We’ve started watching the Cruiserweight Classic on the WWE network on Monday nights (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) and so haven’t really been keeping up with RAW. That said, if your ears perk up at all when you hear certain names, you already know that Brock Lesnar fought in UFC, won his match, then failed a wellness policy test a few days later (and then failed a second one), then had his UFC win vacated.

So we’ve got *THAT* real-life storyline informing the happenings at this PPV.

Brief aside: There’s this magnificent little explanation of “kayfabe” here. Al Snow is a magnificent teacher. Those of you who roll your eyes at the words “pro wrestling” might (*MIGHT*) find it interesting. (Warning: some of his language is crude and insensitive and, yes, ableist. That said, he explains some important stuff that might soften how forcefully your eyes roll in the future.)

Al Snow Explains "Kayfabe"

So we’ve got a handful of matches tonight and, yeah, this is one of the three big PPVs that I really look forward to every year and we’re getting wings and beans and a veritable feast for the experience of sitting in a room and yelling at the television.

So let’s begin with our pre-show matches tonight:

Cesaro vs. Sheamus
Sheamus is yet another example of the guy who has a magnificent look but doesn’t have a particular chemistry with the audience. Cesaro is a good example of a guy who has a less than magnificent look but connects with the audience like magic. if this were a one-off, I’d be hoping that Cesaro wins this… but it’s a best of seven series. And what does *THAT* tell us? Well, they know that Sheamus doesn’t have a connection and Cesaro does and they want to leverage Cesaro in such a way that lifts Sheamus up a bit.

As such, I’m guessing that a handful of things will happen. Best of Seven means that we’re going to have seven matches and they’re going to be 3-3 going into the seventh. Which makes this match tonight somewhat, though not completely, meaningless. Tonight will tell us how it’s going to go, though. Will Cesaro have to try to overcome something like Sheamus cheating? (I assume we’re going to have Cesaro as a face and Sheamus as a heel.) Will they be evenly matched and we’re going to find out whether it’ll be a brute force vs. finesse series? They’re going to be telling two different stories at the same time, tonight. The story of the match, and the story of the match in the context of it being the first of seven matches.

This is really, really easy to do poorly. I don’t have my hopes up.

Especially since it’s a pre-show match. If I could make one match from a pre-show match into a main PPV match, it’d be this one.

Sami Zayn and Neville vs. The Dudleyz

We’ve recently learned one of the “tells” that announcers use when they’re calling a match. That is, a word that they use to describe a wrestler that indicates that they’re likely going to lose. That term is “veteran”. If someone is a skilled wrestler, maybe they’ll win. Maybe they won’t. If they’re a veteran wrestler? They’re building them up so that the young up-and-comer they’re facing will look even better when the young guy wins.

Look for the word “veteran” from the announcers. I’m betting we hear the Dudleyz described with the term.

And then we’ll see Sami and Neville get their arms raised.

Or we would, if it were during the actual show.

12 Man Tag Team Match

I think it’s good that all of these guys are going to get a paycheck.
I could not possibly care less about this match than I do now.
I totally understand why they’re putting this one on the pre-show.

So now we’ve got a huge number of big, big matches. They did a good job putting this together. Every match either has a strong storyline behind it or a belt at risk. This makes pretty much every match on this PPV a meaningful one. I looked for one that I would have swapped out for Cesaro vs. Sheamus and couldn’t find one that I unequivocally would have done it to… so good job there, I guess.

Let’s start with the one that came closest:

The New Day vs. Gallows and Anderson (for the tag team belts)

Big E got “injured” so this is Kofi and Xavier wrestling. I’m giving this to Festus and Chad 2 Badd. The Bullet Club could use the belts and The New Day doesn’t need them.

Rusev vs. Roman Reigns for the US belt

This is the level that Reigns ought to have been wrestling at for the last year. Not the world belt, the US belt.

And because he didn’t, he is going to lose this one.

The bookers didn’t have to drop this ball. I don’t blame Reigns for this for a single second. I blame the bookers.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens

I have no idea how Enzo’s promos actually succeed. They shouldn’t work. They’re far too clunky. Instead of being short and to the point, they’re florid and purple… and yet he holds all of us in the palm of his hand. Heck, I could give Enzo’s speech to you right now and do all of the dance moves and everything.

Look for Jericho to be called a “veteran” before being the guy who gets pinned. Look for this to kick off a Jericho vs. Owens storyline.

