Real American Wrestleblog

This blog predates Jack Swagger's gimmick shift by a year. I named it after Hulk Hogan's entrance theme.

Archive for the ‘Damien Sandow’ Category

Sandow’s spotlight fading?

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I feel like the decision to separate Damien Sandow from The Miz was inevitable.  It had to happen at some point.  However, when they actually went splitsville, I felt kind of like I was witnessing a metaphoric “4 Corner Massacre” taking place on Sandow’s career.  If you don’t get the reference, go watch Ready to Rumble.

The reason that the Damien Mizdow gimmick was able to get over so well was because so many people legitimately don’t like The Miz.  And I’ve been one of the most outspoken because I don’t feel like he has the in-ring talent or the entertainment value of the vast majority of the roster.  But you have to give credit where it’s due and Miz has achieved a great deal of success in the WWE.  To me, that makes him the biggest overachiever in professional wrestling.  Kind of like Floyd Mayweather is considered the best pound for pound boxer in the world, substitute weight classes for talent levels and consider that The Miz has done far more with his limited skill set than a lot of more talented wrestlers and entertainers have been able to achieve.  Credit it to his work ethic or dumb luck or kissing the right asses or whatever you want to chalk it up to, but the guy made it to the top of the mountain and stayed there for over half a year.

He main-evented Wrestlemania and sure it was the worst Wrestlemania main event in the 31 years that Wrestlemania has existed.  And sure, he rapidly fell from the top because once he go there his lack of talent shone through and he hasn’t been anywhere close to reattaining that level since.  But he did it.  He was there and there is not changing it.  And he continues to be a featured performer on the roster and go out and shoot a movie and guest star on television shows every year.  A lot of people don’t like him because they are jealous of his success.  A lot of people don’t like him because his on screen persona is an ass.  And a lot of people, like me, don’t like him because we find him not at all entertaining.  I’ve said before that if Miz had never won the Money in the Bank briefcase or if he had been the first person to cash it in and lose, he would have been a lot more entertaining.  At the time he won the briefcase and then won the title, he was a rising star because he had a chip on his shoulder and had a lot to prove and it made him entertaining.  It made him stand out because here was this guy who came from out of reality television and wasn’t respected by his peers and wasn’t considered to be a real wrestler by most of the fans.  As a result, he went out there every week and worked his ass off to stick it in their eye and prove that he belonged.  Once he won Money in the Bank and won the WWE Championship, you could just see that fire go out of him.  Now, instead of a guy that was driven and fired up to prove himself, you had a smug pompous ass that had achieved what he wanted and was more interested in rubbing it in people’s faces and saying look at me, look at me than he was in continuing to earn it.  Criticize John Cena all you want, but in my eyes he has remained every bit as passionate and fired up to go out there and earn his spot every single night.  And I don’t say that just because he says things like that all the time.  I say it because I watch his work and I believe it.  I can’t say the same about The Miz and to me that’s probably the biggest reason why John Cena has been the man for the past decade and won the World Heavyweight Championship 15 times and why The Miz was the top heel in the company for only six months or so and only ever won the title one time.  Miz winning the championship was like killing half the family off in The Godfather II.  It sucked all of the future entertainment value and all of the best conflict out of the franchise and it couldn’t be replaced.

But I digress, this post was supposed to be about Damien Sandow.  But I tell you all of that about The Miz for background about why I genuinely don’t like seeing his character on TV.  And I think a lot of people feel the same way and as a result, when Damien Mizdow came along and started copying The Miz, only with an over the top flair that Miz hasn’t been able to capture in a long time, it amused us.  We looked at it as a way to make a mockery out of The Miz and people love to dis The Miz.  So of course people popped for Mizdow so hard.  He was funny and he was making fun of a guy that nobody likes.  There was no chance that it could have gone wrong.  However, after only a couple of months the fans were so into it and wanted to see Mizdow turn on The Miz and beat him, proving once and for all that he was a much better Miz than Miz was.  But I think WWE did the right thing by dragging that out.  They milked every last drop out of Miz and Mizdow together that they possibly could because they knew that once it was over, those pops that Mizdow was getting every week would start to fade.

