JC's Take: WWE Bragging Rights Review
Hello once again! Welcome back for my review of yesterday's Bragging Rights PPV. Also, at the end of this review, I'll have my thoughts on what seems to be the biggest news coming out of this weeked, the confrontation between the Underaker and Brock Lesnar after Lesnar's UFC fight Saturday.
Match 1: Daniel Bryan (U.S. Champion) defeated Dolph Ziggler (IC Champ) in a Raw vs Smackdown, Champion vs Champion Match: ****
This was a great way to start the PPV. It had everything you wanted: near falls, face paced action, and some great counters. Bryan's kicks at times looked vicious. Even Dolph Ziggler's superkick looked great, and Bryan sold it well. The crowd was clearly behind Bryan here. The match delivered and was easily the best match of the night. Bryan could easily be considered the best "technical" wrestler the WWE has right now. He makes a great US Champion, and one can only hope his next feud is with one C.M. Punk. As for Ziggler, he showed in this match that he has the potential to be considered for the main event level. Smackdown could use another heel to step up, and Ziggler could very well be that guy. A great match to open the show, and I would advise people to take some time and watch it.
Match 2: John Cena & David Otunga defeated "Dashing" Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre to win the WWE Tag Team Titles: *1/2
Next was an unannounced visit from the Tag champs. I wish they would have announced earlier they were making an appearance. Cody Rhodes = RATINGS. Have you seen his grooming tips? Every man should follow them. Anyways, Cody said that since they became champs, they've dominated the tag division, and no one is worthy of facing them. In comes the buzz & flashing lights, which means the RAW GM has something to say. He said there was a team worthy of facing them. Out comes Wade Barrett, who says this will be a great night for the Nexus, and says it starts with winning the tag gold. Out comes David Otunga and his partner, John Cena. This right here starts my questioning of the booking last night. Barrett wants Cena to be focused on helping him win the WWE Title, but then decides last minute he wants him to exert his energy earlier to win the Tag Titles? Doesn't make any sense. Anyways, Cena completely dominated the tag champs making them look terrible. This match also showed that David Otunga is not ready to be wrestling matches on his own. It would have made more sense for it to be Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel in the match.
Match 3: Ted DiBiase Jr. defeated Goldust: **
It's nice to see Goldust finally being used again. This was a fun little match. DiBiase needed the win here, but it was completely erased after the match when Goldust laid him out again, and walked away with the Million Dollar belt. DiBiase won, shouldn't he have gotten the belt back? What also made the whole thing weird was Goldust's NXT rookie Aksana. When Maryse was beating her up, she CONSTANTLY kept pulling down her dress. You better get used to wearing dresses like that honey if you want to be employed. It just looked bad. The match was ok, but just felt like more of a TV angle than anything.
Match 4: Layla (w/Michelle McCool) defeated Natalya to retain the WWE Divas Title: *
The best part of this match was Michelle McCool's one liner before the match, "We're gonna beat Natalya faster than we delete those text messages we get from Brett Favre." ZING! Anyways, the match was nothing to write home about. Layla is improved in the ring, but still has a ways to go. The WWE is obviously high on Laycool, as they have beaten better women wrestlers in the past few months.
Match 5: Kane defeated the Undertaker in a "Buried Alive" Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship: **1/4
This was the third PPV match in a row for these two. It was a brawl, that's the best you can ask from these two together. They aren't going to put on a great wrestling match in the ring. They brawled on the outside, in the crowd, and finally back to the make-shift grave. It looked like Taker had the match won, but unexpectedly Nexus, minus John Cena, came in and started attacking Undertaker. Again, I question the booking. Wade Barrett is an hour away from the biggest match in his career, and he is out here exchanging punches with the Undertaker? Hopefully they explain why Nexus attacked Undertaker tonight. I doubt Kane had anything to do with it. He's not somebody to ask for their help. From a booking perspective, it's just a way to write Taker out of storylines for a few months because he needs shoulder surgery. It also doesn't allow Taker to lose cleanly to Kane. After Undertaker was buried, a bolt of lightning hit the grave, and Taker's deadman symbol was shown on the grave. Could it mean a return of the American Badass Taker? Who knows. The match was a ok brawl, but it'll be nice to see Kane move on to another opponent.
