ZAH Thoughts: 08-31-15

My weekly column is now up over at Canadian Bulldog’s World. After SummerSlam and RAW, there seem to be a lot more questions than answers. Just where does WWE go from here?

08-31-15 ZAH Thoughts - 08-31-15

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25 All-Time Hottest Female Wrestlers with # 3 – Velvet Sky

Velvet 16Velvet 15Born Jamie Lynn Szantyr in New Britain, Connecticut, the performer now known as Velvet Sky has had an extremely successful career and has, arguably, only gotten hotter with age. After training at the House of Pain Pro Wrestling Dojo, Sky debuted in 2004 as Talia Madison and teamed-up with April Hunter to form a tag team known as (no guessing required) T & A. She wrestled primarily on the independents before joining TNA in 2007. Her run with Angelina Love as “The Beautiful People” has been one of the most successful women’s factions in wrestling history. She has held multiple titles but is best known as a 2-time TNA Knockouts champion. Velvet 4

Velvet 2Currently Sky is back with TNA, returning after being “fired” from the company following a very strange “Feast or Fired” briefcase outcome (it’s TNA…it’s always bound to be strange in some way). She is dating fellow wrestler Mark “Bully Ray/Bubba Dudley” LoMonaco and can be found all over the country at wrestling conventions and events. She also is continually releasing posters and other merchandise on her website, creating a successful following in spite of never having been a contracted performer with WWE. Velvet 12

Velvet 1 (2)Trivia Notes: Sky competed in various programs while in high school (cheerleading, softball, football, and track). She has dated wrestlers previously (including Gregory “Hurricane” Helms and Chris Sabin). In 2010, she was a contestant on an all-TNA episode of Family Feud. Ultimately, though, she is simply one of the hottest women the world of professional wrestling has ever seen. If you want to see even more of her, definitely check her out at RatedV.net! Velvet 3 Velvet 6 velvet 7 Velvet 10 Velvet 14 Velvet 17 Velvet 20 Velvet

The World According to ZAH 08-28-15

Kevin Owens vs Finn Balor– Right out of the gate, let me just say how incredible last weekend was if you’re a wrestling fan (or more specifically, a WWE fan). NXT: Takeover Brooklyn was a phenomenal event and SummerSlam didn’t disappoint. And while I may have been less than thrilled with the storyline execution of RAW (it’ll be tough trying to get momentum going again for Team PCB over the coming weeks), it didn’t take away from two nights of excellent wrestling. For me, the MVP has to be Kevin Owens. From a fantastic ladder match with Finn Bálor to a great performance with Cesaro…Owens rocked both events and proved why he belongs in the upper echelon of WWE superstars. Overall, though, there were very few weak performances and everybody worked their assess off.

Alison Parker & Adam Ward– Sometimes I really worry for the future of my son when insane fucktards do something like that psycho did to those two reporters yesterday. I mean, I can never understand what it’s like to be racially discriminated against, but from what I’ve read this had very little to do with race and everything to do with Vester Lee Flanagan II (who went by the name Bryce Williams on television) being an absolutely insane person. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the two victims actually did use racial slurs against Flanagan during the 11 months he worked at WDBJ in Virginia.

Screen capture from Vester Flanagan's GoPro camera

Screen capture from Vester Flanagan’s GoPro camera

Did THAT justify him shooting both of them live, on the air, in cold blood? Sorry…but I’ll go out on a limb and say “no”. And it’s scary as hell to not only see this on live television (shown on the video below), but to also see the video he uploaded on his goddamn GoPro camera (not shown in the video below). The guy pointed his gun first and then backed off…like he was waiting for a reaction first or was hesitant about what he was going to do. But once he started, he went all out and actually tried to escape. I feel horrific for not only the friends and family of those who were murdered, but also for anybody who happened to watch this live initially. That’s got to be a moment that won’t leave your memory any time soon.

Here’s the scary question, though: What’s next?

