TDL XXV: YOU COME AT THE KING, YOU BEST NOT MISS - THE RESULTS - Wrestling Forum : WWE, TNA, Debate League, Wrestling Videos, Women of Wrestling Forums
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Oxi vs dylster88
Bray Wyatt interfering for the finish to Rollins vs Ambrose at Hell In A Cell 2014. Better than a clean win for either Rollins or Ambrose?

Spoiler for Debates:

Interferences being utilised to put a stop to the 'official' end of a feud is a standard in wrestling, and has been for decades. Often, these interferences are used to temporarily stall an existing feud so that it can restart weeks or months later, at a better and/or more appropriate date. A good business decision when used correctly, but Bray Wyatt's involvement in what could have been the most fitting culmination of Ambrose v Rollins was ultimately an overall bad decision, and much worse than either man getting a clean pinfall in the match.

Situations like this never have perfect options. But the way WWE went about halting this feud is one of the worst possibilities they could think of.


No, not Bray Wyatt's weekly promo, but the amount of interferences in Rollins' matches, or the screw-abouts involved with them. Especially with Ambrose.

Interferences closing matches regularly was the norm in the Attitude Era, with Stone Cold, or the somewhat less prevalent Rock, getting either screwed out of their matches, or still overcoming an interfering opponent almost every week on Raw and PPV. It was played out then, and fans today still have minor quibbles about the overuse of interferences in what is considered by many to be WWE's heyday.

Over the last decade-and-a-bit since the Attitude Era officially ended, WWE has strayed from adult oriented and/or shock value entertainment, as well as formulaic and constantly repetitive booking, like interferences closing match after match with the most beloved face character. And for good reason. As WWE has strayed from this, the number of fans that watch for enjoyable professional wrestling matches (and not just an overload of storylines) has increased substantially. The obvious case in point for this is the "Summer of Punk", and even moreso The Yes Movement".

Cheating fans out of something they want to see is a decent move if done correctly, for sure, as it keeps fans on the edge of their seats and wanting more. But doing it too much, like in this case, is not just teasing and infuriating the fans, but also making it more and more expected that something will happen to basically ruin the match.

Since the fabled night after Payback 2014 where Rollins turned on the Shield, Rollins has met Ambrose in all five of the PPVs since.
MITB, interference allowed Rollins to win, screwing Ambrose over directly with Kane's chokeslam.
Battleground, Rollins defeated Ambrose by "forfeit" as Ambrose was barred from the building after attacking Rollins backstage.
SummerSlam, Rollins once more one-upped Ambrose after interference by Kane, and other lumberjacks in the match.
Night of Champions, though originally scheduled Rollins vs. Reigns, saw Rollins technically be victorious as Reigns was injured and forced to forfeit.
Then of course, Hell in a Cell, where Bray Wyatt interfered and cost Ambrose the match yet again.

Five PPVs in a row, Rollins has defeated his opponents by sneaky means, and though this is a good way for a heel to gain heat, it's also a good way for fans to, as I mentioned before, expect little imagination from the product.


Why, exactly, did Bray assault Ambrose in the main event of Hell in a Cell 2014?

Reasons were blurry for the night. No one could put their finger on a reason why it happened.

And that is problematic.

When a wrestler interferes in another wrestlers feud, the reasoning should be at least partially obvious from the get-go. We should be able to imagine a reason, based on past events. The reasoning should not be made up on the spot as the weeks go by. It's confusing for just about everyone that's watching, and confusing the fans isn't something that will keep them watching.

To make matters worse, the reasoning behind the interference is amazingly pointless. Wyatt interfered because he wants to "fix" Ambrose' "craziness". It's baffling that writers come up with this.


Hell in a Cell. Arguably the most devastating stipulation match the WWE utilises. The perfect resting place for a high profile feud filled with vengeance and anger... and WWE use it as a stepping stone?

Don't get me wrong. I completely understand that WWE likely want this feud to be one of the attractions at WrestleMania 31, and rightfully so, as both Rollins and Ambrose are fantastic talents and their feud is well storied, but there is an astounding four PPV events between Hell in a Cell and WrestleMania, spanning over a little over five months.

WrestleMania is over half a year away. Ambrose vs. Rollins could have ended happily (or unhappily) at Hell in a Cell and just be revived during the Road to WrestleMania, giving their Hell in a Cell match a much more fitting culmination.


At Hell in the Cell 2014, after a background of three years, Ambrose and Rollins fought to determine the winner of supremacy. Towards the end of the match, as Ambrose was aiming for victory, Wyatt interfered, costing Ambrose the match. After the match, both men would transition feuds, with Rollins going after Randy Orton, and Ambrose going after Bray Wyatt.
At first, the lack of clean finish between Rollins and Ambrose may sound disappointing. After all, with a background that stretches for years, the two should have a finish that is both clean-and-satisfying towards the viewer, regardless of who wins. However, by booking Ambrose and Rollins, two of the hottest stars in the company today, in a match with only one clear winner, WWE was in a bind. Without the hype of Daniel Bryan or Roman Reigns to fall back on, the WWE had few stars with the momentum of both Rollins and Ambrose. Thus, it was essential that not only did both stars fight in a memorable and competitive match, but, both superstars at-least retain their momentum in the aftermath of the Hell in a Cell match. Thus, by looking at potential outcomes, along with the actual outcome, as well as a precedent that allowed the WWE to book the finish that they did a few weeks back, one could understand why indeed the finish was dirty.
First, by having Ambrose pin Rollins cleanly, the WWE would have risked derailing the momentum of Seth Rollins. It is inevitable that by the next Money in the Bank, Rollins will attempt to cash in his briefcase. The WWE needs to book Rollins as a potential successor as WWE Champion, since the injuries of Reigns and Bryan have left few contenders to the throne. Had Rollins lost, while Ambrose’s momentum may have increased, the holder of the MITB would have lost his momentum, making his holding of the Money in the Bank briefcase fruitless. It would have been equivalent to Brock Lesnar losing to Eddie Guerrero in the leadup to Goldberg. While the finish would have been satisfactory, it would have made the champion loos weak.
Had Rollins pinned Ambrose cleanly, while Rollins would have come out of the match with stronger momentum, not only would this stronger momentum be pointless, but the momentum of Ambrose would have been derailed. Consider that during this feud, Rollins had curbstomped Ambrose through a cinder block. Thus, the fan was looking for Ambrose to kick Rollins and his ass. Had Rollins pinned Ambrose clean-as-a-sheet, while Rollins may have obtained a level of heat not seen since Edge in 2005-2006, Ambrose on the other hand would have seen his momentum plummet to levels not seen since Matt Hardy in late-2005. In short, had Rollins beat Ambrose, the feud would have been equivalent to Edge vs. Matt Hardy, in that the face is killed, and the heel becomes the superstar.
Thus, a finish was needed to where both men retained or gained momentum; and this being a temporary conclusion to a branching feud, a transitional mark was needed through Bray Wyatt. The actions from Bray in transitioning in feuds have been set through a precedent. At Badd Blood 1997, the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels fought in the first Hell in a Cell match. Towards the end of this five star match, Kane – making his debut – interfered. By tombstoning the Undertaker, Kane had given Shawn Michaels the victory against the Undertaker.
Despite this unclean finish, two important events occurred in the match. First, the was a feud ender between the Undertaker and Michaels that was satisfactory and momentum-gaining for both superstars; and although they would face off once more at the Royal Rumble in 1998, these two would not collide until the late-2000’s. Second, the match created two bridging feuds, one involving between a monstrous villain (Kane), and a heroic underdog (Undertaker).
Even more important was that by instituting the finish of Kane interfering, both the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels came out of the match at a higher level of momentum. By clearly winning the match before being beaten due to interference, the Undertaker would not be seen as weak, since it took a destructive force to beat the Undertaker. Second, by beating the Undertaker, Shawn Michaels had earned his number one contendership spot, setting up his Montreal Screwjob match with Bret Hart in the next PPV.
In short, a dirty finish was needed between Ambrose and Rollins. Because of said finish, a satisfactory conclusion to the first part of the feud led to both stars retaining their momentum, while also bridging out both superstars into different feuds. As much as some would complain about the lack of a clean finish, even the best finishes in WWE history did not need a clean finish.

Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Oxi - Your first half of your intro set up pros for the interference finish a little too nicely so be careful talking up the opposing stance in your own debate. If you are then you need to shut the same thing you talked up down really effectively. I thought the Attitude Era comparison could have been better because you didn't really link the interference finishes to a real negative. They clearly didn't hurt business. If you argue against something make sure you have the evidence to show the negative harm they do in this case. When I saw the list of PPV names at first glance I thought you were arguing how frequently WWE do interference finishes in big PPV matches which would have been a great argument that by doing it so often it loses its effect and just becomes a groan inducer. What you did was somewhat good although I thought the supposed excessive frequency was lacking due to the 2 forfeit wins which are different enough finishes imo and were great for Rollins to gloat about and act like he had achieved something from winning via forfeit. I bet if you looked at every WWE PPV in the last year you can probably find a run in finish in most big matches. You say "expect little imagination from the product." but I thought the same trend was really only existent in 3 of your 5 PPVs cited. The lack of logic behind the run in was a good argument although I felt you needed to argue why this was worse than a clean finish for either rather than just citing the negatives of that finish. You have 2 options, argue them against one another. For example, both options have their pros and cons but the pros for A are stronger than the pros for B. The point that it weakens the HIAC gimmick is good but could have been made better by focusing on it more and showing why it's a negative. For example, having a PPV centred around the gimmick requires protecting the gimmick itself so it can be a draw and to be a draw you need to convince fans the gimmick makes the match matter more so than usual. Because of your lack of counters against the opposing stance I felt you left yourself open and ultimately dylster88 exploited this with stronger arguments directly against yours.

dylster88 - First off preview your message before you submit your debate to make sure the formatting copies right. This was pretty tough to read because of the wall of text which made it hard to follow points and go back to previous points in your debate. Content wise this is strong and you make sound arguments. Your intro is too long imo and you take too long to get to your stance. I felt you needed to explicitly state your stance with more clarity too. Don't leave yourself in a position where the reader is assuming your stance. Make it painfully clear to them and ideally as early on as possible (1st paragraph basically). Arguments against a clean win for either focusing on the negative effect for the loser were good, a lot more so with an Ambrose loss. The Edge/Hardy comparison was good. Maybe add in a point of why WWE need to keep both strong right now. 97 HIAC example I thought was strong too in communicating your argument. Probably should have added that giving Ambrose the big rub over Rollins at Mania is better than at a B PPV like HIAC but what you had was convincing and backed up with good past examples to illustrate your argument. Ultimately this countered Oxi's debate much better than Oxi did vice versa.

Winner - dylster88

So let me start off by saying that as a wrestling noob relatively speaking (I only started watching around 2007 and never really took the time to look up any of the old stuff) judging wrestling debates isn’t second nature to me. It’s going to be interesting to see who manages to convince me here, as I don’t feel very strongly either way tbh.


Good intro. No qualms here, although I’m not a huge fan of the last sentences from a choice of words perspective. I don’t know. Nitpicking here, it might be the tenses, I really don’t know, just not a huge fan. You make a good opening statement though, I now know what your stance is, on to you convincing me it’s the right one.


Yes on the first section. Rollins and Ambrose had screw-abouts galore. The second paragraph.. hmmm. Not sure saying it’s just like the AE is convincing me it’s a bad thing, even if you present it as a negative. I guess you come back from that in the third paragraph as you further explain your position.
The problem is, I don’t seem to follow. The Yes Movement above all else I remember as being somewhat formulaic in nature, with Bryan often getting screwed at the end, but that was great. Maybe I remember wrong, I don’t know. NO WAIT, your point is that Bryan ended up going over at the end so so should Ambrose? Right, okay, I’m back on track. Lost me for a second there.
Ah, and the next parargraph there brings your point home. There we go. Noooo, wait, back to your previous point that it’s too often. Getting dizzy here.

The PPV listing. Well you start off by pointing out that Rollins has met Ambrose in all 5 PPV since his heelturn. But then you don’t even mention Ambrose anymore by the time you reach NoC, you get back to Ambrose for HiaC but then in the concluding paragraph he’s missing again. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the grand gist of things and the point you’re making, but you fail to really draw me in with the back and forth.

Bray Wyatt

The point is clear, it’s just not TERRIBLY convincing. Maybe a terrible example on my part because I honestly don’t know for sure, but did we know Kane’s reason for attacking Undertaker at HiaC way back when? Out of the blue doesn’t necessarily equal bad to me. As for the judgement of the reasoning behind it, I understand it’s a valid point but it also makes me wonder, if the build of the Wyatt feud afterwards had been better, would the HiaC booking somehow be less bad? Was it just poor execution? You’re making me think here, you don’t want that.

Making matters even worse less logical. Not a big fan of the crossed out word thing in this kind of debate to be honest. Although that’s just personal opinion.
It would have been a fitting ending place. Yes, agreed. But then the WM point? I’m not sure I want them both feuding that soon again, I mean they both have long careers ahead of them hopefully, you don’t want them to end up like Cena and Orton, do you? So you make a reasonable point afterwards, but as I don’t fully agree with the premisse that doesn’t score you a lot of points with me.

Seeing as how this is your final paragraph you’re kind of leaving me on a downer here. That last sentence being structurally unsound (read it again, you’ll see what I mean) doesn’t really help you out either. All in all a decent enough debate but a bit all over the place. Like you just wrote it under time restraints and had to hand over a finished product.

Let’s take a look at dylster88 now!


Work on presentation, Oxi has you clearly beat on that front. Thankfully for you, that’s only something that comes into contention either if you really fuck it up, or if it’s a tie on subject matter alone. I do admit to prefering my debates in a more intro-main-conclusion type format visually speaking. Do with that what you will, though. I understand that sometimes you just don’t have the wordcount for it.

You start off with a “previously, on…” which I like. Reminds me of what we’re debating here. You then transition into presenting your stance, and immediately go forth to identify how your debate is going to be structured. Again, I like that as I now know what to expect. Your grammar leaves a bit to be desired here and there and there’s some repetition going on, but on a quick and less critical readthrough you leave me with a clear idea of where you’re going with this.

I also find myself following your train of thought. Yes they both needed to keep momentum. But was this the way to go about it? I guess your next few paragraphes are going to have to answer that.

First option, Ambrose beats Rollins. What we all (a lot of us) probably were rooting for. Why not, please tell me.
Okay, so to keep Rollins strong. You underscore your point by focusing on his role as MitB briefcase holder, which is a solid point. I don’t think you mean fruitless, and you mean look not loos, so there’s some details you should have looked at, but overall it’s a strong point. Small problem here, as I mentioned I don’t know a lot about past wrestling so your Guerrero point is over my head. I’ll just have to take your word for the two situations being similar.

Now next section, had Rollins pinned Ambrose. I like that you put this in your debate, this option was not explored as much in Oxi's.
And I fully agree. Again you lose me at the end there with a comparison from before my time but that’s hardly your fault. But in the grand scheme of things I agree that this alternative would’ve been a bad one. Go on…

Ok the fact you now go into detail of the match I was thinking of earlier is kinda creepy. You bring up the same point I was thinking of earlier, but you just lay it out for me. Nice.

This final section is really working for me. Undertaker “clearly winning the match before being beaten due to interference” is a way of looking at wrestling past the obvious L’s and W’s that I am guilty of myself. And the line about Michaels is spot on as well. If Rollins gets a run at the title in a while, he should be legit as fuck. A clean L doesn’t look good in that regard. Consider me convinced

Final result:

It should come as no surprise if you’ve read thusfar that I pick dylster88 as my favourite debate. Though it struggled at times with finding the right words or sentence structure, wasn’t formatted very enticingly and lost me at some points with references I knew too little about to understand, it structured its general point nicely and really won me over, especially at the end there.

Oxi's certainly wasn’t without merits, but in the end it didn’t convince me nearly as much as dylster88. In a way, the two debates complement eachother quite well as Oxi’s layout was clearly superior, but it missed the steady train of thought that kept me drawn in with dylster88. Solid performance though all around.

WINNER: dylster88


I felt you overlooked Ambrose quite a bit when comparing Wyatt's interference compared to Rollins or Ambrose picking up a key win. That stood out to me a bit in terms of a potential argument that would have aided your stance, as these types of questions usually rely on the debater arguing for their choice, whilst also using all aspects of the question to give a broader focus. In this case, I thought you made a good observation regarding the finish being hurt by constant fuckery in the Ambrose/Rollins program, but it felt you focused moreso on Wyatt's involvement as bad, without focusing as much on why Rollins/Ambrose deserved a more fitting finish. You focus on this briefly and started to make a good argument, but it felt like you moved back to Wyatt before you could develop anything of substance.

Just be wary, as in the opening you said Wyatt's involvement was bad, "and much worse than either man getting a clean pinfal". Now, you did a good job dissecting Wyatt's questionable logic for interfering, and outlining why its impact was muted because it wasn't the first time Ambrose had been fucked over, but you never really looked to develop an argument for why Rollins/Ambrose needed that win more. Had you focused solely on Wyatt's involvement being a poor decision, I wouldn't be focusing on this as much. But when you make a bold statement and vaguely refer to a clean win being the much better alternative, I think it's a bit of an own goal to struggle in making a compelling argument for why that is the case. Just remember, arguing Wyatt's involvement was a bad decision doesn't directly tell me why Rollins/Ambrose getting a clean pin was the better decision for them. Think of this as more of advice for future reference, especially for questions of this nature.

The structure, breakdown and separation of arguments was tidy and made this a breeze to read through, and allowed your arguments to stand out more. That's good presentation, but the content I felt was a bit too focused on Wyatt's involvement and lacking in the specific breakdown of why a clean victory was the better decision.


Firstly, be wary of overly descriptive writing. Your word count is precious and you can't afford to describe or recap history for the reader, you need to focus on making your words translate to an argument. If you spend four lines telling me something that doesn't directly answer the question, even at the beginning, that is a problem. It will hurt you more when you're opposite strong competition and it means you'll have less room to build sustainable and well argued assertions.

I thought the argument the finish protected both talents in sustaining momentum was quite dubious. Ambrose especially could be argued as having stalled momentum wise, due to the number of interferences which saw him never gain a decisive victory over Rollins, as your opponent pointed out. Using the Taker/HBK finish didn't translate directly as the strongest argument to me, as the build up to that feud was very different (HBK evading Taker, HIAC being designed to trap him and serve as his comeuppance, the slow tease of 'Kane' and his backstory with Taker), and I felt your opponent offered a strong counter for Wyatt's lack of motivation in interjecting himself in the match.

I also thought the Rollins argument was a tad weak, if only because he's generally received far stronger booking as a MITB holder than anyone I can recall bar Edge. The idea one loss to Ambrose, after months of victories over him and generally being greatly protected would irrevocably damage and hurt him felt a bit hyperbolic, and I don't think you were able to produce an argument with enough depth to truly convince me.

The second half of your debate I felt dragged a bit and struggled to produce varied arguments to really solidify your stance. The conclusion was brief but I don't think you were capable of truly constructing arguments that convinced me the finish was the right decision.

Oxi made a good argument for Wyatt's involvement being a bad decision, but struggled to argue positively for why a clean victory was a more earnt finish. dylster88 on the other hand, struggled likewise to convince me the finish was the correct decision, and didn't peak as high as Oxi's focus on Wyatt. Both debates could be improved, but on the basis of both efforts, I have to award the victory to Oxi.

Winner - Oxi

Winner via Split Decision - dylster88

What punishment should Roger Goodell hand Adrian Peterson after his no contest plea to to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault?

Spoiler for Debates:
Yes, Adrian Peterson should be reinstated. While I am not defending him taking a switch to his kid and beating the crap out of him. What he did ultimately amounted to him pleading guilty to a misdemeanor. So with that said i think what has amounted to at this point nine game suspension is enough. While you could argue that he should have been found guilty of more than a misdemeanor for leaving those marks on a kid, that is what was deemed to be appropriate.

I also do not think the NFL should formally suspend him, The list that the NFL and the Vikings put him on is called the :commissioners exempt list” which is essentially suspending him but not saying “you’re suspended” so It would be wrong to say “you’re off the exempt list, but now we are suspending you for real” when you have already suspended the guy for nine games in all but name. So if you are going to take him off the list, you need to do it and let him play.

Also I think the time he has missed is fair when you consider that it’s more or the same than what other people have gotten for their transgressions, Josh Brint was only suspended two games for being a dumbass drunk and killing his friend in a car crash. Terrell Pryor got suspended five games for something he did not even do in the NFL and is only illegal in the NCAA. Aldon smith got suspended nine games for being a dumbass. And Ben Rothlisberger, while accused , was never charged with sexual assault, so he technically got suspended for four games for hanging out in a bar. So there is no set rule of“ you do this, you get this”. The NFL has no set rules for suspensions really, accept for drugs, if you are getting suspended it can be for any number of games it seems.

Also when the NFL did create a one size fits all rule for suspensions, the did not follow it. After the Ray Rice fiasco they said they made a new domestic violence rule that it’s six games for the first offense and a lifetime ban for the second. But when “more” evidence landed at the NFL's doorstep the went against their own rules and suspended him indefinitely, essentially suspended him twice for the same thing. which is what they would be doing if they decide to formally suspend AP.

