Pro Wrestling

10 Best-Laid Plans Of Raw That Often Went Astray Source:

That’s right, we paraphrased a Robbie Burns poem to talk about pro wrestling, because we are hella educated up in here. But more importantly, this week’s Raw actually was all about plans: good plans, bad plans, plans within plans, and of course, the grand plan that is WrestleMania. We are just under three weeks away from the biggest show of the year, and it’s starting to feel like the combination of injuries, poor creative decisions, and just plain panic are starting to snowball together and ensure that almost no plan, no matter how well constructed, is safe.

10. When A Bad Plan Comes Together

We just wanted to write down what appears to be the League of Nations’ plan so that we can see if it even looks good on paper. All right, so, they get mocked by The New Day for weeks, lose consecutive title matches at Roadblock and on Raw, beat up The New Day, and demand a 4-on-3 match at WrestleMania in which the tag team titles are presumably not on the line. No, that plan sounds even dumber on paper than it appeared to be in reality. Title matches are supposed to be the end goal of a feud, not the starting point, from which you build to a non-title affair! At this point, the entire concept of the League of Nations feels like a ridiculous in-joke from the one history major in WWE Creative who suggested the name because he knew exactly how useless the real-life League was. And much like the original League, this one has already failed to prevent Roman Reigns’ rise to power, and will probably be disbanded after WrestleMania (mostly because Wade Barrett is likely quitting when his contract expires), having accomplished nothing of real value.—wwe-tag-team-championship-match-photos;jsessionid=13849E8F96FCFA6D3CAC204FCA9526D1?r30_r1_r1:page=1 Source:

9. Be Crazy, But Not Stupid

You know a guy is beloved by the audience when he can pull out a crowbar with the intent of bashing his opponent senseless with it, and he gets cheered for it. To be fair, a crowbar is the minimum weaponry we’d bring into a fight with Brock Lesnar, and even then, we’d be at a significant disadvantage. But after weeks of getting the crap kicked out of him, it’s good that Dean Ambrose has grown tired of being a punching bag. Sure, he can absorb an amazing amount of punishment and keep getting up, but if he actually wants to win a match with Brock Lesnar, he’s going to need to take advantage of the Street Fight rules and bring as many equalizers to the table as he can. Showing a level of intelligence on top of his crazy persona is what can really keep Dean at the main event level. Before, he was the wacky guy who lost because he didn’t have a plan and using his instincts would often backfire on him. A Dean Ambrose who has a plan, however, means that even if the original concept of “fight Brock Lesnar” is insane, it isn’t as dumb once you add “with a weapon” to it. Having Mick Foley pass on his barbed wire bat to Ambrose really highlights Ambrose’s current career path in WWE. Like Foley, he’s the likable underdog who gets beat up a lot. And if he’s smart, maybe he can also copy Foley by becoming WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Source:

8. Beat Up The Useless Guy

Apparently we’ve reached a point where Sin Cara and Kalisto are so far apart in terms of relevance that they’ve starting wearing completely different costumes, with Kalisto remaining in white while Sin Cara has move to an all-black ensemble (which should probably be a warning sign on the level of suddenly growing a goatee when it comes to predicting a heel turn). But they remain a team for now, and apparently Ryback has decided that the way to show he’s qualified to challenge for the United States title is to beat Sin Cara in a match. We would point out that Sin Cara never wins, and is often the reason why the Lucha Dragons lose as a team, but at least it wasn’t Ryback pinning Kalisto in a non-title match, which is the usual way WWE builds these things. Ryback continues to get time with a microphone, despite having a rambling style that could best be described as “Ultimate Warrior, but with random references to comic books”. Also, forcing him to cut a promo after he’d already wrestled a match meant that the audience got treated to lots of heavy breathing. The small comfort we’re taking from this is that Kalisto has already beaten Ryback during the WWE World title tournament leading up to Survivor Series, so there’s a chance WWE won’t make the wrong decision and put the US Title on Ryback at WrestleMania. Source:

7. Bring In The Stunt Double

For the last two weeks, WWE kept Roman Reigns on the sidelines while Dean Ambrose took center stage in the build to Roadblock. And with that over with and Ambrose back to feuding with Lesnar, WWE…brought out Dolph Ziggler to cut a promo on Roman Reigns’ opponent for WrestleMania, Triple H. It was actually a great promo, and showed more fire in Dolph than he’s had in a long time (not that anyone would blame him, given how he’s been treated), but the problem is, Roman Reigns should be cutting this promo. Of course, it’s been shown that he’s largely incapable of doing so, and the fans actually like Ziggler, so he’s essentially out to get the crowd behind him. That way, when he gets destroyed by Triple H in a match later, it would presumably garner sympathy and get the crowd to cheer when Reigns makes his return to save Ziggler. Why would Roman Reigns save Ziggler, you might ask? Well, our assumption is that the role was originally designed for Reigns’ buddy Ambrose, but he’s in a featured match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, so you probably can’t have him getting destroyed by Triple H when you need him to look credible against Lesnar. Source:

6. What If We Added More People?

We’re all in favor of as many wrestlers getting WrestleMania paychecks as possible, which is why we thought the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal was such a good idea. But sometimes it’s done in a way that isn’t actually necessary, which seems to be the case surrounding Kevin Owens’ Intercontinental title match at WrestleMania. The popular rumor is that the plan is to have a multi-man match of some point, involving wrestlers like The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, and (until the events of this very Raw) Neville, among others. But then WWE had Kevin Owens’ eternal nemesis, Sami Zayn, return to Raw and immediately go after his former friend, while a rabid crowd that likely contained a lot of people who remember their shared history cheered. With Zayn on the roster, there’s no real reason to throw more bodies into a match at WrestleMania, but WWE still seems intent on doing it. To be fair, an epic feud like Zayn-Owens probably deserves more than three weeks of build, even if it means they don’t get their big one-on-one match at this year’s WrestleMania. But it seems awkward to add such a personal issue into a multi-man match, when you could have had that match with people already on the roster, then let Zayn return after WrestleMania and just kicked off a long-term feud that way. We’re pleased as all get out that Sami’s back and on the main roster, but we’re also worried that one of the most epic stories in the history of pro wrestling has fallen into WWE’s lap, and they’re somewhat fumbling the ball right off the bat. Source:

5. So Many Matches, So Little Pre-Show

While not all the matches for WrestleMania have been officially announced, with the events of Raw and a little logical deduction (yes, we’re applying logic to pro wrestling, bear with us), we’ve come up with 11 total matches. Assuming that things proceed as they did last year, we can probably assume that two matches will take place on the pre-show, and given the paucity of actual talent available to fill it, the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal will likely be one of them. That leaves two matches that were either officially announced or basically implied last night, one of which will almost certainly end up on the pre-show. Those matches would be The Dudley Boyz facing The Usos in a match between two teams that have become largely irrelevant, and a six-Diva tag match that would see Paige, Alicia Fox, and Brie Bella taking on Team BAD and Lana, a match that appears to contain nearly the exact inverse amount of wrestling talent as the Divas Title match that will also take place. What’s important to note is that while one of these will probably be on the pre-show, at least one of them will be on WrestleMania itself (and our money is on the Divas match). We’ve gone from wondering if WWE would have enough healthy bodies to fill a WrestleMania card to wondering if maybe they shouldn’t cut down the number of matches a bit. It sounds like a good problem to have, but think of the two matches we talked about in this entry. Do any of them really need to happen at WrestleMania? Or at all? Source:

4. How To Destroy Dolph Ziggler

Remember earlier how we talked about Dolph Ziggler cutting a great promo that brings up very real grievances with how he’s been treated in WWE and how it landed him a match with Triple H? Well, there was a stipulation on this match that said if Ziggler beat Triple H, he’d get to pick any match he wanted for WrestleMania, short of getting involved in the WWE World Heavyweight title match. Reasonable people would assume that the plan would be for Reigns to interfere, cost Triple H the match, get Dolph the reward he deserves and actually make one of WWE’s most underutilized talents into something special again. Well, that’s not what happened, as Triple H pinned Ziggler cleanly and Reigns waited to make his run-in until it was too late to help out poor Ziggler. First of all, Roman Reigns is clearly a bad friend. Secondly, this buries Ziggler so far down that they might as well have used an actual shovel to do so. He now has less purpose than ever before, and any WrestleMania match he gets added into will be as last-minute filler. We often get accused of misuing the term “burial” as it refers to pro wrestling, but make no mistake, this was a burial not seen since the days of Kane and Eve Torres cutting off Zack Ryder’s testicles on a weekly basis. Source:

3. Once More With Less Feeling

So, Roman Reigns made his “triumphant” return after two weeks away to get his nose fixed, and he uses this time to beat the absolute hell out of Triple H, in an obvious attempt to re-create the scenario from TLC where the crowd actually liked Roman Reigns for a short period of time before WWE screwed it all up again. But since Reigns has been gone, WWE fans have seen for the first time what life without Reigns would be like, and they’ve so moved on. But enough mangling of Kelly Clarkson lyrics, the point is, Reign’s return was met with a mix of silence and derision, and it’s reached a point where all the TV monitors to the back of Triple H aren’t going to bring him back from the brink. The fact of the matter is that WWE is staring down the barrel of a WrestleMania with 84,000+ fans either hating or ignoring the supposed top face in the promotion, and they’ve apparently decided to just put their heads down, soldier through it, and fix all the negative reactions in post. Which still counts as a plan, if not a particularly good one. Source:

2. It Was All Going So Well Until It Wasn’t

Neville and Chris Jericho had a pretty good match back at the Beast in the East special in the summer, so there was definitely some promise going into this match. In addition, as we mentioned before, it looked like Neville might actually have escaped the confines of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal this year in favor of getting involved in a projected multi-man match over the Intercontinental Title. Well, that all came screeching to a halt when Neville tried to slide underneath a charging Jericho, caught his leg on the mat somehow, and ended up with a reportedly broken shin and ankle. While Neville was nowhere close to a top talent, yet another long-term injury at the worst possible time basically sums up the entire Road to WrestleMania at this point, where any plans can change in a second because somebody else has been unexpectedly added to the injury list. At this point, WWE might consider just making the final two weeks of programming before WrestleMania a combination of clip shows and promos, if only to ensure that no more injuries can cause more booking shuffles. Also, they should probably think about making the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal use the NXT roster, because at least the developmental league has enough healthy bodies.

1. Let’s Just Confuse The Hell Out Of Everyone

While Shane McMahon’s return was good for crowd reactions and instantly created a ton of speculation about his match at WrestleMania and the potential for a change in direction afterwards, everything after that moment has involved roughly as much actual logic as the plot of The Room. The reasons behind the feud have become unclear, Vince and Shane have devolved into rambling promos about finances and what it means to be a McMahon, and nobody can quite figure out exactly why The Undertaker is bothering to do Vince’s bidding in this matter. Last night, we hoped for more answers, but it seems like WWE has just decided to steer into the skid and proceed like everything they’re doing makes perfect sense. Which of course it doesn’t, but things are proceeding so quickly and so chaotically that they’re clearly hoping nobody takes a few seconds to stop and think about the plot progression. Of course, that’s largely been the case with feuds involving Vince McMahon and/or The Undertaker for years, so we’re not sure why anyone would be surprised. All we know is, Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker is somehow the main event of the biggest WrestleMania in history, and we’re still confused on how we got to this point. Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.