like it had from the Royal Rumble until WrestleMania 32, I’d argue that it would be detrimental. Since the WWE did dig its own grave with the Charlotte/Natalya program and all the other bad aspects of women’s wrestling in WWE in the last few months, I’m really not as concerned as I should be.

However, at least what Stephanie’s doing is all directed at the heels. If the heel does a bad thing and Stephanie responds, it suddenly has a much less detrimental effect. If the heel then followed that up by attacking Stephanie, then that gives the heel more heat as he or she just attacked somebody that’s not even an active wrestler. A lot of the fans would argue that it would still make the male heels feel emasculated for Stephanie to verbally attack them, but I still think it wouldn’t have been as bad as if it were a babyface being emasculated.

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Personally, I don’t think any of your stars should be emasculated at all as you should be doing your best to present your stars as superstars. They should all be presented as positively and as star-like as possible. However, at least when Stephanie does it to a heel, it’s presented as a good thing and it’s the babyface that’s sending the positive message. Whether the message is women standing up to men or standing up for the defenseless, Stephanie can send that message better as a babyface.

 

29/12/2014 RAW Review – John Cena Reinstates The Authority

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What’s up guys. Thomas Robinson here. With what is possibly the last post of the year for me. I was going to do this 2014 awards thing where I give out awards on wrestling. Pretty much, my own personal slammys. I did a NoDQ.com sponsored one last year, but I’ve really not had the time to do any this year because of university. Plus, I don’t write for them anymore, so there’s no real extra motivation to do it. If I am going to be doing one, it’ll be after New Year’s Day or something. Anyway… the last RAW of 2014.

The show was hosted by Edge and Christian which I was OK with. During this period of guest hosts, I like how most of them were wrestlers. Hardly any celebrities. It was just the wrestlers like Bryan, Jericho, Edge etc. booking the show.

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Edge and Christian came out. They were excited to be here and I was excited to see them. You rarely see these two on TV anymore. Edge is out once in a blue moon and Christian is normally out injured. By the way, during the show Jerry Lawler referred to Christian as retired. According to reports, this was in fact true. Due to the dozen or so concussions sustained by Captain Charisma, he’s kinda hung up his boots. It’s a real shame and an extra shame that Christian never really had a big send off from wrestling like Edge. After all the years of commitment to wrestling and all he’s done, he just quitely goes away. They were hyping up a retirement-like angle for Daniel Bryan later on, but Christian surely deserves some kind of thing. Hell, Santino got a send-off at a house show. I’m sure Christian needs one.

Edge and Christian were arguing about hosting their shows. They announced that they would be combining their shows to host the first ever Cutting Edge Peep Show… the C.E.P.S. Show! Seth Rollins would be the guest. They also said that he would be fighting Roman Reigns as well tonight and we could have a Champion vs Champion match. We would have Rusev vs Dolph Ziggler. They were about to do the five second pose when Brock Lesnar came out…

I can’t say that Paul Heyman SAVED the promo, because the promo wasn’t THAT bad to begin with. It was a nice little segment with Edge and Christian, even though it seemed watered down to what they used to do. Heyman and Lesnar added a sense of intensity to this comedy promo from E&C. He was threaten to paralyze the both of them when John Cena came out.

Cena suckered Lesnar in for an AA attempt but Lesnar ran away. Yes. Because when you’re hyping up your WWE World Heavyweight Champion that doesn’t appear every week, the best thing to do is have him RUN AWAY! That’s the thing that always pisses me off with WWE’s booking of Lesnar. WHY WOULD HE BE SCARED TO FIGHT JOHN CENA? He beat the shit outta him at Extreme Rules in 2012 and Summerslam this year. And… he’s the freaking champ! Please don’t book Brock like this!

