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The old man from the Retirement Home is back to bring you some Excellence in Column Writing exclusively here at LordsofPain.net. Just looking around, I’m kind of dissatisfied with the coverage that I see around the internet regarding NXT Takeover Toronto and WWE SummerSlam 2019… As a person on the consumer side of things, just a lack of good reviews out there to really tell the tale of what actually happened at these events. However, I’m here to shoot from the hip and tell you what’s really happening within the WWE Corporation.
BUT FIRST, the WWE needs to thank Conrad Thompson and Eric Bischoff for making me a WWE Network customer again. Congrats to them and their success of their 83 Weeks podcast. That show is AMAZING… I didn’ think that I’d like it at first until I head a YouTube.com clip of Conrad just DEALING IT to Bischoff regarding Starrcade 1997. That got me hooked and now I’m binging all of their shows. Conrad Thompson speaks as the “voice of the fan” and calls out Eric’s BS… Meanwhile, Bischoff punches back while also adding a business perspective which has been very informative to really understand what happened to World Championship Wrestling (WCW). With Conrad and Eric reviewing WCW shows, it made me long for the days of the late 1990s and the Monday Night Wars… With myself running out fo shows to binge on Netflix, I figured why not binge some Late 1990s late WCW? Damn it’s been great!
It’s just like music… Music today SUCKS. When I log into iTunes, I question “who is buying this crap???”. Seriously, press the “Charts” function of your iTunes and look at the top songs download. What the hell, people? Do you not have ears? Music is gets better when you go backwards in time, say before 1980 when in the immortal words of the late comedian Bill Hicks, it’s when music had heart, music had soul, and when music had balls.
I’m still a wrestling fan but today’s wrestling isn’t doing it for me… So, I’ll just go backwards in time and enjoy prior promotions. After all, I keep saying that NOTHING was better than the Monday Night Wars/Attitude Era, right? Well, why not relive those great days?
BUT, that said, it means that I have the WWE Network again and makes me available to watch and review NXT Takeover Toronto and WWE SummerSlam 2019. I watched NXT days later and split SummerSlam between Sunday and Monday. I THOUGHT about watching one or both live and doing my classic “insta-column”, but I just wasn’t feeling it either night. I love my Weekend evenings and wish to continue loving those without 3-5 hour wrestling shows that I might not like.
Here are my thoughts and I’m going to mix my reviews together… I’m not going to give you the typical “here’s the match, here’s my thoughts, and here’s my star ratings” kind of review. Just a straight up wrestling column with my higher level thoughts and opinions.
NXT Takeover Toronto & WWE SummerSlam 2019 THOUGHTS
Overall, both shows had plenty of exciting athletic contests…
Thank you, good night…
OK, there is more to the story with BOTH shows. But I think that in the overall sense, lots of good athletic contests on both shows. Handfuls of 3-4.5 star matches, in my opinion, and it goes to show you that the WWE is stacked with good athletes right now. However, good in-ring work is just partially what makes a top drawing wrestling promotion. If great in-ring work was the top drawing component, then Lance Storm, Ricky Steamboat, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and others would be the biggest draws ever based on pure athletic ability.
However, you need more… When executing moves in the ring, you need PSYCHOLOGY… You need to not just sell moves convincingly, but torture your opponent to make the crowd react as if what they are seeing is real. Secondly, you need to be a great character with loads of personality and charisma. What make wrestling work is when GOOD over-the-top characters do battle with EVIL over-the-top characters over title belts or bragging rights. Your character should be something that you’d never see in person. In my opinion, Velveteen Dream is strong in that aspect and now Bray Wyatt‘s new “Fiend” character entrance in very interesting. You better be a great promo… Stop relying on the WWE scripts OR make the WWE scripts sound better than how they were written. If you can’t talk, you are more reliant on doing excessive work inside the ring to impress fans.
^^^ Right there is the fundamental issue with both NXT and WWE.
Triple H hires mostly Indy workers for NXT and doesn’t alter their in-ring styles. Therefore, you get the usual matches of multiple finisher like moves hit, many near falls, and reliance on hardcore style brawling that you can only survive with just wrestling 4 big events per year. With NXT wrestlers being able to “save their best” for just 4 shows, the Takeover events tend to be very action packed. However, when each of these NXT call-ups are brought to the WWE roster, they are clueless when Vince McMahon tells them to slow down or tone it down.
Meanwhile in the WWE, they’ve been suffering from poor talent decisions by both John Laurinaitis and Triple H along with ineffective training. Doing workouts in a performance center is much different training in a territory and going on the road for events. WWE has forgot what made their stars of the past, as well. In the past, the WWE used their Intercontinental Title (later the US Title as well) as a means to train and groom midcarders on how to perform, cut promos, and how to get over as a personality. Then, when said midcarder was bursting at the seams, they were promoted to the top. Go ask Macho Man, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Rock, Triple H, John Cena, and Batista how the system works. Or hell, just view it on your WWE Network. Each guy got over and drew as a midcard champion and then was promoted to the main event.
Now, the WWE rushes you to the top as if being “brand new” will impress casual wrestling fans into thinking you should main event. Both Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were tag wrestlers before their 2014-2015 pushes and just never got properly over as singles wrestlers. We’re now paying for it, as the WWE put all of their chips on them (and Brock Lesnar) while letting the rest of the roster endure 50/50 booking (win some, lose some). Seth FREAKIN’ Rollins has defeated Brock Lesnar TWICE this year… Do you give a damn?
