I believe it was the film “The Godfather”, or maybe it was one of my old columns, where the famous quote was uttered:
“Every time I think I’ve gotten out, they pull me back in!”
Or something to that effect….
But first, some backstory.
Sometime about three years ago, I started a podcast with my non-blood brother, my best friend Mike Smith, called “The Loki And Jabroni Show” (available on iTunes, GooglePlay Music, Spotify, and iHeartRadio)…. he wanted our first episode to cover the WrestleMania event that was due to happen the next day. The big match was Triple H vs. Sting. I had not been firmly entrenched in the business since the horrific weekend that Chris Benoit heinously murdered his wife and son then killed himself. (NOTE: conspiracy theorists need not apply…. I’m done schooling people.) So after that WrestleMania episode, Mike implored me to get back into the product.
“It’s not the same,” Mike said. “You’ll love it!”
I bought it. On The Loki And Jabroni Show, we’ve interviewed Road Warrior Animal. We’ve interviewed Gary “Pitbull #1” Wolfe. We’ve interviewed Bob Backlund. We’ve done shows with Gangrel, Adam Rose, Shane Douglas, Tito Santana and others….
3 years and 151 podcasts later, I am a semi-regular viewer of the WWE product, and as of last week, I am a subscriber to the WWE network (which you can get for just $9.99 a month if you go to www.lokiandjabroni.com/wrestling. Help a brother out!!)
But enough about me…. let’s talk about the good and the bad of the two World Championship matches at WrestleMania 34 from this past Sunday in New Orleans. First, I’ll break down the Universal Championship match between the reigning, defending, undisputed Universal champion Brock Lesnar and his opponent, the Big Dog, one Roman Reigns.
First, the good: I really thought that Brock Lesnar came off as an indestructible monster. There were not many times during this match that I seriously thought the Universal title reign was in jeopardy. Honestly, the few flurries of dominant offense shown by Reigns were not enough to sway me from my stone cold lock of Lesnar as winner *.
(* Stone cold lock is property of my second podcast, the C&J Speedway review, a NASCAR podcast, which is only available on our YouTube channel…please check us out!)
Reigns, to be honest, did look strong. His offense was believable, his attacks were crisp, and he showed a fire I don’t recall seeing from Roman in three years of watching the show again.
The bad points are simple: Too many finishes. FIVE F5’s?? 4 Superman Punches?? Remember when I was a kid (no, you don’t) when a wrestler hit his finish it was OVER?!?!?! Now, you have to hit 6 freakin’ finishes to kill off your opponent! Reigns SHOULD have been finished after ONE F5, not five! That said, Lesnar should have been tattooed after ONE Superman punch!
Hate to tell you young bucks, but a finisher means the match is FINISHED!!!!
By allowing the two combatants to throw 11 finishes, the WWE succeeded in diluting the strength of both Reigns and Lesnar. And in the end, that can only diminish both men…. Unless they pull a proverbial rabbit out of their hat and find a way to make Brock or Roman superhuman again. See also: Hulk Hogan.
Now, onto the exciting match between challenger Shinsuke Nakamura and WWE Champion AJ Styles.
I’ll start with the bad: I, in my infinite wisdom, expected WWE to allow AJ and Nakamura to employ the same fast paced, true strong style that their Wrestle Kingdom 10 match had just a few years ago. Knowing what these two fantastic wrestlers are capable of versus what we got Sunday night wasn’t exactly a disappointment, but it was a small let down.
AJ and Nakamura could have had the chains removed from the stereotypical WWE formula match, and been told to just go out there and kill it. Tear the house down. Show the world why you’re here!
That didn’t happen.
The good side is that we were treated to the second best match on the show. A classic match that will stand the test of time. The sharp moves, the flawless reversals, the amazing near falls that had the crowd in New Orleans, as well as the folks at home, on the edge of their seats!
Nakamura looked hungry in the match, as if his entire life was on the line.
AJ looked angry, as if defending and retaining said title was paramount to life and death.
What made this match my second favorite of the night was that it featured two amazing performers, two of my favorites, and two entertainers that, together or separate, are the cream of the crop.
The finish came out of nowhere, which in itself was exciting. Catching Nakamura and converting and executing the Styles Clash was not what any of us were expecting!
And the eventual heel turn after the match just added further drama going forward!
AJ vs Nakamura certainly has more legs in the coming months over Brock vs Roman. On one hand you have two superb, fluid, amazing, innovative performers who aren’t afraid to take risks.
On the other side, you have Brock and Roman.
Thanks for letting me vent. I’ll pop in again if the Exhalted Ruler and Editor allows it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Bernes is a former columnist for Wrestling-Online Newsletter, and current co-host of two podcasts, “The Loki and Jabroni Show” and “C&J’s Speedway Review”. He lives in Norwich CT with his Eternal Flame and their crazy kids.