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Ziggler got a huge pop as he squared off against the undefeated Rusev. I started laughing when after a couple of short elbow drops I thought Rusev was going to try Ziggler’s multiple elbow drop thing! This was a surprisingly good match considering the completely contrasting styles. Although I did find it tedious when Ziggler oversold Rusev stamping on his foot. Rusev stood on his foot… and Ziggler went flying in the air! You know I don’t mind overselling a lot of the time but… why did he need to oversell the foot stomp?

I also didn’t like the finish. Rusev locked in the Accolade on Ziggler on the ropes and wouldn’t break it up leading to a DQ. For a match that was actually good, for it to end in a disqualification was a damn shame. After letting go of the hold, then Ryback came out! Why did Ryback wait until after Rusev let go of the hold to make the “save” on Ziggler? Although Ryback did get a hell of a pop.

Before we go onto Ryback’s promo, I have to comment on Jerry Lawler’s jumper. You know I don’t want to be that guy that talks about how other people’s dress sense but what on earth was he wearing?

Anyway, The Big Guy cut a promo. This promo lasted MORE than five minutes! I think Ryback is genuinely a good-talker but why was five minutes of the show dedicated to him talking about his career? I mean I respect the hell outta Ryback, but there was no need to give him this amount of time for him to get to his point. His point being, I’m going to turn all the nasty things that have happened to me and eat them… just like what I’m going to do to Rusev. I thought this was going to lead to him entering the Royal Rumble because he was talking about Wrestlemania. I thought this promo was way too long. A quick minute interview could have done the same as what Ryback had accomplished here.

I don’t know if it was WWE time-wasting, but couldn’t they had wasted it some other way? Like dedicate it to more match time for a couple of matches. Perhaps have Dean Ambrose cut a promo (Dean never appeared at all on the show). Actually, now I’m onto Dean Ambrose. He did not appear AT ALL. Bray Wyatt appeared for a 2 minute promo in an ambulance (shorter than Ryback’s!). However, the most that appeared from this feud on RAW was a 2-3 minute video package summing up the feud over the last few months (which Cole said had been going on for the last few weeks). It was just the same promo they have been showing for the last few months ever since Hell In A Cell, but just updated a bit at the end. No wonder this feud is nowhere near as good as it should be. They have two top talents who had the potential to do wonders… and they just did not know what to do with them. Seriously, so disappointing.

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Yeah, so WWE have three hours to fill up every Monday. They dedicated FIVE minutes to the Ryback promo which led to nothing but somehow… the Nikki Bella vs Natalya non-title match lasted like a minute! So the top diva angle they had was given a MINUTE of television time! And all it featured was Tyson Kidd catching Nikki, Nikki giving Natalya a forearm and then hitting the Rack Attack. Now the Rack Attack did impress me considering Natalya is one of the bigger divas in the WWE. But these two are good performers… and this seemed to just kill this little feud of before it barely began. Seriously. Thumbs down on this.

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Now THIS was one of the highlights of the show. The Miz and Mizdow defending the tag titles against the Usos. Although I do have to mention this. During commentary, Michael Cole actually claimed that Christian Bale was dead. I’m not making this up. JBL was mentioning a number of actors including Heath Ledger and Christian Bale. Cole said they were all dead. This was the embodiment of how bad the banter of the Monday Night RAW commentary is. In a month where Jeff Jarrett’s promotion announces the commentary dream team of Jim Ross and Matt Striker, Cole claims that the man that portrayed Batman in the last decade or so in movies… has DIED. Thankfully, this match did an awesome job at saving the god-awful commentary.

This was a good match. I think good is fair because it was just a standard tag match which had an incredible ending. There was not a lot going on at the start. Usual stuff with Mizdow. I also liked how Miz looked like, near the start, that he was teasing a tag to Sandow… and the fans did not care. There was not ONE response. They did it again later on and it got a reaction, but I just wanted to point that out.

Another thing I wanted to point out is that when Miz was going to lock in the Figure Four on Jimmy I believe, he worked on one leg and then twisted the other! That just seemed off to me. He worked on one and put the pressure on the less injured leg!

