Despite being 5 inches smaller and around 120lbs lighter than Mark Henry, Big E Langston not has many parallels with Henry’s career already but in some cases, exceeded him. At just 24 years he broke the The American and National Championship records for the deadlift at 410kg, taking the record from Mark Henry himself who had held it since 1995. Then went on and set new records in the squat, bench press and powerlifting total.
Just like ‘The Worlds Strongest Man’ Langston looks like he’s bringing his weightlifting background into the wrestling business. Given the amount of similarities between the too and the knowledge the Henry has it would make sense for WWE to let him mentor ‘Big E’ as well
There’s a worry whenever WWE hires ex-bodybuilders and powerlifters that all they are going to be are big and strong with absolutely no natural wrestling ability or knowledge of what it takes to be an entertainer as well. They expect to turn up for a match, squash their opponent and receive a big push. ‘Big E’ though looks like he’s aware that he needs to make a connection with the crowd in order to make it in the big ‘E’. Whenever he hits his finishing move ‘Big Ending’ he listens to the audiences chants of ‘one more time’ and gives his helpless opponent the move again. I doesn’t sound a lot, but makes a difference from the likes of Snitsky, Kozlov, etc who would stare angrily at the camera with no evidence of any charisma at all.
That’s not to say that he isn’t a powerhouse in the ring, because he is. As you would expect he sticks to a moveset that showcases his unprecedented strength like backbreakers, powerslams, belly-to-belly suplexes, etc. It seems to be working as well for him despite still being a rookie as he has already been ranked as the 371st best singles wrestler by PWI in 2010.
Langston isn’t averse to showing his dominance over his opponents of course just like anyone else, and to do this he insists on making the referee count to five on pinfalls, and the request of the fans he will do his finisher again and the five count all over again. It’s great to see a powerhouse like Langston try to develop a unique gimmick like this rather than rest on the fact he is a muscle bound freak of a man.
Although we’ve rarely head him speak it does look like he has some potential to be good on the mic, even if he looked like he was desperately trying to remember his lines the one and only time I’ve managed to hear him speak.
A minor thing I’ve noticed is that before he likes to do his signature moves he sometimes bangs his fists against his chest to fire up the crowd. If he does make it up to one the main rosters he’ll probably have to stop as that’s as already a mannerism of Sheamus, who I imagine won’t be happy if one of his gimmicks is infringed upon.
Langston is the type of wrestler that Vince McMahon and Triple H go to bed dreaming about so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you see him on Raw or Smackdown sooner rather than later.
Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara v Team Rhode Scholars
Although it may seem a bad sign that the final of the tag-team tournament was thrown on first after all the effort they’ve put into the tag team division at long last, but really it shows that WWE is starting to have faith in the format as they’ve gone with this to grab the viewers interest from the start.
If they are going for a Rey Mysterio v Sin Cara match at Wrestlemania 29 then I’m surprised they didn’t have them go to HIAC as number one contenders. Whether they won or lost would have been irrelevant, but would have made their journey to the showcase more storied.
What is annoying is that WWE referred to it as the ‘finals’, which is a strange use of the plural for a singular event.
John Cena & CM Punk
It is odd that they would choose to do a promo for a Punk’s match at HIAC without his opponent Ryback. Presumably they a re not confident about his mic work and don’t want to ruin the aura he has created with a lousy promo. This may be why their apparently considering getting him a mouthpiece.
Kofi Kingston v Michael McGillicutty & Justin Gabriel v Antonio Cesaro
Wins for Kingston and Gabriel seem to signal what look like are going to be big pushes for two bright young wrestlers. This isn’t the first time they have given Kingston a push, last time he seemed to have this kind of momentum was during a program with Randy Orton in which he boom-dropped him through a table and smashed up his car with a pipe. Unfortunately, for him this push fizzled out as quickly as it started, maybe it was too soon back then and WWE will have more faith and patience this time around.
As for Gabriel, I get the feeling WWE believe he a great performer in the ring, but they want to see if some TV time will help take him take it to the next level. To do so he is going to need to make some connection with the fans, a run with the US Title seems like the most likely scenario.
AJ Lee Resigns, Vickie Takes Charge
With the tweet from AJ that she had been called to an emergency meeting with the board of directors it was quite predictable that her stint as GM was probably coming to an end. This turned out to be the case, as without much payoff, she was advised to resign as the boss of Raw. Given that it was weeks ago that she slapped Paul Heyman and even longer ago that she attacked Vickie Guerrero it seemed that AJ had got away with her actions, so to punish her now seemed a little belated. It just seemed like a very quick and quiet way to get her out of the role quickly as viewing figures continue to fall, which is hardly AJ’s fault.
