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Lukewarm

Scott:

Thinking through all the Mania title matches, have you ever seen the babyface challenger come in this lukewarm for his 'moment'?  I know Cena has split crowds, but he was way over when he wrestled JBL.  And do you agree with Meltzer this week that the fans have given in on Bryan or could we see the backlash fire up again in a huge way as they head to San Francisco (where Bryan was Mr. Giants) and then Chicago for Extreme Rules? 

​I think the fans now know and have accepted Bryan's demotion at this point because obviously going against it went nowhere.  Like the song says, when I fight authority, authority always wins.  Even if the Reigns thing flops in May and they suddenly decide to go back to Bryan again, the time to pull the trigger was now and it'll be just as doomed to failure as Reigns was.  ​I'd post the Meltzer piece here because it's seriously one of the best things he's written, but that of course would be bad.  It's easily found, however.  I think f4wonline.com even has a cheap signup special right now where you can get in for $3.99 instead of the usual $10.  

Anyway, as to the first question, Cena wasn't splitting anything when he won the title, he was a monster babyface with pretty much 100% support.  The split crowd thing didn't start until a couple of years into his title reign and it's become kind of a revisionist history that people didn't like him.  I was fully on-board the Cena train when it happened, make no mistake.  This year's show might be one of the weakest main events ever, aside from Shawn-Diesel in 95 (and really Big D was pretty lukewarm then) or Taker-Sid in 97.  I really can't think of any babyface on this level of cooled off besides Nash, and especially not one where the attempt was being made to turn him into a tippy top guy.  Maybe Lex Luger in 94?  But even then there was intrigue about who would win.  

Comments

  1. Can we go back to everyone reviewing the same 1990s wrestling shows at the same time? =) I am beginning to miss those days...

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  2. WM, the night after WM, Chicago. The first month of the Roman Empire and dude's gonna get nuked.

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  3. I just don't see another "YES" movement going on and taking off like last year. Nope, this time Vince is sticking to the guns and going ahead with this, no matter what.
    Does it make sense? No. But a great comment by Stephanie on that "McMahon" DVD: "The more people try to talk Vince out of something, the more he wants to do it." Which explains SO much about what we've gotten over the years.
    At this point, let's just go with it. Yeah, it's bad but going ahead and crapping totally on Roman before he even gets the belt isn't going to do anything. We can hope it does but Vince is a stubborn bastard (hell, he openly admits it) and this time out, he's giving us his Mania main event, no matter what. That it's a disaster in the making seems beyond his grasp and sad to see but it's what will happen.

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  4. You thought the last two post-Mania RAWs were something? THIS is going to be classic.

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  5. "I think the fans now know and have accepted Bryan's demotion at this
    point because obviously going against it went nowhere. Like the song
    says, when I fight authority, authority always wins."

    'Oh, yeah, life goes on - even after the thrill of living is gone...'

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  6. They have missed their moment with Bryan. Just like we all knew they would.

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  7. What moment? The fans all want Reigns. Roman Reigns is the Future. Bryan is a B+ player. Reigns-HHH as the Main Event for SummerSlam this year. In a ladder match.


    All joking aside, I would have gone with Ziggler, not Bryan. I think the fans have been wanting a proper push for him for years. Even after Bryan was dumped and the fans at the Rumble had booed, there was still hope, and people were still into the Rumble. The moment the Geriatric Giants dumped Ziggler like an 80's jobber though, nobody gave a fuck.

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  8. Fate intervened . Even if he comes out of WrestleMania without a stupid Kane feud, he still gets hurt and his reign is derailed.

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  9. It's been pointed out by others but bears repeating:
    Zack Ryder isn't a guy who should be main eventing Mania or holding the title....and he is ten times more over with the fans than Roman is. That Vince doesn't acknowledge that is astounding.

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  10. I still get annoyed at folks who rant on WWE "blowing it with Bryan" when his injury cut short any plans, not to mention sent 2014 into a bad tailspin.

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  11. The odd thing is, they tried to use the Rock to get Reigns over when Rocky Maivia is the poster boy for bad artificial pushes.

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  12. "Future generations
    Ridin' on the highways that we built
    I hope, that they have better understanding"



    Can't lie, hearing that song is great but haunting at the same time. Mellancamp is amazing.

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  13. Actually, it just occurred to me the self-fulfilling prophecy here:

    "Vince, Reigns and Lesnar aren't generating any heat. You gotta put the focus on me and Sting."

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  14. Correction, Scott:

    Cena didn't start getting the split reaction "a few years" into his reign, it was a few months - it started in his feud with Jericho, and was basically cemented in his feud with Angle, which were his first two feuds after being moved to "Raw". By January of 2006, many fans were glad to see him lose the title via Edge's cash-in.

