Wrestling Forum banner

1 - 20 of 245 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
32,163 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What Is This?
This is our new area of the forum where you can post columns!

What Is A Column?
The only criteria for a column is that it be wrestling related and be a minimum of 800 words. So that can be breaking down your thoughts on a particular topic or a review of a particular match or show or some wild and crazy fantasy booking idea you have for instance.

Why Is This A Thing?
Because seabs wanted it to be…
The idea is to give everyone a place where more in depth posts can be made without getting lost in the clutter of threads full of one line posts. Hopefully it will also encourage people to create more in depth content that’s generally more interesting for other people to read, as well as giving users an easy to find destination for those who are looking for more fleshed out opinions.

Who Can Post A Column?
Anyone! There’s no criteria at all as long as it’s 800+ words on a wrestling related topic.

When You Say “Wrestling”?
Anything wrestling. WWE wrestling, old school wrestling, international wrestling, indies wrestling, midget wrestling, whatever you want!

How Do I Post A Column?
In just the same way you would post a thread, only you do it in this forum.

Will I Feel Aroused When I Post A Column?
Hopefully!
 

·
Greek God of Knowledge
Joined
·
7,090 Posts
With all the complaints that you hear about WWE in this day and age, it's fair to say that there are some here and there that not everyone will agree with. Alas, in a day and age where it's a lot easier to air out your frustration, complains from fans are seen more than ever. And many of them are valid.

I am here with another column write-up and today I thought I'd focus a bit more on something else. See, it's easy to criticize a company when you don't agree with a decision they make. After all, from your perspective, it's the wrong move on to make on their end and you feel you have good reasons to think that, and there's nothing wrong with doing so.

But with every decision that is made, there is always another side of the fence that offers a different perspective. And with that perspective comes an understanding some of us my not think of at the time because we're only focused on our own viewpoints. And that's fine. We're fans. It's what we're supposed to do. None of us are obligated to look at things from a different perspective.

But with that said, sometimes I think it's only fair to offer up another side to the scenario that helps bring about a better understanding of a situation, one that many might consider to be a poor one but when given proper context might make more sense than initially thought. And that's where this new section that I'm creating comes in, called In Defense of. Basically, I will be talking about something that WWE did or that happened within the company that seemed to get a lot of negative flack from fans and critics alike, and try to offer up their viewpoint on the matter to help understand why what happened actually happened (or in the case of what I'm about to discuss today, almost happened).

Which brings us to the thread at hand: The Dave Batista Decision. To be more specific: Dave Batista ALMOST having a singles match with Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 30.



Disclaimer: With this in mind, I still can't believe they never intended for Daniel Bryan and Triple H to have their match at Wrestlemania 30. I personally never had any real issues with Bryan not being part of the main event, but for them to plan for CM Punk to have a match with Hunter instead of Bryan, to me, was just pure idiocy. In my opinion, Punk belonged in the main event with Orton and Batista, not in a match with Triple H. And had they done that instead of the stupid Punk/HHH match they originally had planned, we might have been able to see a few more years of CM Punk in the WWE. For me, the pay off for Bryan after all the bullshit he had went through was having his match with Hunter and winning, and proving he is truly capable of being their top guy. Him winning the world title in the main event was icing on the cake, but in my opinion, his revenge was already claimed when he beat Hunter, a guy who felt Bryan was too unworthy to even have a match with him.

So a couple months before Wrestlemania 30, WWE announced that they had signed Batista, who had been gone for WWE for a few years but not long enough to the point where fans forgot who he was. It was considered a huge signing and a lot of people were excited for it...until they found out what WWE's intention was for him. Through various dirt sheets, it was revealed that WWE's plan for Batista was for him to headline Wrestlemania 30 in a match with Randy Orton for the unified World Championships.

And fans were absolutely livid about this announcement.

At the time, I couldn't find a single person who wanted this match to happen. Everyone seemed to hate the idea of it. And to be fair, I can't blame them. But at the same time, I understood why WWE wanted to do it, so I wan't really all bent out of shape about it. It was actually one of those things that occurred to me right away what they were going for. But then again, at the time, I just wasn't as into Daniel Bryan as everyone else was. I wasn't really part of the yes movement. I didn't hate the guy, I just wasn't a mark for him. Again, I hated the fact that they were going for Punk/HHH instead of Bryan/HHH like they should have, because it felt like an incomplete story to me, and it made everything that happened with Bryan feel like a waste of time. But I wasn't all that upset about the possibility of Batista/Orton happening. In fact, I actually welcomed it.

I feel as if people who were upset about it were either mad about the fact that Daniel Bryan wasn't involved, or just felt it was going to be a shitty match. Those are both perfectly valid reasons to be mad about it. There is nothing wrong with that line of thinking. But like I said before, when I heard this rumor, I felt like I knew right away what it was they were going for, and it intrigued the hell out of me.

This is just a guess on my part. I have no idea if this was really what they were going for when they made this decision. For all we know, it might have been for a different story entirely. But with that said, it cannot be denied that the grounds for a very interesting storyline were all right there.

The Potential Storyline

See, back in the days when Batista and Orton broke through the WWE, they did so first as part of the well known stable, Evolution. They were brought into the group with the idea that they would one day be groomed as the future of the company. But for that time period, it was all about Triple H. He was the man. He was the guy in charge. He was, in many ways, a control freak. When Randy Orton won the World Title, Triple H kicked him out of the group and took it back from him a month later. When Batista won the Royal Rumble, Triple H wanted him to go to Smackdown and face JBL for the WWE Championship instead of his world title on Raw. Yeah, Triple H was willing to lose another member of the group just so he didn't have to face Batista, a guy he knew was a legitimate threat.

The "Wrestling is Wrestling" video kind of touched on this but I'll briefly summarize it. When Triple H got into power, as a heel nothing really seemed to change. It was still his landscape. He was still a control freak. And if he wasn't going to be the champion, he was going to choose the champion.

In Evolution, Triple H chose himself because he felt it was still his time and that he was capable of doing so. And if people associated with him weren't willing to accept that, they were gone from his life, just like Orton and Batista. But when he realized his time was over and he had to move on, now it was time to make sure things ran the way he wanted them to. He wanted Orton to be the world champion, but only when HE was no longer in a position to be one. Only when HE couldn't be the champion anymore. Only when it was most convenient for him.

So he chose Orton, a guy who once became champion when things weren't so convenient for Triple H. It showed the progression that both men had made. It showcased that Triple H had really become a legitimate control freak with power within the WWE, choosing who he wanted to be champion when he wanted, regardless of how it affected his company. And it showed how far along Orton had come as well, being a multi-time world champion (I think he was a 12 time world champion at that point) and now taking up the position of dominance over the brand Triple H once held.

And then Batista was going to come in and royally fuck that all up again.

Triple H was set on embarking on a reign of terror 2.0. But the one thing that could stop it was now returning. And all he needed to do was put himself in a position to put a stop to everything Triple H was doing. And how could he do that? By winning the Royal Rumble.

See, here's the interesting part. The last time Batista won the Royal Rumble, he used it to put an end to Triple H's original reign of terror on Raw. And that's exactly what happened. Triple H's time as the top dog on Raw was finally put to rest with the rise of the Animal. And now? The seeds were planted for it to happen again. Batista would come back, win the royal rumble, and put an end to Randy Orton's reign as WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Wrestlemania 30. And all he had to do was win the Royal Rumble again.