Carmella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss, and… ???

After a bit of a dry spell there, women’s wrestling is awesome again. Now, this one won’t be given the time it deserves, but this is going to be one of the bright spots of the night.

Look for Becky Lynch to be stabbed in the back.

Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte

This match will most likely be the best of the night. Best wrestling and best psychology. Here’s how good it is: I have no idea who is going to win. None. There are so many reasons to say “oh, it has to be Charlotte” as well as so many reasons to say “Gotta go with Sasha”.

If they were smart, they’d give it to Charlotte because of Perfectly Acceptable Cheating and we’ll replay, note for note, Ric Flair vs. Barry Windam. We probably won’t get a one-hour match out of the WWE (we will never again see the like) but we might see a return to “this match is scheduled for 20 minutes”…

Oh, I’d scream at the television so loudly for that finish. You’d hear me in Pueblo.

And if there are any two wrestlers that could pull it off, it’s these two.

The Miz (with Maryse) vs. Apollo Crews for the Intercontinental Belt

After Charlotte, The Miz is the best heel in the company.

Kevin Owens, despite his best efforts, is what we used to call a “tweener”. Sure, he acts like a heel but he’s just so darned awesome anyway that you kinda want to cheer him.

The Miz? The Miz you can boo with no guilt. You will pay money to boo him.

Apollo Crews is awesome, has a great look, is a good wrestler… man. It’s early to give him a belt. I can see them doing that… but, man. It’s early to give him a belt.

If they were smart, they’d keep the belt on The Miz. If they are too hungry, they’re going to put it on Crews.

I think that they’re too hungry.

Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the World Championship

There are several different ways to have a title run. One is to have the belt and fight against other guys who are at your level. Another is to have the belt and fight against other guys who are not at your level.

This is the latter. In an effort to protect Dean, they’re not protecting their championship.

It’s a shame. Dean walks out with this one after a surprisingly good match.

John Cena vs. AJ Styles

I’m kinda looking forward to this one… I’m hoping that we’re turning the corner with John Cena being bulletproof. AJ Styles can make the company a decent amount of money if they play their cards right. John Cena, by comparison, can make the company a decent amount of money even if they get a little sloppy with how they play their cards.

It’s possible to give Styles the win in such a way that makes Styles look good and doesn’t harm Cena at all.

But it’s more likely that they’re going to give Cena the win in a way that makes Styles look weak.

Then they’re going to push Sheamus or something. Sigh.

Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins for the Universal (sigh) Championship

After the Charlotte/Sasha Banks match, this is the reason to get the PPV. Second best match of the night and, given that it’s for a belt, I’m going to say that Rollins walks away with the win… but Finn Balor is a guy who is going to be holding that belt in a year or two.

I’m *REALLY* looking forward to this one.

And, finally, Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton

This is where we find out how much the office cares about the wellness policy.

If *I* were booking this in a vacuum, I’d have it be an all out brawl, have Lesnar take Orton to Suplexville, have Orton pull RKOs out of nowhere, have both guys go nuts, then have Orton get the upper hand and have Orton kick Lesnar in the head the way that so infuriated all of us years ago… then have Lesnar kick out of the pin and beat the ever-living-crapola out of Orton and then put both guys on the shelf until Survivor Series where Orton can be re-socialized into the WWE universe.

But that UFC thing… If Lesnar hadn’t had his win vacated, I imagine that the bookers would do something like I described above. But Lesnar embarrassed the UFC and that might embarrass the WWE (well, embarrass Stephanie McMahon, anyway) and that might translate into “Orton’s going to be here in 4 years, we don’t know if Lesnar will be” and you give the torch to Orton right now rather than waiting for the perfect guy to topple Lesnar (the one who put the one in twenty-one and one). You can always have the perfect guy topple Orton when the perfect guy shows up, right?

So we’ll see. But if I were booking it, I’d book it the way I said above.

There. Now I can go without talking about wrestling until the Royal Rumble.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?

(Featured Image is “Edison’s Telephonoscope” by George du Maurier from Punch Almanack for 1879)

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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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23 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. I watched a bit of the Getdown yesterday.

    The story is very interesting to me. It is about the birth of Hip-Hop, Punk, and Disco in the NYC during the summer of 1977, mainly in the South Bronx. Mainly the focus is on hip-hop. The main character is a sensitive soul high school poet who later becomes a hip-hop superstar (you see flash forwards of him as a 36 year old star in 1996).