    The hatred started early for Cena, and he's HUGELY lucky that Vince didn't pull the plug on him in 2006. Programming him to immediately go over Jericho, Angle, and Shawn in such a short amount of time really hurt his standing with the fans. I think if they had "eased him in" to being the top guy, there wouldn't have been so much backlash those first few years.

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  15. I disagree that Lex Luger got a lukewarm reaction at WrestleMania X. he was crazy over with the fans. Even during the dreaded ten-minute nervehold spot, the crowd are still really into the match. And the reaction to the DQ finish was anything but lukewarm.

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  16. Was. He WAS 10x more over with the fans.

    Of course, that's Ryder on his best day compared to Reigns now. Reigns on HIS best day (say, last year after one of the Shield/Evolution matches) was probably... actually, they were probably about even, now that I think about it. "The Shield" unit was over, and certainly had more credibility mixing it up with main-eventers, but Reigns on his own was probably only ever as over as Ryder during the Ziggler feud.

    Huh.

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  17. Crowd: "Wow! Finally, a fantastic in-ring performer as champion. Think of all the interesting matchups that can come out of this."
    Stephanie: "You'll be facing the Demon Kane!"

    That's the moment they dropped the ball with him. His injury actually let him preserve his heat.

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  18. This may be the most highly-anticipated "Raw" since Tyson and Austin.

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  19. Honestly, I wouldn't have even minded Bryan/Kane as a one-off, but dragging out on, involving Brie, booking Bryan to run from Kane... ugh.

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  20. I actually liked their ER match. Probably the only one around here who did!

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  21. Actually the split reactions to Cena began (AFAIR) already in late 2005 and in 2006 they were nearly always there. Just remember One Night Stand. Or the matches against Edge.

    And was Cena hot, when he got his title matches at Wrestlemania after 2005? I mean, it was Cena, but did anybody really wanted to have him win the title at WM25, WM26 or WM29?

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  22. Was happening in late 2003 too. Vengeance 2003 had Cena vs Undertaker and they were booing Cena's quick rise to the top of the card.

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  23. I can pinpoint almost the exact moment the fans turned on Cena --- it was that ultralame "cheapsauce/Y2Cheap" promo against Jericho in June 2005. Not only was the dialogue bad, but it was directed at a guy the fans still loved and respected, even if he was turning heel at the time. It also didn't help that Christian (another cult favourite heel) got involved in the feud as well.

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  24. Undertaker/Sid was not going to be a good match and it wasn't a hot main event, especially considering that it was overshadowed by the red-hot Hart/Austin storyline on the RAWs leading up to Mania. That said, it still had interest since the fans loved Taker and were stoked to see him get a proper run as champion.

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  25. Shelton Benjamin BlondeFebruary 26, 2015 at 1:24 AM

    Cena was heel against Taker.

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  26. I think it's pretty doomy gloomy to say that Bryan will never be over like he was before again. Turn Reigns heel, make him the true corporate champion, and then underdog Bryan is over like rover to take him out. There are too many clues going on that lead me to believe that Reigns is turning heel. Heyman putting him over to a ridiculous level, saying he would've beat Austin and Hogan. Bryan telling Reigns he's the man and he can beat Lesnar fair and square, basically setting up Bryan to be pissed when Reigns cheats somehow to win, because Bryan really could've beat Lesnar fair and square. Lesnar probably leaving telegraphs Heyman turning on him and helping Reigns. The overall general smugness of Reigns. These things tell me he's turning heel at some point, and Bryan is the perfect foil for him. Also, it's not as though turning Reigns heel means he can't ever be the top babyface, if anything, if he's an awesome heel, then eventually the fans will turn him face, just like they did with the Rock.

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  27. I remember at the time there was word in the dirtsheets that HHH was saying Jericho and Angle weren't good enough heels because Cena was getting booed against them. Cut to a few months later at Wrestlemania and HHH is getting cheered against Cena while playing the heel.

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  28. TJ: I'm watching a random Steiner Brothers squash. Scott takes this poor jobber and yells out "Macho Man, this is for you buddy!" and proceeds to kill the dude with a Steiner Screwdriver.


    I like to think Savage is always asking Scott in the locker room to bust that move out.

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  29. Yup Cena was a total heel then. He was accepted as a cool anti-hero guy when he joined up with Angle, Benoit, Holly and Bradshaw for Survivor Series 2003.

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  30. They should just pull the plug on Lesnar. Next week have Rollins announce on RAW that he's cashing in Money in the Bank next week. Have Lesnar no show and award the title to Rollins.