And that's exactly what he did.

He won the Royal Rumble, returning as the triumph hero that everyone was desperately looking for. Triple H severely affecting the main event scene with his selective choosing of Randy Orton as the face of the company, and someone had to put a stop to it. And what better person than the man who once put a stop to Triple H's own nightmarish reign at the top than the animal, Batista?

Honestly, that's an intriguing story. It plays on the deep history between the three men and their connection going back to Evolution. It plays on the idea that Batista is Triple HHH's kryptonite. He can not only prevent Triple H from being champion, but he can prevent Triple H from choosing his champion. It shows just how great the Animal really is. But who is the one man who can change all of that? Randy Orton. All of this time, Triple H kept hyping up Orton and explaining to us all just how great he really was. Well, now it was time for Orton to really step up. All of his talent, all of abilities, all were going to be put to the ultimate test. He had to face one obstacle to truly prove his worth: the man that Triple H could never beat. Not only that, but Batista overcoming Triple H was also something Orton was never able to do. When Orton got kicked out of Evolution, he lost the title a month later and never reached that mountain top again for four years. They could have easily played on the idea that being kicked out of Evolution severely affected Orton's career, as well as his mindset. And yet Batista was able to do it like it was nothing. Orton was taken out of Evolution, while Batista basically broke Evolution.

All the obstacles are stacked again Orton. Everything points in Batista's direction. The only thing working in Orton's favor...is Triple H. These are two men who know what they are up against, and now they have to find a way to overcome the ferocious animal at Wrestlemania 30.

To be perfectly honest, that's a very intriguing storyline possibility. It adds a lot of room for emotions, history, and everyone fits their roles perfectly. Batista really fits the role of the gladiator coming to put an end to the evil on display, and you can buy into him as being threatening. Orton as always fit the role of the cowardly heel who always had a master plan. And Hunter always did an excellent job as the corrupt authority figure.

From WWE's perspective, it's actually pretty easy to see why they wanted to go this route. It's a deeply personal story opportunity with a lot of history hanging behind it. The story writes itself and it leaves so much room for possibilities. It would have without question been the best storyline going into Wrestlemania 30 (although to be fair, if Bryan/HHH happened then that would have taken the top spot).

Of course, this is all assuming everything would have worked out.

But the truth of the matter is, it was never going to work.

So, why didn't it?

It's all thanks to a little thing I like to call...timing. See, timing is a massive bitch. Just because something might work at one point...doesn't mean it will work everytime. And this is especially true in this scenario.

The fact of the matter was, there were too many things working against WWE that would have made this impossible to work. Batista returned completely out of shape and looking like a tool. Fans still wanted Daniel Bryan to be in the main event of Wrestlemania. And the times of wrestling were changing. No matter how good a story, in this day and age, you needed some great wrestling to give it a proper send off. And with how good of a story this COULD have been, their actual match most certainly would not have given it the ending it deserved (or beginning I guess...depending on how many more PPV matches they would have had).

The road to Wrestlemania 30 was Daniel Bryan's time. He was who the fans wanted. No one else. Just him. And poor Batista came back at the wrong time in the wrong condition. Had it been...lets say, Wrestlemania 29? Probably would have been an entirely different story. It would have been something different from The Rock vs John Cena II, something I'm almost certain no one would have wanted. But the fact of the matter is, almost no one wanted Batista. Sometimes you cannot have everything you want, no matter how much sense it might be. No matter how much we hated the idea of Batista vs Randy Orton being the main event of Wrestlemania 30, it still at least made sense to do. But just because it made sense...doesn't mean it was the right thing to do. And in this case, it wasn't the right thing to do, not by any stretch of the imagination.

In the end, Daniel Bryan ended up getting his match with Triple H as well as being inserted in the main event. Batista ended up being a heel and his role in the story was changed. And the entire storyline became about Daniel Bryan overcoming the authority once and for all.

Things ended up working out for the best. Fans got what they wanted. Wrestlemania 30 ended up having a great main event. And the story that had dominated the company for a good six or so months had the proper send off it deserved. But never the less, one does have to wonder what it would have all been like had WWE gone with Batista/Orton like they originally planned. Like I said before, maybe they don't go this route and had something completely different in mind. We'll never really know unless someone shares the complete details. But none the less, when thinking about the history as well as the timing of Batista's return, one cannot deny that there were definitely a lot of possibilities here with the storyline for this match. From WWE's perspective, there was something to at least build on. And that's all you can really ask for from the main event of Wrestlemania. You want a good story. You want the opponents to make sense. You don't want...this.



Like I said, I'm happy they ended up going with Bryan instead of Batista. I am also happy for the fans who really wanted that moment. But when it pertains to this decision, to use Batista instead of Daniel Bryan to be Randy Orton's opponent? I just think we should at least consider the possibility that maybe there was more to it than just ignoring Daniel Bryan. Maybe, just maybe, there was the possibility for a better story that WWE simply wanted to go for instead of having Bryan be in the match. And if we're looking at it from that perspective, I don't think you can necessarily fault or even criticize WWE for it. After all, Pro Wrestling is storytelling. And you can never fault someone for trying to tell the best story possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,879 Posts
Yeah, let's just say it was 3-4 years too late for this to go down reasonably. If the proposed Batista the conquering hero story had happened in say 2011-2012, when HHH first became storyline COO, it very well may have worked for one of the World Titles.

Also, great point about the Evolution stuff and Batista being HHH's kryptonite. It seems like WWE kinda ignored all of that once the group broke up and could only muster plot points up like "Evolution used to be a group" and "They kicked Orton out." That down period of Randy's career between 2005 and 2007 really needed justification to go along with his character change from Legend Killer to Viper, and Evolution essentially knocking him off track should've been it. Seeing as how HHH, Flair and Batista were all victims of The Age of Orton rampage, WWE missed the boat on driving the continuity home (cram it down our throats if you have to) that Randy was hunting them down one by one years later for what they did. For what is possibly the last long-term saga WWE has booked, Evolution's aftermath fell flatter than it should've.

I still do believe Bryan didn't HAVE to win the WWE Title at WM 30. All that really needed to happen was for him to get 1-on-1 revenge on HHH and a popular babyface that had been against The Authority (Ziggler, Cody, maybe even Reigns in a serious stretch) dethrone Orton for the title in two separate "main event" matches. Someone to keep the title babyface warm for Bryan like Foley did for Austin back in 98-99. Ideally, Punk was my pick but we all know what happened there.

All in all, credit for WWE pulling an audible. Knowing them, they could've ignored the fans and kept tunnel vision.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,011 Posts
With all the complaints that you hear about WWE in this day and age, it's fair to say that there are some here and there that not everyone will agree with. Alas, in a day and age where it's a lot easier to air out your frustration, complains from fans are seen more than ever. And many of them are valid.

I am here with another column write-up and today I thought I'd focus a bit more on something else. See, it's easy to criticize a company when you don't agree with a decision they make. After all, from your perspective, it's the wrong move on to make on their end and you feel you have good reasons to think that, and there's nothing wrong with doing so.