The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell used the commish's exempt list, which suddenly just appeared i guess, to move decisions down the road so he did not have to deal with it now. Instead of letting the legal processes do its thing and then select a punishment. The only real reason I am debating this right now is because he refused to make a decision on this, found something to get people off his back about making a decision, and is now in a conundrum about whether to further punish Peterson.

I believe that Adrian Peterson should be reinstated and allowed to play since he has already been punished over half the season for his crime. He has been at the mercy of a league which doesn't hand out uniform suspensions for crimes or sometimes no crimes at all. And when they decide to do uniform punishments for crimes, they immediately go against it. He should be reinstated and allowed to play, without any further punishment. He has already served a suspension and it’s been enough. The NFL does indeed have a image problem right now, but that does not mean you just do whatever you want with your punishments.

What punishment should Roger Goodell hand Adrian Peterson after his no contest plea to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault?

Outside of the weirdos who don’t know what abuse is and is trying to associate themselves getting beat as a kid for being bad to Peterson leaving open wounds on his 4 year old child and HIS OWN MOTHER having a problem with it. Most agree Peterson went too far and should be punished. I agree with this notion but outside of the hasty Domestic Violence punishment Goodell instilled because he and the NFL have dropped the ball on Domestic Violence for years there is no set guideline on how to deal with it.
I do think the Domestic Violence Policy is a good place to start in relation to Peterson’s punishment. Goodell released a long letter after dropping the ball with Ray Rice (The second time, out of………..six?) which is too long to quote entirely however the rule on DV is now stated as;

Originally Posted by Roger GoodLOL
Violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence and sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to enhanced discipline. A first offense will be subject to a suspension of six weeks without pay. Mitigating circumstances will be considered, and more severe discipline will be imposed if there are aggravating circumstances such as the presence or use of a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child. A second offense will result in banishment from the league; an offender may petition for reinstatement after one year but there is no assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary consequences apply to all NFL personnel.
Now as we know Adrian Peterson’s cause wasn't Domestic Violence but the connections here is that both cases are abuse and abuse against an adult/significant other etc. Shouldn't be held in a higher or lower standard than a child, and since the NFL has set the standard of violence with these rules it makes the most sense to use this as a starting point in deciding on the punishment on Adrian Peterson. That and if it wasn’t for the Ray Rice situation which in turn creating this rule then Adrian Peterson’s case wouldn’t of received the attention and possible punishment that it faces but that’s a story for another day. NFL set the standard now we abide by it.

So the first offense is 6 games and this is Peterson’s first offense. He’s also been deactivated since week 2. Though he was briefly brought back before being put on the NFL’s Exempt List, he has missed more than 6 games as is. Problem now is that he was paid during his entire time gone and still is. So should Peterson have to be suspended for an extra 6 games now? That is one solution, the other which I believe is the best is to consider 6 of the games he sat out as time served but to fine him in the amount of 6 games worth his paycheck. This way he can come back as soon as possible while also fulfilling the full extent of his punishment. If they decide to suspend him for an extra games he’s still going to lose that money on top of missing even more games when he’s already been made to sit out more than the required 6, sitting him out even further is unfair to Peterson and Peterson deserves what the NFL has set as punishment nothing more nothing less. The Vikings, who are 4-6 may not instantly turn into a playoff team with Peterson’s return but that’s irrelevant because this is about his right to play at this point of missing 8 weeks not their chances of victory with or without him and how “pointless” it would be at this point to bring him back, so Roger Goodell should make the right choice which seems to be very hard for him to accomplish and consider Peterson timed served and fine him accordingly.

What punishment should Roger Goodell hand Adrian Peterson after his no contest plea to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault?

In my opinion, this is quite a cut-and-dry issue. We've seen in previous cases how severely players charged with domestic assault have been disciplined, be it either the NFL itself or the respective player's team. In Ray Rice's case, his original sentence for striking his fiancée in an elevator and consequently knocking her out on February 14th of this year, was a meager two-game suspension handed down by the NFL. He had met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, explicitly detailed what happened that night in the elevator, and Commissioner Goodell believed that those two games were punishment enough. The charges against Ray Rice (3rd-degree aggravated assault) were later dropped. Just over a month ago, video from inside the elevator leaked. The video shows Rice striking his fiancée twice, with the second blow knocking her unconscious, leading to her collapsing and hitting her head on the elevator railing. In response to this video leak, the Baltimore Ravens immediately released him, and the NFL increased its suspension from two games to an indefinite suspension.

The scrutiny that the NFL received for the initial miniscule suspension of two games, and then the flip-flopping and subsequent installation of an indefinite suspension, was immense. The NFL simply cannot afford another PR disaster, especially in the midst of the media firestorm that the league has come under due to the domestic abuse cases of Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Ray McDonald (though McDonald was recently cleared). It is because of the league's increased sensitivity to the topic of abuse and the nature in which Peterson's charges arose (cruelly disciplining a child with a switch), that I believe that Adrian Peterson should be formally expelled from playing professional football in the National Football League.

"I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury. No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that’s what I tried to do that day."
- Adrian Peterson

Oh...Nevermind, guys. He didn't mean to do it. Let's forgive him. He was just disciplining his child, and he went a bit too far. It happens...Right...?

No. It doesn't matter that Adrian Peterson is one of the very best players in the entire league. Greg Hardy has been placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List since week one of the season, rendering him unable to play for the Carolina Panthers. Hardy was found guilty by a judge of assault and communicating threats, but has since appealed and is awaiting a jury trial. Ray Rice has been released from his team, suspended indefinitely, and essentially exiled from the NFL despite having his charges dropped. Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson is rearing up for his return to the gridiron after pleading no contest to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault and even saying himself that he "did not intend to cause him any injury" to the child.

Intentional or not, and it obviously was intentional (you don't inflict that degree of punishment upon anyone, let alone a 4-year old child, by accident), he deserves to be disciplined AT LEAST as severely as Rice, and in my opinion, much more severely. Rice and Hardy assaulted their girlfriends/fiancées. Their crimes are obviously heinous in nature, and should be taken very seriously, but Adrian Peterson, a 6'1", 217 lb Running Back for the Minnesota Vikings, ruthlessly assaulted a 4-year old fucking child.

Much of the reason why Rice has been so universally ousted is due to the cold, hard evidence of his crime - the aforementioned elevator video. While there isn't such undeniable video evidence of Peterson in the act, there are pictures of the aftermath along with Peterson pleading no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault, and Peterson's own statements that reveal his admission of abusing his son.

While he didn't viciously knock his fiancee unconscious or threaten to kill his girlfriend, what he did to his toddler son is worse. His son did nothing to deserve that beating - at least Rice's fiancee spat on and swung at him first - and even if his son did do something that set Peterson off, there's nothing he could do to justify the wounds that Peterson left him with. AP's crimes are worse than those of Rice and Hardy, and he deserves a worse sentence than either of them, even if it isn't the expulsion that I believe he deserves. Goodell's back is up against the wall after the fumbling of the Ray Rice situation; he can't take another chance here.

Spoiler for Judging Cards:
The debate got off to a rocky start for me because your first sentence implies that you didn’t fully understand the debate question. It didn’t ask if he should be reinstated or not it asked what punishment he should be given. From there, although I do agree that allowing the games Peterson has already missed to serve as punishment is something worth mentioning; being on the commissioner’s exempt list and being suspended without pay are two totally totally totally completely things. For Adrian Peterson, that’s about a $4.5 million difference. So to say being on the commissioners exempt list is essentially being suspended without saying you’re suspended is inaccurate. Second, I’m not entirely sure what you were trying to prove with all the random past suspensions. Yes they are random but that doesn’t really support any sort of argument that he should avoid a suspension without pay. I like that you brought up the 6 game rule and related that to how he’s already missed more than 6 games, that’s fair to say. I think either more research or more time spent writing was needed for this debate. I’m not sure which. I’m just not sure you fully understood everything needed to answer the question.

I’m not really sure what you were saying in your first sentence I was admittedly a bit disturbed. From there things got better, I like that you mentioned the NFL dropping the ball on this issue as they clearly have and I like that you quoted the actual suspension rule quote as I think that’s important. I think you missed a bit of the quote though as it states that more severe discipline will be given to those that use a weapon and/or in the presence of a child. Both of these are clearly applicable here. You also say that abuse against a child should be treated no different than abuse against an adult and I can’t really fathom that and would need some supporting reasoning for that. I think your punishment idea is creative, just fine him the amount of money he’d lose if he had been suspended without pay. I’m glad you pointed out the fact that he’s been paid the entire time he’s been on the exempt list, which is important. I’m not sure your punishment is completely sound though because I don’t feel you’ve done enough to convince me that a 6 game suspension is enough for what Peterson did. Since you put the quote there for everyone to read you really should have provided some reasoning why more severe discipline isn’t needed here despite this situation perfectly coordinating with the criteria for additional punishment. I think you were on the right track and there’s some good stuff here. I think you shot yourself in the foot a bit with the quote though as you kind of just ignored parts of it.

I liked your intro. Starting with the previous case of much media explosion for comparison and how horribly that was handled. I think your suggested punishment is rather extreme but you’ve done a fairly good job supporting it. I think there is a huge difference between assaulting/abusing an adult and assaulting/abusing a defenceless child which you’ve mentioned. You’re the only person who drew attention to this. Especially with a weapon and especially with no reasonable provocation (we don’t know entirely what the child did but it doesn’t matter, nothing would be reasonable). Enough of a difference to warrant a lifetime ban? I’m not sure but you’ve done a decent job proving this to be more severe than all the other cases which should warrant a more severe punishment by logic. I don’t really like that you made no mention of the NFL’s new policies regarding suspensions for domestic violence as I do think it’s relevant. Could have used it to show how the this is beyond a regular 6 game offense based on the severe discipline criteria.

No messing around here. «OOOOOLADIPOOOOO» takes it. Like I said, I’m not sure I fully agree with a LIFETIME BAN but I think you did a good enough job supporting it. SUPER NINTENDO CHALMERS and MoveMent had so many holes that simply can’t be overlooked. I think «OOOOOLADIPOOOOO» did the best job avoiding these holes.


I think if you had just done a little more research, your argument would have benefitted tremendously. The crux of your argument to reinstate Peterson immediately with no further penalty was that he had already served his time, but Peterson was never technically suspended during his time on the commissioner’s exempt list. First and foremost, a player needs to give his consent in order to be placed on that list. But more importantly, the entire time he’s been on the exempt list, he has continued to receive paychecks. Failing to differentiate between being placed on the exempt list and an outright suspension ended up hurting your argument quite a bit. You went on to equate it to Commissioner Goodell’s mishandling of the Ray Rice incident, but I’m not sure the parallel can really be made. Rice was suspended because of an incident and then re-suspended because of that same incident. The real-life equivalent would be trying someone under double jeopardy, which is illegal in this country. Conversely, Peterson was placed on the exempt list (similar to being placed on probation pending a trial) before ultimately being suspended (found guilty and charged).

You did a good job of clearly illustrating that there is no rhyme or reason behind the NFL’s punishments, but you needed to run with that point more to use it to argue why reinstating Peterson immediately would be the appropriate course of action. Also, be careful of which examples you use. You brought up a couple players that the NFL suspended multiple games for extremely minor offenses. Don’t forget that you’re trying to argue that the guy who beat his kid shouldn’t be suspended here.

One last tip: You don’t need to say “I think” all the time. You’re the one who wrote this. We know it’s what you think.
Overall, I think you had the right idea. You just needed to do a little more research and try to make sure your arguments were razor sharp.


Your opening paragraph was confusing, but I liked that you got straight into establishing the template for Peterson’s punishment by defining it as a clear violation of the same rule that was put into place after the Ray Rice incident. Even though the NFL itself apparently doesn’t feel the need to follow its own guidelines, this was an effective way of taking the argument out of the arena of public opinion and putting it up against the existing rules for this kind of scenario.

Reinstating Peterson and fining him for the six games he missed while on the commissioner’s exempt list is a creative solution. I don’t think it would fly with the NFLPA considering the largest fine in NFL history to date is $1 million, and this solution would result in a fine of nearly $4.2 million for Peterson, but it hits all the checkmarks according to the letter of the law and, arguably more importantly, accomplishes what the NFL set out to do in the spirit of the law.

A couple of minor points that stuck out to me. Not that I necessarily disagree, but it couldn’t have hurt if you had touched on why exactly missing six games while still getting paid was “unfair” to Peterson. Also, some food for thought… don’t rule out the possibility that the Vikings are glad that the decision on what to do with Peterson for the rest of the season was taken out of their hands. But in theory, yes, it would be unfair to the team as well. Though again, keep in mind that pretty much everyone involved needed to give consent for Peterson to end up on the exempt list in the first place.

Anyway, aside from some minor technicalities (like whether or not this solution would be allowed to stand), I thought you did a tremendous job of approaching the situation with an open mind and figuring out a solution that not only accomplished what it needed to based on the NFL’s own policies but also tried to be fair to all parties involved. Well done.


Well, you certainly didn’t hold back. Advocating that the NFL ban Adrian Peterson struck me as a surprise, but you argued it well by comparing it to the NFL (eventually) giving Ray Rice an indefinite suspension for a similar but arguably less severe crime. However, if you’re going to make that comparison and set a precedent, you really need to make sure you’re covering all your bases. Yes, child abuse is a terrible crime. However, Peterson was ultimately only charged with a misdemeanor offense. If you are going to suggest that the NFL apply a different set of rules than our legal system, then you need to be more concrete with your definitions. Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely, but there is a long way from indefinitely to forever. If you are going to throw the book at Peterson, I think you need to tell us where you would draw that line. Otherwise, it would be tempting to characterize it as a knee-jerk reaction in the vein of Commissioner Goodell suspending Ray Rice a second time.

Honestly, I’m glad you took such an extreme stance. Like I said, you argued it well. I will say that it hurt your debate a little bit that another debate brought up the actual letter of the law for domestic abuse, which designated banishment as a response to second offenses. While this did show that the league was open to the idea, it basically raised the question of “Is Adrian Peterson’s offense twice as bad as any other domestic abuse cases?” As bad as child abuse is, I’m not sure the answer is yes. Anyway, I’m delving into minutiae. Good job. I’m glad you swung for the fences. You just needed to be a little more thorough in your plan since it flew in the face of the pre-existing NFL policy.

Final Thoughts
This was not an easy call. All three debates approached the topic from a different perspective, though [MoveMent] and [«OOOOOLADIPOOOOO»] definitely stood out. Ultimately, having the NFL’s current policy on [MoveMent]’s side gave his argument the definition that [«OOOOOLADIPOOOOO»] needed just a little more of to pull out the victory.

1. [MoveMent]


This debate had a few issues. Stating "Yes, he should be reinstated" is a strange way of answering "what punishment should be handed out?" but I guess it means you're saying that the punishment has already been issued.

A good chunk of your debate is spent focusing on critiquing the NFL's system for punishment, to various degrees of success. When going after the commissioner's exempt list by saying it "suddenly just appeared", a quick google search shows it's been around for some time, used notably in 2009 (5 years ago) with Michael Vick.

When making comparisons to other players' suspensions, you should be trying to distinguish / compare them to Peterson's crime. If you can equate Peterson's crime to something other players have done, who have been punished for less time, then you can make a stronger case for your stance.

Essentially, your debate makes half of an argument with respect to the question. You show how the NFL suspends players at various lengths depending on their crimes (alleged or proven). However, you don't successfully connect or PROVE that Peterson's crime should be within so many games.

I guess my main piece of advice going forward is to carefully read the question asked and answer it SPECIFICALLY.


One immediate tip to improve your debate is to frontload your stance / answer to the question asked. We don't really get a definitive notion of your stance until "NFL set the standard now we abide by it", and even then it requires the final paragraph to really hash it out.

Speaking of the final paragraph, I thought this was very well done and wished there was more time spent on it. This is where you TRULY answer the question as to what punishment should be handed out. You state that he's "served his time", in a sense, and propose a sensible solution to deal with the fining aspect of a suspension. Wonderful.

However, since you quote the Policy which allows for consideration of aggravating circumstances, you really need to find a way to downplay what Peterson did in order to say that it should ONLY be the 6 game minimum. Otherwise, arguments could easily be raised that a longer suspension is required of an athlete beating a 4 year old.

Overall, I found your writing engaging. When you got on point (particularly towards the end), it was very strong. However, there was still something missing in terms of actually showing why the suspension should only be 6 games.


Although you take a bit to state your stance on the question, you do a good job at setting up your argument (which is an extreme stance) in a way that's probably necessary, given your position.

Your language throughout, portraying Peterson as this monster, listing his physical attributes, while showing the "toddler's" injuries, was really good at continually hammering home your viewpoint.

By equating it to Rice, you justify a strong stance. However, you have to keep in mind that he hasn't actually been "banned" (which you acknowledge), which means that it might be tought to say that any suspension SHOULD be more than 6 games or even a season.

Still, you did an overall good job defending an extreme position.


Although MoveMent proposes perhaps the most sensible solution to the AP debacle, I believe that «OOOOOLADIPOOOOO» actually does the best job setting up and arguing for his position. Because of this, «OOOOOLADIPOOOOO» gets my vote.

Winner via Split Decision - «OOOOOLADIPOOOOO»

Elipses Corter vs Oxi vs WrestlingOracle
Given that Survivor Series 2014 will be free on the WWE network should the main event for the PPV be the current main event (including the stipulation), Ambrose vs Wyatt, Orton vs Rollins or Cena vs Lesnar?

*Elipses Corter & WrestlingOracle no-showed. Bring Back Russo filled in.*

Spoiler for Debates:
For 2014, it's best to stick to tradition and utilise the elimination tag team match-up as the main event of Survivor Series. There are a few reasons why it's a good decision, but there are more reasons why the other options are not as good.

Ambrose vs. Wyatt?

Though it's becoming even clearer each week that WWE officials are adamant in pushing the younger talent (see: main event of Hell in a Cell 2014), one has to ask if it's a good business, or even moral decision, to put two relatively unproven talents against eachother in what is an underwhelming and quickly thrown-together feud.

Though Ambrose was in the main event of HIAC14 with his ex-Shield team-member Seth Rollins, another young up-and-comer, you cannot compare it to a misguided and sudden feud with Bray Wyatt.
Ambrose and Rollins had a very storied rivalry, dating back to their debut on the main roster in late 2012, with the break up starting months before the particularly fitting Hell in a Cell match. This, coupled with the fact the part-time champion was being part-time, and the other main-event calibre superstars were in their umpteenth match together, made it the perfect match to close the show.

However, as mentioned previously, Ambrose' feud with Wyatt is sudden: It began at the start of the previous PPV event.
It's also nonsensical: they're against eachother because... they're both crazy?
But most importantly, it's boring. Clearly, most audience members have become disinterested with Bray Wyatt's rambling promos, and the recent ones with Ambrose are no different.

To put it simply, there's not enough story to create enough hype or excitement for this to close a PPV event.

Cena vs. Lesnar?

This would be their fourth match since Lesnar's return. It wouldn't be considered much, but due to Lesnar's part-time schedule, if this match were to happen, 40% of Brock Lesnar's matches since 2012 would have been against John Cena, and it would increase the number of matches with the same opponent from 6 out of 9 to 7 out of 10 - a staggering 70%. Utilising Lesnar in situations like this is essentially wasting his already limited annual matches and expensive contract.

But not only is it a waste of an expensive and limited match for Lesnar, it's also a waste of a match on the card.
Fans obviously do not want to see John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar IV. At least, not right now, and certainly not when previous Cena vs. Lesnar matches happened on two the last three PPV events. Looking back on Night of Champions, you can see the excitement in the audience. But on Raw when Cena won the opportunity to take on Lesnar for the title once more, the arena fell flat.

It had officially lost reason and hype.

Orton vs. Rollins?

I have to give credit where it's due. O the November 3rd episode of Raw, these two stole the show. John Cena's absence allowed the Authority-centric story to unfold at a near-perfect Goodfellas-esque pace.
Comparable to Ambrose vs. Rollins, this feud has been in the making for a couple of months. And unlike the build for Ambrose vs. Wyatt, or Cena vs. Lesnar IV, the fans virtually ate up the entire show.

But is it the best main event choice?

No. It's a decent choice, but it's not the best, and it's pretty far from it.

Traditional Elimination Tag?

Indubitably the best choice for 2014. In all but a few years, the selling point to Survivor Series was the traditional elimination tag matches. Fans across the world know these tag matches are synonymous with the event, and vice versa.

As mentioned before, WWE officials are heavily incorporating rising talent in the upper echelon of WWE, hence the Rollins vs. Ambrose match main eventing HIAC14 over Cena vs. Orton, and the idea that John Cena not closing every PPV is coming more and more believable.