    Rollins/Reigns has more heat than Lesnar/Reigns ever will

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  31. "Cena wasn't splitting anything when he won the title, he was a monster babyface with pretty much 100% support. The split crowd thing didn't start until a couple of years into his title reign and it's become kind of a revisionist history that people didn't like him."

    I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work, there, Lou. Fans turned against Cena in the summer of 2005 when he was feuding with Jericho and Christian. Christian especially was outpopping him and outselling him in merchandise.

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  32. It does? I thought that crowd was dead when they fought during the holidays.

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  33. Daniel Bryan is basically Eddie Guerrero at this point, except Eddie at least got to beat Brock.


    And that's not a criticism. Up until the day he died, Eddie was that guy they could always go back to and put the belt on if they needed to. Bryan will be that guy in many ways until he decides to hang them up. For every failed push, for every shitty championship reign, Daniel Bryan will be there to pick up the pieces. He's our wrestling version of AAA.

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  34. I don't know...I think this is a case of the sheep getting skinned.

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  35. Match was fine, but the discussion regards the booking. Bryan almost became Zack Ryder II after that feud, but as mentioned above the injury saved him.

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  36. "outselling him in merchandise."



    lolwat

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  37. So you're saying he's a B+ Player?

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  38. Nope. I'm saying Eddie was an A+ player.

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  39. I'm comparing Bryan to Eddie. I'm saying that Eddie, who was perpetually over and could always be pushed to the main event with minimal help, is the definition of a true A+ player. Bryan is the same way.

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  40. Just watched the Randy Savage/Crush Summit. FUCKING AWESOME.

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  41. Lesnar wins, wipes his ass with the title, throws it in a garbage can at ringside.



    Rollins and Ambrose come down for a shield reunion, and the 3 deliver a 10 minute beatdown of Brock. Rollins cashes in as the Shield stand tall in the ring with the title to close the show.

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  42. I can't find the report right now, but there was an Observer quote from back then talking about how WWE pulled Christian merchandise from houseshows despite overwhelming demand at EVERY show and Christian being a heel. WWE was also pushing a card game at the time, and told their card producing company to go ahead and make cards for Christian, who they were getting calls off the hook about, but refer to him as CLB (Creepy Little Bastard, a stupid ass forced meme that Cole was pushing on commentary at the time).


    There's also a semi-famous screenshot of Christian's shirt (and his ONLY one) in 05 being the number one seller above Cena's main shirt.


    I know this all is a bunch of "he said, she said, I read once..." but just Google "Christian outsold Cena" and you'll find some much more solid sources/information.

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  43. Maybe. I think it's apples and oranges, personally, because Eddie actually moved numbers on the Smackdown demographics.

    I don't know if Bryan really ever got the chance that Eddie did...plus, Eddie wasn't jerked around near the top of the card for a period of time before getting the strap. I guess my point is that Bryan will always have his legs cut out from under him, no matter what happens...

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  44. I just did and only found one or two comments like this left on message boards.

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  45. Sorry, can't go with that line of thinking. I love Bryan, and he got put over pretty much as strongly as possible at WM XXX. HHH, Batista, and Orton all put him over in the same night, with Bryan overcoming crooked refs, injuries, and outside interference. He was, by all accounts, set to get a good reign with the belt before dropping it to Lesnar at Summerslam, which puts it right in line with the Benoit reign and more than the Eddie reign. He got a chance. Fate intervened, and screwed him, and now it may take a small miracle to get the same type of run, but I think that he will get another run.

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  46. I think that is Bryan's logic about him wanting to be the focus of Smackdown. If viewership rises, he'd have clear proof that he can grow a show.

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  47. It is modern WWE, he is going to get like 5 more runs.

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  48. This is after that miserable Fall 2013 campaign. Yes, he was able to overcome that, but there comes a point where the fans were conditioned to think that he's not a star, and the proof of that was Monday.

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  49. And, I guess the other thing I will say on this, even though it may be unpopular, is that the idea of 'Lesnar beats Bryan, then Cena, and finally falls to up and coming unstoppable babyface Roman on the biggest show of year' is....well, it's a GOOD storyline, to be honest. If that was where they were going, it may have worked. Now, we can argue all day about the fact that they didn't adjust that storyline because of Bryan's face heat when he returned, etc, but the long-term planning was clearly there, and it wasn't a bad long-term plan.

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  50. Oh, I agree that his booking has been atrocious since returning. I still think that he'll overcome that. He overcame Daniel Wyatt, he overcame 18 seconds, he can get past this. Perhaps I'm optimistic, but he wasn't ever supposed to be at the top in the first place. To somehow assume that he can't do it again seems specious at best.