But with every decision that is made, there is always another side of the fence that offers a different perspective. And with that perspective comes an understanding some of us my not think of at the time because we're only focused on our own viewpoints. And that's fine. We're fans. It's what we're supposed to do. None of us are obligated to look at things from a different perspective.

But with that said, sometimes I think it's only fair to offer up another side to the scenario that helps bring about a better understanding of a situation, one that many might consider to be a poor one but when given proper context might make more sense than initially thought. And that's where this new section that I'm creating comes in, called In Defense of. Basically, I will be talking about something that WWE did or that happened within the company that seemed to get a lot of negative flack from fans and critics alike, and try to offer up their viewpoint on the matter to help understand why what happened actually happened (or in the case of what I'm about to discuss today, almost happened).

Which brings us to the thread at hand: The Dave Batista Decision. To be more specific: Dave Batista ALMOST having a singles match with Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 30.



Disclaimer: With this in mind, I still can't believe they never intended for Daniel Bryan and Triple H to have their match at Wrestlemania 30. I personally never had any real issues with Bryan not being part of the main event, but for them to plan for CM Punk to have a match with Hunter instead of Bryan, to me, was just pure idiocy. In my opinion, Punk belonged in the main event with Orton and Batista, not in a match with Triple H. And had they done that instead of the stupid Punk/HHH match they originally had planned, we might have been able to see a few more years of CM Punk in the WWE. For me, the pay off for Bryan after all the bullshit he had went through was having his match with Hunter and winning, and proving he is truly capable of being their top guy. Him winning the world title in the main event was icing on the cake, but in my opinion, his revenge was already claimed when he beat Hunter, a guy who felt Bryan was too unworthy to even have a match with him.

So a couple months before Wrestlemania 30, WWE announced that they had signed Batista, who had been gone for WWE for a few years but not long enough to the point where fans forgot who he was. It was considered a huge signing and a lot of people were excited for it...until they found out what WWE's intention was for him. Through various dirt sheets, it was revealed that WWE's plan for Batista was for him to headline Wrestlemania 30 in a match with Randy Orton for the unified World Championships.

And fans were absolutely livid about this announcement.

At the time, I couldn't find a single person who wanted this match to happen. Everyone seemed to hate the idea of it. And to be fair, I can't blame them. But at the same time, I understood why WWE wanted to do it, so I wan't really all bent out of shape about it. It was actually one of those things that occurred to me right away what they were going for. But then again, at the time, I just wasn't as into Daniel Bryan as everyone else was. I wasn't really part of the yes movement. I didn't hate the guy, I just wasn't a mark for him. Again, I hated the fact that they were going for Punk/HHH instead of Bryan/HHH like they should have, because it felt like an incomplete story to me, and it made everything that happened with Bryan feel like a waste of time. But I wasn't all that upset about the possibility of Batista/Orton happening. In fact, I actually welcomed it.

I feel as if people who were upset about it were either mad about the fact that Daniel Bryan wasn't involved, or just felt it was going to be a shitty match. Those are both perfectly valid reasons to be mad about it. There is nothing wrong with that line of thinking. But like I said before, when I heard this rumor, I felt like I knew right away what it was they were going for, and it intrigued the hell out of me.

This is just a guess on my part. I have no idea if this was really what they were going for when they made this decision. For all we know, it might have been for a different story entirely. But with that said, it cannot be denied that the grounds for a very interesting storyline were all right there.

The Potential Storyline

See, back in the days when Batista and Orton broke through the WWE, they did so first as part of the well known stable, Evolution. They were brought into the group with the idea that they would one day be groomed as the future of the company. But for that time period, it was all about Triple H. He was the man. He was the guy in charge. He was, in many ways, a control freak. When Randy Orton won the World Title, Triple H kicked him out of the group and took it back from him a month later. When Batista won the Royal Rumble, Triple H wanted him to go to Smackdown and face JBL for the WWE Championship instead of his world title on Raw. Yeah, Triple H was willing to lose another member of the group just so he didn't have to face Batista, a guy he knew was a legitimate threat.

The "Wrestling is Wrestling" video kind of touched on this but I'll briefly summarize it. When Triple H got into power, as a heel nothing really seemed to change. It was still his landscape. He was still a control freak. And if he wasn't going to be the champion, he was going to choose the champion.

In Evolution, Triple H chose himself because he felt it was still his time and that he was capable of doing so. And if people associated with him weren't willing to accept that, they were gone from his life, just like Orton and Batista. But when he realized his time was over and he had to move on, now it was time to make sure things ran the way he wanted them to. He wanted Orton to be the world champion, but only when HE was no longer in a position to be one. Only when HE couldn't be the champion anymore. Only when it was most convenient for him.

So he chose Orton, a guy who once became champion when things weren't so convenient for Triple H. It showed the progression that both men had made. It showcased that Triple H had really become a legitimate control freak with power within the WWE, choosing who he wanted to be champion when he wanted, regardless of how it affected his company. And it showed how far along Orton had come as well, being a multi-time world champion (I think he was a 12 time world champion at that point) and now taking up the position of dominance over the brand Triple H once held.

And then Batista was going to come in and royally fuck that all up again.

Triple H was set on embarking on a reign of terror 2.0. But the one thing that could stop it was now returning. And all he needed to do was put himself in a position to put a stop to everything Triple H was doing. And how could he do that? By winning the Royal Rumble.

See, here's the interesting part. The last time Batista won the Royal Rumble, he used it to put an end to Triple H's original reign of terror on Raw. And that's exactly what happened. Triple H's time as the top dog on Raw was finally put to rest with the rise of the Animal. And now? The seeds were planted for it to happen again. Batista would come back, win the royal rumble, and put an end to Randy Orton's reign as WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Wrestlemania 30. And all he had to do was win the Royal Rumble again.

And that's exactly what he did.

He won the Royal Rumble, returning as the triumph hero that everyone was desperately looking for. Triple H severely affecting the main event scene with his selective choosing of Randy Orton as the face of the company, and someone had to put a stop to it. And what better person than the man who once put a stop to Triple H's own nightmarish reign at the top than the animal, Batista?

Honestly, that's an intriguing story. It plays on the deep history between the three men and their connection going back to Evolution. It plays on the idea that Batista is Triple HHH's kryptonite. He can not only prevent Triple H from being champion, but he can prevent Triple H from choosing his champion. It shows just how great the Animal really is. But who is the one man who can change all of that? Randy Orton. All of this time, Triple H kept hyping up Orton and explaining to us all just how great he really was. Well, now it was time for Orton to really step up. All of his talent, all of abilities, all were going to be put to the ultimate test. He had to face one obstacle to truly prove his worth: the man that Triple H could never beat. Not only that, but Batista overcoming Triple H was also something Orton was never able to do. When Orton got kicked out of Evolution, he lost the title a month later and never reached that mountain top again for four years. They could have easily played on the idea that being kicked out of Evolution severely affected Orton's career, as well as his mindset. And yet Batista was able to do it like it was nothing. Orton was taken out of Evolution, while Batista basically broke Evolution.

All the obstacles are stacked again Orton. Everything points in Batista's direction. The only thing working in Orton's favor...is Triple H. These are two men who know what they are up against, and now they have to find a way to overcome the ferocious animal at Wrestlemania 30.

