Mania Weekend: What to Look For

My boy Fred made a suggestion last night that I do a Wrestlemania preview post after I went on a long tirade about why I am a bigger Lucha Underground fan than a WWE fan. He asked me to rank the matches in order of my excitement level, but I’m not event excited about more than half of the card. Instead, I’ve decided to list the top 10 things to look forward to about Wrestlemania weekend. Ready? Here we go.

Number 10: The WWE Hall of Fame Inductions of Sting, Jacqueline, and The Fabulous Freebirds
Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled for all of the individuals getting inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, but these are the three speeches I am most looking forward to. The Fabulous Freebirds are a group we have all been waiting a long time to see inducted (much like Owen Hart or DPP *still waiting*) and I imagine Michael P.S. Hayes will have some very interesting things to say. But mostly I am looking forward to the speeches of Sting and Jacqueline, both of whom are admirable members of the pro-wrestling community. I think it’s a very interesting choice to have the Dudley Boys inducting Jacqueline, though not unfounded. I could skip Ric Flair crying over Sting, though, and just get straight to The Icon.

Number 9: The Interncontinental Championship Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 32 (Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. Sin Cara vs. Stardust vs. Zack Ryder)
Let’s not kid ourselves – this match is going to be a lot of fun. Ladder matches are hard to book, and a seven-man match is complicated enough already. But I have the utmost faith in (most) of these guys that they will rise to the occasion of making the IC title match one to remember – and one hard to follow. Plus, hello, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will be appearing in their first Wrestlemania event! Congrats to them both!

Number 8: Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay at Evolve 59
If you aren’t spending every free moment you have watching videos of 22-year-old Chaos-member Will Ospreay, you’re doing something wrong with your life. Also, if you’re not spending every OTHER free moment of your life watching matches featuring Lucha Underground’s own Prince Puma, Ricochet, you’re definitely doing something very wrong. These two high-flyers were always destined to collide, but when they run into one another in Dallas, you can bet it’ll be a barn-burner. Sounds like a good enough reason to get in on that iPPV action if you ask me.

Number 7: Austin Aries vs. Baron Corbin at NXT Takeover: Dallas
There is a ton of hype around this match and I would just like to thank all of you for finally coming to the Baron Corbin table where you belong. I have always been a huge fan of Corbin, regardless of what type of character he’s portraying. But as a heel, he is magnificent and as his confidence has improved so have his matches. He has truly become a leader in NXT, and I hope they keep him there for a long time. Though he may feel he is destined for greener pastures (and I’m sure he is) he is a true asset to the NXT product, and the perfect first feud opponent for long-time vet Austin Aries. I have no doubt this match will be a sight to see.

Number 6: Bobby Fish vs. Roderick Strong, 2 out of 3 Falls at Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor X Day 2
I can’t imagine I would need to explain to anyone who knows the names Bobby Fish or Roderick Strong why this match is destined to be beautiful and messy simultaneously. Bobby Fish never lets me down, even as my attention has traveled away from reDRagon and back again. Roderick Strong has been involved in some of my most favorite ROH matches of the last few years, so it’s hard to imagine this match, clearly meant to go on for a solid length, will leave me in pieces.

Number 5: Matt Sydal vs. Kyle O’Reilly at ROH’s Supercard of Honor X Day 1; Adam Cole vs. Kyle O’Reilly, No Holds Barred at ROH’s Supercard of Honor X Day 2
Reason 1 to watch these matches: KYLE FUCKING O’REILLY. I adore this dude, please don’t make me explain why, just go google him or something. Reason Number 2: I adore Matt Sydal. If you didn’t watch him and Ricochet become IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, make sure you google that, too. (I’m going to give you a list – are you writing these down? If you just try them, I guarantee they will make you happy. Or at least ONE of them will, for cryin’ out loud.) Reason 3: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Adam Cole in a “let’s let Future Shock just fucking kill one another” match of J’s ultimate fantasy. *drools*

