WWE Monday Night Raw Review: 14/04/2014 Highlights

Wrestlemania is now well and truly behind us, and this week the WWE gave us some idea of the story lines going into the next PPV Extreme Rules in early May. Without Daniel Bryan, who was on his honeymoon, would the show be as successful as last week’s?

 

The Ultimate Warrior Tribute

The Ultimate Warrior, a true legend of the business passed away last week, just a day after he appeared on Monday Night Raw. The wrestling world has been in mourning ever since. Last night, the WWE put on a fitting tribute show for the Warrior, with highlights from his storied career playing throughout the night. He will be sorely missed.

 

The end of Corporate Kane

Finally, it looks like we are seeing the end of Corporate Kane. When he first handed his mask to Stephanie McMahon last year there was intrigue as to what role Kane would play. He has since become Corporate Kane, the Director of Operations, who just so happens to wrestle in his suit pants and shoes. It’s been an awkward look and hasn’t really worked. He’s been involved in the main story line with Daniel Bryan and the Authority but hasn’t really been billed as a threat to Bryan. Last night, Stephanie angered Kane, goading him into unleashing the Big Red Machine once more. It looks like he will once again wear his famous mask and red/black attire. Obviously, he is still working for the Authority though, and so only his anger and clothes will change I assume. What is most worrying for Kane though is that he is focusing on Bryan, who has beaten him numerous times recently, and so the audience has no reason to doubt he will do it again. That lack of a threat will no doubt take something away from a potential feud.

 

The Number 1 Contender’s tournament for the Intercontinental Championship

This was a great idea by the WWE, and let’s hope (I’m being optimistic here) that this is the beginning of a huge push for the Intercontinental title. That’s right, a push for the title. It’s been undervalued and under appreciated for too long now, and now that there is only one main title, this belt needs to be given ample time for interesting story lines to develop. It used to be extremely prestigious, with some of the most famous champions being Chris Jericho, Pat Patterson, Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, The Rock, SCSA, HHH, Kurt Angle and Randy Orton to name a few. In fact, at Wrestlemania VI then Intercontinental Champion, The Ultimate Warrior, defeated WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan to close the show. The recent New Japan Pro Wrestling product is the perfect example of how the title should be treated, as the Intercontinental Championship matches (both Tanahashi vs Nakamura), closed the  Wrestle Kingdom 8 and Invasion Attack 2014 shows this year. The WWE equivalent must at least become a title for those upper-mid-carders who are not quite at the main event yet.

This tournament is the perfect way to set things into motion. Eight mid/upper-mid-carders, who by challenging for the title will add prestige to it. RVD defeated Del Rio with the five star frog splash in a well worked match, before Sheamus successfully knocked off The Real American Jack Swagger with the Brogue Kick. Cesaro also Neutralised Mark Henry in between. They were all okay matches, but I feel each competitor can produce more. The stand-out match of the evening though was Ziggler vs Barrett. These are two guys who deserve more than they have been given, and they produced a great match last night, with a bunch of near falls keeping the audience on their toes. Barrett eventually defeated Ziggler with the bullhammer elbow. This sets up Cesaro vs RVD, and Sheamus vs Barrett for next week. Due to the recent pushes of Barrett and Cesaro I suspect these two will progress to the final, with Cesaro earning the shot at the title. In truth though, any of the four men would bring the spotlight back on the title. That is not a jab at Big E, who I think is an excellent performer. He is simply suffering poor booking and underdeveloped story lines, like many recent champions have.

 

The Return of Evolution

This should have been a big deal. One of the most dominant factions in WWE returned last night. Instead, it fell rather flat. Sure it put a smile on my face, but it wasn’t the sort of “Oh my goodness” moment that perhaps was expected. I’m trying to figure out why. I think it’s partly because it was teased at so much, that people just sort of assumed it was going to happen. Also the commentators stayed rather quiet, I think only Lawler said “Oh no”. Where was Good Ol’ JR when you needed him? Finally I think it’s because only HHH is truly interesting at the moment. In 2003 when the original faction was formed both Batista and Orton were hot. They were the future of the company. Today in 2014 though, neither truly gets a reaction anymore because what are they? They aren’t the future anymore, they are in fact rather bland characters. It even comes off a bit like HHH and his cronies, rather than an equal team, which is shocking considering the titles Orton and Batista have held between them. They were both in the main event of Mania 30!

Anyway, no it wasn’t brilliant, but it was still one of the most noteworthy occurrences on a rather drab show. They returned to beat up the Shield who had been beaten up by 11 other superstars in the main event. Each Hound of Justice was dissected by Evolution but the audience didn’t really seem into it. I guess since the Shield are now face, and they’ve already fought the Wyatts, this feud makes the most sense. Let’s see where it goes in the next few weeks.

 

Paige gets a longer slot to show off her skills

Last week Paige shocked the world by defeating AJ Lee for the Divas Championship. The match was much too short though, and neither competitor could truly impress the fans. This week the new champion faced Alicia Fox. Both athletes actually impressed in this one, but even though given more time than last week, the divas still suffered time constraints. Fox’s backbreakers were suberb, but they were not enough to get her the victory, and instead Paige made her tap with the awesome Scorpion Crosslock. Paige is a true talent, and this match seemed to be one of the few divas matches recently that the crowd were actually into. There was even a gasp as Paige applied her submission. This woman can be a star. Now where was AJ to build this feud?

 

Cena/Wyatt II in a Steel Cage

The segment leading up to the announcement began well, as Bray Wyatt was in the ring delivering a world-class promo. Cena interrupted and made jokes, showing cringe-worthy photoshopped pictures, before finally turning serious. That was when he delivered the news that Cena/ Wyatt II would take place inside a steel cage at Extreme Rules. This is a good addition to the card, as it should be a good match with a different story to the one told at Mania, and the stipulation is a way of keeping the Family out. Cena making jokes was disappointing, as it really takes the intensity out of the feud, and the heat off Wyatt. When he becomes serious he is one of the best on the microphone, so why does he rely on jokes so much? I will never know. Anyway a rather up-and-down segment but at least we got an intriguing match from it.

 

Conclusion

This was a rather mediocre show in truth. Particularly when compared to the product produced last week. Evolution returned and began a feud with the Shield, whilst an interesting tournament began, but it just felt flat. In many ways it needed the injection that Daniel Bryan brings. He can always lift an audience, and that often rises a show too. It was disappointing that there was no AJ either to build a feud with Paige. I’m not sure why she wasn’t there, but it seemed strange. As always there continued to be misused talent such as Ziggler, Rhodes and Sandow, who all suffered a (sort of) loss this week. Finally, there was no Lesnar, although Heyman managed to make sure we didn’t forget the Beast. I really hope he appears more often but I don’t see it happening.

