Emma, Darren Young and Summer Rae RELEASED from WWE – Thoughts and Reactions

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express. Breaking news from today as three long-time main roster superstars have been released from WWE as Emma, Darren Young and Emma have departed from the company.

All three of these talents have been members of the RAW roster ever since the 2016 draft with very limited success for all three of them and long periods of absence in the last few years.

Emma was the first announced by WWE via their social media accounts and website. Emma has recently been a regular feature in WWE programming after several periods away from television for reasons such as injuries and even writing reasons. Emma had rose to fame initially from NXT before being promoted to the main roster to feud with, ironically, Summer Rae. After a few months of not really clicking on a main-roster level, Emma turned heel upon her return to NXT and saw her character develop dramatically. She returned to the main roster but her momentum was cut shot by an injury, leading to the bright idea of her to re-emerge as Emmalina. Due to her being in creative limbo and writers not really figuring out what to do with her, Emma went roughly 17 weeks before Emmalina debuted and literally just led to her being repackaged back to Emma. Emma had recently appearing at the TLC pay-per-view as Asuka’s first main roster opponent before her release.

Darren Young debuted in the first season of NXT before debuting on the main roster as part of the Nexus angle. Darren was exiled from the group after SummerSlam and after months of limited notoriety, partnered up with Titus O’Neil as part of the Prime Time Players. Darren and Titus teamed for a number of years and Darren actually won the tag team titles with Titus at Money In The Bank 2015. Darren’s singles career saw him aligned with Bob Backlund in the hopes of “making Darren Young great again.” Darren’s new repackaging eventually led to him receiving an Intercontinental Championship match at Battleground 2016. Darren was injured shortly after a feud with his old partner Titus, which has now led to his release.

Summer Rae debuted as the ring announcer in the newly rebooted NXT before eventually becoming a single competitor in the competitive women’s division featuring the likes of Emma and Paige. She eventually debuted on the main roster as Fandango’s dance partner, elevated as much as Fandango when his theme song became an international hit. Alongside this, Summer was pretty competitive in NXT and was aligned as a BFF of one Sasha Banks. Summer and Fandango eventually split and after a short stint aligned with Layla, Summer was eventually inserted into the infamous Dolph Ziggler/Lana storyline. Summer sided with Rusev but eventually broke up with him, leading to her siding with the debuting Tyler Breeze. Shortly after, Summer became injured and had yet to even appear on RAW since she was drafted in 2016 prior to her release.

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On the surface, these wrestlers weren’t exactly major players on the main roster in WWE. However, it is rather sad to see people lose jobs especially in a line of work as limited as wrestling is. For Summer and Emma, they both have opportunities outside of wrestling available to them like modelling and acting. I think there’s probably a chance for them to get their foot in the door. For Darren, very difficult to see where he may go from here. I don’t see him as a major player in the independent scene but as a WWE star, there’s probably a lot of decent money for him to make.

For Emma and Summer, I do see two cases of untapped potential with both of these girls. If you’ve ever watched Emma (and Summer to a degree), you can see that this girl was a hugely talented wrestler. She’s had great matches with Paige and Asuka in NXT. She’s probably better than at least 75% of the main roster which may be kind of pushing it. Regardless, she still had a lot of value and it was annoying as a fan of her to not see her at least take part in a major women’s title program. She could have been a great mentor to have for these new up-and-coming women, especially some of the ones from the Mae Young Classic.

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Summer was also a great talent too. I don’t really rate her highly as a worker but again, you don’t need to be the world’s greatest worker to be effective. Just look at Alexa for example. Summer was a great talker and really fit into the roles that she was given and her delivery was pretty good. I always rated Summer and it’s a shame she didn’t get one last run before her release.

I also have to give a lot of credit to Darren Young too, someone who has opened the doors for a lot of sports figures in terms of the LGBT community. Him publicly coming out as gay in 2013 did take a lot of courage and was widely commended among the wrestling community. In that aspect, I must give him a lot of credit.

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I do actually have a bone to pick before I sign off here because I want to address one of the more pathetic responses to the releases of Emma in particular, ironically from someone signed with WWE. The newly signed Lio Rush tweeted this out shortly after the news:

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Obviously, this is a reference to Emma’s match at TLC when she lost to Asuka. However, this guy making this comment only JUST after signing with WWE about these tough circumstances for a long-time WWE employee seemed so audacious to me. Someone that has “paid her dues” like Emma that’s just been told that she’s been cut and Lio, who has only been here for a short time, has the nerve to make light of this bad deal for Emma?

This tweet was actually quickly deleted by Lio, following a number of wrestlers like Bray Wyatt, Peyton Royce, Rosa Mendes and Jack Gallagher burying Lio for these comments. Lio did also apologise for this tweet but he did it in such a way that he apologised that the fans got upset about his comment which doesn’t strike me as a genuine apology or Lio taken responsibility for his comments.