The elimination tag takes this into account much more than Ambrose vs. Wyatt.
The Authority's team likely consists of three rising superstars in Rollins, Rusev and Harper. Three fantastic talent that have proven multiple times they deserve an opportunity.
On Cena's team, there's likely Ryback and Ziggler, both two well-known names that will shine in this match and make fans remember they were once in the big leagues.
That's five talents that can utilise a lengthy and well storied match to their advantage to grow into a higher position.

It also holds all of the elements that Orton vs. Rollins has and more, but has the ability to amplify that feud leading in to TLC14, as Orton is not officially on the card, it's obvious that if he's not, he'll show up and dominate in his hometown, which gives Orton vs. Rollins a better match at TLC14.

Bring Back Russo
Orton vs. Rollins should be the main event of the PPV. This year's Survivor Series is shaping up to be one of the least interesting cards in WWE history. You've got Team Cena, which consists of a group of people on losing streaks(Sheamus/Ziggler/Big Show) against Team Authority, which consists of two heavily protected heels(Rollins/Rusev), a freshly pushed Luke Harper, and Kane. On paper, this is looking like a squash fest. This match is going to have to be padded with shenanigans to avoid large amounts of Network cancellations. There's no emotional investment whatsoever, and it seems that these teams were just thrown together for the sake of having a traditional Survivor Series event and keeping Cena relevant.

What they should have done, is make an elimination style Tag Team Turmoil match featuring Miz & Sandow, Stardust & Goldust, The Usos, and Los Matadores for the titles. This would have taken the place of the traditional Survivor Series event so the rest of the card could have been focused on building up the heels as individuals. Rusev needs the spotlight on himself as the freshly crowned anti-American United States Champion, Rollins needs to break out of The Authority's shadow so he can feel important as a standalone wrestler, and Harper should have an individual program with Ziggler over the Intercontinental Championship. Ambrose vs. Wyatt is not a viable option for the main event because the feud was poorly thrown together, poorly executed, received very little television time, and did the absolute bare minimum with what they were given. Cena vs. Lesnar is extremely stale and wouldn't be a selling point due to how overdone the match is. The only viable option left is Orton vs. Rollins.

Orton and Rollins were the high points of the show for the last 3 weeks. Orton upped his cocaine dosage and went 0-100 real quick. Literally. Starting from the RAW prior to Hell in a Cell, Orton went from one of the most boring parts of the show to arguably THE most entertaining part of the show. We saw shades of 2010 Orton with MORE edge added to him! Instead of promptly writing him off television on a throwaway episode of RAW, they should have saved the Orton/Rollins match for the PPV with Rollins going over and the fallout breaking out in the same fashion. Not only was Orton clicking on all cylinders in the ring, but he was making massive strides with the mainstream audience through viral "RKO OUTTA NOWHERE" Vine videos. My friends who don't even watch wrestling anymore, or at all, have seen these videos. Survivor Series is set to take place in St. Louis, so what better way to have Orton go out at the peak of his popularity than in front of his hometown crowd? This would provide nuclear heat for Seth Rollins, further his top heel push, and garner sympathy for Orton in the most efficient fashion.

Now you're probably asking yourself "Where does this leave Cena?" It's simple: Give HIM the injury angle and write him off television for a month. The RAW without Cena saw increased ratings and overall fan satisfaction. This would benefit the product greatly by pushing the other Superstars in Cena's absence. When Cena is on television, it takes all of the attention off of everyone else and makes them seem unimportant. With Cena gone, they have no choice but to make new stars. WWE has a severe lack of star power due to pairing any hot babyface up with Cena to overshadow him, or derailing a hot heel's momentum by having Cena pin them. With Cena out of the picture for awhile, they have no choice but to fix some of the problems they've created for themselves.

In conclusion, Orton vs. Rollins is the best option because Orton was red hot with momentum, Rollins needs the spotlight on himself instead of The Authority as a whole, Rusev should be rubbing salt in the wounds of his dominance over America, Harper should be in an Intercontinental Championship program, and the current main event feels completely forced and uninteresting.

Spoiler for Judging Cards:
First off why on earth did both of you neglect the first and REALLY IMPORTANT part of the question. The fact that this PPV is free to those who don't already have the network is a huge factor in this debate but none of you mentioned it once which baffled me. Pretty massive oversight imo.

Oxi - Truthfully I thought this was pretty average. Ambrose/Wyatt counter is probably your strongest. Saying the feud is lacking is ok but then you need to link it to a con that means it shouldn't main event. So "because the feud is lacking they shouldn't main event because if they do they run the risk of this happening" and then show the potential damage that would be done. Cena/Lesnar counter was weak and where your lack of consideration for the free aspect hurt your debate. If the PPV is free then it's because they want everyone to access the network and trial it so isn't giving away a Lesnar match a great way to do that? I thought the first half was a waste too because the match is already happening, it's just a matter of when. So if excitement for another match isn't super high then maybe using it as a free tease for the network is a better use than it headlining a PPV they need to get people to pay for? "Fans obviously do not want to see John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar IV." is very dubious too and has no evidence of being true. Eventually you get to a decent argument against Rollins/Orton although the timing of the final paragraph being so distant from the initial start of Rollins/Orton was strange. Also that was an odd ending to your debate with no real conclusion. Try not to just end on an argument because it reads strange. I thought the actual argument for your stance was too short and you could have quite easily made the first 2 parts more concise. The argument for the match is fine although you miss out on so much else as well. The big one being the stip that The Authority will have to step down or however it's worded if they lose. Again, no mention of another huge factor in this question. I don't know how much thought you put into this because it seemed very rushed and it was just strange how you totally neglected such big aspects of the question.

Bring Back Russo - First off don't ever submit a debate in all bold again please. Some formatting is nice but not all in bold please. Like Oxi you miss out big aspects of the question. Yes you argue that the 10 man should be changed to other matches which is fine but you still need to consider the 10 man itself and the stip because it's an option in the question. Some odd lines in the intro. "This match is going to have to be padded with shenanigans to avoid large amounts of Network cancellations." and "There's no emotional investment whatsoever,". You don't explain or prove them and when making out there statements like them it's necessary. Dealing with the break up of the 10 man was done well. Ambrose/Wyatt feedback I gave Oxi applies here too. Explain the negatives that would come from it. Read Oxi's feedback for Cena/Lesnar too. Way too quick a dismissal of a legit option. Again, "wouldn't be a selling point due to how overdone the match is" needs explaining and proving. Don't just make statements without proving them. Once you prove a statement you then have a good argument. Orton/Rollins argument in favour of was good although you needed to consider the positives of it more and the resulting consequences. You capitalise on Orton getting hot and then what? Build him up for what? Argument for leaving Cena off the card is fine although questionable given the PPV is a big marketing promotion for the network.

Both debates were lacking a lot with just the odd good argument presented. For me Oxi deals with the counters a little better and has a slightly stronger reason for his stance. More negatives than positives from both debates though. Make sure you consider all aspects of the question, especially the ones in the question itself.

Winner - Oxi


Good identifying your stance immediately, although you create an onus on yourself immediately to really breakdown how the other options aren't "as good" by stating it explicitly.

The Ambrose / Wyatt dismissal is okay, but confusing. Your opening questions if it's a good business or moral decision. The moral aspect is never elaborated upon, leaving the reader clueless as to what you mean there. On the business side of things, if the event is for FREE on the network, (a) how is business harmed short term and (b) could it be considered good long term to establish two young guys as main event level players? The rest of your comments apply, but if you raise things in the opening, you have to follow through.

The Cena / Lesnar arguments are fair, and you do a good job playing on the overkill / lack of excitement. The Orton / Rollins paragraph does nothing to support your claim, however, as you don't dismiss it in ANY way, but rather give the feud praise.

The closing is back on point, and you do a good job selling the pick. No real complaints there. Overall, this was hit-and-miss. The good parts were sound, while some areas were just left hanging.

Bring Back Russo

This entry was a little all over the map. You immediately identified your stance (good), but then entered into a fantasy booking realm of what WWE SHOULD HAVE done to set up Survivor Series.

My issue with this approach is it doesn't really answer the question asked. Basically, Survivor Series is set with these matches, what is the best one to end? Nothing to do with "they should've set this feud up this way..." etc. I feel that a good chunk of your entry reads like that, which ultimately weakens the entire piece.

The section about Orton / Rollins effectively built up their feud as your choice. This was easily the strongest aspect of your debate. If you cut the fantasy booking elements and either wrote more stuff in favour of your choice or made better, more in-depth arguments AGAINST the opposing picks, this would really become a very good debate.

As it is, a good chunk of your entry misses the mark of the question. However, don't be discouraged by that but use it to stay focused specifically on the question asked next time around. You have good writing and looked very strong when you were on point.


Both Debates have their strengths and flaws in my opinion. However, Oxi remained focused on the question throughout, so that's my pick.


Intro is solid enough, no fancy lighteffects and flashy attention getting statements but to the point. You seem to be playing this by the numbers, going through the options one by one, and then HOPEFULLY a recap of sorts and a conclusion. Let’s see.

Ambrose v Wyatt. I like how you point out that Ambrose was in the ME at HiaC, but then turn right back around to make sure I understand that a months long blood feud is definitely more deserving than a quick 4 week long (thusfar) feud. I also find myself agreeing, which is good for you.
You then do kind of lose me with the nonsensical and boring part I have to admit. I’ve really liked their interactions thusfar, so I immediately disagree with the boring part, and the fact most audience members in your estimation disagree with me just doesn’t really weigh that heavily in convincing me otherwise. As for the nonsensical, I do enjoy a good point or reason to a feud but it’s the WWE so I can deal with slightly forced ways of starting feuds as well. It’s not make or break for me, in any case.
The concluding sentence here focuses on the part I DO agree with though so that’s your saving grace for this paragraph. Just take away from this that if you make a very black and white statement (nonsensical and boring leave little room for nuance) you MIGHT end up in big trouble if your judges happen to not feel the same way. Food for thought.

Cena vs Lesnar. I see your point, I agree with your point. Small “however”, you seem to be focused in the majority of this second section on if people would like to see this match (not like they have a choice, it’s GOING to happen), and less so on why it shouldn’t be the Main Event at this particular PPV. Which is admittedly the logical conclusion of your train of thought, hence it only being a “small” however. This is me nitpicking though, as I do agree with your overall stance here.

Orton vs Rollins. This is where I have to start ignoring that Orton has been written off for a spell. Okay gimme a sec… ready. Go.
You start off by elevating this option as a solid runner up option. Judges are going to differ on how they feel about that, I have several times been told that I shouldn’t nuance things and approach things more black and white when being judged myself, but I LIKE it. Thus, you score a point with me there.
HOWEVER your segway to the final section doesn’t really convince me that it isn’t infact a solid first option at all. That’s where this paragraph fails you, as you sowe a seed of doubt in my head. Hopefully you find a way to underscore why the tag match is a better option in the final part.

The tag match. I like your focus on “new talent should be elevated sooner rather than later” approach. Easy points. Mentioning the individual likely performers really reminds me of what and who we’re talking about here and since several of them are people I like, I WANT to see them elevated, I think they deserve to be, so slowly but surely you’re driving your point home.
The last part (keeping in mind the situation at the time) really wins me over. A reference to this earlier on would’ve prevented some unneeded stress.

All-in all, you make some good points and cover MOST of the question. I probably would’ve liked a bit more focus on the authority angle part of things, but with limited wordcount and a broad topic I get how something like that could be cut on the editing board.
I do feel like the end feels rushed, but again it’s a common problem I struggle with often as well, so it’s not something I let weigh heavily on the matter. Fact is, you convinced me of your point, and that’s big. Let’s see if your opponent can do the same.

Bring Back Russo:

Now if I didn’t know who the mystery opponent was already, the fully bolded text would’ve definitely given it away. Might wanna leave the bolding out of TDL, not because there’s no room for personal style, and certainly not because it would somehow outweigh substance, but formatting and such DOES matter. In a close match, it could easily be your downfall.

Boom. First sentence and I know what your endgame is. And it’s not the same as the one in what must’ve been Oxi’s debate, so that should be fun (I prefer judging when people disagree with oneanother. Makes for more a twosided debate. Which I now realise goes without saying).
It’s not a traditional intro in that you basically go off into your first point immediately, namely that the tag match is a terrible idea (and why). I prefer a more structured debate, but it’s a small point.
I swear it is so hard to get into the right frame of mind as to what had or haddened transpired yet as far as the tag booking is concerned. I just kinda have to take everything at face value.
Calling a Cena/Sheamus/Show match a clear squashfest with them being on the receiving side of things.. hmmm, not sure I’m buying. Throwing in a Network cancellations sidenote .. is actually the first time in this entire debate the Network is being brought up I think. The fact that the specific free nature of this PPV hasn’t been taken into account in Oxi's suddenly seems like a big oversight, wonder if it’ll be brought up here at a later point. Anyway, just the simple sidenote doesn’t really add much to your point from my perspective. I do agree with the remainder of the paragraph though, or at least see your point. I feel like you at least COULD convince me Oxi was wrong, assuming you build on this. Bit weird for an opening paragraph, but so be it.

What they should have done.. Interesting, you’re taking a very liberal approach on the debate topic by fantasy rebooking the entire card. As much as I usually like your fantasy booking stuff I just don’t see the point in using your modest wordcount on such a large sidenote. Oxi was pretty to the point, and even he didn’t manage to discuss EVERYTHING.
Things start becoming more on topic again once you start discussing Ambrose v Wyatt. Infact, everything from “Ambrose vs.. “ to “..vs. Rollins” is incredibly spot on. These are your best points thusfar, I wish you would’ve spent a bit more time fleshing them out.

The Orton/Rollins breakdown I agree with for a large part, you make a compelling point. An Orton vs Rollins match, Oxi agreed with as well, would be a decent Main Event option. Well written paragraph, and the reference to social importance interests me. I see what you’re saying. Nice.

“Now you’re probably asking yourself “Where does this leave Cena?” – Here’s the problem: I wasn’t. It’s the fantasy booking part of your approach again, and it’s just much too far off the main topic for my taste. I want to hear about the main event options, not the rest of the card. Now you’re a smart guy so eventually you do make a related point in trying to prove that your booking is the way to go, and your booking has Orton vs Rollins in the Main Event, THUS Orton vs Rollins should be the main event. Gotcha. But assuming you get to rebook the entire card, and not go by the seemingly more logical notion that you’re supposed to debate the options within current reality (in other words, leave the rest of the card be) just isn’t sitting very well with me.

You have a conclusion. You know, I really love conclusions. Very underrated. Anyway, your final statement is very to the point, which I like, but in a debate with the topic with the title

“Given that Survivor Series 2014 will be free on the WWE network should the main event for the PPV be the current main event (including the stipulation), Ambrose vs Wyatt, Orton vs Rollins or Cena vs Lesnar?”

not mentioning two of the four options BUT mentioning Harper and Rusev instead of them feels really off.

All-in all, some highs and some lows. For every good point you make, you go on an offtopic sidethought for quite some time, which feels like a huge waste of words, not to mention the fact that it can be argued that it’s not “within the parameters of the question”.
Within a topic that has so many details to take into account (the network, the four options, the stipulation) that just feels like a poor decision to me.
In short, it feels more like a forum post and less like a TDL debate.
I do think that you show a lot of potential and look forward to reading future debates.

Final Result:

I emplore both of these debaters (I realise it was last minute for some, but still) to really look at the topic with more detail in the future, as higher up that’ll end up costing you. Both of you really failed to factor in the opening statement of that it’ll be free on the network in your debates as well as really mention the stipulation, and a debate more focused on what was being specifically asked would’ve probably gotten the W from me even if their debate had been written less eloquently.
It is for a similar reason that I have chosen my winner.
Now both debates were of very decent quality overall, and despite opposing points of view they made some excellent points. You both agreed that Ambrose and Cena weren’t worthy main events, though Oxi could’ve stayed on point more where BBR should’ve probably went into more detail. Two sides of the same coin. I have to admit that in the end I wasn’t fully convinced either way concerning the “right” answer to the question. I guess that says a lot.
But in the end, because he adhered to the topic fully, because he didn’t make any mistakes of comparable size, made some good points in the process and delivered a very well structured debate, the winner is Oxi
Which I assume is Oxi.

Winner: Oxi

Winner via Unanimous Decision - Oxi

Baxter vs Irish Jet
Is there still a place for the traditional flat 4-4-2 formation in modern top flight football?

Spoiler for Debates:

Yes, there is still a place for the flat 4-4-2 in modern top flight football.

The crux of this debate rests very much on the wording of the question, or more specially the use of the word ‘place’. A flat 4-4-2 formation is definitely something with unquestionable drawbacks, but to suggest it is something that is no longer of use to any team or doesn’t have any ‘place’ whatsoever in modern top flight football is absolutely ludicrous.

4-4-2 is a solid, balanced, formation, created with the main aim of providing the greatest balance between attack and defence. The flat two banks of four give teams a solid defensive base and make it difficult for opposing teams to break it down, but the presence of two strikers and a couple of wingers also allows for a good deal of attacking threat if needed.

However, with the emergence of Guardiola’s Barcelona team and the success of the Spanish national side, there has been something a shift in the way that most people have begun to perceive the way that football should be played; more and more emphasis has been placed on playing ‘pretty’ football, retaining possession, and almost walking the ball into the net. This is fine if you have technically world class players like Xavi and Iniesta at your disposal and the funds to keep investing massive amounts of money in more world class players, but what if you don’t? What if your players aren’t particularly good from a technical point of view? What’s the point in packing the midfield and trying to pass the opposition to death if your midfielders can’t trap a bag of cement? What if you don’t have the funds to recruit players who will run rings around other sides? This is where a solid formation like 4-4-2 comes in.

Perhaps the best example of a club utilising a flat 4-4-2 to its full potential is Stoke City; from the time of their promotion right up until Tony Pulis’ departure they operated (mostly) with a flat 4-4-2 which saw them gain fantastic results for a club of their stature and give them a solid base to build upon in the Premier League. They didn’t become obsessed with pretty passing triangles all over the pitch. They didn’t focus on winning the midfield battle. It took them over a YEAR in the Premier League to have a match where they had more than 50% possession. Yet they were still successful and managed to record finishes of 12th, 11th, 13th and 14th under Pulis.

Why? Because they played to the strengths of their players. Guys like Steven N’Nonzi, Salif Diao, Amdy Faye, Rory Delap, Dean Whithead (and basically every midfielder who has turned out for Stoke in the Premier League) aren’t technically gifted players, so why try to play a pretty attacking football in a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3/whatever else with them? It’s like trying to teach a donkey to skateboard, the two just don’t mix at all. The games linked in the appendix are typical of a team using a flat 4-4-2 well; sod all possession, barely any passes, but successful results because of a good defence and an ability to break forward when the opportunity presents.

But if all 4-4-2 is useful for is building a strong defensive base, then why not 5 at the back?
Simple; 4-4-2 is not a specialist formation like 5-3-2 or any of its variants. With something like a 5-3-2 you need wing backs that can push on effectively, central midfielders who are comfortable on the ball/able to contribute in wide areas, and ATLEAST one striker who can bring everything together up top. Hull City who operated with a 5-3-2 in the 2013/14 season and specifically recruited players like Livermore, Huddlestone, Aluko and Elmohamady who fit the bill for what’s needed from players in a 5-3-2. It’s not a formation you can half arse because not every player has the characteristics to play in it. This isn’t the case with 4-4-2 as it’s such a common formation with clearly defined roles that’s played so much at youth level, so naturally the majority players are able to operate in it. Committing to 5-3-2 leaves little room for flexibility; this is not the case with a flat 4-4-2.

I’m not denying that 4-4-2 isn’t something with weaknesses, I’m not denying that it can stifle the talents of certain ‘flair’ players, I’m not denying that the need to be flexible with tactics is apparent more than ever; but what I AM denying is that 4-4-2 is something that is completely dead because as long as there are sides searching for a formation to give them a solid base and good balance between attack and defence, there will be a place for 4-4-2 in modern top flight football.

Spoiler for Appendices:

Irish jet

In It’s Place

After the success of Sacchi’s Milan in the late 80’s and Ferguson’s United throughout the 90’s the flat 4-4-2 was the unquestionably the most popular formation in world football. With the two banks of four, two out and out strikers and wingers providing width – These teams dominated – In the 15 or so years since, it’s decline has been such where many pundits have declared it dead. I wouldn’t go that far. There will be always be a place for it, as there would for just about any formation, albeit to be used as an option but nothing more. The reality is that in 2014, the traditional flat 4-4-2 is indeed outdated, it’s flaws too easily exposed and its strengths being outshined with other potential line-ups – The trends are clearly moving elsewhere and at the top level, there’s really no place for it as a fundamental philosophy in the modern game.

Man City – The Exception?

Now people may hear about how the English Champions Manchester City under Manuel Pellegrini are heavily invested in their 4-4-2 formation, some would argue to a fault. Any sort of analysis of their European exploits will give you every standard criticism that can be made of the Classical 4-4-2 – “Overrun”, “Outnumbered”, “Too much space”. Now while these criticisms are relevant, City’s variation is far from the conventional model - Particularly when they have the ball – David Silva is nothing close to a “traditional” winger, yet that’s where he’s pencilled in. Man City’s more fluid variation is designed for those players to cheat inside and offer an extra man in the middle. The overlapping full backs can then exploit the space vacated to ensure the width is maintained – A modernised formation for the modern game – Effectively it becomes a 4-2-2-2 with possession.