Without having that guy that everybody wants to see get taken down a peg for Mizdow to play off of, that gimmick doesn’t work.  So when he came out the week after losing the match for the rights to the Miz gimmick and started mocking Curtis Axel who was mocking Hulk Hogan, I was very surprised when people were still kind of into it.  Because I definitely wasn’t.  Sandow’s speech before Axel’s arrival was heartfelt and genuine, but from the arrival of Curtis Axel onward I thought that segment was a big steaming pile of crap.  And through coming weeks, trying out the Macho Mandow gimmick and “reuniting the Mega Powers” with Axelmania has also been god awful in my opinion.  I think the longer this Mega Powers thing goes on, the worse it will be for both Sandow and Axel.  Because when the fans ultimately get tired of it, and that’ll probably happen sooner than later, where do they go from here?  Sandow just goes into another copycat gimmick most likely, but with waning support from the crowd and Axel may never recover from this.  Macho Mandow has been like Black Machismo all over again, but without any of the humor to go along with it.  And Macho Mandow has yet to drop so much as a single Flying Elbow for fans to mark out for.  Maybe I’m the only one that doesn’t care for it right now, but give it time.  Soon enough, I’ll be far from the only one.

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Payback Preshow Live Reactions

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We started the night of action off with R-Truth taking on Stardust in an unannounced bonus match.  It wasn’t anything special, but both guys did well.  The bit with the bag of spiders on Raw either this week or the week before was hokey as all get out, so it was good to see them avoid going down a similar route tonight and kick the night off with a well executed match that wasn’t hokey at all.  Back and forth until the crowd gets to Stardust and he starts smacking R-Truth around with his glove.  R-Truth hits his finish (not sure what he calls it now that he doesn’t have the Little Jimmy gimmick and Little Jimmy was a god awful stupid name for a wrestling finishing move anyway) as a counter move when Stardust charges him and he picks up the win.

Sheamus interviews with Tom Phillips and it’s the Twitter fan questions interview segment that they did with Kane at Extreme Rules only for Kane to walk out after only 1-2 questions.  Sheamus does a good job with the interview, but the questions are of course lame and pointless.

Next match up is The faux Mega Powers against the Ascension and I could care less.  Like I said all along, once they ended Miz & Mizdow, they would not know what to do with him, they’d keep using him as a joke and the fan support of the character will dwindle, he’ll stop getting pops every time he comes out and unless he turns it around with a normal gimmick, he’ll be gone from the company.  Axelmania and Macho Mandow dominate the early going, but it doesn’t last long and The Ascension beat Sandow with the Fall of Man.  Not that anybody cared about the R-Truth and Stardust match, but it’s a good thing they added it to the preshow so this stinker wasn’t the only thing filling up the second half of the preshow.

2013 – The Best and Worst of the First Half

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So, I know we’re actually a couple of weeks over the first half of the year, but last night we wrapped up the WWE’s 6th Pay Per View of the year out of 12, so this seems a more fitting place to give out awards for the Best of the First Half of 2013.

Best Pay Per View Match – Undertaker vs. CM Punk @ Wrestlemania 29.  When this match was first announced, I thought there was a decent chance that Punk could be the one hand-picked to end the Streak, but as the program advanced week to week with Punk getting the better of Undertaker at each and every turn and seeing none of Undertaker’s legendary mind games, it became painfully obvious that Punk was going to be just another victim because there was no chance that Undertaker would get punked week in and week out and then have the streak end all at once.  I think it’s pretty clear that if the Streak ends, it’ll be the last match that Undertaker ever wrestles.  It’s poetic and would follow the trend set by Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels of glorious Wrestlemania exits.  That being the case, with the program set up as it was, there was no way that was the last run we’d see from Undertaker and thus he pretty much was guaranteed the win in my mind.  However, that didn’t take away from the quality of their match at Wrestlemania one bit.  Punk was at his best psychologically, flashing humorous expressions and hitting the high spots at just the right time to make up for Undertaker’s declining mobility.  The image of Undertaker sitting up while locked in the Anaconda Vice and turning the Big Evil glare onto Punk and Punk’s reaction is one of my favorite takeaways from this year’s Wrestlemania.  That and Zeb Coulter’s hilarious reaction when Swagger tapped out to Del Rio in the World Heavyweight Championship match.