To be perfectly honest, that's a very intriguing storyline possibility. It adds a lot of room for emotions, history, and everyone fits their roles perfectly. Batista really fits the role of the gladiator coming to put an end to the evil on display, and you can buy into him as being threatening. Orton as always fit the role of the cowardly heel who always had a master plan. And Hunter always did an excellent job as the corrupt authority figure.

From WWE's perspective, it's actually pretty easy to see why they wanted to go this route. It's a deeply personal story opportunity with a lot of history hanging behind it. The story writes itself and it leaves so much room for possibilities. It would have without question been the best storyline going into Wrestlemania 30 (although to be fair, if Bryan/HHH happened then that would have taken the top spot).

Of course, this is all assuming everything would have worked out.

But the truth of the matter is, it was never going to work.

So, why didn't it?

It's all thanks to a little thing I like to call...timing. See, timing is a massive bitch. Just because something might work at one point...doesn't mean it will work everytime. And this is especially true in this scenario.

The fact of the matter was, there were too many things working against WWE that would have made this impossible to work. Batista returned completely out of shape and looking like a tool. Fans still wanted Daniel Bryan to be in the main event of Wrestlemania. And the times of wrestling were changing. No matter how good a story, in this day and age, you needed some great wrestling to give it a proper send off. And with how good of a story this COULD have been, their actual match most certainly would not have given it the ending it deserved (or beginning I guess...depending on how many more PPV matches they would have had).

The road to Wrestlemania 30 was Daniel Bryan's time. He was who the fans wanted. No one else. Just him. And poor Batista came back at the wrong time in the wrong condition. Had it been...lets say, Wrestlemania 29? Probably would have been an entirely different story. It would have been something different from The Rock vs John Cena II, something I'm almost certain no one would have wanted. But the fact of the matter is, almost no one wanted Batista. Sometimes you cannot have everything you want, no matter how much sense it might be. No matter how much we hated the idea of Batista vs Randy Orton being the main event of Wrestlemania 30, it still at least made sense to do. But just because it made sense...doesn't mean it was the right thing to do. And in this case, it wasn't the right thing to do, not by any stretch of the imagination.

In the end, Daniel Bryan ended up getting his match with Triple H as well as being inserted in the main event. Batista ended up being a heel and his role in the story was changed. And the entire storyline became about Daniel Bryan overcoming the authority once and for all.

Things ended up working out for the best. Fans got what they wanted. Wrestlemania 30 ended up having a great main event. And the story that had dominated the company for a good six or so months had the proper send off it deserved. But never the less, one does have to wonder what it would have all been like had WWE gone with Batista/Orton like they originally planned. Like I said before, maybe they don't go this route and had something completely different in mind. We'll never really know unless someone shares the complete details. But none the less, when thinking about the history as well as the timing of Batista's return, one cannot deny that there were definitely a lot of possibilities here with the storyline for this match. From WWE's perspective, there was something to at least build on. And that's all you can really ask for from the main event of Wrestlemania. You want a good story. You want the opponents to make sense. You don't want...this.



Like I said, I'm happy they ended up going with Bryan instead of Batista. I am also happy for the fans who really wanted that moment. But when it pertains to this decision, to use Batista instead of Daniel Bryan to be Randy Orton's opponent? I just think we should at least consider the possibility that maybe there was more to it than just ignoring Daniel Bryan. Maybe, just maybe, there was the possibility for a better story that WWE simply wanted to go for instead of having Bryan be in the match. And if we're looking at it from that perspective, I don't think you can necessarily fault or even criticize WWE for it. After all, Pro Wrestling is storytelling. And you can never fault someone for trying to tell the best story possible.
Yeah, let's just say it was 3-4 years too late for this to go down reasonably. If the proposed Batista the conquering hero story had happened in say 2011-2012, when HHH first became storyline COO, it very well may have worked for one of the World Titles.

Also, great point about the Evolution stuff and Batista being HHH's kryptonite. It seems like WWE kinda ignored all of that once the group broke up and could only muster plot points up like "Evolution used to be a group" and "They kicked Orton out." That down period of Randy's career between 2005 and 2007 really needed justification to go along with his character change from Legend Killer to Viper, and Evolution essentially knocking him off track should've been it. Seeing as how HHH, Flair and Batista were all victims of The Age of Orton rampage, WWE missed the boat on driving the continuity home (cram it down our throats if you have to) that Randy was hunting them down one by one years later for what they did. For what is possibly the last long-term saga WWE has booked, Evolution's aftermath fell flatter than it should've.

I still do believe Bryan didn't HAVE to win the WWE Title at WM 30. All that really needed to happen was for him to get 1-on-1 revenge on HHH and a popular babyface that had been against The Authority (Ziggler, Cody, maybe even Reigns in a serious stretch) dethrone Orton for the title in two separate "main event" matches. Someone to keep the title babyface warm for Bryan like Foley did for Austin back in 98-99. Ideally, Punk was my pick but we all know what happened there.

All in all, credit for WWE pulling an audible. Knowing them, they could've ignored the fans and kept tunnel vision.
I’m sorry, but I completely disagree that Daniel Bryan did not need to win the WWE World Heavyweight title at WrestleMania. Yes, he did. He needed to both win the title and defeat Triple H. Then and arguably even now, Bryan was/is the most over act in the company. For him to not win the world title at WrestleMania - the biggest event of the year, the culmination point for the preceding six months of storytelling - combined with CM Punk walking out of WWE - would’ve been a mistake.

I’m happy with the way things turned out. However had it been up to me, I probably would’ve killed two birds with one stone and put the WWE title on Triple H, and gone with Bryan winning the championship from him at WrestleMania.

Now, of course you have the CM Punk situation. Assuming that I’m in charge and I don’t want Punk to walk out, and he’s holding me ransom to being in the main event, then I’d find room to insert him into the equation to make it a Triple Threat of Punk vs. Bryan vs. Triple H.

The storyline would’ve seen Punk win the Royal Rumble with Bryan, as he was in real life, excluded from the match. Bryan then earns a way into the match. Bryan argues that he needs to win to avenge his SummerSlam loss and the past six months of screwjobs, Punk is fighting for a much-needed “big win” after losing to Rock, Taker and Lesnar, and Triple H is there to serve as the heel and wrap up storylines with both men.

As for Batista, I haven’t even considered him in the main event: it was the wrong timing, and he had no business coming back into the company and immediately main eventing WrestleMania. He could’ve been better suited facing Orton in a singles match, or even facing Brock Lesnar.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
972 Posts
Good points, harping back to the Evolution stable and the beef between the three guys. Don't really know why Triple H would still feel "threatened" by Batista coming in and toppling Orton though. I think Hunter is too concerned with his backstage politics and running of the company to actually be world champion again. Even though he did put himself in a #2 contender's match that night with Bryan, being the world champion was NOT his focus and was on the back burner. His sole focus was to essentially BURY the rearing head of Daniel Bryan and the "Yes" movement to stop hijacking the company and prove to Bryan that he will always be a "B+" player in this business. Part of me feels he could care less who won if Batista faced Orton one-on-one. We all saw Evolution form back up again after Mania, and I think that was his whole game at that point. As long as Batista or Orton would hold the title, they'd all be on top. Triple H running the show(s) backstage, and the other two running the championship scene (even if they had to settle their petty squabbles). Orton was somehow back in Hunter's good graces, even though he viciously went after his family in 2009. Not like trying to get Batista back into "Evolution-family mode" would be that much harder at that point.

