Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Wave Of NXT Talent: But Keep Things The Same

NXT is about to get a major shake-up with three major stars about to arrive. It should be interesting to see how this will impact on the show. Part of the joy that is NXT for an older fan like me is the fact it is just one hour which is delightful. Things on NXT just seem far more simplistic and easier to digest on a weekly basis.

The fight for real estate on that show is about to get fairly interesting when add Kenta, Prince Devitt and Kevin Steen all potentially about to arrive. It will be interesting to see how this will change if at all the show that is NXT. Some guys that are being featured now might want to look over their shoulder because some serious talent is coming in the door.

Think the three major guys that have little to worry about are Neville, Breeze and Zayn. In addition I think the ladies will always have a place on the show. After that it is open season in my view. You see someone like C.J Parker as an example getting another chance with a re-packaged gimmick as this heel environmentalist. After getting a lot of air time in the past Mo Jo Rawley seems to have been cooled off. He may have been hyped but the reviews on him from people like me were not that kind with good reason.

My hope is there will be a battle for time and position on NXT and not WWE thinking that we just need more time on this show with the amount of top talent we have. Keeping things at the one our mark is fine with me. If they attempted to extend NXT and make it longer I think you would be making a major mistake. The path it is on now with a one hour show and an expected 4 special 2 hour events on the Network seems fine to me.

Note, this is mere speculation on my part but with the WWE Network struggling and new influx of talent I could easily see the idea of a longer NXT be kicked around as it has been one of the more popular shows on the WWE Network consistently.

Tyler Breeze has said in a recent interview on Between the Ropes that his injured finger is almost back to 100% and he is of course the number one contender to the NXT Title. I would suspect Breeze and Neville will headline the next special event. Nothing is for certain with the arrival of Kenta, Prince Devitt and likely Kevin Steen. Steen refuses to acknowledge the WWE signing directly as in his last independent date in Toronto he claimed to have indeed taken a new job as trainer of whales at Marineland. In any case he likely does show up and re-united with Sami Zayn who in a similar fashion refuses to acknowledge that he was and is El Generico. Maybe it is a French thing. I don’t have this part of the French gene though.

This is really a big time for NXT as we have in a sense started the second wave of NXT talent to make up this roster. Bull Dempsey is the latest new character to come around. Some were upset that this gimmick which is basically a throwback old school wrestler was not given to Kevin Steen. I am not one of them as I see this as horrible gimmick that will need some serious work to get over.

In any case keep NXT as it is as the old saying goes if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Something the WWE should learn to do more. I do have faith with Triple H firmly in control of all that is NXT he will not have any dramatic changes to the product. This in a sense has become like his fourth child. You can tell how much he loves NXT and all the young performers in it.

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ROH "Field of Honor" Card Starting To Take Shape

Ring of Honor is starting to roll out the card for Field of Honor and the Main Event will be Michael Elgin the new ROH Champion in a four way match for his title. He will take on former Champion Adam Cole, current IWGP Champion A.J Styles and Jay Briscoe.

We always talk about ROH being different from WWE and it really is but to have a four way match right after WWE did with Battleground is a bit disappointing. If I do have any knock against ROH it is having multi-man matches for the title as often as they do. Why not just split it up have the Cole vs. Elgin re-match as the headliner and have Styles vs. Briscoe for the number one contender spot. This seems simple enough to me. It also does no favours to Nigel McGuinness who as the storyline match maker or booker look like he can’t make up his mind.

This all said I get why ROH is doing what they are with having a chance to really stick it to TNA as they use to run this event annually. If you have noticed TNA just recently did a baseball stadium show Kentucky and drew a gasp worthy 67 people. Safe to say Ring of Honor wants to show of their ability to draw. It is also important for the company as this will be the first show without Kevin Steen who wrapped up with the company this past weekend.

Another match announced for the card sees Matt Taven in what I would think will be his last shot at the ROH Television Title taking on Jay Lethal in what has been a long on going feud that started with Taven as the heel and now both guys have switched roles. This seems like the old school cage match blow off to the feud.

Others signed to appear our:

ReDragon
Michael Bennett and Maria
Daniels and Kazarian
Rocky Romero (NJPW)
War Machine
The Decade
Tommoaso Ciampa
Cedric Alexander
Silas Young
ACH
Takaaki Wantanabe (NJPW)
Moose



Not to say things can not change, but a name notable that is missing is Matt Hardy. He has worked with ROH since going over to do tapings with TNA at a recent show but is noticeably absent here. What that means time will tell.

Like we always try to do here on Condo on the Moon will look to line up some guests prior to this show to appear on our Podcast in coming weeks. Event takes place in Brooklyn New York at MCU Park on August 15th 2014.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

WWE Shuffling the Deck With Character Changes.

A lot of people are getting some new hats in WWE coming out of Raw on Monday. A lot of shuffling of the deck is being done both by creative and by the fan base. Let’s start with the one that we all saw coming and was the most needed and that would be Paige.

