PWTorch Livecast HIAC PPV Post-Game Show
Hosts: James Caldwell & Greg Parks
Airdate: Sunday, October 25
Report by Mark Golden (@RealMarkGolden)
19:52: Making a Splash With an Established Star vs. Making a Statement With a New Star.
34:34: Blood in HIAC, NXT, Kane.
45:16: Roman vs. Bray.
52:15: John Cena.
1:00:40: Team Wyatt vs. Team Undertaker.
1:11:38: 25 Years of The Undertaker at Survivor Series.
1:40:09: Who is Rollins’s Next Challenger?
1:44:50: Cena Taking Time Off, Del Rio Coming Back, Undertaker Stinking Around.
James opened the show by reminding us to go to PWTorch.com for all the coverage of Hell in a Cell. He introduced Greg, and they both gave the PPV a mild thumbs up, with the lower to mid card being comprised of your average mid-card match. Greg talked about how the Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar main event featured enough fresh ingredients to bring up the overall quality of the show a notch or two more. They discussed how it was a bit hard for WWE to properly promote the main event given the participants’s availability. James talked about how the ending was a bit sloppy, with the heel to face transition. They discussed what’s next for the Wyatts and Undertaker, and Greg said there was rumor of Strowman vs. Undertaker at WM, but that Taker has graduated from being the guy to put monsters over. They talked about how there could be some sort of showdown at Survivor Series, as it marks Undertaker’s 25 years in the company.
They discussed why no one saved The Undertaker from the Wyatts’s beat down. James said the plotholes in this were more obvious than usual. Greg said the announcers could have at least mentioned or explained why no one came to the rescue. This is another detail attributed to WWE overlooking basic booking, making the whole babyface locker room look like terrible people for not helping out. They discussed the surprise return of Alberto Del Rio (with Zeb Colter), and Alberto defeating John Cena in the U.S. Open Challenge to become the new champion. Greg said this will certainly get people talking, especially considering the controversial nature of his departure over a year ago. He seems fresh again being in the mix among new wrestlers, a lot of whom he hasn’t worked with before. They both expressed concern that he will be same ol’ Alberto after the newness has worn off. James said the U.S. Title probably won’t be defended every week, which is a shame as it was a highlight of Raw most weeks. James said it will be interesting to see what happens, especially now that he’s aligned with Zeb Colter, which is as interesting as it is strange.
19:52: First caller (James, from Columbus) talked about how the surprise of Alberto Del Rio was more a sign of WWE’s unwillingness to build on new stars who haven’t really had their star-making moment of beating Cena, whereas Del Rio has already been to the mountaintop. The caller also said that if the plan to bring him back was to grow their Hispanic fanbase, pairing him with Colter is counterproductive, as the Zeb Colter character is a prejudiced xenophobe. The caller also said the tag team division is very stale. He said aside from the main event, this show was boring.
James said this fan sentiment probably comes from the rise of the NXT brand, and the quality and pacing of their show, with a roster of wrestlers that are captivating, compared to Raw, which is trite and monotonous, more often than not, and the general feeling among many fans is: “Why can’t this translate over to the ‘main roster?'” Greg countered with the apples and oranges argument. The wrestlers that are over in NXT probably wouldn’t see the same success in WWE, as their character might not convert on the Raw roster (See also: The Ascension). They went to discussing the tag team division, and the hosts agreed that the tag team matches have always been very formula, without much variance, save for the Shield vs. Wyatts series that always produced great matches. Greg said that the depth of the once strong tag team division has been curtailed to the point that the only program in it is the Tag Title match. James said WWE creative can’t balance more than two or three tag teams at once, and therefore they feel the audience mustn’t be able to either. But, he believes the opposite is true. Greg said Vince has no interest in tag team wrestling and hasn’t in a while.
34:34: Next caller (Craig…from Chicago) talked about how the blood in the main event really enhanced the match, and that’s something that’s missing in wrestling today. He said the PPV sucked, otherwise. He went on to say that while NXT is a nice little niche, it won’t save the wrestling business. James said what it’s doing is keeping a lot of pro wrestling fans from giving up completely, and it might even be saving the WWE Network, as the subscription numbers have increased as NXT has caught on. James, Greg, and the caller talked about the WWE Title match of Seth Rollins vs. Kane being one of the worst in recent history from promotion to execution. Greg said the Corporate Kane character has gone beyond stationary, and this was a way to end it once and for all. The Demon Kane should now just be called Kane, as now there will be no need to discern between the two.
James said, while they knew going in that this match was a placeholder, it’s still remarkable how low on the food chain the WWE World Title match was, in terms of significance. It was clear that there were a number of programs that came to an end at HIAC. They discussed what’s next for Seth Rollins, and if he’s destined for more than just being another Randy Orton-esque lapdog for The Authority. James questioned whether there’s any hope for Seth being seen as a credible champion. Greg said Seth was at his best several months ago, when he didn’t have The Authority around. He said there’s no strong desire to see Seth get beat since he has been defeated a number of times on television. WWE is now forced to put him in unconventional scenarios, in an effort to do something different with Rollins, since seeing him pinned has been done time and again.
