|IMAGE CREDIT: WWE.com|
Once you're in a position like that, you can choose to do one of two things with it. You can either use it to the advantage of the company and help elevate new stars, or you can say to hell with that and constantly remind everyone that you're better come what may. I purposely grouped Chris Jericho and Triple H together, because over the last few months, both have given examples of the different approaches I'm talking about here.
Jericho's selflessness when it comes to who he works with his legendary. In fact, the last few years of his career seem to have been dedicated to him using his bulletproof position in the hearts of the fans to help others. Randy Orton, Evan Bourne, CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler have all been recipients of Jericho's selflessness.
More recently, Fandango has received the Jericho treatment. The company clearly wanted Fandango to be a huge star, and entrusted Jericho to help make him one. For his part, Jericho has done his utmost to do that, which meant everything from allowing Fandango to beat him up every week, to losing to Fandango in his début match at WrestleMania 29.
Because of Jericho, Fandango managed to get a strong start to his career and look really good, despite being saddled with a caricature gimmick. If he sinks now, it won't be for the lack of trying on Jericho's part.
Someone who probably could've done with debuting against someone like Jericho was Curtis Axel. The former Michael McGillicutty was re-introduced this week on Raw to a lot of hype, as the third member of Paul Heyman's unit. The latest certified Heyman Guy. It seemed obvious, given all of this, that the company were looking to make something of Axel.
That was until Triple H arrived. And instead of using his bulletproof position to make Axel look better and more important than he actually is at this stage, Triple H decided to take the other road. He tore him down, made him look stupid with a dismissive attitude and a humiliating slap, and in the end took over the show once again in what seems to be a prelude to a story when Triple H returns to our screens at some point in the future.
Wrestling fans are outraged by it, and it really did nothing to lessen the bad taste Triple H's character puts in a lot of people's mouths (mine included) on a regular basis. It was completely counter productive and showed that though Triple H might be a positive force in the real life WWE offices, he's no help when he steps in front of the camera.
And if Chris Jericho's career is a list of selfless acts, Triple H's is a litany of selfishness and ego stroking. Just ask Sheamus, who was being pushed hard by the company in 2010, but was made to lose to Triple H at WrestleMania 26. Or CM Punk, who had a rocket strapped to his back and was fresh off of two clean victories over John Cena, but when it came time to face Triple H he only managed to scrape a no contest. Even The Shield have indirectly felt The Game's selfishness, as he's the only person who's dodged a triple powerbomb despite coming into contact with the group.
I don't understand Triple H's thought process on Monday night. It seemed like he was just intent on not only taking over the show, but in tearing down Curtis Axel before he'd even had a chance to do anything (poor guy hadn't even been properly introduced yet). Triple H often gets accused of spotlight hogging and parade raining on top of a myriad of other things, and when he pulls things like that, it's hard to argue. It's unfortunate that he seems so intent on reminding everybody that he's the star of the show, because at this point in his career, he could be using his name and reputation (or at least the one he has in WWE lore) to help people.
Yes, I realise that I'm talking about the wrestling business, which hardly has a history of tales of selfless acts by performers of a certain level. And maybe Chris Jericho is the exception to the rule. But when you're the real life heir to the WWE throne, not to mention the guy in charge of talent relations, it's probably a good idea not to shit on the people who will be working for you one day. On screen, that's all Triple H has done for years. Perhaps it's about time he watched Chris Jericho work and learn a thing or two about the art of selflessness.
IMAGE CREDIT: WWE.com
And then Triple H swoops in to respond to something Heyman said like ten minutes ago, treat Axel like a complete dweeb, and make everything about him again. I hated the “the adults are talking, junior” shit and the slap. I forgave it in the moment because Triple H made a match between the two of them and I thought maybe he was going to make his time on Raw count for something other than ego stroking. But nah, of course not. It wasn't about Triple H trying to help make a new star out of Curtis Axel, it was just another thing where we're all supposed to feel bad for Triple H and think of him as Amazing Gutsy Warrior Legend.
But you shouldn't. Not just because Triple H is a massive dick, but also because of what you were told the whole match: he ignored medical advice. He was told not to wrestle, but because he's a WWE babyface and he's ignorant, he did it anyway. Basically, he's an idiot.