Why they felt the need to wait to pull the trigger that took so long is beyond me. This was obvious from the night that A.J Lee returned to the WWE. This is perhaps the most obvious change and has the potential to be the most successful in my view. Paige was made to be a heel you see it in the aggressive nature that suits her move set. This is like a reset for her after a horrible start on the main roster and a forgettable first run as Diva’s Champion.

The beat down of A.J followed by mocking her skipping was just an excellent start to heel persona. This is who she always should have been from the beginning.

Another NXT alum, that didn’t take out of the gate, is getting a reset in Xavier Woods. He now has approached Big E and Kofi and looks like he is starting the Nation of Domination 2014. Which calls to question can you be the Nation of Domination in 2014?

The thing that does excite me about this is Kofi Kingston being a part of a heel faction.

Kofi is a good solider and always been a baby face and never been a problem in WWE. I want to see him get an honest shot as a heel run. I am not sure if this gimmick will be able to work and it does seem like a very reactionary move by WWE. In response to some poor press about their record in terms of minorities. It reminds me of when the WWE created the “Right to Censor” in response to criticism from a parental group.

Still I like Kofi and I do like Big E so I am hoping this is a vehicle to help them get over but I am very suspect if it will actually happen and work. We are just at the very start of this so will see how it goes.

Bray Wyatt and his real life brother Bo Dallas both seem to be in the land of Tweenerville. Bray seems to be really getting over and WWE is already testing the waters having Bray do some media recently with Between the Ropes and a few other places. This seems a sure sign they are testing the waters for a face run for Bray Wyatt.

While Bo Dallas on Raw was paired against Damien Sandow in a weird pairing but Bo Dallas has a lot of growing fans that BO-lieve in Bo. It probably is less likely we see Bo become a face as WWE still should keep him as a heel even if his fan base grows.

While Rusev and his push and expected rematch with Jack Swagger maybe on the ropes after a media backlash over the promo Lana cut at Battleground which in all honesty was tame and really made no direct mention of the tragedy in Ukraine. Like I said over on the Between the Ropes post show for Battleground, I felt all four performers had earned the right to continue this program.

Also feel bad for Cesaro who I wrote a few days ago seems to have been left for dead.

Miz has a new coat of paint on his tired persona. I buy Miz as a Hollywood star as much as I do John Cena. The other thing they seem to have in common is endless chances to be successful. Lots of changes in the WWE landscape but the constants remain the same and that is the former members of the Shield, John Cena and for whatever reason Orton and Kane. Oh and of course the returning Brock Lesnar who never changes except he seems to get bigger.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

CM Punk Claims He Will Never Ever Be Back In A Ring

So C.M Punk is a free man and as such can say what he wants but still isn't saying much. He claims he will never return to the ring but quickly joked about Twitter and the internet holding him to it. Chris Van Vilet is entertainment reporter in Cleveland that has interviewed local guys like Ziggler and Miz many times but also covered Wrestlemania's and has done interviews with The Rock. Now he gets a little CM Punk exclusive for the resume. Not that Punk had much to say other than he is loving life and is happy to be married.




Punk dropped idea of him having a podcast but if this is any indication you are not going to get any answers about what people are dying to know which is his exact reasons for parting ways with WWE in his own words.



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Road To Summerslam Is All About The WWE Network's Future

WWE enters perhaps one of the more critical times in their recent history. To say that "Battleground" inspired confidence that they are ready for this challenge would be a lie. Battleground two years running has been a solid candidate for worst WWE Show of the year in terms of PPVs/Special Events. I along with Steve broke down the show in audio form for Between the Ropes. While today I wrote my review in written form which was no more glowing.

Reports are already out that Brock Lesnar will be in the building and expected not to be in that same building is John Cena who for some reason someone is being stupid enough to have in another movie. Least he plays a “Bad Guy” in the movie after this decade as good guy John Cena a major stretch for him.

Why this time is so critical is the WWE soon will have to produce numbers for shareholders on how the WWE Network is doing in terms of subscribers which doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out isn’t all that good. Add into the fact Battleground seems to be the first PPV that people seem to have had a lot of issues with the network stream in great numbers. Not the stuff you want to hear right now if you’re WWE. Who is not only trying to grow their network in new subscribers but soon faces  the end of the 6 month window in which current subscribers were forced to commit too when the network launched in late February.

Brock Lesnar and John Cena need to pull off a heck of a build to Summerslam that the company is really banking on delivering. This 4 week build to Summerslam might be the most important build for the company since perhaps the original Wrestlemania when you consider all that is on the line. This makes the decision to basically screw fans out of a Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins match all the more puzzling. This is a time more than ever that the WWE needs to create good will with its fans. They need fans to buy into this network sooner rather than later or the consequences could be pretty damaging at least in the short term.

We have already seen more people fired in WWE than at any point I can recall in recent memory. Expect the cost cutting to continue should the network not deliver a favourable number at the end of the month.