Best Free-TV Match – John Cena vs. CM Punk – Raw (February 25) – Just an all around great performance, right up there with their match at Money in the Bank two years ago.  It’s probably one of the top five matches of Cena’s career.  It’s the only time I can remember Cena ever attempting a Frankensteiner and sure, he didn’t do it very well, but the guy went for it.  That’s one of the most exciting attempts at a move done by a big guy since Big Show, as The Giant in WCW, last attempted a Moonsault or Brock Lesnar going for the Shooting Star Press at Wrestlemania 19.  I used to think Edge was the only one who could bring out the very best in Cena, but Punk does it even better.  The two of them have had at least two and perhaps three of the top 10 matches of the last two years (at Money in the Bank in 2011 and this match for sure, plus maybe Night of Champions last year despite the non-finish).

Best Rivalry – Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield (and anything else in his way) –  Daniel Bryan has kicked things up to another notch this year during his “weakest link” storyline, putting on the most entertaining matches and some of the most entertaining segments night in and night out over the past 2 months since Team Hell No lost the WWE Tag Team Titles to The Shield at Extreme Rules.  And if the rumors are true, he’s managed to parlay the great showing he’s had this year into a SummerSlam WWE Championship Main Event match against John Cena.  Goat mode has been activated and there is no stopping it.

Best Performer – Daniel Bryan – (See Best Rivalry)  Honorable Mention to CM Punk for easily the 3 best matches of the year so far (vs. Cena on Raw, vs. Undertaker @ Wrestlemania and vs. Jericho @ Payback)

Most Underrated – Antonio Cesaro – In a very short time he went from a dominant United States Champion to a yodeling afterthought.  He was consistently posting great matches against The Miz, which I’ve come to expect as a very hard thing to do over the course of Miz’s career, so Cesaro deserves all the respect in the world for that.  I don’t know why they decided to stick him with Zeb Coulter now because Cessaro is also pretty darn good on the mic and doesn’t really need a mouthpiece and for that storyline they should have used another actual American to team with Swagger, even though Cesaro does have the Very European, Uber-American thing going for him.  Damien Sandow was easily my favorite to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match last night and I’m very glad he did.  His mic skills over the past year or so have surpassed even those of the CM Punk and his overhyped “pipe bombs”, of which there have been few and far between since his infamous Vegas promo.  However, if Sandow wasn’t going to be the one to win, Cesaro was easily my second choice of who I would have liked to have seen win the briefcase and become a guaranteed future World Champion.