Anyway…

Austin Creed– I’ve never been a massive fan of Xavier Woods. I didn’t care for gimmick in TNA, I didn’t care for his work in NXT, and I certain wasn’t impressed when he took over as the dancing fool for Brodus Clay. However, I can unquestionably say that I’m a massive fan of his. And no…it’s not just his work in the New Day that has allowed me to jump on his bandwagon. What did it for me was his YouTube channel: UpUpDownDown. And here’s the thing…I’m not even a gamer!! I rarely play games at all and don’t know half of the games he plays. The thing is that he makes the videos really interesting and a lot of fun to watch.

I really enjoy his Gamer Gauntlets, which usually involves other WWE superstars and a “punishment” that must be dished out to the loser at the end…

I also enjoy his solo outings in the Jump Scares videos, which is basically watching him get scared while playing…

If you have a few minutes, I would highly recommend checking the channel out. If not, continue to enjoy his incredible work as the primary mouthpiece of the current (and reigning 2x) WWE tag team champions, the most entertaining act on the entire WWE roster, the New Day!!! New Day

Fear the Walking Dead– I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say that the debut of Fear The Walking Dead was pretty damn successful. I was super impressed with how they introduced the primary characters as a dysfunctional blended family. As a father in a blended family, I know how tough that can be without the impending zombie apocalypse to worry about. Travis (Cliff Curtis) is dealing with a blended family where the kids don’t particularly like him…including his own. That’s tough and gives me a sense of what type of person Travis is. He’s this incredibly awesome teacher (as noted in a scene of him at the school) and is trying to be an awesome father-figure, as we see when he is trying to talk with Nick (Frank Dillane) at the hospital. But somewhere along the way he’s failing and that means he’s flawed, we’ll eventually find out why (Rick from The Walking Dead has flaws, as well…but we never really knew him from before the apocalypse started, so we’re only getting “Reactionary Rick”…a personality strictly based on how he’s reacting to the new world around him).

the_walking_dead_What makes The Walking Dead so great isn’t just the zombies; it’s the character development. It didn’t start off that way because show creators wanted to shock people into watching by hitting the ground running. Fear The Walking Dead is taking the opposite approach because everybody knows what’s going to happen, so we need to actually care about the people who are entering that situation if the show is to succeed. It’s a “slow burn” process that is unlike anything else the zombie genre has seen before. I, for one, am solidly on board.

Miz TV segment with Team PCB– While it didn’t garner a lot of headlines, I was pretty disappointed in Paige for what happened after her segments on RAW this past Monday night. Was the crowd disrespectful? Yeah, but there was a reason for that. The horrific segment with Team PCB and Miz is what caused the crowd to become super-uninterested. It wasn’t the fault of the performers, but rather whatever writers scripted the terrible dialogue because the message was completely lost. Add to that the extremely untalented Bellas wrestling the very talented PCB and you’ve got an extremely restless crowd who are tired of seeing untalented bimbos thrown at them when they want to see WRESTLING. Still…Paige shouldn’t have gone off on the fans and, instead, should have recognized the reason for the fans’ reactions.

Paige is pissed– Ummm…sinkholes are becoming more and more of a “thing” and, quite frankly, it’s scaring the shit out of me. Seriously…why is this happening? I can see the occasional one-off happening, but these things are happening all over the place. This video is scary as hell. WTF??

Enzo Amore & Big Cass & Carmella– If you ever doubted the possibility of bringing Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady (and perhaps Carmella, too) up to the main roster from NXT, all you have to do is hear the Brooklyn crowd’s ovation for these two to see how “over” they are. Was it a hometown crowd? Sure…but they had a very similar reaction in San Jose and are over pretty much everywhere they go. I can’t wait to see them grow and evolve on the main roster. Bring ’em up now!!

– While not exactly the super-long new movie trailer that I was hoping for, the Star Wars Instagram account provided everyone with a new tidbit to feed off of while waiting in the meantime…

There has been an awakening… #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

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What in the hell is Finn, a former stormtrooper, doing holding a lightsaber!!??? Not only is that an incredibly intriguing bit of storyline, but then there’s the assembled First Order shot at the beginning:

Assembled First OrderUmmm…

Shut up and take my money

– I’m far from the most “politically correct” person in the world, but even I think that these costumes are ridiculously offensive. I mean…seriously? A Caitlyn Jenner outfit AND “Miss-ter Olympic” wig??? Wow. And don’t get me started on the “lion killer dentist” costume. This is insane. Any guy who wears these outfits on Halloween deserves to get bitch-slapped by everybody at the party. Twice.

