Wednesday, 18 June 2014

WWE release 10 wrestlers and a referee

WWE let scores of roster staff go 
in drastic cost cutting measures

The week has been a long and testing one in WWE, especially for eleven members of the payroll. WWE released eleven employees from its roster last Thursday after reports WWE were “allowing contracts to run out” and would not be renewing them.

The money saving extravaganza is said to be a decision brought on by the ill-fated WWE Network which is costing way over budget for WWE to barely make a profit let alone break even. They hope the international release markets will boost the revenues after last month WWE Chairman Vince McMahon believed he was lied to by his money making teams.

If the projections are dipping into WWE’s purse at such an alarming rate then they really should consider pulling the plug on the Network before they get in too deep, regardless of trying to make the concept work. It was doomed from the get go. Let it go and save finances. It is nothing special, anyway.

The eleven talents released are listed below, with brief analysis of their departures.

The first batch of no surprises were the unfortunate Yoshi Tatsu, who never got a break, benched high flyer Evan Bourne, who WWE gave numerous chances to and Curt Hawkins. Joining them were JTG (who many were shocked lasted this long) and Camacho. There was no place for him since he lost his tag partner to a blue mask.

Slight shocks but not massively were the releases of Brodus Clay, whom WWE could have make a bigger headliner if it tried and Aksana, who WWE had grand plans for to be the next star diva. Despite her efforts with training, she just didn’t have enough in the tank.

Theodore Long also joined the list after years with WWE as did two members of 3MB, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre. Since being “the chosen one” McIntyre was never fit enough to make it. It’s just how it goes in WWE. Referee Marc Harris who was upset with another referee months ago over a botched finish was not respected for such outburst and was sent packing.
Before Monday’s Raw, Chairman McMahon let lead writer Jay Gibson go as well.

More are said to follow. WWE hasn’t had its annual culls for at least two years so it was inevitable that some releases were on the way at some point. It was simply the timing that was most surprising to fans.

Though more are to go, WWE have a few names it should, feasibly, let go. The ignorant Kalisto in NXT, who shows no real skill in developmental should not have been lured by egotist fan approval seeker Triple H. It should let him go and focus on overs. Same goes for equally ignorant loser Solomon Crowe. They just don’t have it.

Ryback, of course, is never going to materialise and the best thing WWE can do is let him leave. Jack Swagger adds nothing and would also be an adequate release. Cameron is absolutely hopeless, but WWE are low on divas again, and don’t want wrestling females. They already sent out requests for more models.

There is growing restlessness in WWE that the Network is costing performers chances at earning pay and television time.

Ex-WWE nomad Chris Jericho stuck the boot in for good measure too. Ever critical of WWE, inclusive of his rude attitude toward being named No.10 best speakers in a WWE list (which is generous) Y2J spoke of the releases. Talking about Drew McIntyre, Jericho said “When you’re in 3MB it’s the end of the road” and praised Drew as “unique” as “he’s got the Scottish accent.” Delusional Jericho cheered fan favourite pint sized luchador Evan Bourne and tried to get both of them and line himself up for a job with the new Global Wrestling Force arrival later this year. Jeff Jarrett should not be taking advice from a wannabe rock star failure if he wants a serious and credible brand untainted by ignorance. Jericho is the past, not the future. His radio rants will keep him happy in his sandbox with the fans. As a credible force in wrestling, leave it to the professionals.

David Otunga and Justin Gabriel are likely to go soon. WWE have quite a lot of announcers too, and Layla, Xavier Woods and The Great Khali are strong possibilities to go later. I don’t know why, but Tom Phillips has a cute smile and I’d like the opportunity to see more of him and have a chance.

WWE could and should invest more time in developmental, acquire the correct and non-ignorant and wasteful losers who won’t contribute to a future. It needs to call up some new faces, but have strong options too. It shouldn’t be rushed, but many care and attention is needed, not Triple H’’s call ups to get fan approval. The recent calls of Paige and Adam Rose have been pathetic wastes of time. Paige has injured divas in the ring and been highly inexperienced and insufficient. These decisions make WWE look entirely weak, something they hate to be seen as. Rose is a no-hoper. Even choosing daft jobbers as his entourage contains levels of ignorance that ruins the company honour.