I'm always going to have doubts if these guys truly worked us or not with Bryan coming to the main event at Mania, but I'll lean on it being not in the works for this argument. I'll also leave Punk's departure as final at that point, so I won't plan anything for him. As much as it hurts some people, Bryan's time was (then) NOW. Hunter screwed him over at SummerSlam and now he was screwed out of his opportunity of being in the Rumble. The story was already in place as well since WM28, with his 18 second match with Sheamus and as well as WM27 throwing the U.S. title on the pre-show and turning it into a lumberjack match. Even further if you want to include his firing the day after The Nexus debuted and demolished John Cena. CM Punk also was screwed out of his time as champion in 2011 and in 2013, so his time was weaning in the company (unfortunately), even if this is breaking kayfabe now, so I see him leaving when he does.

Batista's win at the Rumble kinda sucked, cause we ALL knew he'd have his one-way shot to Mania and win the title with basically Zero work put into it, when Daniel has busted his ass since his debut in the Nexus and he's been relegated to second place by the company (4th wall merging again). I believe in hindsight, after WWE called an audible and added Bryan the possible main event at Mania, Batista's Rumble win was another necessity. All the more pressure to put on Bryan to get his revenge. All in all, he got Triple H to book him in two possible matches at Mania, and won his first--beating the MAN who held him down for so long. Also, proving Hunter wrong as to why he was left out of the Rumble match. Hunter said in a promo on Raw with Stephanie that they wanted to protect their B+ star (even if it is a partial excuse), hence why he was only in the match with the Wyatts that night, and not a second time for the Rumble match.

Then, miraculously, at the end of the night, wins the triple threat match by tapping out Batista (the chosen one), and also surviving interference from Triple H again. Quite the Superman story--with his bad arm to boot, but he needed the moment. Especially when he knew, and that we were starting to know, of his deteriorating health that forced him into temporary--and what we thought FINAL (in the company of WWE)--retirement. Even now that his is cleared in 2018, I don't think we'll see Bryan as a main champion again (could be wrong--never say "never" in wrestling). Though it was the right sacrifice and best for business to make 2014 Bryan's time, cause he might never see that height of success again. Honestly too, he will NEVER beat that sheer moment of Mania XXX. That was Bryan Danielson's defining moment for his career and life, and I am glad it happened when it did. If he wins the title again, it might be the comeback story of the decade--akin to that of Shawn Michaels' return from retirement and winning the title in the elimination chamber--but still, it would be VERY hard to topple the first story of success.

The feud between Orton/Batista probably could have happened earlier or later, but really one has to account for what is hot at the moment and strike while the iron is hot for certain performers. Honestly, I have no gripes of Bryan not winning the Rumble in 2015 either nor not facing Brock Lesnar for the title. He needed his time off, and possibly for the best if he cannot risk jeopardizing his life. He would only hold the IC title for a like 15 days anyway, so any long term booking for him again would be detrimental to his health if they followed through.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Its not Batistas fault but the immediate insertion into a popular program at the top of the card plus Dave not looking the same as before did him. You have to stop telling fans what they want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,185 Posts
I would like to see you analising Batista himself since I think he's a poor wrestler in every aspect.
 

·
You need to be yourself, you can't be no-one else.
Joined
·
7,174 Posts
the ironic thing about this decision was that it if wwe had gone with reigns in 2014 then the crowd probably wouldve cheered him for it.
 

·
Greek God of Knowledge
Joined
·
7,090 Posts
I would like to see you analising Batista himself since I think he's a poor wrestler in every aspect.
I might go back to individual analysis threads down the road. The problem with doing them is that they take a lot of time to do, since I usually spend hours doing as much research as I can before making the threads, just to get myself some refreshment on their skill sets. People like John Cena, AJ Styles and Edge were easier to do as my memory of what they did was a lot more recent, but people like the Rock, Austin and Savage took a lot of time to give a proper analysis for. And don't even get me started on how big of a bitch doing one for Flair was.

Batista would probably be pretty easy, because like the first three mentioned, a lot of his work is more recent. If I get some time down the road, I will consider it.

For what it's worth, based on my own interpretation and knowledge of him now, I would actually say that he was a very good in-ring performer who performed pretty well in the character department. His mic skills were always his weakness, but even then he was able to bring a lot of intensity on the mic that we just don't see much in this day and age. Even if he wasn't necessarily the best talker and was about as basic as they got, he still came off as a legitimate bad ass with every promo that he had. He knew how to let things play out, he paid attention to crowd reactions and his delivery was always very good. All in all, I would say he was actually very good across the board. But again, this is before I do any research and is based on what I remember.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,185 Posts
I might go back to individual analysis threads down the road. The problem with doing them is that they take a lot of time to do, since I usually spend hours doing as much research as I can before making the threads, just to get myself some refreshment on their skill sets. People like John Cena, AJ Styles and Edge were easier to do as my memory of what they did was a lot more recent, but people like the Rock, Austin and Savage took a lot of time to give a proper analysis for. And don't even get me started on how big of a bitch doing one for Flair was.

Batista would probably be pretty easy, because like the first three mentioned, a lot of his work is more recent. If I get some time down the road, I will consider it.

For what it's worth, based on my own interpretation and knowledge of him now, I would actually say that he was a very good in-ring performer who performed pretty well in the character department. His mic skills were always his weakness, but even then he was able to bring a lot of intensity on the mic that we just don't see much in this day and age. Even if he wasn't necessarily the best talker and was about as basic as they got, he still came off as a legitimate bad ass with every promo that he had. He knew how to let things play out, he paid attention to crowd reactions and his delivery was always very good. All in all, I would say he was actually very good across the board. But again, this is before I do any research and is based on what I remember.

I'll rewatch his matches to see if I change my opinion. Anyway, your work here is amazing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,139 Posts
Good article. I think Batista came back at the wrong time, though. Just a year earlier The Rock temporarily returned to the WWE, ended Punk's epic WWE title reign, and then left again immediately after dropping the title to John Cena in their second consecutive Wrestlemania main event. The idea of another part-timer temporarily coming back to the WWE to take the championship, main event Wrestlemania, and beat some hard working full-timers was a bad idea to begin with, as it kind of left a sour taste in a lot of fans mouths - especially as Daniel Bryan's popularity was booming at the time. To a lot of fans, Batista was taking a spot that they percieved to be D-Bry's, in much the same way that The Rock had 'stolen' CM Punk's Wrestlemania main event a year earlier. I did feel a bit sorry for Batista, as he faced a lot of criticism upon his return and took a lot of shit, but all he ended up doing was put people over.
 

·
Greek God of Knowledge
Joined
·
7,090 Posts




Well, Survivor Series happened. One of the most highly anticipated matches in the past ten years took place last night. A match fans wanted so badly, they forever deemed Roman Reigns unworthy of their gratitude when he stood in the way of it happening three years ago. I am of course talking about the match between Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar.

As we expected, Brock Lesnar won. As we expected, it started out with Lesnar dominating, but then Bryan found a way to mount offense and turn the tide in his favor. And thankfully, Bryan did not sustain any concussions, as far as we know anyways.