Call Me Caitlyn costume

Jenner Wig

Lion Killer costume– I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the upcoming Assassin’s Creed movie until I saw the first official photo of Michael Fassbender as the lead character. Maybe…just maybe…we’ll actually end up with a video game adaptation that doesn’t suck. It’s long overdue…

Michael Fassbender - Assassins Creed– Whether intentionally done or not, this is just awesome…

Vincent Donofrio as Kingpin– I’ve already written on this blog just how blown away I was by Marvel’s Daredevil Season One on Netflix. This was a series that I had low expectations for, but was extremely impressed by (a) how realistic the characters were, (b) just how incredibly Emmy-worthy the acting of Vincent D’Onofrio was (wait…why am I actually rooting for the Kingpin to win here???), and (c) the violence was turned up a notch from the PG-rated Marvel Universe movies. It wasn’t just “gritty”, it was a PG-16 rated program that kicked serious ass. Something I didn’t realize, however, was just how many special effects were used for the show. Even a ton of scenes that were full of what I thought were practical effects have actually turned out to be special effects, as noted by the awesome behind-the-scenes special effects video shown in the link below. If you haven’t seen Daredevil yet, I highly recommend you do!

Daredevil: ‘Behind the Visual Effects’ https://vid.me/XOIA

– Oh Miley…why do people hate you so much?

On Jimmy Kimmel, this is the ONLY talent that Miley Cyrus has.

On Jimmy Kimmel, this is the ONLY talent that Miley Cyrus has.

I’ll tell you and I’d say it to your face: It’s because you’re a celebrity-hungry no-talent fame-whore. You’re fugly and can only get people interested or talking about you when you decide to get naked. It’s all you can do (much like those goddamn Kardashian no-talent bitches). I’m so fucking sick of you and the Kardashians and Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan all trying to get by for being famous instead of doing something that deserves the celebrity attention! There are SOOOOO many talented and beautiful women in the entertainment industry, it’s baffling why more attention isn’t taken away from some non-entity like Cyrus and placed on them instead. Jesus…this just pissed me off.

– And because of this last diatribe of mine, I’ve decided that Song of the Week should reflect how I’m feeling. I just want to bang my fucking head against the wall every single time I see a story on some undeserving no-talent hack. So here we go with one of my all-time favourite songs “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)” by Quiet Riot.

Throwback Thursday – The Road Warriors vs The Freebirds (Cage Match)

Road WarriorsThis week’s Throwback Thursday is a match from an episode of WCW Power Hour from 1989. The storyline is that the Samoan Swat Team was supposed to battle the Road Warriors in a steel cage, but Paul E. Dangerously had “lost” his Samoans somewhere in transit between Samoa and St. Louis, so the ‘Birds were the replacements.

fabulous freebirdsIn this particular match, the Freebirds are made up of “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin and Terry “Bamm Bamm” Gordy (with Michael “P.S.” Hayes on the outside). It’s a pretty hard-hitting affair between four men who didn’t mind mixing it up and were, arguably, all in their prime.

The other great thing about this match is the incredible commentary (flying solo!) by Jim Ross. For anyone who doesn’t understand why people make such a big deal about Ross, all you have to do is listen to him here.

Enjoy!! And don’t forget about the surprise ending!!

Will Deadpool Be The Superhero Movie We All Need And Deserve?

deadpool 3I’ve had a couple of weeks to think things over, and the more I think about it the more I’m looking forward to next year’s Deadpool movie.

deadpool 1Here’s the thing: I’m not a comic book reader. I have never read a Deadpool comic in my entire life, but the small snippets of video game clips and the Ryan Reynolds-led trailer have led me to want to watch this movie.

So similar to Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie trailer has me totally interested in a comic book hero that I know absolutely nothing about. Based on that alone, Deadpool should be pretty awesome.

After watching the red band trailer, I’m even MORE impressed. It doesn’t appear to be a one-trick pony with this character, but rather a myriad of complexity and comedy mixed in with some violence. That sounds like a damn party, if you ask me.

