We’ve had our first PPV since the superstar shake up with RAW exclusive Payback. I wasn’t overly anticipating this PPV all that much. The card isn’t bad, but the booking was a bit all over the place as it feels like the Superstar Shakeup was done too early, like it could have waited till after this PPV in order to settle feuds properly. It also featured our first and probably only house of horrors match which was a cross promotion PPV due to Randy and Bray settling their rivalry. This week’s Shoot Talk is a first in that the majority of the action and thus talking points was from RAW rather than Smackdown. Although there were some memorable moments from the blue brand. We’re also adding 2 new sections to Shoot Talk for a little while to celebrate potential pushes for superstars on RAW & Smackdown Live. The truth is that nothing will probably come from this, but it’s funny and could possibly be highlights of the shows going forwards, scroll down to see what’s new, and of course we’ve got our first proper Book It Vince Season 2 results. But first a blurb from Payback.
WWE Payback: The first PPV since Wrestlemania and after the superstar shakeup featured a few cross promo matches due to finishing feuds from prior to the shakeup. It also exceeded expectations massively and threw some genuine swerve results in. None more than Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens. This match was for the United States Championship, if Y2J won he’d end up on Smackdown Live. Now I had this down as KO to win no doubt, possibly injuring Y2J to write him out as he’s off on tour with Fozzy. I did not expect him to win this. But with the added stipulation that Y2J would go to SD if he did win, I now realize that I should have seen that coming a mile away. What with KO being on SD, it’d make sense for Y2J to be on the show with his bitter rival, in a rematch where KO could write Y2J off TV and reclaim the belt. It makes sense and that’s exactly what happened, boy do I feel like a stupid idiot.
Cesaro & Sheamus Heel Turn: Yes! Yes! Yes! What was an absolutely brutal and hard hitting match from The Hardy Boyz and Sheamus resulted in a highly exciting heel turn from the warrior and the superman. After the match when handshakes and hugs were shared, Cesaro and Sheamus would return and beat down on the celebrating Hardy Boyz. I’m fine with this, If it gives Cesaro some more show time and momentum let’s do this.
House of Horrors: A unique new match type introduced by the eater of worlds, Bray Wyatt. It was a bit of a shambles. What was the point of this house? Does Bray Wyatt actually live there alone? Did he just go buy this house and ask the real estate agent what light colour is more intimidating blue or purple? Did he put those dolls up in the ceiling just for this match or does he always have dolls on the ceiling? The kitchen scene was rather amusing as it looked like Bray might have been cooking up a meal for Randy, before he arrived early ruining the surprise, with frying pans and pots left out on worktops. When Bray left the house to make it back to the arena it was dark, yet the residents of San Jose were tweeting it was still sunny and day light at the arena, so that house must have been a long way away. Not a highlight for me this one.
RAW’s women given plenty of time to shine: On the latest episode of RAW, Alexa Bliss was celebrating a coronation as the new RAW Women’s champion. The actual coronation so to speak lasted as good 10 minutes with Alexa Bliss the unquestionable star of the show giving each women a little bit of a pep talk and insult. All apart from Nia which again was performed incredibly by Alexa. The moment that she ripped into Bayley and Bayley finally retaliated flipping the podium that Alexa was stood on sparking a mass brawl sealed off one of the more impressive women segments on WWE TV in some time. Then following this immediately we were treated to an 8 woman tag match which again was incredibly impressive. The match got incredibly frantic and out of control towards the end, but definitely not in a bad way as all of the women had a moment to showcase them. Overall 3 hours of RAW was taken up by 20 minutes of solid women’s story build which is a vast improvement on time dedicated to them from previous shows.
Seth & Finn’s compelling arguments: Brock Lesnar, remember him? Well he’s the WWE Universal Champion, which is the showcase title of RAW. Still not familiar? Well Seth & Finn remember the belt at least. Seth Rollins took to the ring and talked up his latest WWE run reminding us of him defeating the King of Kings at Wrestlemania, and also defeating Samoa Joe at Payback. What’s next on his agenda? He’s targeting Brock Lesnar and the Universal title. This got a huge pop from the crowd as I’m sure they want anyone but Roman to go for that title. No sooner had Seth stated his ambitions when Finn Balor’s music hit and he would go on to remind Seth that he technically never lost the Championship, but had to relinquish it due to injury. Both compelling arguments, then the scene changed with Dean Ambrose out with his IC title. He went on to pretty much mock WWE, RAW & Brock in a not so obvious way. Questioned when was the last time anyone saw Brock, questioned the frequency that Brock would be defending the title and suggested RAW deserves a fighting title and a fighting champion and the IC title and he are those things. Miz next to stake his claim for the IC title and you’ve all of a sudden got a tasty looking quartet for that IC title.