After the match was over, I saw a lot of comparisons to the match Lesnar had last year at the same event, with AJ Styles, the man Bryan took the WWE Championship away from to be in this match. And there was some debate among whether or not this match was better. So I decided to take a look and compare the two matches, since I think this makes for an interesting discussion.

Before I begin, as I've said numerous times on this site, in-ring storytelling is the construction of the match from the beginning, to the middle, to the end, with regard to the story, the two wrestlers, and the atmosphere. I'm just pointing this out now because that's how I'm going to judge and compare these two matches. I will discuss the beginning, the middle, and the end. Simple as that.

So, lets get started.

But first, Disclaimer!

Alright so yeah, there's a couple things I want to point out. And I think you guys should read them before we move on.

1. I think it needs to be pointed out right away that AJ Styles vs Brock Lesnar had an advantage over Daniel Bryan vs Brock Lesnar as far as match potential went. AJ's match had more time to be built up, more anticipation, and less predictability as far as how the match would turn out. There were actually people on this website who thought the match would be a squash. And I actually didn't rule that out as a possibility. But I don't think anyone really expected that from the Bryan match. The only thing that made me suspicious that it would turn out that way was the clowning around by Bryan at the beginning, but once I saw that it wouldn't end right away, that suspicion quickly went away. Another advantage was AJ's position as far as being a face and the clear cut top guy of Smackdown. His title change was sudden and close to Survivor Series, but welcomed by many fans, and was considered the better option. It was a change fans desperately wanted. Bryan's title win came on the go home show of Smackdown. And he was a heel going up against Lesnar.

One more advantage is just the dynamic of what was going on with the event at that point. Smackdown had a 3-2 lead before their match (hard to believe given what happened this year). Now I'm not saying it made the match more unpredictable. But it did give more meaning and purpose to the match itself. If Brock lost, then Raw lost. There was something on the line. With Bryan's match, Smackdown winning the event was already out of the question, since by that point Raw had a 5-0 lead (not counting the 10 man match, which Smackdown won and for some reason it being on the pre-show means it doesn't count. Whatever). So win or lose, Raw was the superior brand. It's a small but very important detail.

2. With that said, I should point out that I don't think as highly of AJ Styles as an in-ring performer as many others do. If I were to choose between the two, Bryan would be my pick as the better in-ring performer, and I would debate anyone on it. I still think AJ Styles is without a doubt a great in-ring performer. He's just not someone I consider to be one of the best WWE has at the moment, hell I wouldn't even put him in the top five in all of WWE, or even top three on his own brand. Bryan, on the other hand, is the best in-ring performer WWE has at the moment in my opinion. So yeah, I hold Bryan to a much higher standard when it comes to in-ring work than I do AJ. To me, they are by no means equals in that department.

So with that said...

The Beginning

A lot of people have pointed out that both matches start out in similar fashion. Styles and Bryan are both dominated. But some have mentioned that both starts are different, since Bryan could have been finished had Lesnar not wanted to prolong the match. This is true. But there's a lot more to it than just that, and that's where I want to point out the differences.

AJ's Match: Lesnar begins the beatdown right away, kicking Styles into the corner and unleashing his fury on him. Lesnar throws Styles around like he's a child, and there's already some notable things about the offense. First, Lesnar isn't spamming suplex's. Instead, he's changing up his offense. Tossing AJ by the hair, shoulder blocks into the corner, clotheslines, knee to the face in the corner. He even throws AJ shoulder first into the announcers table. At one point, Lesnar mocks AJ, and AJ eventually responds with a variety of punches and a couple chops and even manages to back Brock into the corner, before Lesnar quickly defuses it. I think this is a good time to stop covering the beginning, since the middle is so dramatically different. It definitely started a lot earlier from a story perspective, but for purposes of momentum and offense of these wrestlers, I've included Lesnar's domination in the beginning.

My Thoughts: Even though the beginning of the match is extremely one sided, everything is done to perfection. One of AJ's best attributes as an in-ring performer is his selling and bumping, and he does a wonderful job of selling Lesnar's offense. And although watching Lesnar ragdoll AJ is hilarious, it's also an important aspect of the match and really adds to it in my opinion. It showcases the strength disparity. One of the aspects that I like as well is Lesnar using his speed to get the best of AJ at times. It makes Lesnar look even more dangerous as an opponent while also giving you an idea of how fucked AJ probably is. But even then, AJ still manages to get a couple shots here and there and even gets a moment where he throws some rights on Lesnar, to the point where he backs him in the corner. It makes sense given the fact that AJ is a face so you want to showcase that heart and determination.

So I really like the way the match starts out. The story that they're trying to tell is very clear. The psychology, the pacing, the execution, all are on point. And they have the crowd in the palm of their hands. AJ throwing hay-makers at Lesnar got the crowd all fired up. So they're firing on all cylinders.

Bryan's Match: When the match officially begins, Bryan charges at Lesnar, dropkicks him in the leg and then spends the next few minutes running around the ring toying with Lesnar to test his patience. His offense is based on mind games more than anything. And that's to be expected, given Bryan's recent heel turn to get to this point. Lesnar however quickly goes to work on Bryan with a nasty clothesline, and quickly follows up with a series of germans. His approach is more casual and slow, building up the tension and atmosphere, while letting the story tell itself. Bryan is getting decimated and Lesnar is having fun with it. He does two more belly to belly's, puts Bryan in the bear hug, and then just slams him on the ground. There is no fight from Bryan. None.

My Thoughts: I have mixed feelings on the start of the match. On one end, there's some really beautiful and symbolic storytelling being told here that I really wish the commentary would have made note of (although I'm not sure if this was unintentional). Smackdown already lost. They have no wins and the situation at this point was hopeless. Even if Bryan wins, Raw still has the bragging rights. That kind of feels like what's going on here. Bryan has no chance, Lesnar is better, he's just toying around with him. It's symbolic to the situation at hand. That's incredible storytelling. Again, I don't know if that's what they had in mind, but your intention isn't what's relevant. It's what we saw being produced as a result of the work at hand. An accidental gem is still a gem. And that's what we're seeing here right now from that perspective.

The only problem is, it's very repetitive. And I'm not necessarily talking about the "Lesnar dominates" formula, but the way they go out doing it. At one point, Lesnar hits a belly to belly, puts Bryan in a bearhug, lets go of him and follows it up with a german. Okay. Nothing wrong with that. Except after all of that, he goes on to do the exact same thing. No, I am not kidding. He hits Bryan with a belly to belly, puts him in another bearhug, lets go and then hits a german.

That's lazy. And it's uninspiring. The message is clear, but the execution is sloppy. That's not to say that the actual execution of the moves weren't great. Those germans and belly to belly's to Bryan were excellent. But stuff like that just takes you out of a match very quickly. A rinse and repeat doesn't add to a match. It just makes it look like you're stalling for time.

The pacing, and selling for that matter, are all over the place too. Bryan is basically dead after taking one german suplex. You feel like he's dead after every move Lesnar gives him. From a psychology standpoint, this doesn't work. It makes sense after it happens nonstop, but from the first set of moves? That's a lot to buy.

What they are going for is correct. And at times, the execution, selling, and psychology are good. But it's not consistent. And the pacing is just random. So they really need to start changing things up to make it work.