It had a great ending and a lot of cool near-falls. Jimmy went for a superkick on The Miz, but he threw Mizdow in to take the impact. He rolled him up but Jimmy kicked out. I thought this was a good little part that kind of built this tension between Miz and Mizdow and I thought the match was over at this point.

Then I think Jey Uso was tagged in. He tried the top-rope splash but Miz put his knees up. He hit the Skull-Crushing Finale but AGAIN… another kick-out. This was highly-entertaining. Two HUGE near-falls. In the end, The Usos hit the double super kick on Miz, hit the splash for the 1, 2, 3. NEW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!

That was a good match. I think the tag title loss for Miz and Mizdow indicates to me that they’re setting up a split-up between the two. I think the Damien Mizdow thing has run its course at the moment. But we’ll see because Mizdow has been doing this since September and he’s still one of the most over-people on the show!

The Usos cut a horrible post-match promo when they offered Jerry Lawler a chance to be at a party with the Usos. I don’t know how the Usos like to party, but I’m sure Jerry Lawler would not fit in ANY scenario! They said they had played Miz with the Naomi angles they’ve been doing (Naomi had hugged Miz earlier on). And that ends that feud…

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Next up was Cesaro in the ring. He cut like a shoot-like promo on how the WWE thought he didn’t connect with the fans and that he was being pushed down because of this. Cesaro said that he lets his actions in the ring speak for him and I thought that Cesaro had a cut a very good promo… just a shame it was interrupted by the return of BAD NEWS BARRETT!

I seriously doubt that Bad News Barrett will work well as a face (assuming that the WWE are going down that route) but he was very over. You guys know I’m one of the biggest Barrett fans out there… but why did have to return and beat Cesaro? Cesaro was cutting a really good promo and he’s just squashed by Barrett in a matter of minutes. If Cesaro doesn’t get the push he deserves in 2015, I will be incredibly steemed. But it is good to see Bad News Barrett back in the ring.

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Luke Harper and Jack Swagger had a very long, very dull match which the fans were not into at all. I think they were trying to get into it at the end but then Harper just won the match. Someone else was trying to get a “We The People” chant going but when nobody else was doing it… he just gave up! It’s really hard for two big guys to put on an exciting match but this match was just so slow. And these two aren’t exactly the slowest people on the roster. You would have expected at least something a bit more than what we got here.

I also wanted to point this out… FOUR people on this show hit superkicks. Ziggler onto Rusev, both the Usos onto Miz and Harper onto Swagger… GET YOUR OWN MOVES!

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Next we had Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins. The match started off boring. A lot of headlocks and it did improve over time and it was getting exciting. Then the Big Show attacked Roman Reigns and THREW him into the announcers! You have to give Roman credit for the way he sold that! He then legitimately BURIED Roman under the announce table. I really wasn’t paying attention to a lot of it. I laughed at the Big Show’s laugh when he was doing commentary. Actually, the one thing I didn’t like about this was The Big Show. He pretty much spent most of the match burying the WWE’s “SUPERSTAR OF THE YEAR” on commentary and then beat him up afterwards. So this 40+ slow, injury-plauged giant just beat up the young, up-and-comer who is supposed to be the future of the WWE? Just… why?

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Daniel Bryan came out and cut a teary promo and hinted at retiring. However, he instead announced that he was going to be competing at the 2015 Royal Rumble match! Wow! A huge shocker with Bryan declaring himself to be competing at the Royal Rumble! There were rumors that WWE were planning this but I didn’t believe that Daniel would be ready for it. It’s good to see that he’s coming back for my favourtie match of the year! It’ll be interesting to see if he wins it or not because they’ve been preparing Roman Reigns to win it for so long. This might be making the change their minds! It wouldn’t be the first time!