The New Model

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, they all have variations of the 4-4-2 which they use regularly. But like City they’re significantly altered from the traditional flat 4-4-2 and to be successful, they simply have to be. For all the exotic looking formations that are currently trending – 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 3-5-2 etc. - ironically it’s the current modernised 4-4-2, which exemplifies more than any other the decline of its traditional model.

Spoiler for stats:

Whatever variation used the flaws of the 4-4-2 are still largely apparent and hence its popularity is a long way off what they were in the 90’s. According to WhoScored in the 2014/2015 Premier League Season, there are only 8 clubs who have even utilised any version of the 4-4-2 formation, only two of them – City being one – Have been using it as their primary formation. The other club are Leicester City, who at the time of writing are in the relegation zone and have picked up one point from a possible 18.

So Why The Change?

As Johan Cruyff said, “The numbers don’t match up” – The 4-4-2 as a whole is slowly trending out of the game because the spaces between the lines are now too easily exposed. The emphasis has firmly shifted towards new roles with every position on the field seemingly having been “revolutionised” one way or the other.“Wingers are full-backs, centre backs are central midfielders, goalkeepers are sweepers, No 10s are central midfielders and wingers are centre-forwards. You're talking about a completely different game” – Gary Neville on Modern Football

The transition towards building around these specialist positions – The “Number 10”, The “Makelele Role”, Wing backs, Wing Forwards - has been emphatic – Even at grass roots level there will be more players coming through coached into these roles.

Spoiler for stats:

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that while full backs are being relied on more for attacking quality that more goals are being scored (and thus conceded) on average. There’s a much greater emphasis on attacking – It’s what paying fans demand, it’s what owners demand, it’s what young players want to do. Jamie Carragher once said that “no one wants to grow up to be a Gary Neville”, but a Leighton Baines or a Dani Alves may actually be more appealing. The games is evolving in ways ill-suited to the classical 4-4-2.

Gone for good?

It’s tough to completely rule out anything coming back in football, the game is constantly evolving and different ideas are introduced and reintroduced. Things go in phases, 3 at the back comes and goes with different teams every season. The is no definitively right formation in football and if down the line there’s a greater emphasis on defensive solidity – Full backs may become primarily defenders again and it could develop from there – It seems unlikely but it’s impossible to rule out. As for right now, all of the evidence in the modern game suggest that if the traditional 4-4-2 isn’t dead, it’s certainly pretty close.


References: - City's "4-4-2" Cruyff Quote - City Formation - Leicester Formation

Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Baxter - Better interpretation of the wording of the question wins you this one. Keep that up because it's something that is the difference in a lot of top debates, who can gain an advantage from manipulating the wording of the question to their advantage best. Because of Irish Jet's stance all you really needed to do was effectively show that there was some place and where it was and you did that well. Minor critique would be that you could have done with an example from this season rather than going back to Pulis' Stoke. Top flight could also mean other countries too. I'm sure somewhere there's a team playing a traditional 4-4-2 to some success. Minor though but the further you go back for an example the more effect it loses, especially in sports debates where the context can change so much in a few seasons. N'Zonzi (NOT N'Nonzi) is actually a pretty decent technical player tbf (this N'Nonzi guy might not be though tbf). Salif Diao and Amdy Faye. Wow, dark memories. Arguments wise this is done really well hence a lack of breakdown for each paragraph. Only issue is you could do with more examples of modern teams using 4-4-2 and maybe focus on the top flight aspect of the question more as I feared at times your debate read a bit too much like 4-4-2 was good for teams who weren't good enough for a different formation.

Irish Jet - Assuming you read the first part of Baxter's feedback. If not then do (always read other feedback because it's helpful, especially for those in the same debate). What you do argue is good but Baxter just answers the actual question given a tad better. Be careful with reading the question and taking in the meaning that every word has on the topic. This exposed the flaws of 4-4-2 and why it's being phased out well but didn't really counter argue Baxter's stance that it still has SOME place rather than no place at all. FYI your second stats spoiler doesn't show anything. Again I could break it down paragraph by paragraph but what you write about is good and pretty much on the money. The choice of stance and breakdown of the wording of the question was the difference maker and sadly your well written and consistently correct so to speak debate fell on the wrong side of this. Had you had one extra point showing that teams CAN'T play it rather than aren't you probably would have took this one.

Winner - Baxter

BkB Hulk
I liked a lot about this debate. You took the question apart well and really utilised the key part of it. Stoke City are indeed a perfect example of what you're saying. While I think you've ignored that a midfield is often packed with five despite the players not being technical purely to defend, you have certainly shown that there is still a place for 4-4-2.

Your acknowledgement that 4-4-2 isn't ideal for everybody - or indeed most success-hunting teams - only strengthens your argument, because the question isn't asking if everybody has to use it. I like that you've acknowledged that opposition to it, but still thought about it specifically in the way the question is asked. Convincing debate.

Irish Jet:
I think you missed a trick here where your opponent didn't - 'a place' is key. Your opponent has provided a case where it's been used and worked. You've really only talked about top level teams chaisng success - even those that you acknowledge don't use a flat 4-4-2, which is asked about in the question.

A lot of what you've argued makes sense as to why 4-4-2 isn't the best formation, but it doesn't really counter that it has a place.

Winner: Baxter

Solid points throughout and very convincing. I never doubted your stance at any point in the debate and I like how focused on the question this was. Really good points about the lack of technical players many top flight teams have and that most players are able to fit into a 4-4-2 without being specialised. One criticism is that the narrowness of the debate made you vulnerable to a more expansive debate, but you got lucky as Irish Jet was a bit more expansive, but it expanded in the wrong way by offering up contradictory statements which detracted from their stance.

Irish Jet
These two statements:

“…it’s decline has been such where many pundits have declared it dead. I wouldn’t go that far.”

“There will be always be a place for it, as there would for just about any formation, albeit to be used as an option but nothing more.”

They both go against the stance you took so I’m a bit baffled by either why you included them or why you took that stance if, ultimately, you disagree with it.

This next statement:

“…there’s really no place for it as a fundamental philosophy in the modern game.”

That’s cool, I understand, but the thing is, “as a fundamental philosophy” wasn’t the question being asked. You answered the question being asked with your first two statements quoted above. You could have twisted the question to your ends by explaining how the question should be about fundamental philosophy or how 4-4-2 as a fundamental philosophy was the main point of the question, but you didn’t so I’m left a bit confused by your stance. You tell me unequivocally that the 4-4-2 definitely still has a place, albeit as an option, yet then go on to argue against it having a place. This was, however, a lovely analysis of the evolution of the 4-4-2 formation, but as well written as it was (occasional typos aside), I never felt the full commitment of your stance. Your conclusion also cast doubt on your stance. I enjoyed reading this debate, but I can’t award it the win against a debate that remained focused on its stance and continually backed it up without offering up contradictory statements that only added an element of confusion to the whole thing.

VERDICT: Feel a bit bad jumping all overIrish jet like that as it was a quality and intelligent enough piece of writing. But as a debate it fell short as it just wasn’t committed enough to its own stance.

WINNER: Baxter

Winner via Unanimous Decision - Baxter

Who has had a better career purely from a match quality point of view, John Cena or Randy Orton?

Spoiler for Debates:
Who has had a better career purely from a match quality point of view, John Cena or Randy Orton?

While John Cena is a tremendous wrestler and has indeed produced some great matches over the last 12 years. Randy Orton has clearly had the better career in terms of match quality. To show why we will look at both guys career’s from a midcard perspective and an upper card bordering on main event perspective.

Midcard – Upper card Perspective

These are the years a guy’s ability to really learn and develop safe un-sloppy wrestling skills are really tested. During this period it’s fair to say both guys produced their fair share of great matches, Even if they only were around in the scene for about 3-4 years. I mean Cena produced great matches against the likes of Taker & Angle early on.

However Orton was able to produce Classics such as his match with Foley at Backlash in 2004, his first ever major title wins against Benoit at Summerslam 04’ and consecutive great matches with Taker (Mania 21, Summerslam, No Mercy & Armageddon 2005). In addition to this his matches with the likes of RVD in 2003 and Edge & Flair in 2004 are still head in high regard.

What made them so great is that from such a young age and from so early in his career he was able to show a good balance of safe pin point wrestling skills mixed with good storytelling and psychology. Basically accomplishing everything a good match should do and doing it on a more regular basis than Cena.

As the years went on this didn’t change at all.

Upper card – Main event Perspective

Both guys really began to take off their careers around 2005/06. Again fair to say that during their upper card/main event runs both guys have produced some quality stuff, but once again I can’t help but feel Orton has outclassed Cena in terms of match quality. Looking at Orton’s career from 2006 – now he was able to provide us with good-great matches such as:

Rey Mysterio: No Way Out 2006
Triple H: No Mercy 2007 (Last Man Standing)
Jeff Hardy: Royal Rumble 2008
John Cena himself: Bragging Rights 2009
CM Punk: Wrestlemania 27 & Extreme Rules 2011
Christian: Over The limit, Money in the Bank & Summerslam 2011
Daniel Bryan: Night of champions 2013

Again in all of these matches Randy was able to display a good blend of storytelling and tight all around wrestling ability. Hell he even produced decent matches that should have never really been good in the first place like his match with Kane at Mania who was in the midst of a terrible run of matches…funnily enough who was he facing right before Orton? Oh yeah. John Cena.

Fact is Cena over the years has shown himself to be more of a “big match” kinda guy. Someone who can create a pretty great match when the hype and spotlight is all on him. Take that away and eh, his performances are not at the same standard. As a midcarder he was able to step up hugely against guys like Taker with extra hype behind him, but not much else. As a main eventer he was able to step up hugely against Punk, Bryan, Edge etc… but once again this is with the hype around him. Look at him in filler feuds with Kane. Orton was able to produce a good match out of the same guy only a month later. Even in one of his bigger matches against i.e. Punk MITB 11’ Cena displayed rookie mistakes making a few botches here and there. Something you rarely see in an Orton match.

Now I know what people will try and say:

Cena producing in big matches is good, it means he draws and has the ability to make the company loads of money…you know the main aim of business
And yet they will dismiss the fact that characters sell matches, stories sell matches, names sell matches…but you see ability, ability is what PRODUCES great matches. Cena have proven, whether it be as a midcarder, upper card or a main eventer that when’s he is in the main spotlight he can produce something, But in a filler feud, eh…his matches begin to fall a bit flat and can become pretty forgettable. Orton on the other hand has shown he can produce the goods without that hype, without all the stories or with the company pushing him to the sky…and he can produce the goods when he’s being shoved down our throats.

Fact is that in the 12 years both guys have been on the main roster Orton has proven that he can provide a higher quality and tighter all around match with a wider range of superstars. Putting him just ahead of Cena in terms of match quality.


Randy Orton, by quite a margin too. There have been FAR too many matches that have been poisoned by Cena's misinterpretation of wrestling for this to even be a close contest.

For your writer, selling is the most important aspect of wrestling (behind crowd connection) as wrestling is essentially meaningless without it. And John Cena is one of the main culprits of no-selling. In one of his better bouts - at TLC 2012 v Dolph Ziggler, Cena committed an assault on kayfabe. Whilst Ziggler had a sleeper hold locked in; one of the most legitimate wrestling holds there is, Cena proceeded to climb a ladder whilst Dolph was choking him. The sleeper is the very hold that choked out HULK HOGAN just 15 years prior[1] and KURT ANGLE 6 months earlier[2] than the TLC bout. Bear in mind Cena was allegedly suffering from a torn meniscus, the same injury that sidelined the reigning WWE Champ for the past year from the PPV. Not that Cena sold that injury either. Whilst Cena did generously sell for Umaga at Royal Rumble 2007, I believe this is more than counter-balanced by the fact he didn't bother selling his ankle injury in his Last Man Standing match v Ryback (the match where Ryback hit Cena with a FALLAWAY SLAM THROUGH A TABLE, and 20 seconds later Cena had Ryback in position for a five-knuckle shuffle). There was also the knee injury Cena kayfabe suffered at the hands of The Wyatt's on the February 24th Raw, which he didn't sell in their WrestleMania XXX clash.

On the flip side, Orton's bumping is some of the best in the company. The man's is so smooth that he makes opponents look better. Examples of this would be when he gave Goldust one of his best matches since the 90's on Raw in September 2013, and his blistering bout on Raw a few weeks ago against Dolph Ziggler. Cena on the other hand struggles to make opponents look his equal before dispatching them. For evidence, see: Miz, Del Rio, Ryback, The Nexus, Alex Riley and many more who flirted with the main-event before being unceremoniously thrown to the bottom of the card. Orton's limb selling is also excellent, such as the way he sold his knee injury and desperation helped Miz gain great heat during his cash-in in November 2010 as well as helping him look dominant whilst cashing in on an injured foe. In contrast, John Cena can often be seen smiling whilst doing his Five-Knuckle Shuffle. It was particularly annoying to your writer when he did this at WrestleMania 29, avenging a loss which had caused his life to begin a "downward spiral" as he put it.

As wrestling fans, most of us like to suspend our disbelief in what we're seeing. However, with John Cena this is Mission: Impossible. In nearly all of his matches the Five-Knuckle Shuffle is used. The problem? It never actually hits his opponent. As with the STF, there's clearly no force applied. For someone who's so widely criticised for his "Five Moves of Doom", it's mighty ironic how he doesn't properly execute two of them correctly. Contrast this with Randy Orton who executes all of his main moves correctly (the man never botches). His dropkick is in my opinion one of the best, second to only Kazuchika Okada. Orton's "Punt Kick" remains one of the stiffest looking moves in wrestling, and he is yet to injure anyone with it. There has also been the recent rise in the "RKO Outta Nowhere" vines, which highlight how Orton can finish his opponents from any situation. You could state that this was because of the finisher itself which Orton uses, however his timing and execution are vital for this. His RKO to Reigns is "spot of the year" for your writer, as well as the excellent powerbomb to RKO transition to Dolph Ziggler a few weeks ago. Contrast this to John Cena who is reliant on the same cartoon comeback beginning with two shoulder blocks, followed by the Spinning-out powerbomb, non-connecting Five-Knuckle Shuffle, AA and No Force STF.

At present, we are stuck in a generation where the Number 1 babyface is routinely booed and told "You can't wrestle!". Fans are desperate for any tonic to John Cena because he is that dreadful in ring. The message they're sending him is loud and clear. "Your Time Is Up!".


[1] Roddy Piper choked out Hulk Hogan at Superbrawl VII.

[2] Kurt Angle was choked out by Samoa Joe at Destination X in 2012.

Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Both of you know by the option of establishing a criteria for the "right" pick and then breaking each criteria down with a comparison of the picks. Obviously debates don't have to be formulaic following a set structure but I do establishing the criteria for the correct pick in this topic would have improved both of your debates. It should also force you to say why X being better at Y is important because of why Y makes a better wrestler.

CGS - The focus on different roles on the card was interesting although I do think you suffered from not explaining why you broke the topic down in this way. It also opens up an issue with opportunities because Orton definitely got more help during this period in having great matches being on Raw with Evolution and getting to work with guys like Foley in high profile feuds compared to Cena who had much less. You're also citing main event matches for Orton's midcard run which I'm eh on. The Benoit match was a PPV main event so you're comparing Orton with main event opportunities match wise to Cena when he was working shorter midcard matches with lesser opponents. Same for the Taker matches with Orton which were very high profile and given more of a chance to be great than Cena had at times working the Rene Dupree's of SD's midcard. Just be careful you're not making an unfair comparison. It's like saying I scored more penalties than you because I took twice as many. Maybe a better way would have been just looking at longevity of great matches and then you can probably argue better that Cena had more opportunities later in their careers so it evens out. Just be careful that your comparisons are even fairness wise. In arguing who's a better wrestler I'd also advise considering looking beyond just who had the most **** matches and looking deeper at individual performances. For example, a good direction in this type of debate is looking at who had the best matches with guys they had to carry, e.g. Cena's great match with Khali strengthens his case a lot. Oh you actually do that with the Kane case. Ok good. I actually thought RR did that not you. Again though you're not really giving Cena the credit for doing that with guys like Khali and you could even argue Lashley. Also thought the Kane/Orton match at ER would be stronger evidence of Orton carrying Kane to a great match but it works all the same. The next paragraph is your best arguing Cena's inconsistency. I would have liked more examples of Cena's level dropping in a B title defence for example. If you're worried about long lists then just cite the list in your references. For example say Cena had all these underwhelming matches in main events[1] and link them to the reference. At the end you go pretty hard on the consistency argument which is probably the best argument for Orton because Cena certainly peaks higher. I would have like to see you argue consistency > peak throughout the debate. At the start you're past argument seemed a little disconnected and struggling for relevance. Had you focused on the consistency argument throughout then Orton's stronger start would have packed more of a punch for me. This is also where defining what is more important and why in making your pick is helpful early on. Then you could argue there consistency > peak for a paragraph and go on to show why Orton is better because of this. Better structure to this would have made it really good. Once you can argue what is a better career from a match quality POV you're halfway there really because then it's just showing and citing evidence.

RR - Read CGS' feedback first because the structure point applies here. You pretty much argue the same stance but if one of you had argued why consistency > peak then that probably would have edged my vote that way. It brings your arguments up to that next level rather than just saying Cena is better because x. Saying Cena is better because x and x is relevant in determining the correct pick because y. The selling argument is theoretically strong but your argument for it was lacking imo. The Ziggler Sleeper criticism I thought was meh because it didn't seem major to me and there's much better examples to illustrate this argument. You cite that the sleeper is a finisher but for other people so how is it relevant to that match? It wasn't a protected finish for Ziggler so why is Cena powering through it so bad? Hogan's finish was a leg drop so does that mean everyone who doesn't sell a leg drop as a finish in 2014 is bad at selling? Of course not. The Ryback and Wyatt examples are better though. Could have done with a youtube link to the Ryback match. It's also good practice to get into a habit of linking evidence because it will make you look for evidence to support your points more. Because you spent so long on a poor argument a good argument here suffered. I would have also listed as many examples as I could in my references. Going into detail on just a few is good but then saying something like "and don't forget about all these[1]" and then linking the reader to an extended list in your references section makes this point even stronger. The more evidence the better and don't be afraid to use the references list to supply extra examples as long as you have some in your debate too. If you have a list of 11 examples then focusing on 3 in a paragraph in your debate and then linking the rest in your references is fine. The obvious example to cite here is The Rock match too. I thought the Orton flip argument could have been better but what you had worked. Again I think there's better examples to use and the really obvious one is the Foley match where he bumped tremendously. Also I think you need to give Cena his credit because he can do great sell jobs, see the Khali match for example or the Rey title match from Raw. Giving Cena credit actually helps your validity as long as you show that he's not as consistent as Orton. Yes Cena has these great sell jobs for every Khali match you have the Nexus match whereas Orton doesn't bomb as low. I also would have linked the last part of your 2nd paragraph to an argument for character work and how Cena is pretty one dimensional in his character work in matches whereas Orton has more variety. The fact that Cena struggles to emote hate in his matches is a great argument in favour of Orton which you almost had but didn't really focus the wording of your argument towards enough as I'm sorta making the argument for you based on what you put. In ring execution argument is very good mind. Cena is clunky and Orton is smooth. Well argued here with good evidence. This was the peak of your debate.

This is tough to call and ironically probably comes down to consistency > peak too. RR had the best point with the execution paragraph but also bombed out with the sleeper hold argument. CGS however was consistently strong with only minor critiques. Giving my vote to RR. He messed up the Ziggler/Cena example but in fairness did recover with the following examples to keep his argument valid. Overall his debate had stronger evidence for Orton despite the slip whereas with CGS I felt I was improving his arguments in my head more to beef them up.

Winner - RR

BkB Hulk
I don't understand why you've broken this down in the way that you have. I don't see where their positioning on the card respectively comes into the question. I understand that it's where they've been in their careers, but you're just appraising match quality all the same. It'd be easier to compare years maybe, because this doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

You keep referring to 'tight' matches and 'safe pin point wrestling skills' without actually alluding to what they are and how he exhibits them in these matches. Instead you just say they're good matches. Why? Why are they good? Why are they better than Cena's? You've said Cena needs a bigger match feel, but does that mean Orton has had a better career in terms of match quality? I'm not sure.

I don't feel like you actually used evidence to your advantage. You presented stuff without explaining it properly, and that makes it hard to feel like you could convince me.

Jesus, this debate went hard at Cena.

I think you could have put more effort into acknowledging Orton's better bouts to put him over, because the debate felt kind of short. Identifying selling as crucial and saying that Cena simply can't do it is an effective way to assasinate his chances of actually having had good matches at all.

While I think you've only touched on a small part of the debate by focusing so hard on selling, you've done a pretty good job of it.

