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  • I also feel like with all of the recent Talent being brought back, it is helping the overall product. The WWE is not going to be AEW, where they will sign anyone and everyone, but with all of the new talent on the main rosters, they have created new and fresh matchups that we have never seen before.

    Iyo Sky
    Dakota Kai
    Dexter Lumis
    Hit Row
    Karrion Kross

    Xia to an extent
    Ciampa to a degree
    Rumored new gimmick/return to old persona for Djakovic
    Potential new tag team of MMM - Mace and Mansuor

    I can see a few more people returning/re-debuting that will make the overall product better. So we do not get Sheamus vs Drew 1500. Yes, they are fun to watch, but how many times can we see that match?

    To extend off of what Pen said, I can see any/all of the following coming back:

    Bray Wyatt
    Braun Strowman
    Nia Jax
    Bronson Reed
    Killian Dain - Nikki's husband helps his case
    And yes, Zack Ryder and Chelsea Green as a pair. Zack has reinvented himself, so it is a possibility

    Extreme long shot, but not out of the question: Authors of Pain. They could be an outstanding addition to to tag team scene.

    And I said this to Pen last night:
    Sasha and Naomi I can see returning on the RAW the night after Clash at the Castle to confront the newly crowned Women's Tag Champions. It is perfect timing, and a classic wrestling story. We are back to re-claim the title we never lost.
    Last edited by Powder; 08-14-2022, 04:17 PM.


    • Apparently Zoey Stark was injured on NXT this week, and Lyons isn't cleared. So they will be replaced with the much more experienced and therefore convincing team of Toxic Attraction.

      This replacement fits so well that I wonder if this was planned somehow. Toxic Attraction being called up to the main roster has been mentioned quite a bit over the last couple of months, and the Smackdown side of the tournament felt flat. The only weird part of it is that it means tonight's match is heel vs heel, but I could see how this debut could lead to a face turn for TA.

      Raw Brackets:
      Dakota/Iyo vs Alexa/Asuka

      SD Brackets:
      Raquel/Aliyah vs ?
      Gigi Dolan/Jacy Jayne vs Natalya/Deville

      I can't recall if I posted this already somewhere, but the changes to WWE are generally minor since Vince retired, but the excitement is so strong. Raw is in Toronto on Monday, and when tickets were announced, I didn't even check for pricing. I just didn't care. I enjoyed Raw at the time, but it wasn't exciting enough to spend the hassle and money to head into the worst city in the country for a 4 hour show.

      But, now.... I might look for cheap tickets and go on my own. It's really weird.


      • Gunther vs Sheamus may be the stiffest match the WWE will have on its main roster in years.

        It could even surpass Walter vs Dragunov.


        • I know I'm likely in the minority of the current excitement from online fans towards WWE, but creatively the show hasn't changed all that much. HHH has definitely made changes, but it has not been from a creative stand point. The big changes are the storytelling methods, but not the stories themselves.

          Look at last night's Raw. Edge (and Mysterios) vs Judgment Day* hasn't really shifted gears since Vince was running the show. The story is still the same. What has changed is how the story is delivered to us. First, the main event was booked weeks in advance (I believe 3 weeks ago). When was the last time Raw was headlined by a match that was booked with 3 weeks notice? The only time that has happened recently is likely for WWE title matches, and I honestly can't recall any. Basically, the biggest TV matches possible get that kind of promotion. But now, Edge vs the sidekick in a stable got the spotlight. Recently, we've seen US title matches get the main event spot, or a feud that was building for weeks in Theory vs Ziggler. There hasn't been a lot of time since Vince retired, but if there is a pattern to what match gets selected to main event next week, it'll be the finals of the women's tag tournament.

          If that's the case, then the rest of the pattern shows that we'll get the history of the womens division and possibly the titles themselves (with only 2.5 years of history** and so much of it revolving around Sasha or released stars, I'm not sure how much title history will be used) promoted throughout Raw. The minor problem with this is that the women's roster is still building, and therefore shallow. This isn't a commentary on there not being enough women for the division (that's definitely not my opinion at all, and believe that's standard IWC negativity set by their myopic expectations). But it is a commentary on the work quality of the women in this spot. Gigi Dolan looked rough last Friday, and now that she's possibly dealing with a concussion suffered in that match, there might be an explanation. But we are talking about the potential main event of the go-home Raw before a the big UK show. Dakota and Iyo are both solid workers, but have not looked like their NXT best yet. Of the other potential teams, none of face teams strike me as main event quality workers. I would trust Raquel or Natalya in singles action, but they are brought down in teams with partners like Aliyah and Sonya (Sonya has shown way more potential, but looked rough recently - Aliyah hasn't shown any potential).