Hollywood has tried to give us “gritty” hero movies before:

Spawn

Blade (which I admit had a lot of awesome moments)

The Punisher

Good lord…at one point Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was considered for the lead role in the adaptation of Lobo. Can you imagine???lobo

Anyway, after the disastrous Green Lantern (not by any fault of Reynolds, by the way), the fans have been hoping for a real Deadpool movie to come to light after the horrible butcher-job that was done in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

As it stands, this looks to be that movie. Is it the comic book movie that we need? No…that was The Dark Knight. However, this appears to be the comic book movie that we want, as fans of the character are going to get exactly what they’re hoping to get based upon their knowledge of the source material.

There are a few movies that I’m excited for, but I honestly think that Deadpool might be near or at the top of that list. deadpool 2

RAW Thoughts

The promised landAs we come off an event-filled SummerSlam, the rumours are swirling around that big things are in store for tonight. So we’re back at the Barkley Center in Brooklyn, NY for Night #3 of WWE. I have a feeling I know how things are going to kick off tonight…

– We’re shown Triple H talking to new two-title champion Seth Rollins at the WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. Triple H tells Rollins that he is no longer “the future of WWE”, he is THE MAN in WWE. He then promises to reveal his own statue later tonight, to which Rollins dishes out a massive hug and we get set to start the show.

– 24 hours later and Paul Heyman isn’t happy about what happened last night. At all…

“The Beast” Brock Lesnar (along with his advocate Heyman) makes his way to the ring and is NOT in a good mood. Brock Lesnar

Heyman can’t believe that Undertaker tapped out for the first time in his career, yet the history books will record Lesnar being the loser of that match.

As a result of all this, Heyman challenges Undertaker on behalf of Lesnar to one more match to take place tonight…NOT at WrestleMania. As he’s waiting for Taker to come out and respond, instead comes Bo Dallas. He got on the mic and set himself up to get killed by insulting Lesnar as only he can.

Dallas received four incredible German suplexes before Lesnar walked away and up the ramp to the back. Heyman stopped him at the top of the ramp and told him that five suplexes would be better. Brock kills Bo 2

Lesnar began walking back up the ramp again when Heyman stopped him, again, to ask Lesnar to give him “one more for him”. Lesnar went back and gave a dead Dallas an F5 to end the segment.

#SuplexCity

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New Day, New Day– Next up are the Lucha Dragons as they take on the NEW tag team champions, NEW DAY (with the Prime Time Players on commentary again…for whatever reason). I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am to see New Day being tag team champs again. They really are fantastically entertaining…especially when Xavier Woods came out playing the trombone to “New York, New York“, while all three of them sang a horrible re-written version of the song. Just hilariously entertaining. LOVE these guys.

The match itself was just okay, but the highlight for me was when Xavier actually played “TAPS” just as Kofi & Big E set up Kalisto for their finisher. They were celebrating their win a little bit when all of a sudden…

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!?!?!

The Dudley Boyz storm the ring and begin decimating the tag champs. The crowd was going APE-SHIT for this!! All of the signature spots were hit including the “Wazzup”…

…and the 3D through a table.

I mean, it was surreal to watch it all take place. Wow. I don’t know what the plans are for the Dudleyz, but they are HOME where they belong. This is going to be a GREAT way for them to end their careers. Congrats, boyz!! The Dudley Boyz

– We’re treated to a sneak peak of the new Seth Rollins statue with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon backstage. Rollins comes into the room (but not before they cover up the statue) and then everybody proceeds to blow each other.

SummerSlam rematch

Roman Reigns makes his way to the ring as we prepare for a SummerSlam rematch. I’m a bit confused as I got the feeling that this feud was over after the decisive win, but I guess not. Dean Ambrose comes out next, followed quickly by the Wyatt Family…much to the delight of their fireflies.

Fireflies are out in Brooklyn. #WWE #raw #brooklyn #pwinsider #prowrestling

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Reigns vs WyattThe match itself was pretty darn good. Two things I noticed: (1) Luke Harper always seems to find new ways to impress in his matches, and (2) Bray Wyatt is a lot faster than any man his size deserves to be. The crowd was hot for this match and it’s clear that Reigns is getting more cheers than boos these days. He’s working his ass off and is doing whatever he can to put on a good match every time he’s inside the ring.