The story lines moved forward, albeit slowly on an average Raw.

Bates Motel Season 2 Episode 2: Shadow of a Doubt

*Full Spoilers Ahead*

Last week’s episode ended on a huge cliffhanger, as Bradley sought Norman’s help after she had murdered Gill. We find out this week that Norman has decided to hide Bradley in his basement until a few days time when she will catch the bus to Boston to begin a new life. Apart from the obligatory “almost caught” scene, where Norma wandered into the basement looking for Norman, Bradley’s story was halted until the final scenes. I have to say that this particular plot thread has moved rather fast, from upset child, to suicidal teenager to murderer in two episodes or so. Admittedly, four months have passed between seasons and so that could sort of explain it, but I just feel its been rushed. Anyway, that is a minor problem for me in a very good start to this second season.

Norma and Norman’s relationship, and whether Norman did actually kill Blair Watson remains at the forefront of the season and of this episode. We see Norma hilariously asking her doctor for help regarding her “sister’s” blackouts whilst the doctor was otherwise preoccupied, as well as discovering Miss Watson’s pearls and a newspaper clipping about her death under Norman’s bed (she puts them back). She seems convinced that her son is the murderer, but is fighting with it as she doesn’t want to believe it to be true. Instead it appeared in this episode that she was trying to take Norman’s (as well as her own) mind off the subject by signing them up to audition for a local musical production. This leads to a fun song on the piano with the two of them, but beneath the fun it serves to remind us just how strangely close their relationship is. They go to the auditions, and it is Norman himself who reinforces this point, storming out as the clock ticks closer to eight o’clock – the time he is supposed to be taking Bradley to the bus station to escape. He breaks down and screams at his mother, possibly realising for the first time that the grip his mother has on him is not normal.

“Mother we live together yeah, we work together, we eat every meal together, we sleep six inches away from each other with a thin wall between us, don’t you think that’s probably enough?” 

He is saying what we are all thinking, but as ever Norma turns it around and makes him feel guilty. It often seems that she only cares about herself, as when something happens with Norman it’s always about how dreadful it is for her not her son. She wants to control him, and for him to always be with her, because she doesn’t want to be alone. This shows especially when they are waiting to audition and he tells her he has a date with Emma at the movies (to cover for Bradley), but she quickly dismisses him, telling him to cancel. In the end he chooses Norma over Bradley, his mother over a girl who he’s attracted to, due to her jealousy. This will no doubt become a recurring theme. They go back into the theatre and Vera Farmiga produces a wonderful bit of acting. As she sings, you can feel the weight of what is happening building up on her, we can feel the stress she is under, and it all comes out in that awesome performance. Norman claps along but he doesn’t see the pain in his mother’s eyes that we do.

Norma was not the only one suffering though, as Dylan went on quite a journey this episode too. Sheriff Romero meets a man named Nick at Blair Watson’s grave, who turns out to be, not just her father, but the leader of the rival drug gang in the town. Dylan’s gang, now led by the erratic Zane, seem convinced Nick’s gang murdered Gill and so murder one of their men in retaliation. Dylan looks to be caught up in gang warfare which is destined to spiral out of control and result in casualties. Who will die is anyone’s guess, but my money is on at least Dylan’s partner, Remo, if not Dylan himself. As this affects the whole town, there is a possibility a wider array of characters may get caught in the crossfire.

In the end, Norman can not make it in time and so has to call his brother for help in taking Bradley. He obliges, and even though shocked she is in the basement he was smart enough to know Norman was up to something. Off they go in his truck, and upon arrival he tells her to write a suicide note. Dylan, despite his involvement in the drug business, is the show’s conscious. He represents us, as he cares for the people he meets, proven by the fact that he is willing to get involved in Norman and Bradley’s mess, and fake Bradley’s suicide, all so that they can get away scot free. He is a good man, who cares for his family and friends, and seems to be the one most fans connect too.

The third storyline tonight is Romero’s as he follows up a lead on the Blair Watson case. Samples lead them to Kyle, a junkie in the town who Romero had warned to stay away. We discover there were two samples, one unidentified, but still Romero decides to pin the murder on him. It doesn’t appear Kyle is the murderer and instead, if the show takes the predictable but probably smartest road, the other sample seems to hold the key to the death. I’m sure we will learn more in due time.

The final scene sees a man looking for Norma Bates and we discover that he is in fact her brother. This is intriguing, as he could be friend or foe. We had a similar introduction last year with Norma’s other son, Dylan, tracking her down, and he became a firm fan favourite, so we will see what happens to this man. Speaking of fan favourites (well a favourite of mine anyway!), Emma was once again limited to seconds of screen time. In fact, her only purpose seemed to be to inform the Bates’ that a man was arrested in relation to the Watson case. Here’s hoping that now Bradley is gone for the foreseeable future, Emma can take more of a lead role, like the one we saw her in during the first season.

Anyway, not quite as entertaining as the first episode, but still solid plot development, and new interesting characters in the gang warfare as well as Norma’s brother.

 

Verdict:

The story was forwarded well, with Norma and her son’s relationship as unsettling as ever. A very good start to this season.

8 out of 10.

 

Agree/Disagree? Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments section

WWE Monday Night Raw Review: 07/04/2014 Highlights

A night after Wrestlemania, Monday Night Raw took place in New Orleans, and what a show it was!

In recent years, this post-Mania show has become a hugely important one where returns take place and shocks happen. The fact that the audience is made up of a wide variety of nationalities, all visiting the town for Wrestlemania, only adds to the fun. Two years ago Brock Lesnar returned, and last year Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank, whilst the crowd began “Fandango-ing”. So what were the highlights from this year’s show?

 

Paige debuts and wins the Divas title

This was perhaps the biggest shock of the night, as the extremely talented 21 year old from Norwich, England, not only debuted but beat champion AJ Lee in an impromptu match for the title. AJ was gloating about defeating all of the current division at Mania, only for NXT champion Paige to come out from behind the curtain. It was the perfect time to debut, as the crowd was a “hardcore” wrestling audience, those who perhaps know more about wrestling than your average joe. They knew exactly who she was, as many would have watched NXT, and so she received a great reaction. It was still extremely surprising to see her beat AJ, and so quickly(!) but this could be the start of a very special feud. Arguably the two best female wrestlers in the company are now enemies, so let’s hope they are given time to wrestle and talk, and make this feud one of the best in recent memory. I feel like Smackdown has been lackluster recently, and has not furthered many feuds, so time could quite easily be given to these two. It would benefit greatly from it.