I'd take one hundred Sheamus's if this version of Triple H just went away. I'm so tired of his whole shtick. I really am. It's more than just annoying, it's downright infuriating and the complete opposite of what WWE and he himself thinks he's being. They think he's the ultimate cool babyface, when actually, he's not even a cool heel in a babyface's body. He's just a dick, plain and simple. But as long as the sheep cheer and chant his name, he's happy and he'll continue to threaten non wrestlers and tornado through other people's time to be the headline. Why? Well, I'll let him tell you himself: “Simply because I can”.
Other Raw Ramblings:
- Could someone PLEASE take the microphone away from Ryback and give it to someone who can actually do this? Anyway. Ryback travelled to Raw in the back of an ambulance, which isn't as cool as travelling to Raw in a helicopter but whatever. Apparently, John Cena refused medical attention as well (I can't even askllkjs!1! x2). So, since Cena didn't go to the hospital when he should've done and there was no winner in the Last Man Standing match, Ryback wants to send him there personally and have an Ambulance Match at Payback.
I'm not opposed to this idea. It's nice that the story is dictating the stipulations, not the other way around. At least everything makes sense. Last Man Standing was because Cena's ankle was hurt, and the ambulance thing is because he refused to go there so Ryback's just going to make him. I just wish that: A) these stipulations weren't born out of Cena being an idiot and letting his bravado get in the way of being smart. He threw away his chance to choose the stip at Extreme Rules, and then decided against medical advice and didn't go to the hospital just because. And B) TAKE THE MICROPHONE AWAY FROM RYBACK. STAT.
- The Shield are now Champions, if you didn't know already. But there's no rest for the wicked, so they had a tag team match against Team Hell No and Kofi Kingston. Shield won, but not because of NUMBERS~ like WWE want you to think. They won because they're good at this shit. Better than anyone else you know and better than anyone else WWE has. They know how to work a six man tag team match to their best advantage, and they won because they're intelligent. Why am I not saying this about babyfaces? Point is, Shield won after a fun six man tag.
However, while this six man made me happy, the thought of Daniel Bryan being upset doesn't. Kane, you need to fix this. Your halo is already slipping. If Daniel gets so upset that he shaves his beard off and stops being adorable, you and I are going to fall out.
- Chris Jericho and The Miz beat Fandango and Wade Barrett, who has new new music but no matter how many new songs he tries, it never gets any better. Jericho and Miz won because Fandango just can't, Fandango just can't, Fandango just can't control his feet. (SHAMONE!) Jericho and Miz chased Fandango off, and then Jericho humiliated Summer Rae which made Michael Cole wet himself.
Speaking of Michael Cole, when Cole snorted that Jericho ditching Summer Rae was funny, it hit me what WWE commentary is like these days. It's like what you'd hear if you eaves dropped on a bunch of 12 year olds watching and talking to each other about wrestling. To them, Triple H is funny, Fandango is gay because he dances and it's okay to sit there for an entire match calling AJ Lee a big nasty slut.
- Sheamus beat Titus O'Neil in a match that went surprisingly long. It was one of those things you expect Sheamus to walk through, but Titus managed to hold his own for a while before the result you expected happened. In sadder news, apparently Mark Henry has pulled a CM Punk on us and has gone home. This sucks. See, Sheamus just ruins everything.
- Big E Langston beat Alberto Del Rio thanks to AJ interfering. Look, I get why this happened, and I know that it can be argued that Del Rio only lost because of interference. But we all heard how little the fans cared about Del Rio at Extreme Rules, and it has a lot to do with the fact that he's spent since WrestleMania winning sporadically but also losing in cycles against Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler or an associate. If you present a guy as a loser who gets lucky sometimes but then goes back to losing, fans will give up caring. Based on Extreme Rules, people don't care about Del Rio, and I'd be willing to bet it has a lot to do with the last six weeks. No matter what, it's a problem and it needs fixing.
