Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dean Ambrose Using Raw As His Launching Pad.

 If Dean Ambrose ends up becoming a big star, this might have been a Raw that we point to as the start of his rise. He was all over the 3 hours of Raw on Monday Night. It happened to have been the best show in the last month and a half as well. This is not saying much as Raw and been in a serious slump. Leave it to Chicago to give WWE Creative a good kick in the ass to work harder.

Yes, we had C.M Punk chants, Stephanie McMahon was ready for them as she, and Triple H opened the show with a hostile Chicago crowd to greet them. It kicked off Raw with a long drawn out segment that saw Paul Heyman come out and question what went on at the finish of the Cena/Lesnar match at Night of Champions. Seth Rollins would follow coming out to address Heyman’s concerns saying he acted alone and was just attempting to take an opportunity. Dean Ambrose would come on screen and suggest if Seth and the Authority wanted Seth’s Money in Bank case they should come and get it. They would attempt just that only to be cut off by John Cena who attacked Seth. It would lead to later in the night Cena teaming with Ambrose to face Orton and Kane.

It was a good kick off to the show but went likely 5 minutes longer than it needed too. We had a decent triple threat match for the I-C title with Miz and Cesaro challenging champion Ziggler. Bray Wyatt returned in the way he first arrived with a creepy vignette that people are debating what it means but most feel it is to set up Harper going off as a singles wrestler. In any case, the best way to rehabilitate Bray is going back to the dark promos that everyone loved.

We had a call back to an old classic angle as Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury have taken on the gimmick that Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco had in the Attitude Era as the stooges. Noble and Mercury were sent off to find Ambrose. They never would, as Ambrose would return later.  He claimed he waved at them when he was at the concessions stand. Dean looted that concessions stand and was auction off WWE merchandise. It was quite the scene with Ambrose firing around t-shirts to the audience. Ambrose would be interrupted by Noble and Mercury with Seth Rollins, along with a bunch of security. To which Ambrose questioned their validity as he claims to have seen them in Adam Rose’s Entourage last week. Dean claims to want no trouble and leaves the case in the ring for Seth. It would turn out to be boobie trapped by the titty master himself. HeHe would smirk, as Seth Rollins would be slimed.

Among the bad on this show, we had a horrible Bella segment with a Brie match that was made a handicap match by Nikki with the blessing given by the authority for here to do so. Brie would face Cameron and Eva Maria aka the “We can’t wrestle chicks” and come out on top. Crowd hated it and chanted everything under the sun.

We did see the wife of C.M Punk on the show. A.J would face Paige’s supposed new best friend Alicia Fox in a match. It would turn into a double team but A.J was able to mange to get away before getting a Mountain Dew bath in the middle of the ring.

We had a bull, a gator and a bunny involved in a segment. Hornswaggle was dressed as the gator and this was probably the worst segment of the show. Hulk Hogan was flubbing lines trying to promote that WWE will again be supporting breast cancer for a third straight year.

Overall, it ended up being a decent show, as the rumors seem to be true that we may be getting a Cena vs. Ambrose match that ultimately determines the Hell in the Cell matches. There was no mention of Brock returning for this pay-per-view that according to most insiders, he will not. Instead using one of those extra appearances at Survivor Series seems to be the plan. Once one of the big four WWE pay-per-view but has lost its luster in over time.

In the end episode of Raw was a showcase for Ambrose that gave the show a bit of a rebound after some painfully bad episodes in recent weeks.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Can Monday Night Raw Break The Losing Streak

So, Monday Night Raw is on a losing streak like a sports team to some extent. It has been 5 weeks in a row of pretty below average stuff. They head in to Chicago at this point, so for that crowd alone it should at least make this show interesting. Let’s state the obvious they will chant C.M Punk and he will not be there. Some odd rumors about a Punk return based on some WWE Studios film that Punk was in as the genius for this misguided rumor. Punk was also in a cartoon style move with the Flintstones in which he was pegged to be the main character. This not unlike the cartoon film John Cena was in for Scooby Doo that came out earlier in the year. That has been scraped apparently. This second film was done in 2012 apparently.

Punk and WWE have been in legal battles over his use in the WWE 2K15 video game and WWE has scrapped all C.M Punk merchandise. The one thing we can safely say is C.M Punk will not be on show tonight.This despite Stephanie McMahon's "Who knows what the future holds" in reference to a Punk return to the WWE on WGN television this morning here is a link to the video.

Need a reminder of why this is not happening:

Who will be on the show is A.J Lee the wife of the best in the world. She is involved in a very strange divas division in which she continues to feud with Paige but seems to have an angle in waiting with Stephanie. The Bella mess seems to have been separated from this feud for A.J after it was strangely inserted into her feud with Paige. None of it makes a lot of sense and you can bet all the WWE Divas are in for a long night with a vocal Chicago crowd that likely isn’t all that invested in them. Shockingly I do not think Chicago will care about twin sisters feuding over their last name.

Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman and Bray Wyatt all were noticeably absent from television last week. We have been given no explanation as to the future plans for the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. There are some balls in the air with Seth Rollins having attacked Brock and attempted to cash in only to be cut off by John Cena. This would logically seem like it would cause friction between Brock along with Heyman with the Authority. Brock is based on rumors not going to be appearing on the Hell in the Cell event.

Bray Wyatt is a different matter, as it seems he has fallen out of favor with WWE. He seems to have no one to feud with so much so that he was left off the Night of Champions show. Is it too soon to press the panic button for the Wyatt Family and Bray specifically? Perhaps it is but things are not looking good for him. Amazing how that John Cena rub of a feud and a Wrestlemania match has not gotten him over. This is said very sarcastically, as his only win in the feud came thanks to a singing child in a steel cage match. This followed by a much anticipated but falling flat feud with Chris Jericho. The only thing that they haven’t managed to screw up is his entrance.

Dean Ambrose and John Cena seem to be tied together in both wanting to get the right to beat-up Seth Rollins. It has led to a strange rumor for Hell in the Cell in which Cena will face Ambrose and the winner gets Rollins in the main event in Hell in the Cell. The loser gets Randy Orton as a consolation prize. Such a concept even being considered speaks to the lack of depth on the roster right now. Actually it speaks more to how little the WWE maximizing the talent they have as they have dropped the ball with guys like Ziggler, Cesaro, Bo Dallas and others who could be stepping up in a time such as this but have not been booked properly to be taken seriously in larger roles currently.

Speaking of Ziggler I assume his feud with The Miz will continue. Many people seem to like it; I however am not among them. The Miz gimmick that now includes Damien Sandow as his understudy or stunt double. It all is total silliness in my opinion but if people can like something on Raw hang on to it tightly. Another feud that I am actually digging is the Cesaro and Sheamus feud that has been some hard hitting snug wrestling at its finest. Yes, I am enjoying Sheamus in a feud, which is amazing. The reason why is it is not Sheamus trying to be funny. This is why I do not like the Ziggler against Miz feud. I am all for having comedy in wrestling if it is actually done well.

There will be some other stuff as well likely some re-runs from Smackdown like the Big Show and Rusev perhaps and maybe will get another Uso and Dust brothers dust up. My level of believing in Raw doing something unique and entertaining is reaching dramatically low levels. I can see myself ducking in and out of Raw to catch up on Media Day around the NBA and here in Toronto. Never fear though I am not going to jump back to my past of covering the Raptors. I have committed to wrestling and the WWE is doing their best to want me to have me commit myself to a rubber room on Monday nights of late.

At least the people of Chicago will make it interesting. Pretty sad when you go into a show expecting the audience to provide more highlights than the show itself. Oh, I almost forgot the Hulkster might be making an appearance. Yeah so, as I said the crowd will be providing most of the entertainment. Hogan will just be focused on remembering what arena and city he is in which will be his challenge brother!!!

We can always hope Raw surprises us but I wouldn’t hold my breath in anticipation of that.  How they handle the whole Punk matter will be interesting as last time they faked a Punk return only to have Paul Heyman come out and cut a fantastic promo. I highly doubt we hear any Cult of Personality on this show unless A.J decides to come out to it.

Will it be six weeks in a row of Raw just lowering the bar to levels that we actually are invested in knowing who that dame bunny is. Wait a second we already are doing that so never mind.

