The Spotlight On The WWE Network- SummerSlam: Phenom vs. Beast

With just 13 days until their epic rematch at WWE Summerslam, the WWE Network ran a special last night focusing on the history between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker.  The special, which aired right after Monday Night Raw, featured comments from different WWE superstars and legends about their opinions regarding both the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar and their rematch at Summerslam. Let’s get right into some of the highlights from the piece.

Highlights

1) It Was The Day The Music Died–  The 23 minute long, documentary style piece did a good job of starting with a brief overview of the Undertaker’s undefeated streak from Wrestlemania and how much it meant to the show.  Everyone from Edge to the Big Show to Shawn Michaels (all former opponents of the Undertaker at Wrestlemania) were interviewed on the piece and did a great job in explaining that while you would see titles change hands at Wrestlemania, you would never see the streak broken.  I always enjoy the packages focusing on the Undertaker’s past opponents from the different Wrestlemanias if for no other reason, then to see the difference in the Undertaker and how that character has continued to evolve over the years.  This then transitioned nicely into a piece about what happened when Brock Lesnar broke the Undertaker’s streak.  Being their live for Wrestlemania 30, I can tell you that this moment was undoubtedly the most insane crowd reaction I’ve ever seen.  Dean Ambrose says it best here by saying that in one moment an entire stadium full of people’s jaws dropped in unison. They then show the Undertaker walking off at Wrestlemania 30 as they played an eery rendition of his theme song played on the piano, as everyone wondered if it was the last time we would be seeing the Undertaker.  The crowd shots are really what will make that moment live in infamy (here’s to you incredibly shocked bulging eyes guy)

2) Suplex, Repeat-  From here, the piece did a really nice job of going over Brock Lesnar’s reign of dominance in WWE over the last 18 months following Wrestlemania 30.  Everything from Brock’s win over John Cena at Sumerslam last year to the birth of Suplex City at this past year’s Wrestlemania is covered in depth.  I think the Big Show said it best here when he said “At first you didn’t want to see the streak end but as time went on you thought, well if there was ever going to be anyone to do it, Brock Lesnar would be the guy to do it”.  I also really liked that they had interviews with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, guys who’ve face Lesnar over this span and who gave first hand accounts of what it was like to compete against Brock Lesnar.

3) The Rematch- In the end, the piece leads up to the big return for the Undertaker at Battleground and the brawl between the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar the next night on Raw.  They then turn to a few different superstars to get their thoughts on what this rematch at Summerslam means to both Brock and The Undertaker.  Triple H points out how much this match means to the Undertaker because he has to protect his  legacy, while Paul Heyman explains that this will be the final match for the Undertaker and that Brock Lesnar will finish him for good at Summerslam.  This was a really good idea because it gave the rematch between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker that big match feel that it so truly deserves.  After all if all of these superstars and legends are returning to discuss a match of this magnitude, you should believe it’s a match worth going out of your way to see.

Closing Thoughts

In the end, I thought this piece did a great job in building up the main event of Summerslam.  There isn’t any reason with the WWE Network that they couldn’t put together a special like this for each of their big show main events.  It reminded me, to a certain extent, of the UFC packages they put together to promote a big fight.  I liked that rather than having the two men in the match talk about it, you had their peers discussing the match instead.  Tome part of the appeal of both the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar is their mystique and that you don’t see them as much.  Overall, this was a really strong network specialthat everyone should take the mere 20 minutes to go out of your way to check out.

That’s going to do it for me but I also have a review up of last night’s big Raw from Washington, as well as a piece I did on Slipknot’s Summer’s Last Stand Tour from last week, here in New York.  Check out both of those pieces and let me know what you think. Thanks, as always, for all of your support.

