Then! Survivor Series happened, during which Team Ziggler narrowly defeated Team Foley to finally settle no grievances in particular. Seamus carried a 500lb man on his shoulders. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and ALL-CAPS DEAN AMBROSE pulled a three-man Nexus routine on Ryback, thus ensuring the undying loyalty of both /r/SquaredCircle and NeoGAF for years to come. Dean shot Lucifer in the head with the Colt, but it had no effect. Now!
• According to Ryback, he is the hunter, and CM Punk’s alleged triad of conspirators are the prey. That never worked out very well for the Hirogen, if memory serves.
• If Tensai is still here for any reason, it’s to be fed to guys like Ryback the day after a big loss, to avoid making a big star appear weak. In Ryback’s case, only Tensai or maybe Brodus Clay work as such; having him squash local indies and Heath Slater wouldn’t do the trick. It’s such a situational role that it almost seems pointless. Or, it’s The Worf Effect.
• Ever noticed how many wrestlers in the WWE these days do something similar to Ryback’s shoulder-pump-thing whenever they’re waiting for an opponent to stand up? Seamus, Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, and Zack Ryder all have some variation of it, and that’s just off the top of my head. I’ve started to liken this to an RPG boss switching idle animations to “charge up” a big attack for a few turns. Kill it before the timer runs out!
• The WWE is still pushing that “longest running episodic television series” line on us. Take that, Gunsmoke! Really, does anyone care about that statistic? Show of hands.
• I wonder where Wade Barrett would be on the ladder had he not been sidelined for so long with that injury. Probably not in little non-title matches with Kofi, I’d bet. And he’d probably have renamed “the souvenir” to “the bullhammer” a long time ago too, or just switched to a different finisher entirely. Maybe there’d be a magical briefcase in the picture. Alternate universes, tons of fun! By the way, there’s something on your back…
• “I’m A Paul Heyman Guy” t-shirts are now a thing that exist. I sort of want one, but I also kind of see it as something that I could just wander down to the local Dog’s Ear and make from scratch myself. And there’s no way that’s not going to be another puzzle piece in all this speculation over a new Heyman stable. Unless they’re doing it just to troll the internet, in which case I’m onboard even more.
• For all I know Aksana could be far better in the ring than she appears, but without a little more time, who would know? The length of these matches do their participants no justice. The crowds would probably start to care more if that time was provided, and therefore the product given room to develop, otherwise the reasons are few. Time = exposure + energy. The talent is there, even with the recent exodus of skilled workers like Beth Phoenix. It just has to be booked properly.
Of course, the longer the women’s matches become, the more of Jerry Lawler being Jerry Lawler we’ll have to put up with.
• I’m perfectly fine with Brodus Clay only existing to be deadlifted by Antonio Cesaro like a boss. Fun fact: that is something Cesaro has done in two consecutive matches with Clay, while Ryback could only manage to get Tensai up once. Allegations of sandbagging or not, it’s a feat that shouldn’t go unnoticed just because Cesaro is the guy you’re supposed to chant “USA!” at as if he were Nikolai Volkoff and the Cold War was still happening.
• Anyone who complains about Vickie Guerrero needs to realize that no one else, not even the guy who’s supposed to be your top heel, can attract her level of crowd heat simply by opening her mouth. I can’t even remember the last person who pulled that off night after night. Whoever is capable of that needs to be front-and-center.
• I had a good laugh at the sight of Vickie’s witnesses clearing the ring when John Cena’s music hit. No doubt they’re aware of how WWE babyfaces act in 2012, via Seamus herp-derping his way through a Z-grade Han Solo routine. If you’re a civilian, you’d actually be safer with the heels. The only thing funnier was watching Cena trip over his own shoes trying to chase down Dolph Zigger.
• If any part of AJ’s former character survived her run as general manager, it finally died along with the John Cena makeout skit. The reason the “Summer of AJ” happened at all is because she carried herself with a slightly enigmatic and potentially manipulative air of puppetmastery that no female wrestler (hell, very few male ones) have ever approached. Was she really into Daniel Bryan, Kane, or CM Punk? Was she crazy, or was it all part of her act? Even when she left Bryan at the altar for career-minded reasons (more fun facts: wrestling characters are incapable of multitasking) there was at least some sense to it in context with what came before. That AJ would’ve reacted to her demotion and Vickie’s attacks with more mind games, she didn’t need John Cena or anyone else to prop her up. This AJ has instead lost the “self-rescuing” prefix on her geeky t-shirts and is now simply another princess.
• The only potential J. Michael Straczynski trap door left for AJ’s story to take would be for John Cena to unintentionally resurrect that same ambiguously insane side of her personality that had us all speculating over the summer. That should naturally lead her towards either A) Jedi Mind Tricking John Cena into killing himself with Triple H’s sledgehammer, or B) linking up with Daniel Bryan and Kane again, the possibilities there being too awesome to dare dream of.
• When Paul E. Heyman wants balloons, you’d best find the man some damn balloons.
• Compare this version of Babyface Miz with the original goofhawk’d version from several years ago. It’s amazing how much he’s improved since those days, and how little I want to see him stuffed in a duffel bag and mailed to the Kaiser. Time heals all wounds, apparently.
• One little point I forgot to make on the forums about Smackdown (since generally speaking nothing worth mentioning ever happens there): Damien Sandow holds a microphone like a glass of brandy. Fantastic.
• I like Tamina Snuka as the silent bodyguard type. She could be the missing Turk.
• Not to question the internal logic of a wrestling universe where people routinely attend important meetings in their underwear, but is there a reason why almost everyone in the locker room is standing around in towels despite not competing on the show’s card? Also, take a look at how easily those shower stalls fell apart during the brawl. They weren’t double-bolted!
• The Prime Time Players with the referee whistles = Edge & Christian with the kazoos. Now that A.W. isn’t around to throw shoes at people, they need to be on those whistles approximately 110% of the time. Incidentally, those two are surprisingly great on commentary. #millionsofdollars
• Further issues of internal logic: how is it that people aren’t simply gently rolling away from Rey Mysterio’s 619 set up all the time? It’s a finisher predicament that any functioning human being should be able to escape by accident.
• CM Punk looks to the future, 2018 in particular, and sets his sights on Bruno Sammartino’s WWE Title reign record. The real joke here is the insinuation that Main Event and ION Television will even still exist in six years. For that matter, by then the bombs will have fallen, the Vancouver Canucks will have won a Stanley Cup, and Ted Mosby will have finally hit the mental breakdown that leads to him telling his invisible children how he met their nonexistent mother.
• The finish to Survivor Series is repeated with a nary a diversion. Ten currency units of your choice says that when Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose finally remove those combat jackets they’re wearing for whatever reason, they’ll have Paul Heyman Guy t-shirts on underneath. It’s been long enough since Big Show’s Team ECW swerve for that to fly, right? What is it that Jim Cornette said about the seven-year shelf life of wrestling angles?
That’s all for this week! Join me next time when two palette-swapped AJ Lees will battle to decide the fate of the multiverse. That is why the cloister bell keeps ringing, right?