WWE seriously need to think about restructuring its management team, creative issues, call ups and outside influences that could really deliver for the company. Failing this, WWE has a tough few years ahead which could be a crippling loss for the future of its wrestling empire. 

© Max Waltham 18th June 2014

Monday, 2 June 2014

WWE Payback 2014

WWE’s Payback PPV is often known for serving up its rare, unusual and best cards in spite of mid-month PPV booking calamities. The most apparent and outstanding bout was a hidden gem between the pre-show combatants. Coming live from the All-state Arena in Rosemont, Illinois on Sunday June 1st 2014 fans had questions. Would WWE strip Daniel Bryan of the gold? Would the short stacked card deliver what was necessary for fun filled fandom. The final question resurfaced. Would CM Punk return? Read on to find out.

Hair vs Mask match
El Torito w/ Los Matadores Vs Hornswoggle w/ 3MB

Now you know why Hornswoggle grew a hideous bunch of hair. It was a slight letdown however when Hornswoggle shaver El Torito was met with no resistance from Hornie. Alas the match was superb for midget wrestling, often classed as plain ridiculous under WWE standards. This one was a great exception. Outside interference was natural and supported the placement well. The pair held a well together match worthy of the main card.

United States Championship
Sheamus (c) Vs Antonio Cesaro w/ Paul Heyman

“I am here to advocate for a Paul Heyman guy.” Paul Heyman spoke. “CM Punk” bellows from the crowd over the former Max Waltham Paul Heyman guy.

“I’m sorry, he’s not here tonight.”  Heyman answered.

Upon an instant, one second arrival Sheamus was heavily boo’ed by the Chicago fans. Cesaro came out looking like a fool marching with his puffed out chest in a bold stance that did not suit him in the jacket.

Sloppy Sheamus began charging into Cesaro like a wayward brute. Fast paced effort from both not to seem boring was appreciated.  Sheamus was viciously boo’ed. WWE’s lacking of star building and muscle favouritism has proved costly. Cesaro German suplex pin in hold missed, reversed by backbreaker pin for a two count from Sheamus.

Texas Cloverleaf by Sheamus. Cesaro grabs the ropes. Caught into swing, Sheamus spins for twenty-one revolutions. Sheamus swang well in hold. Sheamus then quickly gains a small package roll up after a twenty-one swing spin fest. That’s right, in WWE, the strongest of stars can avoid being dizzy and give no sells to the competitor which mocks the performers, titles and fans. The roll up fluke victory for Sheamus left fans peeved, regardless of Antonio Cesaro’s loss. It was about feeling conned. It felt lame.

Tag Team
Cody Rhodes and Goldust Vs Ryback and Curtis Axel

The mash up music is loud annoying and stupid for the Rhodes Brothers. Last time as Michael McGuillicutty, we told Curtis Axel not to wear a bandana type apparel again. His career failed as a result. He came out in a putrid red beanie hat which makes him completely ridiculous, just when he was starting to turn his career around.

WWE expected fans to go through this pathetic late addition match of no interest. It’s a sad time for WWE if this is the best spread they can lay out. Crowds where only chanting “Let’s go Axel”.

Fans were fed up so much they then chanted “Let’s Go Goldberg” in defiance before instantly boo’ing Ryback when making a comeback. The fans are telling you all you need to know. They are sick of it.

Cody Rhodes failed to make any impact as the in-ring failure was Shell Shocked by Ryback after Curtis Axel was dumped to the outside to pick up the empty victory. “You need a better tag team partner than me. “Cody Rhodes told brother Goldust.

Rusev w/ Lana Vs Big E.

Lana annoyed the crowd with an ode to Vladimir Putin as the greatest leader. This was the change for Rusev to be “now residing in Moscow” instead of Bulgaria. He came out and waved a Russian flag so horribly like a piss poor seal fresh out of water. His career will be down the pan in six months.