Cruiserweights shine on RAW: It’s a repeated statement, but the Crusierweights are still struggling to gain traction on both RAW and on 205 Live, but the match that the 6 men put on during RAW was one heck of a showcase about just what these guys can do. The team of Gallagher, Tozawa and Swann had me marking out slightly in honesty. Their team work and chemistry was fantastic. And seeing The crowd respond to Tozawa’s war cries, he’s getting there. Also cool to see Swann do this. Then the end seeing Tozawa mimic Swann’s dancing, trying to persuade the gentleman Jack Gallagher to join them, but to no apparent success was entertaining. The next match from the cruiser division featured TJP and Austin Aries, and again the build and change of TJP is great. It’s clear WWE are going with AA, TJP and Neville as the key trio of the CWC for now, and having TJP sort of aligning with Neville for a no doubt back stab is going great for him.
Fashion Files: See, I told you I didn’t have much to bring to the table from Smackdown. And the fact that the most awesome part of SD came in the way of a video promo rather than anything live on the show? If you’ve not seen Fandango & Tyler Breeze’s fashion files show, go check it out. It’s hilarious. There are a lot of jokes crammed into such a small vignette. Highlights being referring to Chicago as the “Windy Apple”. Really enjoyed their crimes that the “Uggo’s” are committing and love the amount of detail taken on their suspect board with other tag teams that are due fashion tickets. Even including Vince McMahon and questioning the whereabouts of John Cena.
The Club need a monster destruction run: I like Enzo & Cass, I really do and I would be happy to see them with a tag team title run either on RAW or Smackdown. Their promo’s are funny and they can make entertaining feuds with anyone. That said I also really like The Club. What I didn’t like on RAW is how difficult it appeared for Gallows to get the victory over Enzo. Enzo is not seen as the muscle or even as that gifted of a wrestler on the roster. Through no fault of his own I must add, but his booking always seems to be that of the punchbag before making the hot tag to Cass. The Club are or at least were known for their dominating and destructive tag team performances, even if they aren’t that at the moment, Michael Cole ensures to remind us this every week, reminding us of their domination in Japan and such. The match on RAW of Gallows vs Enzo in my eyes should never have even been a contest if they were really serious about The Club. Gallows should have his way from start to finish with Enzo being a training match effectively. That’s no disrespect to Enzo. This match was booked as one of Enzo’s strongest looking matches yet, despite the loss. And that’s fine, have him look strong in singles competition, but do that against other individuals on the roster. Having Gallows have to work to win this match was the incorrect choice. If Enzo had taken part in more singles competition before this match, then okay I can see why they’d make the case to give Enzo half a chance, but he hadn’t. Throwing Enzo in a one on one match with Gallows and having it a difficult win for Gallows does nothing but lower the Clubs reputation and credibility as a tough team. As said frequently in this blurb, this is not to hate on Enzo, put him in singles matches against other people and shine and win or lose, but The Club in singles competition should be pulverizing the likes of Enzo.
Queen Alexa Bliss – RAW – 01/05/2017: Alexa Bliss is no doubt the queen of the women’s division with regards to promo’s and mic work. She gave her best example of this during the opening of RAW. A highlight was when singling out the other women with bits of sarcastic appreciation. Comparing Mickie James to her “Contemporaries, The Fabulous Moola and Mae Young” Got a chuckle from me. And when she accidentally backed into Nia Jax and rather than say anything about her just said “Nah, You’re good!”.
Finn to Seth – RAW – 01/05/2017: When Finn comes down to throw his hat into the ring for a Universal title shot. “Seth I respect you, You’re the one legged man that won at Wrestlemania and sleighed the King, But I’m the one armed man that became the first Universal Champion by beating you!”.
Dean Ambrose gives Finn diet tips – RAW – 01/05/2017: Dean went around backstage interviewing each of the triple threat participants. When he approached a topless Finn he suggested that “For the love of God man, eat a carb!” offering him a doughnut. And Elias Sampson AKA The Drifter walks by playing guitar, Dean then continues eating a doughnut rocking out and complimenting the Drifter’s music.
Chris Jericho’s forgetting names – Smackdown Live – 02/05/2017: Y2J made his first (and last for a while) appearance on SD Live and had the privilege of being interviewed by Renee Young. Except, he thought he was talking to “Ronnie!”. Aiden English later walked by crying and Y2J gave him a motivational pep talk, but then would remind Aiden what happens to people that cry. “Do you know what happens when you cry on Chris Jericho’s new show? Hmm, you know what happens Aiden English? YOU JUST MADE THE LIST. He then ends by adding Ronnie to the list too.
Finn Balor vs Seth Rollins vs The Miz: This main event was epic, it was PPV main event worthy. And I’m not salty with how it ended either. It sets up future feuds, some of which we thought were done, and an interesting Finn and Bray setup.