In terms of the beginning, AJ's match is far superior. Better in-ring action, selling, pacing, psychology, everything. It starts off a lot better. Now we'll see how things go from here.


The Middle

AJ's Match: Lesnar tries an F-5, but AJ fights it off and goes into a corner. Lesnar tries the knee into the corner but AJ gets out of the way and hits his knee on the turnbuckle pad. AJ follows this up with a dropkick to that knee, and a DDT. He works out the leg with numerous kicks, and the crowd is suddenly really into it. What would have been a really nice sequence instead is very sloppy and botched. Styles goes for the reverse DDT, but Lesnar catches him (but almost falls backwards). He tries a powerslam but AJ slides off and pushes Lesnar into the corner. He tries to do a tornado DDT but the move is botched and it looks like AJ is just slammed down onto the ground instead. Maybe it was intentional, but the execution was bad and it took the audience out of it.

But they're able to quickly recover. AJ does a pele kick to the back of Lesnar's neck as he's down on the ground. He goes for the Phenomenal Forearm but Lesnar counters with a beautiful German that makes Styles flip onto his stomach. Another somewhat sloppy moment occurs when Lesnar goes for a punch on Styles, but Styles sends him over the top rope. It just looks weird, I'll leave it at that. Phenomenal Forearm to the outside on Brock, followed by AJ pushing Lesnar knee first into the steel steps. AJ then does the diving forearm again off the steps on to Lesnar. He now has full control here. Even when Lesnar hits a forearm shot on AJ, he counters immediately with an enziguri, followed by a springboard moonsault, and then a 450 Splash from the other side of the ring. I think this is a good spot to end the middle portion of the match as we get ready to transition to the end.

My Thoughts: A couple sloppy moments, including one botched move, are the only complaints that I really have about this portion of the match. The way they are able to transition into AJ's comeback, as well as the way he is able to execute his offense, is done wonderfully. And Brock does just as good of a job as AJ did selling the offense. But that doesn't surprise me, since there's very little Brock doesn't do well in the ring when he's focused and, you know, gives a shit. There's a lot more emphasis on high flying moves from AJ here, and I think that makes sense given the size difference. CM Punk did the same thing with Lesnar in their match, so I wouldn't expect anything less. The springboard moonsault by Styles was pretty random, but he's cut back big time on the random nonsense since his TNA days, and I normally give an exception to things like that as long as they don't get out of hand with it. Here, Styles doesn't do that, so the move doesn't bother me too much. And it still makes sense.

What I really like however is that this entire portion isn't all Styles. Lesnar does have his moments. The only big move he hits is the german, but even then he has other moments where he counters Style's offense. It's a shame the sequence I mentioned before was done in sloppy fashion, because that was a really nice moment they were going for there. The main thing to take away from here is that Lesnar still fought back, but Styles had an answer for everything. He had all the momentum at this point.

At this point, those two sloppy moments including the botch are the only complaints I have. This is a nitpick session and it's really impressive that I have no complaints about how the match has been structured as far as storytelling is concerned. They've done a phenomenal (no pun intended) job in that department.

Bryan's Match: Lesnar hits the F-5 on Bryan and goes for the pin. But he lifts Bryan up before the ref can count the three, prolonging the match. I guess he wants to have some more fun, which makes sense. In a very odd moment, Lesnar walks around Bryan, and then moves him to the center of the ring, and then walks behind him AGAIN, stalling for time until he decides to finally pick Bryan up. Before he can do that, Bryan hits Brock twice in the face. Brock gets irritated, tries to F-5 Bryan, but hits the ref and Bryan lands on his feet. Bryan low blows Brock, hits the running knee and almost pins the champion. Now, it's Bryan's turn. Bryan works on Lesnar's hamstring with numerous kicks. Lesnar tries another F-5 but Bryan escapes and gets Lesnar sent to the outside. He tries a crossbody over the top rope but gets caught by Lesanr. He slides off and sends Lesnar into the ring post. He then hits the running knee off the apron. In one of my favorite moments, he tries the suicide dive but gets caught in mid air by Lesnar. Lesnar then drives him twice into the ring post.

Here's where things get odd. For some reason, Lesnar picks up the steel steps and tries to hit Bryan with them. Bryan moves out of the way, which makes Lesnar hit the ringpost instead, and his face hits the steel steps too. Bryan follows this up with another running knee off the apron. Bryan tries sending him in the ring, but Lesnar kicks Bryan and sends him back in the ring instead, all while still feeling the effects of the steel steps. Lesnar is backed into a corner as a result, and Bryan hits the running knee again but gets a very close two count. This is where we'll stop for the middle portion of the match.

My Thoughts: Like the beginning, I have mixed feelings on the middle of this match, although they learn towards the good. Lesnar walking around aimlessly for what felt like an hour was annoying, but after that, things really took off. The near fall after the first running knee was incredible and it woke the crowd up. From this point on they were really into it. Bryan's offense was really great and the pacing was on point. Things were really starting to pick back up. Bryan's kicks on Lesnar looked great. And at one point, after Bryan stomped the living fuck out of Lesnar's face, you could see Bryan's footprints planted on Brock's face. Brutal stuff. And I LOVED Brock catching Bryan in mid air when he went for the suicide dive. That shit looked incredible. And it's amazing they were able to execute it as well as they did.

But then...things got weird again. I don't mind random occurrences in matches. Sometimes people want to go outside the box and try something different. I get that. But if you're gonna do it, try not to make a habit of it. And when you do it, make sure it makes sense.

Lesnar grabbing the steel steps and trying to drive them into Bryan made no sense. For starters it would have gotten him DQ'd if he had done it. And the commentators even pointed that out. Granted, it wouldn't have mattered at this point since Raw already won the event. If that's what they were going for, I still don't like it. Bryan had been driven twice into the ring post. He was hurt and easy pickings. I don't see the reason for Lesnar to go to these lengths. He doesn't need that and it doesn't fit his character. And as I mentioned before, I don't like spots being repeated unless there's a reason for it. And here, Bryan does the diving knee off the apron after Lesnar got hurt in the corner. Keep in mind, before all of this, Lesnar caught Bryan as he was trying to do a suicide dive. Remember what had just happened before? Bryan tried a crossbody over the top rope, Lesnar caught him, but then he got sent into the ringpost and Bryan hit the running knee off the ring apron. Once again, the exact same thing occurred, only this time the moves were switched up a bit. It's still the same circumstances however. Again, that's lazy.

But still, I like what I see here for the most part. Great action, some really nice moments, the pacing and selling got a lot better and the match is flowing a lot more nicely now. The crowd is really into it as well.

Now on to the end.

The End

AJ's Match: AJ goes for the Styles Clash, but Lesnar counters and goes for the F-5, but AJ beautifully counters and gets the Calf Crusher in. Lesnar sells this wonderfully, and the crowd is losing their mind. Lesnar gets out of this by slamming AJ's head into the mat repeatedly (Dean Ambrose did that already Brock, you aren't special). Brock goes for the F-5 but his leg is giving him problems. AJ gets off of him and is on the ring apron, and delivers a NASTY elbow shot to Lesnar. He hits the Phenomenal Forearm and gets a near count. AJ tries the Phenomenal Forearm again, this time removing his elbow pad. But Lesnar is able to catch him, and hits the F-5 for the win.

