Throughout 1997-2002, I was a huge fan of professional wrestling. I initially entered this often bizarre universe through the WCW, although the combination of bad booking, worse story writing and all of my favorite stars flocking towards the WWF (now known as the WWE) caused me to change my allegiance. I tried balancing both wrestling shows for awhile, but WCW was becoming too awful for my tastes. Unfortunately, WWE sent a group of highly trained ninja wrestlers to assassinate my own enjoyment of their product. I grew bored and stopped watching wrestling, the majority of this taking place between the now infamous ‘Triple H Vs Kane’ feud.
But thanks to netflix, I chose to return for a nostalgia run. I had streamed a documentary on the nWo and this entertained me enough to experiment with modern day WWE and TNA- in late 2013. I was not a fan of TNA, primarily because its presentation made it feel so small and insignificant compared to its more famous competitor. I was happy to see Sting and Kurt Angle again, but both were playing very different characters. Instead of brooding and sending death glares, Sting was a casual talker and Kurt had transformed from the skilled clown to a dangerous bad-ass. Strangely, I missed the more comical Kurt Angle. I’d probably be willing to give it another chance, if I still had Cable Television… WWE on the other hand was doing some absurd special where Mark Henry and Damian Sandow were dressed up as Santa Clause, fighting for the future of Christmas. This was stupid enough to make me consider quitting wrestling all over again, but I gave it one more chance and I slowly became invested in the storylines and characters. From then on, I developed a love/hate relationship with the product. The game had significantly changed since the 1990’s, but even when I hate what I’m reviewing, I find myself loving the reviewing itself. Meanwhile, NXT has grown significantly more popular and I have finally chosen to watch it on a full time basis. This page will contain my v-logs of the PPV’s- or whatever they are calling them since the advent of the network- and brief writings of the various RAWS, Smackdowns, NXT episodes and even the occasional Main Event or Superstars. Whatever I want to talk about that’s wrestling related, it shall be posted here. I want to emphasize that these are only my opinions- strong as they may sometimes be- and I certainly don’t have the final word in…anything. I’m not a Professional Wrestler, nor am I a professional writer. I merely enjoy critiquing things: The good and the bad.
Facebook: I often post comments on wrestling over there and have done various reviews of many different shows. I also post my predictions on facebook.
Twitter: I can be a total snark, commenting on shows I’m watching.
-This rating system is just a tool for my writings and you shouldn’t look into it too deeply, as I am sure there will be contradictions and inconsistencies down the line.
10/10: Perfect- Say ‘Hi’ to this rating, because you probably won’t see it again. My standards are too difficult to work with.
9/10: A Classic- Minor imperfections don’t take away from the magic of the show/match.
8/10: Exceptional- A cut above the rest, even if it’s not guaranteed to go down as a classic. Great, or maybe just very good.
7/10: Good- A Satisfying event, even I can’t say it was anything amazing.
6/10: Above Average- Decent, solid work.
5/10: Mediocre- Nothing stood out as terrible or impressive.
4/10: Below Average- Not necessarily bad, but you expect more.
3/10: Bad- A common form of crap and while it’s unpleasant, at least the smell doesn’t linger.
2/10: Terrible- You end the show/match with a raging headache, furious but willing to forgive.
1/10: Irredeemable- You strongly consider retiring from watching wrestling, as this poop is no longer fun anymore. Another very rare rating.