- AJ Lee beat Layla with the Black Widow. Much as I enjoy Kaitlyn, I love AJ. I know I'm supposed to hate her because she's got STD's and is a man eater or whatever that bullshit is WWE has Cole and Lawler spout, but I can't help myself. I have a soft spot for her, I want to see her happy, and I want to see her win the Divas Championship. So if we could get that done soon, that'd be great.
- Cody Rhodes beat Zack Ryder because that's Zack Ryder's job for now, and then Slappy Head came out to put Ryder in an ambulance. Do I really need to explain why that's apropos?
- Randy Orton did something, but for the life of me, I can't think why I need to put myself through talking about it.
- And by the way, WWE has an App they made and think you should download. But they're too shy to tell you themselves, so I figured I'd do it for them.
|*Channels inner Nelson* HA HA! HA HA! HA HA!|
So, I'm not going to go too in depth on the third Lesnar vs. Triple H. But as a back handed compliment, I'll say that I'm glad Triple H's ego for his portrayal on TV isn't as big as I thought it'd be. I really expected a Triple H victory here, so it was a nice surprise. But the fact that Lesnar is now 2-1 against him puts fear in me that we're setting up for a fourth match. (Just remember, Game, I can take away my backhanded compliment. Don't try me. Just don't.)
It's too late for Brock Lesnar to be what he could've been in his WWE run. They've already made him a WWE heel. But there's no reason he can't become the ass kicker who makes people piss their pants like he promised us when he first came in. I just hope WWE are wanting to do that again now, which is what this victory is symbolic of.
Other Extreme Rules Ramblings:
- Before this show, I said that if Ryback didn't win the WWE Championship he was done. So you'd have thought that I'd have disagreed with him not winning the Title here. But sometimes, just NOT losing to John Cena can be good enough.
If Cena had pulled his SuperCena routine he nearly had out in full force against The Shield on Monday, I'd be spewing some vintage NERDRAGE right now. But the finish here, with Ryback ramming them both through the set and neither answering a ten count was good enough. Hey, at least they put some thought into how the feud would continue after this show. That said, Ryback does need to end up with the Title eventually. He needs something to justify this heel turn. Sooner than later, too.
One more thing: could Ryback have done his annoying taunts ANY MORE during this match? It's like he wanted my head to explode. I'm sure he slapped his head about twenty times. And that cup the ear and yell “HUH?” thing HAS TO GO.
(Just a random note since we're talking about the set: at some point during a close up of it, I had to spare a thought for whoever was responsible for all the different lighting commands. You're a fucking saint.)
- The Shield made a clean sweep of the gold, as we all expected;
Dean Ambrose was up first, swiping the United States Championship from Kofi Kingston, after Kofi wanted to be all heroic and not take a count out loss. I have to say, it makes it easier knowing that Kingston only won the Title from Antonio Cesaro to drop it to Dean Ambrose. It really does. WWE taketh away, WWE giveth back, I guess. But I digress.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns beat Team Hell No in a tornado match to take the Tag Titles. There's not much to say here. Roman Reigns earned his stripes in this match. We got to see a bit more out of him than we usually do, which was nice. He's still my third favourite Shield member, but he's at least doing something other than Scream Powerbomb Leave. Maybe he has been all along and I've just been too busy trying to picture Dean Ambrose saying “Why So Serious?”
I also noticed in the tag match how much I'll miss Team Hell No when it dies. They really are cute together, and it just feels like they should be around forever. But know this: the MINUTE Kane turns on Daniel Bryan and blames Bryan for his own failings (WHICH HE WILL), he sucks again. Even if he doesn't, and I'm talking about how he's really good despite being Daniel Bryan-less Kane, he sucks. An enemy of Daniel Bryan's Beard's is an enemy of mine.
- Sheamus and Mark Henry had a Giraffe's Neck Brace... uh, sorry, “Strap” Match. Before I get into that, go back and watch Sheamus's interview with Josh Mathews. Josh asks him how he thinks he's going to be able to drag Mark Henry around the ring. Instead of answering, he quotes Henry's weight advantage over him, flippantly mentions Henry being able to break a world fucking record for a feat of strength like it was nothing, and then just says something about being extreme. Then just walks off like he gave a considered answer. He didn't. It was like he forgot the question half way through and just went to his themed-PPV-themed threat. Either that or he's so up his own backside that he assumes he'll win somehow and doesn't worry about it. Yeah, that's it. You're a poo, Sheamus. A pasty, immature, Irish dollop of poo.