          I'm sticking with face teams because the finals of the tournament are unlikely to be heel vs heel, so Doudrop and Nikki being arguably the best workers of the entire tournament is moot.

          I'm all over the place. The point I'm trying to make is that the changes we're seeing in WWE aren't major. They are truly minor changes, but they have a huge impact, and change how the show flows.

          Speaking of the women, Rhea is golden. She is really in the PERFECT story or angle right now. She's on TV regularly, not in a direct feud, but getting even more over. She's not trading wins/losses with anyone in the women's division, keeping her heel personality fresh for babyface opponents. I'm not calling for her to win the Rumble (it's too soon to call for that) but if the Rubmle were tomorrow, and she won, it would be a crazy hot feud because she's an instant threat to Liv or Bianca's title reign, and she's doing it all without winning a single match.

          This type of booking is so necessary. It can't be used for everyone all the time, but to be in such a great spot regularly, getting better reactions on TV, without ever actually competing, is glorious. It's the type of thing that has helped elevate legends like Roddy Piper, as he was a manager and microphone antagonist more than a wrestler. Bray Wyatt is a recent example, as it was rarely what he did between the ropes that got him over, but how he led the family, and the Funhouse segments.

          Or, the other side of it is Miz. Miz still wrestles regularly, but progresses his character through Miz TV segments. He can talk himself into a match with Roman Reigns after the Clash at the Castle, and there'd be no question to it.

          These are the creative directions bookers need to aim for. It's not easy, and they can go wrong at the drop of a hat.

          One negative I feel the need to point out is that I'm not liking the amount of people dropping parts of their personality to be typical "ass kicker" gimmicks. By no means am I saying the show feels flat because of it, but I sense that it's going to happen. Powder and I discussed Riddle, and he's long been calling for Riddle to be less dopey, and more of the MMA threat. We got pure aggression from Riddle in that brawl, which was fine. But I hope he doesn't drop the goofy stoner personality completely. Riddle got over with the comedy aspect of his personality, and it really shouldn't disappear. I truly understand that to reach the main event, certain personality traits drop away over time. Cena is a great example, as he slowly got rid of the rapping once he was the WWE Champion. But when Kevin Owens and Drew McIntyre have already veered into complete ass kicking gimmicks (which may not be permanent, but it's definitely been their primary attributes lately), I fear that we'll see everyone go that route. Riddle may join them, but it seems too far fetched to drop the personality that brings us a scooter and flip flops.

          All people need to have shades of grey. Brock being funny with the MITB boombox, or the car door, or all the other somewhat funny things he does never hurt how much of a threat he is in the ring. I don't want Seth to drop the loud clothes, or Bianca to stop skipping to the ring twirling her braid, or Alexa to drop Lily. I think a valid complaint about the recent Vince era is WWE would focus too much on these little aspects, when they should have been subtle. Hogan, Savage, Hart, Michaels, Austin, Rock, Cena... they all had the ability to turn the intensity up to 11 for the heated rivalries, but still keep a charming personality for the rest of their time on screen. There's a balance needed, and I sense that we're seeing it swing too far in the other direction.

          * I also would like to point out that when Judgment Day broke up, the big rumor was that Edge wasn't a fan of the group going supernatural. There have been no supernatural elements at all, so I believe that rumor was bunk.

          ** This is ignoring the WWF women's tag title era of Glamour Girls vs Jumping Bomb Angels


          • Can't quote bits of that as I'm on a phone and it gets complicated, but in terms of the 'ass kicker' thing, I think a lot of folks have had that character plus an extra thing or too over recent years. Drew has arguably never really been anything but since his return. I'm actually really excited for Owens returning to the Prize Fighter thing, as I think that was an absolutely great thing he had going when he did it previously - he did everything for a very valid reason, but his actions themselves weren't 'good'. Hopefully it gets the family man doing the best thing for his family stuff added back in as well over time.