I except Lio to get heat from this because, as the likes of Baron Corbin can vouch for, troublesome tweets can be hurtful for your career. I don’t think he’ll be fired for saying this but I can’t say that this will not make him many friends in developmental and on the main roster. This is trouble when you make light of the situation of the likes of Emma. Emma seems to be well liked within WWE so Lio may have just made things hard for him in the first stages of his WWE career.

Anyway, best of luck to Emma, Summer and Darren in whatever they do next. I wish them all the very best.

Main Event 31/05/16 Review: Sasha Banks vs Summer Rae – The Return Of The Boss

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express, with a small review of the women’s match from this week’s episode of Main Event. This episode featured the return of “The Boss” Sasha Banks to television, as she defeated Summer Rae upon her return. The main point of the match was for Sasha to return in triumphant fashion and beat her former BFF Summer Rae. No mention of their previous relationship by the commentators for this match. SPEAKING OF WHICH…

The commentators for this episode of Main Event was Tom Phillips, Jerry Lawler and guest commentator Dolph Ziggler. I know that there’s a lot of fans that love Dolph Ziggler but I have to be honest – this was a pretty bad outing from the man. In a way, I do feel bad for Dolph as this was probably just a last minute deal for him to be on this show as a commentator. I also think commentary is probably a lot more difficult than people realise. With that said though, he was just so hard to deal with on commentary. He started out seemingly lost and not having a lot to say. He and Lawler started cracking jokes about the women, including about how Ziggler apparently couldn’t remember Summer Rae’s name despite the fact that Ziggler and Summer were involved in one of the most promoted angles of 2015. We all know how that turned out…

Then, as Jerry Lawler was making jokes, Ziggler started talking and becoming a lot more active. He began raising his voice more and more until the closing part of the match, where all Ziggler did was just screech at the top of his lungs. All of this was just a complete channel-changer when it came to the commentary. Tom Phillips was average, Jerry did everything but talk about the match and Ziggler was just not a fit out there in the slightest. The thing that was most alarming and worrying about all of this though was their treatment of Summer Rae…

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Summer Rae came out to cut this promo and she’s trying her best to build up anticipation for the WWE Brand Extension. Even though she’s on the fourth most important show WWE has to offer, she’s doing the best with what she’s got. While she’s cutting this promo, the Main Event commentary team couldn’t help but laugh and mock her while she was talking. You could hear all of this sniggering from Jerry Lawler and Dolph Ziggler while Summer is cutting this promo, which was not actually that bad considering that there are far worse promo-cutters on the main roster than Summer. Actually, her delivery and her poise is pretty great. She carries herself around as unique and as a star, even if she isn’t one. She’s like the women’s division’s version of the Miz, who does such a great job in playing the heel that you love to boo.

Summer claimed that mainstream media were talking about where she would be going in the draft when Sasha Banks came out. Sasha was talking about everyone talking about the other women on the roster, when they should be talking about Sasha. Summer did mess up a little when she was talking about Sasha competing in the triple threat at WrestleMania, really just in the delivery. The announcers couldn’t help but laugh in order to hurt Summer’s credibility. She claimed that she would have won the Women’s title if she was in the women’s match at Mania and Sasha claimed that Summer couldn’t even catch Sasha’s mic. Sasha threw her mic at Summer and SUMMER CAUGHT IT! This led to a brawl to kick-off the match.

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The two girls brawled on the apron which led to Summer booting Sasha off it to take control. Summer did the submission that a lot of women do, where she gets behind her opponent and traps Sasha’s arms with her legs. To make a complete joke of the situation, Dolph asked Jerry if he’d ever been in that position. Jerry’s answer was “I wish.”

Summer hit some moves including the “Super Model Kick” which got a near fall. They went back-and-forth until Sasha won with the Bank Statement.

The match itself was OK but the commentary was the real highlight of the whole ordeal, although this was quite the opposite of a highlight in all honesty. It was memorable because in case you’ve missed it, WWE have spent the last year pushing the women’s division and attempting to give the women a new-found purpose. They wanted the fans to treat this more than just filler in between the angles involving the men. They wanted to make them seem as genuine commodities to the roster. On RAW, they made this big video package about Charlotte’s supposedly shocking turn on her father Ric. They had the likes of Dean Ambrose and ironically Dolph Ziggler talking about this big angle, in an attempt to make it seem like the Flair stuff was a major angle for the product. That’s how much they wanted this to work.