Just as it looked like the babyfaces were going to win, the lights went out and when they came back on, an extremely large man was standing on the ring apron while Wyatt just laughed.

Adam Scherr (aka Braun Stowman)The new Family member is NXT wrestler Braun Stowman. He’s a 6’8″, 385lb former ASC pro strongman competitor who has been at the NXT Performance Center since May 2013. The man is an extremely impressive physical speciman, but I really wonder if he’s ready for the main stage. We’re in an era where these jacked-up monsters don’t spark the crowd like they used to. They want to see guys like Harper…big men who can work their asses off. This guy no-sold two main event players and destroyed them both on his own. I’m not entirely sure the boos he heard were the kind he wanted to get.

Wyatt Family

– It’s now time for Miz TV. His guests were Paige, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch. They were bragging about themselves when out came Team Bella, who continued the trend to brag about themselves, too. A small “We want Sasha” chant went out.

Everybody had a microphone and the segment died the quickest death you can possibly imagine. Miz then insulted the women’s wrestling ability…

…and the Bellas attacked PCB. I mean…ugh. THIS is how you kill the momentum that the Divas division has built up lately. And again, only louder, a “We want Sasha” chant went out.

Don’t let my review of this segment come off like just some “negative internet dude” speak. If you have two minutes of your life that you never want back again, watch the last part of the segment for yourself and come to your own conclusion (but note that they left out the worst part…the FIRST two minutes).

Vince…stop trying to manipulate the crowd. Give them what they want. They DON’T want the Bellas (it’s X-Pac “go away” heat at this point) and they DON’T want catty mic work where the girls insult each other. They want competitive matches that make the male wrestlers wish they could do the same. The writers for this segment were simply terrible. And really, there’s only one person to blame for the difference in the product we see in NXT and on RAW. FFS…

StraightOuttaCompton(2)Botched double dropkick– Now we get Team PCB taking on Team Bella in a 6-woman tag team match. I gotta be honest…this match had very little crowd heat. Y’know why? Because the whole thing was tanked by the Miz segment/comments and nobody gives two shits about Team Bella. The match itself was more about trying to hit spots than trying to wrestle, which is what Team PCB does best.

The match just didn’t work. The crowd ended up doing the wave just to keep themselves entertained…as it was followed by a loud “boring” chant. 

Thanks to some incompetent refereeing, Team Bella won the match and proceeded to NO-SELL EVERYTHING THAT JUST HAPPENED IN THE MATCH while celebrating their win and posing for the cameras. They were as fresh as a daisy as if they just finished a workout at the gym. Ridiculous.

And later in the evening, Paige tweeted out her massive disdain for the reaction the Divas got during their multiple segments (and as anticipated, the tweet was later deleted):

Paige is pissedPaige really shouldn’t throw blame to the crowd, though they were a little harsh. The segments were bad, the scripted dialogue was bad, the match was bad…everything stunk and the writers really are the ones to blame. 100%.

King Barrett and Stardust are ready to take on another tag team when Stardust attacked Barrett.

Out came Neville to…I dunno…save Barrett or just attack Stardust? I don’t know, but the segment was over almost before it began.

Does this make Barrett a babyface now? The announcers dropped it as quickly as they could to move on to…

Jon Stewart– …Jon Stewart screwed over John Cena at SummerSlam. In a very intriguing segment, Stewart is ready to come out and address the crowd on why he did it. My question is…does Stewart truly love wrestling THIS MUCH?? Or is he doing it because his kids love it?? Or is WWE just paying him that much?? I’d like to hope that Stewart just loves wrestling, because that then makes him even MORE awesome in my book.

Stewart came out to a “Thank you, Stewart” chant. He went on to say that he didn’t screw Cena to help Seth Rollins or The Authority, it was to prevent John Cena from ever tying or eclipsing the 16-time World champion Ric Flair.

“The Nature Boy” then made his way to the ring while Stewart over-played his excitement at seeing him (foreshadowing, perhaps?).

Flair proceeded to tell Stewart (and the crowd) that he was rooting for Cena because, at the end of the day, he respects Cena and wanted to see his record broken by somebody he respected.

