I swear, if WWE is the masters of anything, it’s having some cheesy, innocent character who you just can’t wait to see get their ass kicked. And if 3:16 Day means anything at all, it’s probably that - that sense of watching some goof think they’re in on a joke and they’re about to eat a Stunner.
So with that said...3:16 Day is your day too, Byron Saxton!
Steve Austin ended the show by entering the ring and declaring March 16th a national holiday. And when he asked for a “hell yeah!” in response to providing a list of what the day will mean...he was met with silence.
Y’know, because no crowd. So Austin asked one more time and hooked a sucker in Saxton at the commentary table. Saxton was all too eager to scream out Austin’s catchphrase for him, and started rating the reasons that 3:16 Day will be great.
Man, this segment was nuts. It was so surreal, so distopian with the silence meeting Austin’s every word...and yet extremely lighthearted as Austin would hit Saxton with some verbal jabs and Saxton would just smile and nod, eager to please.
...So when Austin invited Saxton to the ring for a toast? C’mon, Byron. Beers got opened, a gut got kicked, and Saxton hit the mat flat on his back after a Stunner.
The lightheartedness wasn’t over. Becky Lynch then showed up to have a proper toast with Austin after Stone Cold warned her off of Stunning him again.
There’s not much else to this, but that’s sort of the perfect way to sum this show up. WWE’s in a really rotten position with their ability to put on a show, so they’re turning to old staples. Taker, Austin Stunning somebody. It works for one week, but they’ve got to get inventive with their current roster in a hurry.
Edge is still standing
As for the opening of the show, that was all Edge. And I thought his promo was brilliant.
He had a cameraman in the ring and he basically addressed the camera as if anyone looking through said camera was Randy Orton. I loved that; it made the entire promo feel more personal than the usual one where the wrestler’s just staring out in the distance.
The message was pretty simple. From the first day Edge met Orton, he knew that he’d be seeing a lot of him in their careers. They teamed together, spent time together travelling to shows, and learned tons from and about each other. They knew - and know - each other exceedingly well.
The differences, however, are what truly set them apart. Edge said that Mick Foley had a massive hand in shaping their careers and teaching them the lessons they needed to succeed. The one lesson that Orton apparently never learned from Mick, however, was how to be gritty. It’s what allowed Edge to persevere and come back from a disastrous diagnosis, and it’s something that eats at Orton.
Edge denied Orton’s claim of loving him. Instead, he called Orton jealous. It’s another one of their differences, actually. Orton, despite being one of the best to ever do it, was still handed everything on a silver platter. He had a second generation father to introduce him and get him a job in WWE. Edge had a single mother doing everything she could to help her son follow his dreams. He had to make his own way and realize his own dreams. He did it, and Orton’s always resented that he couldn’t say the same.
The plot twist in this promo was Edge revealing that Beth Phoenix showed up a few weeks back to announce that Edge was retiring once more. But now, after Orton hurt his wife? Nah, man. A Last Man Standing match is the only way forward.
These silent promos are really great, so long as the person giving it is compelling. And there’s no one out there more compelling than Edge.
Royal Rumble rewatch - Honestly fine with this. They might be having new folks tune in due to current events, so showing the entire thing and re-establishing stories is totally justified. It’s also an hour or so of show that I’ve already recapped.
AJ Styles is hiding from Undertaker - There was a contract signing for their WrestleMania match, and the story was that Styles was content to hide from the Deadman. Undertaker showed up sans robe and cap, flipped a table when Jerry Lawler wouldn’t move quickly enough, and waited. Instead, Styles showed up on the video board to lecture Taker about showing up for the biggest show of the year and nothing else. He likened it to if Michael Jordan stopped playing the regular season and showed up only for the NBA Finals.
I get it but...eh.
The OC showed up, but Taker took them out without too much trouble and signed the contract. He also stuffed it into Karl Anderson’s mouth for good measure.
Rey Mysterio def. Andrade - No idea why this match is still happening, but I have no complaints. Times are tough, and Mysterio vs. Andrade is always a welcome form of entertainment. You know what else is entertaining? Asuka on commentary. She was there for reasons. Just enjoy Cageside.
Becky Lynch has some words for Shayna Baszler - Okay so this one rubbed me the wrong way. It was the point in the show where some of the things that they need to adjust - like Lynch’s pose of holding title up to a non-existent crowd - haven’t been tinkered with at all. She used the time to tell Baszler that she can cut through the rest of the division all she likes, but Lynch is on a completely different level. She’s undaunted by all of Baszler’s antics and violence. Props for the chew pun, Becky.
But then...we saw Baszler backstage watching a monitor just like any other Raw. Shayna...no one is in the building. What’s stopping you from fighting her? It’s just silly.
Kevin Owens accepts Seth Rollins challenge - Another promo from a “promo guy.” Can’t complain at all - Owens is awesome. He had plenty of time to provide context and backstory here on a show that was so thin. He talked up how much the Performance Center means to him and how it’s the perfect representation of his perseverance in light of critical comments from folks like Rollins. He was always told he wasn’t meant for WWE, and because of the Performance Center and those he met there, he made it.
Consequently, it’s the perfect place to take out someone to whom the place means nothing.
How the hell do I grade these, Cageside? What’s the grading criteria? If I’m grading on a usual show, it’s an F. If I’m grading based on how compelling it was, it’s a D. If I’m grading on the curve of “look at how crazy these freaking circumstances are” it’s a B. If I’m grading on my starvation for entertainment and WWE making sure the good guys won here, it’s an A.
I enjoyed parts of the show immensely, and about half of it felt stale. I tuned out on the entire Rumble match. They really, really need to tweak some things, but I also appreciate having Rey win and giving us the silly Austin segment. That stuff is definitely needed.
What did you think, Cageside?