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Then I listen to this commentary and any faith in the idea that WWE are giving it their all to make this division vieable again is just quickly undone. If you want to build up someone as a top star in your company, then you need other wrestlers around in order to help elevate that person. You need “stars” in order to try and make a superstar out of your proposed champion. Sasha Banks is reportedly in line for a program with Charlotte, which is expected to be for Summerslam.

I personally don’t believe that these plans will stay the same and I’ve mentioned this a few times on the blog (I’ll leave the links for these posts at the bottom of this post). If these plans are legitimate and they ended up going with Sasha, they need to build her up right. Sasha beating women cleanly is fine. However, the announcers spent the entire segment and match burying Summer and trying to make her out to be a complete joke. Perception is reality, as the old saying goes, and how the fans perceive these acts will have a bigger effect than what everyone thinks.

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If the commentators are making Summer out to be a joke, the fans will perceive Summer Rae to be a joke. If the fans perceive Summer as a joke, they will perceive Sasha as a joke for not taking out this joke a lot sooner into the match (keep in mind that Summer had the majority of the heat too). If they perceive Sasha as a joke, they will perceive Charlotte and her title reign as a joke as only jokers are competing for her championship. If they perceive Charlotte as a joke, they will perceive the entire division as a joke as their champion has no legitimate challengers to pose as a threat as the whole division is filled with jokes. In fact, the announcers were laughing at the possibility of anyone caring about Summer Rae!

THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE LEGITIMATE MAIN EVENT OF THE SHOW.

I don’t care if this is the least most important show that WWE have to offer. This match is supposed to be the main attraction for the viewers of this particular episode and the announcers are telling you not to care by laughing at these talents. If I was a commentator, I’d be doing my best to tell you that these girls… ARE STARS.

It may seem as a small match to complain about but this was just one of the greater examples about how this division cannot possibly “evolve” with the direction they are taking it.

 

Related Links

WWE Not Banking On Sasha?

16/05/2016 RAW Review – Women’s Title Contract Signing Closes RAW Once Again

SLTD: The Women’s Devolution

 

TOP FIVE MOMENTS FROM WWE RAW (13/10/15)

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with another top five moments from RAW. God, do I not want to talk about this week’s show. Luckily, I was able to pick out five moments which were at least positives on RAW. However, this show was so bad. Usually, WWE try to go all out for RAWs and PPVs in Chicago. However, it seemed like they didn’t try at all with this one. Usually in the situation where the show is so bad that the fans just take over, Chicago is usually great at doing that. However, they hardly cared for a lot of what went down. They didn’t even care enough to start chanting “CM Punk” until the last hour of the show. There was the chant of “Husky Harris” which got on my nerves during the Bray Wyatt segment but the show just lost steam after the first hour. After The New Day vs Orton and Ambrose and Cena vs Ziggler, hardly anything eventful happened. There was quick match after quick match up until the main event, which actually wasn’t that bad. Anyway, let’s run down the top five moments…
1. John Cena vs Dolph Ziggler

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As with the majority of Cena’s US Open Challenge matches, this was another good one. A few weeks ago, I did a piece about whether they should do John Cena vs Dolph Ziggler in a feud. Initially, I feared that this feud was going to be about Nikki Bella (who both of them have dated in real-life). It turns out that it’s not the case and it might just be a singles feud for the US Championship. Of course, it might not last very long if John Cena is in fact taking time off. However, I have no problem with it if it helps Dolph Ziggler in the long run. Of course, the key term is… IF.

Even though he lost clean, I can’t say Dolph Ziggler was buried. True, Dolph gave Cena everything and Cena kicked out every time. However, I at least thought that Ziggler looked good when on the attack. Ziggler was mostly in control of the match and it could have been chalked up to just not being Ziggler’s day. I think Cena beating Ziggler after one Attitude Adjustment is a bit annoying. However, I think this finish sets things up nicely for Ziggler to potentially challenge for the belt again. I don’t have a problem with the match that much and I thought it was fine.

2. The New Day vs Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton

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This makes the top five moments list mostly due to the New Day. Dean and Orton were fine in this match but the New Day just really stole the show. They were awesome as usual. They ripped both Dean and Orton. They talked about destroying Cena, Ziggler and the Dudleyz the week before. They said that they were the most dominating group in WWE. They said they were better than the Shield, the Authority, Legacy and Evolution. Great promo by the New Day.

The tag team match that followed was actually a decent TV tag team match. It was a match of one-upmanship with Dean and Orton arguing while working together. The New Day won after Orton got pushed into Dean. Not bad stuff from these four. Great work.

There’s one little gripe I’ve got with this. Other than John Cena facing Dolph Ziggler in the match that they were supposed to have last week, there was no fallout from the big ending of last week when the New Day dominated. The New Day mentioned it but it’s not like Cena, Ziggler or the Dudleyz were mad at the New Day or anything for kicking their arses. The Dudleyz had their match with the Ascension and Cena and Dolph had their deal. That was the only negative thing to take away.

