On last week’s episode of SmackDown
Goldberg turned up digitally in the ThunderDome audience to watch the Universal Championship match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman – which Inside the Ropes claim is to build a possible Reigns vs Goldberg match for WrestleMania 37.
If Bret Hart had to give Goldberg fighting for the Universal Championship in 2021 a rating out of 10. It would be even lower than 4. Referencing his infamous Triple H is a 4/10 wrestler shoot promo on this very channel in WrestleTalk’s early days. Bret proved the best there is the best there was. And the best there ever will be on crappy over top reputations.
Goldberg was a guy that nobody seemed to have taught wrestling really works. He seemed to think he could just pick a guy up and just slam him through the mat as hard as you could and that was good wrestling his work rate was 0/10. Like, everything he did hurt – everything! He could tie-up with you and hurt you.
Goldberg ended Bret Hart’s career with a wayward thrust kick at Starrcade 1999, which caused a concussion that Bret never fully recovered from, which he spoke about on the Confessions of The Hitman episode:: “The kick was the work of a total– like, somebody who had absolutely no skill at all.
He literally threw me into the ropes and tried to kick my head off my shoulders. Like, there was no working aspect to it. There’s no way you can do it without hurting somebody, and the thing with Bill was that all the ‘I’m sorries’ in the world don’t mean anything when you hurt somebody for real.”
But young up-and-comer Goldberg isn’t the only person WWE is building up on SmackDown. It really is a New Day, yes it is, for the New Day. Yes, it is, with Big E staying on SmackDown. While Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods moved to Raw in the WWE Draft. The first time the faction has been on different brands in six years.
But while Kofi and Xavier are keeping the New Day tag team gimmick, WWE is reportedly planning to drop that part of Big E’s character
Dave Meltzer wrote in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE wants. Make him more serious. Going forward – a point constantly pointed out by Corey Graves on commentary. Saying that Big E is destined for superstardom as long as sheds the goofiness wises.
WWE commentary is usually a verbal extension of Vince McMahon’s own thought process. It’ll help that WWE already owns the rights to Big E’s name, as Fightful is reporting WWE have been denied several wrestler trademarks because the talent isn’t consenting to the company owning their real names.
These include Drew Gulak, Pete Dunne, Tony Nese, and Justus, while Cagesideseats adds Mia Yim’s name to the mix – who’s filed for her own name trademark. While this is about boring copyright law, it’s actually one of the biggest stories in the wrestling business right now, as WWE is trying to exert more control over their… “VERY HAPPY AND COVID SAFE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS”.
Now it’s time for my review of last night’s Raw in about 5 minutes. Which is coincidentally about how long RETRIBUTION’s run lasted. Ignore all WWE’s problems, just sit back and enjoy the generic music – as it’s the season premiere of Raw, with a brand new opening video and song. It’s also the Hell in a Cell go-home show, a pay-per-view which could do with having some actual matches.
And one might as well be RETRIBUTION vs any chance of succeeding. Raw’s messy and contrived opening had Alexa Bliss bring out the Fiend. Who both surrounded by RETRIBUTION. The Fiend and Bliss to disappear when the lights cut out, and then the Hurt Business comes down for an 8 man tag – what is happening?! The 8 man tag was actually pretty decent.
This was RETRIBUTION’s first match since Ali was revealed as their leader two weeks ago. He wrestled with an intense viciousness – particularly against his former buddy Cedric Alexander. Alexander, meanwhile, wrestled with legit viciousness, seemingly legit knocking out SlapJack for 30 seconds with a back fist.
Jack literally got slapped
Like I said after Ali was unveiled as their leader. WWE is booking RETRIBUTION as a mid-card act in a mid-card position in midcard feuds. My words lose to the Hurt Business in a month at Survivor Series and never be heard from again. I was wrong, it took two weeks.
Bobby tapped out T-BAR in the Lashley lock clean. And then the Fiend appeared and beat up all of the RETRIBUTION, choking out T-BAR yet again, despite him wearing a mask. RETRIBUTION not only lost their first match after revealing Ali as their leader. They have also wiped out easily Fiend immediately afterward.
After the explanation segment was bumped last week. Ali later cut a promo backstage revealing he was the SmackDown hacker too. Which is how he found the RETRIBUTION guys. And he’s the guy who threw the pie at Kevin Owens. He was in Shane’s lockbox. And he’s Vince’s illegitimate son. Just like I said, WWE never cared about RETRIBUTION.