Winner: RR


This was ok. At first I was confused by your formatting but I see that you were using the "growth time" from mid-card to main-event as a way of showing how wrestlers are suppose to develop their skills to the main-event level. You basically showed that Orton had it at young age, but I think you hit a complete road block with Cena. You said he did well with big names at the mid-card level, but then you said he basically degressed at the main-event level because he only performed when the spotlight was on him. I don't think that's entirely accurate and it left your debate open for strong counter argument. You also over-rated some of the good matches, but that's ok. Opinion is opinion but it can get you in trouble in certain cases.


This was good. While you were a little one dimensional by only focusing on selling, I think you really stressed the importance of how selling can make or break a match. You went hard at Cena, but it turned out to work for your debate because you were able to show how many times Cena effected the flow of the match and the story leading into the match by not selling. You also did a good job explaining how Orton's selling puts over the other opponents which is critical in back and forth match.

Then you broke down execution which I thought really made the difference in your debate. You showed how the execution of moves can force us as fans to not believe it because the realism simply isn't there. Good stuff.

Overall I think the selling debate had stronger content.


Winner via Unanimous Decision - RR

Seabs vs BkB Hulk
The reaction to Brendan Rodgers' decision to not play many first team players vs Real Madrid. An over-reaction or justified criticism?

Spoiler for Debates:

The reaction to Brendan Rodgers' decision to not
play many first team players vs Real Madrid.
An over-reaction or justified criticism?

First off, let's look at what the reaction actually was. Rodgers was largely accused of essentially throwing the game with a Homer Simpson esque attitude of "Can't win, don't try". Yes Brendan Rodgers was being compared to Homer Simpson1. The decision even left Adrian Chiles confused (I know, I know). As a result the media brought into question the ethics of this defeatist attitude and the negative image it imprinted on such a prestigious club2. But was all that criticism justified?



Why did he send out a team missing their 5 best attacking threats? It was either a defeatist attitude from the start or a fickle tactic, either deserved of criticism. By omitting his 5 best attacking threats and playing a team that between them attributed 2 goals and 1 assist all season at that point3 he was basically banking on a 0-0 draw, a hilarious tactic given this team had kept 2 clean sheets all season out of a possible 15 and were facing a Madrid team who have been kept goalless just 4 times since the start of the 2013/14 season4. As a result, his side is now left with very little margin of error in order to qualify because he didn't even give his team a chance to win.


Suuuuuuuuuuure. Liverpool's effectively parked van didn't keep the scoreline respectable, Real's lacklustre finishing did. Despite being 1-0 down since the 27th minute Liverpool managed 1 shot on target, a nothing attempt from their LB5. None of this points toward an inspired team selection from Rodgers but towards a team with a lack of attacking intent and quite frankly effort. Be it from a lack of quality or drive, the performance was once again poor and poor performances deserve criticism, tenfold when you don't play your best players.


I'm not a professional footballer but I'm pretty sure travelling all the way to Madrid, training and making 18+ minute cameos in a game isn't how Man Utd prepare for weekend fixtures this season. He wasn't resting players. No other club has needed to "rest" players for major games less than 3 months into the season. He was either a) employing a horrific tactic or b) forfeiting the match but trying to look like he wasn't.

Originally Posted by SQUID FACE
We're not gonna win this match Steven so I'm gonna leave you here to rest for Chelsea.
But boss won't that make us look like pussies like?
You're right Steven. Ok cancel the Rest & Relaxation and come on a manic trip to Madrid with us.
Either of the two scenarios deserve all the criticism THE BRODGE gets. Be it daring tactics or frantic R&R (not the nightclub), Rodgers fucked up and fucking up equals deserved criticism.


Except they weren't. All these supposed benefits that would justify Rodgers' team selection attributed to naff all.


Managers are under no obligation to field their strongest teams in a given match. So was Rodgers wrong to reward the travelling fans with anything but Liverpool's strongest team? Irrelevant. What is relevant is if the criticism he got for it is deserved. And it absolutely was. The cheapest ticket for the game for Liverpool fans was £396. That isn't even taking into account the prices for travel and other possible expenses on top of having to take the day off work (I know, I know). It's one thing to do that to a fanbase who see their team play the Madrid's of European Football season-after-season but to do it now to Liverpool's fans was extra harsh. After 4 seasons without Champions League Football this wasn't just any game7. It was a special game to them that hadn't come around in a long time and may not come around again for another long period of time.

Liverpool fans paid a lot of money to see their team play Real Madrid. What they saw was a weak imitation of their team play Real Madrid. What they saw was Rodgers tarnish Liverpool's image. Nobody saw Liverpool as the big club they like to proclaim they are that night. Rodgers didn't allow Liverpool fans to see what they thought they had paid to see and regardless of if he was right or wrong to do that, he deserves the criticism he got for it.

? Horrific tactics
? No actual rest for benched players
? Huge middle finger to travelling fans
? Tarnished club's image

All of them deserve criticism. In retrospect, the move produced no positives to outweigh the negatives. Be it at the time or retrospectively, Rodgers deserved all the criticism he got.

[3] Player stats -
[4] (Twice vs Atletico and twice with a deplete squad missing Ronaldo and more)
[5] ("55:40 Attempt saved. Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Joe Allen.")

BkB Hulk

The 1-0 Real Madrid vs Liverpool scoreline was a lie. Real Madrid dominated and had a number of missed chances from Cristiano Ronaldo of all people. Those missed chances meant that Brendan Rodgers missed a chance though. Despite the criticised selection, Liverpool's loss was narrow. Select a few more first-teamers, and Rodgers may have come away with a point - maybe more. Rodgers missed a chance when he caught Ronaldo on an off-night - and for that the criticism is truly justified.


The week in which Rodgers chose to rotate his squad and was criticised for doing so, Liverpool played Newcastle at Whatever-Name-Will-Make-Ashley-Cash Park, Real Madrid, and Chelsea at Anfield. Newcastle's horrendous form in 2014 meant Liverpool went into that game favourites. Zero points from three there. They went to Madrid, where they could well have stolen at least a point. Zero from six. Then, the team that Rodgers rested against Real Madrid and were thus aimed towards this game, played Chelsea at Anfield. Zero of nine.

A 0% return obviously isn't a success. Rodgers essentially conceded defeat against Madrid in order to focus all of his energies on the Premier League games. And he lost. Twice. Once in a game in which he went in as a clear favourite, and once in a game at home - a place where he said last season that he would never be an underdog, as David Moyes had claimed United were at Old Trafford.

While it's easier to say Rodgers got these selections wrong in hindsight, it's clear that he was trying to win local - not European - points with his selection against Madrid. He got zero. Zero from nine.


Chelsea are the irresistible force of the league this season. They have been utterly dominant, and look headed for glory already. The immovable object is Mario Balotelli. No, not because he's really good and it's a battle of the titans. It's because he doesn't move. He just doesn't.

Balotelli started against Chelsea with an abysmal record of zero Premier League goals in six appearances for Liverpool in the league. Some people might think that's fair enough when there's no Daniel Sturridge about, but it actually reinforces that Rodgers' selection against Madrid wasn't about winning, or even seeing how new faces fared. He had conceded defeat already.

For ninety minutes in Madrid, Fabio Borini ran his socks off. He presented an outlet option and constantly gave something to his teammates. Balotelli hasn't worked for ninety minutes across the entire span of his career. Yet, despite Borini's performance against Madrid, despite Balotelli having not scored a Premier League goal this season with ample opportunity, and despite Borini at least offering movement - something that Liverpool are sorely lacking without Sturridge and Suarez - Balotelli got the nod

Borini's whole-hearted effort against Madrid didn't matter. He was sent out there to lose, and no performance was going to influence Rodgers' selection against Chelsea. The only player who people may think won selection for the Chelsea game against Madrid was Emre Can. Can, however, was always going to play against Chelsea. With Jordan Henderson assigned the task of man-marking Cesc Fabregas, it had to be Can over Allen, as Rodgers needed an attacking thrust and poor Joe Allen looks like he's having flashbacks of passing to Danny Graham whenever he gets near the box.

Ultimately, the players Rodgers sent out against Madrid had nothing to play for. They were in a no win situation - they weren't going to win the game, and they weren't going to win future selection. They were losers to Rodgers.


As alluded to earlier, Rodgers slammed Moyes concession of favouritism last season. Rodgers nearly went as far to do so in the Madrid game. No, Liverpool weren't at home, but Moyes also never conceded defeat before the whistle. Rodgers did at the Bernebeu. He didn't believe the players were good enough to win, else he would have rotated these players through the Newcastle and Chelsea games too to give them a shot. Madrid, after all, are better than the two English sides that Rodgers focused his 'best' team on.

They were lambs to the slaughterhouse. On top of that, he also showed a lack of belief in his senior players to get the job done against Madrid by not rotating more effectively and playing the likes of Lucas over Gerrard against Newcastle. There was no point playing Gerrard against Madrid anyway in Rodgers' mind - he wasn't good enough to win them the game.

Any confidence that ANY of the Liverpool players had could have been shattered. None of his players were good enough for Madrid. The ones who were picked weren't good enough in the other games. Rodgers got it all wrong - the criticism was justified.

Spoiler for Judging Cards:

Firstly, great stuff by identifying what specific criticism Rodgers was faced with following his selection. It's basic but it familiarises the reader with what specific criticisms are being judged as merited or OTT. Opening point is good in creating a damning argument for Rodgers picking a decidedly weaker team against their strongest opposition of the season, whilst underlining how this baffling selection and subsequent failure to go into the game w/ the strongest team now affords them little room for error in their final two group games to remain in the Champions League.

Next couple of points are again good in picking apart potential counter arguments and further shutting down fanboy defences of Rodgers' mindset. The argument regarding 'resting' the better players yet still having them travel and train being the better of the two imo. I thought that captured the transparent motivations of Rodgers quite well, as there's no sense in dragging players you're resting overseas if you feel they're in need for a rest, otherwise why not play them from the start?

Next argument I thought was perhaps your strongest, as you tie it in well to Liverpool's reputation in Europe as one of football's biggest clubs. I thought you could have included Liverpool being in a perilous position in the group, thus Rodgers' failure to contest the game and seemingly accepting defeat and turning his attention to Chelsea being ridiculous given Liverpool's ambitions to properly compete in Europe again. Citing the significant travel involved by Liverpool fans was a good argument to again justify the criticism attached, but the key argument was focusing on Liverpool's image in Europe and how Rodgers' policy lessened their reputation and glamour in the tie. I thought the wording regarding whether he was right/wrong to do it was a bit murky, if it's possibly right for him to do it does that not mean criticism might be a bit unjustified? I got what you were trying to say but for future reference the wording there just seemed like it could have been re-written a bit.

Still you touch on a number of pertinent issues supplying well supported and argued examples throughout. Key note to rookie debaters to note the use of sources to provide credence when supplying stats. You managed to cover significant areas of criticism whilst identifying what specific criticism Rodgers faced, which was crucial in tailoring your answer to justify your stance. Conclusion is short but concise and says everything it needs to.

BkB Hulk:

For starters I would have liked to have seen you address the specific criticisms levvied at Rodgers, if only to give your debate a sense of direction and understanding in what the specific criticisms Rodgers had to contend with, and how justifiable they were.

The opening was a good way to indicate Liverpool weren't massacred, though moreso because of Madrid's wayward finishing. Still you raise a fine point that Rodgers' blatant concession before the match had begun did Liverpool no favours on a night where they could otherwise have snatched a draw given Madrid's poor conversion of chances created.

Defining the criticisms I felt would have ensured your following arguments had more context behind them. The argument about him failing to achieve a single point from three games I felt would have benefitted from acknowledging a defence of Rodgers' tactics was that the Chelsea game was important, his failure to therefore secure any points lessens any defence applied to his apparent concession that they couldn't get anything in Madrid.

The Borini/Balotelli argument I felt was a bit too long. The overall argument that Rodgers' essentially wasn't using the game to give the fringe players a chance to stake their place is a good one, though again highlighting this as Rodgers' defence in the pre-match interview would again give unfamiliar readers context in why it's being cited as an argument against him. Still, I think you could have condensed the Balotelli/Borini comparison to give yourself more room to focus on another argument, as your opponent has covered greater areas whilst outlining the main criticisms lodged at Rodgers' feet.

The conclusion is generally strong and a good indictment of how Rodgers pitifully emasculated his squad with his selections. Truthfully I just felt however your opponent covered more arguments and made better use of their word count to make succint arguments of enough depth to be convincing, without sacrificing the amount of arguments they could make. The Balotelli/Borini example took up far too much time I thought, although the general point was strong. Again, identifying the criticisms of Rodgers' tactics at the beginning like your opponent did would have aided your debate imo in terms of concisely breaking down the potential defences Rodgers could fall back on.

Ultimately, your opponent left me more convinced that Rodgers' tactics deserved the criticism they received, therefore Seabs gets the nod.

Winner - Seabs

Seabs - I thought this was a very strong debate. First of all it was structured very well in a way that as the debate progressed, the points grew stronger. Onto the points; I thought they were very well thought out. I think you identified all the errors Brodgers made and attacked them very well with some strong, hard hitting content. I really enjoyed the point that still bringing key players to Madrid and then sending them on as a sub is not resting them, which only helps your stance that he deserved the criticism, as it was beyond retarded from Brodgers. Also, you used references for a lot of your points, which always gives legitimacy to the debate. I’d like to give some constructive criticism, but I’m finding it hard to find any. A really good debate that had a lot of depth to it, which covered what I feel are the key points on why the criticism was deserved.

BkB Hulk - This was good debate, which was made up from 3 points. I think you expressed these points very well and went very deep into them. I liked that you mentioned that no matter how well those guys did in the Bernabeu, they still had no chance to crack the first team for the Chelsea game. However, my one criticism is that I think you missed out on some other points maybe at the cost of going so deep into the three you concentrated the debate around. That may be harsh by me, but I feel things needed to be mentioned such as the how poor it made Liverpool look as a club, how it cheated the fans out of a chance to see the real team in the Bernabeu, how it cheated some of the players such as Gerrard, Sterling and how rest isn’t needed in the first few months of the season. So while I do agree with your 3 points and I think you covered them strongly I think the debate is lacking a few key points that were covered in your opposition’s debate.

Verdict: Seabs takes the win here, for the reason that it covered more key points in why the criticism was justified.

I don't have much to criticise here as both debates were really good. Instead of finding things to pick apart for the sake of it, I'm just going to go through the reasons for how I came to the decision.

The stand-out argument in Seabs' is the lack of actual rest that players get by travelling to Madrid and making 18 minute cameos, which BkB Hulk didn’t mention. However, BkB Hulk also made a great point that Seabs didn’t, regarding missing the rare opportunity of catching Ronaldo on a bad night.

BkB Hulk’s arguments regarding the reasons behind dropping players incorporated the previous Newcastle game, which gave BkB Hulk’s argument more scope. Seabs made similar points and was very focused, I’m not criticising it at all, but side by side I was slightly more convinced by BkB Hulk.

The Fabio Borini point is probably what put daylight between the two debates. BkB Hulk showed a deeper analysis of the thrown-game concept which was the crux of most of the criticism, which the debate question is all about. While Seabs made a similar overall point, the deeper analysis regarding the affect on the players who had nothing to play for (either victory against Madrid or selection for the Chelsea game) provided by BkB Hulk’s version of that point was vastly superior to anything else in either of the debates. The additional rotation argument that followed that section up in BkB Hulk's further enhanced the superiority of the debates’ two different versions of the same argument.

BkB Hulk wins due to a wider scope and deeper analysis. By that I mean the extra detail, examples and explanation served to make it a more convincing debate.

Winner via Split Decision - Seabs

Bearodactyl vs AwSmash vs SPCDRI vs samizayn
Taylor Swift's decision to pull her music from Spotify. A good or bad move for her?

Spoiler for Debates:

I’m an oldfashioned dude. I still rock a discman, I didn’t have Internet until I was pretty much the last one left without it, and there is still a working VHS player plugged in sitting next to my TV. So it should be very clear to you that if even I am saying it’s time to get with the times, it’s time to get with the bloody times. This was a bad move on Taylor Swift’s part, and that’s really all there is to it.

But don’t just take my word for it: let’s start at the beginning, and really put things in perspective here.
Taylor Swift, at the ripe age of 24 years old, is currently one of the best paid musical artists in the world, having banked a cool 280+ million dollar from 2009 up until current times. (1) She is a household name, and things have worked out for her quite well career-wise.

Miss Swift currently has an issue with Spotify, an online on demand streaming service. And I quote:
“Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently. Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free..” (2)

It is because of this that miss Swift has removed her music from Spotify, as she no longer wants to be part of a system that undervalues its artists (which to me, at 280 million dollars networth, is a slightly silly thing to say but that’s another debate entirely). She is taking a stand against this new technology.. but unfortunately she’s just a few years too late.

Because the collaps of the CD market started much, MUCH earlier. It was Napster in 2000 that initially made stealing music much simpler than buying it, and shrank U.S. album shipments from 13 to 4 billion between 2000 and 2010 (the advent of Spotify). Now Spotify didn’t halt the decline I just illustrated, as sales numbers continue to drop; however, it is a step UP from straight up piracy as far as income for the artist and their team is concerned, it has pushed back piracy all across the board (as, when given a similar but legal alternative, people are much less inclined to flat out steal) and miss Swift seems oblivious to this part of the equation. It is the next generation that is streaming her songs, and when given no alternative these people (especially the casual crowd) are much more likely to just fully steal the songs than they are to actually buying them. (3,4)

Now speaking very SHORTTERM and STRICTLY from a financial standpoint (which we’re not doing in this debate, but it has to be mentioned as it IS part of it), this wasn’t a bad move. Taylor Swift is HUGE right now, and the first and second week sales of her new Album (which isn’t on Spotify, as I’m sure you understand by now) have clearly gone up due to her decision to keep it off Spotify as her fanbase is a loyal bunch. Thus, her decision has likely made her a few extra bucks in the grand scheme of things in the shortterm, with the added (digital) album sales more than compensating the loss in Spotify Royalty income.

However, its grander long-term and global impact has yet to be seen, and I feel like this question warrants looking at the big picture. How will this decision influence her spot in the Asian market for example? Music download options are continuously being used less and less in the far east despite its state as an ever-growing market, the reasons behind Swift’s decision have been largely ignored by the local media there, and thus to the casual Asian supporter Taylor Swift will simply fade into relative obscurity. That’s a lot of Spotify clicks, and all those cents add up over time. (5)

And it’s not like she didn’t have alternatives to removing her music alltogether. Take Coldplay for example, who have been staggering their stream releases to increase traffic and make people buy the album before it’s entirely streamable. Or Ed Sheran, who admittedly uses Spotify for publicity, and then gets his just rewards from a financial standpoint through live show attendance. They work within the unavoidable system. (6)

At the end of the day, what it all boils down to is this: Taylor Swift, being unhappy with the financial compensation she was receiving for her music in what unargueably is the future of music distribution, had two choices: Innovate, or take her ball and go home. She chose the latter, and will now have to deal with the future consequences. Bad move.



Yes, Taylor Swift Was Right To Stop Working With Spotify

Anecdotal Evidence: I use Spotify and I do not purchase CDs. Why would Taylor Swift fans purchase them?
Streaming services have made me much less likely to buy CDs. Why would they then not also negatively impact the purchase of music Taylor Swift fans? I have used Spotify for 2 years now and in no way, shape or form has this led me to purchase CDs. As a matter of fact, streaming services are now so legal, reliable and ubiquitous that I have not purchased a CD in at least 3 years.

Spotify Business Model Bad For Taylor Swift
Spotify retains 30 percent of revenue and pays 70 percent. The money goes through rights-holders, then Taylor Swift gets her cut. She reasoned she was giving too much money in fees and lost album sales and rightfully quit Spotify.

Free Music Devalues Swift’s Product

Giving music away for free devalues Swift’s work. Taylor Swift says it leads to the perception that her music is not worth money. “Why buy a cow when the milk is for free?” If she just gives away the milk (her music), why would anybody ever “buy to cow” (singles, iTunes and CDs)?

The Myth of Free Music Leading To Eventual Purchases

Piracy rocked the recording industry. The industry used to make 17 billion dollars a year in 2003, now it makes less than 7 billion dollars. Streaming is essentially legalized piracy. These consumers do not listen to streaming content and then purchase CDs. Quite the contrary! Whereas the industry made 14 billion dollars on 2013 inflation adjusted dollars on CD sales in 2003, the entire industry moves less than 7 billion dollars today. Revenue from CD sales are a mere 2 billion dollars now. Digital downloads have helped staunch the bleeding, but have not recouped the loss in CD sales. Every time a consumer listens to Taylor Swift on a streaming service like Spotify, it reduces their likelihood of purchasing a physical CD and directly costs Swift many CD sales.

Could Spotify Be Used For Exposure?
While Spotify does suggest similar artists when listening to a song (someone listening to a pop or country song may be “Recommended” to listen to Taylor Swift), by and large, Spotify functions off of people knowing the artist. Taylor Swift was groomed as top tier talent as a child and signed a deal with RCA 10 years ago. Her debut album came out in 2008 and went platinum 5 times! There is no argument to be made that a woman whose debut album sold 5 million records needs “exposure.” She followed this up in 2008 with the record Fearless which had her signature song “Love Story”on it. This song alone sold 8 million copies! She’s also racked up many accolades: “Swift has received sevenGrammy Awards, fifteen American Music Awards, eleven Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, and twelve Billboard Music Awards.”
Swiftly clearly does not need Spotify's dubious "exposure!"