Keep up with everything with us on Condo on the Moon on Facebook and Twitter

Sunday, September 28, 2014

5 Modern WWE Guys That Would Have Fit In The Attitude Era

People often look back fondly on the Attitude Era as perhaps the best time in the history of wrestling. What modern day stars would fit best in that era? We attempt to tackle that question today in the Condo on the Moon. We will give you five names in no particular order that we think could hang with the likes of The Rock, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels and the rest of that crew.

Dean Ambrose
: We are just starting to see what Dean Ambrose is capable of as individual competitor. If we took, the handcuffs of a PG Era off just imagine how crazy he could be. Some compare Ambrose to one guy from this time period. That is the loose cannon Brian Pillman. If these to ever had a feud back in this era it might be the most deranged and dark feud in the history of wrestling. Ambrose would fit because he seems to have a great sense of timing both with his promos and in the ring. He is the one member of The Shield that could hang and bang with the big fishes off the attitude era.

C.M Punk
: Yeah he is not around anymore and who knows if we ever see him again in the WWE. He was made for this era with his no nonsense takes no prisoners reality-based promos. It has been teased as a match to get Steve Austin back in the ring. Imagine if we saw Stone Cold at the peak of his career against Punk at the best of his game. It would make for magical promos and a great match in the ring. We already got to experience The Rock and him go at it. Punk proved he could hang with the Rock verbally which few can even back in the attitude era. Punk was made for this era and he would have been able to hang with anyone in it.

Bray Wyatt: Imagine if Bray could develop his character in an even darker direction that would fit with this time period. A feud with someone like the Undertaker would have been right up his alley. The havoc that Bray Wyatt would have been allowed to create we can only wonder. Let’s face it nothing was off limits back in those days. It would add a much more dark and scary tone to an already great character. Another dream match we likely would have seen is Mick Foley as Mankind and Bray Wyatt. The strange and demented things they would both say and do would have been something to behold.

John Cena: We are not talking the hustle, loyalty and respect version but the doctor of thug-o-nomics version. He was a guy that on the tale end of this era showed he could hang with some of the stars from that era. We almost forget what an edgy John Cena is like. When he was cutting raps on everyone on the roster no one was safe from takes some verb shots. He also would likely have a much more aggressive in-ring style that would help him get beyond those five moves of doom.

Daniel Bryan
: He quite simply is an incredible in ring talent that could have had some classic matches with guys like HBK, Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle. He would really have a chance to shine and have the handcuffs on his in-ring style. He would be a fan favourite that would get over with people in that era as he does in this one. He might be out of his element in terms of promos. This is not hard to hard to accept given this era featured some of the best talkers of all-time.  The fans could do his talking with the Yes chant. What? I said the Yes chant. What? Stating the positive and raising your arms.

Honourable Mentions: Kevin Steen, Cesaro, A.J Lee

You think we missed someone on the list.  Give us a shout on Facebook or on Twitter @Condoonthemoon 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Condo on the Moon Podcast #30

It might not have the history of Wrestlemania 30, but we are on Podcast number 30 here at Condo on the Moon. We have had many Randy Savage impressions some great guests like Jimmy Korderas, Adam Cole and many others. Along with countless hours of myself James Borbath and Chris Walder trying to offer are opinions and views on professional wrestling. It has been a lot of fun and we hope to keep this thing going and thanks to all of you who have listened over our 30 shows. If you enjoy the show we encourage you to help spread the word out of what we like to think is the best wrestling podcast a lot of people haven't heard of. Will look to change that in the next 30 episodes and hopefully with your help we can do it.

So this week we have an extensive talk about NXT and the direction of things with the shows taped last night at Full Sail. We offer a rather male oriented opinion on this whole concept of wrestlers names changing. We talk the struggles of Raw as well and the WWE power struggle behind the scenes that is rumoured. Also get into the PWI 500 list with the top 10 guys on that list including one of our former guests here on Condo on the Moon. In addition how I almost got ripped off for a new webcam and Walder having a meltdown about parking prices in Toronto. This and so much more this week on the show.

If you have an issue listening here on the site head over to Podomatic were you can listen there or via I-tunes.

Hangin on the Moon is coming back next week with are first ever 3 way video podcast as Walder and Lopez join me for a wrestling free for all. In addition the Roman Reigns piece I referenced is in fact out over on Between the Ropes so go check that out.

Keep up to date with everything Condo on the Moon related on Twitter and Facebook.

Once again thanks for all the support and we really enjoy bringing this to you each and every week. It has been a lot of fun making the transition from covering the NBA to covering the world of pro wrestling.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Chris Jericho Not The Same Old Y2J

Chris Jericho had one mission when he returned to the WWE and like it or not he failed at it in a major way. That mission was to get over Bray Wyatt and instead the leader of the Wyatt clan is in a worse place from where he started. Now he too has to take part of the blame for this program failing after all it takes two to tango right Fandango. Where is he these days?  Another guy that worked with Jericho and that feud worked and Jericho took the debuting star and gave him a major launching pad. I blame Jericho for nothing that happened after he left. Still at the end of this run, it was by far, the least entertaining and worst run in the WWE for Chris Jericho.

Why it was is probably a number of reasons that we can point to as explanations. Jericho is getting older and that may seem odd to say in a sport that has dinosaurs like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Jerry Lawler all pressing their luck jumping in rings in their 50’s and beyond. Jericho has a style that relies on speed and motion so it isn’t exactly easy to keep that going for as long. Jericho did jump off the top of a cage that he is bragging about at his age. While I applaud the effort, I think that was nothing more than fool hardy as opposed something to be praised or encouraged for me.  Matt Hardy speaking of daredevils just turned 40 and we saw Christian doing a half-hearted version of the Peep Show on Sunday. Edge was forced to retire while the Dudley Boys and Jeff Hardy are on that sinking ship that is TNA Wrestling. Well technically so is Matt although Ring of Honor claims he is coming back there. That might be a swerve but that is a different matter for another day.

Those six that I mentioned took the most chances perhaps of anyone in the attitude era. They all are suffering for it now to varying degrees. Edge can never wrestle again and Christian is partner likely never should as well. It makes you wonder where some of these guys doing high spots on the independents will be at 40. It is not easy and that was a bit of a sidetrack from the point that the style of Y2J while he can still perform it has to take a bigger toll on him.

In addition, his once vanity project, or so it seemed, in his rock band Fozzy has become a legitimate success now. The new album is doing very well and it might just be time for Chris Jericho to turn off the light bright jacket and call it a day.

I can’t exactly explain it but Chris Jericho just did not feel the same, but for a brief moment in this comeback where he took some nostalgic shots at Stephanie and Triple H. Aside from that, it was nothing that in the end compelled me to be interested in him. Perhaps the fact it was made very clear both why he was here and when he would be leaving likely did not help.

Still another superstar roughly in the same age bracket slightly younger I think Rob Van Damn leaves much of the same feelings for me. At one time, he was won of the most innovative high tempo exciting acts in wrestling. These days he is jobbing out on a nightly basis looking like, he is a step or a step and half slow. Blame it on 4:20 if you care too, but it is more about his birth certificate and abuse his body has endured that any time on a clock or green stuff in a joint.

Jericho also like Stone Cold, Jim Ross and others has found success podcasting over on PodcastOne. I felt the times he interviewed wrestlers while back with exception to the ones that were not active in the company were not as good. Take his interview with Triple H, which isn’t the easiest guy to book to sit down and talk unless you’re Michael Cole in a kayfabe setting each week. The interview was fine but it has no real edge to it and seemed a very raw-raw pro WWE interview and a pro Triple H interview. Another was with three of the Total Divas and two being terrible wrestlers in Cameron and Eva Marie. It rather turned my stomach as Jericho gave these women this platform to try to garner sympathy. They suck and can’t wrestle while Jericho once claimed to be "The Man of 1004 Holds," these two ding-dongs would be lucky to know and be able to execute ten combined. It was shameful to have Jericho associated with that mess. Not to mention Brie Bella who has proven to have the acting skills of someone that can’t act. Contrast that with his interviews with Batista and the Hardy’s just last week it is night and day.

What this is all leading to is I am not excited nor need to see Chris Jericho comeback again. Each return seems to be less and less significant.

There is no doubt one day Chris Jericho will be in the WWE Hall of Fame and rightfully so. I just do not care to see too much more of what we saw from Jericho in this latest run. Reality is Jericho does not need to come back in the same way a C.M Punk does not need to do so. The simple fact is Jericho likes to comeback on his terms to do what he wants and than go back to doing the other things he enjoys.

