May 24, 2016

Spare Change Newsletter: Rules, Extremely

Greetings all starchildren and rosebuddies,

I'm taking a week off from the Marshall Matters Show to decide where to host it next (I'll probably just go back to the old way), and in the meantime, I've taken down the last three episodes from podbean and retroactively posted them here.  For posterity, integrity, and my own anal fastidiousness.  And because it's free.

Because I'm too tired to try and write cohesive paragraphs, let's get right into it...  spoilers for !3X7R3M3! !RVL3Z! and Raw to follow.

It seems appropriate for my first bullet point to address the state of the ersatz Bullet Club.  I was disappointed with their opener against the Usos, for some reason I thought it was going to be an awesome knock-down drag-out, but it was a little too much like a wrestling match, a little too much like the brawls they've been having on TV for the past several weeks, and there was really nothing on the line except The Club's need to establish themselves.  So, it wasn't bad, I had fun watching it, but I wouldn't say this was a particularly good showcase of the strengths of either team.  I still definitely enjoy the Club/Family rivalry, and I'm bummed that it seems to have run its course already.  Even more premature is the unfortunate break-up of The Club, dissipating like a wisp of smoke into the cool night air.  I like AJ as a babyface who stands on his own feet, but is The Club just going to be a 2-man faction?  They've got a long way to go to establish themselves as formidable heels when they come out to a shitty emo song and get brushed off by AJ right before and after losing clean.  Don't get me wrong, I think AJ will be fine, but Anderson and Gallows are gonna have to make a big statement next week to show the Universe how badass they can be.

I was disappointed that Kalisto dropped the US belt.  For as long as he's had it, I've heard people on multiple podcasts fantasy-book the title without any consideration for Kalisto.  They talk about Cena coming back and resuming the open challenges as though it's an obviously great booking decision.  If Kalisto's run hasn't captured the people, I'd have to assume that has a lot to do with the fact that he'd been in a lukewarm feud with Ryback for 2 months.  I'd have liked to see him defend against more competitors of different styles and sizes before passing the title on.  That said, Rusev's been a monster lately (some might say a sexy beast, but I'm totally above it).  When Cena returns next week, many will look for him to challenge Rusev in a rematch from 2 Manias ago.  I'll have mixed feelings if that's the case.  By the way, I heard that Rusev doesn't oil up before his matches.  I know, I know, it looks like he does, but I heard that instead of sweat, his body actually secretes a lavender-scented lotion, and that wrestling Rusev is less like being in a car accident, and more like taking an epsom salt bath.

The only thing I didn't like about the 4-Way IC match was that it isn't on every card.  Well, and also that Miz won.  I was rooting hard for Cesaro, figuring that with Owens and Zayn stalling each other out, he had the best chance of dethroning The Awful One.  Instead, he gets a non-title singles victory over Miz on Raw, after selling a shoulder injury throughout the match.  Did anyone else think that was weird?  Why would he be selling like that if he's going over?  So that Miz isn't perceived as an underdog?  Too much thinking.  I wonder if Cesaro will get a title match on Raw in the weeks leading to MitB.

And how exciting is it that the next PPV is MitB??  I'm already stoked.  There are a lot of fish in the pond right now, and with five out of seven competitors announced, the only one who's held the WWEWHC before is Jericho, so it will be fun and nerve-wracking to watch who gets the ball.

Speaking of Jericho, I skipped through his Asylum match with Ambrose.  I skipped a few segments of E.Rules and Raw because Al Marshall has been watching with me lately, but she can't stay up as late, and I wanted to make sure she'd see AJ in the main events.  So I have nothing to say about Jericho/Ambrose or the Ambrose/Ziggler match from Raw.  I did watch Jericho/Crews though, and I continue to be disappointed with Apollo's lack of support from the audience.  I can attribute it to a few key factors.  One, he doesn't put enough stank on his offense.  I know he's got it in him, but he hasn't shown it in the WWE yet.  Two, he doesn't sell enough.  Not selling the heat like it's killing him makes his comebacks tepid.  Three, his character hasn't been established through storytelling.  The most compelling thing he's done so far is get his ass kicked backstage by Sheamus.  I wish Crews the best and will continue to root for him to fulfill his potential.

I loved the fact that there were qualifying matches for the MitB spots.  It was so frustrating that time years ago when the Authority just announced that the MitB match would be made up of all the former world champions on the roster, of which there were like, six or something.  That was stupid.  The qualifying matches are in keeping with the more competitive edge WWE has fostered since Mania, and they didn't pull any punches with the pairings.  They each seemed like they could go either way, I liked each match, and in most cases was happy with the result.  Zayn/Sheamus (who Al and I have referred to for years as Shaymoo, I don't remember why) was solid, we get Zayn in another high-profile match, and Shaymoo went on the warpath, which was entertaining and had a rare feel of legitimacy from the big Irish cartoon.

Back to E.Rules, um yeah that 4-Way was dope.  3/4 of them had great moments, and 1/4 was the perfect foil for 3 Indy/IWC darlings.  I can't say enough for the match, but it still wasn't match of the night.  Styles and Reigns tore New Jersey a new asshole (and didn't they have plenty already) and I got totally lost in this one.  Going in, I KNEW that Roman was going over, there's no way he'd be dropping the belt already, in his first real feud since winning the belt, which was a years-long journey itself.  However, while my brain was constantly whispering "Roman is going to win.  AJ is going to lose.  Marshall, you know this."  My heart was screaming "AJ got him!! He got him!!!!" and I was losing my mind in the best way.  AJ showed he's second to none, Roman showed he can hang with the best and hold up his end.  It was awesome storytelling, athletically amazing, and the highspots were jaw-dropping.  From brawling around the pre-show table, to the sitout Razor's Edge, to AJ playing musical chairs on both Usos and Reigns, there were a ton of memorable moments from this match.  When Rollins ran out, I was instantly flashing to future match-ups-- AJ/Rollins and AJ/Rollins/Reigns.  What a bitter pill to swallow on Raw when AJ lost clean for the second night in a row.  They've really got me looking forward to next week, because I'm super invested in what happens with AJ.

The match with Owens was super good though, I don't want to be a total bummer about it.  Owens' great wrestling, agility, and trash-talking make him arguably the most entertaining person on the roster.  I just wish they could both be in the MitB match.

What else.. Big E with a cake... Enzo calling his concussion a "hard sneeze, achoo"... not too many McMahon segments... it was a good show.  It was disappointing that there weren't any women's matches, and the main event left me sad, but the bulk of it was good, as was the PPV.

Anything I didn't cover in this post I probably didn't watch, for better or worse.  I'm a couple weeks behind on ROH, a month behind on Lucha Underground, and I haven't watched any Super Jrs yet.  I did watch some CMLL today (the first two Dragon Lee/Kamaitachi matches from late 2014/early 2015) and that was awesome.  I watched NXT, which was fine.  I watched Wake Up Time to Die with Rip Rogers, which was interesting.  And thus concludes my report!  Pleasant dreams.

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