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Bleacher Report featured columnists Michael Cahill, Brandon Galvin, Mike Chiari and Donald Wood give the lowdown on all things going on in the wrestling world.
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(Some Language NSFW.)
Daniel Bryan Rejects Vince McMahon's Corporate Makeover
The WWE delivered with its promise to give Daniel Bryan a corporate makeover on Monday as he came to the ring dressed in a suit and sporting a slicked-back ponytail.
After Bryan cut a spirited promo, Vince McMahon came to the ring and began to express a change of heart regarding Bryan as a potential WWE Champion. Vince told Bryan that the only thing left to do was shave his beard, but when Wade Barrett came out to act as the barber, Bryan fought back and confirmed the fact that he is his own man.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Will the Bryan vs. McMahon Angle Play Out?
Will Vince McMahon impact the WWE Championship match at SummerSlam?
McMahon's comments on Monday were quite telling as he made it known that he doesn't want Bryan or Cena to leave SummerSlam as the WWE Champion. In fact, he told Bryan that his ideal scenario would involve Bryan and Cena spontaneously combusting in the middle of the ring.
That would seem to point toward McMahon doing everything in his power to allow Randy Orton to cash in the WWE Championship Money in the Bank contract at SummerSlam. The only issue with that, however, is that most fans are expecting that to happen.
A new wrinkle was added to the mix on Raw, though, as The Shield prevented Orton from cashing in Money in the Bank after he delivered an RKO to both Cena and Bryan. The Shield has been stuck in midcard purgatory recently, but the group stood tall over the WWE Champion and the No. 1 contender on Monday.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Several potential scenarios are in play at SummerSlam as Cena could retain, Bryan could win the title, or Orton could beat either one of them for it. From a storyline perspective, the RRR panel is in agreement that Bryan winning and Orton successfully cashing in is the way to go.
It remains to be seen precisely how it will happen, though. One idea that was discussed on the show involves The Shield, under orders from McMahon, taking out Cena and Bryan after their match. McMahon would then send Orton to the ring, who would cash in on Bryan and become the new WWE Champion.
This would serve a couple purposes: The Shield would suddenly have a defined direction with Vince pulling the strings, and Orton would essentially act as the corporate champion. This could then lead to a feud between Bryan and Orton with McMahon constantly doing his best to foil Bryan.
There has traditionally been no better way for a rising superstar to get over than to feud with McMahon, so there is no doubt that Bryan is currently on the right path.
Rumor Mill: Daniel Bryan Booked Against Fandango on September House Shows, according to PWInsider via WrestlingInc.com
John Cena Continues to Look Bad on Total Divas
Wrestling fans already have greatly differing opinions about E! reality show Total Divas after just two weeks, but the involvement of Cena and Bryan has been something worth monitoring.
Although the show focuses largely on the lives of a handful of WWE Divas, Cena and Bryan have become a huge part of it as well due to their respective relationships with The Bella Twins. The most recent episode saw Cena and Nikki host Bryan and Brie had Cena's home in Tampa, while Bryan and Brie then invited Cena and Nikki to Bryan's childhood home in Aberdeen, Wash.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is Cena's Total Divas Persona Likable?
Viewers got a slight taste of Cena's personality in the first episode of Total Divas as he and Nikki went fishing together and joked around, but things got a bit more serious when Nikki pressed him about their future.
It resulted in Cena buying her a Range Rover and essentially remaining noncommittal. While that was somewhat disconcerting, Cena managed to come off even worse in the second episode as he undermined Bryan in front of Brie.
Not surprisingly, Cena's Tampa residence was absolutely stunning. It featured the largest walk-in closet you'll ever see, a massive guest house and an indoor pool complete with a water slide carved into a huge rock formation.
Brie couldn't help but be impressed by it as Nikki pretty much rubbed it in her face. Bryan's home was far more modest, and it seemed like neither Cena nor Nikki were comfortable there. When Bryan went outside to gather some wood, Cena asked Brie if she was "OK" with living in Aberdeen in Bryan's childhood home.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The important thing to remember with this "reality" show is that while much of it is rooted in reality, many of the situations seem manufactured to a certain degree.
With that said, the WWE wouldn't go out of its way to make the face of its company look arrogant, so what we saw out of Cena was likely authentic for the most part. Cena obviously dedicates a lot of time to charity, and he has millions of fans out there, so he can't be an absolutely terrible person. But there is no doubt that Total Divas has shown a less-than-flattering side of him.
There is a slight chance that the WWE set up the entire "life swap" between Cena and Bryan on Total Divas to fuel their feud, though. Bryan compared himself to Cena on Raw by referencing the fact that Cena is a famous star, while he is just a wrestler.
Total Divas accentuated Cena's superstar persona and made him look like the bad guy. That kind of mirrors what is happening in WWE right now, as Bryan seems to have significantly more crowd support. Whatever the case, Cena hasn't come across as the perfect guy that WWE portrays him as. The Cena we see on WWE programming is one thing, but the "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan-esque "Tampa John" made his presence felt on Total Divas.
Rumor Mill: Cena's Injury Won't Affect SummerSlam Status, via WrestlingInc.com
Tito Ortiz Revealed as TNA's Aug. 1 Mystery Man
Prior to last week's episode of Impact, TNA released vignettes online about a mystery person who would be revealed on Aug. 1.
The vignettes mentioned big names like Batista and Chris Jericho, but the mystery person said that he was somebody else. When the moment of truth finally came, MMA star Tito Ortiz revealed himself. He interrupted a brawl between Aces & Eights and the Main Event Mafia, and simply stood on the ramp while folding his arms.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is Ortiz a Good Signing for TNA?
Due to the fact that TNA didn't promote the Aug. 1 mystery man for very long, it was fairly obvious that it wasn't going to be a huge star in the wrestling business, but TNA somehow managed to come through with its biggest disappointment yet.
TNA's obsession with mixed martial artists has become ridiculous, as Ortiz, "Rampage" Jackson and King Mo are all under a modified TNA contract of some sort. They are also involved with Bellator, though, and it seems like TNA is more concerned about crossing over with Bellator than creating a palatable product in its own right.
It would be one thing if TNA planned on transitioning these MMA guys into wrestling roles, but aside from a match here or there down the road, it seems like Ortiz, Jackson and King Mo are going to be used primarily in Bellator.
Signing Ortiz at all was bad enough since he's washed up and doesn't even carry much name recognition anymore, but toying with the emotions of wrestling fans was downright embarrassing. Many TNA fans got their hopes up for a great reveal, but instead they saw someone who they probably couldn't care less about.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
TNA has come up with some awful reveals in recent months, primarily involving Aces & Eights, but Ortiz takes the cake. It was anticlimactic since word of him possibly being the mystery man came to light that day, but the worst part is that it made absolutely no impact.
When Ortiz made his way to the ramp, the crowd was dead silent because it either didn't know or didn't care who it was. TNA could have put his name on the big screen at the very least in order to get the fans talking, but the company expected the fans to know who an irrelevant MMA fighter was.
Also, the commentary team did a terrible job, as Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash showed no excitement. It's tough to blame them, though, because there was admittedly nothing worth getting excited about.
Now TNA fans will be force fed an Ortiz vs. Jackson feud that won't even be resolved on TNA programming, as they are set to have a Bellator fight. TNA is trying to engage a niche audience since it realizes that it can't go head-to-head with WWE, but littering the roster with MMA fighters is the wrong way to go about it.
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Michael Cahill: 390
2. Mike Chiari: 122.5
3. Brandon Galvin: -2.5
4. Donald Wood: -15
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