The Main Event of SummerSlam 2019 was Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins… But I didn’t care. I already saw this same match at Wrestlemania 35. Babyface Rollins didn’t draw after that event and “big Lesnar win”, so why would he draw now? Especially after he’s been a bit aggressive with fans and other wrestlers from other promotions on Social Media. WWE went out of its way to reduce Brock Lesnar’s star last year during the Reigns feud that it no longer feels special if you defeat Lesnar. Plus, you know that Vince McMahon is just one bad day away from being irritated at Creative and putting the World Title on Brock Lesnar again.
Don’t get me started on the “Participation Trophy” WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. He is easily the WEAKEST Champion to ever hold that longtime championship. In his match against Randy Orton, Orton towered over the guy in height and thickness. Kofi was just a tag wrestler earlier this year when the WWE just suddenly rushed him to the WWE Title. I’m personally happy for the guy, as he has been with the WWE for a long time… But quantity of years doesn’t equate to quality of years. He’s been a midcarder at best and been a tag wrestler exclusively with the New Day in recent times. I’m struggling to take his title reign seriously because of his smaller size and midcard status and the WWE agreed with me with the lousy finish at SummerSlam. And the WWE needs to get Orton more motivated for his matches. When he doesn’t win outright, he doesn’t care. Ever.
Let me say this about Bray Wyatt‘s “The Fiend” gimmick… Fantastic entrance. That was some crazy, unique stuff… But, once he got in the ring, it was the same old Windham Rotunda that I remember seeing as Husky Harris or Bray Wyatt besides doing the mandible claw now. And I worry that this guy can’t stay healthy… Funny to see Finn Balor doing the job. Weren’t some of y’all trying to convince me that WWE Officials thought highly of Balor and was going to push him? Ooops.
Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte was good, though Trish had some rust… Obviously, she’s older and doesn’t perform weekly like she used to. Kudos to Charlotte for properly selling everything that Trish had to offer. Just a cool match to see…
Good to see Edge making an appearance…
I like Bill Goldberg‘s limited use in WWE. If I were the WWE, I’d seriously consider headlining a NXT Takeover with Bill Goldberg vs. Matt Riddle. Why not?
Speaking of NXT… Many are praising Adam Cole vs. Joey Gargano, some of which are hitting the 5, 6, and even 7 star ratings. Jesus. Look, I feel the same way about this match as I did the Omega vs. Okada matches… Amazing, lengthy athletic contests… But do you have to hit so many finishers as regular moves? Stiff kicks and punches, too… Use psychology of selling and connecting moves with your audience instead of just knocking out rehearsed moves or spots. Cole and Gargano are amazing athletes, but they are over-compensating in the ring by doing way too much and not taking a second for the fans to comprehend what they are doing. Slow it down… Great match, I will admit.
I LOVE the Street Profits. First time seeing them and I was highly impressed. Of course, the Undisputed Era was selling their moves like champs, don’t forget that. Many are high on Montez Ford as that “next big guy”, but I also want to give praise to his tag partner, Angelo Dawkins. That guy is a beast. Some of his throws were so impressive and many tag matches in this match were sick! Between AEW and NXT, we’ve seen some amazing tag wrestling this year.
Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae was the BEST women’s match of the weekend. And props to the WWE Production Truck for hyping this match up. I was all caught up, storyline wise, simply by watching that pre-match vignette. Just great action with two ladies who sold the heat with each other really well. You actually felt the “sense of urgency” just to win this match and they didn’t need a title to sell their rivalry. Compare that to Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, which had a title on the line… Ditto for Bayley vs. Ember Moon, which was OK but also for a title. Shirai and LeRae didn’t need any titles and look what they did.
Velveteen Dream‘s Canadian entrance… I mean, good lord. This match, I thought, was the first time that he really stood out as the star. Dream has had many great opponents thus far and they’ve helped him put on a great match. This time around, I felt the Dream being in more control and being the true star that he appears meant to be.
Meanwhile on SummerSlam, at least Kevin Owens defeated Shane “Virus with Shoes” McMahon. THANK GOD. So much “sports entertainment” surrounding that win with lots of interference and Owens kicking Shane in the nards to get the win. Still, that delays any potential WWE Title runs for Shane, I think… Owens is a trained full time wrestler and yet a part-time trust fund backyard wrestler pushed him to his limits. Hopefully, this cools down Shane for a while. Terrible referee work in this match, as he was clearly seeing things that would cause a disqualification or no-contest.
AJ Styles vs. Ricochet was good, no complaints. I just wonder what the hell is wrong with Ricochet to even allow Anderson/Gallows to be at ringside. How obtuse can you be?
OVERALL, NXT had amazing action, but too much sugar being fed to the the audience. It works for 4 Takeovers per year, but these wrestlers are toast when they join the WWE roster.
Meanwhile, WWE had great matches but was lacking in star power. Nobody is over. WWE putting their chips on Rollins, Reigns, and Lesnar caused nobody else to get over and now we really don’t care for Rollins, Reigns, or Lesnar. Both Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff actually have good experience with getting midcarders over… USE THEM. Heyman can coach up marginal talents to appear great and Bischoff built the best lightweight wrestling system that the United States has ever seen.
Lots of fundamental things that NXT and WWE need to work on for the safety of their wrestlers, development of skills and abilities, and making stars.
If you’re looking to simply “check your brain at the door” and enjoy some hard-hitting action, this past weekend was as good as it gets.
So just chill… Until the next episode!
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