All photos courtesy of the WWE Network

The Spotlight On Slipknot’s Summer’s Last Stand Tour 8/1/2015

This past Saturday night, I was able to head down to Jones Beach to check out Slipknot’s Summer’s Last Stand Tour at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre in Wantagh, New York.  I’ve always loved going to check out shows at Jones Beach, as being a New Yorker, nothing quite says the summer quite like a like seeing a show right on the beach.  I also really appreciate that Jones Beach has done a good amount to improve over the years.  For one, the sound quality is way better now than it’s ever been.  Secondly, in recent years, Jones Beach cleared out the entire front section of seats in favor of adding a standing room only, mosh pit.  Then lastly, Jones Beach continues to partner with different local eateries in an effort to expand the food options for concertgoers.  This is great as in the past, the food as Jones Beach had been quite pedestrian.  I know people will continue to complain about Jones Beach still not serving alcohol, but they do allow for a ton of tailgating while not charging for parking.  I’m sure by not offering alcohol, the amount of drunks on the road getting out of the show is diminished, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  As for the tour itself, it was a really stacked show from top to bottom as Slipknot went out of their way to handpick bands to make this tour one of the heaviest of the summer, this included fellow heavy metal kings Lamb Of God, Bullet For My Valentine and, newcomers, Motionless In White.  Let’s get into my thoughts on the show as it went on.


Motionless In White- It’s interesting to note that despite Motionless In White coming on pretty early in day, 6:00PM, the place was relatively packed for them.  Motionless in white continues to try and differentiate themselves by having their keyboardist dressed as a nun and there guitarist dressed like, as my girlfriend put it, Edward Scissors esque, they reminded me of Mudvayne a bit.  Their seven song set consisted of a setlist including their two biggest hits Unstoppable (From NXT fame) and Reincarnate, which really got the whole crowd into it.  A couple of my other favorite tracks included Abigail and Generation Lost.  Motionless in White seemed literally touched to be apart of the show and when their half hour set was finished, it had me wanting to go see them in a headlining gig, which is the point of an opener, at least to me.

  Bullet For My Valentine- Wow these guys had a pretty big following as there were even more people in the theater by the time that they came out.  We had our seats located four rows behind the mosh pit and the pit for these guys had me wishing I was 17 again so I could be right back in there getting it going.  Bullet for my valentine did a seven song set as well which included my personal favorite song of theirs, Tears Don’t Fall as well as other popular tunes as Scream, Aim, Fire and Waking The Demon.  These guys have a lot of energy and I’d suggest that if you’re a fan of heavy metal, going out of your way to see them.  Had no idea they were from the UK, by the way.
 Lamb Of God-   I won’t lie to you, i wasn’t the most excited for Lab Of God, in fact if Lamb Of God went on first there would have been a good chance that I didn’t show up until the second act.  I have seen Lamb Of God a few times in the past and while I thought their famous “Wall Of Death” mosh pit to be a sight to be seen, i wasn’t really into them.  I remember a time I saw Lamb Of God at Free Ozzfest, where my friend and I were standing towards the outskirts of the  mosh pit and my buddy was literally picked up and launched on the ground for no real reason, just uncalled for.  That said, Lamb of God kicked ass on Saturday night.  I don’t know if there was an energy to their set that I didn’t fully appreciate the first few times I saw Lamb Of God or if it was the fact that many of the people in the crowd were really into them but they were just great.  As I always say, wrestling finds a way to follow me around wherever I go, well between songs lead singer Randy Blythe (who’s a big wrestling fan as he talked about on a recent episode of Talk Is Jericho) asked the crowd to “Give Him A Ric Flair” as the crowd followed with a huge “Whooooooooo!!!!!!”.  A very cool moment and speaking of cool, if you’ve never seen a mosh pit at a lamb of god gig, as I said earlier, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  I was sitting four rows right behind the mosh pit and I think I watched as much of the mosh pit as I did the show, it was just great.

