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Hell in a Cell

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Joined: 06 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:22 pm    Post subject: Hell in a Cell Reply with quote

I started watching current WWE again a few months ago (just in time for RAW to go into a tailspin, apparently!) I thought I'd share my thoughts on last night's PPV/the product in general before I watch RAW, in an attempt to contribute something before tOA vanishes again.

My favorite part was probably the camerawork, which tried to be a little different from every other show and make HiaC seem a little more epic with low angles and longer shots. The announcers tried to be more serious too, but they seemed to lose the plot when trying to tell the stories of each match. Early on they were explaining callbacks to older matches and calling moves, but later there was a lot of "He has the advantage...the other guy is trying to take it away..."

The bummer part of the show, for me anyways, was I liked last months' Night of Champions a lot more. They both had some bad RAWs leading in to them, and both ended in disappointing screwjobs. But the matches at NoC exceeded my expectations and made me feel like even if I wasn't into the booking I could still enjoy the PPVs for the wrestling. This show didn't quite get there.

1. Ziggler vs. Cesaro - This is a good example. This was my match of the night, but it wasn't as good as Cesaro vs. Sheamus at NoC.

Cesaro is a great resource for PPVs cause he draws matches out of good opponents that are different from their usual routines. He makes strikes, reversals and moments of selling milked for drama mean a little more, and puts an emphasis on the difficulty of something like lifting a guy or escaping a hold. I always like Ziggler's work but I liked seeing him do something a little different for once.

I don't really read anything into Ziggler winning in 2 straight falls, because the booking of wins and losses is always so random, especially for the small group of workhorse mid-carders. Meltzer had a good point, though, that the crowd didn't buy into Ziggler's near falls and finish as much cause they didn't expect him to win in 2 straight. Overall, though, the crowd seemed into the technical stuff (the crowd all night was attentive and supportive of the matches, but not really HOT...almost polite at times, but not a dead crowd, except for the Divas matches).

2. Nikki vs. Brie - Not awful. Lacked convincing drama I guess, especially when Nikki yelled "Why won't you give up?" and "What is it gonna take to beat you?" at Brie in the phoniest way possible. But these 2 wrestling seems much less egregious than all the skits they did on RAW from Summerslam to NoC which seemed like textbook ways to alienate wrestling fans.

3. Goldust/Stardust vs. Usos - Pretty good match. It didn't have an extended hot run to the finish like the other Usos PPV matches I've seen (though the Double Superplex spot got the crowd to peak, so that was cool). I like the Dusts, but it's hard to center the tag division around heels when there are so few babyface contenders.

4. Cena vs. Orton - I got into it by the end, but this was laid out like The Fight To End All Fights, and the action never reached that level. Orton's intensity and offense are way below Lesnar's on the last two PPVs, so as good as Cena is at drawing sympathy the long dramatic pauses for selling and crazy faces didn't feel as earned. Randy's psychology for big matches seems to be to let the match drag in the middle so the end is hotter, but he takes it too far, to where it's like I'm supposed to forget how dull half the match is because the finish is good (though he's much better in that regard working with Cena than Roman Reigns).

I also got a slight feeling like this was booked in the middle of the show so it could seem like it was organically "stealing the show" from the main event (and by slight feeling, I mean Cole was shouting "They just stole the show!")

5. Sheamus vs. Miz - A match built around Sandow mimicking everything Miz did. It's easy to be so impressed with the fact that WWE actually came up with a comedy role for a lower card guy that's clever, and got him over, and how good Sandow is at pulling it off, that I forget it's not that funny. Like, funny enough for RAW, sure. I could've used more of a good match in this spot, for the US title, but this was OK for a palate cleanser. There's only so many times they can draw attention to Mizdow's antics without building to a turn (outside of one spot where Miz accidently hit him) before it becomes like the El Torito/Hornswoggle stuff, tho.

6. Rusev vs. Big Show - I admire the Rusev push, it's one of the few things in WWE really working right now. But I don't enjoy the patriotic/xenophobic stuff, or the cheeky way WWE tries to walk the line between it all being campy and a joke the audience is in on, and it being deadly serious when Rusev is attacking America or kicking a soldier.

Rusev was good working with Jack Swagger, and he might have good matches with Cena, but this was lame.

7. AJ vs. Paige - This was the 4th straight PPV match they've had over the Divas Title (NoC added Nikki for a 3-Way). The last two were better, though this was better than the mess at Battleground. They didn't try as many unique spots as the last two matches, and most of it was Paige's normal offense and using the heel tactics AJ used all last year (getting AJ to chase her out of the ring where Alicia Fox was in play). Paige did her back elbows in the corner twice, to total silence from the crowd.

