Late Summer Wrestling Notepad

Sitting here wondering how much more I might have enjoyed Okada vs. Sanada in the New Japan Cup final had I not known who won ahead of time. What a great match. It’s nice to follow things through to their end and be rewarded for doing so.

Finally got around to the ROH MSG show. I had a lot of fun watching it. It was probably a little too long at nearly five and a half hours, but I’m going to let that slide because of the significance of the night. It was the first (and maybe last) time that ROH has run a show of this size in a building so historically important, so I understand the urge to get lots of people on the card and give as much as possible.

I’ve heard a few people say that the ROH matches and booking weren’t what they should have been especially compared to what New Japan brought to the table. Yeah, NJPW definitely stole the show. It wasn’t even close. but I wasn’t as down on the ROH stuff as most folks seem to be. Maybe I’m overly sympathetic to ROH’s current position and went in with low expectations, but I was mostly happy with what I got from them. They sold this show on the backs of their best drawing stars, most of whom fucked off at the end of last year to form AEW. ROH basically went from having everything you could want in the world to a few nice little shiny things overnight and are having a bit of trouble finding their way this year. Rebuilding takes time, and it was time they didn’t have because New York was happening regardless. But they also sold the show on history and atmosphere, and it gave me that. Seeing that promotion pull off that show in that building is something I’ll always remember.

What was up with Enzo and Cass, though? That I could have absolutely done without. It came off so much more like the sad sack days of TNA desperately waiving their arms and yelling “PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” than it did ROH looking like it was a company that belonged in the world’s most famous arena.

I like Ring of Honor TV, but the more you watch it, the more you come to realize that it doesn’t always make it easy for new and casual fans to follow the product. It often does a very poor job of syncing up with the live events and carrying the momentum that comes out of them. It’s usually at least two weeks after the fact before you hear about major happenings, and that’s if you hear about them at all. Any sense of I’ve got to see this right now is almost always lost by then and then it’s on to the next thing. There’s a pretty big wrestling fan I know who has given ROH a try a few times but always gives up because to him, the show is hard to follow week to week and doesn’t always make sense. Just when you feel like you have a handle on something, it’s over and you never find out what happened. Or suddenly you’re in the midst of something that’s happened and you’re just supposed to understand what it is. I’m sure a lot of you are thinking just buy the shows on Fite or sign up for Honor Club, but that’s not possible in his case. He’s not online. And he’s not the only one. And even if he was online, it’s not his job to figure out what he needs to watch. It’s the job of the television to show him, and that’s one of ROH’s weakest points.

At the rate they’re going, how long will it be before WWE has a 2 out of 3 falls championship?

Have I been watching this 4-way women’s elimination match for 38 straight years? It sure feels like it. Like seriously, did something run short earlier? Is something planned for later not happening? Why is this taking so long? Jesus Christ. I know the winner is supposed to face Becky at Summerslam, but at the pace this is going it won’t be over by then. Oh hey, a “this is awful” chant. It’s boring, I’ll give you that.

At least at the end of it all we’re getting Becky vs. Nattie, so that should be good. A damn sight better than this shit, for sure. What a terrible match. A terrible match that went…excuse me while I Google…25 minutes and 35 seconds. Is that all?

Oh good. Just what we need after that slow ass women’s match. Miz and Dolph in a talking segment. Fuck off, Raw.

Trying to figure out if I don’t want to see Brock vs. Seth at Summerslam because this Raw ate my soul or because I don’t want to see it.

I legit forgot that New Day won the tag belts at Extreme Rules until they came out with them.

I feel I was lied to. I swear I heard people say that the July 16th Smackdown was good. It was not. There were some nothing talking segments, some decent but largely pointless wrestling matches that took a back seat to me trading texts about possible days for a birthday party, and Shane McMahon is still the centerpiece of everything. There, I just saved you two hours. You’re welcome. Yes some things were set up for Summerslam, but not one of them is a thing I care at all about.

What I do care about is the Chad Gable Jack Gallagher rematch on 205 Live. That was great and you should all go watch it. If you liked the first one, I’ll be shocked if you don’t like this one even more. Why can’t we just let good wrestlers wrestle and have simple stories to go along with it? This stuff is not nearly as difficult as WWE often makes it for itself.

If you ever need an AA approved drinking game, do a shot every time a WWE show passes without a champion getting pinned.