I as a Jericholic from back in the day, saying that it is time to hang it up and go be a rock star full time. You have more than proven your legacy and I personally don’t want to see it slide into an abyss of irrelevance.

Jericho after teasing a retirement promised to be back and even sooner than we think. All the injuries mounting that could be a very true statement. Fozzy is touring though so likely not in cards short term.

Jericho can still go in the ring, but you see the signals that time is catching up with him. That clock that always was counting down is now father time slowly pointing his way to the exit. Jericho has nothing left to prove and if he couldn’t get over Bray Wyatt perhaps anything left to do in the WWE and in wrestling overall.

Never EVER Again could be coming soon for Chris Jericho getting in a WWE ring. If it is not it should be.

As one Canadian we think might be coming to near the end of is time another is just getting started as announcer with former member of The Score Arda Ocal being transferred into Kyle Edwards to be taking a job in the WWE.  Congrats to him on making his dream come through. Chris Jericho has made both his childhood dreams come true as he has been a wrestling world champion and a rock star. The odds on anyone Canadian or otherwise doing that have to be staggering.

That is why I would rather see him go out on the top of his wrestling game.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Arda Ocal Lands A Job in WWE

Some more Canadian content added to the WWE as Arda Ocal who worked with Renee Young at The Score in Canada on the WWE wrestling talking show Aftermath is now working for the WWE as he announced via his Twitter account.

Like Young, whose real last name is Paquette, as most Canadian knows from her time on The Score based on his twitter Ocal will be known as Kyle Edwards? In any case, Ocal has been a big part of the wrestling business on many levels and it is nice to see anyone land their dream job. He also did a show with former WWE Official Jimmy Korderas on Sirus in addition to the television show on The Score.

What his role will be is anyone’s guess and what it means for the current cast of broadcasters remains to be seen. I will say this much he loves the product and knows it that is a positive for wrestling fans that it is not someone who is a broadcaster that will need to learn wrestling he isn’t that guy. He knows and loves pro wrestling. So once again congrats to Arda or is it Kyle now?

Opportunity is Knocking For Dean Ambrose

Dean Ambrose is back and opportunity is knocking at his door. Daniel Bryan is still not back and Roman Reigns is out which leaves Dean as the alternative to John Cena. He even got the John Cena crashing his segment treatment. He also seems to have a larger portion of the female fan base. I saw one girl on my timeline suggest that Dean could arrest her because she had been a bad girl. This was in reference to a picture of him in his cop gear for the WWE Studios movie he was making.

While the machine was behind Roman Reigns the hardcore wrestling, fans have always been behind Dean Ambrose. He is the closest thing the WWE has to C.M Punk at the moment. There is just an unpredictable nature about Dean Ambrose, in where you wonder what he is going to do or say at any moment. His first words when returning to the show on Monday were “I AM NOT DEAD,” which was a bit of a shot at how they explained his absence.

Dean Ambrose is actually someone both Triple H and C.M Punk -- who likely do not agree on much -- both see talent in him. 

There is a window of time for Dean Ambrose to step up and show that he is deserving of being a top tier main event talent. Ambrose does have a strong fan base behind him. This is a time that he can expand that base to reach another level in his popularity.

He is such a unique talent that reminds people of so many different WWE legends. To me the one that makes the closest fit is Rowdy Roddy Piper. The crazy expressions and brawling style is a throwback to Piper. The story that Ambrose can tell without saying a word just his facial expressions is on a different level from anyone in this company.

Another positive for Dean Ambrose was how he dealt with John Cena. Much like with Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose was not all buddy-buddy with Mr. Hustle-Loyalty-Respect. Ambrose even went as far as subtly threatening Cena for getting involved in his business. This is how you are not overshadowed by Cena or at least have a fighting chance.

Here is the funny thing about Ambrose though as great as he has been in his current role he will be even more amazing when he gets to be a heel in a single role. No one can cut a dark disturbing program like Dean Ambrose. Go look up his work under his name on the independents as John Moxley. He can really be emotionally invested in what he is doing.

The time is now for Dean Ambrose. Sometimes others misfortune is your opportunity and that would appear to be the case for Dean Ambrose right now. The Lunatic fringe is looking to get his and WWE fans are behind him. Ambrose was already starting to get hot just prior to him leaving for his movie. He now is back and the spotlight on him is even bigger due to circumstances.

Dean Ambrose is ALIVE and KICKING!!! PUNCHING TOO!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Raw Has Fallen And It Can't Get Up

Dean Ambrose came back and for five minutes, it looked like he had saved Raw from the abyss that it had fallen into in his absence. Not even Dean can be on the screen for three hours straight. Raw is really suffering and adding another member to the long-term injury list in Roman Reigns is not helping it get better. Despite many thinking, it might be a massive chance for Dean himself to get to a different level. While we can debate about the individual players for days the team as a whole is getting a butt kicking the last five weeks.

Brian Fritz my colleague at Between the Ropes wrote an excellent piece on some ideas the fix what is wrong with the WWE. One of the points he made was about the WWE commentary team that I think almost everyone agrees with at this point. Michael Cole gets more passionate about a man in a bunny costume wrestling than an I-C title match. While the man himself defends Cole, you have to believe Jim Ross deep down knows Cole couldn’t hold his jock strap. Meantime you have Jerry Lawler who we all were concerned when he had a heart attack live on air a few years ago. Has the statue of limitations ended on this yet, because I challenge anyone to come up with a night since returning from that where Lawler has been even passable in his role? Let’s state the obvious, Jerry Lawler does not watch Smackdown and would not know a NXT superstar if he ran into them at a mall. He does not watch the product other than when he is on the air for Raw or a special event/pay-per-view. Some may question if he even does that. However, perhaps the most annoying of the lot of them is JBL. He is loud, bombastic, and more interested in cutting jokes on his buddy Michael Cole than doing his job. He seems to wander between being a heel announcer to neutral and even at times a babyface with no really reason for it.

While commentary is a major problem it is only the most obvious and in your face one on a weekly basis consistently. Lack of consistency hurts building fan bases for your various wrestlers and that has been obvious. Take a guy like Cesaro that fans have been rallying behind or trying for last year to 6 months. He seemed primed to be launched to the next level coming out of Wrestlemania only to have him play a secondary role to Brock Lesnar who was not even on the roster. If you look at all the ups and downs for Cesaro just as a fan, you feel frustrated. Imagine how that actual man that is Cesaro feels. You can just sense his desire to move up the ladder and I challenge anyone to give a solid reason why he should not.

Bray Wyatt has gone from working a program with John Cena and being the hottest thing in the WWE to forgotten  in the shuffle with no real program to speak of. We had a group of Xavier Woods, Big E and Kofi Kingston appear for a week and disappear the next. You have this idea of 50/50 booking in many feuds like the one with Dolph Ziggler and The Miz that has seen the Intercontinental Title change hands like it is an unwanted stepchild. Dean Ambrose may not be dead the fans caring about the Intercontinental Championship is on life support. This is not even mentioning the U.S title that even the most hardcore fan has to struggle to remember whom that champion is at the moment. The answer is Sheamus for the moment if you were struggling to remember.

There is also a lack of faith in the performers in 2014 that needs to change. We need to get away from the scripted promo for most of the roster and go back to the point form ways of the past. If you want a couple scripted lines this is fine. Is it always going to work and will you sometimes have a Nikki Bella I wish you died in the womb moment? Sure that is going to happen from time to time but more often than not you will get a better promo and performance overall. If you did not know the womb line, was an ad-lib by Nikki Bella.

I think if you allow this to happen than it will cause guys and gals to feel who their character is not just simply reading a script of someone else telling them who they are. The people that were great in this business did not have to be told who they were. At some point, they understood who they were and reacted as such in ever situation they would find themselves. Dean Ambrose is perhaps the one person on this roster that fully grasps this concept. He is the same guy every time we see him on our television screen.

Austin had the famous and perhaps over used line, about the best wrestling characters being an extension of who these people were in real life, just turning the volume up to like 10. Which is somewhat lacking in the current WWE.

Now let us talk about some women’s wrestling shall we. I will start with a simple statement that with opportunity it comes with responsibility. This simple statement applies to all of the ladies but specifically to the Total Divas crew. If the WWE is going to use you on its programming, based on Total Divas and not really anything else you need to step up.  It is on you to take these segments and matches and prove you are worthy of this valuable real estate that is television time. The gaffs we have seen in matches and the lack of being able to get across promos and angles is clearly evident.

