Bell to Bell
by Referee Jimmy Dylan
4/29 WWE RAW Recap
Getting used to new systems isn’t always easy, but the trial effort went over better than expected, so we’re gonna give it a go. Today we’ll look back at Monday’s Raw, as well as continue the spotlight on the indies feature. Wrestling fans in the Philadelphia surrounding area, including the Tri-State (NJ/DE), and even New York City, will have the opportunity to attend some great events this spring and summer in the Philly area, and I will have exclusive news and updates right here on TotallyDriven!!!
- Very odd opening that definitely caught me off guard, as I’m sure it did many other viewers. Funny to see Teddy Long tagged with responsibility for this. I guess he’s the only person in the current administrative apparatus that could conceive such a match. (managers) For the record, I’d like to see Teddy in a bigger role. I felt the same way during his run as SmackDown GM. Nevertheless, this was an interesting and different concept for a Superstar to win a stipulation in a future match. The match made sense until it all broke down…then it just became fun to watch. Each side trying to out-cheat the other with something eventually having to give…and it did. Ricardo got the final say, awarding Del Rio the right to select the stip for Extreme Rules.
- I know I may catch flack for this, but it’s cool. I try to be as pure with this as possible, so I’m right there with legions of fans and insiders that loathe segments like this. Filler or not. While I support the Make-A-Wish foundation and other charity organizations (minus WWF), I don’t think a spotlight on World Wish Day, or any other non-wrestling spotlight needs to happen on the most important show of the week. Take the Jim Ross or Pat Patterson Appreciation Nights that have happened, and taken place for the arena crowds only. TV viewers were completely left out of wrestling celebrations held to honor some of the most successful personalities to ever grace us with their presence. Yet we have to sit through this segment? Seeing as though there was no dark main event Monday night, this Make-A-Wish stuff could’ve been saved until then to send the crowd home happy.
- Great match between Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes. A lot of family history as well as their own personal legacy in WWE (pun intended). Tons of in-ring chemistry that seemed to come off to the Live crowd as well as it did watching at home. Big moment when Cody countered the RKO into the Cross Rhodes. The crowd’s reaction at that very moment told the story. It took the match up a notch to build to another one of those “out of nowhere” RKOs. Only thing that may have given it away was the set up came off an attempted Disaster Kick from Cody, which he already hit Orton with earlier in the contest. After seeing past encounters between these former stablemates and Monday’s bout, I’d like to see these two feud over a championship at some point.
- Fun match between Brie Bella and Naomi. I’ve been very excited about the Funkadactiles ever since it was revealed that they were more than mere cheerleaders. Loving the idea of a “twins feud” so to speak and think it could make for some compelling in-ring matches. Especially if Cameron & Naomi can try to use twin magic against the masters of the illusion. I understand there are subtle differences between the Funkadactiles, which is why they would have to tweak some things in order to pull it off. My only problem here is a huge one, and it obviously came after the match. A referee’s decision is supposed to always be final in WWE. Yes, there have been times an administrator has overthrown or impacted a decision. However, outside of that, the man in stripes has the final say…even when sometimes confronted by a fellow ref trying to right a wrong. With that being said, I don’t think I can think of a time when a competitor or their corner person “complained” to an official about an outcome…and the zebra just took their word for it and reversed the decision. Do you know how many questionable outcomes could have been easily changed if this kind of politicking (no pun intended) was allowed throughout the annals of time? Unless this leads to some extended angle, like perhaps the brass punishing the ref (whose name I searched unsuccessfully for 15 minutes), then this angle should go down as one of the biggest head scratchers of all time. A ref’s decision is final and should never be influenced-to-change by a competitor…especially not someone close to the match in question! They argued on commentary about the instant replay “rule” in WWE, or lack there of. Cole and King got on JBL that WWE does have replay, which is true, but there is no “rule”, meaning said replays should NEVER impact outcomes of matches. In this case, the replay wasn’t even needed.
- I loved the in-ring promo involving The Shield. It was necessary at this point since most groups gloat about their “established dominance”, and that’s exactly what they have as of press time. 3MB’s interruption made sense given recent events and Team Hell No’s clean up job was perfect. The tag champs clearly want pay back on The Shield after last week, especially for Undertaker…which is why 3MB played the role of “sacrificial lambs”. The plot also thickened for The Shield’s quest for the titles. Wrestling needs to be chaotic and this segment was chock full of chaos.
- In my last column, I spoke about the great matches Dolph Ziggler has had with Y2J. The same goes for Ziggler and Kofi Kingston and they put on another great show this week. It was Champ vs. Champ for the first time in their series. Several nice spots that always get the crowd into it. It’s great to see them both competing at championship levels. Now we need a championship to be on the line. Considering the way Dolph has been booked as a “vulnerable champion”, it was good to see him get another win and build some momentum heading into a PPV title defence where he’s clearly at a disadvantage. Proof of that vulnerability has already surfaced, and it continued on Monday with one of the champ’s challengers gaining the right to choose the stipulation for the Championship match.
- I’ll say this about Kaitlyn’s secret admirer. Judging by that first gift, whoever it is must not really like her that much. That being said, the program between the Divas champ and AJ could definitely be a good one. Their matches last year during AJ’s bipolar turn were very good and given Kaitlyn’s claim that she was “holding back” last year, future bouts where a real fire is burning could help bring this division back.