Match 6: Team Smackdown defeated Team RAW in the 7-on-7 Bragging Rights Elimination Match to win the Bragging Rights Trophy: ***
With these type of matches, it's tough to get any kind of good flow going between wrestlers. It was better than last year's match because it was an elimination match rather than just a 7-on-7 first pinfall wins match. I was very surprised by the outcome. When it got down to Edge & Rey Mysterio against The Miz, I actually thought my predicted finish was going to happen. This is the 3rd straight PPV loss for The Miz. Hopefully he doesn't lose all of the heat he has. Nobody really stood out in the match. Big Zeke lasted for the final two in the match, but screwed up his elimination. Mysterio slipped when he came off the rope, and Jackson raised his shoulder, probably assuming they'd redo the spot, but the ref counted the pin. It was surprising to see Smackdown look like the better brand throughout the build-up and end. Now Smackdown will brag for two weeks about how they are the better brand, and then everyone will forget about it and the trophy will disappear.
Match 7: Wade Barrett defeated Randy Orton via Disqualification, meaning Randy Orton retained the WWE Championship: *1/2
Talk about a disappointment. The match on the card everyone was looking forward to the most failed to deliver BIG TIME. Orton and Barrett just couldn't get the match out of first gear. They just didn't seem to click in the ring. Before the match, Barrett told Cena he had to make sure he won the match, or Cena would be fired. That right there made the outcome for a "smart" fan obvious. Cena was going to attack Barrett, leading to a DQ. Barrett never said win the title, he said win the match. It failed to deliver big time and WWE better hope they can salvage Cena/Nexus in the next few weeks. Orton also seems to have lost some momentum as a face. He needs to get some of that back as well. Anytime your main event of a PPV ends in a non-clean finish, it has to be considered a let down.
Overall: I'd give the PPV A 4 ot of 10. Two points for the opener, one for the Bragging Rights match, and one for McCool's Favre one liner. It was a lackluster show, and it will probably show in the PPV buys. As I said in my preview, there's no way the WWE can continue to have 3 PPVs in the span of two months.
Where We Go from Here: Survivor Series is a month away. What's that you say? You're shocked there is actually a month break between PPVs? Me too! If it was up to me, I'd still book three 4-on-4 interbrand elimination matches, plus a Divas one. I know the WWE won't do it, but my card would look something like this:
WWE Title Match: Randy Orton vs Wade Barrett
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Kane vs Edge
Elimination Tag #1: Big Show, Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry vs Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk, Tyler Reks
Elimination Tag #2: Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, Goldust, MVP vs Alberto del Rio, The Miz, Ted DiBiase Jr, Jack Swagger
Elimination Tag #3: The Hart Dynasty, Santino & Vladimir Kozlov vs Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre, The Usos
Elimination Tag #4: Natalya, Melina, Gail Kim, Aksana vs Michelle McCool, Layla, Alicia Fox, Maryse
My thoughts on Lesnar/Taker
Perhaps the piece of news making the biggest waves this week was the confrontation between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar after his UFC fight Saturday night. Here's video of the incident, the confrontation starts at the 45 second mark:
I don't really know what to think. Is it possible Lesnar could return for something at Wrestlemania? Sure. Do I think it will happen? No. Lesnar has too much riding on him in UFC. There's a good chance his reputation could take a hit in the fans of UFC eyes because he's going back to a 'fixed" sport. Lesnar also was very negative about the pro wrestling business on his way out, so he'd basically be contradicting himself just to get a big day. Now having said that, too many things seemed to fit perfectly in that little confrontation. First of all, the Undertaker NEVER breaks character and gives interviews like that. He did when he portrayed his "Biker" Taker character, but never when he was deadman Taker. Second of all, if you watch the video from about the 30 second mark on, Taker is constantly looking away at Lesnar, watching him exit and almost like he is waiting for him. Then, Lesnar just happens to walk right by Taker while he's getting interviewed. Add to the fact that apparently Lesnar and UFC President Dana White have had a "disagreement" over something lately, it just adds feul to the fire. I'd say it's about 70/30 odds right now that it doesn't happen. But rumors will be flying for the next month or so.
That's all for today. I'll be back tomorrow with my NFL Week 7 Review.
Until next time,