Yessssir. Already ordered.
Kenta is set to debut at NXT Takeover 2 next Thursday as has been reported across the Internet. Ric Flair will introduce Kenta to the audience and there has even been talk of him immediately entering the NXT Title picture.
I honestly wasn’t familiar with Kenta at all until it was announced that he signed with WWE (along with Kevin Steen, Devitt and Willie Mack) so I decided to look him up. HOLY SHIT, this guy is awesome! This is an obvious statement to pro-wrestling fans outside of the WWE bubble, but to me, this was brand new and I’ve been converted to a fan.
I watched his match from ROH Final Battle 05 against Low Ki and my first impressions were how VICIOUS his kicks were and how innovative his move-set was. I saw the Go To Sleep that CM Punk made popular in WWE as well as the LeBell Lock and Running Knee introduced to the WWE by Daniel Bryan. The influence this guy had on the 2 biggest stars in the U.S. of the past 5 years is obvious and now I’m looking forward to his arrival. I feel confident that WWE has major plans for him because not only will Flair bring him out, but he also was announced by Hulk Hogan as a new signee during a WWE Japan run. Big names makes this a bigger deal.
I like the Intercontinental Title feud between the champ Dolph Ziggler and The Miz. Like most people, I was anxious for Dolph to be showcased in a meaningful way given how talented he is and how misused, overlooked, and underappreciated he’s been in the past, especially since he lost the World Heavyweight Title to Alberto Del Rio back in 2013. The guy flat-out knows how to put on a great performance on a daily basis. The surprising part of this equation is how enjoyable The Miz's character has been lately.
I used to HATE watching The Miz. The guy was beyond annoying and his matches generally sucked. Couldn’t do a Figure Four to save Ric Flair's life. I can do a Figure Four. Well, somebody’s been talking to him and he’s been putting in some serious work to improve. The “Hollywood heel” character has been done a million times before so, in that respect, there’s really no new ground. But that’s with anything. “There’s nothing new under the sun, it’s never what you do but how it’s done,” as Nas so clearly stated on No Ideas Original. The Miz just decided to OWN his character.
Half of the appeal has to do with the fact that people just don’t like the guy. That’s real heat. You want to see him get his ass kicked whenever he pops up at a show. The other half are the outrageous antics that bring new life to an old character. Using a stunt-double to fill in during matches. Bringing a makeup person to ringside for touch-ups. Avoiding being hit in the face to such a degree that it trumps the importance of a win or loss. All incredibly entertaining details. AND, just as important, he seems to be getting better in the ring. Dolph brings out the best in The Miz. Cheers to the both of them.
Monday Night Raw has now become Monday Night Smackdown. In other words, it’s no longer “must-see TV.” The number one problem with Raw is WWE's insistence on the show being 3+ hours. It's longer than the monthly pay-per-view in most cases. I don't know any other weekly TV shows that require that kind of viewing time. So, being the smart guy that I am, I subscribed to Hulu so I could watch the 90-minute version instead. I don’t even want to do that now.
For the most part, NOTHING ever happens on any Raw if it isn’t the night after a PPV, so it normally feels stale. Old bread stale. Smackdown stale. Random, meaningless tag team matches. Michael Cole pitches for the WWE Network that I already subscribe to. 3 and 4 replays of segments that JUST happened. I’ll pass.
So, I’ve decided not to watch Raw for a little while. Not even the Hulu version. I don’t have time to waste on entertainment that isn’t entertaining. The night after a PPV? Sure. Other than that, NO. My wrestling-show-on-Monday slot is now reserved for Ring Of Honor TV.
The biggest story line currently is the Brock Lesnar/Paul Heyman vs John Cena program and I love it. The Summer Slam match was delightfully one-sided and highlighted a near-criminal Brock Lesnar mean streak. The Promo King, Paul Heyman, can take an average Raw from 0 to 100 (real quick). He’s just that damn good. #PaulLevesqueVoice.
The most interesting aspect of the feud however is John Cena. More specifically, the John Cena character, which is at its most compelling since the night after his Wrestlemania 28 loss to The Rock. His promo this past Monday (“I’m not going to beat Brock Lesnar, I’m going to beat Brock Lesnar's ass”) was a bullseye. No smiles, no jokes, no BS. Dare I say, a little Attitude.
SO, I’m a regular podcast listener and I thought I’d highlight 2 of my favorite wrestling FAN podcasts (not to be confused with podcasts done BY professional wrestlers or wrestling professionals, i.e. The Steve Austin Show, which is phenomenal in its own right).
Mat Men & Cheap Heat.
Too often, wrestling podcasts take themselves FAR too serious and feel the need to break down every segment of every show, offering whiny opinions and critiques about the (buzz word) "current product." So-And-So is being “buried.” Vince doesn’t know what he’s doing. The sky is falling. Miss me with all of that.
I’m a happy, life-having fan and so are the hosts of Mat Men & Cheap Heat. Briefly, Mat Men is a show featuring 3 best friends and lifelong fans from Queens, NY. Andrew Zarian, Rich Stambolian and Jon Layman discuss today’s shows, classic memories and even fantasy book from time to time. Cheap Heat is comprised of David Shoemaker (AKA The Masked Man) and Peter Rosenberg. Shoemaker is a phenomenal journalist (see HERE and HERE) and Rosenberg is a Hip Hop radio personality and DJ.
I recommend both shows. Click HERE for Mat Men and click HERE for Cheap Heat. You can also find them on iTunes.
Adam Rose…I’m just not a fan of his. Outside of his enterence music being pretty catchy, I can’t find anything I like about his character or in-ring work. The Rosebuds gimmick is corny, his matches aren’t interesting, and I generally find myself picking up my iPhone whenever he pops up on Raw, Smackdown, or NXT. He’s probably worked his ass off to get to this point so I can’t take anything away from the man himself. Nothing is easy about making it to the WWE main roster but, again, I’m just not fan. Nor am I a lemon and I don’t want to be a Rosebud either…
Aaron Omar was featured as # 4 on the Rap Genius “Top 10 Pro Wrestling References in Rap.” Follow him on Twitter HERE.
Aaron Omar – War Stories & Love Letters (EP)
Listen to Aaron Omar tell his War Stories & Love Letters in it’s entirety after the break!
Landed on Hip Hop Since 1987
AO’s Summer Slam 2014 predictions:
• Brock Lesnar over John Cena
• Stephanie McMahon over Brie Bella
• Roman Reigns over Randy Orton
• Paige over AJ Lee
• Seth Rollins over Dean Ambrose
• Dolph Ziggler over The Miz
• Rusev over Jack Swagger
• Bray Wyatt over Chris Jericho
• Cesaro over Rob Van Dam