Is WWE trying to tease a match between Ziggler and Miz for Summerslam or Ziggler and Shawn Michaels? Ziggler and Miz was pretty good a few years ago as I recall, but I’m not in any sort of hurry to watch it again. Dolph and HBK would at least be something different and probably a better career ender for Shawn than that awful Crown Jewel match. I’m still bummed we never got the Michaels vs. Daniel Bryan match it looked like we were headed for in 2013. That’s the one I’d really like to see if we’re going to see HBK again.

I don’t think I liked that Kevin Owens Roman Reigns segment from Smackdown as much as everyone else did. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that they didn’t go down the usual WWE path of having the two nimrod babyfaces try to fight each other in spite of the fact that Shane, Drew and Elias were all there working as special guest officials and would obviously be attacking them, but Owens and Reigns still come off a bit stupid for making their full entrances, waiting through Shane’s ring announcements, cutting quick promos on each other and then locking up a few times before they finally attacked first. If you know you’re obviously walking into a no-win trap, wouldn’t you be better off striking immediately? Like dudes, run your asses down there and just start wrecking shop. You both want to murder Shane and know you have to get through his henchmen to do it, so just do that instead of standing around for five minutes waiting for yourselves to be murdered.

NXT just did something it rarely does. It made me less excited about a match. Don’t get me wrong, Pete Dunne is great aside from that silly finger breaking crap. But I’d much rather see Roderick Strong and Velveteen Dream one on one for the North American Title than those three guys in a triple threat for what feels like no good reason. Yes, even though I’m well aware that I’m probably going to enjoy the hell out of it.

Speaking of that stupid finger breaking crap, why, if Strong just had his broken, is he backstage talking to Regal and still able to enunciate whatever the hell he just said about the loss of his rightful championship opportunity? I guess that’s still more believable than guys who get theirs broken in a match but can still use that hand to hit, grab, hold and throw around large individuals, but still.

And speaking of Regal, why does every wrestler call him Mr. Regal every single time they say his name? Shouldn’t the heels call him Bill as a sign of disrespect sometimes? Like in that Roderick Strong segment, he said Mr. Regal at least three times even though he’s supposed to be angry at him. Little things like that are usually what NXT is good at, but in this case I think they dropped the ball and it kind of ruined the segment for me.

Um, why did Becky randomly attack Natalya during a training session? Is she supposed to be turning heel out of the blue? Do they think she’s going to get booed against Nattie because Summerslam is in Canada? She’s not getting booed because it’s Canada, guys. Nattie’s great and all, but she’s not on a Bret Hart level where the fans here will boo just about anyone who touches him. Not even close. You’re confusing us all for nothing here.

I tried not to let Gallows, Anderson and Styles being called the O.C. bother me. I really did. But I just can’t not think of that old TV show whenever I hear it.

What kind of incompetent medical staff is WWE employing here. Alexa gets injured to the point that her match gets stopped, and then they just leave her dead ass out there through the entire next match. At least they’ll fit in well with the incompetent writing team who put this whole thing together so poorly that it blatantly telegraphed the miraculous recovery and attack at the end before they even announced the forfeit.

Sami Zayn vs. Aleister Black at Summerslam? Count me in! Although I’d be more excited about it if Sami hadn’t lost his gauntlet match in seconds a day earlier.

The Big Show Show? How many of your 30 writers did it take to come up with that one?

Uh…so now Nattie’s supposed to be the heel? Not many other ways to take refusing to let go of a hold and then shoving her tag partner for no reason. I’m so confused.

Say what you want about the 24/7 title, but Mike tricking Maria into getting pinned at the doctor’s office made me laugh.

Why am I supposed to feel sorry for or cheer for Seth Rollins here? Dude comes out all beaten up from last week, starts a fight he didn’t have to start and then just straight up gets his ass kicked. Seems I’m not the only one wondering this judging from the whatting and the booing during his quiet, dramatic monologue. A few people gave him some charity claps and a weak ass “burn it down”, but lord almighty what a horrible segment. I just want Brock to put the poor guy out of his misery.

Wow. WWE actually hid a good surprise in plain sight. Everybody was expecting Dolph to fight either Miz or Michaels, but instead it winds up being Goldberg. It seemed odd to me at first, but then I realized that it’s not as out of left field as it seems because Dolph did insult Goldberg in a few promos leading up to this. I don’t expect this to be much of a match, but for Goldberg’s sake I hope he can redeem himself after that shitshow in Saudi Arabia.