Then came the totally implausible appointment that Vickie Guerrero is the new Managing Supervisor of Raw. If you consider her previous tyrannical spells in charge of Raw and Smackdown, it is ridiculous that WWE thinks that we are supposed to believe that a) she is the only and best person for the job and b) there is any board of directors that would be stupid enough to think that she would be a good choice for the job.
Daniel Bryan v Dolph Ziggler
This was easily the best match of the night, rightly getting “this is awesome” chants from the fans. These two are definitely the future of this business. It had all the back and forth action you would have hoped for and had a great balance of submission and high-flying moves. It’s not very often I rewind to see spots in a match again but Bryan’s running dropkick to Ziggler in the corner, Dolph’s x-factor style move off the top rope and his collision/exit over the ring post had me doing just that. It would have been nice though to have seen a clean finish to the match that didn’t involve interference from Kane.
Newly Tag Game
These attempts at humour usually fall flat on there face, however Bryan and Kane are a very funny duo with great chemistry. With the constant timing issues Raw is having, despite having an extra hour, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was cut short as well as it was surprisingly short.
The only thing of any interest to come from the segment was Striker’s heel style promo at the end. It has been speculated that Matt Striker is returning to the ring, so it could be that he might side with Team Rhode Scholars, he would definitely fit in well.
Kane v Big Show
This may be the most over done match in Raw history. They had the typical slow paced match-up before interference from Team Rhode Scholars. It’s great to see them give so much attention to the tag team division, especially as they’ve left themselves with only a week to promote the title match at Hell In A Cell. In my opinion the Number one contenders match should have been at the PPV, then they would have had a good month to intensify the rivalry between the two teams.
Ryback v The Miz
Another routine squash match Ryback. At least it wasn’t a nobody this time, but I don’t really see the WWE thinks it will get out of having one of its rising stars easily defeat another rising star. A former WWE Champion defeated within 3 minutes? Then why didn’t ‘Super Cena’ do the same at Wrestlemania 27? If The Miz was allowed to have put up even a bit of a fight it would help build him up as a viable challenger for Kofi’s Intercontinental Title.
AJ & John Cena
In this segment AJ revealed that the man she had allegedly been fraternising with is John Cena, although they claim it was a business dinner. This is clearly just a way of keeping Cena on TV while he recovers from the arm injury, given that they didn’t know whether or not Cena would be competing at HIAC until last week, I hope that this isn’t a hastily written storyline and creative do know where they are going with this one.
This seems to have similarities with a storyline from last year when Teddy Long was attacked by Ziggler in order for Vickie Guerrero to announced as his replacement, hopefully I am wrong.
Alberto Del Rio v Zack Ryder
I didn’t even realise that Del Rio was supposed to be facing Randy Orton at Hell In A Cell but then again it is very difficult to promote a feud when one of the competitors is away filming a movie in the weeks leading up to the PPV. It doesn’t help that the two wrestlers involved are also two most the most boring, personality wise.
The match itself was an incredibly predictable squash match which ended with Del Rio refusing to release the armbar again, again, again. As for Zack Ryder, the YouTube show is clearly not working for him anymore, I think he needs to reinvigorate his character by turning heel, Orton also.
Sheamus v CM Punk
This was another good solid match. What was unique about this lumberjack match was that even the heel wrestlers showed some animosity towards CM Punk, which goes against the usually dynamic of Lumberjacks matches in the past.
Punk is a master at working the crowd as he showed went up for Randy Savage elbow drop then leapt down onto his feet and gave Sheamus a standing elbow drop instead. Unfortunately, for him he will always have too much respect from the fans to be hated as much as top heel should be.
The match concluded with Ryback interfering and showing off some impressive feats of strength at the expense of CM Punk. I guess the old adage that ‘actions speak louder than words’ is the way to go with if Ryback isn’t very effective on the mic yet.
There is nothing innovative or ground-breaking about Damien Sandow’s character, nor is it original. The gimmick of a self-obsessed, intellectual narcissist has been one that has been all too many times. In fact a similar gimmick was used for ‘The Genius’ Lanny Poffo, although he mainly spoke in rhymes and acted in an effeminate way, Sandow speaks deeply about subjects such as entertainment and sophistication.
Hopefully this will allow the ‘Self-professed Intellectual Savior of the Unwashed Masses’ to be taken more seriously and not become a jobber like Randy’s brother. But there’s something about the way Sandow carries himself and speaks that makes you believe that this isn’t just a character he is playing, but an extension of his actual self.
It’s these kind of wrestlers that usually make it big in this industry as the fans can believe in them as individuals they can relate, although Sandow probably not trying to do that with his gimmick. When Damien speaks you don’t get the sense that there is any smoke an mirrors going on and that he is actually that well-spoken and articulate. If this isn’t true he has quite a good career in acting ahead him.