Taylor Swift Already Digitally Distributes Her Music
Google and Youtube have a program called Music Key. Swift is partnered with this along with other services like Rhapsody and iTunes and people need to pay money to access her content. Taylor Swift does not believe that people should be able to listen to an unlimited amount of music without compensating artists. She dislikes Spotify’s shoddy practices of allowing anybody to listen to what they wish on the service without paying artists. In her own words on the subject, Taylor Swift says, “On Spotify, they don’t have any settings, or any kind of qualifications for who gets what music. I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that’s that.”
Taylor Swift herself concurs with my anecdotal evidence and concrete evidence of the advent of streaming hurting her physical sales of CDs when she stated, in agreement with me, the following: “Everybody's complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody's changing the way they're doing things. They keep running towards streaming, which is, for the most part, what has been shrinking the numbers of paid album sales. With Beats Music and Rhapsody you have to pay for a premium package in order to access my albums. And that places a perception of value on what I've created.”

Swift made a savvy business decision. She digitally distributes music on platforms she prefers to Spotify as they do not give her music away “for free” and have less overhead. She gains no exposure from Spotify and it cost her sales.


As a music streaming service, Spotify is one that will continue to be debated over, its merits and drawbacks scrutinised by consumers and makers alike. Taylor Swift herself, or somebody in her upper circle, has recently decide to cut its losses and part ways with Spotify, withdrawing her content from their program.

What ends up being the bottom line for this? On surface level, very, very little. Her music being gone from Spotify does nothing to limit its accessibility to the public – if somebody was looking to hear a Swift track, it’s easier found with a quick Youtube search regardless. The format of Spotify might favour those looking for a lengthier listening experience, but again, ‘Taylor Swift full album’ into the search engine provides anything Spotify could give you, albeit with a lot less flexibility.

Flexibility ends up being the crux of the occasion. The decision of this move argues – and not without merit – that all the Spotify experience is providing people, is leisure. Leisure to listen to Taylor Swift’s music when they want, and more or less how they want. Somebody wised up and realised Taylor was getting the bum deal there - after all, Spotify Premium is a service you can gain access to for the fabulous price of $9.99, for which you can listen to Taylor Swift’s music free of interruptions, whenever and wherever you want.

That sounds a lot like how you’d listen to her if you actually, you know, bought her CD.

Consider how the numbers play out from her end of it. One Spotify Premium subscription versus her latest album, which is also is currently being sold on Amazon for $9...99. A quick comparison is enough to see how that ends up working out for her – a minuscule slither of a significantly smaller pie, versus damn near all of the other, bigger pie. The second is infinitely more appealing than the first, and while it doesn’t strictly have to be an either/or situation, Taylor recognises the potential of this decision to lean fans towards the more favourable option of actually buying her damned CD.

Might that equally push fans into less legal means of obtaining her music? Quite probably, but even so, the numbers favour her choice: if she made even 1/100th of what she would make every time someone Spotify streamed her album instead of buying it, that would only require one person out of that hypothetical group of one hundred to choose the purchase over the torrent, for her Spotify removing deal to break her even. One person becomes two people, and she’s in the green. Taking into account the fact that the real life numbers actually skew more significantly in her favour, and the approach becomes even more obvious.

At the end of the day, she’s taking her content off of Spotify because the money isn’t worth it. The only way this could somehow be considered a bad move on her part is if we weigh the intangibles with equal importance, like for example, the publicity. Requesting your work be taken off of a convenient, popular streaming service is a textbook heel move, and has likely caused some fans to sour on her as an individual. An artist is nothing without her fanbase, and acts like these are a surefire way of seeing the adoring masses dwindle and thin away very quickly, as we’re very likely about to witness with one Taylor Swift.

As in, the multiple grammy award winning Taylor Swift.

As in, the upwards trend of album sales despite overall industry downturn Taylor Swift.

As in, the only album this year to sell a million copies Taylor Swift.

As in, the selling that amount in the first week Taylor Swift. For the third time in her career, which no one else has ever done. That very same Taylor Swift.

Examining the witnesses, I think it’s quite obvious what this Spotify ordeal has done for her. So let it be known, as I write this with Taylor Swift firmly at the top of the Billboard 100 and most likely making snow angels in enormously large amounts of cash: cancelling Spotify has absolutely, without a doubt ruined her career as a professional musician and she will never come back from this.

Spoiler for Judging Cards:
Bearodactyl - This was decent but really suffered from being against two good debates which argued against this debate and made it weaker than it is against no opposition. 4 paragraphs and no reasoning presented for your stance isn't ideal. Bit heavy on description at the start imo. The argument that getting something from Spotify is better than nothing from piracy but you were really missing the evidence to back this up. Show me that this would be the case. It just reads as you hypothesising rather than presenting a valid argument. Presenting the financial benefit I thought worked out as an own goal because for me you didn't really argue that the long term benefits outweigh the short term. You at least tried though which is good practice. Again your long term arguments seem very hypothesising. There's just not really any evidence of the long term negative and overall negative of the decision. Not really convinced by this based on a lack of evidence to do the convincing. Instead all I felt I had was your opinion and ifs and maybes.

SPCDRI - Structurally this felt odd at the start. The first two headings are really just info that feel like they belong in a traditional introduction. As you used them with headings for each paragraph they read more like notes. Don't force yourself into the heading structure for each paragraph if it doesn't work ideally. Once you get into your arguments the debate improves though. Chart is neat although I thought you could have explained it better. There's an awful lot of data in that chart so I think the reader really needs you to explain it to them and really illustrate your point. Given you're argument here I would have used the chart to show that the ratio of streaming sales (Spotify) to physical CD sales is actually decreasing less favourably for CD sales. That would really drive your point home and I think the data is there in the chart but it's hard to see with all the colours and the size of some of them. Exposure argument is good. Taylor isn't benefiting from Spotify like others do. Good job making the debate specific to the context of the question here. Final point is good too at showing how she isn't leaving the distribution model all together. Good debate.

samizayn - The financial argument is really good because at the end of the day this is a business debate and business is driven by money. I thought you could have illustrated the numbers better though. You're missing a really clear breakdown of what proportion of sales Swift gets for each form of distribution for the numbers to really work here. Without them it was a little unclear to me even if the point still rang true. End argument is great though and I love the personality that comes through with the sarcasm. This part was great.

This is between SPCDRI and samizayn. I think samizayn's debate peaked higher and she argued the points you both argued a tad stronger. However, I don't think that edge was big enough to edge out the fact that SPCDRI argued the same points almost as well and still had another argument in his debate. That little better use of the word count to be more concise and get more out of the 800 words than samizayn won SPCDRI my vote here. Really close between the two of you though.

Winner - SPCDRI

Apologies for the lack of in-depth comments. I tend to write more when I have more to criticise, but all of these were more than competent (at the very least) and enjoyable to read, so props to you all for a good match. Feel free to PM me or whinge like a bitch in the thread for further explanation as to how I came to the decision.

I quite liked the point about Spotify being a step up from straight piracy, and your examples of the alternative options that Swift had (Coldplay and Ed Sheeran) were also spot on. The short-term counter argument followed up by the long-term consequences was pretty good too. Thing is, the arguments proposed by both SPCDRI and samizayn were more convincing. I felt like both SPCDRI and samizayn had a much firmer grasp on the subject than you. This really did feel like a debate written by someone still using a VCR and rockin’ a discman. More power to you for that though.

Good points about Spotify not leading to CD sales. Good point too about Swift not needing the exposure anymore, which can be a big selling point of having your music available on Spotify. This is a solid debate and I don’t have any criticisms. I think it was slightly outclassed by samizayn, which had similar points but presented them slightly better.

Great early points about accessibility and flexibility. The breakdown of how the monies from Spotify and CD sales compare specifically for Swift is the tie-breaker between this and SPCDRI. I thought SPCDRI might have the edge on the first read through, but on subsequent read-throughs, samizayn was more convincing. It was written really well, with a few splashes of subtle humour and deserves the win imo.

Winner: samizayn

The Lady Killer
Bearodactyl = Intro was OK. I always like adding a personal touch to your debate, but I'm not sure how effective this was. The rest of the debate didn't ever seem to get going imo. I never felt you adequately addressed the question. It seemed to lack a bit of organization. You claim it was a bad move for Swift, but I never really understood WHY you thought that. You then say it was a good thing in the short-term, but you never established up front that you were strictly speaking long term. It just felt a bit jumbled to me.

SPCDRI = I thought this was quite good. You made great claims as to why Swift was justified in taking her music off Spotify, and you effectively shut down the exposure counterargument. I only wish that you would have gone one further and state how she was not only justified in her decision, but how it was also a GOOD move, as the topic suggests. Overall, this was pretty impressive, though. Very well-written.

samizayn = This was a different approach - basically addressing the business aspect of it, and not much else. I wish you had stated your stance from the start, because it was a bit hard to decipher at first. I also didn't think it was wise to introduce the counterargument as a potential weakness rather than shutting it down. The publicity aspect is definitely a major player here, and I'm surprised it hasn't come up more prominently in any of these debates.

Winner = SPCDRI

Winner via Split Decision - SPCDRI

The Lady Killer vs RealManRegal
Should WWE do more squash matches on TV?

Spoiler for Debates:

Should WWE book more squash matches on TV? Absolutely not - however before we start it's important to make the distinction between squash matches, and matches featuring enhancement talent/jobbers.

Not all squashes need to feature enhancement talent, and importantly not all matches featuring enhancement talent are squashes.

Squash matches typically involve one wrestler showing dominance over another by either beating them quickly or being on the right side of a heavily one-sided contest. In essence they're a storytelling mechanism in order to help a character stand out in a dominant fashion, and are typically utilised in one of two ways:
  • One off wins to help a new superstar to make an impact, or an established character recapture momentum.
  • As part of a winning streak (perhaps the most famous example being Goldberg)

The reason squashes work is that they contrast expectations for a standard wrestling match, where there's usually a bit of back and forth over a 5-15 minute contest. As such it's fair to say that their effectiveness is based in their comparative rarity.

This is even more true today, where matches get more time and there is overall more focus on the in-ring product.

The more squash matches are a part of regular programming, the less effective they become; because if a squash victory is a regular occurrence then it's no longer a remarkable feat.

For a period in early 2012, we had a situation where Brodus Clay, Tensai and Ryback all had a run of squash match victories, and the net result was not positive. Both Tensai and Clay tanked, and ended up as one of the more disturbing kiddie-centric acts in recent history; and Ryback found himself being increasingly derided by fans with Golberg comparisons.

Ryback was the only one of those three who did start to show promise; however WWE creative were unable to figure out how best to capitalise on the momentum built upon a squash-heavy winning streak, and eventually he succombed to shoddy booking.

Of the 3 superstars mentioned, one has been released after being sent back to developmental and one is now a commentator in developmental. Ryback is the only one still on the active roster, and is potentially at the start of a renaissance of sorts having just returned from injury. Who's to say whether his initial run could have been more successful if the fans weren't seeing two other wrestlers racking up squash wins at the same time.

The crowd going mild in response to this over-use of squash booking is also indicative of the arguably smarter audience todays product has. The overexposure of the product, rise of the Internet and the death of kayfabe has led to an audience who generally have a broader understanding of what's taking place in the ring. They know a squash when they see it, and they know where they typically lead to.

Fans can overlook this predictability if there is something else compelling about the performer; but if all someone has going for them is that they're booked to win squash matches then it's a much harder sell.

Similarly we've seen far too many "Big Show squashes" - where someone physically imposing has been booked to look weak, and now needs to "reset" and reassert their dominance - for them to really be effective at all.

There are some minor positives in increasing the amount of squash matches which take place on TV:
  • Some would argue that shorter matches would mean more airtime available for members of the roster who are often overlooked. However when you consider that with Raw, Smackdown, Main Event and PPV's there is around 27 hours of wrestling TV time per month, so it's fair to say that if someone isn't making it onto TV it's not because there isn't enough airtime available.
  • Squash matches help to hide the negatives of more limited performers. This was primarily the reason for the squash streak of Goldberg, however it's a double-edged sword as at some point the audience will want something other than a 2 minute squash; and by this point the impact of these limitations being exposed will be far greater.

Now with all of this said, I would advocate a return to the more regular use of enhancement talent, particularly on the lesser shows such as Superstars and Main Event - but these matches wouldn't necessarily need to be squash matches.

I certainly don't think that WWE should no longer book squash matches outright - they still have their place and can be extremely effective when correctly utilised. However exposing today's audience to more squash matches would negate their effectiveness and undermine the very reason squash matches exist, and so it would not be smart to book more squashes on TV.

The Lady Killer

Squash matches: Immortalized Hulk Hogan. Created an 8th Wonder of the World in Andre the Giant. Turned Bill Goldberg into GOLDBERG. Good guys become heroes. Bad guys transform into monsters. Somewhere down the line, WWE lost sight of this tried and true method of getting its talent over, often at the expense of others. It is without reservation that I support the use of more squash matches on WWE television.

Why Squashes are LEGIT for Business

At its roots, a squash match is a surefire way to introduce and establish debuting talents, getting them acclimated to a new environment (WWE-style matches, big crowds) while avoiding over-exposure. Think of a squash as an interview. You suit up in your work attire, meet a bunch of unknowns, and try your best to give all of the unknowns the answers they want to hear. You attempt to encapsulate yourself in a short amount of time, hoping to make a good enough impression to win the unknowns over. Inherently, this is what a debuting talent attempts to accomplish during a squash match. Fans get a quick glimpse of what makes a superstar stand out – mannerisms, signature moves, and most importantly, the FINISHER are all on display.

Squash matches have also proven effective in masking any technical shortcomings of “green” talent (Ultimate Warrior), and establishing an aura of dominance (Ryback destroying two jobbers at once). Speaking of Ryback, his first match back from injury was a squash match. This was an expert way of getting him reacquainted with the fans, and also immediately reestablishing his credibility, as he was thrust directly into the main event storyline. Clearly, squash matches are operative for those undergoing a renewed push. Most fans have short-term memories – a simple squash can give the audience an indication that WWE is interested in pushing a talent and having him be taken seriously.

Where WWE Went Wrong

Perhaps the biggest appeal to a squash is its low opportunity cost – getting talent over without damaging the guy on the losing end. Enhancement talent exists for a reason, yet WWE insists on using talents of equal status in an attempt to get one another over. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way, and has instead led to a decimated mid-card. The new flavor of the week beats a past flavor of the week and vice-versa, creating a never-ending cycle of trading wins that mean nothing because neither star is credible. With perennial jobbers (Heath Slater) on the payroll, there is no reason to use guys who WWE should be establishing like Cesaro and (for a long time) Ziggler as enhancement talents. Sadly, WWE attempts to build stars at the expense of guys who have great potential, creating a bottleneck effect.

FEED ME MORE Squashes, Plz

Let’s remedy the above problem by incorporating more squash matches on WWE television. With an impending influx of NXT talents, squashes will become increasingly valuable in order to showcase numerous potential stars in a limited amount of time without damaging the credibility of already established vets. The intrinsic power of a squash is arguably best captured by the rise of Rusev. He has been built phenomenally into an over, credible heel. It’s easy to assume that whoever finally beats Rusev will receive an incredible rub due to how well Rusev has been built and protected because of his role in squash matches.

Incorporating More Squashes into Current WWE Landscape

Naysayers may insist that today’s fanbase has grown accustomed to competitive matches on weekly television. An increase in squash matches won’t change this. Squashes last two minutes, tops, leaving plenty of time for Bunny antics and midget matches. If fans grow weary of squashes, they’ll quickly be corralled back in once a meaningful feud develops in which a foe steps up to put a seemingly unbeatable force in his place. WWE must think long-term here.

An idea: Establish two stars as threats. Let them SQUASH men who are meant to be squashed, not those who are clinging to their position on the card. Keep them busy AND credible until a feud materializes. Make fans WAIT to see feuding superstars go at it. Storylines and feuds, much like the talent themselves, are much more appreciated when they aren’t gratuitously over-exposed every week on TV. With PPV buys a thing of the past, WWE’s focus is now on Network subscriptions. If you want people to pay money for something, stop giving it away for free.

Stars aren’t born overnight. As more and more time is allocated to these budding stars and their respective feuds, the entertainment value of WWE’s flagship TV programming will improve across the board. Once WWE acknowledges that John Cena won’t be around forever, they’ll realize that an increase in the number of squash matches can help uncover his replacement(s).

Spoiler for Judging Cards:
RealManRegal - I think the big issue with your stance is that you don't state what the current context is regarding WWE and the use of squash matches and because of that "more" doesn't really have a meaning here. Obviously there's an optimum amount but where are WWE now relative to that optimum amount and will "more" put them over that point? If you were able to show that the amount they have right now is enough and MORE would be too much then this debate would work very well but I didn't feel that you did that. Argument for squash matches needing to be limited and thus having some form of rarity to be effective is strong. Then you get to your case in point and I thought it fell pretty weak with the examples you used. You cite Brodus and Tensai both eventually tanking but I didn't feel that you showed this was directly related to the use of squash matches across the product at the time and not because of other factors, e.g. Brodus' gimmick having a short shelf life and Tensai having a bad gimmick and the fans not letting him forget what he was in a past life in WWE. You even seem to accept that the concept worked in getting Ryback over and then say that creative screwed him up. So in the end the concept worked for Ryback. So what I have from my POV here is a good case for squash matches with Ryback where you can link the concept to his initial success but that link is missing between Brodus/Tensai and their lack of success. When you bring up that fans know what squashes lead to I didn't think that you showed why this was a negative against using them more either. Counter bullets are fine although I think the 2nd is iffy. Yes they'd get exposed in longer matches but will this stop them making money? It didn't stop Goldberg for example (who could actually work more than just a squash tbf) and Warrior was a big star despite being exposed in a longer match.

The Lady Killer - I really like your intro. Sets up the pros of squash matches brilliantly. First point reinforces the intro very well too. The 2nd point is where you won this debate for me because it built on your argument for the pros of squash matches and showed how WWE SHOULD use them more and attributed a direct benefit to the context of the question. Argument is on the money too with the trading wins midcard merry-go-round. Rusev example is great too. You probably could have focused a bit more on the strengths of Rusev's run and attributing them to squash matches, e.g. how it meant something when Big E gave him first semi competitive match. I thought how you made the landscape point was iffy. I thought the "If fans grow weary of squashes" was lacking because won't a new act take the spot of the squash segment? I also thought you could have highlighted that Raw being 3 hours gives plenty of time for longer competitive matches on the show as well as squashes. Booking idea was good at showing another benefit of the concept too. The only real issue is that you don't state how much WWE currently uses them which is important in a question that involves doing something more or less. If you see more or less than remember to mention what more or less relates to. For instance more/less is the future so what is the present that will change into the future? Showing that WWE don't do them enough or have room to do more before they get to "too much" re: squash matches would have been the icing on the cake of a great debate. However, I thought your midcard circus point was strong enough to show how trading competitive trading wins midcard matches for squash matches would benefit guys like Cesaro not having to play enhancement talent and looking like geeks so often.

Winner - The Lady Killer

BkB Hulk
This was pretty fantastic. The opposing sides of the debate make this all the more interesting, and I think you did a really good job of covering the opposition arguments outside of the constant midcard losers one.

Your main points themselves were intelligent, and the recent example as to why squashes don't work was effective. I'm not sure if Tensai is a great example, because I remember him facing main eventers before long, but the idea that repeated squashes eliminates the difference they make and thus the rub for the guys winning is an intelligent point.

I also think your distinction between enhancement talents losing and outright squashes is a great point to use, and again covers a lot of what your opponent has said. As a debate, it's almost watertight. Impressive.

The Lady Killer:
This was a strong debate too, and your points did have merit. I liked the simple feud idea built on two guys being dominant and then eventually facing. It's simple, but it's a way to make a feud work.

Where I feel you're covered is that your opponent effectively counters a lot of your points, while you don't do the same. The point about midcarders continually losing is a good one, but I think you've been countered really strongly outside of that. A good debate, but coming from opposing sides has damaged you.

Winner: RealManRegal


Loved this. Despite taking different stances, you and your opponent made very similar points. However, you had some real keys points that I really enjoyed. For example:

“As such it's fair to say that their effectiveness is based in their comparative rarity.”
“The more squash matches are a part of regular programming, the less effective they become; because if a squash victory is a regular occurrence then it's no longer a remarkable feat.”
“The crowd going mild in response to this over-use of squash booking is also indicative of the arguably smarter audience todays product has.”
There are more, but I just wanted to highlight the key ones. The big kicker for me was the Ryback, Tensai, and Clay example. It was an interesting time and quite strange that there were so many squash matches going on at the same time. It really did hurt the product. I feel like there was even more wrestlers debuting with squash matches at the time, but I can’t seem to remember. Either way, the point is pretty good.