- I know many out there are thumbing their nose at the Cage Match between Triple H and Brock Lesnar. The bottom line is they planned to have the match anyway, but its been bumped up due to CM Punk’s injury. Does it need to happen? Yes. Rubber matches are as important in wrestling as they are in boxing, MMA, or any other form of competition. Why would any fan worth their salt want to walk away not knowing who the decisive victor was? Split decisions do not garner a true winner. This is why I was skeptical of the Rock/Cena rematch prior to WrestleMania. The fear was that Cena would win since he hadn’t had the title in a while and speculations were right. That win knotted them up at one a piece, and regardless of the title being at stake, it calls for a 3rd and deciding match no matter what way you slice it. Rematches may not always be good, but deciding and finalising major feuds is always essential. As it is between The Game and The Beast Incarnate.
- Zach Ryder really didn’t have to verbally assault Zeb Coulter for us to know he didn’t stand a chance against Jack Swagger.
- Judging by several reactions I’ve observed, many didn’t like the Tug-O-War gauntlet held by Mark Henry. I challenge everyone to look at history. We’ve seen this before with Kurt Angle’s open invitationals or Big Show’s body slam challenges. If done to advance an on-going story or spark a new rivalry, then it’s cool in my book, and the ending bit with Sheamus proves this. It’s not over between these two yet.
- S/o to The Rock. Not only for being #1 at the box office for the second month in a row in two separate movies, but for a speedy recovery from surgery to repair multiple injuries sustained during the WrestleMania main event. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the boys and what they do in the ring. Unlike many readers and even more people that have opinions on wrestling, I understand fully what it takes to compete in this business and what goes on between those ropes. Anything can happen and to continue a match, let alone the main event, under unforeseen circumstances on the biggest stage of all says something about the caliber of the performer. Yes, the same performer that everybody slammed for not being on hand enough, or for having a Hollywood career, or for whatever other reason the HaterAde flowed like water.
- I don’t know what to say about what’s happening with Antonio Cesaro. When he lost the US title two weeks ago, scores of fans were speculating if he was about to be buried, and while its seemed that way with several losses since…including this week…credible sources report there is zero heat on Cesaro internally. These sources chalk Cesaro’s losses since dropping the strap as “uncertainty” amongst Creative that allegedly goes on on a weekly basis. Only time will tell I guess, but since there’s been no “falling off the horse” story being told, I’m more inclined to believe the latter. Good match here, and Del Rio chooses a Triple Threat Ladder Match for Extreme Rules after handing Cesaro his 3rd Raw defeat in a row. BTW, where did that wacky crowd crowd from out of nowhere during this match? Lol
- As I said earlier, I know a lot of people look at things like the Tug-O-War as filler. This Dance-Off between Fandango and Khali? Ummmmm….yea.
- Super charged main event as should have been expected. Not much from Cena, and that should’ve been expected. As I said about Rock, hats off to Cena for working hurt. Great back and forth action. Those who don’t “believe in The Shield” don’t really have to. What they bring can’t be denied and their move set is crazy. I bet a lot of people are going to love playing as them on WWE ’14, or applying their moves to CAWs. Since Kane has been used so questionably at times, even since re-masking, it’s good to see him in his correct elements and acting accordingly…as he’s done more of lately…especially since The Shield targeted The Undertaker. His emotions were out of check last night and he wasn’t focused on winning. That’s good. That’s Kane. The Shield capitalises on Cena’s injury and remains undefeated as a team. It was also good to see Ryback reveal he never left and come out to survey the carnage. It’s an old trick, and some blurring of lines is being done…leaving speculation to be made. And so we move on……..
Spotlight On The Indies
As I said earlier, the Philly area is about to pop once again. Some companies have just started, some are about to debut, and some are returning. R.I.O.T. Pro began last month and will be running a second show (“Wild and Crazy Wrestlers”) in Fairless Hills, PA. next month on the 17th.
Also in the month of May, On Point Wrestling returns to Deptford, NJ. for their second show in what is already promising to be a wild night of great pro wrestling action. The likes of “Bulldozer” Matt Tremont, “Lowlife” Louie Ramos, Pinkie Sanchez, Shane Strickland, and many more will be joining myself and a collection of the region’s top talent to present “Nothing Else Matters” on the 25th. Coming up in the month of June is the debut of Keystone Championship Wrestling, which is an affiliate of the NWA. They are also promising a raucous debut featuring top local talent, including myself, that will join the likes of ECW Original Thomas Rodman and former TNA/ROH/UWF Superstar Homicide performing on the weekend matinee.
I’ll have much more on these events in the weeks to come, including info on Loco Pro Wrestling…which I’ve been a part of as a referee for a few years now, but will now have the opportunity to offer my Creative services. It’s my first crack at this part of the biz, but I think I’m up for the task. I’m extremely humbled by the opportunity, and not only look forward to working with the other members of the team, but hope to do good by the locker room.
Comments are always welcome and you can join me on Facebook (Referee Jimmy Dylan) or follow on Twitter @RefJimmy215. There’s also The Elite Pro Wrestling Forum fan page on Facebook which is on its way back to full capacity. I may be looking for new admins there at some point, so if you’re into that and have good, strong, and intelligent views, drop a line. Thanks for reading! Until next time…..