    But it is a Baz Luhrman production which makes all the acting really over the top and chewy and not in a good way. I don’t mind stylistic acting over psychological realism (aka Method acting). But something about Luhrman kicks style from being a conscious choice to being a cartoon. I’m trying to decide whether to continue or not.


    • Thanks for this, mostly because I adore Baz Luhrman’s chewy over the topness but didn’t know he was the lead on this project, and it’s moved the getdown from the middle of my list (because of the interesting topic as you mention) to much nearer the top :D.


  2. As an aside to the readership, Sheamus might have more of “THE LOOK” that heterosexual men and Vince McMahon are drawn in by, but for the rest of us? I’m betting it’s Cesaro by a mile. *fans self* And that’s even before the charisma kicks in. Vince might not care about that, but plenty of his staff are aware of it.

    I’ve been reading not very much. Slowly rereading a kid’s book from the 50s, Pagoo, which is exactly the kind of plot-driven-but-heavy-on-the-facts story that they just don’t make anymore. So much less dry than modern kids’ science writing, but just as geeked out. And the illustrations are masterful, and thoroughly labeled. <3 (I'm only reading it slowly so I don't run out of it.) The main character is a hermit crab and the ecology is tide pools.

    Finished watching Arrow (first 3 seasons anyway). Now watching 1st season of the Flash. Kinda bummed that Jaybird and I haven't watched more of the final season of Person of interest, but a) we've both had so much going on that once we're home, we just want to companionably hit separate corners, and b) once we finish it THERE WON'T BE ANY MORE. So we're going through it very slowly indeed.


  3. Finished a bit of summer reading with Holly Madison’s Down the Rabbit Hole last night. I Started Go Set a Watchman on Audible for the drive home from California today. Am I the last person to finally get around to reading this?


  4. I went to an amazing used bookstore in Eugene, Oregon, with an overwhelming selection of old books and a bunch of stuff to stumble upon. I bought some 1890 editions of Shakespeare and a 1920s edition of 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte as gifts, and then The Poor Mouth and Lotte in Weimar for myself. In Oregon I was reading Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples, the one-volume version, which I need to finish, but then Flann O’Brien and Mann (I’m really looking forward to Lotte in Weimar). Oh, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy!


  5. Finally sat down yesterday and read that online story Mother Horse Eyes. Pretty good stuff, reminds me of early (pre-sobriety) Stephen King in some ways.


  6. As per policy:

    The air started getting let out with the 6 woman tag and I think a lot of that can be pinned on Carmella. Naomi’s outfit aside, when Carmella was in the ring, I felt like I was watching a “bra and panties”-style match while the other women were doing “women’s revolution” wrestling. She was really the dissonant element of the match. From there, it just kinda stopped popping.


  7. So let’s do a post mortem:

    Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens
    Golly, did I ever get this one wrong. I even made my “veteran” joke when one of the announcers mentioned Jericho’s “veteran awareness” (or skillset or something) and I was shocked when Jericho went on to get the pin.

    Good match to open the card, good idea to get the crowd fired up with these guys… I just don’t understand the finish.

    Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte
    2nd best match of the night. I enjoyed the heck out of this (though Sasha took a *NASTY* bump). Really good work from both of them. I can’t wait to see this feud evolve.

    I said “if they were smart, they’d give it to Charlotte” and they gave it to Charlotte.

    While this was smart, I don’t think it’s an indicator of intelligence as much as a slow clock being right once a day or so.

    The Miz (with Maryse) vs. Apollo Crews
    Good heeling from Miz, good showcase for Apollo. A fine match and I like what I saw from both of these guys. I got this one wrong too. They weren’t too hungry. Smart move. (Maybe even for real smart and not just stopped clock smart.)

    John Cena vs. AJ Styles
    Oh how we loved this match. Oh how we yelled at the television. Oh how we cheered. Oh how we yelled “that’s not the finish, Jay” when I yelled “NO NO NO” at the television.

    I am so very pleased to have gotten this one wrong.

    Best match of the night, hands down. Might be the best match of the year.

    The New Day vs. Gallows and Anderson
    Got this one wrong too. That said, it was a comedy match and, surprisingly, it actually provided some huge laugh-out-loud moments.

    Kind of a drag that it ended with a DQ, but… hey. It was a comedy match and it made me laugh.