As far as the match goes, it was okay. I liked that both guys were just focused on winning. Too many of these matches in WWE become about “punishing your opponent” and not just “winning the match”. This was just both guys scrambling to beat the other, because under Sheamus's horse shit, this whole rivalry has been about who the better man is. It was nice to see wanting to win be the story instead of being an afterthought.
- I enjoyed Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger, but it looked like I was the only one, because the crowd didn't seem to care. Dare I say that this is what happens when you present two guys who have spent the better part of six weeks LOSING TO EACH OTHER. The match was supposed to tell the story of how valiant Del Rio was, but the crowd gave not fuck one. At one point, I'm sure someone actually yelled “GIVE UP!” at him.
The instant replay thing is interesting, but WWE have to be careful. Theoretically, they can never do a screwjob finish again. They've set the precedent. Yeah I know, WWE are lazy and it's whatever they need to do in that moment, so fuck precedent. But still, how can they do a “referee didn't see the foot” or “referee didn't catch the interference” again if Mark Yeaton is Mary Poppins and has a TV in his bag? I mean, where the fuck did that monitor come from? And did neither of them notice that giant fucking screen which had been relaying everything at the top of the entrance? Finally, where were all the replays for THIS finish, when it mattered and actually would've helped to replay the finish a gazillion times, like we got for Ryback-Cena?
- Chris Jericho beat Fandango, which is about all I have to say about this match. I think we can safely say the Fandango phase is over. At least, the fans are done with it. And I can't say I'm that disappointed.
- Randy Orton beat Big Show... Wait, what was that about Fandango again?
Overall, an average pay-per-view from WWE. Brilliant to justifiable decision making across the board, and every match delivered something. There wasn't a stinker on the show which was nice. WWE have opened a couple of the lines I talked about – i.e. Shield sweeping the Titles and Lesnar winning – for the next few months of story.
|IMAGE CREDIT: WWE.com|
This is a make or break pay-per-view for Ryback, in my opinion. WWE have to put the WWE Championship on him. And it would seem, evidenced by the fact that WWE have played up John Cena's ankle injury to the last minute, that the company are setting things up that way. Cena can never just lose. There has to be an asterisk attached somewhere. Not that that matters much, as long as Ryback leaves with the WWE Championship. His character needs that to justify the heel turn, and the amount of attention he's had.
Moreover, he needs it to revive his character. He's not exactly the hot topic he was back in October, when it would've been more timely to put the Title on him. Extenuating circumstances prevented it then. But they have to do it now. However, even if they do, it needs to be asked whether it's too little, too late. Has the time come and gone for Ryback winning the Title to be most effective? And if so, how does that affect him going forward?
The Shield look set to make a clean sweep of the Titles. At least, they should. It's the next logical progression for the group who has beaten everybody to now have a bit of gold around their waists. But we must remember that we are talking about the United States and Tag Team Titles, and it's still the case that neither means much.
Team Hell No have been fantastic together, but they've eclipsed the fact that they wear the big pennies. Your first thought isn't “champions”, it's “entertaining and at times completely adoreable pairing which should never have worked but did and it's amazing”. And even though Team Hell No were the best choice to start building a division around, there's still no division to speak of, which is how and why they eclipsed the titles. What good is being champion of a division filled with wishy washy contenders?
As for the United States Title, it's a joke. A token belt for mid carders, and something for Kofi Kingston to carry around every few months.
Regardless, The Shield should take both Titles. It's only logical, and it can only help those Titles to be associated with three of the most prominent and well protected characters in the entire company.
Brock Lesnar and Triple H have their rubber match inside a Steel Cage. I'm hoping that, like with Cena, the Cage is there to soften the WWE percieved blow of a Triple H loss. The stupid thing about WWE is that they're eager to protect those who don't need it, but fail to protect those who do. In an odd way, Lesnar needs protection. He should be protected from looking too weak and from losing until WWE finds the right guy to beat him.