 

Daniel Bryan & The Shield vs The Authority

The night started with the newly crowned WWE World Heavyweight Champion addressing the crowd, only for HHH and Stephanie to interrupt and create a match between HHH and Bryan for the title later in the show. Cue angry responses from Batista and Orton (who decimated the Usos in a tag match), as well as Stephanie telling Kane and the Shield to get along. When the time came for the match, Orton, Batista and Kane attacked Bryan in the ring, before HHH ordered the referee to ring the bell. This injustice brought out the Shield, who confronted the Authority(/ Evolution) before taking the fight to them. War broke out in an excellent final segment, with Reigns spearing HHH before Bryan delivered a knee to the boss. The new generation vs the old, this was a great example of the WWE creating new stars for the future. It is their hottest storyline right now.

 

Cesaro – The New Paul Heyman Guy

Well, who would have seen that coming? Hogan gave Cesaro the Andre the Giant trophy, before Zeb took the microphone and started spewing his propaganda. The huge shock came when Cesaro snatched the microphone to declare that he was no longer a Zeb Coulter guy, but rather a “Paul Heyman Guy”! Heyman came out and declared Cesaro “the King of Swing”, which the crowd quickly began chanting. Swagger attacked from behind and destroyed the trophy. An official match was begun but soon Swagger had left the ring, under the guidance of Coulter, wanting no more of Cesaro for the evening. This is an interesting turn of events for Cesaro, who is one of the best athletes in the company today. He seems to have turned face, but Heyman is very much a heel manager. Anyway, it looks like Swagger vs Cesaro is the feud heading into Extreme Rules, which I have no problem with at all.

 

Brock Lesnar – The Man Who Beat the Streak

The shock waves were still reverberating last night at Monday Night Raw from THAT moment at Wrestlemania on Sunday night. The Undertaker’s perfect record now blemished with that ‘L’ next to 21 ‘W’s’, all courtesy of the Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar. And the WWE were not going to miss the opportunity to emphasise the importance of this, as was evident the moment Lesnar and Paul Heyman walked out from behind the curtain. Rightfully so! This is a momentous time in the history of the company, and that was the biggest moment in wrestling history for a quarter of a century. Heyman and Lesnar need to brag about this constantly, and so even if Lesnar leaves for a few months, fans will still be talking about the man who broke the streak. This particular segment was exactly that, with Heyman playing up the magnitude of the moment, and claiming Brock surpasses Rock, Hogan etc as the best there ever was. Heyman is so good at playing the heel manager it’s scary. You can’t help but listen, he’s absolutely magnetic on the mic. One of the best managers of all time. The question now is what’s next for Lesnar? We didn’t really get any indication of his future, but I’m sure we will all tune in next week to find out more.

 

Alexander Rusev debuts on Raw

This was not officially Rusev’s debut as he competed in the Rumble but it was his first one on one match. Who better to begin his career against than Zack Ryder? I wonder who will win this match! Rusev made short work of Ryder, making him tap out to the camel clutch. The good news is that Rusev seems much more athletic than Ryback who went on a similar path of destruction against jobbers not too long ago. Here’s hoping Rusev is the next Lesnar rather than the next Ryback or Koslov.

 

Bad News Barrett makes his in ring return

As an Englishmen this was great to see. In 2010 when the Nexus debuted with Wade Barrett as its leader, I was extremely excited. Here was a promising in-ring talent with great charisma, who looked destined for the main event. Since then he has faded away due to a mixture of poor booking and unfortunate injuries, even though he has had multiple Intercontinental title reigns. His most recent return has seen his gimmick change to Bad News Barrett, and his role limited to a verbal one. That was until now. Last night, he garnered a great reaction as he returned to the ring to face Rey Mysterio. A victory via a bull-hammer elbow is extremely promising for the man from Preston. I hope he gets an opportunity to prove himself and who knows, maybe even climb to the top of the company.

 

The Wyatts vs Cena Continues

Cena may have beaten Wyatt in the middle of the ring at Mania but that is not the end of the story it seems. Last night there was an entertaining six man tag match between the Wyatt Family and Cena, Sheamus and Big E, with Bray pinning E for the victory. I can’t see Sheamus or Big E getting involved in this feud though, and I hope the focus remains on Cena and Wyatt, as the promo work was sensational in the lead up to Mania. May be some sort of stipulation in a match between the two at Extreme Rules could keep it feeling fresh, and Wyatt may even pick up the victory. It was only a match this week, so let’s hope the actual story is pushed forward either on Smackdown or next Monday night.

 

Rob Van Dam returns

This was not a huge shock, but it’s still great to have a legend back. He worked a fun, short match with Damien Sandow (how far as he fallen since being “The Uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion”?) and now I’m hoping he can play a similar role to Chris Jericho has in recent runs. Jericho worked with young upcoming talent and his legendary status was enough to help push them towards stardom. Big E, Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, or may be even Sandow himself, could benefit greatly from defeating Van Dam at a couple of PPV’s.

 

Conclusion

This was a fantastic show, with so many noteworthy points. A new generation of superstars is on the rise and its great to see. Finally it appears WWE is looking towards the future, and you can’t help feel that this is due somewhat to the increased power of HHH in that area recently. He gets a lot of stick, but there’s no doubt he cares about the company, and it may just be in safe hands (I’m not saying I wouldn’t welcome a Shane return, with his awesome entrance music!).

Some superstars continue to be wasted though. The likes of Rhodes, Ziggler, Sandow and even Intercontinental Champion Big E seem to be in limbo, so we will have to wait to see what happens with them. They are all extremely talented, and main event worthy in my opinion, but there is limited spots at the top. May be the seeming changing of the guard in WWE will help get their careers back on track.

Anyway, a fantastic post-Mania show with a lively crowd who added to the action (hilarious 3MB chant when Bryan was being beaten down). Looking forward to Shield vs Wyatts on Main Event, then on to Smackdown and next week’s Raw!

Wrestlemania 30: Detailed Results

WRESTLEMANIA 30

This is an in depth review of the results last night as they happened.

Pre Show:

WWE World Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos (c) vs The Real Americans vs Ryback and Curtis Axel vs Los Matadores

Los Matadores have failed to get over as faces, and so it is not surprising they are the first eliminated, tapping out to Jack Swagger’s Patriot Lock. The second team is no surprise either, as Ryback and Curtis Axel have failed miserably in their current team, with the former pinned after Cesaro delivers a Neutralizer. The Usos and Real Americans are arguably the two hottest teams in WWE right now and so in theory it was always a toss-up between these two for the victory. However, in reality it is much more predictable. The Usos only won the titles last month and have not been given a fair shot as champions yet, whilst the Real Americans have seen on the verge of a break-up for weeks, with Cesaro popularity with the fans increasing day by day. A double splash secures the victory for the Usos in a rather entertaining opener.