Slipknot- This was my third time seeing Slipknot and they did not disappoint whatsoever.  Seeing slipknot live, in my opinion, is like seeing 9 different concerts going on at the same time and the result is one mega show that is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.  Every member of that band is going 100 miles an hour and give it their all every time out.  I particularly enjoyed how by the time Slipknot came out to do their set it was darker outside so that Jones Beach was able to turn on the screens.  The screens at Jones Beach are great because they allowed for each member of the band to be focused on while on the big screen.  Slipknot performed a 17 song set which clocked in at just over 90 minutes and included a three song encore of (sic), People= Shit and, of course, Surfacing.  If you’ve never seen Slipknot live, I also love the way that they do Spit It Out, as they stop and demand that every person in the arena get down real low right before the final chorus.  Then as the final chorus kicks in they have the whole stadium jump in unison.  From the top of the rafters to the bottom of the mosh pit, Jones Beach was rocking.
 Overall, this was a really good heavy metal show and a lot of fun at an outdoor venue.  Slipknot’s Summer’s Last Stand Tour continues across the US until September 5th so what are you waiting for?  Get your tickets now!  \m/

The Spotlight On Raw for 8/10/2015

Monday Night Raw emanated live from Everett, Washington last night and I found the show to be quite enjoyable.  WWE is steadfast on the road to Summerslam and we found out a few more of the matches for the “Biggest Event Of The Summer”.  Let’s get right into some of the highlights on the show.

Highlights:

The MVP Of The Night: Goes to Randy Orton!  Orton not only competed in two different matches for over 30 minutes of the night but he was on absolute fire having the top two matches of the night.  The guy is just so fluid in the ring and I don’t think it’s possible for him to have a bad match.  Orton first competed in a number one contender triple threat match against both Cesaro and Kevin Owens.  The three men pulled out all the stops until Orton pulled out the win laying out both men with an RKO in about 18 minutes.  This led to Orton getting a title match later in the evening against Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship and those two had another great match.  Orton and Rollins have undeniable in ring chemistry and go so fast in the ring, they may very well be the two best in ring performers in WWE today.  There were so many near falls that I started to think that Orton was going to win the championship, especially after the impressive RKO out of nowhere.  Sheamus costing Orton the championship win did a good job of presenting Sheamus as a despicable heel.  That said, I then actually thought Sheamus was going to cash in and win the championship in his own right.  A great non finish there and this continues the program between Orton and Sheamus heading into Summerslam.  That said, with Orton and Sheamus both having the champion beat, you could theoretically have a believable three way in the works if John Cena can’t go at Summerslam.  I expect Cena to be there, after all he is Big Match John, but it’s good to know there’s a believable back up match if he can’t go.  Of course, if Cena can go, then there’s a great match in place for Orton and Sheamus with a ton of momentum behind them after last night.  All around good stuff overall.

Miz TV- I absolutely loved the Miz TV segment last night in so many ways.  Between his work on tough enough and his work in the ring, really since the Mizdow stuff, the miz has been on quite a roll.  To me, he is getting closer to the level he was at in 2011, when he was in the main event of WrestleMania, then he’s been in quite some time.  As for this particular segment, it was, first off, great to see Daniel Bryan get a chance to shine in front of his hometown crowd and good to see Bryan back on Raw in general.   It’s amazing that, this day in age with books being so much less popular, that Bryan’s book is a New York Times bestseller and it’s good to see him getting the attention he deserves for this feat.  I also felt Bryan did a good job in not backing down from the Miz but using what the Miz was doing, in putting him down, to focus that onto Miz’s current opponents for Summerslam.  Lastly, Ryback’s return came off very well as he looked about ready to kill the Miz.  After this segment, i not only wanted to see Daniel Bryan return to get revenge on the Miz for his remarks but also can’t wait to see the triple threat match at Summerslam for the intercontinental championship between the Miz, Ryback and The Big Show.