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Edge and Christian had a pretty cool segment with The Miz and Damien Mizdow backstage and then gave them another match… with the Ascension! They got a good response. They got NXT chants… and they went over. Miz tagged Mizdow in right away and then Mizdow got the tar beat out of them. I think it was good they had the Ascension  debut by beating the former tag champions. They started off strong. I think this will lead to them beating the Usos for the tag titles at least before or at Wrestlemania. That’s my big prediction. I can see WWE really giving these guys the ball. But can they run with it and knock it out of the park? Only time will tell.

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Last segment. This was a LONG one believe it or not. This was around 20 minutes long. Seth Rollins was the guest on the Cutting Edge Peep Show. Seth talked about his respect for Edge and Christian, but they were just making fun outta him and didn’t believe him. He called out John Cena saying that Cena had something that belonged to him. He took out Christian and threatened to curb stomp Edge on the Money In The Bank briefcase. Cena came out and Seth ordered Cena to bring back the Authority. Otherwise he was gonna paralyze Edge by driving his head into the briefcase. And Cena… ACTUALLY DID IT!

He brought back the Authority and then tried to saved Edge as Rollins said he was going to “kill him anyway”. However, he was beaten up by Show, Rollins and J&J. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman then came out and shook hands with Rollins and this led to Triple H and Stephanie coming out celebrating with champagne.

I thought the segment was good, but the timing of this whole thing was just OFF by a landslide. They built up the Team Cena vs Authority match at Survivor Series like it was the biggest match in years. They had all these stipulations and the epic finish with Sting and Dolph Ziggler. The Authority was out of power…. and just a MONTH later, they are brought back? Look, I would much rather have the Authority in power than all these guest stars. Don’t get me wrong. But what was the point of the whole match if Cena was just going to bring them back a MONTH later. I mean they could have built up this “Rollins trying to make Cena bring them back” angle a little better. They could have done it where the stipulation of the tables match was, if Cena loses he must bring back the authority or something like that. But all it took was ONE threat to Edge and Cena caved in. Mr Never Give Up John Cena caved in after A MONTH!

 

I do think this was one of the best RAWs in the last couple of months. I know I sounded a bit salty throughout this article, but I honestly did like it! Loved the tag title match, a lot of great segments. And an important one… the Authority are back in power. Brock Lesnar was on the show. But I just think that the fans were worn out with everything that happened early on that it was hard to get back into it until the end, especially during Swagger vs Luke Harper. I thought it was good, but there was a lot of nonsense writing and booking involved here.

 

2013 NoDQ.com Awards – My Vote For… Catchphrase Of The Year

The Armbar Express is here. My name is Tom Robinson. If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been doing a series of blog posts dedicated to the NoDQ.com awards. If you want to read all of them, click on this link https://thearmbarexpress.wordpress.com/category/nodq-com/ for all my votes for the awards. And here’s another post.

Many great catchphrases have come and gone over the years. But which catchphrases stand out from the crowd? Well it’s time for you guys to know your role, and shut your mouth! Because it’s time, it’s TIME, it’s NODQ.COM POLL TIME! And that’s the bottom line, because the Armbar Express said so!

The nominations are….
Bully Ray – “Do You Know Who I Am?”

The Shield – “Believe In The Shield!”

Daniel Bryan – “YES!”/”NO!”

Triple H and members of the Authority – “Best For Business”

The Wyatt Family – “Follow The Buzzards”

CM Punk – “Best In The World”

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For this I’ve got to go with the catchphrase that’s caught on the most and that has resulted in the man using it becoming a huge megastar and of course I’m talking about Daniel Bryan’s “YES!” AND “NO!”. In most wrestling segments you watch now, not just Daniel Bryan segments, fans are going nuts chanting “YES!” “YES!” “YES!”. I jokingly stated before that the YES would become the next “WHAT?” of WWE and it has. In TNA, in ROH, fans far and wide are chanting YES and that’s the impact the word has had on wrestling. And Daniel Bryan has seen himself become one of the biggest stars in the business because of it! No contest really.

Winner: Daniel Bryan’s “YES! and “NO!”