Number 4: Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar, No Holds Barred Street Fight at Wrestlemania 32
WOAH, HANG ON. THIS ISN’T NUMBER ONE?! No. You know why? Because as much as I love Dean Ambrose (and that is a lot. More than any other wrestler on this list actually) I know this match is likely not to give me what I want. It isn’t going to be a violent, bloody, or ridiculous as I want because of the regulations WWE has in place. Sure, it will likely be more vicious than anything else on the card, but it’s not going to be 2002 Lesnar vs. Mox in a Death Match which is the only way it could top this list. Sorry to disappoint.

Number 3: NXT Women’s Championship Match, Bayley vs. Asuka at NXT Takeover: Dallas
This is going to be a clinic. What we’ve all been waiting for is an opponent who can take Bayley to her limit and Asuka is that opponent. If Bayley makes it out of this match with her title, it’ll be amazing. If she makes it out of the match conscious, I’ll be shocked. But either way, Bayley is either going to prove herself to be the true queen, or she’s going to fall to the biggest monster WWE has seen since Brock Lesnar himself – and my money, Bayley, is on Asuka killing you.

Number 2: Sami Zayn vs. the debuting Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas
Shinsuke Nakamura is facing the biggest male babyface NXT has ever had in his WWE-ring debut and we are all crying already. Good luck to Sami Zayn making it to Mania on Sunday. YeaOH!

Number 1: WWE Diva’s Championship Triple Threat, Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks at Wrestlemania 32
Let’s remember for a second that last year all we had on the card was a tag match between Paige and AJ vs The Bella Twins. Let’s remember that the year before AJ defended her Diva’s title in a ridiculous Vicki Guerrero-instituted battle royal in the WORST spot on the card, moments after the Undertaker’s streak was broken. Let’s remember that three years ago THERE WAS NO DIVA’S MATCH ON THE CARD AT ALL. And now, we have finally reached a new pinnacle of the Diva’s Evolution (as I like to call it, as it’s a more reasonable word choice:) three of the four horsewomen are going to face off in what will likely be the best match, wrestling-wise on the card. And regardless of who wins, they will make an entire generation of women proud to be fans. This match will be the new litmus test.
To the little girl who sat next to me at the WWE Live event last weekend: these are your heros, these are the women paving the way. You cheer them, darling. They’ll make you proud!

– The Lady J Says

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Anatomy of a Pop, Pt. 2: Worth the Work

When I did Part 1 of this post, I talked to some people via Twitter about the last time they were genuinely surprised by wrestling. The subsequent blog post was about those moments that we truly “marked out” for, and why they got the reaction they did. I had mentioned wanting to break a pop down, so that’s what we’re going to do today. Let’s take it apart and see what makes it tick.

Now, not all pops are the same. The pro-wrestling wikia has a great breakdown of different types of pops, if you’re interested in learning more. One situation that came up repeatedly on Twitter when discussing surprises was Brock Lesnar defeating The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX. But my question is this: is a surprise really a pop? I don’t think so. I think, if anything, a surprise can MAKE you pop, but the pop in and of itself is a separate thing.

Two days ago, episode 9 of Lucha Underground aired and brought us the show’s second incarnation of Aztec Warfare. For those of you new in town, Aztec Warfare is a 20-luchador match which begins with two individuals in the ring and a new participant entering every 90 seconds. The only way to eliminate someone is by pinfall or submission – there are no count outs and no disqualifications, so the match quickly becomes chaotic. The episode (and thus, the match) takes up the better part of an hour and features many of the fan favorites from the LU promotion. For those of us who have been avid Believers, Aztec Warfare is a great moment in the season for many of the major story arcs to intersect with one another, and creates a new jumping-off point from which to build the next part of the season. If such a phrase were ever to be used, I would say Aztec Warfare 2 was the textbook definition of a “Pop Fest”.