Celebrities Done Right- The third highlight this week, and it was tough as there was a lot I liked about this show, goes out to Stephen Amell.  It’s a strange comparison but to me this reminded me of the way Lawrence Taylor was used prior to Wrestlemania 11 in that Amell was referenced a few times throughout the night as being a guest until being baited by a Stardust pie shove.  In the end, I like that Amell knows getting into a WWE ring is going to be very tough but feels like he has no choice because he has to defend himself.  Triple H was great in also looking at Amell like he had a death wish and demanding lawyers give him signed documents before agreeing to let Amell compete at Summerslam.  There was also added intrigue by Triple H announcing Amell as Arrow, getting you to think Amell may appear at Summerslam in character.  In the end, my favorite part of this is that WWE is using Amell’s appearance to help give a bit of spotlight (pun intended) to King Barrett, Stardust and Neville.

Closing Thoughts

It’s not easy to have three hours go by so fast that you’re left wanting more but, for me, Raw did that this week.  Aside from the highlights mentioned, I also really enjoyed the New Day segments, those guys continue to get the most of their new roles and they’ve been a joy to watch.  The same thing can be said for the Divas who looked great again this week and had the crowd hooked their entire time out there.  Lastly, I also liked that Undertaker and Brock Lesnar were both not on the show this week.  Thier brawl was so good coming out of Battleground that it makes sense to hold both of them away from one another until their big showdown for the final Raw before Summerslam next week.

That’s going to do it for me this week but coming up later today I’ll have coverage of the Undertaker, Brock Lesnar special that aired on the WWE Network right after Raw last night.  Until then, what were your thoughts on Raw?  Did you are agree with my highlights of the show?  Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to hit the subscribe button so you can get continued coverage of all of the reviews right here at thedailyspotlight.com

The Spotlight On The Week ahead for WWE 8/10-8/16

Hello everyone I hope everybody had a good week last week, as the summer continues to fly right by here in New York City and I know has officially ended in other parts of the United States, as public schools have reopened.  For my fellow New Yorkers, let’s enjoy some of this hot weather while we can because, before we know it, there will be 2 feet of snow on the ground again.  Now that I’ve bummed everyone out, as the summer continues to count down for some of us, things continue to heat up in WWE.  We are now just 13 days away from the “Wrestlemania of the Summer” as the road continues to Summerslam.  Let’s get right into some of the things you can look forward to this upcoming week in WWE.

Highlights

1) The Arrow Has Landed…and He May Have Company-  Ever since Raw emanated live from the Nassau Coliseum (A show I was at live and covered here on the site on Memorial Day) when actor Stephen Amell sat front row for the show, the tension has been building between the actor and Stardust.  This all comes to a head tonight as the actor will return to Raw, live from Everett, Washington this evening.  Whether the actor has agreed to a match at Summerslam remains to be seen, but I’d say it is likely that Amell will be at the event in some capacity.  Rumors are running rampant that Amell will don the role of Arrow for a “Superhero” type showdown with Stardust at the biggest event of the summer.  I think it would personally be a lot of fun but I believe that if Amell hasn’t signed on for a match, he’ll at the least be in the corner of Neville (who’s also been involved in this story line) at Summerslam.

Actor Stephen Amell, may not be the only person returning to WWE tonight as last night at a WWE live event in Vancouver, BC, Dolph Ziggler made a surprise appearance attacking Rusev.  While pwinsider.com is reporting that Ziggler’s return will be held off until next week, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Dolph make that return tonight to build towards his inevitable match with Rusev at Summerslam.  Another superstar on the mend is the intercontinental champion, Ryback.  We touched on Ryback’s staph infection last week on this very column and it does appear that Ryback is going to also be returning in time for Summerslam so he can continue his program with the Miz and The Big Show.  Whether, he returns to Raw tonight, remains to be seen.  Of course, will all do respect to Dolph Ziggler and Ryback, the biggest name of superstars on the way back from injury is John Cena.  Cena has not been seen on WWE television since his broken nose two weeks ago.  It’ll be interesting to see if he shows up tonight to accept Seth Rollins’ title vs. title match at Summerslam.  I for one would like to see Cena held out until Summerslam to add to the mystique of what he will look like and whether he’ll even be there, but I realize that isn’t very likely.