Winner: The Usos retain

The Real Americans are arguing amongst themselves and now Swagger has Cesaro in the Patriot Lock, but Zeb Coulter breaks it up. Cesaro has had enough and delivers the big swing to Swagger! Face turn for Cesaro! He’s been one of the best talents on the roster for a long time and it looks like his time has come at last.

 

Main Show:

Opening Segment

The Host of Wrestlemania Hulk Hogan opens the show and hypes the night to come. Barely a minute in and he has called the Superdome the Silverdome! Clearly he was thinking about Wrestlemania 3. The crowd corrects him soon enough and he gets a big cheer as he gets the name right. All of this is interrupted by a shattering of glass and none other than Stone Cold! Stone Cold! Stone Cold! (Jim Ross voice obviously). The crowd erupts for the Rattlesnake as he makes his way to the ring. He jokes about the Silverdome and thanks Hulk for all he has done, telling him he respected him. The segment is not over though as more music hits. This time it is none other than the Rock! They all joke and laugh, drink a few beers and have a good time for almost half an hour, and the crowd absolutely eats it up. The announcers are quick to point out it was a true Wrestlemania moment and you can’t help but agree with them. It was the perfect start to the show, with excitement at a fever pitch because of the sight of these three living legends.

 

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Number One Contender’s Match
Daniel Bryan vs Triple H

A great match to start the night with, as it gives the winner a long rest before the main event. Triple H enters first, sitting on a throne, wearing a skull mask, crown and robe. Pretty cool, even if they looks plastic-y (probably because they were plastic). His entrance music is “The Game” rather than “King of Kings”, not sure why though. “Flight of the Valkyries” hits and the place explodes for Daniel Bryan. No such fancy entrance for him, but he receives a  pop to rival Stone Cold’s. A whole crowd doing the Yes chant in unison is still impressive. Daniel Bryan has to win this right, after everything he’s been put through?

Bryan’s left shoulder is heavily taped and you can bet for the majority of the battle the Game will focus on that. Triple H offer his hand for a handshake only for Bryan to kick it away and roll him up for a two count. As I thought, HHH works on the arm for a while, and there is a nice bit of mat wrestling between the two. These two guys can wrestle. The action moves to the outside where Bryan gains the upper hand and hits a DDT from the apron. First really cool moment. And there’s the second, as Bryan climbs to the top rope and delivers a somersault from the top rope to HHH on the outside. Looked painful for Bryan as HHH barely caught him and he hit the floor and barricade hard! He’s up first though and seems okay. Damn he’s tough. The action moves back to the ring and HHH knocks Bryan off the top rope. He rips apart the announce table and sets Bryan up for the pedigree on the table. Reversed but HHH still manages to yank Bryan’s bad arm onto the table. I thought the table was going to break for a moment. HHH works on the arm, Bryan rallies and goes for the suicide dive only for HHH to deliver a big punch.

HHH remains in control with crossfaces before hitting a German suplex whilst holding his arms behind his back (if anyone knows the name of that move let me know). Awesome and nasty. HHH and Bryan to the top rope, with HHH going for a superplex, but Bryan reverses into a sunset flip powerbomb. Bryan with the momentum as he hits HHH with two dropkicks in the corner, but on the third HHH takes his head off with a huge clothesline! Bryan sold that really well.

Bryan regains control though with a kick to the head, goes for the flying headbutt but HHH raises his knee to block. HHH works the crossface but Bryan reverses into the Yes Lock! HHH makes it to the rope. Bryan with two suicide dives! He has HHH where he wants him, missile dropkick, kip up, and lining him up for the knee… HHH hits a huge spinebuster and then a pedigree! Great reversal. Only a 2 count though as Bryan kicks out!

HHH goes for the pedigree again but Bryan  breaks out and hits a kick to the head, tries again, HHH ducks, goes for a back drop, Bryan backflips and lands on his feet, and hits the knee!! 1…2…3 Bryan wins! The crowd erupts! Great match to start the night with.

Winner: Daniel Bryan pins HHH with the knee and will be in the main event tonight.

Stephanie into the ring, she slaps Bryan, and HHH attacks from behind! Chair shots to Bryan’s arm.

 

The Shield vs Kane and The New Age Outlaws

The Shield interrupt Road Dogg as he says something about “humility”. They wear masks that remind me of Michael Tarver… anyone remember him? The Shield looked like they were going to break up a  few months ago, but their recent face turn seems to have prolonged their life.

Wow, the match starts fast! Ambrose hits the clothesline. Regins in, superman punch, big flying boot on the outside. This is hectic. Rollins goes flying over the top rope onto Kane. Now Ambrose and Rollins with suicide dives to the NAO, whilst Reigns spears Kane. Double Spear on the NAO!! And now both of them being set up… and down… for the Triple Power Bomb. Cool spot. 1…2…3. Rollins pins Billy Gunn. Wow. That was a lot shorter than anyone expected. The Shield absolutely obliterated their opponents in a glorified squash match. I wonder where they go from here.

Winner: The Shield with the triple powerbomb.

 

The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale.

Only Big Show (in Andre black one strap attire) and Sheamus get an entrance. Hoping for a Ziggler win in this.

Big mess to begin, Brad Maddox and a few others are eliminated as the number is halved pretty quickly. Basically all the jobbers are getting eliminated first.

Big Show rolls Henry over the top rope. First big name gone. Big E and Fandango on the apron… and… Fandango eliminates him! He dances around on the apron and the crowd love it! Sheamus catches him and hits 27(?) clubs to the chest before simply pushing him out. ADR gets rid of both Rhodes brothers. Rey on the apron, tries to fly into the ring but Cesaro uppercuts him out the ring. Amazing! Kofi attacks Cesaro, gets thrown over the ring post, he hits the floor but his feet don’t hit the floor, he’s still in! The crowd pop big.

Cesaro swing on Kofi, then chokeslam then ADR kicks him out the ring. Poor Kofi.

Ziggler on a roll with DDT’s but ADR eliminates him with a kick. Down to Sheamus, Del Rio, Cesaro and Big Show. But Sheamus and ADR throw each other out! Crowd are excited as its just Cesaro and Show. Cesaro from the top rope, receives a huge slap from Show. Lifts Cesaro up and points to the outside. Cesaro slips down, huge uppercut, and he picks up the Big Show, and bodyslams him over the top rope! CESARO wins! Wow, that was a great ending to a better than expected match.