While I love women’s wrestling, if the ladies are not going to step up to the plate, I can’t honestly defend them nor should I. They need to be held just as accountable as their male counterparts are and I question if that is really done.

What else can we say that has not been said so far? Here is a point about booking and predictability with in that.  Predictable booking is fine in the long-term but it isn’t in the short term. What I mean by this is simple I am fine with already having a clear idea where the company wants to head for Wrestlemania next year but not for Raw next week. The true success for Raw is when it embraces that old WWE slogan where the WWE was where anything can happen. That does not mean exactly having a bunny wrestling in a tag-team match. It means that I never really am 100% sure what could happen next. I am not going to the point of Vince Russo where I need to be treated like a kid with the patience level of a 6-year old in my viewing habits. I am just saying in the sense of needing to wonder what could happen from segment to segment as we go through the show. If I am wondering about what might happen next, that is less time I am looking at the clock wondering if this is over yet?

What also seems painfully clear even as an outsider is that Vince McMahon and his son-in-law Paul Lévesque (Triple H) seem to be at odds over a great number of talents and their futures. This validates why we have seen this wild inconsistencies in the booking of people. You only need to watch NXT to see that Paul seems to be much closer to understand what this generation of fans want in comparison to Vince. You can say C.M Punk might understand it better than both might combined still he isn’t concerned with how you have to implement that change in a corporate setting. Paul Levesque does as he has created the entire brand and developmental system that hardcore fans love. He is the guy that has brought in guys like Sami Zayn, Kevin Steen, Kenta, Prince Devitt and Adrian Neville along with others.

At the end of the day, the biggest problem might just be Vince McMahon himself. Think about it, he has been the guy behind the John Cena build we saw to the re-match with Lesnar, which no one really thought was believable. Vince McMahon might be too distracted, too old or just to out of touch to make this work as he has in the past. There is little question the WWE Network has been a huge distraction and is taking Vince out of the mix in terms of his normal hands on role with creative. I just wonder if it is BEST FOR BUSINESS to have Paul takeover creative until Vince is able to stabilize this network. If there, is not a split focus maybe that can lead to both having better success? This $9.99 campaign is about as successful as the show has been recently. Least it looks that way on the surface.

So what happened on Raw? Ambrose is back and Cena is trying to ride the coat tails of his popularity and a man in a bunny suit wrestled on Monday Night Raw. This was not a banner moment or episode in the longest running episodic program in television history.  

Raw has fallen and it can’t get up.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Night of Wrestling and Questionable Booking for WWE

Night of Champions seems to have had some really mixed results in terms of reaction to it. While in ring, the show seemed to come off reasonably well, the booking of the show caused people some headaches. Those that just wanted to see some good in-ring action were able to ignore the lack of logic to the booking and enjoy the show. Those who could not ignore those mistakes were unable to see past it and enjoy some good wrestling overall. 

A great example of this divide was in the match between Sheamus versus Cesaro. Everyone expected this to be a hard-hitting stiff affair. The end result with Cesaro losing left a bad taste in fans mouths that have been unhappy with how he has been booked since Wrestlemania.

If you looked at last night’s show in a vacuum not looking back or forward it is hard to debate, it was not a decent show at the very least. When you get into the long-term nature of these events is where issues arise. Like this feud with the Miz and Dolph Ziggler that has gone on to long with ridiculous side characters in Sandow and R-Truth. The commentary on the match was an infomercial for some hick country brand Florida Georgia Line that didn’t have the common business sense to know the name of the event they signed to appear at in December. This made the Intercontinental Championship match seemingly less important.  The constant flip-flopping of the title also doesn’t help matters. This could be just getting the belt back on The Miz prior to losing to a returning Wade Barrett who was the champion prior to him being injured. This ultimately would be acceptable in the grand scheme of things.

This was one of three titles that changed hands as the Uso’s losing to the Dust Brothers. Which realistically seemed to be coming with the Uso’s having long title run. Does this change my interest level in the tag-team division at all? It does not have me more interested in the division in the slightest.

The Diva’s title swaps hands again as A.J gets the title back winning the three-way title match. The match was decent even Nikki Bella pulled her weight in the match. The booking about having Nikki in the match made zero sense as Brie was at Night of Champions, but only cut an interview and had zero involvement in the match. Again, another case of a decent match with flawed booking that does not make sense.

One match that for my money failed on both levels was Chris Jericho and Randy Orton. The build to this match including a useless segment on the pre-show on the “Peep Show” that was pointless. While many will say this was a good match between to vets, I am sorry but that finish to this match was so poor it wiped away anything that happened prior to it. We had Jericho waiting forever on the top rope only to get “RKOed” when he jumped off for the finishing spot to the match. The catch RKO when we first saw it was an amazing move. It was anything but in this case as you could see it coming a mile away

Roman Reigns was rushed to hospital over the weekend legitimately and the WWE did the expected but welcomed segment as a result. Rollins took a win by forfeit over Reign who could be out anywhere from 6-12 weeks based on his recovery. Rollins issues an open challenge and out of a cab in the back that he did not pay for comes Dean Ambrose returning to the WWE after a month.  In storyline curb stomped through cement blocks, while in reality he was off filming a WWE films movie in which he plays a cop. Ambrose takes justice into his own hands and attacks Rollins all over the arena and security along with Triple H and Stephanie come out. Eventually security drags off Ambrose. One of the suits along with security was Jamie Noble who had quite the scuffle with Ambrose. There is irony in the one segment that was not pre-planned and came off as one of the best things on the show.

It is now time to move onto our main event with Brock Lesnar and John Cena in their re-match from Summerslam. We saw the predictable more aggressive Cena going after Brock but still not able to finish him whoever thought it was a good idea to have John Cena using the “STF” is headshaking. Cena has always made that hold look terrible and Brock breaking out of it only emphasized that.Steve Austin has also been a long time critic of Cena doing this hold badly. Rollins come up, breaks-up yet another “STF” attempt, and causes a DQ win by attacking Cena. He “Curb Stomped” the downed Lesnar and went to cash in his Money in the Bank contract only to be cut off by Cena negating his cash in as the bell never rang to start the match. Sadly, this is looking like we are heading to yet another Cena vs. Lesnar match. It seems clear the WWE has little confidence in booking Brock with anyone else. I have very little interest in seeing this match for a third time.

Perhaps Raw can sell me on this being interesting and this would have to put some strain between the relationship with Paul Heyman and Brock with the Authority and Seth Rollins.

In the end for me, this show taught me an example of why you need good booking to go along with good wrestling to make a show enjoyable. This was booked at times as an episode of Raw and at other times like it was a pay-per-view. It just did not get me excited for what is to come and the title changes that happened all seemed very flat and uneventful in nature for me.

Night of Champions is rapidly becoming the show you skip and just wait for Hell in the Cell to get the blow offs to main event feuds. This was all similar to how the Bryan and Orton feud was dragged out last year to get it to Hell in the Cell and a blow-off cell match; this also might speak to the need of having so many gimmick themed pay-per-views. While ones like the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank seem to work things like Hell in a Cell and Elimination Chamber clearly do not. The need for a long feud to end in these structures is likely part of the reason they don’t and making it predictable that feuds will peak at this event. Elimination Chamber is a dangerous match that always seems to be a holdover to Wrestlemania with little drama attached to it.

In the end a show that really seemed to have some mixed reaction from the WWE’s core audience while a Lesnar vs. Cena re-match, I would venture to guess did little to expand the WWE audience with casual fans. WWE had really gotten some attention with the initial Lesnar win only to fail badly in the follow-up to it.

Just like they have failed to sell a network to the mass population outside of it's hardcore audience. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

3 Things We Need To See Coming Out of Night of Champions

The WWE was dealt a serious curveball to “Night of Champions" with Roman Reigns being rushed to hospital Saturday. He had emergency surgery incarcerated hernia that was successful and if all goes well he will be released from Nashville hospital today. In terms of a return to the ring WWE’s Doctor suggests this is likely going to be a full 6-week recovery process as this was not your typical sports hernia operation.