The King Comes to the Temple Over the past eight episodes, we have seen a story unfolding in which Rey Mysterio Jr. has been training Dragon Azteca Jr. for his debut inside the temple. Each week, we learn a little more of their story, until finally in episode 8 we see that Dragon Azteca Jr. has received an invitation to compete in Aztec Warfare 2. But he’s not going alone – Rey Mysterio Jr. has received one as well, and debuts in the Temple at number two. This is a great pop. The audience knew he would be in the match, but we didn’t know when he would be entering. For him to come out at number two, knowing it would be a treacherous battle going the distance, the audience couldn’t help but cheer for the mayhem in store. In other promotions, Rey has been overused in badly-developed scenarios or pushed at inappropriate times. This was a brilliant use of his talents, and I personally haven’t been that happy to see him in over a decade. (Pop: 7/10)

Opportunity is Knocking One of the best matches (see also: potential future post) of Lucha Underground season 2 was a No DQ match between Cage and Taya. The match was originally billed as being Cage vs. Johnny Mundo, but Taya came out and proved she could hang with The Machine. The match was violent, and of course Taya’s cohort Mundo had to get involved and eventually cost her the match. So when the two of them were already in the ring for Aztec Warfare, it seemed like an aligning of planets when Cage was the next entrant. Johnny Mundo tried all he could to get rid of Cage, including putting him through Catrina’s office window. But in the end it was a cinder block to the head that knocked Cage out, and Taya, ever the opportunist took the pin. This was a great moment for the only woman in the match to pin her biggest opponent, and because it meant the deliciously violent feud between Taya, Mundo, and Cage is not yet over. I know Taya is a heel, but when the referee hit the three count on Cage, I popped big time. Girl power! (Pop: 6/10)

Slay the Dragon, Slay the Slayer If you watch the Facelock Feministas podcast that I do with my girl Sarah Slam on Wednesday nights, you know right now two of our most favorite wrestlers in LU (Jack Evans and PJ Black, affectionately called “Jack and Black”) have teamed up against Drago and Aero Star in what will likely be a high-flying, spot-heavy tag feud to end all tag feuds. We saw the first rumblings of this when cocky Evans pinned Drago using the ropes and started referring to himself as the Dragon Slayer. When PJ Black was Evans’ next opponent and caught the dragon’s mist by accident when Drago attempted to interfere, he sided with the rudo. Drago attempted to exact his revenge on Evans in a backstage promo, but Black came to Evans’ aide – before Aero Star appeared to even things out. Once these talented gents were in the ring at Aztec Warfare, all bets were off. Drago and Evans spent a good amount of time trying to kill one another before PJ Black entered, followed soon after by Aero Star. In the end, we saw a beautiful double-pin in the ring to let everyone know these four aren’t done. Most impressive was the stunning Top Rope Destroyer (an elevated version of a Candian Destroyer) that Aero Star used to slay The Dragon Slayer – who fell beside Drago as Aero Star and PJ Black got the pin while I covered my mouth in absolute shock. Absolutely the best spot of the night, hands down. (Pop: 8/10)

Zero Fear of Death There was only one promo in the Aztec Warfare episode, right at the top of the show, between Fenix, Pentagon Jr., and Catrina. This is when we find out that Vampiro’s student was not invited to the Aztec Warfare match, as punishment for putting his hands on Catrina a few weeks earlier. Here is where the concept that “a good pop is a surprise pop” comes into play. Much like the excellent pop at Wrestlemania 31 when we were all so engrossed in the beating Brock Lesnar was delivering to new Suplex City resident Roman Reigns that we forgot about slimy Seth Rollins and his Money in the Bank briefcase, we forgot about Pentagon Jr. and Catrina. The Aztec Warfare match had less than fifteen minutes left when entrant number 20, Mil Muertes and his mystical valet Catrina, entered The Temple. We knew Mil was destined to regain his title, as Catrina had secured the final entry spot for her luchador. Except Mil never really had any chance at all, because crowd-favorite Pentagon Jr. had snuck in and quickly attacked 1,000 Deaths with a chair – at which point I was screaming and chanting along with The Believers – CERO! MIEDO! CERO! MIEDO! After the ex-Lucha Underground champion was sufficiently pummeled, Pentagon Jr. rolled him into the ring where Rey Mysterio Jr. took the pinfall, and there was once again zero fear in The Temple. But not for long… (Pop: 9/10)

