Professional wrestling is as much about talking as it is about actual wrestling. We'll gladly watch men or women duke it out in the middle of a ring in venues across the globe, but we need a reason to care beyond "hey, this should be a good pro wrestling match between these pro wrestlers".
So we get promos from said wrestlers telling us exactly why we should care. Sometimes they hit (big) and sometimes they miss (badly). In this weekly feature, we'll deliver a few promos from the week that was, complete with text and video (if available) of the best and the worst.
Let's do THISSSS.
Your Time is Now
John Cena: "Very lively bunch here in Houston. Normally, I would share in your enthusiasm but last week it was revealed to myself and the world... "Plan B" is what I hoped would never happen. It's Brock Lesnar. I am a marked man by The Authority. They want the WWE world heavyweight championship off of my neck so badly that they hired a mercenary. My opponent at SummerSlam is THE Brock Lesnar. Last week is was announced and there were cheers, and Paul Heyman spoke very eloquently to all members of the WWE Universe: those who get tucked in at night, and those who don't. And there were cheers, because the WWE Universe quite frankly, maybe, wants to see Brock Lesnar beat the hell out of me.
"I am certainly not deaf and I know who my opponent is. Brock Lesnar is the most devastating force in the WWE. His destruction is seismic with the precision of a surgeon. He destroys who he wants, when he wants. Forty men have been able to say they were champion; one beast has defeated the streak. I face that beast at SummerSlam. And Paul Heyman was right; for once, he tells the truth. I am not ignorant... at SummerSlam, I will get the beating of a lifetime.
"Oh, yes. Those who are happy about it cheer it up. There is a beast in my windshield and at SummerSlam, I'm going to get my ass kicked, I know that. But I will not lay down. I will fight. I am going to SummerSlam to beat Brock Lesnar just like I did in 2012... For those who cheer, for those who boo. Because I don't think The Authority realizes and I don't think you realize what will happen to (the WWE world heavyweight championship) if Brock Lesnar becomes champion.
"Brock is a mercenary. He is a hired gun. He fights when he wants, he destroys what he wants, and I don't know who else can stop him. Nobody can control him. Not you, not The Authority, and certainly not Paul Heyman."
Paul Heyman: "Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman and at SummerSlam, my client, Brock Lesnar, will conquer John Cena and take away from him the WWE world heavyweight championship.
"I think it very courageous, Mr. Cena, for you to realize the beating that is coming your way. But I don't think you understand that those are mighty big words from a man that is about to be turned into a victim. Do you know what it's like to be victimized? I mean, you've suffered from defeat and rose to the occasion. You've taken beatings before, and you've come back and exacted revenge. But you've never, never in your life, been victimized. Know what's it like to be victimized? Ask the Undertaker. I'm sorry, you can't ask the Undertaker. No one has seen the Undertaker, no one has heard from the Undertaker. Not a phone call, not a text, not a sighting, nothing since WrestleMania.
"You, sir, are on the defensive. You want to defend your title. You want to survive against my client but my client, Brock Lesnar, is looking to conquer you, sir. That's the difference. My client is charging forward. My client is on the offensive. Because Brock Lesnar is not just going to F-5 John Cena, Brock Lesnar is not just going to pin John Cena, Brock Lesnar is going to victimize John Cena, ruthlessly, mercilessly.
"You're a man of great passion, John Cena. You love being the WWE champion. You love representing those who say 'let's go Cena', you love even representing those who say 'Cena sucks'. You love being in that ring. You love being here in WWE but the only thing that Brock Lesnar is passionate about is the sadistic pleasure he gets when he realizes he is inflicting pain on his victim. Brock Lesnar is salivating at the fact that when you wake up from the beating he's going to give you at SummerSlam, you're going to realize you're no longer the WWE world heavyweight champion. All you're going to be, John Cena, is beaten, victimized, conquered."
John Cena: "I'm sick of your crap and I want to talk to you real for one second. Something you and I can relate upon, you said the word 'passion'. The word 'passion' is something even you, Mr. Heyman, can understand. Because every once in a while off in the distance it starts and becomes larger and larger, they chant 'E-C-W'. ... And those that watched and those that fought with you have the passion that you have. Every time even you hear that, it brings a smile to your face and a beat in that cold, black heart of yours. You and I, sir, we share passion. This is it for me; this is my friggin' life. Good, bad, or indifferent, I show up to work on time. I work my ass off because I love this place, and I love what it represents, and I have passion for it, and I have passion for this. That 300-pound gorilla you tote around whenever he wants to show up as no passion for anything but himself. He is big, he is strong, he is a super athlete, but what separates me from him, Jack, is heart. And when the chips are down, he may beat the hell out of me but he's going to have to beat every last breath out of this body because I'm headed to SummerSlam as champion and I'm walking out with this son of a bitch."
This was the "A+" segment that opened Monday Night Raw this past week. Cena talks himself into his match with Brock Lesnar with a mix of fear and impassioned resolve while Heyman hammers the nail harder and harder, and harder, and harder.
Great stuff from two of the top stars in the industry to build to a match featuring a guy who wasn't even in attendance for any of this.
