The God-Awful Spring

Brandon Stroud:

WWE has been in rough shape since WrestleMania. Mania itself was good, but then the Superstar Shake-Up™ happened in the middle of a batch of bi-weekly pay-per-views and everything got turned around ass-backwards.

The bigger problem came at Payback in the form of (1) the House of Horrors match, which is the pro wrestling equivalent of someone sticking a thumb in your ass when you aren’t expecting it, and (2) Chris Jericho, the best guy on Raw for most of the previous year, leaving Raw for Smackdown. On his first night on Smackdown Jericho lost the United States Championship, was stretchered away and left to tour with his band.

With Jericho gone and the Superstars Shooken-Up™, Smackdown went from “the good show” to “additional Raw.” Backlash, Money in the Bank and Battleground were about as bad a 1-2-3 punch of pay-per-views I can remember, at least from a company and roster that could do better. Even the weekly show, save for the Fashion Files segments, have been the hottest turds.

I don’t often agree with Brandon, but I wrote almost exactly this sentiment yesterday.

Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar pre-planning

Samoa Joe via Bill Hanstock by way of Wrestling Inc:

“Not a lot of people get into Brock Lesnar like I did. Brock is every bit as intimidating as you’d imagine he would be times two. No, I mean, he’s a shaved gorilla. It’s just he’s stronger than strong. I don’t even think he even realizes how strong he is. I mean, he [has] got great control, but he is The Beast. He’s a big dude.

“When you’re going in there and you’re going to get into it with Brock. Brock isn’t going to work on a lot of stuff; he’s going to want to go out there and he’s going to want to get down, so like Brock’s not a preplanned dude at all, man, so you’ve just got to go out there and do it. For some people it trips them out, but for me, I’m like, ‘if we’re going to scrap, we’re going to scrap.’”

I’m shocked, shocked that Brock Lesnar doesn’t like to do any work before performing.

The Best And Worst Of WWE Battleground 2017

Brandon Stroud:

I think the entire problem with the last … several pay-per-views is that nobody stops and asks, “is this insulting to our audience’s intelligence?” There’s a lot — a lot — that wrestling fans can put up with. There’s a lot of suspension of disbelief going on. Crazy characters and Irish whip physics and all that. But if a stupid person watching your show can point out 10 logical problems with what’s going on, why isn’t anyone in your company? And if they are, why don’t the people in charge care? And if they do, why isn’t anyone doing a second draft of this shit and at least attempting to make it better? Why are we letting a 70-year old man operating through a basement quality Armstrong shit this onto television at the last minute? It’s not even a matter of preference, or like, “I like this kind of wrestling and not this kind,” it’s just stupid. And not the fun kind.

Hard pass.

Alexa Bliss’ custom-sized Championship

Bill Hanstock:

That height, of course, is one of the main things that draws people to Bliss and makes her compelling to watch. The “five feet of fury” and “Little Miss Bliss” nicknames are fun from a marketing standpoint, but it turns out that her diminutive stature comes with a few logistical drawbacks. Who knew, right?

During an appearance on Great Day Houston, which I understand is the greatest way to start your day if you happen to live in Houston, Bliss talked about how she’s SO short that when she won the Women’s Championship, they actually had to make some modifications to the belt.The transcript, via Wrestling Inc.:

“What’s funny is — this is a little backstage information — the championship had to be shortened for me because it was so big on me, they actually had to take off size to let it fit me. But that’s why I’m ‘Five Feet Of Fury.‘”

So basically what this means is that between Bliss and Naomi, that’s BOTH women’s champions who have their own custom title belts.

I’ve heard of lots of reasons to customize a title, but this is the first I’ve heard it being done for fit and comfort. Good job.

Cesaro, returning

Brandon Stroud:

A lot of pro wrestlers have gotten hurt in the last year — our UPROXX tag page for “injuries” is almost entirely WWE stars — but one of the most painful was the loss of the “Swiss Superman” Cesaro. Back in November, just when it seemed like WWE realized what a goldmine he was, he went down with a shoulder injury. His recovery time was announced as 4-6 months. The good news? That was four months ago.

Considering how many injuries WWE had in 2015, they’ve done an admiring job in filling those spots. But what happens when they all come back? My hope, and I know this is purely hope, is that everyone will get a slightly lighter schedule.

Neville, injured

daviddtss:

The match [with Jericho] ended pretty abruptly afterwards, signaling that this was in fact a legitimate injury. And now we seemingly have confirmation that things are as bad as they look. Meltzer is reporting that Neville suffered a broken shinbone and broken ankle.

It appears like WWE was heading toward a multi-man Intercontinental title match at WrestleMania with Neville as one of the participants. Now instead, he’s going to be added to the long list of wrestlers who can’t compete at ‘Mania. The crazy thing is, I watch Neville and am constantly worried that he’s headed to an injury on RAW but the fact it happened on such a routine move is even more terrible.

Routine moves are often the straw that breaks the camels back. Or shinbone, in this case.

Is now a good time to talk about increasing safety measures for pro wrestlers?

Update: WWE Confirms.

John Cena will miss his first Wrestlemania in 12 years

Danielle Matheson:

This will be the first WrestleMania in 12 years without a John Cena match. Just think about that. That’s an entire preteen’s life. There are kids running around right now who don’t know a WrestleMania without Cena and that’s wild. I mean, think about what you were doing twelve years ago. Actually, you know what, none of us have time to get thrown into that kind of existential crisis, let’s focus on Cena.

It’s an amazing run, unrivaled by Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart. The only person who has performed at Cena’s level for this long is the Undertaker, and the only reason that’s true is because nearly a decade ago, The Undertaker decided to start taking it easier. I hope we’re entering that period for Cena. WWE can’t rely on him forever, and he deserves a lighter schedule.

Zayn vs Owens

Dariel Figueroa:

Think of all the dramatic elements in play here: Two men, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, who have spent almost the entirety of their careers in one another’s company, finally get to finish a feud that has spanned over a decade across numerous promotions, and numerous blow-off bouts. There were the wars in IWS, PWG, ROH, then NXT, and now the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania.

I’d love to see it as much as anybody, but nobody can deny that it would be very unlike WWE to let a feud that began somewhere else finish off on their turf.

But it’s also totally unlike them to let nXt’s cannon carry over, and that’s exactly what’s happened so far between these two. If you only watch Raw, aren’t you a little confused about Sami Zayn? He shows up once to wrestle John Cena, disappears for nearly a year, then comes back at the Royal Rumble to toss Owens, then waits over a month to show up to Raw to brawl with him. WWE’s giving its Raw audience a lot of credit with this story. Maybe they’ll actually give people what they want here.