This prompted former Intercontinental Champion Big E. Langston to wave an American flag which was done very hunchbackly. These were so horrible to watch. The Big E. charge off the apron was the matches’ big moment. Rusev just hasn’t got it.

Kofi Kingston Vs Bo Dallas

It was time to Bo-lieve. Coming out with a smile that looked horrible and some lame music, Bo Dallas was apparently “undefeated” at 2-0. WWE and the announce team seem to have forgotten about Bo Dallas as the Intercontinental champion some year ago. Bo then dissed the Blackhawks game this evening, to which CM Punk may be at.

The ring burst as Kane then entered the match instantly. He attacked Kofi Kingston. It was a pathetic booking to the show. Payback is pathetic. Kane chokeslam and tombstoned Kofi and then left as ‘Inspirational’ Dallas hovered over Kofi and told him to “Bo-lieve.”

Intercontinental Championship
Rob Van Dam Vs Bad News Barrett (c)

Wade Barrett began with his squawky, one dimensional howl of nothingness from his eagled beak.

Barrett used the trademark sleeper back elbow hold as stereotyped format would have it.  

A standard fight followed. They took it outside. Rolling Thunder missed as a back hind kick countered. Barrett avoided more as RVD nailed the Rolling Thunder. Following with a five star frog splash missed. Whirl sideslam from Barrett now. Barrett missed RVD outside and smashed his arm into the ring post. RVD gained a two fall. The Bullhammer came out of nowhere and connected from Bad News Barrett in another fluke win over Rob Van Dam.

Daniel Bryan Wold title surrendership

Stephanie arrives.

Stephanie ‘don’t attack my kids’ McMahon went on about how ugly Bryan and Bella’s future kids could be if they decided to have any.

Heat machine Steph built on it adding “These people want you to quit just like CM Punk did.”

Bryan responded with “Narcissistic, self-centred, what’s that word I’m looking for?”

Wife Brie adds “Bitch!” The crowd cheer “bitch.”

“Now I see who has the real guts.” Stephanie irked.

“You can’t fire me.” Brie finalised to Steph. “I quit!” Brie yells as she then slaps Stephanie in the face. Stephanie runs away in pain and upset.

The segment is officially strained out till next night on Raw. While the angle was good and well performed by all it was still short of real emphasis on what could have been. The dragging of heels is becoming stupid.

Last Man Standing
Bray Wyatt w/ Luke Harper and Erick Rowan Vs John Cena w/ The Uso’s

Somewhere, he’s out there, among the Universal lights as WWE showed he Universe lighting all their phones in the dark.

WWE explained this was the rubber match. This one is about to end here tonight, presumably. Before the action began The Uso’s charged to Cena’s side. The fans boo’ed loudly for the stupidity in having the tag champs with Cena. This made the bout completely wasteful before it began. Cena faceplanted Wyatt quickly. Wyatt smacked Cena down. “Nothing seems to bother him, you can’t get in his head” Michael Cole added regarding Bray.

Bray dominated Cena with corner runs. Cena instantly reached his feet then went down on a knee backbreaker. It looked weak for both men. “So unorthodox. You never know what’s coming…” Michael Cole reiterated.

Sister Abigail blocked early as Cena lightly pushed Bray who elbow smashed Cena down for a seven count.  Cena soon countered as both went down. Both get up as Cena ran into a well caught Sister Abigail. Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment.

As Bray sat in the crab the Wyatt Family entered as The Uso’s helped keep order taking them down. Harper left with Cena was distracted and took out Rowan. An Uso climbed to the top rope to drop on Rowan outside. Cena turns around to be hit by a chair in the ring by Bray twice. Cena outside uses the chair before using inside again. Cena tried an Attitude Adjustment but was caught into a table drop by Bray.

Cena pummelled Bray outside. Cena hurled the steel steps over the top rope onto Wyatt outside. Bray landed Sister Abigail outside swiftly on a Cena approach. Cena soon put in his laughable routine of comedy trying to be interesting and walking backwards as if dazed. It looked completely kak-handed. He then droped an attack on Wyatt outside. Harper and Rowan take Cena down but rush to help Wyatt to his feet. Jimmy and Jey arrive but Harper soon smacks the table ringside into an Uso’s face as they attempt a running dive.