Best Pay Per View – Payback – This event was one I had pretty much written off, but it really had a lot going for it.  The 3 Stages of Hell WWE Championship title match between Cena and Ryback exceeded my expectations and was actually probably the best Pay Per View WWE Championship Match of the year so far, but that’s not saying a whole lot unless you give a lot of credit to the Twice in a Lifetime Cena vs. Rock rematch at Wrestlemania, which just didn’t do a whole lot for me after already seeing it the previous year and knowing that for certain Cena was going to win and get his all important “redemption” when they should have just had him beat Rock last year and ended it there instead of continuing to drag it out for what is probably going to be a Wrestlemania Main Event trilogy.  On top of that, you can debate which of Punk’s matches (vs. Cena, vs. Undertaker or this one) was the best, but undoubtedly Punk vs. Jericho on that night was one of the best 3 matches of the year at the very least.  On top of that, Del Rio shockingly (to me anyway) won the World Heavyweight Championship back from Dolph Ziggler in a match that just like Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13 flip-flopped the two, simultaneously turning the heel into the face and the face into the heel by showcasing the guts of the injured heel who was already getting huge reactions from the crowd long before that point.  Poor Ziggler now has 2 World Heavyweight Championship reigns, one of which went for 69 days, and he still has never successfully defended the title.  However, he put on a good show despite carrying a title for 10 weeks without defending it or even being on Television for half of his brief title run.  On top of all of that, Daniel Bryan continued to put on a great show in the WWE Tag Team Title match and for the first time in a long time WWE put a watchable women’s match on the Pay Per View, between Kaitlynn and AJ, even though the program leading up to it was like a very watered down version of Trish and Mickie.  There wasn’t really a stinker match on the card, though Dean Ambrose vs. Kane did let me down a little bit, but that’s mostly because I don’t believe disqualifications and non-finishes have any place on a Pay Per View.  If you want to put that kind of finish on Raw, go right ahead because we aren’t shelling out $50-$60 to watch it, but if you are going to charge that much for people to watch a Pay Per View, you have an obligation to deliver better than that cheap ass crap to help you promote the next Pay Per View that you’re also going to charge $50 or more for.  It’s no wonder WWE has such a problem with internet piracy.  I know that they have a lot of deserving workers who need Pay Per View revenue to help cover their salaries, but when you’re ripping off fans at $50 a pop every month, you deserve to be ripped off yourself.  It’s called karma.  Especially when I believe that you could cut Pay Per View prices down to $10-$15 and sell the show to 4-5 times as many people and make the same amount of profit.  Pay Per View buy rates and profits are down purely because, in the words of Jimmy McMillan (the guy from The Rent Is Too Damn High Party), the prices are too damn high.

Worst Match – The Rock vs. CM Punk @ Royal Rumble –  Those two just didn’t feel like they had any chemistry to me at all.  Moves seemed disjointed and poor Bret Hart was in attendance in the back after participating in the Fan Access panels that weekend and giving Del Rio a rub on his way to the ring, and Bret had to watch The Rock absolutely butcher the Sharpshooter.  At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Great Khali could apply a better Sharpshooter than The Rock.  He certainly couldn’t do any worse than The Rock.  And to top it all off, they did one of those crappy interference finishes followed by restarting the match only to have the real finish occur less than 15 seconds after restarting the match.  It was a nice moment in the career of The Rock and a niece piece of nostalgia for the fans, but it was a god awful stinker of a match.

Best Fan Reaction – Finally stopping the Goldberg chants – Next on the list of stupid crap to quit chanting is the What chant.

Worst Fan Reaction – Fandangoing – Just stop it.  The dude has a smaller move set than John Cena, of whose “5 moves of doom” you all love to bitch about so much.  Stop it now.  Shame on you New York fans for starting that junk.

Most Overrated – Fandango – (See Worst Fan Reaction) Shame on Chris Jericho for being willing to job to absolutely anybody at any given time and thus giving this bozo credibility (I’ve taken to referring to Fandango as Wiener Breath most of the time due to his level of suckitude).  Have some standards, please, for the love of all that is holy.

Worst Choice – Fandango going over on Jericho @ Wrestlemania – It’s usually a good thing for a veteran to put over the young talent and I applaud Jericho’s selflessness in being so cool about jobbing to anybody and everybody, but I reiterate for the love of all that is holy, please have some standards Chris.

Best Choice – Zack Ryder – For accidentally kicking Fandango in the head wrong and giving him a concussion, thus allowing Curtis Axel to replace him at Payback, thus saving the world from the disaster that is Fandango winning anything of importance, such as the Intercontinental Championship.

Worst Announcer – Still Michael Cole – Forever and always Michael Cole.  You know why.  Enough said.

Best Announcer – JBL – He might not have actually been a wrestling God, but he is definitely a commentary God.  Bobby Heenan is still my all time favorite commentator, but JBL is easily the runner-up.