Given that news, it is almost a guarantee you have to think we will see Dean Ambrose return and likely just plug him into Roman’s place in the match. Rollins and Ambrose have worked so much together this seems like an easy fit to fill the loss of Reigns in the short term.

Aside from this breaking news and obvious issue with the card what are three things we need to see happen because of Night of Champions.

1. A clear direction for the WWE World Championship:
Until the final bell rings, tonight people are still going to doubt if the WWE will have John Cena lose twice in a row even if it is to Brock Lesnar. Some so convinced of that fact they have created a situation that they see Cena winning but Set Rollins walking away from the night the Champion. Brock, Cena of Rollins we need a clear direction for the WWE World Championship. The best option is sticking with the plan and riding the Brock Lesnar train to Wrestlemania. Roman Reigns getting this time off might be a blessing in disguise, as it will give them a chance to build him up.  He should be 100% healthy and ready to roll after this recovery. I just want a clear direction and let’s stick with it.  I don’t think your doing him any favors by giving him the championship at this point. Going to Cena is a panic move with no real plan attached to it.

2. What about Bray?: I find it odd that Bray Wyatt is not booked on this card. I wonder if we see him get involved somewhere tonight for his next feud. There are some rumors he will work a fall program with Dolph Ziggler. Perhaps he costs Ziggler the I-C title or gives a post match beat down to setup this feud. After working with Cena at Wrestlemania, who could have seen Wyatt falling so far out of the main scene so quickly? You could say a similar thing about Cesaro but maybe he will finally start the road back with a U.S title win? We can hope for the best and that is about all. I think Bray shows up at Night of Champions for something what is to be determined.

3. Separation of Diva’s Angles:
I hate to say it but I think Nikki Bella will do this becoming the Diva’s Champion. Given how much WWE has gone all in with Bella feud adding the title to it would not shock me. What I also see is this advancing the Paige and A.J Feud but more importantly advancing the Stephanie and A.J feud that has been teased a few times. Assuming A.J makes it all the way to Wrestlemania, I firmly believe she will be facing Stephanie McMahon. It has all the makings of the most eagerly anticipated women’s match in the history of Wrestlemania.

Other things to note, would be an end of the line point for Usos as Tag-Team Champions?  Where is Randy Orton heading as he is in a lame duck match with Chris Jericho leaving to go be a rock star again with Fozzy. Rusev continues to roll but will he get involved in the Cena/Brock match, as some rumors have been suggesting. Will see what happens the build to this event was terrible let us hope the event itself over performs. Roman Reigns being taken out before it ever started is not a great sign.

All you have to do is BOlieve, right Bo Dallas? 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Condo on the Moon Podcast #29

Back to play in my second podcast of the last 24 hours with Chris Walder. We talk about delayed video games, Dean Ambrose where he may rank in wrestling actors, Adam Cole and why he should STILL be ROH champ and TNA still not getting it even now at the end of the road. Oh yeah and Night of Champions is happening on Sunday too.

So that was it if you were unable to listen here head over to Podomatic and listen there. Hope you all get something to enjoy out of Night of Champions. Anyone that has watched this build to this show deserves something to be happy about.

NXT After Party

This is replacing hanging on the moon for a few weeks as myself and Josh Lopez give you a podcast that talks about NXT but also everything else going on in the wrestling world.

We have a podcast double header later tonight Chris Walder drops by as we do a preview of Night of Champions and see what else there is to talk about in the world of wrestling this week. So tune in late tonight for the second half of our podcast double header!

If your unable to listen to our podcast via the website head over to Podomatic and listen there to the show.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Is NXT Better?

The jokes have started about NXT being the superior brand to WWE on social media. You would never hear something like this said about the NBDL the developmental league of the NBA. Lebron James is better than anybody they have in the NBDL and that is fact. 

Could we say the same about John Cena and NXT? Is John Cena a better in-ring worker than Kenta, Kevin Steen, Sami Zayn, Prince Devitt and Adrian Neville? He isn’t really is he? John Cena does have experience of working on a much larger stage for almost a decade. You can love him or hate him but that is a fact.

NXT while it is suppose to be a view into the future it also is a glimpse into the past. Just an hour of weekly television and four major events in a year is how NXT works and how the WWF use to be. Could NXT be as compelling and great a show if they had to provide a 3-hour show and 9-10 hours of content overall in a week? The answer is probably not.

Triple H has talked about building NXT into its own brand and they have been relatively successful to this point. This is something that Paul Levesque has been hands on with and has totally changed the direction of the developmental of this company. This company suffered a major gap in finding and developing between when Jim Ross was in charge of talent relations and Triple H. That gap was when John Laurinaitis who did the company a huge disservice for its future. Seems Johnny legacy was hiring a lot of hot women that can’t wrestle. Jim Ross has a legacy of getting guys like Foley, Austin, The Rock and even Paul himself as part of the WWE Roster. The list of talent Paul Levesque is bringing to table is impressive as well. When we look back on it will see if it is as successful as the one J.R compiled but it is clearly better than the one Johnny Ace came up with in his time.

In a fantasy world, would it be cool to see a show with NXT vs. WWE? Absolutely, if you are expecting NXT guys to go over in such a situation though that probably is not going to happen.   You could have some great matches though. Let’s fantasy book a little below:

Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins
Tyler Breeze vs. Dolph Ziggler
Adrian Neville vs. Dean Ambrose
Kevin Steen vs. Bray Wyatt
Kenta vs. Daniel Bryan
Prince Devitt vs. John Cena
Ascension vs. Usos
Tyson Kidd vs. Cesaro

That is a card I would watch, as I am sure many would. NXT has had three huge names in Kenta, Steen and Devitt, you add them to the existing Zayn and Neville, and you have the NXT 5. This might be the term we use for these guys for years to come.  A Sami Zayn tweet led to WWE.com doing a sit-down interview with all five that was truly a great read. Seeing names like Adam Cole, The Young Bucks and John Gargano on that site kind of nuts. If you don’t know those names, you just do not have any clue of independent wrestling. Steen, Cole and the Bucks made Mount Rushmore in PWG. I hope to see them all in the WWE in 2015 they are all deserving.

WWE has really created their own super-independent show with WWE’s money and production values. At the same time, they are training staff in all aspects of a broadcast with their partnership with Full Sail University. They have given hardcore fans an option under the WWE umbrella to see the stars they have watched in outside promotions like ROH, NJPW and other places under their system on their WWE Network. Paul Levesque smartly is not ruling anything out in terms of NXT’s future.

WWE since they ended WCW in 2001 has been searching for competition. They attempted to create their own with the brand split but that never really worked in my opinion. Now in 2014 they may have found their competition in NXT. A group of hungry wrestlers that most of whom already have long resumes looking to bust open the doors to the main roster. If that doesn’t light a fire under the butt of people on the main roster, nothing will. I remember the first NXT Takeover that was their second special event. That week the NXT show had more buzz than the Payback show coming up on the Sunday. As expected, the NXT show delivered but it took a “B” level pay-per-view and lit a fire under some of the people on that card to make it one of the more unexpected great shows of the year.

The tag line for NXT being: The Future is Now. People are buying in even more than they are the WWE with the hardcore audience of wrestling in general and the WWE.

So for a certain type of fan NXT already is and to some extent always will be better than WWE. Ultimately, though NXT is about creating stars on that next level and so far, it has which is ultimately the job it is meant to serve. Having it become a popular and even more popular with some brand may not have been part of the plan but now it is. WWE can make money off NXT just as easily and they will still cash the checks.

NXT has become something greater than what one could have imagined as its goofy reality show origins.  It is now a brand that sports a roster than can compete with any company in the world. Even the one that owns it at times could be included in that. 

Next time you go to say something bad about Triple H remember that Paul Levesque created all of this that you love and can’t enough of in NXT. So maybe he is not the idiot or interested in burying people, as the internet would have you believe.

He is taking pictures with all of these guys and truly reveling in their success as he would his own maybe more so. Ultimately, their success is his success as is true for NXT as a brand and the Performance Center they train those NXT stars. It is all about the game and growing it for the next generation. This according to Sami Zayn already has the future of the WWE in 5 years ready to roll.

He makes a good case that is hard to argue as he has some talented friends to play with currently.

Adam Cole Should Never Have Lost The ROH Title

When it happened I questioned if it was the right move and looking back on it 3 months of so later it seems even clearer. Adam Cole should still be the Ring of Honor Champion. Ring of Honor wanted that feel good moment at the end of their first live pay-per-view. It makes sense with hopefully some new people watching the product. In theory, Michael Elgin was the right choice to be that guy as well.