They were nothing more than a mid-card act to them, an idea chucked at the plexiglass amidst falling ratings back in August. And, just like Raw Underground being scrapped. It seems WWE is a clearinghouse of last season’s mess.
And they’re doing it by burying RETRIBUTION for a lazy filler feud for The Fiend, who they drafted across with no real immediate plans. Speaking of Raw Underground, the giant doorman Jordan Omogbehin is now AJ Styles’ bodyguard. He helped AJ win his match just by looking at Matt Riddle, which damages the bro right from the start on his new brand.
After a few days of some actually really decent. Emotional promos on social media – which we didn’t see any of here – mega babyface Lana took on Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship after fluking the Battle Royal win last week. WWE showed us that they’re not a petty company. They’re not burying Lana because her husband turned up in AEW.
By booking Lana to tap in minutes
And then have Nia Jax put her through a table for the fourth week in a row. Jax and Shayna Baszler then beat three other teams of the Riott Squad. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke, and Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce – Royce split from Billie Kay so she could team with Evans – flattening out both the women’s singles and tag divisions.
Elias then did a gig that went on forever. And bafflingly was done heel heat. He simply sang two songs blander than your favorite main roster wrestler’s impending new entrance music, without the joke lines in that got him over in the first place. Jeff Hardy revealed himself as a member of RETRIBUTION playing guitar to building their match for this Sunday.
Sheamus called Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods two turds of the New Day. Which got a laugh from my idiotic brain, and then took on Kofi in a decent singles match. The best part was Big E appearing in the Thunderdome audience to will Kingston to win with the power of positivity. Titus O’Neil tried to join The Hurt Business, so they beat him up. Titus, well-tried.
In a genuine home-run segment for Raw, Tucker then revealed the mystery partner to fight Miz and Morrison with him… El Gran Gordo. Or, as you and I know him, Otis in a pink gimp mask in a cape. Idiots fooled by a guy wearing a Lucha mask. This was incredibly funny, especially Otis’ attempts at Spanish, and his bottom rope arm drag.
Lucha things! It all worked so well, even R-Truth distracting Miz for El Gran Gordo couldn’t spoil it. And they celebrated with the New Day and Mandy backstage afterward. After teasing a new addition to the Firefly Fun House cast. Bray Wyatt welcome Alexa Bliss into his nightmarish kid’s TV show.
Oh my god, they killed Rambling Rabbit. Following his loss to Roman Reigns on Friday’s SmackDown, Braun Strowman main event Raw against Keith Lee for three whole minutes, when he low blew Keith with the back of his head to win – even though it was in full view of the referee.
As much as I’ve taken an ‘I told you so’ tone with RETRIBUTION getting buried, I’ve got to admit
Keith Lee, You were worried about bad new music. This bad new ring attire, and his frequent bad finishes. I kept saying, don’t worry, they’re got plans for him, he’s mixing it up with Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre.
WWE makes it equally depressing to be either wrong or right. Bad finish after bad finish for Lee has completely flattened him out. And even a badass kick to Braun’s dick afterward couldn’t get his heat back. From now on, let’s just assume any new act on WWE TV is going to be crap.
And the main event segment saw Orton deliver a message from Hell! Sitting on a chair inside the Hell in a Cell structure, which I forgot was red. The promo was decent running through all the moments. This stipulation, but the finish was incredibly lackluster.
Orton laughed at McIntyre when he couldn’t get in. So Drew broke open the door with bolt cutters, stepped inside, and then stared at him. That’s it. The show went off the air. You’d think that would be a viewer drive to see what’s going to happen next on Raw talk. They’re both inside the cell now. But there was nothing.
There wasn’t even anyone in the cell behind Charly and R-Truth. Which just makes everything feel fake. I thought this was a terrible go-home and season premiere episode. Which both ineffectively built the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view and failed to make intriguing new storylines or characters.
And, indefinitely the case of RETRIBUTION, and arguably with Lee and Riddle, actively damaged them. This week’s Raw is ⅕ BORE. Wrestling Daily with Alex McCarthy launches on Wrestle2 tonight! Subscribe to WrestleTalk’s second channel by clicking the icon down.