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  51. Dude, there's a difference between a Foundation and a Storyline. The foundation is Roman vs. Brock...outside of the Raw after the Rumble, I don't think this thing has any substance whatsoever.

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  52. Because you have my favorite wrestler as your avatar (and my favorite expression from my favorite wrestler), I will post a screenshot/link from them both when I run across them again, partly because I KNOW it's all true but I don't have proof and I can't find them right now despite the extensive hard drive search.


    But mostly because The Rock is your avatar.

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  53. Maybe I wasn't clear. I meant the original planned storyline, where Bryan has a six month reign and drops the belt to Lesnar at SS. Lesnar beating Bryan in the rematch, beating Cena, and losing to Reigns would have been fine. You're certainly correct that Roman has been a less than thrilling, but as I said, the cogent arguments are in that fact that they didn't adjust the storyline when Bryan got hurt and then returned. They have clearly screwed this whole thing up, no question.

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  54. It almost seems like the more they shit on Bryan, the bigger he gets.

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  55. There comes a point where you put enough bullets in an elephant, it's going to go down. That's simply how I feel about the Bryan's momentum....yes, I completely understand that you have to keep the 'Taker---Brock---Next Champion' line of thinking, but to put Bryan in the crosshairs and then have him lose...it just feels somewhat vindictive, on Vince's part. It's as if Vince is so worried about Bryan's faults, and it's like..."Dude. just make some fucking money with this kid already."

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  56. What hurt Cena once he won the title is that they basically neutered
    him. When he did the 'JBL is poopy' thing I remember being quite pissed,
    as I (wrongly) thought they were sabotaging him so he'd lose overness
    and could justify de-pushing him.* You know, like they'd eventually do
    with Bryan.

    *- Remember, he was getting a huge push
    from the moment he debuted until HHH supposedly said he wasn't worthy,
    resulting in him being jobbed out, turned heel, and given a loser
    gimmick that would result in him getting cut. Of course, he turned a
    Vanilla Ice gimmick into Eminem lite for a bit and ended up over as
    hell.

    Here's something odd I just realized. Some of us have been clamoring for years for Cena to turn heel. I know it'll never happen, but I've been one of the ones that wanted it. Well, just thought of something...he never actually really turned face to begin with. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the whole thing him being butthurt because he was left off of Team Lesnar for the 2003 Survivor Series? Kind of a weak way to turn someone, much like Orton turning face in 2004 by getting punked out after successfully defending his title with help from the same people who turned on him.

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  57. Daniel Bryan will be over as fuck in SF, coming off the Giants using the YES chants as their rallying cry. it will not be a pretty night for the Reigns Train, CHOOT CHOOT

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  58. Had to troll you a bit over at the BoD fantasy hockey league board.

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  59. Bonzai, I know you're riffing, but that is a SPECTACULAR point. This is in San Fran, where they love Bryan...and he's gonna go down to Sheamus in 18 minutes. Fans are going to love that shit.

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  60. WM isn't really a local show. They'll be more Euros there than anything.

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  61. I remember going to WM21 hoping to get a Captain Charisma shirt, and there was none to be found, even though they were still carrying the Jericho hockey-style jersey even though he hadn't worn that in about four years

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  62. You really think every Wrestlemania is filled by people from Europe?

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  63. I can see that line of thinking, I guess. All I can say in rebuttal to that is that, once again, they put him over as big as you can put someone over last year at the biggest show, in the main event. This year, he's not getting that same treatment, no question. But I'm not convinced it means that they're going to just write him off, as so many people seem to think; I firmly believe that the title will be strapped around his waist again at some point. I don't think they would have gone through what they went through last year with him if they were just going to intentionally bury him a year later. The neck injury hurt his momentum bad, and on top of that, they were stubborn about their plans to push Roman as opposed to taking advantage of Bryan's returning face heat. All of these were bad decisions, in my opinion. Bryan returning from a broken neck to regain the title he never lost from Brock Lesnar was money, money, money. But they have clearly been building Reigns as the guy, they don't want to wait, and that's why I think this whole thing is more about Reigns than Bryan, and they'll go back to him someday when they have no other viable option.

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  64. Amen. I'd like it if they actually pulled the trigger on that. Give us a brand split, not on the same scale, and it might be interesting to see where the fans migrate to.

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  65. THE WRONG KANE DIED

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  66. I'm not sure if you're a F4W/Observer guy, but Alvarez and Meltzer had a discussion somewhat similar to that...and they lamented on how sad that thought process is.

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  67. It's not really an opinion. I don't know what the majority is but I'd guess it would be non American.