I like the mention of Big Show squash matches. The need for a character reset for wrestlers like Big Show, aka every six months when he decides to turn again for no damn reason.

Anyway, I like how you finished up saying that the matches don’t need to go away, they just need to be limited to increase effectiveness. Nice job.

The Lady Killer

I’m gonna come right out and say it, I love the interview metaphor. The rest of the “what is squash” section is fine. No weaknesses. Nothing super noteworthy though. Just by the books. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. It just means I have nothing more to really comment on.

The “where it went wrong” section is interesting. My biggest gripe with this section is that it seems to be more about trading wins every week in normal matches instead of just a new talent squashing a midcard talent in a few minutes. At least that’s what I’m getting out of this paragraph. It does mention enhancement talent, but, to use a simile, it’s like this paragraph was a family traveling back home from vacation that stopped at a random exit on the interstate because they saw the world’s largest rubber-band ball. Like an unnecessary detour. There were still some bright spots, but it seemed off.

The Rusev example was alright. I haven’t watched enough wrestling recently in the last 4 months to know if he is still over, but I’ll take your word for it. The last few paragraphs are solid, but I don’t see anything that really stands out. I feel you are missing something. Like your opponent’s example from 2012 was excellent. It needs something like that.

DECISION: RealManRegal wins. RealManRegal's was stronger and had some great examples. Essentially I was just more convinced. He really used the word count well and really showed that the matches would be more effective if they were limited, citing smarter audiences, over-saturated examples from the past, and how with 27 hours of TV time a month, we really shouldn't have to worry about less time for wrestlers. So yeah.

Winner: RealManRegal

Winner via Split Decision - RealManRegal

TDL Wrestling Division Championship Match
ZOMBO vs The Acquired Taste

Who should face Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 31 out of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, The Rock & Daniel Bryan?

Spoiler for Debates:

Roman Reigns is the unequivocal best choice to face Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 31 amongst these options, as he is a practical, sensible and credible opponent for Lesnar.


The Rock is 42 years old. He’s a megastar in Hollywood. He already put over Brock TWELVE YEARS AGO when Rock was 30, a prime wrestling age.(1) Since then, Brock became the heavyweight champion in LEGIT combat sports. This past year, Brock broke the most hallowed streak in wrestling, AND threw an in-his-prime John Cena around the ring in a glorified squash match.

Basically, Brock has IMPROVED since that match. How can we possibly envision Rock going over and, if he does, what’s the benefit?? It doesn’t put the spotlight on a newly minted star. Instead, it merely becomes another part-time champ with less legitimacy than Brock. Brock’s fighting background legitimizes the belt. Rock would ruin that. So, then, what’s the benefit if Brock goes over? Errrr, we learn nothing we didn’t already know from 2002. Neither result would be anything to get excited over, which is why this matchup is a dud in terms of forward progress in WWE.


Daniel Bryan against Lesnar would be a great little match built around the classic underdog story. Bryan throwing his body recklessly time and time again into the physically stronger opponent until his heart and desire finally overcome the odds for a storybook win! That sounds great on its face… if Bryan himself didn’t do that literally at WrestleMania 30. Bryan became a MADE MAN last WrestleMania with his victories over HHH, Orton and Batista. Why waste the opportunity to make a NEW star?

There’s also the MINOR (note: sarcasm) issue of determining if Bryan can and will ever actually be able to wrestle again.(2) There’s been constant talk of a second major elbow surgery that could keep Bryan out for months AT MINIMUM. This is unlike Reigns, who is currently almost back from his hernia surgery, a routine procedure that allows a full recovery within 6 weeks. Clearly, this doesn’t raise the red flags that Bryan’s medical issues do. At debate submission time, this uncertainty is a MAJOR strike against Bryan, given how physical a match with Lesnar becomes. So, with a bad wing and a storyline that would rehash WrestleMania 30, Bryan ain’t the optimal choice for Lesnar this year.


Given The Rock’s age, Bryan’s health concerns, and the already-attained starpower of both men, that leaves us with two remaining choices to face Brock. Let’s look at how the similarly-aged Shield superstars stack up.(3)

Ambrose defenders will automatically begin having wet dreams around the promo potential between Ambrose and Heyman. Ambrose is a good promo, sure, but his current feud with Bray was supposed to be an epic promo war too. I’ll link the memorable promos between them so far right now.(4) Scary things also happen when Ambrose treads into the waters of typical WWE babyface behaviour, performing what they interpret as “comedy”.(5) This could happen in an extended promo war with the slimy Heyman.

However, Heyman is in a league of his own when it comes to promo work, and he can and has built up numerous feuds on nothing but his words. Reigns was at his very best, promo-wise, as the punctuation mark of Shield. Dean would open, Seth would ramble for ten, and then BOOM, here came Roman like an exclamation point, forcing you to BELIEVE in that shit. It works similarly in a feud with Brock. Heyman talks as long as he needs (recall, he is VERY good at this), and then Reigns just has to hit his punctuation mark and end scene.


So, we know that Heyman could get either ANY guy into a match with Lesnar, promo-wise. But what about the match itself? A knock on Reigns is that he’s still too green in the ring versus his Shield stablemates. Well, a match with Lesnar ain’t exactly your 25-minute technical classic. You basically sign up to get your ass handed to you for 20 minutes, only getting brief spurts of offence. While Ambrose has his dives and flurry of wild punches, this is TAILOR MADE for a guy like Reigns. This goes back to him being the exclamation point of the Shield. He was always the hot tag, the FINAL BOSS of the Shield. Came in, hit his power moves, and knocked motherfuckers out. Samoan Drop. Superman Punch. Spear. These are explosive moves, ending each match with a definitive !

Both guys are young, and could withstand the physicality of Lesnar. However, only one guy LOOKS like he can return it just as hard. That’s the key. Reigns has been bred by the WWE, for better or worse, to be the next Cena. He looks the part, he plays the part. It’s why he ended matches with the Shield. It’s why he was always the leader into battle in their feuds with the Wyatts and Evolution. Another way to gauge this difference is comparing each man to WWE’s resident measuring stick, John Cena. Reigns has been viewed as Cena’s equal(6) whereas Ambrose needs all kinds of fuckery to go over Cena in a Russo-esque match.(7)

Reigns’ power enables him to make in-ring MAGIC like this, whipping the crowd into an instant frenzy due to his quick, hard-hitting, believable offence.(8) Ambrose, good as he is, simply lacks that next gear that connects with the fans on a primal basis that only few can achieve.

Given that Reigns is 29 years old, can pull off believable offence against Lesnar, possesses THE look that WWE so desperately covets in its top stars, that WWE is in desperate NEED of new top stars, and can be the standard bearer of the company for years to come, it makes all the sense in the world for Roman to face Brock at WrestleMania 31.



(1) For those who are too young to remember:


(3) Both guys will be 29 years old at Mania.

(4) This space intentionally left blank.


(6) Reigns and Cena face-off at 11:40

(7) Ambrose over Cena, in a no-DQ contract-on-a-pole match with repeated interference from The Authority

(8) 30:40-31:20

The Acquired Taste


Ambrose should not only face Lesnar but he should defeat him.

Beating the most legitimate heel in history at the biggest show of the year for the top prize in the business shouldn't be given to just anybody. It should be reserved for the next top guy, the guy that's going to carry the WWE for the next decade.

This must happen at Wrestlemania 31 because Lesnar's contract is most probably up then and let's be honest, WWE won't take priority over hunting bears and fucking Sable.

The next top guy MUST be legitimized by beating Lesnar before departing.


He has everything a top guy should have.

MOMENTUM - He'll have heat going into Wrestlemania.

RELIABILITY - He'll be around after Wrestlemania.

A GREAT ALL AROUND ACT - He'll maintain fan support long after Wrestlemania.

Roman Reigns is another possible choice but he's just not ready yet. He loses to Ambrose in all three areas due to inactivity, injury and inexperience. Therefore choosing Reigns to face Lesnar is ill-advised.

Meanwhile, The Rock and Daniel Bryan are already established.

Rock - 10-time world champion and a bonafide movie star.
Bryan - 4-time world champion and was legitimized last year.

Something as monumental as conquering Lesnar shouldn't be just another notch on somebody's belt, it should be the creation of a new belt entirely for somebody...

Somebody like Ambrose...


Since The Shield split, Ambrose's singles career has been thriving. He's told a tale of two brothers with Seth Rollins. Now he's entered psychological warfare with Bray Wyatt. Admittedly, both of these are a bit personal to me. I've also had a falling out with my brother where we'd fought for a period of time, we are now estranged. People have also had digs at me for my mate being in prison, I went after them too(1). I may not be a pro wrestler but I'm not too different from Ambrose. He's got me emotionally invested and he'll have my full attention going into Wrestlemania.

Reigns, Rock and Bryan aren't even active which means they're not in feuds building themselves up for Wrestlemania. Even before their injuries, Reigns and Bryan were in forgettable feuds with Authority members. The Rock would be the best return out of the three due to his star power but why should he get Lesnar over Ambrose?

Money? Sure...If Wrestlemania 31 is the last Wrestlemania ever. But WWE WILL HAVE future Wrestlemanias and it's time they start building their next money makers for those events instead of relying on Rocky when he's absent every other PPV. Not saying Rock shouldn't be at Wrestlemania, him vs Rollins would be a solid match up. But Lesnar-Rock is wasting TWO rubs that could go towards stars that could draw as much money as them one day.

Stars like Ambrose.


Barring filming for a WWE MOVIE(2), Ambrose hasn't missed a Monday Night RAW since debuting. This is important because with Lesnar only showing up every 2nd week, Ambrose has to build the match by himself mostly. Despite that, he'll display quality entertainment on RAW consistently (matches(3), promos(4), comedy(5)). He'll show up and keep the fans enticed during the build.

Ambrose has never missed a PPV since debuting either. He's never been injured so bad it's caused him to be inactive for a build to a PPV, in fact he's never had a major injury or surgery his whole career (except when Rollins stomped him so hard that he pretended to be a cop for a while(6)). There's no reason why he wouldn't be around after Wrestlemania 31.

The same can't be said for Reigns, Rock and Bryan. They've all had surgery(7)(8)(9) not long after their last match. These guys who've had surgery are less likely to keep intact, especially if/after facing Lesnar who is notoriously stiff. Remember in their profession it's guaranteed they'll be slammed on the canvas continuously. Ambrose will at least be able to take it.

Bryan's situation with his neck is the most dire. Ask Edge how it's shortened his career(10). A Lesnar-Bryan match puts Bryan's health at serious risk. Ask The Undertaker about his concussion(11) or John Cena about 16 receiving suplexes(12). If you have any sense in you, you'll understand why this match shouldn't happen. You don't want Bryan retiring like Edge after Wrestlemania with the championship do you?.

Don't forget Rocky also has movie commitments. With Furious 7(13) and San Andreas(14) coming out in the April/May period, best believe Wrestlemania 31 and beyond isn't high on Rocky's priority list.

Ambrose is the most safe and reliable option.


Ambrose has had an entertaining series of matches with Rollins(15)(16)(17) (meaning him and Lesnar = war), pulled off serious promos(18)(19)(20) (the promos between him and Heyman...OMG) and the crowd loves him for it(21)(22)(23). The main positive of Ambrose being the total package is fans don't have a reason to hate him if he's positioned as the top guy. Despite Cena, don't forget the top guy is supposed to be UNANIMOUSLY cheered.

Reigns isn't a smart choice in this case. Having no notable matches and bland promos, fans will eventually turn on him like they did Cena(24) when they felt he didn't deserve to be shoved down their throats due to his limited skill set. Reigns should develop in the midcard. He can even defeat Rusev for the US title upon returning as working with Rusev has garnered positive heat for him before(25). But if Lesnar-Reigns gets rushed to happen at Wreslemania 31, Reigns' weaknesses will be exposed and his future with the fans is jeopardized.

With Ambrose there's no reason that the fans would turn on him.


If Ambrose faces and defeats Lesnar...

- A new maineventer gets established.
- He'll have heat going into Mania.
- He has no reason not to stick around afterwards.
- He'll keep us entertained for years to come.

Ambrose > Reigns, Rock and Bryan.

Spoiler for references:
(1) Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt on The Peep Show: (4:47)

(2) "Dean Ambrose left WWE three weeks ago to film a movie, Lockdown, a WWE production that will likely be a great movie because Ambrose stars in the flick.":

(3) Dean Ambrose vs Randy Orton on Raw:

(4) Dean Ambrose attacked by Seth Rollins, Kane, Randy Orton: (2:06)

(5) Ambrose popcorn segment:

(6) Lockdown (2015):

(7) WWE star Roman Reigns undergoes emergency surgery:

(8) Daniel Bryan undergoes successful neck surgery:

(9) WWE NEWS: New update on Rock's WrestleMania injury:

(10) Injury forces Edge to retire:

(11) WWE WrestleMania star The Undertaker has head injury:

(12) Brock Lesnar just demolished John Cena at WWE SummerSlam:

(13) Furious 7:

(14) San Andreas:

(15) Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins at Summerslam: (3:39 - 14:31)

(16) Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins on RAW:

(17) Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins at Hell in a Cell:

(18) Ambrose & Reigns on Rollins' betrayal:

(19) Ambrose returns to RAW:

(20) Ambrose on attack from Authority:

(21) Dean Ambrose returns at NOC:, "We Want Ambrose" chants (7:45), pops for Ambrose (10:45) (11:03)

(22) RAW 10.06.14: Ambrose chants (6:36), unanimous boos (43:40)

(23) Dean Ambrose hot tag: (9:42)

(24) "For Cena's initial entrance, it's high pitched squeals, and the requisite 40–50% boos ... there were significant cheers for Trips, which is the REAL issue in play, here.":

(25) Reigns and Rusev, the last two in battle royal: (1:45)

Spoiler for Judging Cards:
ZOMBO - On the whole this is really strong. I don't think any argument jumped out at me as being convincing beyond the normal head nod but I didn't have any noteable faults with your pick and your elimination of other picks either. Rock dismissal is kinda easy but very well done. The only real argument for Rock/Brock is that it would draw so much mainstream attention and viewers who wouldn't normally even consider buying the PPV which is important in introducing new people to the network who might hopefully stick around when they see a Reigns or a Bryan, etc featured the next match down from the hook. That's the only real argument for Rock imo so it would have been nice to see that countered. Same for the Bryan argument. Strong and hard to argue against. I would have added in a line about how giving Bryan another rub may be a waste linked to your argument about his arm but that's it. Now we get to the harder dismissal imo. You don't really dismiss Ambrose as a bad choice but argue for Reigns as a better one. I liked that because really it's the strongest argument between two good choices. One is just better. Made your "Reigns is Supreme" break look odd because really this was just one part of your debate but that's irrelevant. I liked the focus on Heyman given the build will be X vs Heyman. Neat stuff highlighting how Brock can expose Reigns' strengths too. You could argue there could still be an issue with Reigns' selling in the match and that Ambrose will have a better match. Probably needed to add in a bit about Reigns deserving or maybe even needing the rub more than Ambrose. For example say that Ambrose is getting over minus the rub and Reigns is more of a casual fan hit so the setting is more suited to Reigns' fanbase. I would have cut the 3rd to last paragraph because I thought it was too much on who WILL rather than SHOULD get the spot. You talk about how WWE is positioning Reigns but it doesn't really argue that they're right to do this. That's the only real gripe worth nothing besides some possibly missed points that could have improved your debate but this is being judged on what you have rather than what you didn't and what you did have were effective dismissals for Rock and Bryan and an effective argument for picking Reigns over Ambrose.

The Acquired Taste - Ok first off you're debate is at 1007 words. In a title match this sloppy of an error is annoying. Me and WOOLCOCK both agreed that ZOMBO had won when we noticed this so the decision isn't altered by this but yeah, you went over the word count which is technically a DQ, even for 7 words. Fortunately you didn't have the better debate anyway. Where ZOMBO had sound dismissals for the other picks you fell really short here. It really is incredible to think that Bryan is technically a 4 time world champ. Yay for title reigns meaning something in the modern era. I thought your argument for the pick needing to be someone not yet established was glossed over too quickly. Actually make the argument. The momentum argument was weak and felt almost clutching at straws. Momentum can be gained very quickly and all Reigns needs to do is win the Rumble and he has some sort of momentum even if it's only kayfabe. It's feasible any one of them can pick up momentum going into Mania between now and March because momentum can swing so quickly and radically. Plus after being out for so long Bryan would have immediate momentum upon return and Rock is Rock and will always be hot in some form or another. I also thought the personal paragraph was a waste of words because it added nothing to the argument for your stance imo. Ok you have an emotional investment in him but WWE isn't booking for you. You need to put personal bias aside and argue why Ambrose is the right pick for more than just your emotional attachment to the product. Rock argument is fine although you could have also addressed the counter I mentioned in ZOMBO's feedback. The reliability argument I honestly thought was a touch naff. It just felt so nothing of an argument. Ambrose could get injured after winning the Rumble just like anyone could. He's just as human and at risk of injury as anyone is. I just don't think it works at all as an argument against Reigns. Bryan yes but not Reigns. Also really not sure about working with Lesnar being a bigger threat of injury. Yeah it's a harder style but how many injuries have guys picked up against Lesnar since his return? I'm pretty sure Taker's concussion is the only significant one and there's always the risk of some injury from bumps. Lesnar's style is rougher but that doesn't mean less safe. Cena hasn't got injured from the matches he worked with Brock either. So yeah, "Ambrose is the most safe and reliable option." just fell really flat for me because it didn't dismiss Reigns at all for me. Next point is fairly meh too and I thought ZOMBO's argument for Heyman allowing Reigns to shine on promos and really help him get over was much stronger in comparison. You say Reigns has had no notable singles matches which a) isn't true, he had a great one with Bryan on Raw last year and b) is harsh due to how many singles matches he's had and who with. Are we really holding it against him that he had an ok match with Orton where he Orton controlled all the match? You can even point to the hot tag reactions he gets as evidence against this paragraph. You start predicting the future but it feels very opinionated without sufficient evidence to back it up. This read a lot like you're a massive Ambrose mark and the bias kinda clouded your judgement to make rational arguments here that didn't feel like they were clutching at straws at times. Sorry if that sounds harsh but that's what it read like and regardless of the reason for it, your debate ended up with iffy arguments and for me no convincing counter to ZOMBO's stance.

Winner - ZOMBO

Firstly, The Acquired Taste sadly is disqualified by virtue of exceeding the maximum word count. We are serious in enforcing this, even if this was by seven words. Rules are rulea and there is no excuse for not reviewing your debate and spotting you were over. Now that being said, ZOMBO was my choice before noticing you were over the word count, so I will provide feedback as normal to explain why ZOMBO initially had my vote before it became a default victory.


Firsty, whilst I'm an advocate of promoting youth and focusing on building a core and sustainable future for WWE, I do think you sold the Rock/Lesnar match short in terms of hype. You could have argued it's more about Network subs now rather than buyrates, which might lessen Rock's importance since people might be less likey to suscribe for six months knowing he won't be there, compared to a one off purchase to see Brock/Rock II. The argument you did make was fine in terms of Brock not really gaining much given Rock's age, but I did think you overlooked/failed to properly cite a great argument against Rock being the choice.

The Bryan argument was better when you focused on the impracticality with Bryan's return still unresolved and no confirmation he can even compete by Wrestlemania. Again I felt the initial reasoning against him could have been better. You could argue whilst Bryan secured a big moment last year, the abrupt post-mania injury he received scuppered any plans they had for him vis a vis a defining reign as champ (how long they planned to keep the belt on him/push him as an ace up for debate). I guess my take is moreso than rather focus on 'he had his moment', you could have cited Reigns as being more dependable for now in terms of health, since of course as the most over and beloved star there is an argument to be made for Bryan to return near the top of the card if he can indeed return. The latter half of the argument was good, I just thought the initial reasoning could have been re-focused better to identify how Reigns is the better fit 'right now', rather than arguing Bryan is made and doesn't need the rub.

The next argument however I thought was your strongest. I liked how you suitably dismissed Ambrose's mic skills by focusing on how WWE handles main event feuds and how it's a case of him not being capable on the mic, but rather would segments be scripted for him to produce the quality he can. Comparing that to Reigns' concise and swift comebacks, against Heyman's style of monopolising promos to reflect how Reigns could prosper was great stuff and a logical way to counter Ambrose being the best fit, without really saying anything overly negative about him.

The next argument however, I thought raised a couple of questions. The argument Reigns merely has to fly around for Lesnar and hit his power spots works in theory, and you do a fine job covering how Reigns being tasked with timing his spurts of offence reflected his trios work. That being said, you ignored the crucial difference between a singles match and a trios match: Reigns will be tasked with selling and emoting sympathy. Reigns was responsible moreso for timing big spots in the trios matches, but he was never tasked with playing heel in peril or being tasked with selling for so long. Remember they've protected him in terms of how many singles matches he's had, so the idea Reigns can fly around for 20 minutes and capture the fans' interest isn't absolute. They've popped for his offence, but they've never had to see Reigns properly sell and be worked over for such an amount of time. That makes it less than certain he could keep the crowd invested when he's not hitting his spots.