Y2J vs KO: This did a sensational job of repackaging Kevin Owens back to his traditional prize fighter image that he had on NXT. His Universal title reign was great, but it was a little to comedic heel and not brutal heel. This match did wonders to ensure that other than Jinder, KO is the top heel of Smackdown Live. And they wrote Jericho off the show perfectly for his Fozzy tour. I’m certainly going to miss Chris Jericho calling everyone stupid idiots and adding people to the list.
Heavy Machinery: This tag team are just that, Heavy. They had a very entertaining squash match with development talent. They threw this tag team around the ring at such heights and with ease. A pleasing to the eye display of pure brute strength. And they seem pretty funny on the mic too. Interested to see how they progress.
Fashion Police have ticketed 1 team and pursing next suspects:
25th Apr 2017 – Ascension ticketed
2nd May 2017 – “Uggo’s” (Uso’s) current suspects
Titus Brand is currently 2-0:
24th Apr 2017 – Def Curt Hawkins
1st May 2017 – Def Heath Slater
Alexa Bliss: As I mentioned in the highlight reel above, Alexa Bliss is undoubtedly the best thing in the women’s division right now. Charlotte athletically has the edge, but in terms of entertainment, promos and wrestling Alexa has it all at the moment. She was head and shoulders above the other women in the ring on Monday in terms of mic work. In the feud with Bayley leading up to Payback the gulf in class of promo work was evident for all to see. She’ll certainly out wit Sasha too if they should ever feud. There’s just something about her that she stands out over the others. The others seem to struggle acting I guess? They don’t feel fluid and relaxed on the microphone in front of people, it sounds on occasions that they are struggling to remember what they are meant to say and blurt it out as robots rather than with feeling or emotion. Alexa seems to have every emotion pinpointed on how to deliver it. Sarcastic quips, cowardly remarks, aggressive rants. Her facial expressions also definitely help. Charlotte is not far off, she’s improving lots promo wise, and once she gets better she will regain the throne as queen, but as of now Alexa is the women’s divisions shining beacon.
Secondary belts treated better: John Cena did a great job building the reputation of the US title only for Alberto Del Rio to undo it all. The Miz did a great job getting the IC title as a big event match for the title. Dean’s not quite let it slip, but he’s also no Miz. It would appear now though that bookings of these titles is being treated much much better. The US title to be defended by KO against AJ Styles is huge. And the caliber of wrestlers that participated in the number one contenders match are all very highly rated. Same for the IC title. Dean even suggested on RAW that with Brock as the Universal Champion, we won’t know when that belt will even been seen again, so the IC title is the main belt of RAW. The main event put on to earn a shot at this belt was fantastic and despite the repeat booking of Miz and Ambrose again, If Miz walks away winning this belt then the IC title and regardless of who wins between KO or AJ for the US title, both will be in good hands to elevate the significance of those belts on their respective brands.
Titus Brand: Seriously, Yes I am going to briefly discuss an idea that could be kind of decent. Titus O’Neil for a while should just become a manager and legitimately start a Titus Brand faction on WWE. Think of Golden Boy promotions in boxing, the boxers fight representing Golden Boy Promotions. Golden Boy scouts talent and potential and signs them to their brand. Titus should definitely have this gimmick, and the people he signs should be the lesser used undercard that are talented but not quite making the final step to super stardom, much like Apollo Crews. I can imagine Titus just doing the talking for Apollo back stage, I can imagine Titus being sat on commentary on matches between the likes of Kalisto or during the cruiserweight matches scouting talent. The ultimate idea I had would be Titus sat watching 205 Live on Tuesday front row with Apollo and they’re watching Akira Tozawa. The end of the match just have a shot of Tozawa celebrating and pointing out Apollo giving him a chest bump action. Then have Titus whispering something in Apollo’ ear all the while standing up smiling giving a thunderous round of applause excited by Tozawa’s win. You’ve then go the potential to pair Apollo and Tozawa back up again as a tag match (if they’d let cruisers interact a little with main roster) which they were in DragonGate. Even silly little things like “Next week on RAW, Apollo will be taking on Enzo 1 on 1”. Then on this weeks show when that announcement is made you could have Titus and Apollo sat in the locker room, watching Enzo and Cass v whoever that week with Titus pointing at the TV, writing notes down, prepping him for the match signalling weaknesses and such.
And we’re off with season 2 of Book it Vince with our first PPV results. Here’s who we predicted and how we got on:
So I had a terrible round. Neville retained the Cruiserweight title, thanks to DQ which resulted in Aries winning. Randy Orton I thought was a shoe in to look strong for his defense of the WWE title against Jinder, and I’d figure that the make Roman look strong campaign was still on, especially considering his “injures” before match. Apparently I need to watch RAW more closely.
Here’s how we’re looking so far. (including the superstar shake up bonus points):
So the reigning champion is already getting a nice lead. Dammit!