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  68. The floor seats, especially the TV Camera seats...definitely a good blend of Euro, Canadian, and American fans. Everything else...I'll go 90/10 Americans.

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  69. Still more heat than Lesnar/Reigns.

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  70. Don't cry to me pal, I LOST MATT BELESKEY!

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  71. I'd say the Raw after Manias are at least 70% non local.

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  72. Yes, but think about what you're comparing. 70,000 enormodomes vs. 10,000 seat arenas.

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  73. Someone should do a study of this. I'd really like to know the answer.

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  74. It'd be interesting, for sure. I've been to four of them, twice on the floor...there's definitely a strong international presence on the floor during Wrestlemania, so I'm sure that it's a natural fit to get tickets (anywhere in the house) for the Raw after Wrestlemania.

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  75. You know, an anagram for Daniel Bryan is Bryan Denial.

    Think about it.

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  76. I'd love a true brand split. With all the talk of WCW lately, make a stip for the HHH/Sting match that Sting gets control of Smackdown if he wins. He then turns it into Nitro and brings back WCW as a brand.

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  77. Can someone take a sign to WM that says. 'when reigns wins we riot'

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  78. What good is an empty threat?

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  79. Last year at the Raw after Mania 30, it sure FELT like every 3rd person I met was from another country, someone delaying their plans one more day to stay for Raw. If you told me half that crowd was foreign, I would not have been surprised - I was sitting next to 6 guys from Denmark, just as an example. 70% is probably a little high, but I could buy 40-50%.

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  80. Now THAT'S a sign.


    'IF REIGNS WINS, WE MAKE EMPTY THREATS'

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  81. Spoiler alert: That's called a face turn.

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  82. IF REIGNS WINS WE CLAP POLITELY AND GO HOME

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  83. If this was AJ and not Bryan, I'd be down.

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  84. This has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but I just feel the need to point out Little Richard's "Performance" at Wrestlemania X. I mean, he's not even in the ballpark with some of those lines.

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  85. If Reigns wins we will still tune in and watch RAW.

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  86. IF REIGNS WINS WE GO HOME AND COMPLAIN ON THE INTERNET

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  87. I got mine! One of only a few wrestling shirts I've bought over the years.

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  88. Oh no. It's started. Keep 'em coming, folks.

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  89. I'm in the lukewarm camp on Reigns. I have no problem with him being the guy or not being the guy. I still keep up with the program b/c of this blog and b/c I think the program is still watchable. It was not watchable in 95 with Diesel on top. Not just because of Big D, but also b/c of race car drivers, pig farmers, and plumbers.

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  90. So you'll do it...for The Rock? Maybe you'll do it...for da peepul?

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  91. IF REIGNS WINS, WE CANCEL THE NETW-....NEVER MIND, NXT IS ON

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  92. IF REIGNS WINS WE INVENT A FAKE STORY ON THE INTERNET TO DISCREDIT HIM

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  93. SHUT YOUR MOUTH YA THONG WEARING FATTY

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  94. Ooooo, was this the failed drug test rumor?

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  95. His friends call him Sparky

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  96. IF REIGNS WINS WE...
    oooh, a peanut!

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  97. A true friend would not call a guy Sparky

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  98. I fought the law, and the law won.

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  99. Plus they could hardly be blamed for having to put together a new main event and plan after Shawn's bullshit screwed everything up.

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  100. I love how he trolled that Philly crowd though. So subtle, yet so brilliant.

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  101. I like how you pretend there were ever any plans for him to be THE guy in their eyes. He was ALWAYS dropping the belt to Lesnar at summerslam so Lesnar could keep it warm for Reigns.

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  102. The split reactions for Cena started by Summerslam that same year vs Jericho, leveled off a bit, then really ramped up at WM22 vs Triple H, so I wouldn't quite say it didn't start until a couple of years into his reign. I'm on board with the rest of this though

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  103. I would bet money that's the reason why the rumor was invented in the first place.

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  104. It was almost as soon as he jumped to Raw and started wearing tshirts down to his knees.

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  105. I'm sure the first boos were in the UK while US Champion and then marginal in America, though a lot of people were happy that Carlito took the US Title from him. It really ramped up a year later when he had that feud with Christian which stupidly got swapped with Jericho.

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  106. If he even gets Sheamus at this point (Meltzer suggested he might be shoved into an IC title multi man match), there's no way they get 18 minutes. Best case scenario WWE will consider that to be the 6th most important match on the card. They'll be lucky to get 10.

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  107. How has there never been a wrestler named Luke Warm?! In the 90s, Vince could have had a Heating Specialist Luke Warm. He would have fit in with Isaac Yankem and T.L. Hopper.