In reality Adam Cole outside of his ‘heel character” he is an engaging and great guy to put out there to promote your product. Far more so than Michael Elgin or Jay Briscoe could be in that regard. Adam Cole is a guy that clearly has some gifts that make you see him as a next level guy with the WWE someday. If you’re a company like ROH, why not take advantage of every single day you have this guy under contract.

The company also was aware their overall top draw Kevin Steen was leaving for WWE developmental as well. So if you can’t draw people with your biggest babyface than why not go with the top heel that fans want to see get his butt kicked?

No one could have seen the issues Elgin would have with working in the United States. There seems to be some debate on if ROH knew this fact before they decided to change the title. ROH after having a successful 6 months to start 2014 things seemed to lose momentum after Elgin winning the title on pay-per-view. The follow-up overall by the company after the debut on pay-per-view was disappointing. Elgin himself did not gain any momentum even with having a number of title defences in short succession. Sometimes in wrestling, fans are more invested in the chase to get a championship and this seems to be one of those cases.

After setting some attendance highs in various markets, it seems like attendance dropped since Elgin became Champion and after Kevin Steen’s tour leaving the company. It’s not all doom and gloom as Sinclair the owner of the company has stuck a syndication to get ROH television in 2.4 million homes in Atlanta. A sign that we could see Ring of Honor make moves to get into several major markets they are not.

Given everything why not have Adam Cole hold the title until December and have him drop it at Final Battle as his contract with the company will be coming due. Adam Cole is still putting on great matches as he showed with his recent contest with A.J Styles in Toronto. It was a better match than the stunning title match in which Jay Briscoe won the title from Michael Elgin.

Adam Cole has also been working with Michael Bennett, Maria Kanellis and occasionally Matt Hardy in the “Kingdom” which has given him a new dynamic to use. Only a few people that book ROH know the answer but I feel if they had it to do all over again, Adam Cole would still be ROH Champion I believe.  That ship has sailed though and Cole is likely going to be out of the title picture for the remainder of his contract in ROH. This is a shame as he was really coming into his own as the heel Champion of Ring of Honor.It was never going to be forever as Cole's heel character was suggesting near the end of his reign but it should have been longer.

What's done is done and ROH has to make the best of the situation with Jay Briscoe as champion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Raw Has Issues After Another Terrible Effort

Once is an accident, twice is a trend and four times is one of the worst builds to a special event/pay-per-view I can recall. This was a pretty embarrassing effort going into Night of Champions. It is hard to imagine that a card once thought of as vital to the success of the WWE Network has become such an after thought. It really is amazing how little this show means coming up on Sunday. It is pretty much a one-match show with the re-match of Lesnar and Cena as the only match drawing any real interest and even that could have been done better.

I am not sure where to begin with all of this. I guess the start would be the WWE admitting that people would rather watch Monday Night Football than Raw. The constant referencing of halftime in which they timed out to have the pay off to the John Cena and Paul Heyman opening segment to halftime of the football game. This is not like when the WWE made up a one-match show between The Rock and Mankind to go on during the halftime of the Super Bowl. This is week two of the NFL not the Super Bowl and this is clearly nothing close to the "Attitude Era."

After Heyman, pulling out a great promo from John Cena last week it was too much to expect him to do it two weeks in a row. It was back to campy unrealistic John Cena whom Paul Heyman talked circles around tonight.  I wonder how I would feel about this whole angle if I did not believe and know that John Cena is never going to turn. The idea of John Cena as a “Paul Heyman Guy” would be unbelievable television. Vince McMahon is never going to allow that to happen though.

Think of all the money spent of the building of Cena in having him face guys like The Rock and Brock Lesnar. It is rumored that with this re-working of Lesnar’s contract is going to cost up to 5 million dollars. This is a time keep in mind when the company is losing money and no longer attempting to be a pay-per-view company. This was why Lesnar was brought in initially to help draw some pay-per-view buys. If the WWE drops the ball with getting over someone else with this Brock title run, the company is flushing 5 million down the toilet.

The first match on this show was Jericho vs. Kane that was never a great feud back in 2000 or 2001. Why I am seeing it on possibly the last Raw with Jericho in this run is to say the least disappointing. In fact, this entire run for Chris Jericho has been fairly underwhelming. It wraps up with a match on Sunday with Randy Orton that has no real story attached too it. Orton beat up Jericho for the hell of it because it was the “Season Premiere” of Raw.

Bray Wyatt meanwhile seems lost in the woods and seems to be heading to a program of some sort with the Big Show. The Jericho feud really did not rehabilitate Wyatt after a feud with John Cena that did not really end in a way that helped keep Wyatt as a top tier talent. After this feud with Jericho, Wyatt seems to be taking a few back steps as a result.  The one thing he still has his entrance that is over while his promos have lost a lot of steam.

Total Divas is back and it is invading Monday Night Raw at the same time Raw has been horrible is not just coincidence. Cameron on Total Divas talked about going back to NXT and last night on Raw validated why she should after trying to pin Naomi while she was laid out on her stomach. Seriously, how is this girl employed and taking up time on you major show in a week of wrestling programming? She is clueless and terrible and I do not have any sympathy for people like her and Eva Marie who clearly have no talent at all in terms of wrestling. Trish Stratus was a beautiful woman and still is, she learned the craft of wrestling something that clearly seems beyond a number of the cast members of Total Divas. Keep your show and make the girls managers on Raw, whatever you have to do.  Having them go in a ring is insulting to fans, makes them a laughing stock, and serves no purpose.

This leads nicely into the Bella’s feud that is another pointless project with the Divas. While I will say, the Bella Twins have learned how to wrestle to the point they are not a complete embarrassment.  On the microphone that is not the case where there is a clear difference in the Bella Twins that does not involve having breast enhancement. Nikki is not only is packing the bigger boobs, but also is better on the microphone. The material has been pretty awfully though. This week the Bella feud hit the ring as part of a tag-team match and at least they didn’t give this classic one on one match away. Something they might have wanted to do with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns but will get there eventually.

Adding the Paige and A.J feud to the mix of all of this has only added to the mess that this has all become. I would think Brie gets involved and screws her sister from winning the title. That is the logical answer so they will probably go the opposite and have Brie help Nikki so she can take the title away from her. The obvious babyface move to do. Sadly, this feud marches on with no end in sight.

Seth Rollins wins the most questionable promo of the night award. He compared Roman Reigns to an ape which he acted out which was something that many will view as racist. It might well be that but I will leave that debate for others to have. What it was is a ridiculous promo that does Seth Rollins no favors in getting over. In addition, why is this match even happening at all with both booked to face each other on Night of Champions?

Dean Ambrose as I wrote yesterday (for Between the Ropes) has been the big winner by being written off the show during this terrible stretch. He has not been tied to all of the terrible stuff that has been going on during Raw for the last month.

The Miz and Ziggler having stunt doubles thing is so dumb it is insulting. Some may find it hilarious that R-Truth is the double of Dolph, but I find it was stupid and insulting. In any case, this feud while not horrible in the ring the story elements attached to it have sucked.

Usos and the Combo of Gold and Stardust feud is what it is. I am not sure why we needed to keep Cody as Stardust let alone turn this team heel. They are certainly booking this in a way I could see Uso’s dropping the titles. This is not to say that I want to see the Dust Brothers as champions.

How or why exactly we ended the show with Mark Henry and Rusev makes no sense at all. This is and has been presented as a mid-card angle and suddenly is rocketed to the main event spot? That makes little sense at all for what has been a decently booked campy mid-card angle.

When we come off a week in which NXT had a special event and it was booked fairly well it makes you wonder if the answer to all of the problems is simple. Vince McMahon has no say in NXT and leaves it completely in the hands of Paul Lévesque while Vince continues to be the final word on Raw and he clearly is not doing a good job of late. Perhaps the most shocking was the basic admission with in the script that fans watching Raw would likely bail out and watch the NFL. Never in my life would I have expected Vince McMahon to allow such a statement to be made even if it was just implied and not a direct one.