This Is My Temple After Mil Muertes had been counted out, Catrina went ballistic. We haven’t seen Catrina lose her cool like this all season. She immediately turned her attention on Pentagon Jr., who quickly departed, and then on his master Vampiro. She banished him from her sight and when he tried to argue, she hit him (HARD.) But while her attention was on the commentator, she neglected to feel a chill fall over The Temple, as the Devil himself had come to reclaim his thrown. For weeks, we’d seen the original proprietor of LU standing outside a make-shift temple, feeding unsuspecting wanna-be believers to his monster brother. Now, after months away, Dario Cueto was finally back home and he had brought Hell with him. The Believers came unglued – and Aztec Warfare spiraled into chaos as Cueto’s brother Matanza made quick work of the remaining nine luchadors and claimed the Lucha Underground Championship. (Pop: 10/10)

A good pop has structure, like a good story. They don’t always follow typical climactic structure; sometimes a monumental pop really is just a big surprise, like Shane McMahon showing up on Monday Night RAW back in February. Sometimes the best pops are ones you could probably have seen coming a mile away. We all knew eventually Dario Cueto would be back, it was just a matter of how and when. That’s where the real magic comes in.

What is a pop? It’s the pay-off you get for allowing yourself to get worked, whether it be just momentarily or for weeks or even months at a time.

Feels good, don’t it?

The Lady J Says

 

 

Anatomy of a Pop Pt. 1: The Best in the World

Okay first things first (insert Nicki Minaj rap here) I crowd-source these blog posts. If you follow me on Twitter, there’s a 75% chance you’ll end up in here, so make sure you follow me to get in on whatever ridiculous conversation I dream up on a Wednesday morning.

This morning’s open Twitter discussion was about surprises – big, shocking, can’t-believe-it moments of recent memory. Not just in WWE, either, I’m talking about moments when the live crowd and those of us watching at home have gone bonkers: the illusive, true pop. I asked everyone to tell me about those moments that blew them away, and then took a step back to look at the whole picture.

 

My girl Willow kicked us off with a really great moment: after Owens showed up on Monday Night RAW with the NXT Championship looking for a PPV match against the US Champion, we all thought we were in for another LOLCENAWINS moment – boy, were we wrong! The pop from all of us when the ref hit three was unreal. We were finally getting what we wanted!

This is likely to go down in history as one of the greatest heel turns of all time. Part of it was EXCELLENT story-telling by WWE by telegraphing that Dean Ambrose was the most unstable (and therefore unpredictable) member of The Shield, so when it turned out that Seth Rollins was the one to destroy the beloved stable, we couldn’t believe our eyes. I wasn’t watching this one live (what a night to pick to go to the movies, huh?) but watching the clip back, the crowd response was unbelievable. For a split second, there is silence. Then they tear the place down.

NXT: REvolution had one hell of a finish. After Sami Zayn defeated Neville for the NXT Championship, his best friend from the indies, Kevin Owens shows up to congratulate him – and powerbomb him to death. The way he knocks the air out of the crowd as well as the new champ hurts to watch, and then is met with a hailstorm of boos. Kevin Owens made an  indelible impact on NXT – and WWE – forever that night.