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  108. I've never been down on the idea of Reigns. The execution has just been so unbelievably boring. Not even bad per se, for most of it, just incredibly boring.

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  109. He could have partnered up with Well Dunn!

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  110. And who's he going to feud with? Big Show?

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  111. He could form a stable with Monster Pop and Mike Lyant!

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  112. Can he lift the giant?


    SPOILER ALERT:












    Yeah.

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  113. Actually I think Big Show and Kane could be decent tag team champions.

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  114. I think the biggest issue I have with Reigns is that he's barely better overall than fucking TEST was in 1998-99. Just a bit dude with a great look and long, lustrous hair, with some good high-impact moves surrounded by a lot o' nothing. What we have now is like if Test was booked against The Rock at WrestleMania, while Sgt. Slaughter and Akeem were dominant heels under Mr. McMahon, and Stone Cold was being de-pushed and sent against Goldust or something.

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  115. If Reigns wins we boo him and cheer for another guy we like bette... fuck it, never mind.

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  116. It's funny. By this time last year, when we all saw the Reigns Train starting up (especially after his path of destruction in the Rumble), I was mostly kind of on board with him being the chosen one. He had the great look, had some cool moves, and his limited promo work gave him the impression of a mostly silent badass. Last year, there was talk of him main eventing this year's WrestleMania and winning the title. And by this point last year, I was mostly okay with that idea.


    It just goes to show what a year of bad booking (and a months-long injury) can do to all that promise.

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  117. Holy crap! That totally works. Managed by Harvey Wimpleman, of course.

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  118. Reigns has been given the Goldberg push......minus the running through most of the card on a path of destruction to the top......minus the crowd chanting for and demanding his name....Minus the epic entrance.....So just a dude with 3 moves and weak promo skills

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  119. Not the worst idea. Especially if they steal the Uso's entrance.


    When I say Big, you say Show!

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  120. "Lukewarm" MrJustinBFebruary 26, 2015 at 6:00 AM

    I get the feeling had they stuck to silent badass there'd be a lot less complaining.

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  121. If Roman Reigns, we RIOT!

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  122. YankeesHoganTripleHFanFebruary 26, 2015 at 6:16 AM

    Phones's are down at work this morning. However the music is on and it's eighties tunes so I had a flash of inspiration. To the tune of Africa by Toto

    I saw the shield break up one night

    Seth took a chair and nailed Ambrose and Roman

    Reigns went on his own to fight

    But he went on the shelf his groin was hurtin.

    Bryan returned along the way

    But he was kept down by the authority.

    Vince turned to Reigns to say, hurry boy Brocks waiting
    there for you.

    It’s gonna take a lot to take your push away from you

    There’s nothing that a hundred smarks or more could ever do.

    I bless the Reigns at Wrestlemania

    I bless the Reigns at Wrestlemania

    (I bless the Reigns)

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  123. He wasn't booed at Summerslam, or even anywhere until the Rumble. The guy just got found out as not ready. With the best push in the world he wouldn't have gotten over because he was exposed the longer he was out there on his own. Ambrose and Rollins covered for the guy for a long time but now he has nowhere to hide. His promos when he returned were either awkward or plain awful, and his matches just weren't good enough.

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  124. This would be amazing...

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  125. Reigns is the chosen one and only a major outright revolt of people tuning out, not buying tickets, and not buying merchandise is going to change it. Vince had the "Brock beats the streak, Brock wins the title, Reigns wins the Rumble, Reigns beats Brock" plan in his head for well over a year. It wasn't in any real danger of changing. Vince is convinced Reigns is the next big thing. He might be, but the execution has been so inorganic (and Reigns' injury really took him off the map for too long) that it's impossible for Reigns' ascension to make as much as an impact as it was supposed to.

    What people don't realize is that such an outright drop in business will not lead to them putting Bryan on top -- on the contrary, it will force WWE to go right back to Cena being the focus of the show. While Vince is obviously preparing for a post-Cena WWE by making Reigns the next guy, he'll squeak a few more years out of Cena if he has to.

    Bryan is going to end up being like post-Mania 18 Jericho and post-SummerSlam 2004 Benoit -- a "good hand" that WWE knows that the fans love who can be slotted in and out of the title picture whenever necessary. Even if he never went down with an injury, he always was only going to be champion until SummerSlam when he would drop the belt to Brock. It was all part of the plan.

    I'd put good money on Vince's plan for next Mania to be Cena vs. Reigns in a "pass the torch" sort of match. Bryan will probably be wrestling Sheamus.