Why on earth would you book Ember vs. Natalya when each are challenging for a title at Summerslam? You either have to waste everyone’s time with a non-finish or make somebody look bad. In this case they opted to make somebody look bad, and let me tell you, getting thrown around and sharpshootered on the floor until Bayley came out to save the day sure did that for poor Ember. They’ll do whatever they want because that’s just what they do, but how do you have her win a title after this build?

Not sure why they did Zayn and Black in pretty much a five minute squash on Smackdown instead of letting them do something Cesaro vs. Black style on Summerslam, but I’m disappointed. That could have been such a great match in front of the right crowd and with enough time. Shame we never got to see that at a Takeover.

Surprised to see the Street Profits retain at Takeover since they’ve been so busy being extremely annoying on Raw and Smackdown. I had Undisputed Era leaving with all of the belts, but figured if I missed on one it would be Cole. The tag titles felt like a lock.

Huh. Missed on Strong too. Good to see Dream keep the belt because the North American title changes hands too often or at least it feels that way, but I do wonder where this leaves the era guys. Is it business as usual or might this be the start of either call ups or a break up?

Speaking of getting called up, Gargano has to be on his way up now, right? I wondered where they could go with him after the last loss to Cole, but figured they could likely wring one more match out of the feud. They did, and a hell of a match it was. But now that Gargano has lost again, there’s nothing left for him in NXT. This seems like the perfect way to write him out.

I’ve just started Summerslam and my favourite part has already happened. The clock shows less than four hours. That’s a pleasant surprise. Yes they did a two hour preshow, but those are mostly a breeze if you skip everything that isn’t a match or something that looks like it might be entertaining. They must be rough live in the building though with all the long dead spots. They’re certainly a chore to watch live on TV, which is why I do my best not to do silly things like that. I love all this on demand technology for that reason alone. I can’t count the number of hours I’ve saved by watching all my wrestling after the fact.

The submission match was very good. I especially like that they didn’t get bogged down in weird heel and face dynamics like they were doing on Raw and Smackdown. They just let Becky and Nattie have a good match while the crowd cheered for both of them.

Who wrote Trish’s promo? She did her best, but that was kind of awful. All this stuff about pioneers and contemporaries and just things that real people about to have a fight would never say. At points it sounded like she was reading the thing, but you can hardly blame her. It’s difficult to memorize or have any passion for garbage words that aren’t your own.

Dolph vs. Goldberg wasn’t much, but it wasn’t supposed to be. The heel talks shit and gets destroyed stuff felt far more old school than it should ever feel, though. It was so simple and basic and exactly how things are supposed to go but never go now because nobody in WWE knows how babyfaces work.

The end result of Owens and Shane is what it should have been, but it went on too long for me. It didn’t need 10 minutes, it needed maybe 4 or 5 tops. But hey, the crowd seemed to enjoy it, so what do I know? This should have been the end of Shane McMahon, but I fear we’re not through with him yet. This wasn’t enough of a one sided beating to be the end.

Serious question. What is Charlotte supposed to be the queen of? Have they ever said?

Randy Orton is incredibly boring, so I shouldn’t be surprised that that’s how the match with Kofi turned out. The damn thing went nearly 20 slow ass minutes all for a count out. Plus the deal with Kofi snapping after Orton tried to humiliate him in front of his family feels far too much like the Styles and Joe stuff we just saw last year.

Bray Wyatt’s new entrance is pretty sweet. For once a new version of an old entrance song is actually good. I hope this fiend thing works out for him.

I love Finn Balor, but it was right for the Fiend to squash him there. Gets him off to a good start, plus hopefully it will lead to Finn going away for a while and then eventually coming back for a Demon vs. Fiend match.

I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it especially with Seth having been made out to look like such a goober on Raw, but he and Brock had a match good enough that you’re almost able to forget about that. Brock looked like the best heel ever swinging Seth around by the rib tape, and Seth was a great babyface, refusing to stay down no matter what was thrown at him and eventually overcoming the pain and the odds to win the belt again. Not sure where he goes from here, but hopefully they have something better in mind for this run than they did for his last.

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