We the people
"Let me get this off my chest now. People used to get mad at me because I had a stance on illegal immigration. A lot of people didn't like that, most people did. But I am against anything that is bad for America. Two things that are bad for America is that Lana girl and that Rusev guy. They come in waving the flag back and forth. See we couldn't go to Russia and do that. You know why? They would kick us out. But we allow them to come in here and do that because of our 1st Amendment rights. May not agree with them but, again, I want them to be able to do that because that means everybody can do it. But this is going to have to end one way or the other. One flags gotta go up, one flags gotta go down. It's not going to be us because sooner or later, Jack and Rusev, they're going to throw it down. It's going to be winner take all. Somebody's going to get hurt and I guarantee you it's not going to be Jack. ... Never trust a Russian."
So they finally bother to explain the babyface turn but do so on a YouTube exclusive clip that most fans aren't ever going to see or even be aware of. That's amazing.
It's also amazing that Zeb Colter pushes that he wants Lana and Rusev to be able to wave their flag before saying they're going to go to war because, well, they just can't allow that.
"Why is it you keep coming back, Chris Jericho? Is it for the thrill? Is it for all these bright shining lights? Is it for the rush you get when people start chanting your name? Or perhaps, maybe, Chris Jericho, you came back because you knew that I would be right here waiting for you. Today, you are dirty, Chris Jericho, but after SummerSlam, you will be just dirt. You may not know this but she warned me about you. She told me that you would wear the mask of deception. She said that every word that would fly out of your mouth would be yet another empty promise. She said that you would ride in on your white horse and that you would shout down from the mountain tops about how you were gonna save us all. But you lied to me, Chris. You lied to us all. And now they see right through you, Chris. They only hear my words. They only see my visions and at SummerSlam, they will see their savior, Bray Wyatt, destroy the imposter that is Chris Jericho. There is no dignity left in your martyrdom, Chris; there is only your demise. At SummerSlam, you will save no one, especially yourself."
If it isn't clear by now, Bray Wyatt is really super mad that Chris Jericho ever claimed he would save us. Considering his angle, is it not at least somewhat surprising that fans aren't actually siding with him? He's not wrong here. Jericho did say he would save us in the lead up to one of his returns and that isn't at all what happened when he finally came back.
The good news is Wyatt will almost surely win this feud, giving him a much needed boost after his failure against John Cena.
So maybe Jericho is saving us after all.
"You know, it's actually funny, Michael, my husband asked me the same thing and my sister Nikki, she did too. And you know, every time I think about it, I realize, you know, it was the best decision I've ever made. I know in my heart it's right.
"I am (ready for this), Michael. You have family, right? Could you imagine watching your wife get tortured the past year? And sitting front row and not being able to do anything about it? Can you imagine one of your siblings career almost ending because of the beatings that was ordered by the owner? Could you imagine that? The last year, I've had to sit back and watch my family get tortured. I've had to sit there and do absolutely nothing because I was scared of my job until finally I had enough guts to stand up and quit because I couldn't take it anymore. And you know what? Quitting... that was wrong. I shouldn't have done that because, you know what? I realize the power that I do have is to stand up for my family, and that's the chance I'm getting now. And you know what? When Stephanie invited me to Raw, I sat back and thought 'you know what? How can I be like Stephanie McMahon? How can I beat her at her game? How can I get in her mind?' That's the game plan I had this past Monday Night Raw, and that's exactly what I did. I blackmailed Stephanie McMahon to have a match against me at SummerSlam.
"Actually, I haven't even thought about that. You know what, Michael? I don't mind what happens the night after SummerSlam. Because the rest of my life, if I beat Stephanie McMahon I get to reflect on that. And the greatest thing for me is if she fires me, or tries to end my career, or she starts torturing me and putting me in handicap matches, all I'll keep remembering and smiling about is that Stephanie McMahon will always look at SummerSlam as a time that she was humiliated, embarrassed, beaten by Brie Bella."
Maybe it's just me but it feels like Brie is so close to being really good at this but her delivery is so laughably bad it damn near kills the entire story she's trying to tell.
I'm no movie buff but how many examples exist of great movies overcoming bad acting? Does such a thing even exist? Has there ever been a movie that was widely applauded as truly special that featured terrible acting?
That's what this is.
New York, New York
"Well hello, New York, huh? Hello. Oh, I'm so sorry. Every time you people think you get the game figured out, I go and change the rules on ya. Huh? What's happened to your hometown boys, huh? Bully Ray, Devon -- what's that other one's name? -- Tommy Dreamer; they have all been beaten down. Okay, honestly, you guys are pathetic. You all are living in the past. It's comical. I mean, seriously. ... As I was saying, look, because I love you people, if you want to chant 'E-C-Dub', guess what? I'm going to give it to you, okay? But I'm not going to give you the broken down, old, has beens. No. And by the way, people, if you're all being honest with yourself they all left your precious little company to go make bigger dollars and your little company died. No, what I have done here for you guys is I have given you the true E-C-Dub. I've given you the real E-C-Dub. But more importantly, and you people want to listen to this part, I have given you the true star of a real company: EC3."
If you're tired of yours truly going on and on about how great Stephanie McMahon is, just watch the above video of Dixie Carter, who plays a similar role in TNA.
When you're done stabbing your ears and have repaired your computer after throwing it against the wall, we can get back to the business at hand.
Appreciating that which is worth appreciating.
That's it for this week in promos.
Until next time.