3. The Rusev/Lana/Dolph Ziggler/Summer Rae storyline… IS OVER!

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Thank the gods above that this storyline is over. It wasn’t doing any of the people involved any favours as I’ve mentioned before. It kind of seemed that they were done with it last week as Dolph challenged Cena in the US title open challenge. This week basically closed the book on the whole deal with Rusev and Lana’s engagement. That’s great but I just fear for the future of Rusev.

Rusev needed this feud to end but he sure got the wrong end of the stick with this feud ending. Rusev was beaten in three minutes by Ryback and Summer Rae humiliated him afterwards. There’s some reports going around that this is WWE’s way of punishing Rusev and Lana for their engagement as it broke kayfabe. I hadn’t seen or heard Dave Meltzer talk about it yet and I haven’t seen a lot of big wrestling news sites talk about it. Whether they were punishing him or not, this made Rusev look so bad. Rusev was probably the most integral part of the storyline and he got crushed in three minutes. Keep in mind, Rusev was one of the most protected superstars last year with his undefeated streak. Now, he’s jobbing out in three minutes. They could have easily done a finish where Summer tripped Rusev which lead to the finish and would lead into the break-up.

I’ll give the post-match segment credit. Summer Rae’s delivery was great. I think Summer is the one person in this storyline that has really excelled in her role. She’s the only one that understood her role and just shined. Rusev tried as hard as he could with it but he was just put in a hard position. However, all this storyline has done is simply wreck Rusev’s character. Rusev’s worse off now than when this storyline first started. Dolph Ziggler’s fine at the moment but only because WWE’s put him up against John Cena. However, where the hell does Rusev go from here?

This storyline… was a failure. This did nothing to elevate the careers of the people involved. Dolph Ziggler’s up against Cena but that has nothing to do with the storyline. If anything, this might have something to do with Total Divas more than anything. The storyline was also a failure in the logic of it all. This is what happens when you try to break up real life couples in a kayfabe world. Did these writers not remember what happened with Edge, Lita and Matt Hardy in 2005? To be fair, their real life problems actually helped elevate Hardy and Edge in the long run. My point is, the WWE tried to convince everyone that Ziggler and Lana were this legitimate couple that they should root for. Not only did this fool no one, it came crashing down when it was announced that Lana and Rusev got legitimately engaged.

When that happened, the WWE realised they had to pull the plug on it all. If Rusev and Lana are in the dog house for this engagement, then it’s a damn shame. You’re really going to give them heat for getting engaged and breaking kayfabe? It’s not their fault that WWE put them in this horrible storyline. It’s also not their obligation to postpone any real engagement plans until after this storyline wraps up just to satisfy WWE. I’m just thankful that it’s all over.

4. Kane vs Seth Rollins 

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I will be honest, Kane was given WAY too many backstage segments this week on RAW. The segments just seemed like time wasters, with only three of them actually having any bearing on the main event of the show at all. I don’t blame the crowd that started chanting “CM Punk” at the end. They weren’t chanting his name because they were expecting him to be Seth’s mystery opponent. They were chanting it because these segments were boring.

Kane’s delivery during this segment has usually been good but he just showed up way more than he should have tonight. The match itself was actually not that bad. I’ve seen better lumberjack matches but I haven’t seen worse ones. The KO spot with Big Show and the brawl actually added to the match a bit. I am not a fan of the finish of Seth getting beat again because this segment ended the same way all the Kane/Rollins segments have ended in the last few weeks. Masked Kane destroys Seth and Seth gets hardly any momentum in. It was great at the start but now it’s just getting repetitive and boring.

I read a shocking statistic last week. I read a statistic that in his last 16 matches, Seth had lost 15 of them. For a WWE World Heavyweight Champion, that’s shocking. Did he win this week? No! He lost again! This is really not good enough. What is preventing Seth from WINNING A MATCH? This man is representing your company and yet he’s lost to the US Champion several times and is getting beat by almost everyone else. Unbelievable.