45:16: Next caller (Derrell…from Georgia) commented on the two Hell in a Cell matches, more specifically, Bray Wyatt once again losing a high-profile match, and questioning what the match did for Roman Reigns. James said Roman got the crowd behind him with some Kendo Stick and Table spots, but overall it was hard to figure out the next move, and the Wyatts kidnapping of Undertaker must have a long range plan. Greg said poor booking in WWE leads to nothing making sense, as more 50/50 booking dictates that someone can lose one night and be in a big match the next, with zero consequence. James said this hurts the audience’s ability to anticipate, as no one is a clear threat to anyone. Everyone stays the same.
52:15: The next caller, the Sarge, started by singing his pleasure of John Cena losing the United States Title to the tune of Cena’s theme song. James laughed and asked the caller if Del Rio is now his favorite. He said ABC = Anyone But Cena, even though he recognizes that Cena will return after Christmas and regain the title. He said overall it was more like a Super Raw, than a big PPV event. The hosts agreed it was something to watch on a Sunday night. James remarked that, while people don’t like John Cena, his loss will be felt. He asked Greg who will be the centerpiece in the coming weeks in Cena’s absence. Greg said Cena hasn’t really been the focus where they will have to even give it a second thought. James and Greg talked about WWE putting Del Rio with Zeb Colter makes Del Rio a heel by association.
1:00:40: Next caller talked about Undertaker, Kane, and Sting as a potential team against the Wyatts at Survivor Series. He also talked about the current WWE product being similar to the last year or so of WCW. James said the similarities between the two begin and end with the three-hour format, with few exceptions (creatively) but WWE still has a solid foundation, business-wise. Greg said he disagrees with the caller, because WWE PPVs today might be a mess storyline-wise, but the in ring work is night and day compared to WCW’s final year. They discussed the Wyatts vs. Taker, Kane, Sting, etc. Greg said he is all for the idea, one reason being Undertaker’s 25th year with WWE. The Wyatts team is already complete. Kane must be moving on from The Authority, but said Sting might not be able to work, but in an eight-man or six-man tag, he and Taker could do their spots without having to carry the bulk of the match. Plus, Sting and Taker would be in the ring together without having the one-on-one match people want to see. The hosts batted about several scenarios for Survivor Series.
1:11:38: Next caller (Mike…from Brooklyn) asked for James and Greg’s opinion on the 25th anniversary of the Undertaker. He also asked for thoughts on Owens vs. Ryback, which he thought was terrible. James agreed the match was flat, and it felt shortened, like a Raw match. Greg said the same could be said about the Tag Title match and the Divas Title match, which is a side effect of a weekly three-hour program. James said he associates Nikki Bella with the bad era of the Divas division. Greg said Nikki and her sister have worked hard to overcome that stigma, and they are all still trying to work out the kinks, via lengthier, more competitive matches. James said that NXT is consistently setting the standard, and raising the bar. He said the environment in WWE is such that for people who watch both can see major differences, and while agents, producers, etc. know what they’re doing, but the buck stops with Vince, good, bad, or otherwise. Greg said he would like to see them take NXT off the Network and put it on USA, to show everyone that it won’t necessarily translate as well to the masses. James said he and other fans want it to be successful and create overall companywide change, but the roadblocks are many.
1:31:24: The next caller said the return of Del Rio was a nice surprise, but the match felt anti-climactic. James agreed, especially how Cena has kicked out of every finisher during his title defense, but suddenly Del Rio’s kick ended his run. He thought it was uneventful and could have meant more. The caller said the Dudleys vs. New Day match was also of poor quality, and asked if they will ultimately win the tag team titles at TLC in December. James said if they had a few other teams in the mix, they could stretch it out a bit, but with another loss to New Day, it doesn’t look promising for the Dudleys.
1:36:18: The next caller talked about how uneventful a number of the matches were at HIAC. He mentioned how Cena’s loss to Del Rio was sudden, and felt anti-climatic. He also remarked how Ryback vs. Owens was sort of bland. He also said the Reigns vs. Wyatt HIAC match was not very good because it felt like they were trying too hard to be “extreme.” James said he liked that match, but agreed with him about the Cena pinfall loss coming from out of left field.
1:40:09: The next caller said he hopes they don’t put Kevin Owens with Ryback anymore, because it was a very bad match. He also liked the idea of Team Undertaker vs. Wyatts at Survivor Series, but questioned whether Sting will be physically able to compete. He asked what’s next for Rollins. James said it might be time for WWE to go back to the old drawing board with Roman Reigns, but isn’t sure if the time is right, because it’s hard to see Reigns as champion. James questioned aloud who is the next babyface to work with Rollins, and at the moment, the only candidate might very well be Reigns.
1:44:50: The next caller asked about Del Rio coming back, considering the reason he left, and asked if Cena taking time off has anything to do with football competition. He also asked if Undertaker could keep this schedule for another five years, or if 2016 will be his retirement year. James said the end of the Taker vs. Brock match – with Taker’s farewell salute to the crowd being interrupted by the Wyatts – made it seem like there was certainly more to come with the Undertaker, even though he should have his retirement match at WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, Texas. James said Cena decided to take time off. This was not really WWE’s idea, but the timing could have something to do with it. James said Del Rio did feel he was wronged when he was cut last year, and his reaction striking a backstage employee was wrong. A year has passed, and he worked ROH, Lucha Underground, etc., and maybe got tired of that. They obviously made amends, cooler heads prevailed, and he is making a bigger paycheck again. No details are known at this time, but both sides stand to benefit.