I wasn’t even watching Monday Night RAW on February 22nd when Shane McMahon made his return to WWE. I was cooking dinner when suddenly my phone blew up with people messaging me to get in front of my TV, ASAP. And when I did, I just began to laugh until tears were streaming down my face. What a joyous feeling to listen to Shane cut the promo the entire IWC has been cutting on Vince for months on live TV.  Re-watching his entrance doesn’t take away anything from the moment – the entire WWE Universe has been waiting for a savior like Shane O’Mac and gave him a hero’s welcome.

Not all pops necessarily involve live crowds. This in particular was nuts on a whole different level. While Chikara doesn’t necessarily have as massive of a following as WWE does, it and Kimber Lee certainly made a tremendous impact on the IWC when she successfully cashed in her Golden Opportunity on Hallowicked at Top Banana back in December. I watched the news roll in on Twitter, slowly at first, before my entire feed was aflame with talk of how she had just changed the game for women in pro-wrestling.

This is superbly “on brand” for The Lady J. The story of Pentagon Jr. sacrificing arms to his master, only to have his master revealed to be current Lucha Underground commentator Vampiro blew my mind. It’s so easy to get completely engrossed in the LU story arcs, and therefore all the more easy to be worked. The Believers inside the Temple were with me, too, as all eyes grew wide at the sight before them.

This was back around the time WWE was giving us a mad rash of PPV matches that had no opponents or surprise entrants right up until the weekend or day-of.  When John Cena’s open challenge was answered by the returning Alberto Del Rio, I couldn’t believe my eyes. When he managed to take Cena out with seemingly no trouble at all, we were all floored.

This was probably the best pop of all. When a music we’d never heard before hit, and Roman Reigns (along with everyone in the Amway Center) looked up at the number 3 entrant to the Royal Rumble match, there was the Phenomenal One – AJ Styles. We all knew it was coming – it had been discussed for weeks prior. But now here he was, and the crowd response (as well as those of us screaming in our living rooms) was earth-shaking.

These beautiful moments inside wrestling are the perfect marriage of a few things. First of all, you need great performers at the top of their game who understanding timing and working the crowd. Second, you need an invested audience – the greater the hive mind the better, too. If you can get an entire room full of people looking in one direction, they won’t believe what hits them from behind. Third, you need the element of surprise, whether it be an unexpected appearance or a shocking shift in the story, you have to really bring things out of left field to drive the masses wild. Finally, the biggest pops come from a catharsis or release – the end of something, the culmination of something, good or bad – to allow the audience a chance to catch their breath, before you begin building to the next great pop.

Sounds easy when you break it down, no? But it’s not that simple. Maybe next time we break down a solid pop and see what makes it combustible.

One final word: I would like to take a moment and point out something that maybe some of you haven’t considered, as it’s just occurred to me. When I was living with my parents and taking care of my Mom, there was a dark cloud living in my brain that I couldn’t shake, and I used pro-wrestling as an escape from the emotional trauma of living with my Mom’s dementia disease. But that doesn’t mean that wrestling is always going to be able to fix me. In fact, over the past couple of months (perhaps due to the lack of sunlight associated with the winter in North America) I have been feeling pretty down, and found myself getting easily pissed off at WWE in particular. But my mood has changed dramatically this month, and I’m not enjoying not just WWE more, but wrestling (and the associated community) in general. Sometimes things are booked badly, sometimes they are written badly, sometimes people are shitty – but sometimes what’s going on with you is sucking all of the color out of the things you usually enjoy. So here’s a reminder: take care of yourself. Let the good stuff come back, because it will. You’re what’s making everything technicolor. I promise.