Amid the confusion the announce team explained Bray was down for at least a ten count but the run-in confusion understandably stopped the ref’s count. The Family and The Uso’s predictably took it to each other with Harper suplexing one Uso through the stacked table outside in the moment of the match.

Bray rushes into Cena by the fall away barricade padding at ringside. Bray takes Cena through the crowd. Bray flings Cena into the audio equipment with a massive thud. Cena tackily jabs elbows into Bray as a high pitch woman screams as Cena Attitude Adjustments Bray into a case. He then tips another briefcase stack over the case to trap Bray Wyatt and win under yet another gimmick. John Cena always wins with a wimpish victory just like the ductape debacle years ago. Once again, it ruined Wyatt and failed to protect Cena. It was another throw away battle that gave nothing back.

Divas Championship
Paige (c) Vs Alicia Fox

Fluke champion Paige entered to quiet reception. Paige missed a through ring arm jab instantly. Clumsy Paige then bumped her body onto Alicia’s in the corner instead of ramming her. After Alicia walked around the outside Paige pushed Fox into the barricade. Fox then amazingly launched Paige over by the hair to the ground from the ring steps. Fox wrenches the defending flunkie champ into a crab submission. Alicia dominates. Two fall. Alicia held Paige sideways and ran her to the middle rope throwing her out. Alicia guides Paige with instructions before Paige then hits moves on Alicia to stage a comeback. Paige tries the Scorpion leg lock. Alicia Fox easily taps out to allow Paige the continuation of a fluke victory. Paige once again did nothing at all and has been placed with low pecking order fodder to try to establish a profile which is non-existent. Triple H’s personal project is an ultimate flaw.

“I said silence.” Alicia screams. Alicia’s temper tantrum, which originated from a ‘Max Waltham meltdown’ on Twitter over previous Raw’s gave a new characterisation to Fox. Unfortunately for her and WWE they can only carry it for a few week’s before failing to understand how to fully make it work charismatically. Temper tantrum Alicia runs to the back with flimsy arms rotating all over like an idiot. Another daft decision.

Six Man Tag Team, Elimination
No Holds Barred
The Shield Vs Evolution

Vain egotist Triple H sent out an Instagram picture of his trained body. Please. Randy and Batista were looking good and Batista is now clad in blue trunks, long sweat bands and boots. It was hot, but the arm pads were too long. Try them a bit shorter. The rest is fine.

The Shield arrive. All go at it. Batista has trouble tipping himself over the barricade, but it allowed us to get a sneak peek of his booty. Silver linings. Batista and Reigns were at the top titantron. Rollins and Triple H go at it in the crowd and Orton and Ambrose lock up outside the ring.  Batista and Rollins work well together with Batista holding charge. Orton in and floored by a Rollins dropkick in good exchanges between the two. Ambrose joins. Randy Orton took the knee drop to the face like a pro. Batista’s massive sweat seen. Yummy. Haven’t seen this in a while. Sweat makes a man.

Batista enters as Reigns takes power control. Triple H could be heard instructing Ambrose who clearly knew what to do. He tagged in Reigns after a smooth leg move and roll through to corner tag. Reigns was now sweaty glazed.  Roman Reigns adopted the triple vertical suplex.

Batista outside rams Ambrose to the barricade and drops him on it. “Boo-tista!” chants rain as Batista is working very well tonight. At this point we are informed the WWE Twitter Universe have constructed the hashtag #Bluetista. HHH and Ambrose carry the action. A bounce off the ropes onto HHH bides time. Reigns tagged in and unloads on Batista. Takes down Orton and HHH. Runs around ring for head kick to Batista in the ropes. Reigns charges the superman punch which missed unfortunately, and took a two fall. All taking it to the crowd now. Rollins jumps into a metal object by HHH. Reigns dismantles the Spanish Announce table, as Orton breaks it up. HHH re-joins to fling Reigns into steel steps. Orton clears the table. Evolution prepares Reigns for their triple team attack. They drop the triple powerbomb on Roman Reigns. Evolution stand and look. Ambrose jumps across the other table onto all three upon return. Rollins launches out of the ring over Orton and HHH. Orton slams Ambrose onto a stacked chair as The Shield are soon dominated up the titantron by Evolution. Triple H pedigrees Seth Rollins on a chair. The trio head back to the ring to deal with Reigns.