 

Written by I Am a Real American

July 15, 2013 at 7:20 am

Posted in AJ Lee, Antonio Cessaro, Big Show, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Bret Hart, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Diva's Championship, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, Edge, Extreme Rules, Fandango, Jack Swagger, John Cena, Kaitlynn, Kane, Mickie James, Money in the Bank, Ric Flair, Royal Rumble, Sharpshooter, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Miz, The Rock, The Shield, Trish Stratus, Undertaker, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 29, Wrestlemania XIII, Wrestlemania XIX, Wrestlemania XXIX, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, Zack Ryder, Zeb Coulter

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Real American Top 10 – Rising Stars of the WWE

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10) Heath Slater – Personally, I don’t think much of Slater’s talent, but he’s been a fixture on Monday Night Raw for several weeks now and he’s been in the ring with some of the biggest stars in the history of the WWE.  He’s picked up the rub from several WWE Legends and continued to run with it.  With the 1,000th Raw in the rear view mirror, that likely spells the end of his weekly appearances on Raw, but he could parlay that experience into a bigger on screen role than what he’s had in the past and maybe even a few wins here and there.

9) Tyson Kidd – Formerly a mainstay on WWE Pay Per Views as part of the Hart Dynasty during their reign as WWE Tag Team Champions a couple of years ago, Kidd’s spotlight has since faded, but his involvement in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match and victory over Tensai last month shows that he could be getting the opportunity to reclaim some of the limelight in the near future.

8) Brodus Clay – In 7 months, we’ve only once seen Brodus step in the ring with somebody that was allowed to be a significant threat to his size and dominance when he got dispatched rather easily by Big Show.  However, he continues to pile up wins against former World Champions like The Miz and Jack Swagger, but it appears questionable whether or not he’s going to be used for more than that.

7) Darren Young & Titus O’Neill – The Prime Time Players have staying power in my opinion and the tag team division is desperately in need of some consistency.  Through their manager / promoter A.W., they’ve already shown themselves to be underhanded and wily and should be carrying the WWE Tag Titles sometime soon.

6) Damien Sandow – The guy simply has a way with words.  He tends to greatly overstate his significance, like at Raw 1,000 when he called himself a “martyr”, but when has overstating your own significance ever been a bad thing for a heel character?  He got the rub from DX on the most historic episode of Monday Night Raw to date and not much signifies that somebody is on the rise more than that.

5) Antonio Cessaro – He stands out from the rest of the WWE locker room due to his unique look and the European Style similar to those of popular and underrated wrestlers like Fit Finlay and William Regal.  He handily defeated the United States Champion Santino Marella on Smackdown this week and his own title run could be in the near future.

4) Ryback – He’s finally getting put in the ring with enhancement talent like Jinder Mahal, Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins rather than the 2-on-1 Handicap matches against the slew of unknown jobbers that had many die-hard fans exasperated.  He frequently draws Goldberg chants from the crowd due to the perceived similarity in their two gimmicks, but we could be experiencing a meteoric rise similar to the one Goldberg received in 1998.

3) Sin Cara – He still hasn’t quite gotten the necessary repertoire with the rest of the talent to pull off his style of matches without a few botches here and there, but eventually he’ll smooth all of that out.  I was concerned that WWE would give up on him after his suspension last summer due to violation of the wellness policy and then sustaining an injury at Survivor Series last year only a few months after the end of that suspension, an injury that kept him out of action until June.  With Rey Mysterio likely on his final run with the company, expect him to pass the masked luchadore torch to Sin Cara sometime in the not so distant future.

2) Wade Barrett – The Barrett Barrage has been halted temporarily due to the injury he suffered back in February, but don’t expect the winner of NXT Season One to miss a step when he makes his return.  Instead, expect him to win his first World Championship sometime in 2013.

1) Dolph Ziggler – Easily tops the list by virtue of his holding the Money in the Bank briefcase.  There is also the intense level of respect that the internet wrestling community has gained for him (from my experience anyway) over the past year and a half since his rivalry with Edge and since he started calling himself the Show Off late last year.  He was wrestling 1-2 matches on multiple Pay Per Views late last year and the last guy I can recall doing that was Chris Benoit during his tremendous reign as World Heavyweight Champion in 2004.  In my opinion, he’s frequently the best performer on the roster and his over the top antics are always entertaining.