– The Lady J Says

 

Manic Monday (Night Raw)

A host of things have been whirling around, creating something like a tornado of both pleasant and not in my personal life. I got to spend the weekend finding places for all of the random items strewn around my room, and in the process helped to find homes for all the random thoughts floating around inside my head. One of those thoughts was about this blog, and about wrestling in general. I was thinking about how much I look forward to Lucha Wednesdays (as I’ve taken to calling them) and not just because I get to spend my evening hanging out with the hilarious and lovely Sarah Slam. I actually enjoy the Lucha Underground product. For one hour every week, I’m just a fan, getting sucked into an entertaining program. How Sarah and I discuss the show afterwards on our podcast, The Facelock Feministas, is more analytical, but we work within the limitations of our knowledge. We speak as wrestling fans, not as bookers, and we also speak as women. Our opinions are colored by the experiences we have had in life.

This week, I tried (once again) to go into watching of Monday Night RAW with a new attitude. If you follow me on Twitter (which you should, as I am wont to do silly things like recording videos of myself lip-syncing to oldies music) you know that when I get excited about something, I cannot be stopped. I am likely to tweet curse words (sorry children, please unfollow Auntie J) and things in all-caps. But in those moments, you can be certain I am a happy wrestling fan. Whether or I am angry or thrilled, anything that instills that kind of extreme emotion in me as a fan is good.

The emotion I experienced most watching the opening segment between Shane McMahon and his father was nostalgia. I remember watching the younger McMahon when I was in middle school – doing crazy stunts and fighting with his dear old dad. I am not opposed to the story line currently running between them because I like Shane. I like his promos and he works well with Vince. I don’t imagine his match against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32 will be bad. Whatever the prodigal son and The Deadman cook up will be exciting to watch. As I’ve mentioned before, the real issue for me with this feud is the use of ‘Taker as The Chairman’s minion, fighting someone else’s fight. It makes no sense and has yet to be satisfactorily explained. Also, it has been years since we’ve seen Mr. McMahon and The Phenom interact, making it impossible to infer motives based on characterization. While this is a glaring issue (one that is epidemic throughout the WWE as a whole) it is not enough of a deterrent to keep me from smiling when Shane-O-Mac’s music hits, or when his promo is interrupted by the ominous sound of a gong.

Another thing that broke out a tremendous grin on my face was a ring occupied by former NXT champions Neville, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn. There is no combination of participants in this trio that creates a bad match – ever. Owens and The Man Gravity Forgot put on a clinic last night (complete with a phoenix splash off the second rope executed with ease and a moonsault off the top rope that stopped my heart) and after the Intercontinental Champion picked up the win in typical heel fashion, the UK high-flyer was saved from a nasty beating by none other than Shinsuke Nakamura’s NXT Dallas opponent, Sami Zayn. Seeing the potential of these three being on the main roster could make any dedicated fan proud. We have been waiting for a long time to see the next generation of top-tier talent, and this is it. Three different styles, all of them at the top of their game. My hope is that, as a unit, they can get themselves over in a big way, and then move on to elevating some other NXT talent, or people further down the card on the main roster. A feud between Neville and fellow-high flyer/current US Champion Kalisto could be a stunning program, though potentially dangerous. What I did take away from this match (and the aftermath) was that the “newer” guys are choosing to push the envelope by expanding their move set, and working in different styles. While I had been feeling lately that the WWE was shorter on high-flyers than they had been in the past, I forget that big guys like Kevin Owens, Luke Harper, and Ryback have been experimenting lately with more aerial moves. Assuming they are being trained safely and only attempting moves they have become comfortable with, it will certainly make for an exciting future!

I want to make sure I talk a bit about the women’s matches we seem to be setting up for ‘Mania. We already know for sure that Diva’s Champion Charlotte will be defending her title in a triple threat match again Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks. As a whole, this has been set up well. WWE successfully “broke up” the friendship of Charlotte and Becky (not without its misogynist shortcomings, of course AND I AM LOOKING AT YOU RIC FLAIR) over the past few months, and when Becky lost her title match against Charlotte at Royal Rumble back in January, Sasha injected herself into their story in a natural way. The Boss had her sights set on the title, and knew how to get an opportunity at it. When The Boss and The Irish Lasskicker ended their number one contender’s match last Monday with a double count-out, we all knew they were setting us up for a triple threat that would likely bring Dallas to its knees. Regardless of the outcome, these three women are going to set the bar for Wrestlemania 32. I can’t imagine them being out-done by anything else currently on the card in terms of sheer ability. They are elevating not only the level of match everyone should be having in WWE, they are also raising the profile of women’s wrestling for the masses. I am very proud of them.