HHH calls for the steps as Orton and Batista strip Reigns’ vest off. Some wolf whistles were heard. Over the steps Reigns is smashed with Kendo sticks. Reigns jumps over the steps and Superman punches Orton, beat down by the others. Reigns is now sent up the ramp. Ambrose comes back but wrangled down. The free hoist him over the ramp of the entrance lights as Orton drape DDT’s Ambrose. Rollins appears from the top of the ‘tron and takes all three down. Everyone crawls to the ring as Rollins halts a Batista charge. Rollins jumps from top turnbuckle to be speared on the spot. Batista Bomb countered as Roman Reigns quickly spears Batista. Rollins covers Batista, who gets eliminated.

Orton slams an RKO but Reigns saves a close two on Rollins. Ambrose clouts Orton with a chair and a DDT on the chair to eliminate Randy Orton. HHH lands a low blow on Ambrose. Roman Reigns Superman punches HHH as a spear by Batista is smashed in upset return for earlier elimination.

Orton slips the sledgehammer to HHH. Ambrose is skulled by Triple H. Rollins dives on HHH and Reigns leans over Triple H to cover and win the match for Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.

PPV Rating - 6/10

Man/Woman of the PPV – Batista

Men/Women of their matches – Antonio Cesaro, Curtis Axel, Big E., Kofi Kingston, Rob Van Dam, Bray Wyatt, Alicia Fox, Seth Rollins

For WWE Payback could have been better, but it still managed to deliver a pleasing show all things considered. The Shield and Evolution rematch held its ground and the trio kept their core being over the re-hashed ego centric Triple H club in Evolution.

It’s a shame that as soon as Batista is leaving WWE from his part time contract his new attire, look and his interaction in this match made him the most interesting, skilled and standout of the night. Once he’s getting good, it’s about to disappear. Along with an exceptional crew, the six man battle was fierce, fun and a pleasure.

Alicia Fox failing to dethrone the flunkie title might be one thing, but Paige as an inconsistent, fluke and inadequate in-ring champion is detrimental. She cannot carry the title and should be dropped. He last months bungled battle on Pay Per View with this one is a shining testament to that. The longer you take, the worse it gets. Is Triple H’s ego for trying to get fans on his side so distorted it will cost and entire division instead?

Antonio Cesaro’s slow build is, well, something. What it is can’t quite be classified. HE’s got the skills and we put him forward, but WWE only put him with Sheamus to protect the US champ. It made Cesaro look pathetic. It, once again, is being done all the wrong way.

Big E. and Kofi Kingston shouldn’t have got out of bed. These were pathetic entries at the last minute, despite their best efforts to keep it together.

Curtis Axel needs to dump the hat. As well as Ryback and all the losers around him. He was starting to show promise again, but WWE dropped it.

Rob Van Dam still did his past routine of yesteryear, however did try to mix it up a little, which is encouraging. He performed well with Barrett and had to work with the lame duck to make a credible match.

Bray Wyatt was not allowed to beat company hero John Cena. Looking entirely weak thanks to Cena, WWE, at the height of one of its newest and most intriguing stars, is drawing shirt straws.

WWE should have stripped Daniel Bryan of the title and had a match to crown a new champ tonight. Such indecision was feeble on WWE’s part.

If WWE cannot figure out what to do, strain angles over time and make a strong tough decision than a random match thrown at the last minute to fill time, WWE is in trouble of discriminating its PPV buy rates. Most people forgot Payback was broadcasting tonight. These signs are not encouraging in the slightest and WWE need to re-structure its management to really focus on what’s key. I’m only one email away, babe. 

© Max Waltham 02nd June 2014