    Jeez, did any of my predictions end up correct?

    Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
    Oh, yeah. I got this one right. It was even a good match.
    We really liked Dolph’s promo against Ambrose in the package they played before the match and we all sighed and said “yeah, he’s never going to get near that belt”.
    Then these guys put on a really, really strong match and we were confused about whether they were officially turning Ambrose… I mean, Ambrose has the best Heel Toolkit out of anybody in the roster. Going and hiding from his opponent in the ropes, ducking out of the ring, that sort of old-schooly cheaty stuff that plays to the cheap seats without exposing the biz? He’s great. Amazing.
    His promos are edging ever closer to heeldom… but I don’t think he’s fully transitioned yet. I hope that he does something truly dastardly and we can have a heel champ for a bit.

    It was at this point that I said “Gentlemen, I believe we have a good PPV.”

    I was wrong about that too.

    Carmella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi vs. Natalya, Alexa Bliss, and Nikki Bella
    This is where the air started being let out of the balloon.

    Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
    Now this match was awesome. It was the third most awesome match on the PPV and, being a dang fine match, you’d think that that would mean that it’d be a dang fine PPV.

    I completely got this prediction wrong too… and I’m a little apprehensive that they’re pushing Balor as hard as they were pushing Reigns a year or so ago.

    That said, I love me some Balor.

    That said, I’m still apprehensive.

    Colonel Sanders vs. The Miz in a Chicken Suit
    This was the best commercial I’ve ever seen.

    This was the last good thing on the PPV.

    Rusev vs. Roman Reigns
    This storyline is terrible. Rusev is the heel? I guess? Running down Americans in his promos? Then Reigns, the guy who ruins a wedding reception and insults a newly wedded wife is the face? And then the match ends in a no contest because Reigns injures Rusev before the bell?

    I made a joke about how Colonel Sanders beating up the Chicken was a better match than this one.

    It’s funny because it’s true.

    And then… and then…


    Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton
    I got this one wrong too. Not because I didn’t pick Lesnar to win, but because I picked him to win in such a way that didn’t leave everybody feeling deflated and gross.

    So Lesnar stood over Orton after Orton bladed (and, apparently, erred while blading and *NOT* on the side of caution) and then got awarded the win as a TKO?
    Of all of the old-school finishes to go for tonight, that one was a buzzkill.

    Three absolutely amazing matches on the card, a handful of good strong matches that made you cheer and laugh, and two absolutely stupid schmozzes to close out the card leaving you saying that the wrestling match that they had in the fried chicken commercial was the last good match of the night.




    • Rusev attacked Roman first, so Roman was totally justified in kicking his ass the same way every babyface in history before Roman has been justified in kicking his ass from pillar to post since the days of Bruno.


      • Sure, but kick his ass AFTER THE BELL and GIVE US A FINISH.

        If Rusev hits Reigns with the good old cheap shot, then have a match and have the announcers say that Rusev got put paid.

        That was just a mess. A loss of momentum. A loud raspberry noise.


        • Eh, non finishes are fine. Wrestling prior to about a decade ago was full of non finishes, yet the people who “thought it was real” minded it less than people who know its fake. Honestly, this screams of “we don’t want to job Rusev yet, but we don’t want to him to beat Roman, so let’s built this to CotC.”

          Also, if it’d been the 3rd or 4th match, it wouldn’t have been such a dumb thing.

          Overall though, in the show in general, another #politicalhit on Roman, Cena/AJ going overboard on self conscious epic WWE match style, Finn Balor continued to be shoved down out throats, a meh Ambrose/Ziggler match, Brock continuing to be pushed as a killer despite the lack of evidence he’s a draw at all, and Sasha and Enzo continuing to their bet on who can end their careers sooner.

          But hey, we had the return of Nikki-sawa and Cena continues to be the least selfish top guy of all time, so it wasn’t all bad.


          • So don’t put it on the PPV!

            That was a perfect Raw closing segment.

            Hell, it might even have been a half decent middle-of-the-card match for Extreme Rules or something.

            But the penultimate match at one of the big three PPVs?


            • I agree. The placement was dumb. I just think that it being a non-match was fine, just don’t put the non-match after two World title matches and right before the main event where you’re going to have a shitty finish again.

              If you need a “cooldown” before Brock/Orton, throw in the New Day tag in there or something.


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