The WWE is not looking good these days and while people remain very optimistic about the future you have to wonder what kind of a future it will be at some point. The decline in people invested in the product has become fairly clear. Once people are gone, there is no guarantee you will get them back in the fold. The numbers keep shrinking and as good as the future might be who will have the faith and patience to be here for it. The answer is only the very hardcore base of the WWE audience that is usually the ones that are treated the worst by this company in terms of what they want to see as opposed to what they get.

There really is the reason to be concerned at the lack of quality in the product right now even if the ratings have yet to see a dropping off a cliff moment you can sense one coming if they product remains so poor. The other issue is obviously the focus and attention being paid to The WWE Network that has been taken off the core product and it shows.  When Vince Russo is sounding like a voice of reason in the wrestling landscape that speaks volumes to where we have gone.

Bottom line if the build to Hell in a Cell is anything like the one to Night of Champions it will be time to ring the alarm or press the panic button whatever needs to be done.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Raw Preview: Brock Is Back On Raw

Can the WWE do anything at all to convince us John Cena is not going to get his ass kicked as he did  last time is the biggest question going into the final show before Night of Champions. I really remain unconvinced and think the build for this re-match has been done wrong 100% from the start and should have focused around Cena never quitting. If this were, being built as an “I Quit Match” this Sunday far more people would have mixed feelings about the result of the match. As it stands and with news of Lesnar re-working his contract it is a foregone conclusion he will win. An "I Quit Match," would have been fantastic just as it was with Mick Foley and The Rock back in the day. The reason was that no one believed anyone could make Mick Foley quit not even The Rock. It is likely true of Superman John Cena in terms of even his detractors admitting he has never quit in a match. So, it would have been compelling.

This idea of John Cena embracing the dark side has been done to death. Even with the greatness of Paul Heyman delivering the message, no one believes Cena will ever turn heel. Vince McMahon is said to be heavily involved in the booking of Cena means it is not happening at all. It is an old tired angle that we have seen far too many times and with Cena being so public about never turning heel, it takes away from any belief that he will.

The Bella’s train wreck feud continues full steam ahead despite the two not being in a match at night of Champions as of yet. Nikki currently is in a triple threat with Paige and A.J Lee with Brie on the sidelines for this match. Safe bet if she remains there after tonight she will still be involved in the match and likely cost her sister the Diva’s Championship or worse help her win it as some form of trying to bring them back together.

You have to wonder seriously if these girls were not dating two of the top stars in the company would they be where they are now. Maybe based on the success of Total Divas that is underway for its third season, but that said it all just does not seem right with Nikki and Brie being involved in a semi-main event angle. It feels flat out wrong to be honest. Trish and Lita at one time earned the way to main event status and you felt happy for them. In this case it seems like something that was handed to them on a silver platter.

As for the rest of the night of Champions card we have the Rusev and Henry feud heating up off Smackdown where Lana through powder in the face of Henry during the dreaded arm wrestling segment. So expect Mark to be looking for some payback heading into Sunday. Dolph and The Miz continue their feud with extras and all for the I-C Title.

Really for all the talk of Night of Champions having to be this big show to help secure renewals for the WWE Network it has really come off as just another boring WWE special event that is lacking any real sizzle. Rollin vs. Reigns will be on this card likely. It was confirmed that Randy Orton and Jericho would have a match on Sunday prior to Jericho going back to be a rock star with Fozzy.

It just is not a compelling card in the slightest and the WWE really seems to be heading down a terrible path right now. Nothing seems to be capturing the attention of the audience at all right now.

The one WWE Superstar that seems to be gaining the most from all of this is Dean Ambrose as he is disconnected from the product while off shooting a movie for WWE Films. When he comes back I expect there will be a monstrous response for him. Right now he seems to have even gained some steam with fans by being away for this time period. Guess John Cena is wrong you really do not have to be there every single week at least not to get over with fans.

I do feel we need to see John Cena get some licks in on Brock Lesnar prior to Sunday for any of us believe that he will have a snowball’s chance of winning. Will see how it all goes down tonight during Monday Night Raw.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

When Did South Park Become More Edgy Than The WWE?

We have all heard for years now how the WWE can’t be what it was back in the attitude era. WWE has become too corporate and concerned about their sponsors and business partners.  It all sounds somewhat logical and makes sense to a rational thinking person. However, is that really the case or just an excuse to go the safe route?

I give you South Park the Comedy Central show that has pushed the limits of a politically correct society. They have made fun of everyone and everything including the WWE in an episode back is season 13 of the popular cartoon series. They are on a network that is owned by Viacom which few would not argue is just as big a corporate company as the WWE.

So can someone explain to me how South Park has been able to survive with what that show does? They are able to get advertisers, seem to have little issue merchandizing their product and all the while pushing the limits. At some point WWE who was always willing to push the limits and see how far they could go, even going as far as having D-X read an actual letter sent to them complaining about the gimmick of the group and making fun of it. What was the result from USA? The network? They loved the segment and D-X continued with their antics for years to come on WWE  television on the network.

Some might argue times have changed and the reaction might be far different now. Really well than explain shows like South Park, Family Guy and host of other shows that all push the limits more than WWE does now. Anytime an angle even borders on being controversial, the WWE seems to run & hide and kill the angle for the most part. If not kill, really take the teeth out of it and make it far more generic in nature.

I give you three recent examples of this from the last few years. Let us start with the Real American Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter. At first, this was an angle that was clearly representing a radical faction of the Republican Party that had strong opinions on immigration and American values. This was represented in the character of Zeb Coulter. So much so it got people tied to that wing of the Republican Party to notice it like Glen Beck. The WWE responded by making an infamous video that Zeb and Jack break the fourth wall, step out of a promo, and act as themselves. Acknowledging the obvious that they are playing roles and this is just a storyline in a show.

After that though the ranting and raving of Zeb became less and less controversial and to the point that he is now a babyface character spouting American values that are much easier for everyone to support.

The official face turn came when Jack Swagger and Zeb from out of the blue came out to challenge Rusev and Lana. This angle had been slowly changed from a Bulgarian sympathizer with the blond Russian to both being billed from Russia. It was a very old school angle that at first came of as very corny and a modernized version of Rocky 4. It ended up becoming a very edgy angle based on the real life drama that started to unfold in the Ukraine. Things reached a boiling point when Lana indirectly referenced a tragedy in which a passenger airline was downed in the Ukraine that she referenced only as ‘current events” involving Russia. There was a major backlash despite it being very different from having an Iraqi sympathizer during a war with the country and the United States. The WWE backed off pushing Rusev for a week and would bring him back but the whole gimmick has been really toned down in its ties to current events and reality.

My third and final example started with the WWE being criticized for their lack of pushing black athletes and having black people as part of the company in general. In typical old WWE fashion a week or two later they responded with a group of Xavier Woods, Big E and Kofi Kingston. They were presented like a second coming of perhaps the Nation of Domination. The WWE in the past created a group under similar circumstances when a parent’s council was angry with the WWE for their product not being fit for children. The WWE response was to create the group the “Right to Censor” that made a mockery of that group and their concerns. In 2014, WWE the new group of disgruntled black wrestlers’ angle was dropped the next week. The three continue to work on house shows but it is assumed the angle is being re-worked.

Some where and some how Vince McMahon lost his grapefruits. You may only look to the week it has been for the NFL as they have been the focus of the national media spotlight for their handling of the Ray Rice situation. Causing an uproar over domestic violence and the NFL has become society’s pinata. Worse for the NFL former M.V.P Adrian Peterson later in the week was charged with child endangerment. It has been a horrible week for the NFL the likes we have never seen.

So perhaps society would not take to the attitude era at all. Maybe the fact the South Park and other cartoon based shows are the only ones that can get away with pushing the limits these days. Involve real people in a world where reality and fiction are always at the best times hard to get people to understand in wrestling it doesn't work. 

In any case, society has changed to a point that it makes it hard for wrestling to push the boundaries. Wrestling still has the same stigmas that it has always faced. The recent death of Shawn O’Haire was an example of yet another performer dying far too young that the average person sees as the norm in wrestling. It has improved a tremendous amount in the last 10 years and heart warming stories about Jake Roberts and Scott Hall being pulled back from destroying their lives have happened in the past couple years. WWE and Wrestling in general will never get past some clichés about the business to the average person. 

Wrestling is at a low point and everyone thinks they have an answer how to fix it. Society has changed a lot and the idea of simply turning back the clock might not be the answer. To say the WWE is afraid to take chances is not really the answer either. They have taken perhaps the biggest gamble they ever have with the WWE Network. The issue is though they need the product to put on that network that people feel they can’t live without. This is hard to do in this world not just for the WWE but all sports and all entertainment.