Hope he gets a huge push now, he truly deserves it.

Winner: Cesaro

P.S. That trophy is huge!

 

Bray Wyatt vs John Cena

Have to say I’m hoping for a Wyatt win but I don’t know whether to get my hopes up.

We see a creepy sword woman dance around fire for some reason, and then Bray’s music hits. Live performance of the song is pretty good. Cena comes out to a mixed response. This cannot be the true face of WWE in the upcoming year.

Match begins with Wyatt falling to his knees and begging Cena to finish him. Cena won’t do it. Bray takes control early on before Cena finally snaps. Huge clothesline and Cena begins pummeling Wyatt as Bray laughs. Love Bray’s character. He’s proving he can be the top heel in the company. The ref keeps having to pull Cena off Bray. Interesting so far but little has really happened.

Bray takes advantage of a distraction and hits a cool suplex. The match slows to a crawl but is still very intriguing. You can’t take your eyes off Wyatt, this guy is electric. He whispers “Go to sleep John” as he has Cena in a sleeper hold. Some memorable spots are needed though I admit, to become a great match. Wyatt and Bryan had an epic at Rumble and so I have no doubt he can pull it off.

Cena fights back. Vintage Cena, two shoulder tackles and goes for the 5-knuckle shuffle but Wyatt pops into the spider walk, scaring Cena. “That was creepy!” according to the audience. Wyatt gets the crowd to sway, this is very cool. He has them eating out the palm of his hand. But Cena hits a great tornado DDT to get back into the match. To the top rope, looking for the leg drop, but Wyatt turns it into a powerbomb. Great execution of a difficult move. Back and forth, before Cena goes for the AA, Wyatt reverses into that front-gut buster. Great move. This match is heating up. DDT onto the apron by Wyatt, gets him a 2 count. The crowd continue to sway. That’s a great sight as this young wrestler could be the future of the company.

Bray going for a superplex from the top rope, Cena pushes him off and dives to the outside taking out Harper and Rowan! That gives Bray the advantage though. He picks up the steel steps but is reversed. Cena with the steps but he can’t bring himself to hit Wyatt. Back in the ring, and what a collision as Wyatt hits a crossbody. He cradles Cena and sings “He’s got the whole world in his hands”. Creepy but awesome again. Cena somehow manages to hit an AA but only gets a 2. Harper allows Wyatt to regain control, hitting Cena behind the referee’s back. Cena thrown to the outside… and instead of rolling back in, he attacks Harper! Speared through the barricade! But once again that lets Bray have the advantage. Sets up Sister Abigail, reversed into STF, but Wyatt manages to hit his finisher out of nowhere! 1…2… Kick out! Cena kicks out. I’m pretty sure he’s the first to do that. Bray snaps and rips apart the announce table before grabbing a chair. Rowen into the ring. Bray throws the chair to Cena, falls to his knees and begs him once more. “Finish me John”. Cena swings over Bray and hits Rowen. Bray goes for Sister Abigail, kiss to forehead, but Cena powers out and hits AA. 1…2…3.

Winner: John Cena

Really great match. I think I expected something slightly different, but that was still fantastic. Bray proved he could perform on the biggest stage against the biggest stars. Don’t really see why Cena needed the win, but Wyatt didn’t suffer in the loss.

Cena goes on the hug basically the whole front row.

 

Hall of Fame

Nice recap of last night’s show, with what is possibly the greatest class ever. Razor and Lita got the biggest reception by what I can tell. Ultimate Warrior gets his own little entrance.

 

The Streak vs The Beast
The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar

The video packages are always awesome, proven here once again. Heyman is also currently the best on the microphone no doubt about it. So will Brock win? I don’t think so. I don’t think anyone expects it and this match might suffer because of it. In the lead up the last five years, Michaels, HHH and Punk all made a victory seem at least possible. This year, Taker constantly got the better of Lesnar until last week’s Raw. Of course he’s a beast but in the world of professional wrestling that doesn’t really matter. Lesnar enters. I’m interested to see the crowd reaction tonight I really am.

Taker gets a cool entrance as always. A video plays showing every victory of his (I believe only the back of Punk’s head is seen. They really are cutting him out of everything aren’t they), whilst the camera pans over 21 coffins on the stage each with a name and number. Oh Punk’s is there. Make that 22, Brock Lesnar’s name is on the final one. The gong hits and Taker emerges. New hat and coat by the looks of it. The Lesnar coffins opens, Taker keeps walking, turns back and it sets on fire. Pretty cool entrance. Preferred last year’s though I must admit.

Still Undertaker’s entrance always gives me chills and gets me excited for the match to come. When was the last time he didn’t produce the goods at Mania? Wrestlemania 22 I think vs Mark Henry. Orton at Mania 21 was awesome before that just for record.

The Undertakers eyes roll into the back of his head and the match is on. Can Lesnar defeat the Streak? We will find out very shortly. He doesn’t look intimidated, but Taker hits first with strong right hands. Lesnar hits a belly to belly, one of my favourite moves. He clotheslines Taker over the rope but he lands on his feet.  Both men get some offence in, in the early going here. The announcers play up the Streak. It’s truly remarkable who he has beaten. All of Evolution including Flair. The best of all time in Michaels. The Streak will never be matched. Lesnar stops Old School, but Taker is in control. Head on the apron, Lesnar does not want to be here. Huge legdrop on the apron from Taker! Love that move, vintage Taker, according to Cole. Taker lines up chokeslam, reversed, Lesnar gets Taker up for F5 but he manages to scramble away and push him into the turnbuckle. Lesnar ducks though as Taker goes for the big boot, and he gets caught up. Lesnar in control now. JBL, Cole and Lawler emphasising the Streak once more, and the impact it could have on both Lesnar and Heyman. The crowd is quiet as Lesnar remains dominant. He’s working away on the leg, delivering an awesome kick on the outside. Taker rallies but Lesnar manages to throw him into the barricade. Slow slow pace in this match.

Finally an explosion as Taker hits a DDT. It’s been rather poor so far, lets see if this picks up. Taker with some big strikes, clotheslines in the corner. This is better. Snake eyes into the big boot, the crowd pop. Leg drop and a 2 count. The crowd are yet to wake up though still, and I can’t blame them. Wait… chokeslam from Undertaker and he gets a 2 count! Lesnar reverses the Tombstone into the F5 but it only gets 2! Heyman screaming at Brock is great. Best manager of his generation. Can Lesnar win? Not convinced at all.

