To paraphrase a great modern-day poet, it’s been a long time, and I shouldn’t have left you without a highly analytical pro-wrestling recap to click through.
My apologies for the prolonged absence, but oh, what a time to jump back into the fray, as WWE continues restructuring its roster in the wake of Seth Rollins’ injury and the prolonged absence of other heavyweights like John Cena, Cesaro, Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton. They threw everything at the wall last night, from unisex unicorns and 16-man tags to some meta-insight on Lana and Neville getting a backstage pep talk from Donny Deutsch. Very little of it stuck.
So without another soliloquy from Stardust or talk of tater tots and spuds, here are the five key things (in addition to the usual accompaniment of Twitter-friendly sidebar fodder) I took away from the December 7, 2015 edition of Raw.
5. Adam Rose Is a Mensch, But…
Whoever’s writing this “Rosebush” garbage isn’t doing him any favors. And you get the feeling the man himself is wittier than what his character’s rattling off, whether it’s Dumbo punchlines in regards to Neville or bits about Tommy Dreamer’s tan making him look like an Oompa-Loompa. Rose gets a gold star for efforts, even if his quips about bronzer are far from sterling. Question is, especially since “Rosebush” isn’t an in-ring segment a la MizTV, how does this eventually end in physicality? It can be trite and a bit patronizing to say that any talent “deserves better,” but could Rose possibly be burdened with something worse?
4. Speaking of Miz, Here’s an Idea…
If he’s going to split his months between making movies and hosting Raw‘s “most must-see” talk show, only lacing up the boots for occasional squash duty, why not put him back behind the commentary desk on a permanent basis? Byron Saxton (no offense) has yet to really distinguish himself, and Miz is genuinely charismatic and can still mix it up when superstars cross the line into his personal space. Though if they’re flirting with him transitioning into a management role, I’m all for that, even if Neville’s a curious client and their recent exchanges have mostly served to embarrass the man gravity fell short of remembering (or whatever he’s called). Anyhow, point is: MizTV is a thankless task, and its namesake performer still has plenty of utility to offer in these creatively lean times.
3. Dean Ambrose <3 Concessions
Get this guy within ten feet of a street-food vendor or candy concessioner and he’s the proverbial flu patient in the drug store (or is that not how that expression goes?). Who can forget how he shamed the Authority via a little ketchup-and-mustard comeuppance last fall? Or taunted Seth Rollins by denigrating his Money in the Bank briefcase with movie-theater goodies. And last night, he went back to the well – or bucket, as the case may be – and took the air out of Kevin Owens’ victory over Dolph Ziggler by showering the IC champ with popcorn and soda. I’ve never quite taken to Ambrose’s prop-comic shtick, even though it feels largely of his own creation. But the real lingering question isn’t whether Dean will attack KO with corned beef and cabbage at TLC, but if we’ll finally find out where the Lunatic Fringe shops for his jeggings.
2. Just Make the Wyatts Anti-Heroes Already
Bray’s philosophies are inconsistent and inconclusive anyway, and his “brothers” are hardly spooking anyone behind those sheep masks and snarls and stares and snorts. The crowd went bananas last night when the Wyatts appeared opposite the League of Nations, hoping against hope that something utterly unexpected and out of character was about to go down. Instead, the confrontation spun off into a chaotic 16-man fatal four-way that cornered the respective teams back into their familiar rivalries. When New Day didn’t click as goody-goodies, they zagged right and made the rest up as they went along. Who’s to say the Wyatts can’t retain their friends-of-no one mystique while turning their attention toward wannabe bullies and other impostors? At this point, rolling the dice and thinking on the fly feels more natural than manifesting new main-event stables out of midcard names to fill the void left by bigger stars.
1. Sheamus Could Carry This Thing
He just needs to really commit. He’s holding back. You can tell. And you can’t blame him. He understands the position he’s been put in and is trying to seize the day, but selling the League of Nations to skeptical fans while putting himself over as a worthy champion and TLC headliner is some heavy lifting, even for a veteran bruiser. But if he bears down and comes across a little more threatening, and finds a way to command the room, Sheamus can make this thing work until the A-team comes back. Thus far, the problem is less that he looks stupid than sounds timid, and even in a PG era, it’s easy to spot when fans smell blood. And thanks to Roman, he’ll be hearing that “Tater tots” chant for the foreseeable future.
Below the Belt:
- Not sure what all that New Day/Team B.A.D. stuff was all about.
- Charlotte’s not yet the total package, but she’s far more at ease as a heel.
- Still trying to find an excuse for a Scooter Libby pun re: Zeb Colter.
- Sooner these pre-League of Nations Rusev/Alberto Del Rio storylines are over, the better.
- If you really wanna insist the Wyatts are bogeymen bad guys, don’t feature them in silly SmackDown
- Settle down, Tamina.
- Strange choice to pull the (iron?) curtain back on Lana’s pop-music past.
- Were we that excited to see the Gore versus the Spear?
- You had a feeling that opening match left little for the main event, and holy moly was that one unendurable clash between Sheamus and Reigns.
- And, ahem Sheamus, but these guys are the best of the best.
- Move of the Night: I dug Paige’s Flair strut.
- Line of the Night: Tater tots!
- In Case You Fast-Forwarded Through Commercials: MTV has a creepy movie coming out about forests; you really can’t escape Florida Georgia Line on WWE programming; and I have no idea why I linked this through Subway Arabia.
- Noticeable In Their Absence: Ascension, I guess?