Still a change in direction clearly needs to take place. The numbers on the WWE Network are evidence of the need for that change.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Condo on the Moon Podcast #28

Myself and Walder back for another week. We talk about are experience at ROH show last Saturday and go in depth on NXT and talk about some of Monday Night Raw. All that and more in this episode that is not even 99 cents let alone 9.99.

Thanks for listening and help spread the word if you like what you hear. If you have feedback love to hear it. Aside from how I pronounce John Cena that has been covered actually by Walder in a previous podcast.

If you have issue accessing the podcast through our site we invite you to go directly to out podcast host's Podomatic and Listen there

NXT Takeover 2: Post Show Podcast

We did not have a Hangin on the Moon today think all our audio issues are solved but decided to do an NXT Takeover post game show with myself and Josh Lopez. We break down the card and share our thoughts as well as have a couple interesting sidebar conversations along the way. So sit back and enjoy as we bring a little NXT into your life.

Still will have the regular podcast on later tonight as always with Chris Walder talking all the rest of the wrestling news of the week. Walder might give his two cents on Takeover 2 as well so make sure to come back and listen to that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

NXT Takeover 2: A New NXT Champion To Be Crowned?

 NXT is set to have there third special event on Thursday night on the WWE Network. On paper, this card does not live up to previous two. We will have the introduction of Kenta to NXT officially scheduled but also have Prince Devitt and Kevin Steen now as part of the mix at the performance center so who knows if we see them as well? We did see the participants in main event on Raw this past Monday. They seemed to get over pretty well with both the live audience and the viewing audience. Ole chants rang out on Raw for Sami Zayn and for once, the commentators did a great job of getting over all four guys in the match.

Singles Match
Mojo Rawley vs. Bull Dempsey

I have no interest in this match at all. Mojo Rawley is a classic example of what the WWE thinks will draw compared to what the audience actually wants. Which is not Mojo with his lack of experience in the ring combined with his over enthusiastic character makes him annoying as hell to most and me. While Bull Dempsey is old school, wrestling gimmick is not a hit with me either. Some thought this gimmick would be great for Kevin Steen. It is a death sentence and nothing is great about it. Someone has to win the match that should be a boring yawn festival so I will go with Bull by default.

Hair vs. Hair Match
Enzo Amore vs. Sylvester LeFort

Has a babyface ever lost a haircut match in the history of wrestling? If they did, it was terrible booking of the highest order. Still despite this being, a very predictable outcome of this still should be a fun match. It is a big match for Enzo who has been out with injury for a long period and this is the first big match since his return from injury to his leg. LeFort knows about injuries himself; he as a result was booked as a manger in NXT when he debuted.  Both have a lot to gain from a high profile match like this and it should be good. Enzo Amore will win but it will be all about the journey and post match haircut that makes or breaks this contest. 

NXT Tag Team Championship Match
The Ascension (c) vs. Kalisto & Sin Cara

We saw Kalisto with a different partner go against this team of The Ascension as he teams with Sin Cara who also is new under his mask from the original. The Ascension has long been rumoured to heading to the main roster. They did pop up this week on WWE Main Event so maybe finally they are off to the main roster. Does this mean that automatically means they will drop the titles? It could but I would not call it a lock at all at this point. I have never been a fan of The Ascension. They have size and an entrance as well as the support of the great NXT fans. Still for me, I see them as a team destined to flop on the main roster. I think they will retain the titles regardless of their status in terms of the main roster.

NXT Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte (c) vs. Bayley

Charlotte Flair was able to capture the NXT Women’s Champion in a match with Natalya that many are calling one of the best women’s matches in years. Bayley up until getting this title opportunity was booked as a far less serious character that seemed to be geared at kids. She was a star struck fan girl but in the last month or so has been down played and she has been more serious in her actions. The reason for the change is to build her as serious contender.  Some think Charlotte is going to be rushed to the main roster based on her fast improvement but also to give her father something to do on the main roster. Who knows if this is true but if it is they have set a precedent that would suggest she should lose if moving up to the main roster. Will see what happens but both women will have a huge mountain to climb to live up to Charlotte’s last match. I think Bayley is going go over here but not sure, if that is a good move to make. 

NXT Championship Match
Adrian Neville (c) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Tyson Kidd

Let’s start by saying this is easily the best match on the show with some of the best talent on the NXT roster currently. I also think you could make a compelling argument for all three challengers to win this match. I also feel that as a fan I am ready to see a change of this title and have methods to protect my baby face current champion. Sami Zayn has been chasing the title for a long time and has been the MVP performer on NXT since he arrived. The four-way gives him a way to win without turning his character. Tyson Kidd is doing a great job with his NXT heel run. He could certainly make a great champion. My choice to win this contest is however, Tyler Breeze who I think is deserving and is the best fit for the role. Breeze likely is not coming to the WWE roster with his current gimmick or at least should not. It is two similar to what The Miz is currently doing. I think he can really learn from a run as a heel champion as well. I still think regardless the title needs to change. We will see if in fact we get a new NXT champion on Thursday. How people view this show will be largely be based on this match. Nothing else on the card has a chance to challenge this match on paper for match of the night.

I think this will be the greatest challenge in terms of one of these shows so far. The first two have created quite a short but great legacy to live up to for NXT roster. This show still can be very entertaining it is just how great the other two shows have been that makes the challenge for this show to live up to it. Triple H is extremely proud of what he has created with the NXT brand and Performance Center and rightfully so.

Our friends at Between the Ropes sat in on Paul Lesveque's conference call to promote tomorrow's event.   

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If you have questions/comments for our NEW Weekly Google+ Show Live Thursday's 7:30 pm EST use hashtag #AskMachoMoon. You can find us now at Condoonthemoon.com. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Paul Heyman Can Even Get The Best Out Of John Cena

Getting to see John Cena share a ring with Paul Heyman last night led to something we have not seen from John Cena in a very long time. It was as Heyman was requesting his old rapper persona and the doctor of thug-o-nomics that some fans still love to this day. For John Cena to do what the world has wanted for years come join the dark side with Paul Heyman. His response was an impassioned, but more important believable and angry John Cena standing up for his ideals. Yes, the material was somewhat the same with references to children, Make-A-Wish and the military but it was done with fire, passion, and most of all believability.

Paul Heyman a few weeks ago on the podcast with Stone Cold Steve Austin at the very end laid out an idea of John Cena being conflicted with sticking to his ideals and tempted to be a Paul Heyman guy or turn his back on the fans. This was clearly along the lines of what Heyman had in mind the question will be is there a follow up to it, or is this just part of a way to get us to buy into a Brock and Cena match after Brock dismantled Cena.

If you go back in history, Paul Heyman has always been a good pairing to get the most out of John Cena in the past. As the G.M of Smackdown, he would battle with a babyface version of the Doctor of Thug-O-Nomics as the authority figure. He also got involved in some of his matches with C.M Punk as John attempted to re-claim the title on several occasions

Heyman has had a 2014 that by anyone’s standards would have to be classed as one of the best years in a career .Admittedly that is a lengthy career; still it is hard to top what is being accomplished right now this year.

Getting John Cena over with the majority of fans who have grown tired of him would just be the latest trick in a year where he has already sold the two biggest matches of the year in the company almost single-handed. His DVD “Ladies and Gentleman My Name is Paul Heyman,” is a smashing success with fans and has been one of the biggest selling DVD’s in a long time for the company.

Is there anything Paul Heyman can’t do? Perhaps turn John Cena heel is the answer, but he sure has proven that over the years he knows how to get the best of out him. Not really, a shocker considering that is basically, what Paul Heyman is best at doing. Evaluating and being able to maximize talent no matter how small or how big.

Paul Heyman can do just about anything he sets his mind too. He may not use hustle, loyalty and respect to do it but he gets the job done.

For my full thoughts on Raw head over to Between the Ropes for my podcast with Steve on what we both thought on the full episode of Raw including this Cena and Heyman segment.

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Condo on the Moon is on Twitter and Facebook and check out our weekly podcasts Every Friday

If you have questions/comments for our NEW Weekly Google+ Show Live Thursday's 7:30 pm EST use hashtag #AskMachoMoon. You can find us now at Condoonthemoon.com.