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  126. Well, they changed his character to some weird hybrid of Cena and The Rock and booked terribly. He was far more over during Royal Rumble 2014 when he was the silent enforcer tossing out geeks left and right than he was at Royal Rumble 2015 resting in a corner.

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  127. Funny how one of the few things WCW did better than WWF (Goldberg) is the one character type WWE can't seem to manufacture.

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  128. Don't give up guys....it's all part of the plan http://i.imgur.com/qp3MhFp.jpg

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  129. The other thing about Cena is even with the 50/50 reactions ... which his music hits the crowd still pops, gets on its feet, and makes noise. Reigns's "pop" is like when a team scores a second period goal adn their down by 5. Its like, "yay, we like you" but that's it. Even with his 50/50 stuff, Cena is still over.

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  130. I was actually at that Summerslam in DC ... and your absolutely right. It was the first time that 50/50 ever happened.

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  131. I don't think it's "one of the few things". The idea that WCW fucked up guys WWE got over is a bit of a myth. There'as Austin and Foley, sure. But WCW didn't push guys like Terra Ryzin and Vinnie Vegas for a reason. Meanwhile, Lance Storm, Booker T, Billy Kidman, The Giant/Big Show, Goldberg, Dean Malenko, Diamond Dallas Page, Elix Skipper, Raven, Bam Bam Bigelow, and that's just a start. And I'd put Benoit in there too actually.

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  132. I think Reigns should be the one beating Rusev for the US belt this year, while someone else goes after Lesnar and the World Title. Let Reigns beat the Bulgarian, sorry Russian monster, hold the US belt through the year, feuding with upper midcard heels. And then start his push around Oct/Nov this year. This is way too much too soon.

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  133. On hindsight, they probably should have done Brock-Bryan at the Rumble.

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  134. 04 Cena push would have been appropriate.

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  135. This was a reply to another post, yet came up here......

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  136. They just picked the wrong guy from the Shield Ambrose was the money. I think that gets lost in this fiasco.

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  137. Or at Fastlane. That is the $$$ match the fans wanted.

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  138. Rumble kills two birds with one stone. If the Rumble takes place before the Brock match (understandable since he's a special attraction), the Rumble doesn't get as derailed. Reigns might be salvageable and we get a great main event.

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  139. I've been saying this forever - the purpose of midcard titles is exactly that ... give them to guys you want ot make stars so they can start to feel like what its like to have big time matches, headline some b-shows on the circuit and learn to work on top.


    I do think Reigns is injury is a bigger deal tho and stalled all momentum. His match at Summerslam with Orton was actually a pretty good launching point for his push but its just gone downhill since.

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  140. And the crowd will turn even more.

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  141. The WWE didn't do Cena any favors by booking him against Christian, Chris Jericho and then Kurt Angle right after he won the belt at WM. I guess they wanted Cena to improve as a worker. They could have gone the easy route and fed him a bunch of monsters, but we'd have gotten crappy matches. By WM of the following year (when he faced HHH) he was getting loudly booed.

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  142. Or, if they were worried about Bryan's health in such a physical match, just not put him on the PPV at all and save his return to after the Rumble.

    Vince wanted to have his cake and eat it to by having both Reigns and Bryan in the Rumble (so that Bryan fans would buy it) and then eliminating Bryan before Reigns even came out. I'm still surprised he thought that would work in Philly, of all places.

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  143. Vince threw fans a bone at Mania X when he put Bret over while salivating at the prospect of putting the belt on Diesel later that year

    Vince threw fans a bone at Mania XX when he put Benoit over while salivating at the prospect of putting the belt on Randy Orton later that year

    Vince threw fans a bone at Mania XXX when he put Bryan over while salivating at the prospect of putting the belt on Roman Reigns the following year.

    Why are we surprised?

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  144. Damn, Goodman.

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  145. Even with a 50/50 reaction, Cena makes the company buttloads of money.

    I doubt Reigns can do the same with 33% cheering him, 33% booing him, and 33% treating his match like a Divas piss-break

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  146. And if the crowd totally rejects Reigns in the sense that they vote with their wallets... here comes Cena to save the day.

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  147. Does anyone remember that interview HHH did years ago about how "you can't just strap a rocket on a guy's ass. The fans need to be behind him"? I remember it pissed me off at the time, as HHH was one guy who they just strapped a rocket on, whether the fans cared or not. But the whole "fans need to be behind him" shit came to mind when they figured Reigns was THE guy...

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  148. That seems a bit unfair. How can we criticize WWE out of one side of our mouths for saying, "it's messed up that they're going with Reigns now, even if they fall back on Bryan later" and then say "yeah, Vince is giving us Bryan now, but the REAL plan is to go with Reigns later" out of the other side of our mouths?