In the ring he is also very gifted, although he sticks mainly to very basic moves such as elbow drops, neckbreakers, knee smashes, etc he always add his own style of flair or aggression to the moves that makes it seem unique, and the arrogant covers make him easy to hate (or love in my case). When you compare this to the composed, intellectual Sandow that you hear outside the ring it all adds to what looks like is going to be a well-rounded character.
For those that were unconvinced by his wrestling ability should now understa d the hype surrounding him after his recent match against Sheamus on Raw recently, which shows that he certainly has what it takes to compete at the very top level of this industry.
He also stands an excellent chance of making something of himself in WWE as some of his biggest supporters backstage include Vince McMahon and Triple H, the latter of which has apparently considers him to be his ‘next big project’ if dirt sheets are anything to be believed. And it is easy to see why. At 6ft 4in tall and weighing around 250lbs he fits the mould big athletic guys they usually invest most of their time and money in, coupled with his impressive mic skills make him a safe bet when devoting TV time to him develop hone his craft.
What also works in his favour is his characters quest to “cleanse the WWE of its ignorance” gives the WWE plenty of choice when it comes to wrestlers to put him in a programme with e.g. Zack Ryder, Brodus Clay and after RAW 1000 even Triple H himself.
Sandow’s star is only going to continue rising and will make him a big time player in the WWE for years to come I’m sure, and you what, he’s welcome.
When I heard that Claudio Castagnoli was signed to WWE’s developmental territory, closely followed by his tag team parter Chris Hero(Kassius Ohno), I really hoped that this was going to be the start of Triple H’s revolution of the tag-team division. That was of course to much to hope for and they were split up and given new gimmicks.
I don’t understand why they didn’t do this as WWE could have killed two birds with one stone. Firstly, the ‘Kings of Wrestling’ along with other promising tag-teams e.g. The ascension, Prime Time Players, The Uso’s, etc could have really revitalised the dormant division.
Secondly, it would have given Castagnoli and Hero the chance to get used to performing in front of larger crowds and the WWE style at the same time. It worked a dream for The Hardys, Edge and Christian, and JBL, so there’s no reason to believe it wouldn’t have worked out the same way in this instance.
I realise that Castagnoli isn’t as green as most of the developmental talent that pushed up to the main roster and can work on their own, but would have been great to see them start off in the tag team division and showcase what they had been working on for five years together as a team on the big stage.
Instead, he has been repackaged as Antonio Cesaro, which is an incredibly Italian sounding name for a gimmick that is supposed to be playing up to his Swiss roots. The idea is that he is a former rugby player who was kicked out of the national league for excessive violence, which is slightly reminiscent of The Goon, although much, much better.
He can also speak five languages, and as much as I like to see the actual personalities of the wrestlers brought to the screen I hope that they do more than just have repeat one word in every language five times as it is very rigid and is going to become stale very quickly. From what I’ve heard it very much the case of ‘now or never’ for Castagnoli, at 31 years old WWE may not see much chance an improvement in his abilities, so I’d like to hope that they will give him the chance to show what he can do verbally by giving him more dialogue.
I’m sure though that Vince McMahon has already realised what a valuable commodity having a man who is multi-linguistic could be. Just imagine how useful be could be on media days during European tours, and I’m sure the local media would love him and continue booking him. The superstars that are the most media friendly are the ones that tend to get the most success in the WWE.
“The Swiss Superman” has also been given a manager/girlfriend in the form of Aksana, who fails to add to the heat on Cesaro by fawning over him because she has no heat on herself either. Furthermore, if she is supposed the mouthpiece for Cesaro because WWE may feel his mic skills maybe poor, then why didn’t they put him with like Vickie Guerrero who actually has some charisma that could garner some heat.
Regardless of all this, in the ring he is a vicious competitor, backed up by his unique set of signature moves that I haven’t seen before in the WWE make him a must watch when he appears on my television screen.
In my opinion the future looks bright for Castagnoli, or as he would say; in French, lumineux, in German hell and in Italian, luminoso!
As CM Punk scurried up the arena steps away from Ryback you would have figured that was going to be the last piece of action in a good episode of Raw. However, as Vince gave him his ultimatum for Hell in a Cell, fans started shoving and hitting Punk from behind and he didn’t take to kindly to it, so he lashed out and hit a fan in the face.
Shortly after afterwards WWE posted an explanation as to why the incident happened and an apology from CM Punk himself. ‘The Best in the World’ was quoted as saying;
“I think the whole situation sucks,” Punk told WWE.com. “It’s an unfortunate and isolated incident. I was up in the stands, surrounded.”