How ironic that the future is based on one guy that is corporate face of the company and another that basically is just here for all the zeroes on his pay check. Not that Cena isn’t but Brock is more like a mercenary bounty hunter that he is anything else. Most expect him to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and after that some expect him to hold it all the way to Wrestlemania 31. If this is true that will be a major change in wrestling physiology for modern fans that have been use to seeing the Champion on T.V every week. This generation has grown us with “The Champ Is Here” even if Cena was not that guy. Back is the 1980’s Hogan was rarely seen on T.V as you had to go out to house shows to see him or wait for major events. Not sure fans will be use to this and some might not see it as total hypocrisy based on the stripping of an injured Bryan of the title and the explanation given.

The road not just to Summerslam starts tonight but the road to a very uncertain and rocky future for the WWE potentially. It is not going to be easy if they can’t fix this network in some form or fashion in a relatively short amount of time. Even when they get to their international launch scheduled for late 2014 or early 2015 that may not help. Most people here in Canada and other foreign lands have taken steps to beat the system and get the network now. Bad news when the WWE launches internationally to know that most of their hardcore fans may already be part of their domestic number.

It is a long and tough road ahead for the company. Break glass for Brock will be launched or plan C. It is clear the WWE has had more than 3 plans for their network and the more plans they have the more misses they seem to have than hits. It isn’t going according to plan at all.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cesaro: Latest Example Of WWE Missing The Boat?

So is it to early to sound the alarm of concern for Cesaro? Would anyone hear it over his horrible theme music?  It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Cesaro was on the verge of a major push to the main event scene. Something happened on the way to the top and your guess is as good as mine as to what. After coming out of Wrestlemania looking like a stud slamming the Big Show out of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal to become the first ever winner of the event. Next night on Raw he dumps Zeb and Jack Swagger to become the NEXT Paul Heyman guy and he seemed to be on a rocket ship to success.

Here in July it appears Heyman is out of the picture as Brock is set to return and Cesaro has just been stuck in the mid-card without really any major feuds of note. He was paired with Sheamus for a minor feud that produced decent matches but clearly no one cared about.

Where things might have gone off track for him was he was supposed to be the winner of a tournament to challenge Big E who was the current I-C Champion at the time. A script got in the hands of the internet that revealed this fact and in typical WWE reactionary fashion they changed to Wade Barrett who would go on to defeat Big E. Which of course he would soon after be injured and is currently out and requires shoulder surgery leading to the battle royal for the vacant title this Sunday.

What also in my opinion aside from awful theme music has not been working is the pairing with Paul Heyman. I like so many thought, the night after Wrestlemania this was the perfect marriage for the rising Swiss star and Heyman, who with Brock on his annual break to Summerslam was in need of something to do. Cesaro has suffered from Heyman promoting the fact his client that is not around beat the Undertaker’s streak and Paul Heyman just can’t help mentioning it every chance he gets. Cesaro with Heyman has been made to feel like second fiddle to Brock Lesnar without Lesnar even being around. This would have been fine if it was leading to Cesaro against Brock match, but that is clearly not the direction the WWE took or plans to take anytime soon.

Even if Cesaro were to walk away the Intercontinental Champion Sunday, I don’t think it repairs the damage done to him in the last few months. He isn’t even my pick in that match for the record as I picked Bo Dallas in the staff picks at Between the Ropes.

It wasn’t the disaster Curtis Axel being paired with Heyman was, but it wasn’t that much better to be honest. Cesaro was a guy being put over by Cena and had a great television match with him heading into Wrestlemania. Fans were primed to accept him as a babyface and the WWE decided to go in the complete opposite direction.

The level of concern for Cesaro is not as big as it might be for others, because he does have a lot of skills the WWE will always value. His ability to speak several languages, while used as part of his gimmick, does make him a value when touring the world. His in ring work is on an elite level and he is a machine in the gym which is something both Triple H and Vince McMahon will always respect.

Still you feel like the WWE missed a moment with this guy to get him "over" and make him a bigger star. This is something that becomes all too common these days with the WWE. They need to start listing to their audience and giving  them some things they want, if you expect them to be buying into your network and investing into the company with their wallets. C.M Punk once ranted fans don’t get to win in his feud with the Rock. In context of being a Cesaro fan, you have to feel like you have lost, after a great set up for a major push at Wrestlemania 30 that has failed to ever get started.  


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Friday, July 18, 2014

Condo on The Moon Podcast 20: Thank You Steen Edition

This week on the podcast a special intro off the top dedicated to Kevin Steen as he embarks on his final two matches in Ring of Honor. It was my pleasure to share my thoughts on Steen earlier today in Between the Ropes. This along with WWE talk heading into Battleground and how the TNA Champion will fair in MMA. This and a lot more in episode 20 of the podcast go have a listen:


I mentioned the contest in Between The Ropes for Battleground don't delay as last I checked there was only a few spots left for your chance at picking up 50 bucks for free. Thanks for listen and thanks to Kevin Steen for all he gave to Ring of Honor he leaves big shoes to be filled.

If you are unable to access the podcast through your device of choice no problem just click here and listen over at out podcast hosts Podomatic. 


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Condo on the Moon is on Twitter and Facebook and check out our weekly podcasts Every Friday

If you have questions/comments for our NEW Weekly Google+ Show Live Thursday's 7:30 pm EST use hashtag #AskMachoMoon. You can find us now at Condoonthemoon.com.