Obviously, it's too late for Lesnar to be unbeaten. He's already lost to Cena and Triple H. But WWE can still do some kind of damage control by having Lesnar beat Triple H. At least it's some momentum for him, even if his entire WWE run (minus SummerSlam) has been mishandled.
This doesn't even factor in that it's possible these things won't happen. After all, WWE love to have John Cena overcome the odds, and to beat Ryback in a Last Man Standing match with a bad ankle might be too much for WWE to resist. And while The Shield have been protected almost perfectly as a group, WWE are hinting at the fact that they're not so clever divided. As for Lesnar vs Triple H, do I even need to explain to you why it's possible Triple H will win?
What WWE does at and after Extreme Rules decides whether we hit a lull or not. If Cena “overcomes the odds” again, Shield lose because they don't have “the numbers game”, and Triple H wins because he's Triple H, we'll hit that lull. The show will have no steam and nowhere to go. But if Ryback becomes WWE Champion, Shield sweep up the mid-card Titles and Brock Lesnar decimates Triple H inside a Steel Cage, then we're talking about something else entirely.
|IMAGE CREDIT: ImpactWrestling.com|
The excuses which are being given for Aries range from pathetic to frightening.
Some are saying that Hemme “deserves it” because she dresses provocatively. This is the same argument about girls who dress provocatively on a night out. People say they're “asking for it” if they dress like that. On a broad note: I don't care how ANY woman dresses, it's no excuse to take advantage of them. And case specific, I don't see what how Hemme dresses has anything to do with what Aries did.
The other excuse is that “he didn't touch her.” People saying this are completely missing the point. It doesn't matter if he touched her. He trapped her in a corner and stuck his crotch inches from her face while she flinched, clearly uncomfortable with it. Read that to yourself again until you see why it's completely irrelevant whether he fucking touched her or not.
The most frequent excuse, though, is that Aries was playing up to the fact that he's a villain. This is where people are confusing what's art and what isn't. If that was Impact's way of planting a seed for a story in which Aries is a jerk to women, is vilified for it and at a later date gets comeuppance, then we can excuse it. Because at that point Impact are telling a story, and a worthwhile one at that.
But in this scenario, it was Aries punishing Hemme for making a mistake. A guy going too far. How can I be so sure? Because a Spike TV executive had to step in and smooth things over. And Impact has put up no defence for Aries' actions. If it WAS part of a narrative, if there was a reason for that, the smart thing to do would've been to mention it at some point before now. Like what WWE did when the Zeb Colter thing blew up. No such luck, unfortunately. I'm sincere about the unfortunately part. I WISH this was part of a story. But again, we all saw the same thing.
One website has approached me to have a discussion about this on a podcast. I'm flattered that anyone cares what I think. But, honestly, the idea that I have to explain why it was wrong that a male wrestler stuck his crotch in the face of a female co-worker, as part of an unscripted incident, which his superiors had to apologize about, worries me deeply.
To everyone who's arguing with me and people who share my view point, I can only say this: please re-think your position. Surely you can see what's wrong here. Surely you can see that this wasn't a planned incident. Surely you can see a blatant lack of morality, consideration and professionalism in what Aries did. Surely you can see that this goes beyond “TV villain does bad thing to get a rise out of us”. Just look at what's in front of you. Why this is wrong is at your fingertips. Hell, I've just told you. If you honestly still can't see why this is all wrong, I don't know what else to say to you besides that I'm deeply concerned by your moral code.
Unless something new comes up about this, I won't be mentioning it again. I've got nothing more to say without repeating myself. Aries was wrong, his actions were indefensible and the fact that he's being punished for what he did proves that point. End of story.
This is a truly fantastic piece, but I think TH hits the nail on the head particularly well with this in his closing paragraph (link is in the title):
People shouldn't have to feel ashamed of who they are to live in every day society. I'm sorry if you're among the people who can't deal with that, but you know what, you're the dinosaurs here. If you can't make your stupid, backwards opinions extinct, then you have no place moving forward. Wrestling is totally part of that movement, whether you like it or not.Why is it so difficult for everyone to have this kind of attitude?