2) A Big Night Following Raw- While both the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar aren’t advertised for Raw tonight, there will be a special presentation profiling the big Summerslam match between the two immediately following Monday Night Raw on the WWE Network.  The special, entitled “Undertaker Vs. Lesnar: One On One” is being promoted as a preview of the main event match with thoughts and predictions from the other WWE Superstars.  I can’t remember the last time that WWE has done this but I’m excited for it, the special gives this match a big event feel and also ties in the WWE Network with the Summerslam promotion.  If WWE were smart they’d promote this special and try to get some network subscriptions out of this promotion.

Also, on the WWE Network tonight is a first look at the new Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 3 Blu Ray set which will be released tomorrow.  I also appreciate these first looks and, I know in the case of Daniel Bryan, the first look got me to go out and purchase the blu ray the next day so they’re a smart idea in that sense too.  DDP is back hosting the set and I think he did a great job on the first two editions.

3) The Build For NXT Takeover: Brooklyn Continues-  WWE Summerslam isn’t the only show emanating out of the Barclays center the weekend of 8/23.  The night before Summerslam, NXT Takeover:Brooklyn will be live on the WWE Network on August 22nd (and is actually sold out which is very impressive for the NXT brand).  Well, this Wednesday the build for Takeover continues when Becky Lynch goes one on one with Bayley to determine the number one contender for Sasha Banks’ NXT Women’s championship at Takeover.  The women’s championship match will no doubt be the second biggest match on the Takeover card behind only the ladder match for the NXT World Title between Kevin Ownes and Finn Balor, so this is a match you want to go out of your way to see,  Will Bayley continue her recent winning streak towards getting a womens title match? or Will Becky Lynch get a rematch against Sasha Banks from their epic match at the last NXT: Takeover event?  The only way to find out would be to tune into NXT this Wednesday night on the WWE Network at 8:00 Pm EST.

Closing Thoughts

On top of all of this, John Cena will be appearing on WWE Tough Enough tomorrow night, as the show has reached it’s final six.  Whether he is able to return to Monday Night Raw tonight remains to be seen, but if not than Tough Enough would be John’s first appearance since breaking his nose in a match with Seth Rollins two weeks ago.  Lastly, tomorrow night on Total Divas it appears that Daniel Bryan’s health will be a big focus of the show.  Up until this point, the details behind Bryan’s injury have been kept pretty close to the vest so I wonder if this is because WWE is saving Bryan’s health update for Total Divas.  Regardless it promises to be a big week for WWE before the mega week and chaos that will commence next week.  Until then, be sure to keep yourself tuned it with all of the great coverage we have for you right here on thedailyspotlight.com.

The Spotlight On Table For 3 Featuring Roddy Piper On The WWE NetWork Tonight

Hello everyone, big news coming from the wrestlingdvdnetwork.com today, that the schedule on the WWE Network has been changed tonight and with that change tonight comes the first piece of “Rowdy” Roddy Piper themed programming on the network.  We mentioned during our look at the week ahead for WWE feature on Monday that it was only a matter of time that WWE would be putting up some Piper tribute type material on the Network, the likes of which they did for the Ultimate Warrior and Dusty Rhodes.

Well tonight on the WWE Network, immediate following Smackdown at 10pm, WWE will be airing the first episode of a new series entitled “Table For 3”.  During last week’s second quarter conference call, WWE announced that they would be debuting some new types of programming throughout the rest of this year.  One of those new shows is the new “Table For 3”.  “Table For 3” is being promoted as “a new series that gives viewers a seat at the table with our superstars and divas”.  It sounds to me like a less formal version of the old “Legends Of Wrestling” round table discussions.  Well tonight’s debut episode is going to feature a discussion between WWE Hall Of Famers “Mean” Gene Okerlund, “Mr wonderful” Paul Orndoff, and the late, great “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.  I have no idea when this was filmed but this is an absolute must watch as it could very be the last piece of WWE orginal programming featuring Hot Rod.  The discussion is being billed as a discussion about the three men’s careers as well as their favorite pranks of all time.

We will have coverage and thoughts on the show tomorrow morning here on thedailyspotlight.com