My Thoughts: This sounds pretty quick, but this all goes on for about a few or so minutes. The ending here is pretty well done for the most part. A lot more incredible selling from Lesnar, and some really nice sequences as well. The last few minutes of this match flow incredibly well and a lot of that has to do with how they set everything up. A simple finisher counter into another finisher counter into the submission was really well done. The way Lesnar broke out of it was cool, and although it had been done before by Ambrose, it made perfect sense given Lesnar being a powerhouse. I've never had an issue with it only taking one F-5 for Lesnar to beat someone. In my opinion that's the way it should be. And I really wish WWE wasn't lazy and made Lesnar waste five F-5's just to beat Strowman. To me it makes Styles look weak in moments like these where he loses to one F-5. In reality, you couldn't have made Styles look any better as a performer.

One thing I will say however is that I don't like Styles going for the Phenomenal Forearm right away again after he had just failed beforehand. I guess it just happens too soon for my liking, but that's just me. But here's the thing: that's the first complaint I've made through out this entire match. And it's literally at the very end. And I'm a picky person. So that says a lot.

I'll get into overall match thoughts in a moment. Lets finish up Bryan's match.

Bryan's Match: Bryan chopblocks Lesnar and continues to work on the damaged leg. He goes to the outside for a moment, and slams Lesnar's leg into the ring post, causing further damage to it. He sends Lesnar back in the ring, goes to the top rope and hits a missle dropkick. Bryan follows this up with two corner dropkick, but gets caught in the third. Lesnar goes for the F-5 but his leg gives out on him. Bryan falls over the top of his head, and he gets the yes-lock in. Lesnar's selling here once again is on point. Lesnar breaks Bryan's grip, but Bryan hits Lesnar across the side of the face a couple of times and resumes the hold. Eventually, Lesnar transitions out, but Bryan tries locking in a triangle submission. Lesnar is able to lift Bryan up, and quickly hit an F-5 and pins Bryan.

My Thoughts: This was an excellent way to finish out the match. If I had anything to complain about, it's that I wish Lesnar would have had a little more offense in these final few minutes rather than it literally be all Bryan. But the way they went about doing it made sense. When Lesnar had Bryan in an F-5, the injury to his leg made him lose his footing and it allowed Bryan to use his yes-lock finisher. He was in the finisher hold for quite some time and even teased that he was going to tap out a few times. And he really had me going there for a moment. The way he was selling the move was downright incredible. It amazes me how great Lesnar is in that department when he is giving full effort. He can make anyone look great. And he does that here with Bryan.

Bryan deserves a lot of credit as well, staying true to his character while still showing signs of being a different person with the heel turn and what not. His character work here is great, and it's a reason to look forward to seeing what he has to offer as he starts into his new role as the top heel on Smackdown.

The pacing and execution of the ending portion of the match is great, as is the psychology. The ending definitely made up for the earlier portions of the match.

Overall Thoughts and Ratings

So if I had to give match ratings right now for these, it would go as follows:

AJ Styles vs Brock Lesnar: ****1/2

Daniel Bryan vs Brock Lesnar: ***1/2

So AJ Styles vs Brock Lesnar wins.

And here is why.

As I said before, Styles vs Lesnar had a significant advantage over Bryan vs Lesnar. But Bryan is a guy who is able to bring great matches out of anyone, regardless of the circumstances. His second match with Big Cass is an example of this. In this case however, even despite that, I'm giving AJ's match a full star difference, because he did a much better job doing what he needed to do to make his match work.

From start to finish, the match between AJ and Brock is very clear. Brock is dominating, but when AJ finds his opening, he takes full advantage of it. He sticks to his strengths, uses his athleticism to his advantage to create a chance of winning. The match is beautifully paced, and the action is well balanced. There's actual variety instead of spamming suplex's and constant flips, which any ignorant fan would say is what you're gonna expect from these two when they have a match (I would know, I was that ignorant fan).

But what helps this stand out more is the flow of the match. Everything falls into place, and because it's a face vs heel match, what happens feels a lot more natural. Seeing Daniel Bryan, a heel, dominate Lesnar in the fashion he did feels...weird. Because of the fact that he is a heel now, it's hard at times to make sense of what you are seeing because your view of him is supposed to be different. You're supposed to expect him to be on the receiving end of the punishment, making the opponent look better. It's hard for me to see it as such, and it's a conflicting thing to have in Pro Wrestling.

But more than anything, Styles vs Lesnar feels like an actual Champion vs Champion match. Both men are there giving it all, battered and bruised, pulling out all the stops, but also taking it to each other in ways you wouldn't expect from...well, someone who isn't the top champion from another brand. You wouldn't expect someone from Raw to fight back in this kind of fashion after Lesnar's been doing this for this long. Usually when he gains that advantage, you're fucked. With Bryan's situation, it only happened in the first place because Lesnar let it happen. And that takes away from what they're trying to do here. Yeah, Bryan put up a great fight, but that's because Lesnar let it get to that point.

The first match between Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar should not have been a heel vs heel match. But then again, that's irrelevant. There's still more they could have done with the time given to make this a more compelling match. Instead, a lot of it feels like a lesser version of AJ's match, but this time with more repeated spots, a lot of time stalling and some straight up strange moments that made little sense. The last few minutes are wonderful, but it's not enough to put it on the level of AJ/Brock.

This isn't to say that Bryan vs Lesnar wasn't a very good match. It was. Did it live up to expectations? In my opinion, no, but that's because it's Bryan and Lesnar. Two absolute legends in the ring, two of the best in-ring performers on the planet when they were both in their primes. There were circumstances such as timing and character alignments that didn't work in their favor, but none the less, I think they could have done more with what they were given. They're both good enough to create matches of legendary status even in limited circumstances. They're that good.

Even on equal grounds, AJ/Brock I feel just did a lot more, and went beyond expectations. And AJ played his part unbelievably well, deserves loads of credit for making this match as great as it was. And thus, his match with Lesnar is, to me, the better match.

Let me know if you guys think differently, as well as if you have anything you'd like to add that you think I missed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,973 Posts
It's a tough pick, but I'd go with Bryan.

Now, both matches had the parts where Brock dominated, which were necessary even if you don't want to admit it. But I liked the AJ match for that better. Brock did everything. Suplexes. Big Knee Strikes. Big blows. He even shadow boxed with AJ at one point, completely mocking him.

I wish Brock had mixed it up a bit more in that phase with Bryan.

But I thought Bryan's come back was a bit better. AJ hit all of his usual spots and Brock sold them great. But coming off his heel turn, Bryan wasn't bound to the babyface constrictions. He punt kicked Brock in the balls. He stomp his head into the match. He kicked him into oblivion. He hit the big flying moves. He destroyed Brock's leg. And again, Brock sold it all amazingly.

Again, a hard pick but I'd go with Bryan.
 

·
#1 Somamaniac
Joined
·
13,614 Posts
Meh, I thought Bryan's match was superior in every way. Not a knock on the AJ match just the Dragon vs The Beast was on another level IMO.

:bryan :brock2


Good write up though. Great to see other people's thoughts on the match.
 

·
Currently lying down wearing a blue suit
Joined
·
10,805 Posts
They were both good matches, but I'll go with the one between AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar.
 
1 - 20 of 245 Posts
Top