Royal Rumble– The sad thing about this Royal Rumble is that the WWE actually managed to deliver a pretty good show that was ruined by a hostile and rowdy crowd…Although I might’ve been jeering along with them if I was there. ‘Daniel Bryan Vs Bray Wyatt’ was awesome, while ‘Big Show Vs Brock Lesnar’ was controversial. I was personally fine with it, as Show apparently went into the match injured and it established Brock as someone you did not want to piss off. ‘John Cena Vs Randy Orton’ was pretty good, although you wouldn’t know that based on the crowd, who pissed on them and their match. They just don’t like these guys and eventually Cena and Orton give up and the match starts to lag. To be fair, I think everyone is right to be sick of this pairing by this point. The Royal Rumble event was actually consistently entertaining until the booing started, which began when it became obvious that Batista was going to win. No one- including me- wanted this and that negativity would upstage the entire show. I wouldn’t have been as kind in 2014, but my anger has dissipated and “Royal Rumble (2014)” has emerged as one of the more underrated PPV’s of the year. Score: 7/10
Royal Rumble– What a crappy way to start the year! This show was only spared the 2/10 rating thanks to an awesome Triple Threat Championship match between Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Seth Rollins. Watching the hero and villain unite to take on a Force of Nature was truly a spectacle to behold! But unfortunately 2015 has the distinct honor of showcasing the worst Royal Rumble ‘event’ ever and I’m not really referring to Reigns being the victor. The order of eliminations could be summed up as ‘one bad decision after another’, but watch the video in the link above to see why. Score: 3/10.
Fast Lane– Not a bad show, but the only match that really stood out was the main event: ‘Roman Reigns vs Daniel Bryan’. I actually liked what they ultimately did with this and it was a really good match. I’m not going to lie though, I don’t remember the quality of the other showdowns, suggesting mediocrity, so watch the video yourself! Score: 6/10.
NXT TakeOver: Rival- A somewhat uneven, but still worthy show where the good matches wrestle the bad matches. The Fatal 4-way match between the Diva’s- Charlotte, Sasha, Bayley and Becky- was arguably the best, although ‘Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens’ and ‘Finn Balor vs Neville’ were pretty damn good as well. Unfortunately, ‘Bull Dempsey Vs Baron Corbin’ was really boring and ‘The Lucha Dragons Vs Blake and Murphy’ was embarrassingly sloppy. Worse, they were back-to-back, which hurt the pacing. The crowd sort of ruined the ending for the NXT Championship match as well, but the highs were high. Score: 6.5/10
Wrestlemania– An exceptional show that only was held back by having the wrong guys go over. The overarching theme can be described as “The rising stars don’t shine quite as brightly as the fading stars”, because the old dudes almost always won, meaning no new stars were made. Nevertheless, the booking was exceptional, which meant I wanted to see these matches unfold and the quality of them did not disappoint. Not everything was golden, but there was very little fecal matter. I was happy with this program. Score: 8/10.
Extreme Rules– The booking of this PPV was a little strange, although the writing surrounding it was mostly bad. Yet I did enjoy the program because of the match quality, which was consistently entertaining. Strangely, ‘Roman Reigns Vs Big Show’ stole the show, despite everyone- including myself- predicting a snoozefest. The problem was that the storylines building up these matches had very little to do with the matches themselves. Score: 7/10.
King of the Ring- This is an hour long special event designed to conclude the 2015 King of the Ring tournament, which includes the semi-finals and finals. This event was…harmless but unremarkable. The match quality was acceptable, but the entire show would ultimately be undermined by the booking of the winner: Bad News Barrett. Who would’ve thought that winning King of the Ring would lead to his downfall? Score: 4.5/10.
NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable- Admittedly I hadn’t watched the NXT episodes going into this, so I didn’t know the extent of the storylines or characterizations, but this was fun. While not every match lived up the hype, I felt the NXT Championship Main Event (Kevin Owens Vs Sami Zayn) was awesome and the NXT Women’s Championship bout (Sasha Banks Vs Becky Lynch) was the best Diva Match I’ve ever seen…Score: 7.5/10
Payback– The new overarching theme is “Filler”. By the time this PPV was over, I really didn’t feel like any of these established storylines were truly resolved or that new storylines were beginning to develop. It was just…there. In hindsight, I was mistaken in regards to ‘Cena Vs Rusev’, which did end on what I thought was a high note. But ‘Wyatt Vs Ryback’ made little sense and ultimately served no purpose, even if the match was surprisingly decent. Overall, the storylines were flimsy, but the matches themselves were fine. Nothing amazing, but consistently entertaining. Score: 6/10
Elimination Chamber– I was really eager to watch this thanks to some impressive booking and the various RAWs and Smackdowns did a superb job at pumping me up for the PPV…which ended up being pretty average. I don’t think they should’ve forced this between “Payback” and “Money in the Bank” as it meant there would be a new PPV every 2 weeks, which is just too much. The storylines didn’t have time to breathe and give us an emotional pay-off. There are some really good matches- The Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber battle and ‘John Cena Vs Kevin Owens- but I thought everything else was a dud. The main event was exciting up until the finish, which in retrospect, was not the best of ideas. Score: 5/10
Money in the Bank– This was a major disappointment, as the only watchable match was ‘John Cena Vs Kevin Owens’, which was arguably superior to their previous classic showdown. Everything else sucked, although expectations are the true heel. The ‘Money in the Bank’ ladder match would’ve been fine, except it just felt so underwhelming compared to its predecessors. ‘Rollins Vs Ambrose’ isn’t technically terrible, but for some reason, I kept fighting sleep BOTH TIMES I TRIED TO WATCH IT. I think it’s because we all knew Ambrose stood no chance and it was hard to get emotionally involved when we know the outcome. Score: 4/10
The Beast in the East- A Tokyo Event, which doesn’t really play into the established storylines outside of the occasional continuity nod…and the NXT Championship match…Why would Brock Lesnar and Kofi be fighting? Why would Cena and Ziggler be taking on Kane and Barrett? Because it’s just a novelty show targeting a different audience. The matches are all good, although I feel the main event should’ve been ‘Kevin Owens Vs Finn Balor’. That was excellent, while the actual main event- Cena/Ziggler Vs Kane/Barrett- was kind of a snoozer in comparison. ‘Brock Lesnar Vs Kofi Kingston’ was a fun, stylized squash match, which is my favorite kind of squash. Overall, good show. Score: 7/10.
Battleground– The overarching theme of this PPV is: “What in the f@ck is going on!?”. The matches themselves weren’t bad and sometimes they could even be really good, but most of the endings felt…wrong. Some were more tolerable than others, but it was the Main Event that put a real bad taste in my mouth. ‘Brock Lesnar Vs Seth Rollins’ didn’t offer anything new, as it was just mostly an ass-beating, but the ‘twist’ ending was outright confusing and infuriating. Does the World Heavyweight Champion even matter anymore? I was also left completely confused as to who is face and heel now. Are we supposed to like Stephanie McMahon now? Or Big Show? Is the Undertaker the villain? SO MANY QUESTIONS following a mostly unsatisfying PPV. The sad thing is I was entertained throughout a lot of it, but these finishes deflated my enjoyment. Score: 4.5/10
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn– This Special Event offered a classic in the form of ‘Sasha Banks Vs Bailey’, which alone makes the entire show worth watching, although the Main Event- Finn Balor Vs Kevin Owens- was also exceptional. What makes “TakeOver: Brooklyn” awesome though is its sense of pacing. Every individual match is paced in a way to entertain the audience, but the placement of said matches meant that I never suffered from any form of burnout or boredom. The first few matches are really good, but not to such an extent that I feel the show has prematurely climaxed. Afterwards, they slow things down to give us a breather using some underwhelming bouts before striking like lightning for the last two Championship battles. When it was over, I wanted a cigarette and I don’t even smoke! This has been the best WWE event of 2015. Score: 8.5/10