The crowd did NOT like Cena…at all. Cena was not happy with Stewart…at all.

As expected, the segment ended with a bump. And MAD PROPS go out to Jon Stewart for taking a big-time bump…

The #WWE medical staff continues to attend to #JonStewart backstage at #RAW!

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8-man tag match– Now it’s time for the main event match of the night. And I’m a little curious…Dolph Ziggler has a new look (darker hair & long tights) and Lana is now wearing a jean skirt. It’s just…odd. They look like a heel tandem, not a babyface team. Very strange. Dolph & Lana

StaredownThe first five + minutes of the match saw the heels decimate Ziggler. It was strange, because the crowd (for the most part) was sitting on their hands. Both Big Show and Sheamus were trying their best to get the crowd into it, but were met with a tepid response. It should say a lot when you’re “main event heels” can’t elicit a response from the fans.

At one point, Summer Rae got involved but that just pissed off Lana…which FINALLY popped the crowd.

This gave Ziggler the incentive he needed to tag crowd favourite Cesaro (do you hear that, Vince??).

Big Show accidentally KOs SheamusRyback came in to his own tepid response. The ONLY reaction he gets is the “Feed Me More” chant. Other than that, the crowds are quiet. Thankfully, Randy Orton tagged in and got the crowd going again. It’s crazy that Orton is so over right now, but he is. The end came when Big Show accidentally punched Sheamus, leading to an RKO outta nowhere.

Big Show defends mistakeAt this point, Kevin Owens and Rusev were pissed at Show for messing up the end of the match. Show got frustrated and shoved down Owens, which led to both men beating down Show before walking out in disgust.

Now get this…

Nasty babyfacesShow is struggling to get to his feet after being attacked by two heels. Does he get a sympathetic reaction? Hard to say, because ALL FOUR BABYFACES then decided to JUMP HIM UNPROVOKED!!! Sure, they delivered a pretty cool spot to Show with an assisted RKO, but really…what in the hell?? To me, this was a gang of thugs beating up a guy who was already beaten. If this was the Wyatt Family or New Day, the announcers would have been all over them whining and crying about how this wasn’t necessary or about how wrong this was. Who booked this crap??

Assisted RKO

Bray Wyatt officially introduced the world to the newest Family member…

– Backstage, Triple H and Stephanie had John Cena escorted out of the building so he wouldn’t mess up their next segment in one of the most ridiculously fake “security escorting out somebody” segments I’ve ever seen. Seriously…I’ve seen Cena destroy tag teams on his own, so all of a sudden he can’t handle two no-name security guards? Ugh…

– After singing “Happy Birthday” to Vince McMahon (who didn’t come out from behind the curtain), The Authority proceeded to praise the hell out of Seth Rollins, who then made his grand entrance. Seth Rollins

Rollins promoRollins then delivered another money promo about how great he is. Honestly…this guy has come so far along in his promo skills, it’s truly unbelievable. He’s done an incredible job as the new face of the company in 2015.

As Rollins unveiled his statue, inside of the box was…

HOLY SHIT, IT’S STING!!!

Sting proceeded to beat the crap out of Rollins before chasing everybody out of the ring and ending the show by holding the WWE title high up over his head.

Sting

Michael Cole then said that exclusively on the WWE Network once RAW goes off the air, they will have an exclusive interview with Triple H about what just happened. Ummm…really? Shouldn’t they have time to at least ASK the guy if he wants to talk about Sting??? What if Triple H was so upset he didn’t want to do the interview? Jesus…more ridiculous writing.

**********

To me, in spite of all the big surprises that took place tonight, the writing of the show made the whole thing really unenjoyable for me. From the Divas to the final drawn-out segment, the writing was just plain bad.  I’m excited about some of the things that happened (welcome back Dudleyz!), but am puzzled over others (Barrett attacked? Big Show attacked? lesnar being fed Bo Dallas?) while just disgusted with others (the entire Miz/Diva segment).

Jesus…really???

I hope WWE realizes it’ll need to rebound a lot over the next week or two. Any ground they picked up from the big weekend in Brooklyn was halted by a really bad RAW.