Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Friday, April 28, 2017

Reigns vs. Braun: A Match History, Part II

5. Braun Strowman/Bray Wyatt/Erick Rowan vs. Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins (Raw 10/19/15)

ER: If I had to choose one word to describe this match, I would choose "sluggish". It was 10 minutes, but really draggggged. This continues the trend of Braun hardly getting involved in matches, as he did nothing in the match for the first 8 minutes, and by the end did no actual moves. He pulled Roman down off the apron, threw Ambrose to the floor, then got Roman into a choke. I really liked how he looked before this, so I'm unsure why they suddenly had him stop working. This was mostly Ambrose working Bray, playing FIP, leading to Rollins leaving with a fake knee injury. Dean was on fire the first minute of this, but just a few minutes in was already airmailing punches a foot past Rowan's head. When Bray locking on a grounded side headlock is the most interesting part of the match, you just move on with your life, admitting to yourself and your family that you chose the dumbest fucking hobby.

6. Braun Strowman/Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose (WWE House Show 10/31/15)

ER: Really fun No DQ house show match. There's tons of loud kids in attendance which makes house shows the best (really the only life situation that loud excitable kids add to my enjoyment of something), just tons of kids screaming for Reigns and yelling at Wyatt. At one point Ambrose gets put through a table and then gets caught with sister Abigail off the rebound lariat. Reigns leaps in from the floor to save him at the last second, and one kid - not trying to start any kind of chant - just screams out "THIS IS AWESOME!!!" And it was pretty awesome. Braun worked slow methodical monster in this one, with some nice moments like standing on Ambrose's knee and ankle while soaking in the boos, then stomping on it. Bray introduced chairs and a kendo stick, all of which got used by everyone. Roman had a bunch of fun superman punches including a great one saving Dean from another sister Abigail. The whole match built to Braun getting speared through a table, which feels like a big spot on a house show. But this whole thing was fun, definitely sent people home happy.

7. 16 Man Elimination Tag: Braun/Wyatt/Harper/Rowan vs. Reigns/Ambrose/Usos vs. Rhyno/Dudleys/Dreamer vs. Sheamus/Rusev/Barrett/Del Rio (Raw 12/7/15)

ER: What kind of a weird mess of a match is this!? Tommy Dreamer was in WWE a year ago? They were actually collectively called Team ECW?! This is such a weird match. It was the opening segment on Raw, and starting Raw with a match is weird enough, but starting it with some sort of 1997 Gang Warz elimination match is even weirder. And then The Wyatts are the first team eliminated when Dreamer pins Rowan with a DDT. But this thing is a total cluster, a kind of fun cluster, but a total cluster. A member for each team is in the ring at all times, so there's bodies just constantly getting in the way of each other. Del Rio is oddly spirited in this, stiffing up Team ECW with these cool low yakuza kicks (like a yakuza kick, but thrown to a seated opponent) and taking a couple big bumps. Rusev sells way too much for everybody, the Dudleys do a bunch of old bad spots (I like when Bubba is unprofessionally stiffing people, not so much his "working a minor league baseball stadium" style), Usos work stiff as well with some nasty uppercuts, Reigns has a fun/silly segment where he does a superman punch to three different guys on the apron. Not all at once, but Wade Barrett would get on the apron, and get punched, then ADR would climb up on a different side of the ring, and get punched, and so on and so on. This match had over half a Royal Rumble worth of dudes, and it happened, because.

8. Braun/Wyatt/Harper/Rowan/Sheamus/Rusev/Barrett/Del Rio vs. Reigns/Ambrose/Ryback/Usos/Dudleys/Kane (Tribute to the Troops 12/8/15)

ER: A much, much, much better version of the 16 man match from the day before. We drop the elimination stip, make it 8 on 8, Kane and Ryback replace Dreamer and Rhyno, and everybody works pointlessly stiff for the least watched WWE TV special of the year. This isn't really a Roman/Braun show, as they only have one moment together (Roman superman punching him while he gets Kane in his standing side triangle) but it's a hot 10 minutes. Harper was a standout here, throwing beastly palm strikes and ambushing Ambrose with a great superkick, Kane throws his nice uppercuts and gets out of the way, Ryback is dressed like the most gassed Bushwhacker, I don't remember any moment where any League of Nation member is in the ring, and out of everybody that could have taken the pin, Luke Harper takes it. Also, the Dudleys are still around, and take up time in 2015 doing the Wazzup drop, and it occurs to me that at this point there are thousands of fans who have never see any of the Wazzup commercials, and only know this as a thing that the Dudleys do. The reference is so old, it has now become their own. It would be like a team in 2000 doing a Where's the Beef double team flapjack, with a crowd of children screaming Whhhheeerrrrreee's (as the guy went up for the flapjack) THE BEEF (when he hit the mat). It would be like someone considering retiring their Austin Powers catchphrase-based offense in 2012, but then taking it out for another spin. Though I do look forward to someone doing a Borat "My wiiiiiife" bronco buster in 2022.

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