            But I do agree that there needs to be some layers to folks when they do these characters. It's OK being an ass kicker but a lot of then connecting with the audience is in what they do between kicking ass.

            A sidebar, but something that bugged me with Bianca recently. I cant remember the exact details of what was happening, it might have been the Becky beat down by Bayley, IYO, and Dakota. But she was in the ring during this and then ran backstage, and whilst running was doing her hair spinning thing. I get that the braid is long, but surely if you're (in real life) rushing to get somewhere you don't grab it and spin it around by your side on the way? It was like a computer game model that only has one way of running so HAD to do this thing that didn't suit the scenario.

            I do quite like one thing about shows recently, and that's that at point it feels like there's a real sense of urgency and fluidity to the show. Like with Raw this week starting straight into the Riddle/Rollins brawl, or last week with Ronda and her arrest bleeding into Roman entering the arena. I appreciate they can't do that for 2 or 3 hours non-stop but in isolation they show that this is a shared universe, rather than segments happening in isolation. They did it really well with some backstage bits too, interviews where people walk past on their way to the ring and so on. I think that's really good.


            • Originally posted by PEN15v2 View Post
              One negative I feel the need to point out is that I'm not liking the amount of people dropping parts of their personality to be typical "ass kicker" gimmicks. By no means am I saying the show feels flat because of it, but I sense that it's going to happen. Powder and I discussed Riddle, and he's long been calling for Riddle to be less dopey, and more of the MMA threat. We got pure aggression from Riddle in that brawl, which was fine. But I hope he doesn't drop the goofy stoner personality completely. Riddle got over with the comedy aspect of his personality, and it really shouldn't disappear. I truly understand that to reach the main event, certain personality traits drop away over time. Cena is a great example, as he slowly got rid of the rapping once he was the WWE Champion. But when Kevin Owens and Drew McIntyre have already veered into complete ass kicking gimmicks (which may not be permanent, but it's definitely been their primary attributes lately), I fear that we'll see everyone go that route. Riddle may join them, but it seems too far fetched to drop the personality that brings us a scooter and flip flops.
              That's really interesting actually. You obviously can't have too many plain "ass kicker" guys.

              It guess with someone like Riddle it depends on where on the roster he's going to ultimately land. If they see him as a top guy, he'll probably need to tone back some of the goofy stoner stuff. But maybe he's just not a top guy. He can be a star that can mix it up with guys like Roman when needed without always being in that mix.

              But I guess RVD made it to the top while still being a stoner. He just wasn't quite as goofy and had a little bit more edge. That might be all that Riddle needs is a little edge. Maybe all he needs is to have a few more brawls like he had with Seth on Raw and a serious promo when it counts.
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              • I think that would be adequate. And maybe I'm overly conscious of the recent changes to KO and Drew, and there's no doubt Owens is red hot already so there is something to it.

                Can you think of a memorable Hogan promo? For everything he delivered on the mic, he didn't really have a stand out interview because it was almost all the same. He didn't have a "Cream of the Crop" type stand out moment. No Austin 3:16 breakout. Because all his babyface promos were "you know something Mean Gene...... largest arms in the world whatcha gonna do!?", there's no way he could stand out today. His only variation in the WWF that I recall is when he was retiring and had a really mellow sit down with Vince around Mania 8. The promo wasn't memorable to me, but the tone being different made it stand out.

                This is my issue here. KO getting super serious and dropping out of the Elias angle, making him the top babyface challenger from Raw, is totally fine. But even if we ignore that his promos are in his second language, he has incredible personality when he's on the mic. His comedic timing is great for example. That element shouldn't leave his persona.

                I dunno. It's a similar issue I had with the last couple of years of the black and gold era of NXT. The quality is good, but when it's all the same, the show drags on, and I find myself less engaged.


                • I think with KO, he is serious and in ass kicker Prizefighter mode only for 2 weeks. He will still show personality, and use his humor to insult his opponents. But to make a parallel to teaching. The "general rule for new teachers" is to not smile until December. Keep everything serious to show the kids who you are, and that you are in charge, and then let personality through.