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  149. Their REAL plan is Reigns. Bryan was a temporary stopgap. If Reigns bombs, then they'll have to go back to Bryan. WWE wants reigns to be the guy. The fans prefer Bryan. Bryan is only useful as a spare while the REAL Juggernaut isn't being used.

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  150. The eternal safety blanket.

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  151. "If Reigns bombs, then they'll have to go back to Bryan."


    No, if Reigns bombs they will go back to what's proven to make money -- Cena.

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  152. Triple H also said nobody ever laid down for him to make him a star, so I wouldn't put stock in some things that come out of his mouth.

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  153. Cena-Big Show headline Summerslam ... lock it in

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  154. Ha! Well, I figure Vince is planning on Cena vs. Reigns at Mania 32 (with Reigns going over), but if Reigns totally bombs we'll likely get Cena vs. Reigns at SummerSlam (with Cena going over).

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  155. Jericho got cheered in his Summerslam 2005 match vs. Cena. For me, as soon as Cena got drafted to Raw in that goofy oversized jersey, I was getting sick of him.

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  156. Studd and Bundy of the 31st century

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  157. Yeah, Luger was over, but Bret was just clearly more over.

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  158. This is purely fantasy-booking, but if Bill Goldberg was in his prime today like he was in 1997/1998 and had the same age/gimmick/look/push/crowd reaction/entrance/theme/etc. and everything and debuted in WWE a year ago and got over huge with the undefeated streak, what a perfect fucking candidate to defeat Brock Lesnar he would be. The fact that you could play up Brock ending another streak a year later would be glorious, too (although Brock would fail this time around.)

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  159. Cena was a monster babyface until he moved to RAW in the draft. In fact, the episode he's drafted to RAW, the first one in which he's in front of a live audience, he got a fairly muted and mixed reaction. Christian drew a better response than him. And that was in like 2005. He then feuded with Jericho, which didn't help because Jericho was always a cool heel and part of the crowd booed Cena. It sort of culminated in the feud with Kurt Angle, and was lampshaded by Kurt in the promo where he said he'd like to make Jesus tap and he doesn't like black people simply because he knew the crowd would cheer for him no matter what. But 2006 and the Elimination Chamber is where I think everyone remembers it most because that's where the live audience turned on Cena for two green schmucks in Chris Masters and Carlito. Ever since then, the crowd has been consistently anti-Cena.

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  160. Yeah, the split reaction to Cena started at SummerSlam 05, I was there.

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  161. The boos for Cena started around late 2005. The problem was twofold - Cena's shortcomings in the ring at the time were exposed by him going up against veterans, AND WWE went out of their way to make him look like a chump compared to those guys anyway. He went from THE guy on SmackDown to a flukey paper champion with rap music and jorts on Raw. Of course, by the end of 2006 SuperCena was fully engaged, so we oughta be careful what we wish for, lol.

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  162. We've seen it before... in 2005 and 2011. Yes, they're two-time champions.

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  163. As evidence by the referee getting a bigger pop than he did, the fans booing him during the World Title match, and he drop in business after WrestleMania. And even as late as Survivor Series 1994, Bret's match gets no reaction, while Luger gets an enormous face pop.


    Hey, wait a minute....

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  164. Man, I just read the Meltzer piece and am genuinely depressed by it. I will argue that I'm not sure fans are "accepting" Bryan's new role. I agree that based on the non-reaction to Fastlane, they've given up and are not fighting it, but to me a lack of passion signals that these fans might not just be giving up on Bryan, but on WWE as a whole. It'll be interesting to see where their business goes over the next couple of years, especially if Reigns doesn't catch on with the casual fans they're counting on.


    It's like when a really good hardcore/metal band signs with a large label and suddenly starts producing rock ballads and radio-friendly blandness. They need to hope their new fans are substantial enough to replace the ones they're alienating.

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  165. does this guy do anything other than bitching on Reigns and sucking Bryan's dick?

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  166. Big Show and Kane were a fun monster duo back in late 2005/06

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  167. Kind of. I think they need some more experienced guys in the TT Division and not only Goldust. And it would also keep them away from Bryan and Reigns and Cena and Orton. ;-)

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  168. There's a major factor that Meltzer ignored in there: Bryan's neck.

    I'm not saying this is the case, but WWE would be very justified in being skeptical about putting Bryan back on top because they don't know how long his neck is going to hold up. Last year they put everything they had into Bryan and gave him one of the biggest, most well done title wins of all time. His body gave out though and it's very possible it could again at any moment. That's a risk WWE might not want to take and if that's the case, I understand. I'm not thrilled with it, but I understand.

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