Secondly, again you cite Reigns as having this insatiable quality that whips crowds into a frenzy for him, but again he is still untested in singles matches. You can cite the Shield tags as evidence of crowds popping for his moments, but again as you said before these were scripted by design. I likewise could point to Reigns/Wyatt in the singles match on Raw where the crowd was noticeably subdued for the encounter, not nearly as much as they were for Shield/Wyatts I. That doesn't mean Reigns can't control a crowd by himself, but it does lend doubt that crowds are incapable of not being swept by his charisma. Similarly you could point to the reactions Ambrose has received since turning face as evidence that he does possess the capability to hook fans into his singles matches.

That being said, I found your conclusion to summarise your arguments nicely, and overall I would say this was good, though capable of better. I understand having to eliminate 3 guys whilst justifying your choice leaves you less words to play with, but I did feel the initial reasoning for Rock and Bryan not being viable could have been reconsidered. The breakdown of Ambrose vs Reigns was better however and offered a good counter to your opponent's selection, especially their argument that Ambrose/Heyman would automatically be a promo battle for the ages. I'd say overall you did a good job at identifying why Reigns ticks the bill in terms of youth and future potential, whilst doing a satisfactory job of discounting Bryan based on health and putting up a compelling argument that Reigns could be written to shine in a feud against Lesnar.

The Acquired Taste:

Firstly, be careful arguing opinions as if they are facts. "Ambrose will be around after Wrestlemania" is likely, but not absolute. He's already filmed one movie with WWE, or alternatively he could pick up an injury. There is no guarantee he will definitely be available to them for Mania or afterwards, so be wary with how you construct arguments because otherwise it's easy to counter them and weaken their strength. Similarly, "he'll have momentum after Mania" is again up for discussion. Based on reactions it does appear Ambrose is closer to Bryan than Ryder in terms of not fizzling out reactions wise, but he's still in the midst of his face run and we can't guarantee fans will still be solidly cheering him by Wrestlemania. Poorly written storylines/booked feuds can weaken the overness of many talents, and Ambrose whilst appearing promising still hasn't definitively convinced anyone he is bulletproof ala Bryan.

The Reigns dismissal I found to be awfully weak. Firstly, he's injured now but he is anticpated back soon, and I don't see how Reigns having an injury discounts him. It's not like Bryan where his recovery/return is up in the air, not to mention you're writing like Ambrose can't get injured himself. Wrestling is a risky business and this is Reigns' first big injury since they debuted at the back end of 2012. Citing him being inexperienced I also found questionable because despite Ambrose's indy background, in WWE terms they are the same age in terms of roster age. You can even argue Reigns has been groomed/protected for this spot, compared to someone like Ambrose who has had to fight for recognition and to become as over as he has post Shield split. Again, you need to be careful with how you phrase opinion as fact without sufficient supporting evidence. The argument defeating Lesnar should be afforded to a new star was decent, though like your opponent I thought you overlooked the potential Rock brings to the product. Simply dismissing him as being a star already also factors in Lesnar losing, which again depending on his contract situation isn't absolute.

Again, I don't get the Reigns and Bryan arguments in the momentum paragraph. So they don't have a built in feud when they return? There's something called THE ROYAL RUMBLE which gives them an easy feud with Lesnar. Reigns has been against The Authority since April, and given HHH and Stephanie already sided with Lesnar against Cena, the idea they couldn't have HHH or Steph interject and again back Lesnar to ensure Reigns doesn't reach the summit isn't out of the question. Bryan writes himself into the picture but your opponent covered his injury woes far better in dismissing him as a candidate. Likewise, the argument WWE should focus on their future rather than their past is nice (tieing this in with The Network would have been A+), but again arguing Ambrose can draw as much as The Rock is again disguising opinion as fact. There is nothing on earth to suggest Ambrose can achieve the same feats Rock did in terms of business. Be careful with how you construct your arguments because this undid your nice initial argument that the future is key for WWE, but following that up with a hyperbolic statement with no evidence to support it undoes that initial good work.

The promo argument I already felt your opponent covered well to counter Ambrose having the edge. Ambrose is a good promo, even great when afforded the chance, but again you're overlooking how scripted Ambrose is and consequently how WWE writes his segments. Your opponent alluded to how Reigns could shine by letting Heyman take 90% of the promo and only cover key bullet points, ala his duty in The Shield. The injury argument again has no real merit. Just because Ambrose isn't injury ridden doesn't mean he can't suffer a hideous injury at TLC in a gimmick match, or an inocuous injury on a house show. You cite Bryan as being injured but he himself only had his first injury layoff since debuting in 2010 some four years later, hardly a case to say he's unreliable. You could have said Bryan is currently not available and with no clear prognosis on when he returns, Ambrose is automatically higher on the pecking order in terms of being an over face WWE isn't inundated with (Ziggler, Orton depending on whether he turns and Reigns when he returns), but you didn't and unfortunately I have to go by what you write as your argument, which sadly is frankly a mess and struggles to convince me Ambrose is guaranteed to not get injured.

The closing Reigns argument again feels questionable. I would say Ambrose has more support than Reigns atm, but it's not unequivocal that Reigns will be jeered/met with rejection if he were to get the push. Would he be more over than Ambrose? Hard to say. But Ryback is pretty over just by returning and killing dudes, so is it not the case that Reigns if properly booked as a badass couldn't get over, given he's young and not Cena? Ryback hardly commands an overwhelming backing from the hardcore demographic because of his decorated indy career, like Reigns he's an example of how fans can respond positively to badass faces. Again, you need to be careful citing opinions as clear facts, because you're not offering the required support to back your arguments.

Winner By Default - ZOMBO
Winner as normal - ZOMBO

This was a good one. I think the decision really comes down to one or two things. First off, both of you did a real good job.


I liked your eliminations of Bryan and The Rock. Both solid reasons that make sense. I don’t think I need to go into too much more on this. Nothing wrong with them. Since both of you eliminated these two, it works out well enough. The Ambrose section is the important one here. I like the mention of the Wyatt and Ambrose promo and the saying that it was suppose to be epic. The mentioning that Ambrose could slip into comedy against Heyman is a good one too. I like how you then transferred the point over to Reigns and mentioned him being the punctuation. Here’s the real key point in my opinion. The match itself. The whole Reigns paragraph is perfect. Like, all I can do is just repeat what you said because everything is done right. The big move mention, the Lesnar match type fit, the look, etc. You nailed it here.

The Acquired Taste

The Ambrose buildup and the three points are great. I’ll jump right to the point though. I feel you are missing anything on the match itself. You talk about how Ambrose has had exciting matches and how Reigns is still green, but you are missing stuff on how they match up with Lesnar and how a match would work. I feel that’s a really key thing for a topic like this. Like this is an excellent debate. If your opponent didn’t talk about the match itself, you would have won. However, he did and you didn’t. That’s the breaking point for me. Like you mention everything but the match itself. You did a fantastic job on all of that. While the buildup to a match is important, the match itself is just as important. Look at Orton vs. Triple H at Mania 25. Good buildup, shitty match. Undertaker vs. Lesnar, boring buildup, solid match. It matters to have both ends be good. That’s why your opponent gets the nod for talking about the match itself.

DECISION: Winner via talking about the match itself: ZOMBO.

Winner via Unanimous Decision/Forfeit - ZOMBO

TDL Social Division Championship Match
Anark vs RAB

Are Men just naturally funnier than Women?

Spoiler for Debates:

James: Laura, did you take my keys from my jacket pocket?
Laura: No… why?
James: I definitely left them there, but they’re not there anymore…
Laura: Oh… that’s funny.
James: How is it funny?
Laura: You know… odd.

The word funny is a very ambiguous one. It can be used to describe situations in which something is odd, it can be used to describe something as weird, and it can be used when someone cracks a fucking belter of a joke. The use of the word ‘funny’ I am focusing on is the one which is associated with humour.

John: Are men just naturally funnier than women?
Alan: Huh? That’s an odd question.
John: Well, according to Professor Sam Shuster, of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, men crack more jokes than women because of the testosterone in their body .
Alan: Yeah, you might be right about that, but…

Whilst it may be true that the testosterone hormones which males possess make them more likely to crack jokes, it does not mean that these jokes are necessarily funnier. Sam Shuster also said in his report that jokes made by a male is more likely to be aggressive than a joke by a female. This doesn’t mean anything. Seriously. Nothing at all. Humour comes down to perception, when you think about it.
Jack: A blind man walks into a bar. And a table. And a chair.
Big Johnny: HAHAHA! That was amazing.
Some time later…
Jack: A blind man walks into a bar. And a table. And a chair.
Little Johnny: That’s really not funny man.
I could tell you a joke and you could laugh your fucking arse off at it for hours, and it’s GUARANTEED that there is someone on the planet that will not find it one bit funny. This is the reason why it is so easy to say that men are NOT just naturally funnier than women. This is because everyone has different tastes in comedy – it is impossible to say on such a wide scale that anyone is naturally funnier than anyone else – in order to gauge whether or not someone is naturally funnier we would have to know what EVERYONE finds funny and then find the person who suits the most peoples comedic taste at one time. This is impossible to do, and even if we could do it, peoples senses of humours change with time! I could find something funny one month and then by the next month I could be absolutely sick to death of it.


Well, this topic was bound to come up with such a question being asked. It is a widely regarded thought that male comedians are funnier than female comedians. Whilst I’ve already shown why it can’t be that a man is BORN funnier than a woman, I can certainly tell you why there are more male comedians, and that answer is simple: more men want to do it than women. More men have wanted to do it than women for years, and as a result of this, it has turned it into a scene very much dominated by males. This means that an ILLUSION is created. The illusion that male comedians are funnier than female ones is created because there are more male comedians. Whilst the skill level of comedians remains roughly the same across the genders, it is far more likely that you are going to see a male comedian simply because there are a shit tonne more of them. This consequently means that it is more likely that you are going to see a male comedian who you deem to be funny than it is you see a female one of the same characteristics.

The fact that there have, for many years, been more male comedians than female has made it increasingly harder for a female to break through in the comedy scene. Some even see comedy as a “man’s game”, which definitely puts women off. With a lack of new talent rising up the ranks in the female gender, it is clear to see why people see women comedian in a dimmer light than that which they view men comedian in. Besides, even if male comedians were proven to be funnier than female comedians, that does not automatically mean that men are naturally funnier than women. Comedians are trained. What they do is not 100% natural. Many of them train or have trained, and as a result, a comedian who is funny may simply be a result of hard work and labour as opposed to natural luck.


It is very interesting to note that since I could not find any polls on the internet for this, I asked ten personal friends (all university students of the ages 18-23) the question “are men naturally funnier than women”, with an even gender split. The question was asked very informally. All five of the female respondents said no, whereas 2 of the men said yes, the other three saying no. This means that the only people that seem to think men are naturally funnier than women are men, which is bias in itself and lends major evidence to the opposition case.


At a glance, it may be easy for you to jump in and say “AHA! MEN ARE NATURALLY FUNNIER THAN WOMEN!”, but that is simply not the case.

Kieran: So, humour is totally down to perception?
Andy: RIGHT!
Kieran: And just because a man is born with testosterone doesn’t mean the content of his jokes are funnier than women jokes?
Andy: RIGHT!
Kieran: So, men aren’t naturally funnier than women?
Andy: RIGHT!
Seriously. Humour is opinion. One gender cannot be naturally funnier than the other. They just can’t.


Are Men just naturally funnier than Women?

No, because a yes answer is impossible because of humour’s inherent subjectivity. It might be possible to answer yes by adding context such as: '...according to middle-aged white male Republican cattle-farmers from Idaho’, as you then have a definitive sub-section of humanity to examine. But as there is no definitive sub-section determined by the question, all humanity (half of which are female btw) must be incorporated into the answer.

Thus, a definitive yes answer encompassing all of humanity is impossible because humour is entirely dependant on a number of constantly shifting dynamics such as social context, personal taste, cultural influence and emotional state.

Determining one thing to be ‘funnier’ than another will always be a matter of personal preference dependant on all the dynamics at play. Because of these myriad permutations, nothing can be considered intrinsically ‘funny’, and that’s why understanding the intention of the word ‘funnier’ in the debate question is paramount to understanding that the answer is no.

‘Funnier’ is indicative of a reaction to humour - a calculation of its worth or effect - rather than the attempt at humour itself. I could make a joke, and that is humour, but that doesn’t automatically make it a ‘funny’ joke. This is important, so keep it in mind.

While you’re keeping that in mind, regard the other pivotal word in the debate question: ‘naturally’.


Nurture boys, more like. Society heavily influences how each sex approaches humour. The accepted ‘norm’ is that to attract a man, a woman must be physically alluring to some degree, but to attract a woman, a man must be many things, chief among them funny in order to make her laugh. This idea is perpetuated literally everywhere. I can only assume it has worth, as I always got laid by being the brooding, moody one, but whatevs.

Proper funny guys irl are usually the ones who have less physical attraction than me to work with. Does being less attractive make them naturally funnier? Of course not. But it does force them to try harder at it because it’s their main access point. Needing it makes them work at it and practice it. Working at something and practicing it makes you better at it, but that’s just how shit works. Being better at it because of this doesn’t mean you were ‘naturally’ better at it.

Okay, what about ‘scientific’ studies which declare men to be ‘naturally’ funnier than women? Closer examination of these studies reveals something a lot less interesting than eye-catching LOLWIMMINS headlines. Every single study like this only ever discovers that…

…wait for it…

…men have more testosterone than women.

I know, I know, I’ll give you a moment to recover.

All that actually means though is that men are more aggressive, which leads to more attempts at humour due to a more overtly competitive nature. In this UK study a scientist publically rode a unicycle around while monitoring the reactions of passers-by. His results concluded that men were funnier because they made more attempts at humour toward him, but those humour attempts entailed nonsensical jeering, random swearing and beauties such as: ‘Lost a wheel?’


So, yeah. It’s pretty obvious that an attempt at humour does not automatically qualify it as funny. And realise right now that making more jokes has absolutely zero correlation with being funnier. Some of the funniest comedians ever don’t even tell jokes. Compare this Norm MacDonald clip with the likes of Daniel Tosh or Carlos Mencia or Kevin Hart, where MacDonald takes nearly four minutes to tell one (technically terrible) joke, but in the telling is actually much funnier than the combined efforts of all three of those quicker-fire comedians. Watch Billy Connelly, Bill Hicks or George Carlin for a similar jokeless but hilarious experience.

Quantity doesn’t equal quality, and quantity is all that men’s superior testosterone gives them. Testosterone is just a hormone which can increase aggression, which also leads men to commit more acts of violence than women, which aren’t particularly funny either.


Yes, there are many more male comedians than female (hence my references above), but hello, men dominate pretty much everything. As equal as we strive to be today, there’s still residue from when women weren’t allowed to be anything other than mothers or whores.

Despite the remnants of a long-dominant and aggressively patriarchal societal structure, high quality female comedy actors are growing in number (there was fuck all just 60 years ago), with Amy Poehler and Aubrey Plaza just a couple of outstanding current examples. Who knows, one day American female comedy performers might not even have to be also physically attractive to be successful.

Female humour writers have been numerous for decades. From Lise Mayer of The Young Ones, Marta Kaufman of Friends, Liz Cackowski and Megan Ganz of Community to Karey Dornetto, Barbara Feldman and Caroline Williams of Arrested Development. I could list the women who helped write episodes of The Simpsons, but it’d bust my word limit.

There are also countless bestselling humour books by female writers like Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, Jen Kirkman and Caitlin Moran, to name but a few recent ones. Moran is also the chief humour writer for the most prestigious newspaper in the UK, The Times. She is laugh-out-loud hilarious and for the life of me I cannot name a single male writer who compares to her.

So take this home: despite the disadvantages women face entering the variable humour incarnations, such as less natural aggression and less influence from society, women have repeatedly shown on many occasions that when given the opportunity they are capable of being, at the very least, the equals of their male contemporaries.

Oh don’t worry, men, I’m not trying to take away your comedy geniuses. They exist, believe that. Some of them are probably the greatest ever. But to think you have naturally superior brains than members of the exact same species as you is the biggest fucking joke of all time.

Spoiler for Judging Cards:
This is incredibly tough to judge and one of the tighter debates I've judged for a while. Both debates are very much a mirror of one another and the differences aren't strong enough to produce a decisive winner. I've flipped on my decision multiple times already and am kinda hoping doing my individual feedback helps me be more certain one way or another.

RAB - The conversations were good and helped illustrate your points very well. When it came to arguments you both made in pretty much the same way I think you made them with a bit more conviction which made them a bit more convincing to me as the reader. These parts helped in that. Also I think your writing style is a bit more conversational compared to Anark's more formal approach which I also think gave you the edge when it came to making the same point in a different way. Obviously conversational vs formal is super subjective and there's no right or wrong way, just which has more of an effect on any given reader. I really don't want that to be my reason for voting your way but it's one of a few deciding factors I'm considering because your arguments are so close that just natural gut reaction to who was more convincing to me personally becomes a factor to consider. I thought the bias paragraph was weak because the sample size made it kinda irrelevant. 10 random people doesn't really produce evidence for an argument. I got the point you were making but I thought how you chose to back it up was weak because of the small sample size. That was really the only fault I had with this debate. Oh actually a couple of typos made it look a bit sloppy for a title debate but nothing that bad.

Anark - Read what I said about the writing styles earlier. Just remember neither is right or wrong, I just thought RAB did conversational better than you did formal (and in fairness you mixed it up a bit too). Reading back it's probably only the second half that reads more formal, probably because you get more descriptive. Descriptive here was fine because it was used to illustrate an argument though. On that note though pls don't use abbreviations like "irl" in a debate. That really annoys me. The "girls girls girls" part is probably the biggest difference between both debates content wise. After reading it a couple of times I'm leaning towards it more answering if women can be funnier rather than the question given. It is relevant but I thought RAB's "IF MEN AREN’T NATURALLY FUNNIER THAN WOMEN, WHY ARE THERE MORE MALE COMEDIANS?" was more relevant to the given question. Harsh critique but I need to find some to split the two.

Giving my vote to RAB in the end based on a slightly more persuasive writing style and the slightly different 3rd argument for me being relevant from RAB's debate than Anark's.

Winner - RAB

Well, this was a damn close match. You guys both took the same side, argued essentially the same point with respect to testosterone / hormone differences, the subjectivity of comedy, the number of male comedians. Hell, even your formatting is damn similar. An awesome, awesome job guys.

Now, there's the issue of trying to distinguish between the two. RAB used some quotes to set up his points, and an informal interview of friends. Anark showed different styles of comedy from men, as well as examples of prominent female comedians.

Personally, I feel that each method did good work in showing how comedy is subjective. However, Anark's listing of current prominent female comics really helped drive home the point about equality a tad further than the survey in RAB's did.

Seriously, there isn't much separating the two here, but on that slimmest of margins, I think Anark just eked it out.

The Lady Killer
RAB = This was pretty great. Don't have much to criticize, if anything. I loved the layout of your debate, and thought it was entertaining while also being extremely informative. Great, great effort here, and truly deserving of a main event slot.

Anark = This was also great, and read extremely similarly to the opposition. These two debates could have seriously been written by the same person. That's how close they were. I did find one fault to this one - and that comes down to how you spent the first half of your debate saying how being funny is subjective, yet you list a bunch of examples of people you found to be funny as support. Whether intentional or not, this came off as a tad contradictory. I loved the last line of your debate, though. I just felt debate RAB concentrated more on the "natural" part of the topic. Extremely close.

Winner = RAB

Winner via Split Decision - RAB

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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 03:09 PM
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Congrats RMR. It seems I've fallen off my horse.

Credit: A$AP
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by The Lady Killer View Post
Congrats RMR. It seems I've fallen off my horse.
Thanks man, it's an honour

post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 03:15 PM
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Well then.

Currently in a pub watching my team get beat but this is great news.

post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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RAB keeping that Eliminator --> Title win streak going Congrats.

Same to RealManRegal too (even though Greg should have won )

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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 03:16 PM
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 03:17 PM
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Gratz RAB, told you it might go that way. There's some judges comments I could bitch about but fuck it. It livens up the Social division to have a new champ so well done and enjoy a nice name colour change for a bit.

Now let's see if you can do it twice in row.

Rematch clause: EXECUTED

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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 03:17 PM
You're the scum of the Earth
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 03:18 PM
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I thought the whole point of my debate was fantasy booking? The question wasn't clear at all, especially with Orton and Rollins being a suggestion. Given that Orton is removed from television, wouldn't that imply that I'm SUPPOSED to speak in conditionals?

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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 11-27-2014, 03:18 PM
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STEPHEN N'NONZI (must have wrote this bit while I was drunk, it's the only possible explanation. The N key and the Z key are literally like 5 fucking keys apart)

considering I spent less time on the whole of this debate than I did wrting about one paragraph on all my others, I'm well chuffed with that win tbf. unlucky Irish Jet, really enjoyed reading your debate. much better written than mine and absolutely spot on analysis imo.

Last edited by FEBIAN BRANDY AND CHRISTMAS CAKE; 11-28-2014 at 06:57 PM.
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