Taker playing possum, and he gets Lesnar into the Hells Gate. Lesnar picks him up though and delivers a powerbomb. Hells Gate again but a more convincing powerbomb this time by Lesnar. Now its time for the Kimura Lock by Lesnar. Reversed and now Taker has Lesnar in the hold. Brock crawls to the rope. I don’t like to compare matches but this is beginning to remind me of Cena/Rock where it turned into a finisher fest of sorts. Also, for future reference JBL saying “Can you imagine ____ tapping out?” only makes people realise he’s not going to tap out. He does that too often for my liking.

Undertaker in control and going for Old School. Reversed and caught by Lesnar! A second F5! Only gets a two though. Brock hits two German suplexes, another favourite of mine.

Heyman: “This is your destiny.” “He’s taking this away from you!!” Love Heyman, best heel in the business.

Lesnar has Taker in the corner, on the second rope hitting punches. Taker catches him in a Last Ride though. Looked a bit sloppy. Taker lifts him up for the Tombstone… and he hits it. But Lesnar kicks out at 2! Heyman has a huge grin on his face. Undertaker sits up. How is this going to end. Undertaker lifts him up again but Lesnae reverses and F5!!!! 1….2….3!!!!! Oh my goodness! Lesnar beat the Streak!!! Undertaker lost! And the crowd is in disbelief! It’s practically silent in the Superdome. There’s confusion on everyone’s face. I can’t believe it either. 21-1. It’s over. It had to happen one day, because Taker is such an old-pro he would want to put someone over as he went out, but to Lesnar? I don’t think anyone would have called it. The ageing part-timer ends the Streak. I guess Taker’s body just couldn’t take anymore. Huge moment at Wrestlemania, possibly the biggest shock in professional wrestling this century.

Taker eventually sits up. The crowd are still in shock but finally a “Thank you Taker” chant begins. One of the greatest of all time no doubt, just seems a shame to go out in such a mediocre match, and not even last on the card!

Winner: Brock Lesnar hits a third F5 and pins Undertaker clean in the middle of the ring to end the Streak

 

Vickie Guerrero Divas Invitational Match for the Divas Championship 

After that result I feel sorry for the Divas. They are being fed to a gang of angry rabid wolves.

Everyone gangs up on Tamina and AJ Lee as the crowd chant for Undertaker. Lots of suplexes at the same time and everyone pins each other. The ref decides to count the pin(s) with two hands for some reason. Everyone kicks out. Emma finally gets the crowd going, admittedly only a little. She hits a crossbody in the corner which leads to practically all the Divas getting hit by each others finishers. Tamina’s superkick is the most impressive. AJ is knocked off the apron, she’s barely been in the match. Double suicide dive by the Bellas on to everyone, before they argue with each other and Nicki hits Brie with her finisher. It’s broken up before she can hit the pin. Samoan drop by Tamina onto Natalya, and she climbs on the top rope only to be pushed off by Naomi. Aksana joins her, goes for a superplex, Natalya joins in and it ends up being a powerbomb and a superplex which is pretty cool. Tamina drags Natalya off the cover but is duly clotheslined by her. AJ delivers a dropkick keeping Natalya out the ring and locks in the Black Widow on Naomi. She taps. It sort of looks like AJ manipulated Naomi’s hand into tapping, but the announcers don’t comment on it.

Winner: AJ Lee

Not too bad considering the poor quality of women’s matches since Trish, Lita and Mickie James left. It suffered greatly because of what came before it.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Randy Orton (c) vs Batista vs Daniel Bryan

We begin with Orton’s entrance. He gets a live performance of his theme song which is average. Next up is Batista, who gets more boos than Orton. Randy has not been the best champion, and I can’t begin to imagine how poorly the match would have been received had it been Orton vs Batista. Bryan enters but the pop is not as loud as previous. People are definitely still in shock.

The match begins and Bryan hits a dropkick on Orton and a hurricarana on Batista. Soon enough, Batista is in charge though, bouncing Orton’s head of the announcer’s table. We now live in a post-Streak world and so anything can happen. It feels like people are much less sure that Bryan will win now. But surely he has too, it would be the perfect ending to the story.

Batista remains in control of Orton, tries a powerbomb onto the steel steps, but Orton flips him over. First cool spot of the match. Orton beats on Batista as Bryan is still out of the ring. Okay Bryan is back! Huge double missile dropkick from the top rope takes both men out. He delivers kicks to both until Orton catches him and hits a suplex. Nobody is able to build any real momentum until Bryan gets Orton and Batista in the corner and hits mulitple dropkicks.

Each men hit some offence with Orton delivering a superplex on Batista, and then Bryan hitting a flying headbutt out of nowhere. He gets Orton in the Yes Lock but HHH and Stephanie are here! HHH drags the ref out of the ring. The crowd wakes up. Batista hits a spinebuster and a Batista Bomb. HHH brings in Scott Armstrong to referee and Bryan kicks out! The crowd erupt into a Yes chant. Bryan sidesteps a spear and kicks Armstrong out of the match, before delivering a suicide dive to HHH, Stephanie and Armstrong. Awesome. YES!

HHH is not happy though and he grabs a sledgehammer. Bryan kicks him though and delivers a shot to the head of the Game with the sledgehammer! He rolls up Batista but Orton breaks it up. He begins to beat on Bryan outside the ring as the audience break out into  a “This is Awesome!” chant. The Authority are escorted away as Batista and Orton work together to beat on Bryan, pummeling him with the steel steps. Randy and Dave decide to rip two table apart, as the crowd shout “No”. Batista bashes Bryan in the head with a monitor. A thunderous CM Punk chant breaks out but he’s not coming. Batista pulls Bryan onto the table, picks him up for the Batista Bomb and throws him to Orton into an RKO through the table! That was immense!! Both Bryan and Orton are down and blood rushes from Orton’s back. It looks like he landed on the edge of a monitor, which must have hurt! Medical help arrives and begins to put Bryan on a stretcher, whilst Batista and Orton fight on.

Bryan fights off the stretcher! The crowd loves it. But Orton throws him into the steel steps. That was a short lived revival. Orton lines up the RKO but reversed into the YES lock. Batista saves it but now he’s caught in the YES lock! This time Orton saves it. Batista goes for the spear, Orton dodges and he hits Bryan! Batista turns and gets hit with an RKO!!! Cover… 1….2…Kick out at two and three quarters! That got the fans (me included) genuinely worried. Like I said, post-Streak anything can happen. Orton looking for the punt but Bryan with the knee. Batista throws Bryan out but he can only get a two on Orton! First time anyone has kicked out of the knee I believe.  Now Batista hits the Batista Bomb on Orton but out of nowhere its Bryan with another knee, this time to Batista! He’s got Batista in the YES lock and….. he taps out! Bryan wins. Finally he gets the gold, after months of heartbreak for his fans. As the confetti falls in the Superdome you can’t help feel that this is a Wrestlemania moment for the ages. Great performances by Bryan for as long as I can remember have finally paid off and he has his time! Wonderful feelgood moment.