They did build to one big spot, where Paige climbed on the barricade, got pulled off, hit her head and was knocked out. It didn't come off very well...which has been the problem with Paige in a few of the matches I've seen her in. She tries a lot of cool stuff, but about half of it is messed up or comes off awkward. I don't wanna criticize too hard when she's the only main roster Diva trying cool spots, though.

I read an interview with AJ where she said something about how in PPV matches "women can fall off high things too," so that seems like what they're aiming for with some of these spots, but it didn't work here since the crowd didn't care at all (and I'm not sure it worked great with AJ's dive off the post out of the ring at Summerslam, either).

I realize I'm being one of those people who puts way too much thought into the Womens matches. I think it's one of the 2 or 3 major mental illnesses that are frequently diagnosed in people who watch too much WWE.

8. Ambrose vs. Rollins - The singles pushes for these two have made for the most interesting parts of RAW for a couple months now, though they're still a little hit and miss. Rollins is my favorite main roster wrestler right now, but even when I think his heel promos, his tantrums and his facial expressions are unobtrusively making the angle work, it's hard to tell how much the crowd buys him as a top guy, compared to HHH and Orton. Ambrose has this amazing energy, but depending on the writing and/or the crowd each week, he seems to either run away with the show or look kinda silly trying. I think he's limited by the need to always use weapons and always try to do something crazy and memorable with a prop, but that's how they seem intent on booking him.

I would've rather seen more of a normal match with some cage and foreign object spots, but they went for it full bore, falling off the side of the cell and using the plunder for heavy impact. They did it in a way that seemed planned to minimize the risk, but it still makes for a different kind of heat, a "I hope they don't get seriously injured" rather than caring who wins kind of drama. From the crowd and some online feedback, though, I think it was effective: People who wanted to see these guys have a showstopper were really happy with the match until the finish.

It ended with some special effects (Blacking out the screen, Latin chants over the speakers, smoke, a hologram in the ring) and Bray Wyatt running in to cost Ambrose the match. I think the effects were supposed to make it a memorable ending. Instead it seemed like the exact opposite of what people want from Ambrose vs. Rollins of all matches, which is realistic ass kicking.

If Ambrose's place on the card will ultimately depend on his ability to draw at house shows, they could aid that by protecting him a little more in the short term. Giving him a win before Wyatt returns to punk him out, for example. For the moment, it doesn't seem like that's gonna happen.
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Joined: 01 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Hell in a Cell Reply with quote

DalyCityTrain wrote:
I thought I'd share my thoughts on last night's PPV/the product in general before I watch RAW, in an attempt to contribute something before tOA vanishes again.


Thanks for posting, DCT. I might end up doing the upgrade of the board during Christmas break while at my folks or back east. Will probably have 2+ weeks off, and time. Let's see if we can stay up most of the time between now and then.
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Steve Yohe

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Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow...posting about wrestling at tOA. How special! Very interesting.

They book a 2/3 fall match, & I think that a great idea, and they then beat Cesaro two straight falls!!!!!! Let's just kill the guy. Maybe do a best 3/5 fall match & beat him three straight. Sick booking.

Wins & losses do count.

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Steve Yohe

Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2993
Location: Wonderful Montebello CA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really...thanks for taking the time to write a good review.--Yohe
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Joined: 06 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys. I'm just happy to see the site back up. Having spent like 15 years very gradually getting an understanding of ringwork (among other things) from this place, I'm always thinking when I read old Observers or listen to podcasts talking about wrestling history that I hope the tOA stuff I've read over the years stays available and archived somewhere people can find it. A wrestling education would seem incomplete without it.

Cesaro got buried even worse on RAW: Ambrose attacked him before the match, then Bray Wyatt's video promo played, then when they came back both guys were just gone. No match at all. It may be because he made a comment in an interview about no one wanting to see Cena vs. Orton for the 100,000th time. Comments like that always seem worked to me, partly cause they're so unsubtle and cause I've read about the WWE instructing Daniel Bryan, and possibly Ziggler, to play up how they're getting unfairly buried on Twitter. Like WWE wants to fool the audience that likes to chant for those guys, and create a faux-shoot around HHH and The Authority being real life heels. So I have no idea, Cesaro could get "buried" for awhile as part of this story, which is muddled and probably won't help him at all.

After typing that, I don't blame anybody for not watching the WWE right now.
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