5. New tag teams?

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The match itself was short and not that eventful, but the tag teams that were put together were actually not bad concepts. It was Cesaro and Neville teaming up against Sheamus and King Barrett. These two teams would actually make great additions to the tag team division but I highly doubt WWE will do anything with them. After all, they gave them a small amount this week. However, the concepts were good. I actually do have a good idea for a tag team for Cesaro which I’m planning an article for so stay tuned for that…

05/10/2015 RAW Review – The New Day Stands Tall As Hell in a Cell Draws Near

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After taking a brief detour at Madison Square Garden, the WWE are back on the road to Hell in a Cell. However, WWE were really under pressure with this edition of RAW. Last week’s RAW did record low numbers and WWE really had to pull out all the stops. Did this week’s RAW deliver?
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Brock Lesnar started off the show. “Suplex City” chants thundered around the arena as soon as the music ended. Paul Heyman cut a promo, calling Brock the “giant slayer.” He switched gears from Big Show to Undertaker at Hell in a Cell. Paul said that this was a fight that Undertaker could not win. He called Hell in a Cell the lair of the beast. They played this video package of Brock Lesnar breaking the streak which I swear they have used for well over a year now. It was the EXACT same video! It was a fantastic promo until Big Show showed up. He got “Please Retire” chants. Big Show admitted that Brock was the better man and wanted to shake his hand. However, Brock just walked past it. Big Show said that he hoped Brock would lose again against the Undertaker. Brock eventually took out Brock with a Belly to Belly and a F5. It was a great start to the show and a great start to the build-up to Hell in a Cell.

Seth talked to Stephanie and asked her to call off the tag team match with Seth and Big Show vs the Dudleyz (as Big Show just got taken out by Brock) but Steph refused, She told Seth to figure it out. I’d just like to say that Steph looked lovely tonight.

We had a six man tag team match to start the show. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton took on the Wyatt Family. So here, we got the match we probably would have gotten at Night of Champions if Jericho hadn’t showed up instead. The good guys took control before RAW went to an advert. Dean Ambrose played dead in the middle of the ring which was a funny moment. What looked like it hurt was Braun catching Dean and then just throwing him onto the floor. Ouch….

It’s important to note that I kind of got distracted because Dixie Carter was tweeting about Ethan Carter III’s injunction against TNA World Heavyweight Champion Matt Hardy! The match rolled on. Orton and Reigns both came in off hot tags. Dean and Braun got slowly hurdled over the barricade. Roman and Orton hit their finishers on Luke Harper for the win as Bray sat on the entrance ramp. A decent opener. I liked this match. Roman cut a short promo on Bray, saying that he was going to end things at Hell in a Cell.

Neville vs Sheamus with Wade Barrett on commentary. This was an all British affair which I’m all for. Sheamus called Neville a leprechaun in his pre-match promo. Neville attacked him to kick off the match. Barrett went to “have a word” with Neville about attacking him which lead to Sheamus Brogue kicking Neville for the win. A very short match on RAW. Someone made a good point on Twitter when they mentioned that Neville was out-muscled by the referee when he was pulling him away from Sheamus at the start of the match. That really shouldn’t be happening…

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Corporate Kane cut a promo. Kane suggested himself to be Seth’s tag team partner until Seth came out. Seth interrupted him and compared him to Tom Brady. He said that they both had deflated balls and that he wasn’t taking Kane’s crap. Kane and Seth argued back and forth. It was great chemistry between the two on the mic. Seth threatened to take Kane to hell before Stephanie interrupted them. Stephanie revealed that Seth sent the anonymous e-mail last week. Steph talked about Tom Brady leading the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl. Stephanie McMahon announced that Demon Kane will challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell. She also confirmed that Kane would be Seth Rollins’ partner for RAW. Lastly, she told Kane that if Demon Kane doesn’t win, Corporate Kane would be relived off his duties. Not a bad segment.

Seth seeked advise from Yoda, who manifested himself into Triple H.

Natalya vs Paige was next. Fans were chanting “We Want Sasha” TWENTY SECONDS into the match. This was a really good divas match. I liked Natalya tapping out Paige. Natalya looked weak when she returned, only to get beat by Naomi. I thought it was the right call. However, Dave Meltzer said that Paige MIGHT have done something wrong backstage which was the reason for her cleanly tapping out. Not quite sure what was it but we’ll see if it really effects her.

Ryback cut a small promo. I love how one of the first things he said was “Actions speak louder than words” and then proceeded to cut a promo on Kevin Owens! Mixed messages!

Kevin Owens was in a non-title match against Sin Cara. Kevin mocked the “Lucha” chant the Lucha Dragons do which got a chuckle from me. Kevin had some incredible comments during the match, including calling Kalisto a 12 year old! Anyway, Kevin beat him in a match that was really all about Kevin’s comments in the ring! Ryback saved the Lucha Dragons from a beat down… BY ONE MAN! That’s some whacked logic right there.

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The New Day approached Stephanie, who was annoyed by them. Stephanie said that if Xaiver played one note of the trombone, she’d send them to a place that’d make Suplex City seem like Disneyland! I liked that comment and I liked this segment! She announced that it would be the Dudley Boyz vs New Day for the tag titles at Hell in a Cell which upset the group.