“Somebody said, ‘let’s push him down the stairs,’” Punk explained. “I got hit in the ribs three times. I was getting shoved and I was getting punched…Then I started getting tagged in the back of the head. Unfortunately, I lashed out in the heat of the moment and I apologise. I’m really just glad nobody was hurt.”
Usually when a fan gets physically involved with talent their considered ‘fair game’ and they will retaliate out of self-defence and so the show can carry on as quickly as possible.
This incident is no different but WWE can’t really blame anyone but themselves as it was clear that there were no security guards present to offer Punk any protection whatsoever. Security is normally informed where to put extra guards in case a wrestler enters the crowd but this case they obviously weren’t, probably due to the constant re-writes of scripts that Raw goes through the day of a show.
So considering the situation CM Punk was put in you can’t blame him for wanting to assert some dominance to try and control the boisterous audience members. WWE should never have let one of the most valuable talents into such a risky situation. Yes, its more unpredictable and exciting when the action goes into the crowd, but alone surely it would have been a lot safer for Punk to retreat up the entrance ramp instead.
To make matters even worse, Punk managed to hit the wrong man, Charles Schmidt, and in the process allegedly broke his glasses. At this moment he has chosen not to press any charges against ‘The Voice of the Voiceless’ but apparently he is considering hiring an attorney to review his case.
As of yet there have been no consequences for the ‘Second City Saint’ and as there hasn’t been any so far, it doesn’t look like there will be any at all. The main reason for this is that he is clearly in the middle of the biggest storyline running at the moment and to remove him from TV would be terrible for business. Just like last summer Punk once again finds himself in a position of power.
It seems strange that they haven’t punished him to some degree though, especially as Linda McMahon is currently running for Senate. WWE can get as much positive press coverage as it wants by aligning itself with ‘Susan G. Komen for the Cure’ but as soon as the press and her democratic opponent find out about it they will have a field day. Even more so if their seen to just let it slide.
The real repercussions for Punk will be revealed in the coming months when we find out just how long his title reign will last for and his billing on the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania cards.
I’ve got to admit when I first saw Windham Rotunda debut as Husky Harris on the old NXT format, I didn’t hold out much hope for him. I thought he was only getting an opportunity in the WWE due to his lineage. Nothing about the way he looked like a wrestler who marketed as the next big superstar in the company. He was fat, covered in some of the ugliest tattoos you will ever see and didn’t seem to have going for him in terms of charisma. I was very, very wrong.
After being released from what turned out to be the shackles of Nexus, a return to FCW turned out to be just what he needed as he was able to experiment with a couple of different gimmicks to see which one fit, and along came Bray Wyatt. In what appears to be a rehash of the Waylon Mercy gimmick from the mid 90’s he has finally found an outlet to showcase what he is truly capable of.
Apart from the addition of a boater hat he is very similar in appearance to the Waylon Mercy incarnation of the character. He has a calm, but sinister personality outside the ring that changes into a slightly more deranged once the bell rings, dancing with opponents, kissing them on the forehead and rolling around on the canvas with a disturbed look on his face.
Wyatt has the potential to be the best talker and storyteller in the business, in and outside the ring. It only took one of his ninety-second vignettes to have me hooked on the character, desperate to see me more.
Like all second or third generation stars this is exactly what Windham needed to help fans differentiate him from his father, or by giving him a gimmick so different from his fathers and even something as simple as different name will help him create his own legacy.
None the less, growing up in a wrestling family that includes the likes of Blackjack Mulligan, I.R.S, Barry and Kendall Windham, and his brother Bo Dallas holds him in good stead as you grow up around the likes of them and not be at least knowledgeable about wrestling.
In the ring, he is still the the Army Tank with a Ferrari engine, and although he is unique in the ring for being incredibly quick for a man in his size it did seem to be the very thing that was holding him back when he was a part of Nexus as Vince McMahon was not a fan of his shape due to his weight.
However, since his debut on NXT he is being billed 30 pounds lighter than the 315 lbs mark that he was at during his Husky Harris days. Which is all well and good if he wants a big push on TV, but for me that takes away some of his marketability as a spectacle that fans would want to pay to see.
Unfortunately, in June this year he torn his pectoral muscle and is reported to be out of action for six months. Hopefully this doesn’t we won’t see him until then as he is such a great talker that there could easily be role for him on TV. Maybe using his character as some kind of spiritual leader to help motivate a wrestler going through a bad spell of form and turn him into a world beater would only help get his character over as some kind genius/leader upon his return to the squared circle.
Bray Wyatt is definitely one of the most intriguing characters to have come around in a long time. So lets just hope that he gets back in the ring as quickly as possible, luckily for him though, time is on his side.