SummerSlam– This PPV was ambitious, but ultimately misguided in its attempts to be ‘epic’. Did it need a celebrity guest host? Did it need to be four hours long? Did it need to a celebrity guest host and be four hours long? Does placing the ‘World Heavyweight Championship’ match in the middle of the card make any sense? The sad thing is that there are some really good matches on this card, even if the resolutions were questionable. Little stands out as terrible, but the matches were all placed in the wrong slots, meaning that the pacing was all over the place. This wasn’t a bad show and even exceeded my expectations, but it was unnecessarily exhausting. Score: 5.5/10
Night of Champions– A middling PPV that was mostly easy to watch, but my memory will retain only one part: Sting collapsing after really getting hurt, which was horrifying. Beyond that, I found the match quality to be underwhelming and the finishes to be outright infuriating. The bouts involving Seth Rollins were the best, injuries to legends aside, but the show left me with a grave feeling of indifference.Score: 5/10
WWE Live from Madison Square Garden- ‘Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler Vs Rusev and Sheamus‘ was actually a surprisingly fun way to open the show, primarily because everyone seems to enjoy being there and don’t phone it in. While there are some sloppy spots, the pacing was fast and everyone was able to get some time to shine. ‘Stardust Vs Neville‘ is next and I was a little disappointed. Everything moved well and there were some exciting spots, but it seemed a little short if this is the end of their feud, or even just a pivotal moment within it- as this is their first real bout. The resident Diva’s match is ‘Team PCB Vs the Bella Empire‘, a 6-person pairing I’m getting a little sick of and it’s…okay. I was mostly indifferent to this battle, predicted Paige tagging herself in, but did NOT expect her allies to act like the villains in abandoning her. ‘Kevin Owens Vs Chris Jericho‘ for the Intercontinental Championship was just as good as I wanted it to be, although the finish made me roll my eyes. ‘The New Day Vs The Dudley Boys‘ for the Tag Team Championship was about as entertaining as their last (fun) bout. Unfortunately, it ended the same way as well. I find it odd that ‘Brock Lesnar Vs Big Show‘ isn’t the Main Event, considering how this entire special has been built around it. I was taken aback by how short this was, although the action was exciting. The post-match beatdown made Show look more like a face and Lesnar look more like a heel. Fun stuff though! The main event is ‘John Cena Vs Seth Rollins‘ for the United States Championship and outside of a few missed cues near the ending, this was also an exceptional match. I liked how they utilized the cage and the pacing was swift. This was a really good show, even if the endings often bugged me. Why can’t the official PPV’s be this good? Score: 7.5/10
NXT TakeOver: Respect– While I found myself questioning the booking of some of these matches, I was taken aback by how…enamored I was by this PPV. Even when I disagreed with something, the execution was so flashy and awesome that I ended up loving it anyway. Much like most NXT TakeOver specials, the pacing is nearly perfect, never boring or burning out its audience. Every match was interesting for different reasons, but all of them could boast being of high quality. Yet it was the main event- Bayley Vs Sasha Banks for the Women’s Championship- that cemented this as the best WWE show of the year (so far). Not only did it provide amazing moment after amazing moment, the story-telling and psychology was so powerful that I forgot to actually ‘critique’ it. I was too emotionally invested in what was happening in (and sometimes ‘out’) of the ring, so I didn’t write any notes. “NXT TakeOver: Respect” is a wonderful show and all wrestling fans should experience it. Score: 9/10
Hell in a Cell– While this show does not warrant celebratory balloons and confetti for overall quality, “Hell in a Cell (2015)” has been the best non-NXT PPV in MONTHS! The high points of the event bombarded the low points with German Suplexes and the pacing of the show was swift. The Main Event- ‘Brock Lesnar Vs Undertaker‘- was thrilling, making all of the previous underwhelming matches worth enduring. I also really enjoyed ‘Roman Reigns Vs Bray Wyatt‘, but the rest of the card could’ve been better. Yet it also could’ve been a lot worse…Score: 6.5/10
Survivor Series– An abyssal show that perfectly balanced awful booking, anti-climactic finishes and disappointing in-ring action. By the end of the event, almost every performer had lost some credibility, usually through losing in shockingly quick matches. Even the new World Heavyweight Champion was conquered earlier in the night (to someone who has been jobbing a lot lately), devaluing the belt even further. Every time any of the bouts began to pick up momentum, they would abruptly end, deflating its entertainment value. This was so infuriating that I seriously considered cancelling my network subscription. Score: 2/10
TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs– WWE finds redemption and manages to win over a crowd that alternated between hostility and apathy, by delivering some very intense and well wrestled matches…and one hilariously terrible bout. There were problems within the buildup to this card, diminishing the emotional impact at times, but everyone worked incredibly hard and some of the spots were amazing. There was something very satisfying about watching Roman Reigns snap and destroy overyone, even getting the audience on his side. One of the best non-NXT PPV’s in awhile. Score: 7.5/10
NXT TakeOver: London– NXT excels once again and at this point, I will probably only be surprised when they inevitably stumble and deliver something underwhelming, if not outright bad. But this entire card worked, with the right matches standing out as intense, exciting and emotionally driven and the right matches functioning as breathers for the audience. ‘Finn Balor Vs Samoa Joe’ was an incredibly main event, arguably only matched by ‘Asuka Vs Emma’, although I liked everything. Score: 8.5/10
Royal Rumble– This was a flawed, but entertaining PPV that consistently provided enjoyable matches, which only suffer from lackluster storylines and questionable finishes. I liked the action, pacing and sometimes even the drama, but it’s as if every bout was designed to annoy me on some level- even if it didn’t derail the entire experience. I enjoyed the spectacle of the Royal Rumble match, even if Roman Reigns was booked very badly within it. I was happy with this event, but many viewers were not impressed. I’m a little surprised how positive I felt, as these kinds of flaws usually upstage the show for me. But I guess the positive attributes saved the day! Score: 7/10
Fastlane– After regaining their momentum by delivering a handful of exceptional PPV’s, WWE stumbles with this bland, uninvolving affair that at times made me angry. It doesn’t help that the annual “Fastlane” event is merely filler designed to promote “Wrestlemania“, but this entire card felt very irrelevant. The Champions fought contenders who weren’t booked as credible opponents and who was the idiot who felt that the United States Title should be defended on the kick-off show, while the teasing of ‘The Golden Truth’- WHICH NEVER EVEN GOES ANYWHERE- found itself on the actual PPV. The pacing becomes very sluggish once Edge/Christian do a very confusing and awkward Peep Show segment with the New Day and League of Nations and this took me out of the show, with even the Main Event failing to recapture my attention (even though it was pretty good). The quality of the matches was acceptable and this wasn’t the booking disaster that “Survivor Series (2015)” was, but it’s hard to get invested in filler and the matches themselves weren’t exceptional enough to save it. Score: 4/10
Roadblock- This is another network special, so the majority of the matches aren’t built up through ongoing feuds and sometimes the booking was a little confusing. Natalya rarely wins and yet I’m supposed to believe she stands a chance against Charlotte? Luke Harper is doing damage to Brock Lesnar? Where is the rest of the Wyatt family to make this more credible? If you want Toronto to boo (Canadian) Jericho, then why place him against the all American Jack Swagger? Nevertheless, the matches themselves were good and I really liked the NXT Championship bout between The Revival (Dash, Dawson- Stupid name) and Enzo/Cass, which was their best clash yet BY FAR. The Main Event- Triple H Vs Ambrose- was very good as well, although by then I was too exhausted to really appreciate it. The biggest problem with this show was that it went on for too long. These specials should not be as long as normal PPV’s, especially when the drama isn’t going to be as pronounced. There is real good stuff here and nothing was bad or even necessarily mediocre (although ‘Sami Zayn Vs Stardust’ came close), but I found “Roadblock” to be too plodding as a whole to be enjoyable. Score: 5/10
NXT TakeOver: Dallas-
NXT TakeOver: The End– Another NXT special where all of the matches entertained me on some level, with the better ones standing out as exceptionally awesome. I also loved how important the booking was here, as this show produced the first NXT Cage Match and the first 2-time NXT Champions. If there is a flaw, it’s that the intensity was so high that I ended up prematurely burning out. Score: 7.5/10
Money in the Bank– I feel like there is a good show in here, as ‘John Cena Vs AJ Styles’, the ‘Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match’ and the Main Event- ‘Roman Reigns Vs Seth Rollins’- all seemed like exceptional matches, but only the titular contract brawl caught my attention. Throughout the remainder of the show, I was just kind of bored because the overall pacing was off. The card had too much filler, with matches that were difficult to care about and every bout felt like it was paced the exact same way- slowly building up to a climax. So even though there were some exceptional matches here, they did not compliment each-other at all. Score: 5/10