                  KO right now is redefining his role, but there is no doubt in my mind, that he will have his personality shine through.


                  • Tonight's Raw card:
                    • Bobby Lashley vs The Miz
                    • Finals of the women's tag tournament: Aliyah/Raquel vs Iyo/Dakota
                      • appearances by
                        • Kurt Angle
                        • Usos and Sami Zayn
                      • Face Off between Riddle and Seth Rollins

                    I can't overstate or repeat my enjoyment enough concerning having cards booked in advance. The whole production is more engaging than the recent Vince era, but seeing these specifics helps me gear up for certain parts in particular.
                    Aliyah/Raquel vs Iyo/Dakota - Women's Tag Titles Discussion
                    While the women's division isn't perfect, and I understand the complaints of these belts not being important because the division isn't deep enough, I truly don't subscribe to the complaint that too many titles is a bad thing. Like many subjects of common online complaints, it's a symptom of the problem, but not the actual problem. These titles don't need to be high up the card to matter. The 24/7 title wouldn't matter if it was the only midcard title in the company. The reason some titles don't matter as much isn't because there are too many, but because the division or title reign isn't booked well. Sometimes that's because it's too tough to book so many titles, but I find that to be an issue when too many titles are similar. I don't watch AEW enough to have my own say in the matter, but I can understand someone not understanding the difference between the TNT title, the ROH title, and the Atlantic title. They are all singles titles for the same division (men's non main event) and apparently have no distinction between them.

                    In the case of WWE's women, a secondary title can't hurt, and a completely different division than singles makes it simple. Thrown together teams get a bad rap, but no one has a problem with Iyo/Dakota being a team right now, and they were thrown together without any background whatsoever. But, the simple story of Bayley selecting them from the discards was enough to unite them in a way the fans will accept. Maximum Male Models haven't had a match on Smackdown yet, but once we see Mansoor and Mace (I can't find the funny keyboard tricks to write the new versions of the their names) in the ring, we'll accept them as a duo.

                    So the problem isn't the title, or the teams. The problem is consistency in the booking of teams. In fact, the only other team in the tournament that had a real connection seemed to be hinting at breaking up on Friday, as we saw Nikki and Doudrop arguing in the background of the backstage interview with Nattie and Sonya.

                    But, all of this has no bearing on the match tonight to crown the new champs. It's an interesting match for a couple of reasons.
                    1. This weekend's PPV has a 6 women tag match booked, with one team consisting of Bayley and 2 of the women in the tournament finals
                    2. The looming return (as the rumors strongly indicate) of former champs Sasha and Naomi.
                    Could Bayley's stable gain credibility with gold, and creating momentum towards the 6 women tag match? Or will Bayley's former cohort Sasha ruin those plans? Or could she join Bayley?

                    Lots of ways this can go. I personally don't see a lot in Aliyah, so to get the most out of her I like the idea of Raquel being the obvious leader of the team and winning the titles. This gives them credibility, while the unity still exists for the women in the 6 women tag. This means 3 teams feel established by this story/tournament, instead of just 2.

                    We might still get a womens tag title match this weekend on the PPV, with new champs Aliyah/Raquel vs Naomi/Sasha (giving us another established team). Who knows?
                    Lashley vs Miz
                    To those who don't watch NXT, Dexter Lumis was in the Capitol Wrestling Center the night after abducting The Miz. It didn't really add much to the story, but they connected the current Dexter story to the previous one involving Indi Hartwell. It was honestly a great segment, which ended with Dexter showing his love for his wife Indi, and then getting arrested just outside the building. Could this story give Indi a reason to move to Raw? I hope so, but I doubt it. It was a very NXT driven segment, so I feel like Indi is staying there for now.

                    As it relates to this match, I'm not all that absorbed into the AJ/Lashley team, nor the Miz/Ciampa unit. More needs to take place, so maybe something will happen here. But I do like their segments because I'm a big Dexter fa, and wonder if/when he'll show up. And what he'll do is now a big question. I had the impression he was stalking AJ for the first couple of surprise appearances. But is he focused on Miz afterall? Or just wanting to get to any random person in this story?