On the other hand, there appears to be another women’s feud heading into the Showcase of the Immortals – something is brewing between Brie Bella and Lana. Last night, Lana made her way down to the ring after Brie lost to Summer Rae and hit the Total Divas star with one of her own finishers, a sitout face-buster. But why? Even the commentary team seems mystified, continually reminding the audience we have been given no reason for this feud whatsoever. There is no motivation, and (to my knowledge) Brie and Lana have never crossed paths in character before. Typically, I would take a moment to lament that WWE seems capable of only creating ONE fully-developed story for women, but they don’t seem to actually fully-develop ANY of their stories anymore, so maybe the fact that we got one whole women’s feud is a Mania Miracle.

In terms of wrestling that really had me enthralled, I would have to say I found myself mostly glued to the fight for the Tag Team Championship – that is, right up until the end. I thought the match itself was exciting and fun, and made me cheer Chris Jericho for once (amazing, really.) But it also seemed natural that The New Day, who have been a tag team for well over a year, would triumph over Y2AJ who have only been together for a half of a second. I am not such a fan of Jericho’s turn on AJ Styles after they lost the match, though. I’m tired of Y2J – I have been for a while. And to think that The Phenomenal One seems trapped in some sort of never-ending program with him is infuriating. Unlike Shane McMahon, Jericho does not bring me warm, fuzzy waves of nostalgia. He has shown up too often on WWE programming to ever really make me miss him. On his regular stops back in WWE from playing rockstar with his band, Fozzy, Jericho inevitably overstays his welcome. I cannot wait for him to leave us again, and for Styles to move on to what is my dream feud for him: Styles/Owens.

Someone on Twitter asked me my thoughts on the fact that WWE seems to be keeping Roman Reigns off of TV lately. The truth is, I didn’t notice. Two weeks in a row, the guy who Triple H is wrestling in the Mania main event – the last guy to hold the title – wasn’t on TV. And I forgot. I forgot I was supposed to care, or be worried, or tweet about it. Instead, I was focused on the beautiful promo work happening between Trips and my boy Dean Ambrose. Granted, I feel sure The Lunatic Fringe (who lost at Fastlane) is doomed to lose both this Saturday on the WWE Network’s program Fastlane against The Game for the title and in his No Holds Barred Street Fight against Brock Lesnar in Dallas. But watching him kill himself trying to so much damn fun. Before he gets his ass beat, he is surely going to be a massive thorn in the side of both Triple H and The Beast, and we are sure to see him verbally spar against Paul Heyman (which, lets face it, is a dream The Lady J has had before.) Is Ambrose’s feud with these men doing anything for his Shield brother? No. Is it possible that keeping Reigns off TV and giving the audience a chance to fall in love with Ambrose going to keep them from booing Reigns when he returns? Absolutely not. If anything, the fire against him will be hotter. If WWE has any sense they’ll either turn him heel, or at the very list, let Shane bury him when the brand (hopefully) splits. Roman Reigns is pretty, and arguably better in the ring than my Explicitly Violent favorite, but he’s no John Cena. He’s not even polarizing the way Cena is – the vast majority of the people showing up for RAW hate him. Vince can push back against the WWE Universe all he wants, we’re just too loud.

All told, I enjoyed my three hours of RAW last night. Would I rather it be shorter? Yes. Would I rather never have to look at Chris Jericho (or listen to a promo from Ryback) ever again? Yes. Was it fun? Absolutely.

Is it Lucha Underground level awesome?

Hell no.

– The Lady J Says