John Cena and Roman Reigns were in the ring with the Komen charity. John Cena cut a really nice promo on the charity. I know Roman Reigns is a big part of this charity campaign, but him cutting his promo after a big brawl with the Wyatts earlier just completely hurt the intensity his character had just built up for himself. Not going to bury this segment or anything but that was the one drawback I think.

Seth Rollins and Corporate Kane vs the Dudley Boyz. There was a “Save The Tables” chant at the start of the match which I loved! Among the great chants during this match was “We want Spike” and “We want Sasha!” Sasha Banks was really over tonight! Kane was “working” with a bad ankle. Seth told Kane to take it easy throughout. Kane went for a small dropkick but fell over. The doctor told Kane to go to the back but Seth handcuffed Kane to the ring post. The handcuffs broke and Kane was taken to the back. Kane smiled on his way back as Seth was left alone to fight the Dudleyz. The Dudleyz gained control and the Dudleyz got the table. When Seth dropkicked the table onto the Dudleyz, the ref called for the bell. Then Demon Kane came out for Seth and attacked him. Kane was going for the chokeslam but the Dudley Boyz hit the 3D on Kane. Seth tried to put Kane through the table but ended up getting chokeslammed through it.

I thought all the Kane and Seth Rollins stuff from RAW was actually good. There was just a LOT of time given to the two of them. There’s just a lot to take in and their last segment just seemed to drag.

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Team B.A.D. vs Team Bella. This was a rematch from SmackDown! Team B.A.D. got one of the biggest reactions of the night and that was largely due to Sasha! Sasha cut a promo. Sasha said she put the “boss” in Boston. She was cut off by the Bellas. Nikki talked about going all the way and Naomi responded by saying that going all the way was something Nikki was used to. Sasha said that the champion was warming the title up for her. This broke down into an argument and it was actually a good pre-match segment between the two. I think these two teams just have good chemistry together on the mic. Naomi and Sasha were great especially.

This was not a great six man tag. Brie messed up a couple of takedowns. Alicia looked like she was putting herself to sleep with the sleeper hold she applied to Naomi. Sasha came in off the hot tag. Brie Bella sold Tamina Snuka’s super kick like she was a fish out of water. Team B.A.D. won the match after Sasha submitted Alicia. Sasha was spared the usual hometown humiliation and came out strong after tonight.

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We saw the continuation of the Rusev saga. Summer Rae called out Rusev. They played an incredible video package of Rusev and Summer together. Summer Rae then PROPOSED to Rusev! Yep, this actually happened. Rusev said yes… but not yet. Rusev said he needs gold around his waist before Summer can get gold around her finger. I like this turn of events. Rusev actually took more interest into his career than his love life for once. This made Rusev seem serious which I’m all about.

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It was time for the John Cena US Open Challenge. Dolph Ziggler initially answered the call but was taken out by the New Day. Big E took his place. It was a nice little match. Kofi and Xaiver got thrown out and Big E tried to hit John Cena with the trombone but Cena countered it into a AA for the win. Ziggler came out to help but accidentally super kicked Cena. The Dudley Boyz came out to attack the New Day but they got beaten up too. In a shocker, the heels the New Day beat the good guys THREE ON FOUR! Damn! The New Day looked powerful as hell with this ending!

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It was not a bad RAW. I think it was better than last week’s and it did do a better viewership number then last week. I think average is the best way to describe it to be honest!

Should WWE Do John Cena Vs Dolph Ziggler?

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One of the rumoured future storylines that’s apparently on the horizon for WWE is as a result of the events of the season finale of Total Divas. This storyline has actually been endorsed by WWE legend Mick Foley and might actually do a decent job of making a start out of one of the wrestlers involved. That’s mostly due to the fact that he’s feuding with the man that has consistently been the WWE’s franchise star for the last 10 years. The rumour is that WWE are discussing plans to begin a feud between John Cena and Dolph Ziggler with the storyline being centred about someone that has dated both men… Nikki Bella.

It’s started off as just small rumours. I haven’t seen Total Divas (yet, but that’s a venture for another time!) but what I can gather from it was that Dolph Ziggler admitted that he was still interested in ex-girlfriend Nikki Bella. My first reaction was… “Wait… Dolph Ziggler dated Nikki Bella?” I did some research and it turns out… they did! According to former WWE diva Maria, there was an incident involving her and Nikki which resulted in heat between the Bellas after she was caught hanging out with Ziggler.