                    • RAW is using backstage, background spots to move stories along. As you stated with Doudrop and Nikki, and the Lumis stuff, and even Kross with the Hourglass in Drew's locker room.

                      I want the WWE to begin to tease Bianca vs Rhea. Have them simply walk past each other backstage with Rhea "accidentally bumping" into Bianca. Then turn with a smirk. No words, but message sent. The following week, or a few weeks later, Bianca could do the same. Or have Bianca win a match, then while she is going up the ramp to the back, The Judgement Day's music hits, and Rhea and the buys comes out for their match/segment and Rhea just looks at Bianca and says "Soon". Simple interactions like that can plant the seeds for hopefully) Rhea vs Bianca at WM39.

                      You do not need to have promos, or in ring, or backstage fights, to plant seeds. Little, subtle, things like that would go a long way to build a story, while other things are happening. Just look at the Sami/Bloodline saga. They are doing a great job of slowly turning Sami face.


                      • Double post...I know...

                        Absolutely horrible decision to have Aliyah and Raquel to win the tag belts. All the online rumors and speculation is that Sasha and Naomi are coming back, and there is no doubt that they would get a heroes (face) welcome. Having Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky, heels win the belts, would have set up a perfect professional wrestling rivalry for when Sasha and Naomi return. They return next week and say that they are back to reclaim what was stripped from them. Sasha and Naomi are the true Women's Tag Champions....etc...

                        We have all seen this story multiple times. WMX with HBK and Razor, CM Punk and Cena 2011, Becky and Belair, and most recently with Punk and Moxley. It is a classic wrestling plot, that the WWE wasted by having The Useless Aliyah and huge potential Raquel win.


                        • Nonsense. Complete nonsense.

                          First, you're basing your assessment on a rumour that hasn't occurred yet.
                          Second, if they do return as rumored, you can still do that angle.
                          Third, as I mentioned in my other post, this establishes this team, especially Raquel. Aliyah will be the weak link and enjoy the ride, but this will make Raquel look great, as she's likely to win tag matches on her own as if they were handicap matches.

                          With the new champs, there are challengers in Alexa and Asuka, Iyo and Dakota, Nikki and Doudrop, the rumored Sasha and Naomi team, and any NXT team they might call up. It's one team deeper in a division that is obviously in need of work.

                          I won't pretend this team is a big deal. But I don't feel any of them are. The purpose here was to try to make something with the titles and create interesting new teams. In the span of 2 months, they've done that with 3 teams to join the existing Nikki/Doudrop and Dana/Tamina alliances(and they weren't big threats to start with).

                          I also won't pretend that this was a great show or great moment. It accomplished something, and time will tell if everything will come together. But i vehemently disagree that this title victory was wasted.


                          • Raquel needed that worlds more than the other two, anyway. Iyo could immediately be positioned as a top single star in the division at any time. Dakota has fan support for reasons I don't completely understand.

                            Raquel could be a top star in the division if she gets a push, but she's done nothing since they completely changed her look and called her up. She went from bad ass main events with Rhea Ripley in NXT to generic girl on the roster. She needs some spotlight.

                            And I wouldn't be in ha hurry to bring back Sasha or Naomi. Has their presence really been sorely missed?
                            My latest (and hopefully last) Covid-Era show


                            • I think a lot of the negativity would have bee avoided had Raquel had a better partner. I don't have an answer as to who was available, but Aliyah really brings down the upside of this team. That being said, I'm not sure a better or more credible partner would have benefited Raquel as much. I can't tell where the story is going, but it is possible that the weaker the partner, the better Raquel will look.So I understand why this decision deflated fans, but there's definitely a good reason to go in this direction.

                              As for Sasha/Naomi, while I honestly don't miss them, Sasha still has something to offer. Sasha vs Rhea, Ronda, Liv, Raquel, Becky...etc. And if WWE is serious about making this tag division work, they need teams.


                              • This could be leading to a Raquel heel turn. She was great in NXT as the bad ass heel. Aliyah does something that causes them to lose the titles and Raquel turns on her. It's not new or the most inspired storytelling, but it would get the job done.

                                Aliyah isn't that bad, she's just not over. She could get there at some point if she's actually pushed.
                                My latest (and hopefully last) Covid-Era show