Winner: Daniel Bryan makes Batista tap out to the YES Lock and becomes the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion!

 

Conclusion

I wrote this analysis live last night during Wrestlemania 30 but I didn’t want to post it without adding a concluding thought. That thought however had to wait till this morning since it was 4am in the UK. On social media there has been talk of this being one of the best Wrestlemanias ever. I think this is an overexaggeration but there’s no doubt from start to finish it was a solid show. The card was not overcrowded which allowed matches like Wyatt vs Cena to breath, and they put on a very effective match. The battle royale also benefited from that and it was great to see the birth of a star in Cesaro. After last year’s extremely predictable show, the WWE threw in some major twists this year, and even though most fans were certain Bryan would end up victorious, we never knew quite how that might happen until we saw it live. The controversial moment of, not just this show, but the 30 year history of Wrestlemania, will no doubt be Brock Lesnar’s victory over Undertaker. Since last night I’ve watched the match again and it still shocks me, even though I now know the result. Is it a good or bad thing? Well as fans we always beg for one more match, but Undertaker looked like he was struggling last night and so maybe it was best he end it there. However, he lost it to Brock Lesnar, a man who left the company to pursue other hobbies and it seems only returned because of the giant paycheck he received. It seemed as if he would fight the Rock at Mania until a few months ago, which means in essence breaking the streak was a second choice. A back up plan in a way. Many fans are no doubt going to feel angered by this, maybe even robbed.

Personally I’m interested to see where it goes from here. Will he show up more often now he is a legend of the sport? Will he may be challenge for the title now? Really what else is there for him to do other than go for the gold? Notice that Bryan defeated Batista not Orton so Orton will I assume be wanting a rematch soon. Will that be his first feud since becoming champion? Or will Brock challenge him now? And more importantly, who will win if they book a match between Lesnar and Bryan? Thinking about it in reality you would say Lesnar (much like Lesnar/Punk), the man who broke the Streak. But how could they put Bryan through all that just to drop it straight away? I’m sure we will get some answers to what’s next tonight on Monday Night Raw, but as always we are likely to get more questions than answers.

As for the show, the Shield’s match was too short, and the actual match between Lesnar and Taker wasn’t particularly interesting until the finale, but everything else was good to great so I’d give this show a solid 8 of out 10.

 

Thanks for reading!

Bates Motel Season 2 Episode 1: Gone But Not Forgotten

*Full spoilers for Season 1 and this episode of Season 2*

Even though Freddie Highmore’s teenage Norman Bates has not been off our screens for too long, his return is still more than welcome in this great season opener. The first season was a well received rollercoaster ride, focusing on the relationship between Norman and Vera Farmiga’s Norma, his loving, yet unstable mother. There was much more than meets the eye though, and the season ended on a huge cliffhanger. Did Norman murder his schoolteacher Miss Watson? With a great supporting cast including Nicola Peltz’s Bradley, Olivia Cooke’s Emma, and Max Thieriot’s Dylan, the first season wrapped numerous storylines together, creating an excellent opener for the modern day prequel to Psycho.

We return for the second season to the Twin Peaks-esque village, White Pine Bay, where Bates Motel, bought by Norma in the pilot, is attracting huge numbers of customers. It is four months since Miss Watson was murdered, yet still Norman remains hung up over her death, constantly visiting her grave. He doesn’t exactly remember what happened at Miss Watson’s house, due to his blackout, but he admits to feeling bad about her death. Highmore is excellent as always as Norman, as we feel hugely suspicious of him (it does seem likely he was the one who killed Miss Watson), yet we sympathise with him a great deal. His loud crying at the funeral is uncomfortable enough to make the Priest stop what he is saying, but we feel sorry for a teenage boy who has lost someone who meant a great deal to him. He’s greatly confused and is struggling to deal with what is happening, even going as far as photographing a man at Miss Watson’s grave to give to the police as he suspects he may be the killer. He is searching for the answer, possibly to clear his own conscious as much as to get justice for Miss Watson.

Glimpses of the other side of Norman are shown too, especially in a scene where he almost playfully moves what looks like Miss Watson’s pearl necklaces through his fingers. For a split second you get the feeling he knew what he was doing all along. This passes though, as his more emotional side returns. The problem is that he has nobody to speak to. His main confidant is Norma, but until the end of this episode she is caught up in a race to stop the new bypass being built. Farmiga continues her brilliant form as Norma here, who really just wants some good to happen in her and Norman’s lives. She’s had a lifetime of problems, some clearly caused by herself, and wants to be able to settle down in White Pine Bay. She knows the new bypass will mean her motel misses out on valuable customers and so goes to a council meeting to try to persuade the community to suspend the construction. Her good family-based intentions are evident but unfortunately she fails to prepare adequately and her views are twisted to sound selfish. A rather heartbreaking outburst is wonderfully performed by Farmiga, as the erratic Norma points out the flaws in the town that nobody seems to want to acknowledge. You can’t help but support Norma as she rants and raves, and it’s quite fantastic to watch.

As the episode nears the end though, a chance meeting with Sheriff Romero, brings Norma back to Norman, and what follows is the best scene of the episode. They discuss the night of Watson’s death, with Norman admitting he didn’t confess everything originally for fear of disappointing his mother. What was absolutely great was the curve-ball thrown in here, as Norman confesses he felt guilty, not because he possibly killed her, but rather because he left before the murder took place. He felt he should have stopped it! This sort of insight into the deranged mind of Norman makes for wonderful television.

The other main story-line is Bradley’s who, after a failed suicide attempt, goes out looking for whoever murdered her father. This is much darker territory for Bradley who was the popular, sweet girl at the start of season one, who you couldn’t help but enjoy, before the untimely, extremely suspicious death of her father. Despite this sudden, quite unbelievable turn of events, Peltz executes it rather well, particularly towards the end of the episode where her hard exterior finally melts to reveal the terrified, lonely child underneath.