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Mick Foley is convinced that this sort of angle is the kind of thing that Dolph Ziggler needs. Here’s what he posted on Facebook:

“Properly executed, a Dolph Ziggler/John Cena feud could be HUGE! The MOMENT I saw the teaser for the ‪#‎TotalDivas‬ finale – with Dolph, the very real-life former boyfriend of Nicki Bella, telling his former flame he could be a husband and a father – I literally yelled “THAT’S THE ANGLE! THIS IS WHAT ZIGGLER NEEDS!” into my living room. There’s no doubt in my mind that a vicious (as opposed to cool) Ziggler with Nicki Bella by his side could be THE man in ‪#‎WWE‬. Tell me what you think. Will this dream scenario see the light of day?”

It’s interesting because WWE have done a number of storylines in the past to tie-in to the events of Total Divas. However, those storylines really just involved the women involved in the program. Few male wrestlers are effected. However, now it’s different. I mean now we are talking about Dolph Ziggler and JOHN CENA of all people. Surely Dolph would have turn heel in order to make this storyline work. It’d also be strange to see John Cena’s WWE storylines being centred around a reality show.

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Dolph Ziggler would caught in a very sticky situation. Dolph Ziggler is currently in a storyline where he is “dating” Lana but also “flirting” with Rusev’s “girlfriend” Summer Rae. Personally, I would be OVER THE MOON if they dropped this storyline tomorrow. Rusev’s career is slowly being crippled by that storyline and it would be great to just see Lana return to her position by Rusev’s side. I’m sure they’ll be much better things for Summer Rae to do to as well. She could join up with Sasha Banks again! However, if they dropped this storyline and Ziggler enters the love traingle with Cena and Nikki, how confusing would this be to the fans?

If this storyline actually happens, then Ziggler will have had two romance storylines in a row. In fact, Cena and Ziggler were both in a romance angle storyline together three years ago! That’s not great for Dolph. His character has been mostly interested with getting with every chick on the roster rather than actually competing for championships! If the US Championship were also involved, that’d be fine. However, why include Nikki Bella if that’s the case? Having Ziggler and Cena fight for a title and a woman could hurt the image of the title if those two think it’s better to fight for the affection of Nikki. A great example of this was during Kurt Angle’s feud with Triple H over Stephanie McMahon. At Summerslam 2000, The Rock defended the WWF title against both men. However, the story of the match was centred around Stephanie, Kurt and HHH. Therefore, The Rock’s championship was taking a back seat to the love traingle storyline which hurt the main event of the show. I don’t want John Cena’s US Championship to take a back seat a love traingle involving himself, Nikki and Ziggler.

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I would much rather Cena simply drop the title before getting involved in a storyline like this but he provides so much to the product with his US title Open Challenge. I wouldn’t want his title taking a back seat to this love traingle but I wouldn’t want him to drop the belt. I think with that in mind, this feud really shouldn’t be happening.

I’m sure that Dolph Ziggler could become a big star off of this storyline. However, WWE RAW is not a show centred around soap operas. It’s centred around competition and entertainment. If people wanted to watch soap opera storylines, they are not going to watch RAW. They’d watch something like Scandal or anything else with that kind of storyline. They would not watch three wrestlers involved in that situation. They want those wrestlers… to fight.

Everything That’s Wrong With The Dolph Ziggler/Lana/Rusev Storyline

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There have been many bad love triangle storylines in WWE over the years. There are many reasons why storylines like this hardly ever work. You do get the odd little gem from time to time, like Stephanie McMahon, Kurt Angle and Triple H from 2000. However, most of the the time, they are incredibly hard to get into. It’s not necessarily down to the people involved but it’s for one simple reason. Bryan Alvarez said it best. If the casual fan base wants to watch actual soap opera storylines and scripted television, they are not going to watch RAW. They’ll watch the likes of Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones. If you want to watch soap operas in England, you’d watch Coronation Street or Eastenders. These fans would not watch wrestling for a cheap imitation of a soap opera. That’s usually the jists of why these storylines usually fail. Guess what… that’s exactly the issue with this current storyline between Lana, Dolph Ziggler, Rusev and Summer Rae.

Let me just say that I feel bad for everyone involved in this storyline. I especially feel sorry for them after watching this week’s RAW. This storyline is one of the worst aspects of WWE television nowadays… and it was more prominently featured than anything else on the show. The other thing is the timing of every angle from this storyline on Monday seemed all messed up. Firstly, they had the match between Dolph Ziggler and Rusev FIRST. This was a rematch from Summerslam that was announced two days before RAW. Fans would normally be getting excited about the prospect of seeing a clear winner after their Summerslam match solved nothing. However, they just shot this match on first like it meant nothing. It was basically there to act as a prelude for the rest of the night with regards to this storyline. The only PROBLEM with that is, the ending of the match didn’t do anything that would lead into the storyline later on in the show. It was essentially the same finish from Summerslam! That’s why this infuriates me. With everything that happened later on, surely those would be the sort of things that would hype up a match for later on?

