WWE

WWE TLC: The demise of Kane, once the most feared superstar of all

Barnaby Read 21/04/2015
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Demise: The once granite-like Kane has become less imposing in recent years.

Last week in this column we took great joy in a plethora of Monty Python references which, in relation to the WWE’s handling of Kane ended with: ‘Now, something completely different.’

The Big Red Monster has been The Authority’s suited muscle for a while and all the demon and terror seems to be lost from Hell’s masked madman.

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His constant to-ing and fro-ing between corporate pawn and loose cannon has surrounded the character’s 18-year career ever since Glenn Jacobs was first introduced to the world as The Undertaker’s disfigured half brother by the late Paul Bearer in 1997.

While the theme didn’t dominate Kane’s peak years during the Attitude era like it has in the last decade, he was still seen at the time siding with The Corporation and was a central figure to those epic disputes between heel and face.

During this week’s RAW, Kane was once again thrust into the centre of the dispute between Seth Rollins and Randy Orton but with much less success. The simple fact is a Kane in a suit is of little joy to watch.

Kane in a mask, with red light draping an arena prior to flames from the ring posts is a much greater spectacle.

It seems that once again Kane will turn face, most likely as the gatekeeper for Rollins’ Heavyweight title defence against Orton at Extreme Rules on May 4 but the big question mark is over the director of operations’ (he handed his notice in on RAW) future in the ring.

Both he and fellow Authority muscle The Big Show have become far less imposing, cumbersome Superstars as the years have worn on and their place in the company amid its bold young generation is harder to sell than ever before.

Neither were ever the most electrifying of entertainers in the ring but they were so in many other ways.

They could sell a spot, they could dominate the roster in the manner in which Brock Lesnar makes viewers believe it is the only thing that is possible and they could turn heel or face without it feeling like a matter of time.

Both are legends of the WWE and deserve their time in the sun, but as it starts to fade you have to hope no legacies are left burnt.

Now may be the time to put both out to pasture or use them as bumps up the roster for breakthrough acts. Failing that, at the very least, their presence could be made more mythical and appetite whetting as ‘Takers yearly call to arms at WrestleMania.

The Deadman will be sorely missed by the WWE Universe, it will be a shame if Kane and Show are not.

MOVE OF THE WEEK – Randy Orton’s RKO ‘Outta Nowhere’

Orton has found the perfect man to sell the biggest RKO’s in history. First there was the absolute beast that he planted on Rollins at WrestleMania and then this week’s huge finisher inside the steel cage. It’s is a darn shame that Orton cannot use this when the two meet at Extreme Rules.

TWEETS OF THE WEEK – #RKOOuttaNowhereII

Orton’s sensational move on Rollins ended a night where he sought out as many wrestlers as possible in a bid to RKO them.

It brought back beautiful memories of the Vines that flooded our social media streams so here’s a little recap of one of the best uses in social media we can remember.

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WWE

WWE TLC: Raw’s flying circus lands in the UK with mixed success

Barnaby Read 14/04/2015
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This week's Raw resembled a Monty Python sketch in more ways that one.

The WWE was back on the road this week and flew into England for a live instalment of Raw, which was as highly convoluted and entertaining (but nowhere near as funny) as a Monty Python sketch.

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Alas, there were no dead parrots but a cartoon-like show unfolded which was bizarrely brilliant – in a similar mould to the subversive work of Terry Gilliam.

Home favourites Bad News Barrett and Paige were wheeled out to varying degrees of success in the ring (Barrett lost to John Cena and Paige won the right to become the No. 1 contender for the Divas title) but both left their homeland with reputations enhanced.

Cena’s match with Barrett was a real treat and the late assault from Rusev and the setup for a Russian chain match at the upcoming Extreme Rules PPV was  a throwback to the unique novelty of pay-per-views as enjoyable as John Cleese’s Ministry of Silly Walks.

Unlike Python’s superb array of hits across TV, film, music and the stage, this Raw was not short of duds. Like many a sketch show, sometimes you will simply miss the mark. 

For the WWE, this week’s RAW fell miserably short in its middle stages as a number of the card were as lifeless as that dead parrot and a number of the UK fans would have been looking for an exchange.

Dean Ambrose vs Adam Rose, Fandango vs Stardust and Damien Mizdow vs The Miz were all poor affairs that offered little in terms of progress to storylines. At this stage you felt WWE Creative’s Knights of the Round Table were all very naughty boys.

Thanks to a monstrous chokeslam from Big Show on Roman Reigns atop a London cab (the WWE never misses a trick) and another excellent spot from Seth Rollins and Randy Orton, the show was saved – much like the bank accounts of Python’s retiring comedic geniuses by their sell-out tour last year.

It will be these bouts and the Cena vs Rusev showdown that will truly deliver an Extreme Rules to remember, but the incessant need to turn Kane from Demon to office-worker and back again is something that has long been tiresome and only seemed to build momentum on Monday.

Like that most famous of Flying Circus lines, “now for something completely different.”

MOVE OF THE WEEK – Big Show’s chokeslam on Roman Reigns
After being heckled by the crowd and Reigns, Show turned the tables on the former Shield member with a huge chokeslam. 

TWEETS OF THE WEEK – #NevilleFlysHome

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WWE

WrestleMania 31 may be greatest in history

Barnaby Read 31/03/2015
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There was a plethora of feasts at the top table of WWE as superstars past and present all took to the Santa Clara stage to drop the jaws of a record crowd at Levi Stadium.

Well, well, well. What a week in the WWE.

We have three major new champions after a superb WrestleMania that not only delivered, but delighted.

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There was a plethora of feasts at the top table of WWE as superstars past and present all took to the Santa Clara stage to drop the jaws of a record crowd at Levi Stadium.

So much has been said of Sunday’s showpiece already, and it’s rightly been talked about the world over with the world and its mother having their say on everything from overt product placement, through NWO vs DX and on to Seth Rollins’ show-stealing turn at WrestleMania’s conclusion.

The most important thing to happen since Sunday, however, was this week’s Raw.

We have long said in this column that this roster has all the potential to usher in one of the finest eras of the WWE if given the chance.

And on the evidence of Monday’s show, the men who make it happen in the ring seem to be getting all the reassurances they need from those outside of it.

A fired up Brock Lesnar wreaked havoc as the untamed beast the franchise has needed. Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, Bad News Barrett and the returning Sheamus forged a tantalising run-in for the Intercontinental title. We saw NXT stars Adrian Neville and Kalisto make their main-roster debuts. John Cena, fresh off of his US Championship victory lit up the arena against Dean Ambrose and the Divas were given the time they need to properly work a match to good effect.

The list goes on, but the real thing that remains is an overwhelming feeling that the WWE is in rude health.

Not since the days of the Attitude Era have its crowds been so vociferous, engaged and entertained and it’s all down to some superb storytelling from its performers and the trust being placed in them by the big boys.

The hope is that this continues and that all four factors named above continue to fuel each other in the coming months.

If that happens, then rest assured this year’s run of pay-per-views will be absolute treats for all concerned.

TWEETS OF THE WEEK – #TweetAMania

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