There are a lot of moving parts with this show but it is held together well, with almost every story being addressed, from the Bradley/Dylan relationship, which seems to be on hold due to Norman’s feelings for Bradley, to the Dylan/Norma relationship. He is attempting to be civil and it seems to be working… sort of. Norman tried being a friend to Bradley but didn’t seem to make any headway, well not until the last scene anyway. That feels like less a move due to friendship though and instead more of a move out of desperation, where there was nowhere else to go. It’s unlikely that Norman will see it that way, and this could have some repercussions for Bradley if she admits they aren’t truly friends in the future. What felt missing from this episode though was Emma, who was a major part of the first season yet seemed to fade into the background here. We saw her very briefly, and it was only to establish her rocky relationship with Norman at this point (who quite frankly was oblivious to it or just didn’t care). Here’s hoping she gets more to do next week.

I like that everything is tying together, with Miss Blair Watson being the ‘B’ Bradley is searching for, as well as the girlfriend of Gil, Dylan’s work colleague. Everything that may have seen out of place in the first season now makes much sense. This was a good opener, and with the thrilling last moments, intrigue couldn’t be higher, as a new world of possibilities for this show has opened up.

 

Verdict: 

Thoroughly enjoyable season premiere which leaves the viewer wanting more. 

8.5 out of 10

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) Movie Review

Admittedly this is not a brand new film, but it is a movie I have been aiming to see since I first witnessed the trailer. I missed the showings at the one cinema near me which had this playing, but finally I have gotten round to seeing it. I’m damn glad I did.

The title takes its name from a mysterious newspaper ad lazy magazine journalist Jeff (Jake Johnson) finds and wants to write a story on. The advert claims to be looking for a partner to time travel with. Accompanying Jeff to find whoever posted the advert are Darius (a stand out turn from Aubrey Plaza), a beautiful yet socially introverted girl who seems lost and out of touch with the world she is living in, and Arnau (Karan Soni), a geek who has a problem with the ladies. It soon becomes clear Jeff has other plans, as he looks to hook up with an old flame in the area, leaving Darius to chase the story and find the supposed time traveler Kenneth (Mark Duplass).

Jake Johnson is as Jeff, as he manages to make him sympathetic and relatable despite the fact that he can be quite an arrogant jerk at times. Soni’s character arc is really a tertiary concern, as he looks for love in a world he struggles to fit in, but it is entertaining nonetheless. Plaza’s Darius and Duplass’ wannabe time traveler Kenneth, steal the show though, as two oddballs on a mission to find themselves. Kenneth may come across as rather creepy to begin with, but when he meets Darius the story really begins to flow well, as we see them preparing for the big launch. A warm, natural feeling friendship develops, which as viewers we are suspicious of but also rather enjoy.

Trying to define this film is impossible. At times it is laugh out loud hilarious, but there is the obvious science fiction element to the storyline. Romance is also key as it drives the story forward, often in unexpected ways, as well as the perhaps surprising, but nevertheless enjoyable, thriller elements intermingled in the plot with the constant threat of shady agents following Kenneth. Despite having so many moving parts and a quite obvious low budget, director Colin Treverrow does well to keep the story together. Some parts feel underdeveloped, but it barely matters, as if you let it, this film will absorb you in its strange, whimsical but thoroughly entertaining tale about finding yourself and your place in the world.

Verdict:

Definitely worth a watch, particularly if you are a fan of slightly wacky but heartwarming indie comedies.

8.25/10

In defence of: Professional Wrestling

For about ten years now I have been an avid professional wrestling fan. That is not the mat-based sport seen most often in the UK on television at the Olympics (well until recently anyway), but rather the “fake sport” of pulled punches and pre-determined matches. I am not hear to argue that it is a sport, although a number of professional wrestlers do have amateur wrestling backgrounds, but instead that the stigma that is associated with this form of entertainment is completely unjustified.

 

“It’s not real, you know that right?”

That is the belittling reply most wrestling fans receive when they tell people of their hobby. The answer is rather simple, unless you are a young child, and that answer is: Of course we do. We don’t truly believe a man lay unknowingly on a wooden table whilst his opponent climbed the ropes, pandered to the crowd and photographers, before diving on top of them, causing them a great deal of pain. What we do believe though is that each performer we see is talented, determined and extremely brave. People call it fake and point out “they barely connected with that punch!” but sit quietly when a chair smashes into someone’s back or a man essentially rugby tackles another man from the ring onto a burning table (yes I’m looking at you, Edge and Mick Foley). It may be scripted but there are huge risks, and the performers need to be respected for going out each and every night and putting their bodies on the line for the entertainment of us, the public. People fail to realise that the constant “bumping” around the ring, as it is known, can cause huge damage to the performer’s well-being. The mat is not a bouncy castle and falling on it really can and does hurt.

What should also be noted is how, even though it is rigged or fake or whatever your preferred word is, none of that matters. Non-wrestling fans often say “It’s fake” thinking it is their trump card, when in reality what on television or at the cinema isn’t fake? Even saying “but they pretend it’s real” doesn’t mean anything, because that’s what every show does! Bryan Cranston doesn’t really cook meth, and (slight Game of Thrones spoiler I guess) Emilia Clarke doesn’t have dragons. Okay okay I know they are extreme examples, but the point is still valid… sort of.  Wrestling is a show just like the rest of them, it would defeat the object completely to admit it was scripted.

 

“It’s for kids though, aren’t you a bit old?”

This question gets thrown around a lot too. Personally, I’m in my late teens, but I still think its okay for people my age, and those older, to watch wrestling (and read comics!). Most fans watch WWE which currently has a PG rated programme, but I don’t see why that is an issue. Most other television shows have this too, shows like the soaps many adults watch are indeed child-friendly with such language as “bugger off” and “get out of here”, replacing any swearing. Disney films remain popular among people of all ages, with its most recent release Frozen epitomising this by raking in over $1 billion at the box office. Most entertainment is aimed at a wide audience to try and gain as many viewers as possible, and this is what I believe the WWE aims for.

WWE is of course not the only promotion though, which is another thing missed by many people. Lots of wrestling fans prefer one of the many other promotions, whose shows can be much less child-friendly. I enjoy keeping up to date with New Japan Pro Wrestling (despite the language barrier) through their iPPVs and their YouTube channel, as well as Ring of Honor. There are much more hardcore promotions, like the old ECW, which are not suitable for little ones.

I’m not saying everyone should watch wrestling, it’s certainly for a niche audience, and lets be honest its pretty weird. Scantily clad guys and gals tussle while thousands in attendance and the millions watching at home cheer them on, but I don’t see why, if that’s your thing, people take issue with it. Certainly most of the people I have encountered who make fun of me for being a wrestling fan have never even watched it. Who are they to judge?

I’m a wrestling fan because I respect the talent on show and enjoy the often unbelievable story lines and that’s not going to change.