Why not have Lana and Dolph Ziggler cut the promo about the match at the start of the show? They can talk about their relationship and making out in Disneyland, etc. Whatever. Then, Summer Rae goes into Dolph Ziggler’s locker room. After that, Summer comes out and Ziggler is seen with his towel on in his locker room. We then hear from Summer Rae as she does her interview about the incident with Ziggler. To be fair, Summer’s actually playing her role really well and she’s actually a pretty good talker on the mic. I’ll give her credit for that. Lana is asked about this interview by Renee Young but she walks off. Ziggler then tries to explain what happened to Lana but she leaves the building sad and upset. This would leave Ziggler all alone to go up against Rusev. Rusev would be pissed because Ziggler was apparently “fooling around” with Summer Rae while Ziggler would be mad at Summer and would take his frustrations out on Rusev in the match. Without Lana at ringside, Rusev beats him in the middle. Or if you still want the DQ finish, Summer attacks Ziggler to cause a DQ. That’s it. It’s simple booking that would lead to people POTENTIALLY getting more anticipated for the match between Rusev and Dolph Ziggler later on in the show!

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I’m not going to lie. Even IF they tweaked the timing of the angles, I still probably would have hated it! However, I am not a casual wrestling fan. If you want to get a soap opera storyline over with the casual fan base, you have to at least have it make SENSE. When you’re watching something like Game of Thrones or the Walking Dead, they usually don’t have a big fight scene or the most important part of the storyline be shown at the start of an episode. The writers build up to that point. These writers in WWE didn’t build up to the big advertised match of Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev. Why would anyone care if you’re just going to shot the match on first with the same finish that you delivered on pay-per-view?

Then there’s the character’s involved in the storyline. Unless you are legitimate actors, it is very hard to convince someone that you’re in a relationship with somebody when you’re not ACTUALLY with them. Dolph Ziggler and Lana have the hardest jobs in the world to try and convince everyone that they ARE in fact in a relationship. How do you convince the WWE Universe that you are in love with this girl when her kayfabe ex-boyfriend Rusev IS her real life boyfriend? I give Lana and Dolph Ziggler all the credit in the world. They’re trying so hard for this stupid storyline to work. WWE have to constantly try to force this relationship upon you in the most cheesiest of ways. The Instagram photos of Ziggler and Lana kissing in Disneyland was mentioned so much during this show! However, you’re putting two characters that are polar opposites together. It’s like when you start off in school or college. It’s the typical relationship that all your friends are trying to put together, but since you’re not that invested, it falls apart. If Ziggler and Lana don’t seem romantically involved then how is this POSSIBLY going to work?

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However, I feel that the person that gets the most sympathy from me… is Rusev. This lad was a cold-hearted destructive Russian power house. He went ONE YEAR undefeated and beat the likes of Sheamus, Mark Henry, Big Show and even JOHN CENA on television and PPV. That’s one hell of a bragging right. However, what this storyline has reduced Rusev to is a heart-broken, sensitive ex-boyfriend. If you’re seeing your ex with somebody else for the first time, of course you’re going to feel emotionally wound up. It’s an extreme reaction which has lead to Rusev doing crazy things like dressing Summer Rae as Lana. He’s the VICTIM of this entire storyline! How do you not feel sympathetic for him in this situation?

Rusev did break up with Lana and was apparently “cruel” to Lana during their relationship. However, Lana was over his relationship with Rusev… in an hour. An hour after Rusev broke up with her, she kissed Dolph Ziggler! Furthermore, with Rusev’s leg injury, he was reduced to crutches having to watch Lana and Ziggler make out every week in the first few months of this storyline! How does Rusev get credibility back as this dominating monster? Considering that WWE has now exposed Rusev as a man with exploitable weaknesses and emotional feelings, it has taken away the fear of the mighty Rusev that made him such a force to be reckoned with in 2015!

This is why I hate how monsters are used in WWE. As soon as you reveal an emotional aspect of these big, bad monsters, it complete ruins the fear factor that they hold. How do you expect Rusev to be taken seriously when he’s going into fits over his ex and having comedy angles involving fish and puppies? This storyline… sucks.

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I really wished this wrapped up at Summerslam. I really did. All they did on Summerslam itself was just waste everybody’s time. In their match on RAW, they wasted everybody’s time. In the segments following that match, they made things even worse. I’m still amazed that Ziggler and Lana are still getting massive reactions after being put through all this. All I’m hoping for at this moment is that they pull the plug on this storyline. Rusev doesn’t deserve this. Dolph Ziggler doesn’t deserve this. Who benefits from seeing this storyline? Why do we need to see this storyline? How badly do you need to cripple the careers of these two great workers until we see this tedious storyline meet its end?